Sunday, June 27, 2010

Black Out!

Friday was a pretty exciting day around these parts. It's been extremely hot and humid over the last few days. Temps were close to 100 degrees with a heat index of right around 107. It's been NASTY. But, living in the south during the summer does have it's advantages - STORMS!

Since living here I have witnessed some fantastic thunder storms come rolling through. Friday's was no exception.

The kids and I were over at my sisters house helping her pack up her home (she's moving onto base) when we started to hear the distance rumble of thunder. Nicole and I (along with a few random kids) head outside and watch as the dark clouds come rolling in. We knew it was going to be a good one once we saw the extreme flashes of lighting and the fast moving lower level cloud cover.

The wind was picking up and you could feel the temperatures dropping. Nothing feels better than when you're standing outside in hot air that's so thick with the humidity that you can't breathe then that blast of cool wind and the chill that comes with an income storm hits you. Ahhh...relief!

Nicole suggested that I check my phone to see if we were in any watches or warnings. Come to find out, there was not only a Thunder Storm Warning posted, but also a TORNADO WARNING as well! I checked the path and it said that it was projected to pretty much follow 24, right along the the main gates of Camp Lejeune.

By that time, the rain had started to come down hard and we all ran like wild idiots screaming into the house. The kids stayed inside and played with whatever toys werern't already packed up. Nicole, Cassie and I headed out to the garage and watched the storm from the safety of her driveway.

As far as storms go, this one was pretty fantastical. You could see the upper level clouds, slowly making their way over the top of us. But what really made us think of flying cows, was the fast moving, pitch black lower level clouds that almost seemed to have slight swirls going on. What really caught us off guard was the fact that it almost didn't seem as if the clouds were moving in a certain direction. From where we were standing, it looked like the clouds were gathering, moving quickly into an almost funnel type of outlet.

I checked my phone again and we were still in that TORNADO WARNING for a few more minutes. But as that deadline drew closer, the storm seemed to dissipate  and we got on with packing up.

Fast forward about two hours later.... Nicole and I had taken the kids to Dad's favorite restaurant and as I was driving home I had to make a stop at a friends house to pick up my Thirty-One Gifts goodies that I had ordered for the boys. When I got there, my friend Kristie had mentioned that there was a good chance that a tornado had touched down at the Russel Field House on base. (For those of you who have no idea where that is, basically once you enter the main gates and take that first right, it's the group of buildings on your left. Behind them are the Tball fields where Jack would have his practices. Basically it's about 5 minutes from my home and right behind a bunch of other housing.) Also, we were told that the Paradise Point housing (which is my area of housing) had lost power.

So here I'm thinking that I would be driving home to a dark home without power. Not such a good thing when it's just you and your kids but I had also invited my cutie patootie nephews, Cameron and Justin to spend the night.

Luckily when we rolled up, we could see that the lights were on and we thought we were in the clear. Foreshadowing told me that with the distance sound of thunder still rumbling in the background that this night was not over yet.

We were home for only an hour or so, when the thunder really started back up again. In fact, I noticed that it seemed to be right on top of us since every time there was a loud rumbling boom, the whole house seemed to shake. Around the 4th big boom, everything went black. The boys were in the living room building lego cities, Cassie and her friend Kharlin were on the laptop and I was laying in bed reading.  I waited a few seconds, to see if the lights would come back on and when they didn't I yelled for everyone to stay where they were and don't freak out.

With the use of my handy-dandy iPhone (that flashlight app is truly a god send!) I made my way from my bedroom to the living room where the kids had all gathered around Cassie and Kharlin since they seemed to have the only light left in the house (laptop monitor). I headed to the cabinets above the refridgerator and silently thanked Jon for making us buy those heavy duty flashlights every time we walked into Lowes. I pulled down three of them and also found a lighter and went about lighting candles and placing flashlights where they would get the most use.

After 20 minutes or so, I resigned myself to the fact that we were not going to be getting power back anytime soon. So, I gently had the kidlets gather around and told them the most important rule there is when you lose power.......

"If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down."

The older kids thought that was hilarious and I had to explain it to the younger ones. Of course, once they figured it out they were cracking up and laughing which put them at ease with being in a pitch black house. With that in mind, I had the oldest boys gather up blankets and pillows and the younger kids picked up their lego's while I went on a search for a movie to watch on my fully charged laptop. We ended up camping out on the living room floor watching 'Back to the Future, Part 2' while waiting for the lights to come back. 

Besides having to take a few kids to the potty, calming down some nervousness and answering questions about ghosts, we all seemed to make the most of it! In fact, it actually turned out to be a fun night.

Cassie, Kharlin and Cameron slowly realizing that once the power goes out, so does the internet.

Jack picking up legos....

Jason doing the same....

A hard to see (again stinking iPhone camera) shot of all of us piled in the living room...

Another view of group shot...

My laptop with our movie playing....

The power came on after midnight. By that point Jack, Jason and Justin had fallen asleep so I had carried Jack to my room to sleep with me and Cassie, Kharlin and Cameron were in the living room being silly. I woke up to burning white lights in my eyes and got up to turn everything off and remind the oldest that there were kids sleeping.

All in all, it made for a very fun, interesting night. Not something I would repeat too often (can anyone say, No AC??) but the kids had fun and hopefully we created a good memory to keep.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another goodbye....


It's that time once again to say goodbye, or as we like to say, it's NOT goodbye but instead it's "see ya later".  Another two of my good friends have moved.  Renee left Wednesday or her way to head out to Portland, Oregon and StacEy left on Friday for Bahrain.  I'm amazed that we were able to find a time this close to their departure that we were all able to get together but we did.  We all met at Yana's in Swansboro on a Tuesday morning,  for a deeeelish "see ya later" breakfast.  And boy was it good!  They have these things called Fritters and Kristy was the only one that had ever had them.  She ordered one of each of them for us all to share - apple, peach, banana and strawberry.  I was thinking it would be something that we would all get maybe one bite of but no!  They brought out these huge bowls of fruit fitters piled on top of each other.  They were little pieces of fruit fried in a dough similar to funnel cake, then topped with powdered sugar and just a dollop of whip cream.  They were amazing!!! I could barely eat my breakfast after sampling all of the fruit fritters.  They definitely need to be something that you order every time you go there.  

I think I've died and gone to fritter heaven......

While we were eating our fritters and waiting on the rest of our breakfast, we gave them their "See Ya Later" gifts, a piece of pottery with Camp Lejeune on it. A little something to remember us by.

 We had so much fun, eating, laughing, talking and being loud and generally being inappropriate. Everyone kept asking us what we were celebrating. And really, we were celebrating one of the best things in life - friendship.

Before any of us could leave, we all had to make a special trip to the bathroom. It wasn't because the fritters got to us, it was to  see if we could get Elvis to talk to us. You see, there is a life size Elvis cut out that stands pretty much directly in front of the toilet in the girls restroom. If you're lucky enough, he'll talk to you. 

Renee with the King....

Jilly with the King.... 

After I got done given Elvis some special lovin, he kindly thanked me by saying, "Thank ya verra much!' Whoo hooo!

Then of course, there were a few tears as we all hugged and said our "see ya laters" and went our separate ways.  Be safe Renee and StacEy, keep in touch, start your own blogs and I'll see you again one day.  

Our ever growing smaller group...... 

Heidi (she'll be leaving next month) and Renee. 




Kristy - my pain in the booty neighbor! But at least she bought us fritters!!! (You know I love ya girl!)

George, aka Georgie, Stacey's adorable baby!

After our posing with Elvis, we got in all our 'See you later' hugs..... 

Saying our "see ya laters".....

The two Stac(E)y's....

Renee, StacEy and Georgie...

Jilly and Renee...

Renee and me

Jilly and Renee getting their Elvis lovin' on! 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tball Season is FINALLY over!!!!

And it ended with a very hot, sweaty party. The coach and his wife arranged for all of us to meet at a local park for a cookout and the handing out of trophy's. Sadly, this day had many strikes against it.

First off, it was going to turn out to be one of the hottest days so far. With a heat index of 107 degrees. Even in the shade....with a breeze...standing sweat so much that the sweat pools down your lower back and makes it look like you had a horrible accident.

Strike two was the fact that although the coach and his wife were awesome with the kids, the parents...not so much. In fact, during the last game, Jessica (coaches wife) passed around a sign up sheet of things to bring for the party. I had signed up to bring hot dog/hamburger buns. When we got there, only two other parents besides Jennie (JB)and I. So we were not only missing cheese (which I thankfully thought to bring) but juice/soda/water, condiments, lighter for the grill, and a handful of other things never showed up. Of course, that means that the parents who said they'd bring those items never showed up. So JB and I headed up to the Dollar General (lol) to grab those items.

The thing that drives me crazy is the fact that if you say you're going to do something, bring something or be somewhere, then do it! I don't understand why it acceptable to punk out of something that you gave your word to. Not to mention the fact that when Jessica wondered what we should do, everyone but JB and I said, "Oh, we only have $5 to our name..." Not that I mind per se going to get the items but none of these other parents who were there could get off their hiney to actually help. The pure laziness of these people completely blew JB and I away.

Our sad little cupcake cake that ended up melting...I told you it was hot!
Coach with Jack, after he accepted his trophy.
Coach with JB's daughter, Tatum.
The kids that showed up. We're missing about 8 more.

But, be that as it may, the kids had a great time playing in the park. Even though it was hot as Hades. In the end, Jack walked away with a cool new trophy (that strangely matches all his soccer trophies. Go figure!) and the knowledge of how to play ball (stop the ball and throw it to first).

Can't wait to see what happens next year when it's Coach Pitch Ball. Jack's got that 'sports' gene and I can't wait to see how he does!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

School's out!!! Teachers let the fools out!!!!

June 9th, 2010 marks the beginning of summer! The kids are FINALLY out of school and I can finally take a BREATHER on life. No more getting up at the butt crack of dawn to make lunches, lay out clothes and constantly corral my children into our van to get them to school. No more having to remind Cassie of what time it is so she won't miss her bus. I can sleep in for however long I want. I can make the kids breakfast without  worrying about the time. We can stay in our PJ's all day long if we want.

Sounds good, right? Well...sadly, the first full week of the kids being out of school has been just as busy as if they were still in school. Not that I mind, per se. But goodness! I have bags for the bags under my eyes. I've gone without a gallon of milk for 2 days because I couldn't find the time to go buy some. The kids are complaining that there's no food in the house (junk food anyway. Would it kill them to eat some vegetables?)
I think the best laid plans are always the ones to fail. So I'm realizing that I will not get any sort of relief from the everyday stresses of being a busy Mom, until I actually plant my feet on Michigan soil come July 1st. At which time I will put my kids into their bathing suits, throw them in the 'cool' tub and proceed to sit out on the back porch of my parents house, drinking sun tea and thinking about nothing except the casual fly that decides to buzz my head.

But this post isn't about my lack of down time, this is about the kids last day of school and more importantly, Cassie's 8th Grade Graduation. Let's start with that.

June 9th was turning out to be a busy day for my kiddies. At 10:30am, Cassie 8th grade ceremony was set to start. All the kids filed in and sat on the left side of the bleachers. Under a large 'Brewster Middle School' banner. There were speeches, awards and songs being sung. Finally it was time for the kids to be awarded their 'certificate of achivement' and move forward and become a 'high schooler'.  As the kids names were called, they came down the bleachers, accepted their award and then went back up the other side of the bleachers and sat underneath a banner that read: "Lejeune High School".

Cassie, of course having a last name starting with a 'T' was one of the last students to receive her certificate.

Cassie accepting her certificate. Notice the two rows of kids behind her. That was the remaining 'Brewster' kids.

Cassie with her 'High School' friends. (BTW, she's sitting right about the lady with the long brown pony tail.)

Cassie and her BFF Kharlin....

Cassie, Kharlin and her friend Sam.

It completely boggles my mind that I have a daughter who will now be a high schooler. Am I seriously old enough for that? When did this happen and why is time flying by so fast?! All around the base there are High School Graduation parties happening and I have been thinking to myself, that there are only 4 more years until WE are at that place. Four more years, and Jon and I will be planning Cassie's Graduation Party and getting her ready to head of to college. I would have a nervous breakdown thinking about it, if I wasn't already so overwhelmed with the fact that she starts 9th grade next year. Not to mention, DRIVERS TRAINING! Oy vey.

But regardless, I am so super proud of my daughter. She has had STRAIGHT A's and B's all through her middle school career until this very last semester. She ended up with ONE C+, in Algebra. Which as much as it disappoints me that she got that grade, I realize that I wasn't so great in math as well, so I give her the benefit of the doubt. I think this was a nice wake up call to her that she can't breeze through her classes so much anymore. High school will be, in a word, interesting.

Now with the boys, the last few days with them and their classes were pretty much easy peasy. They brought in games to play and just enjoyed those last two days of school.

Next year is going to be a big year for Jason as well. Here the elementary schools are divided into two schools. K-2 is where the boys are at now (Johnson Primary). But next year, Jason heads over to Bitz, where it's 3rd-5th grades. I believe he'll also start receiving actual letter grades on his report cards as well. Another stepping stone for one of my kids.

To celebrate the last day of school for the teachers, I had bought them each a gift from a company that one of my good friends, Jill is a consultant of. I had bought them both a insulated lunch bag from 'Thirty-One Gifts' and of course made them a homemade card.

Ms. Koerner's (Jason's teacher) card....

Mrs. Eve's card...Inside it says, "Thank you for being such a great teacher to my little monster." I thought it was clever!

Jack and Mrs. Eve.....

Jason and Ms. Koerner.....

It was a bittersweet day for me as a Mom. I had two kids who were moving on to bigger things and my kindergartner was no long that "kindergarten baby, stuck in the gravy". All my kids are getting older, and growing bigger which in turns means that I am also getting older. Just hopefully not bigger!

Time to do some sparring.....

The last day of school was also an exciting day for Jason as well. He finally received his sparring gear for Karate. He was super excited to have it and it just means that his training is going to start getting harder and better.

So for $130, this is what he got.....

After we got there and got him all set up, I snapped a few pictures to show off how bad ass my kid looks....


In August, he'll be up for his next belt - Gold! After that, we're hoping that he'll be getting sparring weapons. Heaven help us all....especially his little brother!