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10 posts from August 2011

August 29, 2011

In the aftermath

of a natural disaster, it is important to send out those most qualified to assess the situation. Nicholas packed up his toolbox yesterday morning and promptly headed out with Peter to suss out the damage. After nearly a mile of walking they came across a large tree blocking the road.  It also downed a power line, which then hung precariously across one driveway (whose homeowners won't be going anywhere until at least tonight.).

No worries, Peter checked first to ensure Nicholas was safe to continue with his 'struction work. Nick then shared his tools with another little guy who came along at the same time with the same interest in mind.  As much as a downed tree can be a bummer, it provided nearly a day's worth of conversation for us.

Seeking Damage

Fallen Tree
Removal Operations
Our damage at home?  In an ironic twist (if you saw the FB photo I linked to the other day about earthquake damage) a tipped over chair in the backyard.  My tomato plant also took a bit of a beating, but it has been secured and all is well now.  We are very grateful to have so little clean-up to worry about and that our 'crew' is so top-notch.



August 27, 2011

The first known casualty

(in our neighborhood) from Hurricane Irene.  Now, one might wonder how a sprinkler that was run over could be directly related to a natural disaster, but Peter wanted to park his car in the driveway behind the Odyssey.  We do have a number of rather large trees by our parking spot and on the off-chance one came down, it would land smack on his car.  (This is not an unfounded worry...I still remember the damage Isabel did to a number of cars in this neighborhood years ago...not pretty!)



I pulled forward just enough to allow his car in when I heard an ominous "crunch."  I was actually relieved when I discovered it was the sprinkler as A. I thought it was Nicholas's favorite watering can (from the sound) and B. the next-door neighbor child had already partially broken said sprinkler.  Now we get a new one (well, should we ever need to water again after this weekend).

As for Irene?  Well, we are still waiting...it's 9 p.m. and we've had nothing more than a bit of wind and a ton of rain.  Quite frankly, the winds haven't come close to what we experienced in Iceland and I have a feeling they won't.  (Remember the Great Trampoline Explosion of 2008?).  

Yes, THIS occurred the night before Nicholas was due:



(Note:  This did absolutely nothing to induce labor.  Going out to dinner the night before did, however, encourage the layette shipment to suddenly arrive as soon as dinner was on the table.)  Cait, Kelsey and their friend, Josie, had a fabulous time playing 52,000 piece pick-up while Peter contemplated how he'd get it all to the town recycling center.

The weather is so calm here that Nicholas decided it was a fabulous time to play in the rain.  He also figured out that dousing works better when you point the stick in the right direction.  And, no, we will never, never outgrow our fascination with sticks, the ultimate toy.  



August 26, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. One photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.



Idea courtesy of Soulemama.  


August 23, 2011

The shakes?

Apparently, we had an earthquake today.  A 5.9 and I missed the whole darn thing.  I was so oblivious, I didn't even know it happened until we were home from the grocery store and I received a frantic text from Cait, asking if we were okay.

Um, sure, why?

Her reply, "There was an earthquake!  Everything was shaking!" 

Oh.  Well, that explains what I thought was the fire alarm at Harris-Teeter.  The minute we started to drive away, folks were streaming out of the store, hanging around in the parking lot and looking around like they were waiting for something to happen.  We headed on our merry way, got home, and I read the text from Cait. Kelsey then promptly stated, "That's why the black car was shaking in the parking lot!"

Now, I actually heard "That's why the black CART was shaking in the parking lot!"  So, not only can't I sense/notice what could be major Acts of God, but I'm now officially hard of hearing.  Fabulous!

Granted, I have a long history of ignoring quakes.  We had daily quakes in Iceland and Peter would frantically call me only to find that I had calmly showered and/or driven through bigger than normal shakes.  In fact, even in California, I only felt one that just happened to occur on the night we moved into the new house.

I had just plugged in the vacuum cleaner and turned it on when the entire house started shaking.  We were on the second floor and I could see Cait's bookshelves looking as though they might topple over at any second.  Cait shouted, "Quick, turn off the vacuum!"

I did, and lo and behold the shaking stopped.  Cait then stated, "You are NEVER vacuuming again! You made the whole house shake!"  (Really, no more vacuuming, okay!).  

Suspecting something slightly different, I walked outside, saw our neighbor from across the street, and was greeted with a friendly, "Welcome to California!" 

So, if you were worried, we are fine, other than the fact that I clearly need a hearing test (and some earthquake sensing ability).  A few pictures and books fell off the shelves in Cait's room, but no damage and Kelsey now feels better about her disaster of a floor.  I'd go vacuum it, but I don't want to set off any aftershocks....

August 19, 2011

In fewer than 11 hours...

This wee one 


will be 13 years old.

Wonder who will be taller this time next year...gulp!

IMG_0813IMG_0813 IMG_0813







It's been a much crazier year than I imagined and lest I offend those I intend to praise...I'll just say that Cait's ability to bounce back (I'm not actually sure she HAD to bounce back) and roll with the punches is far better than mine.  I don't think there is enough to say about the way she has handled everything from the move to that of which we no longer speak.  She is so wrapped up in her own world (which is a really good thing sometimes) that she fails to notice when I completely lapse in my motherly duties (that or she is going to write one heck of a tell-all one day).  

I'll stop there...lest I embarass (even more) my tall, sweet, creative and independent little (?) girl.  Happy 13th birthday, Little Buddy!

August 12, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. One photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


(From our wild and crazy week away.)  Idea courtesy of Soulemama.  




August 10, 2011


She stepped back, smiled, folded her arms across her chest and said, "Ideal!" again.  

"That is exactly what you should look like!" Dr. RO stated firmly, still grinning.

With that, my 3 month post-radiation exam was complete.  We had waited over an hour, but the actual appointment lasted maybe 7 minutes.  Dr. RO asked how I was doing and did a quick exam with a few questions.  She noted that not only must I be doing massage (yes, on my boob, it's not that sexy, I assure you) and stretching, but that I was clearly using the Calendula lotion on a daily basis.  She then checked my range of motion and noted that it was perfect and that I simply could not look any better. My appointment ended and the next evaluation was scheduled for 6 months in the future.

Maybe not the ideal way to spend a vacation day morning, but lazing the rest of the afternoon away at the pool with the Salty Dogs more than made up for it.  Now I just need to gear up and do a whole week's worth of work on the house tomorrow before we depart to go back to Massachusetts, catch up with the kids and visit a bit more with friends and family and perhaps celebrate a certain upcoming event just a wee bit... 

August 08, 2011


Six months ago, I received a "Save the Date" in the mail.  It was a cute little magnet that let me know that my cousin would be getting married on August 6th at the Hotel duPont.  As it was winter,  I was two weeks post (second) surgery and things were gloomy weather-wise, I did what any sane person would do: hopped online and made an immediate reservation for two at the hotel for said weekend.

Now, I had no idea what would happen between then and now, but figured we'd work it out somehow and wing this weekend away.  We did, it happened and oh..my...it was...sheer and utter bliss. 


Last Thursday, we took the kids up to Massachusetts and safely ensconced them in the care of my in-laws.  I ensured that Nicholas would be okay by giving him several "hugs, kisses and pats on the back" and we left early Friday afternoon.  Traffic was a nightmare, but we arrived in time for dinner at a local restaurant and had the chance to bump into several family members prior to the big event.

Even more importantly?  We checked in and found this upon arrival:


IMG_0713 IMG_0711

A fabulous, roomy suite with a tub that I would have packed away in the suitcase if I could.  

We spent Saturday just enjoying ourselves and prepping for the evening.  I had my nails done for the first time in ages, we found the perfect gift, had a leisurely lunch and still had time to fit in a quick workout before the evening began.  

Now, I knew it would be a good party.  Our family doesn't have terribly big gatherings too often, but when they do, they are done right.  The wedding ceremony was simple, yet exquisite and led into an amazingly gorgeous reception.


IMG_0730 From the tables of family wedding photos (including my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents) to the subtle lighting from the amazing chandeliers, the reception area could not have been more breath-taking.  I could go on and on about the evening...the wine, the food, the music (my dancing...oh, MY!), but the best part is a feeling I'm not sure I can capture in words. 

IMG_0737 Somehow, somewhere in the middle of the evening, a very good feeling struck me...and stayed with me for the rest of the night.   For the first time in ages, I truly lost that undercurrent of sadness that has been with me since November 10 and felt gloriously, unabashedly happy.   I danced like a fool (and my cousin will forever have the video to prove that I DO know the words to Ke$ha's Tik Tok!) and enjoyed myself like I haven't in months.   Whether it was that few people knew about 'it' or that the focus was just on another's excitement, I'm not sure.  I just know that for one amazing evening, all of my worries and fears melted away.  I was able to think more clearly than I have in months (despite a sip or two of wine) and just hope I can hold onto that feeling just a little bit longer.

Two of my favorite photos:

Aunt Gina (my grandmother's sister) & Uncle Ted on their wedding day:

Aunt Gina & Uncle Ted at my cousin's wedding:


Lest, I forget, room service delivered a very sweet and perfect ending to the evening....




August 05, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. One photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.



The Little Guy and his entourage.  Idea courtesy of Soulemama.  


August 01, 2011

And THE list is out...

Almost as exciting as the soon-to-be teenager's wish list would be the bid list.  It is a bit longer than last year with a whopping 39 posts that Peter is eligible to bid on (overseas only).  Of those positions, 27 (yes, 27) require language and thus would not have us arriving at post until 2013.

What to do, what to do?

So, what's ON the list?  Well, if you are with the FS or DS and can guess/know Peter's grade and step, you are quite in the know.  However, we will not be posting the actual locales nor discussing them online or otherwise (well, with professional exceptions) until a final decision is made and a (firm) handshake is in place.  As with others, I am sure, we have dealt with too much back and forth over the years.  Rather than get anyone's hopes up or freak anyone out with a list of posts that somehow don't sound 'ideal' for our family, we will make the decision, let the powers that be do their part and then share the results with the world.

As far as when we will know?  Let's just say I wouldn't hold your breath....