Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

As I look out the window there is a steady rain falling outside . . . sort of a dreary day outside and in my heart too . . . always hard to come up with the right words to say today.  It is the tenth Memorial Day that has come with a new meaning.  While in a way every day is Memorial Day for us . . . we remember Sean and all the other fallen soldiers each and every day, but today it tugs a little harder inside and well annoys me too.  I get so tired of reading about what others think this day is all about.  Which in fact that would be Veterans' Day that we celebrate in November not Memorial Day . . . and how dare so many people (including Colin's school district) post Happy Memorial Day which in fact to those who truly know what this day means know it is anything but 'happy'.  I do enjoy seeing all my Facebook friends post photos of their families visiting the graves of their husbands/loved ones.  I am amazed at how much our children have grown over the years.  They were once wee kids and now all growing up so fast!  Oh and it seems that I should be out buying a new mattress too . . . seems that commercial is always on TV.  I know it is isn't funny but sure makes me laugh and roll my eyes.  Maybe they would be willing to donate to a cause that supports homeless vets?  I digress of course . . . today we remember Sean . . .
. . . gone far too soon and missed beyond words each and every day.  While he lives on in our hearts and memories, it just isn't the same.  We spent the day celebrating things that Sean loved to do!  We had steak for lunch, hung out at the book store, had his favorite ice cream at Baskin Robbins, and played computer games.  While I know it is a sad day, it was nice to share with Colin fun things that Sean enjoyed.  He is ten after all . . . he gets it . . . I know what he misses every day by not having Sean in his life . . . that is the saddest part and what makes my heart hurt the most . . .
. . . but we remember and that is what is most important!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

or I guess I should say Mele Kalikimaka . . . indeed we are spending this holiday season in Hawaii!  Wishing all our friends near and far a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too!

 
. . . to many more adventures in 2014 with my best travel partner.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Remembering Sean

Another year and again I am wondering what I could say this year.  For nine years this day has been one that brings back so many vivid memories . . . some days it feels like yesterday and others it seems so much longer.  I am always amazed at what I remember and just how painful it can be too.  As you can imagine there is nothing that I can say that is good from that day or at least that is what I always thought.

Last week Colin asked me if Sean was on TV when he died.  I am not exactly sure what prompted that, but it made me think about the show on the History Channel Shootout Return to Fallujah . . . you can click HERE to watch it on YouTube.  I did not know what to say but told him that there was a show that talked about Sean's company of soldiers and that some day when he is older I will show him.  Of course for me I had not seen it since it originally aired several years ago.  So I went online, found it, and watched it again.  What did we do before the internet?  While I watched the show it still amazed me that they are talking about my Sean; still nine years later it does not feel real to me.  And then it hit me . . . I knew exactly what I wanted to write today . . . I found my something positive.  While it might seem impossible to find anything good that happened that day; I did.  Sean loved being a soldier . . . he used to tell me it was all he ever wanted to do . . . so he was doing exactly what he wanted to do that day.  The soldiers that were with Sean at that moment . . . at that house on 13 November 2004 around midday  . . . the soldiers in his company that risked their own lives to make sure Sean was not left behind.  I know it is a part of the Soldier's creed to leave no man behind and they did not.  It just took me several years for it to sink in and truly appreciate it.  This is what I am most thankful for . . . and while that first sight of Sean when I saw him is something I will never, ever forget . . . I am glad I got that . . . some sort of closure as I can not imagine not having that moment . . . the always wondering . . . the what ifs would eat away all the time.  While I know they know this and do not expect it; THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

I still think about all the guys in Alpha Company 2-2 . . . more often than you might imagine.  I can not imagine the pain they too had to experience in the middle of a combat zone with such intense fighting.  I am more thankful than words can express.  I used to keep up with a few of them from time to time; sadly over the years I have lost track.  Always in my thoughts of course.  I hope they are doing well too . . . I know they too will never, ever forget.  They must soldier on and live life to the fullest . . . I would expect nothing less and Sean would be disappointed if they did not! 

Nine years . . . still shake my head and shed many tears for what we all have missed . . . so I end with my all time favorite photo of Sean in Iraq.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013

It was a complete last minute decision for Colin's costume this year.  I needed something quick and easy.  After many rejections by Colin of some of the cutest suggestions it was settled to be a mummy.  I guess nine year old don't like 'cute' costumes.  Hope you have a safe and super fun Halloween.  Trick or Treat from the mummy and his mom!
 
 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Back to School

As they say all good things must come to an end and just like that summer was OVER . . . I am down to writing about our last trip of the summer on the other blog . . . just 5 more post and summer 2013 will be officially over!  So now I have a 4th grader in the house . . .
. . . for some reason first day photos did not turn out so grand so did a retake on day 2 . . .
 
It will have to do.  It was a short school week and on Friday we hit the road for Aggieland! 
It was HOT . . . I mean H-O-T hot . . . who schedules a noon game in August in Texas?  The game had a rough start but the end results are what mattered the most.  Of course our seats were not to bad either; I've never had 50 yard line seats before so thanks to the Aggie that could not use them and sold them to me!  I think Colin's favorite part was watching the Corps of Cadets march in before the game.  I could not pry him off the curb; he loved watching all the 'student soldiers' as he calls them.  I am slowly getting back into a routine but sure do miss my afternoon naps!  Our My life is sucked up for the next 8 weekends going to soccer games . . . today the game is at 1:30pm (seriously who schedules this stuff during the heat of the day?)  Oh and the best part was Colin woke at 6:30am . . . I feel a nap soon, very soon!  So here's to a great year in 4th grade . . . he does seem to love his teacher who is new to the school so I am optimistic too!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer 2013

We are on the go again . . . see what we are doing and where we are going HERE.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

good bye 3rd grade

Colin finished 3rd grade . . . I could write all these wonderful things about him, but I don't want to brag .
August 2012

June 2013
He had the same teacher for 1st and 3rd grades.  Colin likes to tell me she was such a great teacher that she got a double promotion from 1st to 3rd grade.  Good thing we both liked her!  I can not believe he will be in 4th grade . . . you make me proud Colin!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

This is the 9th Memorial Day that has had a new meaning for our family . . . we remember today and every other day . . .
. . . my poppy wreath sent to us from London.  I just LOVE it!  I have it proudly on our front door and also took one to the cemetery too.  We made a visit this weekend to College Station . . . Colin seems to get it now, and we had a nice visit. He knows what this day is all about which is sad but makes me proud that he associates the day with his father and not just a day to have off school.  He sure is growing up right before my eyes!

 I was amazed at how much he has grown since 2006!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Colin update

YIKES!  I can't believe it has been sooooo long since I blogged.  I really just write on the other blog when we travel.  Travel makes me happy; this one makes me sad.  I could make more excuses, but honestly I am just lazy.  It is hard to believe Colin has almost completed 3rd grade . . . he will turn 10 at the end of this year too.  We have a full summer of adventures on the calendar too!  WOW how on Earth this happened I just don't know? 

One of the last big events in Colin's life that we celebrated as a family was his baptism at our church in Grafenwoehr back on February 1, 2004.  Honestly, it seems like forever ago . . .

He was so little and all that hair at only 5 weeks old!  I just think about the 'what ifs' . . .  and today Colin had his First Communion at our local church here in Texas. 
It was a beautiful day with our family and friends!  I always get sad when Sean's parents, two sisters, and brother are all together.  The last time that happened was on Sean's R&R in August 2004.  They had no clue he was in Texas and just showed up at their house.  It was an AMAZING memory!  He was on my mind all day and had the feeling he was on every one's mind too.  So what is also so special about this day was that both of Colin's godparents were there too.  His godfather (Sean's uncle David) assisted in the mass and is in the photo too.  It was a special touch to an already special day.  He is growing into a good kid . . . don't be confused he still drives me nuts, but I think I have done okay.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

always remembering . . .

It is that day . . . the day that forever changed our lives . . .
I was just going to link to what I wrote last year but did not even blog about this day the last two years.  I must say it sure isn't because I wasn't thinking about the magnitude of changes that occurred in our lives on that day.  I still find it incredibly difficult to grasp the painful news that greeted me when I opened my front door.  They say it gets easier with time and in some aspects it gets easier to deal with the day to day hustle and bustle of life, but then I look into the eyes of our child and realize that aspect will never get easier . . . knowing that Colin will never understand what it was like to have his father in his life as a young boy is just heart numbing . . . hearing him comment last Friday as I dropped him off at school saying, "if Daddy was alive he could come to school with me today in his uniform for the Veterans Day Sing Along."  Yes, those comments are like a knife in my heart.  All I could do was softly say, "Yes, buddy he sure would be there if he could. Try to have a good day."  While my heart hurts for not having Sean here to raise our son together and experience the ups and downs of life, I can not imagine what goes through Colin's head and heart.  How sad it is that he has never known what it is like to have a father . . . he misses him even if he never really had the experience of being around him.  So while we remember today what we lost and what we never really had too . . . it is just another day for us . . . we remember each and everyday. 

I can not believe 8 years have come and gone.








THANK YOU for all the thoughtful emails and messages today . . . nice to know so many still remember.

Friday, November 02, 2012

always playing catch up

So it has been a long, long time since I have posted here . . . honestly not much exciting or boring goes on in our lives these days.  Of course Colin was pumped about Halloween this week, I guess it is THE 'holiday' that kids really look forward to these days.  Speaking of Halloween, no big teaser this year about his costume, and I must admit is brought me great sadness.  I have always loved planning, sewing, and putting it all together and sadly this year my little boy decided he had his own plans.  I want him to make his own decisions but darn it I really loved doing this each year.  I let him decide what he wanted to be, and we already had all the pieces . . .
  
. . . he was so thrilled with his idea and had a great time Trick-or-Treating.  I guess that is what matters the most!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back to School BLUES

I now have a 3rd grader; I don’t know how that happened but it did.
He was most excited about his teacher this year . . . always a good sign! She taught him in 1st grade, and he really liked her . . . maybe because she is young and not as hard on him as his mom?  If he is happy then I am happy, but give me a few weeks and I am certain I will be upset about something, LOL. Never fails! I went early to get in the car pick up line. If you have ever done this you know it can be a source of entertainment and pure frustration too. I mean do people not see the dozens of cars waiting in line? Do they think they can just drive up closer to the front?  Yesterday, a lady passed the line, got out of her car to move the orange cones, and circled towards the front . . . not sure what she was doing but she drove on and then blocked the entire pick up line; nice!   I bet her child isn’t a good listener or rule follower either. Totally annoys me!

Colin was all smiles when he jumped into the car and told me he had homework; seriously on the first day! We get home and visit with the neighbor girl about her first day of 1st grade and then get the homework out. I was “explained” what was to be done. The class read a book today (have no idea the book title) about how she/he lost her memories. The sheet had instructions to place in the bag at least three of the things below . . . I was also “explained to” that at least means 3, 4, or 5 . . . so glad I have a smart kid to inform this aging mind of mine. So I read them . . .
1. something that makes you warm
2. something that is old
3. something that makes you sad
4. something that makes you laugh
5. something that is worth the value of gold

Okay so this will be easy . . . we sit at the table across from each other and start discussing what he could/should/would take . . . mind you we have a gallon size bag to put these things into to return tomorrow. The answer I got for Number 1 was a jacket . . . seriously SO trying not to laugh at this literal thinking child . . . we decide to skip Number 1.

So this is what he decides to take:
2.  old coins from trips
3.  photo of me and Daddy
4.  a small stuffed Snoopy that plays music
5.  one of Sean’s medals

I was okay with those things except the thought of him taking one of Sean’s medals . . . not just any medal but his actual medal. Since I just can’t let things go, I decided to probe why he picked each of these things . . .

2. well because they are cool especially the one with a hole in the middle (coin from Denmark) and the Germany one because I was born there you know. Hmmm, I don’t remember that one kid!

4. because Snoopy is so crazy and funny! The main reason Colin even knows about Snoopy is because of all the wonderful surprises we both get in the mail from Laurel. (THANK YOU LAUREL). The weird thing about the blogging world is you meet people; people you would not know if you met them on the street but people who know all about you, your life, and that you communicate with. It is a weird relationship to some but so nice too. The first time she sent Colin some stickers of the Peanuts Gang . . . he had no idea who they were so I bought a DVD and he was hooked . . . we have a huge collection now and watch them all the time. So after some very emotional times in life it is nice to know the Peanuts Gang makes Colin laugh . . . kids shouldn’t have to experience the things he has had to live with but glad he can be just a kid.

5. It is just special to me . . . no explanation needed.

I did save this one for last because I knew it would probably make me cry . . .

3. super long pause; I can tell he is really thinking about this one . . . I look at this photo of me as a tiny baby and then Daddy went to war and well he never came home to me . . . OMG can you believe that? I had huge tears in my eyes and grabbed a tissue and noticed Colin had teary eyes too. He asked why I was crying and just told him that it still makes Mommy very sad that he never got to know his father. He just agreed and life continued. What more can I say?

Let's just hope this is not a year of these types of projects, LOL!

Monday, July 02, 2012

It's SUMMER

 . . . and you know that means I am on adventures . . . I am slowly updating our/my travels so come along and enjoy the ride . . . CLICK HERE


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What-a-Pie

It is known that I have an obsession with Whataburger cherry pies . . . seems like they are never going to be back in the stores so today I tried a lemon pie . . . YUMMY!  My back up plan is so yummy too which is so not good for my diet.  Oh well . . . I will enjoy them while they are here!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Remembering . . . June 6

Circumstances in life have made me appreciate our freedoms over the years . . . I get it now.  Sean's time with The Big Red One will always be some of the most memorable years of my life.  As some know today marks the 68th anniversary of the storming of the beaches of Normandy . . . D-Day.  Two years ago, Colin and I took a trip to the Normandy region of France.  I can say that it was probably the most memorable and emotional trip I have ever taken.  Just standing on the beaches where so many young kids died was a little overwhelming.  There was no possible way to visualize what these kids experienced when they landed . . .
So many never made it back to the United States . . .
. . . but what a beautiful cemetery and final resting place.  I wonder how many families went to France to see where their child was buried?  Colin was only 6 when we went, and he did not understand what he was seeing, but every week he checks out a book from the library about WWII or Pearl Harbor; he became curious and remembers some of the trip.  Someday I will take him back, and he will appreciate the sacrifices those men made . . . he will understand that those beaches aren't for playing but so much history lies in that sand and so much was lost there too.  Someday . . .

I wrote about our trip on the other blog if you care to read it and see photos.  Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

June 6, 2005:  I was back in Germany for the dedication of the 1ID Monument . . .
  
It has now moved to Kansas . . . not the same but glad it is out and not in a warehouse!  There is also a smaller version that the Germans let stay behind . . . glad about that as we thought of Germany as our second home.  The Big Red One will always be remembered on June 6 . . . so much history to be forgotten.  And just as we were able to walk the beaches of D-Day, I am hopeful that some day I can walk the streets of Iraq where Colin and I lost so much!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2nd Grade

SO glad this year is almost o-v-e-r! It was trying some days, but we both survived!  Just 2 more days and school is officially out!  A photo recap of the year . . .
 
                   August 2011                                            May 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Break

Well it has come and gone . . . I'm more tired now than before we went. We went on a great week because if we were there now we would be stuck in a snow storm! I'm slowly updating if you care to read about our adventures click HERE . . . next week I start thinking about summer! Feel free to offer suggestions . . . just one photo . . .

Saturday, February 04, 2012

updated

Wow, it has been a long time! I finally updated my other blog from our trip over the Christmas break . . . HERE . . . I am a little slow these days!

Not much else to report . . . work, school ,and all that goes along with day to day life. We have some other adventures in the works but will report on those once they are completed. Colin is excited to say the least . . . I'm just happy to get away.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

From our family to yours . . .

. . . and a wonderful 2012!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ho! Ho! Ho!

You better watch out . . .
. . . someone better be glad Santa had already checked his list before the last two days! Is it time for bed yet?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

school party and a rant

Let me get the rant out of the way . . . I am a co-room parent for Colin's class . . . hey if you want to know what is going on you sort of have to volunteer for these things, LOL. Anyway, it doesn't require a lot of time and basically just contact other parents when there is a class party or field trip. So the school Christmas . . . I mean Holiday Party is tomorrow. All the 2nd grade classes are doing the same thing: make reindeer bag for stocking stuffers, decorate a cookie, eat some breakfast treats (party is from 9-10 only), play a book exchange game, and hopefully the hour is over! If not I have a Lego snowman ornament to fill the time. So each kid was asked to bring a wrapped book that was less than $6 (which I guess you could wrap a book you already owned and did not want so basically free) . . . now here is my issue . . . there are two dollar store type places within a mile of the school . . . you can so see where this one is going can't you? Only 12 out of the 20 brought a book . . . 12 parents made an effort to buy and wrap a book . . . EIGHT did not! Of course with those numbers there can be no playing a game when almost half the class did not do as asked . . . I know it might seem shallow or pissy but come on $1 for a book, is that too much to ask? Side story about a book exchange when Colin was in 1st grade last year . . . he got this totally crappy book called something like "God this is me, please be fair" or something stupid like that . . . it was totally a crappy book and sort of bothered me. I thought it had to be the worst one in the entire class until I was talking to another parent who had a son in the same class . . . you know what book her son got? A yearbook . . . not a yearbook from the school he attended some other random elementary school in the area. I haven't laughed so hard before but seriously who does that. And if I would have gotten that yearbook I would have so tried to figure out who was in there that went to our school. Of course I managed to round up 8 books for those without and if I would have had some crappy old yearbook from another school I might have wrapped it to be mean . . . of course I got rid of the other book we got last year and with our luck Colin would have ended up with it again. SO on to something that makes me smile . . . I am back to making treats for his breakfast party . . . no real baking as we are suppose to bring store purchased items . . . what's up with all these rules? I made some blueberry muffins (so did not buy them) and donuts . . .

. . . and chocolate dipped pretzels . . .
I was getting tired by this point and just wanted to be d-o-n-e! I plan to put them in something standing upright but for now that is the best I could do! Can you say over achiever? Well actually I don't really have a 'real' life I guess. They were all really too cute and again totally not my idea. I am sure I will cringe tomorrow when the kid takes one bite and throws it in the trash . . . BUT what I really couldn't wait to dive into were these . . .
WOW! We have the best friends! When the UPS/FedEx (don't know because he was so fast) rang the bell Colin answered and yelled "LOGAN!" I thought Logan was at our front door until I rounded the corner and saw the pink box! We are both on a sugar high and now that he is in bed I'm off to have some hot tea and at least one more!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pre-Birthday Party

Colin's birthday always falls when school is out which means no one is around for a party. I sort of just 'forget' an organized party and hope he does too. Well, you know kids . . . he hasn't had one in 2 years so he asked for one this year. He wanted bowling so that is what we did and it was SO easy. I paid my deposit and they told me to just bring a cake. They provided every thing from invitations, to treat bags, thank you cards, a hostess, plates . . . it was so weird showing up with just a cake. It also amazes me that out of the 20 kids in his class only 2 called or emailed me; seriously how weird is that? When I was a kid you always went to a birthday party . . . oh well we had fun and enjoyed all the family/friends that did come and celebrate!


Oh and I can't believe he is almost 8 . . . eight . . . time sure needs to slow down!

Monday, December 19, 2011

sweeeet

Today I spent some time baking for the holidays . . . I always find cute stuff to make but never end up making it. Since I am already out of school for a few more days before Colin, I pulled out the idea books (yes I have all that stuff in a binder according to theme) . . . so I am going to toot my 'bugle' today . . .
. . . aren't these just the cutest? I found the idea here. It was fairly easy to make just a little time consuming but turned out cute and tasted yummy too! I have some other cute sweet treats for later in the week too . . . Colin's school party is early so they requested breakfast food . . . of course they are not healthy but cute none the less.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Germany Girls

I thought I would write a little about 'the girls' since Theresa posted a comment last week. Hi Theresa and Sabrina! We miss you guys too . . . hopefully we will see you next year! Anyway at some point after we got Murphy (late 2001) three young German teen aged girls stopped by our house one day. Sabrina (middle in November 2004 photo) rang the door bell while the other 2 (Theresa and Verena) waited outside the gate . . . in her best English/German she tried asking if she could take Murphy for a walk and in my worst German I had no idea what she wanted. Of course Murphy was going nuts and so excited. I had just walked in from school/work and was exhausted . . . we finally both understood "walk der hund" and I was all over that! They took Murphy for about 2 hours, and he came home stinky but so tired . . . it was great! Sean wasn't so sure about the whole arrangement as he was afraid they would harm Murphy. As time went by and they continued to show up to walk him; I knew they treated him like a king . . . he was ALWAYS so excited to see them and overly eager to head out to walk and swim! They would always make me smile and laugh and were just so sweet and kind. They would stay afterwards too and we would chat about anything. Their English became so good while my Germany never improved, LOL. They were always there when I needed them the most. When Colin was born they would come over and as he got old enough they would take him out for short walks too and spoil him! The night my life changed they were there after a phone call to come take Colin out of the house for a few hours while I sorted through what to do next. The day before we left they came over to tell us good-bye not knowing if we would ever see each other again . . . it was very sad. Thankfully we have seen them twice and they have gotten to see Colin in action! Sabrina and Theresa were the first two I thought about when Murphy became very sick and later died . . . he was so special to them and their dogs Wendy and Nico . . . I knew they would be so sad because they too spent a lot of time with Murphy. I have always wondered what would life had been like if we would have never left Germany in 2004 . . . if they would have taught Colin to speak German . . . I am so happy they remain in touch with us and can't wait to see them again!

November 2004

June 2009

Summer 2010

I miss them and look forward to seeing them again soon! Colin still talks about his German babysitters too! You are always welcome to come to America!