Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Official Move In Day

Truck #1 arrived at 8:45 am.
10 crates offloaded.
Truck #2 arrived at 2:30pm.
6 more crates offloaded.
The trucks were gone by 4:45pm.
Brian and I crawled in bed at 9:50 pm absolutely exhausted.
Cheers to unpacking the rest of the week & setting up the house!
We already have a laundry list of projects - building, painting & redecorating are all forthcoming!
Stay tuned!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sweet sister moments

Amidst the arguing & bickering between these two, there are far more sweet & tender moments that I absolutely love to witness.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Our kids are fish.
Well, at least now they are.  A month ago I wouldn't have called them that.  By no fault of their own...they've been in Alaska for 3 years and only went swimming less than a dozen times.
However, from the moment they arrived at the first hotel pool in Seattle, their confidence, their willingness and eagerness to swim and enjoy the water has jumped tremendously.
Hotel #1 looked like this:
Abby would hardly come down the pool steps let alone try on any goggles. 
Marilyn had a death grip on my neck that caused me to nearly pass out in the water.
Thomas wouldn't let go of the wall long enough to see if he could even stand in the 3 feet section of the pool (FYI: he is 4 feet tall).
Fast forward through lots of hotels and lots of practicing over the last 3 weeks and you might not even recognize the kids.  Like I said before - they are fish!
Thomas is swimming across the length of the pool, retrieving dive sticks from the bottom of the pool and doing flips under water.
Abby has decided that she no longer wants to wear swimmies on her arms, she too loves to swim to the bottom to collect dive sticks and insists on wearing her bright pink goggles doing it.
Marilyn is like a little water dog.  She is constantly kicking and paddling all over the pool with her mouth sealed shut & cheeks puffed out so as not to drink any of the water.
The transformation the kids have made in the water is pretty unbelievable.
I'm fairly certain that they are off to a great start acclimating back to the Florida lifestyle.

And what is better than swimming at Grannie & Pop's pool all day?
Swimming with friends like Izzy (please notice the amount of teeth missing from both hers and Thomas' mouth...who knows how the two of them possibly eat any food?)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's just not fair

Tonight's bedtime conversation with Marilyn:

Me: Grab your 'jammies & your Pull-Up and I'll help you put them on.
M: I don't want to wear a Pull-Up anymore - I want to wear underwear to bed just like Thomas & Abby.
Me: Sweetie, I want you to also but you need to try staying dry at night if you're going to wear underwear to bed.
M: I WILL!  I WILL!  I WILL!  It's just not fair that they get to but I don't. 

There you have it - life is not fair to a 3-year old because she has to wear a Pull-Up at night to stay dry so that her bed sheets and 'jammies don't get wet in the middle of the night. 

I'm clearly so unreasonable.  What was I thinking?  I must not be in the running for "Mom of the Year" anymore with this little stunt of mine.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A little catch up

What a week this has been since arriving home last week.
We pulled in late last Thursday night after an exhausting longest-drive-day-of-the-entire-road trip.
To greet us with hugs and kisses was my in-laws. We walked into our house to find it fully stocked with food, pots & pans, beds, linens, kitchen table & chairs along with toys for the kids.  Insane. Words can not explain how grateful all 5 of us are.

The following day we offloaded the truck, I headed down the school district's main office to sign all of my employment paperwork and become official while the kids & Brian headed out to swim at Grannie & Pops.  That evening my sister & brother-in-law came into town to see us and we met up with them & my mom for dinner.  Can you tell that being back in Florida is completely different? We are surrounded by family & a certain kind of love that we have missed for 3 years.

That weekend we spent time just swimming and relaxing at both my mom's and in-laws houses. 
Simply put, there were constant smiles on the kids' faces & we soaked in the sun & fun.

Monday morning (just 4 days after arriving home), I headed into school for my first day. 
This is what I pulled into:
I have been welcomed with huge smiles, warm hugs and such positive energy all week long - it's just unbelievable.  To return home to a school that I have spent my entire teaching career (despite having to PCS 2 times overseas due to Brian's military career) is a blessing for sure.  I'm absolutely looking forward to a fantastic year and this first week was just a small taste of everything I look forward to.
With just 2 weeks left before teachers return back for pre-planning and 3 weeks until our students start another year, there is much to do!
While I have been busy at work, the kids & Brian have been playing, swimming, buying our fishing boat, prepping the house for the moving truck to arrive in just a few days, & visiting Grannie/Pop & Nana in their spare time.
These next two weeks are going to fly by but they will also be some of the busiest on record - Brian prepares for his new job as a civilian, we receive our household goods (HHG) this week, we register the kids for school & daycare and we finish planning Brian's retirement ceremony & party!
There you have it - a little catch up over the last week or so!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Florida or Bust - The numbers edition

We made it! We are finally back home in Florida! Here's a peek at our Florida or Bust Road Trip
by the numbers: 
  • 3,480 - miles that Brian drove
  • 320 - miles that I drove (was the last 320 after we picked up my vehicle & drove into FL)
  • 396 - times I heard "I have to go potty!"
  • 5 - nights on the ferry
  • 10 - nights in a hotel
  • 20 - days since we left Alaska
  • 5 - sets of friends and family we visited along the way
  • 12 - suitcases/bags/big items Brian had to offload each night we stopped
  • 13 - states we traveled through
  • 1 - time we needed the emergency potty in the middle of nowhere
  • 1,725 times I heard "She's touching me!"
  • 193 - times I heard "I'm too cold/I'm too hot!"
  • 3 - items left behind at a hotel
  • 2 - items mailed home to us from said hotel
  • 1 - lost item never recovered from said hotel
  • 8 - loads of laundry we did along the road trip
  • 27 & counting - days we've been living out of a suitcase

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Florida or Bust - Visiting Friends

Not only have we been blessed to travel the country on Uncle Sam's dime while being an Air Force family, we were also offered the chance to stop in and visit with both family & friends while we traveled from Alaska to Florida this last month.
You know you have some true friends when they travel long distances just to meet up with where you happen to be staying that night or open their homes to you just to spend a few hours catching up over the years you have spent apart.
Seattle - Brian & Ike
Hunting buddies from Guam (friends since 1995)

Las Vegas - Me & Kendra (& baby Sloane)
Teachers from Choctaw (friends since 2006)
There is nothing more special than getting a chance to visit with a friend that you haven't seen in several years & you just pick up with conversation like no time had passed at all.  We purposely made a stop over in Las Vegas so I could catch up with my dear friend Kendra along with her husband Andrew & their 2 beautiful kiddos.
The big kids eating dinner

Dallas - Me & David
Friends since 6th grade (1986)
We had the great fortune and blessing to spend an evening with one of my oldest friends (we became friends in 6th grade) David & his wife Missy Leventhal in Dallas! It's been 17 years, marriages to our amazing spouses, and 9 kids later since we have seen each other. What an absolute treat and delight to meet his family, let all the kids play and just catch up together on how life has been going.
The Leventhal & Heck gang

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Florida or Bust - Rollin'

To date, we have over 2,700 miles under our belt in the truck on this trip.
This is us rollin' - West Coast to Gulf Coast.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Florida or Bust - Disney

When we left Oakland, we continued south to Anaheim.
Disney awaited us on Day 10 of our trip.
Despite being from Florida, we knew this would be a great stop for the kids after being away from Disney World for 3 years as well as give them a fun break along the long road trip.

 The 1st night there we headed over to Disneyland to catch a few rides, grab a treat & take in the Magical Fireworks!

 Words can not even describe their excitement when they found our resort room at the Grand Californian Resort & Spa had a bunk bed & trundle for the kids.
 We spent a full day at California Adventure which was absolutely fantastic.
I'm not sure if the kids liked Cars Land, A Bug's Life, Soaring CA! or Paradise Pier with all the Roller Coasters & the Ferris Wheel best.  It was all just so kid friendly!

 Ready to race in Lighting McQueen's racer (and we won!)
And this is what happens when you party too hard at Disney...
you fall asleep eating at dinner.
Poor Marilyn was just plain pooped.
And guess who convinced us to swing into the huge LEGO store?



Saturday, July 12, 2014

Florida or Bust - Oaklanders

By Day 7 of our cross-country excursion, we arrived in Oakland just in time to spend 2.5 relaxing days with family - my Aunt Trisha, Uncle Eric and cousins Erin & Emily. 
What a tremendous treat this was because the last time we had seen them was over Easter Break two years ago.
There was lots of coloring each morning as well as reading, tickling and giggling for sure with all of these cousins.

We even got to spend an afternoon & evening visiting our Sullivan clan with my Aunt Jackie, Uncle Tom & cousin, Kristen. There is no doubt that they were spoiled and loved catching up since the last time we were here over that same Springtime trip over Easter. 

I absolutely adore my cousin, Kristen.
I so wish that distance was not a factor because I'm certain the two of us could sit and drink afternoon coffees each & everyday together while laughing as we told stories.  
 One of the days Brian and I enjoyed an all day date as we explored downtown San Francisco...without kids!
World Famous Irish Coffees at The Buena Vista & breakfast when we first arrived.
The Golden Gate Bridge

Unbelievable crab and chowder lunch at Pier 23 (which just happens to be a yummy little joint we saw featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  It did not disappoint in the least!

 Meanwhile, the kiddos, Erin, Emily & Aunt Trisha had their own adventure...

 We even finished off the afternoon all meeting up on Lake Merritt for sailing lessons with Uncle Eric and paddle boating with Aunt Trisha!

 Words can not possibly say how grateful I am that we got to spend time with family - both the Fieberlings and the Sullivans.  But this was a hard group to say goodbye to knowing what a great time with had just to be with them.
I'm already looking forward to our next trip out to the Bay Area for more time with everyone.