International Arrival ...

Around 1pm yesterday, this was delivered to our front door.

And at 5:55 am today, this was delivered to our hearts.  Safe and sound.

We tracked his flight all night.  From the moment he took off.  Until the moment he landed.

We left wicked early for the airport.  Because he didn't know we were coming.

Of course, with a sign this big, we knew he wouldn't miss us.


Our family is together once again.  After a LONG year.  After our second unaccompanied tour.  Today is the day we begin the next chapter in our lives. 


Will you help us write it?


Girls On The Run ...

... is really a misnomer.  After attempting to actually RUN today's 5k with Riley, but instead getting bottle-necked with the 3500 other people trying to run the course, my friend aptly re-named it, "Girls On The Slight Jog."  And it couldn't have been more apropos.

Riley has spent the last eight weeks training for today's race.  A new sport I had no idea she was so incredibly excited about.  She's trained for an hour a day, twice a week, and has managed to kick some serious tush. 

Two weeks ago, she ran her first 5k with her friends, and finished it in 28:10.  Last week, I did the practice 5k with her, and managed to huff and puff my way through in 33 minutes.  And today, we were both going for personal records, but sadly fell short due to the unforeseen disorganization at the new Girls On The Run location.  Unfortunately, with an insane amount of runners, and a track that was FAR too narrow to accommodate the sheer number of people, nobody got a medal for their speed.  Though despite walking and slowing down a wee more than any of us anticipated, we all finished.  Riley and her girlfriends came in around 33 minutes.  And I followed behind at 38.

Honestly?  I'm beyond thrilled that this advanced maternal age tush just crossed the finish line.  In one piece! 

Now I need to get ready for next Monday's race.  I think we've created a monster!

 Waiting for the race to start

Some of Riley's 4th grade girlie friends

Our school girlies waiting to run

 Do you see the amazing number of people.  This is the widest section.  And I am taking this picture in about the middle of the pack.

 Left: Before the run.  Right: After


Call Him G ... Call Him G-Man ... Call him Grady

Just don't call him late for his birthday cupcakes!

It's hard to believe that this little turkey is four today.   My sweet little turd boy is growing up.   It seems like it was just a short time ago that I posted about the day he was born .  His first birthday.  His second birthday.  And of course, his third

I opted not to have a big birthday party, but rather had a few of the neighborhood kids over for pizza and cupcakes.  In theory, it was a great idea.  In reality, it didn't quite go as planned.  Third child syndrome reared its ugly head as I attempted to squeeze in dinner and dessert between the girls school work, picking Grady up from school mere minutes before everyone came over, and schlepping carpool to Riley's dance class.  In the short hour everyone was here, Grady had a few meltdowns, I had a several fires that needed to be addressed, and my head just wasn't focused on Grady's needs.

The friends over were aware of the situation, and after a quick nibble, made a swift exit so I could take care of business.  Grady on the other hand, couldn't have cared less.  He had played with his food, snarfed down his cupcake, and went about his business.

Luckily for me, I have 364 other days to celebrate his big day.

Happy birthday Grady. 


I Don't Know About You ... But I'm Feeling ...

 ... a HELL of a lot older than 22. 

How could I not when I spent the evening with a gaggle of girlies at the Taylor Swift Concert??

We took a mini bus to the Verizon Center in D.C.

Where the girls saw their very first concert.  In a suite!  


Happy Mother's Day!  

My heart goes out to all the women out there. Those who ARE mommies ... those who want to BE mommies ... those who have lost their mommies ... and those who have lost their babies. I know today isn't special for everyone. My love to you all. 


So Where Were We ...

Our heroine realized it's been many months since she filled you in with the latest happenings from Casa de Chaos.  Shame on her! 

So here is a recap, bringing you completely up to date, with just her iPhone photos!

Daddy came home on his 3rd (and final) R&R ... and had lunch at the girls school.

The 3rd grade musical.  I designed / made the set and props. 

Bar Mitzvah in California.  Lots of hanging with the cousins!  And a father / son bonding moment. 

 Love my crazy brothers!

The kids were reunited with our almost 12 YO dog Libby.  Who is now living the life with their grandparents.

We got up at the crack a** of dawn and boarded a plane to visit our friends ... 

The pilot invited Grady into the cockpit to sit in his seat, touch ALL the buttons, call for daddy over the intercom, and hang out.

 If you're part of the Foreign Service you won't judge this photo ... Yes, that's 10 people that we crammed into a minivan.  And yes, Grady was in a car seat!

 We spent 5 hours on a catamaran ... 

Enjoying an Easter party at the Ambassador's house!

Riley's first moped ride.

Sadly, daddy had to return back to the sand ...

 So mommy tracked his flight and then stocked up on the basics.

Riley started her 3rd season of softball.  Her new team name is the South Carolina Gamecocks.  I just have a hard time yelling, "Go cocks!" to a bunch of girls ...

My brother Randy kicked a** in the Boston Marathon.  I tracked his entire run online.  

The Girls hired a stand-in dad for the Girl Scout Father / Daughter Dance.  Thanks Vinnie!

 I took the kids to see Grady's favorite children's band who was playing here in Northern VA.

Grady had a minor meltdown one evening during dinner ... which I lucky captured on film.  It was about as awesome as you see here ... thankfully I had some of the basics to help me through the night!

Matt decided to take all of his allotted time off for his Home Leave when he returns from Afghanistan at the end of the month.  Which is 45 business days.  Or 10 weeks ... for those of you not in the FS.  So, I bought him a car.  An early father's day gift for him.  And an "OH MY GOODNESS you're going to drive me INSANE, so you better take yourself and the kids out of the house NOW" gift for me. 

Instead of going to my coveted hair appointment, that I made 9 weeks prior, instead, last Thursday I spent the morning here.

With him.  Doing this.  Because the little turkey woke up and complained about a sore neck and cried when he lifted his arms.  Despite having no symptoms of anything else, no fever, no vomiting, no lethargy, nada ...

Two plus hours in the ER ... with a diagnosis of a possible pinched nerve.  I'm going to take a guess that the ER visit and ibuprofen they gave him cost FAR more than my haircut and color would have!

Three weeks and a wake-up ... and life returns to "normal".  Whatever THAT is ... 

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