With This Job, We Say Good-Bye ...

... like we did EXACTLY ten years and two days ago, when I drove to the Los Angeles International Airport in the early morning hours to send Matt off to Washington, D.C. for the beginning of his seven long months of training.

... and like we did again today, when I drove to the Los Angeles International Airport, where I pulled over to the curb outside of Terminal 7, watched him pull his black backpack and duffel bag out of the car, and gave him a long hug and kiss good-bye.

Ten years ago I escorted Matt into the terminal and waited in the United Airlines Red Carpet Club until he boarded his flight. Back then our good-bye was far different. We were newlyweds with no kids, no dog, few responsibilities... but with the knowledge we'd see each other soon because my job was relocating me to New Jersey four short weeks after he left.

Today I had trouble containing the lump in my throat, and like four months ago started crying before he even let me go. I know I won't see him again until February. However, unlike our last big good-bye, neither of us realized just how difficult it would be this second time around.

Now we know.

Now we know how busy the kids schedules keep us. Now we know how crappy the rental house is. Now we know how lonely it is ... to sleep alone... wake up alone ... to spend the weekends alone.

Yes, we're both strong. We're troopers. We'll do just fine. But we're also secure enough to admit the reality. Sometimes it's hard. Some days are very, very hard.

One foot in front of the other. One day at a time...


We Interrupt This Irregularly Scheduled Hiatus ...

to show you what pure joy is for these little girlies...

It has been a BUSY ten days with Matt in town. Since we returned from our whirlwind 3 days in Virginia, we have been overwhelmed with events and activities ranging from ...

* early dismissal every day
* no school last Wednesday
* 2 parent / teacher conferences
* PTA skate night
* Grady's 18 month doctor's visit
* my mammogram
* car issues
* working in Sheridan's class
* Riley's Brownie event
* daily visits to the park to poop out the kids and dog
* grocery shopping and home cooked meals
* Hanukkah shopping
* Saturday date night
* ice skating
* laundry, laundry, and more laundry
* dealing with electricity issues in the house
* dealing with landlord issues
* canceled family photos due to rain
* rescheduling family photos
* Thanksgiving parties in both girls classes
* Monday night football in San Diego

... and lots more to come.

We are thoroughly enjoying our time together as a family... though, it doesn't come without its own set of stresses. For those of you who think that it's effortless to just jump right back in to where we left off back in July, let me honestly say that it's not. The kids and I moved into our own place and got into our own routine and have manage to live our own lives ... all without Matt. As much as we've missed him, and we have, the reality is that we've all had to adjust to his homecoming. And the worst part is that by the time we've all settled into our new routine, it'll be uprooted again when he leaves.

However, on a happy note, after spending three long days in Virginia, we feel fairly confident that we found an area where we want to live. We spent the entire weekend with our realtor and looked at a myriad of both resale homes and new construction in the Loudoun County area. We originally went there to scout potential locations, and left there with a new direction. New construction. Say hello to the lot we're hoping to buy. This 1/3 acre is located in a nature preserve surrounded entirely by natural forest. If all goes well, this little lot (or one right next to it), will be ours sometime in January. Once we make that decision, we then hand over Matt's wallet and sanity to build our dream home.... all 4700+ square feet of it.... and hope it's ready by June.

But for now, we return to our irregularly scheduled hiatus. Once Matt leaves I'll be back online. This week we are barely checking email, hardly returning phone calls, my google reader is overflowing with unread blogs, and I can't seem to get back to anyone for anything. Surprisingly? Me and my OCD-self is pretty OK with it right now. While I feel a tad disconnected with the "outside" world, our family of five is enjoying our togetherness. Lots and lots of togetherness...

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with good health, happiness, friendship, and love, wherever in the world you may celebrate.


T-Minus 24

In less than 24 hours I will be leaving the kids with them for 3 days ...

and getting on one of these ...

so that I can meet up with him ...

and go look for these ...

Our first R&R trip has finally arrived! One hundred and sixteen daddy-free days behind us. Almost four full months crossed off on our year-long separation. Amazing how quickly the time flew by.

In just thirty-six hours I will be landing in DC and meeting up with Matt. Three kid-free days to drive around Virginia in search of the area we will soon call home. Three days to narrow down the neighborhoods we'll consider when purchasing our next house. So much driving to be done. So very little time to do it.

This little get away couldn't have come at a more perfect time either. I need the break from the kids. I need a break from mommy duty (and baby doody). We are in such cramped quarters that the girls have been off their rocker and have been climbing the walls. Literally.

Have a nice weekend everyone. We're at the beginning of a great three weeks ...


She's In The Money ... Or So She Thinks....

Who doesn't decide to pull out their semi-wiggly tooth the minute they walk through the door of Target? When mom has her hands full and can barely rummage through her mom-bag to find a semi-clean napkin to help stop the bleeding.

Her letter to the tooth fairy ...

Followed by her Hanukkah List.

For those of you who aren't able to decipher her 5 year old phonetics ... she wants:

* Two more Zu Zu Pets
* An iTouch
* Diaries
* Piano
* Barbies
* Books
* Bookshelf
* Camera
* Polly Pockets
* Barbie Cars


Really? I Mean REALLY?

I received this email today from my OB/Gyn.

Love the results ... Not so comfortable with the verbiage.


I Am Thankful

There are so many things I'm appreciative for this week....

I am thankful that the babysitter I used for two hours & forty minutes on Thursday night only cost me $40.

I am thankful nobody called Child Protective Services on me when I had to open a BIG can of whoop a** on Sheridan at the beach during one of her award winning meltdowns and tantrums to trump all tantrums.

I am thankful that when I fell asleep on the couch during movie night at 7:45 pm last night, that when I woke up at 9:45 pm and saw the girls were STILL awake, they were at least watching the Disney channel.

I am thankful that despite changing the clocks back one hour and kids managing to still wake up at o'dark thirty, they weren't the only ones running around Starbucks or Pavilions at 7 am.

I am thankful that my 5 year old was able to correctly describe the difference between "liking" boys and "like-liking" boys.

I am thankful that while running barefoot in the park that Grady only stepped in dog poop twice, and that the sweet looking Golden Retriever who walked by Libby only bit her once on her back.

I am thankful that I have driven my girls to climb up the walls. Literally.

I am thankful that Riley realized her Hanukkah list was a tad unrealistic ... and modified it accordingly.


I Sat. I Waited. I Sat. I Waited. And Then, I Waited Some More.

I spent two hours and ten minutes at the DMV today. Two hours and ten minutes that I'll never get back again. Two hours and ten minutes that ended up saving me $296 in late penalties. How? Because even the DMV can't dispute that the address on the paperwork from the Land Rover dealership when we purchased our car did NOT match the address on the DMV car renewal form. That was sent to my wrong address. Twice.

I had to stand in a line once I got to the DMV. I then had to fill out a sworn statement of events. And in the end, I had to park my recently naked tush on a way-too-close-to-my-neighbor's seat for over 1 1/2 hours while I waited for my number to be called.

When I finally made it to window twenty four, I explained the situation to the overly crabby DMV personnel, she changed the address in the system and waived the late fees. Sure she barked at me through the entire transaction. Goodness forbid she ever crack a smile. But she only charged me the fees I owed. And sent me on my way with my updated registration and license plate sticker.

Which was great because when we got home, Riley presented me with this. Her updated Hanukkah list. I may need more than that $296 to complete it ... not that I plan to ...


There Should Be A No Talking Rule

I had a doctor's appointment today. More specifically, I went to my OB/Gyn, and had my annual exam today. The "once over" that should have taken place about four months ago. Should I be embarrassed that I'm a tad overdue?

Many of you will remember how much I love my doctor. I do. I mean, I really really do. And I should, considering how often I was in his office last year ... (three times a week for eight weeks for my insanely expensive high risk pregnancy). Of course, it felt funny walking back in there this time. Skinny. Not pregnant. Not worrying about how much I gained since my last visit. In the last eight years I've only been to the Gyne for prenatal care, post natal care, or annual exams that involved discussions about future pregnancies. This time it was strictly a well woman exam... and nothing else.

After signing in with the receptionist, I went to take a seat in the newly remodeled waiting area. However, before my tush could even hit the couch, the nurse called my name and sent me into room 4. She took my weight and then instructed me to get completely undressed and put on the pale pink gown with the ties in the front. I undressed as quickly as possible because I have this irrational fear of changing too slowly and having the doctor walk in on me with my butt in the air and pants around my ankles. But who am I kidding ... I'm usually left waiting long enough to read a trashy magazine. Or two.

This time though, the doctor came in before I even had a chance to open my email on my iPhone. He had a warm smile, and a bunch of questions about India all ready for me. He remembered. Or he was smart enough to check my chart. Either way, we started chatting away. He worked his way from "North" to "South" with nary a second of silence. He started with my neck and told me all about his office, his staff, his practice. He got to my breasts and I told him about Matt's job, his position in Iraq, our upcoming move to D.C. And as he made his way to my nether regions, with my feet now in stirrups, he started telling me about his son, his graduation from Annapolis, and his new job with submarines or somethingorother.... It was then that I realized I was only partly listening. Because uuuuummmm... is it just me or is it awkward to chat away while a doctor is "looking at London with his fist high in France?"

In a flash he's done and he has me sit up. Only to continue talking to me. About his upcoming trip to Kenya next week. About his future work trips overseas with the hospital next spring. About his family. About his new office remodel. About recommendations for doctors in D.C. And all the while my head is swirling because remember...


Ok, technically I'm not entirely naked. I am wearing that pale pink gown that ties in front. But let's be honest, it ties at my collar bone. So the only thing that's covered up are my shoulders and my clavicle. The rest of me is hanging out. Literally.

I must be a good conversationalist because he is not getting the hint that I'm ready to get dressed and that he should go see other patients. Or he is just so immune to talking to naked ladies all day that he doesn't quite pick up the signs. Either way, I'm a tad uncomfortable. Since I'm as sober as can be, I figure that if he's going to see me naked, the least I can do is offer up entertaining dialogue.

We continue to chat for about five more minutes. Five more minutes of me shifting on the crinkly paper. Five more minutes of me crossing and recrossing my legs (not a la Sharon Stone thankyouverymuch) so that I maintain some semblance of modesty. Five more minutes of building a relationship with him. Chatting away about life. That I'm almost surprised about the next two sentences out of his mouth before he walks out of the room.

He recommended I have a pelvic ultrasound for the cramping I've been having since my tubal ligation. And because I've had a breast reduction, it's difficult to tell whether or not what the doctor is feeling is due to scar tissue or breast tissue, so he's sending me for a diagnostic mammogram. Neither of these two test are because he suspects anything wrong, rather as a preventative measure he wants baseline images.

So off I go for more tests in the next few weeks. Where I can undress for another set of physicians and technicians, who will ultimately see a whole lot more of me than this doctor just did. But this time I'm planning ahead. I'm wearing perfume, I have a no-talking rule ... and I'm bringing the cocktails.


And Now For The Obligatory Halloween Photos ...

... from our very first Halloween in the United States.

Meet Minnie Mouse, Alice in Wonderland, and the Cranky Dinosaur. Who had the night of their lives Trick or Treating here in Newport Beach.

Where people decorate their yards to the nines... pass out regular size candy bars...
and even offer alcoholic beverages to the adults.

Where they have Pre and Post Trick or Treating Parties.
And are smart enough to bring wagons big enough to hold 5 pooped out kids...

Of course, there was one minor casualty.
Notice anything missing? Um... yeah, never found it
Though a great night was still had by all.

And if you ever have a teacher bold enough to wear this to school.
Just remember to bring your extra battery with you when you schlep your DSLR camera.
Your iPhone just won't do it justice ...

Yeah ... he rocks.

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