The Sun Is Shining. The Birds Are Singing ...

... and you know what that means, right?  My in-laws are going home todayIt's Halloween.  The kids are all FINALLY back in school!

Yup.  They've been stuck here at home for the past two days.  Wreaking havoc.  Causing mayhem.  Annoying the ever-loving cr*p out of me.  My very OWN perfect storm.

We weathered the hurricane just fine ... with only one major leak.  Of course, it's in the same spot as the leak I had LAST year ... that they apparently didn't fix.  Go figure!

It started when the water came in through the roof, in the front of the house above Sheridan's room.  It dripped out the vent from her ceiling as well as behind her wall, causing the baseboards and the carpet to become drenched.  It then made its way down to the first floor, where it did the exact same thing (soaking the ceiling, walls, and hardwood floor).  And then it went down one more level into the basement. 

Looking on the bright side, if there was ever a good thing that could come out of this ... it's that it's a recurring leak.  Which means that the builder is responsible to fix it, not my insurance company, since we are far past our one-year warranty.

Thank goodness for small miracles.


Send Us Love. Send Us Sanity. Send ME Wine!

We talk all the way to the airport.  About the kids.  About our time together.  About our next visit.  Though unlike last time, the drive is much shorter.  As we go through the Toll Booth, and on to the access road of the airport, I feel the first twinge in my nose.  I usually scrunch it up and pretend all is fine.  That is, until I make the final turn and drive up the ramp to the Departure area when the lump in my throat makes it difficult to swallow.

We've done this before.  Six times to be exact.  And while I would like to say it gets easier ... it never does.  How could it?  When you put the love of your life, the father of your kids, your best friend back on a plane to fly thousands of miles away while you virtually miss a year of your life together.  Or two if you're really counting ...

But the known IS better than the unknown.  You HAVE done this before.  Six times, remember?  You know that in a few days both of you will get back into a routine.  He will get over jet lag.  The kids will get back onto their schedule.  That despite the tears.  The sadness.  The longing that we all have for each other ...  we are all going to be okay.  Yes, we will eventually be okay ...

Of course, one might be a wee bit better when their in-laws, who have been here for 6 days (two of which were spent with their son, who they hadn't seen in a year) weren't stuck here, IN the house (due to canceled flights) for an additional three days thanks to hurricane Sandy.  Oh, and if their father-in-law didn't have a severe case of shpilkes in tuchis ... also known as "ants in the pants". 

We're laughing about this now ... but talk to us all in a few days.


Whoever Said That R&R's Were Supposed To Be Relaxing ...

... has probably never been on an R&R with three kids.  In fact, if up to Matt, I think he would probably re-name R&R to stand for Running & Ragged.  Or Ridiculous Routine. 

There has been absolutely no rest for the weary here since Matt surprised the kids two weeks ago.   In fact, he sincerely believes my weekly schedule is insane.  For the most part, I'd agree.  But I like keeping busy as it makes the time fly by.

To bring you all up to speed, here's how we've whiled away the past fifteen days ...

* Matt got a haircut
* Grady got a haircut
* Matt went to the dentist
* Carpooled to the kids activities ... softball practice (twice), dance for each girl (twice), Hebrew   School, Sunday School, gymnastics (twice), and Girl Scouts. 
* Two softball games & softball lunch
* Volunteered in Sheridan's class twice for Word Study
* Spent two mornings "greeting" at the elementary school
* Had Riley's parent / teacher conference
* Schlepped Matt to a teacher appreciation committee meeting and various PTA meetings
* Had lunch with each of the girls at school
* Went to a doctor's appointment with Sheridan
* Took both girls to their orthodontist appointment
* Went to the mall and bought Matt new clothes (as he only came with 3 shirts and 1 pair of pants!)
* Hosted a cocktail party for Sheridan's teacher, principal, and 3rd grade parents
* Hosted a DS Spouse get together
* Hosted a dinner for friends from previous posts
* Got a babysitter and went out to dinner three separate times
* Went apple picking
* Hired a professional photographer and took family photos
* Sent ALL the kids to a friend's house for a sleepover
* Drove to DC where Matt and I both had meetings at State Department Headquarters

On the fifteenth day we rested.  Almost ...

 Well, at least we got pedicures!  Matt chose purple.  He wanted to surprise his girlies.  
He'd do ANYTHING for his girlies.

And a few more gratuitous photos of our insanity over the last few weeks ...

 Apple Picking in Purcellville

 Pictures taken with my iPhone in between takes with the professional photographer.  
Let's hope hers come out even HALF as cute as mine did! 

I told Matt that by the end of his visit I wanted him to appreciate all that I do and acknowledge that I'm not sitting around eating bon bons.  Thankfully it took him only a few days to concede that it's FAR easier to protect his post from terrorists than it is to be a SAHM. 

I'm sure he's looking forward to going back to Afghanistan for a break ...


Everyone Needs One Good Surprise In Their Life ...

... and today was the day for my kids.

It's been twenty weeks since Matt left for his training in Indianapolis and then his tour in Afghanistan.  Twenty relatively easy (but busy) weeks.

Based on our last unaccompanied tour, we decided again to have Matt settle in and stay at post as long as possible before his first R&R.  This way when he'd return back to Afghanistan he wouldn't have more than 8 - 10 weeks away from us in between his second and third R&R or his final move home.

While the girls knew that Matt was due sometime in the near future for his R&R home, we never told them exactly when he was coming. 

So imagine their utter and complete surprise at seeing Matt sitting at the breakfast bar this morning when they woke up ... which of course, I captured on video.  Simply.  Priceless.

Quality family time going on in our house for the next few weeks.  Don't mind us if there's a bit of radio silence.  We've been looking forward to this visit for a long time!

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