Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Potty Time

Are you able to discern when your kid needs to go to the bathroom? Without any words being spoken between the two of you, are you able to figure out that Little Jimmy needs to make a trip to the potty?

I totally know when my boys need to go! Their body language says it all. It's not as if they physically hold themselves... it's their overall body movement. I call it the pee-pee dance.

A couple of nights ago, before going to bed, I asked my youngest son if he needed to go to the bathroom. He said he didn't need to go, and not two seconds later, he said, "Oh wait! Yes, I do need to go."

When the little man returned from doing his business, he asked me how I knew he needed to go to the bathroom. I just smiled and said, "Son, moms just know these things... trust me."

And we do just know these things, don't we?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Reading

I've been reading like a fiend lately and I'm enjoying every minute. During the school year when the boys are busy with homework assignments, sports, Scouts, etc., it's hard to find the time to just sit and read a book for pleasure. I'm making the most of my summer and reading as much as I can.

Right now I'm on a James Patterson kick. I was given several of his paperbacks in a book exchange with my oldest son's teacher. I'm currently reading Kiss the Girls, which is actually one of Patterson's older books. I've seen the movie based on the book too, so I had somewhat of an idea of the storyline from the get-go, however, you and I know that books and movies aren't always the same, and books are generally better. I've noticed James Patterson has LOTS of newer books out, and I'll probably eventually read them all as I really enjoy his writing, however, I'm tempted to stray to another popular series of books that has people everywhere talking... The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer seems to be the rage right now, for women of all ages too. I might have to discover what all the fuss is about for myself.

So... I'm curious... what are YOU reading this summer?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Invitations, Donations & Facebooking... in that order!

Spring and early summer appear to be the season for receiving lots of invitations to lots of different events... graduations, birthday parties, 4th of July blow-outs, change of command ceremonies. You name it... we've been invited.

It's nice to be invited to special events, wouldn't you agree? I'm happy to be included, most of the time anyway. Sometimes, however, I'd simply rather be omitted from the guest list.

I'm really not trying to be petty, but honestly, why do some folks send invitations to people they don't even really know? I shouldn't speak for anyone else, but I will give my own opinion here.

Invitations = Gifts

If I know you or your family very well, then by all means, send me an invitation to your bash. I'll do my best to be there or at least acknowledge the occasion sooner or later. But if I've met you once 10 years ago and barely know your family, please just cross my name off of your guest list. Get a clue! It's not a great honor to be invited to the high school graduation of an old friend who never contacts me otherwise. Trust me, the message to the recipient is so loud and clear, you might as well just include the words "I want a gift from you" on your invitation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that IS what you're after, right?

Along the same lines are the endless number of people who seem to think it's perfectly okay to hit others up to support them in some charity event in which they are participating. Again... if we know one another, it's okay to contact me to ask for a donation, and I'll happily oblige. Heck, I may even participate myself! However, if you never acknowledge my existence for any other reason, just lose my phone number, email and snail mail address. In case no one has ever told you... that's in poor taste and downright tacky.

Oh yeah... one more thing, while I'm complaining. I'm on a roll! Why quit now? Please don't send me Facebook messages wanting to be my friend if all you're interested in doing is sending me information about your business or your political or religious views. You're entitled to your opinion and I respect that, and I might actually be interested in hearing about it if you were sincere in wanting my friendship to begin with. If I don't respond to anything you send me, you'll know why.

I've obviously needed to express my thoughts on these situations for a while now. Sorry for being so direct, but I do feel much better now.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When life hands you lemons...

... make lemonade!

Life didn't really hand me lemons... I bought some at the commissary after my cousin posted a Facebook message about making fresh-squeezed lemonade. It sounded so refreshing, therefore I asked her for the recipe. If lemonade doesn't say "Summer," I don't know what does! It's simple, but delicious, so I'm sharing it with you...


4-5 large lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 quarts water

Cut 4 lemons in half and squeeze juice from each half into a 2-quart pitcher, removing all seeds from the pitcher. Add sugar and water; stir. Slice remaining lemon, removing seeds, and use for garnish if desired. I just allow the lemon slices to float in the lemonade. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Yum!

Enjoy! You can thank me later.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Celebrating Fathers

Yesterday was Father's Day, which found us spending time together as a family. The boys gave their dad his gifts early in the morning, the youngest made breakfast (cereal and juice) for him and then we went to church. We had brunch at the base chow hall afterwards, which seems to be somewhat of a ritual for us. We don't really go for the food, but rather the socializing with friends. Due to unfortunate circumstances, within the next couple of weeks, the chow hall will no longer be providing Sunday brunch, therefore we wanted to take advantage of yesterday's opportunity to dine with friends.

The afternoon was spent at the beach with another family and later we grilled steaks and had a tasty meal, just the four of us. As we headed off to bed last night, my husband commented that it had been a great day, and it really was. I'm so glad he enjoyed himself because he deserved a memorable Father's Day, a day when he felt loved, honored and appreciated.

The boys (and I) are blessed to have this man as their father (and my husband)... His job keeps him very busy, both at home and traveling, but when he's around, he's engaged in whatever the boys are doing. He attends their sporting events, accompanies them to Scout meetings, helps them with homework and plays with them.

I thank God each and every day for my hubby. He's such an incredible husband and father, and I can't imagine our lives with anyone else.

And while we're on the subject of fathers, this post really wouldn't be complete without mentioning three other very important dads... mine and my hubby's.

Here are my boys with my dad...

... and here I am with him. He was my biological father (He passed away two years ago), and even though we didn't live together in the "traditional family" sense, we had a great relationship. And while divorce has it challenges for all concerned, I always knew I had two men in my life who loved and supported me, and I feel very blessed as a result.

Here I am with my other dad...
... and here he is with my boys... He may not be my biological father, but he's very much my dad, especially in the ways that truly matter. He helped raise me and he's always been there for me, no matter the circumstances.

Here's my hubby with his dad...
... and here our boys are clowning around with him...I really shouldn't speak for him, but I believe it's safe to say my hubby has a great relationship with his father, one that brings the two of them a little closer with every passing year. I also have a great relationship with his dad and I'm happy to call him my father-in-law.

Happy Father's Day to each of these special men! Thanks for the many things you have done to touch my life and the lives of my children. We love all of you very much.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Father's Day... courtesy of Smilebox!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Love You Dad
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

I really love Smilebox and have used it several times now to send online photo greetings to friends and family for special occasions. It's not very expensive and it makes for a creative gift.

If you'd like to see the above slideshow, don't forget to stop the music on my blog first. The slideshow has music too, and I doubt you'll want to hear both simultaneously.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baseball recap

Saturday was the last day of baseball season for the youth here at NAVSTA Rota. I can't say I'm unhappy as it's really starting to heat up around here. By early afternoon, temps have been hanging at around 85-90 degrees or higher. Of course we were just recently complaining that it was unseasonably chilly. The weather is always reason to whine, but enough of that. Let's recap baseball season 2009...

D played for the A's and had a great time, even though he hadn't originally planned to participate in baseball. He really wanted to play spring soccer, but since there is no such thing here due to the small number of kids, he opted to play baseball. His normal position was center field, but on occasion he pitched and played first.

D was pitching here. Note the look of concentration. He's definitely got his game face on, wouldn't you say?

He's winding up.

There's the release.

Here's D in action...
D doesn't throw a lot of heat just yet, but he can get the ball across the plate.

Making it all the way home is very cool, but even cooler when one slides into homeplate...

D's pizza party was held a couple of days after the last game, therefore no one was wearing the team uniform. D had to go to Scouts right after the party, thus the Scout uniform. By the way, he's the kid in the middle with... you guessed it... thumbs up!

M played for the Mets. This was quite a large team with 15 kids on the roster. Those coaches "herded cats" for the better part of 10 weeks. They really deserved the end of the season medals more than the kids. M typically played short stop or second base, but played every position at least once. He's reached the age where it really matters to him if he messes up. I used to look forward to that day, but now that it's here, and I see how hard he is on himself, I kinda wish he'd go back to playing in the dirt and being clueless.

Ready for anything that comes his way.

M's league is coach pitch, but he wanted to practice pitching because he tends to follow in his big brother's footsteps.

Run, boy, run!

M practices pitching with Dad after his game. He's dying to pitch next year.

M smacked this ball pretty hard and ended up with a triple. It doesn't matter that it was due to the other team's errors. HE GOT A TRIPLE!

M poses with his head coach at the end-of-the-season pizza party.

That's our recap! Yep, baseball season is officially over, and although I said I was glad, I'm a little sad too, because this is yet another season in our kids' childhood that is now gone, never to come back. It's all going by so quickly! That's why I take lots of photos and blog about our family's experiences. When I'm old, feeble and absent-minded, I can look back at these memories and wonder... "Who ARE those people and why do I have so many photos of them?"

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A day to celebrate

June 14 is a day to celebrate at our house. It's Flag Day in the United States, but unfortunately we're not able to fly the Stars and Stripes here today (only on the 4th of July in Spain). So why celebrate June 14?

It's my hubby's birthday, and he's definitely worth celebrating.

Happy Birthday, sweetie!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Our elementary school held an awards assembly on Tuesday.

Our principal welcomed everyone and explained that the names of award recipients would be announced and the audience was to hold its applause until all names were read. It was a great plan in theory, but it didn't exactly work. Does that plan ever work? I'd be curious to know.

These types of assemblies can be taxing for little people, therefore they were allowed to get up and stretch and do jumping jacks a couple of times. This little boy was more than happy to be given the green light to get up and expend some energy.

It was announced that three of our faculty members would be retiring this year. This teacher says he's merely graduating, thus the cap and gown. The kids will really miss him.

D receives an award from his sixth grade teachers.

D was presented the President's Education Award for Academic Excellence. He received a certificate and a letter from President Obama.

Yes, I know my son has on a Colts T-shirt. Had he dressed the way I would have preferred, he'd have been the only kid in khakis and a nice collared shirt. It seems no one dresses up for awards assemblies anymore.

We're really proud of you, big guy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fields of Flowers

The sunflower fields are in bloom here in Spain! They're plentiful and they're absolutely beautiful! We took the time over the weekend to snap a few photos.

I'd never actually seen a field of sunflowers before, only a row or two on a farm.

Aren't these beautiful?

We were praying the property owners wouldn't call the Spanish police on us for trespassing.

I wanted a closer look.

I needed an even closer look. This is the last one.

Weeellll... maybe just one more. Sorry, I couldn't resist. This one had a bee on it and I thought that was pretty cool. But this is it... no more sunflower photos.

Okay, I lied. I couldn't help myself. These sunflowers are so doggone pretty! But this is really it. No more photos.

Seriously. I don't have more photos. You can go read someone else's blog now.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rota loves college football!

Wednesday night ended up being a lot of fun for our family. We had the unique opportunity of attending Coaches Tour 2009, sponsored by Armed Forces Entertainment. A group of college football coaches traveling to several U.S. military locations abroad made their way to NAVSTA Rota where we had the pleasure of meeting them.

Among those on the tour were Mack Brown (University of Texas), Troy Calhoun (Air Force Academy), Jim Grobe (Wake Forest), Rick Neuheisel (UCLA), Houston Nutt (Ole Miss), Jim Tressel (Ohio State) and Tommy Tuberville (former Auburn coach). Check out some of our photos from the evening...

This is just one line of people waiting to meet Mack Brown. We felt honored that these coaches would take time out of their busy schedules to come visit with us.

All three of the men in my life took the opportunity to chat it up with Coach Troy Calhoun. You know we're just a little partial to those Air Force Falcons. Here Coach Calhoun signs the Air Force football pennant my oldest son had brought from home. D is all about getting autographs.

Coach Calhoun signs a hat for my youngest son. They were giving away lots of "freebies" to include T-shirts, hats, photos, etc. It was awesome!

What a genuinely nice guy!

Coach Jim Grobe

Coach Rick Neuheisel

Coach Jim Tressel

Coach Houston Nutt

My girlfriend gets an autographed photo from Coach Mack Brown.

Behind the table, on the right, is former coach at Auburn University, Tommy Tuberville, acting as "Coach Emeritus" on the tour. He's the only returning coach that participated in Coaches Tour 2008. The gentleman next to Tuberville is an Under Armour representative.

All the coaches pose together with the gentleman holding the football. I never found out who that guy was.

Clowning around at the end of the event

My hubby (on the left) poses with friend, neighbor and also the Navy Skipper here. He's obviously a big UCLA fan. It was pretty cool that both the coaches of Skipper's and my hubby's alma maters participated in the tour.

My hubby (center) poses with two other former Air Force Academy grads.

I approached Coach Calhoun before the end of the night to ask if he'd mind posing for a photo with my fellas, and he graciously obliged. The boys left there fairly impressed. As a result I believe they'll be watching the Air Force games a little more intently this season, and every time they see Coach Calhoun, they'll remember meeting him and shaking his hand. Very cool!