Thursday, January 28, 2010

One fine day

Ever had a day when you felt utter contentment? Today has been one of those days for me. The simplest of things made for a truly blessed day...

I woke up with a roof over my head, clean clothes to wear, food to eat and a family I adore.

My husband just got home last night from his third trip this month, and he'll be home for a few weeks before traveling again. Sometimes his job frustrates me to no end, but I desperately LOVE this man and miss him terribly when he's gone.

A good friend picked me up and drove me to and from Bible study this morning. I just treasure her friendship so much and enjoy our time together immensely. I will miss her greatly when we move this summer.

Bible study was fabulous! We're doing a Beth Moore study, which is a first for me, and I'm actually excited about doing my homework. God must be working on me!

I've lost 4 pounds since returning to the gym. While I'm not obsessed with what the scales read, I'm definitely pumped to see that my efforts have begun to pay off. Weight loss is such a great motivator! I so appreciate the support and encouragement people have shown me and I love the camaraderie I share with my workout pals. I have a long way to go, but I've started, which is usually the hardest part for me.

I've had a couple of fun conversations with friends while on Facebook. I love the fact that I can simultaneously instant message with girlfriends in California, Kentucky and right here in Spain. Technology ROCKS!

I watched my kids play outside with their friends for hours this afternoon. They were simply chasing one another, talking, laughing and hanging out. It's so cool to see my kids with their friends. I made them all chocolate chip cookies and they were thrilled.

I witnessed one of God's beautiful masterpieces tonight in the sunset just out my back door. He provides the most incredible sights, doesn't he? I often take them for granted, but I'm trying to remember to slow long enough to fully appreciate the beauty around me.

I have felt an unusual sense of peace and tranquility all day today. I can't explain it. I don't have to. It was a gift. Thanks, God... I needed that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Girl Scout Cookies are here!

Anyone else love Girl Scout Cookies besides me? Heaven help me, those cookies are sinfully good, aren't they? I could totally get carried away and eat an entire box in one sitting. My favorite? Thin Mints, of course!

I was curious to see which cookies are the best sellers, so I went to the Girl Scouts website and here's what I discovered...

25% Thin Mints

19% Samoas®/Caramel deLites®

13% Peanut Butter Patties®/Tagalongs®

11% Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®

9% Shortbread/Trefoils

I continued to browse the Girl Scouts website and came across a Q & A section. Here are a few of the questions that I found very interesting, followed by my own non-politically correct answers...

Q: What if I'm not satisfied with my cookies?

A: Seriously? Who wouldn't be satisfied with a Girl Scout Cookie? You might be dissatisfied that you didn't buy more boxes, or that you gained 10 pounds after eating your weight in them, but the cookies themselves are VERY satisfying, in my opinion of course.

Q: What about the concerns of those on low-carb diets?

A: Um... what about them? Hello! These are COOKIES. Low-carb dieters should probably find something else to munch on. How about a carrot stick?

Q: Don't Girl Scout Cookies contribute to the childhood obesity problem?

A: Maybe, but so do lots of other foods. Should we ban all foods that aren't 100% healthy because obesity exists? Please tell me no one is going to ban Girl Scout Cookies. That would be so wrong.

Q: Why don't you offer cookies that are whole-wheat, non-dairy...?

A: I'm thinking the obvious answer is because the cookies would no longer taste good and the Girl Scouts are actually interested in selling the cookies in order to make money. That's just my guess though. Don't take my word for it.

Q: Who are the girls on the Girl Scout Cookie boxes?

A: Who cares? Will knowing this piece of information determine your decision on whether or not to purchase a box of cookies?

The word on the street here is that Girl Scout Cookies have arrived. Better find yourself a Girl Scout and get yourself a box, or two, or three... before they're all gone!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Christmas Morning

All the preparation for Christmas morning takes weeks, right? All the searching online for the right gifts (Very few of our gifts were purchased locally as we're somewhat limited in our choices here), waiting for packages to arrive, gift wrapping, decorating, cooking and baking... it's all for this day, which is seemingly over within minutes, right? Then there's the let down after all the gifts have been opened. We took our time opening gifts, allowing each person to open one gift at a time for all to see. We took photos and savored the moments. Here's a little peek into our Christmas morning...

As you can see, both Santa and our family members were very generous with us this Christmas.

Santa obviously enjoyed the cookies and milk we left out for him the night before.

M received a skateboard, something he'd been wanting.

Check out the new guitar pajama pants D got. He needed these more than you know as all of his other long pajama pants were high waters.

My hubby was happy to receive a set of James Bond DVDs, something he'd asked Santa to bring.

Yes, I got something too... an umbrella from my boys. Before you start thinking I got the shaft, let me tell you I received several wonderful gifts, but I was on the other side of the camera by choice most of the morning, and I did ask for an umbrella. I also know it's supposed to be bad luck to open an umbrella inside, however, I'm choosing to live life on the edge these days, so I chanced it.

Santa brought both of the boys the "Napoleon Dynamite" DVD. We'd watched this movie once before when neighbors loaned us their copy and the boys have been quoting scenes from it ever since.

D received a very large, coveted lego set he'd been wanting for a while. It's amazing how quickly he and his brother put these things together.

M served as our trash picker upper, a job he doesn't mind doing at all, so we all took advantage. I know... that was pretty naughty of us, huh?

D was stoked to be on the receiving end of a laptop computer, something he needed and wanted, but didn't ask for, thus it was a total surprise. I believe Mom and Dad scored, what do you think?

M got a laptop too! No, we didn't hit the lottery, nor did we lose our minds. The laptops are a great investment in that the boys are required to do more and more homework on the computer. D's old computer was a hand-me-down that was on its last go 'round, and M has never had his own computer, and we'd like to see him expand upon his computer skills.

D swapped his old robe for the brand-new one he got for Christmas. He's lived in this thing ever since. We've started referring to it as his smoking jacket since he wears it like one. He's practicing his Howard Hughes look.

M was stoked to get a new pair of slippers that he says, "Feel like walking on clouds." Hmmm... I might want some of those.

S sports his new sweater vest, right over top of his T-shirt. He's such a trendsetter!

Legos are ALWAYS a hit with our boys.

D is our resident clown and often serves as comic relief for the family. Christmas morning was no exception.

Here are two very happy, satisfied, any maybe a little spoiled boys. Merry Christmas, guys! Now go get started on your thank-you notes!

Thanks to all of our family and friends for the Christmas gifts and holiday wishes. We had a blessed holiday season and hope you did too.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas season fun continues...

You probably thought I'd finished with the Christmas update. Not quite. I told you we were busy people in December! Here are some of the other fun things we did during the holiday season...

The boys attended the AF squadron's kids' Christmas party. Here they are watching all the kids go up to sit on Santa's knee to receive their gifts. We were wondering if either of them would participate. Let's see...

Yep, we still have a believer in our midst, although he was very shy and perhaps a little embarrassed about sitting on Santa's knee in front of all those people.

Both boys had small roles in the children's Christmas play at the chapel. D played two roles, the part of Isaiah and one of the three kings.

M played the role of Joseph. He didn't have a speaking part, but he was required to sit with Mary beside the Baby Jesus in the manger nearly the entire play. His knees ached when it was over.

The boys pose with several of their chapel buddies before the play began.

Here's a shot of most of the cast members.

D is such a ham, no matter how large or small his part happens to be. He just has a good time wherever he goes.

We had the opportunity to see the Harlem Globetrotters when they paid an unexpected visit to our base. I'd seen them perform when I was a little girl, but that was a very long time ago. This was a first for the boys and they had a blast.

The players pretended to argue in front of the spectators and people ended up getting wet when the guy with the cup of water threw it at his teammate, who happened to duck just in time. Okay, I knew the drill, but I still got wet.

D was lucky enough to snag one of the mini-basketballs the players were throwing into the crowd.

M didn't get a basketball, but he waited patiently in line to get every player's autograph on a poster everyone received upon entrance into the gym. Here he poses with one of the players.

Between Christmas and New Year's, a group of celebrities traveling through Europe on a "Hollywood Handshake Tour" stopped at Rota to meet and greet military families. There were seven of them, but only five were available when my girlfriend and I went to get autographs and photos. Here I'm posing with Dennis Farina, probably best known for his role on the TV series "Law and Order," and Bill Brochtrup, an actor from the TV series "NYPD Blue." Both men were incredibly nice.

Here I'm posing with Wanda Colón, well known for design shows on HGTV and various movies; Lissa Layng, a TV and film celebrity I honestly didn't recognize (No offense to her!), but evidently she's been on "Unsolved Mysteries," "Days of Our Lives," etc.; and James Reynolds, an actor famous for his role on "Days of Our Lives," who also happens to be a former Marine and currently works with the U.S. Dept of Veteran Affairs as the spokesperson for hospitalized veterans.

Okay this pretty much wraps up the holiday season happenings, with the exception of Christmas morning, which I'll share with you in a later post. We really did have a great December with lots of unique opportunities, however it's rather nice to be enjoying a slower-paced January.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More Christmas Event Highlights

The month of December kept us hopping as we had multiple events on the calendar. Here are a few photos from each of those events...

D invited a friend (code for GIRL) to go the Jingle Bell Dance at school. The dance, sponsored by the senior class, was only for 7th and 8th graders. Because D had asked his friend to go with him, he felt it necessary to pay for her ticket, which his father and I thought was very appropriate and nice. What was even nicer was the fact that he wanted to use his own money, although we'd offered to spring for the tickets. Doesn't he look handsome all dressed up? OMGoodness, my baby is growing up entirely too fast! By the way... a good time was had by both my son and his date, or at least that's his story and he's stickin' to it.

The same night D was at his big dance, my hubby and I went to the local Air Force squadron Christmas party held at a nice hotel out in town. Will you look at my handsome husband! (Insert loud whistle) I found my outfit, a sleeveless black knee-length dress with a long burgundy dress jacket, at the base exchange in Germany, and snagged it right away as it's always difficult for me to find dressy clothing in my size.

I'll have to say, the older I get, the more frumpy and out of touch I feel since everyone seems to be wearing dresses like this one...

... or this one...

... or this one...

... or this one. Seriously. I have NOTHING even remotely like these dresses in my closet. Whatever happened to long-sleeved, below the knee Christmas plaid dresses with wide, white collars? I definitely didn't see any of those at the party!

My hubby and our oldest hang out at the Cub Scout Christmas Party.

M (in the glasses) chats it up with some of his Scout buddies.

M had a great time at the party. Each of the boys received a Pinewood Derby car kit as a gift.

M becomes the first in his den to meet all the requirements to become a Webelo II. He had no idea and was quite excited to hear the news.

D played with the intermediate band in the winter concert. He's located on the far left in the Santa hat.

D plays the trumpet and he absolutely loves it. It's nice to see him so excited about music.

M joined a few kids from his Scout den at the chapel to help prepare Christmas treat bags for the single service members on base.

As you can see, we had a myriad of things going on last month, and that's not all. We got to see the Harlem Globetrotters right here at Rota, flag football started, the boys were involved in the children's Christmas play at the chapel and more. Stay tuned for more December updates...