Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's Ours!

We are now the owners of 5 acres in our hometown!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

129 Days Is...

...a really long time. It is...
  • 129 links on our paper chain
  • 3096 hours / 185,760 minutes / 11,145,600 seconds
  • 9% of Jack's life
  • 385 meals (minus a few when we were sick)
  • 800 Emails (from Jay--I probably sent more)
  • 1225.5 phone minutes (approximately)
  • $80.55 in postage (not counting stamps)
  • 10.5 hours of the smoke alarm beeping
  • 9 birthday parties
  • 3 hospitalizations
  • 2 deaths
  • 1 funeral
  • 148 blog entries
  • Season 1 of "Dexter"
  • Season 1 of "Moonlighting"
  • Season 3 of "The Office"
  • Countless episodes of "Frasier"
  • Countless hours of Tuesday night chats with the FIAR girls
  • A giant bottle of Excedrin
  • Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, and our anniversary
  • Jack learning how to write his name
  • Learning how to say "Z" and "orange" (Jack again, not me.)
  • Being able to instantly figure out the 8 hour time difference between OK and Kuwait
  • Learning how to mow the lawn, fix the toilet, figure out the new digital camera, and take screen shots
I was fortunate that several of my friends had husbands deployed at the same time, so that made it seem a little bit less strange for Jack since lots of his friends had dads on trips, too. And I was fortunate that I have parents who will drive through a rainstorm to pick you up at 7:00 am because you spent the last 14 hours vomiting and you can't take care of your child anymore. And I was fortunate to have a husband who did everything he could to call home every day and make sure that even though he was more than 7,000 miles away we all still felt close.

Jay has been back for almost two weeks now; it took about 2 hours for us all to fall back into our old routines. And tonight he is out of town and Jack and I switched back into the deployment routine pretty seamlessly, including him yelling every time the phone rang and me being in my pjs by 6:00. So I guess if nothing else, we have become very flexible. Hopefully that will serve us well in the next couple of years!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Knights and Castles

Long, long ago in a land far away, a young boy started learning about knights and castles. He read lots of books and even went to the Medieval Fair. He completed all kinds of activities. And then all the stuff sat on the dining room cabinet until his mom finally glued it in the lapbook this week. So without further ado, here is what we did! There are lots of pictures, and if you get to the end, there's even a giveaway!

We used several non-fiction books during our study. Some (like the Seymour Simon one) I used for reference for myself and read bits and pieces to Jack; others (like the Gail Gibbons one) we read through together.
We threw in some fiction as well. Jack loved both of these books.
Just as we were getting started, Heather had an online Usborne party and I found some great books!

This pop-up book was a huge hit. It had lots of information, so we went through it bit by bit. Jack was fascinated by the dungeons and the guy who had to shovel the poop.

Our completed lapbook--This is a unit I am turning in to Homeschool Share for the Blast (read about it here if you missed it) and Jay did all the artwork for me!


Close up of The Life of a Knight booklet. I can't figure out why this won't rotate. Ugh.

What Happened Next? cards--We put these in order instead of doing a regular timeline since years don't really mean anything to Jack yet.

Weapons close up--I was thinking this might be too hard, but as soon as I put the cards down Jack grabbed the crossbow and said, "Hey! What are we doing with this crossbow?" So I guess he was paying attention.

Castle dot-to-dot (On the other side of the flap)

Under the flap--When I went to glue the pocket in for the matching game I realized it was a little too small, so that's on my to-do list for tomorrow!

Map close up--Again with the rotation problems!

Jack used stickers from this book for the decorations. I got it for only $1.00 when Dover was having their big sale a while back.
And now for the giveaway! If you would like the chance to win this copy of Castle Diary, please leave a comment on this post by midnight on May 31. I will draw then and announce the winner!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Leave Me A Comment!

I figured out how to change my settings so that you don't need any kind of account to leave a comment, so if you have been reading along but have never left a comment, let me know!

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

This weekend someone told me that they loved the poems I had written on my blog. I was a little confused until I realized she was talking about some of the song lyrics I had posted recently--which I most definitely did not write! So just to backtrack a little, here are the songs I have posted from lately--the previous posts all have links where you can either listen to the song, find the lyrics, or see the album.
  • The Promise (Tracy Chapman) -- As Rose said in the comment section, we listened to this song so many times that I am surprised we didn't break the CD player. 12 years later I still love it.
  • Beyond My Wildest Dreams (Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris) -- I will readily admit that Jay is the music one in this house. He got this album a couple of years ago and I love just about every song on it. But this one's the best.
  • Beyond the Sea (Bobby Darin) -- This is our song. When we had been dating just a week or two we rented a movie (I think it may have been Amos and Andrew, but I can't remember) that we didn't ever watch, but at the beginning you could hear just a bit of the song. I thought it sounded like something I had heard before, but I didn't know what. A couple of weeks later Jay turned on the CD player (or it could have been a tape player back then) and it started playing. We were 17 years old and this was pre-internet, so I'm still not sure how he figured out what is was AND got a copy of it so quickly. I'm still impressed.
  • Almost Home (Howard Markman) -- A few weeks ago we were having an insane storm in the middle of the night, so I was awake and flipping through the channels. I landed on Carrier. Who knew late night PBS was such an emotional minefield? Anyway, it was very interesting, and I loved this song.
So if it looks like poetry, look for a link and you will find that it's a song. And if you have read all of this, I will reward you with the only poem I remember writing (I think I was 6):

I had a little plant
It was a little secret
And then I told it to my friend
And then it was no secret

Have you ever seen such command of the English language? No wonder I rocked the AP English test. ; )

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I'm back! We went home for a few days and it seemed weird not to be updating the blog each night. As many of you know, I started this blog to keep Jay updated while he was in Kuwait. Now that he's home, I am going to be making some changes. I'll still update it fairly frequently, but it won't just be "What We Did Today" posts all the time. Hopefully they will be a little more reflective and interesting, but I'm not making any promises. I have ideas for several posts floating around in my head, so hopefully I will get to some this week. I am also planning on changing my header and colors and making it so that you don't have to have a Blogger ID to leave a comment. I know you all are on the edges of your seats!

We have had a few big changes already in the past week. Obviously, Jay's homecoming has been a wonderful change. Jack was very happy to see him at the airport and followed him around very closely for the rest of the day. I was told several times that certain things were "for boys only!" and that I should go do something else. On a sad note, Jay's grandpa passed away last week just about two days before Jay got back. We went home for several days for the services and though we are sad that he's not here anymore for us, we know that he is in a better place.

This year will also be full of changes. This is Jay's last year in the Air Force and then we will have some say in what we do--for the first time since 1998! We may be moving, and for all of you who have been asking, yes, we may be having another baby. (Jack thinks we should have two, but we'll have to see about that.)

It has been a long weekend and a late night, so I'm off to bed now, but hopefully you will start seeing some changes here before the week is out!

Friday, May 16, 2008

May 15: Home Again

I've longed for you and I have desired
To see your face, your smile
To be with you wherever you are
--"The Promise"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Waiting Game

We're still waiting...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


We have been hard at work trying to get ready for the big day. Today we kicked it into high gear. Well, sort of. This afternoon it was really hot and muggy so we mostly just laid around and read and played Go Fish. But we did do some work!

Jack made a poster.

We went to Sam's. Since I haven't really grocery shopped in so long I just got random items.

We read The Red Carpet...

...and made our own! We also had to adjust our chain because it was getting in the way.

Tomorrow there is so much more to do!

Monday, May 12, 2008

See You Soon

"I'd drive a thousand miles
Haul a trailer of tears
Just to see you smile
And as the dawn appears
At the edge of the night
There's still a light that gleams
Beyond my wildest dreams."

Book Sale!

Today's main event was a trip to the book sale at the Scholastic Warehouse. Jack thought it was pretty cool to walk up and down the aisles looking for secret passages. We made it out with over 30 items for not a bad price! I found a couple of FIAR titles we didn't already have as well as a few books for give-aways.

Jack is reading a story to Greeny, his dinosaur. The blue basket is his bed.

Jack also spent a while drawing this afternoon.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Flat Knight's Day in Brooklyn

We received an update today from Sir Bluey and his most recent host, Patrick:

I had initially suggested to him that he go into Manhattan and see some of the famous sights. But, as you will see, he decided instead to loaf around Brooklyn all Sunday (much as I usually do.)
Here are his highlights:
First, he rode the subway to downtown Brooklyn.
Once he got off, he strolled about, enjoying the fine weather.
(Apparently, it was trash day.)
He stopped at a deli for a sandwich.
I believe he requested his ham sliced "extra thin."
Next, he stopped by the Brooklyn Art Museum...
...where a very strange sculpture was on display.
Then, in the museum parking lot, he came across the
famous Statue of Liberty!
Well, not quite...Undaunted, he walked to the East River, to see the
famous Brooklyn Bridge.
Atop the bridge, he ran into my friend Sara and I.
We posed for some pictures with him.
All in all, he had a fine day.

Thanks to Patrick for showing him around! Next stop: Philadelphia!

Happy Mother's Day

Today my parents came to visit us. There was one picture of us where Jack looked normal, but I thought I'd put this one up since it is so much more realistic. I think that after four months of the two of us alone, company makes him flip. Or maybe he's naturally crazy. I'm not sure.

Anyway, I probably should have taken a picture with my mother, but I thought of that when I was halfway through mowing the lawn, and at that point I looked scary enough that it would just be mean of me to post a picture like that. I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day!

He's Definitely Mine

Jack got some chapstick in a package the other day and insisted I take it out immediately. He put some on, put the tube in his right pocket, and became agitated when he couldn't get it out in the car. That night he made sure it was on his nightstand when he went to bed, just in case he woke up and needed it. That's my boy!

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ostrich Egg Breakfast

This morning we went to the Ostrich Egg Breakfast at the zoo. Some planner somewhere (well, probably at the zoo, I guess) thought it would be a good idea to also have a race and some kind of children's activity at the same time, so it was more than a little crowded. We still had a good time, though.
Jack ate a lot, which made me happy after waiting in the line for such a long time!

Who knew stumps were so entertaining?

In the almost three years we have been coming here Jack has never noticed this rock before. After today, though, I am pretty sure it will be included in every visit.

I think the one sitting up is the Boris of meerkats.

We also got to go to the sea lion show.

Jack was happy to get a sno cone. By the time we got home, his entire stomach was blue from drips.
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and hopefully Jack will be ready for bed soon!

That Boy From My English Class

Today is our fourteenth anniversary. I know you're thinking, "Fourteenth?? Surely someone as young as Jennifer can't have been married for fourteen years?!" Well, you're probably not thinking that since I really am almost that old, but humor me and play along. Jay and I have actually been married for just under eight years, but we have always celebrated our dating anniversary instead of our wedding one. So take a step back in time with me...(Cue the harp music, or, since we're starting in 1992, maybe a little "Life is a Highway" or something.)

I first met Jay in 11th grade English class. To be truthful, it was really chemistry class, but that was a bad experience and I ended up dropping that class after a semester. The first thing I remember him saying to me was, "That's quite a bruise." I was a graceful then as I am now. He had a girlfriend and he looked like this:

The next year he still had the girlfriend and he looked like this:

(That costume is still in my closet.)

By the end of our senior year, though, we had started dating and I ended up switching to his college after one semester.
SYR Dance, 1994

Gettin' hitched, 2000

Dressing up the baby, 2004

Even though we've been together for fourteen years, I still sometimes think of him as "That Boy From My English Class," which never fails to amuse me, as in...

That guy I'm marrying is That Boy From My English Class.

That Boy From My English Class just bought me a car.

That Boy From My English Class just delivered my baby.

Holy cow! That Boy From My English Class is the father of my baby!

Sucker! That Boy From My English Class just gave me Power of Attorney and told me to buy a house!

I wish That Boy From My English Class could be here now.

Happy 14th to That Boy From My English Class. I love you.

"Beyond the Sea"
Somewhere beyond the sea

somewhere waiting for me
my lover stands on golden sands
and watches the ships that go sailin'

Somewhere beyond the sea
he's there watching for me
If I could fly like birds on high
then straight to his arms
I'd go sailin'

It's far beyond the stars
it's near beyond the moon
I know beyond a doubt
my heart will lead me there soon

We'll meet beyond the shore
we'll kiss just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
and never again I'll go sailin'

I know beyond a doubt
my heart will lead me there soon
We'll meet (I know we'll meet) beyond the shore
We'll kiss just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
and never again I'll go sailin'

no more sailin'
so long sailin'
bye bye sailin'...
move on out captain

Friday, May 9, 2008

Parks and Parties

We started and ended our day with park parties! This morning we had a meeting and potluck at the park. We had a great turnout!

Finding a frisbee is always nice.
We tried not to eat too much at the potluck, because afterward we met my aunt, uncle, and cousin for lunch. We spent the afternoon at home catching up on stuff we needed to get done--like relaxing.
This evening we attended a birthday party at another park. We don't get to go to this park too often, so when Jack realized where we were going he was pretty happy!

Passing the water balloon

Egg race

Sack race

Despite getting up at 6:15 and going all day, Jack went to bed protesting that he was not tired. I think I fell asleep before he did! Now I need to get back to bed because we have a fun morning planned tomorrow!