Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Suprise Party and a friendnapping

This year I got to drive up and surprise my mom for her 65th birthday.  To make this plan come together I first had to get Jon and my dad on board.  Jon was easy as I told him of all the silence he could enjoy in the 48 hours we would be gone - until we realized he had a retreat to run and then I let him know how great it would be not to have to worry about us.  My dad had the same concerns as Jon about me driving 24 hours in less than 60 hours but I was able to make those fears disappear by calling on a friend!! I convinced Tina to drive back with me and spend 4 days hanging out with me and then to fly back to DC after a week of lunch dates and lots of talking.  It was a win win win for all!! The girls couldn't stop talking about how great it would be see Granny's face when we surprised her and they were not disappointed. We arrived around 9pm and BertBurt had taken them to a dinner theater to get them out of the house so I had  1 hour to get black balloons filled up and put in the garage, get the presents out and then get the girls quiet so she wouldn't suspect a thing.  After we had everything set I joined the girls in the basement (their favorite room in the house) and we waited and waited and waited until we heard the garage door.  We ran up the stairs and waited just a little bit more then opened the door and yelled surprise!!!  Granny was truly surprised as she thought her neighbors had broken in and filled the garage with black balloons and never suspected us driving up for the weekend.  We ate cake right then and opened presents and finally went to bed after midnight.  The girls enjoyed playing and talking all about the "Paris Party" we threw for granny. 
On Sunday we loaded up the car and hit the road.  We drove down and picked up Tina and got to say hi to her family and then steal her away for a little while.  Jon's retreat was near a famous bakery so I asked him to pick us up some donuts from 5 daughters bakery and we did so we arrived home to an amazing treat!!  Tina got to join me with school drop off and then we went and tried some restaurant in town for lunch dates.  We got to meet up with other friends from previous duty stations for lunch dates and Tina even got to join me for PWOC kickoff and see friends she knew for years and years.  After a great few days we took her to the airport - no more built in lunch buddy but at least I tried a few places with a trusted friend and can now drag some new people to these places.

Granny will be surprised (at the mess at least)

65 black balloons

11 pm and getting ready for cake!

Storytime - best way to spend your birthday

Granny was not prepared for 4 extra mouths - good thing we bought her birthday donuts!

BertBurt got to made a store run so we could have fruit

a fun 36 hours!

Picked up Tina - ready for another 12 hours in the van


Kelly got lots of great?? pictures of Tina


We treated the girls to Chuck E Cheese and got to actually talk while they played


Monday, September 19, 2016

First Day of school

This year all the girls are in the same school and it is fun to hear them talk about getting to see each other in the hall.  The school is really close but there are no good sidewalks so after torturing them the first 2 weeks of school by making them walk I was convinced by the girls and some neighbors to allow them to ride the bus.  Each girl has an amazing teacher and since I am a month late posting this I know this for sure!

Jon got to carry all the supplies to meet the teacher night

We fell off our scooter earlier in the week and jammed our finger the day before school but were super happy to be in the Bee class because PaPa has bees!!

4 kids from our neighborhood are in her class and she loves seeing her park buddies everyday!

1/2 day pre-k!! And her class has a gerbel

It was a memorable first day of kinder!
Scraps and bruises and a splint and we walked through the grass and got super wet

Her teacher is amazing and very encouraging and is a perfect fit for this one!
She calls her the class encourager because she always wants everyone to do their best

Loves being in school with her sisters and being a big girl

Sisterly Love

Last Road Trip Before school

The week before school started we got in one last road trip over to Chattanooga to meet up with Grace and Clara!!  We stayed in a hotel with them and got to eat, play, laugh, swim, sleep and drink coffee - just like old times (ok that was only 3 months ago in Japan but it felt like a lifetime).
We had found our meet up spot that is just a short 3 hour drive for each of us to meet.  We walked from our hotel downtown and got to eat some Mellow Mushroom pizza and then just walk around downtown, ride the free shuttle and see the ChooChoo hotel - which the girls have informed me we will be staying in next time we go to visit!

A package from Ms. Nicole to prepare us for school!

Reunited and it feels so good

PIZZA!! and a photobomber

Molly and Ms. Grace watching all the babies that joined us for our shuttle ride

Ice Cream!!

Cleaning up after ice cream and playing in the fountain area

Not everyone was a fan of walking the whole time - good thing we had the beach wagon

4 little girls enjoying some movie time

The aquarium in pretty awesome

Somehow I can't find a picture of Grace and I but we have lots with the girls!

We even got to hold a buttefly

Everyone was pretty excited abut that


Monday, September 12, 2016

Granny and BertBurt and Ball #1

Our first unit ball was the same weekend as the Balthrop family reunion so we convinced Granny and BertBurt to come in a little early and babysit for us!!  It was a more low key visit so we didn't drag them all over town - just to a few places we wanted to try out.  We got to go to the zoo, eat lunch with family, go to the family reunion, swim, eat ice cream and just hang out. 

Riding the Austin Peay train at the mall

The first military ball for our unit

Not the same when you have only been in the unit for a week - not too many friends to talk to


Shopping at the antique malls in town


Everyone in the pool

Sonic treats!

with extra adults we pulled out the paints to paint pictures for the bathroom

Everyone did a great job

And not too many messes

Monnell's - family style southern cooking!!

First trip to the Nashville Zoo - we really like it

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Road Trip

After landing in the States we dumped our bags at our new place and packed up a few things to hit the road.  Since we spent the past 3 years touring around Asia we had not been able to see family and that was our priority on this trip.  The girls now think everyone is their cousin because instead of trying to complicate things we just call all kids cousins and all adults Aunt and Uncle. We woke up at 4:30am (Jon's idea) and headed toward Oklahoma.  We spent a few days in Tulsa visiting Jon's Aunt and Uncle and cousins then headed toward Lawton to spend some time with Grandma Rumbaugh.  Next we went to Texas to visit Jon's sister and family and then farther into Texas to visit my brother and his family.  On our way home we took a few stops to see friends and sights that people recommended we stop by.  It was a great 2 week adventure!  Once we got back home we went by my Aunt and Uncles and got to hang out with my cousins - thankful to have family close so we can visit!  

Playing in the first of many pools!  

Jon on lifeguard duty

Molly and her cousin doing flips in the pool

Uncle Gary and the girls going to see his grandkids baseball tournament. 

4:30am start to a roadtrip!

Hanging with Jon's family and cousins

The girls occasionally got out of the water on this trip 

Drawing with the dogs

All the kids jumping in together

Yep - still in even when the night lights came on


Stopped by to see one of my college roommates- the girls played

And we found a pool with them!

6 kids and lots of laughs!

So glad we could hang out on this trip

Grandma Rumbaugh let the girls color in her books and her iPad

They do not understand personal space - luckily she doesn't mind

Playing with NeNe's old toys

Troopers who can sleep anywhere!

Getting in a workout in the new clothes Grandma bought them

Checking out the prairie dogs and buffalo

Mount Scott

The girls loved hanging out with their great grandmother

Splash pad with our Dallas cousins

walked a mile to get ice cream - totally worth it!!

After a long afternoon of play some Popsicle!

Story time with Aunt Kaitlin (in the closet because why not?)

4th of July parade with our Houston cousins

2 grown men and 6 kids and fireworks - nothing could go wrong.
the did figure out to wear shoes after a tiny incident

Cooking with Aunt Paige

Telling stories to Aunt Heather

Nerf laser gun wars with the nephews

Showed the girls Baylor and the swings

Met up with friends and went to the Mayborn Museum!

Stopped by Magnolia to grab a few trinkets, some dinner and pictures

Checking out our first house as a married couple!
It looked a lot nicer

Our second "safer" house did not look as great

Stopped by Hot Springs for a night since it was recommended by my cousin

Found a pool! 
Ate by the lake and really just enjoyed some family time

I like lake/water living!!

Made another stop in Memphis and Shelby Farms

Found a park!! 
Found a pool!!

Ended up a Uncle Gary and Aunt Terry's pool again because the water babies asked

Made a quick trip to Land between the Lakes and stayed with our friends parents!

Showed us some fun hikes and the area

Poor kids and their crazy sleeping - so glad to have our beds again!