Monday, August 31, 2009

Little Treasures

I was in Oxford recently where there was an open air market. One of the vendors had all kinds of knick knacks, trinket boxes and dishes galore! I spied these little treasures which cost me a total of £8.00 that's $13.00 US and that's for all 3 of the pieces and the conserve pot (jam jar) has it's lid too! I'm thrilled with my new to me little treasures!

What a weekend!

Talk about being BUSY! This weekend was a go here go there kind of weekend. My DH took our son to a sporting goods store in Oxford to get last minute items that he will need in order to play Rugby. Yes, you can only imagine the look on MY face when our son tells us he's interested in playing Rugby. State side, this kids didn't really have a great interest in sports, American football- no, Soccer-no, Track and Field-no. We get here and suddenly he wants to play Rugby- okay by me. At least it's something he's interested in trying.

I've got everything ironed and ready for the kids to wear to school. It looks as if the book bags that I bought may not be big enough for them. Apparently there's a lot of stuff for them to bring back and forth to school...the majority of it being clothing, LOL!

Saturday afternoon/early evening we attended out first wedding here in England. It was for the son of a couple we are friends with here at Croughton. It was charming! The reception afterwards was truly fitting for these new married couple.

Sunday- it's church as usual and then after church I went with friends to an antique shop in a nearby town. All I have to say is WOW! I had the best time with them. And the shop was huge! There are sections of it that I didn't have a chance to explore. Carina and I plan on going back there- that place was really neat and both of us agreed that Joan took us to our new favorite store!

I'm learning more about Portmeirion pottery and the different hallmarks or back stamps. This place had all sorts of pottery, furniture, glassware, linens and more! Antique dolls and teddy bears,flatware, cookware and knick knacks galore! You could spend hours in there and still not see everything. Here are my treasures that I bought at the Antique Shop...3 Portmeirion teacups with saucers, a really cool butter dish and I didn't get a picture of it (but I will) of the green jasper ware Wedgwood trinket box that I bought for Hannah (it's really goes with the quilt that I made her and the all around theme to her bedroom).

Quote of the Day

"You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need."
- Vernon Howard

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

Step with care and great tact
And remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

-Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991),
Oh, the Places You'll Go

Friday, August 28, 2009


Autumn is in the air. It's the chill in the morning air, the smell of wood being burned in fireplaces and leaves that have been raked into piles with children jumping into them. It's got me thinking about apples being made into yummy things such as apple pie, apple sauce, apple butter and apple cider. I love the rich colors of fall- although I've yet to see those colors here in England.

Soon my children will be starting at their new school here in England. I wonder if mothers here have the same feeling as mothers in the United States. Feeling sad that summer vacation is over but happy that their children will be starting new adventures. I've never felt more nervous about my children starting school than I do now. They have an hour long bus ride each way and school doesn't get out until 5 pm-ugh! I'm trying not to think about it. My wish for them is for them to be able to adjust to the new school quickly, to take every opportunity to make new friends and to just be themselves. There are only 6 more days until school starts!

Quote of the day

It strikes me as singularly inappropriate for a school to use its students for fund-raising. It reminded me of the first time I saw a gypsy mother send her baby out to beg.
-William Hamilton

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In Love with Crafting

No matter how I look at it, I'm simply in love with crafting of any kind! I'm looking at the new Thimbleberries kit club for 2010 and I'm in awe! I see new colors of Bazzill cardstock and I'm in awe. New thread colors...yes it all makes me say WOW!

My first crafting love was needlework. I started stitching (embroidery) when I was 8 years old and loved it! I did it off an on (more off than on). I didn't pick it back up again until after I was married. On cold winters days in Maine (our first base together) I could be found snuggled up underneath a warm blanket or quilt, stitching away. Heck you can find me doing that now! From baby blankets to baby bibs, Christmas ornaments and more! My friend Lori showed me how true joy was to be achieved through working on Aida cloth and doing counted cross stitching. A couple of assignments later I met Susan and she showed me hand dyed threads, oooh whee! Needlework has never been the same since!

My friend Kathy recently posted pictures of her needlework on her facebook page and it's given me the itch to stitch!

Be it stamping, scrapbooking, quilting, needlework or my Fiesta-ware pottery -it's all got a theme...the Rainbow. It's color that captives me, it fuels my imagination and ignites my desire to create, it's color that inspires me and color that makes me happy!

It's looking at something as lovely a flower and saying to myself- I want to pull those colors and put them in my dining room or the kitchen. It's seeing something in nature and making it part of my indoor world.

Quote of the Day

"Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good action; try to use ordinary situations."
- Jean Paul Richter

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting Ready

Here at the Grisé household it's back to school time.

For our son it's his last year of High School, 12th grade or better known as his Senior Year or as it is here in England it's year 13. He'll be wearing a real men's 2 or 3 piece suit, dress shirt with tie and dress shoes to school every day-WOW! What a difference from his school wardrobe of last year of t-shirts, polo shirts a couple of pairs of Dockers and 6 pairs of jeans, LOL! Last year I think that I spent a total of $350 on his clothes and this year lets say that I've spent considerably more. The school does not carry these items at it's clothing shop- all of this had to be bought out on the economy. I'm so glad that I had the good sense to get those suits before we left Rapid City. I ordered his Oxford shirts online from LL Bean. Everything else has been bought here in England.

For our daughter, she's starting the 9th grade or what is better known as her Freshman Year , here in the UK it's 10th year and the 5th form. For her, it's school uniforms during the day and in the afternoon it's dark blue jeans with the school polo shirt and sweat shirt. The school has a specific uniform and you can only get those items for the uniform at their uniform shop- minus the navy blue tights, the back dress shoes, the dark blue denim trousers/jeans and headbands.

Now for the other appointments for, check ups, mouth guards and teeth cleanings. Hair cuts for the kids- my boy especially needs his mop trimmed up! I'm going to take before and after pictures of him...this will be fun to see.

I miss having my scrapbooking supplies and picture printer here with me. I'm going to have a virtual TON of photographs to scrap in November!

Quote of the Day

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our
past, bridge to our future.
-Alex Haley

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just a busy day

I was up at 5:30 am this morning and out the door by 6:30 am and in a 12 passenger van by 7 am. Hannah had her first orthodontic appointment today at RAF Lakenheath. I'm very grateful that a very experienced driver was the the helm and took myself and my daughter and a woman named Rebecca and her little girl Cindy to the Lakenheath Hospital for our appointments. Hannah's appointment was a full 2 hours long! Well be doing it again in October. We did have a little time before her appointment to run to the BX which was across the street and have a little snack. We ran out of time at the tail end and never did get back to pick up those Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, that will just have to wait for next time.

Now for me to finish up making my famous home made chicken pies-m'm!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009


You can run but you can't hide from...Your Laundry! Why is it that it just piles up when you're not looking? I can go on and on about my laundry woes. I've also get to get on with washing the rest of the kids school clothes. I've never had to wash so much blue clothing in my life. I hope that it doesn't fade.

Quote of the Day

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.

Dr. Seuss (1904 - 1991), The Lorax

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The high price of crafting

I'm loving England, but I have to say that crafting supplies are on the expensive side. I've found only 2 places that sell fabric and I won't be buying any at either place. Once I do the exchange rate lets just say that paying over $16.00 a yard/meter is twice as much as I'd ever pay for the same thing back in the US. I'd like to know why Makower UK fabric is so expensive here in the UK and is half the price in the US? What gives?

I'm still searching for a sewing machine. I haven't broken down to buy one yet. There always seems to be something else that takes center stage. Something else that needs to be bought- coats or school items for the kids, computer stuff, food, gas, a vacuum and so forth.

Today I'm going to get creative if it kills me! I want to be making cards, I want to be quilting, I want to be doing something besides thinking about these things. But I also don't want to spend any money to do these things. I have 42 boxes of crafting supplies coming to me that were packed in My Scrapbook Nook back in South Dakota, not to mention all the crafting stuff that I had stored underneath of the stairs. So I'm going to be set for quite some time.

Now...what to create?

Quote of the Day

“Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.”
-Ninon de l'Enclos

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quote of the Day

When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web.... Now even my cat has its own page.
- Bill Clinton

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dear Future Military Spouse:

I saw this on facebook, and actually laughed out loud while thinking oh how true it is! Be prepared to laugh, cry and to shake your head and smile.

Dear Future Military Spouse:

Congratulations! You found a good man and are actively pursuing a wedding. We’re so happy for you.

We regret to inform you that, as a future military wife, you will have to undergo a severe hazing. Unfortunately, by the time you're well immersed, it may be too late to change your mind. The military is not a bowl of peaches and cherries. As Erma Bombeck famously asked once, "If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?" You will come to understand this in time.

Here, compiled by the wives, fiancées, and girlfriends at: (Military Significant Other Support website and forum) is a list of things that will not please you, and strong advice on how to deal. It is separated into sections: Military Life (general), Money, Deployment (and all that follows), and Family. It is both funny and serious, trivial and deep, every day and extreme, but most of all, it is Honest.

Military Life (In General)

1. We begin with Boot camp. Boot camp really does change almost everyone. This is not always a bad thing. Sometimes they come away with pride, integrity, and more love and appreciation for you than either of you knew he was capable of feeling. Sometimes he comes home haughty, rude, or distant. Hurt, happy, or simply looking different, these are changes that you can adapt to, or move on. We strongly suggest attempting adaptation. Find a good group of friends.

2. Troops don’t work 9-5, Monday to Friday only.

3. One day they could be working days, the next, nights.

4. Don’t bother planning a vacation. Leave-chits can and probably will be denied, depending on what kind of mood their superiors are in that day.

5. If you DO get leave approved and plan a vacation, you can rest assured that at the worst possible time, you and your husband will be pulled aside and checked in airport security, because his dress uniform (WITH metal belt buckle and nameplate) will set off the alarms. Supposedly they’re not supposed to be allowed to check military members in uniform. Someone tell them that.

6. The bathroom will now be referred to as “The Head”. Your kitchen will now be “Mess hall, or Chow.”

7. You will be dumped into a totally new town where the neighbors will be crazy, no one will know how to drive, the radio stations will suck, and you’ll spend a good part of your first month trying to figure out the cheapest place to buy food and a stiff drink.

8. His friends will not only be your friends, but if you get married and move him out of the barracks/dorms, you can probably expect one or 6 of his friends to move in too.

9. Inspections

10. Moving

11. Cleaning

12. Maintaining the yard to government standards.

13. Civilians. That's pretty much a letter in itself. They do not understand your plight, fears, or added burdens. All they know is that you're swimming in cash, toss diamonds around your living room, have no neighbor troubles at all, and that you get paid by the kid in the military. It is extremely probable that none of these will ever be true, unless by "cash" you mean debt, by "diamonds" you mean tantrums because you're on your 6th move in 7 years, by "no neighbor troubles" they mean I have my head so far up my a**.....moving on...

Civilians p.2. "Civilians will never understand, but they love telling you that you knew what you were signing up for, and/or their blind, often ignorant views about your husband's job or the war that it entails."

14. “Civilians, take note. He DOES work when not on deployment. He doesn’t just sit around in my living room eating bon bons and watching soap operas. (Oh wait – or is that me because I’m a stay-at-home-mom?)

15. Stereotypes. People will assume he's cheating on you, he cusses, and he will have a tattoo. They might be right. There's a reason for the stereotypes. This is an issue that requires you TRUST him.

16. CLASSIFIED means SECRET, which means he is not ALLOWED to tell you. It's not a choice. This is another issue that requires your TRUST. It also means you need to KNOW the rules.

17. You will have to deal sometimes with higher ups who think their poop doesn't stink, and that your husband’s petty, trivial inconveniences (you know, his wife has severe depression and can't get a doctor's appointment) don't matter.

18. Also, wives who wear their husbands' rank (this is NOT always, or even often, in some cases, officers' wives. They are human too. Most of them are wonderful people. Some of them wear their husbands' ranks, but so do some enlisted wives).

19. Free medical care: Otherwise known as waiting to take care of it until you get to a base/post with a decent hospital/medical system that accepts Tricare, so you can go back and forth between the military clinic and/or Tricare over whether it’s covered or not, then go back for referrals, prescriptions, etc.

20. Just because a ship’s doc is called, “doc” doesn’t mean he’ll give the same attention and care as a doctor in the civilian world. Chances are, he won’t give much notice at all and will slap your hubby’s back and tell him to take some ibuprofen and let him know how it is in a week. Then, when your hubby goes back the week later, he’ll tell him it’s the same thing and give him more ibuprofen!

21. Another pseudo-perk: 24 hour maintenance doesn’t always mean 24 hours. Most of the time it’s, ‘Turn off the main valve for your water and we’ll have someone there between 8am and 4 pm tomorrow’, which could very well turn into next week.

22. Forget everything the recruiter told you. Their job is NOT to make happy marriages.

23. You will get screwed again and again…and again. It’s par for the course. Don’t worry, you’re not special. It’s like a code.

24. To that effect, do not be surprised if you get so stressed you begin to hear Mimes. In fact, you may just answer the questions going through THEIR heads.
Onward and upwards:


1. The BX (Aka: PX, NEX) will probably rob you, price wise. We suggest the commissary for food and batteries and basic needs. The BX does, however, price match (to downtown stores, not the commissary), and you don't pay tax. Woot.

2. Be prepared to have your pay messed up or delayed for no reason at all.

3. If the military gives you too much money, it will be ripped out of his account faster and harder than a Brazilian wax in bikini season. If they underpay him, that money will slowly trickle into his account...sometime over the next six months to three years. And if you don't catch it, don't expect to ever see it again.

4. Companies may hesitate to hire you, because they know you’ll move.

5. Likewise, the military doesn’t care if you’re halfway through college and no credits transfer. He will move when they tell him to.

6. When you do move, most likely you’ll be in Podunkville USA and air travel will be twice as expensive, or you’ll be in Touristville USA and air travel will be twice as expensive. God help you if you want to see your stateside family while he’s stationed overseas.

That wasn’t so hard. Onto:


1. To begin with: Your husband has signed up for a chance at death. I'm sorry. Some of us like to ignore this. Some like to be prepared. Some still haven't found a way to deal. See the aforementioned website and forum.

2. Six month deployments are rarely six months.

3. Acquaint yourself with your computer….fast. It may be your best friend.

4. If you hear a schedule more than a few days before it happens, most likely it will be: A.) Longer,
B.) Longer, or
C.) Longer than you anticipated.

5. If you don’t have kids, you will more than likely end up with a dog or cat.

6. Get a dog. They don’t talk back, and can’t drive for you, but they keep you warm at night, still make messes, require you to wake up at a decent hour in the morning and go to bed at a decent hour of the night. Plus you have to keep them fed and watered, so to sum it up, dogs keep you from going into the, “He’s gone; I don’t have a reason to live” fog.

7. Tylenol PM and a journal might become your best friends during deployment! Chances are a bottle of wine and a bubble bath will accompany them both. Don’t be surprised when you are doing normal things around the house and 15 minutes later you realize that you have not done them yet because you were stuck in a daydream about what it would be like if he were here right now.

8. You start missing little things like yelling at him for not taking the trash out, leaving his empty beer bottles in the living room for the dog to lick, or his socks on the stairs because he was so tired he just undressed walking up the stairs.

9. Dinner may just become pickles and dry cereal when he's not home, because you don't have to cook for anyone. Burger king (or the restaurants on post) will be one of the things you're happiest to see, but over time will become your greatest foe. You may even hiss a little when you pass them downtown, because you've spent so many lonely 8am's in the parking lot waiting for them to open, so you have someone to talk to.

10. When he comes home from a deployment, be prepared for both of you to look different. Your hair will most likely have a new style, length, and/or color, and you’ll pray that he likes it. He will have gained or lost weight, and have much shorter hair than your liking. He may come back with a new tattoo and/or scars. You may have either gained weight from nervous/bored eating, or lost weight because you had no appetite while he was gone. Despite all that, you’ll buy a fabulous new dress to greet him in, which you will only get to wear for no longer than the 30 minutes it takes to drive home.

11. Don’t be offended when he doesn’t notice the new blanket on the back of the couch, the new paint in the bedroom, the new shower curtain, dishes, table, desk, appliance. Or the new flowers, comforter, lamp… Basically, more than likely all he wants to look at are you, the tv, and the backs of his eyelids.

12. He might come home from deployment and not want to be "Daddy" right away. Or "Husband" He will be happy to be home, reveling in all that is "safe" and "normal". In the time he was gone you learned to do what you used to need him for. It might be hard giving those duties back to him. Don't be surprised if he doesn't want to take them back right away. Your best bet is to talk to him. Let him play with the kids, or not, for a few days. Remember, if he was gone one month or 15, you and the children may not be the exact people he remembered. Find wives on base who have been there.

13. Also, don’t be offended if your Troop asks for Macaroni and Cheese over the gourmet meal you have prepared. He’s been used to eating runny eggs, undercooked bacon, moldy charbroiled toast, and a meaty substance known as meatloaf that is .05% meat and 99.95% You Don’t Want to Know. Macaroni and cheese is simple, tastes good, and can get the job done. It’s also only 50 cents a box at the commissary and can get you through those months that you are missing $500 out of your check and only have $50 after bills to put gas in the car and get groceries.

14. Something to think about: When he is deployed, if it is possible, he will very likely relax by playing video games. They aren't real, and that means they can take him far, far away from real, and that's the most comforting thought he can get sometimes in a wartime situation. This may lead to an addiction. Our advice: try to help him keep it in moderation, but understand that this helps him. It's fun for him. It keeps him young. Take up a hobby, go out with friends, sit in the room and read while he plays. Try the game. You might like it.

And finally:


1. You are not first in your marriage. As long as he's active duty, you never will be. The military does not care if it is your anniversary. If there is a terrorist attack, pending deployment, or they just plumb feel like calling him in to work, he will go. The other option is jail time. You pick.

2. Your husband will not keep every promise he ever made. In fact, between the military and his given gender, you'll be lucky if he keeps two. As long as he keeps the basic, "Promise to love, cherish, and be faithful" you're in good standing. The rest will have to be hashed out, fought over, and bitched about to girlfriends. Please see for further instructions (and a forum!)

3. This is one a lot of people don't understand, future spouse. As the spouse you become the person who gets the news. Most of the time, he will call you, write you, e-mail you first. God forbid he dies, because you will be the one to find out. This leaves you in a very poor situation, as someone (often, but definitely not always, his mother) will be jealous that they are not receiving every call made out of the war zone, school, or basic training (boot camp). This can lead to verbal/physical/mental feuds between you and his family. If you are lucky, most of his family (ESPECIALLY any prior military members) will understand and leave you alone.

4. In regards to this, it will also be your fault, should you marry him, if he does not call home.

5. Over time, the number of deployments you and your husband have been through will greatly outnumber the number of anniversaries you two have actually spent together in the same town, let alone state or country.

6. You will remember the year your son was born, but you’ll fight over what base you were at, in what state or country.

7. Never assume your husband is going to get his ten day TDY [or time off of work for ANYTHING]. You may just get stuck doing all the legwork finding a place to live yourself because you’re number 213 on the base housing list and they are not concerned with helping you find a place off post. When he’s promised his days and they never come, you’re steady out on your own running up the miles on your car in a town you know nothing about. But, as they say, when you assume, you make an ass out of “u”, and me.

8. You will NOT see your family as often as you want to. You will most likely not be stationed near home. Your siblings will suddenly possess time machines and constantly step too far into the future for your liking. Invest in a good phone plan, and webcam. It helps.

9. The most heartbreaking thing I've had so far - you will have to choose between your job (or lack of money) and your grandma's funeral. Or weddings. Or baptisms. Or family reunions. We are sincerely sorry. We can almost guarantee this will bring you to your knees more than once. On the same note, it is not extremely uncommon to hear of women who delivered, raised, and/or lost babies while their DHs were deployed/TDY.

(For the record, we lost three grandparents, between me and DH during our FIRST year of marriage, this last year. I went to my first military funeral. I missed my grandpa's funeral, and went to my grandma's because she was the second (last) of my dad's parents to pass in the year, and he almost had a heart attack when his dad died. I needed to be with him, and my mom. This one will hit hard, and I regret having to post it, but if we're being honest, it is the ONE thing I wish someone would have REALLY told me. I am SINCERELY, extremely sorry for any man, woman, or child who had to miss anything going on back home, for the sake of the military.)

10. Expect that during his career in the military, more often than not, you will be both Mommy and Daddy at home. You will take care of your kids, giving them all of the love you can and emphasizing the honorable role their Daddy. You wait (sometimes not so patiently) for him to come home and embrace him, giving him back his Daddy "role". This is especially prevalent if you have very small children for they will "know" Daddy but as you look forward to homecoming day, your children will be looking at you to wipe your eyes, stand up and brush it off and continue on being the amazing wife and mother the military sometimes forgets to acknowledge.

I'll tell you something though. I don't think there's a woman who contributed who didn't have fun thinking about it. It does get hard. It does get oppressive. The lady down the street who has 183 cats, 7 foot tall grass, and a car engine hanging from the tree starts to make sense. Some days hard liquor and a bottle of Zoloft sounds like a good combination, but there is something about it, a magic about it, that once you start to complain, and someone says, " OH MY GOD do I HEAR you! Let me tell you about how Jimbo got shot and they told him to pick up the guy next to him and carry him to the hospital if he wanted to go so bad!"

All of a sudden, it looks funny. And honestly, if this is how you feel, like it's starting to become real, then this thread has actually found the purpose I intended it for. And honestly, I don't know. You MIGHT very well print it out, read over it once a day, fear it, lose it, find it again in 6 months and laugh your A$$ off at how many things now are not only real, but ancient history. Like I said, some of this stuff I wish someone would have told me. All of it, actually. Now you know what you're up against. Don't let him go. Buy armor.

My biggest advice: Surround yourself with positive influences.

It's too easy in the military to drink underage, party, etc. It's also very easy to doubt your husband when he is away. This is harder for National Guard wives, who don't have a post nearby to run to. Still, find stories of marriages that did last. Through many deployments. Find people whose husbands broke up with them because they thought it would be too hard, and got back together. Be nice to veterans. If all goes as planned, you might be one of those someday. A lot of vets are still married to their high school sweethearts. Get to know their stories, if you can. You'll be amazed.

As my husband (then, boyfriend) said once, and every military wife can tell you: "While life apart is miserable, life alone is death."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Paper Ocean

Can you see me? I'm surrounded by boxes and am swimming in an ocean of brown packing paper. I'm as happy as a bird with a french fry! Granted I've got 7 more unopened boxes and 5 opened and peeked into boxes of kitchen items to go before I'm finished and I'm in the midst of rearranging the cupboards. I've ran the dish washer more than I ever have on any given holiday where I've cooked a huge meal. I don't know about you, but I can't just unpack the dishes and put them on the selves...they all must get washed!

So I'm alive...just very very busy with this unpacking of my kitchen. Now where oh where did those movers put those bike pedals???

Quote of the Day

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
-Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Saying goodbye

My heart aches for my boy- having to say good bye to his two best friends has got to be tough. I know how much he wanted to spend his senior year in South Dakota and graduated with everyone he's known for the past 6 years. But this is our life...a life spent in duty to our country. He'll see them again, who knows, I may arrange for us to take a trip out to South Dakota in a few months as I find that I'm missing my friends from there too.
I'll write more later as I've got to get ready and then drive to London Heathrow airport so the boys can go catch their flight home to America.

Quote of the Day

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.
There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are
blessings given to us to learn from.
--Dr. Elizabeth Kebler-Ross (1926-) US writer, founder of the hospice care movement

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Home Sickness

Our teenage guests are starting to get a little homesick. We talked last night and I knew what was on their moms...I am a mom you know ;-)

This is Drew's first time being so far away from home. Heck this night even be his first time out of the State of South Dakota. Tyler went to China last year with a school group. This year Tyler and Drew traveled together from South Dakota. This is their first adventure out of the country on their own...I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. Tomorrow the boys fly back home...I'm going to miss them. I knew that these boys were a part of my son's life, but it took until now to realize how much they are also a part of my life too. They're the "extra" kids that got under foot, ate us out of house and home and had teenage issues of their own. They will always be my son's best friends and they will always a part of our family. I know now how very much my son has missed his friends- just seeing them all clown around and act goofy together has brought joy to my heart! I know that I'll cry when they leave tomorrow-heck I'm crying now just thinking about it. The quote "don't cry because it's over, be happy that it happened" comes to mind. I'll need to remind myself (and my boy) of that one in the weeks to come. I will encourage Andrew to call his friends more often.

Now for me to wake the kids and get everyone ready to go out and have some fun in Oxford today...or not. We shall see what the day holds for us!

Quote of the Day

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.
-George Moore

Sunday, August 16, 2009


That's the number of pictures I've taken in the past 2 days. Okay so it's probably closer to 600, but seriously, who's counting besides me ;-) Don't worry, I have no intentions of posting that many pictures- I'll just hit the highlights of the trip. Its a lot of photo's for me to go through and assess, so be patient with me as it will take me a few days. We've still got our teenage guests for a few more days, and I will be out and about with them for another 3 days.

Today was amazing! Driving into the outskirts of London, taking the train all over, going on a river cruise on the Thames, taking a 2 hour bus tour (we all loved riding on the top level of the bus). We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (lunch was delish- as it has been at ANY Hard Rock Cafe we've dined at). We walked a lot today and the weather couldn't have been more perfect for our day in London.

I feel truly blessed!

The Weekend

Yesterday we went to Stonehenge, Bath and Uffington. Today it's London! I've got lots of pictures (I took 247 and my daughter took 84). Today I hope I get just as many. My friend Laurie planted the seed in my head (thanks Laurie) and now I want to make a coffee table book for my son's two friends. I want more than just pictures of the boys clowning around or playing X-Box, but of the sights themselves.

No time to chat right now, as I've got to have some coffee and get ready for going into London today.

Quote of the Day

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
- Peter Drucker

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
-Miriam Beard

Friday, August 14, 2009

my crazy life...

As you all know...nothing ever goes as planned right? So why should today be any exception.

At a little before 8 am movers arrive with a crate for me. They crack it open and I go out there with my camera to document everything (in case boxes are dropped etc). And I notice what is written on the boxes...crafting supplies, crafting supplies and what else? More crafting supplies! There was also my patio furniture, terracotta pots and the umbrella and stand to my patio furniture and more stuff that was obviously NOT my kitchen stuff, LOL! Could I have accepted that box and let them unload it all here? yea sure-BUT and it's a very big but...I would also be the one moving all of the stuff from that crate plus the crate with all of the kitchen stuff and the kids bikes, the stuff that we shipped to ourselves and the stuff we've bought since being here. That's a lot of stuff to have to pack, unpack and repack. Thanks but no thanks!

Then I was told that crate #1 would be delivered today...I wait and wait and wait and then I find out no it isn't going to arrive today. Apparently there's a snafu and they will have to go through ALL 10 crates and locate my stuff that belongs in crate #1. Am I angry? Not really, it's not these peoples fault that this happened. It was all supposed to be packed and crated properly back in South Dakota. Bummed out is more like it. It's caused me more stress than I care to let into my life. I felt like a kid at Christmas time waiting for the one special gift you had been hoping and praying for...only to find out that you got a package of socks. And that the socks weren't even your size. Big sigh!

I have a function to attend this evening and my heart just isn't in it right now.

Quote of the Day

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

London Bound

Today is the big day...the day I drive to the airport to pick up[ our son's friends Drew and Tyler. They are coming out here to visit us (Andrew really) and they came from Box Elder, South Dakota. I'm sure it's been quite the experience for them both. Tyler went to China last year so he has been far from home but this is the first time that Drew has been out of the country. I hope to be able to show all of the teenagers in my care a good time. Lots of terrific places to see and visit, it just picking out the highlights of the trip for them.

And as always my life would be just too simple if I only had 1 thing going on today. This evening is the British/American club meeting. My husband an I both get to attend this as he's now the base commander (until the AF finds a replacement O-6 for the position) and I'm the deputy's wife..which gets me a seat in this committee. Teenagers, meetings, base would be pretty dull without these things.

I'm off to get ready for the day- the pulled pork is ready all I have to do is to make the barbecue sauce for my authentic Texas style bbq pulled pork sandwiches (another recipe that will be in my cook book). I did mention that I'm writing a cook book right? Oh yeah you know's coming along slowly since my cookware has been "in transit". But it should be here tomorrow! Then I plan on getting to back to work on the cookbook!

Quote of the Day

All people want is someone to listen.
-Hugh Elliott

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

7 weeks and counting...

For weeks it's been a bit hectic around here. Military life is not always the "dream" career some think it is. There are many hardships and heartaches to deal with and over come, learning your way around a new area and of course there's the obvious...finding a church, getting the kids into new schools, finding a house which lucky for us, this time we were assigned a house so that issue was addressed right off the top. Then there's the little things like getting an orthodontist, dentist, finding someone who will cut your hair they way you like it, I could go on and on with the "little things". I've been here with my children for 7 weeks, and I've been kept busy with something nearly every day. There are days where things are a bit more "busy" than I would like them to be, but alas that's my life.

Last month while at a meeting on how to work better with spouses that have a deployed husband or wife we all did this "True Colors personality Test", I've included the link and I'm asking you to share with me your answers. There are 4 categories and you will be given a number score in each area. Apparently I was the only one to have a score like mine as the group of people that I was in -as most people have a high score in only one area. So here's how I scored on the test...

Gold 17 (loyal, responsible, conscientious, highly organized)

Blue 16 (a people person, optimistic, compassionate)

Green 10 (analytical, problem solvers)

Orange 7 (all about the moment, spontaneous and unorganized)

The lady giving us the test was going on about how we all have this ONE personality trait and I told her (in front of everyone) that I disagree with that, that people are more complex than that and I made a point to show them my score. She said that she's not seen that before...personally speaking I'm surprised that she hasn't. Maybe it's that people want to be seen more as the "gold" type which is highly organized and responsible. I know many "
green" types and even more orange types, LOL! So I'm on the border...where are you?

Quote of the Day

It really doesn't matter if the person who hurt you deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. You have things to do and you want to move on.
-Real Live Preacher, Weblog, July 7, 2003

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

run run run go go go

The past few days have been pretty hectic for me. Run, run, run, go, go, go, yup that's me!

I've been busy all morning long, back for a quick snack and back out the door again.
I'll fill in the details after I get back this afternoon.

Quote of the Day

Stupid is forever, ignorance can be fixed.
-Don Wood

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

today is a two for one quote special...enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Is it Monday already?

Happy Anniversary to us!
It's our
19th Wedding Anniversary!

Quote of the Day

To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.
-David Viscott

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Quote of the Day

I could not at any age be content to take my place in a corner by the fireside and simply look on.
-Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

one word "Busy"

I just realized that I never made a post word "busy". Doing the laundry has been a real issue here. The washing machine takes 30 minutes to fill up where my Duet front loading washing machine back in South Dakota would be done with an entire wash cycle in 30 minutes. I can only out in half as much clothing in this washing machine as I did in my Duet and well it's got me just a tab bit miffed. So now I'm trying to get a load of laundry done every day. I've not got the time nor the patience to hang out "waiting" for the washing machine to complete more than one cycle a day, LOL!

Today we're off to see something, don't know what yet but we're going to see "something" of England! I'll be back later to report on where we went and what we did :-)

Quote of the Day

Your travel life has the aspect of a dream. It is something outside the normal, yet you are in it. It is peopled with characters you have never seen before and in all probability will never see again. It brings occasional homesickness, and loneliness, and pangs of longing... But you are like the Vikings who have gone into a world of adventure, and home is not home until you return.

-Agatha Christie (1890 - 1976)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Quote of the Day

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.
-Mother Theresa (1910 - 1997)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Self Esteem

I'm the kind of person that likes to help others learn how to help themselves. It comes from the God's lesson of..."Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime". I like to help others build or rebuild self esteem. Everyone has it in themselves to be able to shine, to take pleasure in the simple things.

I've always had this drive to learn more about things. I'm not a professional student by any means (that's one who is always taking college courses but doesn't have a degree). What I am is someone who dives in and hits the books when she wants to know/learn more about something. I immerse myself in it! Like all of those chef classes I took while in South Dakota. Now I can cook circles around my friends...but the true joy is in teaching my friends how they can do it too! And it's because of all of that, I'm writing a cookbook :-)

One of my goals here is to have more interactive hands on classes available for those that wish to learn to do something, be it scrapbooking, card making, quilting, cooking, or learning to use your husbands power tools while he's deployed so you do that "do it yourself" work around the house. To gain self esteem through the completion of small tasks that you once thought were hard.

Take it one step at a time and you'll get there! Once the kids are back in school I plan to start teaching classes of all sorts!

Quote of the Day

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

This quote is for my friend Beth and all others who need a gentle reminder. I want you ALL to repeat this to yourselves every morning when you wake up! Because it's true you know, it's really true!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The laughter of children

I did bring my camera yesterday and I had every intention of taking pictures while my children were busy being fitted for their new school clothes. But alas I'm also a mother who has a heart, LOL!
We did laugh pretty darn hard at Hannah's antics while trying on her new gym clothes-the skirt and shorts thing she has to wear for PE is pretty darn funny! And lets not leave out my boy- Andrew will have to suffer with shorts that are indeed quite a bit shorter than what he is used to wearing (he does not like the fact that his knees are showing). I told the kids that "everyone" at their school is wearing the same thing so they can stop acting as if they are the only ones who feel silly wearing the new clothes- yes, my kids are dorks but I love them none the less. The really funny part is how there seems to be an outfit for everything- just what I want...more laundry, LOL!

After leaving the school with 3 huge bags crammed full of new school clothes for Hannah and a few meager pieces of gym clothes for Andrew, we left and went to have lunch at our favorite restaurant in Deddington- Pudding Face.

Here's Andrew being himself- he had us cracking up!

This isn't the best picture of Hannah, she's soaked from the rain and hair is still a wreck from trying on sooooo many articles of clothing. But we're here together laughing at one another and having fun being silly. The time I spent with my children was priceless!

Quote of the Day

"We have too many high sounding words and too few actions that correspond with them."
- Abigail Adams

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Freebie Fridays!

Go check out the Freebie Friday's at Adrienne's blog for MSE stamps!

out and about

Today the kids and I are driving out to Chipping Norton for Hannah's appointment for a school uniform fitting- now this should be interesting :-) I'm bringing my camera and I'm prepared for tons of laughing...on my side. Now Hannah, well I'm not too sure about her but I can only hope that she take it all in stride and is a good sport about things. But you all know how temperamental teenage girls can be. Wish me luck, LOL!

Quote of the Day

Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.
-Og Mandino (1923 - 1996)

Monday, August 03, 2009

I feel honored

I have received this award from Judith- please go take a peek at her blog- tons of crafty goodness going on there! There are oodles of other sites linked to her pages as well.

For me, working with fabrics and doing paper crafts is a stress reliever. I enjoy helping others to build their self esteem through small simple accomlipments- be it through paper crafting, cooking, gardening or simply through inspirational talks. Right now my sewing machines are in storage back in South Dakota and I need to buy one for the UK. My paper trimmers (I own 7 of them-why so many? I use them when I teach classes) are all in transit. I can kick myself for not having shipped one. I set one aside for me to ship to myself but the packing people got to it first and so I have to wait. I've looked at buying a paper trimmer more than once but so far I'm doing okay without one. Although I'd really like to get back into stamping and making my own greeting cards.

So today I decided I'm going to hunt up some of those half finished counted cross stitching kits and start working on them. I have more than one crafting habit...might as well kick it into gear and get over this feeling of boredom that overcomes me in the early morning hours.

So it's thanks to Judith and so many others that give me crafting inspiration!

The things that I do

I had someone question me here about my role in the military key spouse program on my blog and I hope that I was able to address their questions. I do not take my position as a key spouse and a key spouse mentor lightly. I am all too aware of domestic violence issues within the military. I'm also very aware of the suicide rates, the ratio of debt that some families have put themselves in and much more. I also review news briefings from the FDA, CDC, Health and Human Services and a few other agencies, and this from me- a woman who is not paid for her time. I have no ulterior motives in what I do, I am here to help people help themselves- no more no less.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Quote of the Day

"I would rather be able to appreciate things I can not have than to have things I am not able to appreciate."
-Elbert Hubbard

Christian Fellowship

Small gatherings with friends are simply the best! Our church congregation had a potluck brunch after Mass today. I loved how we're all involved in this- all of the parishioners take an active roll in helping out in church. Our congregation may be small, but it's one that is a close knit family welcoming new members with open arms with everyone helping one another out where they can.

I feel truly blessed to be a member of this small yet warm and loving Christian community. I thank the Lord for bringing my family here to England and to RAF Croughton and for the friendships that I am making here.

Quote of the Day

We are obliged to respect, defend and maintain the common bonds of union and fellowship that exist among all members of the human race.
-Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Happy August!

Quote of the Day

In reality, serendipity accounts for one percent of the blessings we receive in life, work and love. The other 99 percent is due to our efforts.
-Peter McWilliams