Monday, March 31, 2008

One day at a time ...

and eventually he'll be home.

On Sunday, March 30, 2008, Brian started his journey to Iraq. The day was wet, cold, and windy. They were to leave at 1000, so we got there a little after 0800 to unload and get ready for the luggage truck. Since he was leaving so early, we were all dressed for church, as we'd be able to make it to the morning service afterwards. Dressed for church means dressed nice, but doesn't mean it's the warmest ... as you can see!

Here, Brian Lee & Vincent are using these trees as a windbreaker, and Karah is huddled up in her blanket trying to keep her feet warm. (We went through and got rid of the things that were too small for her, so she doesn't have any warm church clothes or shoes now :-s )

The kids huddled around daddy and smiled for a picture. Notice the blue blanket Karah has now? One of the wives let her use it to stay warmer.

Me with Vincent in hand after he ran off - again. Yes, I know my coat is open and it's so cold out, but unfortunately, the zipper broke a few months ago and will not stay closed when zipped. brrrrr

We found out shortly before 1000 that the flight was pushed back so the truck & busses weren't going to be here until 1500 & 1600 respectively. After loading his stuff back in the vehicle, he helped get the other luggage put in a dry place (remember, it was wet and sprinkling). By the time we left it was almost 1100 so we went home and the first thing we did was change into some warm clothes! Sweats and long sleeved shirts kept us warm & comfy.

After eating, Brian finally decided to open his birthday presents. The first one he opened was the Transformers Monopoly. There he is with the board, then the children were looking intently as he was reading some of the special rules for this version.

The next thing opened was the Transformers chess.

The kids were very curious to see what the pieces looked like.

Decepticons (which I played)

Autobots (which Brian played)

Let the battle commence!

And the outcome of said battle? Stalemate. In this picture, it is Brian's turn to move. He's got a pawn and his king on the battlefield. The king is not currently in check, but any move he makes will put him in check as my queen and bishop(black) are guarding the area. It was a fun game.

Before anything was played, Brian gave the kids a choice: A) we can all play Transformers Monopoly for a little while or B) they can play Guitar Hero III while he & I play chess. They chose option B since they'd been begging us for some time and Brian had promised them he would let them play before he left. It wasn't my first choice for a game, but when we were at an MCCS warehouse "yard" sale, they had one for $10 (they retail for $90) - game & guitar. We were buying bedroom sets for the kids and figured why not. Brian had been wanting one and even if the guitar was broken it'd still be cheaper than buying the game by itself. Here's some pics of the kids playing.

After we were done playing, I traced Brian's hand on white cardstock and then outlined it in black marker. He then colored them in and wrote a little note for the kids. They had done the same thing on the back of the cards they made for him.

Here are the kids with their very own DaddyHand, so if they miss him, they can "hold his hand". We got sheet protectors to put them in so they'd stay nicer. See how Brian personalized each one? Karah's is a pink palm with purple fingers and a flower (very girly just like her), Vincen's is green fingers and a brown palm with hexagons (he's on the turtle team at school and is all about turtles), and Brian Lee's is a red palm w/black spider and blue fingers (a long time fan of Spiderman). The kids absolutely loved them!

Well, playtime was over, it was time to go back. A few minutes after we go there the luggage truck arrived.

While the bags were being loaded, our truck was being unloaded - of children. They climed over the back and got out via a daddy hug. It actually started with Vincent, but you know if one does it they all want to do it too. And they did!

Vincent with a nice smile and big hug for daddy

Brian Lee got to be taller than daddy!

Karah looking very cute with her arm around her daddy
Once the bags were loaded, it was time for formation to do roll call and find out what bus they'd be on. Now with all these guys in desert digis, how do we know which one is Brian/daddy? By the Mountain Dew bottle, of course!
While Daddy was in formation, I was able to get a good picture of the kids. Notice the hats? We were smart this time around and dressed much warmer (layers, hats, coats, gloves, closed-toe-shoes)
After the formation, Brian got bombarded with hugs (not that he was complaining). I was able to get the kids to turn around for a last smiling picture with daddy.
We were able to get one of his Marines to take a few pictures of us saying our goodbyes.
And the walk to the bus starts ...

One last quick hug before he gets on the bus (Vincent is on the other side of Karah)
There he is, getting on the bus (I know it's blurry, but it's all I have)
I took several, but this one turned out the best (with the least reflection of the trees in the window). He's waving goodbye

While waiting for them to leave, this lady from the USO was handing out stuffed animals to the children that were there.
Here they are with their gifts. When we got home, I sprayed them with Brian's cologne so they now have their snuggle buddy that smells like daddy.

The final wave as the bus pulls away ...

Yesterday (3-31-08), Brian was able to call us from a stop in Ireland. We were at walmart at the time, so the kids were able to talk to him too. There were some delays initially, but so far it seems that everything is going okay. This morning(4-1-08) he called from Kuwait and said they should only have one flight left to get to their final destination. That could always change, of course. His biggest complaint? - he'd really like to take a shower! He's always been one that likes to stay clean ... and he's been in the same clothes now since Sunday morning (minus a 3 1/2 hr break).

If you would like his address to send him anything, please feel free to email me and I will give you his mailing address.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Precious in His sight

I am so thankful that God saves any who believe in His name, no matter the age. Karah accepted Christ as her Saviour a couple of years ago close to Christmas time. Brian Lee made his profession of faith a couple of weeks ago at church. Today, they both followed Christ's example by being baptized. Since I knew the camera wouldn't be quick enough I just recoreded it instead. Please enjoy the videos, and also please pray for them that they would grow in Christ and endeaver to be like Him.

Karah's Baptism

Brian Lee's Baptism

The past few days

As we've been trying to enjoy these last few days with Brian, life has been going on as usual. Here's a few of the things we've been doing.

Here are the kids on the way home after church on Wednesday. It was a late night, can you tell?

Vincent receiving his marbles beltloop at his pack meeting on Thursday. They were having something special for the Webelos aftwerwards, hence the Indian chief?

After boy scouts, we had dinner at Fuddrucker's. Here the kids are raising their hands, agreeing to clean their rooms if I let them stay home from school the next day. And they really did cean their rooms!

Friday's snack they had fruit roll ups that had designs for the tongue. Here they are showing them off.

Today, Karah's girl scout troop went to the ceramic hobby shop to work on a try-it. She painted a welcome sign that will be really pretty one ist's been glazed and fired.

Here are the kids making cards for daddy to take with him when he leaves. They had fun designing them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Things that go bump in the night ... er, evening

I did have a different title until something happened to make me change it. Here's what I had before that event.

Today at Girl Scouts, they had a mid-year awards ceremony. Karah earned five try-its (they did more but she already had them), got a patch for caroling and Operation Cookie Drop, a certificate for perfect attendance, and a certificate for being the 3rd top cookie seller in her troop. The girls also all got a rose, and the little yellow box was for the parents (chocolate!). Afterwards we were able to eat the goodies the parents brought.

Now on to that title. I was on here attempting to write on my blog and Brian was channel surfing. The kids were in bed. All of a sudden, we heard a strange noise, almost like something popped and/or fell down. Well, I jumped, grabbed his arm, and held on for dear life! We got up, and he peered in the kitchen, but left the lights off, then he went on the back porch and looked out. Nothin'. So I went and locked the patio door (which he later laughed at me for) and then locked the back door. I noticed the lid of the trash can was up and thought maybe the cat had reached up and hit the button. He's a big cat, after all. "Nope", Brian said "'cause it would've made a different noise."

Well shucks! Then he said it sounded almost like ice breaking / falling. So I open the freezer. Nothin' again. I open the fridge ... AHA! But what was it? At first it was hard to tell, because a couple of McDonald's cups had fallen over, but here it is ... the guilty party.

It was a can of Caffine Free Diet Pepsi, leftover from when Brian's parents were visiting. It had gotten moved to the back, and thanks to one of the children (probably Vincent - he has a track record) the temperature setting was on "coldest". As you can tell from the picture, the can exploded. Hence the popping sound and breaking / falling ice sound. Do you like how it just split the can in half?

Now I had planned on giving the house (fridge included) a good cleaning once Brian was gone. For one, I want to spend as much time with him as I can, and two, I'm going to need something to do to occupy my days! Guess fridge cleaning came a few days early.

So what is the moral of this story?

Send your parent's drinks with them when they leave? OR Tell your children to keep away from the temperature control? OR Keep canned drinks away from the back of the fridge?