Category Archives: ♦♦Kid Experiences♦♦

The Final Countdown

In less than 60 hours, I will be in my new office starting a new phase of my life. I found out yesterday that I already have an e-mail address at my new job, and I haven’t even started yet.   I’m pretty excited to be back in the workforce but hope I don’t stress out about the house.  I have been running it full-time for the past 18 years, so it’s gonna be hard.  But then again, I may be too exhausted to notice the laundry is piling up or the dishes haven’t been washed in days.  We shall see.
The past couple of weeks have been great to have before I begin on Monday. I drove “home” to Gulf Breeze/Pensacola and then spent a couple of days on the beach with my sister, her 2 boys, my mom, and my youngest son. We watched about 6 different fireworks shows from the balcony of our condo on July 4th.  My daughter and her grandmother drove up to New York for the week to visit a friend.  They are on their way home today after stopping in DC yesterday. My daughter has never been there and wanted to see the monuments, etc. I think she has enjoyed having my mother-in-law to herself for a few days, but I will be glad when she is home to spend my last couple of days of “freedom” with her!  My husband and oldest son stayed home where they worked on preparations for building our new house.  The land is cleared and leveled and the foundation should be poured pretty soon (yay!).
My oldest son hit another milestone yesterday when he bought his first car, a 1999 Chevy Cavalier. It looks like a great first car.  At least it was manufactured after he was born.  My first car was 15 years older than I was, but it was pretty cool, a 1955 red Plymouth Savoy.  My dad was in an antique car phase and also bought a 1955 pink and white Ford Crown Victoria, a 1962 aqua and white Chevy Nova, and a 1969 Mercedes-Benz.  I got to drive them all while I was in high school; my friends never knew which car I was going to show up to school in.

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Another Anniversary

Amazingly, a year ago today we moved into our new (temporary) house here in Florida.  Moving to a new place always distracts me. I have to unpack, learn a new city, make new friends, get into a new routine, etc. This move has been different in that we weren’t able to unpack everything because we are building a new house – our final dream house. We are in a house, but it just isn’t quite big enough for all of the wonderful things we’ve collected over the years. So, we built a garage on our new property which is packed full of many things I miss on occasion but I know I will see again one day.

I continued blogging when we moved here last year, but somehow things distracted me more and more, and I stopped.  And soon I will have a huge distraction – I will start a full-time job in 2 weeks.  I haven’t worked full time in a very long time.  Since we moved so often with the military, we decided that I would stay home with the kids – which began 18 years ago when our oldest son was born.  I had part-time work here and there, mainly when the kids were in school. 

I can’t believe it has actually been a whole year.  And so much has happened, and I did not blog about it.  To pick up from last fall’s blog, the kids of course continued to their next sports:  soccer, basketball, and soccer and my oldest earned MVP for the season.  My sister and her family came and spent Thanksgiving week with us – that was a wild week with 9 people in our house.  I decided to try out a little volunteer work and became the secretary of the Fort White Middle and High School PTO.  I also decided to start a bunco group with my mil and sil and are slowly getting a group of us together once a month.  It is a lot of fun to take a break from life and goof off a bit.

The new year started at the county science fair where my youngest won overall best of fair for middle school; he then went to regionals a month later and won the same thing.  Spring sports were baseball, track and field, and track and field.  All 3 lettered in the varsity sports they played, even my youngest as a 7th grader in track and field – he was so excited.  In March, I became the mother of 3 teenagers when my youngest turned 13.  He is nearly 6′ 2″ tall and may act like he’s 13 but looks nothing like it.  During this whole time period, I searched for jobs and interviewed for 3.  The day before my 40th birthday in April, I applied for one last job before my sisters and mother surprised me with a visit from their homes in Arizona and Louisiana.  They all flew in and arrived at my oldest’s baseball game with balloons and presents in hand.  The biggest surprise was that they had arranged for the 4 of us to go on a weekend cruise.  It was awesome! 

A month and a half later, I received a phone call for an interview at a local college for the position I had applied for the day before my birthday.  I spent an entire day interviewing with 6 different people.  I was told it would probably be 2 weeks before they’d make a decision – less than a week later, they called and asked if I’d like to join the team.    The best part of it all, is that my boss-to-be is on vacation, so I don’t start for another 2 weeks.  So I’ve had the chance to wrap things up around the house that I’ve been putting off, and I also get to spend time with my mother, who flew back in a month ago to spend part of the summer with us.

Many other things have happened over the past 8 months or so (we discovered my youngest has a freckle on one of his eyes, my daughter got her learner’s permit and is now taking driver’s ed, my oldest graduated from high school and got a partial scholarship to college, my kids earned straight A’s all year – except one B one semester from my youngest, our Corgi was hit by a car and died a week before his first birthday, we adopted a sweet abandoned American Bulldog puppy who fought parvovirus, and we are adopting another Corgi in a couple of weeks who is the half sister of our first one.)

And life goes on …

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Welcome to “Florida” Fall

Well, we had a bit of a change in temperature when fall officially hit last week – 50-degree temps in the morning.  It was a wee bit chilly for this southern girl, and I had to put on a sweater to go out at 7:30 in the morning to feed the animals and get the newspaper.  But by mid-day, it was back up in the 80’s! … Welcome to “Florida” Fall!

We have been non-stop since school started.  The oldest started practicing with the football team just about the time our feet hit the ground when moving here in July.  He lasted through the first 4 games of the season with less than 10 plays total among the games.  Since he didn’t grow up here and was instead being moved around the world with a military father, he is not as well-known here and hasn’t been playing with these kids here, so …  He is a senior and does not need to be standing on the sidelines as there is no “Next year” as the coaches seem to use as the typical excuse when asked by a parent whose kid just stands during lots of games.  So, he switched to cross country and is loving it especially since he is in every play 🙂  He’s trying to better his 5k time from Virginia last year and is getting very close.

Our daughter was recruited by the volleyball team and is playing her first year on the JV team.  She has learned a lot, as have I – the rules have changed a lot since I was in school – and has improved in the short time she’s been on the team.  Her height has been a big factor in some success; but it’s her confidence that is always good to see after being confused at times in the beginning.

The youngest finally got the football position he has always wanted – quarterback.  He’s got such a strong arm, however, that his middle school teammates can’t always catch his passes.  So he’s having to learn to adjust some.  We’ve got one month left with the fall sports season, and then we get to find out what they’ll want to do in the winter.

I am feeling a bit more settled especially since all the boxes IN the house have been unpacked, but then we still have a corner in our garage (covering about 1/4 of the floor) stacked with boxes that I haven’t even looked in.  So that is my next project.  I hope that my master bathroom towels are in there; we’re using guest towels, but I miss the ones that match our ensemble.  Not that my husband could give a hoo-ha, but I am one of those OCD (CDO) people that like certain things in their places. 

This weekend is a rare one – and that is why I am finding time to blog – in that none of the kids had a game yesterday or today, and no one HAS to be anywhere in particular.  I am loving it!  But I am thinking of all the things I didn’t get completed last week – making an appointment with the vet (the dog needs some shots, a couple of weeks ago), calling the eye doctor for my youngest who is saying he can’t see the board in some class rooms (ugh!), balancing the checkbook (6 months in arrears – I’ve never been that far behind!), etc.  But for now, I will breathe and watch some college football and enjoy my family on this wonderful Florida Fall day!

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One Year Anniversary

Wow.  I started this blog 365 days ago.   It’s interesting to look back and see what we did over the past year.  I didn’t write much in the past couple of months as we have been settling in here in our new home in Florida.  We’ve been here 2 months now.  And we are learning how to live in the country.  We got our first real pets – we’ve had fish over the years – but now we have a puppy and two mares.  The dog has become a member of the family; he’s just too cute.  And we are gradually learning how to take care of horses.  We are hoping to ride them soon, but it’s been a while, so I’m taking it slowly. 

The kids started school last week and are trying to find their places in yet another new school.  Our oldest joined the football team over the summer before school started so got a jump-start on making new friends.  Since this is his senior year, I’m glad he was able to do that.  Our daughter joined the volleyball team when school started and is learning the in’s and out’s of another new sport.  Our youngest  joined the middle school football team and may be our quarterback.  I am really looking forward to seeing them play ball this fall.  I love to watch my kids play.

My husband got a job at the middle school as an 8th grade math teacher.  He is finding it to be more challenging than he first thought.  It is much different than the 28 years he did in the military.  I am also trying to find my place here as well.  I thought that I would already be looking for a job, but it has worked out that it’s been good that I am still at home.  I actually have not quite gotten the house unpacked as we are waiting for our house-builders to repair/finish a few things that weren’t complete when we moved in.  Things like no shelves in our kitchen pantry, rips in the wall paper, legs missing on the stove, holes in the linoleum, and scratches on the counter tops have held me up from unpacking some boxes.  I just got a call that they are finally coming tomorrow to take care of these things – 2 months after we moved in.

Happy Anniversary to me.  Happy “New” Year to all.

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Comings and Goings

We start packing out in 12 days; that’s less than 2 weeks.  Yesterday we loaded up our Sequoia because my husband needed to go back down to Florida to do the final walk-through inspection on our new house.  Water and electricity should be up and running before the weekend is over.  He’s also put in an application for a job, so he wanted to be there in person to check on that.  There are things the moving company will not pack and things we don’t want them to pack – too many broken or missing items in previous moves – so he took some of that down with him. 

So, another week alone with the kids.  They are not out of school til next Thursday, so I still have my days to myself to get ready for the move.  I’m also trying to keep a regular routine going with working out, blogging, etc., but I know that some of that will have to be put on a back burner for a couple of weeks while we are packing, cleaning, travelling, and unpacking.

The kids keep going back and forth on their feelings about moving.  In general, they are excited.  We are going to be closer to lots of family.  We aren’t going to move again (well, except down the street when our final house is built).  We’ll be in Florida, where they were all 3 born and my husband and I were raised.  They can go watch the UF Gators sports teams live just about anytime they want to. 

Last night, however, our oldest son started to back-track and say he isn’t looking forward to the move as much.  I think some of that has to do with his girl friend of a year and a half.  She is the first person he’s ever gone out with, and they’ve had each other’s friendship for the past 2 school years.  I can understand his feelings.  Our daughter and youngest son have made a few good friends but no best friends.  They are used to leaving friends behind and stay in touch with several through e-mail and Facebook now.  As with all of our moves, we try to make it as easy a transition as we can.  I know as they are getting older, that it is getting harder, though.  I am glad that this will be our last military move.  We really have been lucky to have been stationed in so many great places.  The things we’ve seen and experienced most people wish for.  But now it’s our time to pass the torch.  My husband officially retired Monday morning at 12:01 am.  We just happened to be up watching the women’s college softball world series, so I was able to congratulate him and give him a little retirement gift. 

I wasn’t there when he joined the military 27 years ago yesterday.  He served in the Army Reserves for 7 1/2 years during high school and college.  After graduating, he decided he wanted to fly for the military, and the Navy recruited him.  Lucky for me, the Army didn’t have any slots for commissioned aviator officers at the time, and he went to Pensacola for Navy flight school.  We met about a month after he arrived, and here we are today, 19 years later, with 3 wonderful children.  I am so proud of my husband;  of his 44 years, 27 1/2 have been serving his country.  He was also an Army brat his first 12, so most of his life all he’s known is the military.  Here’s to his (and our family’s) smooth adjustment to civilian life – or maybe I should be saying, “Watch out everyone; here we come!”

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News Flash from Japan

Continued from my earlier post Our First Overseas Adventure:  Japan 2000 (part 10).

“4/8/01  Hello, Home, I always debate as to whether I am going to tell everyone what is going on because things change so much in the Navy; you never know if things will turn out the way you want or expect.  On that note, I am going to tell you what our current situation is and what we are trying to do.  I found out last month that there is an O-4 with orders to replace me in June of this year.  That means that I have an opportunity to leave here 6 months early.  There are advantages and disadvantages to this, and initially I did not want to leave because after June I would get to spend the whole summer with SR and the kids.  I didn’t want to roll straight from here, zip through the Fleet Replacement Squadron (helicopter training) and then right back out to sea.  That would also change when I went to San Diego and make it so that I would be flying H-46’s…bad.  Well, our Air Boss made a suggestion that I couldn’t believe; he said, ‘Well, why don’t you just go to the Wing in San Diego and help them set up the H-60 (the Navy’s Army Blackhawk) program?’ It is too good to be true.  The ship is behind my early release, and I have talked to the detailer (the guy who writes my orders), and he is going to try to make it happen.  Here is the plan:  Detach from Sasebo July 20 and go straight to Florida for 30 days leave en route.  We would spend the summer visiting (SR would also like to see her mom and sisters) as well as going to Pensacola to check out the house.  Following leave we would go to the Wing in San Diego until January 21, 2002.  Then I would learn to fly H-60’s for 5 months and then go to Guam.  We could take 30 days leave on the way to Guam if we wanted to.  We’ll see – you know how things went last time we tried to go to San Diego.  I am trying to check into NAS North Island in Coronado before school starts there so that the kids would get a whole year there before going to Guam.  This is great because it doesn’t change my timeline and I still get to fly 60’s.  This hasn’t happened yet, so I can’t get my hopes up, but this is a nice alternative to staying here and going to sea in the fall.  In other news, things here are great.  I love being back with SR and the kids, and once again have fallen into the coaching role (if only for two weeks).  Yesterday, Jay’s base team played against the Japanese team he used to be on.  It was a very good game even though the Japanese team won 12 to 6.  Jay pitched the last half of the game and allowed only 2 runs.  He is a thinker and threw some amazing trash at those poor kids.  Our first pitcher throws much faster than Jay, but he is 12 and about twice his weight.  He also throws the ball in the same place every time.  Jay, on the other hand, had them swinging at balls that landed ten feet out in front of them and then watched strikes go by.  In one case I told him to look out for one of their batters (their best player hitter who hit a home run off of the first pitcher), so Jay threw him four balls.  He could have ben a little less obvious, but it was funny.  One ball must have gone 20 feet in the air!  Mr DL and Lulu are on the same team… the Angels.  SR loves it and is so proud that her team is doing well (especially since some of the parents are starting to complain about the crummy coaching of the first team they were on).  I think she is doing a great job.  Mr. DL is having a blast, and all he wants to do now is play catch and hit balls off of the tee.  Lulu is having fun too and is getting a little more caught up in the game because the poor girl is outnumbered especially now that SR is coaching.  I am on watch now and it has been a busy night.  It is time to go to sleep, so I will bid you goodnight.  G8r”

“6/25/01  I hope you liked the e-mail from Jay.  We had a fantastic time on that golf course, and he loved the fact that I lost more balls than he did.  We finally received orders and are slated to depart here in early August.  I really enjoyed reading your e-mails about the farm and how the hay season is going.  It makes me miss home, and I can’t wait to get back there.  That doesn’t mean that we aren’t having fun here though.  The Japanese are some of the nicest people I have ever dealt with.  I see where they can be incredibly frustrating when you can’t speak the language, but my Japanese has really improved since I got back.  I love watching the looks on their faces when I start talking to them.  They generally light up and smile although a couple of times they have just laughed because I used the wrong word (just a couple of times).  I saw a comedy routine once where a young Chinese guy steps onto the stage and starts talking with a wicked Tennessee accent.  Sometimes I wonder if that’s how I come across.  Oh well, we are having fun, and I am going to try to schedule a trip to Mount Fuji before we leave.  G8r”

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Baseball and Blessings in Japan

Continued from my earlier post Our First Overseas Adventure:  Japan 2000 (part 8).

“1/10/01  (to G8r’s parents) On January 7 we went with the Sasebo baseball team to the Hachiman Shrine to be ‘blessed.’  We had a 10:00 reservation and got the whole show.  We all walked into the shrine area in front of an alter/stage and stairway to where the spirits come down.  It was open behind us and the termperature was quite cold so luckily we were bundled up.  The priest came out and prayed to a stick covered with white paper strips that was standing in the corner.  Then he picked up the stick, shook the paper at a small baby then at some businessman and then at the baseball team.  After that he sat down and a girl did some sort of a dance with some bells while another girl beat on a Japanese drum.  I know I am not going into great detail but it was fairly simple and this is about it.  Describing this makes me wonder about how a Japanese person might describe our communion ceremony.  After the bell girl finished, we all drank about a milliliter of sake out of a dish and we were done.  The kids all say ‘Hi!’ and miss you.  I leave to go out to sea on Monday the 15th.  I’ll be in and out for the next five months.  Love, G8r”

“3/31/01  Hello, Home, I thought you would like this.  SR has volunteered to coach Lulu and Mr DL’s tee-ball team.  Lulu and Mr DL were originally on another team, but SR didn’t care for the coach’s attitude.  When Mr DL showed up with his helmet the coach told him he couldn’t wear it.  She said that he had to wear one of the ratty old issued ones.  Well,…that wasn’t a good start for Mr DL or SR.  Things went down hill from there and culmintaed in SR sending me an e-mail about how upset whe was.   The next day she found out that there was another team that needed a coach so she decided to jump right in again.  I am looking forward to helping her, but I know she will do great because of all the time she spent helping me.  It’s really all about stickers and letting the kids have fun anyway.  Last week I received an e-mail from the Commodore of Helicopter Tactical Wing Pacific informing me that he was happy that I was going to Guam.  It was nice to receive something that personal from someone so high up.  We pull back into Sasebo next week for two weeks before going down to Australia.  It sounds neat but I am forgetting what home is like.   More later…  Love, G8r”

“3/30/01  Hey, G8r, Just a couple more days!  Let me know when you are going to be able to get off the ship.  We got our uniforms for the t-ball team before practice yesterday.  We are the Hario Angels.  So, I have Angels in the Outfield!  I went on line and found the Anaheim Angels’ website and got the team logo and made up labels with the kids’ names and put them on their shirts.  So, I had those to hand out first thing at practice, and all of the kids immediately put on their shirts and hats.  I know all but 2 kids (mostly from teaching at the school); that is nice to already know them and what to expect from them.  We have a few hyper kids and a few that are really shy.  Most are really happy kids.  First thing, we ran around the bases a couple of times to get them calmed down so I could talk to them.  The I showed them how to run through 1st, and they each did that.  Then I put all but one in the in-field, Jay at first, and they each pretended to bat and run to 1st while I threw the ball out to the fielders.  The runner tried to beat the ball to Jay at 1st.  The I line them up to show them how to stand at first going to 2nd.  That’s about all I could get them to do with the bases yesterday, so I then lined them up across from one another and had them roll grounders to one another.  Then I went over some rules with them which probably went over their heads; I also had typed something up and passed it out to the parents so they would know what the refs would be calling during the games.  It is a lot less structured than Florida.  No strikes, all 13 players play in the field (extras play in the outfield), no score kept, etc.  I have some initial ideas about some positions; I am going to have them take the field and have them rotate as batters and practice batting and base-running at the next practice.  I am hoping I can get several parents to help them at the bases.  We will work on run-through and turn and look, although that may come later in the season and most will need to be looking at the 1st base coach’s signal.  Lulu went on a field trip with her Brownie troop today to Hirado Island.  Mr DL and Jay and I are going out to the field now to play around.  Mr DL want s to hit off of the T.  See you soon, SR”

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