Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas is going up!

Christmas is nearly here! 

The Christmas tree went up the week before Thanksgiving this year, though the ornaments were not put on until the day before Thanksgiving.  Put some Christmas lights out on the bushes in the front yard, wreath up, stockings hung by the chimney with reckless abandon, ornaments "tossed" into bowls and hurricane lamps, and poinsettias painted and put out.

Painted?  Yes.  Did you know you can paint poinsettias, even most all flowers?  Apparently they have special floral spray paint and spray glitter just for such sparkly occasions.  Why weren't WE privy to this useful info?  So today I hit up the fabulous nursery up the road from the house and picked out two perfectly sized white poinsettias, and had them lightly sprayed with blue and iridescent glitter.  They look great!  I promise - pics of all my Christmas will be posted soon.  First I'd like to get our garland hung up on the stair rails.  Hoping to do that tomorrow!

Presents are about 50% purchased and wrapped in coordinating papers, though my youngest still presents a problem.  So hard to buy for her these days!

Hope your Christmas decorating is going well!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm still alive! I think...

Things have been non-stop here lately, and I've not had the time to even think about the blog!

We got my fabulous husband off on the official deployment, followed by a wonderful visit with family that came for a few days on their way to a trip of a lifetime.  They spent a few weeks driving up the East coast hitting all the beautiful spots they could on the way.  Can you tell I'm envious?

So, hubby off, family in, then... cue the music - dum, da-dum dum, DUM!  Gator Clubs.  No, I'm not a Florida fan.  I do like alligators.  I have a weird thing about alligators, in fact.  They intrigue me.  But no, Gator Clubs is an after school program at my daughter's elementary school.  Somehow, by fluke, misunderstanding, or dastardly deed, I was one of two put in charge of organizing the entire thing.  This means that a fellow volunteer and myself came up with a new record of 14 clubs, consisting of 308 elementary kids.  I've literally been working on Gator Club stuff for the last month, from around 8 a.m. to sometimes 2 and 3 o'clock in the morning.  It's been non-stop, but the kids are all excited by the clubs and having a ball, so it's worth every second.  Or so I keep telling myself.

Hubs had a port call over the weekend, and we got to reconnect via Skype.  It was great to see and talk with him!  He's doing well, but misses the food served on the Roosevelt on his last cruise.  Is it sad that he doesn't miss MY cooking, but that of some random cook from 7 years ago?

Meanwhile, I'm off.  Time to go print out new rosters in preparation for Thursday's clubs.  Oh joy! :-)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back again, hubby leaving - again?

The last month or so has been unbelievably busy!

As you may remember, my fabulous husband left back in mid-July for an 8 month deployment.  Since we were missing him, we packed up the SUV (1 driver + 2 kids + 1 rottweiler + 22 hour drive = this trip isn't happening again for a LONG time!) and headed back to our home town in Oklahoma for a couple of weeks.  Enjoyed some much needed time with family before finding out that deployment would be delayed, and the guys were coming back.  ????  Yup - fabulous husband came back during the 2nd week of August.  :-) 

Since then, we've been busting our humps trying to get dozens of projects finished before the new deployment date, which is later this week.  So far we've cleared out even more of the trees from the backyard, creating an honest-to-God YARD!  Moved a shed, destroyed a moldy tree house, cleaned out the gutters, powerwashed the house, worked on the kitchen island, small repairs and fixes around the house, finished and started several new projects for the squadron, dealt with canceling DIRECTV (can anyone say "fiasco"?), installing Dish Network, back-to-school shopping, and finally (this morning) school! 

We also managed to squeeze in a whirlwind trip to Orlando to visit the Harry Potter park (my family of 4, plus a spare teen and my mother).  My oldest daughter is obsessed with Harry Potter, as was the friend she took with her.  Let's put it this way, between the two they took over 400 pictures of Hogsmeade.  They started off with a impromptu tour by 2 lovely "British" characters, which culminated with both kids hoping up and down like Denis the Menace on speed on a super-charged pogo stick.  Most fun to watch were the teary eyes, massive smiles, awestruck faces, and at least one instance of one teen burying her head into the other's shoulder crying "it's just too much to comprehend!!!!".  Pics to follow, if I can figure out how to upload them from the new camera...

So now we're on the countdown again for cruise - this time thankfully only a 6 month deployment.  Wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tackling deployment...

Fab husband headed out last week on deployment, and we're still getting used to the idea of him being gone for SO long.  But we're all coping well, and having some fun to keep from dwelling on the fact that we already miss him like crazy!

Since my last post, we've been busy!  Shon was determined to get a few household projects going before he left (I think he likes leaving in chaos), as well as projects for the squadron's ready room on the carrier.  During the 2 weeks before he left, he built a kitchen island (doors and drawers will be added later, and I'll be painting it to match our white cabinets soon), we finally removed / sanded / stained all the banisters to match the wood flooring we installed last year, he welded together a bunch of metal into a massive 12' desk for the ready room, and finished it off in gorgeous birch stained two-tone, and he finished up the big flooring project for the ready room.  Pics of all done for the boat will be coming soon, I hope, and pics of the house will be coming soon as well.  He also bought a car for our oldest daughter - more on that below.

Before he left, we also enjoyed a wonderful visit from my sister-in-law, 8 month old nephew, and mother-in-law.  It was so much fun having a baby in the house again!  He was so adorable, and we joke that we miss my nephew more than we miss my husband.  It was great fun to watch him zip around the house in his walker, dropping food as he went, dog following behind anxious for the little treats.  Love that little guy!

Since Shon has been gone, we've gone to see Despicable Me (I knew better going to a movie that particular day - I slept through almost the entire thing, but the kids loved it); rented 4 or 5 movies, swam in the pool, had adult friends over twice and kid friends daily, scrubbed the entire house clean, painted the porch rails, and practiced driving.

So now a little about the car.  Shon will miss our daughter's 16th birthday.  He's missed all but one of her birthdays in the last 10 years or so because of the military.  He's always felt terrible about it, but none could be avoided.  He really wanted to make it up to her in advance for missing such an important birthday, so he decided we'd buy her a car.  We'd originally talked about matching the money she saved, and then financing the rest on an inexpensive car.  Then emotion won out against plans and logic, and he bought her a 2007 VW beetle in Salsa Red.  I just love saying that: Salsa Red.  He went all out, too.  Car only has 23,000 miles on it, under warranty, sunroof, heated leather seats.  This car has serious zip. 

Shon surprised Ashlee with it the same day she passed her permit test.  Needless to say, she was stoked, and surprisingly terrified to drive it (though she had no problems driving my monstrous SUV).  So we've been practicing her driving VERY late at night when there are fewer cars on the road.  What can I say?  She's a teenager who stays up until 2 every morning, then wakes up at noon, and I don't sleep much when Shon is away.  Perfect match.  Our youngest rides in the backseat - awake at first, then asleep about halfway into our practices.  The driving last night was the best Ashlee's ever done.  She's getting good, and last night was the first time on "open road" where I wasn't convinced we were all going to crash.

Off for now.  Ashlee is finally up, so it's time to decide what to do for the day.  :-)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Counting down the days...

We finally got my fabulous husband back for a few weeks, but now we're counting down the days until he leaves on his actual deployment.  14 days.  We're all trying to keep positive and enjoy what family time we can with him. 

Unfortunately, he was put in charge of redesigning the squadron's ready room, so he's been busy with welding / building a new massive desk and final touches on his flooring project.  In case I've not mentioned that on here before, fabulous husband built his own CNC machine a few years back, and broke it out again to do a tile inset for the ready room.  It's the squadron's logo cut out of appropriately colored vinyl floor tiles (what the squadron had to use).  The entire thing measures 5' x 5', and has taken months so far.  Now he only has a week or so until the packout to finish up the finer details, piece it all together like a puzzle, and epoxy it all together into one big piece.

On a lighter note, yesterday was the 4th of July - our favorite holiday (aside from Christmas - I'm a Christmas fanatic) - and was the 19th anniversary of the night we met.  :-) 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Me casa su casa...

In case I've not mentioned it, I love to decorate.  Love.  It.  Seriously.  If I had unlimited funds, my house would be my own version of "da bomb".  As it is, we're on a single income, and we buy or fix up things in spurts and stages. 

Since we bought the house in October of '08 we've done a lot of work to fix it up.  Seriously.  And being cheap and being us, we did most everything ourselves (i.e., handy dandy husband).  So here is a list of what we've done:

* painted the shutters and doors
* replaced exterior light fixtures
* removed the gross old landscaping and replaced with new
* cleared out a TON of brush from the back/side yard (and had LOTS of poison ivy!)
* installed a split rail / black chain-length fence
* installed a new privacy fence across the front
* ripped out the old linoleum from the kitchen and replaced with travertine
* removed all the carpet and old wood flooring downstairs and replaced with exotic hardwood
* more travertine - in the guest bath this time
* painted the kitchen cabinets and added new hardware
* built a kitchen island
* installed counter tops and new sink and fixtures in the kitchen
* all new appliances
* added LED under/over cabinet lighting
* installed recessed lighting
* installed wood blinds on 14 windows
* installed 6 ceiling fans
* painted nearly every room
* new chandelier in dining room
* installed crown molding throughout the living room, kitchen, breakfast nook and foyer
* replaced the front porch rails
** had someone install gutters for us. 

Geesh, I'm tired just from the LIST!

Anyway, I finally found artwork for my living room, which I posted the other day.  Between getting that hung and some gorgeous silver candlesticks from Pottery Barn, I can officially call my living room DONE!

Here's a shot of it.  I totally had to black out the television screen.  I happened to snap my shot during a colon health commercial, and we so don't want a pic of that on the site now, do we?  As with all the pics here on Call Sign, you can click for a larger view!  :-)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gone again... Final work-up before cruise.

So... fabulous husband left again last weekend for his final work-up before the big cruise, and life has been filled with kids parties, trips to the newly joined YMCA, and general yard work and house cleaning. 

I've gotten into the can't-sleep-at-night phase again.  On his one and only other deployment I did this - I get up at normal times in the mornings (such as for school mornings), but then lay in bed for hours wide awake.  Last night, er, this morning I didn't fall asleep until sometime after 4:30.  That's a.m. folks.  In good news, I did manage to complete about 90% of the sky in my nature puzzle.  Yeah, I'm weird and like puzzles.

I did work on the house some this week, and helped a friend out with painting her kitchen.  I even managed to find what I hope are the perfect pieces of artwork for above the couch.  Found them in the Exchange Home Decor catalog.  Page 3.  They look really nice both in the catalog and online, so we'll see how they look in real life soon.  Here's a sneak peek at the image, grabbed from online:

Also joined the local YMCA this past week.  I think some people have the wrong impression about the Y.  I grew up with the impression that it was more a place for underprivileged inner-city youth to hang out.  Turns out, many of the places are in excellent neighborhoods, and feature state-of-the-art facilities.  Ours is pretty incredible, complete with rock-climbing wall, giant pools with slides for the kids (and the kids at heart), and even digitized work-out equipment.  Yup, that's right - you enter your ID number into each machine, and it tells you on a digital display when you've completed the full range of motion, number of reps, and how much weight you're currently utilizing.  Even tells you what machine to do next.  I'm loving it, and really want to get some weight off before the end of this cruise, which happens to come around the same week as our 18th wedding anniversary.  Yes, I married young, but that's another post.  :-)

So I'm off for now.  I've got a squadron thing to go to this afternoon, and I need to get my fabulous lime squares made.  And try not to eat them.  This self control / willpower thing sucks!