Friday, August 29, 2008

we are back in the states...

We made it safe and sound.
Running around like crazy trying to get school enrollment completed, a refrigerator bought, etc...
.
More later as I am at the library using the computer (our modem did not get delivered by Cincinnati Bell???)...and the girls are hungry:)
Back out into the NASTY, STIFLING heat!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

in a nutshell...

the last week in a nut shell
..and i stress the 'nut' part!!!
The last week has been been filled with packing, good-bye parties, and a few day trips to break up the monotony!

On Saturday, our friends David and Stephanie, had a farewell party for us. 50 or so of our friends came out for yummy Mexican food and friendship. It was sad to know we will not see all of them on a weekly, if not daily basis, but you never know... we may be posted in the same place one day--if we ever hear from the SD:):)!!!!

Last Monday we headed to Cheddar Gorge for a day of cave exploring, hiking around the gorge, and eating YUMMY cheddar cheese in the town that boast the "creation" of cheddar. It was cloudy, but warm. The kids ( Mason, Emma, and Michaela) had a great time hiking in the RED, RED mud around the gorge. (Emma and Mason's pants went into the trash!) It was a relaxing day--other than the 90 minutes I was separated from Steve and the kids..MISPLACED on the gorge wondering where and the world I was..and them worried that I had fallen over! I am safe. It ended well:)

Saturday, Steve, Michaela, Emma, and I headed to York for the day. We had a great time walking the city wall, exploring The Shambles, seeing the Roman influence throughout the city, visiting the York Minster--where Constantine was named the Emperor of Rome in the 300's AD. WOW!!!!

Yesterday, we attended church services and said our good-byes. Tears were shed, hugs given, and prayers offered. Our Christian family will definitely be missed!

After services we dropped Michaela off with her friend Thu--they are getting in as much tome together as they can--to go swimming (indoor pool!) and then called our friend Holly to see if Emma could come play with Sarah. I cleaned carpets. Steve cleaned windows. All the last minute bits and bobs were completed. The girls spent the night at their friends. Steve and I headed over to Stephanie and David's (we are crashing there until we leave on Thursday) around 10:30. Stephanie and I stayed up and talked until 3:00am and then went to bed---at the same time Steve was leaving for work!

Today, I picked up the girls and headed over to the house to FINISH. I cleaned the living room carpet and made sure it was acceptable for the walk-through tomorrow. I am HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY to say that the house is done!!!!! Now I have to mail the 20+ boxes that are in the storage shed--that I am saving for Wednesday.

Tomorrow I am babysitting Michael and Mason. We will drop the keys off at the house with the leasing agent, get the final reading on the utilities (the companies do not send employees over to do that. I have to do it. CRAZY) and then head to storytime in the morning. We will drop off the carpet cleaner, take Michaela's bike over to Lillie's, and do the laundry. The afternoon will be a lazy one with no packing or moving thoughts!!!

Wednesday morning Michaela and I have hair appointments and then she is going to see Thu one last time and I will see my dear friend Holly for the last time (the tears will be flowing). That evening, thanks to my FRIEND??? Stephanie, Michaela and I and Stephanie and her son are going to see High School Musical on stage. And then, possibly sleep and an early start to the morning to head to the airport:(

Thursday, we will be back on American soil--ONLY 6 HOURS AWAY FROM ALABAMA, RENEA!!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

getting caught up...

With the move coming to an end---please, please be coming to an end---I have not posted for a few days! So what do you do when your husband decides not to come home for the night{doesn't that sound ominous}, your children stay over at Holly and Chuck's, and you know you will just toss and turn thinking about all that needs to be done? You load up the 9 loads of laundry that have seemed to have appeared overnight, grab a book and the laptop, and you head to the base to do laundry---at midnight!!

****and then you search the web for what seems like a few minutes, but which was actually over an hour, and you begin updating your post, just in time for the end of the dryer cycles and you have to put the laptop away and begin folding the 9 loads of clothes!!!!

More to come...really!!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

the price (i.e. pain) of beauty...

threading

No, I am not talking about putting thread through the eye of a needle....

Eyebrow threading originates from India and is probably the only way that eyebrows are shaped there. It involves the beautician or whoever is performing the threading to make a loop with a thread and twirl it a couple of times. The loop with the twirls at the center and the sides held by the beautician when applied with light pressure on the area of unwanted hair growth removes hair efficiently. The best thing about threading is that hair can be removed from the exact spot where unwanted and any possible desired shape can be achieved. Why am I posting about eyebrow threading you ask?
As a warning!!!!

When your friend (no names mentioned, HOLLY) looks at you and says, "Come with me and get your eyebrows threaded. It hurts so much less than waxing." You think, "Sure, my eyebrows need done. Why not." You go to the shop. You climb in the chair. You repeat three or four times that you DO NOT want your eyebrows darkened; hoping that the limited English spoken by the woman about to rip your hair out includes, "No, I like the color just as it is." You feel the coolness of the cleaner she wipes across your eyebrows. And then...the pain shoots through your face and you want to hurt your friend (again, no names mentioned, HOLLY). I am not sure what awful experience she has had with waxing, but no waxing job I have ever had has compared to the pain caused by the thread ripping out all the hair in its path!!

I will have to agree that the end result was worth it. But oh my, getting there was an experience that needs a warning label!!!

I love you Holly:):)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

a little bit of this; a little bit of that...

she passed!!!!!
A few weeks ago, Michaela took the American Red Cross babysitting class at RAF Lakenheath. It was an 8 hour course that went over basics of childcare, rescue breathing, abdominal thrusts, and the practical aspects of babysitting. She had a great time and is ready to go!!!! Anyone need a babysitter?

i don't like this!!
Not too bad

Liking it less!!!

I don't like this! I don't like this!

As we pack things away and get rid of items, we explain to Emma that various toys or clothing items are going to be given away to individuals that need them more than she does. She has been VERY good about letting go of the toys...no drama or breakdowns! When we told her we were taking her bike to Ms. Joan's she just said "Okay, but I want to try riding it without the training wheels first." So Steve took of the stabilisers, Emma got on, and as soon as she got going and Steve began to let go, she repeated, "I don't like this!!! I don't like this!!!" That was the end of that:) The bike and the stabilisers went into the van for Ms. Joan.

~~~michaela's 12th birthday~~~

Michaela has turned 12!! Oh my! Only 360-ish days to go before she is a teenager. HELP!!!!!

Her big day began by her sweet, loving Mum coming into her room,...I did let her sleep until almost 10:30... tickling her, and giving her her 12 spankings! She loved that almost as much as Emma, Alex, and Mason ( I babysat this week) running into her room and jumping on her while they sang Happy Birthday to her:)

She then was treated to lunch at Frankie and Benny's with her friend, Thu and our friends Holly, Sarah, and Ryan. We all enjoyed a good Italian meal and embarrassing Michaela with 'the birthday song' over the loud speaker!

Later that evening, we headed to Holly's for brownie sundaes (Michaela does not like cake). We sang, we gave gifts, and then Steve went home and Thu, Michaela, Emma and myself had a sleepover at Holly's (her husband is in Africa for business). We (everyone except Emma and Sarah) stayed up until 4:00am talking and laid around until lunchtime on Friday!

It was a simple birthday, but she enjoyed her special day!!!

Next year....the big blowout 13th birthday party is already in the works!!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

my baby turns 12...

happy birthday, noodle!!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

logic prevails...

What do you do when you have a tender scalp (i.e. you are an 'almost 5 year old' drama queen who has a wimpy scalp) and an unreasonable, mean mummy who requires you to brush your hair every morning. Can you imagine....every morning!!!! What is the logical step when you are tired of the crying, the spankings, the daily dose of over the top drama? What do you do?.....You look at your mummy through the tears streaming down your face as she tries to rub conditioner into your hair to get the rat's nest that has appeared as you slept and you say, " I, I, I, want you to cut my hair!" Sniff!! Sniff!! Snub!! Snub!!
FINALLY!!!!!!
Look at that smile!!!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

good-bye to the green isle...

As I sit on the plane, looking out over miles and miles of white fluffy clouds, with the last remnants of Ireland below, I realize that our adventures in the Green Isle have come to an end and that we are that much closer to the completion of our three and a half year hiatus (from ‘real’ life). America and reality loom in the very near future! We arrived in Shannon Tuesday night around 11:00pm. We went through Customs—with no complications—picked up the rental car, and headed to the hotel in Limerick. We arrived at the hotel about 25 minutes later and were ALL finally in bed at 12:30am.
Have you ever been at the top of a rainbow?
If you look beyond the rain drops on my lens, you can see the top a rainbow.
Wednesday, we woke up and got ready for our day. The weather was gray and drizzly, but we could not let that hinder our search for an activity. We really had no set plans for this trip—just doing whatever looked like fun. We went down for great American pancakes at Eddie Rocket’s Diner{Johnny’s brother?} and then headed towards the Dingle Peninsula.
We drove the Ring of Dingle (or the Ringle Dingle as Emma called it). We stopped at beaches, climbed a mountain. Talked to a donkey and her baby and ate at Murphy’s Pub—authentic Irish Stew, YUM !!! YUM!!! Of course, we bought our Irish wool sweaters—the entire reason for the trip. After a long day of sightseeing, we headed back to the hotel and arrived at 12:00am—beds called and no one fought it! Because we had the girls in the car driving for hours yesterday, Steve and I decided to take them on a DOLPHINWATCH boat trip today. We drove about 90 minutes to Carriageholt, a small ‘village’ on one of the islands peninsulas. While we waited for the start of the excursion, we walked around the ruins of a castle stronghold built to protect against a French invasion. At the castle wall we watched what we thought were seals, but later found out they were depth markers—aren’t we clever!!!! The boat arrived and we headed out to the mouth of the Shannon. While we were out, the clouds thinned and bright blue skies appeared…along with the dolphins. It was such an awesome sight to see them out in their natural habitat; chasing a school of fish. They are FAST, so the pictures are not the greatest. It was a great day. The girls loved it—even the fridgid, salty water that splashed us was not minded! Pilot just came on: We are cruising at 31,000 feet. Touch down at half past 9. 16.5 degrees Celsius with light rain showers. Welcome home!

After the 2 hour boat trip, we loaded back into the car and headed to the Shannon Airport…and now we are currently known as Row 14, Seats C, D, E, F!

I see the lights of England below us and the descent is approaching soon, so the computer must be stowed.

Ireland has been one of the family’s favorite places to visit and is definitely on the list of places we will visit again!! We still want to explore the Aran Islands and the Giant’s Causeway.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

i am jumping ship....

What do you do when you are up to your nose with boxes and packing.....
1. You pick up a friend of Emma's and go to Storytime at the base.
2. You take Emma and Kellie for lunch and a game of bowling.
3. You head to Ireland for two days:)

Emma and I are sitting in the Security Forces parking lot, waiting for Steve to disarm and change out of his uniform so that we can head down the road!!!!

Next stop...Cambridge. Michaela may appreciate us picking her up from the Moulton's:) and then it is off to Stansted Airport to fly out to Shannon, Ireland.

He is ready. We are off.

STAY TUNED FOR PICTURES OF: Limerick, Shannon, Ring of Dingle.....

Monday, August 04, 2008

lessons learned???? or learnt depending on what country you are from

"If we put that here, than we can put this on top of it."

"No, that will not fit there."

"Take that piece out and put this there, and then this will go back in!"

and on, and on........................................

UNTIL........

ta daaa

It ain't purty, but it works.
After two days of many, many trips back and forth to the base, the antiques are in storage. YEAH!!
Onto the boxes and suitcases. BOO!!!!
There were definitely lessons to be learned during this phase of 'THE MOVE'.........
lesson one: patience... a few failures. Okay, okay... a little more than a few:(
lesson two : longsuffering...which I am sure Steve feels he was successful in, because he suffered long when I failed my lessons in patience:)
lesson three: Steve is still terrible about protecting furniture when he moves. Oh wait, I already knew that, so that was just a review lesson.
lesson four: do not let your oldest child....i.e built in babysitter... go and have a two day Dr. Who marathon with Ms. Rebecca and Ms. Joan (from church) whilst you are moving.
Emma took up precious space in our tiny van AND she seems to take after me in her tolerance of moving. Oh my!!!!!
lesson five: MOVING STILL STINKS!!!!!!
......stay tuned for more of the drama from-- 'THE MOVE'

Friday, August 01, 2008

bailarina espaƱola...

Michaela participated in a dance workshop this week with her ballet instructor, Ms. Butler. The 12 girls worked on a Spanish dance-to Argentinian music. After 4 days of 3 hour classes, we were treated to a 4 minute and 8 second performance. Twice:)
Michaela worked hard and had a great time dancing with the Senior girls
It was a bittersweet week of dance, as this was the last time we would see Ms. Butler. I have already spoken with Ms.Mary Jo in Kentucky, and the girls are registered for their dance classes in Florence and will begin the week we arrive. Michaela is looking forward to getting back into Tap and Jazz and Emma is thrilled that she will be able to FINALLY learn Tap!!
Fun times ahead!!

...if i had a hammer, i'd hammer in the morning...

ttttthump

tttthump

ttthump, tttthump

car door opens

car door closes

bam

bam

car door opens then closes

loud diesel truck drives away

...the result

Early this morning--okay it was 9:00am, but since I stayed up and watched a movie and read until 3:00am, it was really only 2:00 or 3:00am in Tammy-time:)--I was half asleep, lying in the bed, feeling the cool breeze blow in through the window; enjoying a lazy morning. The moment of peace and contentment was soon interrupted--surprisingly, not by the girls--but with the sounds of an enterprising employee of Macintyer Leasing office wielding his trusty hammer to stake claim of our front yard with the Macintyer To Let flag. Soon, others will see the flag and desire to have this homefront for themselves. Strangers will wander through our abode and picture their families making lasting memories among these four walls.......I just hope not any time soon because it is chaos:):):)

I guess this white and green flag makes it official...we are leaving England:(

Funny unrelated anecdote...

When we first moved here in 2005, Stephen took the girls and I into Banbury--one of the larger towns around us--for dinner at Pizza Hut (because of course, when you arrive in England and want to experience the British culture, what place is better to mingle with the locals than good ol' American Pizza Hut:). While we were walking through town, Michaela looked up on the side of a building and saw a large sign that said TO LET. (If she was down here and knew I was sharing this story with you, she would be squealing, "Mommy, stop telling this story. I was only 8!!!" But she isn't down here and I love this story. And yes, she was only 8!) She looks at us, and says, "They left the i out of toilet." Needless to say, "I have to go to the TO LET." has become a family joke that she fears will haunt her always.