Happy Birthday Arleigh Grace

Love seeing that smile!

Today is Arleigh’s Birthday. I’m in denial that my sweet, beautiful girl is now 14. It seems like yesterday that she was born a little early with lots of excitement. I hate that my kids have to grow up. I love who they are becoming.

Fourteen Things I Love About Arleigh

1. She is passionate. Granted I would sometimes like to direct some of that passion away from things like One Direction toward some other goals but it is a fabulous quality to hold on to. And we are pretty passionate about her. She was soooo tiny!

Just Born2. Arleigh’s love for music. Yes, this is where some of her passion lies. She plays piano and alto saxophone. She’s been selected for honor band. She picks at a guitar every now and then. When she decides she likes a band, she LOVES the band…or the song…or the artist… We get the benefit of hearing her play.

Love seeing that smile!

3. Arleigh’s love of books. She’s introduced me to some pretty great stories. That passion shines through here too.

4. She takes care of her siblings. She’s their other mama. It may not always be ideal, but I can count on her and that makes me proud.

5. She still thinks I’m cool…sometimes.

5. Things don’t always come easy but she works to get it.

6. She helps me almost every night without me having to ask. She’ll clean the kitchen, empty the dishwasher, wipe a counter. I love this girl!

7. Her love of soccer…and even British boys. 

8. I miss the little girl who wanted to talk on the phone ALL THE TIME. Now I have a teen that texts on her phone ALL THE TIME. I appreciate how easily she navigates technology. I love that it’s another way she helps her crazy Mama.

9. I love that she finds her own style. She always has. It’s not always what I would pick but she is comfortable in her own skin.

10. I love that she loves Hawaii. She is ready to move back to the mainland but she’s embracing her last few months on our little island. 

11. I love Arleigh’s friends. I love that they hang out at the house or sneak into a command Christmas party. They are great kids. 

6th Grade Banquet Picture

12. I love that Arleigh literally has friends all over the world. I didn’t have that. She talks to people in many different time zones and cares deeply for all of them.

13. Arleigh is filled with compassion for others and demonstrates it daily.

14. I get to be your Mama! What a huge blessing it is to watch you grow up into the beautiful woman you’re becoming. I mess up a lot and you bounce back from all of it. I love you Arleigh Grace! Happy Birthday!!!

Hanan 002 Girls 102 Tye3 panda2 P000791 Girls with Santa party28 IMG_0445 Disney World 104 Disney World 020 IMG_0478 Uncle Mike's visit 013 IMG_0642 Winter 03 113 Virginia Beach 026 Move 003_3 ZooSept1 076 Grandmas Visit 073 ChristmasCard04 021 Circus 011 Grandma Tye Winery Zoo 045 DS17 Disney2005 122 Aubrey and Tia 001 KY Summer 044 First day school hanan 023 Thanksgiving stiff x-mas 05 006 camping 021 Soccer Weekend 023 June2006 050 July06 010 Halloween06 009 Pets 008 SouthwestGetaway 027 SouthwestGetaway 165 Bria Faith 073 Halloween 007 Christmas Pics 029-1 New Years Eve 2007 052 Easter 011 Spring Break 003 Memorial Weekend 022 Vbs 052 IMG_6286 IMG_0859 IMG_0357 IMG_0896 IMG_1069 IMG_1447 IMG_1698 IMG_1743 IMG_1843 IMG_1875 IMG_2149 IMG_4606 IMG_5386 IMG_5447 IMG_5869 IMG_6053 IMG_6720 IMG_7099 IMG_9377 IMG_9879 IMG_1413 IMG_1644


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She’s All About That Bass

Tis the season…to be over scheduled. So much to talk about like The Day of Infamy. I’ve been busy making signs for holiday parties…and me! We’re overbooked and sleepless. Last night, Arleigh had her Christmas concert at the high school. She was fabulous. I’m so proud of her. I was thinking I’m not sure if my brain could possibly tell my fingers what to do that quickly.

How is it that my baby that was born like yesterday is down on the floor of a high school gym playing an alto sax? She’ll be driving away from me in a couple of years. 

So I turn to another sweet born yesterday baby and say, “Bria, when you’re in middle school are you going to be in the band like Arleigh?” Without missing a beat, “Only if they let me play the bass drum. It’s the biggest.” Sigh. She said piano is still okay too because you can bang it. Don’t tell our piano teacher she said that!

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Aloha Friday

Not feeling aloha Friday today? Stressed over the holidays? Budgets? Just too busy? It could be always be worse. I just got this image from Mom…

with a caption, “my arm.”

Yep. You too could be recovering with a new bionic arm.

I’ve learned my lesson. Don’t complain. It can always be worse…even for Grandma.

Counting our blessings this Aloha Friday. Are you?

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The Chronicles of Mount Washmore

It’s been a bit since I wrote about my favorite topic, Mount Washmore. (Where is that sarcasm font?) Just when I think I’ve scaled the face of that mighty mountain, a new summit appears.

Anyway, clothing can be a hot topic around here. I often wonder why on earth I purchase more that just adds to my already oversized loads. Sigh. And yet… I just buy more.

Ray’s command has planned a super fun Christmas party for the whole family. (No sarcasm font needed.) It will be at Ice Palace. This is the ONLY cold place on my little island. It is FREEZING in there. A certain boy in my house has not a single pair of pants. Oh wait! Did I mention it’s an ugly sweater party? Did I mention all my sweaters are in storage…on the mainland? Shopping it is!

So there’s that… There is also a child in my house that is extremely hard to buy for. Well, there is more than one of those but the one I’m talking about is hard to buy for because of her size. She’s 12. A few weeks ago I took her 7-year old sister to soccer pictures and a soccer game. When the rest of the family arrived, the 12-year old was wearing the 7-year old’s pants. Not. Even. Kidding.

Today I was talking to a friend and she reminded me of a time Hanan was about 3, standing in a pew at church singing her little heart out when her skirt slipped right off. I wish I had that problem! Her tiny little waist can fit a size 7. She’s less that 1/4 inch shorter than Arleigh… Who wears a 14. How am I supposed to purchase clothes?

Adding to my laundry drama is that all things eighties are back in style. Arleigh decided to cut off some jeans and bleach them. Girlfriend had her cheese grater out acid washing those buggers. She did a good job. Hanan decided it was her turn. She wanted some Daisy Dukes I guess. Before I knew it, she had a pair of shorts with a sewn cuff, the cuff was off and those babies were cute. Except… I have to buy her smaller sizes to fit that tee-niny waist. So those already too short in this mama’s eyes shorts were way too freaking short. No problem, leggings underneath and off to school she went.

I have a hard enough time knowing what clothes go into which kid’s pile as I’m sorting laundry. Add to it the fact that the girls trade clothes with neighbors and I’m totally screwed. There are clothes all over my house. I don’t know where it all comes from. I feel like I should add a hashtag first world problems.

I also have a dog that steals clothes and tries to bury them in the backyard. Her favorite…dirty panties. So gross. The dirt here is red. I’m constantly finding dirty red dirt caked panties. Yesterday I found a pair on inside out jeans and panties still in them on the lanai. Words can not do that justice.

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In The Navy

I’m breaking a rule. I’m a rebel like that. Because I’m currently in the middle of the Pacific ocean, maybe I have a false sense of security. On Sunday the FBI issued a warning to US military families to be careful on social media because the entire family can be a terrorist target. You can read the entire story here. I’m being very careful not the use the group’s name. See. I’m not that much of a rebel. 

I grew up with big heros. I talked about Arleigh McCree here. We named Arleigh Grace after him. Because of him, I grew up with a knowledge of terrorists that most other kids my age didn’t have. I’ve been aware for a very long time that there are people who don’t just no like Americans, they want to hurt us. Still, I’ve lived a bit with the delusion that the target was mostly on Ray, when he deploys, when we travel. I remember hiding under a chair watching Arleigh’s slide show on Lebanon when I was supposed to be in another room playing. I have that same sort of sick awareness feeling in my stomach now. 

On the heels of reading in the national news that my little family has a clear target on our back, I read this. Basically, congress is agreeing to pay cuts, BAH cuts and if I get a prescription off base (which I sometimes have to do and sometimes choose to do instead of waiting in extremely long lines) it will cost me more. I’m just going to let that settle in for a bit.

We are a family of service, service to our God and service to our country. It is something we work hard to instill in our children. We live and breathe it, or at least try really, really hard to. Soon we’ll be moving to another super expensive area. That’s when the cuts take effect…when you move. Sweet!

Let’s get real for a second. If I have to pay more for a copay it’s not going to kill me. It’s not me I’m worried about. It’s the young enlisted families that are barely making ends meet as it is. I was at the commissary on Monday getting meat from the deli.  A young mom walked up, asked what ham was on sale. Nothing was on sale this week. She said “thanks anyway.” My grocery bills are RIDICULOUS because we are trying for a less processed healthier diet. (I said less. I was still getting my shaved jerk turkey.) Anyway… I started looking around. The cheap ham full of water and salt and nasty preservatives… $7.99 a pound. That was the cheapest and the commissary is way cheaper than out in town. It was the lowest number across the board in that case of meat. My kids, with lunches, can easily go through a pound and a half a week if they take their lunch every day. In February of this year, it was reported that there is a record high number of military families receiving food stamps. In 2013 there were nearly 3,000 emergency requests for food. 

These are the people that have a target on their back to keep you safe. I don’t know how accurate this is but I saw this meme floating around with the discussion on minimum wage increases. 

Interesting thought. Again I don’t know how accurate it is. I do know that the suggested pay scale for next year has an E1 with less than two years of service making $1547 per month. If you have a 160 hours working that month which most military peeps I know would laugh at… your pay would be less than $9.70 per hour. 

I have had discussions with civilians who don’t understand why I get so riled up at the mention of benefit reductions when I’m fully aware that budget can’t currently sustain what the military is spending. Well, 20 years ago the promise of free health care was enticing. Over the years, it’s played a large role in why we chose to continue with military service as a family instead of looking for a different job in the higher paying civilian sector. There is a high cost to the service of our country. I’m not saying we’re entitled to it, but when you start picking away at our benefits that have been promised, we get a little testy. We get especially testy when there seems to be no end to the picking. 

Why am I grumbling to you, dear reader? Well, mostly because I’m mad. Our government seems to have no problem paying for things like a $750,000 soccer field for the detainees in Guantanamo Bay. That’s just the start of a LONG list. Our military families are at risk on our own soil and we are taking away benefits of people who aren’t making enough already. (Again, I’m referring to the newly enlisted.) Why don’t you hear the outcry in the media for them instead of the teenager that wants $15 an hour in the fast food industry?

I’m sad at the state our country is in. Keep the comments civil please. 

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