Student Of The Week

Bria was selected to be Student of the Week in her class this week. She is super excited about it. She brought a poster home on Thursday and worked all weekend to color it and fill it out. This kid cracks me up.    

I would love to show you the entire poster but she gave entirely too much information to put out on the open internet. She carefully chose how she would fill out each question. At first she thought she would write that she has two dogs, Haole and Tucker as one of her interesting facts. Then she thought better of it. She needed facts that would bring questions. She also wanted facts that no one else would have. There is a reason Ray calls her little b. Haole and Tucker were promptly added to her family list. 


Here’s what she came up with:

  1. I am the only kid in my family that was born in the United States.
  2. I walked across a volcano and into a lava tube.
  3. I swam with sting rays and fed them.

If you notice her picture, she wanted to go ahead a cover that she also swam with dolphins. The picture freed up more space for fun facts. 

Other fun things we learned about Bria include her favorite food being apples with peanut butter. She also likes school and loves soccer but we knew that already. My favorite is that she wants to be in the military and a teacher. She says if she teaches the military she’ll get both bases covered. 

Today she shares a favorite book with her class. It was tough for her to pick but her favorite is currently The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. I must admit, it’s a favorite of mine too. I may have died a little when I got to peach crayon’s complaint. (Spoiler alert: He’s naked.) See, now you’ll buy the book just to see what I’m talking about. You people are shameful.

Tomorrow Bria can share a picture and an object and tell her class why they are special. Again, it’s a problem. Does she take in the Coke bottle with her name or her favorite stuffed animal? 

Thursday all the kids will write Bria letters that will go in a book. I just love these. Jack received one in Hawaii that I will treasure forever. 

On Friday she gets to bring the book home. I can’t wait.

It’s a big week for our little britches. She is busy soaking it all up. 

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Briaisms With Hashtags

First, thank you Thank you THANK YOU for all the kind words, support and prayers we received on Jack’s behalf. As a brief update to the update, we have a new IEP appointment scheduled. I’m trying to schedule doctor visits. School consultations and a brief visit with the PCM indicate that Jack may have institutional autism and that can cause his development delay. I see symptoms of that daily so I tend to agree and I’m pretty sure Ray would say the same thing. If I could be so bold to ask for specific prayer it would be that I don’t melt down during his IEP meeting, that Jack gets in to see the developmental pediatrician ASAP and that we find the therapies he needs to help him become independent. As frustrated as I was at the transition into this school, I think we are in a good place to help him grow. Thank you again for loving on my kiddos. Now on to the funnier side of our crazy Stiff life.

Bria doesn’t give me the one-liners that she did as a four-year old. She can still keep us in stitches or questioning our parenting skills. Her friends do to. Last week we had friends over. On the way over the little boy in the family said, “I sure hope I can play Infinity at their house.” His mom said she was sure he could play with Jack. Little A said, “No, Mom. It will be up to Bria. She makes all the decisions in the house.” Funny. I’m sure Bria thinks she does. #shewantstoruletheworld

Bria is back on the soccer field where she loves to be. Her new team name is the Cheetahs. It’s been an adjustment for both of us. New rules. New kids. New attitudes. Bria, bless her, to be as stubborn an ornery as she is for me, she listens to her coach. She moved from a team of 7 to a team of 14. Kids are all different. After her first practice I guess she thought the other kids decided she was passive because she listens. They decided they would have animal nicknames that matched the first letter of their name. Coach James is a jaguar. She asked what I thought she should be. I started listing off animals that start with a B. Beaver, Badger, Bear, Bee, etc. She said, “Mom, I’m Bria the bear. They need to know I’m aggressive.” Okay then. #lookouthereshecomes

Bria came home Thursday and said she is running for Student Council. As I filled out the paperwork I reminded her that the kids vote and she is new. “Mom, new people bring new ideas. Not that many people are running. I want to do this.” Heaven help me if she doesn’t win. #firststeptorulingtheworld

Apparently in second grade you also talk about presidential races, it’s that or her Dad’s obsession with the news. Bria recently told us that it’s time for a girl president. We asked her why she thought that. “Well, we’ve only voted for boys. Girls can do anything boys can do and people need to know that.” Okay then. We asked which girl she wants to win. She said she’s still deciding. #stiffforpresidentiscatchy




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First Day of School

On Sunday we were visiting another church. (I promise I’m not just bragging about my kids. This story has a point.) The children’s minister looked for me between classes. She told me that she briefly met Arleigh and Hanan and how she was amazed by their spirit of adventure. Apparently she asked them about things they would love to do. She wanted to know about Jack. Then she said, “Do you know you have a very bold daughter?” Yeah… sort of aware. This could be good or bad but I just smiled and waited to see where she was going. It was Bria’s first time attending this children’s ministry. They do a few things in an age appropriate class then all the grades gather for a small worship service. She is in second grade. She volunteered to read the morning scripture. She stood in front of the large group and read without nerves or jitters. Then she sat down. I wish I was there to see it but we were in our own class. The sweet lady told me how she’s not used to visitors behaving like that. Funny thing is, military kids don’t always know how to be visitors. 

Yesterday Hanan went to school number five. That’s not even counting the two different preschools she attended. She got on the bus with a neighborhood friend. She knows. Find your crowd fast. I’m super proud of her. 

Arleigh started high school. How is that even possible? School number five for her in nine years. 

Not going to lie. This has not been easy. With the start of band camp we had some pretty nasty days. It’s amazing to see her confidence grow. She walks around a huge campus, finding her way without problems. I remember being all nerves going to high school. Sure there were people there I didn’t know but there also almost 40 that I had been with since kindergarten. At parent orientation, I watched as kids who had been in this school district forever melted down. My kid found her way without breaking a sweat.

These two hooligans started second grade at their second school.

First bus experience. New school. Bria was slightly offended at the bus stop when a very little boy asked if she was going into kindergarten. Later a mom asked if she was in 3rd or 4th so all is right with the world again. They rocked their day. They made it home and are ready to go again this morning. 

The thing about military kids that amazes me is this…

That is the hardest part. The good-byes. I’ve been there. There are moments when you think you don’t want to open yourself up to a new relationship because that means there will be a goodbye. My kids are brave and fearless and they have no idea. They solidify relationships quickly because they don’t know how long they have. 

I’m happy to report that all four rocked their first day. There were a few hiccups and a couple of sad parts but for the most part everyone is happy and ready to go back today. Thinking about our other moves, that is nothing short of amazing and worry of a prayer of thanks. Yep. Totally bragging but my kids are rock stars and so are their military kid friends. 

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The Nana and Papa Chronicles

We’ve been enjoying Nana and Papa’s company for a bit now. We actually made it out of the house into town on Monday to the Air & Space Museum.

I’m not sure exactly when Bria and Jack decided to get so tall. Good grief! I won’t mention the fact that my oldest is trying to look taller. (I see that Arleigh Grace!) 

We watched an IMAX movie about the Hubble Space telescope. They decided to play IZ at the beginning of the movie. Everyone waited for my reaction. (I may still pine for our island life a little.) Then in the middle of the movie they mentioned how beautiful Hawaii is from space. Seriously, it’s beautiful from any vantage point. I really am trying to embrace D.C. living. I promise. In other news, Bria and Jack are both considering being astronauts for Halloween now. The choice is between astronaut and wolf for Bria, Hulk, TMNT and astronaut for Jack. 

All four kids acted like kids and had a great time. 

After minor disappointment that it wasn’t like the Science Museum in Huntsville, they found the interactive room and LOVED it! 

It’s nice to get out and let them learn and have fun. I’m sure the teens didn’t think it was possible but we managed. 

It was a short day because Arleigh’s band practice is ongoing until school starts. We’ve just enjoyed having Nana and Papa around this week in between all of our many school functions. It’s Friday and that means FOOTBALL. Arleigh has her first public performance with the marching band and we’re all pretty excited to see it, especially Nana and Papa. We’re off to soak up the rest of our time with them. Have a great weekend!

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Purpled Up

Kids to school on time: Check

Kids wearing purple for school: Check

Appropriate footwear for field practice: Check

Lunches: Check

Mom resembling Barney in her purple outfit: Double Check 

Praying that there really aren’t Purple People Eaters…Wait. Were they purple and ate people or did they eat purple people? I give up.

Take a picture of everyone wearing purple: I’ve got nothing. 

April is designated the month of the military child. I have some pretty great ones to hang out with around here. These kids are awesome. They step up to the challenge and roll with the punches EVERY SINGLE TIME. In support of their friends all over the world we put on our purple yesterday. 

Bria was so excited when we got to school. I was thinking on the way over there. My kids are pretty privileged compared to most of the local kids. In fact, we’ve been talking to one child about entitlement and her attitude while consoling another when her friend lashes out because she sees my child as having more. (Parenting is hard. I need a parent’s award. Kids need awards just for surviving each other in middle school. Another blog…I know.) Anyway, I was thinking that it wouldn’t surprise me if there weren’t many local kids wearing purple. As I made my right turn, Bria was squealing. There was purple everywhere. I will admit tears welled up in my eyes. 

It just so happened that we were chatting with Grandma that morning on our drive in to school. I was telling Mom how much it touched me and may have mentioned that I think Bria is the only white child, maybe only military kid in her class. Bria stopped me right there. “No, Mom! There is only one brown kid in my class. Everybody is white. There’s …and she lists off the names.” Oh my word that made me laugh. Bria is the only while child in her class. Every name she listed is either Hawaiian or Asian. I wonder what color she thinks pasty mainland kids are. 

I read an online news feed about military spouses called Spouse Buzz occasionally. A week or so ago I lost my mind. A friend posted an article that I missed in honor of The Month Of The Military Child. It listed 13 ways the Obama girls are like military children. The comparisons were stretched so thin you could see right through them. One of my favorites is that their Dad’s job is dangerous. Um. Yes. He also has a security force surrounding him sworn to protect him at all costs at all times. I don’t think it’s exactly the same when you’re In Country. I was irritated with some of the comparisons but even more irritated when I read it was written by a spouse. I’m sure President Obama’s daughters make huge sacrifices, their privacy is top of the list but they really aren’t the same. We are currently in really nice military housing but it’s not the dang white house and there isn’t a maid. If there is, she needs to be fired which would also be fine with me because does that mean more beach time for me if I’m fired? Anyway why compare the two?

As I pulled into the school I was wondering why on earth we were celebrating my super privileged compared to some of their peers kids. Then I remembered. They give up everything and move a world away from our families. They set up shop in new places and learn to make friends quickly. They are helpers and learn to step up when the military member is away. They savor every moment they get with their grandparents because they know it might be a very long time before they see them again. There are too many things to mention.

I should’ve learned my lesson. There is no comparison between my kids and civilian kids. Each make various sacrifices. I’m totally okay with celebrating mine for all they do. 

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To Be A Congress

IMG_0037Tonight Bria asked me if the president could appoint a new president if the president had been president for a year and just didn’t like it. Are you following? I had a headache. I said, “No.”

Bria doesn’t take no for an answer. She asked me if the president could just write a law making someone else acting president. Um. “No.” Headache or not, I know when Bria is like a dog with a bone. I explained that the president isn’t the one who makes the laws he just happens to be in charge of them. “Oh.” 

Do you know Bria? It never ends at “oh.” “Who makes the laws?” “Congress.” 

“Okay then, when I grow up I want to be a congress.” 

She looked back and grinned. “Or a teacher. Or a vet. Or A Mom. Or All of it. I’ll be a mom no matter what.” 

Ray told her she could be whatever she wants to be but maybe she should take a closer look at the Marines. 

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