Monday, October 29, 2012

Frankenstorm Sandy

We have been incredibly lucky and have had our power all day.  It's been raining, and power outages are common across the Atlantic coast. 10,000 + homes in MD are without power already.  NYC is flooded and dark.  We've been watching the storm from the dry safety of our home.   The only hardship has been taking Z out to do her business when she hates the rain.

We have got a lot of laundry done today.  The kids have been playing.  Dani has been sewing.  The Zawadas braved the elements and came over for pizza.  We watched Casper and played headbandz.

I hope the rest of the storm goes well for us.  I pray for those who are losing their homes, are without power, don't have shelter, or are alone tonight. 


for the record, Dani has on heels...we are the same height!
Yesterday was the primary program.  It was, as always, so sweet.  Ethan and Grace both did a good job on their parts and everyone sang well and the sunbeams shone.  It was very fun for me to have Miss Penny Jane at church, to wander the hall during Sunday School and have my friends admire her.  She is a sweet little thing!

We made a "thanksgiving dinner" so after church came home and finished the fixin's and then ate too much.  I am very thankful for my family, and that we can be together forever.  I wish Jenna and Clayton had been here too, that would have made our circle complete. 

After dinner we watched Hocus Pocus.  Silly but fun Halloween movie.

The rain has began.  We have battened down the hatches are are waiting for Frankenstorm Sandy to hit us.  School has been cancelled, the base closed and flights cancelled (which means poor Greg is stuck with us an extra couple of days!)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mount Vernon

 I really love Mount Vernon, it is a great place to go visit.  Greg had never been so we went today.  It was also Family Fall Fun day!  There were a lot of people there but we didn't really run into excessive crowds. 
 Lu was anxious to show Tate all the fun things, including rolling down the hill, her favorite activity there :)
 They had apple roasting (surprisingly good), corn husk doll making, colonial dancing, Pres. Washington was there and gave a very interesting talk, they had chores to try, music to listen to (both slave and colonist), they had games and lots of historical interpreters.  The weather was perfect too so that added to the enjoyment.

 R, S and E stayed home.  They went to E's soccer game, went on a motorcycle ride, readied the house for the hurricane and then met us at Olive Garden for dinner.  Both groups called it a great day.

 It was a good day, I was with some of my favorite people at one of my favorite places!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Calvert Marine Museum/ Pumpkin Patch

 Day 1:  The kids had a half day of school, which worked out well.  This morning we went to Calvert Marine Museum while the kids were gone.  It was empty there and we enjoyed watching the rays and skates, the otters, looking at the fish, walking in the woods, and digging for fossils. 
 We had lunch then I took everyone home and Sierra and I ran to the store.  When we got home Han had Marrissa over and we all loaded up (into two cars) and went to the pumpkin patch.
 The kids went in the corn maze with Greg.  They were pretty fast.  We played tether ball and on the playground and the kids got little pumpkins and we got some big pumpkins.  The weather is muggy, we have a big storm headed this way.  Hopefully it will miss us.  Just in case we've been making some preparations. 

 Penny and Dani hanging out in the patch.
 Playing in the corn

 Miss Penny is 6 weeks old, Tatum is 3 years old.  Sweetest granddaughters ever!
After dinner we made chocolate cookie haunted houses ( a mess ), went booing, walked the dogs and watched a little TV.

We have to cram a lot into each day because we only have a few days together.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

just stuff

Ziva modeling her ballroom dancer outfit!
Sunday: we had invited Ethan's teacher and her husband, who live in our neighborhood, over for dinner.  It was a lot of fun.  The food was yummy, if I do say so myself, and they were fun company.  After dinner we played RuCkus which the kids love and I won!  Ethan was happy.  Nice night.

Monday: I subbed 4th grade. We got the house ready for company.

Tuesday: Our new craziest day.  First off I went to lunch with Laura and Colleen.  Not crazy but super fun :)  Then after school Marisa came over to help Hannah clean her room, she needed the help and the girls did a great job.  Meanwhile I took Lu to piano lessons, then we went to LP and picked up E from D.I. practice and took him to soccer practice  That night is my fav TV night of the week so when the kids were tucked and dogs walked we watched NCIS and Covert Affairs. 

Wednesday: subbed Kindergarten 1/2 day, met Jennifer for VT at Salsas.  Lu played with Ryder after school and E with John.  Lu and Ryder went to the woods to pick cattails and found poison ivy.  Showers all around.  The YW had an activity in our neighborhood.  They went on a 2 mile walk and then played flour tag in the park.  The poochies and I joined them while E went to cubs and Daddy and Lu stayed home.  We got booed twice, which is surprisingly exciting for all of us.  So now I can add "go booing" to our schedule of fun for Tate's visit.  Also so fun Jessica & Katelyn Lyons brought Z a doggie trousseau since their Bella outgrew it.  Tres Chic!

Today we are going to the airport to pick up the girls!!! Can't wait.

Tonight R and Lu have a Brownie date, they are going to a corn maze/pumpkin patch.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

cub o ree

 This morning E and I got up early, for a Saturday, and got ready for cub o ree.  I made Laura come with me.  Lucy got to go play with Mags, R went to work and Hannah stayed home with a list of chores, the TV and two dogs for company, plus the promise of a fancy Disney pedi for her efforts if she did well.

The cub o ree was really great.  They had it well organized and the boys had a great time, plus they got a lot of cub stuff done.  Bub's really been knocking it out of the park lately with his cub work.  He completed his weblo as well as a compass point, some belt loops and is working on his Arrow of Light.
 The day was perfect, we were in a lovely clearing surrounded by beautiful trees.  The boys worked on their communication badge, made pinch pots, did outside watercolor art, did a service project, made stuff out of wood, went on a hike, learned about poison plants, learned about the early Indians, made rope, worked on some award requirements, played lacrosse and archery, collected leaves, ate lunch, climbed trees, had a flag ceremony and otherwise had tons of cubby fun.
 After the cub o ree E got to go play at Eric's.  He's a lucky boy.
Meanwhile Lu enjoyed playing with Maggie except Maggie wanted to watch youtube videos and Lu did not so she was sad, and Hannah who was supposed to be working did not.  Judging from the trail of debris around she watched TV, ate, tried on outfits and talked on the phone. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

puppy stuff

Ziva Ziva.  She's a cutie.  Poor Lu is sad because she runs away from her.  She is overzealous in her loving. 

She's pretty smart and can "sit" now.  And she is working hard on freeing our house of unwanted stuffies and TP.
Today was a no school day.  Han and Gabby spent the night with Alyssa last night.  They had fun.  I picked her up at 3 and she's in a good mood.
Ethan went to play at John's this morning and at Webb's this afternoon.  In between he had the very unjust job of taking everything out of the car...including stuff that was not his
Grace and I went grocery shopping then she went to play with Julia.

I baked pies, we are going to the neighbors tonight for dinner.
Watched some webcasts.
Did some , say it with me _______ laundry!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Hannah as Minnie Mouse!
 Yesterday felt like a busy day.  I got the kids off to school, came home and cleaned the kitchen and did two loads of laundry and walked the dogs.

Then I went to JoAnns (where I had been the day before) because Hannah needed a yard of red and with white polka dots fabric.  That took awhile.

Came home, ate lunch, walked the dogs, did some more laundry, made some YW phone calls and emails.

Hannah came home and I helped her make her costume, mostly she did it.  She had painted her shoes yellow the night before, the rest we had to do.

Went to pick up Lu and we all headed to Ethan's school for the STEM family challenge followed by cafeteria dinner and fitness night.

Then we went to the church for YW and cubs.  Lu and I went to Panera and had treats and Kitty came there randomly so we happily sat together and chatted between knock knock jokes.

Went back to church, got cuboree stuff and kids. On the drive home E reported the StarBase Atlantis was "awesome".  They got to each build a life support pod, that they will get to test next time, and the third time they go they get to fly in the flight simulators that the pilots use.  Sweet.   Came home (9pm now) put Lu to bed, took dogs for a walk, put kids to bed, went to bed.
The family challenge was fun.  We were in teams.  Ethan and John were a team.  They had a piece of plastic, two index cards, some string and unlimited staples, tape and crayons.  The challenge was to make a candy bag that weighed less than 11grams that would hold the most candy in it. 
The boys won.
It was tested by hanging the bag on a hanger and counting the number of marbles it held.  First the bags were weighed.  E/J's bag was the lightest.  It held 220 marbles.  The highest number of marbles held by any bag was 227.  When E saw that he was indignant.  For a minute. Then he said, "wait..the bag is supposed to be light" so then he figured out how many marbles each bag held per gram the bag weighted, took his calculations to his teacher, argued that his team actually won and he was right.  Their bag held 1/3 of the weight of a marble more per gram than any other team.  Happy (obnoxious) little boys.  Not sure if he will be a lawyer or an engineer when he grows up :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brownie Meeting

Madison, Julia and Grace
Last night was our Brownie re-dedication ceremony. We meet with several other troops of different ages.  Its was a lot of fun to see them older girls and all their badges.  Each troop did a skit or song and a re-dedication ceremony.  One of the Cadettes got the silver award, the highest girl scout award you can get.  Lu was very impressed.  After we had treats.  Lu enjoyed being there with her friends and the big girls and is looking forward to another great  year.  She really loves scouting and looks so adorable in her little vest, this year brown instead of blue.  One fun thing for me was seeing all the girls in the same basic uniform (tan pants, white shirt) and all the different colors of vests depending on their level.

Today Ethan is at Starbase Atlantis. He was excited.  It's a special 5 day science camp that is held on base for the 5th grade STEM kids.
Tonight is the STEM family challenge, YW, and cubs.  Busy day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

 I have seen three shooting stars in the last 3 days.  The first was  two nights ago when R, E and I were walking the dogs.  I looked up and there it was! It was exciting. 
This morning, 5:40am, found me and Z and Millie out in the yard, I was looking up because I often do, the stars are breath taking and in the fall they seem particularly crisp.  I saw one.  Amazing, then 5 minutes or so later I saw another!   I do love looking at the heavens. They always remind me that God is near.   

Z has been doing so well in her puppy potty training.  Until yesterday.  She peed on Hannah's floor early in the morning.  I waited to get up until Han needed to and so Z and I had to stop at her room first to rouse her...too late.  I take partial responsibility, but not complete, she should have waited.  Then in a particularly egregious incident last night she had just gone out with R (who should have stood out there longer) and we had settled down in the living room (shortly after R discovered that his favorite new shoes were eaten by Millie) and were reading about Alma and Amulek and their sore trials when right in front of us she squats and drops a calling card.  What??  R was mad, the climatic ending of the story was disrupted and Z was banished to her crate while I cleaned up.  Not good.
Today we need to get back on track and we need to pick up our shoes.

Last night E got invited to John's house for dinner.  Robby, John's older brother, is on the Great Mills soccer team.  They had a night-before-the-big-game dinner and it was at John's so John invited Ethan, who was thrilled.  Hanging with HS soccer players is pretty big time. 

R and I took the girls to Salsas.

In most most excited news: Pres Sakai approved our youth conference plans for next summer!  So excited!!  Palmyra here we come!  (now the work begins)

And the long awaited, highly anticipated announcement:
Deo Xander has a name!  Handsome boy!  I don't know when I will see him but I sure wish I could give his little cheeks a kiss, and his little neck, and snuggle his little bum and smell his sweet head. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Haunted Gingerbread houses

Arden and Ethan get started on their structures
 In our neighborhood we have 4 others families that are members of our ward.  I am super excited about this.  It is really fun for me just knowing that they are there.  The carpool situation alone is exciting. 
I have been wanting to have a get together with the 5 of us.  Last night we had invited everyone over for a "break the fast" dinner.  Sadly two of the familias had other plans already but the Streeters and the Marshses were able to come.  We had a really fun time. 
We set up our folding table in the dinning room and had both tables completely full with 11 kids and 6 adults. 
Dinner was delish!, the company was even better!  I missed the other two but we will get together again and hopefully they can come.
 After dinner we had the kids make haunted gingerbread houses.  Here are Asa and Hannah (our 8th graders) working diligently. 
 Harrison gets ready to devour his creation!
Keean and Lu with their scary houses!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

this and that

 This girl is getting too big.  She is a lot of fun. She's funny and cute and can be so sweet when she wants.  She knows just how to push her siblings buttons and keeps her room pretty messy.  She is smart and kind and responsible.  I am glad for my big girl.  Tonight she was bored so she curled her hair :)
 It was a good Saturday, it's hard to have a bad Saturday.  Grace and I did some grocery shopping.  Ethan and Hannah stayed home to "clean their rooms" I won't comment on how that went.
Then we went to E's soccer game.  They lost but he played well and it was a nice day out.  After the game Summer and Zach came home with us.  The kids had a great time.  They played, ate pizza.  I made cookies, we helped R unsuccessfully search the yard for his wedding ring that somehow flung off while we was working out there.  We watched Avengers, and did a lot of laundry. Summer and Hannah built a fort in her room. 
This cute little ghost is coming to visit soon!  So adorable.  and speaking of adorable cute baby boy#2 is still nameless.  I am thinking Benjamin Gideon would be good.  I would name a baby boy that. 

Friday, October 12, 2012


My new nephew, who as of last night was still nameless.  I am hoping for an announcement today :).  Most importantly he is here and Anna and baby are doing great and he is beautiful!  Isn't he a handsome little fella.  I wish I was there to snuggle him, and smell him, and hug Anna, and make dinner and be together. 

I am so grateful for technology.  Really and truly my life is blessed by it.  Just yesterday I enjoyed so many technological perks:  a) I got to see this boy and hear the news of his birth. b) I got to go to a stake youth committee meeting without leaving my home, which saved me 2 hours of driving and $ of gas. Thanks to we could still see each other and it went great. c) I couldn't sub without my smart phone in hand.  It keeps me sane.  d) threw some bangers in the microwave to give them a little nuke when they were underdone.  Saved dinner. e) watched the's good to be informed even while annoyed.  f) electricity - countless life changing applications. 
Makes me wonder what will be available to little boy here when he is big.  Amazing!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

babies (mine and Dani's)

We had to break out the warm clothes.
Went to Old Navy and bought Lu some new pants.  She grew.
I have subbed every day this week.
Last night I was so happy. Z woke up at 3 to pee, usually I have to stand out in the freezing wet grass watiing for her.  Last night we got to the porch, she darted ahead and did all her business and then ran back.  I didn't have to go to the grass, and I didn't have to wait for-evah!
The Duke's left today.  We really enjoyed having them here. It was a lot of fun. I am sorry they had to leave so soon.
Miss Penny Jane, one month old. 
So sweet!
Can't wait to see her again.

Monday, October 8, 2012

ohio trip

smurf cousins w/ face masks
We are back.  Our trip was good, at least as good as a funeral trip can be.  We got to spend several days with our family and did a lot of visiting. 

We did a little shopping, the kids went laser tagging and Abba and Ethan went golfing.  We also went to the service.  It was very  nice.  R gave a talk, which I thought was the best one.  I copied it here.

Our drive home was pleasant.  The trees were even more beautiful than on the way up.  We listened to a lot of conference.  Which was AWESOME. (more on that later)

Rob's talk:
Grandpa Thacker was a man dedicated to service. He married my grandmother
Peg and started his family just before deploying to WWII. He spent a long and
fruitful career in the Air Force, eventually retiring a full colonel, no small feat in
a field dominated by pilots. For decades, he was an active leader in local area
scouting, serving on the Council leadership. He was very active both in Florida
and here in Ohio. Even in real estate, he served other. Yes he made a little
profit, but he did it in a unique way. He gave mortgages to people who would
have trouble qualifying otherwise, typically military NCO families, without a large
income, but he saw their character and wanted to give them a chance to own a
home. And as my children knew him, they saw him volunteer at the AF museum
for decades. Nearly every time we came to Ohio to visit, which was a couple
times per year, there was the requisite trip to visit Gramps at the museum where
he was finishing a shift and then to Rouche’s for lunch. We miss the milkshakes
they used to serve.
Grampa was a very earthy guy. He was very sardonic. He would joke about his
own mortality frequently, often making those of us around him worry a little, but
he was just very earthy. Grandma Peg told me a few times that the reason she
married Grampa was that he made her laugh. His wit was not one that could be
comprehended with partial thought. You had to really be paying attention, for
it could be subtle. He was a brilliant man. His mind was always working on his
current project.
Speaking earthy, he knew where he came from, and he knew where he was going.
He grew up a farm boy, and his heart remained with the farm throughout his
life. He was my garden consultant. I grew up playing in his backyard jungle, and
watching, and sometime helping my parents in our much smaller garden. Like
any kid, I didn’t think I was enjoying this. But when I bought my own house in
Florida, I found myself buying a shovel and gloves and planting stuff. I would
email Gramps occasionally to get his advice on soil amendment, weed control,
etc. This year my zucchinis all died of some kind of rot. Gramps in his sardonic
way said I had achieved something because I figured out how to kill the things.
I’m very grateful that when my Mom got divorced when I was a baby, Grampa
took us in, and until she remarried my dad, Grampa served me as a father. I
remember those years. She wasn’t remarried until I was about 8, so I can
remember being with him and my grandmother frequently, at least a couple
times per week.
Grampa left behind 4 children, 3 grand children, and 6 great-grand-children so
far. Each of his children is self-reliant, which brought him great joy. He told me
that the last time I saw him in August. Brian is the oldest, who I so appreciate as
he has always been present in my life for anything important, and is just a part of
my family. He has adopted us, and we him. My mom is my mom, I can’t really
say anything to highlight the role of Mother that would do it justice. Physical and
emotional sacrifice without bound. I am always grateful and have great love for
her. My aunt Becky, who always tried to offer a different point of view to get me
to think. And Tom, who was my hero growing up, my friend for all sorts of fun
sports and activities in Florida, and shares a love of Ohio State Football.
A great Greek philosopher, Gus Protakolos (the dad on My Big Fat Greek
Wedding), once said that even though we are all apples and oranges, in the end,
we are all fruit. We are all family and should strive to remain united.
Grampa leaves us behind, with our spouses and families. He left a legacy of
gardening that made me weep this last week as I slowly walked around a peaceful
Menonite nursery thinking of him last Friday, and as I walked slowly around his
backyard yesterday. That is where I feel him, in the garden. As I said, Grampa
was an earthy guy. As far as he was concerned, he came from the earth and
would return to it. But he also knew that he would see his bride Peg again. I
know that is true, and that we can all be reunited with those we love through
faith in Christ, and service to others. May we strive to be in unity here on this
earth, and hereafter.

I offer these thoughts in the name of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Friday:  We started out with an early morning trip to the movies.  We saw Hotel Transylvania, which we all enjoyed.  We were the only ones in the theater and we all laughed.

After we spent some time at Grandpa's house.  The kids and grand kids choose a few mementos. 

In the evening we went to dairy queen, where they have a sign "if you are buying a cone for you dog let us know, we will put a doggie bone on top".  Hmm, do people buy their dogs ice cream cones?? says the family that puts their dog in a sweater so she won't get cold.  Anyway, we asked for just the bone and she enjoyed that.  We enjoyed the cones. 

It's been fun visiting with everyone and the kids are happily running around, kicking leaves, chasing Z, watching t.v.

Friday, October 5, 2012

blast from Halloween past



Yesterday was a very very long day.
We drove to Ohio but didn't leave until 2pm.  We didn't want the kids missing more school than necessary.
I thought we'd go part way and then arrive in the morning.  R thought we'd press through. 
We pressed.
It was not fun.  We were both really tired.
The drive was beautiful.  I really enjoyed all the fall colors as we drove.
I don't think the kids saw the trees.
They were too busy putting their feet on each other, wondering if we were there yet and "taking turns" holding Ziva.
I was grateful for the pretty sights because it served as a distraction from the endless hours of presidential debate commentary that we listened to.  I want to say we easily listened to 8 hours of it.  And that is a modest estimate.
Honestly I didn't mind the first hour.  It was interesting and I do care what's going on in the world of politics and government.
The next 7 were torture.  The commentators are so loud and argue with each other and are sometimes rude, and frankly they said the same things over and over, which I get because their audience probably typically changes from hour to hour.
Other high points:
Ethan throwing up.  All over, and us pulling over in the ghetto and washing the car and him, and changing him all with the aide of some mini water bottles and a canister of cleaning wipes I thankfully threw in the car at the last minute.
Then Lu needed to _______, and nothing being open. 
Finally we found a gas station.  Dicey but it was open.
2am arrival at Nana's
Z was not tired and I got to take a couple puppy potty taxi trips outside and an early rise.

Wednesday night was pack meeting.
It was lots of fun.
Matt Ray is our new cub master and he did a great job.
Ethan is working on his weblos badge.