Blog Archives for category Tom

2017 Opening Ceremonies

It was chilly and rainy again so Katie and I stayed home while Tom and Owen went to the ceremony. I felt guilty because I should have been taking pictures… But you’ve seen one opening ceremony you’ve seen them all…right?!

And another parent sent this pic so I’m happy. 

  

F-It Friday #4

It was our turn to host tonight and we had a small group as two families couldn’t make it… But we made up for it in craziness.  

The group selfie…

And then we had Katie take a picture!

And then one of the kids mentioned Pie Face and we had whipped cream for the dessert, so… There was lots of this. 

     

   

Owen is an Angel this season!

Watching games is a lot more fun now that the kids really kind of know what they’re doing. They’re pretty consistent with hitting the ball (Owen hit all three at-bats) and there are even close plays on bases!

A great day and night with great friends!

Nancy was helping me with a Jamberry manicure and Ken decided he wanted a few nails done as well.

Nancy and I tried to recruit two friends to the wonderful LipSense world today…and I introduced them to my infamous (?!) stairwell shooting location. 😊

Tammy and Amy helping me roll bread balls for garlic bread bites.

The whole group!

Uncle Eddy!

We need a bigger table!

The dessert table! Eddy helped me make a cheese flan (with a caramelized top) in the instant pot (far right) and it turned out great! And Amy brought three cakes from Juniors Cheesecakes!

This is why we need better outdoor space! This is where everyone always wants to congregate and we only have eight chairs with barely enough space to hold them!

The party mostly died out by about 11 and just a handful of us stayed talking to about midnight. It was a great night with great friends…

Lunch and Pokemon in Occoquan with friends!

Trying out each other’s lipsticks before heading out to lunch! Neither of us liked the colors on us but liked the colors on the other!

In Occoquan! Nancy and Eddy gave us grief over the name and called it something different every time they said it which was hilarious. I think Khakakan was our favorite.

Our lunch that took forever and a day. Excellent food, awful timing.

Uncle Eddy showing off the awesome portrait camera setting on the iPhone 7+ (blurred background). I want it badly but the phone is just TOO big.

  

On our way to see peeps!!

So tonight was a dinner out in Alexandria at one of our favorite places, the Green Pig Bistro. 

  

Family dinner outside!

  

Love being able to meet up with old friends!

The Mitchells were going to be in Virginia visiting Amanda (getting the nursery ready!) so they had planned to come visit us…but since we were going to be close to them after flying, we met for lunch!

We all flew at iFly!

Today was the day I got to cross something off my bucket list—skydiving!! Or at least a close enough approximation of it to satisfy me!

We had about a 15-minute prep class where we saw a video on the basics, saw a brief demonstration of proper form, and learned the hand signals that they would use (since you can’t hear anything in the chamber).

There were only a few hand signals and basically you relax in the tunnel while bending your arms and legs a little and keeping your chin up. Easy, right? Of course! (Until you step into the tunnel, but I’m getting ahead of myself.)

After the class, it was time to get suited up. We all got jumpsuits, plastic goggles, ear plugs, and a helmet. I asked how to best wear my hair and was told braided or in a low ponytail so I took the easy way with the ponytail (I actually tried a quick braid but it wasn’t working and we didn’t have THAT much time to suit up). And I have to say: What a joke. They really should have stressed wearing a braid, wearing a cap (which I would have gladly done), or at the very least putting the ponytail inside the helmet. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We were each slated for two one-minute flights, plus Tom and I had added a “high flyer” package which meant the instructor would take us up higher towards the top (instead of staying at or below chest/head level); it also came with a photo.

There was a group of about 10 of us and we filed into the chamber. Katie was the youngest and there were a few older than us—and everything in between. A set of grandparents and a granddaughter went before us. The granddaughter was a previous flier because she started out with a bit more advanced moves which was fun to watch. Soon it was my turn—and as soon as I stepped foot into the wind tunnel my mind kind of went blank. How was I supposed to bend? What were my arms supposed to do? What did the hand signals mean? It’s amazing what 120-180mph winds will do to your brain as you’re being blown around like a leaf! :) (I never once felt unsafe—the instructor is RIGHT THERE with you and your jumpsuit has handles on it for the instructor to grab—but it was FREAKY.) It probably took a good 20-30 seconds to calm down (maybe less, but time almost has no meaning in there) and start thinking more clearly, but by then you’re on the downswing of your allotted time. Needless to say it was VERY, VERY cool and I had A LOT of fun and my first minute was over too quick.

Katie was next and HOLY COW she REALLY flew around like a leaf! (They can adjust the wind speeds on the fly, so they probably calmed them down a bit for her once she got in, but she took off like a shot!) She did very well and appeared to be having a good time…but after her turn was over, she said she didn’t want to do her second flight, so I would use her time instead and get a two-minute flight for my second time!

Then it was Owen’s turn. He actually did better than I expected, considering he’s generally afraid of anything out of the ordinary.

Then it was Tom’s turn. Then it was time for the second set of flights. And let me just say that two minutes practically feels like an eternity in the wind tunnel! But, since I was now somewhat experienced and was getting the hang of it, the instructor let me do some hand movements that made me spin around. It was completely amazing how the tiniest of finger tilts could send you spinning around and around—tilt to the left, spin to the left; tilt to the right, spin to the right. It was also super cool to be zoomed to the top of the chamber with the instructor—we did that two or three times in fairly rapid succession (as seen in Tom’s video after mine below).

Then it was Owen’s turn again, and he didn’t have as good of a time on this go-round. His legs were like spaghetti and he just couldn’t seem to get them under control. Again, there was no danger and he didn’t seem concerned or scared, but the instructor pretty much had his hands on him the entire time.

Then it was time for Tom’s second flight. This is a picture from his instructor-assisted high fly as they came down to the bottom of the chamber:

So, you may be wondering why there is no good picture of me. Funny story, but I’m getting ahead of myself. :|

So after all the participants were done flying, we filed out, received our certificates, and eventually disrobed.

We also took some pictures. :)

And it was at this point that I realized my hair had a big knot in it—I had tried to take out the ponytail to wear my hair down (we had plans to meet friends for lunch afterwards) but it was nothing I could fix with my fingers so I just put it back up in a pony tail and honestly didn’t think much of it.

Of course they had a sales pitch at the end as well, offering more flight time at a pretty good discount. With the assurance that we could use it at ANY location…and since there are three in the Chicago area…we went ahead and bought it. The kids aren’t interested, but I certainly am. Tom might or might not—he enjoyed it, but it really messed with his back (though he thinks that if he stretches out more ahead of time it might be better).

So we left and I was excited to get home and check out our photos and videos—remember, our package had come with one video for each participant plus Tom and I each upgraded to the high fly which came with a photo. But first we had to go meet friends for lunch…

And you will have to keep reading to find out what happened with the photos and videos…

The only good thing at Chuck E. Cheese. 

Birthday party fun—spending a token on my favorite “game.”

 

Katie, get in the cat bed. 

    

Playing tour guide again

This time it was one of his high school classmates and her high school daughter. 

 

So, we had our first housing panic today.

A house came on the market that seems just about perfect. It’s slightly above budget (but by the same dollar amount we’re over here so not a deal breaker) and there are no parks or playgrounds within walking distance (biking or driving, though). It’s really too early to snag a house, but if it’s perfect…

So we figured it couldn’t hurt to have our agent talk to the owner to see if he’d be willing to hold it for us in order to lock down a guaranteed 3-year military lease. He was intrigued by the lease length but hasn’t answered if he’d hold it yet. (According to the MLS it’s been on the market for awhile so we hoped there’s a good chance he would hold it just a bit longer for the guaranteed lease.)

We can’t imagine getting it done this quickly but wouldn’t it be nice? A bird in the hand and all that…but how can we tell the areas without even looking? There are just so many possible cities and neighborhoods that it’s hard to even start researching to narrow it down. We lucked into the house we are in now—with a community pool and playground around the corner—but we weren’t looking for those things! Now that we want to look for that stuff…it’s hard. We have a great agent, but she can only do so much. We Google each address and see what’s around via Google earth but that’s amazingly time-consuming.

We are totally willing to get the perfect house early (even though the extra rent would come straight out of our savings) but we also don’t want to jump the gun and take the first house we see that we like if it’s not perfect. House hunting three years ago in DC really messed with our preconceptions so we are now paranoid (back then we had a Top 10 List and by the time we had driven the five hours from Jacksonville to DC like six of them were gone!). If we knew what city (at least) we wanted to be in that would cut down our prospects, but we also don’t want to eliminate a perfect house if it’s in our third-ranked city. If it comes down to it and we are seriously considering it, Tom would fly out so it wouldn’t be sight unseen…but if we ended up passing on it, then we’ve wasted a trip unless he stays for some extra time and house hunts on his own.

We ended up telling our agent that we weren’t quite ready to fill out an application (it’s $70 a pop for each rental so it’s not like we want to do a bunch of them!) but that was a panicky 15 minutes while we were considering it.

I hate this part.

Of course, he gets them all riled up right before bedtime. 

    

What a perfect night…

The weather was so awesome that we ate dinner outside and then just hung out. Tom rarely posts on Facebook so you know something was seriously good if he does…

Had a great Spring day. Took the kids out Pokémon hunting in the morning. Wood working followed by little league practice (pitching to an awesome group of kids), grilling flank steak and drinking really good beer on the deck and watching my wonderful kids play together and read bed time stories.

Truly I do not know if life can get any better. Life is great!

Owen was reading to us (getting his daily reading homework done!) and then it got dark so he was reading by iPhone light. The two books he picked to read to Katie were Hooray for Diffendoofer Day (Seuss) and The History of the American Flag. :)

Goofing around together:

 

Mama! Look who I have on my lap!

Jersey Kids

I wanted a picture of Katie in this outfit so I could hopefully post it with an old pic of Owen…but she refused to leave Tom’s side. :)

I finally got her alone.

And the best photo comparison I could manage (apparently I never took a picture of him when he was wearing the matching pants).

Three deployments, three tags, three ranks.

#thingsyoufindwhenpreparingtoPCS #amateurhoarders

This is what it looks like when you’ve waited three years to start sorting and organizing bins in the basement and now you only have months left. In an hour we got rid of one bag of recyclables and two boxes of garage sale/donation stuff. Now we only need to get rid of about 35x more stuff. :)

 

Saturday Night Dinner!

Pre-dinner selfie.

Pre-dinner family selfie.

    

We loved that the three of them all crammed together on one side even though they didn’t need to. The boys were at the other table. :)

 

And I forgot to take a pic of the food (Slow Cooker Bacon Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes, Tangy and Creamy Macaroni Salad, and KFC’s Cole Slaw) and our group!

Wait. What? Tom took selfies of us unprompted?

We took the kids to a somewhat local playground since the weather was so nice. We sat on a blanket while they played…