Friday, December 4, 2009

Camilla's Christmas List

By the way, I have my computer back, and it is purring happily on my desk once again. I didn't lose any data, only a nasty virus.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

No "Happy Thanksgiving" for this family!

We had a terrible Thanksgiving this year. I woke up Thanksgiving morning to my computer crashing. It was none other than the blue screen of death, and the worst part was that I specifically planned on backing up my files this weekend. There went that. I had to take it in on black Friday, and I still haven't heard back. I am mourning my computer like it were a member of the family (how sad is that?). And yet, I am able to blog. Jacob ordered a netbook that I haven't been able to send him yet, and so thankfully I still have the internet. What I don't have is all the cute pictures and video I was going to post. Oh well. Life goes on.

As bad as my computer crashing was, I think Jacob had it worse. First of all he was given notice at the beginning of the week that he is being moved to another post. The person replacing him is female, which is very rarely a good thing in the Army. Jacob has felt like he has had great report with the MPs, and the members of the LDS group. He was hearbroken. Then their chapel caught fire and burned down. Then they didn't have any pumpkin pie at the DEFAC, only sweet potato pie. I guess it just wasn't our year.

On a side note however, Mary Emma is starting to act like she wants to grow up. She is finally using the sippy cup without a fight, and she is about to start walking. She took her first steps the day my parents arrived over a month ago, and then flatly refused to do it again. Well, this week she has started to "walk" on her knees, and stands unassissted, with a hesitant step here or there. I guess 13 months is the magic number for her.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Leaves and Art

Camilla was sick at the beginning of this week, and was taking a nap on Monday. Hyrum was driving me crazy, doing everything to get my attention. And so I put his coat on him and herded him outside to do a little yard work. Normally Hyrum isn't the best at helping, he tries (sometimes), but when it came to raking leaves he was a natural, and was a big help.

He was a natural at jumping in them too.

Mulvane Art Museum
On Friday we went with the Ft. Riley Homeschool Group to the Mulvane Art Museum on the campus of Washburn University in Topeka. The kids got a tour and then proceeded down to the art lab.
The art lab was great, with things for even Mary Emma to work with.

After the art lab I took the kids back to the exhibits to take some pictures.
Notice the guns. I had to get a picture of them in front of the guns.

When we went outside they had just finished a sculpture they had been working on for several weeks. The artist, Patrick Dougherty, is world renowned for his "Stickworks." He had been onsite working with volunteers to create this sculpture. However, when we came out of the museum all we saw was that it was finished and the barricades had been taken away. A woman came up to us and invited the children to explore this work of art. They had a fabulous time running around, finding passageways and windows.

I had a great time taking their pictures. Unbeknowest to me, however, across the street was a group of people watching us. When we turned to leave, I noticed them, and noticed a sign for the exhibit with a picture of the artist. As I looked across the street, I saw that same man. I felt a thud in the pit of my stomach, but as I drew nearer he thanked the kids for giving the sculpture a test drive. Apparently they were the first to go through it. And so, oddly enough, in Topeka Kansas I met Patrick Dougherty.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

First Lieutenant

The most important thing that happened to our family this week was Jacob being promoted from Second Lieutenant to First Lieutenant. It seems so hard to believe it has been 18 months since I went to Georgia for his OCS graduation.
In this picture Capt. Wood is removing Jacob's old rank (a gold bar) to put on his new rank (a solid black bar).
Just look at that fabulous black bar!
Jacob and the other Lieutenant who were promoted with their certificates of promotion.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Homeschool my way and The Church in Iraq

Sometimes I get bogged down by the monotony of homeschool. The addition facts, phonograms, the four year old who won't leave me alone, the baby who takes Camilla's pencil when she isn't looking. At those points when I survey my messy house along with everything else I start having visions of public school, and start to think that must be the most wonderful invention on earth. But then I decide to take a week like last week and regroup. Yes, addition facts, and phonograms are important, but they aren't the reason I homeschool. You can learn addition facts and phonograms very successfully at public school, but I homeschool for the things you can't get at public school, the education that goes beyond the classroom. And so on Monday we went to the Milford Nature Center to study biomes and habitats up close.

Mary loved the bobcats who were running around, and playing. You can she is pointing at them.
On wednesday I was able to combine a lesson on sculpture with Veteran 's Day. Afterall some of the most important sculpture in our world is in memorium.
At Veteran's Park

At the Buffalo Soldier momument

A happy baby playing at the park

On Friday we took advantage of a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that strangely ended up in our tiny town, called Journey Stories. The children really enjoyed the many interactive features of the exhibit.
At the entrance to the exhibit in the Geary County Historical Museum

Learning and having fun

Oddly enough on Saturday after coming home from a puppet show at the library, I found a robin's egg intact. It seems very weird to me to find one in November and not the springtime. If anyone would care to enlighten me, I would love to know what it was doing on my lawn.
And so the week ends.
And now for some more news from Jacob.
"This last week was certainly historic in nature for the Church in Iraq.Through a series of small miracles, Elder Paul B. Pieper of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy was cleared to come into the Iraqi Theater to organize the Baghdad Iraq Military District, and bring the keys of thePriesthood to this land for the first time in what is probably centuries. It is indeed wonderful to see the gospel move forward in this part of the world. In the words of Elder Pieper: "The Lord wants this military district organized and the priesthood to be here in Babylon on this occasion. We don't know His plan in detail, but this is His timefor such an event to take place."
There are approximately 1300 members of the Church sprinkled throughout the country of Iraq presently-a combination of military and civilian brothers and sisters. The new Baghdad Iraq Military District has been given the task to organize branches where they are merited and are to continue to utilize groups where needed. Anyway, it is an exciting time to be a member of the Church in Iraq."

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Visit With My Parents, A Happy Halloween, and News From The Sandbox

My parents came to visit us from Oct 24 until Oct 29. We had a really fun time, and they sure helped me out (dishes, laundry, reading with Camilla, babysitting, the list goes on). Their visit also facilitated being able to make spudnuts (something I was dreading doing on my own).
As you can see, everyone is enjoying them.

Also, their visit coincided with Mary Emma's first birthday.

When thinking about what I would do for her cake, the thought "The Big Red 1" kept popping into my head, and I finally gave in. For those of you not at Ft. Riley, The Big Red 1 means first division, which is Jacob's division, but it goes a lot farther than that. It is a big Ft. Riley thing. And so Mary Emma had a military centric cake (did you notice it is also red, white, and blue.)

Mary wants to touch the candle.

Opening presents, well, not actually, all she is doing is playing with the ribbons, as we try to keep her over anxious brother and sister from opening them for her. It's her birthday, if she wants to just eat the ribbons, then let her!

She finally got one opened (with help of course).

Carving pumpkins was another task I couldn't handle on my own this year.

The finished project.

Sadly my parents had to leave before Halloween, but we had a good time anyway. If you can't tell, Hyrum is Spiderman, Mary Emma is a ballerina, and Camilla is a cat.

At the trunk or treat.
Now, news from the sandbox. As if being our church's group leader isn't enough, Jacob is now helping out with Catholic services. This is what he says, " The Catholic Priest is polish and speaks several languages and of course one of them is Russian. I discovered this last week. Leaving the Catholic service this morning he pointed to an LT sitting a little ways off saying, "she speaks Russian too." So I go over there and we speak in Russian for a bit. She is from the Ukraine, so we compared what cities we've been too and lived in, etc. I was given a calling in the Catholic Church today, Music Chair. I'm in charge of music. That means I pick the music and am in charge of the choir. Basically, I just play for the hour long service. Playing the church music is like playing out of a "Fake Book,"you know, the music with only the right hand written and I have to come up with the left. This is worse, there are no chords written above the staff or anything, so basically, I'm shooting from the hip. Wow, I just keep shaking my head. Life in the army is so full of variety and adventurous."

Monday, October 26, 2009

So Big!

My dear Mary Emma, it seems so hard to believe that a year has really gone by. However, what seems even harder to imagine, is my life, without you. I love you so much my dear baby girl, but in honor of your birthday, the one thing that I love most about you is your smile.

You always seemed happy and content. Not crying for days after you were born, peacefully making the long trip from Maryland to Kansas in your first week of life. Daddy and I would look back at you and you would be quietly sleeping with your face toward the sun coming in your window.
And then you started smiling at us, and you won us over completely. A bad day would turn good with one look at you.

And then you started smiling at other people, and I began hearing from behind me in line, "Oh look, that cute baby is smiling at me." I still hear it. You are like a patch of sunshine, full of happiness, and you make the world such a better place by just being you.

You are full of life and joy.

And then you started sticking your tongue out, but that's ok, because it made all of us smile.
Who knew we would all need you so much this deployment, Camilla, Hyrum, and myself. After daddy had just left, he called and asked about you. I told him you were performing your role perfectly; healing our aching hearts with your overwhelming amount of love and joy.

Mary Emma, thank you for coming to us, and for just being you.
Happy 1st Birthday!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

All Aboard!

We recently joined the Fort Riley Homeschool group. It's great to meet to new people, and they have really neat activities, including a field trip once a month. This month's trip was to ride the old 1945 train in Abilene. Because we were a school group, tickets were only $4.00 a piece for those of us over 2 years old, and free for Mary Emma. I couldn't let an opportunity like that pass us by!

Hyrum loved riding the train. In fact the day before he asked me if it was a diesel train. Honestly, where does this kid get this stuff!

This was the origianl coal burning stove in the train's kitchen. It had been donated by the Army, and I thought the sign on it that said, "coal is money save it!" Was great! Apparently it was put on the stove in the 1930's. (The engine was from 1945, but the wooden dining car we were riding in was from 1919).

The kitchen with a view of the dining car in the background.

I though this was great, my boy looking out the window of a moving train at a train in the distance.
The kids in front of the train we rode on. The orange on the engine is the original paint.

Outside the train station

The next day (Saturday) I watched the Tilley girls all day. We went to the park to pass some time.
Mary and Sydney having a great time.

A full swing set! I thought this was great! Every swing was taken by one of our group.
Mary, Sydney, Ethne, Addison, Hyrum, Camilla

Mary's laugh.