Friday, November 06, 2015

It's been a long few months

#1 is off learning his Army stuff. He got called to go early - as in July. So we packed him up and shipped him out. He has enjoyed his time out west very much. He bought a car, is learning how to cook, and has made great friends. He will be moving to Texas once his training is done. He told me today that a "Pod" will be arriving soon and to fill it up with whatever Gram and I think he might need. Ooo we will be shoveling out the attics and sheds! I hope his weight limit is large because we have a lot of stuff to donate to the cause.

LLB spent her summer doing research on thin films and analyzing data. I don't understand any of it, but it looks really cool! There was a two page write up about her and the project in the Institute Report. We thought that was pretty awesome, too. Not only is she smart, she is also quite the athlete! She joined the Equestrian Team last spring and the Powerlifting Team over the summer. She loves lifting and is really quite good at it! Who knew?  After she did the research and took a class, she headed off for her Navy cruise. Her cruise time shifted 3 times over the summer and when she finally got her return dates, we found that we would be in Canada for our vacation. So -- We flew her into Burlington, VT, and picked her up there. Her special guy, known here as Captain America, is a Mechanical Engineering major at VMI. He joined us for our trip, survived the uncles, and drove with me to get her in VT. We picked her up and resumed our Montreal extravaganza. We returned through Gananoque and spent a day with Mr's sister. We learned how to play Euchre, took a boat tour, and had a lovely dinner with lots of laughs.

Grandpa had a Lumbar Laminectomy in June at MCV/VCU and had great success. His pain went away and he was doing great. And then he got bit by a mosquito and contracted West Nile Virus. It took 3 weeks to get a diagnosis and in those three weeks he was at 2 hospitals and an acute rehab center. From there he was transferred to another nursing home closer to home and then everything seemed to head south. He had blood pressure issues, dehydration issues, and more. Every time he made progress, he'd have a setback. He is currently not doing well at all. Hospice has been called in and now we wait. It stinks, but in the end, we have no choice in the matter.

In between running to hospitals and appointments, many tiny loads of laundry, and caring for our critters while we were off in Montreal and Lexington,  Gram joined us for The Book of Mormon at the Kennedy Center. We have never laughed so hard. We have plans to take her to see LLB and Captain America compete at the State Powerlifting Competiton. We have no idea what to expect, but we know it will be fun!

Mr and I spent our summer packing suitcases, meeting airplanes, and generally driving. Mr and I continue to ring handbells, participate in the VMI Parents Council, and generally keep busy. I'm working at the winery here and there and I now know a wee bit more about wine and grapes than I thought I ever would. Ok, so I know that I like red wine - a lot. The MV Cab Franc is yummy, I love the MV 2012 Merlot, and the mulled wine is to die for! Ok... So I like wine.

What's next? Thanksgiving with Captain America's family, Christmas here at home, and New Years in Pasadena. LLB and Captain America will be marching in the Rose Parade. Look for all of us on TV!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

VMI Graduation and Commissioning

My #1 commissioned into the US Army on May 15th. He graduated from VMI on May 16th. It was three days of pomp, circumstance, and fun. Lots of ceremony. Lots of walking. Lots of hanging around waiting for the next thing. Auntie and Uncle came from Denver and Auntie and Uncle came from Montreal to help us celebrate. :)

Everyone was involved in the ceremony. His grand dyke came and said his military oath with him. It was really special. Mr and I got to put on his shoulder boards and LLB got to put the pin on his beret. (I can't believe that in two short years we will be pinning our LLB. Time sure does fly.)

Graduation at VMI is amazing. The valedictorian is chosen by his peers. The speech the young man gave was funny, thoughtful, and very well received by the graduates.  The graduates don't have mortar boards or tassels. They wear coatee and white gloves.  They throw their gloves. It's really quite a sight.

After graduation, we sent one car home and I helped LLB move out of barracks. (#1 had mostly loaded his car the night before. He and his girl emptied his room and went to lunch.) LLB and I got it all done and headed home just as the first car arrived at home.

We had a celebration open house on Sunday. Many good friends came to congratulate our boy and sit and chat for a bit. It was terrific!

So - now we have #1 at home until it is time for him to head to his first Army assignment. He is working at the winery little bit and looking for a job to keep him busy during the weekdays.  LLB has already returned to VMI for summer session - after which she heads of to a Navy cruise. Things are returning to normal... whatever that is!

Thursday, April 30, 2015


Today our sweet LLB turns 20.
It feels like just yesterday that I woke up early on a beautiful Sunday morning with contractions. I made 5 dozen egg salad sandwiches, took a shower, called the doctor, secured care for my #1, and woke up Mr and told him we needed to go.
Mr was freaked! You'd think that he'd been through this before, and that he would have it down. Alas, that was not the case. The poor man flooded the car when he went to start it. I laughed... Out loud... He was not as amused as I was.
We waited a few minutes and tried again. Vroom! It started right up. In his defense, it was my car and my car didn't require one to push the gas pedal to start it like his did. We got to the hospital in record time.
The nurse asked me my name -- I answered, "Epidural".  She told me that I'd get one this time -- no worries. Ha! Yeah... At 1pm, they went to put that epidural in my back, and sure enough, LLB had other plans. It was time to push. The doc came flying in. He was washing his hands and told me not to push. Really? Are you kidding? I told him to wash his hands faster!
At 1:09, our LLB entered the world. And now, she is 20.
Our LLB is an amazing young woman! She is finishing up her second year of college at VMI with a double major in Applied Mathematics and Physics and a really good GPA. (Can I just say that she is her father's daughter?)  She is at a college with 9% women - not an easy place, but she is handling it. She is doing research at school this summer before she heads off to her Navy assignment. She will most likely not get a real summer again this year, but she is driven. She knows what she wants. She knows what she needs to do to get it. She sets her goals, and she does what needs to be done.
She is one tough cookie -- and she is ours! And we are so incredibly proud of her! :)
Happy Birthday, LLB!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Two down...

We played at the wee episcopal church up the road a piece this morning. The ladies and gentleman (yes, I sucked him in) did a terrific job! I am so proud of them. They worked incredibly hard and mastered 4 pieces for this morning's service. The parishioners were extremely supportive - we got applause and cheers at the end. It was so cool!
The next time we play will be at the end of June. Now I need to find some easy music that has chimes and bells... I am sure I can find something great for them to play.
I am going to shift them around a bit to make things easier for those who ring in more than one choir. Ringing different bells in two or more choirs is hard for experienced ringers, but it's near impossible for beginners. I need them to be successful and if it takes a shift, I'm happy to shift. ;)

Monday, April 20, 2015

One down...

We had our very successful bell concert on Satuday and played for 2 services on Sunday. It was a LOT, but my ladies and gentleman handled it all with grace and humor. We put all of the equipment away for the summer, heaved a sigh of relief, and ate pizza. It's what we do.
The church is getting a new pastor in July. I'm not sure if they will want the bells to play for his first Sunday, but we will cross that bridge when we get there. We do plan to do a Ding Dong Daiquiri Party some afternoon by the pool. But, for now, we are done. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Busy is good.

Wow! I've not posted in a while. I have been quite busy, actually.
Easter has come and gone. We went to church an awful lot that week! The bunny did come and he dropped of some really nicely filled baskets for my cherubs plus one. I stopped at Walmart and got some chocolate bunnies last week for half price! My LLB is looking forward to eating those half price lovelies.
My WUMC bell choir has been rehearsing and working hard for our concert this coming weekend. We are ringing 11 pieces from all different genres. I am sure it will be a great performance.  My Leeds group will be playing in church next Sunday. It seems like it's all bells all the time. I'm definitely ready for Summer!
LLB is taking summer classes and doing research at VMI this summer. After which, she is headed to her Navy summer cruise. I think she may be sailing out of San Diego, but I'm not sure. #1 graduates in just a few weeks and will spend the summer pouring wine, exercising, and floating in the pool. Life is good!
We've been working in the yard. Raking, mulching, pruning, and more fill the days when the sun is out. Today was one of those days and I'm pooped. I'm trying to get the yard out by the pool neat and presentable before #1's graduation party. I think we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
So - we've been busy.
Busy is good.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Holy Handbells - it's Holy Week!

Holy Week can be as rough as Christmas for church musicians. I'm at one church or another every day until next Tuesday. Not that I don't enjoy ringing and directing - I do, very much. It's just a lot all at once and it's a lot to keep track of.
Tonight we were at WUMC. Tomorrow and Sunday we are at Emmanuel. Saturday we are at Leeds. It's a lot, but it's fun.
Every year I say, "never again"...
And every year I add one more thing.