Thursday, December 10, 2015

Merry Christmas


I thought I’d fill you in on our family life this year. Since there is so much to tell and I’m too lazy to write it all down in each and every Christmas card with a pen, you’re getting this note.

#1 is now 23 and graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in May. He commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army and is currently stationed at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas.  He left here in July and spent a few months learning everything about his new job as an Intelligence Analyst at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona.  While he was in Arizona, he studied hard, had a great time, met a lot of terrific people and even purchased his first new car – a Honda Accord – which he absolutely loves.  #1 arrived in El Paso on a Friday night and jumped in with both feet first thing on Monday morning. He is currently looking forward to moving into his first apartment – on December 17th.  Gram and I packed his pod with all kinds of “goodies” and shipped it to him right before Thanksgiving. I am so glad we don’t have to unpack it!  FYI: Mr has claimed #1's room as his new Model Train room.

LLB is a Junior Applied Mathematics and Physics Major at VMI. She continues to play the trumpet and is a member of the Regimental Band, the Jazz Band, and the Brass Ensemble. She will be marching in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena for New Year’s. This is one trip that Marc and I refuse to miss. Watch for us on TV!!

LLB has had an amazing year. She continues to embrace all that VMI has to offer. This past summer, LLB spent a week on a submarine and absolutely loved it. She enjoyed everything about her week - except the flight to California and back. Because the dates of her sea week changed a few times, it turned out that we would be in Canada upon her return. So – we booked her a flight to Burlington, Vermont, and picked her up there.  We brought Captain America with us to Canada. Somehow he managed to survive the family for a few days without her and didn’t hop on the first flight out while we waited for her to arrive at the airport. He was and is a real trooper... 

Mr was LLB's date at the VMI Ring Figure Ball this fall. He dressed up in a tux, didn’t drop the ring, and danced the night away. He enjoyed every minute of the evening. Mr is still at MITRE doing whatever it is he does there. He enjoys sawing fallen trees with his chain saw and mowing our acreage with his tractor in his spare time.  He continues to play bass guitar in the Church Gospel band, and rings bells in three choirs.  I now direct two handbell choirs and ring in one. I am active in the Prayer Shawl ministry at a local United Methodist Church.  Mr and I are involved in the VMI Parents Council and a half dozen other volunteer committees. Basically, we keep busy.  

We had a rough summer and fall. My father contracted West Nile Virus in early July. He fought it valiantly, was doing great, but succumbed to congestive heart failure in early November. We all miss him dearly, but know that he is in heaven with his siblings eating my grandmother’s cookies, donuts, and pie. Zeb, our sweet corgi, crossed Rainbow Bridge this past Sunday. We aren’t sure what happened, but we do know that he and my dad are together – sharing snacks.

If you’re ever in DC, shoot us an email. We’d love to see you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 09, 2015


26 years ago I said, "I do".

I still do.

Happy Anniversary, Mr. Bug.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Our Zeb

Our sweet Zeb crossed Rainbow Bridge on Sunday morning.
He was the best dog. He will be missed.

We have no idea what really happened. He tested positive for Lyme, but...

Saturday, December 05, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like...


How did almost another month go by so quickly?

It's been quite a ride.
Grandpa died just a couple of days after my last post. We miss him, but we know he is in a much better place. I am sure he is eating my grandmother's donuts and hanging out with his siblings.

#1 has moved to Texas and his pod - which we packed with all kinds of goodies including our family room couch -  arrives at his apartment on December 17th. He can unpack his stuff, relax on his couch, and set up his tree just in time for Christmas. FYI - Mr has already called dibs on the empty bedroom - I think a model train room is in our future.

LLB got her VMI ring. It is perfect for her!  Mr and I made dinner for 9 between the ring presentation ceremony and the evening festivities. It was really fun to relax and share a meal with all of them.  Captain America took his mom and LLB took Mr as their dates to "Ring Figure". They danced and laughed and had a terrific time!

We spent Thanksgiving with Captain America and his family. We had great food, awesome conversation, and lots of laughs. On Friday, we skipped the early morning shopping and opted for a little extra sleep.  We got out all of the decorations at Gram's and our house and set up our tree. Gram and I have been decorating and cleaning at both houses ever since.

December is upon us and our annual Christmas Open house is a short 14 days away. We have a lot to do before then... We have bells to play, events to attend, and presents to purchase and wrap.

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!