Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring 2016 Update

Ok, so the path to hell is paved with good intentions.  I had every intention to blog at least once a week... We can all see how well that went.

Anyway, back in February, Captain America proposed to LLB and she said YES! She was completely surprised. We were fortunate to be out to dinner (at a different restaurant) with his parents. We all knew he was going to pop the question, so we hung out and waited until we got "the call" from a very happy, very tearful LLB. She then called her grandmother and her brother. It was such a happy night!

We have been in the midst of planning and acquiring all that is needed for a wedding. We have a year, but these things take time. We have a venue. We have the church. We have the bubbles! We have the invitations. We even have the table runners, chair covers, and chair bows. Most importantly, we have "the dress". It is simply gorgeous, but you all will have to wait until next year to see it, as I can't risk Captain America getting even one glimpse... It is an exciting time!!

We are currently figuring out table numbers and center pieces. I can't believe how many lists I have going -- potential attendees (we only have room for 100 people total), music selections, line dances I need to learn, items for the registry, and more.

Mr, LLB, and I went to Texas to visit #1. We had a short, but lovely visit with him.  He will deploy soon, but we know he is well trained, well prepared, and will be back sometime this fall. We won't have much contact -- if any. It's a good thing time flies, huh? His apartment is really nice and he will get his very own washer and dryer upon his return. Its funny how priorities change as they age - the laundromat I not his favorite hangout. ;)

I was given a chance to visit with my dearest childhood friend at her parents' home in Naples in early April. We went to the zoo, vegged by the pool, and chatted about everything and nothing. It was a great time and I do so hope they invite me back.

My latest endeavors include crocheting mittens, blankets, and shawls. You can get a lot done while waiting for flights... LLB will need a shawl for her wedding, so we will be taking a trip to the yarn shop to get some super special yarn. I'd like to make her something out of a really fine and snuggly soft yarn... But first we need to find a pattern. :)

Gram is well. We try to get out a few times a week. Sometimes we shop. Sometimes we go to appointments. We always go to lunch! :)

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Happy New Year!

We were away for New Year's this year because LLB and Captain America were marching in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. We couldn't miss this bucket list item!  So, we packed it up, jetted out to LAX, rented a car, and made our way.

Our first stop was the beach -- we joined the VMI Band for a party at the Pacific. It was breezy and chilly, but some of them were in the water. It was way too cold for us, so we just watched. The band played a rehearsal on the beach after dinner - that was pretty awesome! The sunset over the Pacific was simply stunning...

Our hotel was in Pasadena, so we braved the horrible LA traffic and headed north. We discovered that google traffic in DC is very different than in LA. When it comes up as red in DC, it's stopped. In LA, it is still moving. Imagine that!?  Our hotel was in a convenient location for the parade, had no coffee, and had a noisy heater, but was clean.
We woke up in the morning and headed to Bandfest. I'm really glad I reserved tickets, because the line was out the door and around the corner. VMI was the smallest band there, but they were great! LLB had a solo - which she rocked! We are so incredibly proud of her! Our seats were pretty good - we sat next to a local whose best friend happened to be a VMI Grad. He told us what we should see while we were there.
We took his suggestions so after Bandfest (and lunch with friends), we headed off to see the Rose Parade displays at the convention center. It was terrific! We sat in on an hour presentation by a float designer - his float won best animation this year! We saw displays about the history of the parade, got our pictures taken, listened to the Air Force Jazz Band,  held a grenade launcher, and basically had a great time.
The next day - New Year's Eve - we decided to see The Getty Museum. It was awesome! They had a display of Louis XIV's tapestries. They were amazing - the colors, the detail, the workmanship.... We saw impressionist paintings, furniture, photography, sculpture, and more. The museum is terrific -- and big! We missed a couple of exhibits, but we were tired and we still had to get back to Pasadena. That night we decided to have an early dinner in Old Town Pasadena. We ended up at The Cheesecake Factory because our first choice restaurant was closed -- it was New Years Eve, after all. We had a lovely meal which we finished off with cheesecake!
We woke up early on New Years Day and headed off to our parking spot right behind our grandstand seats. We arrived early enough to get a good spot, get some breakfast at the McDo right next to our grandstand seats, and watch the parking guys Tetris the parking lot. (That was worth the price of admission!) We sat with the VMI alumni. They are a really fun group!
The floats were gorgeous! The bands were great. The VMI Band was terrific - as expected! LLB was on our side of the street and Captain America was in the first row. We saw both of them, took a bunch of pictures, and had a really nice time!
We tried to see the floats after the parade, but the lines were crazy and they were late opening the venue. We decided that we would rather go back to our hotel, take a rest, pack for our return home, and watch the reruns of the parade on TV. That night's dinner was sushi! We found a really nice place not too far from our hotel.
The next morning, we headed home. It was definitely a fun time...

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!