Sunday, May 7, 2017

On Turning Seven and Marshmallow Fights

We've been alternating birthday parties for a few years now since I don't have the mental energy to throw full blown parties for this many children every time, but this year Henry really wanted a full blown party--and since his party desires coincided with my desires to get to know our new neighbors better I figured we should go for it.  He wanted basically the same party he had when he turned five, except instead of a "war guy" theme he asked for a "Revolutionary War" theme.

I guess that's what happens when you move down the street from Mount Vernon.

We attempted to play capture the flag with the addition of weaponized marshmallows-dipped-in-flour.  I divided the kids into teams of Red Coats, Colonists and medics and they set to work building forts out of random things in our yard.  Lucky for them we have a lot of random pieces of brick/wood/pallets/other bits of detritus in our yard.  They made some pretty epic forts.  Once the forts were constructed the kids started playing capture the flag which degenerated pretty quickly into some sort of game that involved mostly running around the yard and pelting each other with marshmallows with the occasional dirty flour marshmallow snack break.  I'm sure there were rules of some sort or a goal of some kind.  I didn't really care, the kids all played happily until I realized it was fifteen minutes until the party was supposed to end and called them back for cake eating and pinata wacking.  I call that a party success!

Originally I wasn't going to make a pinata at all, but when Henry looked at me with his big sad eyes, what could I do?  I felt a little bad about hitting an American flag with a bat but I thought the British flag would be too tricky to make, what with all the diagonals and all.  Don't worry, the children were very respectful as they broke the flag to pieces and shoved each other to the ground in their attempts to collect all the candy they could for themselves.

It's every man for himself on the battle field.

Overall it was a pretty good party if I do say so myself, and I think we made a good impression on the neighbors to boot.  Henry even had so much fun he didn't have one complaint all day, which was basically a birthday miracle :)

Also, I can't believe my little guy is already seven.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Weekend Doings


We had a pretty wonderful Easter here with a cousin and grandma along for the festivities.  I did a lot of cooking and baking and Chris and the kids did a lot of playing outside and working in the yard and grandma did a lot of holding of the baby--which worked out nicely for everyone involved.

On Holy Saturday the children decided to set up a storefront selling used golf balls that they've been collecting and when there weren't enough products for them all to hock they opened up a second storefront selling candy inside of plastic eggs.  I think they each made two dollars and they stayed busy all day.  A win all around.

That night I asked Margaret if she knew what the next day was and she said, "chocolate day?"  Not exactly, but that did pretty much sum up Easter morning at the Reintjes house.  After we got home from mass, endured an endless photo shoot in which I brought out the tripod and still got no good family pictures because of a certain someone who insisted on making faces, and hunted the baskets, there was a chocolate binge the likes of which we haven't seen round these parts since, well, Christmas.

Afterwards, we had our traditional Easter egg hunt and smash, but this year disaster struck when David dropped the glitter egg and it......broke on the ground.  The kids were very upset at the thought of having no winner--everyone except Margaret that is.  After she realized she could hunt eggs and then sit down to eat the fruity pebbles out of them instead of throwing them at her siblings she was fairly content.  Once it looked like all the eggs had been found and the fun was over, I noticed one lone egg up in a tree and announced that whomsoever found the very last un-findable egg would be the winner and would receive the golden bunny as their prize after all and the hunt was saved.  Note to self:  next year make a back up glitter egg.

We followed up the hunt with a gigantic Easter dinner that none of the children ate because they were full of a really unappetizing mix of candy and veggie sticks and then we went to swim at the indoor pool.  We're all exhausted and I feel like I've been in the kitchen for three days straight--most likely due to the fact that I was.  But He is Risen!  And Chris took next week off so we're all officially on spring break!  What more could a girl ask for, besides maybe being able to sleep all the way through the night?

Well, there's always next year :)

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 13, 2017

On Moving and New Houses

We've moved a lot during these past eleven years as a Navy family.  This marks move number six and also the first time we've been forced to move even though we weren't actually leaving the area.  It would figure that the first time my husband has ever received orders to stay in one place for multiple tours, our landlords would decide to sell their house.

Luckily we have wonderful friends and family who all descended upon us to make what could have been a very unpleasant situation about as good as an unexpected move across town could be.  The whole process from finding out we needed to move, to securing a new house, to actually moving in was ridiculously fast, even by military move standards.

Three weeks.

Three weeks from notice of the impending sale, to my dad and all of Chris' most muscular friends loading all our various household goods onto a rental truck and unloading them in our new home--including the new piano which I had assured my husband upon acquisition would not be a problem because the military always move us so we wouldn't have to worry about handling it ourselves.  Did I mention we have wonderful friends?

I still haven't really had time to process everything, it all happened so quickly and there was so much that needed to be done.

I loved our old house.  It was by far my favorite house of all our houses.  I loved its character, its swinging door into the kitchen, the sun room full of windows, Margaret's tiny nursery, the gas fireplace that we kept going all winter long, the one random glass doorknob, the low place in the fence where the kids would hop back and forth into the neighbor's yard to play.  It was a "Colonial" whereas our new house is a "Rambler."  I'm not sure what that is exactly, but it sure doesn't have the same historic, charming feel.

I don't want to be unfair to The Rambler, it does have many good points, not least of which is that, unlike our old home, this one has never caught fire, so that's reassuring.  We are in a much quieter area so the kids are able to roam free and ride bikes which they haven't done since we left Florida.    There's an actual garage which was very exciting for Chris.  The house has also been recently flipped so the kitchen and bathrooms are all almost brand new and the basement's been redone too so we have a nice big room to play and do school in.  It's all very new and and bright and clean.  

One of the best things about the new house is that it has been updated--and also the fact that it doesn't smell musty or like cats--which is no small feat in this area and our price range.  But I think the newness of it is also why I don't love it.  I keep thinking about this passage from West With the Night,
"The walls of my house are without memories, or secrets, or laughter.  Not enough of life has been breathed into them--their warmth is artificial, too few hands have turned the window latches, too few feet have tread the thresholds. The boards of the floor, self-conscious as youth or falsely proud as the newly rich, have not yet unlimbered enough to utter a single cordial creak.  In time they will, but not for me." 
Maybe it's the fact that we move so much that I crave a home with history and charm.  A place with quirks and hominess built in since we don't generally have time to make those ourselves.  Of course being perpetual renters means that the quirky homes I love aren't always good choices since they tend to need work and you can't redo a rental kitchen even if it begs you to.  So we compromise and go with the updated house with the lovely kitchen full of pretty finishes that nevertheless makes me crazy because it was obviously designed by a flipper and not someone who actually planned to ever cook in it.

And yes, I realize that I'm complaining because my new house is too nice and new.  I can't help it, I like little cozy old homes, and while I'm sure this little new home will feel more cozy eventually it's not quite there yet.  

Sunday, February 5, 2017


John Michael turned four this week and we celebrated with ice cream and presents on his actual birthday followed by a party on Sunday.  And by "party" I mean we invited over two friends and their siblings plus nearby cousins and served sandwiches and cake and had no games or activities or party favors and then I had to leave abruptly to go look at rental houses that we're interested in.  So all in all, it was pretty successful.

John received some excellent presents including a tool box to hold all of his special treasures which currently include smallish Rescue Bots, Paw Patrol figures and Hot Wheels cars (not Matchbox, they have to have a Hot Wheels logo on them or they're no good, apparently).  He also bought himself a doctor's kit recently with his own money and asked me specifically if he could have a doctor's coat to go with it for his birthday.  When he got the asked for doctor's coat however, he was very upset because it was "too big" for him.  I tried to explain to him that doctor's coats are supposed to be long, all doctor's coats are that long, the definition of a doctor's coat is a long white coat, all to no avail.

I think I might have to hem it.  

He also requested a chocolate cake with chocolate icing which turned out to be not nearly as disappointing as our disaster of a present.    

I could go on about how I can't believe he's already four and how fast time flies by but I won't.
I can't though.  And it really does.

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