Friday, August 17, 2018

On Fort Ticonderoga

Since summer's almost over I thought I should at least make an attempt to post pictures from some of our adventuring.  Even if they aren't exactly what you'd call recent. 

Grandpa Reintjes came up for a good long visit and while we spent most of the time with him frolicking in the river and burning scrap wood in our fire pit we also snuck in a trip to Fort Ticonderoga on his last day.  The fort itself was, well, underwhelming.  It was fun to visit and they had a few reenactors on hand but overall it was certainly not worth the price of admission.  Oh well.  The gardens were pretty.  And there were two cows so the children satisfied. 

While we were there sitting by Lake Champlain Margaret and John invented a game in which they were each royalty who had been turned into statues by some evil witch and then had to be rescued.  By each other.  But they were both statues.  I suppose it was worth the whole trip just watching them try to work through that pickle.  Especially watching Margaret pretending, ever so gracefully, to be a statue of a princess :)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

On Leaving

Well, now that we (well the kids and I) have been in Vermont for a little over three weeks it seems just about time to post pictures of our last sightseeing hurrah from D.C.  We didn't knock everything off of our list of things we should have seen while we lived so close to the capital, but oh well.  There's usually a next time for JAGS to come back again, and I know we have left behind a lot of people with their fingers crossed that that time will be soon.  And probably just as many hoping the opposite :) 

We can be a rowdy bunch.

It occurred to me that while we had done a lot of the museums, we never actually took the kids to see the monuments on the mall, so we took one of our last mornings and did just that.  As you can see, they were really excited for all of the photo opportunities that presented themselves.  It was a pretty wonderful day even if no one would smile for my farewell to Virginia group pictures.

Now we are settling in nicely to our new state, but we still miss all of our friends that we left behind.  I know I've been so busy trying to get the house set up here that I haven't been able to really process the fact that we actually left Virginia.  I suppose the beauty of moving is that there is always so much that needs doing you can fairly successfully put off dealing with most of those pesky unpleasant emotions that are bound to come up when leaving behind four years of wonderful friends and neighbors.  At least I can.  It's a handy military spouse skill that I've honed over multiple moves and farewells.  I'm sure it will all hit me eventually, but then again, maybe I can put it off until the baby arrives and then I'll be so busy again I'll just never have to think about it at all.  That's the healthiest way to deal with sadness, right?  Right. 

This has probably been our least successful move-in to date.  Partially because the house wasn't quite ready for our arrival, partially because Chris wasn't here to help with the unpacking, and partially because I'm just really, really third trimester tired and uncomfortable and also moving very slowly.  Now Chris is here though, and we should have everything set up soon and it will all be okay, even if we didn't make it happen by the usual self-imposed two week deadline. 

To speed up the unpacking by giving us something to look forward to, I'm also working on a summer bucket list of things to do in Vermont/New England before Chris starts school at the end of August so if anyone has suggestions let me know.  So far we've scheduled our first ever family vacation (that doesn't involve driving to visit extended family) to Prince Edward Island where I'm sure the children will all be just as excited as me to see all things Anne of Green Gables.   That trip will most likely involve a couple of nights in Maine as well.  I'd like to hit Fort Ticonderoga as well as the Ethan Allen homestead/Burlington, VT in general too.  Maybe the Von Trapp Family Lodge?  Definitely the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory. 

What would you do if you had a few free weeks in New England in the summer? 

Maybe I'll be more successful with Vermont sight seeing than I was in D.C.  At least here I won't have to battle my desire to never ever actually drive into D.C. in order to see thing so that should increase my success rate by at least a hundred fold, give or take :) 

Monday, June 4, 2018

On Wrapping Up

Well, we have orders and a move out date and we are down to two and a half weeks before our packers arrive so naturally we are trying to cram in as much sight-seeing as we can before we leave.  Like all the things you would have thought we would have gone to see living this close to the capital but didn't because we obviously had so much time left and didn't need to rush :)

Memorial Day weekend we knocked out Luray Caverns, drove the Skyline Drive, and made a quick visit to our old favorite, Huntley Meadows, where we re-homed the most adorable baby turtle that you have ever seen.  Chris really wanted to keep him but I persuaded him that it was best not to take a turtle across state lines since we would probably want to set him free after the cuteness wore off and even I know that you don't set Virginia turtles free in Vermont.  Luckily, prudence beat out baby animal cuteness.  This time. 

There are so many more things I want to do before we leave but unfortunately there are even more things that I have to do, so I'm feeling very pinched for time.  We never took the kids to just walk the mall and see all the memorials so I feel like we definitely need to do that if nothing else.  I'd take them by myself but apparently I'm allergic to driving into D.C. on weekdays, which explains why we haven't seen nearly as many things there as I thought we would. 

I know that I haven't fully processed the fact that we are really about to move again.  I'm just going through the motions of someone preparing to have all their worldly goods packed up into a moving van and hopefully shipped undamaged to a whole new state, but it still doesn't feel real.  I don't think it's going to really sink in until we start saying final goodbyes to all of our friends. 

That or the boxes are actually loaded onto the truck and our house is empty. 

Which is coming up rather quickly. 

What would you go see in D.C. if you only had three weeks left? 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

On Turning Eight

We decided to celebrate Henry's birthday a day early this year so that daddy could attend the festivities.  And by "festivities" I mean the special birthday dinner he chose of mac n'cheese from a box which the children almost never get to eat and therefore has become somewhat of a coveted delicacy here, reserved only for the special-est of special occasions,  and of course cake and presents.  Henry requested a coffee cake which I was pleased to make for him since it's not only something I would actually like to eat, but it also didn't involve me making frosting.  A double mom win. 

Microwave mac n'cheese and coffee cake--my son obviously has a very refined palate. 

He received some pretty excellent presents so far, including a new sword that is almost as tall as he is, a camouflage watch and wallet, and my personal favorite--Legos from his brothers that they bought with their own money.  The boys have been saving up for months to have spending money for a family vacation we're going on soon but they can't quite seem to stop themselves from buying gifts for every special occasion that comes up, so I'm afraid they won't have much left by the time we get there.  I'm certainly not going to squelch their generosity though.  The delight on their faces when they give a gift that they worked hard to earn the money for, picked out, and bought themselves is balm to a mother's heart.  They might bicker constantly but they really do love each other. 

That or they're hoping for a turn with the new Legos.  It's hard to say for sure.  Let's just assume it's love. 

We had planned to go the zoo tomorrow to celebrate the big day on the actual big day but half of the family is sick so Henry graciously agreed to postpone the trip to later in the week when everyone is hopefully feeling better.  After all, according to my little marshwiggle, at least one thing always goes wrong on your birthday.   

Henry also designed his own birthday shirt with an old t-shirt that I told him to throw away because it has a hole in it and a dry erase marker.  He was pretty excited about turning eight--even if he did know something was bound to go wrong in the end. :) 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

On Attempting to Be at Peace

"Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day.  Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.  Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually:  'The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart has trusted in Him and I am helped.  He is not only with me but in me and I in Him."
~St. Francis de Sales

Mary Lenaburg had this quote printed on a handout that she passed around at a women's retreat last weekend that I attended and the message couldn't have been more timely for me--although it's certainly easier said than done.  To say I've been entertaining anxious thoughts as of late would be a bit of an understatement.  Any of you who know our story know that I've lost two babies in my second trimester over the past few years so I'm, I would say understandably, a bit anxious until I can at least feel my babies kicking and have a little reassurance of their well being. 

I just had my sixteen week visit last week, and everything was completely normal, but I went about preparing for that visit in a way that probably wasn't.  Before every second trimester prenatal visit I find myself mentally preparing to not hear a heartbeat.  To see that concerned look in the doctor's eyes as they're wielding the doppler.  To have to deliver the baby that afternoon.  So, instead of being excited to see how the baby's doing I spend the days prior to my appointments:

  • cleaning the house in case we have to call in friends to stay with the children while I'm in the hospital.  
  • checking to see whose feast day coincides with the day of the appointment so I'll have a name ready just in case (thankfully, we won't be adding a Julius to the family this year).  
  • sitting down and realizing that my heart is racing because I'm having a bit of an anxiety attack without even realizing that I was worried in the first place.  
  • giving myself a pedicure because you forfeit enough dignity when you're delivering a baby as it is--you should at least be able to look down and see that your toes are presentable even if nothing else is. 
  • and just sitting around in general and imaging the worst.  

I'm a bit of a mess.  

Intellectually, I know that God will give me the strength to bear whatever comes because He has before.  I shouldn't worry.  I should assume everything is fine unless I find out otherwise.*  On the other hand, emotionally, I still haven't unpacked my box of maternity clothes, and it's not because I don't need them yet.  I've just been taking out what I need to wear and then putting it back in the box once it's clean again.  If you've ever had to take all the maternity clothes out of your closet and prematurely pack them back up in a box you understand my hesitancy.  

I've got my big ultrasound in two weeks and then another appointment two weeks after that so I don't have any more huge lapses of time to go without checking in on the baby.  Maybe after those I'll finally unpack my maternity clothes into my actual closet.  In the meantime I'll just keep reading this quote that I ripped off of the bottom of the handout and attached to my refrigerator with a magnet and try my best to be at peace.** 

It does help to have friends who suggest lovely nature walks to see the bluebells, even if nature walks with children are never quite as relaxing as you imagine they will be.  Especially when it's eighty degrees and they opt to carry Nerf guns in lieu of water bottles.  Also, I can't believe we've lived here for four years and this is the first time we've gone to see the bluebells.  

*I totally just had to change this from "until" to "unless."  Unless we find out something's wrong, not until.  We aren't necessarily going to find out that something's wrong.  I really am a mess.  
**Okay actually it's being held up with one end of a magnetic curtain rod that the owners of our house left behind so it looks even more classy than you are imagining.  
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