Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 - recap

I did not fall of the face of the earth, or forget about my little blog. I simply had some adjusting to do. The changes this move brought did not go nearly as easily as I had hoped, but I've come through it all successfully.

I turned 40. Chris flew me out to PSU for a long weekend and I got to see a lot of close friends. Not all of them, but a lot of them. Teresa (my college roommate), Mark (my college BFF), Claudia (one of my bridesmaids), my mom, and my Aunt Helaire (who I named Molly after) all came up to visit and stayed at Rebecca and Jim's with me. It was a VERY good weekend. Fun, busy, and exciting with a PSU football game all rolled into 4 days. At the end of the week, I realized that "Hey, I'm 40. But I don't feel any older."
We moved. I think all of the changes that incurred had a lot to do with all of the adjustments. Now that it's been a semester, we've not only survived, but done quite well! I have a part-time job that I enjoy, the kids are in school that we all absolutely LOVE, Chris is having fun teaching cadets Probability and Statistics, Michael is doing soccer and Scouts, Molly is doing piano and Scouts, and I have started taking piano lessons, too. Our gym is absolutely incredible, and I admit, when we do move, I'll miss it.

Now that it's the end of 2009 and tomorrow starts 2010, it's not so bad looking back. It seemed horrible during it, but now that it's over, 2009 wasn't that bad. Well, besides when I actually got the dreaded Swine Flu. But, now I have some great antibodies in my body!!

Beginning tomorrow we will have a Lt. Colonel living in the house. Now, that's making me feel older than turning 40 did. After all, Lt. Colonels are OLD. Like, OLD PEOPLE old. Perhaps it will be like my birthday, where after the fact it wasn't so bad...
Here are some long awaited pictures. :-)
Michael and Molly on the first day of school in their uniforms.

Rebecca and Jim came out for Christmas and we all went to Garden of the Gods. I think their trip out here was the highlight of the last 6 months for me. Life returned to normal, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Michael and Molly decorating their Gingerbread House. And being sweet!
Michael got glasses this fall. He thought he wouldn't like them, but once he figured out he could see better, he loved them!

We all went to a corn maze in Denver for the day. It was QUITE the maze. Notice the warm clothes we had on - it was 82 that day (yes, in October) and there was snow on the mountains!!

Molly and Michael on Halloween. Molly was Scooby for the third year in a row, and Michael dressed up as "Daddy". They were in a contest on base, and Mikey got first for his catagory, while Molly got second. She isn't a very happy second place winner, is she? ha ha

I'll try to do better next year.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chapter Two

(Or, another chapter of our lives, but I never counted, so I don't know the number. I thought Chapter Two sounded better...)

We did not just move across the country - we were displaced for a month. What to do with the time but travel? After tearfully leaving our friends we drove to Dover and got on a C-5 bound for Rota, Spain. A week in Spain was relaxing! We stayed in the Navy Lodge and went to the beach every day. The Lodge would lend you chairs, umbrellas, towels, coolers, and sand toys. How wonderful is THAT?? The kids ate squid, shark, octopus, snails, swordfish, etc. and we were so pleased! Seafood, beer, wine and water was pretty much what we lived on for the week. It was an experience with the kids that we were lucky to have. Here is Molly sucking out the snails.

And Chris and the kids in the water playing...
Of course, we HAD to eat a lot of gelato!! Every. Single. Day. I think that little girl has chocolate on every summer dress and shirt.
We also went up in a church tower in Seville.
We let the kids take a picture of us while in the palace gardens.
Most evenings we managed a walk along the beach.

Yummy sangria!!

From there we came back on another C-5 to Norfolk to Dover. We drove down to Richmond to see Heather and Scott for about 36 hours. It was worth every minute of the drive. I don't know when I'll see her again, which is hard. We took the kids to Maymont Park.

After Richmond we went to D.C. to see Mark. We all went to Mount Vernon together on a hot, summer day.

Then, driving back to State College we met up with Stephanie and Scott, Abby and Carter for dinner at an exit on the turnpike. They were on their way down to D.C., and meeting on the road was the best we could do. I miss them.
Next, it was back to State College to pick up our things at Rebecca and Jim's house, our old next door neighbors. After yet another tearful goodbye, we were at least on the road. Well, 3 miles down the road Chris realized the U-Haul did NOT have air conditioning. In Pittsburgh he traded trucks to get one that DID. We went to Wright-Patt to see Col. Z and Tami, and Julie, and then we were off to St. Louis. I met up with my friend Bob and a friend of his for drinks, which was fun. The next night we spent in Kansas City at Great Wolf Lodge with Stephanie and Chad and their 2 kids. That was fun!
The final night of travelling we spent in Salina, KS. Not a lot to do there, but we managed to find the best steak I have ever eaten at a place called Tucson's. The best salsa, too. It was a local joint, and the waiter said the prep cook, Bernice, makes the salsa. When she took a month off to have a baby, it was "horrible!" It made us laugh.
We arrived on 2 July. On the 4th we went to a cook-out with some friends of ours. What a lovely way to be made welcome right when you get back! Unfortunately, it poured rain and was so cold you could see your breath outside, but the guitars playing and the singing inside more than made up for it. Plus, the beer didn't hurt. :-)

Oh! I drove the Blazer with the 2 dogs, the 2 kids and the cat across country. We'd meet Chris each night at the hotel...anyway...I pulled up to the house, and we unloaded. We tried to get back into the Blazer to go to dinner, and it wouldn't start. Thank GOD it didn't die on me somewhere hours away from Chris on I-70!!

Our household goods were supposed to be delivered on the 6th. Due to a "computer glitch" according to the moving company, they weren't delivered until the 10th! So, it was another week in the TLF, but at least it is a modern TLF! Of all places to be stuck, it wasn't a bad place.

Chris started work on the 5th, so he has been pretty busy already.

We have been back in the house for a week now. It was strange to know where to put the furniture and dishes, and the neighbors on both sides, but strange in a good way. It was fantastic to have a friend come over as the truck was unloading and take the kids to the playground and Chick-Fil-A for ice cream. It has been nice having another friend come over to help me set up the play room.

In the first week - the kids rooms are unpacked, I managed to even bake muffins in the kitchen, and the dogs have run of the house, pretty much. The cat is not real happy about that, but she doesn't hide and growl at them much. We joined a gym so I hope to get in shape.

I didn't take pictures as we went across country - I just wanted to me a mom in charge of the kids and the animals, enjoying seeing our friends. Sorry, friends!

Before we moved we managed to squeeze in a bar tour. Who can leave State College without a bar tour? Certainly not US!!

Other than that - I miss my friends. I miss my neighbors. Moving sucks.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Moving Day

Today is it. The day they are loading the truck. All of our things will be on their way to Colorado Springs.

We have had a lot of fun living here in Happy Valley. We had a good time as undergraduates, and a different time as parents with two little kids. Different, but still wonderful.

Things we will especially miss, in no particular order:

11.Penn State athletics. Beaver Stadium, football games, tailgating with the Kellers and Co., basketball games, SBS, everything being blue and white. I felt like I truly belonged.

10. Going to listen to the old Phyrst Phamily, now called Family Brew. It's fantastic to go listen to a band who knows your name and will play requests, all while letting you sing along and play percussion instruments.

9. Walking down College Avenue on the rare sunny day looking in shop windows and letting the kids play on the pigs. Who knew bronze pigs could be so much fun?

8. Eating. Whether it's breakfast at The Corner Room or ice cream at the Creamery, stickies at The Diner or dinner on our neighbor's deck, we will miss it.

7. The trees. Ok, I know I complained every single fall about raking. I know I did. But when you look at the cul-de-sac and it feels like you live in the woods in the summer - well, it's just wonderful. I will miss all things green.

6. The college kids. As crazy as it sounds (because most locals HATE the kids) I will miss them. I will miss their excitement, their youth, and the general "age" of the town. After all, if THEY don't age - because they are all between 18 and 22 and move on to be replaced by a younger set - then I don't age either!!

5. My Bunko Group. They were the first group that I felt like I could just be myself with, and oh, how I looked forward to our monthly games. Have a glass of wine for me, girls.

4. Our church/my school. Talk about a welcoming bunch. True, it helped that I taught there and knew so many people and the ins and outs, but they really met us with open arms. I'm glad the kids had their First Communions there.

3. Our large back yard. Fenced, shaded, playset and sand box. Enough said.

2. Having everything within 15 minutes of driving time. You could be ANYWHERE in town in 15 minutes. Anywhere.

And finally.

1. Our friends. I have made some simply incredible friends here. Neighbors who turned out to be much more than neighbors, parents from school who turned out to be much more than just parents, and co-workers who turned out to be much more than co-workers. I'll miss brunch after church with Stephanie and Scott, inviting myself over to Mittie's or Sharon's, and walking the path next to next door to ask if our kids are over there, since they have their own bedroom and all....
And you can't replace friends. I can make new ones, and I can find my old ones in Colorado Springs, but I won't replace these. And I'll be back.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Neglected Blog

I really WILL do a better job at this. One day. Let me go through my camera memory stick and see what's new to tell.

OK, I've found:

The Blue/White Game

It was an incredibly beautiful day here for the ol' Blue/White Game. In the 80's, very breezy, lots of friends, Chris's barbeque, and a Temple Owl-Nittany Lion engagement cake to eat. I forgot to take a picture of the cake, or if I did, I can't find it. (Perhaps it was all of the beverages consumed??) It was a great cake!!
And's what is a game without a picture of Mark and his parents!?

Chris and Co. set up at 8:00 am. As he was getting up to an alarm (which we don't even use during the work week!) he said "I can't believe I am getting up there at 8 for a 2 o'clock game..." I looked at him and laughed, replying "I can't believe you guys are getting up there at 8 for a 2 o'clock PRACTICE." But, they got our spot, and it was totally worth it. At least for me, because I wasn't there at 8.

Alright, so the timing of the whole day is backwards, but you get the point.

Next on the camera card?

The trip to D.C.!!

Our best part of the trip was something we couldn't take pictures of - a trip inside of the White House!! A friend from college, Gina, is the Air Force Aide to the President. We took advantage of it and got her to walk us through and tell us what she knows. It's a lot more than I know! So, no pictures, but an unforgettable trip. I think the funniest thing was the butterfly and the bird toys stuck on the windows that you could see as you were leaving. Gina said the girls must have put them there. Made me think that it is great to see they are treating it as a home.

Where are we here?
And here?

Or here.

Then, we kept walking...

Need another hint?

We got the spend the day with Karina and Colin, who we were VERY excited to see. We've missed our Godson and his sister!! It figures that as they move this way, we move back that way.

The next weekend I went with my peeps (Stephanie and Jean)


Our husbands sent us to Bedford Springs for a Mother's Day Getaway. Boy, do we love our husbands!!

Day before yesterday Michael scored his teams two goals at soccer. I was so proud!!

My mom and dad have been here visiting for just over a week, and I haven't taken a single picture of them. Maybe tonight. I took the week off of work to spend with them because I have the feeling we won't see them for quite a while with the move in a few weeks. So, perhaps tonight's cookout with our friends will give me a chance to get out the camera!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Miss Molly

So, the other day Molly was sitting on the couch facing her Daddy on the loveseat. She puts her little hands behind her back and says "Pick a number from 1-10, Daddy, that I am thinking of..." and she puts 5 fingers out behind her back. Well, she didn't know that I was watching! I go above her head and put out 5 to show Chris. He plays along and says "Umm...5?" She pulls her hand out, tucks in her thumb and replies "No, but you were Oh So Close! It was 4." I laughed at her and told her that I could see she had five, and changed her mind. So, she wanted to try again. She put her small hands behind her back again and said "Pick a number from 1-20, Daddy, that I am thinking of..."

I cracked up. It only took her a sec to realize that she couldn't DO 1-20 with just her hands, and she laughed, too. I love that little girl. Oh So Much.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Catching Up

SO much to tell. First, the house sold. It took a week and day, and we got 96% of asking price. We're pretty pleased. I'm especially excited that I don't have to keep it spotless anymore. Chris, however, has threatened to tell me the house did NOT sell and we have a showing once a week so I'll get a-cleanin'. He sucks. :-)

Spring Break was fun. I went with Mittie and Steph to the Crayola Factory and to Chocolate World in Hershey. I have wanted to do both since we moved here and was glad to go.

The kids got along famously and we have been doing things together ever since.

Here is a picture of the kids writing on a clear wall to explore mixing of colors. It looked like they had writing all over their faces!

Next we found a "shadow room" that took pictures and made shadows on the floor. We figured out that if you use a flash against the metal wall, you get this:

We spent hours at the Crayola Factory! On the top floor is a canal museum. The kids learned all about locks and how they operate by using boats and cargo to go up and down different levels of the river. They liked it so much they did it 3 times!

That night we drove down to Hershey and spent the night. We took the kids to the pool, ordered pizza, and just took it easy. Right after breakfast we headed to Chocolate World! The kids pretended they were working in a chocolate factory packing Kisses into packaging. They took their jobs very seriously!

It was a very relaxing "mini-vacay" with my good friends and their good lookin' 'kids!

Then we got in gear for First Communion, which was last Sunday. Here are the kids all excited for their big day.

We also went to Shaver's Creek to the Maple Harvest Festival with the Tumey's and the Fozard's. Too bad the weather was cold and rainy!!
I didn't manage to get any pictures of us all eating the pancakes, but the kids did like the bluegrass music inside!

Last weekend we went on our third Walk for Autism. One of my students from two years ago has autism and his dad happens to be one of Chris's fraternity brothers from oh-so-long-ago. Molly had her picture taken with the Nittany Lion. A different shot of her and the Lion was on the front page of our paper the next day in color!

In between all of the running around we have been playing a bit of Wii on the cold yucky days...

and finished off the days with a bit of bedtime reading. I LOVE the fact that both kids can now read to US!!
Sorry for the lack of blogging lately, but the Solo fam has been busy busy busy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We did it!

We finally got it on the market. THIS is what we're trying to sell.

I don't think it shows everything off that we've done, but at least it's on the market. The best news? The realtor says that most houses are selling for 95-100% of asking price!!! I hope the housing market here doesn't fall flat on its face in the next couple of months.

Now, if I can just either :

a. ship my kids to my mom's so the house stays clean
b. check us all into a hotel.

We hope to move right after 4th of July weekend. So, I want it to sell, but not TOO quickly. See how demanding I am??

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It could be worse.

We could be trying to sell this.

I can't decide what I like best about this beauty. The cook top? The green carpet? The accordian doors? The dark paneling? I think I come back to the mural on the wall in the panel room, every time. Once I quit looking at the doorknob in the middle of the door, that is.
A certain friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, likes to dance on bars in private homes. I wonder if she'd like THIS bar??

Perhaps ours will sell faster than I think. If we can just get it all done to get it listed!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

"This is the BEST age!"

Chris and I seem to say this earnestly at least two or three times a year. "We don't want them to get old." "We enjoy them just they way they are!" and "Isn't this the best?"

I liked it when they were babies and napped at the same time, ate at the same time, and played with the same toys. I thought I had it made.

I liked it when they took baths together, shared so nicely together, and ate dinner with us as a family. No more naps, but we had longer days to do things together. I thought I had it made.

Now, they take their own showers, including conditioning their hair. They can turn the water off, get their towel, put on their pajamas, and hang their towels up. They bring us a book and read to US. They can get their own snacks out of the refridgerator (cheese, yogurt, etc.) get their own drinks, and clear the table after they eat. When they want to go out in the snow they just ask "Can we go OUT to play...?" After I nod, they can get on their boots, hats, coats, gloves, and scarves. I look out the window to check on them playing together. They come in, hang things up, put them away (after I nag a little bit) and play Monopoly together. I don't even have to count out money or change! They'll play chess, or draw, or play with their Lincoln Logs. They can buckle their own seat belts! I'm so glad I had two kids, of opposite sex, close together. I think I have it made.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Quick Update

We are moving back into our old house in Colorado Springs. It just makes sense. Why buy a house when we already have that one? And, I already know where the furniture goes!

I love being a Daisy Leader. But the amount of meetings and events has risen exponentially. I don't ever want to be in charge of selling cookies again. Remind me of that, will ya?

Snow is fun. I'm missing the sun right about now, though.

Heather, if you are reading this, thanks. For everything. Especially listening and reasoning. "Love you!"

The dogs are great. This puppy is the easiest dog I could ever imagine. If by "easiest" you read "laziest" then you are correct.

I'm actually looking forward to putting stuff in storage. I just have too much stuff. I need to give away TONS of it instead of moving it.

Michael came home excited to do Jump Rope for Heart. He couldn't wait to tell me that if he raised "Only 5000 dollars, we can get a Wii!!!" I laughed right in his poor little face. I love that kid. But he DOES make me laugh.

Facebook is seriously taking away from my blogging. I can't NOT Facebook though.

Chris is one of the most comical people I've ever known. He just makes me laugh.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A busy few weeks!

Things to share:

- Chris got selected for Lt. Col. He probably won't pin on until later this year. That's probably the biggest news, and everything else pales in comparison!!

- The puppy is doing better. He came to us with a new surgery, and that one had to be re-done. So, hundreds of dollars in vet bills later, he is home with a lamp shade on his head. But he HATES the lampshade, so in all honesty, it is sitting here next to me, NOT on his head.

- Michael got third place in the Pinewood Derby for his den. He and Chris made a car to look like a police car, and he named it "Speedy". Original, huh?

Here he is with his trophy looking SO proud, as were we.

The kids and Chris all happened to be in their uniforms on Sat., so I took a quick pic.

- Molly and her Daisy Scouts went to 2000 Degrees to paint pottery, to our vet's for a tour and to a Cookie Rally this week. I hope they are all excited to sell their cookies. I'm hoping just being cute in their uniform will be enough and they will sell a LOT of cookies! Molly has The. Smallest. Uniform. And it's still too big!

At the vets office a dog had to have his eye removed because he had been in a fight. After the surgery the vet dissected the eye for us so we could see the lens. It was totally cool.

- I actually have a job application for Colorado Springs, which I hope pans out. It is for the pre-school where I had the kids while I was teaching in the private elementary school, and for a 3 year old position 5 days a week. Prayers for that. I loved the teachers there and hope I'd fit in well.

- We are already starting to think about our move. Selling this house, moving back, Chris teaching at USAFA, me teaching but with hours that would allow me to do full-time bus duty (both mornings and afternoons) because Chris can't. It's a lot to think about. And I don't want to be thinking about it because I am loving living here.
So. There's a lot going on in SusieWorld. Now it's time for Girls Night Out. See ya!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Introducing Smokey

Because we already have the Bandit.
And no, that's not our carpet or wallpaper - it's from the foster home. Thank God.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2008 In Review

Most people start the New Year with a resolution. I have a horrible habit of looking backwards instead of forwards. I sit and ponder the year gone by - what we did, what I would have liked to do, and what I would have done differently. I seem to always have the same secret wish for the upcoming year, and yet, rarely see many changes. This secret wish? I want to be better.
A better wife. A better mother. A better daughter. A better sister. A better friend. A better teacher. A better Christian. A better Daisy leader. Just better. It seems like so much to juggle and I tend to get overwhelmed, like I have so much to do, and I don't know where to start. So, I start with prayer.

Then, I get frustrated that things don't change immediately. I don't know what change I want, or what change I'm looking for. Just a change.

This will be the the Year of the Change. I'm changing my attitude, you see. Not so much my actions. Instead of perfection, I'm going for "as good as I can do". And in most of the areas, I can honestly say "I'm doing the best I can do." I will have a lot of changes this year in my life as I turn 40. Moving again is a biggie.

(as a side note- Chris just made me a kick-a%% milk shake, which he said "Fits in well with our new diet! Creamery ice cream, vanilla, chocolate malt and milk.)

Selling a house, buying a house, moving kids, pets, stuff. Finding a job.

However, in the midst of all the turmoil, I am thankful. Thankful for my relationships. Without the people I have in my life, I wouldn't have much life at all. Especially my husband, kids, mom, and friends. I value those relationships more than life itself. So, I just want to say thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for making me laugh. Thanks for letting me cry. Thanks for celebrating with me, hanging out with me, and talking on the phone with me.

But watch out. I'm the girl with the New Attitude!