Wednesday, June 30, 2010


We bowled the other day.  It was when our friends from Switzerland were here...we had so much fun.  I'm going to get the hard part over with to start...that would be our scores...

Now, in my bowling score was really Bella's bowling score...however, for Ilaria...well, she has no excuse for her 75...  Before we ever started she told us all how she took bowling as a PE credit in college.  I'm pretty sure she failed that class.  ha ha ha.

This totally reminds me of the story about the guy in college who asked me on a date and took me bowling.  He killed me.  I had a score probably not too dissimilar to this one...He scored a 290+ or something like was insane...and when its all over and done with he informs me he's on the University bowling league. 

Who does that?  He knew he was going to kill my score...maybe he was trying to show off?  Either way...that was the one and only time we went out...not because of the bowling issue, but because the next item on our "date" was for him to take me to the deep dark caverns of the music hall on campus where he proceeded to sing and play on the piano the love song he'd written for me.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek.  I was so not into that. 

Ok...back to our scores...

Bella was the little queen of the bowling alley.  She watched us all do our thing and then came up with her very own bowling stance that she would do before rolling the ball down the alley...  I usually gave it a push to help it get to the bottom...the one two times I didn't we had to walk the gutter to roll it in all score is missing a whole frame of scores because the machine reset when our ball didn't make it all the way down...

And then is Madmad whose FIRST ball was a STRIKE!  I was very impressed...she didn't even bounce it off the gutter rails!  She's doing a little dance in that second one... Cute girl.

Apparently the knee up/toe on the floor is the socially acceptable way to pose with a bowling ball.  I love this shot of Maddie and Aurora.  So cute...

And since I'm sure you don't really want to see our pitiful scores again...I bid you a guten nacht...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Talented and Gifted...

You know those moms who insist on elaborating on every little thing their child did and making it seem like the most wonderfully marvelous amazing brilliant genius action ever?

"Billy is in a size 6 shoe!  I'm so proud of him!"

" should have seen little suzy today!  She did 4 big poopies!"

"Jimmy can count to ONE!"

Now, I'm not saying that these events don't deserve a big round of applause...I just wanted to make sure you understand why I find MY daughter the most brilliant of them all...

It started this evening after her bathtub when she came stumbling in my room...banging into the door, the wall and my bed post because she looked like this...


Oh...mama is laughing really hard. Whatever she's laughing at must be really funny so I'll laugh hysterically too!

Mama! help me! I can't see! I want to know whats so funny!  Oh wait, if I pull down on this part it makes a place for my face!

Never mind, Mama.  I got it all figured out now.  I can see and breathe...

Ok..see you later...I'm off to play!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The daddy book...

When John left I had created a hardbound book with photos of him with each of the kids that we titled, "The Daddy Book."  Its been a great source of comfort for Bella who reads it at least 3 times per day. 

Note at the end of the video that instead of saying "The End" she says, "Amen."  Cracks me up every time!

Color! color! color!

I've got a little budding artist on my hands.  She loves to color!  And when she wants to color she runs around yelling color!  color!  color!  And then out comes the crayons and one of three coloring books - Dora the Explorer, My Little Pony or the Disney Princesses.

I've been fortunate up to this point to have her be so absorbed with the coloring books we haven't had to worry about this...

It would seem those days are over.  *sigh*  Today was the wall, a storybook, a table and a chair.  Time to pull out the "mama voice...." 

"Isabella!  We only color on the paper!"

Do you think it will work?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Viva la Svizzera!

This past week I had the profound pleasure of hosting my most beloved friend, Ilaria, with her husband Benjamin and daughter Aurora, in my home.  Oh...and their dog, Daisy.  I can't forget her!

They drove 6 hours from Ticino (Switzerland) and spent a glorious 5 days with us.

We went on long walks,

played in the sunshine at the park,

reacquainted ourselves with a hula hoop,

talked until the wee hours of the morning...and then had to take afternoon naps,

gorged ourselves on fast food,

went bowling and shopping, slept in until late and did I mention eating?

Nom nom nom...I think I gained about 8 pounds this week!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

This year for Father's day we spent some time a week or so ago putting together a Father's Day package.  Unfortunately, he didn't get it on time....

We STILL wanted to do something in honor of him so we spent the day making cookies with Miss Dawn.  We had a GREAT time.  We can't wait to do it again....and don't they look YUMMY?


chocolate oatmeal chewies...

oatmeal raisin...

Miss Maddie hard at work....

Miss Dawn helping Bella spoon the dough....

And when I turned around she darted back into the kitchen...the little sneaker knew exactly what she wanted!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Soldier Update...

This being the first of the updates I'll post regarding John's time in Afghanistan I just want to remind you that his location will not be posted here and the names of his coworkers have been modified to Rank + First initial to protect them.  FOB stands for Foreward Operating Base.  KAF stands for Kandahar Air Field.  We don't have photos yet - his camera chip is "in the mail" so when he gets that package he'll finally be able to send some of them to me. 

I woke up at 3:00 am Monday for a helicopter ride from KAF to FOB *name deleted for security*. I was excited to get out of the dirtiness and disorganization for the relative calm of my new home. It took us quite some time to get to the passenger terminal and even longer to get our bags weighed. It was 7:30 am before our helicopter landed and we crammed all of our gear on. It was funny that we were riding in a Evergreen helicopter.. there were air vents and a no smoking sign, just like in an airplane. We waited until 8 before we took off and were on our way.
The ride was uneventful and I dozed off and on. Since I was riding backwards I didn't get to see much of the scenery (not that there was much anyhow) but what I did see was pretty amazing. I saw steep, cave-ridden mountains, entire villages made of straw and mud, flocks or goats and herds of cattle. The flight took us 45 minutes and when we started to land at the FOB, I was amazed at how small (and vulnerable) it was.

We took our bags to our rooms.... the guy that was in mine looked like he had just moved out without cleaning any of his crap up.. Let me tell you how disgusting this room was. First of all, there were two matresses. One was on an Army cot and the other was laying flat on the ground. There was a thick coating of dirt (not dust - dirt) on the ground. There were personal effects strewn about; tooth brushes, socks, gel caps, papers, live ammunition, and this isn't even counting the trash.

Needless to say, I wasn't going to sleep in a room that could possibly swallow me up while my eyes were closed, so I got to work. Sweeping, dusting and tossing trash.. repeat. The worst was when I tried to move the mattress on the ground, it was stuck.. not wedged, but something on the bottom of the mattress was making it stick to the floor. After prying it up, I cleaned the cot the best I could and laid out my sleeping bag. Everything else stayed in the bags.

I ran to the PX and got some cleaner, some light bulbs, and a clip lamp. I cleaned some more and called it quits for the day. That is when Capt S called out "is this a camel spider?" I am not much of a spider fan, but I couldn't miss this opportunity. Sure enough behind the nightstand in her room, there was a giant spider. CW2 K killed it with a broom, but it gave us all the creeps for the rest of the day. It was hard to sleep that night as I imagined spiders dropping from the ceiling onto my face and me yelping and waking everyone up. I was more worried about that then I was about the spider.
(This is a photo of a Camel Spider that I pulled off the web...actually, its two camel spiders hanging onto each other...ewwwww!  They are technically not spiders...they do not have a poisonous bite, but their jaws are so big that when they do bite there is a huge issue with bacteria and the wound can get very infected.  How'd you like to find one of these in your bedroom?!)

There are always helicopters flying in and out.. it is pretty cool because we are so close to the flight line that we can feel each on as it lands and takes off.

The base is pretty small, but I should get to know my neighbors pretty well after a while. I have been just about everywhere on post (it is pretty small - duh) and I can say that I am still happier here than when I was in KAF.

The weather is hot and dry, but we did get a sprinkling of rain a few evenings ago. I have run around the perimeter twice and it is a rough mile and a half.. the nice thing is that if I run in the morning, I can pretend I am running on a hot Oregon summer day..

I have only seen a few instances of wild life since I have been here.. One camel spider, lots of flies, and these crazy ants that run with their rear ends high in the air.

I have learned a few phrases in Romanian and feel like I am on the cusp of learning much more. I am not interested in learning Pashto at all.

There was a bazaar on the FOB two days ago - every Thursday. They have everything, but youhave to be pretty shrewd to deal with these guys. They all haul their goods up in these giant wheelbarrows, get their photo taken for a temporary badge, then set up shop. They all have similar things.. The name brand stuff it all pirated from Pakistan or China, but it looks authentic (until you examine it closely). I found a pair of Wiley X Goggles just like mine and wanted to buy a backup pair so I could take the strap off and make mine in to glasses again. When I opened the bag.. there were my goggles.. exact replicas - except for the Oakley logo on them. I asked how much and he said 10 dollars (might be worth it for the missing pieces) but the next vendor said 6 dollars. I didn't buy anything but might next week. There were also some very beautiful pieces of art, chess sets, scarves, belts, drinking impliments, etc. I think I will get some of those too.

We have been incredibly busy. Because there is limited space here, and lots of room at KAF, they are holding everyone back until they can get some more tents set up. That means me and CW2 K are doing all of the work. Not only all of our work, but all of the work of the 15 cats that aren't here yet. I am getting behind so plan on spending extra time at work the next few days to catch up. There are also very exciting things going on as well.. It makes me glad I picked this field to work in.. I could do this all of the time.

There is also a bunch of drama and it is starting to be irritating. It is all from outside our shop, but is one of the reasons that CW2 K and I are working so hard. None of the operators are where they are supposed to be and the old operators are going to leave without conducting a proper handover.

Chief D (a guy from my WO classes) is here - up north, but in Afghanistan and he and I talked. He is doing my job but at two eschelons above mine, so I have a mentor (and a friend in a high place) to rely on if things get tough.

The power went out today - it is the second generator that I have seen go out in the week I have been here. there is also lots of construction going on. So much that I am not having too much trouble finding spare materials to build my room.. The problem now is time...

*breaking in from the peanut gallery.... there will be more to come another day...*

Dress up

There she was just a-walkin' down the street, singin' "Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do"

Snappin' her fingers and shufflin' her feet, singin' "Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do"

I remember those days of playing dress up...maybe I should join them next time...

Monday, June 14, 2010


We finally made it to a pool here!  Yippeee!  It was supposed to be a glorious sunny day...and instead we had skies that looked like this...

But...that doesn't deter two determined adults and two excited kids!  Unfortunately, I didn't realize I had my camera until we had already finished with the cool non-swimmer play pool.  Slides, water sprays, a big splash wasn't until we wandered up to the kiddie pool for Bella that we discovered our photgraphic options...
The kiddie pool also had a slide and water squirters...just on a toddler sized scale...

We played in this pool for an hour or so...until our purple skin and chattering teeth got the best of us.

The girls had a great time.  Maddie looks like a shark about to pounce.

We were especially glad our friend Miss Jenny could come with us...doesn't she look so cute in her sunglasses?  Its almost like it was a sunny day outside...

Oh well...we had a great time while we were there.  Nothing quite like a day at the schwimmbad!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The lily pads

Petals bloom from the muck

A diamond in the rough

Makes things appear tranquil

It gives hope.

Lily Pad - © 2008 Brenna Joyce