Tuesday, July 31, 2012

he's off to C O L L E G E

It's a sad, sad day at our house.

No one feels quite right.
We took Justin to Frankfurt this morning and sent him off to college.

We all cried.
I haven't been able to stop crying.
I sure hope it gets easier.

Before Caden started to cry he said, "Just because I'm not crying doesn't mean I'm not sad because I am." Not long after, the tears started to fall.

It was especially difficult as he went around and hugged each of us.

He whispered in each of his brothers ears. They just held on.

As I felt his big arms around me, he melted in my arms. I didn't want to let go.

It was really, really tough.

He's almost to Washington DC. He'll have a slight layover, then head to Kansas City- his final destination.

I've been tracking him all day.

We know he's responsible.
We know he's ready.
We know he'll have fun.
We know he'll make us proud.

Knowing all of the above didn't make it any easier to say good-bye. It didn't make it any easier on his brothers either.

I just feel like I wasn't ready to let him go yet.

I want more time.

He's such a huge part of our family as are each of our boys.

I already know I'm not going to be ready to let Ty go next year.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Tomorrow, we will take Justin to the airport as we send him off to college.

Dear friends are picking him up on the other end, so I know he'll be in good hands. It still doesn't make it much easier as I seem to cry even at the thought of him being so far away. I'm struggling.

I know he's responsible. I know he's ready for the world. I know he'll have fun.
I also know our family just won't be the same without him here.

It's going to be an especially rough day as we are finally forced to see him off.

I'm not sure how much more I can handle right now. This month has been especially rough.
It's hit me this last couple of weeks that I don't do good-byes very well. I just can't hold back the tears. 
My face turns completely red and I have the super ugly crying face. Then, there's the headache that comes from all that crying. And the lack of motivation for a little while.

It's kind of horrible. Really horrible.
It's been difficult to see everyone leave- we have met some amazing families here. A few departures have been especially painful. Jim's boss and his family left two weeks ago as another wave of friends left.

We've had so much fun together.

The latest to leave are Justin's girlfriend Josie and her family.

With teenagers together for more than a year, Amy and I became really close as well as we've learned the ropes of parenting teenagers on a whole new level. We will miss them.
Josie is going to college in Michigan, their family is now stationed in Texas.

I'm sure we'll see them again, but it didn't make the good-bye any easier.
I've talked way too much about how rough our start in Germany was. In January, I made it a goal to let go of the negative and focus on the positive.

I'm sure I've slipped up, but I've really been making the effort.

I've complained about everything Oberstaufenbach {the village where our first house was in Germany}, but failed to focus on the one good thing to come from our move there.

My dear friend, Tricia and her three boys.

I know deep in my heart even as hard as it was dealing with German utility bills, pink walls, nasty {oops, I let out another negative} Russian landlords, living on the Hauptstrasse, no yard, our easy-bake oven, RV-size sinks and lots of mold- we were meant to make our first stop in O-town.

I'm now convinced it was in the plan for our little family.

We got into our house the first of December which made for that super rough first Christmas I vowed to try to erase from the boys' {and our} minds.

As hard as I struggled to stay positive and hold the boys close- it wasn't fun.

Once January rolled around and the boys were back in school, Justin brought Steven over.

I think they met at the bus stop. He happened to be Justin's age and played sports.

Both boys let me know I needed to meet their mom- I'd like her and they could see me becoming friends with her. Looking back, I'm sure they were as worried about me as I was about them. We were all trying to move on in spite of grieving our move from Kansas.

Shortly after, they invited Justin and Ty up to their house for a Super Bowl party. I ran up to drop some cookies up and meet the mom just to make sure things were ok.

Little did I know how close I'd get to her in just under a year and a half. I'd soon come to find out she's one of the most dynamic women I've ever met. With boys the same ages, we've gone through so much together this last year.
Football season, basketball season, homecoming, proms, a couple trips, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New's Years together, graduation and college just around the corner for our oldest.

She's also been a huge motivator in my life to get back in shape with countless hikes, walks, work-outs, and talks.

She introduced me to yoga, clean eating, and other dear friends I now treasure.She's been that friend that rarely a week goes by without seeing at least a few times.

Her departure was a rough day as we {in her words} "ripped the band-aid off" and said our "see-you-laters" as she moved to Colorado.
I knew it would be hard, but didn't realize it would be this hard.

I love her dearly and already miss her terribly.

New friends are one of the best things about being in the military.
Moving and having friends move is one of the worst parts of being in the military.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

southern F R A N C E

We had one quick week this summer to take a family trip.

With Jim in England most of July for the Air Show and Justin leaving this week {Tuesday} for college, we knew our time was short.

It's definitely not going to be an easy week- we needed to have some fun to get us through this transition.

We're still on the fence post on whether we think the positives outweigh the negatives of beautiful France. 

Looks a little like Kansas. Fields of sunflowers, windmills and lots of hay.
After a solid week covering miles  from our house to the southern tip of France and northern Spain, we've tried to take it all in. 

As we have gathered our thoughts on all we observed, we were quick to list the negatives first.

I'm not sure why.

It is a beautiful country- they just do things different in France. 

As I journal our trip and the sights we've seen, my goal is to keep a balance between the good and the bad.
It's all been a learning experience and seeing a new region of the world was our goal which we definitely accomplished.
For this trip, we rented a luxury apartment in the small fishing port village of Marseillan, France.
Traveling with friends, we were a group of ten.
The house we stayed in was one of the oldest in the village right in middle of the city center.
Upon our arrival as we followed the GPS directions to the house, we had no idea we needed to park at the end of the block rather than attempt driving through the narrow roads in front of our house.
It felt more like a cross between a road and a sidewalk- closer to to an alley than a street. It was intense.
I was grateful for the comfort in knowing what a great driver Jim is.
He stayed calm and focused. We eventually found our house, unloaded and parked at the square at the end of the street.
We've learned that nothing is easy or as simple as we think it should be while traveling in different countries. 
What a welcome to France.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

N A K E D is the norm

I found this on the front page of msn.com this weekend. Of course, I had to laugh.

Kind of funny since we'll be in that exact region in less than a week. In my research, I have already read about Cap d'Agde, but it was fun to see it highlighted. Two years ago, I wouldn't have looked twice as it flashed across the msn homepage.

Think we'll find the beaches with swim attire, but I'm thinking it is southern France and anything goes with the French.

While looking for houses, most of them list "nude beach" as one of the attractions. It definitely is the norm.

The boys might be in for a lesson. We might all be in for a lesson. All I wanted was some sun... 

Ah, beautiful France.

10 Sexiest Things to Do in France

In honor of Bastille Day, it's all about the French this weekend. Shopping for lingerie and having dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant are sexy, sure, but we have some other, more interesting ideas for sexy fun in France, including a night stargazing in a "cube tent" and and aphrodisiacal meal in Brittany.
Nudist beach, Cap d'Agde, France (© Cris Haigh/Alamy)
10 Sexiest Things to Do in France: Mediterranean Naturist Village
Who needs clothes? Naked is the norm in the self-contained “naturist” village” in Cap d'Agde, a seaside resort town on the Mediterranean coast of France. There, everyone is welcome to shed their clothes and vacation “as nature intended” on more than a mile of beachfront and at the stores, restaurants, banks and everywhere else in town.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

my hunky H U B B Y

Can you tell I miss him? What a hunk.

Here's another picture that the media guys {US European Command} up in England took of Jim this week. They put it on their Facebook page. I copied it.

I've looked at it no less than fifty {50} times and shared it with my little world of friends on Facebook.

He's now been up there for just over two weeks. Most of his trips are for just a couple of days. Two weeks is about the longest he is ever gone and that's only been a few times. 

I pretty much hate it.
That's even being able to email a few times a day and SKYPE every night.

People used to tell us it was hard because we were newlyweds. Still having those crazy feelings a few years later. Are we still considered newlyweds? I'd like to think so in spite of a few bumps in the road.

I also have no idea what my friends go through sending their husbands off for four months, six months or a year.

Just a couple years for us to go in the Air Force and I don't want to know what it is like to be separated for that long.

He made a really great friend in Paris who invited us back to stay at his home in Paris. He's making good friends up in England as well. I told him to get the scoop on where to stay and what to see when we make it up there as a family.

I especially want to go to Ireland and Scotland. They're on the list.

We're on the home stretch... just a couple days to go.
Then, it's vacation time!
Oh, I can't wait.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

secretary of the A F and Jim

Here are a couple pictures with Jim this week as he met the Secretary of the Air Force- Mr. Michael Donley.

With any job, I  think it's a cool thing to meet the guy at the top.

It was always fun to see who came through the lines while I was working at Alaska Airlines.

Checking in the VP's, politicians, athletes and celebrities always added a little more cool-ness to an otherwise long shift. 
 Of course, some are more cool than other. I wasn't impressed {no surprise} with Governor Murkowski.

In the Air Force, this guy IS the man.

The Secretary of the Air Force is Michael B. Donley, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force is  Gen. Norton A. Schwartz. 
 According to the Official Site of the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Michael B. Donley is the 22nd Secretary and was confirmed Oct. 2, 2008. He is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its more than 333,000 men and women on active duty, 178,000 members of the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve, 182,000 civilians, and their families. He also oversees the Air Force's annual budget of more than $110 billion. 

What a job. Can you imagine the stress?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

F A R N B O R O U G H air show

He's kinda in his element. I'm not sure the little guys have ever seen him with a headset on. He's been sitting in an office for a couple years now.

Jim's back to his roots on the flight line moving airplanes and juggling details for the upcoming Farnborough Air Show in Hampshire, England.

Requested by a General to be the maintenance {ground} boss, it's a lot of work, but kind of a cool thing.

It's defintely a special assignment.

About an hour or so {by train} from London, it's been nothing but rain and cold most of the time he has been up there- almost two weeks now.

I used to always think Air Shows were all about the tricks and planes flying around. These are really about money and deals.

I've learned it's actually big business with a huge trade show first where the big dogs make big deals.

According to CNN, the 48th Farnborough International Airshow is considered one of the biggest aviation events in the world. Richard Quest and Ayesha Durgahee will be there talking to all the big industry names- {whoever they are}.

This week, the politicians and leaders have made their way through. Jim was invited to have lunch with several senators the other day, including Kansas senator Jerry Moran. Kinda cool.

While talking about Justin's college plans- he actually told Jim he just spoke at Highland's commencement exercises. He went to KU- where Justin would ultimately love to end up.

Jim also met the Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF) Michael Donley this week. Aware of the work and efforts Jim's put into his job,  he gave him a coin- a big deal in the military. He is the highest-ranking person in the Air Force.

Not sure if there will be anything exciting for those of us less interested in the aircraft industry, but here's a link to CNN's coverage:


One week to go-  I'm proud of him {obviously} but, I really just want my husband home.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

E T T A L abbey

HAPPY 4th of July and HAPPY birthday to my dad today!
trying to take as many pictures of all four boys that I can...

Jim left last week to spend most of the month of July in England working at an Air Show.
Anyone and everyone who knows me knows I don't do too well with him gone.

I really miss him.
Nothing new, I just do.
We've managed to stay busy this week with a couple nice days of weather.
As I've been working on planning our next {very exciting, I might add} trip, I realized I still haven't finished posting pictures from our Memorial Day weekend trip.
Towards the end of our long weekend, we stopped long enough to go inside the Ettal Abbey- a Benedictine monastery in the village of Ettal.
 Darling spot on the map- we loved it. Somthing different and kind of cool. We tried to find the monks. In spite of it being Sunday, they were no where to be found.
After each trip {usually as we're driving home} either a week, weekend or day trip, I like to ask everyone what their favorite thing was.

This was Jim's favorite for this weekend get-away.  Founded in 1330, it's just another old, old place with cool detail and history.
Not that we knew that history before going - we were just told to go! One of these days, I'll catch up and read more about where we've been and what we've seen.

I'd like to find out what the two above pictures are all about. On the inside walls?

As I googled Ettal Abbey- a CNN article popped up of a scandal at the church back in 2010. Maybe I should have researched this more. Or, not.

Not sure what goes on there. I do know when I turn around and find one of the boys either asking for the camera, or taking pictures- they must be having a good time.