Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving...

Right now, to me, it's more than just a day of eating turkey and watching football.  In fact, yesterday, I stayed in my pajamas all day, and ate leftover spaghetti.

I have a LOT to be thankful for.  I am truly one blessed woman.  I'm a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, and I am thankful for the experiences of this past year.  I'm slowly learning...

As you could tell from previous posts, I was not doing so well with being back in Alaska (from summer vacation).  Ever since I was a teenager, I've dealt with clinical depression and anxiety.  The Black Cloud comes and goes.  It especially reappears when a I go through any major life changes; I do best when I have a routine to follow, and once that is broken, my brain goes haywire.  (I am thankful that I have a husband who does his best to understand this...illness).

I tried my hardest to not fail myself or my family.  I saw living in Alaska as a challenge that needed to be conquered.  I was determined to have a positive outlook, and enjoy the adventure.  Truth is, I knew that I was in trouble when we crossed the Canadian border.

Having grown up in small town Louisiana, and having been a lonely (almost only) child, I quickly learned as an adult that I could never do well in any near state of isolation.  I need lots of people.  I need lots of things to do.  I think I've mentioned before that I'd most probably be at my best if I lived in a big high-rise near the ocean (Miami maybe...I dunno, I've never been there).

When I returned to Alaska after our summer vacation, I lost all motivation.  I didn't want to go back, and hid my tears from the kids on the last leg of the journey home.  We came home to a cold empty house (Phil is overseas at the moment), and I knew right then and there that I could not do it anymore.  I'd purposely left Alaska and spent so much time in the Lower 48 during the Summer, to shorten the time that we had alone in Alaska without Phillip; waiting for him to come home from his second deployment in the year and a half that we'd been there.  Even though I enjoyed the trips to New Jersey/NYC and Washington D.C., and then Louisiana and Gulf Shores, Alabama, I regretted that I left Alaska at all.  Because leaving, and then coming home was so difficult.

I got so sick.  I wouldn't eat.  I did my best to take care of myself and the kids (and to hide any negativity from them).  I couldn't fathom spending the Holidays in Alaska, and away from family in Louisiana.  I couldn't see going through another harsh winter there either; I saw our first winter as adventure, the upcoming one...not so much.

I went back and forth, on a daily basis, on trying to decide what was best for all of us.  Should I try to stay?  Should I go home to family?  I had my children to think about.  Should I uproot Gabe from his school and friends?  Leaving meant that when Phillip came home from his deployment, he'd come home to an empty house, and then we would have to spend more time without him, waiting for him to fulfill his commitment in Alaska.  I didn't want to put any of us through more time, than necessary, apart.  After weeks of worry on everyone's part (Phillip and family included), during a conversation with Phillip one morning, we both decided that it was best that I just go home.

Hardly anyone knew what I was going through.  I hide my feelings well.  But, a good friend of mine who knew what was going on (partly because of what I wasn't saying, she said), told me that the Peace that I was feeling at having made a decision, was proof that I made the right one.  A close family member reassured me that it sounded to him like my decision was not a selfish one; if anything, I was doing it to be a better wife and mother. 

It was a long process, but the kids and I finally got the Official Orders to leave Alaska on Early Release of Dependents. 

On Halloween night, I took the kids trick-or-treating.  We came home and got ready for bed.  Usually, at around 9 pm, we would go upstairs and cuddle for a bit in my bed before going to sleep.  On that particular night though, I told Gabe that we would have to stay up later to wait for a special packet of information (that Daddy was sending over via UPS) to be delivered that would help us with the move.  When the doorbell rang, I asked Gabe to get the door (as I was fumbling with my camera, and pretending to look at Halloween photos).  He fully expected to see the UPS man.

I was able to get video of two very surprised and incredibly happy children, as Phillip walked through door; he'd come home on Emergency Leave to help us with the whole sticky relocation process.  I can't tell you how Thankful I was that he was there to help us, and that we got to be together for that brief (but very busy) amount of time.

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, November 9, the kids, the cat, and I said goodbye to Phillip and to Alaska. He went back to his duties overseas soon after we left Fairbanks.

The three of us are content to be back home.  Even Pichou, the cat, who wasn't so keen on airplane travel, seems excited about, and comfortable with her new surroundings. 

This evening, I'm so very Thankful for having the support of family as the kids and I make a new life here in South Louisiana, until the four of us can be together again on a new assignment.   Gabe is in a new school, and adjusting to new classmates.  Sarah will start a new pre-K next week.  We'll getting back into the swing of things with karate and ballet classes soon.  I've found an awesome apartment with a lake view, and fountains to listen to.  And, the kids are with Phillip's parents in Texas right now, visiting family for the holiday while I get some much needed mental and physical rest.

I can't totally poo-poo on the whole Alaskan experience.  I made some genuine friends there that I will miss dearly, and hope to see again in the future. 

As for the "Black Cloud", it's still there.  It's just not hanging directly over me.  It's moving off to somewhere out in the distance, and hopefully won't return again anytime soon.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hey There!

Pictures have been added to the Alaska Bound photo collection. 

The kids and I have been carrying the camera around more lately, so that we can capture images of life in Alaska while we are still here.

More on that last statement later...

Take care everyone!

J~

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quote for the day...

"Many of the great achievements of the world
were accomplished by tired and discouraged
men and women who kept on working."  
 -Anonymous

I've been busy lately.

My desktop computer is still broken; I had someone come to the house to see what was going on with it, and she couldn't figure it out (I was told that if she couldn't, then no one could).  I'll have to bring it in to an actual fix-it shop to have it worked on.  It's unable to read any kind of connection from internet, or my son's gaming joystick.  I just need to find the right place...I have other priorities at the moment.

I'm still dealing with homesickness (guess that I had too much fun this summer in civilization), and I really wish that our family didn't have to be going through another separation.  After a while, it just gets to you.  I no longer see deployments as an adventure, or battle to be conquered.  I can't really come up with the proper words to tell you what it's like anymore.

But, I'm working on a major Attitude Adjuster, and when I get through it, I'll let you know how it went.

Until then, take care everyone.  And thanks for visiting.

I'll be back soon.

Promise.

J~

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's going back Up again...

Slowly.

But, I'm getting back into a routine.  Cleaning house helps.  School started, and that helps too.  I've got someone coming over to fix my desktop computer.

Baby steps.

Can you do me a favor?  I see on my Feedjit, down below, that I have some really cool visitors from lots of different places (lots from The Ultimate Female).  I'd like for you to click on "Follow" (or "join this site" to the right of the page) so that I can get an idea of who you are.  Or, leave me a comment to introduce yourself. 

It's just a curiosity.

Have a great weekend!

J~

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Downs...

No Ordinary Life it is.  We'll have our ups, and we'll have our downs.

Since I returned to Alaska last week, it's been really DOWN.

I haven't even updated my FB status since then, because I have nothing good to say.

I was ready to come home to my house and things.  I was ready to get back to a routine.  I'm not so sure about that anymore.  I liked it better living out of a suitcase at my in-laws house.  At least we were close to loved ones.

Though we had a wonderful time home, I think that the break in routine from Alaska living has severely messed with me.  The wind has been taken out of my sails (to put it simply), because I miss Louisiana, my family there, and my husband.  Alaska is, to me, a really lonely place, and I really don't look forward to spending any more time here than I have to.  Some people come here, and LOVE IT.  I'm one of the group that pretty close to hates it.  I need City.  I need people.

And to make matters worse, my desktop computer is not reading my wireless adapter or an ethernet cable, so I have no internet on my big screen.

I'm very slowly easing myself back into the swing of things.  I keep trying to remind myself that I used to find some positive things about living here.  I'll be okay.  I'll get by.  I always do.

This one's gonna take a LOT of time though.

J~

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's time to go home (to Alaska, that is).

So, I mentioned that there is no place like home, and I sincerely mean that; I love being here in Louisiana.  It's been an awesome trip down so far, but after being away from our house, and normal routine for almost 6 weeks, I think we're all realizing that it's time to go back.

I miss my bed. 

We miss our cat.

We really miss Phillip.

Sarah cries often for her Daddy.  And, her toys...her best friend, Kendra.  I think that once she gets back to Alaska, her little world will be right again.

I'll post again soon.  In the meantime, enjoy some pictures that posted in our Photo Collection (...memories).  I have yet to put captions on the photos, but...well, ya know, I tired.

We just got back last night from a week in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

J~

Sunday, July 24, 2011

So, like I said...


Our cat, Pichou (the one with the blue flower on her collar), looks quite content in our her new surroundings.  

While I'm happy that she seems to be enjoying herself, and has made a new friend in Max, I'm worried that she may be a bit lonely without his companionship when we bring her back home after our vacation.  I also hear that the children of her temporary home are getting quite attached to her.

Any cat experts out there wanna share your thoughts on this?  Really.  Comment.  I want/need your advice on this.  

With that being said, I see that at least 34 people have an interest in my blog (followers, etc.).  Thanks!  It means a lot to me.  It really does. 

And, after vacation, when I have access to a real computer (not this teeny, tiny little laptop), I will do some major catching up on everyone else's blogs. 

Because, I really do enjoy reading about what everyone else is up to.  The creativity that flows through the blogosphere inspires me.

Have a good day, Y'all! 

J~



Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not much going on here. Just enjoying our surroundings.

Here's a small rundown:

  • Gabe and I spent the weekend in New Orleans last weekend.  I always LOVE going out there.  Gabe loves being there.  He said that we need to start a tradition of Mom and Gabe weekends in NOLA whenever we go back home to Louisiana.  We also got a chance to have lunch with and go to the WWII museum with Phillip's brother, Greg, Greg's son/Phil's nephew, Adrian, and Greg's girlfriend, Lynn.  I love those people...
  • The kids have been in Red Cross swimming lessons for the past couple of weeks.  Gabe has completed Level III, and Sarah has completed Level I.  I was so impressed with how she's picked up the whole swimming thing..."like a mermaid!".  I'll try to upload pictures (especially so that Phillip can see) to the photo collection soon.  When we get back to Alaska, I'll try to put them in Fall lessons, so that they can keep up the good work.
  • I've been shopping.  In stores that offer variety!  I can't wait to hit the outlet mall in Foley, Alabama in a couple of weeks.
  • I also can't wait to put my toes in the sand at Gulf Shores, AL either!  
  • The kids and I spent Sunday before last at my Dad's house.  I love having a full belly of my step-mom's rice and gravy (and smothered cabbage), and resting on the couch after lunch.  Late afternoon trips to get ice-cream is always fun too.
  • I've spoken to my friend, Lidia, a few times to check on Pichou (our cat).  Looks like we may have some trouble getting her back when we return.  Pichou has a new playmate in Lidia's cat, Max, and Lidia's children are getting attached.  Pas Bon (not good)!
  • Gabe went to the movies with my brother.  Sarah went to the movies with her Ya-Ya.  I plan on going to the movies by myself soon.  That's right.  I said "BY MYSELF!".  Nothing like snorting/laughing and eating chocolate covered raisins in a "chick flick"...by yourself.
I hope that this post finds all of you safe, happy, and healthy...

Janet

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It was all his idea.






His sense of humor is contagious.  

It's refreshing.

I LOVE that kid!



(The above photos were taken at the Museum of American History in Washington DC.  If you go to my photo collection, Our story in pictures, you'll find our NYC and DC photos; the DC photos do not have titles yet, and might not for a few days.)

J~

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's so nice to be home.


The above picture and quote was taken at the Museum of Natural History in Washington DC last week.  Right now, I'm in the process of uploading, and editing pictures of the entire East Coast trip to 
put in the photo collection (I took lots of em').  

I've scratched off 3 more items on my Bucket List.

We had so much fun exploring 3 different Smithsonian museums in Washington DC.  We did a LOT of walking.  We flew into New Orleans, tired and happy. 

The kids and I are home in Lafayette, LA this week.  We'll be here for pretty much the rest of the summer.  It's so nice to be home, and I'm not sure that we'll be so ready to leave to go back to Alaska when it's time.  I never thought I'd find myself saying this, after having spent the first 20-something years of my life in this area, but I miss home.  

I couldn't wait to leave Louisiana. (Right about now, certain family members are slapping their hands on the computer desk) 11 years ago.  Lafayette was too "small town" for me.  Everyone knows of everyone; you run into the same people, etc., and I couldn't wait to see what else was out there.  It felt like life here was at a dead end.  Now, things are starting to change around here, and I'm not sure if I like that suddenly and slowly, I'm starting to feel like a stranger to it.  

But, I have a bad case of wanderlust, and I love to travel 
and live in different places to experience all that the area has to offer. 

I'm thankful for the experience of living in Alaska, but it doesn't fit me.  Alaska has taught me to slow down, and be more creative with my time. I'm so used to just going and going, constantly looking for things to do and see.  BIG city life would be perfect for me, I think. 

With that being said, everything happens for a reason.   I'm exactly where I need to be right now (in life),  and the experience of living there is changing me.  I'm appreciating the slower pace of Fairbanks.  I'm learning more and more about myself. 

But, when our time is up, I'll be more than ready to leave.  

When it's time for us to say good-bye to full-time, active military life, 
it will be wonderful to set our roots down, maybe somewhere closer to family.

At this moment, I'm content to be sitting here on the couch, typing with a full belly of my in-laws home cooking.  I'm listening to Sarah talk her Ya-Ya's ear off.  

And, I know that there is no place like home.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Well, we've been so busy that...

...we've not had the chance to think much about the fact that Phillip has been deployed.

We've said our "Good-bye" and "See you later" to both Phillip and Alaska.  And tonight, the kids and I are so tired, that I'm typing from our hotel room in Arlington, VA while Gabe peeks out of the room window periodically for the start of the July 4th fireworks. 

Last week, we were in the Jersey City/NYC area, and had a really good time visiting with Jessica, an old friend and co-worker.  On the first day that we were there, Sarah woke up extremely sick (couldn't even keep water down for more than 5 minutes), so that put a huge damper on plans to spend the entire day in NYC, but by the afternoon, she was thankfully well enough to eat soup, etc, and swim for a while in Jessica's pool.  While we were visiting Jessica, we got the chance to spend time on the Jersey Shore, and go into NYC to see some of the sights there.

It was so good to see Jessica; to finally see for myself, and put images to names and places that she's talked about over the years.  And, I had no idea how crazy Times Square could be on a Friday night!

We left Jessica's house via Amtrak and arrived at Union Station here in Washington DC on Saturday.  Yesterday, we spent over 5 hours in the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History, and about 2 hours in the Air & Space Museum.  Today, we spent time with a dear friend (Kristen) at her house below Arlington, and tomorrow, we plan to finish what we started last night, plus more.

This area is crazy, busy with people right now.  The metro was filled with people going into the city for the fireworks.  And I didn't much envy them.  Better you fight the crowd, than me.  Did I mention that I'm tired?

As soon as I can, I will put pictures up in the photo collection.

Goodnight, Ya'll!

J~

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Local Antique Car Museum...a good way to pass time...

  ...especially when you don't really want time to pass.

Recently, we dropped Phillip off to where he had to meet the bus, that took him to the plane, that took him on the adventure, that he was scheduled to go on.

You'd think that with this being our 5th major separation (we count 4 months of additional training), that I'd be a Pro at this.  I'm not.  I think that the pain that I felt that day was the worst yet.

The last days leading up to the time to say goodbye are so hard.  You don't want them to go, yet you want them to go, because you're so sick of that black cloud looming over.  Phone calls telling you that the plane has been delayed are bittersweet.  Let's get this crap over with!

So, on the day that we said goodbye, we had lunch and then went to the Antique Car Museum to help pass the time.  I'd been curious.  And to tell you the truth, I wasn't expecting much.

I was wrong!  If ever you are in the area, it's worth the trip.

Below are some pictures that I took that day with my phone (I plan to go back with a better camera).  If you want to see more, I've added some pictures to the Alaska Bound album in our photo collection.  I only wish that you could hear the mood music that was playing in the background; it reminded me of Main Street USA at Disneyworld.

I LOVE this dress!
Sarah
My favorite car.  It had a single seat in front, and a single seat in the back.  I'm sorry that I can't tell you what it is, though.


Hipstamatic image from iPhone.
Sarah (with an attitude).
A child's play dress.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Short to String you Along...Whales a Swimmin'

video

I'm posting a video for you today of a whale doing his thing off of the coast of Seward, AK.

 You'll have to listen carefully at the 16 second mark, but if you do, it's really cool to hear him.  
 (I've heard Gabe make the same noises while he plays with his Star Wars stuff.)
There were some porpoises playing with him too. 

We've been busy lately.  We are all getting ready to go off on different adventures.  

I'll have to start packing soon, and I'm not looking forward to that.  I'm excited about getting out of this area for a while but, I'm not excited about Phillip not being able to come with us. Que' Bummer!

May this post find you all Safe, Happy, and Healthy.  
I'll get back to writing as soon as I can.

J~


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mini Oreo Cupcakes out of the oven, and in my belly!

 On Monday, I made the Mini Oreo cupcakes that I posted about last week.  
They were super easy to make too!


I made a couple of changes on my own;
like using a chocolate fudge cake mix, for example.
Hmmmm, what else?  Let me think...
Sprinkles!  I added sprinkles to make them more visually pleasing.


And, with the extra batter, I made a small cake
(and added yellow cupcake icing that needed to be used).




With a glass of milk, they go down just fine!

I'm thinking of making a fruity desert next; maybe something with bananas.

Have a great week, everyone.   

J~

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quote for the day...Budha

"The secret of health for mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."
                          -Budha

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I'm a Sucker for a good Cupcake

Well, I've posted my Classic Movie list, and Daisy from 400 Wake-ups suggested in a comment that we read Wuthering Heights. I replied to her saying that she's definitely on to something!  After I complete my movie list (or maybe during), I'll start a Classic Novel list and tackle that too. 

She also said, "I think if we didn't have goals and lists, we would just sit in the dark and cry.".  I'm totally with her on that.

As I've mentioned before, the kids and I will be swinging on over to the East Coast en route to Louisiana soon.  I can't wait.  I've always wanted to see NYC, and I'm looking forward to visiting with a close, longtime friend there.  We'll also be in the Washington DC area to visit with more friends, and we'll get a chance to tour some of the Smithsonian, etc.

Traveling will be a nice time waster.  Traveling always recharges me. 

So, with that being said, while I'm back in Louisiana this summer, I plan to learn how to make some really good deserts.  I look at it as a part of my household contribution while staying with the in-laws.  When I was telling my husband about this, he chuckled and said that his dad would be more than happy to eat my mistakes or successes.  I need to make these deserts while I have someone else (more than just the kids) to help me eat them; because GAINING weight is not an option.

First up, from one of my favorite recipe sites:

Mini OREO Surprise Cupcakes recipe

I wish I had a picture to post with the recipe, but I don't.  So, you'll just have to imagine the chocolaty goodness, or just make them yourself.  Let me know if you do, okay?  Send me a picture, maybe?

Otherwise...Get ready, Pa-Paw!

J~

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Shorts to String you Along...Dogs a Mushin'

video

This was taken a few weeks ago, while we were on the Riverboat Discovery Cruise here in Fairbanks with Phillip's parents.

One of the stops on the river cruise is at Susan Butcher's (Trail Breaker) kennels, where you're treated to some education about the dogs, and you get to see them run.  Also, at the end of the cruise, at the Native Village stop, you can meet someone from the kennel for a question and answer session about Susan, the Kennel, and the dogs, etc.

Her partner, Dave Monson, takes the engine out of the 4-wheeler, and beefs up the brakes.  At the command, the dogs are finally (because they are so eager!) allowed to do their thing.  So, please watch until the end, because those dogs can GO!


"I do not know the word 'quit.' Either I never did or I have abolished it."
   - Susan Butcher, Iditarod Winner, 1988

Here is another link to learn more about Susan.  Go...Here.

Have a great day, everyone...

J~

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Classic Movie List...

So, it's getting to be about that time again.

Deployment.

I'm a mixture of emotions right now, but to sum it up (this will be the fifth major separation for our family) in one word for what I really feel:  Anger. 

Seriously, this is getting a bit ridiculous.  

But I refuse to let that get in the way of taking care of myself and the kids, and making things normal and fun. 

I have plans.  We're going to travel.  I'll learn to crochet. 

I always have to have something to look forward to.  Always.  And there are lots of things to look forward to, Thank Goodness.  But, I need a goal besides the normal losing weight/toning up thing; something fun to accomplish.  So, I've made a list and attached it to "Janet's Lists".

I'm going to watch at least 20 classic movies. 

Wish me luck.

And if I've missed a "must see" movie on the list, then please, let me know.  Your opinion does matter.

J~

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What a difference a year makes!


These are really BAD pictures, I know but,
above is Gabe's first day of 3rd grade.  

Below, is Gabe and Rebecca's (best friend) LAST day of 3rd grade.

In the past year:
We've acquired a fence.
The back yard has been cleaned up a bit.
Gabe has grown like a bad weed, because he won't stop eating!
Through school, Cub Scouts, and Karate, etc., he's made many friends,
including our neighbor Rebecca.
He broke his ankle, and stuck his tongue to a frozen pole...


J~

Monday, May 30, 2011

Seward... Part Two

"So, the yellow marker is the route we took Pa-Paw.  Things got really rough around Cheval Island. "
"You got really sick, didn't you?"..."Yep, but, I sang my Dora the Explorer song to keep my mind off of things."


I just realized that I can scratch #52 off of "Janet's List"; I didn't get the prize winning whale tail photo that you'd see in say, National Geographic, but it'll do for me for now.

I've also shared the photo of Sarah and Pa-Paw with the amazing ladies at Communal Global.  When you get a chance, swing on over to view some beautiful images from around the world.  I've also shared this picture with Supermom, because...well, I think it's a pretty cool picture.  But, I'm biased!


J~




Friday, May 27, 2011

Seward and Sea Sickness!


The above collage are some of the pictures that I took on the Major Marine wildlife cruise through Kenai Fjords National park this past Monday near Seward, Alaska.  You can see more pictures in the Drive to Alaska photo album included in our Photo Collection.

It was a full day (6 hour) cruise with a Prime Rib and Salmon lunch included, but unfortunately, not many of us wanted to eat that day.  We were warned that the seas would be especially rough, and were even asked if we wanted to reschedule for the next day, but time didn't allow, so we took our chances. 

I had gotten sea sick off of the coast of Puerto Rico while visiting my older brother when I was sixteen years old, so I was prepared to deal with it this time (ride the waves, deep breathe, focus your eyes on one thing, get fresh air, etc.); I ended the day without getting sick, Thank Goodness.  But my poor mother-in-law and Sarah were both starting to feel it in the first hour...

To make a long story short, I counted at least six people losing their breakfast at one time.  I do have to give lots of credit to the Captain and Crew; the Crew was right at your side to help, and the Captain even cut the engine a few times to try to cushion the blow on huge waves.

All in all, it was an incredible experience.  To see wildlife (and hear it) as it is, in it's pure form, was simply amazing.  The pictures don't do the trip justice. I don't think it's necessary to book a luxury, week-long cruise anymore to get to see what I did that day.

I think we can go on ahead and spend the money and miles on another trip instead (because we'd entertained the thought of taking an Alaskan cruise); most probably our traditional we-survived-another-deployment-Disney-celebration trip to the new Disney Aulani resort in Hawaii.  (ask someone who lives here in Alaska about the AK/Hawaii connection...maybe one day, I'll blog about it.)

But, then again...Phillip and Gabe didn't see what I saw that day, though it was similar, so....hmmmphhh...What to do?  What to do?

There were many times that day when I cursed myself for telling my husband to hold off on buying a new SLR camera for Mother's Day.  I had to deal with digital delay.  As I've said before, I'm not a photographer; I just love taking pictures.

On a side note, I don't have pictures of the guys fishing trip (I wish I did).  From what I understand, the sickness was much worse for them because they were on a smaller boat.  Gabe managed to catch three sharks, but was sick for pretty much the whole day.  Phillip got sick at the end of the day; my father-in-law came out without a scratch.  As for the fish that was caught, there was lots of it (halibut, rock fish, etc.), and a bit of it was sacrificed to the grill last night.

Yum!

J~

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Hello! How are you doing today?"

"...I hope I find you feeling healthy.  I'm so glad our paths crossed this time today...".

(Those two lines are from Granny, one of my favorite Dave Matthews songs, by the way.)

We've been busy!  Phillip's parents flew in last Monday evening, and we've been visiting and having fun ever since.

We went down to Seward, Alaska this past Sunday.  The boys went deep sea fishing, while the girls went on a wildlife viewing cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park.  We also spent some time in Anchorage, visiting family and shopping, etc. 

So, today we're unpacking and getting settled back into life here in the Interior.

Give me a day or two, and I will have details and pictures to show you from our mini vacation.

Until then...

take good care of yourself, and go hug someone.

J~

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quote for the day...

"We deceive ourselves when we fancy that only weakness needs support. Strength needs it far more."
                      - Anne-Sophie Swetchine

Something to keep in mind when someone says, during tough times (like a deployment),  "Oh, you're strong.  I have faith in you.  You can handle it.".


Let's rephrase that, shall we?

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Ultimate Female...

I came across a website today: The Ultimate Female

I was perusing through Pinterest.com (because 2 of my friends have me hooked on it), and someone had included a quote with a link to TUF.  If you have time, go and have a look.  Check out her older posts.  The person who runs this site (whoever she may be, she's got awesome style) includes posts that contain words of inspiration, and remind a woman that she doesn't have to be a Size 2 to be beautiful.

I need to remind myself that, no matter what, I'll never have a teenager's body again; I can try to stay fit and active, try to tone down a bit, but I don't have to strive to be THIN.  I can develop my own style, and OWN it.  I want to be like Adele, and not give a damn about what I look like, as long as I know that I do other things well; and sing well, she does.


With practice, I'll get there.

I've included TUF in my blogroll.   When and if you ever get a chance, go to some of those pages; click on the little "buttons" to the side of the blogroll (Goodnight Moon, for example) and visit the links to websites that I like to waste time on. You'll find women, and one man (who writes incredibly well and sums up military spouse life better than I can), with pretty interesting stories.  You'll find an Army widow, a new mom, words on growing up military out the mouths of babes, a plane crash survivor, Hurley from the t.v. show "Lost", photographers with amazing talent, a spouse that I'm especially praying for because being a military spouse recently got to be too much to handle, and a woman who just got tired of the way things were and decided to just GO (Female Nomad) and had the personal strength to DO IT.

We are all unique.  We all have a story to tell.  That's what makes life so fascinating!

J~

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So, what's new?

Here's a small rundown:
  • I had to go back to the plastic surgeon this morning (i.e. surgery in early March to remove some excess tissue).  Apparently, and I'm assuming here, my body doesn't like the stitches that he used.  Yup, I'm still having a small problem with wound closure.
  • It's getting darker later, which means that at 11:30 pm there is still a lot more light out than I care to deal with.  Nothing a little cardboard can't fix!  Who says that I have to spend all sorts of money on room darkening curtains?  My regular curtains, and the blinds, hide my genius, but not so classy idea.  But, hey, it works!  Tomorrow, I shall go back to Walmart and get 5 more boxes.
  • I worked on some CME credits today for my Surgical Technologists certification.  Considering that now, I have 23 credits, and need to have 60 by November, I'd better keep moving! 
  • The Daily Mile meter at the very bottom of this page has been going up one mile a day recently.  Well...most days, it happens.  
  • We're preparing for a visit from Pa-Paw and Ya-ya.  They'll be here next week!  We will go on down to  Seward, AK to do some wildlife watchin' and halibut fishin' while they are here.  Me and my camera are all excited!
  • School ends, and summer vacation officially starts next week.  I've been seeing the cruise line bus drivers practicing/training new drivers.  The weather is nice, the snow is mostly melted (except for clumps here and there), and things are starting to emerge from the long winter's sleep. 
It's the little things.  I know.

Hope all is well on your end!

J~

Friday, May 6, 2011

One step up for Gabe...

I love this picture.

Shihan Scott worked them hard that night!

Just after receiving his yellow belt.

Little H is 2 years old, and tested that night as well.   

Excitement.  A sense of accomplishment.






Gabe has been taking Shudokan karate for a couple of months now.  
Just under two weeks ago, he had his first test.  

He was sooo very excited after he got his yellow belt, and afterward to celebrate, 
we went out for Asian food (I think we'll start a tradition with this one). 

Dumplings.  He wanted extra dumplings.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quote for the day...

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
- the fourteenth Dali Lama

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What is it?




Mom considers it a masterpiece! 
He made it at school, in pottery class.  

Title:  The Flower
Artist:  Jean Gabriel

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What a beautiful, lovely mess we have here.

The backyard.
Another view of the backyard.
The dark area in the middle of this picture is actually a lake of melted snow.

 
The neighbor's house.  Maybe one of these days, I should introduce myself.  On dark evenings (or mornings), I sometimes forget to close the bathroom blinds, and one of these days, they might get a "show".



The front yard, and bird bath.
The slushy, funky driveway where I got stuck a few weeks ago.

So, at this time of year, people around here rise from the dark, cold of winter and REALLY enjoy the sunshine and warmth.  I have yet to hear though, of people celebrating the actual "ick" of snow melting, mud puddles, etc.

These pictures were taken last week from my upstairs windows; you can see my reflection in the window if you look carefully at some of the pics.

Hey, I am no photographer. I just like taking pictures.  There is a difference.  

Today, there is barely any snow left in the yard.   

Maybe I should take more pictures.

After having to drive carefully (slowly, with great caution) on the roads of Winter, everyone realizes that they can drive like teenagers again (tsk, tsk), and traveling around is actually quite fun...and quick.

Living out here is like living on a whole other planet.  I'm not the only one that will tell you this.  The sun goes down later and later, and it gets dark around 11 pm now.  It will continue to get worse.  I say that (because I don't like the continual daylight) to people around here and they give me strange looks.  Seriously, it can freak a girl out when she wakes at 2:30 am to use the bathroom, and it's light outside.  I'm always on a lookout for moose at that time of night, like maybe they find it safer to come into the yard when we're supposed to be sleeping.

I mention to people that I'm leaving for a while this summer, and I tend to get the comment "But, you're leaving at the best time!".  Summer is valuable here. The beauty of it is....WOW!

As for me, I'm going to the Lower 48, where there is proper night and day.  More on that later...

Janet


Cupcakes in a Jar!

Yes M'am!  I do believe that I'll be trying these soon.

I'm so excited about this recipe!  Scream!  This summer will be one of travel, and I have lots going on at the moment, so I guess I can wait for both the jars, and the time to try it.  One of my dear friends is about to have a baby, and so I'm gonna ask her nicely to save the food jars for me...

Follow this link: Cupcakes in a Jar

Bon appetit, mes amis!

J~

Monday, April 25, 2011

Home for the Holidays...


"But, wait!", you say.  "It's April!".

This picture of Gabe and Sarah was taken when we went home to Louisiana this past Christmas.  Phillip took it with his iPhone.

I just love imagining what could be going through their little heads as they look out of that airplane window.

J~

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Akiane's Painting of Jesus, and the Shroud of Turin

Happy Easter, everyone!

I'm posting a link for you today: Akiane's Jesus and the Shroud of Turin

I first saw the link about a week ago, on my old high school English teacher's FB page.  It's quite an interesting article, and included in it is a painting by child prodigy Akiane.

I find her vision of Jesus quite comforting to look at.  I just wanted to share it with you.  Maybe it will have some sort of powerful effect on you as well.

I'm in awe that a child could have such talent.  Some people live their whole lives without knowing or finding that special something that makes them who they are.  They search for it, and search for it.  She's got it.

Have a good day, okay?

J~

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pretzel Treats

Thanks to Sherri Lynn at life of a wife, I've found another recipe to try out!

life of a wife: Winner & M&M Pretzel Treats

Go to the link.  See the pictures...Don't they look GOOD?

Hmmm...when's the next baby shower, by the way?

Oooh! Easter! Maybe, for Easter...

Have a great week, everyone.

J~

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Time passes by so quickly!

Birthday wishes from Ya-Ya in the "toy nook".
Loves his Star Wars!
...and his Red Velvet cake!

Gabe's 9th birthday was this week. 

On the Friday before September 11, 2001, we found out that we'd been blessed 
with a most special gift.  

We met this news with joy,
and a small fear of the unknown.

We said our prayers.

At 37 weeks gestation, he was ready to take on the world!

And ours has never been the same since.   

Happy Birthday, Jean Gabriel!  

You will never quite understand 
(maybe when/if you have kids of your own?)
how much we LOVE you!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where is he?


This sign is just a mile or so from my house, and every time I see it, I imagine a moose to be looking both ways, waiting patiently to cross the road not far from the sign.  Maybe he'll give me a nod as I pass, and mouth something like "How ya doin', eh?".  I'm actually disappointed when I don't see him.

On a more serious note, someone in the family (not me) was recently pulled over by a state trooper not far from this sign, because the speed limit on that road is 40 mph.  If you hit a moose, it can be a pretty nasty thing indeed; for you, your car, and the animal.  The good thing though, from what I understand, is that if you do hit a moose, you or the local food bank gets a freezer full.  I think (almost positive) that it's against the law to hit one, and not salvage the meat.

And this is another reason why I like living in different parts of the world...because you learn something new everyday.

J~

Monday, April 18, 2011

Maybe I CAN scratch "Petit Fours" off of my list...


I've always loved the sight of lovely little Petit Fours at bakeries etc.,  because they look so dainty and delicious!

Some time ago, while searching for recipes on how to make my own, I came across the idea (I wish I could give credit where credit is due) to take squares of brownies, a little cupcake icing, and those cute little sugar toppings that you can find near the cake decorations in the grocery store, to make an attractive looking desert like the one above.  Last Friday, while stocking up on groceries at Sam's, I found a bulk pack of mini muffin brownies, and what you see here is what resulted.  If you think about it, the combinations are endless!

The idea that I saw in the past was a square brownie, with a beautiful purple flower sitting in the center.

I think I may even try doing something with sugar cookies in the near future.  I just love the fact that now, when bake sales etc, come up (or baby showers...), I'll have something quick, fun, and simple to make to contribute.

I also came up with this recipe just now:
Mother's Day Petit Fours

If you decide to have fun with this, I'd really like for you to email a picture of your creation to me at explorersfour@gmail.com when you get the chance to.  Like I said, there are many different creative possibilities.

Bon appetit, mes amis!

J~

PS.  I think that maybe I do need to add taking a photography class onto the list, because I'm a pathological picture taker and sometimes, relying on Picasa for editing help just isn't enough.  Those are sugar ducks sitting on top of the brownies, ya'll.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Quote for the day...

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one."
 -Mother Theresa 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On the Wish List...

A weekend here:
Click on these words

When I think of "going off the grid", this is what I mean.  Just me, my camera, no watch, and a good book!

Okay...that's it. Just thought I'd let someone know.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

400 Wake-ups: An Open Letter to President Obama and Congress

400 Wake-ups: An Open Letter to President Obama and Congress

"An Open Letter to President Obama and Congress: I have not been under a log...I have not been out of the country...I have simply had too mu..."

If you follow the link above, you will be brought to a most interesting post by another blogger that has some really good points. There are times that I have so many thoughts swirling around underneath all this hair, and if I try to get it down on paper, I'd only confuse myself in trying to convey it to the reader.

I'm glad that someone was able to put a bit of my thoughts into words.

I will say this:

  • I never had faith in him.  I've never trusted him.  I've always seen him as too arrogant and suave.  
  • We're going on our 5th major separation in 5.5 years.  I'm including training time in this.  And, a humanitarian mission.  While what my husband is doing is honorable and we are quite proud of him, it does have its effect on every member of the family.  We pay the price. (think about it)
  • It's just not nice to bite the hand that feeds you.  



Thursday, April 7, 2011

For the family...

video

We all think that our kids are cute, right?

Well, Phillip captured this on his phone. This might be something that only the grandparents can appreciate, but I think it's hilariously adorable.

(She entertained us for quite a while; there was a LOT more to it! You only got a small snippet.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Shorts to String You Along...Episode 4

video

We've got lots going on right now (normal everyday living stuff), but I'm uninspired to write about it at the moment, so I'm posting a really short "short" for you.

The above video was taken at the World Eskimo Olympics 2010.  The competitions are cool, but I think my favorite part of the whole experience is watching the native dances.

 If you're ever in Fairbanks, it's a must see if you want to get some culture in the brain.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Extended Vacations...

Well...

It's official.

Phillip will be soon leaving on another extended overseas "vacation".

This life is one Heck of a roller coaster ride. I cried my eyes out all weekend. I knew that there was a high chance of getting the news; the rumors had been floating around for a while. But, it still stings when you get the call saying that there is a meeting planned for a "possible" family separation.

"Possible"? Oh, PLEASE!!! Let's just tell the truth. Oh wait! You don't have all of the answers yet?! You mean...?

There are so many things that go through your mind when you're facing such things. For me, I worry most about my children.

So, as I work myself through the daze and confusion, I will look into an extended vacation of our own to help make the time go faster. Travel is always a battery re-charger for me. The kids and I need to have something positive to look forward to. And spending time back home in Louisiana is definitely in the plans for a good part of the summer.

I think that to make things even more fun, I'll look into flying out to the East coast to see a few friends there before we make our way out to Lafayette (and then on to Gulf Shores for the annual end of summer beach trip for the grand-kids). There's so much that we can see and do! I may be able to mark off seeing the Smithsonian (or part of it) from the Bucket List.

Or maybe, I'll fly us out to Central Texas to see friends and family (and our old house) there, and then drive us the rest of the way into South Louisiana.

Anyone out there have any other ideas for a fun side trip?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Piggy Tails!



I feel that we are so blessed to have the complete set when it comes to children.  

There are benefits to having both a boy and a girl.  Both are so much fun to have around.

This morning, I got to have fun making braided "piggy tails" for the little princess.

The images above were captured using Hipstamatic for Iphone.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

There's a hole in the...


...ice.  

Seriously, I didn't know what else to title this post.

Yesterday, Gabe and Phillip went ice fishing with the Cub Scouts at Chena Lake.

They didn't catch anything.

The End.
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