Remember how I mentioned Ryan's 17-hour workday this past Sunday? Let's make that 76.5 hours and counting. Maybe he'll come home today! Not holding my breath.
I need this semester to end right now, but somehow I have to survive and keep everyone thriving through Saturday. I've learned that I cannot do it all well at the same time. Let me show you what I mean.
When I do this really well:
The house looks like this:
I think every flat surface has piles of stuff that need to be sorted and put away. It is driving me crazy. You know what else is driving me crazy? That stupid picture on its side -- not enough to do anything about it though.
Let's all cross our fingers that I manage to put together a relatively healthy dinner for the boys tonight. I plan on having red wine for dinner.
These pictures are old, but at the same time they are current. We always take on crazy house projects when Ryan is home for extended periods of time. Mind you, to us, three months at home is an extended period of time. Ryan should be home rather consistently for THREE YEARS. It's about time! Of course, as I type this he is working a 17-hour day on a Sunday flying all day and night for carrier qualifications.
We thought it was finally time to gut and remodel not one, but two of our bathrooms simultaneously. We had been putting off these two bathrooms for years, but it finally seemed like a good time to tackle the boys' bathroom as well as our master bathroom. The boys' bathroom shouldn't be too hard since Ryan has some experience with these types of projects...
Uh oh. You never want a SERVPRO van at your house. Trust us. Our "simple" swap bathroom remodel resulted in a bit of a flood...on the second floor of our house...that the boys may or may not have been aware of for about four hours before mentioning it to Ryan.
"You had seven gallons of water pour out of this hole in your ceiling?" Yup. Thank goodness in his panic, Ryan had the genius instinct to shove a screw driver in the ceiling and throw a 5-gallon bucket under it.
"We'll set you up with some huge, loud fans that you need to run for the next 72 hours and an awesome hole in your ceiling." Okay, I paraphrase.
This hole doubled in size a day or two later when the inspector agreed with Ryan that the water damaged more than the original crew thought. Fun, fun.
It all looks lovely now, upstairs and downstairs...oh, wait...our master bathroom is still completely gutted. And, yes, we have given up and hired a contractor to do the majority of that major remodel for us. I'll post "after" pics and some lovely before photos of the bathroom Ryan completed soon. By soon, I mean, after my finals for this semester are over and I've finally put up a Christmas tree.
Turns out our boys are quite creative when neglected for rather long periods of time. While I worked on chemistry and Ryan worked on yet another home project, the boys made good use of craft supplies and Legos.
A monster truck and its ramp.
A Pokemon battle (I think).
School -- quite an interesting group of students and teachers. Note the dress up box in the upper left corner. I like the lunch room in the lower right.
Nathan wanted me to take a picture of the student raising his hand.
My apologies for neglecting the blog for so very long. To say that we have been busy is an understatement. I'll save sharing some of our "fun" projects for a future post. For now I will share pictures of the boys since that's all anyone really cares about anyway.
Ian entered second grade and Nathan began first grade this September. They are very happy to be attending the same school again and both love riding the bus together each day. Here's a snapshot from the first day of school.
All of the local school and community events ask that costumes not include masks or weapons for Halloween. Do you know how difficult it can be to find a costume for boys that meets both of those requirements? Thank you Target for carrying these Super Mario Bros. costumes so I could avoid making costumes yet again this year.
Yesterday we suffered through family photos yet again. We love Amanda of Kimberlin Gray Photography, but the boys always act so crazy and goofy for her. Thank goodness she is supremely talented and always manages to get these excellent shots that give the impression that we are all calmly smiling at the camera. I can't wait to see the rest of the photos!
Guess who is home again? Yup, Ryan is back from deployment again! It's only a couple weeks shy of last year's deployment homecoming. Ah, such a weird life.
I was not convinced of the date of this homecoming until I received an email at 3am sent from Frankfurt, Germany. That email meant that Ryan made it off the ship and on his flight out of Bahrain. I still didn't get us ready until 40 minutes prior to leaving for the Norfolk airport...including deciding what we'd all wear. Most last-minute homecoming ever!
The boys and I were lucky enough to be joined by my good friend, Denae, a fellow Screwtop wife. She took off from work early to act as our "photographer" and help us welcome Ryan home. She waited patiently with us on this miserably hot day (yes, it was even hot inside the airport terminal).
I held the boys back as long as possible so they wouldn't completely disturb the other passengers as they headed toward baggage claim. Turns out about 1/3 of the plane was made up of guys returning from the ship and other military-related places. Ian and Nathan were absolutely thrilled to see Ryan, as you can tell from this picture.
Another photo with Daddy. I could NEVER get them to smile like this no matter what I did...unless maybe I regularly left the state/country for months on end. Hmmm...that doesn't sound like such a bad idea.
Nathan's kindergarten class held a spring party (weeks ago) and I signed up to bring dessert just so I could make these dirt pot desserts for the kids. I haven't had this for dessert since I attended a birthday party when I was in elementary school (Denise's, in case any of you were wondering). I was blown away when Denise's mom dug into the flowerpot in the center of the table. Hopefully at least one kid in Nathan's class was as impressed with this dessert as I was all those years ago.
24 Dirt pots later and I was no longer impressed with this dessert. Just kidding. I found the recipe on Martha Stewart, of course. I did not double the recipe and I had enough leftover to fill a few more 2" clay pots. I ran the clay pots through the dishwasher twice before filling them and everyone survived!
I think I'll sign up to bring a bag of chips to the End of Year party...
Our third Easter in a row without Ryan...I did my best. I decided to focus less on capturing our activities on "film" and more on enjoying the activities with the boys. Thus, I used my cheap point and shoot, often with the flash. Oh, my! So, I apologize for the blown out photos and odd colors. I don't feel like fixing them. :)
The baskets. I'm proud that I remembered the baskets in advance this year. Last year it wasn't until the kids were out of school on Spring Break that I remembered I had to play Easter Bunny. It was the one time I was grateful for my pack rat tendencies as I was able to create baskets with what I had on hand. This year the baskets rocked!
Despite all the goodies, both boys were most excited by the chocolate items. I can't blame them.
Next up was our egg hunt in the overgrown backyard. It makes it last a little longer when the grass is 2 feet high...that's my story and I'm sticking it to it.
The boys are holding up their loot--stretchy robots, silly bands and tattoos.
For lunch, I filled empty egg cartons with halves of their plastic eggs. I put together a snack lunch that the boys were very excited to eat. I probably saw this idea on Pinterest. Thank you, Pinterest, for making me seem far more creative than I really am.
Naturally, we decorated our eggs this year following a space/alien theme. Target had these adorable $5 kits that once again made me seem far cooler and more creative than I am. We purchased an extra kit (animals theme) for next year!
Oddly, the easiest way to share pictures with Ryan when he is deployed is via this blog. Forgive me as we jump back to March to share some pictures. Easter photos are coming soon, I promise.
Ian lost another two teeth in March, bringing his total lost teeth to 4. I had the pleasure of yanking the fourth tooth out because he left it hanging by a thread for days and it was driving me crazy. There was blood and screaming, but 10 minutes later he posed for this ridiculous photo.
On March 13 we said good-bye to Ryan for the third time for this deployment. This turned out to be the "real deal" as he flew to the ship later that evening. Since we just completed our last deployment 9 months earlier and Ryan was in and out so much during those 9 months, it seemed normal to say good-bye yet again. As usual, I was the only one who cried, but that only lasted for about 2 minutes. This time I knew I could keep the kids alive and happy without Ryan for an extended period of time. :)
I almost forgot to take a St. Patrick's Day picture! I apologize for the odd expressions and blurry photo. The boys were on their way up the stairs to get ready for bed and I quickly snapped this crazy shot. We enjoyed a fun rainbow-themed playdate with a rainbow fruit salad and some cute crafts, but I won't bore you with those photos...this time.
March ended with back-to-back school programs at Nathan's school. This year was a patriotic theme in honor of the military. Of course. Instead of crying, I sat with friends and laughed at the kids the whole time. That's what we're supposed to do during these programs, right?
The kindergarten class sang the National Anthem. It really was quite adorable. Nathan was front and center and sang his heart out.
We have many active-duty families at our preschool/kindergarten. Here are photos of the deployed fathers of kids from the kindergarten and 4-year-old preschool classes. The music director read the names of each deployed parent and had the child wave to the crowd. In the three years we've had children at this school, I think Ryan has been able to attend one program -- the school hosts 3 each year.
Last night was the final evening our house was full of six-year-old boys so we snapped a quick photo. Ian turned SEVEN today! Can you believe it? I cannot! He amazes us each day with his compassion for others, his intelligence and quick wit as well as his ability to pack away more food than the rest of us without putting on any extra weight.
We don't have many photos from today's celebration as we experienced an F/A-18 plane crash a couple miles from our party site shortly after our celebration began. As my phone began ringing off the hook, I spent quite a bit of time responding to texts, calls, emails, etc., all while shielding the kids from the event, passing out Chuck E. Cheese tokens and taking the party back to the house for cake and ice cream. We are thankful that no casualties have been reported at this time.
I'll post at least one photo of the birthday boy soon!
Right before the ship was scheduled to deploy, the three of us helped Ryan take his last load of belongings aboard. We wanted the chance to see his new stateroom (that he only shares with one other guy!!!). I think it helps the boys to see where Daddy lives when he's away from home.
They had a great time hanging out on Ryan's top rack and posing for pictures with Daddy in this cramped space.
The following day the four of us returned to see the ship as it pulled away from port. This is the first time Ryan has flown aboard the ship with the squadron as opposed to heading out to sea with the ship. I'm sure it must have been a little odd for him to watch the ship deploy without him...although he was "lucky" enough to fly aboard just a couple days later.
We rushed around the corner to attempt to capture one picture of the boys with the ship (and not crowds of people and cars) in the background as it headed out to sea.
Our last stop for the day was the squadron to snap a few photos of the E-2's before they deployed. Ian was very excited when he finally spotted Daddy's name on one of the planes.
Of course, I made the three of them pose for yet another photo on this exceptionally sunny day.