Monday, July 30, 2012

a visit with G.W.

Before I discuss our weekend I need to discuss the Opening Ceremony.

1. I was delighted that the royal family was in attendance, but baffled by how solemn they all were. There was barely a smile in the whole bunch. (I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly say that I'm a fan of Prince Philip. I don't think he gets the recognition he deserves.) 

2. Just when I thought things were getting a little too wild what with all the bad guys of British literature converging in one place, who should appear out of the sky but a MULTITUDE of Mary Poppins. Leave it to Mary to save the day once again.

3. Really. How many people know where Cote-d'ivoire is off the top of their head? Sometimes I think they make these countries up.

In keeping with our ancient newly started tradition of visiting presidential homes, we stopped at the Washington's home on Saturday. 
I hate to say anything against George, but he did not have an eye for color when it came to decorating the interior of his home. It was almost painful at times.

He did have an excellent eye for home locations because who wouldn't want a view like this from their back porch?
He had some lovely gardens.
Apparently G.W. was a fan of fancy shrubbery.
Sometimes our attempts at self portraits don't work out as well as others.
I bet George and Martha never had that problem.

Friday, July 27, 2012

let the games (and the snacking) begin

Besides Independence Day, there are two days in July that I have been looking forward to for the last three months- the Olympic opening ceremony and the Transportation Corp. Ball. I don’t watch much tv the rest of the year, but every two years during the Olympics I station myself in front of the tv and seldom move. Unless, of course, it’s the track events where people run for 800 miles and I get so sweaty just watching them that I move on to bigger and better things like finding snacks to eat during gymnastics. I don’t think I need discuss again my love for balls (the dresses! And uniforms! And guest speakers of very high rank! And fancy food!).

I was on the train headed to visit my family when I realized that the ball and the opening ceremony were scheduled for the very same evening. This was a huge problem.  How could I host my annual Olympic opening ceremony party AND be at a ball at the same time? What would I do? Clone myself? The only reasonable solution was to bring the tv with me to the ball. Never have I read that one shouldn’t do that, so I decided that’s what had to be done. If Christopher wanted to pretend he didn’t know the person lugging the tv as we walked through the receiving line, well, then so be it. I even came up with a speech about how being at a military ball at the same time as supporting my fellow countryman as they participated in the parade of nations was PATRIOTISM TO THE MAX. Listen. It was a 10 hour train ride so I had a lot of time on my hands for thinking.

This is the part of the story where Great Sadness and Mourning enter. (Grab your tissues.) The powers that be (I can only assume it was men heading the party planning committee) ran out of tickets for the ball so we shall not be attending. OH, THE SADNESS. If only they had realized that Christopher sat in David’s Bridal for nearly an hour while I dress shopped I’m sure they could have hunted up a ticket or two.

After I semi-recovered from the terrible turn of events, I realized that no ball meant I would be able to host my opening ceremony party from the comfort of my living room after all. As they say, there’s a silver lining to every cloud. My American flag shirt is much less glamorous than the blue dress and silver shoes I was going to wear, but at least I wouldn’t run the risk of Christopher being ashamed to be seen with me.

I get very involved during these events. I like the videos they play of athletes who grew up in great poverty but have risen above it all and achieved their dreams. Once they start playing the inspirational music and showing baby pictures, I am SOLD on that athlete. Well done, NBC. You did it again. Each year I can rely on Bob Costas saying, “He’s really going for gold this time.”

You don’t say. Aren’t they all?

No Olympic party of mine would be complete without rings of some sort. I am almost too embarrassed to put up a picture of my failure of an idea (take the top off an Oreo! Go around the edge with Olympic colors! It will work like a charm!), but since I went through all the work of doing it I might as well document it. (My cake decorating teacher would be sad to see these. I’m sorry, Loretta.) I like to think it’s a testament to how much I’ve grown as a person since the last Olympics that I overlooked the crumbs and didn’t throw them all out and start over. Buuuuut, in reality I was too tired and it seemed like too much work.

Here's hoping the fate of the US Olympic team doesn't rest on my ability to successfully frost the edges of Oreos in a perfect circle.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I wonder if she'd made a jellyfish look like me

On Monday I went  to the child care center on post to do observation hours for my early childhood education classes. One class I'm taking required me to "design and implement an activity with two children of the same age", so after much thought, researching and Pinteresting, I came up with a project that involved neither finger paint or construction paper. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in a preschool knows that those are their GO TO ingredients for crafts.

Without further delay I present the craft that made Christopher jealous that they don't do things like this at his school.  
A few weeks ago I packed pipe cleaners and styrofoam balls into my babysitting bag when I went to watch Amelia. We originally made flowers and butterflies, but in a stroke of brilliance I decided we should make people. This dude's name is Wesley. 
Amelia made a person also and very proudly showed me this creation.
Then she announced she named it Sarah and it looked just like me.

I'm not sure whether to be touched that she wanted to create me or disturbed that she thinks I look like that.

I think I'll go with the first one.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

a visit with T.J.

On Saturday we visited Monitcello. I like Thomas Jefferson for a few reasons, not the least of which being that he invented my favorite piece of office furniture-the swivel chair. 
It was rainy and very wet, but the rain clouds made the mountains look more beautiful.
Apparently we were supposed to make a face for this picture. I never got that memo.
You know what happened after I took the above picture? A young couple came in and offered to take our picture. I wanted to do a favor for them so I asked if they wanted a picture also. Well. I have no problem taking pictures for people I don't know as long as it's with a camera. The lady handed me her fancy phone and things rapidly went south. Let's just say the poor lady ended up with a lot of very shadowy pictures where it's hard to tell whether the dark glob in front of the window is a man and woman or a gorilla. I hope they weren't planning to use the picture for a wedding slideshow.

T.J. certainly gets around. Here he is welcoming us to his home,
and standing around in Washington. Just last month we saw him in Williamsburg. The guy is everywhere. 
This weekend we plan on visiting George Washington's home. Clearly we're making our presidential rounds, so don't be surprised when I tell you we spent the day at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I was gone but now I'm back

Apparently I took an unplanned blogging break. 

Contrary to what you may be thinking, I did not spent the last week and a half staring out my window at the people of the ghetto (even though that does take up a good deal of each and every day). I went on a surprise visit my peeps back home while Christopher was in the field! I had the BEST time. 

The morning after my arrival I stopped at a REAL Dunkin Donuts. They say America runs on Dunkin Donuts, but I'm here to tell you that New England runs on Dunkin Donuts and the rest of the country just stumbles along behind. The DD near me in Virginia is sad, sad, sad. Which part of French Vanilla ice coffee do they so misunderstand that they give me lukewarm regular coffee? 
When Katie came to visit we went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to look at things for her wedding registry. She came with  me when I registered and since I won't be around for most of her wedding planning, we tried to do a lot of wedding related things together. I found them a very classy bathroom set. What newly weds wouldn't want a bobble-head monkey toothbrush holder? 
Ten years ago Grandma was given a set of glasses with a recipe for ice tea on the side. Each summer we look at each other and say, "We have to make that tea this year" but we never did until this year. Those cups of ice tea in our hands were ten years in the making.
I was so excited to spend an evening at the beach! 
We drank from only the finest of glasses.
So happy to see Hannah at church!
Carol, Brian and the kids came over for Sarahfest 2012 (Carol thought up that name).
We played a game in the pool that required everyone to pick a president. Molly and Zachary needed help so I told them to be Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. I, of course, was George Bush. (Are you noticing a Republican theme here?) I asked Nick who he was going to be and he answered with GEORGE CLOONEY. If Clint Eastwood can be mayor...

Nicholas brought out his bb guns so there was a lot of shooting going on. Since I'm certified by the NRA, I took it upon myself to give Elizabeth some pointers. She obviously wasn't listening to the part of the lecture that discussed proper gun-holding methods.
Now I'm back in the hot HOT ghetto waiting to see Christopher for the first time in almost two weeks. I love the people at my former home. I love the person in my current home. I love the cousin who thought George Clooney was a president. Basically I just love all my people.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

at 337 miles round trip, it was definitely a girls day OUT

It’s a well-known fact around our house that I have a very limited amount of female interaction these days. I babysit a little girl every couple of weeks, but besides her and her grandmother, the only females I ever talk to are the ladies at church whose average age is about 72. I adore living with Christopher, but on the occasions I want to discuss bubble necklaces, summer dresses, or Reese Witherspoon blond vs. Reese Witherspoon brunette, he is unable to hold up his end of the conversation.

Yesterday was a very exciting day. I spent ALL of it with a girl.

Laura and I met in person in February when I stayed at her house on the way to Christopher’s OCS graduation. I never really blogged about it because the whole MARRIED TO AN OFFICER thing was so big, but let me tell you- it was so fun. To be sure, there were moments beforehand when I wondered if we’d sit in silence staring awkwardly at the wall all weekend, but you really bond with someone while eating two flavors of Doritos and driving around the state in search of Jon and Kate Gosslin’s house. (Aaron was not exactly helpful when I expressed concerns before that first visit. He felt the need to tell me many met-through-the-internet stories gone terribly wrong. He even went so far as to say since I had never seen her in person, she might really be a he. Or a bear. After Laura and I talked on the phone, I proclaimed to Aaron that not only had I confirmed she was female, I was positive she wasn’t a bear. He rolled his eyes all over, but he couldn’t argue when I said that BEARS DON’T TALK ON THE PHONE.)

Laura and I are only living about 5 hours apart this summer, so I emailed to ask if she’d like to visit for the day. After many messages and much studying of maps, we settled on Easton, MD. Then we switched to Chesapeake. Then we switched again to Annapolis. (I feel the process may have been easier if Google could have given a good answer to “what city is between where Laura lives and where I live?”) Third time really is a charm because Annapolis was lovely.
We walked all the way around the pier, looking in the cute little shops along the way. Within the first half hour we knew where we wanted to eat lunch which was only natural since our friendship is partly based on a healthy appreciation of food.

Walking through the doors of the Naval Academy gave me a reason to whip out my military id. I NEVER turn that kind of opportunity down. 
The academy is just beautiful. The buildings and yards are so pretty.  
I may be loyal to the Army, but I can appreciate a good Navy uniform. 
During the day I made the following random observation: somewhere along the line I have started saying “oh my WHAAARD” instead of “oh my WORD”. I hope it didn’t annoy Laura too much because OH MY WHAAARD WORD it was annoying me.

I had so much fun spending the day with another girl. She understood things like nail polish colors and importance of cute sandals. I am a fan of a good girls day out. 
I realize I look highly awkward in this picture. I managed to be unprepared even though I was the one taking the picture. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

we camped like it was 2012- part 3

Our family loves kayaking so we were delighted to find out that the campground had canoes and kayaks for rent! We spend about two hours floating around the peaceful river and counting the deer, turtles and unusual birds along the way.
The water lilies were everywhere! As I was taking this picture my kayak got a mind of it's own and sailed right over 14 lily blossoms. This was immediately after I spoke to the twins about the importance of not sailing over lily blossoms. 
Cranes and ducks were everywhere. 
We found a tiny frog and Elizabeth named her Aphrodite. Not really sure why (or if the frog was even a her). Earlier in the week she found a moth and named it Abacus.
Apparently Aaron was trying not to overdo it in the vegetable department.
I packed 14 necklaces because I like to be fully prepared in the accessories department, even if we are in the woods.
On our final night there the biggest and most beautiful storm I've ever seen came through. Because we were away from all city lights the darkness of the sky and brightness of the lightening was more pronounced than normal. 
Mom spent the whole week scanning the sky for bald eagles and was therefore very disappointed when we left without a sighting. In an attempt to cheer her up we bought this little stuffed animal at the gift shop and left it on her set in the car. She named him Monty, after the Bible verse that talks about looking to the mountains for help.
And thus concluded Camping Trip 2012, a week when sunburns, bug bites, and fun were had by all! 

Friday, July 6, 2012

we camped like it was 2012- part 2

Three of the days we were camping it was over 100 degrees, so we declared a few OPD's- Official Pool Day's.

There were four pools and two water slides. The slides were so fun. We (mostly Elizabeth and I as Aaron wasn't too into being confined in a small, wet space) were delighted when it was adult swim and the long line of children pictured below were nowhere to be seen. Adult swim proves that there are a few perks to being a grown up.
Below is our mother exiting the water slide. She would never in a million years want me to post the other pictures of her on the slide, so we'll just have to look at her feet. If I hadn't seen it with my own two eyes, I would never have believed she actually went down the slide.
Look where the little kids get to swim. I brought the little girl I babysit here yesterday because I really wanted to swim in the fun part I knew she would have fun. 
I found a smiley face beach ball so I passed it around and made everyone pose with it in front of their face because HOW FUN IS THAT? Aaron's turned out best. I can pretty much guarantee that behind the smiling ball is a boy rolling his eyes.