Sunday, August 29, 2010

Going to the Dentist

The kids both went to the dentist last week and did great! I am terrible because Aidan had never been to the dentist before and now that he has 2 adult teeth it was really time to go. I couldn't get them seen in England since it takes so long on a waiting list to get signed up at a dental practice. Making dental appointments was one of the first things I did after moving into the house. Both of them were awesome. They got cleanings and fluoride treatments and didn't make any fuss at all. The hygienists were very impressed - or so they said!
Aidan getting a cleaning:

Emmy was very excited to get her teeth cleaned:
Being very good during her cleaning!

Jazz on the Lawn

Last weekend we went to a local winery with some friends and enjoyed a free concert in the vineyard. It was a great time and even the weather cooperated - I think it was only in the 90's instead of the 100's! The kids were great. They enjoyed the music and eating outside which is always a favorite activity!
A view from our table across the crowd:
The kids don't look happy but I think they were engrossed in the music:
Emmy eating watermelon:
Aoife enjoying the umbrella stroller:
Aidan eating his pasta salad:
I made Greek Pasta Salad with Shrimp and Olives, among other things. Click here for the recipe.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Aidan's Open House

We went to Aidan's open house for school on Thursday afternoon. We had been in before school started but it was nice to go again so he could show us where he does things during the day. It's a small classroom with 21 kids and 2 teachers. It must be pretty exhausting to be there all day - for the teachers!! Aidan loves school - he bounces onto the bus in the morning and bounces off in the afternoon full of stories and tidbits to share. It's fun to see where he sits and what he plays with during the day.
Aidan writing with dry erase markers - he wanted to write his name as big as possible but ran out of room...
Showing me the book corner - he was very excited that they had Caps For Sale.
Aidan with the poster that he made about himself for homework this weekend.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Transitions, new friends, buses and a smart cookie

It’s no secret that we’ve had some pretty big changes in our household in the past 2 months. Between moving, leaving friends behind, changing jobs, being without our belongings, starting at new schools, trying to make new friends and even finding our way around a new place, life has been pretty hectic and stressful. I’ve been harder hit with this move than others in recent memory. Maybe it’s because this is the first time in a long time that I haven’t moved with a newborn or within 3 weeks of having a newborn. Babies are a wonderful distraction and a completely acceptable excuse for avoiding the other stresses of life. No one questions you when you shut yourself in the house for 4 months. Going to the grocery store is enough adult input right? No friends? No problem – the baby needs to eat, again, and I’m sure someone else just wet their pants. I don’t have time for friends anyway – at least that’s what you tell yourself.

This time’s different. I am staring down the barrel of 12 months on my own with the kids. The countdown to February is almost as bad as the loneliness will be once it gets here. I know that my saving grace will be having friends - if only I can find enough noncrazy ones. Luckily I have two friends already that we were stationed in Colorado with back when Aidan was a baby. It’s so nice to have that comfort and safety net. I just wish they lived nextdoor. I have been spoiled by living in England. Some of the best friends of my life were our neighbors in Watchfield. It was so easy with them – kids the same ages, no judgement, common parenting. Friendship was inevitable and I’m sure will be long lasting. The hard part now is realizing that not everyone wants to be friends right off the bat.

In the world of military wives there are a few questions you ask right away – and no one takes offense.

  1. How old are your kids? If they are within a year or two either way everyone gets excited for new playmates.
  2. Where did you move from and where else have you been stationed? This way you can figure out who you know in common – kind of military facebooking.
  3. What does your husband do/what unit is he in? It’s a good way to find out if your husband and hers will work together or if he works with someone that you know.
  4. Where are you from and where did you go to school. A way to find out if you have common interests or backgrounds or if she thinks you mean high school when you say school.

It’s much easier to get all of that out of the way early on instead of taking months to get acquainted. Once this is all out of the way things can get more personal quickly. Your neighbor would pick your kid up at the bus stop or pull your trash can in with no questions asked. She knows that she’s going to need you one day so there’s no point in keeping score – it all comes out even in the end anyway.

Non-military women are a little harder to figure out. No one seems to want to move too fast – I guess I can understand that. But really I don’t have 2 years to become good acquaintances or 5 years to become friends. If I see you at nursery school pick up 3 times a week I will talk to you each time – but if you turn and go the other way when you see me I will get the hint and move along. I’m not wasting time or getting my feelings hurt.

Aidan and Emmy have also had big transitions. They’ve both started school already and have settled in well, apparently. Emmy’s teacher told me that if she had a class of all Emmys she would be the happiest person on Earth. I looked at her like she had three heads and said, “If I had a house full of Emmys I would kill myself.” She laughed like I was kidding. I am glad, however, that Emmy knows that she is to be well behaved in public – I have, at least, done that right. The months of dealing with fits in public have paid off, I guess. She came home today and told me her teacher said she was a “smart cookie” and then she giggled – a cookie!? How cute. Aidan’s back to school afternoon is tomorrow and I’m excited to see how everything is going there. I feel disconnected from his schooling this year. He leaves on the bus at 8am and comes home on the bus at 3:45pm. I’ve resisted the urge to pick him up at school because I know he’s benefiting from being on the bus. Controlled independence is always good in my book. If it feels just a little uncomfortable for me than it’s probably the right thing for him.

Aoife is also going through a big transition time. She has started walking well since we moved in a month ago and is now on the move all the time. I weaned her completely 5 days ago and she didn’t seem to notice until last night. It was like it all of a sudden occurred to her that she hadn’t nursed in a while. For the first time in about a year she cried as she was going to bed. It didn’t last long but it was long enough to make me question if I was doing the right thing. Should I have waited and done it completely on her terms or did I do the right thing making it on my terms? She is plenty old enough to not be nursing but there’s always regret. The agony of motherhood – no one ever tells you about these things.

If there’s one thing I know for certain is that EVERYTHING will improve. We will get more comfortable and settled in. We will get to know our neighbors better. The weather will cool down and we will be able to sit on our front yard and drink wine while the kids play with their friends. School will continue to go well and they will all get bigger, more independent and more fun. We will make it through the year with Brendan in Afghanistan. It won’t be fun but the time will pass and he will come back home into the chaos that is our life.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cooling off

Since it's been SO HOT - over 100F most days. We got another little pool and this one has a sunshade so you can actually use it during the day! The kids LOVE it and Aoife loves climbing in and out and getting covered with grass!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Our stuff that has been in storage for a year came the other day. The unpacking process begins again...

The kids are much happier now that they have plenty of toys to play with BUT since we have no way to store them they are sitting in 3 big boxes in the playroom. The kids pull them out during the day and then we just pile it back in at night. It will be really nice when all our stuff from England gets here in a few weeks. I am so looking forward to sleeping in a real bed instead of an air mattress!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Great Blog - not for the faint of heart

I found this great blog a while ago and have been reading it faithfully since. This post struck a chord - enjoy!


More flashbacks

Here are some more pictures from Ireland that I finished editing - if you want to go back to the original Ireland posts just click here and scroll down.
The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland
At Bushmills Distillery, Northern Ireland
The Burren, Ireland
Rocks in the Burren
Castle in the Burren
Cows in the Burren
Rocks leading down to the ocean in the Burren


I finally finished editing all of my pictures from Paris and here are a few good ones that didn't make it on the initial post - enjoy!
Aidan and Emmy in front of the Arc de Triumphe
Notre Dame from the Seine
Notre Dame
Inside Notre Dame
Joan of Arc inside Notre Dame
St. Teresa inside Notre Dame
On the Seine cruise

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Emmy update

Emmy's first day of school went swimmingly yesterday. She had no issues with drop off and was happy, but not overly so, to see me at pick up. She talked about how good she was at following directions and being nice to new friends. She sat on the "3" on the rug for circle time and listened to a story about the first day of school. They had popcorn for snack and played on the playground. She is very excited to go back to school tomorrow! What a difference a year makes!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Emmy's Preschool Orientation

Yesterday Emmy, Aoife and I went to Emmy's preschool orientation. She's going to start tomorrow and go Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for 3 hours. The preschool is at our church in downtown Clarksville and it's the only preschool in the area that is an actual preschool instead of a daycare. I'm really happy that Emmy got in because I know there is now a waiting list.
I was a little worried going in to this because Emmy had a horrible time adjusting to her school in England. If you've been reading this blog for a while you probably remember this. She did eventually love school in England but she is slow at adjusting to change so I thought she might not like it at St. Mary's initially. I don't think I could have been more wrong. As we were walking in she was skipping and chattering away and telling me that I needed to go home and then come back after she had played with her friends. I kept trying to tell her that we were just going for a short visit and that all the parents were staying today but she didn't believe me until we were in the classroom.
It was very crowded in the classroom - most kids had 2 parents there and for once I felt like one of the older parents. Emmy hopped right up onto a seat and started doing puzzles and then walked around and played with the other kids - at least the ones whose parents were letting them play. I don't remember if I was such a helicopter parent with Aidan - I hope I wasn't!! Emmy discovered that there were 2 fish in a bowl and was thrilled with this - she spent lots of time going back to check on the fish and watching them swim around.
We stayed for an hour - much longer than I had planned on - and Emmy left happily but only with the promise that she would be back on Wednesday and that I would leave her there after giving her a good-bye kiss. When we were driving home she was talking about school the whole time and she even said, "You know my old school had Mercedes and Brigo (her two best friends), but my new school has FISH." I asked her what was better - answer? "FISH!"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Aidan's first day of Kindergarten

Aidan started Kindergarten again today. This year seems a little more real than Kindergarten last year in England seemed. Maybe it's because he's in the regular elementary school instead of a separate Kindergarten building and he takes the bus this year because we live so far from the school.
The neighborhood that we live in is brand new and the schools aren't ready yet so he'll go to Jackson school until Christmas and then switch with his class and teacher to the new school after the new year. Once he's at the new school he won't ride the bus because we'll be so close. I'm going to enjoy the bus while we have it!
We took some pictures outside this morning but the lens promptly fogged up when we went outside because at 7:45 am it was already 90 degrees and 90% humidity! It took a few minutes for the camera to even out so I apologize for the foggy pictures!!
Here are the kids sitting on the front step - is there any way to get all 3 looking at the camera at once??
I like this one because Aoife looks like she's doing a jig!
Waiting for the bus!
Getting on the bus - I told Aidan to look at me and give me a big wave while he was getting on the bus - it's a good thing I didn't hesitate because he almost ran onto the bus. He's been looking forward to taking the bus for ages!
Getting off the bus - we drove and met him at school for the first day because we wanted to walk him into school. I'm glad we did - it was CHAOS!
Aidan in his classroom - he was so happy to be there and wanted us to leave! It's nice that he's so confident but I'd like a hug!