Our Funny Valentine Stories

Our Funny Valentine Stories

Caleb got himself this awesome Star Wars set. We take our Legos very seriously around here.

Now y’all know I love me some Valentine’s Day. I love any reason to celebrate…..so long as it does not cost me too much money. And Valentine’s Day is just that, an inexpensive holiday full of chocolate and people saying “I love you.” So I mean, really! What’s not to love???

For us, the key is to be low maintenance about it. Everyone gets chocolate as a gift, and I get the added bonus of flowers. No stress.

Yes, we had to do 4 kids’ classes of valentines this year, but we are not high maintenance  about that either. SOME of the parents are, and I just tell myself that those parents clearly just enjoy being crafty or have money to spare, and I do not let that ruin my holiday.

I’ll admit I did feel a little inferior when I saw what John David brought home though….

Our Funny Valentine Stories

Oh, pre-school….That big red bag was not the bag to hold it all. That was just another one of the valentines.

You might say I was out-given. That’s okay. I have four kids and little interest in crafts. Here’s what John David gave in exchange for all this candy and toys:

Our Funny Valentine Stories

We’ll call it the minimalist’s valentine.

Yeah…..it’s just a card. It was good enough for me when I was a kid, so I figured it’s good enough today. Now, in my defense, it did come with a tattoo inside!

…Of course, I had trouble figuring out how to get the tattoos to stay in the little cards. It took me about 10 cards before I realized there was a little perforated slot for the tattoos. So most of JD’s class actually did not get a tattoo because they fell right out.

Oops. Oh well. By the time I got to Daniel’s cards I had the tattoo slot routine down, so his class got them.

Thankfully, Daniel has a small kindergarten class of about 13 kids because he painstakingly picked out exactly which card to give to which kid .

Our Funny Valentine Stories

Daniel’s valentine cards

He was so adorable. He insisted on putting extra heart stickers on all the girls’ cards and extra-extra heart stickers on his sweet teacher’s card.

Daniel is my first perfectionist child, so he had quite a large trash pile of cards that he wrote and then decided that he messed up on because he wrote Daniel in the wrong place or his handwriting wasn’t up to his standards:

Our Funny Valentine Stories

hehehe I love these kids. They looked pretty happy when they came home.

Our Funny Valentine Stories

Yes, he did pass out on my sofa in a sugar-induced coma.

As for me, I had an awesome day. Alan took a few boys with him to buy my flowers the day before. He said the boys all grabbed arm-loads and arm-loads of the grocery store flower bouquets, and he had to put most of them back. “Whoa! Okay, boys, we love mama, but here. Just a couple.” They brought me home these beauties:

Our Funny Valentine Stories

I love them.

Alan also got me my favorite Valentine candy:

Our Funny Valentine Stories

I ate them all in a day, except for those nasty flavors.

Unfortunately, Alan actually bought me THREE bags of these goodies, so I gained a couple of pounds last week. Literally. I gained three pounds, one for each bag. Also when I look at sugar-food now I get nauseous.

Now before I go, I wanted to also say a big THANK YOU to all who voted for me for Military Spouse of the Year. No, I didn’t win the grand prize. But guess what!!!!!

I DID win for our local base. So this was a fun thing to be a part of.

THANK YOU for your votes!!!!! Hope you all have a sweet week full of chocolate and sunshine!


3 Funny Stories and a New Page

Daniel did a fantastic job with this underwater robot at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Robotics Fair.

We have now been a military family for 15 years. I know. I can’t believe it’s been that long either. It really doesn’t seem possible, seeing as how I’m only 29…wink, wink.

So I took the time to compile a tab on my menu bar that will take you directly to a list of links to articles that I wrote about this crazy military life that we are leading.

See it up there?

Check it out here.

Hope your week is off to a good start! I’ve heard a few funny things around here lately, and it’s been a while since I shared those, so here we go….

1.) The 1900s

Joshua, getting ready to watch Parent Trap for the first time, said, “Sure, Mom! I like your movies from the 1900s.”

And just like that I aged 100 years.

2.) Frozen again

Snicker if you want, but I still have Frozen songs on my playlist. (Seriously, someone give me some new song ideas to download!)

I was singing “Love is an Open Door” right along with Anna and Hans, and Caleb said:

“No. Love is locked in a safe. Please lock it in a safe.”

I let JD go walking with me. It took us like an hour to walk half a mile because we had to stop every few feet for him to collect acorns, stow them in his stroller, and drop and pick back up his Lego mini figures repeatedly. I have since been sneaking out stealthily whenever I want to get my walks in.

3.) J.D.’s new home

Remember how J.D. started preschool? Well, he’s so excited about this, and he’s going to school at the same place his brothers go to school and we go to church. We are there a good bit, you might say.

So John David has been walking around the building enthusiastically telling every adult who speaks to him, “I live here now!”

hehehe! I hope you will go check out my new Military Family page! Have a great week!





Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Caleb’s Stories

getting-creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Caleb's Stories

Today I want to talk about creativity. When I was a child, it was greatly celebrated, but I was never so sure that I actually possessed any of this creativity stuff. There were only two subjects I disliked in school: P.E. (We’ve talked about this) and Art. Yep. I never liked Art. I love to admire other people’s artwork. I would just rather not make any myself.

Sure, I write all the time. Non-fiction. All of my work is simply jotting down what happened, what’s funny, and what is true. Reading fantasy, sure, I’ll do that. Dream up fantasy? Wait. I do that too, but I keep those thoughts to myself. Be thankful.

So today, I’m going to let Caleb tell the stories. His stories are grounded in fantasy, but they sound quite believable. In fact, one of them IS TRUE. See if you can guess which one.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

The photo wall I’m most proud of. This is as creative as I get folks: picture arrangement.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

See my fire-place mantel scarecrow. You can buy him at Hobby Lobby, often on sale. It makes me smile every time I look up at my fun fall mantel.


Caleb’s Stories #1: Aiden, the Wolf, and Me   (Written as Told by Caleb)

One day me and Aiden were playing in the woods. This was before we all got poison oak, and you told us we couldn’t play back there any more, Mom. We were just on the edge of the woods. All of a sudden, we saw this whole herd of deer, and they just came running by us. They didn’t even see us.

Me and Aiden were like, “Whoa! What the…” Then a WOLF ran by!!  Two wolves! Two wolves were chasing the deer, because it was getting dark outside. Aiden and I just froze.

One of the deer was so scared, he even fell off the little bridge into the ditch! I guess he just wasn’t looking where he was going or something, but then he was stuck down there and couldn’t get out.

It was the scariest day of our lives.


Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Each of the boys drew a self-portrait in art class at school. I thought this was impressive for a kindergartener! Daniel is a perfectionist, so he covered up some black splotches with paper, as you can see.


Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Nonna has her house all decked out for fall too, and I thought this turkey centerpiece she made was cute and festive.

Story #2: The Raccoon Family

One day, it was starting to get dark, and Joshua and Aiden and I were playing in that big tree. You remember, that one that was so awesome for climbing? We saw a whole family of raccoons come out of the SEWER!

The dad was super fat, too. Then there were like four little raccoon babies. They were so adorable! Like kittens! We wanted to pet one, but of course, we didn’t because we were a little bit scared to do that. We tried to throw a rock at the big fat dad, but then we were like, no, just kidding, and we didn’t throw a rock at him. We did scare him though, and we didn’t think he’d be able to fit back into that sewer. It was hilarious!! We were all dying laughing.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Nonna created this coffee table arrangement with a basket and fall gourds and silk flowers. Love it!

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Even our littlest man has been getting creative.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

I just loved how Caleb set this table up. That’s an octopus, wearing a baseball cap, with its tentacle wrapped around JD’s sock monkey.

Last, but not least:

Story #3: Bats!!!

One day, it was starting to get dark, and Aiden and I were still playing outside. We were whacking the trees on the hill behind our house with sticks. Whack! Whack! Whack! Whack! Then, all of a sudden, like FIVE bats flew out of the tree we were hitting!!! Aiden and I looked at each other with the wide eyes like, “Aughhhhhh!” Then we just took off running. He ran to his house, and I ran to our house. It was crazy. I’d never seen bats that close before.


Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Daniel’s drawing of Grandaddy

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Before: Our new house has these two windows that you could see through a little too well.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

The new window treatment was hard to photograph from outside, so I took this photo from inside. See the pretty new windows? Alan got these static cling strips from Lowe’s and stuck them right on there. Now you can’t see straight into our living room any more.


Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Caleb loves to draw sharks, and he’s also enamored with that swirly-sky Monet painting. You can sometimes see signs of that in his art. Looks like this boat is in a lot of trouble.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

We love to draw monsters.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Spongebob characters, by Caleb

My husband is surprisingly creative too. I guess that’s where the kids get it from. Recently, the cover completely fell off of my Bible. Alan decided to fix it for me one morning while I was away and surprised me with this when I got home:

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Duct-Tape Bible cover

Teal is my favorite color, so he bought teal duct-tape and white duct-tape. Then he wrapped my Bible in it. It turned out cute too!

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

The original burgundy cover doesn’t even show through.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

I was impressed.

So which of Caleb’s 3 stories do you think was true? Leave your guess down below or on Facebook, and I will tell you if you got it right. If you haven’t liked my Facebook page yet, be sure to do so. It’s hard to keep up both a personal FB page and a blog FB page, so I am trying to move to primarily using the blog FB page. You can follow me on Facebook here.

Happy fall, y’all!!


Our Old House in America

old house in america

John David enjoyed looking out the airplane windows. What a fun experience to have as a child!

So the move has been highly successful, though it was…a hectic nail-biter. You don’t move a family of six across the country without a boogoodles of planning and elbow grease.

old house in America

nom nom nom

Tonight is the most special part. After 2 weeks of being all split up, we are finally all sleeping under one roof! We are in our new house, and everyone is in their own bed. It feels so good to be together as a family again, even if the two little boys do have insomnia tonight. Oy.

old house in America

building with Lincoln Logs at the grandparents’ house

DaddyO (their grandfather) kept the boys overnight, by himself, so that Nonna could come help us unpack boxes. He told a funny story:

Daniel asked to take a shower. DaddyO asked him, “Do you know how to take a shower?”


And he does. When you have 2 bigger brothers, and you’re a go-getter like Daniel, you know how to do all sorts of things by age 5.

So DaddyO asked him, “Oh. Where did you learn how to take a shower?”

“At my old house, in America.”

“In America!?”

“Yes, we lived in America,” Dan explained.

“Oh, in America? Do you mean in California?”

“Yes, in America, California.”

“You mean in Monterey, California?”

“Yes, Monterey, America, California.”

That cracked us up.


I promise to have a comprehensive photo blog of Alan and the boys’ big road trip on the next post!

Roll Tide, y’all!


The Story of My Wedding Dress: What Fire Couldn’t Burn


“Your wedding dress? What do you want me to do? It’s…” I don’t remember exactly what my mom said, but I got the idea.

“Ah, man! My wedding dress? I didn’t even think about that. I forgot that was in there. It’s damaged too? Well, everything is. It has smoke damage?”

“Well, yeah. We can try to have it treated,” she offered.

I don’t know how much exactly insurance covers, but I want them to use that for what they need or at least what can be used again. Neither of which applies to my wedding dress.

I turned to Alan. “My wedding dress? What do you think?”

It’s so silly. I mean, my parents lost everything in their house fire. Literally everything. My few trophies and wedding dresses and old letters were trivial. Why should I care about my wedding dress?

“Trash it,” Alan said.

Ouch. Men. They just don’t get it.


Me and my high school friends at my wedding. I was 21 when I got married.

I sighed.

My mom was on the phone, waiting for my answer. “Do you want some time to think about it, and get back to me?”

“No…I…uh…well, I mean, I…Alan says we should…um.”  I couldn’t say throw it in the dumpster. I could not say those words…

“Well,” I continued in my bumbling, “No. I will let it go. It doesn’t fit. I will never be 115 pounds ever again. That’s not even… And I have no daughters, so there’s really no conceivable reason to keep it.”

“Are you sure?” Mom asked.

Sigh. “Yes.”

And that was that. The last few weeks I have so badly wanted to fly down to Alabama and be with my parents. Just to be with them through this great trial, as my brother, thankfully, has been. I wanted to stand on the lawn and help sort through what goes in the dumpster and what gets ozone cleaned. I wanted to be there. But I wasn’t.

It hurt. It hurt to know I could not be there, and I couldn’t. There are times that I could have, but this wasn’t one of them. Once you are married, you have an overriding duty to your family. Two become one, and this was my husband’s busiest hour. I had to step it up on the home front so that Alan could finish up his thesis. If I left, Alan would be left with a 2 -year-old, a 5-year-old, an 8-year-old, and a 10- year- old.  That thesis wouldn’t even be turned in yet, and graduation is only a month away.

So I stayed. Because when you’re a mom, that’s what you do. You put your husband and children first, even when it’s hard. It’s part of that whole “for better or for worse” thing.

Thankfully, I have the kind of family that understands that. Instead, Mom is actually flying here to help us out because I have my procedure this Wednesday.

I can’t wait to move back down South so I can be there for my family again.


Because there are things that fire cannot touch.


The fire took my wedding dress. It didn’t take my marriage.

The fire took my parents’ house. It didn’t take their lives, their identities, their love, their hope, their faith, nor their memories.


Through all the years of my childhood, only one photo of all five of us was ever made. After the fire, it was nothing more than a rectangular crunch of glass on the hallway floor. The fire took our photos, but it didn’t take who we are.

It took my parents’ earthly refuge, but it didn’t take their Heavenly one.

The things that fire cannot touch are the most important things of all:

-our spirit


-good deeds








-your relationship with God

The wedding dress was truly a small thing. It has significance to a woman that is hard to explain, but our marriage was always bigger than any wedding.

Things of this world: having a house in the right neighborhood, a car with heated seats (my dream!), blankets, computers, dishes, stemware…We grow attached to these things. We’re so attached to them that Alan and I pack them up every few years and haul them all over the country with us.

And for what? They are so quickly reduced to dust and hot ashes. It is all a brilliant reminder of a Bible verse we know..

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.    Matthew 6:19-21

It’s such an easy sentiment to use. It isn’t so easy when there are suddenly no records, no pictures of your people, no souvenirs of your past, no, not even so much as a laundry basket to count as your own. That’s a level of loss you have to experience to understand, I think.

But the most important things survived. My parents escaped this fire! Hallelujah! None of us kids or grandkids were there at the time, so no one died. Praise the Lord! We all still have each other, we have our sense of humor, and we have our faith.

What counts in the end? It’s all still there. So this situation reminds me of a different Bible verse. When everything is tried by fire, what will remain?

…12Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love.                               1 Corinthians 13:12-13

Love remains. Love always remains. It is fire-proof. No fancy dress required.






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