Friday, June 28, 2013


Tim and I got up early this morning, leaving the youngest three snoozing in the hotel room, to stake a spot on the chapel wall overlooking the large open field (I'm sure it has a name and I'm sure that name has initials in order to completely confuse the uneducated, but being an unitiated newby I'll just call it "the field" TF) at the Air Force Academy.  We sat and did our Bible studies from 6:30 am (yes, we got a good spot!) until the new basic cadet action started around 8:00.  We were quite far, but that didn't stop me from popping my eyes out of my head trying to locate Zach through my zoom lens of the camera.  Try as I did, I was unsuccessful.  However, once the oath taking ceremony (OTC--ok I'll stop now) began, we were blessed.  Zach's squadron, The Executioners, ( I was upset about the name until I heard some of the other names...Hellcats, Demons....then I was ok with it.) marched right to the place where we had supposed they would and had positioned ourselves.  Even better, he was in the front row which was critical, because you couldn't see anybody past the second row!  I felt so sorry for the mom next to me who wanted to see her son, but she couldn't make him out in the group.  I tried to help her, but even with my zoom lens was unsuccessful.

Anyway, it was easy to pick out Zach.  He's second from the right:  Love my ZOOM.
 I was impressed with how well they marched.  It must have been intense to learn so quickly!

Here's the Wing Commander. 
 Enough said I think.

We couldn't begin to see him this well, but later this afternoon, I loaded the image on the computer and zoomed in, and this is what I got.
(Pretty good photography, if I do say so myself!)

Comment:  He does not look happy.
I'm going to dream of this face tonight.
It's hard, but we knew it would be.
But still.

I like this picture so much better:

Go Zach!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Inprocessing Day...And How a Cold Can Be a Blessing.

Today was finally the day-- Inprocessing Day.
We've been tooling around Colorado for five days now, getting used to the altitude with it's breathless exertions, headaches, dry skin and extreme temperature changes.
Love the mountains!

I hope to blog about the great time we've had, but I know a lot of family will be curious about how today went, and I want to show them the best that I can.

First, though, I would like to let you know that God saw fit to send me one of the worst five sinus colds I've ever had in my life.  As we rode in the car last Saturday, I thought to myself, "I actually feel relaxed!  Everything's done!  I forgot what relaxed feels like!"
Four hours later I felt the tickle in my throat.
"It's just the dry air."
(It was not the dry air.)
"It's the altitude."
(We were still in Nebraska.)

SO...all week in the mountains of Colorado,
I've been producing copious amounts of snot.
Which, combined with sunshine and dry air, has chapped my lower face and caused my eyes to puff to the point where I look like I've been crying....constantly...

Which brings me to the blessing part which was...all day long...throughout the whole inprocessing, people were patting me, telling me it was going to be ok, giving me stuffed animals (ok the stuffed animal went to Lily who really was crying), telling me congratulations...
to the point where I actually ended up crying relatively little!

It was awkward to say "I'm not crying; I have a cold."
So I just went with it.

Now you have the background.
There is one and only one photo of me where I am actually crying.
We'll have a contest to see who can tell.
(My mom is disqualified; she knows me too well.)

 Here we are at PF Changs last night.
The Last Dinner.

 Signing more forms.
It was very difficult to know where to go until we realized that we should just follow the crowd.
That was the plan.

 Waiting for the "Briefing."
This was right before a guy came up and started giving Lily and me gifts.
Nice guy.
Lily accepted the gifts but refused to smile...
she can really smell a rat, and I think this smile was her last for awhile.
 ...because the "briefing tent" was really the "goodbye tent."
They should call it what it is!

 Last Family Picture.

I just love it when he crushes me in his armpit like that....
it's very snuggly...
and makes me wonder that he was ever my little baby....

 Hugs all around.... more last....

 ....and when we saw him next.... was behind a rope...
 That bar code was soon scanned in, and...
 it was over the river (creek)...
 ...and through the woods....

 He didn't even glance at us.
But we know he knew we were there!
We are hard to miss!

 "Move'em on...move'em out!"

 No turning back now!

 Of course we watched until the bus was full.

 Then it drove away.

We are proud of you Zach.
Prayers and letters coming your way!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Go Get'm Zach

There's been a smiling "ray of sunshine" guy in our lives for 18 years now....

Two, actually!
They didn't come as a pair, but they WERE a pair...
didn't take them very long...!

They really went together....

like peanut butter...

and jelly.

First one flew away....
and now...

And tomorrow, here goes the other!
We are going to miss our Zach as he goes away to his new life...

We've loved watching him grow and "do his own thing..."

"be his own man....."
...even now!
Go get'm...

.....little guy.....

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cousins and Snow: The Ultimate Combination

Cousins and Snow: The Ultimate Combination

We had a lovely three day visit with my family in Southern Illinois over New Years.
There were cousins galore!
Christmas presents!
My Dad's retirement to celebrate!
Not to mention, my parents' 45th Wedding Anniversary!
It was a busy THREE DAYS!

But to top it all snowed....
not just a skiff, but a real hearty several inches
of packable, sleddable snow.
And it wasn't even very cold!
(Remember we come from Minnesota!)

So of all the celebrations....
this is my favorite set of pictures...
(My sisters and I were in Walmart, shopping for  PARTY food.)

But here are some of the fun shots that I found on my camera
when I got back!

What a fun place for a snowball fight.

This was the first picture of the set.

The cousin in the navy coat is either very brave, or doesn't quite get the concept...but he will soon!

See the snowball....coming right at ya!
Wait a minute...coming right at my camera!
Who was taking these pictures?
Seriously...if that thing has a curve on it...

Every picture of Zach is one with a snowball in hand.
Rapid Fire we call him now.

The smiles!

Well...not everybody I guess...
But make no mistake....

...the sweet little thing in the puffy pink snow gear....

was an assassin!
We like to lovingly describe her as 

"Relentless" kind of runs in the family, you see.....

There was even an uncle or two involved, 

and of course SOMEBODY has to cry, 
(queue Lily...)
or it's just not a snowball fight....


Hmmmmm.who had the most fun......?

It's hard to say but.....

I have my suspicions....!

Packing a mean snowball is a talent...Minnesotans train for this
 at recess from November through April, 
the goal being to leave a bruise....
so I feel we had an advantage.

You can even name your snowball
as you're packing it...
"Bruiser, Bloodshed, Bullet"...
are just some common ones.

This post is getting dark....

"Hey!  Let's sled!"

Sled in the woods?
Of course!
When you grow up in the woods like we did...
you sled in the woods because the alternative
is ....
and that won't do so...

This looks like a good run...only a few

But before that, you have to cross the creek...

It warms my heart to see my kids in camo.
Did I mention we live in the suburbs?
We don't get to wear camo very often.

As long as there have been vines in this world,
there have been kids swinging on the vines.
This too, I know.

All sizes of kids.....

It's really fun!

And then it's NOT!
Just kidding!
She's belly sledding of course.
We make do....

Oh good...somebody brought a sled.
Works much better!

It was a GREAT afternoon,
and one, I think, my kids will always remember.

I will, anyway....
and I was at Walmart!