Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cub Scout No Longer

So with the Pinewood Derby out of the way, M and I concentrated on finishing the last of his requirements for receiving The Arrow of Light award. Thankfully with the help and support of the other parents and leaders in the pack we got it done!  M has developed some wonderful friendships in this group and hopefully even with boys going to different Troops and the upcoming PCS season, he will remain good friends with them.


Excited for his big day, and proud to have made it through all of the levels of Cub Scouts.


With his brothers, future Cub Scouts.


He even allowed me to get in a picture with him.



Hamming it up and excited for the formal portion to get started.



His Web II, "Bacon Ninjas" Den.


Being announced as a recipient of The Arrow of Light.



Receiving his war paint.






The presentation of their advancement arrow.


Pinning on his first Boy Scout patch, Arrow of Light.



The Order of the Arrow presentation.



Crossing over.




Meeting his new troop and being presented with his new epaulets, hat and book.


The closing ceremony by the Order of the Arrow.






Proud to be Boy Scout!

Slightly Busy




So if you are still hanging in there with me, you may have notice the lack of posts lately...over two months worth to be exact. To say that we have been busy is one way of putting it. After being spoiled with 18 months worth of never having to deal with the dreaded "D" word (deployment, don't need to start any rumors out there) it has been an adjustment to go through it once again. The boys are older, which has its perks, but it also means that they are busy with their own activities that we feel having them participate in will add value to their lives in the long run. M rejoined Cub Scouts this year, he was determined to earn his Arrow of Light and cross over to Boy Scouts. Most of the boys had been working on achieving their Arrow of Light advancement over a two year period...we had 5 months. Maybe that is why I have been silent for the past 2 months....we had a lot to tackle!

Little N Turns 5..Oops Stuck in the Drafts.

I have no idea why this one didn't publish back in November/December, but thought better late then never!

So before we left for our Thanksgiving in MN we had the chance to celebrate N's Birthday with some friends at the base bowling alley. The kids had a great time doing the neon-glowing-disco-ball-all-request music night..and it didn't break the bank! 



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Get the Pass to Play!



So this week I have been adjusting to the new normal for the next couple of months. One of the things on my to-do list was signing up for Give Parents a Break and the Play Pass from the AFRC on base. I find it amazing that so many people don't know about some of the perks that are out there for families that have loved ones living in a remote locale, all it takes is a copy of their orders and a visit to their office. Once I had the Play Pass I set off to the Youth Center and used some of those credits to sign all three boys up for floor hockey and registered the youngest as a member for the next year.

                                     

$200 off of the Play Pass and $0 out of my pocket....nice! The play pass can be used at various places on base that fall under the Force Support Squadron (Youth Center, Bowling Center, Outdoor Recreation, Golf Course, etc...each base may be a little different). The Play Pass is good for one year, so if your loved one comes back and you haven't used all the credits they can also enjoy using some of the services for free as well. The AFRC also have a special Play Pass for single airman to enjoy as well. When we lived in CA I even organized for a group of spouses to go on a Napa Wine tour through Outdoor Recreation, we all paid for the tour (which was for the van rental and driver) using the Play Pass and had an excellent time! Maybe you can organize a group of friends and have a fun night bowling, or maybe rent some equipment from Outdoor Recreation and go camping. Just get it, use it and have fun!

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Dust (Snow) is Settling...

So this past week has been a little more difficult then normal. If you have been living under a rock you might not have known that most of the US has been hit with drastically cold temps. We also had 12 inches of snow come down with pretty gusty winds, it lived up to the one winter when I was in high school back in MN and the governor called off school. Before the storm hit on Sunday, we escaped Saturday to St. Louis and ate lunch with good friends at PF Changs, hit the mall while the boys watched the 2nd part of the Hobbit movie in a 3D Imax theater and then spent almost 2 hours watching the kids jump at Sky Zone. 

Thankfully the marathon of fun prevented the boys from going too stir crazy during the storm. Monday rolled around and school and base was closed for the day, we were house bound for the day. We shoveled the driveway and helped with a few other driveways that needed tending to, while the boys played on/in the giant piles of snow left by the snowplows. J also took the day to finish up on some packing, we had a good run...18 months of no all expense paid trips to the sunny dessert, but it was his turn once again to live apart from us.

Tuesday rolled around and once more the boys had no school, but J was running out of time to get his to-do list at all the different offices. He had a very frustrating morning, but went out of his way to make sure he could still leave...since it was the big day. The roads were tricky heading to the airport to drop him off with cars in the ditch and the side of the road broken down, with only a single lane plowed and dry, and ramps being a total mess. We managed to get to the airport and he managed to get tot he gate in the nick of time...only to find out the flight was 40 minutes delayed.

As Wednesday rolled around, the boys once again had no school. It was really turning into a Christmas Vacation that never ended. The boys spent the day playing outside in the snow and then inside playing video games. The older two boys had friends over, I cleaned the stove...yup did some deep cleaning while waiting to hear from J and if he made it to his new home for the next couple of months. Finally later in the night the phone rang and we were able to FaceTime and learn about his long day of travels.

As dawn broke on Thursday I got the dreaded text message that it was going to be ANOTHER snow day. Forecasted rain and sleet were going to make the already messy roads even worse in the rural areas. The boys went out early to play with their friends in the snow, the weather had really warmed up to a balmy 30 and so one of my friends stopped by and we decided to walk the neighborhood to get some fresh air while the kids were playing. After some time outside, we decided to head to the bowling alley for some lunch and see how many pins we can knock down. We mailed a box of goodies to J that he requested (yup, he just go there and I'm already sending his stuff), and then the boys enjoyed some more time in the snow and video gaming with friends.

Friday....the boys went back to school.
The new normal...
The new routine...
Short lived since it is now the weekend.

There have been some tears and emotional outbursts, possibly not all from the boys...I blame all those snow days in a row ;)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Our 2013 Holiday Letter


So for those that we missed on our mailing list, or the letter never arrived in your mailbox (which we have fallen victim more then once this holiday season...PO fail!)  We would like to share our family letter that we sent out this year. We hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and wish you all the best in 2014!       


      Greetings from SAFB!  2013 marked a new addition to our family. No, we didn't have more babies, M really wanted a kitty. She made this clear to me by never mentioning wanting a cat, not ever, not even once. I took this clear sign as a message to get her one last Christmas. Bella is a Siberian Forest Cat who has grown from a wee kitten last January who liked to climb the curtains and sleep on the rod to a fluffy fatso who brings the curtains down with a thundering crash...literally. Diesel has adjusted to the addition and the two can even be caught occasionally snuggling.



         The move to the midwest has brought new sports for the boys. M and J enjoyed floor hockey in the Scott AFB youth center league. No disrespect to soccer and baseball, but the entertainment value of a floor hockey game is through the roof. The only way it could be better is if we could bet on it. N was disappointed that he couldn't play, but he is old enough for the upcoming season in January.



         Our California acclimatized boys had to adjust to several good snowstorms last winter. It was a reunion with snow for the older two boys, but it was N's first real exposure to the blessed white stuff. Helping him make his first snowballs, snowmen, and snow angels was a delight for us. What we would give for a decent sledding hill! M lost some skin and learned lessons about coefficient of friction versus inertia when he took his sled down a snow pile onto the asphalt road.M and I had flashbacks to childhood watching the boys dig out forts in the neighborhood snow piles made by the plows. As I write this letter, we are getting our first snow of the season. The novelty has worn off for me. Hopefully the magic remains for the boys and we can play in the forecasted three inches of snow tomorrow.          


     Another blessing of moving back to the midwest was increased visits with family. Both sets of Grandparents, M's sister plus family all took the drive down and visited this year. If anyone else would like to stop by, M would love to take you to see the St. Louis Arch and I will willingly take you on a tour of the Budweiser factory. We were also able to visit Minnesota in the summer where the boys got to try their hands at farming/country living. The boys stayed with grandparents while M and I ran off to Europe for 11 days. We visited London, Paris, Florence, Rome, and Naples.  For more details of our travels (and loads of pictures), check out M's blog at www.detloff.blogspot.com


         Our family really feels at home at SAFB and being back in the midwest. Our neighbors have quickly become friends that we can borrow a cup of sugar from or depend on to watch the boys in a pinch. When the weather is pleasant on Fridays or Saturdays we host a bonfire in our driveway. All summer we had a parade of neighbor kids coming through our home to play with the boys. All three boys enjoy their elementary school classes with good friends they have made. M is in the 5th grade, finishing his Webelo 2 requirements, a member of the safety patrol and also joined band this year learning how to play the saxophone. J is a 4th grader and has once again been named as a student of the month for the second year and is learning how to play the recorder. Our tenured preschooler, N, is enjoying his second year at the same school as his brothers and has even started reading on his own. M is enjoying helping out at the school occasionally and walking with friends in the neighborhood when the weather permits.          


I'm still flying Learjets for the Air Force. 

We wish you and yours a Happy Holidays and all the best for 2014.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas...



I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. December seemed to have flown by and I have lost days somewhere in there with all the hustle and bustle of events that seemed to get packed in.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Where Are You From?



So it seemed like all my friends on Facebook were linking up to this quiz on the New York Times web page. After over 11 years of moving around (Texas, Ohio, New Jersey, California, and now Illinois) I was wondering where I would land on the spectrum. I know a lot of people upon first meeting me wonder where I am originally from...well until I say something that has an "O" in it....then they have a handful of phrases they just can't wait to hear me say! Sure you betcha, I can do dat for youse guys...Is usually my response.





But I guess I am a MN girl at heart.

Even though I recognized a lot of the other answers to the questions I went with my gut, and apparently   22 years in Minnesota still hasn't been beat out of me these past 11 years. I have really enjoyed living all over the country and having friends from different regions that have distinct accents and learning all the different terms or slang for items different then what I grew up with. J may even joke that I must have spent a lot of time with certain friends during the day...suddenly I sound like I am from Mississippi and start "fixin'" to do something and calling everyone sweetie y'all.

Go ahead and see what you come up with. Come back and share. Is it different then what you expected?




Friday, December 20, 2013

Almost Christmas

 Seasons Greetings from the boys. Christmas is almost here and we have been busy with parties, shopping, decorating, and soon baking. Today just so happens to be the boys last day of school, Christmas break starts in 20 minutes or so. It was a great day for them. J is his classes student of the month and I was able to go and watch the presentation (and watch him gobble down two sugar coated donuts) while his two teachers rave about what a great student and fun boy to have in the classroom. M was super excited to have french toast sticks for lunch (yup the little things with him) and N didn't have to change out of his pj's since it was pajama day and movie day in prek and he was thrilled to show everyone his Yoda slippers.


Friday, December 13, 2013

MN Thanksgiving


In most squadrons that J has been in they do a lottery for the leave over the holiday season. In the past when we lived so far away from MN we never really put in for the holiday leave, 5-7 days just simply wasn't enough to drive to one set of parents and then to the other set and then drive back to where we were living. What kind of vacation is that anyway? Living much closer now we decided to sign up for the Thanksgiving break, and got 7 whole days for traveling and visiting family. We managed to see all of our immediate family members and had a wonderful time. On J's side we took the opportunity to spend some time with the matriarchs of the Detloffs and have also snap some pictures...they are a little blurry, my choice of lens and the timer option didn't work out they way I wanted.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Halloween Flashback

I just realized I never posted about our Halloween...you would be missing out if I didn't post about it! The older two boys decided they wanted to think a little outside the box (or bag you could say) this year and M wanted to be Legolas and J wanted to be Robin Hood. After doing some research I found that making their costumes would assure that the boys would be happy. Thankfully JoAnnes had an awesome sale going on for patterns and material so off I went with my ideas and came home with bags full of fun.


I got to work cutting out patterns and material...boy I wish I had a separate craft room!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Zipping Through the Fall Season

So this fall on one of those long 4 day weekends the boys had we decided to do something extra fun. Originally we were going to spend one day at Six Flags with friends, drive to a camp ground and camp, hit up one of the local caves and hike around, camp another night and then off to Zipline in another part of the state. However, with a monster head cold that I ended up with we decided to downsize the plan a bit...which was good because a pretty nasty storm came through and it would not have been very fun. So we streamlined it with a day at Six Flags, coming home, and then driving out to Zipline and Eco Zipline Tours in Missouri.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Race Day, Getting Dirty


 Back in September a group of the spouses in J's squadron decided it would be fun to put some of all our running to a challenge. So after a little research and discussion we decided to try out a 5K Dirty Girl sponsored race about an hour away.
 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

First Day...3 Months Late

Ok, I know I am a little late getting these up, but posting all those from the Europe trip took longer then I originally intended. It was worth it though, remembering what we did and saw...it just took a lot of time sorting, posting and adding words.


So 3 months ago the boys had their first day of school, August 12 a little early...but this momma was ready for it! Love my boys, but I was done fighting them over keeping their brains active and it was time for more structured learning.


N-Prek, J-4th, and M-5th

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 10, 11 and 12: The Final 3 days


After a quick trip on the train from Rome to Naples we were fortunate enough to meet up with our good friends from the past couple of assignments. They were kind enough to play tour guides and opened their house up to us. The boys may have been a little upset that we were staying with them and their wonderful kiddos...the kids that they miss dearly. They may have forgiven us a little when we were able to Face Time with them and also hooked them up with an instagram account to share photos and videos back and forth.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 9: All Roads Lead to Rome

So after a restful night sleep at the hotel, we woke up the next morning had our complimentary breakfast on the terrace top over looking the city and formed a game plan for the day. There was another American couple doing the same...using the Rick Steves' guide as well...everywhere you turn you see someone with that book!


We decided to start off with one of the walks on the Rick Steves' play lists (not sure which since in order to clear up space on the phone I deleted all the tours and we also gave our Italy book to our good friends who played host to us when we were in Naples). But I do know that we started at the Spanish Steps and walked past Palazzo Senatorio (Rome's City Hall), and various other parks and monuments to various leaders of Rome. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 8: Vatican City

After spending the day in Florence, we woke up and once again found ourselves repacking the suitcases and making our way back to the train station. We bought two tickets, found some lunch and hopped onto the train to Roma, thats Rome to all of you non-Italian speakers. Over our trip we spent a lot of time on trains and spent the extra money to take the express trains over the local service trains that stop at almost every small town along the way, with limited time we decided that time out weighed the cost of a couple upgrades.


When traveling to Italy in particular you have to do a little research on what days and times the attractions are actually open to the public; some places close mid afternoon, some places are closed on Mondays. We knew we had to get to Rome as early as possible to drop off our bags and hike over to Vatican City, if we didn't get tickets before 4 we wouldn't get to go in at all while there since it was scheduled to be closed the following day.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 7: Lean on in to see Italy

So after moving to a hotel closer to the Paris Orly Airport, we slept for a couple of hours in a huge room with a nonfunctioning air conditioning unit....at least we got Hilton points I guess. At 4am we were hitting the shuttle (while others were checking in for the night), and making our way to check into  our Easy Jet flight to Pisa, Italy. For those that haven't traveled to Europe beware of their super stingy luggage restrictions, we planned ahead and had gotten smaller carry-ons (which you are only allowed ONE ITEM) and paid for one checked bag. After boarding and taking off it was a quick flight to our destination, we passed through customs quickly, swapped out our SIM card on the pay as you go phone we bought in London and flagged down a cabbie to take us on a quick tour.


For thirty quick minutes we had the taxi driver take us to the touristy part of town, he zipped around pointing and talking in broken English...mostly Italian...at buildings and other points of interest in Pisa.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Paris Day 6: Put on Your Walking Shoes Once More

On day six of our vacation we put on our walking shoes and took to the streets of Paris and saw as many sights as we could pack into the day. We checked out of the hotel, but as with many hotels you can store your luggage for the day so you can still tour the sights. Many of the museums and points of interest will have bag checks, but with all the metro rides and miles walking it was faster keeping our bags at our hotel. Since we were staying in the Bastille neighborhood we past by this tower many times a day marking the Place de la Bastille. The Colonne de Juillet (July Column) marks the spot of Bastille, a fortress (built to protect France from England during the Hundred Years' War) later turned prison. The Bastille was home to more then just the French, but also was a headquarters of sort for other conquering countries of the time including England and Burgundy. Originally other monuments were to be erected at this square as early as 1792, but with the constant changes and revolutions the final monument wasn't completed until 1840.


We turned to Rick Steves once more and his downloadable app for the iPhone and listened to the many city walks for Paris in order to see the sights on our last day. We started with doing the Marais Walk right at Place de la Bastille. We enjoyed the architecture of the buildings, the unique shops, and watching the people of the streets go about their daily lives. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

European Travels: Day 5 Eiffel Tower and Versailles

On day 5 we made big plans to knock out two big attractions, the Eiffel Tower and taking the train out to the town of Versailles and touring the sprawling Ch√Ęteau that was home to the French Monarch. We may have worn our shoes out with all the miles we put on that day, but it was well worth the venture outside the city to see such a beautiful and historic landmark.

Once again we made sure to follow Rick Steves' suggestion in his book about getting to the Eiffel Tower early to avoid the long lines. I think regardless of what time you get to the park, there will be a line, just make sure to grab a coffee and a pastry while you wait.