Sunday, May 23, 2010

West Point Graduation

Brock and I got the opportunity to experience an event yesterday that I am so proud to have attended.

A friend of ours, our Best Man in fact, John, was offered tickets to the West Point Graduation. President Obama was going to be giving the commencement speech. So he contacted us and our other good friends, Kate and Evan, to join he and his wife, Eileen. So we asked the Durhams if they could watch Leda until Sat night and we headed north on Friday night.

Due to the large number of people who were going to be descending upon the small town of Highland Falls and the security due to the President's attendance, we needed to arrive in town early...this meant leaving the house by 5:15. AM. In the morning. So we got up REALLY early and headed on over. John's plan was to park at his place of business (John runs the West Point Tour company in the town of Highland Falls), we would have a bit of breakfast at the local greasy spoon (oh, and it was greasy, and GOOD!) and then take a nice walk up to the stadium. And I mean UP to the stadium.

It was a nice walk, we got to see the campus (part of the campus) and we made our way to the Stadium (let me say, West Point has a beautiful campus and a wonderful practice facility! Wow!) We were in our seats by 7:10! We got to watch the non-graduating Cadets file in and take their seats in the section next to us. And the sun rise over the Hudson Valley. And read the news paper. And have some coffee. See, the ceremony wasn't set to start until 10AM!

It was a nice morning. The weather was beautiful and we had wonderful company. And we got to watch all the men (and women) in uniform come on in!

At 9:30 the graduating class, all 1,002 of them, began to march into the stadium. What a sight. Shortly after that, the professors and instructors arrived and then the special guests arrived. Well, except for the President. He was just flying in over the Hudson as the Cadets were marching in.

About 10, the President's motorcade arrived. There was about a 10-15 minute wait, during which, the first 5-7 minutes, the stadium was the quietest I've ever heard a stadium be! And then the calls from the stands to the Cadets on the field started. It was quite comical! Then the President was announced, he came in and was seated. The Ceremony began.

The beginning of the ceremony was fairly quick...National Anthem was played, invocation was given, Opening remarks by the Superintendent and then the President gave his speech. It was a great commencement speech which honored the Cadets on the field. We were happy to learn (and us girls, very proud!) that the two valedictorians of the class were women.

The President handed out degrees to the Honor graduates and stayed on the podium to shake every hand of every graduating Cadet. It was quite a site to watch 1,002 Cadets receive their degrees. After each and everyone was called, we were proud to witness the commissioning of the Cadets. It was quite an honor.

Early on in the ceremony it had occurred to me that I wasn't just watching a college graduation...this ceremony was different from my graduation from college in that these students were not just entering their adult life to go off and become lawyers, doctors, business people. These men and women were more than likely going off to fight in the war. It was quite sobering. And made me even more proud to have been able to attend. It was an honor.

After the commissioning, the Cadets were dismissed, at which time, the Hat Toss happened. Now, I knew about this, it's similar to the tossing of the graduation cap at other colleges and high schools. What I did not know is that in this tradition, the Cadet, who no longer needs the hat, as he/she is no longer a Cadet, will place a note, an address, maybe even money, into his/her hat. The school invites children between the ages of 6 and 10 to come onto the field at the time of the hat toss. And when the hats are tossed, the children are encouraged to go get a hat. They get to keep the hat and become pen pals with the Cadet. What an awesome idea. It was a fun tradition to watch!



It was an awesome day. So happy I got to experience it.

More pictures here!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cherry Blossoms

I have been thinking of our neighbor Mrs. Jean this week, mainly because the cherry tree is blossoming and she loved the cherry tree that stands between our two homes. And the flowers are blooming and Jean had a lovely garden.

Her daughter reminded me that it has been a year ago this week that she passed. I am grateful that my memories of her are associated with Spring and rebirth. She was such a lovely lady who deserves to be remembered with joy.

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms

And when the cherries are ripe, we will pick some of them (and leave some for the birds) and make something delicious to eat and invite Mr. George over to join us!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

For Grandma

Just for Grandma...pictures of Leda in her new outfit she got for Easter...oh and some funny sunglasses she got for Halloween!



She was just so darn cute in the glasses!



Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Monday

What a weekend. It was absolutely gorgeous.

Saturday we attended our annual Easter Egg hunt and dinner at the Shier's...a large group of friends and kids and good food and just an awesome time. The kids just enjoyed the heck out of the hunt!

Easter Egg Hunters

Leda

Later in the evening, as we sat around the table chatting, Paige came in to tell me that Leda kissed Nathan! Oh really, I said. So I informed Nathan's dad Jim of this little development and proceeded to ask Leda "Where did you kiss Nathan," wondering if it was on the lips or on the cheek. Leda proceeded to walk me out to the patio and pointed to a chair on which Nathan was sitting, "Right there, Mommy." Right, the physical location of the kiss, not the body part that was kissed!

Turns out she had kissed Nathan on the lips. Nathan was looking pretty proud of himself. It proceeded to happen three more times, each time either Paige or Leda let me know about it! Then Leda came up to me and told me she had a secret to tell me..."Mommy, I want Nathan to be my boyfriend, don't tell any other adults!" To which the adults around me and I chuckled pretty loudly about! Very, very cute.

I'm locking her up! ;-)

Sunday was another beautiful day. Spent the entire day outside, after we found out what the Easter Bunny brought (lots of hard-boiled eggs, candy and some Littlest Pet Shop, Polly Pockets and Alice in Wonderland DVD for Leda!)

Easter 2010

We cleaned off the patio, started to prepare the garden, got the fountains installed and running. I celebrated by sitting outside reading a book.

I'm not sure if I overdosed on Vitamin D, but around 4 or so I started getting cold and hot and feeling very achy all over. Ended up with a low grade fever which put me in bed after dinner. Not sure what that was all about because I feel good this morning (other than being tired!)

So, it's back to school for Leda and back to work for me. We are going to be going to the beach next weekend, so this week is going to be VERY long! ;-)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Underwater

That's what I feel like I am...underwater! I was doing well until Monday afternoon and even a little on Tuesday but then the stuff hit the fan...

Work is a bit busy at the moment (not totally a bad thing, just making me crazy!) so I haven't had much of a chance to take pictures or update the blog or even enjoy the sun that made a reappearance yesterday after several days missing!

I'm hoping that after the weekend, things will be a little more normal, at least for a little while. I unfortunately have to work on Saturday, but hopefully can go enjoy the egg hunt on Saturday afternoon and a nice dinner with friends!

I'm really looking forward to a weekend at the shore house with the Durham's next week! I don't even care that we are doing work around the house! ;-)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rainy Spring Days

...don't inspire for good pictures. That and a very busy two days of work make me cranky and not interested in blogging. So, no picture taken today...

Instead, have I told you how much my kid loves sushi? And not that fake sushi roll stuff her mother eats either...nope, she likes the real stuff. On our way home from Grandpa's house a few weeks back, we stopped at our local Wegman's to see what we could find for dinner. They actually have a sushi bar there...a real working sushi bar with real sushi chefs who will make it while you wait! So we stopped there and Leda pointed out what she wanted...salmon sushi - you know, with the big piece of salmon lying on the pod of rice? Yep, and a salmon roll along with it. That's what she wanted.

So we got that home and she dug in...except she really didn't care to eat the rice along with the salmon, just the salmon. Yes, she is her father's daughter!

Eating Sushi

Eating Sushi

Monday, March 29, 2010

Girls Only Weekend

With Brock off playing with race cars this weekend, it was just me and Leda. We had a few things planned for the weekend, to keep us busy. First off was getting dinner on Friday night and since I had to work on Friday and didn't feel like figuring out what to have for dinner, we headed off for dinner at McDonald's. Yes, bad mother that I am, I fed the kid fast food! Good thing it's always treated as a special treat and doesn't happen very often!

We got home and made popcorn and sat down to watch Where the Wild Things Are. We were really looking forward to seeing this movie as it is one of Leda's favorite books. It wasn't a bad movie, just depressing. Not as uplifting as I hoped. And both of us were in tears by the end. It is hard to comfort your kid when you are crying as well! [Spoiler ahead]

I tried to explain to Leda, who was almost as uncontrollably upset as she was when she watched Marley with us, that it was a happy ending, that Max got to go home to his Mommy. She was very upset that he left the Wild Things. I told her that he could go visit, I am sure that his Mommy would let him visit, thinking that might make her feel better. I added, that if she wanted to go visit the Wild Things, I would let her. She matter-of-fact told me, "Mommy, it's not for real, it's pretend." She had me there. And she was calm enough to go to sleep.

On Saturday we shopped. We straightened up and cleaned part of the house. We played in the backyard. We had a really nice day.



Knocking 'monkey balls' out of the sycamore tree - thank goodness she doesn't have allergies:




Saturday night we watched the Kid's Choice Awards on Nickelodeon. Leda really wanted to watch and really wanted iCarly to win best show (which it did). It was an interesting experience. My kid was so cute, dancing around to Rhianna and Justin Bieber, even though it was my worst fear realized - she's interested in the preteen music scene. Oh well, it could be worse, NSync could still be around!

She was jumping around and she all of a sudden said, "Mommy, watch this..." and she jumped up and put her legs out in front of her like she was going to land on her butt on a trampoline. Problem is, she was over the hard wood floor of the living room! She landed with a thud before I could stop her. There was crying, and there was complaining that her butt hurt - she probably bruised it pretty good. But luckily she's okay. Okay, I laughed. After I found that she was okay. 'Cause, well, it was kinda funny!

On Sunday we met up with Paige and Aunt Jennifer for some lunch and a visit to the nail salon. Leda's first pedicure! She was very cute and had a great time.

Paige and Leda

We came home to veg out in front of the TV to watch the new Free Willy movie with Bindi Irwin. Again, there was some crying at the end by both of us (okay, so I am a big fat sap!). Afterwards, made ourselves a nice little pasta dinner and had a fun banana and pudding parfait that I made for Leda.

All in all, a great weekend. Even with the chilly and overcast weather. We are looking forward to temps in the 70s next weekend for the Easter Egg hunt on Saturday!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Office Mates

These are my office mates:

Office Mates

I love the laughing Buddha. He makes me happy. I have these two sitting on my desk, just next to my computer. I think I was hoping they would make me happy while I am trying to fix some customer issues....sometimes it works, other times, not so much! ;-)

I have two other Buddhas sharing my office, big enough that they can't fit on my desk. I would love more. Like I said, they make me happy.

And who doesn't wanna be happy on a Friday! Awesome!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Recent Visitor

Day three of the take-a-picture-every-day and I've already Failed! Due to work, I haven't had a chance to take a picture yet today. Oh well. Best intentions. I could take a photo of my office, but I'd rather not see that picture, I spend enough time in my office!

So, instead, how about a picture of a recent visitor we had in our yard. This lady came for a visit the day before we got hit with our first 18 inches or so of snow in February. She was just sitting in the tree outside my office window so I grabbed the camera and went outside to grab a few photos. There were some nasty crows hounding her, they finally scared her off.

February Visitor

I am pretty sure she's been hanging around our neck of the woods for a few months, maybe even a year now. We catch sight of hawks every once in awhile, but you hear them more often than see them!

She was a beauty.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Picture Day!

Picture Day!

Today is picture day at school. Hopefully she smiles for the photographer. Because she was not smiling for me this morning.

She's wearing her Easter outfit for the picture. It's the dress she picked out all on her own. I wanted her to wear something else, a little more colorful than white and pink, but the skirt I bought her to wear is too big! I couldn't win! Had to let her wear the Easter outfit. She was thrilled (even though the look on her face doesn't portray that!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Taking Photos

I'm having a bit of writer's block. Bear with me!

I downloaded a bunch of photos from my camera and realized that I hadn't done that in over a month! Also, I didn't take any photos in January!

I've been bad about taking photos in the past year. I'm not sure why. I've tried to make a resolution (not for new years, just an every day resolution) to take a picture a day (at least) in the past and wasn't really good at keeping it! I'm renewing that today.

I think I am trying to get myself out of the winter funk that I tend to get into just about every winter...the weather is getting warmer, the sun is getting brighter (when it is out). I'm going to do my part to try and come out of hibernation and rejoin the world. I'll try to do that with words, but if words fail, hopefully a picture will do. And maybe that will get me updating the blog more regularly and taking more pictures!

So, Picture of the Day: Leda!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Publish or Perish

Leda is very into spelling things out on paper...she will ask you to spell something and she will write it out on paper.

Salt
Watch
Robot
Wood
Metal
Family
Mommy
Daddy

She will ask for the names of her friends, her cousins, her family members. We oblige either by spelling it out or writing it down on post-its.

She has drawn pictures and then wrote out 'Happy Birthday' or 'I love the family' or a description of the picture. She will write out things she sees on books, cereal boxes, TV.

She started doing this about three or so weeks ago. She can't seem to get enough words. She's gotten to the point where she knows some words now, she doesn't need to ask us to spell them.

Tonight, she made a 'magazine' that she is going to give to her Grandpa. Makes me wonder, with writers and magazine editors in her family, is this a sign of what she will become? She loves to tell stories with pictures and words. It's amazing.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Bucket List

Attending the Olympics is on my Bucket List. In fact, I would say it is at the very top. I would LOVE to go to an Olympic event (or two or three or as many as I can get tickets for!) I would LOVE to attend an Opening or Closing Ceremony. Part of me would be perfectly happy if I could just go to a city that is holding an Olympics and just hang out!

Leda watched the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics with us last month - she fell asleep half way through but she put in a good effort. Since most of the events were after her bedtime, she didn't really watch much the rest of the two weeks, except some highlights with me or on the news.

She saw the women's ice hockey team highlights and pointed and said, "Mommy, I want to do that." Just after were figure skating highlights which I pointed out to Leda suggesting that maybe she would like to do that, to which she responded, barely looking up, "No, I want to play hockey."

On the last day of the Olympics, we watched the USA vs. Canada Men's ice hockey final. Wow, what a game. I'm not a huge hockey fan, in fact, I know nothing of hockey except for when the puck goes in the net, it's a score! I'm thinking I can get used to watching hockey if my kid plays - not sure I'm going to be totally comfortable because, man, is it a violent sport! (okay, yes, so is football! At least football players aren't wearing knives on their feet and carrying big sticks!!)

I think we will be taking Leda to a hockey game this year - we'll start with the minor league Hershey Bears! We'll see how she handles it. Maybe in a few years we can graduate to a Flyers game or two!

If I'm lucky, I might make it to an Olympics - maybe to watch my kid play. That would be awesome!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Winter 2009-2010

Oh my what a winter this has been. We've received more snow this winter than any winter on record (that according to the record keeping people). In all honesty, it has felt like we have received more snow than any other place on earth! Okay, I have been known to exaggerate!

It all started the weekend before Christmas. We got about 18 inches or so that day. It was kinda awesome, because it was over the weekend and we got to play. And I went shopping on Sunday with 1 other person! It was pretty awesome. All that snow was pretty non-existent on Christmas, but it was nice to have the snow.

After that, little nuisance snows here and there. Nothing that accumulated or anything that needed to be shoveled. In fact, thought we pretty much dodged the bullet, which was kind of a bummer, as I really wanted it to snow good!

And then came February!

February 6th we got about 18 inches of snow. On a Saturday, so I got to play! When it snows during the week, working from home, I don't get the day off and I can't play in it. So a weekend snow fall is awesome. I just wish we had gotten more!! Yes, I wished we got more!

Then we got more! On February 9th and 10th we got snow! Another 19 inches of snow! I was bummed about it though, I really wanted to play in it, but had to work. And this one was a wet snow and it may have killed a few of my bushes around the house! It sure was pretty though!

And we got little bits of snow here and there until today and tomorrow, when we are to get about 4 inches more of snow but lots of possibly damaging winds.

I'm about sick of snow. Not only has the ground been white for about 3 weeks, we are watching the Winter Olympics and see nothing but snow, so it's been enough snow for me for a life time! And, apparently, this winter is not yet finished with us!

Although I've got a bit of a tug of war going on. I'm sick of snow, so I am happy we aren't getting the 10-16 inches of snow the weatherman suggested with this present system, but then I'm kinda pissed that we are only getting maybe 4 inches out of it. If we are gonna get snow, snow big! Make it worth it!

Here's to Spring. And getting done with the snowiest winter on record!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Artist-In-Residence

Leda has been very prolific artist the past year or so. It used to be that when she wanted something drawn on paper, or made with play doh, she made Brock and I do it - she would tell us what to draw, and we would draw it.

But since she started preschool last year, she's produced an abundance of art work. And not just what they make at school, she has used at least a ream of paper from my office to create her drawings or paintings.

There is not enough space on our refrigerator or on the walls of the kitchen or my office door or her bedroom door for all the artwork. And these include pages that she has ripped out of coloring books and colored. She has even made drawings for her friends and loves stuffing them in envelopes and asking us to put a stamp on it and mail it!

She is very creative. She has made drawings that describe everything she's done in a day - almost like story boards or comic books. I have kept just about everything she's drawn - I just don't have the space for it! But I can't get rid of it. It's something my child has made!

When she becomes famous for her art work, she can put all this early work on eBay and make TONS of money to take care of me with in my old age! ;-)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Blog Revisited

I've decided to publish my blog as a book (or series of books) for Leda to read when she is a little older. So I spent some time on Friday night 'slurping' my blog with Blurb and reviewing the first couple of months of posts.

The idea to publish the blog has been rolling around in this head of mine for awhile. I think Brock and I saw something on the news about it or something in the past couple of months. And then I registered Leda for Kindergarten last week and they handed me a questionnaire to fill out and return when Leda goes back for her testing for placement. Some of the questions asked when she first spoke, first walked, etc. I thought to myself, I'm going to have to go back and read through my blog to find out these things!

This is the only 'baby' book I really kept on Leda - except for the first few months when I actually did fill out the baby book I got for my shower! This was easier - I could put it down in my own words and share it with family and friends.

I got nostalgic for the blog. I realized there are many months missing from our lives with Leda since I basically stopped posting last summer. She's changed so much in such a short little while and I hope I can remember without written documentation!

I think Facebook and Twitter have made me lazy - I only have a few characters or must make my status short. I can't describe things the way I can in a blog post. So I am thinking that it is time to revisit the blog. Start writing again. Besides, if I do say so myself (and considering I am the only one person reading this anyway!), I think I am pretty witty once in awhile! ;-)

So, here's to picking up not exactly where I left off. We'll see where it takes us!

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