Thursday, July 31, 2008

Attitude Anyone?

Let me start with this quote:

"We must take our troubles to the Lord, but we must do more than that; we must leave them there." Hannah Whitall Smith

I think I'm in need of an attitude adjustment. Remember a few blogs ago how I talked of a dark cloud looming over my head? It's nothing big. It's ALL the little insignificant things that seem to take a sour turn. I know, and am thankful for my 3 healthy kids, a loving husband, a nice house to live in and car to drive, and I'm getting to travel to amazing places.... I don't go hungry, nor have to deal with many of the problems that so many parents do. I get to stay home with my kids, not wake up and run off to work everyday. I have one on one time with them, EVERY day. Though... I still manage to have a bad attitude. Here lately, it has been blossoming and I've got to get a grip before my kids begin to mirror me.

Here's an example of today.... you'll see what I mean. I can take a day like this here and there, but it seems to be happening constantly. My mother in law got to see a glimpse while she was here... It's constant and I'm about to lose it.

The kids guitar hero breaks this morning. Not a big deal, they can live without it, but they spent their joint - hard earned chore money for this thing. They've only had it a little over a month. (We've already ordered a part to fix it, we hope.) Then, I get a phone call from the youth center. The boys' basketball camp next week has been canceled. Again, not a big deal. But, this is the 2nd camp canceled and Landen was looking forward to both of them. There's not much to do here in the summer - so he's been counting down the days until camp. He was broken hearted.

Let's go bowling, I decide. Nope. We get there and its league play. AGAIN. This is the 3rd time we have gone and been told no lanes were open. The 3rd time the kids were disappointed. We get there at 4:30 and I'm told at 5:00 every lane except 2 of them will be closed. I ask, very nicely, if we can put our names on the list for 1 of the 2 lanes? We hang around for an hour. One hour... the kids play video games and we eat. 5:00 comes and goes... nobody is there. The lanes are all still open. At 5:30, the lady tells me, "oh... there open now if you want to play. The people that had them reserved only needed 2 lanes!" This is after the last visit we went and were told to come back 3 hours later, only to come back and it took an extra 1 hour to clean the lanes which she failed to tell me. Anyway, we bowl... and I chew off all my fingernails because I'm angry. Did I mention our lane kept breaking and resetting during the middle of the game?

We leave bowling... I ask the kids, "Who wants to get a milkshake on the way home?" We head to Burger King and place our order, "Sorry, we're out of milkshake mix!" !*&%$#! Breathe, Jolee Breathe. I reply thank you, only now I'm sandwiched in between 4 cars and I can't get out. We wait and wait and wait... for no milkshake. Homeward bound we go.... I'll take the new back gate out which is so close to our house. It's locked, it closed at 6:00pm. I knew that, I just forgot. Again, not a biggie, but you can only drive about 20 mph on base and we had to go ALL the way back to the other side and triple back again to our house without a milkshake in hand.

I'm sure there are things I left out. Like we have our school supply list, yet can't get them at the BX. And we had our GPS navigation system and Matt's ipod stolen out of our car two nights ago. Oh, and Matt's leaving for 6 weeks. We went to the shoppette yesterday to get an icee (isn't our life exciting?) and the icee machine is empty. Isn't life a peach sometimes?

So, I'm not used to living in such a rural area. I'm not used to having to entertain myself day in and day out. I get that I need family time and cherish it, but I'm personally tired of it right now. I'm ready for school to start. The kids are ready for school to start. I want to go to Target. I'm trying to hang in there, to have a good attitude, but its diminishing....

Don't get the wrong idea. I love my husband, I love my kids and I know I'm here for a reason. I've just got to find what it is as I'm here for 2 more years. I know that nothing MAJOR is wrong, it could be so much worse. I really have no business complaining at all.

It'll come. Tomorrow will be a brighter day, right?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Koln Zoo

Matt made it back from the states on Saturday. It felt like he had been gone a lifetime and it had only been one week. I am certainly dreading the 6 week TDY he has coming up. Anyway, back to the reason for the post. Oh, he bought me a new camera. :-)

The day was pretty and we are running out of summer time as a family with all Matt's travels. So, over the weekend we headed to the Koln Zoo. The weather was gorgeous and we even got a little warm! The zoo was nice and very similar to what we are used to. Some of the animals were a little different than what we are used to seeing, but for the most part it was the same. It was FULL of monkeys which the kids enjoyed, had a huge new indoor/outdoor elephant park, and a nice aquarium. There weren't flowers everywhere, which I expected but it was very clean and neat.

I really got a kick out of Landen. He had his tickle box turned on with the various animal "anatomy" if you know what I mean. I've never seen him be so interested in this, which in turn got mine and Matt's tickle box. He enjoyed informing us of which animals were male. I guess my baby is growing up.

After the zoo, we headed toward the gondolas for a quick ride across the Rhine River. I don't like these things and have a fear of heights the older I get. The idea of hanging high over a river and highway with only a wire above me doesn't exactly excite me these days. The last time I went up in the Arch in St. Louis, I vowed never to do that again. As we took off, my stomach was in knots but I relaxed more about the 1/2 way turning point and began to enjoy it. It was very smoggy, but we could see the breathtaking Dom cathedral from a different angle than we saw the prior time we went.

Just as the gondola was about to turn around for our return trip, Landen looked down and once again got another eye full. People this time. Yes, he says "those people are naked!!" Matt and I look down and sure enough, we are hovering over a spa. Europeans are very free and yes, there were naked people. Men and Women. Nice for the young ones to see, huh? Who puts a spa underneath a gondola?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

R.I.P Tutti

Tutti = pacifier in our house. She named it this after being around a little girl who lived down the street who called hers tutti. I later found out that this is the Finnish word for pacifier. Her grandmother is Finnish.

So, back to tutti. I've been saying it for months now, but I actually went through with it today. Jordyn is VERY attached to these soothers sent from heaven. They are an answer to a few minutes of calmness in the house for a lot of babies. I've dreaded this day from the time I let her have them, but I convinced Matt it would be worth it for the time we have WITH it. Now, I'm asking myself was it really worth it?? I still say yes. Remind me of this tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

I had been trying to cut back on the day usage of Tutti and done quite well only giving it to her at night. Then, we had a round of sickness and I had a bad day and before I knew it she had them 24/7 again because I caved. I did some research online, knowing I have to rid her of it soon and made the decision to cut tutti. I let her have her last nap with it today, and as she slept I tried to find all of them in the house and snipped the top off. The boys thought it was a funny game, that is until we had to share them with Jordyn.

She did well this afternoon, but began asking for them as usual. I finally let Landen give the new broken tutti to her outside as we were all lounging on the trampoline. I had already scolded the boys for laughing at this game and warned them she would be sad. Sure enough, she was not pleased. She took a look and then tried her best to cram it into her mouth for a suck. She finally got mad and threw it and began to cry. This went on for just a little bit as I assured her it would be ok. While still on the trampoline, I look over at my boys and they both have tears streaming from their eyes. They do have a heart, after all! In turn, I shed a few tears myself and by this point Jordyn was laughing and jumping again.

I'm not really sure who we're having to break of tutti. Jordyn or me? I know the next few days will be tough so keep us in your prayers. I feel like I'm losing my baby so fast. I know she's my last so I'm taking everything to heart. I think I have too much time on my hands.

It's gonna be a long night tonight, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Turner Family

Just wanted to share a few cute pictures of my family enjoying a vacation at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. I wish I could be there with them. Landen was born in Charleston and I plan to take him back there one day. My parents, brother and his family, and sister are in the pictures. Thanks for sharing them, Shannon.

I still haven't forgotten about the rest of the Rowland pictures. I'll come back to them.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Matthew 6:33-34

33 "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." 34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

I'm a worrier. Are you?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ahhh.... Paris!

So, onto Paris. This was mine and Matt's 3rd trip to Paris, though all have been "quick" trips. We were fortunate enough to spend a full day with his family seeing the sights.

We started off with a bang. I won't go into a lot of details, but you know how all those little things that are no big deal add up to become a big thing? That's how we all felt by the time we made it to the Eiffel Tower. I have this cloud hanging over me that gives me the unique ability to make the WRONG choice on just about everything. Keep in mind this was after a few other mishaps before we made it into Paris. Let me give you an example... Matt asks me which station I think we should get off of the train on to reach our destination, as there are a few different choices. I chose the one I thought would give us the best view and picture taking area for the tower. Guess what? We got on the subway, and go a few stops.... then they make us ALL get off because the rail is down and having work done on it. They then transport us by bus, thankfully this nice man could tell we were lost and helped us. The bus was CROWDED, we were standing and my arm was about to break from holding Jordyn. We eventually got to the next subway station, bought new tickets and got on for the rest of the way. Ahhh.. finally, we made it. We hop off the subway and round the corner to the glorious Eiffel Tower. Low and behold there are these stands in the way and the stairs are blocked so we can't even do what we intended!!! Anyway, I could give you numerous examples of this, but I won't digress anymore. If Matt had made the decision it would all have been hunky doory ...

So, the Eiffel Tower. The lines were long, but Steve and the boys got to climb the million steps to the top. The wait actually went fairly quickly, and Jordyn was having fun chasing the birds while Norma was doing some souvenir shopping. After they got down, we headed to the boats. With so many of us, we thought this would be an excellent way to "see" Paris without being on foot. Guess again. Wrong decision! Whew... it was very HOT and took a long time at all the stops. The main disappointment was that you really could not see Paris the way we had hoped. The walls were just too high. The kids didn't care though, they entertained themselves with fun games and got to watch all the airplanes over head. We're not sure what they were practicing for, but it was like our own personal airshow above as the Paris sights rolled by us.

Off the boat we go, for a quick stroll through the Champs Elysees. Oh. Did I mention that all we had eaten were a French Crepe (some of us) and the kids had all shared a couple of "hot dogs" with a drink. So much for our vision of eating at a little bistro somewhere, ha! One day, I want to do that. Terri, maybe when you come. The bathrooms presented to be a problem as well, but we eventually found one along with a stand selling bananas and were on our way. We were all tired, but I tell you what... the kids were troopers! Everyone was still in a good mood, even though we were all pretty exhausted by this point. We stopped for a few souvenirs and a quick picture of the Arc De Triomphe then headed back to the hotel.

The kids were dying to swim and we were all starving. Still no real food to speak of. I had a few granola bars, crackers and pop tarts in my room and that was dinner for everyone. Again. We had to get downstairs before the pool closed! My kids don't get to swim here because of the weather, so they were pumped about getting to swim with their cousins. Ahh... swimming was fun and then everyone was off to sleep.

We had a relaxing morning the next morning. The kids swam again and then we headed to Downtown Disney for a REAL meal!! We ate at the Rainforest Cafe and everybody licked their plates clean. It was delicious! Then again, we were hungry by this point. Can you tell? We looked at the shops a little and were headed on our way back home.

I can't stress enough how good the kids were with all that traveling. It was incredible, and all in all it was a fun day in Paris. I know I concentrated on all the negatives, but I just wanted you to have a good dose of our obstacles. We made fantastic memories together that will last a lifetime. Thanks Nana, Pops and Uncle Steve for baring with our family of 5. I'm sure they wished they could leave us behind at times because it would have been much easier for them:)

I still have lots of pictures from our whereabouts around the house that I'll post as well. Check back again for more stories of our travels.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In Memory Of....Opie E. Chick

We had several adventures while the Rowlands were here, so I want to make sure I cover them all. It will take me a few posts to get through the million pictures we got! I hope you like slide shows.

They arrived on Sunday, and we headed out for Normandy on Tuesday morning. As most of you know, Norma's father is buried there. She was just a young toddler when he was killed on July 30, 1944 in WWII. Norma herself did not get to visit his grave until a year ago when she and Jim took a trip over here. This was her second time to get to visit. Who would have dreamed that one day she would get to take her entire family there. It was truely a special moment for all of us and I'm so happy we got the opportunity to go together.

We headed out in the pouring rain and it rained almost the entire way. Every once in a while we would see blue sky, then clouds would come rolling back in and it would pour. I prayed the whole way, and so did Norma, that it would stop when we got there so that we could enjoy the moment. God answered our prayer and the weather held out! We were so thankful.

When we arrived, we checked in and headed out with the tour guide. We didn't get to watch the movies they provided for fear of the weather worsening. We took it while we had our chance. The tour guide was very nice and gave us a lot of good information about what they know of that day he died. Jordyn was a little rambunctious so I had to take her exploring while they listened. I have it on video, but have yet to watch it. I did hear him say it was the deadliest day for his unit and he was killed near St. Lo. I also learned the Normandy is the second most visited American Cemetery, after Arlington. I also recall him saying that it took a few years for the bodies to be moved to the cemetery, therefore there is no alphabetical order to the burials. They are buried as their bodies were transported in from where they were originally laid to rest. The families back home had the choice of whether to leave their loved ones buried in France, or have them shipped back to America for burial. I have to put myself in Mrs. Chick's position and wonder what a hard choice that must have been. I'm sure she did what he would have wanted, even if it was more difficult for her.

After we snapped our pictures we headed down toward the beach. It was just gorgeous and the tide was coming in. The walk down was a lengthy walk, but worth it. The boys had fun finding rocks to bring home in remembrance. We all made the walk back up and since the weather was still holding out, we headed over to the bunkers. The boys thought it was there own personal playground and loved climbing in and out of them. We got some cute pictures of them there as well. However, this is when I realized my camera had broken after dropping it in the sand. Thank goodness we still had Norma's!

Norma - if I got any of this information wrong, let me know so I can correct it.

We spent about 3 - 4 hours at the cemetery and then headed on out to our next destination. We had a full day of driving there, about 6+ hours and no food in our bellies to speak of. Ahhh... what we would have given for a McDonald's on the side of the road. Fast food is just hard to come by in Europe, so after several side roads looking for SOMETHING to eat, we opted for a delicious sandwich from the gas station. Yummm.... Eventually, we made the 2 1/2 hour trip back to the hotel we were staying at in EuroDisney. It was about 10pm by the time we got there and we were all tired. The kids were being troopers and didn't complain the entire day.... even considering we never fed them a "meal."

The next stop? Paris. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 14, 2008

And Just Like That...

...they're gone. Time flies when you're having fun. We left them at the airport this morning and they're on a plane as I type. We'll miss you!! I'll post about our travels as soon as we get everyone back to normal. We said our goodbye's at the airport with Jordyn vomiting everywhere :-) Hey, at least it didn't happen in Paris. Let's pray they make it back safely before they all get sick.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sneak Peek

We're back from Normandy and Paris. Here's a sneak peek. I'll do a more thorough post in a few days, but we had a wonderful time and the kids were incredibly good. Normandy was such a special experience for us all. The weather held out for us and we were all thankful for that! My camera broke after I dropped it in the sand, so I'll have to get the pictures from Paris off of Norma's camera. I'll post several more next week.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cute Cousins

They made the trip without any problems and Jordyn is officially outnumbered by boys. Now, let the fun begin.... I wonder how long it will be until someone gets hurt or begins fighting. Oh wait, its already happened. But, not to a child. Pops is fine, don't worry. Hopefully that terrible jet lag will wear off sometime tomorrow.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July Fun

I put together a quick slideshow of our 4th of July. I think its pretty self explanatory. The day was sunny and beautiful and the kids had a good time. We worked in the yard and prepared the house for upcoming company. We went to the AFB last night, considering that's about the only place we were gonna see any fireworks! The show was great, even though we had to wait until about 10:45pm for them to go off. It just doesn't get dark here early enough. It's dark about 11:00pm right now and light by 4:30am. Thank goodness we have rolonda's on all the windows.

My in-laws, brother in law and nephews are going to be here tomorrow morning. We're so excited to see all of them. I'll have lots of new pictures coming up soon as you know we'll be doing lots of sightseeing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Derek!

I don't talk about my big brother all that much, so I thought I would tribute a post especially to him. Happy Birthday, Derek!

Growing up, Derek and I didn't have much in common and weren't the closest of siblings. He was all boy, into a little trouble at times and I was the pesky little goody tooshoo's sister. His idea of fun was to pick on me, by talking my little sister into helping him. Don't get me wrong, we always loved each other, but as we grew older something changed.

We both got married so we had that in common. Matt and I lived in SC and before we knew it, my brother was living in NC. I was SO happy to have some family within driving distance! We drove to visit each other on occasion, and our dogs were good buddies. Then, we started having kids and moved away but that was all we needed to stay a part of each other. Every since then, we have talked on the phone and spent time with each others families, when possible. He was a lot of help to me at times, when we were living in Little Rock and I really miss him and his family. We didn't see each other constantly, but I loved knowing he was a short 30 minute drive through Little Rock if I needed anything or just wanted to spend some time with him.

Derek and Shannon are truly, two of the most generous people I know. Yes, as most of you know Shannon is a radiologist so they are able to be generous. However, they were generous BEFORE she starting making any money. They both have good hearts and have always tried to help out when they could. I remember my brother handing my a $100 at my wedding reception and told me to "Eat some place good tonight." Of course, they had already given me a very generous wedding present at a shower. That was when they were living in a small apartment and Shannon was still in medical school. Not to mention, they got a speeding ticket on they way down to my wedding rehearsal and I never even knew until a few years later.

Derek's always a great hosts and LOVES to cook. He's an excellent one at that, I might add and I wish he was my own personal chef. My whole family enjoys going to Derek and Shannon's for all the good food!!! He's a stay at home dad now, with two children whom I adore. I love that he teaches in VBS and takes them to their various events. What a good daddy.

I know I don't tell you often, but I love you big brother!!! Happy Birthday.

Oh, and I'm ashamed to say I was trying to figure out how old he was and I couldn't remember how old I was. So yes, I had to calculate from my birthdate to figure my age so I could figure his. I know, I'm getting old. He's 38 and I'm 33. I think.

The picture of him is with Jordyn when she was just a tiny little thing.