Our family had a fun, although rather subdued, holiday season. Dave had a pretty major surgery Thanksgiving week — a procedure called a “microvascular decompression” — and he’s been home recovering with the family for the month of December. Because of that, we kept our social calendar pretty empty: we didn’t have our traditional holiday open house for the first time since 2008 (when I was TDY for much of December), and we didn’t go to any of the holiday parties to which we were invited…except for the Boy Scout party for the kids. That one was definitely our speed.

Dave’s parents visited for a week right after Dave came home from the hospital. By this point Dave wasn’t able to do much, so his parents enjoyed a relaxing week.

For this new year, I’ve taken the advice of a fellow GeekMom writer and tried to come up with a single word to direct my efforts. My word for 2017 will be “Return”. “Return” to work (hopefully), “Return” to writing (for this blog and for GeekMom), and “Return” to my exercise habits that I’ve allowed to falter in 2016. More »

02. August 2016 · Comments Off on A Love Letter to My Local Library · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
Image credit: P. Vollmer

This was my teen son’s first library book in about 5 years. Image credit: P. Vollmer

A version of this post originally appeared on GeekDad.com in May 2016.

As you know, we’ve gotten around quite a bit. I am on my 8th home since graduating from college, and our sons are now on their 5th home. Each move brings new discoveries. With each new community we learn about our local schools, local churches, local grocery stores (I miss you, Publix!), and local health care capabilities. One of those things we explore at each location is our local library. More »

24. August 2015 · Comments Off on Utah Discoveries 11: Alta Ski Area · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , , ,
This was a shot I took in between snow showers at the top of the one of the numerous mountain peaks at Alta Ski Area.

This was a shot I took in between snow showers at the top of the one of the numerous mountain peaks at Alta Ski Area: Sugarloaf Peak (just over 11,000′). Note how much snow there was here compared to at Park City 48 hours prior, just one canyon south.

For our last day in Utah, we decided to make the trek over to Alta Ski Area, which is one canyon south of Park City. It seems so simple, but in reality, what we had to do was take a route that was a 270 degree loop that was ~40 miles to visit a resort only 10 miles away from our condo. It was about a one hour drive.

Please note that Alta Ski Area is a ski only resort. Snowboards are not allowed. I know that for many families this might be a show-stopper.

We are very happy that we elected to visit Alta during our Utah trip. It was some of the best skiing we’d ever experienced. We weren’t sure about making the trip over to the next canyon, for fear of being disappointed. More »

21. December 2014 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 43: Ski Copper (Not Cooper) · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
My boys on the ski lift!

My boys on the ski lift!

Earlier this month our family took advantage of a local Boy Scouting promotion called “Scout Family Day” at Copper Mountain Resort. A day lift ticket, breakfast, and lunch all for $32 per person!

I had to clarify that this is “Copper” and not “Cooper” because I wrote about Ski Cooper last season. Ironically, the two resorts are very close to each other. More »

24. November 2014 · Comments Off on “To my mind the old masters are not art; their value is in their scarcity.” ~Thomas A. Edison · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Globallighting.com

Okay, so I’m not an old master. But I have been scarce.

In the middle of my series of posts about our awesome summer vacation, I dropped off the face of the earth. I predict it was around the time of the first midterm I had to give, and from then on out, I’ve been crazy busy at work, thus coming home exhausted. More »

23. August 2014 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 36: The Color Fun Fest in Colorado Springs · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
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Color Fun Fest: Before and After. Like other runs of this type, the Color Fun Fest brings the elements of the ancient Hindu spring festival of Holi. Photo credit: Herb Keyser.

Last weekend I had the chance to participate in my first “color run.”

“Oh! Which one? The Color Run? Run or Dye? Color Me Rad? The Graffiti Run?”

No, none of those. I had the chance to participate in the Color Fun Fest 5K on its stop in Colorado Springs.

The event markets itself as a family-friendly combination of the ancient Hindu Holi festival with heavy electronica music. During Holi, which is traditionally celebrated near the vernal equinox, friends and families celebrate love and good friendship. One of the Holi traditions is tossing of colored powders.

You will feel this energy during the Color Fun Fest. Participants run a 5K race while having colored cornstarch tossed at them approximately every mile. It’s a relatively new event making its way around the U.S., and I think once it works out some growing pains, it has the potential to be a successful running event series. Read on for details about my family’s experience. More »

The kids were 4 months and 2 years old the last time they had to do this.

The kids were 4 months and 2 years old the last time they had to do this. In 2005 Jacob’s favorite house was the one with the toys in the living room for him to play with. We didn’t choose this pictured house, it was way overpriced.

Since I started my blog in late 2007, the house-hunting experience for our family had been pretty basic: Dave would fly out to the next destination and choose a rental home for the family. I’d stay with the kids.

For Dave, it was a whirlwind trip, but he could complete everything in as little as 48 hours…not just securing a new house, but also getting the boys registered for school.

This next assignment to Colorado Springs would be for a longer tour than the past two, so we elected to buy a house this time.

It was a tough decision, but we decided to bring the whole family on this particular househunting trip. We found a gap in the boys’ baseball schedule in early May that would allow us to take a long weekend and fly the family to Colorado; we would all shop for the next house together.

We were in contact with a realtor that a local friend here recommended, and she worked with us for several weeks in advance to hone our preferences and she has a list of ten houses waiting for us to view by the first weekend of May.

One of the houses went into contract right away so that left 9 houses to view. It was a very long day, and my head was swimming by the end. Ironically, we chose the one house that didn’t have an already-finished basement. The lower price made it appealing and we could apply some of the cost savings to finishing it ourselves to our liking.

The kids were great sports about it. They were exhausted by the end (the high elevation not helping things) but had many inputs.

It was a delicate balance of size, price, layout, schools and distance to our work locations. We chose a lovely house in the northeast part of Colorado Springs, centrally located. The boys can walk to their elementary schools, but will be bused or driven to middle and high school. But even the middle and high schools are closer than the kids are from their current schools.

We can’t wait to make our new house a “home” in the coming weeks.

Happy Holidays from Major Mom and Family!

Happy Holidays from Major Mom and Family!

Okay, okay, so I’m a bit behind here.

“But at least you’re kept your head above water with all the holiday obligations, right? You seemed to have had a billion Christmas parties for Dave’s unit, scouts, the spouses’ club, and the boys’ piano lessons.”

I guess so — the house was decorated, trees trimmed, gifts were purchased and wrapped, cards made and sent out, and we made it to everywhere we were expected to be this season — with White Elephant gift exchange gifts as needed.

I was pretty tired by the time the kids started their holiday break on the 18th. It was non-stop from the week after Thanksgiving.

More »

Our family got to spend last week with Dave’s family in New York. Even though Jacob, Timmy and I get to go annually — the boys spend some time up there — I sometimes go up to pick them up from their visits…Dave hadn’t been since 2009.

We flew the family up this year, driving to Panama City Beach so we could take advantage of a low-stress Southwest Airlines route to Islip, New York…on Eastern Long Island. This made pick up/drop off easy for Dave’s parents. The boys were wonderful during the travel both to and from New York.

The enjoyed playing with their stuffed animals on the trip up to New York. They were each allowed to bring two. It sounds strange, but they play pretend with their animals very nicely and don’t fight. I’ll take it!

The family spent most of the week relaxing; Dave and the boys played with LEGOs and Lincoln Logs, and the whole family enjoyed going through box after box of photographs from when Dave was younger.

It’s a tradition — playing with Daddy’s toys.

More »

Our friends and neighbors, the Scotts, took our family out on their boat last weekend.  It was so kind of them to offer; their boat seats 4 adults and 2 kids pretty well, but no more passengers than that can fit, so we had to find a weekend that didn’t involve other visitors.

We here thought we were going to have a visitor this weekend, my girlfriend Susan from Virginia, so we had said “No, thank you.” to the invitation at first. Susan canceled at the last minute because of Issac impacting her return trip. So then we were able to fit in a trip just before hunkering down and preparing for Issac.

Michael and Cathy gave us a choice: would we like to go east to Crab Island or west towards Pensacola Pass.  Cathy told us there was an area similar to Destin’s Crab Island towards the west at the mouth of Pensacola Bay.  Since we had been to Crab Island before, and I’m such a sucker for new experiences, we elected to go west.

We put the boat in the water at about 10am, and it took about 90 minutes to get to our location.  The trip took us past Gulf Islands National Seashore, Fort Pickens and much of NAS Pensacola.  When we docked, we were in view of the Pensacola Lighthouse and the Museum of Naval Aviation.  The map below shows where we were — on the shore just west of the mouth of the Pensacola Bay, along a channel called Pensacola Pass.


View Larger Map
When Cathy was trying to tell me about this place, she wasn’t really sure of the name.  She and I jokingly called it “The Crab Island-Like Place near Pensacola” when we were planning.  We asked a couple people who were near our docked location about the name, and we heard two names: “Fort McRee” and “Sand Island”.

When I looked online, I found a forum post that provided several other names: Admiral’s Island, Dog Island, Pelican Island.  Nonetheless, it was a lovely place to dock the boat and play.

It was a very Floridian day for us!  Enjoy some pictures (mostly of the kids).

Backing the boat in at the Navarre Beach boat ramp.

Ready to climb in!

Dave had shotgun!

Timmy enjoyed the ride. He seemed obsessed with the boat’s wake for much of the trip.

Heading under Pensacola Beach Bridge.

Once you’re west of Pensacola Beach Bridge, you’ve transitioned from being in Santa Rosa Sound to being in Pensacola Bay. Then we were quite surrounded by sailboats most of the way across the bay.  You can also see the chop on the bay.

A view of where we were headed at Fort McRee. We docked just to the right of that center boat. Not nearly as crowded as Crab Island. Not nearly as wild and crazy either!

Timmy wasted no time leaping into the water as soon as we anchored.

Jacob was asking “Can I just jump in?”  The water was REALLY shallow, so after plenty of warning about that, we let him do it.

That is an ICE CREAM BOAT! Seriously! It plays the music, and you wave and it pulls right up near you.  And of course we let the kids get ice cream. I couldn’t resist this concept!

Happy Jacob with his bomb pop.

And Timmy was happy with his Spongebob pop.

One thing about hanging out with the Scotts — they know how to pack for an outing! We all brought plenty of drinks and snacks! The kids discovered the beauty of beef jerky.

After a couple hours at Fort McRee, we headed to Pensacola Beach and docked at Peg Leg Pete’s for a late lunch before heading back to Navarre.  Tip: 3pm is a very good time to go to Peg Leg Pete’s.