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 »

29. December 2012 · Comments Off on Alabama Discoveries 4: Bellingrath Gardens Magic Christmas in Lights (Includes Visit Tips) · Categories: Uncategorized

The Magic of Christmas light show at Bellingrath Gardens near Mobile, Alabama draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every holiday season. Our family really enjoyed it.

I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while, but before I knew it, Christmas got a bit overwhelming.  Since there are still several days to enjoy the light show, I will try to get this post out there before their last weekend so people can try to fit it into their New Year’s plans.

Bellingrath Gardens and Home is a 65-acre property just southwest of Mobile, Alabama. The holiday light show, called Magic Christmas in Lights, which started in 1995, has become very popular and draws visitors from throughout the Gulf Coast.

Dave asks me around Thanksgiving every year, “What do you want for Christmas?” And I usually come up with something unusual, such as “I would like you to arrange a family trip to Bellingrath Gardens in December.”

Of course, he had to go do all the research: What is it? Why does Patricia want to go to a botanical garden in December? How much do the tickets cost? Do I need to get the tickets ahead of time?

I’m usually the one who does the travel planning in the family: I make the airfare, hotel, rental car arrangements, I am the one who does the route planning ahead of time. I don’t mind, really. But for Dave to take the reigns on travel planning is a real treat.

Dave got us internet tickets for December 8th, a Saturday night. The hours for the event are 5-9pm, and I will explain in a minute why it’s important to arrive at 5pm. We took our time getting to the gardens, stopping at Lambert’s Cafe in Foley, as well as a brief trip to the Wales West Tourist Railroad to see the holiday decorations there also.

More »

Can you see the cracks in the screen?

Can you see the cracks in the screen? It’s extra creepy when I’m looking at this picture of screen cracks through the real cracked screen.

Allow me to give a little public service announcement.

Last weekend I dropped a filled duffel bag while attempting to load it into our car-top carrier for our holiday trip to Tampa. It fell from the top of our SUV, and in the bag were my Macbook and iPad.  The iPad was well-protected, but the Macbook was not; the screen shattered and one corner of the aluminum body crushed.

Don’t yell at me, I’ve been fussed at enough about this.

The computer is still working decently, although I can occasionally feel the cracking of some small shards of glass inside the keyboard.

We have USAA Property Insurance (being a military family and all), and we immediately called them about our options for getting the computer repaired or replaced.

More »

18. December 2012 · Comments Off on A Holiday Post to Let You Know I’m Not Dead…. · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

This has been an insane holiday season!  But let me just toss up some You Tube videos showing off the kids. These were all taken with our new camera…with the telephoto lens zoomed in as far as it would go.

I promise I have so much more to write about this week, bear with me, thanks!

The first four are from the boys’ piano recital last Friday night.  The first two are Timmy, the second two are of Jacob.

And this is Jacob this morning reciting a poem he wrote himself at the school’s “Peppermint Parade”, in which each student from four of the classes recited a poem about winter, Christmas, or any other theme from this time of year. I apologize for the zoom sounds in the first 15 seconds or so…I had a hard time seeing whether the image was zoomed in or not.  I need to learn to adjust that manually so you can’t hear the motor.




I’m only putting text here because otherwise those colorful “Share This” buttons cover up the controls for the Peppermint Parade video.

04. December 2012 · Comments Off on My Bespectacled Baby · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

“Mommy, now I look like a professor” ~ Timothy

Today Timmy got his first pair of glasses.

We knew this was coming for a long time. He’s like his father in so many ways: appearance, his comedic nature, and many other “youngest child” traits. It took three visits to the eye doctor this year to get everything right, Timmy would complain about his vision, and the eye doctor was trying to delay his needing the glasses. Over Thanksgiving break, we noticed him crossing his eyes purposefully. He claimed that his eyes “felt better” when he crossed them.

This last visit was the one where the doctor noticed the slight cross-eyed-ness. The glasses would help his eyes not have to strain so much. The doctor prescribed him glasses to wear for anytime he needed to read: books, blackboards, computer screens, music.

The doctor’s office has a nice optical shop on site, with a great deal for kids’ glasses. I was particularly sold by the one year warranty, which covers everything except complete loss of the glasses and lenses. Timmy wanted a pair that looked like his Dad’s. He told the completely-smitten-by-him ladies about how much he already looks like his Dad, and that with glasses he will look just like Dad!

Reading his Harry Potter: Prizoner of Azkaban.

They helped him choose a pair that offered some room for growth, and they put silicone nose pieces on them so they wouldn’t slip so much. An extra case for school, plenty of microfiber cleaning cloths, and some cleaning spray.

My hats off to any parents with young kids in glasses. How do you keep their glasses from getting lost while at school? Timmy has exhibited responsibility with other high-value items (such as his Nintendo DS), but my concern is with his flippy/floppy/hangy/roll-around-ness that will probably result in the glasses falling off easily. Here’s hoping he doesn’t lose them…

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 »