Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Glimpse of Things To Come

Just a couple of days ago, I put my lovely 13 year old daughter on a plane to Washington DC.  Ky was headed to a youth leadership conference in our nation's capital. A conference she was nominated to attend based on her hard work and character. This opportunity was a valuable experience we had to make happen.  Meaning, I would have to come to terms with her being on the opposite side of the country for one week.

She boarded the plane. And the plane landed safely in DC. She met the conference staff at the airport. She met her new roommates who she likes. Her days are filled with lots of learning and sightseeing. Lucky for me, she manages to fit in a phone call each night.

I hear lots of girly chatter in the background. She is having a blast. I'll be lucky if she comes home! She talks about the food in the cafeteria (not so great!). Her roommates (great!). She revealed a couple of secrets. The group stays up past curfew and pretend to sleep when the staff checks on them. The girls have started opening the adjoining door to enlarge their group and room size. Through all her excited chatter, it dawned on me... this is what our conversations will be like in five short years... when she is at college. 

At 13, I don't want to rush anything but I won't fool myself into believing it is far off.  I think this little trip is good for us. And it makes me think we need more of this kind of separation. She is a smart girl. She just doesn't quite know what she is capable of. She is always looking back for reassurance. Maybe that is my fault? Maybe I shelter her too much? My husband suggests I let her fall a couple times and she will get the hang of picking herself back up. But we aren't birds... I mean is the whole falling thing really necessary?!? 

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tales from the New Home {week 2}

Today is the second weekly installment of my new Saturday series, Tales from the New Home. Most recently, this Semper Fi Family bought a house. Our very first house. Every day since submitting our offer, we have learned something new about home ownership. Sometimes good and sometimes bad. Last week I learned not to roll trash cans across our lawn because sprinkler heads are embedded in the ground. However, not far enough hidden to keep a person from rolling over one and breaking it in half.   That was a nice surprise!

Anyways, welcome back, grab a cup of something and settle in. These tales get a little lengthy!

Day 8: Play Day! We didn’t touch the house. Well, unless, we can consider a major shopping haul at the commissary housework? I kind of do! The cupboards, pantry, and refrigerator are now full.

Day 9: My husband said no more yard work until the green waste bin was emptied on Monday. He lied. He started chopping up some overgrown vine/ivy along the back wall. There is going to be a huge pile of branches and vines in the lawn until after trash pickup. I’m finding our attack styles are quite different. When the Husband wants to do a project, he just does it. He doesn’t consider the logistics. He will run to Lowe’s five times in an afternoon instead of thoughtfully calculate or research what he needs. I suppose it works for him in some ways. I’m the opposite. Remember, the careful planner. Maybe, one day he will burn out on the wasted time he spends on one project when he doesn’t plan and change his ways?

I’m looking at my RED room full of storage containers. I’ve condensed enough to empty 2 bins. There are 16 left. {Big Sad Face!} I honestly don’t know what to do. My husband suggests lining them up against the wall in the office. Won’t that look pretty? I understand it’s really the only option if I can’t part with this stuff. I have a bin full of baby blankets. I don’t have a baby. But they were all made special by grandmas and I just feel like I can’t get rid of them. Then we have wedding crap… 14 years later. Part of me wants to let it go. It’s just stuff. Obviously we’ve got the marriage thing down. And for me, my wedding feels like a day… one day that started this crazy life. In 14 years, I don’t feel like it was the best day ever in our relationship. It was a great day. But it isn’t what defines our relationship. It was the beginning and all the meaty parts in between hold so much more emotional value than the candle and cake cutters I’ve stored away. I have more fun looking at the pictures and program from our first Marine Corps ball. Oh my how young we were! PFC chevrons on the Blues uniform, if that tells you anything. A $25 red dress from Sears clearance rack and red lipstick. Probably some silver stripper shoes too. Hair done at home. I had no idea what a Marine Corps Ball was! But man, the memories.

I’m the same with random decorations I have around the house. I have more connection with the glass container of wine corks displayed on the mantle. It just brings me back to all the great conversations, laughter, and good friends we shared those bottles of wine. The connections we created with amazing people who now live across the country or another continent. People who filled in as family at birthday parties and award ceremonies. The same ones who interrupted bedtime routines to look for childrens’ Tylenol because your little one randomly spiked a fever. These are the keepsakes I want to fill storage bins with and line the office wall. Not my cake server or candle holder. Is this incredibly insensitive to admit?

I thought I would write about my desire to display those wedding items at our 40th or 50th anniversary. But I think I figured it out. I will keep the unity candle, a program, and a napkin. Everything else is just stuff at the wedding. One day when we celebrate 40 or 50 years. I hope everyone is too busy chatting and laughing to notice the “stuff”!

Day 10: Lots of cleaning today. I enlisted the help of the boys. Ky was gone all day. I use Motivated Moms app to help me stay on top of my household chores. I love the app for its simplicity and repetitiveness. I am a list maker. I’m the girl who puts Brush my teeth on the list just so I can cross it off. MM app is similar.

Task #1: Replace dish cloth. Check.

Task #2: Wipe off the counter. Check.

Task #3: Feed pets. Check.

Really I’ve accomplished nothing by the time I’ve crossed off five things. Which is a total mind game but super motivating. It’s free. Take what you can get, right?

I made my first solo home repair today! A biggie. I replaced a light bulb in our bathroom. Pathetic much? I tend to put those things on the honey do list and let my husband worry about them. Now I feel bad for passing them on to him because he has the commute. I am sure the last thing he wants to do is house stuff when he gets home.

Actually, he did want to do house stuff when he got home. He wanted to clean up the mess in the backyard. Wait… now that I think of it…. I said I would do it then he took over. The original plan was to take the tree branches and vines to the green waste place. Tonight the husband outdid himself. He decided to try a little experiment. He decided to turn our simple push lawnmower into a mulcher. Which makes perfect sense... to only him. Luckily he took my advice regarding eye protection.  The boys and I took cover inside. The whole things was pretty scary yet entertaining. The dirt was flying. Wood chips were flying. Our neighbors were peeking from their 2nd story windows wondering, Where did they come from? Allegedly. Although, the answer is Iowa. We. are. from. Iowa. But we aren't all like this. I promise. My husband is just a little more redneck than most. I mean resourceful! And stubborn.

Day 11: The problem with living near friends is the constant distraction. I innocently brought coffee to my friend to celebrate her last day in her 30s. One hour turns into three and the day is pretty much shot. I managed some housecleaning and laundry. No home repairs or lawn work. I finally threw away some empty paint cans and relocated a shelving unit. That is all. I will be better tomorrow!

Day 12: Another day of accomplishing nothing. Literally nothing. My day consisted of birthday present shopping and a little clean up. Otherwise, my late night movie watching got the best of me and I bummed around watching The Suite Life of Zac and Cody with the kids. I get a lot of flak about not being able to sit down or relax. The truth is… sometimes I just can’t fight the urge to cuddle up on the couch and watch Disney shows. Last night at dinner one of the ladies mentioned not being fully unpacked at the nine month mark. I did one of those secret “yes”es like you did in elementary school. The one where you pulled your arm in like you’re starting a lawnmower while hissing a long drawn out YESSSS. Anyone?? I’ve got like 8.5 months before I have to be unpacked according to this gal’s timeline. I may actually be ahead of schedule!

Day 13: This weekend is our garage sale. We really should have done this before we moved. Time just got away. After the sale, I’m taking a trip to Goodwill and clearing the clutter. My husband has agreed to keep the 15 remaining Rubbermaids in the garage. We will refer to that as a compromise. I think my willingness to re-evaluate and pitch stuff softened him a little. 

Day 14: Took the day to examine my hoarding tendencies. I’m not sure why a family of five living in Southern California needs a container brimming full of gloves, hats, and scarves. I narrowed it down to one and gloves per person. I promise to never ever… ever let cold weather gear collect in my house. What is wrong with me?!? I unpacked almost every remaining box today. An accomplishment but now I need a place to keep the said items.

The dishwasher hasn’t been cleaning the dishes. Two weeks in. Mr. Fix It, aka Husband decided this was unacceptable. So at 7:30pm last night he took the whole thing apart. See how this works? An idea pops in his brain, the idea is immediately implemented. Dinner dishes and dishwasher parts decorated my kitchen this AM. Oh, you should have seen the buildup coated on everything. And the dog hair. Because who doesn’t have pet hair in their dishwasher? Nasty!

Day 15: We got our first mortgage note. Things just got real! And the water bill. $30-some dollars. Seems cheap. I hope the gas and electric bill are just as reasonable!   

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Insta-Adventures: Semper Fi Family Fun

In the land of blogging, pictures are always great content for a post. When short on time or energy ...always always turn to Instagram. I find it's the perfect social media site for keeping track of all our Semper Fi Family adventures!  I've made a goal to document at least one picture a day using the hashtag #semperfifamsummerbreak. Next month, I plan to make a photo book dedicated to our summer adventures. I can't wait to see them all in print!

Now let me share a little of what this Semper Fi Family has been up to this week!

Last weekend was the annual Military Picnic at our church- North Coast Church. We love our church. They do cool things like this. Father and daughter joined forces with another father/son duo to play water balloon volleyball. 

They dominated! Which means they end up 'on stage' with a microphone. *giggle giggle* Two introverts talking into a microphone in front of hundred or more people. Eek!

Gift cards always make it worthwhile. And ice cream.

We were party animals on Saturday. We went from the picnic to our friend's birthday party.
Where there was wine. And if you knew me in real life. After I have a glass of wine or two. I start to get a little silly. And before you know it, I think selfies are a great idea.
Random, cloudy, dim lit selfies.

 Ok, I take back everything I just said.
I don't have to be drinking to think selfies are a great idea!
I'm a shameless selfie taker.

 Yesterday, we hit up our local library with the cool chairs? That is how we will now refer to our new library. Honestly, this is how you get kids to read. Seriously... Zac is reading Last of the Mohicans. What 5th grader reads classic lit??? A boy who wants to grab the nearest book and sit in the chair! Score!

Popsicles on a hot summer day. Of course!

But poor little Charlie. Always sitting and waiting for someone to feel sorry for him.

Usually works.

That's all. Check out more Instagram photos of our summer adventures @Semperfifam.

Have a great weekend! 

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Linking up: Life Rearranged, A Night Owl Blog, Mommy Moments

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lately on Pinterest

It's Pinterest Time!
The weekly Oh How Pinteresting linkup.

As I type this post, I'm watching Dolly Parton in 9 to 5.
I've never seen anything with Dolly Parton. Am I the only one?
Late nights alone always call for oldies on Netflix 
or ABC Family movies with Melissa Joan Hart.
My guilty pleasures.

Today I'm sharing a hodge podge of latest pins. 

Follow Semper Fi Family

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More Pinterest Posts...
Cleaning This House
The Red, White, and Blue
Home Adventures

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lake Skinner Splash Pad

The beauty about Southern California is the entertainment factor.  Literally thousands of things to do at your fingertips.  Here is a local family friendly water park, Lake Skinner Splash Pad, located in the Lake Skinner Recreational Area. This is a small scale water park on the outskirts of Temecula, California.

There are two splash pads, a park, and lots of shaded areas.  A perfect place to spend a few hours with your kids on any blazing hot summer day.  I recommend packing a picnic, blanket, a good book for mom, and possibly chairs.  There are plenty of shaded areas to keep cool and dry.  The cost is $6 per vehicle to enter the Lake Skinner Recreational Areas.  The fee give you access to the splash pad, lake, and trails. 

Click the link for the Operational Hours for the Lake Skinner Splash Pad.

Kid Approved.

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More Adventures...
Santa Rosa Plateau Hike
Carlsbad Strawberry Picking
San Clemente Beach Trail

Monday, July 22, 2013

No Effort Microwave Clean Up

Here's a little trick I learned several years ago.
After scrubbing endlessly at caked on gunk in my microwave, 
I was introduced to the most efficient way to clean my favorite kitchen appliance.
No effort, no fuss.

What You Will Need:
 1 quart glass or ceramic bowl (or larger)
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar

Combine liquids in bowl.
Microwave for 5 minutes. 
Carefully remove bowl after time is up.
Wipe with a damp cloth.
No scrubbing necessary!

This is a great task to do while washing dishes.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tales from the New Home

I've decided to start a Saturday series called Tales from the New Home. This is a series of posts to document the joys and frustrations of homeownership. Buying a home is a new adventure for the Semper Fi Family. We are complete amateurs of the DIY nature and I am sure this next year will bring some big surprises our way. As much as I blog to share, I have to admit this weekly post is primarily for our own recollection. I always find myself wishing I had written down those big moments and experiences in the past. I don't want to make the same mistake. 

Move In Day: TV Room
Day 1:  Thanks to a handful of strong Marines our items were moved from Camp Pendleton to Murrieta. The price…beer and pizza. The rumor is Marines will do just about anything for beer and pizza. It was really nice of them and it made moving a whole lot quicker. I suppose I will be baking several dozen cookies as an additional thank you. Absolutely no furniture got put together on Day 1. We just managed to throw the bedding on the mattresses and fall asleep.

Move In Day: The Red Room

Day 2: We woke up and had breakfast with our friends (who happen to live around the corner). Then we headed down to Camp Pendleton to clean our base house. We were anticipating a white glove inspection so we left no corner unbleached. We headed back to Murrieta and started on some lawn work. The front landscaping was a little unruly. We aren’t looking to piss off the HOA in the first week, so curb appeal is priority.

Move In Day: Dining Room

Day 3:  My husband went to base for the final inspection. It really wasn’t a big deal. We got charged for the pet fee and a small yard of carpet with a bleach stain. No big deal. We are done with base housing! After he came home, we hit up Lowes. My husband was itching to get started with the DIY list.  Today is the first day I’m feeling annoyed with the whole “desert” temps. The only time it’s worthwhile is at night when it drops down to 60 degrees. The windows are open and the covers aren’t enough to keep you warm. Cozy! We bought a box fan to help circulate some air in this place. We still aren’t keen on running the A/C. I’m not sure how long we can hold out on not running the A/C. It’s reaching 81 degrees in the house and there isn’t a breeze midday. The sun hits the house at about 3pm and until 6pm it heats up like an oven.

We are being super careful about what we spend until the first round of mortgage payment and bills come in. It’s scary having all these expenses we haven’t had before. If the military screws up pay (like they are known to do), then it’s going to get real scary. Real fast. If my husband thought I was a penny pincher before, he hasn’t seen anything yet!

I’ve managed to unpack 2-4 boxes. We lost a lot of storage space moving from base housing to this house. We have more living space but no storage closets. I’m beginning to evaluate my hobbies and the need to keep every piece of artwork and creative writing story. I’ve Rubbermaid containers of holiday decorations, baby keepsakes, and junk. Literally, I’ve never viewed this stuff as junk until I didn’t have a place to keep it.

Tonight while sitting in the living room we heard a rushing sound of water outside. It was a broken sprinkler head.  Water was shooting straight in the air full force. Our official welcome to homeownership!

Move In Day: The Office

Day 4: I focused on the kids’ bathroom today. I skipped over cleaning this one fully pre-move. This house was a dirty mess before we moved in. It still makes me mad to think of it. I spent days cleaning pet hair and other questionable matter off every surface and crevice in this house. Some rooms got a quick once over before we moved. I needed to clean the tub, air vents, windows, and floors. Nothing makes me happier than crossing a whole room off my list! In fact, I was energized enough to approach my list by room.

I notice as I unpack and move things around there are lots of broken and missing things. It’s annoying because we didn’t notice them during escrow. We could have requested repairs. But since we missed them, we have to pay to repair.

Move In Day: Downstairs Bathroom
Day 5: Today I organized the loft on the 3rd floor. The kids have taken over the room. They have a TV, Wii, table/chairs, and toys up there. It’s going to be a great place for them to hang out. I want it to be a workspace too. I moved up some art supplies, puzzles, and dictionaries up there.

While unpacking I had to make a tough decision about hobbies. I’m the kind of person who likes to believe I can have a hobby. Well, lots of hobbies. I’ve got supplies for sewing, scrapbooking, and paper crafting. These things come in handy about three days out of the year. Probably not worthwhile to store in a house with limited storage. Therefore, I need to make the tough decisions. Will I be a sewer? Ok, try again. Will I be a SEW-er is the better question! Yes. I’m going with yes. Will I be a paper crafter in the new house? Probably…. not…that often??? I’m keeping some of the stuff but most will be purged. Will I be a scrapbooker? No. No, I won’t. I have decided I will not be a scrapbooker in the new house. The beauty of moving. You get to re-evaluate life…needs and wants and everything in excess. Or maybe you do that every day?

2-4 boxes were unpacked. I rearranged all the Rubbermaid containers in the RED room. I have a stack for each category. Now my goal is to condense those stacks. Which means re-evaluating what is a keepsake and what is not. Oh, how it makes me sad to say!

Day 6: Master bathroom got the scrub down. These people! Did I tell you the previous tenants had 6 dogs and 4 cats living in this house with 7 humans? I don’t want to pass judgment but I just can’t help it! Never should you allow for that many living creatures to be in a home together at one time. That is my opinion!

I don’t feel like I did much today. I unpacked two boxes. I took a break to go take a test for employment with the school district. Then back to work here. I pretty much found homes for items today. I never feel like I accomplish anything when I’m sorting away onesies and twosies but it needs to be done.

Day 7: My only goal was to condense Rubbermaids today. I went through the kids’ schoolwork storage container. I thoroughly enjoyed reading their stories and seeing artwork from the early years. I went through a Rubbermaid container full of old toys. I loved having an excuse to get out all my Barbie accessories and arrange them like the good ole days. I feel old looking through my old toys trademarked 1982 and 1987. I came across a Disneyland 25th anniversary scroll from my visit once upon a time. I think just a few short days ago Disneyland celebrated its 58th year. I feel pretty old when I was present at the 25th anniversary.

After playing with my Barbies, I managed to add some to the Goodwill pile. That’s when I called it a day. We called it a day and went to explore a nearby lake. Husband goes back to work on Monday. I will be here alone to work on the house stuff. I have plenty of unpacking and rearranging to do. I hope I can keep up the momentum! The house needs to be ready to go in two weeks for the promotion party, i.e Wet Down.


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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pre-Deployment Days

In military life, pre-deployment training is one of the most annoying things in existence. Prior to the deployment, a military member must train for the upcoming missions. This means they pack up for days, weeks, possibly months and head to some other location to train.  Repeatedly. By the time deployment rolls around, the one left behind is ready for those days of separation to count for something.  Most are shouting “Leave Already!”

Those days of preparation always feel like the arm flex of the military. A not so subtle reminder the military takes precedence. Pre-deployment is like a whisper in your ear… He’s here but he belongs to the Corps. A singsong taunting… You got too comfortable. You forgot this is what the job is all about.

And you whisper back… abrasively… It’s unfair and you know it! You get him for 8 months and you can’t even give me two uninterrupted weeks?!?

Oh how I hate pre-deployment days. Thankfully I am not preparing for another deployment. When I am, I tend to take the bury-my- head-in-the-sand-until-we-say-goodbye approach. No need to be sad about the deployment if it might not happen! Unfortunately, the chance of deployment falling through late in the game is almost non-existent.

Call me the eternal optimist because I always feel like Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber when it comes to the potential of a cancelled deployment…

Sooo…you’re telling me there’s a chance!


What is your pre-deployment coping style?

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cleaning This House {Pinterest}

We've been in the house for several days now.  Which is the reason for lack of blogging. Someone...who is me...didn't schedule internet installation until the last minute. Opps! So we have to wait a few days to get our setup equipment.  I'm hitting up the local Starbucks right now get my wi-fi fix.

The house is great. The neighborhood is great. But holy moly, we just about doubled our square footage! And every tote and box I carry up those stairs is a reminder someone... who is also me... will have to clean this place. I turn to Pinterest (again) to help me out.

You will find these on my Home Adventures board...

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More Pinterest Posts...
The Red, White, and Blue
Home Adventures

Linking Up: Oh How Pinteresting


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Irrational Fears


It’s my irrational fear. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it. I’ve never had a terrible experience or known someone who has. Gradually, I’ve just gotten more and more fearful of horses.

When I was younger, they fascinated me. I can remember my parents buying me a horse at age 5. The problem is they bought the unbroken horse not the ready-to-ride one I had hoped for. My very daring uncle tried to break him without success. I witnessed the challenge. I think that is where is started.

I use to have a reoccurring dream. I’m walking through a pasture. A horse is following close behind and then begins to get a little close for comfort. I start to run a little. Then the horse knocks me down and starts to eat my leg. I pretty much hated horses from this point forward.

I tried to ride here and there. I remember going to Girl Scout camp and trail riding. Some how managing to always get put on the one horse who wants to be “ornery”.  Oh you silly horse! LOL!

No… more like …never again!

I believe I never got on a horse ever again. Not my thing. They freak me out. As an adult, the tricky part is raising kids who love horses. A daughter who wants to take riding lessons…every week.

How do you summon enough courage to not transfer your irrational fears onto your children? For you, it may not be horses; any irrational fear fits the question. Do you conveniently avoid the opportunity to let your child experience your fear? Or do you deal with your own angst long enough to let them have fun?


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Friday, July 12, 2013

Santa Rosa Plateau Hiking

It was only a matter of time before our adventures started moving north. After this weekend, we will officially be living in our house. I have mixed feelings about it. I'm quite partial to military base living. I like the sense of community and the relative safety of being on base. Camp Pendleton has been our home. Unlike most military families, we have been stationed on CP for a total of 11 years. 9 of those years with the same squadron. It's pretty rare. Not how I imagined military life. Now we've purposely made the decision to leave and it almost seems wrong. Like we are betraying our kind! Going to live with the *gasp* civilians! And with the train not stopping at my station, I will not be working with military either. I kind of feel like I'm turning a new page in the Book Of Nicole. Kind of interested to find out how this plays out. But I won't try to guess, I'm just going along for the ride.

Back to those northern adventures, today we visited Santa Rosa Plateau Reserve in Murrieta, California. Lots of hiking trails. And trees. And rocks. It's pretty flat terrain which translates to family friendly. It's such a big and peaceful place to explore. I think this will be a favorite hike.

The office has a lot of interesting displays about the animals living on the reserve. 
Always good to know what you might come across on the hike.
Or just make you super paranoid
of what you might come across on the hike.

Lots of trails.

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve is open Tuesday- Sunday 9:00am -5:00pm
Closed Mondays
Park Fee: $3.00 adults, $2.00 child (12 and under)

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More Adventures...
Carlsbad Strawberry Picking
San Clemente Beach Trail