Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Petrified Forest and Beyond!

After Amarillo we headed to New Mexico for a night and onto Phoenix. We were able to stop at the Petrified Forest during our drive on Saturday and had a nice visit there. Jack thought all the rocks were cool and kept trying to put small ones in his pocket. We had to keep explaining to him that they needed to live at the park for other people to see, they were just for looking. A very hard concept for a little boy! If you have never been to the Petrified Forest, you must visit. It is really incredible.

My family live in Arizona for a summer when I was younger and we visited the Petrified Forest. I remembered the video we watched that explained who the trees turned into rocks and watched the same viedo this time around. I also remember being bored as we drove in the car as a child, but now know it's only 28 miles through the park and I got to be the adult pointing out the hills and rocks.

It was hot, hot, hot! But so beautiful! If you look close, you can see the baby bunny that we spotted inside this petrified tree. Jack spent the rest of the day looking for more bunnies.

Jack finally took a short nap in the car, his first on this whole trip so we drove as far as we could. We got south of Phoenix when he awoke and not too happy. Luckily, we were able to get some pizza delivered relatively fast so that Jack could eat. Then we swam in the pool. Jack loves the pool. He also loves jumping off the side of the pool and putting his whole head under water. He holds his breath, but it sure scares me! He has no fear of the water so we have to watch him close!


When we fell asleep that night, we were so happy to know we had only 1 day of driving left. We were so tired, we were all asleep before 9 pm, and I woke up bright-eyed and ready to go...not my usual demeanor in the morning! It was Father's Day so I made Ian breakfast (in the waffle iron in the hotel breakfast). I did dished too, carried them and placed them in the trash; Ian was delighted with this special treatment. I even told him I'd drive first for a few minutes. What a lucky man! (I actually drove for a few hours)

We have stayed in so many hotels on this trip, which means lots of loading and unloading of suitcases. Ian would make 3 or 4 trips to get our stuff in (suitcase or 2, Jack's pack and play, Sandie's food and blanket), but when I loaded the car in Amarillo I got a luggage cart! Ian decided that was a good idea and used one when we left our hotel south of Phoenix.

Suitcase, check. Pack-n-play, check. Dinosaur from the Petrified Forest, check. Sippy cup, check. Adorable little boy, check!


We arrived in San Diego with no bumps, bruises, or dents. I am pretty proud of that! We checked into our house on Monday and are settling in. I know I will have many adventures of to share of squeezing a house into a what-is-called-a-house-but-is-really-a-small-apartment-with-a-garage.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Georgia

Since Jenni is a whiner, I thought I'd post some pictures from our visit in Georgia. Just kidding, Jenni, you don't whine too bad.







Brandon thought Jack's bed was pretty nifty and climbed right in with him.


Jack trying to ride one of Brandon's toys.


Who could pass up a picture like this? My Dad was given this outfit when he was in Japan for work and celebrated his 60th birthday with "friends" there.


No! I'm not a whiner!



For some reason I don't have any pictures on Emily. Nonetheless, out visit to Georgia was fantastic!
Russ getting his Lace face on.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

9 Down, 3 To Go

In the last week, we have been in 9 different states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. I feel like a truck driver with all this driving! I'm pretty sure today is Wednesday, but I have no idea what time my body thinks it is, or what time it's supposed to be right now. All I know is that when we are in San Diego it will be Sunday, and Father's Day!

Jack has been such a trooper in the car, of course episodes of "Curious George & Friends" helps! Every so often we will point out a big truck, digger, train, or another interesting thing to him. We bought him a few new books and will pull out new toys every so often to keep him busy. I am amazed at how well he has done, and how well Sandie has done too. We've been trying to make frequent stops so we can all stretch our legs, but it's been so hot at most of our stops that it's not much of a break.

We had a great visit in Georgia with my family and drove to Arkansas for a night. We met Genderist and The Hater in our Oklahoma stop for dinner. They were kind enough to bring it to our hotel in the midst of a move themselves! It was fun to swap stories about moving and how much the process sucks, and talk about how much we all hate cancer, specifically thyroid cancer. It was very nice to catch with with Genderist since seeing her at the Summit in Austin last Fall.

We are now in Amarillo, TX, visiting with old friends of Ian's from his first enlistment. I have talked with him and his wife several times on the phone during deployments and feel like I've known them forever. They have four children ages 7, 5, 3, and 6 weeks. Jack has had so much fun playing with them, and has enjoyed following around the 5 year old, who in turn has enjoyed giving Jack new experiences. The kids have helped Jack explore the outdoors even more by digging for worms, rolly-pollies, snails, and whatever other goodies they can find. Ian is out with Mike tonight on a ride along and is having a blast playing police officer. I have enjoyed visiting with Delonda and seeing Jack play with their wonderful children.

Jack is starting to understand the move! Throughout this whole process I have been prepping him for what is next (people are going to come and put all our stuff into boxes, men are going to come and put all our boxes into a truck and drive it to our new home in San Diego, we are going to drive for a very long time, etc.). Yesterday Jack made a comment about his trains being at his new home and today he said several times, "New home, Mommy? Daddy, Jack, Sandie, Barry, Mommy going to new home." I am thrilled that his little mind is able to wrap around this upheaval of his life.

I was planning to post some pictures, but can't find the cable for my camera to upload them. And I'm too tired to look for it anymore. Next time.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ian's Promotion (actually on June 1)

Since LAF commissioned me as a General, I thought it was time to promote Ian! So I didn't actaully get to decide when Ian would be promoted, but I got to help! Ian asked me to pin him on, but it didn't mean anything until Ian's promotion warrant was read and stated that "all junior Marines shall render obedience to proper orders" from him. I chuckled to myself when that was read, it sounds so formal and fan-me-with-palm-fronds-like. It was really neat to be part of this ceremony and a big step in Ian's military career.

A friend of ours, Jim, and I pinned him on, and I was ordered by the Lt. Colonel that I should pound the insignia into his chest. Okay, so I wasn't exactly ordered, but the LtCol said that I could and Ian had said that he'd like me to perform the tradition that is now considered hazing. Because I am not a Marine, it is not hazing if I did it. I wasn't sure at first that I wanted to do that, pounding it in would be that I would essentially be stabbing him. I didn't hit the insignia hard, but just enough so Ian would feel it and LtCol wouldn't yell at me (okay, he wouldn't do that). Ian didn't even flinch, maybe I should have hit them harder. During the whole ceremony, Ian was standing taller that I had ever seen him (and was looking mighty handsome too) and rightfully so, he became a staff noncommissioned officer that day. He gained more important duties, more responsibilities, and a rocker on his collar. He was selected for this promotion by a board of senior Marines in Washington, DC, they felt that he was worthy of this promotion. And I agree.

I am so proud of My Marine. May others always see in you what I always do, an honorable and steady man.

Friday, June 08, 2007

California or Bust!

The next several days will bring us across 12 states as we head west. We left North Carolina on Thursday morning heading west, but first we had one of the busiest weeks.

Ian was promoted on Friday to Staff Sergeant! He asked me and a friend of his (who was promoted right after Ian) to pin him on, I am very honored that Ian asked me. The Colonel said I was allow to pound the insignia into his chest, an old Marine Corps ritual that is now considered hazing, so I felt I should since the Colonel said to! Congrats to my Hero, I am so proud of you!

We had a cookout with friends Saturday to celebrate Ian's promotion and Jack's 2nd Gotcha Day which was Sunday. Sunday we spent the day together and Jack opened his presents, a motorized Cranky for his Thomas trains! He had great fun playing with it, and we cooked out again with our first friends in Jacksonville, Tina, Hal, and their girls. All day Sunday I had Jack's Korean parents on my heart, and wished that they could too experience this delightful child that we share.

Monday and Tuesday was a flurry of boxes, packing, moving, and contractors working on the house. I was very glad that I had very little to pack myself! I was also glad that Ian and I had planned to have a day between the movers and when we left to do what we needed to get done. It was nice to have a little more time with friends and not feel rushed to get out of the house as soon as the movers did. As we headed out on Thursday morning, we took one last picture of the house. It was hard to leave the house that we brought Jack home to, but it is just a house. Our home is where ever the Marine Corps sends us and what we make it.


The drive to Georgia was uneventful, and Jack was quite the trooper! Thursday was our longest day of driving, we have planned every other day to be 7 hours or less. We let Jack watch movies all day...I can't believe I did that...but I was feeling sad and very tired so it was a battle I chose to not have. We arrived in South Carolina happy, my goal. Arriving in Georgia however, did not bring Jack smiles; it was about 5:00 pm, he'd been up for 10 hours without a nap, was hungry, and just wanted to get out of the car. Luckily, I have planned ahead and packed a Rubbermaid tub of toys for Jack. The Magna-Doodle saved the day!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

His Last Mom


Today is a very special day in our house. Two years ago today, my son was placed in my arms forever...John Seung Joon joined our family. We call it Gotcha Day, some call it Adoption Day or Family Day, but to me Gotcha Day fits: it's the day that we got a son and he got his forever family. We had met him 2 days earlier, but holding him on June 3rd was so different...I knew that I was responsible for this little baby and I am his mommy and he is my son.



For the past week I have been thinking about these events. We left the USA on our Memorial Day and met Jack on June 1, he joined his forever family (us!) on June 3rd (also Granpa L's birthday*), and we left Korea on their Memorial Day. Each holiday holds a special place in my heart. I cried a good portion of the day we left Korea, I was so heartbroken to be taking my child from the beautiful land of his birth, so far away from everything that he has known.

Jack's Korean parents are never far from my mind, but this time of year I think about them a little more. I am so sad they are missing out on this wonderful child that we share, but am hopeful we will be able to meet them one day. Today, though one woman experienced a great loss, I gained a son...a sweet, gentle, handsome son.


Happy 2nd Gotcha Day, Jack!


*Granpa L is 60 today, happy birthday! But according to Brandon and Emily you are 101.