We Got Our Orders!

It’s as sure as it’s going to be until James actually reports, but we’re headed to Edwards AFB in January 2022!

About 4 to 6 months ago, James saw a hot job for a position (deputy command?) in his very first squadron, back when he was a lowly second lieutenant.* He applied, got in contact with the commander he’d work under, and they both thought he was perfect for the job, so the commander pushed for him to get the assignment. On his end, James was also up for a command position, but he worked as many angles as possible to ensure he got the Edwards job. As with all our PCSes, fingers crossed nothing comes up last minute, but we’re working off the premise that we’ll be heading back to the West Coast.

The hope is that we get on-base housing, which, again, fingers crossed that works out. We’re on the waiting list and all that, but who knows how that’ll work out. And we’re working with the realtor who helped us with buying our house here in VA to sell it once we’ve moved out.

*Hot jobs are jobs that HAVE to be filled (as opposed to letting just sort of letting it sit) and have to be done so as soon as possible.

Ben’s Birthday

Ben had a birthday in June!

We try to do something fun with the kids, attempting at an activity geared toward their interests. Since we couldn’t go to a museum or something of that sort, we went cherry picking at one of the few sweet cherry picking farms around here (apparently sour cherries are a thing people like).

It was hot and sticky and there were lots of bugs. But we got quite a few cherries, many of which we ate, some of which we jarred as cherry jam and brandied cherries.

The orchard we went to is the same one we’ve gone apple picking, so it was right next to Sky Meadow State Park, which is our go-to picnic spot. And during lunch, we all go to try some of our freshly picked cherries!

When we got home, we had dinner and gifts and dessert, in this case a fruit tart since Ben doesn’t seem to like cake that much but he does love his fruit.

Random June Pictures

June was pretty quiet, of course. A newborn and an ongoing pandemic will definitely keep us from doing much.

Lincoln had his first bath, which he didn’t enjoy much. Lately, his baths have been much quieter, so I think they’re growing on him. As with Evie and Ben, this is James’ time with Lincoln, though Evie loves to help out as well.

Lately Ben has been busy busy with coloring and drawing. I even got my very first “for mom” drawing! He’s made things for me before, but those were all instigated by adults, so this was particularly special.

Evie is a very involved big sister; she likes to help with baths, with soothing, with holding, with playing -for both of her brothers. Not to say there aren’t tears and anger, but it’s nice to see them enjoying one another so well. Most of the June pictures we have of Evie are of her naked and dancing because she insisted, so here’s the one where she’s clothed:

Memorial Day

Memorial day was relatively relaxed; we had prepped and made quite a bit of the food the day before, so we spent Monday hanging out and eating, which is always fantastic.

Random May Pics

On Mother’s Day, James made me French Toast with homemade Challah and we had a tea party that was very good but would have been delicious if I wasn’t still hugely pregnant and still annoyingly sick. But, it was still a lovely day, and Evie spelled out a celebratory message for me with some blocks.

Well. The biggest and most important thing that happened in May was: we had a baby! Lincoln was so excited to see the world, he showed up a week early. Coincidentally, I had bought tickets for all of us to go to this drive through dinosaur thing on 19 May. Since I had given birth that morning, I clearly couldn’t go, but we ordered some food and James took the kids and my mom and they had dinner in the car while they went through the park. While there seemed to be some issues and wasn’t necessarily made with adults in mind, the kids seemed to enjoy it.

Afterward, they were still hungry, so they had bananas as they enjoyed the short-lived, lovely weather.

Also that week, I treated myself to a pedicure since I could no longer reach my toes. I had intended to go the next week, but James convinced me to go a week early, so that worked out nicely. Evie has asynchronous school all day on Mondays, so she and I had a little mommy-daughter time and we both got pedicures.

Admittedly, we are the types of parents who find great amusement in our kids’ (liveable) misfortunes and (reasonable) potentially embarrassing mishaps:

Ben has begun helping himself to James’ tools to work on various “projects” in which he is always “doin’ somethin'” but never seems to complete anything.

Evie is definitely a doting sister; she loves to hold Lincoln and sing to him and kiss him. Ben is slowly warming up and loves to tickle him and give distant huggies.

Random April Pics

These two are pretty good at entertaining themselves. Ben has his own opinions, but he is still happy to follow Evie’s lead sometimes in search of fun. And food. Usually in the way of fruit.

This is on one of the walking paths near our house, just as things are starting to bloom. That may be one of the few things I’ll miss about this neighborhood when we leave: all the outdoor paths.

This is after I got my first COVID vaccine; we all went to the vaccination site then picked up some lunch and headed to a nearby park to eat. Unfortunately, it was a bit cold, so we piled in the back of the Subaru and ate in there, then walked around.

Ben really loves to ride his scooter, and he’s getting pretty good at it! He doesn’t quite zoom off, but he is able to balance one foot on the thing while moving himself forward with the other, mostly managing to steer himself in a straight line. Something he also does is say “new battery?” every time something doesn’t work or, I don’t know, for fun. Because he’s inspecting his scooter as you see here, but after these moments, he comes up to me and says “new battery?” And in response I essentially give him a low five and he goes back and puts the new battery in. And occasionally he’ll need more than one or four, and he’ll need additional new ones after a few moments of fiddling.

We went to Sky Meadow State Park for Easter and explored their historical farm site (or something like that), where the visitor’s center is, as well as chickens. This is just a preview of what’s to come. I don’t know if you can tell, but Ben has a huge grin on his face as he chases after that poor bird.

It was a pretty nice day and we found a place to eat lunch overlooking areas of the park.

While we were exploring some of the old buildings, James snuck a picture. You can tell we all have different emotions about that.

Finally, the chickens. There was a pay for feed thing, so we did that a few times and both kids got a huge kick out of it. Ben would slowly extend his hand, giggle as they got the food, quickly drop the rest on the ground, and then go back for more. Evie was only cautious at first, until she knew it wouldn’t hurt, and then she was giving out food to all the chickens she could get to.

Random March Pics

We live near the berm between the main road and our neighborhood, and the kids like to run atop it and climb on the rocks and run around the trees to find sticks and bugs. In this one, Ben is finding some flowers off of which to blow the petals.

As an incentive for Evie to learn when to share her stories in her class, her teacher asked that we create a reward chart for good sharing behavior and if she earns 4 stars in a week, she gets a reward of her choice (within reason). This particular picture is when we made cupcakes and a few different frostings (really just mascarpone, powdered sugar, and heavy whipping cream as a base, and then we added different flavored jellies/jams) and Ben has decided that the best way to eat it is to lick off the frosting. And I don’t think he actually ate the cupcake bit in the end.

This is just a random picture Ben wanted me to take while we snuggled on the bed.

The one outside is the first super nice day of the year, and we took our French bread pizzas outside to enjoy the weather.

So, I don’t know if you can tell, but there is a bug -fly?- on the ceiling. If you make a straight line from, let’s say the Chewy box on the floor, you’ll find a black speck. Ben saw it and said “I got it!” and grabbed the stool. His expression here is one of “ugh!” when he realized he couldn’t quite reach it. Right after this one, he climbed down, grabbed a towel, climbed back up the stool, and started waving the towel around, to no effect.

Ben and Words

Ben definitely has developed at his own pace, independent of how Evie did at and around his age, and it’s been, in a lot of ways, a great way to force us to notice and enjoy his own uniqueness. It’s great to see his own personality develop and come though, along with his own sense of humor. I think the thing we most enjoy is listening to him talk, in part because he’ll say the most surprising things and we’ll be like “when did you learn that word?!”

Some phrases in constant rotation:

“Dump truck!” and “Bigger dump truck!” He says this whenever he hears the distinct sound large trucks make and goes from one side of the house to the other to catch a glimpse of this elusive beast. The bigger dump truck bit refers to our waste management company upgrading either their recycling or waste trucks to the automated, larger ones.

“Mail truck” or “Cindy!” This is all interchangeable with UPS, FEDEX, USPS, and Amazon. Cindy is the name of our main mail carrier, with whom Evie likes to talk, and Ben generally assumes that she delivers all mail, regardless of the vehicle.

“Beautiful day.” This one is relatively recent and he said this for the first time completely out of the blue on an actual beautiful day. He says it so sweetly with his little toddler speech where he doesn’t really pronounce the T and it makes a beautiful day even better.

“What is that?” The first time he said this, he was climbing onto the couch, facing away from me, and music began playing from Evie’s school computer on the other side of the house, and he stopped what he was doing, looked back at me, and said, “What. Is. That?!” “I don’t know,” I replied. “Music,” he said confidently, and then abandoned the couch to run over to the the dining table to watch whatever was going on with Evie’s class.

“No time!” This is his general response when he doesn’t want to do something or he’s unhappy for whatever reason (whether injury or otherwise). This kid is, apparently, booked to the brim because he never has time for anything. James thinks he might be trying to tell us something, like the kid can see into the future, but that seems awfully terrifying, so I like to think he just has back to back meetings.

“1. 2. 8. 9. 8. 4.” This is a string of numbers he’s begun putting together. For the longest time, his favorite number was 4, but he’s begun to understand that there are others out there and that, perhaps, there’s an order to them. Sometimes it seems like he can count to 4 or 5, but other times, I don’t know. In my vivid imagination, this, too, is the start of a terrifying story, so we’ll go with James’ assumption that these are lotto numbers.

Random February Pics

Ben combined his markers with his feet and made a masterpiece. Good thing I get the washable kind. So… naps. Ben is so over them, but he will succumb to sleep on the occasional walk. And while he’s slowly getting into Snow as Fun, he supports James’ driveway clearing efforts wholeheartedly.

Evie has started playing this game where she’s a librarian and we are all patrons who must come check out some books. And when we check them back in, she is… diligent… in making sure they are clean and had been well taken care of.

James has been adding pockets to his pj pants that are missing those elements and he’s getting so good at it! He is also such a good sport when I give him the fabric to use and the print and color are really more for my amusement than anything else. Also, here’s a picture of Evie and James snuggling while watching something.

Random January Pics

More snow! Evie and James had a snowball fight with the side of the house, and Ben was skeptical of the white, cold stuff falling from the sky, so he observed the weather from the garage. Eventually, James got him on a sled, but, as you can see, Ben still didn’t appreciate the cold, wet stuff now hitting him in the face, even after seeing how pro Evie is at taking the sled up the hill and coming down, ready to throw snow balls at people. Once the snow stopped falling, though, Ben did get into snow ball throwing (though not making), and from then on, assumed snow ball fights were on the agenda whenever there was snow… or the possibility of going outside.

What Ben did enjoy, though, was coming inside to the lovely, warm fire, hot cocoa, and warmed chocolate chip cupcakes (Evie and I made the cupcakes a day or so before).