Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Catsup... ketchup...catch up.

Since the images are in my "smart" phone that I still am not up to speed on and haven't taken the time to  upload to my computer, we'll just jump to where we are now.

We are 2+ months into return to life in America, and the vast endeavor that is re-Americanizing ourselves. Finally, we are in our own house, which in the 2 weeks we've lived here, we have made quite homey. Chris was out of town for work the same week as closing and 2 HHE shipments. Ceiba is in school and adjusting well. Avocet is her larkish self, already casted and today freed from a green broken arm, courtesy of a pair if Disneyland slippers a couple sizes too large. I am enjoying things, but still trying to find my place in daily life.

The plan when coming back was from me to spend the rest of the year settling everyone into Texas and  then going back to work. The job seemed a done deal from across the sea, only to return to a "we're on a hiring freeze, but we'll call you when it's lifted"... change of plans. But now with Chris's busy work schedule and the never ending loom of TDYs pulling him away or trainings here and there (mostly there), maybe it's good that work isn't tugging too. Right? Right. Right?

We have spent days exploring the zoo and museums, which we love. But we are spoiled by our St. Louis life of free, quality things to do with the girls. We bought memberships to the Natural History Museum and the Zoo, so that we just go when we choose, don't think about the money and spend either an hour or a day without keeping track of the cost. We hit the Fossil Show and the Renaissance Festival, Chuck E Cheese and the movies. And sometimes, we just enjoy the couch...  The ducks in the subdivision know us and our bread of choice by name. Our bellies beg for fast food, while our clothes scream in agony as we drive-thru.

Though Chris and I both watch the NOW lists and dream of going abroad every day, we tell ourselves to put the thoughts out of our heads for a while. He'll do his America time, tick the box, and we'll enjoy ourselves while we're here. We need lots of "squirrel" moments to keep us from lingering on a map for too long though.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Sleep. It eludes me.
Seconds. How quickly lives change in seconds.
Friends. How many we recognize and grieve with in moments of great loss.
Our close friend was killed today. He was an Illinois State Trooper who died in the line of duty. He and Chris worked at the Madison County Sheriff's Department together. We used to dance in our living rooms on cold winter nights, sharing dinner first each week with them and other friends. Ceiba and Kaylee would play while we all attempted to learn a new salsa step each week. We've spent time together whenever we've been back "home'. They are a family we quickly became great friends with, the guys talking shop and we ladies sharing upbringing stories, meeting at playgrounds with the kids or hunting mushrooms. We've shared birthday parties and new babies, always staying connected through the years, always planning to enjoy trips together or have them visit us abroad when the kids were just a tad bigger. 

He was an exceptional officer. He was a dear friend. He was a beloved son, brother, cousin, an outstanding and caring father. He was a husband cherished and loved by his wife more than most I have ever known. He was doing the job he loved, being safe and cautious like he was trained.

It pains me that his life is gone in seconds, because a semi driver lost sight for moment. That someone in a car got pulled over on a Monday morning on their way probably to work and changed the course of so many peoples' lives. I, and many, can replay events in my head and think of so many little things that could have changed seconds in history. But nothing can change the outcome.

My heart completely hurts for his family, for his wife... our great friend, now a widow in her 30s. Their children are four years old and 10 months old, a daughter and son. Already his daughter has said she knows he's an angel in heaven. I cry that someone had to explain that to her. That she can say those words, but has no way to realize how her life has changed. That their children will be told beautiful stories of what an amazing man their father was, but won't be able to remember well and get a chance to know him longer. That they won't get to enjoy the fatherhood he so enjoyed.

I am sad for them. I am especially sad for Sarah. We all, as spouses of law enforcement officers, worry about our officer every... single... day. We worry about the hazards of their job, the situations they'll encounter that will affect them. We all have thought of a day that a uniformed coworker will appear at our door instead of them. Today was the worst day she will hopefully ever experience. Her life and the lives of their children is forever altered. While she will have support and love and a mountain of respect shown, it is she who will feel the depth of his absence. I wish we could all take an ounce of her pain, there are lots of us who would gladly suffer so to give her a moment of peace or rest, but it is not possible.

This week, he will have full honors. Thousands will come to offer their sympathies and respects. The law enforcement community, a small town in Illinois, an outpouring of friends and family will grieve. Flags within the state will fly at half staff. Officers will wear black across their badges. We will all miss him, this week and always.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I must say, it's my favorite holiday, but with all the move-back-to-America hub bub, we haven't decorated or celebrated as much as we'd like. We took the girls to Kingwood trunk and treat last week on a chilly night. They had a ball, and we enjoyed the safe and lit environment for little ones. This is a great way to take your under 6-8 year olds out to hit the candy rounds and have a quick night sans meltdown opportunity.
 YMCA trunk or treat, moved indoors due to chilliness.
And our attempt at a family photo from Mrs. Mukta. Gotta work on her photography :)
 Tonight, we went to the local college's trunk or treat after a flyer was sent out from school. We haven't met anyone here yet, so this was a fun outing close to home. Not sure how we actually arrived on time, as our car, which just arrived in Houston last week and was at the dealership for a full overhaul until this morning, decided to potentially wreak havoc on our evening.

We ran some errands in our so-happy-to-have-you-back SUV tonight. While in McDonald's drive-thru, on our way to our new subdivision's park to have a Halloween picnic before trick or treating, it decided to warm up the a/c. Between the "We'll have a...." and "Here you go", smoke proceeded to pour from under the hood. Nice.
 Enjoying face painting and candy collections.
Avocet Ooo-ing at Gumby, obsene hand gestures (not on purpose) and being a ham!
We pulled into the parking lot, calmly Chris took the girls inside to intercept our meals, while I called the dealership. Sewell Infiniti was awesome, immediately responding to our SOS. The manager Aaron had the tow enroute and arrived himself in the parking lot within an hour (and it was a far drive) with our loaner car. He took the baton, as we went along on our merry Halloweening way, while he waited for the tow truck.

Let's hope the outcome later this week goes as smoothly!

And on we went to trunk or treating the night away!
Nothing to do with Halloween, but our awesome wake up from our bedroom at the rental house. Spoiled.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

TexRen Fest

This weekend, we attempted our first outing since arriving in Texas. Most of our days have been filled with house hunting, so it was nice to spend a full day seeing a bit of the countryside and enjoying outdoor activities. While sports (namely football), are a gigantic pastime here, we opted for a more eclectic option. The Renaissance Festival!!

Many moons ago, we enjoyed the renaissance festivals in Atlanta and rural Florida, while we moved around with Chris in the service. We always loved watching the people, costumes and just the fun of feeling like we walked onto a movie set. It's a fun place to soak in some history and be in an unassuming environment where people can relax and be different. We heard lots of hokey accents, but loved that everyone shared the freedom to be with other like-minded people. It's also important to us for our girls to be in this kind of imaginative, fun and open environment.

There was a great crowd for this weekend's Pirate Days at the festival. The festival park is a permanent site with several weekends of themed events, which you can check out more about here. Buildings for shops, theaters and games line the park with intermingled areas for jousting, music events, parades and more.
(must read the above left sign + see Chris's feeling of kid rides... we're old)
Ceiba can't pass a face painting stand without begging. She and Avocet also spent time on rides, ponies and learning how to fly an arrow. Ceiba got a bow to go with her Halloween costume. 
She already had a second lesson in the backyard tonight. May be a new hobby! 
Chris got to brush up on his Camp Ondessonk badges. 
We all enjoyed some music, bluegrass and bag pipes. 
No one in this family can hold still around a good beat!
The nice shell lady adorned the girls with beads. 
 Be sure to check it out of you're in the Houston area this fall!