Friday, October 30, 2009

Please Pray for Our Dear Friends

We just received information from our friends last night and one of Jim's roommates from USNA has just been diagnosed with Non Hodgkins T Cell Lymphoblast Lymphoma, a very rare and very aggressive type of cancer. Manny is only 29 years old and is married to Ellie & they have a little boy who just turned 3 named Simon. There are still a few tests that Manny has to endure before treatment can begin. Chemo is where it sounds they will start as soon as possible. They have started a blog so family and friends can keep updated with his progress. Here is the link: Please keep Manny, Ellie, & Simon Tsikalas in your prayers, it would be very much appreciated. Praying for God's mercy, healing, & grace...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Trip to the DEA/FBI Academy: Caution TOP SECRET :)

We have been blessed with yet another fantastic once in a lifetime opportunity with the Quantico home school group. Yesterday we were invited to take a tour of the DEA/FBI Academy here in Quantico. Normally IF tours are done they are for young adults 16+ who are interested in possibly becoming an agent, but our friends (The Chaplain) were able to get us all in for a very special day. Added to the greatness of the day, Jim was able to get out of work early to go with us, which we are SO glad he did. We learned a lot about what the DEA does to fight the war on drugs in our country & others as well as see & touch some of the gear they use. Us parents were greatly informed about the dangers of common household items used today to make very dangerous drugs and also ways that dealers are targeting children. Some very scary stuff, but we were grateful to be given the knowledge of awareness to help protect our children. Then after the kids got to "play with" some gear, the grown ups had a chance to "fight drug crimes" in the simulator. (I think we all had more fun than the kids at that point). It was a fantastic day of learning and we are so grateful to the men & women who dedicate their lives to protect ours, today in particular the DEA & FBI!

Learning about communication devices
Checking out the protective shield

The kids outside the Lab

Some of the Mommies and our boys

David's turn to pose

David & his friend Joey

This is a confiscated pill making machine. It will really disgust you to know how children are being targeted with "pretty" colors & "cool" designs. Awareness is definitely key for parents.

Gas Mask Clan

Our neighbor Kaye, future agent

This is how parents learn to fight the war on drugs

The moms, "armed" with awareness

The kids got to "bust" down some doors

Another Wooded Adventure

Last week we took our first drive through Prince William National Park and fell in love with it, so Wednesday afternoon we headed out that way again for yet another adventure in the woods. We through one of the bikes & the bike trailer into the blazer and set off! We parked at the very last stop before the road turns one-way for cars (the other side of the road is designated for runners, walkers, bikers, etc). Then Jim ran while David and I biked for about 40 minutes. I was originally thinking that I'd have to ride really slow in order for Jim to keep up with me, but boy oh boy was I wrong! Come to find out the entire 1st half was all up hill so Jim was way ahead of us. I'd catch up every now and then when there would be a slight hill, but he made it all the way to the end of the one-way before I did and then we turned around and went all the way back. That way was much easier for me. David ended up falling asleep at the beginning of the ride so he got his nap in while I got a serious work out in. After the 40 minutes we parked the bike off of one of many trails and hiked through the woods for another couple of hours down to the Quantico creek. Summed up in just a few words: We had a BLAST! It was absolutely beautiful with all the leaves changing colors and the three of us love exploring nature on such a beautiful day. The battery on our camera died, but thankfully Jim could take really great pictures with his phone. Below are some of them, we'll add more once we upload them onto the computer. There will also be a video added of David down by the creek. We are definitely finding lots of ways to fully experience our time here in VA and we're loving the amount of time we get to spend with Jim. If anyone is ever "debating" about EWS (all you Marines) DO IT! It is so worth it!

Jim & David down by the creek and the "water falls"
Me & my boy

This is not mid sentence, David posed with his mouth open! Here he is showing off some of the very cool rocks we found on our hike

Cutest fall picture ever


Monday, October 19, 2009

A Sunny Afternoon at the park

Today was the first day in about a week that we saw the sun! It was still chilly out, but the sun made all the difference, so when some friends invited us to the Marine Corps Museaum Park David and I hopped in the car and drove on over. It is a really nice park with all kinds of things to do. David and I also explored a little bit and found some really neat looking acorns to put in a "pretty bowl" (as David called it) at home. Jim got off work early and met us over there a little later. He is working up to run the 10K during the Marine Corps Marathon this weekend, so he ran from our house, around the neighborhood and then up to the park. We all got to enjoy the sun shiny day!

Coming down the slide with Clare
This was David's favorite thing to do.

Mickey, Charlotte, & David swinging like big kids

Walking across the "lily pads"

The kids were taking our orders for "leaf sandwiches, leaf hotdogs, and acorn "grapes" at their restaurant. :)

This is what David would look like if he lived in a bubble, "Get me outta here!"

Bubble boy

"Whoa I can see the ground from here!"

This was a really great type of see saw. David and I called it a horsey!

Art Project Complete

We finally got our french bulletin board project completed yesterday and we are very happy with how it turned out. David said, "that's cool" so he likes it as well. I did learn a few lessons for the next bulletin board that I make, whenever that may be. Number 1: do put the ribbon so close (3" may not be enough) Number 2: 1 spool (5 yards) of ribbon was not quite enough Number 3: brads are not as strong as they appear. We had to stab holes with a broken staple first before the brad would go through. Number 4: Do not put brads on every "x" otherwise larger art pieces will not fit. Otherwise this was a rather "easy" project with results that we all are happy about. Now David's "masterpieces" can be displayed. Happy crafting everyone!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Go Navy! Beat Rice!

When we were in Annapolis for the Navy vs. Air Force game David's Grandma bought him this fantastic jersey to wear on game days. David calls it his "Navy shirt" If it were up to him he would wear it everyday. Last night he wore it for the Navy vs. SMU game over his Pajamas because the game started at 8PM. He also thinks it is funny to hold onto the ball and run with all his might, then throw the ball in front of himself and fall to the floor and yell either, "fumble" or "touchdown!" Below is his football pose before he starts running.
Here are some videos of David playing football

Belvedere Plantation

On October 9th the Quantico Home school group made a field trip to Belvedere Plantation in Fredericksburg, VA. It was a windy day, but turned out to be a beautiful fall afternoon. The plantation had designated all morning and afternoon just for home school groups so there were lots of kids and lots of fun things to do. Jim got out of work a little early that day and was able to meet up with us towards the end, so he was also able to experience some of the fun. We went on a hayride to the "pick your own" pumpkin patch, visited some farm animals, rode rope swings in the hay barn, had a lesson in the pumpkin science lab (I think us moms learned even more than the kids! It was very interesting), we had lunch, played on the tube slides, went shopping, and much much more. It was a fantastic day. We are so blessed to be meeting new friends here in VA and to have the chance to do so many fun things in the area.

This wagon proved to be a wise piece of gear to bring. After David was tired of riding in it, we were able to fit all our coats, pumpkins, and purchases in it. Thanks Grandma & Grandpa Taylor!
Here we are receiving our colored flag assignment and waiting to be instructed on what station we go to next.

The Quantico Home School group
(Not everyone was able to make this trip)

On the hay ride to pick our pumpkins

David has his pumpkin bag and he is ready to go. He loved the hayride the best because it was pulled by a tractor.

On a mission to find just the right pumpkin

"That one Mommy!"

David and his pumpkin

He was oh so very proud of his pick

Learning about the pollination of pumpkins and their anatomy at the "Pumpkin Science Lab"

Time to do some tall is this pumpkin David? Was our estimate correct?? David's favorite number of the day was "2" everything we guessed had a 2 in it. Some of our experiments included, how much does this pumpkin weigh, how tall is it, how many ribs does it have, and do pumpkins float?? David says, "yes!"

We also learned a whole lot about honey bees and how important they are. David wanted to pet one. He said they were nice :)

Saying hello to a super cute pig

Feeding the very hungry goat

The Quantico Kiddos

Our Little Sunflower (This one is for you Mrs Rosa!) <3,david> Mommy's turn on the rope swing!

Hanging out in the hay barn

Daddy taking David down the tube slide

Here he COMES!

Playing in the dirt, what else :)

Cheeze Daddy!
Cute Tractor Boy!

Daddy's turn!!
Having a great time!

What a fun day!

One more time down the slide, who is that?? Oh Daddy you are silly!

This is what home school has done for us :)