Archives for August 2009

Define Normal

We really are trying to get back to normal.

Whatever normal is.

I tend to interrupt people when they say

“When things get back to normal I will…”

Wait. Stop.

Define normal.

We have had a few normal moments.

In between the darling twins arrival, departure, return, departure, return, departure…yes, if you are counting – it means they came home.


But back to the subject of normal…

We have experienced Scary Baby’s first day of school.

In a brand new school. 5th grade. No pictures. 4th child syndrome. Sorry.

PhilBillPaul had another birthday. That was barely acknowledged because it fell on the 2nd day of school and the day the twins left. Sorry.

This is our normal.

This past Friday after school, Scary Baby had another unnecessary magical elementary school dance.

This one with the theme of Solid Gold 70’s Dance.


Do I really need to tell you that the one with the rainbow afro wig (which doubles as a clown wig at Halloween – I love multi-purpose items) is our precious Scary Baby?


This picture brings us back full circle.

Define Normal?

Hope you have some *normal* moments this week…


Finding a Blog Niche

Welcome to my new blog!

I’m told it is important to find a niche topic and it is now clear to me that I have found my niche which is fast becoming the:

North Georgia Corp of Cadets Freshmen in College Twin Daughters in the Army National Guard Blog

It’s almost as if I have NOTHING ELSE to write about.

And I don’t have two other children.

Soon, I’m going on Dr. Phil to talk about how after my daughters left for college I didn’t know what to do with my life and I wept all day.

Then I woke up.

And realized I’m just blogging a day late, I haven’t been weeping and I’m really just finishing THE SERIES on the darling twins and their new experiences that they are so willing to allow me to share here.

Last story about the twins for at least a week or two.

Last weekend, on Saturday before they came home, check out what the cadets stood on the drill field waiting for…


Seems it is an “after Frog week tradition” but that was about all they could tell me. (Hope there isn’t a test.)

Six Blackhawk helicopters arrived


And landed on the drill field to take them all on a ride


Over the gorgeous campus…


And the North Georgia Mountains…


Roger Leroy got a bird’s eye view in front right by the open door…


Snapping pictures with her camera phone and loving every minute of it.


Wizzy might have had a bird’s eye view but she chose not to view anything.


She said she didn’t know helicopters could do dips and dives.

And she was thankful her fellow cadet allowed her to hold on tight.

She knew a fellow cadet snapped this picture and knew she didn’t look very “soldier-y” which I don’t think is a word but she said it.

She recovered upon landing. Then they drove home with 3 friends.

Side note: She did give me permission to post this picture.

I will not blog about the swine flu and how some students may have it.

Gotta go. The phone is ringing, I think it’s the Dr. Phil show…

Truly, new topics coming soon…


They Multiply

Look who came home…


Sabu was soooooooo happy.

Grow a Solider and They Multiply

She was accompanied by her darling twin + THREE MORE…


We send two to college and FIVE come back to our house.

I’d like to write about how they were a little homesick and really wanted to see their family…

But that would be a lie.

Roger Leroy just wanted to pick up her bike and it was “mandatory” that they all accompany her.

They were released early on Saturday and announced they were coming home with a few “battle buddies.”

After a few minutes of dog bonding, we all headed to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner.

Picture 1

Um, yeah – Scary Baby and her friend love to be with all the Soldiers and insisted on posing in this picture.

Next, we called the family we were going to have dessert with and asked if they would mind if there were NINE of us instead of three.

No problem. We showed up with a big chocolate cake from Costco and enjoyed homemade ice cream compliments of the Sommer family.


It was nice to reunite the girls with Jenna a.k.a Bon-Bon who enlisted the same day they did but is a senior in high school.


Jenna went to Basic Training this summer and they are all looking forward to being cadets together at college next Fall.

We had to have a group picture and assured them that all this picture-taking nonsense would stop in a few weeks. “The New” will eventually wear off and we won’t take a picture every time they come home.


They are a nice looking bunch, don’t you think?

And note that upper right hand shelf in the Sommer’s home…yes, that’s right…they have THREE Soldiers in their house now. Coast Guard, Army and Army National Guard.

And they’re from Indiana.

We’re proud to know them. 😉

What did you do this weekend?


Frog Week and College 101

After their 4 day whirlwind homecoming they had to report into their school for FROG week which is what I affectionately refer to as the “legalized” hazing of the incoming cadets.

The formal name is Freshmen Recruit Orientation Group and they say this is experience will help them “complete the transition from civilian student to military cadet…”

I found it mildly amusing that this article appeared in the Atlanta Journal on the day they left:

College 101 for parents

Here is the text I got from one of the unnamed twins on their first day.

“This sucks I hate it so far”

My response: 🙁

Six days later, we drove up to the college for another ceremony. Let’s see now – that makes three from May to August. High school graduation, basic training graduation and now the FROG week ceremony.


We watched over 200 new cadets lap the drill field for their Sunday morning 3 mile run.


And get hosed off by the local fire truck.

We learned that Rachel Leigh had the highest PT score of all the female cadets.


We are looking into legally changing her name to Roger Leroy. Because we now call her “The Beast” and sometimes just say “You’re The Man.” Luckily, since she is now 18, we don’t think this is damaging her sexual identity. But I’m sure some would argue we are damaging her self-esteem.

Which would be so WRONG. She has NO self-esteem issues.


Congrats to the newest cadets of Charlie Company…

We spent the day with them enjoying a nice lunch and then helping them get their dorm room organized.


Which took about an hour since they have their black trunk, 2 boxes, 6 drawers and a desk.


They’re learning how to live in a simple, clutter-free environment which we think is just fine and dandy!

Our main goal was delivering and setting up the computer.


Thank goodness Scary Baby was there to test everything for them.

Lizzie was able to log on to Facebook after several frustrating minutes of banging on the keyboard and discovering the “R” key sticks.


Phew. All is well with the world.

Now, we just hope they stay and thrive this first semester. I don’t know the current statistic but I do know that many, many freshman college students come home both because they are homesick but more often, it seems, they don’t handle the independence so well – meaning the social aspects are fabulous but they forgot they were also suppose to study!

Social skills are Lizzie’s specialty as evidenced by the trip to the mall she organized as soon as they had free time.

Picture 1

Blurry picture compliments of PhilBillPaul’s cell phone.

Side note: Lizzie…tell Meadows she looks tough.

So here are my big questions to all those moms who have college kids…

How excited were you when they left? Are you still crying? Do you feel like you prepared them well to live away from home? Are you enjoying quiet days at your house?

Leave a comment and let me know – I’m fascinated to hear about everyone’s experiences. I’m pretty sure you can guess how I’m feeling this week. 😉


P.S. Happy Birthday Mom!

Focus on the Positive

I knew I needed a week off from blogging because I needed to breathe.

In and out.

Over and over.

To recover from the 4 days “at home” with the darling twins.

“At home” is very subjective and is great material for:

  • Another post
  • The Book
  • The Jerry Springer show

Luckily, I’ve been able to dig deep, pick out the happy pictures and share the moments of Family Day at Ft. Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina and our safe arrival home.

So without further ado, I will continue to…

Focus on the Positive


Watching the Soldiers come out of the woods was simply amazing.

Much more so than the YouTube video I encouraged you to watch.


We were overcome with emotion and pride as Toby Keith’s “American Soldier” played and we tried to find our babies Soldiers…


In case you couldn’t pick them out – because let’s face it – they all kind of look alike in their ACUs (Army Combat Uniforms)…

It was an honor for us to meet many of the drill sergeants.


I was glad to be able to thank them for their service and for taking care of our daughters over the summer.


They were very complimentary of “The Twins” and many of them thanked us for raising such fine young women.

Lizzie showed that her PT (physical training) really paid off.


This was on a dare from Scary Baby over the phone a few weeks before we arrived. We were all duly impressed!

This sign was in the stairway we walked up to see their sleeping bay where they had spent their last 10 weeks…


Such a powerful reminder of who they are becoming.

Picture snapped as we picked up their gear and just before we all got kicked out…


Then we headed for air conditioning.

PhilBillPaul and I had made a pledge to do our best to not complain about the heat. Even though it was about 120 degrees with no breeze and we were all sweating while standing still.

Because we realized that our darling twins had endured this heat wearing full gear for most of the summer so we were pretty sure we could last for one day.

Our lily white Lizzie’s only request was that we spend the day inside – she was so sick of the South Carolina heat.

No surprise that she reveled in her day of freedom with some of her favorite things…


Bowling and nachos with that liquid cheese that is really not cheese.

Happy girl. She earned every bit of that neon orange cheese.

You may have forgotten but we do have a 4th child. He still lives with us.

He did greet us on the driveway at 1:00 a.m. and actually hugged one of his sisters.


The Grunter was also kind enough to do a little decorating before we got home.


He hung the banner and lined the curb in front of our house with American flags.

We’re still not sure if they missed the wiener dogs more than us. Since they are now 18 (which we have been reminded of several times) you’ll have to ask them.

Lord knows and so do we that they can speak for themselves…


More updates on Wednesday – if you can stand it.


Blogging Break

Taking a blogging break to get everyone off and started at their respective schools…


Ft. Jackson Family Day

If you have never had the privilege of attending a military BCT Family Day or graduation, I thought you might enjoy seeing what happens on the morning families arrive to spend the day with their Soldiers.

It’s totally worth 5 minutes of your day…

Side note: This is from Family Day last year since I’m actually writing this before we are there!

Graduation was Thursday evening and then we drove home. I’m sure I’ll “have to” share a few pictures next week!

Until then…


Sleeping in their own beds.

With four full days of family, friends, and catching up FUN!!!!

Before they leave again…

All is well.

We’re counting our blessings this weekend.

Hope you do too.


The Car is Packed

Picture 3

We’re leaving this afternoon.

En route to Family Day and Graduation

And then we are bringing home

The darling twins.

Whom I’m sure you are sick of hearing about.

But we’re so excited to see them.

And so very proud of them.


The Summer of The Twins

Even though they haven’t been home, it does feel like…

“The Summer of The Twins.”

I admit we have been a little preoccupied with them and this week is really no exception. Please bear with me for another week or two. Then I’m pretty sure, we’ll get back into a *normal* family routine that isn’t surrounded by daily trips to the post office, jumping when our phones ring and always blogging about them!

This week we’re getting the darling twins packed and ready for college.

The cadet program really simplifies the packing process.

One trunk filled with white flat sheets, white towels and a mandatory knee-length or longer bathrobe that hasn’t arrived yet.


Very specific list including 24 wire hangers, black bookbags (no colors), combination lock have made preparation pretty simple!

Optional items include an alarm clock, a radio and a fan. Woo-hoo.

Not the standard dorm room decor. No color scheme, no girly stuff – which isn’t really a problem for our non-girly girls.

Side note: If you want to see the stark contrast of a Corp. of Cadets dorm room compared to the average college dorm room that you or your college kids have, click here.

A small box contains all their personal items and vital electronic devices – wallet, car keys, cell phone, ipod, camera, chargers, etc.


Sure makes packing easy.

Sure makes them leaving home again a little easier.

Sure makes us being so proud of them easiest at all…


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