Monday, February 27, 2012

Pinewood Derby

This past Saturday we took part in the Pinewood Derby at our church. This is our 4th year and our 3rd state to participate in. We LOVE Pinewood Derby!! This is an opportunity for us to work together with our kids on something fun that we can ALL help in. We buy the kits with the block of wood, wheels, axles, and instructions in December usually with a big plan to work on them over Christmas stand down. (Christmas stand down is the time around Christmas when Mr. M has shorter hours and more time off then usual due to the way they schedule every one's vacation time.) We usually don't start the cars till February though, lol.

The kids pick a theme for their cars and then pick out the design for the frame. Mr. M then cuts the block of wood. I couldn't tell you what he used to cut them with, but this year he finally bought a new power tool to cut them...I couldn't tell you what kind either! All I know is what a difference it made!! He was happier, the cars turned out nicer, and it went a lot faster!!

Then comes the sanding. I don't like this part. Just when the kids get them sanded down to perfection, Mr. M breaks out a finer sand paper to start all over again! We went through this 3 times before I finally said enough! They are fine enough and I have wood dust all over my kitchen!! Lol, but the kids do have fun doing it and even Scooter did some sanding on his car.

On to the painting! I think this is the kids favorite part. They pick their main color for their cars and we get all set up at the table and paint away. Then they have to let it dry before they can put on the 2nd coat, and sometimes it even needs a 3rd or 4th. This year was great cause we have finally built up quite a collection of paint colors so we didn't have to buy any! Although next year we may try spray painting. We saw some friends cars this year that looked pretty cool and shiny! Princess for sure liked that! But I don't know if spray painting will produce these smiles!

So after all the painting, we then put the design on the cars, the names of the cars and anything else special. Once the cars themselves are totally done, it's time for the wheels. This is probably the hardest part of the car. You want to make sure the wheels are on the axles tightly enough...but not too tight! Then you want to make sure the axles go on the car straight and centered. However, our cars had slots for the axles that were not we had to adjust the axles for that and I don't think it worked great...since a couple of our cars didn't do so great! We even used one of our table leafs on the floor propped up to make sure the car would run straight! Lol, wish I would have gotten pics of that! We had a great time though!

Once the cars were totally done, we did our photo shoot and then put them up so there was no playing with them before check in! We also included pics of their previous cars.

Tink's car - The Bubbler - She wanted to put a motor in it so that it would actually blow bubbles as it went down the track. She has such creativity! We did not do that as it's probably not allowed to get the track wet! Her other cars were: Star Car, Hummingbird Dasher, and Flower Power.

Princess's car - Scissor Flash - was fun for both of us! She really, really wanted a scissor-tailed fly catcher painted on her car. I told her she needed to do something that she could do herself, but she was very persistent! I had done it for Tink when she did her Hummingbird Dasher, so I finally said yes. It is only by the Grace of God that it looks like it does!! I am not an artist by any means and have NO IDEA how it looks as good as it does! Tink also wanted us to put a sound chip in it for Princess so it would sound like a scissor-tail fly catcher. Yeah, that didn't happen either! Her other cars: Princess Rocket Car, Speedy Num Nums (which looks like a Zhu Zhu pet), and Peace Dasher.

Little Man's car - Night Fury - turned out really good! He wanted a jet car. You can't put wings on a car or it will be too wide for the track, so we had to figure out how to make it look like a jet. He was very happy with the results. He named it Night Fury after the dragon in How to Train Your Dragon. His first car was one that we did mostly for him since he was only 3, then his 2nd one I did the shield and the outline on the sides for the wings and he painted them in, this one he did much more of. I look forward to how much more he'll be able to do it next year! I love watching their cars grow with them! Previous cars: Lightening McQueen and Captain America.

Scooter's car - Thomas the Tank Engine - was so much fun! Last year we just bought a little wooden train for him to paint while his siblings were painting their derby cars. When we were at race day he was very upset and had a total melt down that he didn't get to race that train! So this year we decided to help him do a car. I was surprised at how much he did do of the car, he really wanted to do it. He painted a lot of the main blue color and he even did some sanding! Then I had fun doing the rest! We used wooden dowels for all the parts that are round and just glued them on. The face took me 6 tries!!!! As I said, I am NOT an artist! But I finally got it to look ok! The best part? Scooter LOVES his car!!!

This past Wednesday we helped with check in for the cars. They can weigh up to 5.0 oz on the "official" scale and if they are over or under you can request for the team of guys there to help get them to standard. I did the paperwork side and Mr. M helped with the cars. It was a lot of fun! We added some graphite to the wheels and said goodby to our cars till Saturday.

Race Day! We got to church at 9am and got seats right up front. We got to hang out with great friends and just had a wonderful morning! Little Man's car was one of the first to race and it was doing really bad!! I think his was one of the worst with the axle issue. I mean, his car was like a foot behind everyone else. He was SO disappointed! The last run, one of the guys sprayed the bottom of the car with silicone and then it came in first!! Little Man was ecstatic!!! The guy came over to apologize for not doing it sooner but it didn't really matter, we were having a great time and that one race was enough for Little Man! He was all smiles! He didn't need hardware to make his day!

After a few other groups it was Princess's turn. Her car didn't do so well either, but she came in about the middle of the pack. She was a little disappointed but still had a great time and loves her car! We got a nice shot of her race.

Then one of the last groups was the 13 and up open category. Tink is in this category and so was Scooter. They don't have a category for 2 year olds, and since I did most of the car, this is the group it went in. We got some great shots of this race, as did another friend whose pic was my opening picture at the top. Each car had to run in each lane so that is why they are in different lanes every time.

Tink's car did ok and was in the middle of the pack like Princess's. She was disappointed too, lol. They have always done pretty well...but people here take the Derby pretty seriously so we got some great tips for next year!

Now Scooter's car did pretty good!!! He got 1st in show and 3rd for the race! He was SO excited!! We let him go up there himself and get his car and his trophies. He was so cute and took home trophies for both! He marched up there and took his car and his trophy and got in line with the other teens and grown ups. I wish I had video taped it, it was so funny!

A great time was had by all! And we can't wait till next year! Maybe I will make my OWN car next year! :o)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I decided for Valentines Day to re-post our love story.

This is going to be a long post so get a cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. and settle in.

It all started when my friend Reece called me from California. She just moved there and she told me that she had met the man that I was going to marry. I told her that I am not coming to California to meet some dumb guy... yes, those were my exact words. (Later I I found out that he saw a picture of Reece and I together and he told her that he was going to marry me!)

A few months later, my friend (and coincidentally Mr. M) moved to Hawaii. She called me and asked me if I would consider coming there for awhile. She was expecting her first child and wanted a friend. Hmmm, move to Hawaii...ahhh, yeah!

We met the day after I got there, late December 1993. We went to pick my friend's husband up for lunch and Mr. M and his friend came walking out of the building. She called him over to say hello. We shook hands and said nice to meet you and all that. He was pretty cute! I was that's the one huh? She was certain!

A few days later at the New Year's Eve party we went to on base, he danced with everyone there but me. He said later he didn't purposely not pay attention to me...yeah right Mr. Hard to get!

So the next day a bunch of the guys came over to my friends house and we were playing cards and such, just hanging out. That's when he and I both started flirting terribly with each other. He started coming over almost every day after that to see me. We would hang out with my friends or go for long walks and sit at the park on the swings and just talk. He really wanted to know me.

Our first actual date was Magical!! It was Jan. 15th, 1994. He took me to Chi-Chi's, which was my favorite restaurant. He had a rose waiting at the table for me, we had a wonderful time! On the way home we were listening to the radio and 'I love the way you love me' by John Michael Montgomery came on. I was like..."oh I love this song!!!" He asked if I minded if we stopped at the NEX (a Navy store) real quick, I said it was fine. I waited in the car and he came out with the John Michael Montgomery CD with that song on it. He opened it up and put it in and we listened to it again. Of course later this became 'our song'.

For Valentine's Day that year, he bought 4 tickets (2 for us and 2 for my friends, how nice is that?!) to a dinner cruise in Waikiki. This should have been the most romantic date ever! Candle light, 7 course meal, dancing, a dinner show, the waves going up and down...yeah, I spent almost the entire night in the bathroom...I didn't get to eat anything! You'd think he would have run after that huh?! Nope, he just kept telling me it was ok to all my sorry's. I never knew I would get so sea sick!

We were practically inseparable after that! In March, my friend went into the hospital to have her baby, then it was time for me to go home. Our time together was bittersweet. I felt like we were saying goodbye forever, I didn't see how this could ever work...long distance relationships don't work! He knew that I was the one. I pretty much cried the entire flight home. I even fell asleep at the airport in Chicago on my 2nd layover and missed my flight! My Mom and friend had to pick up my luggage in Milwaukee and then come pick me up in Chicago. I still haven't lived that one down!

The first time he called me, I was really surprised. Then we started spending hours on the phone...computers weren't that rampant back then! We spent a lot of money on those phone bills! We would talk for hours just like we used to when we would walk around housing in Hawaii. In May of 94, he came to visit me in Wisconsin as well as his parents and siblings from NY. He was planning a proposal! His first idea didn't work cause it involved me being pulled over by the police and that day, I got into a terrible car accident. Then his next idea didn't work out either for various reasons. His family went back to NY and still no proposal...I didn't know all the details of why he hadn't proposed yet...I thought he changed his mind! Finally, he proposed when we were miniature golfing with some friends, it was really cute!

So he went back to Hawaii and I started planning our wedding! We were married in Wisconsin that October (1994). He came in from Hawaii and his family came in from NY and we had other family and friends from all over the place! After we were married I moved to Hawaii with him where we lived for 2 years. Some honeymoon huh?!

So 17 years, 4 kids and 8 duty stations later...we are still splendidly in love! Not that it's always been perfect. After all, you can't have a perfect marriage with two imperfect people! But we still love each other. I still get butterflies when he calls to tell me he's on his way home from work and I still miss him like crazy when he is away from us.

Today when I was looking for a wedding picture, I came across my wedding vows. When I read them, it's so great to know that I love him even more today then I did that wonderful day. I decided to share them with you. Before that though, here's a crazy picture! He's supposed to be helping me onto the bus but by the look on his'd think he was kidnapping me! Too funny!

Here are my wedding vows!

When we first met, I certainly wasn't looking for love, but your friendship intrigued me. You took the time to get to know me, and on one occasion I read you a poem, I'd like to read that again now.

"I promise you my love...without any limits. To accept the things you believe in and to always try to understand you. To be near you whenever you need my presence. To trust in your love for me and pray that it grows stronger every day. To watch our love grow together through the years. I promise to soothe your mind and body. To plan with you, dream with you, to do my best to show you how much I love you. For you have become my world, my heart, my life, and my future for ever. "

I told you that one day I would feel that way about someone and then, I would marry that person. Little did I know that I was looking into that very person's baby-browns. Every day since then I have felt our love & friendship growing. People say when you fall in love it seems your whole world turns upside down. When we fell in life turned right side up again. With each passing day, a piece of our puzzle falls into place. Every time we find something in common, every time our differences compliment each other, a puzzle piece is put gently into place to bring us together in God's great plan for our destiny. Now, today, the final piece of our puzzle is being placed.

I take you to be my husband, and these things I promise you: I will be faithful to you and honest with you; I will respect you as you have always shown me the greatest respect; I will trust you, help, and care for you. I will share every part of my life with you. I will forgive you as we have been forgiven. And I will try with you better to understand ourselves, the world, and God: through the best and worst of what is to come as long as we both shall live. I love you!

It's funny to me now, reading those vows I wrote so many years ago, how I mentioned that the final piece of the puzzle was being placed. Little did I know that it was only the final piece of the frame work of the puzzle. Through out our lives we continue to place more puzzle pieces. With each child that was born, every sorrow, every joy, every time he came back to me safely from deployment, with every kiss...we place another piece.