Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas jammies

We were in RI for Christmas Eve with my family( I got the cutest red pea coat from my mom- pictures to follow!) and trucked up to Maine on Christmas morning. We are still in Maine but wanted to post the family in our Christmas jammies.

#1 Christmas RULE in Maine: No opening presents until you're in your matching Christmas jammies!

left to right top: Maggie(lil sister), Bryon(Maggie's bf), and Ryan(lil bro)
middle: Riley(youngest bro), Joe(he's mine!), Dani(Thomas's wife)
bottom: Me and Thomas(lil bro)

Happy Holidays!

Love- Samantha and Joe

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas post

Just got home from work and was thinking about the people who have duty today and tomorrow. Someone has to be there all the time and here is a great poem about Christmas on a sub.

A Submarine Christmas Poem

T'was the night before Christmas, he lived in a crowd,
In a 40 man berthing, with shipmates so loud.
I had come down the Sail with presents to give,
And to see just who in this rack did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stockings were hung, just poopy-suit close at hand,
On the bulkhead hung pictures of far distant land.
He had medals and badges and awards of all kinds,
But one in particular seem to catch my eye.
Why they were Dolphins, with a tiny submarine ... pinned on with pride,
A sobering thought came into my mind.
For this place was different, it was so dark and dreary,
I had found the house of a Submarine Sailor once I could see clearly.
The Sailor lay sleeping, silent and alone,
Curled up in his rack, dreaming of home.
The face was so gentle, the berthing in such good order,
Not how I pictured a United States Submarine Sailor.
Was this the hero whom I saw on TV?
Defending his country so we all could be free.
I realized the families that I've seen this night,
Owed their lives to these Submarine Sailors who were willing to fight.
Soon 'round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate a new Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of the Sailor, like the one lying here.
I couldn't help but wonder how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve on a sea, far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The Sailor awakened and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, for this life is my choice."
Defend the seas this day,
So others may rejoice.
The Sailor rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours so silent, so still,
And we both shivered from the night's cold chill.
I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark night,
This Guardian of Honor, so willing to fight.
Then the Sailor rolled over and with a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, "Carry on Santa, it's Christmas Day,
All is Secure!!"

Happy Holidays and remember how lucky we are to be home with family for them.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Breaking myself back in....

Joe has duty again today- Which just means he left this morning around 6:30AM and he'll return sometime tomorrow morning around 8:30-9:00AM. This is a gift, normally ( they are on stand down for the holidays ) he wouldn't return until his work day was completed tomorrow.

I find myself sad..I've been moping around the house since he left this morning. I think I have to break myself back into NAVY life-or more important submarine life. My favorite NAVY wife friend (and I'm not saying that to say it... she's an amazing Navy wife and I have no idea what I would do without out-or how much harder this upcoming deployment would have been for me if I didn't happen to have her in my life) once told me that when she visited her husband during his very long deployment on the 1/2 trip that it almost wasn't worth it because it made it harder to re-adjust when she got home. She told me that it was a lot like he just left again. At the time that sounded very odd to me- She got to spend nearly a week with her husband who had been gone over three months in GREECE. I couldn't imagine not wanting to go visit Joe after missing him for 12-18 weeks. Now I know completely what she meant. It's not that I would take the wonderful time back that we had these last four weeks(or that given another chance she wouldn't drop everything to go to Greece)- but oh is it going to make these next few weeks tough. To top it off...Joe will be leaving to go underway soon....a long underway. *sigh*

I found this quote and just love it:

"Bless those who serve beneath the deep, Through lonely hours their vigil keep. May peace their mission ever be, Protect each one we ask of thee. Bless those at home who wait and pray, For their return by night or day."-Rev. Gale Williamson

Happy Holidays! -Samantha

P.S I am posting pictures in some of the old posts- I finally figured out how! YAY!! Feel free to scan back through the posts to see some neat pictures!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

New Tradition.. and some crazy stuff

Well its that time of the year, you know when you have to run around shopping in crazy places with TONS of people who have forgotten how to drive and common courtesy no longer seems to exist, all so you can buy the newest craziest gift for the people you love... or maybe not love so much. That to me is the not nice part about the holiday, for me the chance to be home and with my family is the true reason for the season. That is even more true this year with my Dad being home and my brother being away in the Army. I am now also blessed to have someone new in my family, in fact we are starting another off shoot here in CT, Samantha and I are starting our own family here ( don't worry no one is a grandparent..... yet.......... or anytime soon).

We decided last night that we needed to start some our own traditions, so we talked about the ones we both had in our own family's ; presents on Christmas eve, PJs to sleep in, the Christmas mouse present... and we decided that we needed one of our own-So we have now decreed that Dec 21 is , "Give the gift you think the other person will get the biggest kick out of" day. It's kind of a way to stop waiting and give that gift you know they will love and the one you can't wait to give them!

So.. I gave Samantha a Lego set, for you all know that Sam's so crazy about money that she would never buy some stupid toy for herself when we could be saving. Even if its really cool and has a fish with glow in the dark teeth, no matter how much she wants to play with those toys and arrange them on her desk, she would never get it-but you should see the way she looks at them ever time we are in the store. Its a good gift to her from me, it's a way for me to remind her to lighten up and enjoy, everything does not have to be practical.

Time for a little back ground before this story continues. For Christmas we set a limit on how much we were going to spend on the other person, in fact Sam asked me all the time how I was doing and reminded me not to go crazy and get anything big and to track the spending and how we really should pay off bills and on and on and on. I can tell you to the cent how much I have left to spend and why I have to wait until right before Christmas for it to go on sale and get ink for the printer to print out coupons to get a few more things. Well I, me the crazy spender stayed in budget and was not over at all. So when I asked her about her budget she said she was 2 dollars over. No big deal now she can't get mad that I was not counting shipping costs or tax. So she gave her gift to me that she thought I would get the biggest kick out of.......

OK some of you may not know, but this is the new hot topic for readers everywhere, its a e-book reader that you can get books straight to the kindle from It also holds a ton of books, and surfs the web in text and all sorts of things, check it out on the web site, or in Newsweek ( . Anyway I have been talking about getting one since I first read the article on the plane home from Aruba. Only problem is that they are sold out, in a big way. They retail for $395.00. Because they are sold out and not available until after Christmas... they were going on e-bay for $700-1300!!!

Sam had been trying to get me one and had told me that she just couldn't do it, she told me she was sorry she wanted to get me one but couldn't spend that kind of money, which I agreed with. Though secretly I wanted one bad. Well she found a way to get one, and I am truly amazed by it. It is one of the most thoughtful gifts that I have ever received, and while the device itself is a modern marvel and I know I will get lots of use out of it, that is not what I feel most about it. The fact that she went though all the trouble to get it and that she cares so much for me to do that amazes me. Every time I am underway or deployed(the reason she claims she was able to go over the limit) and use the Kindle, I will be thinking of her, and knowing how much she cares. In the act of giving she has distilled what is so important about the holidays, that spirit of love, togetherness and belonging that can only come from family. Caring for each other the best we can everyday. We have our ups and downs but at the end of the day no matter where we are, we are still family.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Whoa - December!

We know, We know....We KNOW! - We need to update.... so... here it is:

I left my job at Keystone(Yay-no more 1.5 hour drives!) ....and Joe had 28 days on LEAVE - Oh... pure joy. Today he actually went back to work...and had duty. He told me during breakfast that I looked like someone shot my dog. I felt like someone shot my dog. We had the chance to enjoy each other for the last four weeks- It was very enjoyable, much needed relaxing as Joe and Samantha could possibly make it. So, what did we do you ask:

First - We enjoyed Thanksgiving in Maine with Joe's family- Joe's dad wasn't home from the hospital- but his mom's work donated a whole lot of food for all of us to eat. Riley and Maggie ( Joe's siblings ) added desserts and appetizers- whew was I full. I got to try out the famous fruit salad too - yummy! Thomas ( Joe's brother ) and Dani ( Joe's sister-in-law ) joined us as well. With our tummy's full and our car packed with luggage we headed to Boston on good ole Turkey day. We stayed the night there, left our car...but took our luggage and headed to...*drum roll please* ARUBA for a week. We stayed at the most beautiful time share resort there-(When we figure out how to post pictures, we will ) and enjoyed ourselves by soaking up the sun, reading books, eating at five start restaurants and floating around the resorts lazy river. We also did a whole lot of nothing- and it was great. While we were on this great vacation we found out (via email) that Joe's dad was coming home!!!! It's been a long journey for the whole family- and we were ultra excited that all of our wishes were about to come true- Christmas together!

So.... we came home to a huge mess - Oh, right... I left that part out- we got tenants in the RI house- and had to move all the furniture and remaining boxes in a matter of a few days before our trip to Maine. Our living room was full of furniture- People were in and out picking up(buying) furniture and/or appliances our first few days back. Joe and I spent our time reading and unpacking.... reading... and organizing... whew! What a mess.... and a lot of work.... after there was some sort of order in our house....we jetted off to Illinois to visit my family. Well... jetted isn't the right word.... we .... *gasp* DROVE. Our GPS took us straight there- with a few stops for gas, a short over night stay and a quick movie(We had to see Golden Compass-it had come out that day!- and we're reading the series right now). Most people think it's great that we are still together after our crazy drive- but we actually had fun. We packed snacks, we downloaded audio books on the GPS and we listened to a lot of Country music. ( Joe claims that I am a "Fire Cracker" - Listen to the country song to see if you agree- We heard it over 20 times on our trip! ). We did a lot of visiting and a lot of shopping- Oh and Joe got to have his FIRST experience with Portillos- Chicago Italian beef- yum,yum! Due to storms and REALLY bad weather- we drove home straight avoiding all of the horrible weather by about 45 minutes. Whew!

When we got home- I started my new job. Well kind of. Most of you know I work for an amazing company called Making It Count. I have the pleasure of presenting enriching presentations all over the US to High School and College students. This job is my dream job- but it's also only contract work. Due to my job at Keystone- I was turning down a lot of speeches because I only had so much VK/Sick time banked. I knew I needed to find a job that was flexible- and one that would supplement our income - and I did! I am the proud nanny of two beautiful girls - Regan (2.5) and Sadie(4 months). I am with them for three 11 hour days. I am lucky because the other two days they are with each set of grandparents. I can switch if I have presentations- best of both worlds. The extra income is great to fall back on right now but... best of all- they offered my flexibility- so, problem solved. The girls are a lot of fun. Sadie is a great baby. Regan is a high spirited, high energy cutie - and we are going to get along great. I had a few trial days with them and mom while she is still on maternity leave this month. My official start date is Jan 07. I'm still babysitting for beautiful Ava (and soon to be born Emma) because I'm still in that area on the weekend. I'll be in Ohio for another training for MIC Jan 04-06. It's for two scripts actually and I'm pumped. Having this time off have really given me the opportunity to get the scripts down well. No worrying this time!

Other then that... we've just finished organizing the house and rooms. We re-did the entire office upstairs and it looks great. We goofed off and played our interactive web games. We had an entire day where we didn't get out of our PJ's at all! We also put up our tree and Christmas lights outside. I got to learn about one AWESOME thing about living in Quakerhill - the fire truck comes around all LIT up and has speakers with music and everything. Santa gets off of it and visits houses with kids. It's so cute- and I was so excited. Joe and I watched them from our windows for quite a while.

... so my blissful days of "kiss tolls" and silliness are over. And I find myself a bit sad at the moment...

Happy Holidays