Keeping up with our busy Navy lives....wherever we live :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Homeschool....

Today might be Tuesday, but its our "Monday" back to school work this week.
Abby is working on her 1st grade materials, and Maddy is working on her sight words and writing her name over.....and over......and over!!!
This will be our normal for the next few months. Mixed in with trips to the library, weekly gymnastics, and the play place at the gym so we can all get a break "aka PE for the girls and mommy".

Gymnastics

The girls started gymnastics together last night! They are in a class of 5-8 year old girls.
Its so nice for they to be in the same age bracket for once, and no one has to sit on the sidelines!
They had a great time!! We will go every Monday afternoon while we are in Virginia!

Great Wolf Lodge 2015

We surprised the kids last week with an overnight to our favorite winter destination!!
GREAT WOLF LODGE
We didn't tell the kids at all, and they didn't know until we pulled up and they figured out where we were! Its only 45 minutes from our house, so we lied and said we were going shopping!
The kids were SUPER excited and shrieked when they realized where we were and thanked us endlessly for the visit. We all needed a little R&R after 8 days in the car together.
Treat--unlimited slurpees for our stay!
Since we went on a Wed/Thurs, the place was EMPTY!!!
This was our fourth visit, and it was the BEST! The girls are older, and Maddy was a bit more willing to try new things this trip. She still wanted nothing to do with the larger slides, but finally was old enough to tackle the kid area on her own both days. And of course she loved the hot tub! 
 We all had fun in the lazy river together
 Mike and Maddy at the water pump
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Road Trip- VIRGINIA!!!

 Our last day of the road trip was uneventful!
We left Tennessee and headed for our final destination of Virginia!!
We arrived and were greeted in Norfolk by the welcome sights of the aircraft carriers lined up at the Navy pier!
Its been a week now, and we are all settled into our small/comfy two-bedroom apartment!
I know we are all VERY happy just to be out of that car!!
Road trip = COMPLETE!!

Road Trip-- Knoxville!!

Our second to last day on the road was spent driving across the very long state of Tennessee!
Memphis is on the far West end, and Knoxville is on the far East end.
We spent our final night at a REAL hotel! This Embassy Suites in Knoxville did not disappoint!!
After a late lunch on the road in Nashville, we enjoyed the hotel managers reception as our dinner! FREE beer and appetizers were just what we needed.
Then the kids got to swim in the indoor pool, I worked out at the hotel gym in the morning, and we enjoyed a FABULOUS hot breakfast before hitting the road for the last day!!

Road trip-- TENNESSEE!!

We left Oklahoma, and headed for Memphis, TN!!
We had dinner at a Navy friends home where the kids enjoyed playing with real toys and kids!!
 A view of Memphis as we pulled into town!
 The next morning as we left Memphis, we made a brief drive by Graceland! 
That day would have been Elvis' 80th birthday!
Coincidentally as we drove by, (according to LIVE radio accounts) crowds gathered and Priscilla and Lisa Marie were present cutting a cake in his honor!
We also drove by "Sun Studio" where Elvis made his first recordings! A very small building that idolizes the King!!
 Crowds gathered above to celebrate Elvis
 Across the street from Graceland is the Lisa Marie airplane!
 We crossed through Nashville right at lunchtime, and stopped for some quality BBQ!
It did NOT disappoint!!

Road Trip-- ......ARKANSAS.....OKLAHOMA!!

We crossed at least one state line each day of the trip!
On our third day we left New Mexico and headed to Oklahoma!
We stayed the night at Tinker Air Force Base!
 The kids entertaining themselves as usual!
 The slate hillsides along the highway had these neat icicles frozen from trickling water above!

Road Trip- ....TEXAS and NEW MEXICO!!

We left the Grand Canyon on Sunday and headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico!
 There was not much to see along I-40 for our trip, so an Osprey flying above the highway caught our attention.
 The girls were AMAZING the entire 7+ days on the road, and kept busy watching movies, playing their iPads, rock-paper-scissors, naps and more! They NEVER once asked "are we there yet"!! I think I was more antsy than they were.
 You know you are entering the South when you see giant crosses off the highway.
 Also when you enter the world of "speed limit minimums"!
 We stopped for the night at Kirtland Air Force Base. They offer "Temporary Lodging Facilities" for families traveling or requiring lodging in something more facilitating than a hotel room.
This unit had a full kitchen, washer dryer, and dining room plus two bedrooms! 
We made a simple home cooked meal and relaxed in the COLD weather.
 The kids fit in some jumping jacks to burn off energy.
It was hard to entertain them to burn off energy as it was 30 degrees outside for the entire trip.
Winter cross-countries leave a lot to be desired!
 Outside of the Grand Canyon we saw a "Flinstone RV Park"! 
All the buildings were replicas from the TV show.
 Views of the country!!


Road Trip-- Grand Canyon, Arizona

 The girls thought it was hilarious when Mike had Maddy's American Girl Doll help drive the car for a bit! (easily entertained when trapped in a car for 8 days!!)

The Grand Canyon in winter was BEAUTIFUL!
We stayed in the "Kachina Lodge" and had a room on the second floor with a view!!!
Waking up to the canyon was gorgeous and a wonderful experience for the kids.
So glad we made the detour North to visit the Canyon and share the experience as a family.

See you later Roxy

Before we left on our cross-country trip, we dropped Roxy off with her new family!
They will be keeping her for us while we are overseas.
They are a wonderful family I have been connected with for years since we were stationed at Point Mugu, and now they have returned again; so the timing worked out great!
They have two young boys, 9 and 6 who already adore Roxy.
We've heard nothing but wonderful things from them, and that she has adjusted well, and fits into their family and lifestyle perfectly.
We miss her of course, but know that our temporary time in Norfolk and upcoming overseas adventures would have been more stressful on her and us.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Packing.....and Driving....and more driving.....

Packing day is upon us tomorrow!! The packers show up bright and early Monday morning the 29th to pack, and they come Tuesday to load it all into crates to be sent overseas!
Then we check out of our house on Wednesday, and head to Mugu on Thursday the 1st to hand off Roxy to her adoptive family :)
 
Everything seems to be falling into place!!
The car is packed, the fridge is empty......almost ready to go!!
 
I'll do my best to keep the updates fresh --which means you will likely get near daily posts of our cross country trip adventure!!
 
This will be our first of 4 cross-country trips in 10 years without the dog!
Should allow for a bit more sight seeing!!
 
The agenda is as follows:
Jan 1-2 in Mugu (Hand off the dog)
Jan 3rd We drive to Arizona to stay the night at Kens
Jan 4th We drive to the Grand Canyon-staying on the South Rim
Jan 5th We drive to Kirtland AFB, Albequerque NM
Jan 6th We drive to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma
Jan7th We drive to Millington TN
Jan 8th We drive to Knoxville TN
Jan 9th We drive into Norfolk (FINAL STOP!!!.....for 3 months!!)
 
We should fly to Japan mid/late April depending on how efficiently they get Mike's training done in Norfolk.
 
 
Keep Up to Date with our BLOG here:
(You can check back at anyime between posts....)


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mike's NPS Graduation

Mike graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School of Monterey this past Friday.
It was a nice ceremony on the campus in the main ballroom. Quite a historic location.
Many Smiths were in attendance, as well as Grandma Donna and Henry!
Thank you to those who spent the day with us!!
 Grandma and Maddy
 Mike's family--Nephew Cade, Sister Bonnie, Newphew Daniel and Mom Susanne
 Cute kids in front of the NPS tree
Mike and his California nephews
 Mike and Bonnie
 Receiving his Masters diploma after 18 months of hard work.
Monterey will definitely be a Navy tour to remember!!

Mike, Allison, Abby and Roxy Smith

Living life in beautiful Virginia Beach, VA!