Friday, July 31, 2009

Good Friends...Good Times...Defending Freedom

On Friday we got to fly in a KC-10 Simulator...thanks Paul! It was so's the women in and Ashley! We got our share of "defending freedom" as we took off at Travis AFB, flew under the Golden Gate Bridge, and landed in Honolulu...all in a days work!

If you look closely at the screen you can see the Golden Gate Bridge coming up that Chris took us under...good job Chris!
I was the flight engineer...I know what each and every one of those buttons does!

Jason did an aerial refuel...the KC-10 is used to carry fuel and it has the capability to receive gas and to give gas to other aircraft...Jason wanted to see what an aerial refuel was like and it was cool...lots of hard work but very cool!

Uh-oh...Captain Ashley!

Here's Ashley in the Boom Operator simulator...the boom is what connects the two aircraft in an aerial refuel in order to transport the gas...

After a strenuous morning of flying all over the world we decided to grab some burgers and take some naps! After that we headed to the farmer's market and cooked up a great meal...tri-tip steak, grilled corn, and much more!
Here's the guys "manning" the grill...tough work!

Here's Amanda with Maddie and Riley!

The Habbestad's joined us in all of our fun while the Walkers were here!
We had a late dinner and it was a little chilly outside by the time we ate so Jason was kind enough to hand out his extensive North Face wardrobe so all the girls could be warm!
Amanda and John
Paul and Jenn

Me and Jason

Chris and Ashley

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Walkers Arrive...San Fran Day

The Walkers arrived Thursday morning without a hitch...Ashley works for American Airlines and they flew standby but although all signs showed that there chances of getting out of Dallas were slim to none they made it out on the first flight and it was time to party! Since everyone else had to work Riley and I picked them up in San Fran and we were off to Fisherman's Wharf to do some sightseeing!

We got to see the seals at Pier 39 which I had been wanting to see and it was so cool...stinky...but cool!
The seals all huddle together, yell at each other, and even have some knock down drag out fights...very entertaining!
Riley was intrigued with the seals and when it was time to go she had quite the fit!
Some of the sailboats in the marina...

Chris got some Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Breadbowl from a cart on the pier and we all was so delicious!

We found the greatest little playplace in the middle of the Embarcadero and Chris played with Riley on the cute!
After all of our fun in the city we headed back to our house so Riley could nap before her last night of swim lessons. Chris rode in the back with Riley while Ashley and I sat up front and chit chatted...Riley was smitten with Chris and they played all sorts games during their visit...she loved her "Kiiisss"
Riley's last night of swim lessons was fun...we just practiced all her skills...blowing bubbles, using the kickboard, jumping in, and kick kick kick!

Our little Diva...Jenn gave Riley her sunglasses and she was in her element...she swam the rest of the time with them on!
After swim lessons we headed over to the Cameron's for a great spaghetti dinner!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What a week...

This is a long post...with lots of pictures...there's your warning!

This past week has been eventful to say the least...let me start by saying that the craziest things happen when your husband leaves town. I know my fellow military wives along with those whose husband's travel lots for work know exactly where I am coming from...uuugghhh! Jason left early last Saturday morning for a week long trip to McChord AFB in Tacoma, WA for the bi-annual Rodeo competition...I am very proud of him and I'll tell you a little bit more about all that later...for now I'll tell you the fun things I got to deal with while my hubby was gone!

First off I was the victim of a hit and stuff! If you recall I witnessed a hit and run within the first couple weeks of arriving in Cali and was astonished that someone would do that. Thankfully mine was not quite as bad as the one I witnessed but nonetheless someone got a little too close to my car while Riley and I were shopping at the farmer's market last weekend...thank you uninsured motorist that scraped up my car! I didn't even notice it until I was back at home several hours after going to the farmer's market...this is what I found!

If you know Jason well you know he is pretty particular about how our vehicles look so I was not looking forward to his reaction when I e-mailed him this pic of my really wasn't too bad...some paint chips and one minor dent. Apparently the collision shop I took it to seemed to think it was a bit more complicated than that as they quoted me $1,550 to fix it...uh no! After several friends urged me to take it to "The Dent Tent" on base I obliged and found my hero who told me "It won't look perfect but I can clean that all up for you for $75"...where do I sign? An hour later here is what my car looked like...

Worth every penny!

The next event that just HAD to happen while Jason was gone occurred this past Thursday night...I had been staying up way too late which is something I become accustomed to when Jason is gone and Riley had not been sleeping the best so after several days of not enough sleep I decided we were both going to bed early. I had Riley in bed by 7 and around 9:15 I was about to call it a night...since the weather was so nice I had the windows open and kept hearing the sound of a helicopter but it wouldn't go away. When I finally looked out the window I realized it was circling around and around above our house and it was really low...I decided to call the non-emergency number at the police station and find out what was going on when I was told "We are looking for a suspect. Stay inside your home and call us if you see or hear anything suspicious." WHAT??? I kept trying to get more info and the girl kept repeating the same line over and over. I frantically closed all my windows and started closing all my blinds and was scared out of my mind. Thankfully Jen sent Paul over to hold down the fort because she knew I would not get one ounce of sleep if she didn't! It turns out they were looking for a man wanted for robbery who was evading the police...and he was armed and dangerous...fabulous! After 2 hours of the helicopter circling it finally went away so I called back up to the police department only to find that they had not found him and they were now just resorting to police cars to find him...that was comforting. Paul ended up spending the night and I slept much more than I would have had he not been here but I still didn't exactly get a good nights sleep! On Friday everything seemed pretty normal around the police cars and people out walking like any other day! I decided that the "fugitive" was probably long gone and put it out of my mind...and slept GREAT Friday night...probably because I was just plain exhausted.

Perhaps God places these situations in our lives to increase our confidence because to be the wife of someone who is regularly out of town requires a tad bit of confidence I do believe! I am hoping that the future trips Jason takes do not entail exciting events like the ones I was able to experience this past week...especially considering this was his first time leaving us home since we moved to Cali! We survived the chaos and managed to have some fun while he was gone!

On Tuesday we had the Havird girls over for a playdate! Jason worked for Col Havird in Little Rock so we have known them for several years and we have the opportunity to be stationed with them again. Avery is 3 and Reese is exactly one month younger than Riley so this playdate was all about girly fun!
We also started swim lessons this past week and are half-way through. I have to be honest...I was not impressed the first day when the teacher basically said "Today we are going to blow bubbles and get used to the water" and that's about all of the interaction we had the entire lesson. However, things have gotten better and Riley really is learning so much! She had a hard time learning to blow bubbles...instead she would take large gulps of pool water and follow with a "yummmm"! However, Friday while she was taking her bath she leaned over and started blowing bubbles like a champ so I can now say we have conquered that task! She is also learning to kick on her stomach and back, she's totally used to being dunked in the water, she learned to kick on a kickboard, and she even jumped in the pool (with a slight nudge from mom)! We are in the lessons with her BFF's Cooper and Maddie so that makes for lots of fun as well! Here's a few pics from our lessons this past week! Jason is working nights this week for a base exercise so we're crossing our fingers he can at least attend a swim lesson even if he can't get's just too much fun for him to miss!I love Cooper's face in this pic!
Practicing swimming skills with all her buddies!
I can't tell whose having more fun...Maddie or her daddy!
Kick Kick Kick!

Using the kickboard!

On Thursday we took a trip with my friend Julia and her son Logan to Vallejo to check out Children's Wonderland...a great outdoor play place for the kiddos! It was smaller than both of us envisioned but it was so clean and well kept and all the play places were age appropriate for the kiddos so we were able to just let them loose to play and not watch their every was great! They had a huge teacup, a choochoo train, a fire truck, a Cinderella carriage, a life-size chess set, and some great playgrounds!
Riding the space shuttle together!

Playing in the teacup...

In the carriage...

Julia and Logan

Me and both kiddos...neither of who were interested in a photo op!

Spinning the kiddos on the teacups...JoePa this pic is for you!

On the train...

On the tire swing...moments away from a meltdown!

Time to go...what a great date...we won't tell Cooper!

So what exactly was Jason up to while we were having all this work work! Jason has hit the ground running since we moved here and he works ALL the time...crazy schedules and more responsibility...but he's VERY good at his job and we are SO proud of all he does! This past week he had the opportunity to lead the teams for the C-17, C-5, and KC-10 to the Air Mobility Rodeo competition. This competition is the premier readiness competition that focuses on improving the Air Force's worldwide air mobility forces' professions core abilities and it brings many of our allied nations to the states as well to compete. He was able to do this in 2007 leading the C-130 team and this time he led three aircraft and that kept him very busy! We only had sporadic conversations the first few days he was gone because he was working so much...after all the competitions were over he was able to have some fun and celebrate the 16 trophies they brought home...all of the teams did awesome!

All of the rodeo teams were welcomed home with a reception on Saturday and we got to watch the planes arrive. Jason took his first ride on a C-5 which is the Air Force's largest aircraft in it's's nearly as long as a football field and almost 6 stories can carry vehicles, tanks, and helicopters and Jason said it was a great ride!

All of the leadership saluting the plane...

The guys considered Jason the 13th man to the 12 man team...

Jason getting off the plane...

I put Riley on the ground and she ran to her daddy with her arms open ready for him to pick her up!

Riley enjoyed putting on Jason's ear protection while we chatted with was so cute because it just smooshed her little cheeks and she looked like a chipmunk!

Riley has one tough job...sometimes you just need a milk break!
We were so glad to have Jason home and we decided to drive to Sausalito for the evening and walk around and have's just on our side of the Golden Gate Bridge right on the bay and about 50 miles from our house! It was amazing because as we got closer to the bay we were able to literally watch the fog roll in and see the temps was crazy!

This looks like mountains but it was actually fog / clouds...

Making it's way over the hills...

Our first view of the bay as we drove into Sausalito...

We caught a glimpse of the crazy yacht...if you look close enough you can actually see the helicopter docked on the back! Come to find out this yacht has made the news since it has been parked here for over 3 weeks. Apparently it belongs to a Montana industrialist billionaire...sitting at 225 ft long the Attessa III is the 14th largest yacht in America and the 71st largest in the world...crazy!

The town of Sausalito is so cute and quaint and has great little boutiques and restaurants all along the water...we had a great time just walking around and checking everything out! We still aren't used to the temperature change between the bay and our house and we were a tad chilly but we day we'll learn!

Riley enjoyed taking it all in...

We found a great place to take pictures and Riley was just not having it...we took pics anyways!

And the best family picture EVER...this is priceless!

We let her run free and we had our happy girl back!
She had lots of fun playing with her daddy in the park!A much better family pic...what a little toot!

After strolling around the town we had been told about an Indian-Mexican fusion restaurant so we decided to give it a stab and it was FABULOUS...different yes, but fabulous! We had a great family night checking out another place and I'm sure we'll go back soon!
Sunday we went to church and then had some Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)...napped...and then Cooper and Paul came over for some grub since Jen was out of town for work...Riley and Cooper had fun playing and eating together...we had a few lovers quarrels but that's just how they roll these days!

We had an eventful week...some events I want to repeat and a few I don't...haha...that's life! Jason is back to work and with a crazy schedule since he's working nights for a base exercise...not sure how that schedule will go but we'll find some time to hang as a family and we have LOTS of visitors coming in the next few weeks so we're so excited about that!