21 July 2016

Ferdinand Hassler Change of Command


Matthew Jaskoski took command of NOAA's coastal mapping ship Ferdinand Hassler Thursday. His delightful family and adoring neighbors were in attendance. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker thanked crew members in her keynote speech. 
President Thomas Jefferson asked Ferdinand Hassler (the ship's namesake) to commission a group to chart the nation's coastlines on July 21, 1807---209 years to the day prior to Jaskoski taking command. Megan Jaskoski pinned on Matt's new rank, and the kids fought over his hat later while touring the ship. 

Congratulations! Fair winds and following seas! 

16 July 2016

Noise

I don't think, in general, I'm a super loud person unless I'm over caffeinated and excited (Chris may disagree). I don't like talking over noise. Nothing exhausts me than toys that make noise or a solid couple of weeks of constant grouchy kid screaming. Well nobody like that of course. I like silence and prefer it to background noise. I love earplugs. 

All this to say: how do I ALWAYS have the loudest kids in the room? My ears feel like they're constantly bleeding from the kid noise reverberating around my house. 

And this week I got noise shamed at the library!! Worse than shhhhh-ing! We went to use the library wifi one 97degree afternoon and were delighted to find some friends there already. The kids played happily. Sort of. The girls are both nearly two and kept wanting the same toys. Eloise is kind of a brute when it comes to stealing toys and boys seem to usually let her have what she wants (terrifying in its own right). Girls, however, especially other little sisters, are all "forget that." So these girls were playing together by stealing the same toys back and forth and squawking about it. I know I know---no squawking in the library. But we were in the little kid play area with all the fun toys. So I go over to mediate and shhhhh and the librarian beelines to me. 

"Maybe you could take her outside to play until she's ready to come back in," she said, giving me her official Big Eyes. 

It's nearly 100 degrees out, the heat of the day, Isaac is playing happily. And Cars 2 is almost done downloading on Isaac's road trip device. So we (quietly) read books until it was done downloading, then walked the library walk of shame past the librarian desk to the exit. 
I am pretty sure that God gave me the loudest kids on the planet to strip away any and all pride. I feel like we invite public humiliation every time we're out. 

This week we sold Chris' car in preparation for moving, and since it was five million degrees outside and Isaac had been begging to go to the aquarium, we did! We're so fun (lately). 

My favorite parts of the aquarium are the tunnel through a tank, the sea turtle tank, and the shark tank. Eloise hadn't been to the aquarium since my parents and I took her on her first birthday nine months ago. So Isaac remembered everything, but for Eloise it was all new, and she was DELIGHTED. She exploded in cackling giggles for the very first tank of river turtles. And when we got to the shark tank, oh my. She got quiet. She went right up to the glass wall. There are several wide steps where everyone had sat down for an aquarium talk that ended moments before. A huge sting ray swims at Eloise and she absolutely cannot contain her glee: rising, bubbling, escalating, hooting baby laughter. The general din paused and parents started laughing. "Do you hear that little kid?" 

Yes. Oh yes. We hear our Weezie ALL THE TIME. 

"I figured it out," Chris said that night. "Eloise is an external processor...like you." 

So I guess that answers my question. She also likes wearing my beanies and taking selfies. 

Cape Henry


It wasn't supposed to rain until noon or one. Our resident know-it-all 4.5 yr old was NOT pleased when it started raining on our way to the beach. LOUD COMPLAINING AND WHINING. This kid has an opinion all the time lately. 

We stayed mostly dry nestled into the gazebo in the dunes by the cape. Cape Henry is the entrance of the Chesapeake. After lunch we swam briefly and watched dolphins. As we drove home, it started raining again. But the sun did finally came out...once we got home for nap time. 

13 July 2016

Cape Charles


Chris is on leave. We considered taking a family vacation, but opted to stay home instead and focus on swim lessons and moving stuff. That was absolutely the right decision. 
Isaac is really learning to swim. This week, we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore. I couldn't believe how peaceful and beautiful it was, just like the Chesapeake book kept saying. Regular crabs, hermit crabs, little fish, oyster shells, marsh snails---lots to investigate! Eloise SHRIEKED when the hermit crab emerged on my hand. That was pretty rewarding. 

Then Isaac and Chris were sharks; Eloise and I were crabs for a game of chomp and pinch (tickle) in the foot-deep water. An ideal kid beach. 
And for the very first time, Isaac SWAM. Actually swam: face in water, forward motion swam. We celebrated with ice cream! Both kids slept all the way home. 
"Ah, oo, ee, or!" Eloise lined up and counted her strawberries at home the other day. She finally says yes and no reliably for what she wants. That's been huge. 

Just two weeks left here! I know it will fly by! 

Elizabeth River Ferry


The Elizabeth River Ferry was just as fun as I had hoped it would be. We parked downtown and walked to the waterfront, following signs for the ferry. 

"This is where that parade was!" Isaac said, talking about the NATO parade. "And this is the where we went for the pretzel-val!" 
"...Festival?" 
"Yeah!" 

We sat pier-side and ate our frozen yogurt until the ferry docked. We hadn't done this sooner because I couldn't figure out where to buy tickets. It turns out you buy them on the ferry: $1.75 for Chris and me, 75 cents for Isaac, free for ELOISE. 

We floated right by Chris' ship in dry dock in the yards! Sometimes lately the kids are grouchy and nothing is fun. 

This was fun. We were even home before bedtime! 

12 July 2016

Matters


I turned in my security badge and Chrysler Blue sweaters at the museum today and took the opportunity to check out the two newest exhibits: Herb Ritts and the Rock Portraits (very entertaining) and Women and the Civil Rights Movement. This latter phogragraphy exhibit is mostly newspaper photojournalism from the 50s and 60s. 

Photos from Norfolk, North Carolina, Memphis. Places we live, places we've been, places we're going. I feel sad and frustrated that more hasn't changed. I know a lot has changed. But last week's news of black and cop shootings was truly shocking. 

One of the old black and white photographs talked about a photographer capturing a birth performed by the only black midwife for 400 square miles in South Carolina. White Americans at the time were shocked such poverty and lack of medical care existed for black women and babies within the US. 

Not here, we think, not anymore. But six decades later civil rights are still an issue. 

I finished Chesapeake, the 1100-some page tome about the region. Loved it. It was written in the 70s and discussed race and prejudice over hundreds of years, how even in the 19th Century it was illegal to teach blacks to read the Bible. 

And it goes on to show how people come together, a few at first, then more, and new issues develop as old ones are resolved. And there's hope, I think, when we look at the long past.

When I left the Civil Rights exhibit I found myself heading straight for the Renaissance gallery, looking up at a statue of Jesus Christ. 

I feel discouraged when I see the inequity and hate apparent last week. I don't know what to do, but we lift our eyes to Him. Save this world, Jesus. Show us how to love each other. At home, in the street, in our world. 

30 June 2016

Let the Chaos Begin

We finally got written orders late last week. That means we have the official congressional funding allocated (I guess), but what it REALLY means is we can SCHEDULE MOVERS. Let the moving chaos begin! 
Here are a bunch of photos from about six different recent trips to the zoo. I embarrassed Megan by touching a tortoise, and my friend Chiyoko and I held still when an emu walked right by us in the walkabout exhibit. And Chris and I took the kids to Zoo Grooves, the zoo's free summer concert series. 
Issac's annual cardiology appointment was filled with tons of angst. 
"I DON'T WANT TO GET A SHOT!" 
"Isaac, you will get zero shots today. Just stickers and pictures and cartoons." 
"NOOOO I DON'T WANT TO GET A SHOT!" 
In the end, he looks great. Apparently he's never supposed to play football though. 
I have been regularly exercising, even jogging, and I don't hate it. I think what I don't hate is listening to Chesapeake while jogging along the river---the descriptions of oystering, race politics over hundreds of years, ship-building, geese hunting, pirates, and life along a made-up river on the Eastern Shore. If I go just after bedtime, the fireflies illuminate the bushes, often lightning flashes on the horizon, the salty river smells sweep off the water and the comforting tree smells of sycamore and mimosa trees spur me on. 
I'm in the last 50 of Chesapeake's 1100+ pages, and my brain can either read a novel or blog, but rarely both. Final stretch, then there will probably be a glut of posts like this one, cobbled together, wrapping things up. 

The crepe myrtles are starting to bloom. 

28 June 2016

The First Decade


Our 10th Anniversary! A whole decade! We made it! Here's how we celebrated: Eloise got a fever and diarrhea. My car needed a new wheel bearing to the tune of $500+. Isaac sleep walked to the bathroom...but didn't make it...and peed all over his bedroom rug. 

And since we couldn't find a babysitter, we brought the kids with us to Longboards, a Hawaiian themed restaurant in Portsmouth. As we arrived we read the reviews: "kids: no." "Worst meal I've ever eaten." We plowed ahead anyway. The kids colored palm trees while we had Kona beers and hula burgers. Dinner really was great, and we even had a nice walk to the ferry harbor afterwards. 

I thought to myself, if I'd been able to see this day 10 years ago, it would do nothing but confirm we were marrying the right people. This is the life we've built, the 10,000 threads that bind us together (an image I liked from a marriage book I read once). 

Happy anniversary, Chris! Here's hoping the next decade has more luaus, less childbirth, and no 100-year-old houses. 

"Home is wherever we are if there's love here too." 
---Jack Johnson 

High Times in the Tidewater


Everyone knows the military is all about "hurry up and wait." We are literally waiting on an act of Congress to approve funding so we can get orders to move. Until then, nothing is certain. Well, Hawaii in early 2017 is certain, but the timing on everything is mush. 
"Hawaii! You're so lucky!" said at least THREE PEOPLE. Lucky? Am I lucky? WONDERFUL! It's so odd to be on the receiving end of an emotion other than pity for once. I love it! Then the sewage backed up in the basement again and the microwave broke. I will feel lucky if I survive this house long enough to move out! 
Last week, our friends moved. "You have no idea how hard it is to walk past your friends' houses everyday knowing they don't live there anymore," said my friend Kelly when she started her second tour in Japan. Her words come to mind frequently lately as I see the empty house across the street 1,000 times a day. Their loss (an inevitable military move! We knew this was coming!) feels almost tangible, as if the lack of their presence has us tipping over to that side, like we're missing a table leg. But every time I see Megan's closed red front door, the empty swings, I thank God that we were neighbors. I don't know how we would have survived this tour without them! Fair winds! Following seas! We're happy for your next adventure! Sorry y'all fell through our rotten back deck last time we had you over for dinner. 

Now it's time for US to blow this joint! 

13 June 2016

Atlantic


Operation Zero Sunburn is my ambitious goal for the next three years. Thus begins my OCD application of sunscreen to all within range of my spray baby sunscreen. 

Friday we celebrated the end of preschool with a trip to Virginia Beach to play in the surf and watch barges depart for foreign shores. Then we had dinner on the boardwalk. Isaac started school weeks after we arrived, had the same teacher for two years, and now we'll move just a few weeks after he's done. The final wrap-up is starting! 

03 June 2016

ALOHA, BABY!


I slept terribly last night. The limbo of knowing we have to leave but don't have anywhere to go---it was getting to me. What if the slate didn't come out at all this week? How close could we shave it? Would we even have 30 days' notice to get out of our housing contract? 

The wait is over---we are headed west to San Diego for several months of training, then on to Hawaii in 2017! 

I have dreamed of this moment. No literally, three times this week I dreamed the slate came out. And now it has. 

The possibility of a pit stop for training in Pensacola to be determined next week. Or the week after. Or the week after that. Oh, Navy life. 

Kiss kiss to the Navy! Today, I love you!! 

02 June 2016

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Tea-vil


Mary bought wagashi on her way home from presenting her paper at a recent conference on language and gender in Hong Kong. 

Would I like to come over for matcha and Japanese tea sweets in the garden at dusk? I hopped on the Red Panda (for the full Japan re-creation) and was there in a hot minute. 

Nestled between blue hydrangeas and tiger lilies, we sipped thin tea and chatted about our recent trips, new medical discoveries, and the definite uncertainty of the future. 

But we know all shall be well when we are blessed with evenings of peace, and friendships that transcend continents.