Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Holly Day!

Today Holly turned 14.  She's pretty easy to please for an established teenager. She had only 3 requests for her birthday.

The first request was for John Deere stuff. She especially wanted a Green John Deere hoodie with a pocket on the front. 

Her second request was for homemade egg rolls and rice with ginger sauce for her birthday dinner. It was yummy!

Lastly, instead of a cake she asked for homemade cinnamon rolls. I haven't made them in a long time because they are SO not good for you.  Ohhhh but they taste like heaven! Good choice Holly!

I considered coloring the cream cheese icing John Deere green. Then visions of disgusting green things started crossing my mind. 

Happy Birthday Hollybus!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Maybe?

After days and days of cold temps, rain and foggy, gray skies we FINALLY had a sunny day yesterday. 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Daddy's Home!!!

It was a very cold, wet and foggy day yesterday but nothing was going to dampen our spirits.  Daddy's ship was coming in and that was all we needed to know.  Originally we were told that the ship would dock just after noon.  Because the fog was thicker than pea soup the show time  kept getting pushed further and further back.

The command had a nice tent set up at the end of the pier where snacks, hot chocolate, and coffee was being served.  We hung out in the tent most of the afternoon listening to the DJ.  You could tell everyone was bored and antsy because adults and children alike were keeping themselves busy by dancing the hokey pokey, the chicken dance, the electric slide, and the cupid shuffle.  When the DJ played Soulja Boy my girls put on a little show for the crowd with their dance moves.  It cracked a lot of folks up that the "Chap's Kids" were crankin' to Soulja Boy.

Our shirts said " My Hero My Dad Welcome Home" on the front with "Chap's Kids" and "Chap's Wife" on the back.

Around 5 PM we finally heard the ship's whistle (horn) and spotted it coming around the pier.  About that time it also really started to rain.   Being the chaplains family, we were able to score a parking place right on the pier.  We climbed up on top of the truck to cheer and yell.  

The tugs pushed the San Antonio into place. When the first line was thrown across to the pier and fastened down an enormous cheer erupted from the crowd of family waiting to welcome their sailors home.  
The dads aboard that had babies born while underway and the couples that won the first kiss raffle were able to disembark first.  After that their was a mass rush down the pier to find your sailor.  All around us in the rain were people hugging and kissing and shouting for joy.  Deployment is over!
We found Lee and joined in the celebration. 

Here we are, cold, wet and very happy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Today's The Day

More to come later, until then here's a teaser.

Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group returns today
 Friday, March 27, 2009

Reported by: Carl Leimer
NORFOLK - Thousands of local families will be reunited with loved ones they have not seen in seven months today. Four ships from the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group are returning to Naval Station Norfolk from deployment.

The Iwo Jima group was on a scheduled deployment to the Middle East and the Mediterranean in support of maritime security operations.

The USS Iwo Jima, the USS Vella Gulf, the USS Carter Hall, and the USS San Antonio all had various missions while they were out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More PBR

Neither of these rides were a full 8 seconds but I thought you'd like to see a sampling of what we got to see last weekend. The guy whose bull fell over is Adriano Moraes' older brother Allan. He's not as good as Adriano of course. In my not so humble opinion NO ONE ever will be able to fill Adriano's boots when it comes to bull riding. Anyway, he did not get a re-ride which is normally what happens when a bull stumbles, falls or gets in a snit and will not buck. The elder Moraes touched the bull with his free hand before he stumbled. No points for you mister!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Military Monday

Our time for this deployment is nearing the end. I could not be more excited to be saying that. I will probably do one more Military Monday post where I will share homecoming pictures. After that I will likely be retiring Military Monday for a while. Maybe having Lee home will inspire me to pick up the pace a bit on the Sunday Suppers segment. Below you will find a bit of an email that I just received from my sailor. It is wonderful to know that our time apart was for a higher purpose. A heartfelt THANKS to each and every one of you who has prayed for our family and for Lee during this time in our lives. Your prayers and words of encouragement have been a blessing to us.

From Lee:
We had our last chapel service onboard for the deployment last night. It was a praise & sing kind of fellowship service. Yes we did sing hymns as well as praise choruses, guys shared testimony of what God has done in their life on the deployment. We shared scripture and also prayed for one another. It was a really good time and I was pleased with the turn out; not many but around 15. God has done some amazing things on this deployment and has set many things in place that we have yet to see. Of course there are some guys that have seen the truth and have had to weigh the price of discipleship and will not follow, they will not remain. I will continue to pray for these men. Last night was a great celebration though of God's goodness to us. Thank you for praying for us (and me specifically) for this time. You have had to sacrifice quite a bit so I wanted you to know that our sacrifice was not in vain.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Ready for a hootin hollerin good time?  Go see the PBR!  The Professional Bull Riders came to Hampton Roads this weekend and of course I jumped on top of those tickets.  I have always wanted to go see them live and last night I finally did.  It was SO much fun and I enjoyed every 8 seconds!  I dragged Caitlin and Holly along.  I'm pretty sure that they are hooked now, only I'm not so sure it's the sport exactly that hooked them.  It could have a little something to do with the hunky cowboys with nerves of steel but I'm not sure.  


The little girl who sat behind us stood up and looked down into the bull pen.  A few minutes later we heard her little voice say to her daddy "those bulls are sooooo cute but they're TERRIFYING!!"

Cowboy in the chute getting ready for a wild 8 second ride. 

Hang on cowboy, hang on!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Farm Girls

Sing with me now: Hooome, home on the peanut patch, where the girls and the weiner dog play, where seldom is heard, an intelligent word and the skies have been cloudy for days!

It has literally rained here for a solid week.  Today is the first day in a while that we've seen the sun for any amount of time.  Not too long after this picture was taken it started raining again and the temperature plummeted.

We took advantage of our few hours of sunshine to get outside. The girls are breaking up the ground and cleaning out the raised bed so that we can plant some early peas. We have a long way to go yet.

Abbie kept the dogs busy and out of range of the hoes by throwing the ball over and over and over and over.

Abs and her best bud Wrigley

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The New Me

Went and had my hair done today.  You like?

It's blonder and shorter than I anticipated.

I'm thinking I like it though.

Let's see, I've got new hair and I'm 10 pounds lighter.  I feel like a new woman. One who is very ready for her husband to come home.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Green Day And Other Stuff

Waiting in the doctor's office.  The things we do to keep ourselves occupied.  Everyone checked out ok.  It's my turn today, wish me luck!  It is St. Patrick's Day after all.
I realized last night after I posted the details about getting the truck fixed, that it was Monday. I completely let it slip that I should have written a Military Monday post.  Where is my brain lately? Lee is doing well as far as I know.  They are now only 3 hours time difference from us now which means they are getting closer to home by the day.  I am rejoicing that I only have one more Sunday to sit in a pew without my DB beside me.  Hooray!

Jet Puff's Behind

Today we went over to the repair shop where Jet Puff has been for the past week. After getting the bumper off, the repairman said that the damage was more extensive than what was first estimated. This is what we figured would be the case.

The orange lines mark more body damage that we did not see before the bumper was removed.

See that black bar sticking out just above the exhaust pipe? That is the frame extender that the bumper was attached to. That piece on either side is what saved our lives. It did exactly what it was intended to do, crumple and bend in a rear-end collision. Originally the repairman was going to just bend them straight again using a special machine. When he put them on the machine they split in half. He said he had never had that happen before. Evidently they had received too much damage to be repaired and will have to be replaced. You can sort of see the break in the metal just above the exhaust pipe if you look closely. The repairman said "Ya'll musta got smacked purty @%*^$ hard for those to break like that!"
My reply: Yep we did.

All in all I'd say Jet Puff looks pretty good for what she's been through.

Here's our brand new TEMPORARY soccer mom mobile. I just can't see myself as a soccer mom. I guess that would mean my kids would have to play soccer and we all know that ain't happening. No, I'm more of a "Kids, throw some clothes in a bag we're going to Italy" kind of mom.

I just reread what I have written here and would like to make one quick clarification. While I am eternally grateful to the fine folks at GM who designed the safety features of my Suburban, I wholly give God the credit for preserving our very lives during this event.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sunday Suppers

Is it any wonder that we Browns have been aching for the warm tropical Plumeria scented breezes of Guam? For 3 days straight it has been below 40 degrees and there has been a constant miserable drizzly rain. It's definitely weather for staying home in ones jammies. The problem is that you can only do that for so long before you start to feel like a permanent lump on your sofa. After braving the elements today, the girls and I were craving some comfort food. I could have chosen chicken soup or chili but why be normal. Besides, my track record with chili is not so good. Chili is the one and only food that I have ever put in front of my DB (dearly beloved) that he could not force himself to eat. Bless his sweet heart though, he gave it a good try. If he'd have eaten any more we may have had to turn to the Exlax for relief. Thank heavens it did not come to that.
When we lived on Guam we fell in love with finadene (fin-ah-denny) sauce. You can put it on nearly anything and it instantly spices it up. It's so yummy. So to conjur up warm thoughts we whipped up a batch. There's nothing to it.


Equal parts soy sauce and vinegar (about 1/2 C each) and I splash a little lemon juice in too.
1 small white onion chopped fine
A couple of boonie peppers (grown on Guam, extremely hot) or birds eye peppers. If you cannot find these little peppers a couple of jalepenos seeded and chopped will do.
Chopped green onion and a few grape tomatos can be thrown in for color too.
Mix it all together and let it sit for awhile.
Try it over rice and any kind of meat, especially fish. It can also be used to marinate meat before cooking.
You'll be thinking warm thoughts in no time.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Funny

Now I must resist the urge to break out in song... Suddenly, I need waffle fries in front of me! Too funny! O' I'm in love with Chick-Fil-A!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hobbes Grew

Don't let those sad puppy dog eyes fool you.  He's a TRAIN WRECK!

Hobbes is now 15 weeks old and weighs 34 pounds.

Look at the size of those feet! 

Ain't he cute!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Our Videos

I have spent the day uploading videos to YouTube. Click on the link below to see our videos from Greece and Lee's videos from Egypt.

Military Monday

The girls and I arrived home on Friday evening.  We've spent the last 2 days trying to recover from our travels.  Everyone has joked with us about how they "feel sorry" for our poor little souls lounging around in the Med.  I guess a bad case of Jet Lag is a small price to pay for the incredible experiences we've had over the past 2 weeks.
Before the San Antonio liberty ported in Greece they made a stop in Alexandria, Egypt.  Lee was able to see the great pyramids and he said it was amazing.  He said it gave him shivers to be standing where the ancient children of Israel stood in the land of the Pharaohs.

This is about as close as they were able to get to the Sphinx.   It is very protected in order to keep it from eroding even more.

Some of the sailors trying to fit in with the locals.  Ha!

This is Dave, Lee's liberty buddy and friend.  He is the dentist aboard the ship.  The sailors are not allowed to get off the ship without their liberty buddy.  They also have to stick together the entire time they are on land.  While we were in Greece, I got to be Lee's official liberty buddy.

I thought this was a cool picture with all of that amazing history in the background.  Although I laughed when I saw it.  To me it almost looks like Lee is photo-shopped into the picture. They were able to walk right up to the pyramids and even had the chance to go into one for more money.  Most of them chose to stay outside.  Lee said that Egypt was a money pit.  They were charged a bundle for every little thing and the children practically climbed them as they walked trying to sell their trinkets.

Don't forget to take a look at our Picasa Web Albums.  I am currently uploading the rest of our Greece photos as well as Lee's photos from various liberty ports.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What We Did Today

We ended up not going to the volcano after all. It would have cost 20 Euros each and that's a good chunk of change. THe dollar is so weak here it would need help climbing out of my pocket. I'd rather save the Euro for other upcoming adventures. I think I mentioned already that the island is currently in low season for tourists. In other words, there is not too much to do right now. Plenty to look at but no way to get there other than a taxi. So we came up with other ways to keep ourselves busy.

These are the steps on the side of the cliff here. They lead from the village of Thira at the top where we are staying to the old port at the bottom. These are the same steps we rode the donkeys down yesterday. This photo was taken about 1/4 of the way down. Today we hoofed it down AND back up on our own feet. Something tells me I'm going to feel that decision in the morning. Who needs a Y when you have 588 steps to climb?

Here we are gasping for air about halfway back up. The girls named the tag along dog "Cliff". He went all the way back up with us and every now and then he'd hop over the retaining wall and scare us to death. Turns out he's done this before and knows all the right spots for hopping over.

Woa Momma that's a long way up!

At the bottom we sat on the sea wall and enjoyed the crystal clear Aegean Sea, cool breezes and the view of the other islands nearby. This island has dog issues. Everywhere you go you are followed by a stray. They don't look underfed and they act very friendly so we were not too concerned. That's Cliff there in the foreground and the one behind Holly we named Meanie. The other one on the right did not stick around long enough to earn a name.

Here we are with "Dude" in the grocery store. We were shopping for gifts and snacks. Dude decided to help and followed us in. No one who worked there batted an eye. We ate our evening slice of Baklava in a bakery with "Littler Yeller" laying at our feet. We bought our ferry tickets back to Crete this morning from a travel agency. "Big Man" followed us in and sat patiently wagging his tail with the girls while I took care of business. It's been a unique experience.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Last Day

This is our last day here in Santorini. Tomorrow the girls and I will take a ferry back to Souda Bay. Actually this time we have a more direct ferry from here to Heraklion Crete (4 hours). From there we will have to hop on a bus to Chania (2 hours) then take a taxi to Souda Bay (30 minutes). Sounds tiring eh? Lee left us this morning, so it's a bit of a sad day for us. Greece has been wonderful but spending time with Lee (Daddy) after so long was really the highlight of this trip for all of us. The ship has one more port visit and will then be underway toward home. Hopefully he won't be too far behind the girls and I getting home.
Below are a few pics of what we've been eating and doing.
Today, us girls may pay to take the water taxi over to the volcano to take a look around and stick our feet in the hot springs.

My lunch. I wish I could tell you exactly what it is but even after eating it I'm still not too sure.

Lee and Caitlin both had Spicy Meatballs and Fried Potatos

Gracie's Club sandwich. She asked for ketchup and boy did she get ketchup.

A for real, no joke, 100% Greek Salad.

The Brown family has decided that Baklava is probably one of the best things about Greece.

The old port in Santorini where we got off of the donkeys.

For you Mrs Sherry: Caitlin with her foot in the Aegean Sea

Signing Tony's guest book at El Greco Taverna where you can find the yummiest Greek food ever!

Gracie and her new Greek friend Tony
Don't forget to check out all of our Greece photos by clicking on the Our Picasa Photo Album link on the right.