18 September 2009

New Picture Website

In case you didn't get the email, I have created a picture sharing website through Shutterfly. It's at http://vandenboschfamily.shutterfly.com. Be sure to check it out!

Baby VB #2 Loves CheeseSticks!!

I have been really craving mozzarella cheesesticks and I seem to find myself at Sonic almost every other day ordering cheesesticks with marinara sauce. Must be the protein. So I was at Sam's today talking to Sophie and sampling a jalepeno popper when I look in the fridge section in front of me and low and behold [chorus of angels start singing] is a huge box of mozzarella sticks!! Yay!! Now I can eat them everyday!!

16 September 2009

Fall is here!

Fall is here! Yay! I love the fall! It really has become my favorite time of the year. The summers are so extremely hot here in Oklahoma, although nothing compared to Iraq, etc, that the cool northern winds are a welcome change in the weather. I love how the northern winds also bring the cold rains.

And of course, the leaves start to change, although that doesn't really start to happen until the middle to later part of October. Speaking of October, I do think October has become my favorite month. And not just because Mike and I got married in October, although that does have something to do with it. Okay, it has a lot to do with it. When I think of October, I immediately think to Mike and I's time at the Willow Way bed and breakfast that we stayed at the night of our wedding and the next night. Darkness fell early, but not too early. There was a wonderful, rumbling thunderstorm during the early hours of the night. Lying in bed with Mike in his arms on our first night being married and listening to the rain fall and the thunder rumble together and feeling so loved, warm and secure in the huge room of the tudor style house we were staying in. Just looking at the huge oak boards of the four-poster bed with the deep purple fabric that was loosely wrapped around them and the candles flickering on the bedside table and the side of the jacuzzi tub - listening and feeling Mike breathe as I breathed. Oh, October! How wonderful you are! And then when we awoke in the morning and dressed and breakfasted in the dining room, we sat at a huge picture window overlooking the garden - it seemed to shimmer like a giant emerald. All the blades of grass and leaves on the tree were freshly bathed in the rain, and the sky was still overcast and it looked so cold, but not forboding, outside. Inside, it was warm and cheery as we sat across from each other gazing at each other and eating our homemade waffles and maple bacon. Oh, October! The memories, the memories.

October is a month for pumpkin pies made from pie pumpkins, and acorn squash, and warm clothes (but not heavy winter coats), and rain and overcast days and northern winds and leaves changing and homemade cranberry sauce and hot apple cider and warm socks and cuddling down into the covers with your love. It's an orange month too. (I think that each month has a color naturally associated with it, at least for me. And orange just goes with October!)

October is the perfect transition month from the hot summer to the cold winter. It's warm and it's not cold. It's wonderful! I look forward to October all year round and I relish it when it arrives!

Privacy, OPSEC and Social Networking Article

I have lately before more aware of what I write/say for OPSEC reasons. Mostly because of Thomas returning from Iraq and his return was actually pushed back a day because another Marine posted on facebook the date and time they would be returning.

Privacy, OPSEC and Social Networking
Anita Tedaldi September 04, 2009

From: http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,200146,00.html?ESRC=family.nl

Recently, I’ve thought a lot about privacy and operational security (OPSEC) and how much to reveal about my children, our lives and experiences. While reading criticism and support I’ve received for my work, I stopped and questioned what writing has meant to me, both in the context of my family and in the context of being a military wife.
Being open about experiences, mistakes, depression, tantrums (child and adult), serious stuff, silly stuff, and the failures and triumphs that are part of life requires juggling privacy while sharing meaningful events. It’s sometimes hard to walk that line.
In a military world, which is often isolating and rigid, sharing can be a way to make it work and to reach out to others. I’ve always appreciated the honesty in other military writers and the chance to make friendships with women who may have felt overwhelmed or down about something. Speaking up and being honest allowed many of us to make this military living far more pleasant than it would have otherwise been.
The issue of privacy and sharing of information goes beyond the military world and can be a problem for anyone who writes, or really anyone who uses the new social networking sites. If you’re on Facebook, My Space, Twitter, or if you blog, there may be plenty of personal information about you and your family that can easily be found online. These applications make it easier for us to reach out to so many people, but also much more possible to be found.
For example Twitter allows people to write anything in 140 characters. You have “followers” who see your updates and communicate back to you with their own 140 message characters. It’s easy to take these messages out of context or to accidentally share too much. Saying that you’re eating lunch at a specific restaurant for example, lets your friends know what you’re doing, but might also tell people who aren’t your friends your location.
These new applications are becoming essential in the way we communicate and do business. Go on any web-site and the first thing you’ll see is a button that says follow me on Twitter, Facebook, etc. So we’ll have to constantly address what we share and what it means.
It becomes even more complicated when we look at children and teens who are almost entirely immersed in this new way of communicating. How do we draw the line as parents? How much do we include about their lives in our own Internet lives?
It’s a question that each one of us answers through trial and error and with an open discussion with our families and loved ones.
Social networking has the benefit of allowing anyone to reach out to many people, but like everything else it has its drawbacks, mainly the loss of privacy. But as my grandmother would say, “chi non risica non rosica”— if you don’t take a chance you’ll never reap the rewards. The trick is finding a balance between what’s public and private, so that we can keep to ourselves what we need, but still make real connections to others.

14 September 2009

Sophie and her LoveBug

So Sophie has a LoveBug doll that Ruth bought for her before she was born. I gave it to her a few weeks ago and she absolutely loves it! She talks to it and laughs and holds it and waves it around. I got a video of her the other night while she was in her activity center talking to her LoveBug.

Sophie's First Cereal

Sophie had cereal for the first time on Thursday the 10th of September. (At least I think it was Thursday, I'm a little tired and my memory is a bit foggy today.)
Anyway, she liked it, I think. She doesn't eat a whole lot at one time, so I'm going to start saving half of it before I start feeding it to her.
Enjoy the video! :)

09 September 2009

Amazing Grace Video


Click on the link for Il Divo performing 'Amazing Grace' at the Coliseum in Rome.

Don't Mess With the Force

It's so funny, I just had to post it! Michelle, I'm sure you'll get a kick out of this!


Sarah Smiley September 01, 2009

I'm living with ominous, grotesque creatures. Some of them wear capes. Others have turtle-like armor. A few have bulbous foreheads with long, fleshy stalactites hanging from their ears. Almost all of them carry a weapon, many of which I don't understand, but the ones that use light sabers are so familiar and abundant on the floor of my boys' bedroom, often I forget there is no such thing, outside the sci-fi world, as a sword made entirely out of light.
More times than I can count in a day, I pick these creatures off the floor and put them back where they belong on the shelf. I lift some of them between my thumb and forefinger, as if picking up a soiled diaper, because their faces are so revolting. One, whose name is Darth Maul, repulses me so much, I won't pick him up at all. And all the while, for as long as I've been picking up these toys or stepping around them, I've listened to my boys discuss their history.
"Obi-Wan was trained by Qui-Gon Jinn," Ford tells his younger brother, Owen. "Later, Qui-Gon Jinn comes back as a ghost."
Owen, picking up the lost limb of a wookie: "And we knocked this arm off during the battle of Kashyyyk, right?"
The only words I recognized from the boys' talk was "Yoda," "Darth Vader," and "Luke Skywalker." I had vague memories of my older brothers, Van and Will, talking about the same people when I was a kid. But General Grievous, Count Dooku, and the rest were all but Greek to me.
It bothered me that my boys pretended to have "epic battles" with these characters. It bothered me even more when one morning I awoke to Ford telling Owen, "Let's pretend our whole house is the Death Star." ("You know the fate of the Death Star, right?" a friend asked me upon hearing my boys' plans.)
All this talk of the Dark Side was getting under my skin. Why did the boys have to wield light sabers and pretend to use Jedi mind tricks on clones? Why did they have battles to defeat the Sith? And why, one hundred times a day, did they make moaning sounds like wookies?
"It's classic Good versus Evil stuff," Dustin assured me. "Maybe you should watch the movies so you understand."
Reluctantly, I sat down to watch all six episodes of Star Wars. On screen I saw the familiar creatures, who until now had only lived in my mind as miniature and plastic, come to life. I saw the AT Walkers who are top heavy and flexible and never stand up on a shelf. I saw Jango Fett and Anakin as real characters, not just costumes. And finally, I saw what a pod race is and why the boys pretend to have one on the sidewalk with their Big Wheels.
But I also saw something else, something completely unexpected: a compelling story about love, sacrifice, and good versus evil. After seeing Vader's helmet come off and noting the tears in his eyes as he looked at his son, I admit I discovered a lump in my throat. And later, on my way upstairs to bed, I passed by a toy Darth Vader on the ledge, his plastic cape folded back as if blowing in the wind, and his red light saber held high above Luke's head, and a little tear sneaked out of the corner of my eye. For the first time, I understood the complexities for which Ford and Owen had wrestled with day after day on the floor of their bedroom. This revelation gave me newfound respect for my boys' play. I was hooked. Unable to stop thinking about the story, I asked my husband and children questions ("What is the meaning of Luke looking at his father's robotic hand, then looking at his own and lowering his light saber?" "How did Darth Vader know about Leia?") until even they lost interest.
The next day at the gym, Mike, who is 30, saw Ford carrying a toy light saber to the child care room.
"Is he a Trekkie or something?" Mike asked.
Two weeks ago, I would have rolled my eyes and sighed. But two weeks ago, I wouldn't have just purchased a handmade knit hat that looks like Princess Leia's buns. I wouldn't have downloaded the light saber app on my iPhone. Indeed, two weeks ago, I may have called my sons Trekkies, too.
"Trekkie? Really?" I said to Mike. I walked away shaking my head in disbelief. I had always thought the Force was strong in him. Then I channeled Yoda: "Mmmm, Power of the Force, he must not know. Mysterious are the ways of the Star Wars franchise. Strong powers of PR machine Mike has resisted."
May the Force be with him.