Alert the National Guard!

JerseyChick is going to B-A-K-E!

Srsly, it’s about to get busy around here, so don’t look for me until after Christmas. If I do post, it’ll be 2-a.m.-type ramblings.

Tonight is Mom’s Nite Out. I missed November, since Mr Wonderful spent an extra hour chatting with a student and didn’t come home with the working vehicle. I missed October, since #2 was in the hospital. I’m beginning to forget the sounds of these ladies’ voices! Gasp!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, we need to get #1 packed during schooltime. Late in the afternoon, I’m giving a midterm to my Latin 3 student. She may finish (I hope!) early, giving me time to run to the grocery store before AWANA and pick up cookie ingredients and Crock Pot Mac-n-Cheese ingredients. Then the parties. Hey- I get to try bringing chicken soup in that thermos I found, and my kiddos will have dinner before 9 pm!

Thursday, whilst I am giving midterms to all and sundry, my friend is going to change the oil in the van. He should finish just about when my classes let out. Meanwhile, Rootie is coming over to pick up #1.

When I get home Thursday, only #2 and #3 will be around, so we may bake a new cookie I just found the recipe for: Pistachio and Cherry Shortbread Squares. The local tearoom, run by a darling lady who grew up in England, published the recipe this week, and I have been searching for a pistachio recipe to take to Home Group, since the lady of that house has never tried them.

Friday we’ll do school (yes, it’s close to the holiday, but I want to be done with the school year by mid-March!), then make crock pot chili and a birthday cake for #2 and be over to the J Boys’ house by 6:30.

Saturday is school again, finishing any baking, and sending #2 off to the homeschool Middle School Christmas party at the House with the Drive-Through Christmas Lights. #2 is expected to bring $3 for pizza, cookies, a white elephant gift, and have more fun than a barrel of monkeys. #3 will be home with Mr W and I, and will probably spend at least 3 hours on a computer game. Mr W and I will be cleaning…

I’ll put mac-n-cheese in the crockpot Sunday before church and make sure we have plenty of sliced bread. We were given leftover ham from the Christmas dinner- already sliced and ready for sandwiches. The ELEVEN (What was I thinking?) are coming over for lunch and I am (What was I thinking?) hosting a Cookie Exchange.

What I was thinking was this: Cookie Exchanges are fun, I like all 11 girls, and I want #2 to know that, although I spend every Wednesday with #1′s AWANA group, she (#2) is not left out of my thoughts and efforts. {We offered to host Egg Olympics for #3′s group at our house, but his leader didn’t have time in his schedule this fall. Maybe in the Spring?}

Anyway, Mr Wonderful has to run off to the church Sunday night for a class he’s assisting, and there will be an empty couch for me to collapse on after the Exchange.

Then, that’s it. Nothing more planned until New Year’s Day, when I’m cooking Dutch Dinner. The kitchen calendar looks so peaceful from the 21st to the 31st. I may even catch my own tail!

If you don’t hear from me, Merry Christmas, ya’ll.

Rain

I don’t mind winter rain much- it generally means the air will be warmer. It’s due to rain all day tomorrow, as well, but I don’t have to be anywhere until Mom’s Nite Out at 6:30.

The van desparately needs the oil changed, but the dad whose family had been bartering babysitting for foreign language lessons has been flexible enough to quit babysitting and barter car repairs, so I’m covered. The dad of that family is very kind, and helpful with car advice, too.

The AWANA Christmas parties are Wednesday night. I’ve volunteered to bring drinks for the Trek/Journey group- about four 2-liters are needed. However, when I checked with the younger kids’ leaders, not only don’t my kiddos have to bring anything, but there are LOTS of half-full liters of colas left from the Christmas dinner Saturday, so I could just make a gallon of tea here at home and skip the grocery store trip entirely.

It wouldn’t break my heart to hibernate for about a month, though. The best part about this Christmas, IMO, is the lack of activity that begins next week.

What’s the best part of Christmas 2009 for you?

Best Friends

I was just remembering my godmother, Ruth Reinholz, this morning.

Ruth was an officer in the Marines back in the 1950′s. (She eventually achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel!) My mom was a new recruit. Although officers weren’t supposed to fraternize (befriend) enlisted folks, mom and Ruth became good friends.

Mom left the Marines when she married and learned she was going to have my sister, but kept in touch with Ruth. The next year, Mom asked Ruth to be my godmother.

When Ruth retired from the Service, she moved to a town close to my mom, and their friendship continued. Occassionallyy, we kids would go with Mom to visit Ruth- but that was scarce, maybe once every 2 years or so.

I dropped out of college at one point, and was working in Florida. Ruth was in New Jersey. One day I got a phone call from her: “What would it take to get you to go back to college and finish your degree?”

I calculated quickly. “About a thousand bucks. I could cover the rest of the costs by working off campus.”

“A check will be in the mail tomorrow. Don’t tell your mom where the money came from.”

I took the money and finished school, and sent Christmas cards to Ruth every year thereafter. About 3 years ago, her relatives let me know she had passed away. I called my mom and broke the news, and revealed the secret.

My best friends are the ones who say, “What can I do to help you do the right thing?”, followed by “The check (metaphorically speaking!) is in the mail.”

The USMC History has this to say about Ruth:
17 March 1967: The first woman Marine to report to Vietnam for duty, Master Sergeant Barbara J. Dulinsky, began her 18-hour flight to Bien Hoa, 30 miles north of Saigon. MSgt Dulinsky and the other officer and enlisted Women Marines that followed were assigned to the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) based in Saigon. Most worked with the Marine Corps Personnel Section providing administrative support to Marines assigned as far north as the DMZ, but two Lieutenant Colonels, Ruth Reinholz and Ruth O’Holleran, served as historians with the Military History Branch, Secretary Joint Staff, MACV.