And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Grandparents Come to Town

This past week we were blessed with the opportunity to spend time with Grandpa and Grandma Finlayson.  Until recently they were just referred to as Mom and Dad; however, Dominik likes to mimic sounds and we wanted to eliminate any confusion (he is already referring to Dad as "TJ").  This was a very eventful week, so I hope to do it justice and remember all the details.

Grandpa and Grandma arrived Thursday night around 5:30 and as soon as we picked them up we headed to a family favorite restaurant called Saylor's Old Time Country Kitchen.  They have the world's greatest steak included in the most wonderful 5 course meal.  We were fairly worried how Dominik would do for the duration of the 5 course meal, but luckily he kept his composure thanks to Toy Story 3, animal crackers, and oh yes...gently caressing the waitresses rear end.  We apparently need a family home evening lesson on chastity (or more specifically "petting").  The meal never ceases to disappoint, and we all left completely full and satisfied. 

Friday was a great day for hiking, so we took advantage of it by hiking up to Punch Bowl Falls in the Gorge.  It's a beautiful hike that is a little over 4 miles round trip and has two huge falls to admire.  It was a great way to admire God's beautiful creations and carry on in some great conversation.  Some of the highlights of the trip were: catching a snake and a lizard, hearing TJ's cadences from the Navy, Dominik falling asleep in the backpack carrier, and skipping rocks at Punch Bowl Falls. 

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day so we packed up the car and headed to Newport. What should have been a quick 3 hour drive seemed like eternity with an unruly toddler in the back seat, and a very carsick mother in the front.  Luckily TJ got us there safely and before any huge meltdowns (from either Dominik or myself).  We ended up going to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and seeing and touching some pretty cool things (not a waitresses this time).  Dominik loved touching the sea urchins, and crawling through one of the tunnels located in one of the exhibits.  It's the little thing's in life right :) After the aquarium we headed to the lighthouse and walked along the beach near the lighthouse. Grandpa and TJ tried to hike out to the end of the jetty but the wind was so strong it would blow them off the rocks they were trying to jump to so they had to turn around (and since grandpa was wearing shorts the sand from the beach nearly took all the skin off his exposed legs). Although it was quite windy, it was a lot of fun.  Dominik was pretty hungry at this point so TJ and I headed to McDonalds to pick up a cheeseburger and then met the family back at Mazatlan's, a Mexican restaurant, for dinner.  Needless to say that the day's festivities did a toll on Dominik and he did not make a peep back at the hotel when we put him down for the night.  TJ and I went swimming with Jana, Andy, and Grandpa.  I had pretty bad allergies all day that the relentless wind did not hep, so I took a few benadryls and don't remember much after the swimming.

Sunday was more beach fun, meeting new friends at the Newport LDS Church, and roasting hot dogs on the beach.  We headed for home about 5:30, and Grandma, Grandpa, Jana, and Andy stayed to go deep sea fishing the following day (it was luckily cancelled due to the Gail Force Winds and come to find out ended up capsizing a boat).  As soon as we got home Dominik fell right to sleep and so did TJ and I.

Monday was a rather boring day considering the 4 days prior.  TJ started back up at school, and Dominik and I layed low at home.  Grandma and Grandpa got home about 7pm and we had a quick dinner and headed to Cinetopia to see "contagion."  While the reviews were good, those preparing to see it should know that it's more of a documentary than a movie.  There is not too much of a climax; it pretty much starts and ends with a lot of information to digest in between. 

Tuesday was a fun day where we got to see TJ and Aunt Jana up at OHSU/The VA hospital for lunch.  It was cool for Dominik to see daddy/TJ during the middle of the day, and Grandma and Grandpa enjoyed seeing their two children in scrubs doin the medical thang :) To finish the day we had a huge family dinner with the Papenfuss side of the family as well.  We had a great family home evening lesson/activity, and then all conversed over dessert.  I have to say that I feel very blessed/spoiled to have two amazing families!!!

Wednesday was another great day where the boys (Grandpa and Uncle Andy) went salmon fishing, and Grandma and I went shopping.  Grandpa and Uncle Andy caught two huge fish (which after much coercion turns out was purchased for $4 a pound from some Indians up at Cascade Locks) and we grilled them up for the ultimate feast. There was some somberness in the air due to the fact that this was their last evening in Portland, as well as the incredibly sad movie I rented for our "epic movie night."

Thursday was a day of packing, finishing doors (doors at Aunt Jana's house that Uncle Andy kicked in), and visit teaching.  Grandma and Grandpa headed to the airport and we said our goodbyes.  It was sad to see them go, but luckily they will be back in a month for the fun to continue.  I said it before, and I will say it again...we are so blessed to have such an awesome family!  It's weeks like these that I'm even more grateful for eternal families.

Monday, September 19, 2011

TJ the Sailor Man...

The words "I'm so glad when Daddy comes home...glad as I can be," have never rang so true in our home!  After 5 long weeks of waiting, TJ is finally finished with his Officer Development School in Newport, Rhode Island. 

Here are a few things that TJ jotted down while at ODS...

Well I didn't start writing this until "Day 2" and I have the wonderful blessing of forgetting bad stuff, so I hope I can accurately recall the last couple of days.

Day 0 - Left Portland at 820 with a lay-over and bad weather in Chicago.  Arrived in Providence Rhode Island and found the shuttle.  Arrived on base about 2115.  We had not had dinner and everything had closed except a bar about a mile away.  We ran down there and got there 1 minute before they closed.  Luckily they let us order a pizza.  So that night...WORST NIGHT EVER!  Hot...Muggy...and I'm pretty sure the Sea Gulls were brawling outside, which in addition to my roommate snoring made for a very noisy dorm room.  I didn't end up falling asleep until 0200 and had to be at breakfast by 0700. 

Day 1 - Not too bad, just a couple of orientation classes.  I missed the shuttle to church and was bummed about that.  We mainly just got everything we needed to start the "real day 1" tomorrow.  I'm really starting to get tired of the food.

Day 2 - (the real day 1) I am so sore.  I did more push-ups today than I did trying to get ready for this thing!  We normally wake up at 0500, but we all heard the rumor that they come wake you up earlier; like 0400.  We were all nervous and I slept even worse than the 1st night.  We have to sleep in our "Physical Training" (PT) clothes and I was freezing.  We slept on our made beds because they have to be made so meticulously and we only had 10 seconds to be "at attention" 4" away from the wall outside our dorm room with a drill Sargent yelling at us the entire time.  If that wasn't bad enough, everything has to be put away in our locker with the dial set at "0," the bed has to be perfect, and the windows for the entire company has to be at the same height (3").  Anyway, it was pretty stressful.  We started off by doing push-ups and some other exercises until my arms were going to fall off.  We then stood at attention in an extremely hot hallway while getting yelled at even more.  After this excitement we went to eat.  When you eat you get 15 minutes. Everyone starts and stops at the same time, you don't talk to or look at anyone, and you are either looking at your food or doing the "1,000 yard stare." We then had our 1st experience marching.  I am Terrible!  To make things worse the way we line up is due to height (I am the tallest).  I am what the entire company is based off (front right).  I have always known that I was tune deaf, but I though I could carry a beat; turns out that I can't.  We spent half of the day in the store getting our uniforms, which wasn't too bad initially, but we were not allowed to sit, or talk and then we had to carry our 50 pound bag to our "home."  We learned drill for the rest of the day and we got about 100 commands that we are supposed to yell responses back; I can't keep any of them straight - push-ups!  Overall I do like the experience and I think it will be good for me.  I know Breanna will appreciate the discipline about keeping things in order and hopefully I will continue with it!

Day...who even knows anymore - Today is Friday 08/20/2011.  A lot has happened since I last wrote.  Many early mornings and classes that are extremely boring and hard to stay awake through, and even more push-ups.  We did our 1st Personal Fitness Assessment (PFA) the other day where you had to do as many sit-ups then push-ups as you could in 2 min, and run 1 and 1/2 miles.  I did 58, 38, and 10:55.  It was not too bad and I was in the top group of times which is about 30 people or so, placing us in the "fast" group for running and PT.  I'm thinking it would have been wise to slow it down, but I am glad that I am getting pushed.  We ran 1.5 miles this morning doing the shuttle run where the last person sprints to the front.  We stopped 10-15 times to do push-ups and other various exercise; it about killed me!  I'm in the Uniform Company and we have Chief Petty Officer Freislag who just came from the more difficult Officer Candidate School and is about 10 times more intense that the other company's officers.  he looks at the other company's and says "if you ever look as nasty as that I will kill your muscles."  Well today that came true.  There is a thing, a very horrible thing called the "SUYA" (pronounced Sue-Ya), which is a square sand pit that we have to sprint to in 1 minute (about 100 yards away).  We have to throw our stuff down and enter in through a small doorway (42 people).  Then as we are screamed at and being hosed down with a fire hose, we have to do different exercises; all of which have to be in 100% unison, or we do more. There were other drill instructors yelling at us and pointing at the people who were not responding which led us to even more pain. At one point, one of the drill instructors, who was yelling out the window at us, punched out the screen and jumped out the window so the he could yell right in our faces. When the pain stopped we were informed that we had exactly 10 min to get to our dorm, up the stairs (4th floor) and get into our uniforms and there better not be a grain of sand anywhere in the building. We sprinted to the showers and jumped in with all of our clothes and brushed the sand off each other. Amazingly we got the place looking pretty good and didn't get in trouble after that.

After a few weeks the beatings ended for the most part, and we spent most of our time learning how the navy operates and how to take care of the sailors we will be responsible for.

Here is some pictures to recap the experience:

Look at those hospital corners! Not bad for the first bed I have made since we got married.

View from the base

The Men of the Uniform Company

Three of OSHU's Naval Dentists: Ensign Lafferty, Ensign Finlayson, and Ensign Fugere

There was a little time for goofing off :)

TJ got to go to Boston over Labor Day weekend while on Liberty and see some pretty cool sights.

Lookin' pretty sharp, right ;)


We are so proud of Daddy and the sacrifice he made for our family!

Dominik wants to be just like Daddy!

He was so happy that Daddy came home to him!  As soon as he saw TJ he immediately bypassed Mama and reached straight for Daddy!

Here are some things Dominik learned while TJ was away...

1. He can now say "" - mostly to Roxy when she is doing something he doesn't like.
2. He thinks everything is a telephone and will put it to his ear and say "dada, dada, dada." When TJ doesn't answer he throws the object down in complete and utter disgust.
3. He throws temper tantrums of epic proportion.  He will lay on his tummy and hit the floor with his head or fist.
4. He only has his Binky while he is sleeping.
5. He can eat with a spoon/fork pretty well.
6. He can now run.
7. He LOVES sitting in little chairs, steps, window sills, and anything else he deems to be a seat just his size.
8. He loves to play with other kids.
9. He talks all the time!  He carried on a 5 minute conversation with TJ and ended it by saying something that closely resembled bye, and handed me back the phone.
10. Grandma taught him how to say "please" in sign language.
11. Finally and most regretfully, Uncle Chase taught him a game called "Bam-Bam," where you walk around saying "Bam-Bam" and hitting anything you see two times in a row.