Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Baby Brother

Remembering my brother on his birthday ...
 
Randal Brant Paclik
October 22, 1980 - August 24, 2001

Randal
This smile.  My heart.
Randal and me at my high school "Senior Night"

Saturday, October 18, 2014

First Homecoming Dance

My teen went to his first homecoming dance tonight, but not at the school he currently attends.  It a crazy turn of events, we ended up back in the Washington DC area on the very weekend that the high school he would have attended hosted their Homecoming. 
 
With the power of modern media, he was able to learn about the weekend through friends and accepted an invitation from a great friend to attend the dance.  I was very proud of his resourcefulness as he had to locate, download, and print a permission form, obtain the signature of his current school principal, and arrange with his friend to meet up for the dance.  These may sound like mundane tasks, but for my teen, this was somewhere near monumental. 
 
He had a great time and I'm glad he got the opportunity to go to the dance ... especially since he missed his current school homecoming, happening the same night.  Funny coincidences but a superfun night.





Friday, October 17, 2014

Rooftop Promotion Party at Old Ebbitt

We decided that 21+ years of military service and a promotion to Colonel warranted an extra-special celebration.  Since the promotion ceremony was at the Pentagon, we had lots of great venue options in our Nation's Capitol.  We loved living in the National Capitol Region and really wanted a very "DC" experience.  After researching and asking lots of DC expert friends, we decided on the Old Ebbitt Grill and their Rooftop Terrace.

We could not have dreamed up a more amazing space.  The views are absolutely breathtaking, the staff  is professional, friendly, and accommodating, and the food is delicious.  The combination of passed hors d'oeuvres, embellishment platters, and a mini bar ensured that everyone was well-fed and able to enjoy each other and the venue.  Adding mini cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes topped off a delicious evening.

The Rooftop provided the perfect venue for our big weekend.  Even the weather cooperated with our plans and we enjoyed a light breeze and moderate temperatures with great visibility of the beautiful sights around us.  I could not have been more pleased with the experience and am so thankful for the opportunity to celebrate my husband in this way.

We are ever so grateful for all who were able to join us ... and will always remember the amazing evening of family, friends, and fun.


Promotion Ceremony

There are so many things I love about the Army and I'm a sucker for the ceremonial ... so it's no surprise that I was moved to tears at my husband's promotion ceremony.  I am so very proud of him and his service.  He has an unwavering faith in our military and the Soldiers he serves.  We cannot imagine any other path in life and are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing culture.  With a happy heart, we congratulate our fabulous Soldier as he is promoted to the rank of Colonel.  We love you, Honey!

Ready for the promotion ceremony!

This is the oath office that is recited during the ceremony ... I just love this:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm)
that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States
against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;
and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.
So help me God.
 
These boys have my heart.
Of course we rehearsed our roles in the ceremony.
I had the hard part, getting that crazy shoulder board onto his coat ...
But I nailed it!  First try!  HOOAH!
Congratulations, COL Cook!
 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Big, Bold, Crazy Prayers


Like so many of you, I have been touched by the word 'cancer' far too often.  

My grandfather died of lung cancer when I was young,
my mom is now (gratefully!) cancer-free, 
my dad is bravely fighting through his long battle with colon cancer, 
our closest Army friends are dealing with prostate cancer,
my boss is undergoing chemotherapy for testicular cancer, 
we lost a wonderful friend and Soldier to throat cancer, 
a fabulous high school friend is a 4-year survivor of breast cancer,
a college roommate's young son is battling cancer,
an Army wife friend just completed reconstruction after beating breast cancer,
another Army wife friend is now able to celebrate being breast cancer-free,
a third Army wife friend was just diagnosed with breast cancer and begins her journey,
and now my sister-in-law begins her journey to defeat breast cancer as well.  

It's safe to say that I hate this awful disease.  I pray for its demise; that it would one day be a dark spot in our history books, something we can only read about in the past tense.  I pray for total and complete healing from this horrible and sinister disease.  

I love my sister-in-law Rachel's words on the very day she was diagnosed ... she is praying big, bold, crazy prayers ... and so are we.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Father and Son

This was our son's first year playing football and we have enjoyed a fabulous season watching him develop into quite a force on the line.  He plays offensive guard and defensive tackle and has done a great job learning the game, mastering the skills, and playing the game.  I am so very grateful for a phenomenal group of coaches that taught the game and encouraged the players.  They were exactly the right people to lead our boy into this sport that he now loves.
 
Of course, it doesn't hurt that he comes from generations of football players on both sides of his family ... and his dad has always been the greatest encouragement to him.  It is always amazing for me to see our boys look up to their dad and see his shining example.  This season was definitely a time of bonding and encouragement for my baby boy and I am thankful for it.
 
 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

West Wing Tour

Somehow the stars, moons, and planets aligned for us to a) live in Washington DC, b) know someone who works in the White House, and c) have the opportunity to take a tour of the West Wing of the White House.  The boys and I spent a beautiful afternoon touring the West Wing with our dear friend Rich Morales.  It was a day for the memory book for sure!