First Lady Welcomes Military Kids for Muppets Screening

Last week the First Lady invited military children to attend a screening of the the new Muppets movie at the White House.  We were lucky enough to be included in this group.  It was a huge deal for my kids and watching their little faces register who it was that was talking to them was a pretty incredible expereince.  I loved it!  We were greated by the amazing Kermit the Frog.  He spoke with the kids and took a picture with them.  They were not at all distracted by the man laying on the weird contraption talking for Kermit.  The First Lady was introduced by the always witty and fun, General Martin Dempsey.  He is probably one of the most hilarious people.  I’ve never not heard him speak and it not be funny.  In fact my kids are still quoting the jokes he told to the kids.  His normal repitore of token Irish jokes about drinking and signing probably wouldn’t work…but he actually took the time to come up with three jokes for kids.  It was perfect for them.

If you haven’t had the chance to see The Muppets Most Wanted (it just came out in theaters), here’s a little run-down.  
The Muppets are ready to take their show on the the road with a global tour.  But their new manager is actually a crook, and he works for Constantine, the World’s Number One Criminal!  Constatine, who looks almost exactly like Kermit, plans to steal a priceless treasure and blame it on the Muppets!

I have to say I am a huge muppets fan, and remember watching the old movies…I mean, come on, Kermit singing “It isn’t easy being green,” is probably the most recognizable thing.  They are hilarious and I’ve always loved them. Introducing them to my kids is just a natural thing.  Their first “come-back” movie of sorts I wasn’t all that impressed with.  I mean, it wasn’t horrible…but what I loved about this one is that it really harkens back to the old days of the Muppets.   I mean, the randomness of it all, weird cameos, a live running of the bulls (Hilarious!).  It doesn’t get any more Muppets than that.  The story line is engaging and funny, while maybe slightly over the heads of my two kids, there were lots of funny parts that they laughed out loud at.  Tina Fey is supurb and Ricky Gervais is perfect.  
Muppets Gets 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.  It would really be good for children maybe slightly older than mine, even though Brian did enjoy it.  Some of the plot was a bit complicated for him.  Adults who grew up with The Muppets will love it.  

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Military Monday: Military Families Preview the White House Christmas Decorations

Last week I have the most amazing opportunity to join some fellow press (yes, fully fledged press here!) to preview the White House Christmas decorations for 2013.  As with many years past many of the decorations reflected support and honor to military members and their families; so it seemed only natural to invite some military families to view those decorations as the official first tour.  The administration has done an amazing job at bringing military families to the forefront, and showing us that they are willing to do what they can to improve certain aspects of our life.  With the Joining Forces Initiative and Operation Honor Cards, it is clear that this is something here to stay.  As a military-connected person that means a lot to me.  Sure I went as press, but being there meant something more.  To take the time to really look at the ornaments, to speak with some of the other military-connected people that were there as part of the Christmas Decoration Volunteers was an honor.

The trees of the East Landing and the Blue Room were specifically designed to honor those who serve, as well as those who wait.  Those walking through the tour come to the Gold Star Tree.  Volunteers, including a Gold Star Mother, made star ornaments with woven gold stars in the middle.  Ornaments representing each of the five branches.  Here visitors can sign postcards that will be sent to our service members overseas; and they can also sign Operation Honor Cards to pledge volunteer hours.  This room was difficult for me.  I got the chance to speak with one of the volunteers who worked on this tree.  She decorated it for her son, Capt Josh Byers, US Army, who gave the ultimate sacrifice in 2003.  She proudly wore his picture on a dogtag around her neck,  and lovingly rubbed it against her heart as she spoke to me.  I’m not ashamed to say I cried, right then and there.  She pointed to the ornament with his name on it, and I noticed there were many others on the tree just like his.  A stark reminder of the realities of war, mixed with the hope and joy a Christmas Tree brings.  They are the reason we are here, that our trees are up and decorated; that the stockings are hung by the fireplaces; and the reason I get to experience the joy with my children.  That’s something I don’t take lightly.



The official tree of the White House, located in the Blue Room, is also dedicated to military families.  It is adorned with more than 2,000 ornaments, many created by children on bases across the country.  They created greeting cards featuring their favorite holiday memories.  Photos of homecomings also hung from the branches of the tree.  This was probably my most favorite part of the tree.  In each smiling face I could see that of my own and my children.  There is nothing quite like a homecoming.  I don’t want anyone to ever experience a deployment, but the feeling of a homecoming is beautiful and priceless.  Fabric ornaments with each state and territory, and one with all of them on there, to me expressed unity.  Our country is united in this, in the fact that we are all in this together.  Paper mache hearts and hand woven ribbons, each embroidered by volunteers from each state and territory, complete this beautiful tree.  I came back to this tree several times, trying not to get in the way of my fellow press peeps.  I just wanted to stand there and take it all in, look at every ornament and see every picture.

The East Garden Room

The Library

The Grand Foryer and Cross Hall
 featuring a beautiful piano
 and the iconic seal and flag doorway

 The State Dining Room
with the 300lb gingerbread White House
replica.  White chocolate is used for the 
furniture inside, and sugar was poured over projector
paper and then peeled off to produce the images in the windows

 To honor the spirit of Lincoln
copper painted pinecones add to the decoration
of this simple room.  With the spirit of Lincoln and gratitude
put into each ornament of the tree.
Cut outs of hearts from old books about the great President hang from the tree.


the East Room is vibrant with its gold and silver decorations, and four 
beautifully decorated Christmas Trees.  It is also the
home of the White House Creche.  This is probably the most
beautiful thing I have ever seen.  Each figure it probably the size of my hand, maybe a little
larger.  It is incredibly beautiful.

The First Lady took some time to work on some crafts
with the children of the service members that were present 

 I also snatched up some Sunny cookies
for my kids! 

It was such an amazing day, an honor and privilege to have been there.  On top of all that I mentioned above I had a little fan moment when I met Ari Shapiro, White House Correspondent for NPR, and when a suspicious package was thrown over the fence and I got stuck in the Briefing Room.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today.  Make sure to find some other #militarymonday posts on facebook and twitter.

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Santa is coming early to our house!

Being in the military sometimes has it’s perks….one of the perks is of course a direct line to Santa. So this year, since Daddy will be working hard Santa is making a special trip to our house this Saturday. When you’re in the military you do what you have do. It took me a little bit of thinking to decide what to do. At first I thought we’d just go with the flow and do Christmas on Christmas and it would just be whatever. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had to just do what we had to do. But I realized since he will be here sort of close to the actual Christmas, the kids are still pretty young, and Brian will not be returning to school after our celebration before the winter break we decided to just go with it early. It’s more important that he be here to celebrate with us. Truthfully my little heart probably couldn’t take not celebrating with him. This particular Christmas seems to of particular importance because its our first one away from our families and closest family friends. December has been quite rough – a virus for Christopher and I, stomach flu for all of us, pretty bad colds for the kids and I. There’s so much I haven’t done that I wanted to. It’s important that I listen to my husband. The kids are young and probably won’t remember everything. At this point I’m doing this for me because I feel like I need to for them. I’m running myself ragged because I feel this need to for myself, to make up for the fact that things are different now. We got our tree late, the decorating didn’t go so well and the kids started melting down/falling asleep, hubbs has been working a ridiculous amount and its just not what I had in mind. However I must remember to take a deep breath. Too high of expectations only sets me up for disappointment. It is not like anything bad has happened, but I think expectations were too high and when things came up that were out of my control, it was difficult to handle.

 A visit with Santa, thanks Operation Homefront!
 with Miss Maryland Teen, showing her their toys.  Such a sweet girl.


Christmas at the White House!

        I must remember to concentrate on all the amazing and wonderful things that have happened. The kids and I were able to visit the White House, all decked out for Christmas none the less. Daddy WAS able to go with us to get a tree and decorated it. We put our lights up, decorations are up, we got to see Santa and be blessed by the amazing people at Operation Homefront, which we never have been able to do before. So cheers to the good things. Christmas is not about what happens to us. It’s about giving, which is ridiculously cliched I know. Imparting upon my children the true meaning of Christmas is more important than any of that other stuff.

Merry Christmas!!

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