Monday, May 31, 2010

In Remembrance....

This weekend is not about BBQs and having people over to celebrate. It is day to remember all those brave men and women who paid the ultimate price in defense of this wonderful nation, and fighting for those freedoms that we all so often take for granted. Fly your flag outside your home. So few houses do this anymore. After 9/11 it was hard NOT to see the Stars and Stripes at a house or office. Now it is a challenge! This Memorial Day, as I do each year I pay tribute and honor Lt. William Thomas "Tom" Costen, United States Navy and his partner Lt. Charlie Turner. Tom grew up in the house behind us in St. Louis. I remember playing wiffle ball with him and running behind the "bug man" smog truck on summer evenings after dinner. Not the smartest of ideas since it was a mosquito killing fog, but hey you were a kid and everyone else did it. Tom's father was also a great friend to the family as well as an Orthopedic Surgeon to a few of of us.

Tom and Charlie Turner were assigned to Attack Squadron 155 at Whidby Island, Washington. Their unit shipped out to the Middle East on board the USS RANGER when U.S. military buildup began there in January 1991. Tom and Charlie had been in the region only ten days when hostilities began and they were asked to fly combat missions on Iraqi military targets in the first wave of offensive strikes of the war the opening night of the Gulf War. Tom was the pilot of an FA6 Intruder, and Charlie his BN (bomdadier/navigator). Both failed to return from missions on the morning of Friday, January 18, 1991.

Later reports revealed that two emergency radio beeper signals were picked up indicating that both Tom and Charlie ejected safely from their aircraft. Both were returning to the USS Ranger after a bombing mission over Baghdad.

On January 20, both Tom and Charlie were officially listed as MIA by the Pentagon. It was not until almost two months after the end of Operation Desert Storm that the Iraqis handed over the remains of 14 United States soldiers. One of those was Tom.

Lt. William Thomas Costen

Lt. Charlie Turner

Thursday, May 27, 2010

SCHOOOOOLS OUT FOR SUMMER!!!!! Well maybe the weekend!

The end of the school year program was tonight with Sophie and her classmates singing two songs. We had a great time watching and great laughs too as our little ham worked the crowd. Enjoy!

Sophie and her Tumbler Classmates
Sorry about the furry headed lady standing up! GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZ!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Birthday weekend in review.

It has been a very busy weekend over here at the Belz Centre. For those of you who have the honor of knowing Tricia well, you know she can NOT keep a secret to save her life. Well this time she did keep one, by planning a surprise birthday dinner party at our favorite place, Pho Grand. I was just planning on the three of us and we even told Tammy and Michael we'd be down, as we ate there last Saturday. I knew we would be fine getting a table, but when we arrived it was crazy insane, since this was the first nice Friday night we have had all Spring. I was kind of worried, but Tammy and Michael said they had our table and we rounded the corner and there was a big table with everyone waiting on us! Thanks everyone for coming. It was the first surprise party I have ever had and Trish did it spot-on! Nice work babe!
Saturday was the 12th annual cancer survivorship walk and the 7th for Tricia's Team Sarcoma. It started with just the two of us and now we have a wonderful team each year. Thanks to everyone who came out in support of Tricia and the Wellness Community of St. Louis. Later that eve, we grilled some great brauts and the Sophie and Olivia played in the sprinkler ball courtesy of Mema and Grandad. All-in-all it was a fun birthday weekend.

Our crew outside of Pho Grand

Good times with my girls.

Tammy, one of the owners of Pho Grand serving up a special treat!

Thanks Walkers for the GIANT warm throw! SWEEEEET!

Our hero. 7 years plus!

Uncle Bub and SLB

Playing with the sprinkler ball on a warm Saturday.

Olivia joined in and the girls had a blast.

Sophie signing songs to Amelia. She pulled her chair up and just started singing to her.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sophie is legally Sophie

Today was a very exciting day and a sad day for us as well. Our little girl legally became Sophie Lee-Nguyen Belz as we paid a visit to the St. Charles County Family Courts to complete her name change and the final step of the adoption process. It will be nice in a sense because everything such as her SS card, COC papers, insurance cards have her birth name on them. That sometimes is a challenge like visiting an urgent care and you get some moronic health care person, hand them her insurance card an they of course look at you and say, "Your relation to her is?" , uh she's our neighbor's friend's cousin's dog walker!? So the guessing game will no longer be a part of things anymore. But what we have to look forward to is more back-end paperwork with the USCIS to change her Certificate of Citizenship, Social Security card, and the vast array of other docs that go along with this.

But it is sad that she is no longer be Hang Thanh Nguyen. That beautiful name that her birth mother gave her on January 15, 2007 at the Binh Duong Hospital. We are glad though that we incorporated her birth last name into her legal name, as it means so much to us and we hope it does to her later in life. Sophie knows that her name in Viet Nam was "Hang" just ask her and she will tell you. What's in a name? So much history in such a short amount of time.

Wishing that we had a great court picture to share with everyone (thus the random Google generated search photo above), but our Judge was a complete JERK! He was cold from the moment we entered the court, during testimony and was just down right foul. You would think with all the crud he deals with in regards to family courts, this would be a ray of sunshine in his day, but NOPE not this guy! Maybe a hey, congrats to you all, or your daughter is beautiful, NOTHING......A disappointment to say the least and NO PHOTOS. Hey at least these folks have a judge with a semi-smile on his face! But it is over and done with, so turn that page. Our attorney who is a family friend and helped us out pro bono gave Sophie a little blue hippo stuffed animal who we have officially named Hang now.

Dear Sophie Lee-Nguyen Belz. We love you so very much!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Help Support Tricia & Team Sarcoma!


Next weekend is our 5th year for Team Sarcoma in the Wellness Community of St. Louis' Annual Cancer Survivorship Walk. Each year we have a great group of friends and family that walk in honor of Tricia and helping to support those affected by cancer and their family members. It is a wonderful organization and we are proud to be part of it.
If you are interested in making a donation to support our fund raising efforts, please click HERE.
We appreciate your help and thank you for your support of Team Sarcoma 2010!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's All About Mommy Today

Happy Mother's Day!

A picnic at Faust Park, followed by some playground time and then a carousel ride. We had a fun day today and tonight's menu requested by Mommy is Poppa's ribs and Bear's special recipe twice back potatoes :-) Happy Mother's Day to you Mommy B!!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May Brings Smiles and Longer Days

Welcome to May! We love that the days are getting longer and that we can go out and play for a good while after dinner. The weather is just amazing and Sophie loves running up and down the hill in the back yard, playing red rover and just being a 3 1/2 year old girl! The only thing she does not like is when Poppa hits the ball over the fence playing baseball. She says "that hurts my feelings!" Hope all is well, we are doing just fine here in our little world!

Best Buddies

Serious Pose

Hamin' it up now!

BEEEP!!! BEEEP!! Back it up!

The giant of the forest. That Bur Oak is 85' tall :-)