Monday, December 26, 2011

Why I am not a Navy wife...

Seeing as how today is the day after Christmas and we have been cooped up in the house together for three days straight now everyone is getting a little stir crazy. Henry learned how to climb out of his crib to combat his boredom and to add to my insanity. Wesley decided he wanted to put together the "Press out and Play" Pirate ship my mother in law got him for Christmas, also adding to my insanity.
Please note how that pirate ship looks on the front. This will be important later.

I was there when my MIL bought said pirate ship kit and I ok'ed the purchase at the time after a quick glance at it (I had to run and stop Henry from trying to knock over a stack of books before he attempted to climb on the nook table). It looked like a gift that Wesley would like and I didn't check the age on it. But still, looking at it this morning even though the age recommendation on it said 8 & up I figured "Heck, I am a smart, crafty 30 year old. This shouldn't be too hard".


Three hours, a lot of tape, a pair of scissors to cut bigger holes where tabs needed to go through and a glass of Bailey's on the rocks we arrived at this:
Note the large crack down the side. I could not get those tabs to line up right. Most of that is taped so it stays in place.

Also, note the large hole between the main deck and the poop deck. At least I think that is what they are called. It all blurred together after a while-fore, aft, main, mizzen...maybe I should not have had that glass of Bailey's while I was building this ship.

Because Wesley decided to punch out a bunch of the pieces before we got started many went missing and I had to make do. Note that there is a whole section of windows missing from the back of the ship. We did find them later during cleanup and then I had to take half the ship apart to put that piece in.
The ship won't stay attached to the base and as you can see as Wesley was adding the stickers (which in NO way makes it look like the picture on the front of the box) it fell apart some more (more tape to the rescue). Unless you hand painted/colored each piece before putting it together there was no way it was going to end up looking like the front of the box. No way. And unless you glue the thing together this thing is not going to be able to be played with by children. Even then.

Yep, I got beat by a toy that was meant for kids that are a 1/3 of my age. Fail. If it had been a tank I am sure I could have done better. Really.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Boy do I have a special gift for all of you. I have found a bunch of old Christmas photos, scanned them and am now going to post and comment on them for you. So grab your eggnog or your Bailey's or your holiday flavored coffee, sit down and enjoy. Merry Christmas y'all.

My mom and I opening gifts on my very first Christmas (1981).

Awww, I was so cute.  I am pretty sure I still have that outfit in my box of baby stuff.

I think this was 1982, so I was one and had no brothers yet. I got that same Tupperware set (in updated colors) for Wesley a few years ago.

1983 maybe? Probably because I had more hair. Check out my awesome cookware set!

Christmas angel.

Christmas 1985. That is my cousin Cory with me. We are at a Christmas party at our old church.

Obligatory picture with Santa. Ah, back in the days when Santa did not just give you candy to rot your teeth, he also gave you an orange to prevent scurvy.

 What? It was the 80's, aerobic workouts were hot.

Yep, that is a Rainbow Brite doll. I had them all.

See? Christmas 1986, I got "Tickled Pink". I remember wanting her SOOOOOOO bad. I was super excited to get her.

And I got a Popple.

AND I had a Care Bears nightgown. Don't be jealous.

Being Mary in the church Christmas Program. I had to take a nap the day of so I could be well rested. I remember is was REALLY hard to fall asleep because I was so excited.

My mom and I doing a dance to "Silver Bells" (I think). She made our costumes.

Not sure of the year. I think I was in 4th grade so that would be '89. I was the 4th star in the church Christmas play.

1991. Yes, that is a giant Caboodle. Yes, my hair is awesome. You try to get your hair to look that good on Christmas morning with no work.

K looks so mad that Santa brought him a shirt. Don't be a hater K.

Especially when I got a Sega Game Gear. It was in color people.

Me, my brothers, and my Uncle Jimmy and his now wife, my Aunt Karen. Seriously the only person I can make fun of in this picture is myself. What was I thinking? Stirrup pants? That horrible sweater? The only redeeming quality is that awesome Christmas Troll doll. I am pretty sure this outfit directly led to my Aunt Karen buying my clothes for my birthdays/Christmas/whatever every time after this was taken.
CD tower, Polly Pockets and an incredibly short Christmas shirt (I cannot believe my mother did not make me put on more clothes. But maybe I had shorts on under it or something). This was early 90's...maybe 93?

What, you don't wait until your dog passes out on a pile of gifts, add a Christmas hat and some empty beer cans and take a picture? Obviously you are not a redneck.

This was taken seven whole years ago (2004 for those of you who don't want to do the math), the first Christmas C and I were married. It was Christmas Eve at my mom's house. I know I should have a pic of the two of us but I like the picture for several reasons: 1) I can make fun of B's long hair (get a hair cut you hippie!). 2) I look hot. It is easy to tell this was taken pre-kids and in the middle of a seperation (C was at Basic/OCS that year but home on Christmas Exodus). 3) Those glasses on K's head that he is so excited about. Re-gift. Yeah I know how to get gifts on a budget. 4) In the back ground you can see my cousin Patrick and his now wife Constance. They are still like that when you see them together. 

Finally,  what is Christmas with out a little Christmas cheesecake? This was 1998ish.  B & K putting out Mom's reindeer and sleigh and candy canes. It was FREEZING out. But these guys are about making the holiday merry. :) Enjoy ladies (and sorry, they are both taken!).

 I hope everyone enjoyed these! Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stationery card

We Are Blessed Religious Christmas Card
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Letter to Santa

It is so cute, I want to keep it. Here is Wesley's letter to Santa. I had to write one for Henry so that Santa would know what he wants too. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Why I don't take my kids to see Santa Claus

Every year thousands of parents drag their kids off to the mall or Outdoor World or the local winter festival to see Santa. This is a big deal for parents and kids-parents get the obligatory picture of their kid sitting on Santa's lap and the kids get to give Santa a list of everything they want for Christmas.

The first year I had Wesley he was about 10 months old when Christmas time rolled around. The "Santa" we took him to see was actually DH dressed up for the FRG Christmas party. We only have two copies of pictures of Wesley and I sitting on Santa's lap. A few months later we took him to see the Easter Bunny at the mall and I had to coax and bribe him and finally sit the with the bunny myself to get a shot of him. Then the following Christmas season rolled around.

I took him to an FRG holiday event and they had a great Santa and Mrs. Claus there. I took him over, and I could tell he was unsure. I knew there was no way I was going to get him up there long enough for a photo op, he did ease his way up there to get close enough to grab the lolly pops they were handing out and then he ran away with it. So much for year #2.

I did not even attempt to see Santa with him the third Christmas because he flat out told me he was not going to see Santa.

Year four however (another deployment year) he was SUPER excited to see Santa. This was it! The year I was finally going to get a "real" photo with him and Santa. I took him to (yes, yet again!) the FRG holiday party. We had pizza and Little Debbie Christmas Tree snack cakes. We watched the tree lighting then got in line and waited-I am not kidding you-almost an hour to get into the Hunter Club to see Santa. I am pregnant and tired and don't want to be on my feet anymore. But Wesley is SO excited. He just kept telling me what he was going to tell Santa he wanted, what he was going to do when he got up there, practically pushing ahead of every kid in line ahead of us. Finally, there is only one little girl ahead of us. He tried to push past her to sit on Santa's lap. I have to hold him back. The little girl goes and then FINALLY! it is our turn. I give him a nudge to go up and-he freezes. Won't move an inch. Everyone tried to get him to go up. They offer him candy canes, to hold the jingle bells, they even try to get me to sit on Santa's lap to get him up there. I ask him "Don't you want to tell Santa what you want? How will he know what to bring you?" But no, nothing is going to get my son to budge. Nothing. Not even the candy cane I can see he really wants. Finally, I give in. What is the point, I don't want to terrorize my kid and there is no point is wasting everyone's time any further. so I say ok, let's go. At which point Wesley runs out, grabbing the candy cane on his way. As soon as we get out the door he turns to me, eyes filled with fear and asks "But how will Santa know what to bring me for Christmas?" OMGosh. I reassure him that we can write to Santa and he will know what to bring. And I swear that NEVER EVER EVER take my kids to see Santa again.

That is why I won't be taking my kids to see Santa this year, or any other year for that matter. I know I will get the people asking if I have taken the boys to see Santa this year and I know I will get the "You are an abusive mother" look when I tell them that no, we will not be going. It's ok though. My excuse this year will be that Wesley needs to practice his writing skills so that is why he will be writing a letter instead of going to see the man himself. Besides, I feel like seeing Santa working at 5 billion places during the holiday season kinda ruins the illusion of Santa anyway. (hey, whatever justifies it for me right?). So don't expect any photos my kids sitting on the man in the red suit's lap.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ghosts of Thanksgiving past

I know you are all anxiously awaiting photos of the new home but you will had to wait as it is Thanksgiving and I have to the obligatory "I am thankful for...." post. Except I am not going to do that post (come, on, we all know what I am thankful for-my husband, my sons, my family, my home, my laundry chute, Black Friday sales...).

I am going to tell you about Thanksgiving in our home. Since we don't live close to our families we don't get to spend every holiday with them. This has caused us to come up with our own traditions for Thanksgiving (and all the other holidays). When we realized we were going to have our first Thanksgiving alone in Savannah we were SO excited. No traveling to 8 different homes to make everyone happy. No having to pretend we liked eating green bean casserole. Heck, as far as we are concerned we will never expose our children to the horror that is green bean casserole. Or dried out turkey. Because unlike other people in our family we choose to brine it and cook it for only 2-3 hours instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to let it dry out in the oven all day. We could have sweet potatoes, but not with mini marshmallows melted on top giving it a nice chemically topping.  In short, we were finally adults and could do whatever we wanted for Thanksgiving dinner and IT WAS GREAT.

Of course we had to get used to each other's traditions, such as mine for watching the Macy's Parade in the morning (I have got to see Santa roll in on his sleigh or my holiday season just does not start) and C's for watching football all evening long. But eventually we learned to compromise (after a couple years of us switching back and forth between the two as we walked through the living room).

We usually have friends and/or family over if we can. There was the year that my brothers came to visit me (during our first deployment) and we had a great dinner together with a friend of mine whose family was not used to the American tradition of "thanksgiving dinner". That was the year I dropped a pot lid on my foot and broke my toe, but also the year that I got to enjoy downtown Savannah decorated for Christmas which we documented via the disposable camera that we bought because I left my camera at home. Good times! Another year we had single soldiers with no where to go over for a home cooked meal. Two years ago we had my mom and stepdad and some friends of our over (one whom was a vegetarian and we forgot about that little fact until most of the food was cooked and we could no longer substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock. Luckily she drank enough to not question if her sickness was from the vino or the food!).  Yeah, we are awesome hosts.

If C is home and has the chance he always signs up to serve food to the soldiers and their families at the DFAC. Why I have not learned my lesson and just had dinner there with him instead of cooking, I do not know. Maybe at our next post.

We have had a couple Thanksgivings over friend's houses, one year (Wesley's first Thanksgiving) because we were getting ready to move into our house we had just built and there was no way we were going to be able to cook dinner and this past year (Henry's first Thanksgiving) because well, kinda the same thing although we didn't end up moving and C had just come home from a deployment and heck, when good friends invite you over take a gift basket and go (or maybe I am just lazy on years I have a kid...hmmm...must have more kids to research this...)! I love the military friends and family we have made over the years and the good times we have had with them (I guess you could say I am thankful for them). I picked up a fantastic recipe for Ulgy Dip at my friend Ali's house on Wesley's first Thanksgiving and I have great memories of playing games at Sabrina and Dustin's house on Henry's first Thanksgiving.

Next year we will probably be in Maryland to see my sister-in law, her husband and our two nephews that we have never met. I can't wait for the cousins to play together for the first time, I hope we all make it there.

It's the end of our 8th married Thanksgiving. Dinner was fabulous, we are all sleepy and the dishes are still in the sink (which wouldn't be an issue but my mother in law is coming tomorrow and well, the house needs to be cleaned up before she arrives). Maybe for Christmas this year I will finally get that house elf I have been asking for. You can tell Santa if you see him that I have been REALLY REALLY good this year. ;)

Friday, November 4, 2011

My diapers cost what?!

So, here we are, T-2 days until the movers come. With two kids and a husband home there seems almost no point to cleaning up/making sure everything is in its place until the movers get here. We have started to pack up some stuff (like my Pottery Barn mercury glass-I insist on keeping the boxes and repackaging them when we move, I just feel better about it) and I have been taking down shower curtains and washing all the rugs and adding more and more items to our list of stuff that is coming with us. We went to Lowes today to get new blinds because Henry has destroyed 3 of them here and they will charge up $20 each to replace them. Ridiculous I know, when they cost about $5 each. Talk about mark up! I don't even want to think what they are going to end up charging us for the paint on the walls because it is flat paint and there is chalk, banana, and scratch marks from the end of a paintbrush Henry used on the walls. Also, I am attempting to get cat pee out of one spot in the carpet where they seem to keep going. I will let you know if it works, so far it seems to be working.

The other think I did today was buy disposable diapers. This might not seem like a big deal to anyone else but if you know me, you know we do cloth around here pretty much 24/7. I hate the thought of spending money on something I am throwing away (and yes I feel that way about other disposable items too, I have tried to cut down or stop using as much as possible or find a reusable substitute). Plus, with the reports you see on how bad the chemicals in them are and you add to that the fact that most of them don't biodegrade for 500 years well, you can see why we chose to go with cloth and why it would be a big deal for me to buy a pac of dispoable diapers. However, my husband has talked me into buying a box of them for the move so that I don't have to worry about finding a place/time to wash my diapers while we are moving and it can be one less thing to worry about while we are packing, driving, being nomads for a few days then unpacking in a new house. I understand the logic so I went ahead and bough a box of Pampers because I had two coupons for them from Sunday's inserts. It was still a big chunk of change for those diapers ($26 for 102 diapers-that is 25 cents a diaper-I am currently MAKING 25 cents off each diaper I use now, yes I am making money off my diapers, they have long since paid for their initial investment) and I was slightly sick to my stomach thinking I had just spend almost $30 on diapers that I was going to throw away. That I should have just sucked it up and found a way to deal with the laundry (and who knows? Maybe I will still do that and end up returning the diapers in the end anyway). I don't know how people pay for diapers all the time, I really don't. I can understand why some moms would leave their child in a diaper for longer than necessary to "get their money's worth" out of them. There are quite a few people in America who have to choose diapers over food, and if food wins out they wash out the diapers and reuse them. And I won't be one of those people who will say "oh they should use cloth, it would save them money!" because I realize that those people also don't always have a way to wash those diapers (if you can't afford food, water, electricity and soap could be hard to come by too). I wish there was a better solution. I wish diaper companies would make a better product, a safer product for the environment and that they could be affordable for everyone. I know that is asking a lot, especially from companies whose bottom line is to make more money for themselves. They know diapers are a need and they take advantage of that. It is very sad to me. I am just thankful that we have the ability to use cloth and save that money, and not put so much more waste in the landfills. Maybe by the time my kids have kids there will be a better solution out there. I hope so.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh my gosh we are moving....

I realize this should not come as a shock to me today. We have known since August where we would be going, we have found a home up there and put down a deposit, the movers have come and done the pre-moving assessment, we have our lists of stuff to do, what to pack, our timeline for moving up there.....

But. We have been so busy. End of summer. My brother's wedding. Wesley starting Kindergarten. Christopher finishing school. Going up to Maryland to visit with family "one last time" (ha). Shopping for winter gear that we don't own because we spent the last 5 years in the south. Getting ready for Halloween and doing all the fall stuff that goes with it (pumpkin patch, hay rides, carving those pumpkins into Death Stars, making caramel apples, sewing and wearing Halloween get the picture.

I knew November was coming, I even switched the calendar over last night. But still I was shocked this morning to realize that today is November 1st, the movers come in less (!) that a week and in two weeks time we will be in Niagara Falls checking out our new home. We are now in that phase of moving where you are not worrying about when and how everything will get done but you are just DOING it. Because it needs to be done and you no longer have time to think about it.

I don't know how much blogging I will get done over the next 2 weeks, but I did get the blogger app for my ihusband so you never know, you might get updates on our escapades while we are on the road (lucky you!).

I still can't believe we are on our way to the Great White North, that soon we will be enjoying snow (please don't let it snow while we are trying to move in-PLEASE!), and setting up house in our new home up there (so excited about that!). I will be sad to leave Virginia in a way, while I hate our apartment where we live now-I am not the kind of person who enjoys apartment living, I can see that now-I will miss Wesley's school and I will hate taking him away from his friends here. I will miss being only 3 hours from my family and all the stuff there is to do around here. But I am looking forward to our next great adventure.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I can't believe it's Halloween tonight and I haven't written a post in forever. I have been meaning too but it has been so busy aroudn here (lots of stuff to write about, but no time to do it!).

But for tonight I will focus on our Halloween this year. I was excited to take both of the boys trick or treating this year because last year they moved TOT up a day and we had no idea until the trick or treaters showed up at our door asking for candy as I was trying to put Henry to bed. We picked out their costumes in September so I could start working on them to make sure they would be finished by Halloween. They turned out great, they (well Wesley) decided to be a knight and a dragon. I tried to get Christopher to not be lame and be Justin Bieber this year but....he is lame. Sorry. Maybe next year. I will have to come up with a family costume and make him wear it. He did hand out candy to the kids though.

All of our decorations are packed up in our storage unit and we couldn't get to them so we had to improvise this year. We cut out paper bats (got the pattern from Country Living online) and hung them across the mirror in the dining room. We also hung up spider webs (they were supposed to glow in the dark but it is too light in here to see that). I had some table cloths from my mom and a cute Halloween banner I had picked up at Home Goods last year after Halloween (which is why it wasn't packed up with everything else!). And of course we had our pumpkins that we carved:

Storm Trooper pumpkin.

The Death Star. It should have more details but after already having two blisters from carving it  I was done! It did look cool though. I am glad I did it if only to prove to my husband that I could do it and that it could be done if you are not too lazy to do it. Just sayin'....

We also had two "regular" pumpkins (you know, the typical Jack-o-lantern faces) and a pumpkin with a "P" on it for our last initial.

We had our traditional spaghetti dinner (this year with Halloween shaped pasta) and then the boys got all dressed up to go out. This year Wesley got invited to go out trick or treating with one of the older boys in the neighborhood so we went around with him. Of course it started raining as soon we went out and did not stop all night. However, rain does not stop kids (or knights or dragons) so they went all night long until they had hit every home here handing out candy.

Cutest dragon ever (well, in my opinion anyway!).

Henry loved getting the candy but did not get the concept of putting it in his pumpkin for later. He would hold onto whatever candy was given to him until we got to the next home because he was SURE I was taking it from him to keep for myself. He was all about the lollipops this year.

Wesley and his friend Andrew anxious to get going!

Finally we made it home....Henry's tail was completely soaked, I could literally wring water out of it.

My little pumpkin butt. 

Taking stock.

Loot! You know in 20 years this picture will be awesome because they will want to remember all the kinds of candy they got back in the day and what it looked like back them. I am sure it will all be pretty much the same thing because this is pretty much what my candy stash looked like back in the day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Important things I have taught my child.

This is the conversation I had with Wesley while getting him ready for school. He was putting on the Dallas Cowboys socks that his great-grandmother had bought for him as she is a big fan.

Me:"Wesley, do you know whose team is the Dallas Cowboys?"
Wesley: "No."
Me:"It's Hampaw's favorite team." (Hampaw is Christopher's dad).
Wesley: "Oh. Our team is the Ravens. That is who we root for."
Me: "Yup, that is right. Who else do we root for?"
Wesley: "Um.....NOT the Steelers. They are on the bottom of the list."

I am so proud of him right now. From what little I know about football, at least I have thought him one lesson really well: never root for the Steelers. Ever. That is why they are on the bottom of the list.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Home Sweet Home

In the military you get to move around a lot. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes this is a bad thing. Since we have been married we have lived in 5 different homes so far. We went from just a room to a 2 bedroom apartment, to a 3 bedroom townhouse to owning our own beautiful home. We were there for 5 years until we moved up here to Virginia and now we are in a tiny apartment (made to feel even smaller with two crazy boys-and all their toys- underneath your feet all day long). I have had a really hard time here because most of our stuff has had to stay packed up and in storage (which is really frustrating when you realize you need/want something and you can't get it because you have no idea where it's packed and even if you did there is no way to get to it easily). Also, I really loved our house in Savannah, we had spent a lot of time making our home "ours". I hate apartment living, not having a yard to send the kids out into, the lack of privacy, ect. So we knew when we moved to our next duty station that if possible we would be finding a house to rent.

It was hard a first because there was not a lot in the areas we were looking into, in the price range we wanted that met our list of criteria. Then, we found it. Our perfect rental home. While it wasn't in our top area choice it was on one of our area choices. It means a slightly longer commute for Christopher than we wanted but since it had so much of everything else it was a compromise we were willing to make. Then we had to fight for it because it was a very popular listing. I am so glad we did because this is what we are getting:

Cute little cottage type house. I can already picture it with a layer of snow, a wreath on the front door, that walkway nicely decorated for Christmas...oh yeah I will be hitting up Pinterest for some good ideas.

Part of the kitchen-don't you LOVE those stained glass windows? I can't wait to watch the boys in the back yard while I do the dishes. ;) 

Living room, I love all the built ins in this room and of course, the gas fireplace! That will be necessary in the winter up north!

The bathroom. This house only has 1 1/2 baths but since I hate cleaning the bathroom anyway I guess we can live with that. It is a very nice looking bathroom. 

The sun room! I will definitely be making this space into a quiet area where one can relax, read a book, have a cup of tea and enjoy the view.

The house has 3 bedrooms and an office/den area. There is a large dining room area with fantastic storage built into the walls. Getting this house has made me really excited to get my family settled into it so we can start enjoying the Niagara Falls/Buffalo area. 

Ok, because you are dying to picture it, here is the dining room:

Loving it! I can't wait to move. More pictures to come once we get settled in up there.