Thursday, January 31, 2008

A New Do and Some New News

I finally bit the bullet a couple days ago and went and got my hair chopped off. I've been wanting to do it for a while now, but Tuesday I was having a bad kid day and Anton was home, so I scheduled a last minute appointment and left. It was really nice to get out of the house for a few hours. I'm really easy going when it comes to my hair. I usually let the stylist have free reign. I cut off about 4 inches? Not sure how many. But on a whim I also dyed it. Auburn. It came out darker than I wanted but I'll get used to it. You ready to see it? There are actually two versions of it. The flipped out:

And the flipped under:

I like it. I wish it had a bit more of an a-line to it rather than being so bobbed, but I'll have her cut it that way next time. Did you know it's really hard to get decent pictures of yourself when you are actually trying? The mirror shots are the hardest. Thank goodness I was able to snag Anton to help.

Anyways, on to the new news. Anton's paperwork is finally on the move again. The commodore finally got off his duff and dusted off Anton's paperwork and signed it. So now we should have orders in 1-2 months. Of course that's what they told us back in August so we'll see. I'm just happy to have missed the Utah winter, since that is where we will probably be moving to. Unless Anton changes his mind again, which he is known to do. Frequently. His newest plan is to get a teaching degree. Not my first choice. I really want us to stay in the military, but he wants to do something that more obviously helps people. We'll see what happens.

So that's what's new with us! Have a good one!

Monday, January 28, 2008

An Ella Funny, and Some Not So Funnies

So the other day we were at a running store getting some nutritional goo stuff for Anton. Next to the check-out stand was a rack of sports bras and Ella was browsing through them while we were paying for our stuff. All of a sudden she picked up the largest one on the rack, held it up to herself and yelled, "COOL BOOBIES!!" We were dying. I haven't laughed that hard in so long. The guy behind the counter had no clue what to say. I think we embarrassed Ella a bit by laughing so much. I still chuckle to myself every now and then because of it. She is such a goof and says the funniest things.

However, I think Ella's not so funnies tend to outnumber her funnies. The other morning we started out so well. Ella didn't make it to the bathroom in time and ended up peeing all over the stairs. Ugh. So we get that all cleaned up and get the kids eating their breakfast when she spills her milk all over the table. Double ugh. We get that all cleaned up and finish eating breakfast when Ella, in an attempt to carry her cereal bowl to the sink, spills it all over the floor. Triple ugh. All we could do at that point was just laugh, because really, what else could happen. I was waiting for there to be some sort of major injury with blood spurting everywhere, because that's really the only thing worse I could think of.

So that leaves Ella with a score of 1-3, Not So Funnies in the lead.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Yesterday's Secret Was Today's Surprise

In my post yesterday I made a cryptic remark about one of my activities for today. But now that it is today I can share what it was. And the secret activity for the day was this:

I couldn't share yesterday because it was for a surprise party for Emily, who reads my blog. I had too much fun making this cake. Especially these stars:

The cake was planned around the stars.

Emily's husband did a great job planning the surprise party. She had no clue. Here she is when she walked in the door:

Blurry, but you can see the expression on her face.

We sang "Happy Birthday":

And she blew out the candles:

Then we all pigged out on cake and ice cream and sat around chatting. She also opened her presents as some point:

It was nice to be out among adults and socializing. Anton left early with the kids because it was long past their bedtime, but I stayed and played.

It was great fun and great food (if I'm allowed to say that about my own cake) and great friends.

Happy Birthday Emily!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Nothing to Blog About

Well, I have been tagged (actually quite a few times and I've pretended not to notice) and since, as my sister Andrea says, I have "nothing to blog about" I guess I'll lay out some worthless facts about me.

Two names you go by: Amanda and Mommy
Two things you are wearing right now: Jeans and shoes I've had since High School
Two of your favorite things to do: Sleep and Eat
Two things you want very badly: Perfect children and more energy
Two favorite pets you have had/have: Ted the fish and all the other fish who never made it
Two people you think will fill this out: No one, because I won't ask
Two things you ate today: Eggs and Tuna and noodles
Two people you last talked to today: Ella and Alex
Two things you’re doing tomorrow: Exercise (hopefully) and something that is a secret
Two longest car rides: Ohio to California and West Texas to Maryland
Two favorite holidays: Christmas and my birthday (that's a holiday right?)
Two favorite beverages: Water and Orange Juice (Tropicana Pure Premium with no pulp)

So there you go. Now for another little thought. Yesterday on someone's blog they talked about their greatest fear and it got me thinking as to what my greatest fear is. I had to think pretty hard, but I managed to come up with 2.

1. Tornadoes -- Everytime there is a big storm I get all nervous and start plotting where to run and hide. I've been in multiple tornadoes in my life and I think that's why I have such fear of them. I know how scary they can be. I don't think someone who has never experienced one can truly appreciate how awful they are. When I was a kid I was always torn about what to do with my bedroom door at night. In case of fire you want to have it shut. But in case of a tornado I wanted it open so I could get out of my room and down in the basement as fast as possible. So I compromised and left it open a crack, though in hindsight I realize this would have done me no good in either situation, but it helped me sleep at night.

2. Having my children kidnapped -- Now I know the first thing my dad is thinking is if I'm so afraid of this why do I post all about us on my blog. But seriously, anytime we are in public I keep one eye on each of my children. If they are ever out of my sight for even a second I will start calling their names in a crazed panic. I can't stand the thought of someone else getting to see my children grow up or, even worse, doing bad things to them. As terrible as it sounds, I would rather have my kids die then kidnapped.

Now I also have all sorts of irrational fears as well, but these I can kind of laugh at myself for. I am always convinced there is someone in my shower if I am in the bathroom in the dark. I also jump into my bed at night from a distance so that the person under my bed won't grab my ankles. I can't stand to have my blinds open at night because there is always someone looking in at me. And I could go on and on, but this will have to do on the subject of my fears.

As for our day to day lives here, well, not much has been going on. We went to a really cool restaurant in Alabama the other day. You know you've really been using up your local entertainment when you drive so far for fun. It's a southern type restaurant but they have all sorts of cool things. (I'm kicking myself for having forgotten the camera so no visuals today.) Their drinks are HUGE!! They throw roll at you from across the restaurant. I had a pork steak that tasted exactly like ribs without the bones and when I was finished the server asked if I wanted more. They'll keep feeding you until you bust. They also walk around and dish up all sorts of southern side dishes in addition to what comes with your meal. Things like black eyed peas and fried okra and such. For the rolls they serve sorghum molasses which was about the tastiest thing I've ever eaten. And for good measure we got one of their giant cinnamon rolls to take home and eat for breakfast the next day. In addition to all the food they have cool old stuff all over the walls and wooden trucks, trains and tractors for the kids to play on outside. So everyone had a great time. I wish it wasn't so far away because I would definitely be going back.

That's been the extent of our fun of late. We did buy an elliptical, but I was going to post about that separately.

So for now, adieu!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Blog Slacker

I have been informed by multiple people that I am officially a blog slacker. Well it is not as it seems. It's not so much that I haven't been writing in my blog, but that I've been writing about exactly what's been going on. Nothing. We are taking a nice long break from the life of travel and adventure. We've been doing a whole lot of nothing. I don't think I've taken a single picture since Anton's parents left. So you should all be glad I haven't been blogging or you would have been bored out of your minds.

That being said, there are a couple of things I have neglected to blog about in the last month or so, so what better time to catch up than now!

Back in the beginning of December I made a birthday cake for our friends' little girl. Her current obsession was butterflies so that is what I made.

These are absolutely terrible pictures, but I was being photo lazy that day. I think this little guy turned out really cute.

It was a white cake with coconut frosting. It was so good. The wings are just made from a round cake cut in half and then flipped around and shaped. It was pretty easy.

I also finally quit my scrapbooking job. I just wasn't too into it. But I did make one last page for them before saying tally-ho.

I will still be scrapping, just not for any website in particular. I also was scrapping like a mad woman the last couple weeks of December to make a Christmas gift for my parents. I made a book of our family tree. It turned out pretty good. I got it printed at Shutterfly. There were a few things cut off in the middle of the book, but nothing disastrous. Here are some shots of it:

The cover. I blurred the names for privacy sake, they are not like that for real.

Grandparents' spread, again on the blurring.

My great-greats.

More great-greats.

The ending page.

I won't share the rest as it is 20 pages long. I'd been meaning to make this book for quite a few years now and am glad I finally did it. I'm pleased with how it turned out. From what I hear my parents liked it too.

And last but not least, one thing we have been doing the last little while is puzzles. We go through puzzle phases, and right now we are in one. While Anton's parents were here we worked on this one:

We got it this far after hours of staring at it. The entire middle of the puzzle is a giant field of little purple flowers. We finally gave up on it and took it apart. We have done a few other ones since, but I just had to document the puzzle that never was.

So my friends, that is what you have been missing. Not much. Unless you consider Alex almost breaking my nose today something worth telling about. My face is in pain. There was no blood, but I have a new bump on my nose to add to my collection. Such fun.

Anyways. I will be back again when there is something more worth blogging about. Until then!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

New Orleans and It Comes To an End

Now before we being anything I think we need to have a bit of a pronunciation lesson for all of you northern folks that read my blog. Read this in your head: New Orleans. Now if you are saying it like this: New Orleans, you are wrong. People down here will let you know that. Now if you are from the south or have been in residence for some time you will know the proper way to say it is: New Orluns. And if you really want to sound like a born and bred southerner you will say: Narluns, all one word. So repeat after me: New Orluns, New Orluns, New Orluns. Now we can begin.

The whole reason for us going to New Orleans was to drop Anton's parents and Aunt off for their flight home. But we figured if we were going to be going that far we might as well make a day of it. So after a few hours drive we headed straight into the French Quarter so as not to waste any time.

We wandered somewhat aimlessly, since we really didn't have much of a plan and ended up stopping in this Catholic church:

It was beautiful and peaceful inside. The pope visited here in 1987. His second visit to the United States.

This guy has been keeping vigil until the time he may come again. Must be a hard job.

After following around the older folks for awhile and realizing they were having trouble reading the map, we decided we'd be better off finding our own way. So we went off on our own to see the sights. Again, we still didn't have a destination, but it was still fun to wander.

Here's my cute family. You'll never guess what has the kids so engrossed that they won't look at the camera. A gardener. Yep, right off the side trimming a hedge. Much more interesting than looking at mommy with her silly camera.

Never fear, though, I forced their cooperation.

After our wander we went and got the famous beignets (I think that's what they are called) from the Cafe du Monde. They are square, hole-less doughnuts completely covered in powdered sugar. They were OK, but not worth coming from the world over to eat them, as the cafe likes to claim.

We met back up with Anton's parents then and we all went on a carriage tour of the French Quarter.

We were a bit disappointed because the tour guide was much more interested in telling us about what celebrities he had seen in what restaurant and bar than he was in telling us any history of the Quarter. He also had fun flipping the bird to the cars behind us, right in front of my kids. Impressive. Not the best use of my money ever, I must say, but oh well.

Our next stop was up on the famed levee to see the mighty Mississippi:

You can see in the distance in this one:

the levee that failed and flooded the 9th Ward. It's all patched up and not looking so great still.

Right below the levee was the trolley line and a few came by while we were standing up there. Ella about died of excitement each time. She would yell "A train! A train!" and proceed to run down the levee right towards the track.

I managed to get her to stop before careening onto the tracks each time. But it was so cute to see her so excited.

After a little bit more wandering (Can you tell how well planned this trip was? It was through no fault of mine.) we had some traditional Cajun cuisine for dinner. I ate a lot of jambalaya. That stuff is good.

By that point we were tired of feeding the parking meter so we all piled in the car for a driving tour of the Garden district. There were a lot of large old fancy homes. I would love to go back and spend more time there. I also didn't get to go in any of the above ground cemeteries and I would've really liked to do that. It'll have to wait until next time.

But the time came for our adventure to come to an end. We took Anton's parents and Aunt to their hotel, said our farewells and then made the long trek home.

And thus ends the adventure of the in-laws.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year!

Things have not slowed down for us yet. My in-laws are still here and we continue to do one adventurous thing after another. So let's get right down to business shall we?

Anton decided it would be fun to invite all the local extended family over to celebrate New Year's Eve with us. So I stoked the kitchen fires and made some yummy food for the party. My favorite were these:

Bacon-wrapped, Cheese-stuffed JalapeƱos. They took a bit of time to make, and the first one you ate seemed a little ho-hum. But for some reason we just couldn't quit eating them. I ate far too many and my intestines were not happy with it.

To counter the spicy I also made this:

That happens to be the yummiest strawberry fruit dip ever. And it is in no way good for you. Fruit dip can be deceptive. You think, "Fruit. It's good for me, right?" Well on this one, guess again. It's a concoction of strawberry cream cheese and marshmallow fluff. Yep, marshmallow fluff. It is to die for, and will probably be a cause of my death some day. So good.

We had so much good food at the party:

People brought all sorts of things from KFC to pies to fudge and more. It was sinful. And I ate too much.

The party was crazy, and not always in a good way. We had all of these running around:

They were loud. They liked to scream (as is appears Ella is doing in this picture). And they didn't like to share. But hey, that's what cousins are for right?

Here are the one's that brought us all together:

Anton's dad is in the middle, with his sister on the right. Her son, Fred, is the one on the left. Anton's dad and Fred were like peas in a pod when they were younger.

I didn't think anyone would stay until midnight since everyone had kids with them. Boy was I wrong. They all stayed. I was pooped. But I got my New Year's kiss from Anton and all was well.

We spent New Year's Day bumming around the house recovering from the night before. I woke up feeling like I had a hang-over, though I drank not one bit of alcohol. There wasn't even any in the house. We needed a day off.

But the next day we headed off on more adventure. We ended up taking a bit of a drive over to Mobile, AL to see what there was to see there. Our first stop was the USS Alabama.

It's a battleship, just like the USS Arizona that was sunk in Pearl Harbor. It didn't take long wandering around before the kids were driving us crazy and we had to throw them in the brig:

(That would be the jail on the ship for all you land lubbers.) But they promised to be good so we let them out. We wandered all over from all the way down in the engine room:

All the way up to the decks:

Look at those big guns! They can shoot accurately at 21 miles. Crazy. You want to know what else I think is crazy about those guns? Their turrets run all the way down to the keel of the ship. (Am I using too many technical terms? Well, look them up.) And the only way to get in and out of them is here:

That little hole my fancy blue arrow is pointing too. That little hole is all the way down in the bottom of the turret. There is no other way in or out. That is where they loaded the shells with powder and sent them up to the guns. Now my thought is this: What happens when the ship starts to sink? What is the first place to fill up with water? Yeah, that would be the bottom of the ship. Right where that little hole to get out is. This would not be my ideal job locale. Let's just say that. Makes me think of those movies like U-571 that give me the creeps to watch. That's why I would never let my husband volunteer for submarine duty.

Anyways, back on topic. I did manage to get a fun picture while in the scary turret:

They also had a hangar full of planes and a submarine to tour also. My family decided to take naps on the oh-so-comfy submarine berths:

Of course, being the mother, I didn't get to lay down and rest. All in a day's work.

We then went and had lunch at a little Italian place before going to see Oakleigh House:

It was built in 1855 and makes me think of Pride and Prejudice. We got to do a quick tour before it closed. I like going to historical places like this.

But we were all pooped by then and headed home. We also all snagged a nap on the way. Except Anton, of course, who was driving.

Now for those of you who we sent our beach Christmas cards to, you might feel a bit of retribution by this next part. Today we decided to go down to the beach.

Now what is wrong with this picture? Do you see it? Yes, that's right. No swimsuits. Those would be winter coats and hats everyone is wearing. It has been in the 30's for the past few days and we are not enjoying it. Now I know that doesn't compare to the sub-zero temperatures and snow most everyone else has, but it does make living in the South a little less something to gloat about, let me tell you. Anton's parents aren't too happy that the cold weather showed up when they got here and it's forcasted to be in the 70's right after they leave. But Anton's mom wanted some beach sand, so off to the beach we went.

The kids don't mind the temperature too much as long as they get to run around and play, see:

He's happy as a lark. Ella found one of those bubble pipes in the sand and entertained herself with it the whole time we were there.

Here she had thrown it out into the water and realized she was going to have to go in after it. She timed it just right and managed to fish it out without getting wet, thankfully.

Anton followed his usual occupation of filming everything going on, as if a million photographs of it all wasn't enough:

I am willing to bet that my children will have some of the best documented lives of anyone.

When our toes started turning blue we decided it was time to head back.

Grandpa and Grandma enjoying a moment together.

We went and had a yummy lunch where we all ate too much then headed back home. We have been eating out way too much with Anton's parent's here. I feel like I'm going to explode.

On a side note, we saw an ugly accident on our way out to the beach. A semi had overturned in an intersection.

There was a light post through the cargo part and there were boxes spilled out everywhere. The windshield was missing and was laying on the ground. The cab looks fairly intact so hopefully the driver was OK. We can't figure out what kind of stunt this truck had to be doing to impale itself on a light post, but it must have been impressive. Glad I wasn't behind him.

Tomorrow our adventures will continue before finally drawing to a close. We will be doing a whirlwind tour of New Orleans before sending Anton's parents back to the rainy cold north. And of course there will be pictures and stories for all. See you then!