Saturday, July 26, 2008

Are we there yet?

What I wouldn't give to be able to go to sleep tonight and wake up in Washington. Moving is too stressful. And top it off with the fact that we are trying to maximize out military benefits before losing them, and we have been busy, busy, busy. In the last 10 business days we have had 11 doctors appointments. There were 3 in the week before that and there will be 3 more this next week. It's getting old. But if my teeth would just decide to be normal I could stop going to them all.

I've been neglecting organizing my house and getting ready for the move. I made it through the bedrooms and sorting out clothes, and then I gave up. I really wanted to get rid of all the toys the kids don't play with any more, but I've lost my oomph. At this point the movers can just pack it and I'll get rid of it later.

So instead of planning for the move, I planned our road trip instead. We've got all sorts of fun things planned. First we're going to Memphis so Anton can run a 50 mile race. He's crazy. Then we're going to Louisiana to hang out with my cool sis for a while. Then we're going to hit up Austin, TX and the Texas hill country. Then on to Carlsbad Caverns and Roswell, NM. That last one was my choice. The UFO Museum is a must see. Then we'll be cruising on through Colorado. We haven't decided what fun we're going to have there yet. Next up will be Dinosaurland in Utah before moving on to SLC. We'll be staying there for a few weeks to visit with family and friends. And then because Anton has never been to Yellowstone, we're going to head up that direction. A brief stop in Montana, and we'll finally make it to Washington, 4000 miles and 48 hours of driving later. But at current gas rates it should only cost us about $600 in gas. A lot cheaper than plane tickets.

I'm really excited about this itinerary. If any of you live along our proposed trail, we'd love to stop and say hi, if you want. Especially all you Utah folks! Drop me a line and we'll get together!

I'm not sure how much blogging I'll get in until we're actually on the road. This next week is going to be busy. So hang in there and I'll promise I'll eventually post something worth seeing. The UFOs will be so worth the wait.

Monday, July 21, 2008

New Toys

I'm sitting here typing this on my new computer. Our old laptop finally bit the dust, and since I'll be away from my desktop computer for the next few months, it was essential that we get a new laptop. I can't work without a computer. So far so good. It'll take a while to get it all tweaked to my liking. We got some more fun toys in the mail today too. Since there will be a lot of driving going on we ordered a DVD player and two sets of headphones. The headphones were the most essential part. I now can look forward to the hours and hours of driving ahead of us. I also ordered but haven't received yet 2 lap tables for the kids to use in their car seats. I hate having to dive from the front seat to rescue a dropped toy. So once we spend our life savings on new toys and gadgets, we just might be ready for the big move!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bad Boy

Alex was not on my happy list today. I got up to find my entire salt shaker emptied on the kitchen table. Not to long after that he emptied an entire large bottle of bath soap all over the bathroom floor and tub. I made him take a bath in all that soap. There were a lot of bubbles.

Then the icing on the cake, literally. We caught him eating my blue food coloring. When we showed him what he looked like in the mirror he started to cry.

Though I think he might have been more upset that he got caught and was having to wash it off than he was at how silly he looked. And once he saw the camera all the tears were gone.

Cheese! After that I made Anton take the kids away and let me breathe for a bit. I have the best husband ever, and a son that makes me wonder sometimes.

Another fun story about Alex: We tried turning his crib into a day bed be he kept getting up at night. So we ended up pushing it up against the wall so he can't escape. Well, he's learned that if he wedges his legs in the crack between the bed and the wall he can push it away and get out. We've smartened up to his methods and have now wedged the rocker up against the bed so he can't push it out. But this doesn't stop him from trying. And the other day he must have tried until it plum wore him out.

I can't imagine the tingling feeling he must have had in his legs when he woke up. What a goof.

But even though days like today can completely drive me insane, I still think he's got to be one of the cutest little boys in the whole world.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Yes, it's true. The call came this morning right after I posted my last blog post. We don't know many specifics yet, but it sounds like we can pick whatever date in August we want to separate. It's been almost a year since we requested this. It doesn't seem real. Anton's convinced he's going to go in tomorrow and they'll say, "Oh, sorry. We read the name wrong." Or something like that. But until then we will begin planning the long trek across the country to begin the next phase in our lives. We are soooooo excited!!

Just call me Betty.

Since I was such a bargain shopper with my birthday money, I had a little bit left over. And since I'm going to need many excuses to use my new mixer, I got this:

Everything in this HUGE book is made with whole grain flours, from cakes to cookies to pies to breads to muffins and more! I am so excited, though I don't think this is going to have a positive effect on my total body mass.

As my first experimentation pre-mixer (it has yet to come in the mail) I decided to try out whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. Yum. I gathered all my ingredients and started putting things together. Then I read further down in the directions and noted this one: Let stand overnight.

Umm, really? You expect me to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough and let it stand over night!?! Ha ha ha ha!! So I went on the hunt for an alternate recipe that I wouldn't have to wait to eat. I'm all about the instant gratification. Luckily I had seen a recipe on one of the blogs I read that I had wanted to try. So that's what I did. The cookies were delicious.

By the time I got a picture there was only one left. They were supposed to be super chewy cookies, but by the next day they were a bit crunchy. They were good, but I would've liked them to stay chewy.

Having had partial success in the cookie department, I decided to try something else: Wheat Thins. These were surprisingly easy and quick.

And they are really good. I think they are better than the real things. Yum.

And since I was on a roll and had a huge watermelon that needed taking care of, I set out to whip up a batch of watermelon preserves. Now, the recipe called for lemons and I only had oranges, so I switched things up a bit. Then after letting it boil, there were still far too many large chunks. So after a whirl through the blender it was more my style.

This stuff is waaaay to sweet for me. It tastes like an orange sucker. If I ever make it again I will be seriously cutting back on the sugar. I haven't tried it on anything yet, but I'm hoping some homemade whole wheat bread will balance it out nicely. But don't worry, I won't bore you more with the tales of whole wheat bread baking.

So there you go. My foray into the world of homemade baked goods. Quite a success, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!!

And you thought we were done with the birthdays. Not quite yet! My birthday falls just a week after Alex's. He was actually due on my birthday, but I didn't want to share, so he had to come a week early.

I like spreading my birthday celebrations out over multiple days. This year everything encompassed 3 days. The day before my birthday we went out to lunch and saw the movie Wall-e. It was a really good movie. I recommend it to all.

On my actual birthday we went to the farmers' market in the morning. I set up with one of the farmers to get a weekly basket of produce. What I really wanted was part in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where you buy into a share of a farm and get weekly produce, but noone around here does that. So I had to set up my own. So now every week I'll be getting a big basket of farm fresh produce. Yum.

From there we went to the free kids movie at the movie theater. Movies will end up being the theme of this week. It's too hot out to do anything else. We saw the Veggie Tales movie. Ella and I had already seen it, but it was still fun anyways.

When we got home I decided that it was time to open my only birthday present, the one from my parents.

See how excited I am? And they got me the coolest gift, money!! But not just any money, money to buy this:

The DeLonghi 5 qt mixer!! No more hand mixing all my cakes and frostings. No more pretending I know how to knead bread. I am so excited. I got right on the internet and ordered it. There will be a baking frenzy when this pretty baby comes in the mail! Thanks mom and dad!! Oh, and my mom also gave me a framed picture of the sunset over Balboa beach. I love that place.

I actually spent the afternoon working a bit. Such a fun thing to do on my birthday, but it needed done. Then I decided to try and branch out my culinary skills. I made chicken tika masala for dinner. It turned out okay, but nowhere near as good as restaurant food. But since there are no Indian restaurants around here, homemade will have to do.

Then came the true celebration of the day. We had some friends come over, and instead of me baking my own cake, we had a fondue party!! I love fondue.

Ooey, gooey chocolatey goodness. Yum. I could eat a whole pot myself.

And look at all the fabulous treats we had to go with it!! The cherries were a last minute addition and turned out to be super fabulous.

I told Anton I didn't want a cake, but he surprised me with one anyway.

With all 18 of my candles on there. Okay, so there may have been more. But I've come to the age where you don't claim it any more. I'm old. That's all you need know.

Anton also decided to surprise me with trick candles. I blew and blew and they just wouldn't go out. I even spit on some and they still relit. Of course it didn't help that Andre kept relighting them too.

But a nice glass of water solved the candle problem and then we were all able to eat cake and ice cream in addition to the fondue. We were stuffed. But everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Ella loves chocolate.

Andre does too. The rest of us managed to contain our chocolate joys and eat with a bit of decorum. :)

After all that excitement you would think I couldn't handle any more. But the next day the celebrating continued. First, the gift Anton got me finally arrived in the mail.

He had taken all of my 2007 blog posts and published them in a book for me!! It took him a lot of time and it looks so good. I ended up being over 200 pages long. I love it.

Better reading than any novel.

And then to finish off the birthday celebrating, we got a babysitter last night and Anton and I went out on the town! We hadn't had a babysitter in soooooo long. It was great. We went to dinner at Chili's and then saw the movie Get Smart. It. was. so. funny! I haven't laughed so hard in ages. Everyone must go see that movie. Must. You won't regret it.

And that brings us to the end of my birthday celebrations. It was a good one. If it wasn't for the age I turned, I would even have said it was a great one. Happy Birthday to me!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Birthday USA!

Our 4th of July was fairly typical. In the morning we went to a pancake breakfast put on by our church. Thankfully they weren't able to get the charcoal grills going in time so they actually used griddles to cook the pancakes. There's just something about a pancake that's cooked on a BBQ that makes it taste not right. But we had fun hanging out and chatting with friends.

We spent the rest of the day at home. It was another hot and humid day. The kind where it's best to just sit inside.

After dinner we ventured out to stake our claim to a fireworks watching spot.

I find it funny that we will go and sit for 3 hours just to watch 20 minutes of fireworks. But the kids were excited. We got a spot right on the riverfront right by where they shot of the fireworks.

We gave the kids glowsticks to keep them occupied. They had lots of fun with those.

And then the fireworks. The first one made both the kids jump. Alex loved them.

He kept saying, "Oh, pretty!" It was cute.

Ella kept complaining that they were too loud and were waking her up from her nap. What a goof. But she liked them too.

Then once it was all over we sat in the parking lot for 45 minutes before we were able to get on the streets and get home. Fireworks must be really special to warrant all that waiting!

But since it was the 4th, I just thought I'd add how much we love living in this country. We have so many wonderful freedoms and opportunities. Happy Birthday America!!

Celebrating Birthdays

Since Alex didn't end up being the 4th of July baby I'd hoped for, we now get to celebrate two birthdays in a row, Alex's and our country's.

We started out Alex's special day by going to his favorite park.

We all lasted about 20 minutes before the heat and humidity got the best of us. So we decided to go out to lunch instead. We hit up the local Chili's.

We ate lots of food and got a free dessert since it was Alex's birthday.

Then it was back home for naptime for everyone. I love naptime. We had spaghetti for dinner, since it is a favorite of both the small children. Then it was time for presents. Alex opened a train from Aunt Andrea first and was content to leave everything else unopened. We had to force him to open the rest.

He got lots of train stuff. He was so excited about this Thomas shirt from Grandma that he wore it to bed and all the next day. He wouldn't let us take it off of him.

He got more cute clothes from his other Grandma too.

His big gift was a set of Thomas the Trains plus track.

He's been playing with it nonstop ever since. He is so obsessed with trains.

Then some of our friends came over to help us eat the cake. The cake. Yes, well. I wasn't so happy with this one. I tried all new methods and recipes and nothing came out the way I wanted. Oh well.

As Anton so kindly said, "They can't all be perfect."

But Alex didn't care. He was just excited to have cake. You see that he's still holding a train? He's even been sleeping with them.

Oooh. Fire. We sang Happy Birthday, and then it was time to start blowing.

He blew and blew and blew and all those flames did was waver a bit. Finally Daddy moved the cake up a bit.

And after a little bit of spitting, the candles went out. Hooray!

Then since we knew we would be out watching fireworks the next night, we decided to do our home fireworks show for Alex's birthday.

Everyone gathered outside and we did our best not to light the back fence on fire.

The kids all loved it and kept yelling, "Again! Again!"

So Alex's birthday drew to a close. I can't believe he is 2, but at the same time it feels like he's been 2 forever. Just 2 years ago we were bringing this scrawny little thing home from the hospital.

And now he's a swarthy 2 year old. Plus he's unbelievably cute and adorable. I could hug him and kiss him forever. Love that kid.