Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Little Eater

Do you see this sweet little baby??

Yeah... really sweet. (She actually is)

This little girl LOVES to eat.

She's got NO teeth but will gum anything she can get her itty-bitty fingers on.

Alanna is quite funny because she hasn't quite yet learned that you have to let go of the food for it to actually stay in your mouth, but she's getting closer.

Compared to William at her age she is already much more experimental in food tastes and enjoys a wider variety. She eats almost anything I offer to her -- and her favorite is chocolate. If she sees me eating anything chocolate she crawls over, stands up holding the couch and cries very loudly while looking at me; her way of saying she wants some.

In fact, if I'm eating ANYTHING she thinks she has to have a taste. Thankfully she's got the idea of chomping on food because apparently while I was gone the other evening and Ryan was watching the kids William fed Alanna an Oreo cookie. Go figure. She also likes crackers of any sort as well as mashed potatoes.

I'm happy that she's so willing to eat, especially after William who was, and still is, an incredibly picky eater.

So I wonder how Thanksgiving is going to go tomorrow with these little ones and their eating habits!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Being Positive!

I feel like some of my recent posts make me sound bossy, whiney, complaining.... Can I blame PMS?

Not really.

Things are actually going alright. Alanna is growing so fast... she's pulling up on everything and has begun "surfing" along the couches.

William is still slowly making improvements with speech. I have to admit that lately I've been having mini meltdowns internally about my little boy. The most recent was Saturday while at the mall making an appointment for family pictures - a 17 month old boy pointed at Alanna and said "baby". Here Will is nearly 33 months (2 1/2) and he can't even say "mama" without a prompt. *sigh* Things won't happen overnight, I know, and our goal is by the time he's 5 he should be talking normally. That is a few years away.

Anyway, Thanksgiving is fast arriving, closely followed by Christmas. We still haven't made plans for Thanksgiving and I might just go and buy a small turkey for our little family. It seems a bit depressing to me because I love to have bigger Thanksgiving celebrations with friends and family --- but it doesn't look like that will happen this year. Plus, Will doesn't like turkey OR potatoes so really only Ryan and I will actually eat the dinner. Plenty of leftovers!

The good part about Thanksgiving almost being over is that I will start decorating for Christmas! I'm already planning on what I'll be doing. Hopefully next year I'll buy some personalized embroidered stockings that match for all of us. That's my goal. I think there are some beautiful ones out there but they're a bit too expensive for the budget this year. And maybe I can splurge and get a personalized matching tree skirt too!

And my house is actually very casual and I really have no sense of decorating style implemented in my home so don't think I'm some crazy holiday decorator, 'cause I'm not.... though I wish I was.

Having my kids around I'm looking for crafts to do for the holidays to help get in the spirit of things. Do any of you have ideas that are easy enough for toddlers to do?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Flying Inconvience

I have decided we need to have a major overhaul to the flying business.

This whole body scanner/pat down issue is just getting riduculous. Sexual assault, really? And it won't be long before the airlines push one more thing to break the camel's back and totally destroy people choosing to fly.

Where to start?? -- tickets are expensive. You pay a ton of money to sit in a CRAMPED seat (if you're in coach, which is all we can afford anyway). And then you may or may not get any type of in-flight entertainment, which you MIGHT be able to see a screen located behind some giant-haired lady's head. And should I mention in-flight food? Blech.

Then you have moms like me with little babies and toddlers who are having to be kept entertained. Forget changing diapers and potty training because those toilets (if you can get the door open) hardly fit a 7-year-old, let alone a full-grown average sized adult. And always bring your own hand sanitizer (if it passes through security) because I don't know about you, but I can't ever fully wash my hands in the mini sized sink.

Oh, and we also have to pay and arm and a leg to check luggage. Which, it seems common sense to me that if you're going someplace you usually need clothing and since we can't bring our toiletries on the plane because, OMG, they are fluid, we are forced to check them.

And of course we are at the mercy of the weather. Delays anybody? I had to fly out of O'Hare one time and we ened up being delayed nearly 7 hours. The flight was only, like 4! Can I say completely uncalled for? Ug.

Perhaps here is a good place to mention that I am actually a polite traveller. I try to be helpful and non-confrontational to the workers. They probably don't like some of the stuff they have to do either and are just trying to do their jobs. And it usually pays off -- if you're nice to them they treat you better and try to help when they can. My goal every time I fly is to make the security people smile.

I have actually had the PLEASURE of flying out of Tokyo's Narita Airport several times. For some reason, going through the Japanese security system and customs was waaaaay less stressful and faster than any airport I've gone through in the U.S. (except maybe the Sunport in Albuquerque, but it's small and never busy). What do they do different? I have no idea, but it is much smoother (though still expensive).

When we were PCSing from Japan we misread our flight information and showed up less than an hour before our flight was to leave for Hawaii. They suggest you get there at least 2 hours before the flight. Anyway, we actually got all the way through security and ran to our gate with a few minutes to spare --- and there were 3 very sad looking people watching us at the gate who were to fly standby.

I really don't have solutions to all these airline issues. Perhaps part of these problems are over paranoia and at the same time wanting to be politically correct and refrain from possibly insulting certain people.

We're flying home for Christmas (non-stop thankfully) and it is such a hassle. If it weren't for all the mountain passes we would have to go through I would highly consider driving more often ..... if I could convince my husband.

Maybe the U.S. should adopt more traits from the Japanese... I think there would be less stress at the airport.

Friday, November 19, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

My answers to WifeOfASailor. Wanna join? Go to her blog, get the questions, post your answers and link it up on her page.

This week:

  1. If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs – such as food and water – were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
    • Hmmm... I would have to say a computer with internet access so I could keep in contact with family and friends (and possibly get rescue) as well as read online..... and a lifetime supply of sunscreen ‘cause I burn WAAAAY too easy and I’ve gotten 2nd degree burns from a sunburn. No thank you, I’d rather not endure that again.
  2. If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have?
    • I would say Ranch. It’s a classic, common and somewhat popular – but not everybody likes it.
  3. If you had to live on a ranch, what kind of animals would you raise/own?
    • Horses, cows, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats, not sheep ‘cause they’re too dumb, maybe goats, maybe rabbits... I love farm animals and it really is a lifestyle that takes a lot of work. BUT, if it was my ranch I’d want it all!
  4. If your life was portrayed as a movie, who would you choose to play you and your significant other?
    • Geez, I hate these type of questions! I want to say Tom Cruise would play my husband only because the Japanese people on Mt. Fuji thought he looked like him --- but he really doesn’t. So maybe Joaquin Phoenix (before he went all weird. For me I’m thinking Emily Blunt... though I’m not British and I only WISH I was that skinny. But yeah.
  5. What was the last thing you put a stamp on (envelope, duh, but what was in the envelope)?
    • The letter for our Sponsor Child in India.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Medal of Honor

I can say... IT'S ABOUT TIME!

Congratulations to Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta! Our first LIVING Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War.

I saw part of the ceremony on tv when it aired, but missed most of it, only really seeing President Obama actually putting the award around his neck. But I was able to watch the entire ceremony on the White House page HERE.

It was a very special time for our country and I'm a bit disappointed so many people did not see it or even know it happened. To me this is a big deal. 9 other people have received the Medal of Honor since Vietnam, but all of them were awarded posthumously.

When I watched Sgt. Giunta as his act of valor from 2007 was explained it was like you could see him re-living the scene in his mind. I cannot imagine what he, and many other men and women, have had to experience in battle, and to be honest --- I hope I never do. What these young people have had to endure and see sometimes makes me wonder how strong they have to be, and if they are really getting the help they need when its all over (which makes me want to go on a tangent on how the government is wanting to mess with military benefits AGAIN... but I won't).

Even this week, looking through the Air Force Times, I am bothered to see the names & ages of those who have died in combat. Most of them are younger than me... and I'm only 25!

Sgt. Giunta now joins the ranks of a select few white-haired men (some of whom were present, and Forrest Gump is not one of them) and I feel that there have probably been many more service members worthy of this award but have been lost in the paperwork over the years.

If you didn't know, my younger brother is now Active Duty in the Army. I'm very proud of him and what he has accomplished so far and still what he is working to accomplish (ahem, ARMY RANGER, ahem). There is a very good possibility he will end up in Afghanistan in the near future. I'm concerned and I know my mom and dad and sisters are also.

Yes, my husband can get called up to deploy at any time as well, but the job he would be sent to do would not be dangerous or really near any hostile area, well, at least what goes for "pretty safe" over there. I'd still be worried if he went though.

Anyway, I know the wife and family of Sgt. Giunta are extremely proud of him... and I am as well. Congratulations again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Needing Other Mama's Advice

I need to work out.

I just do.

When living in Japan I had an AMAZING personal trainer who kicked my butt and taught me so much more than I had learned in my weight training and step classes and the like. I lost nearly 30 pounds! Then she PCS'ed and I kept up with stuff for awhile... then life happened, work got super crazy, and soon after I got pregnant with my first kid. At that point I was truly happy I lost that weight because I gained it all back during that pregnancy!

If I'm in a gym, I totally know what I'm doing and if in the right frame of mind can really push myself (hello lunges, how I have NOT missed you!).

Anyway, after my 6-week post-partum checkup with Alanna, I began the P90X workout, lean version. OMG! I loved it! In the 1 month that I actually did it I was seeing real results that were pretty apparent.

The most difficult part was finding the time. I am still struggling with that. The baby would demand being fed or my 2-year-old would try to climb over and under me while doing the workouts. That's not much fun when you're trying to do yoga and hold positions. And since they wouldn't nap at the same time I just had to give up because in the evenings my husband was not very willing to set aside and hour and a half for me to do my thing. I'm still kinda steamed about that.

Now I'm putting weight back on. This does not make me happy. Going for walks isn't really cutting it because I don't have a workable double stroller and if I make Will walk he doesn't go very fast or as far as I would like. And I am REFUSING to cut out chocolate!

So what do you other mama's do? How do you get your exercise in while still keeping up with your young ones. And no, I don't ignore my kids... even as I type this I've got them hanging on me and playing with unused computer cords and mouses (safely).


Sunday, November 14, 2010

How We Met

A pic of Ryan and I while dating. We went on a road trip to California to visit my sister, go to Disneyland, Universal Stuidos Hollywood and Knott's Berry Farm (where this pic was taken)
This evening I was trying to decide what to blog about. I know my posts vary from stuff about my kids to boring daily life, some travels and a few Milspouse Friday Fill-Ins. Perhaps I should help some of my readers get to know me a bit better.

Tonight I thought I’d write about how Ryan and I ended up together. Some people wonder how it happened because, really, we are very different. I’m social, always willing to volunteer to do stuff, loud, and willing to befriend almost anybody. Ryan is much more reserved, quiet, analytical, and is happy to be a homebody and not up for big socializing. But once he opens up, people have actually found him quite funny, though his sense of humor may be over the heads of some people.

To start out, you should realize I wanted the military life. I was born a Navy Brat and my dad is retired now. When I was a junior in high school I began talking with the Air Force recruiter because I was thinking of enlisting and going that route. To be honest, I really didn’t know about the whole officer/enlisted thing and had no idea how to go about becoming an officer (dense, I know).

Anyway, our school had a career day type thing and it was there I met an ROTC recruiter for the University of Washington (UW). I didn’t want to go there, but discovered that Central Washington University, the college I was interested in, also had an ROTC program. Telling my recruiter I was going the officer route kinda dampened his hopes, but whatever.

Fast Forward and I’m a Freshman enrolled in AFROTC and trying to find stuff to get involved in and volunteering for nearly everything. I’m very social and enjoy being busy so it was a good fit in that way. Central had a pretty small detachment so we all became somewhat acquainted, but as a newbie I was still getting to know the older cadets.

Every year the Seniors in the detachment hold a 24-hour vigil in front of the main building on campus for a Veteran’s Day Memorial.

It so happens that Ryan was the Special Projects Officer and had to organize and set up the memorial. He was a junior, by the way. I was one of the several cadets who volunteered to help. We all had to raise a HUGE tent and as it turned out, I was made to hold these big stakes while Ryan had a giant mallet to hammer them into the ground. And through that we began chatting and getting to know one another.

From then on we’d see each other in passing around campus. I would call him “Mr. Tervo” or “Sir” since he outranked me and I had to show respect and salute him, but other than that we really didn’t have contact with each other…. until a few months later…

I attended Chi Alpha regularly. One night another fellow cadet, Chris Stephen (also a Junior), showed up, which wasn’t unusual since he come pretty often… but Ryan was with him. It caught me off guard ‘cause he’d never come before. And then during the meet & greet time Ryan mentioned something about Olympic College and it was then we discovered we were from the same hometown!

After more discussion he told me he was in charge of organizing the Dining-In ceremony for the Detachment and was looking for 2 cadets to help him out and asked if I would do that. I said “yes” and after the meeting Chris and Ryan walked me back to my dorm.

Ryan and I and another cadet, Kelly, then spent time preparing for the dining-in. Ryan and I spent a LOT of time together, hanging out, talking, and discovering we had similar interests, values, and faith. We really enjoyed going to the city pool and sweating it out in the sauna.

Rumors spread at the det that we were dating, which at the time we weren’t. So we avoided each other when doing ROTC related activities and hardly spoke when other cadets were around. Then things at the detachment got changed around (as they do) and Ryan became the Flight Commander for the Freshman --- my commander. Ug.

Our relationship was continuing to grow and Ryan, as already contracted for the military, wanted to be sure he wouldn’t get in trouble for fraternization. We made things official in April and within a few days he made things clear with the commander of the detachment that we were dating and the Lt. Colonel said that as long as we were professional at the det we were fine.

That summer Ryan was off to Field Training. He was supposed to go the summer before, but had an injury so he had to postpone. Anyway, we were getting quite serious and actually had discussed marriage BEFORE we began dating. That was always our intention of being together.

Over the summer I had to decide what I was going to do with my future. Ryan would commission the following year and I would only be a sophomore. If I stayed in ROTC, I would have Field Training the following summer and there was a good chance Ryan would be sent to his first station while I was still in school. If I did stick with it and commission there was no guarantee we could end up at the same place or if we’d even stay together at all.

I talked with the Captain (who was a great Christian and family man) and with his advice, talking with Ryan, and praying about it I decided – 3 days before classes began – to drop ROTC. That was in September.

In mid-January Ryan and I got engaged and then in mid-March we were married. Why so early? We didn’t know WHEN Ryan would be sent to his first station so we married over Spring Break in case he was sent out a few weeks after graduation/commissioning. It worked out pretty well because we got orders for Japan and it was much easier having me as a spouse on his orders from the get-go rather than getting them amended months later if we married over the summer.

Whew… that was longer than I expected. So yeah, that’s how Ryan and I got together. I’m still involved in the military though not how I originally expected.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The kiddos

So somebody (ahemLaRettaahem) mentioned that the family is wanting to see the videos and pictures of my little ones. Apparently I haven’t been updating enough.
There are more of Alanna mostly because, as a baby, she is changing and growing fast. BTW: William is still making improvements with his speech as well.
Without further ado --- here’s an overload!
Making Faces


He is still so serious often!

He thought I was going to take away his bag of Monster Cookies from Grandma.
Eating a Monster Cookie. He really likes them!
Swinging at the Park.

Riding the Airplane at the Park

Alanna with Hannah at the Church 40th Anniversary Dinner.

In her crib for the first time!


Alanna with Hannah at church

Double Bathtime! Will likes to splash Alanna all the time.

At the Park

Crawling around at the park.

I bought a cute Duck costume from Burlington Coat Factory. Neither of my kids will wear it next year, but for $4 I couldn't pass it up! And the fact that Lana is crying just makes me crack up everytime!

Alanna's First Day Crawling
Alanna crawling down the hall to me
Alanna sitting and crawling around
William dancing/fooling around

Alanna climbing up on me

Friday, November 12, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Wanna join in? Check out Wife of a Sailor and link up!
This week:
  1. Were you named after anyone?
    • Sort of. My parents need a name with double consonants and an “a” at the end to match my sisters. They were watching an old black and white movie and either the character’s name or the actress was named “Sierra”. It fit and they liked it, hence my name. My middle name is after an old friend of the family.
  2. What color, if any, are your toenails usually painted?
    • If they’re painted (which is often now that I get pedicures) my toes are usually red or pink or a purple color. Right now they are “Catherine The Grape” by OPI.
  3. How do you flush a public toilet? Hands? Feet? Something else?
    • Just use my hands and then wash them real good and use sanitizer. It’s not that big a deal.
  4. When you were a little kid, which TV character did you have a crush on?
    • Haha! I adored Jonathan Taylor Thomas. He was on “Home Improvement” but I really liked him from his films and what Teen Beat had to say. I also liked the Lawrence Brothers (Joey, Matt and Andy).
  5. Let’s say you had to lose one of your five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell). Which one would you choose? Why?
    • Ohh... a tough one. Probably smell. If I could still keep taste that is (‘cause taste and smell kinda go together). It would probably affect me the least out of all of them. There’s too many gross things to smell (like all the nasty diapers I have to change) though I would miss the flowers and pretty perfumes. Can flowers be tasted??? LOL

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Plans change

Sometimes plans are put on hold, like today.

I totally had everything planned out for what we were doing today. Going shopping with the gift card to look for holiday outfits for the kids, pick up a new toothbrush for Will (since the other one has gone missing and when asking him he keeps going to the diaper pail, which was recently emptied), and then be back in time for lunch and Will's speech therapy.

Yeah, that all changed this morning around 5 a.m. when Will was brought into the room with changed clothes and Ryan saying, "he threw up".

About 6:30 we were up for good when he then puked in my bed.

The poor kid has thrown up several more times since then... though he seems to be doing better as I write this -- even pushing over his baby sister.

His speech session has been cancelled and rescheduled for next week.

Guess today we'll just chill at home and do some laundry. Not sure if we'll go to PWOC tomorrow morning... maybe we'll just attend the movie part and I'll keep the boy with me.

Having sick kids always makes me feel bad. It's never fun being sick.

Anyway, on another topic -- a reader of mine gave me an award!

Thank you Rachel over at Flying High! She has a cute blog that I recently started following and that lucky duck just got orders to PCS to Colorado Springs! Best of luck on the move! I wish we could end up there someday.

Anyway, here's the rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass it along to 7 blogs you've recently discovered and enjoy.
4. Leave the recipients a note telling them about the award.

And now for the 7 things about me...

1. I detest doing laundry. Any of you followers might remember my post about laundry - my opinions and feelings have not changed.

2. In the past few months I have fallen in love with Beth Moore Bible Studies. They are totally up my alley learning-wise and I look forward to my next study of hers, though I'm not sure what it will be. Suggestions?

3. One of my future goals is to design and build my own house. Not sure how well that will work out with wanting to also be a career military family so we'll see what happens.

4. At our house we LOVE watching movies. Netflix has been a blessing to our budget and I recommend them to anybody. (if you choose to do netflix, put me in as your referring person... I won't mind a kickback!)

5. I am actually somewhat crafty though I feel that I don't have much time to do it. I like to sew, scrapbook (though I do that online now), create invitations & brochures & the like, and if you take me to someplace like Michael's or Hobby Lobby there is a slim chance I'll leave without anything. And my favorite store was the Daiso in Japan -- an American crafters dream! Lots of fun stuff to work with for super cheap!

6. I'm not grossed out by a lot of stuff. I've disected cats in a science class, gone to cadaver day at a local college, dealt with all sorts of bodily functions from my children (example, today's post) and other people. BUT... I cannot clean out the drain trap in the kitchen sink without gagging.

7. I used to dream about directing and/or creating Broadway shows. It was also an ambition to be a creative director, manager or owner of a theatre. That would still be nice, but after leaving my college and my Theatre major behind when moving to Japan and pursuing Legal Studies and having my children, that has fallen by the way side. It's still nice to think about though.

And now for the 7 recently discovered blogs:

1. My friend over at 'Mom'fiscated. I actually know her personally since we were both stationed at Yokota in Japan and went to church. She's got 4 lovely boys and the stories she has to tell of her personal life can be hilarious. She only recently started blogging so I look forward to what she has to share.

2. Courtney K. at Life:Beautiful. She is a wonderful photographer and though sometimes I think she's too critical of her lovely work she seems very down to earth and friendly. And her son is very cute to boot!

3. Jessica at Me, Him and the Army. Her husband is currently deployed and her blog is similar to mine in the way that depending on what is going on in her life dictates what she writes about.

4. Lora at My Camo Kids. Another wife with a deployed husband. She's got 4 kids ranging from 10 months old to 11 years old. She's got some great insight and a great attitude and it's nice to see a strong woman holding things together -- what I plan to be like if/when my husband has to go "over there".

5. kmcaffee at The Six of Us. Yet another military wife! She's got her 4 kids and I love the Lu-isms section of her blog.

6. The Undomestic Army Wife at ...And the Adventure Continues. Not really THAT recent of a discovery, but I find her blogs honest and relatable. Oh, and her husband is ALSO deployed. And BTW, her miracle twins should be born any day now!

7. Stacy at Not JUST A Housewife. My most recent discovery. A mom of 4, Funny lady and quite versitile in what she can do. Her post on baby weight and girdles made me literally laugh out loud.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The balance of vulnerability and overly dramatic

Where do you draw the line?

I have been thinking this for awhile now.

Maybe some of you military wives will know what I'm talking about.

Now, I know when I post my blogs it is mostly highlights and good stuff. My life is not all happy, roses, and travels... so don't get the wrong idea. Sometimes life downright stinks! But I don't blog about it because, in reality, this is not the place for it.

It's personal.

But what do you do?

I know that when I move someplace it takes me awhile to build up decent relationships with people. And even then they aren't the strongest thing on earth so a lot of times I don't share stuggles going on in my personal life.

Some of that is because it can be hard to know who to trust.

Also... I don't want to be pegged as that girl with all the drama. You know who I'm talking about. We all know them. They are the ones who you barely say "hello" to and then they're off lamenting about some crappy situation in their life. To be frank, yes, sometimes things pile up and a woman will just let it all out, but when it is the same lady, all the time, with a different problem you just start keeping your distance. You don't want to be sucked in!

I refuse to be that woman!

But in the process of not letting people in on your troubles you can then be pegged as the woman who either "has it all" or "is too good for anybody".

I don't want to be stuck up, but I don't always feel it is appropriate to share personal things with people who you are not close to.

Yes, I have issues. Yes, I wish I had somebody to really talk to about them. But in the mean time I won't share my issues because sometimes I just don't want my problems to be other people's problems.

Does that make sense?

So where do you draw the line? How do you be open enough to show you are vulnerable without being dramatic?

I'd like some advice.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Brothers and Sisters

I love having my kids. It is quite an experience having more than 1 and I hope I can have more (if somebody can help me convince my husband, that would be GREAT!).

Yeah, there are times when you feel like you only live in what my mom calls "babyland" and scream out for some adult conversation and grown-up time, but having your little ones around can brighten your day.

Right now Will is going full force into the big-brother-is-annoyed-by-little-sister phase. Since Alanna can crawl around he is now taking every toy she plays with away from her and puts it out of her reach on a couch or on his bed or someplace like that. Alanna mostly just tackles him if she wants his attention, but yesterday Will learned he can push her over sideways and she can't get him.

Of course he got into trouble, but Alanna wasn't hurt and didn't even cry... she basically just rolled over.

Bath time today was quite entertaining. Will was taking the little sponge blocks and squeezing out all the water over Alanna's head. She took it in stride, but after a few times was getting flustered by water in her eyes. To get back at him Alanna had the wash rag and spashed it in the water ---- in Will's face.

They do get along. This brother-sister dynamic is fun to watch. Will still goes up to Alanna and gives her hugs and kisses. Lana enjoys watching Will run around and finds him hilarious, always laughing at everything he does.

And I love that when Alanna is crying or Will can't find her, he gets her little picture and brings it to us; his way of telling us to look for and find her because he is concerned.

I look forward to their continued growth and development. This is definitely a high point to being a mom.

Friday, November 5, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

I missed last week... oh well.

It's Friday! Time for MilSpouse Friday Fill-In.

If you want to join up, answer the questions on WifeOfASailor and link up!

This week:

1. A different twist on last week’s question. This week, the first question is: what’s the nicest thing a MILSPOUSE has ever done for you? (brought to you from navy_smurfette)
    • Haha, I want to say give birth to me because my mom is a MilSpouse. But there are a few nice things that come to mind such as bringing meals after I had my first child. There have been several ladies willing to watch my kids last minute. But I think, being included is one of the biggest.
2. How often do you drive faster than the speed limit?
    • Basically all the time. When living in Washington you had to keep it within 5 mph ‘cause of the hidden cops, but here in Albuquerque I can cruise at nearly 10 over without a worry ‘cause most cops are busy with more important things... but I keep it around 5 over.
3. Did you have a nickname in school? If so, what was it?
    • Not really. There was “Fishy” which was a play on my last name, but other than that I didn’t have one.
4. If your life was a book, what would the title be and how would it end?
    • Psssh... I have no idea. “Living My Life”??? I’m not sure. I hope it would end peacefully and with a bittersweet note or something like that.
5. Look back (in your planner if you have one) to September 14th… what did you do that day?
    • There’s nothing on my calendar other than the birthday of our Sponsor Child in India. We probably hung around the house or perhaps ran errands.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Four Corners Monument

Ryan took leave Monday and Tuesday. Monday afternoon he said we should drive up to the Four Corners Monument. Originally I wanted to make the trip on a weekend so we could split up the drive a bit and see some other sites in Farmington and Aztec, but whatever, let's make the drive!

It is 4 hours from Albuquerque. There really isn't much between the city and the monument... and I'm not kidding when I say that!

Popular scene on the route.

I love seeing the red rock/soil in the landscape.

More plateaus.

Eventually, we finally arrived!

Before we could actually get to the monument we had some stuff to take care of... like a baby girl who completely just pooped out of her clothes. Of course. After everybody was cleaned up and had shoes on we made our way to the newly renovated Four Corners Monument.

It just re-opened in September. They aren't finished with all the surrounding things, like the sale booths, but the actual Four Corners site is done.

Alanna in all 4 (or at least 3) states -- I don't think she was touching Utah in this picture.

The family in all 4 states

William on the plaque

The place where all 4 states meet

Ryan and the kids. You can see the untouched sale booths behind them.

The actual full site.
(if you look hard you can see some of the completed sale booths in the background)

Me being in 4 places at once!

William running around. It was a long ride for the kids.

Once we were all done at the monument we talked about going to another site along our route home. By the time we would get there I thought it would be closed. It was alright, it was on the way, but we headed back.

View of Shiprock in the distance.

We came to the Salmon Ruin in Farmington, but it closed about 5 minutes before we got there. So we just let Will out of the car to run around for a bit.

Alanna enjoying her break.

Will messing with the drivers area.

It took us several more hours to get back. We were supposed to fill up our gas in Farmington, but forgot. When Ryan realized we were really low on gas we got quite concerned because we were about 50 miles from Cuba, a TINY village along the road. Also, even if we turned around to head back we didn't have enough gas to make it to Bloomfield or Farmington. In addition were too far away from the Casino along the road which might have a gas station. I was thinking, 'at least we have heavy coats, food, water, and blankets if we have to wait in the car for Ryan to hitch hike to a gas station'. It didn't come to that though...

Thankfully there was a random gas station along the side of the road where we filled up just before our car reached empty. God's special rescue for us.
A view of the evening sky. Not a beautiful in this pic... it was through the windshield and the colors are not true to the actual beauty.

In the end we made it back to Albuquerque. It was dark, but along the journey we were able to see the stars! We never see stars anymore at night so that was nice. Overall it was about 8 hours in the car and I can tell you our kids were thrilled to be home. So were we!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And the winner is... (and other things)

*kim* from Kim's Clever Notions. My friend Mandie referred her to my blog to enter the giveaway and she won! Congratulations Kim!

Here's a video of the drawing so you can all see it was legit. Ryan was there as witness!

And Kim, please e-mail me ( so that I can then get your gift certificate e-mailed to you from the Vintage Pearl.

This was fun and I will probably do another giveaway in the future.

Now on to other fun stuff.

It has been quite a week and we have been busy! McCall's Pumpkin Patch, which was a blast, the Harvest Festival, carving pumpkins, Halloween, buying a new car... whew!

No need to go into details on everything -- just enjoy the pics and captions.

McCall's Pumpkin Patch:

Will riding in the Cow Train.
He was in the first barrell.

Ryan and Will checking out bunny town.

Lana keeping warm. It was VERY cold that morning... the type of cold that makes you understand the term "biting cold"

Will trying out the kids' maze. I did have to help him...

Will and I on the bouncy pillow.

He actually really enjoyed it!

Will's favorite part of the trip -- the giant slide

The yclimbed to the top and came down those tubes.

Going to do the corn maze

Corn rows

Ryan and Will

Lana and I. It was actually difficult to push the stroller through the path with all the ruts and such, but it was still fun.

Me and Alanna on the Hay Ride to the Pumpkin Patch.

Ryan with some of our pumpkins. They were huge!

Will with Pumpkin

Carving Pumpkins

I cut the tops off all of them and Lana enjoyed just checking them out.

Will got up from his nap and I tried to get him to at least try carving, but he wasn't having any of it.

Alanna, on the other hand, was all gung ho!

Since Will was tired and a bit grumpy, I gave up and tried later.
These videos show his reaction once he was more awake when it came to touching the inside of the pumpkins.
In the end I had to scrape clean and carve all of the pumpkins. Only after we threw them out after Halloween I realized I didn't get a picture of Ryan's pumpkin... which was a spider.

Alanna's Pumpkin - Ghost
Will's Pumpkin - Happy Face
My Pumpkin - Trick or Treat

Harvest Festival
The back of Alanna's Dinosaur costume I got in Japan when Will was a baby.

Will as a Cowboy, playing games in the Toddler section of the Harvest Festival at our church the Friday before Halloween.

He LOVED the bouncy castle. So much so that when we had to drag him out nearly 30 minutes later he cried.

Lana slept a good portion and then just sat in her stroller and looked around. I think she was a bit confused with all the commotion.

Will also liked the police car. He enjoyed the front seat waaaaaay more than the back seat. There are fun buttons and lights and a laptop in the front!

Me and some very tired, whiny kids right before leaving the Harvest Festival.

Halloween Trick-or-Treating

The only decent pic I could get of the two of them. Both were distracted and trying to get away.

Will with Daddy walking to go door-to-door on our cauldasac.

Me (in scrubs as a doc), Alanna as a Dinosaur and Maya the dog as a ladybug.

We did have fun and ended up handing out a LOT of candy.

Buying a Car

Let's see if I can make this short. Originally we weren't buying a car until after taxes. Since Ryan is starting classes again in January we needed a second car sooner. We had done our research and began shopping and knew what our price limit was and what kind of car Ryan wanted.

At the dealership we found a great car. Since we were willing to walk away and it was the end of the month, we got a GREAT deal and exactly what we wanted.

Even then we walked away and said we wanted to sleep on it and come back Sunday to close. After talking with both of our parents and some prayer, we felt it was the right decision. So we bought a slate blue 2011 Ford Fusion SE. In the end the dealership really didn't make much money off of us and we purchased the car just over cost.

Why a brand new car? We didn't want to get screwed not knowing the past of a vehicle, like we did with the Focus. So we wanted new. And the Fusions were keeping their value even years later. A 2007 wasn't even $5000 cheaper than the 2011.

It is a lovely car. Quiet, smooth...

It's an automatic, has got a sun roof, back up sensors, power windows, power locks, keyless entry, huge trunk, sirus radio (for 6 months), SYNC, room for carseats in the back, and although it's only a 4-cylinder engine, that's all we really need.

How was your week?