Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Gobble, gobble
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! Ours was actually pretty decent and overall I would say it was good.

William had been learning about Thanksgiving at school so every day we would try to talk about things and mention what we were thankful for.

Of course we also had to watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie… that's a given.

The day before Thanksgiving my friend told me about the local library doing story time. I packed up the kids and followed her over there. I'm so glad we did!

I was able to observe William in an unfamiliar environment listening to the 'teacher' and fully participating in songs, movements, and book interaction. It made my mommy heart so proud! I could tell he was loving story time. I'm just sorry we cannot go on a regular basis because we have something scheduled weekly during that time already.

Alanna also enjoyed story time… but not as much as her brother. She was more interested in being in her own world, standing of the book being shown to everybody, dancing/prancing around while everyone was to be sitting, refusing to sing or do any motions to the songs, and then only wanting to sit on my lap. But she was not the only young child who did not sit quietly and there were some other little ones who were more of a distraction so I didn't feel as bad.

Both of my kids were paying attention though. You ask either of them what a turkey says and they can tell you. Will holds up his hands and kind of opens/closes them like a bird mouth while saying "gobble, gobble" and Alanna does a cute little wobble back and forth while leaning her head side to side and saying "gobble, gobble". I love it!

For actual Thanksgiving I spent the morning in our kitchen while trying to have the children entertained with the Parade (Lana liked the Rockettes and the Dora float. Will also like Dora and the cheerleaders at the beginning).

What did I make? Blackberry pie and crust from scratch, my yummy sour cream potatoes, stuffing, cranberry pumpkin muffins, and a full 13 pound turkey.

We were meeting up with friends for Thanksgiving dinner and Ryan likes leftovers so I made our own turkey so he would have stuff to eat. I also brought more turkey meat to share at the dinner.

Celebrating with friends was great. Being away from family during the holidays can be hard, but when you have amazing people to step in that makes Thanksgiving fun. We all chatted, watched the kids playing inside and outside at the park, enjoyed a FULL SPREAD of Thanksgiving yummy foods, and of course the game was on.
partial view of the dinner
dessert table 1
dessert table 2
Thinking back now, I truly appreciate the awesome people we have met here and who have become our friends.

And without much difficulty the things I have to be thankful for just start coming to mind. There is so much to be thankful for. God has truly blessed us.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chopped off!

Somedays (a lot of days lately) I just don't have the motivation to post.

So to show you I am still alive and well I decided to drop a line to say hi.

Oh and also... I chopped off a bunch of my hair and got bangs-- again.

Hope you all are gearing up for a good Thanksgiving! I know we are!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day 2012

On Veteran's Day I always reflect on the proud history of my family members serving in the Armed Forces.

I think about my grandfather who served in the Navy at the end of WWII and witnessed the atomic bomb testing done in the Bikini Atolls.

I think about my dad who retired from the Navy and my brother who is active duty in the Army.
My brother and dad right before Mike deployed
And of course I think about my husband who I follow around in the Air Force. What an adventure it is! I love ya babe!

I love this pic! It's right before Ryan left for school and of course the kids were all over him.

What a privilege it is to be in a country with an all-volunteer force - men and women who choose to fight and defend our freedoms. Did you thank anyone for their service??

And on a side note-- it was the weekend of Veteran's Day in 2003 when Ryan and I first truly met setting up the Veteran's Day Memorial for ROTC. Who knew that day would change my life?!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Beware of Black and White Cats

In a rather odd turn of events it appears we now have a cat. Or really, the cat sort of adopted us.

I call it the neighborhood tramp cat, but Ryan hates that term, so now I refer to it as the beautiful hobo cat. Everybody in our neighborhood knows this cat. We've all fed and pet her. She's somewhat small with black and white satin-like fur.
She is very sweet. She's incredibly friendly and social (in your face). She tolerates the kids and dog. She purrs a lot. She likes to sleep at the foot of our bed. And the best part? She's indoor/outdoor and does not require a litter box.

We have found the owner and Ryan has talked with her about the situation and there's a good possibility the cat will officially become his.

The other night I opened the door to see if she was waiting to come inside. I start calling quietly for her and then see movement in our neighbor's front yard. The kitty likes to sit in the bushes over there and scout for birds so I slowly take a couple steps from the door calling to her.

I see the black and white and then I realize: That's. Not. The. Cat.

It's a skunk.

Needless to say I quickly went back inside and told my hubby to come look but he wasn't interested.

I talked to my neighbor the next day about the smelly creatures and she told me that there are actually 2 that keep coming to the house and eating the bird and squirrel food they leave out. I'm pretty sure the skunks are also what has been digging up the flower bulbs I planted.

Dear Mr. Pep é Le Pew (and friend) -- stop eating my daffodils and tulips!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

This one time, in Ohio...

Finally! The elections are over.

No, I'm not satisfied.

But it is what it is and I believe that ultimately God is in control so we shall move on.

That doesn't keep me from feeling a sadness and helplessness in the direction our country is going. I just hope and pray that Obama does better this term and we get this country on track.

Though we currently live in Ohio, hubby and I are not residents of this state. We are actually registered voters in Washington.

I almost didn't vote this year. After all our PCSes I was considered an inactive voter because my ballots had been returned (wrong address on file). In New Mexico I tried to get it fixed but had difficulty and eventually gave up. Ryan received his ballot and voted then called the auditor's office about something which was quickly resolved then he said, "my wife is having some issues too," and handed me the phone.

A quick 5 minutes later my ballot was on its way.

So I did vote! I'm glad I did, even though things did not go my way.

Anyway, back to Ohio... I previously thought Washington state had awful political attack ads... I had no idea. Ugh, it is UGLY in Ohio. I am most thankful that those ads are finished! On election day Obama called my house, twice. It was just a recording but it made me laugh. He said he needed my vote and blah, blah, blah. Then the recording said something like I was an eligible voter in the area and go to a certain website to find where I should vote. I laughed because, as I wrote above, I am a registered voter for Washington and I had sent in my ballot over a week prior.

After all was said and done there were a couple friends I joked with telling me I should have become an Ohio voter so I could give some assistance. I don't think my single vote would have done much to help.

I realized during this election that I have never had the full voter experience of standing in line, showing my ID, going in an inclosed space and privately voting. Since I became of age to vote I have been absentee. It is much more laid back, sitting at my dining room table reading over my options, voting, then chatting with my hubby afterwards about what we choose and why.

I thought about it today... I'm glad I'm absentee. I fear I would be lazy on election day (or like this year stuck at home with a sick kid) and not go to the polls. Being an absentee keeps me on top of things.

Now I feel like I'm rambling. To close this out, I just want to say that I still believe in our electoral system, I'm proud to be an American and have the ability to vote, and regardless of how you vote (red, blue, green, absentee or in person) I hope if you were able to vote that you did it!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Review: iPad app - Beginner's Bible

When I heard about this new iPad app I was definitely interested. Of course I'm familiar with the Beginner's Bible! I have seen them at different homes and at church and we actually own one. The stories are simple for kids to understand and a great way to have them start learning their Bible stories.

The app was free so I happily downloaded it to our iPad. Immediately my 2-year-old daughter took to it and is now her current favorite "game" to play.

On this app there is the choice to read the stories (with cute illustrations and simple interactive animation) or play games. The games are where we spend more of our time. My daughter likes the puzzles and my son prefers the Sneaky Snake apple slicing game. Both are very simple for very small children aged toddler to preschool... but older than that they may not enjoy the app as much. Early elementary aged children will probably get more out of the reading part.

I do have issues and suggestions about The Beginner's Bible iPad app. First off, it crashes a lot. I'm not sure what's wrong but sometimes it crashes as soon as it opens and other times it crashes right in the middle of a game or story. Re-starting our iPad has helped. Also, with the puzzle game I think there should be an option to tap a button to re-set the pieces once the puzzle is complete without tapping the back arrow and then re-launching the puzzles. Doing so would help with an impatient child who just wants to keep working on puzzles. On the coloring options I think allowing different size brushes would also make it more fun -- and I will add that I love the magic color option.

Overall this is a fun, easy app for small children and I may look into purchasing the story packs so we have more options to play with. Even without the additional purchases I think the free app is still great.

I was asked to review this app and was not required to give a positive response. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

Happy Halloween everybody!

I hope you all had a safe and wonderful time. Our days have been busy but overall fun.

Costumes for 2012: Rapunzel and an Indian

Both kids decided what they wanted to be. And since they have a mommy who did costuming in college as a theatre major of course their garments would be totally rockin'. I don't care that I spend probably four times as much to make it myself than I would if I bought something off the rack -- it's special.

So during the rage of getting Alanna's costume finished in time this is what my room looked like:
Lovely... and this is when it looked tame.

The kids got to wear their costumes to Will's therapy where they received rave reviews from the staff and other parents. Lana loved her "princess dress" and William eventually liked to show off the fringe on his shirt.

We did eventually make it out to Windmill Farm Market for the hayride. Originally I wanted to go weeks ago but then I got sick and couldn't stray far from a toilet so we rescheduled. A storm came in (one of the storm fronts that met up with Hurricane Sandy to make it worse) and I was afraid we'd be rained out, but we weren't. It was pretty cold so we dressed warmly.
I know, I'm wearing a child's hat... I cannot find the grown-up hats and it was the only one that fit on my head. Oh, and the kids were refusing to take a picture so that's what's up with the grumpy faces.
A new friend met up with me there and brought her 4 boys along. It was nice to get to know her better and have another person to chat with while there. The hay ride was fun but because of all the rain the puddles were ginormous and the ruts behind the tractor were so deep! It felt more like a roller coaster than a hay ride at some points.

this pic doesn't do the experience justice
Will LOVED the hayride
We weren't allowed to get off and do the pumpkin patch because it was too soggy and muddy and such. Pumpkins were for sale at the front but I thought they were too big so I figured we'd get pumpkins later from a store. (In the end, Ryan went out the night before trick-or-treating and all he could find were pie pumpkins. They aren't the best things to carve but I got it done. And no, I'm not using them to make pumpkin pie now.)
The available pumpkins for purchase
pumpkins from the hayride
Anyway, at the farm we saw animals and the kids played on the awesome wood toy train/boat/tower/truck/bus. The mud and water didn't slow them down at all.

Oh, so when we actually did get our pumpkins I got ready to carve them. Will wanted to look inside and tell me about the orange color and all the seeds but didn't really want to help scoop them out. When it was Lana's turn she kinda freaked when her hands got all gooey and then refused to do any more. So all the pumpkin work was left for me to do. At that point I was glad they were just small pie pumpkins.

In the Dayton area (and I think most of Ohio) they have what is called "Beggar's Night" which is basically Trick-or-Treat but held on a chosen night earlier than Halloween. Different cities/townships/neighborhoods go out on different nights. The idea is to avoid the "trick" part and keep mischievous activity at a minimum. Even with the crazy storm they held our candy night on the 30th. It was very, very cold.
And yes, my kids are using Thirty-One Carry Littles All Caddies as their bags. Totally awesome, I know.

We started out and went next door to meet up with friends to Trick-or-Treat around our neighborhood when I realized our hands were freezing... so I ran home to get their gloves. At that moment Ryan arrived home and Will decided he didn't want to to trick-or-treat. He would rather hang out at the house and hand out candy and play with his pumpkins. Lana and I continued on though.

Lana was totally into the trick-or-treating this year. It was so fun! She would actually say "Trick-or-treat" in her adorable little girl talk and happily say "tank-coo" after receiving her candy. The friends I was walking with brought their dog dressed as a sheriff so when Lana got her candy I told her to go the Sheriff Dog and wait, and she did. It was helpful if she couldn't find mommy in the mass of little kids roaming around.
her Rapunzel hair kept her ears warm so she didn't want to wear her hood
Eventually Ryan was able to coax William back out and we met up with him. This year Will actually, truly said "trick-or-treat"... the first year he has done so! I was so thrilled! He mostly mumbled it quietly but I knew he was trying and he did an amazing job.

We didn't stay out too long since it was bitterly cold. The rest of the night William and I handed out candy. And all four of us gorged ourselves on sugar.

On the actual day of Halloween, William had a costume parade at school and parents were invited to come and hand out candy. Lana joined me. She loved any reason to wear her costume. Oh, and I was also in costume. It's my pirate costume I made when I was pregnant with Alanna. It fits much differently now and I think looks better without a belly protruding out over the top of the belt!
He's walking with the aid dressed as Mrs. Potato Head
Lana snacking on Candy while we wait for the parade
He's actually posing nicely for me!
So that was our Halloween. It was fun but I'm glad it's over. I find myself really looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.

But before either of those show up I'm off to PWOC International Conference in Nashville, TN! Whoot!