Sunday, January 31, 2010

{{Frozen}} Rain drops keep falling on my head

On Saturday morning, we woke up to exactly what was predicted for us...sleet and about 2 inches of it. All day we hoped it would blow some fluffy snow our way but no dice. It rained straight down frozen precipitation ALL day. It was strange to hear the tiny balls of ice hitting the ground and see them bouncing off of everything as it slowly became covered in this lovely layer of ice. Jackson couldn't wait to get out and play in it so I let him walk around in the backyard for a few minutes right away. As you will see in the photos, the camo coveralls that he received from his great uncle for Christmas did come in handy for our adventures. Around noon, we opened the garage to check out the road conditions. I then remembered the large piece of cardboard that I had recycled from bringing my new frame home from AL. I plopped it onto the frozen driveway and took a dive! I slid all the way down my driveway and halfway across to the neighbors and it was FUN! Jackson and the neighbor boys were then chasing me to try it too. So on a card board box, we sledded down my frozen driveway until our hands were too cold to feel. It was an instant hit with Jackson.
With the temperatures not reaching above freezing through the night, you might have guessed that we were once again snowed (or iced) in today. This morning, I had a better idea. Once Lincoln went down for his morning nap, Jackson and I hit the driveway again. Only this time we were sledding on Rubbermaid tops! Yes, they were FAST on the refrozen driveway and Jackson and I sledded down together each time. I even made some video so Jason could see how useful our steep driveway was during a winter storm.
When stuck inside with small children, my neighbors are better than State Farm, they're not only there for me...they COOK for us too!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blog Bits

So we've not had any major events going on the last week or so. Can you blame me? After 6 weeks of holiday travels, we've been getting back to a routine that we call life.

I have spent most of my time unpacking, cleaning and conforming the children to strict 8pm bedtimes and keeping them fed. Boy it seems like once I clean up from one meal, it's time for the next. I've recently made fun of myself for "saving time" by using both paper plates and paper bowls. It makes the dishes much easier but I counteract that time saved by hand making most of Lincoln's baby food when I could probably buy it slightly cheaper and much easier. Oh well, I've got nothing but time, right?
The BEST thing I've done for myself since this LONG deployment began is begin putting the kids in hourly care 2 times a week. It's free for 16 hours a month and a mere $2 an hour after that. I seriously can't afford NOT to do it right now. So I spend those precious hours running kid free errands and running miles alone. That's my idea of FUN these days. I have a 10K coming up next weekend.

Lincoln is crawling ALL over the place. He's great at getting into things and still prefers to be held, especially in those wonderful "witching" hours. He likes to eat, Oh, he likes to eat. He prefers to feed himself and has expanded his palette to include, peaches, sweet peas and cheerios that he can pick up himself. He is still always fascinated with his big brother.

Jackson is my never stop talking stress inducer and comic relief all in one. He can say some of the funniest things in his daily never ending conversations. Today, when I picked him up from hourly care we were counting to twenty. He stopped me and said, "No, mom, I want to count in German!" Really, I didn't even know we knew German. I told him I didn't know how and he said, "Ok, we can just do it in Spanish." Then he proceeded to count to ten in Spanish and told me his school teacher had taught him.
We are also growing a manakuppi which is an egg cup planter where the grass seeds grow as hair for the little porcelain snow man. I told Jackson we were growing the snow man some hair and he asked if we could grow daddy some hair! Followed by him asking why our daddy doesn't have any hair and saying daddies are supposed to have hair. Ok and finally, the disgusting little boy moment of the month.
As I was getting Jackson dressed recently, I caught him scratching his butt. I said "Jackson, stop scratching your butt, that's nasty!" In his sassy manner told me, "I'm just scratching the outside, not deep down in the hole, THAT's where it's NASTY!"

Jason is still flying a bit more than I'd like him to be for safety concerns and from his tone, it's not just casual sightseeing flights they are making. I prefer to play dumb to what's going on over there and he agrees to let me. He says he'll have stories to tell me once he's safe at home with us. He mentioned today that he looked into the traditional anniversary gifts for me which is next week. It's wool and copper. I'm interested to see what's going to come about with those options. My real present isn't scheduled to arrive until sometime mid-april. THAT will be the present I've been waiting a LONG time for.

Monday, January 18, 2010

North Carolina via Ohio

On our way home to NC, we are traveling through Ohio to visit our good friends the Wallaces and their girls. Alexandra is 4 and Charlotte is 5 weeks.

The road to Ohio was as uneventful as it can be considering I was traveling with a 4 year old, 7 month old, a dog, a cat and an SUV FULL of Christmas stuff. All in all, we made it in one piece but I'm pretty sure Roxy (the dog) and I have several more gray hairs from the ordeal. First we traveled to Nashville and met another girlfriend, Jen, and her 4 children. I had yet to meet her youngest and her mine. We dined with 6 children at California Pizza Kitchen and really enjoyed the meal and our conversation. It was not as chaotic as one might suspect with 6 children under 6 years old. On to Ohio, by way of Kentucky. We made several stops in the greater Kentucky mountains including one right-off-the-side-of-the-highway bathroom stop. I did eventually have to make use of my fancy Bose headphones for the ipod for noise cancellation. Lincoln was crying, Jackson was crying because Lincoln was crying. The cat was crying and the dog was snoring. One mom shouldn't have to endure such torture alone. My prayers were answered in that the cat wasn't as much trouble as he has been in the past. We finally arrived around 9pm and swiftly made our sleeping arrangements.
Today we spent decompressing and let the kids play together. We made beautiful (ok, tasty) heart shaped cupcakes with LOTS of icing and dressed up like police and princess. Tomorrow we're going to jump into the mini van (it's borrowed) and take 4 kids into Cincinnati. That will be another story.

Lost and Found

I'm writing this story mostly because I want to remember it myself.
While in Alabama, I went out on an errand while wearing the emerald and diamond pendant that Jason got me on R&R. A gift for my 30th birthday saying "sorry I wasn't here." I got home and mom lifted the small white gold chain off my neck WITHOUT the pendant! My heart skipped a beat and my mind raced to the two places I had been. We split. She took linc and went to the closer one, I went on to the crowded lunchtime restaurant. I drove a little too fast and got there and didn't have any luck when she called and said it was my lucky day. She had found it in the parking lot. I was so thankful to have found it and decided a new chain was in order for the expensive and meaningful piece of jewelry.
Later that same week, I went to the spray tanning salon. Before leaving I glanced up on a shelf and a sparkly bauble caught my eye. As I picked it up, I felt a familiar heart race as I realized this was a VERY large and beautiful engagement ring. The 14K on the inside proved it was in fact very real as well. My heart ached for the person who had left this ring as I know how she would feel once she realized she had misplaced it. Not only was it beautiful, it was sentimental. I pondered what to do and decided that I would prefer to personally return it to the owner. I called the tanning salon and told them if anyone was looking for a piece of jewelry to call me and left my number. I expected a phone call within the hour or at least that night. No one called. I wasn't sure how someone wouldn't miss a ring of that size quickly but it slept in my jewelry box.
At 7am, I got a phone call from the tanning salon saying there was a girl who owned and described the ring and would like to come and get it as soon as possible. Knowing full well how lost she must be without it, she came immediately. She showed up crying and Very thankful. She claimed she hadn't slept all night. Well I guess NOT!
So the happy ending to this story is everyone got their jewelry back. I'm lucky to have found my pendant and she's lucky to be sporting that magnificent diamond. Call it Karma, or God watching over us but the moral of the story is: It's always the right thing, to do the right thing!

Growing Green

One of my fond memories of childhood and of school was doing experiments. I always like (and still do!) when they turn out all sparkly! Lucky for me my mom is eighth grade science teacher and amateur scientist. She brought home this crystal growing kit for us to try out. Jackson thought he was Sid the Science Kid with his goggles and magnifying glass. My cousin Austin helped Jackson with his crystal growing adventure. After about a week, we had sparkly, spiny, green crystals. I thought we were teaching Science, Jackson claims it was magic!

What You Need:
•1/4 cup epsom salts (magnesium sufate)
•1/2 cup water
•shallow bowl or dish
•sponge (optional)
•food coloring (optional)

1.Boil the water in a microwave or on the stove.
2.Remove the water from heat and add the epsom salts. Stir the mixture until the salt is fully dissolved. If desired, add food coloring.
3.Pour the mixture over a piece of sponge (optional) or into a shallow container. You need just enough liquid to cover the bottom of the container.
4.Place the container in a warm or sunny location. Crystals will form as the water evaporates.
1.The sponge provides extra surface area to allow the crystals to form more quickly and helps make them a bit easier to view and handle.
2.Compare the appearance of the epsom salts before stirring them into the water with the appearance of the crystals that are produced.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fort Jackson-The cure for cabin fever

It's COLD here in Alabama. The coldest start to the year since 1938 for you history buffs. The bitter cold and lack of snow have left Jackson in a WILD state of boredom and if you have a 4 year old boy (or any child for that matter) you know that this equates to BAD behavior. On Thusday while Mom was out of school for the imaginary blizzard of 2010, she does what she can to save Jackson's hide. She's been around the block a time or two when it comes to bored children. She took out her photography clamps, a large box that a portrait came in and a black and white piece of material previously used for a backdrop. Magically, a Fort appeared. This isn't your run of the mill Fort either. It has a working door and a roof. It comes accesorized with a head lamp and pillow and blanket. You can even order yougurt for breakfast, DELIVERY! But that's not all...oh no, this 2010 version of a Fort is not like the ones we had as children. No imagination is necessary thanks to the invention of portable DVD players. First they revolutionized the mini-van and now they're showing up in Forts everywhere. Home Alone (the original "KEVIN") is now showing in a Fort near you!

So..."Keep the change you filthy animal!"

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Alabama Snow Day

Schools were out and the store shelves were vacant where the bread and the milk used to be. No one around here would be without their PB&J at lunchtime. Everything was perfect for a Snow Day...except there was NO snow. It is not an uncommon occurrence around here for the weather men to transform into giddy hope-filled 5 year olds and raise everyone's expectations for snow. One should just be prepared for a big disappointment. This is ALABAMA people, it just doesn't snow here.
So what do you do on a non-snow day when it's too cold to go outside? Jackson spends much of his time trying to talk his way into getting some candy or watching MORE TV. I spend my time either on the computer or walking around with a wooden spoon trying to prevent the 2 previous actions AND keeping Lincoln away from the fireplace. Apparently there is some strange magnetic force between Lincoln and the fireplace that he has discovered he can pull up on.
Nana always saves Jackson's day by providing some type of diversion. Today it was Gingerbread cookies. He had waited patiently for this "snow day" to make these cookies. He was serious about the job and even more serious abut sneaking a taste of the cookies.

He did get out and walk around in the SMALL flurries that fell. It was fun to see but equated to a boy stir crazy from being stuck in the house. And a stir crazy boy usually leads to an altercation with me and that trusty wooden spoon.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Let the good times roll

It feels so good to say it's Finally 2010. This is THE year, the year he'll be home. I don't have any great photos of us ringing in the new year. No fabulous outfit was worn. I was in pajamas sound asleep with my boys as the new year began. I knew it would be here when I woke up bight and early in the morning. 5 hours after it began, we were up celebrating with coffee and cereal. My coffee was better than any champagne consumed AND I felt better throughout the day because of my coffee. Bet not many people can say that on new years day!
We are choosing to save all our celebrating for that wonderful day looming over us in April sometime. It's even more exciting because thanks to the Army, we won't know the exact day until right before it happens. They like to keep things exciting you know.
At the risk of sounding all to familiar and redundant to some of my mommy friends, I'll just say that the last 8 months are wearing on me and my "fun mommy" skills are being challenged. We're finally on the home stretch and I know it will be a long one but I'm prepared to endure the final lap. The rewards will be all too great! I'm just trying to keep my focus on the prize. Yes, the prize is having him home but also going on this Fabulous Excellence vacation (sans kids!) So I may be asking for a cheering squad for the next 4 months as I watch the time slowly trickle by.
My new years resolutions are going to be what I "desire" to do without the added self pressure of attaining unrealistic goals. I'll save those for next year when I can truly focus on those things.
1. Make it through the next 4 months without loosing my mind.
2. Drink my 3 bottles of water a day.
3. Continue my running (with the help of my running girls)
4. Balance my coupon shopping hobby with saving money. (hey, it takes money to save money!)
5. Continue to pray through some life altering decisions for our family.
Yes, this one doesn't need to be a "resolution" but remembering that God is in control, Jason is the head of our family and trusting all those decisons as the best for our family can take an effort.

With all that said, Let the good times Roll!