Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas is coming

Are you ready?

Here is a little video from last year, 2009. Can you guess the song?
video

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ah, The Weepies

They are a deep breath.

They are the perfect moment. They are the beautiful yellow just before a warm summer sunset. I smile and feel a depth of satisfaction when I think of the Weepies. My sweet friend Ali Mae introduced me to them. She bought me "Say I am You" as a gift when I left SLC. That CD stayed in my car for 2 years. I listened to it over and over again as I drove to AZ to meet O. I listened to it again 2 years later, as I drove home from AZ with the expectation that her adoption would be final. I love the Weepies partly because of the sweet memories of Ali Mae and the faith she taught me and partly because of the caress of their songs.

I love "Painting by Chagall" because it makes me think of O. I call that "our song". When she was a newborn, I sang it to her when she ate, when she slept, when I held her. I was so thrilled to have her and she surrounded me.

"Sometimes rain that's needed falls
We float like two lovers in a painting by Chagall,
All around is sky and blue town
Holding these flowers for a wedding gown
we live so high above the ground
satellites surround us."

I did feel so high above the ground. She was the rain that was needed.

I had the chance to see them in November. There were no cameras allowed so I don't have any pictures to share. They were incredibly adorable. Steve Tannen had a way of telling stories that reminded me of my brother, it was very endearing. He was funny, I almost wet my pants a time or two. I now know the meaning behind the song "Riga Girls". It had NEVER made sense to me and I gave up trying to puzzle it out ages ago. The story is about spam. His spam filter kind of stopped working and he started getting some of those messages that don't really make sense and you wonder if the author knew how to speak english. Well, one day he got one that said "Riga girls go like this" and he said "Riga girls go like what?" He clicked on it and it was a porn link and his screen was instantly covered with porn pages. His mouse couldn't keep up so he got on the floor "desperately hoping no one was around to help" him find the outlet so he could unplug it. Right at that moment, Deb walked into the room. And, that is how "Riga Girls" came about. He is perpetually reminded of his moment of embarrassment and humiliation.

I would see them again without hesitation. They are a charming and entertaining couple. I left with a warm happy feeling that makes me smile even now as I think of it. To me, that is a sign of a good show.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Germany 2009

For some reason, I've never had a desire to visit Europe. When I was a wee lass, our family lived in Scotland and England for a year. I have some vivid memories from living there. And when I graduated from college my Dad took me along with him on one of his French Open trips. Once again, I have some really cool memories of France. In 2006 I spent three weeks in SE Asia and almost 2 weeks in Brazil. The countries I visited were fascinating to me and I wouldn't hesitate a second to go back to Thailand. I consider myself very privileged to have traveled to so many places in my short life thus far. Then again, I would rather do than have and travel is at the top of the "do" list for me.

With that said, it was around this time last year when I traveled to Stuttgart Germany to spend a couple of days with LT. I find myself thinking of how surprised I was that I liked it there. The buildings were rich, the streets were tiny and the meats were mysterious. We had some memorable experiences there.

The story goes like this. In the spring my Dad purchased tickets for us to visit LT in Djibouti in December. The more we talked with LT the more it made sense that visiting Djibouti wasn't a good idea. It's not really a safe place. So, we cancelled our tickets. Travel to Djibouti isn't cheap, so that left me with a decent amount of airline money to use. (Even after my trip to Germany we had enough to use to go to Disneyworld this past March) LT found out he had a training in Germany and we decided I would meet him there for a few days so we could be together. My roommate took the lead with taking care of O and things were set.

When I arrived in Germany, I'd been up for hours and was ready for a shower and sleep. But, when I walked into the hotel room, LT was there, lying in bed. He wasn't suppose to be there. The very first thing he said to me was, "I've got the stomach flu". NOT the way to welcome me. If you know me, I mean REALLY know me, you'll understand why I wanted to get back on the plane and go home. Also, I was exhausted but I didn't want to get into bed with him because if he had the flu, there were bugs all over. I said something like "Oh crap". No "Hello", no compassion or sympathy, no "I'm sorry, I hope you feel better, what can I do?" I proceeded to interview him to get an understanding of what was going on and it turns out he just had food poisoning. SO much better.

Once he felt better, he got up and went to his conference and I slept. Then, I explored. I took the train all over to find a store and to get to know the system. I discovered where to go to the Christmas market in the town square. After his conference ended we ventured out. We arrived in the dark evening, it was cold and misting. We ate mysterious sausage meat and kraut. We wandered around the cool buildings. Outside of a beautiful cathedral, a guide who spoke some english invited us to come back in an hour because they were going to set the church "on fire". LT said "Oh really, this I've got to see". What they really did was illuminate the interior with candles. It was cool. I'm really sad I forgot my camera that night.

Another "exciting" thing that happened while we were in the town square was a protest. We were walking near the mall when we heard a lot of police sirens and a lot of chanting. Immediately I wanted to see what was going on. I dashed to the nearest column and peeked into the street. The police were creating a barricade and they were dressed in the riot gear I've seen officers wear in TV shows. I was SO excited and a bit frightened. I had NO CLUE what the hullabaloo was about because, I don't speak German. It didn't take long for LT to catch up with me and as soon as he did he whispered in my ear "We need to go". Awwwww man? He's the cautious one. Well, it DID make sense to avoid a possible civil conflict in a foreign country, but it would have been SO COOL to see. I reluctantly walked away with him. *pout*

One of our favorite days was our visit to the Medieval Christmas Market. It felt like such an adventure to ride the various trains to get there and then enter a world of knights and maidens and mysterious foods. (Have I said enough about the meats yet?)



I thought this street was pretty cool.

The Sodom and Gomorra Bathhouse
I love the dude with the 21st century camera.

Here I am with Hagar. I don't know his real name so I made up my own.

Hey, I've seen one of those before, except it was mini and had candles all around it.

At this meat was NOT a mystery.

Vlad

People in furs.

Overall, it was just nice to spend time with LT. The poor guy was exhausted and burned out and all he really needed to do was rest. I'm grateful he humored me and let me drag him around. Always a great guy. I'm so happy we get to be together for this December instead of just a few days. We are so blessed.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

O - The Hair

Yes, let's talk about the hair.

I know, I know, it is always wild in pictures. In the spring O started pulling her hair out of the pony tail/s I put in her hair. And it was so long, all it would do was fly around and cover her face like she was some wild beast.

In the spring I cut bangs, well, I tried and I ended up cutting them crooked and too short. Sorry sweetheart. I only did it because she started pulling her hair out of every elastic/scrunchie I put in her hair. It resulted in her looking like some wild beast. It would fly all around and cover her eyes and at times her entire face. Poor kid.

Anyway, the bangs. We tried them and now they are growing out. Her hair is wavy which translates into wavy bangs. I know, her hair is.... shaggy. She refuses to let me put ANYTHING in it to pull it back. When I do talk her into letting me put something in, it lasts for a few minutes. The bangs ARE getting longer and she is getting older and understanding that it is nice to have her hair out of her face. I'm hoping they will be long enough in the spring to bring and end to them.

Come to think of it, doesn't EVERYONE have bad hair pictures from their youth?

Shortly after the cut. She just enjoyed a blueberry smoothie, can you tell?

She's the cutest thing.

A visit from Uncle T, the hair is growing out.

Getting longer.

Preserved forever.

It's in the eyes now, hooray.


And this is where we are now.
She took this pic herself, she is so proud.

Halloween!!

I am far, far behind on what I want to post on this blog and I refuse to skip events just to keep things chronological here. That's just the way I roll, love me. With that said, I am going to tell you about our Halloween party.

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays. Before life in the Navy, we would throw a Halloween party, every year. It was always a lot of fun to see the creative costumes of our friends and spend time with them eating donuts, playing games and watching/making fun of B grade movies. Some of my fondest memories of life before the Navy are our halloween parties.

This year, since LT was home, we decided to throw our party again. I hate leaving anyone out but I quickly realized as I wrote the guest list that I would have to. I didn't have a choice. Nearly all of our friends have children and if I had invited everyone I wanted to, it would have been over 75 people. And half of them were children. Even so, we hired two babysitters and 35 people, not including us, came to celebrate. Our house was full and I LOVED IT!! Although they were missed, it's a good thing several families cancelled last minute otherwise we may have violated an HOA covenant or something. Ha ha ha

Part of the Halloween set up.

This year, I spent more time baking cookies, popping popcorn and hanging lanterns than I did planning my costume. So, we ended up doing a repeat of The Adams. LT looks awesome when he bugs his eyes. In the picture, you'll see O isn't in costume. She'd had 2 parties earlier that day and I think she was done being dressed up.

Yep folks, that mustache is real.

O had the honor of shaving it off at the end of the night.

I think I missed the best part of the party though. All of the kids were in our basement watching "Spongebob Square Pants". Partway through the evening O came upstairs to the adults, panicked. She tried to tell us the others were having a popcorn fight. She told them to stop and they weren't listening. I heard that and thought of the copious amounts of popcorn I'd popped being tossed all over the basement. At first I thought "Oh crap, that's going to be a mess". But that thought didn't last long, I was on to "When I was that age, I would have loved doing that". LT went downstairs with O. He said he peeked his head into the room and told them to have fun. At the end of the night I took a picture but a majority of the popcorn was cleaned up. Dang it! I wish I had a picture of it. At least is was likely memorable for the kids.

If you look really closely, you will see popcorn on the carpet.
O had a great smirk in this pic.

Finally, no halloween party with glow sticks would be complete with out a phone call to poison control at the end of the night. We learned they truly are non toxic, as listed. And, for the record, O was NOT the one who sampled some glow stick juice. Sorry folks, no picture for this one.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Staycation!!!

LT had loads of leave saved up from his time in Djibouti and we didn't want any of it to go to waste so in August LT and I chose Nov 17th to the 21st to have a Staycation. We didn't want to travel to anywhere we couldn't return home from in the same day because we both prefer to sleep in our own bed. So, we decided to just stay local. One day we had loads of family time and then in the evening watched Toy Story 3. O got the biggest kick out of Buzz in his spanish mode. LT and I got the biggest kick out of watching her belly laugh and try to imitate it. We also became teary eyed near the end. *cough* Fortunately I've heard other friends say they got choked up at the end too. I thought I was just overly emotional. (Me? ha ha ha.)

Thursday we went to Baltimore and O enjoyed hanging out at the Children's Museum there. We bought a season pass when we visited in May and have only been back twice since. Don't even get me started on parking and downtown Baltimore. On the flip side of my frustration, I have a greater appreciation for Sea World and how great we had it when we had season passes there. Back to the museum, O sprinted to her first favorite place, the diner, and served us food until it was time for a flashlight story time. She ricocheted from place to place for a couple of hours and ended up in the water room. The water room is ALWAYS the last room you visit in the museum. Although raincoats and rain shoes are provided, your kid ends up soaked anyway. We'd been there long enough to be okay with leaving.

This picture is actually from a trip to the museum with Grandpa a week or two ago.



Friday we just bummed around the house and did boring adult things. Although we were on "vacation" , we still had O go to her preschool on Wednesday and Friday. She had a Thanksgiving party Friday and we didn't want her to miss out, plus, we'd signed up weeks ago to bring the napkins. You can't have a party with out napkins, right?

I know these pictures are small, they are what the teacher sent to the parents. Can you find O?



O and Daddy had a fun time playing in the leaves.
Can you see her in this picture?
So mean.
NOOOOOO!!!
She had a GREAT time burying herself in the pile.

Saturday, our original plans were to go to DC and explore, but neither of us had planned really well and we were tired of paying for parking, so we took a hike instead.

Take that annoying parking plazas.

We wandered around Savage Mill and I found my next part time job. There is a ropes/adventure course at the mill. As soon as I saw it, I itched for my climbing gear. I've MISSED climbing, really, really missed it. In time, when O goes to Kindergarten, I will either go to school to challenge my squishy, atrophied (I know it's not a muscle, but you get my point) brain, or work, or do both. If I work, I want to do something that will allow me to interact with people and do something I love. The ropes course reminded me of my Oakcrest days. I liked those days and I was way cooler then too. Maybe I can recapture some of my cool. Anyway, back to the "hike", we stopped along the way to snap some shots to prove we'd been out and active. (Friday was a really sedentary day). We had fun playing with the timer on the camera and playing with each other.

Our attempt at a family picture.
O and her very diva-esque attitude, "No more pictures please"
I tried for a couple self portrait but didn't realize the zoom was zoomed. It's a cool picture, even without our heads/bodies.
LT and O
Me and O, so sassy.


Overall, we had a GREAT family vacation and it was just what we (LT mostly because I'd just returned from a vacation) needed.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

O and Halloween

O had quite an eventful halloween season. She visited 3 pumpkin patches and had 5 Halloween parties. She dressed up nearly every day in a variety of costumes we picked up for her. I feel confident in saying, she had a fun season. Here are a few of the highlights.

We went back to Cherry Crest Farm in PA to take in the fall activities. We liked launching pumpkins and O liked burying her dad in straw.

Here she is chasing her dad through a maze.


Launching Pumpkins!!!


Playing on a house made of hay.


Straw fight!


O buried her dad.


These are the pumpkins we brought home.


A day at a pumpkin patch. A and S didn't want their pictures taken.
Just look at that killer pout.


O and LT at our ward party. What I find most amusing about his costume is, we know NOTHING about Star Trek. Seriously, nothing. People would ask us if we were trekkies and we would tell them "no, we found the costume and Goodwill and it fit". One guy actually knew what rank was on the costume. So funny. (I had to make the pic black and white because the exposure was so off.)


O, her kazoo. The girl next to her with a pink star is the other O. They hadn't seen each other for weeks and once they found one another at the party, they were inseparable.


O and O out for candy. How do you like O's green bag? We accidentally left her pumpkin at home. We justified our absentmindedness by saying this bag was MUCH bigger.




O making a craft at our co-op pre school


O being O. She's waiting for her turn to toss something.


O and her other pre school. One of the princesses was upset there were so many other princesses. She's sitting on the teachers lap crying and crying. So sad.


O and her teachers, Miss Regan and Miss Jenn. They are WONDERFUL and I love how much she is learning with them.


One last shot of the pre school group. It's hard to get all of them to look at one camera.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Spelling

O is showing more and more interest in letters and words. I'm happy to see this enthusiasm. With that said, the other night we brought out her "letters" for bath time. I had just settled her in the tub and was walking out of the bathroom when she said, "Mom, look at what I spelled". I turned around and saw this.




I told her that was GREAT and took a picture. I know she didn't know what it was but it was a "word". Since I took a picture of her first "word" she asked me to keep taking pictures of her "words". Enjoy!