Saturday, April 26, 2008

Blueberries!

Jonathan is at that age where he's constantly learning new things. It seems as though he tries to say a couple new words every day. His newest word, and one of his favorite snacks -- blueberries!!!

video

Friday, April 25, 2008

Chris is Home!!!!!

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted anything. Chris got home on Weds. and we've just been enjoying having him home for a while since he'll be taking off again in less than a month, and this time for 6 months away. We've got a lot to look forward to in the upcoming week. We'll be heading to the L.A. area to visit with our friends, the Tebbes, from VA and then we'll be meeting up with Chris' parents and heading to Disneyland and California Adventure Park. Clara is so excited to 'meet the princesses', it's all she's been talking about for the last month. So I'll be away from the computer for most of this week, but check back next week -- I'm sure I'll have lots of pics to share :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Swallows

Chris said a guy he works with thought the birds in the nest out front are swallows, so I decided to look them up -- Definitely swallows. I believe they are Barn Swallows to be exact, judging by the shape of the tail and nest. I learned a serious advantage to having them here...they have been known to eat their weight in insects in a day (bye, bye flies, mosquitos, and wasps!). I was a little worried when I read that swallows are territorial in that they tend to come back to the same nest year after year, and more than that they typically live in colonies bringing back more birds with them to nest each year. (I saw some of those colonies under the overpasses along I-5 on my way down to San Diego last week -- No thank you!) The article I saw online said they can live in colonies of up to 3,700 -- but thankfully the barn swallow doesn't tend to live in colonies like that. There is still one con that worries me -- the plentiful bird droppings. It's nasty and can obviously lead to some pretty serious illnesses. I worry mostly because of Jonathan's innocence and curiosity. I can easily see how he could get into that mess and I'd be none the wiser.
Either way, it seems that the swallow and their nest are protected by law, so we will have these house guests until about mid-June, once the eggs have hatched and the fledglings have left the nest. Until then I'll just be cleaning up bird droppings -- fun stuff!

Oh and I found something cool ... "a swallow tattoo is popular amongst nautical men as a symbol of a safe return". Comforting to think it could be a sign just before Chris leaves for 6 months at sea!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A little perspective...

I often find myself jealous of my husband. I know that may sound a little strange to many people, but I am often envious that I am 'stuck' at home with the kids while he gets to go all over the world, see beautiful places and things, and really live his dream. (Never mind that for as long as I can remember, my dream was to be a mom and to be lucky enough to spend the early years home with my children). Well, it's days like today that really put that jealousy in perspective. It was a normal day home with the kids, nothing spectacular going on, but many firsts happened today...

Clara and I made our 1st smoothie of the season. We made many last summer. They make a perfect afternoon snack on a hot day -- they're cold and healthy. (8oz. vanilla yogurt, 2 tsp sugar and 8 strawberries - and/or other fruit +we usu. add some ice). Very Yummy, and the kids really think they're getting something special!

It was the 1st time Jonathan got his own. Last year, of course, he was too young. Check out that face, he looked like that until it was ALL gone!
Then we decided to wash Chris' car.
It was the 1st time Clara put on a bathing suit this year -- and more than that, it's her 1st 2-piece - sorry Daddy- she's growing up :)



It was the 1st time Jonathan washed a car.

He washed that rear quarter panel about 10 times.


And so after this 'mundane' day of firsts, as little as they may be, I was not envious of Chris, but rather sorry he missed it all.

We Love You and Miss You Chris!

House Guests



When we moved into base housing we noticed we had a bird's nest built up in the corner outside our front door. There's a small covered area just outside our front door and the birds built this nest up near the ceiling. Often times during the day you can hear the birds chirping and 'talking' to each other. When they aren't in their nest one will usually sit on our hose case while the other one perches on the spigot. The nest is too high to see if there's any eggs inside, but at least one of the birds seems to spend a lot of time in it. I haven't done any research to see what kind of birds these are, but so far they seem fairly friendly. When I was growing up a cat bird had built a nest in our neighbor's tree and anytime it thought you got too close, it would attack you. Thankfully no attacks so far, so I've decided to let them stay. Besides, Clara likes to check on them everyday.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Potty Time


We haven't even begun to potty train Jonathan yet. I don't think he's quite ready, on the other hand, we have laid down a great foundation for when we start. Each night after a bed time story we tell Clara to go potty one last time. For the last couple weeks Jonathan has followed her into the bathroom and sat down on the little potty while she goes potty. As you can see, he remains fully clothed, but he at least has part of it figured out. I can only hope this means he'll be easier to potty train than Clara was once we're ready to give it a try.

Boys will be...Girls?



So, this morning I got Jonathan dressed and then went off to take my shower. I got out of the shower to see that Jonathan had accessorized using some of Clara's things. It's actually a pretty commonplace occurance, especially with the 'Dorothy shoes', but I thought the juxtaposition with the camoflauge was priceless. (Never mind the drool -- we're teething again)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Coronado Beach

While in San Diego we stayed at the Navy Lodge - North Island on Coronado Beach. Our room wasn't very impressive, but we were in the older of the 2 buildings. We could see the beach from the balcony if we peered through the trees outside our window. Today before we left, I took the kids down to the water. We hadn't had the chance to go all the way out to the beach and both Clara and I miss the beach immensely. She's been asking to go to the beach since the weather started getting nice, but we live a good 2-3 hours away from any beach here - which is probably the furthest I've ever lived from the beach. I didn't want to leave once I got out there, but I had a 5 hour drive ahead of me. It was a beautiful place though.





Scenic Views

This is definitely a beautiful time of year to travel through Southern California. These pictures were actually all taken within the parks we visited, but the trip along I-5 was just as gorgeous. The mountains were green, flowers were blooming and the weather is just gorgeous right now -- even for a girl whose heart is still on the East Coast.









Wild Animal Park

The San Diego Wild Animal Park was the next place we visited. It was quite a bit more relaxed than our day at Sea World. Once again, we got a nice discount since Chris is in the military. It's a nice place to visit.

The kids posed for me in a storks' nest.

This gorilla was happy to pose for me as well.

The kids fed some ducks and various other birds.

Clara pretended to be a ferocious lion.

There were 7 lion cubs. We were able to get up really close. This picture was actually taken through a window, but had it not been there I would've been able to touch 7 lion cubs and an adult male lion. Personally, I'm thankful for the window.

The fact that there was a tram ride around the park to see most of the animals was really what made this day so much more relaxed. Here's Chris and the kids preparing for our tram ride.

If you look closely between the 2 bigger giraffes you'll see the 'baby' giraffe. They said the baby was just about 6' tall.

One of the cooler things to do was feeding the lorikeets. You could buy a small cup of nectar. They showed you how to hold it and when you walked into the aviary, the lorikeets flew onto your hand to drink from it. The kids were pretty enamored by it all. Clara was a little apprehensive though, because they had cautioned us that the birds would bite if you tried to pet them.

'Jonathan the fearless one', however, kept trying to pet the lorikeets and point at them. Luckily, he was not bitten. Unfortunately, Chris can't say the same.

There were quite a bit of activities for the kids. Unfortunately, we didn't make it into the petting zoo before it closed, but we did manage to catch the last ride on the carousel.

We only caught one show for which I volunteered. I think Chris was a little surprised (I'm not usually that person), but I was on vacation after all! After I volunteered, I learned I was to be a contestant for a trivia game about animals, which I was quite poor at. The one question I answered correctly awarded me this chance to hold a 10 ft burmese python. The ONLY reason I'm not freaking out here is because someone else was holding the head!

Jonathan wasn't too happy about me being 5 ft away from him (especially after almost losing me to a snake!), so he came up to compete with me (and protect me).

One last treat for competing in the show, we all got to meet the camel up close. The camel really liked Clara. It kept trying to kiss her and she was willing, but we stopped her before they got too far :)

There was a little playground for the kids to run around in. Don't you love that face?!

Posing for one last picture. The scenery around the park was almost as impressive as the animals.

Sea World

The first amusement park we hit was Sea World, San Diego. Lucky for us Anheiser-Busch recognizes military members by allowing the active duty military and their family into any one of their parks for free once a year. Last year we were able to go to Busch Gardens and Water Country, USA. This year we went to Sea World. Thank You Anheiser-Busch! We had a great time...well mostly (Jonathan was a bit tired) -- but it was pretty cool nonetheless.

Jonathan always takes time to smell the flowers, and that's exactly what kept him busy while we waited in line for 20 minutes to get in :)

Here we are waiting for the Shamu Show to start. Yes, we sat in the splash zone (a detail that the kids weren't so happy about). We were in about the 4th row and just to the right of the stage where the whales come up. Thanks to 2 ponchos and 1 towel, we stayed pretty dry, but the kids were NOT happy about getting wet or having to cover up for that matter. I long for the day when we can go and the kids beg us to sit in the splash zone with no protection -- just so we can get wet and enjoy the full experience.

These whales are amazing creatures. I envy the people that get to work and swim with them everyday.

So impressive that they can move that much weight with such grace.

They had a 4-D Sesame Street Show (the movie was 3-D, but your seat vibrated, the wind blew, bubbles fell, and we got sprayed with water). The kids once again were not too happy about the water part, but check out the stylin' glasses.

We fed the dolphins, and got to pet their heads. They feel kind of leathery or rubbery.

Clara said the dolphins were her favorite part of the day.

This is from the dolphin show. Clara liked it when the trainers asked the dolphins questions and the dolphins responded by shaking their heads 'yes' and 'no'. I insisted, once again, on sitting in the splash zone. Though I conceded to moving back to the 7th row (keeping in mind that the splash zone includes rows 1-16). It was a little trickier because they don't warn you before the dolphins splash you like they did in the whale show. The kids were still not pleased with getting wet, but Jonathan ended up falling asleep in my arms and getting a good 20 min nap as we watched the dolphins do their thing.

The polar bear had a plastic slide in with him. I'm not sure what he does with it, but I watched him carry it around his cage for about 20 minutes hoping to find out.

This is a pic of a simulated polar bear cave. When someone crawls in a motion sensor triggers a loud polar bear growl, which sent Clara running back out the first time she entered on her own. As a result, Chris and Jonathan crawled in to protect her.

USS Ronald Reagan

The USS Ronald Reagan pulled into to port for a few days this week, so the kids and I made the trip 5 hours south to spend some time with Chris. We had a great time. These are a few pics we took the first night Chris got into port. I wish we'd gone back to take more pics of the ship, but here are the few we took.

This is a picture of USS Ronald Reagan, CVN-76, the night Chris got off the ship.

If you look closely you can see the planes up on the ship deck.

Jonathan and Clara were so excited to see Chris, they immediately began climbing on him.

Look at that smile!



Jonathan insisted on sitting on Daddy's lap through dinner and even fed him some food. We spent a good couple days with Chris visiting some of San Diego's amusement parks.

Chris had to get into work early this morning because he was on duty so he left before the kids and I got up. Clara and I woke up to kiss him goodbye, but surprisingly, Jonathan slept right through. It broke my heart when he woke up later in the morning, he immediately said, "Dada?" and started walking around the hotel room searching for Chris. When I told him Daddy went bye-bye, he went straight to the door and tried to open it -- that's the stuff that makes it hard when Chris goes away = (