Saturday, May 31, 2008


I spoke too soon on the gas. In a week's time the price for gas here on base has gone from $3.96/gal to $4.24/ gal. It took $77 to fill the tank today! Good thing most of the kids' summer activities are within walking distance at the base Community Center! Maybe I'll lose some weight this summer after all :)

Tissue, Please.

Jonathan has recently learned how to open all the sliding doors around the house (closets, pantry, shower). Lately he comes and plays "Where'd mommy go?" at the shower door when I'm trying to take a shower, opening the door to find me and closing it to hide me. It was cute at first, but now it just lets out all the warm air (and peace and quiet) from my shower. So I was happy to have him leave me alone for a few minutes at the end of my shower today -- until I found what had entertained him for those few minutes.

It was a full box of tissues, now it's maybe half full. I only wish I could've seen his face as he pulled them all out.

Summer Line-up

To keep us busy this summer while Chris is gone, I've signed the kids up for a lot of new activites. Next week Clara will start 'Tiny Tots' at the Community Center here on base. It's Tue and Thurs mornings from 9-11am. It's more or less a play group for 3-4yr olds, that I can drop her off for. Since that frees up some of my time, I signed Jonathan up for a tumbling class, also at the Community Center on Tues and Thurs mornings 9-9:45am. My presence is needed for that class, but I know he'll love it. It should be similar to Gymboree classes with songs and mats and the parachute (hopefully he's not scared of the parachute like Clara was at this age!) Clara will also start dance classes (ballet/tap combo) in a couple weeks at the Community Center. As you can see, there are lots of fun things for the kids at the Community Center, and the best part is that you can see it from my backyard (gas prices not a problem here)!

At the end of June the kids will both take swim lessons at a swim school off base. We could've done lessons at the base pool, but I've heard only the best things about this swim school and they offer more personalized attention. Clara will be in a class of 5 and Jonathan will get one on one attention. 30 min classes, 5 days a week for 2 weeks -- and that takes us into July.

At the end of July and the first week of August, Clara will be attending zoo camp. She is signed up for 2 separate camps, each a week long from 9am-12pm M-F. She loves the zoo, and since the stingray exhibit has been set up there, that's all she wants to do when we go. So of course her first week of zoo camp is entitled "A, B, Seas" where she gets to learn all about sea creatures and yes, an up close look at the stingrays. The second week of zoo camp will be learning to take pics of her favorite zoo animal friends. I have to send her in with a disposable camera and they help her get some good pics. She'll have a week off in between those 2 weeks of zoo camp which should be perfect.

Before we know it Chris will be home again! With so much to look forward to, how can we not have fun this summer?!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Slip 'N Slide

The weather's been kind of cool and rainy lately and we've all been doing a bunch of nothing the past few days, so I figured I'd share some pics of our summer fun just before Chris left. We bought a Slip 'N Slide this year and Jonathan thinks it about the coolest invention ever. Since the kids haven't quite figured out how to pick up speed by running and jumping on it, Chris was helping the kids out by throwing them down the slide, which they thought was WAY fun! I took these pics with the continuous pic function on the camera -- so we got some really cool action shots. Jonathan would smile and laugh the whole way down.

Where as, Clara would scrunch up her face even after she insisted on wearing googles to keep the water out of eyes. (Obviously they would work better if she actually put them over her eyes, but it didn't make much difference in her facial expressions)

Of course, the Slip 'N Slide is great for getting a drink of water too!

Unfortunately, I'm not strong enough to throw them down the slide like Chris, so hopefully they'll learn to get down to the end on their own this summer!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Deployment Chain

I've heard from a lot of the other wives in Chris' squadron about 'deployment chains', which are simply the old construction paper chains used to help countdown the weeks until the guys return home. So Clara and I made one this morning.

Every Sunday we'll take off one link until Chris comes home.

There were only 29 links -- it doesn't seem so long when you think of it that way!

We put it up over the back door in the dining room so we'll see it often (and so that Jonathan can't reach it to destroy it!) Here's to counting down!!!!

I finally got a pic of Clara with the bear Chris made her. It's dressed like Ariel. of course!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Why am I posting my gas receipt online? Because I can't get over the fact that yesterday it took me $70 to fill up my gas tank. Admittedly, I was on empty (which is to say the gas light was on), but $70???? The kids and I are going to have to start walking every where!

Feeling Better

It appears as though Jonathan is feeling much better today. He's been back to his normal self all day. I'm not sure what came over him yesterday, but I'm glad it's gone -- he was just too pitiful yesterday. I'm glad to have my little guy back!

Practicing Letters

Clara has been working on learning how to write her letters. She has been able to write her name pretty legibly for some time now, but still needs lots of practice with many of the other letters. In addition she's been showing some interest in learning how to read, so when I came across the complete Hooked on Phonics set at Ross for $40 I seized it. She's made it through the first book which simply had her practice drawing lines (vertical, horizontal, diagonal and curved) and circles.

She is now on the second book where they put the lines together to start making letters.

Today after learning about ladybugs we decided to practice letters with sidewalk chalk, since we hadn't done the book today. I apologize that these pics will be hard to see even once you've clicked on them to enlarge, but am just so proud I wanted to share.

I wrote the alphabet (upper and lowercase) out in blue chalk, and then she went back through with pink and traced over my letters and then drew them on her own below each of mine. It worked really well, because when she traced my letters perfectly the pink and blue chalk made purple -- which made her try harder to stay on my lines.

He first row (Aa-Jj) was best (when she was still very excited about this new way to practice)

She did all the letters, and pretty well I might add. My goal is to have her reading by the time Chris returns in 6 months. If anyone has any tips, I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ladybug Metamorphosis

Gather 'round kids, today's science lesson will be on the life cycle of the ladybug.

We recently had a neighbor tell us about a conversation she had with the base's horticulturist which explains just exactly what is that sticky film all over our cars, trash cans, and street. I found it pretty interesting and so I thought I'd share.

Apparently, when the Navy was landscaping the base here they chose shade trees for the yards that are particularly susceptible to aphids. The horticulturist says he explained this to the powers that be at that time -- that these trees were not a good choice, but the Navy wanted trees that were inexpensive and grew fast.

So every year in the Spring these trees become infested with aphids. An interesting note here is that apparently ants and aphids have a symbiotic relationship. As aphids feed on plants, they expel a sugar water (that's the sticky film all over everything outside). Ants like that sugar water and so when the weather starts to turn cold in the Fall/Winter they will take the aphid eggs underground to protect them and then bring the eggs back up in the spring. The aphids hatch and get a kick start on eating the trees and the ants have a guaranteed supply of sugar water.

How is this related to the metamorphosis of a ladybug? Well, ladybugs eat aphids... and since we have an aphid infested tree in the front yard, we now also have a ladybug infested tree. All the kids on the street have started their own ladybug farms. Clara got her bug jar today and I took pictures as we loaded it up.

This is obviously a chart that shows the life cycle of a ladybug. To be honest, I didn't even know a ladybug went through a metamorphosis until this weekend when Chris put it all together and found this chart online to show Clara. That's when I decided it would be good for Clara to get her own bug jar and learn. I took all of these pictures today in our front yard.

Aphids (the little white things on the backs of the leaves)

This leaf was particularly bad.

Larval stage as shown in the chart above. I didn't find any eggs, but once the eggs hatch the 'ladybug' looks like this. It eats and eats (Just like the very hungry catepillar)...

...and then enters the pupa stage. The chart above made this stage appear to have feet - but from all the ones I've found they seem to be stationary, attached to the leaf by the dark 'head' end.

The body parts are moved around and reconfigured while in this pupal stage, until about a week later when they hatch.

When they first hatch from the pupa, the ladybug is bright yellow and soft. Notice the pupa at this point just looks like a coccoon sort of caseing

I thought this was really pretty! It was hanging on the bird house Chris and Clara painted.

Eventually they turn darker red or orange and get their spots.

This is Clara with her bug jar. It's a pretty cool contraption. There's a magnifying glass built into the lid. It came with another handheld magnifying glass, some plastic tweezers and an array of pretend bugs (Thankfully, she didn't argue when I told her we wouldn't be keeping all the pretend spiders that came with it!)

The view inside her bug jar.

I thought this was a cool picture of a ladybug climbing up my hairy arm.

One of the brighter ladybugs we found today

I was playing with the 'color accent' setting on my camera. I was trying to get it to black out all colors, but red. This was the best it did, but I still thought it was a cool effect.

I hope you enjoyed your science lesson today. It's exciting to find cool things like that in your own front yard to teach your kids.

Mr. No Feel-Good

How do you know when your little one doesn't feel well? When you go in his room at 10 am, yes 10, and you have to wake him up to get him out of bed. Then he pushes away the fresh berries and grapes you give him for breakfast, which has seemingly been the ONLY thing he wants to eat for all 3 meals for about a month now.

Finally, everytime you look at him, he looks like this - curled up on the floor with his stuffed animals. When I got out from the shower he was sleeping on the floor - he has NEVER fallen asleep on the floor before, not even as a baby.

This is him laying on the kitchen floor while I cooked dinner.

I'm not sure what's wrong with him. He's nibbling on food, drinking plenty, mild fever and pretty lethargic. My only clues into how he's feeling are Clara's stuffy nose and my massive headache -- I'm sure there's something going around. Seems we always turn up sick when Chris is out of town.

Big Boy Bed - Take 1

Saturday night before Chris left, we decided to try and get Jonathan to sleep in his 'big boy bed' so Chris took the front panel off the crib. I didn't think he was ready for it, but was going along with the plan because I was sure Chris was worried he'd miss the milestone otherwise

I was positive this was indeed a sign that my baby was now a big boy -- though I wasn't sure I was OK with that notion. Still, I couldn't miss having my picture taken with him on this very important night.

Jonathan checked it out and seemed excited about the freedom and independence that this afforded him...

...Until it was actually time to go to bed.

At 10:30 pm Chris began putting the front panel back on the crib.

Saying Goodbye

Before Chris left he went to Build-A-Bear and made the kids stuffed animals with a recording of his voice saying he loved them. (We made similar bears for all the grandparents last Christmas with the kids voices. They make a wonderful gift). This is Jonathan with his new 'Jonasaurus' (the name makes it extra special because when I was pregnant with him, and we told Clara what his name was to be, she mispronounced it for the first few months and called him 'Jonasaur')

When Chris came home with them on Sunday, Clara wanted to take hers outside to show it to her friends, so Jonathan followed along. I haven't gotten a pic of Clara with hers yet :(

Yesterday morning before Chris left, he had some time to hang out with us.

He helped Clara color her bear's house.

And they read a book together.

We miss him already -- today Jonathan saw that pair of Chris' PJ pants as I was pulling them out of the dryer. He looked at me and said, "Daddy, back! Mmm Hmm." Which is what he's learned to say when Chris typically leaves for work or the room for that matter, instead of crying. I wasn't sure how to respond.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Chris leaves tomorrow for the ship. It's hard to believe this time has come and yet I'm still not even sure it's hit me. (I hope to continue in this fog of denial until he comes home!) At any rate I've added a ticker on the side of the blog because I know he should be home for the holidays and that will serve as a reminder of how far we've come. I hope time flies!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Biker Babe

In the days after Clara's birthday, it became apparent that it was not so much the bike she wanted as it was the 'helmick'. So out of desperation to get her to ride the bike, I tried using the helmick as incentive, telling her that she could pick her own helmick once she learned how to ride the bike. Still it took until Chris came home for her to really catch on.

She has learned to go down driveways and go around corners

She keeps a pretty good pace

This is the proud little lady at dinner the first day she had her very own helmick