Saturday, August 30, 2008

Guess who can tie?!!!!

Making 'bunny ears'...

Pulling it tight...

Ta Da!!!!!!!!

Look how proud she is! I'd like to take some credit here, but really can't. I got her these lacing cards/shoes a couple Christmases ago and she plays with them a good bit -- just not typically in the way they were intended. Chris and I have both shown her in the past how to use them to learn to tie and there's a diagram on the back of the box. This morning she brought a shoe and the box to me and said, " I've been doing it the way it says, but it's not working." So I walked her through it one time. Then she did it this time ALL BY HERSELF!!!! I'm so proud -- as is she!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Military Wife

I received this email from a friend today, I don't know who wrote it, but it made me cry, esp the last part.

What is a MILITARY Wife?
They may look different and each is wonderfully unique
But this they have in common.
lots of moving---
moving far from home
moving two cars, three kids and one dog----all riding with HER of course
moving sofas to basements because they won't go in THIS house
moving curtains that won't fit
moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours
moving away from friends
moving toward new friends
moving her most important luggage;
her trunk full of memories
often waiting-
waiting for housing;
waiting for orders;
waiting for deployment;
waiting for reunion;
waiting for phones calls;
waiting for the new curtains to arrive;
waiting for him to come home for dinner----AGAIN!
They call her 'military dependent',
but she knows better
she can balance a checkbook
handle the yard work
fix a noisy toilet.
She is intimately familiar with drywall, anchors, and toggle bolts.
She can file the taxes, sell a house, buy a car, or set up a move,
all with ONE Power of Attorney.
She welcomes neighbors that don't welcome her.
Reinvents her career with every PCS;
locates a house in the desert,
the arctic,
or the deep south
and learns to call them all 'home'.
She MAKES them all home.
She is fiercely IN-dependent
Military Wives are somewhat hasty
They leap into decorating,
career alternatives,
churches and friendships.
They don't have 15 years to get to know people.
Their roots are short but flexible.
They plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come after them.
Military Wives quickly learn to value each other.
They connect over coffee, rely on the spouse-network,
accept offers of friendship and favors
and record addresses in pencil.
Military Wives have a common bond.
The Military Wife has a husband unlike other husbands.
His commitment is unique.
He doesn't have a job,
he has a 'mission'.
He can't just decide to quit.
He's on-call for his country 24/7
but for you,
he's the most...
Unreliable guy in town!
His language is foreign: TDY, PCS, OPR, ACC, BDU
And so,
a Military Wife is a translator for her family and his.
She is the long-distance link to keep them informed;
the glue that holds them together.
Military Wife has her moments--
She wants to wring his neck,
dye his uniform pink,
and refuse to move to Siberia.
But she pulls herself together.
Give her a few days,
a travel brochure,
a long hot bath,
a pledge to the flag,
and a wedding picture.
And she goes.
She packs.
She moves.
She follows.
Why? What for? How come?
You may think it is because she has lost her mind.
But actually it is because she has lost her heart.
It was stolen from her by a man
who puts duty first
who longs to deploy
who salutes the flag
and whose boots in the doorway remind her
that as long as he is her Military husband,
She will remain his Military wife.

We have reached our halfway point, just 13 more weeks until my 'Military husband' returns to his family :)

Say a Prayer...

I received an email from Chris' Uncle Larry today (the one, who along with his wife, was kind enough to open their home to us when we first moved to Fresno last year). Their youngest son Preston was in a car accident this past weekend, here in Fresno. This is the car he was in.

Thankfully, he's making great progress and has already made it to the Step Down Unit of the ICU. Uncle Larry says he should make it into a regular room later in the week. Preston was in the back seat and sustained some internal injuries. The driver, a friend of his, suffered some injuries as well, but is OK. I don't know much more than that, but I wanted to ask that everyone says a prayer for Preston and his family, as well as his friend, as they recover from this accident. Thank you.

Childrens' Museum of Phoenix

While we were in Phoenix, Grandma Ginia took the kids and I and Gabrielle (Chris' niece) to the Children's Museum in Phoenix. It just opened in July and they're still putting the finishing touches on it, but it was a great way to spend an afternoon in 106 degree heat! I look forward to going back sometime, once it's finished and more established. They have a lot of great ideas there for the kids.

Our first stop in the museum was at 'Pedal Power'. There was this little tunnel for the kids to ride bikes through. They had one and two person trikes...

...and these little wooden push cars for the little ones. It was hard to tear the kids away from this display.

They had a couple mazes like this set up. It's kind of like that Price is Right game Plinko, only there's no prizes to win :(

There were little wooden wheels for the kids to send down through the maze, and all the little hooks rotated to change the maze a little each time one went through.

There was an art studio set up for the kids to do art projects. Clara made a hat first.

Jonathan worked on making an Olympic Flag with Grandma Ginia.

and just in case the kids didn't get messy enough, they had a huge house for them to help paint. I couldn't even guess how many layers of paint were on that house.

There was even a room that appealed to Jonathan's shoe fetish!

Taking a break in the bean bag room.

This was probably one of the most popular rooms. It was a grocery store. They had a really cool set up. Children's Museum in Norfolk, VA had a similar room, but this one was much better. First Jonathan loaded up a basket.

Clara found a shopping cart.

Clara got Grandma Ginia to be her cashier and Gabrielle helped bag the groceries

Jonathan was checking the produce, just like Mommy does.

I guess Jonathan was planning to make some lemonade.

Once Clara got her groceries all bagged up, Grandma Ginia asked her if she need help out to her car. She said, "No thank you, I've got it, I didn't bring a car." Little Miss Independence!

The adjoining room was set up as a huge kitchen, complete with pizza oven and corner booth. We all sat in the corner booth and placed our order with this lovely waitress named Clara.

She brought this yummy pizza to our table. How's that for imagination? All the 'toppings' and 'food' in this kitchen were just cut up pieces of fabric and strings of different textures. The kids could make anything they wanted, just using their imaginations!

Our waitress, Clara, was kind enough to snap this picture of us enjoying our pizza.

Jonathan wanted to cook some too, but first he had to wash his hands!

Didn't take him long to find the cooking gloves. He put them on and said, "Hot!"

Apparently, it's more comfortable to take a seat sometimes when you're cooking those big meals!

Just needs to simmer a little longer.

Just outside the kitchen was an ice cream stand. Clara was pretty excited to be the ice cream vendor.

Cup or cone?

Here you go, Grandma!

How cute is that?!

No Children's Museum would be complete without noise makers!

More noise makers.

The last place we visited in the museum was a box car race. They had little tracks set up for you to place your wooden car in,

and then pull the handle to launch.

There it goes. Clara would wait for the purple car to come down every time.

The kids had a lot of fun. We spent a few hours there and I still don't think we saw all of it, and they have a lot of other displays they're still working on. Definitely a worth while visit for younger kids.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Grandma Ginia and the 'Fat Man'

Last week we headed to Phoenix to visit with Chris' parents. We had a great time. The kids really enjoyed themselves, and I even got a break from the kids one afternoon. We're still recovering from the excitement and long days, trying to find our routine again before Clara starts preschool next week. Here are a sampling of the pics I took while we were there

Grandma Ginia and Grandpa Vic (aka 'the Fat Man') wanted to take the kids to Chuck E Cheese for our first evening there. The kids had a blast.

Sadly enough, this is the only picture I took while we were at Chuck E Cheese. It was a Saturday evening and I was far too concerned with making sure Jonathan stayed with me, so I didn't think to take more pics. I know Grandma Ginia took some though. I'll have to get her pics from her.

Someone gave this golf set to Grandpa Vic a few years back as a gag gift for Christmas. Little did they know it would actually get a lot of use. Every time my kids show up at their house, it doesn't take them long to find it, and then set up the back nine in the living room.

This was actually the first visit when Jonathan has made a real effort to try to say 'Grandma' and 'Grandpa' -- only for him, it comes out as 'Momok' and 'Popok'. Here Jonathan was showing Momok and Popok his muscles (Grrrr!)

The kids love to play in Grandma's piano room. Clara and Jonathan took some time to play the piano with Grandma...and then did some songs on their own. I've been trying to upload a video of the kids singing 'Slippery Fish' and playing the piano, but I think it's too big -- too bad, because it's super cute!

Instead, here's a video of the kids playing the piano with Clara doing the lead vocals for the ABC's

Clara chose to have spaghetti one night for dinner and then decided that she and the Fat Man needed to re-enact that scene from Lady and the Tramp.

Grandma Ginia promised Clara a slumber party while we were visiting. Jonathan had a late nap that day and was nowhere near ready to go to bed at his normal time, so as a result he was allowed to participate in his first slumber party. After I had fixed Clara's hair, Jonathan brought me one of her ponytail holders (or 'dog ears' as we call them in our house) and held it up to his head - whining. When I put it in his hair, he was happy as can be! See what happens when Daddy goes away for 6 months?!

Clara was excited that Grandma Ginia likes popcorn too, since I don't typically eat it with her. We also found out that Jonathan REALLY likes popcorn as well.

Grandma even painted Clara's nails, a nice light pink color.
Jonathan didn't get to stay up for the whole slumber party, but he enjoyed himself while he was there. We watched The Fox and the Hound, had our junk food and painted toe nails. Clara was excited to share this ritual with Grandma Ginia.

Clara decided one morning to help Grandma Ginia make her bed. She carefully lined up all the teddy bears and then tucked them in. She thought it was so much fun that she informed me she would start making her own bed when we got home.

Jonathan snuggling with Grandma Ginia.

It didn't take him long to figure out that if he snuggled with her when I was trying to get him ready for bed, I'd leave him alone and let him stay up a few minutes longer. I mean really, how can you break up this kind of snuggling?

One day, both Momok and Popok had to work, so the kids and I went out to a few stores. Clara found 2 fairy skirts for just a few dollars. When we got home both kids ran around the house with them on. Don't let the picture fool you, he brought me this skirt just about every day and asked for help to put it on!

Jonathan slept in the Pack & Play while we were there, though I fear this may be the last time it's going to work. He's getting so big! Not to mention, he seems to think he'd rather sleep in a bed with Clara. One day at nap time I asked Clara to climb into bed and told her I'd be there in a few minutes to tuck her in...This is what I found. Did he think I wouldn't notice?

He pulled the covers up high and tucked himself in real good!

This was them snoring -- real convincing, right?

One of the kids' favorite things about being at Momok's and Popok's was the backyard pool. Grandma Ginia was nice enough to take us all over town one of the first days to find the 'purple noodle' Clara had requested for her swimming pleasure.

Jonathan liked to hang out on the steps a lot, but when I would take him out into the pool he did good kicking and letting me dunk him too!

Clara was so proud of herself for swimming 'on her own' -- though we never really could get that noodle away from her.

Clara and Grandma Ginia

I got Clara a disposable camera while we were in Phoenix and she took a lot of pics. We dropped it off at Walmart yesterday and should be able to go pick the pics up tomorrow afternoon, so there will be more pics to come!