Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chinese Food

Chris brought home a few trinkets for the kids from his travels. He gave each of the kids an authentic silk Japanese outfit, Clara got this robe and Jonathan got a little pant and shirt set. He also brought home chopsticks for the whole family. Needless to say, going for Chinese food was a priority this weekend!

Here's Clara dressed up to go for Chinese food. Jonathan didn't want to wear his outfit out. Clara decided that since she was dressed so fancy, the rest of us needed some accessorizing as well, so she gave us each a beaded necklace to wear.

Jonathan decided one necklace was not enough, so he wore about 5.

Time to use the chopsticks. Jonathan wasn't so keen on Chinese food, so this is actually about all he used his for.

We spent a lot of time practicing while waiting for the food to come.

All you need is 2 hands and a little concentration.

Yay! She did it!!!!!

Show off!

Clara the Clown

On Thursday while we were waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to finish cooking, we were a little bored, so we pulled out the face paint I bought after Halloween for these occasions! Clara decided she wanted to look like the picture of the clown on the package.

Then she figured it was a good time to go for a bike ride. I asked Jonathan if he wanted some face paint...he said, "No, Mom."

So I guess I won't quit my day job!

Daddy Goes to Preschool

As excited as Clara was that Chris was coming home on Monday morning, she was a little upset that it meant she had to miss school. I easily put that to rest by suggesting that Chris go to school with her on Weds. Clara was so excited she could hardly contain herself, and Chris couldn't wait either, especially since he had to go into work for a little while on Tuesday. He didn't feel so bad about having to spend that time at work, knowing he would be able to go to school with Clara the next day. I was a little jealous since I have yet to stay in Clara's class with her - they don't really like for you to bring you other children (Jonathan) in with you, so I made Chris take the camera with them for their special morning.

Show and Tell.

Instead of doing regular 'Show and Tell' Clara's school does 'literacy bags'. Each week the kids are given a brown lunch sack with a letter on the outside and they are to bring in one thing, that fits in the bag, and begins with that letter to share with the class. It helps teach the kids look around and start thinking about what letter the objects in their world start with. It also gives you some insight into what's important to the child. Clara started with a strong 'princess theme' to her choices: A was Ariel, B was Belle, C was her Camera (though Cinderella was a close contender), D was a picture of her Daddy and Dog, E was an Envelope, F was a Feather Fan, G was a Goat, and H was a Heart that she cut out of construction paper and decorated on her own. Mrs. Lorraine accidentally skipped over G and did H first, so last week they went back and did G. Here's Clara showing her classmates her Goat puzzle piece.

I sent Chris and Clara in with some 'Green Gooey Goop' I made in honor of G week. It was a huge hit!

Clara and her friend Callie in the art area.

Chris and Clara both had a great time. Chris got to see her school and and meet her teachers and friends -- a chance to see what she's been up to while he's been away.

Not the Daddy!

Here are the pictures from Chris' Homecoming last Monday. I had no worries that the kids would warm up to Chris quickly once he was home. There has never been a kid that didn't warm up to him, though I was a bit worried that it would take some time for Jonathan. I was soooo wrong. We picked Chris up at the hangar, an hour and a half later we were sitting at Applebees for lunch; Chris and the kids jammed into the booth on one side of the table, and me - alone - on the other side. For the rest of the week I have not been allowed to zip Jonathan's jacket, change a diaper, buckle him into his booster seats (in the car nor at the table), or tuck him into bed. Honestly, it's refreshing (except the tucking into bed part, that's one of my favorite things). I feel as though I live in an episode of that old sitcom 'Dinosaurs' with Jonathan hitting me over the head with a frying pan, yelling, "Not the Daddy" every time I come near! Still, it's great to have the liveliness and energy back in the house.

These are some of the signs the Officers' Wives Club put up around the base in preparation for Homecoming. Chris' squadron is VFA-22, the Fighting Redcocks.

This is the sign the kids and I painted for Chris and hung on the garage. The kids each put their hand prints on the sheet. Jonathan was so proud of his first set of hand prints (in blue) that he put his hands hands back down on the sheet by the yellow bow and proudly exclaimed, "Blue, hands, self!" He's been experimenting and taking a lot of pride in his independence lately!

The house, ready to greet Chris on his return.

The kids ready to greet their Daddy. Clara was happy to have the earmuffs to reduce the sound and the kids and I had matching t-shirts made. They turned out really well, though I never got a good picture of the shirts' front and back. The front has Chris' picture in the plane and says, "My Guy McFly". His call sign is obviously 'McFly' - I guess the other guys in the squadron thought he looks a bit like Marty McFly from Back to the Future.

All the planes lined up on the ground. Waiting for the guys to get out. Chris is in the plane with the 104 on the side. I believe it was the 3rd plane back (the one right before the break in the line).

Here's the picture and snipit that made it in the paper Tuesday morning. Chris is the 2nd from the right (next to the guy who's waving).

Clara had the whole 'first hug' planned out in her mind - She was going to run to Daddy and he was going to pick her up and spin her around lots of times, all the while giving her a big hug and lots of kisses. It was all she talked about for the week before Chris came home. I passed the info along so that she would not be disappointed -- though, I'm sure it would've been close to the same even if I hadn't.

Jonathan caught up to them finally.

Look at those smiles!

Together again!

Cheese! After greeting Daddy, Jonathan's next order of business was the huge fruit platter they had prepared in the hangar!

More signs in the hangar

They also put up these signs -- one plane for each guy in the squadron with their call sign on it.

One last banner on base YCBAR! (You Can't Beat A Redcock!)

With Chris home just in time for Thanksgiving we obviously had a lot to be thankful for. We opted for a quiet Thanksgiving at home, just the 4 of us. It's so good to have our family together and complete again!

Welcome Home Baby!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I LOVE Jet Noise...

...Especially when that jet is bringing my husband home to me!
I know everyone must be curious, and yes, Chris made it home safely Monday morning on time. They didn't get to fly over in formation as expected due to the's that time of year again! The kids in I were there in time to watch the planes fly over and land, despite a 15 min. search for a parking spot. I only got a few pics of the homecoming (I was too busy hugging and crying to take too many), but Chris is spending the morning with Clara at preschool today and I made him take the camera, since I haven't yet had the privilege of going to school with her. So I'll try and upload the pictures later today.
I wanted to thank everyone for the prayers and support you extended to me and my family over the last 6 months. Knowing that our friends and family were thinking of us helped keep us sane and the prayers helped keep us strong and brought my husband home safe where he belongs. We are a very lucky bunch!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Excitement is in the Air

There is much excitement in the air, after all we have much to be excited about...

Our deployment chain is down to just one last link. Clara wanted the last link to be a yellow one, I thought it fitting.

Even Jonathan shares in the excitement!

And I tied a yellow ribbon around our tree. For just a moment, it was fun to see myself through Clara's eyes as she proudly told all her friends, "See the ribbon my mom tied on the tree. She made the bow all by herself. It's for my dad, he's coming home soon!" Why do I stress myself so, when making a bow is all it takes to impress her?

So, yes, we are very excited and very ready to have Chris home. It will be nice to have my partner back, to be able to talk to him when I want to, and not just by email. It will be nice to have the 'fun' element he brings to the kids. It seems I get so task oriented, esp. while he's gone, just to make it through. The kids need their Daddy. He brings the energy - the fun. He shows the kids it's OK to break the rules once in a while and reminds me it's okay, and even expected of me to relax and be goofy once in a while.

I'm looking forward to cooking real meals and not just ones I know my kids will eat. Looking forward to having help with bath time and bedtime routines. Looking forward to someone to spend my evenings with after the kids have gone off to bed. Looking forward to snuggling and feeling his arms around me. Looking forward to just having a break.

I know, soon, the excitement will give way to adjustment. Adjustment to having someone else in my space, adjustment to having to share my children's affections with someone else, adjustment to someone else in my bed (I've been sleeping in the middle of our queen size bed for 6 months now). There will be more laundry, TV shows I don't want to watch, sports on the TV (I am PROUD to say, there has not been a single sport shown on our TV for six months!) I'll be tripping over size 13 shoes in the living room again, and he will find it necessary to leave the contents of his pockets on the kitchen counter every night.

I can't wait!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Portraits of a Cat

Hopefully I'll find some more interesting things to take pictures of soon, but since I'm only messing with the camera right now after I've put the kids to bed...the pets will have to do.

I still haven't read/learned anything, but I had the camera out to take some pics of the full moon tonight. (Those pics weren't so spectacular). I was having fun messing around with the camera and Clemson just gave me that 'Oh no, not again' look.

The cat, on the other hand, was giving me the 'Yeah, you know I'm pretty' look...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Portraits of a Dog

So apparently, my husband has really enjoyed reading the blog and seeing the pics while he's been gone on this deployment. In addition to that, he knows I've always wanted to take a photography class. So as a gift he purchased a new high-tech camera for me, a Nikon D80 Digital SLR camera to be exact (with extra lenses and tripod). He ordered it online and had it sent to the house. I received it today and was afraid to take anything out of the box...I haven't actually taken a photography class yet :)

I did eventually get it out of the box and put it together just long enough to take a couple pics of my only available model at the moment, Clemson (it's nap time for the kids).

As you can see, Clemson was really in to this photo shoot. Poor Clemson is in need of a bath. He has an appointment with the groomer Friday.
I don't know what I am doing. I simply took a few pics and got a few dirty looks from the dog. It seems I have an instruction manual to a minimum. Still, I thought I'd share my first pics with my new camera, so you can appreciate how much I hope to improve after learning a few things about how a camera actually works!
I have the battery charging now...Maybe Clemson and I can do a new photo shoot after his date with the groomer, and after I've had a chance to read a little of the owner's manual!
Thanks Baby!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Deep Thoughts by Clara Stein

Clara: Mom, do you want to hear what I'm thankful for?
Me: What?
Clara: Music and you!
How blessed am I?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Preschool Pics

We just got Clara's school pictures from preschool. For some reason, the photographer decided to do a holiday background, though this information was not passed along to the parents so that we could dress our kids accordingly. Protocol was to pay before the pics were even taken, which was odd for me. Many parents opted not to pay when they learned what the background looked like on the day of. Still, I couldn't pass up Clara's 1st school here they are.

It was warm that day so Clara's not even dressed in winter clothes...doesn't really fit with the snowy Christmas scene, but she still looks pretty cute!

Here's the class pic taken on their playground. The teachers (L-R) are Mrs. Lorraine, Mrs. Tiffany, and Mrs. Christy. I'll have to get Clara to tell me all the kids' names sometime.
Hard to believe Clara's old enough to be getting school pics done already!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat

Last night was a night full of tricks and treats. The kids dressed up as Tinkerbell and Peter Pan. Unfortunately, we were running a little behind trying to get ready to meet all the neighbors to get the festivities started, so I never got a good picture of just the kids in their costumes. I thought I was going to have problems with Jonathan. As I tried to get him into his costume, he started pulling on it and crying, so I figured it was best to leave off the hat and boot covers :)
All the parents on the street decided we'd relive our childhoods and dress up in our best 80's outfits. While most of the other women went with the 'Madonna/ Cyndi Lauper' take on the 80's, I chose to go in a different direction.

Here's me with the kids...Jonathan refused to stand with just Clara. I had planned to try again after Trick or Treating, but that never happened.

Peter Pan himself...if only he really wouldn't ever grow up :)

After Trick or Treating, we all came back to a neighbors house for fun and drinks. After a few drinks we were all ready for some fun. One family had gone in for the night a little early because they had a big day planned for today...TPing their house was their punishment.

If you look closely on the ground, there's a guy laying on his side. He dressed up as Officer Dangle from RENO 911. If you've seen the show, let me tell you, David was an excellent 'Dangle'. No one could look at him without laughing all night. I wish I'd gotten a better picture of him.

'Officer Dangle' left his mark.

The line-up of prime suspects

Thankfully, the neighbors whose house was TP'd have a great sense of humor and only responded that they expected a better job next time!

I guess some day when Clara goes out TPing houses for Halloween, I'll only have myself to blame :)

Dancing Princesses (and Fairies)

For Thursday's dance class, the girls were allowed to wear their costumes. So Clara went to class in her Tinkerbell costume, complete with wings.

On the barre

Battement tendu


They even put together a little dance to show us. We were invited in at the end of class to marvel at their skill! (I apologize for the poor audio).

Haley, Clara, and Jenna

Clara, as Tinkerbell, the tap-dancing fairy!