Friday, April 30, 2010

Dining Out

The reason we had gone to Monterey was that Chris' squadron was having a Dining Out on Saturday night. A formal dinner with a whole lot of nonsense paired with just enough serious thought to make for a great time.
At any formal dinner/ball held by the Navy (I believe all branches of the military actually do this, though I'm not positive), you'll see this table set for their missing comrades:

"The table is round -- to show our everlasting concern for our missing men.

The tablecloth is white -- symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.

The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and their loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers.

The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing.

A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.

A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.

The glass is inverted -- to symbolize their inability to share this evening's toast.

The chair is empty -- they are missing.

Let us now raise our water glasses in a toast to honor America's POW/MIAs and to the success of our efforts to account for them. "

And for the nonsense...that's Chris on the end with the fake mustache and tiny sombrero, singing 'God Bless America' to "entertain the mess".

We clean up nice, huh?

Kayaking in Sleoughs Inlet

Chris and I decided that since we actually had time away from the kids, we would spend it doing something that we can't exactly do with 3 small kids in tow, so we went kayaking. We look forward to the day when our kids are old enough to do cool stuff like that with us, but for now we will settle for doing it a little less often, just the two of us! Chris found a place where we could rent kayaks for the full day, complete with these lovely 'wet suits' for just $30/person.

We actually we only out for about 3 hours, but we had to get back for Chris' squadron function. It was probably a good thing we had to get back or we may not have turned around when we did, and it was MUCH harder coming back to shore against the wind and current than it was going out!
I took along our little camera, so as not to run the risk of ruining our nice camera, but in true fashion I forgot to check the charge on the battery. It worked just long enough to get these pics of us dressed in our gear, and shoot the video below of the seals on the pier (sorry it's so shaky, we were in the kayak):


video

We also saw lots of otters, jelly fish and birds (seagulls and pelicans). The weather was perfect, and the water was actually kinda warm. We had a great time hanging out together just the two of us.

Carmel, CA

Once I was done harassing the peacock, we headed to Carmel for some dinner. We walked around, window shopped and had a nice dinner in a little French bistro. After dinner we headed to the beach to watch the sunset. It was beautiful...and there was no whining, fighting, diaper changes, and I could even go to the bathroom on my own!



I love these Cypress trees on the beach in Carmel/Monterey.


Just playing around, the same pic in black and white.

Peacocks

On Friday, April 16th, we picked Clara up from school and left all 3 kids in the capable hands of Chris' mom. A little nervous to be leaving the kids for our first getaway in 6 years, but sooooo excited at the same time. The drive to Monterey was nice. We checked into our room at the Old Del Monte Hotel on base at the Navy Post Graduate School (a great room at an even greater price!) and then we laid down in the bed. We were pooped. Neither of us wanted to get up, but when I asked, "Is this really how we're going to spend our time without kids?"; we agreed we should go out and find something to do. While in the room I kept hearing a sound, like a cat crying. I asked Chris if that's what it was, he agreed that's what it sounded like. I went to the window and that's when I saw this:
a Beautiful Peacock. When we first went downstairs, he was showing his feathers in full display, but I wasn't quick enough with the camera, and he never did it again while I was watching. Still, we got some pretty amazing pictures.

Beautiful!




The peacock was not afraid of anyone. He let me harass him, taking his picture for a good 20 minutes before I gave up and let him have some peace.

Visit with Grandma Ginia

As I've mentioned a few times, Chris' mom came for a visit a few weeks ago. Chris' squadron had a function in Monterey (about 3 hours from here) and since Virginia just retired, we were able to use it as an excuse for our first weekend away since we've had kids! What a blessing! She was able to spend a few days with us beforehand to re-familiarize herself with the kids' routine and visit with us before we left. Here are some random pictures she took while she was here.
Obviously, she didn't take this one, but she is in it :)

Matthew and that tongue!


Playin' with Daddy


Clara and Jonathan showed Grandma some of their best dance moves


A little disco fever!


Matthew is at the age where Clemson is about the coolest thing around. In fact, he just did his first baby sign this week (panting - for 'dog')! At almost 10 years old and now 3 kids, not much phases Clemson anymore. He's a GREAT dog!


Jonathan used to do this too. I don't know why they put all those toys on top of the exersaucer, when the babies are more interested in the underside :)

Guitar Lessons

It seems as though we have another musically inclined child. Jonathan was very into sound effects when he was a baby. He would sit in the highchair and mimic all the sounds he hear, including the coffee grinder in the morning. Even now Jonathan will sing and dance with songs in such a way, that you just wouldn't expect from a 3 year old. I am determined to find a way to get him into some kind of music class at some point.
Well, Matthew is no different. Chris taught himself to play the guitar last year while on deployment. It's a dream of mine to learn, but I'm not the self-motivated/self-taught type. Anyway, Matthew loves to watch Chris play and sing. Every time Chris plays, Matthew crawls over to him and puts his hand on the guitar to feel the vibrations. It's really too cute!



He's jammin'!


He could lay like this forever!


Too cute!

Exploring the Grass

As I said, Matthew likes nothing more than to be let down on his own to crawl around and explore, no matter where he is. A few weeks ago I let him check out the grass in the front yard. Due to the cooler weather and his previous immobility, he hasn't really been in the grass since last summer and he wasn't sure what to think of it at first.
He made a face when I first set him down in the grass, but quickly decided it was pretty cool stuff!



He loves to crawl around in the yard now. He doesn't even try to eat too much of it!

1st Tooth

You'll have to click on the picture to maybe get a glimpse, but Matthew's 1st tooth FINALLY started cutting through last Friday, the 23rd.
He's constantly soaked in drool these days and army crawling his way around the house. No matter where we are, he wants to be on the floor so he can crawl around and explore. Lucky for him, he's a 3rd child and I'm no longer uptight about putting my baby on the floor in public places. Hard to believe, yes, but I actually let this baby get dirty!
He's quite the little talker, too. He doesn't actually say any words yet except maybe dada (the jury's still out on whether or not he means that one when he says it), but it doesn't stop him. He certainly thinks he has plenty to say. Over the weekend of the 17th, he finally figured out how to blow raspberries and do that 'Indian-sound' by hitting his mouth with his hand as he says, "ahhh." I only know it was that weekend because I had been working for a long time to teach him those cool tricks, then Chris and I went away for the weekend, leaving the kids with Chris' mom. Wouldn't you know Matthew was doing both when we got home, along with pulling himself up to his knees?!
He's still bunking in Jonathan's room, which they both LOVE. Either one will cry/whine if you put one down to bed without the other. Often times we can still hear them in there playing and laughing an hour after bed time. I love to see that bond grow! Of course, it increases Clara's wish for a sister...which is unfortunately not a possibility thanks to my last pregnancy and Chris' subsequent vasectomy. Still, she's a great big sister and a huge help to us.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Orioles

Since Jonathan has never played a team sport before, or really any sport, I knew he'd need some practice. I was thinking more in terms of batting or catching practice. After his first practice I realized we'd have to start even more basic than that: running bases! At Jonathan's first practice, he ran to each base, jumped and then landed bottom-first on the base. He had a blast, but you see how this can effect his speed! So we came home that evening and simply practiced running bases.
They handed out uniforms at the first practice and Jonathan just couldn't wait to try it on.

Running bases in the yard


Having a ball!


Taking a break


Jonathan's team is the Orioles


Jonathan's 2nd game...up to bat


Jonathan bats just like he does everything else - in slow motion. It's hilarious to watch. Jonathan is also a lefty, but seems to bat better right-handed, and throw better left-handed.


Running to first...


Almost there...


Whew! Made it to 1st base!


Off to second...

Running home. High five from Coach Chris.

Too cute!


Playing the outfield. At this age, they don't really put them in actual position. They just all kind of stand in a group with their coach in the hopes that one of them might pay attention for long enough to get the ball when it gets hit. Once someone gets the ball they're instructed to throw it to 1st.


Giving a teammate a high five for getting the ball


Taking a knee, ready to catch the ball


Got it!

Jonathan mostly just plays with his hat in the outfield.


Up to bat again. Coach Chris helping him with his form.


Another hit!


I love his face. At least he remembered to drop the bat, many times the kid on his team take the bat to 1st with them!


Running the bases....


Almost home....


Jumping on home plate


Time for the end-of-game show of good sportsmanship. That's Jonathan in the middle of the line.


Jonathan loves the high fives, but he missed the part where he's supposed to walk (notice the front of the line has left, as Jonathan waits for the opposing team to come to him for their high fives.)


GOOO ORIOLES!


My Oriole, #5


After his game, we went to watch Clara's game


This is how Jonathan watched Clara's game!