Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 167

Hello InterWorld.

So what's happened since last I blogged?
Oh yes, there was a weekend.
The scourge of my existence.

It passed slowly, with the assistance of some good friends.
Namely, Words with Friends, Hanging with Friends, and Scramble with Friends.

The speed at which I take my turns lets all my adversaries know how much I lack a life.

I've befriended a nearby Red Box to keep my evenings company. Note to self: Sad movies should be avoided.

You see, I'm precariously perched on a perilous precipice overhanging a pond of petulance.
Sad movies can throw one over the edge of such a precipice.

We are ever so close to the end of this deployment, but the days are dragging and the next several weeks loom like dark clouds.

(I'm exceptional poetic tonight, amn't I?)

I am also now more worried than I've been the whole deployment about Josh's safety over in Afghanistan. If you're a news watcher, then you know why. 

He assures me that he is quite safe, but I don't believe him.
Do you know who cooks the food and does the laundry over there?

Local folks.

I probably don't need to tell you how they feel about Americans right about now.

So I shall now be requesting that he not eat or launder until he comes home. Seems fair, no?

In other news, my littler man is so sweet I could eat him up. He makes me laugh.
On at least three different occasions today I heard a big thud followed by a little voice yelling out "I'm okay!"
He's a wee bit clumsy.

He also has to talk to me about everything he does. And he wont stop until he gets a reply.

Voice coming from the bathroom:
Mama! I'm washing my hands!


I'm washing my hands.

Okay, Derek.

Alex has decided that her favorite time to do schoolwork is at 8pm, also known as bedtime. As I'm tucking her in she tells me that she is really interested in doing some math right then. Or could we please read another chapter because her brain is ready to listen.
Sneaky Pete.
Her brain is often "too full" at other times in the day.
So I just blow some air in through her ear to make her head bigger.

It's science.

Ooh ooh. Big news.
Today I had a dental cleaning. And I did NOT have a cavity.

It's a festivus miracle.
I shall celebrate with some type of sugary treat. 

Happy Monday to you.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hodgepodge Time

Hola. Es miercoles. 
Join in.

1. February 22nd is National Be Humble Day...what makes you proud? What keeps you humble?

I'm proud of my husband.
He's hot.
And really smart.

Maybe too smart.

He's really good at flying airplanes.
And at being a Daddy.
And a husband.

He always asks me how he managed to trick me into marrying him, but the truth is that I think I tricked him and I can't imagine my life without him.

(Well, technically I guess I've had 5 months, 1 week, and 1 day to imagine it.
And let me tell you, it's no good.) 

What keeps me humble?
Making pancakes.

2. Where is the catch-all (aka dumping ground) in your house?

The other thing that keeps me humble is when Joyce asks questions about cooking and cleaning.

The more appropriate question would be where isn't the catch-all. 

Homeschooling stuff has taken over the dining room table, mail/coupons/papers are usually on the kitchen counters, and toys are...everywhere.

I also like to keep some crumbs on the floor. They keep the dust-bunnies company.

3. Do you make it a point to visit State/National Parks when you travel or even in your own hometown? What's your favorite?

I'm the only person in the world who wasn't that impressed with Yellowstone.
The highlight for me was the s'mores we had at the campfire.
I can't pick a favorite of something I'm not that excited about. It's like asking me what's my favorite kind of lettuce.

4. How would you define honor?

This is too deep.
I'm feeling shallow.

5. Angel's food or Devil's food-which cake do you prefer?

Angel's is too healthy. If I'm having cake, I want cake.

This reminds me, yesterday Alex was doing her math while I drank coffee in a booth at McDonald's.
She is adding two 3-digit numbers now, and one of the answers was 666.
It just tickled her fancy that all three numbers were the same. So she repeatedly yelled out Look Mom! 666!
666! They're all the same! 666!

She'd probably pick Devil's food, too.

6. What's the most recent road trip you've taken? Where did you go and how many hours did you spend in the car? Do you like to zoom to your destination without stopping or leisurely wind your way there with stops along the way? What is your car snack of choice?

We've been home for three weeks now from our road trip to Michigan. It was 13 hours one way, and since it was just me and the kids, we stopped for the night at the half-way point.
I definitely prefer to just get where we're going. Whenever I see people's pictures at the state line signs, I always thing that's neat, and then I think there's no way I'd be getting everyone out of car seats, etc. for a picture.
I'm kind of lame.
But the kids are definitely road warriors. We can make a 6-7 hour drive with only two 15-minute stops.

Snack of choice for me is candy.
Sour Patch Kids, to be specific.
But Nerds will do in a pinch.
Or a great big lollipop.

7. Recent headlines told how a preschool child in NC had their packed lunch from home taken away and a school lunch substituted by a school inspector who deemed the homemade lunch unhealthy. Reportedly the parent was then billed for the school lunch (chicken nugget meal) although an update to the story says the parent was not billed. The inspector was conducting a routine inspection of the classroom-he/she was not there solely to peek in the lunchboxes.
The packed lunch contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, an apple juice box, a bag of chips, and a banana. You can read the story here. Your thoughts?

I did read that story when it was in the news. 
I thought the lunch the parent made sounded just fine, and the inspector didn't do the kid any favors by serving up some chicken nuggets.
Glad they weren't at Alex's school when I threw together a lunch on a day that we really needed to get groceries.

One thing to consider about this story is that the class was a "More at Four", which is a special program for at-risk kids from low income families, in which there is likely more regulation and a focus on educating families on healthy habits.

I have, on occasion, wished that it was okay to give unsolicited health advice to strangers. Like when I see babies sucking down orange soda in a bottle.
It makes me cringe.

 8. Insert your own random thought here.

 23 weekends down.
4 or 5 to go.

If you've seen the news lately, you know that things have heated up in that region. Say a prayer for our troops! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

We appear to be stuck in the 150's


Still here.

Livin' the dream.
One potty break at a time.

I'm experiencing the Weekend Deployment Phenomenon. This is what occurs when your husband is gone and the weekend is no longer something to look forward to.
It's just like every other day, without the distractions to make it go by faster.

The only highlight is that I get to sleep in.
It goes something like this:

Derek comes in to my room at 8:01am and gets about 1 inch away from my face to say:
Mommy, my blue light is on and I'm allowed out of bed now.

As if that were not abundantly obvious by his presence.

I send him off to the bathroom and listen to him talk me through every step. I'm not going to lie, the most interesting mornings are when he tells me that his penis is VERY BIG.
I'm told it's a morning thing.

Then he comes back to crawl into bed with me. I tell him he has to snuggle quietly and he does.
For about 30 seconds.
Then he tells me to stop breathing because my mouth is stinky.

About this time, I'm wondering what is taking my eldest spawn so long to get to my room.
Because I need her TV-turning-on-ability to get the young loud one out of my bed.
She arrives, I mumble to her to go put on a show.

They leave.

They watch TV. I sleep.
It's a good arrangement.
But every so often one of them will come in with a very important update. 

Such as, Derek is being loud during my favorite part of the show. Or. I want to watch Octonauts and Alex wont let me. Or. Mom, I saw a commercial for a movie that I really want to go see, can I see it? It comes out next year but I really needed to ask you RIGHT NOW.

It's kind of a painful sleeping-in, but I take whatever I can get.

So that's pretty much what will be going on tomorrow from around 8- 9:30 10am.
Don't judge me.
Two hours of TV wont kill them, but if I don't get to sleep in every once in a while, I might.

Their father has been gone for 157 days and February is going by at the speed of molasses.

Ahora, me perdone por favor, voy a ir estudiar algun espaniol con piedra de Rosetta.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bad tastes make them cry.

It's Day 154 and we're adding another holiday to the list of things daddy missed during this deployment.
Not that I keep track of these sort of things.


(I admit some of those we don't exactly celebrate, but it made my list longer and thus more impressive.)

With any luck, he'll be back for my birthday.
Sure. The holiday I wish wouldn't come.

Being SuperMom, I rocked this Valentines Day for my kids. Yes, I got them awesome treats.

Also known as stuff I was getting them anyway disguised as a present.
Who doesn't want socks and undies for V-Day? And new water bottles! Woo-hoo!

Then I made their holiday even better by schedule dentist appoints for both of them at 9 this morning. Nothing like starting your day off with a cleaning, right?


We have not had problems in the past, but this morning there were tears aplenty because, wait for it, the toothpaste tastes bad.
Of course it does.
But it is really a reason for tears?
And from my 6 year old?

Derek laid back like a champ and opened wide. The minute that stuff hit his tongue, he pushed the girl's hand away and tried to jump from the chair. He was outta there.
So I had to assist him to hold still.

If only Octonauts had been on instead of Mickey Mouse. I swear, he would submit to just about anything if only Octonauts were on.
He did, at one point, tell the dentist that his big hand was in the way of the TV.
Not to be confused with yesterday, when he told the lady cutting his hair that she was "Yanking his tail" when she told him how many pets she had. Of course, she then had to ask where he was hiding his tail.
I already knew what was about to come out of his mouth, so I just cringed and waited for it.

My tail is in my BUTT!

Lovely children I have.
Not rude at all.

Since Derek's class was having a Valentine's Day party, I told Alex that we would have a special day as well.

We took our schoolwork to McDonald's for a milkshake, and did some extra coloring and crafts.

This is Jimmy's plate.

We just finished a book about a boy who became blind. He had to learn how to eat by locating his food on the plate like the face of a clock. So Alex made the food and figured out where to place it on the plate. Meat at 6 o'clock, green beans at 12 o'clock, etc.

I shall now nominate myself as homeschooling mom of the year.
She took her recess in the playplace.

Wait. This just in: Other homeschooling moms do crafts all the time.
I must respectfully withdraw my nomination.

Then we drove about town delivering Valentines that Alex had made for her friends.

To repay me for making their day so much fun, this is the current state of the playroom:

I cannot imagine how it got to be this way:

Deceptively adorable, is he not?

Random clips for Daddy--

We got a new piece of TrickTrack--

After having sung this song to Derek everyday for forever, you would think I would not have to help him with the lyrics.

And I don't know why he seems so confused at the end.
He lives a very confused life.

Happy Valentine's Day. Hope you all get some action tonight.
I'll live vicariously through you.

If you need me, it's Tuesday, so you know where I'll be.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 151

Public Service Announcement Regarding Cabbage Soup:

Don't do it.

Or at least, don't do it if you need to go out in public any time after ingesting it.

I made a rather large amount of cabbage soup, known as the zero point soup on the weight watchers diet. Because you may remember that I'm trying to find my bones underneath the generous layer of adipose tissue I've cushioned them with.
I made the soup on Thursday, ate some for dinner that evening, and then went to church.

Yes, I go to church on Thursday nights. It's a little strange I admit, but it's about 100% awesome to have a second sleep-in day on the weekend.
And it's the only service our church offers in our town; the other ones are at the main campus 25 minutes from here.
So now you know.

And you might have also guessed that I was a wee bit uncomfortable in the intestinal area during the service.
I was. I managed to hold back until I got safely into the confines of my home.

Losing weight stinks.
Quite literally, in this case.

So today I craigslisted the glider that we got when Derek was a baby. He's too old for a rocking chair in his room these days, so I thought I would do what my husband suggested and try to get rid of something a little bigger.

Do you know what he said when I told him I sold it?
"But that was a really comfy chair; it was good for reading."

I can't win.

Want to hear a conversation I had in Ghetto Burger King the other day?

(Ghetto Burger King refers to one particular BK in our town that seems to attract the dregs of society, has terrible food, and shady service. But we go there anyway, because it has a big 'ole playplace that's always empty. Probably because of the other things I mentioned about this restaurant.)

Don't worry, I didn't eat there. Just my children.

As I'm getting a drink refill before leaving, a rather large man with very dark sunglasses approached me and said this:

I have to tell you something. I'm not sure if it's God that wants me to tell you this, or if it's the devil. But are you in the Air Force? Is your husband in the Air Force?
Well I just have to tell you that you are a very beautiful woman. 

This conversation was brought to you in part by, This is why I go to Ghetto Burger King with a group, and Kids get in the van and lock the doors.

Also, what does the Air Force have to do with what he felt he needed to tell me? Not sure.
And, I kind of like that guy.

But not as much as I like this guy:

And while things have really gone smoothly up until now, I have to say that I'm kind of over this deployment now and I really, really, really want my husband home.

The next 6-8 weeks can't go fast enough.

Hurry home, my love.
Oh, and bring the holster...


That last comment was for my sister in law, who thinks I put too many racy things in my blog posts.
(She's right.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Things I've Been Doing

1) Weeding through the kids' toys.

I did this a few months back, and thought I'd done a decent job.
Well. Now that we have an assignment and know that houses tend to come a wee bit tinier in our future locations, I felt the need to do more.
I've got a bunch set aside to either sell in a garage sale or donate, and I've even Craigslisted a few things.

(Did you see how I just turned Craigslist into a verb? I am a woman of many talents.)

So far we've parted with a kiddie climber/slide and a double stroller. Plus we have another box ready to head north to my nephew, provided my father in law is able to come through town and transport it for us.

Oh, and I took great pleasure in getting rid of this particular toy:

Ye Olde Fishy Game.
These fishies are always everywhere around my house, except for where they belong.
I am sick of the fish.

I remember when Alex was 3, I walked into her room and found her peeling all the eyeball stickers off of the fish.
I'm not gonna lie. It was a little disconcerting.
I started to wonder if I need to watch out for other signs of animal cruelty.

Turns out the only real problem was that I was going to have eyeball stickers stuck to my socks for the next several months.
Those things multiplied and scattered.

Oh, and when Derek was three, they decapitated all of the fish and stuck the heads on different colored bodies.

We totally need to get rid of this game.
It makes my children weird.

Let's say we get back to my list of things I've been doing, no?

2) Listening to my husband make fun of my attempts to downsize.

I'd told him about all the clothes I'd gone through to get rid of and his response was something like this--

"Gee Erin. I'm sure you're working hard, but I was thinking we needed to be getting rid of bigger things. You know, like furniture. Not a couple of shirts."

Well isn't he the voice of encouragement?

3) Refraining from telling my husband that I've actually acquired more furniture in recent days. 

Now you know, honey!
You see, I once came across a blog of a woman who takes old furniture and paints it all purty and what not. So then I fancied myself a furniture restorer and started hitting second hand stores for things to purty up.

Like this:

I wish I'd taken a "before" picture, because it was 10 different shades of ugly. It's only about 8 shades of ugly now, but it was my first attempt.
Maybe I'll sell it and try to recoup my $11 investment.

I also once saw a blog on the internets and fancied myself a blogger.
You see where this has taken me.
(It ends with "where" and starts with "no")

I bet Josh is hoping that I come across a cooking blog one of these days.

4) Painting.

This was one of those aforementioned secondhand store purchases from many months ago. He and his partner have been collecting dust in the garage until I decided what color to paint them.
I love this green.

I envision using them at a kids table or desk, but that would require a kids table or desk.

Also, a piece of furniture from PtB's house might have come home with me.
Maybe. Can't rightly say.

5) Homeschooling
I pretty much just throw that in to let you all know that I haven't forgotten that I'm responsible for edjimicating my daughter.

We're back to enjoying our college sessions while Derek's on the bus (if that doesn't make any sense to you, click here) and things are going fine. 
We have thirteen weeks left until we complete the 36-week curriculum, and then I plan to do a science unit with her in the summer.
We've added Spanish into our daily work, and it's been fun to hear her start to speak just a tiny bit of the language.

6) Other Schtuff

Like reuniting with Taco Tuesday.
Reunited and it feels so good...

Slowly working my way through Rosetta Stone.
Now I can say I ate the apple as well as I'm eating the apple.
People in Spain are going to love me.

And that's about all.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 145

Today is our 5th day back at home, and the first that we've actually stayed home all day.
It has done my hermit heart good.

We've been running around like crazy to Awanas, the blue bus, church, playdates, dinner with friends, Bible study, the library...
You know we've been keeping busy when Derek naps three days in a row. I mean, he hadn't napped in months. We are just wearing that kid out.

And that's a good thing.

Alex has spent oodles of time crafting in her room, and we've almost got all of the unpacking done.
I use the term we very loosely, since the kids just drag stuff out while I'm trying to put stuff away.
So I guess I use it more inappropriately than loosely, per se.

But it's been good to be home.

Everywhere I look, I see something to be done-- things to sort through, papers to file, reminders for appointments to make. I definitely have the feeling that things are not really going to settle down.
Like, ever.

This is good, because I miss my other half and the faster the days go by, the better.
I would actually like him to come home now. I wonder if there's someone I can call about that.
6 months is too long.

I often wonder what Derek really thinks about his daddy being gone for so long. Alex gets it; she can look at the calendar with me and understand the idea. But Derek doesn't get the concept that well. He rarely ever mentions Josh. He often refuses to talk on skype or the phone.
I wonder if he's angry about it, or sad about it, but it's hard to pull that kind of info out of a 4 year old.
So I just give him lots of snuggles, and he seems to be coping in his own way.

Yesterday he was playing play doh at the table, and out of nowhere said to me: Mommy, I want my Daddy to come home. I remember we used to play bad guys together. Can he come home while I'm sleeping?

It made me tear up a little.
Well, it was either that or the onions I was chopping.

(I really like onions. And Josh really doesn't like onion breath. So I've been eating onions with reckless abandon. I totally live on the edge.)

I can't say enough how excited I am about the next couple of years, and how wonderful they will be for our family. Between more normal work hours and no deployments, we are going to be so spoiled.

Can't wait!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 141

I'm working hard to get us settled back in at home. Many thanks to our family for rearranging their lives and taking us in for the last 10 weeks!
I know they enjoy the chance to be with the kids, but let's face it, nobody really wants company for that long.
Especially company that leaves town after passing along a stomach bug.

Alex spent all day Sunday on a recliner with a bucket, and apparently passed the illness along to Aunt Jessie and Uncle John.
So sorry, guys.
We all know that I have vomit-phobia, so I certainly feel terrible inflicting that on anyone.

Really, Michigan is not the place to be right now for the weak of stomach. My sister's kids are also down with a flu bug, along with many of their school chums.

This has been a Public Health Service Announcement: Stay away from Michigan. 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch-style home in North Carolina, we had quite the productive day. But as I look around at the house you would never know it. There remains much to be done.

Baby steps, people.
Baby steps.

I had a lovely deep sleep in my own bed last night. Almost perfect, if only it had my marido in it.

(That's Spanish for husband. You didn't know this would be a learning experience, did you?)

My friend Amy had kindly brought over some milk and bagels yesterday, so we had breakfast and the kids reacquainted themselves with the playroom while I got to work.
I tackled their rooms today, clearing out outgrown clothes before unloading the suitcases.
I'm definitely feeling the need to pare down our belongings before the next couple of moves.

Then we headed out for grocery shopping and a car wash, which is pretty much the highlight of my children's existence.
The car wash, that is, not the grocery shopping.

According to Derek, grocery shopping is the "baddest thing in the whole world."
Yet, he never complains when there is food to eat. Odd.

Grocery shopping is the event during which I most regret homeschooling. They sit all smashed together in the "rocketship cart" and poke and prod and sing the silliest things you've ever heard over and over and over again, until I give apologetic looks to the passing shoppers and say "Oh, sometimes I regret taking this babysitting job."

The times when I most appreciate homeschooling are every weekday at 6:45am when I'm not getting out of bed.

Were you expecting something sappy about watching my daughter learn?
Yeah. Wrong blog.

And oh, the glorious weather. The kids were outside this afternoon playing, and requested popsicles because they were "sweaty."
Crazy! I can't believe it's February. But I'm glad it's February, because now I can say that my hubby should be back next month.
We're finally close enough to let the kids make the traditional paper chain.

Though that does look a wee bit depressingly long, does it not?
Toward the end, I usually sneak a few more links on the chain so they're not disappointed if he gets delayed.

 In keeping with my plan to return home and acquire the body of a supermodel, I bought a healthy array of foods. A friend posted the recipe for this little gem on facebook:

It's kale soup.
Don't I sound all crunchy and healthy?
The truth is that I've never bought kale before, but the soup wasn't half bad.

Of course, my stomach revolts an hour later thinking that it has eaten nothing at all, but then I serve up another helping of kale soup and tell my stomach to shut up, already, I'm trying to not be so soft and mushy.

Repeat every hour.

When I was making the soup I was talking to myself, which is not unusual.
(For me.)
I added the required spices, set down an empty dispenser and said: "Looks like I'm out of thyme."

And then I realized that was kind of funny. So I laughed.

This moment of humor has been brought to you in part by, Erin needs a life, and our special sponsor, the author of Diet Soups Can Fill You Up, Mr. I.M. Lying.

Beepbeepbeepbeep: This just in-- Man down, Man down. Pat the Bunny has also been infected.
I'm starting to wonder if Alex went around licking the doorknobs or something.

We will never be invited anywhere ever again.

Lo siento, mi familia.
Lo siento.

I will leave you with some parting photographs:

Da boys-

Alex wanted a picture of Daddy to have at night in bed. So I printed one off the computer, on regular paper and not photo paper, and she mounted it on cardboard and colored him in.
And she sleeps with it every night.

PtB reading to the kids while breathing air that was probably already transmitting illness, thought none of us was the wiser at that time.

Getting ready for our night of culture at the theater.

Good news! Elmo did indeed help Grover get his superpowers back!

Now for another dose of kale soup...