Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crunchy Lunch!

Amelia and I have a lot of fun cooking together. This past week, I taught her how to clean pomegranates to get the seeds. She thought she was being very sly by sneaking a few seeds into her mouth as she cleaned!! But since it was going to be for her snack anyway, I let her eat away.

Today we had a PBJ, and I had put some pomegranate seeds into her sandwich as a surprise. When she crunched them, it made her laugh - which made me laugh - which made her laugh. She kept saying, "Pop!" (for the seeds popping in her mouth).

Then I tried it on MY sandwich.

I don't know who had more fun eating lunch - Mia or myself. They pop in your mouth like a healthy version of fizzy candy and they come at unexpected places in the sandwich. The tartness of the pomegranate plays really well with the peanut butter and the jam. We're definately doing this one again! I was surprised at how delicious they taste.

By the way, BARB, I can never write surpriZe on this blog now without thinking of you. I had no idea I had been spelling it wrong all these years!! :) That's what you get when you don't ever use spell check, I guess. :))

Beautiful Life

The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

These past few years have been very difficult in so many ways for our family - we seem to have had more than the normal share of tragedies hit us, one after the other. I think moving to Beaufort (away from support systems and friends who had been with us at so many duty stations I considered them family) seemed to both concentrate and exacerbate my frustration with it all. At a time when I eagerly looked forward to my husband being home on a regular basis for the first time in 2 years, he was snatched up as an IA and deployed for 17 months. I am now counting his workup of 4.5 months as part of that deployment!

I was wondering why I couldn't seem to pull it together now, when things have settled down and I can set up our routines again... wondering why I can't focus, can't be as productive as I used to be, etc.

Bit by bit, as tragic events have piled on, you go through the day and continue to endure. One more thing falls by the wayside and it's barely noticeable until one day you look around and realize you've let a lot of beauty leave your life in the struggle to get through each day. And worse, it's visibly manifested in the piles of paper and toys hanging out everywhere!!

I've been determined for some time to get on the organizing warpath. I was temporarily sidetracked by the emergency surgery/miscarriage and it's been a struggle to move forward since then. I've gone again to the doctor for blood tests - hair is falling out in clumps and my attention span is reminiscent of a butterfly, with an absolute lack of focus. I originally had this intense desire to cut our possessions by a third, and to create a beautiful sanctuary for my husband.

I do believe that our home needs to be a sanctuary. But within the past week, I've had the revelation that it needs to be that way for not only my husband, but also myself. I've let beauty leave my life in tiny little puffs of air, and with it, a lot of my contentment and peace. What happened to the music, art, flowers that used to reside in this home? What happened to the joy and serenity? What happened to lazy days exploring the country?

I absolutely believe that organization is key to all that. And I'm ready to invest in the beauty of it. :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dinosaurs in the water...

Rafe called again today. Woohoo!! He said he was able to sleep in last night - 9 hours of sleep instead of his usual 5. Quite frankly, I don't know how he's doing it. This is a guy who loves his sleep and could easily sleep 10 straight hours every day.

Amelia loves it when he calls and she's awake. She gets kind of shy on the phone, but holds it so close to her face and her ear, as if she's trying to hold him close. She talks MUCH quieter than she normally does, which is quiet and girly anyway. She will have this big ear to ear grin on her face while he's talking, and will occasionally say one or two words. To me, those words are whole stories, but I need to translate them to Rafe since he isn't used to hearing her very much.

"Opit!!" = Open it!
"Bee Beep" = usually means that a car is beeping somewhere, but will occasionally means she wants me to beep the car horn.
"my turn!" = This one always makes me laugh, because it means she totally gets the concept of sharing and taking turns (not bad for 27 months), and uses it to her advantage when she wants to do something that I normally do.
"Reenz" = Marines. Every time she sees a Marine, she comments on them. "reenz, mommy, reenz!!!" When they march cadence, she says, "reenz sing!" Today, I was humming the Marine Corps Hymn while I was changing her diaper (not on purpose, but if you hear something often enough you will hum it. It's better than the veggie tales theme running through my head, trust me) and she said, "Reenz sing, mommy?" I was pretty impressed, because I hadn't realized I was humming it until she mentioned it.
"I 'cared" = I'm scared. She hardly ever used to say this, except every once in a great while with a thunderstorm. But again, she's gotten sneaky recently and begun to say it in all seriousness for sounds or things she never used to be scared of. When I finally caught on, I tickled her and told her she wasn't really scared, she was just messing with mommy, and she laughed and stopped saying it!! I was once again, snookered by a 2 year old.

And my most recent favorite - "dina-soar"... said in two words as we pass over water on a bridge, or go by a marsh when the tide is in. For some reason, she has it in her head now that dinosaurs live in the water around here. When I finally figured out what she was saying, and asked her, "are you telling me that dinosaurs are in the water here?" She very happily sighed and said "yes" and stopped repeating it over and over.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

His Royal Rafeness

I heard from Rafe today - it's a balmy 104 degrees there, down from 110. When I told him it was 64 and breezy here last night, I think I heard him cry.


Amelia has taken to telling me, "No, MA'AM!!" when I let her know it's time for bed. Apparently she has concluded it's what I say when I want her to stop doing something or she can't have what she has asked for (although I don't say it quite like that!)... and has cleverly figured out that if she says it to me, she would be able to stop me from putting her to bed.

Do you know how hard it is not to laugh when she puts her hands on her hips and says it very firmly in all seriousness?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


$889.50 and 8 hours

That's how much it cost to get the car worked on yesterday. Now I know why we don't normally take it to a Mazda dealership. About half of that should (I said should) get paid back to us by Sears.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Car Troubles

My brakes are squeaking. I had new brakes put on right after Rafe left for deployment, and they squeaked right away. I called Sears, and they told me brakes always squeak when they are new.

Fast forward to this past week, when a neighbor re-arranged the car seats for Noah and Mimi (which is what Noah calls Amelia). He told me that my brakes shouldn't squeak after 3000 miles. Hmm.

The base gave me a recommendation for a local mechanic that I could trust. This mechanic was awesome - he looked at my car for 2 1/2 hours, checked everything out, changed my oil, started to rotate my tires and noticed some more issues from the brake job/tire rotation that Sears did, wrote it all up, offered to talk to Sears for me and then....

charged me $29.50. I kid you not. So ladies in Parris Island, go to "MyTech Automotive" by Laurel Bay. You will not regret it. This guy knows his stuff.

Tomorrow I'm taking it to the local Mazda dealer (authorized by Sears) and having the original problems fixed.

Once again, I am SO TIRED of taking care of all this stuff. I'm also so glad my dad was here and I was laid up in bed when my battery died and my dad fixed that for me.

I need a rent-a-husband.

Catching Up

I am trying really hard to catch back up around here. The house is cluttered and it feels empty after having so much fun boy energy around. Amelia misses Noah and is acting out a lot. She's screaming, doesn't want to sleep in her bed, wanders around saying "pway" just like Noah. She talks about Noah's chair, his "happy scream", the beach, Aunt Mandy... It's sad and frustrating.
I want to play with her but I am also so VERY VERY tired of not having things taken care of around here.

I'm tired of living out of suitcases and tired of traveling. I'm tired of not having a routine and I'm tired of not being able to focus. My mind works very much like a butterfly right now - very hard to concentrate on any one thing for very long. I found that I had forgotten to take my medication while in Asheville and while Mandy was here. Hard to believe that something as simple as iron deficiency can totally derail the neurotransmitters in your brain. The Dr. mentioned to me it would be about 3 months before it was about normal again but it's hard to fathom when you feel normal, until you realize you can't keep a thought in your head for more than 10 seconds at a time.

When Mandy was here, I kept losing things. More than normal. It was embarrassing and she was so patient about it - even when I lost the keys on the morning I was supposed to take her to the airport.

So needless to say, the big blue pill box (the kind that has 7 days of the week divided into breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime) is now filled and on the kitchen table where I can see it and take it every day.

Noah and Aunt Mandy

The day after the washing machine fiasco, my brother's wife and my (almost) 2 yr. old nephew came for a visit. I have to say that she was a saint. The house was a mess from the packing, moving things to higher places in the house, partial unpacking and the small flood.

Not only that, but that morning I made a gallon of strawberry peach smoothies. And then promptly dropped half a gallon on my foot. They shot up and everywhere... the ceiling, the fridge, the walls, the stove, the oven, the drawers, the floor. I wiped up the majority of it before I ran out the door, took a shower again (it was all over me), and finished cleaning most of it up the next day while Mandy was able to meet some friends here locally. The ceiling I did in bits and pieces - a little while she was here but most of it right after she left.

We had a great time with Noah. I have some fun pictures to share as soon as I can figure out how to plug back in all the computer gizmos I had to unplug before we left for the hurricane (router, vtech, printer, etc) to make it all work right.

Normal Life

I'm still waiting for it to start.

We left for Hurricane Hanna on Sept. 3rd with two other families to Asheville, NC and returned late Sept. 6, Saturday. More on that trip later, with fun pics of the families we went with.

That Sunday, my washing machine broke and overflowed not once, not twice, but THREE times, starting at 3:30 in the afternoon. The first time I had no clue what was going on and walked into my laundry room to find a quarter inch of water everywhere. Luckily, at the same time a neighbor happened to stop by and she and I mopped, cleaned and moved every item out of the laundry room, pantry and closet into the kitchen. Rafe's mom's pictures and journals were in that closet and luckily we were able to get them out of the box before the water seeped through the box to the pictures. Those boxes are still in my kitchen while I ponder a better storage solution.

The second time, I was trying to figure out what the problem was and forgot it was turned on because I was sidetracked by Amelia in the livingroom. Once again, my friend still there, we mopped up again. Used every towel in the house by this time. I slipped and fell in the water and scared Amelia, who had just seen my incapacitated for a month. She began crying, "Momma! boo boo!!" and then my friend's little girl and Amelia wanted to come into the laundry room with us. I was about to break down and cry by this point after the week we'd had and then to come back to the trial of unpacking and putting everything back where it belonged again. I ran next door to get another neighbor and asked her to come over and "love on the girls" for a little while so we could finish cleaning. Her husband came over later and lifted the washer and dryer so I could clean under them.

The final time was actually a maintenance man who came by to try and figure out the problem. He figured it was a broken sensor, left after 15 minutes with a small bit of water in the bottom of the washer. I put Amelia to bed, and came back to the washer to find water all over the floor again. I called him back, he helped me clean again and also lifted the washer and dryer.

A repairman came out that following Friday to fix it - he opened the front of the washer, took a small hose that had come loose and stuck it back on. Then he handed me a bill for $109!!

At least my washer works now. And I can fix it myself next time.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hurricane Hanna


If you like watching hurricanes, this is a fun site. However, if you are like us and live where hurricanes hit, this is an ESSENTIAL site. I've evacuated from Hurricane Ivan, and been through 3 small hurricanes/tropical storms. I'll be monitoring this one closely; it looks like we will be evacuating from here on Wednesday unless the path of the storm changes. We live in South Carolina, right next to the Georgia border... as in... half an hour drive. Our house is actually on the edge of Parris Island... as in... the water is a block away.

So we're packing up and heading out. Not sure where we are going yet - normally we would head to Meridian, MS and stay at the airbase there, but it's all booked up from Hurricane Gustav. We're still looking for decent places within a day's drive that will take dogs - I have a "hurricane buddy" that I'm evacuating with - a neighbor with 2 dogs and a 2 year old. My mom is still with me and helping me with Amelia and with the packing.

The fun never ends around here.

See you in a few days.

Stick 'em up!

Amelia was playing with my gardening hat and one of her head bands... She reminded me of a bandit who got blindfolded by his own men! :)

Chef Amelia

Making French Toast for Breakfast - scrambling the egg

Mixing the egg, sugar and cinnamon

Exhausted after a making breakfast!

By the way, isn't her apron cute? My mom just made that for her this week. She loves it and wore it half the day.