Wednesday, January 28, 2009

He's in Europe!

At a really cool place. And he'll be home tomorrow evening. I'm picking him up from the airport in Savannah and I can hardly wait.

Don't call us; we'll call you! hee hee

In all seriousness, I ask that you give us at least until Sunday before you start calling; so we can connect again as a family. Of course, I'm sure he will be calling people as soon as he gets settled, but leave it up to him to decide when that will be before that time.

STILL no word

I'm hoping that means he is in a European country by now, or even better, flying on his way here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The other side of the coin

Full article here (read the comments following also)

The problem is in how the campaign is attempting to bring military spouses
to the discussions with Michelle. They are asking members of Blue Stars for
Obama to go out and seek other military spouses, who are not signed on to Blue
Stars for Obama, in order to drum up large crowds for the events.
Some BSFOs
are known to be contacting other military wives, urging them to take part in a
political event; the rough equivalent of “undue command pressure” — unacceptable
behavior considering that spouses of junior officers or enlisted personnel can
sometimes be intimidated by a request or admonition from the wife of a senior
officer or enlisted military member. After all, the senior officers and enlisted
write or have input on the fitness reports for those under their purview (”I
can’t cross the chief officer’s or master sergeant’s wife; her husband holds my
husband’s career in his hands”).
Since the military member cannot take part
in publicly supporting a particular candidate, it has always been understood
among military wives that it is also inappropriate for a military member’s
spouse to use her position in the military community to solicit others toward
her personal political views via access she has gained to e-mail addresses,
phone numbers and other networking avenues available to her within the military

Michelle Obama's message to Military Families

Below is a message sent today in a newsletter I receive for military spouses. Her words are powerful, but I wonder if her perspective is as well rounded as it appears. I do know the military spouses she knows the best are actually several of my neighbors, a few streets away... ones who formed a small group of military spouses for Obama, much to the shock and surprise of many; whom she asked to outreach to other spouses; who created a video that actually used the backdrop of some of the houses on this base. On another post, I'll quote someone more articulate than I about the tricky waters that represents. I do believe in freedom of speech, but I also find it personally reprehensible to have military families politicized this way.

On Tuesday, as people from all walks of life come together in common purpose to begin the work of renewing America's promise, my daughters and I will stand beside my husband as he takes the oath of office as the 44th president of the United States.

People have asked me how I'll feel at that moment. As a wife, I'll be thinking about how proud I am of my husband and how I believe so deeply that he will be an extraordinary president. As a mother, I'll be bursting with pride at the thought of my girls now being able to envision endless choices for themselves and the joy it will be to watch them grow up in the White House. And as a daughter, I'll be profoundly grateful to my parents, knowing that I am here only because of their lifetime of faith and hard work.

They're my proof that the American promise endures. It's that promise we all share — that our children might grow up with unlimited possibility, that our families might know the dreams of opportunity and prosperity, that people in every nation might look at the proud banner of this country and know the boundless meaning of hope.

As I take on my newest role — First Lady — I'll be thinking about what that promise means to all those whom I've had the humbling privilege to meet these past two years on the campaign trail: Americans across the country who opened their doors and hearts to share their stories with me — stories I carry to this day.

I particularly cherished my visits with military families all across the country. I met so many strong and inspiring military spouses eager to share their stories, their dreams for the future and the unique challenges they face because of their families' selfless service to our country.
And if there's one thing I learned, it's that when our servicemen and women go to war, their families go with them. I saw how they take care of each other, heard how they fill in whenever the system fails and discovered that the trials they faced always were matched by the hope they shared that better days are still ahead.

The simple 35-word oath my husband will take and the peaceful transfer of power it completes makes it easy to forget that the great fortune of our citizenship isn't free at all. It's a responsibility inherited only because generations of Americans have fought and bled and died for it.

So as I watch Barack take that oath, I'll be thinking especially about those members of our American family who stand guard across the world and the loved ones who await their safe return. Because even as we mark this moment in American history, there still will be empty seats at the dinner table; there still will be spouses struggling to juggle roles and responsibilities; there still will be children who mark the passing of a birthday without Mommy and toddlers who know their father only by a grainy video stream from a far-flung corner of the globe.
My husband and I are deeply grateful for the sacrifices that these families make to protect all American families. And we join them — today and every day — in praying for their loved ones and their safety. They don't ask a lot in return, just a Washington that understands the challenges they face as part of their extraordinary commitment to our country.
My husband understands that commitment, and he will ensure America lives up to its end. As military families join us on Tuesday, in person and in spirit, I want each and every one of them to know that for as long as I have the tremendous honor of being your First Lady, your voices will be heard, you will have an advocate in the White House, and the American promise you preserve always will extend to you, too.

All of us can learn a fundamental lesson from our military families: You don't need to wear a uniform to serve your country. We all have something to contribute to the life of this nation.
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And to honor the legacy of a man who believed that everybody could be great because anybody can serve, my family and I will spend the day performing activities in service to others. And we'll ask all Americans to join us in making an ongoing commitment to serve their community and their country, because in this new season of hope, that's the only way we'll begin renewing America's promise for all who reach for it and all who defend it — as one nation and one people.

On Tuesday night, my husband and I will tuck in our daughters like we always do. Their bedrooms will be different, their home unfamiliar. But they will drift off to sleep protected by that same sacrifice that has kept all of our families safe and safeguarded our freedom for generations — the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform and their families.
For that, we could not be more grateful — or more proud.

Note to self

When you're on the phone for a long period of time trying to deal with some official business, do not turn your back on a two year old who just figured out how to open doors.

Because when you turn around, you'll have to decide whether to laugh or cry at the mess; and whether to be impressed or stupified at how cleverly she discovered how to undo all that you just did the past week.

Ok, new prep list for Rafe coming home:
Kid is alive - check
Spouse is alive - check
Car can get to the airport and back - check

Everything else is gonna have to be put on hold for a while.

No Word

Not a peep from the Husband today. So it must mean he is traveling from point B to point C. It's nervewracking, after the daily phone calls and emails for the past 3 weeks to be confronted with a wall of silence for one day.

All I can say is that he better not surprize me with a phone call telling me he is AT the airport in Savannah and could I please come pick him up? It's been so long since I had mascara on I need at least half an hour to get it right!

Anyway, my best guess is that he is still overseas, but getting ready for his flight to the US from a safer country in the Middle East. My friends and I figure he will show up early Thursday morning, so hopefully I'll get a call tomorrow confirming that. Since I have two doctor appointments tomorrow in cities hours apart and some last minute details to wrap up that would work out well.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Amelia is getting so excited, yet that very excitement is tearing at my heart. I've never seen her like this before; and she talks about him constantly. When Rafe calls and tells her he is coming home soon, I hasten to add, "for a visit".

So now she walks around talking about her daddy from Iraq coming to visit, and then going back to Iraq. She is processing things this week by playing with her dolls. She points to herself and says "baby" and wants to be rocked like a baby. Then she'll jump out of my arms, run off and change her doll's diaper, all the while telling them about daddy and his things around the house - she went to the quilt hanging on the wall and said "Daddy No Touch" (daddy's quilt, don't touch).

Oddly enough, the one day she didn't do that too much was when we went to the doctor's office. She woke up that morning a bundle of energy and told me all day long she wanted a baby brother. I tried not to read too much into that, but it was hard not to. I have not ever told her why I am going to the doctor or even that we are trying to have another child. The only time we talked about it was when I showed her pictures of Elliot and told her Noah has a baby brother now, and those two incident were days apart.

The most heartbreaking of all is when she says, slowly, "Daddy... home.... soon?", like every moment after that depends on my affirmative answer.

The Zinnia Patch: a request

The Zinnia Patch: a request

Having been in that very hospital many times with Amelia, I can vividly picture the scene unfolding and I second her request.

On his way!!

Rafe is at his first stop. He has to wait a day or two for another aircraft to fly him from there to his second stop. I can't believe it's almost here! We tore off another ring today in our "homecoming train" as Amelia calls it.

She is getting really excited. She is going around the house, pointing out his stuff and saying, "Daddy's??". I assure her it's Daddy's; and she talks about all the stuff they will do together when he gets home. Apparently killing a bug is one of them. A girl after mom's own heart!

If you are dependents of the military member, you can meet them at the gate with a pass from the airlines when they are coming home. So as soon as we know what US airlines he gets on, we will be getting our pass to meet him at the gate. I don't even want to wait to see him at the Baggage claim!! I'm getting teary eyed just thinking about seeing him again. I hope I hold it together while we are waiting there for him to show up.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's getting closer!

I opened my email and found this:
I depart here really late tomorrow evening. It is all just as well since the late departure will help me readjust my body clock to my true home(you).

I love my husband! I would tell you the 4 cities he has to fly to in order to get home, but I'd have to kill you after I told you. He will be home sometime in the next 3-5 days. YIPPEEEEE!!

Yesterday he was able to sit down and look at the blog again for the first time in a while. He told me it was one of the best things I could have done for his deployment. Rafe said that as he sat reading, he was no longer in Iraq, but at home with us, with his extended family, and the desert just disappeared. He couldn't stop smiling as he read through all of our holiday adventures. So I know I posted a LOT for January, but those hours and hours of work were worth it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fertility ******

Rafe and I will be trying to get pregnant during this short window home. I'm asking for everyone's prayers as this is a really long shot. During the surgery last year, they had to cut out one fallopian tube.

I saw a fertility specialist on Wednesday who told me that I needed "luck" to get pregnant. I have between a .5% and a 1% chance of getting pregnant again. Not good odds. He is treating me as a medical oddity and to be honest, tells me the only reason I am still his patient is that my body reacts to fertility meds like a much younger woman and he's curious what will happen. He is definitely not a "false hope" kind of guy.

We would love to have the noise and laughter of more children in this house, and I ask for your prayers that we are able to conceive a healthy child.

3 days and a wakeup!

Obviously I have no craft skills and this is actually our homecoming "train" as Amelia called it. The links are glued together, and I'll just have her pull one off each day. I've added a few extra links because his window of coming home is 3-4 days either way. This way we don't tear off the last link, only to be told it will be days later, and have a very confused little girl.

Closing Gitmo

At least one congressperson so far has stepped up and nobly offered his district as a place to house the
"Sure, I'd take 'em," said [Pennsylvania's Rep. Jack]
Murtha, an outspoken critic of the Iraq war. "They're no more dangerous in my
district than in Guantanamo."

What an idiot. I'm thinking I should start a seperate blog for my rants on the new political climate. I don't feel any safer with Obama as president. I mentioned to someone today about what a careless decision it was to close it in a year. This individual replied, "Is it? Obama knows exactly what he's doing".... and as I thought about it, it became chilling.

No birth certificate. No security clearance. Close Gitmo. Seriously restrict gun rights. Pull troops out of Iraq way too early to finish stabilization (how long did it take for the US to finally get civilized? Wild West anyone?). Create a paramilitary to "take the pressure off our armed forces" answerable to him. Run for a third term.

Do you think I'm making this stuff up? I wish I was. Do the research. There's more, but I'll stop for now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Texas Hallway

This is our Texas Hallway... That quilt was made by JJ; that mirror was a wedding present from Nana; the book on the chair was a gift from one of my chef apprentices; that's my gardening hat that I bought when we were stationed in San Diego at the Farmer's Market with one of my best friends, Kim; and I have no idea where that chair came from!

You can't see it but there is are two pieces of American Indian art in the hall, around the corner. Eventually I plan to have more pictures of Rafe's family along the walls. I have a framed picture that I took of Rafe and his dad that I will put up there.

Recently I realized I take pictures all the time, but never actually print them. So the only pictures I have in frames are my sister's kids because she prints doubles and gives some to me. That will change as I get more organized. I have some great pictures of Grandma Willie's farmhouse that I want to put up there, along with other family pictures. I have one that I took of all of Rafe's family together that I want to put there. I need to find some "texas" style frames that don't look too cheesy. I'm as terrible at decorating as I am at organizing.

I think the place needs paint. But then I'd have to paint it over again when we move, so I'm not sure.


Rafe, I am so excited you are coming home!
I know you like to anticipate good things, so this is for you! The tape is for Amelia. We usually watch a movie on Sundays, and I got tired of telling her she was too close to the TV every five minutes. I realized she had no clue what "too close" was, so I gave her a visual. She's really great about not getting past that line when she's watching.

Short Daddy and Tall Daddy
(Amelia's description - she asked me to put them there)

Rafe, click on this one so you can see it better. It's a little dark.

This normally only looks like this during the day when Amelia is playing. We clean it up each night. It's not as much as it looks like; it's just all contained in one spot. The rest of the house is pretty much toy free. Plus lots of those toys are baby toys still; I need to weed them out.

Year of Transformation

Every time Rafe deploys or goes on training for any length of time, I always make a goal to accomplish before he returns. On long deployments, it's always been pay our debt down and become organized. The first I'm great at and the second I'm horrible at.

I had just written a huge post about why the first six months of this deployment and all of last year was basically a wash, then I accidentally deleted it. So instead, I am going to give Rafe a sneak preview of what he will see in some (not all) of the rooms... and this is my year of transformation! I am going to finish it!

Before, unpacked but not sure of the "home" for things
Another before, as I tried to sort magazines (those boxes are filled with magazines and papers)

Today, while Amelia was asleep



Barb, this one's for you....


I just received an email with one word in it... surpriSe!!! It made me laugh out loud.

(I make one of my best friendz crasy becauze I alwayz spell that word wrong. Consistently. No matter how many times she has told me how to spell it. And I have no idea why I can't remember it, and I never use spell check for anything, so she shudders every time she sees me write it. hee hee hee )

Texas Johnson Tribe - 9 kids and counting

My sister's blog

Read the post about Marley

People ask me all the time how my sister gets things done with 9 kids. If you want to know about a typical morning in their household, you will have to read this. The funny thing is that I actually called her during this whole thing and she was quite calm on the phone and never mentioned a word to me about it. That shows me how much she must love me, as I was calling to "cry on her shoulder" about my doctor visit this morning and I never knew the whirlwind she was in.

I've been there. Trust me when I say, that's not unusual to have that kind of excitement before 9 in the morning.

I started a blog for my sister and her family right after we came back from Missouri. It's sweet, hysterically funny and so them all at the same time. They can't quite get the hang of posting under their own names as some of them aren't computer savvy (not naming any names, Lisa), so it might be confusing for a bit. But they can all either write on there or tell their stories to someone who can type it.


Homecoming Chain

To get Amelia out of her post-sickness funk tonight, we painted a little bit. We started off with paintbrushes, but in the spirit of experimentation, painted with a napkin, the skin of a kiwi fruit, our fingers and the upside down set of paints, dropped repeatedly on the piece of paper. My only contribution was the kiwi skin. Amelia thought of the rest :)

I was going to get some construction paper and make a chain out of it with her - each link to signify the days we have left until Daddy comes home. But now that we have all those pages painted, I am going to cut them in strips with her tomorrow and we're going to make them into the chain instead.

Each day we will tear one strip off the chain so she can get a physical sense of when he is coming home and how close it is. I am adding a few extra chains for the days that he might spend in travel. We actually won't know when he gets here until about 12 hours before he is supposed to show up. I just have a three day window of time that I am supposed to be ready to go pick him up at the airport.

I am not too excited or nervous yet. I think I'll feel it more once I see the chain made myself.


Welcome to the world, Elliot Henry Thomas!!! You are my 14th nephew or niece!

Congratulations, Paul and Mandy!

Rough Week

Amelia has been sick for more than a week now, at first with a bad cold. Then Sunday night I was vomiting for about 4 hours and Amelia started in on Monday. She threw up again last night, but I think today is the end of it. She hasn't eaten or had hardly anything to drink in 3 days, but she doesn't seem to miss it. She doesn't like pedialyte in any flavor, not a big fan of popsicles, and tonight I tried jello for the first time. What kid doesn't like jello?

Apparently, mine.

She did eventually find something she wanted to eat. She's holding the liverwurst she grabbed off of my plate (having a snack of crackers and liverwurst) and bit a hunk off of.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I've been trying to get on the Dr. Sears bandwagon for a while. I like a lot of what he says, and I thought signing up for his newsletter would really give me a few new pointers.

But every. single. time. I get a newsletter, I wade through tons of promos and sales and opportunities to waste money...oops I mean buy the most expensive alternative out there to help my baby. I find myself getting more and more irritated every time I skim through the newsletter at the heavy marketing and what seems to me someone taking huge advantage of mothers fears and concerns in order to make money. And moms buy it, hook, line and sinker without doing more research.

Today I had to laugh and finally decide to cancel the subscription when I read "tell your child we don't take out our nummies in public" as advice FROM A DOCTOR to a woman who wanted to breastfeed after one year.

She had been told by her own doctor that breastmilk wasn't nutritionally sound after one year and wanted the scientific evidence for that. Instead of giving her a clear cut answer, Dr. Jim advised her to nurse at home to avoid the public opinion poll, called breasts "nummies" ::::shudder::::, and told her the APA recommends breastfeeding for one year and as long as possible after that. Totally leaving out the clarification she asked for. He should have told her that it is still nutritionally as sound as it ever was, but that after the first year it doesn't really have the distinct nutritional advantages over food that it does during roughly the first year; and that the real advantage from breastfeeding longer is the nurturing aspect of it with the nutrition running second.

It really gives me the heebie jeebies to think of kids running around calling their mom's breasts "nummies".


Charlotte Brock is a Marine living on Parris Island. She recently wrote this story for a creative writing class.

Brace yourself. It's an amazing read.

Inauguration Day

I watched the inauguration today with about 8 or 9 Marines - both enlisted and officer. It was interesting to see their reactions to the swearing in and the ceremony in general. They noticed all kinds of things I would never think to see. I would say there was a bit of disappointment in the new Commander in Chief; but as good Marines, they will uphold their oath and obey their new Commanding Officer in all circumstances. Even when it's hurtful and feels like a betrayal, as it must feel to the Marine watching today who once guarded the inmates at Gitmo and wonders what will be done with those he guarded. He knows all too well that just setting them loose is dangerous indeed.

Let's hope President Obama chooses well.

It's bittersweet to watch Marine One fly away, for more than one reason.
Farewell, President Bush. I admire your strength of conviction and courage.


I watched the inauguration today. I loved parts of it, rolled my eyes at some of it, and was insulted by bits of it.

The last poem - started off great, went to funny and cute, and ended in insulting. "let the white man do right"... as if no white man ever did anything that was "right" with integrity, among other things. Let's sub black for white and see how long it would take for Rev. J. Jackson to get his panties tied in an knot.

I think reverse racism is just as bad as racism.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I miss my husband!!

It's an odd sensation, but the closer it gets to Rafe coming home, the more I miss him. I told him today I see his ghost everywhere now... I'm in the kitchen and I see him in there playing with Amelia; I'm in our room and I see him getting ready for bed at night; in the morning I wake up and for a few moments see him next to me. I "feel" him everywhere in this house - and the reason it's so odd is that he never really has lived here with us, just visited in between training.

I often wonder what it will be like when we live together full time again. We didn't have any children the last time we spent any time in one spot together for any length of time. Now we have Amelia, who will be 3 by the time he comes home. I imagine what our routines will be like and how we'll fit as a family.

This homecoming is like a bit of a trial - a miniscule glimpse of what our lives might be like. On the other hand, if we get pregnant again, as we plan on trying to do one more time, then it will be a moment in time lost forever.

I often wonder if people who don't know anyone in the military REALLY get the sacrifice that the military makes for them. Those guys over there, and over here, spend an enormous amount of time away from their families and there is no way around that. But getting rid of the military is an asinine solution that some extreme liberals are enamoured of; somewhat akin to doing away with the local police in your home town because you think people are inherently good and will do the right thing, regardless of who is watching.

I was throwing up for 4 hours straight and then Amelia started today. From 930am until she stopped at around 430. I'm getting the carpets cleaned tomorrow, because she missed the bucket a few times. Poor thing. I desperately wanted to send Rafe to the store for some 7up or Sprite. A lovely neighbor stopped by with a bag of apples, bananas, and pedialyte for us; rang the doorbell and left it on the front porch. We're lucky to live here.

Naartjie Sale!


These clothes are soft, colorful, stretchy cotton and I love them on Amelia! My sister picked up two outfits for me when she was in San Diego. I wanted to buy something colorful for her to have pictures taken in. It killed me to pay full price but I didn't have a choice at the time, I needed some "dressy fun" clothes for the pictures.

But now they are on sale!! 40% OFF!

I'm telling everyone this so you will rush right over and buy so they will run out and I won't be tempted.

I will say, buy large. I think they run about a half size small, and it's stretchy cotton so they will fit snugly a size larger, and still have room to grow into them.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Daddy's Girl

This was taken in October of 2007, on the only weekend Rafe came home from training in Virginia. I had forgotten how curly her hair was all over. I miss that chubby little face!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Satisfaction of Home

Rafe and Amelia on the beach outside his quarters
Norfolk, Virginia
October 2007

I can only imagine how it will feel for Rafe to come home to the United States after seeing desert for so long.

The first time I went to Texas to visit my sister, I was shocked at how unrelentingly brown Texas seemed to be. Perhaps it was just the season, but while I was there I became used to the odd beauty of Texas, plain and raw boned. When I went back to Iowa, my eyes were amazed by the contrasting lush landscape. I could not get over how green everything was.

Both of us can only allow ourselves to get just a little used to each other again. He needs to stay in Marine mode, because he's going right back into the fray and those two weeks will pass so quickly. To this end, he sent me a leave plan so we can make the most efficient use of our time possible. :) hee hee... Three pages long!

Believe it or not, I love it. It's a timeline that combined our schedule with his, along with a list of things we can do while he is home. It's actually a pretty amazing document. There are two things I particularly love about this plan. In his outline of how the day that begins in Kuwait will go (he flies there from Iraq first, and then to the US), there is an entry that says, "Go home where I belong". What wife wouldn't melt at reading that?

The second best part - he's doing the cooking!!! I'm so excited. He wants to give me a break from all my hard work. Can you imagine that? HE's the one fighting and living in the tent, and he wants to give ME a break. I'm so impressed. I'm a lucky woman!

"To know after absence the familiar street and road and village and house is to know again the satisfaction of home."

Hal Borland

Friday, January 16, 2009

French Onion Soup

A friend of mine gave me a quart of turkey stock that she had made and frozen recently. I caramelized 3 large onions in some butter, thyme and a bay leaf; and deglazed the pan with sherry.

Then I put the frozen stock on top of the onions and let it melt and then simmer.

I dumped in a can of beef consomme (bought from the dented section, 30 cents), seasoned with freshly cracked pepper and let it simmer for a few minutes.

A few days earlier, I toasted some rye bread ends that I had gotten for free at a local natural foods store. They make sandwiches from the bread and never use the ends, so they put them in a big basket free for the taking. They use all kinds of organic breads, so I usually take a bag or two and use them for croutons, bread crumbs, toast, etc.

When the soup was done, I put it in a small soup crock, topped it with toasted rye bread and some swiss cheese - perfect for the cold nights we've been having recently. I am going to freeze the rest of it I think. I pureed some for Amelia to eat. She doesn't seem to like chunky soups so I just give her stuff a whirl in the blender. She loved it - that's a success for me considering it was the first time she had it. I'm hoping I can get her to eat a wider variety of foods if I puree them in soups.


It's almost 3 am and I can't sleep. The closer it gets to Rafe being here, the harder time I have sleeping. Every day he emails me and gives me the countdown and then follows it up with a phone call to give it to me again. I'm trying not to think about it too much; it will make the time drag and accelerate at the same time. We've lived apart for so long, not just this deployment but training and deployments both that it will be a lot like having someone new living with me. We've both gotten more used to living apart than living together.... that doesn't mean we like this state better or that it's easier.
I need to get some sleep somehow. Amelia will be up in 3 hours and I have a busy day.

Shopping at the Exchange

There is an Exchange on this base - basically a small department store with name brand items. While you can definitely save a lot of money if you are a name brand shopper, in general you can get items much cheaper at Walmart. Obviously not the same quality, but still.

Every once in a while I go in there with Amelia to window shop when she gets a little stir crazy and it's rainy or cold outside. I went in there this week and found a two drawer nightstand, very nice...original price 129$ on sale for 29$. I noticed it had a bit of paint chipped off and I asked if that was why the price was so low. It turned out to be a closeout piece and they took even more money off! It's white and girly and perfect for Amelia. I needed something but I hate paying full price for anything, or even half price for that matter.

As I was walking out, I saw a bunch of purses on sale, half off. All name brands, but the only one I really recognized was Coach. I took a peek and about fell over. These purses were normally in the 200-300 dollar range and up! Who buys those things? I asked the lady at the counter and she said they were just selling last years styles, that people buy them there all the time. Holy Moly. Even at half off they were way too expensive. Then she told me that sometimes they mark them off 75%. Amazing.

Going Visiting

I love living on Parris Island. I am so glad Rafe was able to get us a house here, and not out in town. One of the best things about living here is knowing your neighbors. Every once in a while, we will go out "visiting" and just walk up and down the streets, stopping by a house here and there to say hello. As much as I like to dress Amelia up, she has very definite ideas of how to accent her outfit. She wanted a hat and insisted on the tennis shoes.

High Tide

Looking out my front porch.

Ever seen a Dragon cook?

Amelia made this in that tiny little oven!
Just kidding. I made it for lunch. It's a whole wheat tortilla; ground beef cooked with carrots, onions, green peppers and enchilada sauce; spinach, wheat germ and sharp cheddar cheese. It was amazingly delicious. Believe it or not, the spinach was great in it.

This is what Amelia made for lunch.
I made hers into a rollup, and with just the meat and cheese. I also made her some yogurt - just mixed some plain Stonyfield farm yogurt (in bulk) with some strawberry jam. Apparently, she wasn't a fan of the cheesy meat rollup, and thought it needed some help.
She has a bad habit, acquired recently, of dumping her yogurt on her food. Then wanting different food. She and I have had some chats about this and most of them ended with lunch ending immediately upon the dumping of the yogurt.
This particular day, I had started clearing dishes and wasn't paying attention to her and she did it again. Only this time, as I immediately started to take her food away, she said, "NO MOMMY! I EAT!"
Being the kind, gentle, mom that I am, I realized she was starving because she had spilled her milk at dinner (on purpose, she told me) and missed dinner. Then at breakfast she did the same thing, smeared her hand in it and told me she did it on purpose... and missed breakfast.
Too bad for her that we were now at lunchtime and she was about to lose lunch. Out of reflex, without really thinking, I said, "Did you do that on purpose? Did you mean to eat your food with yogurt on it?" She just looked at me a second and said, "uh huh".
Then she started eating it.
Is it bad if it made me laugh, because I could tell she didn't really like it with yogurt on it?

" 'mell Daddy!"

One of the best things a husband who is gone a lot can do is wear cologne. When you are really missing him, you can smell it again and feel a whole lot better. Every once in a while, when things are feeling really tough, I spray his cologne on my pillow before I go to sleep at night. I love sinking into the pillow and pretending he is right next to me. I usually put other pillows on his side of the bed and snuggle with my back to them.

I did that this week, and accidentally left his cologne bottle out. Amelia found it, and picked it up to smell it. She immediately recognized the scent - " 'mell Daddy!" (I smell daddy). She would not let go of that bottle, and would keep bringing it to her nose to smell and smell again. She looked so darn happy, and it reminded me of when I was a little girl. I used to love the smell of Old Spice because it reminded me of my Dad, and when I was in stores I would sneak to the cologne section and smell it.

It's amazing what she remembers about him. Tonight I put some cologne (Kenneth Cole's "Black") on her Daddy Doll and put the doll in to sleep with her.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

One of those days...

Do you ever have one of those days with your kids when you say things that you can't quite believe you are saying, then really quickly look around and see if anyone heard you?

I had that day today.

I have a bad habit of occasionally starting off with a, "If you don't stop that, XX will happen". The problem is that I don't normally have to say anything other than, "Amelia you need to stop doing that, and do this instead". She cheerfully replies, "OH! OK!" or "OK MOMMY!" like it was the greatest idea in the world to stop. But when it takes more than a time or two, I find I don't really have a backup plan. What will I do? I have no idea. And I've found it's not a good idea to wing it. It never works out well. Good thing she's two and has no idea what I'm talking about or she'd laugh her head off at me.

Me: Amelia, Are these your teeth marks in these pool floats? (those big long styrofoam sticks for the pool)
Mia: Uh huh! (with great enthusiasm)
Me: These are for playing with, not eating.
Mia: OK! MOMMY! (nodding and bobbling her head, I think she gets it)

A few minutes later...

Me: Mia, what is this chunk out of this floatie?
Mia: I bite it!
Me: Please don't do that. It's not good for you. Where are the pieces? (And she points to them on the floor). Do you understand Mommy? We don't eat these and we don't bite them either.

Mia: OHHH! OK!
Me: (I want to make sure she really understands) Are you going to bite them anymore?
Mia: YES! I BITE MORE! (and the little turkey is grinning at me)

At this point, I am trying to stay on track and not laugh. I tell her a few more times not to eat it, then exasperated, find myself saying, "YOU'D better not eat it, you will swallow them and mommy will have to... (and here I'm realizing I have no options on what I would do) DIG IT OUT OF YOUR TUMMY WITH A FORK!!!"

Yeah. Brilliant.

New Friends

Amelia had a friend over to play this week and they were hysterical together! Although Mia normally goes for the dragon costume, she went for a princess one this day and picked out all her own stuff. The only thing I helped her with was the dress. Now it's the Duck and the Dragon...

I couldn't stop laughing at the two of them. Every time Amelia would take her hands off her duck head, it would fall down in her face. After a while, she just walked around like that. It was so funny that I pretended not to hear her when she asked me to fix it. hee hee Bad Mommy

I asked her what she was doing, and she said, "Readin' papuh".
One. Sheet. At. A. Time. Thanks, Amelia. :)

Hippie Chick, with a bit of Aunt Jemima headwrap thrown in for the heck of it

Getting ready for Daddy

There are so many other pictures I'd like to post, but I think I am going to concentrate on getting ready for my husband to come home for now. Amelia is getting really excited. Because we traveled so much over the holidays, she now "gets" the idea of visitors and is talking about daddy more and more. She is walking around the house pointing to things she sees that are his... "Daddy's coat? Daddy's shoes?" and I confirm that they are his things. This seems to comfort her somehow; that because his stuff is here, he is definitely coming back home

It's bittersweet. Even as I am getting her used to the idea that Daddy is coming for a visit, I am already preparing her for him to leave again. I have to remind her that Daddy is only coming to see us for a short while (2 weeks), and then he will be gone again for a very, very, very long time (6 months). This will be the hardest leave-taking for us that we've experienced so far. At 2 1/2, she really is aware of the people in her life and their relationship to her. It has to be handled delicately so that she accepts it as a normal part of life and not something to be deeply sad about.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Almost done!

Tonight I will load the remainder of the road trip pics for family. After that, it's back to us preparing for Rafe to come home for a 2 week visit and Amelia's reactions to him coming home.
She talks about him all the time now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Asa, Steve, Eli, Dad, Zeke, Dylan, Braden, Todd, Paul, Noah
Paul, Mia

Mom and Dad opening their Memory Books

Making Cookies with Bamaw

She is covered in cinnamon sugar!

These two were hysterical, playing in the freezing snow. At one point, Dylan laid down to make a snow angel and Amelia was worried if he was ok and kept telling him to get up. Then she got into the spirit of the snow... She kept asking Dylan to pour snow on her head... over and over and over again. You can barely see her eyes because her hair is so covered with snow, but she's got a big grin on her face. Todd showing Dylan how to put in wiring
Note how HARD Todd is working in this picture!!

Todd looking mean and Amelia not believing it for a minute!

Digging in to Chinese food together