Wednesday, December 23, 2009
That Kyler. He is something. This morning I gave him a kiss on the mouth. He slipped me the tongue. I was so shocked that I hooted and hollered and made a lot of noise. He thought it was great and laughed hysterically. I won't be kissing his little mouth any more. He is a doll, though, and full of fun and mischief. He is noticeably taller and thinner to me by the day almost. His pants are loose on him and his cheeks are losing the baby fat. He likes to help with things around the house, like a little cooking (stirring on the stove), vacuuming with the hose, wrapping presents, etc. I worry about his teeth. He gets into so much candy and whatnot, and is not obedient about brushing his teeth. When I go after them they sometimes bleed.
Hunter is thoroughly enjoying his time off from school right now. He is getting addicted to one of Dean's computer games, Age of the Empires or something like that. It is an involved strategy game. Dean's hard work of grooming Hunter since he was small to enjoy games is paying off. Hunter can actually play those games with Dean, and board games of the same strategy and complication. I have no interest whatsoever in such games. I'm more of a Scrabble or Apples to Apples kind of girl. Hunter had tubes placed in his ears today, for the third time in his life. A lot of thick fluid came out, so once again it was warranted.
Dean is up to his usual tricks, ha ha. Actually he had today, Tuesday the 22nd, off of work. He is on tomorrow, then off the next few days. We certainly enjoy the time off he gets in the army. He said the other day that he is much less stressed than he was in private practice - at any of his jobs, and he works fewer hours as well. Of course he makes far less money, but it has been well worth the change to the military for so many reasons. We don't know how long he will stay in the military. He could be done after his three-year commitment, or he could make a career of it.
I have hesitated to say that we may go to Korea in the summer for his next assignment, as nothing in the military is definite until you are traveling to your new assignment with your orders. He has been penciled in for an assignment in Korea for a few months now, and we were all hoping/expecting to go. We are not sure if we will be able to accompany him, though, only because Hunter and Tristan have hemophilia. The medical facilities there would have to be comfortable taking us. All that we really need is available "factor viii", which is what they are deficient in (which means that their blood doesn't clot well when they have a bleed, or a procedure such as placing tubes, or surgery). It will likely be months before we know anything for sure. If we can't go with him, he'll go unaccompanied for a year, or possibly get assigned somewhere (undesirable) here in the states. Dean is scheduled to have his knee operated on in the near future to fix the meniscus or ligaments or whatever is damaged (from the army combatives course in the summer). The recovery time will be three to six months.
I am always busy, yet hardly seem to get much done. I bought a new digital camera recently, and have taken a few pictures with it. I still need to read the manual to figure out all it's capabilities and to learn how to get the pictures on the computer. I spent a lot of time researching cameras on Consumer Reports and from online reviews, so hopefully I got a good one, at least for the price, which was fairly inexpensive.
Last night we decided to use one of the gift cards we've received in the last year and go to dinner, to probably my favorite restuarant the Olive Garden. I guess it's been a while since we've eaten there, as there were a lot of new things on the menu, and the prices were noticeably higher. It was delicious as always. Dean had the ziti, and actually said that mine is better. I tried it, and agreed. It didn't have meat in it, though, so my sausage of course would make it better. I had the braised beef and tortelloni. It melted in my mouth - oh, sooo delicious! Hunter enjoyed his ravioli and Kyler had fettuccini alfredo.
After seven years of PTSD, I have started trying to make Christmas candy again. When we lived in Colorado, I worked with the Young Women at church, and some of the other ladies had "no fail" recipes for making different kinds of candy, and for an activity one week, we made them at the church. Well. We went to my parents' home for Christmas that year and I attempted on my own to make one of those no fail recipes. About three batches of it went in the trash, and I've never tried since. So this year I decided to find recipes that don't need to boil or need any specific temperature. Dean's brother Dusty has said before that he makes microwave fudge. I figured if he could do it, maybe so could I. He's given me a recipe book before (1001 Fast Easy Recipes) that has several easy candy recipes. So, I've made several batches of different types of fudge, and even some toffee that only had to boil for 7 minutes (no thermometer or ice water needed). It all worked out well. The toffee actually must have gone just over seven minutes, as it went from just right to starting to caramelize/burn in a few seconds, but it wasn't ruined, and still had a wonderful flavor, so I call it a success! I'm so excited! We'll see if I'm still so excited in a couple of weeks when I step on the scale!
We had a Christmas party last weekend. It was a lot of fun. I went the easy route and had the guests each bring a food item, so that made it pretty easy on me. I threw some frozen meatballs in a crock pot with salsa and grape jelly as I learned from Aunt Linda, and they were a hit. I also put together grape juice and ginger ale, which she recommends, and it was also well received. I made some crescent rolls, rolled up with cranberry sauce and ham, which were ok. There were lots of yummy things to eat, and we did a white elephant gift exchange. Those are always entertaining.
We are enjoying this wondrous time of year, and wish you a Merry Christmas!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I did manage to get a picture of Dean's cousin on his mom's side of the family. Nora is in red. She and Dave (the camera man) have a lovely home that they have remodeled beautifully, and a fun little guy named Jack. We saw them on the other side of Connecticut on the way back down.
They are trying to live a vegetarian and even vegan lifestyle, which I admire. They served us some delicious holiday-type breads and vegies with a fantastic hummus that was reddish with fire roasted red peppers. Yum. Satisfying and tasty.
Here is one of many lovely churches that we saw.
We drove a few miles past Uncle Jerry's home in CT so I could say that I had been to Rhode Island.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The next three nights we stayed at a hotel in New London. Dean took the boys swimming in the pool once, and I took just Hunter one time. While I was in the pool with him, an old man was in the water. He wouldn't leave Hunter alone. I just didn't know what to make of it, and my mother bear sensors were on high alert. He kept asking Hunter questions - must have been hundreds of questions. They seemed more or less friendly and innocuous, but with all those questions, he got out of Hunter his first and last name, what Dean does (military, etc.), our family makeup, our religion and more. I would tell Hunter to swim, to do a down-and-back, that there wasn't any point in being in the pool if he wasn't going to swim - so he would when I told him to. But this guy just wouldn't stop asking him questions when he'd swim back. I didn't know if he was just a lonely old man, or if he was hoping to molest/kidnap Hunter if he could get him away from me, or what the heck he was up to. He asked him so many questions that Hunter couldn't get away to swim in the pool, except when I stepped in and told him to go swim. That was what bothered me so much. Hunter didn't go to the pool to answer questions from a stranger, to the exclusion of swimming. But while that guy was there he couldn't do anything. Hunter is pretty trusting of people and would get pretty close to him in the water in order to hear and answer. That made me nervous, too. I do NOT teach my kids stranger danger because it makes no sense (read the book Protecting the Gift to learn much better things to teach children). I also don't force them to be polite or affectionate to anyone they aren't comfortable with (that book says that doing so shuts off their danger instincts).
I asked the guy a few questions to slow his torment of Hunter. He's Catholic, but no longer practicing because he decided the church just wanted money. He's Polish (as was Dean's Grandmother whose home we visited that Uncle Jerry now lives in), and a retired engineer. He never said a word about his family; he wasn't in the pool with anyone, so I don't know if he was in the hotel with anyone, or visiting family or what he was doing there, or if he is a child molester. He was from another part of Connecticut. Finally another family came to the pool and this old guy got out, got dressed in the bathroom, then put on his hat and floor length fur coat, (which also weirded me out) and left. I kept a close handle on the boys the rest of the stay in the hotel, not that I wouldn't have anyway.
So, in discussing it with Dean, he pointed out a few things. He says Polish people are very friendly - and he would know. (On a side note, the first time I took Dean home to meet my parents my dad told Pollack jokes). He also explained that New Englanders are very talkative, just like Dean's late father Norm. So, maybe that was just it. Maybe he was just a friendly, talkative old gentleman. I guess we'll never know. I didn't necessarily get any bad vibes from him, but it weirded me out that he wouldn't let the boy swim! He totally monopolized Hunter's pool time.
Grandpa Norm's old stomping grounds, where we visited Uncle Jerry.
Becky and the boys in front of the submarine in New London, CT.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Regarding matters of parenting, I absolutely love John Rosemond. I've read a few of his books, which guide me tremendously in raising my children. I am further astounded on a weekly basis with his insight and common sense in his newspaper column. The current column discusses the common error that modern parents make when they tell their children that they can do or be anything they want. Sound outrageous? http://www.rosemond.com/Weekly-Column---92109.html Last week's column was just as interesting, though a different topic.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
The last week or so, Hunter has been speeding through his chores and has (mostly) been willing to do whatever else is asked of him, and he has been tidying up his bedroom and bathroom daily (or at least a LOT more than usual)!!! I'm so excited. This evening he told me that he was doing his chores faster now. I had a hunch, but asked why that was just to see what he would say. Sure enough, he said it was so he could play Harry Potter, and earn money (he gets paid a commission for his chores). Success! It worked! He's motivated! He has goals! Granted, it's to play video games and buy toys (see previous posts). But it is something, and it is far better than choosing to spend all Saturday in his bedroom because he's too lazy to tidy it up so we can all go do something fun.
Kyler more or less rides Hunter's apron strings and gets to play because their room is clean, but not so much because Kyler cleaned it. He does help me quite a bit at home during the day while Hunter is gone to school, so that's worth something. I've been more consistent with my "powerful parenting" (read John Rosemond if you're interested) when he really steps out of line, so in some instances his behavior has been improving, and he is definitely much better behaved in public (after spending the remainder of the day in his room a couple of times following some egregious behavior whilst out and about with me).
Anyway, those words from Hunter today were music to my ears. And, I went to a cooking group this evening, so Dean reported that Hunter actually got out of bed because he forgot some trash that needed to go out (it's trash night, and gathering up the trash and taking it out is one of his duties). Ahhhh. I am patting myself on the back. That is the first true sign of responsibility I've detected.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I did manage to get a Spiderman costume for Hunter, which he thought was great. I picked up a little alligator costume that is sized for about a 12-24 month child, to have on hand for Tristan in a year. Kyler wanted to wear it this year, and it was not a battle I would choose, so that's what he got to be. On an appropriately-sized child, it would have covered most of the body. On Kyler, it came about to his waist. But really, who would know any different? A former realtor of ours actually sent a costume for Tristan, so he was a pea in a pod, and that was great. He's the only one I managed to get pictures of on Halloween. Had to get the others to put their costumes on later for pictures. The night before Halloween we drove out to Mike's Farm with the Rogers to go on a haunted hay ride. Standing in line for two hours wasn't too fun, but the ride was enjoyable. Hunter had the most fun, and wanted everyone to know that he wasn't scared. He even pulled the hat off one of the haunters who jumped out of the woods as we rode by in the hay wagon. On a side note, he bore his testimony in church on Sunday and I heard someone whisper "That's the boy who sang so loud last week". He's a memorable kid; what can I say?
We went to the church for chile and dessert on Halloween, then Dean took the boys trick or treating. They made a pretty good haul, which is not necessarily a good thing. A couple of weeks ago I started teaching Hunter a trick or treating poem I learned as a child. It goes "Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat, Give me something good to eat, Give me candy fruit and gum, Hurry up and give me some, You had better do it quick, Or I'll surely play a trick, Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat, Give me something good to eat." From Dean's description he might have been a bit of a menace with it, but he certainly enjoyed saying it.
I actually got a second place ribbon for my dessert at the church party. I was stunned, as making it was a fiasco and the presentation was ridiculous (pumpkin filling squirted out across the cake stand, and the whipped cream fell right off the top, as I didn't think before I put it on the still-warm chocolate glaze), but it was festive - a chocolate pumpkin roll. The chile sloshed and sloshed in the crock pot on the way to the church. I learned through experience, once again, to not take a full crock pot. Not even close. Now the car smells like chile and needs to be shampooed. The crock was in a cardboard box, but it was awfully full...
Dean occasionally needs to go to Fort Bragg, two and a half hours away, for official army business such as buying army pants or uniform patches. There is nothing "army" whatsoever on this marine base. Today he needed to have his official pictures taken. I've said before that I would like to go, as I haven't been on an army base yet since he's been in the military. Yesterday he mentioned that perhaps I could come along this time. I wasn't inclined (all day in the car with Kyler and Tristan) unless there was something in it for me. I looked online and shockingly there was a Hobby Lobby in Fayetteville (home of Ft. Bragg). I haven't been to one in years now, and that was reason enough to go. The base is huge and sprawling, sure enough. It was refreshing to see soldiers everywhere. I've never seen so many. I've seen countless marines here at Camp Lejeune, so it was a nice change of scenery. I actually felt like we fit in.
By the time we went to the picture place and military clothing store, it was just about time to head out if we were going to get home in time to get Hunter from the bus stop at 3:42. So I ran into Hobby Lobby quickly and time flew by before we were on the road again. I did get just a couple of things, but could have spent much more time there. As always, I got to do virtually all the driving. We learned years ago that it's better for our marriage if I drive. I don't tolerate Dean's driving, and he doesn't tolerate my helpful suggestions. So he got lots of work done with his beloved iPhone, which has dramatically changed his life by the way, and I chauffered. Tristan did great as always. Kyler enjoyed the portable DVD player on the way there, and slept on the way back. We did miss Hunter's bus stop by a few minutes, so he was at the neighbors'. We grabbed him and went to his parent teacher conference at 4pm. Then home again and I whipped up some scratch-made macaroni and cheese (yum). Kyler didn't eat one bite, and had been whiney all day, and felt warm in the evening. Great - now he's sick. Temp was 101.6.
There's a news story now about a research study that showed a great reduction in white cells (immunity) for several hours after consuming sugar. I don't give my kids juice or any sugary drinks except for a rare treat; I don't give them "fruit snacks" or other such pretend goodness (they eat whole fruit). Desserts, cookies, candy, etc. are rare treats. And they are rarely sick. But now there's candy everywhere and I haven't put it all away, so crafty Kyler is into it all the time. It only makes sense...
I'll post pictures as soon as I get Dean to upload them (still no "hole" on this new computer to put the little disk thingy).
Monday, October 26, 2009
We were alerted last week by the primary president at church that Hunter was perhaps too zealous in his singing. After some input from some wise ladies (Kristen and Shayna), Dean made the decision that Hunter should sing however he desired (he desired to be the loudest). Dean was told in the MTC how awful his singing was, which really shot him down, and he hasn't had any desire to sing since (although he does dutifully sing at church; his singing isn't awful, either, he just hasn't been trained like so many people who are raised in the church). Kristi reported that, indeed, it was noticeable when Hunter didn't know the words, because that was the only time he couldn't be heard as the children sang.
In other news, Dean left this afternoon for Fort Eustis, VA (several hours away). He will be attending a "Serve Safe" training through Wednesday, then travel home Thursday. It's kind of funny (to me) that the vets oversee food inspection (much like health inspectors) for the military. I learned a lot of this kind of stuff in my college coursework for nutrition, but not nearly as in depth as he has. He's had lots of training in it in the 14 months he's been in the army.
Since he never reads the blog, I'm safe to say that it is actually a nice break occasionally to have a little mini vacation of my own when he's out of the house for a few nights. Then I don't have to worry about respectable dinners (who wants cereal?!) and having bananas constantly in stock (hehe) and can waste away my nights doing whatever, then hog the whole bed to myself (and Baby). Of course I'll miss him, and be glad when he's home.
On a side note, he was supposed to have deployed yesterday to Iraq for a year. I was well aware of that yesterday, and he mentioned it today as he left. Whew, that was a close one! Though it could still happen if he stays in the military. His knee/torn meniscus, the reason he's not being deployed, is still in bad shape. He goes to physical therapy which is supposed to keep the muscles built up around the knee. Apparently they go quickly with knee injuries. At his last appointment with the orthopedist, he was told it would probably need surgery since it's not healing. If he walks much, or especially if he uses stairs, it swells and hurts. He does his situps and pushups and uses an elliptical to work out and keep up that sexy army figure and his weight down since he can't run.
One thing (of many) I've resisted buying for the boys until recently has been light sabers, you know from Star Wars. It seems everyone has them. They looked like just another big whacking stick (as we call such objects) for the boys to beat eachother and the house with. But of course they've always lusted after them and enjoyed them at other people's homes. So, dearest Heidi invited Hunter over for a showing of Star Wars Clone Wars with Lincoln and other friends, and light sabers were welcome. So, without telling him, I got one for him, and he was delighted to use his allowance/birthday money to buy it from me. He's actually been protective of it (meaning he doesn't want Kyler to break it), and makes a point of not leaving it outside, which is notable. The first night, Kyler ended up with a bloody nose and cut lip. Hunter didn't mean to do it, but that's what happens when boys have big whacking sticks. I asked him what the consequence should be, and he said I should take it away for a week. That sounded reasonable, so it went high up in my closet. The next day I found the step stool in my closet, but alas the little people (namely Kyler) still aren't able to reach, even with a step stool, so there it stayed all week. On the appointed day, I put it up on the grandfather clock in the living room, which holds many confiscated items, to see what would happen. I didn't say a word, but Kyler's awfully keen and soon the step stool was next to the grandfather clock and the light saber was gone. They've been enjoying it since, and Hunter even shares it.
I also broke down recently and let the boys buy (again, with their own funds, to help them appreciate it more) a used game cube and a couple of games. I have always vowed to never have such things in my home. I don't intend to raise video game junkies. But, I thought it would be a good motivator, and it is to some degree (not as much as I had hoped). I keep it in my bedroom so I can monitor it well. They haven't seen TV in quite a while, as the cord I detach from it when they lose the privilege is in a nice safe place right now, unbeknownst to us all :)
I'm throwing in some gratuituous and irrelevant pictures since this is a long, boring post and I get complaints when there are no pictures:) The first one highlights Kyler's photography skills, Hunter being the subject. For some reason Kyler feels more secure being naughty under the couch (if he gets hold of my camera, he'll go under the couch and take scores of useless pictures - this being a better one). He also goes under the couch to eat contraband candy if he has climbed into the cupboard or on top of the fridge to get it. Then he throws the wrappers on the floor under the couch.
Here's Tristan looking nervous while Kyler holds him.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The boys always love pumpkins (and squash masquerading as a pumpkin). Kyler gathered these together and lined them up.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Blogger is cooperating, so here are some more pictures of my little sweetie. He does smile, but I am not skilled enough to get him to smile while I try to take his picture. His only fault is that he scratches his face often. I can't clip his nails fast enough. Funny thing, though, he doesn't cry when he does it. Kyler would cry and cry as he did it, as it certainly hurts! I really love this little outfit he's wearing... I think he kind of has my nephew Isaac's eyes, or at least a similar look as when he was a baby. Otherwise most people notice that he takes after Dean and Hunter.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
We blessed Tristan at church on September 27, and this little sweater outfit is what he wore.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Here are Kyler and Dean on the deck of the USS North Carolina.
And Tristan was an angel the whole time! Afterward we all ate at Sticky Fingers, a barbecue joint. I had a potato stuffed with pulled pork and topped with melted cheese - yum! Dean rode back with the soldiers; I had to rush home to meet Hunter from the bus.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
AND, after being most impressed with Bro's iPhone when we saw him at his wedding, Dean decided he had to have one as well. After all, he wanted to organize his own calendar and work schedule (he has something different going on every day), and be able to access his work email when the network is down at the office, or when he's sitting around waiting for an appointment or whatever... He got the iPhone just a few days before the calling. It was definitely meant to be. Now he can keep track of the bishop's schedule and all that as well and be efficient.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Hunter was the ring bearer, and thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with the flower girl. He performed his duties with style. While walking down the stairs to the reception to be introduced with the wedding party, he danced like John Travolta. With all his move busting he tumbled on the last stair or two, but quickly popped back up and finished his grand entrance.
Tristan was a hit with everyone and was on his best behavior. Considering that it was nearly 1am for us by the time we left the reception, Kyler and Hunter behaved tolerably - they could have been worse. Besides the flower girl, ours were the only children in attendance.
While in the area, we were able to see from a distance (behind Hunter's shoulder) the light house that Grandpa Norm (Dean's late father) lived in for a couple of years as a teenager when his father was in the Coast Guard there.
We flew overnight with a connection on the way back, which was hard on everyone, including poor Kyler here at the gate in Atlanta. It was a struggle to stay awake for the drive home from Raleigh on Sunday morning, but we made it and slept all afternoon. For the flight to LA, there was a loose screw on a panel of the plane which set off an alarm when they closed the doors before takeoff. We sat on the plane for a couple of hours while they tried to fix it, missing our connecting flight. We got rerouted through JKF in New York, and finally got to LA about eight hours late. Ugh.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
So Dean checked his work email late afternoon. His sports medicine and orthopedic doctors had said last week he wouldn't be able to go to the pre-deployment field training in late Sept/early Oct because of his knee injury, so his commander yesterday declared him unable to be deployed later in October. Well, shucks. We're awfully disappointed around here, if you can't tell. That changes a lot of army things for us right now, which is fine.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
So Saturday we drove up to New Bern (about 40 miles from here) and saw the Tryon Palace. Mr. Tryon was the first governor of the state back in the revolutionary days. It was interesting, and we even saw a mock wedding of some of his "staff". It was performed by the blacksmith, in front of an anvil.
It actually hurt Dean's knee more to be in the car than to walk around, so we made a good decision in not traveling far. Sunday we went to church as normal, and had some friends over. Monday all we could come up with was going to pick blueberries for the last time. It's not too much fun in all the heat and humidity, but we managed five pounds to beef up our freezer supply here at the end of the season. We went to dinner as a family and had Thai food.