Wednesday, December 23, 2009

the Daily Grind

Ahhh. Another day. It seems like so many things happen in a day, yet they aren't significant enough to write about... Tristan is growing and developing just as he should, and it is so fun to watch. One day he wasn't really grabbing for things with his hands, and the next day he started. Now he has those "powerful urges" to grab everything remotely within his reach. He slaps at it, whatever it is, or grabs it, or scratches it. I have to keep his nails clipped to not be clawed daily. I took him to the doctor for his four-month appointment, although he was more like five and a half months. He finally got his first set of vaccinations. Before we knew if he had hemophilia or not, while he was still in the hospital just after birth, they were of course poking and prodding him with the usual battery of tests, including taking blood to test for hemophilia. Finally, Dean said enough, and wouldn't let them stab or stick him any more, hence no vaccinations in the hospital (hemophiliacs should have pressure held on needle sticks for five minutes afterward, but of course no one at the hospital knows that). His doctor never mentioned anything at his next couple of appointments, so he still didn't get any vaccines. Anyway, this guy (a Navy captain, no less, an O-6) who just saw him was enthralled with him, and kissed him more than once. It was so sweet. He is indeed a sweet little guy and we all love him to pieces. He has been rolling over I think since just before he turned four months. He doesn't roll around, just over once. He is finally taking infant cereal. He didn't think much of it for some time, but tolerates it now. He has been hungrier lately it seems, or at least draining me thoroughly. He loves to smile and wins people over all the time by smiling at them, and even laughing when Kyler plays with him. He also has his two bottom teeth, and uses them to let me know when he is done nursing. I need to put a stop to that before it becomes a habit.

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

Side tracked

I got side tracked with the old guy in the swimming pool in the last post. So here's more of the trip, mostly from pictures. I didn't think to take a picture in Havre de Grace, Maryland of my college freshman roommate Emily and her hubby and baby - who was born a few weeks before our Tristan. We hadn't seen each other since 2000, when we both graduated from the University of New Mexico. It was fun to see them. Our boys very much enjoyed their baby's toys. We saw them on the second day of the trip. We did a drive by of Edgar Allen Poe's grave in Baltimore, MD. It was rainy and we didn't feel like dragging the kids out of the car.

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.
We spotted this on the way to R.I.

It was like home sweet home for the boys in the hotel room - snuggled up together, and worn out from all the adventures...

On Saturday night, we stayed with my cousin Clint and his wife and their sweet little boy in Lorton, VA. Kyler must have been carsick by the time we got there at 10pm. Neither of the boys has ever been carsick to my knowledge. He had said one time in the car that his tummy hurt. So as we were getting ready for bed and had the air mattress all set up and sheets and blankets on it, he said something about Baby and throwing up. Dean and I went to investigate, and Baby was indeed covered in mass quantities of gray vomit, with chunks, as were the bed linens. Dean and I were trying to wrap our minds around how this could have come from Baby, who has only ever spit up breast milk. Finally it dawned on me that this couldn't have possibly come from Tristan - something would have been very wrong with him if it had. I asked Kyler, and sure enough he was the source. Mystery solved, but then we had to bother my poor cousin, who had just returned himself from New York with the family, for more sheets. I didn't manage to get a picture of them either. We went to church with them on Sunday, which was nice. Then we headed for home! It was a lovey trip, but it is always so nice to get back home!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Two years ago when we lived in Astoria, OR, we had Thanksgiving together as a family, just our family, which was ok. Just ok. Dean and the boys spent the morning trying to catch tasty creatures from the sea, and I spent the morning slaving away in the kitchen. Then we sat down for the big meal, and thirty minutes later it was all over. I decided I didn't want to do that again. It is hard living so far from family that we can't get together very often for the holidays. Last year we drove to Florida and met up with Dean's family near Disney World, and even went to the magic kingdom on Thanksgiving day. This year we decided to drive to Connecticut and visit Dean's uncle that he hadn't seen for probably 15 years. I had not ever been to New England, so there was lots to see. It was surprisingly much like Astoria, with many older Victorian homes. There were old, beautiful, stone churches galore, which I love to see. We spent two days driving each direction, for a total of about 700 miles each way. We stayed the first night in Washington, DC in a hotel close to the capitol. We toured the Mall in the evening. It was dark, so it was pretty cool to see the monuments and memorials in the light of the street lamps.

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.

Hunter and Kyler at the controls on the submarine.

Dean, Hunter and Uncle Jerry in Preston, Ct.
I'll post more pictures when blogger will cooperate and let me :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Never a dull moment

I thought I'd take Tristan to get some pictures today since it's been a while. I didn't have an appointment, but thought I'd "walk in". Kyler brought a pen along for entertainment, and even asked for paper to write on. I thought it was nice that he was going to keep busy in the car. It wasn't long before he said that he didn't draw on Tristan's face. He often tells us that he "didn't" do something, invariably something awful that he knows he really shouldn't have done. That is our cue that he just did whatever it was. So, I asked him if he drew on Tristan's face. He said "no". I asked if I should stop the car and look at Tristan's face - much like I ask to smell his mouth when I don't believe that he has brushed his teeth, even if he says that he did. I was surprised that he said it was ok if I stopped the car to see. So for some reason I didn't worry about it, until we got to the picture place and indeed, he had done it. So much for pictures today. I made an appointment for tomorrow, and even got to spin the wheel of excitement to win a freebie. Naturally it was a 16x20, which I have no use for whatsoever. So I asked if I could spin for something else. Surprisingly, the lady just asked what I wanted, so I said the 8x10 collage - much more useful. She gave it to me. Hopefully we can make it tomorrow unscathed. Oh, and Kyler is spending some time in his room to think about not drawing on Baby anymore. He did also do quite a job on his own legs as well, as he has done many times in the past.

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? Last week's column was just as interesting, though a different topic.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Perhaps this is too much information, but it might be helpful for someone. I am delighted to report that the "clinical strength" antiperspirants that are now on the shelves actually work! I got a free sample of Secret, and was most pleased until I looked at the price at Walgreens - about $9. So I looked at the commissary and found that Suave had a formula for $4, so I picked it up and it works just as well as the Secret. I was hesitant before to try any of them because of the price, but since they actually work and at least one is reasonably priced, I have one less distressing issue in my life. Of course it would be nice if the regular products worked as advertised, but they don't much for me. Even Dean was impressed after doing an assessment (he must really love me to take a whiff there). My life is improved!

Friday, November 13, 2009

If you can't beat 'em. . .

I've mentioned that I relented recently and let the boys purchase a pre-owned Game Cube, along with a couple of pre-owned games (Harry Potter). I hoped that they would be motivated enough to play it to be more responsible and keep their bedroom clean and their chores done, which are the requirements to be able to play. Those are the TV-watching requirements as well, however they will go ages without seeing TV at home, until I can't stand their mess any more and help them shovel through it. They are old enough to be responsible for that themselves, although when it gets to a certain point it is overwhelming so I have to step in.

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

Welcome to NC

I had a laugh when I washed my car recently and saw this sign.

Tristan sometimes likes his Johnny Jumpup.

I snapped a picture of Dean in his dress uniform after he had his official pictures taken recently.

Tristan's favorite trick of late is to roll over!

Must be time to feed Baby since he's gnawing on Daddy's arm.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


So I'm totally holiday lame, and just try to get through a lot of these occasions with at least a little cheer for the kiddos and occasionally a picture. This year I put off buying pumpkins until a week or so before Halloween, and there were none left. Anywhere. I looked at Walmart, a farmers' market, and a couple of grocery stores. I was done looking, and pumpkinless. Oh, well. There will be pumpkins in future years, I'm sure. I even planted some seeds in the spring, but had no luck with that either.

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

The Mundane

I picked up some virus this last week. I dread knowing that I'm coming down with something, especially with the current hysteria over the pig flu, as Dean calls it. I looked up pig flu symptoms with Dean, and certainly had some of them (muscle/joint aches, fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, headache), but not the quick onset, so who knows if it's "just" a cold, or worse. The worst fear, of course, is passing it on to Tristan, which unfortunately I did. He's a day or two behind me in the course of it. It's always so sad to see little babies sick. He's a champ right now, though, with a mild fever, cough, and runny nose. He hasn't been fussy over it at all yet. This is the first time he's been sick. He and I stayed home from church, which was too bad because it was the annual Children's Sacrament Meeting Presentation. I was looking forward to that. Apparently, the swine flu may not be severe; in fact the site I read from said that most cases have been mild. Hopefully it passes soon, whatever it is.

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.

And here's the illustrious Kyler trying to finish his sandwich at Arby's so he can have some beloved french fries.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Picture Overload

We spent some time outside doing yard work. It has been a brisk fall the last week or so.

Mr. Wiggly Worm thinks he's pretty clever now that he can squirm out of the carseat.

He is not distressed by it, just likes doing it every few minutes.

Kyler wanted to be swaddled like Baby.

Hunter likes holding Tristan.

I have never much been inclined to go to Time Out for Women, put on by Deseret Book, but this year when asked about it, I was delighted at the opportunity. I didn't know what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised that it was fantastic. It was nice to get away, and hang with these fabulous ladies (Natalie, Priscilla and Summer). Apparently I'm the shortest of the group. We traveled about five hours to Richmond, VA for the event.

I had to take Tristan along, of course, and he was a champ 99% of the time. The ladies all took turns holding him during the program to keep him happy.

The boys are excited about all the baby toys that are emerging from storage in the garage, and enjoy them as much as the real baby.

Here's a momentary shot from our General Conference viewing at home :)

The boys always love pumpkins (and squash masquerading as a pumpkin). Kyler gathered these together and lined them up.

Here is some of the last of our harvest for this year - some jalapeno peppers, a small honey dew and a tomato. We still have tomatoes and peppers on the vines - until they freeze. It has cooled down over night here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

More Requested

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

Baby Pictures

I'm way behind on blogging. Right now I'll just throw in a picture of little Tristan (I can't resist the request:). I would post more but blogger is having issues apparently. He's about 3 1/2 months now, and a true delight - as long as he's not hungry. His eyes seem to be brown, but sometimes look grayish. His hair has been growing in nicely on the top, which hides the cradle cap. He had some fairly long hairs on top when he was born, that fell out within a week or so; there is a lot of nice, long hair at the base of his neck since birth. He sleeps well through the night, just grunting and smacking his lips a couple of times to be fed, which works out well for us both. I am a mess by morning if he doesn't feed overnight. We are so blessed to have him!

We blessed Tristan at church on September 27, and this little sweater outfit is what he wore.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

An Acronym for Everything

So this morning as we were eating breakfast at 7:30 Dean mentioned that their unit was traveling to Wilmington, NC to see the battleship North Carolina, about an hour away. It is called a "Staff Ride", basically a field trip to foster camaraderie. I didn't have anything going on today, other than feeding the missionaries this evening, so I asked if I could tag along, which he said would be fine. I managed to get showered and get the boys ready and to the base just after 8:30. Civilians can't ride in the "GOVs" (government-owned vehicles), so he rode with me, Kyler and Tristan in our "POV" (privately-owned vehicle). Before we left I asked in jest if he would be embarrassed to be seen with me since I still have a bit of post-baby weight to lose. He laughed and said he had just learned a new term, a "CD". That would be a "chubby dependant".

In the first picture, Kyler had his "sword" - actually a honing thing for knives, not sharp or anything, and was waiting for a victim to come out of the back door at Dean's work as we waited for everyone to be ready to go. Then Kyler moved on to table dancing in the next picture, as Dean conducted some official business on the phone while a computer dude was working in his office. If you're concerned, Dean is in a "no cover" (hat) zone there. When they are outside they are required to wear cover when in uniform, but they pass from one part of the building outside then inside again to another part of the building... and don't have to wear cover or salute there, since they go back and forth all day... Kyler did actually poke the Sergeant First Class with his "sword" (who took it in stride), at which point Dean confiscated it.

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

"Thank You"

For the first time in memory yesterday, Hunter thanked me for making a yummy dinner. He is the pickier of the two boys and rarely gives compliments, at least to me. His list of dislikes includes tomatoes - he surely gets that from me, which I read in the newspaper a few years ago that "they" have found a gene for liking or hating tomatoes; mushrooms - definitely at the top; and meat - unless it's a burger, hot dog, sauage, chicken nuggets, etc. He thinks he's crafty, of coure, and recently he came in for Sunday dinner. I told him his plate was in the kitchen, but there seemed to be a delay in his getting to the dining room. I knew to have a look and sure enough the meat was missing from his plate, pot roast if I remember right. We gave him a small portion to begin with, but he still thought it was a good idea to chuck it in the trash. I had him retrieve it...

Anyway, I made my favorite quick meal last night. Dean was out with the missionaries and had already eaten leftovers. So I love to throw a can of refried beans in the microwave (beans removed from the can, of course), some corn tortillas in the toaster oven, and cook some eggs on the stove top. Smear the beans on the warm tortillas, top with egg, cheddar cheese, and some El Pato, salsa, enchilada sauce or whatever I have on hand for the mature palates, and we have what I call "Huevos Becky", in five minutes. We ate that a lot while Dean was gone earlier in the year. It's terribly healthy, in my opinion, gluten free - which I've been working on better of late, we all love it, and I always have those things on hand. A variation is "Mexican Hamburgers": omit the egg and top the beans with a (cooked) hamburger patty (cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato as desired), serve with your favorite papas (potatoes). A flour tortilla may be used, though I have moved away from them (white flour and shortening/lard - nothing healthy there).

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tards no more

Until very recently Kyler was unable to say the "k" sound. He couldn't really even say his own name. When people would ask what his name was, he would always say "Tyler, with a tay". I think my mom worked on it with him while she was here, or at least that's the story Hunter tells. Kyler said some funny things all this time, such as "tards" for cards. It was cute, but I guess he's growing up - he turned 4 yesterday after all. He never really knows how old he is, perhaps because he doesn't know what that means. For the longest time when people asked him how old he was he would say "six and a half". That was long before Hunter was ever six and a half, so I'm not sure where he got that. Now when people ask him, he asks me.

So yesterday morning we told him it was his birthday, and he said "I know". He always "knows". So I took him to Dean at work while I did a little shopping to get him a few things, and he and I made a birthday cake for him. I used a fun pan set that Penny gave me with which you can make a filled cake. I had pudding mix on hand, so that's what I used. I had to use two cake mixes to have enough batter for all the layers. I didn't realize that I was nearly out of powdered sugar, so I had to borrow some from Kristi to make the frosting - thanks! Kyler put the candles on the cake himself, so there are a few extra. Hunter has uncontrollable urges to blow out candles, so I had to hold him back so Kyler would have a chance.

Mysterious Ways

A hint or two had been dropped lately about Dean possibly getting a new calling. He's been a counselor in the Elder's Quorum in our ward. So on Saturday night he got a phone call wanting him to be early at church to meet with a stake guy. He was called to be the executive secretary to the bishop, which he actually thought might be what was coming. So when he was to be set apart, the bishop told us that for months Dean's name came to mind when he thought about needing to call someone to that, as the former one is now deployed. But the bishop also knew that Dean was scheduled to be deployed in October, so he didn't understand how it could be Dean. Then a while back we were chatting with the bishop and mentioned the debacle of army combatives and Dean's knee injury and how it could potentially keep him from being deployed. So on Sunday the bishop said that when we were chatting he had to subdue the urge to grin from ear to ear and hope he wasn't deployed. He said that clearly the Lord knew that that was going to happen (didn't cause it, but knew it was coming) and that was why he kept coming to mind as the person to fill the spot, even when it made no sense.

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

Wedding Bells

"Uncle Dusty" or "Uncle Bro" as he's known around here got married on Saturday, Aug 22 near Los Angeles, CA. He is Dean's brother, and we are so happy for him and Auntie Patti. The wedding was absolutely beautiful.

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.

Here we are with the groom, Grandma Dee and David.

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.

Second grade, here we come!

Hunter's first day of second grade was on Tuesday, Aug. 25. He didn't seem very excited, but willingly went through the motions. I remember very little from kindergarten and first grade; but I do remember second grade pretty well, so this seems like a milestone to me. We waited about 20 minutes for the morning bus; I expected some delays since it was the first day. I wore Tristan in a Bjorn, and Kyler did his usual rolling in the dirt and running into the road while we waited. The afternoon bus was about 35 minutes late! Hopefully it gets better soon. He didn't have much to say about school. We went to the open house the day before and met his teacher and saw his classroom. His spelling words that came home on Tuesday were way too simple: I, was, saw, etc. Hopefully his teacher will do like Mrs. Cowart did last year and separate the kids into two groups, and give him words that he will actually have to learn.

I am excited to have somewhat of a schedule again, and to get back into a daily routine. It is certainly much more peaceful without him and Kyler at eachother's throats all day. I lament that they fight so much, and am trying to figure out a solution. I've just about nipped Hunter's tattling in the bud: he "gets" to pull 100 weeds every time he tattles. The weeds desperately need to be pulled, and it is his "choice" to pull them. Once he pulled a few hundred, he decided it usually wasn't worth the tattle, though he's still not 100%, but the difference in my sanity is huge! Kyler actually seems to appreciate him once he is home from school, and they've been playing together more peacefully. Yesterday he was outside to pull weeds. Dean pulled in the driveway from work and saw Hunter lying on the ground not moving, and wondererd if he should be concerned. Hunter had fallen asleep, in the heat and humidity, no less. He denies it up and down, but Dean says there is no doubt. He, of course, says every night that he's not tired, and tries to stay up past his bed time, and likes to read by the hour in his bedroom. I can't fault him for wanting to read...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Exciting stuff

Dean started having the symptoms of the crud on Saturday, then was worse on Sunday so stayed home from church. Monday morning he was terrible so I took him to sick call on the base. They gave him fluids and some anti nausea meds, but no shots or anything like I got, so he was pretty miserable and slept most of the day. The PA he saw seemed to think it might be the rotavirus, which is pretty nasty all right. Hunter got it as a toddler and the manifestations we've been having (high fevers and explosive GI disturbances) are pretty much what Hunter had then. They said we likely picked up the bug from the kids - you know how they carry around germs; of course they didn't get sick.

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

How to lose 9lbs in 3 days

Dean had a four-day weekend to use from Aug 1-4, which was right over our birthdays on the 3rd and 4th. We don't often plan ahead of time, but were thinking we'd go on a little vacation. But he didn't put in to be able to travel more than 250 miles, (Army rules) so we were a little limited. But, we decided, who wants to travel so far with small children anyway, and we started looking closer. Ultimately we settled on doing a "stay-cation", where we just did day trips or saw things locally. That way we got to stay in our own beds at night and didn't have to pack much.

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.

I wore Tristan in a Bjorn, and Dean managed the other boys.

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.

Tuesday we went to Wilmington, which is over an hour away, to go to a water park - a first for the boys. Dean took each of them for a ride in a go cart as well. It was all a hit, except that of course I ended up sitting around most of the time holding Tristan and keeping him out of the sun. Kinda boring. But, things got exciting mid afternoon when I started to get sick. By the time we were driving home after some errands at 8pm, I just wanted to die. I had developed a terrible stomach flu, complete with the worst chills and headache I've ever had, plus body aches, stomach cramps nearly as bad a labor pains and general horribleness (not to mention the stomach issues). I hoped it would only be a 24 hour bug, and first assumed it was food-borne illness (maybe the Thai food?), but no one else was sick and everyone had sampled mine.

By Thursday I was down about 8 pounds and absolutely miserable. I had had Dean hook up the TV so the boys would be kept busy (they normally only get to watch when their bedroom is clean, which is almost never). I've been able to nurse Tristan, somehow, which is a blessing. I finally called the nurse advice line, and the nurse asked if I was dizzy upon standing, which I was a little, so she said to go to the ER. Dean had to come home and load us all up so we could go sit around a few hours there. They decided it was just a bug that had to run its course, but gave me two shots, one for the headache, and I can't remember what the other was for, and some anti nausea meds. I had been taking tylenol and advil alternately to keep the chills and aches at bay. By Friday evening I was perking up a bit, but still not well enough to be up and about. Dean has been a champ and has been doing the dishes and providing meals (mostly fast food or take out).

So, as of today/Saturday, I'm down about 9 pounds. The only silver lining of all this would be that this would stay off, as my post-baby weight loss has plateaued already. I tried on some jeans today that I wasn't able to wear a few days ago, and got them on. Wow. I really don't recommend the diet, though!!!