Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pics From Grandma Jane's Visit

The fun started at the Mohegan Sun at the Margarittaville for Nick's belated birthday dinner. Naturally, I forgot my camera, and I couldn't figure out Grandma Jane's, hence the blurry shots. But they give you a great idea of how much fun we had!

Next up, we headed to Chuck E. Cheese for some getting-the-energy-out playtime. I predict visiting good ole Chuck a lot while I'm in Biloxi alone with my three kiddos, don't you?

Here is Ava today, doing Circle Time with all her kids. And poor Grandma Jane :) Ava is a pretty strict teacher, but luckily Grandma Jane is a good listener, so she didn't get in too much trouble.

And here's Warren. In true Engelbrecht fashion, he is not anywhere near walking yet. All three of my kiddos have harbored the why would I walk when you're willing to carry me attitude. Seriously, Ava was making me pretty nervous when I was only a few weeks from delivering Scott and she STILL wouldn't give it a shot! But, she figured it out just in the nick of time. I just hope he can stand on his own by the time we hit Disney. It'll just make it that much easier to get everyone in and out of cars and strollers, you know?

Ramblings of A Crazy Mama

I am FREAKING OUT!!! Do I sound panicked? Because I am TOTALLY panicking! About what? I DON'T KNOW!!! I just don't know! Yes, I have to pack. SORT OF. I only have to get enough stuff together to keep us clothed in Biloxi for February, and Florida for March. And some toys to keep us all from cabin fever. And I get THREE SUITCASES to do it. So what's the problem? I don't know! Sigh. I have an entire suitcase left, and a good bit of room in the other two, and I'm still worried I won't have enough room for everything I want to bring. So I'm putting off packing, because somehow I guess if I don't try to fit it all, it will all fit? Got me.

Thank goodness Grandma Jane came to visit this week. She's been here to hold Sir Cries a Lot (who, actually, has been a super well behaved baby ever since his daddy got him some meds for his double ear infection-who knew?) and to entertain the big kids while their Mama runs up and down the stairs adding things to the suitcase ONE AT A TIME. And she helped Nick clean the house, top to bottom, while I played around on the computer. I was supposed to be loading the kids's iPod with Taylor and the Little People sing alongs, but really I was on FB (don't tell!) And, best of all, she babysat tonight so Nick and I could go out alone! Hooray! That's probably our tenth time out alone since Ava was born! Four (long long long) years ago!

And I have pics, I'll post them later. I thought that maybe if I journaled a little about this case of Crazy that has swept over me, it would make me feel better. It did NOT.

Oooh, but guess what? After bearing my soul to the too sweet wife of the guy Nick is relieving out in Guam, I have learned that...watching Lost isn't going to be a problem out there! And come on ya'll, this is BIG for me! I'd heard somewhere that you can't watch streaming videos on Guam. I don't really know what that means, other than it has something to do with being able to watch Lost on while we're stuck in a hotel waiting for a house, or in our house waiting for cable. But Mindy has assured me that you can, in fact, watch Lost on!!! So that's my victory of the day. Of the week! I found out this morning and I've been riding the high all day!

And as for more Lost obsession, Nick showed me a link for a bootleg of the first (alleged) four minutes of next week's premiere for Season Six. After a few minutes (nanoseconds) of going back and forth-should I watch it? should I skip it?- I decided to watch it. Ugh! Why do I do that? Remember when season three ended up being a FLASH FORWARD and the entire world was in SHOCK AND AWE? Not me, because I found out ahead of time on the internet.

Anyway, I watched it, and I'm still not sure if I think it was real. And if it was, it sort of sucked. So after that, I came down to reread the end of the Dark Tower series, which ends the same way that it looks like Lost is gonna end. The first time I read it, I thought it totally sucked, was, in fact, the worst ending to anything I'd ever read in my entire life. So, since it looks like the writers for Lost (who are admitted HUGE SK fans) are gonna take his lazy way out, I reread it, hoping maybe it wouldn't suck as much as I remembered. And you know what?

It did.

I better not have put all this energy into worrying about whether or not I can watch Lost on Guam, only to have it totally suck and be the Worst Ending to Anything-Even Worse Than the Dark Tower Ending. Got that? It BETTER NOT SUCK.

Wow. Now I DO feel better.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Poor Warren

how come no one in this family pays attention to me?

So, I've been composing a post in my head about how Warren has been grating on my last nerve lately (nothing new there) with his incessant crying and clinging to my legs whenever I try to put him down. He's also been breaking out in hives (all over his little body!) ever since we got back from FL. Well, he got into some cat nip down there, and he hasn't been having any trouble breathing (although the hives DO extend to his neck) and Scott used to get hives a lot too, so I really couldn't care less about the whole shebang.

When he woke up from afternoon naps yesterday, they were pretty bad, and his left ear has been super gunky and blah blah blah, so Nick called and made him an appointment. I, of course, told Nick that he was being stupid, it was a waste of time, our NP was going to laugh at him, and that I was not going to have anything to do with it. I'd drop him off at the clinic and then he was on his own.not the best pic, but these were the hives.  not that big a deal, right?

So, naturally, Warren has a double ear infection, the left one has already perforated, and she wants him on antibiotics. UGH!!! I HATE using antibiotics!!! Know what I hate even more? When my poor innocent baby is really sick and I just blow the whole thing off! What is wrong with me? I've always prided myself on not being one of those helicopter moms who are WAY TOO overprotective, but have I gone too far to the other end of the spectrum? Am I WAY TOO UNDERprotective?
And, what's up with all this ear infection business anyway? Everyone says that they get ear infections when they're in daycare, or when you don't breastfeed. Uhh, didn't breastfeed anyone, and Ava and Scott went to daycare FULL time for the first three and two years of their lives (respectively) and neither one of them ever had to deal with this! Liars! Those people who say that...they just want me to feel bad for putting my kids in daycare. did i get stuck with you for a mother?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Well thank goodness,I actually planned two weeks last week, just so that would pretty much take us out of the house. I hardly ever do that, but I wanted to not have to actually go grocery shopping this week, just a run to the Stop n Shop for our three gallons of milk (can you believe that? We're transitioning Warren to whole milk, so now we're up to three gallons. And Ava barely drinks milk, and I don't drink it at all when I'm not pregnant. How many gallons am I gonna have to buy when the boys are twelve and fourteen? What if they play football?) and some extra produce. I had no idea that I was going to be out of town all week for my Grandma Judy, but of course God did, so my fridge is ready to go any way. Isn't that sort of thing just crazy? More than the big miracles like babies and curing cancer, I take comfort in the tiny, day to day mundane details that the Lord handles so well.

Anyway. I had to redo the menu that I already made a week ago because even though Nick cooked most nights while I was gone, there's still a lot from last week we didn't eat.

Sunday: slow cooker shredded beef tacos

Monday: spaghetti and meat sauce

Tuesday: jamie's chili -I modified it a little from the original, but seriously, this is the best chili ever.

Wednesday: eat out in Hartford while we pick up Grandma Jane

Thursday: oven BBQ chicken -tore this out of a magazine a long time ago, finally ready to tackle it.

Friday: prime rib (we had to cut three pounds off to fit it in the pan for our Christmas dinner party, so not we get to eat that! Hooray!)

Saturday: leftovers/take out/eat in

What's on your menu this week? I know I say it every week, but seriously, head over here for some great ideas!


Even though Warren is still sort of a baby, he's definitely becoming a boys boy. He's very rough, loves to steal Scott's trucks, and will sit in a poopy diaper forever without making a peep. (No girl would EVER do this!) So when I ran across this poem on one of the blogs I stalk, I decided to cut and paste it, even though it's really not that well written.
I scrub the walls of fingerprints
Pick up the mound of clothes.
I sweep the dirt that shoes track in-
Wish I could use a hose!
Meals are served from dawn to dark
Dirty dishes crowd the sink
Just when they're washed a put away-
Everyone wants a drink!
The washer pulls the dirty grime
From pants worn thin and patched
They look so neat and clean-
Yuck! Look what those pockets hatched!
Broken bones and bloody knees
I should have been a nurse
I take it all in shaky stride
Just grateful it's not worse
Screams and shouts and arguments
Test the keeping of my cool
They left the neighbor's faucet on-
See their new front yard pool!
A soothing bath is ecstasy
A reward at the end of my rope
Raising boys isn't really bad-
But first I must wash the soap
A rose can say I Love You
Orchids can enthrall
But a weed bouquet in a chubby fist
Oh my, that says it all!

And you know what? I love having boys. When the ultrasound tech told me Scott was a boy, I cried. For hours, that day, and then for days and weeks after that. Even as they were pulling him out, I was craning my neck to try and see over the drapes, asking Nick 'is it a girl? was that tech wrong?' I was DEVASTATED to have a boy! And now I love him to death, and Warren is wearing on me too.

Wanna know something even more unbelievable? I sort of want my next one (I am NOT pregnant!) to be a boy too! That way I'd have my little princess Ava to dote on, and then three rough and tumble boys. Weird, right?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Well, I am finally back in my home. For the next ten days. No surprise, Nick did fabulously while I was gone. Sorta makes me look bad. I mean, he can handle the kids and the housework AND a full time job, and I can barely handle anything at all? But whatever. He cleaned the whole house, including bathrooms, did all the laundry, changed all the bedding-everything that takes me all week to do, he did on Friday afternoon before picking me up from the airport. (This is Nick adding to Jennifer's blog after reading this post: In Jennifer's defense, y'all, I didn't have a baby to deal with while I cleaned the house. She took the baby with her to her grandmother's funeral and just left me with the big kids. She always sells herself short on her blogs. She is an amazing mother and an amazing wife! Don't let her tell you any differently.)

I was NOT prepared for the welcome I received. Ava and Scott ran up to me and threw their arms around me and jumped up and down and shouted and clapped and squealed with laughter. And it was ten o'clock at night! Ya'll, my kids LOVE to sleep, I can't believe they were awake, let alone excited! And they went right to sleep in the car for the ride, and then climbed right into their beds, no arguments. And then the greeting this morning was almost as sweet!

So, obviously, glad to be home. But I am getting more than a little overwhelmed at all the things I need to do this week. The kids are going to school every morning next week to give me time to do it all, and full days the following Monday Tuesday and Wednesday, but still, I don't know how I'm gonna get it done. I have to pack and put aside three suitcases to take to Biloxi. I have to pack winter clothes for Biloxi AND summer clothes for Stuart and Disney, and toys to keep everyone busy while my mom works all day and I'm trapped at home with no car. So, any Biloxi readers who wanna have a playdate...CALL ME!!!

We have to get everything ready for the movers, which seems like shouldn't be much, but it actually will be. We have to hide all our liquids in plastic tubs with our clothes because they don't want to move liquids. And naturally, I have sixty seven bottles of shampoo from when I was heavy into couponing. The lady from the company came last week to get the lay of the spread, and she told Nick that we can't bring our bed! It's a HUGE four poster, the bed of my dreams, I got it as soon as I graduated nursing school. It's so friggin big, we had to bring it through an upstairs window in Norfolk because it wouldn't fit up the stairway! She said they don't have a crate big enough for we have to find a new bed! Or just use a naked frame, which we might end up doing for a while.

And then, we have to clean this sucker. I voted for hiring a cleaning crew, but Nick thinks the six hundred dollars they want is a little high. I still vote for hiring a crew! I'm talking SERIOUS cleaning ya'll. Walls, baseboards, behind the fridge, trim and molding, everything! Gross gross gross. Not my idea of a good time.

Phew. That was exhausting. I'm gonna go upstairs, kick the piles of clothes waiting to be packed out of the way, and watch TV till I fall asleep. I'll start this to-do list tomorrow :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quick Update

Well, I flew to St. Petersburg, FL this past Monday because it was getting to be the end for my Grandma Judy. My mom and dad drove down Sunday night to sit with her, and she passed away peacefully Tuesday morning. My mom is deaing with it very well bc we knew it was coming and bc the nurses at her hospice were so wonderful. I brought Warren with me bc he's such a mama's boy, and the big kids staed back in CT with their daddy. Thanks to all our friends for helping out with those big kids! I will be flying home later tis afternoon, only to get the house packed up and then turn around to head to Biloxi! Prayers ya'll! We sure need em!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I had to do my weekly grocery shopping at the Wal-Mart yesterday. Gross. Anyone who thinks that only Wal Marts in the south are full of trailer trash rednecks- WRONG! They're up here too.

But I got what I needed, and here's our menu for this week.

Sunday: buffalo wings

Monday: chicken riggies (gosh, we're STILL going thru those chicken thighs!)

Tuesday: creamy one pot pasta (had this on the menu a few weeks ago but for some reason or other did not actually make it)

Wednesday: frozen ravioli and texas toast (Nick has to work at night, so why bother making a real dinner?)

Thursday: slow cooker pulled chicken sandwhiches (after years of buying different crock pots, only to have them break, including a hundred dollars plus all-clad version, I got a teeny tiny 4qt original CrockPot at Target for twenty dollars. It has NOTHING fancy, just a dial that says High or Low. And it works, and it doesn't burn my food, and so far it hasn't broken. Can you believe that?) And BTW, if you follow the link, the original recipe is actually for pork. Just throw in some breasts and thighs instead. Bone in or boneless, it really doesn't matter. Whatever's on sale!

Friday: parmesan crusted pork chops (an old staple that we haven't made in a while)

Saturday: slow cooker shredded beef tacos (guess who's REALLY excited about her new crock pot?)

What's on your menu this week? As usual, if you need some ideas, check this out for inspiration!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Remember when you didn't have kids? And you would go over to a friend's house who had kids? And you would hear their kids sing song voices calling from the bathroom 'Mom-my, I'm do-ne!' And way back when, you had no idea what they were even talking about? But then you wized up and realized what that kid was 'done' with? And you laughed behind your hand and thought too bad for them, they have such sad lives now that they have kids. IF I ever have kids, they'll NEVER call me from the bathroom for THAT! And then remember when you had a darling little pink faced daughter, and she was so sweet and beautiful and you KNEW that her soft fuzzy body could NEVER produce anything that wasn't rosy and beautiful and lovely?

Fastforward four years. And that lovely daughter eats like a linebacker. And twice a day you hear a sing-song voice calling from the bathroom 'Mom-my! I'm do-ne!'

Sometimes I don't know why I thought being a mom would be so cool.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Weight Watchers and Other Random Thoughts

First up, let's have a big hooray! I'm almost back to the weight I was at the beginning of November! I lost two point six pounds this week. I'd like to brag and say I worked out every day and only ate salads and broccoli, but that would be a lie no one would believe anyway. The only thing different I did was work the program. Tracked my points, drank my water. That's all it takes! So why is it so hard to do? So that finally puts me back out of the one fifties (again) and even though it's not as sweet the second (third?) time around, it's still pretty sweet.

No news on the Guam house debacle. Not that I expected it to get resolved in twenty four hours, but hey, you never know. My biggest concern is being near enough to Brandi to see her on a daily basis. But for now I guess it's just hurry up and wait. I am slowly setting aside the things we need to take with us to Biloxi, and we've already got a HUGE box of summer clothes that we're mailing to Stuart for our two weeks there plus our week in Disney. Anything extra we need we can just buy at the Carter's outlet down there because I'm sick to death of going through last summer's clothes! I plan on leaving all our winter clothes at a Goodwill in Biloxi and not having to worry about hats and gloves (or even long sleeves!) for the next three years! Hooray for tropical weather! This yankee winter bs is for the birds.

So after Christmas, I got this new game for the Wii, it's the Jenny McArthy shape up work out game. First of all, I LOVE Jenny McArthy. Not sure if I'm spelling it right, but I love her nonetheless. She's the kind of person I would typically hate on principle (gorgeous, thin, former playboy playmate) but I learned a hard lesson in nursing school and ended up being best friends with someone I hated on principle, so I tossed those sorts of principles back then.

Back to Jenny. When I was pregnant with Ava and every single woman around me was carrying around a copy of What to Expect, I had a dog eared copy of her book Belly Laughs. I mean, sure, I had What to Expect too because my older sister gave me her copy, and every now and then I looked something up, but ninety nine percent of the time, Belly Laughs was my BIBLE. I'm serious ya'll, I must have read that book ten times. She saved me a bundle on lamaze classes by pointing out that if you get an epidural, you don't do those things anyway. And I was TOTALLY getting that! She convinced me not to go to the ER at three in the morning when I was constipated. She let me know that it wasn't the end of the world if I didn't feel like breastfeeding, which I didn't, but everyone else did, so I was too scared to tell anyone. And after I ended up with a surgical deliver, she reminded me that a mother is a mother, even without pushing the kid through a birth canal.

Long story short, I really love her! AND she's big into Weight Watchers! So when I saw a commercial for that video game, Nick already knew we were gonna get it. (He knows of my Jenny McArthy obsession. It's hard not to notice.) I finally got around to doing it today. I kept blowing it off to use the EFX instead, because I figured it wouldn't be much of a workout. And yes, the fact that I can watch Lost on the EFX might have had something to do with it :)


About seven minutes into a simple step routine, I had to sit on the couch and catch my breath. Seriously. I didn't wear my HR monitor because I seriously thought it wasn't going to be any sort of actual workout (the step class for the Wii Fit was sort of a joke) but I bet I got up to the 180's at least. And I had twenty three minutes plus a cool down left!

The only thing that sort of sucked is that you train this little webcam on yourself, and so you watch yourself on the TV flailing around like a drunk white guy dancing. I always knew I wasn't very coordinated, but actually seeing myself on the screen...not pretty. And the computer somehow watches you, so if you're stepping wrong or not raising your arms high enough (I wasn't raising them AT ALL after ten minutes) she'll start saying 'let's get those legs going!' or 'try to do what I'm doing!' which was embarrassing. Thank God I remembered to shut the blinds before I got started!

I normally work out in the mornings before Nick goes to work, so tomorrow I'll have to do it with him watching. He knows how uncoordinated I am, but this is still going to be embarrassing. Hopefully he doesn't laugh too much!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ode to my House- Sort Of

Well, in twenty one days (counting today) the movers will show up at my door and pack up all my stuff and take it away, perhaps never to be seen again. And in twenty four days, I'll be boarding a plane (with my three unruly children and no husband) to Biloxi and I'll never set foot in this house again! Now, this house and I have a love-hate relationship. I love it because it's so big, and you can watch TV while you load the dishwasher, and it has a playroom, and a scrapbook room, and a walk in closet that we could use for a nursery if we have another baby. I hate it because it's one of those quick new construction cookie cutter houses with ABSOLUTELY no character whatsoever. And since it was built quickly and poorly, it has NO INSULATION! Have I mentioned the icicle? On the INSIDE hinge of the back door? I have to wrap up in my snuggie with a scarf over my face just to sit in the recliner.

But I digress.

My children are finally starting to show some signs of confusion related to all this moving. Ava is still asking when we are going to see Addle. Nick and I talked so much about moving to Seattle (back when we thought the Navy would send us to Bangor, WA) and Ava somehow turned that into a visit to some unremembered friend named Addle. Huh. We talk now about moving again, first to stay with Grandma Terri, then to Grandpa Kenny, then to Disney World with Cousin Mia, then to Guam to see Lee. Naturally, neither one of them knows what we're talking about. Ava thinks that we're moving back to our 'real house' in Virginia and Scott...Scott's just baffled by the whole conversation. I just hope that with a little luck and a strict routine (notice I didn't say schedule-we hate that word!) they adjust rather quickly when we get to Guam.

Although it looks now like we'll be spending at least a week in a hotel out there, then into a rental until a four bedroom on the correct side of town opens up. I don't know how I feel about that. I want to live in base housing, in the big new four bedrooms that everyone talks about, but I don't really want to have to move twice in such a short span of time. You know? So I'm secretly hoping that we find a magical rental that's absolutely perfect and right next to the base (because you know, houses RIGHT NEXT TO BASE GATES are usually so perfect) and we can just stay there. I just can't fathom a forty five minute drive to preschool in the morning, then forty five minutes back home, then another forty five minutes to pick them up at lunch time, then another forty five minutes to get home again. Uh, hello, that's three hours in the car! Three days a week! I don't think so.

As is customary, I am freaking out (we're talking losing sleep- I'm now going to be talking advil pm just to get some rest) and Nick is sliding along in a sea of calm. I can tell he's at least a little rattled about the prospect of living in a teeny tiny shack seven hours from civilization, but he really truly believes everything will work out, and it always does seem to with him, so I'll try to get on board with being calm. I mean, in the end, there's not much we can do about it. Either they'll have a house for us, or we'll have to find one to rent.

There. I feel better already.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Seriously, another Monday? How can that be possible! I just don't get it! My days are SO LONG!!! Yet every time I turn around, an entire week has blown by like it was nothing!

Well, I haven't been thinking too much about Guam lately, not because I'm afraid of Guam itself, but because I'm afraid of the flight. Nick has been getting all buddy buddy with the housing office (hence the Saving of the Washing Machine) and the guy there told him this morning that he thinks the only four bedrooms that will be available mid-March will be in an off base neighborhood (like where we live now) FORTY FIVE MINUTES AWAY FROM THE BASE! Say what? I can't be that far away from the CDC, where my big kids WILL be going to preschool. Ya'll know I'm not keeping them home alone with me five days a week! And I'm not driving forty five minutes BOTH WAYS three times a week! Can you imagine the havoc that would wreck on my Nazi Nap Schedule? No way. So it looks like we'll be looking at some off base (non base housing off base) housing. Which I am equal parts nervous and excited about.

Anyway, the kids want dinner regardless of my current mental state, so Nick made a menu this weekend while I pulled my hair out and muttered "fourteen hours on a plane, fourteen hours on a plane." And of course, as I'm typing this, my brain is screaming "THAT'S JUST ONE LEG OF THE TRIP! WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER EIGHT HOURS OF FLYING?" So now I have to mutter 'twenty two hours on a plane, twenty two hours on a plane.' What on earth have I gotten myself into?

All right, pity party over. For a few minutes.

Sunday: southern fried chicken with the couple from Nick's class who just literally found out they're going to Guam. Can you imagine! I think they had orders to Norfolk, then all this business started with one of the other boats out there and then BAM they have to be halfway around the world in about a month and a half. This is why people hate the Navy! I mean, we had plenty of time to get ready, and we're actually pretty excited to go, but what if you had NO DESIRE and you woke up one day and had to go that far away? Pretty scary!

Monday: loaded potato soup and biscuits. This is a new recipe, hopefully it works out. My history with trying to replicate O'Charley's soup is pretty sketch.

Tuesday: calzones

Wednesday: breakfast for dinner. I somehow ended up with tons of bacon in the fridge, so we gotta eat that up!

Thursday: OCF

Friday: grilled pinwheel chicken and naan bread (trying to plow thru those legs and thighs in the freezer)

Saturday: cheesy hashbrown chili Now I know this sounds pretty trailer trash, but it's really good, and it's easy to grind up some veggies in the food processor and sneak those in. So give it a shot, it's really not that bad. It's not nearly as bad and spaghetti noodles and ketchup, right? :)

Need some help planning your menu this week? Check this lady out for hundreds of great ideas!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bible Verses

Along with the lyrics to every single Taylor Swift song ever recorded, we occasionally try to teach Ava other things. Remember when we started those Bible verses so long ago? Well we lost the book for a while, but it's back and she still remembered all the old ones, so we started that up again. Here's Ava reciting A-F. In the middle of a tea party, which ended up being more distracting than I thought it would. And please girl! SIT STILL! JUST FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Another Reason Why I Heart My Husband

My poor husband. I have recently gone CRAZY buying everything I can get my hands on! I mean, it is becoming a serious problem! Even though I know that Guam is not a deserted island (hello! I have a living, breathing best friend there who is actual PROOF that you can, in fact, buy toilet paper and chicken broth on the island) I just can't seem to get that from my brain to my heart. Does that make any sense? And I've always been a stockpiler. I prefer the term stockpiler to hoarder. Doesn't it just sound nicer?

It started with furniture. Even though we don't know how big our house will be (and in fact, we actually know it's going to be rather tiny) I got it into my head (and then convinced my husband) that we needed to buy a bunch of furniture because we won't be able to buy furniture there. And even if they DO have furniture there (I told him during my convincing plea) it would be a limited selection, and it wouldn't be what we really want. He and I have a history of buying things that are less than what we really really want simply because they're cheaper. So I used that to my advantage (sneaky wife that I am!) and bingo- new bunkbeds and dressers for the boys, new (HUGE) dining table and chairs and buffet for me. Oh yeah, and remember the EFX machine? That was part of this too (because, I told him, I'll never have time to go to the gym). And I can honestly say that all of this was a pretty good investment. As long as I have a Lost DVD to watch, I use the heck out of that EFX machine. And we both hated the old dining table. And beds, that's just practical.

But then things started to get out of control. I needed bedding. And not just bedding for the bottom bed, where Scott actually sleeps, I need it for BOTH beds, so that they match. Even though no one will be up there for a LONG TIME. And part of this bedding is sheets and pillows and shams and pillowcases that no one will be using for a LONG TIME. But if we wait, and order it in Guam, there's extra shipping charges. So (I told my husband) this is actually saving us money! It's a good investment!

And then I needed to stock up on summer clothes. They're on sale honey, because it's so cold here. And the NEX in Guam probably won't have a good selection, and there certainly won't be a Gymboree, and guess what, they're doing Gymbucks, so this hundred dollars that I'm spending is going to save us a bundle in the end! These pastel colored tank tops and frilly capri pants and cute board shorts for the boys is a GOOD INVESTMENT! The only thing I haven't stocked up on for those kids is shoes, and that's because I'm a total shoe snob. I can't bear the thought of them wearing ill-fitting shoes because I had to guess what size they'd be. Shipping prices be damned, my children will be wearing sturdy, practical footwear the next three years NO MATTER WHAT! And Nick has my dad to thank for that.

(On a side note, even though my dad has been drilling STURDY, PRACTICAL footwear into my head for the entire twenty seven plus years that I have been on this planet, when Nick and I went to London all those years ago, I opted to bring my cute, heeled boots instead of my ugly sturdy practical footwear. I believe with all my heart that my aching feet contributed greatly to my MISERABLE experience there.)

Then our BJs card expired, and it wasn't practical to renew it, so I'm sure my darling husband breathed a sigh of relief and thought to himself at least she can't buy a thousand rolls of TP before we head out there. Au contraire! Our neighbor loaned me her card and I'm a woman on a mission. They're gonna move it for me, so why not? And things are probably more expensive on the island, even if they DO have my preferred brands. So honey, these seven boxes of 140 diapers each, and four boxes of eighteen 4-packs of TP, and countless canisters of Clorox wipes and magic erasers and ziploc bags and plastic silverware-it's all a good investment (I assured my husband). Trust me!

I can't even go into detail about all the things I've collected for the plane ride. It's embarrassing. When the Navy bought our five tickets, I figured might as well go ahead and take advantage of getting to have five carryons and ten suitcases. We didn't actually buy ten suitcases, but we came close. And who could resist those cute monogrammed rolling backpacks for the kids to carry on? And a new Vera Bradly tote for me...and another one for the baby...goodness. But we'll probably hop a few flights while we're over there, honey (I begged), so in the end, these are all good investments too.

And then there's the Tupperware. Again, there's an extra shipping charge to send it to Guam, so we better stock up here. And it's probably more humid there than even we can imagine (and we're from two of the boggiest places in America) so we need to protect everything in the pantry from the wet, so we're gonna need a lot. But honey (says I) without this Tupperware, all the money we spend on groceries might go to waste! So this is a GOOD INVESTMENT!

So? Have I lost my mind? Probably. Am I out of control? Most definitely. And has my darling husband even raised his voice to me once, told me I'm being irrational, shouted that OF COURSE THEY'RE GONNA HAVE TOOTHPASTE IN GUAM YOU RIDICULOUS IDIOT!!!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Guess it's been a while since I joined in the menu planning fun. Well, not really, I just haven't felt like posting it. Rest assured, I plan a menu every single week. Not just me, Nick does it a lot. I just don't know how people who don't plan a menu get dinner on the table. How do they know what to buy at the commissary?

Since the kids and I have thirty one days left in the house, and only twenty nine dinners, we are really trying to use up our freezer and pantry surplus. The movers are picky about what sorts of foods they will or will not move, so if anyone needs a gallon and a half of vegetable oil...or a liter of balsamic know, things like that :) Let me know, it's yours.

Sunday: we're taking the man who drove us an hour both ways to the airport, both to drop us off AND pick us up (what a guy! that's four hours in the van this poor guy spent!) and his family out to the local Shogun type place. His wife is the first person I met out here and I really really like her. She's one of the things I'm gonna miss most about good ole Groton. She's got a little four year old girl, and the cutest little red headed two year old boy, and then a sweet sweet baby girl who was born on Halloween. And her big kids are polite and quiet in public and they don't have dirty faces...maybe eating out with them is a bad idea. I don't want to spend the entire evening embarrassed. That ship has probably sailed...

Monday: beef stroganoff, from my Grandma June's recipe book. So good!

Tuesday: chicken fajitas, with the sauce from Williams and Sonoma. That will finish up all the sauce, and we probably won't get any more for the next three years. Sigh.

Wednesday: spicy fatboy sausage (with one of the THREE boxes of elbow macaroni, instead of the penne. why would I have three boxes of elbow macaroni stocked up? was there a can't-miss-elbow-macaroni deal one day? seriously?)

Thursday: Bible study-the theme is breakfast for dinner, so naturally I'll be bringing my breakfast casserole. And I don't plan to share.

Friday: chicken and vegetable stir fry, with a pack of boneless skinless thighs we have stocked up (yuck, I hate thighs, but Nick likes them, so we have about eight pounds in the freezer...why are they so slimey?)

Saturday: creamy one pot pasta with whatever turkey sausage is left from the fatboy pasta. This is a recipe I got at a Pampered Chef party one day and man, it's awesome. Seriously, give it a go. It's annoying how the recipe is tailored for Pampered Chef products, but I have total faith that you can figure it out.

What's on your menu this week? If you need some ideas, head over here for thousands.

A Belated Welcoming of 2010

Are you saying 'twenty ten' or 'two thousand ten?' I haven't decided yet, but I'm leaning towards two thousand ten, mainly because next year, I don't want to have to say 'twenty eleven.' That just sounds stupid. Ahh, I love making a decision. It's a sort of rare occurrence you know.

I haven't made a New Year's Resolution since I graduated from elementary school because everyone knows you only make those to break 'em, right? All right, I might be exaggerating. I remember one year in college resolving to stop biting my nails. Still biting, and you know what? It's not a nervous habit, or an unconscious twitch or something crazy like that. I bite my nails for the same reason I eat an entire bag of Cheetos in one sitting- because I LIKE TO. So there.

So do I have any goals for two thousand ten? Not resolutions, because as you know I am far too cool for that, but just a few goals, maybe, things I'd like to start shifting towards this year? Maybe a few.

First up, something I've actually been working on since about September. Watching less TV. I know, I know, you can't believe your eyes! It's no secret that I love TV. I love love love love it. I've always loved getting wrapped up in 'pretend' world, and what better, easier way than TV? Sure, books are better, but more work. And movies are great, but you have to get out and get all the way to the theater, or else get out of the recliner and put in the Netflix. I can't even say watching TV is a guilty pleasure, because I never feel/felt guilty about it. I like it, I'm a grown woman, I watched it.

But I watched a lot. Like, seriously. I don't do reality, or the CW (although I watched most of the first season of Gossip Girl, and that I did feel guilty about) but I watched all the basic run of the mill crap- the CSIs, Heroes, Law and Orders...I could go on. And on. And then this fall, I just sort of trickled to a stop. Not a stop, but a slow down. Every few days, I started to think "This show used to be better. It's sort of a waste of time now. I could have spent this hour scrapbooking, or reading...weird." And then I would give it another week before I thought "That's it. Not worth it. I think I'm maturing!" And I do think that!

So I still watch CSI (duh) and SVU, but that's about it. And of course Nick and I like How I Met Your Mother, and Modern Family. But for the first time in my entire life, the TV is black for most of the day. Isn't that crazy? And I really don't miss it! I don't get it, how can something I loved and cherished for all those years be gone from my life, and I don't even feel a need to grieve? I feel like I need to talk this over with CDR Ward. She's the one who talked me off the ledge when Professor Snape died.

So with the TV off, I have time for some of my other 2010 goals. Scrapbooking. Uhh, remember four years ago when I brought home a tiny wrinkled pink mess named Ava Nichole? I also brought home her baby scrapbook, and here it sits, less than finished. Scott's is hurtin, and Warren's...well you can imagine what sort of shape Warren's is in. Not to mention the regular old Engelbrecht Scrapbook. I'm hoping this year to finish the book for 2007 :)

Reading. I know, I read more than most people, but I want to read even MORE. There are so many good books out there! I'm almost done rereading The Stand on my new Sony EReader (which I love!) and then I'm gonna start going through a tall stack that my dad has always wanted me to read. There's a lot of Kurt Vonegut in that stack (which isn't really a stack anymore, just a tiny bit of binary code or something that Nick sucks through the computer onto my delicious pink Reader) so it'll probably take a while. And there's a literal stack of flesh and bone books that Nick and I went crazy for at Lifeway in MS last week, the top most being a book on marriage. Now, don't get me wrong, our marriage is better than most (no offense, but I can think of very few people who have a better relationship than we do) but we figured a little bit of God guided advice could never hurt, right? And naturally, there's a few parenting books in that stack too. And we all know I need all the help I can get in that category.

By the way, I also just finished The Lovely Bones, and I'm not sure what all the hype is about. I'll go see the movie just because it's Peter Jackson, but seriously, when was the last time a crappy book made a fantastic movie? I mean, you saw The Time Traveler's Wife, right? Ugh.

So those are my measly little goals for two thousand ten. I feel like I should vow to lose weight like every other woman in America, but you know what? I lost almost thirty five pounds last year, and I'm pretty hungry. So I'm probably gonna just keep trudging along on WW and only lose about five more pounds total. And I don't even want to stop biting my nails anymore, so I can't vow that...guess that's it. Did you set any goals for two thousand ten?

PS: All that not-watching-TV crap is totally out the window starting Feb 2! I'm not missing Lost for ANYTHING!!! And as long as we're talking Lost, I'm almost finished rewatching Season Four, so I can FINALLY start rewatching Season Five, which my dear mother bought me for Christmas. Thanks mom! What an awesome show! Hoorary!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Day Home

Well. Remember last week, when we were swimming outside on Christmas Eve? All good things must come to an end, I suppose...

We flew back to Connecticut yesterday, and we could see the snow on the runway before we even landed. I tried to be excited for the kiddos, but it's just hard to pretend to be happy about something I HATE. Hate may be too nice a word. Perhaps LOATHE better describes the way I feel about cold weather.

But then again, if it's gonna be THAT COLD, I guess it might as well snow, so that at least it looks pretty. This is what we woke up to this morning... the view from right outside my back dooron the street, looking at the front of the house

Who do you suppose is more excited, Daddy or the kiddos?it's close, but I'm gonna go with Daddy

Sledding...He didn't seem too sure at first... Ava was fearless from the get go, naturally

Despite the nearly one hundred pics I took before I got too cold, this was the best shot of the morning. But I got Photoshop for Dummies today, so I'm gonna learn how to make EVERY shot the best shot! Right? I mean, RIGHT?!?!