Friday, May 28, 2010

Flashback Friday

This is why I can't do Flashback Fridays! I go in looking for JUST ONE PICTURE, and I end up with forty seven. THAT'S NOT THE POINT OF FLASHBACK FRIDAY! But alas, I just can't seem to help it. I started with just a pic of Ava, but then I felt guilty. She's not even my favorite :)

So here we go.

This is April, 2006, putting my most adorable daughter at six months old. Does she look like Warren OR WHAT!!!

And here's Scott, October 2007, putting him at (you guessed it!) six months old.Now Scott, while looking nothing at all like Ava, also looks almost exactly like Warren. How is that possible?

And here's the Dubster himself, near July 2009, putting him at almost six months. I just realized as I was typing this that I picked the wrong month. But I'm pretty tired, so I'm not going back in for more. Also, I couldn't find a pic of Nick with six-month-old(almost)-Warren, so I swapped in one with Grandpa Kenny. You can barely tell the difference, right?

And then I couldn't resist this one last picture. This is October 2007, putting her at two years old. I sure hope we're headed for a heated pool somewhere. She's so fricking cute I want to go wake her up and show her this picture. I changed my mind, she's totally my favorite. JUST LOOK AT HER!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost Sucks

I’m not gonna say too much about Lost. I knew as soon as it started that it was going to be ridiculous. I was FURIOUS when I went to bed last night, but I’ve cooled off a little. After all, it was JUST A SHOW. Right? If this had been a book series that I’d invested years into reading, then my fury would NOT be subsiding.

I feel like the writer’s just got tired. Their biggest mistake (in my opinion, and seriously, even though I’d rather die before I let anyone read anything I write, I actually do consider myself a writer. So I feel like my opinion is a little valid) was saying from the beginning that they had a plan, that they already had the final scene mapped out in their heads. Sure, maybe they did, if you consider the final scene Jack closing his eye. But if you consider the church business the final scene…I think they came up with that idea last week. Here’s what I think went on in the writer’s room this year.

Writer A: Man, I’m so tired. Here’s my ten year old, he’s gonna write my parts for me.

Ten Year Old: Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if they threw Des down the well and it was a real cork? And then…the man in black was normal, and Kate came out of nowhere and shot him? And then…maybe Miles could find some duct tape and tape the plane back together! Yeah, that’d be awesome, that’s what we’ll do!

Writer B: Well, don’t forget, we have to wrap up this sideways story too. Those producers got on national TV and said it wasn’t a fake reality, so we have to do something!

Writer C: Oh, c’mon, no one will hold us to that. Let’s make it purgatory. Then we don’t have to explain anything!

Writer B: Well…I’m pretty tired too. I guess that’ll work. What about the six years of mysteries we’ve been saying that we knew all about? We laid the groundwork for baby Aaron, and Special Walt, and all the Dharma crap with the babies and Danielle and the sickness and all…what do we do about that?

Writer C: Well, we already swore that this was the last season. And there’s just not enough time left. So, let’s just scrap it. Don’t worry about it. TV viewers are so stupid, they won’t care anyway.

So yeah, guess I am still a little furious. I just wish they hadn’t set themselves up for failure. Don’t say you’ve had a plan, if you never, in fact, had a plan. Ya’ll know how much I love Harry Potter, right? And yeah, I thought the ending left a little to be desired. I thought it would have meant more if Harry or Ron or Hermione had died for the cause. I thought the epilogue was a total cheese fest. But never, in the three times I’ve read it, did I ever doubt that good ole JK had had it all figured out, before she even started writing book one. She had a plan, and she dropped hints and opened mysteries accordingly, throughout the series. She knew what she was doing. She made a promise to millions of readers around the world, and she kept her word. I just wish the Lost writer’s hadn’t made a promise that they couldn’t keep. And seriously, I get the impression that they didn’t even care if they kept their word.

And by the way, I’ve been reading reviews and everyone is all excited because they think that they show ended with a Christian message: that all that matters is that you lead a good life, that you’re a good person. Uh, time to wake up guys. Being a good person? Not gonna get you through those sideways world church doors. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. I HATE the “be a good person” line. Yes, I think that people should try to be nice. And less stupid. But being nice is NOT ENOUGH! But that’s a whole nother post. Yes, I said “a whole nother.” That’s a phrase.

And yeah, the Sawyer/Juliette scene at the vending machine? Totally cried my eyes out. I just love them! If he had ended up with Kate, I would have thrown my shoe through our TV.

But, today is the day the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s nest is supposed to be realized for America, so I’ve gotta find a way to get it on my Kindle. I better not have to wait until it’s tomorrow in the states.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I know ya'll are so sick of hearing about Pioneer Woman. So I'll take a quick break. To tell you go hop to another blog. Because I just can't stop! I might be obsessed. If I weren't stranded on this deserted island, PW might have to file a restraining order or something.

So, while perusing her website once again, instead of cleaning my house or mothering my children, I found a PHOTOGRAPHED index of all her recipies! And it's in alphabetical order! It's like this woman is my soul mate or something!

I mean, if Nick weren't already my soul mate. Of course that's what I mean.

Anyway. I'm sick of my (limited) cards in my recipe box, so this week I'm going All PW, All the Time. Here's my game plan.

Sunday: linguine with clam sauce Gross, I know. But my man likes seafood, so here we go. I'll be eating naked noodles I keep out and a bowl of cereal or something equally indulgent after the kids go to bed.

Monday: beef and broccoli Now, I suppose, this isn't technically a PW recipe. It's a friend of hers (so she claims) who has her own cookbook out, that I might buy just because PW says to. And you know, I like to do everything she says. But anyway, it's on her website, so it counts.

Tuesday: white chicken enchiladas (I'm curious to see if she can beat my beloved Sam the Cooking Guy's version) and basic mexican rice

Wednesday:chicken parmesan

Thursday: chicken spaghetti

Friday: leftovers or freezer food. Because, you guessed it, Nick has duty again. Must be nice for all these JOs that the dept heads stand all the Friday duty. Just kidding. But I am a little bitter.

Saturday: grill out. Because that's how we roll on Saturdays.

All right. I guess Friday and Saturday aren't really All PW, All the Time. So sue me.

As usual, head over here for tons of great meal planning ideas!

And PS, here in Bizzaro World, I get to watch the Lost finale tonight, even though everyone else got to see it Sunday night. AND, I haven't peeked, not one time this ENTIRE SEASON! Well, except for a teeny tiny peek, and that was Nick's fault. He found (how did he find? no idea) the first few minutes of the season premiere on youtube. And I caved and watched it, but that was only the day before, and it didn't really give ANYTHING away, like at all. So it sort of doesn't count. Not looking around for spoilers has been one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it's been sort of nice. The downside is that every single book I've read since I got to the island (you like that? the island?) I've read the last few chapters first. That's been like my methadone to my spoiler addiction.

So, ya'll have seen it- was I right? Was Ben truly one of the good guys? Did Sawyer meet Juliette for coffee somewhere in sideways world? Did Hurley end up being the Island Guardian or whatever they call it? Did we get any answers about why Aaron was so important? Did Walt ever come back? Did we get any answers AT ALL? I'm so excited! Four and a half hours of Lost, here I come!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Day in the Life

Not too much happening out here in Guam. Very Groundhog Day. Same thing, every day. But, that's sort of what I like, so I'm not really complaining. Still haven't gotten set up to start scrapbooking again. And I worked out all week last week, and now I'm sick, so I quit. Remember when I got deathly ill in CT? I, in fact, contracted Captain Trips? Well, I'm TERRIFIED of that happening again, knowing that Nick can't just take off early and come help me. So I cried all day yesterday worrying that I was going to get sicker. But, obviously, I'm fine. I was probably sicker worrying about getting sicker than I actually was sick. Shrug.

Took the kids to swim lessons again today. It's so hard! I mean, what did I think, right? The big kids have to sit in chairs and behave while I'm in the pool for Warren's lesson. Yeah, right. Anyone out there EVER seen my kids behave? I bring tons of snacks (despite the NO FOOD OR DRINKS signs everything) and books and crayons and video games and baby dolls and Handy Manny tools...nothing helps. They fight, they hit, they run around, they play in the water...someone's gonna drown. And frankly, I doubt the lifeguards will even notice.

Remember when you were little and you'd go to the pool? And then THAT FAMILY would show up, and you'd cringe, both out of embarrassment for the mother and in frustration that your afternoon was going to be ruined? Yep, you guessed it. Team Engelbrecht is THAT FAMILY. I can just hear the collective sighs when we barrel through the office, baby screaming in his stroller, kids racing ahead (also screaming), me (weighted down with not one, not two, but THREE BEACH BAGS) screaming at everyone to stop screaming...then we settle into our chairs and tear into a huge baggie of snacks as if we haven't eaten in days. Why are they always hungry? I know the other moms, as soon as I'm out of earshot, talk about how I must not make them eat at home, they think my kids are those naughty kids who only eat junk food snacks, but ya'll- I SWEAR, that's not how it us! They eat their meals! They clean their plates for breakfast, every day! And STILL, they just keep eating! I can't even go to play dates at the park because it's too much work to pack enough snacks!!! THIS HAS TO STOP!!!

And today, it wasn't even enough that they were naughty for me- they actually were so naughty in their lesson that the teacher made them get out and sit on the side of the pool. HOW EMBARRASSING!!! I wanted to just melt into the floor.

And then, there's tons of other moms around. And I, seriously, even though it makes me physically ill, have made a sincere effort to talk to them, to be super friendly, just hoping for someone to be my friend. I mean, how did I get sucked back to the first grade: Wanna be my best friend? But that's what it's come to. And I got zilch. AAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!! It's these kids! No one wants to run the risk of my kids infecting theirs with Naughtiness!

But alas, when they're not being naughty (and we get at least ten minutes a day, sometimes even twelve) they're pretty stinkin cute. Here's the good stuff :)

This is my son, who is constantly losing his pacifier. So, he's decided to take things into his own hands- he'll just share with a doll. No biggie.

And here he is, trying to ride the trike. So sweet. First, he has to survey the scene, do a little operational risk assessment.

He then packs his goods (in this case, a handful of crackers that he got from God knows where) in the trunk...

After deciding that the benefits of this particular mission far outweigh the risks, he begins to climb on board...but something just doesn't seem right...

Ahh, there we go. This is better!

Perhaps the risks WERE too great! While his mother sits idly by, snapping photos, he takes a tumble...

Not to be deterred...he gets back up...

Heads right back into the line of fire...

And successfully completes his mission! What a guy.

Although, once at this point, he can do nothing but sit still, as his feet are nowhere near the pedals. And you know his mama ain't getting out of the chair to push him.

Now check this out. Ava has just been punished (which, besides a few seconds of tears, has no lasting effects) and Warren raced over to give her a hug! HOW FRICKIN SWEET IS THAT!!!???

And lastly, here is the first real lizard I've seen in the house. Shudder. He's crawling along above my kitchen cabinets. Notice the wall is still a horrid shade of yellow.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I don't feel like going to the grocery store this week. I was going to come up with some sort of elaborate story about how busy and important I am, but the truth is...I just don't feel like going. I sent Nick yesterday to get some bread and our standard nineteen gallons of milk, but other than that, we'll be eating out of the pantry and the freezer. My poor kids.

Sunday: some steak sandwiches from my beloved PW. And probably Nick will fry some potatoes to go with it.

Monday: simple, perfect chili Now, ya'll know how much I love my chili from Paula Dean. BUT, I set a goal- I gotta cook every single recipe in this book. So, I gotta try the chili, I guess. We'll see.

Tuesday: pepperoni pizza puffs (using leftover ham steak, bc I don't have pepperoni and I'm NOT going to the commissary this week) Have I shared this recipe with you? Here's the link. It's so easy and good, and fun. The kids loved it last time. There's just something about eating teeny tiny muffins, I guess... just goes along with my theory that kids are dumb.

Wednesday: mexican casserole. I haven't made this in ages. I got the recipe a few holiday seasons ago at my sister's house, and I used to make it at least twice a month.

Thursday: leftovers/freezer food. You guessed it: Nick has duty.

Friday: black bean soup in the crockpot. (but truthfully, we'll probably grill out, or get something to bring home)

Saturday: grill out. I'm thinking grilled chicken tacos. We'll see.

So that's my anti-commissary plan for the week. What's on your menu? If you need a little inspiration, head on over here for some fresh idears.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

School Pictures

Have you ever seen cuter kids on school picture day? Well, except for back here?
Apparently my scanner face is a little dusty. The real copies look better. Grandmas...yours are in the mail. Either this week or next week. Definitely by the end of the month. And if not by then, without a doubt by the end of the summer. Promise.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Awkward Family Photos

Have you ever been to Sort of funny. I remember going there a while back and thinking it was a lot funnier. Maybe I just can't get to the right link or something. But anyway, slow news day here at Casa de Engelbrecht, so this is what I'm spending my time doing. Thought you might like a peek.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Still on the fence, teetering between loving my tropical paradise, and hating my remote deserted island. I'd like to say it's a day to day thing, as in: some days I love it, some days I hate it. But it's more like an hour to hour thing. Or even minute to minute. Let's take today.

I love the weather. I mean, LOVE it. It never gets cold! BUT, I hate that even though I slather sunscreen all over my kids every day, their noses keep getting burned, and their little arms and legs are a dark shade of brown. Definitely gonna get skin cancer. And, not to sound selfish, but I laid out the other day in my work out shorts and a sports bra and now my belly is LOBSTER RED and super sore. Good idea there Jenn.

I love my big huge house with a playroom bigger than some people's entire homes, but I sure do hate having to clean it all by myself. Nick has always had plenty of downtime to take a serious chunk of that housework off my hands.

Which brings me to how much I hate (really, loathe would be a better word. I love drama) Nick's new job. The job, the boat, the whole shebang. I'd rather he was actually out to sea than leaving for work before six and getting home after seven. I mean, that's just stupid. They're IN PORT. What is so frigging important that they need to stay there that long? Is the boat about to sink? No? Nuclear meltdown? Nope. SO GO HOME! BUT, I love the other boat wives I've met so far.

Love my huge, totally shaded backyard. Seriously, have I mentioned that the sun is different here? Because it is. So, it's SUPER hot when you're in the sun. But in the shade, it's all breezes and glasses of lemonade. Perfecto. So, I love my huge, shaded backyard, but I HATE HATE HATE the mango problem. Look at all these dang mangoes! And that's just since last weekend. Ugh.

Hate being woken up (at two and three in the morning, and then ALL DAY LONG) by these roosters, but c'mon, of course I love watching mama chickens and their little babies run across the streets. Who wouldn't love these little guys?

And there's no hate for this, just love. You know. Your everyday, average......concrete igloo. On the rooftop. What, your neighbors aren't doing this?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What Was I Talking About?

Got my very first care package from my mama today! That's ten tubes of my favorite type of chapstick. You know me, I can't just be a normal gal and use blixtex. Gotta have the good stuff, which I can't find out here. So Grandma Terri came through and apparently cleaned out the Biloxi Target for me. Thanks mom!

Today was our first day of swim lessons. Pretty typical. We got there early to play, and stayed for about an hour after, and while I was sitting there with kids climbing all over me, occasionally going underwater for a second or two while waiting for me to rescue them, I got to thinking about how I would have handled this four years ago. Not well.

When Ava was born...ahh. It was rough. I remember getting calls from Walgreens because I'd order pictures online, then never make it to the store to pick them up. The task of packing a bag, putting Ava in the car, driving the point four miles to get there, parking, unbuckling Ava, lugging the carrier and my bag and my purse and my emergency bag and my back up emergency bag into the store, paying for the pictures, getting everything back to the car, buckling in again, driving home, and lugging it all inside...too daunting. So I didn't go anywhere. Ever. It was just TOO HARD.

Flash forward. I never in a million years would have believed that I'd load three kids aged four and under into a car, all dressed in swimsuits and covered with sunscreen that I'd had to slather all over them while they cried in protest, each with a bag for a towel and a change of clothes and toys and (since they're Engelbrechts) multiple snacks, take them to a swim lesson, and then play in the pool. But I did it, and you know what? It wasn't even that bad. And yeah, it took me twenty minutes to get everyone in the van, but it takes me that long to get in the van for ANYTHING these days, even going to a movie by myself.

Isn't that weird, how you just adapt? I feel like I'm just not explaining it right. I guess you just had to know me, know how difficult I felt it was to do ANYTHING with Ava. I didn't understand how other mothers managed to take their babies to Target or the grocery store or even to the park, when it was so hard for me. Impossible, actually. And now, even when I get lucky and end up only having to take two kids somewhere, it's such a breeze! It truly feels like an in-and-out job.

All right, enough rambling. Suffice it to say (is that how that expression goes? or is it just 'suffice to say'?) I really felt like a real mom today. A lot of times I just feel like a twelve year old babysitter, playing house, but on days like today, I feel like I'm not faking it. Feels pretty good.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Poem About Mothers

We went to church yesterday, and the preacher read this little poem. Thought it was pretty cute.

Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said, "I'm tired, and it's getting late. I think I'll go to bed."

She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day's lunches, rinsed out the popcorn bowls, took meat out of the freezer for supper the following evening, checked the cereal box levels,filled the sugar container, put spoons and bowls on the table and started the coffee pot for brewing the next morning.

She then put some wet clothes in the dryer, put a load of clothes into the wash, ironed a shirt and secured a loose button. She picked up the game pieces left on the table and put the telephone book back into the drawer. She watered the plants, emptied a wastebasket and hung up a towel to dry.

She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom. She stopped by the desk and wrote a note to the teacher counted out some cash for the field trip and pulled a textbook out from hiding under the chair. She signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed and stamped the envelope and wrote a quick note for the grocery store. She put both near her purse.

Mom then creamed her face, put on moisturizer, brushed and flossed her teeth and trimmed her nails.

Dad called out, "I thought you were going to bed."
"I'm on my way," she said. She put some water into the dog's dish and put the cat outside, then made sure the doors were locked. Then looked in on each of the kids and turned out a bedside lamp, hung up a shirt, threw some dirty socks in the hamper and had a brief onversation with the one, up still doing homework.

In her own room, she set the alarm, laid out clothing for the next day, straightened up the shoe rack. She added 3 things to her list of things to do for tomorrow.

About that time, Dad turned off the TV and announced to no one in particular, "I'm going to bed."

And he did.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Other Day at the Pool

I know, I know- this blog is getting ridiculous with all the pics. But hey, what can I say. I take a thousand pictures a week. Literally. And while I do print (and now, pay to ship) a lot of them out and put them in an album, it's just not practical to put a thousand pictures a week in an album. So I put them on my blog.

By the way- just got back from Iron Man. Obviously, it was awesome. Did you think it wouldn't be? I just love Gwyneth Paltrow. I really really do. AND, as an added bonus, I got to see a preview for the A-Team. Which looks almost as awesome as Iron Man.

Anyway. Here's the pics.

Next to the baby pool, they've got these foam mats, with a sprinkler set up through them, so water shoots (softly) out at you. Pretty neat.

My kids were (obviously) fascinated by this smallest pleasure.

And for anyone who still thinks that kids are not retarded...

That would be my kids, putting an orange traffic cone (where did they get THAT?) over one of the shoots of water, and then looking into it. As in, putting their open eyes over shooting-straight-up water. Oy vey.

Here's Ava, drowning in approximately eleven inches of water. It's like that kid has NO survival instincts whatsoever.

My handsome guy. I don't know if it's because he's my favorite (just kidding!) or what, but he's so photogenic!

And then look at this little fella and try not to smile, I dare ya.This is after the big kids moved on to some other (equally stupid) game. He got ahold of that cone and tried to recreate the excitement he saw them express. He didn't quite get it, but I think he got the gist.

And then, of course, he laid down. Because that's just what he does. That kid lays down anywhere and everywhere. Very strange.