Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weight Check Wednesday

Gained a pound. No big surprise there.  Nick came home last Thursday, so I haven't worked out or eaten a single fruit or vegetable since.  When he's here, I just want to hang out with him, and when he's at work, I want to hurry up and do everything that you do when you're running a household with four children five and under so that when he gets home, I can hang out with him some more.  Maybe this is why some women don't want their husbands to be their best friends? That way they have more time? I don't know.  Nick IS my best friend though, so I want to lounge around laughing and watching old snl reruns and eating frosties (frostys?).  We actually didn't DO those things, but you get my meaning.

Anyway.  So not only did I gain, but I feel like crap.  I don't know about other people, but there's just something about working out.  And what I do barely qualifies as WORKING OUT, so I can't imagine how awesome I would feel if I was doing it for real, but when I 'work out' consistently, I start to crave that giddy, high, endorphin rush that you get.  And then after not getting it for a few days, I get all crabby and grouchy and mean.  And then when you add in the sugar and fat and grease doing a number on my digestive system and my hormones, wowzers.  I'm a little surprised Nick still even wants to BE my best friend after that!

But he's leaving again soon (sad sad sad face) and this starts the main one, so I'm getting back on track.  And when he gets back, it will be for a while (fingers crossed) so I won't be able to justify taking a 'little break' from being healthy, so I should be able to stay on track.  Should be.  And don't forget my ultimate little goal of fifteen pounds before the boat pulls in.  We've got eleven more pounds to go, which seems impossible considering the rate I'm going at, but I still think I can do it.  It's still just a little over a pound a week.  So come on! We can do this!

Ava's Graduation

Well Ava graduated from the Greatest Preschool Known To Mankind on Saturday.  It was everything you'd think of if you imagined a tear filled cliche with dozens of teeny kiddos running around in teeny caps and gowns.  In other words MAGNIFICENT.

I made it through the introduction.  They tried to get us started up during the slideshow presentation, but Holly had already warned me that they'd play the Green Day graduation song (my class song, isn't that weird?) and the Toy Story song, so I was already prepped and ready for that bullet.  Dodged it like a champ.  Then I tuned out the introduction because he read some sort of poem, and I KNEW that that would get me, so I just didn't listen.  Then the kids started walking in.

And they played that damned Pomp and Circumstance.

Who the hell can stand a chance against Pomp and Circumstance? NO ONE!!! If anyone tells you she can, she's a LIAR!

Best part? Ava doesn't have to suffer the disgrace of being absolutely LAST in any sort of formal, alphabetical setting.  That was the WORST part of being a Zandee!  She was the third to start down and I was a goner before she even got started.

I pulled it together during the Pledge and while they sang a few songs...

And Ava quickly lost interest.  And her cap.

Scott didn't think it was very thrilling either. 
What? I thought it'd seem less creepy if I smiled...

When she got her diploma and I was STILL dry eyed (mostly) I decided to announce myself the victor.  Mama one, graduation ceremony zero!

BUT...just when the last kid got his diploma, they all stood up.  And someone cued that dang old Vitamin C song, Graduation (Friends Forever.) You know the one I'm talking about.  So I IMMEDIATELY get choked up, and then?!?! THEN?!?!? The kids all start hugging each other as they walk out together!!!

For crying out LOUD people!!

After that, I just gave up.  Poor Ava got upset because she thought I was upset, but I guess Nick took care of her, I have no idea.  I was too busy trying to stop thinking about her driving, going to prom, and getting married.

This is our BELOVED Ms. Judy, her  teacher.

And her beloved daddy, who pulled in for a quick visit, just in the nick of time...

And I can't really say anything else because I'm crying again.  Except sorry that the pictures suck, I had the wrong lens and by the time I realized it, it was too late to go back.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Weight Check Wednesday

Down point five.  Not that exciting, but at least I didn't gain.  And other than the tube of cookie dough, I ate really well this week and I feel AMAZING.  So even though I always used to roll my eyes at the meetings when girls would talk about their "non scale victories" I guess I'll have to admit that that's what I'm celebrating this week.  Wanna hear something gross? So, I drink these smoothies.  I buy the atkins low carb ones because they're the least amount of points while still giving you as much calcium and more protein than a glass of milk, and they taste like chalk. So I make them with frozen strawberries.  And now, drumroll please...frozen spinach!

Did you throw up a little in your mouth? It's really not that bad, you can't even taste it! Maybe I'm using too many strawberries or something, because SERIOUSLY, the only difference is that it makes the smoothie green instead of pink.  How cool is that?

Anyway.  Weight loss isn't taking up too much space on my mind nowadays because this is what I've woken up to the past few days.

Now THAT is gross! What is wrong with him?!?!?! Either his allergies are irritating his nose until it bleeds, he has low platelets from as-yet-undiagnosed leukemia, he picks it too much, or Scott hits him in the face every morning right before they open their door.

Seems like a lot of blood for picking.  And he doesn't cry, he's not upset about it, so I'm not very hopeful that it's from trauma.  So...can allergies really cause this much blood? He doesn't have an unusual amount of bruising, and it's not like he bleeds and bleeds and bleeds...I guess if it happens anymore, I'll try to take him in.  I don't know.  Meryl, if you're out there, what do you think? I feel like being a nurse makes me always jump to the worst conclusion (and of course, I just HAD to be an oncology nurse!) so I can't imagine what it must be like for you and Rob!

Anyway. That's my story for the day. Engelbrecht out.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Black Hole that is Pinterest

Have ya'll got onto this pinterest thingie yet? Let me just start by saying that I firmly believe that there is someone, somewhere (probably a girl I laughed at too much in high school) who is trying to destroy my life.  She's trying to think up new and inventive ways to make my children hate me, my husband divorce me for a thinner, more productive girl with longer hair and bluer eyes, she's trying to make me fat and depressed from lack of human interaction, with a backache right between my shoulder blades from hunching over the computer.  She's probably some sort of terrorist.

Well, she has truly outdone herself this time.  I discovered pinterest at five thirty on Sunday morning, after being rudely awakened by my hungry children (in hindsight, this terrorist is probably also responsible for all their misbehavior as well!) and throwing some fruit loops their way (I refuse to spell it FROOT LOOPS).  I'd heard about it, so I checked it out.  And I sat here until after eight.

It's addicting, to say the least.  The very very least.

So pinterest led me here where I whipped out my credit card to order these nifty little chore charts.  They're SUPER cute, and only five bucks! For a shopping addict, that is a TOTAL steal! But alas, the more I looked at them, the less excited I became.  It appears they're a jpg, or at best a png.  Which, even though I know NOTHING about computers, I do know that that means it's not a psd file.  So you can't add stuff, swap out backgrounds or embellishments or ANYTHING fun like that.  So then I was bummed and was about to start spending a few hours scouring the internet for a psd version of a chore chart.

Um, hello, McFly! It's an eight by ten with a background and a grid.  It's not even worth a measly five dollars, let alone HOURS searching for it on the internet!

So, I made my own!!!

Instead of DOING any chores, or even teaching my kids to do some chores for themselves, I sat around and created these.

Which, let's be honest, was WAY more fun than doing chores.

So now I've got these fantastic grids and Ava found some stickers for the boxes and...we can't think of any chores to fill them in.  Clothes in the hamper and dishes in the sink, that's all I came up with.  Pick up toys sounds good, but they can't handle that.  Rather, I can't handle the screaming match that comes with that.  They can't reach the counters, so they can't unload dishes.  Or take out the trash, although Scott does bring the big can up on Thursdays.

Any suggestions? And I need suggestions for rewards.  Alls (yes, alls) I got for that is ten stickers gets you a soda.  Which is a stupid reward because they get soda all the time (diet, I'm one of those moms, don't tell my Aunt Lynn! But I'm not going to buy regular soda for them, that's dumb) but that's what Ava really wanted.

So, chores and rewards.  Hit me, I'm ready.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Brothers and Sisters

 Well I think it's no secret that I wanted four girls.  Four blonde girls with slightly curled hair and either deep blue or hazel eyes.  When I got knocked up with Ava, I knew she was a girl.  I don't care what anyone says, I really did know.  And she was PERFECT, and she still is.  And then when I got pregnant so soon with Scott...it just never dawned on me that it wouldn't be a girl.  I mean, not at all.  The thought of having a boy truly never even entered my mind.

When the tech said "It's a boy!" I literally burst into tears.  Nick was so excited, and I was nothing short of devastated.  Completely devastated.  Even after I delivered that chunky little bundle of rolls and smiles, I still held out hope that it was a mistake, someone would laugh and call out "Oops! It's a girl!"  But they never did, and of course I fell in love with that guy and I can't imagine life without him.

Then I got pregnant with Warren.  And I KNEW it was a boy.  I just knew.  And when the tech said it, I still cried, but it wasn't as devastating because I knew that I COULD learn to love a boy.  If it happened before, it could happen again.

And it did.  And now I've got two boys who make my life so much more fun! So much messier, and stinkier.  I hear "Hey mama, I just farted!" at least ten times a day.  Every day.  I get shot by lego guns, and get my head sawed off with a piece of construction paper folded to (not really) resemble a saw.  I deal with hands in pants and diapers, and dirt, and mud, and obsessions with power tools.  And I get to take pictures of my sons (my SONS, hey Past Jenn, did you ever DREAM you'd say MY SONS?) playing their little video game thingies, one of them dressed like a normal guy and one of them wearing a Dora Princess dress up shirt.  You know, variety IS the spice of life.

HOWEVER, as much as I grew to love those little boys...if that ultrasound tech had said "It's a boy!" with Daisy June, I probably would have lost it.  Honestly.  I don't know if other women don't feel this way, or they do and they don't admit it, but I WANTED a girl.  I didn't say 'oh, I don't care, as long as it's healthy and happy." I did care.  I wanted a girl.  I NEEDED a girl.  Ava needed a sister.  I can say with ninety five percent certainty that if they'd said it's a boy, or even in the OR they'd said "Ooops, we were wrong, it's another boy!" I wouldn't have ended my having-babies years.  I would have tried again, and probably again and again, for a girl.  I wanted a girl!!

But I think God must have known that four is enough for Team Engelbrecht, and it really is the perfect size for our family.  And this...I finally get this.  Sisters.  Further apart than I wanted, and that scares me SO much, but alas, there's nothing I can do about it.  I have a set of sisters, and I could NOT be more content.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weight Check Wednesday

Sup suckers over there on the one eighties side of the street? That's right, I'm over here in the ONE SEVENTIES!!! HOORAY!  Down one point five for a grand total of one hundred seventy eight and one half pounds.

Hey, Past Jenn, sitting there in high school eating another snicker's bar and crying because you weigh one twenty.  Ever think you'd be celebrating the fact that you weigh as much as your husband?  Life is about to drastically change for you, Past Jenn.  Brace yourself.

HOWEVER, even though one seventy eight point five is so gross and so fat and SO MUCH MORE than I  want to weigh, it's a lot less than one eighty nine, which is where I started this time, so WHATEVER!!! hey, it's ten pounds!  If I weren't stuck on this horrible island and got to go to weight watchers meetings like a civilized person, they'd be all throwing me a party and giving me stickers for my books.  Weight watchers meetings are the BEST.

What's that line in Meet the Fockers, where Jack Burns is saying how pathetic it is that they celebrate mediocre accomplishments? Like Greg's fifth place trophies? Well, Jack Burns is WRONG.  I'm so excited to be in the one seventies that I literally cannot stop smiling.

My goal was to only be in the one seventies till mid to late June, then I'd be crossing over to the one sixties.  And seriously, the one sixties is so close to my goal that I'll be able to taste it.

I say "was" because for some reason (lack of willpower) I got home from drop off this morning and since I was hungry and didn't feel like making a smoothie or eating an apple or even grabbing a granola bar...I cut the end off a tube of chocolate chip cookie dough and ate that instead.  Nineteen of my twenty nine points, gone, just like that.

What an idiot.

But man, it was SO GOOD.

Let's get on a funner (more fun?) topic: my adorable chunky smiley baby.  She smiles all the time now, but I haven't really been taking any pictures.  So the other day, she's all smiley and cooing and adorable, so I get the camera out.

And this is what I get.

She's practicing Scott's honed 'I'm going to be a serial killer' stare.

Daisy June.  You KNOW this isn't the look I'm going for!

So I had to like hold the camera back over my shoulder so I could look at her and make faces and baby talk.  I got a TON of smiles...but in most of them, all that showed up in the pics was her forehead or an ear.  Seriously?

I know it looks like she trying to start crying, but she's not.  Honest.

So, crappy shots, but you get the gist of the story.  My littlest little is truly a happy baby.  Thank God.  I thank Him every single day that Daisy is so so easy going and good natured.  Oh, do I ever.  I wouldn't be surviving over here if she wasn't, I really wouldn't.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Evening

So I was sitting outside after church while the kids played on the little playground thingie there, and the preacher's sweet wife came over to ask how I was doing.  Because I know her, and I know she genuinely is concerned and cares and wants to know, and because it's been a month since the boat left, minus those silly three days they were home to work on something or other, and we're looking at another three months ish, minus a few days here and there for more work, I told her the truth.  I'm surviving.  I'm still alive, and so are my babies. We're treading water.  We've all still got our heads above the water, but we're certainly not making any forward motion.  At all.

And you know what? Robin's right.  I don't need to be making any forward motion right now.  Treading water is enough.  Surviving is enough.  And truthfully, even though I myself am barely holding out, the kids seem to be doing a little better.  They, at least, seem to be making the tiniest forward motion.  They're happy and content and pleased with their lives.  They don't know that Guam sucks, that life's not fair, that their Daddy has the crapiest job imaginable and that their mama is a sorry excuse for one.  They think I hung the moon even though I smell like Daisy-vom and instead of actually unloading the dishwasher, we just keep reusing those dishes all day.  They're clean, and they're the EXACT number that we need because that's what we used YESTERDAY, so what's the big deal on that one? They don't care that we're about to eat breakfast for dinner (again) or that for school tomorrow they're going to be eating peanut butter and peanut butter because someone forgot to add jelly to the list.  They don't even seem to remember that I blew a gasket this morning because I couldn't find Warren's left shoe (again) and yelled at them that if they kept acting like a bunch of wild animals we were never ever going to ever go anywhere ever again for the rest of their lives (again.) They don't even seem to mind that Sunday is Change the Sheets day and instead of Changing the Sheets, I laid on the couch and watched the Prom episode of Buffy during naps instead.  That cover of Wild Horses by the Sunday while Buffs and Angel slow dance their lives away? Nothing says 1999 like that scene.

They DO seem to mind that I forgot to empty the roomba before I let it go as we were leaving for church and so instead of sweeping up all the cereal and crumbs and whatnot while we were gone, it just sort of pushed everything around and now the little pieces of food are sticking to their little bare feet.  So I told them to put some shoes on and now they're fine.

It's going to be a good week.  I can feel it.  Twenty six days till my mama is here.  Groceries and a menu that Ava helped write and the comfort of knowing that, compared to some people in this world, I have unlimited resources with which to feed my family, and clothe them, and wash their sticky, syrupy hair with running water, and stop their itchy throats and noses and eyes with medicine readily available. Water fun day at school for the bigs.  Coffee (read: diet coke) and Bridesmaids with the awesomest (yes, awesomest is a word- check it) lady on the boat, who is abandoning us in mere days, assuming I can find a sitter for the littles.

Thursday morning.  I'm taking any and all applications.  Just leave a comment and a winner will be randomly selected and presented with these sweet sticky lovebugs.
All the horror stories I've told about this guy are lies.  He's perfect.  He never makes a mess or poops in his diapers.  Please babysit him for me.

This one doesn't even need words.  Who wouldn't want to watch HER?

And I can pay.  I can pay very well, I just can't think of anyone to ask since school's not out yet.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Well, I think we all remember how pissed I was the last time we had the kids' pictures done.  So this time, I was a little apprehensive and I didn't really even WANT to do it again, but it had to be done.  Daisy is turning into a giant, and I'd like to have a least one professional photograph of her as a newborn.  And even the big kids are all changing so much every day.  I think it's all the vitamin D we get out here, I think that makes you grow like weeds or something.  I made that up.

ANYWAY, a long long time ago, I took a photography class up at Andersen Air Force Base.  The Navy doesn't do fun things like photography classes or craft days or anything for families at all EVER.  So when you want to do the things that you see on Army Wives or read about in Good Housekeeping, you have to find an Air Force Base.  Yes, the Navy pays Nick a lot of money for what he does, but as far as taking care of the ones left behind, the Air Force just can't be beat.  I've known that my entire life, and trust me, I tried to join the Air Force, I really did.  But the way their nursing scholarship worked was you paid for your freshman year up front and if you were still going strong, they picked up the final three.  What?!?! Who out there desperate enough to be taking these scholarships has the money for a year of school? I mean, that's the POINT of the scholarship!!!

So anyway, this class.  The teacher was the amazing Ivy and I knew that she would be the one I needed to get these shots.  So I finally got a hold of her, set it up, tricked Libby into going with me to help with all the kids, and off we went, to Asan Beach Park, where I like to walk.

And ya'll.  She blew me away.  Blew. Me. Away.  Everything I ever imagined or hoped that a photo session could be, she was a thousand times better.  She stayed out there for two hours, patiently coaxing the perfect shots out of my naughty kids.  Even Scott!!!

She gave me 76 pictures.  I tried to not post them all, but it wasn't working.  So I tried to combine as many as I could so that it would be slightly less overwhelming, but it broke my heart to shrink my babies down so small, so that didn't work for every shot.  So take a deep breath and get prepared to be blown away.
Now, I didn't want to be in any of the shots.  I wasn't even wearing lipstick!!! But I made the mistake of coming to check on how things were going instead of just letting her do her thang, and as soon as Scott noticed me, he was done.  So this was the ONLY way to get a shot of all four.  And believe me, she tried EVERYTHING.  Scott just wasn't having it.  That boy is going to be the end of me, I know that without a doubt.

For anyone who gets confused (myself included) Scott is the one in the darker argyle vest, and Warren is the the one in the solid, lighter colored vest.  Just so you know :)


Here's some of the ones I just couldn't bear to shrink into those frames.

A picture of Scott where he doesn't look like a serial killer? Yes please!
No longer a serial killer, but always a muscle man.  ALWAYS.

And now, for the moment we've all been waiting for...
this is the shot I had framed. good choice? and the headband wasn't even mine!!!

Well, it took me a little over five years, but I finally got TWO SISTERS to gaze at.  I just love it.  Seriously, when they told me Scott was a boy, this is what I was grieving for.  I wanted this SO BADLY.

But I guess sisters and brothers can be pretty fun too :)

I don't know how she tricked me into these shots.  Ugh.

Let's start praying for his wife RIGHT NOW please. 


 The end.  On this day, I don't regret having so many kids so close together one teeny tiny little bit.