Sunday, September 30, 2012

Random Pics and Moving Woes Slash Moving Awesomeness

Well, here we go. You're probably sick of hearing about my awesome life and how I'm fixin to move to LONDON ADJACENT BABY!!! in which case, you should probably take me off your list of blogs for a while.  I mean, HELLO!!! I'm fixin to move to LONDON!!! What else would I be talking about?!?!
As soon as the orders came through, Nick emailed them to the dude across the street and he brought them to me THAT EVENING so that I could get started.  I got all the forms we need from medical (ugh) and made an appt with the household goods people to set things up.  Now, obviously, I just did all this less than a year ago, with Nick out to sea then too, so I kind of know what I'm doing.  That being said, it's still more than overwhelming.
Ninety three days.  That's how long they quoted for our goods to get from Honolulu to London.  I knew it would take a while, but I was expecting her to say sixty, sixty five.  Not ninety three.  So for my stuff to be waiting for me, which is what I really really wanted (nay, NEEDED) it would have had to leave at the beginning of last week.

So I requested October 10th, 11th, and 12th, which I feel is the soonest I can reasonably get the house ready.  The worst part of military moves (for me and Team Engelbrecht anyway) is the damn unaccompanied baggage business.  They put all your regular stuff in crates and load it on a ship and paddle it to your new home, over the course of ninety three days, give or take.  But to help you out, you get a few hundred pounds of stuff that goes in a plane and gets there a lot (or sometimes just a little) faster.
I'm sure most people find this amazing.  You can hold onto some clothes and pots and pans, sheets and towels and dishes, it's great, right? But I hate it.  First, you have to get it all in one place and tell the movers not to touch it.  Second, you have to decide what you want held.  For us, we do that right before we go, some people do it way far in advance so that that stuff is there when they land.  But I need it more on this side, so I wait.
But that means that whatever I think is so important that I can't live without it here...I have to live without it there.  See what I mean?

It's very confusing.  And stressful, for me.  So after we did it in Guam, I swore I wouldn't do it with the next move.  But there's really no way around it.  So that's my story.

So with ten days to go, we are emptying out the playroom and putting the express shipment in there.  Now, I just have to figure out what to save.
Ugh.  Summer clothes, obviously, because we need to not be naked for the next two months.  Winter clothes, because when we get to the States, it will be cold and we will need to not be naked some more.    We can borrow dishes from Fleet and Family, so we don't technically NEED to keep those, but I just happened to finally find my china pattern (ten years after my wedding) so I've recently bought all new plates, mugs, and a few bowls (it's discontinued, so I'm getting it piece by piece).  So the new dishes will be packed out next next week, I'll keep the old stuff until we leave, and then give it to Goodwill.  If Goodwill wants it.  Easy enough, but I've got to schlep it all upstairs into the Do Not Pack room.
First world problems.  Yes, I know.

Also, Nick is not here, and emailing a submarine twenty thousand leagues under the sea is less than reliable, so I'm going to have to take a wild guess at what he wants me to leave out for him.  So that's fun.
And when I take to Pinterest to solve all my problems in life, all the moving tips are like PACKING tips, know what I mean? Like, the best way to tape a box, pack one room at a time, all that.  When you use professional movers, they tape the boxes, and if there's more than one dude, they're not packing one room at a time.  Every guy usually does one room at the same time.  So Pinterest has failed me, and not for the first time.
Anyway.  That's my latest obsession.  But honestly, I'm so excited about moving to LONDON ADJACENT BABY!!! that even when I'm stressed, my face actually HURTS from smiling so much.  I just cannot think of a way my life could possibly be any more awesome.  Except for maybe if Nick were here to help.  But it's not like he could stay home from work for the packout anyway, so whatevs.

Oh, wanna hear about my other headache? So, my wireless router isn't working.  Yes, the router, no, it's not a problem with the cable company's modem thingie.  So between google and my friend Jen's husband's offhand comment ten months ago about setting up a wireless network via our laptop in our hotel room, I have set up my mac mac as a wireless router.  It is beaming magical rays of goodness (read: Downton Abbey and Criminal Intent) into my Apple TVs so that I can still waste plenty of time. Feels like I sorta dodged a bullet with that one.

However, my living room is full of various cords and wires, which is super fun with four naughty kids.

And it looks pretty tacky too.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sometimes Life Sucks


-After three (really? Only three?!?!) and a half weeks of grueling uncertainty, I woke up to this email today.  Basically it says that the Admiral doesn't want Nick (duh) and that the detailer may (or may not) be releasing our orders for Northwood soon (or later) once he clears up some business with another department head somewhere else in the world getting fired.

The life of a military wife isn't really suited for people who need to plan their entire lives.  You know, LIKE ME.

But I'll take what I can get.  I'm restricting myself to checking bupers only once a day (I already did it for today) and counting on Angela to keep me accountable.  Otherwise I'll check it every (half) hour and stress about the fact that the orders aren't coming through.  I may or not be getting a phone call within the next month so we can hash this out face to face (because for a submariner, a phone call is face to face) but for now, I'm going to say God is Good!! We're moving to London sometime in the future!!! I said I wasn't going to buy any winter clothes, but that lasted about seven minutes and then I placed a huge order at Carters.  Because duh, I had a coupon AND a gift card from returning a bathing suit over the summer that didn't fit my newly-tall almost seven year old.

And they have hassle free returns to the store in case something changes again.

And I sort of told Warren we were going to Old Navy this morning to buy some pants.  Because I have another coupon.  And I'll just leave the tags on, I have ninety days to return.  And I need some yoga PANTS (as opposed to my eleventy billion pairs of yoga CROPS) regardless of whether we go or stay because it gets down to the high sixties here, and that's cold for someone who spent two years in Guam.

So yeah.  I'm pretty stoked.  Once the orders come through, I can set up our packout and medical screenings and break our 'lease' on this house (I have joined the We Hate Forrest City Club, by the way) and find a school in Northwood for the big kids.  I'm already back to looking at rentals, even though I probably should hold off on that.  My heart can't take another break.

But then again, my heart will break if this falls through (again) whether or not I look at rentals, so whatevs.

-Anyway.  I got this email (EEEEKKKK!!!!) after the worst night of my life.  Obviously, I've done this three times before, but each time, I must forget how awful it is.  Daisy June's vampire teeth are all four coming in right now.  They're the LAST teeth for her to get, and damn am I excited.  She's SUCH a good baby.  Except for when she's teething.  Now she's a drooling, crying, clingy, hot mess.  The drool.  OOOOOOHHHHHH the drool.  It's UNREAL.  And the crying.  The nonstop  screaming during waking hours, and the q ninety minute wake up cries ALL. NIGHT. LONG.

See all that drool? It's so gross.

One has broken through.  ONE.  The other three are just swollen red disasters.  It's AWFUL.  I cut a wisdom tooth my senior year of high school and it was BRUTAL so I really do empathize with her, I know it's painful.  I really do.  But the screaming.  OH THE SCREAMING.

But whatever, by the time we get to LONDON ADJACENT BABY!!! she'll be done.

-Tuesday, the new Killers cd came out!!! And for some reason, every few weeks the Target by the NEX sells itunes giftcards for less than they're worth.  It's very VERY strange, I've never seen anything like it.  And the more you spend, the more you save, so obviously, it just make sense to get a fifty dollar card for FORTY TWO BUCKS.  Nick's lucky there was only one hanging there because I seriously would have bought ten.  I mean, hello!! They don't expire.  We buy all our movies (that we don't steal) on itunes, plus Nick buys books and I buy a LOT of music.  So we spend a decent amount of cashola.  And eight bucks off fifty is like what, ten percent? Fifteen? That's a STEAL!! Maybe I should go to the Ewa target after Old Navy...

Anyway, I wasn't waiting to lose another five pounds for this cd, I preordered it weeks ago.  The Killers might well be my favorite band of all time.  I've only listened to it a few times so far, and it's good, really good, but not quite AS GOOD as Sam's Town.  But Sam's Town holds a special place in my heart, so even if this WAS better, I probably would still like Sam's Town better, you know? Sam's Town got me through my transition to Guam life, single motherhood, and adding a fourth child to the Team.  That's a lot to live up to, even for a band as amazeballs as the Killers.

-Also in music news, the new Mumford&Sons comes out next Tuesday!!! I think.  Yes, I just confirmed and preordered it.  Whoever invented itunes really had people like me in  mind.
Did you guys know that that song they played during the gymnastics commercials at the Olympics that sounded EXACTLY like Mumford&Sons was actually NOT? It was some dude who won American Idol or something.  Which is so lame (except for you Carrie Underwood, I love you!!!) but that song is SO GOOD.  It's called Home by Phillip Phillips and it's really a cute little song, if you're into that folky Mumford&Sons feel.  Which, duh, if you read this blog, I'm sure you are.  Because you're awesome.

Also? What a stupid name, Phillip Phillips. Don't even get me started.

What else...oh!! DUH!!

The sequel to the Best Non Stephen King Book I've Ever Read comes out...Oct 16th? Does that sound right? Yup.  Itunes confirms again.  I didn't preorder, because I still use my trusty Sony eReader for books. I don't like the idea of reading backlit stuff like the iPad.  Also, Nick has the iPad.  Relax, ours is the original, so there's no camera.

If you're interested in reading about the Best Non Stephen King Book I've Ever Read, you can check out my review here.  Please don't be turned off if someone you know knows someone who told someone that this book is about vampires.


Yes, the monsters are creatures that sort of eat your blood, live for a really long time, and don't go out in the sunlight.  But they're NOT vampires in the literature sense of vampires.  They're more like zombies.  And this book isn't about zombies either, it's about the characters- the wonderful, deep, amazingly developed characters- dealing with the aftermath of the virus.


-Also in books? This.

I have no words.  None.  September 27. That is all.

-This is how I started my weekend.

Not bad.  I just love having older kids.  Those people who say "oh, cherish these moments when they're little" are morons.  Big kids are way better.

All my lame friends bailed on me for the Hale Koa, but whatever, I'm moving to London and I'll make new friends!!! "I'll get new friends, and pay for them to have plastic surgery to look like you!!"  There was a monk seal on the beach we went down to scope out, but he was a tiny bit boring.  He rolled over every few minutes, but that was it.  Team Engelbrecht was not impressed, so we went back to the pools.

-I had my first Pumpkin Spice latte!!!

Very nice.  I'm a fan, but it was expensive and lots of points, and you know I'm a stickler for my plain old coffee with sugar free creamer and truvia, so it probably won't be a regular occurance.  Although it was uber nice to have a COLD drink instead of hot.

-And my weekend ended with this.

 We FINALLY got back into swim lessons with Meg (my kids basically want to leave me and be Meg's kids, but whatever) and afterwards they all fell asleep and I sat still for forty five minutes and watched Property Brothers.  Did ya'll know they're identical twins? I never did.

So yeah.  Life is awesome.  God rules.  Thanks for all your prayers and for listening to me cry off and on for the last three and a half weeks.  I really appreciate it.  Now I've got to go buy some winter clothes!!! And leave the tags on.  Seriously.  Because after gloating about how awesome life is for this entire post, something bad is bound to happen.

Engelbrecht out!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The End of the Challenge and Pics of The Sweetest Baby Alive

So I'm exhausted.  This underway isn't really different than any other, but for some reason I'm just pooped this time around!! The kids are actually being really good (knock on wood) and I haven't had any serious discipline issues yet, but just keeping them alive and dressed is wearing me down!!

I'm DETERMINED to get back to 'working out' tomorrow.  Maybe that will help with the exhaustion.  I sorta feel like the best thing that might help with the exhaustion wold be not having four kids age six and under, but it's a little late for that.
By the way, this post is going to be filled with pictures that I took of my sweet baby Anastasia and played around with last weekend, trying to get used to the new actions.  I have since found my FAVORITE edit, but as I am collapsed on the couch in a puddle of hair and warm diet coke and I don't have PSE loaded on the laptop, I can't go back and re-edit any of these.
So we're done with the Angela and Jennifer Tackle PW Challenge.  We did everything we wanted to do, and then we were going to do the gross stuff to, just so we could do the entire book like we said we would, but then we finally got the balls to admit that that was stupid and neither one of us WANTED to cook gross stuff, we just each didn't want to be the one to bail.
In the breakfast section, we never did the pancakes or the doughnuts.  I never did the piecrust, but for some reason I think Angela did.  We did the muffin melts right before we quit, and I LOVED them and licked my plate, but don't feel like posting the recipe.  I'm just in that sort of mood today.
My favorite recipe from the breakfast section would have to be the cowboy quiche, with the breakfast bread pudding in a close second.

From the lunch, we skipped the home made croutons (dumb! you can buy croutons for like eighty cents!!), the grilled vegetable panini (gross!), the chicken apricot panini (apricots weird me out), and I skipped the spinach salad because spinach is also gross.

My favorite recipe from that section is basic chicken salad.  TO DIE FOR.  And I'm sure you remember how I felt about the curried version.
Let's pause and say it, all together: SHE'S GORGEOUS!!!
We skipped a lot from the soups.  The gazpacho, italian meatball soup (I actually want to try this later), french onion, and cauliflower.  It's hard to eat soup on a tropical island.  Of the three we did, I wouldn't even bother picking a favorite.

In starters and party foods, we skipped guacamole, stuffed mushrooms, fried mozzarella, the bloody mary, and the watermelon granita.  My favorite? Don't be stupid, it's the asian hot wings.  That's my favorite recipe from the entire book.

In pasta and pizza, we skipped fig prosciutto pizza, carnitas pizza, and I skipped the dough, but I am almost positive Angela did it. I would have to pick the rigatoni and meatballs as my fave, but I know Nick really like the peanut butter pizza.  I mean the thai chicken pizza.

I did the fancy mac and cheese last week too, and didn't care for it.  I'm sort of a mac and cheese snob.  In that I only like kraft mac and cheese in the blue box.  I don't like baked, I don't like when they put breadcrumbs on it, and I guess I don't like real cheese.  I mean, I like to EAT real cheese, but apparently I don't want to melt it into noodles.

In the supper section, we skipped over the osso buco.  Wow!! That's it!! Wow.  I skipped the shepherd's pie, but I thought it was sorta dumb, it's just leftover beef stew and some mashed potatoes.  So I sort of made it.  Halfway.

My favorite from suppers would have to be the ranch style chicken, but without being overly dramatic, the onion blue cheese sauce for the ribeye recipe sort of changed my life.  And I also really liked the peach whiskey chicken, although I learned the hard way that it doesn't convert to the crock pot very well :(

From sides, we skipped twice baked potatoes, panfried kale, and whiskey glazed carrots.  I can't handle cooked carrots, even the smell.  My favorite was actually the rosemary rolls, which wasn't really a recipe so much as unwrapping a pack of rolls and sprinkling some rosemary on top.

I did the green bean casserole last week and Nick almost cried.  Well I guess it must not have been last week if he was here.  He's a green bean casserole FANATIC and he didn't even want me to bother making this one because it's so different that the regular cream of mushroom soup on.  Gross.  But this one was gross too, so what does it matter?

From the desserts, we skipped way too many to even list.  We did four of seventeen.  My favorite of those four was the coffee cream cake.  And now my mouth is watering for it.
I might make a few more of the desserts.  We just didn't want to make them all at once, and we wanted to start our new book soon, instead of making a cake a week for the next four months.  We skipped the canning section entirely because neither one of us are interested in that.

I'm actually quite proud of what we've accomplished!! It was a tiny bit more work than I'd thought it was going to be, and I never really got any feedback, so I'm not even sure that anyone cared about all the recipes I posted, but it was fun, and I'm glad we did it.

Next, we decided to do an Alton Brown book.  He really digs into the nitty gritty science of WHY cooking certain things certain ways works or doesn't work, it's SO neat to read through.  It's something like a hundred and forty recipes, so we're dividing it up by seasons and are going to give ourselves a LOT of time.

The first four recipes we're doing are all very basic and very boring and I'm a tiny bit bummed, but also very much looking forward to a few easy nights.  We're doing steak, potatoes, a whole chicken, rice, and scrambled eggs.  And by
scrambled eggs, I mean scrambled eggs.  Eggs and milk.  That's it.  But his technique is a little different and I'm curious to see how that changes things.

And now, for my second favorite shot from that afternoon.

The only reason it didn't win for favorite shot of the day is sort of weird and awkward to say, but on the off chance that someone might be able to tell me how to fix this, Anastasia's complexion isn't that pale, and I don't know why it came out that way.  It's not the action, even straight out of the camera she was too pale.

So my favorite shot?
I love absolutely every single thing about this picture, except her pants.  I wish I could figure out how to get the bright pink out.  But other than this, this is the picture I'm most proud of in like the history of ever.

And now I officially have baby fever.  Time for another google research project about getting my tubes untied.

Engelbrecht out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekend Update

Well I've survived my first week alone with these wretched children.  We've watch Nanny McPhee seventeen thousand times, so now we say things like wretched a lot.  And bollucks.  Which I don't even think they say in those movies.

The first week is usually the hardest, so I've got high hopes.

The boat wives got together at the beach on Friday night, and I gotta tell ya, I looked forward to it ALL.  FRICKING. WEEK.  It's like what kept me going.  Weekends are rough for me, it's basically sixty hours alone with my four kids and nothing to do.  So having plans helps, and having plans with awesome people double helps.

So, if you are in Hawaii and you are reading this, take note: I am not too proud to beg.  Text me and invite me to do something.  It doesn't have to be cool, I'll do anything.  Just don't call, because you know how hearing the phone ring makes me break out in a cold sweat. (Yes, the zoloft is NOT helping with that, can you believe it?!?! The phone rang on Thursday and I had a mini panic attack, which I haven't had in almost two months.  I thought it was PHK and that Ava or Scott or BOTH had mysteriously died in their respective classrooms.  It was going to be some befuddled administrator on the line, confused and sorry and telling me to come get the bodies. It was Lowes, telling me the grill Nick bought was here.  Phew.  Close one.)

Anyway.  The beach at twilight slash dusk is basically my favorite thing in the history of ever, so there you go.  The new florabella actions are my second favorite thing ever, and ignoring my kids so I can edit each and every picture I have ever taken no matter what is my third favorite thing, so here you go.

Sorry this blog is basically turning into the all pictures, all the time channel.

Sorry I'm not sorry, that is!!!  Haha.  I'm cracking myself up.
I named all the pics with the actions I ran, in case anyone was interested.  But the names don't show up when you upload, so it was a waste of time :(

This is a friend of mine whom I haven't asked permission to post, but I'm going to.  And I loved this picture too much not to include it.  And she looks great, so I don't think she'll have a problem.

I thought this picture captured Scott perfectly.  He LOVES the beach.  They all do, but he seems to like it just a smidge better.  I think he likes the feeling of being in the water, with no one and nothing touching him.

I can seriously relate.

Yes.  I am addicted to square pics.  And black and whites.

I don't know why, but this picture CRACKS ME UP.  What is he doing? Why does he have three tattoos half applied to his arm? Is he in the water? Is he in a hole? I have no idea because I was too busy talking (to adults!! real grown people!!!) to figure it out.

Believe it or not, Ava WAS there.  Not sure why she isn't in a single picture.

Then Saturday we had some company for coffee and playtime.  This is Ava's best friend Anna.

I'm posting both of these because on one (which one? I have no idea) I saved it specifically for the web (whatever that means) and the other one I just did the usual and I have to publish both to see them for real and see if there's a difference.  And also, I want to make sure you see how gorgeous she is.  Can you believe this creature used to live inside my body? Blows my mind.

 This is another friend that I haven't asked permission to post, but I just love the look on her face. She was a FANTASTIC sport all day, as Warren climbed all over her, Scott talked to her nonstop, Daisy ran around taking her diaper off to impress her, and Ava acted like they were fourteen year old besties and talked her into teaching her to play that game where you draw pics and people have to guess what you're trying to do.

Thanks girl-who's-name-I-won't-say-without-permission, you made my weekend amazeballs.

Now I have to go mop.  And by mop, I mean fill the sink with hot water and pine sol to smell up the house while I watch Criminal Intent.

Engelbrecht out.

PS I don't see a difference between those two Avas.  Does anyone else?