Saturday, December 29, 2012

Three Christmases

Well I don't have much to say because I'm so sick of reading all the blogs I follow about how they spent their Christmases.  I mean, I think we're all pretty reasonably intelligent, we know what happens on Christmas morning.  But I do want to share a few pictures.

We had our first at Grandpa Kenny's, on Christmas morning.  It was fun and exciting and the kids got more presents than they've ever seen in one place before.
And then after we opened presents, we went swimming.  It was just like being on Guam!!

 This was actually the day before, but it was too sweet not to post.  This is Warren, he climbed into Nick's grandmother's lap and promptly fell asleep.

Christmas Number Two was later that afternoon at Grandma Jane's house with the rest of the Engelbrecht family.

Then we hopped a quick flight to Biloxi and had Christmas Number Three on the 26th and 27th with my parents and both my sisters.

And that's all I got.  My children are more spoiled than ever.  We were extremely blessed, and even better, all their gifts were things we needed (as much as you need things like Legos and Bitty Babies, but still) and practical.  My mama got me The Message Bible too!!! So all in all, Christmas 2012 was a win win (win). 

Now Nick has gone back to Hawaii to turnover to the new WEPS for the USS Houston (SUCKER!!!) and say his goodbyes (peace out you cursed hunk of tin) and then he'll be back on Thursday so we can fly out on Friday for the new chapter of our lives!!!  According to my phone, this is how long we have until we touch down at Heathrow.
Then we have to move to a hotel (a huge suite, thank the Lord), buy a car with a steering wheel on the wrong side, find a house to rent, get a British bank account, find a phone that works overseas, get the kids enrolled in school, and then start traveling!!  Piece of cake!!


Friday, December 28, 2012


Yes, I know I skipped Christmas.  I didn't actually skip it, we celebrated it (three times) and I have a few (hundred thousand) pictures to share.  But my parents' internet is super slow and my Baby Mac battery is about to die, so this is what you get for today.

We ran to the beach to try to get a shot of all seven kids.  Good luck.  It was high noon, not a cloud in the sky, so the light was HARSH and Scott was being...Scott. But we had a good time.

Also? In the car, Warren says "I'll just change into my bathing suit when we get there."

They don't understand this whole cold weather business.  At all.  It's like every time they go outside, they're surprised at the nip.  It's pretty comical, but also a little sad.  Three years on a tropical island is a long time for a little kid.

This is Gramma with Six and Seven.  I just met Joshua for the first time, and my sisters and their kiddos just met Daisy June for the first time.  I'm tellin ya, three years is a LONG time for kids!!

Believe it or not, this is the BEST shot with all seven.  Well, maybe I'll check my dad's camera, he might have got lucky.  I wouldn't count on it though.  Scott was not in his element.

If you take him out though, everything was roses!! Poor dude.

 All right, I'm out for now.  Thirteen people in my childhood home is a little more than I thought.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Photo Dump

We are leaving in seven hours.  We will be spending twelve hours in a plane, then staying with the Engelbrechts for a few days in Stuart, and the Zandees for a few days in Biloxi.  Nick is basically dropping me off in the States, then coming back to Hawaii to finish work.  Then he's going to come back, pick us up, and we're going to fly to Heathrow in fourteen days a some change.

That's two weeks people.

We will live on the other side of the globe in TWO WEEKS.

So rather than get ready for the trip, I spent the day rushing through the seven hundred pics I haven't edited in the last three weeks to get them up.  I have this irrational fear that the airport is going to wipe out my camera, laptop, and portable hard drive, but I figure even the Mighty Airport is no match for the Great and Powerful Internet.  So I need to get these pictures out there.

There's no rhyme or reason to any of these.

This is Ava getting her student of the quarter award.  I just want it on the record that Ava went to Pearl Harbor Kai for exactly FOUR quarters, and she won student of the quarter for TWO of them.  That's half!!! I just love that she's a nerd.

This is Warren, photobombing when I was trying to take pictures of my best friend's sweet baby getting her first taste of birthday cake.

What Daisy and Scott were up to when I was taking pics of Ava's Girl Scouts troop at her last meeting...

 These are from the Children's Museum yesterday.  Children's Museums are such an amazing invention, but goodness gracious, why are they so expensive?!?!

Not only is Ava a nerd, check out these little future scientists!!!

His Honor...

Or, more likely, Postman Scott...

And this.  Nothing makes me happier than to see someone who used to live inside of my body doing my favorite thing in the entire world.  If fifty percent of my offspring love reading when they leave my home, I will consider myself a successful parent.

We moved to the Hale Koa after our express packout, and man.  I knew it was so gorgeous here, but it's somehow even MORE breathtaking as a guest, instead of just as a family using the free pool.

And this is gonna make me cry.  Our very last time at the beaches of Oahu.

Then I laid in the sand and took a hundred pictures of Daisy against the bluest sky I've ever seen.  They didn't come out like I'd pictured in my mind, but I sort of like a few.

Yes, I know that my photography is Daisy-heavy.  She's the only one who doesn't scowl as soon as I pull out the camera.

I think these are from the mall the other night when we went to see Santa.  And I lost those pictures already, so you won't get to see it.

And this...this is what I really wanted to get to.  We went on the Honolulu City Lights Trolley Tour the other day (I totally made that name up, I have no idea what it was called) and I had a total BLAST!!! It was so fun.  Good times.

Look at Warren's expression in this next one.  He was SO excited to finally (after three LONG minutes) get to ride this silly helicopter ride.

Then I took them on this tiny little baby carasoul, and even though it was LITERALLY for babies, the girl made me ride with them.  So I was sitting in the center as we were going on, and every rotation we would pass by all these twinkle lights a few yards away and it was PERFECT.  I just wish I knew more about shooting that style so I could have gotten the shots I was seeing in the present.

Huh.  I have no idea why I can't get this any wider.  Very strange, no?

And that's all I've got.  I'm overwhelmed, extremely anxious, more excited than I can figure out how to express, and so grateful.  I mean, come on.  All my wildest dreams are coming true.

If you're wondering if I'm ever going to talk about Newtown, I'm not.  I'm not cold and heartless, but with my anxiety, and the fact that my anxiety manifests itself as an UNDENIABLE KNOWLEDGE THAT MY CHILDREN ARE DEAD IF THEY ARE NOT IN MY SIGHT, I just can't handle it.  At all.  I grieve for the families (ALL the families, including his) and I'm as horrified as anyone, I just can't risk spiraling into a void of depression and anxiety right now.

Also, on a lighter note, we had our family photos done last week and she came over today to show me and WOW.  Holy fuck.  Watch out world.  You've been warned.

Engelbrecht out.  Next time I see you, I'll be back in the States (well, the mainland, since technically Hawaii is a state...) for the first time in three years!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Year in Review

Since I'll be a little busy at the end of the year (WHADDUP LONDON ADJACENT BABY!!!) and I'm bored and looking for ways to not tackle my to-do lists, I've decided to go ahead and recap the year for you.

You're welcome.

Basically, it was pretty boring.  Moved to Hawaii, hung out on the beach, went to a few luaus with visiting family, packed out, moved to London.

God we're badasses.

So instead of recapping the year like you probably thought I would, instead I'm going to tell you all the awesome things I discovered (and rediscovered) this year.

Again, you're welcome.

Since I love the agony, the pure, exquisite agony of forcing myself to chose favorites (why?!?! why do I do that?!?!) I will be picking my favorites from a bunch of random categories that I made up for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  And since it's me, I probably won't be able to actually chose any favorites, so this will end up being a total waste of time.

~Favorite Book That I Read This Year~  

Ugh.  Why did I start with the hardest one?!?! If I do the whole Phoebe helping Joey decide whether to drive the northern or southern route to Vegas with Chandler and shout the first thing that comes to mind, I pick Divergent, by Veronica Roth.
I can't put my finger on what exactly I loved about this book.  I just LOVED it.  I became obsessed- OBSESSED with all caps- with this book.  It's not an original story, it's not any sort of magically well written's just...there was just something about it.  Tris and Four, they just really resonated with me.  No idea why.  I wanted to be her, and I wanted to shag him in the simulation.  See what I did there? I'm gonna be so British.  I wanted to meet them, to have coffee with them (as if either of them would ever) I wanted to learn every single thing about both of them, I wanted to join some sort of gang with them and walk the streets together being awesome.

Seriously, it's weird, the obsession with this book.  Very weird. And also, for the first time out loud, I would like to admit that I think Tris could take Katniss.  Don't lynch mob me, hear me out.  Katniss was just sort of thrown into things.  She did was she did to save her family, to save her sister, blah blah blah.  Tris does things because they're the RIGHT things to do.  I mean, I'm not saying that Katniss was being selfish, not at all.  But she wanted to save her sister.  She wanted to feed her family.  Tris just wanted to do the right thing, for everyone.  I dunno.  It's not coming out the way I wanted it to, but there it is.

Anyway, but then if I take a few minutes to put some thought into my answer instead of shouting the first thing that comes to my mind, I pick The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman.
It's historical fiction, which isn't really my cup of tea, and it's about one of the numerous slaughters of Jewish people in ancient times.  I think maybe it's in the first century? She tags it as like 77CE which I don't know what that means.  Oh.  I just googled it, and came across this review, and it's good, so I'll link it and cut and paste his intro.  Please don't tell him, I don't have time for a lawsuit.

"To read The Dovekeepers is like living the poetry of a lost time.  Immaculately researched, vivid, lyrical, and just plain amazing, this novel is almost undescribable in its breadth, scope, and imagination."

And he's right, it's just plain amazing.  Seriously.  But it didn't answer my question about what CE means.  Maybe I'll try again.

Aha!! Wikipedia to the rescue.

The term CE stands for Common Era, it takes the place of AD. The term BCE means Before Common Era and takes the place of BC. A politically correct term as the entire world is not Christian and AD and BC have Christian connotations.

Read this book.  You won't regret it.  And if you do, we probably aren't really made for each other anyway, so I don't care.

Anyway.  Then, if I keep thinking, I have to add this as my favorite book of the year too, because duh. I waited two years for this sucker.

If you've been with me for a while, you'll remember that I thought The Passage was the greatest book ever written by someone other than my beloved, and while I was reading The Twelve, I thought it was BETTER than The Passage.  After I was done, I changed my mind, but it was still REALLY good.

Pure by Julianna Baggot (spelling could be off) was a close contender, but just didn't make the cut against those other two.  I have high hopes for the sequel.  Perks of Being a Wallflower would have made it too, but I wanted to go for the movie instead.  First time ever I've liked a movie as much as (if not a teeny tiny smidge more than) the book.

~Favorite Movie That I Rented This Year~

Easy. Take Shelter.

This might be the best movie I've ever actually seen.  Michael Shannon is a fucking genius.  And Jessica Chastain? Where should I even start? I'll start by naming her Best Actress of 2012.  And 2011, because did you see The Debt or hello, The Help? Miss Celia was my FAVORITE character in the book, and I don't see how anyone else could have played her.  She was BRILLIANT.  Absolutely heartbreaking.  I don't think I fully understood The Debt, but she was really good in that too.  And Lawless? FORGET IT.

I will be there for Zero Dark Thirty on opening night, with bells on.  Jessica Chastain and Coach Taylor? Yes please.  And in the interest of full disclosure, I didn't see Tree of Life because it looked stupid, but I bet she was awesome in that too.

~Favorite Movie That I Saw in the Theater~
That's easy too.  Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Since I just went on and on and ON about that one a few weeks ago, I'll spare you the recap.  It was the most perfectly cast movie I've ever seen.  Do they give Oscars for casting? Because if they do, this will win.  Seriously. Any lamo writers out there who want to write a book and have it turned into a movie, take notes (yes, I'm talking to you, lady who wrote Twilight.) THIS is how you do it.  Don't sell out.  Pay attention.  Have a hand in casting.  Write the screenplay yourself, and hell, go ahead and direct it. Win win. (Win.)

~Favorite Album of the Year~
This was hard, because I wanted to pick Mumford&Sons, but I'm gonna put them as band and besides, as much as I love them and everything they ever do in the history of ever...this was the best album of the year.  Seriously.  Every track is AMAZEBALLS.  Funky, old fashioned, sorta rock-y, sorta pop-y, very unique but at the same time traditional and familiar.  Perfection.  And as a bonus, start a Fun. pandora station.  It's amazing.  You get a ton of Queen, Journey, Air Supply, Fun (obviously) M&S, The Killers, Boston, the's basically the most amazing station ever.  I love Pandora. So let's have another category: Favorite Invention That I Discovered This Year.  And Pandora is the winner.

~Best Band That I Discovered This Year~
Well duh, I just told you. I love everything about them and I've spent hours upon hours gushing about how awesome they are, so I'll just leave you with this.

~Favorite Song I Heard This Year~

This warped into Favorite Songs, because it was too hard.   But first up is what I was going to put as the only one, until I worried that all the other amazing songs' would have their feelings hurt.  Let's Go, by Matt&Kim.  And since I'm old and don't watch MTV or anything, I have no idea if this is actually the video (do they even make videos anymore?) but this video is pretty funny.  Awkward family photos, what's not to love?

Then I wanted to delete that and put up Dustland Fairytale by the Killers.  Not technically at 2012 song, but since I got the album in 2012 (when I was still losing weight, a LONG time ago...) I decided it could still count. I love The Killers.  I know you're so sick of hearing that, but whatevs.  They rock my world.  They knock my socks off.  Just listen to this song.  You have to get a full minute in until they start to sing, and the drums don't even pick up for a while after that, but just be patient.  What else have you got to do? Then when I see you around town mumbling "saw Cinderella in a party dress..." under your breath, we'll have a total bonding moment.  Hermione Granger, I'm talking to you.  Because OBVIOUSLY she reads my blog.  DUH.

Then I was going to lie and say that I first heard Sweet Disposition this year, but that's not true, but I'm including it anyway because this is probably the best song of the last five years.  So here you go.  Or hear you go, get it?

And lastly, Riot Rhythm.  This won't be everyone's cup of tea, but they used it on The Good Wife when she had to meet that creepy Colin dude and I was hooked. The drums, plus whatever weird thing is making that awesome noise? Plus the pounding on the bleachers or whatever it is? Nice.  Wish I knew even a little bit about music.

Shoot, one more.  Radioactive by...uh...Imagine Dragons, I think.  Yes. I've been ashamed to admit this, but I figure no one is reading anymore, so I'll just go ahead and come out with it.  I read and loved The Host.  I hated (HATED) everything that had anything to do with The Twilight Saga, but when I want to hate a book, I always read it first.  Coincidently, that's why I picked up Harry Potter.  I don't think it's fair to say I hate something I've never read, so I read it.  It's pretty simple.  So I read Twilight, and they were awful, and then I read the Host and I loved it.  LOVED.  No, it wasn't the most well written literature out there, and yes, it was preditable (because I read the end first...) but I thought it was very original, and I really liked the characters.  If I hadn't read and hated Twilight, I wouldn't hate Stephanie Meyer very much, because honestly, The Host? It's all right.

All that to say, they made it into a movie, and the trailer looks awesome, and they use this song.  I love that girl from Hanna and I love this song, and I just hope maybe they do all right with this one.

~Best Show I Discovered This Year~
This was another hard one, so I can't chose between these two.

The Killing.  Ohhhhh, The Killing. Yes, the second season was lame, but that last episode was TOTALLY worth it.  I've NEVER been that caught off guard by an answer before in my life.  Lesson learned: don't randomly kill people in the trunks of cars before asking to see them, because you might know them and not actually want them dead.

Also, leave it at one season whenever possible.  I'm going to go on the record and say that the first six episodes of The Killing (not from 2012, but I didn't watch them until 2012, so it counts) are six of the absolute greatest hours ever created for television.  And Lindon and Holder? Two of the greatest characters created for any medium EVER.

Well, Lindon from season one.  They messed up with her in season two.  And Stan? Oh my goodness. Greatest grieving father ever.

And I'm completely sure you can guess what my other fave show was.

Remember how I talking about being unnaturally obsessed with Tris and Four? I am equally as obsessed with Anna and Mr. Bates.  The scene where they're talking about opening a bed a breakfast? I was sobbing.  Because I was late to the party and in real time, he'd already been arrested, so I knew what was coming.  Fucking spoilers.

And I wasn't a huge William fan, but I was a HUGE Daisy fan (I have since started telling people who ask <and a LOT of people actually ask, it's very strange> where I came up with Daisy's name that I got it from Downton...) and the scene where he died? GUT WRENCHING.  That whole episode was brutal.  And then his dad wants her to be his daughter? Get me a fucking box of tissues.

I can't wait for season three.  I'm doing my best to not read spoilers, but who knows how long that will last.  If history is any indication, not long.

Also? A visit to Highclere Castle will be our first day trip when we get to England, tentatively scheduled for Jan 19th assuming house hunting goes well.  Be prepared for lots of pictures.  Also, should I chance to meet Mr. Bates, be prepared to hear about my death from pure shock and delight.

And I'm done.  I'm sick and I can't think of anything else to rave about from 2012.  Maybe I'll think of some more before Dec 31st, but I wouldn't count on it.

I've got a little move to accomplish.