Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Message From Rob

Happy Greetings to all! May you be enjoying the season with Halloween, All Saint's Day, Election Day, and first frosts/snows (OK, maybe all except the last 2!) all at hand. It will surely be a busy week...

For you as well as me. As of right now, I do not expect to be stateside for any of those events. This is very likely my last note from Fort Bragg.

But, *boy* what a couple of weeks it has been. I had an absolutely wonderful time at home with Julie and the kids for one whole week. Got to feed Gideon his first solid foods, celebrated Zion's 2nd birthday a little early, joined Gabe for his first kids sports class at the Y... got to spend one whole evening with Julie (and the kids in the care of a babysitter), with family and friends for the birthday party, and with our church for the first Sunday at home in over 10 weeks! Ate at almost all of our favorite restaurants, fully enjoyed the fall colors of Western WA, and got most of the summer outside toys put away. It was a great week.

We returned to Fort Bragg less than a week ago. Within 24 hours I had my Dad and Joyce coming in from MI and Mom with her sister Jerri coming in from Atlanta, GA. They all arrived safely Friday night. Saturday morning the189th (our training brigade) hosted a nice deployment ceremony for us and all of our guests. On short notice, my good friend Joel, from MTU (now teaching in South Carolina) also drove up to join the clan.

We spent most of the day together Saturday and really had a wonderful time. By midday, Joel was on his way, by the evening I said goodbye to Mom and Jerri to spend the night with Dad and Joyce at their hotel, and by Sunday morning they were all on their way home. It was a short visit, but it was great to see everyone together in one spot.

Our CO was able to extend liberty to us for the rest of the weekend - the group of folks here that are my closest friends came and kidnapped me from the hotel to take me "south of the border". Mexico you ask? No, but this incredibly silly place that is a local tourist trip - just south of the North Carolina border into South Carolina on I-95 (only about 45 minutes from Fayetteville). Pedro reigns there and has carnival rides, free mini-golf, restaurants, and gift shops all under the "Golf of Mexico" (a large golf ball sign). This time of year the place is pretty quiet, but we did enjoy the mini golf!

As with all liberty, it had to come to an end, but having said that our work this week has been to be ready to go at any time. And on any day that we weren't scheduled to fly, we've had to catch up on personal stuff. It's worked pretty well for us to get a couple more days of light duty to finish up any last shopping or tasks on post before flying out. Tuesday was a particularly interesting day - one of our presidential candidates came through Fayetteville (I'll let you guess which one) offering free tickets to his rally. Having never attended one before, I was pretty excited to go -and managed to pull a good sized team of us to the local civic center. The place was packed, 10,000 or more by my guess. Regardless of any one's opinion of the candidate, it was truly a worthwhile experience to just be a part of the American political process. And last night I came back and finished up my absentee ballot and dropped it in the mail today.

All I ask is that you would do the same - *please vote* -either in the polls or by mail by next Tuesday. I've been told that you will have a clock time change this weekend - please take that into consideration for your trip to the polls on Tuesday! The race is close enough and this is too busy of a time in our country to just let Election Day pass us by. Thanks!

And with that, I guess the last thing I have for you is my new address. As always, please pass this to anyone who's interested - I won't be able to hit all of you by E-mail on the first shot.

(This is Julie, I've edited Rob's address out. If you know us and would like to write to him just ask via comment on the blog or e-mail and I'll get it to you. Thanks!)

It will take a week or so for stuff to reach me from the states. It will likely take a little longer for me to mail back to you. As always, please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers. Julie continues to maintain her blog as well of all the fun stuff going on around home.

It has been awesome to have all of you for support and friendship. My best wishes to all of us in these next several months. Godspeed and take good care.



Tuesday, October 28, 2008


OK, how cute is this? So cute and you know it! He is the poster child for "bald is beautiful". He is doing so great! Getting so much better at sitting by himself. He even tries to sit straight up from a laying down position. He is going to have some rock hard abs by the time he figures out how to do it. Of course he still doesn't roll over much. I think he's going to be the kind of baby who does things out of order, walks before he crawls sort of kid.

He did see the doc recently for a wicked bad rash (probably eczema as it turns out) so I just happen to know that (as of a week ago anyway) he weighs 16lb 11oz. The rash is all better now, too.

He is typically a happy boy and loves to play games like peek-a-boo, pat-a-cake and Itsy Bitsy Spider. He also has two teeth. All the better to chew on you with. He will put anything and everything in his mouth from junk mail to fingers - yours or his. And, if it doesn't sound too much like bragging, he is on the cusp of being able to say "mama". I know he is, I'm not the only one to notice either. He makes a very distinct "mm mm mm" noise, especially when he sees me and even more when he sees me when he's hungry. Comparatively it's not too far off from Gabe's first word and Zion was only a little after him. Both of their first words were "kitty".

Birthday Girl

My little girl is two. One, two. According to my little one, two-year old what comes next goes a little like "fork, funkin, sick". She was counting on her fingers in the bath tub tonight. So darn cute. Her birthday was Monday but we celebrated last Sunday when Rob was still home. We had a few folks over (cause I don't much like big parties) Nora and family and Jamie and family. A few people who we had invited had to stay away because Zion came down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease just a few days prior. Thanks so much to y'all who braved the germs and came anyway!

We got Zion a play kitchen and I've been slaving away making her play food out of felt. I'm loving this craft! I'll post pictures and more about it when I am done. For now, here's the slide show of her birthday party.

And of course, like I like to do, I've changed the first song on my blog in her honor. I think "Real Wild Child" suits her nicely.

Bringing You Up To Date

I'm really behind in posting. I'm sorry. We had such a great time while Rob was here on leave. He is back in NC currently waiting on the transportation details to work out for heading over there. Since he left we've been busy again. Gabe and Zion started new classes at the Y. Gabe is doing a sports class that introduces a new game each class and Zion is back in swimming. She loves the water so much.

We spent the weekend at my sister's. I had a friend's wedding on Saturday (it was so beautiful and so much fun to see old friends) and Jamie watched the kids for me. Sunday we went to a local nursery where Jamie and family had their pictures done my Kerri. They are GORGEOUS! Of course they are - check them out here. My kids were less than cooperative when I tried to get some shots while we waited. Zion was afraid of the water wheel for some reason and wouldn't let me put her down and Gideon decided it was scream time in the stroller. Stinkers. But it was such a beautiful day and the Fall colors were breathtaking.

Later that day was Jamie's annual Pumpkin Carving Party. Sadly, we "got" to revisit what seems to be Zion's two favorite letters - "E" and "R". Yep, that's right. We ended up back in the Emergency Room. *sigh* Jamie has a window seat in her family room and on the seat is a big black trunk full of toys. Gabe and Zion were sitting on the trunk and Zion scooted forward to get off but ended up falling off instead and landing flat on her face. At first I thought she'd just had a fright but even after she stopped crying she wouldn't go play, wouldn't use her right hand and didn't acknowledge when their best pal Abby showed up. So off we went to rule out a break. She started using her hand in the waiting room so they let us go without x-rays with a warning that if she still guards it after a day or two to take her in again. She is seeing her regular doctor for her two-year check on Thursday so he can make sure it's OK then. She seems to be mostly fine except one or two times that she says "ouchie".

Bob and the girls were nice enough to carve a pumpkin for us and even take pictures with my camera. I guess they even got Gabe to help clean out the pumpkin. If they hadn't taken a picture I may not have believed he actually stuck his hand in there.

The whole weekend was such a blur that I didn't even get to participate in Straight Out Of the Camera Saturday. I even know what I was going to post. So it's too late to jump in officially but here's the picture I chose had I found the time.

It's Jessa playing the drums for Rock Band. Yes, that's a spatula in her right hand. Apparently Zion someone lost one of the drum sticks. Oops. It seems that spatulas work just as well though so keep this in mind if you ever lose one of your own drumsticks.

Here would have been another SOOC option.

This is the nursery where Jamie and gang had their pictures done. Pretty isn't it. There were other areas of the nursery that had gorgeous trees with every perfect Fall color imaginable and a little creek with a working water wheel.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

First Food

Gideon has been waiting for this for a long time. Poor little guy has practically been begging for some nosh and I kept putting him off the main reason being that I wanted Rob to be around. Rob is going to miss just about every first in Gideon first year and a half and there's nothing I can do about it except for one first. I could control when he got his first food. So wait we did until his Daddy came home on leave last week. Rob flew in late Wednesday and Thursday Gideon ate real food for the first time (if you can call rice cereal "real food"). If I could read his mind I think he was saying "why was I so excited about this?" but a few days later when he got banana it was a whole different story. Since then he's also had sweet potato. We're three for three on sweet potato being a favorite food for our kids. He definitely loves to eat.

I wanna do it.

Here, let me help you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm Pathetic

I was tagged almost a week ago and forgot to check out my friend's blog to read what I'm supposed to do. I'm so sorry Tiff. Granted I was trying to ready the house for Rob coming home on leave (yep, you read that right, he's home right NOW!) and for Z's birthday party but still, no excuse. Well, here it is without further delay - 7 things you never knew about me and I'll be tagging 5 people.

1) I ran around on my hands and knees like a horse for most of my first dozen years (at least). Much to my mother's chagrin since I was always putting holes in the knees of my pants.

2) I don't like chunks in fruit mixes. Fruit pies, jellies, jams, yogurt. I only like 'em smooth. Chunks make me want to gag.

3) I can't stand having water in my face. That means I don't like splashing in the water at the pool or beach, I never learned to swim properly and I face "out" when I take a shower.

4) My vision is so bad that when I'm not wearing my contacts or glasses I can't see past my nose. Seriously. Everything past that is just vague blobs of color.

5) The old back injury that I have was originally caused by a goat when I was in elementary school (then later exacerbated by another incident with my Husky dog and finally my horse who fell on me). Honest. Cross my heart hope to die.

6) I can't stand checking voice mail. It's such a pain, call your own number, hit buttons, wait while it asks you if you want to hear your messages (well duh, why would I be calling my voice mail then?!) blah blah blah. Therefore, I will never let the phone go to voice mail or the machine if I can avoid it.

7) I was out of high school before I ever owned my own camera. I kept asking for one and my mom kept getting new cameras for other members of my family and then giving me their junk cameras but as far as cameras that actually work, not until after high school.

Well, there you go. Now I'm tagging:

1) Emily because she has nothing better to do being pregnant and having two already.

2) Emily because she just moved to WA and needs to make friends.

3) Marfa to celebrate her new header.

4) Beth because I know she'll post things that will crack us up.

5) Julie to initiate her new blog.

OK ladies, post 7 things we don't know about you and tag five people, it's so easy. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Straight Out Of the Camera (SOOC)

OK, so I really did miss Saturday today. I thought yesterday was Saturday for most of the day. Or it felt like it was anyway. Today I have been so busy getting the house and things ready for Zion's birthday party tomorrow today that I didn't even realize what day it was. Oh well. Here is my submission for SOOC Saturday. I really love this meme since ALL of my pictures are always straight out of my camera. Unless I crop one they are untouched and even cropping is rare for me. Not because I think I'm so good (so not) but because I'm just too busy.
Today's pic is of Zion and her first sight of a real honest to goodness elephant. Some of you may recall my daughter's fondness for elephants (BTW, I did finally find her elephant the other day - whew!) but I don't think she expected them to be so big. And not only is this picture straight out of the camera I took it without looking. I was holding Zion on my hip at the time which is too close for my camera to focus so I held it cockeyed and off to the side and just clicked blind.

I wish I'd managed to get the elephant in the first one but at least I got one in the second.

Go check out Slurping Life and the other submissions there. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just Thought You Outta Know

The capacity of Zion's right nostril is four kernels of corn.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shhh. These Lips Are Not For Singing.

All my kids have had their trick when it came to soothing. Gabe liked to be held and rocked and liked his paci. Zion loved to be sung to, so much in fact that I would sing as I placed her in her crib and sing as I ever so quietly backed out the door (and prayed that it would work). Gideon is a bounce and pat kind of kid for others and for me he likes to nurse but the funny thing is what he doesn't like. He HATES to be sung to. If a single note departs from my lips he screams with anger. Really, I'm not that bad. I don't know why he hates it so much. It offends him some how. Every once in a while I'll try it again just to see. I tried it tonight as I checked his diaper before his 10PM feeding. I thought hey, I'll just sing to him so he doesn't fuss while I peek so I started out "If all the raindrops..." and didn't even get to "the" when the infuriated howl burst from his mouth. OK. I get the hint. No singing. Not even a note.




The elephant!

It was not to be found at bedtime tonight. Zion reluctantly accepted a stuffed cow instead but you could see by the look on her face that this is a temporary and unacceptable solution. I've scoured and searched the house since then and cannot find that darn elephant. I hope that she'll run across it in the morning. Lord help us if we don't find it soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fun On The Farm

Literally. We were actually at a place called "The Farm". And we had fun. This was an event sponsored by The ARC where my sister works. This was their Fall Festival and I absolutely cannot resist a Fall festival of any kind. Once again there isn't much to say that the pictures fail to communicate so here's my slide show (my new addiction so that I don't have to bog you down with a hundred pics in one post). I've added my favorite at the end of the post. I can't believe our luck that we got this shot.

Aren't Gideon's rosy cheeks just the bomb! Oh yeah, everyone else is looking pretty good too!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Straight Out Of the Camera (SOOC)

Is it Saturday? I nearly missed it. Been busy as a bee working on some things that I cannot reveal just yet. But at least I can participate in SOOC.

Today's offering comes courtesy of the pumpkin farm that we went to last Sunday. They had a lovely old truck and some beautiful new flowers.

I've yet to have time to post about the fun time we had their but I'll get around to it. Perhaps next.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Flashback Friday

I don't have a picture to go with this one, just words. Two little girls ride imaginary horses up and down a gravel country lane lined with tall trees and salmon berry bushes. At the end is a farm with a white farm house and pastures that back in the day held cows and chickens. Back then their Grandpa would regale the younger girl with stories of horses and sing You Are My Sunshine to her over and over. Nothing much surrounded that farm, an old feed store and lots of lots of woods. Down the nearest paved road stood the chapel where the old man's daughter married the young girls father.

I was at that farm decades ago and I drove by it again today. I wish I could say that it hasn't changed since I raced make believe horses down that drive. Today nothing is the same. The drive is barricaded by the city, who knows what is at the end. The seemingly endless forest is paved providing a ginormous hardware store with parking for their customer. The feed store is long gone making way for an AM/PM of all things (a different kind of feed store I guess) and the chapel now houses a near mega-church by a different name. Sad. I'm glad that I changed but I wish the old farm didn't. I know change is inevitable but seriously, a hardware store and an AM/PM? Bummer.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Showering Bethany

I was pleased to attend my friend Bethany's honeymoon shower on Saturday. A picture says a thousand words:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Gabeism of the Day

This one is good enough for a few days really. He's been giving me some good ones lately. Some I remember and some I don't but I repeated this one in my head over and over so that I could remember it until I could write it down or post it.

So yesterday we were driving to my sister's and went under a huge overpass. Gabe says to me "Mama, every time we pass this bridge it makes me think of girls." (You can probably imagine the look of surprise on my face - thinking of girls already - ahhhhhhh!) So I say "How come?" and he says in his dreamiest voice "Because it's so beautiful." Altogether now - awwwwww.

Still, what is he doing thinking about girls so soon? And, as my sister pointed out, what kind of girl is he going to be able to get if he uses lines like "Baby, you're like the most beautiful bridge I've ever seen." Then again, he kind of reminds me of his father. Hmmm.

Straight Out Of the Camera (SOOC)

Slurping Life Click on the button to participate in SOOC Saturday. The original poster asks that you simply comment on the photos that you visit when you participate. Here's my first offering to SOOC:

I call it "No, No, No, I Don't Wanna, No, No!"

Friday, October 3, 2008

Yet Another Time Waster

As if I needed another one. I didn't think I'd get sucked in. At first I thought I'll just play as a guest. I did that twice, maybe three times, before I realized that I wanted my own username. You'll probably feel the same. It's Typeracer. You can practice, race your friends or race random people. I think they need a setting for racing while nursing and typing one-handed. Maybe I'll e-mail them and suggest it. Holding a squirming baby my wpm averages the high 50's/low 60's. I came back after putting Gideon to bed and gave it one more shot with an empty lap and hit 74wpm. Not too bad I guess until you click on the "fastest typists" button and see that some loser with no life guy named Kyle has the record with 196.6 wpm. I think I'll challenge Kyle to a duel! A one-handed typing while nursing duel. I may just have a chance then.

Oh yeah, and gee thanks Beth for making me to visit your blog and then forcing me over to Typeracer. You should be ashamed!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Miracle Has Happened

Honestly, I never thought I would live to see the day that Zion started out in a white shirt and kept it clean all day. I know what you're thinking, you want proof. Well, this is the best that I can do. It was taken after lunch but I assure you that it looked just as good after dinner and even after she colored before bed.

Her typical pose - once I get her to stop moving faster than my shutter can click.

And of course it lasts only a split second.

Then she decides to make a run for it and hide in the tent/house/school/haunted house/whatever the kids call it today when they take all my pillows and turn the corner between the couches into a play space.

And low and behold, I forgot, today the area is a store. Silly me. And one thing this little girl loves is a good shopping trip.

See her satisfied smile. She must have some hit a pretty good sale in there and she can't wait to get those things home and in the closet where she can tell her significant other "Oh those old things, I've had them forever."

Someone else was looking mighty fine today.

He got to try the Jumperoo for the first time today and seemed to like it a lot. We are three for three with using it for our kiddos. I really hope that he is the jumping maniac that I sense that he is. There's just something about a baby going crazy in a jumper that makes me smile.

Awww, sleeping baby. Can you think of anything sweeter? I can't. Especially him. My doesn't-appear-to-need-naps baby. Also, my kiddos have always been such light sleepers that I'm never able to get sleeping shots. Luckily today I needed him to wake up 'cause he was sleeping too late anyway so I got brave and clicked away.

Gabe woke up with the major sniffles today complete with that totally adorable stuffed up nose voice (am I the only one that secretly loves that voice?). So I had him stay with me at my Bible study instead of going to the nursery where he would get all the toys germy even if other kids didn't show up today. He played quietly on his DS until he saw the colored pencils. My budding artist then took a spot in the chair next to me and began to color an extra copy of a map of the territories of the twelve tribes of Israel. And bent over his map he stayed the entire meeting. At one point I felt a little bad as we discussed Rahab's occupation and wondered whether or not that was suitable for his little ears (occupation in name only, not details of course). Naturally he won't know what it is but that alone may lead him to ask questions. At that point I never came to a conclusion as to whether or not he should be there. At the end of our time we closed in prayer as always. One by one we took our turn until the final "amen" was spoken and we lifted our heads. At that point Gabe piped up and said he wanted to pray too. Smiles, heads lowered and hands folded again and his small voice starting "Heavenly Father..." and what he said doesn't really matter. The rest of his prayers I fought tears of joy and overwhelming love for this little guy so willing to bear his heart to one and all and who understands at such an early age that he can bring anything before his Father. It was then that I realized having him there to witness our discussion and prayers was a good thing and that separating the ages too much is detrimental to our children. One of the best ways for children to become the adults we want them to become is to have them around and observing the kind of adults that we want them to become.

Cool Contest

I love a giveaway (even though I have yet to win one) and have stumbled upon a pretty neat one today. Go here to check it out. Now if I do happen to win this one I'll have to figure out which kid (or me) gets it. I have been wanting to make one for Gabe for a while now and want to make one for me too. I stole Gabe's art gallery space to make our big one-year-count-down-till-Daddy-comes-home calendar and promised him a new space and have yet to deliver. The one that I want needs to fit in a pretty specifically sized space since I'm turning one of my shelving units that has a drop down door into a secretary for me. I have been planning on lining the inner walls of the space (currently housing my nice dishes and wine glasses) with cork board but first I wanted to find a pretty fabric to go over the cork board. Anyway, I digress. Go check out the contest. :)

Vote For Kerri!

I just got word today that my friend Kerri of Acclaimed Photography has been nominated in the category of Best Photographer in the King 5's annual "Best of Western Washington" contest - wow! Way to go, Kerri! I wish you would take a moment to go here - to check out her pictures and it would be even more awesome if you would vote for her!

I got so excited a moment ago when looking at her pictures because my niece is the beautiful ballerina and the picture captioned "Seated Woman" is my sister. How cool! I know that Kerri has captured at least one award with that picture and I'm so proud it's of my sister. Then as the pictures kept scrolling by my breath caught - it was ME! Oh my and how neat all at once. A little while back Gideon and I played model for Kerri and this was one of the ones that she took. My only regret is that it was before I got my hair cut and lost weight. Oh well, it's still a fabulous picture. Maybe we can play model again someday.

p.s. I noticed that some of the pictures in Kerri's collection don't have the best resolution, but I've seen them in other settings and they're perfect so I place blame on whoever is building/maintaining the King 5 website.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Call Him Chomper

Not really. Not yet anyway. Gideon has his first tooth! We think he's been working on it for a while now. That means all three of my kiddos got their first tooth at 5 months old. I think it's the only thing that all three of them will ever share in common (besides their parentage). He did seem to sleep better last night. Well, he was still waking often but he was willing to eat and go back to sleep as opposed to staying up fussy and fidgety in his bed. Whew, finally that mean, nasty, sharp tooth is through and he can have some relief. Until the next one that is. And the one after that, and the one after that... ugh, I have to stop thinking about that now.

Totally Gabe

Yesterday Gabe's curiosity took him to a whole new place:

"Mama, if a bee climbed in my nose would he think my snot was honey?"