April 5, 2012

the unknown is scary

We've been house hunting the last few days here at Camp Lejeune, our future home in about 6 weeks. It's been a struggle to find a decent rental without paying out the nose or having to deal with horrible base traffic. I was so looking forward to not having to deal with traffic anymore!

Our favorite house was snatched out from under us just hours after viewing it, but we didn't learn about it til the next morning. I started to panic. I'd love base housing but there's now a 6-8 month wait for the 4 bedroom, which we desperately need.  Most 4 bedroom rentals are up in Jacksonville, but Ryan would have to deal with horrible traffic to and from work. The commute from the southern part of the area would be fantastic for Ryan but there are only a handful of rentals, and one less now that our favorite house is off the market. My brain hurts just recalling all the options we have. Do we wait til he checks in to find out the base housing situation and risk not getting a good rental in town, or do we secure housing now and get on the inactive housing list.  Choices, choices, and more choices.

The best thing about this trip is seeing the excitement in the kids faces as we reached the top of the sand dune and they saw the ocean for the first time. Olivia loves the water, Justin loves the sand and Liam just loves to be with me on the beach.  Can't wait to come back to the beach for a full day of sand, sun and relaxation!

Pictures are loading wayyy to slow and the beach rental must be cleaned before we leave. Will post more pictures about the beach from home!

March 16, 2012

no more ice cream

There's a wonderful place, well...it used to be wonderful. There's a place about 3 miles from the house that serves soft-serve ice cream called JoJo's. Is it just called soft-serve or can we add the ice cream description? Mmm, not sure. Anyway. The weather has been fantastic so we ventured out to JoJo's for soft-serve.
 You can see Ryan behind the little girls head who's looking at the camera, waiting to order our yummy dessert.
 Last time we went Liam wasn't born yet, so it was super fun to take the whole family to JoJo's.
 Because of the warm weather, there were lots of people so it took a while for us to get our order.
 I have no idea what kind of face she's making but this is what I got when I said "Smile."
 As Ryan put it, in concern for keeping Justin's teeth healthy, he gave him all the banana's he wanted and bit the bullet by eating all the ice cream! That man can make a simple banana split into a funny HAHA.
 There's even a place out back for the kids to play while for their yummy dessert.
 Olivia got her standard chocolate cone, Ryan got the banana split and shared with Justin. I took a chance and got the Strawberry Shortcake Shake. Oh. My. Goodness!! It was heaven. Just the right amount of shortcake combined with the cream smoothness that comes with cream, cream and oh, more cream. I don't even want to know the amount of calories I consumed that night but it was soooo good.
Apparently, we need to teach J-Man how to hold the bat.

I mentioned in the beginning that JoJo's WAS a wonderful place to go on a warm spring night for soft serve. Because, it came out in a news report the owner of JoJo's was arrested on child molestation charges stemming from an investigation that started back in August 2010. He's charged with 23 counts of various acts that are far to many to mention. It's really sad to think about such a wonderful local family attraction has someone so vial operating the business. JoJo's contributed a lot to the community, which is wonderful, but doesn't make up for what this horrible man did to a young 13 year old boy.

We will be making the 7 mile trek south to the franchise Maggie Moo's if we want ice cream from now on. Or maybe, we'll just get our own ice maker and create our own ice cream. Maybe we'll even spring for the electric version, although I do have fond memories of turning that crank because if we didn't help, we didn't get ice cream!

March 5, 2012

mind jar

Single parenting is hard! Single parenting with 3 toddlers is very hard! Single parenting 3 toddlers, when 1 of the 3 is nursed exclusively is extremely hard! So, to cope I have made a Mind Jar. Thank you Pinterest. Drinking is not an option right now, darn it.

Start with an empty mason jar. Only had jamming jars available to me so I went with it.

Add water.

Add food coloring of your choice. I matched my coloring to my glitter.

Depending on the size of your jar, add at least half a bottle of clear tacky glue to help suspend the glitter in the water. You can also use glitter glue but that makes the project a bit more expensive, and well...I'm cheap when I want to be. The smaller the glitter particles, the less glue you'll need. Play around with the ratio of water, glue and glitter til you find the perfect suspension.

Mix well.
 Watch the swirling, beautiful glitter. Breathe in deeply and slowly. Relax.
 Clear your mind. Slow your breathing. Relax.
Hopfully, my mind is clearer and I am more clam. When things start feeling like they're spiraling out of control, I must sit down, swirl my Mind Jar...and relax. Let's see if this thing will do the trick!


March 2, 2012

time flies

Liam's 4 month check up was today and he's a whopping 13 Ibs 1 oz and 24 inches long.  Only in the 19th percentile.  I guess he's just small, like the doctor's thought before he was born. 

 This time has just flown by and there's nothing I can do to slow it down. He's giggling everyday and smiles so big his face just lights up a room.  Teething is a big part of his days, and when he's not biting my shoulder, he's got his fists shoved into his mouth.

Tummy time is still a challenge, but when his older brother and sister play with him, he loves tummy time.
I really do miss my sleep at night but love holding him after he passes out when he's done nursing. He's not much of a snuggler anymore, but when he is full and settles into my shoulder and breaths deeply, my heart melts. I hold him as long as I can before I feel myself falling asleep and put him back in his crib.

just a newborn
I cannot wait to see his little personality come out and how he's different than his siblings. Each child is unique, but I see a lot of their dad and me in them as well.  I love my family. I miss itty bitty babies but know that they must grow up. It just happens way too fast!

March 1, 2012

no jackets for us

Woke up after a rainy night to beautiful weather.  Warm enough we didn't need coats or jackets at the bus stop this morning. However, the nice weather is here for a few days until it disappears again. Oh, well.  Must live it up while we can.

happy birthday, dr. seuss

Olivia has been learning about rhyming at school and needed to read 5 Dr. Seuss books for homework this week.  Thanks to the wonderful world of Pinterest, we celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday early yesterday by crafting.

 She absolutely enjoyed getting her hands painted. One picture went to school with her today for her wonderful teacher, Mrs. Smith. Then she wanted to paint her feet.
It tickled.  A. Lot.

February 26, 2012

single parenting

Daddy is away on a cross country field trip for school.  So, I'll be single parenting 3 muchkins for a while.  Today hasn't been bad but it hasn't been all that great either. Let hope my hair doesn't completely fall out by the end of this.  On the up side, it will give me a glimpse into what deployments will be like with three kids insert sarcasm here.

Thank goodness for Daddy Dolls! He came to the commissary with us this morning.
Note: This picture was taken when the kids first got their Daddy Dolls, back in April 2010.

Oh, and Sweet Pea decided to randomly ask how babies come out of mommy...lucky for you dad, you were done! I told her it was like magic. She's satisfied with that answer for now.

February 13, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

A week or so ago, Olivia went out with Daddy (Justin went too) to pick out my birthday gifts. That night at dinner, I asked her how the trip went.  Before I could finish my sentence with, "and don't tell me what you got me because its a secret," she blurts out, "we got you a robe, Mommy!"

Ryan and I could only look at each other and laugh.  How could we get mad at such an innocent and excited little girl? Not more then 10 minutes later I mention, "at least I can still be surprised since I don't know what color it is." Spoke too soon again, "it's purple, Mommy!" Says Olivia.

We do love her so much!
Thank you for my wonderful "surprise" birthday gift.

Colorful World

After finding the cutest idea for homemade Valentine's Day card on the small little website called Pinterest (wink wink), I couldn't wait to try it out for Olivia's class.

Collect discarded, broken, old crayons from around the house (or new crayons for more vibrant colors) and take off the wrappers. It helps to use a knife to make a slit down the crayons to easily peel the wrapper off.

Cut crayons into small sections 

Place crayons into silicone mini cupcake mold.  
I suppose you could use a metal pan but silicone is much easier to clean up.

Place in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until melted, checking regularly.

Remove from oven and let the mold cool completely. 
Then pop out the new crayons.

Have your resident artist decorate the Valentine's Cards.

Attach crayon in a creative way to decorated card.
Then write a cute quote to finish off the most adorable homemade Valentine's Day Cards. Ever.

We made 24 heart shaped crayons (the number in the mold) and I am so proud on how they turned out. Not as pretty as the original Pinterest picture but they are made with lots of tender loving care.  I think I'm more excited to give these away than Olivia (I get to help with her class party tomorrow, yipee).  Did not want to give candy away, knowing she'd be getting quite a bit back herself, this was the perfect alternative.

Happy Valentine's Day!

January 19, 2012


Ever since Olivia was born, people have said she's a spitin' image of Ryan.  I agreed when she was a baby but people are still saying it, and its something I can't see anymore.

Now that Liam is getting bigger, I think he's a good blend of both Ryan and myself, but people are again saying he looks just like Justin.  So I decided to do some investigating back into our collection of pictures.  Turns out everyone is right!

Holy Crap! They are like twins!!  Both photos were taken when the boys were two months old.  Can you guess who is who? Justin is on the left and Liam is on the right.

The more I look at them, the more differences I see, but at first glance, I thought I needed glasses.  They are definitely brothers.  Makes me excited to see what Liam will look like as he grows up. We also think Liam will have curly hair since he has the same hairline as Olivia, while Justin has a different hair line.  Hopefully we won't have to wait til Liam is a year old since Olivia couldn't grow hair til after she turned 1!

Here's a picture of Olivia and Justin at the same age in our Oklahoma kitchen.  Just goes to show how much faster my boys grow than my girl.

Justin at 13 months on the left and Olivia on the right. J-man is certainly taller than the second drawers and Olivia is not!

January 10, 2012

snow bunny

We had our first real snow here in northern Virginia yesterday.  I knew it was going to rain but instead it snowed.  Olivia and Justin were super excited to see the snowflakes fall to the ground.  Actually, I don't recall Olivia ever actually seeing it snow.  Nothing stuck to the ground at first but then the flakes got bigger and fatter and wetter.  Perfect snowman making material.
 Liam was outside for just a little bit for his first snowfall. Once that cold snowflake hit his warm cute face, he wanted to go back inside.  I don't blame him at all.

 After dinner Olivia headed outside to play.  Why no pictures of Justin? He preferred to stay inside where it was toasty warm.  I dragged all three kids out to go to the commissary after nap time and I think he got his fair share of the snow.  It was coming down pretty hard.

Olivia woke up this morning talking about making her snowman.  It was super fun to play in the snow with her.  She would have stayed outside longer if I let her but her tiny hands were getting too red!

January 5, 2012

gas is grand

One thing I hated about moving to our first duty station was the gas stove.  I only knew how to cook on electric, but since that first move, I've fallen madly in love with gas stoves.  Currently, I have a gas stove.  It's fantastic when the power goes out due to an east coast hurricane.  Food can still be prepared (although we just went out for lunch up the road that particular day).

Another great feature, and probably the best feature, of a gas stove is the option of making yummy smores with the kiddos INDOORS.
super excited to make her own smore

she was very careful

yummy bliss
 Not knowing how many people wanted smores at our New Year's Eve Firepit gathering, I over bought.  However, that wasn't a bad thing in this family.  It all just. has. to. be. eaten! But the chocolate in the house combined with my lack of will power, my intended progress on losing this baby weight is hurtin' !
J-Man's turn

just a pose for the picture.  mommy did most his work

enjoyed mouthing the marshmallow, but not a true fan