Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Holidays!

We are all doing great.

Our Christmas was nice. The four of us woke up and opened presents by the fire. Lauren had a great time. She passed out the presents and she said everything was from Natalie. We had Christmas dinner at Katrina's house.

We took a trip down to IKEA on Saturday and bought new furniture for the house. We got a bookcase for the office, some storage furniture for Lauren's new playroom, and a new big girl bed and mattress for Lauren. I bought her some really cute new bedding at Target and she is excited about her bed. The playroom turned out nice, too. She sure has a lot of toys! It's packed in there and everything is covered in toys still. Maybe we'll have to go through that room and get things together for Goodwill. Ben and I went through that room and the closet (and I went through some of my closet) and we got rid of quite a bit of stuff. And there's still more. But cleaning things out was good and we definitely have more space now. We lost a guest room, but having a play room was pretty necessary.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So much to tell!

And I will do it soon!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Baby Update

We are here in San Antonio now.  Tomorrow morning at 7 am I am going to the hospital to have an amniocentesis.  If Natalie's lungs are developed enough, we're going to do a c-section tomorrow so we can start treating her.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!

Lauren is feeling better. She still has a cough and it doesn't sound good, but she's back to her normal self otherwise. Today she did a lot of playing and running around.

I made an apple pie today in preparation for tomorrow. We're going to go over to Katrina's house. We're planning the big holiday meal for around 2. Katrina is making the turkey and stuffing, I'm making fresh cranberries, the green bean casserole and the pie. Another friend is bringing the yams and mashed potatoes. I'm really looking forward to all the good food tomorrow. And I'm happy that we're doing it all early so that we can keep nibbling into the evening.

Ben has been keeping himself busy with the cars. He had to go into work this morning and then he spent part of his day running errands. This evening he's been working on his brakes again. Lauren and I went over to Katrina's house for pizza tonight, but we came home early since Lauren was being a bit difficult. But she's eating now and watching cartoons so hopefully the rest of the night will be quiet. I'm just going to sit and read and try to get to bed before it gets too late.

I hope everyone has a yummy Thanksgiving tomorrow. I'll try to get lots of pictures so I have some new ones to post.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lauren is sick.

I noticed on Saturday that she didn't feel great, but after some tylenol and a good long nap, she seemed to be doing pretty well. Yesterday, though, she just looked like she felt miserable and she definitely had a fever. At one point it was 103.1, but we gave her some motrin and stripped her down to her diaper and within a little while it was down to 100.4. She's mostly been sleeping since yesterday afternoon. She's been drinking water, but she started throwing up last night and threw up her medicine this morning. She did eat a waffle a while ago and just asked for a sandwich. I'm hoping she'll hold it down for a while so I can give her some medicine later. She's got a sore throat and a cough to go along with the fever. For now I'm just keeping an eye on her and doing my best to keep her comfortable and I'm letting her sleep as much as I can. If she gets worse I'll call her doctor in the morning to get her in.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Baby Shower, San Antonio

Things have been going well since Ben got home.

We all got our flu shots to prepare for visiting the NICU after Natalie's surgery. Saturday was my baby shower. My friends Katrina and Katherine hosted it for me. Katrina had the most delicious and cute cake made, and my friend Amy made a gorgeous diaper cake that everyone talked about.

Then on Sunday we loaded up our cars and headed down to San Antonio. The drive takes just less than three hours. We got there and had dinner then went to Victor's house where we were staying. Monday morning we went to the hospital for my 11 am appointment. Things haven't changed that dramatically, she's a little bit bigger, the swelling increased a little bit, but nothing is happening too fast and the doctor said I could come home for two more weeks and I didn't have to stay down in San Antonio until then.
My next appointment is on December 2nd, so we'll load up again and head back down on December 1st. Ben worked Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week and he'll have to work this coming week Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Thanksgiving we're going to my friend Katrina's house. We've done Thanksgiving with them the last two years and it's been a good day. The rest of next weekend will be spent getting things here at the house ready for Natalie's return and getting our things together for San Antonio again. We'll be down there for about a month depending on when she decides to make her debut and how long it takes her to recover from the surgery.
I am a little worried about Christmas this year, I feel like there's a good chance we'll kind of miss it all together. I want to keep things as normal as I can for Lauren, but we probably won't be home yet, and I guess anything other than home isn't really normal. She's been doing so great with Ben, though. She just adores him and she's really glad he's home.
Ben has been working on the cars a lot since he's been back, I think he missed the grease and frustration. He's out putting cruise control in his car right now. I read the book "Twilight" this week and today I'm going to go see the movie with my friends Katrina and Mandy. Then I'll have the next three books in the series to read. Hopefully I'll do it a bit slower, though, and that can help pass the time down in San Antonio.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

He's Home!

I picked up Ben today a little after 2 pm. We had to head straight over to the base for my OB appointment. Lauren really had a good chance to play with Daddy and we are back home now.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Quick Update

Today's ultrasound went well. My amniotic fluid levels are back down to a normal number. Her ventricles are measuring about the same as they were last week and she's gained a little bit of weight. I go back next Wednesday for a regular checkup, then I'll get all my care down in San Antonio.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ben's coming home!

I got an email from Ben this afternoon. Looks like he will be home next week. His commander said he could expect to leave next Monday or Tuesday, so that should put him back here sometime Tuesday-Friday depending on the flights and stuff.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

San Antonio and Austin

Last Thursday I picked Lissa up in Austin and we drove to San Antonio. Ben went to high school with Victor, and Victor owns a house in San Antonio that we arranged to stay at. We spent the night on Thursday and bright and early Friday I went to the Air Force hospital down there. My appointment was at 9 am and it would have taken me about 3 hours to get there if I had to drive from my house, but it only takes 20 minutes from his place.

I got there at about 8:30 and found the OB clinic. I had an ultrasound at 9 am. Mostly this was just so they could get the latest pictures of the baby and to see if anything had changed since my last ultrasound. The ultrasound tech did the initial ultrasound, then the Maternal Fetal Physician came in and did the ultrasound, then he brought in the other two Maternal Fetal Physicians and they all went over the images. Then I went down to another building and had my fetal MRI. I've never had an MRI before. It was fine, but laying on my back for that long did make me a little bit woozy. I didn't realize it was going to be so loud, even with earplugs, it was loud. I can see how people could freak out in there. After the MRI, I went back upstairs to meet with the doctor from the OB clinic again and with a doctor from the NICU. But, I got up there right before 12, so everyone was going to lunch. I went ahead and grabbed lunch in the hospital cafeteria and headed back upstairs again. Once I got up there, I met with the doctor from the OB clinic and the NICU, and they let me have Ben call in. We put him on speaker phone and we all talked for about an hour and a half and had most of our questions answered. It was really good that they did that, so far everything that Ben had heard had been through me, and this time it was straight from the doctors. Once we finished there, I went to another floor to speak with the neurosurgeon. That was about half an hour or so. He went over the procedure with me and the risks and possible complications and answered all my questions. By the time I got out of there, it was almost 4. I had been planning on being done by 1 and heading up to Austin. Instead, I spent about 7 1/2 hours at the hospital. Oh well.

So the MRI didn't really tell us anything new. The swelling in her ventricles has increased. There's no genetic reason for it, and as far as they can tell she didn't have a stroke that caused it. It's just one of those random things. When they measured her ventricles, they measured really swollen. I guess anything up to 1.1 is considered mild, 1.1-1.5 is considered moderate, and anything over 1.5 is considered severe. We're measuring at 3.0. So that's really a lot of swelling, but they are able to see cerebral cortex tissue surrounding the ventricles, so that is really good news. That means the brain tissue is there, even if it's being a bit squished right now. The other thing that concerned them was that my amniotic fluid levels are measuring high. That means I'm at risk for preterm labor. I don't think I'm going to go into labor soon. They want me to go this Friday to get another ultrasound at the hospital here to check the fluid levels again, and then on the 17th go back down to San Antonio so they can check on me. Since I'll have the baby down there, they want me to stay in San Antonio as of November 17th until I have the baby. Thankfully our friend said we could live at his house during that time, he'll be in Iraq anyway and has no problem with us staying there. That's a huge load off. And Ben is being sent home sometime between November 10th and 20th. They are working out the details now. We're waiting anxiously for the exact date, but it is soon anyway.

We left San Antonio just in time for rush hour traffic and hit Austin just in time for crazy Halloween going out traffic. It took 2 hours to go 80 miles. We got home at 9:30 and missed trick or treating. Lauren is too young to really be upset about it, but I did feel bad anyway.

The next morning we got up early and dropped Lissa off at the airport in Austin. I had a fun weekend planned. I met up with 8 girls from around the country that I know from an online celebrity gossip site. Some of them I've been talking to for over 2 years, and 2 of them I have met before. We met for brunch on Saturday and went to a place called South Congress Cafe, then dinner that night at the Iron Cactus. Sunday morning we had brunch at Chez Zee. Most of our meeting was organized around eating, and all the food was really really good. Lauren was an angel and charmed everyone and I had a lot of fun. It was good to have something to distract me over the weekend and it really helped me to just go do something fun. We came back Sunday evening and have gotten back to our normal routine.

Last night we stayed up late to watch the election results and listen to the speeches. Actually, Lauren fell asleep right as CNN projected Obama's win. I heard of celebrations in the street in quite a few cities, but my neighborhood stayed pretty quiet. I guess Texas wasn't into celebrating an Obama victory.

Lauren has been doing really well with potty training lately. Today she made it through lunch out with a friend and then a shopping trip to WalMart without an accident. I think we'll keep her in diapers overnight for now, but I feel like she has the daytime figured out pretty well.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feeding the Ducks

This is Lauren totally excited and running to go feed the ducks.

Actually, she mostly just threw bread in the water. I think the ducks were overfed and not at all interested in the three bags of stale bread we brought.

But, she had fun anyway, and it was a good chance to get some pictures of her, and of Katrina and her girls.

We headed to the Central Texas College campus which has a nice pond with a fountain and a bridge, along with a big park area. There were birds and flowers and fish and turtles and the overfed ducks.

It was a good day, even as hot as it was, and we had fun.
Afterwards we headed to Katrina's house to eat dinner and carve pumpkins. I'll have to get the pictures from her. I carved a Cinderella pumpkin for Lauren and a cat pumpkin for mine. They're pretty cute. Hopefully they make it to Halloween.
I got a call this morning to confirm my appointments down in San Antonio. Along with the ultrasound and MRI, I'm meeting with a pediatric neurosurgeon and cardiologist. It will be a lot to do, but at least I'm doing it all in one morning.
Ben heads back to Baghdad on Tuesday to join the rest of his troop. The unit has less than 100 days left over there. We are still waiting to hear the date he'll be coming home. It will depend on what the doctors say this Friday when I meet with them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008



Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I got a call today from the scheduling lady in San Antonio. I have a level 2 ultrasound scheduled for October 31st at 9 am, and a fetal MRI scheduled for 10:45 am. They're going to try to get the pediatric neurosurgeon to come see me in between.

I think Lissa is flying in on the 30th and we'll drive to San Antonio to stay at our friend, Victor's house. Then in the morning I'll be able to go to my appointment without getting up at 4 in the morning.

Our realtor came to look at our house yesterday and I'm going to meet with her tomorrow to go over some stuff. I guess we'll put the house on the market in January to try to have it sold by May when we're ready to leave.

I guess that's it for now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ready, Set, Change!

We officially got our orders for Germany! In May 2009 we'll go to Fort Rucker, Alabama (again) for Ben to do the Instructor Pilot Course. That's about 6 weeks long and then we head to Germany. We have a lot of details to find out and get through, but I am so excited about it! Our good friends (Katrina and her family) also got orders to the same unit, so that makes it really exciting.

Here's a picture of me from earlier this month. I realized I haven't been posting many pregnancy pictures. I still haven't heard from the hospital in San Antonio. I did put a call in to the OB Case Manager here to see if she could tell me anything, but I'm waiting to hear back from her now, too.

I have an appointment with our realtor today. She's coming over at 2 to walk through the house and make some notes, then I'll have another appointment with her later to go over everything. I know the housing market generally is not good, but hopefully this area will do ok with the base. I'll have to finish this post up shortly so I can do a few more things before she gets here.

Ben's birthday is coming up in less than a week. I wish he was going to be home before then, but that's ok. He will be home soon enough.

This weekend Katrina came over and repainted my master bathroom. It's a really really pretty light blue color called "Sapphireberry" and it is so peaceful in there now.

The weather has also finally started to get a little bit cooler. We've been in the 70s just about every day, even if it has been the high 70s. I would love for it to be in the high 60s already, but I think we still have a lot of warm days ahead of us. I guess I should get my fill of them now before we head to Germany. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Today we went to a Christmas Tree Farm up in Temple. They had a pumpkin patch and we took the kids. We went with our friends Brandi, Katrina and her daughters, Mandy and her son, and Katherine and her son. There was a pumpkin stand, a haystack to play in, a pumpking painting area, a gift shop and a hay ride.

Lauren also found the tetherball games and liked to push the ball around. Last night she had a bit of a fever and felt better with some tylenol, but she was still a little down at the pumpkin patch. I don't think she had fully recovered and there was so much to do and see while she was there. But she had a good time. After the pumpkin patch we went to our friend, Mandy's house for dinner. She made pumpkin lasagna which was pretty good. I had never had that before.

On Saturday we went to Salado's Christmas in October which was put on in a big tent by the civic center. There wasn't much to it, but we did go in a few shops and stop and get ice cream, which I think was the highlight of it all.

I don't have any new news about the baby right now. I'm waiting to hear from the hospital in San Antonio about when my appointment will be. As soon as I know anything I will let everyone know. I'm also still waiting to hear about when Ben will come home. It should be by the end of this month, but I have not heard anything at all from the command yet. There is also a rumor that we will be getting orders by Friday. Of course, we've been hearing that for a while.

About the only other exciting thing around here that I have to report is that our Cracker Barrel is opening a week from tomorrow. I am actually looking forward to going for breakfast. And Ben's birthday is two weeks from today. Hopefully he'll be home for that. If you are looking for an idea for his birthday, he has only asked for gift certificates.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Aqueductal Stenosis

Yesterday I had another ultrasound.

I don't know where to start.

It wasn't good. The doctor confirmed that the baby does have hydrocephalus. We had seen this on the last ultrasound, but it's gotten worse. She has a type called Aqueductal Stenosis which means that there is a blockage within her brain causing a buildup of the Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF). This causes the ventricles to enlarge and puts pressure on her brain tissue. Since the bones in her skull aren't fused together yet, it can also cause her head to grow larger and be out of proportion to her body. It hasn't significantly increased in size yet, though, and that's not really a good thing. If her head was expanding, it would decrease the pressure on her brain tissue.

There can be some mental retardation associated with this, but the degree varies so much that they can't tell me anything now. I'm being referred to a hospital down in San Antonio so that I can meet with a new Maternal Fetal Physicial and a Pediatric Neurosurgeon. I'll deliver down there and the baby will have surgery within a few days after being born. She'll have a shunt placed to drain the excess fluid, and hopefully that will reduce the swelling and be a good fix.

I wish I knew more to tell you all. There are a lot of unknowns and I really don't know what is going to happen. My doctor did start a red cross message asking Ben's command to send him home asap so that he can meet with the doctors also and to help take some stress off of me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Knitting and Perfume

I decided on Wednesday that I would teach myself how to knit. I just want to make one scarf for myself for this fall/winter. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought all the supplies and then came home and found tutorials with videos and diagrams. I decided to try a cable knit pattern because I love the way it looks. Kind of ambitious. I started and got about 10 rows in, took it all out, started again and got a few rows in, took it all out. I think I'm doing the purling wrong. So I did just a few rows of straight knitting and then a few rows of straight purling, took it out and started the pattern over. I'm not very far, but it's coming along. I'm sure I'm doing a lot of it wrong, possibly even using the wrong size needles and the wrong weight of yarn, but whatever. It's a learning process. And as long as I get one scarf done, I'll be happy.

Tonight we're going to go to Oktoberfest on base. I'm going with one friend and hopefully everyone else will be able to make it and meet us there. I'm looking forward to good food and hopefully there will be lots of stuff for Lauren to do, and lots of opportunities for me to take pictures.

I ordered some nail polish from Sephora this week because they had an offer for a free 10 day sample of Bare Escentuals makeup, complete with a mini kabuki brush. Let me tell you why I love Sephora: 1. There's TONS of makeup on there. 2. You get 3 free samples with every order, plus more if you have an offer code. 3. They offer free gift wrapping, so every time I get something for myself, it's like a little present and that's a lot more fun to open. 4. They have a rewards program where you earn points and after a certain number of points you can get deluxe samples. So I ordered a new nail polish from Sephora by OPI and it's called BYOBoy. It's my new favorite polish color. I got the BE sample, a sample of shampoo, and two perfume samples. I love perfume samples. They last me forever, I don't have to use them all at once, and if I don't like them on me, they're fun to give away, even as small as they are. This order I got elle by YSL and Gucci eau de parfum II. And I am so happy with both of these scents!! "elle" smells so good and it even is a little spritzer bottle. I think this is what I'm going to ask for for Christmas because I'm just in love with it. Gucci smells really good, too, but it's a heavier scent, and not something I'd wear every day probably. I haven't tried the shampoo or the BE yet.

I ordered part of my Halloween costume yesterday. I'm going to go as Juno. I ordered the slinky tee shirt that she wore in the movie, and I have jeans and a plaid skirt. I just need to go find some converse high tops and I'll be all set. I think Lauren is going to be a ladybug again this year if her costume still fits. We'll try it on this week. If it's too small, we'll go pick out something else.

I watched the documentary Young@Heart this week and I loved it. I recommend renting it.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I've added another widget to my sidebar. It is from a site called Twitter. Throughout the day I can log in and give a short update on what I'm doing, and post it to the site. I've embedded it into our family blog so it will show my last five updates. Not everything we do in a day deserves a blog post, but I think I'll try to update my Twitter status anyway, and then you can see what our day is like when we don't have something worth blogging about.

I got an email from Ben this morning that said he got an email from his branch manager that said they are finalizing the list of what everyone is getting for orders. I feel like I've been saying "in a few weeks" for a really long time now, so I'm not going to guess how much longer it will be before we find out if we got Germany for sure. I tend to not believe it (as excited as I may be about it) until he actually has orders.

Tonight we're supposed to go to Katrina's house for dinner and to hang out with our friends. Tomorrow I've been invited to a candle party and I have nothing planned so far for Sunday. At the OWC luncheon last week I won a free KinderMusic session. They hold classes on Friday and Saturday mornings, so I just need to call and see about redeeming my win. I think Lauren would really enjoy it, she LOVES her dance class and it would be nice for her to have something to do on another day each week. Of course, if the weather ever cools off for the fall and winter, we'll do more trips to the zoo and the park.

Last night I was very excited to get to watch two of my favorite shows return for the season. I love The Office and Grey's Anatomy, although, Grey's is starting to lose me. But The Office was hilarious as ever and I am looking forward to this season so much! Desperate Housewives starts Sunday and Chuck returns next Monday... and then I'm set until Lost returns in January. (Yet another reason I can't wait for January to get here!!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Trip to the Salon

Yesterday Lauren got her first haircut. We went to the
Regis salon in the Killeen mall. Her hair wasn't really that
long, but it was looking a little bit scraggly at the ends, so we just wanted to even out the bottom a little bit. Lauren did really well. Her favorite part was getting her hair washed. She just laid back and relaxed and closed her eyes and even had a little smile come over her face a few times. She did pretty well during the cut, but she got a little bit restless near the end and wouldn't sit still or look where we wanted her to, but it was basically all done, so we just finished up. She talked about getting a haircut for the rest of the day. She woke up this morning, in fact, asking if she was going to get her hair cut again. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Enchanted Tutus

There's a local organization called Operation Sea of Support that is doing a project called Enchanted Tutus. I've gone to a couple fundraising nights at local restaurants and they sent out this email today. I wanted to get it out there for as many people to read as I can get. Here's their press release:

Enchanted Tutu Announces Operation Sea of Support to Show Support for United States Service Members
Killeen, TX July 10, 2008 - Enchanted Tutu has initiated a campaign to provide a Yellow Ribbon Tutu free of charge to each daughter of every Service Member returning from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Enchanted Tutu has initiated a campaign which will provide a Yellow Ribbon Tutus to each daughter of every Service Member returning from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. This project is made possible through donations and sponsorships from area businesses and local volunteers. The hand made tutus will be produced and issued shortly before the designated Unit returns home, at which time the daughters will be wearing the tutus to welcome home their loved ones. The purpose is to provide a stunning and moving visual show of support for our returning troops. Each tutu will be made from yellow tulle, and will be complemented by the famed Yellow Awareness Ribbon. Jessica Levy of Bows 4 Maddie has partnered with Enchanted Tutu to offer a matching Yellow hair bow for every tutu. The tutus are available to the public and those not participating in Operation Sea of Support online at or by phone order at (254) 541-9151, and are priced at $40.00 each. 40% of the proceeds from the retail sale of the Yellow Ribbon Tutu is donated directly to The Yellow Ribbon Fund, which is an organization that aids injured service members upon their return home.
For additional information on Operation Sea of Support, contact Stephen or Brandy Runyan at (254) 624-9000 or (254) 541-9151, go to, or email or Toni Palmer (Fort Hood) at (254)285-7794 or (502)710-1312 or email 48408-1 Craig Dr, Ft. Hood ,Texas 76544
Enchanted Tutu, established in 2007, provides custom tutu manufacturing services and is affiliated with several charitable organizations such as the Breast Impressions, Inc, The ASPCA, The Child Abuse Prevention and The Yellow Ribbon Fund among others.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hurricanes bring lots of rain

...but not to us.  I thought we would get lots of rain and lots of wind, but we didn't get either one.  We got about 10 minutes of rain and the winds weren't very strong.  But that's nothing to complain about.  And for the next 10 days on the forecast, the temperature is in the 80s, so that's a nice break for us.  I'm thinking maybe on Thursday I'll get a chance to take Lauren up to the zoo in Waco again.

This weekend we didn't do anything.  I've been watching my friend's son today and we watched him yesterday.  She's studying for a big exam she'll take on Thursday, so she just needed a couple hours today and yesterday to read in peace.

Ben is doing well.  If you are looking for ideas for his birthday present, get him a gift certificate to  He has his eye on a new GPS system and so gift certificates are all that he is asking for.

On Friday, Lauren was climbing in the living room and she fell.  She scraped up the underside of her nose, it's starting to scab over.  It looks awful.  She just said that her face "bounced" on the couch, but she can't tell me really anything else.  I think it will heal just fine if I can get her to stop picking at it.  I think it's starting to itch.

I am working on going to Albuquerque for the start of the Balloon Fiesta.  If I get out there, it will be October 1-6.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nothing New

Not too much has been happening here. We've been keeping busy with our friends. Lauren has her dance class every Tuesday and does really well. My friend has been hosting dinner at her house one or two nights a week and we get together for game nights, too.

Rachelle started her new job. Her first day with the students was Tuesday. I know she was excited about it, I'm still waiting to talk to her to see how it went.

I wish I had something new to report, but I don't. We're still waiting to hear about orders and when Ben will be coming home.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Game Night

Since last week, we've kept busy.  On Thursday I had my OB checkup.  Everything is fine, I go back again in 4 weeks.  On Friday there was a fundraiser at Fuddrucker's for Operation Sea of Support.  OSS provides yellow tutus for the daughters of soldiers for the homecoming.  All day Friday, 10% of the receipts turned in went to OSS.  We went in the evening with 3 of our friends and their kids.  Saturday we went to Katrina's house for a late lunch/early dinner and ended up hanging out until about 9.  Sunday Lauren and I went with Katherine and Ethan to try a church.  The service was good, the church was beautiful, and Lauren really enjoyed the play room.  On Monday morning she asked, "more church?"

We took Monday easy.  Katherine and Ethan came over and she and I decided that we'd cook this week, taking turns, and invite our friends over.  We planned out a menu for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Tuesday was Lauren's dance class again.  We got there early and she took my hand and showed me around her classrooms.  There's one class that is just a large empty room with one mirrored wall.  The other room has a mat covering the floor that's kind of squishy.  There's a trampoline with a bar to hold on to, an inclined tumbling mat, a balance beam that sits on the floor, about an inch high and maybe 3 inches wide, and a long Thomas the Tank Engine tent/tunnel thing that they crawl through.  Lauren had been talking about Thomas ever since last week and I had no idea what she was talking about.  It was nice to get to see the room.  She did well again and got two more unicorn stamps.  She was very cute in her leotard and skirt.

Tuesday night dinner was at my house.  I made a big pot of spaghetti and two sauces, a large salad and garlic bread.  I had 4 of my friends over and their 7 kids.  It was a full house, but lots of fun.  The 3 bigger kids ended up playing Wii in the other room while the other 5 played here in the living room with us.  Katrina and Amy ended up staying late and watching "Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day" with me.  It was a really cute movie.

Last night we went to Katherine's house for dinner.  One less adult and child than was at my house, but still a full house.  We ate and then played Pictionary for a while.  At 9:30 we decided to call it a night.  Tonight again we're going to Katherine's house and we'll have more game options.  I'm bringing Taboo and Apples to Apples and Katherine is replenishing her play-doh supply for Cranium.  I'm looking forward to it.

I'm ordering the Nikon D60 this week.  I can't wait to get it!  I should have a lot more pictures to share when I have a better camera with a quicker response time.  It gets so frustrating with my little camera when I press the button and 5 seconds go by before it takes.  A lot happens with a toddler in 5 seconds, and it can make a big difference in the picture.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Mia!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

First Dance Class

Lauren had her first dance class yesterday. I got her all dressed up in her leotard with the tutu and some shiny silver shoes with her hair pulled back. She looked adorable!
We got to the class and I was ready with camera in hand. I was a little afraid I'd look like a crazy stage mother having her all dressed up, but all but one of the other little girls were dressed up in leotards too. They were all so cute!

There we were, waiting for class to start, and the instructors came out to get the girls, and they walked into the dance room and shut the door. I was so bummed! I didn't get to watch it at all! But I guess the kids don't listen as well and get distracted when their parents are in the room, so there's a method to it all. The class was 30 minutes long and I sat in the waiting room with the other moms. When they came out she showed off a unicorn stamp on each hand and a gummy bear. They said she was shy for about the first five minutes, but then she participated. As soon as we walked outside to the car she started asking for "more dance class!" I think she really enjoyed it. Then this morning when we woke up she said, "Good morning, Mommy. Dance class?" I guess a week is a long time to wait when you're two.

Here's a picture from the pool on August 1st. She does well, but it's been SO hot, I haven't wanted to go back yet. Hopefully it will cool off so we can go a few more times before it closes. (If you click on any of the pictures in this blog, you'll be able to see it much larger.)

This Saturday I'll be 20 weeks pregnant... officially halfway! I'm excited to meet this little girl who kicks me all night long. I feel like I'm counting down until November. Once we hit Thanksgiving, hopefully Christmas, New Years, her birth and Ben's return will happen really quickly. And a move to Germany! (I'm keeping my fingers crossed!)

I ordered a Bengal's jersey for Lauren today. It's a toddler size and it's pink and white. I'm hoping to get it soon so I can get pictures of her in it to send to Ben before the season gets underway.
Happy Birthday to Carson and Lissa!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Have a Passport?

You may want to apply for one.  We've put in our request for our next duty station and Germany is #1 on our list.  We haven't heard anything yet, but we will let you all know as soon as we know.  I think the town we'd move to is Ansbach.  We'll stay here for at least 90 days after Ben returns from Iraq before we would get to go.

Lauren's dance class starts on Tuesday.  I'm excited for her to get started.  I hope she enjoys it, I know I'll have fun watching her.

It's still been hot here, I don't think there's a day on the 10 day forecast that it's below 96 degrees.  The city is calling for voluntary water conservation and asking residents only to water twice a week.  My lawn is getting brown enough as it is, I hope it rains soon.

Yesterday Lauren and I went to brunch at our friend, Katherine's house.  Our friend Katrina and her daughters, Grace and Quinn were there as well as Mandy and her son, Will.  Lauren had a great time and the food was delicious.  I made cinnamon swirl coffee cake muffins and we had an egg, sausage and hash brown bake and fruit.  I ate until I was totally stuffed.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Welcome to August

Wow.  It is hot.  The high today was 104 and tomorrow it's supposed to be 105.  Yuck.  Thank goodness for air conditioning!  I've been watering the lawn in the evening, I'm worried about the bushes that we planted after we had the trees cut down.  The grass around them is looking pretty dry, and I don't want them to get dry.  I'm going to go to Lowe's or Home Depot tomorrow and pick up some bush spikes to get them a little nourishment.

Lauren had a bit of a fever on Thursday evening and over night, but by Friday morning she was feeling a lot better.  We even went ahead with our plans to go to the pool Friday afternoon.  She had fun in the water as always.  She is covered in little spots now, but she's had that before for a few days after a fever.  I asked her doctor about it last time and she said sometimes after a viral fever kids will get spots.  So I just keep an eye on them and as long as they don't get worse, I know she'll be ok.

Our friend Katherine got a new nine week old puppy.  He's a Maltese Shitzu cross, and he's just a little white fluff ball.  I thought Lauren would be more interested in him, but she doesn't do much more than pet him and say he's soft and then go on her way.  I think he's great, though, and I love playing with him.  They came over this evening for dinner and brought the puppy with them and he's a good little boy.

I ordered the cards from sarah and abraham for Mia and Luke.  They got some cute cards delivered on Saturday.  Which reminds me!  Abby recommended a cookbook called "Cook it in a Cup" and I ordered it from amazon.  Last night we went to Katrina's house and made the mini-meat loaves and the corn and zucchini melange.  They were both really really good.  I want to make the corn and zucchini dish all the time now.  Delicious!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back to the Texas Heat!

We are back home now. We got back about two weeks ago. Albuquerque was great. Lauren had so much fun with Mia and she got to do tons of stuff. We went to Explora for toddler time and concerts in the zoo and the park and lots of time in the backyard on the swings, in the pool, or playing with the sand and water table.

The cats will be vacationing in Albuquerque until after this baby is born. I just don't have all the extra energy to keep up with their messes, and I'm not supposed to clean the catbox anyway. I think Lauren misses them a little bit. She talks about everyone out there still. I think she also is bummed that we're not playing outside anymore. But 100 degrees with all this humidity is just unbearable. We haven't done anything outdoors since being back.

Since I feel so bad about that, I'm enrolling her in a "creative movement" class for 2 year olds at a ballet and dance studio in town called A & K Dance. She'll go once a week on Tuesdays. I'm not really sure what to expect out of it, but I think she'll have fun in anything. Actual ballet classes start at age 3, so she won't be able to start those until next summer. If she does really good in these classes and seems like she'd like to do something more, there's a mom and tot tumbling class we can look into. It meets three times a week, so I thought we'd start out slow and work our way up.

Other than that, we don't have a whole lot going on. My latest thyroid tests came back normal, so the doctor said it was just due to the surge of hCG hormones, but since they've leveled off, my thyoid is calming down, too. I feel a lot better and I'm eating a lot more. The baby moves all the time, she's a little gymnast for sure.

Oh! Did I mention that the baby's due date has changed? It's January 3 now. I'm a little less far along than they thought I was, but that's ok, it gives us a little more time between Christmas and her birthday.

I also ordered the cutest cards today. She has a blogspot blog, Sarah and Abraham, and she sells through her shop on etsy, Sarah and Abraham on etsy. The first order is a gift for someone (you'll get it soon... but you won't know who you are until it gets there) and I'm planning on ordering a set of notecards for Lauren soon, too. If you check out her blog, she's doing a giveaway if you comment by... well, tomorrow, so go over and check it out. If you haven't heard, I *heart* etsy and I've found a ton of cute stuff on the site. Check it out at

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Really Quickly

We are in Albuquerque.

Rachelle came out for a week to help out and was amazing.  The day she left, Skipper flew in and the next day we drove out to New Mexico.  We're almost done here, we go home next week.  Lauren has had a great time with Mia.  They have to fight things out for the first part of every play date, but then they're the best of friends and pure trouble for everyone after that.  She's been working on using the potty and has been doing pretty well.

My thyroid tests came back that I have hyperthyroidism, so I'll have blood drawn after my next OB appointment and then the following week I go back to go over the test results and we'll make a decision about treatment (if needed) after that.  Otherwise the pregnancy has been going pretty well.  I'm into my second trimester now, so my nausea has almost disappeared.  It's such a relief!  I was so hungry after not keeping much down for two months.  Hahaha.

I'll do a more thorough update and add pictures when we get back home to Texas.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bad Week

Last week was really hard on me. I went to the appointment on Wednesday and then wasn't able to keep anything down on Thursday. On Friday, Ben called home and was worried about how I was doing. He made me promise to call and get a same day appointment at the OB clinic.

I really was not doing well, I had been sleeping on the couch through the day and fighting to keep down water, so I called my friend Katherine and asked her to come help me. She called the OB clinic, but they were closed for the holiday weekend, so she called around and was told to take me to the Emergency Room. We dropped Lauren with Katherine's sister in law and went to the base. I only had to wait about an hour to be taken back and seen by a nurse. They took my vitals and started an IV. The doctor came in to talk to me and he prescribed Zofran for my morning sickness. It doesn't make me drowsy, so that makes it better than the Phenergan I took when I was pregnant with Lauren. They pushed Zofran through my IV then had me wait for it to kick in. I then had to eat some crackers and juice, and when I didn't throw that up, they got me ready to go. The whole trip, from the time we walked into the waiting room until I was done and had picked up my prescription at the pharmacy was about 4 hours.

It made a huge difference. I haven't thrown up since, though I do still get a queasy feeling. That just means I'm hungry, and once I eat I feel better. I've been back up and catching up on everything I had let slide when I wasn't feeling well. Hopefully I'll take some new pictures to post soon.

Lauren is doing great. She is stringing together small sentences now. She's been really good especially the last week when I wasn't as attentive as I'd have liked to have been.

Rachelle bought plane tickets to come visit in June, and I'm really excited to have her here. I haven't planned anything, I just want to get in some good hanging out time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

First Appointment

Today was my first prenatal appointment. Didn't learn anything new. I basically just went in and filled out paperwork. They gave me a bunch of pamphlets to take home along with my pregnancy calendar/workbook. Then I went down to the lab to have blood drawn, and then I went to talk to a nutritionist. Everything took a little over an hour. I go back on June 16th for a real appointment and I'll have an ultrasound then. Now I'm just tired and I need a nap.

Congratulations to Rachelle! Her graduation is today. Yay for new teachers!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Morning Sickness

Thanks to everyone who has emailed me. I'm sorry I haven't emailed back. I am in the early stages of morning sickness and it's been hard. I don't know that it's any better this time than it was with Lauren, but I think I know how to manage it better. I eat even when I don't feel like it and even when nothing sounds good, and for the most part that holds it off, but sometimes no matter what I do I end up throwing up. Oh well.

My first prenatal appointment is on Wednesday. It should be about an hour long, and I don't remember what it will entail, plus this is a different base and a different hospital and doctor, so they could do things a lot differently. I'm hoping we'll get an early ultrasound, or at least that I'll find out when I'm going to have one. I'm sure they'll change my due date, they changed it with Lauren by about two weeks. Right now I think it's December 28th, but we'll see what it is after I go in.

Lauren is doing really well. She just talks and talks all the time. And she's really funny. Thankfully she still naps, so we both take a nap in the middle of the day to rest up for the evening.

Not much else is new here. I've barely been leaving the house for the past week or so. It gets a little boring, but that's ok. My friends have been stopping by to check in on me and make sure the trash gets out to the curb and the lawn is mowed. I'm just trying to stay mellow for the next 6 weeks or so until I feel like eating again. It's very exciting, but this is definitely the hardest part of the pregnancy for me. Come on, second trimester!! :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Birthday

Saturday was a lot of fun. My friends Katherine and Katrina planned an evening out. They took care of the babysitter and we went out to see a movie and then out to dinner. It was a really nice day and a great way to spend my birthday.

Ben is settled back in and passed his PC checkride and exam. He said it's been really hot lately and they've had a lot of dust storms. He's on a night rotation now. At least it means we are both going to bed around the same time and we usually have more time to get on the computer and chat or talk on the phone.

I emailed out info about the new troop T-shirts. If you didn't get it or need more info about it, let me know and I'll get it to you. The orders are due May 15. These shirts aren't girly, so anyone who didn't want a girly shirt but did want one can order these.

Lauren is responding well to the Zyrtec. Almost immediately her nose stopped running. She's still had a bit of a cough, but less and less every day. I think it will take a little longer for that to go away, but if it doesn't go away soon, I'll make another appointment for her to get that checked out.

She sings all the time. Today we called her Aunt Sarah and Lauren serenaded her with the chorus to "Hey There, Delilah" and "Sweet Caroline". I've been trying to capture it on video, but of course she clams up when I pull out the camera. I will keep trying, though.

And, I'm happy to say my resolution to read 12 books this year is coming along great. We're five months into the year and I've read 7 books so far. I've got a couple to read sitting here, but I haven't decided which one will be next.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April was quite a month!


I know it's been a while since I've added a post. We had a very busy month. Let me start at the beginning. Lissa, Sarah and Evan came in at the start of the month to help welcome Ben home for his leave. He got in on Friday evening and we pulled up to the house to see the three of them with Lauren and handmade signs welcoming him back. He had a very long trip home, with lots of stops and frustration. It took him a few days to get rested up and back to every day life, but I think he really enjoyed his trip. That first night, Lauren started getting sick. She threw up, and continued again in the morning, so we ended up cancelling her birthday party the next day. It was a little sad that we didn't get everyone together, but I think it was the right call. She still opened presents, but she spent most of the day conked out on the couch and being very tiny. I can hardly believe she's a big two year old now. She likes to sing "the itsy bitsy spider" and other songs with hand motions. She's singing the alphabet and counting to 10 in English and Spanish.

Once she was feeling better, we did take a trip down to San Antonio. We spent two nights and had a good day at the San Antonio Zoo. We spent a lot of time at home and running around doing things for the house, and of course, Ben took time to take care of the cars.

Ben went back to Iraq last week and he's settled back in. He says it's been really hot there (100 degrees +) and they've been having dust storms that prevent them from flying. He should be taking his PC checkride soon, so he's been studying for that as much as he can.

Lauren had her two year checkup on Monday, she's doing well. She's still below the 5th percentile for height and weight, but she's hitting every developmental milestone, so her pediatrician isn't concerned. We did start her on allergy medicine, though. She's taking Zyrtec right now and hopefully that will help clear her up. She always has a runny nose. She got her first dose last night and she slept better and hasn't been coughing as much.

Our front yard is full of flowers, we have roses blooming all over the place. My hibiscus bushes are getting tall, I hope they'll start blooming soon. I planted jasmine in the back yard. I'm not sure yet how well it's going to do, but I'm giving it some time to surprise me. I think maybe it just isn't getting enough sun. I bought some metal Texas stars and put them up on the inside of the fence in the back yard. I just like the way it looks.

This weekend I think I get to go to dinner and a movie with my friends for my birthday. It's nice to have someone else do the planning and get a sitter for a night out. I'm looking forward to it. Next weekend Lauren and I are invited to a Luau theme birthday party for our friend's one year old, Ethan.

Well, I hope I didn't forget anything... I should be able to do more updates more frequently again now that things have slowed down here again. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy Easter!

Saturday we went up to Waco to the zoo again. Lauren seemed to have a pretty good time. We got there late in the day so we didn't have time to do the whole zoo before they closed. We missed out on seeing the Bengal tigers, but we pretty much saw everything else. It's always a nice day when we go walk through the zoo.

We had a nice Easter. We woke up and went to Katrina's house for donuts, then went to church. Afterwards, we came home and had lunch, then Lauren opened her Easter basket before taking a nap. The rest of the day was spent hanging around the house.

Now we're just counting down the next week and a half before Lissa, Sarah, Evan and Ben get here. It's hard to stay patient, but we're doing our best, and we're keeping busy. Tonight we're going to go to Katrina's house for pizza. I need to start getting some party planning done for Lauren's birthday party, too. I think we'll probably grill some burgers and have bbq type food and a cupcake cake. Hopefully it doesn't snow again this year the day of her party.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Luke, the zoo, the countdown

Puccini family!
Luke Puccini
was born on
March 17th.
Today, Lauren and I are headed to Waco to go to the zoo again. It looks like the weather is going to be nice and I'm ready for a good day out and about.
We are counting down to Ben's return home. We have less than two weeks. And Lauren will be TWO YEARS OLD two weeks from today! Yay! Lissa, Sarah and Evan will be here for Ben's return and to help us celebrate Lauren's birthday.
We don't have any plans yet for Easter, but Lauren is on the Easter Bunny's list with a basket of toys.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Trees and a froggie kiddie pool

After Skipper left, we had some rain. It was bad enough that one of the limbs that overhung the house broke off of the tree and hit the roof before landing in the driveway. Thankfully the roof held up. There was one shingle at the bottom edge of the roof above the driveway that ripped a little bit, but nothing to worry over. It did get our butts in gear, though, to have someone come out and remove the three dead oak trees. I called around and got five different estimates and a crew came out yesterday. Less than 5 hours and $1,000 later, my house looks naked. In the picture below, the three trees were on the left of the garage, you may be able to see the stump. The trees used to tower over the garage, they were as tall as the trees on the very left edge of the picture.

So this morning I will be making a trip to Lowe's or Home Depot. I need to buy some bushes, I'm going to put in a little hedge on that side now, about 3 feet from the driveway, close to the property line.

It was a tough week besides the tree. Lauren and I both caught some sort of stomach bug. She was sick on Monday and I was pretty bad on Thursday. But we're both feeling much better now.

Yesterday Lauren and I went to lunch with Katrina, Katherine and Ethan. We did a trip to Lowe's and then Walmart and came home to a new yard. In the afternoon we went to Katherine's house so Lauren and Ethan could play in the kiddie pool. We didn't stay too long, but Lauren loves the water, as usual, and had a great time.

We are still waiting to hear Ben's leave dates. Hopefully he'll be home in three weeks for Lauren's birthday. But even if he misses it, we'll just be happy to have him here.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Skipper and the lawn, naturally.

Lauren and I drove to Austin on Sunday and met up with Charity. We picked up Skipper at his hotel and then went to dinner at Papasito's. It was delicious. After dinner we said good-bye to Charity and then headed back to the house. Skipper spent two days working on things in the yard. He rebuilt our fence on the side of the house.

It had been so tilted that I couldn't open it because the bottom corner would just dig into the ground. He also mowed and edged the yard and put down weed n feed with ant killer. Yay! Thank you so much, Skipper! He also fixed my car since my check engine light came on the day before he got here. There was a hose that had split and he replaced it. My car was getting only about 14 miles to the gallon with that broken hose, I'm so glad I barely drove it and had Ben's car to drive instead. Now I'm back up to my nearly 30 mpg.

Yesterday the weather here was bad, rainy and really really cold. One of the branches on a dead tree on the side of our house broke off and hit the roof. Only one shingle was damaged, but it still is not fun to deal with. I'm trying to get recommendations from our realtor and friends and neighbors of someone to come remove the trees. Last time we got an estimate it was somwhere around $1000 per tree. Ouch. That's pretty expensive, but replacing the roof would be expensive too. Thank goodness no one was parked in my driveway when the branch fell.

This morning Lauren and I got up and found snow on the ground. It's melted already, but it was neat to see. I'm ready for warmer weather, though.

And a picture of Lauren just because I want to post it:

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Zoo, The Oscars and Happy Birthday, Ema!

We have been keeping busy! There's the home improvement project we did (I'll post pictures on here in April after Ben sees it) and that took up a lot of days. We've gone to dinner and lunch quite a bit, too.

This weekend we went to the Waco Zoo with my friend Mandy and her son, Will. Lauren had a good time. She likes looking at the animals. I think she liked the giraffes the best. She got new sunglasses on Friday that she wore during her ride through the zoo.

Last night we went to an Oscar's party at my friend Katherine's house. I made sugar cookies and decorated them like the Oscar winner envelopes. We had a lot of food and a good time.

The weather has been really nice here in Texas, it's been getting into the high 70's all week. We've been in t-shirts and sandals already.

Ben's still doing well. He said right now he's a little bit bored, but he's getting some down time which he hadn't been getting in the last few months. He's catching up on movies and getting in to the gym again. And we can cross another week off! Only five more weeks or so until he comes home!

And Happy Birthday, Ema!

Friday, February 15, 2008

1 AM and I can't sleep

This week Lauren and I both finally felt better from our colds. Tuesday we went to lunch with Megan and then hit up a good scrapbooking sale at Hobby Lobby. Wednesday I went back to the dentist to have him file down a filling that was messing with my bite. It was an easy appointment. I was in and out in about fifteen minutes. I never expected that one of the best visits to the dentist would involve a drill and not being numb. But it was great, my bite is back like it should be and I haven't woken up with a sore jaw since. We went to lunch again on Wednesday, this time with Megan, Katrina, Katherine and her son Ethan who is 9 months old. I don't know why I don't go to Bennigan's more often, I love their potato soup.

Tonight we had Mark and Megan over to join us for dinner and to watch "Lost". I made my shredded beef enchiladas and Mark brought over his new camera so I could show him some photography stuff on it.

Tomorrow our only plan is to go to the mall in the morning with Katherine and Ethan. I also need to put up a new toilet paper holder that I bought for the hall bathroom. I got the new towel rack up today before Mark and Megan got here. I think the bathroom is going to look really nice when it's done.

I upgraded my cell phone to the RAZR. I even got it in pink. So far I really like this phone, it's pretty easy to use, and I haven't had a fun phone in a while. The best part is that it was free since it was time to renew our contract anyway.

Ben is doing well, he's on a night schedule now. We're waiting to hear the days for his R&R. We should find them out about 30 days before he comes home, so we should know by the first week of March. I'm very excited that it's only about 6 weeks away! Which also means Lauren will be 2 in 6 weeks!!! I can't believe it. She counts to about 14 now, and she's always singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".... sometimes with the real words, and sometimes with completely made up lyrics that include 'Dora', 'Mommy', 'Water', 'Bear' or 'Kitty'. Hahahaha. She is a lot of fun.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

To California and back

Lauren and I flew out on the 24th. We had an easy flight from Killeen to Dallas, we ate some dinner and found the kids play area at the airport, and then she fell asleep for the first half of the three hour flight to Palm Springs. We got in and got some dinner and went to sleep. We spent the first few days of the trip at Dad and Jessica's house. Lauren got along really well with Jackson and she loved to follow Carson around the house. We went down to Las Casuelas and she danced to her grandpa and the band. Then Wednesday the 30th, we got a rental car and drove to Mom and Joe's house. Lauren liked going up and down the stairs and she liked calling Allie to follow her around. I spent about six hours scanning in old pictures from the late 70's and early 80's. I got a lot of pictures of myself as a baby and toddler, and some of my mom pregnant with me and a bunch of my dad playing in different bands.

After seeing so many pictures of me at this age, I think Lauren looks more like Ben than she does like me. I scanned in around 300 old photos and there's a lot to go through and edit and get prints of, and that was only from the first box we went through. I have a feeling there will be more trips that include a lot of scanning in the future.

Rachelle's birthday was the 3rd. We went out to a Tapas bar in Temecula. The food was so good. There wasn't one thing I tried that I didn't like. Everything was so delicious. I think she had a nice birthday.

We drove back on Monday and returned the rental car and then flew out on Tuesday. The entire day of traveling was very humbling for me as a parent, and a good chance to learn patience. Our flight out of Palm Springs was delayed by quite a bit. Before we boarded we got moved to a later connecting flight. Lauren took her nap and woke up at the airport before the plane was even at the gate. She was squirmy and unhappy for a good portion of the flight and then she threw up all over me about half an hour before we landed. The flight attendants resat the man next to us, and I was able to clean Lauren up and get her in a new outfit, but I was nicely stained for the rest of the day. We landed, got dinner, found our gate and went to the children's play area again. We went back to our gate to board after the flight was delayed several times, and the last half hour before we finally boarded was the worst. Lauren finally had enough traveling, enough of airports and airplanes and just wanted to be home. Her exhaustion got the better of her, and she ended up throwing herself on the floor of the terminal, her face in her hands, and just sobbed. She didn't want me to pick her up, she didn't want anything to do with anyone. Finally she let me pick her up and I took her to the bathroom to wash her face and try to calm her down, and eventually she put her head on my shoulder and went to sleep. She slept through boarding, the flight, the drive home, and the rest of the night. Originally we were supposed to get home at 6:30 pm, but after all the delays due to technical difficulties and bad weather, we didn't get home until after midnight. My checked bag didn't make it on the flight we were on, but it was delivered the next day to the house.

It was a good trip aside from the last day of traveling, and I'm so glad we went, but it is so good to be home!

Friday, January 18, 2008

A video

I took this video on Tuesday of Lauren on her slide.

Last night we had Mandy and Will over for dinner and I made Sarah's chicken pot pie recipe again. Today we are going to go have lunch with our good friend Megan. Megan's husband, Mark was in flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama the same time Ben was, and Megan and I worked at the bank together. They went from Fort Rucker here to Fort Hood, and Mark just got back from his deployment to Iraq.

Tonight, Lauren and I are going to dinner at Katrina's house.

It has been pretty cold here the past two days, down in the 30's. It was raining this morning, so it must have warmed up a bit. I am looking forward to going to California next week and to the warmer weather it will bring.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Movie day

Last night we had Katrina and her girls and Arlie and her son and daughter over to join us for dinner. I made Sarah's chicken pot pie recipe. It was a hit. We ate every last bite, and for dessert I made the chocolate and peanut butter swirl again - also a big hit. It was a nice evening, we hung out until just before midnight.

Today Lauren and I met Katrina and her girls at the theater to see National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets at the theater. Lauren did pretty well in the theater. I could tell she wasn't as interested in it as she was in Enchanted, but that's ok. It's a different kind of movie. Afterwards we went to eat at Chili's and she fell asleep in the car on the way home. We've taken this evening pretty slow and we're about to get her in a bath and pajamas before heading to bed.

We don't have much planned for this week. Saturday we're having our Valentine's Day party for the FRG so we can make cards for the soldiers and send them off so they'll get there by Feb 14.

Less than two weeks before we leave for California!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Back in Texas

Christmas was so nice this year. Everyone got together and spent the day together. Lauren had fun, I think it was much more interesting this year for her to open presents. She got a bunch of cool stuff and she's been having fun playing with all of it.

Christmas Eve day I was sick and spent most of it sleeping or throwing up. Christmas Day Skipper was sick, and the day after Jon was sick. Lissa had it a day before I did, but not nearly as bad as any of the rest of us did. Then Abby got it, then Sarah, and now Evan. Lauren did well, though, she only had a mild fever that would come and go, and although she was a little cranky, it wasn't horrible.

New Year's Eve was uneventful, really. Skipper, Lissa, Lauren and I went to Abby's house and had some Chinese food and played the Wii. We ended up leaving around 11:15 and sat in front of the TV at their house until midnight. I think we were all in bed about 5 seconds later.

We took the advice of a couple different sources and went to Santa Fe to eat at the Bobcat Bite. It is rumored to have one of the best hamburgers in the country, and I have to agree! It was delicious. The place is super tiny and the wait is long, but it was worth it. Then because of something I read in Rachael Ray's magazine, we went and tried the Kakawa chocolate house, also. They were listed as some of the best hot chocolate in the country. And they lied!! It wasn't really good, and their selection of chocolates was not as good as I would have liked. I did get a chili chocolate piece for everyone, and the overall consensus was that it wasn't good. It was like following up a bite of chocolate with a shot of chili powder. Yuck.

But we also tried some great recipes this year. I made my Finnish Christmas stars again. The new recipes we tried were for a Broccoli Corn Bread (that was so delicious!!!), honey nut weiners (I know, it sounds horrible, but it's actually good), and a chocolate and peanut butter swirl candy, which, how can that go wrong?! (it can't!).

Here's the recipe for the Broccoli Corn Bread:

2 sticks of butter, melted
1 10 oz. packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 eggs
1 small white onion, chopped
2 boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
2 teaspoons salt
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, adding the broccoli and corn last.
- Pour into greased baking dish (9x13)
- Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
- During last few minutes, sprinkle top with a little extra shredded cheddar.

Here's the recipe for the Honey Nut Weiners:
1 package small cocktail wieners
2 packages crescent rolls
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup chopped pecans
PREPARATION:Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Add the honey and brown sugar, stir until melted and smooth.
Add the pecans and stir.
Pour the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.
Unroll crescent rolls.
Cut each crescent roll into thirds, making 3 small, long triangle strips.
Starting at one end, roll hot dogs in crescent.
Place in baking dish, in honey nut mixture
Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

And here's the recipe for the chocolate peanut butter swirl:
What you need:
360 g white chocolate chopped coarsely
½ cup (140g) smooth peanut butter
400 g dark chocolate chopped coarsely
Tip for coarsely chopping chocolate - bash chocolate with a meat mallet while still in its wrapping Melt white chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.
Cool for 5 minutes then add peanut butter, stir until smooth.
Melt the dark chocolate the same way. Cool slightly
Drop alternate spoonfuls of the white chocolate mixture and dark chocolate mixture into a small pan you greased and lined with parchment paper earlier.
Gently shake pan to level mixture.
Then drag a skewer back and forth through the mixture several times for a marbled effect.
Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or until set, or you can stick it in the fridge.
When it has set, cut into small squares.
Here's what ours looked like still in the pan:

And it was delicious!

On Sunday, Lissa and I loaded up in the car with Lauren and both cats and set out to drive back here to Texas. It was about 11 hours of travel time. I took the first leg, the 3 hour drive to Clovis, she took the second leg - 4 hours to Sweetwater, and I took the last 4 hour leg that got us home. We did have a nice little dinner in the diner at the Sweetwater truck stop. I'd imagine we were there for almost an hour. But it was good, Lauren got to get out of her seat and walk around and stretch for a little while, and then she slept a good portion of the rest of the way home. We got in just before 11 pm. We even got most everything out of the car before we fell in our beds asleep.

I dropped Lissa off at the Killeen airport this morning. It was a really short trip on this side, but a good visit with everyone, and I'm glad we got the chance to do it. Now ther's a little over two weeks before Lauren and I fly off to California to see everyone there.
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