Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Saturday Hike!

We were supposed to go to El Paso this past weekend to get a recall fixed on T's car. Something to do with the air bags I think. It's the closest dealership to service his car, so instead of him spending another day away from us as if he were at work we decided to all go. Figured we'd hit up a pumpkin patch, get N some 3 month old portraits taken, just make a day of it.

When he called to schedule the appointment, he found they don't have the part for the recall and they'd have to order it. I was surprised, but I guess in thinking about it his car is a 2004 and a few generations old so it's not all that shocking they don't have parts on hand for it. We talked about going anyway to get out of the house, but ugh. It's a 2 hour drive one way. It's too hot for pumpkins to last this early - we learned from Vegas, in the desert you gotta carve pumpkins as close to the 31st as time allows. And he'd have to go back in the next weekend or two whenever the part comes in. So we decided against it.

Instead we headed up into the mountains for a hike and a picnic! The weather is cooling off - ish (it was still 89 when i picked H up for school yesterday, booooooooo). The kids will do anything outside if it involves food. I wanted some exercise that's not running laps around our neighborhood. We asked some friends who've taken their small kids to the same area to hike for a good trail, and off we went. We didn't quite make sense of the trails and distances before setting off so our planned mile hike turned into almost two and a half! It was some hard work, but a whole lot of fun. The kids were troopers. A little whining about when exactly we were gonna eat. And then after our picnic a little bit of "i'm tired of walking; when will be in the carrrrr". But as soon as their groans of not wanting to walk anymore were met with responses of okay cool hope you like sleeping here with all the animals they sucked it up and finished the trail.


 starting our adventure

 what a view

 Look! I see white sands!


Family Fun!




Mexican Canyon Trestle - Our Lunch Destination



Monday, April 18, 2016

Eggcellent Fun

A few months ago I saw someone share this craft idea on Facebook. I regrettably don't have the link to the blogger or whomever originated it to give proper credit to the idea. This is one of the reason I don't like when people share things to FB instead of Pinterest. It's difficult to find something you found earlier and almost impossible to credit the source. Anyway. . .

The project was a painting one. You crack eggs as minimally as possible when you use them, rinse them out, fill them with paint, and throw them at canvases. It just looked SO FUN. So I texted a quick screen shot to my friend and neighbor (😬!) saying I know it sounds like a crazy idea, buuuuuut. And we decided to do it. So a little before Easter, on a nice sunny afternoon we embarked on the craft.

(Click on the pictures for a larger view)

The process. . . 









 And the aftermath . . . 

 
 


Overall I think it turned out great. I wasn't sure what to do as far as propping the canvases up. I think it would've been better if we'd had easels to set the canvases a little higher. But I didn't want to buy six easels and a table, and I thought it would be a little nuts if we tried to make them wait their turns. The jungle gym was a suitable backdrop. I think with just a little bit more age (and throwing strength!) and a higher canvas these kids will be pros. It's definitely something I'd do again. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Big Changes

It's been a while, and we've got quite a bit going on. Or rather, some things have been done and some things are up & coming.

The Done

WE MOVED!  We went on the VML in the spring and got our orders to report in December. We requested the latest date they could accommodate, and we were pleased with our result. While moving over the holidays added a bit of extra chaos, we needed to feel comfortable leaving Vegas with B's care & OT post-surgery (the poor kiddo had a second operation for his polydactyly in August, but that is a story for another day). 

T is learning to be an instructor down in NM where he trained nearly 4 years ago. He's very happy with the assignment - he really loves being an IP. But it's not without its struggles. He is finding that teaching brand new, never-flown-this-plane-before students are trickier to teach than he those who came into their squadron in Vegas. He's still finding his balance between covering all the necessities without going into too much detail. That's why they teach you how to teach, I suppose! 

The Upcoming

Promotion! T's commission year finally went up for their Major boards and the results came out and the end of last month. He was selected to promote to the rank of Major, which is fantastic! He truly wants to put in his full 20, but the AF is a move up or get out type of system. Prepping his application for it took I think about a year, not including going back to school to get a Masters degree. I had confidence he'd make it, but it was definitely not a given at this level. I am really proud of him and thankful for the leadership he's had looking out for his goals. 

Just for family's awareness his actual promotion date is not set yet and probably will take 10-12 months to do. The process of promoting at this stage is staggered. So the list comes out, you are assigned a line number and they promote people in smaller batches of a few hundred instead of all 2000+ at once. 

Baby! We are expecting a little boy in mid-July. He helped keep our tradition of PCSing while pregnant. I gotta say I have moved while 35 weeks, 20ish weeks, 11 days postpartum, and now 5-9 weeks; this time was the worst one. It also was the first time we sold a house which prolonged the process, but it was ROUGH. I was so sick. There was a day when the kids watched cartoons for like 9 hours while I alternated head over the toilet or napping on the bathroom floor. 

We're halfway through and I've been feeling better for about a month. I'm still TIRED. All the time. The lack of caffeine doesn't help the situation. The kids are mostly good about understanding when I need to rest and still sometimes nap. Even though they have given up nap time since moving and sharing a room. And in the mornings they have a wake clock that lights up green when they can get out of their room. Most days B is chomping at the bit and he'll come busting through my door like the kool-aid man 1 minute past wake-up time "MY CLOCK IS GREEEEEEN! PLEASE CAN I HAVE BREAKFAST". Occasionally H gets up first and peeks in quietly. I can hear them in their room starting when they first wake up, which is usually anywhere from 30-60 minutes before wake up time, so I'm not usually asleep, but if I'm very still she will close the door and softly say "shhh mommy is sleeping" and entertain B until I come out on my own. I must teach her how to bring me my (decaf, blerg) coffee. . .

The kids are excited for a baby. They like to talk to and about him. H even drew a picture of her and I doing something and included a baby in my midsection. Drawing baby is about as big as her and definitely looks like it's coming out but I love it. It's on our fridge. B doesn't quite understand time as well yet so he still asks a lot when. H understands at least it will be after her birthday. No one is disappointed it's a little brother, although I really think like us they would've been happy either way.

The End
So those are the big updates of the last year-ish it's been since I last posted. The kids are pretty good right now at playing independently, so hopefully this kickstarts more regular updating. Until a newborn is thrown in and then all bets are off, ha. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Taking a break from it all

I was feeling rather burned out in December. Just in a rut, incredibly busy with all the holiday shenanigans but also so bored with the ins & outs of every day life. And in my email I got a deal from Living Social for the Phoenix Zoo. What an amazing idea! It's not that far. I absolutely love zoos and hate that I can't share that with my kids very often. We were gonna go right before christmas, just to break it up and have a family weekend.

But of course life got in the way.  We didn't end up being able to make it work. Cut to last Wednesday. It was a bad day.  Just chaos and fighting and crying and yelling and everything crappy you could imagine about a stressed out adult alone with two toddlers. Driving H to her dance class I thought, what if we made Phoenix happen this weekend! H's school is closed Monday for teacher in-service; it's kismet!  It was up and down because unplanned last minute leave is difficult in T's job. He just needed Monday off, and fortunately his schedule & superiors allowed it!

We actually packed a lot in to the short trip, including plenty of time just swimming at the hotel pool or playing outside at a park. It's not that we can't do these things in town, of course. My problem is I always have a big list of things I should be doing hovering over me like a cloud. I needed to be able to have some family time where I wasn't able to do any of those tasks and therefore should not be thinking about them. It worked.

We ended up spending 3 hours at the zoo! The kids were wiped out, for sure, but they seemed to like it.  Although I'm not sure how into the animals they were yet. Their favorite part was definitely the carousel, haha.



H was obsessed with seeing zebras and horses, but by the time we got to the zebras she was pretty grouchy. B was having a blast thought



We walked around through the monkey village and stopped to see a momma holding her baby and a playful little guy who was definitely performing for the crowd and then he picked his nose and ate his booger -- the kids' second favorite thing about the zoo.

My favorite thing about the zoo was the camels! B & I got to ride one. Also I thought camels were similar in size to a horse or donkey.  I knew people ride them and such so I just assumed. I was wrong - they are GIGANTIC! I had no idea how tall they are. How people ever got them tame enough to ride is beyond me.




We also checked out the commemorative air force and museum.



We walked around and T talked to the kids all about the planes.  They even had a little pedal-power plane for the kiddos.






We were allowed to tour and walk through their working B-17! They do offer rides and various level of flight experiences in the plane. Of course T was geeking out over that, but that's an experience that requires a little bit more planning. Maybe in a future trip he'll get a chance to fly it :).






We fed Koi at the Japanese Friendship Garden. I think if I lived in Phoenix I'd definitely have a pass and go there to read or relax.  The kids liked feeding the fish, but they weren't so much into the rest of it - what do you mean there's an open area of grass that I'm not allowed to play in?






All in all it was a good trip! We saw some neat sights, got to swim, and enjoy an afternoon at the park. The drive wasn't bad at all and I'm looking forward to more weekend excursions in the future. 

(More pictures will pop up on facebook in a few days - these are just some highlights)





Tuesday, January 27, 2015

41 hours in Hawaii

What do you do when your best friend, who lives in Japan, comes back into the country for 10 days? You take two red-eyes to spend the weekend in Hawaii, of course.  Those of you who know J know her story. Those who don't, don't really need to any more than this: Her husband is also in the AF and they are stationed in Japan. She needed to go to Honolulu for some medical appointments. I needed to see her because I miss her face every day. So off I went. 

I had been wanting to come see her since I knew they had appointments scheduled. But the problem was it had to be over a weekend. There was so much uncertainty in schedule and T wasn't in a position to try and push for leave at work both because of what he's been working on and because he's going to need a lot of it in the future for life events. She wasn't sure if she'd be there over the weekend - all that depended on what the doctors she saw during the week wanted to do as far as further appointments and follow-ups went. It was a roller coaster for sure, and I really didn't tell anyone what was happening until I was confident that I was going, which was like 10 hours before leaving, haha. 

So I slept Friday night on the airplane and landed in Honolulu at 6 in the morning. J & K came to pick me up at the airport and we went to breakfast before heading up to North Shore. We went and saw Turtle Bay (well-known golf course) for K to play a round. I don't golf and J didn't feel like brining her clubs on the trip so we just drove around in the cart. We had coffee and talked golf with K, who I think over all played a pretty good round. It was just nice to be together, and be fairly relaxed since I was running on only a few hours of sleep.  We had hoped that day to see a lot of surfing, but the weather didn't cooperate. We did find this rocky inlet type thing and see some crazy waves crash into it as we were trying to scope out the Pipeline. 




We drove back to the city, got cleaned up and went to dinner.  We tried a modernized Mexican restaurant on a rooftop. The ambiance was pretty cool. The food was fine. There was nothing wrong with it, it just was underwhelming - especially when compared to what we ate on Sunday!


I made it the whole day without a nap! We were all really tired by the time dinner was over and were happy to go to bed to rest up for the next day. I can't remember the last time I fell asleep that fast. 

We got up the next morning and packed our stuff to hike up Diamond Head and finish the day in Waikiki on the beach. We started with breakfast. If you are ever on Oahu, please do yourself a favor and eat at Koko Head Cafe. It was unbelievable. We ate brunch like fine dining style - we ordered two plates as starters and then all chose our meals.  Food is important to me, okay?


Our "appetizer course" - Breakfast Bruschetta & The Dumpling of the Day. J & I might've ordered a second bruschetta at the end of the meal. . .  


UDON!!! For Breakfast! There is a poached egg on there and bacon.  


After really fueling up we went to Diamond Head - which is a volcanic crater on the coast. The hike was pretty short and manageable - although there were some flights of stairs that were beastly.  It was much more crowded than I had anticipated, but the views were beautiful. 








We stopped off to get some snacks & drinks and took a scenic drive along the coast. We were heading to explore the eastern coast and find a less populated beach, but the weather was misty and cloudy so we just finished the drive and headed back to Waikiki. We spent a few hours drinking beer and relaxing on the beach. It was perfect. We went in the water a little bit; we stayed for the sunset. 

The sun was at a horrible spot for this attempt at a selfie, but I love this pic of J mid-laugh :) 

 So much love for these two

Sunset in the ocean


After the sun went down, we stopped off to have some of the most amazing tacos. Spicy Sesame Poke tacos. I want to eat them all the time. Unf. I told you. I love food. I could've eaten them all night. But it was time to get back, take a shower, pack up, and get back to the airport. 

It felt longer than 2 days. We packed a lot of stuff in without feeling run-down or overexerted. I'd love to go back to Hawaii for a vacation some time. Some time when I have approximately eleventy-billion dollars because it's expensive, ha. And I want to eat my way across all the islands. 


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ringing in 2015

As I mentioned in our 2014 wrap up - this new years was a big milestone for me, and we celebrated in style! We got a room on the strip for NYE and the night of the first. We got all fancied up. We ate, drank, and gambled. It was a heck of a good time.

We started things off with wine while getting ready. Jenn had been lamenting about the lack of Chinese restaurants now that she has moved on base, and I hadn't eaten Chinese in weeks. Walk out on to the hotel balcony and see the P.F. Chang's in the shops at Planet Hollywood. We take it as a sign and decide to go there for a quick bite to eat. We almost sent T there for takeout while we got ready, and we probably should have. We got there at about 6:55 and starting at 7pm they switched to a fancy 5 course NYE fixed menu. We decided to stay anyway because at that point most restaurants would be doing something similar and we'd have a longer wait. At least it'll be quick, we thought. It wasn't. Our server was clearly overwhelmed. Poor girl ended up dropping an entire tray of champagne (a glass with dessert was included in the menu). She was really slow. At least we had good company. And the food was delicious as always. Plus with all the courses we all had leftovers to eat at 2 when we got the munchies. 

After dinner, The Cosmo was already fenced off and being checked for either a room key or concert tickets. I started to get a little stressed about the growing crowd and getting everyone up to the room in time so we walked down to Bally's and gathered my family to get everyone into our hotel. We decided to just gamble there so when it was time for the countdown no one got stuck outside. That's actually where we found our new favorite game - a fish/mermaid themed penny slot we have called the "Bubble Guppies" machines. 



After a drink from the cocktail lady, but not enough time for a 2nd we just decided to go upstairs. When we checked in they said after 6pm anyone going up to the rooms needs a key OR to be on a pre-approved guest list. So we made sure to put everyone's name on the list - given, drivers license matching names - and they said make sure everyone has a key or an ID. My dad came up with T. Jenn, Kat & I went up together so key's were covered. When the rest of the crew tried to get up, the security guards wanted a key and claimed there was no list. Thank goodness for Mary. She showed them the text I sent with room number and tower info and was like yeah we're gonna go up now, and so they made it without escort. 

We had a perfect view and I was certainly happy to be out of the crowd.  We had champagne. I have the Lolo's anxiety about never running out of anything while hosting so I had 5 bottles for 9 people. In my defense I was prepared for others who ended up not making it and also I splurged on my favorite kind which T & I can finish an entire bottle just the two of us. We only had 1 left I think so it wasn't that ridiculous. 

 the crowd

 FIREWORKS!

Midnight Kiss

We hung out in our room for a couple drinks waiting on the crowds to break up and then everyone made their way back to their hotels for the night. 

I really am obsessed with that crazy chair.

T went down to the cafe in the hotel in the morning for pastries and coffee. We lazed around a bit and then turned on football. We checked in with the rest of the crew but they were just in bars watching the games. We all elected it was much better to stay in comfys and watch it in the room. Kat had placed several bets on the bowl games for her husband and we all got really involved in his picks for the Baylor/MSU game. It was an exciting game on it's own merits, but we all became super invested in him winning his bets! Plus we are all parents of toddlers and there was no one demanding attention or milk so honestly lounging around needlessly without real pants is a dream day for us all.

We met up with the rest of our crew for a late lunch and vegas things before heading back to The Cosmo to get ready for dinner. We might've stopped at our lucky machines before going upstairs. I mean it was kind of on the way. 


We all were winning! All three of us ladies were up and having a blast but we had to get ready for dinner. 

Dinner. You guys. It was DELIGHTFUL! Everything everyone had was incredible. We went to Cut by Wolfgang Puck at the Palazzo. Everyone got a starter and I don't think anyone was disappointed. We ordered several different sides and then just passed them around family style. We had wine and cocktails and amazing food. I was bummed that some local friends we invited couldn't make it, but it worked out because the smaller reservation allowed us to all be at one table. 


We thought the picture of Wolfgang would make a memorable background, but no one really noticed how we blocked half of him and now it's just creepy, staring eyes out from behind us. Now it's just perfect in a different, good story kind of way. The staff was very attentive and accommodating. They actually called the day before to ask about any allergies which was perfect because they were prepared to answer all information about gluten for my mother-in-law who has Celiac. We were well taken care of without being hovered over. They were polite but not in that forced, uncomfortable way I've found - like the restaurants that make sure all the staff uses your name every time they address you. I highly recommend this restaurant for your next date night or special occasion. 

There was a joke about everyone going around the table saying one thing they love about me - no repeats to entice people to go first. It was all in humor and I'm glad it didn't happen because I would have definitely blushed and probably cried. It's evident they all loved me just by the fact that they traveled in to celebrate with me. But still, it's nice to hear what things you might not even know about yourself that are endearing to others. I welcome your compliments in the comment section of this post, LOL. 

After dinner we sat down at a Caribbean Stud table - it's a poker game that was really popular about 15 years ago, but these days it's hard to find. Mom & Mary were excited to play again, and I wanted to learn it so we played. We were so silly and it was hysterical. I don't even know why or how we came to being doing and saying the things we did but there was such laughter radiating from all of us we kept running with it. Finally just before 1 we had to quit and get back at least to our own hotels. Of course we stopped at Bubble Guppies again. They weren't as kind as before dinner, but I still had fun stopping. 

Everyone but our parents flew back on the 2nd. It was really a fantastic holiday, and an unbelievable birthday. Plus now we all can say we've done crazy vegas for New Year's Eve. Bucket list item checked off!

Love & Hugs