Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Back Yard Critter

I normally don’t like back yard critters.  I’ve wanted to play “whack-a-gopher” numerous times.

But when I saw this little critter in our back yard, I decided it could stay.

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I mean, who wants to get rid of the Easter Bunny?

Especially one this cute!

And even a pouty Easter Bunny is better than a gopher!

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hiking Pinnacles National Park

Yesterday we marked something else off of my California bucket list – hiking at Pinnacles National Park.

Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles is an ancient volcanic field about an hour drive from Monterey.  A trip there takes a little planning ahead of time because there are two entrances to the park –an east entrance and a west entrance.  And there is no road connecting the two inside the park.  I did my research Friday night, and Saturday morning, we were headed toward the east entrance to hike to the bear gulch caves.

Our hike didn’t get off to a great start.  While we sat at the visitors center waiting for the shuttle to come take us to the trailhead, I fed Evelyn and Jarrod got the sunscreen out for the kids.  The sprayer was broke making it useless.  Thankfully I had packed our adult sunscreen too.  Jarrod put some on the big kids, I put some on Evelyn’s bald head and white arms, and we hopped on the shuttle.

We got of the shuttle at the trailhead, I strapped Evelyn in the front pack and went to grab my camera out of the backpack.  And then I realized that I forgot my SD card in the computer at home.  So iPhone photos it was.  And since we weren’t near the car, that also meant that Jarrod had to lug around the dead weight of a useless camera in the backpack.

Jarrod went to find the restroom while I kept track of all the kids.  I saw Trenton rubbing his eye, and he immediately started crying.  And that’s why adult sunscreen isn’t for kids.  We flushed Trenton’s eye out with water three different times, but the crying and whining went on for close to thirty minutes.

So this is what that part of the hike looked like.

Pinnacles National Park

Thankfully we didn’t turn around and leave and Trenton’s eye started feeling better.

Because the hike was awesome and the views were gorgeous!

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(Trenton wanted to be the photographer rather than being photographed.)

Evelyn did great on the hike.  She refuses to sit facing me in the carrier, and wants to be facing out.  But she is still too small to put her legs through the sides, even with the bottom of the carrier cinched up all the way.  So she sits frog legged which seems pretty uncomfortable.  But then again, she was born frank breech with her feet in her face, so she must not be worried much about comfort.

Our hike took us to the bear gulch caves.  Trenton and Charlotte were so excited!

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The kids were rock stars in the cave!  Even Evelyn liked it!  There were some tight spots that I had to squat down and waddle through, but it wasn’t too hard.

Once we got out of the caves and on the back side of the trail, we stopped to sit down for a snack and take in the views.

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Trenton loved stopping and talking to hikers on our way back out of the trail.  He told them about the caves and where to look out for puddles.  After a rough start to the hike, it was good to see our kids having a good time and talking about how much fun they had.

And you know another sign of a successful hike?  Three sleeping kids on the way home!  We’re so glad that we got to knock Pinnacles National Park off of our list before leaving Monterey (only two months left here!)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Someday My Prince Will Come

And he might just look a wee bit like Prince Eric.

Homemade Prince Eric Costume

Today was prince and princess dress up day at Trenton’s school. 

I had no idea what I was going to put Trenton in, and I really didn’t want to go out and buy anything.

I thought about putting him in his frog prince headpiece that he wore for Halloween 3 years ago.

Frog Prince

But then I saw a picture of Prince Eric and knew that it would be perfect.  And we already had everything we needed.  The shirt and pants were in Trenton’s closet, the red sash is from one of Charlotte’s dresses, and I pulled a pair of soccer socks over Trenton’s cowboy boots to make them black.

Voila!

And there you have it!  My little Prince Eric!

Homemade Prince Eric Costume

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Watch Me Grow: Three Months

Look who’s one-quarter of the way to her first birthday!

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Here’s a look back at the past three months.

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Evelyn’s personality is shining through more and more each day.  She gets the biggest smiles in the morning when she sees Trenton and Charlotte.  I can’t wait to see her relationship with them evolve.

I often get asked who Evelyn looks like.  I really didn’t think that she looked very much like Charlotte.  Until I did this…

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Yep, they’re definitely related!

And we’ve finally started gaining weight!  The formula has done wonders for Evelyn’s weight gain.  It hasn’t done anything to help the spitting up, but at least we’re putting on some pounds.  Evelyn is still on her reflux meds too.  They help neutralize the acid, but don’t help with the amount Evelyn spits up – which is A LOT.  We go through a new burp cloth at nearly every feeding.  But as long as Evelyn is gaining weight and isn’t too fussy with the spitting up, the doctor wants us to leave things where they are.

Weight: 10 pounds, 11 ounces
Height: Not taken this month
Eating: 4 ounces of formula every 4 hours
Sleeping: Girlfriend is a little alarm clock and wakes up for feedings every four hours, even during the night.  I wake her up to feed her around 10:00-10:30 when I go to bed, she wakes up around 2:30 for another bottle, and then again at 6:30.  She normally falls back asleep for a nap while I’m taking the big kids to school and stays asleep until it’s time to pick them up.  She gets another nap after lunch and then goes down for the night after dinner. 
Diapers: Size 1 – We switched from Pampers Swaddlers to Huggies Little Snugglers, and it has helped with Evelyn’s diaper rash.  It’s still not totally healed up from last month, but is at least looking a little better.
Clothes: 0-3 months – She probably has 2-4 more weeks in these.
Shoe Size: Still haven’t found any that fit.

First Airplane Ride – March 18th:
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First Hospital Visit – March 19th:
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First Time in the Bluebonnets – March 25th:
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First Time on a Fire Engine – April 4th:
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We’re looking forward to another month of fun firsts!

 

*Thanks for all of you sweet comments on my post about the Month of the Military Child.  My good friend, Kate, has a link-up on her blog today with links to other posts about military children.  To check them out, click HERE.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Month of the Military Child

April is the month of the military child.

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Photo by Lindsey Dutra Photography

When I asked Trenton and Charlotte what they thought about being military children, they both said that they liked going on the aircraft carrier and moving to new places.

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But there’s a lot more to being a military child than that.

My military children will have many opportunities to see things they might not have seen otherwise.  Trenton, at the age of 5, has already been to 14 states, and Charlotte, at the age of 4, has been to 12.  Evelyn will start her list this summer!  I didn’t travel outside of Texas until I was in the fourth grade.

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Camden Yards – Baltimore, MD

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Horseback riding through the Arizona desert

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Train ride in Nevada

My military children are adaptable.  They have already had to say goodbye to many friends, but have learned to make new friends quickly.  And they love staying in touch with their friends who have moved all over the world too.

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My military children are strong.  They have had to bid Daddy farewell many times.  We’ve pushed through deployments counting down the days until Daddy comes home.  I would tear up watching the kids kiss Jarrod’s picture or watching him read to them on the TV though the USO’s United Through Reading program.  They missed their daddy something fierce, but nothing beats seeing them reunited.

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Charlotte meeting Daddy for the first time.  He got to come home from Afghanistan for ten days when she was born because she had to be taken early.

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U.S.S. George H. W. Bush homecoming after a 7 month deployment.  Photos by Simple Soul Photography.


One day we’ll settle down in our forever home in our forever town.  But until then, our military children are learning valuable lessons from their out of the norm lifestyle.  We hope that the lessons and experiences they have already gained and will gain from being military children will stick with them many years down the road.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spreading Smiles

It’s no secret that I love my kids and that they make me smile.

But what I really love seeing them do is make others smile.

Today the kids and I, along with some friends from CWOC (Catholic Women of the Chapel), visited a local nursing home.

Trenton does not know a stranger and soon befriended a gentleman with a “walker like WaWa’s.”  Then he started talking to a lady and wound up sitting in her lap. The boy made his way around to speak to almost every resident.

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Charlotte, a clown once she knows you, is shy upon first meeting new people.  She wanted me to hold her for a few minutes, but then warmed up once she saw that all of the ladies had their fingernails painted and were wearing bracelets that they had made.

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The children and the residents made bunnies that are going to be strung together to make a garland.  Then the kids all got cookies.

At a quiet moment, Trenton got everyone’s attention:
“Excuse me old people – would you like to see my baby sister?”

I obviously need to work with him on how to address large groups…

Anyway, Evelyn was sleeping in her carrier, but all of the residents were clearly excited about the opportunity to see a baby.  So I uncovered her and took her carrier around so everyone could sneak a peek.  And a sleeping baby made a room of nursing home residents very happy.

It soon was time to say goodbye, but I don’t think this will be our last time visiting the nursing home.


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