Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall Furnace Festival and a New Remedy for Insect Stings

Last month when Trenton, Charlotte, and I went to Family Hiking Day with Appalachian Trail Conservancy, I picked up a brochure for the Fall Furnace Festival at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

Sunday was a beautiful crisp autumn day, so we decided to head out to the festival after church.


And we are so glad that we did.  The festival was so much fun!  And even better – admittance was free!

We started off with apple cider making and tasting.

Charlotte was first up.


She was a great apple grinder.


One would think that all of that juicy apple-y goodness would taste good to any nearby insects.  But no, instead a yellowjacket decided to go for Charlotte’s face.

Our fun ten minutes at the festival could have came to a quick end, but the nice state park education lady and a bucket of cold apples came to the rescue.


Who knew that an apple could provide sting relief?

Apparently it also tasted good!


The apple grinding job was not left unmanned while Charlotte recovered.  Trenton took over right where she left off.


Once another group of kids came along wanting a turn to use the cider grinder/press, Trenton and Charlotte moved onto candle dipping.


They keep saying that they can’t wait for the electricity to go out so that they can burn them.  I’m hoping that we make it until the summer before the electricity goes out again.  This Texas girl isn’t quite ready for the cold Pennsylvania winter.

Next we walked over to the historical demonstrations area.  Our walk over the creek and along the lake to get to the demonstrations was really nice.


And just happens to be part of the Appalachian Trail.


In the history area, we learned about charcoal making and how charcoal was used in the pig iron making process at the furnace.


We talked to the gentleman for 15 minutes.  We all had a lot of questions about the process.

But I only thought that we spent a lot of time with charcoal making.

Trenton could have spent all afternoon at the next station.


Trenton now wants to be a blacksmith when he grows up.  Too bad the job outlook for his newly chosen occupation isn’t very good…

While Trenton was still enamored with the blacksmith, Charlotte moved on to decobbing and grinding corn.


Next we walked to the opposite end of the park for hayrides, the birds of prey show, and pedal carts.  By the time we got over there, the bird show was almost over and the hayride line was really long.  Trenton and Charlotte were more than happy to ride pedal carts though.


On our way out, we grabbed snacks to share.  You can never go wrong with funnel cake!

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Oh, and no, we didn’t forget Evelyn at home.  She slept in the stroller for a while, and then spent the rest of the time taking everything in and looking adorable in her sister’s old winter hat!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Watch Me Grow: 9 Months

Evelyn turned 9 months old on October 10th.  Yep, over a week ago.  Better late than never with an update though!


Evelyn had a busy month.  She finally got her first tooth!  Unfortunately, that hasn’t meant that she’s sleeping any better.

Thankfully she’s a good napper and a very happy baby.


Evelyn started waving this month, and loves waving at everyone in the house and everyone sitting near us in church. 

She is still content with her army crawl.  We’ve seen her get up on all fours and take one or two crawling movements at a time, but then she goes right back down to her belly.

Girlfriend babbles up a storm.  I really think we’ll be hearing a first word soon.  Evelyn is a daddy’s girl, so I think Jarrod may get the first word this go-round.


Evelyn also likes to sing along with the choir at church.  Luckily she stops when the songs end!

We are totally off reflux medication.  We also decided at Evelyn’s 9 month appointment to try to slowly move her onto a gentle milk based formula to see how she does.  Our fingers are crossed that this goes well!

I think we’re going to have another gymnastics fan in the house.  Evelyn loves when I help her do front rolls and already knows to tuck her chin!

She is a mischievous little baby and loves getting into things that she’s not supposed to; namely paper, cords, and dog toys.  Who needs baby toys?

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I’m not sure how we have already made it through three-quarters of a year with this little munchkin.  We have enjoyed (almost) every minute of it!


Weight: 20 pounds, 8 ounces (78th percentile)
Height: 28 1/4 inches (39th percentile)
She’s a bit of a roly poly!
Drinking: Between 25-30 ounces of formula a day and about 4-6 ounces of water
Eating: Still getting mostly purees, but she’s also eating some table food too.  She loves grilled chicken!
Clothes: 9 months
Shoes: I have finally started putting shoes on Evelyn’s feet!  Problem is that she’s between sizes.  2’s are too small, and 3’s fall off of her feet (unless it’s boots).
Diapers: Huggies Little Snugglers size 3
Sounds/Words: No words yet, but lots of babbles.  I think we’re getting close!
Teeth: One!  (But you may be able to spy a second tooth that made it’s debut a day after she turned 9 months old)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My 31st Birthday

Today I am 31 years young.

I normally love getting texts, calls, and facebook messages wishing me a happy birthday.  But today they have all felt like kicks in the stomach. 

My day has not been wonderful, fantastic, or fabulous.

You see, we found out early this morning that Jarrod’s Nanmaw had just passed away.  So a happy birthday, it is not.

We will still do cake this evening for the sake of the kids.  And they still gave me homemade cards and magnadoodle messages along with a santa hat, pencil, doll hairbrush, and other randomness that they stuck in a gift bag, but other than that, there isn’t a lot of celebrating to be done.

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(I have no clue what this spells, but it’s still cute!)

We are happy that Nanmaw suffered very little and that she is now reunited with Jarrod’s Papaw who passed away when Jarrod was little.

Nanmaw loved her family something fierce.  She was constantly bragging on her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.  She would always write stories and/or send newspaper clippings with my birthday cards – all of them about Jarrod or his Papaw (who was also in the Navy).  Nanmaw’s whole living room was plastered with pictures.  I think she had every single picture that family members had ever given her taped up to her door and walls.

She will be missed by many, but her legacy will live on through her four daughters, nine granddaughters and one grandson (yep, Jarrod’s the only guy!), and sixteen great-grandkids.

So please, instead of birthday wishes for me, I ask that you send prayers and good thoughts to Jarrod’s family.

Thank you.

And to those of you who have already sent birthday messages - thanks.  They are hard to swallow today, and I get choked up every time I get one, but I do feel very loved.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Navy Ball 2014 Recap

In my 8 1/2 years as a Navy wife, I have been to 4 Supply Corps Balls, 3 Submarine Balls, and 2 Grand Winter Balls, but Friday was my first Navy Ball.


We were celebrating the Navy’s 239th birthday.

Now most military balls are fairly similar, but I was still a little nervous about this one.  We’ve only been here a few months, and I’m still meeting new people.  But holy moly, this ball ranks up there with the best balls that I’ve attended.

You know it’s going to be a fun night when the Chief of the Navy Supply Corps hops into random pictures with wives.

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And then there were the 5-6 tables of JROTC members.  High schoolers, y’all!  I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I was in the “old crowd” at a ball, but Friday night I did.  Those of you who are familiar with military balls know about the cutting of the cake.  The oldest and the youngest get to cut it.  The youngest was 13!!!!

On the bright side – teenagers can’t drink, so that meant extra wine for our table!

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After dinner and a speaker, it was time for the dance.  A dance where the age range was 13 to probably 60+.  But it worked.  I jumped up and down in 4 inch heels to songs that I didn’t know with a bunch of high school kids.  And they followed along when the “old ladies” led the train.  (I’ve been singing “come on ride the train, hey ride it, woo woo” all weekend!)  There were also the nice slower songs that I got to two-step to with my honey (for those of you who don’t know, Jarrod and I met when he asked me to dance one night at a dance hall while we were in college).  

I’m pretty sure that we’ve never shut a ball down, but we were having so much fun that we lost track of time and were the last ones there this time!

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Now I can’t wait for the Supply Corps Ball in the spring!

Moving on to my dress -

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I rented my dress from Rent the Runway.

It was my first time using them, and I couldn’t be happier with the experience.

I have a closet full of dresses, but some of them don’t fit and some just aren’t my style anymore.  So instead of buying a new dress, I decided to rent.

My dress retails for $1145, and I rented it for $70.  Never ever would I have bought an $1145 dress, but by using RTR, I was able to wear one!

My dress was delivered on Wednesday.  Actually two dresses.  Rent the Runway sends you two sizes of the same dress.  Great if you’re on the fence with what size you should go with.

I thought that I was going to have to go out shopping for shoes, but I had some in my closet from a previous ball that worked perfectly.  I also had a purse and jewelry that worked, too.

Saturday morning, I put both dresses in a prepaid UPS envelope, and Jarrod dropped it by the UPS Store (it had to be dropped of by noon).

Now I am absolutely in love with Rent the Runway, and have already started looking for a dress for our next ball!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blessing of the Pets

This past Saturday was the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Saint Francis is the patron saint of animals, and what better way to celebrate his love for all creatures than to have a pet blessing!

Since the feast fell on a weekend, the school/church held their annual pet blessing on Friday.

The church I grew up in was in a very rural community where most people had farm dogs and barn cats as pets.  Not many animals that were used to being on leashes.  So my home parish never had a pet blessing.

This was my first one to attend.

And Bailey’s first.

I was a little nervous about Bailey.  He definitely fits in with the rest of our kids: easily excitable, doesn’t always follow directions, and crazy cute.

But like the rest of the kids, he is overall a good cookie.

Trenton talked about the pet blessing the whole week leading up to the event.  He was so excited that Bailey got holy water!


Bailey moved at the last second, and didn’t make it all the way into the picture.  Oops!  But I love the look on Father’s face.  What an enthusiastic priest!

Bailey then proceeded to shake off his holy water.  Maybe that’s the way dogs do the Sign of the Cross???


Not only was Trenton excited about Bailey being blessed and showing him off to his friends, but Trenton also got to show off his daddy.  Jarrod spent the afternoon volunteering in the kindergarten classroom for centers time.  The kids must have done pretty good because Jarrod is going back to volunteer again tomorrow!


What a great way to end the school week!  Bailey and many other dogs, cats, birds, and fish (and even some ducks, a donkey, and a pony) got to participate in the pet blessing, and 300+ school children plus parents and other church parishioners were there to help celebrate Saint Francis’s love for animals.  A win-win for all involved!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Apple Picking

We spent a wonderful weekend with family down in Virginia.

After a birthday party on Saturday, we headed to Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville yesterday to pick apples.

Some members of the family were more excited about apple picking than others.


We started off in trying to find Fuji apples, but the trees were extremely picked over.  The only people getting any apples out of those trees were the ones with poles.

On to the Golden Delicious field we went, where there were plenty of apples low enough for the kids to grab.


The kids picked apples, ate apples (I think Trenton downed five of them!), and posed for pictures with apples.


Then it was on to what I had been hearing so much about.


Apple doughnuts!

And they were warm!  It was like Lay’s potato chips.  You can’t eat just one.  Perfect since I have to fit into a formal gown this coming weekend for the Navy Ball…

We spent the rest of our time on the mountain playing in the pumpkins, getting eaten by a giant jack-o-lantern, and enjoying a hayride.


These kids all had so much fun together over the weekend.  It was like they picked up right where they left off two and a half years ago.  I guess that’s what cousins are for!

Happy birthday, Aiden!  And thank you, Michael and Jeannie, for welcoming us into your home.  It was great catching up, and we can’t wait to see y’all again!


Friday, October 3, 2014

The time I took pictures of my kids in the middle of the road

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my off the beaten path find earlier this week.

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And if you don’t follow me on Instagram, you’re missing out on a lot of cuteness!  (You can click HERE to follow.)

Anyway, I fell in love with this drive.  It’s just a little half mile long rock road that I’m pretty sure is just used to access the corn fields along it.

As soon as I got home from driving down this road the other day, I rummaged through my kids’ closets to find some clothes for pictures.

And yesterday evening after gymnastics, Jarrod and I took Trenton, Charlotte, and Evelyn out to take pictures in the middle of the road.

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Getting three kids to look at the camera and smile at the same time is no joke.  I even brought along tricks.  Good thing no one really drives down the road we were on because I had underwear on my head at one point.  And it only garnered one good smile.  The other two were either howling or trying to pick up rocks to eat.

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We had to tell Evelyn that rocks were not on the dinner menu for the evening.  She got uber mad, and that was the end of the picture taking for her.

Trenton and Charlotte were still game though (they knew they had surprises coming if they did good – yep, I bribe).

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These two love each other.

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Most of the time…

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But then they get along again.

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I took a road less traveled by a few days ago.  And now I have memories that will last a lifetime.

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