Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect

Official t-ball practice doesn’t start for a couple more weeks, but the kids like to go out in the backyard and work on their skills.

T-Ball Practice

Doesn’t everyone practice t-ball with a stethoscope tail?  And no pants?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Seven Years

Seven years.

That’s how long it has been since this day.


It sure doesn’t feel like that long, but I guess looking back, it really has been.

1st Anniversary – Chiang Mai, Thailand (this was actually a month after our actual anniversary because Jarrod was out to sea on our actual anniversary)

2nd Anniversary – Singapore (the sub’s port visit coincided with our anniversary!)

3rd Anniversary – We had a new little guy in the house who was causing us sleep deprivation, and I have absolutely no clue what we did for our anniversary this year.  I think we might have gone out to dinner???

4th Anniversary – Jarrod was deployed, but I got to spend the day with my little man!

5th Anniversary – Navy Supply Corps Ball – Virginia Beach

6th Anniversary – Carnival Triumph shore excursion in Progresso, Mexico

But seven years, six houses, three cars, one dog, and two kids later – here we are!

7th Anniversary – Wine Tasting and Dinner – Monterey, CA

And here’s to many, many more anniversaries to come!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Family Photos

The last time we had family photos taken was at the USS George H.W. Bush’s homecoming.  That was over a year ago, and I wanted to have some updated family portraits.

Luckily my friend Kate happens to be a great photographer!

Last week we went down to an open field in the neighborhood and she snapped some shots.

I love the way they turned out!


Yep, the last one is what our life normally looks like – total chaos.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Thanks, Kate, for the beautiful photos!

Friday, February 22, 2013

We’re Having a Washing Party

Yesterday while the kids were having quiet time in their room, I decided to work out.

I somehow made it through my entire workout without hearing any screaming, fighting, crying, or loud banging.

“Wow!  I could get used to this!,” I thought.  “I hope this is the new norm for quiet time!”

Since the kids had done so good, I decided to let Trenton and Charlotte come out of quiet time early.

Charlotte heard me coming and met me at the top of the stairs with wet spots on the knee of her pants and the back of her shirt.

I walked into the kids room, and Trenton had changed out of the clothes that he had been wearing and into a pair of shorts.

“What’s going on?  Why is Charlotte wet, and why are you in different clothes?  What have you and Charlotte been doing up here?”

“We’re having a washing party!  See how clean our toys are?”


Trenton and Charlotte proudly show me wet stuffed animals and some “washed” doll clothes.

“And just how did you wash these?”

I looked back toward the bathroom to the drips of water on the floor just as Trenton told me.

“We used the potty as the bathtub!”

Oh my gosh!  How can my kids think that it’s okay to play in toilet water?  I don’t recall ever explicitly telling them NOT to play in toilet water.  I guess I thought it was just kind of a given.  Guess I thought wrong!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Homemade Fruit Leather FAIL

I have been buying fruit leather in the commissary’s produce section for the past few weeks.  The kids have loved every flavor I’ve given them – even mango and apricot flavors.

So when I found a recipe online for making homemade fruit leather in the oven, I was really excited.

Since the recipe said that the leather needed to stay in the oven for 8-10 hours, and we’re stuck at home with pink eye again, today seemed like the perfect fruit leather making day.

The kids put 4 cups of fruit (kiwis and strawberries), 1/2 cup water, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in the blender and revved it up.


I brought the fruit mixture to a boil on the stove, let it simmer for 10 minutes, divided the mixture between two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, and stuck them in the oven.


I had run into a problem though.  The recipe I was using said to set the oven to 140 degrees, but the lowest setting on our oven is 170 degrees.  To try remedy this, I left the oven door cracked.

3 1/2 hour later, the leather was done.  Actually overdone.


I had wanted to cut the sheets to make fruit by the foot type snacks, but the leather just kind of broke apart.  I’m not sure if I left it in the oven too long, if it was the oven temperature causing the problem, or if I spread the fruit too thin.

The kids were still excited about trying it though.

Trenton thought it looked spicy (I should have used a strainer to get the seeds out), but he tried it anyway.


He was not a fan.  Neither was his little sister.

I think we’ll be sticking with store bought fruit leather from now on!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Charlotte (and Trenton & six other kids) and the Chocolate Factory

When one of my friends organized a tour of Lula’s Chocolates in Monterey, I didn’t need to be asked twice if we wanted to go.

You may think that taking eight kids (ages 4 and under) to tour a chocolate factory may be a little daunting, but the kids were up for it.

Until the hair nets came out.

Charlotte was not having it.  She went into hissy mode.  But if she wanted to see how the chocolate was made, she had to wear it.  And she did wind up putting it on after much coaxing from Mommy.

We were given the tour by the company’s owner, Scott Lund.  He told us moms that he had five kids of his own, so he could handle our group.


And he did a great job.  He explained things on the kids level.  When Trenton asked about Halloween candy, Scott explained why Lula’s Chocolates are better than Halloween candy.  But, he also told the kids that they shouldn’t eat too much of any candy.


The best part was when it was time for a taste test.


Yum!  Homemade marshmallows!

On the way out, we bought some goodies to bring home (at a great military discount!).

One of the things we bought was hot chocolate.  I knew that today was going to be cold and rainy, and I figured it would be a great day for hot chocolate.


Trenton watched the clock all morning waiting for 10:00 snack time to roll around.

The kids were ready!

I warmed some milk up, added the chocolate, sugar, and homemade marshmallows, and they went to town.


Except Charlotte wanted to lap hers up like a dog.


And mean Mommy told her to use her manners and drink her hot chocolate the right way.


After a few tears, she listened, and enjoyed it just the same.

The faces of hot chocolate fans.


Charlotte got sidetracked about halfway through her cup, and went to play with Trenton.

And I just couldn’t let perfectly good hot chocolate go to waste, could I?

I put the cup in the microwave for a bit to warm it back up.

And Oh. My. Gosh.  The hot chocolate was good, but what really made it were those marshmallows.  They didn’t fade into the abyss like the ones in Swiss Miss (how do you like those rhyming skills?); they melded together into one big gooey, marshmallowy, hunk of heaven.

It’s a good thing I am trying to eat healthier during the Lenten season, or else I’d be drinking Lula’s Chocolates hot chocolate every day!

(To see more pictures from our tour, check out my friend Kate’s blog.)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Who Needs Training Wheels?

Not this kid!


We got Trenton a Strider Balance Bike for his second birthday.  He didn’t use it a whole lot the first year he had it, but once we moved here, he wanted to ride it all the time.  And it wasn’t long before he really got the hang of staying balanced on it.

Trenton had gotten so good at balancing that we thought it was time for him to move up to a big bike.  So yesterday after church, we headed up to Salinas to Toys-R-Us so that Trenton could pick one out.

He was super excited to pick a bike, but made sure to tell me and Jarrod that he didn’t want “those extra wheels.”

We got home, changed clothes, took the training wheels off of the new bike, and headed over to a little circle track at the community center.

Trenton did pretty good, but he did have a little trouble pedaling, keeping his balance, and taking curves all at the same time.


We decided to move down to a nearly empty parking lot to let Trenton practice just going straight.

And he picked it up in no time!


I’d like to say that we made it through our first day of learning to ride a bike without any bumps or bruises, but someone wasn’t so lucky.

Sprained Ankle

Don’t worry though, Charlotte has been giving Daddy’s ankle plenty of kisses.  I’m sure he’ll be good as new in no time!