Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Serving today.
Remembering today.
Thankful today.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Saying Good-Bye

These two?  Perfect peas in a pod.  Meggie ADORES my sister, Becca.  ADORES!!!
We said good-bye to Grandmama and Auntie Becca today. They rode down the road with us to the Island's bakery for a late breakfast and then set out for South Carolina.  Every fiber of my being wanted to squeeze into their backseat and go with them.

Go home.

Even Meggie sympathized with me as she peeped up at my mom from her seat at the table and asked: "Meggie go home to Grandmama's house, too?"

You know it's been a good visit with that happens! :)

When the four of us returned to the beach bungalow, I felt so lonely.  The house felt empty.  It's like I confessed to Kyle:

Seeing them here made being here okay.  It's not that they made it feel like home - it's that they brought the familiar with them - and the familiar made everything feel better.

Two months into this move and everything still seems a little new.  I'm learning my way around - even though I haven't ventured much off the main road yet, hee hee - feeling out new life rhythms, memorized our address.

But it doesn't feel like we belong here.  Having my mom and sister for this week, though, brought the belonging to our front door.

And, tonight, without the familiar resting in the nearness of family, I really, really, really miss them.

We all do.

(I'm already dreading next week when I have to fly solo again. :/ )

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Homecoming Visitors

Our Douglass Dog is home!!!  

When I flew home to SC with the girls in February, we took Douglass with us and left him in the care of my parents until we got settled down here in our new home.  It was scary for me to leave him because I didn't know how long it might be before they could visit us and bring him back to us, but I knew he was in the best hands for the duration.

Well, my dad texted about two weeks ago and told me that my mom was on her way with my sister, Becca, and Douglass in tow.  I am so exhilarated that he's finally home with us.  The past four months I've really felt like a huge part of our family was missing...and, honestly, I didn't feel quite like myself without his trusty companionship. 

And I'm so thankful to have this visit with my mom and sister.  The girls are soaking up time with a grandmother, and every night that I've meant to update my blog this week, Becca, Kyle, and I've stayed up SUPER late talking or watching chick-flicks (hey, we've got to indoctrinate Kyle into the world of living with girls, right???) or put-putting on the Island. 

Such a sweet time.

here's a short preview of what we've been doing since they've been here:

there's a redhead sister and a brunette sister in our family, too. :) and I did her french braid! heck yeah, I've still got it...got to get in that girl hair practice.

Becca's and Meg's legs are in the background...

he found three!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Alice Virginia at 11 months

My darling Alice Virginia,

On May 16, 2012, you celebrated eleven months in this world.  A couple noteworthy events happened this month.  You crawled for the first time on May 9th - and you did it to reach a bright yellow duck on the floor of our XO’s bathroom.  Meggie, you, and I were in there helping Meggie go potty and while I was pulling up her pants and turning the water on to wash her hands, I spied you placing one hand and knee in front of the other going after that duck!  It’s kind of your pattern, my girl.  You like to do things in your own timing, but once you get it you’ve got it perfectly.  Since that day, you crawl everywhere.  You are steady, determined, and with a hefty dose of spunk.  Right now, you’d rather not be held and much prefer exploring your broadened surroundings.  I’ve had to invent different activities to keep you entertained when I’m cooking dinner or getting ready - like setting up toys in the pack-and-play for you, creating a circle boundary of bigger toys on the floor in our bedroom, tempting with snacks, and scurrying around doing chores as quickly a possible.  In your eleventh month you’re making me understand in new ways what it means to have TWO children. 

We also received the results of your food allergy panel. 

The doctor told us that your numbers indicate a low allergy to peas, moderate allergy to eggs and soy, HIGH allergy to milk, and severely HIGH allergy to peanuts.  After the initial shock of the findings wore off (we were expecting milk and possibly eggs because Meggie’s also allergic to eggs), we were relieved to have some of the answers to your feeding/sleeping issues.  Knowing you’re allergic to peas explains this.  And knowing you’re allergic to both milk and soy helps us understand why it hurt your tummy to eat (even when I stopped eating dairy, I was still eating and drinking soy products).  Even though you sleep through the night now, you still wake up with shrill screams of pain at least twice or three times a night.  Now we know the culprit!  Since we’ve incorporated a milk-free, soy-free formula into your diet, you’re a much more peaceful sleeper at night.  Also, you’ve started wanting to eat more solid food since we received the results - I think your stomach’s been in pain for so long that you were refusing to make it worse by eating. 

AV, we are so sorry it took us this long to figure out what really was going on in your body.  Now that we do understand, though, we’re getting educated on how best to protect you from these allergies and what foods to have or avoid at home.  It’s going to take some work and research - Meggie and I went to the grocery store this week and came home without any of our usual snacks because it seems like everything contains or is cross-contaminated by milk, soy, or peanuts - but you’re worth every wrinkled brow, tear, foregone string cheese or chocolate-chip cookie. 

And, don’t you worry, I’ve already been dreaming about the perfect alternative to cake and ice-cream on your big birthday in a few weeks.  I think I’m going to make a huge strawberry jello salad with non-dairy cool whip on top to go with your “summer, sweet, strawberry-girl” theme.  I know you’ll love squishing that squirmy jello - so much that none of us will miss the cake! :)

You are in size 18 month clothes.  You love books, your sister, putting objects into others - like your teapot, kitchen, and blender, and developing a fast interest in “no-no” things like outlets, electrical cords, and blinds.  You’re an observant baby - we’ve even seen you mimicking us by rubbing your hands together for sunscreen or soap, talking on the phone, or praying.  AV, you’re learning to shriek when you want something or when something gets taken from you before you’re ready.  You’re learning to pull up - and the other day really scared me when you toppled over backwards from the stairs at the playground.  You’d pulled yourself up onto the first step and when I gave my attention to your sister for one second lost your balance and fell over.  You cried for just a minute, though, and in my arms were comforted.

Though a mover now, you’re still our cuddler and love your ergo carrier...but only in the hip-carry position.  You dance, clap, and spin every time you hear music.  You’re a happy girl with a sun-shiney disposition.  Remember when we were going to name you (metaphorically-speaking) “shining light?”  Well, even though you came out our Alice Virginia, the name still fits!

Happy 11 months, AV!

We love you,


I've been practicing with my camera, and all of these were taken on her eleventh month birthday.  I love how they show her dear personality. :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Big Arrival

Somebody's long-awaited, much anticipated big girl bed arrived today.  We heard the monster truck trundling down the street and ran outside to greet her delivery. 

I've never seen anyone more excited about a bed...or a truck! 

We've got a grown up girl on our hands now. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Evening Wagon Ride

hahaha - oh, her impatient squawk makes me laugh so much!
I'd planned an update about our Baby Girl tonight because we got the results back from her allergy testing yesterday.  Some of the results were expected, but some were not.  We're still processing our feelings and next steps regarding the not.

Nothing major major, but still something of concern that changes up our household and the foods we can have around our family.

Short story: we found out that, among other allergies like milk, - which we suspected after her reactions to cheese and other milk-containing snacks - AV has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts.  This result was shocking in that no one else in our family is allergic to peanuts or nuts.  She's the first on either side.  So instead of being fearful (and believe you me - my overactive imagination has been causing me some serious anxiety over this since yesterday), I'm attempting to be 100% thankful that we found out this way and not by giving her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a few months.

More on this to come as she turns 11 months old (gasp) tomorrow!!!

So, yes, I had planned to discuss in detail, but then today was a grocery day.  And grocery days always tend to run behind the. whole. day. after.  Dinner was late (too long soaking up the nice weather outside), followed by bath night (it was an absolute necessity today - normally we would have just skipped), me doing bedtime solo because K has his very first TC-12 flight in the morning, and before I knew it I was still doing kitchen clean up at 11:00. :(

I just had to come on here and post a few pictures from our evening, though.  Can't disappoint the grandmothers and great-grandmothers! hehehe.  Seriously - I love knowing that each of these dear ones races to check their computers in the morning for pictures of our angel babies.  So these are a special hello from me tonight to y'all in the morning...

I love how they're both looking in the direction of the truck down the driveway.

See? She's really crawling now.
we took a wagon ride. And baby had to come, too.
so even on our 2 month date of living here, seeing pictures in our new neighborhood STILL makes me do a double-take...like, where are we?  Where are our trees?  The rolling hills?  Whose house is this?
and, yes! Meggie Moo did pick out her own outfit - galoshes included. :)
investigatin' an ant

a born scientist
We had a soaking thunderstorm during naptime which left a beautiful afternoon to play - both in weather and sunlight.  The girls and I loved being outside, although my job in herding them around the driveway has gotten exponentially harder now that AV's crawling.  As we anticipated, she high-tailed it straight for the rocks in the yard. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Weekend in Manual Setting

I think I may be getting into photography.

I say "may be" because I don't really consider myself a truly artistic person, numbers and settings and "rules" tend to confuse me, and my littlest ones don't leave much leftover time to learn a new hobby - when I factor in also blogging, writing class, friends, housework, running, etc...there's just not much time.

On the other hand.  The Mommy Moments Photography Challenge was really fun for me to try.  I have a super camera and have always wanted to learn its secrets.  I love art.  And I want to tell my girls their story in BOTH words and pictures.

This weekend, I clicked off of auto focus and onto my manual setting.  And that's about as technical as I go - knowing where to find the manual button on my camera.  I have a small reference point regarding ISO and light, but just what I've picked up from hearing other people talk or skimming a blog now and then - thinking "I'll never be able to learn that stuff" or "be as good as them."

In manual, then, I played around with different ISO settings and focal points to capture our weekend.

A weekend that I was in love with from beginning to end.  In pictures where I don't know what the heck I'm doing.  Somebody out there - help me!!!

I so want to learn.

*all of these pictures have not been changed or edited from their original format - I don't know how to do that either. sheepish grin.

**AND, I know these are overwhelmingly of Alice Virginia, but she still moves so slowly that she's great to practice on in the manual setting.  I am so out of Miss Meggie Moo "speedy gonzales"'s league right now. :) 

I promise she's not as solemn as she always appears in photos - it's just that she's always studying everything.
On Saturday evening, we packed up a little picnic and took it to the playground on base.  It was a quiet and relaxing dinner where the girls got to play while we listened to planes zooming overhead and smelled the salty breeze.

We also spied a thousand jack rabbits and mexican ground squirrels while we were there - this new place has so many unusual animals roaming around.

Meggie had a drive-by hugging incident.  I was glad I had my camera out and poised for such a moment - even if it came out off-center!
she's crawling everywhere now! we even had to move her into this covered part of the playground because she kept crawling around eating rubber off the "floor." silly thing.
she's also trying to pull up a little.

I love this one.  A friend stopped by to play and AV was fascinated by his hands.

and then she made her getaway down the ramp.

I just love a crawling baby.

and just when she thinks she's in the clear...
BUSTED. not so fast little lassie.
 After the playground, we walked down to the pier on base.  I go walking usually once a week with a friend of mine from graduate school at OSU who lives on base with her husband.  We walk around base housing for a bit and then truck it on over to this fishing pier in hopes of seeing a dolphin.  Julia's seen them before by the pier, but so far we haven't seen any together.

This spot is very peaceful and inviting - especially in the duskiness of evening.  The pier opens up onto a little protected bay - when Kyle and I took the girls this weekend we saw several families camped out on the bay.  We decided right then to bring the girls back with bathing in mind.

But on Saturday, we were just aiming to see one of those elusive wild dolphins.
OK, here we go.  Clearly lighting issues.

trying to get the right aperture.  the pier is full of these herons - all the time!

AND LOOK WHAT WE SAW!!!  A whole school (pod?) of them swimming about.  Very hard to catch because I was messing around with my camera and couldn't really guess when another would pop up for air.  Kyle and I kept screeching like AV does every time we glimpsed another dolphin.

OK.  finally figured out that I had to switch from M to AV on my camera and moved the ISO around...whatever all that stuff means.
My 4th Mother's Day. :)

I told Kyle all I wanted was to sleep in and wake up slowly - no having to jump out of bed at the first peep of children.  It felt luxurious to know that Kyle was in charge and I could take my time waking up and getting ready for church (even if sleeping in these days only means till 8:00).  I even finished reading my book this morning before I ever got out of bed.  Siiiiggggghhhh.  So nice.  And the girls brought me coffee and cinnamon rolls, too.

We had lunch out and then went to the beach after nap time and getting to talk to all of our other mothers in the fam.

Both girls had a fantastic time splashing in and out of the waves.  Both appear to be fearless of the water.  Meggie dove right in, tumbling over and over, and jumping up for more.  Kyle had one heck of a job just keeping up with her - and making sure she stayed up long enough to breath.  Even from the shoreline I could hear her laughing and crying out: "I'm having so much fun, Daddy!"

My hands were full keeping AV from eating all the globbery sand on the Gulf.  She played in the surf, stuffed mud in her mouth, got knocked over by a wave, and screamed when I took her out of the water.  

Oh my.  We may be having some temper moments as that child gets bigger.  

While in the sand, her pincher fingers kept digging for those burrowing seashell things.  She squealed and crawled away from me, and felt just as comfortable out there as she does in the bath at home.

My two girls.  My two fish.  

My little mermaids.

I felt very cherished and special today, sharing the company of those I love most - our traveling band of four.

(I have some lighting questions with these pictures from the beach - we were there around 6:30 pm - could the time of day have something to do with the sun seeming to be behind us?  How would I fix this problem?  It was such a JOB to try and juggle the camera, switch the buttons, focus, check the lighting, AND keep the baby from eating sand - how do y'all who're experienced at this stuff do it?)

oops...I switched lenses and this one was actually taken in AF.

what's going on with the lighting?

I love how the breeze is picking up her one little tiny tuft of hair - my poor bald-headed baby.

This could be my all-time favorite picture!  She screamed with pure delight seeing her sister come running up out of the waves.

and, yes, she loves the taste of sand - to our horror.

I think the water looks neat in this one.

there they are!

UH-OH, Daddy!  You were supposed to be on guard, but a sneaky little someone got her sandy hand in there anyway!
 Hope y'all had a fabulous weekend, too!