Thursday, February 17, 2011

What do you do...

What do you do, when the weather is fantastic....but your husband took your car because his vehicle is at the Car Spa getting a new transmission?

You grab your easel, your brushes, and your paints and head to the empty driveway.
 Don't forget your painter's beret, smock, and your imagination. 
 Something about painting out in the sunshine and fresh air makes the experience better.  She had more than one car slow down in front of the house to observe her talent. 
 The wind made painting a little tricky.  We figured out that putting one leg of the easel in side the legs of the stool, it wouldn't flip.  A stroke of genius with a couple of pieces of velcro kept the canvas on the easel instead of flying away in the breeze.  Remind me to ask an artist how they deal with wind while painting outside?
I love her work.  She's keeping this one.  She has given away so many of her paintings, I'm so glad she decided to keep this one for herself.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I don't think I have ever tasted anything better than carrots fresh from the garden. Except for maybe snowpeas.  Or Cabbage.  I dearly adore gardening year round here in The Swamp.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Birthday Do-over.

Since the Big Apple was sick on her birthday, I scoped out a place to take her this weekend that would TOTALLY make up for the fact that her birthday was a bust. 

I scored.

 The family piled in the van and headed to Folsom, LA to the Global Wildlife Center.  I had heard of this place on several different occasions but wanted to wait until The Little Apple was a little older to go.  Nothing like being stuck on a 2 hour long safari ride with a crabby baby. But this turned out to be the perfect age for her to go, as she was thrilled by every animal she saw. 

 When you go, you purchase your tickets, and of course animal food.  Eben chose the family bucket...which turned out to be an enormous amount of food...but we quickly found out why we needed that much food.
There was an enormous amount of animals.

Most of them would eat right out of the cup.  Some ate neatly out of your hands. 
 And some, of the animals, they open their mouths wide, and you just pour the food right in.  That was The Little Apple's preferred method for feeding animals. She was so good at it.  She learned to shake the cup until an animal walked over to her and opened wide.  Then she'd pour it in.    At other times, the Little Apple liked to toss the food and yell "Mardi Gras!!!!!!!" I wonder where she learned that?

 The Big Apple, being the typical Daddy's Girl that she is,  hung out with her Daddy most of the ride, which explains my lack of pictures of her, as I was managing the Other Apples (mainly making sure The Little Apple didn't hop out of the wagon and try to ride a zebra!)
 But the Big Apple kept the wagon train driver busy with her questions about the various animals.  My favorite question of the day "How big is giraffe poop?"

Unfortunately, we weren't able to get up close to the giraffes....which created some tears on the part of the Big Apple.  The giraffes were more interested in the private jeeps that are available for tours instead of the big wagon train.  

I have to admit, I had a lot more fun on this trip than I anticipated, and was glad that we all went together on a weekend rather than a weekday without Eben along.  The Big Apple declared the day "Almost as good as Disney World."  I think that's a pretty big statement. 

It was a very nice Birthday Do-Over. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Naughty number 9.

The Naughty Number 9. 

The title of this post is a reference to the School House Rock video for multiplying 9's.  It's not referring to my Big Apple at all. 

I called the Big Apple from the grocery store the other day, to ask her what kind of cake she wanted me to get.  "Mama, can we just have a homemade cake?"  Music to this mama's ears. "Well, Big Apple, is there something you want me to get to put on TOP of the cake?"  "No, Mama...I just want to use some of the toys I already have."  More music to this mama's ears. 

"Mama?  Can I make the cake by myself?"  This is normally something I LOVE to do for my children on their birthdays...because one of the things I do really's decorate a cake.  But she really wanted to do it, and I couldn't turn her down. So the night before her birthday, I turned her loose in the kitchen.  She did great!
 The morning of her birthday, The Big Apple woke up feeling yucky in the tummy.  And all stuffy in the nose.  But Daddy didn't have to go into work until later this morning, so she wanted to open her presents. 

 She got her very own sewing basket and her own sewing machine.  I figured a girl who is considered half grown has earned her place at the table, right next to me~using her own machine.  (actually, the selfish part of me says that she needed her own machine so that she would stop using mine!)

I only wish she had felt better today.  We didn't get to sew together like I had originally planned.  She spent the day on the couch, sipping ginger ale and broth.
We are demanding a birthday do-over.

But I do have to say, that number 9 is a naughty one.  The way it kind of sneaks in and takes away your little girl in the middle of the night....replacing her with half grown young lady....A young girl who is brilliant, and vibrant, and eager to make her way in the world. 
Yup.  That 9 is a naughty one. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A little heart felt words on military transfers......

A fellow Coastie Wife posted this a few days ago, and I felt the need to share it, (with her permission of course!)   And to share it early, because every word of it rings true in how I feel around transfer season.  I'm giving you advance notice here, and cutting you all a break.  Please read, and listen with your heart, because this is what most military wives go through every single time we move.

"It is hard being the wife of a military man. You don't get the luxury of a stable life style, you don't get to go for coffee with your best friend (who is usually NOT next door or even the same state!), you don't get to plan vacations without checking the boat/flight/duty schedule. You get orders every 2/3/4 years and you pack up everything you own and move to a new place, where you generally don't know anyone.
Lately I have been called things like "selfish", "mean", "throwing it in our face". Well here is OUR side of it....we don't have time to wallow in the missing you category. We are to busy making everything good for our family and planning the move. We have to be the cheerleader, we have to stay positive and we can not show one ounce of sadness, because when we do it effects the whole family. Yes we are going to miss the friends we made here, that should be a given. Yes we are sad to leave on some levels. But again we can't show that to the children who are already upset they are moving, to the spouse who knows he is going to a more demanding job and will likely spend the first 6 months not home much while they get qualified for the new job. So we smile and we cheer. We make everything sound like roses and rainbows, how much fun we are going to have, how much we are going to enjoy this new adventure.

So as a friend, if you really are one, please do not act like we are abandoning you. You are losing one friend, we are losing all of you. You get to stay here and go on, we get to pack everything up and move on. So please understand the stress we are under, support us (even when we get pissy and snappy) and above all else just be there when we need a shoulder to lean on. Because you as the friend whom we have supported the last few years should understand that it is our turn. Because honestly we don't have time for your negativity and we can not emotionally be there to help you through this.
I love this lifestyle...been doing it since the day I was married. I love the adventure, I love the newness. But don't let that fool you into thinking we love this part of it. It is what it back to my cheering, because that is MY job in all this. "

It also never fails, every single time we get new orders we hear things like "Oh, you are going to hate ___ about that place."  or "I've heard that that place is awful because of ______."  "Why would you pick to go there?"  Trust me, my husband and I have very little to do with where the Coast Guard chooses to send us.  If I had my way, I'd stay in one place forever!  But what bothers me the most of all, are people that make judgment calls about a certain state or region of the country, having never ever lived or breathed the air in that location.  Please, don't do this. 

I have found that with every single place we have relocated to, I fall in love with it.  If you hear from me from another part of the country, don't expect me to tell you about how horrible it is where I am because you think I'm supposed to be having the time of my life where you are.  This is the life that I have chosen, and I love it. I'm up for the adventure.

Drumroll please! ............

We have received our new orders! 

For those of you that didn't get a text message, a phone call, or see it on Facebook yesterday....The Apple Dumpling Gang will be returning to North Carolina.  It appears that we can never fully shake the NC sand off from between our toes, as we will be reporting to Elizabeth City, NC early this summer.

Our family is thrilled with the new orders, but a little bummed at the same time.  My husband was so desperate for Alaska this time, he listed ALL of the Alaska billets on his dream sheet at the top.  I held my breath and prayed for God to change my heart and prepare me for the big adventure if that was where He intended to send us.  I had my own ideas...of returning to Duluth and slipping back into our old groove...(you guys know how much I like routine and all things familiar!) I thought about living on the West Coast for the first time, and put Seattle on the list next.  Followed by my ideas about how easy it would be on the girls to live close to our relatives in Florida (while selfishly hoping to be able to drop the kids off with them and run away for the weekend with the husband).

But none of that was meant to be.  We got pick # 14.  Which isn't bad.  We are happy with it.  Close to all the historical things in Virgina to visit, old friends and Sorority Sisters.  Close to our old friends in Sneads Ferry/Holly Ridge/Wilmington. 

This is going to work out at this new unit.  Somehow they always do.  This is where God is leading us, and that's where we will go.

Let the journey continue!