Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wax on, Wax off

I detailed the RV today... hours, hours, hours of cleaning. I feel like the Karate Kid. If I ever neglect the RV that much again, and let it get that oxidized and dirty, I'm buying a new one.
I was only going to polish half of the outside, but then thought that I may not be able to move my arms tomorrow, so I better finish while I can. It still needs a touch-up here and there, but looks so much better than it did at the beginning of the day.
We're hoping to attend the annual family reunion this summer in St. Paul. If we can coordinate vacation, drill weekends, on-call weekends, whatever. Since it would cost a ton to fly a family of 5 from LA to Minneapolis, we thought we would just enjoy the trip and take the RV. Screw gas prices, we'll be frugal somewhere else. We had such a memorable time on our last trip, we'll do it again. Last time we had 2 kids and 2 dogs along for the ride, and this time it'll be 3 kids and 3 dogs (unless I can convince Stuntman to leave 2 dogs at home).
Fingers-crossed that we'll be able to go!

I'm going to Disneyland

Just having a chance now to sit down long enough to type about E3's birthday. We had a few earned Disney dollars left on our card so we decided to use them at Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel. It's a big brunch buffet and the characters walk around to each table for photos and autographs. We've been there several times. The food is decent and the kids enjoy it. Well, E3 enjoys it as long as the characters keep their distance. Too close, and he screams, but at the proper distance, he smiles and waves to them. Of course, they all came over and sang happy birthday to the birthday boy. I think E3 ate his weight in hot dogs and mac-n-cheese.
During the meal, Alice in Wonderland came over and was chatting with the kids. She asked E2 if she was going into Disneyland later that day. E2 excitedly said "no, were going to Ikea!"
You see, Ikea has a place called Smaland: an in-store supervised playground (and it's FREE). The girls have only been there once and loved it. You can leave your kids there and hour while you shop or eat at the restaurant. They give you a pager in case of emergencies and they only take a small number of children at a time. E3 is not potty-trained, nor meets the height requirement, so he wandered the store with Stuntman and me. E3 opened virtually every cabinet and sat on nearly every chair in the store. He also rode the escalator over a dozen times. He had a blast!
We didn't buy a thing, but did get a lot of kitchen and design ideas.
In the kid's eyes, as good as Disneyland, but about $300 (or more) cheaper.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bags checked

Last night I slept for seven uninterrupted hours.
That hasn't happened for.... I don't know how long.
The last 8 years, I have either been pregnant (up for the middle of the night pee), nursing (up for the midnight snack of the baby), or working late (need to squeeze in those hours after the kids go to bed).
I feel great today!
We're meeting a friend and her kids at the park in a little while. I don't see her as often as I should, we need to change that.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stuntman ran to the shop for a part for his bike today. He came home with a brochure for this bike. Nice.
The brochure says "your street-legal dirtbike dream just came true"
Good point... if I ever need to run out for a gallon of milk, I can take the bike and save the gas :)

5 seconds

We've been in the land of civilians for the last month. I've been there the majority of the time for the last few years, so not much new here. Kid birthday parties, shopping, cleaning, etc...
Stuntman is reemployed with his civilian employer although not without a lot of hoop-jumping. A giant corporation sure requires copious amounts of paperwork to begin a job that you've had for over 17 years. Was it really necessary to do another I9? You want proof of ID and the right to work in the states? Sure. Why don't you just look out in the courtyard, Stuntman has a stone plaque with his name on it and his years with the company, just take a picture of that, OK?
We've been having a great time together as a family, it almost feels as if the time apart was a dream... almost.

The other evening, Stuntman and I were watching TV and a commercial for an upcoming program about wounded warriors was shown. Stuntman said, "5 seconds".
that's it.
I looked at him and he said it again, "5 seconds"
he continued this time... "that's this difference between me coming home like this, or me coming home like that, or not at all".

A few moments passed and he explained to me that before his vehicle was hit by an IED, he told the driver to stop at point A... 5 seconds later, the blast was at point B, just ahead. The distance of those 5 seconds and what Stuntman called "dumb luck or gut feeling" is what brought Stuntman home in one piece to me and the kids.

It's conversations like that that yank you right back into the reality that has been the last couple years.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Two Years ago today...

An amazing little boy was born two years ago. I can't believe how fast time has flown.
You were a middle of the night surprise, almost made it to your due date (July 4th), unlike your early-bird sisters before you. Daddy almost missed your birth since he was working in San Diego when I had to call Gigi to drive me to the hospital at 2 am. Luckily, there wasn't much traffic at that time of the morning and Daddy arrived moments before you did.
E3, you are a true joy to be around. You bring a smile to the face of everyone you meet. I am so blessed to be your Mother.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Day 2

E3 is in the process of being weaned. Today is his 2nd day of not getting any nutrition directly from my body.
I had cut his feedings down the last few months, but hadn't cut him off completely.
He was fine during the day yesterday, asked a few times for "numnies", and was fine with my "they're empty" answer followed by lots of hugs and kisses.
Two hours after going to bed last night, he was NOT OK with being cut-off.
I spent most of the night in the rocking chair holding an unhappy little guy. We both slept in and E3 seems to be fine today. I hope tonight goes more smoothly. I'm tired.
I've been pregnant or nursing for the last 8+ years. I'm looking forward to having my body to myself, even though it in no way resembles the one I had 8+ years ago! ... and never will without surgical intervention.
A part of me is sad to see this stage of my life gone. I'm done having children, unless there is a fertility miracle, so this is the last time I'll be weaning anyone.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

On any Sunday

I was sitting in church today, E1 on my right, Stuntman, E2 and E3 on my left.
I thought back to the last year. How familiar it was sitting here, thinking about what Stuntman may be doing at that exact moment, how much I missed him, how blessed I am to be surrounded by my children (even thought E3 may be breaking for the door).
Today, like last week and the week before, Stuntman was next to me, and held my hand during most of the mass. He's been home almost a month, and now we have a new "normal" Sunday... and it feels good.

Friday, June 20, 2008

the Great Cookie Swap

Trying has posted a Great Cookie Swap. I would like to share a recipe for Nut Goodie Bars. Thy taste very much like the candy bar I would buy as a child. When I was young, my Aunt Helen would make these every Christmas. Now, I make them every year. They are very rich, so most people eat only a small bar, but I can eat the entire pan if I don't stop myself.

12 oz Chocolate Chips
12 oz butterscotch Chips
2 cups peanut butter
1/2 lb butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple flavoring
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 small pkg. vanilla pudding (not instant)
2 lbs powdered sugar
1 lb salted peanuts

Melt together chocolate and butterscotch chips and peanut butter. Pour half of the mixture into a large cake pan and refrigerate. Reserve the remainder for the top layer. Combine melted butter, pudding mix and milk over low heat for 1 minute. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and maple flavoring. Beat with electric mixer util well blended. Spread over cooled chocolate layer. Refrigerate 10 minutes. Add salted nuts to remaining chcolaate mixture and spread over second layer. Refrigerate. Cut into squares.

I've looked at other recipes linked over at Trying's place, and I can't wait to get cooking.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I hadn't been to that corner of the yard for a couple days... ALL of the apricots were ripe. I guess that's what happens when the afternoon temps reach over 100 degrees for two days in a row. Speed-ripening.
All of the plums ripened as well.
I picked a million apricots, give or take, and just as many plums. The trees look as if they haven't been touched.
I'm in the process of making a batch of apricot sauce and a batch of plum-apricot jam.
My favorite is apricot sauce over vanilla ice cream...mmmmmm.
I have a Kerr Jar recipe book that was published in the 1940's. I need to scan it because it's falling apart. My mom canned and/or froze everything she could get her hands on. I remember fondly the assembly lines in the kitchen.
I don't remember canning anything last year. It was at the beginning of the deployment and I was barely holding it together. Later, I got into a groove.
I can't wait for a nice bowl of vanilla ice cream with apricot sauce later tonight. I emptied my desk of work last night, so I am free to snuggle on the sofa with Stuntman and eat ice cream. I'm sure we can think of a way to burn the calories.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


We went to the desert this weekend :)
Stuntman worked on his long-neglected bike all week. Mine... no.
With it being the last week of school, I didn't get a chance to work on it myself.
All of us were able to fit into the new truck and we had Stuntman's bike, E1's little bike and E1 and E2's bicycles in the back.
I wasn't planning to ride, but I brought my gear just in case.
Stuntman has a yz250, I have a yz125. His bike is heavy, and tougher to kick start. My stubborn streak helps with starting the bike. Stuntman said that he would start it for me, but I wasn't about to be stranded far away from camp without knowing that I could start the damn thing!
Stuntman insists that I did NOT ride like a granny, I felt so rusty, but it was fun.
The second ride was more comfortable, even hit some whoops, got a bit squirrley, but it didn't phase me.
I can't wait to get mine running...

ok... that was my fun weekend.. I'm going to see why there is a helicopter circling overhead announcing that they are 15 seconds from releasing the dog... now they are clear to release the dog.
WTF? gotta love LA.
At least the spotlight isn't on my house, but it looks like it may only be 2 or 3 up from me.
It's midnight. I guess that I won't be going to bed anytime soon.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Little Brothers

E3's name has been blurred to protect the innocent guilty.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'll pay for it in the morning...

We had the end-of-year Girl Scout troop party at Jump n Jammin today. I had never been there, but had heard good reviews, so that's where I planned it.
Three hours of climbing, sliding and squeezing through tunnels.
The kids all had a blast (I did too).

I have a feeling that I used muscles that I don't normally use at home or even at the gym.
I'll find out tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Date Night

Stuntman and I went to a movie last night, together, alone, for the first time in nine years.
yes, nine.
We never really went on "date nights" like other couples do. We have gone out to dinner a couple times alone and had the kids watched by Grandma. We've been married almost 13 years, were married more than 5 years when we had our first child, and never really felt the need to go out by ourselves. Our "date nights" were usually snuggles on the sofa watching TV and eating Stuntman's awesome popcorn. He makes awesome popcorn.
Our neighbor had offered to sit for the kids, so we took her up on it.
We saw Iron Man. It was great. Robert Downey Jr was perfect for the role as well.
At the beginning of the movie (actually 10 minutes in, we were late), there is a scene with HumVees, and one is hit by an IED. Stuntman leans over to me and says "great movie... great one to get away and relax."
I said "should we walk over to the Zohan movie?"
Stuntman said "no", with a smile, and we really enjoyed the rest of the movie.
Afterward, we stopped at a local bar, had a drink and dinner.
We'll need to do that again.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Thank You

When I was watching Lifetime's show Army Wives last night, one thing kept me wondering; The closeness of those living on post.
I don't know how true to life this really is, I have never even been on an Army post (just a couple bases for ID's and such).
I found myself jealous of those women that I was watching (outside of the tragedy of course).
They are surrounded by others that "get it"... others that have been through the same thing. They aren't surrounded by those that compare a 2 week business trip to Seattle to a 12 month deployment to the sandbox.
I only know the name of one other spouse from Stuntman's unit (hi Rosie!).
I wouldn't know his commander if I saw him on the street.

I've mentioned my detachment from anything Army before. I knew that I must be missing something, but it didn't bother me all that much.

Watching last night, I really knew that I must have missed something this last year and a half.

Then... I realized that had the support that I needed right here. If it wasn't for the blogs that I read and the support of those of you that read mine, I would have felt all alone during the deployment.
I just want to say Thank You.
Thanks for being there and reassuring me that I am not really alone in this.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A perfect day

I could not have asked for a better day.

We had a big party for E2's 5th birthday today. Fifteen kids, plus all of the parents. It seemed like everyone had a good time. The kids all behaved well, even the doggies were well behaved. I heard numerous times "your dogs are so sweet and calm!". After everyone left, that's when the dogs returned to their normal, crazy, running circles around the yard behavior.
Everything went smoothly. I had a simple menu of hot dogs, chili, cheese, nachos, vegetable salad and fruit salad. I made a sand castle cake that was similar to a cake I made for E1's birthday a couple years ago. Soooooo easy. I took three 9x12 cakes, cut them up and arranged into the shape of a castle, placed ice cream cones on the corners, frosted everything and sprinkled sand (crushed vanilla wafers) over everything. I made some chocolate shells earlier in the week and placed them along the sides of the castle. I even found little colorful pebbles at the store that tasted like M&M's. I've made a lot of cakes in the past, and this is, by far, the easiest one. It's "sand" and does NOT need to be straight, or level. Imperfections are not a problem. It was tasty too.

I had a treasure hunt for the kids at the end. Photo clues brought them to places in the yard where the next photo clue was hidden until they found the "treasure chest" (a decorated Gorilla Box that Stuntman had shipped home). Party favors were inside for the kids. A few weeks ago, Toys R Us had all of the outdoor Crayola items on sale for half price. I bought all of the 3-D chalk packages.... cheaper than filling goodie bags with a bunch of junk.

Later, after everyone had left, Stuntman went swimming with the kids. E3 was jumping into his arms from the side of the pool. He had never done that before. It brought tears to my eyes. I'm looking forward to a wonderful summer together as a family.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

a new ride

Stuntman looks pretty hawt in his new truck.
I sold his old one while he was gone. That sounds horrible when it's said like that. We planned on selling it eventually. It was going to sit idle for 15+ months and depreciate while doing so.
He bought the same truck, just a model 17 years newer. The last one worked great, on and off-road. Especially off-road, which is where a pickup truck of Stuntman's spends most of it's time.
I HIGHLY recommend for purchasing a new vehicle. The price we paid was almost $5000 less than the sticker that was on the truck's window. Minus an additional $1000 dealer incentive. We purchased exactly what we wanted without the offer-counteroffer-I need to check with my manager-WTF!-just sell me the damn car already! garbage that you usually need to go through when purchasing a car at a dealership. We were in and out of the dealership within an hour.
*stock photo from, but it looks almost exactly like Stuntman's

Monday, June 2, 2008


I know that Stuntman lost some hearing while he was deployed...
but I think he's lost smelling ability as well.
For some reason, the smell of dirty diaper no longer registers.

... or he could just be ignoring them until I smell it and change it.