Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review–Simply from Scratch


I love reading.  I’ve always loved reading, but since having Abbie, I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like to.  Actually I read every night before bed, but most nights I only get a page or 2 read before I zonk out, so it usually takes me weeks to read one book.

I’ve never felt compelled to review a book on my blog.  (And I’ve been writing on this for almost 3 years now.)  However, “Simply from Scratch” by Alicia Bessette was such a good read that I wanted to tell you all about it!

I picked this book up randomly, on my way out of the library.  I already had 2-3 books from my usual authors, but I saw this on display on a shelf near the checkout so I just grabbed it.  And then I read it before all the other books I’d picked up, and I LOVED it!

It’s about a girl, Zell, who lost her husband a year prior to the story starting.  She lives, with her beloved Greyhound, next door to a single dad and his 9 year old daughter.  The story tells how Zell deals with the emotions of being a widow, and the friendship that forms between her and her neighbors.

You’d think that a book with such a somber subject as dealing with the death of a loved one would be a “heavy” read, but this book was just the opposite.  Alicia Bessette does an amazing job of portraying real emotions, but also keeping it a fun and exciting read.  Zell’s sense of humor kept me laughing throughout the entire book.

So to all my book-loving, blog reading friends, I’d highly recommend you check out “Simply from Scratch” by Alicia Bessette.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Fill-in

  1. Aside from no deployments, what is one thing you would want to make the MilSpouse life “perfect”? submitted by Oh How Delightful  Paid trips home, twice a year, for the entire family.  Or maybe 8 hr days, instead of 12-14, plus weekends when he’s home.
  2. Just how many peppers did Peter Piper pick? submitted by Married into Army  What the heck kind of question is this?!
  3. If you could have any career in the world with nothing holding you back, what would you do? submitted by It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To  I would love to have a huge horse farm out east.  Teach lesson, board horses, maybe breed warmbloods of some sort.
  4. Do you have a service oriented tattoo and if so what is it. If you don’t what would you get? submitted by The Squid’s Accomplice  I don’t have any tattoos and I don’t plan on ever getting any tattoos.  It took me 23 years to get enough guts to get my ears pierced…
  5. Imagine a block of time has opened up in your busy day for you to take a class in anything you like. What subject would you choose? submitted by To The Nth  A class in photography or photo editing.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Christmas in February


I love going to the post office to check the mail.  Sometimes I drive all the way to base JUST to check the mail… especially if I’m expecting something.

Today Brittney and I went to the post office to check the mail.  She was expecting Cricut cartridges.  I was expecting my new camera.

I was jittery with excitement before even walking in to the post office, but once I opened my mail box and found a package slip in there, I was almost shaking with excitement.  I was really hoping it would be what I was expecting, but I wasn’t sure if it was that, or a bib I had ordered for Abbie a while ago.  I got more and more excited/nervous waiting in line and then watched the girl like a hawk as she went to retrieved my package.  When I saw B&H on the side, it took a lot of willpower to not squeal with delight.  I must have looked like I was about busting at the seams because the girl laughed at me when she handed me the box.

Of course I had to open the package to examine my new prized possession before we even left the post office.  Brittney was nice enough to humor me.  She does that a lot.

Here’s what was in the package, with the exception of the external flash.  That came last week, but it’s part of my new camera equipment so I wanted to include it in the photo.


We got a new Canon 60D, with a 18-135mm IS lens, and a UV haze filter and a hood, and the Speedlite 430EX II flash.  (Yes, I know I’m spoiled.  My husband is very good to me, it more ways than one.)

I couldn’t resist getting it all out and putting it all together as soon as I got home, so here it is, all put together with the hood and flash.


I am SUPER excited about this camera, because it also does video, and it’s quite a few steps up from my XSi.  I’m looking forward to taking pictures with it, but I’m going to let Mark take the first pictures with it.  I have the battery charging so it’ll be all ready for him when he gets home.



Da weinas

We got a new flash for our camera and I’ve been having fun messing around with it and trying to figure it out some.  The dogs are pretty good sports about getting their pictures taken a ton, so I’ve been shooting towards them quite a bit.  Plus they’re really cute, in my opinion.
Here are a few of the pictures I took of them this weekend.
Abbie’s usual routine with Sadie.
Ollie’s usual position.
Ollie usually looks like this, until Abbie gets near him and then he looks like this:
(It’s all just a big show.  He “smiles” and growls a lot, but he knows not to bite her, and he won’t.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Earning her keep

As I mentioned before, Abbie likes to help.  Here’s a picture of her pulling the wagon full of recycling to the bins up the road.  It was pretty funny to watch!
And here’s a picture of her riding in the wagon on the way back.  It’s one of my favorites.
And just for good measure, another one of my favorites.  She has a thing for wearing my shoes…  I thought that started at a much older age…  Guess I was wrong.  =)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Abbie at 21 months


On Sunday, Abbie turned 21 months old.  I can’t believe in 3 months she’ll be 2 years old.  I remember when she was a newborn and all the sleepless nights like it was yesterday.


Abbie’s newest thing this week is saying “Zat?” for "What’s that?”.  She does it all the time now and it’s pretty funny.  She’ll usually repeat whatever you tell her it is and it’s amazing at how she can remember it!  The other day we pulled into the garage and Mark and Abbie were in the car and a huge grasshopper was on the rear window on the drivers side.  (Opposite side Abbie is on.)  She, of course, saw it right away and said “Zat?! Zat?!” while furiously pointing at it.  Mark told her it was a grasshopper, and I think her version of it was more like “grassapopper”.  The next time we went down to the car, she was asking for the “grassapapaper”.  Close enough.  She tends to add “a’s” to things, which is pretty funny, especially since it sounds a little Italian.  She says things like “Helpa mommy” all the time.


She regularly puts 2-5 words together now.  She likes to talk about Sadie Roo and Ollie a lot.  She loves playing with her dogs, and we just got her a little tricycle so she’s always asking to ride her bike.  She loves going to the park and doing anything outside, and she’s not at all afraid to get dirty.  She’s started going down the slides by herself, but she’s still terrified of the swings.



She can count to 3 now.  She just started doing that this week.  She still doesn’t recognize numbers, but she can count to three and she’ll often point out things there are 2 or 3 of and say “two horses” or “three slides” or whatever.  She pretty much points out anything she can name, which is a little exhausting when you’re in the car because she will keep repeating whatever she’s saying until you acknowledge her in some way.  So you can forget having any sort of decent conversation since you have to say “Yes Abbie” about 14 times every mile.


She’s pretty much out of all of her 18 month clothes.  They’re still big enough for her, she has plenty of room that way, but they’re all way to short for her.  Pants are capris, t-shirts are belly shirts, and dresses barely cover her diaper.  And when we put her in the footed pajamas that are size 18 month, she can’t even straighten out her legs.  She wears a size 6 – 6.5 shoe and a size 5 diaper.  I think I’m going to start potty training her this summer because she often tells us when she needs to be changed, especially if she poops.  She goes to bed around 8:30pm and gets up between 8-9am, and she usually naps from 2-4pm, sometimes more, sometimes less.

She’s a very curious little girl.  She LOVES to help and I cannot do any chores around her without her trying to “help”.  I usually try to give her some sort of job so she can feel like she’s contributing.  She loves to pull the wagon all the way to the recycling bins for me.  It’s like 2 blocks away, and part of it is uphill, but she doesn’t want me touching the wagon at all.  So usually I pull her by the hand and she pulls the wagon.  She’s not one to sit quietly and play by herself for any stretch of time.  Usually if she’s quiet, she’s getting into something she’s not supposed to be into.  Sometimes she’ll look at her books by herself for a while, but we’re still working on getting her to play independently for any sizeable amount of time.  She doesn’t really watch TV either.  She’ll look at it for 30 seconds max if there is a cartoon or animals or babies on, but then she’s off doing something else.  I always said I didn’t want to use the TV as a babysitter, but she wouldn’t let me even if I tried.  She can be a handful, but her good qualities outweigh her bad by 100 to 1.


Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Okay, so I thought it would be super easy to create one of the little boxes that shows the results and post it on my blog.  Wrong.  I tried like 6 different things and none of them worked!  So if any of you know how to get the Random Number Generator to show up in your blog, PLEASE let me know!  (Without taking a picture of it with your iPhone and posting it like I did below….)

Thank you to the 6 of you who entered my first giveaway!  It’s kind of funny that I know half of you in real life, and half of you through the blog-o-sphere.  I plan on doing more giveaways because I keep thinking of things I’d love to give other people.  I might aim for doing one a month

Anyway, so the winner is :


Natalia from Army of Two!  Congrats!  Please send me your mailing address at

Thanks again for entering.  I appreciate all of you reading my blog!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stuffed animals and market flowers


Every morning when I go in to get Abbie up for the day, she is almost always holding her pony and her puppy.  She sleeps with her pony and her puppy in her arms all the time, while her lion and her lamb sit in the corners of her crib.  One of the mornings Mark was gone I went in to get her and found her like this, with all four of her stuffed animals in her arms.  I thought it was cute so I went and grabbed the camera to show Mark when he got home.


Obviously Abbie still sleeps in a crib.  I’m not sure when she’ll be ready to move up to a toddler bed.  She’s a pretty crazy sleeper and flops all over the place in her sleep.  I’m fairly certain she’d fall out of a bed that didn’t have railings all the way around.  She hasn’t tried to climb out of it yet, which is why I still have her in the crib.  When did you move your kids to a toddler bed?  How do you know when they’re ready?

And here are a few pictures of me with the flowers I bought myself at the market while Mark was gone, and of Brittney and me.


One more picture of Abbie and I waiting in the squadron for Mark to get home.  =)



Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Fill-in

  1. What is your favorite MilSpouse blog (not including Wife of a Sailor who we all love, or your own)? submitted by Our Crazy Life (Wifey note: whaaaat? You can’t say my blog? No fun! LOL, just kidding)
  2. Honestly, I’m not sure.  I read so many of them, and there are quite a few of my mil-spouse friends that blog.  I like reading them all really.
  3. What are your favorite perks about your s/o being deployed (we all know there are perks)? submitted by Ramblings of a Marine Wife  More room in bed, less laundry, control of the remote.  I guess this time around it’ll be that I get to go back to the States (it’ll have been over a year!!) and spend time with my friends and family back home that I rarely get to see.  I’m excited about that.
  4. How long did you date your <significant other> before getting engaged? Married? submitted by Utterly Chaotic  Well….  I called him my pretend boyfriend from Sept 04 to April 05.  We started dating in May 05, got engaged Feb 06 and married June 06.  So we had a short engagement, but for those 8 months he was my pretend boyfriend, we built a REALLY strong friendship and the rest of our relationship was built on top of that friendship, which is why I feel we have a great relationship.
  5. What do you think your <significant other> would do if s/he wasn’t in the military? submitted by Adventures of M-Squared 
  6. This is my question and I don’t really have an answer for it, which is why I asked it in the first place.  Mark and I talk about what he’d do outside the AF quite a bit, and he really doesn’t know.  He has an electrical engineering background, but he hasn’t used that in 5 years so he’s lost some of that knowledge.  He’s talked quite a bit about teaching, but he’s not sure what.  I think he’s worried that doing anything besides flying fighter jets will be kind of boring, and I guess most things would seem dull after that.  But we have a while to figure it all out.  He still has 7 more years on his commitment.
  7. If you could talk to the Secretary of (fill in your appropriate branch) what is one suggestion you would like to bring to their attention in order to improve the lives of military families?  submitted by My Life as His (Air Force) Wife  I guess I would hesitate to suggest anything because I know I don’t understand the logistics of dealing with the entire Air Force and the costs involved, etc.  I would probably try to bring up some of the things my husband is frustrated by though.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My 1st giveaway!


I’ve been debating doing a giveaway on my blog for a while now.  I’m pretty excited about having almost 60 followers, and I wanted to do something to celebrate!  So I figured I’d send someone a small piece of Italy.

Since I can’t ship off the good weather, mountains or amazing scenery, I thought hot chocolate, Nutella and a scarf would be the next best thing.  I know they sell Nutella in the States, but I hadn’t seen these little to-go things and they’re REALLY good!  One of Abbie’s and my favorites!  The hot chocolate is more like hot pudding, and it’s SOO good!  And everyone over here wears scarfs so I figured I’d add a scarf made in Italy to the package also.



To enter, all you have to do is leave me a comment on this blog and answer two questions.  1.  Why do you read blogs? and 2.  What do you like to read about in blogs?  That’s it!

I’ll be choosing a winner on Tuesday, February 22.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Sorry for the pause in my blogging.  Abbie and I were getting ready for Mark to get home, and enjoying our time together since he’s been home.IMG_6501

Abbie and I got all dressed up to go to the squadron to welcome Mark home.  This time we actually got to take a bus out to the jet to greet him when he got out of it.  It was a first for us and we were pretty darn excited about it.  (I didn’t take any pictures out there because cameras aren’t allowed on the flight line and I was too excited to take pictures anyway.)

We got there after Mark was already out of the jet and getting his stuff together.  I was a little worried that Abbie would be hesitant towards Mark, but she wasn’t at ALL.  She started pointing at him as soon as she saw him and immediately held up her arms for him to pick her up.  And she’s pretty much been glued to his side since then.

We rode the bus back to the squadron with Mark and then he had to go in a back room to get out of all of his gear that he flies in.  Abbie completely lost it when he went in that room.  (There were other guys getting changed too so we couldn’t go back there with him.)  She had huge alligator tears coming out and was crying “daddy” over and over and pointing at the door and trying to get in it.  Ugh.  Thank GOD she hasn’t done that yet when he’s left or I’d be right there crying with her!  But she made it very clear that she missed him a bunch and wasn’t about to let him get away from her again.  It was really cute and after he came out she was all smiles again.


The next day we took Abbie to a park on base and let her run around some.  She had fun playing with her daddy and I had fun taking pictures of them.  I’ve been hearing a lot of “Come on daddy” and “play daddy?” from her since he’s been home.  He, of course, can’t believe how much she’s changed.  He said she just doesn’t seem like a baby at all anymore.  She’s taller, she talks a TON more, she understand pretty much everything you say, she’s running and jumping now, etc.  Abbie and I had washed the car before we went to pick up Mark and as soon as we got in the car Abbie said “Help mommy wash car”.  He was pretty surprised.


The homecomings definitely make these longer TDY’s almost worth it.  Abbie and I were perfectly fine while Mark was gone.  We had our routine down and we went on with life, but it’s just different.  There’s just the constant void that no one but Mark can fill in either of our lives.  I find myself sighing huge sighs of relief now that he’s home, and I think I’m more tired now than he’s here than when he was gone, just because I feel like I can finally let my guard down.  It’s so nice to be part of a team instead of holding down the fort by myself.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Abbie brag

There’s just something about getting compliments from people, especially people that aren’t obligated to say nice things- like family and close friends, about your child.  It just warms my heart and makes me feel so proud when other people notice how special our little girl is.

I went to a dinner this week, and there was childcare provided by the firefighters on base during the dinner.  Abbie went to hang out for a few hours while I got to socialize, which was really great.  Any break you can get is nice when you’re solo parenting and thankfully Abbie is MUCH better about playing and having fun while I’m gone.  There are no more tears when I drop her off and half the time she doesn’t even say goodbye because she’s off doing her own thing already.

I went to pick her up and one of the guys said, “Abbie was my favorite.”  I smiled at him and said she’s my favorite too.  And he said “No seriously, she’s a great little kid.”  It really made my day.

As we were leaving, we walked through a different room and ran into another one of the guys that was watching her.  He said, “Abbie’s leaving?  She was the best one out of all of them.”  I’m not sure what she was doing to schmooze them, but whatever it was, it worked.  I’m fairly sure I practically skipped to the car after that.