04. December 2012 · Comments Off on My Bespectacled Baby · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

“Mommy, now I look like a professor” ~ Timothy

Today Timmy got his first pair of glasses.

We knew this was coming for a long time. He’s like his father in so many ways: appearance, his comedic nature, and many other “youngest child” traits. It took three visits to the eye doctor this year to get everything right, Timmy would complain about his vision, and the eye doctor was trying to delay his needing the glasses. Over Thanksgiving break, we noticed him crossing his eyes purposefully. He claimed that his eyes “felt better” when he crossed them.

This last visit was the one where the doctor noticed the slight cross-eyed-ness. The glasses would help his eyes not have to strain so much. The doctor prescribed him glasses to wear for anytime he needed to read: books, blackboards, computer screens, music.

The doctor’s office has a nice optical shop on site, with a great deal for kids’ glasses. I was particularly sold by the one year warranty, which covers everything except complete loss of the glasses and lenses. Timmy wanted a pair that looked like his Dad’s. He told the completely-smitten-by-him ladies about how much he already looks like his Dad, and that with glasses he will look just like Dad!

Reading his Harry Potter: Prizoner of Azkaban.

They helped him choose a pair that offered some room for growth, and they put silicone nose pieces on them so they wouldn’t slip so much. An extra case for school, plenty of microfiber cleaning cloths, and some cleaning spray.

My hats off to any parents with young kids in glasses. How do you keep their glasses from getting lost while at school? Timmy has exhibited responsibility with other high-value items (such as his Nintendo DS), but my concern is with his flippy/floppy/hangy/roll-around-ness that will probably result in the glasses falling off easily. Here’s hoping he doesn’t lose them…

**This doesn’t mean I want another baby.  It’s just nice to look back on my boys’ super-dooper cute baby pictures!

Today a fellow Air Force spouse friend posted pictures of her daughter on Facebook — portraits taken at the beach just after her first birthday.  There were some family portraits also.  In one of the pictures, the photographer did some really nice post-processing that really brought out the blue in her eyes.

Since the family will be moving away from the beach this summer, they were glad to get a nice portrait session before leaving.

Seeing the baby with her big blue eyes brought back memories of when Timmy had blue eyes.  Which was up through his first birthday — then they turned hazel.

Timmy was about 10 months old here, we were visiting Dave's parents on Long Island for Thanksgiving in 2005. The sun was shining brightly so his irises were HUGE!

And because I can’t put up a cute picture of one of my babies without giving props to the other, here’s one of my favorites of Jacob.

April 2003. Jacob was about 7 months old and this was his first trip to the local pool.

06. October 2011 · Comments Off on Our Beyblades Adventure · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,
Those happy kids are creeping me out.

It all started with a neighbor’s birthday party…not long after we moved here.  One of Jacob’s new Cub Scout den-mates invited both Jacob and Timmy to his birthday party.  It was a Beyblades tournament.

Our sons weren’t familiar with Beyblades at the time, I had sent a starter kit as a gift to my college roommate Megan’s son for his birthday late last year, but that was direct through Amazon, and none of us were familiar otherwise.

After the birthday party, our boys were hooked.  Similar to Cars, Bakugon, Pokemon, etc., each individual toy was inexpensive, but once your kids start learning about all the toys that could be acquired, they began to ask for more and more Beyblades.

Six months later, I was watching our boys play Beyblades in one of their stadiums, and they were discussing “balance”, “stability” and “agility”.  It got me thinking about physics.  In July on a trip to the planetarium, they boys realized how many of their Beyblades are named after characters in mythology (Pegasus) and astrology (Libra).

This led to a blog post for GeekMom.  You can read it here.

About 6 weeks later, I received an e-mail from a representative at Hasbro, asking if we’d like to “sample” their Fall 2011 Beyblades product line.  From what I saw in the e-mail, they were offering us $65 worth of products, free of charge, if we would check it out and I’d write up a follow up for GeekMom.

The box arrived in late September, the boys played with it for about 10 days and they (by “they” I mean “Timmy”) gave me some very detailed feedback.  Here is the follow up blog post reviewing the products.

Jacob showing off the interchangeable plates for the “Triple Battle Stadium”.

Timmy took his newest Beyblades to his after-school child care today (I’m in the midst of hiring a bookkeeper for the base Thrift Shop and we had interviews this afternoon) and the lead provider asked me at pick up time where Timmy got the Tornado Beyblade he had.  She said the other little boys who were playing with Timmy were admiring it and planning to ask their parents for one.  I had to explain that it came from Hasbro for our review and should be in stores really soon.

These Beyblade XTS Tornado battlers should be in stores by now.  You CANNOT take these ones apart, which makes them less-authentic, apparently.

02. September 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Last weekend Timmy was finally able to don a Cub Scout uniform like his big brother.  They sold popcorn at our local Lowe’s store for about an hour.  They both did really well and they don’t think fundraisers suck.  We’ll see how long that lasts….

I remember when Jacob used to be Mr. Smiley.  Now it’s a struggle to get him to smile without (a) being reluctant or (b) being ultra-silly.

I’ll probably be the 4th scout in this picture within the month.  Tonight I tossed my name in the ring to be Timmy’s den leader…I did a lot of the legwork helping out Jacob’s Tiger den in 2008-2009.  

We couldn’t hand down as much of the uniform as we’d hoped.  The hat and scarf slide, that’s it.

We won’t talk about how many “takes” we had for this genuine smile.

04. July 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

This week we have friends from North Carolina visiting: Maryann (AKA Fotomom), Joey and Johnny.  Jacob and Joey were in the same preschool from 2005-2008 and were two peas in a pod, while Timmy and Johnny were best buddies as the respective little brothers.  We took dozens of great road trips together!

Joey and Johnny obviously knew about the trip (they were getting on a plane, how could they not?) but we kept the visit a big surprise from my boys until they saw their friends in the baggage claim area at Pensacola Airport last night.

Johnny couldn’t get over how short Timmy’s hair is!

It took Jacob a few minutes to sink in that his friends are really here!

On the way back from the airport, I gave Fotomom a challenge: to photograph the famous Pensacola Beach sign in the dark.  I slowed down the truck to about 30 mph and Maryann gave it a shot with a “sports” setting on her Canon camera.  I love it!

It’s so incredibly gaudy I LOVE IT!  Photo: Maryann G. (Fotomom)

I love that sign because it reminds me of Vegas.  The yellow emblem’s lights radiate outwards, and the lights in the words “Pensacola Beach” sparkle.

It reminds me of those old-fashioned Holiday Inn signs:

07. June 2011 · Comments Off on A Blast from the Past: Smarties! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

A small British grocery store opened up right up the street, called The British Pedlar.  The ladies who are running the store are very kind and they have just about everything that I remember from my childhood, when my mom would frequent the British grocery store in Virginia Beach OR she’d bring things back from our trips to Hong Kong when I was a kid.

The store has everything I remember except one thing: Bovril!  Click that link to read more about Bovil not being available in the U.S.  The ladies said it’s just too complicated and the FDA is really slow-rolling the customs approval process even for the non-beef version.

On my last couple of visits to the store, I’d pick up some treats for the family: locally-made banger sausages (Mom, we’ll hit the store and I’ll get you some while you’re visiting next month, they have THREE brands to choose from!), McVitie’s Digestives, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bars and Smarties candies.  I’m accustomed to the Smarties being sold in small cylindrical containers like this:

Ha ha!  Fooled many of you, didn’t I?  Perhaps the introduction about British food tipped you off…but I’m sure many of you were still thinking about “American” Smarties:

For the unfamiliar, Nestle’s Smarties are very similar to American M&Ms.  Chocolate drops covered in a hard candy shell.  But there’s a…well…fruitiness to the Nestle Smarties that I’ve always enjoyed.

Anyway, on my most recent visit this week, the store was out of the smaller packages of Smarties, so I picked up a bigger box.  I’d never seen the bigger box in detail, so I was intrigued by the picture on the back.

Love the “colours”!

Spirulina?  Really???  http://www.foodnavigator.com/Legislation/Spirulina-faces-legal-questions

I knew there was a fruity flavor (flavour?) to the Smarties but I never realized I was tasting the all-natural coloring to the candy shells!  The kids got a kick out of the picture and the information, then got a bit squirmy about eating any more of the green ones, ha ha!

Eating Nestle’s Smarties brings back so many memories, and I enjoy sharing these things with the boys.

09. May 2011 · Comments Off on Mother’s Day 2011…Or "What Your Kids Really Think About You" · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Hopefully the Moms reading this had a nice Mother’s Day.  I enjoyed a nice day with my boys.  I’ve cracked the code for happy kids: a trip to the beach!  They were happy, I was happy watching (and catching a few waves with a Boogie Board!), all was well with the world.

The boys each brought home really cute Mother’s Day gifts from school on Friday.  I’m such a sucker for handprint art from my kids!

Timmy asked me to turn his Mother’s Day card to me into a Handprint Identification Panel for his room. So that only he could enter/exit, and not his brother. Okay, why not?  What else was I going to do with a Mother’s Day gift from my son?

That’s my handprint on the right, so I could access Timmy’s room to empty his trashcans and take care of his laundry.  Otherwise he would have been on his own for those chores 🙂

Each boy also brought home these question and answer sheets. They filled in the blanks answering questions about Mom.

I won’t show the whole thing — since it has things like my age and my favorite colors. You guys don’t need to know all that.  But here’s a sliver of each boys’ assignment, which is a glimpse into what they think about me.

An excerpt from Jacob’s assignment.  The first question and answer absolutely melted my heart.  The second one…well…I guess it’s a sign that perhaps I need to get off the grid a little more often.

From Timmy’s assignment.  If you can’t quite decipher it, it reads “She likes to clean and shop.”  I guess I’m glad Timmy thinks I like to clean.  Not sure I want him thinking I don’t like cleaning…even though I don’t care for cleaning that much.  A necessary evil.

The other questions and answers were all very nice.  Jacob’s answer certainly has me assessing the laptop fused to my lap, and whether it’s time to back off a little.  I think so.

So if you see less of me online, this is probably why…

09. May 2011 · Comments Off on Hiking Stick Project… · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

When we were in South Dakota last May, the boys picked up branches to use as hiking sticks.  There was ponderosa pine all over the place, and it wasn’t hard for the boys to find something in their sizes.

The boys begged to bring home the sticks as “souvenirs” from their trip.  How could I say “No” to such a cute idea for a souvenir???  Dave and I had promised for months to “finish” the sticks and make them more permanent: sand them down and coat them with some polyurethane.

We even took the sticks with us to Colorado last August for hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park!

11 1/2 months later, I finally finished this project.  A camping trip to the Green Mountains next month inspired me to get this done.  It was only the cost of the polyurethane and sandpaper.  I fear they might outgrow these pretty quickly though.

YES, we moved the sticks from Nebraska to here.

The sticks last week as I retrieved them from the umbrella bin where they’d been stored since we moved here.
There’s termite or carpenter ant detail in Jacob’s stick.  I’m pretty certain the bugs aren’t there now, but the detail gives some character 🙂
I used some 220 grit sandpaper to sand it all down.
I had to break out a Gerber tool to whittle off the remaining bark.
I then used a foam brush to apply 4 coats of Minwax polyurethane.
The finished products.  Complete with Scouting medallions on J’s, and leather tags on both J’s and T’s.

Love the detail here!

I’ll add on some pictures of the boys with these later this week.  I finished this after their bedtime tonight, and I don’t have my good camera (still with Dave on his railfanning trip).  Stay tuned!

09. May 2011 · Comments Off on The Runner Girl’s Spawn · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

You can say I tried. I think Jacob might have a future in long distance running…Timmy probably won’t.

At a Mother’s Day function this past week, one of Timmy’s classmates’ Moms tipped me off to a 1-mile kids’ fun run in Navarre Beach last Saturday.  That night I headed over to one of our local hangouts in Navarre Beach, Juana’s Pagoda, for the registration.  The owner of Run With It, a local running store, was taking the registrations and I was flattered that he remembered me from when I visited his store a couple months ago.  It was very cute how the kids received t-shirts and runners numbers.  The boys and I stayed for dinner Friday night and enjoyed the volleyball area and beach area.

On Saturday I took the kids over to the race.  Jacob was quite excited, but Timmy?  Not so much.  Jacob met an 8-year-old girl who was getting ready to run the 5K with her Mom and Jacob seemed interested in that, but perhaps we need a little training first.

The run was very hot.  Jacob charged ahead and ran it with all his energy and did quite well.  I had to give Jacob some instructions about what to do if he needed help during the run (“tell an adult helper that your Mom is wearing a green t-shirt“).  

On the other hand, Timmy wanted to hold my hand the whole time and ended up pretty frustrated.  Timmy clearly doesn’t like running the way Jacob does!

In the last few yards, actually, Timmy decided to overtake 3-4 kids in a last-minute burst of energy.  It reminded me of Dave, who is capable of these incredibly fast sprints at the end of long-distance runs 🙂

The first finishers received medals.  I’m not sure how many medals there were, and I don’t know how fast Jacob completed the mile (being a “fun run”, it wasn’t timed).  Timmy and I were WAY behind him and they were out of medals by the time we finished.  Timmy was so proud to finish, he wasn’t jealous at all of Jacob’s medal (phew!)

The medal is really really nice (considering it was for a 1-mile fun-run)!  Jacob is incredibly proud, as am I!
07. May 2011 · Comments Off on Mother’s Day…Geek Style! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!  Yes a little early, but I have a fun-filled weekend planned so I don’t know when I’ll write again.

Dave did really well this Mother’s Day!

Okay, so he booked his annual trip to visit his model railroading/railfanning friends in Maryland and Pennsylvania for this weekend.  And that’s where he is as I type this.  But that was seriously unintentional — the group he hangs out with belongs to the Conrail Historical Society, and they planned this annual BBQ/membership meeting for the 1st full weekend of May.  That’s usually when it is.  But this year, since Mother’s Day is on the 2nd Sunday of May…and the 1st Sunday of May was not the first “full” weekend of May…well…my head hurts just thinking about it.

As we usually do as a military family, when real life gets in the way of a particular holiday, we just choose to celebrate on a different day, so we went out to a nice family dinner last weekend.

But a package arrived yesterday from Thinkgeek.com.  I didn’t expect anything other than the dinner out…I ask for the same thing every year: a nice day with the family.

Is it what I think it is???

At first I thought, “no”, since the package was heavier than what I thought it was.  After all, I hadn’t indicated to Dave that I wanted ANYTHING from ThinkGeek.  But he somehow knew.

I didn’t know he even realized that there’s a GeekMom.com t-shirt!  I’d planned to just get myself one eventually.  But he knew, and he got me one!  Perfect gift, perfect size!

What was the heavier-than-a-tshirt item in the box?  It was this:

Does Dave know me or does Dave know me???  I’m so excited to get this book, Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter.  This book was featured on GeekMom last December (complete with a giveaway for a free copy) and I’d been interested in getting it for several months.

And before anyone asked, YES, I have the Alton Brown books!