Friday, February 26, 2010

Valentine's Day happenings - 2010

So I didn't get a lot of pictures (ok, none of Valentine's day itself) but I do have a few from some of the festivities that I'd like to share with you.

It started with their school Valentine's Dance on February 5th, where an adult had to be there with the student (the whole time). Thankfully Brian was able to make it so we had some fun all together.

(There's a couple more pics if you go here)

Here we have Brian trying to show Vincent how to do the "Y" for YMCA

Brian holding Karah's hand so she can twirl around in a circle - she loved it!

Vincent sitting down for a minute with his classmate, Lily. I couldn't resist the cuteness factor :)

Karah with a couple of her classmates all getting in on the picture action

Vincent & Karah ~ they do love each other! :-D

The class parties were the Thursday before Valentine's day and the kids were excited about their goodies.

Karah with her Valentines

Vincent and his Valentines

And what did they give out, you ask? Well, they each had the little cards, but wanted to give out a treat too. I had first seen the idea for these treats at Little Birdie Secrets (love their site!), but hadn't seen the tutorial link - until after I had already made these. So we grabbed some Wilton's chocolate pieces (blended 2 parts milk chocolate & 1 part dark chocolate), sticks, bags w/ties, and mini candy canes (on sale @ Walgreen's for $.39/pack of 40).

The kids enjoyed helping to make them. I melted, stirred, and placed the chocolate onto the stick laying on the parchment paper and they took turns laying the mini candy canes onto chocolate to form a heart. Mint & chocolate are a yummy combination! Sure it was different from the tutorial, but I really like how these turned out. I love the contrast of the red & white "heart" against the dark, chocolate background. Plus, there's some substance to it as well. We ended up being able to use all 60 sticks in the package, making enough for both their classes plus a few extra. The kids also dipped some candy canes & pieces into the chocolate to have little yummy bits to munch on.

Notice the one I made for Brian in the bottom right corner? :) I had also tried sprinkling some crushed candy canes on one of them, but didn't like the look very well, so that one became mine on Valentine's day. The kids each got one as well and everyone was happy - and loved!

Monday, February 15, 2010

a year ...

It's been so. very. long. Almost a year, in fact. It has never been my intention to be away for any amount of time. Many things have happened in the past almost year so I'll try to keep it brief. I could add so many pictures, but then it would take forever for the page to load so please enjoy the pics here and I'll try to stay more up-to-date ... on a regular basis :)

Last year these three got older. I don't know who said that could happen, but it did happen and now Karah is 10, Brian Lee is 9, and Vincent is 8
Karah, Brian Lee, & Vincent chillin' in the backseat

During this past year, Brian got selected for recruiting duty. We packed up the house & put it all in storage, since we wouldn't know where he was going until closer to graduation. Recruiter's school was in San Diego, CA and we decided to make it a driving trip. We visited his parents in Mississippi and managed to squeeze in a couple of day trips - one to the USS Alabama, a battleship in Mobile, AL, and the another to the NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
After our visit in MS we continued our journey West, dropping the kids off in TX and Brian & I arriving in CA on July 3rd. We spent the 4th together and rented a paddle boat - really enjoyed our day together. On our way back to the motel that evening, we were able to see 12 different fireworks displays - very beautiful. After almost a week in Cali, I went on to spend the next six weeks in Colorado visiting my sister.
I arrived at Ella's on July 9th with 2 suitcases, 1 garment bag, and 2 boxes full of baby goodies that I'd shopped for before leaving. It was so cute to see her with a big baby belly, but he didn't stay in there too long after I arrived. On July 18, 2009, at 8:24am my nephew, Noah David Blickenstaff, made his entrance into the world. He weighed a whopping 8lbs 9oz and was 20 1/2 inches long. (to read the birth story, click here) While I have given birth twice myself, I have never witnessed it, and it was amazing. Ella did great going all natural, something I've never done - gimme drugs LOL.
Noah resting on Mommy - about 12 hrs old

While I very much enjoyed my time in Colorado visiting my sister and enjoying my new nephew, all good things must come to an end. I drove back to San Diego to see Brian graduate recruiter's school and then we headed back to Camp Lejeune. We picked the kids back up in Texas, visited his parents again in Mississippi, then finally made it back to North Carolina.
We didn't stay there too long, just enough to load up a HUGE truck with our belongings in the storage units (yes, plural), found out the truck wasn't big enough, got a trailer hitch installed on the van and rented a trailer to fill it with the rest of our things. We then started our journey to Valparaiso, Indiana, where we are now living in an apartment. For an apartment, it's very nice. Three bedrooms, 2 bath, laundry room, attached 1-car garage isn't bad, but the kitchen is TINY. Oh to live in a real house again - lol. Honestly, it is a very nice complex and the price is great for us.
Being in a new area, we got to go to a new place for the Marine Corps Ball this year. It was at the Conrad Hilton in Indianapolis and had the most motivating & interesting speaker I've ever heard. We don't usually stay for too much dancing, so after we left we changed and ran across the street to the 4-story mall (huge!!!) to the theater to see New Moon. Since the kids were with Brian's grandma, we were able to actually have a date :D
Brian & the other recruiters from his station

Since we moved to NW IN it has put us living closer to my mom than I have in the past 12 years. For Thanksgiving she, Ron, & Randy came out to spend the holiday with us. We enjoyed a good meal, and then she went shopping with me early the next morning :) After we returned, we made pancakes for breakfast. Here, Karah is helping Grandma Gwen make pancakes.
See the family resemblance?

Seeing as we now live in a snowy area, I'm the only one in our family with any experience in that. Brian is not such a big fan of it, but the kids really enjoy it. They've loved playing in it and always try to look for ice or slippery snow to slide on :) I think the snow is beautiful, especially when it's freshly fallen, driving at night seeing the sparkle from the headlights.

Brian shoveling some snow off our front walk

Karah & Vincent "skating" on the layer of ice covering the walk

Recently, the childrend started attending a local school, and on February 1, 2010, they participated in a school music program. It was patriotic, entitled "This Is America", and their music teacher was impressed that they were able to learn the songs in such a short time. Unfortunately, Brian was unable to make it since he had to be at another high school for work. Not wanting him to miss the performance, I recorded all the songs Karah & Vincent sang plus one from 4th grade as it was a song thanking veterans. I'll post the links so you can also enjoy - just click the song title.
Vincent - in the middle row, 2nd from the right
Karah - in the front row, on the right end
Karah & Vincent at home after the program

While we're not huge football buffs here, Brian has his favorite team, the New Orleans Saints. We watched them over the season and Brian just kept getting more and more happy. He was thrilled when they won the NFC Championship and ecstatic when they won their first superbowl! I love seeing him happy, so I bought him the t-shirt, hat, and superbowl XLIV official hologram program. I also bought him the t-shirt, hat, towel, & dvd when they one the superbowl, but we're still waiting on all the items to arrive.
Brian happily showing off his new goodies

On February 5th, the kids' school had a Valentine's dance that was free, and an adult had to be with them. We were thrilled that Brian was able to get off work early and come along. They even had a couple of songs for the adults to dance with their students so we took advantage of that time together. We followed the dance with pizza and a tv show and had a great evening together - something that is rare these days (due to his workschedule).
Karah happily dancing with Daddy :)

Vincent not-so-happily dancing with Mommy
(he wanted to play with his friends - lol)