We attended our local town's Easter egg hunt this morning. It was fun but SO cold! Eve is absolutely petrified of the Easter bunny (and all creatures that don costumes, wear face paint, or in any way alter their appearance) she cried and hid her face in Daniel's shoulder. She has acted in this manner for a long time now. Is this a normal behavior? Much discussion ensues after she experiences a situation like this- she is still talking about the clown we saw on Halloween night. Sigh.

My main beef with the Easter egg hunt was that it was no hunt at all! They just dumped a whole lot of eggs in a circle, blew the whistle, kids stampeded, and in 90 seconds it was all over. Where did the hunt go?

Daniel and I were able to spend some time this afternoon alone with Judah while Eve slept. It was really nice to be able to just hang out with our little stud.

He's so sweet and funny when he's not screaming his head off. Apparently he has a new passion- drawing. He spent a half an hour with this pencil and old phone bill. In a couple months I am sure our "wall of art" will be brimming with Judah's creations, right along side of Eve's.

While it was very chilly out this afternoon, it was absolutely gorgeous.We started out on a walk, but ended up hanging out at our good friend's house up the street while the kids played.

We tried to finish our walk after a while but we were absolutely frozen! We headed home and I made breakfast for dinner. Pretty much one of my favorite meals to make. Saturdays like this one are so good. Why can't every day be Saturday?

I love mornings
My favorite part of the day is morning with the kids. I love how excited they are to see me when I come to get them out of their beds. Mornings are a happy time at our house.

Eve woke up before Judah so she was able to color in peace while she waited for her pre-breakfast, breakfast to be ready. She was really concentrating on her art this morning. She takes it all pretty seriously. She leans towards abstract art - or maybe it's just that she is 3.

Eve is really in to having her strawberries and lemon yogurt each morning. I can understand, it is awesome to have fresh strawberries again. She is looking forward to all the berry picking we will be doing this year, so am I. It makes summer fun and always yummy!

This is the face I was presented with when I walked into get Judah from his crib. He is so goofy, but is there any better way to be greeted by your baby? (He slept 'til 9:30 Gasp!)

There is nothing Judah likes to do more than to find his "Ce-Ce" in the morning. This morning he was particularly eager to find her and I barely got in a kiss before he squirmed out of my arms.

The kitchen table still had the chairs in the upright position (he's a climber- they are always on their sides for safety reasons) so Judah was able to wish 'George' the betta a "Good Morning!". He was beyond thrilled- Judah, not George. George is actually kind of quiet. Must be a defense mechanism.

Next to finding Ce-Ce in the morning, the only thing that could make Judah happier is being able to immediately sit down and dig into his breakfast- no waiting involved. This was one of those mornings. Happy little people at our house! Makes for a pretty happy Momma too.

Things that make you go hmmm
So I'm making cold calls tonight to see if any seniors from Vermont's illustrious school systems are interested and smart enough to join the Air Force. I have to share one phone call with you because it left me in awe and bewilderment.

(ringing phone. . .)
Child- (answers phone) "Good evening, ----- residence, may I help you?
Me- "Yes, is ----- there?" (asking for child's older sister)
Child- (still extremely polite) "I'm sorry she's not available at the moment, would you like to speak with my mother?
Me- "That would be fine, thank you"
(Child turns the phone away but leaves it uncovered) and. . . screams "MOM, PICK UP THE PHONE"

Me- stunned

How does a young person like this sound like a professional receptionist when speaking with a perfect stranger, and then (almost angrily) yell at the woman that brought them into the world and is in every way that child's authoritative charge?

I didn't have an answer. I see a lot of brats that act like that, but never brats that behave first. Had it been one or the other; I wouldn't have even remembered it, but the combination leaves me very confused.
Busy Life
Last night I laid my head on Daniel's shoulder and lamented. I lamented that life is just whirring by, the days seem to simply disappear. I can't find the switch to slow things down. I feel like I am running a hundred miles an hour and all I want to really do is walk, slowly. I want to enjoy my husband, I want to enjoy my children's childhood, to take the time to figure out who I really am, and to develop deep friendships. Daniel was so comforting by saying: "It's only going to go by faster." Bleh! Not what I wanted to hear. Sadly, I know it is true. But, there has to be someway, somehow. We already don't have a t.v., we eat dinner as a family, I don't work outside the home... Is this truly the way life is?

The Lake Champlain Waterfront

For part of our date yesterday, Daniel and I walked down the Lake Champlain waterfront and enjoyed the beauty of the day. It is amazing how people come out of the woodwork when it starts to warm up, even the tiniest bit. It was very relaxing but still quite chilly, and as you can see there is still quite a lot of snow and ice on the lake. It didn't stop people from wearing shorts and playing frisbee, flying a kite, or hitting a ball around. Good 'ol New Englanders. We're hard-core up here.

What is it about Costco? This question has been rolling around in my head the last couple of days. I know, real deep stuff people.

I love going to Costco, and that is the feeling I get from everyone else in the store when I am there. Is it the free food? It's definitely not the aesthetically pleasing environment. Is it the prices? The selection? The wide open store, the extra large aisles? The fact that you have to have a membership to darken the doorway? The added convenience that you can have your photos developed, while you shop, for mere pennies? The delicious smelling hot food you can buy and then sit, eat, and people watch? Or, that you can return any item without a receipt and they take it back no questions asked.

I just can't put my finger on the bottom line reason. And how do they get us to come and shop so often? Not only for groceries but sometimes just for fun? Isn't it suppose to be a store to shop at where you "stock" up so you don't have to come back so often? And why do we have so much fun when we are there? Even the employees seem to be having a great time. They laugh and joke around with each other while getting you checked out in record time. Is it because they make fairly good money that even includes benefits - practically unheard of for a checker in a grocery store!

So many questions, so few answers. All I know is that thinking about living without a Costco nearly puts me in a panic. It is so very possible - obviously, since nearly the entire world somehow survives just fine sans Costco. I am really thankful that I don't have to tread those unchartered waters just yet.
But Possums are so ugly
Seriously people, who spends $200 on a child carrier aka a backpack?

Apparently, I do.

The final straw came while shopping on Tuesday. I was holding Judah, trying to contain his enthusiasm to get down and terrorize the entire store, and ended up with a pulled muscle in my back. We have a sling that we use a lot but, he is getting big and I am restricted in the activities I can perform. It's unfortunate because he is so content in the sling, always has been, and I love being able to kiss his soft head whenever I want to.

But the pain! Pain talks, it makes you spend ridiculous amounts of money where you never would have normally. I have been scouting the second hand store since this past summer, there has been nothing, as in zero backpacks. So, my options were: go with a cheap carrier that would mostly likely hurt my back even more, and would be just plain crappy; a moderately priced one that has some features that I hate and would make me less likely to actually use it i.e. metal kickstand thing on the bottom and back, thereby removing the point of the whole thing; or spend $200 on a carrier I am going to love (fingers totally crossed!).

I love this one because it is urban, it has no long metal legs to make it cumbersome, and it isn't reflective, made for hiking, or screaming for attention with it's poke your eyes out bright colors. I could tell you how I really feel if you'd like.
So, I spent the $200; it re-enforces the policy we hold of buying quality so that we spend less money in the long run. Hopefully I will be able to add this carrier to the 'wise buys' list.
Happy Spring!

Somewhere deep under this snow and frozen ground there are tulip bulbs that produce a myriad of gorgeous colors. This is an insane amount of snow to have in March, even for Vermont. Still, I say optimistically: "Happy Spring!" At least the birds are singing as if it is truly Spring out there. It makes my heart glad to hear their songs. And soon, my tulips will be beautiful and my children will be running barefoot through thick green grass. I can't hardly wait!
Misery loves company

Eve was so thoughtful in lending her moral support to Daniel in his quest to knock out 1000 push-ups yesterday. He did it by the way.
The Wailing Wall

The influence of a Father
It's been 3 days since I have been back home and I have noticed something interesting. I have noticed a marked difference in the relationship between Daniel and Eve. It seems to be a much closer bond than when I left. Eve is more calm and secure; she is more loving towards Daniel, with a higher level of respect; she's quicker to obey, and all around happier. Daniel seems to be more willing to play her silly games and oblige her, within the realm of her imagination.

I was gone for 6 days and in that time they played a lot, did a few special activities, almost finished reading Charlotte's Web; basically just hung out together. It wasn't anything extreme, or a concentrated effort to better their (already great) relationship but the simple factors of time and devoted attention returned amazing results. It goes to show just how heavy an influence a Daddy is. I have seen a lot of research out there relating to the father/ daughter relationship as well as tons of books. It is quite interesting and most is helpful; but what I see at home is the most interesting to me. I see a very involved Daddy who is growing himself, in great ways, and our children are so happy.

What an amazing gift Eve is receiving; a Daddy who gives her the healthy, loving, and growing relationship that she'll require in helping to complete her as a woman someday.

There's no place like home
Let's just wrap up this day by saying that I spent way too much time sitting. It was worth it, to me, since I came home with a "free" round trip ticket voucher in hand. Plus, a bonus visit to Target. A long day; it's so good to be home. Tomorrow... the plan is snuggling little warm wiggly bodies all day long.

Raggedy Andie
Daniel asked me tonight, while on the phone, if I had people staring at me again. I thought about it for a moment and then replied "Yeah, I guess they are starting up again." It isn't everyday that you see someone with long "raggedy-ann" colored hair. I get lots of compliments with the addition of many curious stares. I have hesitated at times, these last couple of days, when I look in the mirror wondering... am I too old for this? But, this color is me. It's a way to let my personality show. People can look all they want, and they will. I am okay with that - I am only going to go around once, I don't want to have any regrets, and I want to always have been me. And to have had fun! How could hair this bright and bold not be fun? At the completion of the color process in the salon on Monday, my friends all remarked how good it was to have the Andie back that they know and love.
So, "World"... I'm baaaack!
Hamburger Helper
Tonight (pause for effect) I made the best four hamburgers I've ever made. . . ever. I'll put it this way, these hamburgers could change the world. Personally, I think if the right world leaders all came together for a dinner of my hamburgers, well, two words, world peace. So how you ask?

-combine in a bowl-
2 lbs. of hamburger (roughly)
generous sprinkling of onion powder
generous sprinkling of garlic powder
enough salt
some pepper
splash of soy sauce (if you don't have a low sodium soy sauce then skip the salt)
. . . the magic ingredient (drum roll please) two eggs

now throw your hands in there and start mixing

separate into 4 equal . . . chunks

Okay, I don't want to lose you here, this is important, form the chunks into patties. But be sure to press in the sides of the patties, they should not be jagged, but pressed and smooth all the way around.

Cook them.

Cook however you want, the important things are the eggs and pressing the sides of the patties in. These two vital steps will ensure that your hamburgers will be so juicy that you can cook them all the way through (medium) and still watch them shake like a water-bed when you bounce them onto your bread/roll/bun.

Daniel. . .
. . . misses Andrea
. . . is doing two weeks of college. . tonight
. . . is blessed to have such great kids
. . . plans on sleeping in tomorrow
. . . will probably not get to sleep in tomorrow
. . . will take a nap tomorrow to make up for it
. . . went on a walk today
. . . needs new sneakers
. . . forgot his parents anniversary and feels like a horrible son and because he is an only child, he can't compare himself to a "worse" sibling to make himself feel better
. . . is done with his break and has to get back to studying

**update** . . . Daniel slept in, and took a nap
By the numbers
I only had 1 hand free to make pancakes for 2 kids. Then all 3 of us went 4 a walk after 5 attempts to get dressed. After 6 vetoed lunch requests we settled on 7 sausages and 8 some eggs. Then we played 9 games in 10 minutes. Now it's 11 to 12 and I'm counting on nap time.
-Mr. Mom
Leaving on a jet plane
I'm going home for a few days- Daniel graciously said he'd watch the kids for me so I could get away. I am excited but mostly I already feel a little lonely. No little snuggly warm bodies to take care of, and while Daniel and I can talk on the phone it's not the same as face to face. I really need this though.

I'll be sitting in a chair at the salon I worked for, prior to marrying Daniel, bright and early Monday morning to get my hair cut and colored. I use to look like this and I miss it.

I miss being and looking vibrant; I am feeling too "mommy-ish" and I want to feel more funky and like " me." I don't exactly know what the end result will be but I am excited! Besides doing that, I think I am just going to chill. I know I will be feeling weird not having anyone to take care of, but I am going to block that and just relax.

So, if you think of it, send some nice thoughts Daniel's way. He's going to need them.


An exceptional hat created by Nana
Seriously, her childhood would not have been complete without this hat. Thanks Nana!

Pattern found here
"Hi, my name is Eve, and I'm a lotionaholic"

Monday evening I hosted my friend Tarrah's first Body Shop party. It was a great time having our feet pampered in the company of good friends. Eve was able to join with us in the fun, she had even picked out her outfit appropriately, (a leotard) so that her clothing " wouldn't get in the way of rubbing lotion on her legs."

There was no place she would rather have been. You see, Eve is a lotionaholic; every time we are at the mall we must stop by the "lotion store" because she needs to rub some into her skin. She gravitates to the pink, glittery, highly perfumed lotions, of course. So, you can imagine what this girl smelled like by the end of the Body Shop party. One of my friends said it best: "It depends on which way she turns- she can smell like coconut, or strawberry, a little peppermint, or almond, maybe some shea butter or tangerine!" She was layered to put it mildly.

She also discovered that Tarrah had brought the make-up with her kit. For Eve, being the epitome of girl, this was heaven, absolute heaven. A perfect illustration of this is what she had lamented to me a couple of days prior: "But Momma, I just can't go to the store with my lips naked !" I'm no tomboy but she puts me to shame, and I love it.
I don't have a sister, I have two younger brothers and while they are great...really, I love them very much, I always desired the companionship of a sister. Eve, at this point, doesn't have a sister and I worry sometimes that she will feel lonely with only having Judah to pal around with. Seeing the two of them together this morning took away a little of that fear. Does anyone else worry about these kind of things?

It's probably a good thing that we signed up for story time at the library today. It sure looks like we have another book-lover on our hands! It is interesting to me that he always goes to this exact spot in our house to read his books. He's such a funny little boy.

Some people's children
Station Command over at Recruiting Tirade is laying out a story talking about a "former recruiter" (the guy is not really a former recruiter, see story) who is doing counter-recruiter events. Where I am I see a lot of this kind of stuff. People will schedule to visit a high school the same day as us recruiters so that they can offer a counter-perspective to the students.

First off, the students hate these creeps.
Second, how much do young people really need to be told that there are alternatives to the military.
Seriously, maybe 1 out of 10 applicants actually qualify to join. I sure hope they are aware of other options besides enlisting. And another thing, the system is perpetually pushing college. That's okay by me, whatever. . .but last I checked, college is the first thing that comes to mind for young people when they think of what happens after high school. It's not like these kids are thinking of joining the military until some counter-recruiter comes and "enlightens" them to their other options.

One thing I like to ask these yahoos is whether or not they believe America should have a military at all. They always answer that yes we should have a military. Well. . . let me do my job. It's that simple. Without us recruiters, America doesn't have a military. Without a military you don't have America. So. . . here's your options:

If you are okay with a full scale invasion of this country, okay with turning into either a casualty or guest worker in your own backyard, okay with seeing a new flag flying over our capital, then maybe you shouldn't be living here.

If you like speaking English, leave me alone and let me work.

And if you support the troops, think about starting to support enlistment too. Do you know who a recruiter's best friend is? You. Be that influencer that sends the kid to come see me. Tell young people that it's a noble choice. Tell them how proud you would be. Yeah, we're going to give them tons of money for college and a ton of other benefits, but there's nothing like talking with a young person who is joining because they truly believe it's the right thing to do. That belief doesn't just show up one day. It's put there by your influence, so be intentional about conveying that idea. Remember, if not them, who?
A Father and Son picture
I found this photo buried in the hundreds of pictures we upload every few days. It amazes me how many pictures I have to take to find a jewel like this one. I didn't even realize what I had taken at the time. It kind of stole my breath when I saw it this morning.

I have a front row seat to see what you all can't see. A father who adores his son, and a son who thinks his "Da-h" is the greatest person in the world. Such love. Once in while I find a picture that allows you a glimpse.

A Word from the Now Wise
It's not such a great idea to take your daily exercise walk in a blizzard. The blinding snow, the sleet pelting my face, the 6 inches of snow to push the jogging stroller through, the wind stealing the breath that your lungs are so desperate for; add in a few hills, the danger of a couple plows, pretty much it adds up to a very bad idea. I didn't think I was going to make it home for a long, long time but that little quote kept running through my head: "If there's no way around it then the only way is through it" (that's a loose translation), so I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I made it home and I'm fairly positive I burned a good 1000 calories within those 3 miles. Pretty much that is the only upside I can see to my walk this morning! Daniel calls me driven but sometimes I wonder....

** Just so you all know- my jogging stroller has a weather cover so the kids were warm and safe under there!
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