Safety first, people
The children and Tarrah were safely far away, safely in the house while we were safely in the woods, safely shooting a Sig .40. We were oh, so safely having an awesome time.

Dang, this was serious fun.

I am looking forward to spending plenty more time sharpening my skills with my own gun.

Baby Belly Picture at Four and One Half Months

I'm not a real huge fan of having my bare belly in a picture on the internet, so here is a clothed belly one for all you who have asked. And yes, I am big. This is my third child and things "blossom" a little quicker the more children you have carried in your womb...I'm finding this out. But hey, nobody is going to wonder if I ate too many cookies anymore. That's an improvement. Daniel felt the baby move a couple of nights ago, which is always exciting. I really love the second trimester of pregnancy.

I just have to say, you people are Starbucks fiends! I like Starbucks and all but seriously.... Wow! I had NO idea. Without further ado the winner is:

CMommy at Singalullaby

Congratulations CMommy!! I'll send it out as soon as I get your address.

Now, we'll go back to regular blogging. Our little blog was starting to get the shakes from the inordinate amount of traffic.
Can You Feel the Love?
Daniel and I loved this whole display of affection tonight. Neither child was being mean, it was all in the name of play. And although these incidents happened quite separately, that takes nothing away from the humor of it all. I can't even tell you how happy I am that I caught these random acts of kindness with my camera. This is priceless stuff, people.

Dog Days of Summer

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

We will pick the winner tonight at 8:30 EST!

Today marks the beginning of the Dog Days of Summer Bloggy Giveaway Carnival. This fun idea is hosted by Shannon from Rocks In My Dryer. If you pop over you can see a full list of the participants as well as check out what they are giving away. Seriously, who doesn't love free stuff! There are 221 people signed up already! Go have a hayday with your comments! You just never know.

Our prize is this:

A $25 dollar gift card to Starbucks!

The rule for winning is to simply leave a comment on this post(only one please), we will draw and announce the winner on Friday, July 27th. We must have a way to contact you for your address. Happy free coffee thoughts are sent your way!
An Eve-ism
Random. My sweet Eve is very random. She looked at me afterwards to see if it was alright that she licked a book. I just laughed. I suggested that perhaps she could just stick to licking her books from now on. I just never know what's next with this one.

Bring on the bacon

I know it's sad but my heart actually skipped a beat when I took these babies out of their box. I love my food co-op. Just not as much, obviously, as I love bacon.
A Sunday Afternoon at the Lincoln River
We found this beautiful river when I was pregnant with Judah. Our then midwife lived way out in the sticks and we had to drive by the river to get to her house. It is so peaceful, beautiful, and clean. It beckons you to come and play. The water is crystal clear, and has a wonderful sound to it. It's almost like I can escape life for a few hours when I am there. The kids had more fun than I've seen them have in a long time. An absolutely perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. A bit farther down the river is a gorgeous waterfall that you can actually jump into. It's about a 35 or 40 foot drop. Daniel, my brothers, and even my Dad have jumped. Now, we just need to get Tarrah's husband Sam to come down and jump with Daniel one of these days.

**Just to update: Yes, there is a random picture of horses in the slide show. There is a farm on the way that has a gazillion mini horses, whose purpose is yet unknown. That picture shows only a fraction. I find it all very strange, yet intriguing.

Splish Splash
We took the kids to the pool this evening for some more water fun. This was real fun though, not pseudo fun! Judah learned how to kick his legs while laying on his back. He had a blast!

The real feat was just convincing him to actually lay on his back. But, he did it. I think he just didn't like water in his ears.

Eve used the noodle and kicked away. No Momma telling her to not splash quite so much, like when she's in the bathtub.

Usually we go to the pool during the winter and that involves layers, and snow, and freezing cold and boots... you get the picture. This was a breeze!

My favorite part is how tired the kids are afterwards. I fed them and off to dreamland they went, with no complaining. I'm a happy Momma tonight.
Caught in a torrential downpour
I'm not sure why I am smiling. I was not smiling on the inside, for sure. There wasn't a piece of my clothing dry. No, nothing.

Let me just preface this by saying - it was a gorgeous day when we left for a fun-filled afternoon at Shelburne Farms. Blue skies, big puffy white clouds, absolutely perfect.

The walk out the barnyard at Shelburne Farms is about 1 mile. We felt a few drops along the way, but I can handle a little rain. At about the half way point the skies opened up and it was a torrential downpour. I started to run while trying to push my Maclaren stroller through deep gravel (holla if you know how hard that is! holy freakin' cow!), thinking of my wonderful camera in the netting underneath the stroller. Oh, to add insult to injury it's hilly that last half mile. I was the crazy mother yelling to her four year old "RUN!" A four year old I couldn't really see because it was raining so hard. It was in essence - NUTS. To be put oh, you know...mildly.

We finally made it to the barn and some kind soul opened one of the gates for us; I wish I could say I checked on Judah or Eve first to make sure no one had drowned, but instead I grabbed the camera. It was soaking wet, but after a good rub down with a towel it seems to be fine. The rest of us didn't fare so well. Judah shivered the whole three hours we were there, Eve was freezing, and I now have permanent goosebumps. But, we had fun. Reeeally.

Well, we did enjoy the cheese.
Judah with a sprinkle of Eve
He's a strange child indeed. Tonight the steamed broccoli disappeared like a flash from his pudgy little hands into his mouth, yet the delicious and nearly perfect meatloaf was left to go cold on his plate. And it's like this every night. Vegetables go first, and he always wants more to boot, leaving the main dish as dismissed. He certainly makes me go: "Hmmmm".

As for Eve, things are going downhill very quickly. Last night she said: "We might be moving to 'Cali-floor-nea' ," tonight it was 'Castle-floor-nea'. Hey, we are military! You just never know where we might end up.
Tree Climbers 2006 and 2007
April 2006
These pictures may have been taken in different trees that we have in our yard, but the kids are the same in each picture. Not that you'd know! I am amazed at the difference in their looks.

July 2007

I love this picture. Judah is my sweet little man.

My sweet big man.
He is the reason my children are in trees. As for me, I say why test fate. I would pick the wrong branch to put my foot on.
Barbecued Chicken and Grape Salad
This is the start of a delicious and easy summer salad. Although, I have been known to make it in the dead of winter. Believe me when I say it is delicious. I made it for first time when I had company (it's a sickness I have, to try new recipes on company) and they loved it. It's Daniel's favorite summer meal.

Here is the recipe straight from my Cooking Light magazine. Underneath the recipe is my version. This is a great use for left-over grilled chicken.

(click on picture to read recipe)

Andrea's Barbecue Chicken and Grape Salad

2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 bone in chicken breast (barbecued on the grill- cooled)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2c green grapes, halved
1 1/2 red grapes, halved
4 stalks celery sliced thin
1/4-1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup walnuts

Pull chicken off bone, slightly shred into medium to small pieces. Place in frying pan and add oil. Stir to coat. In a separate small bowl mix together first 4 ingredients and pour over chicken. Mix well over medium heat just until flavor is set. ( approx. 2 minutes) Place on plate in a thin layer. Cool in refrigerator. (or if you're in a hurry - the freezer) In a large bowl mix together the grapes, celery, walnuts, and vinegar. When chicken is cooled add to bowl along with the mayonnaise. Toss until well coated. Enjoy!

**Could be served with crusty sourdough bread from a bakery. I served it with sliced cucumbers, and fresh green beans steamed, on the side.


He has brains too!!

Daniel passed the DLAB yesterday! In fact, he did amazing on it. Whoo - hoo!! That test sounded nearly impossible to pass when he described it to me. I actually asked if there were "right" answers or if they just were messing with your head. Of course, there are right answers - it just didn't seem possible. This takes us one step closer to Daniel cross training into the cryptology career field and linguist school (DLI) out in Monterey, California. Eden and Steve from Once Upon a Dream are out there right now and seem to be really happy. I'm pretty sure I could handle living on the coast for approximately a year and a half. Spending time with the kids at the beach sounds awesome! I'm a New Yorker so the beach has never been a part of my lifestyle but I think I could adapt.

We've had so many opportunities present themselves to us over the last year that it makes our head spin, but all those doors have shut. Some of those doors have shut gently, others have slammed. What matters to us is that we are where God wants us. We have started the process of submitting Daniel's re-training package and now comes the waiting. I wish I was better at it.

Until we find out if Daniel is accepted or not, you know what I'll be dreaming of.... ocean waves and NO SNOW!
A new snack
I saw this post over at In the Midst of it yesterday, and thought it might be a fun snack for Eve and I to make together. We gathered the ingredients from the health food store that we didn't have at home, namely the bread, and after rest time we whipped it up. Eve was a great help and very good at stirring the ingredients. Especially after I gave her a whisk. She had been using her hands! She enjoyed her bread dipping and also her peppermint tea. Judah made his own fun by stealing her napkins.
Free as a breeze
Have you ever stopped for a moment and thought - How did I get to this place!?

I had this happen to me earlier today. I was standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom putting on my make-up when all the sudden I'm wondering what has happened to me. Wasn't I just 18 and free as a breeze?

I looked at myself. Hair is still the same color, but nearly everything else has changed. My abdomen is swelling with yet another new life; my eyes look tired and a bit wistful, looking back at me in the mirror. My face a little more mature, my arms stronger, my skin not quite as youthful. How did I get here? Am I even happy about being here? I realized that most of the time, yes, I am happy. And while I do understand my happiness is not the goal I should be seeking, it is nice to be happy.
But, in that moment I wished I could whisk myself away to a life that doesn't include children, and a husband, and a house, and neighbors, and all that goes along with my life today. I was wishing for peace, some quiet, time to not hear anyone's voice talking to me, eating when I feel like eating, not having to think about anyone but me. As in a lifestyle, not a vacation. You know, to be free as a breeze again.

Then I remembered how lonely I was at 18. I had plenty of friends, my family, a great job but I felt like there was a hole in my heart. Now, I realize that hole is filled. Filled from the sounds of my children singing songs while dancing on Eve's bed, and feeling my ever expanding belly pressing up against the sink, from knowing that a man driving a Ford f350 down the highway to Glens Falls is thinking about me, from dreaming about the next phase of life rapidly approaching our little family.

Life right now isn't all that easy; early motherhood is hard, and a young marriage is challenging. I have tons of questions, lots of fears, plenty of guilt, and not enough time. And while it doesn't make me any less tired, at least I can find rest in knowing God has His hand on my life and He has me right here, right now for a reason. He gave me this life that I am living because it is what is best for me. But, definitely not what is easiest. Free as a breeze would be the easiest, most unfulfilled life I could have, but I don't want it.
Gone Country

Daniel left at an ungodly hour this morning to work the Air Force tent at the country music festival. Apparently there were fans sprinting, when the gate opened, to get front row seats.That pretty much describes, by itself, all the sights I saw later on when we hung out with him. Moving on..... the kids and I were able to get in for free, have free parking, and receive burgers and fries complimentary. But, the best part was being able to hang out with Daniel while he was working.

On another front, I am still positively giddy after Judah stayed in the nursery at church for all but 10 minutes, and Eve went to kids church (she loved it!) which meant I sat in a church service and actually heard the sermon. This hasn't happened since Judah was born! I'm so glad because it was really good.

We just switched to this church last week because of the much better children's programs they have, shorter service time, and truthfully, a focus on God that superseded the other two churches we have attended while living here. I feel, albeit cautiously, at home in this church. Which is weird because it's unlike any church I have ever attended. Much more formal. But, I was actually excited to go to church today, and knowing that I would be doing it all without Daniel's help, and still anticipating it, was miraculous in itself. Time will tell...
Well Said
I(Daniel) was looking over a site that I frequent regularly when I came across the best description of military operations in Iraq. I've pulled out the one paragraph that really caught my eye and wanted to share this with you.

I also trust that, while you can debate the legality and justification of the war we are in until the end of time, that the overall end effect of military operations is good for our country. We turned over a rock looking for a snake and we instead found roaches. We weren’t ready for what we found, and we screwed up not knowing it would be there, but we’re stomping them out anyway.

What do you think?
Diapers, diapers, and more diapers
I don't know why I strayed for so long. Pampers really are the best disposable diapers that I have found. But, I do shop at Costco a lot and the big boxes of diapers tempted me beyond belief. Not a huge price break but to have that many diapers at once, they literally lasted us months, was very nice. They do eventually run out and we ended up needing diapers on the 4th of July, Costco wasn't open so off to Walmart we went. (We needed a couple of other items there otherwise we would've headed to the grocery store. Spending more than 5 minutes in Walmart makes Daniel very angry, but that's another story for another day. )

Now a couple of days later and I am wondering why I ever strayed. I really love pampers. They don't leak, I can actually put Judah's pj's on for more than one night at a time. And they smell so pretty. I literally inhaled the newly opened package. One more side benefit is now Judah asks me to change his diaper, all because he wants to wear a different Sesame Street friend. Oh, the wonderful things Elmo does for me.

If you are curious there is a very interesting string of posts going on at Far Beyond Pearls.
She is discussing the benefits of cloth diapers along with detailed tutorials, and information on what kind and where to buy the type she uses. She makes some excellent points, and truly it doesn't seem like too much more work. But, I usually have to think on those type of changes for a long time. I did cloth with Eve for awhile so it's not new territory. We'll see.

Besides all that, you should head over there and visit, she is such a lovely, down to earth blogger. I always enjoy reading her posts. Make sure you tell her you came from over here please!

Happy wiping baby's booties if you have them!!
What a blast!
Our 4th of July was SO fun!! It started on Tuesday night with a town concert on the green. We met some friends there, brought a picnic, and let the kids play while listening to the music. The event didn't actually start until 7pm. which is Judah's bedtime, so I was a little concerned. It was a waste of my time to worry! Both of the kids were awesome! I have never seen Judah in such a good mood! He was the goofiest, silliest, most fun he has ever been. We laughed so much at both of them and it made for a wonderful concert time.

Around 9pm. about 20 - 25 people loaded up on our friends personal firetruck and off we went to downtown Burlington to watch the fireworks over the water. I hadn't ever ridden in a firetruck before,and neither had the kids, what an experience!! I have never had such a fun ride in my life! Eve held on to my hand with a death grip, letting go once in awhile to blow the horns, or turn the lights on and off. I could see Daniel in the rear view mirror- he was hanging on the back on the truck. People were piled on top,on the back, and in any open space! For the fireworks we sat on the corner of the main road downtown, at the top of the last hill before the water. Such the perfect spot! It was pretty surreal to be sitting on the corner of a usually very busy road watching fireworks. It was the first time for either of the kids and they loved them! After they were finished we headed to a local burger joint and had some food, then off to bed. We actually didn't get the kids in bed until 11:30, but they did so amazing!
Wednesday we headed back over to our friend's house, along with a zillion fire fighters for bagels and mimosas,(our friend is the chief of the local fire department) and to watch the parade. It passes right in front of their house so it was perfect. Towards the end of the parade everyone split up onto one of their three firetrucks and we joined in the parade. The kids waved their flags at the parade goers, and clanged the bell. Again, what an experience!! We spent the rest of the day recovering from all the fun. Great memories!

***The pictures in the post below have descriptions with them if you click on the actual picture. I am new to the world of Flickr and have NO idea how to get the descriptors to show up in the slide show.
4th of July
6 years...Oh My!
Sometimes I just can't believe it's been six years that Daniel and I have been married for. Other times I feel like we've been married forever. When I think back on our wedding it feels like it was a different life, with a different girl and a different boy. I suppose in a way it was all of those things. We've gone from living out our first year of marriage in a tiny, cozy love nest of an apartment in Eagle River Alaska, complete with hot water in the toilet (I'll let you think about how nice that was!!), having the time of our lives just finally able to be together, to Grand Forks North Dakota, land of the miserable wind and so many mosquitoes that they sent a plane every week during the summer to spray the base with God only knows what; having beautiful Eve join our family; Daniel working a 4 day work week with a 3 day weekend... every weekend; shopping at Super Target, and having a Commissary, to Vermont the land of having babies, working, and zero time for anything else. Every season is so different, some easy and some really tough.
No one would have dreamed the two of us would get married, but God knew that we were just right for traversing this thing called life together. I heard someone talk on the radio talk recently about how they believe life doesn't have ups and downs, instead that whenever there is something really hard in your life there is at that same time always something really good, and vise versa. I've seen how whenever life has thrown us a curve ball, and times have been tough the really good thing happening right along side the hard time has consistently been our marriage. I am so very thankful for these six years of marriage; I am thankful for today, which is one more day with Daniel, and I pray that there will be a lot of tomorrows to make memory upon memory, continuing to build a wonderful life.

Here's to thousands more!!

**** I like to dream big ya know!!

A boy and his hats
Judah loves hats, like really loves them; as in he threw a fit complete with tears a couple of days ago when I took his new Old Navy hat off his head. When we don't have a hat on his head and he feels the need for a little head covering he creates his own - hence, the bowls, boxes, and perhaps his sister's hats a time or two. This one is all boy and I love it!

Do you ever have a day where you perpetually hurt yourself? Today is that day for me. I'm wishing this day away quickly, simply to avoid more pain adding itself to what I've already had.

I'm off to try and soothe my bleeding, throbbing pinky toe......
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