Sometimes She Just Brings The Crazy...
Eliza had made a mess out of her face today with her lunch, so I bathed her before her nap this afternoon. When I laid her down to sleep, her hair was almost but not completely dry.

Apparently there was just the right amount of dampness in her hair to bring the crazies out. Eliza woke up with quite the 'do. It made me laugh to see her crazy hair.

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Eliza reminds me of a little bird; she cocks her head to the side and looks so curiously about. She was lovin' sitting in the laundry basket! However, when she tried to stand up.... that didn't work out quite like she had planned.

Tonight I am having my spectacular haircolorist... the one, the only, Daniel, color my hair. We cleaned the house earlier today, to include mopping (Yay!! I love having shiny floors) so we are good to go tonight. Color my hair and then relax.

On another, more sad note... NaBloPoMo is over today. I was having fun being told I had to post every day; I loved the challenge of it. There were defintely days when I wouldn't have posted if I hadn't committed to NaBloPoMo.

Did I clog up the internet with needless words... yes. I'm sure I did. But, oh well. I don't know how some people (bloggers) do it... they crank out wonderful, amazing posts day after day after day. Me... I'm writing about life stuff, like coloring my hair. And discovering something about myself. And birthday chocolate. And having Judah take pictures of me. And writing about all the fabulous and not so fabulous things I learned while 27 years old.

But, my favorite post from this month was Daniel's annual birthday letter to me. He loves me. A lot.

Can you believe tomorrow is December 1st? I can not even fathom it. How busy is your December? Mine... busy, BUSY! And I can hardly wait for it!

*Post from 1 year ago today: Too Much Birthday?

*Post from 1 year ago yesterday: Baking Day (These pictures made me miss baking in my little kitchen in Vermont)
V-Blogging... Hangin' out in the van
Beware of the excitement from this V-Blog... I tell ya, I know how to bring it.

We were hanging out in the van while Daniel pumped gas. I know.

Gotta love life.

I'll have more exciting material tonight. Maybe.


Let me clarify the whole non-talking thing: Eve had been disrespectful to Judah so she had to have some moments of silence... enforced by Daddy. They're learning, it's a process. Actually, we're all learning. Right?

Priceless Plus A Dollar Ninety-Nine
I love vintage. Love, love, love it. If I could stock my life with vintage everything I would. One of my favorite vintage items is the suitcase. I found some amazing suitcases at a garage sale a couple of weekends ago; I discovered mold on the inside, so the two gorgeous and perfectly vintage suitcases had to continue to sit sadly on the cold driveway. I was bummed because both suitcases were lovely and so me.

Today Eve and I were out running a couple of errands, we stopped by the Goodwill to peruse the wares, looking for some glass jars to hold my homemade yogurt (V-Blog tutorial to come!). Unfortunately we found nada. I did however find a green suitcase for a dollar ninety-nine. Score!

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It's perfect for a beautiful five year old to sit on, while eating an apple, of course.


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And to carry around. This was simply practice for when we travel home at Christmas time, you know.

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It is also the perfect seat to sit on and contemplate the meaning of life.

Yay for bright green vintage suitcases! And beautiful five year olds.

Yes, defintely the beautiful five year olds.

*Posts from 1 year ago: What A Difference A Month Makes and Calling All Pregnant Women

*Post from 2 years ago: Popularity vs. Competence
It was a THREE kind of day...
Judah's BIG day! He has been so excited for months and months to have his birthday. I loved seeing his excitement and anticipation! We all had a really fantastic day - we played, opened LOTS of presents, ate yummy "Judah" food, and took naps. The strawberry cake that Judah has been looking forward to didn't disappoint; he loved it. And I loved being able to make him happy and to fulfill his wishes. He's so easy to please. The simplest things, like the scads of balloons we decorated with, make him glow with excitement.

One of my favorite parts of the day was watching Judah run down the hall in his new sneakers. He was checking to see if they helped him run faster. It was an awesome moment. But, honestly, the whole day was spectacular - seeing Judah feel special was amazing. There's nothing like the love I have for my little boy.

All day long it was three, three, three.... I love how Judah makes his threes.

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Three...

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Three...

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Three...

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Happy Birthday Judah-man. We love you thiiiiiiiiiiis much.

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*Posts from 1 year ago today: A Birthday Morning

*Post from 2 years ago today: Judah
Long Days, Short Nights
Anybody else feel this way?

Of course, the short nights would be longer if I went to bed earlier but that's sensible. And no fun.

Today I did a photoshoot; a fun photoshoot! Still not charging and even if I was I wouldn't have charged her a penny. No way, no how. The kids did awesome, even Eliza who was napless. Eliza aka Miss Thing Number TWO did, however, fall immediatly to sleep when I put her in the carseat. That was nothing short of amazing and miraculous because my children are most decidedly not car sleepers. Not one of them has ever been, and believe me, we have traveled a lot during the span their meager little lifetimes.

Anyways... good day. Tiring day. I ate nothing for dinner because I was too lazy (tired sounds so much better) to make anything. Daniel made some healthy food for the kids so I felt guilt free for not making A DINNER.
You know how it goes... Mother guilt.

Bought Judah some sneakers for his birthday. Fingers crossed he's going to like them.

I was surprised I was able to find something, anything in this town. But, I did! And for very little money. Which, as you know how two... breathing down three... year olds are on their shoes. They beat them into the ground.

So, good shoes... little money... big sigh of relief. Mama is happy.

Shoes are what Judah requested as a birthday present. Again, blessedly easy to please.

Thanksgiving will be on Friday for us. Tomorrow.... it's all about Judah-man. Love him. And the fact that at this moment I am NOT experiencing immense labor pain. The hard work has been done and now I get to love on my little man.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and the ones you love best.
Eliza Dove - 11 Months
I was standing in the middle of the nursery today with my sweet, chubby baby girl wrapped up in my arms; I had this overwhelming sense of longing for her to never grow a smidgen bigger. I know, people talk about how it's right and great and needed for our babies to grow up, but I don't agree. I think our babies are just fine as they are... babies.

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I love everything about Eliza right now, in this moment of time. I love the desperately soft skin; the trusting, innocent wide blue eyes; the pure excitement for life; the deep, non-judgmental love she holds for me.

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She is my treasure, my precious baby girl. This is my last month with her as a baby, baby. After this month she will be a year old and that's just not true baby anymore. Why must children insist on growing up?

Eliza has taken to patting me on my back or my shoulder or whatever body part her fat little hand is resting on at that present moment. It makes my heart feel like it's going to burst. I love feeling that soft pat-pat-pat.

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Games... Eliza is true blue third child. She loves life, she loves to play, she loves to be right in the middle of the action. She'll egg you on if you aren't responding to her antics fast enough. She has a twinkle in her eye like none I have ever seen. She is unabashedly playful. And I love that.

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Her "Mona" look

We have given Eliza a nickname; it just popped out of my mouth one day. It came about because of a look she has; it's not a smile, it's not a frown, it's unreadable. So, I call her "Mona." It's the perfect nickname for my girl; she puts her special look on quite often so it's likely she'll grow up confused as to whether her name is Eliza or Mona. Both suit her.

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Last month of the months... next month my baby is one. But, regardless of everything I priorly said about losing the "baby-ness," Eliza will always be my baby. In my heart she'll forever be my chubby, soft, sweet, smiling, delicious smelling baby girl.

*Posts from 1 year ago today: A Band of Titanium and Leftovers
Voice Over
Do you ever wish that your own voice sounded like someone else's? 'Cause I do.

I know, I know. This blog is turning into a forum to make Andrea not feel so crazy. Have you noticed?

Anyways, moving on with the crazy...

...my kids were watching Lady and the Tramp in the car last weekend. Daniel had gotten a stand-by electric "emergency" phone call while were out running errands. Soooo, the kids and I ended up at the base shoppette stuck in the car waiting for him to fix the problem. Fun times. An in-car movie was just the ticket.

I was sitting in my seat listening to Peggy Lee's voice as she acted out Lady... I decided then and there that if I could somehow switch voices with anyone, it would be her.

That's not too entirely crazy, right? Fine. It is but whatever.

Tell me if you have ever wished for a voice switch, and if so whose voice do you wish you could thieve.
Gingerbread Pancakes Perfected!
I made a lot of gingerbread pancakes this weekend.... Yum! My kids love them and I have to say, they aren't too shabby. I'm kind of a pancake purist but even I'll admit that a change is nice every now and again.

The problem I ran into with the gingerbread pancakes, when I first (made them a month or so ago, is that they are dry. Drrrryyy. Maybe I am just use to my pancakes which are perfectly moist and simply delightful... sorry about the over-use of adjectives, I'm in kind of a silly mood. Eating these gingerbread pancakes made me feel like gulping a whole mug of coffee in between bites.

So, what was I going to do about this problem?

I was warming up some applesauce to put on top of the pancakes along with our maple syrup when it occurred to me... put some applesauce in the pancakes! Applesauce is notorious for making baked goods moist.

The addition of just a touch of applesauce to the pancake batter was perfect!

Now I can eat my pancakes without feeling like I'm eating very nicely flavored sawdust. Victory!

Did you know that you can make store bought applesauce taste almost, close to, sorta kinda, like homemade?
I wasn't able to put any applesauce up this year which was a huge bummer to me. What I do is take my store bought, plain jane, unsweetened applesauce and pour it into a small sauce pan. I slowly warm it up. While it's warming, I add a pat of butter (depending on the amount of applesauce I might use up to a tablespoon of butter), add in a tablespoon or so of honey, along with a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon. (I prefer more cinnamon but for some reason it inflames my kid's skin, wherever it touches)

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Stir all that up, taste test, adjust if needed, and then serve to the ones you love.

*Post from 1 year ago today: A Love/Hate Relationship
Breaking Out the Christmas...
It's like my arm had a mind of it's own. And because of that, this may be the earliest I have ever played Christmas music before in my entire life.

It's hard to resist the call of Christmas, especially when you have three super cute kids, two of whom adore Christmas anything.

I remember a point in my life when the Christmas magic was gone. Totally gone. Christmas was nice, but magical? No. I remember thinking how I couldn't wait to have Christmas with my own children so I could feel the joy of the season again.

Well, I have 'em and the magic is back, baby! I enjoy the season like never before. I vividly remember my own childhood Christmas days and I now see every twinkling light, every snowman, every mysterious present through my children's eyes. I love creating fun traditions for my family to do year after year, and I look forward to every moment of the Christmas season because once again... It's awesome!

Pulling out the Christmas records tonight was a bit strange, what with it being so early, but I'm okay with early. I'm hoping it might help get me into the Christmas spirit. It's been a little hard to remember that the big day is just over a month away. In Vermont the ground would be snowy and Christmas would naturally be felt in the air. Today in New Mexico it was in the high 60's with leaves still on the trees. So, in an effort to combat Christmas unawareness I turned on Santa, Baby and Alvin and the Chipmunk's The Christmas Song and All I want for Christmas. My little family danced around the livingroom and sang our hearts out.... It was fun! I also had the priviledge of discovering that Judah is an outstanding dancer. In fact, so outstanding that I nearly peed my pants from laughing.

We made a special point to listen to Eve's favorite Christmas song evah... Hark The Herald Angels Sing. I think our girl would be thrilled with that song getting stuck on repeat. If record players had a repeat button, that is.

Speaking of record players... Daniel was talking about the crackle tonight. The crackle that comes with playing a record. What a fantastic sound! We are so glad our kids are able to experience the greatness of listening to records.

And, just because I need to know... Does anyone else sing the title to the song, in their head, as they type it out. Because I so do. And I need to know if I am the only crazy one...

C'mon, admit to being crazy like me! It's very freeing.

*Posts from 1 year ago today: My Husband and Say Hello to Tony
What to do... What to do?
Poor Judah. He was sick this week. He tossed his cookies Tuesday morning and basically felt like crap all day. He had no appetite, he was tired, kind of cranky, you know.... sick.

Wednesday was much better but then Thursday he tossed his cookies again. Same thing... sick, tired, no appetite, and cranky. And then, last night, Eliza was tossing her cookies. Neither Daniel or I got any sleep to speak of. I am thankful for God's help today; I never would have made it but for His grace.

Eve went to bed with a bowl next to her bed, if that tells you anything.

I had forgotten to give the kid's their kefir smoothies for the last week or so. Dumb thing to do during flu season. But, I can only remember so much before stuff starts getting deleted in my brain!

Can we talk about this picture of my sweet, sick boy? Because there is so much to it! The sentimental part of me is off the charts right now...

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Okay, the couch is the most obvious. I was laying on that couch within minutes of delivering Judah.

It was covered, of course.

We have had that couch since we first moved to North Dakota. I rue the day I have to get rid of it! It's so bright and colorful, I will miss the pop of color it gives my livingroom.
Thankfully, IKEA has a fabulous funky couch selection! When I need a new couch, I am going there. Too bad the closest one is in Dallas.

Next, the Elmo cup! Judah is totally and completely potty trained - both daytime and nighttime. I am so glad that ordeal is over with. Two down, one to go!

The blue blanket was a baby gift from our neighbor in VT. She knew I didn't know whether I was having a boy or a girl, so as soon as Judah was born she brought that right over. It was so fun to have something BLUE to wrap around my baby boy.

The frog blanket... that is part of (baby) Judah's crib bedding. I love those frogs!

Do you see that cut on Judah's forehead? He was chasing his ball down the hallway when he slid into the metal hinge on the closed door. I got to him within three seconds and when I turned him around to look at the damage, his face was totally covered in blood. It was gushing from the cut on his head and from a bloody nose. It was pretty scary.

And then... there's the thumb. What's not to love about my little thumbsucker?

And last, but certainly not least, is Judah's "potato bug." In actuality, that is "Ben" the lady bug. But, shhhhhh. Judah doesn't want to hear that. It's his potato bug and that's all there is to it.

Did you know Judah's birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year? It does. And I am so conflicted! I love Thanksgiving! It's pretty much my favorite holiday. But, I really think Judah's birthday should take precedence... I just don't know how to accomplish that. Do we postpone our Thanksgiving to the next day. Or should we combine the two somehow? I want him to have a really special day - it's his first year of being totally excited about his birthday. Like I said... conflicted!

Any good suggestions on the birthday/Thanksgiving situation?

Happy Weekend!

P.S. I totally fell asleep twice while writing this! Good night, friends.

*Post from 1 year ago today: My Children
My Not So Fabulous Weight Loss Non-Secrets
So, a lot of you wanted to know my secret for losing the baby weight, huh?

Well... forget to eat.

Simple enough, right?

Just kidding. Except I have a real problem with that. Must be the intense thing I've got going on. When I do something I do something. I'm the kind of girl that doesn't eat the strawberries when she's picking them in the field. One in the basket, two in the mouth... Nope, not me. My mom could count on me to bring in the berries... all the berries.

Probably a big part of the weight loss is that I'm not a snacker, though I love snack food. I eat my breakfast, my lunch, and my dinner. Once in awhile Daniel and I will make popcorn to eat while we watch a movie but not very often.

So, I don't nibble while baking or cooking, I don't snack, and I generally don't eat after dinner. Though, none of those are hard and fast rules.

A definite extra factor is the fact that we don't eat any, and I mean any, refined sugar. No sodas, no chips, no "junky" food. And you know, I'm so not tooting my own horn, because... pah-lease, that would be super lame. I'm just letting you know that cutting out that one little (but pervasive) ingredient is a big deal.

And really, I've seen some mothers look absolutely amazing a couple months after they have their baby. I don't know how they do that! As far as my body is concerned that whole you lose tons of weight by nursing thing is a load of crap. My metabolism shuts down once the nursing shifts into high gear. It's enough to make a woman go batty. Or cry. Which I totally did.

When I was determined to lose the weight after I had Judah, I had to do a major shift in my eating habits. But, I had to do something simple enough that I could stick with it. So... I cut out all snacks. All of them. I ate breakfast - pancakes, waffles, eggs, whatever I was feeding the kids, but in a small portion. For lunch and dinner I made a salad. A real salad: barbecued chicken - shredded - sunflower seeds, croutons, lettuce, spinach, carrots, cranberries, and cucumbers with a homemade Italian dressing. After I put the kids to bed I would take two almond cookies and crumble them into a bowl of fat free vanilla yogurt.

I ate that same food every day for months! I ended up losing 50 pounds in 4 months. And kept it off even over the winter months. I was walking fast (pushing the double jogging stroller) for about 3-5 miles a day, on a hilly route. I did that every day. I had some serious willpower because I was sick of being fat.


I went from about 170 pounds (Ouch!)


To maintaining my normal weight of 120-125 pounds. (I'm 5' 8")

This weight loss time (after having Liza-Lu)... not so much determination. Or time. What I could do, I did. I was purposeful with what I ate. But, if I wanted a brownie I ate it. If I wanted seconds of a meal, I ate them. I ate chocolate, chex mix, caramel popcorn... I just didn't go out of control with any of it. Being able to eat what I wanted kept me happy. And we all know how important that is.

I exercised (again, walking with the stroller) over the summer like a crazy woman. But I haven't been so crazy lately. I do go up and down my stairs twelve hundred times a day with a twenty plus pound baby on my hip. Does that count? Or running after a two year old? Kneading bread?

I need to get my butt in gear and exercise. My husband has a rockin' body and he deserves a wife who cares as much about hers.

Sorry for not having a great weight loss secret. I think my way is good though, because the weight stays off.

Eat purposefully and exercise regularly.

*Post from 1 year ago today: Panic Attacks and The Gap

*Post from 2 years ago today: First Round Draft

(These two year ago posts have all been Daniel's writing. You knew that, right?)
Photos From Class, Yo.
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The assignment was to bring in photos taken with the theme of "Vintage." My wedding rings (in the above picture) aren't true vintage; they are of the filigree style and look vintage but were purchased new. I would have loved to have had true antique filigree rings but holy cow are they expensive! At least the ones I loved were. Apparently, I have very expensive taste.

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I bought this platter at the Salvation Army and paid practically nothing for it. I know I should polish it but I am rather partial to the beauty of the tarnish. I'm going to leave the silver just the way it is.

Today was a happy day here at my house! Today I bought two tickets for a long stay at home for Christmas! My parents very generously bought us two more tickets with their hard earned air miles. I am so thankful for my thoughtful, generous Mom and Dad. Though, I'm positive they didn't do it for any other reason than so they could see their grandchildren. I'm no fool.

Man, I sure do miss home. More than I had anticipated. I love New Mexico - I think I've established that fairly well - but it's not home.

I know, I know... home is where the heart is. Home is where your family is. And in Vermont, though it took a few years, our little red house and our little town felt like home to Daniel and I.
In actuality, it became a home away from home. Way down deep I will always feel that home is where I grew up.

I need to sit and let my ears hear my Grandma Chips' sweet, low, husky voice. I need to get a kiss from my Poppie and smell his beloved coffee breath and feel his whiskers tickle my cheeks. I need to know that I can get a hug from my Dad and eat my mom's wonderful food. I want to hear my children's happy voices mingled with the sound of my family all around me.

I feel safe when I am at home.

Because of today I am excited for Christmas, knowing that my little family will be home, in a place as familiar to me as my own hands. Wouldn't you agree that we all need those times where we can let ourselves be comforted by the sounds, the smells, the touches, and the tastes of home?

Any big (or little) Christmas plans?

*Post from 1 year ago today: Amazed and Holiday Airmen

*Post from 2 years ago today: The Box Store Children

Two Tea Bags Kind Of Girl.
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I realized something about myself today.

Wanna know?

Okay...

I am kind of intense.

Like, a lot.

Didn't realize that until today.

I am sure that those of you who know me already knew that.

You could have told me.

It's good for a girl to know this.

Wanna know what clued me in?

The two tea bags.

I can't hack weak tea. I need robust flavor. And a dark, rich color. And sweet.

And then I started thinking... thinking about my red hair. And the Green and Blacks chocolate bar that I loved and could live on... it's 85 percent cocoa. And the way I make coffee way strong, like grow hair on places that shouldn't have hair, kind of strong. Because why would you want it normal?

And homebirthing three children. And not just bringing you - to the tiniest detail - homemade chicken soup for dinner but homemade rolls and homemade cookies and salad.

And deep relationships with a few friends because I don't want to spread my affections thin.

This could go on. But I'll spare you.

Is this intense personality I have bad? I'm not sure. But it's me. And most times, I like me.

The two tea bags kind of me.

*Post from 1 year ago today: Denver and Austin

*Post from 2 years ago today: Poem (Talk about intense.. This is a HIGHLY controversial poem. Please don't send me nasty e-mails, Okay.)
A Weighty Issue
I have finally reached my goal weight of one-hundred and twenty-five pounds.

Yeah,
baby.

I know, it's not kosher for a woman to be proclaiming her weight all over the internet but I don't care. It's me, it's who I am, and I'm not embarrassed. What I am embarrassed about is that fact that I am totally out of shape. But, and I'm ashamed to admit this, I am apparently not embarrassed enough to do anything about it. I'm getting there though.

So, yes, I'm back to my pre-marriage, pre-babies weight. It's been a true struggle - emotionally, physically, and mentally - for me. Please tell me I'm not alone in this.
I still believe it's not terribly important to see a certain number on the scale. But it sure does feel good. I can't lie to you. I wish that I could be where I am right now weight-wise because of my determined commitment to an exercise regiment.

But, it's not.

The weight loss came at a greater price than sweat... the nursing has ended. Not by conscious choice. I can't actually talk about it because if I do I will start crying. And I'm too tired to cry right now.

Instead I will focus on being happy that the pile of jeans has been dwindled down to one lonely non-fitting pair.

High five, anyone??

I talk about my struggle a bit more here and here, if you are interested!

P.S. I haven't tried my "back to normal weight" pair of pants on yet. They are taunting me from the closet. I'm a wimp. I'm afraid they won't fit, so they'll just stay on the stinkin' hanger 'til I'm good and ready.

Obviously I've lost my big girl panties.

*Post from 1 year ago today: See ya! And... we're back!
A Southwest Sunset
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I don't know if it's the wide open spaces, something in the air, or if it's simply a Southwest thing but we have the most spectacular sunsets. They very often take my breath away with their utter beauty.

This picture was taken right before a magnificent rainstorm. The rain came down so hard and so fast you could not see two feet in front of your face. It was amazing to watch from my doorstep but you can bet I was thanking God I wasn't driving in it.

The last time we drove out to Albuquerque we saw the beginnings of a tornado. That was intense! And frightening. I do love living in the state of New Mexico and I love that the Air Force affords me the opportunity to do so.

What is one or two of your favorite attributes from the place you call home?

For me, in New York, it was the winding roads. I loved driving on those roads! And I loved the big maple trees. And the gorgeous, grand, Victorian style homes that are everywhere.

My favorite attribute of Alaska was the wildness. It is truly wild up there; a wild stunning beauty. That is what that state is. I do miss it at times. A lot.

North Dakota... hmmmm. There wasn't much I liked about North Dakota. But, upon greater thought I would say, the thunderstorms. They were absolutely amazing! They were super intense and very aggressive. Just the way thunderstorms should be. And I was okay with that as long as Daniel was holding me. Have I ever mentioned I am terrified of thunderstorms?

My favorite thing about Vermont was how green it is during the Spring and Summer months. It is like eye candy! The mountains and the grasses and the trees! Gorgeous! And I loved the natural bent that was very present in that state. Sometimes it strayed into the ridiculous category, like the time someone posted signs along some highway construction, quoting The Lorax. But, overall, they were very supportive of the little guy and living healthfully. And I loved that.

So, your turn!

*Posts from 1 year ago today: Eve's Novembers and SNOW!
Just because she's beautiful.
And I love her.

She makes me laugh, she delights me, she deafens my ears with her protests, she loves me like crazy, she thrills me with her dimple, she makes me feel needed, she makes my heart dance, she loves the food I make for her, she plays games with me...

But, above all, just because she is.


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Friday, Friday...
Today was all about doing laundry and making tortillas. I took it easy and it was nice. The kids were superb, especially Judah with the whole potty thing. He showed me today how he can do the whole process without my help. Well, process number one, if you know what I mean. What a huge help this is to me! It is music to my ears to hear the toilet flushing. It means I was not needed and you don't even know how good with that I am. Or, maybe you do.

Tomorrow we take him to buy an Elmo sippy cup. That is the reward he wanted for being potty trained. So, that is the reward he will receive. Kids are blessedly easy to please.

I saw a couple signs for garage sales tomorrow; I've got my hopes set on the wind disappearing in time for the sales. It wasn't windy today, it wasn't gusty, it was rip the very breath from your lungs and hurl it to kingdom come kind of windy. It's whirling around out there still. The sound of it rushing through the screens on our windows is way loud.

Tonight was church followed by "date night." What a fantastic program our church has set up! We always take Eliza with us when we go out but it's fine. She's relatively quiet. We usually do something super exciting like go grab a coffee, hang out at the bookstore, or go to Hobby Lobby. We are thrilling. There's a whole lot of nothin' to do in this town but besides that... we're kind of boring. Though, in my head I'm totally not.

Wait! Last week we went out to eat! For my birthday. That was fun mostly because I got french fries on the side of my burger. French fries and I have a serious love affair.

Not much happening this weekend. And I love that. I'll hit up the garage sales and hopefully find what I am looking for. Maybe some grocery shopping. Definitely some long walks. And, more than likely, lots of good food being consumed by the five of us.

Lucky for you, because of NaBloPoMo, you will all be kept abreast of my exciting weekend. Contain yourselves now.

P.S. Will someone please kick me in the pants and tell me to break out the camera! It's been days. What is my problem?

*Post from 1 year ago today: So, the T.V. thing...

*Post from 2 years ago today: Blogging From The Trenches
And then...
Today was much happier than yesterday. Thank you, Lord. I spent the better part of the day in my kitchen aka my happy place. I made bread and chicken soup. Gingersnap cookies too. I even ate one. I could have eaten them all.

Today I consumed almost the rest of my birthday chocolate. I am feeling great sadness that it is nearly gone. I don't believe any store in my town carries Green and Blacks. Fools.

I mopped my floors last night with a mixture of Mr. Clean with Febreeze and straight ammonia. The end result was a kind of shiny floor! I wanted to hug the tiles. And then this morning, unknowingly, I dropped a small amount of honey on the floor while I was making bread... when I finally realized it, there were honey tracks everywhere in my kitchen. You'd better believe I was on my hands and knees scrubbing. I'm not ready to give up the shine; I worked far too hard for it as my mop is broken and I had to hand squeeze the water out after each rinse. That sure gets old fast. Especially when your head is hanging over the ammonia bucket while you squeeze.

I think I failed to mention earlier that I was up at a little after 4 this morning. A mere forty-five minutes later I was, with our three small children, in the van taking Daniel to work. I got back home a little before six. Is this crazy to anyone else? What does a mother do with three small children at a little before six in the morning? Feed them waffles, of course. And apples with peanut butter. And juice.

And listen to: Mama... I need more sleep. And, Mama... why is it still night out? And, Mama... it's the MOON! And, Mama... will I ever get to go to school today?

It was a long day. I walked by my bed this early afternoon and literally fought a physical urge to throw myself on it and surrender to the desperate need for sleep. But, I was strong. I went and thrilled myself by making a salad for dinner instead. Right. I really just wanted to sleep, but if I had laid down it would have been all over.

It was 74 today. Surreal. Weird. Crazy.

Tomorrow is Friday, which I am totally not able to wrap my mind around, for some reason. Daniel is on stand-by so let's all cross our fingers and our toes that there will be no electrical emergencies for the next seven days. Last time there was and it sucked. But, hey, we're not in Recruiting duty anymore. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Eliza waved for the first time today. I nearly died from the sweetness of it. Oh, Daniel and I decided what we are getting her for her birthday. A box of dominoes. The girl is in love with those little white rectangles. She threw a fit when I took her away from them to get ready for bed.

NaBloPoMo makes me feel boring. I come to the end of the day wanting to write a great post and I sit here not doing that. It makes me realize just how day to day I am. And, aside from the relative boringness when it comes to post writing, I realize how much I love being me. Day to day quality and all.

*Post from 1 year ago today: The Birthing Tub aka The Pseudo Drug
That Kind Of Day.
I had a serious attitude problem today. I pretty much busted the day for everyone.

Man, it sucks to say that. It's much easier to blame a bad day/attitude/frame of mind on the two year old. But it was me all the way.

On the upside of things, Eve's room is perfectly orderly and nearly spotless. There is some dusting to be done (Hello, New Mexico, please lay off the massive amounts of dust. Thanks.) but other than that small job her room is pristine. Accomplishing that felt good.

I did Judah's room too but his wasn't quite as scary. I have to wash his bedding tomorrow. His stuff is all white, on purpose... Bring on the bleach, baby.

Other than those two things, the day was crap. I hated it. Thankfully days like today are few and far between.

And you know, I have the best kids in the world. I threw myself at their feet tonight and begged forgiveness. They were incredibly sweet to me, so quick to forgive and shower me with love. Why can't I be more like them?

Tomorrow... we may just have dessert for dinner or maybe a movie night. Something fun and light. I think we could all use it.

*Post from 1 year ago today: So Close Yet So Far Away and You Got To Be Kidding Me
Photo Assignment of Shadows and Reflection
Hey... it's me! Me with very long legs.

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I was out at dusk attempting to capture shadows and refections for my next class assignment. Oh baby, was it cold out there.

But, the cold was oddly comforting. I was so aware of everything; my fingers, my toes, my hair swirling around my head, my body shivering in response to the definite snap in the air. I can't think of a time I have enjoyed photographing anything so much as I did that night. For all the sound of the wind I heard silence; my fingers and eye working almost as one; my mind free, only taking pictures of the things that moved me, that created emotion in my chest.


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The water looked so soft to me. Like textured glass.

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Looking at this photo and the one above makes me feel melancholy.

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The feathers caught in the dying grasses captured my attention.


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The tentative ripples in the pond breaking the rising Fall moon into bright shards of light.


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The bridge that doesn't feel the tender caress of a single footstep.


I felt emotion taking these pictures. My hope is that they created emotion in your chest too.

Oh, and that they earn me another one-hundred on my assignment. Reality is such a downer.

*Post from 2 years ago today ( One of my most favorite things Daniel has ever written.) Born in the Family
Flourless Chocolate Cake
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That's what I made for my birthday cake this year. I am certain that I could subsist on Flourless Chocolate Cake alone.

I make my cake in little glass bowls because it's easier for me that way. Springforms and I aren't really on talking terms. Besides, they're prettier this way.

I ate one of the little cakes for breakfast this morning. Because I wanted to. And it made me happy.

Have you ever made Flourless Chocolate cake?

It will complete you.

Oh, be sure to use a recipe that calls for coffee. Trust me.

*Posts from 1 year ago today: The Penny and PBS For The First Time

Labels:

31 Things I Learned In My 27th Year.
Overcooked eggnog is truly disgusting.

I really am stronger than I think I am. It's not just an over-used phrase.

Labor hurts just as much the third time around.

Moving does not get an easier no matter how many times you do it.

I can handle three children in a grocery store without making myself bald in the process.

Moving away from my best friend broke my heart. Just like I thought it would.

The state of my eyebrows really did not matter when I was giving birth to my baby. Even though I thought it did.

Having bright red hair is my "thing." I will always love it.

I need true, get down and get dirty together, I'll change your kid's diaper, let me do your dishes, seen you without make-up, kind of friends desperately.

Goat milk is disgusting. I'd rather lick dirt off the ground than drink it again. And no one can ever make me change my mind.

Health food stores are vital to my happiness.

I am a thrift store addict. I am currently in the shaking part of the withdrawal process.

Cloth diapers are the way to go.

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

There are a lot of things I want but don't need. Like a gas stove. Or a wood burning oven. Or a hair cut. Or diamond earrings. Or trouser style jeans. Or brightly painted walls. Or another pair of heels. Or, or, or...

Cashmere shrinks if you put it in the dryer. Being mad doesn't make the sweater return to a normal size.

Sex gets better every year. (C'mon. I have three children. I have sex.)

It's probably because my husband gets sexier every year.

Family is really my heartbeat.

My body will never fully recover from having three babies in four and a half years.

I don't have to be perfect at photography to enjoy it.

I love teaching people how to cook.

Disappointment stings.

Potty training is for the birds.

I miss reading books. Without interruption.

I still need my mom.

I am the "idea" person but not the best at getting "it" done.

**I am a "Lion/Golden Retriever".

**Daniel is a Lion too. Having two "Lions" in one house can prove to be interesting. Not always in a bad kind of interesting way, either.

Sacrifice is always better. It usually hurts but it will always be better.

Twenty-seven wasn't all that bad.

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**If you have 20 minutes or so and want to learn what personality you have - whether it be a Lion or an Otter or a Beaver or a Golden Retriever - listen to this broadcast.

Just skip to the 11-ish minute mark to learn about your personality type. The speaker is very engaging and funny. Daniel and I had a blast listening to this while we did the dishes.

Oh, it's a two part series. It's worth your time! Promise.

E-mail me or leave a comment if you listen to the broadcast. I want to know what you are!!!
Birthday Chocolate
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Birthday chocolate. Heaven.

Thanks Mom and Dad. And Green and Blacks.

You know what my heart truly loves.


*Posts from 1 year ago today (and yesterday): Thursday Recipe - Linguine with a Ham and Cheese Sauce

From yesterday: First Snow

From 2 years ago today: A Rant
Happy Birthday, LOVE!!!
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(Daniel: Yes, you must get older if you are going to have the birthday.)

(Andrea: Bummer, dude.)


Happy Birthday Andie. When I think about your birthday, I think about how much you love your birthday and the smile you have when you're being excited about your very own special day. And that makes me smile. I can't help but reflect over the last year and wow, what a year.

-You gave birth to the sweet ball of pudge that took our hearts by storm
-We got orders to New Mexico
-We finished the "time not mentioned by name"
-We moved from VT to NM
-You got in the camera car and SLAMMED the pedal down (I am so incredibly impressed at how quickly you've grown in photography in such a short time)

I cannot say enough how you amaze me. Your tireless enthusiasm for our family just blows me away. I love that I get to watch you grow and develop your talents and relationships. I love to watch the kids adore you. I love that our family is so close. I love the things we take for granted, like dinner as a family, every night. I love to look forward to our weekends together. I love our walks, and our time together after the kids go to bed. I love planning our future together. I love everything about being yours. I love that you're mine. I love that it's your birthday, and I love that we're getting old together (cliche' groan). So, don't feel bad about getting to be so long in the tooth, I'm right there with ya. Love you babe. Pssst, 28 looks pretty darn good on you.



*Post from 1 year ago: My Beloved Bride Birthday Girl

*Post from 2 years ago today: Birthday Girl
Morning
I love the morning time. I love the bright sun and having the whole day, like a canvas spread out in front of me, just waiting for me to paint on it.

There is this hour and a half nearly every morning that I have almost to myself; the baby is sleeping and Judah plays by himself or around my feet while I work. I have my music turned on and I am creating something, anything in my kitchen; it is such a happy time for me.

Sometimes Judah watches a movie during our morning time... like this morning. It was sweet to see him draped over the couch enjoying a few peaceful moments by himself.

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Boz was the movie of choice this morning. I love to hear Judah's little voice singing the songs.

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Wile he was watching his movie I was chatting with my mom, cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast, doing laundry, and of course stopping long enough to snap a few photos for future smiles.

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Because someday his now little body will be too big to drape over the arm of the couch. And Boz will be for babies. And Mama taking pictures will create a sheepish grin with blushing cheeks.

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So, for today I captured this moment because it was sweet but for my tomorrow it's captured for the memory; the memory that he did indeed use to be that small.

*Post from 1 year ago: Daddy Kisses

*Post from 2 years ago today: Continuing The Conversation
She's channeling the Three Stooges...
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I had to use six of these suckers yesterday.

I made, for the very first time, yeast doughnuts. I've made cake doughnuts but never yeast doughnuts. I'm not sure they were worth the trouble. They were a lot of work. And oh, the dirty dishes the process produced! Ugg.

Yes, they were good, though I think they had a funny taste from the oil. I used vegetable oil but I believe peanut oil would have served me better.

Have you ever looked to see how much peanut oil costs?! It's astronomical. Next time, and there will be a next time because I must perfect them, I think I will have to spring for the peanut oil.

I also think I let the doughnut dough rise too much. The reason was, and this can be my downfall, I was doing way too many things at once. Surprise, surprise.

On another, very much unrelated note... I am wondering what your favorite bottle of wine is and where do you find it. I know, random questions. But, I want to know nonetheless. I'm of the curious sort. So spill... not literally, of course.

Oh, in case you are of the curious sort and were wondering what I am looking like today, I am channeling a bit of Aretha. Picture taken by Judah, of course.

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Good picture... well, an okay picture. But you see that walker in the background? I'm breaking a cardinal rule in photography: de-clutter background.

Who ever made that rule didn't have children.

Let's try again...

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Wait! Catch that...

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...BABY! Before she tips the tripod. Phew! That was close.
Eliza looks a bit like she's channeling one of the Three Stooges.

I'm her mother. I can say that.

Let's try one more time...

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Good enough. You get an idea of the crazy hair I am owner to.

Happy day, friends!

*Posts from 1 year ago today: On Markers, Lipstick, and being a Yankee and My Oven (the metal one)

*Post from 2 years ago today: Be Careful What You Ask For
Camera Review Bloggy style: The Nikon COOLPIX S550
I was going to post my friend Sarah's review on the Canon Rebel XT today, but I wanted to add my two cents in along with hers. After all the Rebel XT was my first (SLR camera) love and I want to share my great experience with you.

But, to be quite honest, I am super busy and up to my ears in churning out all sorts of pumpkiny goodness, bread, pictures, clean laundry... you know, life stuff. I haven't found the time to sit down and remember and reflect on my Rebel.

So, today I am going post a great point and shoot camera review by my friend Megan from
Life Every Day. If you know her you love her. Make sure you add Megan's blog to your bloglines or Google Reader pronto. You'll never regret it.



Have at it Megan!


Hello there, everyone. My name is Megan and I drool over Andrea's photos.

I've been swooning over them for well over a year and I can't get enough.

Alright. Now our Addicted to Andrea's Photos Not-So-Anonymous Meeting can begin.

I've got several blog friends who have mad camera skills, and phenomenal cameras to boot. They are extremely talented women with excellent equipment that never, ever goes to waste. I mean wow.

Let me put it this way: Their incredible skills and cameras are to mine as the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is to Charlie Brown's. Well, to it's credit mine is like Charlie's after they give it some love at the end and join hands and sing around it, but, still.

That said, I do have a sweet little point and shoot, and though I dream and wish for an SLR someday, this little baby is just what I need for now and I love her.

The Nikon COOLPIX S550.

My husband, The Engineer, spent a long time researching this camera and it's competitors and this one came out on top. I just went ahead and trusted his judgment. If you are thinking about purchasing one, it will cost just a little under $200.00 and you can find them at most camera retailers and online. It also comes in three colors. Because that matters, you know.

I love my camera. Some of the things I love are:

1. It's very small and slim size. It easily fits in my pocket and no one can tell, and it goes with me everywhere.

2. It's rapid-fast. It's ready to shoot about a second after you turn it on and all it's functions are lightning fast. That has been a lifesaver for a mom with kids who are just as quick.

3. It's digital zoom is amazing. Amazing. No, really. Amazing. It is always impressing me with clear, sharp photos from far, far away, from such a little camera.

4. It has a nice and big, bright display, and has many editing tools right there in the camera.

I never use them, though. I like to load all my pictures on to my computer and then upload the ones that make the first cut to Flikr, where I take care of all my photo editing needs. A little nip-tuck here, a little boost there, a little blur every once in a while.
Admitting you use Flikr to doctor your photos can be a bit like admitting you wear Spanx. Shhh...I have it on good authority that all kinds of people use Flikr and Spanx for the betterment of their photos and their self image.

Some of the photos you see here have been edited and some have not, but if they were, it was a minimal adjustment. I wanted to make sure you got a good sampling of what the S550 can do on it's own.


5. It takes videos that are crisp and have great sound. It's actually better than our digital camcorder, which is three years old. You can take as many videos as you like, and make them as lengthy as you want- the storage is limited only to the size of your card. Mine is a 2.0 GB and there's plenty of room in there for all I need. It never ever runs low.


6. It has a plethora of other settings you can adjust for the particular environment you're in and the type of pictures you want (Such as ISO up to 2000). I confess, I almost never adjust them and have not spent nearly enough time learning about what they can do for me. I bought my camera in June, and the manual is still on my desk, waiting for a thorough read-through.

I just love this picture, and it was snapped in true haste as I was speed-walking down the street to keep up with my friends who were not taking pictures of every second thing they saw that day. I love the reflection of the downtown buildings in the window, and yet still getting to see the details inside the restaurant.

Most of the time, the pictures are clear and sharp, as long as you have a sure and steady hand and the right light.
Moving targets (hello, children!) and bad lighting are the toughest situations I run into. It's just tough without a more advanced camera. Of course if I were to use the flash, they would be more clear, but I almost never do.

Is the detail on that barn not exquisite?! and below I absolutely love that gorgeous grass, and that you can see that humid haze over the lake in the distance.


If this toad would have worked it a little better and turned just a bit more to the right, this one would have been right on. But again, I'll say this is where the rapid-fast shooting function saved me. A second later that toad was on the deck.

Overall, I give my handy little point and shoot an...


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What a great review about a sweet camera! Daniel and my first camera was a Nikon Coolpix and we loved it. That camera blew our socks off!

Thank you Megan for gracing my blog with your beautiful presence!

Remember to check out Megan's blog - she has fantastic news for you if you love Sherwin-William's paint!

Pictures of Eliza's chubby cheeks are in the post below this one! Just keep on scrollin'....

Happy day to you!
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