Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunshine and sundresses.

Skylar and I are both wearing our sundresses for as long as we can. We like nothing better than to spend the afternoon outside exploring and enjoying the warm weather. It won't be long until we're going to have to put warm clothes on, and that's just a shame.

Maybe we should live in a warmer climate so we can always be half-naked. Except in warm places, Florida specifically, Boa Constrictors get in your house, and sometimes get into cribs and strangle small children. (Thanks for telling me that Mary-Anne!) So I guess winter isn't really that bad when you compare it to a boa constrictor. Besides, we have baby Uggs to keep us warm and looking cute.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Chivalry is dead.

The exterminator that our rental company hired came on Thursday....I was so happy to see him I almost hugged him. But that would have been weird. Plus, he and his cohort looked like....colorful characters....not the kind you go around hugging.

On wednesday, the night before, I had had yet another run in with what I now know is a Hog Snake (looks like a rattler without the rattle) except this time it was outside. I was pulling weeds and on my 3rd pull a snake was in my hand. It was a baby and I was wearing gloves, but it doesn't matter. Where there is one baby there are more. I will never do yard work again.

So I was telling him how I'd had a grand total of 5 snake encounters in one summer and he started to look very nervous and a little sweaty even. He told me that he is terrified of snakes. In fact he "doesn't do snakes", although he was fully aware that this is the reason he was summoned.

Um....okay. Isn't that like a surgeon that doesn't do operations?

He apologized for sounding like "less of a man" because of his fear of snakes. I told him it was okay, mostly because I didn't know what else to say. Besides, I had to sympathize a little...I too am terrified of snakes. Then again, I don't kill creatures for a living. I thought about suggesting a different line of work, but I held my tongue.

Turns out, the owner of the rental company, a lady named Grace, came to do the dirty work for him. She got in the crawl space under the house to check it out for snakes before the men went in. Even then, the exterminator wouldn't go down---he sent his sidekick instead.

Fortunately they were able to find the location along the front of the house where there was plenty of room for animals to get into the crawl space and then make there way in the house via openings around pipes, etc. So they filled in any potential entrances. I feel slightly safer.

In fact, I'm walking around barefoot again for the first time in days.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's official.

I'm not sure when it happened, but Skylar is not a baby anymore. She kind of reminds me of a little teenager. She toddles all over the house bossing everyone around:

After almost stepping on a snake in my kitchen on sunday, I am terrified to live in my house. I now keep my feet up at all times. When I must walk around I make sure I am wearing protective footwear. I am always on the lookout.

I'm also having snake nightmares, especially the recurrent one from when I was five where I think a snake is at the foot of my bed and I have to turn on the light and look under the covers to check.

The whole experience was traumatic--from finding the snake, to watching my sister morph into a ninja and half-kill the snake, to me running out of the house with a writhing bloody snake on a snow shovel and throwing it in the street, to backing over it in my car to finish it off, to the bloody mess behind my oven where the murder occured--all very traumatic. The exterminator comes on thursday.

On a much happier note, most of Micah's guys are back from Iraq and his days as Rear-Detachment Commander are numbered. I went to a welcome home ceremony today to take pictures for my friend Jessica. Her daughter McKinley is a little older than Skylar and was a teeny little thing when her daddy left last year. It was awesome seeing all the families reunited, especially all the daddy's grabbing their babies--some of them were meeting for the first time. I think every civilian should go to a welcome home ceremony to fully appreciate the sacrifices these families make.

Jessica and McKinley waiting for Jonathan:
Together at last!

Friday, August 21, 2009


Freak accidents have a way of finding us....well, more specifically, Micah. At least he always survives them, even if our stuff doesn't. Praise the Lord for that!

A week ago today he was driving onto the airfield at Peterson AFB to meet a flight of soldiers coming back from Iraq. He had to go through the security checkpoint to get to the airfield, so he stopped at the gate, they checked his ID and he drove on through.....

A few seconds later one of the soldiers decided Micah had made it through (without looking to see if he actually had) and she pushed a button that deployed the security barrier. It flew out of the ground and took off the front of the car. Thankfully Micah and his NCO riding with him are okay.

The car on the other hand....not so okay. When I got to the scene it was in sad shape. There were so many fluids pouring out of it, it appeared to be bleeding to death on the pavement. The soldier who caused the accident was also in bad shape. She was inconsolable. Micah went to the guard shack where she was hiding and told her it was okay, we weren't mad at her, accidents happen. It pretty much ruined our weekend though.

Our car was taken to Denver where USAA could assess the damage and determine if it was worth fixing. A nice lady called yesterday to tell us it was non-reparable. I felt like saying...."Um, duh.". (Mature and eloquent, I know.)

USAA set up a rental for us through Enterprise. We were given our choice of their inventory which consisted of two cars. A sweet dodge that was completely covered by our insurance, or a slightly bigger station wagon looking thing that was considered an upgrade and we would have to pay $1.32 a day for. Since neither one were very appealing, we obviously went the free route.

Unfortunately, the rental had a leaky tire. Micah had to put air in it twice a day just to drive it around. He contacted Enterprise, told them about it, and asked them if they could fix it or give us a different car. They responded that he was welcome to take it to any shop and have it repaired and they would reimburse us. They told him there were no other cars available anywhere in Colorado Springs. Micah was not happy. He asked them why he needed to take time away from work to go fix their car, does he work for Enterprise???

So more calls were made to USAA. Micah complained about the customer service he was receiving and asked if there were any other agencies. Nope. Just Enterprise. USAA said they would take care of it. By the end of the day Enterprise called to say (begrudgingly) that they could switch out the car with a truck they had. Micah was excited since a truck is one of his fantasies. When he got there, lo and behold, there were 5 cars available even though just an hour before they'd had none. Then they decided he wouldn't get the truck after all....and so he left the lot in another sweet dodge.

So aside from all the rental drama, we are waiting for USAA to tell us what are car was worth. In the meantime, we are trying to figure out what to do next. Do we take this as an opportunity to get a family size car with 7 or 8 seats? (Sadly, Micah has been wanting a minivan for a few months now, something which I blame Jon Hilton for). Or do we get another gas efficient car? The money we get for the Acura won't be enough to buy the same car. Do we go in debt to replace it or to buy a bigger car?? We don't want to. So whatever we buy we'll have to pay cash for.

Geo Metro here we come.

Okay, that's a little dramatic. But if we did get a Geo Metro it would have to be's their classiest color.

Anyway, the whole situation is a big pain. We planned on driving that car for many years, and weren't ready to say good-bye. I know it's just a thing, but it was the last tangible evidence of our carefree, pre-baby, dual-income existence. It was more car than we ever needed but we got used to the navigational system, XM radio, heated seats.....and now we are completely spoiled.

Neither one of us wants to go car shopping, it'll only depress us. In fact, I'm hoping to avoid dealerships altogether because I swear they put something in the air and we'll end up buying something out of our price-range. So far I'm just looking for anything that's for sale by owner.

So farewell Acura TL, we had some good times, but I'm glad I lost you instead of my husband.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some things haven't changed.

Lately I've been thinking back to this time last year and how little Skylar was. It was so much harder to do things and go places. I love having a toddler, life is so much easier now even though she can destroy a room in 5 minutes flat. She's so much fun, I love the stage she's in.

Micah is always volunteering to put her down for a nap on the weekends....and he never comes back. When he is in charge of naps she not only gets to sleep in our bed, but she has someone to snuggle with the whole time. This is how it always ends up.
So really, even though she's bigger and much busier, not much has changed.....

She's still just as cuddly as the day she came home from the hospital. It's going to be a sad day for Micah when she gets too big for naps.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Apparently summer is over.

I'm not ready.

Is it just me or is summer gone in the blink of an eye? I love summer. I love the long days and the warm weather and the green grass (as green as brown grass can be). I love summer fruit and swimming and sundresses. I love eating outside and the afternoon thunderstorms. I love that I'm not working and can enjoy all of it.

Except that everyone I know, including Micah, loves Fall. I don't hate Fall, it just seems kind of melancholy.

The leaves fall off and the trees look naked (they're already falling in my front yard, forget turning colors) and my brownish grass gets much browner.

I never liked going back to school growing up.....homework, getting up early, crappy sack lunches with fluffer-nutter sandwhiches and zig-zag cut carrot sticks (sorry mom). Just the thought of Skylar going to Kindergarten makes me want to curl up in bed with a bag of Reeses and cry for 2 days. (I actually considered homeschooling yesterday, before deciding on private school, just to keep her home longer.) And then there's football. Oh, the football. I will dutifully watch every televised Clemson game for one more season....but after this year, no more.

It seems like fall has arrived a bit prematurely. Since kids are all back in school this week, the weather took a cue and cooled way down. It's almost brisk. Instead of dreaming about pumpkins and apples, I'm actually kind of sad. This was our last Colorado summer and it lasted about 6 weeks. Okay, 8. Maybe.

In addition to the weather changing, Halloween decorations have been out since the 4th of July ended. And now tonight....the dreaded return of Monday Night Football. It's mid-august, it's still summer!!! Why???? WHY!!!!!

And so to keep the fun going (or as an act of rebellion) I bought a new pool yesterday. Partly because it was an end of summer clearance, and partly because Skylar's other pool popped and I feel like we should still be swimming until September 21st, the official end of summer. In the kitchen if necessary. I also bought her a new bikini because it's never too late in the season for cute new swimwear. Especially not for 60% off.

Even as I type this I'm hearing football in the background....but I'm going to go eat some watermelon and pretend like it's June. I'm not ready to let go.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Perfect Pizza Dough

For a long time I was on the quest for the perfect pizza dough recipe, and it seemed like every recipe I tried tasted bland and not that great---like it had been made at home. Finally last summer I found a really good one that rivals a pizza parlor. Since then, pizza has been my trusty fall-back meal when I can't think of anything else or I am just unmotivated to cook. It can be as easy (cheese!) or as elaborate (Mediterranean is my fave) as you want to make it. This recipe is also great for calzones and Stromboli.

We've maybe ordered pizza out twice in the last year because making it is so much cheaper and healthier and I make exactly what I want. This recipe makes 2 medium pizzas, or 2 large thin crust pizzas. Yesterday the little girl I keep, Abby, and I made personal pizzas--you get 3 or 4 out of the batch.

-1 package of yeast, or 2 1/2 tsp from the jar.
-1 tsp sugar
-1 cup water
-1/2 Tablespoon Kosher salter (the recipe calls for 1 TBSP, but it tasted too salty to me, just mess around with it)
-Extra virgin Olive Oil
-2 1/2-3 cups of flour, plus more for dusting (I've substituted half wheat, and it was great!)

In the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook, combine yeast, sugar and warm water, stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5-10 minutes.

Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and 2 TBSP of olive oil. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until all the flour has been incorporated. When the dough starts to come together, increase the the speed to medium, scraping sides periodically. If crumbly add water, if sticky add flour until dough gathers into a ball.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over itself a few times, kneading until it's smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a round and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (I put it in a warm oven to speed up this process!)

Once dough has risen and is spongy, turn out onto floured surface. Roll and stretch dough into a cylinder and divide into equal pieces. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes so it will be easier to roll out. Bake pizzas at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes depending on pan and size of pizza.

I have found it's better to have the dough on the slightly sticky side then to add too much flour and have a sturdy dough. That seems to make the difference between chewy, tender crust and dry, mediocre crust. Also, stretch it so that the crust is thinner then you would think it should be---it puffs up a lot and you'll end up with more crust than toppings if you don't. I also brush olive oil on the crust halfway through baking and it turns out perfectly. If you have leftovers bake it with butter and Cinnamon sugar and then drizzle with frosting (powdered sugar, milk and a touch of vanilla extract) or Nutella for dessert!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tutu much.

Gayle and Raina gave Skylar a cute little tutu/headband set when they were here visiting. I've been wanting to get a picture of her wearing them, so I gave it a try this afternoon.

She wouldn't walk for me.
She wouldn't even sit.
Or smile.
She wanted nothing to do with it:
After writhing in the grass like she was being killed, wailing like a banshee, and ripping off her headband, she eventually sat up. I was hopeful she was going to dig deep and rise to the occasion. After all, she's nothing if not camera friendly........

....and then my battery died.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Helper

Skylar loves to help, maybe too much. As a general rule, I let her make all the messes she wants during the day as long as it isn't dangerous. She unloads the dishwasher (dropping silverware on the floor as she empties it), puts my shoes on my feet for me (wrong feet and two different shoes), and brushes her hair (usually after I've done it thereby pulling it out of the rubber bands). She even wipes her own face with her napkin when she's done eating and asks to wash her hands.

She is addicted to hand sanitizer and Burt's Bees chapstick. Her favorite thing about going to the YMCA is the automatic hand sanitizer machine on the wall by the Child Watch. She would play with it the whole time if Ms. Lou would let her. She brushes her teeth frequently during the day, mostly so she can eat the tutti-fruity toothpaste. Then there are her dogs. She considers herself the boss of Jack, and is always holding up the leash wanting to "walk" him.

This is how we end up walking. I tried tying the leash to the steering wheel so Jack could pull her, but she didn't like that because she wasn't holding it.
Over the weekend Micah was mowing the grass, so Skylar went inside and got her push toy, pushed it down the steps, and started "mowing" too. It's cute to see her imitating everything and to see her little personality showing more and more. It appears she might be a little her dad of course:)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Baby Birds

Recently we had a little lunchtime drama. Micah is rarely able to come home for lunch, but on this particular day he did.....and he noticed a baby bird hopping around in the backyard. Actually, the dogs noticed it first and decided it was a squeaky toy. Micah barely got to it in time. We decided it had fallen from it's nest and needed rescued.
It wasn't able to fly yet, so Micah decided to put it back in it's nest.
But when he got up there.....two more babies fell out. All three of the birds hopped off in different directions and Micah ran around trying to catch them all.
Meanwhile, the mama bird showed up and started circling Micah and swooping at his head. He noticed a 4th baby in the nest, the smallest one of all....and it jumped too. Eventually he gave up and realized there was nothing he could do. The babies had all scattered and the mom wasn't very happy with him.
Abby, Skylar and I watched the drama unfold from inside.

We don't know what happened to them, the nest is empty now. Maybe they learned how to fly....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Aftermath

For the first time in weeks there are no grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or friends around. Just me. Skylar is adjusting. Apparently, I'm incredibly boring.....

And she is incredibly whiney.

Monday, August 3, 2009


We celebrated Andy's birthday on friday. He's getting kind of old. Much older than me. And I love him for that!

He had two simple birthday requests: pizza and cupcakes. The Haynes joined us, and Nicole came by after work. Here's Andy about to blow out his pink candles. Does he look exuberant or what? (If you're thinking creepy you're wrong, this is NOT a creepy picture....he's just realizing that in 2 short years he will have to start wearing knee socks with his chacos. Sigh.)

Krandy got some Birthday kisses from the nephews! Andy fell asleep on the floor around 9:00. In his defense, we don't have a recliner.
Parties just aren't what they used to be around here:
Then we realized we could go to bed as soon we took a good picture.......
Happy Birthday A-train! You make 38 look like 28!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A day at the lake.

In addition to all of the packing/cleaning/organizing we did in Camden, we did lots of eating. (Hello...of COURSE we did.) We had a "last supper" at Nana and Papa's house with everyone gathered together. Nana goes all out and makes at least 6 or 7 side dishes from her garden.

We had another "last supper" at Aunt Kim and Uncle Roberts where they managed to cram 16 people around their table. Also lots of yummy veggies from the garden. I'm not a big tomato person, but Aunt Kim grew some of the best tomatoes we've tasted in awhile.
Here's a pic of Skylar with her great-grandfather. Papa is 81 and still going strong! We are only going to be 20 minutes away from them when we move.
Since my parents are moving away right before we move down there, "Aunt" Mary kept rubbing it in that Skylar would know her better. She fed Skylar peanut butter pie---unabashedly buying her love one spoonful at a time......
My dad taught Skylar how to drive. What can I say....we're Country.
Her new favorite thing is praying before dinner. On this particular occassion we had to pray 4 times before we could eat. She especially loves hearing her name in the prayer somewhere. By round four it's usually something like, "Thank you Jesus for Skylar". Then she claps to signify she's done praying and we're all allowed to eat.
One day of our visit was officially "friend day" with no working allowed. I got to see Ellen twice while I was there, and then Cynthia drove up from Benning and visited for a couple of days! We headed up to the Armstrong's lakehouse to escape the chaos. Skylar was not okay with her lifejacket.
Aunt Cynthia getting a little practice:
Skylar and Isabella had fun playing in a bucket of water---forget the lake!
Bella had moves that would make Amy Armstrong proud! She poured water very dramatically down the front of her non-existant bosom.
Skylar driving again....
My parents sold their speedboat, so Mary-Jane generously took us out on her Pontoon. It made for the most boring rafting EVER. So to spice things up a bit, Nicole tried doing tricks on the tube.
I only like swimming in the middle of lakes where it's deep, not on the shore where there are water mocassins (or in our case a 16 foot alligator the neighbors were feeding in the next cove over). Skylar usually likes swimming but she was petrified in the lake water.
We can't wait to spend more time with Cynthia when her hubby is at Ranger school this winter!!
I loved Ellen's aparment, and after looking at several places I decided that's most likely where we will live too! Too bad they'll be gone by then.
Brian, Ellen and Bella are a cute little family:)
Eventually it was time to head home. Skylar was sooooo good on the plane, I was amazed. Especially considering our plane landed at 1 am east coast time. She listened to Aunt Nicole's IPOD with her:
On the last flight she even got her own seat and felt like a really big girl. It was perfect for sleeping.
Now we are looking forward to a trip to NY sometime in the future and a whole new world of adventures!!!


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