Sunday, June 25, 2006

We're Here!

We made it safely to Ohio Friday night with no problems. Caravanning with the L's made it a lot of fun. Although I drove the whole way, Elizabeth rode with me several times, and Nathan, Luke, and Caleb were thrilled to be able to ride in the L's van and watch some videos. When they were in my van, we listened to Understood Betsy, by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. I was a little afraid that maybe they wouldn't like the book so much, since the main character is a girl, but it is such a good story that they were quite enthralled. The main character, Elizabeth Ann, lives with 3 aunts who completely dote on her with a smothering sort of love, coddling her and doing everything for her. As a result, she is incredibly timid and afraid, and she can do nothing. When her oldest aunt gets sick, Elizabeth Ann has to go to Vermont to live with "the horrid Putney cousins", who live on a farm. There is a great-aunt and uncle, and their daughter, and they expect Elizabeth Ann to fit into the family and pull her share of the load. It is neat to listen as she gradually becomes competent and self-sufficient. The boys really picked up on the bad parenting in the beginning, even though it was done out of love. It was interesting to hear their comments ("Aunt Frances is MAKING her scared!" and so on).

Also, when Elizabeth Ann starts going to school in Vermont, it is in a one-room school house. The book talks about how she always hated reading lessons in school (NOT reading itself, because she was an excellent reader)because people read one sentence at a time, with the teacher stopping and correcting all the time, so no sentences made sense, and sometimes it wouldn't even get to you . . . sound familiar? But this teacher just let the kids read on, whole pages at a time, and when she realized Betsy was not challenged by the third grade readers, she put her in with the seventh grade readers. Betsy was so alarmed at this because she knew she wasn't in the seventh grade as far as writing and arithmetic. The teacher said she hadn't mentioned anything about those subjects, but it was silly for Betsy to be bored stiff with thrid grade readers when she could do higher level work. And then Betsy didn't understand math concepts at all, so she was in second grade math, but she was in thrid grade spelling. She told the teacher how confused she was--"What grade AM I?" And the teacher said, "You're not any grade at all! You're just you!" It reminded me so much of homeschooling, and the flexibility that we have to just let each child be who they are, learning at their own pace. Anyhow, a good book. By the Shores of Silver Lake, another Laura Ingalls Wilder book, is slated for the trip home. I guess this is just a trip for female main characters!

Yesterday was Nathan's 9th birthday. We had his special dinner and opened presents (lots of books, so he was quite happy). We had ice cream after dinner, but we're going to have cake on Wednesday with some of our old friends. Nathan has requested for his cake "red and blue light sabers crossing". Hmmm. We'll see what we can do.

Today we went with Grandma and Grandpa to the base chapel for church. I told the boys that this was where Daddy and I got married, and when we got inside, Jonathan asked if I was going to get married today! LOL! We got there early, so the boys and I were paging through the hymnals before the service started. We were looking at the Catholic ones too, and we were pretty excited that we could tell what some of the Latin songs were saying. Always a good thing to reinforce Latin outside of schooltime!

Anna's napping, and I think I might too. It's so nice to be on vacation so you can feel like you can nap when others are sleeping, since there really isn't anything else you have to take care of! And for those who are curious, Bob is holding his own back at home, although he is quite lonely. : ( He says the house is really quiet. I guess I just can't imagine what that's like, LOL.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Almost packed . . .

The kids and I are leaving tomorrow to drive to Ohio for 2 weeks. Bob is going to hold down the fort here at home while we're gone, although he is thinking he might try to catch a space-A hop from Andrews after July 4. There are alot of logistical details that would have to come together for that to work, but I'm sure hoping and praying they will!!! My brother, the idle blogger over at Hotel California --oh wait--he's posted something new!--umm, where was I? Oh yes, my brother and his wife are driving up from Texas, and we are all so incredibly excited to see them again.

This was going to be my first time to drive all the way by myself (about 9 hours), but as it turns out, the L's are on their way to Colorado to take Anthony to the Academy, so we're going to caravan out until I drop off in Ohio! What fun! Just like the good old days back in Colorado when we used to caravan all over the place together!

Bob has taken the boys swimming, so I've been able to get a fair amount of things done. All I need to do is take books back to the library and actually load the van. I love traveling in summer, when all I need to pack are shorts and shirts! This will be our first big trip since we had Anna and switched to the 3-in-the-back-seat configuration in the van. We'll see how that goes.

Talk to you later from Ohio!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A new base sticker

Last week I noticed (when it was pointed out to me by the friendly gate guard!) that our base car sticker had expired. We thought Bob would have to go to Bolling to take care of this, but when we were talking about it on Friday at Bible study, Tim P. mentioned he thought Bob could take care of it in the building without ever going to a base. Well! That would be nice! It would sure save him time, although, as I loudly said to people at Bible study, I still wouldn't be able to drive for a day, since he would have to take in the car registeration, proof of insurance, etc., and I don't like to drive without those things!

So Bob called around yesterday to figure out what he had to do, and then I got out the registration and proof of insurance for him to take in today. As it turns out, the registration in the van expired Feb. 28, and the proof of insurance on Jan. 1! So you can be assured to know that while I am STRONGLY against driving around with NO registration or proof of insurance, I evidently have NO qualms about driving around with expired ones! Well, one must keep to one's own high standards.

Of course, we did reregister the car, and we do have current insurance, so the whole thing neccessitated a frantic search of all the dark paper holes of the house to try to find the current papers. Praise the Lord, I was able to find them both, showing that He is indeed merciful AND concerned with the small details of our lives. And Bob was able to get a new sticker for the van first thing this morning--no more exciting car searches at gates! And I ended up driving anyways. Anna has a big diaper rash that I knew was yeast-caused, so I took her in this morning. I did make a copy of the (current) registration and proof of insurance to take with me, although driving was uneventful--as it has been for these past 6 months! Another instance of the Lord taking care of me when I didn't even know it!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

I happened to marry someone who is a great dad. Even before we started dating, Bob asked me to help him teach the junior high Sunday School class at the Wright-Pat Chapel, so I got to see him with kids right away. I later returned the favor by asking him to help me with Children's Church, so there I got to see him with even younger kids. All the kids absolutely loved him, and I knew he would be an excellent father someday. Of course, I didn't know then that I would be the vehicle to help him achieve that status, LOL.

Bob fills in a lot of the "holes" in my parenting. For example, he loves to play games. He even makes up games for things that wouldn't normally be game-material. The boys love this. I, on the other hand, am not so much for games, and I am definitely not so creative as to actually make them up! Well, that's just an example off the top of my head, but overall, I think we're a pretty good team, parenting-wise!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Earth to Claire . . .

Today I tried to do too many things, which of course resulted in many things not getting done well. And I still didn't accomplish everything. For example, most of the groceries we brought home yesterday are still in their brown paper bags, lined up in the garage. Hey, they're not (totally) in the way, so what's the rush?

I cooked and cut up a whole bunch of chicken to freeze, I made muffins, and I made lasagna. The muffins were "blueberry oatmeal muffins", a new recipe for me. The batter seemed a little thin, but they cooked up nicely and were quite tender and tasty. I was quite surprised at that because the recipe didn't call for soaking the oats beforehand, and that usually makes for a drier, chewier muffin. It was then that I realized I never put the oats in. But they really are quite good, so I'm thinking surely they would have been too heavy with the oats? I'll have to play around with the recipe.

The lasagna might not seem like a big deal to you out there in reader-land, but I would just like to say that I have never made lasagna before. No, never. But something inspired me, so I called Amy Wednesday to get her recipe so I could buy everything at the commissary. Amy uses sausage instead of ground beef, and it really gives it a nice flavor. This lasagna was as healthy as it gets around here--I used half whole wheat noodles, and I added frozen chopped spinach to the sauce part. A lady from church did this in the baked ziti she brought, and you can't taste the spinach at all! The boys just thought it was parsley. I knew then that this would be a good way to get more spinach in our diet. I'm not a fan at all of cooked spinach, although I love it in salads or on a sandwich. But it tasted just fine in the lasagna too, and the boys didn't say a word about it. They were probably too thrilled that we were actually having lasagna IN OUR OWN HOUSE to be critical. My brain was really going this afternoon, so I screwed up the order of the layers (can I not read anymore?!), and I totally miscalculated the time it would take me to make it. And--this is how you can really tell something was wrong--I miscalculated it to be done WAY early! I can't think of the last time that happened! So it was totally done by (ahem) 4:50. Amy told me to let it sit for 10 minutes to firm up. Well, it sat for 45 minutes in the turned-off oven. Good grief. It was firm though! Not watery a bit. But it tasted great, so that's all that counts.

Then we headed off to Bible study where we discovered that we (specifically Nathan) were signed up to bring dessert tonight. Whoops! That didn't make the calendar! And it obviously never crossed his mind again either. Anthony saved the day by running out and buying apple pies and ice cream.

So tomorrow is another day. I'm going to try to make the library book sale. I'm not planning on doing any cooking, LOL. I don't think I'm forgetting anything else . . .

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Happy, happy baby

Today we went to the commissary. It was my first time to take all the kids, and I was quite unsure of how Anna would do, since I knew it would take at least 3 hours. The trip started inauspiciously enough when the gate guard told me my car sticker had expired. We had to pull off and do the whole "car search" thing--open the hood, all the doors, etc. At least I didn't have to take out all the books and toys. We'd have been there all day, LOL! So anyhow, we passed the inspection. I guess a harried mom of 5 kids, several of whom are asking, "Are we there? Can we get out now, Mom?" just doesn't pose that big of a threat, bomb-wise. Whew. Now poor Bob has to figure out when he can take the van to Bolling AFB.

At the commissary, I decided to have Nathan push Anna in her stroller while I took the two carts, and if I might be permitted to brag just a bit, she did so well! The whole time we were in there! I had more trouble with Jonathan, LOL! She is such a happy baby, thank the Lord. She didn't start getting annoyed until we were in the car heading home and traffic was very slow and heavy on I-66. Was it an accident? A police car at the very least? No--2 men were fixing a highway sign on the side of the road. Grrr. I was annoyed too. The trip clocked in at 3 1/2 hours, all together, so she showed remarkable patience! I'm glad I won't have to do that again for another 6 weeks or so.

And just for you, Aunt Claire, one woman specifically asked if we were done, now that we had our girl, and at least 3 others intimated that I should be so relieved that I finally got a girl. Ahh, the rudeness of complete strangers in front of 4 boys! We did get several nice comments, however, which always make me feel so good.

I was pretty pooped out when we got home. The boys helped me unload and starting putting stuff away while I nursed, but I never got around to finishing. Instead, I ate a vast quantity of Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips and took a nap. Hmm, wasn't I supposed to be going dairy-free? Oh well, desperate times and all that. I ate some M&Ms that I found open in the pantry too. Might as well really enjoy myself, LOL! Nothing like chocolate to help me recover from a tiring day!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Where's Waldo?

In the Billiard Room with the candlestick, wearing a dress, apparently.

The boys love the "Where's Waldo" books, where you search for that little red/white/blue guy in all the pictures. They also love to play Clue. Last November when they were playing, Jonathan happened by, saw Miss Scarlet, and cried out delightedly "WALDO!" We all had a good laugh about that, and that was that, as the game sort of lost favor and wasn't played anymore for awhile.

While I was gone, Clue again became popular, and the boys have been playing off and on since I came back from Utah.

Caleb (while picking who he was going to be): "There's only one person I really like in Clue."

Luke: "Oh? Who?"

Caleb (waving Miss Scarlet around): "Waldo."

Luke: "Oh, okay, you can be Waldo."

I tell you, it really gives Miss Scarlet a whole new persona to think of her as Waldo! Who knew the mild-mannered, bespectacled world traveler had a secret life as a cross-dressing floozy possibly involved in the murder of the very shady Mr. Boddy?!

Monday, June 12, 2006

We're back home!

The dishwasher has been loaded up and run, the first load of laundry has been done, the suitcase is almost unpacked, math and Latin got done this morning . . . back to the routine! The boys are all happy to have us back, although I had a moment of doubt last night. I was sitting on the chaise part of our couch, nursing Anna, and Luke said something like, "I liked it better when you weren't here." "WHAT?!" says Nathan, obviously astonished. "You missed her!!" Luke says, "NO! I wish she wasn't sitting there on the couch because now I can't run up and sommersault onto it." Whew!

I am convinced that 2 months old is the perfect age for traveling. Anna again slept almost the entire time on both flights. I just put her in the frontpack, and off she would go. It turns out you can't have babies in frontpacks for the actual take off and landing--it seems that if we crashed and something happened to me, it would be harder for the flight attendents to rescue Anna if she was attached to me. I thought that logic was pretty faulty. If we crashed, I would rather have her attached to me than bouncing around if I lost my grip on her! And who is to say the flight attendants would be better off than me? Anyhow, I nodded compliantly and kept her in there. I'm a rebel.

On 3 out of 4 flights, I was seated by men. Of course, I had to nurse, but they were all very great about stoicly staring at their laptops or whatever. Close quarters though! It was fun to travel just with Anna. I kept feeling like there should be more for me to keep track of!

More pictures

Here are the 3 Claires: me, my Aunt Claire, and Anna Claire.

Anna and Grandma are having a smile-fest at the kitchen table.

Nana and Anna

What a special time for Anna to spend with her Nana! We took lots of pictures, of course, but since it takes me so long to upload them, I'll only post a few--and only one at a time, LOL.

As you can see by her smile, Anna is totally thrilled by the attention she is getting! She spent the weekend smiling and cooing for everyone, so happy to be held the entire time! She is having a rougher day today, LOL, where she has had to spend some time in her bouncy seat and under her crib gym so I can get stuff done. She has decided she much prefers being held continuously, if you can believe that.

4 Generations

So here we are: my mom, my grandma, me, and Anna. If Anna will cooperate and marry an Air Force officer, then this will be a picture of 4 generations of Air Force wives! Obviously, with such a distinguished lineage as you see here, we will be compelled to turn back any non-Air Force men who try for her hand! LOL!

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Anna and I are here in Utah, and we're having a wonderful time! She was great on the airplanes--she slept most of the time on both flights, so I read a book, looked out the window, relaxed. Ahh. Here at my Aunt Claire's house, it's like a slumber party or something! Poor Uncle Jim--surrounded by girls! I don't think Anna has been by herself the whole time, and she is loving all the attention. Lots of cooing and smiling, and not just from Grandma! LOL! I'm taking a lot of pictures, but those will have to wait until I get back home to be posted.

I am finally feeling better, praise the Lord. I think I just needed rest to heal. I even took a nap yesterday afternoon! It's so nice to only be needed by one person. Aunt Claire and I stayed up late last night watching the first 3 hours of Pride and Prejudice. We're going to finish it up today with Mom too.

Our flight leaves at 10:00 tomorrow morning, so we'll have to be up and ready pretty early by my standards! Hopefully Anna will do just as well on the flights home so I can come back relaxed and not stressed out again!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Yesterday as I was putting Anna's pajamas on (well, it's just another onesie, actually), I saw a little black thing on her back. I thought it was fuzz, so I brushed it off. And it didn't come off. I examined it closer and then yelled for Bob. Yes, it was a tick! YUCK! How on earth did a tick get on her back?! I truly have no idea. Bob was the brave one here, and he got the tweezers and pulled it out. I think we got it all, but I guess I'm not sure--how can you tell? I am a lot more worried about Lyme disease. Since Nathan got that a few months after we moved here, obviously the ticks around here can carry it. Bob circled the bite mark with a black magic marker so we can keep an eye on it. We're praying that she won't have any problems from the bite, but if she does, then we're praying that it will be really noticable--like Nathan's huge target rash.

I'm almsot ready for the big airplane ride tomorrow--just a few more things to throw in the suitcase. Wow, it is so incredibly easy to pack for just one person and a baby. Hopefully the travel will be just as easy, LOL! I still am not completely better. In fact, my throat is still quite sore. It's like there is a big, painful lump on the left side of my throat, near the bottom. It just . . . hurts. I guess I'll go back yet again on Monday if it's not better by then. Sigh.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Strep1; Antibiotic 0

This morning I finished my last antibiotic, but my throat was still just as sore and my glands just as swollen, so I again called at 6:00 and got an appointment at the clinic. What is up with me and antibiotics?! I mean, I don't take them at the drop of a hat, so I don't think overuse is the problem. In fact, before my bout with mastitis a month ago, I hadn't had any at all the whole time we've been here (almost 2 years), and I can't remember the last time I needed them in Ohio! But anyhow, I'm now on a different antibiotic, this one 4 times a day for 10 days. Maybe this will do the trick--I am so ready to feel better. The house is a wreck, we're doing school-lite, and I want to get ready for my big trip to Utah on Thursday!

Surprisingly, the person I saw this morning was 1. a native English speaker, and 2. a military officer! I didn't think they had any of those working at this clinic! The person I saw last Thursday also spoke English very well and was easy to communicate with. Maybe it's just the pediatric doctors that are so hard to understand and communicate with.

I have been complaining lately about being at a plateau of weight-loss. I was 12 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, and I just wasn't losing anymore, which was very frustrating. But then I gave up milk for Anna, and there went cheese, sour cream, chocolate, ice cream, etc. Now I've kicked it up a notch by having sore throat for so many days that makes swallowing very painful, and I've lost 4 pounds! As they say, a silver lining in every cloud . . .

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Lone Ranger's gun cake

Here is the cake I made for Jonathan's birthday at his request. Hopefully you all can tell that it is a pistol such as the Lone Ranger himself would have carried. It turned out pretty darn well, if I do say so myself. I was really not looking forward to making it today, since I'm still not feeling all that well, but then Amy called this afternoon, and we had a nice, long chat. While we were talking, I cut out the cake design and slapped the frosting on! Voila! Jonathan was pretty excited about it, which always makes me feel good.

We ate the cake after dinner, and now the boys, for a very special treat, are watching Star Wars. Nathan and Luke have been wanting to watch this for oh, about forever, so tonight is the night. LOL, anything to get them off their Bionicle kick, right? Actually, I think this will just be one more thing for them to obsess over. I'm sure tomorrow will be spent fighting with imaginary light sabers. You will notice that I am upstairs ont he computer instead of downstairs watching the movie. That is because I have never seen any of the Star Wars movies, I have no particular desire to ever do so, and since I've made it 33 years without watching them, why break my record now? I'm probably one of about 10 people on the planet my age who can say that!

Happy Birthday, Jonathan!

Jonathan is 3 today! Our little Lone Ranger with the John Travolta cleft in his chin and a big bump in the middle of his forehead, who is finally potty-trained, is growing up! He wasn't really interested in smiling for the camera today however, so we had to settle for this half-grin. Ah well, it's his birthday. He can smile if he wants too!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Doctor Update

I started my day at 6:00 calling to get appointments. I finally got through at 6:20, and the man told me he couldn't give me 5 appointments just to get throat cultures, so he would give my information to the nurses' station, and they would somehow book us all together for a shorter amount of time. Sounds good, right? So I dutifully hung up to wait for the nurse to call back, since they don't open until 7:00. Fortunately, Bob was much more aware and cognizant at this early hour, so he suggested that I call again and at least get me an appointment, since I am really the one that has all the symptons and am very uncomfortable. I did that, getting an 11:00 appointment. At 7:45 the nurse calls me and tells me that there are no appointments left, so there is no way to get any throat cultures for us. She brightens up when I say that I have an appointment. "Well, let's just see if YOU have strep! It's probably jsut a virus anyways." Then she asks the ages of the boys and says they don't do throat cultures on kids under 5. Hmm.

We troop off at 10:15, and I saw a really nice doctor who took 2 cultures, one for the long test, and one for the 10 minutes one. Surprise, surprise, the 10 minute one was positive, so I'm back on antibiotics. I can't believe this--I have been sick more in the past month than in the past year! I guess I really am just sort of rundown from nursing, and therefore more susceptible.

So now I am trying to decide if I will try again with the boys tomorrow. Nathan and Luke are not exhibiting any symptoms at all, and I can't decide about Caleb and Jonathan. They don't seem 100%, but they are not complaining about sore throats, running a fever, or anything, and with the clinic's bizarre no-culture policy, it doesn't sound like they would even culture them if they weren't showing definite strep symptoms, which they really aren't. Grrr.

I don't know if I'm up to another trip out to the clinic tomorrow! We had quite a time getting home today. The Beltway was slow because of looky-loos rubbernecking an accident on the shoulder, and then Rt. 7 was COMPLETELY closed because of some huge crash involving an overturned semi trailer and some cars, from what I could see before we had to turn off onto some little side road with a million other cars to wind and wend our way back to recognizable roads. It took over an hour to get home. Whew! Good thing I wasn't sick or anything.