Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cookie party

The Saturday before Christmas we headed down to NC for the annual Christmas cookie party.  My Mom and two of her closest friends from her teaching days, Marge and Vicky, have been having this party every year for as long as I can remember.  We think it has been at least 20 years.  It is always a fun time, with a lot of changes over the years.  We've invited friends to come along, tried out new recipes, and added a lot of babies over the years!  We even found out that there will be another baby there next Christmas!!  Marge's oldest daughter Valerie is expecting a baby girl in March!  This year we had Valerie's son Caleb (19 months?), My Maddox (almost 16 months), Emily's kids Taylor (6) and Anderson (2.5).  We joked around saying that we will need a babysitter next year in order to get any cooking done- but I think we'd probably need TWO babysitters!
Mom, Anderson, and Emily working hard.
Mdx loved walking around with Grammy's cellphone- I NEVER give her mine, so it was a treat!  Hopefully she didn't call Andrea in Germany- I guess Mom will find out when she gets the bill.
We brought toys, which Anderson and Taylor enjoyed playing with.
The end result- this isn't even all the cookies!
The best new recipe of the year was:
Mocha Toffee Truffles- recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies Special Edition from 2001.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup semisweet choc. pieces
1 T. instant coffee crystals
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 -4.5 oz. package English toffee pieces
4 oz. milk choc., melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter and choc. pieces in a large saucepan over low heat.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in coffee crystals; cool for 5 min.  Stir in the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Stir into coffee mixture.  Stir in the toffee pieces.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 min.  Let cool for 1 min on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.  If desired, drizzle with melted milk choc.

CDC Christmas party

We were happy that Marshall was home in time to go to the Christmas party at Mdx's nursery school.  The teachers did a great job decorating and  having activities for the kids and parents to do.  
Maddox wore a pretty Christmas dress.
She's showing Marshall the class pet- Teeny Turtle.

We did some dot art on a Christmas tree- Mdx likes to put the tops on the markers.
Maddox was very mad when we had to leave the dot art table.  She pitched a fit and threw herself on the floor and it was very embarrassing!  Marshall took her in the hallway to calm down a little.  Then she came back in and put decoration stickers on a big paper Christmas tree.
Then it was time to use icing and sprinkles to decorate a cookie.  Maddox never even got to the sprinkles, once she got the spoon with the icing on it- all she wanted to do was lick the icing!  She didn't even eat the cookie.
The teachers gave each child a personalized goodie bag with holiday treats.  So thoughtful!

We had a great time at the party, and are so thankful that we have such a caring, educational environment for Maddox to go to every day.  The CDC follows the same schedule as the local school system as far as closings and holidays (except the summer, they are still open then).  I'm sure the teachers are enjoying their Winter Break, and Mdx will be back to play with them again in January!

Friday, December 19, 2008

So much to do

Even with so much to do- I still need to post about what has ALREADY been done!

So, here is an interesting tidbit of info for people who are new to parenting like me ( I still call myself a "new" parent even though she is over a year old now....every day is NEW to me!).  TIDBIT: When your child is quiet for a long period of time....he/she is doing something that they are not supposed to be doing.  Like pulling all of the wipes out of the wipes container that you conveniently left within reach in the living room.

We went and got a Christmas tree right before Marshall left at the beginning of December.  I told him I wanted a tree before he left, otherwise we'd be getting one right before Christmas, and I wanted to have it long enough to enjoy it.  Maddox LOVED running up and down the rows of trees.  I think she touched every single one.  

Now we have a nice Christmas tree set up on top of a table in our Dining Room/Playroom.  It's the perfect height so that she can see it and enjoy it, but can't reach it!  When I sing "O, Christmas Tree" to her she rocks back and forth and waves her arms around  It's SO cute!

Since it is a small tree we only used a few ornaments, but made sure to have special ones like this one given to Mdx by Brandi last Christmas.

And, a few more pictures of art projects she did at the CDC.  She makes a huge mess and has lots of fun!

Coming soon: pictures from her class Christmas party!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So wrong

but SO funny!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The naycation

I was reading the news online today while eating lunch at work, and came across an article about the doomed economy.  It seems that while most people who have been polled say that they still plan on taking their normal vacations in 2009.....they simply aren't making reservations and buying tickets in advance like they should have by now.  People are trying to be optimistic and hope to still travel next year...but the analysts predict that 2009 will be the year of the naycation.  As in- NOT vacationing.  (That's in contrast to the term staycation from last year, when people planned fun themes and activities- but stayed at home rather than a beach house or hotel).  

It's interesting that this article comes up now.  I was talking to Marshall on the phone the other day (he's TDY in Florida right now) and he mentioned how he hopes that wherever we are stationed next is really far away (like overseas far away).  When I asked him why, he said that if we are stationed really far away, then we might actually go on a Vacation vacation, instead of always going to visit family.

Now, I know that a lot of our relatives read this blog- so please don't get your feelings hurt by this.  We have just not taken a vacation together-where we weren't going to visit someone, see someone, stay with someone, etc.....since I flew to Korea to see Marshall when I was pregnant! Especially after having a baby, there is strong desire for people to get to see her....and then we think "Oh, it's only ____ hours down the road- it's not that far!", so we go.  The biggest issue too (at least for the past 15 months) was taking or leaving the baby.  I have just now gotten comfortable with someone else being with her for 6 hours a day....but there is NO way in heck I would have left a newborn, 6 month old, or 1 year old with ANYBODY just to go on a vacation.  It's probably first-time-mom syndrome....maybe I'm growing out of it.  But, maybe not.  So we need family friendly vacations.

There are some beautiful places within a short driving distance of where we are- where we could go for a few days and feel like we are vacationing.  There is my parents lake house- just enough seclusion to feel far away....and now that they have a new heater it will be all warm and cozy!  The NC Outer Banks aren't that far- we could visit the Lost Colony, Kitty Hawk, Jockey's Ridge, etc.  We could also drive up into the Shenandoah Valley, I have heard it is beautiful up there.  Even Washington, D.C. isn't too far- it is just SO expensive!  

What I'd really like....if I had friends.....would be to get a group of fun people together and get a beach house for a week or something like that.  I'd pay good money for that.  I would love to have that tradition with a group of friends, and I would love for Maddox to have that as a memory of growing up.  Hopefully the economy will turn around because I don't want Mdx's memories to be of a naycation!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanksgiving part 2

Tuesday Mason and Jennie had to leave to begin their drive back to Arkansas.  We watched them pack up the truck and trailer with all sorts of gifts and furniture that they were taking home.  Then we stood outside and did the McIntyre wave (McIntyres like to come outside and watch you drive away- and wave while you honk).  

Tuesday night we met up with our friends Steven and Heidi, who used to attend St. Paul's in Wilmington, but have since moved to the Raleigh area.  They are planning on having kids soon and got a kick out of eating dinner with Maddox (and us).  After dinner we left Raleigh and went to Greensboro to spend the rest of our vacation with my family.    

Wednesday we went to the toy store where I worked in high school and in college.  They enjoy seeing Mdx and catching up when I'm in town.  We also got her a few things for Christmas.

Thanksgiving morning Aunt Kathy came over to make her Sweet Potatoes.  Then we got a phone call that my Grandfather wasn't feeling well and had called 911, so she left to go over to their house and wait for the ambulance.  She and Granddad spent the day at the hospital so he could get checked they both ended up missing the Thanksgiving meal.  Luckily Granddad is okay, and we'll see them at Christmas!  

Grandmom still came over, my friend Brandi who lives downtown, and Emily and Taylor Anne came from Wake Forest.  Anderson was not feeling well, so he stayed home with Mikey.  Here is a picture of T.A. and Mdx playing on the dog bed in the back room.  All those toys in the house- and they went to the dog bed!

Maddox made a bit of a mess at dinner.
Everyone seated around the table.  This is probably the smallest Thanksgiving we have had in my entire life!
We also celebrated Dad and Emily's birthdays while we were in town.  Happy Birthday Dad and Emily!

On Friday we headed back to Raleigh so that Marshall could get his car and go home.  He had to fly out again on Sunday and needed to get home to pack and get ready to go.  We spent a little time back at the McIntyre's, so Marshall's Aunt Cheri from Atlanta could see Maddox.  They played with the farm for a while, and then it was time to get on the road!

Here is Cheri and her dog Winnie playing with Mdx.

We got to Emily's house and spent some time playing with Anderson and Taylor Anne.  They were happy that we were there to stay in the daytime, and not always running off to someone else's house.  We saw T.A.'s incentive chart where she earns points for doing things like school work and chores, and at the end of the week she gets money depending on how many points she has.  The week we were there she got $3.00.  That seems pretty good for being 6 years old!

We went on a car ride- T.A. liked to sit next to Mdx.

Taylor Anne talked to Mdx about the chickens.  

That night we went out to Las Margaritas for dinner, but Maddox was so tired from playing with her cousins that she refused to even sit at the table.  So- Mikey took her for a ride in the car, and she fell asleep while the rest of us ate dinner.  Thanks Mikey!! The next day we drove home to Virginia to help Marshall get ready for his next trip.  And that's the end of our Thanksgiving 2008 Adventure!


After talking to a few other military wives recently, I have realized that I have very different, and sometimes unpopular opinions about a few aspects of military life.  

For instance, some women I know like to wear their husband's dog tags.  Others have them attached to their keychain, or hanging from the rear-view mirror in their mini-van.  Maybe these are the same kind of women who wore their boyfriend's class ring around their neck in high school, or something like that.....but dog tags?  In case you don't know- they aren't given to the airmen as a keepsake or a novelty item.  They are given and worn as a type of identification, and are used to identify and label the bodies of the dead in combat.  They are given in pairs....not so that the airman's girlfriend can have one....but so that if he is killed one remains with the body and the other is taken to begin family notification.  They also have private information on them that would make it easy to steal someone's identity if they got into the wrong hands.  I haven't seen Marshall's dog tags since the day he graduated Basic....but I know he'll be taking them to the desert.  I have no desire to wear them as a badge of honor as a military wife- what they represent is just too serious to me.

Another unpopular opinion that I have involves camouflage.  I simply don't understand the fascination with people who are not in the military wearing a camo pattern on anything. You can find camo almost anywhere now: Walmart, Old Navy, Target, etc.  I know some people wear it to hunt (and that woodland pattern just screams REDNECK to me!).  I feel like some guys who aren't in the military wear it because it makes them feel more macho, or important.  I heard of one woman who took one of her hushand's old uniforms and made a camo strapless minidress that she wore to his homecoming ceremony.  HOLY MOLY I wish I had seen that because I would have had to take a picture.  Besides the fact that it is a bad fashion choice, I think it also represents more than just a pattern on cloth.  Many men in the military have died wearing that pattern....I have no desire to dress my baby in a little baby camo outfit.  We have other ways to show that we are proud of Marshall being in the Air Force than trying to dress like him.

I'm sure some of them look at me and think "Ew, doesn't she own a hair dryer?" or "Doesn't she know that tie-dye went out of style in the 70's?".  Eh- to each their own.  I'll keep wearing my tie-dyed shirts with wet hair, and they can keep wearing camo and dog tags.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Raleigh Thanksgiving 08

The week before Thanksgiving my Mom came up to help me with Maddox since it was the second week in a row that Marshall was gone.  He was in New York, or Texas, I don't even remember.  It ends up that I was very lucky to have Mom there because Maddox was sick that week, I lost my voice AGAIN, I had an Orchestra field trip....and it all led up to a trip to the doctor to find out Mdx had an ear infection and dehydration.  We got some medicine, bought a few humidifiers, and the doc assured me everything would be fine.

My Orchestra field trip went as well as it could have.  The van to pick us up was late, causing a little anxiety on my part as I waited in the lobby with my students who kept saying they had to go to the bathroom.  All the students turned in their permission forms, and were dressed appropriately- that was a first for me in my entire teaching career.  At my old job there was always someone who would show up in a mini-skirt to play the cello.  Ha!  I knew that staying in tune was going to be difficult because it was freezing outside with a high in the 30s!  Once we got to the Community Center I had to set the stage up really quickly because they had interpreted my seating plan (which I had drawn and hand delivered the day before) as something like a choir set up....not an orchestra.  The stage lights weren't on, and there was no heat....but besides that it was GREAT!  The students were so well behaved and played as well as could be expected in such strange conditions.  The old people loved us.  :)

Maddox and I planned to leave Newport News on Friday after work to drive to Raleigh.  I had the car packed and had gone home to make sure the dog was taken care of and then went to go get Mdx from the CDC.  When I got there they said the Nurse needed to speak with me about her diaper rash.  It ends up that the antibiotics she was on for her ear infection were causing her to essentially poop acid (a little TMI, but that's what you get for reading my blog) and her whole bottom and the lower half of her back were burned.  The Nurse said that if I didn't take her to the Pediatrician and get a prescription cream that she would start bleeding and we would end up in Urgent Care in North Carolina.  SO- with the car packed I called the doc, got them to phone in a prescription, drove to the pharmacy, got the script and got on the road.   No stress in my life, NO SIR!  And people wonder why I like wine so much??

I had forgotten the food I was planning on taking in the car, so we stopped at a McDonalds for a quick diaper change and Chicken McNuggets.  However, since it was dark and I'm paranoid that Mdx will choke in the back of the car- I was driving down I-95 with my interior light on and radio off, so I could see and hear her eating.  Once we arrived in Raleigh almost 2 hours later than I wanted to- it was McIntyre family craziness!  Mason and Jennie (the guests of honor) were there, having come up from Arkansas to visit before Mason's impending deployment.  Opa, Aunt Lisa and Phyllis, and Uncle Doug were all down from Pittsburgh, and of course Mike and Carla were there!  Maddox mostly just wanted to play with the dogs and took to Aunt Jennie and Uncle Mason immediately.  She LOVES her Uncle Mason.  It was adorable.  She was actually pretty darn friendly to everyone, I was so glad. 

Here is Mdx the next day playing with Grandma's farm.  Jennie did her hair.

Sitting with Opa having a bottle.  Her onesie says "I'm bringing chubby back".

And YES- we are working on getting rid of the paci from the first picture and the bottle from the second.  She doesn't have her paci all day at school- she only gets it to sleep now.  And, I've been giving her milk in a sippy cup instead of a bottle before bed.  She doesn't seem to care.

Marshall's oldest brother Marcus and his wife Kris arrived with their two dogs on Saturday.  So- there were 4 dachshunds in the house!  Ellie (their oldest dog) kept following Mdx around and growling at her, snipping at her, trying to take her toys, and just being generally not nice.  Mdx ignored her and just went on with life like nothing was wrong, and eventually Ellie just gave up after constant fussing.  People kept saying how it was so great that Mdx wasn't scared of her- but I haven't found much that Mdx is actually scared of......maybe we SHOULD go see Santa Claus after all.

On Sunday we celebrated Thanksgiving.  Jennie helped me get Mdx's shoes on.
At dinner all the "little kids" were at the big table, and all the "adults" were in the Kitchen!
Mdx was willing to share her food- but I think she ate mostly off Jennie's plate.

On Monday we celebrated Christmas- complete with decorations!  We convinced Mike to put out two inflatables to get us into the holiday spirit.  Marshall's Aunt Lisa took Mdx outside and showed her the lights and music that went with them!  We also took some family photos since it had been years since all 3 McIntyre sons had been together.

Mason, Carla, Marshall, and Marcus
Four generations of McIntyres.  Mdx is trying to kiss her Daddy.
Later on was present time.  Mdx opened her gifts, even though she was SO tired!
Mdx had quite a large stack of gifts, including a pewter plate and cup from Great-Grandma McIntyre.  After opening most of them she went upstairs and fell asleep instantly.

One of Marshall's favorite gifts was a boat he had built as a child at his grandparents' house in Ohio.  He can still name all the parts!

That's all for tonight, tomorrow I'll try and add pics from the rest of our journey.  Thanks to Carla McIntyre for the photos.....I was busy chasing the baby around and hardly took any at all.  :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

No way's December?  No way.

I think I totally missed November.  I remember bits and pieces, but since Marshall was gone for almost half the month it all passed in a busy blur.

Maddox started at her new CDC November 10th.  This place is really really awesome!  It is more like a preschool than just a daycare.  It is a non-profit, but not run by the base.  I'm not going to put the name on here for safety reasons, but if anyone is curious just ask me- they have a great website!  I pass this place on my way to work everyday, so it is more convenient than being on base.  The teachers all have to have Early Childhood Education degrees, and their curriculum is provided to the parents weekly.  They use signing with the pre-talkers, and have a huge playground.  I am so impressed with everything Mdx has been doing, and most importantly- she is happy there!  There is a mirror/window next to the door so you can peek into the room from the hallway.  The first day I dropped her off I just stood there and watched for a few minutes....I didn't want to leave!  But- every day when she just runs off and plays with her friends it makes it a little easier.  They also do arts and crafts with the kids, something I know I wouldn't be doing if she were home with me!  She's eating better food, getting more attention, and having more fun than ever at this place!

Here is some of the art that they have done with her...they give her things like PAINT and GLUE and GLITTER.  I'm so glad I'm paying other people to do that.

Uploading pics is taking forever tonight....I'm sure everyone is updating their blogs from Thanksgiving.  I'll have to put pictures from our travels up tomorrow night.