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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good-bye Buerstattes :(

(This post is a bit overdue, but I was waiting for the SUPER cute pictures Brandi took!)

Before the Buerstattes pulled out of our driveway Saturday morning almost two weeks ago, we were lucky enough to get 48 hours of quality time together!!!  Even though I knew saying good-bye would be hard, I wouldn't have traded all the time we had leading up to it for anything.  We obviously saw lots of each other when we lived in Springfield, but a huge perk of moving to Dumfries was all of the last minute stuff we got to do: afternoon walks, playground outings, storytimes, kid swaps, and picking up Chai Lattes from Starbucks :)  Thank goodness for e-mail and cell phones!  I think we might need to explore Skype...
Brandi and Scott elected to have the Marines take care of the ENTIRE moving process (packing up everything, loading the truck, driving the truck, unloading, and unpacking).  Their stuff was packed on the Tuesday and Wednesday of moving week, the truck was loaded Thursday, and they stayed with us Thursday and Friday nights :)  Jackson and I picked up KK for storytime on Wednesday so there was one less person in the packers' hair.  She and Jackson had a GREAT time again!  They were SO cute listening to the stories and singing the songs :)  I was quite sad to hear that the library takes a break from storytime between that week and school starting!  We were just getting in the groove and Jackson was finally getting comfortable enough to participate a little :(  Labor Day and the start of school will be here before we know it...

Brandi dropped the kids off on Thursday morning and we all had a good time together!  Poor Josh managed to have quite the attack of allergies-turned into a cold so he was "resting" at home, but also trying to keep his distance so none of the kiddos got sick.  As I already posted the work on our deck began that morning, so that was quite the entertainment.  We all enjoyed a walk and snack after naptime and the kids were all fed, bathed, and ready for bed by the time Brandi got back :)  (I was pretty proud of myself!)
On Friday, Brandi had a few things to take care of and in between her outings, Josh and I got out to run a few errands--it has been a LONG time since he ran errands with me and it was kind of a fun mini-date :)  (Ah, the excitement of married life!)  Brandi and Scott go checked out of their house on base by lunchtime, and we got to relax for the rest of the day!  During naptime, Josh started some Guitar Hero on the Wii, and Liam was his biggest fan :)
After naptime we had a little photo shoot in the front yard.  Jackson and KK inspired the chosen props :)
  We grilled a yummy dinner and really tried to soak up our last hang out session in the evening.
Saturday morning started bright and early as the Buerstattes were loading up the cars, kids, and dogs to being the drive to Mississippi and we were headed to Leesburg to spend the day with the Bascoms (separate post coming!)!  It was quite the crazy morning that included a non-starting car battery (Scott's) and a mysteriously bloody finger (KK's)...

Brandi kept asking us if we were SURE we wanted their whole family invading us this way, and I told her of course.  Not only were we happy to do it, but they would have done it for us in a flash.  We have SO enjoyed the last 13 months, and are anxious to plan some trips to Meridian, MS once the Buerstattes get settled :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Library Loot 4

1. The Little School Bus by Carol Roth
2. Whoo!  Whoo!  Goes the Train by Anne Rockwell
3. Big Bear Ball by Joanne Ryder and Steven Kellogg
4. Alberto the Dancing Alligator by Richard Waring
5. Dino-Baseball by Lisa Wheeler
6. The Very Noisy Night by Diana Hendry
7. Animal Strike at the Zoo by Karma Wilson
8. Dinos on the Go by Karma Wilson
9. Bear's New Friend by Karma Wilson
 10. Marley and the Kittens by John Grogan

Extra entries:
 One-Dog Canoe by Mary Casanova
Bunny Party by Rosemary Wells

This was an AWESOME haul from the library!  Jackson picked quite a few favorites out of this batch, and there really weren't any duds (I feel like no matter how much I flip through a book at the library--and let's face it how much time do I have to do that while keeping my eye on my toddler?--there are always a few books we take home that are nothing too special).  I found it quite interesting that I had just finished reading Oh Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday post the day before we went to the library and she listed two of the books that jumped out at me from the shelves: One-Dog Canoe and Animal Strike at the Zoo!  They were indeed super cute :)

Jackson's favorites were: Whoo!  Whoo!  Goes the Train (This was a VERY cute story about Allan who LOVES everything about trains--playing with them, reading about them, pretending to make the sounds, and he gets to take his FIRST train ride AND visit Trainland!!!  I wish WE had a Trainland!!!), The Very Noisy Night (I LOVED this one myself, too!  Big Mouse and Little Mouse are really cute and the story revolves around Little Mouse not being able to sleep due to various reasons.  No, it's not a super original storyline, BUT the pictures are ADORABLE--the details were cute in the mouse bedroom!), and Bunny Party (of course since we love anything Max and Ruby!)

This post is linked up to:

Top Ten Tuesday hosted by Oh Amanda

Feed Me Books Friday hosted by Little Sprout Books

Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Trader Joe's Orange Chicken and rice
Tuesday: Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps and chips
Wednesday: Gnocchi with baked asiago cheesey bread (I found a loaf at Walmart!) and salad
Thursday: leftover Cheeseburger Wraps and fries
Friday: In Staunton with Josh's family
Saturday: In Staunton with Josh's family
Sunday: Baked chicken with baked potatoes

I LOVED the Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps, but Josh said he'd like to wait awhile before seeing them again.  I'm not sure exactly why, but I think they are definitely worth a try :)

For more yummy recipes, check out Menu Plan Monday at Org Junkie!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Carpenter Jackson!

Work on our deck started last Thursday and was finished this past Tuesday!  We are SUPER excited to have this extra outdoor living space :)  Jackson's favorite toy for the past week has been Josh's tape measure--he measured everything and anything:
 The couch,
 The wall,
 His pancake,
 Samson's head,
and the back of Sammy's head!

 Showing Liam how to hold the tape measure
 "Liam, you hold this part, and I'll pull the rest of it out."
 Playing with Baby Brother :)

I *know* our builders, Tom and Mike, were thrilled to have these two overseeing the project...

Needless to say, Jackson was THRILLED to have a construction project going on in his own backyard!!!  Each morning he wanted out of his crib immediately so he could stand at his window and look down on Mr. Mike who was already hard at work by 7:30am each morning!!!  During the morning while I got us ready to start the day, Jackson hung out on the back of the couch watching all of the action.  He almost always had at least one set of tools with him and was measuring something!  Tom and Mike were amazing and humored Jackson every time he talked through the window to them (the weather was BEAUTIFUL for most of this project so all of our windows were wide open).  The funniest was Tuesday morning Jackson was chatting near the window and said something to Mr. Tom.  He said, "Mommy, he no hear me!"  I told him I was sure Mr. Tom did indeed hear him.  Jackson said one more thing, I heard Tom say, "Are you talking to me Jackson?", and then I heard Jackson clam up and get all shy--what a stinker!
 Construction Worker Extraordinaire and Jr. Foreman
 Chatting about the finishing touches
Tom was the construction manager of the actual construction of our house, and he was awesome at that job (especially the parts that included phone calls from me about what was going on and when we could come see it and take pictures)!  We were pretty excited to find out that he does construction projects on his own and we could hire him to build a deck!!!  We probably need to take a break from large building projects, but hopefully we'll have an opportunity to work with him again :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


How convenient that this picture I took to show the knocked over picture frames shows the TV screen that it does!  

At 1:50pm yesterday afternoon, Jackson and I experienced our first earthquake! (Josh had felt one in Oakland while he was traveling a few years ago.)  I was sitting on the porch during naptime enjoying the BEAUTIFUL weather when I felt this rumbling and heard a loud noise.  All of a sudden our house was shaking!  I must admit my first instinct was to try to hold up our house...  I immediately thought, "Earthquake!" but then thought surely that wasn't it.  Paxton and I both freaked out at the same time.  He didn't give me any warning signs like a lot of people said their pets were, but he definitely knew something weird was going on!  We raced inside and I immediately heard Jackson screaming, so I ran upstairs and grabbed him--he looked so scared as his curtains flapped open with the breeze and the shaking and his pictures a little askew on the walls :(  We ran outside where two of our neighbors were already outside.  The shaking had just stopped, and we all looked at each other like, "Did you feel that???"  There wasn't anything to do really, so I went back inside and laid Jackson down--thankfully he went back to sleep!  Then I turned on the news and saw we had registered a 5.8 earthquake (it was upgraded soon after to a 5.9).  One person who called in to explain their experience said (in DC) it felt like they were in a cardboard box while someone just moved the corner back and forth.  My neighbor, Rachel, and I agreed it was more like we were in the box while someone picked it up and shook it back and forth!  It was a very disturbing sensation to be sitting on the porch with all the windows open inside (we have two windows right in front that open on to the porch, so I could hear everything inside) and to feel the house shaking like it was made of toothpicks and to hear everything rattling around inside!

I had a text from Josh right away asking if I felt that.  I then couldn't send out any texts or calls, so that sent me into a different sort of panic since I couldn't get in touch with Josh or check on anyone else!  I wasn't really worried that Josh was hurt, but I heard that lots of building in DC were being evacuated, and I just wanted to make sure he was ok.  It turns out he was already outside when the earthquake hit since he had decided just before 1pm that the meeting he was running should be held outside!  Crystal City, where Josh's office is, didn't feel as big of a shake as we did since our house is much closer to the epicenter of Richmond.  Josh thought it was pretty cool and was really upbeat and chipper when he finally got through to me.  He was very understanding, however, when I informed him my experience was very different since I was in our brand new house while it shook all over with our hysterical dog and son...

The rest of the afternoon was fine.  Jackson took a nice nap, but definitely remembered the experience!  When I tucked him in for bed, he asked, "All done shaking?  All done noise?"  That broke my heart!  He won't remember this at all, so that's good.  Apparently there was one aftershock around 3pm and another at 8:04pm, but we didn't feel either one here.

It was interesting hearing people different responses to the earthquake, and what people thought it was right away.  I thought it was something going on at Quantico since we hear all sorts of noise from there on a regular basement.  One of my neighbors is having her basement finished, and she thought the workmen were there using a jackhammer.  Josh said he and his co-workers thought it was a bus driving by since they hear a similar sound daily.  It definitely depended where you were!  I don't know if I will ever understand the people who thought it was really cool, however...  That's still a mystery to me.  I do think I would be having an easier time forgetting it/getting over it if I hadn't been IN our house to feel/hear it shake and rattle.  That is a sound and feeling I will NEVER forget :/

Nothing too terrible happened inside our house, but what is a blog without pictures?  
In the front room, the Chicago puzzle hanging over our desk was crooked (more so in real life than in this picture), the computer monitor shifted, papers slid, and two picture frames that usually sit on the top right of the desk fell down.
Thing on the baker's rack fell over, and my pretty glass candleholder fell on the floor and broke :(
Needless to say that basket is not always thrown on the floor with its contents spilling out...
The picture hanging in our stairway were the typical movie image of an earthquake's effects: crooked and possibly knocked off the wall.
These two guys fell off of our bookshelf in our bedroom.
My basket of stuff fell off of my nightstand.
All of the stuff that sits on the seat in our shower fell on to the floor.
Of course I had JUST cleaned off Josh's trophies from our basement mold incident and decided to put them in the extra room only to have them fall over a few days later from an earthquake!  None of them broke, however.

In general, lots of stuff shifted around in all of our cabinets and drawers.  The TV in our bedroom shifted a few inches to the left.  Josh found two cracks in walls as he walked around, but they look pretty superficial--phew!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday!

This past week was CRAZY!!!  It started out pretty calm, and then we had houseguests for Thursday and Friday.  The Buerstattes were getting their house packed up and the truck loaded to head to Mississippi, so we offered to let the kids hang out at our house so they stayed out of the way :)  They all slept over both nights since their stuff was all packed up--it was great to have such together time right before they left :(  (I meant that in all sincerity!!!)  I enjoyed making a more extensive menu plan to include more substantial breakfasts and lunches for everyone to grab on their way out in the mornings and afternoons!

Monday: Taco Bell :)
Tuesday:  Book Club for me so Josh had to fend for himself ;)  I made Margarita Cake Balls to take for dessert...  They turned out a bit key-lime-pie-ish, which is not a bad thing.  I was just not in the mood to make them and the candy coating gave me a little trouble this time.  They were tasty, but I just wasn't that satisfied :(
Wednesday: Philly Cheesesteak Kabobs
Thursday: Freezer Meal!  Crock-Pot BBQ Chicken and Veggies, sweet potato waffle fries, salad, and Chocolate Pudding Cake

Friday: Krusteaz Cranberry Orange muffins and bananas for breakfast (it's been a long time since I made muffins from a box since I got my KitchenAid, but these are SO yummy!), chicken salad made from a Wegman's rotisserie chicken, and then Grilled BBQ Salmon, grilled corn on the cob, fruit, and leftover cake for dinner
Saturday: Pioneer Woman's Sonic Breakfast Burritos and then dinner at The Bascom House
Sunday: Five Guys and Dairy Queen to properly welcome Joe back home!!!

The Philly Chesesteak Kabobs were pretty darn awesome, as was the grilled salmon!  Brandi did an experiment with some freezer meals for the Crock Pot, and our conclusion was they are a bit tricky.  The veggies were pretty mushy, and we needed to add extra seasoning even though she added some originally.  We are thinking it might be better to focus on preparing the meat part of the meal for the freezer and adding the spices and veggies day-of...  

For more yummy recipes, head over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by Org Junkie!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

While Daddy Was Gone...

Last Monday Josh left for Seattle for a conference for work.  While we missed him while he was gone, Jackson and I had a really fun week just making up our own schedule and hanging out with friends :)  I didn't take a TON of pictures, but here is our fun week:

Monday we met Susie and Rachel at Pirate's Cove Water Park!  Jackson was super pumped about the outing, but once we got there he was pretty timid (as I expected) around the slides, waterfalls, and other water elements.  Luckily, there was a tot pool that was very shallow and had a much more low-key slide.  Rachel and Jackson LOVED throwing themselves down the slide again and again.  After we did that we explored the sand play area and then we tried the large pool again.  Jackson did let me take him up and down the smallest slide, but there were jets of water shooting up at us and down on us, which was frustrating for me.  I think Jackson would have LOVED going on the slide by himself if he wasn't attacked by water from every angle...   Monday afternoon we went to play at the park with Brandi and KK--it was beautiful weather and it was fun to get in an early evening playdate :)   Jackson had two firsts while we were at the playground: he "watered the flowers" like a big boy when he had to go potty, and he developed a love for swinging!!!  He was so content to just be pushed on the swing--that has NEVER happened!

Tuesday we had some special visitors: Rebecca and her daughter, Eloise!  Rebecca and I went to Sunday School together in middle school and have stayed friends since.  She and her family just happen to live in DC!  Jackson had a lot of fun playing with Eloise and showing her all of his toys.  They especially liked giving each other rides on the fire truck :)  
Rebecca was super excited to hear that our new neighborhood includes a Five Guys, so we headed over there for lunch before they drove back home.  Tuesday seemed to be the day to see some "long lost" friends because we drove to Fantasy Playground in Lake Ridge to meet Stephanie and Lily after naptime!  We had been to this playground last summer, but this was a MUCH better visit!  Jackson's skill set is just so much different and I can sit down and watch him instead of trying to follow him everywhere.  He had a good time playing with Lily...even though it DID storm at the end of our visit :(  

After Jackson went to bed, I started on the large project of reorganizing all of the boxes in which I packed away Jackson's old clothes.  We have lent some clothes to several friends when they had baby boys, so I wanted to get it all put back together, and back into the closet!  Our extra room had exploded with all sorts of odds and ends.  Getting that room straightened up was one of my big goals while Josh was gone!  After working on that for a while, my neighbor, Rachel, came over for some girl time.  We pretended to watch a movie, but we really just chatted...until 2am!  LOL  I LOVE getting to do that every once in a while!  After she left, I stayed up for another hour finishing packing up the baby clothes!  Yes, I do think I'm a bit crazy...

On Wednesday, Jackson and I took Kaitlyn with us to story time at the library.  They were SO good and had such a good time!  For the first time since we have started going to story time, Jackson voluntarily sang along and participated with hand motions!  I was THRILLED!!!  Brandi brought Liam over to take a nap with the big kids so she and Scott could get some moving preparations done.  After naptime we all went back to the Buerstattes' for dinner.  Scot was then nice enough to lay all of the kids down while Brandi and I went out for a little ice cream date :)  It was SO nice to chat without being interrupted by short people!

Thursday morning I took my swap time with Brandi and ran some errands.  It's always nice to get that break! After naptime we went BACK to Fantasy Playground to meet Susie and Rachel!  The weather was amazing, and they had fun running around.  Unfortunately, while we were on our way to the playground, my phone just died :(  We raced home after our playdate, and I got Jackson fed and ready for bed.  Then I took him over to Rachel's house to lay him down.  That way I could go get a new cell phone that night and not take Jackson with me.  It is AWESOME to have neighbors who are good friends and are happy to help :)  The short version of the story is that I DID get a new cell phone (woo hoo!), but the woman hooked it up to JOSH'S phone number!!!  I had to go to a Verizon store then on Friday morning WITH Jackson, and get it all sorted out.  GRRR...

After fixing my phone on Friday morning, I took Jackson over to Brandi's to nap while I went to see "The Help!"  I have never seen a movie by myself before, and it was sooo good!  I met Brandi at the playground with the kids--yet ANOTHER beautiful day!  After that Jackson and I just had a low-key evening before he laid down for a bit before I woke him up to go pick up Josh at the airport!!!

I am enjoying the fruit of my labor each time I walk by the extra room and the guest room.  Throughout the week I managed to get the basement all cleaned up, all sorts of baby gear we are keeping for when we have #2 stored away in the extra room, unpacked the last boxes of books on to the bookshelves in our bedroom, and organized the closet in the guest room.  Here are some before and after shots:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Guy

Jackson is still LOVING doing his puzzles!  I got an awesome deal on two more boxes of Melissa and Doug puzzles that each have four mini-puzzles in them.
 I found a pretty great deal on Craigslist for this Vtech Smartville Alphabet Train Station.  Jackson LOVES it!  He is really showing interest in letters recently, and this is the perfect toy to feed that interest :)
Jackson so looks forward to Josh getting home so they can play Hide and Seek!  He is getting the hang of it a little more each day.  Right now he is practicing staying quiet while hiding since he tends to yell, "I'm right here!" while he is being "seeked."

Just as Pax comes running whenever he hears a treat taken out or his food dumped into his bowl, Jackson comes running whenever he hears someone filling a glass with ice!  He LOVES to be the helper for making drinks :)  He likes to ask Josh if he wants a cold drink.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day Trip to Annapolis!

Ever since the Buerstattes moved back to the area, we have wanted to get up to Annapolis for a day trip and take advantage of having Scott as our very own tour guide (he went to the U.S. Naval Academy)!  We FINALLY managed to get it scheduled a few weekends ago.  It was not a very long trip time-wise, but Josh and I were SO ready to get out of the car so Jackson could finally see some big boats up close and personal :)  He was not shy about letting us know what he was excited to see ;)  We all were prepared to endure the HOT temperatures, and Brandi and Scott did an excellent job of alternating the tour between air conditioning and outside.  We started our day by wandering around Downtown Annapolis (DTA).  

Photo ops by the water:
We decided to stop for an early lunch at Mangia Italian Grill & Sports Cafe.  Yes, the below picture was taken only after being pushed in the strollers for a little while--it was THAT hot!  Lunch was delicious!  We sat at a table by the window so KK and Jackson didn't lose out on any precious boat-viewing time...  This was the beginning of an AWESOME day for a newly potty-trained toddler!!!  Jackson had been doing pretty well leading up to this little excursion, and I knew this would be our final frontier.  Jackson did great going potty in many different public bathrooms.  Needless to say Mommy was quite relieved (and proud!).  
After lunch we got in the car and did a little driving tour of the U.S. Naval Academy.  After seeing some of the campus, we parked and wandered around in and out of some buildings.  We started at Tecumsah Court outside of Bancfroft Hall.  Bancroft Hall is the largest single dormitory in the world, and it is where all of the midshipmen live.
Inside Bancroft Hall
Jackson checking out a sample dorm room
Memorial Hall is inside Bancroft Hall.  Memorial Hall has lists of alumni and naval personnel lost in battles.
We couldn't resist a little photo shoot on the steps in the rotunda of Bancroft Hall!  There was also an especially wonderful cross-breeze to enjoy!
Sneak peek at future wedding picture???
A quick kiss!
 A pretty fountain :)
 While we were wandering around campus, it looked like it was going to rain.  We took the opportunity to sneak in and get a little snack :)  The kids also got to run around in a big gymnasium-type area.
 Liam was such a trooper all day!
 We drove back to DTA and parked for a bit.  We walked down the streets a little, but our main goal was ice cream!  We went into Kilwins, and we definitely enjoyed the cold treats!  We really wanted to get a picture of the kids in front of the big boats since they were SO excited to see them, but I think they were a little pictured out :(
From this point on, I don't have any more pictures.  We did want to stick around to have dinner in Annapolis, but we weren't really thrilled with the prospect of continuing to walk around in the heat.  So, we headed to the mall so the kids could play at the play space.  This would have worked out even better if the air conditioning was actually effective in the mall, but the kids did get to run around and that was good.  We cleaned them up and headed to dinner.  We tried to go to a really yummy looking spot, but the wait was ridiculous!  We ended up back in DTA at McGarvey's.  It was good, but I think everyone was getting tired and the kiddos were definitely tired of being on their best behavior all day.  

We made excellent time home, and we now know the lay of the land so we can go back on our own--the drive was perfect for a day trip :)