Monday, February 25, 2013

Semper Fidelis

Y'all, I don't think I've ever been so proud, and I mean that.  I could write a whole book about our trip down to South Carolina to see Private First Class Brendan Hogan graduate from Marine Corps bootcamp, but one longish blog post will have to do.

It was a long trip, a very long trip.  We left early in the am on Wednesday morning and hauled it down to Wilmington to pick up sister Anne.  Noodlebug was in a pretty happy mood for this 6 hour trip....daddy even let her drive, although he had to talk to her about the dangers of chewing one's fist while driving:

The second half of Wednesday's drive, an additional 5 hours from NC to Parris Island, she understandably wasn't as happy.  NC is one huge pine swamp, SC inland didn't seem much better and it was the most monotonous drive I have ever done.  The lowlands coast in SC was really nice, but as anyone who has gone down to Parris Island knows, it isn't easy to get to and requires incredibly indirect routes to get there.

Thursday morning we were up and on base early to watch the motivational run.  All the platoons in the company run in formation led by the Commanding General of the base....they are already Marines at this point, it's just to have one last hurrah together and show the families.  My mom and I were standing talking about how we probably wouldn't be able to pick him out of his platoon because we weren't particularly close to them and he'd be in line.  But when his platoon marched up I looked up and realized he was carrying his platoon flag.  That was so cool, seeing him leading his platoon in the run was just awesome, but at this point we didn't realize what that meant, we figured they picked him because he was the best at running and carrying the flag or something. (of course I didn't have my camera for this although I really, really wish I did)!

After the run as we were getting ready to head out the family of PFC Brendan Hogan was called to the center pavilion.  We ran to find my parents who hadn't heard and made our way there trying to speculate what the heck they needed us for.  That was also the first we learned of Brendan's accomplishments PFC= Private First Class which means he had gotten promoted from Private.  So we were pretty excited about that.  We met with a Staff Sergeant who was very nice, but she wasn't really giving us any information at first, just chatting with us, and I think we were all a little on edge trying to figure out what was going on.  She finally looked at us and said, "Oh, he didn't tell you?  He is the Honor Graduate for his platoon,"  ummm, nope, he failed to mention that incredibly big piece of information.  The look on my parents face was priceless....(again major fail to me for not having the camera).  We also found out that meant we got special front row, cushioned, not bleacher, don't-have-to-wait-in-line seats for the events including graduation....bonus.

Brendan got on-base leave a little while later and we got to spend the day with him, and it was so great, to spend the day with him and see where he had lived for the past 12 weeks and hear all kinds of lovely stories about boot camp (although I'm certain we didn't hear the half of it).  Graduation on Friday morning was wonderful, Brendan got to wear his Dress Blue uniform (which only the honor graduate from each platoon got to wear), and in my opinion is the best looking uniform in the whole military.

 It was surreal to see him march in at the front of his platoon in that uniform. It was just so incredible and I was so proud to see my little brother in that uniform, receiving his award.

                                                                      Receiving his award

                                                                  Second from right

                                                                At attention with his platoon

                                                                The super-proud parents!

                                  I had to post this one although NoodleBug is uncomfortable b/c he's actually sort of smiling...

    The babe and I would have been a bit more dressed up if we had realized we'd be front and center with the award winner!

The drive home was miserable, absolutely  miserable, but it was so worth it to be able to be there for Brendan.  Now he's off to the next phase and we aren't sure when we'll see him again, but we sure are proud of him!

Monday, February 18, 2013

This and That

Matt received, for the first time in years, a toy for his birthday.  His sister got him a toy helicopter for his birthday, and it has been one of the funnest (not a word but it's appropriate) presents in a long time.  We've have spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to learn how to fly it and laughing hysterically.  It is usually the way we unwind in the evening after Little Miss has gone to bed.

Here Matt showed off major skills by landing the helicopter on the jungle....

           These pictures show the focus involved and unfortunately I missed it due to laughing so hard, but shortly after this he almost flew it into his face.

The thing looks like a giant wasp flying around our apartment, and luckily is incredibly resilient considering how many times we've crashed it into walls, counters, bookshelves and just had it come crashing out of the air.

Little Miss has been awake a couple of times when we have it out and sits there generally giving it the stink eye and probably trying to figure out why mommy and daddy get so silly when it's flying around.

Maggie has a new goal in life.  It consumes pretty much every single waking moment of her day.  And that goal is to stuff her entire fist in her mouth.  She usually tries this even when she is eating, which has caused some interesting nursing times.

     This is how most of the day goes, she usually does this for a few minutes before choking when she actually accomplishes getting most of her fist in her face.

Checking out the newest object of her affections

                                     Why would you ever use a teether for teething when you could simply wear it and continue to work the fist?

In other news, this girl looks exactly like her daddy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dear Margaret

Sweet Baby Girl,
You are 3 and 1/2 months old!  Your daddy and I cannot get over how fast time has flown since you were born, and how big you have gotten!  We are so thankful for your life, when we found out you were joining our little family we were overjoyed, we had been praying and praying for you to come along and God answered our prayers.

You are loved by many, many people.  So many people prayed that we would have you and prayed for you during the scares you gave us when I was pregnant with you.  We knew from early on you were a fighter and were tough.  Twice when you were in my belly we rushed to the hospital thinking we had lost you, and twice we had ultrasounds that showed you wiggling and dancing away unconcerned with what was wrong.  In the beginning of Mommy's pregnancy you weren't growing well and the doctors were very concerned, then you started growing fast and haven't stopped since!

When you came we were so excited!  The first time I saw you I was overwhelmed, excited, happy and absolutely in love with you.  Your Daddy instantly fell in love, I've never seen him look so excited or happy as he was when he saw you and held you for the first time.

Then we brought you home, your favorite thing in the world to do was eat.....and really has been ever since.  You've grown so much in the last 3 months.

Eating is still your favorite thing, whether nursing or having a bottle with Daddy, you never have trouble eating and always have a big appetite, and it shows!  You are a healthy girl and already wearing 6 and 9 month clothes, your 3 month outfits stopped fitting a long time ago!

You love bathtime, you would be so happy to sit in the bathtub kicking your feet all night if we would let you, we usually pull you out when you start shivering although you never complain about that....

You are very independent.  You aren't much of a snuggler at all, if you are awake you like to be on the floor playing with your toys.  You love your jungle play mat and spin yourself around talking and playing....

You also roll over both ways, although you are more likely to roll from your back to your belly and then get mad because it's too much work to roll back and you don't usually like being on your belly.

You love sleeping at night you usually only get up once a night to eat now, and some nights you sleep 7 or 8 hours.  You don't always sleep so much during the day, usually little cat naps.  You like your pacifier to fall asleep and usually spit it out shortly after drifting off.....

I have to try to pull it out from under your face without waking you or you wake up with an imprint on your face that lasts the better part of a day.

You love your daddy.  You give him a hard time sometimes if you know I'm home, but you save your best playtime for him.  When he gets home you love to talk and talk and talk while he changes your diaper.  And you talk and talk and talk while he puts you in your pjs.  And you love storytime with daddy before bed.  Everynight he reads you The Going to Bed Book and usually reads it 3 times before you are ready to be done:

You are a sweet girl, laid back and beautiful.  We love you so much and are amazed everyday watching you grow more and more.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Balemtimes Day

The Hubs and I have never celebrated Valentine's Day.  Not our thing.  We started dating in February and he had no interest in being the cheesy guy who asked me out on said day, assuming correctly that I probably would have said no if he had, and since then it hasn't been a big deal for us.  We just feel like we don't need a commercialized day to show our love and appreciation for each other.

But, we do celebrate Balemtimes Day.  One year the hubby decided he was going to get me Valentine's Day on February 7 he came home with a dozen yellow roses, which are my favorite.  Now, I thought he was being super thoughtful, we moved that year on February 14 so my thought was, "Oh, he decided to get me flowers this year and decided that since we're moving he'd get them this week, he also probably saved a lot of money doing that....", that sounds terrible, but our life usually revolves around a very tight budget.

I found out not long after that my dear hubby had thought that Valentine's Day was February 7.  We both had a good laugh at that and somehow started calling it Balemtimes Day.  We still don't really "celebrate"; to us it usually entails me making a nice dinner or dessert and having a bottle of wine together, and that's about it.  This year, in honor of Balemtimes Day I made these brownies, partly to celebrate the day but mostly because Little Miss is teething and mommy needed a quick "lick the bowl" chocolate fix to help get through the day.  Then I was feeling really inspired and made this sauce and dumped it over the top.

First, make the sauce, I've been using a spoon to eat it (it made waaay more than I needed for the brownies) and I'm convinced it would make shoe leather taste good, I seriously considered putting it on my oatmeal this morning, but I refrained....but combined with the gooey brownies it was a heavenly combination, and good enough that I decided it warranted being the official Balemtimes Day dessert.  Had I been thinking and not stuffing my face I would have taken a picture of them....they were awesome.

I do think however our attitude may change now that we have Little Miss.  One of my favorite parts of Valentine's Day used to be waking up to a little box of chocolates in our cereal bowls, nothing huge just a little treat from Mom and Dad to show that they loved us.  And also, since glitter is my hubbys FAVORITE thing (note sarcasm), I'm looking forward to many Little Miss and Mommy crafting moments in the future of glittery Valentine's for Daddy ;-)

Favorite time of the day:
Bathtime with daddy!

Things she hates, kisses on the cheek (this is actually one of the nicest faces she's made for that event):

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Over Winter....

I am so ready for winter to be over.  At least when we lived up north it snowed and it made it feel like cold was worth it's just cold, and drizzly.  It is comical to see how people down here respond to a dusting of snow though.  Little Miss and I woke up one morning last week to the sound of a motor with the most horrible metal clanging noise I've ever heard.  I looked outside to figure out what it was.  The first thing I notices was a dusting of snow, and I really mean a dusting, the kind of dusting where in Syracuse or New Hampshire people wouldn't even say it had snowed.
The awful noise?  The apartment complex snowblower, running away with blades dropped all the way slamming into the pavement and not blowing  But, I guess they figure it snowed so they were obligated to use a snowblower.  A push broom would have sufficed for the job if they felt anything needed to be cleared.

I also had a funny experience last winter when we got some ice and snow.  I went out to start slamming ice off the car.  There was a man with a car parked near me who was hacking away at the ice on his car, which was not turned on.  I went out, hopped in the car, turned it on with all heaters and defrosters on full blast and then proceeded to start trying to chip off the car.  He kinda looked at me sideways for a minute and then jumped in his car and turned it on before continuing to hack away at the outside.  

I'm ready to be outside without being bundled....but that also means my sweet baby girl will be so much bigger.  We have one more week of peace and then the absolute crazy two week period begins which includes a big b-day bash for my mother-in-law, trip to South Carolina to see Uncle Brendan graduate from Marine Corps boot camp, a baby shower for Aunt Ellen and moving to our new house!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Roll Over, Roll Over!

Well, this crazy baby started rolling over 1 day before her 3 month birthday.  And she will never do tummy time again.  She has always haaaated tummy time.  On Thursday morning after 20 terrible minutes on her tummy and coming ridiculously close several times, she finally flipped herself over onto her back.  I wasn't sure she would be able to do it again anytime soon, but she showed off for daddy quite quickly when he came home.

3 months!  I can't believe this girl is 3 months old!  I put a couple different takes of our monthly picture, as usual she refused to smile for it.  When I put her little photo book together when she's 1, it's going to look like she doesn't know how to smile, when actually she is quite smiley kid!

NoodleBug and I visited very dear friends of ours on Friday who have 2 week old twin boys, I wish I had remembered to take a picture.  They are adorable and both soooo tiny!  NoodleBug looked huge next to them, it was nice to have an afternoon relaxing with someone who is in the same place we are in and look forward to the kids growing up together!

And now, I leave you with the owls: