Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mmm...Chocolate Pudding!

Brooke has discovered chocolate pudding...and SHE LOVES IT!
She is getting pretty good with a spoon too, despite the contradictory evidence on her face.
"Can I please have some more pudding if I make a really cute face?"

Monday, May 28, 2007

Our Summer Vacation

Have you ever been in Costco and seen some item that you just think to yourself "who really buys that!?"

We are now guilty of being one of those people. In a moment of weakness...envisioning the hours of exhuberant fun that our children would have...we bought a monster inflatable water slide. This is the danger of having a huge yard. We would never have considered buying this in our old house! Summer vacation in the backyard. Let the fun begin.

Old Friends

A few days ago my good friend, Stephanie, and her girls came over for a play date. Stephanie and I used to be neighbors when we lived in NJ from 2001-2004...her daughter Danielle has the same birthday as Baileigh but is one year older and her other daughter Emma is 3 months younger then Mckenna.

I have some great photos of the girls together when we lived her before and I had planned on scanning in their old photos so I could blog them beside these new ones...but I just haven't been organized enough lately to pull all that together and if I don't post this now I probably never will.
The girls brought over their quad for the play date. My girls absolutely love riding on it. It quickly attracted the attention of our next door neighbor, Jacob. Baileigh has found a great buddy in Jacob and she had a great time riding around the yard with him...I'm glad for their friendship but it disturbed me a little bit to see her with her arms wrapped around this boys waist and having so much fun with him.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Group Ride

Today I woke up early and headed to our church to meet up with a bike riding group. I've been training solo since I started so I was a little nervous but excited at the thought of riding in a group. Due to the Memorial Day weekend the normal group of 6-10 was down to 3 including myself. So I set of with Kevin (I nicknamed him "the Machine" my mind...with huge, intimidating calves) and Leonard for a 20 mile ride. I was concerned about slowing these guys down but I held my own. They were both really nice and gave me some good advice on local bike stores in the area. We averaged about 17.6mph and road just a little over an hour.

The weather was beautiful...about 68 degrees at got up to 90 degrees later in the day! I think we only had about a half dozen cars pass us during the entire hour...however we probably saw or passed about 50 bikers in other groups enjoying the beautiful morning. The South Jersey area has a big biking following and I'm finding it to be a pretty supportive and conducive area to my riding! Today, my training guide called for a brick workout (2 disciplines back to back) so I switched shoes in the church parking lot and set out for a short run just to get my legs used to transitioning immediately from the bike to running. I've only done this a few times but I could feel a difference today that my legs were tired but a lot less rubbery feeling (for lack of a better description) then earlier in the month. I was only supposed to run 10 minutes so I did a mile and called it quits. Now I only have to add a half mile swim and 2.1 more miles running and I've done my triathlon!

Six Flags

Yesterday we bought season passes to the Six Flags theme park about 45 minutes from our house. Brad had Friday off so we enjoyed a full day, and a hot day...around 90 degrees!

Baileigh is a roller-coaster junkie and has influenced Mckenna into not having any fear either over any ride..ANY. I think they would both try every ride at the park if we told them they were tall enough. Baileigh is about 47 inches and thanks to her sneakers she was able to ride all the 48 inch and taller rides. Mckenna is almost 39 inches tall...but with the help of her sneakers and a tall pony tail on the top of her head we were able to pass her off on a lot of the 42 inch requirement rides...that opens the door for her to go on a lot more rides. Waiting for the tea cup ride. A guy about 15 or 16 threw up in the tea cup next to us. The girls were completely obsessed with what was happening in his tea cup when the ride was over and we learned what happened.
Brooke loves to hug Mckenna. While we waited as a family to ride the log ride in order to cool down she was obsessed with hugging Mckenna. We had all the people in line around us oohing and ahhing over how cute they were. I was just glad that Brad was holding both of them and I could have my hands free! The 5 of us went on this ride...I wasn't sure what Brooke would think when we got splashed, but she didn't seem to mind.
The "after"'s hard to tell how wet we are in this picture. Baileigh got the worst of it sitting in the front
My girls on a roller-coaster...alone. This is how they prefer it, already. They walk off holding hands and with big grins on their face because they get to ride together. These moments present such a conflict between my hurt feelings and my joy of their love for each other...I know it's just the first of many to come.

I missed my anniversary!

Three days ago was the one year anniversary of my blog! I can't believe I missed it! I can't believe it's been a year! Those days were still post-pregnancy months for me, deployment months, west coast months. Now I no longer have a baby but a toddler, my husband is guaranteed to be home for 13 months of graduate school, and I live on a new coast. What a difference a year can make!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Scrubs - The Musical

I missed the Scrubs Musical Episode earlier in the season, but tonight they showed it again. Unlike all my friends with TIVO who have 40+ episodes of Scrubs for their leisurely viewing pleasure...I see Scrubs in syndication. I can't say that the musical is my favorite in any way, but it is novel and entertaining...and the song they just did on "#2" was hysterical.

Sucker for Pig Tails

I'm a sucker for Brooke when she is wearing her cute pig-tails. She is fighting a cold right now and didn't seem too interested in cooperating with my photo shoot. Despite her runny nose and mushy pretzel on her lips...I still got a few cute pictures.

A Big Day

Yesterday was busy. It started with the girls indoor soccer class. Baileigh really seems to enjoy soccer...Mckenna is into it for the first 20 minutes or so and then looses interest and visits me for a drink about every other minute. After soccer I dropped Mckenna and Brooke off at a good friends house and took Baileigh out for lunch and then off to Kindergarten round-up. To say that Baileigh was excited about this day is an understatement. She woke up at 6am wondering if it was time to leave.
This two hour meeting was a chance for Baileigh to see the school, meet the various kindergarten teachers...and last but not least, RIDE THE BUS! Yes, folks...apparently for a 5 year old this is the end all be all, the zenith, the pinnacle of opportunities! Why? I'm not sure, but if you could have seen the joy that it brought her you would understand why I temporarily considered painting the Suburban yellow, adding a stop sign to the side, and calling it a bus.
I really never anticipated this day to be emotional. I was a little distracted by my need to learn about the school system and paper work. But there was a moment, when they took all the kids for the bus ride...Baileigh jumped up and headed out the door, then stopped and turned to look at me and waved good-bye with a big grin on her face. It was at that moment that I noticed a lump in my throat, a big lump. Flashing before my eyes was the first day of kindergarten, her first sleep over camp, her first prom, graduations etc...that is about as far as I jumped ahead mentally before I was summoned back to reality and Principal Lacovara telling us about the history of Chairville Elementary.

I'm not sure if I'm ready for September 6...maybe the bus will break down!

A Visitor

Today I noticed a visitor in our yard. It was around 11:00am so I was surprised to see a deer starring inquisitively at me through the window.
Despite my daughters laughing and screaming with excitement and my dogs barking, the deer slowly turned and walked away. Hope he didn't leave me any presents for my pooper-scooper.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

No Training Wheels

Baileigh has mastered riding her bike without training wheels! She was probably ready to do this last summer but I didn't want to deal with the falls and skinned knees alone while Brad was deployed for 4 months and I had a four month old and two in a half year old to run after, too.

I left to go on a bike ride. When I returned an hour later Baileigh was cruising around the driveway without training wheels! Brad said it took two runs and then she had it!

I love Mckenna in this clip, too. Following Baileigh like always...and very proud of her big sister and happy for her success.

These are the skinned knees I was talking about that I didn't want to deal with last summer! Battle wounds, baby! These knees are the result of Baileigh riding full speed without any fear...and not understanding that she can't make a 90 degree turn at that speed.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Blogging in the Kitchen

Look what happens with a computer in the get to see what I made for dessert. Mmmm...angel food cake with fresh strawberries! It's got summer written all over it. And, I found a good use for one of those wine bottles!.

Caffine Please!

For Mother's Day the girls (and Brad) gave me this new coffee maker. I think it is to help me as I slowly detox and withdrawal from my drive thru BigFoot Java in WA. It is one of those machines that uses the pods and pressure brewing technology! It creates 1 or 2 cups of coffee at a time. We have friends who are obsessed with the Senseo coffee maker...exact same concept but the one thing they mentioned was the fact that the Senseo pods were pricey. That got me to thinking about not wanting to be limited in my coffee I decided I liked this brand coffee maker since you can use other brand pods as well as the fact that you can use ground coffee as well! That was the big seller for me.
Brad doesn't drink coffee and I am only an occasional drinker...and only 1 cup in the morning if I have any at all. Usually I would end up dumping out a cup or two of cold coffee a few days later. This is perfect because I put my pod in or scoop of ground coffee, stick my mug underneath (or I can adjust the height of it and stick my tall travel mug underneath) and it makes 1 or 2 cups directly into my mug and I'm done!

Maybe this isn't such a great thing...maybe I'll become such a consistent drinker that I'll find myself needing more then 1 to 2 cups each day!


I'm blogging from my kitchen table. Wireless. Finally! This could be dangerous!

Mandatory Mingling

We survived our first social at our house on Saturday night. We had about 13 families from Brad's grad school class over for a cookout. It rained 40 minutes before party time. Just enough to get everything wet. The men still gathered on the deck as Brad manned the grill...but most of the wives and kids stayed inside. Did I mention kids? There were over 20 kids here...Baileigh was the oldest! That made me feel old.

Why does our huge driveway make me so happy? Who thought that a big piece of pavement could do that! We had 14 cars parked in the driveway and had plenty of room for more as well as all the cars were still able to come and go without anyone needing to move their vehicle.

We received 4 bottles of wine for gifts, too bad we don't really drink. Maybe to be polite I'll have to pop one open, or regift. I guess I'll be ready now when my family visits.

Did I mention there were over 20 kids here. Under 5! Yikes.
Nice apron, huh!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Taking Notes

Today I got up early and road about 9 miles to a local state park to watch the Pine Barrens Triathlon. I debated participating in this race for the past few months but decided I wanted to complete my 9 week race training schedule. Plus this race was a long for a "sprint triathlon"...1/2 mile swim, 24 mile bike and 4 mile run...usually the bikes are more around 18 miles at a Sprint level and the runs are usually a 5K. I think I could have done it and finished today, but I guess I just want to know that I stuck to my training regiment and feel like I've accomplished something on race day just in my training alone.

I'm glad I went to watch. Although I was a little intimidated, I also got excited about my upcoming races. At a small race like this I expected to see more "beginner" level people...but there were some fast people there with expensive equipment! I got there early to watch everyone warm up and prepare their transition areas. A few good notes I guy put Ziploc bags over his feet, then slid them into his wetsuit with no problem. Popped the bags off so he had bare feet again and he was good to go. This took about 10 seconds instead of the 2 or 3 minutes it took some people to struggle to put their feet into their wetsuits. Another tip is to sit down when you're pulling off your wet wetsuit. I saw two people fall over as they hopped around with their wetsuit stuck around their ankles. The smart people had a big beach towel in their transition area and sat on the edge of it, one guy even had a small plastic stool...not a bad idea. The triathlon wet suits are pretty delicate and I heard one guy cuss as he realized he had put a tear in his suit as he was violently trying to shake it off his wet body.

The weather today is about 20 degrees cooler then it was a few days ago, but it wasn't raining which was also in the forecast. The cold morning made me glad I didn't sign up!

There were 3 waves each consisting of around 30 racers.
Today I wanted to be 35 for the first time...that was the age cut off, 35 and under and 35 and least I can look forward to there being benefits to 35 in terms of triathlon racing!
This was a mother and son team! Very fun to watch and made me think of how fun it would be to do something like this with one of the girls someday. He was 14 which was the minimum age requirement.

I had read to rack your bike forward facing for a faster transition so I was making a mental note of how exactly this was done so I look like I have a clue at my first race.

I biked home another route that was around 8 miles. I'm really starting to enjoy the biking. The area where we live is great for biking. Long straight roads with paved shoulders and few lights, traffic, or stop signs. I'm finishing up week 8 of my training. There are basically 4 different triathlon levels...Sprint, Olympic, Half-Ironman and Ironman. Sprints are the shortest as I mentioned earlier. I decided to train for the Olympic distances to try to get in better shape. The training book I'm following also has two plans for each level, a "finish" plan or a "competitive" plan. I decided to do the competitive plan at the Olympic level. There have been days I have regretted this idea. But I figure it can only help...and if I'm out running 45 minutes what is another 15 at that point!

I'll quit rambling about the triathlons. I just haven't had much of a chance to blog about it in awhile. So with less then 90 minutes until my house is full of a bunch of strangers I thought I would escape to the computer and ignore my "To Do" list. Therefore... the results are a post containing a bunch of run on sentences and random thoughts that I have about triathlons.

Party Time

For those of you who aren't aware, we moved to NJ because my husband was accepted into a 13 month graduate program through the AF. He is in a small class with 16 students. The evening before his first day I made the comment to him that I would be willing to host something at our house this semester if they ever need a place.

Next day. Brad is telling me about his first day of orientation and his classmates. Towards the end of the conversation the follow dialogue occurs (mind you that this conversation took place 4 days after our movers arrived as we sit in the midst of boxes and a very messy house):

Brad: "Oh, we're on for Saturday!"
Melynie: "Saturday? What's up?"
Brad: "A cookout, with the entire class and their about 30 adults and probably 30 more kids!"
Melynie: "That sounds good. Where?"
Brad: "Here."
Melynie: "What?"
Brad: "Yeah, said you were up to hosting something for the class."

While technically Brad was accurate, I thought that logically he would assume that the first weekend was a little soon considering our unpacking and settling status. That conversation was 4 days ago...since then we've come a long way and I think we're up to the challenge. However, the forecast calls for rain. It's looking promising right now but we're still 5 hours away from party time. Figures, a huge deck and 1.5 acres for kids to roam on and we'll probably all be inside. At least my new rugs arrived about 30 minutes ago!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Overheard Conversations

Today I overheard two extremely funny conversations.

At the park two women were talking. The one woman said, "My Nanny is great, except she has a significant hearing impairment! She has an amplifier that she can wear around her ear and it helps a lot...but the problem is that it is set at a frequency that doesn't bother the human ear but my cat can hear it and she goes crazy. So either my Nanny has to be deaf when she is at my house or my cat goes insane!"

The second conversation was in the car with the girls. We passed by a cemetery which led Baileigh to ask a bunch of questions about death. She was trying to grasp the concept of a body being buried and what all that entails. I tried my best to explain that it is just a body but not your spirit. I took the opportunity to try to explain more to her of Heaven and our Heavenly bodies vs our earthly bodies. I told her that essentially just a body without any life in it is buried in the ground. She thought about it for a few minutes and then grew concerned at the thought of all those bodies in the ground. I told her that by now they are really just bones in the ground. She thought some more and then laughed and said, "Wow, that will be strange...I've never gone anywhere without my bones before!"

Sunday, May 13, 2007


The moving trucks finally arrived. When the truck pulled into our driveway I was encouraged by the number of pallets...that isn't too bad I thought...then another truck drove up. Oh. We have a lot of crap!

Our rental house has a few issues, but overall I can't complain! The best thing is the 1.5 acre lot that the kids love! They can ride their bikes on the huge driveway and roam the yard all afternoon. We saw 2 wild turkeys the other morning in the front yard and I've seen about 9 deer since we moved in. The only negative is that the mosquitoes are terrible! I hear they are pretty bad everywhere this year (not in WA!) but being in the woods doesn't help. I do miss my Fred Meyer and drive thru Big Foot Java less then 1 mile from's about 15 minutes to anything comparable to what we used to live near.
Here is a shot of the front of our house (and Brad's new ride). It isn't really my style but as I said is great as far as rentals go! It's in relatively good shape, nice layout, lots of space, and a big yard in a great neighborhood.
The girls enjoyed the boxes. They built forts, hid out for snack time, climbed on them, colored on them, colored in name it!

The photo below is a sneak peak at our "change of address" cards...

The unpacking is going slowly, in my opinion...but considering the challenges of getting settled while entertaining the kids I guess it's progressing fairly well. My goal is by Wednesday to have it done...maybe a few more boxes in the basement and garage at that point, but settled everywhere else. The house has hardwood floors throughout so we have some large rugs arriving on Thursday...I hope on Thursday night to sit back and kick up my feet and enjoy the Office and my clean house...I mean home.

I've had a lot of thoughts about returning to a place where we have previously lived...I'll have to ponder them more before I formulate some thoughts worth sharing. For now we're just trying to get settled and figure out what life is going to look like for our family this next year. At least we have a work schedule in hand for the first time in 10 years and it consists of classes and not deployments! Yahoo!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I'm Still Here

4,3oo miles later...we're in NJ. We arrived on Thursday but just got our Internet connected today. It's been a turbulent week full of highs and lows. The girls are adjusting but still have emotional melt-downs. Our household goods arrive this Thursday and I think once they see their "stuff" it will help a lot.

We've spent over a month off and on air mattresses and hotel beds. I'm anxious for the familiarity of my mattress and sheets! Since we've been hanging out in an empty house eating sandwiches on paper plates we decided to paint the girls bedrooms. I didn't envision this was something we were going to be able to do since we're renting...but we got permission and I think it is going to help me feel like this is our home, if even for a year.

Tomorrow the girls start a once a week indoor soccer class for preschool kids. Other then that we're just busy getting settled. I started my 9 week triathlon training regiment this I also joined a gym with a lap pool so I can get my swimming in, too.

I never thought I would say that coming to NJ sort of feels like coming home...but since we know our way around, have friends and have a church it really does have a sense of home more then anywhere else we've ever lived before.

It's late and I promised myself I would be at the pool by 6:30am so this is all for now. But I am alive...since some of you have called to check. And we successfully made our coast to coast move. Much more later.