Sunday, December 23, 2012

Birthday Follow-up

When we left off last, Emma and I were waiting for Da to come home from work. Emma did a fantastic job all day, waiting patiently. She had really wanted Jared home, but she understood that he had a job to do. I had told Emma that she could stay up until 9:30 p.m. but then she would need to go to bed.

At about 6:00 p.m. or so, we frosted the cupcakes.

Frosting Birthday Cupcakes
She was a bit skimpy on the frosting, but they were her cupcakes. 

At about 7:30, we each had a cupcake. She wanted to wait for Da, but I also knew she really wanted a cupcake. It didn't take much to convince her (actually, all it took was the reminder that Da wasn't really crazy about coconut, and the frosting was made from coconut milk). 

At about 8:45 p.m. Emma decided to go read in bed. At about 9:00 p.m. Jared called to say he would be home soon.

At 9:40 p.m. the kiddo finally got to open her presents. Yeah! She was more excited that Da was finally home, but just as excited about gifts.

Birthday Gifts
Emma's stack of goodies- Photo by Emma

Da's Home, Gift Time (2)
Gift Card for the local toy store

Da's Home, Gift Time (3)
Da was finally getting some food into his hungry belly while Emma opened gifts. 

Da's Home, Gift Time (5)
Bella Sara cards. She LOVES these things. We have not been able to find them in the stores anymore, so Jared went on-line and bought a box with like 30 packs or so and we dole them out three at a time. She has no idea. 

Da's Home, Gift Time (6)
Barbie Movie- She was looking at this movie last time we were at Walmart. When she turned to walk back to Jared, I grabbed it and hid it behind my back then snuck it into the cart. She had no idea :0)

Da's Home, Gift Time (8)
Sun butt model horse (named by Emma because it has a sun on it's rump). This was another sneaky purchase (out of necessity, I don't really go anywhere without Emma). The three of us were at the toy store where it is normal for one of us to stay with Emma while the other wanders. So, Jared distracted Emma while I purchased some items. This was one of them. The others will make their appearance in a few days. 

Da's Home, Gift Time (12)
Here is her b-day haul from us. -Horse Diaries 4, 5, 6, Canvas painting panels, Barbie movie, Horseland series, Bella Sara cards and a gift certificate. Not a ton, but she really didn't ask for much. 

We had her birthday pizza yesterday, but neither she nor Jared were in the mood for a movie, so we are going to do that today. We did make it to the toy store though. 

Here is what she purchased with her gift certificate. 

Photos by Emma (5)
The horse on the left is the new one.

Photos by Emma (2)
Again, the horse on the left is the new one.

To depart a bit from the birthday stuff, Jared and I decided about a week ago that we would each get one (or a few) things off of our WANTS lists, then it would be time to buckle down and pay off all our student and house loans. This was one of Emma's wants.

Emma's New Dog (2)
Emma's new pet- Balto the husky.

Well, it's time for me to go play Disney Universe with Emma (Jared got it for us as a Christmas present and gave it to us yesterday). 

Have a great day!

Friday, December 21, 2012

7 is a BIG One

Has it really been 7 years since I met my baby?

Hospital1 (12)

Since I first held her?

Hospital1 (4)

Since her first nap with Da?

Hospital (2)

Since her first bath?

lil emma (3)

Seriously, how did the time go by so fast? Did I blink and miss the last 7 years?

I know I didn't miss the last 7 years, but I have a terrible memory. Thankfully I took about a million pictures. Here is just a yearly recap.

Emma turns 1 today
First Birthday 
(Spent in Cresco, IA while Da was in Djibouti, Africa)

2nd Birthday
Second Birthday
(By this point we had moved to Iowa)

3rd Birthday
Third Birthday
(Spent in NH)

Almost her 4th b-day (4 days)
Fourth Birthday (4 days early!)
(In Cresco, IA)

5th Birthday (Tangled)
Fifth Birthday
(Spent just the three of us- Tangled 3D, toy store, and chinese food)

Cake Time (4)
Sixth Birthday
(In Cresco, IA)

And here are some photos from our fun, lazy-stay-home day that we had today. The original plan was to grab some gluten free pizza at MacKenzie River Pizza and catch a flick (The Rise of the Guardians), but Da's work had other plans. Poor Da, he was really upset when he found out he wouldn't be able to take a 1/2 day so we could celebrate Emma's b-day. 

Emma woke up (at 0545) to see this 

Birthday Banner- Requested by Emma (2)

and this

To Emma from Da (2)

in the kitchen. She loved it. She had been pestering me to make a banner, but I wanted it to be special and a little bit of a surprise. Jared and I worked on the banner, but Jared decided, on his own, to make Emma the medal. 

Da making for Emma
(he really didn't want me taking pictures, but he realizes that Emma may need them some day)

He and I each have one that Emma made for us, so Jared thought to make one for Emma. Such a great dad. 

It's really amazing how much a person can accomplish in a day when they get up before 6 a.m. I made Emma a new hat.

Birthday Crafting (2) 
(Gramma, recognize the blue fabric? It use to be cloth napkins)

Emma watched a TON of My Little Pony episodes (hey, it's her birthday).

Birthday Crafting (4)

She had ice cream for lunch.

Birthday Crafting (7)

And we got a lot of crafting done while listening to the 6th Harry Potter book. 

Birthday Crafting (11)
She added some copper wire to a My Little Pony ornament.

Birthday Crafting (25)
She requested a flower for her hat that matches my hat.

Birthday Crafting (34)
She finished up some earrings she started for me yesterday.

Birthday Crafting (33)
My hat, with a fun pin and Emma's earrings

Then it was time to make Emma's birthday cupcakes. We used this recipe, and here is the frosting recipe that we started out with but made some changes too. 

Emma was on clean up duty.

Birthday Frosting (4)

Emma has not opened presents from Jared and I yet, or eaten any of the cupcakes. We are waiting for Da for that. She did get some fun goodies in the mail from Gramma yesterday. 

Birthday Gifts From Gramma (5)
Gramma, Emma, and I share a LOVE of Jan Brett books. This one is new to us. Emma is reading the note from Gramma. 

After reminding Emma she still had a few things to open, she stopped looking through the book. Her second favorite goody was this

Birthday Gifts From Gramma
Barbie Princess Charm School.

Well, that's about all we have for now. I will update tomorrow with the rest of the birthday celebrations. Thanks to everyone who called to wish/sing Emma Happy Birthday!

If you want more photos, you can find them here

Friday, December 14, 2012

Winter Sucks, Let's Make Fun of It...

Those are the billboards we have been seeing around town for the local ski slopes, Showdown Montana. All three of us find the ads really funny.

Well, not only are their ads awesome, they opened up the hill yesterday (Thursday) to military only. For free. Yes, you read that right, there was no charge for anything. Rentals, lift tickets, and lessons were all free. The base provided buses to transport people out to the hill (which took about 1.5 hours), so that was free as well. Wow.

So, really, how could Emma and I pass up such an awesome (and free) opportunity? We felt a little bad going without Jared (cause someone has to make the money and pay the bills), but seeing as he was the one who mentioned it and suggested it, we decided to go.

We called on Wednesday morning to see if there was still space on the bus. Once we reserved our seat, we had to get our stuff ready. We needed snow pants (Gramma, we thought we had packed them but you were right about the ones you found), wool leggings, wool hats, and some mitten liners.

Out came the sewing machine. I whipped up a pair of wool leggings for Emma from a felted sweater, and a hat and mittens to match.  I should have skipped the mittens and made a scarf attached to the hat, but hindsight is 20/20.

Now, I know I can make just about anything, but snow pants are way out of my realm (not to mention I have no fabric that would work for that). So, we hopped onto the bus, went way across town to drop of some movies we had rented and to get some snacks from the local grocery store (2 J's Fresh Market has some pretty good stuff that we can actually eat) for our ski day.

After that, it was a quick stop at Sheels to get some snow pants. We lucked out and got a great pair that I am pretty sure she can wear for the next 3-4 years. The snow pants are made by a company called Jupa. They specialize in kids fall and winter gear. The pants are adjustable at the shoulders and waist, as well as at the cuff. They have a specially stitched cuff so that when your kid's grow taller, you can cut the thread and it adds 2 inches to the length of the pants.

Anyway, we got the pants and headed home. With everything situated and ready for the next day, we were excited!

On Thursday morning, we got up early so that Jared could bring us onto base before he had to go to work. We were a little early so he dropped us off at the base gym and Emma had the Family Fun Zone all to herself.

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (2)
Emma loves these dinosaur climbing things. 

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (12)
She also loves the bounce castle. 

We spent about 15 minutes playing before walking over to catch the bus. I really didn't do a great job with the camera, but here we are, skiing!

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (28)
Just finished up lessons.

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (29)
First trip up the "Magic Carpet." 

We had a minor incident at the top. The entire group of newbie skiers were making their way up the magic carpet, one at a time. At the top, there was an older gentleman who was, I thought, suppose to be assisting skiers off of the magic carpet. The older gentleman did indeed help the female adult that was in front of Emma, but when it was Emma's turn, he turned and walked inside the little shelter thing and just watched her as she awkwardly exited the magic carpet then fell. He just looked at her as she lay sprawled and crying. I couldn't get up the magic carpet any faster, so I also had to watch her cry. I was SO mad that I yelled at the guy, "Why didn't you help her?! Why did you just watch her fall?!" He kinda looked at me and sputtered some sort of reply but by that time I was to Emma and I scooped her up and got us both out of the way of the other skiers. 

Needless to say she was pretty upset, but I was able to get her calmed down, though the experience made the first trip down the mountain a long and not so enjoyable one. 

That is, until we got some help from the ski instructor, Jared. I told Emma he had to be a nice guy cause he had the same name as Da. 

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (30)
Emma is getting some instruction from Jared the ski instructor. After this, she was much more comfortable, and happy. 

We finally made it down the hill, and decided to stop for a snack (which turned into lunch). After the quick break, we hit the slope again. 

It took a little convincing, but...

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (31)
Magic Carpet take 2

She did a fantastic job getting off this time. Then we skied. 

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (32)
Here she is using the pizza to slow herself down. 

We chatted while we skied and one of the topics that kept coming up was that we kinda felt bad that we were having so much fun while Da had to work. We talked about maybe telling Da that we didn't have fun so he wouldn't feel like he missed out, and Emma suggested we take a picture with her on the ground and her skies up in the air. I suggested I just take a picture the next time she actually falls. She said she would pout so it looks like she isn't having fun.

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (33)
Pouting to pretend she isn't having fun.

We decided to make our last run at 3:00 p.m., giving ourselves plenty of time to relax, grab a snack, and warm up before catching the bus home at 4:30. 

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (34)
Trail mix and apple juice. 
We spent a whopping $2.50 for the entire trip and it was all for the juice.

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (35)
Our view from the lodge.

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (36)
Emma ended up making a friend.

We had so much fun skiing, but that wasn't the end of the awesome day. When Jared picked us up, he suggested we go out to dinner. After yelling, "Pizza" all day, I knew what I wanted, so we went to MacKenzie River Pizza Company

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (37)
Emma snuggling Da.

They have gluten free pizza :0)

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing (38)
Photo by Emma

Ski Day at Showdown- First time skiing
Photo by Emma.

We had such a great day! 

p.s. Check out our videos on Flicker! Video 1Video 2, Video 4

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I suck at titles for my posts. I should be really boring and just put the date, but I have to at least make a lame attempt.

Anyway, here is an actually update of all things J.E.T. related.

Let's start with the J.

Out and About- Emma's Photos (13)

It's great being back in the Air Force, but it sucks how long it will take for Jared to get his first paycheck. We might be lucky to get paid on the 15th of this month, but we may not get anything until the 1st. Adds an extra layer of stress to everything, but that first paycheck will be big enough to pay off a lot of stuff, so we'll just suck it up till then. If only we could find paleo friendly ramen...

So far, work has been REALLY crazy. They have a huge inspection going on, so it's kinda like, "Ignore the new guy, but let's make him work these crazy hours with us!"

Jared isn't really ignored, and everyone has been really awesome and great to him, but he feels useless and that doesn't sit well with him. He is still doing his in-processing (all the boring meetings and paperwork that go along with a new job). Things here are a lot different from DM. Basically the mission for the entire base is missiles related, with the exception of a few squadrons. Back in Tucson, each different unit had a different number- 79th was Jared, 55th was me, 41st was a different C-130 unit, etc. Here just about everyone starts their unit with 341st something or other. Makes it really hard to keep track of who belongs where.

But, we will eventually get the hang of it.

The good news with Jared's work is that we now have training dates. Yeah! Starting in April, we get to spend about a month in Texas followed by about a month in California. Can you say hello warm weather and playing at the beach! Emma and I are very exited (Jared is too- he plans to bring his bike).

So, next up we have the E.

Out and About- Emma's Photos (10)

Such a flexible child. When we were looking at apartments, Emma and I had our hearts set on this one apartment, mostly because it was cool and different. I also liked it because it was a block or so from a playground. Jared really liked the other apartment that we looked at (the apartment pickings were pretty slim). So, we sat down and figured it all out and decided that Jared's choice was the more practical choice. We had to sell it to Emma though. She wasn't convinced that this apartment was better until we explained there was more room for when people come visit (yes, I am expecting people to come visit!).

Emma keeps asking what the first thing we are going to do once we are all settled, but I never really know if my answers are what she's looking for. When I ask her what she thinks the first thing we should do is, she never seems to know what she is looking for either.

We have already started making friends. This past weekend we attended a children's Christmas part hosted by Jared's work. The first hour was a little intense as Emma was extremely overwhelmed and wouldn't let me put her down. She wouldn't even take her face out of my neck. If we had been nice parents, we would have left, but I am glad we are mean parents because after about an hour she started to feel more comfortable. It took a 15 minute ride on Jared's shoulders as well as the bribe of meeting some horses in the next week or so, but hey, it worked. After the second hour, she didn't want to leave. She really had a great time, you know, once she relaxed a bit.

We have seen a few horses, and there are really cool buffalo statues all over town. Emma and I have taken the bus to the public library and it was pretty cool, though it takes about 40 minutes between the walking and the riding.

Lucky for us, we make our own schedules.

I see a lot of bus trips in our future. Emma loves it, and with just one car, it beats having to walk everywhere.

I guess that leaves you with the T.

Out and About- Emma's Photos (8)

I won free meat!! Yes, I am a dork, but one of my favorite paleo websites, Nom Nom Paleo, was offering a giveaway for a grass-fed lamb/beef sampler and I signed up. Free meat? Yes please. The giveaway was for a 6lb sampler pack with 2lbs garlic and rosemary lamb sausage, 2lbs ground lamb, and 2lbs ground beef, as well as a $50 gift certificate from Lava Lake Lamb. All grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free, just the way we like our meat.

I was so excited when I won! I did a happy dance. In my head anyway. The meat arrived fedex today in a cool insulated box with dry ice to keep everything frozen. We are so having lamb sausage tomorrow. Yum.

I am tired. Moving is tough work- physically, mentally, emotionally. I have been listening to my body enough over the last few months to realize that it goes haywire when I get overly stressed and overly tired. Oh, and I seem to be crazy sensitive to crap in water. Can't seem to tolerate tap water anymore so I was VERY happy when I unearth our Britta Filter. I know there are better filters out there, but this one seems to get enough of the junk out of the water that I can drink it without heartburn and other weird issues.

Enough complaining. It feels really good to be settling. We found a decent grocery store that carries a lot of the foods that Emma and I do better eating, though we really miss the Oneota Food Co-op in Decorah. We knew that, for the most part, everything there was pretty safe and if not, it was well labeled. Our new place is a local grocery store that specializes in organic and special dietary needs, but we still have to read all the labels carefully. Oh well, I should be doing that anyway.

Emma and I managed to get some crafting in the last few days. That feels really good. Emma even managed to get her first hot glue gun burn today! My baby is growing up so fast.

I would guess that in the next week or two The Nest will be really organized and much more user friendly. We have plans to pick up a round table for in there to craft on, but it may be a bit of a wait for that.

Oh, I am also in the process of trying to sign up to take classes again. This time through Arizona State Universities on-line program.

The only other thing going on is that we got an offer on our house. Exciting! We will be paying to sell it, but the seller is offering cash and wants to close by Dec 20th, so we figure we might as well. Saves us in the long run with not having that mortgage payment hanging over our heads.

Well, I think that should be enough to help you all lapse into a coma. I hope everyone is have a wonderful week!