Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A happy, lonely coffee (and fresh bagels!)

I'm all alone this morning! At 8 am, I dropped all three of my children off at daycare (provided for free on post for a certain number of hours per month for families with deployed spouses). I cannot tell you how strange it felt to just walk away, and get in my car by myself.

I went to the gas station and vacuumed out my car, went to the bank, got some groceries, picked up the mail...and now I'm sitting by myself in an internet cafe on post, just waiting until 12 noon to pick my kids back up. Just me, my knitting and my laptop. All by myself. I feel like I'm 18 again (in a good way).

For real. (And before someone asks, no, that's just the light hitting my hair funny, not purple dye.)

So, about the bagels! Living in a tiny town in Germany, it's impossible to find a bagel. The bakeries are wonderful, but bagels are just something that German's don't do. Now, I did have a pretty rockin' bagel in Berlin, but as far as I know, that's the only place in the entire country where you can get one (unless Munich has them too?)

Anyway, I'm a New Jersey girl. A New Jersey girl needs a bagel from time to time. I'd given up on ever having one while living here, but then when I was on the phone with my mom the other day, she told me about the recipe in America's Test Kitchen "The New Best Recipe", which she's already baked several times. I had to try it!

Seriously, if you don't bake at home, you can only imagine the smell of fresh baked goods coming out of your very own oven.

My little people inhaled them. Thumbs up all around.

I was very happy with these, and was going to post the recipe straight from the cookbook, but then found a blog post at Falling Rock Central, who tweaked it slightly. I agree that the bagels were just a touch dry (although, smothered in butter or cream cheese, who can tell?), so check out his version if you want to bake yourself up a batch.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Happy birthday Lavella!

Today, Lavella turned one year old. I know, we can't really believe it either.

We started our day at the library on post, for reading hour. Lavella tried to help everyone else out with their craft projects.

Elijah would not take off his hat, but ended up being kind of friendly in spite of himself.

Andrew interacted very well with all of the other children, because he says that he's "a big guy now -- I wasn't talkin' to people before, 'cause that was when I was a little guy." (Very seriously, deep voice tones.)

We also had to get the mail, pick up some stuff at the grocery store and get the mail, so by the time we were halfway home, Lavella looked like this:

She revived once we'd gotten into the house, and we set about opening some gifts that had come in the mail from Poppy, Nana and Keith (Greg's parents and brother).

The pink spiky ball was a hit with everyone.

Included was also some gifts for my birthday (I turn 28 in exactly a week), and the very best part was this stuff:

While we're at it, here's a box that we got from Aunt Terry last week (the cookbook was for me, of course. I love Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen. Those cookbooks are the best ever!!)

Her first doll!

We'd stopped at the bakery on the way home, and I let each person pick out their own thing. We put candles in each (of course!) so that everyone would have something to blow out.

After singing Happy Birthday, Lavella spent a good chunk of time demolishing (but not necessarily eating) her Pudding Plunder (a sweet pastry/bread twist filled with piped swirls of custard).

Happy Birthday, my sweet little girl! You've completely changed my life, and I love you like crazy. You're already such a character; it will be very cool to see who you grow up to be.
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Little line cooks

To everyone who's left a comment or sent an email in the past week: thank you.  This first week has been a serious challenge, and the emotional support has been greatly appreciated.

There are many stories I could tell you; super fussy people (Lavella's teething), extra whining and screeching (Elijah), taunting and picking fights (Andrew), a broken dishwasher that can't seem to come back from the mechanic...but where's the fun in that?  Last week is last week.  Let's talk about nice things, shall we?

As of a few weeks ago, Lavella has joined the ranks of line cooks in the house.

(They will eat raw flour, oats, and whatever else I happen to be cooking and baking with, straight out of the mixing bowl)

The other day, Lavella came crawling out of her room where she'd been playing with the boys for a while.  I noticed bright colors all over her hands and face, complete with florescent pink teeth and tongue.

(This was actually the least colored part of her whole little person, but she was wiggling too much to get a good shot of anything else)

I asked the boys (not really expecting a good answer, of course) "What happened to Lavella?"

Elijah marched out of their room and confidantly said "Oh, I colored on her."

Oh.  Of course.  What a silly question to ask.
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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sunshine is good for the soul

Being employed as an officer in the US Military is just a good job until that person is deployed.

I wasn't going to post about this because of security concerns, etc, but I'm not sure how I can get through more than a year without sharing about it here with you all.  In many ways I use the blog to work through things; getting everything out on the screen often helps me see things more clearly or at least be able to deal with them.  At the same time, I don't really want to talk about it, because I feel like paltry words can't effectively communicate the pain of it all.  I can't think of a phrase that won't diminish the reality of this time in our lives, and I would never ask for pity or sympathy.  This is our life.  This is his job.

My husband is my best friend.  The idea of life without him is ludicrous.

Greg deployed to Iraq a few days ago.  I won't see him again for over a year.

Somehow I'm still breathing, still living, still parenting and caring for my little ones.

When the sun shines, we will play.

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