Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I’d like to introduce the newest member of our family, Moxie. She’s been living with us for a little while now, but I didn’t want to announce the good news until I knew that she would be staying. She is about 3 years old and was given up by her previous owners when they found out she was pregnant. So these classy people wouldn’t get her spayed, and then didn’t want her when she got pregnant. Nice. But their loss is our huge gain. Moxie is so sweet and fits in wonderfully with our family. I know she must miss her babies terribly, but she and I are both comforted to know that the rescue that took Moxie in adopted out all 7 of them to good homes. She gets pretty worked up when she sees puppies, but I don’t really blame her. The rescue said they fostered her and her puppies for a while at a nice home, and that Moxie kept jumping the 4-foot fence and returning with squirrels and rabbits to feed to her babies (even though they were all getting fed regularly). What a dedicated mother! And thank goodness we have a 6-foot fence.

As for her lineage, well, guesses are welcome! The rescue kept saying she is part Border Collie, and the vet says that he has no idea. She weighs about 35 pounds and is pretty lean. She has some crazy poufy hair on the top of her head which reminds me of a specific breed, but I can’t remember which one. She is such a nice color, an orangey-brown. The rescue had named her Foxy because they thought she looked like a fox, which she kind of does. I just couldn’t get on board with that name, but we wanted to keep it close sounding since she seemed to be responding somewhat to Foxy. Roxie wasn’t working for me either, and I had no clue what to do until, as usual, it was the Army Man to the rescue coming up with Moxie. I love it, and it fits her perfectly.

From what we’ve observed and what the rescue told us, it seems like Moxie wasn’t treated so well in her old home. She is pretty jumpy at sudden movements, and gets really freaked out if you move your hand by her head too quickly. I guess she used to get hit, which is so sad. I hope she’ll quickly learn that that won’t happen here. I also think she must have been kept in the garage at her old house, because she hangs out by the garage door a lot and especially wants to go in there at night. She wants nothing to do with her crate, which is making things tricky. The worst part though is that she seems scared of the Army Man, which is just silly because all he wants to do is love her and play with her. And speaking of playing, I’ve never met a dog like her that doesn’t seem to want to play. She’s perfectly content to chew on her bone all day. She does seem to have fun when we go on runs though. As far as we can tell, Moxie is totally housetrained, although she doesn’t seem to know much else. I guess my work is cut out for me!

So now we have a whole new level of excitement in our home. Laura is just in love with her, and is over her initial disappointment that we wouldn’t name the dog “Princess” or “Christmas Tree”. Moxie is so good with Laura, and tolerates all of Laura’s attention so gracefully. Laura is gentle and sweet with Moxie, although jealousy has already reared its ugly head, when Laura pitifully told me today at the vet that she knows I love Moxie the best. Poor thing! A quick snuggle and me telling Laura that I loved her the best (in secret, so we didn’t hurt Moxie’s feelings) seemed to put everything right.

I did my best to get some pictures of Moxie to include, but apparently I am completely incompetent when it comes to photographing dogs. You’ll have to put up with a few slightly blurry pictures, but hopefully you get the idea. And she has an ear infection and is getting drops, so that is why the fur by her ears looks so weird. The drops smell so bad, and she hates them (of course), which makes for quite the crash course in doggie ownership!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Kids These Days

The Army Man was playing with Laura a few days ago when he made a surprising discovery-graffiti on our fence. Graffiti is not unheard of in our neighborhood (we’re right by a middle school and a high school), and this graffiti seemed pretty tame compared to some stuff we’ve seen. What was weird about this was that the graffiti was done from inside our backyard. You read that correctly. Graffiti in my own backyard. Now that’s weird.

We have a decent sized fence around our backyard, and we padlock the back gate and one of the side gates. The other side gate we keep closed but unlocked since that is our way in and out of the backyard, and it gets opened several times a week. So a kid must have opened that gate, snuck into our backyard, and wrote on one board of our fence. I was a bit freaked out at the thought of some huge teenager in our backyard until the Army Man pointed out that it appeared the graffiti was done in crayon and it seems like they just wrote random letters. Still not cool, but not as intimidating.

When we first moved in, we didn’t lock any of the gates and kids would cut through our backyard as a short cut on their way to school, so we’ve definitely had kids in the backyard before. I still can’t believe that kids these days would feel brave enough to walk through someone’s fenced in backyard. I also can’t believe that I just wrote “kids these days”. I suppose I’m getting old. Soon enough I’ll be sitting on my porch shaking my fist at the kids and telling them to get off my grass. In the meantime, our plan to get a dog is starting to sound smarter and smarter.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Morning

I know you all want a post from me about how our Christmas was, and I don't want to disappoint. I don't have too much time right now, but I do want to make sure to share this video of Laura when she first saw her presents. Surely we could not have scripted a better reaction from her. As for what kind of Christmas we had, as Laura loves to say: it was our favorite! Hopefully I'll be back soon with some pictures.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

The Army Man, Princess, and Claire wish you a very merry Christmas! Some of us are about to die from the anticipation, so I must go and attempt to calm that person. Before I go though, here are some pictures of the Princess in years past (2004, 2006, 2007 from top to bottom).

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Mostly Finished Product

Just thought I'd share an update on my quilt: the top is entirely done! When I posted about it last time, I still had the border to put on. It's on now, and I think it makes it look even better. Now it has to be quilted, something I plan on paying the big bucks to have done professionally. I've never done that before, and I'm nervous about how it will turn out. I'm pretty particular (you don't say!) so of course I'm worried that I won't like it when it's done. But I'm thinking positive, and once I'm done saving my pennies, I'll take it off to be quilted. I can't wait to share the actual finished product with all of you!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Reindeer Run

I don't know if I will ever officially feel like a runner, but completing my second 5K in one month sure is helping! Today the Army Man and I, along with Laura, participated in our first race together. The weather was very mild for this time of year, and everyone was looking very festive with their reindeer antlers on. The Army Man pushed Laura in the jogging stroller, and I'm sure glad he did, because I don't think I would have made it if I had been pushing.

The route was very pretty, and took us through the historic downtown area. I alternated between gasping for breath and drooling over all the beautiful homes. The bad part was that the course was very hilly, at least to this novice. What is it with races going straight uphill at the beginning?

I went a bit slower this time, with an official time of 37:50. That was the Army Man's time too, since he stayed with me the whole time. We all know that he could have gone a lot faster if he had wanted to! My friend Angela ran the race too, and I have to brag on her behalf for a moment-she finished in 27 minutes!!! I'm sure she will give her take on the race soon, so check out her blog sometime today for all the details. Her husband was taking pictures, so there may be some good ones later. I saw him taking pictures when I finished so we may get treated to me looking ill.

All in all, it was a lot of fun! Laura is looking cute wearing the reindeer antlers, and I just ran 3.1 miles on a Saturday morning. And I may have convinced the Army Man to treat me to a cheeseburger as my reward!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Must Really Like The Army Man

It is a pretty well-known fact that I don’t like to cook. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t know how, or that I don’t EVER cook. I do occasionally manage to make delicious food for my family. I don’t want anyone lying awake at night, worried that the Princess and the Army Man aren’t receiving nutritious and tasty meals. Because they are (usually). Sometimes I even go above and beyond my normal realm of regular cooking, and make something really tasty. Yesterday was one of those days.

That morning, in honor of the Army Man taking (and passing!) a really hard Army test, I set out to make his favorite dessert: banana pudding pie. I was nervous, having never made it before. I certainly didn’t want to mess it up and then surprise him with a gross tasting pie! The recipe I used has you make your own pudding and meringue, so there was a lot to do. I actually had a lot of fun making it, and was on the edge of my seat to give it to him when he came home.

When he got home in the afternoon, I could barely contain myself and gave him the pie almost right away. He was really surprised when he saw it, and asked, “Where did you get that?” which shows just how frequently (ahem, never) I make things like this. I’m not sure if he believed me right away when I told him that I made it! I won’t bore you with the details of all the compliments, but suffice it to say, he LOVED it! I had some too, and I have to say, it was pretty good-and I usually don't care for banana pudding pie.

So right now, there is a partially devoured homemade banana pudding pie in my fridge, and a very happy Army Man off at work doing his Army thing. The only downside is that I was informed last night that banana pudding pie should now be a weekly treat in our home.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

High Fashion

Seeing a preschooler wearing clothes they have selected themselves is a real treat. There is such pride and confidence on the child’s part, and the outfits are fantastic. How any parent could deny this joy for their child (and for themselves!) is beyond me. This past summer, Laura really started to get serious about being the one to select her clothes. Now every morning holds such anticipation for me. What will she come up with today? Will she match or not? What color combinations will she pick? Perhaps clashing prints? Tights or socks? Will there be jewelry involved? No matter what though, she always receives compliments. One of her biggest fans is the director of her preschool who insists on being the one to get Laura out of the car in the morning so she can see that day’s outfit.

A few days ago, my friend Kim suggested that I start documenting the different outfits. A fantastic idea! I found a few older pictures and sprinkled them in with my recent documentary shots. Occasionally, she manages to actually match, but I included those pictures anyway since she’s still so cute, matching or not. So here is my Princess, in all her glory. And to shake things up a bit, I want to see how well you know Laura. I put in one picture of her in an outfit I selected. Can you guess which one it is?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Could This Be My New Downfall?

I bought these freeze-dried apples for Laura a few days ago. She hated them (of course), so I finished off the bag for her. And they rocked my world. I cannot even begin to describe how much I loved them. They are so good it should be illegal. They have become my new addiction, my drug. I went to the store today to get a few things and bought three bags. Luckily I had a few other kid-related items in my cart so it didn't seem too odd that I was buying them. And to tell the truth, I really wish I had bought about 20 bags.

Each bag says it is 1.5 apples (3.5 ounces), and each bag costs 67 cents. Two bags are already gone and I really, REALLY want to eat the last one, but that's three bags in one day, and as the Army Man said, those are some expensive apples. But I can't help myself. THEY ARE SO GOOD.
Update: I ate the third bag. I'm not ashamed to admit it. It was delicious!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Big Girl Car Seat

I'm not sure why I took so long to post this. It's practically old news at our house now, but back in November Laura finally (finally!) graduated to a big girl car seat. The poor thing had wanted one forever, but she's just so tiny and had to stay in her toddler car seat much longer than most kids her age. Well she finally meets the weight and height requirements, so I bought one with the intention of giving it to her for Christmas. Trust me, she wanted one so badly that she would have thought it was an awesome Christmas present!! But in the end I couldn't keep it from her that long and gave it to her one day after preschool.

She loves it so much and adores riding in it. If you're someone who sees Laura on a regular basis, I'm sure she's already told you about the new car seat. Maybe she's even told you a few times already! It sure is nice that this type of car seat uses the seatbelt, because now Laura can unbuckle herself and get out of the car without any help.

Look how happy she was on the day I gave it to her!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mail Time!

I love when the mail comes! It's sad to admit, but back when Laura was little it was sometimes the highlight of my day (cue the sad violins). And if I remember correctly, being the one to get the mail was a pretty big deal when I was a kid, so I'm sure that has something to do with my current obsession.

I also happen to be very fascinated with the Post Office and all of it's inner workings. I'd love to take a tour of one someday and find out what exactly goes on with sorting and delivering the mail. Are the delivery people responsible for sorting their own mail? Do they put it all in their truck at once or do they have to go back to the Post Office to get more? How does the sorting machine read handwriting? So many questions!! Yes, I really am that nerdy. The Army Man often says that when he retires from the Army he will be a postal worker, and I often dream of those days, days when he will wear really cute shorts and give me a behind-the-scenes tour of the post office.

All that being said, I have a complaint. Of course I do. I hate that we are the 7th to last house on our postal worker's route. I have to watch everyone else get their mail while I wait and wait. Today our mail came at 8:02pm. That's a long time for this mail-loving girl to wait. And that's a really, really long day for our poor postal worker who isn't even allowed to accept tips at Christmas (although I think I read somewhere that they can if it's not cash and less than $20).

Usually our mail comes at about 5 or 6, so I hope it's just taking so long lately because of the Christmas season. Our poor guy doesn't deserve to be out so late. It's cold and windy today. He should be at home enjoying his Friday night. And I wish I had gotten my mail much earlier today. After all, why should I wait in anticipation ALL DAY only to receive bills and junk mail?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Man And His Truck

The poor Army Man has never had the joy of having a new car. Last night we remedied that by buying a new truck (added bonus was the patriotic feeling we got by doing our part for the economy). We got rid of the car that has caused me nothing but heartache for 2 years (brand name held to protect the not-so-innocent) and I'm back to driving my adorable yet filthy Jetta Wagon. It has been driven by the Army Man for two years and it needs some loving attention to get it back in shape for a girl to drive it-namely soap, water, and a vacuum.

I only wish we could have bought the nicest truck on the lot for the Army Man who has had to drive my old (and pretty girly) cars for our entire marriage. Until we can afford his Mercedes SL550, he says he's happy with this. And the good news is that I still remember how to drive a stick. I drove it around the block and didn't stall once! The Army Man makes it look much easier though; he doesn't shriek at all when he drives it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bows Are 4 Year Old Bliss

Someday, if Laura accuses me of being mean to her, or not understanding her, or not making sacrifices for her, or whatever it is that teenage girls cry about, I’ll just show her this picture to prove my love for her.That’s right. You can measure my love for my daughter by these 79 cent ribbons. I personally think they’re tacky (no offense to any readers who may decorate with them!), but Laura is just in love with them and HAD to have some for our house. They seem to be the most popular Christmas decoration in our neighborhood, and every time we pass a house that has some, Laura just sighs with envy. On our run on Sunday, she kept pointing out the houses with good Christmas decorations, which inspired us (or guilted us-you decide) to do some decorating of our own. The Army Man did his manly thing on the ladder, and now we have some lights on our house. I did my womanly thing and wrapped some garland, and now our porch is decorated.

But the exterior of our house was not complete without the bows, so yesterday we went to three different stores in search of some. Finally, finally, we found some. I put them up today while Laura was at preschool, and she was thrilled when we came home. That's how much I love her-I will happily put up tacky bows to make her happy. And now we’ve got some Christmas decorations that rival our fantastic Halloween decorations. It's a win-win situation.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Laura Ballerina

Saturday night was Laura's ballet recital. There's not much to say about the recital that would do it justice, so I'll let the pictures and video speak for themselves. Her outfit was absolutely adorable, and worth every penny (although I would have preferred that it hadn't cost 6,300 pennies). Laura doesn't have any good dance DNA to draw from, so don't hold her responsible for her obvious lack of coordination. She never stood a chance with us as parents.

My favorite part of the video is Laura's enthusiasm while returning to her spot after the circle (one minute mark), and throwing her hands up in the air with such conviction. She certainly took the recital very seriously and was really committed. You have to admire that. And I was so proud of her for being so brave to get up in front of everybody and dance her heart out. There were probably at least 500 people there and she didn't let it phase her. She said she had a great time, although now she wants to go back to doing tumbling.

Here she is all dressed up at home before we left. Going in to the dress rehearsal. Practicing at the dress rehearsal.
And of course, the video. It starts out a little ways in, since you really couldn't see Laura at the beginning of the show. She is in the circle of girls on the right (the shortest one, naturally), and when she returns to her spot, you won't miss her. She's the one hopping around. She is second from the left for most of the show.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I Came, I Saw, I Ran

My big news today is that I successfully completed my first 5K!! I know I ran a few when I was younger, but those don't count-I was young enough that running 3 miles was no big deal. Today was a huge deal for me, the culmination of all the work I've done since I started running on September 29th. A few set-backs tried to stop me: a hurt ankle about 2 months ago, really cold weather starting about a month ago, and then of course that pesky asthma that sent me to the ER two weeks ago. I've only run twice in the past two weeks, and I'm still not feeling completely better, but I was determined to go to this race!

Angela and I arrived with plenty of time, which we spent freezing and mentally preparing. The start of the race was delayed, and while we were originally told the 5K would start 15 minutes after the 10K, it turns out that was not the case. This being a military race, a howitzer was used as the starting gun. So they shot off the howitzer, off the 10K runners went, and we stood around, wondering what the heck was going on, and letting the clock tick away. Eventually we figured out that we should be running too, and took off, passing quite a few people which was very gratifying. Angela and I ran together for a little over a mile, and then she went on ahead.

I'm very pleased to report that I finished in 34:47. My official time was 36:19, but that was because we stood there like the newbies we were, not knowing to start! Angela finished a few minutes ahead of me, close to 30 minutes if I remember correctly. I was #34 to finish in the 5K. Angela's husband was our official race photographer, and I'll try to get a few pictures from him to share. Luckily I don't think he got any of me finishing, I'm sure I looked like I was about to die!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another Reason Not To Cook

Just as I'm finally, finally finishing up the quilt that I previously posted about, I received some beautiful new fabric for my birthday from my Mom. This fabric is so pretty that it makes me want to abandon my current quilt and only work on this one. All of it is by Amy Butler who makes some of the prettiest things ever. The line I'm using is called Midwest Modern, and the quilt should turn out pretty cute, as long as I don't mess up too badly. I'm curious how many years from now I'll be posting the picture of my finished product. For now, here's the "before" shot:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanks To My Mommy

Yes, the stories are all true. I admit to everything.

I was over three weeks late.
I was 9 pounds, 13.5 ounces.
I caused severe hemorrhage and blood loss for my mother.
I made my own grandmother miss my birth because I was so late and she had to go back home.
I was kept at the hospital for a week and was baptized there in the hospital.

On December 2, 1979, I was born in Germany to a beautiful 23 year old. She put up with me, molded me, taught me. When I catch myself sounding like her, I smile. I'd like to send a big hug and kiss across these computer lines to my Mommy. Thank you for everything.

Monday, December 1, 2008

What Exactly Is A “White Bread World”?

Speaking of awesome music, I’d like to talk about how much I love Billy Joel. I love Billy Joel and I’m proud of it, and will write it for the entire world to read. I bet if you think about it for a few minutes, you’ll realize you love him too. For me, it’s a mix of loving his music (which I do!), and nostalgia. My mom listened to him when I was a child and so many of his songs have wonderful memories for me. I remember listening to the tape of Storm Front while riding around with my family in our old Volkswagen van. I remember trying to memorize all the words to “We Didn’t Start the Fire” (and I'm sure several of my readers will join me in reminiscing about the project in 8th grade in which we each had to research a verse from that song). I remember being touched by “Piano Man” as a child, before I was really even old enough to understand the emotions in that song. And when I hear “The Longest Time”, I always think about one of my dearest friends and all the times we sang that song in his car (you know who you are!).

One of the best things about Billy Joel's music is getting to share it with my daughter. It gives me such joy to watch her enjoying the music of my childhood. And I also happen to find it hysterical listening to my four year old sing about a "white bread world". So here's Laura, and her rendition of "Uptown Girl".