Friday, April 30, 2010

Where in the world is the Larson family?

It started with vomit and ended with vomit.  Yup.  Thats about how I can sum up our three week trip back to the good old United States.

It all sounds so negative when I put it that way, but really we had a great three weeks in the just happened to have a rough beginning and a rough end.

April 9, 2010 - April 13, 2010  ----  Portland Part 1

Up at the girls up at 3:30AM and out the door at 4AM.  Our one hour drive to the airport turned into two hours with a little GPS issue.  Maddie and Bella both got carsick - TWICE.  That was how we started with vomit.  Luckily we had little plastic sandwich baggies that served as barf bags and we managed to keep the damage to the car at a minimum...but it was a rough first few hours.

The flights themselves were just fine.  Our first flight was from Nurnberg to Amsterdam (1.5 hours) and it was quick and easy.  Our flight attendant was a british guy that was very friendly.  He was trying to get Maddie to laugh by telling jokes and teasing her, but she deadpanned him.  He gave her a water bottle and she thanked him and then announced to him that she had barfed from carsickness that morning and went into detail about what happened.   She talked so fast I didn't have a chance to tell her he probaby wasn't interested in all that when she turned red, looked at me and said, "oops...I think I just shared too much information."  It was very funny and the flight attendant was a great sport....especially when he brought her flight sickness bags..."just in case."

Our second flight was from Amsterdam to Portland (11 hours) and also was easy.  I was feeling quite lucky at being one of those flyers with children that actually got complimented on the behavior of the girls. **insert proud mama smile**

The flight attendants kept us well hydrated...

Maddie and Bella played barbies and colored together...

and they both got in a little nap...about 2.5 hours each.  Maddie made friends with her seat-mate and he let her snuggle up over the seat between them...while he kind of looks creepy in this photo he was actually a very nice man.

So, I thought we had an easy flight...I didn't feel stress and anxiety.  I was tired, but it was manageable...and then we off the airplane...went through customs and as soon as I saw John's parents (Bobbi and Bop)  I burst into tears. 

Huh...I guess I was more stressed out than I thought I was...

Maddie left shortly after we arrived to go to her mom's house...Bella and I hung around Bobbi and Bops house until we just couldn't keep our eyes open anymore.  We stayed our first night at our friend Barbara's house.  We had planned it this way because John's parents had a full house of grandkids and I wanted to make sure we had a quiet place that Bella and I could sleep off some of our jet lag.  As it turned out...the grandkids plan was kaboshed and so their house was empty, but we didn't have a crib set up...As it turned out that ended up not being a problem either as we made a nest on the floor for Bella, but that first night we just decided to stick to the plan and enjoyed our first night at "hotel barbara!"

Barbara has a dog...and oh what that poor Cocoa can see Bella checking out Cocoa's eyes...he also endured ear pulls, tail pulls, rubs, yanks, baby scratches and a whole lot of other toddleresque animal love...  What a sweet dog.

Saturday morning (April 10th) we headed back to Bobbi and Bops house and Bop took Bella outside to play...she went out the backdoor and was in love at first sight.

What looks like Bella hunting Easter eggs is actually her picking up golf balls.  Bop has been practicing his golf swing and she couldn't stop saying "ball ball ball ball ball ball ball..."

That afternoon we headed to the zoo for a meetup with some of my girlfriends...they were all from out of town so it was especially nice that we managed to all meetup on this Saturday in Portland. 

Christy and Cynthia enjoying the sunshine and watching us chase the girls around...

Melissa and Grace playing in the grass...

Bella running....

Grace looking at some weird fish thing...

Bella and Grace looking at the elephants...

We stayed until the zoo closed and while we had planned to go out for dinner together, Bella was getting pretty grumpy and Grace was already asleep so we said our goodbyes in the zoo parking lot.  Bella crashed  about 30 seconds after I belted her in her carseat and was fast asleep before I even got her stroller in the trunk and drove out of the parking lot.  She was so tired that she skipped dinner completely and slept all the way through to Sunday morning.

Sunday morning Bella was extra spoiled by Bobbi who let her have not one, but TWO apples to bite little teeth marks into. 

She won't eat the peels and Bobbi also soon became her "go to gal" when she wanted to spit out the little pieces of peel she bit off.  Funny enough - this little habit of hers lasted all through our trip. If there was something in Bella's mouth that she didn't like she always ran to Bobbi.

Of course they also read stories...

And played chase...

And stamped...

 And watched TV together while eating cheese sandwiches (one shoe on and one shoe off.)

The rest of our Portland time seemed a whirlwind of shopping, visiting, and sleeping.  We loved a visit from Dede and her fiance, Ryan and little Ella...

Bella and Ella (say that 10 times fast) were playing together nicely when Ella sat down on one of Bella's little chairs.  Actually they aren't Bella's chairs, but she'd laid claim to them shortly after arriving in Portland...At first she sat nicely next to Ella and then slowly reached her hand over and slowly pushed Ella off the chair.  It was pretty funny to watch it happen.  I guess we need to start talking about sharing...  (This is Bella NOT trying to push Ella out of the chair...)

Last, but not least, we attended a birthday party for Maddie put on by her mom's side of the family.  It was a lot of fun...

Eric, Orion and Bella

Happy Birthday dear Maddie.....

Bella's Pump it Up balloon..

Did you make it all the way through this horrifically long blog?  I just realized I never even finished my Easter posts...but alas..such is the rub when one forgets her usb cable and cannot download photos off her digital camera to blog about in a timely manner. 

So ends the first 5 days of our stay in Portland...Stay tuned for the next episode where Bella and mama fly to Tucson and spend a week with Daddy in Sierra Vista.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

When I can't sleep...

Tonight, for some reason, I can't sleep.

Its 1AM exactly right now.  My brain is screaming at me to go to bed because in less than 6 hours I will hear the munchkin begin to chatter...jabba jabba jabba....thats what it sounds like.  And when that happens my night's sleep is over.

So, why can't I sleep?  I'm tired.  I feel tired.  I feel like I want to go to bed, but when I last tried it I laid there for nearly an hour trying to sleep before giving up and coming back to the computer.

I checked Facebook.
I looked in on my lovely friends.
I checked my emails and even wrote a few back.
I wrote my packing list out in detail.
I joined the 2SCR group online so I am "up to date" with all the things an Army wife needs to be up to date on.
Then I was stumped...I figured I could play a game, but I'm not in the mood. 

Then I decided to download all the photos on my camera.  Would you like to see some random photos?

Bella's first corndog.  I just got a hankering for a corndog one day and bought some at the commissary so we had them for dinner.  She wouldn't eat it like that.  We ended up having to take the dog out of the "corn" and then she ate them seperately just fine.  With a healthy dose of ketchup...that girl LOVES ketchup.

Mmmmm...dinner on Easter day.  Those are peppers, onions and sausage. We put them with pasta.  Non-traditional, maybe, but DELISH.

Bella and Maddie were playing in our blanket hutch.  I'm not sure what Maddie said, but Bella's face is priceless.

Oh Daddy, we miss you so much.  Munchie talking to daddy on skype.

Dancing nakie queen.  Just like her mama.  ha ha ha.

Look - I'm even giving you a visual of me right now...

This is screaming...time for I'm off again to slumber, hopefully...

Monday, April 05, 2010

Part 1 - Dyeing the eggs...

Q. Whats big and purple and hugs Easter baskets?
A.  The Easter Barney

MadMad intent on designing her first egg...

Q. How does the Easter Bunny stay in shape?
A.  Hare-robics!

The girls are ready to start dyeing!

Q. What does the Easter Bunny order at a Chinese restaurant?
A.  Hop Suey.

By the end of it we all had multi-colored fingers!

Q.  What do you call an Easter Bunny that has fleas?
A.  Bugs Bunny.

Bella wasn't too sure about the wax crayon at first.

Q.  Where does the Easter Bunny get his eggs?
A.  Eggplants.

Then she decided the wax crayon might taste good.

Q.  What comes at the end of Easter?
A.  The letter R.

She did eventually figure it out and scribbled on an egg or two.

Q.  What are 45 bunnies marching backward called?
A.  A receding HARE line.

And taaaadum!  The finished product. 
We only did 8 because we leave in a few days
and I didn't want a huge pile of eggs that we'd have to toss.
Q.  A rabbit that is a stand-up comedian is called what?
A.  A funny bunny.

C'mon...admit laughed to at least one of those jokes?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Spring! Spring! Spring! ...and our first egg hunt.

If the weather was a person I'd have to call him a serious tease.  Lately we've had these gloriously sunny days...but, there are dark looming rainclouds in the sky and occasionally the sun will disappear behind one and the wind picks up and....

Then the sun comes back out.

But not before I've packed it all up and we're ready to head home after the first raindrop hits the pavement...

So out comes all the stuff - which is a whole other topic in and of did I become a woman who carries around so much STUFF? all comes back out and then the sun disappears again...and we start the process all over again...

We've been spending a lot of time outside to enjoy the weather in the parks around base...the one in the photos below, however. was in some serious need of a garbage pickup...


Today we took a bike ride to Little Mike Lake for our first Easter Egg hunt.  The girls (i.e. Maddie)  were SOOOOO excited.  We decorated our little easter egg bags and hopped on our bikes to ride to the park.

We got there just in time to line up before they blew the whistle and off ran the kids.  Bella was shocked...she just stood and stared at the mass of children and adults barrelling into the park.  We lost track of Maddie immediately...I searched and searched to try and get a photo, but no luck...

So, Bella and I found ONE egg...tucked on the crook of the park bench.

She carried it around for awhile...and I think she was quite proud of that cool little purple egg ...and you'll notice it matches her little sweatsuit.

And then she dropped it without me noticing so the nice guy who was running the show gave her a handful of chocolate eggs and she was even HAPPIER with that because, well, purple eggs don't taste as good.

20 minutes late when we finally tracked Maddie down I made them pose for a few shots.  Maddie chose her pink and blue hair ribbons and we gave her droopy "bunny ears" hair.  Such simple pleasures at age 7!

Bella, on the other hand, was most uncooperative and refused to look at the camera...You'll notice her wandering eye in all these shots.  I tried everything from singing her favorites (Wheels on the bus and How much is that doggie" to doing a version of the boogie woogie to try and catch her eye.  Apparently I'm just not that interesting to look at...

It really was a glorious day...well, other than Madmad being grounded from her bike for the rest of the day. 

Because OF COURSE you can't have a glorious day without a touch of see, on the way home, Madmad committed two big infractions that caused this grounding from her bike...  First, she crossed the street while riding her bike and without a parent.  Not only did she once ride her bike into a stopped car when we were once crossing a crosswalk (so now she has to walk her bike across because she's still an unbalanced rider), but she barrelled across this street without even looking for cars. 

Then when I scolded her she threw her helmet on the ground.  Seriously?  And if you know me you know that my Seriously? face let Madmad know immediately that she was in some big trouble.    I was prepared to open a can of mama whoopass, but instead she lost privileges for her bike AND helmet...which means no scooter or rollerskates either.  And that meant she had to run her bike the rest of the way home.  Muwhahahahahaha....

Before you think I'm an ogre - it was only about two blocks and she's only grounded for the day...