Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home for Christmas

We drove down to Florida to spend the holidays with our families, and it's been a whirlwind of  activity.  I'm not entirely sure at this point whether I'm catching myself coming or going...  But I have taken a TON of pictures, and I'll be sharing them soon.  I promise.  In the mean time, this is a teaser, from when we went to the mall to see Santa with my mom and my sister last week.  Elora got to ride the train with her Oma, and her cousin Veronica.  Fun!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


looking out the dining room window
looking out Elora's bedroom window
looking out the window by the front door.
 We got our first snow on the 13th.  It started around 8 in the morning, and didn't stop until just before dusk that evening.  It melt over the next few days, but it's snowing again today and coming down a lot harder.  I wonder if we'll get enough for Elora to play in??

Around the House

We finally found the hardware for Elora's crib, so we bought a crib mattress thinking that we could go ahead and get it set up.   But, when Brandon tried to put it together, he had to stop half way through when it became apparent that some of the hard ware was still missing.   

He found a model number somewhere on one of the pieces, and used it to try to find out what pieces we would need to finish it.  Instead, he found that the crib has been recalled.  Thank goodness nothing ever happened to it while Elora was in it...  Anyway, we are going to send the remaining hardware back in to the company to get the voucher for a new crib.  Long story short, the crib has been returned to the back burner for right now.  In the mean time, I think I'll try to get that room painted.  I have a nice, cheery yellow shade picked out for the walls in here, and I can't wait to cover that drab beige!  The entire house was painted that flat, muted color, and I am very much looking forward to getting some real color on the walls.

Our bathrooms were severely lacking in storage space when we first moved in, despite the under sink cabinets.  There are no medicine cabinets in either bathroom, and the double sinks in the big bathroom made drawers impossible.  Even worse, the plumbing was done in such a way that very little will fit under the cabinets.  The plumbing doesn't fill the space, but it hangs down so far and is so bulky that it's difficult to get anything else in there.  Really, the amount of wasted space is just shameful. 

Our solution?  Pretty little over-the-toilet cabinets and tiny little plastic drawers for under the sinks.  We just bought the second cabinet last weekend, and Brandon got it built for me Friday evening. I now have permanent homes for all of the bathroom must-haves from toilet paper to aspirin, and I got to retire that last shoe-box-turned-temporary-storage to the recycle bin.

We also got some of our blinds put up  (pictures later).  All of the windows were completely bare when me moved in, so we'd been living in a fish bowl.  We ordered custom blinds from Lowe's, but then we had to wait for them to get here.  We'd ordered two different types: cordless cellular blinds for the main part of the house, and combination cordless cellular blinds for the bedrooms.  The second set was back-ordered, so we won't be getting those up until after we get back from Florida, but we've got the first set up.  We're especially excited about the ones we haven't gotten yet.  Those are actually two-in-one; they have both sheer and room darkening blinds, depending on how much light and privacy we want at a given time.  For now, though, we still have fitted sheets up over the bedroom windows.

Since we are going down to Florida for Christmas this year, I decided against putting up my big tree.  I did put up my tiny tree, though, and it's an even better place for me to put presents.  The tiny ones are around the tree on the table, and the big ones are in the box under it.  With this arrangement, I don't have to worry about the baby or the cat getting into the tree, the ornaments, or the gifts. 

Elora napped in her toddler bed for the first time the other day!  It still isn't an everyday thing yet, but we're getting there.  I'm super proud of her.  :)  

Friday, December 10, 2010

Recently, in the Green World...

Elora is sleeping every night in her toddler bed.

Brandon and I went to his command Christmas party last night.

It was held on a mini cruise ship called the Spirit of Norfolk, and it was a pretty swanky deal.  I wish I had more pictures, but I forgot my camera.  Oops.  I was exhausted by the end of it (one of the draw backs to attending a party on a ship is that you can't leave the party until it's officially over--when it docks) but it was fun and I'm glad we went.

This morning, we took Elora to see Santa Claus at the mall. 

 Santa himself was awesome, but I'm disappointed with everything about these photos.   I don't like the way it was framed, the quality of both the printed photos and the digital image on CD are very poor, and they all have this stupid red border.  And, they only gave us the one image on CD, instead of all of them like we got when we went to see Santa last year.  I almost said something while we were still there, and now I wish I had.  I'd thought that the original images on the CD would be better, but, well.  They weren't.  So, we'll be going back to see Santa again while we're in Florida.

On the way out of the mall, Elora and her daddy both stopped to check out a holiday toy display in Dillard's, so I grabbed the camera.

Elora loves to doodle-- these were taken at Abuelo's.  Unfortunately, she isn't particularly discriminating about what she doodles on.  Among other things, she's colored on her own clothes (ink), her daddy's clothes (crayon), and our bedroom wall (pencil).

We now have only one week before we leave for Florida, and I'm stressing a bit about getting things done before we go.  You know, Christmas-y things.  I can't believe how quickly time is flying by me these days...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Carrot Cake

You may or may not remember my carrot cake fiasco from this summer, but I certainly do.  I could not believe how hard that silly cake fought to stay in the pan, or how badly it fell apart.  Frosting that thing was such a nightmare.  But just to set the record straight, I'd like to go ahead and prove that I can bake a cake, and successfully get it out of the pan in one piece.

I even made this one from scratch, which I didn't have the time to do when I was in Alabama.  I used the Best Ever Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting recipes from our giant Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  Shredding all those carrots takes forever, but it's definitely worth the time, and the orange hands.  Next time, though, I will alter the frosting recipe a bit.  It calls for both cream cheese and butter, but next time, I'm going to skip the butter and use all cream cheese.  I really love a strong cream cheese flavor to go with the carrot cake, and using the butter makes it too mild for me.

This was the first of many slices I've had.  There's only about a quarter of the cake left, and I've only had a little bit of help in eating it...  Carrot is good for you, though, right???

This is an apron that Rebekah and I found at Bed Bath & Beyond recently, and I've decided I'm going to copy it and make one of my own.  I didn't actually buy the apron, so I'm going to be working just from this picture, but it shouldn't be too hard.  The skirt is a series of simple box pleats, so it's all just a bunch of straight lines.  Then, if I'm successful with that, I'm going to make a matching one for Elora.  :)  I have no idea when I'm going to get around to doing this, since I have NO energy even for crafting these days, but I will get to it.  Eventually.

As a side note, these pictures were all taken with my cell phone.  Crazy, right?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

More Dancing With Elmo

The child loves music, and loves to dance.  We love to watch her.  :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

My Thanksgiving has been wonderful this year, and I hope that all of you have enjoyed the holiday as much as I have.  We kept it simple, since it was just the three of us.  Instead of a turkey and all the traditional trimmings, I made a yummy pot roast with carrots and potatoes, and a lemon and cream cheese pie for dessert.  It was all super easy, and very tasty!  And, it gave me a chance to use my crock pot for the first time in more than three years.  It was in long term storage while we were in Germany, along with the rest of my kitchen gadgetry.  Hooray for having it back!

I know you can't see it in the picture, but there's actually a two-and-a-half pound roast, carrots, potatoes, onion and garlic in that crock pot.  Once I got it all in the pot, I mixed together a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, a package of french onion soup mix, and a can-full of water, and poured it over the meat and veggies.  Then all I had to do was turn it on low, and let it go for about 6 hours.  

While I was getting the pot roast put together, my amazing husband made breakfast burritos for us for brunch.  Man, I love breakfast burritos.  And he made a ton of them, so we have plenty left for breakfast tomorrow as well.  When he wasn't with me in the kitchen, he was in the living room, watching Avatar (the TV series) with Elora.  See how nice everything looks in this picture??  It gives you a good idea of everything that we've accomplished, and conveniently leaves out the pockets of clutter that still need to be settled.  Seriously, I am loving my new home.  :)

Elora and I took naps this afternoon, and when I got up, the roast was ready.  All I had to do was to brown the rolls, and get it all on the table.  It was really nothing fancy, but it was hearty and delicious.  That roast especially was scrumptious; there's hardly any of it left! 

Brandon set the timer on the camera, and set the camera on the counter to get this one of the three of us.  We didn't think to tell it where to focus, so we're fuzzy, but at least the meat in the foreground is perfectly clear.  Oh well, at least I have my picture.  :) 

Brandon got this video of Elora on his phone this evening after dinner.  It's just too darn cute not to share. 

And finally, here is my top 10 list of things I am thankful for this year, but not necessarily in order:

1) Elora
2) Brandon
3) that my unborn child has survived and is healthy
4) my loving and supportive family
5) the continued health of that family-- specifically that my grandmother's heart surgery was successful, and that my dad's motorcycle accident was no more severe than it was.
6) that we are back in the United States
7) my beautiful new home
8) good friends
9) we get to be home for Christmas AND New Year's
10) all of the technologies that make our lives safer and easier (especially those that allow me to communicate so easily with my family, and those that make cooking easier and more fun)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


 Elora slept all night long in her toddler bed last night, and she didn't get up even once!  I am soooo proud of her! We had to go back to the pack & play for her nap this afternoon, since she kept getting up to play every time I put her back in her bed, but that's ok. I know that we haven't reached the end of the transition process, but it was a big step in the right direction.  Besides, it was kind of funny...  She definitely realized she wasn't supposed to be getting up to play, because the last few times I went in there to lay her back down, she would jump back in bed when she heard me coming.  :)

Momma, Alanna, and Merryn-- This is for you.

downloaded from icanhascheezburger.com

Saturday, November 20, 2010


It may surprise you to learn this, but my nerdiness includes a bit of video gaming.  I'm not very good, mind you, but that has never stopped me from playing and enjoying.  My favorites?  Halo & Mass Effect on the 360, and most recently, World of Warcraft on PC.  Before Elora was born, I played quite a lot of WoW--but after?  The most serious video games I've played since Elora joined the family are a couple of Facebook Flash games.  But, with the upcoming release of WoW's latest expansion, Cataclysm, Brandon has decided to get back into the game and I thought, why not?  So it's been reinstalled on my lap top and I am relearning how to play the game.

What will this mean for my crafting??  Since I've been rather overwhelmed by the continuing clutter in my very unsettled house, and any craft I pull out will undoubtedly add to that clutter, it means I probably won't be doing much of anything crafty in the immediate future.  There is still so much to be done before I can even have a decent space for crafting, that I've gone into procrastinate mode.  The game is simply a distraction to make that procrastination easier.  But, since I do have Christmas gifts to finish, I can't let myself be too discouraged or distracted.  We'll see!  Hopefully I'll have something more interesting than video games to post about next time...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oh Boy...Another Girl!

It's a girl!!  We finally got our ultrasound done today, and the newest Gager is a little girl.  :)

My belly seems huge already, and I'm only at about 22 weeks.  The pregnancy is progressing well, though there are a few minor red flags that my doctor is monitoring.  Hopefully that is all there will ever be to it.  The doc has assured me that I don't need to worry, so I'm not worrying.  Much.  (Seriously, show me an expectant mother who doesn't worry about her baby at least a little bit, and I'll show you pigs born with wings.)

Here are some more pictures from when we went outside this afternoon to get the belly pics.  Brandon snapped about a million of them, as always (thanks, love!) and these are my favorites.  


It's crazy how much that tree has changed, just in the few days since my last post.  There's almost no green left on it at all now, and as you can see, most of the leaves are now on the ground.  Perhaps we ought to get a rake, the next time we're at Lowe's.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Fall is lovely here in Virginia.  The weather has been sunny and cool, and the changing trees are just gorgeous.  This one is right outside my dining room window, and it's changing in a gradient from one side to the other.  It's been neat to watch the colors shift.  These photos are of the same tree, and they were taken at the same time!  I didn't know one tree could sport so many colors at once.

We're still working on getting the house settled.  Of course.  Most recently, we've been hanging pictures Brandon's been hanging pictures and I've been organizing and finding homes for things.  I don't remember this process taking quite this long last time.  Maybe time has dulled the memories?  Or maybe it didn't take as long, because we had less stuff? Or because we didn't have a toddler to keep track of?  Or because I wasn't pregnant?  Hm. Maybe all four. There is a lot of stuff I'd like to do around here, including getting some color on the walls, but for now I'd be happy with getting rid of the last of the boxes and settling all the clutter. 

We still have not found the hardware for Elora's crib.  I can't imagine what could have happened to it, but I am placing all of the blame on the terrible movers who packed up our house in Germany.  (Seriously, don't even get me started on what a terrible job they did.  I could go on for a while.)  We already have a toddler bed for her, though--thanks again, Rebekah, for snagging that for us!!--so I got that put together.


She loves it!!!  It just too bad that we can't keep her in it long enough for her to fall asleep.  She's still sleeping in her pack'n'play, the poor thing.  If we ever do find that hardware, we'll have to get another mattress for the crib, since Elora's crib mattress is now Elora's toddler bed mattress.  (If we don't, then we'll need another crib to go with that new mattress!!)

She's loving having her toys and such back, and it is so wonderful to see her settling in here.  She's back to being able to entertain herself for longer periods of time.  I can tell that she likes having a space that's all hers, with the option to bring her toys out into the rest of the house.

This is actually the last thing that I did at the shop before leaving Germany.  I got a set of frog note cards in high school, and I have been hoarding, them ever since.  When I got down to just 2, it finally occurred to me that I could just frame one, and then I would have it to look at and enjoy, forever.  So with the help of the wonderful and talented Paula-in-the-Frameshop, I got it framed!  (Translation, Paula did all the hard stuff, and I did the things that wouldn't potentially cost me an untrained finger.)  It survived the move and is now hanging above my night stand.  It matches the colors in my bedroom perfectly!  I love, love, love it!  Thank you so much Paula, you're amazing.  :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We took a break from working on the house this afternoon to take Elora to the mall for some early trick-or-treating.  She's really too young to appreciate it, but I'm certainly not!  Brandon thought it was all rather silly, but he humored me.

The silly girl sucked on her hand nearly the entire time we were there.  It was prune-y by the time we left.

Is she not the sweetest little angel ever?  Most people thought she was a fairy, though, because I accidentally put her wings on upside down.  Oops.  The crazy thing is that this is the angel costume--labeled 6-9 months--that I bought for her last Halloween!  Thank you again for loaning us the bear costume, Jennifer! So this was Halloween 2009:

And this is Halloween 2010:

When we got back to the house after trick-or-treating and dinner (we went back to Abuelo's for more delicious Mexican)

we went outside to play and take pictures.

These were taken right in our back yard, but we also walked down the path to the little canal right around the corner.  These were taken on the grassy slope by the water.


It's been a good day.  I hope you've all had a happy Halloween too!