Friday, December 31, 2010

Twenty Ten

There is now officially 5 1/2 hours left until 2011 and I would like to take a few minutes to reflect back on what 2010 has brought us.

New Year's Day of 2010 was a rough one for me. Ethan had been in Afghanistan for less than 2 weeks and I was in Austin with my family. I remember that I was super sad to be alone on New Years (it was tradition that we always have a huge party)  but I was super excited for 2010 because it meant that some time during this year Ethan would be home again, although we had no idea when that would be.

In February I flew back to North Carolina to have a medicially necessary breast reduction. It was a normal 3 hour surgery that turned into a 9 hour ordeal...although I'm not complaining - I wasn't awake for any of it. Undergoing a pretty big surgery while I was alone with a 23 month old was going to be pretty rough so my best friend, Jennifer, and her son Tristan, and my mother in law all flew up a few days before my surgery to take care fo me for the first two weeks when I wouldn't be able to even lift anything about 15 pounds.

March brought about Aiden's 2nd birthday, all done up in Toy Story, and Ethan's unexpected homecoming. It was a very emotionally draining month, but in the best way possible.

The summer was just a buncle of emotions as we packed up our lives and came to terms with the fact that we would no longer be a Marine Corps family. We had the moving truck packed and we had given up our house when the news came that strings had been pulled and Ethan was being extended past his EAS so that he could re-enlist and LAT move into EOD.

In October we finally had the house to ourselves for the first time since July and it was a much needed break. Ethan and I really needed the alone time to be a family. We flew home the last week for his sister's wedding and then at the end of November for Thanksgiving we drove to New York to spend time with Ethan's best friend and his family.

December has been a pretty busy month. Ethan started his EOD on the job training (OJT) the first of December and he absolutely loves it. Ethan and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary and then we had going away parties for Ethan and one of our really close friends here. We said goodbye to two amazing people who became more like family. Then with all the craziness of Christmas and Aiden's doctor appointments it feels like the end of the year has just crept up on us.

It has been a definite roller coaster ride of emotions this year. I just hope that 2011 brings happiness, success in Ethan's school, new friends, and maybe another tiny bundle of joy. Happy New Year everyone!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Weekend Recap

I don't normally blog on weekends and holidays so I just wanted to tell everyone a late Merry Christmas and I hope that y'all had a great time with family and friends.

This was the first year we got to spend Christmas as a family and it really was a lot of fun. Aiden is at the age where he is starting to really understand about Santa Claus and all that. Ethan isn't very religious anymore so we didn't go to church or anything, but I did explain to Aiden the real reason for Christmas, although how much does a 2 1/2 year old really understand about that stuff?

The day after Christmas it snowed! We built mine and Aiden's first snow man which he named Snowball. Aiden had so much fun playing in the snow and I have to say I hope it snows at least one more time this year, maybe a little more than it did. I'm from the south where we don't get much snow so I love it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is It Saturday Yet?

Oh man I am so excited for Christmas to be here. I think I'm more excited than Aiden! We've decided not to put Christmas presents under the tree until Christmas Eve this year because Aiden really thinks that Santa will come. He's too young to really understand that Mama and Daddy are Santa's helpers and that it's okay if there are presents under the tree before Santa comes. He actually told Ethan and I last night that he wanted to climb inside the TV to go find Santa! Next year we'll be able to explain things better to him. For right now we'll let him bask in the magic.

There are a few presents that I can't wait to be opened. Aiden has a couple of really good ones that he is going to go nuts over. There is a show on PBS called Dinosaur Train that Aiden really loves, so my Mama got him a few interactive dinosaurs from the show that like talk to each other and stuff. Aiden is going to be amazed. And then we got him a big set of Duplo lego things that Ethan and I can't wait to build with him.

Last night a box came for me from the Food Network and it took all my strength not to open it right then. Mama told me that I would be surprised so I'm anxious to see what that one is. Ever since becoming a vegetarian I've gotten really into cooking and experimenting with food so I'm super excited. Ethan has also been working on a present of mine for like 2 days that he says I'm going to love.

Speaking of Ethan, also known as Mr Scrooge at this time of year...He hates Christmas. He doesn't like that a holiday like this is turned into an excuse to spend hundreds of dollars on useless crap (his words). Which I agree with in a way, but for different reasons. Ethan isn't very religious anymore, which makes me pretty sad but that is a conversation for a different day, so he just doesn't like Christmas at all. He complains and complains, but I honestly can't wait for him to open his presents this year. I've spent a long time working my magic to get him something that he doesn't know he's wanted since before he deployed last year. I can't wait to see Mr. Scrooge's face split into a sheepish grin when he falls in love with his gift.

For being so negative he sure does know how to make a girl melt though. It has always been a tradition with us since we started dating that every year we get a Christmas ornament for the tree. We have 6 ornaments on the tree (Ethan and I were separated Christmas 2008) at the moment. This is the first year that we haven't been home between Thanksgiving and Christmas since we moved out to NC. Usually we buy our ornament from a kiosk in the mall we've shopped at since 2004, but this year that wasn't possible. We have searched all over the area and couldn't find an ornament for 2010. On Saturday we looked all over Jacksonville, but couldn't find anything so I was reserved to the fact that we wouldn't have one this year. It really made me sad, but I searched online and found a website that makes personalized ornaments. I talked to Ethan about it, but it wouldn't be here by Christmas anyways so I told him not to worry about it.

Sunday night his phone kept going off at like 11, which isn't normal for him. I asked who it was and he just ignored me. I asked again a few minutes later when the phone rang again and he told me it was his mom. He got this little smile on his face and went into the other room. He came back a few minutes later and told me that he had a surprise for me and that he wanted to tell me, but he wanted to keep it secret. For some reason the first thing that came to my mind was "Oh God your parents are surprising us and coming here for Christmas."

Now don't get me wrong, I would be so freaking happy if his family drove up here to see us, but I have this problem when his mom comes to the house. I get on the psycho cleaning tangent and I exhaust myself trying to make the house perfect for a woman who really doesn't care about mess or clutter at all since she raised and homeschooled 9 kids of her own. I immediately asked him to tell me if that was it because there's a lot of cleaning that needs to be done before they get here...blah blah blah.

An hour later he comes into the living room and sits next to me. He told me he wanted to show me something on his phone, but I told him I didn't want to know if it was supposed to be a surprise. He told me that he wanted to me to know so I looked and what I saw immediately brought tears to my eyes. I was looking at picture of a family ornament with our names on it. After we couldn't find a family ornament in Jacksonville on Saturday, my sweet husband called his mom and asked her to get us an ornament from the usual place we go. He said he knew how much it meant to me to have the ornament and he wanted to make sure I got one this year. I seriously cried for like 10 minutes. It made me feel so special that he and his mom would do something like that for me just over a little ornament.

I think this proves that although Ethan really likes to say that he hates Christmas and he has the potential to act like a complete jerky Mr Scrooge, he really does have a kind heart. He made our Christmas that much better.

It's a tradition. 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Random Tidbits

We live on base and so from time to time we can hear the Marines doing training. Thursday, along with the planes and helicopters flying overhead, there were several loud booms that made the windows shake and of course made me jump. Aiden kept asking me what the noise was and I told him that I wasn't sure. After the fourth time of the boom and Mama's tiny squeal Aiden decided he was going to ask me what it was over and over again until I finally gave him an answer he liked. After hearing "Mama what was that?" for the fifteenth time I finally told him in an exasperated tone that it was probably a bomb. His reply was "a bong!" Now he is running around the house telling me there is a bong. Dear God what have I done? I really can't wait to see people's faces when we are at Walmart and my son yells out "It's a BONG!"

My husband and I don't really drink anything other than beer or the occasional bottle of vodka or rum, but for our anniversary on the 9th we decided to lean toward the more romantic side and get a bottle of champagne. Ethan had to work the next day and I had already had two peach bellinis from Olive Garden so we couldn't finish off the bottle. We went to put up the bottle and realized we don't know how to stuff the cork back in so you know what we did? We went totally ghetto and found another option. Right now I have a bottle of champagne in my refrigerator waiting to be finished off....a water bottle. Oh yes we did. Hey it's recycling right?

I've lost 4 pounds since I started my new weight loss attitude on Monday!

Christmas is 7 days away!! We're actually almost done shopping this year! A family first.

I have come to the harsh realization that I completely and utterly suck at wrapping presents. Like seriously there is tape all over the place and wrinkles where there should be just a normal flat surface. I can shop like no other, but maybe next year I should take the time to pay for gift wrapping.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lifestyle Makeover

With the new year right around the corner it is the time to start thinking about the tons of different New Years resolutions that everyone makes, but by February no one keeps. I usually resolve not to even make a resolution because they never stick, but this year it's going to be different.

I have decided that it is time for a lifestyle makeover. I want to be a healthy influence on Aiden as he gets older. I'm a vegetarian, first because Ethan was, but then it became my choice, and I feel much healthier already, but it isn't enough for me.

You would think that from switching to a meat diet to a vegetarian one you would naturally lose some weight, as long as you are still eating the right way, but for some reason with me that isn't happening. I have my own theory on that, but until I find the time, energy, and bravery to go to the doctor I won't know for sure if I'm right. To get a jump start on shedding the pounds I have started taking a supplement pill to help the process along.

I'm not the type of person to go for the get skinny fast thing. In fact I intend on using these pills to help me get to my desired weight loss healthily by also exercising and eating even better than before. But since Ethan came home from his deployment 9 months ago, I have gained a good 20 pounds. That means I could give birth to a food baby right now!

I really believe that most people lose weight while their husbands are gone. I mean it's normal when you're not really cooking an actual meal every single night and (at least with me) depression/bad moods make eating less important.

I have always been a thick girl - it's in my genes, and I believe that having a little meat on your bones is normal. I believe that being happy makes you prettiest. I no longer feel good about myself and that is why I have made the decision to change. Not because I don't fit a standard of being pretty, but because I want this for myself. I don't even have a target weight to get down to. I'll know when I'm happy when I look in the mirror and can see a difference in my body inside and out.

Ethan and I are starting P90X tonight and although I know I'm going to die I'm going to keep going (hopefully) and work my hardest. I plan on having a better grip on a healthy body when we get to Florida. I don't plan on having a "beach body" at all, just a normal body would be nice. In fact that last time I wore a bikini was when I was about 14. It's sort of hard to wear a bikini when you are a 36FF. It gets to a point where it's just not appropriate. Now that I have had my surgery I'm looking forward to just wearing a tankini :-)

I'm sure I'll be posting about my successes and set backs over time, and hopefully there will be more successes than not. So wish me luck and support because it's always easier to achieve your goals with people standing behind you cheering you on. Here's to a new me in 2011!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Our Wedding

Okay so I planned on writing and posting this yesterday on our actual anniversary, but I spent all day cleaning and taking care of Aiden and getting ready for our night that I just didn't have time to post this. So here it is a day late. Sorry I'm so ditzy all the time.

 Finally after 3 1/2 months of planning and $6,000 later, we were finally getting married! Ethan was living at my parent's house when he came back from boot camp, but I was very serious about him not seeing me before the wedding (it's bad luck you know!) so I slept at the bed & breakfast with one of my bridesmaids. We were supposed to have a girl's night, but she decided to go out and get drunk for her birthday instead so I just took a long bubble bath and went to bed early. I was pretty nervous about the wedding the next day.

That morning I woke up early and went outside to set up the wedding arch we would get married under. I only had like 20 minutes, but I think it came out pretty. My parents picked me and Sarah up and we headed off to our hair appointments. My Aunt brought Chick-fil-A breakfast for everyone and we just joked and talked the rest of the morning while everyone's hair was being taken care of.

When everyone's hair was done we drove back to the bed & breakfast. Ethan was already there setting up the reception area so we had to sneak me inside, where I stayed until it was time to walk down the aisle. My parents realized that they had left my petticoat and bustier at my house {20 minutes away} so I was freaking out. Luckily my (ex)stepdad got it to me in time so that we weren't running late. My family is notorious for running late. In fact on the wedding invitations I purposely wrote the wedding time 30 minutes earlier on my family's invitations so that they would show up on time.

Everyone got dressed and then helped me change. I love my gown, and to this day I don't think I've never felt as beautiful as I did the first time I saw myself fully ready. I didn't know I could look so pretty.

I waited upstairs in the room we got dressed in while the music started. I remember standing at the top of the stairs and I just started praying, begging God to let me know that I was making the right decision and that I would be a good wife. I forced myself not to cry as I slowly made my way down the steps and out to where the aisle began. I took a deep breath and made my way towards my husband.

I honestly don't remember anything about the ceremony. I didn't even have a clue what the officiant even said at the time. I only had eyes for my husband. I was so lost in the moment that I even messed up when I was repeating what I was supposed to say when putting the rings on. We did the traditional vows in front of everyone and the our own private vows {which I have saved} that we wrote before we lit the unity candle.

After the ceremony we took the traditional pictures and then it was time to eat, dance, and party. We're from Texas so of course we had BBQ at our wedding - brisket, macaroni and cheese, and beans. I only ate the mac n cheese because I was so scared I would get sauce on my gown! Then it was time for dancing. Ethan and I dance our first dance to L.O.V.E. by Nat King Cole. When it was time to cut the cake we didn't have a plate so we just kind of improvised. That was the only bite of cake we got that night. People just inhaled that thing so I guess it was delicious!

Looking back on our wedding always makes me smile. There were little upsets during the day, like my bouquet being completely not what I ordered at all, but it ran smoothly and in the end all that mattered was being with our family and becoming our own family.

Four years really isn't a long time, but looking back on the years we've been through a lot. We're honestly lucky to still be married. No I take that back - it's not luck. We worked our asses off to keep our marriage from falling apart and honestly it is better now than it was the day we got married. I love my husband with all my heart and I look forward to many more years with him.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Proposal

When we came back from Memphis we fell back into our normal routine. Ethan and I were still talking about marriage, but we knew it wouldn't happen for a while. He made it clear that he didn't even want to ask me to marry him when I was 16. He thought that was a little crazy. I mean who gets engaged that young? Ethan had also decided to join the Marine Corps that year and knew that he would be going to boot camp some time in September.

Ethan told me to start looking for a place to have the wedding at, just because he heard that that is what needs to be booked in advance. I had always wanted to be married in November, but we knew that if Ethan went to boot camp in September that that was impossible so we were shooting for December or January time-frame.

When I told my mom and my Aunt Robyn about what we were talking about, Robyn immediately started researching different places around Austin. A few days later she found a bed and breakfast that was really cheap that she thought we could turn into an awesome wedding venue. I talked to Ethan about it, and he decided that we should at least go look at it so I called and scheduled a time after work to go meet with the lady who ran the place.

I fell in love the moment I saw the bed and breakfast. It was such a pretty place with a nice yard around the house to be able to fit a decent sized wedding. I started planning right there where everything could go before I had even seen the entire grounds. The owner mentioned a garden, but I was more interested figuring out where everything went at the moment.

Ethan decided to check out the garden and when he came back he wanted to show me something he had found in there. My Mama wanted to come too, but my stepdad told her to let us have a minute to ourselves.

When we got to the rustic wooden gate Ethan told me to close my eyes. He opened the gate and led me inside. It took him a minute to get me where he wanted and then he told me I could look. I opened my eyes to a natural formed rock formation in the shape of a giant heart. It took me a second to realize that Ethan was kneeling on the ground in front of the rock. He had a small black box in his hand and a huge smile on his face. He went into this little speech, that he had to repeat later because I was in such shock, and asked me to marry him. I was in tears and said yes of course, and he slipped the ring on my finger. We were engaged, a month before my 17th birthday.

We came out of the garden and my Mama asked why I was crying. I showed her the ring, which of course made her start crying. We decided that this was the place to get married and we reserved the site right then. The owner was nice enough to be able to work with us because we explained about Ethan going to boot camp.

On the way home, Ethan told me the story of how he had planned everything out. When we went to Memphis, we stopped to see my Daddy in Dallas for a day. Apparently while we were there Ethan had asked Daddy permission to marry me. Once he agreed, Ethan started thinking about the ring. He had decided he wanted to buy the ring the day we went to the B&B. He went to four different ATMs so that he could have enough cash to buy the ring. He was planning on driving around {one of our favorite things to do} and pretending to have a flat tire and asking me there, but when he told the woman at the jewelry she made it sound much less romantic. "So you're going to ask her to spend the rest of her life with you...on the side of the road?" So he decided against that one. He was just carrying the ring around in his pocket, and when he saw the heart-shaped rock he knew what he wanted to do.

Most people were really happy for us, but there were some who thought we were insane. Ethan's family was less than thrilled. In fact when we went to go tell them that we were engaged his dad said that he didn't want any part in it. A lot of family drama happened, and I wasn't allowed inside of his parent's house and none of his brothers and sisters were allowed to participate in the wedding. In fact, when Ethan left for boot camp they had decided they wouldn't be at our wedding at all. A lot of people {Ethan's sisters included} thought that the only reason we were getting married was because I was pregnant. It was all pretty hurtful, but I knew that they would see that I was obviously not pregnant in a few months.

Ethan went to boot camp September 5th, and I was left to plan the wedding by myself, no small feat when the bride is still a minor and the groom can't be contacted. I am proud to say that I made it work and I stayed in budget. We made a lot of the stuff at the wedding, and I would definitely suggest anyone doing that. It saves money and it is so fun.

the centerpieces

I decorated the arch. the bells are handmade also

my Daddy made the unity candle and engraved the glass

Ethan graduated boot camp on December 1, 2006. We flew home and had exactly one week to get the finishing touches done before the wedding. The most memorable moment was most definitely getting the marriage license and having my Mama sign for me.

officially a United States Marine

Monday, December 6, 2010

Memphis Or Bust

Fast forward to May 2006. Ethan and I have been dating for 3 years. He is 18 and I am 16. Ethan's parents kicked him out of their house in April so he has been living with me and my family for a month. We are working together at Mama's cafeteria. Neither of us are in high school, he graduated when he was 16 and I dropped out when I was 15.

I was born in Texas, but I spent the first 9 1/2 years of my life living in Memphis, Tennessee, so for our 3 year anniversary, Ethan wanted to do something really special. He decided that he wanted to see the other place I called home. He talked to my parents about it and finally they agreed. We were going to take a road trip together {our first time going anywhere for that long by ourselves} to Memphis. I was so incredibly excited!

I spent three days figuring out all the places from my childhood that I wanted to take Ethan to. Of course there were the houses I used to live in, the church that was a MAJOR part of our lives {so much so that we haven't been to one yet that has compared}, and my favorite places to go. I mapped out the best places to eat from my memory, and of course we had to go see the friends that became family when we lived in TN.

When we finally left I couldn't contain my happiness. I was so excited to get on the road, not only because I was going back to my childhood, but because I was having this awesome experience with the person who meant the most to me.

At the time, Ethan had a 1988 Honda Civic named Blue that was really falling apart. Looking back on it now, we were really lucky the car made it to Memphis and back. Driving 10 1/2 hours in the humid summer with no A/C and nothing but the radio, was an adventure in itself. I remember being unbearably hot and getting motion sickness from having the wind blowing in my face constantly.

We spent four amazing days driving around Memphis while I showed off my city. I took Ethan to the Peabody Hotel to watch the Peabody duck march, to the Memphis Zoo {my favorite zoo I've been to so far} which was a favorite field trip spot when I was in school, to the park I went to all the time when I was little. I took him to the first neighborhood I lived in, which was in the ghetto. Literally. We ate at all my favorite restaurants; Corky's BBQ {there is nothing that compares to Memphis BBQ}, Perkins, Dixie Cafe, Backyard Burgers, Johnny Rockets...We also got to see my favorite Memphis family, the Hamiltons. Bobbie Hamilton and my Mama were best friends back in the day. I have so many fond memories because of that family. Whenever I think of Memphis they are the first people that come to mind. Our families literally did everything together. We went to bible studies together, played at each other's houses, went to the library...they really helped my mom out when my dad split to. We stayed with them our last night in Memphis and it was so nice to see Ashley, Nicole, and Brittany - who I hadn't seen in years, and sadly who I haven't seen since. I told Ashley that night that I was going to marry Ethan. I had my heart set, and I knew that it would happen eventually.

On the way back to Texas Ethan began to talk about the thought of us getting married. We discussed things that we wanted in our lives, where we wanted to be in 10 years, and how we planned on getting there. He told me that he could see himself marrying me, and that the weekend had been a test to see if we could conceivably even be able to live together on our own. If we could get along, or if we would drive each other crazy. Clearly we passed the test, although looking back on it we really had no idea at all what marriage would be like. We thought we knew what love was. We thought we could handle anything without breaking a sweat. We thought marriage would be a piece of cake.

We had no idea what we were talking about. :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Summer Love Lasts Forever

December is my favorite month of the year. There are so many special things that make this month amazing, but the one that comes to mind first would be mine and Ethan's wedding anniversary. We've been through a lot since tying the knot, and I would like to take some time to talk about our relationship from the beginning and introduce you to the amazing man I married.

Ethan and I started dating on May 29, 2003. It was the day after my 8th grade graduation. I was 13 and Ethan was 15. I was Ethan's first girlfriend so he had absolutely no experience with asking a girl out. We were on the phone that night talking {like we had been for the past week and a half since Ethan's sister, Ruthie, told him that I had a crush on him} and he just randomly came out and said "So would you maybe wanna go see a movie with me sometime...or something?" I giggled and said yes and then he hung up. He called back less than 5 minutes later and with his friends laughing in the background he said, "Do you want to be my girlfriend?" It was so cute, of course I said yes. Later on he told me that his friend, Nick, made him call me back because he apparently sounded like an idiot asking me to the movies. Either way I loved it.
When we first started dating, neither one of our parents were completely thrilled about it. My mom had worries about Ethan being older than me, because of a past relationship I was in with an older guy that didn't end so well. She definitely didn't think that we would be dating very long. Ethan's parents didn't want us dating at all. They have strict religious beliefs and I think that they thought we were too young. They believe you're supposed to start dating when you're ready to get married, which obviously at our age we were not planning on marriage at all. We were just kids having fun.

Because of our parents' worries, we had to have a chaperon when we were together. Someone to make sure we weren't getting into trouble. Ethan's parents also decided that we were only allowed to see each other once a week. Ethan was homeschooled and I wasn't so we couldn't see each other during the week hardly at all so Sunday afternoons soon became my favorite part of the week. Usually Ethan would come to work with me and my parents on Sunday to get their cafeteria ready for opening on Monday morning. We hated it at the time, but looking back on it I think it really helped our relationship. By limiting our time together we learned to make the most of it, and to understand that there was a world out there beyond the two of us {as a lot of teenagers get when they are dating someone}.

My mom was on board with his parents' rules in the beginning, but as we got older she became more lax in her supervision. It also helped that Ethan was in some ways {at least when around adults} different than other guys his age because of the homeschooling. We came from two very different "clicks", he was the ghetto boy from the rough part of town, and I was the poor girl in the rich part of town. His friends were on the shadier side, and mine were a mix of drama/choir kids and the slutty girls. If we had gone to high school together we would have never worked out.

On our first date we went to the mall with Ruthie, and my best friend Sarah - both of them are the reason Ethan asked me out in the first place. We walked around for a while, window shopping. We went in the Sleep Number store and found our numbers {I'm a 50 and Ethan's a 55...yes I still remember} then we decided to go see a movie. The Italian Job was the first movie we ever watched together. We sat a few rows in front of Ruthie and Sarah, and every time Ethan would put his arm around me Sarah and Ruthie would imitate us. The couldn't stop giggling when he kissed me on the forehead towards the end of the movie. Very mature right? After the movie, my parents picked us up from the mall. Before we got in the car Ethan stopped me in the parking lot and asked me if he could kiss me. How sweet is that?! I knew he was special then.

Ethan {15} and Me {14}

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Vegetarian Wednesday: Lentil Soup

It's finally starting to get cold here in North Carolina (at least at night) and one of my favorite go-to dinners during cold winter nights is soup. It's such a comfort food to me so expect a few more soup recipes from me before winter is over. Enjoy!

1/4 c      olive oil
2-4 stalks      celery - chopped

2-4      carrots - diced
3-4 clvs     garlic - minced    

1      onion - chopped
1      bay leaf
1 tsp     dried basil
1(14.5oz) can     crushed tomatoes
2 c      dry lentils
4 c      veggie broth
4 c      water
1/2 c      spinach - rinsed and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp      balsamic vinegar
   salt and pepper to taste

- In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in lentil, and add water, broth, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. When ready to serve, stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wordless Wednesday: Thanksgiving in NY

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

235th Marine Corps Ball

So I'm really late with this post {as seems to be the trend with the rest of my blogging lately} but I couldn't make it to Thanksgiving without giving proper notice to one of my favorite Marine Corps traditions. This year was extra special for my husband and I because we didn't even think we would be able to go to the ball this year. If Ethan had gotten out in August like we had thought, then we would have just sat at home on a normal weekday night watching TV while our friends celebrate the birthday of our wonderful Corps.

Ethan came home from work early and I went to get my eyebrows done and then we dropped Aiden off with the babysitter. Then it was back to the house to get ready. I had planned on doing my hair all fancy, but I was missing a few things so I just straightened it. Paired with my gown, I think it looked decent.

This year we were in the Marine Dome (the basketball gym) on base. Instead of a plated dinner there was a buffet style dinner with no vegetarian option. Ethan and I ate a serving of rice, broccoli and cauliflower, and a teensy salad. I was really excited to be finally be 21 for the ball, but this year it was a cash bar (normally you pay for a wrist band and get like 10 drinks...which would put this girl out on the floor!) and the drinks were pretty expensive so I decided to just let Ethan have his fun that night. I have to say though that the DJ was really great. He played an awesome mix of good music. Ethan and I had a ton of fun dancing and being with our friends.

our beer pong buddies
Ethan's shop

dancing the night away
Normally we don't get the professional ball picture done because we always bring our camera along and neither of us see much point in paying for a mediocre photo, but this year Ethan decided to splurge because I looked "so amazingly beautiful" and because this was our 4th and final ball at Cherry Point. 
yes this is a picture of a scanner isn't working
And thank God we did those pictures first because while I was letting loose out on the dance floor with one of my friends the worst thing dress malfunctioned. Yeap that's right. I was being bent over into a awkwardly funny dance move and there went my zipper. I'm talking it came undone from top to right above my butt. Luckily Ethan was nearby and when I rushed over to him and told him what happened, he was ready to whisk his princess away.

I admit that I cried once we got to the car. I knew the dress wasn't damaged because it was a faulty zipper even before I borrowed it from my friend, but I was so upset that I had to leave. I felt like I ruined the ball, even though there was nothing I could do. As soon as we got home and I slipped the dress off, Ethan zipped it up, and it was perfect again.

Even with the malfunction it was a really fun last time. We made a lot of good memories and had one last really great night with all of our friends in one place.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vegetarian Wednesday (or Thurs) - Couscous Casserole

So it has been a while since I last posted a recipe. I'm finally getting back on track with everything I want to be doing so I'm going to be adding a recipe a week once again.

Vegetarian Couscous Casserole

1 (15oz) can      black beans - drained & rinsed
1 (8 3/4oz) can      corn - drained & rinsed
1 (8oz) can      water chestnuts - drained & rinsed
1 (7oz) jar      roasted red peppers in water - drained, rinsed, & cut into strips
1 1/2 c.      water
1/4 tsp.      salt
1 c.      couscous - uncooked
1/3 c.      green onions - minced
2 Tbsp.      pickled jalapeno pepper - minced
1 c.      part-skim ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp.      balsamic vinegar
2 tsp.      sesame oil
1 tsp.      ground cumin
6 c.      fresh spinach leaves

- Bring water and salt to a boil in saucepan. Remove from heat. Add couscous and stir well. Cover and let stand 5 mins or until absorbed. Add black beans, corn, water chestnuts, roasted red peppers, onions, and jalapenos. Stir gently.
- Combine cheese, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, and cumin. Stir into couscous mixture. Spoon into an 11x7x2 inch baking dish coated in non-stick cooking spray.
- Bake uncovered at 350 F for 25 minutes.
- To serve, spoon couscous mixture on individual servings of fresh spinach. Enjoy!

I have to say that I was a bit skeptical once the casserole came out of the oven. I didn't know how I felt about eating it over the spinach, but at first bite I was hooked. The spinach gives a nice crunchy texture to the casserole. I added hot sauce to mine because I love spicy food.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

While I Was Gone: Playgrounds, Trains, and Dinos...Oh My!

Something we always like to do when we are in Austin is go to Zilker Park. It's this giant public park near downtown that has a ton of different things to do. It has a public spring-fed pool, soccer fields, rugby fields, rock climbing, a few different playscapes, a giant stage where Shakespeare in the Park is performed during the summer weekends, and of course the Zilker Zephyr. Aiden, like most little boys, loves being outside. Mix that with a beautiful weather and a train ride, and you get a prefect day.

By the time we got to Zilker that day we had missed the train by less than 5 minutes. This being our second attempt at riding the dumb train, we decided to just stick around for another hour and a half so that we wouldn't miss the next one. While we waited we decided to take Aiden and Tristan to the playground. They played for a while, climbing and sliding, and not listening to us at all. Aiden's favorite thing to do was to pretend to drive the old-fashioned fire truck.
We decided to head down to the Greenbelt to let the boys look at the water because they love it, and who gets to still swim/get your feet wet in November? Gotta love Texas right? So to our awesome luck, a family (I don't know the technical term for it...gaggle? flock?) of ducks chose that precise time when the boys were squirming their toes in the water to swim up so that we could say hello. Jennifer had a bag of Baked Ruffles in her purse that she dug out so that the boys could feed the ducks. Let me tell you, these ducks had no fear. They swam right up to the kids and didn't even scoot away when they started throwing the food. A few were even brave enough to eat a chip right out of Jennifer's hand! Aiden really loved that part.

real picture taken by moi

After the bag of chips were eaten, we headed back to the little train station area to wait. When the train finally pulled up and we climbed aboard, both Aiden and Tristan were pretty excited. The last time we were in Texas Ethan and I took Aiden on the train, and he remembered it the second time. He was a little anxious at first because instead of riding in our laps he got to sit on the seat next to us. I think he had to get used to the feeling of moving and swaying with the motion of the train, but he soon forgot all about that. He started to sing the theme song from his favorite TV show Dinosaur Train, and started asking where the characters from the show were. He was slightly miffed when we explained to him that there were no dinosaurs, only people on this train.

After the short ride we decided to head into the air conditioning for a while. Jennifer told us about a museum on the University of Texas {Go Longhorns!} campus that had a bunch of dinosaur bones. Since Aiden had already been asking about dinosaurs we figured it would be a fun experience for them.

It was a pretty small museum, but it had some interesting stuff. I for one love museums so I was happy to go at all. Sadly, when you go to a museum with a two year old and a four year old, don't expect to be able to actually take time to look at any of the exhibits. The boys just flew from one cool display to the next. They were nice and quiet and didn't touch anything, but they didn't care about finding out where a certain bone came from or how it played into the animal's life. There were some cool dino bones, but I was more interested in the animal and science stuff. Maybe one day Ethan and I can go back so that we can just look around. 

After the museum we dropped Tristan and Jennifer off at their house and then went out to dinner with my Mama, her boyfriend Jerry, and his grandson Junior, and then all of us drove out to my Aunt Robyn's house for my family's usual coffee and cigarettes. My cousin's wife and their son were there also so it was a fun time for Aiden to be able to play with the babies in the family. My cousin, Billy, is in the Army and is currently deployed so it was nice to be able to see Ashley and Micah. All of us - Aunt Robyn, Brandy, Ashley, Micah, Mama, Jerry, Junior, Ethan, me, Aiden, and Grandma - walked down to the neighborhood park to let the boys play on the playground. Robyn could've sworn that the place was lit up (seeing that it was dark outside) but we let them play anyways...with adult supervision of course! Aiden and Micah had more fun chasing the flashlight beams than anything else.

Me and Aiden, Ashley and Micah
Some really fun memories were made that night. I really hope that we will be able to make some more as a big family again. When I'm having a bad day and all I want to do is go home, it's nice to think about memories like that and know that even though I'm far away, my family is back home supporting me and loving me.

Yet Again

I have been really sick, and now the Monster is sick too. He's had fever and other ailments that aren't pleasant at all. We are finally both on the mend, although Aiden has become very clingy and whiny today so I don't think he's completely over it yet.

I have been really behind on my blogging, and for that I am sorry. I will be catching up this week on everyone else's stuff now that things are getting easier around here. Hopefully I'll be able to post a few things as well.

We had a really great balls this year and I definitely want to share. It was such an interesting experience.

For now I am just cuddling on the couch with my sweet, sick angel. Sometimes when no other medicine can help, a hug from Mama can make all the difference.

Aiden also had an eye appointment today (thank God his fever broke last night) and the doctor has decided that surgery is now the only option to get Aiden's eyes back to normal. The MRI scans came out great so his eyes are turning inwards on their own for some reason. Which is much better than there being something wrong with his brain. So in January we will be back in Wilmington waiting to see if it'll work.

It will be a quick 45 minutes surgery. There won't be any scars on his skin, no patches or anything to worry about. The only side effect will be bloody eyes for a few days. Either way I'm still worried. I don't think any mother likes the idea of their toddler being put under and cut into. My first surgery was at the age of 20. My son will have two surgeries on his eyes before the age of 3. I just hope this will be the last of the surgeries for a long while.

Aiden with his "pirate patch"

Monday, November 8, 2010

While I Was Gone: Trick-Or-Treat

This Halloween was so much fun. I think part of the reason was because we spent it with family, and Aiden was finally old enough to really understand what was going on. He completely got the whole concept of dressing up and getting candy. It was a really fun experience to witness Halloween through his eyes.

Aiden had so much fun dressing up for Halloween. He loved being a Marine. In fact now that we're home he has asked us a few times where his blouse is so I'm thinking this weekend we'll have to dress him up again. I think Ethan had more fun than Aiden, teaching him how to be a Marine. Aiden now knows that you don't wear a cover inside. He knows how to stand at attention and parade rest. Ethan came home the day before we left for Texas with SgtMaj chevrons for Aiden's costume, he said he couldn't resist.

We went with Ethan's brother and sisters, Caleb, Faith, Ruthie and her husband's family. Aiden of course was so psyched that he got to spend time with his new baby cousin, but he was even more amazed when we pulled up to the house. Ruthie and Daniel's nephew, Pepper, was Buzz Lightyear, and Aiden was so amazed. He couldn't believe that Buzz Lightyear would come just to go trick-or-treating with him.

We brought the stroller with us because we weren't sure how long Aiden could handle the walking, but Aiden was too busy running after Pepper saying "Hey Buzz come back here!" He figured out after the first few houses that the people at the doors were giving out candy, and that's when he became a little more demanding. He started telling the people with the candy that he wanted more or a different one. Ethan and I had to try to explain to him that it was rude to tell people that, but by the end of the night we had a ton of KitKats (which I love) because Aiden kept asking for the red candies.

It's Buzz Lightyear!!
We walked around for about an hour and a half before Maddie, who slept through the whole ordeal, started getting fussy. After checking all the candy and getting Maddie fed, we headed over to Ethan's parent's house to show off the grandchildren's costumes and of course take pictures. Aiden got to hold Maddie for the first time, and although at first she was unhappy Aiden seemed to calm her down a little. He loved holding her. He loves his cousin.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

While I Was Gone: 6th Street

My best friend, Jennifer, turned 24 the Friday we were in Austin. Ethan and I haven't been home for her birthday in 4 years so it was nice to be able to spend the day together. We took Jennifer and the boys out to breakfast at our favorite Austin diner, Kerbey Lane, and then we went to the mall to shop for club clothes because a bunch of us were going downtown that night for Jennifer's birthday.

Being that we live in a tiny town with limited options for clubs, I don't own that many going out outfits and who doesn't love to shop for a new outfit on their birthday? So Ethan decided to take the boys on the mall train to distract them while the ladies found the perfect outfit.

First we started out at a 24 hour kosher deli called Katz's (it never kloses!) for Jennifer's birthday dinner. It was me and Ethan and a bunch of Jennifer's friends from high school. Ethan and I didn't go to her high school so we didn't know everyone, but we made do. Ethan actually met a former Marine who was stationed in San Diego and had the same job as Ethan. In fact they were about 2 weeks apart during boot camp and school. They really hit it off.

Jennifer is the only one looking at the camera...
Then we headed down to the clubs. It was my first time being 21 on 6th, and let me tell you it is a completely different experience. Sixth Street is an Austin landmark. Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World, and 6th Street is where a lot of it goes down. I mean if you just type in "6th Street" in Google it'll tell you all about it. It is insane. It was my first time being 21 on 6th, and let me tell you it is a completely different experience. Add Halloween weekend to it and it just becomes this crazy place where you can see and be seen. 

Me, Monica, Jennifer, Ashley, and Melissa
 We went to a few different places, but my favorite was definitely Barcelona. It's completely underground so it has this awesome atmosphere. Plus the bartender made ah-mazing drinks. I think she made the best Blue Hawaiian I have ever had. Ethan happened to see a guy he used to work with back when he was a teenager who also got out of the Marine Corps like 6 months before so the three Marines bought each other shots all night. Needless to say, Ethan - who doesn't drink anything harder than beer anymore, was really really messed up. The sad part is that I trusted him with the camera....never again.
Anyways it was a really fun night. It was definitely nice to get out without the Monster and just let loose. We don't get very many chances to do that here in Havelock. Plus there's no place on Earth like downtown Austin!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

While I Was Gone: I Love To Fly

I seriously love flying. I always have. I think it's because I've been doing it ever since I can remember. It's always a constant thing. You take off, cruise while you snack on peanuts and cokes, and in a few short hours you land in a totally different place. Flying is familiar. It's comforting. I am really afraid of heights, but for some reason when I am flying all of my fears disappear

I grew up in Tennessee, but all of our family lived in Texas so every other year we would fly home for the holidays to see everyone. Then when my parents divorced when I was 9, we moved to Austin and my Daddy moved to Dallas. It's only a short 4 hour drive, but for some reason Daddy found it easier to fly my brother and I to him. So about once every 6 months to a year we hopped on a plane by ourselves for a 45 minute flight.

Aiden has flown before, in fact his first flight was while he was still in the womb, but he is finally at the age where he really understands what is going on. Since we live on an Air Station it's only natural for him to be obsessed with airplanes and helicopters so it was really fun to take him to the airport. He was so excited! While we were waiting at the airport we went on an airplane hunt to find the different types of planes. His favorite was definitely one of the small puddle-jumper planes with propellers.

On this trip however I have learned a few things. While Aiden loves airplanes and the airport, he does not like being on a plane for more than two hours. Just because the plane lands doesn't mean Aiden will be content staying on the plane instead of getting off with half of the other passengers. Next time we will book all of our flights with a layover.

I have also discovered that I really really like clouds. I used to love cloud watch when I was little. I would lay in the backseat of the car and stare at the sky as we drove by. I find shapes in them. I love that each time you look up at the sky there is always something different to see. Maybe I'm weird?

Completely unrelated, but exciting all the husband was promoted today!! We went out to an early dinner to celebrate before he left for his sleep study. Hopefully the docs can figure out why this boy can't stay awake to save his life!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

I haven't been blogging lately because we are back home in Austin and up until today we haven't had a moment to breathe due to all the wedding stuff. Now that Amy is now a beautiful happily married woman that is all behind us. The computer I'm on is VERY slow and annoying and won't load any of my pictures so I'll probably be MIA until Wednesday when we get back to NC. Serves me right for letting Ethan convince me that we wouldn't be needing the laptop. Oh no sir never again :-)

I just wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe Halloween!! "See" you in a few days!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekend Recap

Friday afternoon we were supposed to go to the county fair in New Bern, but I wasn't feeling too great and we were supposed to be gone all day Saturday so Ethan took me out for a quick dinner and then we rented a few movies. Sadly by the time I was done putting Aiden to bed Ethan was completely passed out so we didn't so anything. He slept with his head in my lap while I caught up on a few things. It wasn't ideal, but it was nice to get a few hours to myself, minus the snoring coming from my lap.

Saturday we went garage saling for some new clothes for Aiden. He is finally in 24 months and 2T {he has been in 18 mo for over a year} and for the first time since he was born we actually have to buy an entire wardrobe for him. We've been very lucky by getting hand-me-downs from military friends with older {or bigger} boys. I mean sure we've bought Aiden clothes, but he hasn't needed clothes. We buy the occasional outfit just because it's cute or on sale, but now the boy has nothing to wear. Anyways there wasn't much of anything at all so we decided to look at one last sale and head back home. The last garage sale didn't have any clothes, but it had a pretty decent keyboard. When I was younger I taught myself to play the piano, well sort of, and I've always said I wanted to be able to play whenever I want. Ethan decided to get it for me, which of course I'm super excited about. Aiden and I have been playing music ever since!

Later on we headed out to Jacksonville for Oktoberfest. It was kind of lame actually. We met briefly with Nicole from Flip Flops And Combat Boots, but I guess it just wasn't in the cards that day for us to actually hang out. Aiden didn't care about talking, he wanted to go play with all of the other kids. Hopefully next time we can actually have a real conversation. :-)

Maybe I was expecting more, being that Oktoberfest is supposed to be some huge deal, but it really wasn't that great. There was a small area that was designated for drinking and a few wine booths, but you couldn't take the alcohol through the rest of the area. Aiden had fun riding on the "duck train" and playing the free games. He even won a small stuffed whale from one of the games.

Aiden's first tattoo :-)

Ethan and I decided to at least do a little wine tasting. I have to say that I think I have fallen for muscadine grapes. One booth had this delicious muscadine and blackberry Merlot that I loved. I really wish we had bought a bottle for the house. The best thing I had though was a muscadine cider slushy. Oh my gosh it was soooooo good!! We also got some boiled peanuts. Neither of us had ever had them before, but I was told when we first moved here that North Carolina is like famous for boiled peanuts so I wanted to try some while we're still here. They are surprisingly really good! Although Ethan and I ate a few with the shell on before realizing that that's not how you eat them. Haha oops! 

Our last stop was the petting zoo, although it made me sad. The animals acted like they had only the small cups of food that were given to the kids. The donkey kept kicking at the other animals to keep them from the food he was getting from one little girl and while Aiden and I were feeding a sheep this giant goat just ran up and rammed the sheep to get to the food Aiden had.

He loved watching them eat

After we left Oktoberfest we decided to get some Christmas ideas for Aiden at Toys R Us and to grab dinner in Jacksonville because let's face it - there's like 15475423 times as many restaurants there than in Havelock. We had Cracker Barrel and oh it was so yummy. Ethan even surprised me by getting me some pumpkin butter. On the way home we stopped at Starbucks and I got my first Pumpkin Spice Latte ever. It was pretty okay. The coffee tasted a little burnt? I'm going to try it one more time before I decide I prefer a Caramel Apple Spice.

Sunday we just relaxed all day. We finally decided on Aiden's Halloween costume. He's going to be a Marine like his Daddy. I can't wait to take him trick-or-treating in Austin with his aunts and uncles. It's going to be so much fun.

Aiden had his MRI today. He did really well. The only problem he had was when they put the IV in him. Ethan went in the room with him to hold him down. I have a hard time with needles (even though I have tattoos) and seeing my baby in pain. I could hear him screaming from down the hall and I was in tears, no way I could've been in there. Both parents weren't allowed in the room at the same time anyways so Ethan went with him for the IV and went in for the MRI. Now we just have to wait for Aiden's next eye appointment to find out the results.   
I hope everyone had a good weekend and Monday :-)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just a few random things

So I have been reading through my blog and I have come to realize that I haven't really told you much about myself. I mean with the exception of my Introduction, I haven't really said that much about me. That is what I will do today, just give you a few tidbits about me and mine, just in case you're interested.

♥ My name is Lauren (obviously), but my nephew calls me Lala. It was the 9th most popular name in 1989, and although a lot of people say they love my name...I hate it. It is too common. I was Lauren R. my entire school education with an average of at least one other Lauren in almost all of my classes.

♥ Because of my common name I really love different and exotic you can plainly guess my husband picked our son's name. My first choice was Israel. Although if you look at Aiden's pictures he looks nothing like an Israel. 

♥ I was born in Texas, but I lived in Memphis, Tennessee until my parents divorced when I was 9.

♥ I have one brother, Bryan, who is 15 months younger than me. He still has the ability to annoy the crap out of me, but I still love him.

♥ My Mama is albino. Like you know the little white lab mice? That's my mom. She has white hair, purple eyes, and pink skin. She is also legally blind.

♥ My Daddy is the commissioner of the Gay Softball League of Dallas. He has a husband (legally although Texas doesn't recognize it) and a puppy. Ethan calls him "The Commish."

♥ I support gay marriage.

♥ Ethan was at my parents' wedding before I was even conceived. Tell me that's not crazy.

♥ Ethan and I have been together since 2003. I was 13 and he was 15.

♥ I was engaged at 16, married at 17, had a baby at 18, and was *almost* divorced at 19. I am now 21 years old and very happily married. :-)

♥ I have twelve brother/sister-in-laws and the number keeps growing every few years.

♥ I became an Aunt for the first time in late August.

♥ I have had plastic surgery. I had a medically necessary breast reduction in Feb 2010. It was a 9 hour surgery and they took out 6 pounds!

♥ I love music. Seriously. It is always playing wherever I go. I speak through lyrics. Might be corny but it's totally true. I don't discriminate either. I listen to it all randomly.

♥ I don't have a favorite singer or band because I like different artists at different times. At the moment I've been listening to South Park Mexican (SPM), Tegan and Sara, Taylor Swift, Eminem, Billie Holiday, and Paramore the most.

♥ I love playing video games, but our Xbox360 has been broken for a while. My favorite games are Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare.

♥ I wasn't allowed to watch a lot of movies when I was younger.

♥ My favorite movies are Thirteen, Beauty and the Beast, The Hangover, and Across The Universe.

♥ I like faeries, hearts, stars, waking up to text messages, sunsets, fresh baked cookies, new clothes, shoes, and overcast skies.

♥  I don't like green beans, humidity, allergies, or cold rainy days.

♥ I love really good Mexican food.

♥ North Carolina doesn't have really good Mexican food.

♥ I've never been on a roller coaster that goes upside down.

♥ I just learned how to ride a bike about 3 months ago.

♥ I'm one of those people who loves Starbucks, but almost never orders something with coffee in it.

♥ I love to cook.

♥ I love photography.

♥ I would consider myself adventurous.

♥ I will always try something at least once.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Swap Package!

So with all the stressful irritating crap happening today I was so excited to open the door after chow and find a white package from the post office from my Fall Swap partner, Reina. There has been issues with the mail lately so I was beginning to wonder if it hadn't just been sent back to her.

Reina sure does know how to give the goodies!

There's a lot of candy, but I'm sure that over the next few days that will be eaten. My husband doesn't like to admit it, but he has a huge sweet tooth. Candy never lasts too long when he's home. She also added some cute ghost marshmellows and sprinkles and little Halloween baking cups so Monster and I will be making our first batch of cupcakes together soon. She also sent some lip balm (which I love), some "adult" candy, a nice candle, an adorable picture frame, and a really cute Halloween card.  The candle is Caramel Apple Pie and it smells so good! It has been burning since I opened it. I also really love the picture frame. Aiden's newest Halloween picture will be going in there as soon as we can decide what he is going to be. {It's between IronMan, Woody, and a little Marine.}

Aiden LOVES these straws!

oh yes we're going to bake soon
Thank you so much to Reina for the awesome package and also to Nicole for hosting the Fall Swap!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

For being paid so well these doctors just don't think!

I don't know what it is with the doctors in the area that have such a problem with communicating between each other. Just getting Aiden's eye figured out has become this huge challenge that really is very simple. Talk to each other! If the doctor's office in Wilmington would just pick up the phone and call the hospital in New Bern things would go a lot smoother.

The opthamoligst decided that before he decides whether or not to operate on Aiden's eye, he wants to make sure that there is nothing going on in his brain that would make his eye go right back to the way it is now after the surgery, blah blah blah. It took almost a week for Aiden's eye doctor in Wilmington to be able to schedule an appointment for Aiden to have a CT scan. The reason? Neither the eye doc in Wilmington or the Naval Hospital here knew who was supposed to set up the scan so that Tricare covers it. I called the eye doc and she told me to call the Naval Hospital so I did. I called the hospital and the lady there told me that the eye doc had to schedule it because he is the one ordering the scan in the first place. Fine with me, whatever, just get it done. {This was over the course of three days by the time everyone called me back by the way}

Today was the big day for Aiden's scan at the hospital in New Bern (where he was born). We go through the motions and about 30 minutes later the RN is in the room with us asking questions. She explained to me that because of what was needed they would have to sedate Aiden and put an IV in for the dye. She asked me when the last time he ate was and I told her he had had lunch about two hours before. She then told me that in order for the sedative to work the patient has to have fasted for 6-8 hours and in the case of a toddler they have to be sleep deprived. She glanced at Aiden who was at this point climbing all over Ethan and the extra chair in the prep area and said that he is a typical two-year-old and clearly would not be able to hold still for the scan. I was becoming really frustrated. No one from any of the doctor's offices told us about the fasting and sedation requirements, even when I specifically asked. I asked the nurse why no one had said anything and she said it was Aiden's opthamologist's responsibility to tell us these things.

First of all, even if I had known that he wasn't supposed to sleep normally and eat for 6-8 hours prior to the scan, his appointment was at 3 in the afternoon. That would mean Aiden would have had have 2-3 hours less sleep (as recommended by the other nurse that talked to us) AND his last meal would have been at 7 this morning. Wtf?! Who the hell schedules that for a toddler??

So then we go back into the waiting room while the RN calls Aiden's doctor because she thinks that it would be better for him to have a MRI instead because there is less radiation with an MRI compared to a CT scan. Who knew. You learn something new everyday, right? We've been at the hospital for almost an hour and a half now. The receptionist calls me up to the desk and asks me to follow her into a private room to talk. She sits me down and tells me that I have to call Aiden's pediatrician at the Naval Hospital and tell them that they have to fax the hospital some stupid form before they can agree to a MRI. I have no idea what this dumb form is, I don't know medical lingo at all. So why the heck am I doing the calling? Why isn't the woman who gets paid for this doing her job? I left a message sounding like an idiot because I have no idea what they are asking for and then the receptionist lady tells me that we can go home because nothing is going to happen today.

We left the hospital so frustrated that things can't just get done when they're supposed to. I mean this could have been avoided completely had we been given the right information in the first place and if the medical facilities could just keep tabs on things when they have a mutual patient. You can bet your ass that when I get the call for the rescheduled CT or MRI or whatever they decide to do I'm getting all the information I can. I'm sure I will annoy whoever has to deal with me, but I don't care. I'm not going to do this run around crap again.

Ugh!! {end rant}

Monday, October 18, 2010

Summer Reflections

Now that I have more than a few moments to myself I'd like to take a few minutes to look back on this summer. It was a very interesting and friend-filled summer. Starting in May when my nephew broke his femur. Jennifer can't drive and her baby daddy wasn't being very helpful at the time so Ethan and I drove down to Texas so that I could help her out. Ethan stayed for a few days and then flew back to NC that way I could have the car.

Aiden's first haircut


Aiden and Tristan

I spent the entire month of June in Texas with Jennifer. Jennifer and I spent most of the time at home letting the boys play, although I did get a few days to myself to get some things taken care of while I was there. I finally came back home 4th of July weekend - just in time for my 21st birthday. Ethan's brother Isaac came to stay for the summer and to help us move at the end of August.

Aiden and Uncle Isaac
 Toward the end of August, Jennifer and Tristan flew to NC to help me get the house packed and cleaned before moving day. It was really interesting for us to go through the house, finding things we never even unpacked from the first move into the house over a year ago. We got rid of a bunch of stuff, but we still had a ton of boxes and such. You never know how much junk you have until you have to downsize. It is insane to me how much crap we accumulated over 3 years!

almost the entire house packed away...there were about 30-40 boxes

loading up the truck

our little redneck babies...sitting barefoot on a washer in the front yard
and unloading the truck in the same day

Jennifer and Tristan stayed in NC until the first week of October.  We did a lot of fun stuff with the boys and it was really great to be able to relax after the stress of moving and not moving. They got to be here for Ethan's birthday and his re-enlistment.We had a lot of fun this summer, but I'm ready to have a bit of time with my husband before we have a houseful of people again. I'm so glad that it's fall. The weather is cooling down, the trees are changing, and football season is in full swing. This is going to be a great last few months of 2010!

The first fallen leaf of Autumn 2010 :-)