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 :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wait do you hear that.....? It's so QUIET!!

I have been absent this past long weekend because in all honestly I was having a break from everything except for my family. My best friend and nephew got on a plane Saturday morning and flew back home, leaving Ethan, Aiden, and I alone for the first time in 5 months!! Is that insane to anyone else? We haven't had the house to ourselves for more than two days in that long.

So what did we do all weekend? Absolutely nothing and it felt great! We explored around Raleigh for a little while with a promise to go back and check out the huge Children's Museum and the downtown shops. We spent all day Sunday watching football (something we haven't been able to do at all while everyone was here). We laid around reading and watching TV and cooking together. It's been so nice to have just the three of us together again.

The weirdest thing is the quiet. There aren't any fighting/arguing/playing/screaming/annoying toddlers going crazy all day. Yes Aiden is quiet a noisemaker, but when you put him and Tristan together...most of the time you can't even hear yourself think during the day. I love my nephew so much, but I do appreciate that my child is much more quieter, probably because he is a year younger.

I have so many things on my to-do list to get done now that I have the house back to myself during the day. I plan on first conquering the mountain of laundry that seems to have piled up over the past week, I need to clean the kitchen and sweep and mop all the floors. Then the real fun can begin. I plan on unpacking the boxes that we still have from when we almost moved. I plan on putting up every picture frame that we own. Aiden and I are going to be doing crafts every few days to keep him busy. I'm turning this house into a home that I can be proud of.

Also I can focus more on Aiden's learning and such. I've always believed that if I stay at home with my kids that I need to teach them just as much as they would learn at a daycare, otherwise I can't really justify not working if Aiden's just going to veg out in front of the TV all day. He is very smart and I love watching him learn new things. My goals before he turns 3 is for him to know a lot more Spanish vocabulary, to learn another 20 ASL signs, and to be fully potty trained. The potty training is the one that's going to get me. All you moms out there let me in on the secret to getting him to be completely potty trained. He does really good if we ask him if he has to go, but if we don't mention going to the potty he'll just sit there and go on himself and not say anything, even when he's in regular underwear. I don't know how to get past this one problem. If he can start telling us when he has to go he'll be able to do it I know it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eye Doc

Aiden has had minor problems with his eyes since he was born. From birth he had a blocked tear duct in his right eye. The doctors told us it would go away on it's own in about 6 months, then they told us 12 months. After his one year check up the PCM told us that we need to see a pediatric opthamologist to talk about the options to fix the tear duct. We got a referral out to the only pediatric opthamologist in eastern NC, which is in Wilmington NC {about 2 hours from us}.

When Aiden was 16 months old he has surgery on his eye to fix the tear duct. It was a quick 30 minute surgery, no complications or anything, no pain meds to worry about, and we were on our way. The hardest part was seeing Aiden after waking up from being put under. A kid that small doesn't understand what's going on and it's like waking up and feeling drunk...but as a toddler. It freaks them out.

Anyways Aiden's left eye since around early to mid-August has been moving inward like a lazy eye when he focuses on things. It has never happened before so we got another referral and met with the doctor today. Apparently Aiden's eye can't be corrected with glasses. He has to wear an eye patch over his right eye for 3-4 hours a day to try to encourage the left eye to start working properly. He has to do this for at least the 5 weeks between his next appointment. The nurse has told us that this will be difficult for us so we need to find special things for Aiden to do while it's patch time. He also has to be scheduled for a CT scan to rule out that it isn't being cause by something in the brain. The doctor said he doesn't think that that is the case with Aiden because he is definitely slightly ahead of other children his age. The last and final option if none of these things work out for him will be eye muscle surgery. I'm trying to focus on the fact that this may not be needed at all, but the thought of Aiden having another surgery just scares me. I won't dwell on it until the time comes, but I really pray that it doesn't come to that.

Since we were already in Wilmington and I couldn't see the point in wasting a two hour drive on a short doctor's visit, we also took Aiden to the Children's Museum. We've never been to the one in Wilmington, but if you have kids or know someone with kids in the area it's definitely a cute place to go. There's a bunch of different small exhibits to play with. There is a lower floor that was under construction, but the rest of the place was interesting. We're definitely going to be going back once they have the rest of the place finished.

He takes any chance he gets to act like a kid

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's Official!

Ethan re-enlisted yesterday so it is finally official. We have signed our lives over for at least another 4 years. No more waiting to see what happens next. No more wondering if things are going to work out for the best. Ethan spent almost an entire year trying to make sure that he could stay a Marine, and now he doesn't have to worry for a good while. It is a huge sigh of relief for us.

The morning started off nicely. I woke up on time {a big accomplishment for me when I didn't go to bed until past 3 am the night before} and did my hair before the rest of the house began to stir. Jennifer took a quick shower while I woke up Aiden and got him ready. We made it early to the parking lot and got both kids in the strollers and to the grassy area where the ceremony was going to take place when we realized that while we had grabbed the sippy cups, make up bags, food to keep the kids quiet and happy, etc. we had forgotten the one major thing that was needed. The camera!! It was left on the bed next to where the cups were. For some reason we grabbed the cups but completely missed the other essential. And because Ethan was the only person re-enlisting no one else had a camera with them. So we have like three pictures that were taken with a camera phone. I was bummed, but I couldn't do anything about it.

I had never seen a re-enlistment ceremony before so I didn't know what to expect when Ethan told me that I would be standing in front of the formation too to receive a certificate. I was a little nervous, although looking back I have no idea why because I literally stood there and looked pretty :-) He was discharged and was asked if he had anything to say as a civilian. He turned his cover backwards, did a goofy Michael Jackson spin, fixed his cover back and said "No sir." Everyone laughed {even though they were in formation} and then they got on to the rest of it. I was called up to receive my appreciation certificate. It was a nice little ceremony and Ethan had the rest of the day off.

Within the next two months we'll find out when he'll be going to his OJT and then on to Florida for his school. I'm a little nervous about moving to Florida just because I know that he'll need to be really focused on his schooling. I don't want him worrying about how Aiden and I are settling in, but with an MOS like EOD I really would like to spend as much time together as we can because I know that the next four years are going to bring a lot of time apart as well. I'm starting to prepare myself for that aspect.

So here we are, starting the next chapter of our Marine Corps life. It's gonna be a hell of a ride!!

On a side note, Aiden has a doctor's appointment in Wilmington tomorrow so we're trying to find things around the area that is inside {he'll be getting his eyes dilated} and kid-friendly. I'm thinking a visit to the Children's Museum is in order. I'm definitely not forgetting the camera this time!

Friday, October 1, 2010

October? Really??

I woke up today to the sound of no rain and I have to say it was a very welcome silence. I like the occasional downpour, but this constant four day non-stop wetness just drives me crazy. Aiden has wanted to go play outside and is so bored with playing in his room and coloring and watching Disney movies. Tristan {my best friend's son} is now sick. We aren't sure if he has really bad allergies from the rain washing everything out, or if it's the flu, but either way he doesn't have insurance here so we're hoping that it doesn't get worse.

So today is October 1st. Is that insane to anyone else but me? I mean it still feels like it should be like July or August. I guess it's from all the excitement and all the people in the house over the summer. I mean Aiden spent the month of June in Texas. In July my mother and brother in-law came to stay for a while. In August we had Isaac with us, Jennifer and Tristan flew up here, and we went through the whole Marine Corps and moving drama. In September Isaac went home, but Jennifer and Tristan are still here. I hope that we can have a quieter and more relaxing fall and winter.

October is going to be a pretty busy month, but in a good way. Ethan's birthday is on Monday so we're going to go out this weekend to celebrate. It's going to be nice to be able to go out and have some fun without the kids. In late October Ethan's older sister, Amy, is getting married so we're going home. I'm really excited because we'll get to see our new niece for the first time.

Now for the really really great news.....

Ethan is re-enlisting on Tuesday!!

It has been almost a year since he started trying. It seemed like problem after problem came up that kept him from being able to re-up. Then we ran out of options. We had the house packed and the moving truck loaded and Ethan got a call. The higher ups in VA had decided to give him a 2 month extension {never been done before} so that he could re-enlist. Now we finally have a date. Next week we'll be signed to the Marine Corps for another 4 years. I couldn't be happier for my husband.

He is re-enlisting and LAT moving (changing jobs) into EOD, explosive ordnance disposal {think The Hurtlocker, but less dramatic} It's a pretty tough job. The school is almost a year long in Florida and then after that we'll PCS. Luckily Aiden and I will be able to go with Ethan while he is in school. Also because he will be changing jobs and his score to pick up is higher in the MOS he's in now, he'll be picking up rank in either November or December, depending on when they put his package completely through.

Although the MOS sort of scares me, I know that the Marine Corps will train him well. I'm just happy that he is happy. Things are starting to look up for us again.  :-)