31 December 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

Another year has come  . . .and gone . .. and now another year lies before us, untouched, new, just waiting to be explored. The adventure, the mundane, the good times, the bad times, lessons to learn and experience to teach . . . all not yet done. Ah, the freshness of the start of a new year; the newness, tabula rassa - now I just need some chalk for that slate. :)

2012 was a fairly good year. We had a very busy year with a lot travel . . . . we drove to Florida and back in May, and then to South Dakota and back via Wyoming in October. My brother Thomas got married to an amazing woman (Leigh-Ann). Butterfly turned 3, Little Man turned 2 and Flower turned 1. Mike went on a few short TDY's and we all survived unscathed. We had several wonderful visits with family - both Mike's parents and my Dad, at their homes and ours.

Butterfly started preschool and loves it. She has really become a little girl and is no longer a toddler. She has grown quite a bit in stature and has really lost that "toddler" look. She loves to dance to the classical music we often have playing in the home and has a new found love of animals. Little Man started talking up a storm and though shy around people he doesn't know, will talk your ear off once he's comfortable around you. He is our little Jumping Bean and loves to jump and jump and run and run. He still raises his eyebrows over everything and you can see his mind working things out. He has a new found love of cars, and of course he loves trains. Everything is trains, trains, trains.  Flower learned to scoot, and then learned to walk, and then learned to climb. She says "please" and "thank you" on a regular basis (she learned from her siblings, although she's much more polite than them - she's a fast learner!) She adores her older sister and brother and is often seen emulating them, both good and bad. It's so amazing how much they learn in the first few years of life! Now she's all over the place and loves to talk in her little toddler babble.

We still have our feline Galileo (that, in and of itself, is quite miraculous!) and we have a new addition to our family: Boots, or as the kids call him, Boots Kitty.

It was a very busy year - there were a lot (A LOT) of days where I felt like I just didn't stop moving all day, from the time I got up until I lay back down to sleep at night, which was usually pretty early. I did get a few projects completed: the garage got a good, thorough cleaning and organizing while Mike was TDY in August (and about a week after he returned, it was back to its' previous state . . .), I finished Butterfly and Little Man's Shutterfly First Year photo albums, finished "2010 Year in Review" and am almost finished with "2012 Year in Review". We also has a pretty good garden this summer, although we mostly got lots of beautiful flowers and not much produce. Hopefully 2013 will have a better crop.

I started going to Jazzercise several times a week, and I really love it! I've even lost a few pounds, although I am NOT /trying to lose weight at all. Mike really, really loves that I'm going to Jazzercise and enjoys watching me skip and dance around the house while I take care of things at home.

We left Desert Springs Church over the summer and started attending the chapel on base. I think that was the best decision we made this year. We don't have anything against DSC, but felt the Lord leading us to attend the base chapel. Going to the service at the chapel feels like coming home, for both Mike and I. Everyone welcomes us like family every week and there is so much love there. We have also been growing so much more that we were at DSC. We are actually back in a Navigator's Bible Study, just like we were in Oklahoma. I really love that! I have never been in another Bible Study that teaches you to get into God's Word like the Nav studies. Beth Moore comes pretty close though. We miss our friends at DSC, but we do keep up with them via FB and such, so it's not like we never see them.

This year was also a year for goodbyes and hellos. My dear friend Sierra PCS'd in May and that was a hard goodbye. Some new friends PCS'd in over the summer though and they have been wonderful ladies to get to know: Whitney and Liz. I look forward to getting to know them better and to good times in the coming year. I know there will be a lot of goodbyes this year as well: several friends are PCSing from KAFB . .. I wonder who the new year will bring to KAFB . . .

So with that, I'll wrap it up. I bid you a fond farewell 2012 . . . . and I look forward to what you have to bring, 2013.
~~ Tegan

26 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

We had a really nice, quiet Christmas at home this year. We didn't have anyone over for dinner and didn't get invited anywhere, so it was just us - very cozy.

Mike and I ended up wrapping the gifts on Christmas Eve and putting them under the tree. We did leave a few out - I bought a kitchen from a friend who was PCSing for a great deal and also got a baby stroller and a baby crib at yard sales over the summer, so those didn't get wrapped. Mike and I also decided to open the pots and pans set and set it up on the kitchen set, which was a nice touch, I thought.

Something we did this year, we didn't wrap the small presents in the stockings and we set the stockings out on the table to open at breakfast. I really liked that a lot. The kids got some new kids glasses since we are pretty much done with sippys for Butterfly and Little Man.

Butterfly and Little Man have a fairly good understand about Christmas I think. We have told them several times that it is Jesus' birthday and they know that we give gifts in honor of Jesus being the greatest gift to us. They were pretty excited to see all the presents but showed very good restraint when we told them to wait for us before they opened anything up. Butterfly now understands about opening presents, but Flower was quite confused.

After the presents were opened, they took turns playing with other siblings' gifts, which I thought was really amusing. Little Man loved pushing the doll around in the stroller, and Butterfly loved playing the dinosaurs and Flower really got into the kitchen stuff.

I made mincemeat pies on Christmas Eve and I warmed those up and served them with sausage and apple cider for breakfast. I thought they tasted pretty good, although they didn't look like what I expected them to turn out like at all. Butterfly ate hers, but Little Man and Flower didn't eat theirs. Mike thought they were too cinnomon-y for his taste (he's not one for ginger or cinnamon or rich foods . . .).  We opened stockings while we were at the table, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The kids each got a book and a bird sticker book, besides the aforementioned cups, and some Hershey's kisses. Mike got a DVD cartoon and some mint chocolate.

After we ate breakfast, we sat together on the couch and Mike read from Matt 1 &2, the story of the baby Jesus come to earth, God in the form of a tiny infant. That just boggles my mind . . . especially now that I've had children.

We had leftover Italian sausage soup for lunch, and lots of chocolate. After lunch we skyped with Dad and my brother Thomas, and his wife Leigh-Ann. We also got to see my sister-in-law Sarah and my step-sister Brittney. It was a great conversation and so wonderful to see them. I love this kind of technology!

For dinner, I roasted a duck, a first for me. I hadn't planned on having duck originally when I did the menu for Christmas. I was going to roast a small turkey or chicken with vegetables, but next to the turkeys at the commissary there was a section in the bin for ducks. So I made an impulse decision, not something I normally do, and purchased the duck. I've had duck before, but never cooked one myself. I felt up the challenge and I was not disappointed! It was delicious! I roasted it with butternut squash and rosemary and then served it with green beans, cranberry sauce and watergate. We definitely had quite the little Christmas feast!

After dinner, it was bath time and then on to bed! It was a wonderful Christmas Day! I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas Day as well!

December recap

I haven't been writing very much on my blog lately . .. I've been pretty consumed when I'm on the computer about finishing up my "2012 Year in Review" book on Shutterfly. I have no idea when I'll actually buy it after it's done, but you can be bet it will be at least 50% off! I didn't start the book until October, and that is not a good idea! I'm almost finished putting all the pics on pages (I prefer to do it myself as opposed to letting them do it and I'm still a bit of a perfectionist, although I'm working on that) and now I'll just have to go back and fill in all the words and edit it. That will take a while. Maybe by Valentines Day?

Anyway, Mike was TDY for most of December, which wasn't too bad. I had some really good days (surprisingly great actually) and some really bad days. The bad days are usually when the kids are constantly misbehaving . .. this TDY was really hard for the kids, Butterfly particularly. We had a few nights where Little Man woke up an hour or two after going to sleep just crying out "Daddy!" - very heartbreaking. And Butterfly had a major meltdown three days in a row. Since her last meltdown was months ago and the one before that months before that, you can see how this is not the norm. But we got through it. Some friends offered to watch the kids twice so I could run to the commissary childless (what a blessing!) and I even got to sit in a coffee shop for an hour and a half and write some notes out to friends (what a blessing!).

I usually do my grocery shopping while Mike is at work so that we all have more time to spend with him when he is home, as opposed to using Mike as a babysitter and flitting off to do something by myself (not saying that doesn't happen, but I try to not plan it like that), so that means I often take all three kids to the commissary. By myself. And yes, the oldest is three years old. She's actually becoming quite the helper at the commissary. She really likes to put the items in the cart and she puts them very neatly and precisely away (just like her Mama!). Anyway, it's quite a workout pushing a cart full of groceries plus two toddlers. Since Butterfly likes to help out, I don't wear Flower much at the commissary anymore.

I serve on the PWOC Board as the Prayer Coordinator, and we had our Board Christmas Party while Mike was gone. It was really, really fun. We did a white elephant gift exchange, which was hilarious. I got a beautiful candle melt holder thing with a fall leaf design on it. I have it sitting on my kitchen window sill in front of the sink.

Our PWOC Christmas event was really memorable - it was a lot of fun too! Our theme was Eph 2:8 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—".

We had some friends from Tinker take the kids and I out to lunch as they drove though Albuquerque on their way to Arizona for a dude ranch Christmas. It was so great to see Ch Kraig and Jennifer and their girls, who are so grown up now, Kayla and Sierra!

Butterfly had a Christmas party at her school, Kids Express, which was really neat. It was kind of interesting trying to continuously corral Little Man and Flower during the festivities, but I think overall it was a really good time. Butterfly really loves going to school. Mike and I have decided to continue to have her in preschool next year and enroll Little Man as well. He loves to be there when I drop Butterfly off. He actually just goes and does whatever the other kids are doing - which is free play, like he belongs there.

I actually haven't had the usual holiday stress this year. I got my Christmas cards out pretty early - which I haven't done in years - and got all my decorations up the day after Thanksgiving, a first. Ever. My Dad was visiting though, so he was playing the kids while I decorated, which was a huge help.

I started buying the kids Christmas presents at yard sales and on Kirtland Swap during the summer, and my Dad bought the rest when he was visiting, so I didn't have to go out and do much shopping. I bought Mike's present online on Black Friday (an ice cream maker, a nice one, since the cheap one I bought him for our anniversary didn't last, sadly). So this year there was not a lot of anxiety about getting everything done - it was really nice to feel on top of things for a change.

Other than that, it has been a pretty quiet December. The Directorate Christmas Party was hosted while Mike was TDY and I didn't want to go by myself, so that was skipped this year. I did some baking starting a few days before Christmas. The plan, originally, was to bake a plate of cookies for all the families on our circle, but after the third time I ran out of ingredients [and time], and not having enough to fill the plates with goodies, I abandoned that idea. Maybe next year. Or for Valentines Day. Or just for no reason I'll make them cookies.

I did do a few new recipes this year: egg nog cupcakes with egg nog icing and mincemeat pie. They were very yummy! I'll have more on the other foods I made in the post on Christmas Day.

24 December 2012

Afternoon Tea

This afternoon, on Christmas Eve, I had the pleasure of going to afternoon tea at the St. James Tea House here in Albuquerque. I was invited by my friend Guylaine and it was just a heavenly retreat for the soul. 

The St. James Tea House is an English Tea House that serves traditional afternoon tea, complete with a three-tiered tray of exquisite foods to tempt the palate and complimented by various teas. The  ambiance takes you back to the mid-nineteenth century to a place where drinking tea is not only a special event, but is met with tradition, elegance, etiquette and courtesy. 

 The menu at St. James changes every month, and this month, being the special month that holds Christmas so near and dear to the heart, the menu was a Charles Dicken's event for the taste buds. We were served Traditional Beef Wellington, Ebeneezer's Cheddar Chutney on a Pate Brisee Star, The Crachit's Roasted Vegetables with Sherry, and Fezziwig's Fidget Pie, and the traditional tea sandwich: Walnut Cream Cheese on Cinnamon Raisin Bread, all of which was served with Indian Assam Traditional Black Tea.

For the breads, we were served Cranberry Bundt, a traditional Cream Scone, and Cranberry Curd with Clotted Cream. The tea, which perfectly complimented the light and delectable breads was Sparkling Sugar Plum Scented Black Tea. 

For dessert, we were in for a real treat: Tiny Tim's Sticky Toffee Puddings, Marley's Chocolate, Raspberry Rugelach, and Christmas Present Honey Spice Trifle. Our dessert tea was Cranberry Blush Scented Green Tea. 

The food overall was just incredible. The pastries were light and puffy, the vegetables rich and savory, the breads were amazing and the clotted cream and Cranberry Curd was so amazing. The Curd and Creams weren't too sweet and perfectly balanced the breads. My taste buds were just in heaven!
My favorite part of the whole experience, which I absolutely loved, was the solidarity and quietness of the whole experience. It is true we live in an extremely busy world. Even though I don't work and I try not to have too many things vying for my time and attention, as far as outside-the-home duties go, the fact is that I have very little quiet and relaxing time. I have three children three years old and younger, so quiet is not very commonplace in my life. Not that in this stage, there should be a lot of quiet. I want my children to be children and not feel like they have to be seen and not heard. I don't agree with that philosophical mind-set and never have. 

That being said, I do crave quiet from time to time. And it's hard to find in our society. I have actually started avoiding the usual restaurants that have sprung up in chains across the country (Chili's for example) because they are so loud, it's hard to hear Mike (or anyone else) across the table. I'm soft spoken and I just can't compete with that kind of din and racket that come from tables placed close together to get more people seated and the meal being rushed to get more people turned over.

The St. James Tea Room was the exact opposite of that. We were seated at a quiet table and there are curtains drawn between the tables to invite a warm, cozy and intimate ambiance that welcomes quiet conversation with the competition of the neighboring tables. The seating area was truly a place to welcome conversation. Guylaine invited four other ladies besides myself, two of whom I had never met and one whom I hadn't had a chance to get to know very well. The ambiance of this cozy nook was perfect for getting to know the ladies and we reminisced stories of romance, talked of literature, shared personal stories and generally got to know my fellow [wo]man. 

I didn't realize how much I needed such a respite for my soul, and it was wonderful. I can truly and honestly say that I loved every minute, from the time I walked through the arch leading through the garden to when I exited. I can't wait to take Mike - he would love it! I am so incredibly thankful to Guylaine for thinking of me, and inviting me - it was such a generous blessing, a Christmas blessing.

09 December 2012

Newfound mobility

I mentioned in a recent post that Flower had taken her first steps.

She did indeed take her first steps, and then refused to try to walk any more for about two more weeks. I guess she didn't like it at first!

About a week ago it's like the walking clicked over night. She literally stood up and started walking everywhere. She has hardly scooted since! She's so excited about her walking too - it's so cute. She still has that new walk wobble and just wobble-walks from furniture piece to furniture piece or wall to wall. She often latches on to Mike or I's pants legs and hitches a ride.

She is really loving walking now - she loves to try to keep up with Butterfly and Little Man. I'm not sure they are so thrilled about it at the time being, especially when she comes up to them to give them hugs or play with their toys.

Butterfly has learned the art of distraction though and will often bring Flower a toy to play with when Flower tries to take the toy that Butterfly is playing with. It works most of the time.

Potty training

Potty training has begun again here in our little house. It's Little Man's turn!

He's been quite ready to potty train for some time now, I've just been rather lazy. Yes, I am a lazy Mom. So I decided that we are finally going to do it!

We had our first day this past Friday and he did quite well. He went potty on the potty. We were on a little schedule of things and it was going fairly well.

The last time of this particular day in which I was very tired because Flower had a really rough night, I sent Little Man to the potty (inside the bathroom - I can't leave the potty out in the open because Flower likes to play in it - not good) while I was in the kitchen cleaning or something. (I might have been cooking, I can't remember.)

Anyway, Little Man yells to me that he did it and he was so excited. I go in and he has peed in the potty - except he left his underwear on. I didn't tell him to pull down his big boy when he sat on the potty, so he didn't do it. I just completely assumed that he knew to do that!

So now when Little Man goes potty, I make sure to tell him, every time, to pull down his big boy underwear.

Yesterday he did very well and went potty several times on the potty. I am getting excited about the possibility of only having one child in diapers! It's so exciting! Two children who can go to the bathroom by themselves! Now I just need to work on being consistent . . . .

Family pics

We had family pictures taken by a friend about a month or so ago, back when the leaves were still pretty colors on the trees, and I realized today that I haven't posted any! So here you go. :)

Butterfly, Flower and Little Man (he was so serious and refused to smile when the camera was in front of him, when it wasn't, he was all smiles)

My incredibly sexy and handsome husband - I still can't believe he's my husband sometimes! The love of my life!

Have to have the quintessential "kissing" picture - I love these - they're just so fun! Well, any excuse to kiss my husband is fun!

Mommy, the Hero

Apparently I have been dubbed Mommy, the Hero, by my wonderful husband this morning.

Flower is still sleeping in our bed part of the night (we're in a period of transition, and she still nurses at night). I have to use that as a preface.

Flower has this new sleeping thing where she likes to roll around a lot and swing her legs in weird, perpendicular angles, (hence the transitioning to her bed). So last night she was doing this, and was apparently awake and having a grand time doing it, according to Mike, and she rolled right off the bed.

But, she didn't hit the floor.

Because I caught her.

Before she hit the floor. I went from a state of deep sleep to catching my daughter after she rolled off the bed.

I vaguely remembered it, but by morning I had convinced myself that it was a dream. I asked Mike about it in the morning at breakfast and he saw the whole thing. Including Flower giggling and cooing "ooh, ahh" after I caught her. (I hope that doesn't mean she's going to try it again!) And then I went back to sleep after moving Flower to the middle of the bed, between Mike and I.

I was pretty shocked that I did that. I mean, I was fast asleep. And that kind of thing has to happen pretty fast, right? Yay for maternal instincts, right?

Have this kind of thing ever happened to you? How are your maternal instincts? Do you listen to them every time, sometimes or just ignore them? (I mean, when you're awake, that is.)

What Christians Want to Know

A few weeks ago we had a guest speaker at the Chapel on base (where we are now attending regularly) and he gave a great message. I found my notes from his sermon this morning in my purse and something he said really spoke to me.

The guest speaker is active duty and is part of the Special Forces squadron here on Kirtland (i.e. - he's a layman, not clergy/paid). He's a flyer, so he explained that has to rely on a flight manual for his job. He explained how the flight manual is his instruction booklet for everything that is part of his job, down to the tiniest detail. In the flight manual there are bold faced type that he is required to memorize in the event of an emergency when he wouldn't have time to consult the flight manual.

In the Christian life, he said that the Bible is our flight manual - an instruction booklet for life, down to the tiniest detail. The bold faced type are verses that we memorize, that we can pull out of our memory any time that we need them - in a bad situation (emergency), when we need immediate comfort of the Holy Spirit's promises, or verses that remind us of God's love and faithfulness to us.

The Bible is so full of so many wonderful verses, but if you are just starting out in memorizing God's Word, it can be a bit intimidating. Here is a link to a blog post from What Christians Want to Know blog with some wonderful verses, arranged by topic, if you are looking for inspiration.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
-Psalm 119:9-11