Friday, January 29, 2010

Fly On The Wall ...

If you were a fly on the wall in our house, this what you would have heard this week ...

"Ow! Kelty, stop biting my toe!"

"Kelty, don't put dog food in the dishwasher!"

"That's 1 ... That's 2 ...That's 3 ... CORNER!"

"Stop licking me. Kelty, no licking!"

On the cuter side of things ... Kelty spent a little time "doctoring" Elmo this morning. Please excuse Kelty's "bad hair morning"!

Now let's check your reflexes ...

MmmHmm ... looks good, let me just take some notes

Ok, take a deep breath ... and exhale.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

... That's a Wrap!

I didn't want to jinx the purpose of our trip, hence no posts for the last two weeks ... but Al and I returned to the "states" and are now back in Germany! It was a whirlwind of traveling, working, and visiting old friends.

Despite living in Germany, I'm stilled employed as an entertainer/performer at Walt Disney World ... in order to keep my employed status and my "show" approvals I'm required to perform at least once a year. Performing means a great deal to me, it's my outlet ... and a way to hold onto a bit of my youth ... not to mention an awesome experience to perform in a large venue! Al, Kelty and I took a leap of faith, flew to Baltimore, rented a car, drove to FL and then I crossed my fingers in hopes that my requests to "pick-up" show would be approved ... and thank goodness, our efforts were not in vain! I was able to perform 4 shows and stay approved in my old tracks. Hallelujah!

So lets move along to the trip ...

THURSDAY ... We caught a "military hop" directly out of Ramstein ... tell me this is not the scariest toddler face! Thankfully Kelty did really well on our travels and this "you have no idea what I'm going to throw your way" face did not show itself again! Yikes!

FRIDAY ... After arriving in Baltimore we rented a car and drove down to SC to spend the evening with my sister, Rachel and her husband, Shawn. It was a quick visit but really nice! Shawn is high on "cool" meter with Kelty ... Kelty digs boats! Kelty was taking a moment to take a picture of Uncle Shawn's boat.

SATURDAY ... After a night in SC we headed down to Tampa to stay with our old neighbors and AWESOME friends, Tina and Jordan. Tina got her "toddler fix" playing with Kelty ... I think it was also a good "birth control method" too! Hahaha! We stayed with Tina and Jordon the rest of our time in FL ... it was WAY to short! We also had the chance to visit our "other neighbors" and great friends, Lisa and AD. It was strange staying next to our house ... but we met our renters and we think they are great!

SUNDAY ... Before heading in for my first shift at Fantasmic!, we ate Moe's for lunch!! I LOVE MOE'S ... and hadn't had it for a year! We ate Moe's twice! Whoop whoop!

MONDAY ... While Tina and Jordan were at work, Al and I met our great friends Adam and Michelle, their daughter (and Kelty's buddy) Catherine, and their newest addition Conner at the Brandon Mall. It didn't take long for the kiddo's to re-connect!

Catherine and Kelty ... too soon to arrange the marriage?

Awww, sigh.

Before we met up ... we took Kelty on the carousel.

TUESDAY ... My dear friend Lindsey stopped by the house for visit and brought her new baby, Gunnar! Lindsey and I met at Disney and worked MANY a shift together! We both had long commutes and spent a lot of time chatting on our cell phones to keep eachother awake after our 12:30am "out-times" following the Christmas parades at Disney.

WEDNESDAY ... The old gang was back together! We set-up a playdate with Kelty's old buddies (our buddies too!) and met at a new park in Lakeland! It was AWESOME and Kelty had a blast!

It was non-stop movement for the kiddo's! I snapped a quick pic of Kelty while he took a breather on the "grass".

The kids sliding down the hill ... it was quite a site! Scooting down on the left is Kelty ... Catherine is sliding down into Jake ... I think that's Ryan walking up the hill in the back.

Kelty running through the tunel under the hill ... if you can enlarge the photo, his face is hilarious.

Slide wars! Catherine and Kelty at the bottom of the slide duking out "ownership". :o)

Ryan making his way out of the tunnel ... Kelty was lounging at the bottom.

After the park we rallied over at Ruby Tuesday's ... what a site ... 5 tots, 1 infant, 4 moms and a daddy (Al)! Ok, so Kelty isn't that short ... he was just sitting back on the bench! He is the shortest of the bunch though.

THURSDAY ... I had my second and final (not FINAL ... just final for this trip) show at Disney! We decided to go early and meet up with the Travis's and enjoy a few hours in the park with the kids. The kids are so much to watch! I see Disney through different eyes now that we have Kelty! Here we are with some of Kelty's favorite characters ... Lightning McQueen and Mater ... he was actually more excited than what he appears!

Here are the Travis's waiting for Playhouse Disney!

Kelty was excited about something!

FRIDAY ... we started our trip back up to Baltimore and stopped and Shawn and Rachel's again on the way up. We originally planned to stay 2 nights but our flights were moved up a day. :o( Despite our quick visit ... we had a great time!

Shawn and Rachel took us out to see the sights on Saturday before we headed out.

More "cool" points for Uncle Shawn!

We made it back to Germany on Monday night ... totally exhausted! Just in case you were wondering ... during Kelty's naps back in Tampa ... I hit JoAnn Fabrics and Micheal's Crafts! Tina and I also hit Target Tuesday evening! Our "extra" suitcase came back to Germany full of fabric, craft supplies, and pajama's for Kelty!

Ok ... now I can get back to my normal blogging schedule! This 2-week lapse totally stressed me out!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back to the Basics

Let's get back to the basics and talk about Kelty! This one's for you stinker ...

We have had many a snowy day since the New Year rang-in ... it's beautiful ... and cold ... and did I mention cold? We haven't ventured out as much, with the exception of Kelty's speech appointments and grocery shopping ... those are a must. Kelty and I have stayed snuggled up in the house while Al braves the cold. Kelty isn't much for staying inside all day so we play outside in the snow for a bit each day ... he loves it. He's also developed a new found love for finger painting, stamp-art, "real" washable markers, and the old faithful ... stickers.

Sweeping the snow and laughing the entire time

Despite having a matching snow-set, Kelty prefers to pick out his own gloves, hats and boots for our snowy adventures. I particularly like the fact that he chose to wear his Cars rain boots.

Kelty pretty much decides when it's time to go out and play ... he'll run to the window or door and pound twice (that's how he communicates "open") ... at which point I usually say "Oh buddy, it's cold outside" ... he usually runs out of the room and reappears with his choice of winter gear and we go from there.

Practicing his Yoga ... Kelty loves to imitate ... he'll see a picture in a book or magazine (in this case a DVD cover) and start whipping out the poses. I have to say I was REALLY impressed with his "tree" pose!

His latest addiction ... fingerpaints!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Orange, Bay Leaf and Cinnamon Garland

This year I made Orange, Cinnamon, and Bay Leaf Garland as gifts for our neighbors and Keltys' speech pathologist. I have to admit they turned out pretty darn cute and I realized after I made them that they can really be used year-around ... bonus! Who doesn't love the smell of cinnamon! I was pretty proud of myself for using an alternative to cinnamon sticks ... using a recipe for Cinnamon-Applesauce Ornaments, I made hand-rolled spacers! Super cute, super easy, super CHEAP, and they smell FABULOUS! I had everything on hand ... so I guess you can say this project cost me nothing to make!

Here's what you need ...

5-6 Oranges
1 Package Dried Bay Leaves
1 Container of Ground Cinnamon
String ~ I used beading cord
Ribbon ~ Whatever you like!

Making Dried Orange Slices

I chose Clementine Oranges because I didn't want to "lose" the cinnamon spacers between huge orange slices. You can use a dehydrator to dry your oranges slices, but I don't have one ... the oven method worked great.

(1) Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees.

(2) Slice your oranges about 1/4 inch thick and pat with a paper towel to soak up as much moisture as possible.

(3) Lay orange slices in a single layer directly on oven rack (or place on a wire rack and put rack on cookie sheet). You want to expose both side of slices to the heat and air flow to prevent burning.

(4) Leave in oven for 4-6 hours ... turning occasionally. Ok ... I cheated a bit and turned up the oven to 250 after the first 2 hours .. they didn't burn so just use your instincts!

Voila! You have dried oranges slices!

Making Cinnamon Applesauce Spacers

(1) Dump the entire container of ground cinnamon in a bowl (I used the 4.12 oz container but we also made ornaments).

(2) Add just a tablespoon or so of applesauce to the bowl of cinnamon and mix. Add applesauce one spoonful at time and mix after each spoonful ... you want to end up with a "dough" that you can roll out and handle easily. I also added in a bit of flour to help make the "dough" easier to handle. I ended up using about 3/4 cup of applesauce and just a smidge of flour. It doesn't take much!

3) For "round spacers" ... pull off a small chunk of cinnamon dough, roll in the palm of your hands to form a ball, use a toothpick or thick needle to poke a hole through the ball so you can "thread" it onto your garland when it's dry. I also made "disc" spacers by rolling a ball then smushing it with my thumb. Super cute, super easy!

4) Lay your ... umm ... "balls" on a wire rack and let dry overnight. Flipping over as needed.

Voila! You have cinnamon spacers!

Assembling The Garland

Take your desired length of cord/wire/etc. and knot it at the bottom. Thread on your orange slices, cinnamon spacers and bay leafs in any order that makes you happy! (Don't forget to poke a small hole in your bay leaf so you can thread it too!). When you've reached the desired length (I made mine about 10 inches long) ... tie off the top with a loop, add a bow using your ribbon and stop to admire (and smell) your garland!

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Sister's Shoes

My Christmas gift from my younger sister, Rachel, came a few days late ... but she told me it was worth the wait ... it was. Her package arrived on New Years Eve and I quietly opened it while my husband was upstairs with our toddler. I opened the shipping box ... inside was a shoe box. I lifted the top of the shoe box and found a poem ...

My Sister's Shoes

Full of character,
People, places and things they see.
Take a picture
So you can share it with me,
All the places you go
Where I may not, cannot be.

When she's not here,
The sites, the food fights, the laughs,
Her shoes keep me company,
She's here in a size 5 1/2.

Under the poem were a handful of snapshots of my sister wearing the shoes that were now laying carefully packed in the shoebox I just opened. Teary eyed, I shuffled through the pictures of the places she'd been in the shoes and read the captions she had handwritten on the back.

So here we are. I live in Europe, my sister lives in the United States, but through these shoes we can continue our walk through life together. I have visions of us, old and grey ... sitting by a fireplace ... sipping cocoa ... reminiscing about where our shoes took us on our journey through life.

Here are "My Sister's Shoes" ...

and this is the start of our journey together ...

Rachel and her husband went to Charleston SC on Dec 12, 2009. Overlooking the Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter stood across the Battery.

Stopping in for a coffee and danish.

In Washington DC, Dec 19 2009 they sat awhile and watched the snow out the window. They weren't expecting the snow storm ... a beautiful surprise.

Where will I journey in these shoes ....

Friday, January 1, 2010

Revisting 2009

2009 was a year of big changes ... we had many a tearful good-bye, opened our hearts to new friends, witnessed amazing changes in Kelty and embraced our new life in Germany. Here are some highlights of our year ...

January 2009
We left our home in Tampa and said good-bye to a lot of special friends ... including Kelty's 1st group of buddies, our neighbors "on both sides", and my fellow performers and friends at Disney.

February 2009
We lived in a hotel in Dallas, TX the month of February while Al learned how to fly his new airframe, the C-21. Kelty and I spent a lot of time in the courtyard at the hotel, playing in nearby parks and enjoying the beautiful weather.

March 2009
After a nice visit in Michigan to say good-bye to my parents. We traveled to DC, said a farewell to the U.S. and moved to Germany. Mom and Dad Clay were with us during our move and while we lived in a Temporary Living Facility (TLF) on-base while we searched for a home.

April 2009
After an exhausting search, we moved into our rental home in Germany and started exploring Europe. Our first adventure was a day-trip to Heidelberg Castle.

May 2009

Kelty started living up to his nickname "Stinker". Kelty's personality really took full bloom and he became more fun and more challenging! Al's work schedule was challenging and exhausting for all of us but fortunately we got some relief a few months down the road.

June 2009
Kelty started swim lessons and proved to be a good little swimmer like his daddy ... luckily he is not a "sinker" like mommy! We took Kelty on several nature walks, bike rides, and his first circus .

July 2009
We started some serious traveling in July. Our travels took us to Sorrento, Italy where we visited Pompeii and took in the beauty of the Amalfi Coast. In the same trip we visited Rome for 3-days and explored the Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilica and the Colosseum.

August 2009
August brought some nice changes to our lifestyle ... Al moved to a different unit and his flying schedule evened-out enough that our lives felt more balanced. We celebrated our 11-year anniversary and visited Paris.

September 2009
The wine season began! Our neighbors took us to their favorite wine village, St. Martin, where walked through the vineyards the local way! We also visited our first pumpkin festival with Kelty.

October 2009
Kelty started the "Mothers-Day-Out" program at a nearby learning academy (tear) and adapted very well! We spent a weekend in Switzerland with our friends the Wagner's and their 2 little ones. We traveled through the Black Forest and bought a handmade cuckoo clock, explored Zurich, and wrapped up the trip with quick visit to Luzern. Kelty trick-or-treated for the first time and I pulled "Reserve" duty with my new unit at Ramstein.

November 2009
I finished up my "Reserve" time, Mike and Sue came to visit, and our travels continued. We spent a long weekend in Paris mid-month and wrapped things up with a memorable vacation to Innsbruck, Austria where we skied the Alps during the Thanksgiving holiday.

December 2009
Al, Kelty and I took a last-minute trip to Spain where we visited Seville, Rota and Gibraltar. Kelty turned 2 ... it's going by too fast! We spent Christmas across the ocean from most of our family but were thankful to have Mike and Sue with us in Germany. We enjoyed the holiday season visiting Christmas markets, eating great food, drinking Gluhwein and enjoying the comfort of family.

Don't let us down 2010!
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