Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tweet! Tweet! November 2008

I'm not sure if Twitter is going to keep all my tweets forever and ever. Because they are often little snippets about my daily life with The Girls, I will preserve them on this blog monthly.

Tweet! Tweet! November 2008:


At 22 months, Brooke already demands that I fast forward through any commercials on TV. from txt

Built a camp fire with Maddie, Zak, Terra. Maddie ate 4 marshmallows and has a serious case of the sillies. from txt

Savoring the moments: at a X-Mas tree farm with the family. Soaking in the baby-ness of both of them while it lasts. from txt

Maddie: "Mom, once this purple marker runs out of energy, then I'll use this blue one instead." from txt

I am soo stuffed. My non-traditional dessert of brownies with ice cream (instead of pie) was a hit! yum! from web

Honey baked ham for dinner! For the next five nights! from txt

Just found out my monthly health care costs for my family are going from $268/month to $656/month. A MONTH. $388 increase. A MONTH. from web

Maddie and Brooke found the hiding place that contains all their Christmas gifts! That was tough to explain. from txt

Yesterday, Zak fished out Brooke's poop from the tub. Today, she puked on him. All while I'm on my way home from work. Poor kid (and dad). from web

In doctor's office waiting room hell with both sick girls. 45 minutes and no doctor! from txt

Brooke pooped in the tub with Maddie in there! Zak was alone on bathtub duty and I was on my way home. Usually these things happen to me! Ha from txt

Maddie, I'm looking forward to you being four, because your sassy third year...? Is kicking my ass. from web

Just ordered invites for Maddie's b-day party! You may get one if you're brave enough to spend 2 hours with a a bunch of 3-4 year olds! from web

Bought Maddie some rain boots. She excitedly tried them on, but screamed for me to TAKE THEM OFF! Still rockin' the flip flops in November! from txt

It was like pulling teeth to get the Girls to leave school today. You'd think they'd be excited to see me. They love their daycare! from txt

Brooke points and screams, "Oh NO!" when the TV isn't on. Do you think that's a sign we watch too much TV? from txt

From the bathroom,Maddie says: I got some poop on my hands, but it's okay, I just wiped it off.She then argues she doesn need to wash hands. from web

Driving thru "boys town" in Dallas, my cab driver made the most hateful anti-gay statement I've ever heard.What if I was gay?No tip for him. from txt

I wondered out loud why the flags were at half staff, and a stranger quipped, "because Obama just got elected." Blah. I shot a dirty look. from txt

In St. Louis and it's COLD. My Texas year round open toe sandals and skirts aren't cutting it back in the good ole Midwest. Brrrr! from txt

YES WE DID! America, I am so proud of you! Smooches!!! from txt

Even my 86 year old Grandma J is hip to the message of CHANGE and HOPE as she cast her ballot for Obama in California! from txt

In line at Starbucks waiting for my "FREE (because you voted) coffee!" Yum, thanks Starbucks...just one more reason to love you. from txt

I sat with Maddie and watched Barack Obama vote for himself live on TV. This is historic, and I shed a few happy tears. from txt

I sat with Maddie and watched Obama cast his ballot for himself on TV. She asked me why I was crying. "Happy tears," I said. from web

Happy Birthday, Aunt Terra! May it be the most historical day of our lifetime! Vote!! from txt

In the waiting area in a Dr. office, I remind Maddie of the BIG day and ask who she's voting for. "Barack Obama" Without skipping a beat. from web

Daylight savings did a number on the girls! Late naps, far too late bedtimes, and early mornings. from txt

In Houston with Zak for David and Francie's baby shower. The Girls are home with their Grandma. Thanks Wendy!! from txt

Go Tech!!!! I thought that Zak was gonna have a heart attack. Whew! from txt

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008!

We've enjoyed a great day together...just the four of us. We went to see Madagascar at the movie theater. Brooke did very well, and Maddie loves going to the movies and her only offense is the loudest stage whisper ever when she requests more popcorn.


Afterwards, we headed home for a looong nap. Then, Maddie and I baked some brownies, which resulted in the cutest picture in the universe.





We had the dinner I discussed in the previous post, except the green bean casserole was more awesome this year when Zak added chopped BACON! FLAKED RED PEPPER! and Gruyère CHEESE! to the regular recipe. This dish, my dear relatives, is one you should really be sad that you missed. During dinner, we discussed what we were thankful for:



We went for our regular-our-bellies-are-stuffed-we-must-move walk, and ran into our awesome neighbors who invited us in for some wine and offered great tire-the-kids-out play time. So...we didn't walk, but instead consumed too much wine and had a lovely evening.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008--ditched

Apparently either:

1. no one loves us
2. everyone is scared of a 22 month and nearly four year old
3. people are too busy
4. no one wants to travel
5. everyone just sucks

BECAUSE...we've been ditched by all family members for this Thanksgiving! NO ONE is coming to visit and eat my overplayed Green Bean Casserole, store bought Brown and Serve Rolls, and Stovetop stuffing. I did buy a delicious Honey Baked Ham too (.....any takers? hello? Bueller?)

For dessert this year, I skipped on the pies (since the girls won't eat it, and Zak and I just really don't need to consume a whole pie in two days) and we're having fresh baked BROWNIES with ICE CREAM and CHOCOLATE SYRUP for dessert.

Did I change your mind? No?

Well....fine, then. I'll just document this in history so Maddie and Brooke know that their family, who almost ALL live in Texas, ditched us!

Okay, Aunt Terra did say she was going to come on Saturday....but, humfpf to the rest of you!

And also? Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I'm grateful for my little family gathering with less cooking and fewer dishes to wash! Yea!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brooke and her sunglasses


Brooke is really into her sunglasses, and demands them even on a cloudy day. She hasn't really figured out how to put the glasses on her face to block the sun, but she knows how to put them on top of her head.
It's the bad hair day, haven't washed my hair today, gotta get it outta my face look. Just like her mama.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Painted pumpkins

I had a crazy and not-very-Amanda-like-idea for a crafty fun weekend project: Pumpkins Painting. We did this around Halloween, but I just recently found the pictures.

Okay, so the problem with painting pumpkins is as follows:
1. Paint = messy


2. Back yard = mosquitoes


3. Me = anxious about paint mess and paint toxicity



So, Brooke immediately fueled my anxiety out by licking her painted hand. Maddie (much to my dismay) dipped her brush into TWO different colors, forever mixing the paint.



Brooke, in her silly baby-hood, first used the wrong end of the brush to paint, then the used her hands. She finally agreed that the bristle end was best after I showed her how to do it.





I put the girls in their Home Depot smocks to protect their clothes (and took off Maddie's shirt...hey, topless pumpkin painting!), and I laid out a magazine and a plastic bag as "floor protectors" for the painting. However, duh, I didn't think about the drips, or the fact that once they got paint on their hands, they would get paint EVERYWHERE.

Thank God they do lots of art and craft projects in daycare. It was evident that they've painted before and I didn't have to show them much. I had nightmares of doing this with a room full of similarly aged kids, and vowed to never ever think of running a daycare. Surely the parents expect arts and crafts, but my God, the MESS! I'm such a wuss, and will stick to crayons and washable markers in the future.

And, oh yea, turns out the paint I used WASN'T washable! I'm really not cut out for this type of work. Parenting, that is.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day 2008

Happy Veterans Day! Above is a picture of my grandfather, Pops, as a young man. He was a Prisoner Of War in WWII. While on a mission, his airplane was shot down, he parachuted to the ground and was captured by the Germans. He remained a prisoner for nearly a year until the end of the war. You can read more about it from a previous post I wrote in 2006.

Pops lives in sunny southern California with his wife, Pat. He likes to putter around the house, garden, travel, surf the Internet, and enjoy time with his family and Pat. I hope you have a great day. Love you!

Remember to thank your favorite veteran (and any other military personnel you see) today!

Carl Heimaster

Crew 6, 724th Sqdn, 451st Bmb Grp, 49th Wg, 15th AF, USAAF
       At the Induction Center at St. Louis, the usual batteries of tests were given where I was found to be in excellent health, mentally strong , and as a hobby enjoyed hunting, the Army decided that the Air Force was the place for me.  
     Basic training at Miami Beach was very minimal, just the usual close order drill, cleaning a rifle that had no ammunition and had never been fired, but most of all how to obey orders! A decision was made by the Army that I was to enter a flying status, and they sent me to Denver Colo. to study armament i.e. bombs, how they worked, Fuses and how they were activated to detonate the bombs.
     Passing this phase I was the sent to Larado Texas for Gunnery School. We were taught to shoot all types of hand-guns, rifles, machine guns at stationary and moving targets. This Missouri country boy had never flown in an airplane so when I was told that the next part of our training would be firing at a target being towed by another plane, I was petrified!! The plane was a single engine, two seater, I was fitted with a seat type parachute with a safety strap through the harness, riding in the rear seat facing the rear with a machine gun which had stops to prevent me from shooting the tail off our plane!!! To compound my apprehension the gunner before had become air sick all over the rear seat, this didn’t do a thing to settle my stomach!!  
     The Air Force was building the 15th Air Force to be stationed in Italy. Several Groups were in the process of being assembled in different areas of the United States. I was sent to Wendover Utah to be part of the 451st. Bomb Group of which there were 4 Squadrons of 10 planes with 4 officers and 6 enlisted men in each plane. My crew was formed and we were given a B-24 which we named the American Beauty....What a great crew!! The Pilot and I were the only members that were raised West of the Mississippi, the others from NY, Penn., Ohio we bonded together like family.
    The Corps of Engineers had preceeded us to Italy and had built an air strip of steel matting, along with all the support building, ammo storage, and fuel depot to conduct our missions of destruction on the enemy. It didn’t take long to get started. The middle of January 1944 saw us in the air doing what we had been trained to do. Help Destroy The Machine of War .
    Our days became a blur, delivering our bombs for two days, resting one then repeat. Targets of rail- yards where box cars, oil cars, troop carriers all would fall victim to our bombs. Often our targets would be the oil rich fields of the Balkans- our greatest danger would come not in the form of fighter planes but the anti-aircraft fire called” Flak”.
    The shells would burst all around us sending flying pieces of steel in every direction, sometimes direct hits on a plane, or maybe a small piece the size of an walnut tearing through the plane not caring whether it hit man or machine. Such was the case with our plane, American Beauty, on June 23 1944. A piece of shrapnel severed an oil line on the left side, number 1 engine, all oil was lost so it had to be shut down. This created an extra load for number 2 engine and after 20 minutes it also failed. When your plane is losing altitude and you are unable to climb to clear a mountain range, we had no choice but to abandon our American Beauty to her fate in the side of a mountain, while we had no choice but to parachute to earth. THUS BEGINS ANOTHER SAGA!!!
     Our pilot called on our intercom to bail out starting from the rear forward and being the tail-gunner I was the first one to “hit the silk”. My parachute caught in the top of some trees and I had to stand on tip-toe to reach the ground. I traveled down a dry creek bed, turned around a point and there stood a group of German soldiers!! I was a Prisoner of War...After 41 missions my fighting war was over, but now mental war would begin. That evening our entire crew was crowded into a root cellar where we discussed our injuries and wondered at our fate. Some time in the night our nose-gunner Joe Klubert either was taken or he left on his own but the next morning they, the Germans, told us that Joe was shot while trying to escape. We do know that he had an injured ankle but we never saw him again so we never knew his fate.
      The next stop of our rail journey was Budapest, Hungary a gathering place for all captured air-men on their way to a P.O.W. camp in northern Germany. We were placed in solitary confinement for a week, with greasy hot water for breakfast, a bowl of soup and a piece of bread for lunch, the dinner soup was a little thicker. Their reason for this confinement was to question us one at a time about a new night fighter that was appearing in the skies, which of course being on a bomber we knew absolutely nothing about. It was while I was in solitary that I realized that it was the 4th of July!! Happy birthday America!
     Now our box-car was attached to several others and we were now a P.O.W. Troop Train. We moved rather swiftly North with out any other stops, potatoes, bread, and water was provided us while confined to our car. Personal hygiene were conducted through a partially opened door while on the move, exercise was allowed before the evening “meal” then back in the car to a bed of straw with 20 or 30 others, and we sped through the night. We arrived at our destination sometime in the latter days of July. We were met there with the usual “escort” but this time they had “ Canines”, I mean big angry, snapping, snarling, biting dogs!! The guards would ease off their leashes enough for the dogs to bite the unfortunate ones in the buttocks, needless to say we were glad to get into the safety of our barbed wire enclosure. The official name of our camp was Stalag(prison) Luft(air) 4. The camp was laid out in a square divided into quarters, in each quarter there were 13 barracks a cooking building (not to be confused with kitchen) where potatoes were cooked with some times meat of an unknown origin.
     Time hung heavy on our hands but it also passes so quickly. Thanksgiving passed then Christmas arrived and with it we could hear heavy artillery to the East of us and knew that the Russians were pushing the Germans back. Tension mounted inside the camp as to our fate and our guards were nervous also as to their fate.
     Those prisoners who had trouble walking from wounds suffered in battle were transported to another camp where medical attention was better. Each time a group left camp we wondered where they were going and what was to be their destination. Up until now we thought we were prisoners of war but now we could see that we were also Pawns of war. Starting the last week of January our camp started its evacuation, I left camp the 2nd of February, we each carried what we thought we could carry and or what we would need. Of course we were not told where we were  going or how long the walk would be therefore almost every one discarded items that we thought we would need only to find the pace of the evacuation was so fast and we were so out of shape that after eight miles we were down to the bare essentials, Our blankets, and food nothing else.
    On May the 1st we were told that soon we would be liberated of course this rumor was ignored but sure enough on May the 2nd at 9:30 AM a British Tank Corp came down the road!!!!! After 333 days of incarceration, walking more than 600 miles in three months, we were free!!!
    A near-by Army Post gave us a shower, a tooth brush, clean clothing, new shoes, good food, none of which we had had for the three months of walking and de-lousing what a relief to be rid of the lice!!! ( Through the years I have never wasted food and am amazed at the food on the shelves of our super market, which so few people appreciate).
    The rest of May is rather a blur as we were moved from one base to another, always moving westerly toward the debarkation point called "“Camp Lucky Strike"” along the west coast of France. Here our time was spent eating high protein foods, steaks, ice cream, candy, milk shakes and sleeping. The Army was trying to get some weight on our “skinny” bones. I had lost 40 pounds, and, except for bleeding gums, was in pretty good shape physically. Mentally, I don’t know to this day whether it has affected my life. I would like to think that it has not .
     The latter part of May we were placed aboard a freighter that had been modified with hammocks and lots of food to return to America. Our previous crossing with our air plane took 10 hours, to again cross the Atlantic it took 14 days but we didn’t care we were going HOME!!!!!!
     The Army base at New Port News, Va. was overwhelmed with returning solders, to lighten the “crunch” we received a 90 day furlough and sent on our way. The trip home to the Ozarks was so calm, quiet, and peaceful without the worry or concern,where our next meal was coming from or when!! Upon arrival at Lebanon, Mo. I met my High School Math teacher. We had a joyous reunion right there in the Greyhound Bus station!! Because I did not know when I would be arriving home I was unable to notify my family and since we didn’t have a telephone, I ask the ‘ole’ math teacher, Mr. Peterson if he knew some one who could drive me the 11 miles home. No he said “ I’ll do it myself” so he called his substitute to fill in for him at the station and away we went!!
     He started honking the horn some distance from the house and I think the folks guessed or knew what was happening because they were there in the yard when we drove up.
     HOME SWEET HOME but the home-coming wasn’t complete! My war time sweetheart, Mary, lived in Kansas City 200 miles away, arrangements had to be made through the Ration Board to get enough gas stamps to allow us to drive up to see her. We were still at war with Japan and the critical items were still being rationed (i.e. gas, tires, sugar, coffee, and other things) plus a 35 MPH speed limit!!! I called her when we were in town to let her know I was on my way, the phone lines were wet with tears of joy from both of us. The trip took one of the slowest 8 hours I ever spent but at last we were united; married July 9th 1945 and spent the next 50 years loving each other until she slipped away from me in 1995.
In June of 1999, after years of lonliness, I met my current Love, Patricia, who became my wife in 2003.  We are having years of happiness together! 

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Yes We Carve

I submitted my carved pumpkin (with the Obama symbol) to a website called Yes We Carve.

I'm on the front page today....take a look! It is titled "Amanda (San Antonio, Texas)."

Mine is by far the least original style compared to some of the cool ideas that people used to show their support for Barack Obama.

FYI...this is my last Obama post. Promise. (Until 2012).

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The 2008 Presidential Election

Dear Madison and Brooke,

Yesterday Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States. Both your dad and I voted for him, and we watched as history was made last night when he was declared the winner.

When we lived in Illinois, and when Maddie was just a baby, I voted for Barack Obama to be a Senator for that state. I've supported him because of what he stands for, what he believes in, and his plans for our country. When I found out he was going to run for President, I was reluctant, "it's too soon," I said. As he pushed forward and gained more and more momentum, I was torn between supporting him or Senator Hillary Clinton. I picked Obama because I valued his platform and believed he could be elected. I felt his administration could make a difference in our day to day lives, and more importantly in the lives of our fellow Americans.

You see, girls, it's just not about us. I always say, "It's not about you all the time" when you're complaining about something, and it goes for Presidential Elections too. Sure, our family's taxes might go up, but that's okay because it's not about us as individuals. It's about our community, our country, and our world. If another family in our country has life a little bit better because of the economic or social changes that the next President will usher in, we all win.

Maddie was able to learn and talk about this election, as she said she "voted for A Rock Obama" for President. We bumped fists and gave a each other our Peace Out sign right after I voted. She watches him on TV and yells, "Hey mom! A Rock Obama is on TV!" and is disappointed when a commercial appears.

Because this blog serves as your baby book (in addition to my other rants), I felt it appropriate to share my thoughts of this historic election this with you both. In the next several to a hundred years, history will look back on this historic election and decide whether or not Barack Obama lived up to his hype, but I have hope that he will.


Another thing that this election should teach you is that your life as an American has limitless possibilities. It doesn't matter what you name is, if you are a man or woman, or the color of your skin. YOU have a chance to become whoever you want to be in this country as long as you make good decisions and work hard.


I love you both very much, and I promise to be there for you both as you each make your way through this amazing world.

loves,

Mama

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE TODAY!






--designed by Shepard Fairey

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween 2008

First of all, you guys suck for not voting. If my 2nd Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest is any indication of voter turnout tomorrow, we are all in TROUBLE! Vote! Last year there were 34 pumpkin votes, this year....SEVEN (and one doesn't even count cause they were lame-o.) Blah.

OKAY....now to the fun Halloween pictures. Maddie was originally going to dress up as an "Angel Princess," and I had already purchased the dress, shoes and wand. She tried on the costume last week, loved the way it looked, but hated how itchy it felt on her skin. So, she decided she wanted to be a "Princess Cat," and wore her newly discovered cat ears with her princess flip-flops. I semi-sewed her a tail, and with a safety pin, she was ready to trick-or-treat.


Maddie had a blast, and often left her sister in the dust. Brooke went just to a few houses, and wanted to immediately eat her candy and ride in the stroller while we tried to keep up with Madison.


Brooke was a grumpy "Cinderella" who also didn't like her itchy costume:





It was a BEAUTIFUL night, about 75 degrees, so Brooke was just fine with her bare legs and pink Crocs doubling as glass slippers. Zak's mom came for the Halloween shenanigans, and we wore her OUT! She was awesome and so sweet to stay the next day and night so Zak and I could steal 24 hours alone in Houston for David & Francie's baby shower (more on that later).