I'm reposting this from last Memorial Day.

I have been blessed with many opportunities to travel and experience things. The summer between my sophomore and junior year of college I went to Paris to take a history class. There is nothing that compares to learning on the same soil things happened.

Here are some of the pictures from when we visited Normandy. There is something immeasurably powerful learning about D-Day while you yourself are struggling up the beach. And, I was dry, not hauling pounds of gear and there were no bullets being shot at me.

The actual beach the US troops landed on. The lucky few who made it to land still had this climb in their way.
I kid you not the sea of headstones went on into the distance. And, these were just the men whose families chose to have them buried in France instead of brought home.
There were too many of these to count. It's so sad for their families, but the thought that they are known by someone brings peace to my heart.
It was all for a reason though. This flag was made by a grandmother in her attic while German troops ate and slept in her home. She wanted to welcome the American troops and thank them for saving her. It was made from scrap fabric and candy wrappers for the stars.
Summer is fantastic, but that's not all we need to be grateful for this weekend.


including momma: day 3

Emily at the anderson crew is encouraging all the mommas out there to take at least one picture a day with your kid(s).

Today was all about The Monkey. He had gotten the lovely cold that The Bear had earlier this week. Who doesn't love more puke? Luckily, I got it at the same time so the two of us were snuggle bugs today. The Bear was not so snuggly, but he has to realize that there are days in life when it's not all about him. The Monkey has no clothing on because this was right between throwing up. Seriously, who looks this cute when they're that sick?

including MY momma

Taking pictures of me and the boys has made me look through old pictures of me and my momma. 99% of the pictures are back at their house so I'm sure there are more there. These are my favorites that were scanned into my computer. Don't mind the big glasses, acid washed jeans or bad haircuts. :-)

1985. I honestly have no idea who took this picture. This was when we were in the just the two of us stage. So glad she included herself.

1991. I was learning how to roller skate. I had also just had surgery and had 11 teeth pulled so smiling wasn't something I liked to do.

1992. We had whip cream fights when I was a kid. It involved paper plates full of whipped cream, lots of chasing each other, and huge messes.

2004. Oh yes. We're such goofs. We were on one of our last family vacations. I have no idea what we were doing besides being goofy in the hotel room.

1990. My favorite picture of all time of the two of us. Me and my momma.
Thanks for including yourself, Momma. I love you.


including momma: day 2

Emily from the anderson crew issued a challenge to take pictures of the mommas AND the kids every day this week.

Today is a better day. No puking. Lots of smiles. And, simultaneous nap times. Thank you, God.

We had more fun taking pictures today. The Bear kept asking for "more cheese" meaning "please take more pictures of me darling mother" in Bear-ese. I figured out the timer on my camera. Which really means, I figured out there was a timer on my camera and then how to use it. The camera was on a blanket on a container of cupcakes on the ottoman. I lost the top of my head, but that's fine by me. The Bear is showing off an old Subway toy he found that flashes. The Monkey is enthralled with The Bear as usual.

grand names

There is a part of my family that is slightly dysfunctional. Well, I guess they function. It's just not your typical functioning.

I ended up having a lot of grandparents. Like a lot. 11 of them. The result was a lot of grandparent nicknames.

My mom's mom: Nanny (pronounced non-e)
My mom's dad: Grandpa
My mom's stepmom: Vi (her first name. They didn't get married until my mom was about my age now.)

My father's mom: Grandma
My father's stepdad: Bill
My father's dad: Grandpa Forrest (yes, his real name is Forrest)
My father's stepmom: Granny

My stepdad's mom: Ba-Chan (Japanese for grandma)
My stepdad's dad: Dad's dad (he died before my mom met my stepdad)

My stepmom's mom: Grandma F*
My stepmom's dad: Grandpa F*

The Bear and The Monkey have 6 grandparents none of which are Grandma or Grandpa. Nanny & Poppy, Grammy & PaPaw and Papa & Nana.

What do you have? What do you envision yourself being called once you reach that stage in life?


including momma: day 1

Emily from the anderson crew issued a challenge for all the "momarazzi" out there. This week we're supposed to take pictures of us (the mommas) with one or more of the kiddos.

I almost totally gave up and didn't do it today. The Bear has been throwing up for the last 36 hours. I haven't showered since Saturday morning. Gross, but true. The only one that had real clothes on was The Monkey, and those only lasted until his diaper exploded.

Then, I realized that's okay. That's how our life is. My favorite pictures of me and my mom aren't the posed ones where she got all gussied up. Why not give the little ones pictures of how we are. We might not be pretty, but they are loved.

The Bear is obviously sick. He wouldn't smile for me.

A very blurry picture. But, a very us picture.

earning my mommy points

I have officially lost count of how many times I have been puked on in the last 36 hours. How I wish 2 year olds could give you a moment of warning before they throw up.

Little Bear, you better remember this when you're picking my nursing home.

Monkey, I know they say no screen time when you're this little, but Momma has to do something to survive. We don't have to share this with all those child experts.

Hubby, I deserve a very nice vacation after deployment.


favorite photo friday

Spring makes me take lots of pictures. I guess having two adorable (at least I think) little boys helps in the picture taking department.

Favorite of The Bear: I make The Monkey's solid food. Well, I make his milk too, but that's a whole different type of picture. The Bear is big into "my turn" and "helping" me. The 2s are lovely. He was pretty adorable helping me puree the sweet potatoes. We have a learning tower that he's standing on. He had to have his apron on, because I had mine on.

Favorite of The Monkey: He can sit up! I can't believe my little boy can sit up already. I know you're not supposed to compare kids, but I keep thinking that The Monkey is doing this way before The Bear did. The Monkey can go about 4-5 minutes sitting without toppling over. We had a mini photo session Thursday to capture his new skill. I love his "yeah, this is no big deal, mom" expression.

And, post topple I got this picture. It's such a classic baby shot. I changed the colors to give it an old fashioned vibe. I just want to give him a big kiss!



I love MOPS. If there is one piece of advice I could give to all the mommies out there, it would be to find a local MOPS group.

As I've mentioned before, I get weekly emails with encouraging bits of mommy wisdom. A few weeks ago, the topic was monotasking. Not multitasking. Monotasking.

With the two littles, I am constantly juggling way more than I should be. The thing about doing 3,000 things at the same time is I do none of them well. None of them nearly as well as I could. And, I don't enjoy doing any of them. It's always a burden.

I've been working on this crazy concept of monotasking. Ignoring those dirty dishes in the sink, the toys all over the floor, all the "I should be"s . . . and instead enjoying the time with the little boys.

I'm raising little boys to be honorable men. That is where my attention and effort should be.


top ten tuesday {things to experience}

I decided it was time to start some dreaming again.

Top Ten Things I want to experience:

1. 4th of July in Boston. Can you get any more patriotic than that? They have people in costume and reenact things - like the Boston Tea Party. I'm a huge dork and a sucker for anything patriotic so this is right up my alley.

2. New Year's Eve in Times Square. Hubby gave the go ahead for us to one day do Boston on the 4th, but he thinks I'm crazy for wanting to do this one. He's not a fan of crowds. At all. I'm trying to convince him that this is the year we can do it. We would get two hotel rooms in NYC. One for my parents and one for us. We could leave the little ones with my parents and join in the mass chaos. I'm sure it's one of those anti-climatic things that's actually quite lame in person, but it's one of those things I want to see being lame in person.

3. Living in a foreign country. I was a foreign exchange student twice (Germany between my junior and senior year in high school and France the summer between sophomore and junior year of college). I love experiencing other cultures, and I think it would be awesome for the boys. My mother might hate me for taking them so far away, but I'm sure she would visit :-)

4. Be in all 50 states. I hit my 44th in 2003 and plateaued since then. I'm still missing Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. A move from here to Washington would solve most of that problem. Hint, hint: Mr. Navy.

5. Publishing a book. I have no story or any thing like that. I just think it would be so awesome to get a book published.

6. Having a home that's ours. 100% mine and Hubby's to do as we please with it.

7. Being in a wedding. I've never been in a wedding. Besides you know being the bride (and flower girl when I was 3). None of my super close friends are close to the getting married stage, my sort of close friends all had closer friends or huge families, and my Navy friends are already married.

8. A surprise party. I'm insanely nosey and don't let things just go. I think it would fun to have one big surprise.

9. Having a garden. I would love to be able to plant seeds, take care of them and then eat them!

10. A second honeymoon. I'm hoping for a huge, amazingly awesome, perfect vacation when Hubby gets out of the Navy. Not that I've built this up at all in my mind. I'm sure he can meet my expectations though :-)

Check out some other lists on ohamanda's blog.



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I am super excited I was chosen as a BuzzMama for Mabel's Labels! The count of people that think I'm cool now is at 3 - Mabel, my mom and The Monkey. (I lost all coolness in the eyes of of The Bear today when I told him he couldn't have cookies as his dinner.)
I've been a fan of Mabel's Labels for a while now, but I was being cheap and using masking tape and my label maker every morning to mark The Bear's things. He's starting pre-school this fall and I knew I needed to step up the labeling. The Monkey will be using sippy cups soon, too. Tracking 2 sippies during playdates AND 2 little ones it just asking for a meltdown. I LOVE their sticky labels (and The Bear loves the train icons). The bag tags are totally the next on the buy list. How cute will that look on The Bear's backpack next year?
You really should check them out. If not to order, at least look at how pretty the world is all colored coded and labeled. I do have some awesome coupons if you are interested in trying them out. Leave a comment, and I can get you the codes.


favorite photo friday

So I finally uploaded all the pictures I've taken the last two weeks. It might not seem like a lot to a normal person, but I take a lot of pictures. Like a lot a lot. Here are my favorites from the week.

Favorite of The Bear: The Bear loves his bubbles. I might have said "If you want bubbles, you have to _____" three thousand times already this spring. My mom is convinced he's advanced that he can blow bubbles. I think she just wants an advanced grandson. He does look pretty adorable.

Favorite of The Monkey: I am constantly amazed at how mellow of a kid he is. He's such a good little brother. He's content to sit and watch The Bear. He is scooting about though, and I know it won't be long until he's running around. He was so tired, but he didn't cry at all while he sat in his car seat.


mother's day

Happy Mother's Day to all the mommas out there!

Today was a roller coaster of emotions at our house.

Kiddos slept well last night and no one made a peep until 7:45 am.
Not the most amazing thing ever, but I'll take any small victory I can get.

Got everyone dressed and ready earlier than we needed to be (which NEVER happens) so we were able to stop by Dunkin Donuts for a yummy treat before church.
I'm thinking today is going to be a pretty amazing day.

The Bear freaked out when I tried to drop him off at Sunday School.
I have no idea what has gotten into him the last week or so, but I am not a fan of the attitude shift. He didn't cry for long, but it was an all out emotional breakdown. I was outside the room, but listening to it broke my heart.

I did great at bell practice. We played at the late service today so I was wide awake and loving the spring song.
Hello, perfect day. You're back.

A friend from MOPS was snuggling The Monkey and went to change him for me during church.
Thank you, gift from God!

While my MOPS friend was changing The Monkey, The Bear escaped from the nursery and had a full out melt down. While I'm trying to console him, the bell choir begins playing. Without me.
Feeling like I suck at life. Screaming 2 year old. Check. Left the choir director scrambling for a last second substitute. Check.

Came home. Hubby has hidden cards for me about the house for while he's deployed. I get every Saturday and then on the special days - like Easter and Mother's Day. My mom gives me the clue for today. I hunt. It's not there.
Sad, depressed Stephanie lays on the floor and cries. Seriously feeling that suck at life thing.

Everyone naps. Quiet comes over the house. I have a moment to think and ponder. Remember that The Bear is 2. He is not a mind reader. He didn't know that I had plans and I needed him to be perfectly behaved for those exact 3 minutes. I am a mother first.
Guilt passes over me. In the grand scheme of life, some things don't matter. Having The Bear know he is my number one is what really matters.

Dinner with my mom and a MOPS mommy who also has her Hubby gone. Bubbling with pride that my 2 year old is the best behaved kiddo in the bunch. He's sitting still, eating his food, and filling me with love.
I did something right.

We end our day playing with trains and reading books. The Bear tells me twice that he has to use the potty (all that apple juice at dinner will do that to you). He's now gone 3 weeks without an accident!
Content and full of love for my family.

I'm nursing The Monkey for one last time before bed. The Bear comes running into my room. He throws himself at me with a hug and a kiss. "Happy Mama Day" and he's off to bed.
It was a pretty amazing day. Lots of love and a few momma lessons along the way.



My mom is in town and so I'm watching different shows than I normally do. Private Practice is on now.

They were talking about people having the ability to change. The quote went something like "People don't change. They just get better at covering up their flaws."

Can people change? Is it a real change or are they just controlling themselves? Are we preset with certain characteristics or are we able to change?


2010: month 4

So, I missed updating in April. I'm back on the bandwagon now though. Here's where I stand with the new years resolutions.

* Plans. Yep. Good on this one. We have a bazillion if this happens, then we'll this going on. Nothing set in stone yet. Hello, Hubby's in the Navy. I like knowing all the potential ways we can go though. I've done (relatively) well with sticking to the budget I've given myself. I also have developed a menu planning system that works for us. I map out a month's worth of meals and give them tentative dates. Should we skip a real dinner that night or I want something else, I can trade for another day. I cross out the used meals which means I can quickly glance at the calendar and know our possibilities. Not the most organized, but it works for us.

* The boys are each getting their own time. They no longer nap at the same time, so it makes special mommy time easy.

* 14 books done. I've actually started a few more and never finished them which is weird for me to do. I'm ahead of my one every two weeks goal which makes me feel proud.

* Taking care of me . . . yeah. It's a process, right? I am eating better and getting more exercise than I was. One more month until we can start our Y membership with the childcare.

* Potty train The Bear. CHECK! Exhausting day one led to an easier day two and three. He still has the occasional accident, but he's two and I'm okay with that. No accidents in 9 days though.

* Positive attitude in the works. Hubby has hidden notes around the house for me to find while he's gone since we don't have email. The one I got a few weeks ago said that he really liked one of the quotes on my facebook page. It was a random, out of blue comment. It's been there since we met, and he had never said anything about it. The quote is "Change your thoughts and you change your world." It was a perfect reminder to keep my chin up.

So how are you doing with your resolutions? We're 5/12 of the way through 2010 - crazy! It's not too late to catch up!