Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy at Grammie's House

We're keeping the road hot! Anna's 21 Month Day on Friday found her in Raleigh with my dear friends and Anna's surrogate aunties Amy and Suzanne. They spoiled her rotten giving her treats and buying her toys! They both seem to have the magic touch and know how to make her smile. They'll both be wonderful mommies and Amy will be the pediatrician all the kids wish they could go to. Sorry, no photos. We were too busy going to the mall, chasing Anna, cooking yummy food, and watching cozy movies on the Hallmark chanel.

We returned home yesterday and today unpacked, repacked, took Mr. E to kitty camp, and pointed Saabi in the wind towards Roanoke. We arrived safely at Grammie's this evening with lots of smiles and excitement. Grammie's house has lots of toys and many things that make a toddler happy. Anna's already been inquiring where her cousin Sam is. They'll get plenty of time to play over the next 2 weeks we're here. Hooray for family! Hooray for Christmas! Thank the Lord I have such a flexible child who's just always happy to go wherever the wind takes us...and goes to bed so easily once we get thre!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Dada arrived home for R&R the day before Thanksgiving. What a blessing! As expected, Anna was a bit timid at first, but warmed right up to him after just a few moments. Our Thanksgiving was wonderful. Aunt Mary and family came down to celebrate with us for the day. See photos of John in Jim Golby's favorite sweater and our happy day here

Never ones to sit around when great traveling opportunities present themselves, the next day we headed down to the Caribbean to kick back on an island in the sun. Anna was proud to get her first passport stamp when we arrived on St. Martin and again the next day on St. Barthélemy where we stayed all of last week. St. Barth's is beautiful and fabulous. Think euro-calypso-Mediterranean with a little glitzy-glam thrown in et voilà! 8 square miles of pure fun! No trip is complete without its (mis)adventures, though. Our passports nearly escaped us twice, the driving on the island is a perpetual grand prix, and I experienced my first one of these. Yikes! John also managed to keep all the mosquitoes on the island fed with his sweetness. I've never seen skeeters swarm a body the way they do John.

But anyway, when we weren't feeding mosquitoes, tracking down passports and surviving earthquakes, we had a blast! Anna LOVED the sea and the waves and the sand. Dada was more than happy to oblige and keep her laughing and squealing while I enjoyed some quiet moments on the beach enjoying my little family and praying her 50 SPF sunscreen would hold up. I know...I'm ridiculous!

Here are a few photos. First, of Anna in the Charlotte airport Friday morning. She was so pumped about getting to go, "up, up, up!" I'm so thankful she's really a great air passenger, all things considered.

The view from the front yard of our rented villa, as they call them. It sounds much more opulent than it was. But it was really a lovely, comfortable little house with cool contemporary decor.

And here's Anna and Dada by the pool. The pool wasn't her favorite. She much preferred the more dramatic action of the sand and waves. Our photos don't really do the job; only video can truly demonstrate Anna's joy and excitement for the sea. I'll try to post that later.

One of our favorite things was our morning walk. Where else in the world does a few minutes' walk on a gorgeous beach take you to a pâtisserie where a tasty breakfast of baguette and pastries await? Truly a slice of heaven!

The island life suits us just fine.

It suits our luggage even more. We're still awaiting its arrival. Good thing we don't need our shorts and swimsuits in Fayetteville. This week we'll be enjoying more Dada time and it looks like Christmas will come early to this house. More photos and video to follow.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Would you like more onions?

Those are words I NEVER imagined I'd be saying to my toddler. But it was just so strange/funny, and I have no one to tell, so I'm telling all. Tonight for dinner I got out my leftover Greek salad from Sammio's I had had today for lunch after church. Anna had enjoyed her fries and chicken fingers. The thought of offering her any other component of my Greek salad, besides cucumbers, (she LOVES 'em!) never occurred to me. But tonight at dinner her eyes drifted from her bowl of chicken and rice over to my styrofoam salad container. I tossed a pile of thin red onion rings aside. I really can only manage one bite of raw onion in a sitting. She eyed them. She pointed at them, and said, "Mmm?" That means she wants what she's looking at. I chuckled and thought, "why not?" So I gave her a sliver of red onion. She munched on it bit by bit till it was gone. And then grinned. So I asked her the question. She nodded and sure enough, ate more of those onions. Then she spotted the green peppers. And the olives. And the feta. She liked all of it! Maybe it's her Armenian roots coming through. Grammie will be proud!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Recap of Recent Fun

I've had a few subtle requests lately for some updates. I hope this will do. I've been meaning to post something all week, but somehow the time just gets away. We've been busy, but not too extraordinarily busy. We had a great time last weekend with the Spahrs who stopped by on their way to SC. The girls were so cute together, but having 2 Annas in the house did create a little confusion. That's OK. They still had fun. Here's evidence.

We also enjoyed a mini Schweinfurt reunion last Saturday evening when the Humphreys and the Mikkelsons came over for dinner. It was quite the scene of activity in our house, but so fun! Sorry, didn't get any photos of that one. No, I haven't improved.

Other than that, it's been life as usual. That will change in a few days with John's arrival for R&R! Anna's pumped. We've been talking about it all week. Yesterday she reminded me of her excitement when I was talking with a friend about R&R and Anna piped in with an enthusiastic, "Dada home!" We're working on our "Gobble Gobble." He should get here in time for Thanksgiving. We'll have so much thanks to give, indeed!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Dinner Table Confessions

Lately the dinner table has been a battlefield for Anna and Mimi (Anna for "Mommy"). Several factors contribute to these conflicts and I'm working on them and praying for wisdom, but last night we had quite the go 'round. She refused to eat her pizza. Even just one bite. Who doesn't love some pizza for dinner? Suddenly, in the middle of her fit and crying, she stopped, looked at me with very serious, melty eyes and quietly said, "I unt DaDa." (Anna for, "I want DaDa.") She had me there. I confess that I wanted him at that moment too.

But isn't it amazing how one sweet moment can redeem a multitude of sour ones? I snapped this photo of an unsuspecting little girl "reading" to herself this morning in her room.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Maybe Next Year

Since she wouldn't tell me her choice, I decided Anna should be a box of Cheerios for Halloween. The girl keeps General Mills in business, so it seemed like a natural choice. And she would be an adorable advertisement! But when I attempted to put her costume on her, she shared her opinion with one small, yet poignant word: "Nooooo!" That's Anna for "no," and she uses it a lot lately. With some encouragement she still refused. I even put it on myself to show her it was ok. We went outside and talked to the little girl next door who was in her Batgirl costume to assure her costumes were safe. My followed attempts were still met with, "Nooooo!" I relented. I guess she's still a little too young to get into it, but old enough to have an opinion. Well, that didn't keep us from having a good time. Our church had an All Hallows Eve Extravaganza. The words "Hallows" and "Extravaganza" in the same phrase seem odd, but it was fun and no one cared that Anna was just wearing her pj's. She didn't either; she got candy just the same.

So, here's a picture of her costume by itself, not filled up with a cute toddler. Part of her angst was probably due to the Cheerios that were glued on that she couldn't pick up and eat, though I think she did manage to coax off a few. Oh well, Elmer's glue is non-toxic, right?

And here's a photo of Anna just being Anna, NOT a box of Cheerios.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Rainy Day People

We've had some most-welcome rainy days recently. Not being able to go "utsiiide" was difficult for the little girl. So, what's there to do on a rainy day? Well, we watched the DaDa video A LOT, got a flu shot (she didn't even cry!), tried to put up a tent in the living room, but I broke the poles (oops!), baked cookies, did a little shopping, and ended our rainy days with a visit from Granny and Pa Pa! They came yesterday morning and left this afternoon. It was a great visit. Pa Pa made quick work of several chores and projects I had been saving for him. My stove now has 4 working burners, instead of just 3, my bedroom has curtains (how long have we lived here now?), our gate to the backyard is fixed, and he helped me get a surprise project going for Da Da's R&R next month. Besides all that, Anna enjoyed tons of outside time with Granny and reading books and watching football with Pa Pa.

What do you all do on rainy days?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Foam Number Fun

Look at me! 2 posts in one day! I've finally gotten my head out of the Kleenex box long enough to do a little catching up on the blog. It was 9 months ago today that Dada left for Afghanistan. John said, "Wow...we could've had a baby in that amount of time." Well, that would've been one alternative. I'm probably just as tired, but thankful to say it's not for want of sleep at night. It's more of a mental fatigue, I guess. I have the utmost admiration for friends who have babies during or near deployments. Anyway, at least this day brought some pretty cute photo opps. Anna and I were having fun during bath time tonight with her foam numbers. A "Lellooow" (that's Anna for "yellow") 9 (or is it a 6?) helped us think about today; 9 months down, 6 to go! Hopefully Dada will be in Month 10 photos for R&R! There's a happy thought.

You may notice the prominent red splotch emerging on Anna's forehead. That was the result of her putting her noggin ahead of her feet while doing laps around the kitchen and dining room. Obviously, the "bi ba" (Anna for "splish, splash) time was a consolation.

Thank you again to all of you out there who are praying for us and supporting us in adventures with Daddy afar. It means so much.

Back to her Peachy Roots

Over the past week we spent a few days back in Anna's birthplace - Columbus, GA! We headed down last Thursday for a few days with our dear friends, the Johnsons, sans Chris/Dada. We got to meet baby Sam and Anna had a blast playing with Nathan, one of her first friends. Of course, the mommies had a great time catching up, watching great movies when the kiddos slept, laughing with and at our babies, and sharing the adventures of Mommyhood with deployed Daddies. We decided we don't recommend it. Here are some cute photos of the kids.

Anna and Nathan had many good chats over their meals.

She couldn't get enough of Baby Sam. She'll be a great big day.

Playing peek-a-boo with the camera...

"Utsiiide" (that's Anna for "outside") checking the perimeter of the Johnson's yard.

What a fun time! Unfortunately, one of the souvenirs we brought back was a nasty cold! Anna came down with it our first night there. Then it was my turn Tuesday night after we got home. Is it just me, or does there seem to be a pattern here with Anna getting sick every time we take a trip?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Down on the Farm

Yesterday Anna and I took a little field trip 5 minutes away to our favorite local farm that sells us their yummy produce in the summer. We met up with Anna's little friends, Grace and Bella, and their mommy, Betts. Anna and pals visited the ox that mooed at them (they all took refuge in their Mommies' pants legs), the chickens that clucked, the ducks that swam, the sheep that baa'd, the goats that me-ee'd, a bunny who sat there, and horsies that trotted. She also got to meet a friendly little pig, Oliver (the male version of Olivia?), who was being led around on a leash by his owner. The girls loved sitting and watching the ducks swim by on their big pond.

The hens weren't too thrilled about having 3 toddlers peeking in at their nests, but Oliver and Anna enjoyed it just the same.

I think Anna thought she was back in Fincastle when she spied the big tractor and exclaimed, "Pa Pa! Pa Pa!" Well, she thinks any sighting of a tractor, lawn mower, or other such vehicle is my dad. He's quite proud.

In other news, I haven't changed a poopy diaper in a few days! She's really making progress with using her potty. Hooray!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tiny Dancer

I snagged the video camera just in time to catch Anna performing her moves a couple weeks ago. Enjoy, Aunt Mary!

Monday, September 24, 2007

18 Month Stats

Here they are:

Weight: 21 lbs, 3 oz. I know...even after all the pork 'n beans she ate all summer. Her doc gave a round of applause when she told us Anna's finally in the 10th percentile!

Height: 32 inches Just over the 50th percentile.

She's a tiny girl who is larger than life! The 2024 Summer Olympics are looking more and more like a possibility.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Falling into Fall

Tomorrow's the first day of fall (wouldn't know it by the heat that returned), and Anna decided to mark the weekend with her own celebration. This morning we were playing in the living room and she was sitting in the chair-and-a-half and somehow just tumbled off and landed on her head, biting her tongue on her touchdown. Ouch! I scooped her up and wiped away tears and blood for a few minutes. Rosie came to the rescue and made everything better. Nothing major, just a bump on the head and a sore tongue. It's always something!

We ended the day today with a fun dinner at the Humphrey's and some of the Mikkelsons joined us, too.

I know...I really need to get on with the photo-taking and post some cute ones of the little girl. I'll get there...I promise!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Happy Birthday, to you!
Happy Birthday, to you!
Happy Birthday, Auntie Mary
Happy Birthday, to you!

Wish we could celebrate together today! We miss you and love you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Recent Blessings

Whew! I've just been tossed into my desk chair after a whirlwind of activity since our last post.
Our time in VA Beach last weekend was awesome. The wedding was beautiful and all its attendant festivities were a blast. Here we are...10 years after meeting freshman year in Virginia Hall at MWC. I'd post a "then and now" photo, but I did not have a digital camera in 1997. Yikes! Are we getting old? Don't answer that...

Here's Anna enjoying lunch by the pool with Eliana. Anna was thrilled to get to stay with Eliana again and have free access to the pool. I think they and Robertson and Aiden had secret pool parties when the parents were enjoying wedding festivities.

Here's the MWC gang! We've multiplied...a lot!

And this is the coolest wedding exit I've ever seen!

The day after the wedding, Anna and I headed to the mountains for some time with the family. No surprise, I didn't get one photo. I did learn a lesson, however. Never give your child 2 big cups to drink and then drive 4 hours without stopping. If you do, carry a goodly-sized beach towel in your car to mop up the resulting pond you will have in your backseat. This lesson will probably be more valuable than a photo. Our time in Fincastle/Roanoke was great. Anna got to meet her Great Aunt Margie and see Great Aunt Freddie again, plus all the grandparents, great-grandparents and cousins. Yep, all that in 2 days.

We returned here last Tue. and have been going non-stop since. It's been a blast! Anna welcomed Grammie's visit for her 18-month day (another month has passed?!) on Friday and we had a grand time. Grammie helped us celebrate with ice cream at DQ, took us downtown for lunch on Sat., and for a trip to Target and a yummy dinner at Sweet Georgia Brown's Sat. night. Since she left, Anna hasn't stopped asking for "Ghee" (sorry Mom!). And, of course, I have no blog-worthy photos to post. I promise to do better!

The coming days look to be a little quieter. We're soaking up this cooler weather and staying outside as much as we can.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Few Things

Anna and I are preparing to go off gallivanting again, but I just wanted to put a couple of things on here that I feel like sharing with the world. Tomorrow we leave for Virginia Beach to celebrate the wedding of our beautiful friend Melissa (see her blog on the right.) We're so excited for her and Mike to start their new life together! Here are the things we've been excited about the last few days, in no particular order.

1. Anna's got a new way to roll! Yes, at 17.5 months I FINALLY turned her facing forward in her car seat! She's always been so little, and I just wanted to be sure. I wish I had photos, but remember, this is me. I always forget my camera. So thankful for the firemen who helped me install the big girl car seat correctly. It was so cute to hear her saying, "Weeeee!" the first time we drove and she got to see the world passing by in the right direction.

2. Anna went to her first Story Hour at the library yesterday! I've looked forward to this since before she was born, and finally decided she is now old enough. Our local library has a Tots & Tales program for ages 12-24 months and it was 25 minutes of stories, puppets, music, and fun. I think I enjoyed it more than she did. She just wanted to walk around and say "Hiiii" to all her new friends.

3. Anna pee pee'd on the potty today! I know...I'm totally not ready for this! Maybe it was just a fluke, but, I don't know...

4. We're officially half-way through the deployment!! WOO HOO!!! According to the Donut of Misery, we have a mere 226.03 days to go! On a side note, don't bother checking Daddy's blog. He's been moving around a lot and is now in a remote area and they've just set up a new FOB. Who knows when he'll get back to Kandahar and luxuries of the modern age. It's pretty sad when you're on the phone and you're husband says, "Sorry, I've gotta go. They're about to turn off the generator."

So that's our exciting life. We think it's a pretty sweet life, though. Sorry I don't have more photos, Mrs. Huse. I'll work on that, I promise!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Ready for the loo?

Lately Anna has taken a serious interest in using the potty. She has a lot of the cognitive and behavioral habits down, but I'm not sure she's physically ready. She usually tells me after she's filled her diaper. I got her a training potty and she only wants to sit on it if the little seat is on the real potty. And she likes to just sit there. I don't think she quite gets that she's supposed to expel something. Any advice?

Besides hanging out in the bathroom, which we did a lot of this week, we've been having fun. Last weekend Granny and Anna's cousin Haley-anne came and stayed till Monday. It was adorable to watch Anna wanting to copy everything her big cousin did. Anna thinks being 7 is the coolest thing and can't wait till she's there. Here's a photo of the 2 of them. One funny thing about Anna and Haley is that it seems like since Anna started getting teeth, Haley has started losing them. They've been on about the same track. Anna just got up to 12 and Haley lost 2 more. It's cute stuff.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bye, Bye Caleb

Last Wednesday the Toths departed this area for bigger and better things in the Special Forces world. This was a sad day for Anna and me. You see, we've been living near (sometimes with) the Toths for nearly 4 years now. For John, the pleasure of Kevin's presence was even longer, going all the way back to days at USMA. We've experienced a lot together: deployments, field times, fun travels about Europe, Kristen and I found out we were pregnant the SAME day (though she held out on me when I told her :), anniversary celebrations sans husbands, the glories of pregnancy and crazy life with newborns, infants, and now toddlers, I could go on.... We'll really miss them. Anna and Caleb were each others' first friends. Caleb even helped welcome Anna home from the hospital back at Ft. Benning.

Last summer we had fun watching our babies grow and develop, and helped each other grow and develop as mommies.

But all good times must end, thankfully friendships do not and I have no doubt we'll be seeing these folks again somewhere down the road, hopefully sooner rather than later. And hopefully Kevin will find it in his heart to forgive John for ignoring him the past 7 months. (Can anyone blame him, really?) So, farewell Toths, and we pray that God will bless you in this new season of life.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

7 Months Down...6 Teeth to Go

Today marks 7 month's since Daddy's departure and, according to the Donut of Misery, that means we are 47% done, assuming he returns exactly 15 months from the day he departed. We know that's not likely, but you gotta have something to look to! Yep, 7 months. At times it seems like it's gone by quickly, and at others I feel every minute of it. By God's grace, we keep going. This day also coincides with Anna's decision to sprout 6 teeth at once! I was starting to think she'd only have 6 teeth forever, but no, 6 more are currently erupting through her little swollen gums. We all know that teething is never good for Anna...or Mommy! So, pray for us and enjoy this photo of Anna proudly presenting the number 7 on the fridge today.

This post was brought to you by the letter "T" and the number 7.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cousin Time!

Anna couldn't think of a better way to celebrate her 17-month day this past Tuesday than to have her cousins visit! Auntie Mary, Jacob, Hannah, and Sam came for a couple of days and we had a blast doing laps around the house, going to the "zeeum" (Jacob's word for a local children's museum), running around in the sprinkler outside, having donuts for breakfast, and just being a little crazy!

Here's a photo from a year ago when they visited when Anna was still a bit too small to keep up with them.

But now she's the life of the party!

She was particularly sweet on Sam.

Thanks for coming, guys! I'm always amazed at how well-behaved these kids are and am now convinced their parents have bribed them with the promise of Corvettes when they turn 16. Or for Sam, it will probably be a "wocket."

Come back soon!

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Community Service Message

Anna wants all her friends to be safe. Please check this link to see if you have any of these recalled toys.

Almost as good as Daddy

This past weekend Anna and I welcomed some very special visitors. We've had a lot of them lately, and we're so thankful. On Thursday Uncle Mike and Aunt Faith came from Ft. Hood to spend some time with us and to see Aunt Faith's brother marry his true love. was such a sweet wedding. And we had a great time playing with Uncle Mike and Aunt Faith, too. I think at first Anna really wondered if Uncle Mike might be Daddy, but she soon realized the difference: you have to lean your head back higher to see Uncle Mike because he's a little taller than Daddy. She loved them just the same, and I think they like her too. This morning she pointed at the guest room and was looking for them and put up her hands in her way that says, "Where'd they go?" We miss you guys, but can't wait for the next one. We love our family!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Backyard Fun

Often people ask, "So, what do you guys do?" Well, we spend A LOT of time in the backyard. Here's a list of things you can do in our backyard.

1. Dig in the dirt.

2. Throw, roll, and fetch a big purple ball.

3. Get stung by bees. This resulted in a lot of freaking out and therefore was not photographed. This activity is not recommended, but thankfully, now we know she's not allergic. And, I know a great remedy. Call me if you ever need it. I've also annihilated the bees. There goes our balanced ecosystem!

4. Play in our new sand table with friends who've come from afar. Thanks for coming yesterday, "G" girls! The sand table is a wonderful, mommy-friendly alternative to activity #1.

5. Care for the heat-stricken posies.

And so much more!

Anna would also like to publicly announce the arrival of her new friend. Joshua Andrew Toth made a very speedy arrival into the world (much to Kristen's relief)last night at 12:04 am. Anna and Caleb will be baby-sitting Thursday night while we parents go out for a break. I didn't get photos of him when I went to visit this morning, but I'm sure Mama and Dada will see to that very soon.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Has anyone missed us?

It's been a while since I posted because Anna and I took an impromptu trip to VA this past week. We just can't let too much grass grow under our feet. We left last Sunday and returned today. It was great to be home and with family again. Anna loves being on the farm at Granny and Pa Pa's house. We were outside pretty much all the time getting dirty and running around. She learned how to moo! We also got some great times with her great-grandparents, Grammie and Aunt Mary and the cousins. Hooray for summer! We don't want it to end!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Call me Columbo

Tonight I was making dinner and heard a suspicious rustling sound in the dining room, followed by little feet scampering away.

I walked into the dining room from the kitchen to find this mess of what used to be the insides of a gift basket - paper grass and packing peanuts.

Now who could've done that? The cat or the baby? They are both nosy and like to make messes. They both make scampering noises. When I finally caught up with the tot I had my answer. She wouldn't make a good criminal. I think that's okay.

It was a mess, but who could get upset with this little face looking up at you?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Home again, home again

Well, another successful trip is under our belt and filling up our photo memory books. Anna and I had a wonderful and fun-filled time in Philadelphia with Nate and Lynn and then a good weekend in Raleigh with Suzanne and Aaron in their lovely new home! Here's a quick photo recap of our time in Philly. Upon arrival to their cozy appartment, Anna was due for a snack (actually, she's always due for a snack!)

The next day we explored the amazing park near their home and Anna got to feed the ducks, or rather, steal the ducks' food. Again, another snack was in demand.

On Sunday we got to visit Pilgrim Church and meet some of Lynn and Nate's good friends. Later, we took a walk to a nearby playground and toddled around there a bit. The rocks in Philly are just as tempting as the ones here in North Carolina. Anna took a little spill on this walk and got her first scraped knee. We actually caught it on video to share with her down the road.

The week also brought many "firsts" for Anna. She got to visit a zoo. Did you all know Philadelphia is home to America's first zoo? Back then farms didn't count. We had perfect weather for seeing elephants, cheetahs and other cats even larger than Mr. E, monkeys, all sorts of birds, otters, huge turtles, rhinos, giraffes, gazelles, and many more descendants of days in the ark. Anna made her animal noises where appropriate and showed us how big the giraffes were.

Anna also enjoyed her first Philly cheesesteak from Chubby's. Yum! She's a fan. We later had a trademark Carlson peach milkshake. The zoo, Chubby's, peach milkshakes! What a great day!

We kicked off the 4th of July with a morning hike. Anna was a great sport, but obviously, was pretty worn out by the end. It's tough being carried for 4 miles.

And later in the day, we realized our 4th of July wouldn't be so loud and sparkly as the rain and the reality of an early wake-up the following day to catch a flight set in. So, we had our own fun watching Anna draw smiles as we strolled around and dined in Manyunk. Did I spell that right? That was a really fun place!

And finally, the Carlsons' enthusiasm for healthy teeth and gums has been passed on to their goddaughter.