Coke Zero with a shot of cherry and a shot of vanilla....

When Chris commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps I was about as proud of him as I have ever been. I was also just about as unsure about the future as I have ever been. I knew he would do six months of The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia but after that our future was a black hole. I packed up and moved to Virginia a few months after Chris started his training and I spent 2 whole days in our new apartment all alone. Then God blessed me in a way I never could have imagined. Chris called from work one day to tell me ,"Deboy and Ellison's wives are gonna take you out today". Ummm...ok...cool. What should I wear? What are their names? What if they don't like me?
I had these thoughts for a few hours but they dissipated about 15 seconds after I met Clare and Tara. The two amazing women have become such beautiful inspirations and supports in my life. They introduced me to Brittany, Sarah and Caitlin. And the rest is history. We talked, cooked, went to lunch, took our pack of dogs to the beach, went to WaWa a billion times a week for Coke Zeros, shopped,sang karaoke, stayed up late watching movies and playing wii while our tired husbands slept (sometimes they slept inside sometimes they were gone for whole weeks in the field). We discussed life, love, faith and the Marine Corps. We became a family. I am proud to say these women have made me a better person.
When the six months in Virginia ended we were scattered to the winds. Me to Yuma, Caitlin stayed in Virginia but now lives in San Diego, Tara spent time in Oklahoma but now lives in North Carolina, Brittany was with Tara in Oklahoma but now she lives down the block from Caitlin in San Diego. Clare and Sarah were lucky enough to both be stationed in Hawaii. Can you tell how large and yet how small the Marine Corps family is? Do you need a flow chart to remember all the places we have lived? Yea....me too!
This week I am thrilled beyond belief to be heading to Hawaii to visit Clare and Sarah. It will be a recharge for my soul to see these ladies and catch up on life. The only sad part is that all six of us can't be together for this week. (Don't worry! Reunion in the works for the fall!) I will try to update you on the gorgeous Hawaiian adventures I will be having but until then here are some pictures of our time together in Virginia!

So here we are Brittany, Sarah, Caitlin, Me, Tara and Clare.
A pretty classic photo of some classy ladies after a few drinks at Firkin.A little jumping photo action in Baltimore. Sarah, myself and Clare at the midnight release of Twilight (we were all obsessed).After the guys graduated from The Basic School.80's night karaoke for Tara's birthday.Sarah and I with some fire power on Family Day.Self photo skills in Baltimore. And the men who brought us all together!


Olive Oil

Sauce on the Side
The past week has been very busy, sadly not all with exciting blog-worthy activities. However, as always, I will share them anyway! HA, so there.
Saturday I spent several hours washing the Jeep Cherokee. This I consider to be a favor to my husband, even though he is a million miles away and won't be home for 3 more months. I am an adult so I can admit my short comings (well, some of them) and taking care of cars has never been my strong suit. Sure I will throw out all the collected trash every few months and run them through a car wash if I have the right cash on hand. It is Chris who changes the oil and filters and makes sure he lovingly washes and vacuums the vehicles. So, spending the greater part of a Saturday cleaning every nook and cranny is indeed a gift for my beloved. It did feel good to accomplish it and the car looks wonderful...for now.
Saturday evening I watched the girls while their Mom and Dad went on a date. I spend 50 hours a week with them but have never fed them dinner or put them down for bed. It was a lovely evening. They had spaghetti and pineapple for dinner, took a bath and played with rubber duckies and then we watched Snow White on the Disney Channel. They had Cheerios, I had popcorn. They are too cute and I love to snuggle them!
Sunday I drove two hours round trip to El Centro to go shoe shopping...are you beginning to grasp the reality of me living in a small town? I HAD to get to a real shoe store and there is a DSW in El Centro so off I went. 5 pairs of shoes and 20 minutes wasted in the line for the boarder control checkpoint I was home and happy!

Also this week. Paperwork. Why is it that all the paperwork pertaining to our lives and cars and household always comes around while Chris is away? I think he is paying someone off to set it up in this manner. This paperwork includes, but is not limited to, renewing our lease, figuring out how to keep our Colorado car registration while living in Arizona (military loopholes people!) getting my name changed on my passport (umm...2 years of marriage you think I would have done it by now) finishing our taxes and ordering copies of Chris' college transcripts for a packet he needs to complete. Did I mention our office is a train wreck? Well it is,it hasn't been cleaned or set-up properly since we moved in, who can even find the paperwork amidst the mess. Next year it is all you baby...have fun.
This weekend I watched my friend Bekah's dog Bailey while her husband and she ran the LA marathon (yes, she is a rock star). My dogs LOVE Bailey and it basically a play fest 24/7 when they are together. Except Sunday afternoon when they were to tired to even stand and this was the scene of doggie exhaustion littering my household.
Random- Saw this creepy van in the Albertson's parking lot. I expected a creepy man to offer me some candy or ask me to help find his lost puppy...
And, to wrap up this weeks Sauce here are some too cute pictures of the girls. Seriously, I love these girls.



Sauce on the Side
This week there has been a lot of drool thus far.The twins are teething and also fighting colds so they are leaking from pretty much every place. Poor kids. Poor Jen. If there is one thing a one year old does not like it is having their nose wiped. When you are one year old a sick day looks pretty much the same as when you are 24 years old. Here is Mckenna enjoying her mountain of pillows and blankets while watching utterly too much television.
This week I have read the venerable P.D Eastman's The Alphabet Book no less than a zillion times. Taylor loves to be read to and that rocks. What does not rock is that out of the twenty or so books surrounding her she always seems to pick this one. She brings it to me, holds it in her outstretched hand and thrusts it towards me, making a sound I can only assume means, "read this now or die". I mean anyone who can't do any better for the letter J than to say "Juggler with Jack-o'-lanterns" deserves to live a sad and lonely life. The following are the faces of Taylor.
First- If I read said book. Second-If I don't read said book What would you do? Yeah, I thought so...I read the book too.
Also, in more exciting news. We have been playing in box forts all week. The gals got new big girl car seats this weekend so I am a lucky nanny because boxes make the best toys! Here we are indulging in some box time.
It was 83 degrees here in Yuma yesterday. Yes, folks it heats up quickly here in the "dessert southwest" (this is what the local news team calls it to sound better than "hot as hell no-place town") However, hot weather means new hot weather clothing (there has to be an up side to 83 degrees in early March). So I headed to Old Navy and got some cute new sundresses. Here is the bottom of one of them, sorry I haven't repainted my toenails yet.
This week I was looking for a pair of earrings and they were no where to be found. In my search I did find a whole box of jewelry that my Mama helped me pack when I left Fort Collins (so January of 2009) It was like finding treasure! Things I forgot I even owned...maybe I own too much stuff? Anyway, I found this locket which was given to me by one of my oldest and dearest friends, Lainey, when I moved from Pennsylvania to Colorado in 8th grade. It still means a lot to me even now, as does her friendship. I am lucky to have so many friends that stand the test of time!

Mckenna is walking now. Full on, not holding onto anything, not freaking out every step walking. It is amazing but it still catches me off guard when all of a sudden she just toodles across the room. Growing up is crazy stuff!

And there you have it. This week's sauce.

Happy St.Patrick's Day!


For my hunny

This post will probably be weird for most people. It is weird for me because usually I take pictures of other people or things. However, my dearest husband recently commented in an e-mail that sometimes he just needs, "a dose of your face". Here you go babe, a dose of my crazy face.
Enjoying some Arizona sunshine
Why must I do laundry?
Silly Jen face
Crazy hair after sunbathing with a good book
Waiting in the Doctor's office
I thought you might also need a dose of some doggy face. Loki and Koda send you a box full of slobbery kisses. Don't worry, when you get home you have full tennis ball fetch privileges...I will gladly tap out. Had to bribe her with a toy to sit still
"Come inside and feed me Mom"
Getting some water from the baby pool
Loki doing some hard time in the backyard
Here is what I had to wear to meet my dermatologist. The original outfit was so darn cute and then I get in there and they give me the,"put this on, open to the back" routine and before you know it I was meeting a stranger dressed in paper. I had to keep the shoes on to maintain my dignity...
Hopefully all this wonderful pandering has warmed you up for some news.
I bought a new TV.

....pause for panic.....
The old one has been slowly making more and more unusual noises when I watch it, especially at any volume over 1o. I did some research, I waited for a sale, I used a coupon. Still love me? I sure hope so, but if you don't...I am taking the TV.
Remember the old guy?
Isn't she prettier?
Alright, that is enough for one day. Chris, I love you, I miss you. I hope you enjoyed this mish mash of my face and large electronics... Now come home so we can watch movies on the new TV!


NO sauce for me please

Sauce on the Side
Yesterday I watched the film Food Inc. It was one of the most shocking and frightening films I have ever seen. If you haven't seen it go rent it. If you have seen it, I hope you are making some changes in the way you think about food. I already eat a relatively healthy diet compared to much of America but I need to take it even further.
For instance, I learned that in 1950 it took 68 days for a chicken to grow to the size where it could be butchered. Now we raise our chickens to twice that size in only 47 days. The chickens have been '"remodeled" to have bigger breast for our white meat loving society and most are so misshapen they can only take a few steps before toppling over. Does that seem like something we should eat?
(image from ethicurean.com)
I learned that cows should eat grass but are fed corn for a variety of financial and political reasons. This causes the cow to produce a type of e.coli that is super resistant to antibiotics. When cows were put back on a grass diet the amount of e.coli in their stomachs reduced 80% in only 5 days. Why again are we not feeding the cows grass?
I guess what I am saying is that you should educate yourself. What I learned is that the big companies don't want us to know where our food is coming from and what is actually in it. Don't we have the right to know?
On a lighter note...

The girls are both taking steps on their own now. Any day now pandemonium will erupt. I am trying to enjoy the peace while it lasts. However, sometimes quiet is not a good thing. The girls were quiet today....too quiet... and then I saw them sitting in the hallway in a pile of snacks. They had worked as a team to reach through the baby gate, open the diaper bag, retrieve the snack can , open said can and dump out all the cheerio-type treats inside. They were feasting.

I overslept this morning. Yup. Been waking up at 5:30 since July but this morning I just turned that alarm off and rolled back over. Woke up at 5:57 and shot out of bed like a rocket. I usually leave for work at 6 am. In my craziness I managed to be in the car by 6:05. I am wonder woman! I just wish it was acceptable for my hair to look like Mckenna's.

This Sunday it rained all day long. Which is highly unusual in Arizona. I was going to walk the dogs and go to church but the downpour killed all my motivation. Instead I watched way too much TV all day long. At one point it even started hailing and the dogs hid in the shower because they were afraid of the noise. Oh my constant protectors....

So there you have it. A few things to giggle at and a few things to be afraid of. I am multifaceted aren't I? Please share with me things that you have done to get your family or yourself on the track to healthy foods. By which I mean foods that are themselves grown or raised to be healthy plants or animals, not just "good for us". Have a great day!


Vinegar and Honey

They say "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar" and beyond my initial question as to why one would want to be catching flies (to power very small wind generators?) I guess the phrase is correct. I thought I would share with you a few things in my life that are the honey and a few that are vinegar.
This weekend I got to see a dear friend from our time in Virginia who I haven't seen since May. She and her husband are in the process of moving to Camp Pendelton, California and luckily their route came right through my town. She brought me these beautiful flowers and improved my entire weekend just by being here for a few hours.
On Saturday I take a 90 minute class at my gym. It is 30 minutes of step and 60 minutes of free weights. It is intense but a great workout. This morning I got there slightly later than usual and ended up behind this sprightly little blond chick. She bounced around with the greatest of ease making the torturous moves seem simple. If that wasn't enough reason to dislike her then read on..She was also rude enough to keep checking her phone and sending texts for the whole 90 minutes. In what country is that ok?
Since I do not take my electronics to the gym you will have to use your imagination for this one...Barbie with a Blackberry...
My best friend out here in the desert always cheers up my days. Last weekend she was in Phoenix and was lucky enough to spend some time at Trader Joe's, a store we both love and wish we had here in no-where land. She came home with several gluten-free treats for me as well as this beautiful begonia plant. Isn't it pretty? Also pictured are a few of my other 'honeys' -coffee, anything with birds on it, water water water and of course my laptop in the background.


That week in every month where most of the bills arrive. You know, the week where you open the mailbox and think "Wow! Look at all that mail, people must love me!" and then you see the return addresses and just go search for your checkbook.
I LOVE really comfy shirts to lounge around the house in. My personal favorites are Chris' PT (physical training) shirts, in fact I am wearing one as I type this. They are soft, they have been washed a million times and I can sometimes pretend they still smell like him.
Seeing the stack of aforementioned PT shirts and remembering that I have to survive another 4 months before Chris will be home to wear them again. Also, remembering what they will actually smell like once he is home to wear them to the gym again...
Tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and herbs de Provence (can I use something including vinegar in my "honey" list? I make the rules and I say I can!)
I hope your days are filled with way more honey than vinegar.