Kiwi Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting

Twenty-five years ago today something really amazing happened.
Twenty-five years ago the man who now makes me smile everyday (even from thousands of miles away), the man who knows all my secrets, the man who supports all my crazy ideas and dispels all my crazy fears was born.
And that freaking rocks.
I am so happy that God made this man for me to love. A man who is honorable and respectful and hardworking. A man who keeps me safe and who puts others first. A man who knows how to laugh at himself and how to admit when he was wrong. A man who loves and respects his Mom and a man who can't wait to be a Dad. A man who never passes up a chance to learn about or experience something new.
A man who loves me.
How lucky am I?
I wish he was here or I was there so that I could bake him cupcakes and sing him the birthday song in one of my silly voices and he could roll his eyes at me the way he lovingly does when I am acting like a fool.
Maybe next year.
Until then
Always and Forever Yours


Sorry Sir, I forgot your sauce

Sauce on the Side
Last week I forgot to write anything on Wednesday. Ooops. Such is life. One might think this means I have twice as much to tell you about this week but that is not the case.
Life has been pretty ordinary the last few weeks. No big trips or crazy adventures just the day to day monotony. That is of course with the exception of a pretty exciting 8 pm trip to Wal-Mart with Bekah during which we bought things neither of us needed and got a little slap happy since 8:30 is both of our bedtimes.
It seems as though everyone is sick right now. I managed to get strep throat TWICE in a row...thrilling. Bekah is sick with a very bad cold and Clare also has strep....maybe I shouldn't visit friends? I feel like I somehow brought them both the plague.
I spent all weekend working on transforming our back bedroom from a dumping ground into a functioning office and studio. It isn't quite finished yet so I will share pictures once it is up to my standards.I can't wait till I have some free time to do some creating in there.
Last Wednesday I woke up to a foggy morning. Which I didn't realize was even possible. It was really lovely to enjoy a cooler day (70's) since it will most likely be our last one until October. It has been in the 90's everyday since then. Oh man, summer is here in the AZ.
The twins are getting bigger everyday. (yes, we still have the box forts. No, they never get old)
They practically run everywhere and have this little half talking half shrieking thing that they do back and forth. I wonder if they understand each other? I think of how closely linked my sister and I are sometimes (sending each other the same text at the same time or showing up wearing almost the same outfit after months of separation...)and I can't imagine what it would be like to have a sister who was your exact same age. They are lucky little girls!
In another month I will be in Colorado and this thought keeps me plugging along. My dear sweet Mama has offered to fly down and drive home with me so I don't have to do the 17 hour trek with only dogs as companions (Loki is not a gentleman) (Koda getting smacked in the head repeatedly with a rattle...such patience)
Though they are cute they don't really carry their weight behind the wheel.I am ready to have some down time and a break from getting up at 5 am. If you are one of my beloved Colorado friends please let me know if there is a chance of seeing you in June. I would love that!
Other than that nothing much is new. I need to go seek out some adventure so I have something more thrilling to tell you about. Until then have a lovely week.


The Second Half

Occasionally the second half of something is not the best part.
For example eating the second half of a container of ice cream results in a tummy ache and drinking the second half of a bottle of wine results in a hangover.
However, more often than not the second half is the best part.
It is the part of the movie where you get the happy-ever-after and the part of the novel where you find out who dunnit. In my life, right now, it is the part of the deployment where there is more time behind me than in front of me until I see Chris. Hooray!
For those of you just reading my blog for the first time (or for friends or family who live under a rock) Chris has been deployed for a little over 3 months now. He should (and I say should because with the military nothing is ever certain) be home in 3 months.
In the time since he has left I have been keeping myself as busy as possible. I work 50 hours a week, I go to the gym 3 days a week and run when it isn't too hot outside. I walk the dogs, do the laundry, vacuum and dust, grocery shop and pay the bills. I visited my sister in Memphis and my Mom came to Yuma. I have dinner with Bekah at least once a week and I go to the movies with friends or alone whenever I want. I have prayed for strength and peace. I paid our taxes for the second year running (someday Chris will be home in April). I went to Hawaii to visit friends, San Diego to visit more friends and Colorado for a wedding and to see family. I have congratulated 10 women on their pregnancies and I have tried to update my blog at least once a week. I have e-mailed Chris almost everyday and now that he is on dry land again I get to talk to him via Skype.
I have also cried over nothing, put the coffee away in the cabinet with the laundry soap, forgotten the groceries in the car overnight, yelled at the dogs for no reason and blamed deployments for everything. Everything ranging from a stubbed toe to bad weather to the porch light being burned out to having step throat twice in a row.
People have told me that I seem to be doing well and ask how I manage it. I will let you in on a secret folks.
I fake it.
Yup. I was a theater kid after all.
People do not particularly care to be part of your pity party most times so it is best to save that part of deployment life for cursing at inanimate objects alone in your empty house. When I leave the house I put on my happy face (you're never fully dressed without a smile...) and usually this helps set my day in the right direction. If you pretend that all is well than after a while it seems to be true. I cannot change the fact that not seeing Chris for half of a year stinks but I can decide whether or not I sit and cry about it all day every day. I know that Chris wouldn't want me to be miserable ALL the time so I try to enjoy the good stuff and pretend the rest doesn't exist.
I have one month of work left and then I am heading to Colorado with the dogs in tow to spend the last month of this deployment surrounded with friends and family and Rocky Mountains.
I cannot wait until there are few enough days left in this separation that having a countdown doesn't seem silly. I cannot wait to hang out with my husband and argue over TV programming. I cannot wait for my real life to resume.
Until then I will keep faking it and I will leave you with a quote from a fantastic woman.


Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Sauce on the Side
Today we ran errands.
And by "we" I mean myself, Taylor and Mckenna.
They behaved while we wandered Target and they behaved while we bought Chris a cell phone cover and me a blue-tooth at AT&T. I promised them (and one year olds who cannot yet talk are big on holding you to promises...)that if they behaved through those two stops we would have frozen yogurt.
So I got them out of their car seats and into the double stroller at the third stop of the day and we split a delicious cup of sugar free strawberry frozen yogurt. Mckenna was half asleep in her seat but Taylor was all about it. I think that girl ate half the cup all by herself! She had her own spoon and would try scooping her own bite. Once scooped she wanted to feed me the bite and have me feed her a bite. A-Dorable.
(Classic "my cup is empty" Taylor face)
After that we headed to the Post Office where Taylor charmed the long line and Mckenna slept.
It was a great day!
Tomorrow night I am headed to Denver to attend a friend's wedding. Maybe after this trip I will be home long enough to wash all my clothes and put them away instead of straight back into a suitcase!


Black Licorice

There are a lot of people in the world who do not care for black licorice. It has a strong unapologetic taste and it doesn't blend well with a lot of other flavors.
Apparently our puppy, Koda, is black licorice.
She is only one year old and has really only had substantial interaction with two other dogs. Loki, her big brother, whom she truly believes controls the rising and the setting of the sun. And Bailey,her puppy pal, who plays hard with Koda and has no fear.
What I learned the last few days is that this means Koda cannot read other dogs or adjust her playing style at all. To Koda playing is nipping and wrestling and that is about it.
I brought Koda and Loki with me to Camp Pendleton to visit Caitlin and Brittany. We are staying at Caitlin's house and I was excited because they have a golden retriever, Zola, who Loki adores. Well, Koda and Zola do not adore each other. In fact they have gotten into it twice since we have been here and now must remain separated at all times.
Koda pierced Zola's ear. Can you imagine the embarrassment of having your dog puncture a hole in one of your best friend's beloved animal's ear?
I can.
It is not fun.
Of course she has been gracious about it but it makes me miss our family's alpha male all the more when the dogs act up.
I told Chris it isn't Koda's fault....after all she has an absentee father.
Poor guy I don't cut him much slack.
Here is a picture of the sleeping monster (looks so sweet doesn't she?) and the two golf ball sized bruises I received from one of the dogs (or both) as I broke up their second fight this morning.
Lucky for Koda I LOVE black licorice.


Soy Sauce

Sauce on the Side Hawai'i Style
Well Folks, I am back in Yuma after an amazing trip to the island paradise of Oahu and I am not going to apologize for not posting anything while I was gone. I was busy catching up with Clare and Sarah and enjoying some beautiful vistas.
Sarah picked me up at the airport and after much hugging and a little anxious waiting for my suitcase we headed over to pick Clare up from work for lunch. In true Jen fashion I knocked some stuff over in Clare's office lobby in my excitment...oops...I guess I like a dramatic klutzy entrance!

I won't bore you with all the talking and reconnecting we did but I will just say that it was as though we were never apart and I love that!

The week consisted of sushi eating, beach walking, island driving, dancing, picture taking, coffee drinking,hiking,New Moon watching and many more adventures. Here are some pictures that can better explain the glorious nature of my week.
Mystical MountainsSarah and me at the airport The view from the top of Diamond Head Crater A shrimp truck on the North Shore The delicious shrimp we got from the truck A cute little bird for my Mama Sarah and me hiking(in flip flops I'll have you know)Diamond Head Crater Me, Clare and Sarah at lunch More wonderful mountain views Sarah, me and Clare in Waikiki Me being silly with "Chinamen's Hat" on the way to the North Shore Sarah, Me and Clare as "Masked Avengers"....you really don't want me to explain this one...
One last mountain view

And there you have it! My vacation in a snap-shot! I promise to be a better blogger now that I am home.