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Too Many To Count Two

Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Dani!!!!!

Today Dani is 22! She is the awesomest daughter and I am so proud of her. Can't wait to go to Utah tomorrow and spend a few days with her & Greg and meet little Tatum!

In past years I have written her birth story, and about how great she is so this year I just picked a couple fun pictures from when she was small. The top one is Christmas 1993. Dani was always a sweet and caring big sister.
The bottom one is at Magic Mountain in 2000. Dani loves to have fun! Andrea and Dani were bestest friends from the day Dani was born:)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Block Party

last night was our neighborhood party. We live in a new subdivision and there are about 50 houses completed, of the 300+ that are expected. Most people have only lived here a matter of months although some are coming up on the year mark.

someone organized a BBQ for everyone to come and meet. It was a lot of fun.

a good majority of the people living here are military or in defense as contractors. Beloved had a good time talking with the various pilots :) There are tons of kids and it was great to see them all playing and getting to know each other.
Three of the kids in the neighborhood are in Brother's class at school. H also has several friends here. The kids ran around and rode bikes and rip sticks and played football. Brother played football & Frisbee football the whole time, barely stopping long enough to inhale a hot dog.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

home tour, part 1

I've had sevearl requests for a tour of our new home. So here goes. Our upstairs landing, my fav, I love the circular stair way.

The little girls room.

the polka dot bathroom

laundry room

J's room

dining room

living room


Sierra's room

basement bathroom

recipe for a happy afternoon

some quiet time in my kitchen with my favorite red kitchen aid, and red measuring cups! they make me smile.
cute new dino form cupcake molds that my sweetie bought me :)

cute treats to take to the neighborhood BBQ this afternoon.

last post about crabs...maybe

Friday nights are typically date night for Beloved and I. This week was no exception. I really wanted to go to the movies and see "Time Travelers Wife". He really wanted to eat crab. We were running a little late and had to try and figure out how to do both. So far our favorite crab spot is on Solomon's Island, across the bridge, and we knew we didn't have time to go there. Fortunately I remembered seeing a sign at a local gas station advertising a nearby restaurant. We drove to the gas station and followed the homemade signs down the road and past the volunteer fire department to the end of the road hole in the wall. We are not culinary chickens so we bravely went in, and frankly I was impressed with the inside, not nearly the dive I was expecting. We ordered at the counter and then took our seats.
This is definitely a "local joint", they had plastic plates and utensils and had run out of straws (which was sad for me only because the cups were made of Styrofoam and I can't touch it because Styrofoam freaks me out and the sound it makes grates on my every nerve) that said it was a fun dinner. Supper messy, and I got a crab claw cut trying to get to the meat, but fun. The crabs were yummy, I think I enjoyed the sights and sounds around me just as much. Kevin, the owner walked around talking to the regulars, greeting them at the door and exchanging cheek kisses. All around us were diners, talking about the game, and smashing crabs onto brown paper "table cloths" . Next to us sat 6 older folks talking about their new priest (he's young but conservative and met with their approval~ it's a Catholic town) and bingo night. And our giant plate of crabs was only $30. I will go back, but bring more appetites because we could have split it four ways easily.

By the time we got to the movie it had started so we went to Target instead and wandered around then headed home. It was a fun date.

Friday, August 28, 2009

school supplies

Last night after the kitchen was clean and the kids tucked into bed Beloved and I headed out for another school supply run. Our 6th or maybe 7th. I didn't count. We have extensive lists. I think we finally got it all. Ear buds for the computer, boxes of crayons, graph paper, folders and backpacks and highlighters and index cards and sticky notes and all kinds of wonderful supplies. I actually like office supplies and enjoy a trip to Stapes, however it really adds up and literally $200+ later I am ready to cross everything off the list. Our "free" public education is expensive :)

School is going well. J has lots of homework but likes many of her classes and is making friends. H LOVES her teacher and Brother is already hoping to have him in 5th grade. She walks to the school bus with a couple little friends, leaving Brother, Lu and I behind, but we don't mind and said her teacher calls her table "the chatty cathys" which means she is making friends..and needs to be quieter in class :) Brother is happy because they can take home two books from the library at a time.

The only negative so far is the bus. Our bus situation is not ideal. We walk a mile to the bus stop and then wait with our neighbors. The bus is too crowded, 4 kids to a seat, and they have to walk across a super busy road on the way home. It's been the cause of much concern and neighborhood action in the form of phone calls, a petition, and a visit with a police officer. Hopefully it will be worked out. I am thinking about driving the kids, it would actually be quicker for me. This morning it took us an hour to walk there, visit, walk back. Yesterday it took 45 minutes (we didn't visit). Driving would take much less time, although I'd have to sit in the line of moms dropping off and picking up and that takes a long time.The benefits of the bus are they get to hang out with neighborhood kids, and I get to know the other waiting parents, it saves gas, and a walk could be considered exercise, so I hope it works out.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

rethinking the no TV on school days policy

We have had a no TV on school days policy for years. Last year we were too lax on it, this year we are back to full enforcement. It really has many benefits. The children get more fresh air and play with each other. Homework gets done. Music gets practiced and bedtime is easier.
...unfortunately today that lead to this mud pit of fun.

Everyone had a good day and came back with positive reports, J liked her orchestra class, found psychology interesting and didn't have to sit alone at lunch.
H sits at a table with three girls and one of them lives in our neighborhood and rides the same bus.
Brother made a friend named Jayden.

Lu and I were waiting with many of our new neighborhood friends for the kids to get home and had a fun visit with the other moms and younger siblings.

After school Brother wanted to go for a bike ride so Lu, who is small but spunky and promised she could keep up, and I headed out with him (H stayed home to draw). We rode down the road, then off the road, then over a little dirt hill. The kids hopped off and wallowed in the mud. Then we rode back. It was fun. While I was hosing off the bikes they went behind the house and found more mud.

Hosing off the caked on inch thick layer so they could come inside and get clean.

getting clean.
S also went to new student orinatation and came back saying it was fun. Maybe everyone will have a great year!

can't wait

to see her, look how big she's getting!!!

First Day of School

As much as we have been looking forward to this day 5:45 kind of snuck up on me. I awoke with thoughts of "are we ready?", "does everyone have all that they need?" and "ugh, 9 months of seeing the sun rise."

J is a junior this year! Wow. She's grown into such an accomplished and bright young woman. I know she is nervous today, but frankly I am not nervous or her, I know it'll be a kind of hard day but she will do great. She is friendly and fun. She has a packed schedule and a lot on her plate, that's the only thing I am nervous about for her, she gets stressed when overwhelmed and she's got a lot going on with seminary, 4 AP classes, some regular classes, two musical instruments and trying to find some time to breath. She's in the school orchestra and we just found a wonderful piano teacher that she is very excited to work with. Phew! It's going to be a whirlwind year.
H is in her last year of elementary school, 5th grade! She has the coolest teacher in the school this year, Mr. K. I can tell just from meet the teacher yesterday that he is awesome. He was very relaxed and funny and prepared and tons of kids came to his door to lament that they weren't in his class.
H is going to pick a musical instrument next week and start that as well, and do jr jazzersize after school. Fun! I am hoping she will pick a band instrument but I think she wants to play the violin. She also wants to take piano but we need to check our budget before we commit to that, we have lots of kids doing lots of activities.

Brother is in 2nd grade. His teacher seemed really nice. He is looking forward to meeting some friends and learning lots. Also soccer should be starting up this week or next so that will be great fun!

All the neighborhood kids catching the bus.
Lu is very sad to be staying home with me this year. I signed her up for gymnastics and we'll do story time at the library and playgroup at church and some "home school" preschool stuff so hopefully it will be fun for her. She will be more than ready to hop on that bus next year!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

how to

catching crabs

Beloved got his fishing license and this morning we grabbed the kids and headed down to the pier.
I am a little surprised but we caught a lot of crabs.

Four of them were big enough to keep. Probably 9 had to be thrown back.

crab for lunch!

Friday, August 21, 2009

boxes and stuff

worked on the garage today. We made our way through many boxes. It's our last room and I think we might be done in a month or two. It's slow going because once we fill the recycle bin and the trash can we have to wait for pick up before moving on. It'll be great when we get it done.

Turned in the truck to cash for clunkers. Beloved is thrilled! He has been driving that old truck for a long long time.

Took J to a back to school bon fire and she ended up going to a dance, hopefully she is having a great time!

Ate pizza.

Spent a long time at the bank trying to move all our accounts. We have loved Wells Fargo but they aren't here:(

Got crabbing nets.

Tried to talk Beloved into a cabin at Hershey PA for Thanksgiving. They have lots to do there. Besides the chocolate extravaganza available it's also very close to Gettysburg. He isn't convinced... yet.

Called Dani to find out what Tatum is wearing today, she kindly sent me a picture.

Walked around our towne square. The kids got free homemade oreos from the nice Amish Mom who was running the pastry stand. H reminded her of her daughter Anna.

Rained today.

There are sure a lot of trees here, it's pretty and sometimes a little annoying.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

12 more days

She's so cute!
Can't wait to see her :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

thank goodness for cell phones!

Little Tatum Ashley Brandt was born late last night :) She is the prettiest little thing, I love her hair and her sweet face. She is 6lbs 6ozs and 17 inches long.
I can't wait to meet her! Lu and I are going in 13 days...too long.

Dani called in the afternoon and said that "today might be the day". Luckily we have cell phones and I could know what was going on from time to time and then they could send pictures. I love technology!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

day 30

We have lived here for 30 days. Thirty. Seems strange to me.

As part of our on going "learning to love Maryland" campaign I was on the lookout for something fun to do. This morning I had bills to pay and a trip to our new bank to set up accounts. This afternoon I wanted to go to Sotterley Plantation however no one else wanted to go and some of the children started crying when I told them the good news of our trip "not another historic building!" so we opted for a trip to the Great Mills swimming pool instead.

My little fish love water and swam around and had fun. They thought it wasn't as good as having their own pool but not too bad. J did laps.

Lucy got bad news today, she didn't get accepted into Pre K. She is VERY upset, as am I. I thought a few hours of free time a day would be most lovely. and I think she might add guinea pig to her list of allergies. Not sure what to do about that one.
We still have a few boxes to unpack but are mostly settled in. I wish school would start, I think that will go a long way towards making the kids feel at home. This has been a long summer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

dinner~ every night

No matter that I made dinner last night that was yumm-o the fam wants dinner again tonight...and I suspect they will tomorrow night as well.

H has been begging to make a whole meal by herself, and I told her she could, but then we were gone all summer and unpacking and whatnot. Last week she asked again and pinned me down to a day. Today. She also wanted to invite Chelsea to come and cook with her, which C was excited to do.
The girls discussed their menu for days and finally decided on an international theme. They chose a Scottish appetizer, an Asian entree and a French dessert. They also wanted to play themed music while we ate each cour es.
They made leek and potato soup and played bagpipe music. Followed by stir fry and some Asian stringed instrument playing music in the back round and ended with crepes accompanied by the CanCan.

They chopped and chopped and chopped and cooked for nearly 3 hours. Everything was super delicious.
We invited Chelsea's family to join us for dinner and FHE and everyone had a fun time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

dinner tonight



1/2 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
10 baby carrots, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large can condensed chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart half-and-half cream
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 pound crabmeat
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning TM
salt and pepper to taste
In a large stockpot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions; saute until onions are transparent, about 4 minutes.
Stir in flour, mixing well. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Do not burn, or let it go lumpy. Add water, chicken broth and chicken soup base; stir until smooth. Bring to a boil. Stir in parsley and carrots and potatoes. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Stir in cream, sauce, crab meat and seasonings. Raise heat to medium and bring chowder just to a boil. Serve hot.
Everything was most delicious. S doesn't eat anything fishy. I made pork chops and potatoes as well for her and Lucy who is allergic to shrimp and we didn't want to give her crab to find out how she would do with that.
Brother likes fish and liked the crab but not the soup. Beloved also liked the crab but thought the cream of crab soup was "too crabby"~ whatever that means
I liked both, a lot, as did J. H didn't come to dinner when called and arrived late to cold food and then cried because she had to clean up (with my help) and miss dessert for not coming when called. A problem around here lately.
Family dinner is important. Eating together, praying together, talking together. Coming late because you are watching TV is not acceptable.