Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Buffkin Visit!!

We did it up Buffkin-style this weekend with our friends from my time at University of Maryland, College Park. Jeffery was my campus minister and he and his family became close friends. We were so excited to have them stay for a few days.
We scored some free tickets to the aquarium thanks to my neighbor posting it on her homeschool online forum. I was so excited to be able to go with them. We piled into our vehicles on a gorgeous, clear, Saturday morning and battled the crowds. We enjoyed some huge bowls of clam chowder for lunch and returned to the aquarium to wrap it up. Afterwards we headed home for some downtime.

 Our lunch lookout.

Jeff and Seth keep Vi busy next to the penguin exhibit.

Melanie and I penguin it up!

The crew!

Megan and Seth show Violet a little lady bug. All of their kids were so helpful and sweet with Violet; just a joy to be around. It kept Vi busy and happy during the long day together.

The crew, take 2!

That evening we loaded up the vehicles again, but this time for the beach. We made a fire on the beach in Carmel and roasted our dinner. It turned out perfectly thanks to all the helping hands and Daniel's logistical genius. We had everything we needed and more. What a great night!

Playing in the sand kept our girl very busy and incredibly gritty. A large amount of sand was consumed by Violet that night. 
The fog started rolling in when we got there but it didn't damper our evening. It only made the fire more cozy. There were about 30 fires on the beach and once it got dark we had a nice glowing beach to gaze at.

The next morning we took it easy as they packed up after their California vacation and got some In-n-Out burgers for lunch. They really are a yummy fast food chain. I am not just saying that to rub it in to those east of Nevada. It is a special west coast thing. I guess it makes up for not having a Chick-fil-a out here. We said our farewells that afternoon as they headed up to San Francisco to fly out that evening.

 What a special time with our dear friends. We look forward to the next get-together. We know it will be sooner since we will be living in the same state this fall! Woohoo! Thanks for including us in your visit. We loved having you here.

Birthday Dinner at Damatra

Daniel made reservations at my favorite restaurant in Carmel for my birthday dinner. We had so much fun. With a delicious Mediterranean menu, great prices, wonderful atmosphere, and superb staff you cannot go wrong. We took a moment for a few photos.

One of the owners entertaining the crowd with great live music.

Violet getting in on the clapping and swaying.

She is so fun to watch with music. She really can figure out some moves and she listens to it closely for tempo change to match her dancing. I love it!

Family shot

Family smooch!

We had a wonderful evening. Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Peafowl Crossing

Apparently our front yard was quiet enough during our vacation that a peahen laid her eggs right up next to our house. We have a few flower beds covered in leaves from the ever-constant leaf-shedding tree in our front yard. She built herself a nest and laid 5, large, cream-colored eggs. The mister has been patrolling every once in a while to make sure things are staying clear for her, but we mostly have Ms. Peahen hanging out in our yard, sitting on her eggs.

Here is what she does 23.5 hours of the day and night. I am pretty sure she has to be on there constantly because I was reading that the eggs need to stay at a certain temperature to remain alive. She takes brief walks about once a day to do whatever it is that peahens do.

The mister, letting us know who is boss. He hung out on our roof for a day but I haven't seen him in a few days. I think he feels like the misses has it under control.

Pretty beautiful birds. This male is probably between 3 and 5 years old based on what I was reading because his feathers aren't as long as some males. He is still getting his strut on...

I snagged a quick shot of the eggs when the misses took a brief stroll. I am becoming protective over these eggs too. I hiss away stray cats, which I never used to do, and I keep an eye out for any mean looking passer-bys that could taunt her.  Our neighbors mentioned a few when we weren't home yet, but the hen decided our yard was still a good bet.

Let me conclude this post with a quick word. Here in Monterey peafowl aren't just roaming the streets. In blogs past I think I have mentioned the peacocks on the campus of Daniel's school. We are directly behind the gate of his school so I guess that is why we were christened as a safe nesting area; away from students, yet close-by to home.

We are pretty excited to see what this month holds for the little eggs. It takes 27-30 days for the eggs to hatch and who knows how long for the peachicks to leave the nest. We are trying to be good hosts here and have limited our front door use. She is used to people, otherwise I figure she would have found an even more secluded place. I am glad she nested here. It is neat to be able to watch the peafowl show everyday.

I will keep you posted.

East Coast Trip- Virginia and North Carolina

The first weekend I was in MD, my parents took Violet for me and I hitched a ride with a friend to my girlfriend's bridal shower in Lynchburg, VA. I was so happy to be able to make it and even happier to have someone to accompany me on the drive down. Eight hours in the car alone would have been a little bit of a drag.

Here is Katy holding her new teacher's caddy for her school desk. It is sporting her new last name. Woot Woot!

 The cake for the shower was made by the groom. That's right. He was practicing for the wedding cake. He made it with some help from a friend. Pretty impressive.
After the shower I was able to meet the groom. I was pretty excited since it was my first time meeting him after hearing so much about him.

When Daniel arrived we spent a few days with family in Maryland and then headed down to Quantico, VA to do some rental house searching and some general recon for our next move. Daniel was able to meet the people he will be working with and we were able to do a lot of exploring on and off base for housing. Our goal is to get base housing, but there is not enough housing for everyone on base so it will be a timing game for us. Our hopes are to get a place pretty soon when we get there so we can settle before the baby arrives.
Our time in Quantico was very fruitful and I am thankful my parents took care of Violet for a couple of days for us. The schedule would have been too rigorous for her to tolerate without naps.

We came back and spent another day with family before we headed down to North Carolina to check in with our new renters and meet up with some dear friends. We stayed with the lovely Steel family and Violet got her letter L practice with this lovely girl, Lily.
Lily was an excellent example of a sweet girl to play with and we are thankful for her sharing heart as Violet was eager to play with all her big girl toys. We loved seeing them and are so thankful they opened their home to us on such short notice.

We love you Steels!

We were able to pack lots of visits into our short trip and we scored time with the Klingensteins and the  Thomas family and lunch with the Paynes, Goodfellows and Friedleins. Thanks for opening your home up to the large crowd, Jim and Jenny!
We finally got to meet Baby Joe!

Daniel with Gary and Jim

My quick shot of Jenny, Rosa, and Melissa. Thank you ladies for the yummy meal! Just like old times on Sunday evenings, except a little shorter in time.

We caught breakfast with some dear friends from Berean and were delighted to meet the Akin's little one, Annika. What a sweetheart!
When in New Bern it is necessary to go to Baker's Square for breakfast.

Robin and baby girl.

Thank you for taking the time out of your days to meet up with us. It was a great quick visit! 

After North Carolina, we drove up to Lynchburg to celebrate my friend's wedding. Violet and I were both in the wedding so we were busy the entire time. Daniel was corralling the little body and I was busy being bridesmaid so unfortunately we have no pictures to show from it. I can say Violet looked adorable in a white dress I scored on Target clearance and she walked the whole aisle holding the little ring bearer's hand. It was pretty precious. We were proud of her behavior and Daniel is always excellent with her, so all in all it was an amazing visit with  very little fussiness despite the strange schedule and abbreviated nap times. Beautiful wedding! I was so glad to be able to be there. Congratulations Patrick and Katy! Can't wait to see more pictures.

We drove up late to Maryland on the night of the 3rd and spent the last few hours of our trip with my family on the 4th. We had a delicious cookout meal and flew away that evening. The flight was pleasant because we were upgraded to business class and had an extra seat for Violet. She ended up sleeping on the floor for two hours thanks to no turbulence. Daddy did a great job with her then as well. I was wearing down quickly from the busy schedule and was thankful to get home after a wonderful long visit.

We arrived home to two sweet surprises. One, our neighbors stocked our fridge with some breakfast goodies and food for Violet for the day. It made my travel recovery day much better not having to rush to the store right away. Thank you dear neighbors. We love you so!

The second surprise is still ongoing...

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Family Photo Shoot

Lauren and Kris brought over their fabulous camera and we posed for a few shots (as many as Violet could tolerate).

I am so happy with how they turned out! Thanks again Lolly and Kris!

East Coast Trip - Maryland Visit

Violet and I flew out to Maryland on the 15th of June and stayed with my parents for a week and a half before we started our other travels. We had a wonderful time with family. Nonni and Poppa were the best hosts for these two girls. They had pulled out all kinds of fun toys and playthings for Violet and they make a very welcoming home anytime. Auntie Lolly spent a lot of time with us in the daytime and we were able to see Uncle Kris some in the evenings. Auntie Sarah and Uncle Andrew joined us the next weekend after Daniel flew to Maryland. We were able to have one day with all of us together. It was a treat.

Uncle Kris and Auntie Lolly getting some snuggles.

Poppa with his little butterfly. He found the wings at the dollar store for Violet.

She made good use of them and flitted around the front yard.

Violet discovering the sprinkler.

Uncle Andrew and Auntie Sarah warming Vi up to the baby pool.

Snuggles afterwards.

Auntie and Uncle had to get in on the snuggle action as well.

Violet and Auntie Sarah found a bunny across the road and it became an evening ritual with Vi and Poppa after supper to go see the bunny. Vi would call out after her meal. "Hop, Hop!" She was ready to go find the rabbit.

The guys outside. We were able to spend a lot of time outside this visit. The weather cooled down to the 80s for most days while we were there. The humidity even dropped some. We were thankful to enjoy the outdoors.

Eating on my parents deck is always a highlight of the trip. Yum yum!

Getting some lovin' from the number one man in her life.

We spent Saturday evening in Annapolis for some Chick 'n' Ruth's goodness. We have always seen the Colossal milkshake (6 pounds of milkshake) but we had never partook. Well, we did that evening. I didn't walk away feeling too yuck. I think Daniel and Andrew did most of the work. 

Violet's new doll, Emma, from Grandma Good. Daniel brought it with him from Missouri and she has quickly become a favorite. Here she is just chilling out on a baby stool we had when I was little. Thanks Grandma!

One afternoon we made it over to see the Jacobsons. They were a dear family to Daniel and his older brother, Everett during their academy times. They sponsored midshipman by opening their home, feeding them good food, and just generally making a welcoming home to get away from school every now and then. It was good to see them and Violet took to their lilies in the front yard. :)

Our time in Maryland was sweet. We were able to see so many people and really enjoy the family time. Always a good time in Maryland. Soon it will be Pennsylvania for family visits. My parents are moving this summer to a town outside Philadelphia; not too far north. We have already plotted out the train rides and traffic routes. :) Farewell house in Maryland!