Sunday, April 26, 2009

My 5-month-old little girl...

They say that time flies when you're having fun, and it's totally true! Annelise, I can't believe that you're already five months old! You're a totally different person from that teeny tiny little baby we brought home from the hospital. You have a huge personality and you charm the socks off of everyone, including Daddy and me.

This past month, you had your first Easter (and first Easter basket), your first splinter, and your first playgroup. Easter was a lot of fun, you love the bunny from Babi and Grandaddy and you look so cute in the rabbit ears that Aunt Nanna sent. You first splinter made me sad, I couldn't stand the crying when the nurse removed it. I wish I had the splinter instead of you, I hate that you were scared and hurting.

Our first playdate was very interesting, we went to a playgroup at the Misawa International Center. You were one of two American kids there, everyone else was Japanese. You had lots of fun playing with the Japanese mommies and they loved holding you and carrying you around. Hopefully next time I'll get to play with a Japanese baby while you play with the Japanese mommies! Everyone was impressed with how smart you are, apparently Japanese babies develop more slowly than American babies.

Speaking of development, at your last doctor's appointment you weighed 15 pounds and I'm pretty sure you're closing in on 16 now! You're by no means fat, you don't have half as many rolls as Aunt Lusa had, but you're not skinny either. You're just perfect, I wouldn't change a bit! You're much more into rolling over now, you can travel all the way across the living room if you're in the mood. You've also figured out rolling over to get to a toy you want and will sometimes scooch a little to get to a toy. Your current favorites are teething toys, your front teeth are on their way even though we can't see them yet. You're not a fan of orajel, but it really helps with the pain.

Annelise, you're grabbing at everything you see now, getting ready to start grabbing for your food. You figured out how to get ahold of my necklace the other day and I was so proud that I almost forgot to make you let go! Last night we had game night and you grabbed LYNX's cards and Erin's hair and then you gnawed on Mike's hand. I think he was a little surprised by that, we freed him from your clutches quickly.

It snowed last night, several inches accumulated. I was completely surprised and now I'm also sad. The wind/rain/snow/cold temps no doubt took all of the cherry blossoms off of the trees. I had planned a trip to Lake Towada this week to go out and see them, I guess we'll wait and see how the trees on base fared first.

Annelise, I love you so much and you're so much fun. You're such a smart girl and Daddy and I are proud to be your parents. I've actually begun to like to change your diapers because you're the most talkative when you're on the changing table. One day I'll have to take a video, it's so darn cute!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Muster

It's still April 21 in the States, I was too tired last night to make this post.

As a Texan, April 21 holds special meaning for me; it's the day that the Texans won their independence from Mexico, the day that we became a nation. As an Aggie, it hold even more significance. April 21 is the day of Aggie Muster, 'If there is an A&M man in one-hundred miles of you, you are expected to get together, eat a little, and live over the days you spent at the A&M College of Texas.' I don't know if there are any other Aggies in Misawa, but I'm used to spending the day on my own.

There are three Musters that stand out for me, in 2000, 2003, and 2006. 2000 was the year of my first Aggie Muster. I had been accepted to A&M but didn't really know a whole lot about the school. I knew the basic traditions, knew that I liked the campus, and knew that they had a great Civil Engineering program. I didn't tell anyone that I had no idea what was going on, my friend Rusty was born in Bryan and has always been a die-hard Aggie and he would have ridiculed me for not knowing. So I attended Muster in Ennis, knowing only that I would find out whether or not I'd been awarded a scholarship from the Ennis A&M Club. The 2000 Muster was an important one, Bonfire had fallen just a few months before and we honored the twelve. It was my first REAL experience with former students, not just current students. I was touched by the idea that someone will answer 'Here' for me after I die, and I was honored to do the same for others. I didn't receive a scholarship that night, I was really disappointed. The Aggie Spirit prevailed, though, and the Old Ags there that night were so impressed by all of us incoming Fish that they donated extra money and awarded two more scholarships, one of which I received.

In 2003, I was in Houston for NASACon, one of the most memorable experiences of my college years. I had a lot of fun and made some awesome friends, but the best part was Muster. When we found out that Muster would occur during NatCon, some people immediately said they wouldn't be in Houston. We had a couple of BQs in the AAS squadron and they had to be in College Station and none of the rest of us wanted to miss it, either. We found a conference room in the hotel and set it all up, I think Paige was one of the people in charge of that. I helped read the names, that was an amazing experience for me, but the best part was that Muster was important enough to all of us that we got up early and made it happen. I felt a real sense of community then and I know that the other Aggies who attended who were not AAS or SW members really appreciated it.

Then we come to 2006. I had lived in Clovis for just over a year and was facing my second Muster without going to something organized. My friends Amy and Decie invited me to a party at the 524 bar, one that happened to be pirate-themed. That pirate party was awesome, I got to hang out with friends and drink a lot (basically the only things to do in Clovis). The best part of the night was when I heard 2 drunk guys singing The Spirit of Aggieland. I joined in and after the song was over, found out that they were both Class of '01. That party means so much to me because it reminded me that you find Aggies in the most random of places and that the Aggie Family is such that you can approach anyone just because of the ring on his/her finger and be automatically welcomed because you wear the same ring.

Family is of the utmost importance to me, my 'real' family back in Texas, my Aggie family, and my Air Force family. I'm so happy that they have overlapped, my friend Rusty is now married to my cousin Mary and one of my friends from the Fireballs is an Aggie, Class of '98. I don't know where Annelise will go to college, but she will grow up knowing all about the importance of family and how being an Aggie not only gave me a new family, it helped me meet John.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Peekaboo!

Annelise taught herself to play peekaboo a couple of months ago. Originally, she would bring her arm around in a circle and stop with it over her eyes, then pull it down and smile at us. Since then, we play peekaboo with her from time to time, using our hands or a blanket. Yesterday I was checking my e-mail and looked back at her in the living room to see her playing peekaboo with the animals on her play mat. I stayed back so that I wouldn't distract her and got a pretty good video of it. Ignore the background noise, Kenny Chesney was on Oprah.

So here it is, hope it brings a smile to your day!
video

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Fun!

This weekend was Annelise's first Easter! We started out by dyeing eggs on Saturday. We only did 5 (I boiled 6 but one cracked open), but that was just enough. We stripped Annelise down to her diaper just in case we spilled the dye, but everything went really well. She wasn't very interested in the eggs, but she loves not wearing clothes so she was happy.


We wanted to attend the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night, one of our friends was joining the Church and we wanted to be there to support him, but things just didn't work out. Annelise is teething, so she's pretty fussy in the evenings, and we weren't going to be ready in time. Instead we went to Mass Sunday morning, that worked out well because we got to see some of our friends and wish them all a Happy Easter.


The Easter Bunny visited our house, he concentrated on technology this year. We all got CDs, I got Sleeping Beauty on DVD, and there was some candy for the grownups as well as a stuffed airplane for Annelise. And then there was the huge pile of stuff sent by the grandmothers and my sister. Annelise received stuffed animals, an outfit, a couple of books, a pin to wear on her Easter dress, and lots more stuff. She's so darn spoiled, but who can help it!


After Mass, we went to brunch at the Club. As always, the food was ok and the price was astronomical. We don't go to brunch very often, there are other places on base that serve a decent breakfast for a lot less. It was nice to show off our pretty dresses, though, so I guess it was worth it. I wore the same dress I wore last year (because I love it and there's not a huge selection out here) and Annelise wore a dress that my mom and Dianna bought at JC Penney. When we moved here, we decided that my mom would pick out Annelise's Easter dresses and John's mom would pick out her Halloween costumes. The selections at the BX aren't great and this way they get to go shopping for their grandbaby. My mom loves buying frilly dresses and Halloween is Sandy's favorite holiday, so it works out well.


Sunday afternoon we went over to my friend Kim's house for Easter dinner. The food was delicious, the company was entertaining, and I even got to play Phase 10!! Kim invited two other families over and we all had a blast. Annelise loves playing with Kim, she smiled and flirted with everyone. John got to talk guy stuff with the husbands while Annelise and I played cards with the wives, so we were all happy!


Overall, our Easter was really great. I'm so thankful that we've made wonderful friends here and that we got to spend the day together. Annelise looked adorable in her dress, my and John's parents handed out pics of her over the weekend. For you Aunties out there, I'm waiting for mine to arrive so I can mail them; it may still be a few days and I hope Jess's doesn't get lost in the mail during her move!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fun in the April Sun!

April has started off to be a great month! Last Saturday (the 4th) was John's birthday, we spent the day doing fun stuff. We started at Cinnabon for breakfast and then went to Japan Day. Lots of people from Misawa set up fun stuff in the high school so that the military folks could experience small pieces of Japan. We attended a tea ceremony, got Annelise's name written in Japanese characters, made a kite, and got lots of info on stuff to do in the surrounding area. I forgot the camera, but we'll go back next year and take lots of pictures. They even had rooms where you could try on samurai armor or a kimono. Most of the rooms were dedicated to Japanese crafts, like braiding (very cool, I tried it), embroidery (a little different than we're used to), several kinds of painting, and working with bonsais. We really enjoyed ourselves and can't wait to use the maps and guidebooks we got to explore the area.

That afternoon, we went to the Misawa Aviation & Science Museum. Misawa was the starting point for the first non-stop trans-Pacific flight, the plane's name was the Miss Veedol. Images of Miss Veedol are everywhere around here, even on the ambulances! The museum houses Miss Veedol half of the year and then it goes to Wenatchee, Washington, for the other half of the year (that's where the flight ended) while a replica hangs out in Misawa. There were also a couple of other replicas and then you move on to the science part of the building, which was the best part. There were all kinds of interactive displays, a spinning room, helicopter and airplane simulators, experiments to help show you the effects of gravity, and many others. Everything was totally interactive and John was like a kid in a candy store, we will definitely be going back. They also had a really great souvenir shop where we got Annelise a small wooden replica of Miss Veedol. We'll probably get one for Kolton for his birthday, I think he'd like it.

Saturday night we had dinner at home, I made brisket, parsley potatoes, and yellow cake with homemade chocolate icing. John was in heaven, he ended up eating brisket for several days afterwards and wouldn't let me freeze the leftovers because he wanted to keep taking them for lunch. Thank goodness for foodnetwork.com, I found a brisket recipe that could be done in the oven with a very flavorful dry rub. I'm pretty impressed with myself and will be making brisket again in a couple of weeks when I host the OSS coffee.

Sunday we went to Mass and then to the parish Easter Basket Celebration. Sandwiches and Popeye's chicken were provided and everyone pitched in with side dishes and desserts. We had lots of fun hanging out with people from church, John said it was the first time he's ever done any kind of fellowship activity after Mass. We'll be joining in again soon for Fr. Christopher's farewell, I just hope it's warm enough for an outside event. The one we went to was inside, but the next one is planned for outdoors. It's definitely warmer here, but even temps in the 50s are too cold for Annelise to be outside for long.

One of the funniest things about the weekend was that we kept seeing Marty and Vanessa on Saturday. Marty and Vanessa are friends of one of my friends from when we lived in Clovis. I met them when I was visiting Jess in San Antonio last Summer, and boy am I glad. We first got together not long after we moved here and have somehow seen them every weekend since! Between base activities, ski trips, and just seeing them in the Commissary, it's very cool to see someone we know as we're out and about. That's the kind of thing that makes Misawa feel like home, and it took a while for that to happen in Clovis.

The excitement has continued this week, on Tuesday Annelise and I walked down to the grocery store for their sale day. On Tuesdays, Yokomachi has a whole section of food for 100 yen. Since they're only about a kilometer away, I popped Annelise into the sling and we went on an excursion. We sat in the cafe area for a while so I could replenish with a croissant and a Coke and then we explored the store. I got some yummy fruit and even found my favorite Snyder's Snacks, garlic prezel pieces! They only had single serving bags that were kind of expensive, but it was a nice treat.

Wednesday I got up early for a 7:10 dentist appointment and John stayed home with Annelise. No cavities, thank goodness! John took the whole day off, which was very nice. Somehow, him being home in the middle of the week was so much more fun than him being home on a Saturday. We really enjoyed ourselves and even got some things done around the house! Annelise also had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday, her 4-month checkup. Annelise now weighs 15 pounds and is almost 26 inches tall! She's in the 55th percentile for her weight and the 75th percentile for her height, but the most impressive part is that she's in the 95th percentile for her head measurement. Annelise takes after her Daddy, she has a big ol' noggin. We have to make sure that the necks of all the clothes we buy are very stretchy or have snaps so that they will fit for a while. Annelise had a big-girl experience at the doctor's office, she had to get a splinter removed. I was taking pics of her with her Easter basket and she got a splinter in her finger. John and I couldn't get it out so we had the nurse take care of it. I held Annelise, John held her arm, and the nurse held her hand to get the splinter out. Annelise cried a little, but she cried even more when the nurse came at her with the band-aid. She thought the whole thing was over and then the nurse grabbed her hand again, so she started screaming! Once the Bugs Bunny band-aid was on, however, she calmed down.

Good news in the family, my baby sister Melisa just got a job for next fall. She's finishing up her bachelor's next month and will be starting her master's in the fall as well as teaching 6th grade math! I'm so proud of her! And Annelise was so excited about the news that she rolled all the way over, from her back to her tummy to her back, the full 360 degrees instead of just 180 and then back again. My sweet girl is so smart!

Check the Shutterfly site for new pics in a couple of days, including one of Annelise with her big-kid band-aid!