Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The whirlwind of visitors continues.  My folks came out last weekend for a few days.  They let us know beforehand that they weren't coming out to do any sight-seeing.  They were coming out to see us and help us out with some home projects.  We took them up on their generous offer and ended up getting a couple of major projects completed, including getting the garden cleaned up and installing flooring in the rafters of the garage so we could have some more storage.

Zac, enjoying the manual labor of busting apart palettes.

The succulents and cacti across from our driveway.

It looks so nice now that it's cleaned up.  Before it was overrun with weeds and grass.

Dad and Zac, working hard on getting some boards ready for the garage rafters.
 When I haven't been busy playing Hostess With the Most-est, I've found some time to be crafty and have some fun.  Since Zac is obsessed with his garden, I decided that we should have something to identify all of his plants.  The people who sold us the house left a box of white ceramic tiles in the garage that I decided would be kind of cool for the task.  I took out some of my acrylic paints and painted on some of the vegetables that Zac has growing in the garden.  I'm not an artist - I don't pretend to be.  I am someone who finds clip art of vegetables online and tries to replicate them the best I can.  Yes, your six-year-old could probably do better.  
Just finished painting them.
After I was done painting them, I let them dry and then used a Sharpie to write what they were, just in case people couldn't tell what they were.  Because, like I mentioned, I'm not a great artist and honestly, a cucumber looks a lot like a zucchini.  Once I had that done, I used some spray sealant I bought at Michaels to protect them.  Hopefully that will keep them nice for at least one season in the garden.  Zac likes them.  I like them too.

And here are my latest crocheting creations.  When we were in a craft store the other day Zac found a book with all sorts of crocheted critters.  (Yes, Zac found it.  Occasionally he'll accompany me to Michael's or Joann Fabric.  He's a good man.)  I made an elephant as well, but that was given to a friend as a present for their new baby.  I'm particularly obsessed with the hippo at the moment.  After I made the one in this photo, I made another one where I modified the pattern to make the hippo fatter.  Who wants a skinny hippo?  Hippos, while vicious and lethal in real life, are cute and pudgy in Stuffed Animal Land.  So from now on my hippos will be heftier around the middle.  

A seal, a hippo and a gator.  

The other big news around here is that on Saturday Claudia and her husband PCSed to San Diego from Hawaii.  They'll be staying with us for the foreseeable future.  (And their two dogs.)  They would like to buy a house, but that process can take awhile.  Zac and I busted our butts trying to find a house and it took us three months before we had keys in our hands.  (We know how lucky we were to get into something that fast.)  I think Claudia and her husband are considering moving into military housing like we did until they buy a home.  They are welcome to stay with us as long as they want, but I know that it's not always easy living with other people.  They're good friends and, as it goes in the military, we're all in this together and we need to help each other out when we can.  We've offered them our opinions on the house-buying process when they've asked, but we're trying to make sure we don't meddle too much.  It's their journey, their adventure and they will figure out what living situation is right for them.  We just want to be supportive.

It is nice that slowly but surely many of our Hawaii friends are moving to San Diego.  Now if we could only get Bernadette and Ken down here, everything would be perfect.  It's comforting to have our Navy ohana nearby.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Two months???

I can't believe we've had our house for two months already.  On the one hand, I feel like we just moved in, but when I sit back and think about it we are remarkably settled in and well on our way to making this house into our home.  The weekends we haven't had visitors we've been busy with home-owner type projects.  After many days of hard work (and much cursing) Zac has finally got our sprinkler system working.  Hopefully with the newly installed drip lines we'll be able to be water-conscious and still grow some of the vegetables that Zac so desperately wants.  He's a farmer at heart, and he's happiest when he has a garden to tend.  Me?  I get fresh produce out of the deal so he's free to play in the dirt as much as he wants.  I'm more focused on becoming a cactus/succulent propagator extraordinaire.  I've become mildly obsessed with cacti and succulents since moving here.  They come in so many shapes, colors and textures that they just captivate me.  If I was a wealthy woman, I'd have a pretty amazing drought-tolerant garden.

Zac's brother's family visited last weekend.  That included our three-year-old niece and five-year-old nephew.  They're great kids and, all things considered, they were very well-behaved.  Even before Zac and I knew we were moving to San Diego, Zac's brother's family was planning a trip to Disneyland for our niece's birthday.  So after spending two and a half days up at Disneyland and a chill-out day at the beach, Zac's brother's family came down to spend about three days with us.  I don't know about you, but after 2.5 days of Disneyland I figured that my niece and nephew would be totally fried and burnt out from the excitement and over-stimulation.  Let's just say that Zac and I set the bar pretty low in terms of what we were expecting in terms of the behavior of two kids that have had their sleeping and eating patterns severely disrupted for a number of days.  But, like I said, the kids were actually great.  There were a couple of meltdowns, sure, but overall they were a hoot to have around.  They loved our house and our citrus trees and pestered the dogs.  

Poor dogs, they didn't know what to do having the kids hovering around them the whole time. The dogs were great, very patient and accepting with the kids, but I know they were a little relieved when they left.  And poor Toivo, he was referred to as "the stinky one" all weekend, as my niece was having a hard time telling Toivo and Zoe apart.  "Is this the stinky one?" she'd ask sweetly.  "Yes, that's the stinky one," I'd answer.  "I don't like the stinky one," she'd state.  I'm pretty sure Toivo was a little indignant.

We got to see a few more San Diego attractions with Zac's brother's family as well.  We spent one day at SeaWorld and one day at the San Diego Zoo.  Both attractions were a lot of fun, but I'm constantly amazed at how expensive it is to visit some of these attractions.  Zac and I usually get discounted tickets because Zac's active duty military and I'm not sure I'd be willing to visit some of these places if I had to pay full price.  It's fairly ridiculous.  Plus, once you're through the gates, you face spending $15-20 for lunch per person.  Not for anything special, mind you.  You practically need to take out a loan to feed a family of four.

The last full day of their visit was just hanging around the house, trying to get the kids to mellow out a little bit. Zac and his brother worked for hours on the sprinkler system while my sister-in-law and sat in the living room, catching up.  The kids took a much-needed nap and it was a nice, relaxing way to finish their visit.  This weekend is a weekend off and on Friday my folks arrive for a short stint.  Then we have a weekend off, and then Zac's sister is coming to visit.  It's ridiculous how much company we have.  This means we will have had family here every other week for eight weeks. Again, we love our families.  It's just a bit much.  Thankfully my sister is saying that they may not be able to visit until September.  I'm totally okay with that.

We finally are set to have our kitchen remodeled, starting in a few weeks.  I went out the other day to pick out counter tops and back splashes for the new kitchen.  I can not wait until it is completed.  I know it will be a huge improvement over our current kitchen.  I know it will be a pain in the butt cooking-wise while it's being remodeled, but we've got a grill and a microwave so I think we'll make it through just fine.  Zac may be going off to another school in Indiana during some of the work as well, so for part of the time it will be only cooking for one.  I'll have to use great restraint in order to not just go over to the local taco shop every night for dinner.  So easy, so tasty.  I think I should go celebrate Easter with some al pastor tacos.  After all, I never was a Peeps fan . . .