Wednesday, November 28, 2007


More and more I am finding Nolan saying and doing things I do. It's like looking in a mirror and finding these little things you didn't expect to see. Not good, not bad, just...funny. After seeing Nolan drink his milk like this it occured to me I do the same thing often after drinking something I really like or when I've been really thirsty(say,"ahhh"). So silly. So fun. I love every second! I have been really trying to talk Santa up, as well, and seems to like him, but every time I ask if he's going to sit on his lap, he says, "Noooo." We'll keep talking him up and see what happens!

Fox 10 News TONIGHT

Hey all, looks like Brian will be making his television debut not only in St. Louis, but also in Florida tonight. Actually Fox 10 is out of Alabama, so that's 3 states in 1 day. I'm impressed! Anyway, for you locals who check our blog, he'll be on tonight between 5 and 5:30 PM on Fox10 News. Brian just called and it was funny to hear myself say, "I'll see you tonight." aaah, I make myself chuckle. In all honesty, it's not long before I'll start the day countdown. I couldn't be more excited!!!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Brian's Trip to Bahrain

Last week Brian had the privilege of traveling to Bahrain to plan a Weapons and Tactics Conference. His organization (aka the office he works in) was responsible for setting everything up and running the 4 day conference that brought everyone from the area together to discuss today's issues as well as what can be done better in the future. Brian was in charge of a huge chunk of it and I am VERY proud of him, as it sounds like it went off without a hitch. Well, except the fire alarms went off the first day of the conference, but that was out of his control (or was it? ha ha)! So, for those of you who may be geographically challenged like myself, or just need a refresher, here's a map of Bahrain. It's in close proximity to Qatar. You can see how close by looking at the inlet on the map.

Besides working very hard, Brian was able to see some amazing sights and have a much needed break from the hum-drum of 12-14 hour days behind a desk. So, in Brian's words via email, here are some photos and descriptions of his trip. I am putting his text in orange. It is, after all, his favorite color.

This is a picture of the keycard in a slot on the wall. If you don't put your key in the slot, your lights won't turn on. I walked in and flipped all of the switches and nothing. I thought my power was out. I noticed a small slot on the wall with a little orange light and tried to push on it and tried to slide it, with negative results. Finally after about 5 min walking around the room with my flashlight and about to call the front desk to let them know my power was out, I decided to slide my card into the slot to see what happened and WHAM all of the lights came on as well as the A/C. It is their way to save electricity and ensure you don't leave the lights on when you leave……interesting! Everyone in our group said they did the same thing, but eventually figured it out. I'm sure the front desk has a chuckle when people call down because they can't get the lights to work.

This is a pic of the bathroom. It had a bedaeu (not sure how to spell but washer) that I did not use……..not even sure I would know how?

This is the room. It was a maritime theme. The bed had down pillows and a down blanket under a regular comforter. Very comfortable!

These are sky scrapers. All of their buildings have some sort of weird shape. Very few of them are square.

This is the group out to eat at Hardrock Café

This is Elvis, he's alive. This was a cover band that played for the Navy base. He dressed up as many different characters including Johnny Cash.

This was our last dinner in Bahrain. The one I was telling you about with all of the meat…..

And a view of Bahrain:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

St. Louis Area

Brian will be aired this Wednesday, November 28th on Channel 5 during the 10 PM news. Set your Tivo's or tune in, if you're interested! He is supposed to be on air with a seperate message in this area, so when I get the details on that I'll let you know!

Gobble, Gobble!

Nolan, the doggies and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We shared it with Cheyna, Andrew & Abby at their house. We made way too much food (is there any other way?) and pigged out and enjoyed a nice quiet day. The kids filled up on lots of pre-turkey goodies so we had to bribe them with ice cream to eat anything healthy, but we have no doubt they went to bed with full bellies. After dinner Andrew and Cheyna's neighbors came over and we had some drinks and dessert. We stayed up late chatting and laughing and it was wonderful...only to be made perfect if Brian were there.
The head chef:
A very thankful hug(and Tootsie toosh)!
The Vrabec's set a spot for Brian at the table and we put a picture of him there to remind us of him, and how thankful we are for him...and how much we miss him. It was a very special touch that got me teary eyed.Okay, this is just hilarious. The appetizer/snack table was low enough that the kids could reach it. So they were LOVING it. But they thought they were being so sneaky and that we didn't realize what they were doing. And apparently, only the first bite is the best.Here's a close up of the once bitten snacks and the culprit's cute pudgy hand:

Think he's "sharing" with Haley here? No, he's saying, "No Haley, go away!" In Haley's doggie fantasies there is a snack table just her size. Cheyna & I:

Nolan and I:

Andrew & Abby being silly:

Our hosts:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends and family, near and far. We have so much to be thankful for, it is actually quite humbling. I am especially thankful to all the soldiers serving all over our country and those in far off places. Especially my soldier. I am extra thankful for him and especially proud of him today. I am thankful for our miracle, Nolan. I am thankful for 2 of the most mischievous, sweet, good natured dogs a family could ask for. I am thankful for Pumpkin Spice creamer. I am thankful for the women I have met this year through church and the lessons I have learned and know I am going to learn. I am especially thankful for a God who loves me and forgives me and who is more patient with me than I could ever be with myself. I am grateful for my friendships, those that are living far away and those down the street. I am thankful for our extended family and the love they pour on us always. I am thankful for our home. I am thankful for my health, even though like many things in life I take it for granted all too often. I am thankful for caramel pecan pie. And I am grateful to all of you. Happy Thanksgiving! May today be full of blessings, food, friends, family and love!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nolan's Birthday Party

Saturday we had a party for Nolan's 2nd Birthday. Long story short, he picked the theme. Firetrucks. He LOVES firetrucks. He's very excited about going to St. Louis next month and getting to see a real firetruck, since Uncle Jack (my brother) is a fireman. Anyway, Nolan was beside himself with excitement and had an absolute blast. I don't think I could find a way to truly thank our friends (and family) for making his birthday so amazing and memorable. It was bittersweet without Brian, but our friends kept us so entertained and spoiled Nolan so much that we didn't have time to dwell on missing Daddy (too much). Thanks to Tara and Rob for picking up Nolan's cake and to Cheyna for picking up the sandwiches and balloons.
Rob, Tara, & Alex:
Zach, Nathan & Nolan sitting down momentarily to eat:Jamie & Donovan:
The Elmo pinata. It was a pull string pinata, so no baseball bats or hitting of any kind was involved! Thanks for holding Elmo, Mr. Kypp!Nolan opening a gift with a little help from Abby: The cake. This is actually a "cupcake" cake, so there is no cutting of the cake required (a good thing because among his other duties, Brian is my official pastry cutter...and pizza cutter, but I've just eaten zig zag sliced pizza since he's been away): Singing Happy BirthdayAnd the devouring of the cupcake (and ice cream):

Saturday, November 17, 2007

McMenamy's Love the Hall's

I don't have very good words, but I know you guys are definitely going through a rough patch. You are in our hearts and our prayers. Tammi and Tim, you both are awesome parents and both of you made Brian and I long to be parents long before we had Nolan. You guys are amazing. Hang in there. This too shall pass. We love you!!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Baby is 2!

Oh sweet boy, where on earth does the time go? How could I have possibly blinked so fast? It was only yesterday that I was rocking you in the middle of the night after your 1st Birthday party because you got a tummy ache from the icing. And it was only the day before that I was holding you, watching you, amazed that something, someone, so perfect and beautiful could come out of me! You are a miracle, our miracle, and for a little man, your personality and heart are out of this world big. You continue to amaze me, seriously amaze me, every day. You are so stinkin' mischievous and you don't lack a stubborn streak (or a temper). But even when you push every single one of my buttons, even when I physically feel my hair turning grey, I love you more every passing second. I often wonder how days, and even moments, can feel so long, but the years are literally flying by. When you laugh, no matter what kind of mood I'm in, every muscle loosens and I find myself laughing right along with you. This can pose a problem when I am trying to discipline you. And don't think I don't know that YOU know that. I know. Us momma's are pretty smart. I love when out of nowhere you ask for a hug or a kiss. I love when you are steaming mad, but I am trying to make you laugh and you have this cross between a scowl and a smile. You are using every muscle in your face trying not to laugh and usually you lose. I love it! Your impatience drives me right up a wall. In fact, recently while grocery shopping you wanted to ride the choo choo train, the mechanical train they put in the store. The rule is, you are good while I shop, you get to ride. The problem is from the moment we step foot in the store, you say, "choo choo ride?" "Nolan ride choo choo?" over and over and over, non stop, getting louder the longer I shop. I told you the last time this ordeal was happening that you were "Driving me up the wall." Well, you heard the word drive and proceeded to ask, "Nolan drive wall??" You thought it was some new vehicle you had never heard of and I'll be a monkey's uncle if you weren't going to ride it. At least you stopped saying "Choo choo" for all of 30 seconds. Seriously, that's a long time, I'm not being all sarcastic here. You are having a bit of a tough time with Daddy's absence. You cling to me way more than you used to. Part of this is because I'm a rockin' momma. But I worry that you think I will get on a plane and be gone for a long time, too. I won't be, sweetie, and even though right now it seems like eternity, Daddy won't be gone forever either. I wish there was some way for me to make you understand that. We both love you so very much and as strong as our love is for one another, as much as Daddy and I are head over heels in made our love grow stronger and in ways neither of us saw coming. Happy Birthday, my sweet Nolan. Happy 2 years of making this world a much better, funnier, sweeter place to be. Here's Nolan enjoying his birthday ice cream at lunch. He loved being sung to by the staff. He's had a great day I'll blog more about that in days to come. I had to have little talk to him about sharing...he did NOT want to give me a bite! I only had one bite and he ate the whole thing!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Kypp's "Bomb" Fire

Last weekend Neda and Kypp hosted a bonfire get together. For some reason, Kypp has always called them "Bomb" fires. We all thought that was hilarious. They roasted some hot dogs, we chatted, and for dessert we had s'mores...yummy!!! Nolan wasn't sure at first about the situation. He was scared of the fire (grateful for that actually), but since it was so dark, I think he was a little weary. After he ate and got some energy, though, he and Tommy, (the neighbor's little boy who is one week older than Nolan) had a blast chasing each other around. It was a really nice night, thanks Kypp & Neda! I didn't get a ton of pictures because even though Nolan was scared of the fire, I was still not turning my back on him, just in case! Here's Nolan taking the flashlight captive (it was one of two sources of light apart from the fire)!
Tara & Alex:Nolan chowing down on s'mores:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Birthday Meghan!!!!

Happy 30th Birthday Meghan! I think this is the last birthday where we get to say our ages out loud, right? Until the big 4-0, but lets not go there just yet! I love you so much and I miss your contagious laughter. I can't believe we've known each other for the better part of our lives (25 years). Oh, the secrets we could both tell. Hopefully I'll be in town soon, toasting you properly. I hope your birthday is the happiest, most rock star filled event!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thank You Veterans

Happy Veteran's Day! From the bottom of my heart I thank the men and women in my life, and those scattered across the world, who have sacrificed so much for their country. Here is my hubby, my handsome Veteran, in the most recent picture I have of him (at least month old, HINT HINT)! We love you to the depths of our souls and can't wait until you are home again, making us laugh by dancing and cracking jokes. We miss you and adore you.

Edited to add this new picture that Brian sent to me minutes after I emailed this post. I love him!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Freeze Warning

People are always amazed when I tell them that yes, it actually does get cold here. Granted, it can be 53 degrees and it feels like 30, but we really do have cold weather throughout the winter. I don't remember it getting this cold this early last year, but we had a cold front move through and stop for a couple days and yep, there was a freeze warning! I had to bring my plants into the garage. It wasn't terrible during the day, but at night....BRRR! Anyway, the first day it was moving in Nolan and I tried to take a walk before his nap, in the morning, and it was really breezy, so we skipped. It reminded me of Cheyenne, where I can deal with the cold, but not the cold AND wind. In early evening the wind had died down, so we bundled up and went for a walk. The only problem is that Nolan's winter hat I bought him last year is too small. So I had to put him in my hat, but it worked. But I couldn't help giggling at him. And especially at this expression:

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Picnic Lunch

I packed a lunch for Nolan and I Tuesday and after gymnastics we headed to the park in Fort Walton Beach. It's right on the water, so the view is beautiful, and there is lots of shade, although we actually didn't need it much, it was rather cloudy. Nolan had a great time. After each trip down the slide I could get him to take a bite of his sandwich. After we ate, we wandered down to look at the boats. We got up close and personal to a couple and were talking to the owners. There were also some folks fishing, not that I would want to eat the fish right now due to the red tide ( Anyway, Nolan kept talking about fishing. "Nolan go fish?" "Nolan fish?" I told him when we head back to Missouri that we'll have to take him fishing at the Lake of the Ozarks and Cloud 9. Of course, he mostly wanted to fish right at that moment, but I do see fishing poles in his future. After he would get to each new plank of this "bridge", he would stick his cute little mug through the bars and pucker up and say, "Momma kiss?" I, of course, am a complete sucker and obliged each time. Over and over...I take free kisses anytime (even when they are peanut butter flavored)!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Zachary's Birthday Party

Saturday Nolan and I went to a 1st Birthday party for Zachary, a little boy whom we met through the base play group. Gayle and I became friends through the play group (and Cheyna) and she has two sons, Zach and Nathan, who is going to be 3 in March. We had been to their house one other time and let me just tell you, it's basically Disneyland for Nolan. A house with all boy toys, a train table with tons of trains, and a backyard with some awesome cars/bikes. Gayle and Chris certainly know how to throw a party, the food was fantastic and everyone was just so at ease and relaxed. To say that Nolan had lots of fun would be an understatement, but he certainly DID have a blast and I enjoyed myself, too! After the birthday party, we came home and I had gotten Nolan a babysitter. I just needed a break from the nighttime routine and I think it's probably good for Nolan to have a break from me. So a very last minute dinner was arranged at Uptown and I met Neda and Tara there. I went all out and had a steak AND dessert. It was so nice to enjoy some peace and quiet and chat with two girls whom I almost never get to have a full conversation with...or at least an uninteruppted conversation. Gayle & Zachary: The bouncy castle with slide...can you see why Nolan didn't want to ever leave?

Just like Daddy, riding his 4 wheeler!

Zachary getting into his cake (with the help of big brother Nathan) Here's a short clip of Nolan on a "little people" car. He LOVED this thing and I did too, since the handle in the back let me help him without even bending over. Awesome! Kypp (Neda's hubby) joined us near the end of our meal, after returning from the SUPERBOWL for the kids he coaches in football. They took 2nd place, which is just awesome!!!! Way to go Coach Kypp! Neda, Myself & Tara:

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Toddler Bed

Last week, after some close calls with Nolan trying to climb out of the crib, and showing lots of interest in "regular" beds, we made the transition from crib to bed. Even typing this makes my heart lurch, because he's just growing up too quickly. He has done really well and loves his new big boy bed...which is actually his crib, transformed into a toddler bed. He helped me pick out the bedding, which has all of his favorites...firetrucks, trains, planes and tractors. The first couple of mornings he was up bright and early, but since then I have started putting a small basket of toys in his room after he's asleep and he plays really well if he's up too early. He really loves his bed and I have to work to keep him out of it during awake hours!
Nolan "sleeping" (not really, as you can tell from the silly grin on his face):

I suppose now that you can see under the bed, I will have to clear that out!

Close up of the bedding:

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Trick or Treating

Last night was lots and lots of fun for Nolan and I. We joined Tara, Rob and Alex at their house for some pizza and then while Rob stayed back and handed out candy the 4 of us went trick or treating. Well, Nolan did most of the trick or treating. After the first couple houses I said, "You want momma to come with you?" And the ornery little elephant said, "No." He was super cute walking up to the doors and knocking. Apparently Rob & Tara live in the absolute best trick or treating neighborhood because families were driving in to trick or treat there. So many times Nolan would just follow the "big" kids in a group to the door before returning to me. My favorite treat of the night was a (halloween) juice box that someone was giving out. It came in sooo handy because I forgot Nolan's juice back at Tara's house, and he was so thirsty! I may even steal that idea next year. Alex was so stinkin' adorable in his costume and seemed enthralled with all that was going on...especially when Nolan was ransacking his toys! It won't be long, though, before they're running around together. Thanks again for having us over! Here are some pics from last night and a couple more from Saturday.
Nolan & Momma:
What is that elephant doing??? Nolan, don't let her daddy see you!Alex and Rob:Trick or Treat!
This is what a chilled out lobster looks like:Knock Knock!

This elephant is on a mission (to get more candy of course).

PJ time...hard to believe they aren't already asleep!