Monday, August 30, 2010

Nana

Over the past few weeks Evie has taken a real shine to a baby doll she received on her first birthday. She even named her all by herself. We used to call her Baby. She chose Nana.

Funny because it was right around this age that Addison got attached to Baby. Remember this post from right after we moved to Aberdeen? I thought he fixated on the bear to mitigate the excessive amount of change going on in his wee life at the time, but this new development with Evie has made me rethink that.

Maybe this is just the age when children start making independent choices about preferred playthings. Regardless it's awfully cute to see the way she cares for Nana, patting her on the back and hugging her. And at night she cuddles up with her tucked under her arm. As you can see in the picture below, Nana even made it to the AC Airshow.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Atlantic City Airshow

Now that I've left you hanging for days, allow me to reveal our destination.

The annual Atlantic City Airshow, which this year marked the 100th anniversary of the show's first appearance in AC. I can only imagine that in 1910 many of the people who attended the show were seeing airplanes for the first time ever.

It was an intermittently sunny day, which was actually perfect for the fair-skinned Holloways. This is part of the AC skyline as we drove over the bay.

The packed boardwalk.

The beach was more crowded than I can ever remember, even than Wildwood on 4th fo July. A lot of the free space was snagged by big corporations with exclusive tents for their VIPS. The rest of us lowly folk had to find a patch of sand to stake our umbrella and lay out our blanket. After wandering in the wilderness toting bags and children, we finally found a decent spot.

The sun did occasionally break through, which made me very grateful we brought the umbrella. Here you can see two search and rescue helicopters which performed a rescue demonstration.





An FA-18. I am in awe of this amazing plane. I could not get over how fast it traveled or the confusing incongruity of a plane that travels faster than the speed of sound. You hear the plane, you look, and it's not there because it's travelling faster than its sound reaches your ears. Weird!


Something about this photo just makes me smile. Addison turning sand shovels into planes as acrobatic planes whizz by his head.

Evie still doing downward facing dog.

Do you see the F-16?

The Thunderbirds closed out the show.


Caesar in the previous post was not from an impromptu trip to Greece. Just one of the statues atop Caesars Casino.


Trump Plaza.


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This is what you get when you cross a helicopter with a plane. The harrier showing off its mad skills. Watch it hover and then fly backwards. You can only imagine how deafening the sound was.


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A stunt plane doing amazing tricks. Watch how close it gets to the water before averting disaster.


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An example of the transonic halo that occurs around rotors and propellers on planes that travel at supersonic speeds.


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A montage of the aerobatics of The Thunderbirds.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where Are We?

Who can guess where the Holloways were yesterday?





Answer to follow soon...

Friday, August 20, 2010

How to Teach German to Youngsters

OK, before I begin, a little disclaimer. This post may contain content objectionable to some readers. Consider yourself forewarned.

Last night after the toys were picked up, pjs were donned, teeth were brushed, and a Bible story read, I got it into my silly little head to teach the boys some German. For those of you who don't already know, I was a double major at university -- German and English. In fact, one of my great desires for my children has been to share some of my knowledge of the language with them at an early age.

So back to last night. The Bible story was about the giving of the 10 commandments. I shared words with them like "manna" and "Mt. Sinai" at which both boys giggled, thinking they sounded very silly. I explained that they were just words in another language and then proceeded to share, as further example, some German words for parts of the body -- eyes, ears, hair, you get the picture. We went from head to toe and then Addison, with a sly little grin on his face, said, "What are the words for tushie and junk?" patting his bottom and then his other area.

I won't share with you who started them calling it "junk" (which Addison pronounces "jonk") but I can assure you it was not I. I am all for correct, anatomical nomenclature.

But I couldn't help myself at his impish smile. I laughed. Hard. With boys, why do conversations always devolve into the vulgar? And why is it so funny?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Whale's Tails

I just discovered my new favorite expression, "whale's tails". Let me explain. We are now entering the dangerous territory of girl's hair. How I remember this growing up. Crying over tangles and agonizing over just how to fix it. What I wouldn't have given for some luscious curls when I was a wee lass.

Thankfully, with two boys, hair is simple, especially in our house where buzzes are mandatory summer attire. Until not that long ago, Evie's hair was not much of an issue. It is a beautiful chestnut color, fine and wispy with the very slightest hint of a wave, but in a matter of a few short months, Evie's hair has gone from this...

...to this. It is long and unruly but in that awful in-between phase where it's not all the same length. One Sunday one of the nursery workers teased me that she wanted to see how many ponytails I could fit on her head next week. That particular week Evie was sporting 3.

My main concern is to keep her "bangs" (man, I miss the word "fringe"...sounds so much more elegant than bangs) out of her eyes while the hair continues to grow long enough to pull back into one respectable ponytail. My simplest solution to date has been these itty-bitty, silicone bands wrapped around a sprightly strand to the side of her head. Wrapped enough she can't pull them out like she does with the bows and the clips, which look ever so much more dignified but hardly stand up to clever Evie.

These multiple tails, and in the case above a whale's tail and two pig tails, give her a comical and, might I even be so bold as to say, feisty appearance. If I weren't still so affected by my time in Aberdeen, I would say she looks almost spunky, but I can't because it still sends prudish shivers down my spine. I digress.

Behold, the classic whale's tail. Genius name, no? It looks like a whale's water spout. Got this little gem from one of my virtual friends, Emily Malone, who happens to live in our old house in Aberdeen. She has already been through the grueling growing out phase with her daughter and now stands proudly on the other side cheering the rest of us on. She is currently giving away free headbands called Haley's Halos, which are lightweight and take care of the fly-aways. In an effort to maximize my chances of winning three of these bad boys, I'm also sharing the love with you guys. Check out the post. Facebook it. Tweet it. Blog about it, and you too could win. Even if you don't, however, you can still take advantage of the 15% referral discount by mentioning "The Adventures of Miss Mommy" when you check out through Paypal. Definitely a win-win-win.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Crazies





This is what goes on what mama ain't around.

Tattie Holiday...Again

Back on October 16, 2006, when our little clan was still very much in the throes of culture shock, I did a blog about the Tattie Holidays in Scotland. I had never heard of such a holiday. If you're joining me post that date and are curious what it's all about -- a two-week holiday based on the potato -- read the entry. Imagine my amusement today when I discovered yet again that more people had stumbled upon my blog from typing "Tattie Holiday" into Google. That then led to the discovery that typing "Tattie Holiday" into Google produces my blog as entry #1. I have now permanently connected myself to quite possibly one of the funniest Scottish traditions, at least in the cyber world.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Coffee Grinder

So way back when I hinted at a review coming your way thanks to the lovely folks at CSN. I know you've been waiting patiently.

I am a serious coffee drinker. It's one of the important facts you need to know about me. Almost anything, especially morning foghead, can be made better by a cup of strong and steaming joe. I started this atrocious habit when I was 15 and I have only taken minor breaks when I was with child and the normally lovely smell mediated through my overly sensitive pregnancy nose was rendered revolting and made my tummy lurch a little. Even then -- a fact to which co-workers can attest -- I would switch to ice coffee, which has the benefit of full caffeine while mitigating the smell and flavor considerably. Not sure how the temperature change does this, but it does. My caffeine headaches can thankfully attest to that too.

Back to the point. My favorite coffee in the whole world is Starbucks Kenyan, which I discovered back in 2008 and blogged about here. So when I won the contest for naming my friend's blog, I requested that particular variety and my patience was rewarded with 2 lbs of the golden stuff! Only problem, no grinder. Then the folks at CSN very kindly offered the review opportunity and voila I was back in business. Having been a serious coffee addict for the past 15 years now and having tested a variety of grinders myself, I knew what I was looking for. Here is my little list of the must-haves in a coffee grinder and how my spiffy new black and chrome Hamilton Beach Custom Grind Deluxe stacks up.

1. Cleanability - This is an absolute must. Whenever you grind coffee beans, there is bound to be powdery residue. Being the clean freak that I am, it bugs me no end that previous grinders could not be made spotless or coffee dustless. The Hamilton Beach Custom Grind Deluxe, however, has a removable, dishwasher safe grinding chamber for easy and thorough cleaning.

2. Measurability - It's hard to estimate the proper amount of coffee for larger groups. You get accustomed to the right amount for yourself or your honey, but what about when you have a dinner party? The HBCGD has measuring lines conveniently built in and it accommodates a generous 15 cups worth of coffee beans.

3. Controllability - Most grinders are a one-texture-fits-all kind of deal. Not the HBCGD. It has several texture settings from course to fine tailored to the type of pot you're using.

4. Retractability - Cluttered kitchen counter? C'mon, admit it. We all are dealing with it. This grinder stows easily with a completely retractable cord.

5. Hands freeability - You don't have to stand there and hold the button down like most grinders. Definitely a plus!

Bug Bite

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It's been far too long since I posted an anecdote from the children. In fact, I'm ashamed at how little face time Evie especially has gotten lately. It's true what they say. No matter how much you try, you do take fewer photos of each child the more you have. The other day before I went to bed, as is often my custom, I went in to check on her. One of my favorite parental past-times is watching my children sleep. It doesn't matter if they're 5 years old or newborn, there is something peaceful, innocent, and soothing about watching their gentle slumber. In my short time caring for little ones on this earth, it still fills me with fresh awe. And as I watched Evie sleep, it hit me that we rarely take pictures of her sleeping like we used to with Addison and Davis. It made me a little sad. Even if we started now, there are months and months of repose that we missed. OK, enough mama guilt. Onto the funny part.

So the other I got home from work early and was sitting at the kitchen table while Genevie ate a snack. I was chatting with her about whatever, and by chatting I mean, I asked her questions and she babbled back in baby talk which inflectionally should have made sense but was actually just gibberish. I must have said something about bug bites, and she reached down and pointed to her right calf, which is currently sporting a nasty one. "Bu bi," she said. It was so cute I had to get it on camera for you. How crazy is it that one of her first phrases is "bug bite"? Poor thing inherited my childhood allergy for mosquito bites, so not only are these little pests magnetically drawn to her 10x as much as the boys but with every bite she gets a huge, red welt. It's because she's extra sweet like her mama.

Oh and pardon her wild appearance. Meal times have become an exercise in experiential feeding with Genevie wearing a good deal of her meals by the end of the day. This is the major and heretofore unknown joy of having a toddler girl. Meals and long flowing locks. Dis.Gus.Ting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shcool

In a fail of truly epic proportions, a road crew has misspelled the word "school" on a newly paved road in NC leading up to said institution. Is it just me or is there a smidge of smugness in the BBC report, using "spelt" in the title and all? Perhaps, the school could offer night classes for the workers? Seems as though they could use a bit of learnin'.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Toast

When faced with the task of giving the matron of honor toast at Sarah and Matt's reception, I was intimidated and overwhelmed to say the least. While I am a writer, I am not a public speaker. Nerves usually get the better of me, shaking fingers, sweaty palms, quavering voice, none of which improves the delivery. Plus, this moment was supposed to be heartfelt and intimate. My sister has been my dearest female friend for 27 years. The thought of saying something profound or even remotely wise caused this usually punctual perfectionist to procrastinate. But one night in a moment of inspiration, I wrote it all out in a single go, and to my great surprise when the time came to give the speech, I wasn't nearly as nervous as I thought I'd be. And it must have served its purpose because Sarah shed her first tears of the day during it. I love you, Sarah!

There is a photo in a shoebox at the top of my parents’ closet that depicts a wedding. A bride, wearing a white dress, gazing adoringly upon her groom. That bride? Sarah. The groom? Nate. I think I officiated. We were about 9, 7, and 4. I don’t think Nate was a willing participant.

So the real day has now arrived, and here we all are honoring Sarah and her real groom and forever companion, Matt, at the beginning of their life journey together.

As I’ve contemplated what to say, it’s been a real challenge. For me, the writer, the ultimate case of writer’s block. How do you put into words a relationship that has spanned nearly 3 decades, a person I do not remember life without? And more importantly, what do you say to them as they take one of life’s watershed steps? I only have one sister and so our relationship is like no other I have in this world. In 27 years together, we have shared everything -- from the small, like our bedroom and chickenpox, to the big, like the birth of two of my children and both of us moving overseas. We have a shared history and language -- a kind of sisterly shorthand, which made us almost unbeatable in the game of Taboo. Sarah was the first person I told about the man I fell in love with and married, Trey Holloway, and Sarah has poured her heart out to me about her own loves lost and gained.

As I have gotten to know Matt over these past few months, I have come to see what a perfect match he is for Sarah. He has opened her eyes to new things...like Star Trek, which at one time she scoffed at. And she has been a civilizing influence for him, introducing him to such extravagant items as a couch and coffee table. But in all seriousness, Matt is a gentle soul and somehow knows how to soften the Fletcher fire and drama. Sarah...well...she brings strength and perseverance and great generosity to name just a few.

It is perhaps not customary in toasts to say anything too deep. Keep it light. Throw in an anecdote, attempt to get a laugh and then here’s to the happy couple. Cheers. Clink glasses and they kiss.

My toast is a little different. I am a great lover of the traditional marriage vows. I secretly suspect they were written by a very wise and long-married woman who knew what it was all about. You just spoke these words a few hours ago, but let me refresh your memory. “I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful spouse in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, as long as we both shall live.”

So why throw in the bit about sickness and want and sorrow? Kind of a downer when you think about it. It’s because marriage is actually really hard. Most married people will at some time experience sickness, want, and sorrow. And it is a greater temptation in those times to be unloving and faithless.

But there is good news. First of all, as hard as marriage can be at times, it is also good. Very good. And anything worth having is worth working very hard for, a lesson I know you both have already learned much about.

But even better, you are not alone in this journey. You promised and covenanted before God, the God who is always loving and always faithful. You do not attempt the impossible alone. You draw strength from the One who knew you before you were even born, the One who has seen you safely to each other and this joyful day, the One who carries you in the palm of His hand and loves you more than you can understand.

And so today we send you off to enjoy your bright future together in the strong name of Jesus!