Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let's go to the zoo!

The effin zoo may have been closed for Ray and Jerry, but not for us! Ann and I took Bradley to the Zoo of Northwest Florida, which is conveniently across the street from our neighborhood. I had been waiting to take Bradley when he was old enough to recognize some of the animals and pay attention to them.


Here's Bradley & Grandma Anna, waiting for the train. You will notice of course that B is decked out in his safari hat, and tiger shirt and shorts! He is ready to see some animals!

On Tuesdays & Thursdays they have a Zoo Tots program for kids under 5 which includes storytime (which Bradley could not have cared less about), a train ride through the park (which Bradley was too hot and fussy to enjoy, plus the animals weren't close enough to gain his attention) and a live animal encounter, which Bradley LOVED! Here he is about to pet Pepe, the Gecko

And now petting Hedgie, the Hedgehog
We got to see lots of different kinds of monkeys, lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!


















I know what I smell, and it wasn't no brimstone!
Bradley's favorite were the sheep, because he got to touch them, and the giraffe. After traversing the grounds for several hours, a hot and sweaty Bradley was ready for some lunch and a much-needed nap. Hopefully we will get to go again soon. Thanks for taking us, Grandma Anna!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Driving down Hwy 98 is like deja vous... all over again

A lot of people have been asking how I'm doing, adjusting to Brian being gone. Usually I'm fine until they ask, and then I start to fight back the tears. Yesterday was both and "up" and "down" day for me.

Bradley and I drove out to Panama City Beach to visit Rhonda & Joe on their mini-vacay. The weather cooperated, so we got in some beach time. We burried Joe in the sand, and Bradley actually enjoyed being in the Big Ocean for a change- I think I finally figured out the trick here- take him out past where the waves are breaking, and he loves being held and splashing in the water! Of course with Photo Joe and his lovely wife around, they had the camera and were taking pictures, so I don't have any of my own to share yet, but I'm sure they'll be good when I get them.

After beach time, we headed up to the condo for lunch and cleaned up and left to go shopping at a nearby area called The Pier. We treated ourselves to ice cream, and Rhonda and I had to pose for a picture in front of the Panama City Beach location of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge! I didn't realize there was one down here. Joe left us briefly to go look at shoes, so Rhonda suggested we go in this store called Deja Vous. So then I suggested we go in this store called Deja Vous. :)

After a small poop explosion from Bradley which required an outfit change in the family bathroom, we drove around a little more, and then dropped Rhonda and Joe back off at their condo. It was Bradley's nap time, and time for us to head back west on Highway 98. I did take one picture on our drive back. It's a little weak for the TAR blog, but I laughed nevertheless.

Laura guessed that maybe she was a pig farmer. I suggested perhaps she's a manager of a Honeybaked ham store.

Driving past base on my way home, I couldn't help but see all the uniformed people driving home from a normal day at work and feel sad that Brian was not one of those people. On a positive note, I have gotten a phone call from him almost every day so far, and daily emails as well so that helps. He is doing well and adjusting to his new job and schedule. So far I have met my goal so far of physically getting out of the house at least once a day. Today will be no different. I'm taking Bradley to have some follow up bloodwork done for his anemia, and then tonight we have church and choir. Happy Hump Day to everyone.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Steppin out with my baby

Maybe Bethany will be the only one who'll get the title of this blog (JustJazz!!!) but the point is, Bradley is Walking!!!

He took his first official steps on Friday before Brian left (I wasn't in the room when it happened, but he and Ann got to see it) and then today Ann and I got him to take several steps in a row and document them on video.
video

And remember, you can see this video and more on Bradley's very own Youtube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/AVilendrer so subscribe now and be notified when new videos are posted automatically.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shoes Blues

Twelve minutes and thirty five seconds. That is exactly how long I got to talk to Brian today. I never knew that a phone call could make me so overjoyed, or so overcome with sadness at the same time. Most of you know this by now, but Brian has left for Afghanistan, and won't be back until sometime in November. It seems like an eternity away at this point, but those who have been through spouses deploying before tell me that the first two weeks are the hardest. After that, you realize you can do it, and you create a new normal, and a new routine.

I look around and see Brian everywhere. His shoes by the front door, his towell hanging in the bathroom, his Mountain Dew bottle left on the counter, and I don't want to move any of it because I don't want to take "him" out of our home, and of our lives. But then my OCD kicks in, and slowly but surely I am starting to put the towell in the hamper to be washed, and rinse out the Mountain Dew bottle and put it in the recycling bin. The shoes however, are a different story. Even though that's one of the tiny things I've learned to accept about living with Brian- he leaves a pair of shoes by the door so he can slip them on when he leaves. I would prefer they stay hidden on a shoetree in our closet. But those shoes laying there on our front step just remind me of him, as if I could forget anyways. So the shoes will stay where they are. At least for now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

short road trip

Please point and click your mouse HERE when you're done reading to see the newest addition to the long-ignored That Ain't Right blog. These came from a recent roadtrip to the other side of Panama City, FL to visit Brian's Grandpa Cimpher.


Tuesday we drove out to Port St. Joe, FL to visit Grandpa Cimpher in the nursing home. It's about a 3- 3 1/2 hour trip each way, but he was sure glad to see us! I'm so glad we got to drive out and visit before Brian leaves for Afghanistan soon.
Bradley with his great-grandpa Cimpher




Me, Brian, and Bradley with Grandpa Cimpher. I gave up trying to get a picture where everyone was looking and smiling at the camera, so this is as good as it gets!

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's not easy bein Green!

Kermit the frog said it best: it's not easy being green. I liken the whole global green movement to eating healthy. It often costs you more time, and more money, but in the end it's better for you. That's how I feel about the making the effort to "go green" and reduce our carbon footprint on the world. My sister in law Sarah could probably give a lot of facts to back up what we're doing (and maybe she will post a comment with some info and other helpful hints, hint hint!) but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, and we will do our part, one thing at a time, to be kinder to our planet. Here's what we've done so far:

  • Recycle. We purchased 3 recycling bins from Lowe's, and we recycle paper/cardboard, plastic, glass, and aluminum (an added perk is that since we recycle, we can share the cost of trash pickup with our neighbors b/c we don't produce as much)
  • Replaced all our lightbulbs with the long-lasting environmentally-friendly CFL ones
  • Installed a timer to our hot water heater. Now it kicks on twice a day, between 5:30 and 8am, and again at 5:30-7:30pm, and we still have plenty of hot water throughout the day
  • Be conscious about turning off lights when we leave rooms, especially keeping the computer turned off when not in use
  • Unplugging appliances like the toaster, and even the coffee maker when not in use, and phantom energy users, like ipod docks and cell phone chargers, that consume energy when left plugged into an outlet
  • Installed an energy-saving shower head which reduces the water pressure, saving several gallons of water for each shower taken
  • Keeping our thermostat set at higher temps in summer, cooler in winter. I'm cold natured and this usually doesn't bother me. Ours is at 77-78 during the day, and 75 at night after we put Bradley to bed. We also turn the temp up a degree or two when leaving the house.
  • Run the dishwasher/washer/dryer only when we have a full load
  • Use reuseable cleaning cloths in place of paper towells whenever possible
  • Use reuseable shopping bags
  • Purchased a special power strip for our office, so that once the computer is turned off, all the other accessories will shut off automatically
  • Stopped buying bottled water, and other individual plastic bottled drinks and use refillable bottles instead
  • Use tupperware instead of plastic baggies whenever possible

Now that I look at the list it seems like a lot, but Brian and I are constantly looking at ways to reduce energy consumption even more, so any ideas of your own would be helpful, and I hope our list inspires you to take steps to go greener. This site is a good place to start if you need ideas.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

POP goes my baby

The blog title references a song in of one of my favorite movies, Music And Lyrics. The subject matter of the film focuses on pop music and the impact it has on people's lives. I use my Bachelor of Music degree every day (thanks mom and dad for college!) to sing to Bradley. Most of the time, we sing pop songs with the lyrics changed to apply to him. I thought I'd share a few of these.

  • B-man (Michael Jackson's Beat It)- since B-Man is Brian's nickname for Bradley
  • Gwen Stephani's Holla Back Girl- during breakfast, since B has a banana almost every morning. The song serves educational purposes!
  • Munchkin Man (Macho Man- the Village People)- since another nickname is munchkin
  • Miss New Booty- Bubba Sparxxx- yes, some will wag their finger at me for singing offensive rap to my child, but it just comes naturally since we refer to Bradley's derriere as his "booty!" (the lyric most often sung is "Booty booty booty rockin' everywhere!"
  • All the single Babies (All the single Ladies- Beyonce)- this is a favorite of mine to sing to Bradley as he immediately starts clapping along, just like in the real song, whenever I sing to him
I'm sure there are more, but they escape me at the moment. I love surrounding Bradley with music and making it a part of every day life. I can't wait til the day he hears the real version of a song we sing to him, and recognizes that it has different lyrics than the ones we usually sing!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fashion rose pas

This morning Bradley and I went to our first ever Spouses gathering for Brian's squadron.  It was an informal coffee at Panera, and it marked the first time I would meet other wives whose husbands are in the same squadron as Brian.  After a year of being here, I figured it was about time I got involved, plus it gave me an excuse to get a cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera!  Nevertheless, I was nervous about going.  Would these ladies be snooty and not welcome me into their group?  Would they frown upon the fact that I brought Bradley with me?  I got up extra early this morning to give me enough time to shower and get ready before Bradley got up, and I decided on a bright red shirt and jeans to wear.

Well now I'm home, and the coffee couldn't have gone better.  I met so many wonderful ladies, and two other moms had brought their little girls with them, so it eased my fear about bringing children to these sorts of events.  I whisked Bradley inside to get him down for a nap since he missed his morning one completely, and I'm feeling pretty chipper, and confident that I could have made some potential new friends.  All of a sudden, I look down at my feet, and in horror, realize that I still have my hot pink flip flops on from this morning, when I slid them on to water our plants out front!  I had meant to change shoes and left the house in rush to make it on time, and forgot to make the switch.  I am mortified, and hoping that no one else noticed my fashion faux pas of a red shirt with pink shoes!  So much for making a first impression, huh?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Musings on Michael & McNair

I'm currently following the twitter updates from the Tennessean on the latest news conference on the death of former TN Titan Steve McNair.

It's such a shame such a great player had to die so tragically. Of course he will be remembered for his contributions on the field, and generosity to charities, but though he lead the Titans on the field for years, he was still just a man, just as infallible as the rest of us. Now in his death the public sees another side, an uglier side, of our once-valiant quarterback. All of Nashville is in a tizzy over what police are now ruling a murder-suicide, and it just makes me sad for the McNair family.

What is in the water lately that there have been so many celebrity deaths? First Ed McMahon, who got zero coverage, then Farrah Fawcett, followed so closely by Michael Jackson that she got no recognition either. After MJ was Billy Mays, and now most recently Steve McNair. I watched most of the Michael Jackson memorial on tv yesterday, catching it by chance by turning on Headline News to see what was going on in the world. Apparently nothing else was going on in the world, because not only was HN showing the service, but also CNN, and our local channels as well.

I grew up in the 80s, the era of MTV and the music video. I can remember watching Michael Jackson videos- in particular I remember loving "Beat It" and also "Smooth Criminal." If you would have asked me before his death, was I an MJ fan, I would have said sure, but now that the king of pop is gone, I became one of the many who bought their very first Michael Jackson cd. I don't consider it jumping on the bandwagon. Jackson's death merely brought to mind numerous past hits that I used to listen to on vinyl growing up, and recalling other songs that I had forgotten about completely. For all his shady past, the man is still a musical genius and icon, and I can appreciate what MJ did for music without condoning his character as a person.

I feel the same way for Steve McNair. People are not perfect, and while controversy may be a part of a person's past, their legend should be bestowed on them for what they contributed positively to society. I would like to think the same could and should be done for any of us when our time comes to leave this earth.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

4th of July Funnies

Every year my mom's side of the family gets together for a big 4th of July get-together. It began in 1996 at our house in Brentwood, and has been going strong ever since. The past several years the event changed locations to my aunt & uncle's house in Indiana. In a last minute turn of events, Bradley and I decided to hop in the car and make the trek up there so we could share in the fun; plus if you aren't there, you get talked about, so that was one more good reason to be there!

In case you missed our 4th of July fun, here are a few things you might want to ask about, or remember if you were there, since there's always funny stories that crop up that will be told for many years to come (like Laura's martinis from Christmas, and the gang of 3+1 watching the TV on high speed rewind):
  • Mom accidentally calling the "shamwow" a "shamu"
  • Michael singing the same line, "I can't explain it," over and over
  • Jimmmyyyyyyyy!!!!
  • Eric referring to Budweiser as Ryan's "talk juice"
  • Ryan's new and improved Christ of the Ohio
  • Everyone: "it looks like it's starting to clear up," talking about the nonstop rain
  • What happens when good Fireworks go Bad
  • 4-alarm fire greenbeans that no one but Eric & Ryan could eat
  • Good thing the van was stolen so we had room to hang out in the garage
  • Lisa yelling at Oreo (the poodle) to get out of the kitchen
  • Lots of good food, good drinks, and good times

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I do not like it, Fantastic Sam

Are you all happy? The baby mullet (or British Emo Band hairstyle, as Laura referred to it) is now gone.

I am not happy! I took Bradley to get his first official haircut today, and now his long locks are gone, he is no longer a baby, and so begins the cycle of kiddie haircuts. Wednesday is "kids day" at our local Fantastic Sam's so that's where we went. Bradley didn't shed tears, but he wasn't happy per say at the turn of events either. See for yourself in the pictures.

Here's the "before" shot, with his hair all wetted down
Just getting started


Nope, not liking this At ALL



a little better now, and almost done

Glad that's over with!

The official lock of hair and certificate to document the occasion