Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Sometimes being in the military stinks. 
Like when they take your husband away for months at a time.
And other times it's really great. 
Like when you get to live in a practically new, really huge house.
When they throw you an outrageous Christmas party in the park near your house.
I'm not kidding, it was insane.
There were ponies.
And pizza.
And a bounce house.
And games.
And prizes.
And Santa.
And snow.
Yeah, they brought in snow.
And an entire petting zoo.
And of course I didn't take any pictures.
(Leave me alone. Ty wasn't there and I had to keep track of two boys in a giant crowd.)
The boys had such a great time. Jay especially loved the petting zoo. Those poor baby animals had no idea what they were in for, but they tolerated in pretty well. There was even a giant rabbit that was, no joke, nearly as big as Jay. And Jay wanted to pet it so bad, but that rabbit was not dumb and was actually quite good at evasive techniques.
We ended up waiting in line for about 30 minutes to get Leo a balloon animal. (I kept trying to get him interested in other things, but he really wanted that balloon.) And it ended up being totally worth it.
Leo was absolutely in love. He carefully carried it all the way home and he nearly cried when Jay Alvin's bear balloon blew into the bushes and popped. ("Mom, he's just going to be so sad!")
But the best part of the whole day?
Both boys slept for 4 hours after it was over.

(Wait, is he sleeping with the Thomas balloon? Of course he is.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


We had our very first visitors this past week. Grandma and Grandpa Wheeler came and we had so much fun! They helped us get settled into our house, took us sight seeing and basically spoiled Leo and Jay so badly that they've been unbearable since grandma and grandpa left. While they were here we:

~Went to the Monarch butterfly sanctuary.
In the winter time thousands of Monarch butterflies from up north migrate to Monterey to avoid freezing to death. There are over 12,000 butterflies here right now.

Here is one of the cutest ones we saw:

 We walked all over the sanctuary and only saw four or five butterflies in the air.

 (Here's another cute one):

 All the rest of the butterflies were in a single tree. (See that stuff that looks like dead leaves? That's them. I guess they're trying to stay warm.) 

They even put butterflies on the port-o-johns.
Cute, right?

~Went to the beach.
The sandy one, the rocky cliff one and the tide pool one.

~Toured the point Pinos Lighthouse.
(It's the oldest, continually running lighthouse on the west coast.)

Jay thought it would be fun to go down the stairs all by himself.

 ~Played SkipBo almost continuously.
Seriously, it got to where you couldn't even remember if you'd won or not because all the hands ran together.

~Sat on Santa's lap.
(Against our will, apparently.)
 We asked Leo what he was going to tell Santa he wanted for Christmas.
His response?
And would you believe that Santa granted his request immediately?
Leo held onto that little candy cane for two days before he ate it.

~Took lots of naps.

 (Naps were not limited to little boys either.
We don't discriminate like that around here.)

~Went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.* 
It really is as good as people say it is.
Leo could sit at the Open Ocean tank for hours and be completely entertained.

~Went back to the Choo-Choo train park.

~And just had an all-around good time.
Come back guys! We miss you already!

*We got an annual passport to the aquarium that comes with 2 reusable guest passes. That means you'll get 2 free admissions to the aquarium when you come and visit us!
You're coming soon, right?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dennis the Menace Park

*Due to the length of my last two posts, I will do this one with as few words as possible.
We finally made it to the park.
There's a big suspended bridge:

Tunnels to climb through:

A rock wall:

Lots of slides:

Three separate play structures:

A hedge maze:

And Jay's favorite,
the roller slide:
 (He made me take him down it on my lap over and over again.)

Jay thinks he's big now and is constantly attempting things like this:

Leo on the roller slide:

The big train (Finally!):

Jay taking a shortcut out of the maze:

Does anyone else remember these?
I loved them!

The train in all its glory:

There aren't very many pictures with the boys in them because they wouldn't hold still long enough for me to take any. They had a blast.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tuesday A.K.A. Our first day in Monterey without Ty

There's a really cool park here in Monterey called Dennis the Menace park. You can see it from the road that we take to get everywhere and we'd been wanting to take the boys there ever since we got here. Since Ty was going to be in class all day for the first time on Tuesday, I decided that was a good time to go and use up some of our free time. We made it to the park without incident, only there was a sign saying, "The park is closed today." Leo was incredibly bummed, since he could now see that the park had a big, old steam engine he could crawl all over. I told him that we would go to another park and come back to the choo-choo train park later. We ended up going to the park by our new house. (Which, by the way, is one of the coolest parks I've ever seen. And another one of the coolest parks I've ever seen is just around the corner from us. You really should come out here and see it for yourself. We have an extra bedroom you can stay in . . . I'm just sayin'.) While we were there I talked to another mom ans she said, "Oh, the Dennis the Menace park is only closed in the morning. You can go back later." So I told Leo that we just had to put Jay down for a nap and we could go as soon as he woke up.
3 Hours Later:
We went back to the Dennis the Menace park and it was still closed. Apparently they are not open on Tuesdays during the school year. So we ended up going to the park on the military base, which is nothing to write home about. (Which is ironic because I am, in fact, writing home about it right now.)

Jay is pretty much a pro at going up and down the stairs, but you have to push him down the slides kicking and screaming. (Don't worry, he usually likes it once he's going down.)

Leo has become aware of his mortality. He is now reluctant to do things that he used to do without a second thought. Like climb up these:

Jay thought it was hilarious to climb back and forth through these so I couldn't get a picture of him.

Leo, sliding like a pro.

Just being cute.

This next picture has a horrifying story. You might want to skip it if you don't like spiders.
This whole play structure is covered with spider webs, but I hadn't seen any spiders. I assumed they were dead for the winter or something. While we were at the park Leo stuck his finger in a hole above one of the tubes. He immediately said, "Ow!" and yanked his finger out. It was followed by a furious spider who ran out so fast he fell down into the sand. I looked in the hole and there were at least two other spiders in there. Leo didn't actually get bit (I think the "ow!" was from scraping his finger on a little piece of plastic that was sticking out) but we went home right after that. While I was looking at his finger and asking if the spider bit him Leo asked, "Why was he so mad mom?" 

The Miracle of the New House

So, we're moving into our new house on Saturday. Yeah, this Saturday. That's before Thanksgiving, in case you didn't know. We were hoping to be in a house before Christmas, and that was us being optimistic. And the story of us getting our new house is pretty much a miracle that we can't really figure out. Seriously we don't really get it, but we'll take it. Here's a really horrible picture of our new house:
It looks like there's more off to the left, but there isn't. It's a duplex, and this is our half. Did I mention it's nearly 3 times as big as our last place? And it has fake wood floors and 3.5 bathrooms and, best of all, a spare bedroom that's waiting for you to use when you come and see us. You'd better hurry up and get out here or we might decide to turn it into a toy room.

Any how, here's the mysterious miracle story: (It will probably confuse you, because it still confuses me and I was there.)
While we were somewhere in Nevada we got a call from the military housing people. (Or maybe we called them? I really can't remember.) They said there was housing available to move into right away, but that we probably didn't want to move into it, but that we totally could if we wanted to. Did we want to? We decided that we would take a look before we decided and set up an appointment on Monday to see a model.
Monday rolled around and we went to our appointment. They acted like they had no idea why we were there or what we were talking about when we said we wanted to see the model. So they decided to look us up in their system, only we weren't in their system. So we were a week behind on the waiting list because they never actually put us on the list. So they try to nonchalantly add us to the list and the guy goes, "So with your rank that puts you. . .hold on just a moment." And then he ran off to talk to another guy and we were sure we were not ever going to get in a house. But when he came back he continued, "You're fourth on the list and we have a house that's available for you to move into on the 18th. (This was the 14th.) That's, like, just over a week from now."
So we're kind of confused because we were just trying to see a model of the old housing, but now we're signing the pre-lease papers for a new house that isn't supposed to be available for at least a month. When we finish signing the papers he pulls out a map to show us where it is so we can drive by and check it out. Only the house number he's given us isn't any where on the map. (At this point we're thinking, "Okay, so this really isn't real after all. Richard here is just a nut job.) So he runs off to talk to another employee and. . . our house is real after all. The map was just wrong. So, now we have a house and we figured everyone was just wrong for telling us it would take forever to get one.
Then on Tuesday Ty went to his class and they're going over housing and they say, "If you want new housing it's going to be one or two months because there are so many new people right now." And now we're not sure what we did that exempted us from the wait. But we're happy we did it, whatever it was.

Now, come and visit us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Randomness from Leo

While we were making our second attempt to go to the park yesterday (more on that later) Darth Vader said something along the lines of:
"In 200 yards. . .Veer left, to the Dark Side."
And then a few moments later:
"Veer left, to the Dark Side."
At which point Leo piped in with:
"Mom, he's just telling us how to go to the dark side but I want to go to the park with the choo-choo train."

Do you want to know my one and only regret about getting the Darth Vader voice? When we show Leo Star Wars for the first time he's going to wonder why the bad guy sounds like our GPS. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

We Actually Did Something Fun Here

First of all, let me get this out of the way.
Jay looks like a homeless man because all of his clothes were dirty.
He's wearing one of Leo's shirts to keep him warm.
His pants are too short.
His shoes are too big.
It's even worse because Leo looks a little GQ.
 This did not stop every random stranger we saw from commenting on how cute Jay was.
(He's good at tricking people.)
Any how, these pictures were taken right outside of our temporary housing.
There's an obscene amount of deer here.
We saw 14 driving home from church today.
Leo loves it.

We went to Fisherman's Wharf yesterday.
It's really close and we had a lot of fun.
 We walked to the end of the pier and watched the kayakers.
There was also a seal (or something like that) swimming around right beneath us.
It kept popping up above the water and diving back down again.
I'm pretty sure Jay Alvin thought it was a sea monster.
See how he's looking towards the water with a concerned look on his face?
When I handed him to Ty to take a picture Jay was sure he was going to be monster lunch.

The water was freezing.
 And Leo was absolutely fascinated by it.
 Jay got his feet wet this one time, and then refused to touch the water again.

 Leo couldn't keep himself away from the water and ended up soaked.
 Here's Jay refusing to put his feet in the water again.
The boats were also really cool.
Leo kept saying that he needed his coins so he could ride on one.
We had dinner on the pier and Ty was incredibly happy when Jay and Leo ate calamari, shrimp and clam chowder with gusto.
Their favorite part, however, was the candy shop we went to after.
I think we'll be spending a lot of time here.

P.S. We bought a GPS yesterday so we don't have to spend so much time going around in circles on one-way streets. We might have also paid $13 extra so it would give us directions in Darth Vader's voice. It was totally worth it.