Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Safe House

Last week Van's class read "The Three Little Pigs." After the story each child was asked to draw a picture of the type of house they would make to keep the little pigs safe. This is Van's picture, with the narration he gave his teacher:
"The house has a Dynamite closet and this smoky bomb closet and there is a knife above and when the pig pushes a button it swings shut and cuts [the wolf]. It goes on the wolf and the Guard poisonous snake bites the wolf and the wolf dies. Bar wire goes around the door and the door is locked. The pigs killed the wolf."

I think that Van's pigs would definitely be safe!! I especially like the "guard" poisonous snake!!

Curls & Twirls

I remember going to bed with the foam curlers as a little girl. I would try to sleep so softly on my hair so the curlers would not fall out.  When I saw that they still make those curlers I was so excited to put Ava's hair up in them. So I put her in the bath and told her that I had a big surprise for her, fearing that she would be less than enthusiastic about sitting still for 20 minutes while I rolled her hair. I produced the curlers and told her they would give her "Princess hair!" So of course she wanted me to put them in right away. Fight avoided!  I did a small victory dance in my head, and started the rolling process. Upon completion she just looked adorable, and was so excited!!
She woke up in the morning, and I was a little bit scarred of the intensity of the curls!

But after a few hours, the curls relaxed and stayed perfect all day!!!

I also got a bit crafty today. I bought the most adorable dress for Ava right before we left the States. When I put it on her, I realized it did not fit at all. So I turned it into a skirt. Ava loves it, she calls it her "Mommy skirt" because it is like the long skirts that I like to wear! I think it turned out pretty well!!

Murphy's Law

You have probably heard of "Murphy's Law." You might be unaware of "Murphy's Law of Deployment," which is similar to the original with a minor addition. (Minor in the sense that it adds few words, but the ramifications of these few words can be catastrophic.)  Murphy's Law of deployment states: "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong the moment he leaves on deployment." Countless military wives can attest to the validity of this law. Some have had their cars break down the day after he leave, others have their houses flood, or washing machines that get unbalanced and literally fall down the stairs.  Good times. I have found that this law also applies to TAD assignments as well. (Temporary Additional Duty) In the 24 hours that Jared has been gone,  we have had some fun things happen. (insert sarcasm here) Van sliced his face open, not deep, but noticeable. So I grounded him from pocket knives. While he was up in his room quietly thinking about the consequences of "training" with real knives he decided that it would be a good idea to get one of DADDY's knifes and look at the blade. I was downstairs with Ava when I hear Van yell down, "Mommy. Mom!!!! Come here please!" (what a polite kid.) Then a millisecond later I hear a slightly panicked voice yell, "MOM!" I didn't even get an answer out to let him know that I was on my way before it turned into "Mom! MOM! MOM!" As I round the corner and start up the stairs I see him standing on the top stair holding his hand. "Van! What happened?!?" He was in a state of panic as he opened his hand and blood started dripping out.  I screamed and bounded up the stairs and grabbed his hand and rushed him to the sink. I was already going over the numbers I would need to call to reach the medical department at the embassy so that he could get stitches. As the water cleared away some of the blood I realized that the cut was not as deep as I had first thought, and knew stitches would not be needed. I hugged him and consoled him and grounded him from knives for the second time. This time around I got a little bit smarter and actually gathered up all the knives I could find (we have a surprisingly large number of pocket/hunting style knives) and removed the temptation. 

A few hours later I was in the kitchen preparing dinner when Van tells me that he found a scorpion. This is a game that he plays quite often because he thinks it's funny to watch me cringe in disgust at the mere mention of this dreaded creature. I didn't want to leave the stove right then so I played along, asking him all sorts of silly questions such as, "Wow, is it as big as your whole foot?" To which he responded, "No, it's about as big as my pinky." Weird... he usually comes back with some crazy retort about how it is bigger than the whole couch. So I kept on with the game: "Is it as black as pepper with red eyes?" He replies, "no, mostly yellow." Now I'm confused. So I asked him straight up, "Van did you really see a scorpion?" He replies all casually "Yep!" I still didn't quite believe him. It's the whole "boy who cried wolf" syndrome. So I finished getting dinner off the stove and asked him to show me where the scorpion was. He walked to the front entry way, and pointed. Sure enough, half hidden under my shoes was a big disgusting scorpion. I looked down at my bare feet, then over to the kids' bare feet, and ordered everyone into the living room. Van asked me what I was going to do, and I truthfully told him that I was going to kill it. Thanks to Jared's ingenious idea to let Van keep the half dead scorpion they found outside in a spiders web last month, Van was under the illusion that I was going to somehow catch this scorpion and we were all going to live together happily. Yeah, I squished that dream quicker than squishing the actual scorpion. After securing the kids and the puppy, I ran to the coat room and put on one of Jared's shoes. After several attempts at getting close enough to the scorpion to actually squish it, I slammed my foot down on top of the shoe the scorpion was laying under, and felt the crack of his exoskeleton, or whatever the hell it is that they have. I felt triumphant!!! Then I turned and saw that Van had followed me into the entryway, and saw his eyes well up with tears. Honestly, I was still pretty darn proud of myself for killing the evil home invader, but knew that I had to do something to help Van feel better. So I offered up a compromise: The scorpion was already dead, which is what I wanted, but I offered to let Van keep the body in a jar. Good enough for him. It was worse trying to pick up the dead scorpion with tweezers than it was to squish it with a big shoe on. I screamed several times, and Van laughed and laughed. I finally got him in the jar, and Van now has something "really cool" to take to show and tell. Yuck.
My point and shoot camera does not have a macro lens, so the picture is a touch blurry.  This is the dead scorpion in the bottom of a mason jar. So Gross.

Old Friends

So let me be clear on one thing: coming to Armenia was for the most part my idea. About a year and a half ago, Jared was working very hard in his new MOS. I was receiving phone calls and gifts from Sri Lanka, Jordan, Maldives, Hong Kong, Djibouti, Dubai, Malaysia and Thailand (just to name a few).  Not only was I ready to have a husband who stayed home for more than 3 weeks at a time, I was ready to be a part of the adventure, not just to hear the stories second hand. When I heard about the overseas Defense Attache  positions I urged Jared to sign up. I had dreams of living overseas in exotic places. When the list of available positions came up we had a choice of Yerevan, Armenia or Ghana, Africa. Not exactly on my top 5 or even top 20 list of "exotic places" I had had in mind, but I remained firm in my resolve to see the adventure through.  I have moved more than 10 times. I don't have roots in some small town where everyone knows my life story. But I have always made my home in whatever place I was living in the moment, from Colorado to Hawaii. I think the thing that made this possible was that even though the scenery changed, the people and the general way those people think/handle things and approach situations remained the same. Some claim that America does not have her own "culture." I beg to differ. I love American culture, it makes me feel at home because it is my home.  I have always loved the nation of my birth, and living away from her has only strengthened my loyalty. I am very glad that we were able to bring our family over to this country and that we are able to experience the culture of Armenia. But there is something to be said about the comforts of "home." I have enjoyed meeting new people and making new friends. But there is also something to be said for the comforts of old friends. Friends who have seen you at your worst and still love you. People for whom you don't have to put on the public face, you can be yourself; laugh, cry, bitch, moan, pour your heart out or say nothing at all. I was fortunate enough to have friends like that come out to visit this past week. When we lived in Hawaii we expected friends and family to come visit. Who doesn't want to go to Hawaii with free room and board?!? However only a true friend will visit you in the "developing country" you live in, just because you are lonely and need a friend! Heidi and Paul are the greatest! Although we did so many fun things while they were here, the best part of their visit was just hanging out and laughing about stupid things, usually at my expense! Hahahaha I have tired to pick out the best pictures to highlight the time we were able to spend together.
Vernasage Market- basically a place to buy souvenirs

I had to take them to the fresh produce market. It is National Geographic come to life!

Mother Armenia overlooks Yerevan
At the park around Mother Armenia there was this guy who had a monkey on a leash. So we paid him like 500 dram to take a picture withit. Moments after this photo was taken, the monkey jumped onto the top of Ava's head, grabbed a handful of hair and let out an ear piercing squeal. She was not excited after that.

Van was not adversely affected at all by the monkey's behavior towards his sister. If anything it served to make the monkey more appealing to him, as you can tell by this picture where he is still laughing.

The boys

I just had to include this picture of Ava. She looks certifiably crazy.

Kor Virap Monastery - look closely & you can see Mt Ararat behind us.  

Norvanq Monestery

We even managed to get in a little bit of climbing in Hell's Canyon!!

Garni Temple

One of the nights they were here we got a babysitter for Van & Ava and had a adult night out. We went to dinner, and then wandered through the Pedestrian walkway and ended the night with the fluffiest cotton candy I have ever seen.

Ava dubbed this the "Knights Room" and didn't want to leave. We sat in that room and talked about princesses and knights for probably 20 minutes!

Amberd Fortress
I had the best time with Heidi and Paul! I just want to take a second to thank them for coming out and for always being there for me. I love you guys!!

Rubbing Elbows

In a million years I would have never imagined that I would have an evening like last night. My babysitter showed up on time, I did my own hair, which turned out perfectly (a miracle in and of itself),  I mended my own dress (to make it look like I had actually purchased the dress and not received it second hand), and I left my relatively clean house with my handsome Marine all decked out in his Dress Blues! We were headed to our first official DAO function, hosted in the Ambassador's home.

I was slightly nervous to go inside because I feel like the Ambassador giggles on the inside every time she sees me, although she always displays a professional and graceful front. Let me back up a few months. When we first arrived in Yerevan, there was a flurry of activity: meetings with the Regional Security Officer, Meetings with the Community Liaison Office, the Medical Office, the Mail Office; you get the idea. It was a barrage of people, places, and acronyms. Add to that a severe case of sleep deprivation because of 2 kids who, because of the 11 hour time difference thought the middle of the night was play time, and names and faces all started to blur together. Because we were bound and determined to make the most of every opportunity that came our way, we decided to go on an Embassy sponsored trip to Tbilisi, Georgia the weekend after our arrival. (For the story of the trip see blog posted in June titled "Candy from Strangers.")   Again, everyone on the bus introduced themselves and gave me the corresponding acronym that they were associated with at the Embassy. After the first day I thought that I had most of my fellow travelers' names down. Everything was going great! Te next morning as we were waiting for our walking tour to start, a woman came up to me and introduced herself.

Woman: "Hi, I wanted to introduce myself. I'm Marie Yovonovich!"

Me: "Hi, it's really nice to meet you." Her name sounded vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place where I had heard it. I thought about asking her what she did at the Embassy, but quickly realized that her acronym would mean nothing to me. So I moved the conversation to something we both had in common - We were both on the trip. So I continued with something like, "It is beautiful here. Have you been here before?"

Woman: "Yes, a few times" she said with an amused, quizzical look on her face.

I continued to make small talk for a few moments and then the conversation ended. Because I was making a concerted effort to remember names I asked her, "I'm sorry, what did you say your name was?" The same amused look returned to her face and she repeated, "Marie. Marie Yovonovitch." To which I replied, "Great Marie, thank you for introducing yourself." The day continued flawlessly until someone asked if the Ambassador would be joining us for dinner that evening.  In my infinite wisdom I asked, "Oh the Ambassador is here?" All of a sudden the name went through my head like a bulldozer. Marie. Marie Yovonovitch, the Ambassador. Awesome first impression. (Side note: I found out later the story circulated the Embassy. Of course my name was never mentioned, it was told that "someone new" had made the social faux pas. Because, you know, it would be REALLY hard for anyone to know who it was, being that we were the only new family that went on the trip... But that's another story all in itself)

So back to me, dressed in my cocktail dress, being escorted up the stairs to the Ambassadors house.  The door opened, and it was like we stepped into another world. The Ambassador was there at the beginning of the receiving line, welcoming us into her home. I shook her hand, and managed something like, "Good evening Madam Ambassador, thank you for having us in your home." The whole thing lasted about 5 seconds. Then we were shown into the receiving room. The string quartet sat in the corner next to the drink table. Maids passed out hors devours on silver plates, and some of the who's who rubbed elbows and exchanged pleasantries. I loved every minute of it.


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