Wednesday, March 31, 2010

getting in shape

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Michael and Reese have been training for the upcoming softball season. You should see the guns Reese is working on (oh, and Michael too)!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easter eggs, jumbo elephants and Big Jet

We had another fun-filled Saturday this weekend. We started off with an Easter egg hunt at the church with the Primary. At first, Reese just wanted to eat each piece of candy as she got it, but with my gentle encouragement, she eventually got the hang of it. It's amazing how a race against the clock (and other kids) for some candy can bring your competitive edge right out!

Unfortunately, we've got some work to do to get quicker hands before next year, as you'll see in the video.
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I was really ticked that this kid practically took the Easter egg out of Reese's hand (taking candy from a baby, hello?!), but I was pretty proud that it didn't seem to phase Reese.

After the Easter egg hunt, we headed to Maxwell Air Force Base for an air show. My Uncle Pat was a pilot for the Air Force (and even did some time in Montgomery, if I'm not mistaken), and took me to an air show when we lived in San Diego. I remembered it being really fun, but I guess the memory of exactly how cool it was had waned. When we first walked into the base, and saw a fighter jet doing some serious moves (at one point it looked like it was about 5 feet off the ground--surely it was about to land, we thought--and then went straight back up, literally straight up) I was totally overwhelmed....like it was the coolest thing I had ever seen.
We walked around a bit before the next act...and saw some pretty cool planes...
...then we saw the C-130 Hercules dropping supplies...
...some more walking around...next time I am getting one of these for Reese!
Then it was time for the F-18 Super Hornet. It was so awesome! I could watch that jet fly all day long. The F-18 flew back and forth as fast as it could go, then it would go straight up until you could almost not see it anymore. It would roll, and turn. Then it did this maneuver...
...it flew across the air, with its nose up in the air at an angle, and looked like it was flying very slowly. It was so crazy! I realize these videos don't even come close to doing it justice, but it was the best I could do with my camera.
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I'm not sure if you can tell, maybe if you look really closely, but the F-18 is inverted in this fly-by. Just like Top Gun!!
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...it was a little loud, with all those fly-by's. There is a 'character' on Little Einsteins called Big Jet. Once Reese made the connection that this was a real-life Big Jet, she loved it!
This is an F-22. There was a pilot standing by this jet answering questions, and I was very interested to hear what he had to say. But, I couldn't think of any intelligent questions to ask--I was in total awe--so I just listened to him answering other people's questions and it was as though he was speaking another language...'Alpha' this and 'vector' that. I had no idea what he was talking about...but I just stood there smiling. Ultimately, the gist I got was that he could tell the plane what maneuver he wanted to do, and the plane would do all the necessary calculations and adjustments to make it happen. Sounds easy!

As if we could cram any more fun into this day, we left the air show and went straight to the Ringling Bros. circus! I just knew Reese would love it...and she did, mostly! The highlights for Reese, I would say, were the jumbo elephants and the lions, and all the sparkly costumes on the acrobats. (Oh, and the Dippin' Dots she got in the white tiger mug!) The humor from the clowns was a little over her head. We were all pretty exhausted by the time we got home, but it sure was another fun Saturday! (I'm not sure if we will be able to keep this pace up!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fairhope, AL

Ever since we found out we would be moving to Alabama, Mike has been talking about all the roadtrips we would take to see the sights of the South. For our first Saturday daytrip, we decided on Fairhope, AL--a small town across the Bay from Mobile. The weather was beautiful and we made the most of our first day of total freedom (no work, no school, no packing, no unpacking...just as much fun as we could handle)!

When we first arrived in Montgomery, I picked up a brochure at the Visitor's Center called "100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die" that lists the best dishes of various restaurants all over Alabama. When I saw that, I knew what my mission would be for the next 18 months: to try as many of those dishes as I possibly can!

We left just after breakfast and made it to Fairhope just in time for lunch. We decided on a place called Big Daddy's Grill to have the Big Daddy Burger. We decided to split the burger and sample a couple of the other appetizers on the menu: seafood gumbo and fried pickles (a house specialty!).
Here Reese is enjoying the fried pickles. It sounds weird, but all three of us were surprised at how delicious they were!

I have made it my new missions to try every fried pickle on any menu that I see, but the bar was set pretty high at Big Daddy's. Totally worth the drive!
Another thing that surprised us was how much Reese loved the seafood gumbo! This girl must have a Southern palate. She couldn't get enough!
But because the gumbo had a bit of a kick, Reese had to have a drink of her water after every single bite....
...as soon as she had some water, she went right back for another bite of the gumbo! It was a crack up.
Big Daddy's Grill had a giant sandbox in the back with lots of shovels, buckets and other sand toys for the kiddies to play with. Reese seemed to like walking in the sand, but as she was playing, if any sand got on top of her feet, she had to stop what she was doing to get the sand off.

In this video I love when Reese almost loses her balance and doesn't want to put her hand in the sand to steady herself, and doesn't really want to move her feet in the sand either...that was a close one!
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After lunch, we headed downtown and stumbled upon a huge Arts and Crafts festival. We had no idea, but when we saw the masses of people walking around all the tents, we got even more excited about being there!
the Baldwin County Belles
Reese loved these dresses! She could've stood right next to them all day long. I think I will look for a smaller version for Reese's Easter dress!!
When we had had enough of the festival, we headed down to the Pier on the Bay, where there were a zillion seagulls for us to feed. There was a man sitting on one of the benches feeding the birds with a big bag of Ruffles, and it wasn't long before Reese took over for him. She thought it was the greatest!

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We rounded off the day with some swinging...what else could a 2-year-old ask for?

After leaving the pier, we stopped at Sandra's Place for a slice of Triple Chocolate Cake (another must on the list), which was the perfect ending to the perfect day in Fairhope. Can't wait for our next Saturday roadtrip!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

just for funsies

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Reese loves to play with and sing into her new microphone! Little Sterling wanted in on the action and started busting out his own tricks. They are such hams, aren't they?

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

sweet home alabama

We made it to Alabama! Reese was a champ (I had the Cinderella soundtrack--she LOVES the 'little dressmakers' song, I will try to get some video of her singing it--a portable DVD player with Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and all the fruit snacks she could want...it was the best road trip ever!), the 26-foot truck made it in one piece, and it was 70 degrees when we got to Montgomery. Within 24 hours of arriving, and lots of apartment tours, we decided on a new apartment. We could not have done it without Michael's parents helping us to get down to Alabama, and without my mom helping us to get settled in. Here we are, waving from our new balcony.


Michael started his new job on Monday and so far he loves it! He works at the Courthouse, which is a really cool building downtown...with apparently awesome interiors--he says it is like working at the Ritz Carlton. My favorite part is that he is finished at 4:30pm! It is a far cry from the hours he has been keeping for the last few years, and we are eating up every minute with him!

It has been really fun to be back in the South and remember all of the pleasantries and Southern hospitality that is alive and well down here. For example, my mom and I were picking up a few things at TJ Maxx and when we were checking out, we told the clerk that I was new to town and asked what her favorite restaurants are in the area. She told us her favorites, but then this guy who was checking out next to us overheard our conversation and said, as he walked behind us to leave, "The Chop House in Cloverdale is my favorite." He was so nice and friendly and I said to my mom, "I love this place!" The next day at Costco, I could not believe how friendly the sample people were (as well as the other people waiting to get a sample!). The Costco that I am used to is probably the most unfriendly place I know of...no one is smiling, no one is nice, and every one is so cut-throat about samples!

More to come on our adventures in Alabama.