Saturday, July 30, 2005


We ended up having a four hour layover in Chicago on our way back to Japan, so John and Stef were nice enough to open their home to us and serve us breakfast while we waited for our flight. They just bought their home a few months ago (just in time for Yelena's arrival) and are in the process of renovating it. I wish I had taken more pictures of the house itself but these ones of cutie-pie Yelena will have to do ;) At the family reunion, Yelena wanted nothing to do with me. Dad kept joking it was because she sensed the competition in my belly, but I think it was just that a very pregnant stomach is pretty uncomfortable. At any rate, she finally seemed to warm up to me in Chicago, so I got some pretty cute pictures for ya'll to enjoy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Family Reunion

As you can see from the photos, not only did we manage to survive my family reunion, I think we actually enjoyed it. Soon after Tim discovered my family did not, in fact, hate him or wish him any immediate harm, he discovered a true ally in my sister's husband, John. I think the two of them spent more time hanging out and bitching about how slobby we Podolny girls are than anything else. I think it was a great comfort to Tim to know that I am not the only one who turned out to be such a pig (I think this is because my parents are the most anally clean people you will ever meet, so we all rebelled by becoming slobs :) Caitlyn also had a blast. Most of my cousins are around her age, on account of my mom's sisters being 15 years younger than her, so she had lots of playmates. Caitlyn also learned to fish (and caught her 1st one!), which was a big thrill for her. The only big drawback was the accomodations. Now I've been camping plenty of times before, and I don't mind a few bugs, but this was really ridiculous. First of all, we were staying in a cabin, so I expected less bugs than you would find out in the open. Not so! Our first night there we walked in to find my sister's room full of tiny black flies just everywhere. They were on the walls, the light, the bed, and crawling all over her 4-month old baby. Not only was it disgusting, but you have to be worried with all those reports about the different diseases mosquitos carry. After a not-so-helpful brush off from the campsite manager, Stef and John chose to take Yelena to the only hotel in town (we were in nowhere Minnesota) to spend the night. We, meanwhile, tried to brave the night by turning off all the lights and pretending we couldn't feel the bugs crawling on us in the dark. Between that and Caitlyn's waking up three times because of the heat and mosquitos, we didn't get much rest that night. So, after one whole night in a Minnesota cabin, we city-folk decided we couldn't take it anymore and moved over to the hotel with my sister and John. My brave, brave parents stayed (as did my sister Lexi and the rest of the extended family) and claimed the bugs got much better after we left (maybe they were attracted to Tim's stinky feet?). We were just greatful for the air conditioning and relief from mosquitos, which came out in force as the sun fell. In the meantime, we enjoyed the company of my relatives (many of whom I hadn't seen in 10+ years and some of my cousins I hadn't even met before) and the fabulous food prepared by my wonderful father, my cousin Renee Michelle, and their young protege, my cousin Jenny (3 generations of cooks). Sadly, it was over far too quickly and before we knew it, we were headed back on the long, long trip home.

Tim's Pride and Joy

I had to post this picture before we sell the car so that Tim will have a record of it forever. In the States this car would be worth a lot of money, but since we can't afford to ship it over (costs around $10,000 with all the fees involved)... He wants to race it one more time before we put it up for sale. I think he secretly hates me for making him get rid of it just because you can't fit a baby carseat in the back. What a bitch I am! ;)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Family Reunion Pics

Minnesota - Days 1 & 2

So after two sun-soaked weeks in San Antonio, we packed our things and headed off to good ole Minnesota. Now I haven't been there since I was very young, but my most prominent memories of the farm are of mosquitos and debilitating heat. (Tim laughed at me when I told him that because San Antonio temperatures often exceeded 100 degrees and he didn't see how Minnesota could be that hot when it only gets to the mid 80's there.) Unfortunately, my memory hadn't failed me. Minnesota is as muggy and bug-filled as I remembered. I will always have fond memories of the farm, but I was absolutely miserable this time around. Maybe it was the fact that I am 25lb heavier than normal, but I was so gross and sweaty the whole time, not to mention the killer mosquitos that you couldn't get rid of no matter how much bug spray you applied. Poor Caitlyn got it the worst. She was covered from head to toe in mosquito bites and itched incessently for our entire week there.

Actually, our first couple of days weren't too bacd. We met up with Tim's mom at the airport in Minneapolis and spent a couple of days getting to know her. I was so glad we were able to do that because originally we had planned to add a side trip into Buffalo (where she lives) into our travel plans, but then we thought the additional travel would be too much of a burden both financially and because of the pregnancy. Caitlyn absolutely fell in love with her new Grandma, who spoiled her rotten! I had to assure Tim that my parents aren't nearly so accomodating (having spent 6 weeks caring for Caitlyn full-time while I was TDY last year, my parents are well aquainted with the Caitlyn-ways and aren't as indulgent since they know the consequences! :) Our hotel had an indoor pool we took advantage of, and we also spent a day at the Mall of America, which actually made me happy that I was pregnant. If I hadn't been one can only imagine the kind of money I could have blown there. After only two short days, we had to say goodbye to Tim's mom and headed off for my family reunion.

Vanessa aka tiTo the zOO

4th of July

Saturday, July 23, 2005

San Antonio

As you can see from the pics below, we had quite a time in San Antonio. I won't pretend it was easy having all three kids together, but they really got along great. Caitlyn was so good with Vanessa. It really put my mind at ease about how she'll react when the baby comes. She took so much joy in being a big sister. She and Tommy also got along really well. I think it was nice for them to have another kid there that was close to their age. Of course, they fought just like brother and sister, too, but mostly they just played together. I think it was harder on me and Tim than it was on the kids to adjust to having a combined family.

San Antonio itself is absolutely gorgeous. I never really appreciated it the few times I was there before (mostly since I was at Lackland). Tim and I both really liked the weather, the community, and the housing out there is phenomenal! Tim's kids are close by and my parents live in Albuquerque so we could go visit on holidays and long weekends. The only problem, of course, is the job market. Still, it's beginning to rival Maryland as the place we'd like to eventually settle down.

We took the kids to the zoo, to the beach, to Seaworld (which, by the way, is absolutely free for military members), to the circus, to an NBA game, just all the F over the place. And, now we're totally broke ;) Of course, some of that may also have to do with the fact that we spent well over $1,000 at Wal-Mart alone :) Most of that was on the kids, but we did purchase some tv on dvd for ourselves. Since AFN blows we spend most of our tv time watching old episodes of the Dave Chappelle Show and Family Guy (not to mention the Sopranos and Oz, we do love our HBO!). One of the nicest things about being back in the States was having regular cable again. How sad is that! :)

Circus Time

North Padre Island


In Front of the Alamo

Kids at the Zoo

First Post-Vacation Post - NBA Playoffs

Okay, so there's so much to tell from our fabulous vacation that I'm going to have to split this up into various topics. Since I know most of you use readin this as a break from work, I'm sure no one will object to the lengthiness ;) To the left is my favorite photo of Caitlyn from our very first night in San Antonio where we went guessed it..Game 7! I know it's a little old by now, but having my very first NBA game be Game 7 in the Spurs-Pistons playoffs, and then having San Antonio win, was pretty wild. Caitlyn got really into it, too (though she didn't understand the first thing about the game, she was an excellent cheerleader)! Getting back to the hotel was a nightmare, though. First of all, we landed in San Antonio on the day of the game, which meant that we had been traveling for nearly 24-hours by the time we even arrived. We got to the hotel and discovered that there would indeed be a game 7 (Detroit having won the night before while we were still in the air). It's been over 20 yars since the NBA playoffs went to a game 7, and we figured when the hell will we ever have a chance like this again, so off Tim went to find a scalper. Luckily, the girl who checked us into the hotel had a brother who was looking to unload some tickets, so it wasn't aa difficult a task as one might think. After an all too short nap, we were off to the game. Caitlyn got her face painted and collected as much free Spurs gear from the various businesses advertising their services as possible before we discovered our seats at the very tip-top of the stadium. As you all know, I am not thrilled about heights (not to mention the lack of balance that comes with advanced pregnancy), so I was extremely unhappy about the long, steep stairs, but once the game started, we didn't even notice the distance. After the game, which was actually pretty close until the last quarter, we fought our way out as quickly as possible and rushed to the car to try to beat the traffic. Hah! Not likely! The entire city of San Antonio had rushed out to celebrate post game. People were running down the streets screaming, honking, and waving "Go Spurs Go" signs like maniacs. The 2 1/2 hours it took us to reach out hotel (a 5-10 minute drive from the Stadium but also directly downtown) was marked by a girl mooning the very slow car procession, entire families sitting out on the lawn screaming out their support for the Spurs, peolpe running down the street between cars to slap the hands of the drivers, a cowboy with a bullhorn, and either a hooker or just a really drunk college girl screaming for someone to suck her (I'll let you fill in the blank). All in all a pretty eventful night, which I probably would have enjoyed more if we hadn't just flown in from the other side of the world :)