Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year End Review

Today brings us to the close of 2008. I thought I would do a little reminiscing of the year. As I looked back over all of the photos I realized that we had alot of fun along the way. The one sad spot has been Lee's absence throughout quite a bit of the year. His ship deployed this past Fall and the workups leading up to that caused him to be gone for bits and pieces of almost every month. So here is a glimpse of our 2008 in pictures.

Wrigley was born on Dec 31st 2007-Happy Birthday Wrigs!
Gracie turned 9-Happy Birthday Gracie!

The whole family took a trip to Disney World

Holly turned 13 and we had a 50's style birthday party complete with a wild scavenger hunt.

Mimi and Papa drove up for a visit bringing a new bedroom suit for Caitlin.

Caitlin turns 16 with a silly Olympic birthday blowout with friends.

All about friends!
Sleepovers, sleepovers and more sleepovers

More friends, Ali comes to visit and discovers her aversion to roller coasters.

Aunt Pattie and Uncle Isaac drop in for a visit and the Browns move from N Suffolk to S Suffolk- into the country.
Abbie turned 12

Daddy/Lee leaves for a long deployment

I met Lee in Italy for one glorious week.

I became 1 year older and the girls and I braved the crowds to try to get a glimpse of Sarah Palin

Thanksgiving month was spent traveling and eating yummy food at G&G's house in Georgia.

Our second Christmas spent without daddy. We've been blessed to be able to spend it with family and friends here in Florida.
Wishing you ALL a very blessed 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's Official

When there is a severe lack of biological cousins to play with in your family, sometimes a kid must find her own cousins. In our case the girls have hit the jackpot in the cousin department. 7 kiddos all related to each other ranging in age from 15 to 4. We've known our adopted cousins since they were all very little. This Christmas we were so excited to be able to spend a week of playing and laughing together. Yesterday we were sent an "official" cousin adoption certificate.
We love our adopted cousins!

Cousins in birth order Caitlin, Hannah, Jeffery, Holly, Hunter, Haleigh, Abbie, Jordan, Hudson, Gracie and Jenna

Monday, December 29, 2008

Military Monday

The New CO of Lee's ship has begun publishing a weekly newsletter. If he keeps it up every week then I will be able to publish them here on Mondays. I've wrestled for hours with how to convert the PDF format into something that can simply be copied and read exactly as it was published right here on the blog. I think I may have done it. Lets keeps our fingers crossed. If the newsletter is too small, you can click on the link above it and it will bring it up on a different site a little bigger. Happy Navy Reading!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Suppers

Hot Pizza Dip

2 blocks of cream cheese
14 oz jar of pizza sauce
chopped up pepperoni
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
chopped black olives
3 Cups cheese (at least half needs to be mozzarella)
2 cloves of garlic pressed

Cream the cream cheese, garlic and Italian Seasoning together and spread the mixture into the bottom of an oven safe pan.

Pour the pizza sauce over the cream cheese mixture. On top of that sprinkle on the black olives and pepperonis.

Sprinkle the cheese on top until the top is completely covered.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes and serve with warm bread or Tostito chips.
Today's recipe is for a party pleaser. I figured with New Year's eve approaching that everyone needed a yummy dish to take to a bash. I doubled the recipe because no one wants to take a piddly little dish to your best buds.
Have a blessed New Year Ya'll!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Papa's Harley Shirt

My dad is a Harley guy. He rides a Harley and he wears Harley stuff. His wardrobe consists mainly of blue jeans and a Harley T shirt. He likes it that way and he LOVES his Harley T-shirts. Over the years we have collected as many as we can from places we have visited all over the world. We even brought one home for him from Bali, Indonesia. He has Guam, Hawaii, Mexico, Alaska and many many other places. His friends all know he collects them so they pick them up too on their travels. This past summer dad was in an accident with his Harley. He and some buddies were out riding and someone carrying huge inner tubes in the back of a pick-up truck had not tied them down properly. One tube flew out and caused a bit of a pile up. Dad and his buddies were injured but they are ok now thankfully. When I got the call that there had been an accident, dad had already been taken to the hospital and was awake and ready to tell me himself that he was fine, just a little banged up. The first words out of his mouth were "they had to cut off my Harley T Shirt". I knew that all was well when his biggest concern was his shirt and jeans. I will admit to panicking just a little in hopes that they had not cut up the Indonesia shirt. That one would be hard to replace.
For Christmas his riding buddy Danny replaced dad's Seminole Harley shirt with Chief Osceola on the back. All is now right in Dad's Harley world.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Funny

Santa's evil twin

If only the bakery had spellcheck

Today I have to push one of the sites that I go to for a laugh. Check this out scroll through some of the older entries. You'll find your self laughing uncontrollably at some of these professional cakes gone horribly wrong. Here are a few samples of some Holiday Cake Wrecks.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Our Photos from Christmas in Florida

Christmas in Florida 2008

Christmas Goodies

Abbie got a guinea pig and named her Ethel

Caitlin got a cotton candy machine

Gracie got a guinea pig and named her Lucy

Holly got a Banjo

It's been a good Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Brown Family to yours!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Webster Florida

Anyone who has ever lived in the central Florida area will know exactly what I'm talking about when I say that we went to Webster yesterday. It was Monday and that naturally means Webster day. What's the draw you ask? It's only the biggest most rednecky flea market/farmers market in the south. If you want excellent produce then Webster is your place. How about a deal on a knock off Coach purse or a trashy tee shirt? Once again Webster is your gettin place. Need a goat, a chicken or a cow? Come to Webster, Florida next Monday. You won't be disappointed.

The girls check out the deals on the knock off Le Sport Sacs. Our crew, along with our friends from Maine loaded up both Suburbans for a day in redneck shopping paradise.

Oh did I mention that you can eat your fill of greasy burgers, huge hotdogs, funnel cakes, Kettle Corn and Oh there's even a Beer Garden. What more can you ask for?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Military Monday

Lee wrote the following about the San Antonio's recent change of command:

The change of command was done at sea on 17 December. It was a bitter sweet day for the ship as we said goodbye to CDR Kastner, our Capt and welcomed aboard the new CO, CDR Cash. CDR Kastner brought SAN ANTONIO through some very hard times and took her out on her maiden deployment. That was quite a victory. Now CDR Cash will take the helm and complete this historic journey for the Navy’s newest class of amphibious war ships. CS1 Dorsey made the cake.

Take a look at this amazing cake. It looks just like the USS San Antonio

Lee praying at the change of command ceremony

Incoming CDR Cash on the left
Outgoing CDR Kastner on the right

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Suppers

My friend from Maine is down and we are getting a treat today! Yummy Seafood Chowder! Right now her house is under 15 inches of snow so a nice warm bowl of chowder would really hit the spot IF they were there and not down here in sunny Florida. It's a balmy 80 degrees during the day. Don't hate! So if you happen to be snowed in, cozy up with a bowl of Seafood Chowder and think warm thoughts.

Tonya's Seafood Chowder
2 cans of any clam chowder
1 small can of baby clams drained
1 bag of small shrimp or 1 can of salad shrimp drained
2 cups of milk or half and half
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
2 crushed garlic cloves
a stalk of chopped celery chopped
chopped red bell pepper to taste
2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 can of whole kernal corn (optional)

Dump all of this in a pot and bring it to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer for awhile.
Serve it up with a crusty bread and for a full meal add a crispy green salad. Enjoy!!

Tonya says that this a user friendly recipe. You could easily substitute carrots for celery or go with no veggies at all. You could also use whatever fish you like or is available at your market. Just go with whatever feels right.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Introducing Sylvia

Here it is folks! My first blog from Sylvia Mac. She is all fixed up and ready to go.
Right now we are down at Mimi and Papas house in Florida. WE are trying to function with 3 different cameras and now 2 different computers. It is taking some logistical planning for me to get all the pictures for blogging loaded onto just one machine. Some cameras have a memory card, some a USB cord and each one uses a different battery or charger. UGH!!! Also each computer is using a different photo loading program. It makes me tired thinking about it. Anyway I have tons of goodies to blog about but cannot seem to get all the photos consolidated onto Sylvia. I am working on it though.
Christmas is sneaking up on me and I am SO not ready. How about you guys?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Funny

Gracie drew this for her daddy. Me thinks she may have a future in the funny papers.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Newsy News

This blogging every day was much easier decided than done. Sometimes life simply prohibits me from sitting down longer than 10 minutes in front of the computer. I know, it's criminal how life does that to a person. Today has been a day of running around in circles. I can't seem to catch myself coming or going. I finally forced myself to sit down here and type something out before the day is over. I am determined to succeed at this 31 posts in 31 days commitment.
OK with 1 more week left until Christmas, I have almost gotten all of the shopping done. Mimi and Papa are officially addicted to Gilmore Girls, and it is a sweltering 82 degrees here in sunny Florida. I feel like I'm back on Guam!
We decided the new Mac will be named Sylvia. I know you all were waiting anxiously to here that tidbit of news. Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


The official business meeting between dad and me. We discussed weighty issues such as where the lights would be placed, blinking or not blinking, number of outlets verses extension cords and the placement of the light up reindeer herd. Important stuff.

No Christmas light display would be complete without the use of a little Georgia Chrome (duct tape)

Not my best side AND I am not a fan of heights. BUT I did my part to light up the neighborhood.
Tune in tomorrow for pictures of the end result.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Military Monday (On Tuesday)

Greetings SAN ANTONIO Families and Friends, Happy Holidays!

Your Sailors and Marines are all doing very well and continue to accomplish many great things on our maiden deployment. We completed needed voyage repairs in Bahrain in late November. Prior to our departure, the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Donald C. Winter, visited the ship. Secretary Winter toured the ship and then took time to frock our newly promoted Petty Officer’s, answer some questions, and even reenlist one of our Sailors. It was a great visit and a good morale boost for the crew.

Upon leaving Bahrain, the ship served as an Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) in support of Operation TRIDENT KNIGHT. Our Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) Teams conducted numerous approach and visit operations on local fishing dhows, gathering information on local maritime activity and strengthening our partnerships with the regional Navies and Coast Guards. We embarked a small staff element, a first for SAN ANTONIO in an operational environment, and hosted a VIP visit and dinner for two Qatari Naval Officers. Overall, it was a great operation for us and showcased the Command and Control capabilities of our great ship.

We took a brief operational pause for Thanksgiving. The Supply Department and Culinary Specialists put on an incredible, traditional feast of turkey, ham, and all the trimmings, including pumpkin pie for dessert. It was a nice afternoon for the whole crew.

In December, we embarked a Marine Aviation Element of 4 AH-1W Cobra helicopters and 2 UH-1N Huey helicopters for a week of flight OPS and exercises. It was a great opportunity for Air Department to showcase the aviation capabilities of SAN ANTONIO.
Two COBRAs work SAN ANTONIO’s deck edge spots

SAN ANTONIO got the call yesterday to assist another US Navy ship that was having some propulsion issues. We arrived on scene and determined that the ship would have to be towed to Bahrain. Towing another ship is one of the most challenging evolutions we do as Surface Warriors. AS always the crew, especially Deck Department, did an outstanding job and we were able to get the ship back to port safely and without incident.
Deck Department readies the towing hawser for action!
The ship will conduct a port visit in Bahrain for a Holiday Stand-down and much deserved rest. We will begin the New Year with several Marine Corps training and operational exercise events. This will be my last Familygram as the Commanding Officer in SAN ANTONIO. I will be relieved by CDR Eric Cash on 17 December after 17 months that I will never forget. I am headed to the Afloat Training Group in Norfolk, Virginia to be the Commanding Officer of Engineering Assessment for the Atlantic Fleet. It has been my honor and privilege to serve in this ship and with this crew. I wish you all the Happiest of Holidays and all the best in the New Year! Thank you for your support and for making this tour extremely rewarding.
With Respect and Admiration,
CDR Kurt KastnerCommanding OfficerUSS SAN ANTONIO (LPD 17)
"Never Retreat, Never Surrender"