Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas part 1

Merry Christmas! This year we spent a very fun and low-key time with our fabulous neighbors! It was great! We had (king) crab and ravioli at our side on Christmas Eve and they treated us to Christmas dinner at the galley, which meant no cooking or dishes. That's always a great time in my book. Santa was very generous to Nate and Joanna this year. The big hits were Nate's Spiderman scooter and Joanna's roller blades. She didn't take them off all day! (Yes, I did let her skate in the house. It was Christmas, okay? They are banned to the basement forthwith, however.) Here are some pictures that Jen took of our festivities. I have some too, which I'll upload a little later. xoxo

Nate enjoying chocolate cake at the galley
Joanna giving her rollerblades a go
Merry, who are these angelic looking children?
Ah, I recognize them.
Jake and Dale
Me slaving away in the kitchen with my straightened hair

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Speaking of family traditions...

Christmas has always been a special time of family traditions for me. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of Christmas and all the special times we spent with family. One of the most sacred and time-honored Camagna family Christmas traditions is making home made ravioli - from scratch. I'm talking pasta, filling, everything. Each ravioli is a hand-crafted labor of love. I remember vividly my great-grandmother's basement being filled with her own little pasta factory and her making and serving my great-grandpa his daily 5-course meals in the dining room of their cute little 2-bedroom cottage in San Jose, CA. I would give just about anything to be there again, with them (and the rest of my family members - living and passed -) eating that amazing food and celebrating together. As a child I didn't fully appreciate how special and wonderful that was. As an adult I cherish those memories and wish I could re-live it all. That, however is impossible, so I do my best to make new memories and instill traditions with my own family.

Anyway, my grandma Madeline (and maybe Grandma Mina too, I don't know) taught my mom how to make ravioli for Christmas. My mom took it over from there. They are hard work. My mom used to say that she was disappointed because she would spend hours making enough ravioli for everyone only to see them disappear in a matter of minutes. That, to me, was a sign of their sheer deliciousness! :)
The past few years the task was left to my dad and I. We would make them while my mom was at work and Joanna was just starting to be old enough to "help". We would talk and remember the good times and the funny memories of past Christmases.
Last year I moved to Kodiak. I did not make ravioli. I think I was revolting against the lack of family up here. Jake was underway. It just didn't feel right. Well, once Christmas rolled around, and there were no ravioli to eat on Christmas Eve, THAT didn't feel right! I was bummed.

I actually didn't give ravioli another thought until a couple of months ago. I invited my friend Audrey over to watch Days of Our Lives with me. Well, we ended up not even watching our show, but stayed up late just chatting away (what, me chat away?). Somehow the subject of Christmas or food or something came up and I told her about our ravioli tradition. She asked me if I would teach her how to make them! I felt a shot of inspiration! She could help me! We could have ravioli again this Christmas!

Well, today was the day! Joanna and I went over to Audrey's house, along with our friend Terri and her daughter Myriam (who is Joanna's good friend from school) and we made the ravioli! Let me tell you this: THESE GIRLS ARE PRO'S!! It took them only one round and they caught on so fast and were making them like they'd been doing it for years!! It was awesome!! We had fun listening to Christmas music (and chatting, of course) while the girls "helped" and played. We even had a visit from Santa himself on the Coast Guard fire truck! We each got 75 ravioli out of the deal, which isn't bad for a hard day's work. Best of all, I felt like I was around family and I got to carry on my special family tradition. It truly felt like my grandmas were there with us. I really think they were. xoxo

Myriam and Joanna
Santa in Lake Louise??

Audrey and Terri <3

The process

hand crafted with love!

rolling out the dough

It's a multi-person job, man!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving/All Joanna wants for Christmas!

Joanna has now officially lost both of her top front teeth! It's so cute, and so timely...clearly it's all she wants Santa to bring. :) We had a good Thanksgiving. It was very low-key and relaxing, but somehow I feel like I'm still doing dishes from it all... We're thankful that Daddy's home!


The Thanksgiving masterpiece!

I'm thankful my husband is so macho. He made quick work of that turkey with his electric knife!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Reason

So, I am fully aware that I have been MIA the past couple of months, and before you give me too much of a hard time, I am asking that you allow me to defend myself. I'd like the opportunity to plead my case! Maybe you can understand and cut me some slack.
Exhibit A: Exhibit B:
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter. :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Don't ask...just accept!

Please don't judge me or ask me why it's possible for me to resize and post these pictures of my kids in Halloween costumes (5 days early, no less) and not my pictures from Japan. I am who I am, okay?? I wanted you all to see how cute my kids are in their homemade Halloween costumes! :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Apologies are in order

*Edit: I wrote this a couple of days ago, but my Alaskan internet connection pooped out on me when I tried to post it, so I got mad, gave up and went to bed. So, here it is, a day late and a dollar short. Sorry, and I swear, I am still working on resizing my pictures. xoxo*

I am so sorry that I haven't posted since I've been back from Japan. I suffered greatly from jet lag for several days after I got back, and have hit the ground running with life-stuff around here, too. I just haven't had time or energy to organize and re-size all my pictures to get them up on the blog, but I will, I PROMISE!!

In short, Japan was truly an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. I don't know that I'll ever go back, but it was so worth it. Seeing Jake, of course, was the highlight. It felt so good to see him and just be able to talk with him face to face. :)

We went to Tokyo Disneyland, which was not as good as Disneyland USA. We rode the subway quite a bit, and tried to see the Imperial Palace, but apparently the Emperor didn't get the memo that we were coming. It was closed. Jenny and I did eventually see it, but not until after the ship left.

We got lost and hungry one night and asked a Policeman to point us in the direction of food (the entire conversation was in sign language, mind you). He said "Steak?" (The only english word he knew, apparently) and pointed us down the street. We walked and guess what appeared before our eyes? A TONY ROMA'S!!! It was hillarious! We didn't care at that point because we were so hungry, but it was pretty funny. The bonus was, that they spoke english in there, so we were able to get directions back to the subway station.

We did a lot of people watching, too. There seems to be two different sides to the Japanese people. The conservative/traditional/business side: Silly Americans! You talk too loud and laugh too much! Your suitcase too big and you walk wrong way up stairs in subway! (This is my perception of what they thought of me...and I didn't even laugh that much. Scout's honor.)
The other side is the side we saw at Disneyland and at the shopping mall: *giggle* I'm wearing ugg boots and thigh-high socks! *giggle* I LOVE my jean skirt and tunic shirt that's 12 sizes too baggy for me, and isn't my winter hat in his hot, humid weather so appropriate? *giggle* Well, at least the pom-pom's are cute, no? *giggle* Do you like my boyfriend's hot androgynous designer jeans and emo hair? It looks like he just got out of bed that way, but he actually spent more time on it than I did on mine! *giggle* I really wish he would stop borrowing my purse, though, and I thought he bought those Minnie Mouse ears for me, not for himself! *giggle* What a babe!

I also had a couple of epiphanies about humanity that ran the spectrum from "Wow, we're all human! It's not about being Japanese or American! It's all about just being a human being...peace, man!" to "Please can I just go back to the best country in the world, the USA!! I'm proud to be an American! It's the best, despite our problems right now, I have hope for our future!" I swear, I was not under the influence of any illicit substances during these times, either.
There are endless stories, and I could go on for hours, but I will spare you. If you want to hear more, you'll just have to call me. :P In all seriousness, though, Japan is a beautiful country and the people were hospitable and welcoming. I am so glad I went, and will remember it forever.
I'll post pictures sometime soon.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sayonara, Folks!

Well, I'm off on vacation for about 10 days! I will most likely have access to a lap top and internet access, but don't count on hearing from me until I get back. :) Have a great week, and be sure to tune in later for some fabulous tales of adventure and maybe even a little romance thrown in to boot! ;)


Sunday, September 28, 2008

The patrol that never ends...

Does anyone remember this song?

Well, I made up some new lyrics to it. Here is my debut as a song-writer:

This is the patrol that never ends.
It just goes on and on, my friends!
The Coast Guard sent them on patrol not knowing what it was.
It seems like they'll be underway forever just because...
(Repeat...over and over until you want to bash your head against the wall to end the misery.)

I know, I know...I should keep my day job, right? :) I'm kidding about the bashing of the head, but I'm not kidding about how S-L-O-W this patrol is going. Is it November yet? What? It's not even October yet?? AAAAHHHHHHGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This picture makes me smile.

Last week, I actually got 5 kids between the ages of 3 and 8 to sit down together for an enjoyable meal! Where, you ask, on Mars? No, right here in my dining room in Kodiak, AK (a.k.a. Jupiter, not Mars, silly!)! My neighbors left the boys with me while they ran into town to do some errands, and we all had dinner together. It was nothing fancy: noodles with marinara sauce and a salad out of a bag, but they all helped me set the table (paper plates) and ate, used their polite manners, the big ones helped the little ones, and helped me clean up afterwards! I could totally have 5 kids - yeah, on Mars!! :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Manny Bunny fell into a mud puddle

So, Manny Bunny and Nate are bestest buddies. Manny Bunny goes everywhere Nate goes. Manny Bunny = Nate. Today, Manny Bunny went with us to take Joanna to school (as he usually does), and while Nate was getting out of the car, Manny Bunny fell into a mud puddle. It happened in slow motion....NOOOOOOOO....I dove for Manny Bunny, but I was too slow (typical) and couldn't save him. Nate was devastated, naturally. After we got home, I took Manny Bunny directly to the laundry room for a bath. I washed all 3 blankies and Bear and Camper, too, while I was at it. Nate refused to leave Manny Bunny while he was in the washer. He insisted on sitting in front of it; watched Manny Bunny get his bath, and gave me a play-by-play of what was going on. "Mommy! I saw his tail! Mommy! I see his belly! Mommy! I saw his ear and foot!" It was so cute, I had to take pictures.

Thankfully, Manny Bunny survived his bath and is now fresh and clean and Nate and his best pal are reunited once again. Nate + Manny Bunny = BFF. :)

Reason #539 that my neighbors are so great

I love my neighbors. Have I told y'all lately how super fantastic they are? They got my kid to sit for a haircut!!!! Not only that, but a SHORT haircut!!! A short haircut that is going to last for like 6 months at least! My child. Sat. For a haircut. He has short hair. If I weren't using both of my hands to type right now I'd pinch myself. Wait. Okay, I pinched myself. Ow. Now, what was I saying?? I need to show some physical proof that I am not lying right now.

Magic touch

Ta-da! I haven't had hair this short since I was 1!
I am seriously over the moon about this. Those of you who know Nate, know that we have struggled with haircuts for a while now. I'm not just talking "Aw, mom, I don't wanna get a haircut". I'm talking "DON'T CUT ME MOMMY!" call-911-there's-something-horrible-happening-to-the-child-in-that-apartment haircuts. It's awful. Or it WAS awful. Until my neighbors moved in. :) THANKS, JENN AND DALE!!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My mosaic

My neighbor, Jenn, made one of these for her blog, and was kind enough to include instructions on how to make one of my own! I thought hers was so cool (as is she), so I had to try it! I'll include the instructions with mine, too, so we can just spread the personalized mosaic love throughout the blogosphere!

Here's what mine is all about:

1. First name: Emily. This was a picture of "Emily's Embroidery", which I thought was just so me.
2. Favorite food: Mashed potatoes and gravy. Mmmmm...good any day, any time.
3. Where I went to High School: Eureka, CA. This picture of the Carson Mansion popped up, which really has nothing to do with high school, but it's so Eureka. So there.
4. Favorite color: Brick red.
5. My celebrity crush: Okay, I'm a dork. Seriously, my only crush is on my husband. This picture came up and seemed to fit the bill. (I'm telling you. I am totally aware of how cheesy I am.)
6. Favorite drink: A big, tall, ice cold glass of freshly brewed iced tea. With lemon and artificial sweetener, thank you very much.
7. Dream vacation: Vegas, baby. 5-star all the way.
8. Favorite dessert: A fat slice of coconut cream pie. I'm drooling right at this very moment...
9. What I want to be when I grow up: Well, quite frankly, I still want to finish court reporting school someday.
10. What I love most in life: My family. Can I get an "Awwwwww" up in here???
11. One word to describe me: Eccentric. This picture sums up how I feel sometimes. I'm the lone green colored pencil in a sea of pink ones...what that means, I haven't a clue.
12. My favorite animal or my "flickr" name: Well, I don't have a favorite animal or a "flickr" account, but if I did have a "flickr" account name, it would be "ecamagna" as are all of my screen/account names. I searched for just "camagna", because clearly "ecamagna" would most likely not net me any results, and a bunch of pictures from Italy came up, specifically ones from the region my family comes from, which is Piemonte. So I picked one. Yay.

So, if you want to make one of these for yourself (it was loads of fun and insightful), simply go to and choose 3 columns by 4 rows. In another window, open up and start searching for the word that answers all of the above questions for yourself. Try to pick a picture from the first page, then click on it. Cut and paste the web address for that picture into the mosaic page, and voila! Your own personalized mosaic to share with the world. Or not. But you should. Because we like you. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The tooth fell out!!

Joanna lost her first tooth last night! She was eating some cereal for dinner (um, husband is out on a ship for 4 months. My kids eat cereal for dinner...every other day, okay?) and it popped right out! No pliers, loops of dental floss tied to a door knob or shots of beer, thank you very much. Just some plain ol' patience...and the fact that I was grossed out and couldn't look at it. :) Anyway, the very generous Kodiak tooth ferry (ahem - Gig Harbor tooth fairy...) left Joanna a whopping $5, which, coincidentally just happens to be the exact amount of money I had in my wallet last about that, now. I guess the Kodiak tooth fairy doesn't know how to make change. Let's look at the cuteness that ensued, shall we?

This morning, I took my camera into her bedroom to capture her reaction to the fortune under her pillow...

And there you have it! My first child lost her first tooth. Don't count on the Kodiak tooth fairy to be so generous next time, kid. (Note to self: get some change.)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

She made it!!

Well, the official cast list isn't out yet, but the director told me today that Joanna will definitely play the part of an orphan in "Annie"!! I think this will be so fun, and I can't believe I even thought of not letting her try out. Here is a picture that I took and I have a video, too, but the internet connection here is kind of lame and I don't know if I'll be able to post that...but I'll do my darndest. Anyway, congrats to Joanna, and I look forward to delving into the world of local theater and stagemommie-ness! :)


Leaving in about 10 minutes to take Joanna to another "Annie" tryout - she got a callback!! I'll update when we get home. I'm taking my camera this time, too, so y'all can see in the flesh how cute/awesome/great she is (things we already knew about her). :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Yesterday's recap (mother's pride)

Now that I'm refreshed (sorta) and have some time on my hands (sorta), I have some pictures to share of Nate's first day of preschool yesterday. While Joanna chose to get all gussied up in her first-day-of-school-finest, Nate chose his trusty Star Wars t-shirt and Spiderman ball cap. He did wear new jeans, though. :) His Daddy would be so proud. He did really well in class, too. Toni, his teacher told me that they did a little worksheet about mama and baby animals. They were supposed to circle the babies, and Nate's worksheet had every baby animal circled perfectly. When we got home, I told him that I was impressed and proud with how well he did, and he told me "Yeah, all my friends did scribble-scrabbles on theirs."

Joanna has a friend in her class that she also knew at Miss Audrey's preschool. Her dad is deployed right now, too, and her mom works in the mornings, so I told her that Jocelyn could come over in the mornings and I would take her to school with us. She's a really nice little girl, and I'm happy to do her mom a favor, but let me tell you...5:00 a.m. comes really early! I actually am glad to have a reason to get up and motivated so early. This way there's no rushing around at 7:40 when it's time to leave for school.
Here are some pictures of Nate's first day of preschool:

Jocelyn, Joanna and Nate Lookin good, Nate!
At Miss Toni's house!
Playdoh at school?? This is my kind of place!

While the kids were in school, I took the opportunity to go work out at the gym. I had some fellow CG girls with me and we had lots of fun (well, "fun" is a relative term, I guess. I had as much fun as one can have at the gym)! My arms are sore this morning, though. I'm going again tomorrow. I'm going to make it a M-W-F morning thing.

After the kids got home from school, I took Joanna into town to try out for a production of "Annie" that the local theater group is putting on. I was nervous, and I almost didn't even take her (I know, poopy of me) because I have just been feeling so anxious about all the new schedule changes we've had. I didn't (well, I still don't) know if I have it in me to add play rehearsals into the mix several times a week! Anyway, she really wanted to try out, so I figured what the heck. I took her and...WOW! She did AWESOME!!! I am so proud of her!! They got up on stage and learned a little dance routine, and when she came back to sit down before her turn to actually try out, she looked a little pale and had her arms crossed. I told her that she didn't have to do this, and this was suppposed to be a fun thing and that I wouldn't be disappointed or upset if she didn't want to do it. She assured me that she was ready and wanted to do it, so when her name was called to go up, she went. She was the littlest one on stage! They tried out in groups of six, and I forget sometimes how small she really is...she's a peanut next to 3rd and 4th graders! Anyway, she NAILED this audition, let me tell you. She sang every note on tune, she danced her little heart out, and she cracked up the audience when she yelled "I LOVE YOU, MISS HANNIGAN!!" with her cute little sassy face (can you picture it??). I was so proud of her...I couldn't stop smiling for an hour after we left. Even if she doesn't get a part, I am just so proud that she had the guts to get up there and sing and dance in front of total strangers. What a kid. :) Actually, I should say what kidS. With Nate's perfectly circled baby animals and Joanna's attempt at the stage, I am just as proud as a mother hen could possibly be. :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

EXHAUSTED in Alaska!

Wow. These past two days have been some busy ones, and I am flat ready to pass out right here in my computer chair. I have some fun things to chat at you all about, including Joanna trying out for a production of "Annie" that the local community theater group is putting on, and Nate's first day of preschool, but I'm just too dadgum tired. I will write more tomorrow when I have the energy, but for now, it's 7:18 p.m. and I'm going to bed. For reals, yo. :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten!!

I dropped Joanna off at kindergarten a little bit ago. She is such a wonderful little girl, I know she is going to love school and do so well. Nate cried when we had to let her go, but I told him that his school was starting tomorrow. I packed Joanna's lunch and also packed a little snack in Nate's lunchbox too, just to make him feel included. When we came home he told me that he was pretending that Sissy was here with him. Awww...anyway, here are some pictures I snapped of her first day...