Monday, June 29, 2009

My Movie Maker

I am so proud of Dennis. You know how so many of us say, "One day, I'm going to..." and it never really happens?!

Well, for many years now, Dennis has had an idea for a movie. I think he first came up with the idea while in Iraq. During his second deployment, he started writing an actual script for his movie. I remember very vividly sitting in a restaurant reading pieces he sent me, being amazed that he actually wrote this stuff.

Dennis finished his script, which was amazing enough. But that was not the end for his movie. He decided to make the whole thing. He advertised on the internet, found some great actors who were willing to work for free, gathered costumes, scouted locations, researched equipment...did everything. And now, I am proud to say that his movie is a reality. What started as an idea is now a full length film. Crazy.

And he did it all himself from casting to costuming to editing to writing to directing and even acting. If you ever have sat through the credits of a movie, you know how many people it takes to make it a reality. He even wrote the music himself.

The movie is now ready for public viewing. To watch it:
1. either go to then type Dennis Katolin in the search engine at the top of the web page or...

2. click:

The movie is called "Day". Here's the synopsis:
Written, directed, edited and scored by an active duty U.S. Marine, this story tells the tale of a future America that is torn by civil war. With the country divided East vs West, a small group of Marines, led by Lt Clay (Dennis Katolin) and Staff Sergeant Warren (Adam LeAndre) from the east must track down and eliminate a mysterious doomsday device that is about to be employed by their enemy. As Clay struggles with taking his men into danger again, his mission forces his Marines to take over the home of Earl (Coley Speaks) and Kathy (Jennifer Marshall) who's relationship has become frayed by Earl's reluctance to confront his past. The group eventually realizes that there is a mysterious entity in the woods that could threaten the success of the Marines' mission and the couple's safety. Forced to confront each other, the two groups begin an exchange that challenges their beliefs as they are forced to deal with personal philosophies, past struggles, and present dangers.

Oh, and did I mention that it was selected for the editor's Top 40 picks?!

It is now off to film festivals, and if anyone knows what is good for them, they will select this movie!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Oh, we love 'em.
Can't get enough of 'em.
Peel 'em and slice 'em.
She's glad to try some.

Do you know how much my baby loves bananas?

You could serve her cheese souffles.
Walleye pie or goose pates.
Sushi, scampi, or souvlaki.
Beef or chicken teriyaki.
Swedish meatballs,
Belgain waffle,
French fries
or a fresh falafel.
Fish-and-chips or filet mignon.
Barbecued beef Bourguignonne.
Shepherd's pie or sauerbraten.

She's say, Ain't there something you've forgotten?

Yes there is (take a guess)

From this book we bought Dennis for father's day

Monday, June 22, 2009

Operation Vegetables!

Dennis has been on leave (i.e. vacation) for the past two weeks and we all have been taking it easy. This means eating out, spending too much money and not exercising! Today, it's time to get back on track!!

One of the things we really want to work on is to get more veggies in our bodies! Elyse used to be a great veggie eater but lately she has just decided they are not for her. I guess she has realized there are other foods in the house that taste better (wouldn't it be great to know nothing about the nutritional or fat value of foods and just eat what tastes good with no guilt!)

I rediscovered the book Deceptively Delicious and have been trying some of the recipes. It is all about "sneaking" veggies into normal food. All the recipes I have tried so far have been great.

Here is one of them. We brought these Blueberry Oatmeal Bars over to a friend's house and no one could guess the secret ingredient. We couldn't taste it AT ALL!

Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspooon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup Balance trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread, chilled
1 cup low-sugar blueberry preserves
1/2 cup spinach puree (cook fresh spinach in a little bit of water on a skillet until it is just wilted; pulverize in food processor about two minutes-it took A LOT of spinach to get 1/2 cup spinach puree)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Coate 8X8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and vanilla and stir well to mix.

3. Add the margarine and cute it quickly into the dry ingredients with two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal and is no longer powdery. Do not overmix-bits of margarine will still be visible.

4. Set aside about half of the oat mixture; press the rest of it firmly into the pan. Bake until lightly browned at the edges (but not fully baked), 13 to 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, mix the preserves with the spinach puree in a small bowl.

6. Spread the blueberry mixture over the partially baked oat layer, then sprinkle with the reserved oat mixture. Bake until the topping is slightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Set the pan on a rack to cool completely before cutting into 12 bars.

The book says to make sure the bars cool completely so you can't taste the spinach. We certainly could not taste it at all!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Good Morning!

Getting Elyse out of bed in the morning is one of my favorite things to do in the day! We always seem to have some kind of conversation. Usually, one of her first comments has something to do with what Dennis and I are wearing. She might say "Shirt On!" or "Short pants!"

Here's our interaction this morning. (She managed to take off her jammies!)

And to look back, here's a video from a year and a half ago!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Out Little Adventure

Dennis had some leave to burn (how come that NEVER happened to me at a job) and so we decided to go on a little adventure. Williamsburg, VA is only about an hour from us so we decided to head up to Great Wolf Lodge.

If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend going. It is a little pricey but we had a blast! They had a huge indoor water park, including a special toddler area. The pool there was only about a foot deep so Elyse could wander around in the water all on her own. And, they had water slides that were just her size. At first she was reluctant to give them a try but LOVED the slides after the first go. I am not exaggerating when I say she went down the slide about 50 times. Dennis and I took turns being the one to run her up the stairs or catch her at the bottom. I truly wish I had a waterproof camera to catch her expression as she came down that slide. A HUGE grin from ear to ear!!!

As we were playing, I was approached by this chick. Apparently she is an anchor from the CBS station in Washington, D.C. and was doing a story about water safety. Since she noticed that we were being so attentive and such great parents (gold star for Andrea and Dennis) she asked if she could interview me. No problem, I said, despite the fact that I had damp hair, runny mascara and was in my swim suit (there is no other way I would rather make my TV debut!). She was very nice and said the story will run throughout the summer. We'll be up in that area by then so maybe I'll be able to catch myself on TV. Fun!

Today we decided to go to Busch Gardens. They have a brand new Sesame Street area, and since we are Elmo's biggest fans, we though we would check it out. It went OK. We were all a little tired and crabby (Dennis has a bad cold, Elyse was hot, I didn't really sleep well in the hotel). We stayed long enough for one little ride, a 4D Elmo movie and some pictures with some stars! (Someone was mildly freaked out!)

All in all, we had some great family time and I am so lucky to have two wonderful people to share these adventures with!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

One of My Favorites...

I read My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult awhile ago and loved it.

My mom's club book club decided to pick it up for our next read (fitting since the movie will be out next week) so I decided to read it again. And again, I loved it. If you haven't read this one, please do. It is a book you will not be able to put down

Just a sure to have a box of Kleenex nearby. Poor Dennis has to deal with the emotional Andrea after reading this book. I think this time it was even more touching to read the story of sisters knowing that I am going to have two daughters-sisters.

I've been told by my wonderful husband that I am not allowed to come home for at least three days after going to see the movie. He does't know what to do with me!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Confirmed...It's a GIRL!!


We were lucky enough to go for another ultrasound today and baby cooperated. It is pretty clear that she is a GIRL!!! We couldn't be more excited. Here are some pictures.

For anyone who lives in the area and is pregnant, I totally recommend going to TCC (the community college) and getting an ultrasound done there. They bring in "real" people to train their students. Today we had a student doing our ultrasound with her teacher right there. It took a little longer than normal because she was learning but it was cool to hear the teacher explain everything. AND, we were able to get a 3D ultrasound! It is free, although they encourage donations. To make an appointment call (757) 822-7271.

On another note, these totally adorable shirts that I ordered from this site arrived today! :) I'm definitely going to order new ones because I think they are too cute. If anyone needs a 3T big sister and a 0-3 month little brother set, please let me know!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's A....Surprise!!!!

After our first ultrasound we were so excited to find out that we were having a boy.

So when we went to the "20 Week" ultrasound today we expected to spend time making sure everything was growing and working as it should. And, great news is that everything looks perfect...

...except it looks like our son is growing girl parts instead of boy parts...YES, we are having a GIRL (or at least we think so for now!)

This baby was bent in half, feet above its head for almost the whole time (with legs shut tight!). The ultrasound tech had me moving all over the place trying to get this baby's legs to open up. Finally they did, and she got a pretty good shot of the crotch...and it looks like we are having a girl!

It was certainly some unexpected news. It took both Dennis and I some time to process it. After a few hours, the news sunk in and we are thrilled to be having another girl!!!

Just because we are a little unsure now, we are heading over the the community college on Thursday to get a 3D ultrasound. They have a program to train their students and allow pregnant women to come in and get an ultrasound done for only a donation. I am very excited that we have the opportunity to get a little more confirmation. I'll update on Thursday with the latest in the boy/girl drama! :)

Meanwhile, enjoy some pictures of our beautiful baby!!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Dennis and Elyse decided to take a dip in the pool today. It was a little chilly so I was smart enough to stay out. As you can see, they had a blast!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Felt Board

Inspired by the huge board my mom has in her sewing room (she uses it to arrange quilt blocks) I decided to make a felt board for Elyse.

It was super easy. All I did was take a piece of foam poster board and cover it with a piece of flannel. (I stapled it on). Then I cut some shapes and letters out of felt. They stick right on the board and are easy to play with and move around. To be completely honest, Elyse doesn't love it yet but I think she will once she starts liking arranging the shapes to make pictures and designs. I'm going to try and cut out all the letters so we can practice them when the time comes.

I also found these on Etsy. SO CUTE! I might have to buy a few sets.

Monday, June 1, 2009

We're Back!

We're back from the "technology diet" and it went pretty well. As with any diet I've ever been on, there was some cheating, but if nothing else it made me more aware of when and why I'm turning on the computer/tv/etc. And, if nothing else, by checking my e-mail only once a day, I was almost guaranteed to have at least one good one waiting for me!

The double stroller I've been wanting to buy arrived in the mail today and I'm super excited. I love it because it isn't super wide like most double strollers are and there are a lot of different ways to arrange the two kiddos. Here's a shot with two bears to demonstrate how it works. Now we just need a second baby to ride along.