Sunday, December 30, 2007

The trip home

We finally made it home. We left Joplin after breakfast and hit the turnpike. We stopped and got gas, and then about every 45-60 minutes after that we had to stop for Em to go to the bathroom. I told my mom that she must be drinking in the car ( I rode with my mom on the way back)--which we don't allow. I checked later and found an empty sprite bottle. I asked Gunner if he knew that she had one and he said yes, but she was not drinking it in the car. It was empty.

One of the MANY bathroom stops that we made was at a McDonald's where we all tossed back a cheeseburger and were back on the road. Junior slept through it poor kid.

In Oklahoma we stopped at a gas station that had a casino attached to it. We pottied and then since I didn't have my purse, I asked my husband for some money to try my luck. So while my husband stood outside the gas station feeding the children chocolate chip cookies my mom and I ducked in the casino. I tripled my money! My mom lost. I walked out and my husband asked me if I lost it all and I handed him back $6. Yeah, we aren't big gamblers, I started with $2.

We finally hit Texas and got within 30 minutes of home, so we pulled over so Em could potty....again....and Abs and I switched back to our car so my mom could head on home in peace and quiet. (Miss us yet mom?) Junior had pooped and spilled water all over himself when he opened his sippy cup, so I took him inside to change him. I always change Junior in the car or before I leave home or in the stroller. I'm not a big fan of public bathrooms or changing tables, especially in gas stations, but he was a mess and the car was packed. I put him on the changing table and he freaked out! I quickly changed his diaper and couldn't even attempt to change his clothes, so I took him outside to change him standing up. It was so strange for him to throw such a fit like that, that I mentioned it to Gunner. He told me that Junior doesn't like changing tables and he always does that. I laughed and laughed--not that he was scared, but that I had not had to change him while out in public the entire trip till the end, so I didn't even know this.

Okay Gunner, I think you have paid your dues, you win "Father of the Year" but I still hold the longest running title to "Employee of the Month!".

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pics from Precious Moments Chapel

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Headed Home

We are finally on our way back home to Texas. We were supposed to leave bright and early this morning, but we didn't get out of St. Louis till 11 pm. We stopped off to pick up some stuff that we had left at my sister's house, then got gas, then went back to my sister's to drop off something else and pickup Junior's milk, then we started to leave, but Abs and I had to go potty, so back inside we went. Finally we said our goodbyes and hit the road.

We wanted to eat at Lambert's for lupper, but we got there and the wait was an hour and a half! we thought about it, used the Hen room, and headed out to the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, MO. When my little sister got married my husband and I traveled back by car from IL with Em who was two years old at the time. We were driving and stumbled across the Precious Moments Chapel, and stopped by to visit right before it closed. It was really neat and this was the first time I had been back in 8 years. The girls were amazed by all of the pictures and the stained glass ones that depicted different Bible verses.

After we left there and had dinner--the Sirloin Stockade, with the rest of Carthage! We are bunked for the night at a three star hotel. It was only $10 more a night than the dive we stayed in on the way up! We took the kids swimming and Junior was trying to fall asleep while we were still in the pool. Even little Abs who never goes to sleep before 10 or 11 was fast asleep by 9. Tomorrow we are headed home to Texas, with a stop or two along the way......
I'll share pics in another post since it's always a hassle on Gunner's laptop!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Science Center

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Random Pics

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Steak N' Shake Pics

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Carriage Ride Pictures

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Finishing Up

We leave tomorrow to head back to Texas. Of course my horrible cold is on the home stretch and I should be well by the time we get back there. Oh well, I have managed to cough and hack and blow my nose through St Louis and IL. On Sunday we went over to my friend Marcie's house--her house is absolutely beautiful and I am hiring her to decorate my house once I finally get one. We loved the area and it was so good to see her and her family. Her kids are half grown! We hung out there and then ran by Scott AFB to check out the px and get a few things that we needed. I was walking into the px and my purse broke, so a perfect excuse to go purse shopping there. My children think I put too much stuff in there, but with the essentials and binkies and snacks and bottles, I need all that space!

Monday we went swimming, checked out my sister's house which is in North St Louis and in an area that they are totally rehabbing. When it is all said and done, it's going to be a great place to visit! Once my brother and sister-in-law arrived we hit the Science Center. Christmas Day we cooked, ate, napped and finally opened presents.

There was the turtle playground one day.

We did some shopping yesterday and of course hit Steak N' Shake. Last night we went to Tillis Park to take a carriage ride through hundreds of lights. It was so cold out there, but we ended the event with hot chocolate, stollen and some kuchen.

Today it's raining so the zoo is out. My sister and her crew are due over to the hotel so we can decide what our plan of action is. So much to do, so little time.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

We got a few quick pictures of Junior in his Christmas outfit before we went to breakfast. He spilled juice down the front, which wasn't too bad, but then he pulled Gunner's cold coffee down and it spilled all over. Tried to wash it out and dry it with a hairdryer so that he could wear it since there is only one day he could, to no avail. Oh well, he looked cute in it the 45 minutes that it took him to get it dirty!
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Saturday, December 22, 2007

On the Road Again

Every time we think that a road trip is a good idea, we take one. We should have known!

We wanted to get an early start and meet my mom and her sleigh at the outlet mall in Hillsboro. I called to tell her that we were leaving and she was madly rushing around to get things ready. We arrived a little after 9 and since she was delayed a little I of course began to shop! Since there are have been bigger and better outlet malls built close by, this little one is slowly going under. I hit a couple of store closing sales and got a few good deals along the way. The car was already packed to the gills so when I got back to the car I found all my purchases sitting in my seat. I guess my husband was trying to nicely tell me that if I kept shopping I would have to hold it all! He did manage to find someplace to store them.

After noon my mom showed up. By then we were hungry and picnicked on the tables in front of the stores. There was a lady who was selling tamales to customers that were meeting her up at the outlet mall and we mentioned that looked good and she offered to sell us a dozen extra she had. They were excellent! We demolished those, added some german potato salad from our german Christmas, fed the children some sandwiches and then hit the road.

250 miles later we were on the border of Texas and Oklahoma and we needed a rest stop! We exited at the sign but didn't realize that we needed to backtrack on the other side of the freeway to get to the rest stop. We had entered Oklahoma, but went back to Texas once we turned around towards the rest stop. Realizing that we were doing this, we opted to turn around again and get back on the freeway and stop in OK. We left Texas, entered OK, and then entered TX again as we got back to the other side of the freeway. Once we finally found a place to turn around, we got back on the freeway and left Texas and finally entered OK for good. Yeah, okay, that makes no sense when you write it down.

We continued driving, grabbed a hotdog at a convenience store in Tulsa for dinner and then hit the road again where after 11 last night we finally arrived at the hotel. We had called ahead to find a place that was reasonably priced and served breakfast as feeding this hungry bunch can cost a bundle. My mom refuses to stay in any one star hotel, but I think we should up the standards to nothing less than three stars! We pulled up in front of the Lamplighter Inn in Springfield, and it looked okay. We got in there and the front desk clerks were pleasant but quirky. Em had to use the bathroom and one of the clerks ran around the corner and started yelling at the drunk man coming out of the women's restroom. we got Em situated after checking the bathroom and then went to our rooms. We had adjoining rooms...on the third floor....

Going up in the smelly elevator I was getting kind of nervous, but it was almost midnight and we were tired! I opened the room and expected to see mirrors over the ceiling. My mom's heater/ac was broken, so at midnight we are taking a tired Em, a wildly awake Abs and an energetic Junior down the hall to the new set of rooms. These were actually better than the first set, although I am glad we are staying just one night! The girls wanted to stay at the nice hotel that our windows looked out to, but we tucked them into bed and eventually we all fell asleep. Junior didn't get the message on sleeping through the night, but what's more fun than having a baby kick you and sleep on top of you all night as they try to get comfortable?

We are about to go to breakfast and then hit the road.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas in Texas

We are having our Christmas with the outlaws tonight since we are leaving in the morning for my sister's house. I'm cleaning and sent Gunner and Junior to the store to pick up tape so I can wrap the presents. Santa has been notified of our location on Christmas morning and the girls were relieved to hear that. Today is the last day of school and then the outlaws are bringing over a German Christmas dinner. They ate and left in such a hurry on Thanksgiving, that I wonder how long they will stay today.

I signed up to be a sub, and am being stalked by the sub center. I did sub in a music class yesterday and in a kindergarten class the other day. I can't take the calls because I have to coordinate the girls getting picked up from school and Junior going to daycare. I have to do it online and plan ahead. I am hoping in January to pick up more jobs though since Junior loves going to daycare and he would be happy being there every day. He'll have to start going anyway when I go back to school this summer, so I might as well get him used to it.

Since we are leaving guessed it.....I have nothing packed. My mom is going along with us, and after checking in with her, she's not ready either. At least I know where I get it from! I was kind of worried about the whole trip since until about 10 pm last night we didn't even have a place to stay! We finally found what we were looking for--my only request was an indoor heated pool so that we could tired the kids out at night.

I have the roomba and the scooba going and have to wash and fold mountains of laundry. At least I work well under pressure...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gas Leak

Yesterday I was having Starbucks with my friend and Gunner called to tell me that there were fire engines around the girls' school, but not to worry because he didn't see any smoke. We figured that the school was probably touring the fire engines or something. No big deal. Junior and I head out to a doctor's appointment in the neighboring town and Gunner calls to tell me that he finished up his PT appt and caught on the news that there was a gas leak at the school. Another Soldier watching said that the kids were evacuated to a gym on post. We finally manage to get a hold of someone at the gym and were told that we were supposed to come pick up our children. We never received a phone call or anything, and this was hours after the incident. If Gunner hadn't caught the tail end of the news, we would have never known since I wasn't home and even if I was, I would have been enjoying the peace and quiet. The children were safe though and that was what was most important. They had to take 12 children to the hospital and 5 teachers. Em's teacher passed out in the classroom in front of them. They were taken to the cafeteria where they were loaded on to buses--I think they said with staff and everything it was 21 buses, not sure on that. They got to the gym where they were given water bottles as they entered and later served pizza hut, milk and applesauce and waited until their parents went through a screening process to make sure that they were being picked up by the correct people. The news said that the school was filled with carbon monoxide. Thankfully no one was hurt, but they do need to work on their emergency notification system!

Em and Abs talked about it the rest of the day and Em wrote it down and told me to blog it. Her Grandma would be proud that she is documenting everything.

She wrote:

Today was the worst day of my life. The school was filled with carbon
monoxide. Mrs. M passed out on the floor and had to be rushed to the
hospital. It was so major that 2 fire trucks, 8 ambulances and 21 school
buses were there to take all the kids to the gym. But the good things are
Mrs. M is okay, there will be school tomorrow and everyone is still alive.

13 Years

My internet wasn't working, so this was for yesterday.

Today, Gunner and I have been married for 13 years. We were married about 7 months after I graduated from college and he had received orders for Germany. During those 13 years we have lived in 7 houses, three different duty stations (Hood twice, Germany and Lewis), had three children in three different locations (one at each duty station....hmmmm.....maybe that is why the Army isn't moving us anymore?) and suffered through three year long deployments with a 4th one on the way. My husband's hair has started to gray...a lot (mine too--not good!). We've gained a few pounds. We've lost three grandparents, my dad and muddled through life together although we are almost always apart. Even though his dirty socks can never find the hamper, his shoes are scattered around the house and his army gear breeds in the closets overnight—I wouldn’t trade a thing (ummmm....but if someone reading this can help us out, I would like to move again!). Thanks Gunner for the last 13 years and many more to come.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Unique Presents

Over the years, my family has given many unique presents. When I was little I started an elephant collection for my older brother (who at no time ever indicated an interest in elephants). My little sister at around age 5 received a doll with no hair (mom ran out of time!) and the doll was later given back to her once it was completed at my sister's graduation from graduate school. For our parents anniversary we have sent them on trips, to see shows, out to dinner where we arranged for them never to see the bill. We had a flag flown over the Capital of Texas for my dad's birthday and we took him to see it where we announced that it was flying in honor of him. One year we arranged to have a house demolished that they owned. Try explaining to a demolition company that this was indeed going to be well received (they didn't demolish it till after my parents knew). I'm sure there are more ranging from handmade soap on a rope to memory boxes to a coupon to help organize and file.

Today my mom told us that we needed to be at her house at 11:30. We arrived well before then and she would give no clue as to what her surprise was. We fixed lunch, ate and were still waiting. Someone knocked at the door and my mom made us wait at the table while she whispered to the girl. A few seconds later she told us that our surprise was on the way. The doorbell rang and Em ran to get it.

"There's a band out there!" she exclaimed.

A band???? As a surprise and in honor of our anniversary my mom had gotten the marching band from the local high school to come play songs for us in front of her house. The neighbors came out, we sang, the look of delight on my children's faces, it was good. Now how the heck do we top that?


My handsome hubby. He had his spurs on too. Nice....

Junior was fascinated by his hat.

Our Evening

Gunner and I had a great time at the ball. (I'll see if I can put a picture of the two of us up after I have cropped and fixed me!) We have been to several before, including one with this unit, but they are always a little bit different. The grog was extremely potent and the glass still smelled like peppermint this morning. Neat tradition.

When they had the posting of the colors and all those Soldiers looking sharp in their uniforms, standing at attention, and turning and following the flag as it made its way across the room, I was filled with pride. Pride to be in a room with so many men (infantry/armor unit) that wore the uniform and did their job. Pride at the friends and family members that stood by their sides and supported them. Pride. Love. Admiration.

During the toasts they gave a silent one to the Fallen Soldiers from the last deployment after giving the history of the table setup for them.

They read the names of those that were lost in the past year and it was emotional hearing their names again and also hearing their buddies and fellow Soldiers call out a response/reaction/nickname. Each part of the table had some symbolism. The slice of lemon was to remind us of their bitter fate. The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless fallen tears of families. The chair is empty, they are not here. The inverted glass--they cannot toast with us this night. This part of the ceremony was extremely hard for everyone.

Bob Babcock was the guest speaker of the night. For the last two deployments of 4th ID, he has put out an email update containing news articles, stories, what others are hearing from their Soldiers, and providing support for the families left behind. The first deployment he put out an update every day and was a wealth of information to a new situation for many. The second deployment he put out updates three times a week and continued to be a source of information to those left behind. This time, as we begin our third rotation to Iraq, he has started the updates again. With three small children I don't often have the time every day to read the paper or dig through the news reports to find information that pertains to Gunner and others that he serves with.

Mr. Babcock also founded Americans Remembered, Inc. This organization "focuses on preserving memories of America's veterans via videotaped interviews" as part of the Library of Congress, Veterans History Project. If you go to the Veterans History Project page, you can listen to interviews of Soldiers--take the time to listen, help, whatever you can do.

After the toasts, the grog, dinner, the video, the speaker and a few dances (not us, we weren't born with any rhythm), we headed out the door. What should every couple do at 11 at night all dressed up??? We had to go to Walmart and get diapers for Junior because we were down to grabbing them out of the diaper bag so my mom would be covered while we were gone. We definitely stood out in Walmart, but got lots of compliments on our attire.

We returned home to a house still standing, children all nestled in bed and a tired Grandma ready to return home. Thanks mom for the babysitting and thanks Gunner for the memories.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Miltary Ball

Have a dress.

Have shoes.

Have jewelry.

Toenails painted.

Mom is coming to watch the kiddos. (And it's been less than a month since she kept them while we were in Hawaii, so this is a good sign that she is coming back so soon!)

Of course I am sitting here in sweats addressing Christmas cards. Gunner is putting the final touches on his uniform (takes him longer to get ready than it does me!). About to go get the kids from school, Junior is taking a nap, it is raining and I have naturally curly hair that will be frizzy no matter what I do tonight.

Life is good--well minus the frizzy hair.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Cards

I thought I was going to be on time this year with my card. I bought what I needed in order to take the picture, and of course never had time to do it. Now that I HAVE to do it, it is raining outside. So we improvised and tried to set it up inside. I am in the process of downloading 58 pictures to see if there is just ONE of them that I can use. I'm not holding my breath! Trying to get three children to look at the camera and smile is not an easy feat. We resorted to bribing with marshmallows. The girls were easy but Junior was insistent on getting one every single time. Gunner gave Em a handful and she would sit there smiling and reach over and pop one in his mouth.

BTW, I need everyone's addresses, because I of course am not organized enough to have them written down anywhere!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Silent Night....

Dh ran off with the kids to go do the drive through light show at BLORA. He told me that I need to call him something else besides DH, andwe came up with Gunner since that is what his job is--not very original, but it works. He's a 19K Gunner, and he absolutely loves it. I did see a video once of them at JRTC and who wouldn't love a job like that!!

Anyway, it's quiet here and I get the lucky task of folding laundry, laundry and more laundry. I took a break for a few days so I have enough to clothe a small army waiting on me. Thankfully I will be able to watch Amazing Race while I sort and fold. It's the small things in life.

I have a meeting tomorrow and I put together a gift basket for the silent auction. The girls want me to keep it because they want everything in it. My mom donated some great things to put in it and Gunner spent the afternoon making eggnog bread, zucchini bread and banana bread for the basket, while Em and I went to a friend's son's Baptism and luncheon. I'm meeting my friend for coffee tomorrow and to catch up. When our girls went to the same school we used to have coffee every morning together and it was a huge comfort to me to have someone to talk to while Gunner was deployed, my dad was sick, I was pregnant....yeah I was needy during that time! Now she has a new husband, a new baby and our girls go to different schools so it makes it harder to meet up and find the time to talk.

Abs seems to be doing better as she is talking more and even went to the commissary with me today. While I was out shopping with my mom yesterday--I found a dress for the ball, well actually two dresses--I got Abs a package of 10 dinosaurs at the dollar store. She had them out to play with today and she had the dinos talking and making noises albeit quiet ones. A step in the right direction. She still is refusing to take any pain medication because she doesn't like the taste of it, so I guess she would rather tough it out. She didn't get that trait from me. I was always crying for an epidural during my 6 month of pregnancy!

We have tentative dates for Gunner to deploy so I am hoping that time goes by slowly until then. I know it will come all too soon.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!

I am leaving DH in charge of the kiddos and I am heading to spend the day with my mom.

I went looking for a recent picture of her, but couldn't find one that she wouldn't be mad about me posting.

Mom, this next year I will be taking more pictures of you, so smile!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Dec 7th, 1941

I have more pictures that I wanted to put up, and maybe my computer will cooperate later.

My friend Jessica is at the memorial today. Today is also the day that they will be dedicating the USS Oklahoma memorial. I have pictures of that somewhere too.

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Peace and Quiet

When I was little my brother and sisters and I used to ask our parents what they wanted for Christmas/Birthdays/Holidays, etc. We always got the same answer--Peace and Quiet. I doubt we ever complied and we probably made them or bought them some "treasure"--I am almost certain that my mom has every treasure that we made, but that's a whole other post!

Now after having three kids that are programmed for "Loud Only", I understand where they were coming from. When I am alone in the car I don't listen to any music. I never watch tv during the day or usually until late evening (thank goodness for DVR). My husband noticed the other day that he had started turning off the radio as well. I guess we are getting old.

Since Abs came home yesterday, it is quiet. Her throat is too sore to argue with anyone. Her usual singing and talking voice is on mute. She has resorted to sign language and writing things down.....who knew she could come up with so many ways to communicate "ice cream" to us. I went to wake her up this morning and she moaned a little and went back to sleep.

Even with two kids home today, it might be a quiet day after all.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Abs was awake this morning when I went to get her up and she hopped up out of bed ready to get her tonsils and adenoids taken out. She was dressed in record time and raring to go.
She was happy at the hospital.

She loved the wagon ride to the operating room. They even gave her something to drink to put her to sleep before they gave her an iv. She went from fast slow out. The surgery went off without a hitch and she woke up.....she was upset because she saw two of everyone.

Ice cream makes it all better.

She is now watching cartoons--which she never gets to do--and is doing okay. She was kind of whiny about taking the tylenol with codeine, but she managed and is doing well.

Junior went to the doctor and he has a perforated eardrum. Poor kiddo is on ear drops and antibiotics. Hopefully he will start feeling better.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Too busy

My husband thinks I am too busy. Just because I got everyone dressed and ready after getting no sleep last night (I think Junior has an ear infection and the earliest appointment I could get is tomorrow). got the girls to school and Junior to daycare. Then I drove 40 minutes to work, worked, drove home. Ate lunch. Picked up Abs to take her to her PT evaluation--twice a week starting next week, and they think they can catch her up in a couple of months, so that's good. Dropped Abs back off at school where we waited till her class came back in and she showed me her desk, her journal, etc. Noticed she now owes 15 tickets to other people/teacher and she told me she hasn't even earned any--I can see the teacher's ticket plan will not work on my daughter. Went and got Junior, fed him, went and picked up the girls, came home and did homework, ate dinner and I am ready for bed. The girls are making a mouse house and Junior is playing with DH. Still have a ton more to do, but at least the weekend is almost here.

Tomorrow is Ab's big exciting day--it will probably be the only day other than Christmas, her birthday and the last day of school that I will be able to get her up with no problems. We have ice cream and fruit and yogurt and milk for smoothies as someone suggested. Em wants her tonsils out now.

I have no dress for the ball, but I still have 8 days, so I shouldn't stress, right?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Taken during our visit to the USS Arizona Memorial. We both got choked up reading these words. (You will probably have to click on the picture to get it to enlarge and be able to read it)
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Monday, December 3, 2007

Christmas Shopping & Tonsils

I'm done. How about you?

Keep under budget?

I shop all year to find the best deals and this year I came in wayyyyyyyyyy under budget.

I'm still in shock that I did so well! I know that the girls and Junior will love everything that I got and I will be pleased watching them open the gifts and knowing that I scored such good deals. I should be a professional shopper!

Abs is getting her tonsils and adenoids out on Thursday. The girl is so excited about this, she can hardly contain herself. I tried to tell her she would have an IV and her throat would be really sore, but it hasn't dampened her spirits at all. She wants it done, and she wants it done now! Must be the promise of ice cream afterwards.

Sunday, December 2, 2007