Friday, August 3, 2007

Cell Phones for Soldiers

A worthy cause to help raise money to buy phone cards for Soldiers overseas. This last deployment DH was in an area where he couldn't get the really cheap rates some people had access to, so we burned through phone cards.

Cell phones for Soldiers

Support our Troops!

Jelly making

The grapes are boiling and we will be making jelly on Sunday if everything goes right. We might be overloaded with grape jelly especially since my children will not eat peanut butter sandwiches anymore.

While we were on vacation we would often stop for sandwiches at the road side parks since it was so expensive to feed 7 hungry people. It also allowed the children time to run around and exhaust themselves before we set out again in the car for another few hours. For the most part we served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and then just plain peanut butter sandwiches after we forgot to put the jelly back in the cooler. My children are so tired of peanut butter they won't eat it anymore. I wonder if we scarred them for life.

Operation Camp Purple

Today we picked Em up from Camp Purple. We paid the extra money and my mom and I went to have lunch with her before the ceremony. We waited patiently while the dorms before her got to eat and then we got in line with her. She had made a new friend who was just as sweet as could be. The food was even good too! Em and her new friend filled us in on everything that they had been doing over the last week. My baby is growing up!

There were many activities that the kids did each day--riflery, rock climbing, swimming, canoeing, community service, environment, drug and alcohol awareness and tons more.

Riflery??? I was shocked! My baby with a gun? It was just a pellet gun and they learned gun safety as well, and she loved it! She made new friends, learned new skills and had the time of her life.

For the ceremony they had all the parents seated and then they had the children march in. We watched them pass out thank yous to the counselors and staff involved in putting this together. Yea NMFA!!!

When all of that was done they had the campers come up one by one where they presented them with a certificate and a picture of all the staff and campers in a nice mouse pad type frame that said "Kids serve too". After each camper received their items they went in front of a microphone and said their name, which parent was in the service, what branch and where they were stationed. After the first two children said "Iraq" I was in tears. My mom wasn't much better as she was crying too. I finally got a little better until a little boy got up there and said his name and something to the effect of my father is protecting us, providing for our freedom, and a few other things. I wish I could remember his exact words because it was pretty powerful coming from a 9 year old little boy. I started crying all over again. What a mess I am!

We made it through the rest of the ceremony, attended a flag ceremony and then got all of Em's items and hit the road. She had tons of stories to tell and about half an hour into the trip she was passed out from exhaustion.

So from our family to NMFA, the Dell Foundation, the Sierra Group and all other people and sponsors that made this camp possible, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. My daughter had the time of her life and for her to be in an environment with other children that understood where she was coming from and were walking in her shoes, the experience was priceless.

For those of you who have children, keep an eye out in your area next summer for these camps as they are entirely free and a great camping experience for your children.

17 children?

I'm sure most everyone has heard of the Duggar's, the family that just welcomed their 17th child into the family. Maybe I am different from everyone else, but why have so many kids? I guess I just feel sorry for the kids. The parents are so proud of how the older ones take care of the younger ones and raise them, but why should the older children be penalized? Of course they (the children) all love it because they don't know any different, but I did have a childhood and goodness knows I didn't want or need the responsibility of taking care of anyone but myself at that age. I just think they need to be kids. If the parents want to have all 17 and raise all of them and parent all of them , that's great! I don't expect my 9 year old to bathe my 13 month old or dress him, change his diapers, or get him to sleep at night. (I believe the mother has full charge of the child until age 2 and then she passes it on to another)

Who knows, maybe I am the weird one, but I'm glad I had a childhood!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A sink full of grapes!

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I went to a battalion meeting tonight about NTC and it was pretty informative. It sounds like the training is going to be pretty realistic--they even have hired Iraqis so they can practice the language and culture. They did say no cell phones though, which is a bummer. I can go that long without talking to him, but it never fails when the Soldier deploys something happens or ten somethings. I remember when I sent a letter to Chris after he first deployed to Iraq in 2003. I told him how I quit my job, Abbie ran into a car, one of the kids was sick, I got housing and was moving and a million other things. When he wrote back he said he thought about addressing all the "issues" but figured since it took so long to get the letter that I probably had a whole new set of "issues". He knows me.

Block leave is still scheduled during the time I booked our trip to Hawaii so I am hoping that nothing messes that up. They gave us a two week window for their deployment to Iraq, which I will keep off of here for obvious reasons. They are planning on having a Battalion ball in a few months. The food usually sucks but I love the string of toasts that they give. Almost makes the whole evening worthwhile. They usually honor the fallen Soldiers from the last deployment and that is always an emotional time.

While I was at the NTC meeting DH took Abs and Junior to pick wild mustang grapes that he saw on the side of the fence during PT. Last Tuesday Abs and Em picked some and then my mom and Abs picked a HUGE amount of them. On Sunday my sister taught us how to make jelly so DH is in there picking through the grapes. I didn't pay that close of attention so I am sure it will entail a dozen phone calls along the way. Abs is excited about it though.

Busy Busy

I don't know how some people can think that I have time to do anything when I stay home with my children. I am busy from the time I get up till the time I go to bed and if for some reason I am not, there are a ton of things I should be doing!

Junior had another well baby today because he still needed his immunizations. He got 5 shots the poor little guy and is passed out in his crib right now.

It's almost 11 and no call from the VLA Theatre yet so maybe Abs is behaving? Abs has a friend who is attending the same camp and her mom sent a backpack of things for them to do since they are bored. This is definitely not as well run as the previous acting camp that she went to. I know that they are short handed, but to expect a bunch of little kids to sit in a chair for hours on end is ridiculous.

We are meeting friends at the pool after acting camp and then we have a predeployment briefing for NTC this evening. I have managed to go to the gym three days this week but I will probably have to take tonight off. I wanted to do the endurance ride on Saturday but we are going to go to Sea World and use the free tickets for the military.

Tomorrow we get Em from Operation Purple Camp. I can't wait to hear all about it! I hope she has had a great time and made some new friends.

On a funny note, Junior has learned to say "Mow" for meow. He hauls around this little stuffed kitten that he got from a vet convention in DC. So cute. I'll try to get it on here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Study about deployments

Study: Child Abuse by Moms in Army Families Rises When Fathers Deployed

One of my neighbors doesn't need to have her husband gone to neglect her children. Another, her husband was home and DH found her not even two year old out in the cold and rain in a tshirt and diaper watching the rain rush into the storm drain.

My kids are fed, watered, taken care of and most of all loved. To hear them tell tales you would think I am mean! I don't let them get ice cream from the ice cream truck every day. I need to know where they are and who they are with. I won't let them go into other people's houses. They need to stay together. If they only knew what happened in some of these houses their views my be a little different. Some day they will appreciate what I do, but in the meantime I'll just keep on loving them.

Here we go again...

Abs started acting camp on Monday and this time it is only from 9-12 so I figured it wasn't enough time to get bored or in trouble. Guess she showed me! They called me today because she pinched someone and she kicked someone. She promises me she did not kick anyone but she admits to pinching someone. I had to pick her up immediately and if she misbehaves again then she is out of the camp. I don't know what else to do with her. I told her she needed to go to her room when she got home and she has been there all day playing nicely by herself and only coming out to potty and eat lunch. I didn't mean all day!

Any ideas?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Flo on the Go

Didn't I just finish Diner Dash? I was at Sam's and they had Flo on the Go, so I couldn't just pass it up. I should save these things for when DH is deployed and I have nothing to do after I tuck all the children into bed. I'll just play one level before bed....

Camp Purple and other things

Abs started her next acting camp today. This one is from 9-12 and they are putting on Aladdin Jr. I think that the short day will help her get through it with minimal problems. She is excited and they are auditioning for parts tomorrow. I hope she is happy with what she gets! It should be a really cute play. They gave us a CD of music to practice so I am sure we will all be singing the songs by the end of the three weeks.

My in laws kept Abs and Junior today and my mom and I took Em to Camp Purple. I was unsure of what to expect, but it all worked out. They were very organized with setup and had different stations that we had to go through--MRE's (where we signed up to eat lunch with them on Friday), TA-50 (where they picked up a disposable camera and an Operation Purple bracelet), Currency Exchange (where we gave them money for the trading post), Canteens (they were given a water bottle), etc. It was cute. They also had a world map where the children put pictures of their Soldiers around the edges. It was really neat to see all the moms and dads pictures and sad at the same time. They are all missing out on so much in their children's lives.

Anyway, we got Em checked into her dorm, she had a swim test and we left her singing a song about a frog that got run over by a car and was licked up by a dog. I am sure it is one that she will drag home and we will all be singing within a few days of her return.

The drive home was quiet and DH was able to get the kids from his mom's house and attend the FRG meeting and I made it to a cycling class. DH cycled from our house to my mom's house on Sunday so he was more than willing to pass on attending class. They also are allowed to miss PT the next day when they attend the FRG meeting.

The kids are all nestled in bed (I am sure Em is still up since I think they had a dance party scheduled till 10:30 tonight, those wild partiers!) and DH is packing for NTC. (NTC is the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA, where they play war and train for Iraq) He will be gone about a month or so, but with summer winding down and school about to start I am hoping that we will remain busy and the time will pass quickly. He will miss my birthday, but he has missed the last 5 I think, so I am starting to get used to it. Who needs cake anyway! Certainly not my hips!