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.