Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's over....

I took my test this morning and now I just have to wait 3-4 weeks for the results. Think positively!

We went and saw my nephew's science fair project at the regional science fair in Austin. It was jam packed with kids. He did a great job though and I am proud of him.

After the science fair we went to celebrate my sister's birthday at Souper Salad. Where else do you eat when you have 5 children with different tastes and me on WW? I absolutely love salad bars. I did have two pieces of their gingerbread though. How can you pass that up?

I schedules three massages over the next three months and now I have 3 more microderms at the spa that I need to get done. Can't wait!

Last deployment I slept because I was pregnant and Junior took everything out of me. This deployment I will get in shape and pamper myself, start a new career, take care of my three monkeys, hang out and knit with Erin, lose weight with Peggy, send packages to Gunner, and keep my sanity! I wonder which one will be the hardest to do.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Flat Daddy

We got our flat daddy the other day! It is free, but there is a huge backlog so it takes a while for them to get to you. The girls were really excited and Junior was puzzled.

We will mount him this weekend and he'll be ready to go! I'm very grateful for those that donated so that military families could receive one. Maybe I need to make a flat Em, Abs and Junior to travel to Iraq. Let me just add that to my list of one hundred million things that I need to do before he deploys.

Reminds me I need to get our taxes done!

Allowance

I don't really give an allowance, but I came up with this great idea of how the girls could earn money and help around the house (moreso than they already do). It sounded perfect and I was busily making lists of all the possibilities and ideas.

The girls came home and I proposed my idea. It got really quiet and Em said "A dollar? All that for a dollar? I can make more money by selling a book or stuff than I can doing a bunch of extra work."

Where did I go wrong??? When I was growing up we used to get our age multiplied by our grade. So in 2nd grade I was 7 years old and got 14 cents. We were paid once a year and then driven directly to the bank to deposit our "wealth". Once we figured out that we were getting ripped off, the allowance stopped.

In Em's defense, she does keep her room clean, help with Andrew, and help around the house as needed, so I guess I shouldn't try and fix a system that isn't too broken. I'll have to come up with a new plan.

Any ideas? How much allowance is too much? I just can't see a 6 and 10 year old getting $5 a week or more.

Camp

I am trying to decide what to do with the girls this summer while I am in school. They have daycamp on post which I will use the majority of the time. In the past they have gone to acting camp, but I think that might a little much for them since Em has her big trip this summer for most of July.

I usually send Em to Girl Scout resident camp for a week. She absolutely loves it. I tried sending her to one locally and it was not a great environment. The next year I sent her back to one of the camps I used to attend and she had the time of her life. Last year we made the 5 hour commute to take her to a camp I used to attend on Galveston Bay--Casa Mare--and she loved that one as well.

This year they have restructured the GS councils and we are in a new one. This means that that have new camps available for them to attend. I thought if I sent her to one locally that it would be easier on me since I can drop her off on Sunday and pick her up on Friday and we won't have the 5 hour commute, just an hour or so.

Then I thought that maybe Abs is ready for camp. Maybe I should rephrase that as in I am not sure if camp is ready for Abs! I pulled up the quiz they offer to see if your daughter is ready and here are some of the questions:

Do you enjoy outdoor activities like hikes, sports, and sleeping in a tent?
Can you survive without a radio, TV, video games, air conditioner, and a phone?
Can you see daddy long legs, bugs, or armadillos without running around shrieking?
Can you make your own bed and keep track of your own things?
Do you like to meet new people and do things with other girls, not just your best friends?
Do you enjoy sleeping outside and listening to the sounds of nature?
Do you like to help plan activities and the things you do?
Are you ready to sleep in a tent or cabin with other girls knowing your counselor is in a nearby cabin?
Are you willing to help with kapers (camp responsibilities) like sweeping, setting tables and picking up trash?

My favorite is the running around shrieking! They didn't ask if she likes to play in mud, create messes, or wreak havoc on everything around her, so maybe she is ready?

Egg Whites

Who knew it would become such a pain?

Junior is allergic to egg whites and now they are telling me that I need to enroll him in EFMP because of that. I explained that it is just plain eggs I don't want him eating, he can eat anything that is made with eggs.

So this means another doctor visit, another set of paperwork and another "hearing".

Are they seriously going to offer me 16 free hours of respite care for an egg white allergy? And they are offering it for Abs. Wonder what they will give me for Emily and her gimpy foot?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Collectible Car of the Year

NY Times recently had a contest to determine who owned the most collectible car this year. Over 558 contestants entered their cars ranging from muscle cars to Triumphs to in between and after 4500 votes, a black 1959 Triumph TR3A was declared the winner.

Most people my age probably haven't heard of a Triumph, but they hold a special place in my family's hearts.

My parents met on a blind date and had a whirlwind courtship which ended in a proposal a few weeks after meeting. My dad returned to California and made plans to come back in a few months and marry my mom. While he was back in CA, my dad went out and bought a white Triumph TR4 and then called to tell his future bride. (My dad was worried if he didn't get one then he might never get one!) My mom told him he could do what he wanted but she told me that inside she was screaming "Alright!!". That little Triumph provided hours of enjoyment as they attended rallies and motorcrosses throughout Southern California.

When my parents left to go overseas they reluctantly sold their cherished Triumph. Fast forward many years later and four kids, I remember my dad taking us to see a Triumph that was for sale. The woman uncovered a white 1959 TR3A and my dad smiled. Of course he couldn't let on how much he wanted that little car, so he insisted that my brother and little sister and I push it up and down the driveway while we tried to get it running. I don't think we ever did. My dad managed a fair price (after a quick lesson about how the owner made a poor financial decision and it was costing her the car she loved, so we should think carefully before we made every decision involving money) the car was my dad's.
My dad had it restored and painted a fiery red since during the resoration it was found that the original color of the car had been red. (Also my mom's favorite color) My dad joined the Texas Triumph Register where he became involved in many aspects of the car club, with rallies and road trips being his specialty. My Dad would spend hours planning trips with the car club across the United States to attend different car shows and events. He loved that car.


After my dad was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, my siblings and I tried to come up with the perfect Christmas present for him in 2003. After contemplating numerous items we came up with the idea that we should contact Triumph clubs around the world to see if we could buy tshirts or other memorabilia. Using the internet and all the free time I had since my husband was deployed, I set out to find a tshirt or two. I wrote several emails explaining the situation and what my siblings and I were trying to do. The response I got was not what I expected at all. Triumph car clubs around the world sent us tshirts, hats, fleece jackets, bumper stickers, awards, medallions, collectibles and memorabilia without hesitation and at no cost--Georgia, Canada, South Africa, Italy, England, Arizona, California, and many, many, many more. We carefully wrapped each piece individually and my father spent Christmas morning amazed at the gift these people had given him.

Unfortunately as my father fought a battle with cancer, his little Triumph was not driven as often nor as hard as it once had been. I had always wanted to drive it but had never been given the opportunity. One weekend my dad took me out and let me drive. We drove around his retirement community and he kept telling me "Go faster! It's made to drive. Make her go!". I told him after decades of waiting to drive it, I was nervous!! But with the top down and the sun up, my dad and I drove that little red sports car and every care in the world was forgotten.


When my father passed away, his friends showed up in their Triumphs to attend the service. A fitting tribute to my dad.



The legacy of the Triumph in our family lives on as Em plans to be delivered to her college dorm riding inside that little red sports car.

Deployment Freebies

We went this morning (Gunner had a 4 day weekend--I am loving them being off on Tuesday now instead of Friday!) to get Junior's daycare arranged at the center. While there I showed his deployment orders and they told me about all the free things we get starting now.

Junior gets a 20% discount on his full time daycare bill and this will carry over to the girls too when they need to go to the summer camp because I have class all summer. That saves me about $600 this summer! WOOHOO!

Each of the kids gets 16 free hours of daycare a month. They have Friday and Saturday getaways. This also applies for the girls for after school care, so I can use it when Abs starts her biofeedback and I was stressing about what to do with Em during that time.

Each child gets to play 2 sports a year for free. (It cost us $66+ to register the girls for soccer.)

They also get 4 free Skies Unlimited classes (up to 8 weeks long) for free.

Re-enrolling the kids will be free, so that's a $40 savings.

10 free hours of daycare per child during R&R.

There are also several emergency provisions in place, which I will hopefully never have to move and I do have my mom as a backup as well.

The lady who got me setup with all this stuff was great, but when I asked who was footing the bill for this, she said eventually it will come back to bite us. I'm sure it will as that is a huge source of revenue that is now being depleted. Apparently it is not the same at every installation, but since Fort Hood is the largest they are able to do this. I can't imagine that I will be using everything as I like to hang out with my children, but it is nice to know the options are there in case an emergency arises.

Monday, February 18, 2008

When does it get better?


Abs is going to be 7 next month. She has always been one of those kids that you have to watch almost constantly. Over the past year or so I thought she was improving and could be trusted. I guess at least the things she does now don't cause as much of a mess as they used to.


At our old house I had a brand new gallon of olive oil that I had purchased from Sam's. I lost it when I ran to the bathroom and she figured out how to open it and she emptied it on the kitchen floor. Then there was the Sam's size box of detergent she poured out. Thank goodness that was powder. She once decorated the white cabinets with a lime green sharpie, and there's always the story of how my husband left out the desitin and she painted herself white and the olive green couch while I took a shower for 5 minutes. Desitin doesn't come out of furniture, and it take a while to disappear from your hair too. (Mind you she did this about 10 minutes before we were to leave to go to a Thanksgiving feast at Em's school. Timing is everything.)


Abs then went through the lotion in the hair stage. She found a permanent green stamp pad and smeared it all over her body because she wanted to be a green smurf. She was banned from markers because she used to color her body with them. She's cut her own hair numerous times and even let one of her friends take a huge chunk out. When she was in diapers she used to smear poop all over her body, clothes and room during nap time. (Nap time was cancelled after a few times of that mess) She dumped out a bottle of shampoo into the carpet in housing. There was the time she managed to find a pen and make it explode and she smeared it all over herself, her bed and wrote her name on her antique dresser.


These are just the things I can think of off the top of my head that my cute darling daughter does in her spare time.


Today Gunner took Em and Junior to the commissary and I had just returned home from the gym and wanted to shower. I usually keep a few dinosaur movies on DVR to entertain her in cases like this so she started to watch one about the T-Rex Sue. I started my water and realized I had forgotten to get some towels so as I headed to the linen closet I heard Abbie in the kitchen. Knowing she was up to something I came racing down the hallway and Abbie was running back to the couch to resume her movie. This all happened in about 1 minute. I asked her what she had been up to and she told me "Nothing Mommy!". I went into the kitchen to find a HUGE pile of salt on the floor.


I went back into the living room and tried to talk to her.

Me: Abs, there's a pile of salt on the floor.

Abs: Really, how did that get there?

Me: Ummmmm......(at this point I am thinking that someone else might have actually had something to do with it, but then I face reality). Why did you do it?

Abs: I didn't do anything.

Me: Come on Abs, why did you do it.

Abs: Wasn't me.

(Heidi recommended a book a while back and I got it and actually remembered that there was something about asking questions in there, I really should finish reading it, but I at least got this part down.)

Me: What happened Abs? (yeah it was a simple change of words, but it worked)

Abs: Oh I spilt a little bit of water and I knew that salt would absorb it so I sprinkled a little on the water.

(There was no water on the floor that I saw)


Me: Thanks for letting me know, let's go clean it up.


So we cleaned up the mess together, and I was relieved that it wasn't olive oil or toothpaste (that was last week in the hallway when she was supposed to be sleeping).


I did get my shower without anymore trouble, but I will be reading that book again tonight!