Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Good Military Spouse Video

Watch it the whole way through....

Let me know what you think.  I had to get over his grammar, but the message was clear.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas

Although I never really got into the Christmas spirit this year, I did make sure that the kids had a great time.

How could Santa go wrong with electric guitars?  I guess that means lessons need to be in the works.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, his pajama top is too small, his bottoms don't match.....it's how we roll.


I finally did it and got the girls each a dsi for Christmas.  
One of the few pictures I managed to catch of Em.

I used the Tag reader in my classroom, but the school had a set.  I scored on the price and got it for less than $30 with 12 books and the pen!  Score!  (Oh, and I got one DSI for free.  Just call me a bargain shopper.)
The kids were happy with everything they got.  I even got a present.  Abs went shopping in Em's room and had wrapped something up for me.....something Em had just received from her teacher a few days earlier.  Never a dull moment with that kid.

After presents, I ran over to the DFAC to see what the hours were for Christmas dinner.

They weren't serving.

At least Denny's was hopping!  We had a friend and her son join us for dinner, and as long as I wasn't cooking, I really didn't care where we ate.

One more holiday down, and a day closer to Gunner coming home.  Slowly but surely.....trash goes out tomorrow night!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Cards

So I haven't finished sending out all the Christmas cards, because, well, just because.  I will eventually get them out, so don't look if you know you are missing one.  Of course if you are not looking then send me your address immediately!

Not a great shot of the card, but you get the idea.  I found them on etsy.  How can you not like that place?

For all the new readers, there's always last years card that still makes me smile every time I see it (drawn by Abs).


While Christmas is the hardest time to have Gunner gone, at least I know that he took the place of someone who missed last Christmas and that Soldier gets to be home this year.  Next year, he's all ours.  

Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

For your reading pleasure (and yes I know parts don't rhyme, but I should be filling stockings right now instead of worrying about rhyming words):

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, except for a military spouse;

The stockings were hung by 550 cord, with care,

In hopes that skype would work and her husband could be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of their dad in camo, danced in their heads;

And me in his sweats, and Army crap,

Had just settled down with lots of presents to wrap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the floor to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the crappy mini blinds and hoped no Soldier did crash.

The moon on the grass that I was glad did not grow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to housing below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature tank, and eight tiny rear-deer’s,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be Sgt. Nick.

More rapid than deployments, his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Alpha! now, Bravo! now, Charlie and Delta!

On, Headquarters! on Scouts! on, S-2 and S-3!

To the top of the main gate! to the top of the wall!

Now convoy away! convoy away! convoy away all!"

As sand during a sandstorm does manage to fly,

When they meet with a desert, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the tank full of toys, and Sgt. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The stomping and clomping of each combat boot.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Through the mail slot Sgt. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in camo, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all pressed with fine spitshined black boots;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a Soldier just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they looked tired! his dimples were there,

But through it all, his sadness he did wear.

His strong mouth was quiet as he wondered how,

She managed to do it without sweat on her brow;

The single white envelope he held tight in his hand,

Was the first thing he set down, all covered with sand;
A single letter sent home, written straight from the heart,
Even if the military did keep them apart.

He was skinny and strong, silent and stealth,

No danger of stealing, as he was used to no wealth;

A wink of his eye and a nod of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And turning and smiling, he straightened his clothes

And giving a salute, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his tank, to his convoy gave a yell,

And away they all flew like a bat out of hell.
But I heard him call cadence as he drove out of sight
Remember he loves you he’ll call you tonight.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I have three children nestled in bed, while visions of their dad, dance in their head.

We hung the stockings from the staircase with 550 cord.  (What military family doesn't love 550 cord?)

Flat Daddy is guarding the tree and the kids also wanted to put him up so that Santa would be reminded about all the dads that are missing Christmas morning.  (So I might have cried at that statement)
Cookies and milk and salsa and chips were left out for Santa. (You have to leave out at least a few German cookies!)
Abs drew a picture of Santa with specific instructions on whose stocking was whose.  Remember the 4 stockings?  Ummmm....yeah.....they gave Sammy one, but not me.  LOL
I think the car was left by Junior because he still isn't potty trained and he was trying to bribe Santa.  Of course Junior had to draw a picture too...

The best present of all came tonight when Gunner got on the webcam and sent pictures of himself.

I miss him.  His one request was for me to take a ton of pictures on Christmas morning.  Guess who can't find the battery charger or the flip.  Luckily I found a backup camera and will use that.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Cheer?

All the presents are wrapped, and in keeping with tradition, they will love everything that they are getting.  Thankfully the zhu zhu pets were not as rare as last Christmas, and I even got the kung zhu model.  Junior got one at the USO party and has been carrying it around like a pet.  Abs has been begging for one since last year, so I managed to score one.  

My in-laws had their presents here way before I was even done shopping, and today the elusive gift basket they got me was finally received.  I am not a big of Fed Ex right now, but at least the product arrived.  It's a huge basket filled with wine, godiva chocolates, truffles, and lots of other good stuff.  After the last few months I have had, it was nice to receive.

The Santa presents are ready to be put out--do you wrap yours or just put them out?  We used to wrap them, but now I just put them out for them to play with once they wake up.  

Knock on wood, even Abbie, has never gotten up early on Christmas morning.  I probably just jinxed that though.

Tonight I went to dinner with my friend Erin, then to the movies, and out for a drink.  It was nice to get out of the house sans children for once, before the holiday chaos ensues.  Plus it was low key, which is just what I needed, since we are both hitting crossfit in the morning.  We are doing the "Twelve Days of Christmas".......I just checked the website, and this workout will makeup for us not working out Christmas Day.  Ouch!

So tonight I go to bed happy, with a lot less to worry about over the next 48 hours than I thought.  I do have to hit the commissary, but Abs and Junior like to help, so hopefully it won't be too bad.  

I'm trying to come up with some snack foods to serve on Christmas day before our DFAC dinner.  Any suggestions?  I am really craving brie right now, so that will have to be on the list.

While Christmas is never the same when Gunner is gone, I am glad that I have a husband that loves me unconditionally, treasures his children, and can still make me smile from halfway around the world.  Life is good.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Shout-Outs

Every month or so, the Brigade posts shout-outs from down range.


I watch them.  I look for Gunner.  He's never there.


On FB the other day I wrote:
ABW:  Before I have to be thoroughly depressed that I watch another series of "shout-outs" and you aren't on there, let me know if you ever do one!


Gunner:  Like a camera crew is going to give up their safety to come out to my little chunk of the war.


I should give up, but I noticed they posted a new one.  


I watched it, and no matter what, even if I don't know the guys, they still get me.  I think of all the people left behind.  All the people spending Christmas without their Soldier this year.  It just makes me sad.


But then they post the "bloopers" and I laugh and laugh.  


So....does your brigade, unit, or whatever you want to call it do the shout-outs?  Has your husband ever done one?  I thought for sure after 5 years away from us, someone would want to tape him!


Funny story, before we had yahoo and instant messanger, when the guys lived in tents during the deployment in 2003, they used to video tape the families at the company.  The girls were 5 and 2, and we got two minutes to talk to the video camera and then clear out for the next family to tape their message.


I showed up with Em and Abs in full dressup garb (their idea).....complete with boas.  Once the taping started, we were at a loss as to what to do for two minutes, so I decided that they should sing the ABC's.  


I'm holding them, one on each leg, boas fully visible, and the singing begins.


A B C D....the girls are sharing the ONE microphone.
EFGHIJ.....the girls are starting to fight over the microphone.
KLMONP....the war has begun.
QRSTUV.....the feathers from the boas are now flying around us as I try to grab the microphone and continue singing.
WXY and Z....the war begins again, I'm grabbing the microphone, feathers still flying, both girls screaming, me singing, and we end with me begging for him to return.


Gunner said he had never laughed so hard in his life.  He wasn't looking for the perfect message, but he did catch a glimpse of his "perfect" family.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sixteen Years




That's how long the Army Gunner and I have been married, today.

SIXTEEN!  That's almost longer than I lived at home!

We started at Fort Hood, then to Germany, to Fort Lewis, WA, to Fort Hood, then to Fort Carson, CO.

We had three children along the way (one at each duty station, so Gunner wised up and at this place we adopted a dog).

We are on our FIFTH year long deployment, although this last one will be cut short a few months due to his retirement.

We've lost all of our grandparents, and my dad.

I won't even count the number of times he went to the field, JRTC, TDY, or to NTC during our married life.

We've traveled.

We've laughed.

We've cried.

We've made it work.


I'm lucky to have found him on a chance meeting.  

I'm lucky he called the next day--he asked for my number, and I gave it to him, but told him that he couldn't say my name correctly, I would hang up.  Not only did he call exactly when he said he would (a man after my heart), but he pronounced my name correctly.  Whew.

I'm lucky that he loves me. 

(But he better admit, he's pretty damn lucky too!)


Thanks Gunner for a great start with the Army, and a great future WITHOUT THE ARMY!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

All I Want for Christmas

Well besides a non-crappy school, which would be totally opposite of the CRAPPY one they go to now....(more on that later)...

I'd like:


I went into Target and asked for this type of underwear and she couldn't believe that anyone would make it or wear it.  She obviously didn't workout!

I definitely need some of this soap:


ETSY can be my downfall some days.  I managed to find dog holiday butt covers.  Really?

I need a new tea kettle:

If you can throw in an educational attorney for me to fight the idiots at Ab's school, that would really be a blessing.  Cause apparently people that are less educated than me think that they can decide my child's future with their poor judgement.

If that doesn't work, I'll take:

a week vacation sans everyone.  I had a friend that vacationed at a monastery that didn't allow talking.  I want to go there.

A massage.

A pedicure.

A break.

A case of Two Buck Chuck.

A garage cleaning service.

Gunner home.

A girl can dream can't she?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Disgusted

That's how I feel when I read what people have written about the Sears Heroes at Home Gift Registry, on facebook.

It's a program that they run, people donate, and gift cards are sent out to people who registered and qualified for the program.

They don't have to do it.  It's not something you should count on for Christmas.  It sure as heck doesn't let you bad mouth Sears or the program just because you didn't get it.

Really, they won't have a Christmas this year?  Do you plan ahead?  Have you contacted your FRG?  There are tons of programs put on by organizations that supply Christmas presents to military families that need help.  Operation Homefront does a huge program too.

Most of the comments on facebook have been removed by the administrator of the page, but it was one wife after another bad mouthing anything and everything related to it.  Then there were those that complained because they didn't get as much money as last year on the first gift card, and they were pissed.  Really?

It's an embarrassment.  It's sad to say, but I hope that Sears does away with the program, because why should people give money to support the families when so many are sniveling little bitches?  Get a job, an education, and take care of your own families people, and quit complaining about what YOU think you are entitled to.

To Sears, thank you for making this program happen, taking the time, energy and money to run the program (which can't be easy with all those sniveling little people calling all the time and bitching), and for making some military families life easier for providing this program.  I for one appreciate all that you do to support the troops.

I'm in a crappy mood tonight, can you tell?


Monday, December 13, 2010

Regrouping

I ordered more presents, but have yet to wrap one.  I did have a friend that offered to come over and wrap with me, while we drink wine.  That I might be able to handle!

I hired an advocate so I can work towards getting an IEP for my Abs.

Junior wore underwear to hourly care this morning and stayed dry.  (Cross your fingers and everything else that you can!)

I started addressing Christmas cards.

The house is clean.

I did my crossfit today.

It's 66 degrees and I am in a tshirt and sandals.  Heaven.

I have a Christmas party to go to tonight, and while I have no desire to go, I am trying to talk myself into it.

I'll overlook that there are piles of laundry in the hallway upstairs, that I pulled the front of a drawer off of the shrunk, and that the girls start Christmas break this friday until January 5th.  (Seems awfully long to me!)

We have snow possibly coming in a few days, my mom might visit after Christmas, and while the school wants to argue with me over the law, our new advocate helped write the law and is ready to go to bat for Abs.

I've decided that my outlook always changes on Monday because I put Junior in hourly and have my workout and some time to myself.  I'm never productive, but that's okay, every once in a while we need to regroup.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Slump--Need Help!

I need your best advice.  I don't ask for help much, but I am finally admitting I need it.

I have no holiday spirit.  I bought a few gifts, but I just can't bring myself to leave the house and do anything (other than crossfit).  I was supposed to go to a dinner tonight put on by Operation Homefront, and ordering pizza sounded like more fun.

It didn't help that I am apparently at war with Abbie's school.  I have hired an advocate, and she is going to save my sanity I think.

I feel like the last month I have been put through the wringer and then doused in ice cold water a half dozen times for good measure.

My question to you.....how do you get out of the holiday slump when your Servicemember is deployed?  The last 4 times he was deployed over Christmas, I was on top of my game.  This time.....not so much.

The kids are excited about Christmas, but there is nothing under the tree because I can't even bear to wrap presents this year.  So let me know how to snap out of it and get it together, I could really use the help this year.  I guess 5 Christmases alone is my breaking point?

Funny Abs story--Jr wanted to watch Dora, and Em was less than excited and exited the room.  Abs proclaimed "I may be too old for Dora, but I have a soft spot for Spanish people."  It reminded me of when we were at Epcot this past summer.  We wanted to ride the Test Track cars, and it was faster to go as a single rider, but then you can't ride with your family.  Not a big deal since the girls are older and Grandma was watching Junior.  Abs got placed in a car full of big burly hispanic guys talking in Spanish.  She was so excited, yelled out "Hola" to them, and they were immediately smitten by the pint size gringo speaking to them in Spanish and were so nice to her during the ride, even when she screamed.  If you've heard her scream, then I assure you, the guys should have qualified for some military award!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Visit To Santa

The clinic where Abs receives OT a million times a week, decided to have pictures with Santa today.  Dealing with kids with special needs, sensory issues (like Abs), or children with an assortment of other struggles, it makes it hard to get in line at the mall, with all the lights and sounds that can affect them more than the normal child.

It can be sensory overload for some (like Abs) and so we just opt to not do it.  We jumped at the chance to reserve a slot, have a bit of time with Santa, and he played his part well and talked to each of the kids (well except Em, who cringed at the thought of seeing Santa).

Santa invited Abs to sit on the arm of the chair.  She told him she wasn't allowed to sit there, but he finally convinced her it was okay this one time.



I managed to get Em to sneak in for one picture.  Oh the joys of having a teenager in the house!

Junior was asking Santa if he was on the naughty list. He must not have gotten the memo that I had to change dirty pants several times today.  Ugh.


I'm hoping that their photographer got a better shot than I did! 

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Winner Is....

The TWO winners of the Hallmark Recordable Storybooks are......


I loved hearing all your stories, but I used the random number generator, which I still can't figure out how to post on here.  I should probably ask my daughter and she would be able to do it in no time at all.

If these two can please send me an email, I'll forward your information on so that your books can be on their way (although I don't know about delivery to Turkey before Christmas!).


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Twas the Night Before Christmas...(Giveaway!!!)

I didn't even know that they had recordable story books, but then the thought of venturing out to the mall, with three children in tow, just seems overwhelming before it even begins.

Hallmark sent me a sample of The the Night Before Christmas, recordable story book, to try out.

My original intention was to send the book to Gunner to tape for the kids.

The problem with this were:
   1.  He doesn't get his mail in a timely manner, in fact on post on fb was "Gunner thinks the Taliban is stealing his mail."
   2.  It would have to be relatively quiet.
   3.  I would have to go to the post office.  (This is yet another one of those overwhelming tasks for me)
   4.  Would I get it back from Gunner?

I decided to bypass Gunner this time, and wait for him to do one when he gets home.  (Sorry babe!)

My mom was staying on a week after she got back from Japan with Emily (or Emily got back from Japan with my mom), so I asked her to record it one day while I was at crossfit.  (Yes, I am still hopelessly addicted)

Recordable Storybooks feature voice-capture technology that records the reader’s voice, which is then captured within the Storybook. When a page is turned, the book automatically plays the text on that page in the reader’s voice. It’s a great way to capture a special moment that can be shared with a child over and over again. And since the recording lasts for the life of the book, it can also serve as a lasting memento of a loved one who is away because of duty or other circumstances.

I didn't get a shot of her taping it, but she said it was easy, very user-friendly, and took no time at all.  After the recording is done, you have to use a screwdriver to remove the battery/speaker area, and "lock" the recording so the kids can't accidentally erase it.  A very nice feature, but meant I had to track down a screwdriver, which is no easy feat with one Abs in the house.

Junior got the first peak at it, and was hooked.


He was so excited to hear Grandma read him the story.  Let's be honest, at this age, he wants the same stories over and over and over again.

He kept reading it.

He continued time and time and time and time and time again.  Finally after about the hundredth time, my mom had him put it away till she left to go home.

They have so many different stories to choose from here.  My dad passed away 4 1/2 years ago, what I wouldn't do to have a recording of him for the kids.  The story Guess How Much I Love You is a favorite in our house, and I would have loved to have had that recorded by their dad before he left for Afghanistan.

So........

Hallmark has agreed to give TWO Christmas recordable storybooks out to my readers!!!  Imagine being able to have your husband record the story for this Christmas while he is home, and to have available to the kids next Christmas while he is overseas.

Entering is easy, and you just need to tell me about your favorite Christmas memory!  I'll randomly draw a winner on Monday, December 6th.  Good luck!

Also, be sure to check out the following video, and around the 2 minute mark is a military family from North Carolina that used the recordable storybooks in their family!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful?

Besides my love of the DFAC--I offered to take the kids there tonight, and they declined--I am thankful that Gunner is on the other side of the world tonight.

If anyone knows me, I don't handle sick well.  While I am sad that he is gone, sick, and having to work, I am thankful that won't lead to an additional 4 people for me to clean up after.

Is that wrong?  Fortunately he loves me and laughs when I tell him things like this.

I think we will need to add immodium, pepto, and some chicken soup to his next package.  What do you send your husband when he is sick so far away?  (I really do feel horrible that he is sick.)

Also, we have a date for his return.  He will get to come home early, and he will be out of the Army sooner than I expected.  Total freakout has begun.  More on that later though.

One more thing I am thankful for????  That Sammy the dog has not become violently ill (knock on wood) from the amount of cornbread that he ingested.  It's the small things around here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm in love....

I did crossfit first thing this morning, and then we headed to the DFAC for our Thanksgiving dinner.  The place was beautiful, huge, packed, and most of all, filled with GREAT food.

I admit, I am in love with the DFAC.

Did I mention the food was great?  Maybe it was because I didn't have to cook it or look at it over the next few days and try to rearrange it into something else my children would eat.

I had suckling pig, prime rib, turkey, king crab legs, shrimp......I had to try all the meats.

There were tons of veggies.

My pecan pie, while not like my mama makes it, it was still good.

The kids ate.

The atmosphere was festive.

The bigwigs were out.

The people were nice.

Most of all, it cost us $7.  SEVEN DOLLARS!

I will never ever, and I mean never ever, cook Thanksgiving dinner again (for the record, I can't really cook and surprisingly have made it 38 years without having to cook a turkey).  I already asked Gunner if they served Christmas dinner, because I want to make sure we hit that too.

I wonder if they would notice if I showed up every night for dinner.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas Cards

How in the world can it be time for Christmas already?  Don't get me started on how I walk the dog and see half the people have Christmas trees up.  I'm never that together, and especially when Gunner is gone playing GI Joe halfway around the world.

Operation Gratitude has come out with a series of Christmas cards, that are being offered through CafePress.  Operation Gratitude is a non-profit organization that sends packages to troops that are deployed.   How can I not support an organization like that?

I was contacted to review some of their Christmas cards that are being offered this year, with a percentage of the proceeds to benefit Operation Gratitude.

They sent me a dozen to sample, and I love them!  Of course it helps that I have such a cute subject to include on them.

This picture was taken when Gunner was deployed the second time to Iraq.  He returned home two days before Junior was born on R&R, left when he was 13 days old, and then resurfaced when Junior was almost 6 months.

If you are looking for Christmas cards this year, make sure you check them out here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cleaning House

My mom is still here visiting, and today we tackled Ab's room.  What a mess.

While we are cleaning, she is cooking, which means I am eating what I don't usually eat.

It won't counteract it all, but I am hitting crossfit 5 times a week right now (well that and Abs doesn't have OT one morning like she usually does).

Not a great picture, but I was about to do half a million squats.....or at least that is what it felt like.

Have you seen the new plans that they want to have for retirement?  Now they want to change them to apply to everyone with less than 15 years of service.  We won't fall into that category, but I would be upset.  I'm looking forward to that retirement check coming in every month.  We won't be using it to live off of (I hope!), but one of the main reasons Gunner stayed in was for the retirement pay....It just frustrates me because it does affect a lot of people that I know.

I am switching my plan on MyCaa.  We'll see if it gets approved.  I need to use it up before Gunner retires.  I wasn't aware of that little caveat, but rest assured I'll put it to good use.

Oh, and we have ONE more IM appointment this week and then we are done!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

War Shamoor

I think one of the hardest things about being a military spouse is not hearing from your Soldier.

I was miserable about a week, but not about to complain since it had been a month for a friend.

How long do you go?  When the war first started, the first 6 months, we had 3 ten minute phone conversations during that time.  That was hard.

While I will never complain about not hearing from him too loudly, I still miss him terribly.

Gunner's facebook status tonight.....

Gunner "is just thinking of home".

Sometimes I like to pretend that I have it harder.  I don't get packages, bills are all that come in the mail, and seriously, I have the three kids.  There's crossfit, cooking, cleaning, laundry, appointments, schoolwork, potty training, changing diapers because someone refuses to potty train, and  a million other things.

On the other hand, while I deal with snow, crazy drivers, walking the dog in the cold, and doing mountains of laundry.......I am not going through what he is, or even close.  But, cause there's always a but.....he loves his job.  (Mine's not so bad either of course, but Junior potty training would make my job much, much, much, much better)

While no one likes to be deployed, how many of your husbands love what they do?

He keeps telling me that one day he will have to grow up and quit playing GI Joe.  Heck, every Halloween he was a Soldier when he was growing up.  So what he once pretended, he has been living for the last 23 years.

But soon it will end.

In the meantime, if the war could slow down every once in a while to let me GI Joe call, I would really appreciate it...

What's the hardest part of deployment for you?

Monday, November 15, 2010

So much...

for blogging every day in November.

Em is home from Japan and is working hard to catch up.  She had a great time and has beautiful pictures and gifts for us.  I missed her.  A lot.

Gunner has been busy with everything going on in his neck of the woods.  Enough to give anyone gray hair.

He ended the day by being doused with fuel during a refueling (obviously).  Thankfully he had his eye pro on.  That with full battle rattle, I bet the guy is ready to come home.

No dates for R&R, kind of depends on the whole retirement thing.

I'm worn out.  Tired.  Exhausted.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Interactive Metronome

I love the program, and it really helps Abs.

Today I thought we had our last session, but they extended it another week, so we have another three sessions.

That's an additional 4.5 hours of sitting there and waiting.

I know it helps, but another 4.5 hours?  Ugh.

On the bright side, the two ladies that have kids in the program at the same time, are wonderful to sit there and talk with.

The OT is really recommending that we go gluten free for Abs.  We have tried it, but with Gunner gone, it's so much more difficult making sure that I have a well cooked meal, and not to mention when you have 6 appointments a week, it cuts into what you are able to do.

She understands, but thinks Abs will really benefit from it.  I guess I will start in January and try to make it happen.

After OT this morning, Sam's, and a short nap, we were just hanging out.

I could have cleaned since Em and my mom come back tomorrow.

Instead I loaded up the car and took the kids to the outlet mall.  Mama needed new jeans.

Junior was great, and Abs was less than thrilled to be dragged around from store to store.  Luckily at the last store she found a great pair of boots--imitation uggs in patent leather.  Her face lit up.  I couldn't say no, they were so "Abs".

I got those, and found some great deals at The Children's Place.  $2.99 for halloween pajamas....who really cares what they sleep in?  Em spent almost a year sleeping in a red tutu.  I don't know how she was even comfortable, but she loved that drippy thing.

I'm excited to see Em tomorrow and hear all about her trip.

Oh, while we were at Sam's, Junior saw some older lady and got really excited.  He was waving and telling me it was the lady who had to watch him in his "afternoon-in preschool" as he calls it.  She came over and introduced herself as the behavioral therapist that would be working with him, and Junior was so ecstatic.  I think they'll be a good fit.

I had the following conversation with Junior today:

Me:  I don't think Santa Claus visits little boys who aren't potty trained.
Junior looked shocked.
Jr:  Really?
Me:  Yep, we should probably work on that.
Jr:  Or not.
Me:  You don't want Santa to visit?
Jr:  He's got a busy night, it'll be okay if he takes care of all the other little boys that are potty trained, he can get me next year.

I have officially given up on potty training.  He did insist on getting some new underwear at Gap though, so maybe there is hope down the road...

Friday, November 12, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In (a little late)


I was just going to say screw it and not blog today, but I am trying to do it.  Just had a rough day.  I at least hit crossfit 5 times this week.  It's starting to be my saving grace.

1.  Were you named after anyone?  Nope, not that I know of.  Queen Elizabeth was visiting Australia when I was born, so that is my middle name.  I always knew I had a little bit of royalty.

2.  What color, if any, are your toenails usually painted?  If I am paying someone to do my toenails, I am going to make them work, and I get french tips.  I'm not much of a color person, and I never have my nails painted.  If I paint my nails, on that rare occasion, they are a maroonish color.  (Don't let that make you think there is any Aggie in me!)

3.  How do you flush a public toilet?  Hands?  Feet?  Something else?  I am a germaphobic person.  I use my foot or toilet paper to do it, then wash my hands, turn off the water with a paper towel, use the paper towel to open the door, and I still sanitize.  It's okay, I know it's weird.

4.  When you were a little kid, which TV character did you have a crush on?  Are you ready for this?  Ricky Schroeder in Silver Spoons.  My sister and I used to watch that show all the time.

5.  Let's say you had to lose one of your five senses.  Which one would you choose and why?  Definitely smell.  Why?  Because then maybe I wouldn't smell that Junior pooped in his pants and it would bother him.  My first pregnancy with Em, my sense of smell made life awful.

There you have it, five interesting useless facts about me.

Time for bed, it's cold and we have OT bright and early in the morning.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

‎"On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind. " ~Dan Lipinski




Thank you to Gunner, my uncle, my FIL, my three brother-in-laws (Gunner is one of 4 boys, can you imagine?), my niece, and all of our friends.

Veteran's Day is also special to Gunner and I, because 17 years ago today, November 11th, we met.  He had a 4 day weekend, and I was introduced to him.  His big brown eyes, his scruffy face (hey, it was a 4 day weekend), and cute smile got me.  Never in a million years did I imagine my life would end up like this, by a chance meeting so many years ago.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Two Old Men


This picture reminds me of two old men...
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Life of a Circus Clown

I almost forgot to blog tonight, but this is a post I found saved under the drafts, so since it is cold and snowed tonight, plus we had OT till almost 8, it's all I have.....

Sometimes that's how I view my life.

I wouldn't trade these kiddos for anything.  They are so different, and there is always some sort of chaos going on.

Yesterday we went to a book reading on post through the "Tell Me a Story" event.  The parent to parent coalition finds some bigwig to read a book and then they talk about it with the kids.  At the end every family gets a free copy of the book.

It gets us out of the house, and goodness knows my kids love to read.  They had a visiting Zoomobile, a craft, and even discuss the book with the kiddos.

Since they were so well behaved, I surprised them with going out for ice cream.

Everything was still going smoothly, so I decided to check out Ross since I knew Em needed some sweaters for her trip to Japan.  We shopped for a while, and then it came time to try on clothes.

We had two carts--one for Junior and one for Abs, who was reading (and seriously, she just needs to be contained).  While I was trying on clothes, Em asked Abs if she would switch carts with Junior because his cart was so hard to steer.  She agreed, and Em was helping her out of the other cart when it started to tip.  Em got it straightened out and all was well.  I didn't hear anything about it.

Till later.....

After we had tried on clothes and meandered back to one rack to look at a few other things, the lady from the dressing room was hanging up clothes.  She talked to about 6 employees, about what a bad mother "that mother" had been, how she had to step in to "save the little girl", how some people "shouldn't be mothers", and on and on and on.

Okay at this point I don't even know that she is talking about me, but I turn to ask Em if there was an incident with the cart.  She said that there had been a small one, but that some lady overreacted.  During this time, my kids were sitting there quietly, and not being their usual selves.  I asked her to point out the lady and she showed me who it was.

I was fuming.  She was making this huge production for little old me.  Heck, my kids were well behaved at this point, she has no idea what they are capable of sometimes!  So I check out and ask for a manager.  I send Em to the car with the little ones, and I go over to the lady in question to read her name tag.  She asked me what I needed and I just turned and waited for the manager.

I explained the situation to the manager, who was furious.  Maybe it was all an act, but she seemed sincere, and she said she would handle it.  She told me she was the single mother of 4 kids, and no one deserved to be treated like that.

I felt better.  I left.  I hope I never see Cheryl again.

Do you ever find when you are out sometimes that people overreact?  Heck if my kids had been screaming, horsing around, or doing something they shouldn't have been, I would have walked out of the store.  For once, they weren't doing anything wrong.  Sure you can argue that Abbie shouldn't have been in the cart, but if she was reading and being calm and hanging out, what's the harm?  People need to take a second and look at the big picture.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday's Musings

To follow along with Em's adventures in Japan, read here.  Heated toilet seats?  I don't think I have ever seen one.  My 13 year old daughter has it good, really good.

Here is Em at the beginning of the journey.


Here is Em as of yesterday.

Which finally led to this...

It sounds like it could be what happened at Disneyworld this summer, a torn meniscus.  That took a while to heal, and I wish she wasn't in pain while she was so far away.

After a busy day of crossfit, OT, and making dinner, I learned the number to poison control.

I told Andrew it was time for his medicine (benadryl for his itching with the eczema), and he went to the kitchen to wait.  I ALWAYS put the medicine up.  Always.

I'm just thankful it was the benadryl I left out and not anything else.

I ran a towel up to Abs in the tub, then ran back downstairs to give him his medicine.  I started looking for it in the cabinet way above the sink, and he said it was in the trash.

Me:  Why is it in the trash?
Jr.  Because it was empty.
Me:  It wasn't empty, there was still some left.
Jr:  I finished it.
Me:  (starting to panic and cursing child proof caps that aren't childproof)  What do you mean finished it.
Jr:  I was helping.  I poured my own medicine.
Me:  How much did you take.
Jr.  One cup.
Me:  Which cup?

He pointed to a medicine cup.

I ran to the internet, googled poison control, and called.  The nurse was so nice and didn't make me feel bad while I was sitting there crying to her.  She asked for his weight and the type of medicine, and the concentration before she told me that it would have taken 15 tsp to be toxic.  There was no way there was that much in there.

By the time I got off, Junior was crying.  "I was just trying to help mommy, I'm so sorry".

Stories and a big hug and kiss seemed to make it all better, but don't think he wasn't passed out in less than 5 minutes when he got to bed.

Another busy day tomorrow, but I am hoping it is a little less stressful!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Home

What a long weekend.

We discovered that Erin's son gets carsick on winding roads.

I am thankful for leather seats.

We stayed at the Grand Lodge, and while the room was nice and cheap, the taxes on everything were not!

Had good, but cheap mexican food.

Abs slept through the night.

I heard from Gunner.

Sammy had a good time playing with Erin's dogs and he is wiped out.

I cleaned the car, the house, and am doing piles of laundry.

I'm ready for bed.  Night all.....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Headed Out...

I am headed out for a night away with my friend Erin and her son.  Destination...

Image from Google

We're going to Crested Butte.

I can't wait!  We haven't gone anywhere overnight since the big trip to Disneyworld, so it's time.

I wish Gunner and Em were here to enjoy it.

I still have to finish packing, clean out the car, get gas, and hope that the GPS knows the way.

I'm sure I'll take lots of pictures, and we are hoping that we can find some snow and get some sledding in, which means an additional 50 pounds of clothing and equipment. 

By the time you read this, hopefully we are on the road.  A road trip with a 2 year old, 4 year old, and an Abs.  It will be an adventure...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Junior & Potty Training

Those words shouldn't even go in the same title, as they just aren't happening.

The doctor told me to lay off, and I have been.  We went back to pullups and I haven't really pressed the issue.

Preschool doesn't feel the same way, and they put a lot of pressure on him.  One teacher in particular, who has to be all of 19, is on his case to potty train.  Bottom line......Junior can't stand her, and I don't push that either.

Well the lead teacher decided that my sweet boy needed to have a behavioral therapist come to observe him.

My response?  Bring.it.on.  I know he's stubborn (like his dad).

She came to observe him, and brought along three interns.

What did they find????  NADA.  She said he was so excited about learning, was inquisitive, curious, and even though he was wiggly, it was well within the typical range.  She said that he had already created techniques to control himself, which she doesn't see a lot of at 4 years old--i.e. putting his hands in his pockets to keep from taking something or sitting on his hands during circle time.  She thought he exhibited characteristics of a gifted child, and that she thought the pace of the preschool was probably too slow for him.  (I agree that I could probably find a better preschool other than the free one through the school district, but when your kiddo isn't potty trained, they aren't an option. Sigh.)

The behavioral therapist could not find anything wrong with him other than he was not potty trained, and that this one particular teacher had gotten into a power struggle with him over it, and it made it worse.

They (the teachers) insisted something was up.  They sent her in to observe again.  Once again, rave reviews, and now the behavioral therapist is in love with my boy.

So what's the end result?  She did suggest play therapy to get him to work on the potty training.  I looked at her like she must be smoking something if she thought I had time for another appointment with all of Abbie's stuff going on.  She is now coming to the house and working around my schedule.

Heck, if they can get him potty trained, I am all for it.  Goodness knows we have tried everything else, so maybe they can get through to him.  Plus the behavioral therapist is great, and I really like her.

Wish them luck, and wish me a diaper free time for the first time in about 13 years.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gunner


I'm missing this guy. A lot.
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Em goes to Japan

I figured I better set a post for tomorrow before Abs did something else I had to blog about.

Last Saturday I took my mom and Em to Denver to fly out on their Japanese adventure.  We stopped to feed the hungry lions, and my mom realized that she had forgotten her purse with their passports, id, tickets, etc.

We drove an hour and a half back, and thankfully my mom had her car and made the return trip and did the extended parking, because it was after 9 pm and I was pooped!  Abs and Junior wouldn't have made it much longer in the car either.

Now Em is safely in Japan, and from the sounds of it having the time of her life.  They immersed themselves in the teen scene the first two days, and have now started their cultural tour of Japan and will even spend 5 days in Okinawa.  I'm totally jealous!

What an amazing experience for her!  I also got some pictures of her eating with chopsticks, and she claims it is her strong fingers from texting that allow her to use them correctly.

I can't wait to hear more about her trip and see all the pictures.  Maybe one day I will make it over there!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Where do you shop?

For Abbie, I shop at the thrift stores, or only on deep clearance.  Why????

Last week it was a pair of jeans colored in black marker.

Today she got a "snag" and then there was a strong wind.  Glad I wasn't around for that.

Just to make sure you aren't seeing things...
I might take the suggestion of Annemarie and make her wear them for an entire week.  She informed me that she was sure her Grandma could fix them.

She was horrified that I made her wear them to OT tonight.  The two other parents that I sit with for an hour and a half, had never seen anything like it.  Welcome to my world.

I honestly wasn't surprised or shocked.

Tuesday she wore a pair of leggings with little "jewels" down each side of the leg.  She returned home with plain black leggings.  Knowing her, she was probably trying to convince the other kids that they were worth something and was trying to sell them.

One day she will do great things....one day she will do great things...one day she will do great things.....one day she will do great things...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Conversation with Abs

I hope everyone voted today.

Like I said on fb "Gunner has spent years away from us to make sure that other people could vote in their own countries, why wouldn't I take the time to vote in my country where I am safe?"

I took Junior with me to vote.  We stood in line while he whined "I don't want to go boating".  When he saw the voting booths though, he was hooked.  He asked for a ballot, so one of the workers gave him a piece of paper and he went to town.


He was making a "boating map".  To think that Tricare won't pay for speech for him.

Ummm...yes, that would be a pullup on the kiddo.  Don't judge!

Anyway, on the way home from Interactive Metrenome tonight we were listening to talk radio for election coverage.  (Sidenote, it was like my dad was in the car with me as Abs was whooping and hollering as they gave results.)

Then they broke in with some other news, and they started talking about a study related to men and women and depression.  Basically the results said that women are more depressed than men.

Abs:  They act like that is surprising.
Me who had been half listening:  What's surprising?
Abs:  That women are more depressed than women.
Me:  Why is that?
Abs:  They should be, they do more.
Me:  What do you mean do more? Daddy does a lot.
Abs:  Well they have to stay home and take care of the house and kids.  Let's be honest mommy, you do a lot of work.
Me:  You say it like it's a bad thing.
Abs:  Not bad at all, I think of it like we are back in the olden days.
Me:  Well times have changed, and lots of people work, and I think that they are talking about women in general, not stay at home moms.
Abs:  Well I'm just saying that I'd be depressed if I stayed home and had kids like you.

Great.

I questioned her more, and she admitted that she felt bad that I spent so much time taking her to appointments.  She told me "I'm glad you do it and all, but I wish you didn't have to and I was normal".

My heart broke.  We had a long talk on the way home (heck, it's a 40 minute drive), while she and her brother slurped down milkshakes.  We got home and I tucked her into bed and she told me "I'm lucky".

Then I hugged her, kissed her, and turned out the light.

Then I put up the three baby gates.  Normal is all relative.  I'll keep my normal.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm Still Alive!

With the introduction of Interactive Metronome into our schedule, we are never home.  Ever.

Add in Crossfit 4 times a week, orthodontist appointments, preschool dropoffs, occupational therapy appointments, and everything else under the sun, and we are home even less.

I decided that I was going to blog every day in November.  I've got a lot I need to say!  A lot of changes taking place.  Em is off traipsing around Japan for just over two weeks, so I am trying to keep Abs and Junior occupied.  Actually I spend my time lugging a box of toys to Ab's appointments so that Junior is kept occupied.

Tonight we went to see the play "If you give a cat a cookie".  The tickets were free, and they have free activities for the kids before the play starts.  Please tell me why I see this one lady from the FRG at all these functions, and every single time the kids are acting like wild animals.  I assured her that they only acted like this for her, even though they have no clue who she is and they probably didn't even notice that I was talking to someone.  Ugh.

The play was great, and they were both enthralled with the performance and participated as it was requested.

Gunner has dropped his retirement papers.  Do you know what this means?  If you do, please share as no one seems to be able to point him in the right direction of what is to happen next.  I totally forgot that he was in the reserves for years before I met him, so he has that time in addition to the 20 years of active duty.  He's done.  Well he will be by this time next year...actually sooner.

If you have any input on retirement, please let me know so we know what to expect!  Thanks!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When your daughter steals the camera



Not a very good picture, but the evil eyes worked. Well actually the little imp Abs told me that she was more concerned that they were going to pop out at her, and she didn't want her appetite ruined.
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Surrogacy

I know that this has been hit on several different sites lately, but I found something interesting this morning.

I stumbled on a blog of a Navy wife who has been a surrogate mother to 5 children, and also given birth to four of her own kids.

My boss, way back when, adopted a little boy, and the birth mother had insurance but wasn't able to care for the child.  There are people in the military that put their children up for adoption, should they be denied having their pregnancies paid for because the baby is going to someone else?

I mean heck, Tricare is paying for a ton of people to have babies, that don't need to be having babies.  I read one comment somewhere, where a woman said she would have done it at one point, but after 6 boys and no girls, she wouldn't be able to give up a girl.  That opens a whole other can of worms for me, so I won't go there.

Anyway, check out this blog.  Fertile Inspirations

So, is it surrogacy that you have a problem with or is it that Tricare is paying for a portion of it?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Crossfit

I admit, I did it.  I tried a crossfit class.

After 14 sessions with a personal trainer, I just was burnt out on everything to do with the gym.  I was looking for a change, and so I went to one class.

After that first class, I had that "exercise high".  I even had it when I couldn't walk for the next 4 days.  So once my personal training sessions were done, I quit the Y and signed up for crossfit.

I'm 9 sessions into it now, and I am not looking back.  I have been sore almost every day.  I go 4 times a week, and I get a lot done in one hour.

The coach is incredible, the other people are very encouraging, and even though I am weak as can be, I feel myself getting stronger every day.

Call me crazy, but I can already tell a difference in my abs, arms, and legs.  Let's add the butt in there too, based on the number of squats that we do daily!

Obviously my ultimate fitness goal is to be in shape, run races that I enjoy, do triathlons that I enjoy, and be able to get out and enjoy myself.  The coach knows my goals and is going to help me incorporate those things that I need in order to be successful in what I want to do.

I still can't do a pullup or a double under.  I may never be able to climb the rope, but I do know that I am getting stronger every day, I feel much better, and I'm a much happier person to be around when I get in a great workout.  I love the feeling of being smoked at the end of the hour and thinking that there is no way that I can walk to my car.

So consider me one of the crazies, because I can see why people love Crossfit, and count me as one of those too!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Wishing Rock

Junior has been returning from preschool with pockets full of rocks.  I didn't think anything about it since Abs is always hauling them around.

Today I picked him up and his pockets were stuffed full.

We started walking out towards the car, holding hands, and talking about his day.

Then Junior dropped my hand and picked up a tiny purplish rock and held it tightly in his dirty little palm.  (Seriously, anyone that has a boy that isn't always dirty, please tell me how you do it.)

I started buckling him in his carseat.

Me:  That's a pretty rock.
Junior:  This one will work.
Me:  Work?
Junior:  Yep, the other ones were broken.
Me:  You keep bringing home broken rocks?
Junior:  I didn't break them.

I got in the car.  Buckled up.  Started driving home.

I hear Junior in the backseat.

Junior:  I wish I wish with all my heart....for my daddy to come home.

He waited a few minutes and then I hear his tiny little voice.

Junior:  Oh man, this one is broken too.

My poor little guy....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Heroes at Home Wish Registry

This fills up quickly, so make sure you take advantage of it!

Sears collects donations for military families, and sends them out in an email to you, kind of like a gift card, and you take it into Sears, Land's End, Kmart, and a few other places to spend it.  We got two last year, and it was a great help during the holiday season!

Check it out here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

September 30 Day Challenges...October already?

I only had TWO 30 day challenges for September--eat vegetarian and clean the garage.

I thought that eating vegetarian would be the hard part.  I actually really loved it.  I did slip and have a few tamales and a hot dog when we were out and there was nothing else at the "hot dog dinner" and I was about to pass out from hunger.

Usually when I planned ahead, it all worked out.  What I found is that when I added back in red meat a the end of 30 days, I felt sick again.  I'm not saying I will never eat meat again, but I do know that I won't be eating it every day.  I'll stick with fish and all that other healthy stuff.  I haven't tried pork chops yet, but I am thinking about making some pulled pork today for dinner, so we will see how that goes.  (Update:  It's cold and I am getting sick, so I am having chicken and dumplings!)

The garage.....

It was a HUGE undertaking, and I am sad to report, that it is not done.  Once Abs had her issue crop up, I had to put cleaning on the back burner and focus more on her.  I did make a HUGE difference.  I can get into the garage from both sides, put in some shelves, and took over 6 carloads of stuff to the thrift store.  I moved piles of crap from one side to the other.  My mom will be coming at the end of the month to take Em to Japan and Okinawa for two weeks--her life is soooo rough--and I am passing on a lot of scrapbooking stuff to her, plus all the other "treasures" that she passed on to me, that I just can't deal with right now.

So what's in store for October???

I'll still be working on the garage.  It's already the 10th, so I can't say that I will blog every day.

October will be lame.  I'll continue working on getting Abs sleeping through the night, Junior potty trained, and  continue going to crossfit 4 times a week.

On the bright side, we are over 2 months into this deployment, but we unfortunately still have plenty of months left to get things done.






Still here...

Sometimes I don't even realize that I haven't blogged.  I write blogs in my head and then never take the time to actually get them online.

I composed a blog about a plate I made in second grade for my Grandma, and how it hit me one day, that it was symbolic of a relationship that wasn't there when I was 7 years old.  Now 31 years later, it's still not there, except I have exhausted myself trying to create a relationship.  Now that I have decided it's just not worth it to me to continue trying and getting hurt, I feel like a load has been lifted off my shoulders.  I'll leave it up to that person to figure it out and make an effort.

I've been busy with my darling little Abs.  Something happened, that was mindboggling, and we have been trying to sort through that and figure it all out.  She can never be easy.

I'm still potty training Junior.  Actually I have just given up.  He as a few boy pullups left, and when he gets out of those, he will have the choice of pink girly ones or boy underwear.  He is distraught about wearing pink on his bottom.  Maybe this will work.  If not, at least it's a different color to look at every time I change him.

Em turned 13!  I have a teenager!  It's hard to believe that she's not the tiny little baby back in Germany, who was 20 pounds at three months old and too pudgy to move or roll over.  Now she is 5'6", and is mistaken at the gate every time we go through.  The MP's smile at her and ask for her license.  I smile at them and tell them she is 12, and they stop looking.

More pictures to come, but we have hit the Botanical Gardens, the King Tut exhibit, ran in The Great Pumpkin 5k, and I tried out crossfit and loved it.  Em's had a sleepover, Abs started up Interactive Metronome again, and now that it is about to start snowing and freeze, my garden is in the process of growing.  Figures.

More to come!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Junior


Although he may never potty train and his face is never clean.....I still love him. I wish his sisters would let me take pictures....
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