Saturday, August 21, 2010

I need help!

I can ask this, because Gunner said he wasn't able to access my blog in Afghanistan.  Guess those people don't know good blog reading when they see it!

Anyway, Gunner's 40th birthday is next month.  (That totally blows me away since I met him when he was 23!!!)

I'm stumped as to what to get him, or what to do for him.

I'm trying to think of something that will mean a lot, not cost a lot, and will be a great memory.  Everyone wants to have a special 40th birthday, and while we are going to plan something special when he gets back--I'm thinking a trip somewhere really cool sans kids--I don't want him to feel totally alone on his birthday.

So all 332 of you, I am sure you can provide me one inspirational idea that I can do or a combination of things that I can do to make him feel special while is halfway around the world.  Give me your best please, I am at a total loss!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Just smile...

I think he said something to the effect of "Just smile and she'll quit taking our picture."

I seem to have a thousand pictures of each pose, which is one downfall of a digital camera.  They aren't all bad, they are just different, and I can't seem to get rid of them.

In my "Great Downsizing 2010", I am purging pictures too.  My delete button is getting a workout, and when I am not doing that, I am ridding my house of extra beer glasses (three and a half years in Germany gave me enough, I don't need any from the States!), belt buckles (Gunner doesn't even wear belt buckles, so why am I carting this around?), wax candles of animals (do I really need a walrus in my shrunk?), and more and more clothes.  If you were to visit my house now, you wouldn't know I come from a long line of hoarders!  I told Gunner he would be shocked.  

I haven't gotten to my overflowing garage (boy do I miss my basement), but my neighbor was telling me that because of our location there have been mice that have gotten in the garage.  Eek! My goal now is to have the garage purged before the first snow, so I can park my car inside.  Wish me luck, especially since I now have to figure out what to do with all these bikes we own.  I'm sure there is some kind of mounting system I can use.....any recommendations?

I've heard from Gunner several times over the last couple of days, and all is well in the land of the Taliban.  He's in a very small location, not so good conditions, and is still smiling.  The shower shack had been broken since he arrived, but it was fixed the other day so I am hoping he was finally able to shower.  I can't imagine sharing a tent with 23 other guys smelling that gross.  Another reason I did not join the Army, I like my showers.

I'm back on the workout bandwagon and am in the process of completing my training sessions that Gunner was unable to finish.  My abs are killing me.  I got a quick two mile run in the other day, and am hoping CYS doesn't drain me so I can get another few miles in today.  Tomorrow is the one mile Walk for the Fallen here, and in two weeks is the 5K for the Fallen.

My random question of the day--What's your favorite part of back to school?  Mine has to be picking them up after the first day and hearing what happened.  It's kind of like a Fox News ticker in that they tell me once and then repeat the same thing over and over.  It's my favorite time of the day.  
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Gunner has been gone half of Junior's life....goes to show you that it is quality, not quantity.
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Did Abs survive the first day of school?

When I went to parent/teacher conferences last week, they gave me a few assignments for each of the girls.  Abs had to fill a bag with things that represented her, decorate a composition notebook, and write a journal entry for her expectations for the first day.

She filled the bag with no problem.  She used the old fisher price little people to represent each member of her family, which was a cute idea.  She was looking for a GI Joe for her dad, but couldn't find one.  She included some pictures, and of course a few plastic dinosaurs.  

One down...two to go.

She didn't want to decorate the notebook, but finally relented.  

A journal entry?  She summed everything up in three sentences:
        I do not like school.  School is boring.  I do not have any expectations.

Great.  I could have sat there and made her write more, but I figured they needed to know what they were dealing with.  

I was worried about what I would hear when I picked her up.  The elementary school at the Air Force Academy, was awful.  She was miserable, which made the rest of us miserable.  

Today, she walked out with a smile on her face, a stack of books to read, and no homework.  They don't believe in sending home busy work, which is wonderful.  They did lots of team building activities, everything was hands on, and she said the difference was between night and day.  

Em had a great first day as well, and I just love, love, love her teacher.  She's going to be an amazing and inspiring teacher for those kids.

I have personal training tomorrow, and I can't wait.  Next up--30 day challenges!  

Oh, and today was trash day--3 down, 49 to go!  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Planning for the Holidays Military Style

Living so close to family last deployment, it was easy to decide what to do for the holidays.

My mom asked me the other day what I was doing for Thanksgiving.  Ummmm.....not driving to Texas with three kids and a dog by myself when there will probably be snow on the ground.

I told her she was welcome to come here, but that I was not going there.  

The girls only get a couple days off of school, so I'm thinking we will stay here, and at most go somewhere in Colorado for a change of scenery.  There's a big difference in a three hour drive than a 15 hour drive!  The thought of traveling for two days, staying one day and then traveling back two days, makes no sense.

That got me started on thinking about Christmas.  We'll probably do the same thing.  Maybe we will go skiing, or there is plenty to do around our current post, that we haven't done.

So my question to you--how do you handle the holidays while your husband is deployed?  Are you always the one doing the traveling?  Have you ever reached a point where it is just not worth the hassle of leaving your new home? 

I think we will be fine.  Maybe we could start a new tradition?  Let me know how you handle it, or if you have any suggestions on new traditions to start. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

I have always wanted to go see the exhibit Bodyworlds.  It was being held at the DMN&S, so I worked on convincing the kids how exciting it would be to go see bodies with no skin.  Abs wasn't buying it, so I printed off the family guide that was on the website that contained all these facts that Abs could learn while we were driving up there.  If you give her facts, she is happy.

You can't take pictures inside the exhibit, but I have to tell you, it was amazing!  To see up closely all your muscles and organs, there are no words for it.  I could totally handle being a doctor with the blood and long as they weren't contagious!

One of my favorite things in the exhibit is where they took plastic and inserted it into the veins, and then took it all away, and you were left with the veins, capillaries, etc., throughout the entire body.  Absolutely amazing.

At one point, Abs tried to escape and asked one of the people monitoring the exhibit to escort her out.  He told me that she would be waiting at the end in a chair. a chair.....for at least the next hour????  Yeah right.  I assured him that he was fine (another mom of the year moment) and had her stay with me.  She did enjoy it, read everything, presented facts to me about the human body, and then would act like it was gross after she really studied what she was looking at.

Junior was fine looking at it all, but was fascinated with the slices of the brain sticking out of the tops of heads.  He decided "that's a cool haircut" and "I want one too".  He was more interested in why the people died, did they have cancer like his Grandpa did?

If you can go see this, definitely do!

Outside of the exhibit they had volunteers with booths setup to challenge your thinking about the human body, explain different things to you, and to quiz you.  Abs was all over the quiz booth.  You got to choose a number, answer the question, and if you answered it correctly, you received a green stamp on your arm.  

Remember those human body facts that I printed out?  In the hour and a half drive, she had memorized them all.  By the end of her stint there, she was covered in stamps and they had invited other volunteers over to watch her answer questions.  

We walked around the rest of the museum afterwards.  (It's free to military, but we did have to pay for the Bodyworlds exhibit)  They have this really neat exhibit all about your body and how it works.  

Junior checking out the veins in his hands.  You could press on them and see which way the blood was flowing, etc.  

Abs got selected to be  "whole grain" in the play they were performing.  She thought she would have been a better "super spinach".
Junior was hooked on the "nail" wall.
You can checkout your heartrate on the bikes.  Age a picture of you to see what you will look like at 70, and a million other things.  You are given a card when you arrive and you enter all your personal information on it, and then use it to perform the tasks throughout this exhibit.  At the end, you can print out your information along with a picture.

After we finished up there, I made the kids run around in circles at City Park to burn off some extra energy, then we headed to the airport to pick up Em after her London adventure.

When Em left, Abs had one request of a beefeater's hat.

Em delivered.