12.21.2004

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas!

And it looks like I might just get it! We're under a winter storm warning and may get 1 to 3 inches of snow!!! Woohoo!!! Not to mention it's going to be COLD for Christmas! Yay!!! What a wonderful Christmas present!

Obviously we are all feeling better. Strep throat SUCKS. But luckily the kids didn't get it and Zithromax is a wonderful thing.

I'm not planning on posting much between now and 2005 so I'll just wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year now. I have yet to mail out Christmas cards so be patient. Hell, I haven't even had the kids' picture taken. I'm slacking this year!

'night!

12.12.2004

Yuck

If anyone has found my immune system or that of my family, could you please return it to me? In the past 2 months, both kids have had colds, I caught it and it wiped out my voice for a week and made me feel like crap. Then The Husband caught it and it turned into a respiratory infection that knocked him out for 5 days and he's still not 100%. The day that he was nailed with that, Little Man came down with a stomach bug and couldn't keep anything down. Then, Friday night, right before Princess Trouble's dance recital, she and I both came down with Little Man's stomach bug.

So we're 4 for 4 - batting .1000

I haven't been that sick since 1994 when I got a nasty case of food poisoning. Blech. We're better now and we were able to make it to Princess Trouble's recital (more on that later!) but we're still not feeling all that great. I'm off to take a nap and you all know how often THAT happens.


see ya!

12.07.2004

DONE!!!

I am DONE!!! I just finished the last assignment for my classes this term! WOOHOO!!! Nothing like procrastination!!! For 2 classes - 8 credits total - here is all that I had to do :

10 position papers on a variety of issues - 1 to 2 pages in length
Interview with an individual in the health or drug/alcohol area - 3 to 5 pages
Personal wellness plan - 3 to 5 pages
Final Exam - 3 essay questions...1 page each
Workbook assignments - approximately 20 assignments in the class workbook that accompanied the 2 videos I had to watch
Prevention Project - 5 to 7 pages either detailing a program I had designed or reviewing one that was already in existence.

*whew*

I have received nothing but A's on all of the assignments I have turned in so far. I'd love to get straight A's :) That would be too cool!

Next term, I'm looking at a Nutrition class and possibly a business class or a history class relating to World War 2 - I've realized I do not know enough about that subject - a result of an incomplete education. I am also itching to take a math class. We'll see.

Hopefully now I can start blogging a bit more.

We have our EFMP screening tomorrow (EFMP = Exceptional Family Member Program i.e. special needs). Basically they have to clear us and verify that no one in the family has a need that cannot be addressed at our next duty station. The Husband signed the paperwork agreeing to a 36 month assignment. So we'll be in Hawaii for 3 years. Then again, we were supposed to be HERE for 3 years...

more later!

'night!

11.29.2004

The kids' wishlists

Ok, ok, ok. I posted my wishlist on the spur of the moment and now I'm getting badgered to post the kids' as well.

Let me preface this by letting everyone know what we are getting the kids. We're keeping our budget lean and mean this year in order to a.) pay off our debt as quickly as possible and b.) to save up money for our move to Hawaii. Plus, we know that Grandparents and Uncles and Aunts and family friends will be spoiling the kids rotten and they don't need help from us.

We are getting each kid 3 gifts - just like Jesus was given on Christmas. I learned of this idea 2 years ago and have decided to implement it in our family. Our kids have MORE than enough and I truly believe that our society has lost sight of what Christmas is truly about. We've traded our spirituality for materialism.

Once the kids get older, I plan to have them help me go through their toys and choose 3 gifts to give to a shelter or other worthwhile cause in the weeks before Christmas as well as helping me choose a name or names from the Angel Tree in the PX and helping me shop for those people. I want my children to realize that Christmas is a season of giving - not just getting - and that it is our duty and priviledge to help others if we can.

Climbing down off my soapbox, here's what we are getting the kids :

Princess Trouble :
Dress up box with 4 princess dresses (from Lillian Vernon)
books (from Scholastic)
Chutes and Ladders/CandyLand

Little Man :
taggie blanket (from Lillian Vernon)
teether (Discovery Toys)
#3 ??? clothing maybe...I don't know yet...

Santa is getting Princess Trouble a new bike and Little Man the Gobble and Go Hippo (to go with his Peek-a-Blocks).

They will also get to open their gift of new jammies on Christmas Eve and there are always the wonderful stocking stuffers - new ornaments, small toys, play jewelry for Princess Trouble, small teethers, new pacifiers, etc. for Little Man, yummy munchies, etc.

So now that we've gotten that out of the way, here's the wish lists...


Princess Trouble :

- Loving Family Dollhouse

- any of the accompanying sets to the Loving Family Dollhouse

- Disney Princess 35mm camera (she saw it at Best Buy)

- Disney Pretty as a Princess playsets (heck - anything having anything to do with princesses, especially Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Aerial, etc. will thrill her!)

- Dora the Explorer books

- Little People toys (we already have the garage and the ark)

- summer clothing in size 4T or higher

- mini trampoline

- sleeping bag (indoor variety - they make a princess one that is adorable)

- Hungry Hungry Hippos



Little Man :

- Peek-a-Blocks 2 in 1 activity wagon

- Peek-a-Block Incrediblock

- Peek-a-Block Rollin Rumblin Dumptruck

- anything to chew on

- summer clothes size 18 months+

- bath toys

- Tonka trucks - the kind for little kids

- anything helicopters, especially Chinooks (my hope is that he will have his own room and I can decorate it in helicopters)



That's about it. Honestly, we could get Little Man a few boxes, some cellophane, and a balloon and he would be content - they are SO easy at this age!

I hope that helps everyone who has been pestering me :) The kids really do not need a thing. They are happy, healthy, and wonderful and that is enough - more than enough really.

'night

11.19.2004

My Christmas Wish List

It's a little too early to go to bed but I don't have the energy to do anything else right now. I'm also waiting to hear from a friend who is making her way, with her husband and kids, from Fort Bragg to Kansas. They are supposed to spend the night but weren't supposed to leave North Carolina until 3pm or later today and it's a 10 hour drive. She said she'd call when they got ready to leave but I haven't heard from her and darnit if I can find her cell phone number. Anyway...

So here I sit. Christmas is creeping toward me. I'm not quite in a festive mood right now - could be this damn cold I can't shake. I sound like someone who has been smoking for 50 years - my voice sounds like The Husband's...only deeper. At first I thought it sounded sexy. Now I think it just sounds annoying so (much to my family's joy) I am not talking much. Not to mention my chest hurts from coughing so much and my throat still feels like I have swallowed barbed wire. Gonna be a GREAT weekend...

Maybe a good night's sleep will help me kick this thing.

Here's the list. This is posted more to appease my boredom than it is to suggest anything to anyone. However, should you feel inclined. I'm always willing to accept gifts!



subscriptions : Readers Digest, Swimmer, Better Homes and Gardens, Simple Scrapbooks, Family Fun

fax/copier

new scrapbooking book by becky higgins - creative sketches

creative lettering cds - combo

bull durham on dvd

gift certificatess: mervyns, target, gap, barnes & noble, old navy

u2 cd collection - especially war

really good set of measuring cups & spoons

thompson twins cd

soul asylum - hang time

ub40 - ub40

johnny clegg & savuka - shadow man

peter gabriel - shaking the tree

rob base & dj e-z rock - it takes 2

tesla - 5 man accoustical jam

drill bits for my Makita

America the book by Jon Stewart

soundtrack to "Ray"

anything "Get Fuzzy"

Mork & Mindy - the complete 1st season on DVD

Gooseberry Patch Christmas ; Book 6

any or all of the nativity pieces from the Willow Tree collection (though I think I'm going to buy the actual 6 piece nativity set for myself)

new pair of Oakleys - mine are beat

books on Hawaii

Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace personal software

More Than Enough by Dave Ramsey


I'll add more as I come up with it. Along with this list, I have a "biggies" list - things that I want but are probably too much to ask for :

1. winning lottery ticket so I can pay off our debts and start investing in our retirement again

2. this damn cold to go away

3. A 2004 Range Rover - silver or black

4. A 2005 Volvo XC90 - silver

5. a new washer and dryer - one of those washers that can handle 23 towels all at once



The wonderful thing about BOTH of these lists is that everything on here is material. We have been blessed at this point that we have our health, good friends and family, a roof over our heads, food on the table, and a secure income. The above-mentioned items are just superficial - I truly have everything I could ever ask for. And I am truly thankful for that.

'night

11.17.2004

I used to have an immune system

The kids are sick. Nothing new there. I was hoping to avoid catching it - I've done so in the past...once or twice. Not this time. Feels like I swallowed a ball of barbed wire. Can I tell you how pleasant that is? Why is it that every flipping cold I get attacks my throat. Along with my throat hurting, I have lost my voice...again. Lost it when we moved from Alabama too - all of 5 months ago. Since I turned 18 (lost my voice on my 18th birthday too) I have lost my voice on average once a year. Seems like every cold I get heads straight to my throat. Better than what it does to Princess Trouble I suppose. Every cold she gets goes right to her chest. Still, it's getting kind of old.

Didn't stop me from cleaning the house though. The floors here are linoleum. Have I mentioned how much I hate linoleum? Can't stand it. Not only is it hard on my kids' heads when they fall, it is easily dirtied, hard to keep clean, and - because the Army is insistent on using the lowest bidder - crappy. Just like our dishwaster...I mean dishwasher. P.O.S. let me tell you. I'm beginning to think my parents have the right idea - their dishwasher died on them years back and they just didn't fix it. I hate to unload the thing and having to wash my dishes BEFORE I put them in the dishwasher and then have to run them through the stupid thing AGAIN is a waste of time, water, and my sanity (of which there is precious little left).

It dawned on me today - as I attempted to be quick at the commissary and just pick up a few things - that Thanksgiving is only a week or so away. I couldn't figure out why the commissary was so busy. Then I looked at the calendar when I got home and realized that there are only 9 days until Thanksgiving. Ack! That's why I was scrubbing the floors today. I have a "TO DO" list and it's longer than Princess Trouble's wish list to Santa so I need to get hopping on that.

I suppose that means I should get off my hiney and get to it. Eh, I'll wait til tomorrow.

11.15.2004

Halleujah!!!

Princess Trouble is 3 years and 2 months old. She's a smart girl - sometimes too smart for her own good. We have been working on potty training for about 8 months now. It's been an uphill battle full of setbacks, frustrations, headaches, and accidents. But I think we're almost there. Of course, now that I've said that, she'll take a step backward but that's ok. She told me this AM that she wanted to wear big girl panties to school today. I almost fell over. Once I collected myself I said sure and reminded her that she needed to go to the potty anytime her teachers told her to and that she could not go potty in her pants because she wouldn't have a PullUp on. She agreed. I packed 2 extra outfits. When I dropped her off at school this AM, I warned her teachers that she was in big girl panties and then made her go potty before I left. When I went to pick her up this afternoon, she was STILL in the clothes she went to school in! NO ACCIDENTS!!!

On top of that, she is currently SLEEPING in big girl panties for her nap. We'll see how that goes. I'm so THRILLED!!!

In other news, again I have nothing really to report. I take that back. My friend who runs a military spouse website that I frequent posted a story today that scares the HELL out of me...

Here's the link : Doctors Group Opposes Mandatory Mental Health Tests for Kids

I'll be writing to my Alaska senators as well as my local senators (even though we're not registered here) abotu this one. Scary...just another reason I am considering home-schooling my kids. I would encourage you to research this and act as you see fit.

Friends of mine need some prayers. Their oldest son has run into some trouble - his guilt or innocence is not what I'm praying for. He is in a heap of trouble and he really needs help getting his life back on track. If he is guilty of the crimes he is being accused of, he will be in prison for a while. If not, hopefully this will serve as a wake up call that he needs to make some changes in his life. Regardless, his family is very upset and they all could use some good thoughts.

Found out this week that I don't have to repaint my house! Because we live in military housing we are supposed to return our quarters to the condition they were in when we accepted them. Well, I've painted 2.5 rooms and was trying to figure out when I would have time to repaint before we have to clear and leave. I found out that I can have the military repaint and all it will cost me is 7 cents per square foot! Assuming that includes priming and such, it will run me about $20. Less than I paid for the paint in the first place. WORKS FOR ME! One thing less for me to worry about. *whew*

Little Man is *this* close to walking. God help us! I would love to see him (if he's going to do it) take his first steps while my family is here - that would be COOL! He's also now got EIGHT teeth - he cut SIX all at once. YOUCH. Of course, when Princess Trouble did that, she wound up in the hospital with bronchiolitis but he seems to be a different kid. I hate to see the gummy smile leave though...they grow up too fast.

That's about it for now. I'm off to get some chores done around the house and start making my Thanksgiving shopping list. Bring on the FOOD!!!

11.08.2004

Happy Birthday to The Husband and other rambles

Yesterday was The Husband's birthday - he's 31 now! Hard to believe he was only 18 when I met him! I'm still not quite sure what I did to deserve such a wonderful man. He truly is the best thing to have ever happened to me.

Happy Birthday baby...I love you! moo.


In other news...

I have little or nothing to report. Seriously. The Husband's mother - aka my Mother-in-Law or MIL for short - came for a visit last week. Spoiled the kids ROTTEN but that's a Grandmother's job, isn't it? She and I took the kids and drove down to see Uncle K graduate from IOBC (Infatry Officer Basic Course) and to wish him luck at Ranger School (which he started today - God help him). Long trip but it was so good to see Uncle K. Wish we could have spent more time with him - one afternoon wasn't enough. But we'll see him at Christmas.

MIL was kind enough to stay with the kids for a night so The Husband and I were able to head off on our own. I was able to spend a glorious 2 hours sitting in Barnes and Noble just READING...OMG - it was heavenly! Then we wandered around this GIGANTIC mall, went to see some other touristy sites in town, came back to the mall for dinner and then saw the movie "Ray" . GREAT movie. Jamie Foxx was incredible - it was so easy to forget that it was Jamie Foxx and not Ray Charles up on that screen. And all in all, it was a wonderful evening.

Now we are gearing up for Thanksgiving. MY parents will be here as will my Grama. I'm so excited to have her up - I can't wait for her to be able to spend some decent time with the kids. Little Man may be walking by then (yeah, he's all of 8 months old right now...).

Other than that, there's not a lot going on. Found out that our good friends from Alaska are relocating to northern Alabama so they will be CLOSE to us for a bit!!! I am thrilled at that prospect yet sad that we will be moving soon. Damn Army.

Still haven't embraced this upcoming move. I'm usually one to have everything planned out to the nth degree by now but I haven't even organized my PCS folder. Don't really feel the urge to. We don't have orders in hand either and I really don't care. I'm hoping they get lost. Doubt they will but a girl can hope.

The Husband FINALLY got to fly last week. FINALLY! He had a good flight but they wound up flying at night (had to push back the takeoff time because the commander was in a meeting and wasn't around to sign off on some paperwork...idiot...oops, did I say that out loud? my bad...) which wiped him out for the next day or so. But he got to fly and that was the important part. He's more like his old self again which is what I like.

It's cold here now which is great. I love fall - the period between Halloween and Christmas is my favorite time of year.

I'm off to do some more coursework. I've been putting it off for 3 weeks now and I need to get my act together. I'll try to post more this week.

Oh, and by the way...I"M SO GLAD THE ELECTION IS OVER AND BUSH WON!!! I hope Kerry slinks back in to the shadows from whence he came. Dirty rat-bastard. There...I've said my piece and you'll never hear me speak of him again (or so I hope).

10.26.2004

All is well (except me...)

We just got back from Princess Trouble's consult with the Pediatric Cardiologist. Her EKG and her chest x-ray are normal and while he could hear the murmur, he said that it was benign and nothing really to worry about. It's not even bad enough to warrant antibiotics during dental surgeries. *whew*

They'll check up on her periodically but he didn't see any problems down the road and said she would most likely grow out of it.

So all is well (except me - I have a nasty cold and I feel like roadkill).

The sweetest sound

We're off to see the Pediatric Cardiologist tomorrow morning for Princess Trouble's supposed heart murmur. I've been tellling myself that I'm not worried, that it's most likely nothing serious and that it will be a short visit and all will be well.

So why am I still up at almost midnight, trying like crazy NOT to glance at the clock and mentally assess how many more hours until the appointment? Guess I'm a little more stressed than I care to admit.

Mentally I know she's fine (aside from being 3...but that's nothing the docs can help me with). Emotionally, it's another story. I watch these shows on TLC and Discovery Channel - the trauma ones and the other medical shows - and I wonder how I would react if I were in their shoes. I don't want to know. Ever.

I tucked her into bed tonight and explained what the doctors will do tomorrow (or what I think they will do) and as I put my ear to her chest, I thought that they cannot be any sweeter sound than the sound of your baby's heart beating.

I remember how thrilling it was to hear it on the Doppler while I was pregnant with her. I remember holding my breath the first time the OB took the wand and ran it over my belly, trying to find her heartbeat. I remember that wonderful feeling when I heard it. And that feeling was repeated each and every time I went for a visit. And I remember how thrilling it was to see her heart beating on the ultrasound screen - so perfect and rhythmic. There is nothing sweeter. Nothing.

10.24.2004

Post #51!!!

I didn't think there was that much to write about in my life but this will be post #51. Wow.

First, I want to say Happy Birthday to Dolores. Monday is her birthday and I didn't get a chance to talk to her Sunday night as is our SOP so I'll wish her happy birthday here instead :)

I want to know where the heck October got to!!! Halloween is NEXT FLIPPING WEEKEND! How the heck did THAT happen? It was JUST October 1. Sheesh. I suppose time flies when you're having fun...at least we're closer to the elections and hopefully an end to all of the political crap all over the media. Whoever wins, I pray it's by a parge margin. Anything tight and we're going to be dealing with lawsuits and arguments over hanging and pregnant Chads for weeks. God help us.

Tuesday, Princess Trouble has a consult with the pediatric cardiologist. She had her EKG last week and to my untrained eye, it looks normal. Hopefully the MD will agree with me. I know it's most likely a benign murmur and really nothing to worry about but that Mama Bear instinct is strong and sometimes all I want to do is wrap her up in the fleece blanket that is on the couch and hold her and never let her go.

Nothing too exciting (other than the above-mentioned dr. appointment) this week. Just our usual stuff - school, library, dressing up in the Cinderella dress (Princess Trouble, not me!), drooling all over the place (Little Man, not me). It can get boring at times but I really do love our routine existence. I crave it. The idea of it being disrupted again when we move is already giving me stomach cramps.

Don't get me wrong - I am thrilled at the prospect of moving to Hawaii. I"m just not thrilled at the prospect of moving. WE JUST GOT HERE. One of the senior Warrant Officers in The Husband's unit was giving him grief about us heading to Hawaii ("I want to go to Hawaii! How come YOU as a WO1 get to go to Hawaii???"). A few days later I ran into the spouse of another pilot in The Husband's unit and when she heard we were moving to Hawaii, she asks "Who did you PAY to get that assignment?" Ok - look...anyone wants to VOLUNTEER to swap us so we can stay put just COME ON DOWN. I didn't ask for this move. Yes, we asked for Hawaii...and about 11 other options. BUT I DON"T WANT TO MOVE. I would gladly give someone our Hawaii slot if it meant we could stay put. But it's not an option right now so leave me alone! I tried to be nice to the woman who asked who we paid...really, I did. I won't post what I was thinking - wouldn't want to offend one of my 3 readers. I simply smiled and told her that we have some wonderful connections...we don't really. But SHE doesn't know that.

On that note, I am off to bed. Little Man slept through the night last night! Well, he woke up twice but all he needed was the plugger (aka pacifier) replaced and he was back to sleep. Woke up about 8:30am after having gone down last night around 9. WORKS FOR ME. Of course, now that it is my turn again to get up, he'll be up for hours tonight. It's a good thing he's cute :)

'night!

10.16.2004

They found him

Shannon posted today. They found him. Thanks for all of your help. The family could definitely use some prayers. Thanks.


I wanted to thank you all for the prayers for our friend Keith. Mother just called. His son and son-in-law found him this morning in Commerce, GA. From what they can gather, he'd stopped to rest and passed away in his sleep. His truck was locked, so after breaking in, they found him in the back area where they can lie down I guess.

If you could keep his son and daughter in your prayers I'd really appreciate it. They've suffered such loss through the years and this is just another blow to them. Their older brother died in the late 80s in a vehicle accident. Their Mother (Keith's wife) could never come to terms with the loss of her grown son and committed suicide in the early 90s. And now they've lost their father unexpectedly.

We're all so heartbroken by the loss of this great man, but his children...we're just so worried about them. Please keep them in your prayers if you can - that they can find peace and that all of us who love them can adequately support them during their time of grief.

Thank you all again for the prayers and for the help so many of you offered through email and PMs. I cannot tell you how much we all appreciated the effort of so many to get the word out to people in the area. Truly, thank you for caring and for helping us.

10.15.2004

I need your help

Some of you may have already heard about this. A friend of mine who runs a military spouse support website has a family friend who is a trucker and he has not been heard from since Wednesday. Here is the info she sent me :


His name is Keith Gruber. He drives for Arnold Trucking. I think that's out of GA since he stopped doing long trips several years ago and only does short trips - like up to SC and back down to GA. He last called from Carnsville, GA on I-85 and was heading towards Ellenwood, GA. He's in a pewter colored freight liner according to Mother and has not been heard from since Wednesday from my understanding.

If you all could pass this on to anyone and everyone who might be in the vicinity of where he was last seen on I-85, I would really appreciate it. Hopefully prayers will be answered and he will be found safe and sound. I'll keep you posted.

'night

Joh Kerry should be in jail

For lying to Congress or for being a war criminal, not to mention for treason (giving aid and comfort to the enemy). But hey, what do *I* know?

Got an e-mail from my friend Jay whose father is one of the SwiftVets. Worth a read...


This is a copy of the letter I sent to all the television stations that agreed
to air the documentary on Kerry's anti-war activities during Vietnam. The
stations are being flooded with letters from angry Kerry supporters trying to
suppress this footage from getting out to the electorate.

"The documentary vividly portrays the impact of John Kerry's false testimony and
statements about the Vietnam War. As brave soldiers endured torture, starvation
and death behind enemy lines, Kerry accused them of war crimes and actively
sought to discredit everything they fought for."

Pass the message on...the following e-mail is from the Swift Boat Veterans and
POWs for Truth, the eyewitnesses to Kerry's malfeasances. Thanks.

Jay

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
---
Dear sir or madam:

I am an Army intelligence officer just returned from assignment in Iraq with 4th
Infantry Division. I am the son of a swift boat skipper who served alongside
John Kerry in Vietnam. When my father's boat hit a mine, John Kerry fled and
left my father to die. When John Kerry petitioned and fled Vietnam by way of
the 3-Heart Loophole, he left the Swiftees behind again. When he stood before
Congress and accused his "band of brothers" of unspeakable war crimes, he spat
on them. Worse, when confronted by John O'Neill on the Dick Cavett show, he
couldn't name one person or one incident in which he had witnessed a war
crime...he had just made them up to make his anti-war point. John Kerry further
repudiated his country by meeting with communist officials in Paris to advocate
their position to the US government, an wholly forbidden for it constitutes
treason; exacerbated by the fact he was still a commissioned officer in the
United States Navy and was held to a higher ethical and moral standard to support and defend the Constitution. An action tantamount to meeting with Al-Qa'ida lieutenants to speak on their behalf against the American People while the World Trade Center burns.

I am proud that the story is being heard. The documentary, which features my
father among other Vietnam veterans of the US Navy, uses John Kerry's own
testimony as the basis of the film and speaks only the truth as it has been
recorded. It is this testimony which, when shown to American POWs by their
North Vietnamese captors, brought lurid torture and horrific suffering upon the
very men who fought for Kerry's right to free speech.

Thank you for your decision to air the documentary. You are not only honoring
the fallen patriots who have fought for America, but also the countless others
who fall today. Americans have a right to know who they're voting for and what
the candidates have done for--and against--their country. Please do not back
down or cower in the face of adversity. The mainstream media rejects the sworn
testimony of 265 officers and sailors who served around Kerry in all levels of
the chain of command, but avers the statements of a scant few--most of whom are
already on the Kerry/Edwards payroll--are the ones that count. Thank you for
letting the rest be heard.

Respectfully,
J.C. Hildreth

10.14.2004

So, JoJo, what did you learn today?

I'm on the phone with my friend last night and we're discussing Princess Trouble's potty training. It had been stalled for a bit but we seemed to have jump-started it again with a sticker chart - once she gets 7 stickers (a sticker is given at the end of the day if she uses the potty and not her PullUp), she gets to go to Chuck E. Cheese's. I'm telling my friend how, when she is sans PullUp/underwear/training pants, she has never, EVER had an accident.


JUST as I finished getting the statement out of my mouth, Princess Trouble PEES in the dead center of my rug.

THAT will teach me to keep my big mouth SHUT.

From the bathroom, where The Husband was bathing Little Man I hear, "So, JoJo, what have you learned today?".




For those of you who do not know who JoJo is...she's the lead character from the kids' show "JoJo's Circus" on Disney Channel. At the end of each episode, JoJo is asked what she learned today - kind of a moral gut-check if you will.

So, what did I learn? To keep my BIG MOUTH SHUT. And to harrass my daughter more about using the potty.

10.13.2004

Where is my "PCS folder"?

Just to illustrate the true depth of my obsessive-compulsive personality when it comes to things that can be planned, I have a "PCS folder". For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym "PCS" it means "permanent change of station" aka MOVING.

My brother and sister-in-law are moving from the West Coast to the East Coast this month. They have a (soon-to-be) 7 year old and a 2 year old. They have lived in their house on the West coast for almost 7 years. They have never moved cross country...with kids...ever. They are FREAKING OUT. Understandably so. But I have to remind myself not to downplay their anxiety over this move. It is HUGE to them.

Yet here we are, facing our 4th move in 3 years and our second move of over 1,000 miles in 2 years and the only thing that is stressing me out right now is the fact that I cannot find my damn folder. There's nothing IN the folder that I need. I haven't printed out the blank calendar sheets from Outlook yet. We have orders and we have a NLT date ("no later than" - the last day The Husband can sign in and not be late). We have a ballpark idea of when to ship the car, when to have the movers come and pack our stuff, when to head to California for some real Mexican food and In-N-Out burgers. But the fact that all of this will be happening in less than 4 months either hasn't set in yet or I'm becomming immune to it.

Holy schniekies, batman...less than 4 months. Crap. I need to go find that damn folder.

'night

10.12.2004

I think I'm going to change her name...

...from Princess Trouble to Princess Iwant. As in "I want juice!" or "I want a snack!" or "I want to go to the zoo!" Between the demands and the 264 (yes, I counted) questions that she asked me in an HOUR, I was about bald from pulling my hair out. Is it Friday yet??? I realize she's 3 and that asking so many questions is a sign of intelligence but man, she's killing me. I don't think I had a thought of my own today. We'll see how tomorrow goes (there was no school Monday but there is tomorrow...thank GOODNESS!) but if she has a repeat of today, she may get a new moniker.

I do have a funny story though. After the train ride last weekend, we stopped for dinner at one of the MANY Cracker Barrels along I-75. Princess Trouble orders the grilled cheese (girl after my own heart). As we're waiting for our food, my friend leans over and asks her if she's getting freckles like her mommy. Princess Trouble frowns and with this look on her face as if to say, "well, DUH" answers, "NO...I'm getting the GRILLED CHEESE!". They are SO literal at this age.

Ok - time to hit the sack. I'd do homework but my brain fell out after question 231 this afternoon and I haven't put it back in yet.

'night!

10.10.2004

The Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Princess Trouble and I drove down to Atlanta this weekend. Left Little Man with The Husband. Friends of ours had 2 extra tickets on the Autumn Leaf Special that weren't being used (more about that in a moment) so they invited us. It was a nice ride but we were about 2 weeks early to really catch the change of color in the trees properly. And the town that we stopped in, Summerville, wasn't anything exciting or even really interesting. But we rode in an old Pullman car (Marilyn Monroe rode in it once) and had lunch in the dining car and Princess Trouble made all SORTS of new friends! It was a nice trip.

I've found that the trip between our house and Atlanta goes a lot faster at 90 miles per hour. And for those of you gasping in horror at that speed, I was merely keeping up with the flow of traffic! Even the cop in front of me was cruising at about 80 mph. My wonderful Nissan Pathfinder (gosh, I love that car!) topped 150,000 miles on this trip and is still averaging between 15 and 20 miles per gallon on the highway. Not bad for an 11 year old car. It needs work but it's a good one! Of course, now that I've said that, the transmission will go out on me...

Some more prayers are needed. The extra tickets for the train ride were available to us because my friend's husband's mother is dying of breast cancer. The tickets were bought a few months ago before her disease set back in. It has been a fast decline and she most likely will not live to see next weekend. She is young - in her 50's - and has been fighting this illness for 3 years. My friend and her husband are grief-stricken. They could use your prayers.

I have to give it to Princess Trouble - she did WONDERFULLY on this trip. It was a pleasure to travel with her. She was well-behaved, didn't get sick (a first!), remembered her manners, slept in the car and on the train (Wen - thanks for the trick!), played well with others, and didn't do much to drive me crazy (most of you know this is a short trip for me!).

We're heading to the Pumpkin Patch tomorrow and then dance class. I'm on a mission to start weeding out our stuff (again - didn't I *just* do this???) in preparation for our move. I know it's a ways off but with the holidays coming and family/friends coming to visit, I'm feeling the urge to purge. I have eBay acutions to prep and papers to write. I got A's on my first 3 papers!!! Woohoo!

I'm off to eat homemade vegetable beef soup and bathe my kiddos!

' night!

10.07.2004

They did it again!

The boys at JibJab have done it again. Funniest damn thing I've seen all week! Go check it out!

10.06.2004

I miss my friends...

When we lived in Alaska, we were blessed with some very good friends. After Princess Trouble was born, they became a very large part of our lives and loved her like she was one of their own. Then we moved.

When we got to Rucker, we were again blessed with some very good friends who - like our friends in Alaska - became a very large part of our lives and loved Princess Trouble and, later, Little Man like they were their own. Then we moved again.

We've been here for 4 months and we'll be moving again in another 4. We have not found a church and I honestly wonder if it is worth it to try to do so now that we will be moving. I hate to put Princess Trouble through that again. Moving from Rucker was tough on her and it took some time for her to adjust (and it took some time for me to adjust). I hate the thought of having to uproot her again. It's easier if we haven't made any strong ties to anyone here. Don't get me wrong - we have friends. Good friends. But not quite like our friends in Alaska and Alabama. Leaving our friends here will be tough but not horrible. Leaving our friends in Alaska and Alabama was like saying goodbye to family.

I miss that. I miss them. It's a pity party Wednesday night here I suppose. I'll get over it, I know. I am usually one to look on the bright side of military life. Very few things about this life get me down for long. This is one of those nagging things, you know? Of all of the "stuff" that comes with the military life, this is the one thing that I have a truly hard time with - being apart from family (and my good friends qualify as family).

Thank God I have The Husband, Princess Trouble, and Little Man - they are my life. And for that I am truly thankful.

He's safe...and an update from us

My friend's husband made it back to his camp earlier this week and was able to not only IM his wife but call her - live and in person - later that evening. He is ok. I am truly thankful. Thank you all for your prayers and kind thoughts.

A little update on us...

Princess Trouble picked up Little Man's cold and she has a tendency for her colds to go directly to her chest. So when she developed a nasty cough and a low grade temp, off to the doc we went. In listening to her chest to see if she had bronchitis, they discovered a heart murmur. Actually "discovered" isn't the right word - "verified" would be. It had been mentioned before, during check ups, that they thought they heard one but could never hear it twice. Because fevers tend to make murmurs more pronounced, her fever made it possible for the docs to hear it repeatedly this time around. We're pretty sure it's a benign murmur - otherwise it would have presented a while ago and we would have seen evidence of it - blue around her lips, failure to thrive, etc. As we have not seen any of that, we're assuming it's an innocent murmur. However, just to cover bases and have it in her medical records, we will be meting with a pediatric cardiologist in the next month or so for an evaluation and an EKG (they've already done a chest x-ray). I'm really not worried - ok, a little - but we could always use a few extra prayers.

Little Man is *this* close to walking - GOD HELP US. He's been able to let go of whatever he was holding on to and stand momentarily so I believe it's only a matter of weeks before he's toddling after his sister. The cries of "He's TOUCHING me!" have already begun...

No orders to Hawaii yet but another guy in The Husband's unit who is also headed there got his orders yesterday. He has a report date of 01Mar so I am assuming that will hold true for us as well. Time to start planning - we have to ship the car, sell The Husband's car, plan our visit to SoCal, find a home for the kitties, have another yard sale, and start stocking up on shorts and sunscreen. I am STILL trying to wrap my brain around the concept of moving again so soon.

School is going. I'm 2/3 of the way through the 1-page position papers I have to write. I have 3 left. I still need to finish up my "Personal Wellness Plan" and my take home final as well as do the work for the other class - a workbook and designing a substance abuse prevention program to address 1 or 2 risk factors in the high school community. My hope is to have all of this done before my family gets here for Thanksgiving.

With regard to politics, The Husband and I have been watching the debates. My decision is already made in terms of who I plan to vote for and most of you know me well enough to know who I will vote for. Watching the debates has been an exercise in self-control and a TOUGH one at that. It drives me CRAZY to listen to the Kerry/Edwards ticket take 2/3 of their time answering a question to criticize the Bush administration policies. Here's a pointer...we already know that you disagree with the Bush administration and their policies. Why else would you be running AGAINST them? ANSWER THE FLIPPING QUESTION! Don't just tell us that you would do it better...tell us HOW. Details! Kerry/Edwards say they can "do it better" in Iraq. HOW? Kerry/Edwards say they can improve health care and the cost of it. HOW??? I have yet to hear 1 detail!

Those of you who plan to vote for Senator Kerry because you want to vote AGAINST Bush, do me a favor and THINK before you do that. I have no problem with someone voting for someone other than President Bush. But to waste your vote on a man like John Kerry is pointless. WRITE SOMEONE ELSE IN. Don't just vote for that which is not Bush - make your vote count and write in someone whom YOU believe would do a good job running this country. To waste your vote on someone who would have this country on its knees in front of the UN begging permission to defend itself and its interests not only boggles my mind but makes me sick as well.

I've said my piece and I'll step down off my soapbox for the time being. I apologize for the delay in posting - I'm finding it hard to eek out a moment to sit down to write papers, let alone blog. I'll try to do better. I promise...

10.03.2004

Please Pray

My friend - the one whose baby boy, Cameron, had the hernia issues a while back, just received some disturbing news out of Iraq where her husband is deployed. Seems there was an ambush of his unit and there are "injuries". No other word. This information was leaked by someone in the unit to a spouse back home (that isn't supposed to happen but sometimes it does) and that is all my friend knows at the moment. She's a mess as I would be.

If you could find it in yourself to do so, regardless of your stance on whether this war was the "right war at the right time", PLEASE, say a prayer that he is ok and that the rest of his unit is too.

I'll keep you posted.

9.28.2004

Procrastination is my middle name

My BIL has a saying - "diamonds are made under pressure". Seems to be my motto these days!

I have 7 more 1-page papers to write, a "wellness plan" to formulate, a workbook to complete, a substance abuse prevention plan to outline, an interview to draw up questions for, and a take home final to answer and what am I doing? Looking for rental properties on the North Shore!

There is a post-wide yard sale this Saturday that I have decided to participate in (we DEFINITELY need to unload some stuff before we skip across the Pacific to Oahu, not to mention the money is always appreciated). Have I even gone to storage to get the yard sale stuff? Nope. But I know all there is to know about shipping my car to Hawaii (it's going to take 35 flipping days! ack!).

I need to get up off my @$$ and get some work done I suppose. More later...


BTW ~ I need to find a home for the kitties. We just can't take them with us - the trip would be entirely too traumatic for them not to mention the quarantine we would have to put them through. I just can't do it to them. I'd like to find them a non-military home but my main concern is to keep them together. They are brother and sister - 5 years old - wonderful kitties. I would hesitate to give them to a family who is bottle-feeding a baby - Sprite is QUITE the nipple huntress. So much so that I wound up forking out $500 to have the tip of one removed from her intestine last year. But she also hunts rodents quite well. And Fatty is the cuddler. If anyone knows of anyone who might be interested, please let me know. I HATE to give them up but I think it's better for them. Thanks. :(

9.20.2004

49th...no 50th state...of confusion

So the Army is "transforming" itself. Aviation components are being mixed with infantry and field artillery components to make up more deployable units as opposed to bulky divisions of 1 branch or another. We knew this. We knew that our time here might be limited. But it was still a shock when The Husband came home a little over a week ago and told me that there had been a list posted at work and if you weren't on the list, you were not long for this duty station.


We weren't on the list.


Joy.


Our "options" were : Fort Drum, Fort Hood, Hawaii, and Korea. The list-maker told the people who weren't on the list that now would be a good time to contact their branch managers and let them know what preferences they might have. Out of 4 "options" The Husband e-mailed a list of 12 different requests to include fixed wing school, a Huey slot, Fort Carson (Colorado), Fort Lewis (Washington), Alaska, and Hawaii. Last week, while we were on vacation in Alaska, he got an e-mail : "...do you want Alaska or Hawaii?"


Oh crap. Which to choose???


Alaska was (surprisingly) a good assignment. Better for him than for me but I enjoyed it and the longer I'm gone from Alaska, the more I miss it. But Hawaii...


After a few conversations with trusted friends in Alaska and some serious praying and pro and con weighing, we opted for Hawaii. So we've done the 49th state. Now we get to do the 50th. Bring on the sunscreen and flojos. Princess Trouble will trade ballet lessons for hula lessons and surfing lessons. Little Man will have fun destroying his sister's sand castles on the North Shore. We will get to experience a cost of living HIGHER than that from which we came (California). I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to paying $5 for a gallon of milk.

Seriously though, it's exciting although a bit disappointing. Where we are right now is so centrally located. We are within driving distance of so many friends and family members and now we will be thousands of miles away again. *sigh*

We move in about 5 months. There is so much to do between now and then, I cannot even list it all. I'm still not sure how we are supposed to function in Hawaii wihtout a car - it will take 5-10 weeks for our car to get to Hawaii. On post housing is a pip dream right now and I am SO not looking forward to living in temp lodging AGAIN. But we get to stay here through the holidays. We get to experience a Middle South fall and winter. We get to see family and friends for the holidays. Thank goodness.

I am fighting my OCD tendencies big time right now. I cannot tell you how hard it is for me to *know* where I am headed but not have orders yet, not have a solid timeframe, and not be able to PLAN THE HECK OUT OF THIS MOVE. I'll get over it.

So, aloha everyone. Surf's up!

9.16.2004

Three years ago today

Time flies when you're having fun! Three years ago today, I was rocking in the rocking chair, breathing through my contractions and trying to figure out when to go to the hospital. A few hours later (ok, 14 hours later) I had my beautiful baby girl and the fun really began!

I am amazed on a daily basis at how much she has grown and changed. But she's still the same strong, independent, self-assured little girl that she has always been. And I love her.

Three years...wow.

9.11.2004

9.09.2004

I'm a college student...again

As if SEVEN years wasn't enough the first time around...

I am now registered to take 8 credits via Distance Education. I am working on getting enough Health Education courses to secure a Health Education credential when I decide to head back to the classroom in a few years. This term I am taking "LIfestyle Behavior and Health" and "Alcohol and Drug Abuse : Prevention".

In the winter, I'll take :
"Nutrition" and "Community and Social Skills for Healthy Living".

In the spring, I'll take :
"Nutrition and Sport Performance" and "Physical Activity in Disease Prevention".

Now all I need to do is get the financial aid office to lift the transfer evaluation hold I have on my file and find out what (if any) financial aid I'll be offered. I am applying for several scholarships but because I'm getting into the game so late, I don't plan to see anything come of that until next fall. That's ok.

Now the fun begins in trying to track down used textbooks. I HATE paying for new ones. I'm hoping that the required texts are not brand new editions and that I can find them on amazon.com or eBay or something like that. If not, I'll be adding textbooks to my Christmas wish list.

In other news :

Took Little Man for his 6 month well baby visit. He weighs 17.5 pounds and is 26.5 inches long. He is crawling (sort of - W calls it "oonching" which is an appropriate term), pulling up to stand, fearless, and a daredevil. Princess Trouble got Lincoln Logs for her birthday from Uncle K. They come in a big metal can. Little Man likes to knock the can on its side and then roll on top of it. He pushes off hard enough to roll OVER it and land on his face on the other side - ON PURPOSE! Crazy baby! I love it! He FINALLY has cut one tooth through and the other is *right* there. It now hurts when he bites.

Princess Trouble started preschool Wednesday. She's going to a First Baptist preschool downtown. I like the religious backing and I like that it's not just military kids there. Plus, the preschool here on post is still up in the air and they can't seem to get their ducks in a row in terms of when it will start or where it will be held (the building they used last year has been torn down and the new building isn't complete yet). The director had the audacity to tell me "Enroll her in the off-post preschool and then, when we finally open, pull her out of the off-post school and put her in ours." Um, NO. You don't INTENTIONALLY upheave a 3 year old's world like that. That comment alone was enough to confirm my choice to keep her enrolled in the First Baptist program. She enjoyed her first day although she had some trouble sharing and got in trouble for pushing (to defend her toy that she didn't want to share). We'll see how tomorrow goes!

Nothing much going on this weekend. Just gearing up for our Alaska adventure and I plan to take some time on Saturday to reflect on the anniversary. It's been 3 years but the wounds are still quite raw.

'night

9.07.2004

Beslan

I have been wanting to put my feelings about this down on "paper" for a while but could not organize my thoughts into anything coherent. I'm not sure I ever will be able to.

What happened in Beslan - the massacre of children and adults by terrorists at a school - is beyond comprehension. As a teacher and a parent, I literally cannot fathom the horror of what went on there. The idea of being placed in the shoes of those parents makes me sick to my stomach.

Stan over at Logic & Sanity has the most comprehensive and up to date coverage of it all. Some of it is too much to look at, let alone bear. However, I believe that EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THIS COUNTRY should see it all - for this horror could very easily show up on our doorstep next. Don't think that it won't happen - it's just a matter of time.

There has been an on-going debate on a forum I post at as to which is more important - national security/war on terrorism or domestic issues such as education and health care. If you ask me, a good education and access to the right kind of cholesterol-lowering drugs isn't going to matter one iota if the people who wish to wipe America off the face of the planet succeed, even on a small scale.

The slaughter in Beslan wakes up the "mama bear" in me. I hope it wakes up the rest of the world. This is not something we can just sit back and wax poetic about. We cannot just rattle our sabers on this one. These people, those who backed them, and those who wish to follow in their footsteps, must be found and exterminated. Immediately. And without remorse.

The blame should not fall to the Russians on this one - even though I personally have to question their tactics in handling the situation. The blame for this rests solely upon the shoulders of the people who did this - the terrorists. They are not "extremists", "radicals", "hostage-takers", or any other pansy-ass/avoid-calling-a-spade-a-spade/God-forbid-we-say-the-word-terrorist-on-TV innuendo the networks can come up with. If we really want to call them what they are, "baby-killer", "mother-murderer", or "inhuman beasts" would be appropriate. THEY are the ones to blame for this. No one else.

Find them and end them. ALL of them.

Should you want to help : Beslan Relief

I'm sure I will post more about this before all is said and done. I hope some of this made sense amongst my black rage.

?????!!!!!

From CrushKerry.com and

YahooNews

we get this quote :

"I thank you for the gift, but I can't take it to the debate with me."
after John sKerry had received a rifle from Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America.

EXCUSE ME???

Comments like that will get a person locked up quickly...but that's where John sKerry should be anyway...

9.06.2004

Back to square one...

The skin I had (the blue stars) was not cooperating and I couldn't figure out how to enable comments, trackbacks, etc. So we're back to square one. I'm still on the lookout for a skin that meets my needs - something with a patriotic bent that allows for comments/trackbacks/etc. as well as a place to list other blogs, profile info, etc. I'll find something soon enough. In the meantime, we're back with the tried-and-true.

The long weekend was deliciously boring, lazy, and uneventful. Just the way I like it. Actually, we had guests - The Husband's brother, otherwise known as K, and my good friend W both came up for the weekend. We BBQ'd with some friends and their kids on Saturday and did cake and ice cream for Princess Trouble who will be turning 3 in a little less than 2 weeks. All of the chaos that goes along with our slice of Domestic Tranquility was a little much for K but it was so wonderful having him here. He's a blast to be around - smart, funny. It's nice that he is on THIS side of the pond for a bit. His next assignment has him heading to Europe next year. And W loves my kids almost as if they were her own and I cannot tell you how wonderful that is. Being far apart from immediate family is rough - whether you have kids or not. But to have such wonderful friends who don't hesitate to come and visit whenever they have time is a blessing.

Princess Trouble starts preschool this week. The Husband and I trekked downtown to the Open House at her school to meet her teachers and the kids in her class. I'm so excited for her. She went to a preschool in Alabama last year for 1/2 of the year and had a great time. I'm hoping she enjoys it as much this year. She's getting so big...

Little Man is FINALLY cutting teeth. He's been teething like a madman for the past 3 months or so and we can finally see 2 teeth below the gumline on his bottom jaw. While I'm thrilled, I'm sure it's going to hurt like hell the first time he chomps down on my finger with them. The poor cats don't know what's coming - he likes to grab their tails and chomp...hehe

This week promises to be another exciting one...preschool starts, errands need to be run, laundry needs to be done. I'm telling you...the excitement is OVERWHELMING! ta ta for now!

9.02.2004

Zell for President!!!

I have to say...I love Zell Miller. My friend Shannon turned me on to him a little over a year ago. I have read his book, A National Party No More : Conscience of a Conservative Democrat and really appreciated everything he had to say. I agree with him 110% that the Democratic party has become barely a shadow of what they once were and it is sad.

I looked forward to Zell Miller's speech at the Republican National Convention all week long and boy, he did not disappoint. My neck is sore from nodding in agreement so much. My cheeks hurt from laughing at the "spitball" comment and my eyebrows hurt from being raised so often and asking The Husband, "did he ACTUALLY say that?!?!"

John sKerry said "Bring it on!" and boy, did they. Many of the anti-Bush blogs I have been reading today (yes, I DO read blogs that I disagree with...) have said that Miller's speech would alienate most moderate Republicans and swing voters and that it was filled with lies and anger. The anger part I will agree with - yes, he is angry and it's justified. He's angry that the Democrats have become so wrapped up in themselves that they no longer care about what is RIGHT for this country. They have moved so far away from what the Democratic party used to be that they are no longer recognizeable. But lies? That's a shady one. On one hand, sKerry has voted against just about every weapon system out there. AND he voted against the $87 billion requested by the Bush administration to help fund the rebuilding of Iraq. sKerry's record on defense is deplorable and indefensible. But voting records are not always as clear-cut as you might think. Often times, a bill is so ladden with pork that it is almost impossible to vote FOR the original item because the bill itself is so outrageously full of pork. I understand that. And with regard to the vote on the $87 billion, I had problems with that one too - I thought (and still think) that Iraq should have shouldered at least part of the burden of that funding. HOWEVER, the men and women we have fighting over in the Litter Box are far too important to let money stand in the way of their success or their safety. So, as skeptical as I am about voting records, I still have to agree with Zell on this one. I don't think he lied, as Andrew Sullivan would have you believe - I think he spun. Something that BOTH sides are good at.

I think, all in all, Miller's speech was a huge success. I think it lit a fire under the Republican party. I know it lit a fire under me. I'm not thrilled with EITHER major party but, given my options this year, I know where my vote will be going.

And at first, I wondered about the intelligence of having Dick Cheney follow Zell Miller's speech but his calm, measured demeanor was a nice balance against Miller's forcefullness. Made him look "Presidential" which was good.

I am sad to see Zell Miller leave public office. Wonder if he'll run for President in 2008...I almost 1/2 expected Cheney to respectfully decline the VP nomination and ask Miller to take his spot instead right there on the stage. Boy, would THAT make for an interesting ticket - Bush/Miller 2004...hehe

9.01.2004

New Skin!

I've uploaded a new skin - thanks to my friend Heather for her help in figuring out the font issues and for helping me eliminate the darned clock-thingy that rotated around the cursor.

This new skin currently doesn't have comments capability - I'm working on it. Also, if you're trying to view this blog in Opera, the blog font may be a light blue against a white background - kind of tough to see. Try viewing it in either IE or Netscape. Sorry. Opera doesn't always get along with everything.

I'll be playing with it a bit more over the next few days so if you encounter problems, drop me an e-mail and let me know! I'll do my best to fumble around and fix them.

Not much going on here. I've FINALLY managed to get both kids napping at the same time in the afternoon (Halleujah!) and Little Man is getting better about sleeping at night - last night was kind of tough but the 3 nights prior were good. I'll take it. Princess Trouble starts preschool next week - we go for an orientation Friday. I am so excited for her! She will be 3 in a few weeks and this weekend we are having some friends over for a BBQ and cake and ice cream - nothing big. I'm torn between getting her a bike or getting her this collecton of princess dresses to play dress up with. It's just a matter of which one to give her for her birthday vs. which one to give her for Christmas. I'm leaning toward the bike at Christmas - just looks better under the tree. We'll see.

That's all the news that is fit to print. I'm looking forward to listening to Dick Cheney and Zell Miller tonight at the RNC. Ahnold didn't do much for me last night but it is always nice to hear Laura Bush speak.

I'm off to devour some animal cookies!

8.30.2004

Hook-A-Thon

Hook-A-Thon is a website is dedicated to supporting the men and women of Bravo Company, 214th Aviation Regiment - also known as the Hillclimbers - and their families. The regiment is currently depolyed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Hook-a-Thon hopes to raise funds for the regiment’s Family Readiness Group (FRG) through auctions of donated materials, sales of patriotic and military-themed magnets sold by the FRG, and donations. The first project they hope to help sponsor will be the regiment’s reunion party which will hopefully take place in spring, 2005. Here are a few words about that event from the regiment’s well-known 1st Sgt, Sgt. Hook :


"The [FRG] has reserved an MWR [Morale, Welfare, and Recreation] spot at Bellows Air Base on the windward side of Oahu where they have cabins and campsites for rent, large pavillions for BBQ and beer, volleyball, playground for the kids, stage for a band, rental beach equip (boogie boards, boats, etc.). Their idea was instead of a formal military ball which is the typical way we celebrate return from battle, to have a two day beach bash where folks can stay the night and enjoy the entire family. Gonna cost some money. It won’t be easy for some folks to reintegrate into their marriages and roles as parents after a year over here, this is certainly a good way to help these reunions to be positive ones."

Currently they have an auction up for a hand-painted "In God We Trust" sign. I know it would look nice in my living room and would match my Americana theme nicely but if anyone wants to outbid me, go right ahead. This seems like a wonderful cause and I'm all for supporting it.

The Hook-A-Thon website can be found here. Check back often and help them out!

8.29.2004

Capitalist or Socialist? You decide.

We are having a debate about nationalized health care on the military spouse website I frequent. The majority of the people on the site are of the conservative/Republican bent. But there are a few who lean left. S is one of them. She is a firm believer in all sorts of social programs, especially nationalized health care. She is also a firm believer in welfare, food stamps, etc. She believes that, because "everyone desires health care" it should be the right of the people to have health care. She also believes that the security of this nation should come second to social policy issues. Her rationale is that a secure border doesn't do her any good if she is living on the streets.

MY arguement is that access to health care isn't going to matter one damn bit if nutjobs actually succeed in destroying this nation. I would MUCH rather pay out of pocket to have my appendix removed and do so in a safe and secure country than have the government pay for my appendectomy while New York is a wasteland because some nutcase detonated a dirty bomb in the heart of Central Park and killed off 3 million people. I highly doubt that government health care will cover radiation exposure as part of their benefits package.

Aside from the national security vs. social programs debate, my other fundamental issue with anything government run is that our government can't run ITSELF properly, let alone something as huge as national health care. Hell, the DoD can't run Tricare properly! What makes ANYONE think that the government will do a better job with something of a LARGER scale?? Want to see what nationalized medicine is REALLY like? Drive north until you cross the Canadian border. Then get sick. See where that takes you. It's not pretty.

My friend pointed out to me the other day, as we discussed this topic, that we live in a capitalistic society. In such a society, there will always be the "haves" and the "have nots". There is no way around a bell curve. To rely on government (as opposed to people) to take care of the "have nots" is doing them a disservice. Government is a big, cumbersome, impersonal entity that has no business CARING for people. People should be caring for people. Let the care of the "have nots" fall to people - religious organizations, charities, etc. Stop "forcing" me to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves (via taxes which are used for poorly run social programs) and let ME decide how and where to place my money so that I can be sure the people who truly need help receive it. They sure as heck aren't getting it now.

I'm off my soapbox and off to bed. 'night!

8.27.2004

Fifty Things

Got this from http://www.greatgooglymoogly.blogspot.com/ who got it from http://www.antisocial-bitch.com/ who got it from...well, you get the picture...


1. Your name spelled backwards: Xis Tnorfemoh

2. Where were your parents born? Ohio and Tennessee

3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? ?? can't remember...

4. What's your favorite restaurant? Flagstaff House in Boulder, CO

5. Last time you swam in a pool? a few weeks ago but the idiots here on post couldn't find anyone else besides high school students to be lifeguards so they shut the pools on post down 2 weeks early. I was planning on taking Princess Trouble swimming this weekend.

6. Have you ever been in a school play? yep - Christmas pageants and such. I remember Mrs. Dakan making us sing our "s" like "th" so we "didn't sound like a room full of snakes". "Itth beginning to look a lot like Chrithmuth..." Whatever.

7. How many kids do you want? depends on the kids...

8. Type of music you dislike most? anything that is loud enough for me to hear in my bedroom (with the doors and windows SHUT and the a/c ON) at 5am as these idiots drive to PT with their stereos booming.

9. Are you registered to vote? hell yes.

10. Do you have cable? basic cable and cable internet

11. Have you ever ridden on a moped? no, amazingly enough. But I have ridden on a motorcycle.

12. Ever prank call anybody? ashamedly...yes.

13. Ever get a parking ticket? yes - ask my mother about the one I got for parking in the handicap spot at high school so I wouldn't be late to Mr. Hermans' AP Government class. She refuse to write a check for it (I would have given her the cash) and instead I had to fork out an additional $3 for a flipping money order.

14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? maybe.

15. Farthest place you ever traveled? Does living in Alaska for 3 years count? Or how about the 6,000 mile drive we made from Alaska to Fort Rucker, Alabama? That was pretty damn far...

16. Do you have a garden? not yet but next summer we will!

17. What's your favorite comic strip? Get Fuzzy

18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? absolutely!

19. Bath or Shower, morning or night? Shower in the AM, bath at night (yeah, right...like I have time for a bath...I wish!)

20. Best movie you?ve seen in the past month? I have a 3 year old and a 6 month old. I do GO to movies. And my brain is such mush right now that I cannot honestly remember the last movie we rented. OH WAIT! I went to a movie when I visited W in Atlanta - we saw "The Bourne Supremacy".

21. Favorite pizza topping? CHEESE and CHEESE. Oh, and then top that with CHEESE.

22. Chips or popcorn? CHEETOS!

23. What color lipstick do you usually wear? Burt's Bees "Watermelon" lip gloss.

24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? I must have missed this fad in high school...

25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? Um, no.

26. Orange Juice or apple? Are we adding vodka? If not, apple.

27. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with and where did you dine? Just got back from dinner with The Husband and the kiddos at a local pizza house/brewery.

28. Favorite type chocolate bar? Whatever is in my hand at the time. Really, I'm not picky.

29. When was the last time you voted at the polls? At the polls? When we were living in Alaska as that is where I am registered to vote so 2002. But I have submitted absentee ballots since we left.

30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? I have no idea.

31. Have you ever won a trophy? yes - a small one but yes.

32. Are you a good cook? Ask The Husband. I'm assuming I'm decent because he hasn't divorced me or asked to hire a cook.

33. Do you know how to pump your own gas? and change a tire, and change my oil...my mother didn't raise a fool.

34. Ever order an article from an infomercial? not that I recall

35. Sprite or 7-up? Coke - these days, I have to have the caffiene

36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work? yes - as a lifeguard. Red swim suit. One of my favorite jobs in life!

37. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy? Sudafed - I picked up the kids' cold.

38. Ever throw up in public? Does the driveway of my friend S's house count???

39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or find true love? Having already found true love and being NOWHERE near a millionaire, can I try the millioniaire thing on for size?

40. Do you believe in love at first sight? Not really. I believe that you can be attracted to someone right off the bat but true love takes time to develop.

41. Ever call a 1-900 number? Yep - I didn't know they CHARGED for them and boy did I get GROUNDED when my folks got the phone bill. I was just screwing around.

42. Can ex's be friends? I don't think so.

43. Who was the last person you visited in a hospital? Friends of ours who just had a baby :)

44. Did you have a lot of hair when you were a baby? Nope - bald, bald, bald as a ping pong ball (as my friend Dave would say) until I was 2 (or 3...can't remember).

45. What message is on your answering machine? "Hi. You've reached XXX-XXXX. We can't take your call right now but if you leave a message we will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!"

46. What's your all time favorite Saturday Night Live Character? ???

47. What was the name of your first pet? GD the cat. GD stood for God $@&%*^ because he used to crawl up my mom's leg with his claws and she would holler that at him as she chucked him across the room!

48. What is in your purse? ID, insurance cards, zoo membership cards, a JC Penney gift card, pictures, lip gloss, pen, scraps of paper and notes, business cards, Power of Attorney, ATM card, Sam's club card.

49. Favorite thing to do before bedtime? read

50. What is one thing you are grateful for today? that my family is happy and healthy (relatively speaking) and that I am blessed with wonderful friends.

8.25.2004

No rest for the weary

I must have ticked the sleep gods off because sleep just doesn't seem to be in the cards for me. Both kids are sick - nothing major...just colds (thank goodness Princess Trouble didn't come down with a massive chest infection like she usually does...the hospital on post couldn't get her in until NEXT week for an acute visit...great). But Little Man is NOT sleeping well - not that he ever does but now it's made worse by the fact that he can't breathe. Of course, the ONE night that The Husband gets up with him, the little stinker sleeps from midnight to 6am. On the nights when it is MY turn, he's up and down every other hour (and his big sister wakes up on the hours that he does not).

I tried to take a nap today - really, I did. Got both kids down for naps at the same time and crawled into bed. Little Man woke up 30 minutes after that - right as I had just drifted off. The Husband is now sick with the kids' cold (and you all know how it is when the man is sick...) so he was home from work, napping on the couch. Once he woke up (must be NICE to nap in the middle of the afternoon whenever one wants to) I handed Little Man off and tried, once again, to rack up some Z's. Nope. Grama decides to call and The Husband thought it was worth waking me up to talk to her. I give up! THIS is why I don't take naps during the day. Not only does it take me 30 minutes to fall asleep, it usually doesn't work and I just get frustrated. I'm better off sucking down a Coke, gutting it out for the rest of the day, and getting some things accomplished while the kids sleep.

Once again, it is my night to get up with the kids so I am anticipating little sleep yet again. This is why I now keep the fridge stocked with Coke. I'm not a coffee drinker so Coke it is.

In other news, Little Man has figured out how to pull himself up. Still doesn't have the crawling thing down 100% (it's more like the "worm" from the '80s) but he can now pull himself up to a standing position. God help us! He pulled himself up on big sister's step stool, crawled up on to it, and then promptly crawled OFF of it and landed on his head. And screamed. He does a LOT of that. Talked to a friend today on the phone and Little Man pretty much screamed through the entire conversation. Thankfully, she too has a little one and can relate. He's not in pain, he's not hungry, he's not uncomfortable. He is just VOCAL. And LOUD.

I called the hospital to get him a 6 month well-baby checkup. All of a sudden they are backed up beyond belief. When I took him in for his 4 month visit, there was no problem - got him an appointment that week. Now the lady tells me it will be September 15 before they can get me in. He'll be 7 months old by then. I LOVE managed care. Those of you who think that Hitlary's plan of Universal Health Care is a good idea...come experience Tricare for a while. If the government can't run military health care properly, what makes you think they will be able to run nationwide health care any better??? Tricare is what a friend of mine would call a "Charlie Foxtrot"...

That's all the news that is fit to print. Oh wait...I do have to report that the cutest thing I think I have EVER seen is a bunch of 3 to 5 year olds in tights and tutus. Princess Trouble has started her ballet/tumbling classes and it's absolutely ADORABLE! She's having a great time though and I love to see her thrive.

Ok - I'm off to scavenge a few minutes of sleep before the fun begins. Sleep is overrated...really...

8.22.2004

Road Trip!!!

Sorry I haven't been around lately - I got a wild hair up my butt and decided to road trip with the kiddos (sans husband) back down to Rucker to visit some friends. I learned a few things along the way...

1.) Travelling at night, though hard on me, was easier on the kids. They slept the entire way down (for the most part) and almost the entire way back up. A lot easier than trying to keep a 3 year old (well, she'll be 3 in less than a month) and a 6 month old entertained while trying to dodge tractor trailer rigs and slow-moving vehicles in the fast lane.

2.) Coke is the nectar of the gods. Aside from its diuretic properties (which made for an emergency pit stop somewhere along the way between Montgomery and Troy), caffiene is one of the most useful discoveries known to man. Had it not been for Coke, we would have wound up sleeping at a rest stop somewhere along the way.

3.) It IS possible to make a 6 hour trip in six hours WITH 2 small children (the key being point #1) and leaving 2 hours early isn't necessary. In fact, leaving 2 hours early means that you pull into Enterprise at 6am and not 9 like you had planned. Oops. So we spent a few hours wandering around Wal-Mart...

4.) It is my lot in life to have at least one of my children (if not both) get sick while on a trip. I should just chuck the Children's Motrin, Tylenol, Sudafed, and any other medicine they have ever been prescribed in their lives into the bag when packing. We wound up coming home a day early because both kids picked up a cold and Princess Trouble has a nasty tendency to turn colds into bronchiolitis and I just didn't feel like arguing with Tricare over an ER visit out of our Area of Service.

5.) Road trips NEVER go as smoothly as I think they will. All told, I believe I racked up a total of maybe 18 hours of sleep over the course of 4 days...not great.

6.) You can never go "home" again. It was wonderful to see my friends again but even though I have only been gone a few months, life has gone on and things are different. Not so much with my civilian friends but more so with the military friends that I have. I didn't recognize many people at the kids' playgroup as I had hoped to (actually, I only recognized 1 other person) and the Spouses' luncheon that I went to wasn't as welcoming as I had hoped it would be either. But I understand - especially in the military (and even more so at Rucker since it is a training post and people move in and out at an even faster pace than other installations), life has to go on. This actually makes being gone easier to handle. Although I miss my church family like crazy, this visit made the homesickness ease up a bit.

It's good to be home. I missed The Husband like crazy as did the kids. And now we head back to our normal routine.

Also - a side note. A few weeks back I posted about a friend of mine whose husband was in Iraq and might possibly be coming home soon (possibly ahead of the rest of his unit). Well, he's back!!! He made it out of that hell-hole and back into the waiting and loving arms of his family last week. Thank God. I am trilled beyond words for my friend - this has been a rough year for her and her babies and now they (hopefully) get to look forward to a "normal" life again. Now we just need to pray that his retirement paperwork goes through without a hitch!

Talk to you all later...

8.16.2004

Happy anniversary to me!

Seven years. The man is a SAINT. You have NO idea what it takes to put up with me - for 7 minutes, let alone 7 years. It's hard to believe that seven years ago I was putting on my sister-in-law's beautiful white wedding dress and my veil (that I made myself) and slipping into my pretty white shoes with the pink and red roses hot-glue-gunned to them and heading off to the church to get married. What a truly wonderful start to a truly wonderful (well, mostly) seven years.

Looking back, I can't believe it has already been seven years but they say time flies when you are having fun and I sure have been having fun (well, mostly). I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to be married to your best friend.

I love you honey - happy anniversary!!!


moo.

8.11.2004

FCC wants to dig deeper into soldiers' pockets

The following text is from the current issue of the Army Times. Seems the FCC wants to jack up charges on prepaid calling cards. Read the story and if you wish to voice your opinion regarding this move by the FCC, the number to the White House comment line is :

1.800.696.6322


On a personal note, we do not have long distance on our land line. Heck, I didn't even WANT a land line to begin with but we decided the cost wasn't that bad and The Husband felt better having one. But no long distance. I have yet to find a company that can beat the rates we get on these calling cards - 3.5 cents per minute. I give them to my Grandmother, my Godmother, my parents, my BILs, and anyone else who might have a need for one. They make wonderful little gifts and people seem to appreciate receiving them. I know several people who consider them lifesavers while they were over in the Litter Box. To bump rates up by 20% for us, stateside, wouldn't be a HUGE deal but for those overseas (Korea would be another place I've sent cards) it will make a big dent in a budget.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, call the White House comment line and let them know what you think. Thanks.



FROM THE ARMY TIMES :

"Defense officials, lawmakers, the USO and others have asked the Federal Communications Commission to consider the effect on service members’ wallets before ruling on an issue that could raise the costs for AT&T prepaid phone cards by as much as 20 percent.

The USO, which provides free prepaid calling cards to service members, said FCC-imposed charges would undermine its Operation Phone Home program.

“It would directly interfere with the ability of military men and women to phone home from far away, because as costs rise to providers, they will quickly be passed along to consumers — including men and women in uniform,” wrote Edward Powell, president and chief executive officer of USO, in a July 16 letter to the FCC.

FCC spokeswoman Diane Griffin said a decision has not been made on a petition by AT&T seeking formal exemption from the fees, and added she could not discuss pending decisions. AT&T spokeswoman Claudia Jones said the cost of prepaid phone cards could increase by as much as 20 percent if the FCC rebuffs the petition.

Prepaid phone cards provide a lifeline to home for tens of thousands of troops deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world. Service members make more than 1 billion minutes of long-distance calls each year on AT&T prepaid cards sold on military bases, company officials said.

“We asked the FCC to rule that enhanced prepaid cards be considered an information service,” said Jones, because retailers have the ability to place ads on the cards or arrange for callers to hear informational messages when they use the cards. As such, she said, the cards should be subject to interstate charges that apply to communications lines used between states, rather than the more costly intrastate charges assessed by local phone providers for local communications lines within a state.

Charles Abell, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, weighed in with a letter July 23 to the FCC, noting that Congress last year passed a law allowing the Defense Department to provide prepaid calling cards or other telecommunications support of up to $40 a month to troops deployed in combat zones.

“Should AT&T raise their prices for prepaid calling cards, this benefit would be eroded,” Abell wrote. “We request that the impact on military personnel be considered in the commission’s proceedings.”

“This action is particularly unconscionable during a time of war,” wrote Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., in July 16 letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell. “We simply cannot permit rate hikes exceeding 20 percent that take money out of soldiers’ pockets while they defend our country.”

Sources said the FCC has temporarily backed away from ruling on the issue in order to further research the potential impact.

These “enhanced” prepaid cards, as AT&T calls them, also are sold through major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. Those companies launched a campaign in mid-July to alert their customers about the possible cost increase. When customers used their cards to make a call, they received an informational message with a toll-free AT&T number to call, which was forwarded to the White House. Within a week, White House officials had received 800,000 calls, Jones said.

Members of the United States Telecom Association, made up primarily of local phone companies, have drawn battle lines over the issue, saying AT&T should not be exempt from the charges that other prepaid card providers pay.

“Local phone companies are proud to support our troops — in fact, many have donated thousands of phone cards to them,” said USTA spokeswoman Allison Remsen. “Unfortunately, this is another example of AT&T trying to game the system and dodge its responsibility to help maintain this country’s phone lines. Using the troops in Iraq to help perpetrate this charade is truly an all-time low.”

Prepaid calls consist of two separate “calls” — one from the card holder to a “service platform,” then a “call” from the platform to the person the caller is trying to reach. Each call is usually is routed across state lines.

In its petition, AT&T contends the local-access charges in question should be added only if the caller or third party happens to be in the same state as the service platform that links the two.

But the USTA contends other prepaid card providers have been paying these access charges.

The fees help support the Universal Services Fund, which subsidizes the costs of telecommunications in rural and isolated areas, and also are used to pay local phone companies for the use of their lines."

8.09.2004

Gripe and moan

Do you ever get the feeling that you're drowning? Lately somedays I feel like I just can't keep my head above water. Some days are better than others but lately, the bad ones have been ganging up on me. I'm SO tired. I feel like I've been treading water for weeks. I'm sure a serious lack of sleep makes it worse. I'll get the occasional 8 hour night where I can rack up 8 hours (not continuous but cummulative) of sleep but the occasional night doesn't do me much good. I'm not sure, at this point, that even a week would suffice.

When Princess Trouble was a baby, it didn't matter if she took a nap at noon, 2, or 4. Now that there are 2 of them, the fact that Little Man rarely sleeps when his big sister sleeps is a serious problem. I have NO time to do much of anything other than care for them and hit the real basics of care for myself. I have to squeeze in time for household chores - laundry, tidying up, cleaning, meals, errands, etc. I do them when Little Man is safely entertained on the floor in the living room under the VERY watchful eye of Princess Trouble (aka Princess Tattletale) or safely contained in his "bouncy bounce" (aka the Exersaucer - one of man's greatest inventions) which means 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there. You'd be amazed at how quickly I can mop a sticky floor! But all of this not only leaves me exhausted, it leaves me ZERO time for myself. And I have come to the realization that I am not one of those people who can do without time for myself. I have friends (whom I admire immensely) who have gone YEARS without taking time for themselves aside from basic hygiene. Not me. Not my style. I have too shallow of a patience pool to be able to do that. I need (and this truly is a need vs. a want) time to myself. And getting away to run errands (i.e. commissary, PX, Target, Lowe's/Home Depot, storage, etc.) doesn't cut it.

The husband tries to help. He really does. But either I'm not communicating what I need or he's not picking up on it all the time because it never seems to be enough. I don't want to complain. I know he's tired when he comes home and his patience wears thin like mine does when the almost-three-year-old is whining because she's hungry/tired/bored/etc. and the baby is screaming because that is what he DOES. But that doesn't help me.

I get so tired sometimes. Especially on days that follow lousy nights (I know, there's a shocker...). On days like today (last night was another up and down every other hour night and a short one at that), I feel like I have 2 elephants - one sitting on my shoulders and one sitting on my chest. Getting out of bed was a Herculean effort. And silly me was ambitious today and took both kids to the commissary as well as to the Thrift Store (got a GREAT deal on an almost new Crock Pot - $15 and it has a TIMER!!!) and then to the Claims Office to file the claim for all of the damage that the movers did to our stuff. Let me tell you, I'm wiped out. I don't know that I have ever been THIS tired. I didn't feel this tired after giving BIRTH - either time.

I'm not looking for solutions. I'm not looking for suggestions. The doctor that I saw gave me Ambien (the sleeping pill). I laughed. Hard. First off, it's not that I CAN"T sleep, it's that I don't have time. Secondly, in order to TAKE Ambien, you have to be in a position to get 8 hours of sleep (preferably continuous). Um, that's not going to happen. Not anytime soon. I don't understand docs sometimes. I don't even know what I NEED (other than a week in Tahiti by myself although I'd really like to take my husband along and actually have a conversation with him that didn't involve the kids). I basically just wanted to gripe and moan. I'm good at it.

8.06.2004

Ramble, ramble, ramble...

I admit - I'm hooked. This blogging thing is pretty cool. It's allowing me to do 2 things together that I've wanted to do - create a webpage and dabble in code at the same time. I love being able to "kill 2 birds with 1 stone". I'm hoping to tweak a new skin for my blog (how's THAT for new lexicon??) and get that up soon. I am waiting on the skin code to be e-mailed to me. So the look will be different but the blog itself will remain the same.

This has been an exhausting week. Nothing in particular - I just don't have the energy reserves that I used to have. By the end of the week, it feels like I am rucking an elephant. Ugh.

One of the blogs I read on a regular basis had a bit about a post on someone else's blog : Cold Fury . Scroll down to the entry titled "Someday, some way" and take a gander. It left me so blown away that I was literally speechless for seconds. And those of you who know me know how impossible that actually is. I would give parts of my anatomy to actually bear witness to the following exchange :

"Press: “Mr. Ridge, how do you respond to charges that this security alert is really a scare tactic being used for political purposes by the Bush administration?”

Ridge: “Christ almighty, what is it with you people?..."

And the exchange goes on. In a perfect world...

The Swift Boat Veterans story seems to have kicked up a notch. One of the gentlemen in the organization (and in the picture in the ads) is the father of a good friend of mine. Makes it a little more personal. Not to mention, it adds to my belief that John sKerry has no business running for school board member, let alone President of the United States of America and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. I cannot tell you how terrifying the thought of THAT man leading the Army that MY husband is in. Just the thought makes me wonder how easy it is to get OUT of the military in the middle of one's committment.

Speaking of The Husband...the kiddos and I were on our way back from getting pictures taken and having lunch at Burger King when we saw 2 Chinooks fly overhead. They seemed to be landing nearby so we drove off in search of them. Princess Trouble LOVES Chinooks and will tell you that she, too, is going to be a Chinook pilot. We found where they had gone and pulled over to the side of the road to watch them. They were practicing slingload maneuvers with a school that is taking place and I must say they are awesome to watch.

I have my own opinions of the Chinook - my first impression was that it was, perhaps, the UGLIEST aircraft I had ever seen. The Husband will tell you all of the metaphors (I think they are metaphors...good grief, hopefully my high school English teachers won't be reading this blog!) for the Chinook : it looks like 2 palm trees having their way with a dumpster, flying school bus, the thing is so ugly that the ground repels it, it flies only because it beats the air into submission, etc. They are not the most attractive pieces of machinery in the world. But man, are they AWESOME! Just watching them slingload big boxes, you can't help but literally be overpowered by their sheer strength. They are amazing.

And the thought of MY husband actually flying one just gives me goosebumps. I have yet to see him fly one. In flight school, there was "Family Day" during Primary phase and I was able to see him fly the trainer helo - it's a Bell Jet Ranger (206? heck, I don't know...looks like a news chopper) but I have never seen him fly a Chinook. Can't wait though. I'm so darned proud of him. This has been his dream for longer than I have known him. Actually getting TO flight school took him 5 years. Getting through it was another accomplishment - it's not as easy as you would think. And now, he's done it. Of course, he's not flying yet. In his unit there are new Warrant Officers in double digits and only 3 Instructor Pilots to put everyone through "progression" (on the job training...picking up where flight school left off) so it will be a while until he flies. But man, oh man, the idea of him being in the pilot's seat just makes me smile :)

I think that is enough rambling for today. Hopefully one day soon, there will be a new look to entertain you. Until then, take care!

8.05.2004

Leashes

The Husband and I took Princess Trouble and Little Man to a community carnival/Family Night Out this past week. It was sponsored by the company that oversees the on-post housing here and included free food (the best kind - not only did I not have to cook, the food was FREE!!!), fun stuff for the kiddos (bouncy chamber, face painting, balloon animals made by a REAL clown, etc.), static displays of military vehicles (there was SUPPOSED to be a helicopter too but those lazy Warrant Officers didn't make it), and a live exhibition of the Military Police working dogs.

While I wanted in line for Princess Trouble's balloon animal, The Husband took the kiddos to watch the dog exhibition. About half way through the performance, as the German Shepherd is trying to take down the "criminal", a little boy about one and a half heads out on to the field. It took a moment for the MPs to see him but when they did one tackled the dog (who was also on a long leash) and one tried to tackle the boy. Obviously, the boy, Zachary...his name was taped on the back of his shirt...was used to this type of behaviour from adults because he tried to elude the MP. It took the poor MP about 30 seconds to catch this kid - he obviously didn't have kids of his own or else he would have just snatched Little Zachary up by his hair and called it a day. Instead, he was trying to be gentle. Once the MP finally grabbed hold of Little Zachary, he waited patiently for Little Zachary's parents to come frantically running up to claim him.

They didn't.

He announced over his megaphone that he had Little Zachary - who was doing everything in his power to escape yet again - in his possession and still, no parents.

Finally, Little Zachary was taken to the announcer's podium and a louder announcement was made for his parents. FINALLY, someone claimed Little Zachary. In the meantime, the MPs had to collect themselves - this had really startled them. I don't blame them. Not that I don't trust German Shepherds but those dogs were doing their job at that moment and who is to say that Little Zachary would not have been taken down like the "criminal" that the dog was originally pursuing? How awful would THAT have been??

There is a point to my story but first I have to add another story.

Yesterday on the military spouse website I frequent, a friend of mine posted a question asking if she would be considered a bad mommy if she were to use a child leash on her rather willful 3 year old. I came in to the discussion late and by the time I did, there were several comments supporting her decision. But there was one that dissented. Now, I'm all for opinions. But this opinion came from someone who does not have children and has never been in a position such as this. For some reason this, combined with what I witnessed at the community carnival and some of the things I have witnessed at the commissary/Wal-Mart/Target/etc. just set me off. It doesn't take much these days.

First off, as a parent, my job is to ensure the safety of my children at all times. The incident with my friend that prompted the idea of a leash involved her child getting away from her in a store, getting through the automatic doors before she could grab him, and him RUNNING out toward the parking lot. Obviously, not safe. If putting a leash on a child is the way to keep them safe, DO IT. Sometimes strollers are not feasible. Carrying a 30+ pound child for more than a few minutes is tiring for my studly husband, let alone for me. And sometimes, it is not feasible to wait to be able to leave the children home in order to run errands. So leash them.

I am sure that there are those of you who are aghast at the idea of putting a leash on a child. You're thinking, "They aren't dogs. If you can't control them, don't have them." First, pick your jaws up off the keyboard and close your mouths. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But I don't want to hear it. If I feel that leashing my child is what will keep them safe, then I will do it and opinions be damned. You know what they say about opinions anyway.

In MY opinion (which, on this site anyway, is the only one that counts), letting your child run amok in a public place is more abhorrent than putting some kind of restraint upon them. Letting a child put themselves in danger is more deplorable than taking steps to make sure they are safe.

We live is a dangerous world. When I was a kid, I remember throwing a bit of a tantrum in a store because I didn't get what I wanted. I remember my mom picking me up, swatting me on the rear, plopping me back down on the floor, and WALKING AWAY. I could NOT imagine doing that in this day and age. Most everyone reading this is old enough to remember Adam Walsh. It only takes a split second for someone to snatch a child. It only takes a split second for a child to run through automatic doors and out into a busy parking lot. It only takes a second. As much as I would love some alone time these days, that is not how I want to get there. It would KILL me if anything were to happen to either of my children.

So, will I leash them? Hell yes. I'll duct tape them to the ceiling if it keeps them safe (by the way, "one hundred mile per hour"tape works better than duct tape for those of you who care...). In fact, when we PCS'd from Alaska to Alabama and took the ferry from Alaska to Bellingham, Washington I bought a leash for Princess Trouble. She was a year old at the time and walking all over the place. The LAST thing I wanted to do was to have to dive into the frigid northern Pacific Ocean to fish her out because she had toddled off the edge. I didn't need it and it is still in its original packaging in the closet. I would have offered it to my friend but I suspect I might need it for Little Man when the time comes.

I wish more people were like my friend. I wish more people kept a closer eye on their kids. I wish, I wish, I wish...