To: The White House

Dumb move.

The people of New York would appreciate it if you would engage your brain before making such a decision in the future.


- hfs


2009 MBC Panel 4

Panel 4 - New Media Agora

Andrew Exum of Abu Magawama
Bill Nagle of Small Wars Journal
Bill Roggio of The Long War Journal

Greyhawk is moderating.

I swear, Greyhawk looks like Hugh Laurie from "House".

Bill - Started writing in early 2004 just to talk to friends and family and address their questions. Decided to put things in one place. Eason Jordan's statement that the US military was intentionally targeting journalists really enraged him and they started hammering at him for that and refuting his statements. Been to Iraq 4 times and Afghanistan once.

Andrew - been to Afghanistan during Operation Anaconda, Iraq in 2003, Afghanistan 2004. Ended up getting out of the Army. Started blogging on counterinsurgency in between his Master's degree and his PhD. Worked on the CENTCOM security team. He's discussing the top-down innovation as well as the bottom up innovation. We've been able to see both during these wars.

BN - discussing the inception of SWJ in 2005.

Question: Insight?

BR - haven't really seen someone step up and see someone be the leader in Afghanistan. Not seeing a lot of clarity WRT strategy. Hope isn't a strategy. Detects a lot of hesitance from people stepping out to take a stand WRT Afghanistan.

AE - the questions that may be out there seem to pertain to operational strategies. The rural nature of Afghanistan makes it harder than Iraq. The Pakistan issue is a biggie and isn't working. 2009 is no longer 2003. Pakistan is much, much worse than we care to admit.

BR - Afghanistan is the sideshow. Pakistan is the true story here. If Pak falls, how are we going to get supplies in, among other questions?

BN - Agrees that Afg and Pak are hopelessly intertwined.

AE - check out testimonies Dave Barno and ??? @ Congress

Question: Piracy - any thoughts?

BN - International Maritime Bureau publishes a piracy report - available to anyone. Best practices and advice about piracy.

And that's about as far as I got before my brain gave out.

2009 MBC Panel 3

Panel 3 - Taking Care of Our Veterans

Matt Bernard - American Soldier from A Soldier's Life
TSO - American Legion
Pete Hegseth - Vets for Freedom
Genevieve Chase - American Women Veterans

Morderator - McQ of Q&O and Blackfive

McQ is discussing the state of medical treatment off the battlefield and how great it is now. PTSD/TBI and the needs of those injuries. Are we geared to take care of that in the long haul?

Matt: twice injured in Ramadi in 2006 and returned home. Sent back to New Hampshire while still in recovery and dealing with PTSD. Went up to the state HQ and talked to the leadership there and briefed them with regard to their failures treating veterans. In 6 months, a program was implemented to take care of returning veterans.

Genevieve: testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Cmte. Trying to raise awareness, fine tune vision statement, etc. Want to raise awareness about women veterans. Want to continue the tradition to take care of the generations to come.

Pete: VFF focuses on the mission side of things: what's actually happening on the battle field and shaping the public's perception of our veterans. The most pressing issue is winning our wars. Will we be given the time, the resources necessary to win the wars? That should be the focus.

TSO - thinks we CAN win in Afghanistan. Important to realize limitations but victory is possible. Believes in getting the message out but it doesn't have to be PollyAnna-ish.

Question: WRT PTSD, what about the cultural fear that surrounds seeking help for mental health issues?

MB: people look at you as weak if PTSD is an issue. Most won't seek out help. You have to gain the proper tools to help yourself. If you don't know how to help yourself, you don't know how to help your fellow soldier.

GC: clearance is a big issue, still. Personally, we tend to take care of our soldiers better than we take care of ourselves. A lot of times she has to ask "If I were my soldier, how would I tell them to deal with this issue?" So far, that's the best she's come up with.

Question: There's a difference between PTS and PTSD. The "D" makes the difference. Society can't discuss it without throwing on that last letter.

Pete: there are 2 tracks on this: Inside the military, inside the VA, etc. Thinks that doing PSAs on PTSD, it undermines the vets and the public's perception of them. No need to scare the public with PSAs.

Question: Is the MSM perpetuating the myth of the crazed veteran by highlighting those that need help as a way to get them help? If so, how do we go about GETTING them help?

TSO - Stop reading the NYT.

GC - communityofveterans.org only for vets of Iraq and Afghanistan

TSO - WHY has it taken this long to beef up our mental health professionals? Because that is how the VA works. It's a train wreck.

Question: Data vs. anecdotal evidence? Does the AE contribute to the perception of PTSD? IS there a way to reform this? Is there a way for blogs to be more constructive?

Pete - a lot of blogs ARE trying to help. I.e. Someone You Should Know - highlighting those that have succeeded. Get both sides, emphasize stats

MB - realize that stats can be skewed

Question: Isn't PTS/PTSD a family issue?

MB - it does start with the family support channel - your spouse is your first line of defense. they need to be properly educated on warning signs and tools.

Question: After you get to the problems/solutions, how do you suggest we involve the public?

2009 MBC : MG Oates

Live stream from Iraq - MG Mike Oates of Task Force Mountain

We have MG Mike Oates up from Iraq. The moderator has asked him if he's gotten into any trouble due to his blogging. MG Oates says no, he has not.

He says he's trying to give his soldiers a forum for their questions, comments, and concerns.

He reports that he's looking for good, solid comments on procedures, feedback from families and spouses regarding on post policies, and he looks for feedback on how to improve the Army.

What about your counterparts? Has he talked to any of his counterparts? The Navy has started a process to drag their flag officers into this medium. Keep in mind that the majority of the flag officers are mid 40s to mid 50s and didn't grow up with this technology so there is hesitance and discomfort. There is also some discomfort with connecting directly with soldiers/sailors/airmen/Marines.

CJ is up with a question. We have a lot of high level leadership that are engaged in the milblogging community and are supportive of what we do. Yet there are soldiers that are still getting shut down, even though they've not violated any policies. Can you speak to what is being done to help the CoC accept and understand milblogging?

Oates: Some of it is logistical. There may not be bandwidth to handle it. Most of the problem lies with the lower level commanders and a fear of OPSEC violations.

Jack Holt has a question: when you use your blog as a leadership tool, what would you say to current and future leaders with regard to the effects of using a blog as a leadership tool?

Oates: If you're going to fish, you have to throw a line in to water where there are fish. If you want to talk to soldiers, you have to do the same. But the realization has to be made that soldiers in this forum are incredibly candid.

Greyhawk: The expansion of MND - what kind of progress is being seen due to that?

Oates: The expansion allowed them to take responsibility for 9 different provinces. The good news is that the IAP and IAF are taking greater and greater control and is significantly better than it has been. One thing he's seeing is that the people that were selected by the latest round of elections is that more educated people are coming into power.

Greyhawk: With regard to the Sons of Iraq: update? How goes the transition to Iraqi control?

Oates: the successes seen due to the existence of SoI have been remarkable. It is still a flashpoint in that area but they are watching it carefully. The area is still very secure.

Bob King : Blogging has not yet been institutionalized. What can be done to institutionalize it and provide top cover so that when leaders who believe in blogging leave, the blogging remains?

Oates: Pressure can be put o the Army to do so. A balance has to be determined between OPSEC and information.

Question: What keeps you awake at night?

Oates: an accidental collision with the Iranians along the border. The Iranians continue to engage and provide support to insurgents. That's a tough one to dance around.

Question: Some say that the war in Iraq is over? Is there some kind of internal campaign to keep it going and keep morale up for those going to Iraq?

Oates: on an individual standpoint, it can be seen as being over. But in the bigger picture, it is still on-going and the enemy is still capable of attacks. We are trying to reach some kind of sustainable security.

Question: more pictures coming from Abu Ghraib. Are you expecting any backlash from this release and if so, how will you prepare for it?

Oates: we've had time since the first release to prepare for it and to make sure that the Iraqis understand that those pictures are not representative of who we are.

Question: WRT SOFA guidelines, do you forsee any problems in your AO in terms of reaching those requirements?

Oates: negotiations are underway to hash out details. He expects some limitations but they will work with it.

Question: WRT DADT, what would you say reflects your soldiers' attitudes toward that policy?

Oates: the majority were in favor of modifying the policy but he's not sure if that reflects a wide majority of opinions or just a wide variety of opinions on his site.

Question: What advice do you have for milbloggers to help ensure/assist the goal of victory and supporting our troops?

Oates: candid remarks bring candid response. He reminds his leaders all the time that they lead American soldiers. You have to be willing to take the time to explain and be candid. The response will then be positive and will not need spin.

Question: What is your overall blog strategy and do you ask your staff and subordinate commanders to blog?

Oates: don't ask anyone else to blog but does ask them to look at the responses as there are golden gems in there. Great things to look at as leaders. Strategy: Keep our soldiers informed. Blogging seemed to be the easiest way to do that.

Question: is the blog open to everyone?

Oates: Yes. Online chat open tomorrow. He welcomes anyone who is interested in improving the Army, his installation, and his organization.

2009 MBC Panel 2

Panel 2: Beyond MilBlogging

Airforcewife - SpouseBuzz
Lily Burnana - author, "I Love a Man in Uniform"
Uncle Jimbo - Blackfive
JD Johannes - Outside the Wire
Craig Stewart - The National Museum of Americans in Wartime

David Stanford of The Sandbox

Lily is a writer/editor who started off in the world of punk rock. She married a military intelligence officer and has authored a book, titled "I Love a Man in Uniform".

Airforcewife is one of the original authors for SpouseBuzz. She also works for Military.com, covering the election and spouse views.

Uncle Jimbo is a SF vet and writes for Blackfive and in other locations.

JD Johannes - former Marine, TV producer, reporter, creator and director of "Outside the Wire".

Craig Stewart - president and CEO of The National Museum of Americans in Wartime.

First question - what is the future of all of this information? Is someone archiving all of the milblogs?

CS: I don't know.

Lily: thinks someone is but many of us are DIY. Supposedly the internet is forever but backing up is essential.

JD: intentionally shoots on videotape as it is durable. Decades from now he will have first-person accounts from those that were THERE.

From the audience: archive.org is an option.

Quesiton for Lily: how does your experience...?

Lily: the unique challenge was who the MSM thinks military wives ARE. They think we're these Stepfordian wives and we're not. Most of the editors got it. It was challenging to confront that stereotype that a military wife cannot be an independent thinker. Just because she's a military wife doesn't mean she doesn't carry an industrial sized can of whoop ass. The good news story in all of this is that as military wives become more visible, we gain an ever-increasing platform. People are actually willing to listen. Then, show them who you really are.

AFW: It's not as exciting as Lily's story. She does more "humiliation blogging". The only kind of interaction she had with people like her was on line. She has the same problem as Lily - the misconception that we are all alike. She tries to marry the civilian worlds and the military world.

Troy has a question regarding advice they would give to guide those that want to step out beyond just milblogging and take it to the next level?

Jimbo is discussing the evolution of SOG media. Filmed stories about sending people back to Iraq as civilians after they had served there with the military to document the changes that were seen. This was then picked up by the MSM. This is huge.

Jimbo is advocating for action from MilBloggers at the local level - start small, build a relationship, be a credible source.

Lily echoes and says to be prepared for rejection and to remain consistent.

Craig Stewart is talking about how his Museum has come about. There are two sides - serving and self-serving. The question has been posed: how are you going to represent milbloggers in your museum? To honor those that have served : battle front and homefront, they will pick individuals that they think represent the milblogging community and highlight them.

CJ's up : he has a "Twitquery"...who is responsibility is it to ensure that the message is understood? The reader's or the reporter's?

Lily believes that the onus is on the blogger. Jimbo agrees

Ruthie points out that she found she had more in common with her 93 year old grandmother than with many of her contemporaries that she went to school with. I agree.

Grace from the Washington Times tells us that spots are opening up for milbloggers to write for the Times in order to share news about what's going on on military bases/posts: spouses, vets, children. Two pages of Citizen Journalism pages for milbloggers to have a voice.

Question from Grace: why do milbloggers thing that the MSM has "failed" the military. Is the military community unique in that failure? Is it the liberal agenda that has caused the failure?

Lily: thinks that only so much will fit into the "news hole" and we lose out to other stories.

AFW: thinks that the Oprah-ization of our society tends us toward the "victimization" of military families causes us to shy away.

Susan Kats Keating: Museum has a blog --> http://www.nmaw.org/


2009 MBC Panel 1

Panel 1: Back to Our Roots

Alex Horton - Army of Dude
Rebekah Sanderlin - Operation Marriage
TSO - This Ain't Hell
Maggie - Boston Maggie and Castle Argghhh!
Solomon Fein - Normandy D-Day Vet

Maggie's already started, kicking Alex out of "her" seat.

Several bloggers had the opportunity to spend time at the White House yesterday. Alex had a chance to introduce the White House peeps to his blog. He's explaining now how he got started blogging right before his deployment with 3rd Stryker BDE out of Fort Lewis. He opted not to involve his superiors in his blogging and tried his best to keep it anonymous but gained notoriety when he corrected an LA Times reporter.

Next up is Rebekah Sanderlin from Operation Marriage. She writes for the Fayetteville Journal.

TSO writes over at This Ain't Hell and gained notoriety after asking his CongressCritter why he wasn't there when TSO got back from his deployment. He rejoined the Army while in law school (he hated law school). The unit he wound up in had morale issues so he started up an Onion-like newspaper. About a year ago, he participated in the "Winter Soldier" hearings before Congress.

And then there's Maggie...yesterday at the Pentagon, Maggie played her role as the "ultimate equalizer" and called out Admiral Thorpe on a variety of issues. She's explaining how and why she got involved in blogging.

Missing from the panel is Solomon Fein who is blogging about Normandy. He's 86 and, "next to John Donovan, he's the oldest blogger out there".

The first question is one from a military wife who wants to know whether Rebekah gets pressure from other military wives because of the extra loud voice and bully pulpit she's afforded. According to Rebekah, she's not aware of any.

Matt asks the question of Alex, whether he has noticed a change based on the increased regulations surrounding in-theatre blogging. Alex says that there are fewer sensational blogs out there than before. One of his favorites - The War on Big Tobacco - is on hiatus due to the regs.

Next question is for Mark - do you think your blogging provides a perspective or can actually inform/influence the media? A few months ago, he did a post regarding IAVA's "scorecard" concerning veterans and he says that he doesn't try to change the big picture. Rather he tries to highlight the little things and affect changes in smaller spheres.

Maggie has been asked to discuss some of the benefits of blogging. The vacations are outstanding and blogging gives her the opportunity and ammunition (no pun intended) to combat the "headline readers".

Mark is asked whether his chain of command was a factor in his blogging. He found out that his chain of command were fans of his blog. They saw the humor in it and it wasn't a problem. He says he has more issues with his current civilian employer than his chain of command.

Alex is asked how it has affected him. When he got started, JP Borda was in his unit and he didn't know that JP was "in charge" of milblogging. When he started, blogging was something he kept to himself, as he didn't see putting his thoughts out there as particularly masculine. At one point, he became aware of the fact that his chain of command was reading his blog at a time where he criticized decisions surrounding events in his company but that it wasn't a problem. The support he received from his chain of command was surprising, even in the face of criticism.

Question for Rebekah - what kind of conversations did you have with your husband concerning what you write about? She says her husband is somewhat her chain of command. There is a fine line to walk between creating an interesting blog while not encroaching on his privacy. She tries to keep the subject matter less personal and aimed more toward the Army in general.

A question from the audience as to whether than has been any blowback - for Rebekah or for her husband. She says it's been limited.

Maggie says that she's had 3 instances where she's dealt with people's issues concerning her posts and at all times, she's taken them seriously.

TSO is discussing the evolution of blogging. He says the smaller blogs are more subject to the winds of change than the larger blogs. He says that the smaller blogs can discuss things that the Bigger Army cannot. They tend to be pushed by the dynamics that the Big Army isn't effected by.

Matt's doing pretty well; given the fact that I think he's still drunk.

He asks the question, how do we get back to our roots?

TSO says we need to give a voice to the people that are deploying. Even a paragraph - even that is enough. The MSM sources have dried up overseas so giving a voice to the guys on the ground. Even if they don't want to start their own blog - just giving them an opportunity to tell their story is enough.

Maggie suggests keeping in mind the fact that there are non-technical types out there and bloggers need to keep that in mind when writing - not everyone understands "military-ese".

Matt asks Alex where the disconnect comes in between his now-civilian life and his "real life". How do you express that? Do you get personal on your military-themed blog? Alex says that he does get personal now and that his blog has changed focus in the year that he's been home. It's more about his journey back into the civilian world than the Army these days. You have to wear different hats, depending on the situation. He says it's a weird place to be.

TSO says the transition is tough for him as well. He read an article that said that the "first year of law school is the worst year of your life". Which struck him as funny after a year overseas. The dichotomy of experiences between him and his classmates made it tough to associate with them.

Alex agrees - he kept his experiences to himself until he felt it necessary to shed a little light on his classmates' misconceptions. Then he outs himself as the right wing terrorist that he is.

Jack Holt has a comment at the mic - "This is more of a growth process than a movement process. You are the roots - you are the roots of the military in America; the body of knowlege and experience that this nation needs to move forward."

Chap finds it amazing that he has to drive to DC to find a blogger in Fayetteville. How do you (the bloggers) deal with updating blogrolls as bloggers tend to come and go?

Mark says he doesn't know. They try to emulate the strong blogs out there that do it well. The symbiotic relationship between big and little blogs is a good thing.

Alex points out that, for lack of a better word, it's a web - you go to one blog and that leads you to another and another...

Question from the audience...how do you avoid talking in a bubble? How do you bring in new ideas and keep yourself open and make sure that you represent the views of ALL of the military and not just those that share your views?

TSO says that milblogs aren't particularly good at that - we tend to assume that everyone knows what we're talking about, even if they don't. Having teamed up with those on the other side of the fence, they are trying to fix that though the intent may be nefarious.

Alex says "go the extra step and explain yourself".

Question from the audience - how important is the mentoring process to blogging?

Alex: finding those new blogs and taking them under your wing is huge. It is important to offer your services and help out those starting out.

Rebkah: without an actual site, it's tough to do.

TSO: there's nothing more discouraging than someone who is in theatre, does a great post, and no one reads it. He tries to highlight soldiers in country that are blogging. Blackfive helped him so he tries to pass it on. Doesn't do you any good to write a Pulitzer Prize winning piece if no one reads it.

Lindy - is there anything your military can do to make this easier for bloggers? Seems like it's a crap shoot, depending on command.

Alex says that OPSEC should be the only reg that milbloggers should be following. No one has found good policy a to what should and should not go on a site other than OPSEC. Regulations will kill the blogging world. It's self-regulating and should be left to do so.

Matt says that defining OPSEC is like defining pornography - where is the line?

TSO points out that that is a tough one - he goes back and points out - again - that it's a self-correcting entity.

Maggie points out that it's not the bloggers that are violating OPSEC. Look around - milbloggers are more careful than the MSM when it comes to OPSEC issues.

Bob King from Leavenworth is encouraging milblogs to point to CAC blogs - he's concerned that when GEN Caldwell leaves, the push for blogging in theatre and at higher levels of command will fade.

Troy from Bouhammer asks WHY do we want to go "back" to our roots rather than to grow? What is our motivation? And then when do we become too big? At what point do we become that which we despise?

And we're on break...


My Grama

She was a tough lady. Blunt, sarcastic, firey, funny. Growing up, she'd come to visit at the holidays and a few times outside of the holidays and I am not sure who I was more afraid of - her or my mom. I mean, she was the reason my mom was tough so it makes sense that I'd be afraid of her too.

She was a military spouse like me...only much better. She saw my Grampa through WWII (he was a Seabee) and Korea (he was in the Army). The sacrifices she and my Grampa made during those two wars are so far above and beyond the things I deal with now in regard to military life that it's like comparing apples and oranges. Anytime I started to feel sorry for myself and ramp up the pity party, all I had to do was think of her and my perspective was set right.

She always slept in my room when she came to visit (which makes sense, given the fact that I grew up in a 2BR house) and the room always felt empty after she left even though it was so small.

My Grampa died when I was 2 so I never knew her with him. It was always just her. She did really well, living on her own. She had a little retirement apartment down near Biloxi and a family friend kept watch over her and she did well. After Katrina hit in 2005, mom and dad decided to move her up to live with them which is where she stayed until complications from Congestive Heart Failure forced her into the hospital and then into a nursing home.

She died this morning. My hope is that she's with Grampa now as well as my Dad. It's not been a good year for our family and I am weary of it. My hope is that we're done with the major life changes for a while now.

I'll miss you Grama. Say hi to Grampa and Dad for me.


- hfs

In D.C.

The MilBlog conference (henceforth known as MBC) is taking place in D.C. this weekend so here I am. I'll be doing my best to cover the event (not quite "liveblogging" but close) on Saturday. I'd cover the stuff on Friday but if you *really* want to know what's going on on Friday, you should have come.

I was able to spend some time with my brother and his family which was great. I don't get to see nearly enough of them so this was a treat. I want to steal my niece and nephew and take them back to Hawaii with me. I have a feeling they would get along famously with my kids. There is discussion about them coming for Christmas - we'll see. My fingers are crossed.

Tonight was "girls' night in" with some friends and tomorrow I'm meeting up with another friend who used to live in Hawaii but now lives out this way. I can't wait to meet their latest addition to their family! Then the festivities start and things should get interesting.

I'm curious to see which of the usual suspects" will be in town for this one and who will be absent. The MBC 2 years ago was, by far, my favorite and I have a feeling there will never be one like it again. So many people I met at that one that have since become friends - it was a great weekend. However, I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones this time around and who knows? This MBC may turn out even better than the one two years ago.

I love D.C. LOVE IT. I wish I had at least a week to spend just exploring. With my family. I think it would be a blast to take a good 7 days to see as much as possible of D.C. proper. And then maybe another week to explore outside of DC - Arlington, Mount Vernon, etc. I came in 1989 with my high school group and we had a week and didn't come close to seeing all that I wanted to see. One of these days we will set aside a good 2 weeks to hang with my brother and his family and explore D.C. properly.


MacGyver *should* have flown today (his first flight since before his surgery last year) but mechanical issues and weather prevented that from happening. I'm bummed for him but kind of happy - maybe I'll be back before he flies and then we can celebrate.


I should be sleeping but I'm all sorts of discombobulated. I'm also worried about my Grama. She's 96-ish and has congestive heart failure. She's been decompensating (getting worse) for a few months and things are kind of tenuous right now. It's hard to balance the meds needed to help rid her body of the fluids brought on by the CHF without bottoming out her blood pressure. Her breathing is getting erratic and her oxygen saturation levels are dropping. Not a good combination. On top of losing my dad only 6 months ago, I worry about my mom. That's a lot to handle in less than a year. So if you all could say a prayer that Grama might rally, that would be great.


And now I think I should hit the sack. Busy, busy day tomorrow!


- hfs


Easter pictures

Pictures of the kids are up on their blog but I have more that were not kid-related (well, not MY kids...).

The adults played.

Hawaiian Blitz. Entirely too much fun!

We had 3 Wii consoles hooked up and projected at the same time. There was a fourth Wii (with Wii Fit) going in another part of the room as well.

At the end, there's always FOOD! (because, if nothing else, our church can EAT!)

I think the unofficial motto of our church should be "if you feed them, they will come"! The game day went over so well that MacGyver is planning to do another one before he leaves.


- hfs


Cleared to fly!

MacGyver was still having some pretty significant pain in his shoulder, which was worriesome given the fact that he was 6 months post-op. So back to the orthopaedic surgeon he went. Now, I know just enough anatomy and physiology to be dangerous so my train of thought led to an impingement of some kind. Thankfully, the pain he was having was not impingement pain but tendonitis of the biceps muscle. Probably due to a variety of things - the surgery itself, the muscles of the rotator cuff not working at full capacity, overuse due to compensation and lots of physical therapy.

But easy to fix. Just insert a 12 gauge needle into the shoulder and pump it full of steroids and all should be well. Yes, MacGyver is now a "roid freak". Heh. Doc said it should take 5-7 days for the full effect of the steroid to kick in and it has. He saw the Flight Surgeon today and all is well. He's cleared to fly again and life is good.


I was a little worried there for a bit. But this puts life back on track which is a good thing. Many of my friends find it odd that I was worried he wouldn't deploy but we have plans and his deployment is a BIG part of those plans. He seemed relieved and excited when I talked to him this morning. Hopefully now all of the aircraft will remain functional and he'll be able to get back into the cockpit. I can't wait for him to come home smelling like helicopter again! I love that smell.


Easter was awesome. Truly. I love our church. There is a big park across the street from it and each Easter, they literally take the church out to the park - stage, musical equipment, sound board, chairs, tables...everything. So we were up at 5am to help get it all set up. Sunrise was beautiful and the weather held which was a HUGE blessing.

The service itself was great - it is so good to see so many friends all in one place on such a glorious day. Then we do lunch and games for the kids afterward.

Some of my Kids (the youth from church that I work with; note the capital "K") had asked if we could do something after Easter service - they didn't want to just go home for the rest of the day. MacGyver got the idea to do a Wii party so he set up 3 projectors in the sanctuary at church (after clearing the chairs out of the center) and had 3 Wii consoles going at the same time. The kids loved it. Some of the other kids played "Dutch Blitz" with life-sized cards which is always a blast. We also played a few rounds of "Take Two" (a Scrabble-like game). We threw dinner in there too and it made for a wonderful evening of fun, food, and friends. By 6pm, my kids were done like a Thanksgiving turkey and it was time to go home.

At some point during the day, Princess Trouble lost one of her front upper teeth. She's already lost the two front lower ones but this was her first upper - a big deal. She now has a very cute gap-toothed smile. It's adorable and I'll get pictures up on their blog soon.


So life continues on. And it is good. How goes it with you?


- hfs


Starting to get the hang of this...

...FRG thing. I think. But don't quote me.

This afternoon was our "Spring Fling". Nothing spectacular but a good time, nonetheless. We had a good turnout of families - probably about 50% - including some of the single soldiers. The kids had a blast - egg hunts, games, crafts, and piƱatas - as did the adults. In fact, I think the adults may have had more fun than the kids.

But all in all, it was a successful event.

I've been at this for 9 months now and I am just getting to the point where I can honestly say I know what I'm doing. Sort of.

There have been days (ok, weeks) where I've truly wanted to walk away. The learning curve has been incredibly steep in some instances. But God has been good in placing incredible people in the company that are more than willing to help and are well-equipped to do so. I started to panic last month when I learned that one of our best LTs was leaving us. But God was good and gave back another wonderful LT that had been with the company previously. It's been like that all along - the right people fall into place just perfectly.

With regard to the regs, I've reaffirmed my stance that it is easier to beg forgiveness than it is to ask permission. I do my best to function within them but there are times when it makes no sense to do so. Primarily with regard to fundraising. It makes NO sense to me that we are essentially limited, in our fundraising efforts, to raising funds from our OWN people. If that's how it should be, there's no point in putting together any kind of a fundraiser - might as well just have people write a check and be done with it. I understand that the regs were written with good intentions but we all know where good intentions usually get us. I know I've blogged about it before both here and over at SpouseBuzz. The regs are, for the most part, ridiculous.

And even though our guys haven't even left yet, I already have a strong idea about the "Welcome Home" party but it's going to cost somewhere in the vicinity of $7,500 so we'd best get a move on if we wish to cover the cost of the "Welcome Home" party in addition to care packages and other events for the families while the guys are gone. But it's not going to happen if we choose to function solely within the confines of the Army regulations. Our finances are transparent - anyone who cares to see what monies we have and will have raised is welcome to. I don't want anyone to doubt that the money they've contributed has gone anywhere other than to support the soldiers and families within the unit. But I find it utterly ridiculous to expect soldiers and their families - who have sacrificed so much and truly ask so little - to foot the bill for their own "Welcome Home" celebration.

So that's where I stand on that one. Should be interesting to see how it all plays out.

In the mean time, we have a Change of Commanding coming up and a new commander coming in. Seems like a nice guy - we'll see how long it takes to break him in, Hooker style. Heh.


- hfs


I <3 Code Monkey!

If you'll notice, the ribbon on the left no longer interferes with the main body text. That is all thanks to Code Monkey. My pixels have been tweaked and we are good to go (that sounds funny!). I am still messing with it and may try to convert the current 2-column layout I have into a 3-column layout (what I really would like) over the weekend. We'll see.

But I'm keeping the ribbon.

I like it.


- hfs

Sunday's coming...


New look

Other than that, nothing's really changed.

Hope you like it. Let me know if there are any glitches though, from what I can tell, it looks good on both Mac and PC - running Safari, Firefox, and IE. I've not tried it on Chrome because, well, I don't like Chrome and I don't know anyone who uses it. I don't *like* IE but I know people who use it so I tested it out.

The month of April is INSANE. I blinked and March was gone. I have a feeling April's going to be the same way. Looking forward to seeing some old friends at the MilBlogging Conference in a few weeks. Still trying to find away around the panic attacks that inevitably come when I fly. Hate those. Seems my baby girl managed to inherit those from me.

Lucky her. Thankfully I know what she's dealing with and hopefully we can find a way to work it all out.

MacGyver's shoulder continues to mend, though slowly. He plateaued for a while but I think he's back to making progress in the rehab department. We'll see once we meet with the ortho surgeon again.

Life in Hawaii is still good. Spring Break was pretty much rained out but we did manage to squeeze in a little time at the beach, a dip in the pool at the Hale Koa, and a hike to Kaena Point. I should have time this weekend to sit down and put some pictures up.

And now it's time for bed.


- hfs


Down for maintenance

I'm getting ready to tweak my layout once again. So don't be surprised if you stop by one day and don't recognize the place.

And once I get the new layout up and running, those of you that view this blog on something other than a Mac and on a browser other than Firefox, let me know if you see issues.



- hfs


Wrote this six years ago. Nothing's changed.  One of my favorite movies is 'Bull Durham'. And one of my favorite scenes in ...