24 December 2008

Our Christmas "Card" to You!!

After trying to email this twice now, I'm posting it to my blog so everyone can view it here. My apologies for clogging your inbox with my ignorant attempts at sending an attachment! Merry Christmas!


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15 December 2008

Mojave Miracles

Weird happenings in the Mojave Desert! Last night my daughter finally decided walking was something she'd like to try so here's a little video for some proof (for all you non-believers!)
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...And that's not all...there's at least two inches of heavy, wet snow on the ground with no end in sight! Yep...its about 32 degrees outside and everything is blanketed in white. Fort Irwin road is closed (I heard) which is good considering nobody owns a snow plow out here! There's going to be a lot of stranded folks on post tonight! Here's some pics for proof (again...the non-believers...)

10 December 2008

Oh baby.....

And its official....there will be another baby Wright! OK, so I totally didn't even think I was pregnant! I took the test more for fun than anything and on Monday it almost instantly showed two lines. You'd better believe I yanked the box back out of the garbage and made sure two meant positive and not negative! I instantly got this goofy grin on my face and the only thing I could think was that my hubs was going to freak!

I told my hubs that I got him a Christmas present (even though we agreed not to exchange gifts this year) but that I was having it specially made and it would be late. He was all disappointed because he didn't get me anything and I just couldn't stop smiling. I told him "yeah...they said its going to be about 9 months late". He got this confused "duh" look on his face like he was trying to think what kind of gift could possibly take that long to make and then I swear he turned white as a sheet and fell backwards a little and ran around the corner into the laundry room. I was cracking up. Ah...anyway, it was good.

So according to MY calculations, I'm due around August 12th next year. Ugh...August...that is a looooong time away. I certainly hope we are either discharged and moved or reclassed and moved by then. No way do I want to go through a Mojave Summer being huge and prego! I have orientation on Monday at the OB/GYN office and get to do blood tests and other enjoyable activities and then make my first appointment later that week. You know, just the other day my husband and I had decided that we were going to wait to have another child. I had my mind made up that it would be another year or two. Apparently the Lord has other plans for me....like making me be prego before I've lost all my baby weight from Mattea and prego in the desert no less! I love the Lord and His mysterious ways.

Oh...this will be my son's 7th sibling! For those of you that don't know me...no, I do not have 6 other children. Tate's father has four children, we have Mattea and Shane (my hubs adorable son) and now baby Wright. Whew!

04 December 2008

Tate's Birthday

Here are some pictures from Tate's birthday. He turned 11 this year and truly looks ages older than he did last year at this time. I realized in these pictures how many people in my family he actually resembles despite our differences. Admittedly, we spoiled Tater this year, knowing he was moving. He got an iPod shuffle (he's always dragging Mike's iPod around) and an alarm clock that has a docking station with it for the iPod. He also got a guitar. Last night, SSG Palacios came over after work and gave Tater his first guitar lesson. He learned how to hold it, and three chords. He practiced right up until bedtime and came bursting into my bedroom at 9:30 last night saying he'd figured out all three chords. It was so nice to see him happy about accomplishing something.

28 November 2008

Out with the Crazies

So I didn't get up at 2am this year to go shopping like I did last year with my mom (Mom...we rocked!). The fam got up and left post by about ten after eight this morning and we went to the outlet mall in Barstow. We hit Old Navy, Gap and Children's Place and everyone came home with some new MUCH needed duds. Then we ventured to Wally World....MADNESS WITH THE CRAZIES! OK, Wal-Mart is scary enough on a normal day. In fact I can barely tolerate it then. But on the day after Thanksgiving at the Barstow Wal-Mart? It was a disgusting, creepy, picked-over, stickyslimey, smelly, shocking, annoying, unbelievable experience! We did find stuff there that we wanted/needed, but man...you think your Wal-Mart is bad...come visit the bustling metropolis of Barstow and it'll make you feel better. There were moments so creepy that I had to remind myself that everyone around me was a child of God and that I had no need to be afraid. I even forced myself to use the bathroom, but only out of sheer desperation because I knew there was no stopping once we headed home unless I wanted to crouch behind a tumbleweed on the side of the road.

I made my first Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and did mighty well if I do say so myself! The mishes came over, brand spankin' new to the area, and ate most of the food. I was glad though and I even had some leftovers to send home with them. They were a great couple of young men. One had only been on his mission for three days! The other had been out about 13 months but seemed years more confident than his companion. It was great to hear their simple but Spiritual message. It actually turned out to be a blurb from the Preach My Gospel manual talking about recognizing and acting on the promptings of the Spirit...the same exact paragraph used in Elder Godoy's talk from this past conference that I picked out to use as my VT message this month!

I'm thankful that we had such a great day yesterday. I'm thankful that our turkey didn't burn, that the mishes got full, that I have a wonderful family, that we have such amazing technology today, that I have a beautiful but stubborn daughter and a handsome but independent son, that I have a marvelous and caring husband (who's handsome as well!), that the Lord answers my prayers (even though I might not like the answer...see previous blog post), that there is Diet Coke in abundance at our commissary, that pumpkin pie was invented, that my dogs are naughty and playful but stinking cute, that we have a safe place to live, that our bills are paid on time and our fridge is full, that our vehicles run and our clothes don't have holes, that we have the Word of God in print in many different copies in my own living room, and most of all, that I'm an eternal family because of my Savior Jesus Christ and his sacrafice and our Heavenly Father's Plan of Salvation. Want to be thankful for that too? Go check out www.mormon.org and stop wondering what I'm always talking about!

20 November 2008

This is quite possibly the "biggest" blog post of my life. Since this is my online journal, and I don't mind all of you reading it, I don't doubt that you might cringe or even place judgment when you read it...that is, if you know my history and family. I won't be giving backround on any of that, it exhausts me.

My son is going to be making a big change in his life. Shortly after we moved to California, my son (who started out loving it here) fell into a depression. He, to this day, is unhappy, rarely laughs, doesn't play much anymore, is nearly failing fifth grade, and is indifferent to myself and my husband. I went through stages of thinking I knew it all and diagnosed it as "just moved", "normal nearly 11 year-old boy stuff", "just misses (real) home", etc. When I realized he was a handful of incomplete homework assignments away from being held back in fifth grade I realized it was much more than I thought. I sought out advice from everyone possible and convinced myself that whatever they told me they thought it was, was good enough for me.

A few nights ago I got an answer to the prayer I've prayed daily since the "dark ages" began with Tate. My answer was that it was ok to let him go live in Iowa with his dad. After several days now of emotional torture, I've come to terms with the fact that, even though I don't like the answer or wasn't ready for it, God knows best for my son.

I cannot continue to deny my son's father the opportunity to be exactly that...a father. For 11 years I've clung to my son and protected him (or so I thought) from everything I ever thought would hurt him. Now I realize I was "protecting" him from things that hurt me, not just him, and it is now that I understand that forgiveness, understanding and love are a commandment from God and that doesn't exclude people I choose.

Tate will be entering a loving home with four half-siblings that he loves to pieces, dogs that are "perfect", a father that has waited years for this chance to be an active part of his son's life, and a step-mother who adores him. Although their lives might be led a little differently than ours, mostly in a religious aspect, I know that I can trust my son to be strong. The foundation I've built for him the past several years is enough. That was my answer. What I've done is enough that he will be ok. He will be able to reconnect with three sets of grandparents and countless cousins, aunts and uncles that miss him dearly.

This will take an emotional toll on myself, my husband and my daughter, however we're doing our best to prepare ourselves. One of the wonderful things about the technology that our Heavenly Father has blessed us with, is that it will enable us to see, hear, laugh with, pray with, even watch a movie with our son even from thousands of miles away. I've never had a bigger test of faith in my life. But I cannot deny the power of prayer and the influence of the Holy Spirit who answers for our Father. I know my Tater will be watched over by those around him and those around him he cannot see. He's been given the gift of the Holy Ghost who will influence him for good and guide him every day. I'm at peace.

15 November 2008

Feeling Small

For some reason I woke up feeling too small for everything around me today. I had plans to help someone today and I was really looking forward to it. My kids woke up sick and while my son seemed to feel well enough after a few hours to go play at a friend's house, my daughter refuses to leave my side and sounds like a 15 month old with a pack-a-day habit...very raspy and coughing a lot. Her poor little body is so warm and she's just sitting in her rocking chair mumbling in her language. Needless to say, I didn't get over to help the person I was going to help, which made me feel guilty, sad, disappointed, and responsible for things that ultimately aren't in my control, AND I let another person down by cancelling on her for going with me. I feel small, very small. I'm trying to ignore the swollen glands and achy feeling behind my eyes in hopes that I'm just imagining it because of the kids. We'll see what the night brings.

I feel discouraged because not everyone runs life at my pace, that my priorities aren't the priorities of those I rely on.

Our future in the military is in question and I feel smaller than the undertaking it will be to possibly move on. Yesterday I didn't. Today I do. I really don't have these days very often and its such a bummer to be frozen in an emotion like this.

12 November 2008

TARANTULA!!!!!!!!!!

Here are some pics and a video (if I can get it to work) of a GINORMOUS tarantula that just took a stroll around my backyard. It was a good thing I was sitting at the computer, which looks out the sliding glass back door, otherwise I wouldn't have seen Mo, my dog, acting strange and following something around. She was just about to pounce on it when I saw and yelled at her to come inside. Thankfully, as always, she obeyed immediately. Even though I could almost see her mouth watering for a bite of hair goodness. This thing made me sick to my stomach and shaky. I freaked out, grabbed my camera, took a couple pics and a 5 second video, and called husband at work to come "dispose" of it before it got in the house somehow. It made a beeline for both our back doors! Its like it new exactly where to get in! My hubby reminded me that they jump (urban legend? I think not!) and to stay away from it. He came home just as it parked itself right outside of my sliding door. With a swift stab of a 2x4, the creepy, almost floaty, and ultra hairy little devil met his maker and was flung over the fence into the "nothingness" along with the murder weapon. Sorry if this is graphic, but I don't think I have any underage readers that I know of. He told me it was probably hunting (as we simultaneously saw freaking huge beetle run across the rocks near our grill) and I agree...except I think it was hunting my dogs, who are tiny! Enjoy (if that's the word) the pics.
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POTTY MOUTH!

I'd like to thank my sister for informing me that one of the songs in my playlist was a little outta countrol in the language department. That's what you get for trusting that just because a band is considered to be in the "Contemporary Christian" genre, doesn't mean everyone believes that having a sewer tongue is taboo. My apologies to anyone that reads this blog, happened to have their speakers turned up and had to hear that! (note to self...Superchick has a super potty mouth!)

05 November 2008

And this makes me miss him even more...already

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122584386627599251.html

I'll miss him too

My friend forwarded me this article she read as she waited for the election results last night. I think its well written and I also agree with the author. I'll miss President Bush, too.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/11/an_election_day_note_thanks_pr.html

04 November 2008

Where were you?

Where were you when history changed tonight? It was 8pm PST and I was on my sofa, still hungry after dinner and I just convinced my son to give up the remote (and the annoying AFV t.v. show). I flipped to CNN just as the announcment came across that Barack Obama had won enough electoral college votes to be elected president of the United States. I have to admit my heart sunk and my stomach turned. I felt, and still feel, numb. I was sure McCain would pull through but I underestimated the large and important image of Obama. I am happy that I was alive and young and will always remember this night and the history that was made. Our first African American president. I bet Martin Luther King, Jr.'s spirit is beaming right now, as he should be. Everything he sacrificed for, ultimately his life, has come full circle. This is God's will and I have to trust that it is what He has planned for our nation. I hope my son understands the importance of this election and now the result. I'm glad he is old enough (nearly 11) to remember this night as well. Although he was in favor of McCain (most likely because I was), he does understand that our first black president is of major significance in his lifetime and to his heritage and ancestors that were discriminated against. I am anxious for the changes that will be coming in the next year. I trust in the Lord and that is all that is needed to handle what might lie ahead.

29 October 2008

Bronze Star Ceremony

Today husband FINALLY had his Bronze Star ceremony! I was able to go, and was one of three wives that showed up to watch an entire regiment formation/awards ceremony. Slightly sad...

Anyway, husband's was first and as soon as they started reading the blurb about his deployment and success in leading his team my heart started pounding and I felt like the proudest wifey on earth. It was amazing to watch. It really made me think though. If everyone only knew the details of what he went through over two years ago that lead up to this award, they'd have been just as emotional as me. Those details aren't to be shared (although I do know them) and he probably won't share them much, if at all, again in this life. He struggles daily to move past that deployment, the events that took place, the life that was lost, and the part of himself that he'll never get back. This was a milestone for him today. He knows it, but refuses to make as big a deal of it as I insist on doing. Here are some pictures. My good friend 1LT Hollijo Monroe is a couple people to his left with the tan CAV hat on. She was awarded an Army commendation medal today.

Just a in formation, getting ready to start.


Just a fraction of the number of soldiers that were in the full formation.


Caught hubby's eye for a straight-on shot before they were ordered to turn around.


Hubby being presented the award. Yes, they all look the same, but I know the back of his head anywhere. Mattea things they're all "daddies" and squeals whenever she sees a group of soldiers!


After the formation, taking in a little shade. Tate was in school and had already missed almost a full day that week so we opted not to pull him out again.

22 October 2008

Changes

I was called to be the Relief Society president in my branch! I accepted, while I was bawling (not really, but I did burst into tears when asked!), and as soon as I said the word "yes" this enormous peace came over me and I haven't shed a tear, felt a flutter in my stomach, or collapsed under overwhanxiousness (my new word). Everyone keeps asking me "You sure you can do it?" or "This is huge, are you ready?" and "Girl, this is going to be big, are you overwhelmed yet?". My answer is simply "No!". I'm totally calm! This is how I know its right! I can't wait for my counselors to be called and to really dig in. I'm not the type to come into something and completely overhaul it, and really, that's not the greatest first impression to make on people either. I think a lot of things are working well the way they are. I just hope to do what I can, tweak if necessary, and grow spiritually as I help those around me do the same. The Lord will take care of what I can't. That reminds me...

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference

Can I get a AMEN? I have a necklace of my mother's from when she was a teenager/young adult. On the back is this prayer engraved and on the front a pair of hands praying. You may see it on me more in the future.

I'm a different "type" than most Relief Society presidents. As one person I know told me "they put someone that wasn't old into an old lady's calling!". Well...that's not totally true. I feel much older than I really am, but even more true, is this is not meant to be an old lady calling! Not at all! I feel ready. Fortunately I've had a lot of supportive comments and phone calls from sisters in the branch telling me I'm going to do great, not to worry, etc. Thank you sistas! I totally needed to hear those things. I was afraid that as soon as my name was announced to the ward we'd have the first "opposition" to a calling to blog about! Really, I was terrified of what people would think. But I felt more peace as I sustained along with everyone else. I trust that the Branch presidency was inspired and took PUH-LENTY of time to think this one over.

So...if you are reading this and wondering "what the hay is Relief Society?" go to http://www.lds.org/pa/display/0,17884,4644-1,00.html and read! Its worth your time. In fact, if you don't know what Relief Society is you're probably one of those people that has always wondered "what the hay are those Mormons all about?" Take some time to educate yourself, properly, and stop wondering! www.mormon.org

16 October 2008

Holy C130!!!

So I was outside watching my daughter splash around in the pool a little while ago and I thought I heard something, like wind or a rumble. I looked up and...holy C130!!! This plane looked like it was making a beeline for my house! I had heard they were landing in the sand near my house as practice for desert landings overseas (kicking up the dust on a landing, taking off, and coming back in through the dust). I didn't think they were that close though! It was eery, really. This plane is a beast on wings. It looked like it was hovering, rumbling, yet remained eerily quiet as it made its way into the neighborhood and then turned, sharply, towards an area in the "nothingness" not too far from our house that is pure sand (no shrubs or joshua trees) to land. I was in awe! I took a ridiculous amount of pictures the first two times it came in. The sounds of aircrafts on a military post, along with the sound of small arms fire echoing from the range, are so soothing to me. I realized today, that when we retire, I want to be near a post. I want to hear those sounds as long as I can. It makes me feel safe, proud, and never ceases to create this amazing energy inside of me. Here are a few pics. The plane was much closer than the pictures make it seem.





13 October 2008

No...everyone and everything!

I've lost it...I told a fly "no" today. Freaking hilarious, I say! I'm so used to telling the stupid dogs no, and occasionally Mattea and Tate...ok, and even husband...that a fly landed on my hand while I was feeding Mattea delicioso pancakes for lunch and I yelled "no!" at it! As if that would work. Its still buzzing around the syrupy mess in my daughter's bowl. Man...next thing I know I'll be cricket whispering or something.

09 October 2008

Trip Pics

The front view of Cabin #1. Our home the first night.




Sarah and I.




At Bear Lake




Nymph Lake




Sarah and I, Long's Peak in the backround. I blame my closed eyes on the fact that complete stranger took the picture.



View outside of our cabin and in front of hot tub.

CO

My trip was amazing and exactly what I needed. I had come to the point where every shreik or attitude jab or dust bunny was about to drive me over the edge and I literally thank God I was able to go.

Sarah and I stayed our first night at Swiftcurrent Lodge in Estes Park. Our adorable little cabin (actually three-plex of cabins) was inches away from the bank of the river. We slept to the sound of the river bubbling along and unfortunately the cars driving on the highway right by our window. Where the were going we have no clue, the road was a dead end. The traffic finally died down after about midnight. We signed up for a slot to use the hot tub that also sat on the bank of the river. In fact, we were the only ones to sign up at all...both nights! Who wouldn't love sitting in the hot tub as the sun sets on the river, the cold night air sinks in and as you relax in the bubbles you glance around every few minutes checking to make sure a mountain lion or bear hasn't decided to join you. Freaking awesome, I say.

Funny (in each sense of the word) things about this lodge...

1. Rules...rules...everywhere! Every room had new rules posted. Every rule had a fee as a punishment. I felt like we were staying a couple of nights at a communist retreat! Basically it boils down to this...for every rule you screwed up...$25 to your credit card.

2. The beds...couldn't get the matress to budge. These beds were so firm we ran and jumped on them and I barely felt them give at all. We both had massive mattress hangovers both mornings we woke up. Motrin was our friend.

3. The complimentary shampoo and conditioner was below even dollar store quality...yet our bathrooms both nights had a free Schick Quatro razor! These are almost $10 in a drug store, yet they can't even give us Breck or Prell for shampoo at least? Messed up...

4. With my new uber-short hair-do everyone gave us looks that reeked of "woah...look at that lesbian couple staying in cabin #1". "Yeah...I'm the dude" became our inside joke catch phrase we'd whisper to each other with every freakish stare. Flipping hilarious! Can't even begin to describe how much fun we had with that one and how bad our sides hurt from laughing about it.

Anyway, the river and the screaming yellow aspens, the smelly blue spruces and the quaint bank-side porch swings made up for it all.

Hiking...hiking in RMNP was killer....almost literally. We hiked Bear Lake, easy peesy. Less than a mile around the lake, but with breathtaking views and crystal clear water. We were at about 10,000 feet. We came down and went back up a diferent way to Nymph Lake. A more difficult grade on the trail, and Sarah thought she was going to need an oxygen tank, but we made it. The lake was covered in lily pads and surrounded by pines stacked on top of pines with rocky outcrops popping out at the top. From here we could see the top of the snowy peaks. We wanted to keep going, but in fear of Sarah dying from an asthma attack we decided to eat p.b. and jelly sandwhiches we brought to make and just hang out for a while. We were casually stalked by an obese grey squirrel, who particularly liked to sit right behind me and drill holes in my back by staring me down. We were good little hikers and didn't give in by sharing. "Don't feed the wildlife" is posted every three and one quarter inches on signs around there.

Oh, forgot to mention...at Nymph Lake, we walked off the trail (big mistake) to go around the lake. Sarah was a little way in front of me and started flipping out, demanding I "get over here and look at this!". Yup...an enormous mountain lion print in the mud on the shore...fresh... we may have set the record for hiking pace while we booked it back to the trail, any minute expecting to have an overgrown, hungry cat land on one of our backs from a tree limb.

There was so much more, it would take a novel to write, but this sums up some of the most exciting things. Shopping around Estes, renting a DVD player to watch movies the second night, eating delicious pizza on the bank of the river while reading a real estate magazine and being asked by the waitress if we were thinking about buying (yup...i'm the dude), eating homemade ice cream, driving through a "controlled" burn in RMNP that, by the way, looked OUT of control to me, and spotting a male elk waiting for a hottie to walk by and make babies with are just a sprinkling of the rest of our weekend. I'll make my pictures a separate post...if you're even still reading at this point.

08 October 2008

zapped

my trip to CO was amazing. I believe I even called it perfect. I have so much to write about the trip and some great pics to post...yet I have no energy to get down much more than this. no clue why i'm so sluggish and uninterested tonight (or the past few weeks for that matter) in keeping up with my entries. i think popping an ambien and hitting the hay early might do the trick...sleepy butterfly, come land on my shoulder so i can smile in my sleep looking perfectly groomed and pleasant. wait...that's lunesta...right? ah well...sleeping drug is a sleeping drug is a sleeping drug...let's see if this can recharge me.

26 September 2008

Stinky, moving on, and chores

Pew! My house reeks. I used a straightener on my hair this morning so every part of my house smells like a perm. Now its even easier to meld into any shape I choose, depending on my mood and day. The freedom that comes with uber short hair is amazing! I think everyone should hack off their hair at least once.

I sold my daughter's crib this morning. I'm helping her move on. A friend of mine is prego and was looking for baby furniture and I thought...hmm...this might be a way to help Mattea move past crawlforeverscreamforwordswanttobeababyallmylife phase! So, my friend shows up, and we start to take the crib out of her room. Mattea was sitting by her dresser, studying every move (as usual). As soon as we started walking out of the room with it...Niagra Falls....she started wailing and screaming..actually no, it was more like mourning the loss of her crib! OK, first of all, she HATES going to bed. HATES being confined to her crib. I have no idea why she was so upset. I'm holding out hope that she'll be excited when we bring home the toddler bed and decorate her room a little...in a more toddler-esque sort of way, of course.

And finally to the chores...we found the perfect system for my son! He was entering his own type of phase...the IdontcareifIstinkI'llliveinafilthybedroomforever phase. I think every pre-teen gets to this point. You know, when you have to remind them to bathe themselves and brush their teeth or it never gets done. Like ear wax will be overflowing out their ears, knees and hands will stay dirty, clothes would be worn thrice before finally ending up in the wash...that kind of phase. So we had an FHE lesson on cleanliness and helping around the house (issue, part 2). He has an envelope for "do", one for "done" and one for "reward". The chore cards from the "do" envelope are moved to the "done" envelope once completed (daily..before playing) and at the end of each week he's allowed to draw a reward. These range from $5 to a night of bowling. He also now gets ready each morning to a timer. He has 45 minutes to do everything necessary to be super cool and studly for school (including his cologne he wears). So far he hasn't gone over the timer. This might just work!

18 September 2008

Things...

There has been a lot of little things in the past two days that have reminded me of how wonderful a family I have and how much I enjoy living in California...even if we're in the middle of nowhere. I'll start with what is on the top of the pile in my head.

Tonight my son and I climbed Blackie again (still haven't downloaded those pics!). It took an hour and a half of convincing, bribing, and finally begging for him to come with me and I just ended up telling him he didn't have a choice. On the way there, he started to cheer up, as I knew he would, once we got closer. Needless to say, he kicked my butt this time! I ate his dust...literally. He was practically jogging up the hill this time! Because of the rain the other night (another topic coming soon) the trail was washed into a different pattern, the lava rock exposed in new angles, and riverbeds of sand with twirling patterns wound down and around the bottom of the hill. Afterwards, we went to the new Starbucks on post and had grande mochas. Pick up your jaw...I'm kidding. We did go to Starbucks, but he got hot chocolate with a small mountain of whipped cream and I got a banana chocolate vivanno smoothie (protien..protein...how the heck do you spell it?! smoothie). Perfect night!

I'm up to running a little over two miles. I've progressed from half a mile to this in under two weeks. I've pushed through the shin splints, the side aches and the new mini-zits appearing on my forehead from so much sweating. I've dropped four pounds in less than two weeks. I finally feel lifted out of the rut I've been stuck in. I have so much more energy and find myself antsy and anxious if I don't get out of the house and do SOMETHING every day. I love it!

My daughter has become such a little person this week. Mattea is nodding her head and saying "ssss" which means yes. She is finally using words instead of just shrieks and screaming. She's saying more, mama, dada, doggy, brother, bye bye, what's that, look, fan, doing sign language for and simultaneously saying "eat". She's letting go of things while standing up, but still not attempting any steps. She has begun biting me when she wants attention too. I knew this was coming as almost every child goes through a biting phase. I just didn't think it would come this early with her! The first time she did it I screeched really loud and pulled my arm back and she looked at me like "oh...interesting...".

My husband was moved to the S-3 and, of course, his hours have improved. He's home by 6 every night which is a nice change. He's the SGM's right-hand man and has the opportunity, as he did at our last post, to work with senior ranking enlisted and officers. Its great exposure and he's learning some things that have him in high demand. He was offered a shot at battle staff school, but isn't on a permanent profile yet for his ankle and knee so he's not able to go right now. He mentioned today that being the NCOIC has his email inbox exploding and he's busier than he's ever been. I say good! At least he's not overseas and I've got him home for a while!

The rain....oh, the rain! Two nights ago the heavens opened and I got the best gift I've had in a long time. It rained on and off for almost two hours. The field behind our house was a jumble of small streams and rivers winding around, meeting up, splitting apart, getting bigger then ending suddenly. It was beautiful. The smell was outrageous. I stood outside, getting soaked, taking deep breaths, taking it all in. A few times the wind picked up and blew everything around the backyard slamming things into the fence and bringing it back to where it began. The temperature dropped into the seventies and it felt like I was back home, even if briefly.

To offset all of the pleasantries...I waxed my upper lip today and took some skin with it! It makes me crack up just typing about it. I have no shame in putting this out there. Everyone has had an experience like this at one time or another. I'm just not the type that's afraid to talk about it. Seriously, I have this raw, blotchy area on my face now! Ah...thank the Lord someone invented cover-up.

So..i think that basically covers the past two days. I'm grateful to be living here. There are days when its painfully isolated and boring, but overall its beautiful here, the people are wonderful, our branch has a wonderful spirit, the opportunities for physical activities are endless, and my family hasn't been this happy for a long time. Thanks in part, I'm sure, to the fact that my husband has been able to be home with us for what we consider a long time. I'm always afraid to say that...like if I say it tomorrow he'll come home with orders to leave. Whatever happens, happens. We've got the good Lord on our side and its the only way we make it through this crazy life!

15 September 2008

Reba or Renee?

So I just left the pharmacy at the clinic and I've been left with mixed feelings. We go to the pharmacy a lot trying to find a good dose for my son's meds and for regular old ibuprofen and other everyday must-haves (I have a mini-pharmacy in my purse, I swear). There's a soldier that works the window that we normally always end up having help us. Today he didn't, but he walked by and saw me and said "Look, its Reba McIntyre!" It took a second to register...and then I felt my cheeks burning as I turned bright red and looked at him and said "Seriously? Did you just call me Reba?" He laughed and said "Yeah! You look like Reba McIntyre!" I proceeded to tell him that wasn't the look I was going for when I chopped my hair off last weekend. He recognized me and knew that I'd just chopped off over a foot or hair. By the way, he's still smiling and laughing and bubbly at this point as I'm still looking at him in shock, wondering how many people heard him and were now staring at me mentally picturing me as Reba. So then G.I. Joe was like "Don't you like country?" and he holds out his fist...he wanted to bump fists with me in honor of Reba and country music! I felt like crying and laughing my butt off at the same time! OK, so I like country music and figured I should just make the best out of the situation so I knocked fists with him as he happily bounced away (I think he popped a stimulant when nobody was looking). Form your own opinion...and feel free to share....




10 September 2008

So proud of my boy!

I meant to post about this last week when it happened, but it slipped my mind until now. I wanted to climb Blackie last week and nobody could go with me. Its not smart to climb by myself, something could happen and it was late enough in the evening that I had just enough time to get up and down before sunset and if something DID in fact happen, I'd be stuck up there by myself in the dark. Anyway, I talked my son into going with me. I knew it would be extremely challenging for him, but he agreed to go in exchange for my homemade pizza when we got home. Of course I agreed...when do I not want pizza?

We talked about climbing safety on the way there, how long it would take to get up and down, the rules of being down before sunset, etc. He was excited and wore my husband's camelback full of icewater so he wouldn't get dehydrated.

We stopped probably 10 times on the way up, but it didn't bother me at all. I was proud of him. We had a good talk during our climb. He opened up about a lot of things that I've been trying to get him to talk about for a while now. It was so nice to have him just be open and have a conversation with me minus attitude or arguments. He even stopped for a potty break, it was cute. I turned the other way, but remembered to remind him to pee down wind (I had to explain what I meant...thank goodness I did or we both would've been doomed).

I have pictures that I need to download to the computer of him halfway up and at the top. I'm so proud of him for accomplishing our goal to climb Blackie together. He agreed we should do this together once a week. I think that's a good idea.

Drop Out

I want to say thank you to everyone that commented on my little dilema I created for myself of whether to do FCC or roleplay. I started the FCC classes on Monday...I also dropped out Monday... I had prayed the night before (pretty desperately, in fact) to know if I was doing the right thing. I layed out my whole plan and asked if I was going along with His will. The minute class started the next morning I had this knot in my stomach and this overwhelming feeling I was in the wrong place. Needless to say, I went straight to the director's office when class got out that day and told her it wasn't for me. She was great about it and understood. Whew! I feel like I have a huge weight off my shoulders now.

So...the roleplying...I am sick about wanting to do this! They aren't hiring right now and already have a standby list so even if I applied I probably wouldn't be hired. That's fine, because I've decided now isn't the time for this either. Mattea is too young to be left alone for 12 hours a day, even if it would only be for a couple of weeks. The money would be amazing and within three rotations I could have us almost completely out of debt (I've begun grinding my teeth right about now), but I was reminded by a friend that commented, that the prophet has indeed strongly encouraged mothers to stay home if possible. That certainly doesn't mean that working full time, part time or on the weekends is a sin (for all you out there tearing me apart right now) because for some families it is a necessity and that is acceptable. The prophet's counsel is meant for families that can afford to have one parent stay home. Simple. I can afford to stay home right now and I should. I may try and find a side job to work a few shifts a week to keep my sanity, but I'm not in a rush like I was a few weeks ago. I feel like I should check into school, at least getting some basic classes out of the way since no colleges around here have any degree programs I'm interested in. I also feel like this is my chance to travel to see friends and family...before we try to have another baby (if that even happens!).

I have friends that are mothers and work full time. I do not look down on them in the least. I RESPECT them. They have to right now and I admire the sacrafice they make leaving their children to help support the family, no matter what their chosen job or profession might be. I had to do that with my son and I know how drained you are when you come home at night and know that you still need to squeeze out enough energy to make dinner, clean up, and spend quality time with your kids and hubby (or yourself, if you're a single mom like I was).

I promised God that I'd do everything I could to stay home with my children if he allowed me to have more (this was before I was prego with my daughter, now 13 months old). I became pregnant right away when my husband returned from Iraq...4 years of trying and we finally had her. I've been blessed to be in a situation a lot of mothers can't be in right now. I can stay home with her, be home when my son gets home from school, and take care of myself mentally and physically (I was a mess when I worked full time). I'm thankful that God has given me this opportunity, that he's given me my children and a husband that supports me 100 % no matter what crazy ideas I come up with!

02 September 2008

So Close...

Mattea came so close to walking today! I was at a Pampered Chef party this morning. Almost everyone had brought their child(ren) and she was having fun squealing and crawling around to check each one out. After the demonstration and game it was time to eat. Magazine-perfect rolled egg casserole thingies and fruit with fluffy cream cheese-marshmallow fluff dip...ah...you'd better believe I worked my butt off at the track tonight after all that! Anyway, Mattea was next to me on the floor taking bites from my fork. I got caught up in the thingy and how delicious it was and forgot to give her a bite for all of 30 seconds so she just grabbed hold of my legs, steadied herself, and stood up! Not pulling herself up, STANDING UP! I cheered like a crazy women, made my best baby/mama voice praising her left and right and so she did it again! The second time I didn't say anything. I wanted to see if she'd take a step or do anything else with it if I didn't interrupt her with my ridiculous song and dance. She didn't, but I was still beaming. I made sure everyone in the room knew what she did. They probably all thought "hmm...a 13-month-old just stood up...wow" but little do they know, this girl studies, examines, measures and just thinks about things for a VERY long time before trying them. Hence...not walking yet. I'm so proud of my little girl! Here is a picture of her on her outside swing. It was actually taken right before she flopped forward and landed nose first on the metal bar at the base of the little playground. A nasty bloody nose followed. :(

30 August 2008

I conquered Blackie

Mount Blackie, that is. Its a "large hill" on post. Its named for its color, obviously. If you look at it compared to the other "large hills" and small mountains on post it really is the only one that looks black. There is a trail leading up to the top and I've been itching to climb since I found out it was allowed.

Last night my friend Laura and I finally did it. I had my nose splints taken out yesterday so I was cleared to finally start working out again...FINALLY! We got out to the hill and it looked SO easy. As this picture shows, it doesn't look that difficult from a distance.



Well, I was huffing and puffing before we were even halfway up. It was embarrassing to say the least. Its amazing how not working out for a few weeks drains you of any endurance that you worked to build up! Thankfully, someone as out of shape as me must've suggested placing a bench halfway up. You'd better believe I took a rest. We reached the top (it only took about 20 minutes, but felt like an hour!) and there was a picnic table, fire pit, and a cross made of metal tubes placed in a large pile of rocks. It was amazing to complete the climb. Its a mere fraction of what I plan to be able to do, but its a start. We both almost fell on the way down! Here are more pictures. They really don't do the true view justice.





26 August 2008

Torn

OK, I turned in paperwork on post to become an FCC provider. I don't want an entire daycare center inside my home, but I would like to either be a substitute for other providers when needed, or maybe just fill one full-time slot.

So I was all set on this, and then at playgroup today I see my friend who tells me our other friend applied for role play. No...its not what you're thinking.... If you're hired for role play, you are assigned a role as an Iraqi female citizen(remember, we're stationed at the home of role playing in the sand), you are dressed in full attire (face covered, long "dresses", etc) and you are out in "the box" playing your assigned role all day long. You're allowed to come home in the evenings (unless you're detained as part of an exercise) and in a matter of just 10 days (which is a short rotation) you can bring home almost two grand!

OK...for those of you who know me...which of these two options would I rather do? Yes! Role playing! But...I'd be gone for 12 hours for up to three weeks depending on the rotation. This means my daughter would have to be in childcare that entire time. Something I said I didn't want to do. However, she's over a year old now. She wouldn't forget me, lose a bond with me, resent me, etc. I would make three times the amount, in one rotation, than I would doing a month of daycare. Plus I get out of the house, have fun, sweat a lot (hey and maybe lose weight?!)....ugh...I can't decide! If you're reading this, I'm wondering what your opinion is?

23 August 2008

Therapy

I had a doctor's appointment to follow with on my schnauze, and it was in the town of Apple Valley. As my mother said, it just sounds like a cheery place to be. Its true! I had the best morning I've had in a long time.

The drive is agonizing. Nothing but desert hills to see along the way, and it takes about an hour and twenty minutes from post. However, once you leave the interstate and drive up the hill and through the two rocky hills, you feel like you've gone through a gateway to a better place. Most of the area of California we are near is barren, dumpy and lacks any decent shopping, structures, level of cleanliness, etc. Apple Valley, on the other hand, feels like home. I listened to country music on the way there and actually teared up at one point, listening to a song about a farmer driving his planter along a highway with cars lining up behind him flipping him off. I laughed because I pictured my dad driving the planter and I instantly became homesick.

Once I got finished at the doctor's office (everything up the good old sniffer is doing well, by the way), I headed down the road. I'd heard there was a Target, Wal-Mart, etc about three miles away. I couldn't fathom this being true. I had to see it for myself.

I drove as fast as I could, within reason, the three miles.I came around a small bend and there it was....the red and white sign, gleaming in the sun...it was SUPER TARGET! My happy-mones (good version of hormones) were soaring! My daughter and I stopped to grab a bite to eat at McDonald's and off we went on our Target adventure. Walking down the aisles (which were clean), sifting through the clothes racks (and not just cheap foreign clothes with dumb sayings...Wal-Mart), seeing interesting and unqique home decor, the familiar red shirts with khaki pants clad employees and the cute little Archer's Farm brand boxes of food brought back countless memories of home. Target is my mom and I's (is that proper grammar?) favorite place to get groceries and shop for every day items. In fact, most of my close friends do the same. When I used to get bored, I'd stroll around Target. When I needed a baby shower gift or to register for my own, I went to Target. When I needed new comfy pants (I'm addicted to comfy pants) I went to Target to buy them.

I spent two hours in that store. I easily surpassed my $100 cover charge. I purchased four floor runners, foam bath letters/numbers for my daughter, diapers, and foil. Every day items made extra special just because I bought them at Target. I felt like I had gone to two hours of therapy. I feel so much better!

19 August 2008

May the Force NOT be with You

So my son comes home today (after our dramatic morning), and I cheerfully greet him, hoping he'd completely forgotten my melt down from several hours previous. I asked him how his day was and he told me not too good. He proceeds to tell me someone used "the force" on him. I didn't think Star Wars at first. I thought he meant physical force, as in abuse. So I asked him what it meant. He gives me a demonstration and says, "Its when someone shoves their hand in your face really fast but just close enough so they don't hit you" (palm open, towards the other person's face). It took everything in me not to start laughing at this point! He said he got blamed for doing it and was sent to the principal's office to do work instead of recess. Now, when my son tells me he's blamed for something he didn't do, but then adds that he received a consequence as severe as going to the principal's office, that spells l-i-e in my book! I looked at him and asked if he used the force on anyone (again, trying not to start cracking up) and he hung his head and admitted he did. "Mom, it was so hard not to use the force when everyone else was doing it!". I figured he'd had punishment enough. Besides, if I'd gone any further with the conversation I'd never be able to come up with yet another punishment off the top of my head while trying to act like I really thought it was that serious.

ADHD

I totally lost it this morning. I feel awful. My son has ADHD. We're trying to get him off medicine. I don't like it and neither does his father or my husband. We cut his dose in half this past week as a start. I guess I thought I was prepared for what was to happen because of that, but I guess I was wrong and now he's going to have a horrible day at school because of me.

This morning was one of the "bad" mornings. Husband is in the field after all and I'm still exhausted, trying to recover from the foreign invasion in my nose. I wake my son up on time, 0645. By 0710 nothing has been accomplished. Now this is nothing out of the ordinary. So I kick into "drill mom" mode. Take your medicine? No. OK, get it done. 15 seconds later he's outside with the hose turned on filling up the dog dish. This is one of his responsibilities around the house, but not what he was told to do. Redirect. Get in here and take your medicine. 15 seconds later, he's playing with his sister, giving her animal crackers. Redirect. Take your medicine now! Takes the medicine...with me looking over his shoulder. I check the backpack. Homework done? Yes mom. I look. Homework NOT done. Come over here and finish your homework. 15 seconds later he's lying on the sofa, feet in the air, blankly starint at homework. Redirect. Sit up and finish your homework (its time for him to leave at this point). 15 seconds later, walking around the house looking for pencil. Redirect. Just grab a pen and fill in the answers, you're late. Finally fills in answers.

This is just an example of about 20 minutes out of the hour this morning before school. I was exhausted. My nose was bleeding (again). Mattea was throwing a fit, wanting more crackers. I was running around with toilet paper stuck near my nose. The dogs are shedding all over the house AND getting under my feet (again). I forgot to pack his lunch and had no cash to send with him so he uses the $20 he made selling his old gamecube this past weekend. As he's finally walking out the door I apologize, feeling like a 5-year-old, for losing my temper. I remind him he's better than leaving homework half done. I remind him I love him. He mumbles it back and walks out the door.

Another "bad" morning gone. Good news is, we usually have several "good" days following one of these. I pray for it.

16 August 2008

Day three

OK, so I wasn't coherent enough to take any "immediately after" pictures from my surgery and frankly, you would've lost your wheaties had you seen them.

Here's a picture of me on my third day. Minimal swelling, no bruising (yet), and I made sure to clean off my nose before taking the picture. My face is very sensitive to any touch, and a bit red and chapped from tearing medical tape off my face several times a day to change the dressing stuffed under my nose...which thankfully I don't need anymore. I just make a dash to the toilet paper roll if I feel stuff start to leak out. Nice mental picture, eh? I'm sorry about the picture...frightening, I know. Could have something to do with the lack of hairstyle and no make-up. I'll spare you the "up-the-nose" photo.

12 August 2008

Nose Job

So I am having surgery in two days and I have to admit, I'm terrified. Look, its nothing huge. Its nothing compared to what a lot of people I know have had to go through. This is my first surgery though and I can't help but feel apprehensive. I am having a bilateral septoplasty (getting a deviated septum straightened). Its going to be icky and I'll look like someone kicked my face in but the rewards of a couple of weeks of suffering will be life long. I'll actually be able to breathe normally out both sides of my nose! This is the closest thing to a nose job I'll ever have. Apparently it will change the appearance of my nose from the outside (I initially didn't think it did). I looked at my nose in the mirror last night and after staring at differnt angles, I noticed it IS crooked! See? I posted a picture just so you could share in my shock.

11 August 2008

Fifth Grade

Tater started back to school this morning. Its earlier than when I was growing up. We normally didn't start until the last week of August. Its nice though, because we were most definitely ready to get back on a schedule. He got a hair cut yesterday, which he always dreads. He has a very sensitive head and with his thick, curly hair it usually hurts at first, even when its combed out ahead of time. I'm always suprised at how much older and more mature he looks when he gets home from getting his haircut. He looked like a 10 year old when he left, his hair grown out and scruffy from the summer, and when he retured he looked like a maturing pre-teen boy...still 10 years old though :)

I packed his lunch last night which included a turkey sandwhich (I allowed him to have white bread this time...kind of a long story), some strawberries and some carrot sticks with ranch dressing for dip. He forgot to grab his water bottle on the way out of the house though,so hopefully he's allowed to visit the drinking fountain often! Out here, because its so extremely hot and dry, the kids are allowed to bring a water bottle every day. Its actually strongly encouraged.

Here is a couple pictures of Tate this morning before leaving for the bus stop. He wanted to make sure he took one with his sister and one by himself. Doesn't he look so handsome?


08 August 2008

Mass Emotion

Ugh...I just read one of my sister's blog posts and I'm totally depressed. We both tried out a new budget this month in our families. She, apparently, is doing outstanding with hers. I am completely opposite. It seems like every time I try to stick to a budget in this household, some kind of unexpected expenses come flying out of nowhere at us and we're taking cover, only able to fight back by dipping into accounts we don't wanna dip in to!

We live in a very remote location on a military post. My options for grocery shopping are ... the commissary. The lovely commissary with its half rotted produce, limited meat selection, and the lack of ability to keep anything stocked most of the time! I can always drive 34 miles to the nearest town and grocery shop there, but then I have to spend an additonal $25 in gas to get there and back on top of the grocery bill. I don't get a Sunday paper so I never have coupons to pair up with specials that any store might be having. We aren't given COLA to help compensate for our location and the sickening expenses involved in getting anywhere. I'm spitting mad, also, that the Army will pay civilian contractors and employees at least twice what it pays its own soldiers. They expect an E6 to live off a salary that, in a civilian lifestyle, would put us under. In a military lifestyle, it allows us to barely break even every month.

Sometimes envy can be a monster. It can be all consuming. Sometimes my envy of other people (in this case, my sister) drags me down to a point that is hard to come back from. I'm tired of struggling. I'm tired of never feeling like I'm making progress on anything. I'm just tired.

I consciously try to not always be negative in my posts on this blog. I don't want readers to feel like being a military family is a bad thing and we're always unhappy and stressed and broke. The reality of it is, when I'm feeling low like this, my desire to blog is at its highest. I need to work on blogging when positive things happen around me or when funny things happen around me.

I feel like our lives are on the verge of change. I have often felt like this before. I felt it when we first came into the military, before we knew all the details. I felt it before I got pregnant. I have felt it before major changes physically, monetarily and with our careers. I hang on to that feeling, because usually, I have found, it means the Lord is going to bless us with something we need. Its a small beacon of light ahead of me I can stay focused on. Its the only positive anxiety one can feel. I'm ready for change again, whatever it might be that is coming our way.

07 August 2008

Its Thursday...

I start my 5am mornings tomorrow. Yes, I know, I said I was starting Monday, but smarty pants here forgot my hubs wasn't done in the field until yesterday. Yes..when you're in the military long enough, you actually FORGET you're husband is going to be gone for a few days.

So, instead, I got up at 0700 Monday and Wed morning and walked a little over three miles. I put my daughter in the stroller with some snacks and a drink, brought enough water to rehydrate the entire desert, and weaved myself in and out of the soldiers as they did their running around. It was nice...especially the last half of the walk which goes on a winding up-and-down path along Outer Loop. It runs along the outside of the housing area, right up next to the "mini-mountains" and its so quiet out there with the wind going through the dried up little bushes and the lizards scurrying away into the sand as they realize I'm too close. My son came with me on Wed instead of sleeping in and it was nice to have someone to talk to.

Tuesday and today I did my strength routine. I was able to adapt everything on my list to be done in my home and I was actually REALLY sore yesterday so I know it all worked.

Eating...well eating is coming around slowly. I spoke to a friend of mine today who is also insane enough to go to the gym at 5am. She reminded me that eating better can't just instantly happen overnight without any adjustments along the way. I guess that made me feel better about the M&Ms and few bites of ice cream I had yesterday (hanging head in shame). But I did make a kickin' grilled chicken wrap last night for dinner. I went to a farmer's market this morning with another friend. It wasn't worth the drive (took over an hour to get there) but it was nice to see what it was all about. I got some peaches for hubs, he's a fan, and a monstrosity of a tomato to use in my salads the rest of the week. I wanted to bring home a lot more, but it wasn't really any better than the grocery store prices and I already had a lot of produce in the fridge at home.

So...there is the update. I'm doing well, I'm pleased with myself, and only see it getting better. OH! And I have lost a pound :) One is better than none!

03 August 2008

On a Monday...

Tomorrow is the day...I start my work out/eating plan. I have agreed to meet a friend of mine at the gym three mornings a week at 5am. What has possessed me to do such an insane thing? I'm normally out of bed at the last possible moment before I have to get ready for something, be somewhere, or one of the kids wakes up. I've decided though, that I schedule time for eating, sleeping, appointments, even napping...why shouldn't I schedule time for my health? It just so happens that 5am is really the only time of the day I don't have to get a sitter just to go for a jog. I'll be a walking zombie for a few weeks while I get used to this new routine, but I'm looking forward to that first five or ten pounds lost...which really means that I can stop rotating the same three outifts during the week and actually wear my pre-baby clothes (that aren't stretchy cotton)! Ah...no more chipmunk cheeks in pictures...no more innertube around my midsection...no more jiggly arms... Feel free to ask me how I'm doing. The more people checking in on me, the more likely I am to follow through!

30 July 2008

A year


My baby is one today! I can't believe a year has gone by. This time last July I had just woke up from a nice peaceful nap thanks to wonderful drugs leaking into my spine. I had no worries and a stress free labor/delivery. Although Mattea was considered a "big baby" (8lb 1oz) I thought she was rather small. Who cares...I didn't feel a thing!!

Daddy is in the field this week so we're not celebrating until Friday when he gets home. I didn't want this day to go uncelebrated (is that a word?) though, so I decided to take the kiddos to the pool this afternoon. However, after about 10 minutes of sitting in the baby pool it was clear that the birthday girl wanted nothing to do with water today. I'm not kidding when I say she just sat there...staring around..not even splashing or attempting to move. BORING! We got out and ate snacks while brother played with some long lost buddies from last school year.

She did seem to be in a very chipper mood today, which for those of you who know her, is rare these days. Mattea has a very guarded personality, is afraid of almost everything (at least the first few times), doesn't trust anyone that lives outside her home, and whines rather consistently. OK, ok, so that sounds worse than it really is. She does laugh and smile and eat and sleep, but that's pretty much it outside of the above explanation! I feel bad! How did I end up with such a reserved child? For those of you who know me...well its a mystery.

Mattea has yet to realize the unharnessed and destructive powers she holds inside. Translation = she is not walking yet. She gets around very swiftly on her hands and knees (or really hands and knee and one leg out straight) and gets into the dog food (her fav sneaky snack now) but makes no attempt to let go of something while standing. Again...very little trust in things around her...and I guess a bit of a self-esteem issue? Perhaps I need to cheer her on a little louder or jump up and down laughing and clapping my hands wildly for every little milimeter she edges away from the sofa.

I love my daughter to pieces. I wanted nothing more when I found out I was pregnant than to have a baby girl. Mattea brought a piece of me back that was lost and she has changed my life forever. Her sweet smile and extra-nerdy laugh go perfectly with her double roll thighs and rosy cheeks. This is a picture of my baby on her special day.

29 July 2008

Teasure in the Trash

Recently I was reminded of the value of trash. It makes me laugh to say that, but its true. Bulk trash is picked up curbside on post certain days of the week. One day last week, we picked up an entertainment center from the curb. Of course, I was too embarrassed to do it so I sent hubs. God love him...he does anything for me! We brought it home and he diligently worked on purchasing a couple of pieces of hardware and salvaging an old scrap of wood from our backyard fence in order to get it back together. After cleaning it up, he presented it to me proudly. It now sits in our living room looking like new. To think we were going to drop a few hundred on a new one!

My son must've learned a lesson from seeing us do this. A few days ago I went to an early morning doctor appointment. My son stayed home and I left him instructions to get the garbage cans out to the curb as soon as I was gone. I came home about an hour later and as I walked in the front door, there stood my son, proudly holding the top of a towel that was draped over an object on the floor. I stood there, confused, and asked him what was under the towel. I figured it was something he'd drug in from the vast desert nothingness behind our home. So far I've seen large branches, rubber balls, large rocks full of fool's gold and other odds and ends find new places in his room from the "sand box". Nope, I was wrong. He beamed as he told me he'd found Sister (my daughter's nickname) an early birthday present. As he snatched the towel off in a dramatic woosh, a sun-faded, barely put together toy was uncovered. My heart was full as I saw how pleased he was with himself and how happy he was to give his sister a present he'd been so clever to discover. "Can you believe those people were just throwing this away mom?". Apparently our neighbors had it sitting out on the curb...another piece of bulk trash becomes treasure.

28 July 2008

Lost Identity

I've lost my identity!! Really, my military i.d. but on a military post you have no identity unless you've got one! You've got no priveledges (grocery shopping is a priveledge, don't you know) and can be turned away at any type of countertop. Good Lord...Lord? Are you there? Its me...Renee....

My hubs is headed to the field to blow things up for a week, my daughter has a possible case of the chicken pox (but oddly enough has never been in a better mood!), I have a doc appt in the morning and I'm sure I'll need SOMETHING from the PX or Commissary this week. Can you please, Lord, make my i.d. appear before my eyes? Yeah...like that's going to happen. That'd be right up there with the bush burning or the waters calming during the storm. I'm not sure I'm on that level of PRIVELEDGE.

Oh...this was funny...yesterday we were driving the ever-so-scenic, hour long drive to Victorville to run errands and all of a sudden this SUV comes up next to me in the truck lane (this lane only runs 55 mph...according to the signs). This guy in the drivers seat has his teeth on the steering wheel and is cracking up while going at least 85. The dude in the passenger seat is in the normal "fall asleep while driving" position (head back, mouth gaping open, a drop of drool trickling out one side) totally oblivious to his driver's talents. Have to admit..haven't seen that one before! I needed a good laugh!

25 July 2008

Randy Pausch



I was heartbroken when I saw that Randy Pausch had passed away. If you have a chance to Mr. Pausch's lecture, I recommend it. It might just change the way you look at your life. http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/books/07/25/obit.pausch/index.html

Yep, I killed it


This disgusting creature was in my guest bathroom shower last night. My son came running up to me and said "Mom! There's a giant daddy-long legs in my bathroom stuck to the ceiling!" I knew right away it was NOT a daddy-long legs. I followed him to the bathroom and holy legs this thing WAS giant!! I swear the body of it was about an inch long and its creepy legs were probably two inches. If it had stretched out at all it most likely would've added another inch to them. I felt like throwing up!

I told my son to get the Solumel (melaleuca cleaner) from under the kitchen sink. He brings me the Solumel and the glass cleaner, which foams. I sprayed that thing with a mixture of both for probably a minute! Not one part of me felt bad either. I made my son get it out of the tub this morning...ahhahaha. You think I was going to touch it? I just adore living in the desert...

23 July 2008

Hot Potato

Why must we, as dependents in the military, settle for being passed around like a hot potato when it comes to healthcare? This is one issue I've never been able to come to terms with. Yet none of us say anything because we're too afraid the smack-down will be brought on our soldier because their wifey complained about something. That, or we just don't say anything because we know we'd be fighting Goliath's unbeatable giant brother (his name is Sam, you may have heard of him).

Anyway, we've been at our post just over three months now. I've had some long standing issues with my nose and shoulder that I figured I should have checked out before I completely lost the use of my left arm and couln't breathe anymore (yes, I like to wait until I'm rendered useless before I get seen for something). Out of approximately 8 visits I've not seen the same doctor twice. They were either here temporarily to help out with a "doctor shortage" (I love that the medical team uses that exact term...doctor shortage), they have already PCS'd, they went on TDY themselves, or they're over booked. This means telling my "story" over and over again and holding back the irritation in my voice gets more difficult each time. In fact, I've been referred off post for services offered here...literally across the intersection from me at the hospital! I now drive 40 minutes both ways three times a week for physical therapy on my useless shoulder! What?!

Some dependents I know are so frustrated they are opting to be referred off post to a civilian doctor. They're willing to dish out major dough just to be able to see the same provider each time. And pregnant women? Some I've talked to are terrified to have a baby in the military! This is not to say that is the feeling of the majority. I had my daughter at our last post and everything went smooth...during the labor and deliver, that is. My care leading up to it was uncomfortable and downright frightening at times. Especially when you are forced to see a doctor that looks like the KFC guy turned anorexic (colonel...what's his name?). More and more women are opting for home births to stay out of the hospitals on posts, paying midwives upwards of $4000 to come to them for the care and delivery. Tempting...until I think about how nice those drugs felt in the hospital.

My point is, I hope some day the military lives up to its promise that it cares about families in terms of how it delivers healthcare and makes available providers. I'm sure this post will stir a lot of emotion in some, anger in others and possibly get my hubby a kick in the rear but shoot...I'm not a potato, I'm a person and I needed to say it (even if only virtually).

21 July 2008

I was the stuffing

I was the celery, onions, bread and spices today. I was magnetized and traumatized. I was shoved into a tube after having foam shoved into my ears. I had an MRI....and I never want one again. I'm screwed up from that thing! I was so scared, and I don't normally get scared or nervous or even queasy from any medical procedures. First off, the man comes to get me out of the waiting room inside the radiology department. He has a thick accent from I have no clue where, and walks so fast I have to practically trot to keep up with him...and I have giraffe legs! So before I know it we're walking through a side door out into the parking lot. I'm starting to wonder if this guy is for real and if not, wouldn't it sound pretty stupid on the evening news report that the "missing young woman" followed her abductor right out of the hospital and into his car? So we end up walking to this trailer. Ah....its a mobile MRI machine...that makes me feel so much better (dripping sarcasm). The front end of it is open and there's oil dripping onto the pavement. I start to silently pray that its not the MRI machine that is leaking oil...please let it be the monster-trailer motor or something....

Its just unnatural to be conveyor-belted into a tube that barely gives you room to breathe and just lie there feeling like a sardine packed in stale air. I was having visions of my button and designs being sucked off my jeans because they were metal...or my fillings being ripped out of my teeth and sucked through my cheeks. I even nearly convinced myself that if I stifled enough of my yawns that my brain would suffocate from lack of oxygen and I'd pass out. It all sounds stupid now, but when you're crammed inside the tunnel it all seems possible. Ugh...I hope the pictures all come out nice and pretty because I'm not going back in to the tube of delusion again!

Friends and the Military

Apparently I stink at making friends! When we moved to our first duty station, I was torn to pieces having to leave my friends back home. OK, so I only had like a handful of friends, but I'm at the point in my life where I only need that many and the rest can be filed under acquaintances. But really, it took me almost 9 months to make a good friend when we moved! I met people, talked to my neighbor almost every day, knew people at church, etc. but never really clicked with anyone until a few months before we moved again. I miss her to bits now along with my friends back home!

I've tried to fit in to a couple different online yahoo groups. I am trying to have my own business (successfully) so I joined one for that specifically. I'm not sure I've ever had a "post" acknowledged on that one. Another one I'm part of is great. I get a lot of my information from there and am able to comment or vent or whatever...but I've only met like two of those women in person and really haven't spoken to them since! My neighbors have only spoken briefly to me. At least the ones on the sides of my house have. The ones across or down the street a little ways haven't even acknowledged us.

I've met one person that I have felt comfortable around. She's spunky, fun, has kids for mine to play with, and loves to be spontaneous. We have those things in common. So far we've gone on a last minute midnight trip to the Survivor auditions, the pool, we've had dinner at their house once and gone to the gym. I think she'll probably end up being the person I "click" with here. Still...I want to have more than one friend! I know I can come off as being a little intimidating because I'm quiet when I first meet people. I like to watch people and see their personalities before I expose my own. I like to see how they talk...do they spend their time gossiping or backbiting? Do they have hobbies I also like? Are they too afraid to go on spur of the moment shopping or beach trips with me?

Its inevitable, in the military, that spouses get lonely. But seriously...I'm on a post surrounded by other spouses probably thinking the same thing and I can't seem to find where I belong. We make playgroups for our kids, have playdates at the park or pool, have virtual conversations on the internet...but where are the adult playgroups? Where are the playdates for grown ups where we can interact in person? How am I supposed to grow a bond with these women when I can't seem to find them...even within this tiny area?

I think I'm outgoing, but maybe I need to be more inviting. I could start a group specifically for hobbies and things I like to do....instead of going to ones that I hate but do it out of desperation for an evening of adult conversation and keeping a shirt clean of slobber for a while? I'd love to have people come to my house to have dinner or a game night. I just never invite people because part of me is afraid they would look at me and think "ugh...I guess I'll say yes, its free food" but another part of me knows that in order for me to stay sane and have fun, I need to do it.

Man...I sound like a big whiner or wimp right now...but I had to vent. Its been a long time since I've been able to just have time with a friend (in person, not email or phone) and its really wearing on me!

18 July 2008

I want to....

I purposely left off the "before I die" part of the title for this post because that gives me the excuse that I have a lot of time to get these things done...meaning I won't start them until its too late. I'll be adding to the list and updating it as I cross things off. They always say if you write down your goals you'll be more likely to accomplish them. Let's see if I can prove that to be true.


*refinish furniture
*decorate my home...I mean actually decorate it, not just get some pretty things to hang on the wall
*write a book
*write a song
*lose 20 pounds
*breathe out of both sides of my nose (seriously)
*bench press my own weight (better lose more than 20 pounds)
*be debt free
*own land
*own land with a willow tree and a pond
*find a hairstyle that suits me
*volunteer with the Red Cross in another country
*go rock climbing
*skydive
*learn not to judge as often
*read the Bible
*have family home evening EVERY WEEK

"Oh expletive"

http://news.aol.com/news_portal/article/parachutist-lands-on-military-band/89291

Good read. I had to post it...we just PCS'd from here a few months ago. Who knew being a band member could be so dangerous! Strange things happen in Kansas....

15 July 2008

...and....and...

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/07/14/oly.china.behavior.ap/index.html

oh....and no staring at people...and no lipstick...oh yeah, and no holding hands...no using the bathroom...no laughing too loud...and only clap three times if you're happy.... GOOD GRIEF.... I'm all about not bringing weapons to the long jump, but if China seriously thinks they're going to control something like someone spitting they're crazy.

I can't wait for the 2008 Olympics!

No you don't...I do

So do you ever feel like you have the strangest family? I mean extended family. No you don't...I do. This is a very personal post. I'm not holding back any feelings in fear that someone I'm related to will read it. Its how I felt during my trip and I need to put it down on "paper" so I can get past it.

I went to Utah for my Grandpa's funeral. It was heartwrenching to say goodbye to him. He had a beautiful cedar casket with pine trees embroidered on the inside of it. Perfect for him. He had a full military burial which ceremony included my cousin who is in the Air Force. He's buried on a hillside at the foot of a mountain. It was everything he would've wanted. It was also the strangest experience I've had in a long time.

I know there isn't a perfect line of relatives out there anywhere but I feel like "the cake" was frosted with icing made from ingredients thrown in from every family on this side. I had such unreal moments like sitting on the living room floor next to my mother, listening to my 50-some year old uncle talk my Grandma into not going back to church while he holds the hand of his 21-year-old "possible" new wife while they sit next to his daughter who is 31 while I look up at the water stains on the ceiling thinking how it looks like marshmellow fluff and all of a sudden notice a piece of tape hanging off the fireplace mantle.

Another time I was sitting in the "family room" of the chapel waiting for the funeral to start and I see related folk of mine walk into the room wearing what appears to be strappy tank tops and painted on skirts topped off with faded tattoos and a fresh aroma of Marlboro. I wanted to throw up...yet at the same time I realized that I'm a part of this family and I need to accept them for who they are. I did at that moment, however, become keenly aware of my ever-so-modest black skirt, glasses, curly pony-tail, and explosion of freckles and realized they were probably thinking the same thing about me.

Of course we all pretended like were were 10 again and all got along while we played barbies in the "blue" room of Grandma and Grandpa's house. We laughed when appropriate, listened to each other's stories that we really didn't care about, and when it was all said and done we said goodbye, admitting that it would be a long time before we saw each other again so it didn't matter if our kids now remembered each other or not.

We have every color of skin in our family. We're quite diverse in culture. I swear I've never seen so many people of Dutch ancestry married to so many people of Mexican ancestry. As we all milled around the "family room" it sort of looked like a colorful dance. I listened to the muffled conversations, the crying and sniffling and the realizations people had as they recognized the person right next to them as a cousin or aunt they hadn't seen in 30 years.

I'm ok with the fact that 90 % of the people there won't remember who's kid I am or where I'm from or how I'm related to them when we're all together again (which won't be until the next time someone passes away). I do know that my Grandpa was probably smiling as he looked down and knew the feelings of everyone as they mingled so awkwardly together, the unexpected conversion to Buddhism by an uncle who bowed suddenly to the Bishopric during the funeral while quoting "his holiness...the Dahli Lama" (or however you spell it), or the heartbreak of my four cousins who were practically raised by him and called him their "best friend". Most of all, I know my Grandpa was full of joy when he heard so many people say we should live our lives exactly as he did...full of charity, giving, love, hard work and dedication. I suppose that means that I have to continue to learn to tolerate the differences in my wacky family...and hope they tolerate me in return (at least when we see each other next...right fam?)

08 July 2008

Ageless

My grandpa passed away Monday morning around 1 am. He always seemed ageless to me. Growing up we would visit once a year, which would explain why he always looked the same. Grandpa was originally from northern New Mexico and didn't speak English until he was seven. I don't know much about his childhood except patchy details here and there mixed with foggy memories he had. I was always sad that I didn't look more like him. I wanted his heritage more than I wanted my red hair, numberless freckles and transluscent skin. I always wished I had his fingers. The shape of them were interesting to me and over the years I would always find myself staring at them. His mustache was always perfectly shaped and his hair, combed back, never seemed to move. Grandpa affectionately called me "nae" or "nae nae" and gave perfect hugs. He was a civilian medic for the Air Force for many years. I guess that's where I get my interest in medicine. The old jeep that sat in Grandpa's driveway at least as long as I am old was fascinating to me. I pictured him riding in it. I think Grandpa had a "wild and free" streak that he didn't talk about. He loved tamales with his eggs and toast at breakfast, couldn't eat or drink dairy, and loved taking care of his horses. He lost a lot of his livlihood when he eventually had to sell the last one. I didn't find enough out about him while he was here. Why is it we all make that mistake with the ones we know we'll miss the most?