Sunday, December 30, 2007

Yay!!!!


Aiden hit a milestone tonight, he went on the potty for the first time. He had just gotten out of the bathtub, was wrapped up in his towel, and had walked into his bedroom to get his pj's on. I was following behind him and before I got a chance to put his diaper on him, he threw off his towel and started to pee all over the rug. I managed to throw the towel in the way just in time to catch it, scooped him up and ran to the bathroom. I plopped his little butt onto the toilet, and after a minute or so of sitting there looking bewildered, he finished his business. Something only my son would do - while he was going, he looked down and said, "oh wow!". I guess when you're 2, even going potty is a novelty!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Scrapbooking!!

So I dragged out all of my scrapbooking stuff while I've been on vacation, and I finally started Aiden's scrapbook. I figured I should get going on it, since I'm getting ready to have another one here shortly! Anyway, I've done several pages, but here's one of my favorites. After we scanned it, we realized that the "y" on "Daddy" was bent back, but other than that, you get the picture....

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Being Cute

I was playing with my new camera this morning, and got some video of Aiden being a ham....I'm still learning the settings and stuff for this camera, so sometimes the lighting is too dark, sorry!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!! We had an abundance of presents at our house, but even better than that was that Daddy was able to join us via the webcam, so he got to watch Aiden open all of his gifts. Among his many, many toys were a Red Rider tricycle, a giant rocket-ship tent and more movies than I thought possible. Plus a lot of cars, some new bedding, books, puzzles, etc.... I recorded some of the morning on MY new toy, a digital video camera that records straight to a memory card - no more messing with tapes of any kind! Anyway, I'll post more tomorrow, but for now, enjoy the video!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Great Video

I saw this on Roxxi's blog and I had to steal it - grab some tissues!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cool Site!

I just found the absolute coolest site for military stuff - www.militarywives.com. They even have a whole section on scrapbooking that has totally awesome stuff! They have tons of other stuff, too, so you should check them out!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Victims?

This is something that's been rolling around in my brain for a few weeks. A while back, I heard someone on the radio saying that we need to pray for the families of our deployed soldiers this Christmas (a nice sentiment), because they are the victims of this war. Hold up, stop right there. I am not a victim. Neither are my children, and to have someone refer to me as a victim is not only insulting to me, but it takes away from the actual victims in this situation. For example, the Iraqi children who lost parents to Saddam Hussein's rule. The Iraqi women who were and are beaten daily just for being female. The men who are forced to commit unspeakable acts just to keep their families from being murdered. You know, the people that our deployed soldiers are over there trying to save.

My husband was not forced to go to war. He was not forced into the Army, we don't have a draft in this country. Sure, our family makes sacrifices every day, but they are sacrifices that we willingly make by choosing to be a military family. We chose this life, it wasn't forced on us, and it's not something that we regret. Other military families have given far more than we have, and I am grateful to every one of them.

I wish that Daddy could be home for Christmas this year, and I wish that I didn't have to figure out how to explain to a two year-old why Daddy had to go away for a while. But some sacrifices are worth making for the sake of others. If our family giving up Hubby and Daddy for a year means that another family somewhere will get to keep their's for a lifetime, and be able to experience the freedoms that we take for granted every day, I think that balances out.

So I'll say it again. I am not a victim.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Housecleaning

You know those shows on TV like "Clean House" or "Clean Sweep", that show people who live like slobs getting their houses cleaned out and made-over? Well my Mom and I were watching a few of them on Saturday, and while I'm not NEARLY that bad, it made me want to clean my house. Plus, Christmas is coming, and company's coming (yay Heidi!), so I decided that my house needed to be scrubbed.

So...I packed Aiden off to Grandma and Grandpa's house for a few hours (that is SO nice!), and gave into my nesting urges. I scrubbed the kitchen from top to bottom, along with the dining room and the living room. I threw stuff away, put stuff away that had been on the counters for so long it had become part of the scenery, mopped, sanitized, vacuumed and scrubbed to my heart's content, all without a 2 year-old following me around and messing everything up again.

So now all the common areas in the house are cleaned to a shine, and it smells like fresh spruce (courtesy of the Christmas Tree), and pinesol. Next weekend I am moving onto the bedrooms....

Christmas Cards


I am notorious (at least to Chris) when it comes to Christmas cards each year, I buy them, fill them out, include pictures, address them....and leave them on the counter until it's too late to mail them out. It pretty much happens every year. I always find the perfect card, and the perfect picture, and I get really excited about them, round up everybody's new address (when half your friends are in the Army, that can be quite a project), and then...nothing.


So this year, I was determined to get them out. I bought some cute cards, decided in the interests of time to forego the picture and letter this year (sorry!), and I actually mailed them out this morning!! I'm very proud of myself. I have most of your addresses, but some I didn't have, and didn't think to ask for them until now. So if you don't get one, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Belly Shot


I'm really starting to show now, so my Mom is going to be taking regular photos of me, to show the progress of my belly. Here is the first one, taken a few days ago....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shop 'til You Drop

We're back from our trip to the North Pole, otherwise known as Minneapolis. It was so cold there, I had trouble even taking a breath. To say that it was freezing really doesn't do it justice, because "freezing" refers to 32 degrees. It never got above 23 the whole time we were there. And usually it was colder than that, somewhere around -4 or so....I actually had to break out my Columbia snowboarding coat, snowboots, hat and gloves, and that was just to walk from the hotel to the waiting shuttle. I'm seriously a California girl at heart....

And now, THE MALL. Over 4 million square feet of retail therapy. And we walked all 4 million square feet several times over. I'm considered a professional in some circles when it comes to shopping, and I actually had to take a hot bath to soak away the aches and pains at the end of the day. But hey, that's the best kind of exercise if you ask me! They have every store you can possibly think of, and then some. My favorites were Archiver's (I seriously don't need to ever go in there again!!), and H&M (memories of shopping in Germany). I finished up most of my Christmas shopping, and got some good deals for me!

Aiden did just fine without me for a few days, he had a grand 'ol time with Grandpa. When we first got home and walked in the door, he didn't even really care that I was back, as he was engrossed in some Mickey Mouse cartoons. Such love. But after a few minutes he was excited and running around, dispensing hugs to everyone and just being cute. He was especially interested when presents started getting handed out, and was very curious about the contents of my extremely heavy suitcase. So now that I know he won't cease to exist without me, I'm trying to figure out how I can go back again next year.... :-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Foster a Soldier

I came across a program that was really neat, and I wanted to share it with everyone. Chris is lucky in that he has a lot of people who love and care about him and are sending him care packages while he's away. But not all of our troops are as appreciated as he is. Not everyone gets mail from home, and a lot of our troops will be going without care packages this Christmas. If you would like to help, you can get involved with the Treats for Troops Foster a Soldier Program. They will pair you with a soldier that you can then send packages to. It's easy, all you do after you get their info is select a gift from the Treats For Troops gift shop, and they will package it and send it for you! What could be easier than that? Let's show our brave soldiers that we care about them this Christmas, and we appreciate their sacrifices for us!

Going on Vacation


My Mom and I are taking a trip together this weekend, we are going to Minneapolis for some serious Christmas shopping at the Mall of America. More importantly, there are no kids allowed. Well, except for the yet-to-be-named child firmly implanted in my belly. That's right, I'm actually taking my first trip away from Aiden. I've left him overnight once before, but this will be 3 nights away from me. Should be interesting for Grandpa!


We're leaving Friday and will be back on Monday, and plan to have a great time eating, shopping, and being pampered by the staff of the Hilton. I've been looking at the Mall of America website, and I discovered that there is a store there called Archivers - The Photo Memory Store. Now, those of you who know me well know that I am a scrapbooking fanatic. So to find out that the store which claims to carry the "largest selection of photo memory needs in the NATION" is at the very mall I will be spending the weekend at is not good news for my bank account. I have a feeling that most of the Christmas shopping I'll be doing is going to be for me! My Mom already told me to only take a certain amount of cash with me into the store - no debit cards or credit cards, that way I won't overspend in there. You'd think I was an addict on the verge of relapse! Of course, that's really not so far from the truth....Now, if only I could find the time to actually scrapbook!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Pitter-Patter of Little Feet...

...or should I say the kicks, jabs and karate-chops of little feet?? The baby is really starting to kick a lot, and getting stronger and stronger every day. Sometimes he can be felt from the outside, and soon there will be no denying it. I can definitely tell that he reacts more strongly to certain things I eat or drink - namely my peppermint mocha splurge a couple of times a week, orange juice and anything chocolate related. Sometimes ice cream sets him off, too. I guess it's cold!

I had Aiden in bed with me the other night, as happens occasionally, usually when he's sick. He's got a cold (the never-ending daycare sniffles), and so he was tossing and turning quite a bit. Of course, my queen-sized bed isn't big enough for the both of us (seems to work just fine for his Dad and I, but apparently Aiden needs more room to flop around) and I ended up with his feet and elbows and knees digging into me all night. When coupled with the fact that I am also getting kicked and jabbed from the inside, it makes for a fun night of no sleeping.

Oh well, the price of being mommy to two already rowdy boys, right??

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Best Christmas Present Ever

A lot of you know that my Mom has been fighting cancer. She was diagnosed with Lymphoma earlier this year, and has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments. She recently finished the last round, and soon after they moved out here to Alabama, taking the doctor's opinion that the cancer was gone to heart. This last week, she flew back out to California for some follow up tests, namely a full body PET scan to show for sure if the cancer was really gone. And guess what? It's GONE! She is officially in remission, and will be considered cured after 5 years. So I say it is definitely time to celebrate!!

We Have it Easy

Deployments are hard. I'm not going to sugarcoat it and pretend that everything's peachy, and say things like, "oh, it gets easier every time", and "gee, it's nice to have the bed to myself for a year". It's hard to be a war wife, especially at this time of year. It's even harder to be apart when you know your other half is in harm's way. BUT, technology is making the world smaller and smaller, and the miles don't seem so great, even from Iraq to Alabama. Chris and I have been able to connect via Yahoo Messenger for the last few days, and as we were chatting this morning it occured to me how lucky I am to be able to do that! How times have changed from the days of World War II! At least I don't have to wait months for a letter that might never come. Women of my Great-Grandmother's generation didn't have that luxury. I get to talk to my hubby a couple of times a week, and we can chat online almost every day. We can even see each other with a webcam. I can SEE him in Iraq, have you ever stopped to think how amazing that is??

There are other things that make life during wartime easier today than in times past. I don't have to draw a line up the back of my leg to make it look like I have pantyhose on, because all of the nylon is being used for parachutes. My meat, sugar, butter and coffee aren't rationed (although if the price of oil keeps going up, my gas might be!). I didn't have to give up my easy job to work in a tank factory, and my friends aren't being rounded up and sent to detention camps. In fact, I haven't really had to give up a thing. Well, that, but it's not much fun when you have a big pregnant belly, anyway....

So the next time you hear someone complaining about how the war is affecting them, tell them to stick it. We have it easy.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Picture with Santa

I took Aiden to see Santa today at the PX, I was hoping to get a better picture than the one last year (when he was screaming his head off). He was excited until we got up there, and then when he realized I was going to hand him off to this large man in a red suit, he freaked out. So I ended up having to sit with him, so here is the picture! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas.....


I love Christmas. I love the whole season - the sights, the sounds, the tastes. And don't you think that Christmas just smells better, too? I mean what's better than the smell of Evergreen and Cinnamon?? This is also the time of year that I miss Germany the most. No one does Christmas more beautifully than the Germans. Christmas is much less commercialized in Germany than it is in America. There is no crazed shopping season, no people running over other people in their haste to buy the latest "thing". There are weekend festivals throughout the month of December called Christkindlemarkts, or Christmas Markets. They basically consist of tons of little booths for you to wander through in the town square. Now in this country, every single one of those booths would be selling some "awesome gift for Christmas", trying to make as much money as possible. In the German markets, 90% of what they are selling is food. Special treats you can only get at Christmas time, along with the usual favorites such as bratwurst and - in Rothenburg - Schneeballen. And of course, who could forget my all-time favorite, Gluwein. If you've never experienced Gluwein, you are missing out. It's a hot, mulled red wine spiced with cinnamon and other spices. It will warm you right down to your bones on those chilly, snowy days. The point of a Christkindlemarkt is not to spend a ton of money on pointless gifts, but to bundle up in your favorite coat and hat, grab a mug of Gluwein, and stroll the ancient, cobblestone streets breathing in the atmosphere of the season. The streets are lit up, there are trees and wreaths and holly berries everywhere, and the centuries-old cathedrals are decked out in all their Christmas splendor, beckoning the faithful to Midnight Mass. There is just something perfect about it.

But, since I'm not in Germany anymore, I'll have to settle for Christmas in Georgia. I'm going to make my own Gluwein (with non-alcoholic wine, of course!), get some real evergreen wreaths for the house, and do my best to remember that the Christmas season is best celebrated outside the walls of a department store.

Monday, November 26, 2007

T Minus Three and Counting....

Yep, Saturday was my birthday. 27. That means I am officially getting close to 30 and climbing fast. I'm not really sure what happened, because a few days ago I was 16, and now I'm 27 with a husband, 1 1/2 kids, a dog and a mortgage. I think there were supposed to be some more years in there somewhere, but I guess I blinked. Oh well, I have a feeling it's only going to get faster from here! And I just remind myself that even though I might be getting older, Chris will always be older than me (he'll be 29 in January)....Love you Honey!! :-)

In other news - we went shopping on Black Friday, we made it to Kohl's about 20 minutes before they opened at 4 AM, and there were already hundreds of people in line! There were some ladies who were threatening the beat-down to some people who tried to cut, these were some serious shoppers! We got lots of great deals though, it was worth the hour we waited in line. Actually, my Mom waited in line, I started feeling sick from the heat of all the people and went and sat down and waited for her to get to the front. The perks of being pregnant....

After that we hit Starbucks and went to a craft store and stocked up on yarn and scrapbooking supplies (yarn for mom, and scrapbooking stuff for me). Speaking of Starbucks, we also went to the new PX on Benning over the weekend, and there is a real, honest to goodness STARBUCKS inside!! Somebody at AAFES finally got some sense!!

Anyway, on Sunday we just recuperated from the craziness and pretty much did nothing all day. Now I'm back at work, listening to the pouring-down rain (Hallelujah!), and counting the days until my Christmas vacation starts.....

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Turkey Day!!

Well, I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!! I hope you all enjoy your holiday, and of course tomorrow's shopping opportunities! My mom, sister and I will be hitting Kohl's at 4 AM tomorrow (yes, we are crazy, but they always have great sales!), followed by Christmas decorating at my house.


I also want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our soldiers who can't be home with their families this year. We are thankful for you.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Funny

I bought Aiden some washable markers the other day, as he's really getting into coloring lately. He's been having a good 'ol time with them, and we noticed yesterday that he was drawing on his face. Nice. So my Mom and I decided to help him out a little bit...don't you think this will make a good picture to send to Daddy??

Friday, November 16, 2007

Phone Call

Just a quick update - I got a phone call a little before 6 this morning, and it was Chris. He finally got a chance to call, and he knows I don't care what time it is! Aiden even got to talk to him, since he was sleeping next to me at the time. He was jabbering away for a few minutes, and then every 30 seconds or so he would lean into the phone and say, "HI!!!" I asked him to give Daddy kisses, and he kissed the phone, it was so sweet. He told me they should be headed up north soon, so I'll let everyone know when they get settled.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Baby Uh Oh....

Yes, you may have noticed that the ticker at the top of the page has changed from pink to blue. I had my detailed "fetal anatomy" ultrasound this morning, and it showed that everything looks great and the baby has all of it's parts, plus one. This baby is most definitely a boy. So now I'm back to square one with the name game. I literally have no idea what to name him. We had picked out Sydney for our "little girl", I guess that's going to have to wait until the next kid, huh? Good thing I've got a few more months to figure it out!

Anyway, I also have undeniable proof that the male preoccupation with the penis begins in the womb. During the ultrasound, he was actually playing with his willie. There you go, I thought, that's my son. I shouldn't be surprised....

I'm so outnumbered.....

I also have an updated due date, so the ticker now reflects April 13th as "D-Day". I have some pictures to post, hopefully I can get those up tonight or tomorrow. I hope nobody bought anything pink!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Nerve

Is anyone else irritated about this whole State Department controversy involving forced assignments to Iraq? If you haven't heard about it, let me explain quickly. In a nutshell, the State Department will have a bunch of open positions at the Baghdad Embassy soon, and if they don't get enough volunteers to fill the positions, they will be handing out mandatory assignments. The FSO's (Foreign Service Officers) in the State Department are all up in arms about this. They had a town hall meeting in which some very ugly things were said, including the sentiment that a forced assignment to Iraq is a "potential death sentence".

I have something to say to these outraged FSO's. You don't want to go to Iraq? Let me take this opportunity to not care. I do believe that you volunteered for this job, considering that there is no forced labor in this country, and that when you took it, you agreed to serve your country wherever they may need you. That includes the places that you don't want to go to. And I wouldn't worry about that pesky "potential death sentence". All you are going to do is sit at a desk in the air-conditioned Embassy, surrounded by Marines, drinking turkish coffee, while all those bullets and bombs that you apparently think are meant for you will be caught and diffused by all of our WILLING soldiers who are actually in the line of fire everyday.

God bless our volunteer military.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Finally!

No, I didn't drop off the planet in the last week, things have just been a little crazy around here! for starters, Chris came home last Friday for his week-long visit before deploying. He got to spend the whole week at home with Aiden, so that was good for them to spend some Daddy/Son time together. Also, Chris' mom flew in on Saturday for a few days with her daughter, Aslynn. They left on Tuesday, and then my parents and sister finally pulled in on Wednesday! Chris left on Friday and we just spent the weekend recovering from the craziness.

An update on the deployment, they did leave and are en route to Kuwait. When I get more information, I'll let you know. I have Chris' address so if anyone would like it, just send me an email and I'll give it to you. If you would like to send him any letters or packages, keep in mind that you will only pay domestic-rate postage, the same as if you were sending it somewhere in the States. Here are some ideas on things to send him: white ankle socks, tea, sugar, candy (if you send chocolate, please seal it in a ziploc baggie to prevent a mess if it melts), Jack Links Beef Jerky (spicy or original), BBQ sauce, and pretty much anything edible. He would also love to get pictures and cards from his friends back home. If you have any questions about what to send him, just shoot me an email or call me.

And last but not least, here are some pictures from when we took Aiden and Aslynn to the park last weekend. Enjoy!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Rest of the Story....

Okay, so here's what happened on Halloween. I left work at 4:30 to go pick up Aiden and get home, so that we would have plenty of time for dinner and stuff before we went over to Brandy's for trick-or-treating at 6. I get on the freeway after leaving the daycare, and realize that the traffic is not moving. At all. Great! So we crawl forward for a while until we finally reach a point where they are diverting all traffic onto 2nd Avenue. For those of you not familiar with the area, 2nd Avenue runs through downtown Columbus. It's already a mess at rush-hour, but when you add in all the freeway traffic, it's a downright nightmare. Not only that, but it goes in the opposite direction of where I want to go. SO, I join the parking lot of traffic on 2nd and proceed to sit there for the next 2 hours. Aiden is not happy. He's hungry, bored, and he wants out of the car. I know how he feels, cause I'm all of those things too, and I have to pee. Really bad. Pregnant bad. We finally turn into our subdivision at 7:00.

Now, the trick-or-treaters are out in full force by this time. There are children and cars and people all over the place. I can't believe the amount of parents who are actually driving their lazy kids from house to house. They are about to consume 50 pounds of candy!! Let them walk!! Anyway, as I maneuver my way up to my driveway, there is a lady whom I've never seen before standing at the base of my driveway, and she is directing traffic. Apparently she has appointed herself the trick-or-treat police. I roll down my window to ask her to move out of the way so I can pull in, and she tells me that I have to park on the street to make room for kids. I politely said no, this is my house. She tells me that "I have 2 choices, park on the street, or come back later after trick-or-treating is over." Now, let's reflect for a minute. I am not exactly in the best mood at this time, having just spent the last few hours going nowhere in heavy traffic. I'm tired, I have to pee, and my kid is screaming. I can see my house finally, and this lady tells me I have to come back later?? I don't think so. So I look at her and I say, "listen lady. I just spent the last 2 1/2 hours in bumper to bumper traffic with a screaming toddler. Now I'm 50 feet from my house and you are the only thing in my way. So YOU have 2 choices. You can either move, or I can run you over. Your call."

Needless to say, after muttering some choice words about me, she moved. I was kind of disappointed, I was looking forward to running her over. It probably would have gotten out some my pent-up stress and aggression. Besides, I have a big truck, I doubt it would have caused any damage. To the truck.

After getting Aiden some food, he calmed down enough for us to go over to Brandy's and let the kids play for a bit. I bought this stinkin' costume after all, he's GOING to wear it! I was surprised to come home later and find out that my house had not been egged in retaliation. Even if it had, telling that lady off would have been worth every bit of it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween!




Aiden was a pirate for Halloween, here are a few pictures of him and Maddy. I don't have time right now, but there is a whole story associated with Halloween this year, and I'll post more about that later. Let's just say, Buffy got to come out and play....


Enjoy the pictures!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Wonderful World of Britney

I've decided to weigh in on the pop-culture train wreck that is Britney Spears. Normally I just listen to or read about the latest mess she's made and shake my head, but in light of her most recent crash and burn, I'm going to put in my 2 cents.

I heard on the radio yesterday morning about a comment she made to a reporter during her custody hearing with the increasingly responsible K-Fed. The reporter asked her during a recess how the hearing was going. She said, "Eat it, lick it, snort it, f**k it", then ran back into the courtroom.

I'm sorry, but what does that even mean? After hearing that, I've come to the conclusion that Britney is not just messed up emotionally, she has completely lost touch with reality. I don't think she has a clue that she is really on the verge of losing her children permanently. She simply cannot understand that she is subject to the same laws, responsibilities and rules of behavior when it comes to raising children as the rest of us "little people". I am glad that she has gotten a judge who seems to be in no way impressed with the fact that she is Britney Spears, and is truly doing what is best for the boys, no matter how many Hollywood hissy fits she throws.

I feel sorry for her sons, who, no matter what happens from here on out, will grow up forever tainted by the antics of their famous, unstable Mama. One day they will be old enough to understand that in the eyes of everyone around her, it seems she simply didn't care enough to do whatever was necessary to get them back. The news has said that she has failed to comply with court orders, and that is why she lost custody, and then visitation rights. What could the court have possibly ordered her to do that any mother worth her salt would not bend over backwards to do? If a judge ordered me to donate both my legs to charity and become a circus clown in order to get my children back, I would do it! I can't think of anything on this planet (or any other planet) that would keep me from my children.

I've heard people say things about Britney like, "she deserves it", and "she's doing it to herself". Does she deserve to have her children taken away? Right now, yes. Is she doing it to herself? Absolutely, whether she realizes the destructive nature of her actions or not. While I don't think she deserves pity or sympathy at the moment, I do feel sorry for the woman who will wake up 5, 10, 15 years from now and realize what she's done, and what she's lost. Because at that moment she will experience what will undoubtedly be a soul-ripping pain like nothing else. While you might say she deserves even that, the woman and mother in me can't help but sympathize.

Her behavior is systematically destroying her life, and she is pushing away the 2 people who would have loved her unconditionally, no matter what. And one day she's going to grow up and realize that you can't just put it back together again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Baby Update

Yes, there is a reason that the baby ticker at the top of the page is now pink! I had my 16 week OB appointment today, and the Dr. did an ultrasound for me. He's about 90% sure that it's a girl. Of course, he could be wrong, and we'll know more when I have my big ultrasound in November, but he's fairly certain it's a girl.

Also - apparently this baby girl is really active! On the ultrasound we could see her swimming all over and doing flips, waving her little arms and legs all over the place. She's literally bouncing off the walls already! I'm starting to feel some movement already, and now we know why! She's pounding her fists against the walls of my uterus saying, "Here I am!!!"

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lucky Boots

I woke up this morning to pouring down rain. It's a good thing, since apparently Georgia and Alabama are about to come to blows over the draught conditions, and who gets how much water from our shared reservoirs. It hasn't really affected us too much yet, other than not being allowed to water your lawn at all, but I guess Atlanta and Birmingham and other large cities are having a water shortage. Anyway, because it was raining cats and dogs, I decided to forego my trademark Birkenstocks and opted instead for my favorite pair of black boots.

I've had these boots for several years, and they have been through a lot. They are Italian-made black leather (thank you Uncle Sam!), they come up to about mid-calf level, they have about a 2 inch heel, and they were a birthday present from my hubby. They've got some scarring, and at one point I had considered throwing them out and getting a new pair, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. For one thing, I absolutely love these boots. For another, they helped me to diffuse what could have been an ugly situation. Well, uglier, anyway.

Almost exactly 4 years ago, I was mugged. We were living in Germany at the time, Chris was away at a combat training school about 4 hours away, it was a Friday evening, and I was at a community level FRG planning meeting. I had to dress up somewhat, so I was wearing a black skirt and my awesome boots. After the meeting I decided to go off-post and rent a couple of movies at this little American video store we all went to all the time. They had exactly 2 parking spots, so usually you had to park around the back of the store and cut in between two buildings to get to the front door. No big deal, I did it all the time. So I rent my movies and as I'm leaving the store and rounding the corner of the building to get back to my car, I suddenly find myself slammed up against a concrete wall. There's a guy in dark clothing with a hat pulled down low over his face, he's got one hand pressed against my chest, and he starts going for my purse with the other hand. BTW - my purse was a black one that I had bought at Harrod's in London, it was expensive, and not exactly easily replaceable. At that point I literally stopped thinking. I lashed out with my 2 inch heels and landed several really nice kicks to the guy's groin, stomach, and kneecaps. I knew there was a reason I took all those kick-boxing classes at the gym! He stumbled back and doubled over a bit, said something I didn't understand in what I think was probably Turkish or Czech, then made one last grab for my purse. In retrospect, he probably shouldn't have done that because as he leaned forward, I gathered everything in me and broke his face with my arm. Literally, I heard the crack of what I'm assuming was a jawbone.

After that, he ran off. Empty-handed, I might add. I guess getting the crap kicked out of him by a little American woman wasn't part of his nightly plans. I just stood there for a second trying to figure out what the heck just happened. Did I really do that? I decided I needed to go home. Once I got there, there was a message from Chris on my answering machine, saying that he was taking the train home for the weekend, and could I please pick him up at the train station at about 11? I called him on his cell-phone and told him that I really didn't want to go to a darkened train station by myself in the middle of the night, on account of the fact that I just got attacked in an alley.

There was complete silence for about 30 seconds. Then Chris freaked out. "WHAT??? Are you okay? Did he hurt you? What happened?"

"I'm fine, he didn't get anything, and he didn't hurt me. My arm kind of hurts, though."

"Why? What did he do to your arm?"

"Oh he didn't do anything, but I think I broke his jawbone when I hit him."

"You HIT him? Are you crazy? Why didn't you just run?"

"Oh, well I was too busy kicking the crap out of him to run, besides, he kept trying to take my purse, and I really like that purse."

"Are you trying to tell me that you beat him up?"

"Uh, well, yeah."

At this point, I'm sure he was just shaking his head. "What did the MP's say?"

"Oh, I didn't call them."

He sighed, then convinced me to go to the MP station and file a report. Since the MP station was right around the corner from my house, it only took me about 5 minutes to get there. When I walked in, the Sergeant at the desk is on the phone, and he looks up at me and says into the phone, "Yeah, Sergeant, I think she just walked in. Is your wife a little blonde woman? Okay, we'll take care of her." I'm totally rolling my eyes, "He called you?"

He explained that Chris wanted to make sure I came in, and if I hadn't been there in 10 minutes, they were going to come to my house and get me. Men.... So anyway, I sit down to give my statement, and about halfway through, the reality of my situation hit me, my brain finished processing everything that had happened, and I started shaking. I broke out in a cold sweat and thought I was going to vomit. The poor MP that was taking my statement didn't quite know what to do. I calmed down after a bit, and they called in the medic to look at my arm. It wasn't broken, just badly bruised internally, and he wrapped it up for me.

As I was getting ready to go home, the MP told me he was impressed that I had managed to fight him off, but next time, just drop the purse and run away. Or scream like hell. He told me I was lucky the guy didn't have a weapon, and those boots I was wearing probably saved me from being seriously hurt.

So, long story short - I'm going to keep wearing these boots until they literally disintegrate off my feet. They are my lucky boots!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hungry, Hungry Hippo

Now that I seem to be mostly past the morning sickness phase of my pregnancy, my appetite has returned in full force. I simply cannot get enough to eat! It doesn't matter how much I eat, 30 minutes later I'll be starving again.

This morning at work I had to make an emergency run to Panera Bread before I passed out from lack of food. By the way, if you have never been to a Panera Bread, you really need to check it out sometime. They have the most awesome bagels! I just got an asiago cheese bagel with veggie cream cheese - it has bits of spinach and tomatoes in it. Yummy! Anyway, I wolfed it down in record time, and now I'm hungry again. I might have to start in on the muffin I bought for later....

I guess my body is trying to make up for all the food I couldn't keep down before!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cooties!


When I dropped Aiden off at daycare yesterday morning, one of the little girls in his class ran up to him yelling, "Hi Aiden!" and gave him a big hug and a great big kiss on the cheek. I thought it was so cute, but apparently my son felt differently about it. He just stood there during the onslaught of female affection and afterwards he reached up and wiped the girl's kiss off of his cheek. He then looked up at me with the most priceless expression I have ever seen. He looked as if he'd just been slimed by some disgusting, extraterrestrial creature. You could just tell that he was so grossed out by the whole thing. Apparently "girl cooties" do exist in the toddler world.


I told Chris about it and he asked me what the little girl looked like. I told him she was a cute little blond girl and he said, "well, at least he's attracting the pretty, blond girls. He's on the right track!" Such a totally male thing to say!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In Defense

I recently posted regarding my neighbor's dogs - 2 rottweilers who bark all night long - and I made a comment about how I wasn't thrilled with the idea of their presence in the first place. A comment was made on this previous post, and this person took issue with my feelings regarding rottweilers. This person has a rottweiler which is apparently very docile and sweet and good-natured. While I'm sure that there are rotts out there who would never hurt a fly and make great pets, the fact is that they have a great potential to become vicious. I recently came across an article on CNN, which states that a study has been done which finds that Rottweilers are now considered the deadliest dog breed in America, that they are in fact responsible for more dog attacks than even pit bulls. So, no, I don't believe that Rotts in general have the temperament of little bunnies, and feel that those nice, docile Rotts out there are in fact the exception to the rule.
The dogs next door are unknown to me, and they have the potential to be dangerous, and I would be remiss in my responsibilites as a mother of young children not to consider that fact. I want my children to be able to play outside in their own backyard without having to worry about the dogs next door getting out. I have valid reasons for being cautious, their names are Aiden and Baby #2.

Yummy Recipe

When Chris was home this last time, I decided to make pork chops one night. Now, I rarely make pork of any kind, but for some reason, they just sounded good. I found a recipe for Hawaiian Pork Chops, and they turned out so good, I wanted to share the recipe with all of you. Heidi - if you ever decide to cook again, start with this!!

Hawaiian Appled Pork Chops With Carrots
Recipe #243402
3 ratings

4-6 servings
1½ hours 25 min prep

4-6 pork chops
1 green pepper, cut in chunks
1 red onion, cut in squares
2 tart apples, pared, cored and cut in chunks
1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-1/2-inch pieces
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Sweet and Sour Sauce
1 (9 ounce) can pineapple chunks, in it's own juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (approximately the amount in 1/2 a large lemon)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Brown the chops with the green pepper and onion in the olive oil on a high heat for 1-2 minutes on each side. Salt and pepper to taste, then reduce heat to medium low and top with the apples and carrots.
Mix the other ingredients together and pour over the top of the chops, apples and carrots.
Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

It's really easy to make, you just chop up everything, pour it all into a skillet with the pork chops and let it sit. If you make it, let me know what you think!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dogs

So I seem to have rotten luck when it comes to my neighbor's dogs. My new neighbors next door have 2 rottweilers. I'm not at all thrilled at the idea of 2 potentially vicious dogs living next door to me. So far they have been locked up in their backyard, but the minute I see them wandering around I'm raising hell. Anyway, it gets better. One of them is pregnant. I mean, really pregnant. And the best part of all - they bark all night long. I've about had it. I think the next time I hear them barking non-stop in the middle of night, I'm going to go over and "politely request" that they SHUT THEIR DOGS UP!! And I'm going to "politely request" this at 2 am when I can't sleep. Maybe I'll even go over there with Aiden in his jammies and bleary-eyed and grumpy from lack of sleep. I'll play up my pregnant belly and the grumpy kid and let them know that they are not exactly making friends in the neighborhood. What do you think?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fall is here....

Well, I think Fall has finally arrived! It has been so extremely hot all Summer, that I'd forgotten how nice it feels when the temperatures are in the 70's! And it's been cooling off at night quite a bit. Lately when I go to work in the morning, it's still in the 50's. This morning I got up and I actually had to turn on the heater!! Considering that my A/C has been running practically non-stop all Summer, it's a nice change to feel a little cold. Time to break out the windbreakers!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

FYI

I did a little research online, and you can buy the Oregon Trail t-shirts mentioned in the previous post on www.cafepress.com.

Friday, October 12, 2007

2000 miles to Soda Springs....

You know that saying, "Been there, done that, got the T-shirt"? Well, I think there should be a rule. If you are too young to have actually been there and done that, you don't get to wear the t-shirt. Case in point....

I stopped off at the local coffee shop this morning (no, not Starbucks, it's just too far out of my way in the mornings) for a new Pumpkin Patch Mocha. As I'm paying for my coffee and muffin in the drivethru, I notice the clerk's t-shirt. It has the DOS graphic of an "Oregon Trail" covered wagon, and the words, "You have died of dysentery". I cracked up. I have fond memories of Oregon Trail Day at school, and have in fact died of dysentery many, many times.

"That's a great shirt!" I say to the kid. "I used to live for Oregon Trail Day at school!" I get nothing but a blank stare. "What's Oregon Trail?" he asks.

It then occurs to me that my Oregon Trail days were almost 20 years ago, and the clerk in question probably wasn't even born when I was hunting buffalo and making my way to Soda Springs. This kid was just wearing what he thought was a cool, "retro" t-shirt.

Nothing like a nice, back-to-Earth slamming dose of reality to go with your morning coffee....

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Visit From Daddy

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, things have been a little crazy around here! For starters, Chris came home for Columbus Day weekend! He showed up at my work on Friday with a big bouquet of pink and white roses! It was really nice to get to see him for a few days. Aiden took one look at him when we picked him up from daycare and he burst into tears and ran to him. He was pretty much attached to Chris the entire time he was home. It didn't take him long to remember that Daddy makes a really good jungle-gym and he's really fun to jump on! Chris will get one more visit home before he deploys, after he graduates from his school at Fort Riley, he'll get a week to spend at home with us. We are looking forward to that now!

Also, my Dad got in on Sunday evening, he drove his motorcycle out to drop it off at our house before the big trip East. He flew back home today, and in a few more days they will hitch up the RV and head out across the country. Aiden wasn't quite sure what to do with him, he was really big, and has a lot more hair than most of the men he knows! But he warmed up to Grandpa after a bit! Just a few more weeks, and they'll be here for good!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Night-Time Escapades....

Don't worry, this story does not involve my gun....

A little backstory - my neighbors next door moved back to Arizona in July, and the house has been on the market since then. They had no luck until finally a couple of weeks ago they got a buyer. Everything was going great until the appraisal came back at less than their asking price. They decided they didn't want to sell it that low, so they would keep the house and rent it to my folks instead. Well, the buyers had already put in new carpet and paint, and are upset that the contract is being cancelled. I would be too in their situation, but that's why you don't put money into a house you don't actually own yet!

So the contract is supposed to be null and void as of tomorrow morning. WELL, around 9 pm this evening, I notice a big SUV with an attached trailor back in to the driveway of the house. I thought that was kind of odd for a couple of reasons, one being that the contract was being cancelled, and another that it was so late. They didn't turn on any lights except for one inside. We had all been a little worried about vandalism, seeing as the situation was getting a little ugly. Maybe they might want their new carpet back....I called my neighbor to see if anyone should be over there, and he told me that "no way should there be anyone there, call the police".

So I call 911 and report it. Right after I called, the big truck leaves. Great. So the deputy shows up (and by the way, just how young can you be to graduate from the academy, anyway? Shouldn't being old enough to shave be a requirement for those who serve and protect??), and he gets my key to the house and goes and checks it out. He said everything looks fine except for a brand-new dishwasher sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor. Apparently the buyers are under the assumption that they are still moving in. I called my neighbor back and he was upset. He's having the locks changed in the morning, and I will be the only one with keys. So if they want their dishwasher back, I guess they have to come see me!

So that was my excitment for tonight, can you tell that it doesn't take much??

Baby Update

I had my 12-week OB appointment today. Everything looks good so far, and we heard the heartbeat loud and clear with the doppler. My morning sickness seems to be tapering off, so that's REALLY good news! I was really getting tired of throwing up all of the time. I actually lost 3 pounds because of it, but now I should start gaining it back and then some, now that I can manage to keep my food down!

In other news, it looks like my parents will be moving in next door to me!! I'm so excited to have them next door, it will be a big help once the baby comes. Our former neighbors (and friends of ours) moved back to Arizona in July, and have been trying to sell their house. They had a prospective buyer, but it's fallen through. They've decided to hang on to the house for a while longer, and rent it to my parents in the meantime. I can't tell you how glad I'll be to have them close by while Chris is gone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I've had it....

...with the South. I'll probably have people yell at me for saying that, but this West Coast Girl has had enough. I really don't mind the South, except for one thing. The bugs. There are bugs everywhere. It's so humid here in the Summer and Fall that they flourish and breed like crazy. I've managed to keep them out of the house for the most part, with the exception of the odd spider or two once in a while. In fact, I'm quite proud of not having an ant problem in the house, something that is really common here in Alabama. Until last night.

I went to bed about 11:00. I laid down on the pillow and leaned over to kiss Aiden (yes, he's sleeping in the bed with me...) when I saw a little ant crawling on the pillow. Eww! I flicked it away. Then I saw another one. I picked up the pillow and realized there were ants IN THE BED!!! I totally freaked out. I picked up Aiden and checked him for ants (didn't see any) and put him on the couch that's in my room. He's totally confused and upset, having just been so rudely awakened. I stripped the bed, sprayed down the headboard and footboard with Raid and then cleaned it to get rid of the Raid smell. New sheets, new pillows, and I was ant-free.

I checked again this morning (and about 50 times during the night last night), and still no ants. I checked under the bed and around for anything that might be attracting them, but there was no food or anything. I don't usually allow food in the bedroom, for that reason. When I get home today, I am so sanitizing everything in that room. I'm still so grossed out, I almost want to sleep on the couch!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Urge to Purge

Do you ever get that feeling that you just have too much crap lying around your house and you just want to throw it all away? I've gotten to that point. I can handle clutter for a while, and then I just reach my limit and I have to have a big purging. That is my plan for this weekend. I'm tired of all the "stuff" everywhere, and I've decided to do something about it.

I really don't understand where all of this stuff comes from. I really don't buy that much (anymore), but it always seems to pile up anyway. So I've got a big box of industrial strength trashbags, and I'm prepared to be brutal. If I haven't used it in 6 months, I'm pitching it. If it's still in a box from the last time I moved, I'm pitching it. If I don't know where it came from or what it is, I'm pitching it. I thought about having a yard sale, but that is just too much work. Maybe I'll put some stuff in the shed for when I do decide to have one, but for the most part, it's just going to the dump.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Prison Break

I don't know how many of you are Prison Break fans, but the new season premiered last night. Prison Break and 24 are the only 2 shows on TV that I like to watch, and actually make time for every week. I'm not sure why I like it so much (it probably has something to do with Wentworth Miller being so hot), but it always sucks me in. Lots of twists and turns, and you never know what's going to happen next. I thought the premiere was pretty good, it made me want to find out what's going to happen to Schofield, who's holding Sarah and LJ, and why is it that Schofield keeps finding himself having to break out of prison? I guess that's why they call it Prison Break....If you watched it, what did you think?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Gross!

My dog has been doing really well with the potty training thing. We've had over 2 weeks with no accidents in the house. She was even starting to come and tell me when she needed to go out. Then, this weekend, she went in the house 4 times!! The last straw was this morning, she pooped on Aiden's bed. Luckily he wasn't in it at the time, but how NASTY is that!!?? I stripped the sheets this morning, and when I get home I'm going to sanitize the mattress. I'm so grossed out right now. I yelled at her and put her outside so that I wouldn't be tempted to beat her to death. I just don't know what's going with her? Why is she all of a sudden doing this? I'm letting her out just as often as I always have, and the routine has not changed. I don't understand. And she knows she's been bad, because she will go hide after she's done it. So I know she knows better. I'm just really frustrated with her and totally grossed out. Any ideas?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Black Tuesday

I can't believe it's been six years since 9/11. When I drove into the parking lot at Aiden's daycare this morning, I saw that all of the classes had made posters and hung them on the front of the building. Tiny handprints and footprints with the words - "We will never forget", and "United We Stand". It occured to me that none of these children had been born when the attacks happened, but a lot of their parents are off fighting the war that began on that day.

I will always remember September 11th, 2001. We had just moved to Germany, I had been in country for 13 days. I didn't know anyone, we didn't have our stuff or our car, and Chris was in the field. It happened around 3 in the afternoon for us, and I remember that I had walked down and bought a small TV that day, and arranged for the cable to be turned on. They said it should be on by 6pm at the latest. I had the TV onto a German news channel while I waited, and I was doing a puzzle at the government issue dining room table we had. I looked up at the TV and saw some news footage of a plane colliding with the first tower. My first thought was, "what a horrible accident!" Everything was in German, so I couldn't understand what was going on. Then they showed a press conference given by the President, but of course it was dubbed into German, so I still couldn't understand. I figured something big was happening, so I called home. I talked to my sister, my Mom, and my mother-in-law, but nobody really knew what was happening. Finally my cable came on and I was able to watch the news in english. At about midnight, Chris came in from the field, and they started pulling shifts guarding the gates to post.
We had a mattress on the living room floor, next to the TV and our only phone. It stayed like that for at least 3 weeks.

The conditions on post were almost akin to martial law. There were armed guards outside of every building, including public bathrooms. Identification was required everywhere. Cars were stripped and searched coming into the gate, and all mail and shipments were stopped. There was no fresh meat at the commissary for a while, and no fresh produce. I remember the little signs in the empty bins that said, "due to customs regulations and current threatcon levels, this item is out of stock". Luckily it didn't last too long.

After that we went to war, and everything about Army life changed. We went from a peacetime Army to an Army at war, and we are still at war today, 6 years later. I think that 9/11 was the defining moment of my generation, much as Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination was for generations past.

I'll ask you the question that everyone is asking today - Where were you on 9/11?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Scary!

Last night about midnight I was just getting into bed when I heard a scratching outside my bedroom window. I froze, thinking maybe it was just a branch from the big bush that's outside. The noise kept on, getting louder and more insistant. It definitely wasn't a branch, something was trying to get in the window.

Oh God. Breathe, breathe. Where is a big, strong soldier when you need one? Oh yeah, playing soldier. Okay, that means it's up to me. I take another deep breath, grab the gun (yes, I have a handgun), my cell-phone and my shoes and creep into the kitchen to go out the back door. My heart is hammering the whole time. Why didn't I just call the police, you ask? Well, because I'm an idiot. I sneak out the back door into the carport and start to slink around to the side of the house where the noise is coming from. I can still hear it, there is something out there. I peer around the corner at the window and see a big, black thing scratching at the window. At this point, I'm thinking I need something other than a gun, a wooden stake, maybe? Silver bullets, at least. Too much Buffy late at night. I take the gun off safety and peer around the corner again. The thing looked right at me and then started coming toward me. I pointed the gun and was just about to shoot something for the first time in my life when I realized it was the neighbor's dog.

I almost collapsed in relief. No vampires or werewolves tonight, just a really irritating dog. I shooed him off and went back inside, thinking that this was absolutely the last straw. That dog has been coming around all the time, digging holes and wreaking havoc, and we have warned his owners that we were going to call animal control if he didn't keep him contained. So this morning I called animal control and placed a complaint, we'll see what happens.

One other thing, where was my dog during all of this??? Asleep on her pillow in my bedroom on the other side of the very window in question. Some guard dog she is.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

First Picture

I had my first OB appointment today. Everything looks good so far, and the doctor did an ultrasound for me. We were able to pick up the heartbeat right away, so that was really neat to see. Here's a picture of baby #2!!


Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Perspective on Freedom

This is kind of a long post, but it's something I feel strongly about, so my hope is that when you make it to the end, you feel it was worth reading.

With Chris embarking on yet another deployment, I've been thinking about a few things. So many people have made comments to me (upon finding out that Chris was leaving), along the lines of "don't you wish we'd never gone into Iraq?", and "the whole thing is so pointless". I don't agree with either of those sentiments. Do I believe that some wrong choices have been made in Washington when it comes to the war in Iraq? Probably. But hindsight is always 20/20, and having never actually run a war myself, I don't think I would have done much better. And I think that the same could be said for the rest of the American people.

But having said that, do I agree with the reason that we are there in the first place? Absolutely. One of our faults in this country is that we believe that freedom is a right, and therefore something that we are entitled to. In a perfect world, freedom would most certainly be the unalienable right of all men, but we don't live in a perfect world. Freedom is not a right but a privilege, one that must be fought for by those who wish to enjoy it. Freedom was not simply given to us by virtue of our being "Americans", it was bought by the blood of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers. Have we become so apathetic in this country that we feel we should be able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their sacrifice, but not put forth any effort ourselves? America is not invincible; 9/11 anyone? Terrorism has breached our borders, and unless we want to lose our precious freedom, we must seek out terrorism, wherever it is. It is the duty of every free man and woman to continue the fight for freedom, not only in this country, but around the world, and not only for ourselves, but for our children. Some fight with bullets, some with tears, all with sacrifice. It is an ongoing battle, one that will never be finished. Our enemies are also fighting for freedom - the freedom to oppress and subdue those they consider weaker than themselves. And since we are not weak, is it not also our duty to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves? Are we so selfish that we think only Americans should be free? So yes, I agree with why we went into Iraq.

As to it being pointless, that I simply cannot accept. I have lost too many friends, my husband has lost too many brothers for it to all be pointless. These brave men (and women), laid down their lives to free an oppressed people. If we throw in the towel and decide it's all pointless, then they bled and died for nothing. It is up to those who are still standing to ensure that their deaths mean something. To strip a fallen warrior's death of all meaning is the worst kind of insult. And it's not pointless. Ask any Iraqi woman who now has the freedom to attend college. Any Iraqi child who can go to school and learn about the outside world. The people have a voice, and that is all any of us can ask for.

So I send my husband off to war, knowing that the cause he fights for is just, and do my own little part to preserve freedom for my children.

Bye-Bye Daddy

I'm having a hard time writing this. Chris left this morning for Fort Riley. We won't see him again until probably April, when the baby is born. He'll be doing non-stop training for the next 3 months or so, and then he'll deploy. This is always the hardest part, the saying goodbye. I know it will get easier, but right now it doesn't feel like it.

We miss you, Daddy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pictures

Okay, here are some pictures from our trip to Florida - Enjoy!

Sick, Sick, Sick

I was going to try to post the pictures from our trip last night, but I ended up spending some quality time with my "morning" sickness. I am waaayyy more sick this time than I was with Aiden, I'm not sure what's up with that. And I don't know why they call it morning sickness - I have it all day, all night, just constantly. And I never thought it would be possible to be throwing up and feeling hungry at the same time! I'm trying to be grateful for it, because it means that things are progressing as they should, but I will definitely be glad when this part is over!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

We're Back!

We had a great time in Florida, we went to Destin on Friday, stayed the night at the Ft. Benning Army Recreation Center, then went up to Panama City Beach on Saturday. We stayed the night there at the Naval Base in Panama City and had lots of fun at the beach. We headed home Sunday around noon, and made it home in time for dinner. Another perk of military life is being able to stay at the on-post hotels at any military base worldwide - provided they have vacancies, of course - and that can save you some money! For a decent hotel in Panama City in the Summer, you are looking at at least $100. We stayed at the Seashore Inn on Naval Support Activity Panama City, and it cost us a whopping $26. Can't beat that!! Anyway, I have some pictures to post, hopefully I can get them up tonight.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Vacation

We are leaving tomorrow for Destin, FL for the weekend. We decided at the last minute to take a quick trip down there for our last weekend together before Chris leaves. Hopefully we will get in some nice, relaxing family time! I'll post pictures when we get back. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Due Date

I just realized I forgot to tell all of you - my due date is April 9th. A Spring baby!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pregnancy Amnesia

No, I'm not talking about the forgetfulness you experience during pregnancy, but rather the total memory loss that occurs sometime after giving birth. You don't forget everything, but somewhere along the way you forget about all the bad things that accompany pregnancy, labor and delivery, and you start to think that maybe you'd like to have another baby. It wasn't so bad, right? Sure...

Then you get pregnant again and it all comes flooding back. Morning sickness, headaches, backaches, weight gain, that wonderful feeling of being kicked in the ribs from the inside, not to mention the horrible wracking pain of labor. Of course I also remember how totally wonderful an epidural feels, so that's a positive! The sleepless nights - make that sleepless months - both before and after the baby comes. And it makes you wonder - I wanted to do this again?? This was by choice?? WHAT have I gotten myself into?? I thought about all of that this weekend while I was lying on the couch trying not to throw up.

Then Aiden climbed up on the couch next to me, said, "hi Mommy!" and gave me a kiss.

Oh yeah, that's why I wanted to do this again....

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Under Construction

I've been really hungry lately. I mean really hungry! I feel like I need to eat constantly. I wake up at 3 am starving. Then I started having to, you know, go all the time. I started feeling sick. Then Aunt Flo missed her train. 5 days in a row. Yep, you guessed it -



Baby #2 is currently under construction!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Why I Love the Army Life

As Chris' deployment grows closer and closer, I decided I needed to remind myself why I love the Army life. There are times (like now!) when it can absolutely suck, but the fact is, I wouldn't trade this life for anything! Okay, maybe for untold millions, a chateau in the south of France and a young Paul Newman, but other than that - no way!! And I'll tell you why....

1) That Army Smell. Fellow Army wives, you know what I'm talking about!! That mix of diesel fuel, deodorant, and sweat that all soldiers smell like when they come home from work. It's familiar, comforting and makes any house at any post feel like home.

2) The Commissary. Less than $3 for a gallon of milk. Need I say more?

3) The Ability to Make Instant Friends. Let's face it, unless you want to be a hermit for your entire Army life, moving from place to place forces you to make friends quickly. And there is a camaraderie that exists between us Army folks, we can live near each other for a year or two, and be friends for life. After a few years, you end up with friends scattered all over the US, so you always have someone to visit on vacation!

4) The Travel Opportunities. I will never understand the need to spend one's entire life in the same place. I would go insane, literally. The Army gives us the chance to experience new places, new cultures, new everything, every few years! I have been to places that I never would have dreamed of setting foot in thanks to Uncle Sam. And not just visiting, but actually living in different countries! How awesome is that?!?

5) The Pride You Feel When You Hear The National Anthem or TAPS. It's really a great feeling to know that you are serving your country. And YES, us wives are serving, too!

6) All The Little Unit Pins You Collect Over The Years. They are just cool. And I love to wear my Operation Iraqi Freedom pin. Proudly.

7) The Bazaars. I love having German crystal, French wine, Dutch cheese and Swiss chocolate all in one place. Now THAT is one stop shopping!

8) My Military ID Card. Aside from the military discounts you get with it, it just makes me feel special! Plus, my current one has a really good picture....

9) Free Health Care. Even though Tricare can be a headache at times, it's free, and it's comprehensive. Whatever medical care I need, it's paid for completely. When I had Aiden, it didn't cost a dime. I'll take a headache or two for that!

10) Being Fluent In The Army Language. We do have our own language. Sometimes if I'm talking to a civilian about Army things, they get a glazed look in their eyes and I realize that I've slipped into Army Speak. "Last time we PCS'd, we didn't get our DLA in time and we had to contact DFAS and the PAC office to get it straightened out." Huh?

And the list goes on. Bottom line - the Army life has it's ups and downs, but I'll take it.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Last Will and Testament

Chris and I did our wills today. What a fun process that is. To actually sit down and think about what you want to happen after you die. Who gets what, who handles what, who gets guardianship of the children should we both die. And it doesn't stop there, you have to think of alternates in case any of the people you name die before you do! The hardest part is working everything out so that your wishes are clearly expressed, but nobody's feelings get hurt.

And it gets really complicated if you both die. Insurance money, and how we want the trust set up for Aiden and any other children we have, who's going to take care of that, blah, blah, blah. Then there comes the living will. Who's going to make decisions for us should we become incapacitated? Do we want life support? Nutrition and hydration? Talk about depressing!

BUT, it's necessary. Especially given Chris' chosen line of work. Most people make a will thinking that it won't be needed until they are old. In our case, considering what Chris does and where he's going, there is a real possibility that it will be needed much sooner than that. I sincerely hope that is NOT the case, but I refuse to bury my head in the sand and assume it's not a possibility, cause it is - whether I like it or not. I feel that I owe it to Aiden (and to Chris) to be prepared. And that means having a plan. What will I do? Where will I go? All of that needs to be at least thought about so that should the worst happen, I'm not caught completely unawares. Aiden would need me to be extra strong during that time, not hiding in a corner wondering what to do. Lucky for me, I have two great examples of Army widows to look to for help, should I need it. You two know who you are, and believe me, you are an inspiration.

So, as morbid as that all sounds, just chalk it up to one more of those "Army Wife Duties" I signed up for 7+ years ago. And I hope you will all go out now and make your wills!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Power of a Good Salon

Those of you who lived by me in Germany know that I used to spend a lot of time and money on my hair. It had gotten quite long by the end of our tour, and very blonde. I went every 8 weeks to have my roots beaten back, have it conditioned and trimmed and just generally pampered. I loved it. So what happened? Well, two things. One, we moved back to the States and we went into a kind of sticker shock at how much it costs to just live here. We made an effort to cut back on expenses, and my costly hair care went bye-bye. Two, we had a baby. Suddenly, I didn't have time to get my hair done, even if I wanted too! It's like this. When we were in Germany, I lived the life of what we'll call an "Army Socialite". No kids, lots of friends, plenty of money to spend on whatever I wanted, and most of all, loads and loads of free time. When we hit the states and the kid came along, I was drop-kicked back to the real world!

My hair suffered. Then I started working, and I thought, "now I can afford to get my hair done again", but alas, now I have even less time (imagine that!). Finally, after tiring of in-frequent, very in-frequent, $12 haircuts at HairMasters, I decided enough was enough and I was going to splurge.

Enter the salon Bliss. Bliss is unique among Columbus salons, in that it doesn't belong here. It looks like it was picked up from somewhere in Orange County and dropped into the wrong place. However it came to be here, it's a good salon. And in the world of haircare, good seems to be synonomous with expensive. I thought I would take a money shortcut and go with one of the beginning stylists, they are cheaper. Yeah.....it probably would have been cheaper had I just stuck with the highlights I'd planned on. But I got in that chair and the possibilities were just too hard to resist. I got highlights, some sort of toning color to get rid of the brassiness of the bleach, and an elixer treatment to heal breakage. Not to mention the shampoo, conditioner, and various styling "potions" I picked up. And all of these products are exclusive to Bliss, so you have to buy it there. I did get a 15 percent discount for pre-booking my next appointment....

Did I mention the complimentary coffee and hand massage? There is nothing better than sitting in that chair, with a warm towel over your forehead, the smell of good shampoo in the air, and getting a hand massage. Sigh.....

So, I spent a little more than I had planned, but how much is too much to be transformed from a tired, ragged, old-feeling Mommy with split ends to a relaxed, feeling my age, hot mama with good hair? And that's what it's all about really, it's not the hair. It's the confidence boost that comes with knowing you have great hair. And while it's not to the color I want yet (we are going to lighten it quite a bit more), I'm on the road to hair recovery.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Good Intentions

I decided yesterday evening that I wanted to rearrange my bedroom. It started out with a simple desire to put the TV and DVD player higher up, so that Aiden couldn't reach the buttons. He likes to change the channel and turn it off and turn on the subtitles (so I can't get them off!), and it's just really annoying. So, I thought, maybe we should put the TV up on the dresser, where he can't reach it. Only, if we do that, we'll have to move the dresser over to that wall, because that's where the cable outlet is. So if the dresser is on that wall, we'll have to move the bed because the footboard would be too close to the dresser drawers (I like space to walk!). So if we put the bed over there, that would fix the space problem, but then I have to move the bookcase. I guess I could put the bookcase over on the wall where the headboard used to be...yeah, that'll work. Only now, the wall where the dresser was originally is totally empty and blank. I can't have that, it'll drive me crazy! So what to put on that wall? I know, the couch from the spare room would go perfect on that wall! Let's see, do I have it right? Dresser, yeah...bed over there, okay...bookcase....couch on that wall, should have plenty of room to walk...perfect! HONEY!!!!!

WHAT???

COME IN THE BEDROOM!

WHY?

JUST COME! I HAVE AN IDEA!

Chris comes into the bedroom. What? I want to rearrange the bedroom so that Aiden can't reach the TV. He just looks at me for a full minute. Then he leaves the room....and comes back with the tape measure. Such a good honey. Two hours later the room was moved around to my satisfaction, and we only had to remove the door once. The TV was up on the dresser and out of the reach of little fingers.

This morning I was getting ready and turned on the Wiggles for Aiden to watch. After a few minutes he lost interest and started playing with some books on the shelf, so I turned it to the news. Apparently Aiden didn't want to watch the news, because he walked over to the dresser, reached up on his tiptoes and turned off the TV.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Army Wives"

So I've been watching the new show "Army Wives" off and on. I can't decide if I like it or not. I mean, I like watching it, but I can't decide if they are helping or hurting the image the public has of Army Wives. I'm prepared to allow some creative license, it is Hollywood after all, but I'm worried they will take it too far. The preview for next week's episode, for instance, has me wondering. The preview leads the viewer to believe that two of the wives whose husbands are deployed are engaging in affairs. Come on now. While I realize that army wives are not perfect and some infidelity does unfortunately happen during a deployment, for every one that strays, 9 of us stay loyal! It's just so predictable that Hollywood would go that route. I hate for the average person to watch this show and think that it's a true representation of our lives. I would rather they have no impression at all then the wrong one. Oh well, I guess I'll just take the show with a grain of salt and try not to get too worked up about it. I have enough actual Army drama in my life to worry too much about fictional drama!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Vacation Pictures

Here are some pictures from our trip! I put in a little bit of everything.

Hometown Hero



Chris took part in the Fourth of July parade in our hometown of Crescent City. They made him a dignitary and he rode in a vintage Mercedes covertible, wore his Class A dress uniform and looked pretty snazzy. After the parade, he led a role call in the park, honoring our fallen soldiers. All the vets and National Guard soldiers in town participated, and it was really neat to watch. The people of our hometown really showed their patriotism and appreciation for our troops, Chris didn't pay for a beer all day long. Random people who we've never met before came up to thank him for his service, and total strangers were buying his drinks! It's nice to see him being appreciated for what he does. Thanks to all of you who support our soldiers, you have no idea what a random act of thoughtfulness can mean to us!

At The Beach




One of the best things about Crescent City, in my opinion, is the beach. It's not exactly warm, but it sure is pretty! We took Aiden to the beach while we were there, and he LOVED it! This kid has no fear of the water at all. He didn't even care that it was freezing! He stood in the tide and every time the waves would wash over his legs and feet, he would laugh and giggle and shriek and was just having the best time. I took lots of pictures, here are a few of them. I hope to put together a slideshow this weekend of all of the pictures I took while we were gone, so make sure to keep an eye out for that!! Until then, here are a few of my favorites....

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Home Again

I just wanted to let all of you know that we are home again! I have lots of pictures to post, hopefully I will have time to do that tonight. We had a really good time, and it was nice to see all of our family for a while. I'll write more later, I just wanted to say hi!!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A New Word....

I wasn't planning on posting again for a few days, but I just had to get this down. It seems Aiden has learned the most dreaded word to all parents of toddlers - No. So far he hasn't been too obnoxious with it, but I'm sure the day is coming when everything will be "no!".

Today we were driving to Wal-mart for some last minute things for our trip. Chris was going over his "plan of action" for Monday morning when we leave for the airport. He says, "since we have to be at the airport around 7 or so, I figure we should get up around 4:30." Before another word can be spoken, we hear "Oh no way!" come from the backseat. Apparently, Aiden was not too fond of getting up early.

This evening I was trying to get him to eat some yogurt (he's having some tummy troubles), and he ate the first bite readily enough. He made his yucky face, and when I offered him another bite, he wrinkled up his nose and said "noooooo!" I couldn't really blame him though, I hate yogurt too!

I'm sure I'll get tired of hearing it pretty quick, but for now it's actually pretty cute.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Off We Go!

Today is my last day at work before we go on vacation!! I'd be tempted to take it easy today if I didn't have so much to do! I'm trying my best to ensure that the department will run smoothly for the 10 days I'm gone, but considering the amount of work I do around here, that probably won't happen! Oh well, at least they will appreciate me when I get back, right? I don't want to even think about the amount of email I will have when I get back!

Anyway, I hope to be able to post while we're gone, but I don't know if I'll be able to. I promise to post as soon as we get back, though! I'm sure I'll have lots of great pictures, as Chris is going to be a dignitary in our hometown Fourth of July parade! He's wearing his Class A's and riding in a vintage Mercedes convertible, so should be fun. We hope to see lots of old friends, and do some catching up.

So off we go, and I hope you all have a happy Fourth of July!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Karma

I know it's been almost a week since I posted last, but life just seems to get away from me sometimes! I want to share with all of you something that happened to me just this morning. To give fair warning though, this post is not for anyone with what we'll call delicate sensibilities.....

This story actually begins about 10 years ago, somewhere on a highway between Northern California and Seattle. My sister Sarah was little, and she and my mom were on their way to pick up my other sister, Christa, at camp. Being sixteen, I had to stay home and go to work and school. My mom called me on her way up to tell me that Sarah had pooped through her diaper and was fingerpainting on her legs with the contents. She wasn't able to pull over for quite some time due to the roads, and so had to smell it for a long while! Needless to say, being childless at the time and also not there, I thought it was pretty funny.

Fast-forward to this morning. I was getting ready for work in my bathroom, and Aiden was sitting on my recliner in my bedroom with his milk and watching the Wiggles, which he does every morning. While I was doing my hair, he walks into the bathroom and hands me his diaper. The one he had been wearing. Gee, thanks, I told him and he walked back out into the bedroom. I checked the diaper and saw that it was empty of brown stuff and sighed a sigh of relief. I threw away the diaper and went out after Aiden to get him dressed.

I took two steps into the bedroom and stopped short. There was a reason there was no poop in the diaper. That reason being that he was busy fingerpainting with it all over the TV. He had two big chunks in his hands that he was smearing all over the TV, the DVD player, the TiVo, the carpet and himself.

I just stared in utter, absolute shock. I didn't even know what to do first. Aiden slowly turned his head and looked at me. Then he smiled his "look at me, Mommy!" smile, and while I was busy processing the scene in front of me, he decided to pee all over the carpet, just to finish things off.

I came to my senses just as he was lifting his hands up and in the direction of his face. SSSTTTOOOPPPPP!!!!! I yelled, loud enough for my new neighbors to hear, no doubt. He froze, and just looked at me with a look that said, "something smells funny..." I snatched him up, plopped him in the bathtub and proceeded to practically scrub the skin right off his hands. He was giggling the whole time.

So I spent half an hour cleaning up his mess and then had to explain to everyone at work that I was late because I was busy scrubbing poop off of my TV. My Mom is going to love this story.....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Inner Buffy

I'm usually a nice, calm, well-mannered person. At least, I like to think that I am. I tend to just let stupid people be, and not concern myself with them. But sometimes, someone will say or do something to me that just plain ticks....me....off.

When this happens, the person I like to call my Inner Buffy rears her head. She's surfaced from time to time. I know a certain captain in Vilseck who'll think twice before stealing someone's place in line at the gas station again. And of course, there is my would-be mugger who wanted my purse and ended up with a crotchful of 3 inch heels. Usually though, it's just words that are my weapon of choice.

Yesterday, I was at work. I was walking down to the front office and I ran smack into a conversation another employee was having with a volunteer, whom I didn't know. Apparently they were talking about the war and all the soldiers here who are deployed and getting ready to deploy. I was just going to walk around them and be on my merry way when my fellow employee says, "oh, Jennifer's husband is getting ready to deploy." I stop, turn around, smile politely and say, "yes, he's leaving in August." Had this volunteer had any sense of decency, the conversation would have ended right there. However, that was not to be. She actually looks at me and says -

Well, he knew what he was getting into when he joined.

Now, to say that I am a little bit stressed out right now, would be a colossal understatement. It's not easy to get ready to send your husband off to war for 18 months, and to do so with any modicum of grace is a huge undertaking. Whether you agree with the war or not, to say something like this to a military spouse in my situation is not only taboo, it's downright rude.

So my well-mannered, graceful self stepped aside and Buffy muscled her way to the forefront. This was my response -

Well, yes, he did know. He voluntarily puts his life on the line for you. He knew he would be shot at, put in danger, separated from his family, and have to endure all manner of hardships in order to do his job and protect this country. AND HE DOES IT ANYWAY.

Then I turned on my heel and left her in my dust. Yep, Buffy sure does come in handy from time to time!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fathers and Sons

This past Sunday was Father's Day. As I watched Chris and Aiden together, I realized that there is a unique relationship between a father and his son, that is not the same between fathers and daughters, nor is it the same between mothers and sons.
Aiden seems to see Chris as a mixture of parent, playmate and punching bag. They get along well together, probably because they have the same sense of humor. For example, while Mommy doesn't particularly enjoy water-spitting contests, Daddy is always a willing participant. Aiden knows we play different roles. If he wants to play rough and tumble games, then Daddy's the man, but when he falls down and gets hurt while playing said games, then of course he runs to Mommy.
They also seem to be of the same mentality. By this I mean there is always something of the little boy left inside the big, strong man. Nothing brings out your inner child like playing with your toddler. The video below was taken on Father's Day, and is evidence of what I'm talking about.....enjoy!