Monday, December 29, 2008

Not Enough Time

I know I don't seem to blog as often as I used to. I miss it, but I never seem to have enough time. Chris is home, and I'm not working anymore, but I'm busier! How did that happen? Oh well. I'm going to really try to blog more often. I took a picture of Jack on Christmas morning that I just love....


He looks like such a little angel, doesn't he? Don't let his cuteness fool you, he's a troublemaker just like his big brother, the only difference is that Jack knows how to get away with it. He just smiles and bats those baby blues and my heart melts. He's very much the baby of the family!

On Thursday we are driving down to Orange County to start the New Year off right - with a 3 day trip to DISNEYLAND! One of the advantages of being here is we are only a couple of hours away from the Big D, so as a family Christmas present we bought annual passes. It's worth the money if you plan on going more than once, which we do. Aiden's birthday is the 5th, so he's getting to celebrate with Mickey Mouse. Can you imagine the look on his face when he sees Lightning McQueen for real and in person? I think he might faint....

Speaking of Aiden's birthday, he's going to be three. I can't hardly believe it. Where does the time go? Jack is 8 months already. It doesn't seem like that long ago that either one of them were born. Time sure does fly....:-)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Here Comes Santa Claus...

Well, it's Christmas Eve. Tonight we hosted a party at our new house, some of the guys that Chris is now working with and their families came and I cooked a butt-load of food. I realize that "butt-load" is not really a Christmasy term, but that's what it was - a butt-load. I even made a Buche de Noel, which is a traditional french Christmas Cake. It was extremely difficult and turned out swimmingly, if I do say so myself. So after three years of being pregnant, working, or both, I have returned to my former domestic self, and had a blast. I made a couple friends, so hopefully now I'll have someone to hang out with during the day who doesn't poop themselves and think the world revolves around Lightening McQueen.

But...the evening is not over for us. While Aiden ended the evening passed out in front of the TV, Daddy and I get to assemble a 50's Diner which I have a feeling will be the hit of Christmas morning. I actually finished wrapping everything this afternoon, so I just have to fill the stockings and of course...the Diner.

I'm glad to be finally opening all of these presents that have been torturing the boys the last couple of weeks. And really, it's not Aiden who is driving me nuts, it's Jack. He won't leave those ribbons and bows alone! And the little stinker even checks to see if I'm watching him before he goes for the goods. Oh well, he made up for his stinkerness by giving me the best present ever this morning - he put his arms up to me and said "Mama". I love little boys.....:-)

Anyway, off to the toolbox! Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like....Winter?

In Southern California it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the seasons, it's all just pretty much warm. Not today. We woke up to snow. Lots of it. That's right, here in the Mojave Desert, it is snowing. Now, I don't really like snow that much. Sure it's pretty, and it's all Wintery and Christmasy, blah blah blah.... But when you have to go grocery shopping in it (like I had to today), it just kind of sucks. It's wet, and cold and after a while it's just slushy and you track it in everywhere and it gets slippery....you see why I'm a So Cal girl? I much prefer the sunshine. Oh well, what can you do? :-)

This was Aiden's first experience with snow, it was pretty funny to watch him, he didn't quite know what to do with it. Jack didn't have a problem - he just ate it. Here's a few pics I took today. The view out my front door, the street, the backyard, and a few of Aiden playing and making snow angels....





Sunday, December 14, 2008

Family Christmas Photo

We took a family photo today in front of the Christmas tree, I thought I would share it because it turned out pretty good. I also got a good one of the boys. The only problem is that for the first time in his entire little life, Jack refused to smile. Oh well, he's still pretty cute!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Finally!!!

We have FINALLY re-joined the rest of the world and gotten our internet hooked up! I can't tell you how long these last three weeks have been without email and blogging at my fingertips.

Anyway, we are getting settled and enjoying the nice, 70 degree weather that So Cal has to offer in December. Life is good! We are almost completely unpacked, although there are a few boxes and piles of "stuff" that I haven't figured out where to put yet. But I'm getting there....

Here is a picture of our new house.


It's pretty nice. Nicest thing about it is the location, tho. So close to everything, I can walk wherever I need to go. And did I mention the preschool is literally a block away? The same preschool that Aiden will be attending come January? Saying that I can't wait is an understatement...I love my little boy but WOW does he have some energy to expend!

Speaking of my boys, Aiden is talking a lot more and getting funnier everyday. He'll be three next month, if you can believe that! I can't. Jack is growing like a little weed. He's cruising the furniture one-handed now, he's only 8 months. Well, 8 months on Sunday. He has the world's biggest smile and is still just as happy as can be. He and Aiden play together really well most of the time, until Aiden gets a little too rough, and then someone ends up crying....It's not always Jack, either.

Here's a funny story for you. The other day I was sweeping in the kitchen and Chris comes in, tells me to drop whatever I'm doing and take a look at my sons. I had a sudden sense of foreboding....Sure enough, those feelings were justified. The two of them were in the downstairs bathroom, playing in the toilet. Jack had his hands in the bowl, splashing and yelling and then Aiden would flush the toilet and they both cracked up laughing. Nothing is more fascinating to little boys than a flushing toilet. Why, I have no idea. I just thank God it was clean. My Mom got a good laugh out of that one. Silly boys.

Tomorrow we are going to try to put up our Christmas tree. We'll see how that goes....:-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Still Alive

I just wanted to assure everyone that we are still alive and kicking. Unfortunately, our internet will not get hooked up until the 12th of December, so I can't really blog unless I come to the library which is difficult with 2 kids! Anyway, a quick update - we got housing last Tuesday and are mostly moved in. We got a brand-new house and it's within walking distance of pretty much everywhere. When I get my internet up and going I will post some pictures. Anyway, I only have 30 minutes on the computer, and I have to do my banking and check my email, so I have to keep this short! Hopefully I'll get another chance to blog, if not look for a new post around the 12th or 13th!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fort Irwin

Okay, we finally made it to Fort Irwin on Thursday night. We had a bit of a delay when we left Lemoore, about 20 minutes into our trip, Aiden threw up all over himself and his carseat. We had 2 options - either drive back to Chris' grandma's house and wash everything (and delay ourselves even more), or drive 5 minutes to Target and buy a new carseat. We went with option 2. So we finally got on the road for good around 9, and drove through the gates of Fort Irwin about 5.

Once you hit Barstow, you get on Fort Irwin Road to drive out to the base. That road is literally 30 miles of nothing. Just flat, open desert. This place really is in the middle of nowhere. Just when you've about given up hope of ever seeing civilization again, all of a sudden the lights of Fort Irwin appear in the distance.

Like I said before, we got here Thursday night, and Chris went to housing first thing Friday morning. By 10 am, we had a house. Can you believe that? At least that deployment was good for something! The bad news is we can't move in until Tuesday, so we are stuck here at guest housing until then. We were able to take a tour of our new house though, and it's beautiful. It's brand new, three bedrooms, 2 car garage, and completely fenced in backyard. The kitchen is actually decent-sized (if you are familiar with on-post housing you know that the kitchen is one room they usually scrimp on for some reason), with marble countertops and cherrywood cabinets. I am so excited to move in, I'm going nuts here at the hotel! Another nice feature is the location, we are about a 10 minute walk from the PX and Commissary, 2 blocks from the gym, across the way from the community center (with the pool), and about 5-6 blocks from STARBUCKS!! You know how I feel about my Starbucks. Chris' unit is also within walking distance, so that makes life so much easier with one car for now. And the weather is fabulous - 75 and not a drop of humidity. I love Southern California!

So that's the good news. The bad news is that we are all sick. Chris got this crappy cold/cough first, now Jack and Aiden are both sick, and I can feel myself getting sicker by the minute. Chris is actually at the ER right now with Aiden, he woke up with an ear infection and throwing up. Poor Jack is not only sick with a nasty cold and runny nose, he's also teething. He woke up yesterday morning with his 2 bottom teeth! I feel so bad for him right now, since I can't really give him anything but Tylenol, and rub some Vicks on his chest. Poor baby....

So that's what we've been up to the last couple of days. I'll take some pictures on Tuesday as we move in, we are scheduled for our household goods that day as well. Should be fun!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lemoore, CA

We got to Lemoore last night, and spent all day today here at Chris' grandma's house. We are leaving in the morning for the last 3 1/2 hours to Barstow. I can't believe we are almost there! It seems like this move has been going on forever and now we are finally on the last leg of our journey. Hopefully we will get there in time tomorrow to get checked in with housing and get the process started to get into our house. I can tell you that I can't wait to be able to sleep in my own bed again! The boys have been so good so far, these last couple of days of traveling have been great. We were in the car from 9am til about 7 pm yesterday (with a couple of stops), and Aiden and Jack both did fantastic. I think we just broke them in on our long trip out, so now they are veteran car-trippers....Anyway, all three of my boys are asleep right now, so I'm going to go hit the sack as well. Barstow...here we come!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Willits, CA

Well, we made it to Willits last night about 9:00. It was a much easier drive than I thought, since both the boys actually slept the majority of the way. Isn't that messed up?? I drive 3000 miles with these stinkers and Aiden doesn't sleep AT ALL. Daddy gets in the car and Aiden just conks out. What's up with that? Not that I'm not grateful or anything, don't get me wrong, but come on! So now Chris is doubting my whole "we can't drive that far with 2 little kids cause they can't handle it" rhetoric. Whatever.

Today we are aiming for Lemoore, CA which is about 6 hours. 3 hours to Sacramento to have lunch with Uncle Randall (Chris' younger brother), then about 3 more hours to Lemoore. Chris' Grandma and several Aunts and Uncles live in Lemoore, so we'll stay there at least one night before finishing up the last 4-5 hours to Fort Irwin. California is one big state.

Anyway, more later...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Finally....

I have lots to say, and not a lot of time, so hopefully one of these days I can catch up. But in the meantime, we are FINALLY leaving Crescent City today, heading on toward Fort Irwin. We had hoped to get out of here early this morning, but I woke up with a urinary tract infection (sorry if that's too much information...) and I spent the morning and a good part of the afternoon wrestling with Tricare for a referral and then sitting in the Urgent Care Clinic. Long story short, I got some antibiotics and we are hoping to hit the road in a few minutes. We are going to drive to Willits, CA today, about 4 hours from here. It will be a late night, but hopefully we will all survive. I'm hoping I can post again at the hotel tonight, but no promises!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

At The Park

Today we took the boys to Kidtown, a park down by the beach. Chris and I both remember playing there before it was "Kidtown", back when it was just a bunch of sand and a few metal animals to ride, and I think a merry-go-round. It was kind of surreal to be in that same place watching our kids play. Here are a few pictures I wanted to share....





Saturday, November 8, 2008

Change of Plans

I guess we are no longer leaving here this Sunday (tomorrow), but NEXT Sunday. This is according to my husband who has decided he wants to spend another week here. Whatever, I told him it's up to him how he wants to burn his leave, and how much of it he wants to use up. But he'd better have leave left for when our household goods get delivered, cause I'm tired of setting up the house by myself! I always seem to get stuck with it. When we went to Germany, he was in the field when our stuff got delivered. Conveniently. And then in GA he was a drill sergeant, so you know he was never home for stuff like that. Anyway....

Here's a funny story. We all went out for pizza last night at Wild River in Brookings. Like, 16 of us, or something like that. Anyway, there is a game room there with pool tables and arcade games and stuff like that. The kids and the guys were all down there playing and us girls (and Jack who passed out on my lap) were up at the table talking and stuff. Aiden's running around having a good time when he loses Daddy. I can see him from the table, and I know that Chris is only a few feet away playing a video game, but Aiden can't find him. So instead of freaking out, he pushes a chair over to the pool table, climbs up on the table and yells, "DAAAAAAD!" at the top of his little lungs. I almost spit out my soda. Well, it's so loud and crazy that Chris can't hear him and doesn't realize that Aiden is looking for him. Keep in mind he's probably about 4 feet away. So I waved and got Aiden's attention from the table and pointed in Chris' direction. Aiden saw him, smiled really big and yelled, "THERE'S MY DAD!" and climbed down. His plan worked, he found his Dad!

Today Chris and Aiden and Grandma and Aslynn are at the movies watching Madagascar 2. I think taking a couple of 2 year-olds to the movies is a great way for Daddy to spend the afternoon...:-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Barstow....

So it looks like we are going to be leaving here on Sunday to head down to Barstow. Finally. Not that it's been a bad visit here in Crescent City, it's actually been good. But my gypsy feet are itching and I'm ready to get going. I want to get a house and get unpacked and sleep in my own bed again.

Last night Jack decided to demonstrate a new skill - he climbed up the stairs. I caught him about halfway up, and just watched him muscle his way up to the top, with my hand hovering behind his butt. This is one determined child! He's not even 7 months old yet and already he's climbing stairs! I sure hope our new house is one level!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jack

I just wanted to share this picture of Jack that my sister-in-law Gloria took the other day. I thought it was really cute....



Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Day at the Airport

So here is the story I promised yesterday. It's going to be kind of long, but hopefully worth the read....And just for the record, YES, I am crazy.

Since Chris was flying through San Francisco to get up to Crescent City, my mother-in-law (who works for SkyWest/United Express Airlines and is the manager of the Crescent City station) got me and the boys buddy passes to fly down to San Francisco and surprise Chris at the airport. I figured if I can handle 3000 miles in the car with these two knuckleheads, I can handle an hour on a plane, right? Sure....

Actually, the plane ride itself wasn't too bad. Except for the last 15 minutes of the flight when Aiden decided to take off his seat belt and throw a fit about putting it back on. He literally sat on the floor during landing since I couldn't put Jack down to force him back into the seat. Oh well, we survived. We got to the airport around 12:45, Chris was due in about 3:20. So I figured we'd get something to eat, and wander around for a bit before going to meet his plane. Since he was flying United into SFO, we were in the same terminal, and didn't have to worry about security or anything, we could be standing right there when he got off the plane. I thought it would be a great surprise. So I check at the gate where his plane is supposed to land only to find out that it's been delayed and is landing at another gate. Okay, so I go down to that gate a little while later to check on the progress of the flight only to have them tell me that it's been delayed even more - not landing until 4:38 - and it's at yet another gate. Now, San Francisco airport is very nice. It's very cosmopolitan, has lots of specialty shops and eateries, and even a spa to get a massage and a pedicure and stuff. Not that I got to do any of those things. I spent 4 hours wandering around the terminal with a bored 2 year old and a baby. We played on the playground for a while, then we spent about an hour and half riding the moving walkways back and forth, we had snack after snack after snack, we watched the planes land out the window, and we were reaching the end of Aiden's patience about the time Chris is supposed to land. We are waiting at the gate (the gate agent knows my story and is letting me know if things change again). I'm talking to Angela (Chris' mom) and she tells me that she just had the following conversation with Chris before he left Denver, keep in mind he doesn't know I'm in SFO waiting for him:

Chris: Hey Mom, I changed my flight. I'm going into Sacramento instead.

Angela: What? Why? Why would you do that?

Chris: Well, the weather's crappy in SFO and I decided to go to Sac instead and I'll take the evening flight from there up to Crescent City.

Angela: Uh, well, actually, we don't have an evening flight from there anymore, if you go there you'll be stuck there overnight. Do you already have a boarding pass?

Chris: WHAT? There's no flights? !@$# Okay, I guess I'll change my flight back. Where's Jennifer, can I talk to her?

Angela: Ummm, no....she's out running errands with the boys, I'm not sure when she's going to be back. She said she had lots to do before you get back.

Chris: Oh, okay, I'll call her cell then and let her know I might get stuck in Sacramento.

Angela: Yeah...okay, I don't think she's got cell service cause I just tried to call her myself and it wouldn't go through...you know how it is up here.

Chris: Okay, well...tell her I love her and I'll try to change my flight back.

Angela: Okay, yeah, you better, cause otherwise you won't be back until tomorrow.

She tells me this whole conversation. I'm thinking that if he goes to Sac I will absolutely kill him. She assures me that he changed his flight back to SFO, he called her back and confirmed it, so he's definitely coming to SFO. Okay, phew! Cause if I came all the way down here with 2 kids and spent the day here only to have him go to Sacramento I will be really pissed! But okay, he's on his way, only a few more minutes. What a butt...

I was talking to a couple in the gate area about how I was waiting for Chris and they offered to take a picture of us as he came off the plane and email it to me. I thought that was so nice! And soon some other people heard our story and everyone was so excited for us that he was coming home from Iraq. The plane lands, I get Aiden all excited to see Daddy. The people start coming off the plane, and coming, and coming and then....he doesn't get off the plane. I repeat, he does NOT get off the plane. At which time Aiden throws himself on the ground, kicking and screaming and throwing his shoes across the floor and yelling, "I WANT MY DADDY!!" Very embarrassing to say the least. So the gate agent checks the listing and sure enough he's not on the flight. And he's not on the Sacramento flight either. She doesn't know where he is, must still be in Denver. I am not thrilled. Then she checks the next flight into SFO and he's listed on that one. It's landing at another gate across the terminal in 20 minutes. Apparently when they re-booked him back to SFO they put him on another flight. Are you KIDDING me? Do you know how sad everyone looks when you are standing there with 2 little kids, waiting for your husband to come home from Iraq and he doesn't get off the plane? I was mortified. Luckily I didn't have time to think about it much, cause I had to get across the terminal. So I threw Aiden (who is still screaming) in the stroller, carried Jack and pushed the stroller as fast as I could to the new gate. I made it with enough time to get Aiden in a better mood before the plane landed.

We were waiting and waiting and suddenly there he was...with a pretty stunned look on his face to see us waiting for him. It was totally worth all the stress. Only the stress didn't end there. Our return flight to Crescent City was supposed to leave at 5:30 (about 10 minutes ago) but had been delayed til 6:45 due to weather. Worked out great since otherwise we wouldn't have made it. So we get to the gate and get something to eat and the flight keeps getting delayed...and delayed...and delayed. Daddy was doing great occupying Aiden (who was really excited to finally have his Daddy back) until the flight finally left at 8:00. Once we got on board, both the boys conked out, so the return flight was relatively painless. Chris' entire family was waiting at the terminal in Crescent City, it was a nice ending to a pretty stressful day. All in all, the 8 hours I spent in San Francisco airport with 2 small children was worth it, we got to surprise Daddy and he's finally HOME.

Thanks to everyone for all the prayers and thoughts while Chris was gone, it meant a lot. He's back home safe and sound and hopefully he will be home for a while, so he can get to know his little boys.

It feels good to be a family again.

He's Home!

Just a quick update to let everyone know that Chris is home!! I have quite a story to tell, but it will have to wait until tomorrow, because I'm exhausted. After you read the story tomorrow, you'll understand why....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Homecoming Today

Chris is coming home today, he should be on his way to the airport in Kansas, I think. I don't actually know...:-) He's flying through San Francisco, and will make the last flight of the day up to Crescent City, so he'll be home around 7. We are all really excited and can't wait!! There is a big family BBQ planned for tomorrow, so should be good to get everyone together. Anyway, I'll post again to let you all know when he's home.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

They've Landed!

Just a quick update - the guys have landed in Kansas! They need a few days to outprocess and then he should be home on Saturday...hopefully. I'll post again when I know more.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No News is Good News

I am still waiting to hear from Chris, he should have gotten on a plane yesterday sometime...I think.... I talked to him Monday morning and he wasn't sure if they were actually going to be leaving Kuwait then or not. I haven't heard anything all day long, so I'm assuming he's either in the air or really busy. The last I heard they were being released from Kansas Friday morning, and we are hoping he can make the right flights to make it home to Crescent City that night. But as all military wives know, things change on an hourly basis and nothing is for sure until after it's happened. In other words, when I see him get off that plane, I'll believe he's coming home....:-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

You've GOT to be kidding me

I have always wanted boys. Really. Although now, I think I must have been insane.

As I was getting out of the shower this morning Aiden tells me he wants to take a bath. Okay, no big deal, it will occupy him for a few minutes while I get dressed. I get him in the bath and go get dressed. I keep checking in on him, he's fine, he's singing, blah, blah, blah. I go get Jack dressed and then poke my head in the bathroom again.

"How are you doing, Aid--WHAT is that smell??"

You guessed it, in the 3 minutes between my bathtub check-ups he pooped in the tub. And no matter how many times I deal with this particular mess, it's still gross. So I strap Jack in the baby seat that I keep in the bathroom, get Aiden out of the tub and give him another bath in the bathroom sink. Not an easy feat with a 35 pound, almost 3 year old. So I get him cleaned up and take both the boys downstairs. I put Jack in his bouncy thing and put on a movie for Aiden so I can go clean up the tub. They'll be fine downstairs for 20 minutes. I mean, how much trouble can they get into? Right? Yeah, you know you're laughing....

I sanitize the tub, put the toys to soak in bleach water and come downstairs. Something's not right. Jack is now crawling on the floor and Aiden is in the bouncy thing. I'm pretty sure I left them the other way around. Not only that, but Aiden is now stuck.

"Mommy, I'm stuck!"

"Let me get this straight - you took Jack out of the bouncy seat by yourself, and put him on the floor so you could get in there and now you're stuck? Serves you right."

But wait - it gets better. I leave Aiden in there for the time being and pick up Jack when I realize that he smells. Great. I take his pants off to change him and he's pooped out of his diaper and all over himself. I just took a deep breath and told myself that Daddy will be home in a WEEK. And then he can find out just what he's been missing....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys

We have a good routine going. Aiden wakes up around 7 and plays in his room until I get up around 8. I'm usually awake during that hour, but I like to just lie in bed and slowly wake up before facing the chaos. So this morning I hear Aiden wake up in his room and start playing and babbling and just generally having a good time. I'm cuddling with Jack in my bed, he's such a sweet snuggle-bunny. Then I hear this from the other side of the wall....

"I'm Lightning! Lighting McQueen!!! KA-CHOW!"

Thunk!

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!"

I jump out of bed and run to Aiden's room. Now I'm not exactly sure what happened. I don't have my contacts in but I do manage to make out Aiden half hanging off the bed with blood everywhere. He's screaming. I get him into the bathroom and start cleaning up the blood so I can figure out where its coming from. Somehow he fell and smacked his mouth and you know that little piece of skin that attaches your upper lip to your gums? Yeah, his is no longer attached. That bleeds A LOT. As far as I can tell he didn't knock any teeth loose, and he's fine now. Grandma inspected it too and in her best "already raised three boys" voice proclaimed him fit for duty.

What a nice way to start the day!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Landlords

I found out today that our tenants moved in over the weekend. While I am so thankful to finally have renters, knowing that other people - strangers - are living in my house is kind of weird. It's no longer MY house. Yes, we still own it, but other people are making memories there now. My son's room belongs to someone else. My kitchen will cook other people's meals. Another family is "living" in my living room. Bizarre....

BUT, as long as they pay their rent on time and don't completely trash my house, I guess I can live with that. I guess this makes us officially homeless for the time being. Since we can't go home to our house now, and we don't yet have another one. We are living with my in-laws...how sad....:-) Oh well, I guess that's life in the Army! And so far our visit has been pretty good, the only people who aren't getting along are Aiden and Aslynn, my 2 year-old sister-in-law. She's not thrilled with this gross boy who has moved in on her territory and who plays with her toys and takes some of her Mommy's (Aiden's grandma) attention away from her. We hear a lot of "NO!", "It's MY TURN!" and "STOP!!" in this house. Aiden's been pretty good about sharing, although he doesn't like Aslynn playing with "HIS baby Jack-Jack". In short, there is a lot of 2 year-old drama. And of course, Jack is just as happy as ever, smiling and giggling at everybody. Although Chris' mom told me that Chris was exactly the same way when he was a baby - very easygoing and happy all the time. So I have a feeling that I may be in trouble with this one later down the line....:-)

I'm working on a slide show of pictures from the last couple of weeks, I hope to get it up tomorrow or the next day. There are lots of people and only one computer, so I don't get to just sit and play like I used to! Anyway, I'm going to go attempt to clean up the living room before Prison Break comes on.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Good News!

We got some good news this morning, we have renters for our house!! This takes such a load off our shoulders, now we don't have to worry about trying to make an extra mortgage payment every month. I've heard all the horror stories about people renting out their houses and then they get trashed, but we really don't have much choice. With the current housing market, there was no way we could sell, so we had to rent it out. We have a property manager, so there is someone acting on our behalf. We are planning on renting out for the the next few years, and then hopefully we can sell it later on down the line. In the meantime, we get to keep that nice tax break!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tagged

I got Tagged by Roxxi, so I'm doing my bit:

Here are the rules:
1. Post the rules on your blog
2. List 6 random things about yourself
3. Tag 6 people at the end of your post

1) I can't stand people touching my feet - it freaks me out.

2) I started college at 16.

3) I met my hubby when I was 9 years old.

4) When I was little I thought a werewolf lived under my bed.

5) My nickname in kindergarten was "Shy Violet".

6) I have never once smoked a cigarette in my entire life.

I'm tagging....

- Sara
- Trinity
- Mom
- Heidi J.
- Lindsay
- Chris

Have fun!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day Eighteen - Crescent City, California

I would just like to say that WE MADE IT!!!

Yes, I skipped Day Seventeen, because all we did was lounge around at my Grandma's house and do nothing. Well, almost nothing, my mom and I both woke up with a cold, so I did go to the store for some medicine. I ended the day with a killer headache - bordering on Migraine territory - and went to bed at 8 o'clock. I actually was in bed for 11 hours! I can't remember the last time that happened - probably before I had kids. Anyway, I felt much better when I woke up this morning.

We left Grandma's house about noon, and after a quick stop at the airport to pick up my Mom's rental car, we caravaned to Crescent City. My Mom went to the Hampton Inn for a few days of R&R before flying back on Wednesday, and I headed to Chris' parent's house. Sunday is family day around here, where all of the siblings and family that are scattered around town come over for dinner and to hang out together, so Aiden and Jack got to see all (almost all) of their several dozen Aunts, Uncles and cousins on this side of the family. It was pretty crazy, but the boys are worn out and sleeping peacefully in their beds. Their beds for the next month, anyway....

I just want to say thank you to all of my friends and readers who have been following our journey out here. It's been a wild ride, and it was nice to know that so many people were thinking about and praying for us. We made it safely with no car trouble or serious problems, and I'm grateful. Chris should be home in about 3-4 weeks, and then we will continue on down to Fort Irwin. I'll keep posting as much as I can, so I hope you all keep reading!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day Sixteen - Medford, Oregon

Well, we finally made it to Medford, to my Grandma's house. We'll be here 'til Sunday and then take off for the last stretch to Crescent City. Since we only had about 75 miles to go today, we took our time getting going this morning, not leaving until about 11:00. I had to go get my makeup bag out of the car and I brought Aiden with me. Now, we were on the fourth floor of the hotel. Aiden has become an expert in elevator operation during this trip and he ran ahead of me down the hall to "push the button". I didn't worry about catching up with him since it usually takes the elevator a few minutes to get there. Well...apparently somone had just gotten off at our floor because the doors were open when he got there. He ran onto the elevator and I realized too late that he had pushed the button for the first floor. Yep, you guessed it - the doors closed and Aiden was on his way down to the lobby all by himself. I pushed open the doors to the stairs and ran down four flights in about minutes to be there when the doors opened in the lobby. I was trying not to pass out when the doors opened and Aiden waltzed off, feeling rather proud of himself. I got a "hi Mommy!" when he saw me standing there and he had no clue what he had just put me through. And that was just the beginning....

I didn't give Aiden any medicine today since it was a short drive. Big mistake. The road was REALLY windy, and about 20 miles outside of Medford, I looked back at Aiden and realized he was about to blow chunks. I frantically told my mom to pull over, and we made it to the side of the road just as his breakfast came up. So here we are in the rain, on the side of the road trying to clean up vomit. Lots of fun, trust me. We get back in the car and make it the last 20 miles and end up at Grandma's house. I get Aiden out of the car and immediately stick him in the bath, while my mom gets Jack out of the car. Aiden is playing in the bathtub with all of his cars when my Mom realizes that Jack has pooped all through himself and has gotten it all over the place - including Grandma's shirt. Great. So I clean him up in the bathroom as well and take him out to the living room to feed him. I'm just getting comfy in the recliner when my mom yells from the bathroom where Aiden is playing.

"Oh Jenn!!! GROSS!!!"

I close my eyes, for I know what's coming. Aiden has pooped in the tub. Seriously, is there anything else involving bodily functions that these kids can come up with today? Geez. So I spent the first hour or so of our visit cleaning up vomit, cleaning up poop (from 2 kids), scrubbing the bathtub and sanitizing all of Aiden's cars in bleach water. What a day, I am SO ready for bed.

Here are today's stats:

Miles traveled: 75

Number of items we left behind in the hotel that we had to go back for: only 1!

Number of times Mapquest was wrong in our directions: 2

Number of times we thought "I can't believe it's almost over": 12

Tomorrow we rest and then it's off to Crescent City!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day Fifteen - Klamath Falls, Oregon

We arrived in Klamath Falls, Oregon today. We are only about 75 miles from Medford, but we just couldn't go any further. So we are going to chill out in the morning here at the hotel and take our time getting ready since we only have a couple of hours left. We once again made it with no major meltdowns during the drive, Aiden saved them all for the hotel. We did have one tense episode where Aiden and I had a little screaming match in the car. He was yelling at the top of his lungs so I just got in his face and yelled right back. It seemed like the thing to do. It made him laugh in spite of himself and then it was all good.

The highlight of the day was the herd of wild donkeys that we saw crossing the road somewhere along HWY 140. They were not shy at all and we pulled up right along side of them and took some pictures. I'll try to get some of them up later. We drove about 300 miles today and there was literally nothing along this road. Once you leave Winnemucca there is just nothing. After a hundred miles there is a little truck stop (and I do mean little). Then another 100 miles after that there is a small town with a gas station and not much else. Then a hundred miles after that is Klamath Falls. It's the loneliest stretch of road you will ever see, and I'm glad it's over! One more day left and we will be in Medford for a couple of days visiting my Grandma and extended family, then it's about a 2 hour drive down to Crescent City, where I'll spend the next month until Chris comes home. Our cross-country odyssey is almost over!

Today's stats:

Miles traveled: 300

Number of cars we saw for 20o miles on HWY 140: 3

Number of Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies we fed Aiden, hoping to induce a sugar crash: 3

Number of hours Aiden slept after said sugar crash: ZERO

Almost there!!

Day Fourteen - Winnemucca, Nevada

We left Utah this morning and made it to Winnemucca, site of Butch Cassidy's infamous bank robbery in 1900. We had a long day today - 360 miles or so - and we made it through the entire drive without a meltdown! Yay, Aiden!! Of course he had one as soon as we got to the hotel, but I'd rather have one in the room than in the car....

Today we drove through the Great Salt Flats of Utah. Talk about ugly. Although the giant piles of salt were pretty interesting. And there is literally nothing along interstate 80 through Utah and Nevada. It is the most barren stretch of land I've ever seen. At least Wyoming had some random cows here and there.

Once we got to the hotel, Jack decided to demonstrate a new trick for all of us - he SAT UP. By himself! I just set him on the bed and he sat right up like he'd been doing it forever. Of course then he fell over, but I couldn't believe it. I sat him up on a blanket on the floor and he just sat there for a long time, looking around, pretty proud of himself. I'll always remember that my baby sat up for the first time in Winnmucca, Nevada at the Holiday Inn Express! Next thing you know he'll be crawling....

Today's stats:

Miles traveled: 360

Number of times Aiden called me "Honey": about 15 (whenever he wanted something)

Number of Pilot Gas Stations we stopped in today and were offered free cinnamon rolls: 3

Number of weird "architectural features" (according the guidebook) that we saw on the side of the road: 1

Tomorrow we are hoping to make it to Klamath Falls, but it will be a long day of driving so cross your fingers that we make it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day Thirteen - Salt Lake City, Utah

Today we went to the zoo here in Salt Lake City. It was fun, we actually made it through 3 hours of sightseeing without a meltdown from Aiden. My mom took some pictures....

Here are Aiden and I in front of the elephants.


Aiden sitting on a tiger statue - getting him to look in the general direction of the camera took a lot of effort.

Mommy and Jack in the monkey house.
Aiden riding on the carousel. I suggested that maybe Grandma could take him on the carousel and I got an evil look from her. Turns out she feels the same way about carousels that I feel about clowns.... :-)


Aiden eating his bribe for good behavior. Yes, I bribed him with ice cream, but hey - it worked for once!

And finally Jack's answer to the whole day....


After the zoo we stopped quickly at the Hard Rock Cafe for souvenirs. Good thing we did, cause it's closing in December and this would have been my one and only chance! I think I have about 20 Hard Rock shot glasses now...have to count them when we finally unpack. Speaking of that - I got a call from Fort Irwin Transportation saying that they had received our household goods and they will be waiting in storage until we arrive! Yay!! Tomorrow we head out West again, we are planning on stopping in Winnemucca, Nevada. It's the last stop before a whole lot of nothing so we figured we'd better stop there. Check back tomorrow night!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Day Twelve - Salt Lake City, Utah

We left Wyoming this morning and made it Utah. We crossed the Continental Divide...and then we crossed it again. Apparently we were in the Great Basin or something, and there are actually TWO Continental Divides. I know, I don't really get it either. My dad told us this, and I just have to say that people think I know too much random information - you should talk to my Dad....Most of the day we were driving across the ugliest part of Wyoming. It's just flat and really boring. There are mountains and prettier sections of the state, but we didn't get to see those parts. Once we entered Utah we started getting into some more mountainous terrain, and the landscape definitely improved. Lots of pretty orange, pink and yellow trees covering the mountains.

Once again Aiden refused to sleep, but Jack seems to be getting better and better at tuning out his noisy older brother and he slept for a good portion of the drive today. We are getting closer and closer and I think we are all feeling the stress of this trip. Aiden is really acting up, he has 2 or 3 major meltdowns a day, and it's getting really tiring. I know he's just confused and tired (I wish he would just give it up and SLEEP already), but dealing with a cranky two-year old in addition to everything else really wears on you after a while! I swear he has multiple personalities though. Sometimes he can go from angry and screaming to laughing and playing and back again in the blink of an eye. I seldom know what exactly he's upset about, or what is going to trigger his good mood/bad mood, so it's a guessing game each day. Sometimes he's really good and a joy to be around, and then other times I want to strap him to the top of the car. Just keeping me on my toes, I guess!

We are staying in Salt Lake City for 2 days, tomorrow we are taking a break from driving and visiting the zoo. It's supposed to be a really big, nice zoo, so I'm hoping that Aiden will enjoy the diversion. Maybe we'll take an elephant ride or something. Keep your fingers crossed that the Good Aiden decides to accompany us tomorrow, and leaves the Heathen Aiden behind! Anyway, here are today's stats:

Miles traveled: 290

Number of times Aiden said, " I want Jerry, I want Jerry," before Mommy finally gave in and put on Tom and Jerry: 41

Number of pieces that Aiden managed to crumble his banana bread into in his carseat this morning: 4 million

Number of naps that Jack managed to take in spite of Aiden's loudness: 3

Number of different hotel keys that have somehow managed to end up in Jennifer's wallet so far: 4

I'll try to take some pictures at the zoo tomorrow!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day Eleven - Rawlins, Wyoming

We ended up in Wyoming today. I've never been to Wyoming, so I was kind of looking forward to it. There is a lot of open land, and a lot of nothing else. Not a Starbucks in sight, although we did see some Buffalo. We even saw a sign at Terry's Bison Ranch that advertised "buffalo hunts"! I'll bet PETA loves Terry. We also saw some odd rock formations that were kind of interesting. And these weird fence like things all along the side of the road. They weren't connected, so they weren't keeping anything in (or out), they were just these long, straight rows of wooden fences. Anybody have any idea what they are for? They were all along the interstate for miles and miles, and we don't have a clue.

We wanted to stop for lunch in Cheyenne, but we took the main exit for the town (and yes, even though Cheyenne is the capital - its a town and not a city, only fifty thousand people...) expecting to see some fast food restaurants we could do a quick stop at, and...nada. There was nothing! Not a McDonalds or a BK anywhere that we could find, and we drove quite a ways into Cheyenne. I guess cowboys don't eat fast food. We ended up at a Wendy's in Laramie instead. After leaving Laramie we drove to Rawlins. Not that we had much choice, since there is literally nothing between Laramie and Rawlins except for about a 100 miles of open land. Who says we are overpopulating the earth? Just stick all those extra people in Wyoming, there is plenty of room!

After getting to the hotel I decided to see if I could find a grocery store to pick up some stuff for dinner. I hopped in the car and drove down the main street of Rawlins, and WOW, this is one happenin' town. Everything closes at like 6 o'clock! I did manage to find a grocery store, which was filled with lots of very polite and attentive cowboys. I think they need to get some more women in this town....

Today's stats:

Miles traveled: 330

Number of Starbucks we saw before leaving Colorado: one at every exit.

Number of Starbucks we've seen since entering Wyoming: ZERO.

Number of different colors of bug blood spattered on the windshield of the truck: 4 (purple, blue, yellow and brown)

Number of times Aiden said, "I want a nack (snack)" over and over and over and over....:12

Number of wet wipes it took to clean up Aiden after he squished his strawberry nutrigrain bar all over his hands, face, shirt and carseat: 37

Tomorrow we head out to Salt Lake City!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Days Nine and Ten - Colorado Springs, CO

The last two days we have been hanging out here in Colorado Springs. A beautiful city, I might add. Yesterday we went out to Manitou Springs and the Garden of the Gods. Absolutely beautiful scenery, and a place I would definitely consider retiring! We ate crepes at a little European cafe that Christa works at and then wandered around the little town for a while. Then last night Heidi and I went out to the movies and then hit the hotel bar. I honestly can't remember the last time I went to a bar. It doesn't happen very often. I do remember a night out at the Vilseck bowling alley with all of my girlfriends which consisted of several shots of Jose Cuervo and ended rather badly. Last night all I had was half a glass of white wine and a good night's sleep. Oh how things change when the kids come along!

Today the boys and I went over to Heidi's to hang out and do laundry. It's amazing how quickly the dirty clothes pile up when you have two gross boys. Grandma and Christa did some more exploring in the city. Tomorrow we are heading out again, hoping to get somewhere in Wyoming. These three days of rest have flown by way too quickly! Onward we go....

PS - I just want to mention how incredibly sad I am at the passing of Paul Newman. He has been my favorite actor for a long time and he will be missed. Hollywood is sadly lacking in class these days, but Paul Newman was one of the greats. :-(

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day Eight - Colorado Springs, Colorado

We made it to Colorado Springs! After a fairly short day of driving we have arrived at the foot of the Rockies. We've already had dinner with my old friend Heidi and her son Brian (whom I haven't seen in 6 years) and my sister Christa who just moved here a few months ago. We will be here for 3 days, leaving on Sunday. It will be so nice to have a decent break in traveling, I think Aiden is on the verge of a major meltdown, not to mention Mommy and Grandma. It feels like we are finally making progress, we seemed to be in Kansas forever. We are over halfway there, closer to the end than the beginning.

We finally found a Starbucks this morning when we left the hotel in Colby, they are not as common in the Midwest as they are everywhere else. I guess the hearty Midwesterners prefer their coffee strong and black, and Starbucks doesn't hold that much appeal. Personally I can't think of a better way to start the day than a white chocolate mocha with a shot of peppermint, but I AM from California....

The landscape has definitely improved, lots of mountains and trees and green. I can't wait to see more of Colorado, I think it's going to be beautiful. Hopefully tomorrow I can get some pictures to share. Here are today's stats:

Miles traveled: 240

Number of times Aiden had to be taken out of a restaurant for a discussion on appropriate behavior: 2

Number of times Jennifer got her hotels mixed up and couldn't remember her room number: 4

Number of times Aiden forgot what he was doing at dinner and dipped his crayons in ranch dressing: 5

Number of times the ice maker down the hall has spontaneously spit out ice: 3

Number of times Grandma accidentally put her room key next to her cell phone and demagnatized it so she couldn't get into the room: 2

Exploring Colorado Springs tomorrow, we'll see what the day brings....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day Seven - Colby, Kansas

We left Junction City today and have arrived in Colby, Kansas. We had an easy day today, only one temper tantrum in the car. Of course, he more than made up for that once we got to the hotel. We probably could have gone a little farther, but decided not to push it. We got to the Holiday Inn Express at around 3:30 or so, and decided to spend some of that extra time we had in the afternoon in the pool. Aiden is an absolute fish with no fear of the water at all and he just jumps right in. I took Jack in the pool for the first time today, too. Yes, you read that right, "I" took him in the pool. I'm not a water person, it tends to freak me out, but I felt bad seeing Jack get so upset that he couldn't go play, so I gave in and took him in the water. He LOVED it. He was kicking his legs and splashing and just having a grand time. He wanted to take off, I had to really hold onto him. In that respect he is exactly like his brother.

The swimming wore out both the boys and they are now snoring away in their bed. There is nothing better than 2 sleeping boys after a day of traveling. Especially since Aiden is still refusing to nap in the car. Half-way across the country, and Aiden has been awake for all of it. I'm just shaking my head at the stubborness of this kid....

Here are today's stats:

Miles traveled - 240

Number of times Aiden watched Cars - 1 (plus 3 the other day for a total of 4)

Number of times Aiden lost Lightning McQueen only to have Mommy "find" him at Walmart - 2

Number of times we thought, "Are we STILL in Kansas?" - 3

Number of times Grandma had to carry Aiden kicking and screaming through the hotel - at least 4. After that it all kind of blurs together....

Number of times Grandma asked, "Are we in a dry county? Is there any beer? PLEASE??" - at least 4 (see above).

Number of times both Mommy and Grandma had visions of Aiden bungee-corded to the top of the Explorer - 67

Tomorrow we hit Colorado Springs...hopefully in one piece....:-)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day Six - Junction City, Kansas

We are still in Junction City today. As mentioned yesterday, we decided to take an extra day and rest. The boys and I spent the day at Brandy's house and Grandma got a much needed "time-out" from all this craziness.

The highlight of the day today was watching Aiden and Maddy play together. Maddy is only six weeks younger than Aiden and she is such a little cutie. She's much more articulate than Aiden and speaks in full sentences and everything. Here's an example of a conversation that went on between Aiden and Maddy today:

I tell Aiden to take his shoes off, which he sits down and attempts to do. He finally gets them off.

Maddy: "Oh Aiden, I LOVE your socks!"

Aiden: Looking down at his feet, "Socks."

Maddy: "I like them very much."

Aiden: "Socks. Lightning McQueen."

Maddy: "Come up to my room and play with me, I have lots of toys."

Aiden: "Okay. Lightning McQueen."

The boy has one thing on his brain most of the time. Thankfully it's still Cars at this point, a fact I am sure will change when he hits puberty. When that happens, being invited up to a girl's bedroom will mean something entirely different...

Considering his obesession with Lightning McQueen, you will all hopefully understand my actions concerning this next part. Aiden lost Lightning McQueen. Now, my kid is smart. We have several other Lightnings but they are all slightly different - one has bugs in his teeth, one is the "Dirt Track McQueen" with dirt on the sides, several are smaller, but none of them will do at bedtime except for the original. I tried to pass off one of the other ones to him but he immediately gave it back to me and said "No Mommy, not this one".I searched all over and couldn't find it at which point I had no choice but to make a mad dash for the Walmart up the street. Actually, two mad dashes to Walmart since I was so flustered and panicked at the thought of not having Lightning at bedtime that I left my wallet in the hotel room and had to come back for it. I even scuffed it up in the parking lot to make it look as, ummm, well-loved as the other one. Thankfully, it worked and he is now sleeping peacefully with his Lightning.

Tomorrow we are headed out again, pray we find something that will knock Aiden out for a while!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day Five - Junction City, Kansas

Well, we made it to Kansas. And let me just say that yesterday we gave Aiden a half a tablet of Dramamine and after 3 hours he slept for a whole whopping 30 minutes. Today I gave him the same amount and he didn't sleep at all. What is WITH this kid?? In 5 days of traveling he has slept for a half an hour of it.

We originally had plans to stay here for one night, but we have decided for the sake of our sanity to stay 2 nights. We just really need a break from traveling, so we are spending the day tomorrow with my friend Brandy and her daughter Maddy who is Aiden's age - they just moved here to Fort Riley, so it will be fun to catch up.

Kansas is an interesting place. I now understand how it was possible for Dorothy to make it to Oz. It's WINDY here! Also, they have museums for just about everything. The "Museum of Fashion" would have been interesting, but somehow I don't think Aiden would have been amused. Oh well. And you know what else? We saw gas for $2.95! And it was about 15 minutes after we filled up the tank....:-)

I stopped into Walmart this evening after dinner to pick up some diapers for Jack. I was in the check out line when I suddenly realized I was channeling white trash - I was actually buying diapers and beer. How awful is that? And this is really weird - when I was leaving the store I heard a "Jennifer? Right?" come from behind me. I turned around and saw a guy that Chris was in Korea with 8 years ago! Talk about a small world, huh?

Here are the stats for Day Five:

Miles traveled: 200

Number of times Aiden was carried kicking and screaming out of a public place: 2

Number of times Aiden watched Tom and Jerry: 4 ( you can only take so much of CARS)

Number of unique and unusual museums (that my Dad would love to go through) we saw advertised on the side of the road in Kansas: 5

Number of times that Jennifer crammed Jack's pacifier into his mouth so he would shut up only to discover that he actually had a poopy diaper: 12 (he didn't really have 12 poopy diapers, that's just how many times I tried to give him his binky when he didn't want it...)

Tomorrow we chill, and then on Wednesday we take off in the general direction of Colorado - stay tuned!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day Four - Stillwater, Oklahoma

Just a quick update tonight to let you all know that we made it to Stillwater, OK. We are staying tonight with an old friend - Roxanne. Should be fun to catch up with her! More tomorrow on our travels out of Arkansas.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day Three - Van Buren, Arkansas

So here we are at the end of Day Three, we've stopped for the night in Van Buren, Arkansas. The only thing I know about this place is that apparently Prohibition is still in effect here, because it's a dry county and NO BEER. And just so you know, when you go to ask about where to buy beer in a dry county, they look at you like you're a delinquent. Especially if you happen to have a 5 month old baby with you at the time. As the lady behind me in Walmart said when she heard me ask - "We don't believe in alcohol here in Crawford County." Okay.....

We passed some interesting places today. Toad Suck Park, anyone? Seriously, that's the name of it.

Anyway, here are the stats for Day Three:

Miles traveled: 280.

Number of hours Aiden was knocked out from Benedryl - ZERO.

Number of times Aiden screeched at the top of his lungs and scared his brother half to death - 27.

Number of A*hole drivers who gunned by us only to get pulled over a few miles ahead - 1.

Number of times Aiden watched Cars - zero. Only because I took the DVD player away because he was kicking it.

Off to Stillwater, OK tomorrow!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day Two - Graceland

Today we went to Graceland. Jack and I took the tour while my Mom (who's already been there and done that) kept Aiden. The tour of the house is very interesting, you learn all kinds of things about Elvis that you never knew before. For instance, he was very involved in charity work and even hosted a benefit concert to raise money for the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor. The house itself is very 70's, with the green shag carpet (on the floors AND ceiling), the gigantic TV's in every room, and fabric on the walls. But what's really neat is the room with all of Elvis' gold records. The walls are covered in them from floor to ceiling, and it's not a small room. It's pretty breathtaking. Toward the end of the tour I was visiting the Meditation Garden where Elvis and his parents and grandmother are buried when all of a sudden it started to sprinkle. I made a mad dash for the the exit pavillion when the skies opened and it literally POURED. Jack and I got slightly wet. Good thing a little water never hurt anybody, right? My mom had the same thought while watching Aiden run back and forth out into the pouring rain, giggling hysterically the whole time. This kid loves water, whether it's in a pool or coming from the sky. And after the storm passed he had to make a point of jumping in every puddle we passed. Daddy would be proud.

We ate a late lunch of fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches at the Rockabilly Diner and then headed back to the hotel. And just to cap things off - yesterday we drove 400 miles, Aiden was full of Dramamine and didn't sleep a wink, while today on the way back from Graceland we drove 9 miles and BOTH the boys fell asleep. Oh sure, NOW they sleep....

Tomorrow we are headed out West again into Arkansas. We are hoping to make about 300 miles, stopping for the night in a little town called Van Buren. Check back tomorrow night to see how the day goes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day One - Memphis, TN

Well, we survived the first day of our cross-country trip and arrived in Memphis, TN. We are safely ensconced at the Embassy Suites - an added benefit of volunteering to be personal property of the US Government is that you get to take advantage of the Federal Government rate at places like this....We are staying 2 nights here, and tomorrow we are heading out to a place I've always wanted to visit - Graceland. I'm a big Elvis fan (young, 50's Elvis, not fat 70's Elvis), so I'm looking forward to it. The boys were pretty good considering we drove about 400 miles today, although Jack got a little upset toward the end. We drove through three states today - Alabama, Mississippi and now Tennessee. I've actually never been to Mississippi, so now I can cross that one off my list. Oh - did you know there is a town called Brilliant, Alabama? Strikes me as a contradiction in terms....Here are the stats for Day One of our trip:

Miles Traveled: 400

Number of times we "took the scenic route": 1

Number of times Aiden watched the movie Cars: 3

Number of hours Aiden was knocked out from Dramamine: ZERO

Number of times Jack tried to take a nap only to be woken up by Aiden's "singing": 4

Number of times we thought "what the HECK were we thinking??" 412

I'll try to post every day of our trip, so make sure you keep checking back!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Next Chapter

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days, I've been busy with all of the moving preparations. Even though the Army pays for a moving company to come in and do all of the packing and heavy lifting, there is still a lot to do! Monday was packing day, and today was loading day. All of my worldly possessions (or...most of them) are now on a truck heading West, due to arrive at a storage facility in Fort Irwin Friday or Saturday. I took some pictures today, I'll try to upload them later - I'm just really tired right now!

As happy as I am to be getting out of here, I'm also a little bit sad. As I walked around my empty house this evening, a little bit of the melancholy came over me. While I will NOT miss the puppy-sized roaches, the 200% humidity or the fact that every road in Lee County is named "Lee Road", I will miss our home, our friends and having my parents nearby. As I was peeling off the Winnie the Pooh wall stickers from Aiden's walls I flashed back to when I put them up. The empty rooms reminded me of the day after Closing, when we walked through the house thinking, "this is OURS".

But I also sensed something else. The house had changed, now that it was empty again. A house is just a collection of rooms; it's the people and the life that is lived there that make it a home. Our life is no longer in that house, it's in a bunch of boxes in the back of a truck, and it's in the two carseats in the back of my car - two items we didn't have when we moved here to the South. So tomorrow I will close the door for the last time to this chapter in our lives, and Thursday we will set off for the next. Sweet home southern California - here we come.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11

Today is the anniversary of September 11. Can you believe it's been 7 years since the world turned upside down? I remember exactly where I was - in Germany. We'd been there less than 2 weeks, and so I knew absolutely no one. Chris was in the field (of course), and I was in my empty house with nothing but government furniture and a tiny TV that we had bought so I wouldn't be bored while Chris was gone. I'd arranged for the cable to be hooked up that morning (with the time difference the attacks didn't happen until the afternoon), but it wouldn't be on until around 5 or 6 in the evening. In the meantime I got one German news channel. I was sitting at the table doing a puzzle trying to pass the time, with the TV on for background noise. I remember looking up at it at one point and seeing footage of a plane smashing into the first tower. I just stared at it, that couldn't be real, right? And I couldn't figure out what was going on because everything was in German. Then they had a press conference with the President, and it was dubbed into German, so I still didn't know what was happening. After some frantic phone calls stateside I got a handle on what was going on, and then my cable came on so I was glued to the TV for the next several hours. Chris came bursting in the door at around midnight, they had brought all the guys in to pull security at the gates. He had to be near the phone at all times, and the only phone jack was downstairs, so we moved the mattress into the living room so we could watch the news and hear the phone.

The post literally went on total lockdown. The only people allowed through the gates were soldiers and family members who lived off post. And each and every car was taken apart and searched, the wait was something like 3 hours. I was really glad I lived on post and didn't have a car yet, so I couldn't really go anywhere anyway. The commissary had no fresh meat or produce for a while, because no shipments were allowed in. We didn't have mail for a few days either. And there were armed soldiers outside of every building on post. I literally had to show my ID to use the bathroom at the PX. It was a little like living in the Twilight Zone. After a while things calmed down a bit, but we were never the same. We went abruptly from a peace-time Army to gearing up for war, and everything became frighteningly real. Suddenly the possibility of my husband actually going to war became much more likely, and it was scary. Now I've been a War-Wife almost my entire married life.

It's hard to believe it's been seven years. There are soldiers in the Army now who weren't even in high school when the attacks happened, yet here they are, willingly joining up to serve their country when they know they'll be sent to war. And that right there, is why we are going to win the War on Terrorism. Terrorists may be willing to die, but we are willing to fight. General Yamamoto once said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." Damn straight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Travelin' Tuesday - The Original HRC

Chris and I collect shot glasses from the Hard Rock Cafe. We've been to quite a few, so we've built up quite a collection! So when we went to London in 2003, we had to stop at the original Hard Rock Cafe. It's got a nice assortment of Beatles memorabilia (of course) as well as Eric Clapton, and other people I can't remember cause it's been too long....

Anyway, here's the Hard Rock Cafe London -


And me in front of the Hard Rock Cafe and Store -

Weird...

Check out these vintage advertisements on Weirdomatic.com. It's strange what people think will sell products....

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Photos

It's been a while since I posted any pics of the boys, so here are a few that I took this afternoon. And YES, I realize that neither one of them are wearing pants, but it's hot here in Alabama...so sue me.... :-)

Here's Aiden and one of his beloved Lightning McQueens. I just thought his little expression was so cute. And I'm not sure if you can tell, but his hair is getting really curly.


Here is Aiden giving his baby brother a kiss. So sweet...sometimes....


Here's Jack with his big blue eyes. Also a face full of drool. Those teeth better come in soon!


And finally we have Aiden and Jack playing Cars together. I think Jack just thinks that they are neat things to chew on, but at least Aiden is learning how to share with his brother!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Moving: Step One

The moving company came out today to do pre-inspection of the house. They basically just write down all the different types of furniture, see if I have any valuable or fragile items, and get an estimate of how much stuff we have so they know how much packing material they need bring on moving day. It's really nice to have other people pack up all of your crap for you, but there are a few things that I like to pack myself. It just totally grosses me out to think of strange men packing my underwear.... The guy told me if I come down to the warehouse tomorrow he'll give me as many boxes as I want so that I can pack up whatever I need to in advance.

We are going to be moving out of here and into my parent's house on Thursday or Friday of next week. Then the weekend will be spent prepping the house for the movers - everything has to be unplugged, disconnected, emptied out...etc. Then the movers will be here Monday and Tuesday, and we'll be out of here Thursday or Friday. I can't believe we're leaving in 2 weeks! I'm excited to move on, but a little bit sad. My babies were born here, after all!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sarah Palin

For those of you following the election news, you know that McCain has chosen Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. I'll admit that I had never heard of her, but I've been reading about her a little since. This woman is refreshing, she's definitely no Hillary Clinton, and I mean that in a good way. Check out her blog Welcome to the Palindrome. It's totally hysterical, I think the pure Alaska air may have driven her a little bit crazy....and I mean that in a good way, too!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Travelin' Tuesday - Acropolis

I know I forgot to post last Tuesday, I'm sorry. I've got a lot on mind lately! Anyway, we are going back to Athens this week, to the Acropolis. A little Greek lesson for you - "Acropolis" does not refer specifically to the Acropolis in Athens, it simply means the highest hill or spot in a city. Usually it would have a temple on it, and the one in Athens is the most famous, but almost every large city or town in Greece has an Acropolis. The Acropolis in Athens is home to two of the most famous landmarks in Greece - the Parthenon, and the Temple of Athena Nike. It is visible looming high above the streets of the Plaka, or old town, and it's quite impressive.

When we were there, there was scaffolding all over the place, as they were doing some sort of reconstruction. Tell me this - these buildings have stood tall for 4000 years, what can we possibly do to them to make them last longer? Seems to me the ancient Greeks did a pretty good job....

Anyway...the view from the road....

The Parthenon....

and the Temple of Athena Nike....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Time to Veg...

I don't watch a lot of television, I really don't have much time for it. Plus I think most of the shows on TV are crap, but that's neither here nor there. There are a few shows I like to watch though (and I'm not talking about Buffy...). I like Bones, it's got a great mix of dark humor and good characters, plus sharply written dialogue. I also like 24, I mean who doesn't root for Jack Bauer, huh? I also love Prison Break. And I'm not going to say that I think it's the greatest show of our generation or anything, even though it is interesting. I like it for 2 reasons. One - it's addicting and fast-paced. Two - Wentworth Miller.

I'll admit it. He's hot. Even though I'm married to my wonderful, loving husband who I would follow to the ends of the earth (and often have...), I'm unable to completely turn off the female part of my brain that notices things like the fact that Wentworth Miller is really good-looking. Come on, I'm married - not dead. And I'm fully aware that men (my wonderful, loving husband included) notice when a hot woman enters their radar.

So tonight is FINALLY the premiere of Prison Break season four, after what seems like a really long wait after the writer's strike. And Wednesday is the season premiere of Bones, so I'm actually going to be watching TV this week. It's kind of ironic that 2 weeks before my stuff gets packed up is when my shows finally come back on the air. So I get to watch 2 episodes and then say bye-bye to the TV. Oh well, God bless the internet!!

So tonight after my kids go to bed, I'm settling down with a bowl of ice cream, my 65" television and 2 hours of Wentworth Miller. The only thing better would be a bowl of ice cream and my hubby....:-)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Beginning the Process

I went to my Transportation briefing today for our Household Goods. Normally, Chris would be doing this stuff because he's the soldier, but since he's off playing in the sandbox right now, I get to do it. I got to sit in a little classroom with about 30 soldiers - I was the only one there who wasn't wearing ACU's - and listen to a lady read aloud every word that was on the packet I got when I signed in. Then we went through and filled out the pick-up application together as a class. "In box 1A where it says Name, write your name..." What is this, kindergarten?

Anyway, I got through it and we are having our house packed up on September 15th and 16th. I guess I'd better get my butt in gear and get everything ready, huh? I have lots of lists of everything I need to do, everything I need to pack for the trip, what's coming, what's staying, all that kind of fun stuff. Now I get to go through and write down the serial numbers of all of our electronics, take pictures of everything to document it's condition, gather all of our important papers to hand carry...you get the idea.

I think these next 2 weeks or so will show my true mettle as a self-sufficient Army wife. Let's just hope I don't accidentally let the movers pack anything important, like my car keys or one of my kids....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Movin' On Up

Well guys, it looks like we are finally moving. We have our house up for rent, with "high hopes" from our property manager that it will get rented this month. He's already had some interest in it, so my fingers are crossed. But, rented or not, we are leaving. We've decided that there is really no point in sticking around much longer, so I have tentatively set a date for September 15th to pack up the truck and the kids and skedaddle on out of here. My Mom has volunteered to drive with me across the country, so I won't be doing it by myself.

I have a briefing with Transportation on August 29th, I'm hoping I can set my appt with the movers for around the 10th or 11th. Once our household goods are packed up and on their way to CA, we won't be far behind. The plan is to drive from here to Medford, OR, and we are going to take about 2 weeks to do it. I want to stop and visit friends along the way, plus the kids aren't going to be able to handle more than a day or two in the saddle without a break. Once we get to Medford (where my Grandma and various extended family live), we will stop for a few days to visit, then my mom will fly back here to AL to start packing up their house and the kids and I will drive down to Crescent City (where we grew up). Chris' family still lives in town, so we'll be crashing at their house for the remaining 3 to 4 weeks until Chris comes home. Once he's home, we'll pack up the truck again and finish the journey down to Fort Irwin. Whew!

Think I'm crazy to drive 3000 miles with 2 small children? Probably. But we are going to make it as fun as we can, and try to experience a little bit of America along the way. The last time I drove across the country, Chris and I had just gotten married. We drove from Tennessee to California in May in a Geo Tracker with no AC, and a tape deck with exactly 2 tapes - The Steve Miller Band and CCR. And we were on a time crunch. I don't care how in love you are, 16 hours a day in a hot car with nothing but Proud Mary playing will get on anyone's nerves. Hopefully this trip will be a little more enjoyable! Although I'm not sure trading out CCR for the CARS soundtrack is going to be all that much better....:-)

I'll keep you posted on the plans as they come together...wish us luck!!

My Blue-Eyed Baby


I just had to share this picture of Jack-Jack eating his oatmeal and applesauce. Would you just look at those blue eyes? I swear they keep getting bluer and bluer. Is "bluer" a word? Anyway, I hope they stay this color, they are so pretty. Aiden's eyes were completely brown by now, so maybe there's hope!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Flash Forward

You know how sometimes you have a flashback or a "deja vu" moment, where you remember something that happened before? Well last night I had a "flash forward" moment, a very clear picture of what my life is going to be like for the next 20 years or so. Let me explain....

I decided to give the boys a bath together last night and save myself some time. Since Jack is able to sit for a few seconds now without falling over, it's a little easier to bathe him. They are both in the bathtub, splashing and having a grand time when Aiden gets one of those hair-brained ideas that little boys are so famous for. He takes a big mouthful of bathwater (I will never understand the need to put the water that you just bathed in in your mouth, but boys are just gross) and spits it out over the side of the tub onto the floor. This makes his adoring little brother burst out laughing hysterically. Now if you have boys (or men), you know that nothing is a bigger incentive to continue doing something than laughter. Aiden takes another big mouthful and does it again, to Jack's delight. So now Aiden's spitting out water, I'm yelling at him to STOP IT RIGHT NOW, and Jack is laughing so hard he can't breathe.

This is just great. Jack is only 4 months old and already his big brother is thinking up retarded things to do to make him laugh. What's going to happen when they get older? I'm seeing lots of broken bones and stories that will be funny when I'm 70.

I always said I wanted three boys. Mind you, I said this before I had any boys. I think it's turning out to be one of those "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it" things. You want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Beginning of the End

I was at the computer yesterday and Jack was playing on the floor behind me. I turned around to check on him and he wasn't there. Huh? Where could he have gone? He was on the other side of the room, having rolled there all by himself. I knew he could roll from his tummy to his back, but not the other way around. He must have figured it out in his sleep or something, because he's been rolling around all over the floor ever since. He's 4 months old.

Now you may be thinking this is a good thing, he's getting so big, blah, blah, blah. No! This is NOT a good thing!! I was enjoying the fact that I had one child that would stay where I put him. Now, they are both mobile. How is this a good thing? Not only do I have a whirling tornado to contend with, now I have to chase around after my little rolling tumbleweed, too.

But of course, I have to praise him when he does it. I mean, he looks so proud of himself and it is pretty cute to watch. And it's quite an accomplishment for a 4 month old, so I have to be a good mommy and show my appreciation. "Yay, Jack....." Oh well. It just means I get to burn more calories, right? Right.....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

McCain or Obama?

The Presidential election is fast approaching. We all know that voting is important, but sometimes choosing a candidate can be confusing. It's hard to remember who stands where on what, and where you fit into all of it. Check out Vote Help. You answer a series of questions about the current issues and your opinions on them and then it will spell out how much you agree with the two candidates, issue by issue, and give you an overall rating. It's interesting to see it all spelled out, and it may make casting your vote in November a little easier. At least you'll be well-informed on where you stand!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Travelin' Tuesday - Roaring Bay

When I was seventeen, I packed my bags and went to New Zealand for 6 months. Seriously. I nannied for a family with 5 girls under the age of 9. As if that wasn't an adventure in and of itself, we traveled all around the country while I was there - 2 weeks on the North Island, 2 weeks on the South Island. These pictures are of Roaring Bay, in Kaka Point, which is on the very tip of the South Island of New Zealand. If you keep going, the next thing you'll hit is Antarctica. And one other thing, it's really cold. And I mean really cold. There are antarctic winds that blow off the waters, and I have never been so cold in my entire life.


The colors in this picture have not been altered in any way - the water really is this blue. It's absolutely beautiful.


As the sun was setting, we were treated to a rare sight - wild penguins. They are hard to see, but I've circled them in blue. These are Yellow-Tail penguins ( I think....) of which there are only 500 breeding pairs in the world. But this was 10 years ago, so maybe there are more now! It was totally weird to see penguins on the beach, very surreal.

If you ever have the chance to go to New Zealand, GO. In my humble opinion, it's the most beautiful country in the world.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hot, Hot, Hot!

I came home yesterday afternoon after going out to lunch with my mom and my house felt really warm. I checked the thermostat and it read in the mid-eighties. Not good, since it was set at 76. Hmmm...I lowered the temperature to get the air to come on and nothing happened. My air conditioner went kaplooey. So I checked the breaker switch which was no help at all, and decided to give my home warranty company a call. Since it was Sunday I had to wait until Monday for them to send somebody out to look at it, so the kids and I picked up and went over my parent's house for the night. It was just too damn hot to stick it out here with no air conditioning! Alabama in the middle of August is probably the WORST time to have your air go out. The technician came out this morning and looked at it, and told me that the computer board in my air handler was bad. I have no idea what that means, but he managed to bypass it for the time being so I have air, but the fan is going to run 24/7 until they get the part in. Of course it has to be ordered, so it will be about a week before it's totally fixed. At least I have air conditioning now though. I'm just glad this happened now instead of 2 or 3 months from now when we have a tenant in here and we are on the other side of the country! Anyway, it's a nice, balmy 75 degrees in my house now, which is just the way I like it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Growing Boy

Jack had his 4 month well-baby check-up today. He weighs 14 pounds, 7 ounces, which is over a pound more than Aiden weighed at this age. Since Aiden is big for his age, I shudder to think how big Jack's going to be! I really don't know where my kids are getting this from, since Chris and I aren't really big people....Anyway, the doctor says that he's pretty advanced for a 4 month-old (which of course, I already knew...) since he's already pulling himself up to a sitting position and loves to stand while holding your hands. He has a lot of strength in his legs, and is doing very well.
I started him on rice cereal last week, since he seemed to be hungrier than usual. He is not fond of rice cereal, he doesn't like it at all - not that I blame him. Have you tasted this stuff? Nasty. So I asked the doctor if I could go ahead and give him fruits and vegetables and he told me to go for it. So I went with the bananas first, since my doctor told me that they've disproved the notion that you should give veggies first, apparently it makes no difference. Here's a picture of Jack's first taste of bananas.


After a few bites, he was all about it. I guess bananas taste better than rice cereal. I think after a few days of bananas, I'll try mixing it with the cereal, see if he likes that better. Anyway, now that he's started on solids, I'm sure he's going to really start putting on that baby fat!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Travelin' Tuesday - Flossenburg

Not every place I've visited was fun. Germany is a very beautiful country, but it has a very tragic past. About 45 minutes or so from where we lived in Vilseck sits the remains of Flossenburg Concentration Camp. I've always been a huge World War II buff, so I jumped at the chance to visit.

My first impression was that it's very quiet. The air is heavier there, the silence is almost physical. You can literally feel the sadness that surrounds the place like a thick fog. It's very eerie. Thousands of innocent men, women and children were slaughtered on the very ground I was standing on, and my soul felt heavy. It's hard to breathe.


Some of the buildings are still standing, you can walk through the barracks where they stacked prisoners - sometimes 4 or 5 to a single bunk. There's a section that used to be the hospital, where they performed experiments on pregnant women and their babies. When you see the evidence of what mankind is truly capable of, it makes you want to run home, and yet somehow, you can't turn away.


Yes, this is what you think it is - an oven. This is where they cremated the bodies of the prisoners that were killed. Either shot, worked to death, starved to death or those who simply gave up hope. It's very small. At first I wondered how they could fit the bodies in there, but then I realized that by the time they made it to the ovens, they were so emaciated that the adults were the size of children.
This display caught my attention more than the others. These are actual shoes that belonged to the prisoners. There were piles of them, as the guards stripped the prisoners of all their personal belongings. There were piles of shoes, clothing, luggage, even gold teeth. And they were literally stripped of their humanity when entering the camps, prisoners were considered a sub-human species.

I've studied World War II in depth, and I thought I was prepared to visit a camp, but nothing can prepare you for the impact that this kind of place has on you. And while visiting a site of mass slaughter is not exactly enjoyable, I think it's necessary. This happened because people forgot how to treat one another, forgot that we are all equal in the eyes of God, forgot that spilling innocent blood has consequences. I think that by visiting these places and feeling the horror, we can fight back and prevent it from happening again. If you ever have the chance to visit a concentration camp, I highly recommend it. It will truly open your eyes.