Thursday, July 31, 2008

Better Late Than Never

The other night I went to a meeting on post for spouses of soldiers who are deployed on a MiTT (Military Transition Team). Since there are many of these teams, there were spouses there from all stages of the deployment process. Some of their husbands had just left for training, some were anxiously awaiting R&R, and others - like myself - were on the downward slope. It was an interesting meeting and I'm glad I attended, but it was more geared toward those just beginning this deployment. I mean, telling me all of the stuff that's available to me during deployment would have been nice 9 months ago. Granted, I'm kind of a veteran at this type of thing, so I knew most of it already, but there were a few things I would have liked to have known. For instance, I am entitled to 16 hours of free childcare per child per month on post! That would have been nice to know. Oh well, better late than never, I guess....

And just for the record, people ask some really dumb questions. I know they say the only dumb questions are the ones that don't get asked, but I'd have to disagree with that. I've heard some dumb questions that should really never have been asked. I can't get into it here because they deal with procedures and stuff that shouldn't be posted online, but come on folks, let's use our brains, huh? Sheesh.

Still, it's nice to know that the Army is starting to recognize that MiTT wives need something like this. Since our soldiers are deployed in small teams that come from all over, we don't really have a formal FRG group to keep us informed of everything. And things are different with a MiTT team than with a traditional deployed unit. So it's good for the people just starting out to have these get togethers, I just wish they'd thought of it sooner!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Travelin' Tuesdays

I've been going through some of my old pictures - mostly ones that I took while in London, Paris, Athens, and so on and I've decided to share them with you guys. So every Tuesday (I hope I don't forget) I'm going to post a picture from somewhere around the world and share it's story. I hope you guys enjoy Travelin' Tuesdays.

For the first edition we have a picture of the hotel we stayed at when we went to London. This was in August of 2003, going on 5 years ago!! Wow!! Anyway, we actually stayed in Gatwick, about a 30 minute train ride from London. It was an old Edwardian house that was converted to a bed and breakfast, and run by a nice old English couple. This house had some great character and was definitely not your run of the mill tourist hotel. I'm so glad we decided to stay here, it was worth the extra time into the city, and we met some interesting people.

Down the street from the BB was an old pub - The Fox Revived. Now this place was amazing. This was no tourist trap by any means! This was a real, honest to goodness, genuine English Pub, complete with greasy fish and chips and warm beer. The patrons were all locals (except for us) who had grown up together, knew each other's kids and grandkids, and liked nothing better than to spend the evening drinking beer and catching up on the day's events with each other. It had great atmosphere and was a wonderful addition to our trip!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Here We Go...Finally....

Okay, so you're all right - Aiden is the baby on the top, Jack is on the bottom. I just can't believe how alike they are. Except for Jack's blue eyes and Aiden's slightly rounder head, they are identical! Anyway, I'm officially starting potty training with Aiden in the morning. For real this time. At least, I hope it's for real and he takes to it. We are doing away with the Pull-ups and going straight to the undies. It'll be gross for a while I'm sure, but everyone tells me that it's usually better to do it this way. So I'll be posting our progress over on Mommyland, for those of you who want to cheer us on. Wish me luck!!
So here we have a little game of Guess That Baby! Can you tell who's who? :-)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lightning Never Strikes Twice?

I finally got my truck out of the shop yesterday, and it looks great. But as I was driving home it started to pour down rain. And if you've never experienced a Southern Summer Storm, let me tell you it comes down hard and fast. So I am at an intersection waiting for the green light when all of a sudden lightning strikes the power pole attached to the traffic light. It was about 20 feet from my car, and so bright it nearly blinded me for a minute. Talk about freaked out. I pulled into the nearest parking lot and waited out the storm, it was raining so hard I couldn't see 10 feet past my car. I'm just glad the boys were with my Mom. So I finally get back to her house, wait for the rain to stop completely and get the boys home. When I pull up the driveway I have a clear view of my backyard, and the top half of a tree laying on the ground. It seems that a tree in the middle of my backyard got struck by lightning and the top half broke off and fell down. It looks a little charred on the top. It wasn't that windy, so I don't think it just blew over, I'm pretty sure it was lightning.

Crazy, huh?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Where Did This Kid Come From?

I am just in awe at the differences between Jack and Aiden when he was a baby. Let me give you an example "day in the life of Jack":

8:30-9:00am - Wake up. Eat.
9:00-11:00am - Play with my toys. Flirt with Mom. Eat.
11:00am-2:30pm - Nap.
2:30-3:00pm - Eat.
3:00-4:30pm - Play with my toys. Practice holding my head up.
4:30-6:30pm - Nap.
6:30-7:00pm - Eat.
7:00-9:00pm - Play with my Toys. Swing in my swing. Chew on my books.
9:00 - Eat and go to bed.

He usually wakes up around 11:00 for a snack, which is about the time I'm going to bed. He falls back to sleep and will wake up around 3am for a feeding and then again around 8am. Then he'll fall back to sleep for another hour or so.

I had no idea that babies actually slept this much. Aiden always slept the absolute minimum from the day he was born, and continues to do so. Jack never fusses unless he's hungry or has to burp, or I take too long to lay him down for his nap. And this kid will actually go to sleep when I lay him down. With Aiden I had to stay in there until he fell asleep. Jack just lays down, says, "peace! I'm out", and that's that. I don't know what I did while pregnant to get a baby like this, but I am going to do everything exactly the same next time! This is totally awesome. I guess God just made sure I got the hard one out of the way first....

Time to Lock the Doors

Yesterday Aiden wanted something out of the fridge and I said no. He went up to the fridge door and opened it all by himself, a little accidentally I think. He looked at me with that same look he got on his face when he got water out of the dispenser the first time. A mix of "holy cow look what I just did!" and "am I in trouble?".... So now there is a lock on the door to the fridge. And since I can barely open the darn thing, maybe I'll finally lose the rest of that baby weight!

This morning I woke up about 7:45 and I thought I heard the TV. I thought to myself, "did I leave the TV on last night? I don't think I did..." so I got up. Aiden's door was open. Not good. I went out into the living room and there he was, sitting on the couch watching Cars. He actually got up, turned on the TV and pushed play on the DVD player (Cars was already in it, big surprise). Then he looks at me and says, "morning!" He's two years old! Is he supposed to be able to do this already?? So now I'm going to have to start locking the door to his room at night, so he can't get up and wander the house by himself. Sigh....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Some Randomness

So I thought I'd share a few random photos from the past couple of days. Not much has been going on around here, I'm pretty much just waiting for my truck to get out of the shop - should be Tuesday or Wednesday. Anyway, yesterday we had some pretty nasty thunderstorms. It got really dark at around 4:30 in the afternoon and it was just pouring down rain. This is the view from my front porch. Remember it's 4:30 in the afternoon...

I bought Jack an activity center/jumperoo thing at the kids' resale shop today. I got it for less than half what it would cost new, so I'm excited about that - these things are expensive! Anyway, Jack loves it. As soon as I put him in it he started giggling, so I think it's a hit.

Last night I went to check on Aiden before I went to bed. I found him sound asleep in his bed with every Cars toy car that he owns. He must have gotten out of bed, gathered up all of his Cars and brought them back to bed with him. At least he went to sleep! I thought it was so cute I had to take a picture.

And finally we have a picture of Aiden's room. I put him down for a nap -which sometimes happens and other times turns into just 2 hours of Aiden playing by himself in his room. That's fine with me, I don't care if he sleeps or not as long as he's out of my hair for a while. When I went to tell him that he could get up from his quiet time, this is what I found....

If only he were as good at cleaning up his messes as he is at making them!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Mommy Badge of Honor

Sometimes I sit back and I think about the life I used to have. You know, before I had kids. I lived in Europe, I traveled around a lot to exotic places, ate exotic things - duck heart, anyone? - had a killer shoe collection, and my toenails were always painted. I would spend the day doing pretty much whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. You know what I do now? I clean up poop. I live in Alabama and I clean up poop. What the hell happened? Huh?? Oh right, I had kids.

Let me tell you about my day. This morning, Jack had a minor explosion and his diaper leaked all over me, since I happened to be holding him. Now, as gross as this may sound to all of you who don't have children, it's really not an uncommon occurrence when you have a baby, especially a breastfed one. So it didn't really phase me that much, other than trying to clean up both him and me at the same time, since I'm the only adult here most of the time. Most people after being pooped on would say something like this - OMG! Gross!! Somebody take this thing (meaning the baby) so I can get this crap (meaning...well...crap) off me!! This is totally disgusting!! Blah..blah..blah.... I don't have that luxury. All I get to do is roll my eyes, and clean it up.

So that was this morning. Then this evening, Aiden is sitting on my lap when he decided to come down with a case of the runs and overload his diaper as well (I swear I had just changed him!!). Now, it's hot in Alabama in the Summer. So I'm wearing shorts. He's sitting on my legs, his diaper leaks, you do the math....

Cleaning up a two-year old is harder than a 3 month old. For one thing, they are bigger. And they can move. And when they are boys, they have no concept of "that's gross", so they just want to run around and try their best to spread it around. So once again, I got to clean up poop. Yay me. While scrubbing off my legs, I caught sight of my pathetically neglected toenails, and it all hit me. What happened to my life? I went from a never-a-hair-out-of-place ex-pat in Europe to scrubbing poop out of a couch! And the best part? I went willingly!! Although I must say that no one ever told me about all of the crappy parts of motherhood, which would include the poop scrubbing. There should be a Mommy Badge of Honor....I guess that's the stretch marks...

Anyway, I'm sorry if I totally grossed all of you out with this story, but just remember that when the crap hits the fan, it could be worse. It could be RUNNING DOWN YOUR LEGS!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Conversations with Pooh

Jack has really started talking a lot lately, he has "found his voice" as they say in the baby books. I took some video this evening of him on the changing table, he was talking up a storm to Pooh Bear, who hangs off the mobile above the table. He really likes Pooh for some reason. Anyway, the video is kind of dark, I couldn't seem to fix that, but you can still see it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


I was going through the pictures on my camera, and there are several cute ones from yesterday, as well as a few from the past couple of days, so I thought I'd share. Enjoy!

First up we have Jack looking cute in a camo outfit that used to belong to his big brother. He's getting so big! And look at those big blue eyes, I don't know where they came from!

Next is another picture of Jack-Jack. He was sleeping so peacefully with his cute little butt up in the air, I just had to snap a picture. And before anyone says anything, YES, he's sleeping on his tummy which I know is supposed to be a big no-no, but he sleeps way better on his tummy, so I've been letting him sometimes. Plus, I have a SIDS monitor which monitors his breathing, so it gives me pretty good peace of mind.

Here are a couple of both the boys from yesterday, in their 4th of July clothes. I think it's so cute how Jack is just staring at Aiden.

This one cracks me up. Jack is just staring daggers at me for making him sit with his brother....

And finally we have a couple pictures of Aiden and Grandpa playing with sparklers. He liked the sparklers but could care less about the big fireworks. He ended up getting too grumpy and cranky and I just put him to bed. His loss!

I hope you all had a fun, safe 4th of July!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Independence Day

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. BBQ's, red, white and blue, and of course fireworks. For most people, the 4th is the only time of the year (other than New Year's sometimes) when you can set off fireworks. Not so in Alabama. There are fireworks stores around here that are open all-year round. In Alabama, Arbor Day is an excuse to set off fireworks. I know they're exciting and all, but come on. They're not that cool. But I guess when you live in rural Alabama, you have to make your own fun.

The grandparents are coming over tomorrow to BBQ and hopefully NOT set fire to my front yard. Aiden should get a kick out of the sparklers, I'll be sure to take lots of pictures.

And lets all try to remember the reason we celebrate this day in the first place - we are celebrating our independence and freedom from tyranny. Sometimes I think we tend to forget that it was a hard-won battle, and many lives were given in defense of our freedom. Not everyone is home to celebrate right now, namely our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember to say a little prayer for them tomorrow, as they fight for another people's right to be free.

Above all, be safe tomorrow, and be proud - you're an American.