Friday, October 23, 2009

It Must Be Love

I really love my husband and I appreciate everything he does not only for me, but for this country. He takes care of me, and treats me like a princess. He is my Edward Cullen. There really isn't anything I wouldn't do for him....and here's the proof.

For some people, there are certain things that go completely against the grain. For me, these are things like wearing two different socks together, using the word "ain't" in a sentence, going ALL DAY without checking my email, and - a big one - doing anything that may land me in the category labeled white trash.

Chris has been in the field for most of the last two weeks. He hasn't come in very often, like he usually does, so he's pretty tired. He is due to come in tonight...sometime. The boys were playing outside around 6:30 when they wanted to come in and I noticed that they were both unbearably filthy. I decided rather than wait until 7:00 for their bath like usual, I would just bathe them now, a little early. I had just gotten them in the bath when the following conversation took place via text message.

C: Is there any alcohol in the house?

J: Uh...no.

C: Can you go get some? I really want a beer when I get home.

J: The boys are in the bath already...

C: PLEASE???

I rolled my eyes. He was serious. You can imagine how thrilled I was to take my two children in their pajamas and tennis shoes to the liquor store on a Friday night to buy beer. That's on par with me taking a five month-old to Walmart to buy beer and diapers in a dry county in Arkansas. I sighed....I guess I could do this for him. After all, he has been out in the desert for the past two weeks, I guess a cold beer when he gets home isn't too much to ask.

So I got the boys out of the bath, got them dressed and told them we were going bye-bye. Aiden asks where we're going and we have this conversation:

A: "Mommy, where are we going?"

J: "We're going to the store."

A: "Why?"

J: "To get something for Daddy."

A: "What?"

J: "Something for Daddy, don't worry about it, just put your shoes on."

A: "It's too dark, Mommy. There's monsters outside."

J: "There are no monsters outside, Aiden. Put your shoes on."

A: "You killed the monsters, Mommy?"

J: Sigh..."Yes, I killed the monsters, now put your shoes on."

A: "Okay, what are we getting?"

J: "Aiden...we're getting something for Daddy. PUT YOUR SHOES ON."

Against all odds, we make it to the store. I was hoping it wouldn't be too busy yet. Of course, that hope was in vain. I sighed, yet again, and took the boys into the store. Perfect. There is a line of about 15 single soldiers at the register. I led the boys to the beer aisle and picked up a 12 pack of Bass. Chris of course can't drink Coors or Budweiser like everybody else. No, he has to have the imported beer. So I'm standing in line behind half the soldiers on post, holding my baby in one arm, the beer in the other, and Aiden is standing next to me. This isn't so bad, I thought. A few more minutes and I'll be out of here. Yeah...right. Aiden picked that moment to exclaim, very loudly, "Oh, we're getting Daddy his BEER?? Did he drink it all GONE?"

Oh. My. God. This is not happening. This is almost as bad as the time in Germany when a certain friend of mine whom I will simply call ROXANNE decided to announce at the top of her tipsy lungs in the Shoppette that I had forgotten to grab my Summer's Eve. It's okay, Roxxi...I love you.

Everyone turned to see the toddler who was buying the beer. Fantastic. Could this get any worse? Oh....yes, it can. The soldier in front of me (I assume he was trying to be friendly) asks Aiden, "oh, are you buying Daddy some beer? That's so nice!" Aiden replies, "Yeah, I get Daddy the beers. I get them out of the fridge when they're nice and cold. I take it to him in the living room." He says all of this in a chirpy little voice while I literally sunk into the floor. Why is it that Aiden can remember the ONE TIME he got a beer out of the fridge, but he can't remember how to count to 10, something we work on every day?

I survived my foray into the world of White Trash. I guess what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. All I can say is, my husband better not think for one second that I don't love him.

And he is going to owe me for this for 100 years.

Monday, October 19, 2009

America's Next Top Model

Okay, so I entered Jack in the Gap Casting Call, so please go vote for him!!

http://family.go.com/gapcastingcall/entries/juicygirl1124/

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Itch

It occurred to me the other day that we are quickly approaching the one year mark here at Fort Irwin. It's already been over a year since I packed up and left Fort Benning in my dust, returning home to good ol' sunny Southern California. A lot of people dread coming to the desert, and hate it here, but I really do like it. I like the weather, I like the small-town, peaceful feel of our little post out here in the middle of nowhere, I like the fact that we are only a 2 hour drive from Orange County, and I like being back on the West Coast. I love that my hubby has been home with us for a year, and that, despite the monthly field rotations, he's actually home quite a lot. I like that we've been to Disneyland 5 times this year. I like my house, I like my new friends, and I'm excited to start my new business. Most of the time, I'm very content here.

And yet...sometimes I can't help but think of all the places I haven't been yet. I've never been one to just stay put. I took off for New Zealand at 17. I moved to South Korea at 20. We moved to Germany shortly after, and during our 4 years in Europe, I traveled my butt off. It's a huge world out there, and I can't imagine spending my entire life in one tiny corner of it.

And so, there are times I wish it was time to PCS. Chris has been in for 11 years this year, which means we only have 9 more years to travel the world on the government's dime! I want to live in Europe again. I want to live in Colorado. I want to live in Hawaii. Heck, I'll even go to Alaska, if that's what Uncle Sam asks of us. The idea of moving to a new place is so exciting!

People say you need to have roots, it's important to have something permanent. I tell them I do have roots, they just aren't physical. My family will always be my family, no matter where I live. My friends will always be my friends. My memories will always be my memories. And every few years, my memories come with a different backdrop.

I can feel myself getting itchy. Sometimes I daydream about the next place. What else is out there? Where can we go next? The world is a giant playground, and I want to play. I have a few top choices of places I'd like to go next, but when you boil it right down, I'll go pretty much anywhere.

Anywhere but Texas. :-)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

Proof that all my boys are crazy...:-)


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

10 Ways to Really Annoy an Army Wife

This was sent to me by a friend, and I thought it was too funny (not to mention very true!)...by the way, I added some of my own thoughts, as well....


1) As soon as you find out her husband is deployed take it upon yourself to tell her exactly how you feel about the war and how WE shouldn’t be over there.

WE? Are YOU over there, too?


2) Follow that up by asking how she feels about the President.

Oh...don't get me started....



3) Look surprised and say, “I don’t know how you do it, I could never LET my husband do that.”

That's funny, now that you mention it, I don't recall Uncle Sam calling me up and asking my permission...




4
) If she’s pregnant be sure and ask if the military is going to send her husband home for the birth.

I don't even know what to say to this one...




5) Tell her she should really consider getting additional life insurance since her husband has a good chance of getting killed.

Oh, don't worry, you as the tax-payer have already generously provided me with an excellent life insurance policy....



6) Remind her how lucky she is that her husband gets all that extra tax free money when he’s at war.

Hmmm...yeah. It does help to pay for all the babysitters and daycare that I have to get while I go to therapy....



7) Try to relate to her by saying you know just how she feels because your husband was out of town on business for a week last month.

Ahh...my favorite one. One question: did your husband miss Christmas and/or your kids' birthdays while he was on his horribly long business trip? No? Then Shut Up.



8 ) Ask her how she can be faithful for a whole year and if she worries about her husband cheating on her.

Faithful for a whole year? I'm trying to be faithful for my whole marriage. Am I worried about him cheating on me? Not really, I'm more worried about him, you know, getting killed.



9
) Inquire on whether or not her husband has killed anyone.

Actually, yes. He's killed quite a few people. That's what he does, he's a highly trained, government contracted killer. Still want to come over for a BBQ?



10) Be sure to ask her when her husband comes home, if he’s done with the military or if he has to go back.

He comes home a year or more from when he left. No, he's not done with the military, it's kind of his job. Does he have to go back? I don't know, are they still killing each other in the Middle East? Yeah? Then probably....Besides, I wouldn't want to miss out on all that extra, tax-free money we're so lucky to get.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Real Men Wear Pink

My son Jack is 18 months old, has adorable curly blond hair, blue-green eyes and the sweetest disposition (most of the time). And, oh yeah, he LOVES Dora the Explorer. Most of you remember my son Aiden's obsession with Lightning McQueen? Well, Dora is Jack's Lightning.

I don't have a problem with this, but I DO have a problem with the whole marketing team for Dora. Why is everything PINK? Why is everything Dora aimed at little girls? The show itself is not "just for girls", I mean little boys benefit from all of her little adventures and Spanish lessons, too. And yeah, I know there's Diego but Jack doesn't like Diego. He likes Dora. I feel like they are just advancing the whole girls vs. boys stereotype - you can't like Dora...you're a boy! Ugghh. It makes it really difficult when Jack's Dora Radar goes off in the store - and trust me that kid can spot Dora from a mile away - and I have to tell him, "sorry kid, but that's a dress."

I'm not going to dress my son in pink t-shirts, but I have made a few concessions. A Dora blanket that by some miracle is mostly yellow. Dora band-aids that both the boys think are "body art", a small plastic Dora doll (excuse me - action figure), and of course, lots of Dora movies that work wonders in the car.

When I was in Colorado earlier this month visiting my family, my Mom, Jack and I went to Target. I love the Dollar Aisle at Target, great deals. There is a whole bin of little kid socks for a dollar each. We find some Batman socks for Aiden (remind me to tell you THAT whole story later...), and Jack spots the inevitable Dora socks. They are pink. Jack doesn't care, he wants them, and he wants them now. Grandma snickers and gives in, saying something about how it's so great being the Grandma.

So now...we have pink Dora socks. Jack loves them so much that he literally will go and get them out of the dirty laundry and insist on wearing them again. Gross, I know. I was going to take a picture of him wearing them for you, but they are, surprise surprise, in the laundry. I had to bury them under several dirty towels so that he couldn't find them and bring them to me.

It's okay, he's just very secure in his masculinity...he can pull off pink with no problem. :-)

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Review

I said I was going to start trying to review the books I'm reading, so I'd better get started! I recently read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. It's told from the perspective of a fifteen year-old boy named Christopher, who has Autism. Christopher stumbles upon the dead body of his neighbor's dog and decides to investigate and find the murderer.

What follows is a very quirky story which paints an amazing picture of the autistic mind. At first I wasn't sure I was going to like it, it's rather disjointed and tends to jump from one subject to another with total randomness. But this is how Christopher's mind works, and after a while it does start to make a weird kind of sense. The story quickly escalates from a childhood mystery to dealing with some very sad and heavy events that have taken place in Christopher's life. I don't want to give away any more of the plot - you might decide to read it for yourself.

I do recommend that you read it, as it's different from a lot of other fiction. A new and interesting point of view to consider is never a bad thing.

For next month our book club has chosen The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Want to Join Us?

In my last post, I mentioned how much I love to read, so it's only natural that I'm part of a book club here on post. We meet once a month to discuss the latest choice, and also we eat and chat and just have a good time together. I'm going to try something new, and start reviewing the books we read here on my blog. Feel free to read along with me if you'd like. If you're here on Fort Irwin and would like to join us in person, you are more than welcome - the more great minds, the better! We decided last month to start trying to choose books off the BBC's list of 100 Books Everyone Should Read. It provides a wide selection, so everyone should be happy at some point!

This month we have chosen to read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. There is a link to the right, if you want more information. I just ordered a used copy from Amazon, so once it arrives I'll get started. My plan is to start posting my reviews the day after the meeting, so if you're interested, keep an eye out for that.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Twilight...really?

I love to read. That's actually an understatement. I have a passion for the written word. I read faster than most people run. It drives my husband a little nuts, I zoom through books at light speed. I don't really have a preference, I read all kinds of things. I do like classics though. And I like books that make you think. I like books that grab you from the first page and pull you into another universe, where the world could fall down around you and you wouldn't notice. If an author can draw my attention away from two very loud children, and all the myriad things around the house that I should be doing, that's good writing.

I'm not one to jump on a literary bandwagon. I prefer to choose my own interests, rather than have every single person on the planet tell me I need to read something. Harry Potter holds no sway over me. I could care less when the new one comes out, and you'll never find me outside Barnes and Noble just before midnight, counting down the seconds until I can purchase the next fix.

When Twilight came out, I watched as America plunged over the edge like a herd of lemmings. I scoffed, said to myself, here we go again, and steadfastly refused to be drawn in. A lot of my friends considered this odd, taking into account my strange fascination with vampire lore. They figured I'd be the first one to jump head first into the Twilight World. And maybe I would have, if it hadn't been so...BIG. The hype just turned me off.

A couple of months ago I gave in and watched the movie. I was pleasantly surprised, I actually thought it was good. Not fantastic, but much better than I was expecting. I gave some thought to reading the book, but eventually forgot about it. Then, I came into possession of the first novel in the series through Swaptree.com. I figured it was free, so what the heck, if it's terrible I'll just stop reading it. So I stuck it on the shelf and said, I'll get to it later, when I'm desperate for something to read.

This past Friday evening, I was desperate for something to read. I'd read through everything else on the shelf, and my book club hasn't chosen a new book yet. I saw Twilight sitting there patiently and, rolling my eyes, I picked it up. I settled on the couch with my favorite blanket, tuned out the annoying sounds of Friday Night Smackdown that were coming from the TV, and opened to the first page.

At that point, I fell into the world of Stephenie Meyer. To say that I read Twilight is not entirely accurate. I inhaled it. I was literally mesmerized. I felt what Bella felt, I saw Edward's golden eyes, I was really and truly fascinated. I finished Twilight the next day. It's 500 pages. Today is Sunday and I'm almost done with book two. I feel like I can't read it fast enough, yet at the same time I want to slow down, draw it out so it doesn't end too quickly.

At first I was kind of embarrassed that I was actually reading Twilight, after all of my denial and scorn. Now I don't even care. I love a good book, and I'll be searching for book three tomorrow, I have no doubt. While I don't plan on taking the Facebook quiz to find out which Twilight character I am, I will admit that I am snared - hook, line and sinker.

But...I'm still not going to read Harry Potter.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering

I would be remiss in my "Army Wife Life" duties if I didn't post something today. Today is the day 8 years ago, when our lives changed forever. America changed that day, the day when terrorism crossed our borders and hit us at home. It was the day that took our military from training to war once again.

Most of America, after the shock of the those events receded, went back to their lives, their jobs, their everyday things. Those of us in the military, we didn't have that option. We went from a peace-time military to a mighty war machine. Overnight. The Sleeping Giant was roused once again.

We said goodbye to our husbands, our wives, our soldiers. We sent them off to do what they are trained to do. We sacrificed our family, for the sake of everyone else's. Eight years later, we are still saying goodbye.

On this day we remember all those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks, and all those who remain behind and miss them. We remember all those who have given their lives to prevent 9/11 from happening again, and we give thanks for all of our brave men and women who continue to fight, and sacrifice, to keep us free.

God Bless America!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just Another Thursday Morning

I thought I would share my fabulous morning with all of you.

5:30 AM - Wake up, courtesy of Jack. I could understand when he woke up this early when it was light outside, but now the days are getting longer and it's still dark at the butt-crack of dawn. But still...he's up.

5:32 AM - Coffee brewing. Even Jack knows to leave me alone until I've had my first cup. Start Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD for my little early riser.

5:52 AM - Finally...a cup of coffee.

6:03 AM - Restart Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD.

6:15 AM - Chris leaves for work. Sucks to be him.

6:30 AM - Aiden wakes up and scampers downstairs, informing me very loudly that it's raining. I look out the window - it's cloudless and probably 80 degrees already.

6:33 AM - Aiden asks for food. Jack asks for food. I make Eggo Waffles.

6:34 AM - Restart Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD.

6:40 AM - Get bumped by small children bouncing on the couch and spill coffee all over my leg.

6:41 AM - Go into the kitchen for a towel and step in a puddle of apple juice next to an "unspillable" sippy cup.

6:43 AM - Change pants. Change socks.

6:45 AM - Get another cup of coffee. Sit down at the computer.

6:46 AM - Realize Jack's PJ's are soaking wet from the apple juice spill.

6:47 AM - Remove wet PJ's and send him off to play in his diaper.

6:48 AM - Sit down at the computer with coffee...again.

6:49 AM - Aiden asks for food. Jack asks for food. I make Eggo waffles...again.

6:53 AM - Sit down at the computer with coffee. Coffee is cold. Reheat coffee in the microwave.

6:55 AM - Aiden has to go potty. I clean up that mess, since he is, after all, a boy.

6:58 AM - Help Jack wash his hands. He insists on washing his hands every time Aiden goes potty. What can I say, he's clean.

7:00 AM - Sit down with coffee at the computer.

7:02 AM - Restart Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD.

7:03 AM - Sit down with coffee at the computer. Wait expectantly for a "MOMMY!!!!"...all is quiet. I manage to actually write a blog post.

It's now 7:20 AM.

I'm tired.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Reality of War

I'm sure most of you are aware by now of the recent firestorm surrounding the Associated Press and their decision to publish a photo of a dying Marine. Like most members and family members of the military, I am shocked and appalled by the AP's decision. The Associated Press defended their decision by saying they felt it was important to convey the reality of war, and the reality is that people die.

I believe that we are ALL aware of this fact already. And while I am a big supporter of telling people the truth (especially in the media), we all know this rarely happens. From day one of our campaigns against the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, the press has been steadily feeding the American people a boatload of horrific stories. We always hear about the bad things that happen, the civilians who get killed, the abuse being done to these poor innocent people by our big, bad soldiers. Why? Because that's what sells newspapers. People don't want to hear about the schools our soldiers have rebuilt, about the electricity and plumbing being brought to people who never had it before, about the scores of Afghani and Iraqi women who are now able to hold jobs and attend college. That's boring to the voyeuristic people who only want to read about the horrors of war. So why should we be surprised when the AP decides to run a photo of one of our brave Marines while he's dying? That's juicy stuff!

But in the media's race to get the scoop, they've forgotten one very important thing. It is imperative that while we are in the midst of this terrible war and the horrors of terrorism that surround us every day, we must retain our humanity. Our compassion. Isn't that what the terrorists themselves have forgotten? Aren't we fighting to protect the humanity and the rights of people who can't defend themselves? Isn't this what Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard died fighting to protect? So why does the Associated Press feel it's okay to disregard the express wishes of his family, deny their and their slain son's right to privacy and plaster this horrible piece of "journalism" all over the newspapers? This act alone shows man's inhumanity to man more clearly than any roadside bomb. Why? Because WE SHOULD KNOW BETTER. To deny this Marine a dignified death, to plaster a family's grief at the loss of their son across every breakfast table in America is simply inhuman. We call it barbaric when a terrorist group publicly executes a criminal, beheading them on television. We thank God that our culture is not that bloodthirsty. Is this not the same thing?

The family of Lance Corporal Bernard as well as Secretary of Defense Gates both appealed to the AP, begging that this photo not be run. But the AP decided they knew better. After "careful deliberation", the editors made the decision to run it anyway, even though they knew this would cause the family even more grief at a time when they deserve our country's support and understanding. I am personally ashamed that the Freedom of the Press, which is among the freedoms that Lance Corporal Bernard swore to defend with his life (an oath which he upheld to the fullest), is now being used to disrespect him in such a manner. I have one question for the editors of the Associated Press. If it were your son in that photo, would your decision have been different?

My deepest condolences to the family of Lance Corporal Bernard. May your son rest in Everlasting Peace.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hello....Anyone There???

Yes, I know. It's been a while. I'm sorry, I just haven't felt like blogging lately. I'd say I don't have time, but we all know that's a lie since I'm addicted to Facebook and spend too much time taking dumb quizzes to find out what 80's cartoon character I am. But I decided that I miss blogging, and I'm going to really start trying to update this more. It's not for lack of things to talk about, that's for sure!

For starters, I'm re-entering the workforce. For all of my fellow SAHM's, don't panic! I'm getting certified to provide Army Family Childcare in my home. I'm almost done with the process, I have to go through my inspections still, but I'm almost there! I'm really excited to start, I think it will be a great way to earn another income and still stay home with my kids while they're little. Our family room has been turned into a preschool classroom, which is actually turning out rather well. Don't call me a "babysitter", for I have lesson plans and menus and LOTS of training. I'm really more like an at-home preschool teacher. Trust me, I'll be earning my paycheck! I'm hoping to be open the beginning of October.

What else? Let's see...Aiden is mostly potty-trained. I say "mostly" because up until a couple of days ago he flat out refused to put his #2 in the potty. I got to the point where I was so frustrated with the whole thing, the doctor told me to put him back in diapers and take a break from it. Lo and behold, after a couple of weeks back in diapers, he took the initiative and pooped on the potty. All by himself. So far we've had it happen twice, I'm hoping it will stick. Cross your fingers because I'm REALLY tired of two in diapers....

My sister is going to have a baby in like, 3 days. I'm super excited to be an Auntie again, this time on my side of the family! Pray that everything goes well, since she's also suffering from a gallstone, which can't be removed until after delivery. I can't imagine being 9 months pregnant and having a gallstone.

Anyway, I *hope* to be updating this a lot more often than every 4 months, so keep checking back, I've missed you...:-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jack Giggles

The sweetest sound...:-)


Monday, May 11, 2009

New Photos

I put some new photos of the kids up on my Facebook - you can see them by clicking here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

New Post on Mommyland

I'm on a roll! I updated this blog AND Mommyland! Check it out!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Boy Crazy

Certain people have been giving me grief for not writing on here lately. And I know it, I've been neglecting this blog. It's not intentional, I'm just, well...I'll tell you about it.

I titled this post "Boy Crazy". I don't mean I'm crazy for boys, I mean I'm crazy from boys. I realize that all toddlers and preschoolers, boys AND girls, can and do cause their mothers grief. But I just really think that boys are worse. They just seem to have this genetic predisposition to trouble. Of course, in my case that's probably not far from accurate, considering their father's childhood exploits. But did NONE of my DNA get in there? Seriously!?

And I think that they just go around looking for ways to drive me crazy. That's their sole reasoning behind the act. Drive Mom Crazy. I mean, what other reason could Aiden have for, say, pouring furniture polish on the couch? Or, getting the kitchen scissors out of the dishwasher and giving his little brother a haircut? And that was just yesterday. He also enjoys locking his little brother in the pantry, and drawing on the wood floor with crayons. At least they're washable.

And he's not the only one. Jack may look all cute an innocent, but he's just as guilty. There is of course the now-infamous piano incident. He also managed to get Daddy's cell phone off the charger and hide it in a still unknown location. Or let's see...he decided to help me clean up the bathroom by dumping several articles of clothing into the toilet, along with a toy car and a whole roll of toilet paper. I'm just glad he hasn't figured out the flusher, although I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

I could go on and on. Needless to say, at the end of the day, I'm tired. Actually, that's not true. I'm tired all day long. So as much as I would love to spend an hour in the evening recording this time in my life for all posterity, I'm usually cracking open a bottle of wine and praying fervently that Jack will sleep for longer than 2 hours before waking up again. I also make a valiant attempt each night to clean up the destruction the kids have left in their wake, although by about 10 o'clock the next morning I'm seriously wondering why I bothered.

Right now, I'm going to go take a nap. Last night Jack was up every 20-30 minutes, he was coming down with a cold and was extremely restless. I didn't get much sleep. In fact, I pretty much didn't get any sleep at all, so keep my state of extreme sleep deprivation in mind when you're reading this, and ignore any and all grammatical and spelling errors. Please. I is tired. Chris is home for his day off from the field, and to my way of thinking, he can deal with the kids for a while. As long as everyone is still alive and in one piece when I wake up, it's all good....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back Home

Sorry it's been a while, we had our Ball in Primm on Friday, and then we went to Vegas for the weekend. I don't have time for details now, but later on I will tell the whole story! I just wanted to let everyone know that we ARE alive, and I promise I DO have pictures of Jack's birthday, life is just crazy, crazy! Especially now that I have a preschooler and a TODDLER!!! :-)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Birthday Boy!!

Today is Jack's first birthday!! I can't believe he's a year old already!! My parents are coming in today for a visit, and we are having a little party for him later, so I'll post some pics tonight.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Child-Free Shopping

I've mentioned before that we have a Battalion Ball coming up. I've been trying to get back in shape so I'd fit into my old dress, but it's not going to happen. I've been faithfully working out the best I can, and it does fit better than it did, but it's not all that flattering to be squeezed into a dress that's still two sizes too small. So on that note, I have to go shopping for a new dress. My friend Heidi and I are going ballgown shopping on Saturday WITHOUT OUR KIDS!!! And we are going down to Rancho Cucamonga which is about an hour and a half away, so the likelihood of an emergency call from Daddy to "hurry up and come home and save me" is much reduced!

I can't tell you how excited I am to be going shopping with a girlfriend with no little kids in tow. It's really hard to even look at stuff on a rack, much less try anything on with two - make that three if you include Heidi's son - impatient little boys with you. So it should be really fun to be able to browse to my heart's content at a Southern California shopping mall. :-)

And yes, I know I seem to have a lot of friends named Heidi. I'm not sure why that is, I guess I just like people named Heidi...:-)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

San Diego

This last week we went down to San Diego for a mini-vacation. Chris had a doctor's appt at Balboa Naval Hospital, so we decided to make a weekend out of it. Well, actually, a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, but you get the point...

So anyway, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Sea World, courtesy of Hotwire. There was a nice little 50's style diner attached to the hotel, and on Thursday morning while Chris was at his doctor's appointment, I took the boys to breakfast. As you can imagine, going out to eat with both boys by myself is a little difficult, but they behaved for the most part. We had one little incident, but it wasn't really Aiden's fault. I mean, he's three, it's not his fault he can't pronounce all of his words correctly....You're probably smiling by this point, thinking he must have said something embarrassing by accident. You have no idea.

Aiden has trouble with "fff" sounds sometimes. They occasionally come out as "h"s, such as in "horse". Our waitress came by and had a button on her uniform with a number 4 on it. I don't know what it was for. Aiden caught sight of it and at the top of his lungs yells out, "Mom! That's a whore?" pointing at our waitress. I froze in utter mortification. My three year-old had just called this sweet girl a whore in front of everyone. She looked at me with a shocked expression. I cleared my throat and said, "Umm...he means "four"..." and pointed to her button. She quickly realized he wasn't actually calling her a whore and laughed about it. I was very relieved that she wasn't offended, but seriously, we never went back to that restaurant.

On Thursday afternoon we went to the beach at Belmont Park. It wasn't as warm as we were hoping, but we got to go on a nice walk and have some ice cream on the beach. Jack enjoyed his first experience with sand, he even preferred to eat that over the ice cream.

On Friday we went to Sea World, and the boys had a blast! Aiden loved the dolphins, Jack liked the polar bears, and we got to see the Shamu show. Aiden and Daddy went right up front and got soaked, much to Aiden's delight. It was a really fun day, and if you've never been to Sea World, I highly recommend it. If you are Active Duty military, you and three of your dependents can get in free once a year, so we took advantage of that!! They were really supportive of the military, and had signs up everywhere thanking "our Heroes", and at the Shamu show they had all military members (past and present) and their families stand up, and the whole stadium clapped and cheered. It makes me a little teary just to write about it.

They have a section at Sea World called Coco Loco, which is basically a bunch of carnival games. Chris took Aiden to try their hand at it, while Jack and I played in the baby "block pit" for awhile. Jack just needed to stretch his legs after several hours in the stroller. After a bit I got Jack out of the play area and was walking back to the stroller when I saw someone walking toward me with a GIGANTIC stuffed Elmo. Since I absolutely can't stand Elmo and think he's the most annoying thing EVER, I thought it was pretty hideous. Then I realized that the guy holding it was Chris. Oh...My...Gosh.

"Ummm....what the HECK is that, and why do you have it?"

"We won the ring toss, can you believe that?? We actually WON!!"

"Oh boy, I'm thrilled...." shaking my head....

Aiden was beside himself with absolute joy, jumping up and down and babbling about his "Elmo Giant". The thing literally is giant. It's about 4.5 feet tall, and totally huge. You know those big prizes that are always hanging up and that nobody ever wins? This is one of those. So we had to drive home with "Elmo Giant" in the back seat. Fun, fun.

On Saturday we left San Diego and drove up to Huntington Beach, where we had lunch and spent the afternoon on the pier with my really good friend Alethia. Aiden was very excited to see his "Auntie Letha", whom he remembers for her awesome Christmas tree. We had a really good time and got home about 8 o'clock Saturday night.

I posted pictures on my Facebook, you can see them by clicking here, even if you don't have a Facebook account. And if you don't have Facebook, WHY NOT?? :-)

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Helping Hand

I took my car in to the Ford dealer in Barstow today to be looked at. It was making a weird noise whenever I turned the fan on. Plus I needed an oil change. Since Chris had to work, it was up to me to deal with it. I had no idea how long I would be there, so I didn't want to put the kids in hourly care in case I wasn't back in time to pick them up. So...I had to take them with me. Surprisingly, they were fantastic.

During our wait at the shop something interesting happened with Aiden. We were sitting in the lobby, Aiden was playing with a bouncy ball, when the door opened and a woman walked in. She looked older, but it wasn't the years, it was the mileage. She was dirty, wearing ratty clothes and walked sort of hunched over, as if all of her troubles were literally weighing her down. She was obviously homeless. I wondered what she was doing in the dealership when an employee greeted her with a cheerful, "Hi Judy! How are you doing today?"

She gave a half smile and mumbled something in response. She wandered over to the coffee machine while a few other employees said hi to her. One mentioned that she had just stocked the coffee station, so Judy should have plenty of cream and sugar. I realized that this lady just came in for the coffee, and a place to sit down out of the wind. The employees all welcomed her with a smile and didn't mind at all.

While Judy got her coffee, Aiden stared intently at her. He watched her every move like a hawk. I was almost cringing, waiting for something embarrassing to come out of his mouth, like "Mommy she needs a bath," or "her coat is dirty". He didn't say anything though, he just watched her. At one point she accidentally dropped the little coffee stirrer on the ground, and Aiden spurred into action.

He ran over to her, saying, "I'll get it! I'll get it!" He picked up the stirrer and handed it to her. "Here you go, you dropped this!"

She looked at my little boy and I saw tears well up in her eyes, and for a second I thought she was going to cry. But then she just said, "thank you," and took the stirrer from his little fingers.

"You're welcome, very much!" Aiden answered happily and then ran back over to me, very proud of himself. Judy smiled at me and told me I had a sweet little boy, and I had to agree.

It occurred to me then how different children see things from adults. When we see homeless people, our first reaction is almost always to move away, sit on the other side, avoid eye contact, as if their homelessness were some disease that might rub off on us. Not so with children. Aiden didn't see her troubles or assume the worst about her and stay away. He saw someone who needed help and he rushed to give it to her, the same as he would for you or me.

How I wish that I hadn't been so jaded by this world, that I could still see things the way he does. As adults we try and teach our children, but sometimes our children end up teaching us.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jack and the Beanstalk

Some kids are climbers. They'll climb on anything and everything, just to do it and to see what's up there. Aiden wasn't one of those kids. Jack on the other hand...yeah, he's a climber. While we don't have any beanstalks around here (or trees of any kind), he's found plenty of other things to scale.

For instance...I had a small toy organizing bin under the window in the boys' playroom. You know the kind, with a wooden frame and canvas boxes that set in it to keep the toys organized. While the very concept of that has become somewhat of an exercise in futility, I have caught Jack many times using it as a stepping stone to climb onto the window sill and spy on the backyard. He has also used the oven door on the play kitchen to climb up and stand on the top of the play stove.

But the kicker happened yesterday. Keep in mind that Jack is only 11 months old, not that he's letting his lack of years or experience stop him. He likes to play the piano. I don't mind this, in fact I usually encourage it, as long as nobody is sleeping. Yesterday I went into the living room to put on a movie for Aiden when I hear the tinkling of the piano keys coming from the family room where Jack and I had been playing. No big deal, he plays the piano all the time. Only this time, he decided to do things a bit differently. In the 2 minutes that I was in the living room with Aiden, Jack pushed a box over to the piano, used it to climb onto the piano bench, and in turn used the piano bench to climb on top of the piano and started tapping the keys with his feet.

Yes, you read that correctly. I walked back into the family room and just about had a heart attack to see my little baby standing on the piano. Not only that, but he was only barely holding on with one hand. He smiled at me and gave me a look that said, "Look Ma! No hands!" He was so incredibly proud of his musical accomplishment that he didn't notice all of my hair turning gray in the span of about 4 seconds.

Of course, I had to call and tell my mother, since it's her piano. She laughed.

Jack's a sneaky little turd. Just because he's cute doesn't mean he's a little angel. Far from it, in fact. I have a feeling that he's going to give me 10 times more trouble than Aiden in the years to come. He has a face that screams, "but I'm innocent!", and he knows how to use it....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Movin' On Up

A big congratulations to my hubby for making the E-7 list!! Woohoo!! We are all pretty excited, we just found out today. Sergeant First Class Echevarria...has a nice ring to it, don't you think? :-)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Interesting

I came across this trailer for a movie/documentary that's coming out, and I thought it looked pretty good. Just wanted to share:

http://www.brothersatwarmovie.com/#/Home

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Aiden the Explorer

I'm just going to come out and say it. Aiden loves Dora. I realize it's "supposed" to be for girls, but I don't really care. He loves it, and he's learning so much from watching it. He's learned his shapes, and some of his colors, and all kinds of things.

So I shouldn't have been surprised today when we had this little conversation:

A: "Mommy, I want to go to Coney Island."

M: "Uhhh....Coney Island?" Isn't that in New York?

A: "Yeah, Coney Island. Come on, let's go!"

M: "Okay, well, what's in Coney Island?'

A: "The ice cream truck."

M: "Really? The ice cream truck is in Coney Island?" What is this kid talking about?

A: "Let's go! Hurry! And get 8 coins!"

M: "8 coins?" Huh? "I don't have 8 coins."

By this time I am totally confused.

A: "Get my piggy bank. I need 8 coins."

M: "Yeah...sure...okay. 8 coins. By the way, where is Coney Island?"

A: "Gate, Lake, CONEY ISLAND!!"

AHHH, the light bulb came on.

M: "Are you watching Dora? Is Dora going to Coney Island?"

A: "Yeah, and I'm going too! I need 8 coins. Where's the keys?"

You would be amazed at the level of understanding that a three year-old truly possesses. He may not be able to use the toilet, but he knows you need money and keys if you want to go somewhere. The way of the world, right?

The kid cracks me up. And he really needs to get out more (as evidenced by his trip to Coney Island), so I signed him up for preschool 2 days a week. He starts next week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I honestly can't tell you who's more excited, Aiden or Mommy. I'm going to try to put Jack in hourly care those days also, so I can have two mornings of time to myself.

I'm trying to get involved in some grown-up things. There's the gym for starters, and also some of the women in our team are starting up a book club. We are going to read books that don't rhyme or have pictures of the Cat in the Hat on the cover! Imagine that!

Although...Dr. Suess is full of political statements...just go read Yertle the Turtle.

Yeah, I really need to get out more.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Registration

I went down yesterday to register the kids with CYS. For those non-Army folks, CYS is Child and Youth Services, they handle all the daycare, school, youth sports and activities on post, and if you want your kids to participate in any of it, they have to be registered. No big deal, except that you have to have so much paperwork and stuff it's nearly impossible. I wanted to sign the boys up for hourly care at the daycare so that I have a place to take them during appointments and so that I can have a break sometimes, and also to sign Aiden up for PRESCHOOL!!!

Anyway, I called ahead of time, made an appointment and got a list of all the crap I needed to bring with me. Shot records, health assessments signed by their doctor proving they don't have ebola or something, another health screening form, birth certificates, pay stubs, social security cards, 2 emergency contacts in the Fort Irwin area (not that easy when you are new and don't really know that many people yet), not to mention the huge application form you have to fill out. Are you kidding me??? I managed to get it all together and go down there. Chris was going to try to come home and watch the kids for me, but at the last minute he couldn't make it so they had to come too.

After it was all said and done, I got the kids registered and signed up for hourly care, and Aiden is on the waiting list for part-day preschool. YAY!! I have to go to an orientation at 8AM Friday morning, whoever thought THAT was a good time to impart vital information?? Next week, I'm taking the kids to the daycare for a couple hours, and who knows what I'll do. The gym? Scrapbook? Clean house?

Maybe I'll just sit and listen to the silence.....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Working Out

I used to work out a lot, back when we were in Germany and Chris was deployed to Kosovo and Iraq. I went almost every day. No kids, and not much else to do, I ended up in pretty good shape by the time he came back! Then along came the babies, and all of that went away. Now I have decided that it's high time I get back into the gym. SO, I have started running. Which is pretty crazy, since I have never run before in my life. Even when I was working out, I always did the elliptical machine, I never had any desire to run. But for some reason, I just felt like giving it a try. So I loaded up the iPod and walked across the street to the gym. That's right - it's ACROSS THE STREET! No excuses, right? The only problem is those darn kids of mine. I have to wait until Chris gets home from work before I can go. No big deal - when he's here. But he does go to the field 2 weeks out of every month. Sometimes he comes in a lot, sometimes not, so on the evenings he is home, I can still go. But I wanted to make sure that I could still work out on days I can't get to the gym, so I bought the Wii Fit. My plan is to work out 6 days a week - 3 at the gym, 3 at home. On my gym days I do cardio and weights, at home it's cardio and yoga.

So that's my grand plan. I actually do enjoy working out - once I force myself to get in the habit of it. I'm hoping I can get up when Chris goes to PT and use the Wii Fit, since both the boys are usually still sleeping then. I REALLY want to get back in shape, so I think the motivation is there. Plus - once I get to where I want to be, I plan to go shopping. And nothing motivates me like shopping!!

Wish me luck!

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Car

Well, actually, that's not true. It's actually pretty old. Chris' uncle has a 1946 Jeep Willy that he is selling to us for really cheap, and we are going to pick it up this weekend in Lemoore. It needs a little work done to make it run, some wiring stuff and new break lines...or something...I don't really know. Several of the guys on Chris' team now do this kind of thing, so hopefully we won't have to actually pay for any of the labor, since these guys are happy with a case of beer and some brownies. But we - make that Chris - is super excited about this old Jeep. Apparently it's already set up to go off-road and everything. Chris wants to get it painted OD green to make it look like the vintage World War II-era jeep that it is. I think it'll be pretty cool, not to mention that he won't be taking my car to work every day anymore! So we are going over to Lemoore on Thursday, get it ready to be towed on Friday, then Chris and his cousin will tow it up here on Saturday, drive back to Lemoore, and we will all come home on Sunday. No Disneyland for us this 4-day weekend, but I guess it's worth it!

But NEXT month is when the fun starts for us. We have a battalion ball in Primm, Nevada which is not far from Las Vegas. So we are going up to Primm, and my parents are going to join us to watch the kids for the night. Then we are all going to Las Vegas for a couple of days, and have a little fun! Chris has never been to Vegas, and I haven't been in almost 10 years, so it should be fun. We haven't been to a ball since Aiden was a baby, and when I went to try on my ballgown (well, one of them), it didn't fit. Rather than fork out the money for a new gown, I'm going to attempt to lose 10 pounds before then! I'm going to go to the gym at least 3 times a week when Chris gets home from work, and I'm trying to talk him into buying me the Wii Fit, so that way I can work out at home too. This dress WILL fit me by the middle of April!!

Yeah...we'll see! :-)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pics

We went to the park yesterday, and I took a few pics of the boys playing. Afterward we went and picked up Daddy from work when he came in from the field, and I got a few of Aiden playing on Chris' humvee.







The Beginning of the End...

...actually, it's more like the End of the Beginning. Jack took 2 steps the other night. And while this accomplishment makes me proud and excited, I'm also a little bit sad. He's just growing so fast I feel like I can't keep up. Just yesterday he was my baby, now he's starting to walk and talk. It's funny how things change from kid to kid. I couldn't wait for Aiden to walk, I was so excited to see all the things he would learn how to do. Now with Jack I just want him to stay a baby. I'm not ready for him to grow up yet, and walking is the first step...so to speak. Pretty soon he'll be running and jumping and generally driving me crazy, just like his big brother.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Miracles

They do happen. Case in point....

Yesterday morning when I was channel-surfing at 6 am with Jack, I came across the show Good Day LA (a morning news show in the LA area), which was featuring a segment with an Australian pediatrician named Dr. Henry Zehnwirth. He developed a CD and program he called Sounds For Silence, to help restless babies go to sleep and stay asleep. I thought to myself, I need to watch this....

The CD is basically a combination of different white noises they've tested on all kinds of babies, along with a selection of soft classical music. The noises include a vacuum cleaner, street sounds, heartbeats, that kind of thing. They even showed a demonstration of a baby zonking out in under 2 minutes while listening to the music. He said that 9 out of 10 babies in their tests responded to the sounds in under 2 minutes. Maybe it was because of my extreme sleep deprivation, but I decided I HAD to have this CD. I wanted to incorporate it into my sleep training method I'm working on with Jack. He still wakes up 6 or 7 times a night most nights, but he's slowly getting better. I thought this might help speed the process up a bit.

I tried something similar with Aiden when he was a baby, a CD of heartbeat noises the hospital gave me. It didn't work. At all. So I was a bit skeptical, but like I said, in my current state I am willing to try anything. So I went to the website, bought and downloaded the music and we loaded it on the iPod last night.

We set up a pair of small speakers right next to the crib and played the music quietly, all night long. A miracle occured. Jack slept almost all night long. Seriously! He woke up once around 2:30 and was standing up in his crib, so I went to him, laid him back down, helped him find his binky and he was back asleep in under 30 seconds. I heard him stir a few times during the night, but he just made a few fussy noises, then rolled over and went back to sleep - without my help or intervention. And one other thing - absolutely no crying involved.

So I'm now a believer in Sounds For Silence. I realize it's only been one night, but I'm sold. It's amazing what 8 hours of sleep will do for a Mommy! So we are going to incorporate this into our routine, and *hopefully* in a month or two he'll be sleeping well enough to move him out of our room and into Aiden's room, as we are having the boys share a room.

If you have a baby who doesn't like to sleep, I highly recommend this CD. The website is Sounds For Silence. Now I've given you the Australian website, it's actually cheaper to order it from there. They sell it on Amazon but it's around $60 for the CD, book and download. I bought the same package on the Aussie website for around $45 US, including shipping. This gives you the downloadable version, along with a CD and book they will send you in the mail. You can also just buy the downloadable version if you want.

If you are sleep deprived like I am - TRY IT!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Boys and Their Toys

Aiden has recently been introduced to a modern classic - Star Wars. He LOVES it. It cracks me up that it came out 30 years before he was born. Some might say that 3 is too young for Star Wars, but my mom took me to see Return of the Jedi when I was 3 (of course, this is when it was actually at the theater...the first time....)

Anyway, during our last visit to Disneyland - before the rain hit - Daddy took Aiden on Autotopia and I decided to do some shopping. I stumbled upon a real, live, Lightsaber at the Star Wars store in Tomorrowland. Of course, I HAD to buy it. You may think I'm crazy, putting something like that in the hands of an overactive 3 year-old, but...I have boys. My philosophy is this - if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Rather than visualize all the breakables he would knock over with it, I chose to think about the look of absolute joy that would appear on his little face when I presented it to him.

I was not disappointed.

He now plays with his Lightsaber (which he calls his "quarter" and no, I have absolutely no idea why), all the time. He slays invisible monsters and tells me that he's "Skywalker"! He even does these little tucks and rolls and acts like he's really in a sword-fight. It's hysterical to watch, and one of these days I'll record it.

So, while he may have knocked a few things over, whacked the wall a time or two and almost impaled his little brother (who incidentally also loves to play with the "quarter" and needs one of his own), I've sparked his boyish imagination, and opened up whole new worlds of play-time.

What's a few broken knick-knacks compared to that?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bummer

Well, we went to Disneyland on Thursday, and it was all fine and great until about 3 pm, when it started pouring. I'm not talking a little drizzle, I'm talking cats and dogs. As fun as Disneyland is, its just not fun in the pouring down rain with 2 small, grumpy, wet kids, so we decided to call it a day and headed back to the hotel. We woke up Friday morning planning to go back, but it was still raining, and according to the weather channel had no plans to stop anytime soon, so we had to just come home. It was a big, fat bummer. But we are going back next month, so hopefully we'll have more fun then! Unfortunately, I didn't really get any pictures, so they'll have to wait until next month.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Back Again

Chris has a 4 day weekend this weekend, so we are leaving tomorrow for Disneyland again, staying in Anaheim on Wednesday night, going to the park all day Thursday and part of Friday, and then driving home Friday evening. We bought these passes so we are taking advantage of them!! It's nice to be only 2 hours away, so we can go for just a day if we want to. In looking for a hotel I decided to try Hotwire, I've never used them before. I actually got the Hilton Anaheim and Towers for $55 a night! I'll definitely take that!

Anyway, we are hoping that the park is less crowded this time, since it's February and also the middle of the week. I'm also hoping that this time around Aiden will know a little more what to expect, and won't have meltdowns when we have to stand in line. I know...wishful thinking, right?

Look for pictures on Friday evening or Saturday!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another Birthday

We are celebrating another birthday at our house today - Daddy's. Not only is it Chris's birthday, but it's a big one, he's 30 today! Luckily, he got to come in from the field today for a break, so we get to celebrate together. I got him a cake from the bakery, I wanted the one that said "older than dirt", but that one wasn't available, so I had to settle for the camo/army cake.

Aiden was excited when we picked up the cake, and then upset to realize that it wasn't for him. The kid doesn't even like cake, so I don't know why he's so upset. I guess he's just 3.

Happy Birthday Chris! You'll always be older than me....:-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Conversations With Little People

In the last couple of weeks, the floodgates of Aiden's conversation skills have opened, and it's like he's had a word explosion. He can suddenly, like, talk, and use these huge long sentences and all kinds of words that I had no idea he knew just come spilling out. It's crazy! He's also learning how to do all kinds of things by himself. For example, he can now get himself completely dressed, including his socks. He can also make toast. At least, he thinks he can make toast, and he probably could if I would let him, which I won't. We've had some interesting talks lately. Have you ever wondered what actually goes through a three year-old's mind? It's fascinating. Here's an example.

Aiden is in the playroom upstairs, watching Diego this morning....

"Aiden, it's time to get dressed."

"Oh, not right now. Diego's saving the baby birds. I'm helping. I get dressed in a minute, okay?"

"Ummm...okay. Heaven forbid I interfere with the saving of the baby birds. Just make sure you get dressed when the show's over, okay? Please?"

"Okay. Yeah. In a minute."

"Here's your clothes, I'm setting them right next to you."

"Oh...I don't want to wear those. I get my clothes later."

"Yeah...okay...whatever..."

After this little exchange I went downstairs. About 30 minutes later Aiden came downstairs for breakfast. He was dressed. And I can tell you for a fact that what he was wearing was NOT what I picked out for him. He was wearing camo shorts and a gray and blue t-shirt with black socks. He told me proudly -

"I get dressed Mommy! I match!"

"Uh, not exactly. But good job!!" Good thing we aren't going anywhere today....

Jack talks too. He's not quite as understandable though. He mostly blabbers, although he does say "Mama" and "Aid". He's starting to throw "Daddy" in there sometimes too. He says "NaNa" when he's hungry, although I'm not sure what that's supposed to be. Jack's big accomplishment this week is that he can now stand, unassisted, for up to 30 seconds. HE'S NINE MONTHS OLD! I am not ready for him to walk yet. Once he starts walking that will be the end of his babyhood, and I just can't handle that yet. I might have to knock him over so he stops trying. Kidding...I'm kidding. Not really.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lullaby...and Good Night...

I'm trying something new with Jack, to help him sleep better (he wakes up ALL the time). I'm going to be blogging about our experiences over on Mommyland, so if you'd like to read more about it and follow along with us, be sure to check it out!

Jack's First Haircut

My little Jack got his hair cut yesterday, it was getting kind of scraggly. Daddy came in from the field for a little while and took one look at the boys and declared them both in need of a haircut. So off we went to the barber shop. Jack was so good, he just sat there and looked very serious for the most part. Aiden wasn't thrilled at first (he doesn't like getting his hair cut) but then once the buzzer started he laughed and laughed, I think it tickled. So now both my boys have little soldier-boy haircuts, they are too cute.

Anyway, in honor of Jack's first haircut, I did a comparison of both the boys and their first haircuts. We got Jack's cut a lot earlier than we did Aiden's (mainly because Jack has much more hair than Aiden did at this age!), so Aiden is 14 months old in this picture, and Jack is 9 months.


Here are some more shots of Jack at the barber shop, as well as one of the final result!





Friday, January 23, 2009

Political Venting

I don't usually talk about politics, on this blog or in person. But sometimes things just fester and since this is my forum, I'll say what I want.

First of all - I did not vote for Obama. Agree with me or not, I don't really care. That being said, however, I wish this country the best and hope that he manages to do a good job as our leader. I'm not impressed so far, and it's only been 3 days. Choosing Hilary Clinton as our Secretary of State made me want to throw up. The woman's politics aside, she has an arrogance about her that just makes me want to hit something. She seems to think she's the Queen of America and that everybody loves her. Personally I think she's egotistical and power hungry, and someone with that type of attitude is probably not suited to be our country's top diplomat.

Now Obama has overturned the ban on federal funding for abortion clinics and family planning centers. I don't agree with abortion, I believe that life begins at conception, but I'm not going to say that I should have the right to make that decision for everyone else. BUT, I don't think I should have to pay for it, either. Now that federal funding will be available for those wanting an abortion, that's basically what we as tax-payers are doing - paying for it. Our president is now forcing me to go against my beliefs and contribute to what I feel is the slaughter of the most innocent form of human life - our unborn. And I'm definitely not happy about that.

But you know what really bugs me? The way everyone is dissing Bush. I'm not saying that Bush is perfect, I'm sure some things could have been done differently, but hey - hindsight's 20/20 folks. Bush did some great things for our military, he improved our quality of life by quite a bit. Better pay, better benefits, better housing. And yes, he did send us to war. Something that shouldn't be all together unexpected for the military. Everyone acts like it was such a horrible thing that Bush sent us to war - like he did it all by himself. No one seems to remember that the President can't send us to war just because he feels like it, it takes the approval of the Congress. Something else everyone seems to have forgotten is that in the early days of the War on Terrorism, Bush had upwards of a 90% approval rating from the public. That means that 90% of the country agreed with us going to war. Now people just think it's taking too long. Why are we still there? Well folks - changing the world takes time. Introducing democracy to a country that's been living under tyranny for the last several decades takes time. Here's an idea - if you don't like the way things are going in Iraq and Afghanistan, how about you put on a uniform, strap on a rifle and go fight it yourself.

The Economy. People are again blaming Bush, like he tanked the economy all by his lonesome. Somehow I don't think it was Bush who was approving all those sub-prime loans, or convincing people that they can afford a $700,000 mortgage on a $50,000 annual salary. I don't think that Bush was whispering in the Big Three automaker's ears, telling them to make bad business decisions. I believe that We The People have contributed to the state of our failing economy more than anything else. Through our greed and the sense that WE MUST have the biggest and the best of everything, we have done this to ourselves. And now we expect the federal government to come bail us out, and again, we're mad that it's taking so long. Grow up. Buy a house that you can afford, drive a car that's a few years old, and stop acting like you deserve everything.

And last but not least - Obama Worship. Am I the only person that's noticed this? People act like he's some kind of Messiah, come to save our country from the evil Republicans. I keep hearing things like, "With Obama, there is hope again!", and " Obama's going to make this country great again"...blah, blah, blah. He's just a man, folks! One who happens to be a good speaker and knows how to make grand promises. Let's wait to see if he keeps them before we elevate him to Hero Status, shall we?

There...I feel much better now. And I am still proud to be an American, if for no other reason than that my saying this will not earn me a trip to the guillotine.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Happy Jack

Here is a video I took of Jack the other day. I put it on my Facebook, but I've had requests to put it on here as well, so here you go...:-)


Thursday, January 15, 2009

To the Field!

There comes a time in every Army Wife's life that she looks forward to with unmatched anticipation. That time when your husband comes home and says, "Honey, I'm going to the field!" All my fellow AW's know what I'm talking about, say it with me ladies...

"Field Problem!!"

Despite it's name, a field problem is not actually a problem at all, at least not for those of us who don't have to actually go to the field. No, a field problem is when our soldiers go out and "play GI Joe" for a while, in this case, TWO WHOLE WEEKS!! They take their rucksacks and their canteens and their who knows whatsits and go sleep outside and eat MRE's and pretend they are fighting bad guys.

Now, a normal woman when told she will have to live without her husband for 2 weeks may get upset, and dread the time away...blah, blah, blah. We Army Wives answer the field problem with two words: "WOO HOO!" Why am I excited about the prospect of my husband being gone for 2 weeks? Let me spell it out for you. It's a time when our homes will be cleaned and actually remain so (or mostly). A time when we can watch whatever the heck we want on TV after the kids go to bed. A time when dirty socks will not "magically appear" in the middle of the living room floor every day. A time when we can make cereal for dinner and nobody complains.

You may be thinking to yourself that this sounds an awful lot like life during a deployment, why is this exciting? Well, it is kind of like life during a deployment, only you don't have to worry about your husband getting shot, or blown up, or captured, or whatever. Plus, two weeks is much better than 12 months. They are simply out of your hair for a while, and as every good Army Wife knows, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

So early Saturday morning my hubby departs for the field. I think an ice cream run is in order....:-)

Mommyland Update

I finally updated my Mommyland Blog, so click on the link to the right and check it out!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Problem with the System

As you know, we have on-post housing here on Fort Irwin. It's beautiful and I love it, and I'm not complaining, let's just get that out of the way. I would much rather live here on post than 30 miles away in Barstow. That's not my problem. I have a problem with the way they do the rent system here. Now, it used to be that when you lived in on-post housing, you simply didn't pay rent. You didn't receive a housing allowance either, the Government just provided you with a house and utilities and that was that. Now, however, since the housing has all been privatized tenants are put into a lease. We receive our housing allowance, and it's automatically deducted out at the beginning of the month for our rent. Not a big deal, at least I don't have to remember to pay it, right? No, what I don't like is this - the way the rent is calculated is by the highest-ranking service member's housing allowance rate. Basically - you pay the whole amount in rent. Again...okay, whatever. But check this out - the guy in the house next door to us is an E-5. He has a lower allowance rate than we do. So for the exact same house, he pays less in rent. When Chris gets promoted, and our allowance rate goes up, our rent automatically goes up. It's almost like, "you showed such responsibility in getting promoted, hey - we'll raise your rent!" Doesn't seem right, does it?

I think the rent should be set at whatever the allowance rate is for the lowest rank allowed in the particular housing area, for instance, E-4. Then, as you get promoted and your allowance rate goes up, that's more money in your pocket. Makes sense to me.

The Army has what they call AFAP - Army Family Action Plan. The Army loves giving things initials....anyway, what AFAP basically is is a chance for family members to voice their concerns about life in the Army, particular issues that they think need to be addressed. Every issue is looked at and tossed around by a group of delegates - made up of family members - and tried to be resolved. I took part in AFAP as a delegate when we lived in Korea, it was an interesting experience. I think I might bring this issue up at the next AFAP conference, I have a feeling I'm not the only one who thinks this is unfair. Why should we be penalized for getting promoted and have our rent go up?

Any other thoughts on this issue?