Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Out of the club

I am no longer a milspouse,
I think.

Stuntman's time is up, and he's not re-enlisting.
We both have mixed feelings about it, but we believe it is what's best.
Several years ago, he saw that the best way to "support the troops" was to become one, again.

I am very proud of what he has done.

If he feels the need to re-enlist, I'll be behind him 100%. I wouldn't be surprised. He said "Infantry is in his blood, but Airborne is in his knees".

Soldier's Angels

Since I no longer send care packages to Stuntman, I adopted a soldier through Soldier's Angels. I have been lucky enough to receive several letters back from my soldier already.
I am so psyched about sending letters and packages to this soldier that needs my support at this time. It has just been an awesome experience.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A new look

Yes, I have been messing around with my blog layout.
I wanted something a little "prettier"
It's a work in progress, it's still not exactly what I want, but it's on the right path, I think.

I need to get to work, so I'm done messing around for now and will leave it like this until I have more time.

What do you think?

Do I need a cape?

I sent this email to the parents of the girls that attended E1's birthday party:
To all of the parents of the 3rd-grade girls;

I just want to tell all of you about your amazing kids. I was truly
impressed with their behavior on Friday. They were thoughtful,
polite, and were respectful of each other. It is not by accident
that these girls behave this way. I give all of the credit to you,
their parents. Not only did I survive the evening, I enjoyed having
them all in my home.
Thank you!


I just received this response:
Thank you Susan, you are a brave woman. God bless you for having the strength for that. I guess being a military wife does give you extra powers that be!!

Calling all moms!

E3 has been on antibiotics for 5 days now.. and I think he's ingested almost one full dose... total.

Anyone have any new ideas on how to make a toddler take their medicine?

I've tried forcing it down his throat, most of it ends up on his chest, or me, or the wall.

I've tried hiding it in chocolate milk and smoothies.

I've tried bribery.

I just mixed some in a tablespoon of chocolate frosting, no deal.


What's Next?!

from the AP:
Cadbury says Chinese-made chocolate have melamine

A Cadbury spokesman says preliminary results show its Chinese-made chocolates contain the industrial chemical melamine.

How greedy and evil can people be?
Melamine can falsely elevate protein levels in foods. The most popular tests measure the protein content in a sample by measuring the nitrogen content. Since melamine is high in nitrogen, it looks like protein to these tests. The only problem is that it should be used to make countertops, not food.

First pet food, then baby formula, now candy bars, next...?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

party time

I just said "goodbye!" to the last of the partygoers.
E1 had a slumber party last night... Nine third-grade girls.
Most of the parents asked if I had been drinking when I sent out the invitations. I must just be crazy.
I think it was the easiest party to date. The girls had a blast, kept busy the entire time, and were respectful of each other.
E2 played right along with the big girls; they included her in everything.
went swimming,
ate pizza,
decorated cupcakes,
ate cupcakes,
played on the playground,
picked tomatoes,
played frisbee,
drove electric cars,
played flashlight tag,
made a music video,
decorated pillowcases with fabric paint,
watched a movie,
ate popcorn,
told scary stories,
slept (yes, they were all out by 10:30),
ate breakfast,
made friendship rings,
and played outside.

I'm sure the neighbors loved hearing Hannah Montana well into the evening... oh ,and the screams during flashlight tag. The dogs are napping right now, they are exhausted from following the girls around all evening and morning.
E1 has been blessed with a great bunch of friends.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Longer than the trip itself

Yes, another riveting installment of my vacation log...
As we drove into Minnesota, and the Twin Cities, I saw familiar sites. We headed up I-35 through St. Paul and saw that the hospital at which I did my internship, and had my first real job, is going through major construction. It looks to be almost double the size that it once was.
We drove to Grandma's place. This was my first time to my mother's new senior apartment. I can see why she likes it so much. The apartment is in a nice quiet neighborhood, the neighbors seem friendly , and the apartment itself is just the right size for her.
We spent the first day hanging out and chatting, and watching the construction site next door.

The second day in Minnesota was the annual family reunion. It's my mother's side; her siblings, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It's a LOT of relatives all in one place. My mom has 15 siblings. Seriously.
Everyone lives in Minnesota except for me, and a few odd-balls that moved across the border into Wisconsin. I guess that I'm the black sheep of the family.
As usual, the food is delicious. This is one family that knows how to throw a pot luck. Mmmm , the food was good.

We camped the next couple nights at my best friend's house. They live in a rural area outside of St. Paul, so the dogs could roam, and the kids could play outside and make as much noise as they wanted. Here are a couple photos of Emma trying to corral the pony. The pony didn't enjoy it, but luckily, Emma was too fast to catch.

My city kids fished in a pond on the farm. Within 10 seconds of throwing a line into the water, they would have a fish. My kids are going to think that is the normal way to catch fish.
We picked apples in the orchard

and rode in the wagon through the cornfield, and saw real-live Tonka trucks.
The weather was perfect, so they ran through the sprinkler.

The kids (and adults) had a blast.
Roxie was exhausted.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Being Neighborly

There looks like there is a bit of a neighborly feud going on down the street.

It all began with a McCain/Palin lawn sign in one yard.

The next day there were 4 McCain/Palin signs; One in the yard, one on either side of the driveway, and one at the end of the driveway on a post.

This driveway is shared by several homes, and I think the guy in the middle, who basically needs to drive between two homes in order to get to his house that is behind, has different political views than his neighbors.

Because... on day 3, the sign in the middle, on the post, was replaced with an Obama/Biden sign.

Today, there is a big hole in the ground where the post once stood.

*update 9/22*
The Obama sign has reappeared, but on the wrought iron gate to the entrance of the house. It is difficult to see because the driveway is so long leading up to the gate. The McCain signs remain.
I think it is hilarious, but I hope it doesn't lead to heavy artillery either. It's going to be a long 6 weeks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Yes, I am STILL continuing the journal of our vacation. I have been too lazy to update for a bit... you can find previous ones here, here, here and here.
We thoroughly enjoyed our mini-vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The morning that we left, we visited Mount Rushmore.

Truly, amazing.

E1 named many of the state flags without even looking at the plaques below them. I have no idea how she knows so many. We ran into one of the friends she met at the campground while we were at the monument. They exchanged addresses and have become pen pals.
We didn't have much time left for sight-seeing before heading to Minnesota, so we opted for a quick tour at Crystal Caverns, it was on our way out of town. We wanted to visit Wind Cave National Park (as suggested by Buck), but we knew it would take much of a day, so we saved that for our next trip.
The kids loved the caverns, and had the opportunity to wear their miner helmets that they had purchased the day before.

We continued our trip through the state of South Dakota.
Of course, we stopped at the famous Wall Drug. If you have never been to that part of the country, Wall Drug signs are everywhere! They begin several hundred miles from Wall, SD. It was a fun little stop. Touristy, kitchy, but fun.

Along our route, we travelled through Mitchell, SD. Home of the famous Corn Palace. Never been there, so we went. We drove through the nice, quiet town.
Here is a photo of the corn palace.
Yes, I know, it sucks. That is as close as we got. The place was packed. The entire population of South Dakota must have been there. Some festival was going on. There wasn't parking anywhere near the place. We drove past, and gave up.
We drove into Minnesota late into the night, and once again, parked at Wall Mart for some zzzzz's.

Monster Jam

I spend time playing this game EVERY day.
It's actually E3's game, but since he is only two, he watches while I play.
A couple times a day, he will take my hand and say "play GraveDigger in room?"
He then says" jump and crush? jump and crush!"
There is nothing like the sound of a two-year old saying in his best announcer voice...

"IT'S GrRRRraaAAAaavediggerrrr!"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekly update

Just a little update on what has been going on around here.
The 2nd week of school is finished. E2 loves kindergarten. I'm really looking forward to E1 in 3rd grade. I believe that she will truly thrive this year. Her teacher has a great philosophy that I think will work perfectly with her style. Both of the girls have awesome teachers this year and I know they will learn so much.

One day this week, I received a phone call from E1's teacher requesting that I come to the school to help with something E1 got herself into. It was picture day. Just after E1's photo was taken, she used one of the small black combs to comb her hair. It became entangled in her hair. REALLY entangled. I could barely see the comb through the mass of blonde hair.
Cutting it out wasn't an option, it was too close to the scalp, right in the front of her head.
A couple teachers had attempted to remove the comb, but to no avail. That's when they decided to call me. E1 tells them "my mom's a scientist, not a hairdresser". Thanks for the vote of confidence there, E1.
When the teacher called me, telling me that E1 had a comb stuck in her hair, I said "How in the heh..., oops, I almost swore to the teacher". Luckily, the teacher/former nun laughed at that one.
When I arrived, I tried to untangle the comb.. no luck. Eventually, I was able to remove the comb, piece by piece. I slipped a tiny bit of hair off of the comb, then snipped off a few millimeters of the plastic at a time. After the comb was removed, we untangled the giant snarl that remained. I only needed to snip a tiny portion and it's unnoticeable. Some day, E1 will look back at the incident and laugh, I hope.

I play in the sandbox at least an hour each day. I build obstacles for E3 to knock down with his Matchbox monster trucks. He has at least a dozen of these little things and knows the name of each one... Gravedigger, Maximum Destruction, Hot Wheels, Airborne Ranger, Brutus....
His vocabulary has exploded, and not just with the names of monster trucks. I don't remember the girls speaking this much when they were this age. It's easy to carry on a conversation with him. He must pick it up from his constantly-chatting sisters.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I just returned from the Freedom Walk. It was to remember those who lost their lives seven years ago and to honor troops and veterans. Just after the speakers and the band, we were graced with a fly-over by four F-18's.
We were sitting on the top of the hill at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the jets were just over our head.

Like all of you, I keep thinking about the morning of 9/11/01. I remember our friend Tim calling us early in the morning while I was getting E1 ready for an early playdate at the park. Stuntman was still asleep. I thought Tim was joking, I didn't believe what he was telling me. He said "no, really, turn on the TV"
Tim died this year, at the same time Stuntman was traveling home from the sandbox.
Today I thought a lot of our good friend.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I just watched the National Guard Warrior video for the first time.

They did a great job on the video and really showcased all of what is done by the National Guard. At the end, is a behind the scenes look at the making of the video. I tried to catch Stuntman's face somewhere in there, but didn't. He was at some of the filming at Los Alamitos just after he returned home in May.

I downloaded Kid Rock's song for free as well.
I'm still a HUGE fan of Kid Rock.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Lucky Thirteen

A year ago

This year, Stuntman will be home for our anniversary. We don't have any big plans for tomorrow, just being together is enough.

it's the little things

Right now, Stuntman is searching through the laundry room and workshop. Last night, he scoured the entire attic.
There is a smell.
A smelly smell, the kind of smell that smells...smelly.

He did find a dead rat in the attic last night, but the smell is still there, and is worse than ever.

It's times like this that I really appreciate having him home.

Last year I had to deal with several suicidal rabbits in the pool. I used all of my kitchen tongs retrieving them from the pool, although I did wimp out and call a friend to retrieve the one stuck in the filter basket.

*update 9pm•
Flies began coming out of a wall socket in the kitchen.
Yuk, yuk, yukity yuk!
Stuntman just arrived home from work and has taken out the outlet. The smell... is gagging.
We're in the middle of ripping apart the wall or just keeping all of the windows open until the bastard totally decomposes.
On a positive note... I may lose a few pounds because for some reason, I have no appetite.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Into South Dakota

The trip continues...
We awoke early in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in eastern Wyoming. Unlike many places, most Wal-Marts allow overnight parking at their stores. There were a few other RV's and semi-trucks in the parking lot as well. I think it's a smart business move on Wal-Mart's part. We always stock up at their store before we head out for the day.
The kids were still asleep, so we had a few miles down before the first "are we there yet?"
Here is a place that is not named after me.
We had never been to the black hills of South Dakota, so we had no idea where to stay. I found one campground in the directory that sounded good. It had a pool, and horses, and took pets. The photo in the guide looked a little plain, but we only planned one night so it didn't really matter.
We drove past Mount Rushmore on the way. Wow. What an amazing work of art.

The campground was only 5 miles past Mount Rushmore. When we drove in, we could see the horse corrals. Check in was smooth, and we followed a guide in a golf cart to our space.
It was a perfect spot.
This is my definition of perfect:
-we had no adjoining spaces
-a quiet, private space
-a small stream ran alongside our RV
-the girls were "panning for gold" within minutes of parking
-there were 3+ swimming pools
-there was a water slide
-there was a splash pad
-there was a big playground
-there was a big bounce pillow
-there was mini-golf
-all these things were NO extra charge
-showers, laundry, and a store were nearby
-the girls could go trail-riding in the morning (many places won't allow kids)

A few minutes after we parked, I walked down to the reservation desk and booked a second night.
Here are a few photos of our mini-vacation in South Dakota:

This is a photo of our campsite. It didn't photograph well. I tried to catch a photo of Roxie, but she wouldn't get out of the stream that is just inside those bushes.

We stayed 2 nights. On our way out of town we saw a couple sights... to be continued.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Son's of Anarchy

No, I'm not talking about the idiot "anarchists" in St. Paul right now. (by the way, did anyone see the video of the guys trying to tip over the trash can? geesh, what a bunch of wimps. I laughed hard at that one)
I'm talking about the show, it's on tonight.
Stuntman is out of town, so it'll be on the DVR for when he returns. I'll try not to watch it until then.
*update 9/7*
I liked the show, how 'bout you?
I'm looking forward to the characters developing in upcoming shows.
I recognized the location of almost every outdoor scene. There must have been a lot more filming around here than I witnessed.

The trip continues...

The morning of day 3 we left Grand Teton Nation Park and headed north to Yellowstone. None of us had ever been to Yellowstone, so of course we needed to see the famed "Old Faithful" geyser.

Everyone else in the park was there as well.
It was crowded.
Again, we took turns with the kids and dogs. I could imagine Roxie trying to swim in a boiling spring, so it made sense that dogs aren't allowed near the geysers.
Even though it was crowded, and hot, the geysers were a sight to see. It's a bit uneasy knowing that you are on top of an active volcano. That's what the ranger said, and active volcano. The caldera is outlined on the park map, and it is HUGE! I would have loved to spend days looking at the geology in Yellowstone, but we had places to go and people to see.
We drove through the park, ooohing and awwing at the scenery.
We saw elk in a nearby field. We thought those were close until we drove through Mammoth Hot Springs and saw them lying all over town.
We decided to drive to Billings Montana for the night and stay in a hotel for a decent shower. We drove, still admiring the scenery around us.
We arrived in Billings after dark, saw that the Motel 6 in which we planned to stay was between a crummy casino and an adult bookstore. For around $70 a night. Forget it.
We drove to a different part of town and saw a Country Inn Suites. $140 for a few hours of sleep and a shower. No matter how much I liked Curt Carlson personally, I'm frugal. So, we drove on, leaving Montana in our dust, and boondocked at a Wal-Mart Supercenter near South Dakota.