Thursday, January 31, 2008

E3's a rock star

Open house at E1's school was last night. It was fun to see all of the classrooms, and I mean ALL of the classrooms that E1 had to show us.
E2 was so excited to see the kindergarten she will be attending next year... OMG next year!
The science fair was on display in the adjacent auditorium, and E1 was so proud of what she had done. The science teacher was very impressed with her work, and had even used it as an example for some of the older kids.
With all of the students, teachers, parents, etc., E3 was having a blast. Chatting away in whatever language he has, just being a ham. Throngs of pre-teen and teenage girls flocked to him, and he loved it! ...and it wasn't just the girls.... boys said things like "this kid is so cool!"
When he walked into a room, kids would yell "Hey, E3!", (well actually, his real name, not E3)
He really has no problem with his ego at this point.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hey, Hay!

myspace layouts

As I was driving today, I passed a semi-load of hay.
For as long as I can remember, when I see a load of hay, I yell, "hay!" and point... hoping to get whoever is in the car with me to look and see what it is. They then see that yes, it's hay.
You see, it's a contest, whoever tricks the other into looking at the hay, wins.
Like a slugbug, but without pain.
Usually I win, but Stuntman has caught me a few times.
My friends and I did this when we were teenagers in the country, and now I'm an adult in one of the largest cities in the world, and I continue the tradition.
I amuse easily.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm duck

E3's say's that he's stuck many times a day.
Whenever he can't get to what he wants, or can't move something, etc...
but with his cute little 19-month-old voice, it sounds more like "I'm duck"

A reprieve

A break from the rain today...
I love the rain... I love the smell of the rain... how it cleans everything... and that I can turn off my sprinklers and save a few $$.

It was warm and sunny today. The kids played outside for most of the day... looking for treasure in the back yard... following the dog trails that lead up and around the hills... playing in the sand box that was half full of water... just being kids.
I did a bit of tree trimming, but not much. I cleaned the pool... it was pretty dirty. No one will swim in it for months, but I still have to look at it!
In the morning, we went to a couple stores to pick up a few things. I use to be so proud of how my children behaved in stores... no begging, acted politely, stayed close to me... etc.. I have no idea what children have been going out in public with me lately. The ones that cause complete strangers to give the mother a look of disappointment. I think E3 has convinced his sisters that behaving like an angel in public is overrated. He starts it... and they follow. I can see why he was made extra cute. He needs it.
I'm ordering as much online as possible from now on... I hope this is a phase.

For dinner, I made burgers on the grill. Mmmm. I hadn't used the grill for many months. I wanted to make sure that it was working properly so I can use it when Stuntman is home on leave. I know, he's not home for almost a month, but I'm trying not to leave everything until the last minute. I plan to make steaks a couple times when he's home... did I ever mention that I make an awesome steak?

The rain began again just as I was taking the burgers off of the grill.
I love the sound of the rain.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The view above...

Today I went on a recon (as Stuntman called it) to Griffith Observatory . I am planning a Girl Scout trip there next month.
The facility reopened last year, after being closed since 2002 and I had never been there.
The view alone is worth the trip up the hill.
I can't wait to go back. Next time, I'm leaving E3 with a sitter... I've realized that I really can't take him anywhere, and if I do, I need to buy a kid leash or something... I barely stopped chasing him long enough to quickly snap these pictures.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Where's my hammer?

I think it may be time to start building an ark... it's really coming down out there.


36 degrees... that's what is was when I awoke today.
Just a little lower and we would have had snow here... instead, it just missed us.
Still, the mountains above Los Angeles are beautiful today. Above, is a photo from my window.
It didn't really feel very cold outside... maybe I'm not as much of a weather wimp as I thought.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why I don't like hybrid cars

OK... I'm not against the concept... although I do love the South Park episode that pokes fun at hybrid owners and their smugness. I don't like them for an entire different reason...
they are silent.
not a big deal, right?
Try walking through a crowded parking lot, full of hybrid cars, and bad inconsiderate drivers.
Try wrangling 3 kids through said parking lot. It's a rule to hold hands while in the lot, look for vehicles that are on, and listen for running engines.
Yesterday, while walking to our car, the E's and I were almost hit by an SUV hybrid. We couldn't see the driver, the lights were not on, and of course, we couldn't hear it. It was parked next to our mini-van and the driver didn't turn around before she backed out of her space. I was turned away from the SUV, but caught the movement out of the corner of my eye just in time. When I jumped out of the way, dragging two E's with me, she finally stopped.
This isn't the first time something like this has happened. Of course, hybrids have back-up lights like other cars, but some drivers throw it into reverse and step on the gas with no lag in-between.
Someone needs to put back-up beepers on those things.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another day

The day started off very promising…
We awoke ½ hour later than usual, at 7am… that means we had an entire 3 hours before mass, so we could have a relaxing morning and get ready slowly.

E1 has almost finished her science fair project and worked on it some more before we went to church.
Once we arrived at church… I knew that I had my work cut out for me. The girls seemed to be in the mood to behave well, but E3… an entire different story. He fussed, and babbled loudly… and tried to run for the door a few times… and threw his sippy cup at a nun. I thought it might be time to go so that others could hear the priest. So I left… I hadn’t done that before.

I went to Sears and returned a Christmas gift; a back massager that caused more pain than it relieved. E3 was a handful in the store, but I was able to chase him down and accomplish my mission. $108 Sears gift card in my pocket. The massager had been in the back of the car for a month.

After visiting SIL and BIL and me pissing off SIL, we went home.

I watched the Packers lose… not what I wanted, but after how they played the second half, they didn’t deserve to win.

The kids are asleep… my desk is empty, the dishes are clean, laundry is done… I’m off to take a bubble bath.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I'm a slacker

Yesterday, I met a woman my age with ten kids.
double-digits... wow.

Friday, January 18, 2008

rambles and FRG's

I listened to Spousebuzz radio last night regarding FRG’s. It was an interesting program and it got me thinking…here are some of my rambling thoughts...

When Stuntman was deployed, I barely knew any of the “lingo” or “Armyspeak”. Whatever I’ve learned since, came from Stuntman, or from online sources.

I never thought of the Army helping me through this deployment. I just figured that Stuntman would be gone, and I would need to make do on my own.

After Stuntman left for training I did receive a newsletter from the FRG. I contacted the leader (who has since changed) and asked if there was anything I should know or that I could do. That was the one and only time I spoke with my FRG leader.

There have been two get-togethers in the last year, and I attended one. I did attend a meeting that was for a different FRG , just to see if I was missing anything… I wasn’t.

There have been discussions about pre-deployment briefings on Spousebuzz… I had no idea that there should have been something like this. At the farewell ceremony, there was a table in the corner with a few Tricare flyers on it… does that count?

In the last year, I’ve had to figure out a new health plan and new paychecks with weird terminology that I’ve never seen before. Reading the comments in Spousebuzz, I know I’m not the only one. Thank God for Spousebuzz and other milspouse blogs out there.

I don’t remember the name of my FRG leader, the name of the rear detachment guy, or the name of my husband’s company commander. I’m sure the names are on one of the 3 flyers that I have received in the last year… but I don’t really care... they obviously don’t care to know me. God forbid, if anything was to happen to Stuntman, or there was an emergency at home, I doubt I would be able to reach these people. I have called two of them, to RSVP for the last get-together, and never reached anyone. I did receive a return email… almost 2 months later.

I’ve only found out about casualties directly from Stuntman, or the defenselink website . Once again, if Stuntman was more seriously injured, I have no idea what would happen.

Since Stuntman is ARNG, I know my situation is drastically different than active duty spouses. I’m not in a new location; I don’t live on post, or even near one. I’m older, and have been self-sufficient in the past… but not for as long a duration. I don’t need an FRG for day-to-day issues. I mainly wanted to be in touch with one, and attend meetings so my children would know other children that have deployed fathers.

We’re over 2/3 of the way through this deployment… and I’ve made it this far.

It’s just as if Stuntman is on an extended business trip … except business trips don’t last as long, and when he’s on a business trip, I don’t worry about an official-looking car appearing in my driveway.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t feel as if I’m part of the military. My husband is, but I’m just here… day after day.. living my civilian life. I am so proud of what he is doing, and of his choice to join. The only difference between my neighbors and me is that I have a military ID in my wallet… an ID that I only take out in conjunction with my Tricare card. Should I feel like a part of something bigger? maybe.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


A recent conversation with Time Warner regarding my phone/cable/internet bill :

Me: "Why do I have a charge for interstate calls?" (I'm suppose to have nation-wide long-distance at a flat rate)

TW: "That line is for charges made from your car... like when you're driving on the interstate"

Me: "Ummm" (trying not to tell the sweet, young lady that she's an idiot) "Why would I have charges like that on my home telephone bill?"

TW: "Oh, can you hold a moment, please?"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's Wednesday?!

Time has been flying by... as opposed to how slowly it was dragging by when we were stuck in the house while we were all sick... thank you antibiotics!
I hate giving the kids antibiotics unnecessarily, for fear of creating some superbug or something, but when they're necessary, they're great!

The weather has been absolutely beautiful this week, 70 and sunny, who can beat that? I've been listening to the weather in my hometown... Brrrr, 3 below! ... to think I would go outside in weather like that before, and not really mind it... boggles the mind... but someday, I'm sure I'll do it again.

I've been on the phone scheduling follow-up doctor appointments and a haircut for E3. His hair has a mind of it's own and needs a trim. I would like to get him a little high and tight... we'll see.

Just noticed a 3 day weekend is ahead... I'm sure we'll find something to do.

I'm in the middle of baking big, chewy , chocolate chip cookies for Stuntman... he's getting skinny. I told him that I read somewhere that the average soldier gains 10 pounds during deployment to Iraq... he laughed and said that he thinks there must just be some that up the average on that statistic.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ya, you betcha.

Lately, I've been listening to the KQRS Morning Show downloaded on my iPod. I listen while I work in the evenings... actually, I'm listening to it right now. I listened to the KQ Morning Show for years when I lived in the Twin Cities; the same people are still on the show.
Since I moved to California, I've gradually lost my Minnesota accent.
Listening to these guys every day... I think it'll be returning.

What a beautiful day

We had a wonderful beach day.

After church, we went to bachelor-brother-in-law's house by the beach. Every time we go to the beach, we think of flying a kite, but we never have one! So a couple weeks ago, I bought two at Sam's Club. One is a butterfly, and the other is a helicopter. The rotors on the helicopter spin when it is airborne... pretty cool.

We spent most of the weekend out of the house now that we are feeling better. It's great to see that the house doesn't get as messy when we're not home 24/7! ... but still laundry to do.

I have reached the bottom of my stack (sometimes 2 feet thick) of work to do for my paying job. Don't know what I'll do this evening after the kids go to bed. Last night I fell asleep at 8 pm.... and awoke a 6:00 am. I guess I needed a catch-up night.
A bunch of work will be coming tomorrow, so I'll enjoy it while I can.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A different kind of meme

I saw this over at Lemon Stand and found it interesting.

But first, a legal disclaimer:
Premise: bold each of the statements that applies.

Original source: The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.
So noted, and if anyone wants to participate, please do the same.

And now on to the list:

Father went to college (I don’t think he even began high school, but he provided for his family well)

Father finished college

Mother went to college (my mom earned her GED when I was in high school after my father died)

Mother finished college

Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor (no attorneys, no professors except by marriage)

Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers(I guess)

Had more than 50 books in your childhood home (we went to the library a lot)

Had more than 500 books in your childhood home (My children could bold this one)

Were read children’s books by a parent

Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 (piano and saxaphone… I’m not very musical, can’t play either now)

Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18 (and voice)

The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively (I guess?)

Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18 (I got one when I was 18)

Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs (about half, I had scholarships for much of it and I worked after my Freshman year)

Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs

Went to a private high school (public grade schools, 2 public high schools and 2 private)

Went to summer camp (YMCA 4 years, canoes and horses, it was great)

Had a private tutor before you turned 18

Family vacations involved staying at hotels (we camped, a lot, even all the way to and in Disney World, we did stay at a hotel on one vacation to California when I was 4)

Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18

Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them (I didn’t have a car until my 3rd year of college, and that one had 100K miles on it)

There was original art in your house when you were a child (only the ones taped to the fridge)

Had a phone in your room before you turned 18 (lol)

You and your family lived in a single family house

Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home(my dad built our home from a kit, and it's a good solid little house that I went to visit a few years ago)

You had your own room as a child(Not all the time, my sister moved downstairs when I was about 10 and moved out when I was 12)

Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course (no, but I did have a hangover the day I took the test, luckily I still did well)

Had your own TV in your room in High School

Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College [lol]

Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16 [once, to CA)

Went on a cruise with your family [went with another family when I was 18)

Went on more than one cruise with your family (I’ve never gone with family, but I’ve been on 3 cruises all before I was 21)

Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up (do science museums count?)

You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family(we had a propane tank outside, I have no idea what it cost to fill it up)

Looking down

Is it just me? or does that kinda look like a face looking down?

A new outlook

I have a new outlook today.
We're all healthy (relatively speaking)
We're still a family, although one big part is on the other side of the world temporarily.
We love each other like only family can.

A horrible tragedy happened in my neighborhood yesterday. An unimaginable, preventable, evil thing.
I didn't know the family, but a good friend of mine did know them very well.
It wasn't war, it wasn't an accident, it was just plain evil.

Something like this can really make you look at what you have, and what I, for one, am so very thankful.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

This and that

This single-parent stuff is getting old.
I really don't know how people do it, year after year.
I think I'm having such an attitude problem because we've all been sick for most of the last 3 weeks and I'm going stir-crazy.
E1 was home from school yesterday and today too. Looks like her fever broke, or I was calling the doctor today... again.

It also seems as if maybe it looks like I'm handling all of this too well. No one seems to want to help or offer help any more... except my wonderful neighbor, who has her own very busy schedule, has helped when I've asked. She's retired and widowed, but leads an extremely busy life... she is an amazing woman. Her husband was an amazing man also, he's missed around here. People that promised so much before Stuntman left, have totally forgotten what they said... even when I ask for help... nada. It surprised me, those that I thought would be the biggest help, aren't, and those that I didn't even think of (my neighbor) are the best. She really is a blessing.

and now... looks like the Girl Scout leader for the troop has flaked out... that leaves me, the assistant-leader, to do almost everything. Last year I said that I couldn't continue as leader, given that I was going to have my hands full this year with 3 kids, the dogs, the house, a 30 hr/week at-home job, etc., etc., but now here I am, right back to leader again. After this year, I'm finished with Girl Scouts. I'm just saying "no". I'll do the best job that I can to finish the year... I don't want to disappoint the girls, but that's it.

OK... I'm going to end with some positives so I don't sound like a total bee with an itch (as my niece would say).

One thing, since I've had a cold for the last couple weeks and not much of an appetite, I've lost 4 pounds, and I can take off my jeans without unbuttoning them... time to buy new jeans.

My tattoo is past the crusty/scabby stage, and is all pretty now.

I sat and read a book with E3 today, for 45 minutes! He has never liked to sit for that long. Usually he uses the book as a frisbee after the first minute. He really likes the Eric Carle book, The Very Busy Spider.

Now back to the circus.

*update-noon 1/10/08
Went to the doctor... all three E's have strep throat. I probably have it too, I have a call into my doctor. Waiting to pick up prescriptions.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Here She Comes... Miss America.....

Thanks to Dude Where's the Beach and Gazing at the Flag, I'm aware that there is an "America's Choice" online competition for a 16th finalist in the Miss America pageant.

This year's Miss Utah is Sgt Jill Stevens. She is a member of the Utah National Guard and served a 15 month tour to Afghanistan as a medic.
You can vote for her each and every day until Jan. 26th.
Use this link, click on Utah and follow the directions.

Hopefully our next Miss America will know enough not to make a statement like the one quoted by Toby Nunn at Northern Disclosure. Read Toby's post regarding the recent USO visit from the current Miss America.

*update* oops... I got confused.. I know, rarely happens here ;),
Sgt Stevens is in the Miss America pageant and it was Miss USA that was on the USO tour that I mentioned above. I always get those two confused.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I needed to buy a couple things...

I ordered a replacement remote control for my DVD recorder... looked everywhere for the thing. It's either with the Christmas decorations, or in the landfill. I blame deployment brain, it's as bad as pregnancy brain.

I'm currently listening to the new Kid Rock album. I put the word out that it would be a good gift for me, but I needed to buy it for myself today. I'm becoming more of a fan each time he travels to entertain the troops.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Back to "normal"

Normal, whatever that is...
I didn't think I'd make it through the day. I awoke with a nasty migraine today. It is nearly impossible to feed/clothe tiny kiddos when you have a migraine, but it got done... somehow, mainly with my eyes closed. By 10 am, the migraine was just a tingle and I was back to the land of the living... so much cleaning to do, but I just started, didn't go crazy or anything.
Today, E2 found her ACU uniform and put it on. She wanted to make sure that it fit so she could wear it to go pick up Daddy at the airport. Stuntman has leave in less that 2 months, so she is getting a little excited. Hopefully time will fly by until then.
Since the kids and I have been sick most of the week, they are getting a bit of cabin fever. They are driving me batty.
E3 is feeling better and has returned to his usual routine of dumping stuff on the floor, flushing things down the toilet, and running around without his diaper (he's figured out velcro, on to duct tape).
E1 goes back to school next week. She began work on her science fair project. She was doing something with Chocolate Chip, but he died, so she's using Roxie the dog now. Seeing if there are different foods that they prefer, her idea. Not bad for a 2nd grader. She's been learning charts and graphs at school, so she plans on doing a lot of those. I'm one of the parents that insist she does her own work... I don't touch a thing. It's pretty obvious which students have more than just "guidance". I'll help her organize her thoughts a bit, but it is amazing what kids can do if you just let them do it.
Looking forward to a nice, rainy weekend!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Change of plans

Right about now, I should be posting beautiful photos of the Rose Parade floats from the after-parade viewing...but I'm not. We missed it this year. The day began by waking at 3 am with a congested toddler. After going to bed an hour later, I awoke at 6 am with a fever of 101 myself, again for day 2 :( We all had that stomach-flu thing just before Christmas, then we were well for a couple days, then this nasty cold/flu that we all have. E3 is currently on antibiotics, and eye drops since the infection spread to his eyes... spent 3 hours at urgent care on Sunday, yuk.
Chocolate Chip the hamster was very sick this morning too, we brought him to the vet, but he didn't recover. He is now buried next to Snowflake. Three pets have passed away since Stuntman left, and he never even met two of them :(
We are done with hamsters.
The girls were not surprised, a little sad, but not surprised, when Chocolate Chip died. They realize that hamsters don't live long. We thought about adopting a cat, but we don't think Sparky or Roxie would like that much. They've never met a cat face to face, and at their ages, I don't think it's a good time to start. The only cat they know is the neighbors... the one that sits just out of their reach on the other side of the fence and cleans itself, stretches and ignores the dogs as they bark frantically at it...evil cat. We're keeping our eyes open for a young, small dog to add to our family.
I think the schedule that I was keeping finally caught up with me. I rarely get sick, but the last few months, I have caught everything that the kids have brought home.
I don't usually do New Year's resolutions, but this year I resolve to get more sleep. It's taking a toll on my body... I need more that 5 hours a night. I'm not sure how I will be able to do my job, take care of the kiddos and the house, but I'll figure out something.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


I've taken down the ornaments, the tree, the lights... and almost had a another breakdown.
New Years Eve was fun. We went to a party that celebrated at 9pm (NY Times Square ball drop). We went home shortly after that. E1 and I stayed up until midnight. The first time for her, she was so proud of herself. The first time I made it until midnight for many years too. Stuntman and I never go out on New Years Eve. We choose not to be on the roads with all of the drunks. We stay home, snuggle on the sofa and watch a movie. We usually fall asleep well before midnight.
Of course we watched the Rose Parade today. Heard the jets fly over, but didn't go outside to see them. Just not the same without Stuntman here.
Before the parade, the local Fox station was interviewing a bunch of Anti-War/Impeach Bush protesters. I had heard that there was going to be a bunch at the parade. I wish the media hadn't given them the attention that they did, it pissed me off.
During the parade, as the Marine Corps band marched by, I saw that the crowd was cheering and giving a standing ovation. It brought tears to my eyes. It made up for the protesters earlier, and shows how the majority of Americans really feel.