Monday, November 29, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1.  One of the highlights of my trip to Phoenix, AZ was going out to Charlie's with my FIL and the guncles.  Charlie's is a gay bar...a gay country bar!  Just my style!  We actually went out two nights - the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and on the night of Thanksgiving.  On Tuesdays they do two-step lessons and Thursday was line dance night.  Only at a gay bar does a man approach you and ask if you lead or follow.  Awesome.  Tuesday night kinda sucked.  The DJ was not really familiar with the music and picked some of the slowest, most boring songs ever.  Thursday was much better!  The dance instructor was also the DJ and he picked some great songs and had endless energy.  I got a ton of dancing in prior to us leaving and hitting the outlets for midnight madness shopping!  Good times with the FIL!

2.  DH finally got his truck debacle sorted out today.  He was able to do the emissions test again - it passed - and then he went to get his plates.  I was expecting the typical Colorado plates, which are green, or maybe the Marine Corps plates.  I pull into the house and DH is rocking - wait, what?! - Army plates. DH is not the super-hooah type, and is quite the shit-talker, so I never expected this in a million years.  Go Army!

3.  DH has been super snuggly lately.  We've had some great couples time at home, just hanging out and being with each other.  I'm really thankful that we have had a few extra days together before he leaves again this week.  He's going to be gone for five weeks for training with his transportation company.  He's definitely going to be gone for the holidays and he'll probably miss my birthday, which I was expecting.  He will be coming back in time for WLC at the beginning of the new year, but we'll get active duty pay for that, which is much appreciated right now.

4.  My best friend Trinnie rocks, she really does.  I really couldn't have been blessed with a better friend. I can count on her for anything.  She's incredibly thoughtful and is truly my partner in crime.  <3

5.  After getting home from a sixteen hour drive on Saturday, the house was a disaster area!  It was really overwhelming, especially since I was going to have to go back to school today.  I had to unpack, do my usual Sunday chores,  and not to mention clean up the Christmas decorations that I had set out before we left.  Thankfully, I put away most of my stuff and got unpacked fairly quickly.  I still have more to put up around the house (the aluminum wall trees!) and the tubs need to go back in the closet.  I'm definitely ready for this coming weekend and some down time!  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Funday? Hardly!

"Sunday Funday" - have you heard of this phenomena?  I see people posting on Facebook's about their Sunday Fundays.  I don't know about you, but Sundays are hardly fun around my house...

Sundays at our house consist of me finalizing laundry, making sure I've vacuumed the floors (and possibly Swiffered the solid floors), cleaning my makeup brushes, cutting and sorting coupons, going to the commissary, and trying to mentally prepare myself for the week ahead.  Does that sound like fun to you?  Me neither.  I try to squeeze in a nap, but it's hit or miss, and depends on how long it took me to get out of bed and get going in the morning.

I don't have a lot of fun on Sundays.  Lately Sunday is the day that DH leaves me for the week, which is never fun.  Thankfully he's not leaving this weekend - just yet.  Sunday is never a lot of fun because I'm always preoccupied with everything I have to wrap my mind around for the week at school.  I never really want to do a whole lot on Sundays, because I'm always worrying about getting home and into bed at a decent hour.  I don't ever want to start a week without enough sleep.

So, I'm renaming this "Oh Shit Sunday," which is much more appropriate in my household.  Oh shit, I completely forgot that I have a meeting with so-and-so on Monday.  Oh shit, I have three IEPs to write this week.  Oh shit, I didn't get half of the stuff done around the house that I had wanted to accomplish.

What about your family?  Are you part of the Sunday Funday crowd or the Oh Shit Sunday bunch?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I know I should be more thankful...

Here I am on the eve of Thanksgiving (well, technically it's Thanksgiving already), and I'm feeling mopey. Browsing the Facebook profiles of my high school chums usually results in me feeling bad about myself, sad to say.  I went to a college-prep high school where the majority of the graduates became doctors, lawyers, etc.  A large percentage became teachers as well (shout-out to Kevin!), but I conveniently forget these folks when I'm in a mood like this.

Everyone seems so successful, and I just can't say I feel the same way about myself.  What do I have to show for the last thirty years of my life?  I certainly don't have a lot of money or assets.  I don't own a home.  I have more bills and loans than I'd care to admit.  I've found love, but it took a failed marriage to get there.  I don't have any children.  Yes, I have a Master's degree and a teaching career that I'm proud of, but I don't think that's the end for me.  At least, I hope it's not the end.

Where's the excitement in my life?  Where's the adventure?  I love normalcy, I love stability, but I want more.  I can't say I know what it's going to take - what's going to make me feel fulfilled.  I don't know where I want to go in my career, I don't have a final destination in sight, although I have some faint aspirations.  

I know in the milspouse world, I'm doing fabulously in terms of the career I've carved out for myself.  I've managed to finish my education in a timely fashion and get some good experience and references under my belt.  That's a very difficult thing to achieve as a milspouse, living such a transient lifestyle.  But I can't help but compare myself to those I grew up with.  In comparison with those folks, I feel so behind in my accomplishments.

The only one who can make me feel successful and accomplished is myself, I know that.  Do these thoughts constantly plague my mind?  Of course not.  But they do make their way in there from time to time and make me question myself.  I want more for myself and I want better for myself.  I want to live life to the fullest, give of myself, and use all of my talents.  I don't want to feel like I didn't take chances or that I missed out on opportunities for greatness.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Let's take a trip...

...back about five to eight years ago.  I was in the height of my lock-a-beery [read: rockabilly] vintage days.  You know the drill - car shows, antique malls, eBay, weekenders, etc.  Although I'm not nearly as cool as I used to be, I have some first loves that'll never die.  Luckily, FIL is a big antiquer and used to own an antique mall.  He's always game for antiquing and usually it's his idea in the first place.

We set out today to visit the Cerreta Candy Company in Glendale, AZ, but got side-swiped by a cute downtown area with tons of antique shops.  It was some good shopping too, like some of my favorite places back in Old Town Orange, CA.  The shops I scored at were well-organized, clean, and had tons of mid-century goodies like I was after.

Not so Wordless Wednesday...

Most of the time when I do Wordless Wednesday posts, there's always a back story to go along with the photo.  I can't resist sharing this one.  Instead of going home for Thanksgiving in 2009 (it was too expensive), I went up to Norfolk, VA to visit my brother (he's on the Enterprise).  I hadn't seen him in at least a year, and we were finally stationed within four hours of each other.  We made plans to spend the holiday weekend in Washington, DC.  I'd never been, in all of my 29 years, so it was a first and I was really excited.  DH was still in Afghanistan, so it was just my brother and I.

Thank you Cracker Barrel!
We went out the first night in Norfolk, to a local country bar.  In my world, you've always gotta hit the local country bars!  :)  The next day (Thanksgiving), we headed up to DC.  Along the way we stopped at Cracker Barrel, where we had our Thanksgiving dinner - gotta love Cracker Barrel!  No traditional fare for me, I opted for Chicken and Dumplings, my favorite!

We drove straight on through to DC, and after checking into our room at Fort Belvoir, we did the DC monuments at night.  I can't tell you how beautiful it was and I am so thankful that I got to see them like that.  Yes, it was cold and a bit rainy, but it was peaceful and crowd-free.  It was just my brother and I, wandering our nation's capitol, with so much history illuminated only by spotlights.

Prior to this trip, we discussed my must-sees, since my brother had already been there before, multiple times.  I wanted to see the monuments, the Holocaust museum, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Arlington, and the Marine Corps museum (which I put off until DH got back from A'stan).

On day two in DC, we spent the morning wandering around, going through NMAI (a little too fast, but I'll get back there), and spent the bulk of our time in the Holocaust museum.  That night we dined and danced at the O Club, something my brother wanted to experience.  

I had to have my picture taken in front!
The last day in town we went to Arlington.  We really got lucky there.  A HOG friend of mine has a husband who was buried there and when you are there visiting someone, they give you a pass to drive through the gate.  That made our trip a lot more efficient.  I took pictures of her husband's grave to share with her later.  I was able to go to Section 60, where all of the new veterans and KIAs are buried.  That was a really moving setting, especially when I spied a younger woman who was clearly crying and spending time with a loved one.

Thanksgivings tend to blend together in my memory, but this one never will.  My brother was able to gift me with such a memorable trip and I am eternally grateful for the experience.  May you all have a wonderful holiday this year, surrounded by loved ones!  If you should be without your servicemember, I hope that you are able to make new memories with your family and friends!

Wordless Wednesday - "Giving Thanks"

Thanksgiving 2009 - Arlington, VA

Monday, November 22, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters
1.  I'm sitting next to an Italian Greyhound named Squeakers.  She's quietly whining to herself, although I'm not sure why.  She won't come closer so I can hold her.  She's a lover though, and loves giving kisses!  We have to tell her to stop or else she'll lick my whole face.  She's a good dog, not too small, not too large, short hair.  One day DH and I will have a pet of some sort, other than FIL.  :)

2.  My guncles are huge Christmas people.  They have a tree in every room and we've been watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel all day long.  The tree in my room is a cowboy/western tree, done for FIL.  Definitely feeling pretty lazy about now, since we've been lounging around all day.

3.  FIL has been talking about going to New York for the holidays, since I'll be in Mexico and DH will most likely be driving.  I overheard FIL talking about being gone through early January, which means he will be gone for my 30th birthday.  I'm a little bummed to think that I may be home alone for my birthday, although Trinnie has been talking to me about what we should do.  My dad has also asked about what my plans were.  I don't reckon we'll have a lot of money, but I definitely don't want to be home alone.  =/

4.  I need to summon all of my willpower tomorrow, as FIL and I are going to some local stores that aren't readily accessible at home, namely Sephora, ULTA, The Body Shop, and In 'N Out!  FIL's been wanting to hit the outlets (he's a Ralph Lauren label whore), so I think we may do a walk-through to check out their stock and see if it's worth the hour drive on Thanksgiving for their sale at 10 PM.  I wouldn't mind finding some more winter clothes, especially for work.

5.  The guncles have a 6th grade son with multiple disabilities.  Per his IEP, he has an iPad as a piece of assistive technology.  I had him show it to me this evening and it was pretty awesome.  I don't have a good handle on his abilities, so it was cool to play Hangman with him and see him self-select a word for me to guess.  He did really well too!  He gave me words like "Arizona" and gave FIL "decorations!"  It was pretty impressive!

What I miss about California...

Do you hear the angels singing?  Because they are!
It isn't often that I really miss things about home.  I'm pretty good about adapting to new environments and "blooming where I've been planted."  Coming to Colorado from Fayetteville was a big step in the right direction, since it has more resources [read: my favorite stores].  Unfortunately, Trader Joe's hasn't made it to Colorado yet, due to issues with suppliers and liquor laws.  I got used to not having a TJs when I lived in NC (the Raleigh one is a long drive), but trust me, it's not by choice.

FIL forgot to stop by TJs the last time he was here in Arizona, so we made it a point to put it on this week's to-dos.  This is the best time of year to pick up their goodies, since all of the holiday foods are out.  Of course, I called Trinnie ASAP to make sure she didn't need anything, since she always stops at the Santa Fe one for me.  This picture came from my BB because, of course, I messaged her a photo from my cart.

Always better together!

Alas, I'm not talking about DH and I here.  :(  If you've followed my story, I'm pretty used to being on my own and not having DH around to help me.  FIL came to live with us in September and lives in our basement.  I know some people are really hesitant about moving their in-laws in with them, and even my dad and his wife questioned the move.  I never thought twice about having FIL come live with us, as he and I get along fabulously.  He and I traveled from CA to Missouri for my wedding and to watch DH graduate from BCT.  We're great travel buddies and have similar vacationing styles.  We like to go with the flow, we enjoy seeing the same sights and tourist traps, and we enjoy each other's company.  FIL is retired Air Force and has owned multiple small businesses over the years, including antique malls.  Walking down into our basement is truly like walking down into his house, since it's so different from our spaces, design-wise.

When I was putting up our Christmas stuff the other day (more pictures soon, I promise!), it was so nice to have FIL around to help!  DH isn't huge on holidays and I'm typically on my own when I end up decorating.  This year FIL was here to carry boxes in from the garage, wipe down the boxes (which hasn't happened in years), help me put the tree together and string the lights.  FIL is awesome around the house.  He is so easy-going and pretty much does what you ask of him (not that I put him to work on unreasonable tasks).  It was nice to have much of our Christmas decorations go up quickly and easily with his help.

Fast forward just a bit to Thanksgiving.  FIL's brother (and partner and son) live in the Phoenix, AZ area and FIL comes down quite a bit.  FIL's brother-in-law has a background in culinary arts and cooks up a storm, so we had been planning to spend the holiday down here and get our grub on.  Since I had a week off for Thanksgiving (go teaching!), it made for a nice chunk of time to get out of town.  This drive would've been a two-day excursion if I did it alone, but with FIL we drove straight on through!  He even took two four-hour shifts to my one.  The drive was pretty uneventful, as we did 90% of it at night.  We thought at times we were going to get some snow, but thankfully it never materialized.

That's about all for now.  After arriving at 0500, we only got about five hours of sleep, so my brain is kind of fried.  We have plans to go outlet shopping, hit a local country bar, stop by Trader Joe's (Colorado doesn't have any), run down to Yuma to visit my Grandma (and uncle, dad, and dad's wife), and hopefully jump on base to do some shopping at the MCX.

Busy week ahead of us!  I already know I'm going to need a vacation to recover from my vacation!  Hope you all are enjoying this short week!

Friday, November 19, 2010

MilSpouse Weekly Roundup #11

Bored this weekend?  Check out the Round-Up and catch up on your favorite milspouse blogs and discover some new ones!  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #22

Hallelujah, this week is over!  Bring on my Thanksgiving vacation!  Check out Wifey's if you want to participate.

1.  If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all of your human needs - food and water - were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?  My first instinct says an endless bottle of Shiseido SPF 55 and sunglasses, but the realist in me says a good survival knife and a big magnesium fire starter.

2.  If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have?  Zesty Italian!  Something with a kick and something fun!  Either that or Green Goddess, naturally!  ;)

3.  If you had to live on a ranch, what kind of animals would you raise/own?  Tons!  Horses, cattle (for DH, he'd love to own a ranch), Shetland ponies, goats (the cute kind with the dingleberries that hang from their necks), sheep, chickens.  I'm sure we'd acquire more animals - dogs and barn cats for sure!

4.  If your life was portrayed as a movie, who would you choose to play you and your significant other? Someone mentioned Woody Harrelson for DH before, and it works.  Same blue eyes, strong facial features (jawline), and he definitely has a personality, like DH does.  Woody is actually 9 years older than DH, but I think he'd work out well.  I'm going with Hilary Swank for me.  She's a woman I can relate to, in terms of beauty and positivity.  I think she'd play a good "me."

5.  What was the last thing you put a stamp on (envelope, duh, but what was in the envelope)?  The warranty card for our Dyson vacuum.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Exceptionally Versatile!

Yesterday Megan @ Megan Dub-Yuh awarded me with The Versatile Blogger award!  You've all seen the rules behind this one, so I'm going to jump straight to the seven things about me.

  1. I've never been skinny dipping.  Yes, it's true.  I feel like this is damn near Anti-American.  I've never owned a dog either.  Am I doomed?
  2. I have a great need for more winter clothing and layers.  I'm not prepared for this!  If only I had tons of expendable cash to buy some cute, warm, professional-looking clothing.  One day - I know it's a process.  I'm coveting some warm boots right now.
  3. Everyone around here is getting fired up for ski/snowboarding season.  I don't think I've skied since I was 12 or so.  I've never been snowboarding.  I wouldn't mind going again, but these are expensive sports and I don't have gear for that sort of thing.  Maybe I'll accumulate it, living out here.
  4. I miss Trader Joe's.  I can't wait to go to Arizona for Thanksgiving so we can stop by the TJ's in Phoenix and stock up on Christmas goodies!  They have the best stuff around this time of year!  I can't wait to pick up some gingerbread men!
  5. My grandma had one request for me when I come to Arizona for Christmas - to put up her fake tree.  I used to do it when I was younger.  I'd watch QVC while I did it (they didn't have a lot of channels on their TV), just to get in the spirit of things.  I think our trip down there is just going to be a day trip, so I know I'll be packing everything in.
  6. I used to take ice skating lessons when I was younger, around junior/high school age.  Again, I wasn't the greatest, but I really enjoyed it.  I was bummed out when DH suggested I chuck my skates when we cleaned out our stuff.  I just let him know that he'd have to buy me new ones when the time came around.  :)
  7. I really enjoy pleasure reading, but I rarely get to do it during the school year.  A Kindle is on my wishlist, after seeing Trinnie's and thinking about how handy it'd be when I travel.  I love collecting books, especially ones with great pictures, but I'd love to have a Kindle for my lengthier books.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Heads up for my COUNTRY fans!

Like country music?  Then fire up your iTunes and head to the store!  Scroll all the way to the bottom to the iTunes freebies.  The free video this week is Rascal Flatts' "Why Wait!"  I love when the freebies are country!  I check the iTunes freebies weekly and I've gotten some great downloads.  I've also been turned on to some musicians I never would've discovered without it.

Sarah, are you going now, as we speak?  I knew you'd be into this!  :)

Christmas Destressing

This post isn't about the holidays making you more stressed out, it's about me unwinding with a little holiday cheer!  It's been a day.  I knew this was going to be a rough week, with vacation so near.  I came home agitated and I know I was short with FIL.  I really tried not to be as grumpy with the kids as I was yesterday, and I was pretty successful in that aspect, but by the time I got home I was done.  We've been dealing with more of the truck issue today.  FIL was able to get quotes from the mechanic and fax them over to our dealer, who's balking at the cost right now.  Per the DMV, the dealer [statutorily] has to either fix the truck or buy it back.  So, more pushing and advocating on our parts in the near future, as if I don't do that enough in my daily life.

So, what's a girl to do to relieve stress?  I sat down on my computer and began playing with Shutterfly again and customizing my free Christmas cards.  It was nice to tune out for a bit, and reflect back on the year.  I spent the time going through my iPhoto and trying to find all of the albums that contain DH and know, the same city, same state, same country.  :)  This drastically reduces the amount of photos I have to choose from, which makes the decision process easier.  Putting my card together didn't take long at all.  I found six pictures and narrowed it down to three, edited them to make them sepia-toned to coordinate with the card, and voila!  Curious about how it turned out?

Monday, November 15, 2010

She made me do it...

I've had an update coming for you folks all day, but understandably, I can't really blog at work.  I actually got quite a bit done at work today with my upcoming IEPs - go me!  Today is the last Monday before my week-long Thanksgiving break.  I can't tell you how irritable I was today, especially by the end of the day. Poor students, I'm tapping out.  I've been trying to teach combining like terms and simplifying variable expressions, and some of our problems include using the distributive property, which the kids are having a really difficult time with.  I was going to move on tomorrow, but I really need to do some reteaching first.  Ok, no more teacher babble...

Who made me do it?  One of my good friends and faithful readers!  She's harassing me on FB, saying she's waiting for my Monday post!  :)  Gladly!  I love having people keep up with me, and I know she says reading the blog is like having a conversation with me.  She's one of my favorite milspouse friends from Bragg, and I've mentioned her before on here.

Thanks to everyone who cross their fingers for DH - he passed the written portion of his commercial drivers license exam!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I *am* happy.

DH asked me today if I was happy, as we were lying down on the couch together.  I joked it off at first, but he was serious.  It wasn't so much a question about whether I was happy with him, but if I was happy about the fact that we are still without child.  I've been off BCP since October 2007, when he went to Korea.  We're finally really living together (consistently) and we've yet to be successful in any way (I've never been pregnant and miscarried).  I let him know that, of course, I was happy with him.  I explained to him that if I rant from time to time, it's because he's my husband and I feel that I can.  You know how it is - the people closest to you always hear the nitty gritty, the stuff you don't talk about with the general population.  In all of my venting, I know I lose sight of the fact that he feels a lot of pressure and responsibility for our success, even though we've never had him tested and I really don't feel like the reproductive endocrinologists at Womack really investigated if the issue was with me.  I know he takes it personally that he hasn't been able to "give me a baby."  I don't want him to feel that way, as it's our issue together.  Whether (biological) children are in our future or not, I love my husband and know that I am and I will be happy with him.

As to how our conversation ended, I just turned it back around and let him know that if we weren't able to have our own kids, then we'd adopt that Korean baby he wanted to take home when he visited an orphanage while stationed OCONUS.  :)  Of course then our tangent was about having our child ("Jung Eul") go to Korean school, learn traditional dance, etc.  We're not joking either - Jung was the name of his KATUSA and I went to school with a guy named Eul.  

So, we'll see what happens as the pages in our life turn.  Overall, I'd like to get our financial situation in better shape before we try to start supporting little people.  :)

Good News and Goodbyes

Friday brought some of the best news in a long time.  Actually, Saturday brought that news, I just hadn't been looking in our bank account.  The final installment of our travel pay came through!  I felt a little like a lottery winner - don't tell anyone! - even though the amount is hardly lottery-worthy.  Sidnie @ Green Enough For Me joked about me doing a shopping spree.  Hardly, friends, although wouldn't that be fun?  It does make it a little easier around here though, at least for the time being.  I was able to pay a bill I was putting off and I was able to go to the commissary today and pick up some food to carry us for the rest of the week without worrying.  FIL and I are taking off soon for Arizona, so I just have this week to worry about.  I did make a couple small purchases for myself, including a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree I'd been wanting at Walgreen's.  Now let's see how far we can stretch the rest of this money.  Most of my money from extra duties will start rolling in come December, so I'm optimistic about that month.  

Today brings another goodbye with DH.  He came home to visit us for less than 24 hours and is on his way back up to trucking school.  He's got another two weeks in this course and then he heads down to do another week's worth of training in Texas.  I've been telling people that his Texas training is the trucker's equivalent of student teaching - he'll be in the truck with an instructor riding with him.  He takes the written portion of his licensing exam tomorrow - keep your fingers crossed for him!  Things are going well, which doesn't surprise me too much with DH, and one of the higher "ranking" instructors has already asked him if he'd be interested in becoming an instructor!  So, we'll see where all of this takes us.  I'm not sure when I'm going to see DH again, with us leaving town soon.  I'm not sure how much time he'll have at home (if any) before he goes to Texas and then starts officially driving after that.  I know he needs to be back in early January for drill and leadership training, but I don't know where he'll be in December.  My 30th birthday is coming up at the end of this year, so I'd like him here, but I can suck it up if it's not going to be possible.  You know what they say, Stay Strong and Soldier On.

In the commissary news, I saved 13% today with 17 coupons!  I think that's my personal best.  It really helped my percentage by not purchasing any meats today (we already have a freezer-full).  Yay for savings!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pride at a Price

As an Army wife, I couldn't be more proud of my husband.  In March he returned from Afghanistan, which was my first real deployment as a military spouse.  I am proud of his service and thankful that he returned home safely along with the rest of his company.  

When our servicemember is deployed, it's natural to want to share that pride with others.  We champion our roles as Blue Star Families, so why shouldn't we show it?  I had a blue star banner when I was back in North Carolina, but I chose not to hang it where it could be easily seen.  Living in an (off-post) community that has a significant military population, I'm surrounded by fellow Army families.  One of my neighbors has her blue star banner on the front door, for all of the world to see.

As military families, we've often been briefed on OPSEC, but PERSEC (Personal Security) needs to be considered just as necessary for the safety of our families, especially when our spouses are away for any length of time.  Think about all of the people that drive in and out of your neighborhood on a daily basis - service technicians, landscapers, friends/acquaintances of neighbors, postal workers, delivery services, people cutting through housing, etc.  The blue star banner may scream "Waiting For My Soldier" to me, but it says "I'm home alone and vulnerable!" to others.  If you have a family, especially a young family, you should be cautious.  If you've got no children and no roomie, you definitely need to think twice about who knows you're home alone.  Me, I had no dog, no weapons to defend myself, so I chose to err on the side of caution.  

Auto stickers ("1/2 My Heart is in Afghanistan") have the same effect - I'm heading home to an empty house, all alone.  Follow me!  I love those sorts of things just as much as the next girl, but you need to think beyond the cute-factor and consider what sort of a position that sticker/banner/proclamation puts you in.

If you just can't help but buy these sorts of items, do yourself a favor and keep them inside your home.  Put that sticker on your fridge, hang your banner up on a hook inside the house somewhere.  You may think I'm paranoid or overreacting now, but this is the sort of thing that only needs to happen once for you to learn that lesson.  I'd just rather not go there.

What about you?  Do you think I'm crazy?  What are your thoughts about the visible posting of a blue star banner? 

MilSpouse Weekly Roundup #10

It's that time again!  I could enjoy this snowy (predicted) weekend reading up on milspouse blogs!  I picked my Grandpas/Heroes post as my hit of the week.  Click that link and read away!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My first heroes were GRANDPAS!

I don't feel like my family is one of those with a long line of military history.  The men in DH's family have all served our country, but my family's service is here and there.  My parents both went to college after high school and established their careers, my dad being too young to have served in Vietnam.  Regardless, there are shining [military] stars in family that I would love to share with you.

Today was an "Ask And You Shall Receive" kind of day.  I was telling Ann Marie @ Household 6 Diva that I was saddened when I looked at the entries that linked up with her Veterans Day post.  Many of these other bloggers had priceless photos documenting their family's history of service in the military.  I had nothing to show for my veterans, of whom I am so proud.  FIL's retired Air Force and was extremely successful in his military career, yet he had no pictures of his time in Vietnam, nor can he find me a photograph of himself in uniform for us to frame and hang here at home.  DH has no photos (and little memorabilia) of himself during his service in the Marine Corps.  He moved from place to place before I met him and lost a lot of stuff in the process.  I have no photos of him from his childhood, another saddening by-product of a difficult upbringing.  

What did I receive today?

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #21

You know the drill, head to Wifey's!

1.  Were you named after anyone?  Nope, my parents just liked the name!

2.  What color, if any, are your toenails usually painted?  Nothing.  I can't afford manis/pedis right now and I don't tend to have my nails painted unless I'm bored or heading to a big event soon.  Neither is going on in my life right now!

3.  How do you flush a public toilet?  Hands?  Feet?  Something else?  The normal way - hands.  I'm not a germaphobe.  I wash my hands afterward.  I haven't contracted anything and I don't get sick that often [knocks on wood].

4.  When you were a little kid, which TV character did you have a crush on?  I didn't really crush on TV stars that often, but it was probably Mark-Paul Gosselaar from Saved By The Bell.  Even then, I'd say "mild interest" and not crush.

5.  Let's say you had to lose one of your five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell).  Which one would you choose?  Why?  Definitely not sight or hearing, those are too precious to me, although I know it's possible to live a full life without them.  I love smells and tastes, so I would have a hard time parting with those.  It'd have to be touch, but only because if I lose the sensation to touch with my hands, I could probably still feel the sensation of someone else touching me, like my husband giving me a hug or kissing me.  I think that's the best of the five options.

Happy Veterans Day!

Chances are that if you're reading this, you're probably connected to the military.  Most of you are dating/engaged/married to a veteran, or someone who will eventually be a veteran, since we're still living in a time of war.  Despite the sacrifices we make, I know that none amongst us could be more proud of our servicemember.  Thank you to all of those who've answered the call to serve our country so selflessly and preserve our freedoms!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shutterfly's bringing you good tidings!

When the holidays start rolling around, I start thinking of Christmas cards.  No, really, I do!  I had already decided that Randi @ Hitchcock Photography would take our Christmas card picture.  I was figuring we would do something country again, since we're finally out here in Colorado together.  When FIL bought DH a nice, new button-down red shirt (and a buffalo check one too), I knew it'd be perfect for our shot.  I was looking for a green Fair Isle sweater that would coordinate well, without looking too Christmassy, matchy-matchy.  I found a nice one at L.L. Bean in Maine, but it was a smidge too pricey for me.  You're getting the idea, right?  I love doing yearly Christmas photo cards, complete with an enclosed newsletter to keep family members (especially those who aren't on Facebook) up to date about where the Army has taken us and what we've been doing.  In 2007, we did a card with one of our wedding photos.  In 2008, we did a patriotic Christmas card, and in 2009 we did the same.  2009's card said "Greetings from Fort Bragg, NC and Kandahar, Afghanistan!"  :)

This year brings different circumstances.  We were together, now we're separated (thanks to trucking school) again.  We most likely won't be spending the holidays together, unless he isn't driving then and we can find some money for his trip to Mexico.  We don't have money for Christmas cards this year, so I had pretty much put them out of my mind.  Enter Shutterfly...

Happy 235th Birthday to the USMC!

November 10th is a holiday in our house - it's my husband's second birthday!  Regardless of the uniform he wears, he's a Marine, first and foremost.  That mentality and that training never goes away, and it affects how he performs his duties as a Soldier.  He's been successful in his military career because he is Marine.  Marines tend to flock together and it truly is a brotherhood.  DH formed close bonds with other prior-service Marines when he was in active duty.  He trusted those guys, knowing the background and the abilities that come along with that title.  To know a Marine is to love a Marine.  I can pick out Marines from a crowd and tend to gravitate towards them.  At the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC, I was able to pick out the one employee that was a Marine.  :)  DH would give up all of his rank and start over, if it meant the Marine Corps would take him back (he was medically discharged).  One of my biggest success stories as a teacher just recently graduated from Marine Corps boot camp and I couldn't be more proud of him!  I'm rambling, let's get to the celebratory congratulations and pictures!

Happy 235th Birthday to some of my favorite Marines and Marine Families!  Shout outs to John @ Vintage Engineer Boots, Sarah and her DH @ Adventures in Life, Taryn and her newlywed DH @ Maine-ly Taryn, and to all of the other Marine spouses reading this post!  

National Museum of the Marine Corps

Mt. Suribachi in Legos!
ROK Marine tribute

Wordless Wednesday - The "Mommy Shrine"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh, the weather outside is frightful!

Yes, it's the first snow day in Colorado!  Granted, we didn't get any here at my house, but it's been spotted all over the Springs and DH got some up at trucking school.  When I left school, it was raining and there was slush in the grass.  We're supposed to get snow after midnight on these first couple of days and snow on Thursday for sure.

I remember my first snow day in North Carolina.  When it was predicted, I kept looking outside, waiting for it to happen.  I'm from California and I'm not used to "living" with snow.  Visiting, yes, living, no.  I don't know if I'm prepared for this.  It really didn't snow all that much out in North Carolina.  I know I'm in for a big change out here in Colorado.  I really don't feel all that prepared.  Mittens, gloves, scarves, and hats are definitely on my Christmas list!
1/30/10 - Snowy home in NC!
2/13/10 - Snow on Myrtle Beach!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Off to a good start!

If you've been able to keep up with my rambling, you know that I have my "While He's Gone" Goals to accomplish while DH is at trucking school.  I crossed three things off that list today and did a bunch more!  :)
  • Found a new home for the backpacks, a soft-sided cooler, and a box fan.  Yes, this stuff is all laying around my house. 
  • Unpacked two boxes.  Completely put away the contents of one (and found my lost Trader Joe's Spanish Olive Oil - score!) and laid out the contents of the other.  The second box contained my "Mommy Shrine" and I need to find the drywall screws so I can hang it.  Called DH to ensure that he's ok with its intended location.
  • Took random, ill-placed items out of the coat closet.  Rearranged coats in color order, his on left, mine on right, and buttoned/zipped them.  Yes, I'm that anal.  Put backpacks, box fan in coat closet.  Removed DVD rack from coat closet and put in office.  Repurposed DVD rack as a bookshelf for the books that were still laying in the hallway and dining room.  It's not the sturdiest, but it'll do for now.
  • Moved DH's computer tower into the desk, rewiring everything.  Brought up stuff that was laying around the rest of the house, yet should go in the office.  Moved shoeboxes into guest bedroom closet.
  • Repositioned piles on kitchen countertop to the kitchen bar area, and sprayed down kitchen countertop with some yummy Mrs. Meyer's Lavender Countertop Spray.  One day, when I have money and a need for more cleaning supplies (most likely in 10+ years), I'll order more of their stuff.  The Geranium is heavenly!  They did a limited edition Rhubarb scent at one point that I snatched up in a hurry.
  • Stripped dining room table of tablecloth - did the same with buffet and runner.  Replaced these with my Thanksgiving turkey handprint runners.  :)
Not too bad for a Monday night!  I even watched 90210, which is a guilty pleasure that dates back to when I first met Taryn.  Blame it on her.  Ok, time for bed.  I slept fantastic last night and I'm hoping for a repeat.  I woke up this morning with so much energy, which is rare for a Monday.

Day 30 - A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

Dear Erin,

I love the following qualities about you:

  • You're resourceful.  You know how to use your outgoing personality to network and make connections (and some wonderful friends in the process) that have helped you out in both your professional and personal lives.  You're a go-getter and you strive to be proactive and take charge of your life.
  • You're educated.  You've taken the lessons your parents have taught you and prioritized your studies.  You took a chance on Women's Studies and you got so much out of it!  You kept going with your education, even when you were in between homes and experiencing upheaval in your personal life.
  • You've optimistic, positive, and upbeat.  You always try to maintain a positive attitude, and you make the choice to do that every day.
  • You're confident.  You have a strong sense of self and you don't let others get you down.  You know where you want to go in life and you're determined.
  • You have a servant's heart.  You love the teaching career you fell into and you've been successful in it.  You have taken the opportunity to volunteer, through which you've met and served many remarkable individuals.
  • You are loved!  You have so many phenomenal people in your life that love you!  You are truly blessed!
Don't take any of this for granted!  Use your gifts and spread your love!



PS.  Can you believe the 30 Day Challenge is over?!  It's been a lot of fun!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More Versatile Blogger Awards!

Thank you to Taryn and Sarah for passing the Versatile Blogger Award to me!  I didn't jump to answer the questions again when I got Taryn's, since I had just been awarded by Florida Girl, but here I go again!  I've been inspired by a new bloggy friend!

1.  Thank and link back to who gave you the award.
2.  Share seven things about yourself.
3.  Pass it along to blogs you've recently discovered and enjoyed.
4.  Leave the recipients a note telling them about the award.

Colorado Springs Veterans Day Parade

Yesterday was the Colorado Springs Veterans Day Parade through downtown.  I had an opportunity to participate in this year's parade by riding with the Patriot Guard.  I've ridden in parades before and it's not easy on a motorcycle.  You're in first gear the entire time, you really can't ever get your feet off the ground for long.  Needless to say, I was battling a leg cramp and an enflamed thigh (the engine heats up a lot when you're not moving very fast).  It was worth it though!  The crowd was huge!  That was so great to see.  The turnout was amazing and everyone was enthusiastic.  TONS of people waving, cheering, thanking us, etc.  That was a little odd, to hear people thank us.  I kept thinking, "What did I do?!"  But I know with the PGR I'm amongst vets who do deserve that thanks.  I don't look for thanks, for doing what I do with the PGR.  I do it because those who've been killed in honor, those who've served our country, they deserve it.  It's my honor to stand for them.  I had a perma-smile on my face throughout the entire parade, as I waved and honked my horn.