Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas snuck up on me this year

It's all the ice storm's fault...

A few days ago, someone made a passing comment about Christmas being only a week away. Whoa! How'd that happen!

I know how it happened. My last day of classes was followed by my finals and due dates for semester projects. I had every intention of getting to 'Christmas preparations' after that, but then we got slammed by ice and snow. We were lucky and managed to avoid the worst of it, but because the rest of my friends, and frankly the rest of town, weren't as lucky, we had lots of visitors over the next few days. Throw in an impromptu trip to KC and all preparation got shoved back a week.

BUT, after a very minimum of stress and a whole lot of kid-free shopping (ah, bliss!), I can announce that Christmas may now come!

We're driving down to my aunt's house tomorrow. Here's hoping the next round of wintery weather holds off long enough for us to get there...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ice photos

My next-door neighbor's house the day of the storm:

A photo I took on campus two days after the storm:
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 14, 2007

Update, written on the 12th

We got socked pretty hard with this ice storm. Once I have internet back at home, I'll show you some pictures. Wow.

We had power through Monday night, although we lost cable (and thus internet) around midnight, I was up working on a project. My friend Sam and her family weren't as fortunate. They lost power around 9:30 pm.

By the next morning, there were branches down all over our neighborhood. Sam's house was about 50 degrees or so, so I went over to pick them up. They had branches covering their driveway, while ours was still clear.

Both the kids' school AND the university were closed. We're in finals week right now, so they rescheduled my final (and all the others scheduled for Tuesday, of course, not just MINE *grin*) for Saturday. (??!!??) Luckily, my instructor has set an alternate time for Thursday at noon or Friday at noon for those who don't want to take it Saturday.

I made some hot breakfast (waffles and french toast) and cranked the heater, knowing that we'd probably be next. Sure enough, about 30 minutes after breakfast, our power went out as well.

It was still 70 degrees in the house by dinnertime Tuesday and still no power. We decided to do some searching for a hotel room and managed to find probably two of the very last rooms in the area. Nothing was available in town, so we had to go to the next town over. The rooms weren't pretty, but they were warm.

About 15 minutes after we left, Darrell called to say that the power was back on at our house (he'd been in and out, depending on what he had to do at work). We didn't want to chance it going out again, so we stuck with the plan.

Sam and her family left early to take her mom to the airport (she was here for Sam's graduation) and the boys and I headed home. Our power had been on all night. Oh well, I still think it was better to stick to the plan.

The boys' school was still closed, but the university was open. I called my babysitter's house to see if she could watch the boys while I proctored an exam to find out that they'd lost power at 5am Tuesday morning and their house was only about 45 degrees! Of course I told them to come on over! She's with them all right now as I check my email (we're still without cable) to see what's going on with the final I missed yesterday.

I've heard from someone who spoke directly with one of the electric crews that some parts of town might not get power back until after Christmas! I certainly hope that's not true. (ETA: the paper says it might take until the 22nd in some of the harder hit areas - where are those, I wonder? Are my two affected friend's families in them???)

Anyway, we're fine. We're warm. We're probably going to sleep Sam's crew at our house, plus the babysitter's family if they choose. It'll be crowded, but we're all friends. We're not supposed to get any more precipitation, so as long as the ice continues to melt, we shouldn't lose power again. Large parts of town are still out, but there are crews all over the place fixing stuff and chopping up trees.

OH! Speaking of chopping up trees, the worst problems happened at our next-door neighbors. They had a tree split - one half landed on (but not through) their roof. The other just barely missed their cars parked on either side of their driveway! The one that fell on the ground completely covered the road. Again, I have pictures I'll show you in a day or two.

This does not surprise me...

After reading this post at Chris' blog, I tried it for myself:

Left Brain - 61%
Right Brain - 39%

You are more left-brained than right-brained. Your left brain controls the right side of your body. In addition to being known as left-brained, you are also known as a critical thinker who uses logic and sense to collect information. You are able to retain this information through the use of numbers, words, and symbols. You usually only see parts of the "whole" picture, but this is what guides you step-by-step in a logical manner to your conclusion. Concise words, numerical and written formulas and technological systems are often forms of expression for you. Some occupations usually held by a left-brained person include a lab scientist, banker, judge, lawyer, mathematician, librarian, and skating judge.

Your left brain/right brain percentage was calculated by combining the individual scores of each half's sub-categories. They are as follows:

Your Left Brain Percentages
53% Sequential (Your most dominant characteristic)
27% Reality-based
25% Symbolic
25% Logical
20% Verbal
16% Linear (Your least dominant characteristic)

Your Right Brain Percentages
28% Random (Your most dominant characteristic)
24% Holistic
20% Fantasy-oriented
19% Concrete
19% Nonverbal
5% Intuitive (Your least dominant characteristic)

How is it my strengths fall in sequential and random? Don't those contradict each other? These internet quizzes always crack me up.

Try it for yourself.

Monday, December 10, 2007

This should be fun...

I have a final tomorrow at 9:30. Wonder what happens if they close school. Dare I hope that I won't have to take it? I'm happy with my grade as it stands, so I certainly wouldn't complain...

Eric, if you're reading this, I hope you ran out to get your milk and bread. ;) Looks like we may be stuck in the house for a few weeks. (Seriously, WHY do people buy out the store? Do we live in the dark ages or something??)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

What's the point of gift cards?

Why do we bother buying gift cards? Why not use cash? Cash never expires. There's no fine print on the back that explains in tiny print that the value goes down if you don't use it within six months of receiving it. Why do we give a gift with limits? I'll give you fifty bucks, but you can ONLY spend it at Target, even though there's a really cool HDTV that you want to buy at Circuit City.

I've given lots of gift cards in the past, but I think in the future I'll stick with cash.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's December - now we can put up the tree

So now it's December, Thanksgiving is over, and NOW it's time to get ready for Christmas. Am I the only scrooge that likes one holiday at a time? Seriously, I can't handle getting ready for Christmas before the kids have gone trick-or-treating. No way.

My problem with Christmas these days is the frantic end-of-semester squeeze happens at the same time. I just can't take the time to 'do' the Christmas preparations slowly because I'm too busy cramming in the end of the semester. Then once that's done, Christmas is coming up fast!

Yes, I'm making lists of things to get, stuff to do, all that jazz. But none of it is going to get done for another two weeks or so...

We got the tree up today, though. I might take a picture or two later.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Seriously, what are you gonna do to me?

THULE AIR BASE, Greenland, at nearly 700 miles above the Arctic Circle, is the type of assignment known in the Air Force as "remote." One afternoon the crew of a C-141 Starlifter impatiently awaited the arrival of a sewage-servicing truck, which had already delayed their takeoff by 20 minutes. At last the truck appeared, driven by a nonchalant airman who set about removing the plane's sewage in an unhurried fashion. The aircraft's commander, a full colonel, began furiously berating him for his lackadaisical attitude. Interrupting the commander in midspeech, the airman heaved a sigh and said, "So what are you going to do to me, Colonel? I've got no stripes, I'm stuck in Greenland and I'm pumping sewage from your plane. How could you possibly make it worse?" The colonel shrugged his shoulders, said, "I dunno," and got back on the plane.

--Contributed to "Humor In Uniform" by SSgt. John D. Liliedahl

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ran a treadmill 5K today...

So my first timed 5K. I ran it mostly at 6mph, with a total run time of 31:15. A lot of room for improvement, but since I've only started working out again (weight work, mostly) in early September, and only recently added in some longer cardio a couple of weeks ago, I'm happy enough with it as a starting point.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Does anyone use...

I 'discovered' Microsoft's OneNote today. I've had it on my computer since I upgraded to Office 2007, but never bothered to look at it.

Wow. I definitely want to use this thing! It seems overwhelming right now, since it appears to be so incredibly useful and versatile.

So does anyone use it? How did you get started?

Friday, November 16, 2007

My birthday present to myself

My 34th birthday was in August. I bought myself 18 personal training sessions at the gym on campus. I know myself - I hate to go to the gym. I need someone to be accountable to.

Fast forward to last Monday - my last session. She'd taken my body fat measurements (among other pre-training stuff) at the start, and again at the last session. I'd lost three percent body fat in two months. I'll take it! And since I didn't lose any weight, I took my measurements to see what was going on. An inch and a half in both my waist and hips. I'll definitely take that.

I'll be honest with you, I was ready to quit going. I didn't want to pay for more sessions. And I wanted my time back. But Amanda told me that she was recommending me for the gym's "spotlight of the month" because of my successes, and I just couldn't throw in the towel.

So, I changed my plan; I started working out in the mornings. Less awake time to talk myself out of it, and I rarely got a lot accomplished in my office before my first class anyway. It's a win-win. The first week, I went three days out of four (had other stuff to do on Friday, mainly get stuff ready for ERiC's wedding). This week, I slacked a little bit - two days out of five. Not terrible, but not the five out of five that I'm aiming for.

Of course next week is Thanksgiving, and my stepkids are flying in. Plus, the gym is closed Thursday and Friday and the little kids will be home on Wednesday, so I guess it's two out of five for next week as well.

My plan is to find some 10K or half-marathon races in the nearby area to train for. I know I could run a 10K now, as I ran just short of six miles this morning. The half-marathon, I'm not quite ready for yet. There are actually a few running clubs in town that I'd love to hook up with; just need to figure out the child care issue. I hate running outside in the cold, though. Not much I can do about that.

It's been the best birthday present ever. Making time in my day for ME.

slowly gettin' there...

I'm so proud of myself! I ran (ok, jogged) for an HOUR on the treadmill today!!

I'm not sure how long it was, since the POWER WENT OUT about halfway through and I hadn't been paying attention to the stats. In fact, I try NOT to pay attention because then it seems like time is dragging. I think I was at about 25 minutes when the power went out, so when it came back on a couple minutes later, I ran for another 40 or so in case it was closer to 20.

I went up and down from 5.2 mph to 7.2 mph depending on how I was feeling, the song playing on my iPod, and my breathing. Mostly around 5.6-5.8 though. Woo hoo!!

Honestly, I can't remember the last time I ran for an hour. Probably before I was pregnant with Justin...? Maybe even as far back as when I was at the language school in the army...? I graduated from there in 1997.

Now, I wasn't going fast. In fact, I wouldn't have passed my army PT test 2 mile run at the pace I was going. But for now, I want to go for time rather than distance and/or speed. Really, I just wanted to see if I COULD. And I can! And I did!!

When the power went out, all of us on treadmills almost slammed our faces into the control panel. Not cool. Didn't bother to find out why it went out. Don't care, just as long as it doesn't happen often.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Here's a fun story...

Twin born second is the older of the two

A North Carolina woman gave birth to twins: Peter emerged first, then came Allison. But it's Allison who is the older of the two.

Last update: November 08, 2007 – 12:46 PM

A North Carolina woman gave birth to twins: Peter emerged first, then came Allison. But it's Allison who is the older of the two.

How can that be?

"Yes, Peter was born first, it was at 1:32 a.m. [Sunday]," mother Laura Cirioli told WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C. And Allison was born 34 minutes later.

In between, however, came the end of Daylight Saving Time, sending the clocks back one hour.

Thus, Peter's 1:32 a.m. birth time lags behind Allison's 1:06 a.m.

"We just never even thought about it until after he was born, and then we realized it was going to happen. It was really kind of amazing," Cirioli told the TV station.

Congrats ERiC!

One of my great college (read: RPI) friends got married last night. Congrats to Eric for a beautiful ceremony, a fun party, and a lifetime with your gorgeous bride.

A few pep banders were there, John C., John S. and his wife Jeannette, and Dave N. It was a blast talking about fun times, although it really made me feel old realizing how long ago those fun times were! There was one picture of Eric from his band days up on the photo collage displayed - it was yellowing with age!! Yikes!

Very glad I went, wish there'd been some more APB folk there. It made me realize how little time I was able to spend with my RPI friends at my own wedding. I'd like to go back and do that part over again... So, those who are reading this who were there, sorry! I'm glad y'all had a great time hanging out together, though.

Anyway, congratulations to Eric and Sherri. I wish you a long, happy marriage together, just like both of your parents! (Eric's have been married for 45 years, Sherri's for 40. Awesome.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Wow, no change fees!

Darrell's older kids are coming for Thanksgiving!!

We sent their mom the itinerary - and ran into a problem. They had plans on the return day that the flight interfered with. Off to Southwest's website I went. We were able to change the flight for FREE. I didn't realize that was possible any more.

Love it. Thanks, Southwest Airlines.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

Just so you know...

FO Blogs - The Worst Things You Can Say to a Woman Whose Husband is Deployed

I have a lot of friends with husbands who are deployed right now. For most of them this is at least their second or third deployment to go through as a couple. So the other day I was talking with a friend whose husband is currently deployed and we started talking about the most annoying things that usually well-meaning people say to us regarding deployments. We agreed that we are always polite in our responses and that we realize that the offending person usually had only the best of intentions. But here's what we came up with as the things we get asked or told that really make our skin crawl. They're not in any particular order. Feel free to add some of your own in the comments.

1. "Aren't you afraid that he'll be killed?"
(This one ranks in at number one on my "duh" list. Of course we're afraid. We're terrified. The thought always lingers at the backs of our minds ---but thanks, you just brought it back to the front. Maybe next you can go ask someone with cancer if they're scared of dying.)

2. "I don't know how you manage. I don't think I could do it."
(Though this is really annoying, I feel bad about mentioning it because I know that it is intended to be a compliment. Still, it's not like all of us military wives have been dreaming since childhood of the day we'd get to be anxious single moms who carry cell phones with us to the bathroom. We're not made of some mysterious matter that makes us more capable, we just got asked/told to take on a challenging job and we rose to the challenge.)

3. "At least he's not in Iraq."
(This is the number one most annoying comment for my friends whose husbands are in Afghanistan. As one friend put it, "What do they think is happening in Afghanistan? A huge game of golf? Guys are fighting and dying over there, too.")

4. "Do you think he'll get to come home for Christmas/anniversary/birthday/birth of a child/wedding/family reunion, etc?"
(Don't you watch the news? No. They don't get to come home for any of these things. Please don't ask again.)

5. "What are you going to do to keep yourself busy while he's gone?"
(Short answer: Try to keep my sanity. Maybe there's a military wife out there who gets bored when her husband leaves, but I have yet to meet her. For the rest of us, those with and without children, we find ourselves having to be two people. That keeps us plenty busy. We do get lonely, but we don't get bored.)

6. "How much longer does he have until he can get out?"
(This one is annoying to many of us whether our husbands are deployed or not. Many of our husbands aren't counting down the days until they "can" get out. Many of them keep signing back up again and again because (gasp!) they love what they do.)

7. "This deployment shouldn't be so bad, now that you're used to it."
(Sure, we do learn coping skills. And we figure out ways to make life go smoother while the guys are gone. But it never gets easy and the bullets and bombs don't skip over our guys just because they've been there before. The worry never goes away.)

8. "My husband had to go to Europe for business once for three weeks. I totally know what you're going through."
(This one is similar to number two. Do not equate your husband's three week trip to London/Omaha/Tokyo/etc. with a one-year deployment to a war zone. Aside from the obvious trip length difference, nobody shot at your husband or tried to blow him up with an I.E.D., your husband could call home pretty much any time he wanted to, he flew comfortably on a commercial plane, slept between crisp white sheets and ate well, paying for everything with an expense account. There is no comparison. We do not feel bonded to you in the slightest because of this comment and, if anything, we probably resent you a bit for comparing a combat deployment to a business trip.)

9. "Don't you miss him?"
(Like number one, this one gets a big "duh" from me. Of course we miss our husbands. If we didn't, we'd get divorced.)

10. "Where is that?"
(I don't expect non-military folks to be able to find Anbar Province on a map, but they should know by now that it's in Iraq. Likewise, know that Kabul and Kandahar are in Afghanistan. Know that Muqtada al Sadr is the insurgent leader of the Mahdi Army in Iraq and that Sadr City is his home area. Know that Iran is a major threat to our country and that it is located between Afghanistan and Iraq. Our country has been at war in Afghanistan for six and a half years and at war in Iraq for four years. These basic facts are not secrets, they're on the news every night and in the papers every day ---and on maps everywhere. You've had time to learn it. Do your part by at least knowing what is going on.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Christmas? It's not even Halloween yet?

I started seeing Christmas stuff in stores weeks ago. Weeks! Ridiculous. Can we please do one holiday at a time??

Anyway, someone recommended an awesome booster seat to me today, so I figured I'd put it on our Amazon wish list. Found a couple cool things the boys would like. Mom, there's our list. *laugh* Darrell, of course, is impossible. I have no suggestions for him. I added a cool link at the bottom of the pictures on the right side of the page. Handy, that...

Kaden has been out of sorts the last couple of days. I'm guessing he has some teeth moving in. They've been taking their time - thank goodness Kaden doesn't get cranky much.

Speaking of teeth, did I mention that J's other top front tooth finally fell out? That thing was dangling for weeks. Very gross. He wouldn't let us pull it; I'm so glad it's out. You can sort of see it in the picture below.

Darrell is getting all kinds of good information about his upcoming deployment. Always better to know what you're about to be dealing with. He's getting to know his team; so far, there aren't any issues. I hope they're all able to get along. It's going to be a long time with just the small bunch of them.

I was able to sell our elliptical today. I made Darrell promise that we won't be buying any more exercise equipment. *sigh* I came back in the house after helping the buyers load it into their truck and Justin was crying. He liked it and didn't want us to sell it. Wow. How do you tell a seven-year old that he gets enough cardio during the day and he doesn't need to work out at home?? *laugh* I had no idea that was going to be a problem.

We also sold our washer and dryer. They're the same units we got when we got married, and for the most part, they're still working strong. Well, the dryer anyway. The washer is held together with 100-mph tape (duct tape for you non-military folk) and unless it's leveled just perfectly, makes an awful racket when using the large load setting. I advertised it as "buy a dryer, get the washer for free" so I wouldn't have any unhappy buyers come back and complain at me. I was completely honest with them, so hopefully they're happy with the deal. The house we're renting has units in it, so we were just storing them until we move again. However, we're not expecting to move any time soon - we'll probably stay in this house for the duration of Darrell's assignment here. We can buy new ones when we PCS.

I've listed the bowflex on craigslist (where we listed the above - I'm quite pleased with it so far) and I've had two interested replies. One just asked me questions about it. I answered and haven't heard back. The other wants to buy it for $500. Yikes. I understand her position (new mom, can't afford more and has no time for the gym), but we paid at least three times that. I told her I'd talk to Darrell about it. So yeah, NO more exercise equipment. We both have handy gyms nearby for free.

I'm swamped in schoolwork right now. I have a few semester-long projects that I haven't started on, plus my thesis proposal that according to department policy, I should be defending before the semester break. Hmmm, not going to happen. I'm hoping to work on it during the two weeks when the kids are still in school/at the babysitters on my semester break. For now, I need to keep plugging along. Taking 12 credit hours as a grad student seemed insane when I enrolled, and it's still insane. Still, it needed to happen for me to make my graduation goal. I'll get it done.

Speaking of graduation, I've decided to finish up my 6-12 teaching certification. I'm so close to finishing that it's really stupid to let it slip by. I'll take the rest of the education coursework next semester, write up the masters thesis over the summer, do my last two masters courses in the fall, graduate in December 2008 with the masters in geoscience ed and the GIS certificate, then do my student teaching in Spring 2009. Just in time to get a 'real job' somewhere by the fall. I'd still much prefer to teach at the college level, but we'll see what's out there when it's time to job hunt. Having the university here results in a LOT of applications locally, so I'm not very confident. Eh, it is what it is... Maybe I'll stick around for another degree.... (Kidding! I think....)

Tired. Going to sleep now...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lots of new photos added to the boys' albums

Darrell signed in to post yesterday and starts training today. We knew it was coming for months, but it certainly doesn't make it any easier to return him to the army. *sigh* I think this is my new favorite picture of my boys.

Friday, September 14, 2007

This would be awesome to see in person

How does Dyson make water go uphill?

The Size Of Our World

The Size Of Our World

And this is hilarious

Star Wars Asciimation

Stumbled across this today


by Terry Bisson

"They're made out of meat."


"Meat. They're made out of meat."


"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?"

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in that sector and they're made out of meat."

"Maybe they're like the orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take long. Do you have any idea what's the life span of meat?"

"Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."

"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads, like the weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

"No brain?"

"Oh, there's a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat! That's what I've been trying to tell you."

"So ... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? You're refusing to deal with what I'm telling you. The brain does the thinking. The meat."

"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?"

"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

"Thank you. Finally. Yes. They are indeed made out of meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

"Omigod. So what does this meat have in mind?"

"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the Universe, contact other sentiences, swap ideas and information. The usual."

"We're supposed to talk to meat."

"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there. Anybody home.' That sort of thing."

"They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"
"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

"I thought you just told me they used radio."

"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat, it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

"Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

"Officially or unofficially?"


"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in this quadrant of the Universe, without prejudice, fear or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

"I was hoping you would say that."

"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

"I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say? 'Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they can only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

"So we just pretend there's no one home in the Universe."

"That's it."

"Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you probed? You're sure they won't remember?"

"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."

"A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

"And we marked the entire sector unoccupied."

"Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"

"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again."

"They always come around."

"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the Universe would be if one were all alone ..."

the end

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Another day in the life of our family...

Tomorrow is a "big adventure day" as Justin is calling it. I hope he's not disappointed; we're just going for a little walk in some semi-woods. But, we'll hopefully end up at the top of a hill overlooking the city. He's bringing his camera, so that should be fun.

We went to the park yesterday - Kaden's first time! He was a little unsure about the sand the first time he fell down. And of course got some in his eyes... Wanted nothing to do with the swings, but enjoyed going down the little slide (first two times with me, the third time on his own - although I was holding his hands since I didn't know how fast it was). He got pretty overheated, judging by the red cheeks, but I wanted him in pants so he didn't scrape up his legs crawling around.

Today was fairly laid back. The boys and I went to the cell phone store to change my SC to a KS number. We sang the new number over and over in the car on the way back. I'll ask Justin tomorrow if he can remember it. I bet he will - he has a mind like a steel trap. Sam and her kids came over for awhile. Then we went to dinner at Applebees (where it took entirely too long for them to bring our food - don't they understand how hard it is to keep FIVE children happy and not screaming?!?), then came back here so Sam could help me decide where to hang my pictures on the walls. I need one or two largish posters/pictures/something for the big walls, but we have all the small walls basically finished.

Oh, we got to the cell phone place about 30 minutes before it opened, so we went to the nearby Target to waste some time. They had my favorite t-shirts on sale! Woo hoo! And some shorts I've been looking for, also on sale. Amazingly enough, I'm now a size 4. Boggles my mind. I still see myself as an 8/10, but hey, can't argue with the shorts if they fit. It's weird how our minds refuse to believe what they see in the mirror and on the tag. (Yes, I know - stores are adjusting the sizes so what is a 4 now used to be an 8 ten years ago, I get it...) I don't care, as long as I can find clothes that fit.

J and I are going to need a LOT of new clothes for this winter. He's grown probably four inches and I've lost three sizes. He's easy (except finding pants that are long enough in the leg, but small enough in the waist). I'm not. I'm so picky with my clothes. I tend to buy the same boring solid t-shirts and turtlenecks. I need that "What Not To Wear" experience. I'll gladly ditch all of my clothes for someone to break me out of my boring solid dark colors rut.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Happy birthday to me!

For my birthday present to myself this year, I'm getting in shape. I signed up for some personal training sessions on campus, got some new workout clothes, and bought an iPod shuffle. My first session is Tuesday - more of a pre-assessment, really. Then my first workout the next day.

I know I worked out for a bit after Justin was born. I was living with my mom in PA while Darrell was in Korea. My younger sister and I signed up at the Y. I went quite regularly for awhile. Not sure why I stopped. Then at some point when I was at K-State before, I had a few months where I was going to the Rec. Again, not sure why I stopped.

Now I'm having at it again. I'm done having babies, so there are no excuses any more. Before, I always had in the back of my head, "well, this'll be a moot point when I get pregnant again and am back at 180 pounds..." We're done. No more kiddos.

I've been VERY slowly losing weight, just by eating less (not always eating better, but definitely eating less) and am back to my RPI weight. Go me! But now I need to firm up what's left. That's my plan, and since I know I don't have the willpower to get back into a program by myself (and my best friend is student teaching this semester, so she has NO time), and since the personal training sessions on campus are a STEAL, happy birthday to me! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Long overdue update...

Wow, it's been too long since I've been in here.

1) The house is now SOLD. We had only a minor issue with the second closing. Literally two minutes before it was scheduled to start, I got an email from the paralegal stating that both Darrell and I had to call or email them before the closing to verify that we were alive and well. Obviously that wasn't a problem for me, but Darrell was in the middle of a training exercise and did not have his phone on him. Nor do I know his email password.

Are you kidding me? They clearly did not understand the situation we were dealing with.

My realtor just had them write something up for our attorney-in-fact saying that she had no reason to believe that we were incapacitated in any way (or some other legal yada yada...)

Had we known about this, we would have made sure Darrell had his phone on him. He could have taken 15 seconds out of his exercise to call. But giving us a ridiculous requirement TWO minutes before closing? What if he'd been in Iraq?

Anyway, it's over. Whew!

2) Justin has started school. He loves his teacher, the after school program, the playground (he gets THREE recesses!), and everything else involved. Most mornings, I drop him off at Sam's house up the road. He then walks to school with her kids once it's late enough to head out.

3) Kaden has adjusted well to his babysitter's house. She has two of her own young girls, plus another boy and two infant girls. Other than a little separation anxiety that kicked in about two months before we moved, he's doing great. In fact, she has him sleeping on a cot instead of in a crib or pack-n-play and he actually stays in it! Amazing.

4) Darrell has graduated from his course. He kicked butt, with a 99.5% grade. As usual. :)

5) I've started school as well. I'm taking a full load (12 credit hours) and teaching a little bit. Right now, it seems I have all kinds of time since I'm not on the clock any more and of course my classes don't take the entire day. I need to get in the swing of things with homework and studying before I get used to having time to myself. I have every intention of scheduling in some gym time, though. Personal trainers at the gym on campus are CHEAP and I'd be crazy to pass up this opportunity to get back into shape. I haven't run much more than a half-mile since soon after I got pregnant with Justin. No more excuses. *laugh*

There's more little stuff going on, but that's our major news. Speaking of homework, I need to get to it.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Brand new video of Kaden and Justin

Click on the "Our Videos" just to your right for a video taken yesterday of Kaden walking. Yes, he's walking now! Darrell missed it by three days. Bummer.

Anyway, it's been about two weeks and K's able to go from one side of the house to the other (and more if there was room) without touching a wall.

re-closing scheduled!

A thousand thanks to a Columbia friend of mine for agreeing to be our agent at closing! We've both given her power-of-attorney, so she'll be able to sign a thousand times for us and SELL OUR HOUSE FINALLY!!

Unfortunately, it's not happening for another week or so, but as far as I know, all the kinks have been worked out. I'll be glad to get that finalized so I can stop stressing about the past and start stressing about the future (kidding! I'm not one to stress much about anything...)

Seriously, though, I need to get my head back in the game for this next semester. It still seems very far away, but I'm sure the time will zoom by and before I know it, I'll find myself back in a classroom. Again. I've lost count how many times I've re-gone back to school. I'm proud of myself for making it happen, especially with two kids. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard something along the lines of: "It's so hard to start back up, so just don't leave until you're done! And with two kids? You'll never find yourself the opportunity..." Poppycock. I've had no problem getting back into the swing of things. My kids don't slow me down, I just find better ways of managing my time. And I've been lucky enough to put myself into a situation where my school pays for itself.

So there. :) And this time, I may actually finish the masters...

Boxes, boxes, and more boxes...

I can hardly imagine having 33% more stuff. Yet that's what we're allotted when the army moves us. We get a 12k pound allowance and we were just over 8k. That's a LOT more stuff!

Anyway, we now have a house full of boxes. I've been emptying them as the motivation strikes. K's room is done. J's room is almost done (just have the desk boxes to go, plus the final organizing/cleaning). Much of the hall storage is done. The kitchen is mostly done; just need to find places for the miscellaneous stuff. The garage is piled high with all the random "I don't know where to put it, so it goes into the garage for now" stuff. Yikes, that one is very intimidating.

I guess I'll start on the master bedroom next, if only to find myself something else to wear... After my nap.

Monday, July 30, 2007

We made it!

So, we've arrived. Got the keys to the house today and furniture will be delivered later this week. Yahooo!

However, as great as things are going here in Kansas, things are going horribly bad back in South Carolina. We've had major issues with closing - in fact we haven't technically closed yet, even though we were all sitting around the closing table Friday morning. Long story short, we hope to finalize it this week. Please let it close all the way this week!

Justin has already timed how long it will take to walk from Sam's house to ours. *laugh* And since the school is between us, now he also knows how long it will take to get to school. That was very important for him. :)

Both Kaden and Cammi were AMAZING travelers. I knew Justin would be fine, he's always been great on long trips. K and C were unknowns. For Cammi, once we got about 45 minutes into the first day, she must have realized we were in it for the long haul and she hardly let out more than 10 meows the entire rest of the three-day drive. Whew! Kaden got a bit fussy a couple of times, but that's to be expected for a one-year old on a 18+ hour drive.

He's still not thrilled about getting in the car even today. I don't blame him. I'm pretty sick of it as well...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Turning in my official resignation...

On Monday, I'll be turning in my official resignation letter. I'll be VERY glad to not be working under such tight time restrictions again. Trying to schedule an appointment has been crazy, since I'm still in the hole over 120 hours of sick leave due to my maternity leave. I've been hoarding my annual leave hours in case I or the boys got sick. It'll be nice to schedule things easily again. I'll have quite a bit of open time this coming semester.

Speaking of this semester, I'll be taking four classes. My advisor thinks it's at least one too many (full time as a grad student is 6 credits, I'm scheduled for 12 I think), but one of them is only for the first month of the semester and another is a 100 level computer course (pre-req for the GIS certificate I'll be working towards). I think I can swing it. :)

I'm excited to see what changes have been made to the undergrad geology lab program. I would have loved to make some changes myself, during the year I was in charge, but I didn't have the funds or the time, nor really the authority as the coordinator should be at least an instructor and I was a non-degree seeking grad student. Ah well, changes HAVE been made now and I'm looking forward to them.

Justin is getting very excited about the upcoming move. I'm just glad school will be starting up only two weeks after we get back to Kansas. Since I'll be having both boys 24/7, my sanity will just about be running out by the time I ship him off to his first day of 2nd grade. I'm not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom.

Kaden is still not walking, although it really could be any day. It doesn't occur to him to try to let go of the couch/table/bed/whatever and just go for it. He always drops down to his knees. I'd love for it to happen before Darrell leaves for Texas, but I don't think it's going to. :( Of course I'll try to catch his early steps on video, but it won't be the same.

Closing scheduled!

We have an official closing date and time. Woo hoo! It's in the morning, so after I sign my name a few thousand times (nah, not so many as a seller...), I'll pick up the boys and we'll hit the road.

I need to come up with somewhere to put the cat. I can't leave her at home, since I'll be turning the keys over at closing. Can't leave her in the car. I'm still working on ideas...

The appraisal was a few days ago. We haven't heard the result yet, but she did say there aren't any red flags and we won't have a problem reaching the number we need. I'm very interested in her results, of course...

Still left: heating/air and termite

Friday, July 06, 2007

One step closer...

The house inspector came yesterday. He only found two 'gigs' - the garage door opener needs to be adjusted and we need to fix the weather stripping around the front door. He even showed Darrell how to do it the cheapest way possible.

We can handle that.

Darrell tried to fix the garage door opener, but it's apparently not as easy as he thought it'd be. He'll keep trying.

Next: appraisal and heat/air inspection

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Break out the beret!

Darrell's drill sergeant hat has been retired. His last day "on the trail" was Saturday, 30 June. Of course in typical Army fashion, he ended up having CQ that night, extending his last "day" about eight hours through the night and into the next morning.

I hadn't had a chance to see him in uniform on post since then until today after work. I got off work early and called Darrell to see what he was up to, to spend some time with him if possible before picking up the kids. He was headed off post to do some grocery shopping, so I met him in the parking lot.

He gets out of the car with his beret on. I'd forgotten how awesome he looks with it on, although I prefer the look of the Army soft cap (looks like a baseball cap). He prefers the soft cap as well (MUCH more comfortable, cooler than a black wool beret in the summertime heat, gives more eye/sun protection, etc...) Anyway, it was nice to see NO MORE BROWN ROUND (aka the drill sergeant hat)!! Our two years are over!

And those two years went FAST. Darrell had something like nine cycles during that time (might be ten, I'll have to ask). He worked up to 130-140 hours a week some weeks. Rarely had a whole weekend day off, never had a full weekday off while in cycle. Only had a couple cycle breaks longer than a weekend. Trained HUNDREDS of Soldiers.

I'm extremely proud of him. He's a great leader, a fantastic Soldier, and a dedicated mentor. I knew when I met him that he was one of the best, and he proves me right every single day.

A surprise at work

I got quite a surprise yesterday. I was named Fort Jackson Garrison Hero by the garrison commander, Colonel Stevens. I've never even heard of such a thing before, but now I am one. :)

I can't help by think of the kids' show Higglytown Heroes. The premise is that anyone in town can be a hero, depending on what talents and skills that person has and how he or she helps other people. I suppose I'm a paperwork hero?

I'm completely stumped at how I got on the GC's radar. Yes, I've done a couple of things at work to get local notice (worked two jobs for two months before Christmas while the section was shorthanded and was awarded employee of the quarter about five months ago), but neither of those things are that big of a deal to get recognition by the garrison commander. *shrug*

In any case, I'll take it. It'll certainly look good on the ol' resume. And if my son wants to think of me as a Higglytown Hero, who am I to complain?

Kaden's walking progress...

Kaden's lead daycare teacher is completely set on having Kaden walking before his last day at daycare here in South Carolina. She wants to see it happen, and with her determination, it might actually go her way!

At the moment, he's a master cruiser. He LOVES to push things around - I think his favorite is the rolling computer chair. We've caught him standing without holding on for periods up to eight seconds or so, but as soon as he realizes what's happening, he makes a grab for support.

Honestly, I don't see him walking before the end of July, but I'd love to be proven wrong. So go ahead Miss Gail, see what you can do! :)

A very overdue tooth-loss report

I'm sad to say I don't remember exactly when it happened, but Justin has lost his THIRD tooth. Not sure when the next one will go, as the other top middle tooth is only slightly wiggly... Luckily for Justin, the bottom two are growing back in pretty quickly. The one replacing loss #1 is about halfway up now, and Justin announced a few days ago at dinner that the new one now "works just fine." I saw proof - little tooth marks in a previously unmarked green bean. Woo hoo! *laugh*

Saturday, June 30, 2007

We have a contract on the house!!

We have a contract on the house!!!

Three days ago, I got a call from our realtor, John. He said there's a guy interested in our house. On their way out our front door, he was on the phone with his realtor (at home with a sick child), telling him to write up the offer. John called us later that night with the news.

Their initial offer netted us a profit of $133. Darrell and I laughed, because since the day we bought the house, we repeatedly said that as long as we don't have to pay at closing, we'll be happy. This was about as even as you can get in real estate! *laugh* We knew it'd be tough, selling the house only two years after buying it.

We countered. Got a call back not even six hours later; they accepted!!

It's almost too good to be true. Closing is in late July. Our lease on our rental house in Kansas starts August 1st. The boys, the cat, and I will leave South Carolina as the ink is drying on closing day. We'll get to Kansas two or three days later, spend a few nights in my friend Sam's house, get the keys to the house on the 1st, and hopefully have transportation drop off our furniture on the 2nd!

This is perfect. It leaves me plenty of time to train up someone to replace me at work. Justin and Kaden can stay at daycare/summer camp up through closing. Kaden's lead teacher is trying so hard to get him to walk so that she can see it before we leave. A month might be just enough time to make that happen.

We'll have about two weeks in Kansas before school starts to settle in, unpack, and make the rental house our home.The only rough part will be the two weeks between the moving folks picking up our stuff on the 12th and when we leave on the 27th. *laugh* We'll be living on air mattresses, eating on paper plates, and running to the laundromat. It'll be an adventure. We had to make the appointment with the movers a month ago, knowing we couldn't change it.

I am THRILLED at how well it's worked out. The house was on the market for two months - not too bad! It had the potential to be a mess, since there are new housing areas all over town. We had no idea how long the house might be on the market. Our closest competition, a similar size and style house, just in the next neighborhood over from ours, has been listed for over 250 days now. That made us very nervous. Most houses in our area are lots bigger, two floors, one or two extra bedrooms, etc...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy birthday party Kaden!!

My baby is one! How did that happen already?? We had his party today. My favorite part was the cake. When Justin was one, I had to stick his hand in the frosting to get him started, and even then, he didn't want much to do with it (you can see a picture of his first birthday party in his Justin - 2nd year folder). Kaden showed none of the same restraint! Lots and LOTS of pictures in his brand new Kaden - 2nd year folder.

Another one bites the dust...

Justin has now lost TWO teeth. And one of his top teeth is extremely loose, ready to go at any time.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Family update...

Kaden is now working on molars #2 and 3. At the same time. One on the top, the other on the bottom - opposite sides of the mouth. Ouch. He's still his usual happy self, but at night he needs a bit of tylenol to help him go to sleep.

Justin is almost done with first grade. Next week, I'll start reminding him to say goodbye to his classmates. I don't think he's realized that even though we're not moving for a couple of months, after next week he won't be seeing most of them again. :(

Darrell's last class is due to graduate soon! His unit might be picking up one more time, but he won't be working with them much as his drill sergeant time is up before they're done. I can't believe how fast these last two years have flown by!

I've finally been officially accepted to K-State's grad program! I'm starting off with a big semester (12 credit hours), but one of the four classes only lasts the first month so it shouldn't be too bad. One of the other four is a 100-level undergrad course (a pre-req for a certificate program I'm also doing). I think I can handle it. :) I'll have half of my course requirements done by the end of the semester! Since I still have NO CLUE what my thesis will be on, that'll give me extra time later to work on it.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


I took Justin in for a routine physical recently. He's 57 pounds and 49 inches tall! Completely proportional, as he's in the 75th percentile in both height and weight.

He still has only one missing tooth. Three or four others will be following soon.

Only a couple weeks of school left. He'll be doing a summer program on post like he did last year. SO convenient for me and lots of fun for him.

A new video of Kaden

Kaden is now crawling and cruising like a champ. And you can see it here. :)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Finally, some new pictures

I finally uploaded a few new pictures into the boys' latest folders.

Here's our lone tulip. Two running years of bad tulip crops. The daffodils did great, though.

Another good one

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." - Chinese Proverb

Speaking of teeth

Kaden popped his first molar through. And I have no idea when it happened. I was tickling him about a week ago and noticed it. ALL the way through.

I'm pretty sure he's working on another one at the moment. He's been waking up at 4:30 three nights in a row now, and has his hand jammed up pretty far in his mouth. Luckily (for me), he's gone back to sleep after some comforting.

Did I mention that he's crawling for real now? No more belly scoot. I rather miss it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Our first showing!

Ok, I understand that this could be a long process and in a few more weeks, I won't get so excited about it, but we had our first showing yesterday! Woo!

And we have another scheduled today. Woo hoo!

Let the offers come rolling in.

This could change everything.

Read this.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

And it starts...

Our realtor came over tonight. Papers are signed, pictures are taken, a sign is up in the front yard. It's official, we're putting the house on the market.

We've learned a great deal during this experience. Enough to know we're not up for it again any time soon.

But for now, I wonder how long I'll be able to maintain keeping EVERYTHING as clean as possible. Justin is on board for helping out, but Kaden just knows how to make a mess. *laugh*

Best case scenario - the first people to walk in the door love it, offer full price, and don't want to close for another two or three months. Here's hopin'...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

In other news...

Justin's latest big news: he lost his first tooth! And he's also grown about an inch and a half since November. I'm hoping we're done with cooler weather, as his pants are getting mighty short.

Kaden's latest big news: he loves green beans! *laugh* He's really improving his table food skills. And he's cruisinig the furniture like a pro. Still not at the point where he can let go yet, but I'm totally okay with that!

In typical army fashion...

The army took longer than we thought to decide where we're going next. Turns out that Darrell was on assignment to two priority missions at the same time and a general somewhere had to choose which one took precedence over the other. Crazy.

In the end, we're headed back where we just came from, Fort Riley. There are the normal pros and cons of any assignment, but we'll try to focus on the pros as usual.

So now we try to sell the house. We're meeting with the realtor on Thursday to take pictures and get it listed. Here's hoping it sells quickly, but not TOO quickly. While we're not sure when we'll be moving, we DO know it won't be until late summer.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I stand corrected...

Kaden is now working on tooth #8. And having four move in at the same time must be working a number on his system. He's vomited twice today. Otherwise, he seems just fine, and I'm feeding him the same stuff he always eats. Hopefully his belly settles down tomorrow. I'm totally out of sick and regular leave.

Well, I wish that was truly the case. I'm not just OUT of sick leave, I'm still over 150 hours in the hole. I took advance sick leave as my maternity leave. I should get done earning it back sometime next summer. Yikes.

Ah, the little one calls. Must be off...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Major news to come in a week or so

We may have some final news on Darrell's next assignment by next Friday. It's been a rollercoaster of emotions so far. And if it ends up like it appears, there's a bit of good along with the not-so-good. *sigh*

In other news...

Kaden is working on tooth #6. He's also learned how to pull up on anything and everything; he's able to cruise a step or two, so walking won't be too far away.

I start my 'new' job on 2 April. It's not a promotion, but at least it's something new.

What else...

My best friend had her baby on the 20th! Twelve hours later, her husband's flight landed at Kansas City. Bummer. All the way from Iraq and just missed it. The boys and I are leaving in two weeks to visit. I'm excited!!


Kaden plays with the toy bar from his bouncy chair.

ETA: Ok, Google's schmancy video insert deal isn't working (as usual). Here's the link.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I like this one.

"There is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals."

- Blanchard, Zigarmi and Zigarmi. Leadership and the One Minute Manager (1985)

New job. Same pay.

One of my co-workers got a promotion. I asked the boss if I could move to her position. It's a lateral move, but will give me more experience.

Plus, I'm NEEDING a change. I've been here for a year (almost) and doing the same thing every day gets very tedious. I'm looking forward to a different kind of tedious, at least until I manage to get MYSELF a promotion...

Happy Pi Day.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I love this picture. Isn't he cute?? :)

Notice his new TEETH?!?! The top two are just barely sticking out. Just enough to bite me on the arm. Lovely.

Monday, February 05, 2007

That Circle of Life thing...

My grandmother passed away yesterday. She was 79. She went peacefully, with family nearby. I'm glad she's not in pain any more.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

New pictures loaded

Check out the boys' folders. I have some new videos, too. Click on the "Our Videos" link on the right.

Way overdue...

Geez, I'm so far behind, I don't know where to start....

I don't remember how much I've told y'all about our next move. Darrell was originally on orders to Korea, with a follow-on assignment to Ft Lewis, Washington (meaning he'd do his year in Korea, then come back to Ft Lewis rather than where we are now). Then he was told by his branch manager (the guy in charge of where he'll go) that they were deleting his orders, since they needed all the SFCs (Sergeants First Class) stateside to go to deploying units.

Okay. So then we waited to see where he was going to go instead of Korea. Darrell thought at the time that he'd probably go to Ft Stewart, Georgia, or Ft Lewis. Those were the two posts that had units deploying a month or two after he'd arrive. Then his branch manager said that because so many units were either deployed, were deploying soon, or were moving their scheduled deployment time forward because other units were leaving sooner than originally planned, that he'd probably get involuntarily extended for a third year as a drill sergeant here.

But last week, he checked online and found that he was BACK on orders to Korea, only with a follow-on assignment to Ft Hood, Texas. Like I've said before, I just want to know for sure where and when. Ya know? I can deal with whatever, I just want to know.

Darrell isn't going to call the branch manager again until March. There's no point in even asking what the heck is going on at this point, since there's so much time between now and when anything will actually happen. He's not leaving until late summer/early fall. Plenty of time for it to change another half-dozen times.

I'm just going to assume the boys and I are staying here. If it changes, we'll deal with that later. Even if he does end up going stateside, if he's just going to deploy a month later, we'll probably stay here since we already have the house and I already have a job.

Something I'm planning to look into, however - I want to find out if we could move into housing on post if he goes to Korea. That would allow us a year to sell the house, since I'd be able to move into housing after closing. We could let it take as long as it takes, rather than take the first low-ball offer we get. I'm not sure if we can do that, with the timeline I'm hoping for. The wait-list for those of Darrell's rank is 9 months for a three-bedroom house. That's the minimum number of bedrooms authorized for his rank. However, the list said that for a TWO bedroom, the wait time was zero months. I'd gladly take a smaller house if it means we could make the timing work for us.

I applied to four different schools/programs for Justin for next year, in case we do end up staying. I asked him if he wanted to go to a new school, even if we stay here. He said yes, so... Three are magnet programs, one is just another elementary school (with a better academic record). I just don't like where he is now. I'll have to drive him, but actually, the timing works out pretty well. I could leave home at 7am like we do now, drop Justin off at his school, take Kaden to the daycare on post, and then get to work by 8am. Rock on.

Kaden is starting to fit into the 12 month stuff I have from Justin! He's scooting like a champ. I have some video for y'all; I'll hopefully be able to upload here soon. He's now able to hold his bottle by himself. He's trying to pull up on stuff, but he can't figure out how to get his legs under his torso. He's getting all over the house, though, that's for sure!

Darrell got that stomach bug BAD. He ended up staying home from work two days. That's unheard of for him. Right after that, his soldiers had their week-long field problem. I told him that it would be miserable, since I figured they'd probably get it too. Can you just imagine? About 250 soldiers? With only porta-potties to use? He said a lot of them got it. Gross. Poor kids! It's bad enough when you're able to lay on your own bed all day, just getting up to run to the toilet. Totally horrible when you're out in the field, trying to do soldier stuff all week!! Luckily, somehow Justin never got it. Kaden had a weak case, I had it a little worse. Glad it's gone gone gone.

In other news...I won the Employee of the Quarter competition! In fact, they liked my written answers so much, they're going to publish one of them in the next newsletter. I'm not very happy with that (it's really just a bunch of brown-nosing , but what can ya do? I'm sure my co-workers will give me all kinds of crap about it) I also got a quarterly bonus award ($$) because of those two months where I was doing double duty. Not as good as making two paychecks, but much better than nothing.

During the same award banquet, I got my five year service award. They were probably pretty sick of my face by the end of that. My boss's boss, Ms. R., is awesome. She's the one that put me in for both, since my immediate boss seems to not care a crap about any of us. She's the same one that hired me while I was 7 months pregnant. In fact, she hired another very pregnant lady last month. She's also the one that told me I could take advance sick leave after Kaden was born.

And since she's been so helpful, I asked her this morning if she'd take a look at my resume. There's another opening upstairs, and gosh darn it, I want to at least get an interview this time!! She said that the powers-that-be were surprised I didn't make the interview cut last time. She said I have a great shot at this one, as long as my resume makes it through the initial screening. With the changes she suggested, that shouldn't be a problem.

While I'm sad that I wouldn't be working for her any more, I'd be thrilled with the raise. It'd be about $5k more. Apparently, between the double-duty thing, the previous interview I did, plus now the employee of the quarter thing, they know me pretty well upstairs. That's all good news for me!

Now the bad news...I got an email from my step-mom Thursday. My dad's mom is not doing well and isn't expected to last too much longer. *sigh* She has had very very bad arthritis for most of her life. I'll be glad when she's not in pain any more. I'm so glad my dad moved back to California and was able to spend time with her.

Kid stuff

Justin asked me to clean the wax out of one of his ears. Only he called it "wack" - cause wacks (wax) is both ears. So just one must be singular.

Kaden slept through the night again last night! I decided that I was TIRED of waking up once or twice a night to feed him. Five nights ago, he woke up at 2:45. I refused to give him anything to eat, but went in and out of his room every five minutes to calm him as much as possible. It took about 90 minutes before he fell back asleep. Four nights ago, it only took about 30 minutes. Three nights ago, it was about five minutes. Two nights ago, he slept through!! I'm really hoping that'll be all it takes. REALLY hoping. He's certainly old enough, so I think/hope he just needed to know he could do it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

One of the coolest websites ever.

I ran across this awesome search tool for airline prices. You can look up historical data for up to two years, to see what's a good price.

You just need to play with it a bit to see what all it can do. To get the old stuff, click on the graph once you plug in the two cities you're interested in.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Friday, January 05, 2007

Gravity. It's a bitch.

Spaceship Earth collapsed. Thoughts?

My favorite comment:

"How can stone collapse by itself?" [Finnish-born sculptor who goes by one name] Eino asked.
"gravity" It's a basic characteristic of the space ship named earth.

Posted by: Wickedpinto at January 4, 2007 20:08

How.... odd.

"Imagine having six times the sensitivity of your entire hand concentrated in a single fingertip."

Read more here.

Not too many hotels come with it's own missle-defense system...

But this one does.

10,000 Gs? Definitely don't try THIS one at home...

Sounds like fun.

Yes, I am bored at work...

I love his rating on this one...

Don't try this at home.

I'm very excited about this one...

Drillers Tap into Foundation of Earth's Crust

In April 2006, geologists reported that they had successfully drilled into the bottom layer of the ocean's crust for the first time—and so have come a step closer to understanding how the foundation of the world takes shape.

New crust forms at midocean ridges where the sea floor spreads apart. Lava leaking from the ridges creates the crust's upper layer; beneath that lies a second layer, composed of the fossilized channels that once piped molten rock to the ridges. The formation of the lowermost crust, made up of a dark, magnesium-rich rock called gabbro, is still largely a mystery, one that holds the key to the workings of the magma source that feeds the whole process.

Douglas Wilson, a geophysicist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his colleagues traveled 500 miles west of Costa Rica to an area of ocean floor that formed 15 million years ago. There they found just the right piece of crust—not too hot, not too thick, and not too crumbly—to drill down to the gabbro. In 2006 they released their findings: After drilling through nearly a mile of sediment and crust, they finally hit the gabbro layer for the first time. Wilson hopes to drill deeper into this third layer by 2009. Then he will truly plumb Earth's deep secrets.

Anne Sasso

The scientific research drilling ship Joides Resolution is exploring the hidden structure beneath the ocean's floor .

Here's another one...

Fuzzy Math: The Wine-Dark Seas
By Alex Stone
DISCOVER Vol. 27 No. 06 June 2006
Take a magnum of wine and dump it in the ocean, wait until it has mixed completely with the waters around the world, then refill the bottle. What is the chance that the bottle now contains one of the original wine molecules? Answer: The odds are 100 percent. This surprising answer is the result of a simple consequence of statistics. The odds of randomly picking a wine molecule from the ocean is tiny—about 10 -21—because the volume of the bottle is so small relative to the volume of the ocean. But the bottle holds 1025 molecules, which means you get 1025 "tries" to nab one molecule of wine. After that many attempts, the highly improbable becomes destiny. By the same logic, every breath you take contains air molecules you have breathed before—guaranteed.

Not sure I quite buy his logic here...

Fuzzy Math: Reproductive Roulette
If a father of two tells you one of his children is a boy, what are the odds that the other child is also a boy?
By Alex Stone
DISCOVER Vol. 27 No. 08 August 2006
Let's say a mathematician and father of two tells you one of his children is a boy, then asks what the odds are that the other child is also a boy. It may seem obvious that the odds are 1 in 2, since the chances of any given child being born male are the same as a coin toss. But the correct answer is 1 in 3. Why? The reason is that the father is effectively asking what the odds are of both children being male, and we already know that (at least) one of them is. This actually creates three possible scenarios: two boys, a younger boy and an older girl, or a younger girl and an older boy. Both children are male in only one of these three scenarios, so the odds are 1 in 3. If the father had instead told you that, say, the older child was a boy, then the odds would indeed be 1 in 2 because in this case there are just two possibilities: The children are either both boys or a younger girl and an older boy—and two boys are just as likely as one child of each sex.

Now that it's a possibility again...

Now that Darrell might be headed over to Iraq again, I find myself paying more attention to things 'round the 'net. I know I should be anyway, especially since my best friend's husband is in Baghdad right now, but I've been playing the ostrich with my head in the sand, pretending the issue isn't an issue.

But, it's time to pull my head back out of the sand and deal with reality.

I ran across this weeks ago. Not sure exactly where I did, but that doesn't much matter.

Some selected sections:

Would you trust a Hurricane Katrina report datelined “direct from Detroit”?
Or coverage of the World Trade Center attack from Chicago? Why then should we
believe a Time Magazine investigation of the Haditha killings that was reported
not from Haditha but from Baghdad? Or a Los Angeles Times article on a purported
Fallujah-like attack on Ramadi reported by four journalists in Baghdad and one
in Washington? Yet we do, essentially because we have no choice. A war in a
country the size of California is essentially covered from a single city. Plug
the name of Iraqi cities other than Baghdad into Google News and you’ll find
that time and again the reporters are in Iraq’s capital, nowhere near the scene.
Capt. David Gramling, public affairs officer for the unit I’m currently embedded
with, puts it nicely: “I think it would be pretty hard to report on Baghdad from
out here.” Welcome to the not-so-brave new world of Iraq war

The real IZ represents opulence in the midst of war — with terrific chow, huge post exchanges that stock an amazing array of products, the best medical care in the country, and large, sumptuous swimming pools built for Saddam but now open to anybody who works in the zone. Nor have the grotesque exaggerations of the dangers of the IZ gone unnoticed by soldiers and their loved ones. “Dear Chain-smoking, Unwitting Stooges,” military blogger Jason Van Steenwyk began an open letter to the Baghdad press corps. “So how come we can get mortared several times a week out here and it never makes the news, but the pogues [rear-echelon soldiers] in the Green Zone can catch three measly mortar rounds and I get my dad emailing me asking why the Baghdad press corps is covering it like it’s the second Tet Offensive?”

Ah ha! That's where. I read Jason's blog daily...


The sad truth is that the mainstream media have no interest in covering the
Iraq War for what it is, observes Dollard. He says they are interested in Iraq
only so far as it is useful as a weapon against their self-imagined mortal
political enemy, George W. Bush. The embeds, however, want the real picture —
and we want to tell the truth about it to the world.

And so it goes. I started reading Jason's blog when Darrell was over there the first time (since I'll assume he's headed there again). He was a company commander for a National Guard unit that operated in the same place that Darrell was at the time. While I don't agree with all of his politics, I appreciate his experience and candor.

In any case, I still don't know how I feel about the war. Or when and how we should leave Iraq. My feelings are irrelevant. What matters now is how I support my friend while her husband is there. How I support my husband as he mentally prepares himself to go back. And how I support the rest of the military - both servicemembers and the families they leave at home - when it isn't "our turn."

I do wish the media would do a better job of covering Iraq, not just the war. Darrell has told me many stories about the good things we're doing over there. I've seen bits and tiny pieces of what we've accomplished for the people trying to live normal lives. After my time in Bosnia after that war was over, I am anxious for the Iraqis to get to the point the Bosnians were - hopeful optimism. Children of different religions playing together peacefully again. Adults, while not embracing their neighbors of different faiths as a rule, at least tolerating their differences and realizing that perhaps those differences didn't matter as much as they were led to believe.

But unfortunately we're years from that place in Iraq. And until we pull out our military, many of my friends and loved ones will keep going over there to help get there.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

He's getting the hang of it...

Finally, after many failed attemps and half-eaten meals, Kaden is getting the hang of eating baby food. He powered through a size two container of apples and cherries tonight. Power on, babe!!

Ok, so NOW what??!

Darrell logged on to AKO today to show something to someone else and saw that his Korea assignment had been deleted. This is good news and bad news at the same time.

It's good that he's not going to Korea, but the reason they're not filling Korea is because they need his MOS and rank stateside to fill the units being deployed.

Great. *sarcasm* So now instead of him spending a year in a relatively safe area, albeit on the opposite side of the planet, he'll be who knows how long in a war zone somewhere again.

Double great. *sarcasm* We weren't expecting to move the rest of us until August-ish 2008 when he came back, but now we might need to move August-ish THIS year. That means we need to work on getting the house ready to be sold sooner rather than later. And with the market around here, with houses not moving fast, it could get to a point where we need to rent it out. I was hoping to avoid that.

OR, we could stay here, depending on where Darrell goes, and how soon they'll be deploying. We won't have an idea where that might be until April at the earliest, and possibly not even until a month or two after that. If we do end up needing to move, that doesn't give us a lot of prep time.

Just this morning, I put in an application to get Justin into another school and/or program within the school district. While I'm not going to pull it out of the running, it looks like we may not need it. We don't find out about that until mid-March anyway, with the decision deadline coming before we know when/where we'll be going next.

Wow, life just got really interesting really fast. (Sam, I'm still pulling for Riley!!)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

We're back.

An update will have to follow later. Our house looks like a tornado went through it.

A great time was had by all. Work starts up again tomorrow. School starts up the day after that. Back to normal....