Thursday, December 28, 2006

Disney or Bust!

What can I say other than we are totally lucky to be going on this trip. We've talked about Disney for years now. Since we first got married we dreamed of the day we'd actually get to go. Now, here it is! The car is packed, the kids are getting into bed and at 2:00 am we'll wake up and hit the road.
This trip was planned completely last minute, with not a lot of money, but we pulled it off! It feels good knowing that I get this time to spend with my kids and husband doing something we all love. We're addicted to Disney. We love everything Disney-ish, so this is really dream come true time here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas... American Style

Why "American Style" you ask? As Christian as I am, Christmas was certainly about the presents this year.
I blame tv. I blame the mass marketing of the stores. I blame the American-way.
Ok, not really. I blame myself. In years past we did a good job keeping in mind what Christmas was really all about. Somehow this year I let myself get caught up in how much the kids were getting, how much I was spending, and making sure they got everything on their lists.
Our rule about lists to Santa is that they can only request a few things and they must keep in mind that Santa may not bring everything. Well, Santa tried hard to make sure he brought everything! And wouldn't ya know, they still found stuff to whine about that they didn't get.

On Christmas Eve after the kids went to bed, husband and I sit down to wrap a few last minute gifts, get the stuff under the tree and go to bed. At about 11:30, with special Santa wrap and gifts sitting on the living room floor, Drew walks out and stands there staring at us. Luckily for us he doesn't wake up easily and it didn't really register to him what we were doing. He had to go potty and wanted a drink of water. Then Louisa comes out. I jump up to head off Louisa because she will figure it out and ask questions.
Whew... that crisis diverted.
We go to bed at a little after midnight and around 1:30 am both kids come into my room and wake me up. Excitedly Louisa says, "Mom! Guess what? Santa's been here! Can we go open our presents?!" Louisa is nine years old and yes, she can look at a clock and tell time. Yes she knows that if the clock says 1:30 and it is dark outside, that means 1:30 in the middle of the night and she shouldn't be waking me up. Apparently when Christmas presents are involved, that rule is out the window. I wasn't amused.
They got scolded and sent to bed. But I couldn't get back to sleep. I finally fell back into bed about 6:30 only to be woken up at 7:30 by not two, but three eager kids wanting to open their presents and how dare I sleep so late! (the third child was not Hunter, if you get my meaning!)
We open the million gifts they got, and there were a few under there for me as well.
Then it's breakfast time and nap time. After only two hours of sleep total, I needed a nap!
One of dh's soldiers came over for dinner. All in all it was a very nice relaxing Christmas. It did rain all day, but that's the south for ya, I guess! Better than snow, so no complaints here!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Doctor Update

I got up the courage this morning to call and make a doctor appointment. At our military hospital they only do "same day appointments". So you have to call at promptly 7:15 am when the appointment office opens. I didn't get through until 7:47 am.
I went in with a list of what I wanted to tell him. I wasn't scared and I was going to be heard no matter what. I spent 4-5 hours last night curled up in a ball in so much pain that I was crying my head off. Every time I got up I threw up. I had enough! I wanted this pain gone, for good!
The nurse who took me back was very nice. Strange. Am I in the right hospital?
The doctor came in and ... get this... he was nice! Ok, now I KNOW I'm in the wrong hospital.
I was totally honest with him, as embarassing as something like this is. He was very nice and understanding. He took his time, didn't try to rush me. I got to bring up all of my concerns and he answered all my questions.
I got some meds that I think will work, however, the pain won't necessarily go away immediately. I may still have to put up with that for a few days. He said the laxatives I was taking were probably contributing to my pain. So I'll stop those immediately. I also need to be drinking as close to a gallon a water a day as I can. Apparently I'll be peeing all the time on top of this.
I was pleased when I left. Really wanted something for the pain and he didn't give me that, but what he did give me, and advise me to do, will help. And I will feel comfortable going back if it doesn't.

Monday, December 11, 2006

O' Christmas Tree

One of my absolute favorite things to do at Christmastime is decorate the tree. When I was in high school, my dad would bring up all the ornament boxes and my parents would just let me have at it. I had to have all the ornaments evenly spaced and placed perfectly. No helter skelter decorating here!
Then I had kids.
When you have kids you have to let them help decorate. They don't place ornaments nicely on the tree in the perfect spot. They don't make sure all the ornaments are evenly spaced. Children would much rather clump all the ornaments in one spot on one branch, or place them all the way in the back so no one can see them. Then I'm supposed to just leave them there so that their little feelings don't get hurt because they are proud of the good job they did. I can't do that! So one by one I start to move them into a better looking spot. If I do it slowly and quietly the kids don't notice it.

This year, however, we have a toddler in the house yet again. Guess what happens when you have a toddler? The tree looks like this:
All the ornaments are on the top half of the tree.
So, what kind of ornaments do we have? Well, I'll tell you! We have Baby's First Christmas for all three kids. I have my first ornament, too, from WAY back in 1978. Yes, they actually made ornaments back then! I don't have it on the tree this year, though. Every year I buy the kids an ornament that reflects the year for them. We also have ornaments that husband and I have picked out together. Things that remind us of eachother. It's nice to open up that box every year and unwrap our memories.

Husband put up the tree while Hunter was taking a nap. When Hunter woke up he was very excited by the tree. He kept pointing at it asking daddy, "Was dat?" He tried to blow out the lights like they were candles. We gave him a few ornaments that weren't breakable and he had fun putting them up and taking them off.
And here are Drew and Louisa hanging their Baby's First Christmas ornaments. Those are always the first to go on the tree. They want to know why they each only have one and Hunter has four! I guess Hunter just got more ornaments for gifts last year on his first Christmas than they did on theirs!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dear Santa,

I wanted you to know that I moved this year. I was in a very cold place called Wisconsin, if you remember. You probably aren't bothered too much by the cold with all the extra padding you have. I, however, hate being cold. I hate it so much that in the winter, I crank up the heat and throw on several layers of clothing. The heating bill has caused a few arguments between my husband and I in the past, but he's now come to terms with the fact that I WILL be warm in the winter, at all costs.
Well, if you're wondering, I've moved to a place called Louisiana. You might have heard of it. A year ago there was a big natural disaster here. I hope and pray that you grant a lot of Christmas wishes for those still coping with the aftermath of that disaster.
Louisiana is supposed to be much warmer than Wisconsin was. Right after we left Wisconsin a big snow storm blew through. I thanked God I wasn't there for that (and chuckled at all the people that were).
The part of Louisiana I live in is fairly rural. There is a small town, and a big army base. In the small town is one Super WalMart, and one Lowes, and a few restaurants. For fun, in my free time, I go to Super WalMart.
Santa, for Christmas this year, I'm not asking for a lot. I'm not asking for a diamond ring or fur coat. I'm not asking for a Cadillac Escalade (unless you have any that accidentally fell off the sleigh while loading it and maybe have a small ding in the side, I'd be happy to help take if off your hands) and I'm not asking for a million dollars (again, unless you have a dented bag of money that you need to get rid of). What I'm asking for, dear Santa, is something to do.
Now, I'm sure you're scratching your head wondering what in the world I could mean by that. Most of the year you're pretty busy, I have no doubt. You don't sit around your house wishing for something to do. You don't wander the aisles of Super WalMart aimlessly praying for that "something" to fall out of the sky. I'm not picky. I'd take a large mall with full food court, or a big rec center in need of lonely moms to volunteer. Whatever you choose will be perfectly fine with me, Santa. As long as I don't have to clean anything, we'll be good. Or organize. I'm not really good at either of those. Or remember stuff, cause my mind is getting pretty rusty, Santa, and I don't remember much anymore.
Ok, so no cleaning, or organizing or remembering. Got that? But otherwise, go for it! Use your imagination and give me something to do! Oh ya, and my husband is getting a little tired of me sitting at the computer all day, so if it could be something that doesn't involve the computer, that would be great, too.
I know this is kind of last minute for such a request like this, but see, I didn't believe my husband when he said there was nothing to do down here. I laughed at him and said, "I can find stuff to do!" Santa, I was wrong. There really is nothing to do here.
Thank you Santa! Oh, and just bring whatever for the kids. They won't play with it after a week anyway, so it doesn't really matter. As long as the tree is filled with presents on Christmas morn, they won't care what's acutally in them.
Thank you again! And have a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

To Disney, or Not to Disney... that is the question!

What happens when the only time you can take your dream vacation to Disney is during the worst possible time to go there? The busiest, the most hectic, and definitely most chaotic time to go to Disney is the week between Christmas and New Year's. Guess when we're going?
Ok, call us crazy, call us nuts, but we're doing it! Husband has been promising me this trip for years now. We have the money, we have the time, we have the excited kids (two of which are old enough to really enjoy this) but what we don't have is the off-peak season. One thing that really sucks about being in the military is that you are on their schedule. You don't really get to pick and choose when you want to take off for vacation. The military tells you when you have vacation. Well, they told us we have from Dec. 20 - Jan. 4. So if we want to go to Disney, that's when we have to go.
Husband has a guy that he's in charge of who bought cruise tickets that start on Dec. 15 because he heard a "rumor" a few weeks ago that said the leave dates would start on Dec. 15. Does he get to go on his cruise? Nope. Leave doesn't start until Dec. 20. That's how it goes. Is he flaming mad? Yep! Should he have bought the cruise tickets without getting confirmation of leave dates and not just listening to a rumor? Nope!
It sucks, it's not fair, and there's nothing we can do about it. Be glad you get four weeks paid vacation in the military even in your first year. Most jobs don't do that.
So, we're taking the leap and going for Disney! The great part is that we'll be there for New Year's Eve. I think that will be a lot of fun. We have four days and there are four parks. Not sure if we'll do MGM because there is a lot that Hunter can't go in. Most of it is shows and they don't let small children into them.
I'm totally excited by our hotel. It's about a mile away, but it has shuttle service to Disney. I went on and looked up the cheaper hotels. Most of them had fair to poor customer ratings. As we all learned when we went to Niagara Falls, a good hotel is important for more than one reason! Then I started searching the 3-star hotels. A tad over our budget, but husband is always willing to make the small sacrifices to make me happy. He said sure, go for it. But before I did, I had an idea. Why not "bid" on the room? After all, isn't that what priceline is for?
So I bid $100 under the price thinking there was no way they'd accept it. It would almost 50% off if they did! I waited... and waited... and waited... then... the answer came in and they accepted it! I couldn't believe it! So I got my 3-star hotel at a 2-star price! Well ok, that didn't sound as cool as I thought it would, but it is almost 50% off the original price.
I guess the only other thing to say is, I want to go to Disneyland!!! (or World, actually)

Monday, December 04, 2006

What? You mean Noah Wyle DOESN'T work here?

I've had tummy pains for probably about 4 years now. They come and go, off and on. I used to think they were stress related. The pain would come during stressful periods in my life. Now it's totally random. Just whenever the pain feels like it.
I've been to several different doctors, all who tell me the same thing. Eat more fiber, drink more fluid, go to the bathroom. Yep... apparently I'm full of shit in more than one way!
Last week, Wednesday I think it was, I was convinced the pain had something to do with my gall bladder. I went to the hospital at about 10:00 pm in so much pain I could barely stand. Going to a military hospital is very intimidating. The docs and staff there usually aren't very nice and they're known for getting you in and out as fast as humanly possible. Me being the meek and timid person I am, was scared out of my wits walking in that door.

Person at front desk: (looking up from his book) Ya?
Me: I... um.... I was told by the triage nurse on the phone today... um.... that... um... well, I have pain here (rubbing my tummy) and she said... um... that I could come in... um... to the ER... um...
Person at front desk: Ya, ok, can I have your ID card, please? Then take a seat and someone will see you.

Ok, I think I'm going to throw up.

Very nice nurse sees me and takes my stats and asks me questions. I lied. I told her I'd only had the pain for about 2 months, not 4 years. Yes, I know... naughty! Well, I was telling her what I thought she wanted to hear. When I said "a few months now", she said, "Like two months?" I said, "Well, probably longer." And she replies,"So, two months, right?" Ok, fine. Apparently thats what she wanted to hear.
After she's done with me, I sit and wait some more. A little girl behind me is obviously very sick and clinging to daddy crying, crying, crying. I felt so bad for her.
A guy comes and gets me and takes me to a room. Oohh... very ER-ish! Not quite so glamorous, though.
I have to put on a gown. Hate that. This thing was like was trying to put together a K'nex Ferris Wheel! It had snaps all over and ties in places I couldn't tie, and ties that had no matching tie and snaps that had no matching snap. I think I got it on semi-correctly. You always rush to get those things on cause of that one time you got caught completely naked when the doc walked in and you didn't have the gown on yet. And eventhough he's eventually going to see all of your parts, one at a time, you'd rather he not see them all at the same time. Or maybe that's just me.
So in walks this little... well, "doctor" with a heavy accent. He talked very bluntly and had no bed-side manner at all. I'm reminded somewhat of Dr. Cox on Scrubs, except shorter, darker, and with an Asian accent. "You tummy pain?" he asks me. "Why you take so long come in here? Why you here at 11:30 at night? Why not day time? Why take two months come in here?" Yes, he asked them all at once. And then I did what I always do. I retreated to the little 10 year old girl that always has her mommy come in to the doctor's office with her. I stumbled over my words and got a little teary and probably didn't communicate very well. Mostly, I'm sure I looked like a fool.
So I go to get x-rays taken. This is the real test to see if I put my gown on right or not. Nope, not on right. When I get to the x-ray room I realize my rear end had been hanging out the whole time. I knew I should have worn those sexy red VS panties instead of the big white granny underwear! The x-ray dude, after taking three x-rays of various positions, asks me to lie back down on the table because there was something weird on one of them. He took it again, developed it, and then came back and very shyly asked if I had some sort of birth control implant. Why yes, yes I do. "I have an IUD", I told him. Boy did he turn red. "So, I guess I didn't need to take that extra one, then." (hehehehe)
When I get back to my little room, the curtains are all pulled back and so there I sit, for all to see. After about 10 minutes someone checks on me and then I hear them say to an aide, "Where's doc?" The aide says that "Doc" took lunch and would be back in half an hour. TOOK LUNCH!!! What the heck?! I'm sitting here in pain, in my stupid little gown and Mr. Pompous-My-Time-is-Worth-More-Than-Anyone-Else's is taking a lunch break?!!!
After 40 minutes (yes, really) he graces me with his prescence, x-ray in hand. What does he tell me? "You need take poo-poo." That was the official verdict. That is what I waited so long for. That was my diagnosis. He said some other things, but somehow my mind wasn't really processing it. I was mad. I was shaking. My head was whirling and very hot tears were about to drop at any second.
He gave me some medicine for IBS, but they triggered my migraines so I can't take it. I'm supposed to go to a follow up with a clinic physician some time this week. You can probably see why I'm a little hesitant.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Down here in Loosiana

Even when you live on an army base, everyone has a southern drawl. I'm so out of place here with my midwestern-Wisconsin "ya der hey" accent! So I'm trying to incorporate a few southern expressions into my lingo so as not to stick out so much. For instance, you call Louisiana "Loosiana". And when you agree with something, you simply go "hmm, hmm... yep" and lazily nod your head. Don't, at any time, end a sentence with "Ya, Hey!" like you would back home.
Things are fine, we're adjusting well. The kids are having a blast in school and making tons of new friends. I'm, well... I'm just trying to get my bearings. This is a whole other side of life. My husband's been in the army for over 9 years. We've been married for 6. Four of those six years we were still living like civilians because he was in recruiting and not attached to any kind of base. Now we're back on an army base, whole other way of life. And in the "deep south" so to speak. REALLY whole other way of life. Granted we lived in Savannah, GA for 2 1/2 years, but Savannah has that warm pecan pie feeling about it. Even if you're only there for a short time, it's home. Louisiana... well, this isn't home unless you've been born and raised here. Otherwise, you're just passers-by.
In all the packing and unpacking, I never found my digital camera that I lost waaayyyy back at Louisa's birthday in September. So wonderful husband bought me a new one! Awwww!!!! He knows I have to have my camera. It's like another limb that I can't live without.
Luckily for you all... oops, I mean ya'll, that means I have pictures to post!

Here's Louisa and Drew climbing the fabulous climbing trees in our front yard:

One day I heard Drew screaming holy terror, I bolt outside and he's hanging from the tree by one foot! Ok, funny now in retrospect, scary at the time. So we've halted the tree climbing business for a little while.

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love frogs, lizards and turtles. Besides cats, they are my favorite animals. We have these adorable little geckos down here. Two of them live on my back wall by a drain spout. Louisa and Drew try to pick them up but they are quick little buggers. I'm sure I'll get tons more pics of these guys. I'm so excited to be sharing a home with them! (hopefully they eat cockroaches!)

And here's Hunter just being cute! He loves having a yard to play in. It was tough for all of us being cooped up in an apartment with nowhere to play. So he's having fun chasing the kids around, playing with the giant pine cones and attempting to climb the tree!

Our future Harley rider! Boy does he want to get on that bike, I'll tell you what! (that's another southern thing! see, I'm getting pretty good!)