Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane-ville Part 3

You know, I need to learn to stop listening to people. Just go find out for myself. The Chaos Kids and I trekked our behinds to WalMart today. Our local WalMart. The one that was supposedly out of *everything*. Well, everything was just fine. They had plenty of water. The things they were totally out of, as in... nothing on the shelves (because I have no idea what's in the back) were D and C cell batteries, flashlights, most loaves of bread, and Pop Tarts. Yes, seriously. The entire Pop Tart section was empty save for the brown sugar flavor. Good thing I wasn't there to buy those!

The kids and I got a few things ready today, but really it's just the wait-n-see game from here on out. We got all the outdoor stuff either inside, into the beds of the trucks, or tied down to something. I took all the pictures off the walls just cause... I don't know. I've never done this! Just know that in Wisconsin we get these horrific storms where big wind surges can flatten an entire town. So my pictures will be safe! I put all my important documents in a waterproof bag and have them, along with a bag of emergency clothes, all ready to go in case we need to hit the shelter.

If you want to follow the hurricane with me, here's the RADAR and in Louisiana, we're the small brown spot to the left of Alexandria. At least, that's our army base. And here's the Satellite, which looks much more wicked!

I have nothing left to do to prepare. I feel like I should be doing something, though. Batten down the hatches and all that! Everything's taken care of. Besides maybe taping the windows, I'm all set. We've been on alert since last Tuesday! All this build up and it's still not here yet. I think I prefer tornadoes. Unpredictable, but fast! It would have been here and gone ages ago.

I know my mom and dad and sister and nephew are worried about us. I promise you guys we're fine!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hurricane-ville Part 2

The local WalMart is out of almost everything that is on my supply list. As is another WalMart about 20 minutes away, the PX and the on post commissary. I still had no supplies as of this morning. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, I decided to make the hour trip to the Big City and see what they still had left. They are directly west of us, so if we got hit, they would get hit almost as hard. I'm guessing, anyway.

First we had to go to the post office to mail a Daddy Box overseas. The line. Was. Long. Very. Long. And there was only one person open.

Finally we get our friend Andrea and her baby Colton, and hit the road to the Big City. I got it in my head to go to Sam's Club, eventhough I don't have a membership there anymore. The $40 fee was worth my sanity! Sam's had the usual Saturday crowd, but not mobs upon mobs of people fighting for one case of water. They were low on a few items, but nothing significant. One lady even asked me why I was buying so much water. She was giggling at us for being so worried! She said "Are you stocking up for a whole week or something?" Well... ya. That was kinda the point!

Then we went to lunch at yummy IHOP. One last treat before a week of blah! And also hit Michael's so Andrea could get scrapbooking stuff and I could get some crafts for the kids to do in case we have a few days with no power. I decided to stop at WalMart there in the Big City on the way out of town to pick up a few last minute things. They were fairly low on water, the paper plate aisle was empty, and bread was almost gone. Candles were picked over, too. A few stinky ones were left and I was about to give up when Andrea said "Do you like black cherry?" Yes!! Thank goodness because I had no candles and only one flashlight. The funny thing about both Sam's and WalMart in the Big City was that people were shopping like it's a normal Labor Day weekend. They had hamburger meat, buns, chicken, paper plates, the usual BBQ fair. It's not like that here in our town! No one is worrying about backyard BBQ's.

We brought our truckload (literally) of purchases home. Tomorrow the kids and I will get the outside toys inside, pull the stuff indoors away from windows that we don't want destroyed, and just general preparations. Kinda wish I had Husband here to help, but can't dwell on it. We're big kids! We can figure this out on our own.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Adventures in Hurricane-ville

The kids and I took a walk tonight and I noticed everything outside is so calm. I wonder if the birds, and trees, and insects know what's coming. The can't flip on The Weather Channel, but they should have a "sense", like everything is nature does. If not today, they will in the next few days. They call this the "calm before the storm". I've seen it many times in Southern Wisconsin were the big storm cells from Iowa roll in. There's a sort of quiet balance before nature unleashes it's fury. And oh what furious wrath can be brought down in those storms!

I have yet to experience all the glory and wonder that is a full-grown hurricane. Moving here to Louisiana, doorstep to the Gulf of Mexico, I knew our time would come. And come it may. A deadly Gustav may, or may not, bear down on us in a matter of days. The locals don't care about the "may not", they are buying supplies off the shelves as if they'll be stranded for weeks after. It's happened before, and many people here remember it. A week after Katrina made thousands flee from New Orleans, to our neck of the woods, Hurricane Rita slammed us from the other side and left our town and army base without power and water for at least 10 days. That's no power, in 100 degree weather. No air conditioning, no fans, no ice, no way to cool ourselves down. Well, themselves, as I didn't live here. So the people here know. We may be "Central" Louisiana, but we can still get hit hard enough to suffer. No one here is taking any chances.

On Wednesday a friend called and told me if I needed gas, to go now because they gas stations were limiting purchases to $30. Apparently there was a run on gas and people were filling up all their vehicles, as well as multiple gas cans. Thursday all the gas stations on post were out of gas. Go figure. Today I went to fill up and they had only re-supplied low-grade. No mid, or premium. Not that I use anything but low, so it didn't matter to me! There's also a run on everything you'd need to hunker down for a hurricane, followed up by a potential 1 week power outage, such as water, batteries, coolers, flashlights, propane, canned food..... I have not been to many stores yet, but the one I did go to today had lines so long I just left my cart and walked out. I hear that is common right now in most of the local stores. I don't have time to stand in line for 30 minutes, or the patience to sit with Hunter while I do.

I have lists and checklists and all sorts of advice on how to get ready for Gustav. I'm praying hard that it peters out over the Gulf, or moves somewhere else, but if it does come our way we'll be ready. I'm not going to panic about it, though. People made it through Rita, I can make it through this!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just 4 U

Just 4 U I ate chicken nuggets with ketchup because you wanted us to have the same lunch. Even though I can't stand the taste of chicken with ketchup.

Just 4 U I stayed up late telling silly stories because you were scared and couldn't sleep. Even though I had a long day and wanted to sleep so badly.

Just 4 U I cleaned the house as fast as I could, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, folding clothes, doing dishes, because your best friend was coming to spend the night at the last minute. Even though all I wanted to do was sit and eat chocolate ice cream and watch a movie.

Just 4 U I went to the swimming pool because the thermometer read 99 and you were hot and sweaty. Even though I had a migraine and wanted to lie down.

Just 4 U I got up very early in the morning, and dragged everyone else up, too, because you had a field trip far away and the bus was leaving at 6:30 a.m. Even though I didn't fall asleep until 3:00 a.m.

Just 4 U I drove all the way across town to drop you off at your sporting event, then drove all the way across town to drop the other child off, then drove back to pick you up, and back to pick him up. Even though I needed that last little bit of gas to get to the grocery store and it was days until pay day.

Just 4 U I spent my last few dollars on some special things you wanted to have. Even though that meant I went without some things I needed.

Just 4 U I cook, bake, clean, wash, fold, drive, cheer, scold, love, hug, and kiss because U make it all worth it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Three Years Ago Today

Three years ago today, at 9:44 am, my sweet little Hunter Steven made his entrance. A day late. But that says nothing about his future personality because he's far from a "day late" kinda kid. He's spunky, and silly, and full of enough energy to power a small motorboat.

Hunter is going to show us big things some day. In his three short years he's earned the title of "all around boy" in our family. He's smart, picks up on things quickly, is athletic, artistic, his motor skills are awesome, he gets along with any kind of person you put in his path. He's stubborn and throws fits and likes to have fun and laugh and tell jokes (especially the knock-knock variety). He's such an all around kid. There's nothing he won't try or do. He's not scared of anything, he's very laid back.

Life with Hunter has been an amazing adventure. Just when I think I've "been there, done that" with parenting, along comes this little boy so full of life and energy, he challenges me on a daily basis. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Today we make the big transition from baby-hood to boy-hood. My little, big three year old.

Happy Birthday, Bubba!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Visiting Family

On Friday my inlaws came in to town to see their son. And brother. My SIL and nephew came along with them.
I just have one question. What is it about inlaws that makes us so insane with cleaning? Friday morning I find myself on my hands and knees with a toothbrush. Seriously. Why? I'm near-tears, trying to finish everything up, so upset that it's not going to be good enough. Why? I don't do that for my parents.

Yesterday we took them to a local Alligator Park. It was so neat! We saw 50 alligators huddled around a boat in a small pond, waiting to get fed. A guy hung big hunks of chicken over the side of his boat while the gators jumped up to get it. You could definitely tell which gators get the chicken more often!

I think the best part of all was this right here:

Cousins who rarely get to see eachother, spending some much needed play-time together.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


It's okay, I can be on the computer, he went to the gym! Being home doesn't stop him from his strict workout routine! :)

So, yesterday. A wonderful, blessed day in which we welcomed Andrew home with big wide open arms!

At 1:00 am Sunday I got a call from him saying he'd be at the airport at 4:00 pm Monday. But when he hung up he said "See you tomorrow", and since it was like 10:00 Sunday morning for him, he would see us "tomorrow". But to me it was still Saturday night, so "tomorrow" was Sunday. Needless to say, I completely freaked out for a minute on Sunday thinking he was coming in and I wouldn't be there. I called our family group leader to see if it was indeed possible for him to leave Kuwait at 1:00 am and be here by 4:00 pm. Technically, he could do it. But chances were, it would be cutting it far too close, with really short layover times. So I calmed down. For some reason the "see you tomorrow" stuck in my head and not the "Monday at 4:00"! LOL! But in my defense, he did wake me out of a dead-sleep. How am I supposed to remember important details like that?!

Monday morning, I had all sorts of last minute cleaning and errand running planned. We got up bright and early, started cleaning the last things that needed to be done (which really added up to a lot), and the phone rings. He says in a very sad voice "I'm in Atlanta and didn't get a seat on the 3:00 flight."

"Um.... ok. So we see you late tonight, or tomorrow?"

"No, I got a flight on the 11:00 plane, I'll be there at noon!"

AAAHHHH!!! No! That's too soon, I have too much to do!

It was 9:30 and I hadn't taken a shower, I had errands to run, I had some more cleaning to do! The airport is an hour away so we had to leave by 10:45. I finish up some stuff, hop in the shower and..... power goes out. Well those last few things I was doing included laundry and washing dishes. I end up taking a freezing cold shower (and of course I have to shave, right?!) in the dark with the one candle I can find. I'm a candle freak by nature, so no clue how I've let myself get down to just one! By the time I get done, dressed, kids loaded in the car, run back in for the camera, run back in for diaper bag, run back in for meds (have some I can't leave the house without), it's 10:55. Crap, crap, crap!!!

We're driving along, listening to Carrie Underwood to help calm my nerves, trying to laugh and make fun with the kids when inside I'm

I call my dad because, well, I need extra help calming my nerves and he's good for that! Someone beeps in on my phone so I say good-bye and click over.

Andrew says "I'm here, how far away are you?"

NNOOOO!!!!!! Shoot, shoot, shoot!!! We didn't get to see him get off the plane! I told him we were about 10 minutes out yet. So I step on it and scream at every car that gets in my way! Louisa's laughing at me, telling me to calm down. I said "Calm down?!! My soldier just traveled for 4 days and 7000 miles and we didn't get there in time! How can I calm down?!"

Really, he didn't mind that weren't there. He said it gave him a minute to calm himself from his very frustrating trip.

He met us in the parking lot, and Drew and Louisa ran up to him with big hugs. Hunter kinda looked at him for a second. We've been building this up SO much, and Daddy has been this really cool enigma for SO long, that he wasn't quite sure what to do with the real thing. He tentatively gave Daddy a hug, then stuck his finger in his mouth and stood at a distance. I'm sure it was overwhelming to him. There's this guy who you talk to on the phone, look at pictures of, and have a really vague memory of, and all of a sudden he's here. Where did he come from? How did he get here? He was in some place called 'Raq, but what does that mean?

Eventually he let Daddy pick him up. It was a hesitant moment. We were all waiting for Hunter to react. To do something, and finally he smiled. That was it. He hasn't let Daddy leave his sight since. (Except for now when Daddy went to the gym, but believe me, Hunter didn't let him go easily!)

Finally, after all that, I get my turn. Louisa took a picture of our first awkward kiss. We were giggling more than kissing.

So now he's home. 18 blissful days, and then he goes back again. We're so grateful for this time with him and plan on making it stress-free and relaxing!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Update to Yesterday's Freak-Out

I got a call last night at 1:00 am. He'll be here tomorrow. Which means the kids and I need to kick it in high gear today! Lots to do, so little time! But that doesn't matter, cause tomorrow he'll be here!!!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Anticipation is Killing Me!!

AAAHHH!!!! I'm going out of my mind! The last time I talked to my husband was on the 30th. He told me he'd be heading out to another base, and after that it was homeward bound. Haven't heard from him since, and I have no clue when he'll be home! I'm excited, nervous, scared, overjoyed, thankful...... Freaking Out!
What if I don't have the house clean on time? Yes, I know the house isn't the biggest thing on his mind, but in my opinion it's just respectful for all his hard work to let him come home to a clean house. Not the tornado ridden disaster it became while he was gone. I did NOT clean the last time he came home from deployment and I felt horrible for it.
I need to go buy his favorite foods, and some beer! Cause Lord does that man deserve a beer! :) I need to do a million and one things before he gets here. I need to know what DAY he's actually getting here!
We worked our tails off today preparing for his arrival. Cleaning, straightening, organizing, purging, donating. Whew! Makes me tired just thinking of it! I still need to clean the carpets and the oven and the bathrooms and.... Oh gosh! A million things!
It's been eight long long months. Eight months of missing him, and he will be here so soon I can actually feel it! His hugs are actually real to me right now! Not some imaginary thing of the past that I day dream about from time to time.
Unfortunately, he'll still have to go back for about 6-7 more months, but at least we get this little taste. It's enough to keep us going for the rest of the time!
But I need to know what DAY this joyous occasion will happen! I'm dying here!!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Moving on to 2nd Grade

School makes me very nervous. It shouldn't. I should trust the school, and trust that they do what's best for my child. But I don't. I do not trust the school system here. I will be diligent in checking up on them this go-round. I won't let another school do to Drew what his last one did.

On Monday we went to his new school for a placement test. I was so worried I hadn't done enough for him during our homeschool stint. We didn't really do a lot of worksheets and sit-down activities. It's just not how he learns best. We came up with our own unconventional method of doing math at the grocery store, and discussing literature over lunch. It worked for us at the time, but when he needed to take a big test to see where he was academic wise, I panicked.

I should have known, though! My little Bear! My smartie pants. He passed that test with flying colors, scoring a 92%. They gave him the end of they year test all 1st graders got. He scored in the 4th grade level for reading, and right at 2nd grade level for math. See, I should have known.

Another adventure brings us to a new school in the 2nd grade. Drew is exstatic to be going back to school! He's matured tremendously. The teacher who gave him the test said he was a very well behaved, smart kid. She said he'll make a strong 2nd grader. Of course.