Monday, September 29, 2008

Long Week

Monday 9/22: Hunter and I were supposed to go to Kindermusik, but it was one of those days where we didn't want to move, much less be ready for a half hour drive by 9:30 am. We stayed home in the morning and went to the park in the afternoon.

Tuesday 9/23: We didn't do much in the day except a lot of house cleaning. In the evening, Louisa had a basketball game at the same time Drew had Cub Scouts. Drew doesn't seem too into Cub Scouts this year so he said it was okay if we skipped it.

Wednesday 9/24: A neighbor took Drew & Louisa to school for me so I could get ready to go to a Spouse's Conference. I dropped Hunter off at child care at 8:00 and he ran off to play without even looking back. I had 4 classes and a lunch break during the day. It was a great day spent with friends and listening to an awesome key note speaker, Ellie Kay. Well, that is, up until I got yelled at by someone I've met only once before. I was sitting in a class about being "Superwoman" and wearing a real actual cape when I heard my name from across the room. I had my back to whoever was angrily saying it, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to turn around. I heard someone else say, "Shh... she's right over there" and that pretty much meant I had to turn around. I faced whoever was displeased with me and it all had to do with Girl Scout stuff. I wasn't patient enough to wait for someone's reply email (I actually didn't have the *time* to wait, I needed the info ASAP), and so I went above her head and emailed someone else. She didn't like that. Problem has since been solved, but it's not a fun feeling sitting in a class having your name said aloud in an upset tone.
When I went to pick up Hunter from child care I saw him rubbing his eyes, rolling his head around, and collapsing on to the mat he was standing on. He didn't even look at me when I picked him up and carried him out. He must have played hard!

Thursday 9/25: Hunter and I went to the park in the morning with our friends. We arrived at 10:30 and didn't leave until 2:00. Yes, really. I talked and talked and talked to my friends for far too long and around 2:00 Hunter finally laid down on the ground, defeated. He needed a nap and we needed to go.
That evening was our first Girl Scout meeting. It was a parent meeting (part of what the oh-so-important email was about), and we finally got to meet our girls and let the parents know what's going on. We're a month behind all the other troops, so we are anxious to get started.

Friday 9/26: 11 years ago I became a mommy for the first time. 11 years ago, at 6:54 pm, I held my sweet little 5 lb, 10 oz baby girl, and haven't let go since.
Daddy and I conspired together to get her the best birthday present, ever. A blue iPod, 8GB (twice the size of mine!), and all hers. Of course that's all she gets :) but she doesn't care. Daddy picked it out online and had it shipped here, so we had him on speaker phone when she opened it up. As you can see from her face, it's the best thing ever!

Louisa's BFF Echo spent the night that night and we also had several friends stop by and sing Happy Birthday. We made pizza, but I had an idea to put the pizza dough in my muffin pan. They came out all puffy like... well, muffins. Echo, who's talent is quick wit, says "oh cool, we made 'muffizzas'!" That girl never misses a beat!

Saturday 9/27: I honestly don't remember. It must not have been too exciting.

Sunday 9/28: Drew had his first martial arts class. It's a mix between Aikido, Judo, and Karate. More Aikido right now than anything else. He put on his little dogi, and headed right in to class like he knew what he was doing. He watched all the other kids for clues of what to do when. Some of the kids will be testing next week for their yellow belt. Drew didn't understand why he doesn't get to test, but I explained that he'll get there.

Monday 9/29: First thing this morning Hunter and I had to get moving. He doesn't like days like that. We had Kindermusik at 10:00, which means getting out the door by 9:30. We got out the door at 9:48. It's a half hour drive. He pouted most of the way there, but I thought he'd be fine once we got to class and he saw his friends. Nope. He layed on the floor and pouted the whole class. Of course we were late, which didn't help.
After class we had to shoot back to the on-base car care center to drop off the truck. Oil change and tire repair, nothing exciting. Across the street is a Burger King with playland, so we hopped over there for lunch. I knew it would be packed, it always is at lunch time, but I wasn't prepared for the mass amounts of soldiers taking a break from training in the field. As I, the lone woman in the whole place, stood in line with my son weaving in and out of the camo-clad legs, I noticed more than one soldier watching Hunter with a smile. No doubt thinking of their own little boys waiting at home for Daddy to get back. Even if soldiers aren't deployed, they take long trips to bases like mine for extensive field training. They could be here for a few weeks or a few months, either way it's without their families.
A friend came and met us at Burger King, so I didn't feel too weird, but being the only woman with a little boy running around does make one a bit uncomfortable.
Finally got my truck back and it was time to go get Drew from school. Louisa had a basketball game after school, her last for the season. We went to get an inspection tag on the truck updated (some Louisiana thing), and when we were finished with that we went home to do homework.
I admit that we didn't go watch all of Louisa's game. I know I should be there to cheer her on, but keeping Hunter still in the stands for an hour is a challenge. We picked her up and went back home. As soon as I walked in the house I smelled something funny. It smelled like burning plastic. I noticed it was coming from the laundry/utility room. When I inspected a little further I found that the water heater was smoking. And I don't mean in a good way! It was really smokin'! I called the housing company and they rushed someone right over. Two hours later we got a brand new water heater. Without the smoke.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wanted: Girl Scout Leader

Job Requirements:
Must be able to deal with parents who are late, forget everything they were supposed to bring, and sometimes just forget Girl Scout meetings all-together.
Needs to be cheerful at all times, even when parents and girls are whiny and complaining. Must have cheerful smile through all circumstance. And be prepared for everything military families can and will throw at you.
Must possess skill to plan activities appropriate to age level, but be ready for activity to not go as planned.
Dealing with pre-teen girls takes special talent and patience, so applicant must be able to handle a group of pre-teens girls with their mood swings and attitude.
Must follow strict Girl Scouts of America rules at all times, even when they don't make sense.
Must also be able to deal with other leaders who are sometimes rude, opinionated, and not afraid to speak out when they feel the need.

If you fit this description, please apply. Otherwise you might be getting in over your head.

..... So, here I go! I think I'm ready. This will be fun.... I know it will!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Major Meltdown!

We had one of those "toddler days" today. The kind where Hunter just melted down, and that was the end of it. We've been running so much lately that he just needed a day at home. Our days consist of getting up much earlier than Hunter would like to take the kids to school, doing some playgroup thing in the morning, coming home for about two hours (to nap, but he never does), getting kids from school, doing whatever activity the older two have in the evening, coming home for homework, dinner, bath & bed.... and start it all again the next day.

Yes, I'm overstimulating him. I realize that. It's hard doing this on my own and finding the right balance. I need to keep the other two happy in their activities, I'm running a large playgroup, I have several other volunteer responsibilities, and I have to keep in mind that Hunter doesn't always appreciate being dragged along everywhere. Some days, he just wants to stay home. So we did that today.

I was supposed to be at the first MOPS meeting this morning at 9:00. It's about a 25 minute drive out there. We dropped the kids off at 7:45, came home for shower and breakfast and the meltdown began. By 8:45 I realized we weren't going to MOPS today. I gave up trying to get him dressed and plopped down next to Hunter on the couch with an applesauce offering. After a few tickles he accepted my applesauce and the rest of the day went fine. He got all my attention for one whole day, and I got some snuggly time with my quickly growing toddler.

I know this time goes fast. It's gone fast twice before. My efforts to make my time without my husband move quicker are effecting my little guy, though, and I know it's best to slow down a bit and just enjoy him while he is little.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Some good old fashioned guilt served with a side of relief

I can't help but feel a little guilty as I sit here at my computer knowing that, yet again, our area has escaped the worst of what a hurricane can bring. Not that we were in the direct path of Ike, but we were close enough to get some good damage if Ike saw fit to bring it. We did get a few tornadoes in the area, and I don't know yet the resulting damage of those, but I can look out my window and see no downed trees or power lines, no broken windows or flooded houses. My power and water are working just fine, as are my cell phone and cable connection. I also had a fairly restful sleep last night. All signs that we didn't get hit near as hard as we could have.

Oh, I do thank the Lord greatly for sparing us yet again, but like I said, I can't help but feel guilty. Millions of Galveston residents will return to the coast over the next few weeks to pick up what small pieces of their lives are left, if any. The people of Cameron, Louisiana, a resort city that was completely wiped off the map in 2005 by Rita, will return to all their hard work washed away.... again.

Guilt and praise today.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I was looking through the photos on Yahoo this morning of the ceremony held for 9/11 victim families at "the site" (Twin Towers). I was looking for just a glimpse of my friend Mr. John Napolitano Sr. I knew he'd be there, holding his son's picture high, along with his best friend Lenny Crisci holding his brother's picture high. Every year John and Lenny go to the site and retrace their steps. They see the twisted steel and dust and, well... the many non-survivors that faced them on September 12, 2001 as they joined the search for their loved ones, praying they'd find them alive. Both flashing their retired NYPD badges and getting in to a place where only a few brave souls dared enter.

On that day, Mr. John left a note for his son in the ash on a wall.
Over the next few days, other people who recognized the name "John Napolitano" replied back to John Sr. with notes in the ash.

Now, seven years later, John Sr. talks about his son, firefighter John Napolitano II, and his heroic efforts freely. But not just about John II's actions on September 11, 2001. John Sr. tells of a life well lived. Two daughters well loved, and a father who couldn't be more proud of "his girls". John Sr. talks about a son who was National Honor Society throughout school, who excelled so fast in his fire unit at such a young age that he had the respect of all around him. John wants everyone to know of the Hero who lived before 9/11.

As I was searching through the Yahoo pictures for my one glimpse of a man I've never met, I thought of all the wonderful things he's told me about his son. Just an all around great guy who was doing his job one day. A proud father and husband who hopped on his rig one morning, eventhough he was off duty and could go home. A beloved son and brother who ran into the North Tower of the World Trade Center after American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into it. Something we'd all do.... right?!

Finally, I got my glimpse as I spotted a familiar face in a photograph. I didn't know it was John Sr. at the time, but I emailed him and got a quick reply letting me know that was indeed him holding the picture of his son, by his side as always his best friend Lenny, heading down to once again retrace their steps.

Source: Yahoo News- Reuters

2,996 people who lived whole lives before September 11, 2001. I'm glad I'm getting to know one of them.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A New Hat Added

I just recently had a new hat added to my pile. Girl Scout Leader!
I've always wanted to be a Girl Scout Leader. Before this year, I never had the opportunity. But when Louisa went to sign up for Girl Scouts, and the only Junior leader met on a night we just couldn't make it, I reluctantly agreed to join the ranks. "Reluctantly" mostly because it's hard to drag the boys to all these things that don't include them. But it's also hard to ask friends to watch them every single week. The boys are so good about tagging along, though. They rarely complain.

Girl Scout and Boy Scout leading goes back many years in my family, and I always hoped I'd be able to do it just once. My grandmother was my mom's Brownie leader, my mom was both my sister and my Brownie leader, and my sister led my nephew all the way through Cub Scouts. To be able to walk in all their shoes is so exciting to me!

Off to start my new venture!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The End of Hurricane-Ville.... for now

So, as requested, I mean... nagged, by my nephew... here are some pictures of the big hurricane. Please be warned that some of them may be too graphic for younger readers. I mean, when that cow flew by in 95 mph winds, it was just luck that I was standing there with my camera. But when he hit the side of a tree, I mean... I owed it to my public to take pictures of it!

HA! Totally kidding. By the time Gustav joined us here in West Central Louisiana, he had died down enough that only a few isolated areas had much damage or power outage. Some places even today still have power outages, but here on the army base we're doing just fine. I've been through squalls three times as bad as that growing up in southern Wisconsin. The kids and I even spent part of the day playing outside. The worst of it came on Monday night when it was too dark to take pictures. That's when we had a few good gusts of wind that knocked a couple branches off the trees. Other than that, it was very uneventful. And now I have many cases of water and canned food. I guess it will all come in handy if Ike or Hannah or Tina, or whoever decides to take a tour of the Gulf sometime soon. Hurricane season in the Gulf has just begun!

Here's how we spent the day on Monday when the base was shut down and we were technically supposed to stay in our houses.

~When we woke up Monday morning, the storm hadn't really made landfall yet, but we were getting rain from the outer "rings"~

~Throughout the day the rain picked up. By nighttime we had a pretty good, steady rain. "Raining buckets", Drew said when he went to bed.~

~We made Rainbow Crayons to put some color in our gray day. And use up a few of the million broken crayons we have.~

~And we took a nap!~

~And we all painted some boxes we bought at Michael's. Drew has a box that looks like a book, Hunter picked out a triangle, and Louisa has a pretty box. I painted some magazine holders that look like cute houses!~

And that's pretty much all the excitement that came out of our visit with Gustav. He gave us two days off from school, and closed down a 24 hour Super Wal Mart for 3 days.... Although we can't forget that Gustav was a deadly a hurricane. And in all the fun I have with it, I'm very sorry for those whose lives are changed drastically because of it. I thank God that New Orleans was spared, and pray the rest of the hurricane season is uneventful for them. Because they don't need any more water surges to test the levees that aren't even finished yet.