Friday, April 30, 2010

Flashback Friday

Two years ago our oldest son, my firstborn, finally graduated college. It was one of the proudest days of my life. This kid overcame great obstacles when I divorced his real dad years ago and survived me as a single mom. He's a school teacher and coach now in Texas and I am still the proudest ever! I just need him to settle down and give me grandbabies sometime in the next few years!

The graduate with his proud momma.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I can't want to....

Several years ago, when I was going through my divorce, I had a dear friend that went to church with me and lived just down the street. She had a four year old daughter at the time who had a phrase I just loved. “I can’t want to” I use that phrase when I really can’t get motivated to do something. I just can’t want to.

Lately, I just can’t want to do a lot of things. I can’t want to clean this house. After all, it just gets dusty again, and the dog hair comes back and needs vacuuming again. The clothes pile up in the basket and the bathroom gets cruddy all over again.

I can’t want to make the phone calls I need to book a hotel room for us on our way out of Hawaii and our way into Rhode Island. I can’t want to call the bank and see what’s involved in getting a release of lien so I can take the car we still owe money on out of the state of Hawaii and back to the mainland.

I can’t want to take my daughter to Texas and leave her after having her in the next room for 19 years. It’s not the empty nest that bothers me, I have the 15 yr old coming to live with is simply the fact of letting her go. My husband doesn’t get it. He keeps telling me this is what you raised her to do, to be a responsible adult and live her life. I get that, I really do, but I’m still going to miss her. This is a pattern for me. Every time a kid left home, I’ve gone into a funk. I’m a mom, I can’t help it.

I think I can’t want to do anything else right now, because I can’t want to let her go. I didn’t realize where it was coming from until I sat here and started typing it out. So, instead of sitting around in a dirty house with laundry piled up, I think I’ll get started getting things done and enjoy these last two months in Hawaii, with my beautifully grown up daughter, and start looking forward to the next chapter of all our lives and move on.

A picture of the kid with her dog. Oh look, she has the dog on the furniture. Maybe I won't miss her after all!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Poop Obsession?

I've mentioned our two dogs before. We have a yellow lab, Max, and a miniature dachsund, Cleo. We live in Army housing with no real yard, so we walk our dogs when they need to go out. (except when I cheat and let them right out front to do their business..when I'm lazy)
Because we walk our dogs, we carry poop bags to pick up their poo. My husband seems to be obsessed with poop bags. I find them everywhere. He will stick a couple in his pocket when we start our walk, and leave them there if we don't use them.
Here are a few places I've found (unused) poop bags:
On the table inside our front door. This wooden tray is usually used for our keys.

This one fell behind a piece of furniture in my dining room.

This next one is on top of his dresser, or as it's called in my family "the chester drawers"

The following is inside the pocket of his shorts, before I do laundry.

And...occasionally inside the washing machine when I've forgotten to check the man's pockets.

God love him, he's always prepared. There is never a dull moment around here, I love making fun of him when I find a hidden poop bag.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Adventures of Flat Stanley

My six year old niece sent Flat Stanley to us this week. If you don’t know about Flat Stanley, google him. He’s a paper boy that gets shipped all over the place, has his photo taken in different places, then gets shipped back to the elementary school where he started. I am taking Stanley around Hawaii and making notes for his journal back in Virginia.
Today we went to one of my favorite beaches here in Hawaii. It’s on the windward (east) side of the island. The sand is perfect, the waves are great for boogie boarding and the view is amazing.
I hate to admit that we haven’t been to the beach in a long time. As I sat there on the beach, then braved the cool water to hit some waves, I wondered, why don’t we do this more often? We only have around two months left here and I’m going to take advantage of the beautiful island I may never see again.
Enjoy these photos of Flat Stanley. He had a great day at the beach too. He’s napping now, still a little jet lagged from his long trip.

In the car, driving up to the beach.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pretty in Pink

I love sparkly things. I love jewelry even though I don't wear it much here in Hawaii.

I recently made my first purchase off etsy. It's my understanding that this is a site where regular people can sell their hand made goodies. I'm not sure how I found the site, but I did and loved the hand made jewelry of Classic Keepsake.  I was just browsing through my tweets one night a while back and saw where she had posted this:

I love pink, I love crystals, and like I said, I love jewelry. So... I bought it. I received it in the mail today and it's more beautiful than I thought it would be. I just love the wire wrap and the pink crystal.
She was a sweetheart and put in a lovely surprise of hair pins with the cutest little buttons glued to them. My daughter will love them.
Thanks to Lara for my new jewelry..I'll be back to shop soon!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Army Life

Today I'm reflecting on the friends I've made in my short (almost 6 yrs) time as an Army wife.  It's amazing how small this Army world is and how frequently you have opportunities to reconnect with those friends.
When I married my husband I met a fabulous Army wife named Marcia. Marica was my husband's brigade commander's wife. She stepped up and taught me everything I needed to know about being the senior wife in my husband's battalion. (talk about jumping in with both feet)  Our battalion commander was a geo bachelor (didn't bring his family with him to this assignment) so by default, I was the senior leader.
I am a huge knowledge geek so I jumped in and learned as much as I could about this new life. Marcia stayed there in Texas with us for a year, then moved on. We moved on as well and then two years later, we moved to Hawaii. After a year here, I heard Marcia's husband was being assigned to a job in Hawaii. How much fun to see her again?! This time, Marcia's husband wasn't in our chain of command so we were able to just be friends. I still called on her when I needed advice, a shoulder or to rant.
Last summer Marcia moved away. I got an email from her a couple of weeks ago saying she would be in Hawaii accompanying her husband who would be here for an Army trip. I get to drive downtown to the Hale Koa hotel today and spend a few hours with Marcia. I can't wait to catch up.
Since we've been in Hawaii I've reconnected with several old friends. It's amazing how many wives want to join their husbands on a business trip when it involves travel to Hawaii. I have spent many afternoons at the Hale Koa (which is the military hotel right on Waikiki beach) having Mai Tais with old friends.

I know that, even when I move on from here, I will stay connected with my close friends I've made here. Chances are huge that we'll run into each again. It's a small Army. We make friends fast and we keep them for life. 
This is a photo taken last week at my friend's husband's ceremony. She's in the middle with the beautiful leis on. Another perk of being in Hawaii...fresh flower leis. (that's me on the right)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pride and Patriotism

I attended yet another Army ceremony this morning. I never get tired of this kind of thing. I sat in the cool, rainy morning watching a group of Soldiers stand at attention as the Color Guard brought the American Flag  and the unit colors forward. In case you've never thought about it, the flag is tall and it's heavy. They have it hooked in a special device that wraps around their waist and are required to stand perfectly still... at attention. The wind was whipping this morning and that flag was all over the place. Those boys held still and precise. Little things like this almost make me cry.
Listening to the outgoing Command Sergeant Major speak about his pride in the Soldiers he was leaving definitely made me tear up a little.
There is nothing like being part of a military family. The pride and patriotism always touches me and the National Anthem makes me cry a little bit. Most of the kids on that parade field have been to war, at least once, most of them multiple times. Some of them are younger than at least 3 of my children.

You know what's almost as awesome as seeing Soldiers stand at attention, or salute the Flag?  Hearing them sing the Army Song at the top of their voices. HOOOAH!

Here is a photo of one of the ceremonies my husband was involved in so you get an idea of the way it looks.
That handsome devil on the far left is my own Soldier.

This photo is my husband giving his own salute to the flag as he did his pass and review. I so love this picture.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

The dogs waiting for daddy to come home from Iraq (first deployment)
My gosh look how badly that window sill needed paint!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Heavenly Pioneer Woman Dinner (supper)

I have discovered The Pioneer Woman. Oh my, this is a woman after my own heart. After digging through her web site, I ordered this:
I am not kidding you when I say that I read the whole book in one sitting. It's not only full of yummy recipes, but amazing photos and stories of her home life and family.
Tonight's dinner was PW's Rib-eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce. Since this recipe is in her book, I'm not going to post it here. It almost seems like stealing. However, I will tell you that the whiskey cream sauce was so good, that when I went to wash the pan, it was all I could do not to lick the bottom first. My husband RAVED about this steak and sauce. It's to die for.
I found this on her web site:
These are called Crash Hot Potatoes. Oh, MY, GOODNESS, are they yummy!
You can find this recipe here:
She uses rosemary on hers, I used green onions. (don't tell, but I put a little grated cheddar on these after they came out of the oven...sinful!)

I am a new fan of the Pioneer Woman. I can't wait to make more meals out of her book and off her site.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What is normal?

I'm an Army wife and I've been married to my Soldier almost 6 years. During those 6 years, we've been apart more than together. Because of this, I wonder do I have what it takes to "stick" when he's home all the time.
Don't misunderstand, I dearly love my husband and I desperately want him home and not away at war or training, but it's taking me longer to get to "normal".  What is normal?  Do today's military families even know? All we know is pre-deployment, sending our loved ones away, getting  ready for re-deployment, maybe a PCS thrown in there and then guess what? Pre-deployment activities again.
We adapt and we do very well (most of the time) Does that mean it's normal? I get antsy when the man is home for a four day weekend. He needs to go back to work! Maybe all marriages are that way...too much together time can be frustrating.
I wonder how this "normal" we have is affecting the children of the military families. Our kids are mostly grown and we only have one at home. Are the younger kids growing up thinking that daddies don't stay home? Are they prepared for a life that's more "normal"?
I love being an Army wife. I absolutely LOVE my husband. I wouldn't trade this for the world, but I wonder if it puts a strike against me as I constantly re-acquaint myself with my husband.
On a positive spin, I have a new honeymoon every few years. I can celebrate every day instead of just special days.
Good or bad, it's my life. It's just another reason to admire those families married to the military. They definitely do their part to serve their country.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Guacamole and...Margaritas?

I was cleaning up the kitchen a little while ago and noticed the avocados I bought earlier in the week were perfectly ripe now. What better time to blow off chores and make guacamole?
I have not always liked guacamole. A few years ago you could not have paid me to eat it. Looking back, I think I was never served GOOD guacamole. Over the years my taste has changed and I liked it more and more.
Last fall a friend brought a bag of avocados over from the tree in her yard. (Yes, we grow avocados in Hawaii) I decided to try my hand at guacamole. The first batch was ok; the second batch was better but not hot enough for me, so the third time being the charm was fantastic! I spiced it up with more jalapeno and took it to a neighborhood block party. Everyone RAVED about it! Homerun!

My Guacamole (I can't call it a recipe, I truly just throw things in to taste)

4 ripe avocados
The juice of one lime
Red onion (I used almost half of a medium onion)
1 fresh jalapeno (remove the seeds if you want to cut down on spice, I leave seeds in half)

Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and throw it in a bowl.
Squeeze the juice of the lime in on top of the avocados
Chop the red onion in fine pieces
Chop the jalapeno in tiny pieces
After putting everything in the bowl, take a potato masher and smash it all together. I like it a little chunky so I don't smash it until it's smooth.
Salt and Pepper to taste

I absolutely love how simple this is and how fresh it tastes. You truly get the taste of the avocado. I love the crunch of the red onion and the bite of the jalapeno. The lime juice is mostly to keep the avocados from turning brown.
During my husband's recent deployment, he had a young Soldier who was his driver. This young man was driving my dear husband the night they hit an IED. The driver was hurt badly enough to come home and face surgery and physical therapy. While he was recovering in therapy, he would stop by the battalion almost every day. The rear detachment command had a potluck one day for lunch and I happened to be there (how convenient)
Young Soldier driver came in with his cane and his fresh guacamole. This boy is Latino and his guacamole ROCKED. He had left a couple of the pits in the dip. When I asked him why, he said it's supposed to keep it from turning brown so quickly. So.. I leave a couple of pits in mine. I also read recently to cover with plastic wrap all the way down on the guacamole to help with this. I'm willing to try anything!

With the pits inside.

With the plastic wrap.

And my favorite way, with chips!

I think it tastes better after chilling in the refrigerator for a while. I have a feeling there is a margarita in my future this evening!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Blog Award!

Happy 101 Award!
A big thanks to Bethany at A Southern Belle and her Officer for giving me this award! This blogging stuff is too much fun!

Here are the Rules:
1. Thank the person you received the award from. (did it!)
2. Name 10 things that make you happy.
3. Pass it on and contact the lucky winners!

Here are the 10 things that make me happy.
1. My husband. He's my best friend, soul mate and partner for life.
2. My children. There are 5 of them so I could go on and on.
3. Quiet time. Maybe it's because I'm alone so much, but I relish it.
4. Coffee. I must have it first thing and it must have nothing in it.
5. Sonic. I miss it.
6. TV. I LOVE my shows.
7. Cooking and Baking.
8. Volunteer work. I love serving others.
9. Being an Army Wife. It rocks.. most of the time.
10. My Military Spouse friends. They stick and they're the best.

Now for the passing it along part.

 Michelle at Married/Single Parent. She inspired me to blog and many other things.
 Mindee at Our Front Door I think we may have been separated at birth.
 Heidi at Empty Nest, PCS and all the Rest because we're facing that Empty Nest together.
 Shayla at Sunshine and Sprinkles my  new blogging friend.
You ladies rock. Thanks for giving me laughs and keeping me motivated.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Saying Good-bye:
Coming Home:

Saying HELLO!


Corn Sticks?

The other day, Nick and I were shopping at the Air Force Base's BX. I came across this:

I had to have it. It reminded me of the pan my grandmother had and used for cornbread. I couldn't wait to use it. Tonight's dinner was Taco Soup with Cornbread.  You know I had to use the new pan.
This is what it looked like:

Not so pretty, huh?
So I pulled them out of the pan:

Not exactly what I had hoped, but they were cute enough. I'm thinking that because this pan is a re-production and not an original, it's making the difference. Maybe I'm over thinking it and they are really fine.
The cornbread was tasty!
I can't wait to get back on the mainland to browse through real antique shops and find some treasures!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Major Award (what movie?)

Thank you to Jessica at "Me, Him, and the Army" who has given me a blog award! Imagine my surprise this morning when I saw your sweet comment on my post telling me there was an award on your blog for me.
Here are the rules:

1 - Thank and link to the person that gave you the award
2 - Pass this award on to 15 bloggers you've recently discovered and whom you think are fantastic
3 - Contact said blogs and let them know they've won
4 - State seven things about yourself

 I am passing this award to:
Peppermint PH.D.
My Life Logic
Waiting to Exhale
Jane Deere
Seven things about me:
1. I'm a HUGE geek. I'm not terribly technical, but I love to geek about whatever my interest is right now.
2. I love to read. Mostly I like fluff, but I really have good intentions on reading more substantial stuff.
3. I never really wanted to be anything more than a wife and a mother. These two jobs have been the most rewarding ever.
4. I wish I had met and married my husband 20 years ago instead of 6.
5. I want lots and lots of grandbabies and I want them to love me more than their other grandparents.
6. I love to cook and bake. I'm not a fancy cook, and most of the time my food isn't terribly pretty, but it's usually tasty.
7. I'm very vain. I hate that my skin isn't as smooth and beautiful as it was a few years ago. Getting older sucks and I'm not a fan at all.

We have spent the day today cleaning out stuff and making lists for our upcoming move. There's so much to do it's overwhelming. I'm secretly hoping we never have an overseas move again. I'm ready to be back on the mainland. I never thought I'd say I miss a road trip, but I do.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wii Fun

We bought a Wii for our family at Christmas this last year. Mostly, it's been Nick and me that have played. Callie is the only one living at home right now and she doesn't play as much.
It was a slow night for TV a few nights ago so Nick asked if I wanted to compete in ski jumping. I couldn't figure out how he knew about ski jumping because we hadn't played it before. He admitted he played around with the Wii the night I was out playing Bunco with the girls. He then told me he had added the dogs in the character list. I said really??  There are dogs in there? 
We turn on the game to get ready to play and sure enough, the dogs are in the Wii fit area and have been weighed in. I asked how in the world he got the dogs to stand on that platform long enough to weigh. He admitted he had to hold them to do it. We have a dachsund, which is no big deal, but our second dog is a yellow lab!
If you're familiar with the Wii fit, you know that you check in and weigh yourself every time you use it. So, we pulled the dogs up to let them weigh in. I just HAD to take photos of this. It was hysterical.

This is Cleo's Mii update.

Max clearly wasn't having a good time.

After weighing in the dogs, we started the ski jump competition. Callie came home from work in the middle of some serious smack talking. She decided she needed to school us on how it is done.

The fact that Nick was weighing in dogs when I was gone one night made me wonder what else goes on around here when I'm gone. That same evening, when I returned home, I saw his head lamp sitting out. (yes he has a head lamp and LOVES it, he's a bit of a geek)  I asked him about the head lamp. He said, "Well, I might have been exploring a little."  I just asked if any of the neighbors had seen him and he assured me they had not. It's nice that he can entertain himself. I'm not sure he ever grew up.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Big Island Trip Continued

If you've kept up, you know that we saw volcanoes on our first day on the Big Island of Hawaii.  On the second day, we did a drive around to see the Farmer's Market and water falls around Hilo Town.
The Farmer's Market was fabulous! The produce was beautiful, the flowers were amazing and there were local artists there selling their products.

If I lived there, I would buy my weekly produce there every week. Here are a few photos of the farmer's market.

We found a hippy pottery guy that was selling some beautiful hand thrown pottery, and it was cheap! I bought two pieces. One is a beautiful bowl that has glazing made from volcanic ash and a matching "canister" (not sure that's the correct description) I will use it to be my cooking tools.

Here are some photos of the waterfalls.
The last day we were there we just slept in, had a little breakfast and hit the airport. It was a great trip. I wish we had more time there that weekend.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Now What?

This post is going to be something near to my heart and a little emotional. Please be patient.

My husband is a Soldier. He just completed almost 3 years in battalion command. As the commander's wife, I was very involved with the Families of our battalion. I served as the FRG (Family Readiness Group) advisor for all the volunteer leaders at the company level. I met with the company level commanders when they needed guidance with their volunteers and needed help with Army regulations regarding family programs. I absolutely LOVED what I did helping Army families.
When our Soldiers deployed, I got more involved. I met with our Rear Detachment Commander at least once per week. We shared stories on families struggling and helped figure out ways to help without enabling. When we lost a Soldier two weeks into the deployment, I met with the other Family members. I cried with them, I sat in that Soldier's memorial ceremony and watched his widow and children grieve. That is a time  I will never forget.
I met with volunteer leaders to raise money for parties, redeployment celebrations and to get barracks rooms ready for single Soldiers to come home. I sold endless amounts of t-shirts, baked goods, and blankets. I beat the bushes for money so our Soldiers could have a fabulous welcome home luau. I planned that luau almost by myself.  I worked tirelessly to empower Amy Families to thrive during their deployment. I'm not complaining. I LOVED IT!
My husband is home now. He has stepped out of command. I no longer serve as the advisor for a battalion of volunteers and family members. I handed all of that over to the next person.
I am struggling to find my place now. I had power to help people as the commander's wife. Not so much anymore. It's hard to leave the top. I knew my husband would struggle with this, but I had no idea how it would affect me.
I may never again have the opportunity to work side by side with Soldier's families the way I did the last three years. Sure, my wonderful Soldier will probably go on to command a brigade or a district with the Corps of Engineers. He's that good (no brag here!)  It won't be the same. It's a different level.
I have decided to pay it forward. I want to mentor other future leaders. I will continue to volunteer and be involved in this wonderful military community. I am just a volunteer at heart. I will always be looking for opportunities. I'm ready for the next thing. It sucks being stuck here, with these people, while someone else does my work. I'm ready to move on.