Monday, December 26, 2011
I guess you can say the Christmas holidays have caught me by surprise this year. I was in no way prepared and have struggled to keep the stress out of the season for weeks now. I am never happy to see Christmas come and go, but I have to admit, this year...I'm done. I'm ready for a fresh start and a new year.
Nick took brigade command on the 10th of November. I was officially welcomed by the spouses' coffee group on the 20th of November. Thanksgiving followed almost immediately and I was facing December.
As the new commander's wife, I wanted to host the coffee group in my home for the Christmas coffee. I have always done that and I enjoy it.
There was no active group before us, so I was starting from scratch.
Long story short.. I struggled to get a good social roster and invitations out. Because we are at the brigade level, I have TWO coffee groups and that doubled the load.
I pulled it off. I hosted two coffees and did it as well as can be expected.
My December calendar was absolutely full and I am exhausted. Nick was gone two weekends of the month, which cut down on our family holiday fun times. I was a little cranky about it.
We only had 2 out of 5 kids here for Christmas and will only have one more join us. The other two are just too far away to make it this year. That didn't help my mood at all.
So, I'm done. I'm glad it's over, and I'm ready to start anew.
I'm working to be more organized for the new year and that includes putting time on my calendar for blogging. I enjoy it, it's a good outlet for me and I miss it. I am just too stinkin' busy to see straight. It has to get better... right??
I hope your holidays (if anyone is still out there reading) were wonderful. I hope they were filled with family and quiet peaceful times of relaxation.
Enjoy this last week of the year and please, by all means, share any ideas you have on getting me more organized for the new year with my busy schedule!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
My friend Carla took me to a quilting shop and we picked out a kit that had fabrics in it and the pattern all set out. All you have to do is cut the fabric into the appropriate sizes and piece it together. Piece of cake.. right?? Not so much. I seemed to struggle with the whole cutting part. Even with a straight edge ruler and a rotary cutting instrument, I struggled. My measurements were off once and I had to buy more fabric. Oy!
Now that the fabric is cut, I've been sewing together the squares and I'm having a blast. I know why people love this. It's so rewarding to throw a few pieces of fabric together, sew a straight line and see something start to take shape.
My fabric theme is the Sock Monkey. Remember those? I want to make a sock monkey to go along with the quilt. That's assuming I get the quilt finished before the child starts kindergarten.
There are 36 squares in this quilt and so far, I have 24 of them sewn together. I'm on the downhill side. Of that portion, at least.
Here are a few photos of the work in progress:
I will keep you posted on the progress of the quilt. I really need to spend a few more hours piecing so I can move on to the next step.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
On my way to the commissary, I stopped by the PX to get more candy. Lucky for me, it was on sale (slightly) and I grabbed several very large bags to fill my bowl.
Trick-or-Treating here on an Army post is, like other things the Army does, very regulated. Hours are from 6:00 to 8:00 PM and the MPs (Military Police) are in full force keeping our neighborhoods safe.
At 6:00 I had my station out front. Jack-O-Lanterns were lit, porch light on, chair outside for me to sit in as I greeted every goblin and gave them a treat. My neighbor warned me to give out only one piece to every child. I'm glad she did!
I have NEVER seen so many kids in my life. They were in herds.
Monday, October 31, 2011
I’m going to post some photos of my Halloween prep so you all don’t think I’ve been completely worthless! Just because I’m not blogging doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything.
I’ve actually been very busy with other things. Nick’s change of command is coming up quickly and I realized the other day I’m two weeks out and haven’t finalized plans for the reception that follows the ceremony. So, I’ve been working with the caterer, my friend who is decorating and another friend who is making the cake. I’ve also been talking to the wonderful Soldiers that are helping with the ceremony to get the business side of everything done. Where is my husband during this process, you may ask…. well he’s still TDY. How convenient. He just keeps emailing me events to put on my calendar. Looks like brigade command is going to require a lot more social events than we had before. It’s ok, I like social!
Yesterday, I decided to brave the drizzle outside and carve our pumpkins. My plan was that a certain teenage boy would help me, but since he had put off about three days of homework until Sunday afternoon, that was not an option. So, I set up my pumpkin carving station.
Since there was a very chilly drizzle falling, I opted for under the canopy in the backyard.
See the wet ground? It looks like that a lot lately.
Everything is here. Pattern, cutting instruments, objects of scooping pumpkin guts, my glasses (so I can see what I’m cutting!) What you can’t see is my iPod station in the chair. Ironically, Kenny Chesney was singing about the sun, the sand and a drink with no bottom. Appropriate, don’t you think?
Finished product number one. They just don’t look so good in this light.
Pumpkin number two. See the container of seeds? Those are for roasting!
Much better in this light!! Creeeepy!
And again, much better when it’s glowing in the darkness!
Here is a daylight shot of my outdoor decorations.
And one of the front door area. If there hadn’t been that glare on the storm door, you’d see there is a fall wreath up there. If I was a better photographer, I would have figured out a way to eliminate the glare.
Tonight I will gear up for trick-or-treaters. I love seeing the little ones all dressed up. I hear there will be lots in this neighborhood. I have a feeling I should hit the commissary today and get more candy.
Happy Halloween, everyone!!!
Monday, October 17, 2011
It's been a big adjustment coming from the war college back to the real Army. I have enjoyed settling in our new home and getting to know my fabulous neighbors.
The home, neighborhood and various activities around here have kept me busy, but I need to settle into a routine very soon.
I have been thinking of the direction this blog should go as my husband takes another command. I want to maintain his professionalism and keep our personal lives somewhat private, but still share what I'm doing with my family and friends and maybe, help someone else on this journey of being an Army wife.
So, I intend to continue to post about my passions. Cooking, baking, thrift shopping, family and the fabulousness of being an Army wife. I hope to pass along some good information and wisdom to others who may be coming up behind me.
Today, I took Nick to the airport for the last three weeks of his pre-command courses. He will return very shortly before the change of command and I have tons to do between now and then to get ready for his reception and my role as, well.. whatever it is he wants me to do.
I have a long list of things to do before he gets home. If the past is any indicator, I will only accomplish a few of them so it's important that I prioritize.
I am seriously behind on catching up with some dear friends. So, Jackie and Deb, I will be calling you this week. Hopefully they will answer the phone and are still speaking to me.
I am piecing together my first quilt. This quilt was going to be a surprise for my oldest daughter who is expecting my first grandchild. I couldn't keep it to myself and I've told her about it. It's a quilt of sock monkey fabrics and I'm so looking forward to finishing and seeing if it looks anything like it should.
I'm still busy as a football mom and am helping to feed around 65 football boys every week at their team dinner.
I'm ready for this short three week time of quiet before the storm hits. I'm ready to be involved with Army families again and am up for the challenge of being the commander's wife again.
Buckle up everyone... it's going to be a wild ride!!!
Thanks for hanging in with me. I promise to do better from here on out.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Take a look at the treasures!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
First, my friend Carla is helping me make a quilt. Yes, it's quite an undertaking for a rookie but I'm making it as a surprise for someone so I can't give any more details. Carla is quite the homemaker. She sews, quilts, paints and crafts galore. Besides all that, she's an amazing cook and hostess, and she lives just a few houses down from me so we can spend lots of time together.
Last week, I spent the morning at Carla's so she could show me how to prepare my fabric for cutting and sewing. At one time during the morning we took a break and she made lemonade. She didn't squeeze lemons and dump sugar, she made it from a frozen concentrate... which is perfectly fine with me. But, when she brought my glass, it was so tasty and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was different about this lemonade. In a little while she asked if I could tell what extra flavor was going on there.. I said I could not. She said it was this:
So, there you have it. A few of my favorite things right now.
Friday, August 19, 2011
My mom is a nurse and has been for a very long time. She has made her life about caring for others.
I watched her, years ago, care for my dying grandfather, my dad's father. I realized then how good she is at it.
For the last several months, my mom and dad have been making frequent trips from Arkansas to Tennessee to care for my dad's sister who is dying from cancer.
First, they were trying to help find treatment and answers. Now, just a few short months later, they are helping keep her comfortable and at peace with her impending death.
My aunt has come to rely on my mom completely. When she awakens, she asks for her. When she sleeps, she wants my mom beside her. If that's not comfort, I don't know what is.
I spoke to my mom on the phone last night to check in on my beloved aunt's status. She told me she's very ill and may not make it through the night. She told me of the conversation she had with my aunt earlier in the day. She told me Aunt G asked how to "go home" My mom told her to reach out and take it. My mother also spoke to my cousins and told them to tell their mother, "it's ok." It's ok to go, we'll be fine.
First, let me say I just don't know if I could do that and keep it together. I'm crying just typing this. My mom did it with peace in her soul. I guess it's because she knows her sister-in-law will be painfree and happy again once she goes "home".
I'm so grateful to have had the chance to see this aunt twice in the last few years. She came with my parents to Hawaii three years ago and visisted us. She came last fall to Rhode Island to see us, but even then was starting to suffering from some "strange back pain" and couldn't enjoy herself.
God bless my aunt and bless the precious woman taking care of her right now. I pray for my cousins so that they will have peace during this terrible time. They lost their father a few years ago and only one short year ago, their older brother.
Here is a photo of my aunt visiting us in Hawaii. I prefer to remember her like this. Smiling, partying, and showing Callie and me how to make her famous fried corn.
Monday, August 8, 2011
I have to admit, I was a little nervous about how we would spend our time and what in the world we would talk about.
This last week has been interesting and busy. I got him registered for school, he's attended his first few football training sessions, shopped for all the football equipment we'd need, and we've had a good look around the area. He's even met a couple of guys in the neighborhood to hang out with.
The challenge is getting him out more. He surely does love to sit in front of any kind of screen and play a game. Computer, Xbox, etc. My goal was to let him work on the balance needed between real life and the imaginary games he's involved in. Turns out he's not ready for that challenge. Yesterday, we had to set a few boundaries. It seems this boy works better with a more structured schedule. Left on his own, he will sit for the whole day and play. He proved this to me on Saturday.
Yesterday was spent washing a car, doing his laundry, going to the commissary to inquire about a job, and reading. No computer games at all yesterday.
Today he gets back into his workout routine..and he's making dinner for me. I decided to get him involved in the everyday chores of running a household. I told him to pick out two meals he'd like to make for dinner, make a list of ingredients and we'd pick them up.(surprisingly, he was excited about this and really got into it)
So, tonight it's a chicken dish he says he made up back with his mom. Chicken breasts, a jar of Alfredo sauce, so many little containers of dried herbs and seasonings it makes my head spin, and pasta. Hmmm... we'll see how it goes. I think I will have to help a bit on his technique or I'll be having rubbery pan fried chicken with over-seasoned jarred sauce.
Thursday night he's making a stir fry. He was so funny picking his ingredients.
Sugar Snap Peas
This is going to be a rich stir fry. He is serving it over rice for me.
His last culinary decision was what dessert he wants to make. He chose brownies and they are coming from a box.
My goal, when we started this, was to have him choose a dish he loves, research a recipe, and follow the recipe. So far, we've failed. He chose one dish he "made up" and one dish that requires throwing stuff in a pan and stir frying it. Once again, we'll need to learn technique and some knife skills. Pray for me.
Last night I grilled rib-eye steaks, fresh corn on the cob and asparagus...all on the grill. It was DELICIOUS!
I stopped at the farm stand on Saturday and picked up the fresh corn, some beautiful tomatoes, blueberries and peaches. That evening I made two peach and blueberry cobblers. YUM. I took one next door to my neighbors who have a son the same age as Alex and I'm the diggety bomb with that kid now.
Wednesday, I'm meeting some old friends from Hawaii for lunch. Nick's battalion Chaplain back in Hawaii is here and will be our Brigade chaplain again. We are thrilled. So, I'm having lunch with them and looking forward to catching up.
Have a fabulous Monday everyone. I'm off to the gym to see if I can burn off some peach and blueberry cobbler.
Monday, August 1, 2011
I have a FABULOUS group of ladies in my neighborhood. They have taken me in and treated me like an old friend. We get together several times a week either for coffee, cocktails, or to walk. Actually, they walk every morning but I have been easing myself into it. These women are hard core and they kick my butt!
I'm having a blast with them and they have made me feel so welcome.
Alex flew in today after a month with his mother. The kid hasn't seen a barber shop or a razor since we left him there. First thing tomorrow, haircut. We won't leave the house until he shaves that fuzzy face! Oy.
On another note, it appears I'm on the spouse's club board already. One of my fab neighbors was the membership chair, but really, really wanted to be the bazaar chair, so her assignment was to find some poor sucker,... um.. volunteer.. to take the membership position. Me, being the sucker I am, said, sure! I'll chair the membership committee! (committee meaning just me)
So, exactly one month since the day we rolled into town, I will attend my first board meeting. Nothing like jumping right in!
I figure between the butt kicking walks in the morning and finding something to do with my time, I might lose a few of the pounds I've packed on during the last few years.
I'm loving being here and can't wait to really get involved and meet more of the wonderful people who work behind the scenes here.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
That being over 40 didn't mean that it's harder to stay in shape, and harder to see things without reading glasses.
That I could do my own nails and it would look like I stepped out of a nail salon.
That my beautiful hardwood floors cleaned themselves.
That it didn't take me longer and more products to look decent every day.
That I had an unlimited budget to decorate this beautiful house the way I want.
That my dogs weren't getting older and going to make me sad one day.
That my kids could be closer to me, no matter where I move.
That I could have Sunday dinners with all my kids once in a while (see above)
That my kids could all be happy, safe, and financially secure...forever.
I wish for world peace. I know everyone wishes for world peace, but being an Army wife and seeing just how much the lack of peace hurts the people who fight for it...makes me really, really wish for it.
I wish all the service members serving in dangerous areas of the world could be home with their families. I wish there was no hurt in the world.
It's a lot, but it can't hurt to wish, right?