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Last Thursday, I went to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and helped with the assembly of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute – The Cost of Freedom Tribute.  This tribute is a traveling Vietnam Memorial, Gold Dog Tag wall remembering those who have  fallen 1) In hostile military actions between the end of Vietnam and the 9/11 attack and 2) As a member of the armed forces who have given their life in the Global War on Terror.   It was truly an honor to be a part of this project.

Before I left, I went and read the names on the gold dog tags.  There was a group of names that touched my soul.  Almost six years ago, Will was winding down his tour in Iraq at Haditha Dam when the “Battle of Haditha” took place.  These Marines lost their lives securing the perimeter of where Will and so many others were.  I wrote a letter to each family who lost a Marine during that fight expressing my most sincere gratitude  and my  humblest of sympathies.  I’ve told the story several times over the past 5-1/2 years, to different groups and people, but when I saw their names on the gold dog tags, I cried.  Not a silent, tears streaming cry, but the big, body shaking cry right there in the gravel lot. It shook me to my core.  There are so many who “know” war, or claim to.  I claimed to.  Those who know it, they know it from different perspectives, but, honestly, it wasn’t until that moment that I felt like I knew war.  But my family’s fate was spared  that day.  These brave Marines from Ohio answered the call to serve our nation and paid the ultimate sacrifice allowing our families to continue living our lives as we know

We attended the Coca Cola 600.  I’m not a huge race fan, but I love the “feel of the thunder” under my feet in the stands.  This race is my favorite because of the tribute to our service members before the race starts. There were many, many service members and veterans there.  Some you can spot because of the haircut.  Others it was the proud display of a t-shirt or hat with the campaign in which they served.  And some were wearing branch specific hats/shirts.   There were tributes and accolades and all things wonderful.  I smiled, cheered and clapped.  I did all the things one does when we’re celebrating.  Then they played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes and I was, once again, shaken to the core.  The first time I ever heard “Amazing Grace” played on the bagpipes was in the cold wind at a soldier’s funeral.   There are some things that are forever etched in my mind and that is one of them.   Then the twenty-one gun salute.  Then Lee Greenwood sang “God Bless the USA.”  The tears continued.  Then Darius Rucker sang our national anthem.  The tears continued

Over the past few years, with all the bumps and bruises, I have found myself sometimes losing sight of what is truly important.  I had to write an “essay” about me for a recruiter not too long ago.  It’s hard to write about yourself; at least it is for me.  As I began to put my thoughts on paper, I was reminded of how I have been touched by the lives, smiles, heartaches, tears and compassion of so many people.  I was reminded that one of my core philosophies is to try and learn from my mistakes.   I was reminded that everything that has happened to me in my life has helped to shape me and mold me into the person I am today – the good and the bad.  I was reminded that no matter what, I will always carry with me having been a military spouse and that has been one of the greatest paths in my life because it has afforded me the opportunities to meet, support, and work with some of the most amazing people on the planet.

Although this post is late, I do hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day and you took a few minutes to think and reflect back on the freedoms we have and those who have served our great nation.

There is never a time that is inappropriate for thanking a service member – past or present.  “Thank you” and “We appreciate you” are sentiments that are of few words, but mean a lot.  But also remember this… it also translates into our everyday lives, too.  Take a moment to thank someone who has done something that you appreciate.  A kind word goes so far and you never know… you may be the brightest spot to their day.

Be well….

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Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  Our service members and their families are a very small percentage of our nation’s population and we’re proud to be part of it.   Being a milspouse has not only taught me some very valuable lessons, but has given me an opportunity to meet some of the most fantastic people on the planet.  No matter where life leads me, I know I will go as a better person because of the experiences and frienships I’ve made along the way.

I wish all the milspouses a fantastic day.

I won’t start this by apologizing for my absence.  Once a year is okay.  Maybe even once a quarter, but if I start all my blog posts with it every time I go to post one, it’s all you’ll ever read.  We’ll pretend like I’m issuing a blanket apology for all those times I go MIA and, voila, I show up.

I’m still unemployed.

We have our garden planted.  Yay!  We actually planted it the first weekend of April.  Olivia and I grew our own starter plants instead of buying them at the store.  I had 80 total and set out almost all of them.  I make a huge gardening faux pas.  I didn’t lable what I planted where.  The only thing I’m really sure of are my zucchini and squash plants.  Everything else is up in the air until it starts producing and then I’ll know.  Except for my carrots because I won’t see them as they are underground.  I was going to remember where I put stuff.  Oh, yeah.  Like THAT would happen.

We took the training wheels off Olivia’s bike.  She’s terrified of it and we haven’t made it out of the front yard yet.  I’m afraid she’s just not ready.  I love her.  A lot.

I haven’t been cooking anything new and exciting and have kind of fallen off the couponing bandwagon.  I still do it, but have been living off my reserve – no, it’s not a stockpile. It’s not that big.  However, I am totally over whole chickens.  That’s not true.  Not just whole chickens.  Just chicken in general.  I’m tired of cooking it.  Except I needed freezer space, so I took one out and, in about three days, I’m gonna have to cook it.

Olivia is still doing well in school.  She won the character ed award for honesty earlier this year and last week she was awarded the Kiwanis Terrific Kid award.  She got a button, certificate and a pencil. I got the bumper sticker you’ve all seen, “Proud Parent of a Terrific Kid.”  That’s where it came from, in case you were wondering.  But it’s not going on my car.  The only stickers I’ve ever had on my car – and they were on the window and not the paint -were my college sticker, my blue star and another military one.  Outside that, I’m not intereste in fancying up my ride.

I’m hooked on Angry Birds.  I’m pissed b/c I had to get a new phone b/c my old new phone wouldn’t answer (less than a month old) and I had to redownload the apps and start all over.

I’m working on something, but I can’t talk about it.  It’s sort of a secret, but not really.  It’s not one I can talk about here yet, but will spill it when the time is appropriate.  It has the potential to be something of substance for many involved, but it’s way too early.  Some of y’all know what it is.   It netted me a trip to the beach yesterday, but had to come home b/c W was supposed to have jury duty.  I hope to go back next week.  And I’ll be staying at least overnight so I can enjoy a glass of wine listening to the waves roll in.  That and it’s a long damn trip to go and come back in a day.

I’m thrilled OBL is dead and am super proud of the special ops team who did it.  Hooah!  But we need to keep our thoughts focused or we become vulnerable.  Our military always has one eye open so we can rest with both eyes closed. 

I have a lot of friends with a lot of stuff going on who could use some well-wishes.  And keep us on your list, too.  Please.

Happy May!

To all our veterans: Thank you for your service.  We’re forever grateful for your service.  That includes my husband.  Despite what problems surround us, he has fought the good fight and has always been willing to answer the call of duty.  I’m proud of him.  Olivia told him last night, “Thank you for being a Soldier boy, Daddy.  Because of you and all the other ‘Vetrins’ I don’t have to go to school tomorrow.  That’s nice of you and I’m proud of you.”  I reminded him that is probably the nicest thing anyone will ever say to him.  Especially in the 5 y.o. age group.

Yesterday, the Marine Corps celebrated its 235th birthday.  When I got married, I married a Marine.  Our groomsmen were Marines.  My girlfriends dated Marines.  It’s what we did.  The Marines were my first real “taste,” if you will, of the military.  Except for one Coastie.  Anyway, I went to UNC-W and Camp Lejeune wasn’t that far away, so the Marines would come into town to mack on the college girls and we would score free beer.  It was then that I realized the old saying was true:  A uniform is the one thing that can make most anyone look good.   It wasn’t until Will left the military, joined the reserves and got ready to deploy to Iraq did I fully understand what it was to be a military spouse.  Remember, we were no longer active duty, and had not been for many, many years; we were a reserve family.  Since that time, my appreciation has grown from ogling cute boys in uniform to appreciating what the uniform stands for.  I didn’t grow up in a military household and, in my opinion, it’s hard to grasp what the call of duty is during peacetime when you’re 20 years old.   At least it was for us.

There are tons of jokes using the branches of the military as acronyms and we’ve heard them all.  After all, we’ve been in three branches: Marines, Navy and Army National Guard.

From our Navy friends: Marine stands for My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment

From old Navy friends: Navy stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself

From Marines: Army stands for Air Force Rejected Me Yesterday and Ain’t Ready to be a Marine Yet.  Others say US Army is: Uncle Sam Ain’t Released Me Yet!    Backwards: Yes My Retarded Ass Signed Up.

There’s a lot of fun that goes into those.  Everyone’s dog is bigger than the next person’s in their eyes.  And that’s fine. It’s the pride in the uniform and the dedication to do the job that makes it work.  It takes all the branches to protect us.

Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure, and privilege, of meeting some of the most wonderful people.  People who have touched my life in ways they will never know.  I have hugged wives whose husbands were deployed.  I have cried over videos of homecomings.  I have stood on the tarmac in tropical storm weather holding hands with other wives and families waiting for it to finally be my turn.  I have been to funerals, arranged for food to be brought in for families and ordered Gold Star banners.  I have felt inadequate in wishing I could do more.  I always will.

Over the years, my appreciation has grown up a lot.  I appreciate our Nation and the jobs that it takes to keep us safe, a man in uniform still makes my heart skip a beat and I still firmly believe a uniform is the one thing that can make most anyone look good.

Hooah!

There are lots of things I am and tons of things that I am not.  There are certainly things I would like to be and, most definitely, things I wouldn’t want to be.

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mommy, friend.  I am a hard worker, a good listener, list maker, list loser.  I am a bargain hunter, pretty good cook, soother of hurt feelings, grudge carrier.  I never said the things I am were all good.

My mom, Will and I watched the National Memorial Day Concert on television last weekend and this has been in my head, and on my heart, ever since.

I can only speak from a wife’s perspective – and break it down even one further, a reserve wife’s perspective, but I know how mind numbing it was to send my husband into a war zone.  My prior active duty Marine turned one weekend a month, two weeks a year reserve husband was recalled to active duty.  I’m not sure that it really, really hit me until April 2005 when I got the call where he told me their hooch had been hit by rocket fire and they weren’t there because they had gone shopping in the village they had convoyed to.  He bought me a t-shirt.  On another convoy, there was a dead Iraqi in the road with his arms bound behind him, eyes covered and was killed execution style.  It was shortly after that, while working at the Haditha Dam, when Marines from Ohio were killed securing the area leading into the area where my husband and his comrades were.  My heart broke. Again.

I am also a Blue Star Wife.  My husband dons his uniform and trains to be called to serve when our Country needs him.  As do his fellow soldiers.  As do all of our service members.  We are a Blue Star Family.  The key words: Blue Star.  Blue Star.  The Blue Star(s) represents our immediate family member(s) who serve in the armed forces. When the family member is killed in the line of duty, the Blue Star is replaced by a Gold Star.

While watching the National Memorial Day Concert, Blythe Danner and A.J. Cook portrayed widows of American Soldiers and told the story of Taryn Davis, a 22 year-old war widow, who befriended a woman who lost her husband in the Vietnam war, which inspired the American Widow Project.

There are stories all over the internet about Gold Star wives (war widows).  Some of them blog, like Mrs. P from A Little Pink in a World of Camo, whose star recently turned from Blue to Gold.  There are many who don’t hold a place in the blogisphere.  Their only piece of the internet is the online obituary or tributes written about their loved one.  And if you happen to not find it and read it, they shrink into obscurity, but their loss is no less.  Their grief is no less.  Their hearts are no less broken.  We just don’t hear about them.

I cry when I hear our National Anthem.  I had a lump in my throat when we went to the Arizona Diamondbacks game last Memorial Day (2009) and Cindy McCain and their Navy Son, Jack, paused for the silent first pitch.

A fellow blogger, e-pal, and ARNG wife had this to say about Memorial Day, and I think she hit the nail on the head:

…contemplative this Memorial Day weekend and very VERY thankful that her husband’s recent deployment to Iraq didn’t provide a reason for anyone to include her in their Memorial Day sentiments.

While we were watching the concert Sunday night, and I watched the video of Gold Star wives, I uttered these words half silently, half out loud:

….of all the things I’m not, I’m most grateful to not be a war widow.

Half silently because I feel guilty for having that feeling.  Half out loud because I’m truly grateful to not be included in Memorial Day sentiments.

Tomorrow I will attend visitation for a local Soldier, 22-years-old, who lost his life May 24 in Afghanistan as a representative of the Blue Star Mothers of North Carolina and as a Soldier’s wife.  I will pay my respects to this hero who gave his life to something bigger than himself.  I will stand tall and remain strong as I give gracious thanks to his family, who has now paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  I will be humbled by them and reminded, again, exactly how blessed I am that my star is still blue.

This weekend I have four days off, which is very unusual for me. While I am enjoying four days of not working and am headed to the coast to spend time with my family, I know Memorial Day is more than days off, picnics and potato salad. We remember those who serve, have served in the past and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We continue to stand tall for, and honor, those who protect us.

As you enjoy whatever it is you will do this weekend, please take time to remember those who have answered our country’s call.

My Soldier hasn’t always been a Soldier.  No, siree.  He was a Devil Dog when we first got married.

engagementsmall

Man, that uniform still makes my heart skip a  beat.  However, seeing him in his ACUs can make my heart go pitter-patter, too.

acu

We give our most heartfelt and grateful thanks to those who are currently serving our great Nation and to those who have served in the past.  We are are proud to live in the land of the free because of the brave.   We proudly stand tall and support those who are serving from the four corners of the earth to keep us safe.

I am proud to be a military spouse and I’m proud of my Soldier.   A long time ago, I read on a blog something along these lines, “soldiering is an honest calling just like farming, plumbing, …”  I agree.

Our prayers are many and hearts are full.   So, again, I say thank you.  Thank you from the depths of my heart to those who serve our nation as a member of our Armed Forces and those who serve our nation on the home front.

Anyone with an ounce of compassion is saddened and heart-broken over the tragedy at Ft. H00d.  We are no different.  Those who know me, know how passionate I am about our Armed Forces and consider the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coasties, and their families, a part of our extended family.  It is family that just so happens to be spread to the four corners of the earth and 99.999% I’ll never meet, but have the distinct pleasure of being a minority with. 

My point…

Today I had a message from a television station.  The message was left on my home phone for someone I have done some volunteer work with.  She did a search and turned up the other lady’s name with my number attached.  It just so happens that I don’t have the phone number of the lady she was looking for, but since she addressed the group of which I’m a member, I figured I could answer whatever questions she may have. I’ve done it a hundred times or more.  I explained to the caller who I was, how I was related to the group  and asked was there something I could do for her.  (By the way, it’s 3:30 in the afternoon and I checked my messages from work after receiving notification of a voicemail left on my home number)  She told me she was looking for some people to talk to with ties to the military to give their opinions on what happened at Ft. H00d.  Well, that’s easy enough and I explained the way my family and I felt about it.  Heart broken and saddened by the events.  She wanted me to leave work to meet her for an interview.  When I explained I couldn’t because I’m easily an hour and a half from where she would need me to be and my schedule didn’t mesh with hers, she then wanted me to alert those I know who may be able to drop what they were doing to schlep into the Big City to do her interview for the nightly news, but it had to be done before 6 because she really needed to cover the candlelight vigil being held.  I know she’s not the newspaper, but I asked why couldn’t she just speak to people over the phone since it was such short notice.  I was told it wasn’t the same and the impact wasn’t as good.

It unnerved me.  And, no, I didn’t spread the word.  My thought: she did an internet search and found me.  So, do another one and find someone else.

Today is Gold Star Mother’s Day.  It is a day set aside to honor mothers who have lost a son or daughter while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.

We are proud to stand tall for those who serve our great Nation today and are humbled by those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

I’ve met several Gold Star Mothers and every one of them has a strength and demeanor I wish I could have.  Those I know have holes in their soul for the loss of their child, but will proudly tell stories of their son or daughter with a smile that beams unlike any other smile you have ever seen.

We pray for strength, guidance and wisdom as these families continue on their journey.  Our thoughts are always with them and our thanks can never be fully expressed.

Eight years has passed since 9-11-01, but the ways our hearts, souls and lives were touched remains the same. We’re proud of our police, fire and rescue who protect and serve our communities on a daily basis and proud of our military who protect and serve our country – domestic and abroad – whenever and wherever there is a need. Thank those who serve our communities.  Trust me, they appreciate the kind words.

I’m southern. We say it a little different.  But the meaning is the same.

pri⋅or⋅i⋅ty

/praɪˈɔrɪti, -ˈɒr-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [prahy-awr-i-tee, or] Show IPA noun, plural -ties for 2–4.

1. The state or quality of being earlier in time, occurence, etc.
2. The right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.; precedence.
3. The right to take precedence in obtaining certain supplies, services, facilities, etc., esp. during a shortage.
4. Something given special attention.
-adjective
5. Highest or higher in importance, rank, privilege, etc.: a priority task.
———————————————————————-

I’m going to start this by saying C*N*N isn’t my favorite news outlet, but I was watching the  “debate” over Ob*ma’s school speech next week and it was preempted by Mich*el J*ackson’s 2nd funeral.  Seriously?  Hasn’t the past 70 days of coverage been enough?  It kept cutting in and out because his family was over an hour late for his funeral and there were glimpses of the 26 matching Range Rovers on the interstate.  They’ve had 70 days.  Most people get a week.  Tops.

I’m so glad our news outlets have their priorities straight.

Since C*N*N won’t throw this shout out…to the wives of the Seabees coming home from their 2nd tour in Iraq…Hang in there ladies….your heroes will be home soon.  xoxo

The gala was a success.  I’ll write more about it and post a couple of pictures when I have my card reader and I’m not lazy.  My cookbook sold and we won an American Flag inspired afghan in the silent auction.  There were a few tears shed in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms and many rounds of applause for those who continue to stand for our freedom.

In a nutshell….Awesome night.

xoxo

The Guard strikes again.  So much, in fact, Will got a call from his 1SG in Iraq yesterday telling him to stand strong and not back down.  It sucks that his COs, XOs and all Os are having to be pulled from their tasks in Iraq to clean up a paperwork fiasco here.  Granted, they’re the one’s who initiated the paper trail so they are involved in it and it wasn’t done before they left, but still.  

Will has more years of service than the rear det commander.  She’s the one who gave us 5 days to prove he was broken on active duty orders, which he did.  And they KNOW it.  This is a very, very important tid bit into this whole thing: he’s not deployed becuase he got hurt and THEY pulled his orders.  (too lazy to go back and search for the links to the posts – May ’08 he got hurt and I think it was in November ’08 they pulled his orders)  Just so you know, whenever I hear these words, my skin crawls, “….we’ll take the blouses off.  This sh*t needs to get fixed.”  In case ya’ll were wondering which part of that sentence I take issue with, it’s the blouses part (for non-military folk, that’s the camoflauge looking top that goes over their t-shirts)  And so you also know, that doesn’t mean he’s gonna scrap with a girl, it just means they’re going to have a conversation without the boundaries of rank. 

He hasn’t had time to get there, get in trouble and get sent home yet.  I’ll check in later.

To all my milspouse friends, e-pals and bloggy buddies…

I wish you all a happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  Some of you will spend it alone and many of your husbands may not know it even exists.   From spouse to another, I know you’re appreciated although the words may never cross lips and it may seem that it’s taken for granted.

I want you all to know I appreciate you.  I appreciate the kind words of encouragement you’ve shared with me.  I appreciate your candor.  I appreciate the fact you all are such strong women and you plow through.  There are days where the tears seem to take over and you simply don’t know where the energy to begin again will come from.  Being a military spouse can be the toughest job in the military.   But you do it.   We do it.  There are often unique sets of challenges we are faced with before, during and after deployments as well as just day-to-day life.   Some of us face more than others and, while it’s all relative to our circumstances and situations, one thing remains constant.  We stick together.For those spouses whose Blue Stars have turned Gold, you are also appreciated.  Your family has given the ultimate sacrifice and your service and dedication is much appreciated.

When your spouse leaves for his mission with his special water bottle in tow, he knows it’s you who replaced the lost one.  When a luncheon with other spouses is successful, he knows it’s you who made it happen.   When they have clean underwear and uniforms, they know it’s you.   It takes a special wife to full appreciate his enthusiasm over his new gas mask.  When you carefully choose what to wear the day they come home and make sure everything is just perfect, it’s you who made the day as perfect as it could be.

Take a few minutes to just pat yourselves on the back today.

Yesterday, 4,000 of North Carolina’s National Guardsmen of the 30th HCBT bid farewell to their families and friends in Fayetteville, NC.  This is Will’s brigade, but ya’ll know he’s not going due to his injuries from last spring.  Will spoke to some by phone and others via IM and email.  We didn’t attend the send off due to the massive amounts of families and friends who would be in attendance and, as much as would have liked to, we knew families of the deploying soldiers would need to take top priority.  At least in our minds.  Those in charge of planning seemed a little off mark on this one.  You can check it out here, here and here.  (h/t to AWTM for the links)

They have had a lot of “issues” in these last few weeks leading up to the actual deployment and I told Will, had he been deploying with them, by the time I said my piece, he wouldn’t be able to get off the green ramp fast enough.

We wish them well.  We will pray for them.  We will stand tall for them as they perform the tasks and missions they are assigned.   We will support them as best we are able from the homefront.  They have been trained and our faith in them is strong, but they are stronger.

We will be waiting for your safe return home.  Godspeed, Soldiers.

Hooah!

***UPDATED:  She won!  Thanks to all of you who scooted over and voted.***

 

I found this over at Chuck Z’s place:

A fellow Soldiers’ Angel is wanting to help her returning adopted soldier and his family win a vacation at a dude ranch.  They are no longer winning and need our help.

Here is Roselle Portin’s email to Chuck:

My name is Roselle Portin.

I have a favor to ask of you. Your consideration of this would be
greatly appreciated.

I am a member of Soldiers Angels. My family and I have been blessed
to receive Kxxxx Xxxxxxxxx as our adopted soldier. Through the
program we write to him, send care packages and keep him in our
thoughts and prayers every day. He has a family in NY that he will be
returning home to soon.

I wanted to do something very special for Xxxxx upon his return. In
order to do this I entered a contest to win a family dude ranch
vacation in Idaho. The kids went door to door, we asked our church
family for help, we asked everyone at school, everyone we came into
contact with throughout the day and all our friends and family for
help. We were winning. Now we are not. My family will cover air fare for
the Family but we cannot afford the ranch if we don’t win it.

I was wondering if you had a network of people that would be willing
to help me out in this. It is VERY easy to vote. No personal info is
required and it only takes a minute.

Here’s how it works.
1. go to www.redhorsemountainranch.com
2. click on ‘win a family dude ranch vacation’ under Guest Story
Contest
3. click on Roselle Portin and VOTE.
The contest ends April 15th.

I know it’s a big favor. I just wanted a really special way to send a
very big ‘thank you’ to Xxxx and his family (he is not aware of
this). If you could help I would be so thankful.

Please let me know what you decide.

Thanks for your time and all you do,
Roselle Portin

It literally takes a couple of seconds and requires NO REGISTRATION or giving of personal information.  I did it.  Hope you will, too.

THIS LINK should take you to the voting page.

I have lots of updating to do, I know, but there has been so much going on that I’ve not had a chance to catch my breath much less blog.

My dear friend Wendy’s husband is getting ready to leave for his second tour in Iraq.  Those who have read my blog for a while may remember I met Wendy on a forum for Navy wives (we were Navy then) and we became friends and have remained so for almost four years.   When we first met, I didn’t know Will had been assigned to Danny’s unit.  Wendy and I were becoming friends here and they were there.  Kismet.

I support all our military and each of them holds a spot in my heart, but those who are our friends have an even bigger spot.  So, as Danny, Wendy and their beautiful children begin this journey, we hold them in our thoughts and prayers.  We want Danny and all his fellow Seabees to return home safe and sound.

It’s official…Fundraising with A Second Helping is in full swing!

They are $20 and it includes shipping. They ship media mail and are ready to go! You can do it one of two ways:

Pay via paypal.  Hopefully this link will work.  If it doesn’t,  the email associated is proudguardwife [at] gmail [dot] com.

If you prefer, you can mail a check and when I receive it, I will mail the book to you. Email me at the same address and I will tell you where to mail it.

From our families to yours, thank you for your support. It means the world to us!

A Second Helping

A Second Helping

Tomorrow begins a busy, busy weekend for the occupants of Chateau L. Okay, so it’s not like we let grass grow under our feet anyway, but the holidays always make it more hectic.

Tomorrow, Fabul-O and I are having breakfast with Santa in support of a local charity, Grin Kids. We went to our local mall the other night and said man in red was there…was “picture with your pet” night. Olivia shouted, “MOMMY! Santa has Pom-Pom. Two of dems!” After ‘splaining those doggies were someone else’s, blah, blah, blah. We stood a safe distance back (approximately 40 miles) from him and just watched. He waved at her and she covered her eyes…she’s still kind of in the phase of “if I can’t see you, you can’t see me.” We ran our errands and walked back by where he was and he tried to speak to her. Well, she was having NO part of that. She politely, but firmly, told him we would see him for “breffust” and she would talk to him then. Alrighty.

Every day she asks me if Santa is a nice guy, did he fly on an airplane or sleigh to get to town and would he just leave her stuff and go? And every day I answer her. She told me this morning she thought she was ready to talk to him and she had a new item to add to her original Christmas list. Okay…let’s hear it, kiddo.

Stickers, crayons, coloring books, computer and a FLASHLIGHT.

She loves flashlights. At last count I think she has 3 of them. One of them is a baby Maglite like daddy’s big one. That is her favorite.

After breakfast, we are heading off to a celebration to welcome home some National Guard soldiers who served in Djibouti, Africa. We helped to put it together and it’s always nice to meet the soldiers face to face with whom you’ve corresponded. Will is soldiering so he won’t be in attendance. However, he has been put as the first sergeant in charge while his unit is gone. This tells us he isn’t reassigned to another unit, but will be leading the remaining soldiers while the others are gone. It’s flattering as he is not a 1SG nor is he the highest ranking soldier not deploying.

PomPom has a spa day tomorrow. It’s more like a bath and haircut, but I’m playing it up and hoping it helps her disposition a little. She’s been kind of crabby lately. I know I usually feel good after a good haircut and am hoping she will, too.

Sunday is the family supp0rt meeting. I’m still trying to figure out the dynamic of our FRG and, to answer Koli’s mom from an earlier comment, I’m not playing a big part in the FRG. It’s not because I don’t want to, but because they won’t “let” me. It’s not easy to penetrate this group. I’m not giving up. I’ve got a support plan in mind with or without their blessing and help.

There are Thanksgiving pics and recap to come. I have a swell new turkey cooker and made my first evah cheesecake. Both were yummo.

Happy Friday!

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