Monday, March 30, 2009

A Little Overwhelmed...

Today we got the OK to leave our current rental by May 1st. Ahhhh! I've already packed a few boxes and the list of stuff to do is a bit overwhelming, but not impossible. Just to name few things:

1. Call the DirecTV people to hook up our programming.
2. Switch over the utilities.
3. Pack Pack Pack...nearly 16 years and 4 kids worth of stuff.
4. Disassemble things...like beds.
5. Call a mover.
6. Call for pizza.
7. Move.
8. Make more of those awesome margaritas so it's not so overwhelming.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Just for Fun...

Remember it takes a college degree to fly a plane, but only a high school diploma to fix one.

After every flight, UPS pilots fill out a form, called a 'gripe sheet,' which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews, albeit they may lack a formal higher education, has ever lacked a sense of humor. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by UPS ' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers.


By the way, UPS is the only major airline that has never, ever, had an accident.

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
*
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Probably because auto-land is not installed on this aircraft.
*
P: Something loose in cockpit
S: Something tightened in cockpit
*
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.
*
P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode has a 200 ft. per min. descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
*
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
*
P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.
*
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.
*
P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF IS inoperative in OFF mode.
*
P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.
*
P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
*
PS: Aircraft acting funny
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right and be serious.
*
P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
*
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.
*
And the best one for last
*
P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ahhhh!

The guests have come and gone, all are in bed and I'm sitting, relaxing and enjoying a leftover "looser" margarita!

Woo-Hoo!

Yeah! We are getting ready for a visit from my brother-in-law, Mike, and his 3 awesome kids, Max, Gracie and Ellie! Let the slumber party begin!

Friday, March 27, 2009

TGIF...

I'm so over this week! It's been a bit busy and the weather has been well, not very cooperative. It's the week before the end of the grading quarter and the kids have been busy with last minute homework projects, book reports, etc. I'm looking forward to the weekend and hopefully the weather guy is forecasting wrong!

Oh, and BTW...what's up with the names of weathermen?? We have Skip Waters here in eastern NC. In NYC there is Storm Fields, in northern NJ there is Raine Winters. Huh?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Irish Mexicans...

I'm having the officers spouses monthly "get together" on Saturday at my house with an Irish theme. We are celebrating St. Patrick's Day a little after the fact. Since margaritas are green, they are definitely on the menu. My friends have asked what they can bring and my only response is, "a designated driver". I'll dole out the recipe at a later date, but this was our cocktail of last summer and I think I put on 5 lbs from nightly margaritas last year!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Press Conference...

Is it me or does Barak look like he just had a blue slushie before going on TV???

Scary...

My 13 year old daughter brought this clip to my attention...are you ready?

Light On...

I better, when Paul returns we'll be in a new house on a new street. But I'll only use one of those energy saving light bulbs. Hehehehe!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Never Ending...

I think we are at day 66 or 67. My sister-in-law is keeping track for me. The amount of time ahead of us seems daunting. I still feel like he may burst through the door at any moment wanting to know what's for dinner, how our day went, what bills came in the mail etc., but I know he's not. We talk or web cam almost everyday. He calls me when he gets to the office to check-in and I wait up for his call, every night at about 23:00.

I know his time away from us is finite, but think about it. (The labor and delivery nurse comes out in me), in the amount of time that Paul is gone, a person can be conceived grow to full-term and be delivered. The mom can loose all of the pregnancy weight, establish breastfeeding and potentially get that new person to sleep through the night.

All in a year. I miss him.

More of the Adorable Puppy...

Yikes...

This clip came from Al Asad last night. Although Paul is relatively safe from insurgents, the Iraqi nature life is a bit terrifying!
video

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Follow Up to Assistance...

So...Shout Out to BV, a key player in the trifecta known as "The Committee".

If you are in the military and have received PCS orders and meet the criteria, there is federal help if you purchased your home or had a signed contract to purchase a home on or before 1 July 2006. Please click the link below.

http://hap.usace.army.mil/EP_PCS.html

Dinner at the Club...

Tonight I decided that I was not going to cook, and since we needed to use up our minimum, I took the family to the club for dinner. Since it was Sunday, only the lunch menu was available, but none the less, it was a nice break!

My youngest, Charlotte, has discovered ranch dressing. She had an order of chicken fingers and fries, we all had light fare, but it all included ranch dressing with pickels, etc., on the side...pretty typical. However, instead of chicken fingers, Charlotte ate just the pickels and ranch dressing for dinner...YUCK! After she used all of our ranch, we needed to get some extra! At one point, she gave up on the pickels and just started to drink it from the little cup it came in. If I tried to take it away, a temper tantrum began, so just to keep the peace and eat my hamburger, I let her have the dressing. I'm sure this had nothing to do with the 2 glasses of wine I had and the fact that there was no one else in the club.

What I Miss the Most...

A second pair of arms at church! If only there was such a thing as an "octomom".

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Assistance Please...

There is a rumor going around that I would like some assistance in confirming. Here it is: If you are military and purchased a home on or before July 1, 2006 and receive orders elsewhere and are having to sell at a loss, the government will either purchase your home or reimburse you for up to 95% of the loss.

If anyone has a link to this information, or the actual article, I'd like to put in on the blog for all to see. These are very scary financial times for all, but if there is a little relief out there for our troops, I'd like to publish it. Please email it to: paulandjul@aol.com.

Thanks in advance!!!

Spa Withdrawal...

For the past 2 weeks I have had the opportunity to use the wonderful Valentine's Day gift from Paul. I had a deep tissue massage 2 weeks ago and last week I had a European facial. To refresh your memory, at the beginning of the deployment I said I would count down Paul's return with a spa treatments...only 10 more to go.

This weekend, I will be cleaning out closets...

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's Spring!!!!

Woo-Hoo! It's Spring! It's Spring! Although a little chilly today, who cares, it is no longer winter! The Bradford Pear trees and cherry trees are in full bloom, so I guess we're on our way. Shorts by the end of the month...I need to go shopping for some new flip-flops and summer attire! Yeah!!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quiz...from a Friend.

Who Are America's Heroes?
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2009 - The challenge issued by a flight attendant during
a recent commercial air flight seemed innocuous enough: "Name just one of the
five Medal of Honor recipients from the current engagements in Afghanistan or
Iraq, and get a free drink coupon."

But the passengers' response - more specifically, the inability of all but
just one to respond - revealed how little the average American knows about its
military heroes.

Bombarded by superhero lore almost from birth, many Americans grow to revere
fictional heroes as well as sports and celebrity icons. But silence descended
over the cabin of a flight bound from Jacksonville, Fla., to Baltimore when
the conversation turned to those who had earned the nation's highest honor for
valor - even when a free cocktail hung in the balance.

Dale Shelton, an Annapolis, Md., resident who served five years as a Navy
intelligence specialist, was the only passenger to press the button over his
seat to beckon the attendant. Shelton's response: Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul R.
Smith, the first Medal of Honor recipient in the global war on terror and in
Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Smith received the highest military honor for valor posthumously on April 3,
2005, two years to the day after saving more than 100 soldiers in the battle
for Baghdad's airport. His young son and widow accepted the award on his
behalf during a solemn White House ceremony.

The flight attendant gave free drink coupons to Shelton, as well as his wife,
Jean, and two other traveling companions. Then he returned to crew area to
announce over the intercom that only one person had correctly answered the
challenge.

This time, the attendant offered a second challenge: "Name an 'American Idol'
winner." The cabin lit up like a pinball machine as 43 passengers scrambled to
push their attendant call button. Passengers named various Idol winners.

The attendant announced that he wasn't going to award drink coupons for that
answer, telling the passengers that "naming an Idol winner was not worth a
free drink," Shelton recalled.

"He concluded his announcement with the question: 'What's wrong with our
country when out of 150 passengers, only one can name a Medal of Honor
recipient, but 43 can name an American Idol winner?'"

Later during the flight, Shelton shared with the attendant his own frustration
over "the current lack of appreciation of our military heroes."

The attendant asked Shelton if he knew the names of the other four Medal of
Honor receipts from the current military operations. Shelton said he was able
to name three: Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael
Monsoor and Army Spc. Ross McGinness.
All were killed sacrificing themselves to protect their comrades during enemy
attacks.

Murphy, a Navy SEAL, died June 28, 2005, trying to save his team members
during Operation Red Wing in Afghanistan. Monsoor, also a SEAL, died in Iraq
on Sept. 23, 2006, using his body to absorb a grenade blast that likely would
have killed two nearby SEALs and several Iraqi soldiers.
McGinnis died Dec. 4, 2006, after throwing himself on a hand grenade in Iraq
to save four fellow soldiers when insurgents attacked their Humvee.


Shelton said he regretted that he had forgotten the name of Marine Cpl.
Jason Dunham. Dunham died April 15, 2004, using his body to shield fellow
Marines in Iraq from a hand grenade.

The flight attendant didn't hold Shelton's memory lapse against him. "He gave
me all the remaining drink coupons he had in his possession and shook my
hand," he said.

(Editor's note: A new special report on the Defense Department home page pays
tribute to the five U.S. servicemembers who have earned the Medal of Honor for
action in the war on terror.)

Happy St. Joseph's Feast Day!

As the Irish celebrate St. Pat's on 3/17, the Italians celebrate St. Joe on 3/19. The color of the day is red and special foods, (I'll never cook them, yuck), are prepared in traditional Italian homes.

The best part is dessert, special dispensation is grated for the feast day and the pastries are amazing. There are two varieties, the Sicilian is a light fried hollow dough cut in half and stuffed with either vanilla or chocolate canoli cream and the Neapolitan is a pastry filled with either chocolate or vanilla pudding. If you have access to them, enjoy one for me!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Sports...

OK, so the spring sports season is upon us. We had a 2 or 3 week break between basketball and baseball season. At least with baseball I kind of know the rules. It gets a little fuzzy when it's clearly a foul and they call it a strike and later call the same thing a foul...PICK ONE! We are also in the throws of softball with Abbie.

I've had to cancel DirecTV's MLB Extra Innings for the Yankees, since Paul won't be here to enjoy watching the Yanks play at the new stadium...boo-hoo, I can't tell you how sad I am. Don't get me wrong, I love going to a baseball game, but watching it on TV is the most boring thing in the world to me. I want the whole experience, the $10 hot dog, the $14 beerSSSSS and all of the snackys to go with it, nothin' beats a Yankee Stadium Knish (pronounced Kanish), on a hot July day! I love to do the wave and cheer for #2! Oh well, we'll be there to watch together in 2010...I hope.

A Day Off...

Well, sort of. I'm not going to the gym today, I don't have to drive anyone until much later this afternoon and I'm staying home...until then.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

And to End the Evening...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Today even though I'm 100% Italian-American, much to my in-laws dismay (just kidding),I'll pretend to be Irish for today, ONLY today. I am wearing a green sweater, I have a corned beef in the crock pot, no cabbage here, Brussels sprouts for one, no one else will eat them and beer! Yum. I'm making Irish Soda Bread, recipe courtesy of the late, great Doris Mahony, God rest her soul. I'll actually get to put raisins in it since "Mr. No Raisins" isn't here...see a positive about deployment.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What I Miss the Most...

A good nights sleep. I don't think I've had a solid nights sleep since he left. My "mom-dar" is always up and I'm easily awakened by absolutely any noise. I'm perpetually exhausted. There's too much to do when the little ones are napping, and now Drew hardly naps anyway. I miss sleep...and it's getting more difficult as time goes on. I'll be taking on a few night shifts at the hospital in the upcoming weeks, so that should at least keep me busy while I'm awake.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just for a Giggle...

Dear Paul, I hope you never need this!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What the ....?

I think I'm going to have to change my photo...the advertising is not only talking about wrinkles, but yellow teeth!!! What the @#$%%^!!!

Auction...

Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Officer's Spouses Club annual auction. It was the best time I've had since before Paul left! It was a combined silient and live auction and wine tasting...yum!

It was cut-throat! Towards the end of the bidding for the silent portion a young gal, who we'll just describe as "fake red", decided to be in competition with me, with me...what the heck was she thinking?! I'd write my bid down, and she'd write hers. This went on for a while and as I started to hover over my claim, she started to tell me that her husband needed this because he had a bad week, his whole office was fired and he deserved it. Well, in true Kathy Bates style I said, "My husband is in Iraq and needs it more"...I also threw in "I'm older and I have more insurance". So now the countdown to end the bidding starts, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, she scribbled her bid once more, 4, 3, I grabbed the pen out of her hand and wrote mine right under hers, 2, 1. I won. Woo-Hoo! I almost had to use my new and improved crossfit muscles to take her down. My heart was beating so fast, I didn't know I had it in me!

Now, I can't say what I won, because I want for it to be a little surprise for Paul, so after he gets it I'll reveal the prize.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Time for another Recipe...

Since it's Friday and the Lenten season, and spring sports season, this is a quick and easy meatless dish. Again, I grew up on this, and it's delicious!

Pasta with Egg and Butter

l lb of spaghetti (Do not use short or cut pasta)
2 eggs (beaten)
4 TBS butter
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to box directions in salted water. In the meantime, in a large serving bowl, add eggs, beat them, add butter and some initial salt and pepper.

When pasta is al dente, DO NOT DRAIN, scoop pasta into egg mixture. Add a couple of ladle fulls of the cooking water and toss. If it seems a little dry, add more cooking water to loosen it up a bit. Correct seasoning with more salt and pepper and serve with cheese.

The eggs cook under the heat of the pasta and scalding hot cooking water and the butter melts. You can't mess this up!

That's it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm Probably Dating Myself but...

This was just viewed by my two littlest children, and they loved it! It's sad to say that when I was a child, the following was a regular segment on Sesame Street. I think I even had the Sesame Street Disco Album.

Looser Night...

I think in a previous post I had mentioned "Looser Night". The term was coined by a good friend several years ago while we were all living in Yuma, AZ. It usually happens once a week in our home. It's leftover night! All of the looser foods that were not consumed make a rare, onetime only reappearance.

The kids seem to love it because they kind of get to pick what they want, "Oh, I'll eat the pizza." "I want the chicken"...that statement never comes from my oldest son. I have to say that it is my least favorite dinner. I have always hated leftovers, but will eat them not to be wasteful.

The two things I love about Looser Night is the lack of pots and pans, and the fridge is cleaned out. Tomorrow we start anew for "tomorrow is another day."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kid and Fancy Free...

Today I'm off to a fetal monitoring class, I am a labor and delivery nurse and this is one of those required yearly training things. I'm farming the little kids out to a couple of friends...whoo-hoo! I used to balk at having to attend meetings and classes, but now I relish the idea of a few hours with grownups.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Little Drew...

Last week I realized that Drew was in need of a 4 year old check-up. No big deal, I made the appointment with my favorite physicians assistant and we went this morning. When we arrived and checked in, Drew immediately let the receptionist know that he was NOT getting shots today. While we were waiting to be called in, Drew paced the front hall entrance way, picketing, "No shots for Drew today". Now, from what I can remember about the 4 yr check-up from my previous two children is no shots are involved. I promised Drew, who was very concerned and worried, that he wouldn't have to get a shot. I was positive, I was sure of it. Shots happen the year of kindergarten, we still have a year...

He passed his physical with flying colors. The eye test, the hearing test, the balance and coordination tests, all body systems are functioning normally. He even enjoyed the "pee in the cup" test. For a boy, it's fun to NOT pee in the toilet. He was so brave for the finger stick blood test, didn't cry at all. As we were winding up our morning at the doctor's office, the nurseS came in with...today's vaccinations, FIVE OF THEM! For a second I thought Drew was going to pull a "Paul and Michael" and run out of the exam room in his shorts screaming. But we were quick, held him tightly and five shots were administered lickity-split. Two in one arm and three in the other. I'm sure the screaming cleared the waiting room and the office probably lost a few clients.

When all was said and done, Drew walked out with a t-shirt, a truck, a sticker and a lollipop. We headed to Target to fill Charlotte's RX for an ear infection and to get a new toy for being brave. He picked out two Bakugans. He is all set for school and will not need any further shots until he turns 11...don't tell my other son, who will be turning 11 in April, he's next!

Just Can't Get Used to It!

Who the heck decided to move daylight savings time to March? What's the big idea? We used to turn the clocks ahead in late April. At least then, the sun is up in the morning! Sunrise wasn't until 7:30 something today, I feel like I'm in a fog, despite 3 cups of coffee.

Was it the little league coaches so we can get an extra hour of practice? Does Congress believe the entire population of the U.S.A. are farmers or fisherman? There's just something nice about waking up in the morning with the sun shining.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another Day...

Today has just been one of those difficult days. It was pitch black when we all got up this morning and I think that set the tone for the day. I did my usual Monday carpooling and today's workout of the day was a 5K...I didn't run the whole thing, it's hard to push that jogger stroller and jog! I need my arms for power! (I know, it's all psychological...whatever!)

While Paul is away, I seem to take on projects. One of them being, should I move or stay in the rental house we are in. Our lease is up this summer. The current home is nice, manicured, the neighbors are wonderful, the landlords are nice, but...the two children on our street that have nothing to do with our kids, are moving, and the house backs up to the golf course. Yes, it's a pretty view, but not very child friendly. (Did I ever mention that I have FOUR kids?) We are a bit crammed into this house, the layout just doesn't suit me. I feel like I spend all of my time in the kitchen and family room which seems separate from the rest of the house. I only go upstairs to get a baby, clean and put laundry away. Our bedroom is off of the kitchen, downstairs and on the opposite side of the house. Great if you have big kids, not great if you have little ones.

Anyway, there are now several other rentals in the neighborhood and I was looking into one of them over the weekend. Lo and behold, a dentist snatched it up from under me by a matter of hours! (Just my luck). My husband has left the decision up to me, financially and otherwise. I would have to pack, and take care of most everything by myself. The military will not pay for this move as it has nothing to do with orders. I might have to find some desperate college students to load and unload the truck.

Oh well, it's just something to think about for now...tomorrow's another day.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Almost Perfect Day...

A warm, almost spring day, a deep tissue massage (ahhhhh), and sitting on the deck with a cold beer watching the kids and dogs play. Only thing missing, the man that normally opens my bottle...

In Memoriam

A fund has been established in the name of my cousin, Matilda, who lost her life on flight 3407 last month. She was a 13 year breast cancer survivor. She walked the walks and wore the pink ribbon. Donations should be made "In Memory of Matilda Quintero" to:

Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Att: Gift Management
5005 L.B.J. Freeway
Suite 200
Dallas, TX 75244


or donations can also be made online by clicking the link below.

https://secure.info-komen.org/site/Donation2?idb=1550494628&df_id=2423&2423.donation=form1

It doesn't matter if it's $5.00 or $5,000. Donations are kept confidential and a tribute card with just your name will be sent to her family.

Thank you.

Spa Treatment #1...

Today I'm finally going to begin the countdown with spa treatment #1. I've had to postpone this at least 4 times for one reason or another, deep tissue massage...check.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Website to Check Out...

Marine Air Control Group-28.

Please check out their website for up-to-date information about our Marines.

https://www.2maw.usmc.mil/MACG28/MACG28/default.asp

Are You Kidding Me...

Today I woke up to crying whining and discontent...by Drew (4). I knew immediately what was going on...the stomach virus. He was pitiful. He barfed into an old mixing bowl, which is now committed to the trash, and seems to be fine now...I probably spoke too soon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oh, No...Not the Old Snake in the Toilet Trick...


Yesterday, my husband sent me this photo. Although, not his own toliet, it was on his base and occurred this week. I told him to make sure he has a companion with him when he needs to use the bathroom just in case he needs the poison sucked out!

Derailed...

Nothing gets me more off my schedule and routine than when the kids are home from school for a snow day OR like today, had a 2 hour delay. Today we had some frost on the grass, so school was delayed 2 hours. Now, I'm playing catch-up.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dinner Time Conversation...

Tonight at the dinner table, my oldest son, Paul, monopolized the conversation. Abbie is at ballet, so no interruptions for him. He is a very proud safety patrol officer for Creekside Elementary School and takes his job very seriously. (I love it!) I always hear about who received a citation, detention, etc. Tonight was just plain funny. He commented about finding donuts in a Ziploc bag on the floor at school. He thought about eating them, but instead turned them into the office. So I asked, "Did they find the kid who lost his snack?". He replied, "Ugh, I'll have to deal with that tomorrow."

Life is so tough!

Keep it in Perspective...

March..."In like a lion, out like a lamb."

The Holster...


I have been putting together a care package to send to Paul and one of the items he requested was his shoulder holster for his pistol. He purchased it last time he deployed and left it behind in the care of our 4 year old son this time around.

Of course, Drew can't find it. So, he came downstairs with his cowboy holsters from a past Halloween costume and said he would share?

I think I still need to check in the garage for the real deal.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Just for Fun...

Sunday's Wrestling Match...

Every Sunday we make an attempt to go to Mass. We are Catholic, we have to. My older kids have "Faith Formation" a.k.a. CCD. We make an entire morning out of it. We either try to go to the 9:00 Mass followed by 10:15 F.F., or hit Mass on the flip side of F.F. at 11:30. While the kids are at their lessons, I make a quick sprint through the commissary and I'm back in time to pick them up.

Every Sunday my younger children believe church is the place to test my faith. It doesn't matter what I do to help the situation. I've brought snacks, coloring books, small and quiet toys, blankies in hopes one of them would fall asleep. Inevitably, someone winds up crying with a boo-boo.

To give the other parishioners some peace, I've tried sitting in the "crying room". For those unfamiliar, this is nothing but a closed off room in the back of the church where Mass is heard and seen, but young children can go with a parent and misbehave. In other words...a goat rodeo. Children are running all over, snacks are flying, sometimes boobs are exposed as this is the place to breastfeed. I too have sat in the back row with a baby and blanket draped over me in the hopes no one noticed what I was doing...oh, well...inevitably, someone winds up crying with a boo-boo.

So, this time I thought, well maybe if I sit near the front of the church, they will pay more attention, possibly be amused by the choir. No such luck. Charlotte removed her shoes, threw a bag of cereal on the floor, threw a dolly, insisted on standing on the kneeler and inevitably, clunked her head on the seat in front of us and cried with a boo-boo. I'm sure the priest was seconds away from performing his first live exorcism.

We stuck it out, almost until the final blessing. We had to scurry out seconds early because I made the mistake of putting Charlotte's coat on her during the announcements, which meant she needed to leave immediately. She was done, I was done and everyone knew it.