Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh My...

Is it bad when your 4 year old starts singing lyrics from 3OH3! "Shut your lips and do the Helen Keller, talk with your hips..."

I think I need to revisit the Music Together CDs...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Think I Need to Go Shopping...

Swim Team...

Last night the boys had their first swim team practice. Paul did awesome, swimming lap after lap. Drew's level is pretty much just swimming lessons, but he's considered a "Tiny Tiger Shark". He's been running around the house in his jammer swim team uniform, showing his teeth and pretending to chomp at things.

Did I mention that I love summer?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Back to the Routine...

After a long weekend of sleepovers, cookouts, play dates at the park, errands and housework we are back on the routine of school for just a couple of more weeks. Actually, Drew finishes preschool this week. How did this school year go by so fast?

I'm ready for summer, sleeping in, (even if it's only until 7:00), afternoons by the pool, visits to NJ and VA, and most of all, for Paul to come home for 2 weeks of R&R! We can expect him at the end of June! Woo-Hoo! We will be lying low by the beach for a week and quietly at home for a week...and I won't think about what happens next.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Survived...

Four boys, three action movies, two XBox games and one happy 11 year old.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Retraction!

In an earlier post, I had mentioned the YMCA was saying "thanks" (via Military Once Source)to the military by offering free memberships to dependents of those who serve their country. I WAS WRONG. They are only offering these special memberships to reservists??? WTF...

I'm not sure I understand why they are ONLY offering this to reservists. Active duty military families endure just as many, if not more hardships with multiple deployments, moving, etc. Yes we are usually close to military installations where we can access a gym or a pool, but the pool is not working at Cherry Point, and there is no in-house childcare at these facilities built primarily for marines...not their dependents.

I have to say, I'm extremely disappointed in Military One Source, first for this stint and also for making the $6,000.00 grant for continuing education difficult to obtain and navigate on their website.

What a great way for Military Once Source to say thanks.

Memorial Day Weekend...

As a kid growing up in the northeast, some of my fondest memories are of Memorial Day weekend. It marked the first barbecue of the summer. We usually went over to my grandmother's house, a duplex shared with my uncle, aunt and 3 cousins.

It was never a basic barbecue. Three women shopped and cooked for 3 days. Usual fare included sausage and peppers, potato salad, corn on the cob, pasta salad, baked beans, spareribs, chicken, steaks, some sort of seafood, sausage patties, and of course we couldn't have a get together without pasta and tomato sauce. We usually ate in the afternoon and then at night the hamburgers and hot dogs came out. Desserts were always plentiful and delicious, coolers were stocked with beer and soda and there was always the "drink Du jour"...Tom Collins, Fuzzy Navels, Pina Coladas, Sangria. If it rained, the men wheeled the barbecue into the garage and still grilled. The transistor radio was always on and tuned to the classic rock or pop channel. Except on 4th of July...patriotic music would be playing.

As time when on and we were able to drive, Memorial Day weekend became all about the first trip "down the shore". We always tried however, to go to the beach on Saturday or Sunday so we could be at the barbecue on Monday.

Eventually, we started bringing our boyfriends to the festivities. Soon I was married and living in Okinawa. One of the hardest transitions as a new bride was to NOT have my family around for holidays...even Memorial Day.

Now, after nearly 16 years of being married to a marine, Memorial Day has a deeper meaning. I still however, long for a grilled sausage patty, and my grandmother's ziti.

Thank you to all who serve.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Testing

Today was my oldest son's last day of state testing for the NC public schools. He started last week with science, and then this week had tests in reading, math with calculators and math without calculators. My question is #1, Why are they teaching children to use calculators? 2. How are they supposed to learn computation and long division of 3 or 4 numbers into 6 or 8 numbers and multiplying 5 numbers with 3 or 4 numbers? I'm not the greatest at math...to say the least, but teaching elementary school aged kids to do math with calculators is ridiculous!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Real Housewives of New Jersey

Shout out to all of my Jersey Girls! Try to catch the series on Bravo.

I grew up in Bergen County however, NOT in the township of Franklin Lakes. I did check out The Brownstone for my wedding venue, nearly 16 years ago...(The NJ housewives are all somehow "connected" to this wedding mill).I opted for another location where several events were not happening simultaneously. The series promises to be funny and full of cattiness. But let's please remember, money and class are not the same.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is it Tuesday?

Well, "blarma" had a hand in last night. After I posted my last blog entry, we admitted 4 patients and delivered 3. I'm a bit disconnected now, sort of like I'm floating. I did manage to catch a nap with the kiddos, but we are awake now, sort of...ugh.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday...

To start off, I'm posting this from work during a q---t moment...we never want to actually mention the word for it will surely change our census. A typical Monday, carpool, the gym for Crossfit, errands, more carpool, more errands, big kids to the dentist, swim team meeting, choked down dinner and now I'm here for some peace and q.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Great Saturday...

Today was relaxed. We started out a little later than an ordinary weekday, which was nice and makes me long for the last day of school as much as the kids!

Started out at the gym, did some laundry, watched the rain for a while and then after it stopped and naps were over, we headed to Cherry Point for the air show. The weather was great! There was a beautiful breeze, 78 degree weather and free entertainment for the kiddos. They watched the Canadian Snow Birds perform, went up into the cockpits of a KC-130 Hercules, an Osprey, and saw Pedro in a "rescue" mission.

I did manage to hurt my ego a little when I fell down the stairs of the parking lot shuttle bus while carrying the double stroller and cracked a toenail, but that's par for the course I guess. All in all, a good time was had by all and I think I may have a couple of future pilots on my hands...HELP!

Why Are We Such Martyrs?

By "we" I mean women. I am one of the biggest offenders, especially when it comes to sleep, but if a friend came over and said, "I'll take care of your kids for a few hours so you can get some sleep since you worked all night.", I'd jump at the opportunity! And on nights that I don't work, I stay up late to get things done around the house. Due to the fact I am temporarily a "single parent", there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done within a normal time frame. Every morning when I drag myself out of bed, I tell myself, "tonight I'm going to bed early"...but it never works out. I need to learn to relax and let things slide a little.

The same goes for sickness. Why do we refuse to take pain medication when we are in pain...and we have it on hand? Why do we refuse advice and interventions to help? Why not call the highly paid doctor on call to see if he can get us in on a weekend? Is it a hassle?...Yes, but is being miserable worth it? Is it a sign of weakness if we take it? We are NOT steel, we are NOT invincible...and help comes to those who help themselves.

This, I am slowly learning.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Peaceful Weekend?

I'm hoping this weekend is uneventful, but now that I've said that it probably won't be. We've had something going on every weekend except for this one. Maybe, I'll take advantage of it and schedule my next installment of spa treatments? After moving, I'm long overdue for a deep tissue massage! Hmmmm.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Resume Please...

There has been a lot of news of the Colgan Air crash hearings in Washington D.C. I ask you this:

When we board a plane and the captain makes his/her introductions prior to take-off, should he/she also announce that a copy of his/her resume is in the pocket located on the seat in front of them, next to the airsick bag, and if passengers do not find the resume acceptable or exceptional, may they deplane to fly with Capt. "Sully"?

What I Miss the Most...

His shoulder to lean on...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another Recipe...

Since summer is fast approaching, I thought I'd post a great pasta salad recipe. It has a bit of a Greek twist to it, and came to me via the Navy. It's great warm, but I love it best the next day, chilled after the flavors have had a chance to mingle a little. Make sure you use fresh basil and don't get caught up in the grape tomatoes. I've used Roma and other heirloom varieties in different colors too. Enjoy!

Orzo Pasta Salad

Dressing

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk together vinegar, lemon juice and honey in a small bowl, slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead of time).

Pasta Salad

6 cups chicken broth
1 lb box of orzo or riso pasta

2 cups red and yellow teardrop or grape tomatoes, halved
1 (7 oz) pkg feta cheese, cut into cubes
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

Bring broth to a boil in large sauce pan, stir in pasta, reduce heat to medium and cover partially: cook until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta and transfer to a large wide bowl, tossing until slightly cool.

Pine nuts can be toasted in one of two ways: In large saute pan, add nuts to dry pan and toast over medium heat approximately 5 minutes. OR On a large cookie sheet spread nuts evenly over dry pan and roast at 375 degrees approximately 5-6 minutes.

Mix in tomatoes, feta, basil, and green onions, add vinaigrette and toss in pine nuts.

Opportunity for Military Kids...

This came to me from our Family Readiness Officer.

Subject: Announcing Camp OMK 2009 for Military Youth 8 to 13 years old

12 May 2009

North Carolina Operation: Military Kids (OMK) and Millstone 4-H Camp is
pleased and excited to announce that Camp OMK 2009 will take place 12-17
July 2009. We just received confirmation late today that Camp OMK 2009 has
been fully funded and is free to all participants by a generous donor.
Operation: Military Kids (OMK) understands our military youth are
experiencing difficult times and situations with the deployment of a parent
or parents.

Millstone 4-H Camp will host Camp OMK 2009 and will provide an excellent
camping experience for military youth 8 to 13 years olds (Guard, Reserve and
Active Duty) whose parent(s) are in pre-deployment stage, currently deployed
or in post-deployment stage.



Millstone 4-H Camp is nestled in the tall pines of the Sandhills near
Ellerbe, NC about 30 miles south of Southern Pines. Established in 1939, it
was once a site where granite was quarried by hand to provide grinding
stones for mills located in the piedmont of North and South Carolina. The
center covers 320 acres of undisturbed woodlands and is situated within the
60,000-acre Sandhills Wildlife Management Gamelands.
Near the center of the camp property is a picturesque 17-acre lake where
campers can fish and canoe. Operation: Military Kids (OMK) understands our
military youth are experiencing difficult times and situations with the
deployment of a parent or parents. Camp OMK is free to all participants
thanks to a generous donor.

Camp OMK, operated by and at North Carolina 4-H Centers, will focus on
building coping skills and creating positive outlets for the intense
emotions these children now live with daily. Critical to this experience is
the camaraderie built among the campers as they meet other youth from across
the state who are going through similar situations, but equally important is
the opportunity to enjoy carefree camping experiences with their peers.
While at camp, these children will have fun, laugh, learn and just enjoy
being kids.

North Carolina's 4-H Centers are fully accredited through the American Camp
Association (ACA) and employ extensively trained summer staff members to
insure a quality camping experience.

Information about Camp OMK 2009 and the registration form are available at
the following web locations:

www.nc4h.org under the heading Military Programs,
www.operationmilitarykids.org under the North Carolina Section
http://www.millstone4hcamp.org/

Completed registration forms must be received to the North Carolina 4-H
Youth Development Office by 5 PM on Wednesday, 17 June 2009.
Notification will soon follow to those selected to attend Camp OMK 2009.
Priority is given to military children with a parent deployed or deploying
anytime between May 2008 and November 2009. Once selected, a packet of
information will be mailed to you with additional forms to complete, times
of arrival and departure, items to pack, directions, and etc.

Please share with your contacts and partnerships. If you know if any
military families who would greatly benefit from this wonderful opportunity,
please share. This camp could not have been possible for these military
youth if not for the generosity of this donor.

Thank you for all that each of you do in supporting our military families
here in North Carolina!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Work Hangover...

I worked last night. I'm up all day today...need I say more?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Awesome Advantage!

With Congressional authorization set forth in Public Law 110-417, the
Department of Defense is expanding the Military Spouse Career Advancement
Accounts - MyCAA - for military spouses of active duty and activated Guard
and Reserve Service members worldwide beginning in mid May 2009.

MyCAA is currently completing an extensive testing period with the help of
volunteer spouses, schools and other payees. Final administrative processes
are now being put into place. In mid May, MyCAA will officially open its
doors for eligible military spouses worldwide to receive up to $6,000 of
financial assistance to help pay for licenses, certifications and education
in high growth, high demand portable career fields.

What is a Portable Career?

Portable careers are those that are likely to provide job opportunities in
most locations where military Service members are stationed. These might
include but are not limited to: business/management, construction trades,
education, financial services, health services, homeland security,
hospitality management, human resources, information technology, real
estate, etc.

Visit the Career One Stop Web site to take self-assessments, analyze your
skills, and explore careers and industries. Find your local One-Stop Center
by entering your zip code into the Service Locator. Visit the Career Voyages
Web site for information on in-demand occupations and high growth
industries.


Where can spouses get basic MyCAA information?

Spouses who wish to participate in MyCAA should seek basic information right
here! Keep reading!

There are several self-help steps that should be completed prior to
requesting an appointment with a Military OneSource Career/Education
Consultant to receive career and education counseling and MyCAA financial
assistance.


Determine your MyCAA eligibility.

If you are a military spouse married to an active duty or activated Guard or
Reserve Service member, AND you are interested in pursuing portable career
education, training, licenses or certifications, you are eligible to receive
financial assistance from MyCAA.


Here's what you have to do to get started.


Set a portable Career Goal that matches your career interests. (e.g. Become
a Certified Public Accountant; Become a Licensed Cosmetologist; Become a
Medical Transcriptionist, etc.).


Visit MyCAAs webpage from the Military OneSource website
(https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa/default.aspx). Click on 'School Search'
in the left navigation. You can search by school name or state or scroll
through the schools which are listed alphabetically. If your school is not
listed, you can submit a request for DoD approval by clicking the "Can't
Find School" link at the bottom of the pop-up window.


Begin working with your school or other program counselor to list all school
and course of study requirements. Do not sign any financial documents until
after your MyCAA Career Plan is reviewed with a Military OneSource
Career/Education Consultant. This will become the basis for your MyCAA
Career Plan to which MyCAA financial assistance will be applied.


E-mail us if you have specific questions or need assistance prior to the
MyCAA launch in mid May 09.


For those who need website technical assistance, send an e-mail to
MyCAA@invernesstechnologies.com.


For those who have questions about which schools and other payees are
participating in MyCAA, go to the MyCAA website
(https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa/default.aspx), and click on 'School
Search' under the Resources tab. You can search by school name or state or
scroll through the schools which are listed alphabetically. If your school
is not listed, you can submit a request for DoD approval by clicking the
"Can't Find School" link at the bottom of the pop-up window.


For school and other payee officials who have questions about DoD's direct
invoice and payment processes, send an e-mail to: MyCAASchools@moscenter.us
.
Who can help spouses develop a MyCAA Career Plan and explain how MyCAA
financial assistance will be provided?

Check information on:www.MilitaryOneSource.com/MyCAA regularly to find outthe exact MyCAA launch date.

In the meantime, keep exploring your Portable Career options and working on
your Career Plan with your school or other program counselor.
Once MyCAA is launched, call a Military OneSource Career/Education
Consultant (1-800-342-9647) for an appointment.
The MOS Career/Education Consultants can answer questions you might have and
provide assistance as you explore career fields of interest, job markets and
salary ranges, choose a relevant course of study from a recognized school or
program, learn more about the licensing and certifications necessary to meet
your Career Goal, and complete your Career Plan.
MOS Career/Education Consultants can also explain how financial assistance
is paid directly by MyCAA to your school or other program. They can also
help you find additional sources of financial assistance if necessary.
Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) Details

MyCAA provides up to $6,000 of financial assistance for eligible spouses
directly to participating schools or other programs. If they are already
listed in the MyCAA system, a spouse and his/her school or other program are
ready to proceed with their request for financial assistance. If not, the
military spouse needs to click "Can't Find School" on the MyCAA website
(https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa/default.aspx) to request that his/her
school or other program be added. MyCAA financial assistance will pay for
expenses such as post-secondary education and training tuition, licensing,
and credentialing fees. It does not pay for computers, school application
fees, graduation fees, student activity cards, child care, parking,
transportation, medical services or testing fees.

Amazing Story...

This article from the New York Times ,was sent to me by a friend, please click the link below to read.

“This is the sweetest deal ever,” he said one evening between firefights. “There is no other place I could get a job like this — not at this rank.” Cpl Conroy, USMC, Firebase Vimoto, Afghanistan.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/01/world/asia/01firebase.html?pagewanted=all

Belated Happy Mother's Day...

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day. For the last 3 days, I've been asking my kids what they were planning for "Mom's Day of Pampering". Well, it was a success. We went to brunch (on Paul), and my kids went up to the buffet several times and ate practically nothing. I only had to yell 3 times, and place the little guy in "time out" once. I finished cleaning the house, did only 4 loads of laundry, cooked dinner on the barbecue, (no pots and pans) and cleaned up...again.

The highlight of my day was watching "Bride Wars" with Abbie and complete silence at 9:00 after all were in bed, so I could watch "The Tudors".

Who came up with this holiday anyway?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Free YMCA Memberships!!!

Some good news! The YMCA in New Bern is offering free memberships to families of deployed service members. Other YMCAs are also doing this, but please check with your local Y for more information.

If you decide to take advantage of this opportunity, you will need to bring a copy of your deployed spouses orders and your military ID when signing up.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

...and to Sum it all up...

This came to me from a friend in Virginia. I apologize for the quality of the video, but it doesn't really matter...
video

Fever Free.

Yeah! Drew woke up without fever for the first time since Friday! I think he's on the mend. Still keeping him home from school for today.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Today...

Today I was busy. I have a sick preschooler at home with a fever since Friday! He's been tested for the flu(s) and he does NOT have it. He's miserable and in turn, so am I. He needs to go back to school, but can't until he is without fever for 24 hours, so he's home again, tomorrow.

In the meantime, I've been taking down old drapes, cleaning, hanging the remaining pictures, doing laundry, rescuing my youngest from choking on a bobby pin, cooking, mopping up water from the leaking sun porch, and I threw in a quick workout while naps were happening. I'm tired...is it January yet?

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo here is Paul's favorite salsa recipe, from our friend Tom. We make it often and everyone loves it. You can adjust the heat by omitting the jalapeno and using either mild, medium or hot Rotel tomatoes. Enjoy!

Tom's Salsa

2 cans stewed tomatoes, drained. (plain)
2 cans Rotel tomatoes, drained. (I use mild and there's still a kick)
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1-2 cloves garlic
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of scallions
1 jalapeno, seeded (can be omitted)
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, process garlic,scallions and jalapeno. Add fresh tomatoes and pulse until chopped. Add the 4 cans of drained tomatoes, cilantro and cumin and pulse several times until desired consistency is reached. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with chips.

If you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender, or a big knife and chop, chop, chop.

Monday, May 4, 2009

...and that's how it started!

My Hero...

I worked my father-in-law to the bone! He measured and hung pictures, straightened out any electrical issues, assembled bunk beds, organized shelves, took care of the sprinklers and made a few trips to Walmart. He also reprogrammed the garage door opener so it will now open both doors, attempted to fix the vacuum, connected the hoses, got rid of some wasp infested pottery and played with a sick child.

I'm pretty sure I have him convinced that moving is bad, and he will forever have to stay in Virginia.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm Done!

Well, mostly done. All of the boxes are unpacked, we are pretty much settled with the exception of hanging pictures. That will be taken care of this weekend. As I said before, I hate chaos! I was on a vendetta to finish as much as possible before my family came to visit...today.

To top it off, my vacuum stopped working. It rhymed with "Schmenmore". I bought it less than 2 years ago, I've had to have it repaired twice. I had to purchase a replacement the last time it went into the shop and that is broken too! So today I bought the Dyson Elite. So far I love it.