Our two child things (5 and 2) are currently in Hawaii, but we are a military family, and we live where the Army tells us. This blog is designed to keep us in touch with our family and the friends we have made along the way, to offer insight into our turbulent military lifestyle, and to share our experiences as we try out "homing school." So glad you stopped by!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Turn a Bad Day into a Good One

Today was a great day, but there are some that are not. Some days I am rushed and hurried, worrying about taking care of business while trying to entertain two small children and wondering when I'll hear from my husband next. On those days, I like to find some peace by going to youtube and play this song. "Come Thy Fount" is my very favorite hymn. It helps me find my center, find my peace and find my priorities so that I can turn a bad day into a good one.
And while I do love the modern praise and worship music, there are some old hymns like this one that are so powerful and moving that the new stuff just can't hold a candle to it. Those songs are how people did praise and worship before there were big drum sets, high-dollar speakers and overhead projectors in churches. And in my opinion, it probably worked just as well.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


This evening Child Thing #1 (shown here loving on her aunt--with underwear on her head) and I talked about moving back to Hawaii. We've always known our stay in Texas would be temporary...just while Daddy was deployed, and she has been looking forward to returning to our tropical island home.

"I'm so hot! When are we going back to Hawaii?"


"It's too cold! When are we going back to Hawaii?"

Plus she misses friends there, and most importantly, it was her home.

But after our conversation tonight, I realized that she no longer consideres Hawaii her home. She considers Texas her home, and she doesn't want to leave her home.

So now I'm wondering again if I made the right decision when I chose to move home for the deployment. Before we moved, I debated it for months, and my #1 reason against moving was this: as a military family, we already have so much turmoil in our lives, and I don't want to unnecessarily create any additional turmoil.

But I made the decision to move anyway, and I have to admit, it has been great getting to spend time with all our family here. It's great that the kids have gotten to know their relatives. It's also great that I get to enjoy some fantastic Mexican food every now and then (no salsa made from ketchup! hooray!).

Anyway, as I have said before, the child thing handles the upheaval really well. But even though she doesn't lash out, that doesn't mean that the change is easy for her or that it doesn't have an impact on her. And it really breaks my heart to see her suffering (albeit quietly) from it.
Now that she has completely adjusted and views Texas as her home, it's almost time to move back to Hawaii and start the whole process over.

And I feel guilty.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Little One is Learning

Child Thing #2 (shown here gobbling up a cupcake) is apparently experiencing the "language explosion" that is supposed to occur between 18 and 24 months. He is saying new words pretty much every day. My favorite of his new words is "night night." So sweet! When it's time for bed, he snuggles up against my chest and says it over and over again. :)

Some of his new words are not quite so tender, however. The other day, we were helping my mom feed her horses (the child things LOVE feeding the horses). The baby walked right up to a fresh pile of horse manure, pointed to it and said, "poop!"

We all laughed, and I decided that being a mom to a boy is definitely different than being a mom to a girl.

It's amazing to watch a child learn a language, isn't it? I'm proud of my baby every time he learns a new word, even if the word is "poop."

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Debut as a Portrait Photographer

I am SO not qualified to be a photographer. I did take a photography class in college, but that doesn't count because I learned on a (gasp) FILM CAMERA. But I did really enjoy the class, and since my awesome husband bought me this fancy camera, I sometimes get the idea in my head that I should put it to use and get my money's worth by taking my own portraits.

So I offered to take some pictures of my little sister, who is graduating from high school this year, in addition to her senior portraits. We could take some that are more fun and show her personality more than in the studio. And then she missed the appointment the school made for her at the portrait studio (and is thereby not going to be in the yearbook), so she decided she wanted me not to add to her professional portraits, but to substitute for her professional portraits.
Ack! But I gave it my best shot, and we ended up with a handfull of decent ones. Here are some of my faves. Isn't she lovely?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

News to Share

Before I start: I'm not pregnant. No R&R baby for us. No, the exciting news is that we bought 20 acres!!

Scott has been talking about buying a place in Texas for a long time. Last year, he finally started to convince me that we could afford it, so I started casually looking at properties online after I came back to Texas in the fall. To be honest, at that point, I didn't think we'd really go through with it. But, we found a place that seemed perfect for us, and everything came together, so we did!

It doesn't mean we're done with the military and ready to move back to Texas permanently. This is more like our retirement spot. Scott has 14 years till he can retire, so maybe about 14 years from now we'll be ready to make this place our home. And that's ok, because there's lots of work that needs to be done.

Our land has everything we were looking for, and we love the area it's in, but it's been neglected for a decade or two. It's overgrown and the fences are falling down, plus there are no buildings, water or electricity. It's kinda exciting, though, because that we means we can shape it to be whatever we want it to be.

We have a long list of things to do, and this weekend, I took care of item #1 on that list. With the assistance of my dad (well...actually he did most of the work), I put T posts in the 5 property corners. The surveyors just used little wooden stakes to mark the property boundaries, and we were afraid those would disappear. So...check that one off!

Every time I go up to our property, I'm more and more excited about making this place our home. It's less than 10 minutes away from a small, quaint town that is full of friendly people and has great schools. Seems to me like a the perfect place to raise a family (though my family may be mostly raised by the time we get there). Well, it's perfect unless you like things like Papa John's delivery. :P I'm pretty sure that's not going to be an option for us.

Even so...we're both thrilled about our big purchase and ready to get to work!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Not long ago, I was reminiscing about our first anniversary, all the hopes, dreams and expectations that came along with that celebration, and how none of them happened. By the time year two rolled around, I was over the googley-eyed newlywed thing and had just one single thing I wanted on my anniversary. To fit into the booth.
Guess what happened the very next day? And, no, it wasn't twins.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Milk: It Does a Body Good. Unless it's Non-organic. Or Organic.

For years, I have been buying organic milk (and other dairy products when I can find them). I do this because of concerns about Bovine Growth Hormone present in American-produced milk that can increase chances of cancers of the breast and prostate and who knows what else. The issue became personal for me, however, when one of my child things was born with a birth defect that has been linked to hormone exposure while in the womb. Thank the good Lord the birth defect was minor, has no effect on every day life and needed no surgery to correct.

But the birth defect made me even more diligent about buying organic when available. My general belief on food is the closer it is to the way God made it, the better. I know with all this genetic altering, there's not much we eat today in its original state, but you can try, I guess.

Ever since I started buying organic milk, I noticed that the carton says "ultra pasteurized," but until recently, I had no idea what that meant for what was inside the container. I've been doing some research on organic milk, and most of the organic milk in the grocery stores is ultra pasteurized, which means it is heated to a much higher temperature than regular milk.

It's hard to find info on the Internet that is not skewed with opinions one way or the other, but I read this article on the Cal State website, and found out several interesting things about ultra pasteurized milk.

The very high temperatures, which kill the germs, also kill nutrients in the milk. Ultra pasteurized milk looses 10-20% of vitamins B1, B6, B9, B12, C and Thiamine. It also looses 50% of its folate, and most of its folate binding proteins (which allow us to absorb the folate). Because the very high temperatures alter the proteins in milk, we may not absorb the vitamins that do remain after the pasteurization process. And some believe that exposure to these altered proteins can cause life-long problems with the digestive tract.

Great! I thought I was doing something good and healthy for my children, but perhaps I was making them less healthy all along.

So as far as cow's milk goes...you either get regular milk and load your system with hormones, or you buy organic and your body doesn't get the vitamins and minerals it needs from milk. The only way out is to get your hands on some organic raw milk (not pasteurized at all) straight from the dairy. Hmmm...looks like I'm going to have to keep a cow in the backyard.

Which is better? Which is worse? Any opinions?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Homing School Arts and Crafts: Abeka

Pre-K is all about the arts and crafts! Kids love doing this sort of thing (and so do moms), so I bought a book of art projects at the beginning of our school year designed specially for 4-year-olds from Abeka Book. It contains 5 projects for every month in the school year, and for the most part, they coordinate with the season.
Overall, I have not been too impressed with this book, but it does have some redeeming qualities, I suppose. Here are the positives:

1. It's affordable. Less than $15

2. It has allowed my daughter to learn to use scissors fairly well.

3. The projects are quick and easy. There's very little prep work for the parent to do, so it's basically a no effort/no planning craft project once a week.

However, these aren't really art projects. It's just cut-and-paste. And though the child thing kinda has fun with the crafts, they certainly do not encourage her to develop any creativity. The crafts don't involve any painting, drawing, designing or creating. Instead, you cut the three pre-printed circles off of the paper and then glue them to the pre-printed scene to make a snowman. Somewhat entertaining for a four-year-old, perhaps, but not nearly as exciting (or as intellectually stimulating) as making your own dough, forming it into beads, painting them and making your very own necklace! We're still do the projects from the Abeka book once a week, but I am sure to encorporate some other, more creative, craft project into the week as well.

Warning: this post contains both the word "breastfeeding" and the word "HOOAH."

"Did they pressure you into breastfeeding?"

At the time, I found the question curious, and I still wonder about it.

Child Thing #2 had just made his arrival into the world, and I was back at the doctor for a follow-up. Until the very end of my pregnancy, I had been seen by military doctors, but the last month or so I was referred to a civilian. And at this appointment, he basically asked me if my military doctors had forced the breastmilk/formula issue.

I answered "no" because I never felt pressured into it. The nurses asked me if I wanted to and gave me a brochure on the benefits of breastfeeding, but that was it. And actually, when my first baby was born and we had a horrible time learning to nurse, the hospital staff seemed to be pressuring me into switching to formula.

Surely I looked puzzled as I answered this question, because the doctor explained, "I just ask because I have a lot of patients coming from the military, and a much, much higher percentage of them go with breastfeeding."

That has left me wondering ever since then. Is his observation accurate? And, if so, why would more "military women" breastfeed than non military types?

Scott, who was at the appointment with me, said, "That's because Army wives are tough. HOOAH!"

You do have to be tough to go that route because, for me at least, it did not come naturally and was a huge pain at first. But I don't necessarily think that being an Army spouse prepares you more for challenges like nursing a baby.

Maybe it's because military wives have a harder time building careers (hard to do that when you move every few years), so there are more stay-at-home moms. And being at home with your kids definitely makes breastfeeding much more feasible. Props to all those working moms who ARE able to make nursing work, by the way...that is simply amazing!

I'm still curious about this, so I'm looking for input. I'd love to hear any theories or explanations on this topic...from military folks and civilian types. And, if you are in the medical field, have you noticed this trend, as well? Thanks, y'all. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Seven on the Seventh: Romance Is...

I like reading lists on other people's blogs. Maybe it's because I'm a list person. Things just don't get accomplished around here unless they are on a list. And, oh, the joy! Drawing a little check mark beside an item on my list brings such joy! I never cross them off, no, no. That would be like an annulment...like it never happened. A check mark means: been there, done that, checked it off the list.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about how much I enjoy lists on blogs, and so I have decided to create a monthly list on mine. It shall be called: Seven on the Seventh. It will be just like a David Letterman Top 10 List. Except I'm not nearly as witty as David Letterman. And there will only be 7 items on the list.

If there are any other bloggers who'd like to join in, leave a comment or send me a message. I'll send you the list topic ahead of time, then you can create your own Seven on the Seventh List, and it'll be fun to compare. :) If you want to participate this month, just do it! And then link it so I can check it out.

In honor of Valentine's Day, the first Seven on the Seventh will be "Romance Is..."
It's in honor of Valentine's Day, but also in honor of my husband, who thought my recent post on our very un-romantic 1st anniversary did not portray him in a positive light (so I deleted it, but then he said he was just kidding...he thought the post was funny and made him remember the times when he was young and carefree). Without further ado, I present to you, in honor of my husband (who is not the type to recite love sonnets, but who has his moments):

Romance Is...
7. Waiting until I go to sleep to watch scary zombie movies.
6. A box from 1-800-Flowers on the front step.
5. Surprising me with an oreo shake on Easter Sunday because I had just gone 40 days with NO ICE CREAM!
4.. Telling me, completely earnestly, that I should try out for Miss Texas.
3. Cleaning out the milk-filled sippy cup discovered under the backseat of the car.
2. A static-filled phone call from the other side of the world, when he's exhausted after a hard-day's work but wanted to stay up a bit longer just to hear my voice.

And Number One...drum roll please...

1. Saying, "You go take a nap. I'll take care of the kids."

Those Days Are Over

I have a sister who's in high school. She thinks I'm really old. As in: "You're turning THIRTY?!?!? Whoah!!!"
Yes, I, too, used to think 30 was ancient. And perhaps I was right, as I am now considering an anti-aging lotion for my face. The crows feet will be appearing any day now...if they haven't already. I'm not sure because I'm afraid to check it out. It may be depressing.
And to think...I used to long for the days when people would look at me and realize I was a grown up.
Like when I was expecting my first child and some old lady walked right up to me and proceeded to scold me for being a young, unwed mother. I guess she missed the WEDDING RING on my left hand.
Or that time--my first day of school as a teacher--when the lunch ladies thought I was a student and wouldn't let me go through the teacher line. This was not in a high school, either. I taught junior high. It was my first year out of college, so I was certainly young, but they thought I looked like a 12 year old?!
Those days are over now. No one will ever mistake me for a 12 year old again. But I'm ok with that. My husband says I look better than I ever have (crows feet and all), so who cares what anyone else thinks?
P.S. If anybody out there knows of a good age-fighting facial product, share your secrets!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Does the Military Make you Murder?

Two teenagers were killed by their mother last week while their active duty father was deployed. The details are pretty depressing, so I won't post them, but if you'd like to, you can read this article from CNN.
I don't particularly want to discuss the disturbing crime, but I would like to discuss some comments I heard regarding the situation. Some seem to think that military wives should not be left alone, that being alone for deployments creates too much stress in their lives, causing them to "snap."
Certainly the woman who committed this crime felt a lot of pressure, and the deployment surely made life more difficult for her and her children. But there obviously were some other issues here. The military lifestyle is not to blame. This women probably needed help in a lot of ways and, for whatever reason, did not get it.
There are thousands of women in this country who are also surviving deployments and are able to keep their sanity. In fact, most of the ones I know are able to overcome the stress to lead normal, even happy lives, while their husbands are away. I'm not saying we don't long for the day the deployment is over so that our families will be whole again, because we all do.
What I want to do is remind certain people, who may have jumped to conclusions, that the large majority of military wives can handle it. Though the deployment may be tough, we can take care of our kids, take care of our jobs, take care of our homes, and take care of each other without "loosing it." And then, when the deployment is over, we are ecstatic to have one more person back home to take care of.
Another thing I want to do is ask for your prayers for the family involved in this tragedy, and particularly this father. Thank you.