Sunday, December 6, 2009

I Have a 25 Year Old!

Well, Lindsay, you're 25 today! I can't believe how fast these past 25 years have gone. It seems like it wasn't too long ago we were bringing you home from the hospital to this same house (although it's changed quite a bit!). Your dad thought we needed to keep the house at about 85 degrees until I convinced him that you would be fine with a sleeper and a blanket and a "normal" temperature! I know it hasn't been easy to be the oldest and have to pave the way for your four younger sisters and that we've had our share of "issues" over the years but I hope you know that no matter how hard things have been between us that I always love you no matter what! I am very proud of the person you have become. You have always been compassionate toward others, always concerned about fairness and a being a good friend. As someone who usually only had one or two close friends it has always amazed me how you are surrounded by so many people that you are good friends with. I know that you worry about not being where you think you should be in life at this stage but I hope you realize that you are right where you are supposed to be and God has a wonderful plan for your life and I can't wait to see what it turns out to be! Happy Birthday my first-born, I love you with all my heart!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fort Hood

I can't stop thinking about what happened at Ft Hood yesterday. It is so hard to comprehend how someone could do something so unspeakable. First, to do it at all. Second, to do it to your fellow soldiers and civilians working with soldiers. Third, having been a psychiatrist, entrusted with people who are possibly mentally fragile, to betray the trust that should exist between a doctor and patient, especially a fellow soldier. I can't imagine the horror of waiting to find out if your loved one was involved. It will take a long time for people to recover from this. I read a quote from a soldier who said that overseas, you are ready for it, but here you can't even defend yourself. I would think that it would be a pretty helpless feeling, especially to have been deployed, to not be able to do anything when you have been trained to defend yourself and your fellow soldiers.
One thing about a military base, it's kind of like a big family in a way. I've never lived on a base since my husband has only been in the Guard, not the active Army, but when we have spent time on bases it feels comforting to me. With being in the Guard, everyone lives "regular" lives for the most part and your friends and neighbors don't get it. When you are on a base, you're a part of a shared experience. You're surrounded by people who "get" it. People know what your feeling and experiencing because they have been there. Out here in the regular world you feel like a minority. Most people that you come in contact have no idea what it's like to have your family member leave for a year or worry about whether they will come home and when they do come home will life be the same as before or different. On a base, everyone around you is, has, or will go through it and it's comforting.
I'm glad the people at Ft Hood have the support of their community and they will be on my mind and heart and in my prayers!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Honestly, I feel bored. I have no reason to feel this way, there are plenty of things to do. It was a gorgeous day today and I could have been outside raking leaves, cleaning the car or going for a walk (I did clean the gutters). There are plenty of things to do inside too. Laundry, dishes, rooms that need a through cleaning, vacuuming that needs to be done, dust that is accumulating. I just don't feel like doing anything and yet I feel bored. I sit at the computer but I'm bored with Facebook, Blogger, playing games. I think I feel bored mentally and I guess I'm just in a funk. I have so many things that I want to do but can't seem to get motivated to start. There are rooms that I want to paint, decorating that I want to do, crafts that I have the supplies for.

I'm also frustrated with my kids and school. They are behind in so many classes. Between being gone on vacation and being sick, they have lots of missing assignments and tests to make up. I care, but I also don't. That sounds awful but I am tired. Tired of being the one to bug them to do their chores and homework, tell them to go to bed, tell them to get up in the morning, listen to whining about being tired. Wow, as I typed that I thought of all the bloggers I read who have lost their children who would love to have to do these things. I guess I'm just tired of doing all these things alone. Really, honestly, I think I'm just lonely. Lonely for my husband. Nothing else can fill the void that is left without him here. So, I will just have to keep moving forward one day at a time until he comes home.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Wednesday, 10/7, Kelsey, Chloey, Shelby and I flew from Portland to Las Vegas. We picked up our rental car and hit the road for Apple Valley, CA to spend three nights with my friend Teal and her family. Her kids were out of school on their fall break so we spent the time just hanging out, relaxing, talking, eating and having a great time!

On Thursday, the girls and I drove about 45 minutes to San Bernadino to meet up with our friends, the Balls, who are the directors of the Salvation Army in SB. We went to lunch and got a tour of their facilities, including the new shelter they are building for families. They have an awesome ministry there!

Saturday, 10/10, the girls and I set out to return to Las Vegas (with the obligatory stop at In-n-Out, of course).

We stayed at the Southpoint Spa and Casino for three nights. The Southpoint is a few miles away from the strip, which I liked. To me, the strip is mostly an adult place and I wanted to do things that were "kid friendly". The hotel had a bowling alley, a movie theater, a swimming pool and an equestrian center, all on site. It was also in an area where we were able to easily go to the store or for food.

On Sunday morning we went to Red Rock Canyon which was really cool.

Then in the afternoon we went to the equestrian center where they were having a cutting competition.

Monday morning we went to Hoover Dam where we went on the power house tour and walked around with all the other tourists.

In the afternoon we went to a movie at the hotel and then drove down the strip so the girls could see all the lights and sights.

Tuesday morning we turned in our rental car and the girls flew home and I flew to El Paso, TX to spend a week with Brittany, Nick and Holden. I spent the week enjoying the baby, helping Brittany continue to unpack and just relaxing.

Tuesday, 10/13, Brittany and Holden dropped me off at the airport. While I was in line to board the plane, Brittany called and said that on their way home they had been in an accident. Thankfully no one was hurt. Britt was in a lane of traffic that turns into a turn only lane and was waiting to merge into traffic when an older woman totally plowed into the back of her car! The woman actually tried to offer Brittany $50 and did not give Brittany her insurance information. Thankfully, the police arrived and the woman was cited for having an expired insurance card and either failing to yield or something. She kept trying to say that Brittany cut her off, which was ridiculous! Anyway, the insurance companies are involved now and hopefully their car will be fixed before they leave to drive here for Christmas!

Except for the ending, we had an awesome vacation! It was a great way to break up the time between school starting and Kelly coming home for leave in December!

Friday, October 2, 2009

What's Happening

It seems I haven't had much to write about lately, life just seems to be going on. We are getting back into the routine of school. I am enjoying not having to take or pick up anyone this year now that they are all in the same school and Kelsey drives. I'm kind of missing art class this term. I decided to wait until Winter Term to start because I am going to miss two weeks and I would have gotten too far behind.

I'm taking the three girls on a trip next week. Wednesday, 10/7 we are flying to Las Vegas, renting a car and driving to my friend Teal's house to stay with her and her family for a couple of days. While we're there I am hoping to pop over to my friend Nancy's for lunch one day. I'm looking forward to just relaxing, swimming in the pool and talking! On Saturday, 10/10 we are driving back to Vegas where we are staying until Tuesday, 10/13. The hotel we are staying in has an equestrian arena where they are having horse events while we are there, there is also a bowling alley and a movie theater. I am also hoping to take the girls to see the dam and maybe go on a hike or two. Tuesday morning the girls are flying home where they will be picked up at the airport by my mother and I am flying to El Paso to visit Brittany, Nick and Holden for a week. The girls are only missing three days of school so it seemed like a good time to get away. It also breaks up the time before Kelly's leave in December.

I worry about Kelly. I know he doesn't get enough sleep. The job that he has keeps him working seven days a week. The other day he told me that he got to bed at 11, someone woke him up at 12 needing stuff (linen, etc.) to set up their room, again at 3 he was woken up with people needing rooms and then had to get up at 5. I know it can't be good for him to function on so little sleep. He is 50! Anyway, I just keep counting the days til he comes home and life can go back to "normal". 7 more months!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Kelsey's 17th Birthday

Kelsey, my middle child, the baby I begged God for, you turn 17 today! After losing baby #3 it took a year before we were finally expecting again. It was a difficult and emotional time and I was so happy that God had seen fit to answer my prayers for another baby. I got enormous and the doctor told me that he thought you would weigh 10 pounds. Thankfully he was wrong! A beautiful 8 lb 11 1/2 oz baby girl was born on September 12th, 13 days overdue, exactly a week after my birthday. You made life pretty interesting, it seems you were always into something! Looking back, I think that you have just always had an extreme curiousity about everything. You always had to know how everything worked and were never satisfied with a simple explanation. I know that it wasn't easy having two little sisters come along when you were only 2 1/2 but you have been a great big sister! You have grown into a thoughtful, caring, helpful, creative and beautiful young woman. I feel so blessed that God chose me to be your mother. Happy Birthday my beautiful blue-eyed girl, Kelseebee!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Well, today is my 45th birthday. Wow, that seems so crazy to think that I am halfway through my 40s! To be honest though, I feel better physically and mentally and better about myself in general than I did in my 20s or 30s. Sometimes I feel so mad at myself for "wasting" those years feeling depressed and down on myself but I have to remind myself that those years brought me here to where I am today and that's a pretty darn good place. I do wish I could go back and tell my younger self to take better care of myself. To eat better, to exercise, to work out the issues that kept me feeling down on myself, but I choose to look forward not backward. I'm thankful for this time of life. I'm eating better, trying to exercise regularly, feeling better about my body, enjoying having the freedom that "almost" grown-up kids bring. I'm happier than ever with my relationship with my husband. We are kind of "rediscovering" each other after years of raising kids. I think that these long separations have made us appreciate each other more. I know that it has for me. I want to enjoy every minute that we have to spend together. I want to do so many things right now. I want to take some more art classes and discover just what I am best at. Taking art last year really awakened the creative side of me that had been kind of pushed down for so many years. I also want to learn to kayak and scuba dive and travel. I just want to appreciate all the important things in life that aren't things: family, love, time, etc. I feel like maybe this is like the half-way point in my life and I want to make the second half the best it can be! Happy Birthday to me!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reality Take 2

Well, Kelly has been in Iraq for less than two months and already several convoys have been hit by roadside bombs, explosives, etc. The last one I wrote about was a young guy who lost a leg and was injured pretty badly. This last time (on Friday, 8/28) two soldiers were killed and one injured. The two killed were a 19 year old boy (I say "boy" because, in my opinion a 19 yr old is still a boy) and a 38 year old husband and father of one. It seems so senseless. I don't know which is more tragic, a young kid, just starting out, with his whole life ahead of him or a man who leaves behind a wife and son who have to find a way to live their lives without him. I think they are equally tragic, each in their own way. I have such mixed feelings. On the one hand I am thankful that my husband is safe (or as safe as he can be in Iraq), but also feel guilty for feeling that when other families lose the people that they love. None of it makes much sense to me. I just want this to end so Kelly and every other soldier can come home and no other family has to go through this horrible ordeal. If only.... Eight more months. I wonder how many more of these "reality" posts I will write before then...tragic and sad.

My Grandson is Here!

Tuesday, August 18, we took Kelsey to the airport to fly to El Paso to visit Brittany, Nick and Holden. On Tuesday, August 25, Kelsey, Brittany and Holden flew from El Paso to Portland to visit for two weeks. They will be here until Wednesday, September 9.

We picked up Chinese on the way home and stopped at my parent's house and had dinner with them so they could see Britt and the baby.

Wednesday we talked to Kelly on the computer, went to Wal-mart and went grocery shopping.

Thursday we all packed into the Suburban and road tripped it to Lincoln City where we met up with my parents, my sister Joanna, three of her kids, my sister Julie and her husband Dennis and their three girls. We hung out at the beach, the kids swam in the pool at the condo that J&D were staying at and had dinner all together (taking up four tables) at Gallucci's. It was foggy and a little cool but everyone had a great time and came home tired and a little sunburned.

Friday and Saturday we stayed home and recuperated and today (Sunday) we went to church and then visited my grandpa (Holden's great-great grandpa) at the nursing home where he is staying right now. So far we've had a busy time and tomorrow we are off to the mall to do back-to-school shopping!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Little Miracle

A week and a half ago on Sunday, I got home from church and went out to work in the yard. I had worn my diamond earrings to church and didn't take them off when I came home (like I usually do). My wonderful, thoughtful and sweet husband had bought me a pair of diamond earrings for Christmas when he came home from Afghanistan. I got done working and came in the house to clean up and when I looked in the mirror, one of them was gone! The back was still stuck to my ear but the earring was no where to be found. The girls came out and helped me look all over but we couldn't find it. Ever since then, I have gone out, praying to God to help me find it, looking when the sun is shining (thinking I might see it sparkle). I have been walking around, looking down, literally praying for a miracle. Today we were getting ready to go to the airport and it was about 10 minutes before we left and I thought I would look again, just for the heck of it. I walked down the grass on the side of the house (which I had just mowed yesterday), praying "God, please help me find the earring, if I found it, it would truly be a miracle". Just as I finished saying that (in my head), I looked down and there it was, lying on it's side in the grass that I had just mowed! So, that is the story of my little miracle that God performed for me today and I can't tell you how thankful I am to Him!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


*Warning* this post is not a happy, uplifting one!

Yesterday, (Fri) when I talked to Kelly he told me that he wasn't able to call the day before because there had been a "blackout". When an incident occurs (either someone is wounded or killed) the internet and phones are blocked so no one can get information out before the family has been notified. He told me very basic details about a roadside bomb that hit a convoy from their base. A young (22) Spec 4 had lost a leg in the attack. It was someone that Kelly knew and had introduced me to when I was in Georgia. Sadly, I can't say that I specifically remember him though because he did introduce me to a lot of people. The story about him was on the front page of the Oregonian today telling the details of what happened. He lost a leg, the toes on his other foot and a finger. I knew basically what had happened, but when I saw it in the paper it really made me feel like throwing up. While Kelly was in Afghanistan a guy he knew was killed in an ambush at a checkpoint so I know in my head the realities of what can happen and does happen but this just made it so much more real. I also keep thinking about him only being 22. I guess that can be good and bad. Good in that he is young and healthy and will probably adapt quickly to a prosthetic. Bad in that he is young and healthy and his life is forever changed. I also worry for the other young soldiers. The ones who were with him on the convoy and the ones who just knew him. It's hard enough to deal with when you are older, more mature and experienced but so many of them are SO young. Needless to say, he, his family and all his fellow soldiers will be constantly in my thoughts and prayers for a long while.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


26 years ago and me became "we".

You have always been my best friend and the person I want to be with most in the whole world. You have always provided for me and our family and have always made me feel protected, safe, adored, sexy, talented, beautiful and most of all LOVED!

I'm so glad that we've taken this journey together. We've had jobs and no jobs, money and no money, driven crappy cars, lived in interesting places, been on some interesting and scary adventures, made some beautiful babies together and endured long separations (like right now!). But through it all we have been a team, working together to make our marriage and family the best we could make it. Thank you for loving me and being my partner for the past 26 years and many, many more to come!

I'm looking forward to being able to celebrate together next year!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Block Party

Last night was our neighborhood block party. We have had a party for the past maybe 12? years, except the year one of our neighbors died a couple of days before the party. We have only missed a couple times when we scheduled our vacation for the same time.

We live in such a great neighboorhood. We moved here in November of 1984 when I was 8 months pregnant with Lindsay. We had been married for just over a year and this 1200 sq ft, 3 bedroom, 2 bath house seemed huge! We planned to stay for maybe five years and then buy some acreage in the country. Well, that never happened and here we are almost 25 years later!

We have the greatest neighbors. Most of the people on our block (and it's really a double long block) have been here since the neighborhood began. Several of them are the only owners of their homes! When the kids were little it was kind of hard to live in a place where there were really no kids, almost everyone is my parent's age or older. But the benefit is that it is quiet, well kept, safe and most of all, friendly. I am happy to say that I know everyone on our block. Some just slightly and most very well.

When our family grew to seven and we were feeling like sardines in this house that used to seem so big we decided that we either had to move or remodel. We looked for something else but were sad to leave our wonderful neighborhood. So, we decided to remodel. We added a second story to our home and now it is twice the size it was before. We now have a 2400 sq ft home with 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. I feel like we have the best of both worlds, a home we can comfortably live in and we didn't have to leave this wonderful neighborhood and our great neighbors!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Birthday Boy!

Happy Birthday Kelly! How can it be that you are 50 today? 50? When did "middle age" happen? I wish you were here so we could have a great big party to celebrate or go on a great get-away, just the two of us, are spending your birthday in the"sand box" on the other side of the world.

The first birthday of yours that we spent together was your 21st. I remember that you invited me and my family to your parent's house for your birthday dinner. Your mom made cottage cheese dumplings which sounded so strange but were really good. I don't think that I have ever had them since. Maybe I will ask her for the recipe and make them when you come home.

It seems like you've spent more of your birthdays since then away from home than here to celebrate. I think most of the time you were at either AT or drill for your birthday and our anniversary and yet I don't ever remember you complaining about it (I know that I would have!)

So, on this day that you celebrate a half-century (!) of life, know that I appreciate the wonderful person that you are, I miss you, and most of all that I love you so much!

My world is a better place because you are in it! I love you and Happy Birthday!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Iraq Update

So, I've talked to Kelly I think maybe four times since he arrived in Iraq. He called this morning which was a nice change. It was nice to talk to him when I'm not half asleep so I can actually carry on a conversation. Apparently the Chief (his friend the Warrent Officer) has a DSN phone in his office that Kelly can use. With a DSN phone you call a number and they connect you with someone locally (Portland or Salem) who then forwards the call to the number that you are trying to reach. Usually you have a 20 minute time limit when with out warning they just disconnect you. Fortunately, for some reason, the phone he uses doesn't do that so we are able to have a nice, long conversation.

He is at a base called Al-Assad and is getting situated in his CHU (his conex home). He said it is a little bigger than the one he had in Afghanistan but has less in it. He is busy buying things from the group from Texas that is leaving. I know that he bought a bicycle, and a TV and DVD player. Apparently they have AFN (Armed Forces Network) cable in their rooms. He is trying to find an antenna for his laptop that he can put outside to pick up the wireless internet signal so he can finally get on the internet. The signal isn't strong enough to penetrate the metal walls of his CHU so he's hoping an antenna will help and he wants to get it before he starts paying $60 a month for internet.

He told me that his jobs at this point are:

1. He is the NCOIC (Noncomissioned Officer in Charge) of the convoy academy. Working with the Texas Guard (who are leaving) to coordinate the transfer of the academy to the Oregon Guard. He will be making sure that they have instructors and making sure that they are doing what needs to be done.

2. He is the NCOIC for the BNOC (basic noncommissioned officers course) doing test administration. He taught this course for several years while he was with the Military Academy.

3. Assisting the Chief who is the "mayor" of the CHU and is responsible for 400+ housing units.

So, needless to say, he is busy! It has been, of course, extremely hot there with temps well above 100. They have also been having sand storms which make life pretty miserable.

Hopefully, his time to be out on convoys will be very minimal. I know that he will be out there sometimes but the less the better. Especially after reading today that soldiers from their group who are at a different base have already had two roadside bombs go off. Thankfully no one was hurt!

So, that's the most that I know for now. I will write more when I know more!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kelly's in Iraq

Well, he has finally arrived in Iraq. He was supposed to leave Kuwait on the 26th but got moved up to the 24th. We were gone camping so he couldn't call and let me know. I finally got a call from him on the evening of the 25th. He didn't give me a lot of info, our connection got cut off three times and he had to call back. I'm not sure how we are going to communicate, apparently the USO phones at his base are not free like they were in Kuwait and the internet is interesting, to say the least. From what he has been told they used to have "hard line" internet on the base but had too much trouble with people "stealing" it so they did away with that and now have wireless. Unfortunatly the wireless is spotty at best so he's not sure about paying $60 a month for that. Anyway, he was supposed to call me Sunday morning but I haven't heard anything yet. I'm trying to be patient, it's just so hard when I don't know what's going on!

Camping 2009

Every year (except last year when we went to the beach) for the past like 14 (?) years my family (my parents, my sisters, sometimes hubbys and all the kids) go to Foster Lake near Sweet Home, OR for a camping trip. We normally stay for three nights. My requirements for camping include showers and flush toilets! The bad thing is that over the years it has apparently become more well known and has become very busy. We got there Monday night and by Wednesday they had put up the "campground full" sign. This year was interesting. My parents went with their camper, since Kelly is gone it is just the girls and I, Julie and Dennis just had Rilee so they sent Cassie and Hailey with me and came for one day, and Joanna and her kids came.

Monday night at about 11pm a group of kids drove in the campground in a very noisy truck and apparently came just to party. They made noise until about 4am when they packed up their stuff and left. Needless to say I didn't get much sleep that night. Tuesday the boys fished, all the kids swam and we all hung out. Tuesday night at about 11:30pm the lady in the group across from us had a medical emergency so we had an ambulance idling outside our tent for about an hour (she had apparently had a reaction to some medication). Wednesday we hung out some more, kids swam, boys fished, ect. Thursday we packed up and came home. Three nights is about perfect for me. I'm really ready to be in my own bed, steps from my own potty and able to take a shower without worrying if the hot water will last.

So, another camping trip, another summer almost gone by.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

He's in Kuwait

So, like I said in the last post, Kelly left Georgia on Friday, July 10. From there he flew to Canada, Iceland and Germany before touching down in Kuwait. I think he said it was like 27 hours or something, most of them in the air! He called yesterday, 7/11 at about 3pm or so. The girls and I had gone to Turkey Rama with a friend thinking if he called it would be later in the evening (when it was morning in Kuwait). But no, he called at 1am his time! Apparently they got there at like 10pm and after getting "settled" he went to find the phones and found a two hour wait! Lucky for him rank has priviledges so he went to their "TOC" (tactical operations center) where he found a phone that was less in demand. They are limited to 20 minute calls though. Anyway, he called back this morning at 7am while I was in the shower. I had taken the phone in the bathroom with me hoping he might call after I got out of the shower or something but no, he called right when I was totally soapy, had conditioner in my hair and had just put soap on my face. The phone rings and I know it has to be him so I try to reach around the shower wall to the counter on the other side of the shower, lose my balance, fall out of the shower onto the floor taking the shower curtain with me! When I told him what had happened he did call back a few minutes later when I had a chance to replace the curtain and rinse off!

He told me that when they arrived in Kuwait the "advanced party" people were still there! They left Georgia on about the 15th of June and were supposed to go ahead to Iraq to have everything set up for the "main body". Apparently the Marines who run the base where they will be are still trying to get ready for them and so now their whole Brigade will end up in Kuwait. I don't know if they will all go to Iraq at the same time or if they will stagger them (most likely). Also, Kelly did get bumped from the cargo plane he was hoping to fly on because they had issues with the weight of the load. He flew on the regular flight with all the "joes"(as he calls them).
When the people on the cargo flight got there he found out that they had to layover in Italy and the layover was so long that they had to get rooms and some people didn't have money, etc., so he was glad he didn't fly with them.

The temperature in Kuwait is a lovely 108 - 110. He said it's like turning on the blowdryer on "hot" and blowing it in your face. Fun times!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Next Phase

I am getting really tired of writing negative posts. Hopefully things will improve.

Kelly left this morning for Kuwait. All day yesterday I cried or got teary every time I would think about him. (and it's happening right now!) Today I went through the drive-up at the bank and my friend there asked me about him and I said that he left today and then I had to tell her that I couldn't talk about it anymore because everytime I do I start to cry! He called me at 7am while he was at the airport in GA waiting to board the plane. We talked for a while and then he said he would call me later because they were flying to Maine. Later he texted me as they were taking off and told me that they were actually flying to no phone call. If I had known I would have talked to him longer when he called! He sent me an e-mail from the airport in Canada and told me that he wasn't sure when he would be able to contact me again. This is the part that was so frustrating when he went to Afghanistan. We had really no form of communication for a while except for sporadic e-mails. It's so hard when I usually talk to him at least once a day.

Anyway, I am tired of feeling like I am swimming through mush. I don't know if that makes any sense but I just feel so tired and have no interest in doing anything. I keep telling myself to stop but I also am trying not to stuff my feelings this time,'s kind of crazy. Do I make myself stop feeling depressed or just go with it and feel it? I don't know. We will see what tomorrow brings I guess...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Baby Rilee Arrived Today!

This morning my sister, Julie and her husband, Dennis had their first baby. Little Rilee Kennedy arrived at 8:34 am, weighing 7 lbs 10 oz and was 21 1/2" long. She has a cute, round little face and dark black hair. She has two older sisters, Cassie (15) and Hailey (14) from Julie's first marriage and is now the 12th grandchild on my side of the family. There are now 10 girls and 2 boys. Oh yeah, girls rule, boys drool! She is also almost six months younger than my grandson! Following are some pictures for your enjoyment!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Finally an Update on Kelly

Wow, I can't believe it's been two months since I wrote anything about Kelly! I figured the 4th of July was an appropriate time to do so.

Part of the reason that I haven't written anything before this is that things have been difficult and changes have happened that I wasn't ready to put out there until it had all settled.

Ok, Kelly arrived at Ft. Stewart, GA on the 7th of May and things continued to be challenging with his Sergeant Major (SGM). Every time that I talked to him he was so stressed and tired, trying to do everything expected of him and more. It was really a difficult time for Kelly to become a 1st Sergeant (1SG). He didn't get to go to 1SG school, he had never had the 1SG role before, he was coming into a Company that was new to him and that was deploying on top of it all! Not the best time to do on-the-job training! There was also a Master Sergeant (MSG) who had expressed his desire to spend time in-country as a 1SG and the SGM had planned to have he and Kelly switch duties half way through the deployment. (Note: a 1SG and a MSG are the same rank (E-8) they just have different duties) Anyway, in mid-June the SGM had a meeting with Kelly and told him that he was switching them at that time. It was so difficult. I knew that he was feeling like maybe he had failed to live up to expectations but he was also so relieved to be out from the pressure. When he told me I could really sense his stress level had come down a lot. (There are a lot of under lying things that have started coming to light recently that make us believe that this didn't really have anything to do with Kelly or his abilities)

So, now he is a MSG and is working as an Operations NCO. Their mission in Iraq is Convoy and Base Security so as the Ops NCO he will be working to coordinate convoys, etc. Much less stress! One benefit of his new duty position is that when I went to visit 6/22 he had the ability to spend lots of time with me. If he had still been the 1SG I doubt that I would have seen him much! (you can read about our adventures in the previous posts)

The plan at this point is that he is leaving for Iraq in less that two weeks (I can't give the exact day for security reasons). He requested and at this point has been assigned to fly on one of the cargo planes as a "pallet rider" instead of flying with all the troops. I was surprised, thinking that they would be sitting in the cargo hold in the jump seats but he told me that on the these planes there is an area above the cargo hold that has nice cushy, reclining seats. Figures!

Anyway, the next post will probably be when he arrives in Kuwait. Following are some pictures that I took of the area where is lives and trains at Ft. Stewart.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vacation Part 2 - Georgia Days 2 +

Wednesday morning we headed to South Carolina to visit our nephew Josh's wife, Marcella and their sweet little girl, Aurelia. (Josh was away training in Virginia) We had a nice visit and went to lunch.

Entering SC

After leaving there we drove to Hilton Head. For me, really a disappointment. The houses are so close together that you can't even see the ocean and between each house are signs that say "no parking" and "private beach".

Hilton Head

After leaving there we decided to drive out to Tybee Island, GA ( just past Savannah). I was determined to dip my toes in the Atlantic Ocean! We got there, paid to park (crazy) and found a restaurant. We told the waitress that we were going to sit outside and after 20 minutes with no one coming out we left. We walked down to the beach were I walked in the ocean. It is so weird to this Oregon girl to walk in warm ocean water!

After leaving the beach we decided to try this place called "The Crab Shack" so we plugged it into the GPS and after driving down a small residential street we came to this really awesome place. It was really big with indoor, screened in seating and outdoor seating on a deck next to an inlet. There was an alligator pond where kids could feed alligators (the alligator food looked like dog treats) using poles with strings attached.

When we got our table we were seated in the outdoor area! It was a gorgeous night, warm and not humid with the lights in the trees and the noise of whatever kind of bugs, frogs, etc. you always hear in the South at night. We ordered the special which is Low Country Boil. It was amazing!

Thursday afternoon I got on the computer to do my online check-in for my flight Friday and it kept telling me that it couldn't check me in because my flight was more than 24 hours from then. Finally I called the 800 number for the airline and listened to the recording that said "your flight scheduled for JULY 26th....July?...yes, I am that stupid! I scheduled my return flight for July 26th instead of June 26th! So, many phone calls later I was rescheduled to return on Sunday (Saturday would have cost $800 more!), added two days to my rental car and hotel room and paid $250 more for my flight (worth every cent to spend two more days with my sweet hubby!). I spent the next three days hanging out in the room and going places on post with Kelly when he had free time. Saturday night we went with a friend of his out to dinner at Chilli's (they actually got to leave the base and wear "real people" clothes!). Sunday morning I got up at 2:00 am, drove to the airport, turned in my rental car and flew home. I got home at 11:00 am and it felt so good to walk out the airport doors and breathe cool, fresh air! It was an amazing, wonderful trip and Kelly and I even talked about going back to the Savannah area for vacation sometime!

Vacation Part 2 - Georgia Day 1

Ok, continuing from the last post...Brittany, Holden and I were at the St. Louis airport. I checked my bag and was told that my flight was delayed an hour so we went to Starbucks to have a drink and a snack, then sat outside the security area for awhile. While we were sitting there I overheard two flight attendants walking by say something about a flight being cancelled. I found a flight info board and found out that it was my flight! So, we went back up to the check in desk, waited in line and was told that the first available flight was not until 6:20 pm! I asked to be put on the stand-by list and told Britt that she might as well go home because I had to be on the other side of security to wait for flights. I was able to get them to rebook me on the 5:30 pm flight and remained on stand-by for earlier ones. When the 3:20 flight was getting ready to board they made an announcement that the airport in Atlanta was experiencing some weather issues and was completely shut down! The 3:20 flight ended up taking off about 10 minutes before the 5:30 flight and I got on as stand-by. When we arrived in Atlanta is was absolute chaos! My flight to Savannah was at 10:50 pm, we boarded on time and then sat on the tarmac for 1/2 hour while they changed the direction for take-off! When we arrived in Savannah it was midnight and the car rental counter was about to close so I rushed there, got my car and headed out for Ft. Stewart. I had planned my arrival for 2:30 pm so it would still be light out and I could navigate in the daylight but so much for plans! I arrived at Ft. Stewart at about 1:00 am, found Kelly and our room and went to bed...for about three hours until the alarm clock in the room went off at 5! We finally got it turned off and went back to sleep until about 9.

Kelly was given a 60 hour pass so we had all day Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday morning to spend without any interruptions.

Tuesday morning we stopped off at Starbucks, went to Wal-Mart and bought a GPS for the car and headed out to see the sights. First we went to Savannah and drove around the city. We stopped at a cemetary in the middle of town and walked around for awhile, had lunch at a funky little place called "The Mellow Mushroom". It was decorated in a 60's theme and played 60's music. It was pretty fun. We did forget to put money in the parking meter and ended up getting a $15 ticket (within 10 minutes of parking). After we left Savannah, we went to a movie.

Vacation Part 1 - Missouri

Part one of my trip began with me flying out at 12:30 am on Monday, 6/15. Got to Minneapolis airport for my layover and went to the gate for the next leg of my flight. After sitting there alone for about 1/2 hour I looked at my ticket again and realized that I had looked at my seat number! I found the right gate (after a lot of walking) and when I got there the departing flight was not for St. Louis. I looked on the flight info board and saw that now my flight was leaving from a gate in "C" concourse and I was in "A". After walking probably a mile in the stupid airport I found the right gate with just a few minutes to spare before boarding began! When I got to St. Louis, Nick and Britt were late because of an accident on the interstate so I hung out at Starbucks until they arrived. It was pouring rain the first day that I was there and that night there was thunder, lightning and driving rain. Next morning it was kind of humid but still cool enough for Brittany, Holden and I to take a walk and play on the playground.

We spent the week pretty much hanging around the house because it was so humid it was miserable to do anything outside! Saturday I babysat Holden while Nick and Brittany went to a movie and out to dinner for Father's Day. Oh, how I love this baby boy! He is such a good, happy baby and so much fun!

Sunday we had planned to drive up to Lake of the Ozarks State Park where they have swimming beaches and a cave to tour. We wanted to take the dogs with us so I got on the parks website to see if dogs were allowed. To my surprise I read that all the beaches and the cave was closed due to flooding! So, we went to a park next to a river on post where we could swim. The first place we went to the current was so strong we could just wade. Then we moved to another place where the water was calm but the bank was so muddy that to get in the water you pretty much had to slide down on your backside. I stayed out of the water and was so sweaty by the time we left that I felt like I had been swimming!

Monday morning Brittany, Holden and I left for the airport at 5:15 am for my 9:30 flight. Then the story gets really crazy. You'll have to the read Vacation Part 2 - Georgia for that!