Friday, April 30, 2010

Spring Fest!!

So yesterday morning, I decided I was going to take the kids to Spring Fest here on Fort Gordon. I asked Denise if she'd like to go so around lunch time we got together. I dropped a package off at the post office and then hung out at home until the festival started. Man, was it it a blast!!! It was family night so arm bands were 10 bucks and Jayson loved it! I took him on the Ferris Wheel and then on the Merry Go Round. While we were riding that, Jay showed up so he took Jayson on a few more rides. They had a blast. We tried deep fried oreos for the first time, delish! After a bit, Eli started getting fussy and Jayson was getting pink from being out in the sun and heat. So we headed home so Eli could settle down and Jayson could cool off and calm down. About an hour later (maybe) Denise, Jayson and I headed back to the festival while Jay, Lindsey (Denise's hubby) and Eli headed to some place to sign up for Warrior Jiu Jitzu. I just have to say, being able to go back to the festival with just Jayson and Denise was awesome. Jayson had that sparkle in his eye and just couldn't get enough of any of it. We rode some rides, had a caramel apple and then rode some more rides until the guys met up with us and we headed home about 9pm. At that time the guys were complaining of being hungry so we contemplated what to eat. Everywhere had long delivery times and so I said Denise and I could pick something up if the guys got the kids down for the night. OMG! LOL Eli went down fairly well from my understanding and Jayson was out by the time we got home. We originally planned on hitting up Zaxby's. Yeah they close at 9, it was 9:30 and as I was leaving that parking lot my gas light came on. So I drive farther down the road into town to find a gas station and a place to eat. LOL We see a Wendy's and of course the gas station is after it. So I go get gas, and go to wendy's which was really busy for a Thursday night at almost 10pm. We finally get back and eat at like 10:30pm. Man everyone was exhausted but we finished up the fight we were watching and we said our goodnights. It was a long yet fun and crazy night. Before Denise and Lindsey headed home, the guys had Denise and I laughing so hard we were tearing up. We were that tired. Everything was so funny. I think it was her soda can making a popping sound that had us cracking up and then we just kept going. It was a lot of fun and I can't wait to do it again! LOL I feel a little bit more motivated to do fun things now. Thanks Denise! :)

Now for this morning, Jay is getting promoted. It was supposed to be at 6:30am for the promotion and I didn't think getting the kids out of bed for that would have ended well for anyone. Well at 7, Jay calls me telling me they didn't have his promotion orders and they were going to squeeze them out of the S shop and then have the promotion at 8am. I was sleeping when he called and both kids were still OUT. Again, I didn't thinking forcing them awake after keeping them up late would have ended well for anyone involved so we are missing the promotion ceremony. It's alright because he'll still be a SSG when he comes home, whether we are there to see him promoted or not. I wish we could have been there but there just wasn't enough time between when he called me and when the ceremony started. We are so happy that Jay finally is being pinned his E-6. He has worked very hard for this and deserves it!!

Now lets see what else the boys and I can get into today! :)

I love you baby and I'm very proud of you!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Garden - Week One & Promotion!

They are growing. The onions seem to be showing the most growth since planting them. I'm fairly impressed at how they look. I honestly thought it would take more time to weed and keep random things out of the garden (the trees drop leaves and seed pods). Jayson has seemed to give up on the gardening with me but at least he has fun while we're outside together. I'm excited to see how well they bloom. I'm already starting to think about a fall garden. I wonder if this one will be done by then or if I should consider building another one... Hmmm... Thoughts?

On another note, Jay is getting promoted! YAY!! He's worked very hard and he deserves this! He has some training coming up and then after that he'll be dropping his Warrant Officer packet. We're so excited!! C'mon September! I wanna know how everything is going to play out. I'm very impatient and I already know it's all going to work out. I can honestly say it won't work out smoothly (nothing in our life ever does) but I know it'll work out for the best. I just want to know where to expect to be in the next year or two. I'm very excited about Jay's motivation to excel, it's really amazing to see this side of him. I'm very proud of him. We're throwing around ideas of how to celebrate his promotion. I think we're just gonna do a little something at home. Eventually I'd like to go out on a 'date' with him but there is a lot of planning involved in something like that. I'd need a babysitter and the ability to not worry about how the kids would be for said babysitter. That is my bigger fear, I don't fear the babysitter but I fear my children. LOL I worry how they would act for someone watching them. I need to get over that but it's hard. Eli can be a handful and a half! LOL Anyway, I'm rambling now. Time to go back to reading... I'm on Fantasy in Death and it's proving to be an excellent read. I just am unsure of what to read after this is over. My reading "hobby" is becoming expensive at how quickly I'm finishing books. I need to utilize the library more often. :)

 Jayson took every stuffed animal he has and covered his bed before crawling in and falling asleep.

 Jay was helping Jayson give Eli a pony ride. And Below Eli is enjoying every minute of it!

My boys being sweet to each other :)
Here are some random photos to enjoy! Oh, one last thing, I'm thinking about taking up photography as a hobby. Anyone have any cameras they might suggest for a beginner trying to self learn?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Raised Bed Gardening...

I have wanted to garden for a few years now. So yesterday I went to Home Depot, got some wood and built a raised garden bed. Now it's 12" high which I didn't think anything of except it's taking a lot of dirt to fill. I've put in 200+lbs of soil/compost/garden "soil" but it's still about 2/3 empty. How deep does it need to be?

The plants I have ready to be put in are: Tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, bell peppers, squash and cilantro. Are any of these in need of a deep garden or would it be alright to stop now?

Here is a picture or two of what it looks like now with soil & compost in there. Should I get more soil & compost or is it alright to keep going. By the way it's just on top of the ground. We're in GA so the ground is kind of hard.

I think I'll go out and get about 2-3 40lb bags of soil and 3-4 bags of compost/manure and be done with dirt. I want to plant my veggies! How's it look? Any suggestions?

Oh, Forgot to mention what is in there right now. It's 2 bags of the 2cu. ft. miracle grow gardening soil, 4 bags of 40lb cheap top soil and 1 bag of 40lb manure/compost. All mixed together. Remember, this garden isn't one that should last for years to come, it make only be here until next year so I didn't want to go all out and make sure I had great soil for years/seasons to come, just something to throw together now for fairly cheap.

Jayson is so proud of our garden :) Such a big helper
Tomato plants on the left, and the first row of cucumbers on the right.
Next row is 2nd row of cucumbers on the left and squash on the right
Left bottom to top is: Bell Pepper, watermelon, then the top right corner is onions.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gardening & Eating Healthy!

So I've decided I want to eat more healthy. From the looks of things, it's going to be a big transition for the family but it's my goal this year, along with a few other things but those are for another post. LOL I've been watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and it really hits me hard. I didn't deal with weight problems until after I had Jayson but I now know the difficulty of it. The big thing that breaks my heart is seeing children have to deal with these problems. So I've decided to try harder. One step I'm making is starting my own garden. It's going to be small and preferably transferable. I know that when I move there will probably be some vegitables, herbs and fruit that won't thrive in the new area but I'd prefer to keep costs as low as possible by taking the plants with me, depending on where we go. Over seas duty stations would be a damper on this but other than that I'm sure I can do something no matter where I go. Now to start at the top of the question list.

Being military and knowing I have to move eventually, how do I keep costs down? Can I garden out of pots or small boxes? Something that would be able to move with me? I've even seen small green house pop ups that I could purchase if I needed to for a duty station bad for the plants. This is going to have to be an investment worth it. I really want fresh foods but I have to make sure it won't turned into wasted money. So here is my question for those of you with green thumbs, experience and knowledge, how can I do this for my family?

Next, what vegetables would be the best to plant and grow? I live in Augusta, GA. I have seen several different ones offered at the PX here. There are seeds or plants already sprouted. Which would you suggest?

Any advice, knowledge, tricks of the trade would be greatly appreciated. After those first two questions have been answered and I decide on how I'm going to continue, I'm sure I'll have more questions.

Friday, April 16, 2010

And I chose this "career"!

WOW! My little ones are only 3 and 8 months! Really?? I'm already dreading the running around of different sports events, school activities and tedious errands that awaits me in September. I'm sure there won't be as many as I'm fearing but I know that once Eli hits school age, my life will be full on hectic. I have to say, I give a lot of credit to Annie. She's always on the go! Doing something new, taking the kids to the park, the museum, to school or just running around doing the daily errands of a SAHM. WOW! I had to take two of them down to the hospital, cart them from one end to the other (Anyone know where the parking lot near the Family Clinic is??) just to get some numbers and a signature on a piece of paper for WIC. Then I took the kids over to WIC. I get in there and realize that I forgot ALL my paperwork besides the one from the hospital. Fortunately I was 25 min early and I had to convince the clerk that I lived literally 3 min down the road. I get home, print out Jay's LES, our internet bill and grab Jayson's birth certificate. I get back about 3 minutes late and their computer system is down. Really?? She argued with me because she thought I'd be late and it didn't matter because the computer system went down before she would have called me back anyway. UGH! LOL Anyway, I spent an hour at WIC to finally get all my coupons. I still haven't gotten gas but Eli was so hungry, ready to be changed and exhausted that I just went straight home. I got the kids in, changed Eli, fed him and now he's passed out. I still have so much to do. After Eli gets up, we're gonna run to the grocery store and I promised Jayson we'd go to the park. Why did I do that??

Yesterday was difficult. I don't know if many of you know but we have a dog. Her name is Violet. She's a 9 month old Black Lab. She's a great dog, I just feel like I'm to busy to tend to her. I've tasked Jay with the job of tending to her as much as he can and I'll pick up the slack while he's at work. Well yesterday, I took the kids to the hospital to get some tests done for the WIC paperwork. I got back and completely forgot about Violet. She spent maybe 6 hours in her kennel when I heard her whining upstairs at about 3:30. She had messed all over her kennel. I had to have Jay come up to help me cleaner her enough to get her down stairs with out ruining the carpet on the way. I cleaned her kennel, I thought a few times I was going to vomit it was so bad. She had puked, pooped and pissed all over the kennel. That poor dog. I feel bad. SO BAD. I just don't know if I can handle the extra responsibility. She is an awesome dog. She doesn't run off. She loves to play. We have her off her leash when we're outside playing with her and she doesn't even wander off. Jayson adores her. I'm trying to be better about it. I'm sure after a little while, I'll get into some sort of routine. We'll see.

Jay made me better by making an awesome dinner. He made the chicken, sauteed mushrooms & onions, with mashed potatoes & green beans as our sides. It was an awesome dinner. I think the fact that I didn't cook it made it taste EVEN better! LOL Now to figure out what we're going to be having tonight. Plus I need to write out a grocery list after decided which WIC coupon I'll be using.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date.

This morning I woke up realizing I have a lot to do! I have a WIC appointment tomorrow and here they don't have a clinic a part of their office, so I have to go to the hospital here on post to get any blood work, height, weight or blood pressure done. Well, tomorrow is Jayson's re-certification and he needed his height, weight and hemoglobin checked. I loaded up the kids and headed over to the always overly busy military hospital. We left about 9:30-9:45 and it takes us about 5-10 minutes to get across post to the hospital. (Darn slow military speed limits :P) Well, after unloading, walking through the hospital to one of the back offices, checking in, getting Jayson's height & weight check, walking to the front of the hospital to get on the elevator to go to the 1st floor (the basement... dunno why it's called the 1st floor but oh well.) to go to the lab, get Jayson's finger prick and back out to the truck. After I had everyone loaded in, and ready to go, I checked the clock and we were leaving the hospital at 10:18! WOWEEE! Just a little brag, Jayson sat in that chair, chatted up the lab tech and when she pricked his finger, he stopped for a second, deciding if he was going to cry or not. I quickly said "Jayson that's it, it's all done!" And he just started chatting again. It seemed to shake him for a second but then he was back to his old self. Not a single tear! I am so proud!! I told him the whole way back out to the truck, what a big boy he is!! That child amazes me daily!

Well, at some point either this evening or tomorrow morning before my WIC appointment, I'm going to have to pick up the results and get my paperwork signed off. My WIC appointment is early tomorrow but the lady who runs the WIC paperwork stuff said she'd be in at 7 so I could come by before my appointment. Unfortunately, sometime today I'm going to have to go get gas in the truck because as soon as I pulled into our drive way the gas light came on. UGH! LOL I know it sounds silly but I hate having so much to do. I also sometime in the near future need to hit up the grocery store. Today is going to be insane because of it being pay day but maybe tomorrow. When I have several things to do in the time span of a few days I feel rushed. LOL I can only imagine what I'll feel like once Jayson will start school! Anyway, I need to sit down and see how little I can spend by checking local sales ads and making a menu for the next 2 weeks. I'm going to HONESTLY try to only spend about 30-50 bucks on groceries for 2 weeks. If I can do it, I'll be amazed! Of course, I do have my WIC and a big stocked in the pantry so I'm sure I can make it. I also cloth diaper and make my own laundry soap so that should help out A LOT! Now if I only knew how much a propane tank would cost, we could live off hamburgers, hot dogs & grilled chicken. LOL I made from scratch a potato soup last night because I didn't have anything thawed. I just kinda winged it. Everyone (Elijah included) LOVED it! Jayson ate TWO bowls of soup. This child hardly ever finished his first helping of ANYTHING.

Here is my "recipe":
About 5 russet potatoes peeled and cubed
2 cans of condensed milk (thank you WIC)
a big of Velvetta Cheese (about a 1/4 of the large block)
mushrooms sliced (WIC again)
one onion chopped (WIC)
1.5 c of milk (WIC)
1 packet of roasted garlic instant potatoes
celery salt

I boiled the potatoes in a pot of water until they were tender enough to break a part with little force.  I drained them of all the water, I then added the milk, and mushrooms and heated that to a simmer while chopping and adding in the cheese. Then I added the butter, milk and instant potatoes to thicken up the soup and then seasoned it to taste.

It wasn't a warm weather type of meal if you go by that but it was delicious! I still have some mushrooms left which I need to use up so I'm not sure what to make. I'm out of cheese except a small block of cheddar. Is sauteed mushrooms & onions good with chicken? LOL I don't have any steak so that's out. I need some ideas!

I'm gonna start browsing through some recipes online.. I'll let ya know what I decide :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Coming in September!

So we went by the preschool and it is amazing!! We enrolled Jayson this morning and took a tour of the school. It was awesome. There are two classes for each age. One is for the 4 days a week class and the other is for the 2 days a week class. He will be starting in September! They will be sending us a packet of info over the summer to let us know when they will be holding Open House and anything else we need to know before the school year begins.

When we first got there, the whole place was so big that we didn't know where to go. This place is HUGE! There are several different buildings associated with the church. We finally drove around to the back and found the preschool. Jayson was so excited because he saw some of the other students coming in for class. There were three small play areas right by there fenced in and he made a point to show us those. We get inside and there are computers for checking in and two offices for the directors. One office was busy with another parent and the other office was open but empty. We wait a minute or two and the person who worked in the open office walked up. I explained why we were there and it was a fairly quick process. I enrolled Jayson in probably less than 5 minutes. (I printed, filled out and signed the registration form prior to leaving home this morning) Then we walked through the school just to see how it looked. It was absolutely amazing. We walked down the hall way and the first set of rooms we saw were for the Mother's Day Out section. They have strollers for taking the smaller children out and about. Then there were the Preschool Ministry, where the children go weekly. Then there were the rooms for every age group based on if they are the two day or the four day program. The rooms look amazing. They have a small amount of children and two teachers. I'm beyond grateful for Annie finding this place! It is amazing! I'm even thinking about going on Sunday to see how I like the church. They have so much to offer. They have tradition & contemporary services every Sunday Morning. They also have bible study for all ages, woman's ministry and men's ministry. There are so many different activities and functions for the fellowship. This would be a great way for us to get into the community and enjoy where we are living.

I really think this would a good thing for Jay and I to do for our family. We spend to much time inside away from the rest of the world. How do I expect to meet people if I don't get out and just do it?? Silly me.

Other things we have going on are Saturday there is Military Child Month Festival at Barton Field & Family Fun Day at the Stables, both here on post. There are plenty of options for us to enjoy ourselves this weekend. Then Sunday night, we have the Free Financial Peace University lesson offered at another local church that we are signed up for. I just need to print out our work book and make sure Jay is on the same page with that. Further down the road there is a Spring Fest here on post from April 29th to May 2nd. There is a Family Night and Military Appreciation Day so those look like fun! I'm glad that at least the MWR here on this post has TONS of activities for all ages now that the weather is getting nicer. I need to just get motivated and go to these things with the boys. That way we can do stuff. I have to remember that I'm now making memories for Jayson.

I need to get on the ball with looking at Williamsburg's website to see what kind of family friendly attractions they have. I'm sure there are plenty. Just need to do the research, and once I have some ideas of what we'll be doing I'll probably use here to get my thoughts into order.

I'm also tossing around the idea of starting a garden. Is it too late for that? I'm thinking about planting tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, green onions and maybe some strawberries. I know nothing about gardening so any help would be good.

Well that's all for today, I'm sure that it's plenty! LOL Now to do some research on gardening and vacation in Williamsburg.

Warrant Officer & Army Acronyms

Just a quick little info blog. I'll explain a few things. Yesterday when I was writing I thought about explaining a few things but just passed it by because I knew my time was limited and Eli would wake up soon. Right now, Jayson and I are ready to go to visit his preschool, Eli is still asleep and Jay is headed up to get ready now. So I have a little bit of time.

ALC - Advanced Leadership Course this used to be called BNCOC, this is just another course to help keep the NCO's on track with what is expected of them and help them excel in their ranks.

BNCOC - Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course, now called ALC
WOC - Warrant Officer Candidate School - The school that the soldier attends to become a Warrant Officer after being selected.

A Warrant Officer in the Army is pretty much a specialist in the MOS (Job) he is in.

On the WOC website this is their definition:
In 2005, the Department of the Army developed a new definition to encompass all warrant officer specialties and grades.
"The Army WO is a self–aware and adaptive technical expert, combat leader, trainer, and advisor. Through progressive levels of expertise in assignments, training, and education, the WO administers, manages, maintains, operates, and integrates Army systems and equipment across the full spectrum of Army operations. Warrant Officers are innovative integrators of emerging technologies, dynamic teachers, confident warfighters, and developers of specialized teams of soldiers. They support a wide range of Army missions throughout their career. Warrant officers in the Army are accessed with specific levels of technical ability. They refine their technical expertise and develop their leadership and management skills through tiered progressive assignment and education."
(DA Pamphlet 600-3, p. 3-9)

It's parallel to being an Officer. While an Officer deals with more administrative things, a WO deals with more MOS based duties.

This quote from the same website as mentioned above is a little bit more enlightening: 

   "The Army Warrant Officer Corps is comprised of over 25,000 men and women of the active Army and reserve components. Warrant officers are technical experts that manage and maintain increasingly complex battlefield systems. They enhance the Army's ability to defend our national interests, and to fight and win our nations wars.
Candidates who successfully complete Warrant Officer Candidate School are appointed in the grade of Warrant Officer One. When promoted to Chief Warrant Officer Two, warrant officers are commissioned by the President and have the same legal status as their traditional commissioned officer counterparts. However, warrant officers remain single-specialty officers whose career track is oriented towards progressing within their career field rather than focusing on increased levels of command and staff duty positions."

Hope that helps :) I tend to forget that not everyone in the military knows how the Army works and not everyone knows about the military. So if I tend to go off into a military lingo rant, just real me and and say "What the heck does all this mean??" LOL! 

Now to wake up Eli, get him ready and head out to the Preschool!! I'll be writing up my "review" when I return! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Preschool, WOC & Jiu Jitsu...

With everything being so busy in our lives, I've decided that I should document it some how for my two boys. Maybe they'll have this to come back to and smile over their memories. I feel as if I have already missed out on some of our life but I guess this is better than nothing. I'll dive right into what we have going on now.

These past few weeks have been fairly active. Jay is putting together his application packet for Warrant Officer Candidate school. He's going to ALC (BNCOC) in about a month and will be gone for 6 weeks for that. We've also been talking about enrolling Jayson into preschool and Jay into a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school.

While on the phone with Annie yesterday, I started talking about needing Jayson to get the social interaction and to excel where I can't seem to keep his attention. We, Annie & I, started searching the internet for preschools in the area that would fit my family's lifestyle and belief base. I started to feel defeated and walked a way to tend to somethings through out the house while still chatting with her on the phone. Then she said she had found a church near me that offered Mother's Day out & Preschool for 3-4 year olds. She said she would email me the links. We continued on with our chat while I worked around the house and forgotten about the preschool. Later that day, when Jay got home from work, we were tossing around the idea of sending Jayson to preschool in the fall. It just clicked out of no where that Annie had sent me those links in an email. I pulled it up and we both were very interested in what we saw. Warren Baptist Preschool Ministry is the place we've decided to check out and more than likely send Jayson in the fall. Jayson is extremely excited about going to school. He talks about it constantly. I believe this will be a great opportunity for him as he will learn how to socialize with children his age, positive reinforcement, and function in a class room setting. Eli will benefit from Jayson going to school because he'll have some one on one time with myself while Jayson is in school, plus he'll be retaining a lot of what he sees his big brother doing and learning.

Jay has suddenly gotten a jump on his packet for WOC. He had been tossing the idea around until we finally decided to stop talking about it and just do it. I'm sure it took a lot of guts on his part because it's a big step for his career. We're very excited and nervous about this transition into a new world. We've been in the enlisted world for so long that we're unsure what the Warrant Officer lifestyle has to offer us but we are very excited to find out. Jay is so good at what he does and it shows through everything he has done. He has several people who believe that he is a perfect candidate for becoming a Warrant Officer. I'm so proud of him and I just wish his fear of rejection would subside and give him peace during this process.

As for his hobbies, he has always (since the day I've met him) been extremely engulfed in all sorts of hobbies. He is an artist, an amateur wrestler, comic book enthusiast and UFC fan. So his recent interest is to enroll into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. With the current schedule we have, it seems difficult to fit it in but I hope he doesn't just give up as another hobby unobtainable. After he returns from ALC and we have our family vacation, I believe he'll have plenty of time to take BJJ. Right now he seems a little deflated because he can't do it right now but I'm sure when these next few months are over, he'll become more excited about his opening schedule for BJJ.

Ahhh, Vacation... I almost forgot. As of right now, we have a short vacation booked in July. We will be going to Williamsburg, VA for a week, Thanks entirely to my grandmother. I wanted to do something a little bit more family oriented while still educational for Jayson. I remember as a kid growing up we used to visit historical places. While it sounds boring, it was extremely fascinating and because of those places we visited, it birthed my interest in history. Being a military family, learning about the history of our beloved country gives us a pride and honor in what we all sacrifice for. I hope that my children bear that same pride that I have from being a daughter of a sailor, wife of a soldier and prior service soldier myself. Even with some of the ups and downs in our current government and economic circumstances, I still bear a great pride in our country and what we have made ourselves into.

Eli is crawling, walking along furniture and babbling up a storm. I'm sure he'll be walking in the next few months. He is so determined to keep up with his big brother. One thing I've learned time and time again, now that I am a mommy to two, is that every child is different. I've heard it said time and time again and I didn't doubt it. I just didn't understand how deeply it went. I guess I assumed that of course they would be different but being brothers and of the same parents, they would have a great many similarities. Boy was I wrong, the only thing these two have in common is the fact that they look similar. Just in Eli's short 7.5 months of life, he has been a perfect contrast to his brother. He is extremely vocal, has a temper that tests mine and is stubborn to boot. Jayson at this age was fairly easy to please, easy going and flexible to everything. Eli likes routine and Jayson was go with the flow. These two are night and day. Eli only sleeps in his crib and sometimes his car seat. Jayson would sleep anywhere as long as he was tired enough. Jayson loved to sit and play on his own, Eli insists on having attention paid to him almost all the time. I could probably go on and on about the differences in these two. It just amazes me every day how different these two are. It makes me wonder how the terrible twos will be with Eli, oy vey! LOL

Tomorrow I'll probably post about how we like the preschool and if we enrolled Jayson.