Wednesday, February 29, 2012

PCS happens

It's happening {again}.

 Do you see the signs? {in the corner behind the chair}
 Just when it got comfortable...
 and I liked how things are starting to look...the look started changing { see that on the end table?}
 and before I knew it the signs weren't subtle anymore {they were messy and in my face}
It's time folks for {ANOTHER}  PCS'ing this family to Fort Stewart Georgia.  Now I have some things to confess.  #1, I got a new china hutch knowing full well we would be moving.  Dumb? Maybe, BUT I got the hutch and two captains chairs that are missing from our set that is a perfect match for less than $300.  I can move that, thank you very much.  #2, I am actually starting to look FORWARD to moving this time {not the moving, but the getting there part}. 

I started looking through some pics on fb the other day trying to find an image I wanted to share with a friend.  And there it was, right in my face, my vacation {my only time I have ever gone anywhere for any amount of time with my husband alone vacation} to Savannah Georgia in 2008.  Oh man, I am excited to take the kids to the River Walk and the historic district!  And She Crab soup!?  Kill me now, I cannot wait for that part!

Two thing first.

 One, we have to find a house.  Base is over loaded on their wait list, AND I hear the high school for on post housing kind of bites, so we are looking for living "on the economy", and in Richmond Hill.  Which with our budget, it might be a hard search.  We are going over the weekend of March 17 (St. Paddy's Day....and Savannah has the worlds 2nd largest St. Paddy's Day party in the world...might be interesting).  Hopefully we will find a house and it will be amazing from there on out.

Second is that we have decided to move ourselves.  A DITY, yes, I am crazy.  But we aren't sure of our move out date because of Chris' ARC training being super vague on dates etc.,  which would make it a scramble to try and schedule movers and a house.  The kids need to get moved so they can get into their new schools.  Me... I am just ready to declutter.  I am getting boxes from people who just moved here with a mover, so aside from the need to relable the boxes I am getting a start NOW.

Our projected guess for our move date is less than 4 weeks from now.  I gotta hustle, cuz if I have to do this alone, I need to eat this elephant in digestible bites.

And I want time to dream, and enjoy the idea of a little time having access to all of the wonderful things to find and do near Savannah, Georgia.  (I took this pic in Aug 2008)

Monday, February 13, 2012


I am super unhappy.
We took a few field trips together as a family.
One to go see "the Little White house", the home that Pres. FD Roosevelt died in,
and the other to a southern plantation home
in Jonesboro Georgia just outside Atlanta.
It is where the North entered Atlanta from the South,
during the Civil War.
The area was the inspiration for
Gone with the wind.

And so it is,
when it was time to upload pictures and blog...
and get the camera ready for
ABOLC graduation, we discovered that
the memory card had been removed
our field trips.
The "not me" ghost is to blame I suppose, but for now
any pics we had of those two weekends
Gone With the Wind.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Mornings in our house are as typical as any I suppose. 
We have to make sure our kids wake up.
We have to make sure our kids look appropriate when they leave to school. 
But not on Thursdays.  Thursday is JROTC dress up day.
 No sneaking out in anything out of order fact, we woke up to Braden
asking for his Dad to inspect his uniform. (insert blurry eyed groggy me ...
BLERGH what?)

We like JROTC in this house. 
Because we are a military family?
Because the cadre will bark up one
side and down the other of my oldest son's
tree if he falls out of order.  And if he is out
of order, he is off the rifle team. 

Motivation to do well in school.
Motivation to be on time.
Motivation to look sharp.

After I was fully awake, and I have told Colton to go
change his uniform (also a green shirt, but a polo and
khaki pants), I got Olivia ready for school.  It's
P.E. day and they are learning to do back bends.
(they mean it, it's not Olivia's idea, even if
she agrees completely)

Then a little known thing about my youngest daughter happened.
Mess with her morning and she does something...
and infuriating...
she Russell's.

Yes she does the "Russell", a trait anyone
close to my side of the family has witnessed in my
youngest brother.
In fact the more urgent a person
is to get things moving, the more Russell will
quietly, and stubbornly, digs his heels in and decides to
start moving slower than tar in January.  I  mean

I tried to get him to hurry across Highway 48 when
a semi truck was coming down the road.  NOPE.

Olivia does this, but she doesn't get mad when
you push her too far like my brother.  She
cries and shuts down. 

Motivating her is hard and complicated stuff.  BUT
today, her Dad came home from work early and
picked us up on the way to school (saving her from
being WAY late), and she made it!  Seeing her Dad
in his Avalanche, she started running like MAD.
Daddy is her motivation.

After Chris went to work, it left me with my dogs,
a chilly morning, and being on the other side of
base from my house.  Which for today was my only
motivation.  If I don't walk, I don't get home.

But luckily today was jump day at the Airborn School
here on Fort Benning.  I got to walk around, enjoy the
morning (it was pretty cold) and listen to the jump
masters give instructions repeatedly over a loud speaker
as they hoisted men up in groups of three just to drop
them and their parachute to join the others on the

The jump master would tell them when they got to
then proceed to order them to be dropped in turns
on the count of one (drop one) two (drop the second)
and three (off goes the third).

I don't think there is enough motivation in the WORLD
that could get me to do that.  I will take my walk
across base.  I enjoyed it too.  I dropped the dogs off
at the dog park and chatted with some ladies about
Fort Stewart, and then headed on my way.  No time
frame, no one yelling at me.  No real hurry.  No one
MAKING me be motivated.  And guess what?
It was encouraging.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

the "Guantlet"

The dh is done with "Gauntlet" , which is for lack of a better explanation, the capstone of ABOLC (Armor Basic Officers Leadership Course).  It lasted 13 long days and nights, but now he is done and out processing with just a Dining In to attend, then Graduation and a social on Friday.  Then in theory, he will move along to ARC (Army Reconnaissance Course) the following Monday, and then when he has completed the 27 days of "fun", then we will begin the process of moving to our new post.  HOOAH!

My husband's other car....

The husband as the "volunteer" for the demonstration for searching a compliant (and also no compliant) person being detained.

I will try to get an ID on all the guys in the pic for future referance.
  Can you pick out the Cadre members? 
 (hint:  their uniforms are clean)
My LT is to the far left kneeling.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tea! ... a drink with jam and bread ...(if only it were that simple)

Part of becoming and officer's wife, they tell me, is learning all kinds of new courtesies and protocol.  "They" have also told me that, as an officer in the Army, my husband will not have an option whether or no to participate.  Wives, however are at the 'luxury' to participate or refrain at their personal preference.  Another set of "they's" have also insinuated to me that although optional it may be, it is a definite consideration in the forwarding of one's husband's career. 
This is NOT a game, this is not for fun.  These ladies and I do mean ladies mean business.  It's not about looking fussy or trying to out dress the next girl, it's about tradition, manners and the need for a social life.
 And may I add...great shoes :)

 And outside of being a British royal, when else would a fun feminine hat and pearls pass off here in the United States?  They Kentucky Derby I suppose, and I am sure there are others, but really in comparison there isn't a big pool for these kinds of social situations around here.
 Now for imagination and understanding's sake, think back a few years.  It wasn't all THAT long ago that blogging, and face book, and really the cell phone and Internet all together were either just being born, or weren't even an idea yet.
 It wasn't all that long ago. 

This will date me, but when my husband and I first got married (1994), you were HOT stuff if you carried a pager.  A cell phone was almost unheard of, and super expensive (not that they aren't now if you have a smart phone and data blah blah package).  My mother in law had a car phone, which was really a big ol telephone in a a duffel bag.  But I digress.

Put yourself in the place of a new wife (or in this case not so new wife) of a new officer in the Army before the communication age that we live in now.  You would most likely have left home and friends and family far behind with only a few telephone calls, and letters and cards to fill in the gaps.

It was not exactly a setting for a young woman, or an older one for that matter, to settle in and be content in her new environ.  Being lonley does NOT make for a happy new wife.  Acquiring friends and becoming part of the social circle was (and I might add, IS) crucial to a person's well being, both mentally and some times it even helps temporally, today we would call it networking.

 Having tea became a BIG deal,until all consideration for the tradition went out of whack.  The habit of trying to look like Jacki O, in the sixties  succumbed to the big hair and glitter and a general disdain for anything that required any kind of restraint, or refinement during the 19080's ( the words of the hostesses, not mine). 
 And, as a general rule, there is a generation or two that don't know the first thing about attending an actual formal event.  So what used to be named the Officer's Wives Club, which is now called the DUSA ( Daughters of the United States Army), have started making an effort to educate the up and coming officer's wives so that when the invitation to tea arises (they say there are many who will only go to 4 during their husband's entire career), then the urge to decline out being unfamiliar with the rites and customs of tea won't be so strong.

 I received three pages of protocol to go over when I got the invitation.  I have to admit that I did RSVP a yes, but thought daily about canceling.  I felt a little bit...old...and bull in a china shop-ish.
But I went.  Why?

1. Because this would be the first and only tea in which explanation and tutoring would be involved.  From here on out, if there is a tea, and I go then it will be expected that I understand the nuances and rites.  BLERGH.

2. I told Linzi, and April and Savannah, and Marie I would.  And the girl in me really REALLY wanted to be a pretty and fancy lady for a day.

3.  I knew if I backed out of this, I would have a hard time going to all the other "optional" things that are in the future.  I will never fit in this new life, if I don't jump in and start living it.

4.  I really REALLY wanted to see Riverside.
The Ladies were wonderful, and the time went pretty quickly.
Wives of some of the most important leaders here on Fort Benning, Patti Brown is in the pink dress. 
The woman to the right in the photo above, gave me all kinds of advice on finding a good seaside resort, golf course, and good dining for when we are in Savannah.  She was THRILLED for me that we were going to be stationed at Fort Stewart. (I take that as a good thing, even if I don't golf etc.)

The woman in purple seated in the picture above was an original "Rosie the Riveter" during WWII, and was an honored guest.

I promise, I don't know what the lady is doing below, but I promise you she is NOT yelling.  lol

When wearing gloves to an event, one would enter the reception area, and remove the glove that you use for shaking hands.  Name tags must ALWAYS be on the right side as to make it easier for the person you are greeting to remind themselves of who you are without being obvious as they would be looking down your arm so to speak to grasp your hand.

Your glove would then be held in your left hand, as would your tea or coffee cup and saucer.  If your drink punch, you will have a cup made of either glass, or silver and it would rest on a small napkin.  If you choose water, then it would be served in a small water goblet of preferably crystal.  The trick is, when it is time for those pretty little finger foods, if you are a water or punch drinker, then there is no saucer to rest your food on.  You are then obliged to go to the table each time you wish a bite of this or that. Thus six bites equals six trips to the table, which may or may not make one feel a little piggish. 

It becomes quite a balancing act as one balances, the glove situation, with your handbag, a beverage without without a saucer, possibly a spoon, and a napkin.  Included in this tea was a programme, and a brochure which added to the need to be artful in moving and eating.

The brochure told about the history of the Riverside Plantation and how it became home of the Commander of Fort Benning.  Currently MG Robert B. Brown and his wife, Patti live there, and she was a wonderful hostess. 

Anyone that knows me knows I was all agog about the house and history. It was a real treat.  I hear there is a home show in March that allows full access to all 6,118 square feet of it, as part of a fund raiser for DUSA.  I hope I can go to that, alone or not.

Also Mrs. Brown had a collection of antique door knobs, and an old door in the corner.
I had to smile as my husband generally rolls his eyes every time we pack my little collection up to move but if it's good enough for a Generals wife, then what can he say then? (wink)
I really am glad I went, it might have been a once in a life time experience.
I think my Grandma Ball would have been absolutely thrilled to go to this event, and would have made herself quite a few new friends.  I also thought of my Aunt Barb, and my Aunt Derra, who would have thought it some good fun also.  I was terrified, but all together I think it was a good thing I went.
 I am in both of these pictures,  ha ha ha!  Can you find me?  (I am wearing a purple skirt and a grey top) Ya, that's NOT me signing in, I wish!  But it is the group of girls I was with who are adorable young women.  The girl in the purple dress reminded me of Rachelle and Darby Smith's daughters to an uncanny degree.
Tres' tres' strangeola.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Things I would tell my 19 year old self...

In twenty years I will be pushing 60 years old.  60.  Seriously. Things like retirement, and grand babies and whatever a 60 something person thinks about will be the present, not a someday when I am getting older kind of thing.  What will be my focus?    I don't know.

 My oldest with be almost exactly the age I am now, which I am not ashamed to say will be 39 in April.  Not ashamed to say it is one thing, but I am astonished it hit so fast.  That is the gospel truth.

In twenty years Savannah will be 35, Colton 32, and my baby...she'll be 26.  All adults, hopefully all done with college and their lives will be full of promise, love, and maybe a kid or two sprinkled in there somewhere.

Why does time just RUSH by the older I am.  Is it just me?  In twenty years will I look back and just be astonished even more so with my foolish 39 year old self than I am now looking back at myself at 19?

Turning 19 was hard on me.  I don't remember why, but I do remember saying that to people.  If I could send myself a message to my self at that age what would I say?

1.  Be nice to your sister.  Right now you kinda hate each other, someday she will be your best friend and closest ally in life and dreams.  All of a sudden one day your age difference won't matter anymore because you are sisters, both battling the joy and pains of motherhood, wifedom, and trying to navigate a family into the future.  She will know things about you than not another person on earth knows and you will be able to trust her with that.  It's kinda a big deal, don't blow it.

2.  Don't let other's opions of themselves belittle you in your own eyes.  There are so many people in this world that both knowingly and not make a habit of making others look stupid, or insignificant, or just not as pretty.  Their purpose is to make themselves look better than others around them.  They are insecure, and do not value you.  Stand up and be confident, own who you are.

3.  Go see your Grandma.  You will spend time with her as she gets older, and you will be lucky to be in her life in her last years, days, and moments.  But there could have been a better relationship there.  You should know better than to take her for granted, because you lost three grandparents in 11 months when just a toddler.

4.  Don't let people mock your talents.  Develop them.  You are NOT an underwater basket weaver.  Not everyone was born to do the same things.  You are NOT a mathematician and it is ok that you need a calculator.  Nurture your talents.  You will miss them if you don't.  Being a crafty artsy fartsy doesn't make you less accomplished, it just makes you different.  Continue to refine your appreciation for art and the creative world.  There will be days that it will be your only company.

5.  Stop bleaching your hair, and perming it to death.  The blond makes you look washed out and pink and weird in pictures, and the perm just is...bad. 

6.  It is NOT more important to take J.Badowski his check book than just miss that ONE little class in college.  It will turn out to be a surprise review for  a 2 hour final that will make or break your grade.  With out that review, it will break.

7. When you make mistakes, and you will.  We all do.  There is no getting around it.  Allow yourself to feel bad about it, and learn from it, but then pull yourself up by your boot straps and hold your chin high and get on with life.  You will have others around you that will never be able to forget the things they would like to point out as erroneous, but they are your mistakes, not theirs.  If you have repented, and found forgiveness from your God, then another person holding onto your mistakes is no longer your problem.  There will be people that you will come in contact with that will see you for who you are not who you were, and that will be something to hold onto.

8.  Learn to take care of yourself.  Your body only lasts so long, and you will look back and think that the body you have now and are so consumed with hating isn't so bad, actually you will realize that you had it pretty good.

9. Organize your life, learn how to live so the messes of life don't turn into monumental tasks, rather daily maintenance.

10.  Learn to practice the fundamentals of your religion.  Pray.  Read your scriptures, and write meaningful things in your journal.  It is awkward trying to learn to do that as an adult.  There really is something to the phrase "being as teachable as a child".


I have a tendency to post a lot about my youngest daughter.  It's not that she is the favorite, it's more of a matter of the fact that my other kids are sprouting wings.  Braden and Savannah leave the house at 6:30 every school day and Savannah gets home around 4 o'clock.  Colton's time at home is better, but he wants to be out in the neighborhood with is friends as much as possible. 

Braden however is on the North Side High School JROTC Rifle Team and practice and meets are after school so we don't see him or my Suburban until somewhere around 6 p.m., and on Wednesdays, he sometimes goes straight from practice to Young Men's meetings at church and then he's not home til 8:30 or (:00, depending on how much the boys horse around after meetings. I guess my point is, when they are younger, kids are a LOT easier to follow around and get cute pictures of them and hear the clever or ironic things they say.  In high, not even that, in middle school ... not so much.

Braden does love being on the rifle team, but it is a strange sport, because it isn't really a spectator sport.  If you were to go and watch it you would sit in the corner and be thoroughly silent as to not to distract the shooter.  For hours.  They shoot standing, and kneeling, and on their stomachs. It sounds like a big yawn to me, and besides that, the kids provide their own transportation to meets from the school and Braden has my car.  As a result I haven't seen the kid in action. BUT Ret. Col. Brewer emailed me this picture from their last meet here on Fort Benning, where they kicked bahonkus again.  They are making quite a habit of winning and may have a shot of going to state if they can keep Columbus at bay.  Fingers crossed!

He is enjoying it a TON, and just started JROTC as part of his classroom studies this semester.  I have to admit it makes me nervous to think of him leaning towards a military life, but hey, it's what his parents have shown him.  Maybe he will decide to get his degree and come out of the deal free of education debt.  THAT would be a plus side!