So…the last time I did one of these was precisely 52 weeks ago (9 Sep 2011). I guess it’s been a while. I got a bit lazy and now that I’m not running around crazy with my Hurlburt Spouses’ Club responsibilities, I have time to do this again and I’m so excited about it!

For my new fans, my blogosphere/Twitterverse friend Wife of a Sailor does this monthly meme for Military Spouses to get to know each other. It’s fun and very very interesting! Wifey asks five questions per month, and we spouses write up blog posts with the answers. On Friday she will put up a post with her own answers and a place for us to share our respective blog post answers.

  1. What’s one thing in the past month you would have changed? Gee.  I don’t know…I can’t think of anything right now, but if something comes to mind, I’ll edit this post accordingly…
  2. What was your favorite thing that happened in August? I had a great dinner with my husband at Melting Pot in Pensacola for our 17th Anniversary.
  3. What did you do to celebrate Labor Day? We drove home from Dragon*Con absolutely exhausted! It was a seven-hour drive.
  4. What do you HAVE to have handy by your bedside? Lip balm. I keep a tube of Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm at my bedside. And if I accidentally travel without a tube of it, I’m in trouble. I can’t go to sleep without a swipe of the stuff across my lips.
  5. What are you looking forward to in September? Sounds strange, but I’m looking forward to heading to Omaha in the last part of the month for some AF Reserve work.  I haven’t worked at all since May, and I’ll have a lot of catch up on.
09. September 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

I haven’t done too much blogging this past week, things were crazy with Dave having a medical procedure last Friday.  Then we were stuck in the house for 3 days straight as tropical storm conditions and tornado warnings dominated the Florida Panhandle.  It was challenging keeping the kids entertained, but we came through it just fine and are now greeted with low temperatures in the upper 50s!  It’s been nice to open up the house….

I was happy to catch up on my Handmade Afghans to Thank Our Armed Forces Project work over the weekend, too.

I get the rectangles sent to me with the design plan and I assemble them into twin-bed sized afghans.  They’re then shipped to military hospitals worldwide.

1. My plans for Labor Day included renting a giant inflatable slip n slide for a unit BBQ at our house, but what really happened was we were inundated by a foot of rain and tropical storm force winds all weekend as Tropical Storm Lee made landfall just west of us over the weekend.

2. Call me crazy, but sometimes I just need to just sit and play some Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook.  I’m so addicted to that game.  It’s all my sister’s fault, she was always my #1 challenge since 2008 or so.

3. One of the funniest things I’ve seen lately is an older episode of Fox’s Family Guy, a show that I love (perhaps that’s a better answer to #2?).  The Emmy-winning episode is titled “Road to the Multiverse“.  Stewie (baby) and Brian (the dog) invent a machine that takes them to assorted parallel universes.  It was incredibly clever and creative.  In fact, there’s 3-4 minutes where the Family Guy characters were all drawn like Disney animation.

4. It’s strange, but folding laundry drives me crazy while vacuuming is perfectly fine with me!  I will vacuum 4-5x per week, but unfolded laundry will sit for nearly a week while I do all the other housework first.

5. One, two, buckle my shoe… three, four _open that door!  In the wake of Tropical Storm Lee, I can happily open up my house and turn off the air conditioner for the first time in about 10 weeks!  It’s magnificent!

19. August 2011 · 3 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

Wow, I’d been scarce from these for a while – the last one I did was #46.  Oops.  Well our lives are settling back to normal and I hope to become a regular here again.  These ones should be simple this week 🙂

1.  My spouse and I rarely agree on how much money we should spend on model railroading, but always agree on our furniture purchases.  Sounds strange, I know, but we won’t go forward on a furniture/interior decorating purchase without buy-in from the both of us.  This is probably why we were married 10 years before getting a dining room set.  We simply couldn’t agree.

2.  If I could use one word to sum up the way I feel right now, it would be overwhelmed.  If you are asking how I feel THIS MINUTE, that’s it.  I was at J’s school for 2:45 hours earlier this afternoon filling out dozens of forms, keeping all the ducks in a row with what to expect for his new class (i.e., which days are gym days, which days are aren’t, which bus to ride, which road to use when dropping J off at the school on days he doesn’t ride the bus, and the homework plans.)

3. One of the things my spouse does that grosses me out is pop gum.  Not smacking, not blowing bubbles, but making those really loud popping noises.  One of the women on murdrers’ row in the Broadway play Chicago killed her husband over his popping of gum (no, I don’t plan to do that).  From the song “Cell Block Tango”:

[LIZ (Spoken)]
You know how people
have these little habits
That get you down. Like Bernie.
Bernie like to chew gum.
No, not chew. POP.
So I came home this one day
And I am really irritated, and I’m
looking for a bit of sympathy
and there’s Bernie layin’
on the couch, drinkin’ a beer
and chewin’. No, not chewin’.
Poppin’. So, I said to him,
I said, “you pop that
gum one more time…”
and he did.
So I took the shotgun off the wall
and I fired two warning shots…
…into his head.

4. My readers may think I’m crazy for doing this, but I really love to vacuum.  Think really hard, have you ever seen me write a blog about, Tweet or post on Facebook any complaints about vacuuming?  Laundry, yes.  Dishes, most certainly!  But I find a certain calming effect when vacuuming.

5. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn?.

I think my creativity meter is pegged (see #2 above)…I can’t wait to see what other spouses write tomorrow.

24. June 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

I hadn’t planned to do this week’s Friday Fill-in since we’re on vacation, but here I am sitting with Dave and the kids at a model railroaders’ auction in Harrisburg with some time to kill, so I thought I’d have a little fun!

Besides, I’m excited to share my Amazing Race plans to conquer the world 🙂

1. Are you a different person than you were five years ago? submitted by Sisterly Thoughts

Let’s do the math…it was June 2006 five years ago.  So I was living in NC, I’d been a non-active duty stay-at-home Mom for about a year.

I had a very hard time transitioning from active duty with plenty of adult interaction to the stay-home Mom life, spending days mostly with the kids.  I was accustomed to sharing all the chores, including getting up in the middle of the night for the babies.  Every time I’d do my reserve weekends, I’d come home with visions in my head of how much extra work I’d want to do — and then remember, “Oh wait, my responsibility is to my family first now….”

Five years later, I have struck a nice balance, IMHO.  Definitely a different place than 5 years ago.  No longer resentful of my husband being the one on active duty.  The only household chore (of the shared chores we used to do) is that I still refuse to pack my husbands’ lunches.  I always seem to do something wrong with his lunches, so one day I just stopped.  It’s a pretty sticky point in our marriage 😉

2. If you could go on Amazing Race, who would you take with you as your partner and why? submitted by Thoughts from a Poekitten

My family LOVES The Amazing Race!  We stop everything at 7pm on Sundays (when the show is on) and we watch it together…I’m reminded of old fashioned family gatherings to watching wholesome shows such as The Waltons or Little House on the Prairie.  It’s the only show we all watch together without fail (even if it’s on the DVR).

My youngest son (age 6) has been wanting to do the race one day.  He’s incessantly talking about “what I would do if I were on the Amazing Race!”.  I told him about the season where they did a family race and he’d like to do that.  He has also said that he’d want to do it with me if he’s a grownup.  So sweet…

(He also bawled his eyes out and threatened to never watch the show again the week that Jet and Cord were eliminated this past season.)

But if I had the chance to run the race starting tomorrow, since our kids are too young, I’d be running the race with my Dear Husband Dave, hands down!  We have a LOT of experience with public transportation, understanding the ins and outs of how to quickly schedule flights, train rides, etc., and experimenting with strange foods!  I can drive a stick shift on foreign car rentals.  In our younger days we’ve attempted white water rafting, mountain climbing, etc.

And I also think we could run pretty darned fast!

3. Does Facebook or Twitter actually bring more stress or good in to your life? submitted by Just an Arizona Girl

That’s a tough one.  Overall, this is a great tool to keep connected with my family.  (Just about) every single person in my life who I’d want to keep in touch with is on Facebook.

Unfortunately I spend too much time on Twitter and Facebook, where I could be spending the time on otehr things, such as playing with my kids, keeping up with the housework, or crocheting for the HAP charity with which I’m involved.

4. June is National Soul Food Month- what’s your soul food? submitted by NH Girl Displaced

Chicken fried steak!  I LOVE IT!

Sadly, though, I only get a chance to eat it once every two years or so.  I don’t make it for my family — I rarely fry foods in my house — and I rarely get to diners or dives where chicken fried steaks are REALLY good!  I had my last one a couple years ago in a moment of weakness at a Cracker Barrel restaurant…it was decent.

For a fun read, I recommend the excerpt about chicken fried steak from Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  I found the excerpt here, but the whole book is fun too!

5. If you could live in any other era than the current, which one would it? why?submitted by Sugar in My Grits

I’m convinced I would have been better off in turn-of-the-century America.  There’s a certain beauty to that time period, when girls were JUST ABLE to start pursuing their own careers without social suicide, and America was undergoing a technological revolution that wouldn’t be seen again until World War II.

Just watch Meet Me in St. Louis, starring Judy Garland.  One of my favorites, set in 1904!  Maybe because I’m sitting in a train convention right now and the song “Clang Clang Clang Went the Trolley” (more appropriately known as “The Trolley Song”) is running through my head.

17. June 2011 · 3 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

I’m tickled about two things about this week’s Friday Fill-in:

a.) I’m typing this while we’re cruising up I-65 between Montgomery and Birmingham, AL.  I schedule it to post on Fridays, but I usually write these up on Thursdays as soon as “Wifey’s” questions come in.  We got one of those nifty Verizon 4G modems so Dave can do homework with a cellular network connection while we’re driving.  However, he’s the one driving right now, so I have a chance to catch up on e-mails and blog posting!

b.) Look who submitted question #3 below!!

1. Underwear Parties, how old is too old? submitted by Wookie & Co.

As long as you wear — ahem — underwear, then Underwear Parties should be fair game.  It’s all in fun!

2. What was your favorite class in high school? submitted by Adventures of M-Squared

Geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, and music.  I actually really liked my AP U.S. History class too, although at the time I thought it was torture.  Looking back, it turns out I learned a LOT from Mrs. Whaley.

3. Have you ever convinced packers/movers to pack something they aren’t supposed to for a PCS? submitted by Ground Control to Major Mom

Snicker.  With a nice enough tip for the movers, we’ve been able to convince packers to take care of our liquor for us more than once.  This was easy coming from Korea (our best move ever!).  We bought two cases of wine from Trader Joe’s just before we left Nebraska last fall.  The packer was happy to pack those cases for us 🙂

We’ve also had a lot of typically-illegal items packed accidentally: light bulbs, filled piggy banks, batteries in remote controls, etc.  When your kids’ GeoTrax stuff requires over 50 batteries alone, it’s hard to keep up….

4. Blogging plays a growing role in the media. If you were asked to embed as a blogger with a deployed military unit, would you go? What do you think your blog would be like? submitted by To the Nth

I think I would love to go — if the military unit thought I was appropriately trained to be with them.

5. Do you think kids should attend year-round school? submitted by Marrying the Navy

This issue hit us closely when my husband was stationed in Raleigh, NC (for a school tour).  In 2007 Wake County Public Schools made year-round schools the standard instead of the exception and we were making decisions about our oldest son starting Kindergarten while we were living there.

If we weren’t a military family, we’d be all for year-round schools.  There are a multitude of educational benefits to year round schooling, but I have to admit that as a military family, I like having the summer break as a chunk of time to PCS without worrying about mid-year transfers and missed schoolwork.

Year round schooling is also nice for vacation planning — 3 week breaks in the “off months” helps vacation planning: cheaper travel, less heat, less crowds.

03. June 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

This week’s Friday Fill-In!  Enjoy!

1. It’s now June (woot!)… what plans do you have for the summer?

I have this horrible habit of overstuffing our summer breaks.  This year I even tried to back off some by not enrolling the boys in any summer activities…until an advertisement for Challenger Soccer Camp arrived in the mail.  I gave in and enrolled them, but that isn’t till August.

But then travel plans and opportunities to see friends, family and the country started to emerge…and will dominate our summer.

We received an invitation to join friends at Walt Disney World next weekend, so we’re taking a short trip down to Orlando for 3 days at the park.

Later in June we’re headed up to PA for Dave’s family’s reunion, then a visit with my parents in WV, Dave’s presenting at the National N Scale Convention (he’s a model railroader, for our newer fans), and then I’m taking the boys camping in Vermont with my old college roommate and her son…we’re looking forward to spending the day at the Wanderlust Festival among other fun outdoor (read: no Wii, no DS, no Blu-Ray) activities.

In July we’re expecting an assortment of visitors from North Carolina, West Virginia, New York and elsewhere in Florida.  Many are coming in town for Dave’s assumption of squadron command, which for an Air Force officer is a pretty significant step in his career.  We couldn’t be more proud!

2. What is your favorite summer memory as a kid?

Getting to play outside without worrying about homework, orchestra practice, sports practices, etc.  I’m one of those old fogeys who would get to stay outside from sunrise till sunset…riding my bike all over the place with friends.

3. If wild animals could be made pets without fear of them ever being dangerous, what kind of exotic animal would you want as a pet?

A bear.  A great big bear that would help keep us warm if the USAF sends us back to Nebraska to freeze to death 🙂

4. Is there anything about deployments that you do like? submitted by The Thrifty Military Wife

The tax breaks, hostile fire pay, and overall reduced expenses of having the extra person in the household provides some additional money…and you don’t even have to tell the IRS about it!  It usually helps us to pay off bills, buy new cars when we need them, and take fun vacations.  I paid off two student loans after my first deployment in 1997.

5. I’m starting to run out of questions again… so please give me a question you’d like to see (off-the-wall will most likely make it because we seem to have used a lot of the “traditional” ones).

“Have you ever convinced packers/movers to pack something they aren’t supposed to for a PCS?”

27. May 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

This week’s Friday Fill-In!  Enjoy!  And Happy Memorial Day!  Take a moment and think about what a great country we live in and how many have given their lives for the rights Americans have.

1. Do you think civilians, in general, understand the meaning of Memorial Day?

Most civilians do their best to take time to remember our nation’s servicemembers.  Something my husband and I have noticed, though, is that most Americans don’t understand the histories of Memorial Day and Veterans Day. 

Memorial Day goes all the way back to the mid-1860s, when two American Army general officers declared a “Decoration Day” for May 30th of every year, a date to decorate the fallen Civil War soldiers’ graves.  A date chosen because it wasn’t already commemorating a Civil War battle.  Memorial Day is exactly that…a day to honor the memories of those who’d served before us.

On the other hand, Veterans Day (Psst!  No apostrophe!) was first proclaimed as “Armistice Day” by Woodrow Wilson in November 1919 to commemorate the signing of the Armistice ending World War I.  In the 1950s the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day and was redesignated to honor all servicemembers, dead and alive.

2. What are your plans for the Memorial Day Weekend?

We’re having a few friends over for a barbecue.

We were hoping to have a new Intex pool set up by this weekend, but after some dialogue with our landlord, we decided that it was too much trouble and too risky a liability for a rental house.  But that’s for another blog post.  For now, feel free to browse this ad if you’d like to buy our never-assembled above-ground pool kit.

3. What skill/talent do you wish you had? submitted by The 3 Turners

I wish I could play piano.  I can play violin, but that’s it.  Treble clef, that’s it.  My oldest son’s piano recital is tomorrow night and we couldn’t be more proud of him!  I’m insanely jealous at the skill he has to play both treble and bass clefs together.  Have his right hand playing one thing, his left hand playing something else…maybe one day I’ll actually take lessons…

4. Which came first: the chicken or the egg? submitted by I Married Into The Army

Who the heck knows?

From a Book of Genesis perspective, the answer would be “chicken”.

Similarly, from an evolutionary perspective, you could consider two species breeding and coming up with a new breed — the chicken — born from the resultant egg…in that case, the egg would be first.

5. What is the best thing about your post (base)? The worst? submitted by Randomly, Robyn

The best thing about Hurlburt Field, Florida, is the warrior ethos here that is unlike anything Dave and I had ever experienced on an Air Force base. It reminds us of the two Army bases we were assigned to years ago: Fort Polk, Louisiana and Yongsan Army Garrison, Seoul, Korea (Check out the cool weather feed on the Yongsan homepage, brought to you by the 17th Operational Weather Squadron).

The worst thing?  The commute between our house and said base.  We have ONE east-west highway that connects our town with the base…and if there’s an accident on that road, you can forget about getting to the base anytime soon….

20. May 2011 · Comments Off on MilSpouse Friday Fill In #41 · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

This week’s Friday Fill-In!  Enjoy!

1. What is one of the things you always do special when your husband returns from a deployment?  submitted by Keep Calm and Soldier On

I’m not sure if I can use “always” in these answers, since my husband has only ever had two deployments to come home from…and I’ve had two deployments to come home from also.  In 1998 we returned from concurrent deployments within a few weeks of each other, and we were able to squeeze in an amazing ski vacation in Taos, NM just before we PCSed to Korea.

Otherwise, we tended to spend the first days readjusting to a life that includes more than just getting a mission done.

2. What do you do to help your spouse and/or yourself re-adjust after a deployment or long separation?  submitted by Diapers, Dogs and Deployments

We try very hard not to plan a ton of stuff.  That sounds vague and all, but we want to make sure there’s a buffer in there before we allow visitors to come into town, or we take big trips.

3. Are you a crazy coupon clipper (I’m becoming one, so share your secrets with me)? submitted by Married My Airman

Here’s my take on “Extreme Couponing” and how much of it is incompatible with a military lifestyle.

That being said, I try very hard to strike that balance of taking advantage of coupons, but not buying things we don’t need just because there’s a coupon.  You all know what I’m talking about, right?

4. What’s your most treasured memory of you and your spouse (not counting your wedding – that’s a given)? submitted by Scrubs, ACUs and One Crazy Ride

I don’t really know, we have so many.  Getting to see the joy on each others’ faces when our children were born is probably at the top of my list.

5. If you could live anywhere overseas, what would you pick and why? submitted by Little Moments Like This

I’ve been chomping at the bit for Dave to get assigned to Germany for as long as I can remember!  For some reason, it’s never happened…

[And NO, rotator flight layovers at Ramstein and Rhein-Main ABs don’t count!]

As Dave gets older and higher in rank, his opportunities in Europe really dwindle.  Since around 2000 we’ve put off any kinds of European vacations, just in case the powers-that-be feel Dave and Germany could commingle for a couple years.  But it hasn’t happened yet.  Oh well…

One thing I do know, we’re planning our 2020 trip to Obergammerau NOW!  We’d have a 17- and 15-year-old sons and I couldn’t think of a more special trip to take with your kids…when they’re old enough to understand/appreciate the Passion Plays.

29. April 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

This week’s Friday Fill-In!  Enjoy!

1. Have you and your spouse agreed to live in separate locations (a geographical bachelor tour) knowing that the short-term inconvenience would have long-term benefits for your family? How did it work for you? submitted by When Good People Get Together

The answer is “almost”.  When I was still on active duty, we were prepared to do separate tours when Dave received orders to Barksdale AFB while I was stationed at Fort Polk (1996).  Then we took orders to Korea, with Dave being assigned to Osan AB while I’d be assigned to Yongsan Garrison in Seoul (1998).  In both cases, we were able to work out things so we could be assigned together.  We always told the USAF we were willing to go ANYWHERE together.  They were good about it to the best of their ability.

2. What is your favorite thing about being a MilSpouse? submitted by Sarah Ruth Today

I’m very very proud of my husband’s great work for our country.  I love that he is part of defending our great country!  I love that we can try to instill patriotic values in our sons…hopefully they will value what makes the U.S. an amazing thing!

3. If you could still have your spouse/significant other and your family, but take the military life out of it…would you?  submitted by Trust. Love. Believe. Bake.

Not only am I a MilSpouse, but also a Navy Brat!  I have had the military in my life as long as I can remember.  I was probably furthest departed from it my freshman year in college (however I was still a dependent daughter).  I decided to join AFROTC at the end of my freshman year.

4. What have your homecoming experiences been like after a year long tour of separation? submitted by Army Soldier, Army Wife

We have never been separated for that long…we’ve experienced plenty of 4 month separations, though.  We’ve learned from experience that taking it easy is always best…minimal travel, minimal visitors until a couple weeks after we get home.

5. If you have a child(ren) why you chose their name(s)? If not, why you would name your child something?  submitted by Tiara’s & ACU’s

Our sons are named after other men in our extended families.  Our oldest is named after my husband’s paternal grandfather, while our youngest is named after my father.  There were many great men in our families and choosing names for our sons was almost too easy.  We had a more difficult time choosing a girl’s name…so maybe it’s good we didn’t have to stress over that.

22. April 2011 · Comments Off on MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #38 · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

I’m excited I have time to fit this week’s “Friday Fill-In” into our crazy schedule!  I’m attending the spouse’s part of a “Squadron Commander’s Course” all week with Dave.  I’m very glad we chose to attend the local course here (he was also offered the chance to attend one at Langley AFB in Virginia); it’s been great meeting other commanders and their spouses that will be here for the next two years like us.

(I’ll be writing more about the all-day tour I took of the Air Force Enlisted Village, a multi-level care facility for widows of Air Force members.  It’s worth sharing what a wonderful organization it is!)

1. How many pets do you have? And what type? submitted by Life and Times of a Displaced Jersey Girl

One dog, Howie, and five male fancy guppies.  Howie is our “first baby”, born in 2000.  He’s celebrating his 11th birthday next weekend! It brings us such sadness that it isn’t certain whether he’ll be joining us at whatever assignment we have next (probably in 2013 sometime).  As for the fish, that’s just a fun diversion for the boys.

2. What are your favorite projects to do while hubby is away? submitted by my-inspired-nest

I get to take over the house with SCRAPBOOKING while Dave is away.  I’ve been slow to break out my stuff here, but maybe this summer I’ll get my mojo back…Timmy still needs a “first year” scrapbook!

3. What are the must-haves in your deployment care packages?  submitted by Christine’s Little Blog

I had the honor of helping run a mass-production line of care packages for all the deployed members of my husband’s organization in 2009.  Based on my experience, the following items were the most popular:

  • Tabloid magazines, muscle car/bodybuilding magazines, video gaming/computer geek magazines
  • Single-serving beverage powders
  • Snacks that won’t perish/melt/crush in transit, such as marshmallow treats, nuts, dried fruits, individually wrapped hard candy
  • New release paperback books

4. If you could star in any TV show, which would it be? submitted by Just a Girl

I’d want to star on Big Bang Theory!  Try to be one of Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s many many nemeses!

5. What was the biggest hurdle that you faced during your/your significant other’s first deployment? submitted by The Pavlik Perspective

A few days after I arrived at my very first deployment location (Tuzla, Bosnia in 1997), Dave was presented with orders to Bosnia himself.  So a few weeks after I had signed my entire life over to him (which wasn’t hard since he was my spouse), we had to arrange for his Mom to take on all of our bills, which meant my doing a couple powers of attorneys from my deployed location.  It worked out well…especially considering my mother-in-law is VERY good at money management and my eyes about popped out of my head when I saw the checking account balance after 4 months of nothing but bare minimum bills!

By the time I came home from Bosnia in 1998, I had orders to my follow-on base in Korea, and I had to arrange for household goods and auto-shipment before Dave had even come home from his own deployment.