Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yeah, So Anyways, About This Homecoming Business

I've been working hard getting ready for the big homecoming.  Got the dress, perfect accessories, shoes etc.  I did a dry run of the pick up location at Pope Air Force Base, which adjoins the Fort Bragg Army Base.  I made Gunnar's favorite lasagna, with all the fixin's.  The house is spic and span.  The kids are head over heels excited that we're picking up Daddy after lunch tomorrow. 

And then I get an automated call.  Gunnar's flight is delayed indefinitely

I should know more in the next 12-24 hours.  But as of right now, I have no idea where he is or when he's coming home.

So much for planning, eh?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Puzzle Me This

You might ask yourself, what does an Army wife do with all those long lonely nights when her husband is deployed?  The answer my friends is jigsaw puzzles.  I meant to do a longer photo post on the topic but sadly, these were the only photos I could find of my masterpieces.

You'll notice, my crochet book is in the corner too.  As if jigsaw puzzles weren't cool enough, yes, I also crochet.

This was one of the most tedious.  1500 ridiculous pieces.  I cursed these cows for a few nights.


Fun stuff, huh?  Don't be too jealous!  (Sorry folks, I tried for 3 minutes to align this photo, and that's all the fight I have in me tonight.)

By the way, Gunnar comes home NEXT WEEK!!!  I doubt I'll be doing puzzles again for a long time.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I know Ive written about this before but I think it bears repeating.  My little trio, me and my two darlings are some badass roadtrippers.  We have made 10 round-trip visits to Ohio since we moved to North Carolina 10 months ago.  That's 20 car rides averaging 8.5 hours each time, and about 500 miles.  We start with a full tank of gas, stop once for food, restroom and a diaper change (usually in Beckley WV - its basically the half-way point) and the only other stops we make are for Gus to pee on the side of the road.  Hardcore?  Maybe.  But these kids are some troopers (no Army pun intended) and I'm so proud of them for putting up with me.  I don't think these trips would have happened quite as often if they were making it difficult to do.  Sure, there's whining and crying and occasionally screaming and yelling, but generally its just not that bad that I don't want to do it.

Some things Ive learned along the way:

  • I strategically place everything in the front passenger seat that I will need along the way, so it's only an arms reach away.  DVDs, tissues, directions (yep, I still need them), drinks, snacks, wipes, diapers and that's about it.
  • West Virginia should pay me to drive through it, not the other way around.  I never really feel like I get my moneys worth with the $6 in tolls I have to pay.
  • The speed limit everywhere should be 70 mph on highways. 
  • Related: North Carolina needs more highways.  It takes about 2.5 hrs to get from Fort Bragg to the VA/NC border because there's no actual highways, just back roads to get there.  Annoying!
  • When there's no more reasoning with your freaking out toddlers, just roll the windows down and turn the radio up.  The fresh air (even if filled with exhaust fumes!) is good for every one's state of mine, and you can't hear them yelling anymore.  Bonus!
  • It is possible, but not recommended to refill sippy cups while driving through the mountains.  
  • Speaking of mountains, I always appreciate and love how beautiful the drive is.  The mountains are breathtaking, and I am in awe of the view every time I'm cruising through Virginia.
  • We like to break up the trip by landmarks.  The kids know we need to get through 2 mountain tunnels, then 3 toll booths, then the big, big bridge over the Ohio river.  It really helps to feel like we're making progress.
  • When the drive gets tedious, I rationalize it simply by comparing it to a day's work at an office.  8.5 hours.  That's it.  In the time most people sit in a cubicle for a day, I drive through 4 states.  Not so bad when you think about it that way.
  • I have remarkable contortionist abilities to change DVDs in the kids portable player while driving.
I know these trips will be a lot less frequent when Gunnar comes back home, and honestly I am going to miss it a lot.  I know the kids will too.  They love going up and visiting our family all the time.

I'm already planning our next trip :)

Here's pretty much exactly what a road trip with us looks like:

I swear the girl is actually wearing clothes, you just can't tell.  Shoes however, never.  This kid refuses to keep them on any time she's strapped into a car seat.  Come to think of it, I drive barefoot the whole way too.  So maybe it's a genetic thing.

I splurged and spent a ton on this car seat because even though the boy is big enough for the high-back booster style seat, I couldn't stand his poor head falling all over the place when he'd fall asleep.  This thing is like a throne!  Also - apparently we take eye protection seriously in this family.  We never go anywhere without shades.

Please don't take me seriously.  Ever.  This is my duck face impression.  Why do girls do this duck face thing these days anyways?  There's no way to look cute imitating a duck's face.  Obviously.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Homecoming Prep

There's honestly not too much going on around here these days.  We still don't have any actual dates about when Gunnar is coming home, but he is slowly making his way back here.  I have the mother of all lists of things to get done before he gets here.  Like buy beer, shop for man food, clear off every horizontal surface full of clutter, and wash the car.  Most likely he really won't notice too many of the details, and just be happy to be home, but I feel like I should at least put forth some effort.

I've read a lot about homecomings and all the hullabaloo that folks go through.  And frankly, I"m just not that into it.  Does it make me a crappy Army wife if I don't hang a banner with Gunnar's face on it on the front of the house?  Or paint welcome home sentiments all over the car?  Or line the driveway with American flags?  Maybe if I was 20 years old and fresh out of high school these things would appeal to me a little more.  I'm just not that into it.

Gunnar hasn't lived with us since May of 2009.  There will be a lot of challenges to face in the next few months as we get back into the swing of things.  Boy oh boy I'm excited to not be a solo parent anymore though!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fort Bragg Child & Youth Services (CYS), Another Possible Title: Why I Drink Vodka on Monday Night

I finally decided to get off my heathen behind and find a church to go to at Fort Bragg.  I've been here almost a year and never bothered, so I decided it was time.  We all know my kids never leave my side but I found a church with a nursery for Maisie to play and a little classroom for Gus to do activities.  This was kind of a big deal for me but I felt really comfortable at the church I found to do this.  And guess what?  Gus LOVED it!  He had so much fun with the other kids and told me about the songs they sang, and games they played.  I don't know what I was expecting but I thought he'd have a harder time.  As it turns out Maisie was the tough one.

So this lovely experience for Gus got me thinking that this boy would really love pre-school.  I've never really considered pre-school for him before but dang, that kid gets next to zero interaction with other kids when we're at Fort Bragg.  And he's a really social kid!  I looked up some pre-school information and found something that looked really good.

The website said "Register Now" and more information is available on their flyer.  (Don't fall for it, there actually wasn't any info on the flyer, just some fish and a phone number.)  I called the number first thing Monday morning.  Got a busy signal.  It took me about 45 minutes to get through, when I finally did I learned there were still many spots available for the 2 day/week pre-school class.  Score!!  All I then needed to do is get a copy of Gunnar's LES (pay stub, basically) and bring it in to their office and get Gus registered.  At this point I should have known it sounded too easy.

I won't bore you with the details, but it took me a good two hours to get a good copy of Gunnar's LES.  It has something to do with sharing passwords with your husband that is really far away.  But, I finally had it in hand, I loaded up the kids and headed over to the CYS office.  That place is a madhouse every time I've been there.  It's a disaster and I avoid it as much as possible.  Yesterday was no different.  I went up to the desk to sign in.  There were at least a dozen names above mine that had yet to be called, so I knew it was going to be a long wait.  The woman at the desk asked what I was registering for and I said the Part Day Pre-School program.  This is how that conversation went:

CYS Lady: "Ummm. No.  Sorry sweetie, it's full"
Me: "Are you sure?  I just called about two hours ago and spoke with a woman that said there are still available spots"
CYS Lady: "I don't know you you was talking to, but it's full"
Me: *furrowed brow*
CYS Lady: "Hold on...lemme check something"
Me: waiting waiting waiting
CYS Lady: typing typing typing
CYS Lady: "OK hold on, Imma check something else" 
CYS Lady:  gets up and leaves
Me: waiting waiting waiting
Me: waiting waiting waiting
CYS Lady: "Yeah sorry it's full"
Me: "I don't understand, it wasn't full two hours ago.  She told me to come in any time this week and it would be fine"
CYS Lady: "A lot can happen in two hours"
CYS Lady: "You can get on the wait list...if you want"
Me: "OK, I guess we can do that"
CYS Lady: "NEXT!"

I guess she was joking about the wait list part.  We left pretty frustrated.  Gus was disappointed for sure, I was just mad that every time I deal with them it's a mess.  Up to this point I've never had a positive experience with the folks in the CYS office which has led to me not involving my children in any of their programs.  I'm perhaps overly cautious about who is watching my kids but I find it really hard to trust people around here.

After we got home, I waited a few hours and called back, hoping to get on the wait list.  Here's how that conversation went:

Me: "Hi, I'd like to have my son put on the wait list for the Part Day Pre-School program"
Different CYS Lady: "Oh honey, that won't be necessary, we have plenty of spots open.  You just need to come down to the office and get him registered"

Really?!  Apparently the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing over there, or some such saying.  Eventually we did sort something out and Gus should be able to start pre-school next month.  He is super excited so I hope it actually works out.  I really hope the people running the pre-school have more of a clue than the people in charge of registration.  I don't have high hopes for that but we'll just have to see how it goes.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's August You Guys...August!

It's with 95% certainty that I tell you Gunnar should be home this month.  There's a slight chance it might end up being September but right now, all signs point to this month.  I have a ton of mixed emotions about him coming home.  Thankfully, things are finally winding down for his platoon, and they are no longer running patrols.  He has regular internet usage and his job requires him to be at a desk for 12 hrs a day.  After so much stress and worry about his safety, I feel like we can finally exhale, relax, and just wait for him to come home.