Monday, November 23, 2009

Family Update

Sophia...
~ LOVES being a big sister!
~ enjoys "pretend play" - working in the kitchen like mom, sweeping, dusting, transforming ANYTHING with handles into a purse, "fixing things" like Dad does
~ is learning new words every day! It is so fun to hear her rehearse words... my favorite is "cranberry" which ends up more like "kah-pee-pee."
~ really enjoys crafts. She asks to "cooor" (color) several times a day, and also loves painting, gluing, drawing with chalk, and anything that involves crafts at all!
~ also enjoys reading. A few weeks ago I overheard her choosing a book from the bookshelf, saying "I Shopee. I Shopee. I reeeeeaad." Thrilled my heart!
~ weighs about 24 pounds and will be 2 years old next month!

Ransom...
~ LOVES his big sister!
~ is full of smiles and laughs. He is a very happy baby, and it doesn't take much to get him to smile.
~ is sleeping about 8 hours at night.
~ is very strong. He's happiest when he's sitting up.
~ rolled over last Saturday!
~ weighs about 14 pounds and is just over 3 months old.

I...
~ finished one CLEP worth 6 credits - 2 more CLEPS and 3 classes to go - I should be done by early spring! The test I took last week was definitely the one I was most confident in: Social Sciences and History. I crammed for 2 days and did better than I thought I would!

Jon...
~ was chosen to do training to become a hospital or prison chaplain in the Army! It's the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. As a part of the training he'll get his Doctorate of Ministry, so he's super excited about that! This will be very good for our family, and we're both looking forward to it. Of course, that means leaving here sooner than we anticipated, but that seems to be the story of our lives, so nothing new there...

~ is pastoring the contemporary service here on post as well. Actually, he was the one who started it. It's going incredibly well. We've been having about 60 people - some Soldiers, some families, some civilians.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Reflections on Fort Hood

I have had many emotions since first hearing of the shootings last Thursday. My heart broke as I read the Facebook status update from a girl I know who recently moved to Fort Hood with her new husband. Immediately I Googled it to find more information.

At first, it was a horrible incident, but no details were known.

Then it came out that the shooter was not only a Major, but a psychiatrist.

The feelings I had at that point were indescribable. Mostly just extreme sadness.

I do not know the tragedy of war first-hand. I do, however, know it second- and third-hand, just as Major Hasan did. With a husband (and several friends) in an Army helping profession, I have seen the toll this can take on a person. And to be a psychiatrist at Walter Reed? That must have been a terribly difficult job. I’m not saying that this in any way justifies what he did. I guess what I am saying is that sometimes the unseen collateral from this war is the mental effect on Soldiers and those around them.

Some other thoughts:

~ To use President Obama’s words, “not speculating” about things we do not know is responsible. The night it happened, I was waiting for the press conference with General Cone to come on, and in that short hour, I was amazed how many things were speculated on. Even with the “of course, this is all speculation” caveat at the end of a long conversation, ideas were planted in peoples’ minds that may or may not be true. Remember this. Why even go there until we know?

~ NOT ALL MUSLIMS WANT TO KILL AMERICANS. In fact, “Muslim” and “American” are not mutually exclusive. Many Muslims ARE Americans. Many Muslims serve in the armed forces proudly. Not all Muslims are terrorists. (For that matter, not all terrorists are Muslims). Was Major Hasan a terrorist? I have absolutely no idea. Unless you want all Christians to be represented by Westboro Baptist Church (who consider the Fort Hood massacre as a judgment by God – the “Christian” God – on sinful America), please do not paint all Muslims with the extremist brush either.

~ Speaking out against the war is not illegal. Many great Soldiers are not in favor of this war and continue to follow orders. Some of the same people who cried out against the “hate crime” bill on the basis of it limiting free speech against homosexuality now seem to want to limit free speech against the government and its actions.

My prayers are with the families directly affected by this tragedy, as well as those indirectly affected. I think in some way the entire Army family has been affected, and I believe we all can feel that. It’s astounding grief.

I write this because I have seen a saddening amount of backlash over the last several days. In the midst of all our grief and fears, let’s not jump to conclusions. Let us not judge others on the basis of speculation. Instead, let’s pray for them. Show love to everyone, regardless of religion or ethnicity. And maybe we’re asking the wrong questions. Let’s start asking what we can do to help Soldiers, what we can do to support those in the military helping professions. That said, there is a lot of help available that people just do not take advantage of. Why is that? Maybe if we can begin to answer these questions, it will make us all better off.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sophie's big girl bed!

Lots has happened, but right now I need to show you something cool:

Sophie's big girl bed! You know what's even cooler? Jon built it!

When I was pregnant, we decided to get a toddler bed for Sophie instead of another crib. That turned into Jon building a toddler bed... which turned into "Why not a twin bed that she can use for many years?"... which turned into "Why not build bunk beds that can be used separately?"

And here we are!








Sophie loves it! She cried the first couple times we laid her down there. THEN she figured out she could get up! It only took one warning, though, and I am proud to say she has not gotten up prematurely since! She's been in it for about a month now - what a big girl!

It's amazing how much older she seems now that we have a newborn. Her vocabulary has expanded - it's so fun now that I actually know what she's talking about! She adores Ransom ("Reme" as she calls him) - and she's very concerned about him. If he's crying, she promptly comes and tells me "Reme shad" (sad). If she sees he doesn't have a blanket - even if it's 80 degrees - she finds him one and covers him up.

Ransom is doing great too - he weighs almost 13 pounds and is 24" long - that's the 95th percentile for weight and 90th for length! I think he'll weigh more than Sophie by his first birthday. He's getting strong - he can hold his head up very well and loves to smile!

I never believed it would happen to me, but it has... I take significantly fewer pictures of Ransom than I did of Sophie at this age. I'm starting to amend that. Look for new pics later today!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Baby Fisher!

I am sitting on the couch, with a cool breeze blowing in through the window. It feels good to be home. Sophie is asleep in her crib, and Jon and Ransom are having that perfect "newborn sleeps on Daddy's chest while he sleeps" moment.

Yes. Ransom.

Late Wednesday afternoon I started getting really uncomfortable. Around 9pm or so, the contractions got worse, but after having visited the hospital with false labor a couple weeks ago, I was in no hurry to go in. We watched a movie, I took a bath and went to bed. They were still getting worse, but not lasting longer than about 30 seconds, so I didn't think too much of it (though they were about 4 minutes apart at that point...) Finally Jon talked me into calling our friend to stay with Sophie, and we left.

We got to the hospital about 12:30 at night. We went through the whole admittance process in no hurry - the nurse told me later she thought I would be in labor for several more hours. So did I.

Finally, about 1:00am, she checked me out. She got a really surprised look on her face and said she needed to go call my doctor - I was at 9! They told me to not push until the doctor got there (seriously? SERIOUSLY?), which he did a little after 2. I pushed for a few minutes, and at 2:21am on August 20, Ransom Decatur Fisher was born!

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I wrote all that last Saturday. What can I say, I have a newborn and a toddler...

All has been going well. He's eating like a champ and is above his discharge weight. We went to the doctor yesterday for his first routine appointment, and the doctor was afraid he was jaundiced. We did the blood test, and the results were "not alarming" - so we don't have to do anything! What a huge relief...

Sophia absolutely loves him, though by now she has gotten pretty used to him. The first day she wanted to hold him and be by him constantly, the next day she just needed my and Jon's attention. By now the novelty has pretty much worn off. I'm sure there will be more difficult times ahead, but kids adapt easily.

My parents have been here for a few days, which has been a huge blessing. For reasons I'll write about in another post, Jon has had to go to work every day this week, and I've been gone some as well. Having someone here to watch the kids - and keep the house from falling apart - has been wonderful. They're leaving tonight about the same time Jon's family is coming in - so glad it worked out for them to come before school starts!

Ok, I've been writing this over several days, and if I keep going it will digress into more and more rambling. Instead, I leave you with pictures!



Monday, August 17, 2009

Troops' families feel weight of war

This is a bit of a read, but it does a great job at displaying some of the difficulties multiple deployments place on military families. It references Strong Bonds, the retreat program we just did in Nashville.

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to demand long and multiple deployments of soldiers, the Army high command is focusing more attention on a tragic consequence to military families. Soldiers and their spouses are learning to live separate lives — the soldier at war, the spouse at home with the children — and it is becoming more difficult with each deployment to get back together.


Read the whole article here: Troops' families feel weight of war - there is also a short video on the site of one couple talking about their life in the military.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

38 and counting.


Well, here it is, August 12, the date that was my guess to have the baby.

The end is not in sight. I went to the doctor this morning, who informed me - unsurprisingly - that there has been no change in the past 2 weeks. The way I have been feeling, I expect the baby to make his grand appearance around Halloween - I feel the same as I did a month ago, except even fewer of my clothes fit! The other day I didn't update my Facebook status all day, so my sister took that to mean I was in the hospital! No such luck...

What is nice is that, since I got everything done that I wanted to before our Nashville trip, I have been enjoying relaxing and reading these past couple weeks!

Ah yes, Nashville. I suppose that's something non-baby I could talk about. The Army, in its ever infinite wisdom, realized a few years ago that - surprise - the military doesn't exactly make marriage easy. And since, in most cases, happy marriage = happy Soldier = good Soldier, they decided to do something about it. Hence the inception of Strong Bonds.

Strong Bonds is a Marriage Enrichment Retreat program run by Chaplains. Two weeks ago, Jon and I, along with 19 other couples from Redstone, went to the Opryland Hotel in Nashville for a few days for this retreat. Aside from a few minor hiccups, all went well! Jon taught on, among other things, The Five Love Languages and healthy conflict resolution. He is a really great teacher - of all the hats he wears as a Chaplain, that's probably his favorite! The couples seemed to interact with the material and respond well to it. Though these events take a ton of work on Jon's part, it is great knowing that these marriages are better off because of it.

We were planning on staying an extra night, but I thought I was in labor. Silly me. I think all the walking around made me go into false labor, and being 2 1/2 hours from home, I didn't want to risk it... It was a beautiful hotel, albeit a little ostentatious. The photo is of us at the garden. INSIDE the hotel.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Baby Pool

It's that time again!

Here are the stats: I'm at 36 weeks right now, 2-3 cm dilated.

I had Sophie at 36 weeks/5 days, which would be this coming Monday (August 3) if this baby were to be the same.

So, what are your guesses - when do you think we will meet Baby Boy Fisher?

(For what it's worth, my guess is August 12...)

Put your guess in the comments section! :-)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Homemade Ice Cream (in a bag)

So I've seen a recipe on a few different "Mommy Blogs" this summer for homemade ice cream that you make with in plastic bags and is ready in 5 minutes. Didn't quite believe it would be as good as they said, but I thought I'd try it.

I have to admit, it was pretty good! I used one part milk and one part half-and-half. We drink skim milk, so I think doing it with a higher fat milk or ALL half-and-half would produce a creamier product. Also, it helps to think of it more as a milk shake than ice cream. That said, it's ridiculously easy to make and would be tons of fun for kids to do!

One other note - I have always thought ingredients I had never used seemed exotic, and therefore expensive. Case in point: Rock Salt. To all you out there like me, rest assured - I picked up a 1-pound box of it for 89 cents. :-)

Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag

1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup half & half or milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

6 tablespoons rock salt
1 pint-size ziploc bag
1 gallon-size ziploc bag
Ice cubes

Step One: Put the first three ingredients into the pint sized ziploc bag. Seal well. Check and make sure that is is sealed well. Check again.

Step Two: Put the pint sized ziploc bag inside of the gallon sized ziploc bag.

Step Three: Fill the gallon sized ziploc bag with ice and rock salt.

Step Four: Shake your bags.

After about 5-10 minutes the half & half will thicken and you will have ice cream!

Take the small bag of ice cream out of the larger bag — you may want to wipe the bag off to get rid of the salt residue, especially for younger children who are not as neat. Then, grab a spoon and eat it right out of the bag.

Enjoy!


Here is the site I got this particular recipe from, but if you Google "homemade ice cream bag" you'll come up with lots of variations and ideas... I'm thinking chocolate next time! :-) Oh, we also put it in a bowl instead of eating it out of the bag - I hate getting melty ice cream on my hand as I'm trying to scrape the bottom...

Happy eating!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thoughts on a Rainy Sunday

Several people have asked me why I've stopped blogging, or at least writing so much. There are many reasons for this. One, admittedly, is Facebook. I post a lot of thoughts there, so the blog gets pretty much ignored. Then there's the fact that I completely and utterly decompress to Jon, so by the time I think to write about a given topic, I've probably already talked about it to death! Oh, then there's the small matter of being in school full time right now (should have my BA next spring!!!), and trying to do what I can to get ready for a new baby next month. (NEXT month? What??? When did THAT happen?)

The other reason is actually similar to why Jon stopped blogging. I started this out to chronicle being a Chaplain's wife, and I have few new experiences anymore. It's just life. Redstone is different from Hunter, which was different from Stewart, but at the end of the day, it's pretty much the same.

And, honestly, many of the things I would write about, I'm not really comfortable putting out there in cyberspace for anyone to read.

After listening to a story yesterday on NPR, Jon and I had a conversation about what it would look like to move "back home." I'll admit, there are times moving back to Cedar Springs seems appealing. My parents now live 4 hours away from there, so it's not "home" in that sense, but it is where I grew up. Every time I visit, I wish I could stay longer. Most of our siblings live within a 45 minute drive of there, and what I consider my home church - the one I went to and worked at in my early 20s - is just 10 minutes away.

But could I do it?

When Jon was in Iraq the first time, our plan was to go Active Duty. Long story short, that didn't work out. He came home in May of 2006, and we weren't sure where life would take us. We ended up moving back to Atlanta to work. I remember being completely terrified of this. Away from Michigan? Away from my family? Away from home?

But you know, home isn't Cedar Springs anymore. Home is not Savannah nor Huntsville. We often say that home is wherever we both are, but when he is deployed, I certainly don't consider THAT home! Many people use the phrase "Home is where the Army sends you" - and I think that right now, I tend to agree.

I feel more at home with other spouses than I do with friends from Michigan. I feel like I could walk onto any Army post and be integrated quite quickly.

A couple weeks ago I was on the phone with a good friend from high school. We used to do everything together. She got married a year after me, had a girl 7 weeks after Sophie was born, and had a baby boy in March. In that way, our lives have remained similar.

But really, they couldn't be more different. She lives in the next town over from our high school, in a small community. She is happy with her life, and I'm happy for her.

But it's not for me.

My life is the Army now. Jon and I have talked recently about how intimidated I used to be by it all. The first few social functions I went to I was scared to death. I didn't know when to stand, when to sit, how to interact with people. It was all so unknown.

Not anymore. Changes of Command, Hail & Farewells, Coffees, FRGs, even Memorial Services - they're all a part of life. I can tell rank by glancing at a Soldier's chest (though I'll admit, I still have to mentally count rockers), Taps playing at the end of the day has become common, and all my friends know exactly what it's like to have a husband overseas. I am more comfortable here than I would be anywhere else. I appreciate the diversity of people I meet, and I realize that, regardless of rank and position, that's all they all are - just people. People who introduce me to worlds quite unlike mine, people who might look at things differently.

I'm not done blogging. You'll still get your Sophie updates :-) - and I'm sure many more once Baby Boy arrives! And I'll still fill you in about what's going on now and then - but as far as the "Army firsts" - I think those are getting fewer & further between. And I'm realizing that what it means to be a "Chaplain's wife" is different with every person, every post, every year. I have other Chaplains' wives as friends who view this ministry vastly different than we do, so their experience looks different. So, I'll keep telling my story - just don't be surprised if I continue to not update very frequently. (If you DO want to know what's going on in my life, though, add me as a Facebook friend - that's a better way! :-)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Need your help!

We bought a deep freezer yesterday!!! Yes. THREE exclamation points. It is very exciting.

The refrigerator in this house is considerably smaller than we've had in the past - and the freezer has about enough room for 2 bags of vegetables. Being people who like to stock up during sales and such, that just wasn't cutting it...

One of my plans is to use the month of July to prepare some meals ahead, so in the last weeks of pregnancy and first weeks of Life With Two Kids, I can have some frozen meals ready.

Suggestions?


I need meals that freeze well - all suggestions are welcome! My ideas so far are chicken (pulled chicken, maybe with garlic/onions, that I can use in other things), sweet & sour chicken, meatloaf, of course soup... what else? I'm looking for not just meals, but also things like the chicken, that aren't a whole meal, but would cut down immensely in preparation.

Look forward to your ideas!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sophie Update


Sophia turned 18 months on Sunday! We celebrated by having her well-baby check-up yesterday...

She is, not surprisingly, doing great. I have had several people comment to me that she looks tall, which I never understood - until yesterday. Seems she is in the 40th percentile in height, but only 14th in weight.


Sophia, now that you're 18 months, here are some of the things I absolutely adore about you, and never want to forget...


~ The way you drink all your milk from your cereal bowl when you're done, following my accidental example...

~ When you see something you want, you say "peeease" and nod your head.

~ The way you start "reading out loud" from the book you're looking at when Dad or I read to you.

~ How excited you get when Dad gets home - you run toward the door, arms out for a hug, squealing the whole way.

~ How you have started liking being "pretty" - barrettes and headbands in your hair, necklaces, combing your hair.

~ How, every time I walk down the hall, you follow me, either saying "upupupup" (telling me you want me to lift you "up" onto my bed to play), or "po-y" (meaning you want to sit on the potty).

~ The way you sit at your desk with a piece of paper and pen, diligently writing, as if you are chronicling your day for future generations.

~ How, when you know we're getting ready to leave, you start gathering things: your shoes, my shoes, my purse, the diaper bag... then get VERY upset if we don't leave right away!

~ The way you hold your hand up to your mouth and make "whisper" noises if Dad or I whispers to you.

~ How you fold your hands and say "paaay" when it's time to pray - and if we say the Lord's Prayer, you say it with us. In tongues, apparently. ;-)

~ How upset you get when someone else is crying or yelling. I hope you never lose this sense of empathy.

You are such a sweet child!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I really should write more often...

I'm sitting outside right now, under the covered patio, eating chips and cheese, watching it rain. I love this. The cool breeze is such a welcome break from the 90s weather we've been having - I'm actually wearing a sweatshirt right now! Feels like fall...

It's been busy around here. It's definitely a different kind of "busy" than the last unit - but busy nonetheless. Those "leave work at 5" days (novel concept!) have quickly fluttered by... ah well... so, here's a recap of the last few weeks...

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We went to our first 832nd Hail & Farewell last week. It was by far the shortest I have ever been to - and they were farewelling the Commander! Usually these things take HOURS - even with the meal, this one was done in about 90 minutes! It was cool to get to meet more of the people in Jon's unit.

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Sophie is growing more interactive every day! She is getting to a really fun age - there are times I'm not sure what I'm going to do with a newborn again! She is very independent and loves doing things that Mom and Dad do... though not always exactly the way Mom and Dad do them. For example, she loves helping me unload the dishwasher. There is a low cupboard with plastic things she can put away, but lately she has been putting away the silverware for me. Unfortunately, since she can't reach the drawer, she has claimed another low cabinet for silverware! She very purposefully gets each piece, one at a time, walks over, and puts it on the shelf. She's trying so hard to help I can't bear to stop her!

Last night at Bible study one of the Soldiers put Sophie up to the microphone - she didn't even hesitate doing exactly what Dad does... she leaned forward and started singing away! The words consisted mostly of "duh"s and "nuh"s, but it was definitely a song! When he tried to put her down, she grabbed the mic and started singing louder!

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Thanks for all your suggestions about play group. We didn't go on Tuesday, and there weren't any problems today. There were fewer kids there today, plus one of them was a 6-year-old girl who loved helping Sophie play all morning!

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Long story short, I got some good news about my degree last week! They FINALLY got all my transcripts evaluated (2 1/2 years after the process began...) and they accepted ALL of them!!! The one blow-off AP math class I took in high school even paid off - not only did they give me 3 credits for it, but it waived THREE math classes! All said, it seems I have 3 CLEPs and 6 8-week classes left! Even taking my time (and a term off for the baby), I should be done in less than a year! Woohoo!

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We were visited by yet another "official welcoming committee" this week. It's funny to me that every group comes individually - I think this was the 3rd. They came with a cookbook with recipes from spouses (Officers' Spouses Club), so that was cool. I have heard people talk about not feeling very welcome when they move on post, but that hasn't been our experience at all! People here seem just the right amount of friendly - they'll welcome you and talk to you, but don't intrude! ;-)

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I'm officially in my third trimester! Let me tell you... this kid... shirts I wore up until the day I had Sophie are already stretched tight around my belly. After I eat, I have to push him down so I can breathe. I'm really hoping I go early again, because I have a feeling he'll be bigger than Sophie was! I would love to do a natural birth again, but if he's big... I just don't know...

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Ok, that's enough for now. I'm off to write the first paper for "Music of the United States"... it's a book report of the table of contents and chapter summaries. Seriously?!?! I think I'll like this class...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Petting Zoo

This week Sophie and I went on her first field trip! We have been going to a morning Play Group twice a week. Sophie loves Play Group - and so do I! It's sponsored by Army Community Services, and they have a huge building with all sorts of fun toys, plus an outside play area with outdoor toys just for Sophie's age. I have enjoyed getting to know other moms, and Sophie literally runs to the building when we gets there and... shall we say... it's a struggle to leave...


Sophie also LOVES animals. Didn't get it from me, that's for sure. "Dog" was her second word (after the ever-important "Dad") - and we don't even have one! (Notice in the first video how she got distracted by the dog - that happened several times that morning). So, I knew that she would enjoy this trip - she had a blast! It took some convincing for ME to feed the animals, but when I saw all the 2-year-olds around me not sharing my trepidation around the goats, I had to toughen up.. ;-)


You can click HERE to see the whole set of pictures (plus some with her new sandbox and table & chairs).






Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Life at Redstone

If you've read my blog for long, you have heard me "wax an elephant" about how a military Chaplain has a very unique roll - that of a religious Government employee. Each Chaplain has a different take on what exactly that means, but regardless of your personal view, what the job looks like on a day to day basis is different with each unit. And not only does the kind of unit/ mission affect the day-to-day work, but so does the Commander and his/her expectations.

Contrary to what many people think, the main function of a Chaplain is (typically) not pastoral ministry in the "church" sense. There is a large amount of counseling, plus meetings, staff work, training, etc. While there are some Chaplains who fill the pastor role, those jobs are few and far between - and even then, he probably shares the pulpit with all the others stationed there.

All that background is to say that this job is very different than what he's done, in a lot of ways - more on that in the future...

To make a long story not quite as long, Jon has started a contemporary service here! We have only met for two weeks and are about to undergo some changes (moving to a bigger chapel and meeting on Sunday evenings instead of mornings), but it has been refreshing for us to be in this kind of ministry. At this point, he's doing it all - leading worship, preaching, presiding over communion - everything. On top of that, he's doing a Bible study on Wednesday evenings. Though it's very different from his other roles, we are really enjoying this aspect of the Chaplaincy.

On a personal level, I'm loving it! I get to do a lot of those things that pastors' wives do that I never have. Or, things I did as a church secretary and miss! (Seriously, I get a ridiculous amount of pleasure from building Power Points for the service...) I am just beginning to build relationships with a couple female Soldiers and look forward to doing that more.

Jon and I have always made it a point to function as a team - "whatever we do, we do together" - but here, more than ever before, I feel like a part of his ministry and what he's doing. Of course, he still has the Soldier aspect to his job - and he can keep that! As for me, I will continue to lay in bed while he gets up to run every morning! :)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Stepping Out

Most people who know me casually think I'm outgoing. I'm not. I would typically be MUCH happier at home - even socially, I like to get together with one or two other people, not groups. AFTER I know you, I'm not quiet - but it takes every ounce of willpower to go say hello to someone I don't know. I have always felt pretentious doing that - I thought that if someone had any desire to meet me, THEY would come up to ME. What I've realized, though, is that most people don't just walk up and introduce themselves, which makes it REALLY hard to meet them! With each new place we've moved, I've tried to overcome that a bit more. I'm happy to say it's starting to work!

Earlier this week there was an FRG meeting - the first they have had in a couple years - perfect timing! :-) Unfortunately, Jon had gotten a call right before it started to meet with a Soldier, so he wasn't able to make it.

There were probably 25 people there or so, which, for having never done it, was a great turnout. I sat with the Commander and his wife, who I think were the only people in the room I had met before (Jon & I have gone to a couple Battalion softball games - fun! Reminds me of church leagues... except with cussing...). I quickly got to know the other people at our table, and after we ate, I met everyone else! It must be pointed out that Sophie is a GREAT buffer and way to meet people...

Contrary to my previous belief, no one blew me off and acted annoyed that I said hello like I thought they would! ;-) As much as it's out of my comfort zone, Jon sometimes reminds me that, as the Chaplain's wife, it is appropriate and good for me to take initiative to meet people like that. I look forward to getting to know them better!

Sophie and I have also started going to a play group that meets twice a week (though it's indefinitely canceled due to the swine flu... er... I mean N1H1...). The other moms there are super nice, plus it's great to watch Sophie interact with other kids her age! They have TONS of toys, both indoor and outdoor - once Sophie realized I wasn't just dropping her off and leaving, she was ready to explore!

Some other exciting things have happened, but those will have to wait for another day! :-)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Contemplating...

I have a post nearly ready to be published, about the people I've met and the things I've done since moving here. I just can't seem to finish it right now...

My thoughts are with my old roommate from Moody. Kandice, who just turned 28, was diagnosed this month with inflammatory breast cancer. She has been preparing to go to the mission field in a Creative Access country in Central Asia to work with the deaf. She's meeting with an oncologist for the first time, even as I type this. Please keep her in your prayers...

My sister-in-law Amy just posted this video this week from a conference she recently attended sponsored by Living Beyond Breast Cancer. I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The World of Kevin (updated)


Sorry - it seems I wasn't super clear - there is a separate photo page with 20 or so new photos - click the link at the word "here" in the following sentence:

I posted new photos
here! Some are from Easter, some are from various other times. Sorry about the photo page title - I forgot to change it from the iWeb prefab.

Here are just a couple...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

(updated at bottom) For Matt:

But others are free to comment as well!!!! (That was for Andrea.)

Anyway -

Here's the story. In 2003, a 13-year-old girl named Savana was accused by a classmate of having prescription-strength Ibuprofen. Savana was called to the assistant principal's office, where a nurse made her take off all her clothes, then move her underwear aside, to search for drugs. None were found. Savana was a straight-A student who had never been in trouble in school before.

Oh, one more thing - her parents were not notified...

According to her, she didn't question it at the time, because they were people she trusted, and she really wasn't sure what was going on.
Her mother sued, and after several hearings, it is in front of the Supreme Court today.

So what do you think? Did the school have the right to do this? How would you feel if it had happened to your daughter - safer that the school is taking such a stance on drugs, or violated that she was stripped without your knowledge? If you think the school acted appropriately, would you feel the same way if it were a male doing the search?

Here's
one article on the story - though if you Google "Savana Redding Supreme Court" you will come up with a lot. I originally heard it on NPR's Morning Edition - it's worth the 8 minute listen.

The Court's decision is not out yet - I'm very interested to see what it is...

Here is an article written this afternoon chronicling the hearing - apparently they expect a decision in June.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's a...

Wow, so I just realized that in the midst of my blogging absence, I forgot to tell you we got an ultrasound!

The day before we moved, we trekked down to Ft. Stewart at 6:30 in the morning to get to see the baby. Because of the move, I have yet to see a new OB/GYN, and since they don't have any on post here, that will necessitate me getting my insurance switched to here (check), setting up an appointment with a family doctor on post (hopefully I can set the appointment tomorrow, but at Hunter it routinely took over a month for this to happen...), wait for the referral, call the new doctor, and wait for an available appointment there. Suffice it to say they wanted to make sure everything was ok before we had that long break!

Everything is healthy and developing well. This U/S Tech was much more aggressive and thorough than the one who did Sophie. After checking all organs and such, I was pretty sure what I saw - then she confirmed it when she looked at me with a contented smile and said,

"You are having a little boy!"

We're really excited - though (as always), we would have been happy either way, I was really hoping for a boy! :-)

In other pregnancy news, the little kiddo is continuing to use my insides as a jungle gym. I'm feeling fine, though a little more tired, sore (and heavy!) than with Sophie. I'm now at 22 weeks - over halfway there!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sweet Home Alabama!

We made it! (Ok, so that statement is 3 weeks late...)

You know, I LOVE moving to new places. Ask me in 15 years, I'll probably have a different perspective, but right now, it's great. It probably also helps that this was a good move for us - closer to family, non-deployable, etc. Still, it has been a great experience!

The new house is wonderful! 3 beds, 2 bath, 2 car garage, covered patio, family room AND living room, HUGE kitchen, tons of storage, over 2000 square feet - totally spoiling me! The houses here were recently renovated and are not very indicative of what Army housing is usually like - which is one of the reasons we decided to live on post here! (It helps that the Commissary is quite large too!)

Redstone is a beautiful area - Huntsville is not IN the mountains, but it's very hilly and the border of the town seems to be a few mountains. I can't wait for the fall!! When most people hear "Alabama" they think Southern AL - but where we are is on the Tennessee border - we're just a couple hours from Nashville. Gorgeous!

After being here for all of about 48 hours, we exchanged the U-Haul for a rental car and headed north! We had a great time seeing family - we actually got the entire Fisher family together for a day! As you can see, it's quite the crowd! Sophie had a great time with all her cousins (and aunts & uncles & Poppy too...) :-)

It was a quick trip, but we did get to see my parents, siblings, one set of grandparents, and Jon's grandmother and great-grandmother as well. And let me tell you, the 8-hour trip to my parents makes the whole thing MUCH easier to handle than the 15-hour one!

Much else has happened, too. I went to PWOC this past week - everyone was very welcoming. The group size is somewhere between Hunter and Stewart - about 20 women probably. Of course, here they have 3 separate meeting times (but child care at only one, hence my decision to go to that one!) We have a park about a block away that we visit every few days, much to Sophie's delight. Jon signed in to his unit - it is VERY different here from the last one!

Well, that at least catches me up, so I don't have this "need to write a blog post" hanging over my head. Maybe now I can write something more interesting! I did realize yesterday that it is still like February in my mind. It's April? How did THAT happen? Goes to show I've been a bit out of it lately...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Anyone near SC?

Hey all! I know my readership has gone down drastically since my little undeclared sabbatical from blogging, but I thought I'd put this out there -

I have a friend who would like to pass on at least one - possibly two or three - tickets to the EWomen of Faith conference in Greenville, SC! Here's the catch - it's THIS weekend! If anyone might be interested, let me know and I'll hook you up with her!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

In the Army, when a person leaves, it is officially a "Farewell" - it's used as a noun, a verb, and an adjective. (Conversely, the same is true of "Hailing" someone new...) Anyway, we've had several of these over the past week, and this week will bring even more...

~ Thursday morning we did our official transition of leadership at PWOC. It was, of course, emotional. We used the same script I used last year installing Misty at Ft. Stewart when we thought we were moving in December. They gave me a plate they had all signed, I gave my speech, then I quietly slipped out while they started the study time. I have to admit, the advent of Facebook in my life has dramatically decreased the need for goodbyes!

~ Yesterday morning they recognized us at Chapel. As a wife, it was very honoring to be recognized individually, apart from Jon, for the energy I have put in there, specifically through PWOC. We are a team in everything we do; my involvement in the Chapel I look at as an extension of his ministry. Even still, it is nice that people see me as Sara, not just as Chaplain Fisher's wife.

The best part, though, was when Chaplain Godfrey talked about how much he'll miss Sophie! He pointed out that she took some of her first steps in that Chapel and is part of that community. It's true - she's more comfortable in the Chapel fellowship hall or nursery than she is anywhere other than home. Stands to reason - she spends the most time there.

~ Last night we went to Jon's Battalion Commander's house for dinner, along with one of the Company Commanders and First Sergeants who are also both leaving. 1SG Davis is retiring, and CPT Whittacre is actually leaving for Kuwait this week! I remember meeting both their wives at a get-together at that very same house just about a year ago (it is the 603d Commander's house, so it's the same building, just with different furniture!). A lot has happened since then, both in all our lives and in the unit.


Like always, those things will shape who I become; each experience I have had at Hunter Army Airfield will in some way affect who I am in the future. That makes it easier for me, as I have a ridiculous need for closure. The knowledge that I am not leaving this place unchanged in itself adds closure to this chapter in my life.

And for that, I am thankful.

Monday, March 16, 2009

On their 35th...

Today is my parents' 35th anniversary - what an accomplishment! Though I would love to claim credit for this video, my dad made it for my mom. It, of course, displays his humor, but is very sweet all the same! :-)

I am very privileged to have had a great example of marriage growing up. I know my own is better off for it. Happy anniversary, Mom & Dad!

video

Friday, March 13, 2009

Closing this chapter...

So it seems I'm not much of a blogger anymore. What can I say, life gets busy. Sophie is running all over the place (literally), my class ended, Jon is clearing Hunter Army Airfield. Our living room is adorned with boxes, and we will be moving in the two weeks!

These next couple weeks will be full of goodbyes. The nice thing in the Army is that it's usually, "Well, see ya around!" We both know that may or may not happen. But it MAY. So why go through the emotion of saying goodbye?

I did have an interesting experience this last week. I went back to PWOC at Ft. Stewart, the place where it all began for me. I went to PWOC before Jon even started his official orders when we moved to Hinesville. Those women are what gave me a good attitude toward the Army and a place to belong.

Things, of course, have changed. They now meet at the new chapel. About 75% of the women who went two years ago when I started have moved on. As I was standing talking with someone before the meeting started, the greeter came up to welcome me on my first time.

I think the most encouraging part was seeing the women in leadership. Two years ago, if you would have told them what would happen, they would have never believed it! They had never done anything like it and started out in "behind the scenes" jobs. How awesome! They have stepped out of their comfort zones and are doing a great job serving the group at Ft. Stewart. The President right now, Brandie, was actually one of the first people I met there. She was standing beside the greeter at the time, helping her. The following year she was the greeter herself, and this year she is the President. That's one of the great things about PWOC - it gives people a chance to develop and grow in a safe environment. I know it did that for me.

I am quite a sentimental person. Jon never understands why I have this need for closure when I leave a place, why I can't just leave and be done with it. He has accepted it, mind you, but he is not the same way! Being back there brought back a lot of memories, a lot of thoughts. When I first walked into PWOC just over two years ago, I was new to the Army life. I was just starting to get to know my husband and Sophia was not yet a thought.

It was fitting to go back, to see how it has changed. To see how the new women who have moved in have stepped up, keeping the group going. And when they're gone, there will be a new group. You know, that's why I really don't miss it. Nothing is ever the same when you go back, especially in the Army. Still, the women I met at Fort Stewart last year will forever be a part of my life.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New pics

So... I've been taking pictures, but I had some issues getting them onto my computer. It seems every once in a while you need to EMPTY your trash, so as to not slow your computer down. Glad I have a loving husband to point such things out to me.

Anyway, here they are. I didn't realize until after it published that it cut off the end of my captions. I'm too lazy to go back and fix them all. It also called the album "library" because I forgot to change it in iPhoto before I imported it to iWeb. I think Mac should come out with a new application called iThink so I don't have to...

Here they are - enjoy!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Movin' on up!

In the Army, every time you're up for move (PCS), you fill out preference sheet, or, as is commonly called, a "dream sheet." A few months ago Jon and I carefully filled it out, weighing where we would like to live geographically with what he would like to do - and open slots.

Fast forward to last week. Jon got the call. I had never heard of the place.

Think it was on our dream sheet? ;-)

So, once again, "the needs of the Army" trumped our "dreams"... BUT... it is actually really great!!!

Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. It is much closer to family (8 hours to the closest, instead of 15 like here), further north (better seasons!), and, the best part... (drumroll please...) it's non-deployable! Jon will be with an AIT Battalion (Advanced Individual Training - it's where Soldiers learn to do their "job" in the Army after Basic Training).

I can hear your protests already. You, like many of our friends and family, may be wondering if the Army is going to do what it has done so many times before: change its mind.

Well, possibly. Of course, we can't rule that out. That said, we are further along in this process than we have ever been. The whole Ft. Leonard Wood thing? That was nothing more than a phone call. We have this in official writing.

Oh... one other thing... it's an "immediate fill" - we leave in 6 weeks! Good thing we didn't buy a house this time! :-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

25 Random Things

I know, I know, another one of these things. I wrote this on Facebook, but just in case we aren't "friends" (I hate saying that - "I am friends with X now," like FB seals the deal or something...), I'll post it here.

1. I rather enjoy reading other people’s “25 Things” lists. I’m a dork like that.

2. Though I typically love coffee, for some reason it seems completely unappetizing to me during the first trimester. It is starting to come back.

3. Sophia Anne is the joy of my life. I could just sit and watch her explore all day – I think watching her eat is the most fascinating thing ever! I’m such a mom.

4. I am perpetually working on my degree. Assuming they accept all my transfer credits (should know in the next month or so), I will have senior standing in a couple weeks when this course ends. Of course, it will still take a couple years to finish from here…

5. I have a secret. I will tell you tomorrow.

6. My husband and I do the “traditional” anniversary gifts – 1st was paper, 2nd was cotton, 3rd was leather, and in April we will celebrate with fruit/flowers.

7. My kids will be 20 months apart.

8. My husband and I met when I was his brother’s secretary (at a church – Josh is a pastor). Jon came up to visit for the holidays, and it’s pretty much all history from there…

9. We got married 12 weeks after we got engaged, and he left a week and a half later for Iraq. Wouldn’t recommend that.

10. I think Army wives are great, but to compare them to the show would be like comparing every hospital worker with the cast from Grey's.

11. I have played the flute since 6th grade, and I really enjoy it. I quit band after 9th grade (my parents made me stay through then), but if it weren’t for marching band, I would have continued. I still pull it out for special musics, or to play with Jon

12. When I got married I inherited 6 sisters-in-law and 8 brothers-in-law.

13. I worked at Pine Ridge Bible Camp in Cedar Springs, Michigan for several years in various capacities. The people I met there shaped my life tremendously.

14. I went to Guyana, South America in high school and Hungary in college. I haven’t traveled overseas since then, but would love to. The next time Jon deploys and I don’t have a newborn I plan to go… somewhere…

15. PWOC is what made me not hate the Army. It continues to be a very important thing in my life.

16. My sister has two girls and my brother has two boys. I’m hoping my kids split.

17. I don’t understand how people live without wireless.

18. I love holidays. Christmas is by far my favorite, but I am ridiculously looking forward to heart-shaped sugar cookies this weekend and have already started listening to what I deem an “Easter” cd.

19. To piggyback on #18, Jon says I am a lot like my grandma, who also has an infatuation with holidays. Every time we go to their house he says he understands me more. He also says that I am much more like my mom than my dad, though I when I was in high school I assumed the opposite just because I like to talk.

20. My hometown is the Red Flannel Underwear Capital of the World. Not even kidding.

21. I am a firm believer in letting kids cry it out.

22. I am also a firm believer that food is a love language.

23. Indelible Grace is my favorite music. They’re not really a band, but a group of people who make CDs together. They take songs from the Reformation and put them to new music. If you’ve never heard of them, you should look them up on iTunes right now.

24. I would take The Colbert Report over The Daily Show any day.

25. I joined Facebook the day after Jon left for Iraq last spring so I would have something to fill those first few lonely days. It worked.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Army suicides surpass combat deaths in January

Have you seen this?

More Soldiers committed suicide last month than were killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Let that sink in.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

The seven confirmed suicides and 17 other suspected suicides in January were far above the toll for most months....

Usually the vast majority of suspected suicides are eventually confirmed. If that holds true, it would mean that self-inflicted deaths in January surpassed the 16 combat deaths reported last month in all branches of the armed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and other nations considered part of the global fight against terrorism.


Notice, too, that it's not comparing apples to apples - Army suicides alone surpass all branches' combat deaths. When you add in Marine, Navy, and Air Force suicides, the ratio gets even more alarming.

The Army - and other branches - are looking into this, into the causes, and possible prevention. In fact, Jon is spending all week at Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, so he can train others in suicide prevention. Of course, no suicide prevention will save everyone. But can we help some?

The best thing to do for this would be to at the very least give Soldiers more time at home; unfortunately, that is not always possible. (It is no coincidence that Army rates are much higher than other branches', and the Army has seen more and longer deployments than any other branch.) I remember Jon telling me after his first tour that the "rule of thumb" is that it takes 2 years to return to normalcy after a deployment (though I would argue that "normal" just changes - you never go to war and come back the same...)

So what happens when Soldiers go for 12 months, are home for 10 (during which they spend time in the field, maybe at a school, at NTC... several months away from home altogether), then deploy for another 12, home for 11 (again, spending much of that away), deploy for another 15? How long does it take then? They have not dealt with emotions from the first tour... let alone the second or third. The divorce rate is higher in the military as well - no wonder, eh?

I tell you all this just to bring to light an oft glossed-over topic in the military. Please pray for our men and women in uniform, pray for our leaders - the hope Christ brings is far more valuable than any prevention program they can find.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

New Baby Pics!

Thanks for all your advice and encouragement about Sophie. It seems it is a passing stage (which I figured, but it's still nice to hear!) - she's only done it a couple times since I last posted. I have realized that she refuses water a couple times, but if I keep offering it, she eventually wakes up enough to see what it is, guzzles it down, then goes back to sleep. She drinks a lot during the day - I don't think she's dehydrated - but I suppose I wake up thirsty too!

Today we had our first appointment for the new baby! It's a long story full of the hospital not recording our appointments correctly, and me sitting there for four hours this morning... but it was worth it! The doctor actually gave up her lunch hour to see us, and even did an ultrasound!





I have been feeling better; it seems the worst is behind me. And, I can breathe a sigh of relief now. Even though I had no reason to think anything was wrong, hearing the heartbeat always helps, you know? I actually had a nightmare (yes, I would call it that...) last night of this appointment today. They were doing the exam in the waiting area in front of everyone, and the nurse was actually a drama major merely practicing the role of a nurse. She would stop to do monologues in the middle of the exam. Fortunately, even with the wait, the actual appointment went MUCH better than that! :-)

Everything looks good and on schedule - August, here we come!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

To all you expert parents...

I have a question.

The last, oh, week or so, Sophie has been waking up in the middle of the night, screaming her head off. The first time it happened I rushed in, afraid she was seriously hurt. It was that kind of screaming.

Keep in mind she has been sleeping through the night since she was about 8 weeks old... she's been sleeping about 10-11 hours without waking up for months. Now, it happens, about 1:30 and/or 3:30. Every night.

I have tried letting her cry it out, but she just gets more and more frantic. She doesn't go back to sleep.

So, I go in, pick her up, hug her, hold her for 45 seconds- a minute or so, then lay her back down... she goes back to sleep right away. She won't take water and doesn't fight being held (meaning she doesn't want to go play or anything).

Any ideas? At first I thought maybe it was bad dreams, but it's happening a lot, and on schedule. My other thought was maybe a neighbor is coming home from work or something, and the car wakes her up, since it's scheduled - but why would that scare her so much? I have no idea and am open to suggestions!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

So, uh...

Sorry I've been avoiding you.

It's not you. Really. It's me. The last month I have had the energy of a slug.

And it's been busy, much going on.

And, it's difficult to blog when the only thing I feel like writing about I'm not ready to.

So, to sum up, here's what I would have said over the past month or so:

I'm tired.

I'm hungry, but nothing sounds good.

I eat anyway.

I want to sleep.

I think I'm going to throw up.

I can't wait for Sophie's naptime so I can take one too.

I shouldn't have just eaten. Still feel like I'm going to throw up.

Still tired.

Being pregnant with a one-year-old is much more tiring than just being pregnant.

Now, aren't you glad I didn't blog? What a complainer!

We also went to Atlanta for an impromptu trip with Aaron & Jenny, I hosted a Coffee, went to to the Hunter Spouses Club Luncheon, a Hail & Farewell for Jon's Battalion, Chaplain/Family luncheon, Jon started teaching a weekly financial class on Wednesday evenings - plus the usual PWOC and such.

The pregnancy is going well. I'm now at 10 weeks - due August 26. (Or August 3, if this baby is like Sophie...) I've been feeling ok - mostly tired (see above).

On that note, I've been sitting here for the past hour and need to get some things done - more updates soon! :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Eating Together



If you don't know me well, I tend to be a bit of a procrastinator. I also tend to have really great ideas, but follow-through... not so much...

About three years ago, I heard a story on NPR about this fabulous new book called The Surprising Power of Family Meals: How eating together makes us smarter, stronger, healthier, and happier. I of course went directly to Amazon and had it shipped.

I finished the book yesterday.

But not because it was hard to get into. I mostly blame my degree work. When one has to read for no fun so much, it makes it hard to read for fun.

The other part of the blame is me.

Anyway, now that that's off my chest... it is a fantastically encouraging and enlightening book. It gives the history of the culture of eating, and how that has impacted culture throughout the ages. It points out that kids are more confident and resilient if they have regular meals with the family.

One of the motivating sections for me was about kids cooking. It is a known fact that when kids help prepare the meal, they are more inclined to eat it. I have heard this many times in my life, and we shall see in a few years if I am carrying through with this notion, even though it makes cooking time longer. (Really, can a 3-year-old wash and tear lettuce faster than me?)

It also instilled that whatever eating habits I have, most likely my kids will pick up on. Mothers who constantly diet tend to have 10-year-old daughters who think they're overweight. Do I end every meal with dessert? (not saying that's a bad thing necessarily... ;-) My kids will too. Children will learn to eat - and enjoy - what their parents do. (This is why most 4-year-olds living in Mexico have a higher tolerance for spicy heat than I do...) They learn appropriate portions, nutrition, what foods go together - and these things will stick with them forever.

That is why, to this day, whenever I have fish, I have peas. Why? Growing up, for some reason, it was written in some secret Nave code that peas go with fish. Also in this code is that Sunday lunch includes roast and homemade biscuits, Wednesday evenings were for fried food (gotta love going to youth group smelling like a Fry Daddy...), and potatoes go with everything.

Okok, maybe I didn't keep all of that. I did not inherit my mother's affection for potatoes... but I did inherit her comfortable, homey style of cooking. I have adapted it and made it my own... just as my kids will.

One of the things I appreciated about this book is that the author didn't make judgment calls. She never offered a model of how family meals must run. In fact, quite the contrary. She suggests, that, if nothing else, eat breakfast together, or a bedtime snack. She of course promotes cooking at home - whether that mean gourmet meals, or things so simple a young child could do them. This isn't a cookbook - it allows you to make the best of whatever family situation you have.

If you have young kids - or even if you don't - I would highly recommend this book. It is a quick read (as long as you don't put it down for months between chapters...) and will either inspire you to change, or reinforce what you are currently doing.