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!