Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Wow, it has been a while since I have blogged.  So much for that resolution.  I think I missed the month of March all together.  Maybe February too!  The past couple of weeks have been crazy.  I knew it would.  I planned it to be.  The crazier my weeks are, the faster time goes.  The faster time flys, the sooner he will be home.  

Today he is coming home on leave.  Right now he is probably (hopefully) sleeping somewhere over the Pacific.  It is a horribly long journey, 20 hours of travel time, including layovers in different countries.  It will be worth it for him, it has been a long 7 months.  On one hand it is hard to believe it has already been 7 months, but on the other hand, it seems like it has been forever!  

It will be good for him to be here for the kids especially.  We do not have huge plans, but it is the little things.  He will be here for the last soccer game of the season, the High School Band banquet, the girls choir concert, probably the intermediate school band concert.  Oh, and the beginning of Driver's Ed!   He will still miss things, like Brigid's Olympics, Aidan's band concert, Mackenzie's pizza party that she won.  Oh well, we do what we can, and the kids understand that.

When Scott goes back he will have 4 months left.  It still seems like a long time, but I know that the kids will be busy this summer being kids, and Aidan is supposed to be a camp counselor for June and July.  August will start marching band, and the kids will be getting ready to go back to school.  September will bring his out-processing, and he will be home.  

We are past the hump now.  He can do it, and so can we!!! :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Today is my husband's anniversary!  He has been in the military for 22 years.  He has been stationed at (in order) Ansbach, Germany, Fort Hamilton, NY, The Presidio of San Francisco, CA, Fort Drum, NY, Bad Kreuznach, Germany, Mainz, Germany, Fort Knox KY, Fort Sam Houston, TX, and Seoul Korea. He was fortunate enough to see many countries in Europe, and also was part of Desert Storm as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom.  

I have been with him for most of the ride.  It has had its ups and downs, but for the most part we have enjoyed our time in the military. Many people do not understand military life.  It is different.  You have your blood family, but you also develop your own military family with bonds just as strong.  Many of the friends that we have made along the way continue to this day to be our support staff during his current separation.  I am thankful that I have these people in my life and  I look forward to Scott's return to Ft. Sam!  

Monday, February 14, 2011


A week and a half ago, it was snowing.  Today starts soccer practices, and amazingly enough, it is 82 with a light breeze.  My girls do not have practice tonight since it is Valentine's day, so I had planned to grill some steaks and have a nice meal.  Aidan's team is practicing.  So I am sitting in the car, doing work, which is paying for my wireless card that I recently purchased, listening to the sounds that could probably lull a soccer parent to sleep.  Whistles, claps and shouts from the coaches revving the kids up trying to push them harder.  

It's hard to imaging that in two weeks they will be playing their first game of the season.  The season is scheduled to be over with by April 16th.  It seems so far away from now, but yet, it will happen soon enough.  One good thing that has occurred this year is that all three kids have soccer practice on Mondays and Wednesdays starting within 15 minutes of each other and about a 5-10 minute drive apart!  Yea!!! 

I am glad to see Aidan playing again.  He took the fall off after realizing that he cannot do everything.  I am glad he made the decision even though it cost a little money, I don't think there was any way he could have kept up with band, soccer, all advanced classes, and boy scouts.  

Mackenzie is back playing again this season.  I think she truly enjoys playing and it is good for her to be part of a team.  She has been with the same team since we moved to Texas, and feels pretty comfortable with them.  

Brigid has gone back and forth between wanting to play and not.  I was surprised this winter when she was the first one to tell me that she wanted to play.  I think it was because her "boyfriend" at the time also played soccer, and was also a goalie.  She is a pretty good little goalie.  We just need to work on her kicks, but she is not afraid of diving for the ball.  

None of my children will be superstars playing soccer, and you know what?  I am fine with that.  I am glad that they have an athletic activity that they enjoy doing.  It is good exercise and promotes teamwork.  

Let the season begin!!! :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Grades are a very sore topic here in the Krbec household.  Some days its good, some days its bad.  For some reason, there has become an issue that doing homework is optional.  And then, even if it is done, not always turned in.  Why someone would do the work and not turn it in is beyond me.  I also have issues with being lied to about whether there is homework to be done or not.  As if I would not find out about it!  Or saying it is done, but not knowing why there is no credit given for it.  

Aidan is finding out this year that he can no longer slide by, and dig himself back out of a hole near the end of the quarter.  He saw that last quarter with Geometry, and is now running the risk of not being able to go to NY because of being ineligible when progress reports come out.  He is going to lose a lot if he is ineligible for the trip, since it cost us $1500+ to go on, all of which will be non-refundable!!!

Mackenzie is rushing through some of her work and then getting poor grades.  We have even redone some of her homework (she did, I supervised), but I think she is not turning it in.  She is now running the risk of being ineligible for band and choir.  I really thought that one of her teachers would mark her as ineligible to be in band because of her grade, but the teacher said that it was not fair to her because there was only one grade on the book.  While I agree that there should be more grades in to decide on, I am not sure how I feel about giving her a break.  How is she going to learn.  

Even Brigid, who has been a straight A student all year, is down to a C in one subject after a 43 on an assignment.  A 43, are you kidding me??? Cannot wait to see what she did to get that!!!  That tells me that she did not even do the work.  

It totally surprises me that these good kids would subject themselves to not getting the best grades possible.  Aidan is starting to get the concept that every grade counts, but is still willing to skip redoing an assignment that is missing and get the zero than to redo the assignment and get at least partial credit for it.  I did learn this year that at the High School, it is possible to redo 2 tests per quarter (I think) for a better grade.  

I really hope that this gets better soon.  What the kids do not realize yet, is that with the change in my work schedule, I will have more time to hound them and make sure they are doing what needs to be done.  Maybe this is just a ploy on their part for me not to work...It's working, and they will wish I had someplace else to direct my attention!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Random cold thoughts

Started today with a trip to BAMC.  Aidan needed to be seen by a doctor, and when I called to schedule an appointment, was told that for "that" we needed to go to the ER.  I was surprised, and kind of frustrated, but off we went because I didn't want to risk his health.  I figure if he is coming to me asking for an appointment, then we should go.  Surprising, we did not have too bad of traffic on the way in to BAMC (during rush hour none the less), we were seen complete with ultrasound and released by around 11-ish.  Prescription: rest, ice and elevation.  That was an interesting discussion!!!

Unfortunately, my side trip prevented me from being able to help with the cookie drop.  Thank goodness that we have a great group of Leaders!  By the time I got to the TCM (troop cookie mom) she had all the cases lined up for booths, and the girls orders separated.  So I grabbed the girls orders, and headed home.

The weather has been crazy throughout the country, and hear is no different.  We did not get the major snowstorms that the mid-west did, but we are facing frigid temperatures.  We are looking at getting some snow overnight.  I am not sure if we actually will get anything, but they keep saying, and the kids keep hoping... The school district is supposed to make a decision by 5 am as to whether there will be school in the morning, or if there will be a delay.  It will depend on what the roads look like.  Aidan is out of school until Monday either way, with no sports for another week after that.

So the high today was about 27 degrees, and my funny of the day is the fact that soccer practices start in a week and a half, with the first game the weekend of the 26th.  UGH!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Joys of Facebook

Facebook is a wonderful thing.  You can say how you are feeling, what you are up to, memories, or thoughts of a time that has gone by.   We show pictures of our kids, link music to express our emotions, show videos of cute things we find on the web, and even link to personal blogs expressing a wide variety of topics.  

I like to state it on facebook when I accomplish something major, or a bunch of little things all at once.  It does not prove that I am any better than anyone else, just that I like to brag! LOL.  I choose not to talk about all the things that I do not get accomplished, but revel in the one or two things that I do.  So if you see that a friend has posted that they got a bunch of stuff done before 10 am, or has done an amazing or seemingly impossible task, just remember that there is probably still a ton of laundry to be done, or dishes stacked in the sink.  

I would love to say that I can do it all, and maybe I could if I didn't watch television, or check out facebook, but I choose to watch my couple of favorite show, and see what cool things my friends have done lately.  It's doubtful anyway, I get too distracted.  

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Justice for Sarah

I am writing this more for myself than for anyone else.  I am not wanting to offend anyone.  I am sure it would be very easy for me to do so.  Please understand this is dealing with only my feelings, and that I am not trying to hurt anyone elses.

I come from a large family.  Not personally, I only have one brother, but my Mother is one of 9 children, and I think her mom was one of 10, so with extended relations, it is quite large.  We don't keep in touch with everyone, but now with facebook I have expanded my relationships to extend past people that I had known before.  Being from a large family, there is a wide range of relationships.  In this day and age, divorce happens, childhood out of wedlock happens, shoot just about anything happens.  It is accepted, because we are learning that we are just human, and that everyone makes mistakes, or changes feelings.  I don't know how well I am explaining things, but understand that sometimes things happen, and while it may seem the best at the time, some people are hurt.  I am not angry with anyone (except possibly myself for not being more proactive when I became an adult) about what happened all those years ago.  Things happen, and everyone just deals with it the best they can.  I know that may sound very coded, but I want those involved to understand before I go on.

My uncle was married and had two daughters, and then divorced.  He later remarried and had a daughter and a son.  All of whom are great people.  His first wife remarried  and had a son.  Sounds pretty typical. The two daughters, Stacey and Sarah were 1 and 2 years younger than me, and while they did divorce at a young age, I do remember spending time with them.   We lost touch after the divorce, and I very rarely heard about them.  When our High School team went to the state championships, I did get a chance to see them, but that was about the extent of my connection.

I heard later that Sarah had a baby boy, when I was pregnant with Aidan, and the first 3 great grandchildren in the family were boys all born within about a year of each other Adahy, Austin, and Aidan.  Even though I was not in touch with her, it made me feel a little closer.  Looking back now, I am sad to say, the warm feelings was about all I had.  I never made any attempt to reconnect with Sarah or Stacey at that point.

I moved to Germany with my husband, and when I had Mackenzie, Sarah also had her second child, Lilli.  It is amazing to me how much our lives paralleled even though we were not in touch.  Of course, from what I have heard about Sarah, we were probably as different as night and day.  She sounds like she was a beautiful soul, raising her children in Hawaii, living the culture.  Sounds like it was a very peaceful existence.  

I am not sure if she was married to Adahy and Lilli's dad or not, but that is not really relevant.  At some point she was no longer involved with him, and started a relationship with another man.  It was not a healthy relationship.  She had been asked by Stacey and their brother to leave him, come back to the states, but she just could not do it.  In the fall of 2005, she was pregnant with her third child.  In October of that year, my father passed away, and I was in Florida with my mom and the kids until Veteran's day.  Thanksgiving weekend we got a call from my uncle that Sarah had been beaten to death by her boyfriend.  She was being kept on life support until the baby could be delivered.  Josiah Darcy Fay was born on December 12th, and then they let Sarah go.  

Josiah was adopted by Sarah's brother and his brand new wife.  I am very happy for that.  Shortly after Sarah died, Fran (Stacey and Sarah's mom) passed away from cancer.  Mom and I were able to travel to central Illinois to attend the memorial.  It was good to see Stacey again.  Her brother (who was about 5 last time I saw him) was proudly carrying Josiah around.  Since that time I have reconnected with Stacey on facebook, and while it is not as good of a relationship as it might have been, at least I have one with her.  

It is now 5 years later, and this man, Marwaan Jackson, is just now on trial for her death.  It truly amazes me that it can take this long for someone to be tried for the crimes he committed.  I truly hope for justice to be served.  I have found some references to Sarah, and am truly surprised by how many women are killed at the hands of someone who supposedly loves them.  The psychological games that are involved to keep women going back to the relationship are aweful.  The worst thing is that Sarah had realized this and had a restraining order against him.  One of the neighbors testified on the first day that Marwaan seemed to be more concerned about himself than about the welfare of Sarah after the beating.  Unbelievable! 

I pray for justice for Sarah.  I am sorry for the relationship that I never had, and the beautiful soul I will never know.  I am thankful that her three children are healthy and happy.  I am thankful for the reconnection with Stacey.  

Sarah Marie Fay

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Time Flies

Sometimes it amazes me how quickly time flies.  I know we still have a long time to go, and Scott can tell you exactly how long, but I believe that as of last Sunday, we were down to 236 days.  I know that still seems like a lot, but I keep looking forward to when we get to 180.  It just seems like it should move much faster after that point.  We started second semester at school last week.  Next month, soccer practices begin.  That will take us to the beginning of May and almost to the end of the year.  With three in soccer this spring, it will definitely become a juggling act (not that it isn't already).  

Summer will be long, but we will be in the home stretch.  Scott will be home in September, and with Aidan probably gone for June and July, it will truly feel like a different household.  Aidan will come home in August (this is providing that he gets the job as camp counselor that he applied for), and August will start marching band and getting ready for school.  (Oh no, not marching band already, that means football games and concessions again!!!)  So the kids will be in school for about a month when Scott gets home.  That is not too bad. 

The girls will probably do a summer camp, and then we can spend some time just doing girl things.  Mackenzie will be going into Junior High next year and Brigid into Intermediate school, so there will be changes coming.  We might just have to spend the summer trying new looks.  

Oh yes, and Aidan will (hopefully for him) get his driver's permit this summer.  He would love to be driving as much as possible, and I think the more he drives, the better he will be able to handle driving on his own once he gets his license.  Of course he has to get his permit while dad is gone.  I guess it is better for me to freak out than him.  

I think Scott being gone is harder for him than for us.  We miss him terribly, but my plan of staying busy so we  don't miss him as much definitely worked.  We are busy every day, to the point when I look forward to when we don't have anything going on.  Unfortunately for Scott, he works, but does not have a ton to do on the side.  So he goes home and plays video games and hangs out on the computer.  That sounds awesome, and probably was for a couple of days, but being in an apartment all by yourself after living with such an active household for so long, has got to get lonely.   We try and skype daily, but sometimes it just doesn't work out. I feel bad when we don't get a chance to skype, because I know it helps him feel connected, but sometimes it is unavoidable.

Soon we will be past that 180 mark, and time will start flying by.  Until then (and even past then) we will continue to count the days and know that it is working towards him coming home to us.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Grandma Wanda

On Friday, 1-21-11, my grandmother passed away.  It was surprising, but not totally unexpected.  My grandmother was 89 years old.  She had breast cancer about 20 years ago, and was repeatedly having skin cancers removed.  A couple of years ago, she fell and broke her pelvis, and since she had osteoporosis, she never totally healed from it.  She had been in a nursing home for the past 3 years at various levels.  So, like I said, I was surprised and sad, but knew she was at peace.  My grandfather fell a couple of weeks ago, and since the doctors have decided that he should not live by himself.  So in the past month he has gone from living in his condo, and visiting granny every day (for most of the day), to being in a different wing of the same nursing home and walking down (with a walker) to see granny as his physical therapy, to granny being gone.  I cannot begin to imagine what he must be going through.  

My other grandmother died when I was in fourth grade.  I think that my grandpa (Beryl) died when my brother was in fourth grade.  My father died when Aidan was in fourth grade, and Scott's grandfather died when Mackenzie was in fourth grade.  I am not suggesting that is the only years we have lost family, but it is quite a coincidence to me.  After Mom let me know that Granny had passed away and we had cried, she said "well, at least I am off the hook".   We both laughed.  

I loved my grandmother.  She was a different person.  She was born in 1921 and grew up during the depression.  This probably was the cause of her accumulation of stuff.  She was not a hoarder, but she did want her stuff.  She was married the first time in 1938 at the age of 16 (probably to get out of the house).  My father was born exactly 1 year later.  My aunt was born in 42.  Granny and her husband divorced, and then she married Gus in 49.  I never knew my father's dad.  Gus was the only grandfather that I have ever known (my mother's father died when she was 18).  He is a great man and I pray that he deals with Granny's death.    My other aunt was born in 52.  My grandmother had 7 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren and I think a couple of great great grandchildren.  What a legacy!  

I had not seen Granny in the past couple of years.  Military life does not always allow travel when you want (or can afford).  And it always seems like something comes up.  I hope that Granny knows how much we loved her, and knows that we prayed for her on a regular basis.  I feel bad that my kids do not remember her as much as they probably should.  Aidan remembers her and being at the condo, but I am not sure about the girls.  I know it upset both of them when I told them, but I am not sure it is because of their memories, or just because it was someone related to us.

R.I.P. Wanda B Gulyban  8/10/21 - 1/21/11  you will be missed! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Skyping Through the Separation

Skype is a wonderful thing.  I am so thankful for the increase in technology in the past 20 years.  It is amazing to me that in 1991, twenty years ago, the way Scott an I communicated when he was in Iraq and Kuwait was by mail. In 2003-4, when he was again in Iraq, we were able to instant message back and forth with a webcam, but without sound.  We were at least able to see each other, and I guess in one instance, it was better that I did not "hear" what was going on.  

Last spring, as his impending move was coming up, we started playing around with Skype.  It seemed interesting, but did not have a real need to get to know it.  When Scott went up to Michigan last summer, he even set up his Mom with Skype, so she would be able to contact Scott.  Of course, she forgot how to use it, but after several times of me walking her through it on the phone, she can now contact him.  Now if she would just remember the time change! LOL.  

We try and talk to each other everyday.  It does seem to help somewhat.  I try and call before the girls leave for school, so he can see them and see how they are doing.   Of course, being girls, they are not always ready on time to get a chance to talk (when did that start???).  I also call him back after I come back from the bus stop, and we talk while Aidan is eating breakfast.  Aidan doesn't like Dad to see him eat, but other than that, it is not bad.

It was especially good to have on Christmas, so Scott was able to be with us as the kids opened presents.  I had my laptop on the coffee table, so Scott was the center of attention.  He even waited until our Christmas morning to open his presents, even though for him, it was about 11 p.m.  

It is frustrating when the picture gets pixely (not sure if that is a word or not), I think it is more frustrating for Scott than for me.  I know what he looks like.  But I am thankful for the opportunity to talk with him and see him.  It makes it not as difficult for us to feel connected.  It is not the same as being here, but I am thankful that we have this opportunity to connect.  Thank goodness for technology.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Where did it all come from???

My mom does genealogy, so her question is where did they come from?  But no, that is not what I am referring to.  I have started cleaning out my closets as part of my new year's resolution.  I really do not to wind up on that show about hoarders! :)  So as part of my personal 12 step program  I am cleaning bit by bit.  And then maintaining what I do.  I have not gotten far, but am happy that I can get something accomplished. 

I had originally added an extra shelf along the back wall of our closet to give us extra hanging space, but we wound up putting extra stuff on the shelf, making using the upper hanging rack useless.  So today I took it down. That forced me clean off that shelf and condense down and organize what we have.  The pictures of our family will have to wait, I want to hang them behind our bed, and we still want to get an actual headboard, so we will postpone the pictures.  

I am a places person.  I like to have a place to put things.  We joke and say that Brigid  got this trait from  Scott (she fills anything that she has with stuff, whether it belongs or not), but I guess I do it too.  Although, where Brigid will fill a purse with a little bit of everything whether it should go in there or not, I need to organize.  I had an extra basket, so all of Scott's extra hunting stuff will go in there.  I had a leftover plastic shoe box, so Scott's paperwork will go in there.  I don't dare get rid of anything of Scott's.  I did that once, and he was not happy with me.  But, I will organize it.  

I have a memory box for each of us on my shelf in the closet.  It is not huge, but I am trying to keep some mementos for each of the kids in there, like some of Aidan's things from when he was in school in Germany, and Mackenzie's too from the German Kindergarten she was attended.  I have little moccasins from when Scott was a baby in his box (as well as other things).  I threw away 1 garbage bag of stuff from our closet, and there were no clothes in there!  

There is still more to go through, but it is a start.  We have another closet in our bedroom, and that will be my next goal, but it is a bigger task, so I decided to start small and work my way up.  I want to start getting rid of things that we no longer need.  I feel like there is too much stuff.  Hence my question, where did it all come from?

Friday, January 21, 2011


Well, it is that time of year yet again.  The girls are taking  orders for cookies.  Since I don't have to work tomorrow, we might go out and get some more orders.  It will depend on how cold it is, and if we feel up to going out.  I am kind of leaving it in their control this year.  Too many years have been spent trying to reach goals and quotas.  In Kentucky, at least it seemed like the different levels were obtainable, but here, it just seems like they want way too much from the girls.  I have not even ordered from the girls yet, and will probably be ordering some for Scott as well.  I think that I am just not as into it this year.

Actually, I don't think I am as into Scouts at all this year.  I am not totally happy with where the movement has gone with the new Journey program.  I understand the need for GSUSA to try and get the girls to pay more attention to the world around them and to have a more rounded program of badge work, camping, and service.  But either I am mis-understanding what they are wanting of the girls, or they are totally out of the loop as to what the girls are capable of doing at each age level.  Our troop encompasses girls from almost all of the age levels as we have 1st graders - 7th graders.

At the Daisy level (which is now a 2 year program for Kindergarten and 1st graders) they want the girls to be able to sit and listen to stories broken up over several weeks.  They have lots of writing (fill in the blanks) but still just the same 10 petals for them to earn over 2 years.  

Now, don't get me wrong, all of our leaders does a marvelous job with their girls, but you can see the frustration  sometimes with all of us having to go over things numerous times because kids are absent.  And I am not upset with the parents when the girls miss.  Many of our parents have little ones and someone is sick in the family, some are military (so a spouse might be gone for a while) and some have schedule conflicts at times with other activities.    

At the Brownie level, you have try-its that can be earned as well as the Journey program, and with the Journey that I am currently working on with the brownies, they had some really neat activities, but again, it is drawn out, and when the girls miss, you do have to go back over it.  With the badges, if the girls miss we usually just give them the paperwork, and if they want to work on it on their own they can, but we do not redo the badgework.  

I have found my own frustration with the Journey is that it is supposed to be "girl led".  Can we get a clarification on what this means?  Do you mean that the girls are supposed to be in charge of the program, because if you do, then why do you print a leader's book?  And if it does not mean that, then why do you tell leaders that the girls are supposed to take charge???  

My brownies are working on the water journey.  They are learning about what it would be like to have very little water, and what it would be like to have to search for water.  We had some fun activities on this.  So part of the Journey is to do a service project.  It is very difficult for the girls to focus on what way they can bring awareness to our water issues.  They finally decided to reuse their water bottles.  Kind of a stretch, but it is their project, so I went with it.  We have made posters, and the girls made a sign up sheet to get others to promise to reuse.  We even made up like membership cards.  I have not yet seen what the results are, but we will see within the next week or two.  

The older girls seem to be doing okay.  Mom is working with the Juniors (I could not work with Brigid).  She seems to be getting the girls to work towards their goal.  Since I don't see their age level meeting time, I can only assume that they are doing well, and Brigid seems to like what she is doing.  Mom does have the girls working on leading badge work, which I have mixed opinions on, but the girls seem prepared, and Mom is still leading the Journey.  They can make decisions, but she still guides them and limits their decisions.  

Once you get to Cadettes, it seems like all bets are off.  Several of the girls no longer want to do the work, they just want to goof around.  That's fine, but that is not helpful to the girls that want to work.  I am also concerned with the level of independence that is assumed.  Mackenzie was supposed to work on a project that talked about air quality (a field trip, none the less) that she was supposed to organize??? Meloney said she did a good job with it, but while I don't think that there was much better she could have done with the trip part (walk around to other areas outside and see if the air quality changes), she should have done slides/photos to show some air quality problems in different parts of the country.  Mom and I had given her several suggestions as to how she could accomplish her goal, and her response was that she felt like we were taking over her project.  Ugh...drama! 

Also, as girls become older, the leader becomes more of an advisor, but that should not mean that the girls should be the teachers.  The badges and the journey require and advanced knowledge, which I do not think that the girls can accurately give unless they have had advanced instruction.  

It just seems to me that the organization is sending mixed messages.  They telling us that the girls are supposed to lead the meetings, but does that mean that they are supposed to do the teaching or does it mean they should say we want to learn about _____! and then the leader organizes it.  

I am to the point now, where I am not sure how long I can stay with the organization.  Girl Scouts was supposed to be a place where the girls get to learn new things and try different things than what they would normally get to do.  I don't think that the girls can accurately teach others what they don't have prior knowledge to as they get up to the older levels.  I want to see the girls expanding their knowledge and see their faces when they learn something new and get it (you know, that lightbulb moment), and I am just not seeing it right now.

We will see....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Games and Competitions

Kids and games just seems to go together.  At least that is what they say, although I tend to disagree.  Maybe it is because my kids are just too competitive.  It always seems to come down to a shouting match.  It is usually two in the arguement with the third being the mediator.  The mediator usually sides with whoever that person feels like at the time (whether right or not).

Tonight's game is monopoly.  A time honored tradition.  It has been going since about 4:00 this afternoon, so that means going on 4 hours minus dinner time.  At dinner, Mackenzie informed Mom and I that Brigid traded Aidan Boardwalk (when he already had Park Place) for a railroad.  We told her that she should never under any circumstances sell the other of that pair.  Her response was "it's okay...I won't land on it".  So now she is upstairs going bankrupt...

The competitions extend past the gameboard.  Who is going to sit where in the car, who will be first out the door.  Who is the first to get their placemats put away after dinner (yes, they have to clear their own setting, and if they forget, they have to clear the whole table).  Who has the worst grades (they NEVER want to have the bottom of the pile), but I will not tell them that ~ at least not in front of the other ones.

So, my kids have a thing with being competitive.  It shows that in the fact that they feel the need to be in everything.  I like the fact that they are competitive, to an extent.  It makes the kids better at what they do because they have to keep up with each other.  As long as they can keep from hurting other feelings in their quest, it makes all of them stronger.  

The game ended with Aidan winning and both the girls going bankrupt.  That's pretty much to be expected when someone has both Park Place and Broadway.  Brigid learned a valuable lesson, and Aidan was stuck putting the game away.  I loved that they worked it out together, and there were no screaming matches.  They are finally growing up....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Giney vs. the scorpion

I have been thinking about this blog for a couple of days, but have been so tired, have not had the energy to write it.  

I truly believe now that just as people have different characteristics to help them with where they live (we are talking origins) so do animals.  I recently learned that hair color and textures have to do with whether you ancestors were close to or further away from the equator.  Animals are the same way.  We can see this with particularly with dogs.  The ones that have to be out in colder weather are the breeds that normally have thicker coats than the one that are out in the heat.  

When we moved to Texas, we had 1 grandma, 2 parents, 3 kids, 2 dogs and 1 cat.  Brigid eventually added a beta fish (x2) into the mix.  Mackenzie wanting her own pet, kept begging me for a turtle.  Seeing as I was not fond of the idea of having a turtle, we got another cat.  I have always said that dogs should be female and cats should be male in the house.  It just works better.  But, when we went to the pet store, the only males that we saw were either one that looked almost identical to Bradley, or a black one.  And since we have 2 black dogs, was not feeling the love on the thought of a black cat.  (I will have you know however, that Giney's brother is the black cat, who was adopted by my friend, and is an awesome cat!)

Giney is a Texas cat.  She eats just about anything.  She will eat the dog food, she will eat candy that is out.  I caught her licking the rim of the crockpot the other day.  And that was after Mom caught her taking sausage out of the skillet.  She eats paper, or anything else that seems of interest to her.  It can be annoying, but she has definitely earned her keep in the house for the one thing she takes care of for me.  She eats scorpions!

Scorpion in light fixture
We have found they cannot get out of glass containers.  Light fixtures in particular.  Now for all those who think they get in the walls and fall into the containers, let me set you straight.  NO, they don't.  Brigid was in the bathroom one Sunday morning, upset.  Apparently a scorpion had run under the door, freaked her out, and ran back under. I started looking for the critter, turned on the hall light, looked up to see it running around in the light fixture.  It stayed there until it died.

Now, it is not like we have an infestation of scorpions, but living on the back edge of a subdivision with a green belt behind us, and still having quite a bit of construction going on in the subdivision, it happens.  I do not like scorpions, and do not want to get stung by one.  To the best of my knowledge, we have only had half a dozen or so in the house.  The first one, I put it in a jar, and let the kids watch it run around.  

One morning I found Giney carrying one.  I got it away from her, and killed it.  She seemed upset at that.  Since then, I have seen Bradley talk to them and let me know when he finds one, but I have also found pieces of them, like an occasional leg or part of a tail.  So far, it does not seem to be bothering anyone, so that is good, and I am not finding scorpions anymore.  So while she might be a pain as far as eating anything that is left out, and she is not slow coming for treats, she has earned her place in the house.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I remember back in college (high school is to far back to remember) waiting until the last minute to get my assignments done.  Freshman English final - write a paragraph, take a nap, write a paragraph, go grab something to eat all the while a friend would write her paper, correct it, rewrite it, correct again, and finally type it up. Remember this was before PCs and laptops.  I was happy that I had a typewriter that you could type in the whole line before it typed it out so you could fix a mistake.  AND it had the correction key on it.  So needless to say, my friend was ticked off when I got a higher grade than her.  My senior recital paper was a little better since it had to be 18-20 pages typed.  I know Scott was the same way growing up.  He ALWAYS waited until the last minute to do things that needed to be done.  He still does.  He waited until the day before to figure out what  he was going to take to Korea.

So I guess it shouldn't really surprise me that my kids are the same way.  All three of them wait until the last minute to get things done that need to be taken care of.  Whether it is studying for a Spelling Bee, or getting homework done.  Doing projects that were assigned several weeks ago, or studying for big tests.  Or packing and getting everything together that they need for school.  One calls me and asks me to bring stuff, another one tries to sneak it by me and cover it up.  You would think that the child would learn by now that I learn everything.  

I am seriously thinking of charging fines for forgetfulness.  I have not yet got my pricing pattern down, but it will increase based on how many times I have to take the same thing in.  (Like instruments, music, PE shoes, etc.)  I will post it as soon as I have an idea of what I am doing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Driving Ms. Daisy

Mom does not drive.  She probably could drive if she needed to, the state of Texas says she can see well enough to drive, but she does not choose to, and I'm fine with that.  Not that she ever scared me in the car the way others have done.  After Dad passed away, she chose to move in with us.  At the time, it seemed like the best decision.  We could not see her maintaining the property that that her and Dad owned in Naples by herself, and we could not mover there to help.  

At the time, she had just had eye surgery to remove cataracts and to have implant lens put in.  I could not believe how bad her eyesight had become.  She had a difficult time reading the menu board at a fast food restaurant.  So she moved in with us.  I think it was the most difficult thing she ever had to do.  

About a year later, she went back to the eye doctor.  She was noticing that she could see better without her glasses on than she could with them.  Turns out they had given her the wrong prescription!  All of the sudden she could see again.  Of course that made me wonder if she still wanted to live with us.  It was difficult for her, the military would not give us larger quarters because she was not a dependent, we were already 2 years into a 3 year commitment there, so we did not want to move off post (plus the schools were better on post).  So she wound up sharing a room with the girls.  Granted it was a large room, but still, having to deal with all their crap and sharing space with a 5&7 year old could not have been easy.  She still felt it was best for her. 

We built the house here, and made sure that she had her own master suite with a walk in shower and large enough for a sitting area.  While she does not drive, she helps me out immensely.  I don't think I could make it through Scott being gone right now without her here.  I am not sure that the kids even realize how much her being here has benefited them.  I would not be able to do nearly as much with them and for them if she was not here.  Knowing she is here with any left behind children when I am out with one or more, her being here while I work or volunteer makes it possible.  Plus she has taken it upon herself to help with teaching the girls to cook.  Good thing, because seeing the kids with sharp knives was too much for Scott and me!

Once a month, I take her to her Genealogy meeting, which coincides with Boy Scouts and Honor Choir.  It makes for a difficult night of driving, but it is worth it to me to give her back just a little of what she gives to the family.  Don't get me wrong, I do let her out of the house more than just that, but all the other things are a piece of cake!  I put a bracket around my plates that say Driving Ms Daisy.  She had definitely been a positive addition to our household!

Monday, January 10, 2011


My husband is a fabulous cook.  Ask anyone who has had his cooking, and they will tell you just that.  I can only think of one thing that he has ever cooked that we just could not eat.  We won't talk about that, because I know that he is still wants to redeem himself on it.  He is one of those guys that you can say, here is some pork, make something with it.  He did, he created a pork tarragon with it, and it was fabulous!  

So now with him gone for the year, I am left holding the bag (or package of meat).  I know how to cook, but my cooking is more utilitarian.  I follow recipes, and get a meal on the table.  Scott is the one that has the flare for cooking.  I try and make some of his dishes, and they come out okay, but I concede that his always taste better. I am okay with that, it just means he has to cook!

We had Ahi Tuna in the freezer, and I decided that it was time to get it out of there.  Scott does an awesome seared Ahi Tuna with twin sauces; one a wasabi mayonnaise and the other a ginger honey sauce.  I got something close to a recipe from him (the other part is that he never measures ANYTHING).  And off I went.  

I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out okay.  The kids all ate it, and had seconds.  Even Brigid, who turns her nose up at many things, had 2 servings.  Of course, I think she was floating the tuna in the ginger honey sauce, but she still ate it.  I served it with rice (which I told Aidan he could add some of the wasabi mayo to it - more appealing to him) and a cauliflower, broccoli, carrot mix.  Again, we discussed cost, and I realized that since we only needed 3 pieces from the bag to feed us, it really was a pretty cheap and quick meal.  And probably more healthy.  I still am not going to be overly creative in the kitchen, but at least my kids won't starve or be stuck eating chicken nuggets (they won't eat hot dogs!) and macaroni and cheese.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Family Dinners

I grew up having family dinners.  It was something we always did.  All of my friends did it as well.  There were evening activities, but it did not seem to interfere with the family dinner.  We have raised the kids this way as well.  There are times when this is not possible, like soccer season when the kids have practice from 5:30-7:00 between the different teams, or on Tuesdays when the girls have Honor Choir from  5:30-6:30 and Aidan has Boy Scouts from 7:00-8:30.  Throw in the once a month Genealogy meetings in Schertz from 6:30-8:00 and you have a full evening away from home.

But as often as we can, we still sit down to a family meal.   Not take out, we cannot afford to do that on a regular basis.  We (me right now, and Scott when he is home) cook the meal, sometimes it is something frozen or quick, sometimes it is from scratch, sometimes it is half way between.   This means no phones, no mp3 players, no DS, or any type of electronics at the table.  The television is usually either off, on music, or the news.  Mostly we try and turn it off.  Aidan tells me that  none of his friends have family meals.  He says its dumb (usually when I am interrupting his gaming time), but I think he likes it.  We talk about what is going on at school, in their activities, music, and just teen interests in general.  It is amazing to me how much dinner conversation has grown.  I have always banned talk of video games and tv, as I think there are more important topics to converse about.

As I said before, we cook our meals.  The kids love going out to eat, but when you are a family of  6, that becomes a small fortune.  So, as we cook meals, we explain to the kids the savings involved between cooking at home and eating out.  Christmas Eve, we cooked prime rib with baked potatoes and asparagus with hollandaise sauce.  We discussed with them how if you went out it would be $25 per person (at least), but by cooking the same meal at home it was less than $8 per person.  They are amazed at how much it costs to go out to eat.  We explain to them that we are paying for the food, the cook, the waitress, and the bus person as well as the owner.  Plus, they are learning that Dad is a way better cook than any restaurant.

Sunday has traditionally been Steak Night.  Steak, hash browns and spinach.  Yep, my kids eat spinach (frozen, not canned).  It was a tradition they my family had as far back as I can remember.  My dad had said that he might have to eat crap all week, but on Sunday he wanted a steak.  Of course the quality of steaks we had got better as Dad moved up the ladder.  Scott was only too willing to continue this tradition.  So for the past 16 and 1/2 years we almost always have steak on Sundays.  Of course with him gone and Aidan having confirmation class from 4:30-6:00, it means grilling in the dark during the winter, but it is worth it.  Luckily Scott had started using a timer, so I can just throw the steaks on and start the timer.  When it beeps turn them over and when it beeps again, take them off.  Don't need to see them, just well enough to know where they are on the grill.  4 minutes per side and a 2 inch thick steak is yummy.

 I miss Scott, but he left enough steak seasoning premade for use to make it through the year, and to enjoy our family dinners!


Tonight was movie night.  Saturday nights have traditionally been movie night here.  It started back when we were in Germany and Scott was deployed to Iraq.  It was my way of getting the kids in the house and showered early on Saturdays so we could leave on time for Church in the morning.  At the time I had a 7, 4 and 2 year old (how did I do that???), and we would have an early dinner, get showered and make a big bowl of popcorn and watch a movie.  Of course that meant purchasing movies, or sometimes renting them if we remembered to.  

It was easy back then because all three of the kids were at the age where you could watch Disney movies.  Now it is more difficult with the kids 14,11, and 9, they all have different tastes.  Sometimes we can watch movies together, but it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find ones that appeal to all.  It is also more difficult when they have already seen many of the movies from going to other activities (long band trips on charter buses mean lots of movies being played).  

So tonight we watched Despicable Me.  Cute movie.  Mackenzie and I had seen it last spring for a Mom and Me outing.  I thought Aidan had watched it on the bus going to state, but he said he didn't watch it.  About half way through the movie, Brigid asks the usual question..."Can we have popcorn, I'll make it?"  This is usually followed by a "where is it?" as she is standing in front of the pantry door. 

 I wound up making it, and while looking at the calorie content realized something interesting.  Unpopped popcorn is 170 calories per serving, but popped it is only 35 calories per serving!  And that is for the Movie Theater Butter popcorn. 

The kids and I were discussing it, and one statement that was made was "that maybe when it pops the calories pop out of it".  I laughed, that reminded me of the statement that calories fall out of cookies when you break them!  I think it is because when the kernel pops the sugar inside of it cooks out.  Sounds good to me.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Working for a Living, working...

I really like my job.  

Life in the military, especially being a military spouse means that you never know how long you are going to be in one place.  When we were stationed in San Francisco, I was actually told not to mention that I was a military spouse when I was looking for a job.  Granted, that was San Francisco, but the career counselor that was helping me told me that some employers were hesitant to hire military spouses because they never know how long they are going to be around.  I never lied, but I did at one point give the response "he works in public relations" when asked what my husband does.  Okay, so it was a stretch of the truth, but it was not a lie, being a bandsman, he does do a lot of public relations gigs.  I have had the full gamut of jobs - fast food, restaurant, department store, specialty shop, receptionist, teacher, customer service rep....ugh, the list goes on and on.

For 11 years my main focus has been running the household and raising our 3 wonderful kids.  When we moved to Texas, we figured it would be the right time for me to go back to work.  Hmmm...okay, so I had  4 years of spanish in school, but I cannot speak it fluently, so forget anything that requires me to be bilingual.  That takes out at least 50% of the jobs. 

 I had applied at a couple of places and finally decided to put my college to work and put my sub packet in for the district.  I had my orientation meeting for subbing and was called by a prospective employer the same week.  Subbing was nice for a while, could work when I wanted to, not work when I didn't feel like it, but I didn't like not knowing ahead of time when I would be working.  

The other prospect was Hogan Homes, working as a part time hostess.  I would be filling in when the regular hostess could not make it.  Initially, it gave me some hours, but was sporadic.  I didn't think that I would stay with them for was very boring at first.  I would bring in Girl Scout stuff to do if there were no customers (sorry Michelle, if you are reading this!).  Eventually, my boss started having me do extra tasks, and by attrition, I moved up the hostess ladder.  Then my boss gave me to another boss who taught me more skills, and started giving me more projects.  

This past year, the company has allowed me to start doing some work from home.  My boss has been very good about working around my schedule (especially since Scott has been gone) and was very understanding about me needing to leave early on Fridays for football this fall. And being home when the kids come home to make sure homework was getting done (something that was slacking at times before).  I have worked with the sales counselors developing flyers that they can use to give to customers.  It gives me a chance to be a little more creative, and I love that I am learning to do new things everyday that I can incorporate into my work.

Today, I was copied on an email from our VP of Sales saying that she likes the flyers that I have been doing in one of the other communities, and wants the sales counselors from the rest of the communities to get with me about making flyers for their listings.  Job security, and a feeling of accomplishment.

I really like my job.  :o)

Friday, January 7, 2011


So today, as I was running some errands and making sure that I have everything I need for a couple of days (which I realize that I don't at 9:30 tonight), I stopped to get gas since I was just under half a tank.  As I was pulling away from the gas station, I looked at my odometer, and realized that 110,800.  When did that happen?  I didn't take any trips, but apparently between this summer (when I picked up Aidan from one of his camps and my car flipped over to 100,000) and now I have put 10,800 miles on my car.  Makes me wonder if I should get my OTR license. :)  

Of course, I guess I should not be that surprised, since my car is a 2004, so in the six years I had it, I had put 100,000 on it, so that would translate to just short of 20,000 per year. So I guess 10,000 in 6 months is pretty accurate.  

I guess I will just Keep On Truckin'...

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Well, as the new year has come, we all make resolutions.  I have made several resolutions.  Some that I will keep to myself for now (so if I fail, I only have to explain them to myself) and some that I can share.  One of them is to be better about blogging.  I am going to try and start blogging everyday.  I make no guarantees, but I figure if I blog in the evening about the day, it will be easier.  

Today was a Seguin day.  That means driving to the great community of Seguin to the LDS genealogy library.  Mom does genealogy, so this gives her a chance to and order films and to look at other records for more of her ancestral research.  I tend to take my laptop with to try and get some work done, or to prepare for the girl scout meeting.  While there I will also run whatever errands that need to be done.  

Mackenzie did not have honor band today, so both of the girls were home right after school.  It is a good thing when they come home right after school.  It gives them a little extra time to get homework done.  Mackenzie had  math to work on, and Brigid worked on the words for her upcoming spelling bee.  She made it past the first round, so now he has 450 words for her to practice to help her prepare for the next round.  It should be interesting, I don't even know how to spell some of those words!  Aidan didn't have German Club today, his teacher cancelled it.  He is treasurer of the club, but it does not seem to entail anything.  But he can add it to his college application.  

Mackenzie had her first vocal private lesson today.  She is going to be studying with the High School vocal teacher.  This teacher is the director for the District Honor Choir, and she feels that Mackenzie is on the cusp of making a leap in her vocal abilities.  It will be neat to she how she develops with some formal instruction. Today, most of her lesson was spent on warm up exercises, but the teacher seems to be doing a lot with diction, vowels and breathing, so that is a good thing.

As I sit her typing, I am at the gym for Brigid's gymnastics.  She is developing slowly, some things she is very strong on, and others not as much.  She is currently working on beam, and while she can do some of the stuff, like cartwheels and handstands on the beam, she has a hard time with levers and some of the basic jumps.  It is very frustrating, because she thinks she is doing it correctly, and won't listen to me if I tell her that she is dropping her arms or something....

Aidan has added jazz band to his schedule, like he needed another after school activity.  I think he figures that since marching band is finally over (after the football team won state), except for the celebration parade next week.  Of course, on Monday he came home upset because he is in the second band.  I told him that means one of three things - either he didn't do as well as he thought he did, or he is getting cocky at school, and one of the directors needed to smack him down, or the third possibility is that they put him in the second band so he could be on lead part.  After talking with him, and with who is in each of the bands, it seems like the director might have tried to split the talent up between both bands so they both sound good.  On top of that, he informs me that he is going to be in a trombone quartet???  Gee, I wonder when that will be...

I was able to get most of dinner preped before I took Mackenzie to her lesson, and Mom fixed the noodles while I was gone, so it was just final prep work when I got home, and we had dinner on the table by 6:30.  It is always good when it gets done like it is supposed to.  Now I am just waiting patiently for Brigid's class to be over, and then her private lesson.  After that, I am done, maybe have a baby Guinness, and then off to bed.  Dishes are already done, and coffee is made for tomorrow.  That was one of my other resolutions, to keep my kitchen clean. So far so good.  I also want to this year work on de-cluttering my house.  I have done the pantry (sort of) and the coat closet.  I guess another resolution should be for me to stay on task better when writing.  Oh well, it will be something for me to improve upon during this year.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Starting a new year

So I have decided to start blogging again.  We have started a new year.  The kids went back to school this week, and as of 2 days into it, it seems to be okay.  Aidan had a minor freak out Sunday night thinking he had done the wrong Biology homework, so we were up until midnight trying to get all 8 pages done.  Then it turned out it was not due on Monday.  Oh well, he is ahead of the game.  The girls are back in the swing of things.  Mackenzie is going to start taking vocal lessons today, and Brigid starts back with gymnastics tonight.  She has finally tested up to a level 3.  Yea! for her.  Aidan has added jazz band to his schedule (after school schedule) and came home yesterday letting me know that he is going to be in a trombone quartet.  Plus, next month soccer starts for all 3!!!
Oh the life....