2, 4, 6, 8, Who do we appreciate?

Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

I haven’t checked, but I don’t think there are any appropriate e-cards at Hallmark’s website. Perhaps I’ll make my own. Here are some women I know who deserve more than a bouquet of roses:

Amber, whose son Anthony will be making his First Holy Communion this Sunday with Fritz. Her husband will miss it, since he’s in Iraq. She’s arranged for a babysitter for her 3 year old son who has difficulty sitting through Mass. She has no other family coming to the ceremony, so she and Anthony will sit alone in their pew. When Anthony was an infant, she was confirmed at the Easter Vigil Mass. Her husband was deployed then, too, so she and Anthony (in a baby carrier) were by themselves for that as well.

Stacy, whose husband is in Afghanistan. She lives here in Virginia, but her husband’s troop is based in Tennessee. She’s trying to run the Family Readiness Group from 800 miles away – caring for the families of the deployed spouses while also trying to manage her own household of three boys ages 10, 2, and 8 months.

Michelle, whose husband is doing a language-immersion program in Thailand. He’ll be back in 7 weeks, but then their entire family will move there for a tour. She’s running the girls to soccer practice and games while chasing a toddler and counting the days until he returns.

Stacey, who battles depression but still manages her household of three little children while her husband is away on frequent TDY trips (TDY means “out-of-town on business” for those of you not in the know….unlike most of the civilian world, “out-of-town on business” could be for weeks at a time).

Lynne, who is looking forward to her husband’s R&R which is coming up in a month. Of course, 2 weeks later, he’ll have to go back to Iraq. She’s trying to maintain a positive outlook on life while helping her 2 young sons cope with the stress of their father’s deployment. The older boy, in first grade, is in counseling for depression.

These are just a few of the strong women I know who are making a different sort of sacrifice for their country. The military realizes that without spouses like these, the ranks would thin out quickly. But even the soldiers often don’t realize the sacrifices being made by their spouses, since part of making the sacrifice is putting on a brave face so that the soldier won’t worry about the family while (s)he’s off defending freedom.

But I’m on those front lines, too, so I see and know who deserves some Bronze Stars or better. But please don’t cluck-cluck and offer sympathy. We need cheers and praise and encouragement and thanks. Today’s battle may be won, but there will be another tomorrow.

Free Coloring Pages

My kids are driving me nuts and begging for things to color. I made the mistake several months ago of going online and finding coloring pages, and now they demand pictures all day long. The girls like to color June from the Little Einsteins, but the boys like superheroes. If you have boys who like Batman, Superman and Darth Vader, check out the Comic Book Closet. Just one warning, I haven’t looked at all the pictures and read all the text, so I have no idea of everything that is included. What I have printed so far is inoffensive and the boys love them.

a full plate

I want to write about my move.
I want to write about my house.
I want to read 2 weeks worth of blogs to catch up on all my friends.


We are running low on basics like baby wipes and cereal and bread.
I have family arriving this weekend for Fritz’s First Holy Communion.

My top priorities:

  • I’ve already planned meals for the weekend, but not for THIS week, so I need to do that (we had PB&J for dinner last night!).
  • I need to put together a REALLY GOOD grocery list, so I can make all these new and unusual dishes and feed a houseful of guests without daily trips to the store.
  • I need to go to the grocery store for these items.
  • I need to finish moving the flowers I uprooted from the old house into a more permanent container than the “borrowed” recycling containers in which they currently grow.
  • I need to do the huge piles of laundry that have been amassing in my laundry room.
  • I need to enter a huge pile of receipts into Quicken and pay bills on-line.
  • I need to finish sorting my house and garage and at least make it look neat before Friday (for example, my desk is still 2 feet away from the wall so the technician could hook up the internet).
  • I need to hang up a bunch of pictures so my house looks like a home…mostly to clear out boxes, but also to decorate the walls. Some pictures can wait, but the big prints and mirrors and icons will look nicer if they are hanging and not just wrapped in a box leaning against the wall.

OK, that’s enough. Maybe I’ll give myself a break later and describe the Nightmare on 12th Street that occurred last evening at the first of 2 rehearsals for Fritz’s First Communion. For now, I’ll just point out the obvious: 1 toddler with no nap + 1 baby with 2 incomplete naps + a rehearsal scheduled at dinnertime (5 to 630 pm) – 3 CCD teachers (leaving me the only one there for the first half hour to help the DRE) – 1 wonderful father to help control the children = 1 very grumpy mommy.

The V Chip

About a year ago, our 10 year old Sony TV was laid to rest. It was a sad day, for me, since I knew that new TVs cost money. But it was a joyous day for my husband who could stop coveting and start shopping. Our budget kept his selection limited, so no 54″ wide-screen and no plasma.

But the new TV came with a feature I really liked: the V chip. It’s not a sure-fire way to keep your kids from seeing objectionable things (for one thing, the news isn’t blocked, and that can be pretty objectionable for kids), but it does help with the random surfing that my son, then not yet 7, was beginning to do (I think it’s pre-programmed into males, or has something to do with short attention spans). Now, Dr. Phil is blocked, soap operas are blocked and (thank goodness) country music videos are blocked too.

Last night we finally got all of our modern utilities: phone, cable and internet. These are all through one company and are provided through a fiber optic line in our new house. After the kids were in bed, I was asking Bill about manually blocking out Cartoon Network which is right next to Nickelodeon and Disney. We did that successfully, but then I noticed the next channel, BET, was not being blocked automatically. Bill was suggesting that it had a low rating until out came guns and threats and finally shooting, so that wasn’t the case. We spent 15 frustrating minutes working the V chip menu, and blocking out all sorts of new options that I didn’t know were there before (I had to block TV, then movies, then Canadian movies, then Canadian TV). But even after all that, we realized that some channels were blocked fairly quickly (after about 2 seconds), but many channels took a long time to block (more than 15 seconds). So we watched quite a bit of the WWF (nice cleavage on the leather-clad girlfriend) before the chip decided that perhaps our delicate eyes might be offended.

And just now, Billy has come in and informed me that they saw “half of Teen Titans” which I thinks means that they saw about 15 seconds of the show before that annoying block kicked in. Grrr. I’ll have to see if there’s a way to fix this.

on line again

I suppose I just needed to know that I really could survive 12 days without the internet.

I will admit that having such a situation forced upon me did not make me a happy camper.

So, perhaps I just received a great lesson in being patient.

I was not a good student.

Perhaps I needed a refresher course in persuasive communication: cajoling sales reps, buttering-up technicians, and being nicely aggressive in persuing an earlier installation date than May 25th (can you imagine?????).

Or maybe I just needed to focus on unpacking.

Whatever. I’m on-line again…and I must say that this fiber optic line with the mere 5 MB per second is simply wonderful.