Saturday, July 31, 2010

Purple People


I grew up (continuing on through college) in an exceedingly liberal environment.

And somehow (not in the least influenced by copulation) have ended up a military spouse.

(Ok, maybe a little bit influenced by copulation, but that's just how life goes.)

(Literally!)

And a large portion of military personal are much more conservative in their views of the world.

And their spouses tend to also be more conservative, through some strange coincidence or other.

(Apparently they are not familiar with the proper techniques of diversifying your relationships through copulation.)

And the Army likes to put military bases in places where nobody cares if they blow everything up.

Like Oklahoma.

Just in case you had any doubts, let me clarify that Oklahoma is a red state on that prettily polarized color map, for reasons entirely separate (can we say bible belt?) from the military.

(My state is totally going to be purple.)

So I've spent the last few years getting quite the crash course of the other end of the spectrum.

And you know what?

As people, most of them are pretty decent human beings.

In fact, many are down right outstanding individuals.

But they do not understand the green&groovy mentality which I can only describe by calling it 'Boulderitis'.

In fact, some of them even talk a lot of trash about the liberal hippie type.

(Admittedly, dreadlocks do look pretty stupid on a white guy....)

But through careful observation, I would stipulate that it is more that they simply do not understand (ok, nobody fully understands the Captain Jack wannabe dreadlocks look...), and have exceptionally negative views cultivated by a few select extremist minded individuals.

And the same is true for those military bashing pot smoking liberal punk granola crunchies!

It's not that they actually don't like the military, it's that they don't understand it.

(Although all the best dreadlocks sporting hippies are so doped out on weed they don't really care one way or another about anything beyond obtaining some locally produced vegan organic cheese puffs STAT.)

(Or Cheetos, whatever man....)

And it's not that they're insensitive bastards regarding a deployed soldier, it's that they've never been around anyone in that situation and really don't know what their war bashing does to the mental state of those directly affected.

Let alone to the soldiers themselves.....

Ignorance really is going to kill us all.

Which is why I'm proposing a radically new idea: belief moderation!

Or perhaps more precisely, mixation.

I can be supportive of what my husband is doing with his life AND vote democratically.

I can place our nation 'under God' AND believe in religious freedom for all.

I can conform to a house wife ideal of 60 years ago AND think alternative families are a wonderful thing.

I can be understanding of my husband's obsession of his 'right to bare arms' AND be for legalizing marijuana.

I can teach my children to address adults as sir and ma'am AND teach them some seriously kick-butt Aikido techniques.

(You know, just in case some dreadlocks-wearing doped up gronala crunchie tries to fondle them in an inappropriate manner on account of mistaking their assets for chips, at which point they should be able to remove his hands and kindly borrow the floor to help hold him until which time their gun toting daddy arrives to dispose of them in the proper pig farm manner.)

((Hypothetically speaking, of course.))

These things are not mutually exclusive, nor do they cancel one another out.

They just require a purple state of mind.

(Now if only that mind didn't have to be physically located in the red....)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mila's Daydreams

I'm tired, I 'm cranky, and thinking makes my brain hurts.

So let me refer you to the much more original, creative, and just plain awesome photographical blog, Mila's Daydreams.

I will try to be much less lame tomorrow.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

BowBands

Adrianna just hasn't been making much headway in the hair department.

And people keep telling me how cute bald baby's are, or that their child didn't have any hair either, or how she should be wearing a hat.

(She's just busy absorbing some of that needed vitamin D through her scalp so I don't have to give her the much hated vitamin D drops.)

So I decided that something had to be done.

And since I lack the amazing 'make baby hair grow' touch, it had to be BowBands.

(BowBands, for those of you unfamiliar (or maybe just for my father) are a circle of stretchy fabric with a decorative (usually bow-esk) attachment, most often seen on bald baby girls.)

Now previously I had been a touch scornful of BowBands as being a bit dopey looking, and people often put outrageously huge bows (bigger than the baby's head) on them.

But I have to say, they make my bald baby pretty dang adorable!

And they drastically decrease the number of times she is refereed to as a boy.

(Dressing her all in pink also helps.)

Yep, Adrianna has become a total BowBand convert, and is loving it!

And just in case you were wondering where one might procure such adorable frivolity, Five Blessed Bows has a nearly endless assortment of bowdacious possibilities to adorn your small child's head.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Daily Discoveries of Life

Despite having been doing this parenting thing for a few years now, even I still have those "wait.. what??" discovery moments.

The most recent: flushing poop.

(Yeah yeah, it's just a poopy couple of bloggy weeks here, welcome to my world.)

Apparently, you are supposed to flush the fecal matter from ALL diapers, including disposables, for bio hazard reasons.

And it was first proposed back in the 1970s!

Totally unreal, and I even had a good number of years of childcare work and education before taking up mothering, and I had never seen or heard of that!

The other recent moment of incredulity: expiring car seats.

See, we've been trying to figure out whether to get Adrianna a new convertible seat, or to get Kristina a booster model and pass her convertible down to Adrianna.

And when looking at possible products, I discovered that there were some really (well, at least relatively) cheap ones.

Which are in discontinued prints.

And the 'last season fashion' of car seats doesn't phase me one bit, since a substantial part of my children's clothes shopping happens during end of season sales.

But there was an addition, slightly more disconcerting reason for the discontinuation.

These discounted car seats are fast approaching their expiration date.

Yep, apparently they have a shelf life (just like milk!) and will expire in a given number of years from manufacture date.

Except that an expired car seat doesn't start to smell or taste funny or give you questionable digestibility.

In fact, as long as it hasn't been in an accident, the average consumer (or at least me) would see no absolutely reason to discontinue use except for this little tiny printed manufacture date and the company's website claim of shelf life.

So it's good that I am obsessive enough to diligently search for the perfect floral print for Adrianna's potential new car seat, and happened to notice that little dated detail.

Because I can pretty much guarantee you Kristina's seat would have been used past it's date, assuming no car accidents are in the next 3 years of my future.

And although I still question whether the seat that was just fine at 6 years of age really would catastrophically fail at 7, Peter puts some support for the limited longevity of impact protection foam, and as he has always been number one on safety for his princesses, they will not be using expired car seats.

But I'm still feeding them milk until it tastes yucky regardless of the printed date.

(That is assuming I notice it tasting yucky when it's weeks before the expiration date, and don't just keep giving it to Kristina and wondering why she suddenly doesn't like it.)

(Not that that's ever happened. Ahem....)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quinn & Kristina


Peter has a cousin LauraJean who has a little daughter Quinn who is exactly 3 months younger than Kristina.

And I have always been fascinated by the ability to capture them growing up together, if it's only in little chunks a few times a year.

Because for some reason, I think it would be unbelievably cool to be able to do something like this post, but include 18 years of them growing up together.

Now, the first picture I have of them together actually isn't up here.

It's in our wedding album.

Yep, a somewhat pregnant LauraJean married a very pregnant me.

(And no, we didn't have to take a potty break in the middle of the ceremony.)

But as I am being lazy about retrieving our wedding album and scanning in pictures right now, we'll simply start with their first Thanksgiving, with a three month old Kristina and 5 day old Quinn.

Now Quinn is setting off on a grand adventure to Nicaragua (with her parents, of course), and so the cousinly bonding time may become limited to a once annual event.

Or we may just become proficient international fliers.

Because I still can't believe how absolutely adorably cute the two of them are together!

And I think they even like to play together too!

(Looking back at the baby pictures of Quinn also fills me with great hope for Adrianna's hair development as well....)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Doggie Doozie

We had some serious family discussion time a few days ago, and came to the conclusion that the dogs, despite being sweet loving furballs, just are not going to work with our family right now.

For like, really valid reasons (beyond my personal annoyances of dog poop even!), and for their own best interest and stuff like that.

But what exactly to DO with them was another problem needing solving.

See, sticking them right back to a shelter, although a reasonable option (and certainly ahelluva lot better than just dropping them off on the side of a road), just seemed like a really crummy thing to do to them.

(That whole good-dogs-playing-on-my-pet-mommy-guilt thing.)

But we also didn't happen to know of several families off hand also wanting some pooches.

And then it dawned on me (no really, total cartoon lightbulb "oh yeah..." moment): craigslist

Instead of just using it to see if anyone is missing them, I could use it to see if anyone wants them!

Sheer brilliance!

Except, being my life, it had to get complicated.

My first (super pretty with lots of pictures and well thought out (and proof read!) text) posting on craigslist was flagged and pulled almost immediately. Why? I have no flippin' idea.

So I had Peter post one.

The logic behind this is great: see, Peter's life just magically sorts itself out for him a lot, with very minimal effort (or stress) on his part.

(Not to say he doesn't work hard in life, but if you believe in luck, he's got high levels of it.)

(And I don't.)

(Although I might have unusually high levels of gross-messy-substance magnetism......)

But Peter's posting got pulled TOO!

And this was one of my "absolute despair" moments in life, happily accompanied by a sick baby and an emergency room visit.

(By the way, Adrianna spiked a lovely 104+ temp the other night and I got to spend 4 lovely late night hours in the ER where they gave her huge doses of tylenol and motrin, did lots of poking and prodding to determine it was a viral infection (that should just run its course without further medical intervention) and that all I needed to do at home is double the drug doses stated on the bottles.)

(Which summarizes to: extra tired stressed cranky me, cranky (but fine!) baby, and no need for further freaking out (as I have already done plenty))

But getting back to the dogs......

After the most wonderful husband in the world took Kristina out for a looong breakfast the following morning (read: giving mommy an extra couple hours of sleep), I tried again with craigslist.

With the unbelievable change of.... *dun dun dunnnn*....... listing the two of them in two separate adds, written from the dog's perspective!

(Is the lack of that what got them pulled in the first place? I highly doubt it, but have also decided not to care about the illogicality of it anymore, since it's unnecessary and bad for my stress level.)

And it worked!!

We had had four seriously interested phone calls and both of them out the door within 6 hours of posting.

But see, being my life, it had to get complicated.

The people who took Lucas called when I was putting the girls to bed that night, saying he sheds to much and that they wanted to bring him back.

Ooooh...k............

Luckily, the mad craze of 'people who work during they day and use the internet only in the evening' began before I was able to sink to far into despair as to what we were going to with this dog when we had just sent off all the food, toys and supplies with his bro, we got some more phone calls about people interested in the boys!

Like, first a call from the person who (supposedly) bred them, informing us that they are in fact Labradoodles (instead of the Goldendoodles I'd put down), wondering where we had got them from, and saying she was going to call the people who had bought them from her.

*twitch twitch twitch*

Thank you, dear husband, for being the one who got that phone call, and for being so boldly reassuring to me about our legal ownership of them and your right to tell her to... um.... stuff it in the dryer, should a problem come up.

But then we were getting phone calls of people wanting them at the same time I was trying to respond to emails from people wanting them.

And guilt started coming back!

Who is more deserving of this sweet dog, the lonely grandma or the autistic preteen? And how do you decide "who came first" when you were in the middle of responding to the email inquiry when the phone rings? And what do you do about the ones just asking for 3 paragraphs of straight information about the dog (most of which I don't really know since we've only had them a week) but not committing to getting him? Or the crazy lady who wants use him as a stud dog on her boondocks dog breeding park??

All of which was happening while we still don't have ANY dogs in our house.

So eventually, when no Lucas had shown back up but we had lined up one person to see/get him first thing in the morning and had two more on a backup list, we gave his (un)adopters a call.

And they had decided to keep him.

So although I do still have a little guilt for our family not being able to keep them (and for not being able to give Lucas to the autistic kid), I am (fairly) confident that Lucas and Roddy are in good loving homes where they will hopefully stay for the rest of their lives.
Goodbye boys, you will be missed!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Newsworthy

I keep thinking I should post something dealing with current events as a nice break from me whining about poop, but The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have been on their little summer vacation.

Which means I have no idea what's going on in the news right now.

Because I avoid normal news channels like the plague.

And this is a strategy I would highly recommend to all spouses of deployed soldiers, because the last you thing you need is a nightly count of those dead from the same war your husband is fighting.

Although, with how current news coverage of these events has been, this might have become much less of an issue, which is kinda sad in it's sense.

So dearest Comedy Central, please give your satirical news anchors less vacation time, otherwise I'll only ever learn stuff like that the oil gushing was stopped from facebook, and that's just not a reliable news source!

(And my poor (few but faithful) blog readers, they might have to suffer through nothing but dog tales and baby pictures for weeks on end!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Doggie Delima


Yeah, so I am not really digging the whole doggie thing at the moment.

But I feel horribly guilty for this, since they really are very nice dogs.

(With the slight flaws of being large, excitable, and creating excessive amounts of poop.)

And we adopted them into our family, and as a matter of principle treat pets with the same level of humanity as people.

And Peter has been wanting a dog for the entire 5 years that I've known him, so he's incredibly excited about having them.

(Obviously he hasn't been cleaning up enough poop the last few days.)

And Kristina started asking for a dog all on her own accord a few months ago (while Peter was still in Iraq and unblamable for giving her the idea!!), and is also incredibly excited about having them.

And I am still kinda meh.....

So I came up with the perfect solution:

The canine pair was picked up by the county dog shelter (kill shelter, only takes strays, kinda sad but practical approach to it) a couple weeks ago. The dogs are obviously close pals, the shelter thought they were litter mates (although the shelter had also labeled them Irish Wolfhounds, which I am 99% they are NOT after doing some research on the breed (or a google image search)), but regardless of level of relation they most certainly were housed together beforehand.

They were wearing sturdy collars that were in good condition, but no tags or microchipping. They are very well socialized, both with other dogs and people (and I think they'd be ok with cats other than their love of chasing all moving objects in play). Judging from their physical condition they had not been stray for long, and appear to have been well cared for previously. They love the toys we got them, and certainly seem know all about tennis balls and the game of fetch.

These things lead me to believe they were in a good home before going on their little adventure, and the shelter even thought so too, keeping them for a few extra days on holding before putting them up for adoption.

And if they were in a good home, they are probably being missed right now.

So I have been scouring craigslist and the local papers for missing pet adds that they would match the description of.

Because Peter would be understanding of them being somebody elses beloved pet (or at least could probably be convinced to relinquishing ownership).

And I'd have a lot less guilt about giving them up.

And even though Kristina still probably wouldn't understand... um....well, we could.... uh... get her a pony for her birthday to make up for it??

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Three Ps

It has been a concentrated past week of the three Ps.

What are the three Ps you ask?

Why, they would be Poop, Puke, and Pee.

And I have been cleaning up copious amounts of all of them.

And since this blog is entirely devoted to writing about whatever I want, let me regal you with some triple P play by plays.

(The recently potty trained) Kristina has been attempting to go potty like a boy.

As in, standing up to pee.

Except that she's not a boy, and thus is only capable of peeing all over the bathroom floor.

Multiple times a day some days.

And despite being pretty good about managing to poop in the toilet, her efforts at wiping having been creating much more mess than they've been alleviating.

Adrianna has been adjusting to 'solid' (really now, why do they call it solid when it's clearly food in a liquid state?) foods being added to her diet.

Which means her digestive track has been doing some interesting things.

Like producing some extremely noxious smelling output.

(And I have changed a lot of diapers over the past few years, when I say it's fumingly noteworthy, it's BAD.)

The sweet little litter box trained kitties have even been causing trouble, having hairballs like nobodies buisness.

(In small consolation, the kitty chose to puke all over Peter's Birkenstocks instead of mine.)

(By the way, dearest Peter darling, Diamond hacked up a hairball and accompanying gloop all over your Birkenstocks the other day.)

And the dogs.... I don't even want to discuss what the dogs are doing to my floor........

I have been taking pictures of some of these events (I don't know why, it's what I do, apparently...), but after careful consideration decided that perhaps sharing them with you might not be the best thing to do.

It would be neat to continue to gain blog followers, after all.

Besides, photo's don't capture smell, a crucial factor to fully share in all these experiences.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Baking Cookies, Adrianna Style


I recently set about making some chocolate chip cookies with Adrianna.

(And by 'with Adrianna' I mean Adrianna sat in the babyswing in the kitchen busily coating every square millimeter of a rattle with baby slobber while I mixed up cookie dough on the counter top a few feet away.)

And I learned some valuable information.

First off, Adrianna does NOT like the mixer, which really shouldn't surprise me that much considering Kristina's still terrified of the vacuum cleaner.

(I like to delude myself into thinking the girls' distaste for loud noises is just from our house being so calm and quiet most of the time, and NOT a direct result of me going to extreme lengths (like insisting Peter take Kristina out for a walk so I can vacuum without disturbing her since the day after she was born) to attempt to pacify (which probably just works to reinforce) their irrational fears.)

Second, Adrianna DOES like chocolate chips.

And had no issue whatsoever eating them, despite her horrible gagging episodes during my first attempt at feeding her cheerios that morning.

(Is she even at the age of eating cheerios?? I can't recall, sorta seems like she should be, but my lackadaisical reading of (or rather more specifically, my complete lack of reading of) parenting books this time around means I really have no idea any more.)

((Oh, and I also tried to give her biter biscuits a month or two a ago, until I noticed the package telling me she was way to young for biter biscuits. It's a really good thing second babies come out sturdier, helps ensure their survival and all that. Thanks biter biscuit packaging, now if only cheerios would get with the lazy-parenting-helpfulness program!))

And the previous two deductions led me to this amazing discovery: the baby's dislike of the mixer can be neutralized by the eating of chocolate chips.

Yep, scientific testing at work here, proving that chocolate really is totally awesome in all circumstances.

(And I wonder why she won't eat pureed peas for me.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Good Dirt

Kristina has always been a bit, shall we say, enthusiastic about experiencing the outdoors.

(Ok, she's always been a bit enthusiastic about experiencing everything, but we'll just focus on nature today.)

And went through a pretty bad eating nature phase last summer.


Especially
when it came to dirt.


And so I am always comforted by coming across scientific evidence stating not only that it will not harm my child, but is actually beneficial to her!

So go on honey, and eat some more of that yummy yummy dirt, it's building your immune system AND character, and what could be better than that!

(Please don't start eating bugs, that's still beyond Mommy's eww tolerance.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cats And Dogs


So, that whole adjusting to getting dogs thing....

Yeah, it's kinda hard.

And involving lots of family member separation.

And cleaning up lots of poop.

And all the iconic American family movies involving animals can go stuff it in the dryer.


More bulletins to follow as life allows.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Doing It Wrong

It has occurred to me that I am doing it (namely life) wrong.

I agonize, over think, stress out about, and over plan things with extremely minimal importance.

Like the procuring of little girl clothes. Or the theme for Kristina's third birthday party.

And yet the bigger the decision (financially impacting, longevity, etc), the less thought is given.

But in some ways that's good, for if I'd over scrutinized house buying, we wouldn't have been able to buy a house in New York (done in one weekend), and it would have been a long last year living in a motel.

And the shiney new car I've been meaning to do a blog post about and still haven't gotten to for a month was most certainly picked out and bought in less than a few hours.

Even where I chose to go to college was most definitely whimy.

(By the way, Cornell College is an awesome school and I would highly recommend it to the involved learner.)

And in some respects, even choosing a college is a fairly minor decision.

Had I really thought about it, we would not have had Kristina.

And the biggest logistical thought behind Adrianna's conception was whether she'd be a good age as a sibling for Kristina.

And it has happened again.

Yep, we added another family member on an impulse.

Actually, we added two:
I would like to introduce you to our new boys, Lucas and Roddy (short for Roddenberry).

(Why yes, that would in reference to George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry......)

And still, whether or not to buy little dresses for them at the current Gymboree sale is a huge deal, needing much thought and deliberation and budgeting.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Toddler Separation

I recently came across this article about toddler separation (do be warned, if you read to much of it the blog itself will make you feel like you're personally destroying the world because you actually kinda like disposable diapers, all children must be nursed until at least 3, and the virtues of an intact prepuce is perfectly reasonable random-(probably-pregnant)-stranger-ahead-of-you-in-line-conversation), and it made me think.

Despite the good point of young children being just as attached as babies to their mother, I think the blogger is overly cynical and short selling of toddlers.

It's assuming that the person the child is most bonded to is their mother, which is only the case when the mother is the primary care giver and is not properly embracing the range of families today.

Just to name a few: stay-at-home dads, single parents, grandparents raising grandchildren, gay and lesbian couples, nannies.

And the occasional exceptional day car center staff.

I also think it's short selling everyone else in your child's life.

Going off of their skinned knee example, Mommy might have the best kisses and overall 'comfortness', but Daddy's offer of a cookie would probably make the tears disappear even faster.

And one should never underestimate Grandma.

Kristina has fallen down and gotten skinned knees at preschool (sprinting on the sidewalk outside, she had done the same thing at home a week earlier), and although the staff may not have been quite as awesome and amazing as me (because I'm totally mega awesome), I really don't think the incident had a negative impact on her at all.

She was cared for and comforted, her injuries tended (and accident reports written), and I'm sure appropriately coddled for the 30 seconds needed until she wanted to go play again.

I also think the article underestimates the child, and their ability to form multiple meaningful relationships.

Daddy is a very important person to Kristina, and she is most defiantly bonded to him despite him having spent the last 8 months deployed overseas. Yes, occasionally something is lost in translation and I need to help them out as to what the other is trying to communicate (although in all fairness there are even times where something is lost in translation on me), but that does not mean he cannot comfort her or that she would not seek comfort from him.

Believe me, there's nothing like a slight Mommy scolding to make the tears of "I want Daddy" to come pouring in.

Kristina has many unique relationships in her life with different adults, and just because I'm Mommy does not mean I'm even always the best object of comfort.

After all, Daddy gives cookies.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Crackadoodle Chicken

Kristina and I ended up playing a game the other day that went something like this...

Kristina: mommy do a dinosaur!
Me: rawr

Kristina: mommy do a tiger!
Me: rawr

(hey, tigers and dinosaurs have some distant relation I'm sure, which would obviously result in them having the exact same rawrness for noises....)

Kristina: mommy do a cow!
Me: moooo

Kristina: mommy do a crackadoodle!
Me:........what?
Kristina: mommy do a crackadoodle!!
Me: you mean.... um......

*epic mommy fail at thinking of an animal with a name anything close to 'crackadoodle'*

Me: ....what......??!?
Kristina: a crackadoodle! A crackadoodle chicken!
Me: .... a rooster??
Kristina: yeah a woooster!!
Me: cockadoodledoo

Friday, July 16, 2010

Elegant Dresses

At the FRG (Family Readiness Group) meeting just before the ball, we were given an actual etiquette class about formals.

It included very useful information, like how to identify which glasses and bread plate are yours.

(Make a circle with your thumb and index finger, hold them up with your other fingers straight, your left hand looks like a lowercase B (bread) and your right looks like a lowercase D (drink))

And it covered what the fallen soldier table is, proper respect for the entrance of the colors (flags), toasting, and little tips like how you shouldn't get sloshed during the cocktail hour.

And then she went into great detail about dresses.

Elegant Dresses.

It was the adjective of the day.

For a formal function, we should strive to be elegant.

Our dresses should be elegant.

Our hair should be elegant.

Our behavior should be elegant.

And there are a few very specific no-nos.

Tattoos should be covered.


Dresses should be at the shortest tea length (just above the ankle), think BALL GOWN (this is a ball, after all).


Slits should not go any high than the knee (especially if you have tattoos on your thigh).

(And I'm still saddened I didn't get a better picture of this one, it truly was an epic dress.)

Now, the woman giving the gown instructional didn't mention anything about prints, but I would like to caution ladies against bright and bold prints in gowns.


Especially animal prints.

Choosing "all of them" when you can't decide what color of dress to get really might not be the best way to go.

And be aware of what large bold flowers do to your backside(and whether that's where you really want to draw people's attention).


Sadly, stand out heels can only do so much to detract from the spandex look (especially when half the night is spent tugging the dress down so it doesn't bare all your assets.)


And just in case anyone was wondering what my tattoo means, at formal balls it would the kanji for elegant.

Because that is what one is at a ball.

Purely elegant.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fallen Soldier Table


At formal military functions, a special table is set up in recognition of those who could not be present because they are POW, MIA, or KIA.

(And for those of you not very acronym-literate, those would stand for prisoner of war, missing in action, or killed in action.)

The following is the official rhetoric, read verbatim to those in attendance:

The table is small, set for one- symbolizing the frailty of one soldier alone against his enemies.

The table cloth is white- symbolizing the purity of the soldier's intentions to respond to their country's call to arms.

The single red rose symbolizes remembrance. It is displayed in a vase, reminding us of the families and loved ones of our comrades in arms who keep their memories alive, lest we forget.

The red ribbon tied prominently on the vase is a reminder of the blood they shed protecting the liberty so loved by our country.

A slice of lemon sits on the bread plate to remind us of the bitterness of their fate.

The plate is covered in salt- symbolic of their families tears.

The glass is inverted, for they cannot toast with us tonight.

The chair is empty, for they can sit with us no longer.

There was one combat casualty from 2-15 FA during their deployment, a pressing reminder to all who were present about the life a soldier lives and the family he (or she) leaves behind.

In remembrance of all the fallen soldiers.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Molly Pitcher

According to legend, Mary Hays McCauly (who will forever be known as Molly Pitcher) shared the rigors of Valley Forge with her husband William Hays, and her actions during the battle of Monmouth (June 28th 1778) were down right kick ass.

Or should I say, legendary.

She (in full skirts) earned her nickname by bringing the artillery men pitcher after pitcher of water to quench their thirst and cool the guns.

And then carried a crippled soldier off the battle field on one of her refilling trips.

And then watched her husband also get injured, and then took over his place at the gun with the ramming staff.

(I told you it was pretty kick ass.)

Which made her the second (recognized) woman who manned a gun during battle in American history.

And as a result of her heroic deeds, General Washington issued her a warrant as a noncommissioned officer and she was widely hailed henceforth as "Sergeant Molly".

AND in today's Army, Field Artillery gives out the Molly Pitcher Award to spouses who demonstrate such admirable qualities and support for their husbands in battle.

And guess who got one?!?!!

(I didn't know they gave spouses medals either.)

Lining us all up (as I ended up in the back row and am not of particularly grand (read: tall) stature (even with heels) I am not visible in any of the pictures taken from the front of the group).

The husbands were lined up behind us for the purpose of fastening the necklace.

(Interestingly enough, it's to be worn on a little bow pin on the left for all future formal functions, which is probably for the better since Alyse (on my right) and I spent the whole night making fun of the chain length which nestled the medals proudly in our cleavages. And then Paola (our fearless FRG leader) told us to take them out of there, sadly before we got around to photographing it....)

(Anyone know where to get the little bow pin part?)

And THEN we had to take the same oath and shot of "punch" that the soldiers receiving the Honorable Order of St. Barbara Award did (see the "pomp and circumstance" picture).

Which actually surprised me, being as this was the Army and not the Marines.

Oh, and the wives were so totally wimpy about the recitation. The menfolk were all loud and formal, and none of the wives started off wanting to say anything but a polite mumbling. Alyse and I attempted to bring it up a couple notches, but had great difficulty remembering what the guy said to recite it and we were in the non-innate-leadership-initiating back row.

(Hey, it was like 2 or 3 sentences read out at a time of the most random jargon we'd never heard before (with the exception of the previous ceremony) about not standing in front of a cannon and that sort of stuff.)

(And it's possible we had had a few beers by that point.)

((But that sure made the shot of mixed hard liqueur (tasted a lot like whiskey) go down better!))

All in all, it was a very cool and unexpected thing (as I didn't know the award existed, much less that I'd be on the receiving end), and I hope I really do live up to the spirit of Molly Pitcher.

(And get to help shoot the cannons, how cool would that be?!!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

St. Barbara's Ball


According to legend, Saint Barbara was the daughter of a wealthy heathen and lived sometime in 300 A. D.

Her father left on a great journey, and Barbara, after being awed by the natural world around her, converted to Christianity and insisted on a window set of 3.

Her father was very upset by this upon his return home, and when she refused to renounce her new found faith he (personally) beheaded her.

And then he got struck by lightening.

So the Catholic church made dead Barbara a saint (has anyone ever been sainted while still alive??), and Field Artillery made her their patron.

(Apparently some of the earlier artillery pieces weren't particular reliable and had a habit of malfunctioning in a great explosive way.)

(I have no idea why the father being struck down by lightening would bring her the power to ward of explosions of gunpowder, but during the event honoring such didn't seem like the right time to inquire about it.)

And in today's Army, the Field Artillery branch gets to hold balls (think ill begotten offspring of a wedding reception and prom) in her honor.

This is the few of Bolt Castle from our room, the Edgewood Hotel is up in Alexandria bay and when they say "right on the water" they mean right ON the water.

Me all gussied up out on our private deck.

Peter in full dress during the cocktail hour (he wasn't nearly as "lets pose in front of the water" enthused as I was).

Us together during the cocktail hour, with Peter about to be eaten by the dead fish mounted on the wall (our house will NEVER be decorated with dead animals).

The ball room with the head table, dance floor, and the fallen soldier table.

The fallen soldier table, present at all formal military functions to recognize those who cannot attend because they are missing, imprisoned, or killed. It is full of symbolism, to the point of being to much to explain fully right here, and probably deserving of it's own post entirely.

View of one side of the room before ceremony and dinner got going, Peter is on the left.

And because it was a military function, there was a fair amount of pomp and circumstance and ceremonial stuff (most of which I wasn't supposed to be photographing due to it being disrespectful despite having an excellent view from where our table was).

(But they did remember the ladies, so it was all good.)

And of course, alcohol.

(But it was alcohol with tradition, and symbolism and meaning!)

(And still got people just as drunk as the non-symbolic kind.....)


Then there was more photo-opting.....

.....and eventually it pretty much just turned into a drunken dance party of photo-opting.

And Peter and I were out of there before 10:30, where we went and sat on our private deck in pajamas and talked for a couple hours while watching boats go by.

I think we're getting old.