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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day in the Pacific

In my short 26 years, I've been to a lot of places that have national significance.  Washington DC and Arlington are the two that stick out the most. I think as far as places themselves go, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl is the most patriotic.  I know a lot of people will shoot an eyebrow up at me saying that anywhere is more patriotic than Arlington, but for me, Arlington is more somber than patriotic.  It's a sad place, though an honorable one.

The National Cemetery at Punchbowl is bursting with patriotism to me.  I think I see it this way because it's one of the only places where Americans have ever been attacked in a place that we call home.  I have visions of soldiers, sailors, Marines and civilians taking to the skies and finding guns to pick up and defend their homes and families.

I grew up in a very patriotic family, with many military members.  I've always known what Memorial Day is about.  In fact, I was attending ceremonies like the one I attended to day for as long as I can remember.  - Watching people tear up because your Daddy is playing some really sad song on the bugle [Taps, of course] is a proud moment for a little girl -  Days like today make me so glad when and where that I do.  So with this I say thank you to our service members past, present, and future.  And to the family members of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, I humbly give my thanks and respect.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

White Family Takeover Part 1

I can't believe it's only been 4.5 days.  I am loving having them here, but I am so tired!  I feel like Mammaw, Pappaw and Uncle John have been here for weeks!  Months!  I think that's because I automatically adjusted to them being here - like I was just home again.  It doesn't feel like anything has changed for me.  My day is a little different.  For instance, I don't have to load KB up just to take Jason to work.  That part is super awesome.  Know what else is awesome?  Having more people to cook for and cook with.  I am loving having a chunk of my family here for meals.  I miss cooking for a crowd, even though Jason sometimes eats like one.  Having 3 extra adults in the house has remedied that for me.

So here is how our first few days went:

Checking out Kaneohe Bay - KB was just beginning to latch onto Mammaw (permanently).

Then we headed over onto Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii and checked out the beach there.  Pappaw was stationed at Hickam AFB in the 50's, so he had a lot of fun reminiscing about the island.  Of course, a lot of what he said was "Things sure have changed over the past 52 years.."

One of the beaches on Kaneohe MCBH
That was pretty much it for the first full day.  The next day was full of fun, too.  We went to the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island.  It was interesting, if indeed expensive for entry.  $20 per person for that tiny museum?!  What??  We managed to get in for $12 each on the military discount, but still...  Watch "Pearl Harbor" a few times and you've got the museum.  Seriously.  Most of it is about the Doolittle Raids.

Good fun was had at the cafe, though.  KB stood up for the first time!  Woo!  I'm glad the GP's were around to see that.

After the museum, we went and drove around Waikiki for a while.  Pappaw kept going back to "Things sure have changed..."  We went into the International Marketplace for a little souvenir shopping, and I happened to mention that you could get Dole Whip at one of the stands in the food court.  For those who don't know, Dole Whip is this heavenly concoction - Dole Pineapple ice cream.  It's amazing and you should try some.  I was feeling chocolate, though, and so was KB.  She tried her very first ice cream!

Friday was mostly lazy.  The only thing of any interest that we did was go to the Byodo In Buddhist Temple.  It's gorgeous!  It was built in 1968 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.  It's an exact, to scale replica of a temple in Uji, Japan, which was built almost 1000 years ago.  Pretty awesome, eh?

Today wasn't lazy at all.  I'm exhausted, and my legs want to cry.  We did the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet.  For those unfamiliar, a swap meet is just an open air flea market.  Gajillions of souvenirs, t-shirts, magnets, and a few handmade things that are pretty awesome.  I traditionally hate flea markets, but I knew everybody else would like it, so we spent a few hours there this morning.  Then I took them to Boston's Pizza Bakery simply because it's our favorite pizza place on island.  

From there we went to base for the GP's and Uncle John to get a tour of the boat.  None of them have ever been on a sub, so that was pretty cool.  I think they were just as impressed with how smart Honey is as they were with the boat itself.  It's true, I nabbed a smart one.  (Pappaw says "And he still married Emily?" -  He got suckered into it with my good looks and charm, for sure.)

Are you tired just reading all that?  I'm exhausted, and partly from doing it, partly from writing about it.  The good news is that having them here is keeping me up on my feet and busy, so I haven't had a chance to gain any weight with the insane amount of eating I've been doing.  That's very good news.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-in #42

Do you think civilians, in general, understand the meaning of Memorial Day?
Yes.  There are some extremely patriotic civilians out there.  I think everybody can name at least one person who has served their country, and I'm sure most people are thankful for that person on some level.  I do not personally know anyone who has died while serving his/her country, but I am thankful for those that have, those that will, and those who are willing to risk it.What are your plans for the Memorial Day Weekend?
My grandparents are in town!  Honey is taking a half-day on Friday, and I'm not sure what we'll do yet, other than grill out for dinner.  On Saturday I'll take them to the Aloha Swap Meet, even though I hate flea markets.  On Sunday we'll go to church and then possibly to a polo match.  We are planning to attend the Memorial Day ceremony at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punch Bowl.  Then my Honey will get to use his (early) Father's Day present, a huge smoker, and make us some ribs :)What skill/talent do you wish you had? submitted by The 3 Turners
I wish I was crafty.  I wish I could look at an article of clothing and figure out how to remake it.  Really, I wish I just had ideas that popped into my head and then came out via my hands.  I'm not crafty in the least :(Which came first: the chicken or the egg? submitted by I Married Into The Army
The chicken!  That's what my Southern Baptist Evangelical Christian upbringing tells me, anyway.What is the best thing about your post (base)? The worst? submitted by Randomly, Robyn
Best - It's Pearl Harbor, HAWAII!  Worst - Traffic.. because it's Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Monday, May 23, 2011

I was busy before, it's about to get crazy!

I've been a bad blogger lately because I've been so busy.  We only have the one car, so I've been taking Jason to work most mornings.  And by work, I mean class.  He's at school for PNEO right now.  I still don't remember what it stands for, and he's sitting right beside me, so I could ask, but I'm not going to.. just on principal.  (I used to not care what these things meant.  I used to be that doe-eyed spouse who knew nothing.  I sort of miss her sometimes.  I miss my life revolving around my life and not the military.  End whine.)  Anyway.  I take him to class at 0800.  The gym's childcare center opens at 0815, and is only open until 1100, AND only takes a small number of children at a time, so I have to go right at 0815.  So, I'm there until 0930, and get home just in time for KB to go down for her first nap, which usually lasts two hours.  In those two hours, which are my absolute only two hours to work during the day, I.. well, I work.  Laundry, dishes, cleaning, you know.. work.  

THEN, KB gets up and has to have my undivided attention for the next 1.5 hours.  She will sometimes let me do some picking up or floors or fold laundry while she's in her bouncy, but not usually.  She freaks if I leave the room, so even going to get the basket of laundry can be difficult.  I'm not complaining about my baby.. she's amazing.  But she is clingy and amazing.  

I was able to distract her with The Princess and the Frog long enough to fold some laundry this week!
For the last two weeks, KB has been in swim lessons.  So we leave the house at 1400, and lessons start at 1430.  We were there until roughly 1530, get home for a tiny nap #2, and then it's off to pick Daddy back up.  Good grief, the last two weeks have been insane.  I didn't have any time for errands during those days, so that came after picking Jason up every day.  By the time we got home, got KB down for bed, got dinner ready, ate said dinner, and cleaned the kitchen, we were both beat.  I'm looking forward to calming down and relaxing a little this week.

She LOVED swim lessons!  She's such a little fish!
Oh wait.  My grandparents decided to fly in this coming Tuesday.  Don't get me wrong, I'm stoked.  Beyond stoked.  I can't even describe how excited I am.  My uncle is coming too, which makes it even cooler.  We're going to have so much fun!  I miss them, they miss me, and I'm sure there isn't a word to describe how much they miss KB.  The next two-ish weeks are going to be insane.  Lots of driving, and sight-seeing, and memorial-going, and eating is in my future.  (There must also be some gym-going in there, with all the eating that is bound to take place.)

All that to say that I will probably be an even worse blogger until they leave.  Which is sad, because I've got blogs about the new car, KB's 9 month appointment, and a whole bunch of other stuff going on in my head.  I hope I can get to them before the White Family Takeover on Tuesday afternoon.  But if not, I promise to try later!

Teaser picture of my hot new ride!  The ultimate sexy Mom Car, for sure.
Thursday, May 19, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #41

What is one of the things you always do special when your husband returns from a deployment?  submitted by Keep Calm and Soldier On
**DISCLAIMER:  Parents and other people who don't want details should stop reading RIGHT NOW**  -  A very wise Navy spouse once told me that you should never wear panties on the pier.  Well, I do wear panties, but I also buy new lingerie almost every homecoming.  Besides that, we almost always grill steaks on his first night home.  I'm not one to brag, but we make some killer ribeyes.  My marinade is fantastic.  So since he can't get one anywhere nearly as good as our's while underway or at ANY liberty port, it's the first thing he wants to eat.

What do you do to help your spouse and/or yourself re-adjust after a deployment or long separation?  submitted by Diapers, Dogs and Deployments

Jason and I are very blessed to be able to jump right back into our lives as if we never left off.  This hasn't applied to us yet, and I am so grateful.

Are you a crazy coupon clipper (I'm becoming one, so share your secrets with me)?  submitted by Married My Airman

Hehe!  I have recently become one!  I clip from the Sunday paper and Coupon Mom.  If you're not following The Thrifty Military Wife, you should be.  She has posts great deals!

What's your most treasured memory of you and your spouse (not counting your wedding - that's a given)? submitted by Scrubs, ACUs and One Crazy Ride

I'm going to give you two because the first one is another "given".  First - Watching Jason meet Katie Beth for the first time will never, ever leave my heart or mind.  I won't go into details because I don't want to embarrass him. 

 Second - I think we have the same favorite memory of each other, and it's from the first time we were dating.  We were at the Ole Miss/Georgia football game and we got stupid.  My friends made fun of me for weeks for the way Jason and I acted during the first quarter of the game..  because that's the only quarter we made it through.  The memory always makes me smile because we had so much fun.

If you could live anywhere overseas, where would you pick and why? submitted by Little Moments Like This

Hmmm.. I've had a good run with tropical islands, so it would have to be somewhere in Europe.  I love Germany, but I've been there.. sooo..  maybe..  Italy?  Greece?  I don't know.
Friday, May 13, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In and Weekly Round Up

1. Which was the best day of your life- Wedding day or Homecoming day? submitted by Pink Champagne, Gatorade & MREs
Want to know a secret?  My wedding day was not the best day of my life.  It was far more stressful than it should have been, especially for such a small thrown together wedding.  But, I suppose that's what happens when you mix families and feelings.  Homecoming day, however, is almost always perfect.  It's just me, Jason, and now KB.    We've had 5 homecomings in the past 2 years, and I hold each of them closer to my heart than my wedding.  Is that sad?

Homecoming November 2009

2. Were you a part of the joining the military question or did you sign up for the relationship when your man was already in the militarysubmitted by Cammo Style Love
I think Jason decided to join the Navy for the first time when he was probably 3 or 4.  He's always wanted to be a Submariner because his Dad was a Submariner.  He made the real decision when he was in college, I think.  Regardless of when he actually decided, it was before we met.  He was already in the Navy when we met in our respective Senior years of college.

3. What is your favorite Disney movie and why? submitted by Raising Roscoe
I can't even answer this.. for real.  I think it's either The Little Mermaid or Aladdin, because they were the two that came out when I was most prone to Disney impression (between the ages of 4 and 8).  But I love almost every Disney movie I've ever seen!  I hold them all in my heart!

4. What is your favorite family activity to do on the weekends? submitted by Destination: RN!
Yeah, Submariners don't get real weekends, even when they're in port.  Even when the boat isn't going anywhere for the next freaking year.  They still have duty.  I so look forward to the day when Honey works a Monday - Friday job and gets real weekends.  So honestly, I don't know what our favorite family activity is.  The only thing we always do on weekends is a big breakfast, and that part is great.

5. Where do you secretly wish you could be stationed with you/your SO’s line of work (realistically speaking, not everyone can be stationed on NAS Fiji)? submitted by Wookie & Co.
Well, for sea duty, we're there!  We are stationed at the Navy's Best Home Port (there are signs all over base, for real), Pearl Harbor.  We've only been here 2 months, and I can say that I love it here.  I just wish my family wasn't so far away.

For shore duty, my dream station is.. wait for it.. Ole Miss NROTC.  Is anybody surprised?  The only way for this to happen is for Jason to get orders there for his post Division Officer shore duty, or for him to be the CO there on his Post Commanding Officer shore duty.  Is either likely to happen?  Nope.  As our CO explained last night, every Div-O wants ROTC for his shore duty, but the only ones who really get it these days are the ones who just spent a tour in Iraq.  (Not really, but close.)  

Now that you've read all of this, head over to Keeping Up With The Bowens for this week's Mil Spouse Weekly Round Up.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day: the postmortem

Yesterday was my very first Mother's Day.  I didn't really celebrate while I was pregnant.  Jason told me Happy Mother's Day, and he was sweet about it, but we went and played golf.  So yeah.. not really celebrating my upcoming motherhood.

(For the record, I do believe you can celebrate your first Mother's Day if you are pregnant.  I mean, you are definitely already sacrificing for your baby.. so yeah, Happy Mother's Day to my beautiful pregnant friends!)

Back to yesterday.. Jason has Saturday duty every week for the next 8 - 10 because he's in school for his PNEO exam in July.  So Jason had duty on Saturday, which meant I spent the night alone.  No biggie - KB and I stayed in our jammies all day and watched movies.  I expected him to be home around 0830 Sunday morning. I knew he was going to make me breakfast and then we'd go to church.  I was looking forward to that simple pleasure.  Alas, it was not to be.

Jason called at 0830, the time I expected him home.  Conversation went like this:  "Hey baby."  "Hey...  I just rear-ended a truck."  "What?!  Are you ok?!"  "I'm fine.  The car's not."  "What happened??"  "I was at a light in the left turn lane, and I kind of spaced out, and when the people beside me went because they had the light, I went too.. straight into the back of a truck."  "I'll see you when you get home."

Needless to say, I was pissed.  I adore my husband, but he doesn't always think.  Correction:  My husband thinks too much.  About everything in the world.  Come to find out, his mind was on work because he hadn't had a great morning.  But you know that stereotype of the absent minded genius?  That, my friends, is my husband.  He has so many important things on his mind that the day to day things that you and I think about don't have room.  I just wish driving didn't fall into that category..

Bless him, he tried so hard to salvage Mother's Day for me.  He walked through the door 3 hours later (after dealing with the insurance company, getting a rental on a Sunday, etc) with flowers in one hand and a bottle of Firefly in the other.  

He made me an amazing breakfast:  Marmalade and goat cheese stuffed French toast.  He had also gotten a bottle of champagne for Mimosas, but I wasn't feeling that.  He gave me my gift.  A sweet little heart necklace with Mum in the middle.  You know the cheesy necklace you always see in stores? Well, it's cooler because it says Mum since he got it in Australia.  Super cute.

We spent the day together, getting our house a little more in order.  Then we took of for Target because we still need house things.  Curtains, for example.. we badly need curtains.  I finally got some sheers for our bedroom windows, and we got barstools for the kitchen bar.  Yay!

We went to Outback for dinner.  It wasn't so much "Mother's Day dinner", just what sounded good, ya know?  Apparently the rest of Hawaii also thought Outback sounded good on Mother's Day.  Holy moly!  We got there at 5:20 pm and there was already an hour wait for the 2.5 of us!  Sheesh.  We were there for 3 hours.  Bless my little KB, she made it successfully through the appetizer before having a meltdown at 7:00.  We were able to cover her carrier and rock her to sleep on the floor of the restaurant.  

Then, to my great surprise, she slept for the hour it took to get our food and dessert.  She didn't make it through dessert, though.   Daddy took her to the car and I ate my brownie alone.  I could have just left too, but dangit, I wanted that First Mother's Day brownie.
Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy MilSpouse Day, and Song Link Up

Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day, ladies!  I know not all of my readers are MilSpouses, but a lot are.  It's nice to know that we are appreciated, and so much more often than once a year!  

 Silent Patriot

A woman for all season, a woman for today

She stands to meet all the challenges
And grows along the way

Her life is not an easy one 

With many loads to bear

But she proudly serves her husband
And the uniform he wears

Although she didn’t take the oath 

To preserve democracy

She’s there each day on the home front
To keep our country free

She’s foreign-born or a country girl

Diversity you will find

But to be a military wife, 
It takes a special kind

She’s one who keeps on going 

Through adversity and pain

She’s the steady strong foundation
When nothing stays the same

She’s the one who sheds a tear

As Old Glory passes by

But couldn’t give an answer
 If you were to ask her why?

Throughout the years she marches on

Through tears and joy and strife

She’s America’s unsung hero ~ 
She’s a military wife

In honor of MilSpouse Appreciation Day, my song link up this week is my favorite patriotic song, America The Beautiful as done by Ray Charles.  I honestly don't know why this is my favorite, except that I have a very clear memory of this song being in one of my favorite movies.  Now And Then, maybe?  I'm not sure.  I could Google it, but I should probably get back to work on the office instead.  

If you'd like to link your song up this week, head over to Goodnight Moon  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Boat smell

Submariner wives either love it or hate it.. and sometimes both in the same day.  

Boat smell.  

To me, it smells a lot like a mechanic's garage.  [I think that's why I like it; because though I don't have many pleasant memories of my mom's second husband, who was a boat mechanic, I always had fun when he worked late and me and Scott would play in the huge garage.]  The smell is really Amine, which is the chemical in the submarine's atmosphere that is used to take out moisture. 

I totally didn't know that until I Googled Amine just now.. I just knew it was a chemical.  Learn something new every day..

So anyway, it's what my husband smells like every single day.  It means that he's home, and that I have him for a little while before that big black bitch gets him back.  (Sorry if that offends a grandparent or something.. but it's true.)  So when he brings his huge sea bag in, and dumps the dirty Amine-smelling laundry in the middle of the living room, I can't help but smile.  As much as it adds to my day, I love doing his laundry when he first comes home.  Know why?  Because it means he's home.

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The Sub Wife Life