Thursday, December 18, 2008

At your service.

An uneventful week this week at Camp McCrady. While waiting on my paperwork I have been tasked as the duty driver, shuffling new arrivals around to appointments, back and forth to Ft. Jackson and off to the airport onto their next destination in a 12ish passenger van. VERY Exciting.

I have my tickets for Sat morning to fly back home for the holidays. If my paperwork has not completed before then, I will have to come back to McCrady on Jan 4th until it is done. I am being told different things in regards to my paperwork so I am taking everything they say with a grain of salt. With only one more day to go, I am skeptical that it will be done in time.

Regardless, I am going home on Saturday. YAY!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Unfit for Duty

In soldier terms, being labeled "unfit for duty" represents something shameful..... unsoldierly....... weak. To them you are useless, maybe even lazy or scared. People who can't pass a physical fitness test or struggle to keep their weight down are "unfit for duty". People who are depressed or suffer from mental illness. We see in the news all the soldiers coming back from Afghanistan without a limb or having had serious injuries and still they want to go back to fight next to their brothers and sisters. They are strong, not weak.

While I never served overseas, this week I was given the red stamp "unfit for duty". I will not be going to Iraq. In a few weeks (hopefully less) I will be going home. After seeing the orthopedic specialist and having several x-rays of my spine, they determined that my scoliosis is significant (much more than I thought! I had never seen the x-rays before!) and participating in activities necessary while overseas could cause further serious injury and chronic pain. Not only am I exempt from this mobilization, but I am now being processed out of the Army altogether. I am done.

I feel very mixed emotions about this. I feel elated that I can stay home (of course!) and can't wait to see my family again. At the latest I'll be home in early January before the Spring semester starts. It is a relief knowing that I can't be called back again, as now the talk of a surge into Afghanistan will surely cause an increase in Inactive Reserve soldiers being mobilized.

On the other hand, I can't help but feel kinda sad too. I loved the Army and my job while I was active. It was intense and exciting. I felt like I did a pretty good job, got promoted, awarded, etc. We were blessed to be assigned to a strategic unit (not tactical). Compared to most others, we had it great.... cushy. Thousands didn't even get to come home from Iraq.

So, I can't help but feel kinda shamed that I am complaining about the little pain in my neck. I understand it is a legitimate issue, but compared to others who have lost their limbs or lives, my little pain seems more like an excuse. An excuse to get out of something I don't want to do. And it worked, but not without casting a shadow on my career as a soldier. And now, something I was very proud of having done will have to be swept under the rug and tucked away.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda. Here I am at....Camp McCrady.

So... it's been a while since I've posted. A lot has been going on in the past month and I'm sure I'll fill in when I have time.

At the moment I'm here in Camp McCrady, a small little former National Guard post on the corner of Ft. Jackson. I should be here for a few weeks while I finish inprocessing into the Army and then I'll be going down to Goodfellow Air Force Base for a few more weeks of training. My uniforms were all reissued to me today, so now I am officially a soldier again.

So far it has been interesting to be here, as my inprocessing into the Army almost 7 years ago was SO different, and seeing some of these places has brought back major deja vu. I was expecting to arrive here and find hundreds of others in the same boat as I.... recalled involuntarily back for some reason or the other. Instead I find that all BUT 3 of the group of only 16 that arrived on Sunday are retirees who have volunteered to return to active duty in stateside positions for bigger retirement benefits. So of course being retirees, they are all high ranking officers... Colonels, Lt. Colonels and Majors. Of the three of us that were not retirees, one I know volunteered to come back to Active duty from the Inactive Ready Reserves, and the other I don't know about yet. I feel very out of place here, and can't help but feel like this all should be a big misunderstanding....... did I accidentally volunteer for something? I guess I just won the lottery this time? This unit must have needed a linguist, and they drew my name out of the hat?

So, my further lottery luck. Somehow I was chosen by our cadre to be the group leader to keep us all together and make sure everyone gets to where they need to be. Lovely. Normally if I had a bunch of privates I'd just raise my voice or make people sit around and wait. But how does one tell 13 high-ranking officers they can't going anywhere?

Monday, November 17, 2008

BlaBla Blog

Despite the bad news our lives keep moving forward.

Seth and John both started swimming lessons a few weeks ago at the Y. Seth LOVES to swim and be in the water but is frustrated that he doesn't get any fun free swim time. They have him doing a lot of laps and technique exercises. His class is 45 minutes long but he pretty much poops out after 30. I see improvement already but he's not quite ready to give up the floaty.
John and I are in the baby class and we do fun stuff like kick and splash and blow bubbles and jump and reach. Now I have a hard time getting him NOT to splash me during bath time.

Dave and I will get to go to our first parent-teacher conference on Wednesday to hear how Seth is doing. I'm really looking forward to it. Seth's not much for telling me about the details of his day at school..... all I usually get is..... "it was fine". So I have lots of questions.

I've handed in notice at work that my last day will be on the day before Thanksgiving. I'll get a week and a half off to get ready for Ft. Jackson and spend quality time with Dave and the kids. Work is very generously letting me keep my cell until I actually leave the US, so I won't have to wait in line at the pay phones. They've also approved lots of overtime for last week, this week and next so I can get some extra pay before I leave.

Despite the bummer news, we are still hopeful . After speaking with my case manager further about this exemption case, it appears that there were no medical personnel on the board who reviewed the case. According to the paperwork I received, the reason my claim was dissapproved was because it did not "demonstrate personal hardship". But I will still go through further medical screening when I arrive at Ft. Jackson where I will be seen by real medical personnel. I'm sure they will do further tests...xrays, mri, nerve studies etc. to verify the probs in my spine. So...we'll just have to wait and see. In the mean time, my time at Ft. Jackson will be kept busy with training 7 days a week and of course some exercise. Yikes! Time to start running again. Oh Joy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Verdict

After waiting almost 4 months, we finally found out today that I will be going to Ft. Jackson on Dec 7th after all. My medical exemption case was dissapproved.

So it was a bummer of a day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

No Word

As I suspected, it appears that SFC M is off today and tomorrow for Vets day. So for now I will keep breathing and keep occupied.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Dreaded Call

While out for dinner last night with Sarah and Bill, I took advantage of the good cell reception and turned my phone on. (I have no reception at my house) I had 3 messages.

The first one (from Wednesday) was from my case manager. The commander's decision on my medical exemption case has been made. I just need to call him back tomorrow to find out what it was.

It's funny. On our way to the restaurant last night to meet Sarah and Bill, Dave and I were talking about how we thought with the holidays coming up that it would slow the decision even more since paperwork would sit on desks and families would be on exodus. We were hoping not to hear from them until after Christmas.

Nevertheless. The call we've all been waiting for has come, and now I have to wait a whole day before I find out if I will be with my babies for the next year or not.

On an added note: It occurred to me this afternoon that I may not find out until Wednesday. With Veterans Day on Tuesday, the Army (or at least my previous posts) would always make it a 4-day weekend and give Monday off too. So, it's likely that I won't be able to get ahold of my case mgr until Wednesday. Great.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Woo Hoo! A record for me. I checked my blog today for the first time in a few and I had 6 comments!! Amazing!!

Thanks to you 3 Chicadees and Ain't No Mountain for your lovely responses.

You made my day!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Wiggly Adventure

Yay! The Wiggles came to Buffalo tonight and Dave and I treated the boys. I think we were more excited for them than they actually were. John was stand-offish and clung to me until the last 1/4 of the show when he finally got off my lap and stood up and danced.

Seth had a great time until the Wiggles split up and walked through the crowd. "Sam! It's me Seth!!" he shouted. Sam came the closest to us but was still a level down. Seth was SO dissappointed that he didn't get to ask Sam a question (though I have no clue what that question was). Poor guy.
I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of all the adventure, since I was expecting mania with children everywhere and lots of traffic. We had a really nice time, boys were good, people were kind and took their turns out of the parking lot (something that would never have happened in Augusta) and hopefully a memorable experience for the boys before they're too old for Wiggles.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Last weekend we went to the local farm market to buy pumpkins and fresh apples. We made applesauce, apple cake, the boys ate a gajillion apples each, and then carved our pumpkins.

For Halloween we walked around the local neighborhood. Seth (obviously) was a T-Rex and John a Block. John's daycare had a parade in the morning where local businesses down the street gave out candy and Seth's class had a party.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Firsts, Part 4.

Last weekend we went up to camp and enjoyed the beauty of the northern states in the peak of the fall season. This is what I missed SOOO much about living in CA, TX and GA. Fall is my favorite time of year. So many colors, the temperatures, the tastes..... aaaah this is home.

This morning I woke up to frost on the ground and cars and it occurred to me that it's well past time to buy winter coats. This will be John's first glimpse of snow, and Seth's first glimpse of snow that actually sticks to the ground and piles up.

Anyhow, last weekend at camp I got to take Seth 4-wheeling, and fishing, and both boys kayaking. Which of course leads me to the "First" of this post...... Seth's First Fish! We had beautiful weather and I got some beautiful pictures.

John didn't actually come fishing with us.
His feet didnt' touch the bottom of the boat and he couldn't
keep his balance with the rocking of the boat.

Seth caught a salmon.

We also got to go to a kite festival. Unfortunately we didnt' have enough wind for kiting, but Seth got to make his own kite and run with it.
I saved my favorite picture for last.... kayaking on Sunday morning with my boys. John was in my lap.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ocean of Sky

From an email I received this morning from my sister on her conversation with my nephew:

It was raining this morning. My adorable son looks up at the sky and
says, "Mommy, is the ocean in the sky?" I smiled and said, "It does look
like that, doesn't it?" "Yeah, can I drink it?" he responds. He
promptly opens his mouth, sticks out his tongue and tips his head back
to drink some of the ocean. *sigh* I got a glimpse of the world
through my child's eyes. What a way to start the day!
=) Noreen

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No News

At the risk of jinxing myself, I will tell you that I have not yet heard back from the Army on the exemption case.

A few weeks ago I updated my new address and contact information with them, and last week I received a new set of orders in the mail. It was simply an ammendment to the first one with my updated address and a new report date of Nov 2nd.

It has now been over 2 months since I submitted the request for exemption. My case manager stated that currently the back-log for medical cases was 2 months, but I don't know if that means they won't begin reviewing and/or investigating my case for 2 months (which could take some time), or if that means that it takes about 2 months for them to get back to me on the decision. I just don't know. And frankly at this point I just don't really want to know anymore. NOT knowing means that I can stay here in my little bubble and just enjoy my family.

I could call my case manager and check with him, but I'm not going to. If my case has already been decided and is sitting at the bottom of a stack of files on someone's desk, then I'd rather not have him go and pull it to the top of the stack. Today, my ignorance is bliss.... because tomorrow it might be sorrow.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Firsts, Part 3.

First Hair Cut, 19 mos.


Bye Bye Mullet

He may not look too happy in this picture, but he didn't cry one bit.

Daddy made silly faces so he would hold still.

Ta DA!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Firsts, Part 2.

I wanted to post these pictures in my last post, but I had to wait for access to Mom's camera.
First School Bus ride

First Day of School Birthday Celebration.

The girl sitting next to Seth is Sara (they're married).
He refused to smile for this picture...Mom and Dad are SO Embarrasing!!

Class B4
Here he's showing everyone he's 5!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Firsts, Part 1.

The first of our firsts is the first day of school.

Seth was super brave and got on that school bus without a second thought. Here we are waiting for the bus.

Kindergarden started on Sept 5th, just 2 days after Seth's 5th birthday. So, his teacher Mr. Siuta suggested we bring cupcakes in for the class. Dave and I were super excited to visit his school on the first day and get a glimpse him. I would've loved to be a fly on the wall that day. We passed out cupcakes that Seth had helped me bake the night before, sang, and Seth got to wear a birthday boy hat all day.

But when we went to take some pictures Seth was quite embarrased. It was the first time I'd ever seen him express this new emotion toward us. So....another first for us. The first of many many many times to come.

Surprise!!! I'm BACK!

Hello friends and family! It's good to be back. I have lots to share about the going-ons of our household. I'm going to try to spread it out over the week so you don't get bombarded with everything all at once. First....some pictures.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm Not Alone Anymore

So, I don't mean to neglect ya'll my bloggy friends. Life has been pretty busy, and I have lots of pictures and stories to share. Once of the nicest things about living right now is that I am not so alone anymore. I used to sit and write my blogs after the kids went to bed and Dave went off to work for the night or on the weekend while he slept. I spent a lot of time by myself (children not included). But lately with Dave and my parents and the boys all home I have found that I desire to blog less and enjoy people more. So yay for that.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We Made It!

So, we got off to a late start, but we made it. Thank God. We got to stop and see Dave's family half-way up in WV, and see Kerrie for a short time on Monday morning, and then arrived in NY around 7pm on Monday night. The boys were very well behaved.
Can you believe I had to turn around and start work Tuesday morning?!! Well, we survived and now we're busy unpacking and getting settled. Dave took Seth to school today to register for Kindergarden. Tonight I will take him shopping for his packpack and clothes. This weekend we're heading up to camp in Adirondacks and will see my Sister and her family! Next week school starts.... does life ever slow down? I have a feeling it only gets faster after this. Soon it'll be soccer practice and boy scouts, church choir and field trips. I'm excited for the Peach Festival the weekend after next, where I'm excited to reunite with friends and meet their families, and have some peach shortcake.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Muppets Saying Goodbye - For more amazing video clips, click here


Just a few more days left before we head out. Yesterday at Church I said some goodbyes. Tonight we say more as our Monday Night Kinship group is throwing us a farewell barbeque. Tomorrow night we say even more when we get together with friends for dinner, Wednesday night is Seth's turn to say goodbye to his friends at his 5th birthday party, and Thursday I say goodbye to coworkers. In between all this, we're finishing the packing, planning etc. Our heads are spinning, John has got a cold, and its a wonder we're not all sick too.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Weight Watchers huh?

So... I really don't get it.

You know how you wake up in the morning and turn on the hot water in the shower and while you're waiting for it to get hot you step up on the scale? This morning I did this and was very happy to see that I had lost 3 pounds this week. Yay Me!

An hour and a half later..... I step up on the scale at Cheeseburger Rehab expecting to get a star sticker for my efforts this week only to find that I am only down 0.6 lbs!! Huh? But.... I didn't eat or drink ANYTHING yet!? How can this be? Is my scale playing tricks on me? Grrrrr!

No stickers for me. So sad :-(

Womens Gymnastics

When I was a little girl, I remember watching womens gymnastics on tv during the Olympics. Don't you? Don't you remember dreaming of one day becoming a beautiful graceful gymnast? And think.... I think I can do that!! And then you and your sister did tumbling off the couch and bed and practiced kicking your feet over when you arch your back, or make up silly dance routines?

Perhaps I'm just watching the wrong channels, but I feel compelled to complain a little about the coverage of the Olympics this year. Now as an adult, I can barely stay awake to watch the women's gymnastics.... last night the womens all around finals weren't aired until 11:15 pm!!! How are little girls supposed to fall in love with gymnastics and remember names like Mary Lou Retton and Nadia Comaneci with fondness and admiration if they can't stay up to watch the games?!

I must say though, that I am just amazed this year at the US Swim Team. Not just Michael Phelps (would you SMILE a little Michael?? Get a LITLE excited about winning your GOLDS??) but it seems like just about ALL of our swimmers seem to be smashing the World Records in every event! Amazing!! Exciting!! I betcha all the spectators will have our national anthem memorized by the end of the swimming portion. Haha.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Artwork del Seth

"Superman with Cape"
"Superman with Glasses, Hair and Knee Leaves"

"Family with Dog"
(L to R: Daddy, Mommy, John, Seth)
(Center: My Dog named Daniel)

p.s. We don't have a dog.

Friday, August 8, 2008

HOT :-(

So, after weeks of moaning and groaning, our Air Conditioner finally croaked today. Dave was with it when it passed. He said it made a loud grinding noise and then.......nothing.

So long Air Conditioner. We will miss you tomorrow. High of 92.

Looks like tomorrow we'll be swimming and going to the movies.

Said Mother to Child at dinner in diner....... Were you a good boy in school today?

Said Child to Mother quite loudly.... YES!! I was a good boy!! I didn't show my butt!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Papa makes a comfy seat.

Awww, did Grandma put that pigtail in your hair?! How silly!!!

The.... no I don't want my picture taken....picture.

Weee hee hee.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

WW, Take 3

Soooooooo. After a month-long hiatus from Cheeseburger Rehab, my co-workers and family have coaxed me back.

I have been somewhat reluctant, particularly with the Army case pending, but especially now that I'm moving back to NY and will see people who haven't seen me in a while....... you know the drill.

So I sucked it up and got back on the scale Monday morning. Is it sad that I'm pleasantly surprised that ONLY gained 3 lbs back? After all, Mom and Dad took me out to eat every single day last week....and twice on Sunday. It's all THEIR fault.

So my goal this week is 3 lbs. I'm fairly confident it will come back off as easily as it went on. (hopefully). And then I'd like to go down a few 4 or 5 before I arrive in NY.

They're Gone

Mom and Dad left yesterday morning. But this time it was not so sad, since we will be seeing them in 3 weeks!

Don't my Dad and Seth look alike in this picture?? John loved snuggling with Grandma before bedtime.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Papa's Herre!

Yay! Dad arrived on Thursday. We're so happy to see him.

On Thursday morning on our way to daycare Seth wouldn't stop talking about Papa.

Papa's going to pick me up today.
Not you Momma, just Papa.

1 minute later... Mom, is Papa going to pick me up today? Yes Seth, Papa and Daddy will pick you up. Hooray! Papa and Daddy will pick me up today!!

1 minute later..... Is Papa coming? No Seth Papa is not coming :-) Yes he is! He is coming to pick me up today!! My Mommy said so!! Oh she did did she ? :-) Well, then he must be coming! Hooray!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Moving On Up

So, with this in mind, Dave and I have finally made the decision to move to NY. If I am not exempted from this mobilization, then the boys will have had the time to settle in, make friends, start school etc. If I am exempted, then we will already be up there for when Dave goes for border patrol training. And in the mean time we will be able to spend more time with family.

Augusta is a beautiful city with lots of wonderful people, but ultimately it does not offer the opportunities for our family that we would like.

This move will happen very quickly... in just a few weeks. We have already given notice at work, and we are making lists with all the stuff we need to get done between now and then. A lot will happen very fast, but we have made the decision, and now we just need to figure out the hows and whats.

We are both excited and scared. I am excited to be closer to family and friends I haven't seen in a long time. I am scared that Seth will be starting Kindergarden and riding a bus.... which I am totally NOT ready for. I know "Home" will not be the same as I remember it, but we will make it a new adventure and know that this is what's best for us right now. This is a transitioning time for us, and will lead to better things.

2 Months

So, I was contacted yesterday by the case manager for my Exemption Case for the first time. He said that there is currently a back-log of all the medical cases of at least 2 months. So, once he has all the information he needs and submits it, it will take at least 2 months for them to make a decision. Oh darn.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tonight Seth said to Mom, "Grandma, do you have a baby in your tummy?"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday we headed to the riverwalk to play in the fountain. While the fountain wasn't on, we did run into a nice mini-farmers market where John and Seth played met Tira. John says woof woof!

And...of course....swimming. Just one two-week swim lesson this year and Seth has really blossomed with his swim skills. He can hold his breath under water across the pool and loves to show it off!

Today we relaxed and slept in, rested. We took a quick trip to McDonalds for some coffee and play in the playplace, and then did some rock painting....which turned into face painting.

And of course more swimming. Our neighbor erected a zip wire from the treehouse to the fence across our back yard, which goes right directly over the pool. Here is Sethman doing his Spiderman pose.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

This Week

So, this week I took off of work in anticipation of my departure. Mon and Tues I spent rearranging the house and cleaning for Mom and Dad's extended stay.

Starting on Wednesday I kept the boys home for quality time with me. Wednesday morning I called up Charity and we and our children headed out to Jump City for a while.

In the afternoon we came home and napped, cleaned, swam and waited for Mom's arrival. Yay! She's here!

Thursday we went to another jumping place.... Monkey Joes per Seth's request. Our whole family had a lot of fun!! Later on we swam in the backyard.

Yesterday was a fun time at the park, and of course swimming.