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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pumpkin Patch Fun

So we celebrated fall with a trip to the pumpkin farm. We haven't been able to do this for a couple years because of us living in Alaska so it was fun to reintroduce the family to fall fun. The kids have definitely gotten big in the years since we have gone.



We started off the day with a cow ride. I don't know how Goobers actually manage to fit into the car but he did and they were able to take a trip behind a tractor around the farm and had a lot of fun.



You can't go to a farm without a ride on a pony. I am pretty sure that Giggle's pony wanted to ride him rather than carry that big kid. Definitely his last year on a pony ride. I was pretty sure Sassy was going to have a heart attack, she was so excited to ride the ponies.



 
So the bigger boys couldn't ride the ponies so they went and conquered the hay pyramid and started making a competition out of who could get to the top the quickest.


And then there was a corn maze. This maze was huge. And shaped like big foot, which was their theme. We split into teams of two; Jack & Thud, Sassy & Giggles , and me and the Manchild. The manchild and I didn't take long to get through a portion of the maze, although he had to protect his head against the leaves, lol. Well one of the things we didn't realize was that not only was big foot their theme but they also had one that would roam around scaring people. Thankfully we were never approached, between my apprehension of masks and his skittshness there probably would have been a big foot beat down. :) BUT the children were not as lucky. Seems the youngest team heard the hollering and decided to make their own dang exit out the back of the maze and trekked around it to find us. The older boys came face to face with big foot, which scared the poo out of them.

After our crazy run through the corn maze, we took a break and picked out pumpkins and ate caramel apples, what an amazing lunch. Then went on the other activities. This hay maze was much more my style and was beautiful to boot.

Another family favorite was the corn cannon. Each of the family got two shots of the cannon, they all loved it!









The whole afternoon was a lot of fun. To finish off our time the kids got to do a hay jump and the manchild and I were able to relax and watch them. I have to say that I will gladly spend money doing something like this as a family! It is something that we will all remember.
 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Farewell

As our time here at Fort Wainwright is coming to an end my least favorite part of Army life is upon us; farewells. This post has had many ups and downs but for me it had a major first; a out of the home job as a Family Readiness Support Assistant for the Air Cav unit. I won't say that this job was a piece of cake because there were times when I wanted to pull my hair out but the families and Soldiers made it all worth it. And they brought me into their families and made me one of their own. This is the first full time job I have held outside the home since the birth of my oldest over 14 years ago and it felt amazing to have an identity beyond that of mother and wife. I was appreciated by the work I did not because of associations. So back to the farewells; I was farewelled on two separate occasions. The first being done by the Soldiers where I was presented with a Cavalry Saber(not to be confused with a sword as I quickly learned), and I was given a little lesson on the proper technique to run a man through(with could come in handy later on with the manchild)
 It was done on a beautiful mount with an inscription on the bottom
I was blown away, the CAV has traditions that they adhere to and to be allowed to be apart of them really meant the world to me.
The second farewell was organized by two ladies who have been special to me Ms. Monika Anderson and Ms. Laura Black. They went through the trouble of organizing a ladies night out for me and it was a great time! During the dinner there were a couple presentations; the first was an award the Patriotic Civilian Service Award, it was such an honor to be recognized in such a way!
It even came with its own medal!!!!
After this award I was given presented with my very own Stetson. I was so excited I could barely contain myself.

Traditionally the Stetsons have cords that represent your rank(officer vs enlisted) but since I don't fall into either category they created a cord just for me of red and white( the tradition CAV colors), along with that they also provided pins that represented our unit, and me in particular. I absolutely loved it and even survived the Breaking in ceremony that comes along with being presented one of these. Essentially a grog is created in the center of your new Stetson and you are then expected to drink from it.
My grog included things like Alaskan beer, brown sugar to represent sand for our deployments, gummies for my children, vodka for the tears cried, baileys for the mornings I wished I could have added it to my coffee(you get the picture).
The ladies were nice to and didn't add anything that would have made it taste terrible. Once the alcohol is added you then begin drinking.
Until someone gives you a little help
It's a another crazy CAV tradition that I was privileged to be allowed to be part of. I will miss all the families that I have gotten to know in the CAV and hope we all cross paths again in the near future!!
PS Thank you Monika and Laura for making the evening so much fun, love both of you girls!!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pcs: a staple in a military life

If you are a military spouse/family one thing you can always count on; there is a PCS(permanent change of station) in your future. For most this happens anywhere from a year to a couple years at a time and can range from a hop from state to state or a hop across an ocean to an overseas location. Either way it is a time of a lot of stress and anxiety but it can so be a time of amazing opportunity.
First the stress, can I just say planning ahead makes a huge difference for me! I utilize every planning website I can but I have to say my favorite one is www.ahrn.com, it not only helps with finding a house in your new location but there is a little button to push called Plan My Move that will give a by date to do list along with important numbers for both the outgoing base and the incoming base. This has been a great resource for me as it reminds me of things I don't always think ahead about. I still stress about the move but I feel a bit more confident that I won't miss anything major. I also find what I stress about isn't always what my service member stresses over. My big worry is clearing housing and getting my kiddos school situation set up, where he is more worried about clearing CIF(central issue facility), and clearing post. The important thing to remember is that each of your priorities is to get through this PCS, talk about what your concerns with one another; communication will save you a lot of headaches during this time. Don't be afraid to go to the levy briefs, like I said before your thought processes may be different and you both could have different questions(there has been many a time when my manchild has come home with information and I will ask a question that seems obvious to me and it never crossed his mind). Hopefully if you can both attend there will be less confusion and missed information
Now for the opportunity, for our family the transition from post to post is always a fun vacation from all things military and stressful. This has become a major tradition for us. When we moved from Washington state to Louisiana we took Hwy 101 down the Oregon coast, when we moved back to Washington we stopped at Tombstone, and Disneyland, when we moved to Alaska we took the Ferry up and now as we head back to the Lower 48 we are driving the ALCAN (Alaska Canadian Highway).
The point is that no matter where you move there are going to be sights to see and what a perfect opportunity to explore the nation that your family has sacrificed so much for and not to mention the memories you will be making!! Once again I am a planner so once I find out our next duty staton, I get out a map, draw a route and then start looking for tourist destinations, Google is one of my favorite tools just type in the city's name you are driving through and attractions or activities and all kinds of things pop up. Or you can order tourism information for each state you are driving through, whatever works better for you.
No matter what remember that a PCS is stressful but like any crazy situation we find ourselves in as military spouses there is a positive side. You just have to look for it a little harder at some times than others. Use your PCS time as an opportunity to grow as a family or a couple.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Operation shutterbug challenge #1

So, as most of you know I have become a shutterbug. My favorite shots are of scenery and animals outdoor but I want to learn how to take good photos indoors and close up as well so when my good friend Conni started a shutterbug challenge through her blog at The Foodie Army Wife(www.thefoodiearmywife.com), I had to jump on it.
The first week's challenge was to take a photograph about you. I could take this literal or take a photo of something that represented me. I chose the first option so that I could work on my indoor photographing. What I chose to focus on was my white balance experimenting. I don't have a professional camera, it's somewhere between the dummy point and shoot and the "you actually know why you are doing" camera. So I can't set the white balance by numbers but it had multiple settings. It has an auto setting, fluorescent, tangent, shades are open and outdoor setting. By looking at the photos below you can see that each setting changes the photo a bit. It was a very eye opening experiment.
The other thing I tried was defusing the flash of my camera by placing a card in front of it and it too brought about a major change to the photograph. I have learned quite a bit this week and look forward to next week's challenge "still life"!









March aurora

So the end of our spring break gave me an opportunity to once again get out and photograph the northern lights. This time was amazing as I was able to see multiple colors with the naked eye and captured some pretty cool photographs as well. I hope u enjoy them as much as I do.











Thursday, March 21, 2013

Earthquake Park

One of our explorations led us to Earthquake park. This little park lies on the edge of Turnagain Arm and is quite beautiful. The purpose of the park is to show how this area was changed by a massive earthquake that struck the area in 1964. It was largest enough to slide a good portion of the shore, that at the time had homes and other buildings on it. The hike down to the park is a small but beautiful jaunt. Of course we had to do a family picture while we were there and couldn't keep it too serious. 

And of course after doing a family one each of the kiddos had to give their interpretation. What goof balls!







Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Anchorage Museum

Another stop we made in Anchorage was the Anchorage Museum in the downtown area. We were a little skeptical going in as the kids are older and most hands on stuff is made for the younger crowd but we were really impressed. To be honest it was the only area we went in, there was more museum that we never touched. It is really worth the price of it's admission.
So we started off in the bubble room, the kids had a blast making massive bubbles out of all kinds of items.
















We then headed into the enviornment room which taught about earthquakes, tsunamis, wind, heat and water and all the enviornmental elements.  Here is Sassy learning how the wind can change the enviornment!
The ids were even able to pet some baby alligators(who would have thunk in Alaska they would pet alligator, penguins maybe but alligators?!) We then headed off to the kinetic energy room where the kids learned about magnets, infrared, air power and much much more! We capped off our visit with a stop in their planetarium for a show about the Aurora(Northern Lights). It was interesting but after seeing them in person it just wasn't the same. All in all, I would highly recommend going to this museum if you visit the Anchorage area, especially in the winter time!