Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5 Years of War

Five years ago my life was so completely different than it is today.  

Let's see, March of 2003:
-I was still working for the Music Company as an Educational Representative.
-I drove a Ford Explorer, which I would eventually total in a terrible car accident later that year.
-The average gas price was $1.72/gal and I thought that was high!
-I was getting ready to have thyroid surgery to remove half of my thyroid because of a nodule.
-My relationship was showing major stress fractures.
-I thought I might want to be a teacher after all, after a bad student teaching experience had convinced me that it wasn't for me.

I had no idea that I would ever be married to someone in the military.  I knew I wanted to have kids, but didn't know when.  I knew I wanted to go to grad school, but with the situation I was in- it just wasn't possible.  I had lost touch with many people who I had been friends with, and replaced them with "couple friends" (a common trap of young people in relationships).

And a war began.
My everyday life really didn't change because of the war, but many changes happened in my life anyway.  The war was just something that was talked about on TV, or mentioned off-hand when people were talking about politics.

And somehow five years later we are still in this war.  Even after the President stood on an aircraft carrier in May 2003 and declared an "End to major combat".  I'm sure he kicks himself for ever saying that, and wishes he knew then what he knows now.  Well don't we all.

It's no secret I'm a liberal, and I have no problem talking about my feelings about the past 8 years and what it has done to our economy, our schools (I'll have to talk about NCLB another time), and our morale as a country.  We are a country more divided than I've ever known.  But I recognize that it is not ONE PERSON's fault.  

People who vilify President Bush and call him an idiot and evil and all those other ignorant comments must not understand how our government works.  Our country was created with Legislative, Judicial, and Executive that one person could not rule over everything like a monarch.  Yes the President is the Commander in Chief, and with that position come certain Executive Powers.  But, I think if you really stop and think, you will see that our situation cannot be blamed on one person.  First of all, if he was an idiot he never could have become President.  We have no idea the amount of stress the man has on him every moment of day and night.  He has advisors who collect information and present it to him, he has a Cabinet who all have parts of the government to run, he has other countries who need attention and action from us, he has a Congress who is so divided among partisan lines that it is extremely difficult to get legislation pushed through-and somehow he has a family (which I'm sure gets the short end of the stick most of the time). 

This reminds me of how I caught flack one time for saying I was sad when they hanged (yes grammatically that is correct) Saddam Hussein.  People went off on me saying he was so evil, and he tortured all those people, and he deserved to have a long painful death, etc.  None of that I argue with- but I still felt sad when he died.  Because- he was a human being.  He was someone's child.  I don't believe the moment he was born that he was evil, I think he was  a product of his environment.  And what made me sad was what happened to that man to make him become that way, and do all the things he did.  If only it could have been changed before it ever happened.  So, when he was hanged it was a terrible end to a terrible life, and I'm ALLOWED to feel sorry for the man.

 I am NOT a Bush fan at all, but think many people can't see the forest for the trees- and just want someone to blame.  Well, start with yourself for not doing something to change things.  Then blame your community for all following blindly like sheep- most don't even go VOTE for crying out loud.  Then blame your local elected officials for being corrupt and bending to special interests and constantly going over budget.  Then blame your parents (I don't know...people always blame their parents for something!  Ha!).  Then blame your schools for not better educating the people who became leaders.  Then blame your kids (I'm sure at some point it WILL be their fault too).  Then blame the media for never presenting the story the way it is.

Don't you see- blaming does NOTHING.  It might feel good in the short term, but it's like rocking in a rocking chair.  It uses a lot of energy- but you never get anywhere.  I also find it interesting that many of the most outspoken people I've met who are against the war and against the President- their daily life has not changed much because of the war.  Unless you count the pain in their wallet from filling up their SUV.  And the things they say sound like sound bytes off of CNN or Fox News, rather than their own ideas.

My husband just got word that his deployment schedule has been bumped up- without giving specifics it means he'll be gone for at least part of a year every year.  We knew this was a possibility when he joined the AF.  So- I'm not going to BLAME anyone.

Now- off of soapbox.

Things I want to remember to talk about in the future:
No Child Left Behind
Study Abroad
Moms vs. Moms
The Business of Being Born

Monday, March 10, 2008

Being known

Last week we went back to Raleigh to visit with my in-laws.  While we were there we went downtown to the school where I used to teach, so that we could eat lunch with Nina (and everyone else!) and so that they could see the baby.  From the moment we walked in the door I was recognized by people.  The Security guy said "I'm sure you know where you are going" after we checked in.  Students stopped and waved at me in the hallway, and I got a few hugs.  The Secretary and Librarian both Oooed and Aaaahd over Mdx and Marshall.  And I saw at least 10 teachers who were so excited to see us.

It was SO NICE just to be known, if that makes any sense.  Ever since I left teaching and went to Texas in the summer of 2006- I've been fairly anonymous.  I met Marshall's friends there, but didn't have any of my own.  Then in Michigan I met people in my program, but was only there for a year so I didn't feel like they all really "knew" me well.  Then back to Raleigh for a few months, had a baby, then up and moved to Virginia.  I'm slowly meeting people here....but folks...that is well over a year of constantly having to introduce myself and meet new people!  So an afternoon with people who knew me- was grand.

Here you can see Maddox's new rug in her room- no more cold hardwood floor!  Gotta love Target Clearance!

And we moved Mdx's tub into the big bathtub- so she can splash!
I came in the room and saw this the other day (She was watching Baby Van Gogh).  ACK!  Since she can sit up now, the buzzy chair has to go!  I'm afraid she'll fall out, and she refuses to be buckled in.
I've decided to make some baby food for her, since Gerber Organic Baby Food is pretty expensive.  I have a book with recipes and ice cube trays to freeze it in.  My first batch was Acorn Squash!  So far she likes it!

First I quartered it, then microwaved it in an inch of water for about 10 min.  If I had a steam basket I would have steamed it that way, but I don't.
Next I pureed it, adding the cooking water to thin it down.
Then, into the trays to freeze it into cubes.  For each meal I can just take out a cube or two and heat it up- and we're in business!
So far she's only eaten vegetables, oatmeal and rice cereal.  We'll try some fruits soon, but I want her to love her veggies!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Spread the word

I just checked out my "weekend best friend" Jaclyn's blog (Coupons and Thin Mints) where she tells her horror story about her family's experience with Rooms to Go. The short version is- their products are low quality, break, and sometimes come with the wrong pieces...their customer service stinks (with a rare exception)..and it's not worth the hassle just to save money. Stories like this just eat me up- so PLEASE- tell people not to give any more business to RTG!

We had a crazy line of storms come through last night. The wind was wailing, rain was hitting the windows in waves, and the house was shaking. I thought for sure Mdx would wake up, but nope...she slept the night through. I, on the other hand, was awake until it finally calmed down around 2:30AM. Then this morning I came downstairs to find that our house only had partial power. All the lights were really dim, and the microwave would show the time, but not cook. (which, for me- means NO FOOD!! Hahaha! I'm only half kidding.) I figured I'd give the power crews some time to fix it. Finally after about 3 hours I called Maintenance and they said the whole neighborhood had either limited power, or no power. Then- our power went out completely. Darn- should never have called!! The power was still out when we left town this afternoon to go visit family in NC. Hopefully it turned back on soon, and we won't be returning to a fridge full of rotten food.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The "Un-Crafty" sister

As I told my mother, I needed to put pictures on here of the highchair cushions that I prove that I can "make" something other than a baby.  I'm surrounded by quilting, cross-stiching, knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking, sewing talented people.  Martha Stewart I am NOT, but I can make a simple highchair cushion.  The cushion it came with had a light blue denim looking cover with a brown ruffle (shudder!!). As far as the fabric- well I didn't want any fru-fru girly pattern in case any future children are boys-but not too boyish either.  And there's enough baby-patterned stuff in this house.  So it occured to me- OF COURSE!  What we need is more STEELERS paraphernalia.  Now our house is complete.

Now that my husband is home from Korea my cooking has improved- and become more frequent.  But it's not like I can put a picture up of the Buffalo Chicken Chili Cheese Mac that I made- a la Rachael Ray- the recipe is available on her website.  Maybe next time I cook or bake something worth showing off I'll take a picture.

Happy mustache March

My husband has tried to convince me that he needs to grow a mustache for the month of March.  Something about building morale at work, blah, blah, blah.  I told him that for his *wife's* morale he really better not.  He just does not look right with a mustache to me!!  :)

Mdx had her 6 month check up today.  I actually procrastinated and didn't even call for an appointment until this morning, and they had multiple appts available today.  That itself was surprising since I've heard so many people moan and complain about the clinics here at Langley and how they can never get in when they need to.  We haven't had any issues- so far!

Marshall got to come home from work so that he could come to the appointment with us.  I know that in the AF the mission always comes first, but it really feels that family life is important to them as well.  Sure, there could always be an A-hole Sgt. that would be a ass and never let the Airmen leave for things like that.  We've been lucky I guess.

We got to the clinic, and checked in.  They did the routine weights and measurements.  Mdx is 15 lbs, 7 oz  which seems huge to me!  She still has not doubled her birthweight, but she's gaining more than a pound a month, so we'll be there soon.  She measured 25 1/2 inches, the same as her 4 month appt.  I didn't think anything of it.

Then the doctor came in and was looking at her growth curve.  First of all, his "bedside manner" left a little to be desired.  It was obvious to me that he was a family practice physician, and not a pediatrician.  He just didn't interact with Mdx the way a doctor should act with a baby.  For instance, she was sitting up on the paper-covered exam table.  She lost her balance when he was trying to look in her ears, and he just let her fall backwards onto the table, which of course upset her.  Hello???  If she was going to fall off the table would you just let her hit the floor??  Sheesh!  She calmed down and tried to be tolerant but she didn't seem to like him much.

Then he asked about her growth since her last appointment.  Trust me, the child eats and eats and get's mad when the food is gone.  He showed us the dots on her growth curve and said she was obviously "skinny" at her 4 month appt, but now her weight looks good.  Then he said it didn't make much sense for her to not grow in length at all.  He looked at us and just waited.  So I said "okay?".  He said and I QUOTE: "So, either your child has a serious illness, or her measurements were wrong at her last appointment." and looked at us and waited some more.  So I said "Well, I guess her measurements were off then!".  (Which doesn't make much sense, I watched them measure her at 4 months and I watched them measure her at 6 months- no difference.)

But my child is so OBVIOUSLY not "seriously ill".  Come freakin on.  She's gaining weight nicely, outgrowing some of her clothes, meeting her developmental milestones, babbling, etc.  What did he expect us to say?  Yes,Doctor, we actually manipulated the data last time so she'd look longer.  Or, Yes, Doctor, she has a major medical problem that we're not telling you.  Uh- no.

He insisted on measuring her again (which pretty much insulted the nurse that had measured her) and could only squeeze another half inch out of the bottom of her foot that miraculously appeared, which "significantly changed her growth curve" according to him.  You may roll your eyes now.  Okay, whatever.  Maddox is not fat, she's not skinny, she's not short, she's not tall.  She's just fine, and that's all she is.

Two nurses came in to give her the vaccinations, and I noticed that they didn't have the Rotavirus vaccine.  So I asked if she was getting it this time, and the guy said "Is she supposed to?  Did she have it at her 2 mo. and 4 mo. appointments?"  Um gosh- don't you have her chart right there?  Yes, I said....and she is supposed to have it this time as well.  So he went and got it.  Thank goodness I was paying attention.  But still, what the heck?  These people are going to make me one of those neurotic mothers that questions know the type.  I really don't want to be "that Mom".

I leave you with a picture of my sweet girl wreaking havoc on the paper cover to the table.