Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Mama Mobile

I have been hinting for YEARS that I would LOVE a bike. The hinting grew from subtle to hit him over the head obvious over the last year. Finally, with the help of Miss M, we convinced Hero that mama needed a bike. Yep, yesterday I got a new bike, and YEP my bum HURTS. Along with my new bike we purchased an inexpensive trailer so that I can take Meghan to school while getting exercise, and haul my goods from the Commissary home without paying for a Taxi.

I didn't get a picture of the bike, because my thighs hurt too bad after riding the 1.5 miles home from the PX yesterday. However, here is a picture of the trailer that Meghan is dying to ride in.

First Day at Mustard Seed Preschool

Miss M is all grown up, or so she likes to think.

One of the items on my agenda that occupied a vast majority of my time our first week here in South Korea was finding and registering Meghan for preschool. Fortunately, they had one slot left for four-year-olds at the non-denominational Christian preschool here on base.

Here is Meghan on her first day of school about three weeks ago:

Her father's daughter, when I ask for a smile, this is the best I get.

But....I am sure this smile is thinking about all the playing she can get in after school

She fits right in here in South Korea....Hello Kitty.

"Blue Wife" for a night

One thing about being here at USAG Yongsan that I am struggling with is the blended environment with a heavy dose of Army—this is after all an Army base. Last week I had the chance to feel like an Air Force wife surrounded by my fellow blue wives for a few hours. It was the first get together of the year for the Air Force wives on base; they meet September through May. As a welcome gift to all the new wives here at Yongsan, we were giving these ceramic ducks, Korean wedding ducks to be specific. They came with an explanation of the tradition.

Korean Wedding Ducks
Mandarin ducks mate for life and thus represent marital harmony and fidelity. In Korea, they are given as a symbol for a long and happy marriage. They are placed somewhere in the couple’s home and their position, adjusted by either spouse, tells of the couples marital state. Nose-to-nose means the relationship is good, tail-to-tail means they probably are having a tiff. Traditionally, the female’s beak is tied shut which assists in leading to marital harmony.
Rest assured, this duck’s bill is not tied!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

TOO Much of a Good Thing

So, hero came home on R&R at the end of February. I pined for the day he would come home, I longed to be in his arms again, I craved marital intimacy (and I am not just speaking of Oreo's here). This Sunday it has been two weeks since I drove like a maniac hurriedly to the airport to pick him up.  

I love the company of my best friend, I miss him horribly when he is away from the home. YET being with each other almost all day, every day for nearly two weeks might be TOO much of a good thing. For instance, yesterday we had some time to kill while the munchkin was at school. We found ourselves at the mall in search of a watch band for his watch. When we dropped the watch off at a watch repair kiosk I continued on down the mall to one of my favorite book stores, Deseret Books. Hero tagged along nicely for the first thirty seconds and then once he realized I was actually going to *gasp* shop, he started huffing and puffing like our three-year-old daughter (and he wonders where SHE gets that from). In THAT instant I wanted to send him back to work, not back to Afghanistan, just back to his normal 0700 - 1700 job. 

I know once he leaves I will be a blubbering idiot for the first few days, and as the final few months drag on I will miss him and want him home with me. Just not all day, every day.....I really do love that guy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Moments 7 through 23

Well this is LONG overdue, and I am sorry about the lack of photos. However, I am not too sorry to remedy my laziness of not downloading photos off the camera.

7.  The tender faith of a toddler that reassured ME, THE MOTHER, that all would be alright after learning that we lost two incredible grandmothers in the same night.

8. The same tender faith that informed me that her "Great NaNa" is, "Living with Jesus Now" during Nana Forsell's funeral.

9. Although her father has been away on duty for two months now, she still wants to talk to him daily.

10. Louisiana is no longer Louisiana in this house…it is now "Louie-Nana"

11. She has great negotiating skills. "Just ONE more?" (While holding up two or more fingers and giving you the cutest blue eyes you have ever seen)

12. We are one-step closer to being a pull-up free house.

13. Nap time (or just quiet time) and bed time…while I enjoy being her mother, I also enjoy the solitude of when she is asleep. And there is just something just angelic about a sleeping toddler.

14. Her love for her extended family, it is a love that fills her little body and pours out EVERY pore in her.

15. One moment of joy came when we were traveling in the car to Wyoming. She had been screaming at me from the outskirts of Casper, all through town to the other side of town. Then SILENCE. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw her asleep at last…only then did I hear the gentle snoring of a slumbering tyke.

16. Watching her play with her constant companion….our dog Emma.

17. Dropping her off to play with her friend S so that I can go get a massage.

18. Registering her for preschool…I am excited for September to arrive….and I am apprehensive because this is just one more step in her growth and development. I long for my tiny baby, I relish my toddler, and dream of my young woman.

19. Watching her discover "big girl" puzzles…you know, the ones without the pegs and actually make a picture.

20. Saturday we had an accident free day in big girl panties.

21. Receiving motherly advice from my Mama P who has also mothered a "spirited" child just like her…..thanks Mama P for always being there when I need you, and for your gentle, yet stern words of advice. (I LOVE that woman!)

22. Playgroup at the park….our time may be spent saying things like, "DON'T THROW THE SAND!" "NO, we don't hit/bite our friends." "STAY OUT OF THE WATER!" but it still is such soul refreshing way to refill your mom tank….at the park, with other moms….they are a great bunch!

23. Knowing that as of Thursday night I will not be doing this alone (physically) for a few weeks, really looking forward to my Hero being home for a few weeks! (Or am I just looking forward to getting away just the two of us for a couple of nights?)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Moments 4, 5, & 6

Moment #4:  Despite my constant reminders that, "We only put stickers on paper" she has the ability to express her free agency...a free agency that sometimes gets her in hot water.

Moment #5:  When she tells me that she is mad and going to tell her daddy on me, the knowledge that her father and I present a united front...despite the miles that separate us, I am not doing this alone.

Moment #6:  The quiet opening of my bedroom door in the morning, the heavy breathing of a little girl battling a cold and allergies, the jostling of the bed as she climbs up via the cedar chest, the THUMP of her diving onto me, embracing me in a hug and saying, "Mommy I wakey now!"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

After all the stress and fretting…..

Grades for Spring II term have been posted.

This term I tried an on-line course, SO208 – Social Inequality, and discovered that they are rather time consuming; they also require you to be very organized and self-motivated. I maintained a solid A through most of the term, and then my husband left. I fell behind for the week he left and struggled to catch up. Then the final came and I realized that (a) I do not test well and (b) I did not save myself any time to study since I procrastinated on my HUGE paper. I took the final on-line and scored a low B. This began the stress and fretting...

You see, I failed out of college the first time around. Maybe failed is a harsh word, let us just say that at the end of spring term I was on academic probation. I DO NOT see failure as a remote possibility this time around. A master's degree in counseling is my ultimate goal, so I strive very hard to make great grades so I can get into the graduate program of my choice…

I knew my Public Speaking class was going to be an A. However, after taking my final in SO208, Social Inequality, I began to fret that this might be my first B…

Grades posted today…and my straight A average has been preserved…if only by the hair on my chiny, chin, chin.

An idea that grew out of control....

As many of you know, my hero recently left on a 15 month deployment. He starts his journey at Ft. Polk in Louisiana to do combat skills training. Due to Army (he is Air Force, but will be working for the Army for the next year) regulations he will get the opportunity to return home for about a week before shipping out to his final destination in Afghanistan.

To help mark the days I decided to make Miss M a paper chain that she can remove a link each day. The bulk of the chain is red, white, blue, and yellow. However, on the guesstimated dates of his return home in July and then again for mid-tour R&R I placed a green link. I can move the green links as needed.

The chain quickly grew to such great lengths that there is NO WHERE in my home to hang the entire length without cutting across doorways and stairways. So I draped the tail end across the bay window in my dining room and put the rest into a laundry basket on top of the nearest kitchen cupboard.

Each morning we remove a link...each morning we are one day closer to having him home.....

1000 Moments of Joy

Motherhood is no easy task, it requires patience, the purest form of love (also called charity), nursing skills, coaching skills, herding skills, compassion, and my list could go on and on. A friend of mine is following in the footsteps of her BFF in looking for the "moments of joy" in motherhood. In the next year, until Mother's Day comes around again, they are going to look for 1000 moments of joy. I really like the idea of looking for the joy in motherhood over dwelling on the moments of frustration…so I too will be jumping on the bandwagon.

With my husband gone for the next 14 months, I need to look for the positive in all things…….

  1. My daughter is every bit her father's daughter; she DOES NOT like to smile for the camera. When she does smile for the camera, you can see the pure joy that radiates from deep within her soul.

      2. Every bit the princess…even when running a fever and not feeling well.

  3.  Even when she does not feel well, she is a little hurricane….I do not mind the mess made by a happy child.

So, what are your 1000 moments of joy? Should you take this project on, please let me know because I sure would love to read all about your joy…and be sure to let Amy and Kim share in your joy as well.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

As I mentioned....

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I though it would be nice to post the essays I have done thus far in my English 105 class. Enjoy.

Birth of a Princess

Birth of a Princess
Meghan Adelaide Wheeler is a princess in the eyes of her parents. There was a time in our lives that we said, “Never!” The day we married we did not want children. One day my biological clock starting ticking and it was ticking loudly. My poor husband, Phillip, began to wonder what happened to his perfect bride; the bride who agreed that not having children was the life for us. Over time, he began to soften and decided that maybe a child would be tolerable.

Before long, we found ourselves in the infertility rat race. There were blood tests, biopsies, and more blood tests. Eventually, we tried the fertility drug Clomid. Ultrasounds showed the first round of fertility drugs would not be successful. We decided to take a camping trip, relax, and prepare for the next month of fertility medications. Three weeks later we learned that we were indeed successful and would be preparing for a baby arriving in the spring.

Phillip deployed to Iraq shortly after we discovered I was pregnant. He left a wife who was pregnant, but not yet showing. When he returned almost six months later, his wife was nearly seven months pregnant and looked every bit the part. The next couple of months were spent preparing a nursery, shopping for baby gear, and taking classes. By the time April, the month I was due, rolled around, I was ready to take my body back from my little parasite.

One Friday night, we went on what we felt would be our last date for the foreseeable future. I let Phillip pick the movie, not because I was being nice, but because I knew I would spend the evening going back and forth to the bathroom. It was not a surprise when he chose an action packed movie. With every loud explosion, I felt our baby girl startle. I was getting beat up from the inside.

The next day, I had appointments for a pedicure and haircut. By this time, my belly was so swollen I could not fit comfortably behind the wheel of the car. I asked my husband to drive me the thirty minutes into town. As we were getting ready to leave the house, I had this nagging feeling that I should finish packing my hospital bag and put it in the car. Pushing that feeling aside, we left the house without the bag. Phillip dropped me off for my appointments and left to spend the next two hours exploring Sportsman’s Warehouse and a local fly fishing store.

In the middle of my heavenly pedicure, I felt a trickle of wetness and thought, “Great I have peed myself.” I was embarrassed and hoped that when I stood up it would not be noticeable. Following my pedicure, I waddled to another station for my haircut. My stylist, Liza, gave me a relaxing scalp massage and then washed my hair. When I stood up after having my hair washed, I felt this gush of fluid rush down my legs. Turning to Liza I said, “Uh, Liza, I think my water just broke!”

Instantly the spa became a flurry of panic; employees were in frenzy over what to do. Ironically, it was the pregnant woman who calmed their nervousness. It took some quick talking, but I finally convinced them that an ambulance was not necessary. Assuring Liza and her co-workers, I promised, “She won’t come barreling down the chute,” and that Phillip would be there by 1:00 p.m. to take me home. I persuaded Liza to finish my haircut. Just as I promised, Phillip arrived shortly before 1:00 p.m. The look of disbelief on his face as I told him that my water broke was unforgettable.

We left the spa; however, we did not rush to the hospital. I knew from the birthing class we attended, that once I arrived at the hospital the likelihood of them letting me eat was slim. With that in mind, we went to Carl’s Jr. for lunch. My water broke at noon, and we arrived at the hospital at 2:00 p.m.

My doctor, Dr. Temple, happened to be the doctor on call when we arrived at Bassett Community Army Hospital on Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska. I was relieved to see her. Dr. Temple had been with us through a rough miscarriage and was the doctor that helped us conceive our daughter. It was only fitting that she be the doctor to deliver Meghan. The doctor performed a test to confirm that my water had broken. I was then admitted to the hospital. My nurse quickly went to work setting up my IV and getting me settled into my room. I sent Phillip home to go running, have some dinner, feed the cat, and finish packing the hospital bag. Phillip does not have the patience to sit and wait.

Since walking the halls did not bring about labor, the nurse administered Pitocin at 7:00 p.m. Pitocin is the synthetic version of oxytocin; the hormone a woman’s body produces to start labor. Not long after the Pitocin was started, labor began. Shortly thereafter, I requested an epidural. Thanks to the epidural I was able to sleep, as well as one can in a hospital, the rest of the night. The nursing staff did a great job of waking me up every hour to take my vitals. Meghan did a wonderful job of keeping the nurses on their toes with her dramatically fluctuating heart rate. Her heart rate would plummet and they would rush in to have me roll over. She would settle back down for a short time, only to have the nurses come rushing back in to have me roll the other direction. While all this was happening, my darling husband snored on the chair next to my bed.

By 8:30 a.m., I was ready to deliver my daughter. Just sixty short minutes later, the most beautiful little girl I have ever laid my eyes on was born. With her birth, the mystery behind her fluctuating heart rate was solved. Meghan was born with a tight true knot in her cord. Both Dr. Temple and the nurse commented that since her true knot was tight, we were fortunate. The outcome could have been tragic.

Meghan is our miracle baby. She is the miracle we never thought we would want, but soon figured out that we did. She is the miracle that was not supposed to be after the first round of fertility drugs. She is the miracle born with the true knot in her umbilical cord that could have proven deadly. Our little miracle has introduced us to the world of pink and princesses. Our little miracle is a princess.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Out of Necessity Great Inventions are Born

Out of Necessity Great Inventions are Born

My name is Stan G. Sack, I am an inventor. The words of my favorite American philosopher and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, capture the essence of who I am. He once said, “The ancestor of every action is a thought.” As an inventor I spend the majority of my time deep in thought. The cogs in my brain are constantly turning and thinking up new ideas. Only after I come up with a good idea can my hands leap into action. I drive my wife, Sarah, to the edge of insanity with my constant tinkering in the garage. In my life I have had many good ideas. However, I am known only for one small creation.

One wintery afternoon I was deep in thought, contemplating the many mysteries of the universe. My wife came grumbling through the door, irritated because once again on her trip home from the market she had dropped groceries along the path. Being the problem solver, I suggested that she might want to consider making a couple of trips into the village market so that her arms would not become overloaded. I knew that she did not like that suggestion when she huffed, turned on her heels, and grumbled about insensitive males all the way to the kitchen.

I am a thinker; that is what I do. Her reaction to what I thought was a logical solution started me thinking again. Surely there was something I could make to help her carry the groceries from the market to the house without leaving a trail of produce behind her.

I started by emptying her knitting basket of its needles and yarn. My dear wife was none to happy with me when the kitten began playing with a ball of yarn; undoing most of the blanket she was knitting for the baby down the street. I thought it was a good idea at the time. Then I emptied the metal pail we had in the garage. She did not like the idea of her fresh produce touching the dirty, rusty pail. I convinced her to give it a try. This time her bananas and grapes made it home, however, they were a soggy, bruised mess when she arrived home. Next I emptied the wooden crate our Christmas pears arrived in. The pears had been delicious, but now the crate was being used to collect the odds and ends of inventions that had gone horribly wrong. Sarah thought I had solved her grocery woes, until she tried to use the crate. When full, the crate is heavy and cumbersome. Back to the drawing board it was for me.

I spent many a restless night trying to come up with a solution for my dear wife’s dilemma. Months later I shot up in bed, I had a dream. In this dream I had seen millions of brown paper sacks used in markets all over the world. I would be famous! I would be rich! The next morning I marched into the village mercantile. My step was light; I was excited to get started. After speaking to Henry, the mercantile owner, he agreed to sell me a roll of the brown paper he used to wrap parcels for his customers. He also agreed to order several more rolls for me. I could barely control my excitement during the walk home. Getting started as soon as possible was the only thing on my mind.

Once home I sequestered myself in our garage. Like a dog with a bone, I was a man on a mission. My sweet Sarah brought my meals to me, staying long enough to clear the previous meal’s dishes and kiss me on my check. She had never seen me in such an absorbed state, she knew in her heart that I was creating something big. She knew this would be the invention to make up for all my past failures.

After what felt like an eternity, but was really only 72 hours, I emerged from the garage. I held up my invention for Sarah to inspect. She was delighted! We named it grocery sack. That very afternoon my wife went into the village to do her shopping. Under her arm she carried my beloved invention. I was on pins and needles while she was gone, nervous that this would be another failure. The smile on Sarah’s elated face as she came through the door told me that I had not been a failure; instead I had been a success. Now you know the story behind my greatest invention; the grocery sack, a simple device born out of a great thought.

Standing Upright

Standing Upright
Someone once said, “’Tis impossible for an empty sack to stand upright.” As a sack, I take offense to that statement. My life began in a factory. I am cut from a large roll of paper. With great care, my creator glued me together. Taking extra care to be sure my seams and creases were perfect. We come in all sizes; I knew I was destined for greatness when my maker cut me to be small.

After creation, and after being bundled with one hundred of my closest friends and family, we are stacked in a box with other similar bundles. It gets dark when that box is sealed, but we know the darkness will not last forever. We hope the darkness does not last forever.
The bundles bump against each other in the box; I can sense that we are on the move. With a soft thud, we feel as if we have fallen a small distance. This must be what it feels like when we are stacked on top of other boxes filled with my compatriots. The box sits still for what feels like an eternity. Will we be in darkness forever? I begin to fear we will stay in darkness for an eternity. Then one day we feel the jolt of our box on the move again. Hope spreads amongst us that we will see light again soon.

Once again, we feel the soft thud of being stacked with other boxes. Murmuring begins to spread amongst my kin; they fear they will never see the light of day. I am hopeful that we will; I am hopeful that we will serve to be useful one day. This time is different. There is a soft swaying motion. Our journey has to be nearing an end, right?
Countless times, we go through the excitement of feeling movement. Every time we bolster our hopes up. We will see the light again. It is a roller coaster of emotions. At last, one day we feel the sensation of movement again. This time I do not get excited; I have come to accept that I will never see light again. I hear the sound of the tape on our box being punctured and then cut open. Could it be? Yes! I see the light. I can hear my friends and family shouting for joy, crying tears of relief. Finally, the day we have prayed for has arrived! Light floods the box we have lived in for what seems like an eternity. It is so bright it hurts my eyes. That does not matter, I am happy to feel the light on my face. Slowly a pimply faced kid takes us out of the box and stacks us on a shelf.

Soon an exhausted looking mother with two screaming kids in tow throws us into her shopping cart. I begin to fret about what the great creator has in store for us. Our next journey is a short one. The mother throws more groceries in her cart. We are plunked on a conveyor belt, dragged across a beeping machine, and thrown into a larger bag. This larger bag is just like us, only made of thicker paper and a great deal bigger than we are. Suddenly there is an intense light shining in my eyes. The big bag teases me because I do not know what sunshine is. I like this sunshine; it feels good and warms me up. It is a short ride to my new home. I remember the soft lull caused by a road trip and find myself nodding off to sleep.

Once at our destination, the woman unloads the larger bags from her car. Again, my bundle of kin and I find ourselves in darkness. Before it got dark, we heard the woman tell her son, “Put those lunch sacks in the pantry.” What is a lunch sack? Several days of darkness pass. Nevertheless, it is better than the darkness of being in the box. The darkness of the box was continuous. In the pantry, there are numerous times in the day when the door opens and we get a quick ray of light. This goes on for many days.

Then one morning the pantry door opens and the woman reaches in for us. Cheers of excitement break out amongst us. Finally, we are going to be used. We get to work in the manner we were created. After recovering from the jolt of being thrown onto the counter our bundle is torn open. She removes two sacks from the bundle; I am one. A plethora of emotions runs through me. I am excited to work, but I am sad to be separated from my kin. The woman opens us up, sets us on the counter. We are standing upright. Therefore, you see, I am a lunch sack, I am currently empty, and I am standing upright.