30 August 2012

Meal Planning

Today I'm getting things ready to brave the Commissary tomorrow morning.  I try to get everything I'll need for 2 weeks, going to the commissary on or near pay day.  To do that I plan out the dinner meals ahead of time- at least two weeks in advance.  I don't always do everything on the meal calendar, occasionally switching days or just forgoing the calendar all together for something different.

Next step, going online to find any coupons that go with the things on my list.

How do you prepare to get to the Commissary?

27 August 2012

Free and Clear

We are officially free and clear of all car loans!  Yipee!  Both cars (2002 and 2007) are still in good condition and haven't had any major work needed- other than brake pads recently.  This will help with my trip to meet up with Hubby in Belgium this fall.

21 August 2012

More Beach Memories

THREE loves to build sandcastles and play in the sand. It wasn't until this year that he really took a liking to being in the waves and especially to boogie boarding. 

This was something he etched in the beach before we left and wanted me to take a picture for Dad to see.

We had a great day today.  It started off a bit cloudy but ended up being a perfect beach day.  The kids got a little too much sun but they had a blast!

20 August 2012

To the Beach

We made it to Camp Pendleton's DelMar Beach Resort.  We're staying in a family suite at the South Mesa Lodge.  It's a new lodge and nicely furnished. 
First things first- set up the umbrella. Then start in on the sandcastles.
THREE had a great time boogie boarding with TWO. This is the first year he's really taken an interest in getting on the board. 

19 August 2012

excerpt from Hubby's weekly email to family
"This has been a tough week here with a rash of attacks on US military from Afghan Security Forces, with the media coverage not helping much. On the policy side, which is where I work, it has been a bit crazy as folks continue to try to throw things at a problem that is rather complex. I'm afraid the front page news this has garnered will only inspire a desperate Taliban to push harder in this direction. Anyway, it has been exhausting....
"The best experience I had was getting a letter from my wife..." 

Afghanistan Week 6

excerpt from Hubby's weekly email to family:

"This has been a tough week here with a rash of attacks on US military from Afghan Security Forces, with the media coverage not helping much. On the policy side, which is where I work, it has been a bit crazy as folks continue to try to throw things at a problem that is rather complex. I'm afraid the front page news this has garnered will only inspire a desperate Taliban to push harder in this direction. Anyway, it has been exhausting....

"The best experience I had was getting a letter from my wife..."

16 August 2012

Day in the life of OSI Agent

I've had a few questions about being an OSI wife and what all that entails.  Several have seen my post from Feb 2011  Here's a good article from the OSI website about what an agent does.

A day in the life of Barksdale AFB OSI agents

Keeping Busy

ONE is an obsessed lacrosse player and dreams of playing Navy Lacrosse.  So for his bday I decided to make a navy and gold afghan for him.  But I didn't want it to be plain, so I found a cool pattern. 

I've got a way to go, but it's starting to look pretty good.


14 August 2012


According to wikipedia "Brownies are said to inhabit houses and aid in tasks around the house. However, they do not like to be seen and will only work at night, traditionally in exchange for small gifts or food."

Ever since we moved into this house 2 yrs ago the master bathroom toilet leaked. It's been at the bottom of our to do list and we've been using the shut off valve to keep it from leaking all day.

Now all of a sudden it doesn't leak and I don't have to use the shut off valve. What happened? My kids think it was a house brownie- from the fablehaven books. Perhaps divine intervention? Who knows. I'm just glad it works and I don't have to keep using turning the water off.


I'm sick. I'm never sick. One month into a 12 month deployment- still a way to go and I get sick. I'm never sick!
But ONE is stepping up and helping make dinners so I don't get them sick, TWO is making cookies, and THREE is my little exec. He likes to check the mail for me, report on what the other two are doing, screen the doorbell, and bring me whatever I need.

Gotta love 'em!

12 August 2012

Afghanistan- Week 5

There have been days this week that I've worried as the news has reported several accounts of what is termed "Green on Blue attacks"- afghans in Afghan Security uniforms attacking NATO/US troops.  Each report leaves me more anxious to hear from him, even in an email or IM.  Thank goodness I was able to hear from him each time.

Here is another snippet from this week's update from Hubby to our families.

"Hope all is well with you.  It was a bit of a crazy week here.  I see the news reported many of the deaths we had this last week.  There was a lot of scurrying about as the leaders here work to figure out if there is a common theme in all the Afghan Security folks that have turned against coalition forces.  I think the common theme is that they don't like us; but the Generals are hoping to find something a bit more actionable than that...
"I was thinking this week about folks that were lost, and then about the folks on my team, some of whom have been involved in pretty tough and bloody battles.  One of my advisers is a former Marine who has been shot up and blown up so many times that his body, at 32 years old, is pretty beat up.  He has traveled with me as I have done battlefield circulation so I have gotten to spend a bit of time with him.  He is divorced, has a brilliant daughter that he sees once a year, and has been pretty much continuously in either Iraq or Afghanistan for the last 10 years.  From my discussions with him, it is obvious that he has been involved in some traumatic stuff.  

I can't even begin to imagine the great task of our leaders to try and figure out how to fix another country and culture.  Hubby had one good day this week when he was visited by BrigGen Dahl (Army).  Hubby worked closely with, then Col. Dahl, on the Joint Staff (J2) for three years.  BG Dahl came over to Hubby's command area to say high and see how he was doing. From the tone in his voice and the words he used, he was very happy to see him.

I hope he has more good days as this year goes by.

07 August 2012

Update from Afghanistan

Here is a short snippet from hubby's latest email to both our families. Great people doing great things in AFG.  (A few edits for PERSEC/OPSEC)
"I had an opportunity to travel again this week and met with teams that work tirelessly to identify, exploit and neutralize insurgent networks. These folks in the fight work 18-20 hour days in the worst conditions imaginable, from greatly exposed positions to destroy the Taliban networks that threaten enduring peace in Afghanistan. One of the teams I visited was led by a young Major that I have worked with in the past. If you met him back in the States, you would see a clean cut, good decent man, a born leader. He has been here for just over four months, just a third of the way through; you can see the toll that the mission has taken on him. The folks that work for him come in at a dead sprint for six month rotations, while he and his superintendent serve a year. As we talked about his need to balance out mission and health over the yearlong marathon he has to run, he told me that it was an easy thing to say, but that as the commander of these men, he didn't feel right about getting extra sleep or taking time out for himself when his guys were in harms way. He is out on every mission with them.

"Two of the agents on this Major's team worked for me at (former AFB). I had dinner with them and talked to them about their experiences here. These are two of the finest young men I have had the privilege of working with in my career. They came to my unit at (former AFB) straight from the best law enforcement training in the world, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center-FLETC. All federal agencies train there--the US Marshals, Secret Service etc (all but FBI and DEA). They came out of school excited to do the mission and hit the ground in (former city where AFB is) ready to work. Over two years they ran some of our most significant cases, to include the Air Force's leading undercover operation targeting criminal networks involved in the theft and resale of high end military property. They worked some pretty long hours back there and gained significant experience. After two years of that we pushed them through a pipeline of training to get them ready for deployment to Afghanistan. As I said, these are some of the most talented young people I have worked with. They been well trained and prepared. They have been here about two months, conducting source operations into Taliban networks, and driving capture/kill operations against the enemy. What they told me at dinner was that when they first started working with the team here, after the first couple weeks of non-stop outside the wire operations, they both nearly broke down--they asked themselves how they could possibly function like this. They questioned whether they were up to the task, whether they had the right training, experience, and endurance to possibly survive this experience. Now it is all just part of their standard routine. They are one of the most respected teams in country--there is nothing standard about it."

Cub Day Camp

While TWO is off to Girls Camp this week, THREE and I are at Cub Day Camp this week.  It runs from 4-8pm- thank goodness because it will be in the triple digits all week- mostly around 110*.  But the shade in the park is wonderful. (I am so glad we aren't doing this back East in the humidity!)

This year's theme is Cubbing Down Under.  The boys are doing the normal BB shooting, leather crafts, science lessons, knots, and games, but they are also learning about wildlife in Australia (a taxidermist is coming to share eyeballs, pelts, etc.), the aboriginal music instruments and culture (a didgeridoo below), and on Friday a traditional Down Under BBQ.