Saturday, July 27, 2013

Petty Officer Leadership Academy

Riley has been in Ft. Hood for the week at POLA. Thankfully, it was at his home unit, so no crazy travel was involved! But, it started the day after his drill weekend ended, and while I was still in Arkansas, so I didn't get to see him for so long! But today we got to go up for his graduation, which was nice. He's already been through a few training and we weren't able to go to graduation, so we were glad to be able to go and get pictures.

He's now officially an E3, or "Airman". And he looks so handsome in his dress whites! He was pretty tired, and passed out in the car, and didn't even make it to his bed when we got home.

Petty Officer Leadership Academy

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cooking Lessons

I've been teaching Regan to cook a few things. She loves to cook and is always asking to help out, and usually I'm in a big hurry and don't want to take the time to mess with teaching her. But then I thought hey, teach a kid to cook, and that's one less thing for me to do :)

So we started off easy, with tacos, and the next night I taught her chicken fettuccine Alfredo, so she's got a couple of basic meals she will know how to make when she does move out on her own. Hopefully she won't be reduced to Ramen noodles like her brother (he "doesn't know how to push a few buttons")

Oh, and we got to wear our matching aprons from Ikea!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Prepare for an onslaught of pictures from the Arkansas trip!

This is the Crater of Diamonds State Park:
Crater of Diamonds State Park

Garvan Woodland Gardens, and the chapel where Regan wants to get married!
Garvan Woodland Gardens

Downtown Hot Springs Walking Tour:
Hot Springs, AR

The Haunted Tour (wooooo woooooo)
Haunted Hot Springs Tour

Heifer Village Tour:
Heifer Village

Willow Springs Water Park:
Willow Springs

Magic Springs and Crystal Falls Theme park:
Magic Springs and Crystal Falls

Random Pictures of The Radford Girl Scout House:
Radford House

The Trip down and back:

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Day After

After a long trip like I just took, it's normal to come home and rest, relax, catch up on laundry, etc. but no, I can never be normal!  I had a load of laundry done by Sunday morning, Regan packed for church camp, and it was our week to serve at church!

I do nursery check in for the 2nd service, Regan works with toddlers, and David does campus support. So as soon as we were done, Regan and I rushed home and ate lunch, took Princess to her boarder (a friend of mine that grooms her) and picked up some food for Hunter, ran home so David could use my truck to get Hunter to his boarder (he loves Dog Boys!) and I took Regan to the church to drop her off for camp. 

She was so excited for her first year of youth camp! And so tired too, poor thing!

Then David and I hit the road for Port Aransas. We only have 2 nights here, but we are making the most of them! We got in Sunday night, rode the ferry (my favorite way to get to the island) and found a dinner place that was decent and not too crowded (service was terrible so they gave us free bread pudding to take back to he room)  Then we took a late night full moon stroll on the beach. It was perfect! 

Today we had breakfast at the same place we had dinner last night because they had really good looking cinnamon rolls! And they were! And then we hit the beach for a bit. There must be a storm or something out there cause that was the roughest water I've ever had at the beach! We didn't stay too long, came in, got cleaned up and went to lunch and a movie. Been a while since I've been to a movie in the middle of the day!

 Then we went to this place called Shells for dinner. I had heard great things about it from my sister, Wendy, and she was NOT wrong! There was an hour and a half wait last night, only 30 minutes tonight so we thought we would stay. And we are so glad we did! We both had farfalle with bacon, tomatoes and spicy garlic cream sauce for dinner, his with shrimp, mine with chicken. And a roasted garlic and grilled focaccia bread for an appetizer. Yum! Now we know why it's always so busy! And it's super small, 14 tables total, and that includes the 5 outside! We will definitely go back there next time. 

And another moonlight stroll on the beach (this time with a mojito for me, piƱa colada for David) and I am SO not ready to go home tomorrow! It's been a very busy few months for us and it has been nice to get away and reconnect and talk and just be 2 grown ups for a change, not mom and dad, aunt and uncle, or anything else. I really wish we could do this more often! And, I SO <3 the beach! This is totally my happy place!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The epic drive home!

Well, we got up super early on Saturday, earlier than expected when a girl got sick at 4am and Krista got up to get medicine and Karen heard and thought it was time to get up and so she unplugged her air mattress! I heard her in the bathroom with the loud air pump trying to reinflate it!

But then we got up at 6 and started getting the girls up to pack and clean. One thing about staying at a Girl Scout house on the cheap, lots of clean up afterward! 

We had a reservation at an old timey pancake place in Hot Springs at 8, so we were booking it! While we waited for our food at the Pancake Shop (I called it the Kerbey Lane of Hot Springs) we went next door for more souvenir shopping. I got David some of his favorite McClure's pickles and relish, and some creole mustard, spinach and feta dip mixes. Yum-o. The pancakes were pretty good and the girls enjoyed sitting at he old fashioned breakfast bar. 

Krista bought all the mom's a shirt that said "Fatigued Mom" at a shop this week, so we all wore them home and figured it was very appropriate after our week! But it was fun bearing all the people asking us about our shirts "Are you a support group?" "do y'all all have kids in the military?" Different kind of troops :) 

Then one last stop at a shop, the Mountain Valley Spring Water Bottling Company. They have the best water! We all bought water and I found some that are labeled New Orleans Saints for souvenirs! 

Then one MORE last stop, at the public water fountain to fill our now empty jugs for free and bring home some water!  Seemed weird to be bringing home souvenirs of water!

Then we loaded up, gassed up, grabbed some Red Box movies and really hit the road around 11. We has to stop and drop Amaree off with her uncle just inside of Texas, then stop for a picnic lunch, then a bathroom break, then gas break, and then a horrible wreck had 35 shut down and we were stuck there for about an hour. Then we needed another bathroom break and decided to get dinner for the girls while we were at it since it was so late already. Then a horrible storm and rain so hard I could barely see out of the window. It was so frustrating because we all just wanted to be home! We didn't get home until after 10.  

We unloaded the U Haul at Karen's in record time and rushed home where David had cooked us a steak and potatoes! Riley left for Petty Officer Leadership Academy the night before, so I just missed seeing him. Then it was time  to do laundry and get Regan packed for church camp... 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Magic Springs and Crystal Falls

I just want to say up front, I am laying on an air mattress after a long hard day and using my iPhone and blogger app to update the blog, so there are a lot of typos that don't normally slip by me! I notice a lot of has instead of had! Rest assured, I have not completely lost my grasp of the English language!

Now, with that said, today was another fun, packed, hot, adventure filled day! We stayed up late last night playing games and rubbing feet. Today we slept in, made breakfast tacos, hoisted Amie's bra to the top of the flag pole, you know, typical stuff! (Yesterday at Willow Springs, when Amie changed clothes, she dropped her bra on the way back to the table and none of the girls grabbed it cause they didn't want to touch a bra!) 

Our leader, Karen, got dehydrated and dizzy and threw up this morning so we left her here to rest. The rest of us headed out to Magic Springs, it's like Six Flags. We got there shortly after they opened and stayed till way after closing! 

When we go to the park, we decided to split up so we didn't have to keep track of so many people at once.  So we thought we would split people based on who wanted to ride what rides. I said I would ride anything so I had the crazy girls that wanted to ride it all! And we did! They had some good rides there, not as many or as big as Six Flags, but it was fun. It was built into a hill so my calves are burning tonight! Holy cow we did a lot of up and down walking! 

Around 2 we headed over for a late lunch and just in time! A storm came through and closed everything so everyone decided to come eat too. After we were done eating, the storm had passed and the rides were opening and it was a out 20 degrees cooler with no hot sun!  It was nice then. And people had left the park so it was way less crowded!

Me and my girls; Sydney, Caitlin and Regan, rode a few more rides and then headed to the water park. We got changed and the girls hit the slides, I hit the lazy river. The other groups started joining us and the girls rode the slides until another storm started coming through and they started closing the water park, but only a little early. 

After that, we went to ride a few more rides and shop in the gift shop and get a funnel cake (can't go to a theme park without getting a funnel cake!!) and then it was time to had home, eat some leftovers, start packing and cleaning for the long trip tomorrow!  

We have early reservations for breakfast tomorrow and then we hit the road for home. Hoping I can talk them in for one more pit stop to the Soapery, I am loving my cupcake scrub and already want more of it!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Heifer Village and Willow Springs

We has another busy fun day today! We got to sleep in some, so that was nice, and headed off to Little Rock around 10. We had a tour scheduled at Heifer International. I had no idea what Heifer was about but it was a really neat place.

They are a non-profit that provides animals to people in other countries. They provide a pregnant heifer to a family and teach them how to care for it and they promise to "pass the gift" by giving the baby away to another family in need when it's old enough. 

Our guide had the girls come up and demonstrate the 7 things these animals provide for families, and they are: meat, milk, manure, motivation, money, materials and muscles! So these families are able to use the milk from the cow to feed their families and sell the extra to send their kids to school, or use them to help plow fields. 

After explaining their organization and explaining it for the kids and showing us all around the exhibit area, they gave us a tour of the big green building. It is he headquarters of Heifer Int'l and was built with local, green materials. It was a nice building and the landscaping was very pretty. 

Hen we had a gourmet box lunch and hit the gift shop, hard! The girls used $120 of their cookie money to buy a pig! We gave them the catalog and let them pick and that's what they chose!

Then we loaded up and headed to a swimming hole called Willow Springs. It was so neat! It is a big spring fed pond that had a huge water slide dug into the side of a hill, water slides, water trampoline, and log rollers. The bad thing was, once we got changed and in the water, a storm blew in and we had to get out. We had about 30 good minutes in the water. We tried to wait it out but that storm wasn't going anywhere so they said they would give us our money back. 

So we headed back to Radford House for frito pie and oven s'mores. Then we just showered, cleaned up some and worked on a plan B for tomorrow in case it rains more. The girls are wanting more spending money so they are offering the moms foot rubs for $1! Best money spent on this trip :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Garvan Woodland Gardens and more!

Whew, what a day! We started off with a 9am your at Garvan Gardens. That place was gorgeous and hot and humid. We took a hiking trail through the park and stopped along the way to see the Asian and European gardens and bonsai trees and feed the koi and play in the children's garden area. That was fun, there were big rocks and waterfalls for the kids to crawl over and play in. I even took my socks and shoes off and cooled my feet! 

Then we made our way to the chapel they have there and wow, it was amazing! The girls all decided they want to get married there!  There is a bell tower right outside that rang on the hour and it was beautiful. The acoustics in the chapel were awesome so we video taped the girls singing the Girl Scout song. 

Then we had a picnic lunch while I ducked out for a conference call, a permanency conference for Elise. The girls ate, then hit up the gift shop. 

After the gardens, it was time to head to downtown Hot Springs for a tour of bathhouse row and some souvenir shopping. We bought water jugs and filled them at the public fountain, stopped at a local hotel for a soda break, and walked all over the HOT place!

Found a cute soap store and bought way too much fancy soaps and scrubs, some of my favorite things! Then we headed back to Radford House for a quick dinner  if lasagna and salad. 

Then we went on a haunted walking tour (as if we hadn't walked enough already!) the girls ate that up, especially hearing about all the ghosts that were supposedly in the hotel and shops we had just been to! 

Got home super late and the girls are wired, still dancing around the room at almost midnight! Time to go crack the whip!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Digging for Diamonds

Today was a super busy day! We got up early, had cereal, and loaded up to hit the road for the 1 1/2 hour trip to Crater of Diamonds State Park. We checked in, got the scoop on how bad what to look for, and hit the dirt. Krista and I headed straight for he shade, it was nice there, but after about 2 hours if digging with nothing to show for it, I was done! Another mom and I took the girls that were also done and we went to the evaluation area to see what we found. 

Regan found some lamproite, all I found was jasper, nothing of any real value! By that time we were hot and sweaty and ready to hit the diamond water park! 

We swam in the frigid water and waited for the rest if our group, they were much more dedicated to he digging than we were! They finally met up with us and swam for a bit and then we took the girls in shifts to the gift shop. Regan got a pretty crystal necklace and I loaded up on souvenirs for the boys. 

Took some pictures of the girls, and then decided we would get back to Radford House way too late to cook the lasagna, so we stopped at Sonic for half price burgers!  

Got home in time for showers and snacks and to get our lunches ready for tomorrow. Been a long day and we are all exhausted! Tomorrow is Garvin Gardens, supposed to be very pretty. 

Here are some pics of the day, I will upload all of hem when I get home but this is the highlight reel :)

When we were leaving the diamond park, Regan stepped in a sink hole and lost her shoe! She ended up covered in mud and had no cover up for her bathing suit, so I let her use mine and she had an ice cream cone and it dripped all down my shirt that I had to wear the rest of the day! I looked awesome. Oh, and the 5 girls that are assigned to my car have dubbed me the fun mom and my car is the fun car! I love it :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Arkansas Trip Day 1-2

Well, Regan and I are off on our Girl Scout cookie reward adventure! First we met at our leaders house and drove to Tyler where we stayed in a hotel for the night. Trista and Chris and Aunt Kathy met us there to take Elise for the week. The hotel was nice and big! We each has a suite with 2 bedrooms, for 2 moms and 4 girls. Once we got checked in, we hit the indoor pool and ordered pizza and sat outside and enjoyed the cold front and rain that had come through.

We had Mazzio's pizza, talk about a blast from the past! Then we went to our rooms to make lunches for the next day and get showered. Regan was sound asleep by 9:00 and the other girls weren't far behind! 

Then today we got up and had the free hotel breakfast and loaded the uhaul and hit tithe road. We stopped in Mt. Pleasant for a rainy picnic and then stopped at the Arkansas state line for pics and potty. Then we finally made it to Hot Springs around 5. 

I went with 2 other moms to Walmart for food for 19 people for 5 days (3 shopping carts full!) and came back to hot dogs and a massage. I'll need another one after a week of sleeping on an air mattress on a concrete floor!

We are staying at the Girl Scout house, called Radford House. It's not too bad and has a nice new kitchen/bathroom facility. Tomorrow we are off to dig for diamonds! Wish us luck!


And you can see, Elise is doing just fine without me. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Baby Bird is IN the Nest!

Riley got home around midnight, and was all excited to tell us all about his trip and everything he did and how much fun he had. It was a great experience for him and he won 2 challenge coins that are very pretty, I will have to take pictures of them to post. Here is a picture of his breaching team:

And Hunter was very happy to see his boy!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Field Ops Day 4

I got to talk to Riley! He called because he couldn't remember his flight time. I think he called cause he missed us! His XO let him use his cell phone, and we got to talk a few minutes. He got to call David too, he was at church with Regan, I was home bathing the baby, so we didn't get to talk much, but he's having a blast. He said he was homesick the first couple of days but he's better now, and really enjoying their activities, and the food is much better than when he went to Boot Camp. He comes home at midnight tonight. I just realized this morning, Regan and I leave Sunday for Hot Springs, and when we come home, he'll already be gone for his next training, so I won't get to see my Baby Bird for two whole weeks! But, hopefully we will get to go to his next training graduation since his next training is at Ft. Hood.

Anyway, on Day 4 they were working on Rescue Operations, and it looks like he had another busy, fun day!

Field Ops Day 4

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Field Ops Day 3

Lots of pictures today! Looks like they were super busy, but it also looks like a lot of fun. I bet Riley is so tired! Can't wait to hear him tell us all about it. Today they did first aid training and practicals where they learned to treat the wounded, and some rescue operations.

And these pictures are totally out of order and I'm sorry, but there's no way I'm putting them in order! Ain't nobody got time for all that!!

Field Ops Day 3

Monday, July 8, 2013

Field Ops Day 2

Field Ops Day 2

Here are the updates from his CO:

Today we start the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) course by the Indiana Dept of Homeland Security and FEMA. We've been at the Indiana Search and Rescue Training Center on base since 0800. 
 A full day of CERT classroom training has ended. Tomorrow is hands on first aid training. Marching to chow now. Then to barracks to replenish camelbacks and hygeine before marching to a new Army HumVee driving simulator. Then a long march back to barracks and much needed showers and sleep. Your cadets becoming tougher, fitter and more educated!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Field Ops Day 1 Photos

Field Ops Day 1

The people who run Field Ops training set up a Facebook page so they can post pictures every day of what they do. I'm happy cause I get to see my Baby Bird (I'm sure he loves me calling him that) but it looks like he's having a BLAST! I'm so happy. You can tell he got his sea bag finally! At first he is definitely a fish out of water in his "civilian" clothes, but then he fits right in and makes it harder to tell which one is him, with all of them in the same clothes and with the same haircut! But, he wears a red and black survival bracelet on his right wrist, so you can tell that's him, and he's one of the shortest (for now).