Friday, February 24, 2012

Maybe I'm a little different and some helpful websites

The other day I was thinking about other potential LDS military bloggers/searchers and realized I am probably a little different than most of them.

Me being a little different at work in a Hazmat suit
I haven't met a whole lot that grew up like I did.  My mom was telling me about one that gets published in Utah and how she goes on and on about the foreign country she lives in (Germany).  We snickered about that!  Germany doesn't seem that foreign to us and almost everyone there speaks some english.
I was also talking to a girl at work that same day and she was telling me how her parents watch her children for her when they get home from school.  Many of the people I work with talk about growing up here.  That whole concept strikes me as weird.  I have no relation to it.  How do you stay put in one place your whole life, stay here for college and then stay after you are finished with college?  How do you find someone to marry in the same place you grew up and settle down and have children there.  Ok, I understand how, it just strikes me as weird.  But of course, that is probably far from weird.  It's probably completely normal.  But once again, I really don't know, I have no concept of it.  Maybe that is something I really missed out on.  I don't miss it, but maybe other people look at me with sympathy.  Knowing your cousins and Aunts and Uncles- that might have been cool.  Living closer to parents now, so they could come to soccer and football games and baptisms would be really nice.  I do realize at those time that I have missed out a little.
Maybe writing blogs about military life won't be that easy for me, because it's pretty much normal for me.  Of course my Dad was a civil servant and in the reserve, not active duty and there are definitely a few things different- mainly learning about rank and position.  Time for biggest mistake to date story:
When Rob came back in the military, he had been made a Captain and he kept telling me that this was his command time and he had to get a command.  When he got a command it was with a weird organization- weird as in military make-up weird, but otherwise a fantastic organization!  He was the Company Commander of the HHC group, but was asked to do things for the entire organization.  There were something like 5 different areas that had their own LTC over each of them.  Rob did all the parties and watched everyone's weight, etc, etc.  Anyway, since he was the Company Commander I was expected at the General's Wife's house every month for FRG meetings.  One day we got a new LTC's wife in and she was introduced all around.  Later I saw her at the Px and she asked me who my husband was and what group he was in command over.  I told her that he was in command over the entire thing.  She gave me a very confused look and that ended the conversation.  When I talked to Rob that night, he was mortified and explained things a little bit better to me- telling me that I had just told the lady that I was the General's wife.    I didn't realize that there was more than one "command time."  I thought she would know that if he was "in command" that he was a Captain.  I talked to her later at the formal and introduced Rob to her.
See the cutie-patootie at my feet- that's Joseph
I am sure she and all the other LTC wife's had a great laugh over that one!
So here I am now, a LTC wife.  I've learned a little.  Maybe I can laugh at a few Captain and Lieutenants'  wives!
I have done a little research for our move to Germany (yes, I know it's forever away still) and have found a few

Helpful websites: (Stuttgart part)
information on Stuttgart military installations.  I am sure you can find almost any installation here if you start on the home page and just do a search.

military duty station blog
military stuff in general

Life Lessons of a Military Wife
This lady has lived all over Europe and has some great basic, as well as not so basic information.
I liked this one about TV:
and this one about recycling:
besides all of her blog round ups which have some great articles that she has found from all over the web.

Learning German:
BBC Languages
haven't tried it yet, but heard it's great
took the test and past the level A1, but am still doing things from the beginning.  I started with Mission Berlin and have been through the first scenario and done all the worksheets and stuff for it.  So far, I am enjoying it, but don't know if it will help me learn German.
Hennings Haus
this one has both Hennings house and chez Mimi.  Hennings house is the one to learn German on.  It has some really cute games.  I have tried out the shopping one so far and really liked it.  It would be great for kids.
Also there is the Headstart program that you can find on AKO.  They used to do Rosetta stone, but not anymore.  I don't know what happened there, but I haven't heard great things about Rosetta stone from the reviews I read, so I have stuck with the free stuff, so far.

Monday, February 20, 2012

LDS Military bloggers are you out there?

I have found a shocking lack of LDS military bloggers.  Ok, maybe I am looking in all the wrong places.  I found two that were in Germany.  Both are pay-backers (dentist giving their 3 years back to the military for help with their schooling.)  They can help a little, but as far as military life- they don't know much.  For the most part they will give 3 years and be gone.  The medical field is not very military to be begin with- just watch M.A.S.H.

I guess it would be hard to be too military when the Captain doctor is giving orders to the nurse who happens to out-rank him ( I think I am understanding M.A.S.H. more and more!)
Anyway, I should have seen this coming.  First off, I grew up on military bases all over Germany.  Most of the people we met that were LDS were DoDDs school teachers, pay-backers, or young and broke enlisted.   The rest were amazing, (not to say the other group wasn't amazing too!  We have loved the doctor's and dentist we have met!)  but there weren't many of them- not in the Army, anyway.  In the Air Force you get a few more.  It's one of the reasons I fought to go back to Germany for this next move.  The wards, the people, the opportunities you have!  Close nit amazing group!  But I have never done this on my own before.  My parents always did it and we just tagged along.  I remember not having all the right answers off the back.  I blew up a few hair dryers (which I have found you don't bring with you- nothing with a motor, because of the different cycling.  Even with a transformer, it will run too hot and eventually blow up!),

but life in Germany was a lot easier when your father had served a 2 1/2 year mission for the Church in Berlin.

 He spoke the language fluently, he knew the customs, and traditions.  He's not coming with us this time!
So anyways, I have decided to write more about our experiences with the military and a lot about the move to Germany.  It may not help anyone, but me, because I am not planning to advertise this blog and the majority of my blog readers are in the been there, done that stage (hi, Mom, hi Sister Searls, hi Sister CindySue!) I'm fine with it only being for my benefit.  But maybe, just maybe there is someone out there searching google for "LDS, military, Germany!"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love is in the air

I went in to help with the Valentine's day party for Max's class.  It was the last one I had to plan, thank goodness. There were only about 5 Mom's willing to help or send anything in, so I had to keep reusing the same ones over and over.  They all said, no worries, but still!

One of the biggest hits was the candy necklace making.   They loved that!

 They also made cute little bookmarks that had a love bug at the end (think pom-pom with googlie eyes), had treats, passed out valentines- these are the ones we made to give away, 

colored, and played a minute-to-win-it game that I made up.  I made this "Cupid tree"

 that they chose a heart from.  On the heart were challenges like put together a heart puzzle, name 10 things they loved, stand on one foot for 20 seconds, do the chicken dance, find all the matching hearts, pick up and transfer candy hearts with just a straw, etc.

They had lots of fun and of course everyone won!  I had to hide the timer a couple of times, because they liked to look at it and a couple people didn't quite make the one minute mark.
I used the Cupid tree as our table decoration for dinner and then threw a bunch of candy on the table with it and a red table cloth.  We had steak and potatoes and I even made apple crisp for dessert, but we were all full by then, so we'll have dessert today.  We have never been into Valentine's day that much, but I have decided it is more of a family thing, now.  We enjoy the love of each other.  So to all my family, I love you.  Thank you for being there for me.

Friday, February 10, 2012

An Educational Day

Today I learned how to make fortune cookies.  I decided a week ago that they would be the perfect Valentine's day offering, yet I had no knowledge of how to make them.  I guess I was convinced it couldn't be that hard.  Well, lucky for me, it wasn't.

I watched  a video on Youtube of how to do it and copied the recipe. It is an easy recipe, just time consuming.  I only made 12 in about 45 minutes.  Most of those are now eaten.

At least they tasted good!  It's a good thing I don't work this week.  What with about 3 hours ahead of me to make enough fortune cookies and a Kindergarten party to plan!
While I was waiting between batches of cookies, (you only do 2-4 cookies at a time!) I took a German test to see what level of german instruction I should start on at Deutsche Welle.  I got a 72% on my first level, which is enough to pass you off, but not enough for them to say you can take the next level test.  I don't think that was too bad considering I haven't spoken any German in 20 years and was never that fluent to begin with!  So I get to start on level A2.
I also looked around the web to see if I could find any blogs to help us on our move.  I know- I am a little early.  We still have 1 1/2 years before we move, but it's always good to get as much information as possible when you are moving to foreign country, right?  Can you tell I'm excited!  Rob is very nervous about it.  Being responsible for a family this time around, is freaking him out a little.  So the more I learn, the better he feels.
After the cookies and German test, I ran to the school to help out with their 100 days celebration.  They did stickers and filled in number charts

and made 100's out of cheese and crackers

and put together a 100 piece puzzle and decided what they would buy with $100.  Max said he was going to buy a blacksmith with his.  I decided not to tell him that you can't buy people anymore! (especially since I knew he meant a blacksmith shop.)  This year we got 100 smiley faces for our poster.

 I try to come up with something different every year.  We have done 100 pictures of Sam, 100 things that Joseph will eat (and if you know Joseph, your next question is, "did you actually find 100 things he would eat?"  and the answer would be with a lot of thinking!), 100 fingerprints (we took it to church with us!  Makes getting 100 fingerprints a lot easier!),  and Hello, my name is Joseph in 100 different fonts.  I took the poster to Young Women's with me and they went crazy on it.  We ended up having to take off and cover up some of the smiley faces to make 100.
At the end of the day, to round out my educational day, we went to Joseph's play.  He was one of the few people that had a solo part.  We practiced talking slow and enunciating.  He did really well!  The play was all about graphs and how they help us with all the data that is out there.  The kids helped their teachers make it up.

There was a part about cafeteria offerings like road kill casserole and eyeball soup, there was a Justin Bieber and how many records he sold part.  Joseph's part was how many different kinds of things were sold at a store for Valentine's day.

His were friendship cards and they were hot!  After he says that he is suppose to touch his bum and go ssssss.  At first he was really upset about this.  He came home and complained that all the kids laughed at him.  It took me awhile to convince him that they were laughing at the part, because he had the funniest part.  The night that we went, the director asked what parts everyone liked and one of them (not us) said that they liked the hot part and so Joseph got to get up and do an encore performance!  It was a fun day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Exercise is better with Friends

Running a marathon is definitely better with friends.  In fact, I don't think I would have finished training for a marathon without friends- it's just so far to run with nothing but some music!  But every day exercise is much easier to get through with friends, too (especially if you find the right kind of friends.)  What are the right kind of friends?  They are the consistent ones, the ones who make you work harder, the ones that don't slow you down, the ones that are willing to try new things, the ones that are fun and outgoing!   I am not that outgoing, especially at a gym.  Rob, however, talks to all kinds of people.  He's not a chatty Cathy or anything and he has a strict rule about not interrupting people when they are exercising.  He'll talk to someone that helps spot him for a minute or he'll talk to someone while running on the treadmill next to them.  That is how I met at least one friend at the gym- he talked to her.  We saw her all the time, running her little heart out, but I never talked to her, just put in my headphones and started running.  Once Rob talked to her a couple times, though, she had to talk with me.  She actually is very outgoing.  She seems to know everyone at the gym and everyone knows her.  Since getting to know her, she has encouraged me to run longer and faster!  She cheers for me when I get my times down!
I started being more consistent with my weight training, because her and another friend I met there (she knew about soccer clubs in the area and when I was talking about it to someone, she piped up and offered me some info.) started weight training as well.  Now I make sure and get it in with them.
I started making sure I was cross training with the bike and I talked to them about it.  They decided we all needed to try out the spinning class.  I have yet to try a spinning class- they look so intimidating.  I finally went with them, Tuesday.  It was a great work out and not too hard.  You control your own resistance.  There was one lady there who has dying every time we would get up and pedal.  She would plop back down within seconds and look like she was dying.  I couldn't understand that, because  sitting was much harder on me.  When you are standing, your whole body weight is pushing down on those pedals- so, so much easier to pedal!
Today I went in late to the gym.  My two friends were just finishing up.  I sat down and talked to them for a minute and one of them told me that the spinning lady had told her that she didn't like people talking during her class.  She said, "didn't you see the looks she was throwing us?"  Personally, I think she's crazy.  I wasn't talking like crazy, because it was a hard workout, but there was some times when it wasn't that bad and I wanted to talk.  Doesn't she know that working out is easier with friends?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Showing the Love

Generally Valentine's day is not a big thing at our house, but this year I read something about a guy sending his wife pictures of hearts, etc every day and I thought that would be a good idea, especially since my guy has been sick for a couple of weeks.  We don't always do the best when the other is sick, especially if it's for more than a day or two.  We realize this about ourselves and we are trying to get better!  So in the spirit of trying to be better I have made an effort to text Rob a heart every day.  These are some of the ones I have sent so far:

I try to always send a quick message along with it, but I am not very creative.  I will have to do some more reading and come up with some good quotes or something!