Mom, Dad, & Ryan went to town this morning for a few errands and some sale shopping. Mom/Ryan got me some yarn for another baby blanket I’ll be making as well. I stayed home with Robbie and Rick. We played with legos and all his Bob the Builder toys. A while after the town-goers got home, we all bundled up except Mom and headed to our church for some sledding on the hill. We all had a lot of fun, and even Dad took a turn going down on one of the flying saucers. Here are a few pics from the fun: Image Hosting by Image Hosting by Image Hosting by Image Hosting by

And here’s a short video of Robbie sledding (make sure your volume is up).

I want to wish all my friends and family a happy and prosperous new year!!

An anniversary date and more

Ok, so maybe I’ve been relaxing too much seeing as how I haven’t written since Thursday again. Friday was me and Ryan’s 5th Anniversary. The day was just a normal day – playing with Robbie, playing on our computers, etc. Then we went out to dinner with just the 2 of us. We went to UP North Lodge, the place we got the gift card from G’ma & G’pa for Christmas. Ryan had a full rack of ribs and I had a steak. Everything was really good. Our waitress was a girl I knew back from high school, so that was kind of neat. After we were done with our dinners, some of the waitresses came out and sang their little Happy Anniversary song to us and brought us a chocolate ice cream dessert thing. It was really good, even on top of all the food we had already eaten. Then we headed to the Section House Bed & Breakfast in Little Lake. Mom & Dad had paid for a night there for us – thank you!! The lady that runs the place is really nice, and she showed us around on our way to our room. We stayed in the “green room” – the walls were painted shades of green and it was a very calming room. We got settled in and Ryan got our DVDs from the van. We watched Dodgeball and SWAT while we stitched and just relaxed.

Saturday morning was breakfast made by the owner, and she cooked whatever we wanted. We had eggs, waffles, sausage (Ryan), bacon (me), hashbrowns (Ryan), oj (Ryan), fresh homemade apple cider (me), and coffee. She made way lots of food, and we sure got our fill. We enjoyed visiting with her and her boyfriend while we ate, and we learned why it was called the Section House. It’s right by the train tracks, and back before there were lots of roads, the tracks were broken down into about 20 mile sections. Each section had a crew and a supervisor that was in charge of keeping up their section of track. The Section House was the section supervisor’s house. So that was a neat bit of history we learned by staying there.

We got home a little after 10 and Robbie sure was glad to see us. He did have a fun evening with Gramma & Grampa and Uncle Rick though. We spent the rest of the day doing the usual relaxing/playing. Saturday evening was Sauna again.

Sunday was church and Robbie got to show off his new dress shoes that he couldn’t wear Christmas Eve. We found them on Christmas Day when we took all the presents out of the box to put under the tree. Silly me! After church we came home and after Mom got home from Choir practice, she and Robbie and I made cookies. Robbie helped with the thumbprint cookies. Then Mom & I made peanut blossoms and strawberry jello “pastel cookies”. Robbie took a nap. After the cookies were all done, I got caught up on my newspapers. We went to Our Place for supper – the plan was for Jerry’s Wilderness Room, but they were closed. I guess they didn’t want our business. Our Place is a sub shop, but the have lots of other things as well. I had a mushroom/swiss burger and breaded mushrooms, Robbie had grilled cheese & fries, and Ryan had nachos supreme and mozzarella sticks. Then it was home for more playing – Mom brought a big box home from work and Robbie’s been having fun playing in/with that. After he was in bed, we all watched TV and Mom and I stitched. I’ll have to post some pics later of what I’ve been working on.

Relaxing finally

Hmm. . . Yesterday. . . What did I do? We slept in. We played with Robbie’s new toys. I stitched some during naptime. Then we went to town for some shopping. We picked Mom up from work and then Rick took us all to dinner at Tommy’s. The service was kind of poor, but once we finally all got the right food it was really good and I ate too much. Then we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. After all the ones in town, we went back to Mom’s work and she and I went in her truck and went grocery shopping while the guys went and looked at a few more lights on their way home.

This morning I was up shortly after 9. I did some stuff on my computer and then went and got Robbie up. My cousin (and Robbie’s Godmother) Amanda and her fiance stopped by to visit for a while. They’ll be going out of town this weekend, so she wanted to see us once more before we left We visited for a while, and after they left Robbie and I had breakfast. Then we played for a while and after the mail came, we got bundled up and I pulled him on his sled to get the mail. After I brought it in, we played outside in the snow for probably over an hour. Rick and Ryan joined us, and we were all over the yard and even walked a ways on the lake. When we came in, I made some Easy Mac for Robbie for lunch and then he went and took a nap. I *should* of sat and crocheted and/or stitched, but I played computer games instead for a little while. Then I took pictures of all of Robbie’s Christmas presents

and a picture of all my presents

Rick and I made supper and it was getting ready just as Mom got home from work. We made scalloped potatoes and ham. It was pretty good, considering I didn’t use to like that food. After we ate, we went to visit Carl & Amanda and baby Hope, and see their new house. Amanada has done a great job decorating. We stayed for probably an hour or so visiting, and I got to hold Hope for a while. After we got home we had sauna and then dessert left over from Christmas dinner. Now I’m heading to bed.

High: 32
Low: 18
Current: 19

Merry Christmas!!

The past 2 days have been a whirlwind, as they always seem to be around here for Christmas. Yesterday morning Dad and I went to Marquette for a little bit of last minute shopping and some errands. My big one was to the jeweler. I’ve somehow managed to break a prong and lose a diamond off my wedding ring. It was one of the medium sized ones, and the jeweler we use up here is really nice. It was only $38 for the diamond, and then add in the prong and shipping since it won’t be done before we have to go back to NY, and it was still well under what I had figured. At least I can still wear the engagement part of my ring so I have something to wear on my finger. After Dad and I finished our errands and had gotten home, the rush began. I had to frame a cross stitch piece for Mom, and I had Rick do most of my wrapping while I was framing. I managed to get everything done – except writing out some music. I had forgotten my trombone Christmas book in NY, and was to play O Holy Night at 2 churches. Mom had a piano version, and on my way to gig number 1 (a Lutheran church in a neighboring town that Mom played the piano for as well), I wrote out my music. Nothing like writing music on the way to the gig. That church service and my playing during the offering went well, and they sure enjoyed having some special music.

Then it was off to my grandparents’ house for pizza, veggies, and candy/cookies (all homemade – well, not the veggies). We enjoyed visiting with G’ma & G’pa and Aunt Carol and of course Robbie’s antics made us all laugh. Mom and I headed out to church (our church this time) a little earlier than the guys did as she accompanies the choir and I was playing the Call to Worship (O Holy Night again) so we had to be there early. Ryan and Robbie and Rick and Dad got there about quarter to 8. It was a very nice service with lots of carols and lessons and Communion and candles at the end. It did get a little long – maybe they don’t need to sing ALL the verses of ALL the hymns/carols. After church it was back to G’ma & G’pa’s to open presents, and boy were there a lot of them for only 9 people. It was around midnight when we finally got home, and Robbie went right to bed, and the rest of us followed soon after.

This morning I got up a little earlier than my guys to help Mom in the kitchen. I got all the potatoes for today’s dinner peeled, and Rick made his jello salad stuff, and Mom got donut puffs going for breakfast. I got my guys up and Robbie got to come downstairs to see what Santa brought him. His biggest present from Santa was a big boy bike! He sure was excited about that. Then we ate the donut puffs for breakfast before opening the rest of our stuff from Santa. Some of the stuff I got were Christmas socks, a cube of note paper with music notes on the side, a music note hotpad, some handmade soap from a local soapmaker, and a crochet book. Then it was church again – you think 5 times in the last 4 days all with Communion is enough to last me until next Sunday? LOL Ryan stayed home and napped since he wasn’t feeling very good.

Once we got home, we finished up getting the food ready and I got another cross stitch piece framed – a baby piece for our newest cousin Hope. I finished it about 10 minutes before the family started arriving. Once everyone was here, there were 18 of us. We took a picture of all the cousins – all 12 of us! We did our gift exchange – Carl had my name this year and he got me a Canadian Brass CD, a cute pair of socks, and some foot lotions. Robbie got some neat toys and everyone had lots of great things. Dinner was good – ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, pickles, 2 kinds of jello-type salads, rolls, and probably more that I can’t remember. After we ate, several of the cousins had to leave to go to their other families (one married and one newly engaged). We visited for a while and had fun watching Robbie play with his new toys. Then we had dessert – choice of pumpkin pie, berry pie (that’s what I had), or birthday cake (my youngest cousin’s b-day is Christmas Eve). Once we were done eating, everyone pretty much left and boy was it quite here!

Robbie got a nap, and I finished making and wrapping presents for our family. It was nice just relaxing for a while after the rush of the past 2 days. About 7, G’ma Ele and Aunt Carol came over because they like watching us open presents. Then it was time for all the gifts within our family – 6 of us, and there sure were a lot of presents under the tree.
Everyone got lots of great things. I got Christmas socks from Robbie, part of a gift certificate for a full day at a spa (the rest of the gc will be coming), a page-a-day cross stitch calendar from Ryan, cross stitch charts from Mom & Dad, Canadian Brass DVD, gift card to Michaels from my brother and tons of other stuff that I can’t remember right now. In the next few days I’ll get a pic of all my presents and share that.

The last gift of the evening was an early anniversary present to me and Ryan from Mom & Dad. We are getting a free night of babysitting, and a night at a local bed and breakfast on the night of our 5th anniversary (Friday night). That will be nice getting away for just the 2 of us – and we’ll get to go out for dinner as well as we got a gift card to a local restaruant from G’ma & G’pa last night. Thank you everyone!!!

We ended the evening with sauna, and now that I’m all relaxed and very sleepy, I’m going to head up to bed.

High: 25
Low: 19

Sleeping, shopping, church, and family

I’ve been enjoying getting to sleep in. Yesterday I got up about 9 and Robbie was just waking up too. We came down and played for a while until Rick and Ryan got up. I made a quick trip into Gwinn to the post office to mail some Christmas cards and then a stop at Mom’s doctor on my way home to pick up something for her. Around 1:15 or so Ryan and I left for Marquette and he brought me to where Mom works. Then he went off and did some shopping, and I crocheted while Mom finished up work for the day. Then Mom & I went and did our last bit of Christmas shopping and some grocery shopping as well. She had to play piano for our Saturday evening church service, so I went to church with her since we didn’t have time to go home in between. Once home, we had chili for supper that Dad had made and then sauna later in the evening. Robbie really enjoyed it, and Ryan had a hard time getting him to leave. I stayed in way too long and almost passed out. I’m just not used to it since it’s been since March for sauna for me. But Mom and I were having such a good time talking about girl stuff and everything, that I wasn’t paying attention to how I was feeling until too late. Plus, I haven’t been drinking water like I should, so that didn’t help matters any.

This morning I was the first one up, and that was about 8:30. Mom came down shortly after I did, and then I went and woke my guys up around 9:15. Church is at 10:30, and it was nice seeing everyone again. It’s always nice to come home to our home church. After Mom got home from choir practice, we made brunch – pancakes, eggs, and sausage. We finished eating about 2 and then there wasn’t enough time for a nap for Robbie. We left about 3:15 for Rock, Mom & Dad’s hometown, and went to their old church and the church that Mom’s sister’s families are still members of. They had their Christmas cantata, directed by my Aunt Pris, and my Aunt Pattie and cousins Amanda, Renee, and Holly all sang in. Renee even had a solo in it. It was really good and lasted about 45 minutes. They had snacks and coffee/juice afterwards, so it was nice to sit and visit with people, especially my cousins and aunts whom I haven’t seen since March.

We got home and watched some tv before having a late supper of homemade subs and chips.
Then we just spent the rest of the evening relaxing. Mom and I crocheted, and when I finished my project I stitched for a while. We all watched tv. Well, not Robbie since he was in bed.

We started out the morning with a cold, miserable drizzle, and by the time we left for the cantata, it was snowing. We didn’t get nearly as much here as they did in Rock, but it’s enough that everything is white again after the rain the past day and a half.

High: 41
Low: 14
Current: 16

Greetings from Michigan!!!!

Yesterday was a travel day. We left home shortly before 0730 and drove all day. We had 2 meal stops, 3 gas stops, and several potty stops. Overall it took a little over 15 1/2 hours, but only 13 hours of driving time. Mom & Dad were surprised to see us – they thought we were going to my brother’s to spend the night and then drive home today. But we decided to surprise them and come all the way. Rick was in on it, and we’ve been planning it since Thanksgiving. We were all really tired when we got here, and even though I did play games for a little while, I didn’t feel like writing.

Today I slept in until 10. Robbie was up about 9:30, according to my brother and dad. Ryan got up about 10:30. We spent the morning playing with blocks, trucks, and his new football (a little plastic one from Northern Michigan University’s homecoming parade). I played on my computer some, too. Then around 12:30 or so, Ryan and Dad went to Marquette for some shopping and clock stuff. Rick and Robbie and I went over to G’ma & G’pa’s to visit. G’ma asked me what I was doing there, and I said visiting (like DUH! LOL). Afterall, I was supposed to be driving today, not here already. So we visited there for about an hour or so, and Aunt Carol was there as well. Then we came home and Robbie went down for a nap and I played on my computer for a little bit before taking out my crocheting. I have one Christmas present left to finish. It needs to be mailed, but the recipient’s mom has already been notified that it will be a little bit late.

Mom got home from work around 5:30 and after a little while, we headed out and went to the Catholic church in town for their living Nativity. They have various youth dressed as Mary, Joseph, shepherd, kings (wise men), and angels, and they have live animals – a donkey and some sheep. Robbie got to pet the animals. We (the 4 adults) were ready to leave, but Robbie wanted to see Baby Jesus some more. So we stayed until he was ready to go, and then we went for pizza at the local Italian place. Ryan had nachos and Robbie had popcorn chicken and the other 4 of us shared 2 medium pizzas. Then it was home and Robbie played for a little while before bed. I crocheted some and am half done with my last present. I’ll be heading off to bed soon seeing as how it’s almost midnight.

High: 34 (current temp)
Low: 30

The last day!!

We started this morning off with a full Battalion formation in the motorpool. The Division Command Sergeant Major handed out some coins for excellence to several members of the Band (woodwind trio and rock band) and the Battalion Color Guard. We also received our holiday safety briefing from the Battalion Command Sergeant Major. Then it was back to the band hall. I had my Soldiers do their risk assessments for leave travel and I inspected all their vehicles. Then SGT G and I went to the chow hall for breakfast. After a little bit of time back at the supply office, I went up to pick up my stuff from the dry cleaners – I figured Ryan would want his jacket to take to Michigan. Then it was back to supply to do nothing until 1130 when Brass Quintet had formation for our lunchtime gig.

We played at Hayes Hall, which is the Division Headquarters building. We played Christmas carols for a little over an hour there – at various places in the building and in some offices. Each office had a theme, and one of the offices had a “Casino”. They had an Elvis impersonator and we got to accompany Elvis on some Christmas carols. It was a lot of fun, and one of the offices offered us some of their food. Of course, we partook (is that a word?). We got a lot of applause and “thanks for playing” and it’s nice to get recognition for what we do. We had a lot of fun playing there. Then it was off to our Battalion headquarters for a few carols and then one other place. Once we got back to the band hall, I released my Soldiers for the day and wished them all a Merry Christmas and safe leave. I took care of a few things in supply and then headed home after picking Robbie up from daycare.

I got 2 loads of laundry folded and started packing before Ryan got home from work and we headed off to the chiropractor for our last adjustments for the year. Then it was a stop at Taco Bell for supper and then home to get Robbie to bed, finish packing, scoop the litterbox, take the trash out, and run the dishwasher. Heading off to bed now as we leave early in the morning – heading to Michigan!!

High: 32
Low: 23
Current: 31

Christmas party and caroling

Last night I was sooooooo tired that I don’t even remember going upstairs to bed. That’s why I didn’t write yesterday.

Yesterday morning started with PT at the gym. Why we were in, I don’t know. All the schools in the area were closed or on a 2-hour delay. The roads were awful and the drivers even worse. Snowplows were out attempting to clear the roads, but since all the Soldiers were heading to work, it made for an interesting drive. But I got Robbie dropped off at daycare along with his cupcakes and present for the gift exchange (they had their Christmas party yesterday. You can read about that at his webpage. I got to the gym and made sure my two Soldiers that were supposed to be there were there. Then I ran on the treadmill for 25 minutes and stretched after. After my shower and uniform change, I headed to the chow hall for my (now) usual breakfast of oatmeal and something to go with it. The something yesterday was scrambled eggs. And I actually thought to get a glass of juice along with my chocolate milk instead of my usual 2 glasses of chocolate milk.

The morning was spent in my supply office doing some paperwork and some computerwork. Around lunchtime, SGT G and I went to the motorpool and dug out my quad con (the one that I know where it is). We cut the lock on it and put our own lock on and we’ll be moving that one to our company area soon. Still need to find the other one. . . Then we were done for the day. First Sergeant told the Team Leaders that if we/our Soldiers didn’t have anything going on to go home and get ready for the party. So I headed out and decided to stop by Condino Motors to see if they could get my van in, instead of on Wednesday. They were able to, but after the guy looked at it, he let me know that I needed new front brakes. They worked out a payment plan for me so I can finish paying them in January which is really nice. They just wanted to make sure I have a safe trip to Michigan and back. So I got an oil change, tires rotated, and new front brakes.

During my time at home while I was waiting on my van, I made green bean casserole, took a shower, and got a few other things done around the house. When my van was done I went and got Robbie from daycare and then home to change for the band Christmas party. We all headed out to post where the party was. It was a lot of fun and there was a lot of food – everyone brought something. Not everyone was there since it wasn’t mandatory, but there was still a good percentage. Santa came (one of our tuba players) and all the kids got presents from him. Robbie was scared of him – the most scared he’s been of Santa all year. We headed home around 8:30 and stopped by the band hall on our way so I could do my security check since I’m the Duty NCO (DNCO) this week. Then it was home to get Robbie bed and I wasn’t on my computer long before heading up as well.

I got to sleep in today since we didn’t have PT, so that was kind of nice. After formation, I spent the morning in my supply office doing not much of anything. Then I stitched at lunch. After lunch the Brass Quintet went out caroling to a few places on post – the warehouse where we do our turn-ins, Installation Property Book Office, Central Issue Facility, Clothing Sales/Alterations, the warehouse where we get our new instruments and stuff from, and the Transportation Motor Pool. Everyone really enjoyed hearing some Christmas music – we played about 4-8 songs at each place. We all wore Santa hats instead of our uniform headgear. It was a lot of fun, and more to come tomorrow.

The BQ was done for the day after we got back since it was 1600, but since I was DNCO I had to stay until 1700. So I stitched a bit more in my supply office. After my CQ (Charge of Quarters) left, I reread the Standard Operating Procedures and discovered that I don’t have to do a security check on weekdays, so last night I didn’t have to do one. Oh well. I headed out and got Robbie from daycare and then Ryan met us at the Golden Unicorn for supper. Once we got home, we got the van cleaned out, I got laundry going, and after Robbie was in bed, I wrapped some presents before sitting down with my stitching and crocheting.

Off to bed now – tomorrow’s probably going to be a long day.

High: 27
Low: 6
Current: 25

Snow, Snow, SNOW, SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It snowed last night. It snowed enough last night that we couldn’t get out for church this morning. It was the kids’ Christmas pageant so I’m kind of disappointed we didn’t get to go. At least Robbie wasn’t in it. Our breakfast this morning were the muffins and cookies (oatmeal raisin) our neighbor brought over yesterday. They were very very good! We spent the day playing, and I even played the piano for a little while! Ryan took the snowblower out and cleared about 6 inches of snow. Robbie and I went out and shoveled and made snow angels and threw “snowballs” (handsful of snow since it’s not snowball snow) and went for a walk around the block. We were outside for probably 45 minutes and we had a blast! I do need to get him some snowpants though. I took a few pictures outside, but it’ll be a day or two before I get them uploaded. Robbie had his first taste of hot chocolate when we came in – I didn’t make his super hot, but in trying to make his not too hot, I made my way hot. But it was good. Robbie liked it – his had marshmallows on top, and I had French Vanilla flavor.

I made meatloaf for supper. Shortly after I put the meatloaf in the oven I remembered that I’m supposed to make cupcakes for Robbie’s Christmas party at daycare tomorrow. Ok, so I decided I could make cupcakes from scratch. But the frosting would have been a problem since I didn’t have any powdered sugar. So I got my boots and jacket and hat and mittens on and headed out the door to the little gas station/grocery store about 4 blocks away. I went for a walk – it wasn’t that bad other than the snow. It was blowing a little bit, and when I got home I was quite toasty. I probably could have done with one layer less than what I wore. But at least I was able to get a cake mix and a can of frosting.

After supper Ryan went out to snowblow again and cleared away another probably 5 inches. And being the nice guy he is, he did our neighbors’ driveways and sidewalks. And being the nice guy he is, he’s going to be shoveling in the morning because he ran out of gas and there’s no more in the can in the garage. Oops. But that was nice of him to help out our neighbors. After I got Robbie tucked into bed (Ryan said goodnight to him before he went out with the snowblower), I got the first batch of cupcakes out of the oven and then made my last weekly phone call home for the year. Next week I’ll be home!!!!!!!!! I got the second batch done – I can only make 12 at a time since I only have one cupcake pan. I got some good crocheting done tonight and I’m almost done with one more Christmas present. Of course, we watched the Survivor finale. I was quite surprised at who won the million dollars, but I guess the jury thought that Survivor was deserving.

Off to bed now – it’s already WAY late since I need to be up in less than 5 hours.

High: 19
Low: 9
Current: 10

The 10th Mountain Division Band presents. . . .

A Holiday Concert!

Ryan was up and out early this morning as he was supposed to work. Shortly after I woke up (thanks to my Robbie-alarm), Ryan texted me to let me know he was on his way home. This was like 8:15. They were supposed to be doing an install for Lowe’s and it got done yesterday and no one let Ryan’s boss know. So when he got home, we went to the Golden Unicorn for their breakfast buffet and then out to post to get a toy for Robbie for his Christmas party at daycare on Monday. They drew names, so got a gift for that. Then we made a stop at the grocery store on our way home to get stuff for our church potluck tomorrow and so I can make green bean casserole for my band Christmas party Monday evening.

Once we got home, we played for a little while and then Robbie went down for an early nap. I got my uniform (Dress Blues) set up and got some boxes wrapped. They were for “presents” around the 2 Christmas trees that are decorations for the concert. ThenI played some games on my computer and one game took me 15 minutes to play because I kept dozing off. I decided I should probably take a nap so I went upstairs and laid down for a while. Ryan was already asleep on the couch. When I woke up, our neighbor lady had been here – the one I made the scarf for. She made us some muffins and had a present for Robbie – a soft baseball. He really liked that, and I thought it was really nice of her to bring us muffins! They’ll be good for breakfast tomorrow morning.

We got ready and headed out around 4:15 and went to McDonald’s for supper. Then we headed to the Indian River Central High School, the site of the concert. They have a BEAUTIFUL auditorium there – seats 1400. We all had to be there by 6, and then I changed into my uniform around 6:20 or so. I got warmed up and at 7 the concert started with the Brass Choir. Then it was the Dixieland Band. And then it was my Brass Quintet. We started with Do You Hear What I Hear? and that went well. Then Little Drummer Boy/Pat-A-Pan. And then we all donned Santa hats for The Twelve Days of Christmas. The melody in this was continually being passed around, and whenever the melody was being played, that person stood up. And then when we got to “Five golden rings” we all stood and SANG it instead of playing it. It took us a few “days” to finally get into a groove with it, but the audience laughed like I expected. It was a lot of fun, and boy were we tired at the end. Then we did the 3 sing-along pieces before intermission. The Division Commanding General gave a few remarks before the intermission. The second half of the concert was the jazz band, complete with juggling. We have a guy in the band that juggles, and he gave a bit of comic relief during the setup for the sax feature and trumpet feature, and then during the piece from the movie Polar Express, “Hot Chocolate,” he juggled more.

We had a lot of fun and the concert went well and was well-attended despite the incoming snow. I even got to sign a couple of autographs for high school students from the school. That was pretty neat. After the concert was done, I “schmoozed” with audience members for a little while (lots commented to me on how well Robbie had behaved) and then went and changed and helped load our equipment on the truck. It was about 9:45 when we headed home. The roads weren’t too bad and it hadn’t really snow a lot yet – there’s plenty more to come according to the forecast. Like 12-24 inches tomorrow. We’ll see. . . .

Robbie went to bed almost as soon as we got home, and I’m about to head that way myself. Those of you who have played and/or sung in concerts before know how much they take out of you.

High: 12 (current temp)
Low: -2