It was cold and drizzly this morning and never really warmed up much. I got lunches packed and breakfast made and then we walked Robert to school. I had a bit of computer time before heading to work. After formation, we had to go out in the cold off-and-on drizzle and do a police call and pick up trash and stuff since some high-ups are coming to visit post tomorrow. That was not fun and it was cold. I hadn’t brought any gloves or cold-weather clothing. I figured I walk from the house to the van and from the van to work and then the band hall is super warm. But we got it done. During the picking up, I found a skull and carried it with me for the rest of the time and then brought it home at the end of the day. Oh, I should probably mention that it was styrofoam – probably a discarded Halloween decoration. It wasn’t a real skull, but I did have some fun with it while we were out walking around. After we all had warmed up a bit, we had concert band rehearsal for the rest of the morning. Then during lunch, I talked to First Sergeant about Admin stuff for a little while, and then I ate and played on the computer. After lunch I spent the whole afternoon doing Admin stuff and got quite a bit accomplished. Then I came home via a stop at the gas station. We went and got Robert from school and then I made spaghetti for dinner. It was really good. After we got cleaned up, we got Robert to bed and then I stitched for a while.

Today’s high: 44
Current: 40

Here is our Christmas tree. . .
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Cold, Rainy Sunday

This morning was cold. We slept in a little, but we were all up well in time to get me to church for 1030 for choir warm-ups for the 1100 service. The service was really nice – First Sunday of Advent! – and the choir sounded good. Robert came and sat with me after Communion as usual. After church, we stopped at home quick for me to get the grocery list and my wallet and then we headed out to post. We ate lunch at Jeannie’s Diner and then went and did grocery shopping at the commissary. I had planned on going for a 17-18 mile run after that, but it was about 45 degrees and raining. I can deal with running in the rain. I can deal with running in the cold. I cannot, however, deal with running in the cold rain. So I got a lot of stuff done around the house instead – put the groceries away (of course), cleaned the litter box, emptied the dishwasher, and finished 2 cross stitch projects. I had planned on doing laundry as well, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. We went to Walmart for a few things and then to Lowe’s where we got a really neat outdoor Christmas decoration. I called Mom & Dad and also got to talk to Rick since he was home for the Thanksgiving weekend! Once we got home, we had our ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s from the commissary) for dinner. I finished reconstructing my running log – the file decided to corrupt itself this morning when I tried to access it. Then I stitched and watch Tivo.

Today’s high: 50
Current: 41

Extra long travel day

We got up this morning – 2 hours after the alarm went off. We kind of overslept. So we headed down to breakfast, but after we saw what they didn’t really have, we headed back to the room and got packed up and checked out. We went and found a Waffle House, but the first one we went to (GPS directions) wasn’t a Waffle House anymore. So we found another one and had a good breakfast there – good foodwise, but not so much service wise. And then we got on the road and headed home. We were still about 50 miles or so from Tucson and the traffic came to a halt. Ok, we crept forward a little at a time. Ryan and I had fun looking at the trash in the median – lots of interesting stuff – covers to coolers, trash cans, and plastic storage bins (think Rubbermaid containers), tons of hubcaps, sneakers, a bunch of clothes & shoes(I think they must have had them not quite secured in a Rubbermaid container on their roof or back of truck and there went the clothes – and the container), an Army PT mat (that Ryan wanted to stop and pick up and I wish we had), bottles of "unknown" liquid, 2 license plates, and lots of other stuff. There was a lot of blowing dust, so that maybe was part of the problem. It took us about an hour to go about 6 miles. By the time we got to Tucson, we had to make a bathroom/snack stop. We finally got back and picked Robert up almost 2 hours later than we had planned – it took us over 4 hours to get back from Phoenix instead of the usual about 3. But I had been texting JB to let him know what was going on, so it was all good. After we picked Robert up, we went to the PX for a little bit and I got some Christmas cards. Then it was home for a little while before heading to Taco Bell for dinner. After we ate, we went to the nearby pet store to get filters for our cat water thing and then to the bookstore just to look. Then it was home for the evening. After Robert was in bed, I finally got caught up on newspapers, and we almost got caught up on Tivo’ed shows. After I finished the newspapers, I knitted for a little bit – I had stitched for 4 hours in the car during the ride from Phoenix.

Current temp: 51 We are under a Winter Storm Watch from tomorrow (Sunday) evening through Monday afternoon above 5000 feet. We’re at 4600 feet, so we may get a few flakes of snow.

Update: I just saw on the news about our traffic problems. There were at least 5 accidents in the area while we were driving through, including one that claimed two lives. It was a pretty bad dust storm.

Silence. . . . . . . I keel you!!!

Today was the day Ryan got to find out what his surprise was. But not first thing in the morning. I slept until about 0900 – did NOT sleep good so I didn’t get up for my 5 mile run. Robert and I had Eggos for breakfast and then I did computer stuff for a while. Shortly after 1100, Ryan and I got our laptops packed up and a change of clothes for tomorrow and toiletries, and I helped Robert pack his backpack and we headed out. We stopped at Child Time to get Robert registered for their after school program. While I was taking care of the paperwork with the director, Robert took Daddy to see his classroom (the director said it was ok, and there was no one in there today). Then we went went to the Post Office (be on the lookout, Dad). And then it was off to post to bring Robert to J & M’s where he would be staying. They have 3 kids – 6 year old boy, 3 year old girl, and a 6 month old boy. Robert hit it off with the kids right away and we chatted with J & M for a little while and then we headed out.

After a stop at the shoppette for gas, we headed north. At this point Ryan still didn’t know we were even going to Phoenix. He asked eventually and I told him. So we got here and got checked into the hotel – a really nice one and only $60 for the night!! King sized bed and lots of floor space – a hotel room that you can actually walk around in. LOL We relaxed for a while and then headed to the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. It was only a couple of blocks away, so we walked there. That was some good spaghetti!! We had thought about walking to the U.S. Airways Center a mile and a half away, but then we decided to take the Metro. There was a stop right across from the restaurant, so we went there. That was fun! We only had to go about 4 stops or so, but it was nice.

At this point, Ryan still didn’t know where we were going. Once we got to the arena, he saw it on the marquis sign – Jeff Dunham – and he decided that it was a pretty cool surprise. While we were waiting to get in, we chatted with C & B R. Both of them are in the band – and yes, I knew they were going, so I was kind of looking for them. OH – before we saw them, we were over talking to a police officer. Nothing bad or wrong – just because he of the horseback variety!! He had a very pretty horse. So C & B and us talked until the doors opened and then we walked in together. But we got in the souvenir line and they went to their seats, two sections away from ours. We got some Christmas ornaments of all of Jeff Dunham’s characters (Achmed the Dead Terrorst, Bubba J, Walter, and Peanut), and an Achmed sweatshirt for each of us. The show was AWESOME and Ryan was laughing so hard at some points that I had to tell him to breathe. Those of you who have heard him laugh know what I’m talking about. It started at 8, actually about 8:15, and lasted until probably 10:30 or 10:45, so well worth the money! We headed to the train station and got there just as the train did so we didn’t have to wait. We were back to our hotel by 2300. We were probably back to the hotel before some people had found their cars in the parking garage. We were both hungry since dinner was quite early, so we got a little bit of food from Pizza Hut – ordered online and delivered right to our hotel room.

P.S. – If you don’t understand my subject, it’s one of the things Achmed says.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for? I’m thankful for a wonderful, loving, handsome husband, a handsome and smart son, and all the rest of my family that I can’t be with today. I can’t wait til Christmas, even though it means driving 2200 miles to be home. I’m also thankful for all my MANY friends, both near and far! I’m thankful for a wonderful job with awesome benefits. I’m thankful for my freedom.

After sleeping in (we all did), I started my day with a 7.54 mile run in 1:31:51, a 12:11 pace. It was a bit slower than I would have liked, but it took me almost 3 miles to get into "the zone" and I had to take 2 walk breaks. But it still felt good and it was a great way to start Thanksgiving! After I got home and changed, I did my e-mail and facebook and message boards and then we headed to the Legion for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a free dinner, but they were accepting donations so we donated to help out. They had turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and rolls and cranberry sauce and salad and several different kinds of pies for dessert. It was all really good and we all ate way too much. I had my one piece of pumpkin pie for the year. We enjoyed watching the Packers kill the Lions while we ate. Yay for Thanksgiving Day football!

Once we were home, the fun began! Ryan got our Christmas tree (of the artificial and pre-lit variety) out of our storage shed and got it assembled and "fluffed". He brought in the box of ornaments from the garage and Robert and I decorated the tree. Of course, the tree is topped with Ryan’s grandmother’s angel. The tree looks really pretty – I’ll get pics soon. We watched Home Alone. When that was over, we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – we had Tivo’ed it. Not super impressed. They do entirely too much talking and WAY not enough actual showing of the parade. And they cut to commercial everytime there was a marching band. Booooo on CBS. We did let Robert stay up late to watch the parade. Shortly after we started watching it – "Mommy, I’m hungry. When are we going to have dinner?" So I made him a grilled cheese sandwich. He was about three bites from being done "Can I have another one please?" Good grief!! And he ate quite a bit at the Legion. So Ryan made him a second sandwich. That made his tummy happy. After the parade was done, about 9, he went to bed. I crocheted on a Christmas present. I’m almost done with that one. Time for bed now.

Today’s high: 64
Current: 53

A ceremony, a skit, a feast, formation, a nap, choir, and church

This morning I had to leave a little early so I wasn’t able to walk Robert to school. He didn’t need lunch packed, so that freed up a tiny bit of my morning time. I was in Class A uniform when I left and headed to the little chapel where the Brass Quintet played for a graduation ceremony. After the ceremony was done, I headed home to change and then Ryan and I headed to Robert’s school to watch his class’ skit. All the kids were super cute and they all did a really good job with their lines. Robert stood tall and proud when he said "The Indians brought corn for the Pilgrims." I had planned on videoing the whole thing but about 3 kids in, my batteries on my camera died. Luckily Ryan had his camera also, so he got most of it on video. Then after the kids were done, they went back to their classroom to take off their "costumes" and then they went out for recess. Four moms (including me) and a dad helped set up for the Thanksgiving feast – we poured apple juice, and put turkey, rolls, applesauce, nuts, and carrots on their plates, and one of the other moms and I cut the pumpkin pies and got the pieces on the plates. Then the kids came back in from recess and got their hands washed and sat down at the table. Their teacher went around the room and each child had to say something they were thankful for – Robert said "I’m thankful for my Mommy and my Daddy." Then they got to eat – and I had to leave so I could get back to post for our safety briefing and release formation.

I was at work for maybe 20 minutes or so before heading home again. I had planned on going for a run, but I listened to my body instead and took a nap – a 2-3 hour nap. I hope I can sleep tonight. I felt a lot better when I woke up though, so that’s a good thing. After my nap, I played on my computer for a little bit and then went and got Robert from school. He had another "toilet incident" (aka potty accident) and is no longer allowed to go to Kids World. They have a 3 strikes policy, and he already had his 3rd strike a few weeks ago. I talked to the director and he was allowed back in with the stipulation that if he had another accident, he couldn’t attend again until 1st grade. So he’s done with that. I don’t necessarily agree with their policy – kindergartners are going to have accidents once in a while. Luckily there’s a daycare about a mile from our house that does before and after school care, and they have a bus that picks up the kids after school. It’s more expensive, but it’s pretty much our only option. So Robert and I went there to check it out and got the application forms and everything. It’s a really nice place and I think he’ll do well there. One of his friends from school goes there, so he already has one friend and I know he’ll make more with no problem. Once we were done there, we went to McDonald’s for a quick dinner before heading to the church. I had choir practice at 1800 and then Thanksgiving Eve church service at 1900. Robert was very good during both rehearsal and the service (Ryan had a Legion meeting, so that’s where he was) and the choir members all complimented me and him on his behavior.

Then it was home to get Robert to bed and then I crocheted for a little bit. I need to go to bed now, too, but I need to be tired first. Darn nap.

Today’s high: 66
Current: 53

Click here for Pictures of Robert’s Thanksgiving Skit and Feast

Turn your volume UP so you can hear the kids.

Ceremony & Rehearsal

Typical morning.. . . After formation, I got my trombone out and music ready for a ceremony. Bravo Team (the ceremonial ensemble) was a bit short on personnel this morning due to Soldiers going to a promotion board and other things, so I sat in for them as the only trombone player. We played for an NCO Induction Ceremony. It was a really neat ceremony to induct new (and some not-so-new) NCOs into the Corps of the Noncommissioned Officer. It was almost an hour long, but we were seated indoors, so it wasn’t bad. Once back to the band hall, I did a vehicle inspection for my Soldier and he inspected my vehicle (he’s an NCO, so he can do that) in preparation for the holiday weekend. By then it was lunch time, so I ate and played on the computer and stitched for a little bit. But more importantly, I got our claim for our damaged household goods done – there was a website I had to go to in order to finish the claim. After lunch was another good concert band rehearsal and then we were done for the day. I was finally able to do a little bit of Admin work – not much to do today. Then I headed home. The house sure smelled good when I got home. I had put the makings of chili in the crock pot this morning and after simmering all day, it smelled wonderful!! I made some jalapeno corn bread muffins to go with it and Ryan went and got Robert from school on the bike. Dinner was really really good. Or as Ryan replied to my status message on Facebook. . . "That was some GOOD GOOD AWESOME GREAT CHILI". I think he liked it. Then we played for a while before reading time and then Robert got ready for bed. It was Ryan’s night to tuck him in, so I was able to get to my crocheting a little earlier. I worked on a Christmas present again.

Today’s high: 66
Current: 54

Good rehearsals and a good run

We have our morning routine down to a science – get dressed, pack lunches, make/eat breakfast, walk Robert to school. After he was at school I checked my e-mail and message boards and Facebook before I headed to work. After formation, we got ready for group rehearsals. All brass were in the rehearsal hall and we had a pretty good rehearsal this morning. Then I had some time for some Admin work. During lunch, I ate and stitched and played on the computer. Then the afternoon was spent in a really good concert band rehearsal. And then a bit more Admin work before heading home for the day. Once home, I got changed quick and headed out for a 5.12 mile run. It was a really good run, and only took me 54:39 (10:40 pace). It was about a perfect temperature for an after-work run and I felt really good both during and after. It’s amazing how good you feel after a run!! I got home just in time to go get Robert from school – Ryan was working Monday Night Football dinner at the Legion again. Once home, Robert and I made mac & cheese for dinner. That was good. Then we read his books and played for a while before cleaning up for bed. He read almost all of his bedtime book by himself!! Once he was in bed, I started crocheting on Christmas presents. I just wasn’t in the mood to cross stitch tonight.

Today’s high: 69
Current: 52

Church, Sunday School, Church and more

This morning I was up early and ready for church. I had to be at church at 0730 for choir warm ups for the 0800 service. I left after the lessons and headed home for a little bit. Then I headed back with Robert for Sunday School at 0930. After Sunday School opening was done, I headed home again and I got a little bit of stitching done before heading back for choir warm ups at 1030. Ryan was with this time and he picked Robert up from Sunday School and went to church. Robert came and sat with me in the choir area after the offering. The choir ladies always enjoy when he comes and sits with us. After church we headed to the mall for Festival of Trees. They have lots of Christmas trees all decorated in various ways and they’ll be sold and the money donated to something or other. They also have a charity tree for which you can purchase ornaments. We bought $3 worth of ornaments and put them on the tree. The tree will be given to a military family that arrives just before Christmas. Then after we walked around the mall (it takes like 10 minutes), we ate lunch at A&W. Then it was home to watch the final NASCAR race of the season – congrats to Jimmie Johnson on winning his 4th championship in a row and to the Hendrick racing team for placing 1-2-3 in the points standings! I did a couple more batches of laundry, folded yesterday’s laundry, and cleaned Robert’s bathroom. Then I sat and relaxed and stitched until it was time to call Mom & Dad. Once I was done on the phone with them, we went to Dairy Queen for dinner of ice cream. Once home, Ryan helped Robert finish up his train set (Thomas the Train) in his room now that it’s clean. Our overstuffed chair from the living room is also now in Robert’s room for his reading/cuddling chair. Our living room looks a little bare, but after Thursday our Christmas tree will be there. After Robert had played with his train for a little while, he got his teeth brushed and ready for bed. After I had read to him and tucked him in, I got caught up on the newspapers and then stitched for a little bit more. Time for bed now. . .

Today’s high: 70
Current: 53

17 minus 6.5

We all slept in some this morning – slept through alarms all around. Therefore I didn’t leave out for my run until 1000. I had 17 miles planned, but my body had other plans after fighting the sinus infection all week. I did go 10.5 miles in 2:20:55. So I’ll count this as last week’s 11 and then just go from there. When I got home, the guys were still at the Legion – they had gone for breakfast. Well, I figured they’d be home well before I was so I didn’t take a house key with me. Not good – until I noticed that the van never got locked last night! I was able to open the garage door from the van and get in the house that way. The guys got home shortly after I did. Then I took a nice long shower and relaxed for a little while – checked my e-mail and message boards, etc. After a while we went to the grocery store to do the weekly shopping. It wasn’t quite the zoo that it was last week when Robert and I went, but it was still pretty busy in there. And I think everyone must have been buying milk. There was nothing in the coolers, but a store guy finally went back there and started restocking the milk – after Ryan had to track someone down so we could get milk. After we got home, I got the groceries put away and then we started cleaning. Ryan went through the two boxes that have been in Robert’s room, and he started getting all his cars and train stuff and everything put away. I helped him with his books and got them all back on the bookcase. His room is looking a lot better, and we’ll finish tomorrow and then he’s getting our big overstuffed chair in his room – for a reading/cuddling chair, but also so we’ll have room for a Christmas tree. I also did a couple of batches of laundry. I made dinner – and it was kind of late, so after dinner, it was pretty much bedtime for Robert. Once he was in bed, I stitched for a while and finished an exchange piece that I’ve been working on.

Today’s high: 73
Current: 51