Oct 26, 2010

Proud stamp carrier...

Yesterday, whilst cooking gingerbread, cleaning, and folding loads upon loads of Alexa's laundry I had Dr. Phil on in the background.  I don't particularly like the Dr. Phil show, I find it rather boring and pretentious, but I don't always have much selection of shows to choose from on AFN, so Dr. Phil it was!  While running up and down stairs and back forth to check the oven, I hear them discussing personality tests; spending the majority of the show discussing the Big 5 Factor personality test, which I am particularly familiar with from a Grad school class I took on adult learning.  The Big 5 Factor test take into consideration five broad constructs that are used to determine one's personality; openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion and neuroticism (emotional stability).  Everybody falls along a spectrum within each category and can be used to theorize about one's personality. 

A Professor of psychology from t.u. (hisssssss!) was on the show helping to explain this widely accepted personality test.  While describing conscientiousness he used an example of people who carry stamps with them in their wallet.  Dr. Phil then asked his audience how many people had stamps with them in their purse, approximately 10 people raised their hands and then reached into their purse to pull out their trusty sheet of stamps.  Dr. Phil was shocked that anybody would carry stamps with them, actually stating that he didn't understand why anybody would do such a thing.  The Professor went on to explain that people who score very high in conscientiousness are the type of people that carry around stamps with them and almost always buy extra of things long before they run out of anything!  GUILTY!  I am totally guilty of both!  I proudly carry stamps around with me AND buy multiples of things long before they run out.  I can't for the life of me understand why people wouldn't carry a sheet of stamps in their wallet, its such a small item to have with you, besides what the heck do you do when you spontaneously need to mail something and don't have a stamp with you?!!!  I also can't understand why people actually allow themselves to run out of stuff without having a replacement.  Isn't it so annoying to run out of something and have to wait to finish whatever you were doing until after you run to the store...heaven forbid it should be toilet paper!  Of course this could explain why I will have 4 extra shampoos, 15 bars of soap and 25 cans of rotel acquired before I leave Germany!  Admittedly, the lack of closets and pantry is definitely helping curb my desire to have too many extras of anything, because if its one thing that bothers me more than running out of something, its not having a place for that something to live!

Sep 9, 2010

The beautiful pregnancy myth

I am 26 weeks pregnant now, that means I am about a week away from beginning the 3rd trimester and I think I have finally reached the 'good' part of pregnancy that everybody talks so much about!  Up until now, I must admit that I was starting to hold a little grudge against women everywhere for labeling pregnancy as this 'beautiful, wonderful' thing and conveniently neglecting to mention the true 'beauties' behind pregnancy!

So here it is, the truth behind the beautiful pregnancy myth......

Pregnancy is not glamorous!  The end product of pregnancy is (will be) beautiful and wonderful and I can't wait (OK, I can wait approximately 14 more weeks)!  But the whole pregnancy thing in and of itself is not necessarily all fun and games like the world portrays it.  The first 20 weeks, I couldn't stand the sight of chocolate (can you imagine such an atrocity???) or meat, or food in general.  My body decided to emit odors that were unstoppable by deoderant that wasn't prescription strength.  My hair and face were greasier than a pepperoni pizza....I'm guessing that's the pregnancy 'glow' everyone speaks of...the shine of sunlight  glimmering off the grease harbored on my face!  For several weeks my lower back and hips hurt so badly that I actually thought I may have broken my tailbone.  Then there are the leg cramps that wake you up at night and of course the potty break at midnight, 0300 and 0500!  And I probably shouldn't neglect to mention the hormones that make you cry about things you normally would laugh at, like the fact that nothing fits good!  For approximately 2 months there is this interim period where you are too oddly shapen for your regular clothes but not oddly shapen enough for maternity clothes.  I am still in this phase.  My regular jeans still fit but my normal tops look akward and tight but maternity shirts hang off of me.  I feel like everybody is looking at me wondering if I have a beer belly or if I am pregnant.  I need a shirt that says, "I'm in that is she pregnant or is she fat phase!"

Of course then there is that slight fluttering you feel every couple of hours that reminds you that there is a real human being growing inside of you.  The sheer joy of watching your stomach bounce around while sitting on the couch watching tv as my little one practices her karate!  And the ultrasound appointments where you can get a sneak peek at that adorable little nose and those precious little toes.  And you can't forget about the monthly appointments when you get to hear the thumping heartbeat that makes your own heart beat with delight.  WAIT a minute....I think the 'good' part of pregnancy has already made me forget the multitude of umpleasantries.  Apparently, pregnancy also makes your memory fuzzy....don't say I didn't tell you so!

Sep 8, 2010

Designer Kitchen

Making cookies in my teenie-tiny, essentially counterless kitchen makes me daydream about the GIGANTIC kitchen my husband owes me someday.  After following him around all over the world and cooking out of essentially non-existent kitchens, we have an agreement that when we buy a home it will basically consist of a giant kitchen, with a relatively decent sized bathroom...the rest of the house I couldn't care less about!  I don't care if it even has a living room at all....throw a reclining chair and a tv in the kitchen and you basically have the perfect room!  Afterall, when you have a get together where do all the people end up?  In the kitchen!  So you may as well make it HUGE and comfortable! 

My current kitchen, basically no counterspace at all and limited cabinet space.  I joke with Andrew that when I have a big pregnant belly we won't both fit in there.
Kitchen before we were here, better than our current kitchen, but trust me that kitchen looks MUCH bigger in that picture than it actually was...Andrew and I could barely be in there at the same time!

I don't have any pictures of our first kitchen but it was also small.  Definitely the best of the 3 in terms of cabinet/pantry and counterspace ratio but it certainly was NOT great!  I find myself missing that tiny little Wind Ct. kitchen these days....which tells you just how bad off I really am!

Just a few reasons why American kitchens SIGNIFICANTLY out rank German ones.

#1 - Limited cabinet space.  We had to buy this little doodad and it is packed tight, full of items that didn't fit anywhere not to mention the lot of items that are in the laundry room/storage room downstairs!
#2 - No counterspace!  Really I have zero counterspace in this kitchen.

#3 - Tiny refridgerators!  See that middle compartment that is standing up?  That is a standard German fridge, in America we call that a beer fridge and we outgrow it when we leave college!  In the above picture you can see that the Government lent us an American sized fridge, fortunately.  Which leads me to point....

#4 - No pantry!  I use that tiny dorm fridge as our pantry now....how ridiculous is that???

#5 - Tiny Ovens!  None of my sheet pans fit and it makes me soooooo sad b/c I think my Williams-Sonoma sheet pans make the BEST cookies of all time and sadly they are in a box in the garage :(

 #6 - No closet to store the plethora of recycling bins you need to sort your trash.

#7 - The ridiculously small German sinks that are one sided.  I think it may be the dumbest thing ever!  It is so hard to handwash dishes with only one side available, so difficult and needless!

Aug 29, 2010


A dependent.  That is what the Army calls me.  I have never liked that term, in fact I hate it!  I find the term degrading and considering what Army wives handle and overcome on a daily basis I think the term is by no means an accurate description.  Family member would be a much more appropriate and less condecending way to refer to me as a beneficiary.

The Army has come a long way in its acceptance of 'dependents.'  The old adage, "if the Army wanted you to have a wife they would have issued one," no longer rings true and now they have many programs such as the Army Family Covenant that are designed to ensure that family members are guaranteed a certain level of mutual support from the Department of the Army.  Millions and millions of dollars each year are spent to ensure that Army families are taken care of.  As a whole I am incredibly grateful for the strides that have been made to support, assist and guide the Army spouse during this incredibly intense wartime Army.  Programs such as MWR (Morale,Welfare, and Recreation), ACS (Army Community Services), MFLC (Military Family Life Consultants), and additional Chaplain services are all created and funded to include supporting the Army family.  There are many, many great benefits that a military famiy has the opportunity to take advantage of, the list could seriously go on and on but for expediancy sake just trust me.

All of these programs are great and as I have already stated onn a personal level I am grateful.  At a "Pre-Deployment" briefing the other night a CYSS (Child and Youth Services, I don't know what the last S is for) representative came to speak to us and detail the additional benefits that family members receive while their Soldier is deployed.  On a whole, it was a nice, informative briefing.  The representative said one thing however, that I just whole heartedly do not agree with and hearing people say such a thing just irks me to no avail!  She was mentioning how important it is to have your children registered with CYSS, even if you don't intend to use it, so that in the case of an emergency they would have the possibility to help out.  She then went on to say that if you aren't registered however and need assistance during an emergency that the responsibility falls back on to the unit to take care of children during an emergency if the parent is unable to.  I wanted to stand up in the middle of the meeting and shout, "NO!  It is not the unit's responsibility to watch your children, it is the unit's responsibility to adequately prepare the Soldier's for their mission, it is the parent's responsiblity to take care of their OWN children!" 

Over the last few years of FRG (family readiness group) volunteering, I have seen plenty of self-reliant, capable families.  I have however, seen many of the opposite as well.  The role of the FRG is to provide resources, information, and to serve as an organization to support and encourage self reliance and prepardeness.  I honestly believe that is the point of every service the Army has created, to develop self reliant, self sufficient families so that while Soldiers are training or down range they don't have to worry about their families on the homefront.  The premise is simple, if families are taken care of, service members can focus on the mission at hand.  All of these well intended programs however, have consequently reduced the readiness of some families and instead of creating self-sufficient, capable families they have created needy, helpless families that rely on the Army to take care of their EVERY need!  Seriously, I hear countless stories of families EXPECTING the Army to take care of them and their families every need; from childcare to rides to spouses Doctor's appointments.  What other job in the world would you expect your spouses employer to give you a ride to your Doctor's appointment?  What job in the world would send personnel to somebody's house to watch their kids so they can do laundry?  Some people actually expect that it is the Army's job to give them rides, watch their kids, fill out their paperwork and clean their houses.  This crazy sense of entitlement and the Army's reluctance to say, "no" has created a segment of Army spouses that are no longer the strong empowered, self-reliant Army spouses that I have known to grow and love but rather the needy, helpless, Army spouse that gives reason for the continued usage of the term, "dependent."

I wrote the previous post several days ago and for some reason it didn't publish.  After having an individual suggest that I was not compassionate because of my beliefs on this issue, I feel the need for an addendum to this post.....

On a personal note I have immense compassion for Army families that are going through difficult times or the young Army family that are 18 or 19 years old, just married with kids, who are trying to adjust to being an adult, being married and being a parent and simultaneously are tackling the crazy Army life.  As an individual I LOVE to help out, mentor and engage with Army families that need guidance, love or support.  My point is that, as an individual, a friend, a fellow Army spouse I am willing to do things for people that as an agent of the unit or FRG I feel goes WAY beyond any obligation the unit owes the family members.  The Army and the unit have an obligation to the families to adequately train and prepare their loved ones for combat.  They also have an obligation to provide accurate information to the families regarding training events, time away, days off, etc.  The unit does NOT however, have an obligation to watch your children so you can do laundry, shop for groceries, clean your house or take a nap!  Call me compassionless, I call it the truth!

Aug 15, 2010

It's a GIRL!

I wanted a fun way to tell our families about the sex of the baby and I particularly wanted some cool way to tell my super fun neices and nephew whether they could expect a boy cousin or a little girl cousin. So I decdied to make scratch-off tickets and mail them to our families before our anatomy scan appointment. When we finally found out what we were having, we called our families and told them which circle to scratch to reveal the sex of the baby. I bought scratch off stickers, printed the cards and then placed the stickers over the words, "boy" and "girl" to make a scratch off ticket.

Jul 8, 2010


Soccer!  I don't like it, I don't understand and if I am being perfectly honest (and really why wouldn't I be, it is MY blog after all) I equate it to an elementary game of keep away chartered by all the "cool" kids who used to sit around outside the bandhall passing time by playing hacky-sack.  But that is probably an insult to both the game of keep away and hacky sack, both of which I secretly enjoy (and to continue with the honesty thing, I was in the band too).

For the past month I have been stuck in soccer mania, aka....Europe during the World Cup!  For those of you who haven't been following the World Cup (and really I wouldn't know this stuff if I wasn't stuck LIVING amidst the soccer feens) Germany made it to the final four.  Which really calling it the "final four" would be just too cool of terminology for soccer, I belive they call it the "semi-finals"....LAME!  I never watched a single game of the World Cup, a fact in which I am quite proud, but I ALWAYS knew what was going on based on what flags were being waved around my neighborhood, the amount of horn honking, and the triumphant tune of vuvuzela's.  (Vuvuzelas being the obnoxious horns that the soccer fans blow during the ENTIRE game, because yelling for your team enthusiastically isn't enough for soccer fans apparently) 

I have been in Germany for 5 months now (WOW 5 months!) and had yet to see a single German flag flying outside of houses until the World Cup rolls around and suddenly there are red, black and yellow flags EVERYWHERE....on cars, hanging outside every window, on light poles, on tents, they are seriously everywhere!  The majority of German cars even had little sideview mirror covers that looked like little German flags!  It is crazy!

Sadly, Germany lost in the 'semi-finals' last night and thus ends their World Cup dream dashing the hopes and dreams of millions of optimistic Germans.  Although the mood in Germany is somber today, there is one little girl discreetly celebrating that this World Cup mania is finally drawing to an end and the baritone sound of vuvuzelas along with the cold, uncomfortable stares from strangers as I walk the dog while they watch the game under their giant party tents can finally cease!

Jul 2, 2010

So as it turns out I am a very bad blogger!  This is me trying to jump back on the blogging bandwagon...

Andrew and I visited Scotland for 10 days, where we met Andrew's family and toured the exceptionally beautiful country of Scotland.  That is another post for another day though.

This post is an update about my new found love and slight addiction to grapefruits!  I have always enjoyed a plump, fresh, juicy grapefruit for breakfast every now and again, but recently its all I want every morning!  Aside from grapefruit, I have always liked most all fruit (minus apples and pears, their texture..yuck!) but since being pregnant I have found the new, healthy habit of caring fruit around with me in my purse for whenever I need a snack.  At the top of my favorite snack fruit list are oranges and nectarines...YUM!  I seriously can not believe how much I crave fruit, this has never happened before.  Up until about a week ago the thought of chocolate, ice cream or other sweet things that were not either fruity or gummy (not to be confused with fruit gum as I hate chewing gum) totally repulsed me.  I still prefer a good Starburst, fruit by the foot, or Fruit Gushers over a candy bar, but the slight gagging sensation whenever I see a KitKat or Snickers bar has seemingly diminshed over the past week.  Hopefully I have reached the 'good' part of the 2nd trimester that I hear so much about.

Since finding out I was pregnant, I have lost 17lbs which my Doctor was none too excited about yesterday at my appointment.  When they weighed me yesterday, I could hear the sound of screeching tires and the Doctors and nurses blood pressure rising as they double and triple verified my weight.  I went into the appointment knowing that I was going to get yelled at about my weight, in fact I called my Mom freaking out about it after weighing myself on the Wii 3 days ago.  Of course my Mom tells me to get to eating, this coming from a lady who ended up not gaining ANY weight with her first born.  I think I come from a family who just loses weight while pregnant, my sister Amy lost 20lbs with her first before starting to gain any weight!  I just seem to be following right in their footsteps.

Of course at my appointment yesterday, which pretty much revolved around my weight, minus the brief break in weight discourse to listen to my little ones heartbeat, the Doctor told me since I have finally started feeling better I should expect to gain 25lbs from my start weight.  I do the math in my head and ask, "So you want me to gain 42lbs by December???!!!!"  And my Doctory quite calmly looks at me and says, "No, I want you to gain 42lbs by December 16th!"  How kind of you to give me those extra 2 weeks! 

Can anybody please explain to me why, if normally they want you to gain 25lbs while pregnant, if you lose weight they want you to gain back to your original weight before gaining the 25 pounds?  It just does not make any sense to me.  Either way, I am on an all-you-can-eat diet so I can start chipping away at those 42 lbs!  Now if only meat would start sounding, smelling, and tasting good again!