Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Things are moving fast

Well finally it looks like we are seeing some progress on Richards retirement, we got the initial paperwork back from Fort Lewis, Richard signed it and now it gets sent back to a rating.  They tell us this can take up to 6 weeks, but some have been coming back in as little as three, what that ends up meaning is we could be done as early as the end on January.  We have stepped up our house hunt and are now actually working with a realtor to have things narrowed down before we get there, with any luck we will only have to stay in a motel for a couple weeks while we look at the houses and determine what we want to do.
I found two perfect houses now, they both had exactly what we are looking for, are in the price we want to spend, but of course we cannot buy one now so I can only hope we will still be able to find what we are looking for once we have an actual move date.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just to busy

I have not posted in such a long time, because I simply do not have any extra time these days. 
I agreed in June to take on the GM job at the airport while they looked for someone to take over (my plan had been to quit in June and go to school full time) then I agreed to put in for the job after all my employees kept asking me to, I interviewed, cleaned up the station, helped finish an investigation, worked A LOT, finished up my volunteer position with the FRG, spent a week at the hospital with Richard as he had some health issues, my GPA dropped from 3.82 to 3.60 (not good) and I dropped my next set of classes to concentrate on work with the hope that I would soon get a break.  Instead what I got was a phone call telling me they had decided to bring in someone else, I was the second choice and had she not come along it would have been mine, and I was next in line.  And they wanted me to stay on and work on some special projects with her.
After I got over the initial shock and hurt I was semi relieved and again thought now I can quit and take care of some family issues, school etc. but no instead I asked for military FMLA to give me a few months to see if I could come up with some balance before I left for good, but they turned it down since the Army is not (understandably) willing to turn over all over Richards medical records to civilians, so instead I worked a deal where I could work a reduced schedule, train the new girl and have more time to take care of my needs.
The best laid plans seem to rarely work and I am now working everyday, even if I am not supposed to be there I am getting called in for something, the new girl is struggling to catch on, most of my employees have either given notice or are actively looking for new jobs, they are upset and unhappy at work, I am stressed all the time, Richard wants me to quit, I want to as well but at the sametime I am concerned about money and making sure we are pretty much debt free prior to his retirement so it is a hard choice, and evertime I think I have made it I second guess myself, I know I just need to make up my mind and stick with it, but I am not a quiter, I am worried about leaving my employees, I am worried about money, I guess I am just worried about everything all the time...no fun!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Could the Army give me a break PLEASE!

In January Richard decided he wanted to retire, after 21 years in the Army he was ready to move on, leave it to a younger generation, settle down and stay in one place I agreed and so we started the process, our plan was to retire in October of 2011 at that point he would have served 22 years.  during the initial process a doctor told Richard he was going to insist he have a med board, based on his medical history, problems developed while in service etc. we were not sure we wanted to do this but after researching decided that yes that would be the best way to go.  We were told this takes 230 days, we would still be close to our goal of Oct. and hoped to leave Fort Riley as early as Aug with leave time etc.
About a week ago (on day 132 of the process) Richard got a call that he was to attend a mandatory briefing about med boards there he was told the Army is stream lining, they are going to combine the process and let the VA handle everything from here on out, so all his appointments now have to be repeated and this process takes 295 days, this was day 1!!!! That puts us into March of next year before we can leave, he will have served 23 years by then, the kids will be 2 months from the end of next years school, I am not thrilled about moving them with only 2 months of school left and once the process is done we will loose our house so staying an extra 2 months in not an option.  I was pretty depressed for a couple days, everything was based on moving this year and because it is the Army I had figured it may be as late as November but never thought it would take until March!  Our plan had been for me to quit working in June or July get ready to move and then go to school full time once we were moved.
After I got over my initial depression of not moving as quick as I wanted I decided to make the best of it, I decided to sign up for some classes here and we went in to see about transfering Richards GI bill over to me, our plan was that would pay for my masters degree.
Well....It seems as now the Army has also changed the rules on that, now if you had served 19 years or less on August 2009 (Richard 20 years was Oct 2009) so he is considered 19, you have to agree to serve one more full year in order to transfer your GI bill, well he can't agree to that because the Army initiated the med board AND he times out at 23 years meaning he would have to promote or get out at 23 years, there is nothing he can do to promote it is all done by needs of the Army at his rank and his MOS is being fased out there are only 230 people in the ENTIRE Army who have made his rank with his MOS so to go above that is next to impossible, and with is medical profile making his non deployable at this time his choices are limited.  Without that money we cannot afford a masters program everything was based on transfering that to me, moving, retiring, and finally getting to decide for oursleves what we were going to do, but it seems now that even with retirement around the corner our choices are not our own.
Richard still has to call the VA see if there are any loop holes so I have not given up completaly and in the meantime I do qualify to take free classes at the university here but I have to take the day classes in the classroom, if I want to get them for free so that will make it a little more challenging with work, however we have determined we will somehow make that work, I hope it does!!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Washington DC

Richard is in DC at Walter Reed Army hospital for a month doing a Gulf War Syndrome study so the girls and I flew up last weekend to visit him.  Since we fly for almost free and the Army as providing the room it was a pretty cheap and fun weekend get a way. 
The first day the girls and I got off the train at Arlington on our way to the hotel, I love how all the magnolia trees were in full bloom, they were gorgeous.  We did not spen as much time there as I would have liked since it started to rain pretty hard, but did make sure the girls saw the changing of the guard and the eternal flame at JFK's gravesite.
 On Saturday we headed downtown for a big action packed day, we did lots in just one day, four Smithsonians, all the monuments, outside of white house and capital building, everyone was tired by the end of the day but we had a great time.
 Loved this fountain, it is outside the American Indian museum, was not really impressed with the museum, honestaly I have seen more stuff on the actual reservations then I saw there, but still worth a quick walk through.
 coming out of the air and space museum (this one was well worth the trip) we got stopped by CNN they interviewed the girls and Richard on their thoughts on the budget (this was the day after they finally passed it) we searched everywhere to find the interview on line but no luck so far, still pretty cool for the girls though.
Everyone had a wonderful time and Saturdays weather was perfect, now we are just counting down the days until Richard is back home.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Memories of my Grandma

My Grandmother just turned 90, on her birthdays we try to write down out favorite memories of her and we place them in a memory book for her.  In looking back over my life I find that there are to many wonderful memories of her to narrow it down to just one or two.
As long as I can remember my Grandmother sang to us, we loved to hear her sing, I still love to sit close as she rocks the newest babies of the family and sings to them.  When I got older I realized many of the songs were pretty morbid, but we loved them anyway, or maybe it was just hearing her voice we loved.  There was the bear song (the bear gets killed by a hunter) the prison wall song (he flies over the walls after his execution) Red wing (my favorite) they both drown swimming to meet each other, Mr Dunderbeck gets ground into sausage one night by his wife while she has a nightmare, one of the two little boys gets wounded in the war.

From my Grandma I learned not only to quilt but to love it, when I was very little I played under the quilt frames, when I got older I learned to tie a quilt and then she taught me to quilt, there was always a quilt on a frame ready to be worked on.
I learned to love and trace family history, Gram spent hours telling me family stories, and teaching me how to look up information, or helping me copy her pages.
Grandma's house has always been a sanctuary for me, many years of my childhood were not the most pleasant but whenever we were at Grams the world was a better place, to this day grams house is a place where nothing else in the world matters, all the stress and worries just melt away and it is a place where the outside world does not matter.
I loved going to the ballet with Gram, it was a treat sitting next to her, because she always kept treats in her purse, we had to open the candy sticks really quiet so we did not bother anyone sitting next to us.
Grandma loves turquise jewelry and once when I had on a new necklace I was showing her she ran off to the house and came back out wearing what must have been 90% of her turquiose, she had at least 2 rings on over finger, several necklaces and bracelets that she showed off to me and then told me the story behind every piece, it was so cute.
Grandma always made us home made valentines, they were perfect and every year we looked forward to recieving them.
My Grandma wraps the most gorgeous Christmas packages, every package is amazing and it is sometimes hard to open them, they are so pretty, on my tree every year is a bird she had made ribbon wings (to match the ribbon on my pkg) from one of my packages, I can  no longer remember what was in the gift but I remember how much I loved the wrapping.
My house displays many painting my Grandmother has done, she is a talented artist not only with paint, she has also made gorgeous feather and ribbon pictures and wreaths.  She is a talented florist, to this day I love the smell of eucalyptus because it reminds me of going to visit Grandma at the floral shop.
Grandma taught us all about flowers, I remember many nature walks where she would teach us all the different types of flowers.
I have been lucky to be blessed with my Grandmother, I am grateful that not only my children but also my grandchildren have been able to learn from her and to create their own special memories of a lady who has touched many many lives.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Weenie Roast Crittenden style

In my family we have "weenie" roasts, there is a fire pit in the yard of my Grandparents home and we gather there often, we have them to mark the beginning and ending of summer, always on Easter, memorial day and the 4th of July, or just when enough of us show up.  I have lived far away and they are one of the things I miss most about being home.
 While we were home last week we spend quit a bit of time with my Grandparents, on our last visit Grandpa decided to light a fire, not surprising since it was cold outside and the fireplace has always been the center of their home, a place we have all spend numerous hours.  However this fire was different since once it was lit Grandpa sent the kids out to gather up the weenie roasting sticks, he said since it was to cold to roast outside we would bring it inside, so for the first time in all my life we had a good old fashioned Crittenden weenie roast inside.  It was priceless, this was Bella's first one ever she was fasinated with the fire, my kids were all entertained with seeing who could cook the perfect hot dog first and I was just happy to be spending time with Grandparents who have always been such an important part of my life.
 It was a little crowded around the fireplace but somehow everyone got a turn and their fill of food.  Grandpa even made Grams famious punch (of course she had to come try it to see if it needed anything)
 No gathering at my Grandparents would be complete without Grandpa teaching us something, he is a fountain off information and we all love to listen to him teach us new things or tell us "life" stories.  We got a little of both this trip so it was wonderful
 Here he is teaching Levi all the ins and outs of a Spanish pistol, it is a gun that belongs to Stevie's boyfriend, he had us bring it along to have Grandpa look at it, He showed Levi all the ins and outs and then we all got a lesson on old time guns and some history of a few of the guns on display in the house.  These are memories my children will treasure for a lifetime.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas 2010

We had a wonderful Christmas this year, it started bright and early when the CATS woke me up by running over my bed, the kids were up and trying to be quiet in their rooms, I did find it funny that it was the cats not them who were so anxious to get me up.  We did Christmas socks first thing, Jeremy has never had a Christmas sock and Daniel and Richard only started getting them when they became part of the family.  Once we had socks done and were somewhat awake we moved to the living room for gifts.
A long time ago Sienna played with my Raggedy Ann and wore her out so this year Stevie and her family bought me a new one.

It did not take long at all for my living room to be full of paper and boxes, but everyone had a good time and that is part of the joys of Christmas, I have learned to not get so stressed about the mess.
 I received lovely gifts as always.  Mom sent me some books, a gorgeous poinsettia table runner that went perfect on my table to Christmas dinner, she also sent me two more pictures for my "ancestor" wall, this year one that is a copy of a painting my Great Grandpa did of his Dad, and also a picture of MeMaw (my Great Grandma Andelin) when she was about 2 or 3.  My brother Ty had my name this year and send a wonderful set of wind chimes and some lovely scented candles (just what I asked for), Richard and the kids also got me some wind chimes, I love them, though as long as we are in Kansas I keep them inside right by a window so I can hear them in the spring when I can open windows but they do not get blown away and ruined in the awful Kansas wind storms, I also got a robe, slippers, bath stuff and perfume from them.   Richard had intended to buy me a rocking chair I had also wanted but I asked him to wait since we had agreed to spend less on Christmas this year and use the saved money to take the kids to Disney land this Spring.
Stevie and her family always get me a 50 gift card from JC Penny so I can shop the after Christmas sales.  The girls and I went shopping one day and so far I got a sweater 52.00 on sale for 7.97, a bracelet 260.00 on sale for 11.97, I love JC Penny clearance.
Later that afternoon we had some friends over for dinner, one of the Lieutenants who used to work with Richard was moved to a new Battalion and deployed, his wife is such a dear and we have stayed friends, we invited her and her daughter, she is pregnant and unable to travel home to see her own family so we were thrilled they came to spend the day with us.  Also the lady who does the FRG with me, her husband and daughter came as well, they usually go home to Texas but were unable to go this year so it was fun to have them here as well.  We had a great dinner, Sarah is from Utah so she knows how to make funeral potatoes and brought them, and some wine from the last batch they made.   Maureen made green bean casserole, rolls, desserts, and drinks.  We made a ham and a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, so there was plenty of food, great company, and and all around feeling a peace and cheer as Christmas should be.  Hope all of you Christmas's were wonderful as well.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas 'Eve

Christmas Eve was nice this year, all my kids were at the house all night, since that is what I wanted most for Christmas Iwas thrilled.  We of course had to make cookies to leave out for Santa, Sienna decided on ones with Christmas trees since she thought he would like them the most.

I made dinner, we usually have pizza on Christmas Eve but this year we had homemade beef stew with hard rolls, it was really good.  Daniels brother Jeremy was with us this year as well, I think it was a nice for Daniel to have someone from his family here, he has so little family left and he and his brother are very close.  We enjoyed having Jeremy with us, and he fit right in with all the other kids, of course I have known him since he was about 10 so Iguess he really is just like one of the kids.

Mom has started sending the kids gifts she wants them to open on Christmas Eve, usually partof it is books for them to read that night, this year along with the books they got new pajama's ( so they did not get to open the Christmas Eve jammies I got them LOL) I also let them open the gifts their Dad sends them.
We spent the rest of the evening reading the kids new books and watching the new Jim Carey a Christmas Carol, that is my favorite Christmas story and this version turned out nice, the older kids and I enjoyed the story and the younget ones stayed entertained since it was in cartoon type form.

At the end of the night we set up Christmas socks in the family room even though the tree and gifts were in the living room, it turned out easier to do the "Santa" stuff in where we had a bit more room.  Yet again one more reason I am happy to have a formal living room and a family room.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New House

I have been working so much lately that I am very behind on here.  Right before Christmas we moved to our new house.  We got pretty luckily we were moved to a brand new house, it was finished about a week before we moved in.  We were moved to a new neighborhood because our old house was being remodeled (it really needed it) we are now in senior NCO housing so out neighbors are all closer to the same rank as Richard, I don't care about rank, I have meet lots of wonderful people at all different ranks, but it was frustrating to know that all our neighbors were several levels below him, we all had the same house, housing takes all our BAQ so we were paying about 300 more a month for the same house.  With this housing we got some nice upgrades, the floor plans are the same but we have nicer tile, paint, molding, faucets, light fixtures, so it is a nice bonus especially for him after serving so many years.
The new house is only about 200 square feet larger but the floor plan makes it feel a lot bigger. 
I think my favorite part is that I have a formal living room and a family room, I like having one room that is not really used in the front of the house so it is always ready for unexpected visitors no matter what is going on in the rest of the house.
I am also pretty happy with having bigger bathrooms, especially in our room, our last one was so small when we were trying to get ready for work at the same time it was impossible, the garden tub and the laundry room being on the second floor where our laundry actually is ends up being a pretty nice bonus as well