Sunday, April 29, 2012


Yesterday was National Superhero Day and I just felt it necessary to post this picture!  

I considered making a list of my favorite superheroes. I love superhero movies and it stressed me out having to pick an order of my favorite. I mean, they are all awesome {and most are pretty cute too}. Batman, he's at the top of the list. And Iron Man, he's awesome too. Superman is okay, but I really liked Smallville so that pushes him up on the list a little bit. Spidey is cool and I really liked Captain America too. I could go on and on, I need to stop myself!

My absolute favorite are my two superhero kiddos. Jackson is just so funny when he runs into the room and tells me to be careful because the bad guys are coming. He shoots them down with his imaginary guns, hiyas, or spiderwebs {sound effects and all} and will say, "Don't worry Mommy. I'll keep you safe." And if big brother is doing it, so is Belle. She too will cast webs from her wrists {with a "tssss" sound effect} and yesterday she picked up a stick and said, "hiya".

Watch out bad guys! 


Friday, April 27, 2012

My Military Children

April is the month of the military child. I have two military kiddos and I got the idea to interview them {Jackson at least} about what it means to be a military child from a fellow military blogger.

Jackson is kind of young to ask an open ended question like "what does it mean to be a military child?" so I had to break it down a little bit and get him to focus for a minute on this subject.

Is Daddy a soldier? 

What does that mean?
He goes to work in soldier clothes.

What does Daddy do at soldier work?
He keeps us very safe and he works on computers.

What makes Daddy a soldier? 
He puts on soldier clothes. I don't like when he puts on his soldier 
clothes and he goes away. I like when he wears day clothes. 

And he walked away and said he was really sad and he wouldn't talk to me any more about anything. I know we are only a National Guard family; not active duty. And Derek isn't currently nor has he ever been deployed. But it still takes a toll on Jackson-- and all other reserve and guard children.

It's been almost two weeks since Derek's been home and Jackson asks Derek nearly every day how many days he will be gone when Derek leaves for work each morning. Jackson tells him to only be gone for a little bit and to come home that night. I just know that deep down, Jackson is unsure of how long his daddy will be home. And that breaks my heart. I have decided to find a local toddler with a military parent that Jackson could connect with. Maybe I can find one in the yellow pages?

{I wish Katie lived right next door! She is a much more put together military wife and her kiddos are so close to mine! Can I just say I am so grateful for the internet and blogs to help find people to connect with!?} 

I didn't sit down and have a conversation with Belle about being a military child, but her response would be something like this, "Dada. Dada" and then she'd kiss the Daddy doll we have. She's just loves her daddy.

I'm proud of my soldier and I'm super proud of my kiddos. 


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Caller Number Nine

I left class early yesterday. I had just talked talked to Derek on the phone about how we were going to be playing pass-the-kids for the next few days and really not see too much of each other. I hate it when that happens, but some days are just busier than others and they seems to fall together in a big clump once a month.

So, then I’m listening to my radio station and hear: Caller number nine will win concert tickets for tonight. I decided to call in—and I was number nine {something I just have really good luck with}, which led to a whole restructuring of plans for the night, but it was such a fun impromptu date night. 2012-04-25 00.22.382012-04-24 20.26.282012-04-24 20.35.512012-04-24 22.12.32

Miscellaneous thought about the evening:

  • I have really been wanting to include more live music in my life. And so this was a perfect opportunity to start.
  • Amy Lee can sing. I definintely enjoy rock music more when a chick is singing. {And she has an amazing name}
  • I love downtown and any reason to visit. Maybe I’ll be able to convince Derek someday to move into a loft in the city someday.
  • And maybe we’ll start a band when we do. It will be called ACDC, ya know, for our initials. You may think that name is already taken, but instead of having a lightning bolt, there will be a heart in the middle. Totally different.
  • Tuesday date nights that lead to not getting home until after midnight are especially rough at 7:15 the next morning.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Deanna Rose

This post is from last week. I would have had it up earlier, but my writing software has been giving me grief! It’s been totally frustrating. Even so, I’m hoping this works on my dad’s computer. I will be sure to post about my birthday weekend soon!
After coming home on Circle Day, Derek took Monday off to rest up and enjoy some family time before heading back to work. The weather was nice and the sun was shining so we headed out to Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park; one of our favorite family things to do in KC!
First stop: the baby cows. Belle was excited. Some other little girl told her not to scream at the cows. Haha. I just politely told her that Belle wasn’t screaming AT the cows, but just because she screams when she was happy.

The Mama cows were pregnant so we didn’t get to see them milk her like we did last year. Jackson thought that was so cool.

Checking out the teepee.SAM_8485

Next stop: baby goats. We bought a couple of bottles to feed the goats. We were there pretty early so these guys were hungry! I took this series of photos probably within one minute! 2012 April5

Belle enjoyed watching the goats from afar. She didn’t want them coming too close.SAM_8489

She eventually warmed up after watching big brother pet some goats!SAM_8496  SAM_8503

Next: the tractors. Jackson didn’t stay on this red one very long. He wanted a green John Deere. I just didn’t get any pictures!

We fed the fish, who weren’t very hungry so it was kind of disappointing.SAM_8514

Jackson really wanted to do the “digger thing”. I had no idea what he meant until we passed by these. The boy must spend too much time with his Papa.SAM_8517

While Jackson played on the playground, Belle was showing off some cuteness playing peek-a-boo with me.

Checking out the piglets. Jackson’s commentary, “Ew! They stink!”SAM_8533

And then off to the older baby goats {toddlers?}. Jackson likes these ones more now that he’s more their size.SAM_8548SAM_8543

The little goats wouldn’t stop eating my shoes and these guys were eating my shorts. Seriously, that’s the last time we feed the animals first thing in the morning.SAM_8545

We walked around to see the different birds and then the ducks. Belle really liked the ducks. I think it’s because they were close and at her eye level. SAM_8558SAM_8554

My favorite picture spot!!SAM_8563

After getting a picture of the two kids, I told Derek, “we should take a picture!” And this is what I got…SAM_8587

Fortunately he was a bit more cooperative for another!SAM_8588

Then, we ate our picnic lunch.
SAM_8593  SAM_8594

After we ate, Jackson and I ventured out into “the woods”. This reminded me of the backyard of one of my childhood friends and so it was really fun for me {Jackson too, I think!}. We walked across log bridges and followed the creek.

It was a fun morning full of fun! Plus, Deanna Rose is free during the week, so it only cost us $3 for goat/fish food! Can’t beat that!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


When we walked out the door this morning, we were greeted by the very first bloom from my knock-out rose bush! That totally brightened my morning.

I took Jackson to go get his allergy shots. Even though we have switched from going every week to every other week—he doesn’t really know the difference. He really hates it. And it breaks my heart when he cries. I love his doctor’s office though because the ladies love to play with Belle so I can love on Jackson when he needs it. Fortunately the mention of Jimmy John’s cheered him up.

I looooooove Jimmy John’s! And today, they feel the same way about me as they had their subs for $1. Delish.

Jackson kept saying, “Jimmy John’s is like Papa Johne! They match!" I can only imagine his excitement when he figures out that there’s an actually place called Papa John’s {besides my parent’s house!}

The gas light came on in my van on the way to Jimmy John’s so we stopped to get gas. I hate pumping my own gas so I was kinda annoyed, but then I rememebered to use my Price Chopper rewards card. I was less grumpy when I filled up for $3.11/gallon. {thanks Mom for stocking up those rewards!}

I am desperately trying to get the grass to grow in my backyard, so I turned on the sprinkler when we got home. Next thing I know, my kiddos are giggling and soaking wet. It’s waaaaaay to chili for me to play in the water {It’s gonna be like, at least 90 before I want to get wet} but these guys didn’t care. I love watching them play together!

Thursday afternoon is my allocated study time. Derek happened to have a dentist appointment in the early afternoon and when he was done, he came and did some studying of his own {he and his dad are totally into the HAMM radio stuff. nerds.}. It was almost like our undergraduate days… ha, who am I kidding—neither of us actually studied back then!

Our evening was filled with boring housework and laundry. But Derek got out his guitar and we sang some of Jackson's favorite songs. He just thought it was the coolest thing to sing with the guitar! Belle was singing too, but she insisted on being on Derek's lap while he played!

Today wasn’t anything special, just a normal day. But this is our life and this is what I want to remember!

Oh, and Jackson today was signing along to Adele today. Ya know the part that says, “rumor has it… rumor has it…” Well, he was singing, “boomer headick, boomer headick” {right tune, just wrong words}. This TOTALLY had me cracking up in the car. I didn’t correct him.

Sidenote: this would have been so much quicker and easier if I had a modern-day cell phone that supported instagram and other cool apps. My birthday is in two days and a new phone would make a perfect gift!! (ahem).


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Circle Day

First things first… Derek’s home! Yay!


As soon as Jackson woke up this morning, he came into the kitchen, looked at the calendar and asked very energetically, "Is it circle day, when Daddy comes home? Can I stay here for a bit so Daddy can come home and I can give him a big hug and be very happy?" I was so happy to be able to tell him yes. He was so excited.


I told Jackson that we were going to church, come home and eat lunch, take a quick nap and then Daddy would come home. But then, Derek showed up at church this morning, way super early! It was quite the pleasant surprise.

Derek and I went over to Jackson’s class and when Jackson first saw Derek, he shouted with delight, “Hey! That’s my Dad!!” and he ran over to Derek, jumped in his arms, and said, “I just didn’t see you for a long time!” It was so sweet. Belle was a little more timid with Derek, but she had also just woken up from a nap. She kept giving Derek cute little smiles, but wouldn’t go all that close at first. But then she kept getting a little closer and a little closer until she finally clung onto his legs for a hug.

And she didn’t let him out of her sight for the rest of the day.

If she was a Daddy’s girl before, I don’t even know how to classify what she is now. She would fuss to be picked up, but if I tried, she just pushed me away. She cried and cried when Derek closed the door to go to the bathroom in peace. When I took away some small object she was putting in her mouth, she marched right over to Daddy to “tell on me.” Belle apparently feels that Daddy owes her lots of attention and I’m nothing but second class. But that’s okay. It’s super cute seeing them together.

Jackson has referred to this day “circle day” all day long, so I’m sure the term will stick. And as it goes, circle days are hectic. Lots of excitement, kids off schedule, lots of catching up. I’m super thankful that Derek has tomorrow off work so we can enjoy some more family time together!

{and why I blogging when I should be hanging out with my hubs? Well, he’s watching Black Hawk Down—he always gets into these war movies after he comes home from extended army time. I’ve been watching a little bit with him, but I just don’t really do war movies well, so I needed to take a break! Tomorrow is chick flick movie night FOR SURE! Dirty Dancing I think.}

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why I go to Grad School

Last night I worked at the ranch. I filled in for a few minutes at the bar and as I watched the tip jar repeatedly fill up to the top I had the thought, "why am I going to all this hassle of grad school when I could make good money simply by bartending?" I joked backed and forth with a few of my friends via text message on the topic. And I decided that I just needed to quit the stress of school. I'd quit bringing home school work and start bringing home cash.

But today I stumbled across this article on the interwebs. I love finding articles about military psychology, but at the same time, the whole topic just eats at me. I can't shake it off. I've brought it up before; it's my passion. And in that lies my answer of why I am going to grad school in the first place: that one day I will be able to be a part in the solution to the crisis of mental health issues in the armed forces and their families. One day.

I really, really want y'all to read the article itself. As I was reading, I kept wondering if the author was reading my mind while writing. But for those who don't get the chance to read it {it's super easy, just click here!} I'll share some highlights.

A Veteran’s Death, the Nation’s Shame
Published: April 14, 2012
  • For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands. 
  • More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began. {!!}
The issue:
  • One reason for veteran suicides (and crimes, which get far more attention) may be post-traumatic stress disorder, along with a related condition, traumatic brain injury. 
  • Preliminary figures suggest that being a veteran now roughly doubles one’s risk of suicide. 
  • Presidents commit troops to distant battlefields, but don’t commit enough dollars to veterans’ services afterward. 
Regarding the VA {Veteran's Affairs}
  • It is also chipping away at a warrior culture in which mental health concerns are considered sissy.
  • The V.A.has improved but still doesn’t do nearly enough about the suicide problem.
The story incorporates the story of a Mom of a suicide-victim vet and another son dealing with major psychological distress from deployment.
  • She sent two strong, healthy men to serve her country, and now her family has been hollowed in ways that aren’t as tidy, as honored, or as easy to explain as when the battle wounds are physical. 
  • “When Ryan joined the Army, he was willing to sacrifice his life for his country,” she said. “And he did, just in a different way, without the glory." {amen}
My thoughts: 

  • I agree with Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia“Whether it be [a suicide] every 80 minutes or one every 80 weeks, one is obviously one too many.”
  • This is further evidence that a battlefield exists right here at home for many soldiers! Every veteran alive today is a survivor, not only of a war, but of a psychological battle.
  • Suicide aside-- divorce, broken families, substance abuse, homelessness-- these are huge sacrifices that affect far too many soldiers.
  • What's a solution?  We need to step up as a society. We owe it to our Veterans. Make sure you're letting your elected officials know that post-deployment {and even general} psychological services for are troops are an issue to be addressed. Reach out to service members in your own life. Find ways to volunteer in your area. Just do *something*!  
  • {and PS it's not an issue of whether you support our wars/conflicts/president. This is an issue of owing these people who have volunteered to protect us and fight on our behalf.}
  • Lastly, I apologize that this is longer than I intended. That always happens when I address this topic, but I just can't keep it short. But, I figure, "hey, this is my space. I can say whatever I want." And I will. And I will continue until there is not even one single public servant who feels as if his problems are better off solved by ending her life; that his answers to problems are found at the bottom of the bottle or after drug fix; that he is no longer capable of connecting with his wife and/or caring for her children because she simply can't take care of her own psychological distress. 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Almost There

Jackson and I have been marking off the days on the calendar until Derek comes home. Tomorrow marks 14 days… and then he’ll be back on Sunday. He’s actually done tomorrow, but in true army fashion they won’t let them leave until Saturday morning. But then, spending the past two weeks at WLC doesn’t disqualify him from April drill, so he has to report on Sunday morning to his normal unit. Only a few more days. We got this…


I’m sort of all over the place. So I’m thinking bullet points are the best option.

  • First and foremost—I’m listening to Justin Bieber right now. I was really just in the mood. I’m kinda embarrassed, but I’ll own up it. My fave: Somebody to Love.
  • I have been all over the place while Derek’s been gone. It’s embarrassing and I’m sure the feminists hate me for being so dependent on a man. But seriously, the other day I started walking into the store until I realized that I LEFT THE CAR RUNNING. Good grief. Ask me to make a decision—I just can’t do it. Too much brain power goes into kids/house/school that I have nothing left for common sense.
  • Jackson is having the hardest time with Derek gone. Three is just difficult anyway and it’s just been worse the past two weeks. He asks about Daddy after most breakdowns and searches the house whenever we come back home after running an errand. Typing it out breaks my heart and I now I feel like a terrible mommy for not being more patient, but it’s just been tough.
  • A sweet friend of mine at church yesterday asked if Jackson wanted to spend the night and play at her house today. I nearly cried {see, can’t keep it together!} I felt bad for needing to accept the offer, but I had to and it was beneficial for both me and Jackson. In his baby book that I don’t keep up with, this would go down as “first sleepover” {non-family} and it was with a GIRL! He’s three; it’s okay.
  • Belle slept until 9:00 (!!) this morning. I haven’t slept that late in months! I also needed the sleep. I am horrible at going to sleep at a reasonable hour.
  • I realize I’ve been sooooo whiney during Derek’s training. I apologize to my friends and family. Thank you for still loving me. :)
  • I hate Power Rangers. It’s no secret if you’re on facebook. The concept is dumb. It has made Jackson way more aggressive. And the show is sooooo lame, as in “Hey Kimberly, who’s the raddest boy in your class?” And their dinosaur machines all connecting to make one giant can’t-be-defeated bad guy—why don’t they just use that first instead of a last resort? And it kind of seems like a Transformers knock-off.
  • Tweeting is what happens when I don’t have someone to hangout in real life. I have a need to talk {just ask my mom, she’ll tell you stories…} and when I can’t use my real voice, I have to do so online!
  • The whole thing about Ann Romney not being qualified to be the voice of women’s rights because she was a stay-at-home-mom is so ridiculous. Even if she didn’t ever HAVE to work outside the home, that doesn’t make her out of touch with those who have. I need to stop there because I could just go on and on and on.
  • Top three things I enjoy when Derek’s gone: Driving my van everywhere even though it gets horrible gas mileage. Being in charge of our daily schedule and plans. Having my shoes all over the house—and knowing exactly where they are because I left them there!
  • Top three things I don’t enjoy: Eating crappy meals because cooking for two kids {who would rather have PB&J anyway} is lame. Having no one in bed to warm my cold feet {this would probably be on the top of Derek’s best-things-about-being-gone list}. Dealing with all the poop by myself.
  • Back when I made a list about positive aspects of his absence back in 2010, the top of the list was not having to explain to people that “Daddy dressed him” when Jackson was completely mismatched. Well, this is what Jackson wore yesterday IN PUBLIC. His favorite basketball shirt, blue army shorts, mismatching socks {and he wore little work boots as well.} Wow. And today, it was in the 40s and Jackson insisted on wearing shorts “because he’s brave”. I didn’t have it in me to make him change. Maybe he will get a little more fashion sense as he grows older, right?


Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Events

It was kind of a bummer celebrating Easter without Derek, but it was harder on him I think than it was on us. Thankfully, Easter means more to our family than just spending time with family and hiding plastic eggs. Jackson is beginning to understand why we celebrate Easter and that really reminded me of what’s really important!

As I got out this sticker activity thing that tells the story of Easter, Jackson pointed to the cross and said, “I know that! We talked about that at MOPS!” I was so proud. And he told me that the stone was rolled away and that the angel was there. That sure made this Mommy proud.


But of course, we still had an Easter Egg hunt for the kids. And we did this before Derek left. It worked out perfectly—the weather was wonderful and it was good practice before they were bombarded by hoards of kids at our church egg hunt.


Once Belle figured out there was candy inside the egg, she quit caring about finding more eggs and spent her time trying to open the few eggs she already had in her basket.


These guys were far too excited about their eggs and candy to hold still and look at me for even a second for me to take a picture!


Okay, I got Jackson to cooperate after Belle got up, but this is the best smile I got. I love this goofy boy! And I want to make sure to document that Jackson refers to the activity of finding Easter eggs as “Easter Egg Hunking”. That cracks me up.SAM_8283

I spent the holiday up at my parents house. Both of my sisters were in town and it was nice to go to church with them.DSC05364

The kids looked so good in their Easter outfits. Jackson looked so, so handsome. I am going to have to have him wear the outfit again soon so I can get more pictures! He was a little stud muffin. Belle, on the other hand, loves to pose for the camera. She doesn’t hold still for long, but she loves the attention!


The kids opened their Easter baskets first thing in the morning.DSC05409

Belle immediately started snuggling her stuffed animal and Jackson was super excited about his toy gun {which is staying at Grammy’s house!!}DSC05404   DSC05408

Gram Gram and Grandma Dryer drove down from Trenton for lunch, which was delicious. I had the responsibility of cooking the ham and ya know, it was pretty tasty if I do say so myself. {okay, it was a precooked ham and everything, but I’m still taking credit.}


Belle and Aunt Wa-wa. Jackson spent most of the day with Ashley and her boyfriend, Zach. Whenever Zach is around, Jackson becomes his little shadow.


The weather was wonderful! DSC05414

And Aunt Wa-Wa snapped some super cute pictures of my kiddos.DSC05447

Is this little girl not the most precious little thing ever!? This picture just makes me want to pick her up and give her lots of cuddles and kisses!!DSC05433

We didn’t get around to dying Easter eggs until today. Jackson had lots of fun. He wasn’t a fan of waiting while the eggs soaked for a bit, but he sure loved switching colors!


The finished eggs! Too bad Jackson doesn’t like boiled eggs, but Belle sure does! 2 (2)         
Okay, so sorry for massive amount of photos in this post! Derek misses the kids so I wanted to make sure he had plenty of picture to hold him over until next Sunday. Hope you and your family had a blessed Easter!


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