Monday, December 14, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Today we had an all day training on how to operate a "Blue Force Trackers" (BFT) also know as Force Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2). This might be the most amazing piece of battlefield technology ever developed when working properly. In a nutshell, all the friendly forces (which are blue symbols on the screen) have a computer system made up of a transceiver, touch-screen and key board, CPU, Hard drive and a GPS receiver. What it does is share the location, movement, action, and status of our entire force with everyone else and the commanders. That means, by looking at one large screen in the TOC (Tactical Operations Center) the commander can see, in real time, the location of all his units. In addition, folks over at the Pentagon can also watch a battle take place in real time.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
My mom took this week as a vacation so that we could hang out and I wouldn't get too sad. We've been busy so far. She wants to get in shape so that she can give bone marrow to my uncle in a few months. We've been going to a school down the road with a trail around the fields. We take resistance bands and mix muscle work with walking laps! We've done 2 days so far and I'm hoping she'll be able to walk today (yesterday's workout was a little harder than I meant it to be). I'm also doing my own workouts (p90x), so this should be a good month in the weight loss category! I've lost 18 pounds since January, an I am hoping to lose 2 more this week, and be at the 20 lb mark. I had to eat gluten during the month of June, so needless to say, I ate everything I couldn't have for the last 5 years and was happy that I didn't gain! Now, I'm off the gluten and feeling better than ever. Today I have an arms and chest workout for myself and I'll be working out with my mom and her friend Diane this evening.
I do get to go see family and Chris in two weeks. I'm going with my mom and dad to Florida for a week and a half. We're going back to Sarasota, which is where Chris and I got married. I'm excited to relax and enjoy time with good family. We also hope to head a little south of there to see some family from St. Louis as well. On the way home, my parents are going to drop me off at Fort Jackson and I will stay for a long weekend! It will be fun to hang out with Chris. I LOVE staying at hotels. I figured out it is because there is nothing to clean! As long as I am home, I have trouble relaxing because there is always something to be done. At a hotel, there's not much to get done, so it is easier to relax. It will be a fun few days. I know Chris is also looking forward to it!
I'm also looking into more information about work at Fort Campbell. I've looked up substituting jobs and teaching jobs on base. It's about the same pay I was making while teaching in Chicago, so it would be interesting. If I were to work for 2 or so years, we could pay off all student loan debt, cars, etc. It would be pretty fabulous to be debt free, considering that our housing would be paid for. I don't think I'll work right away, because I do have unemployment benefits for 6 months. But, I am more open to the idea because of the debt free future it allows for us. I also think it would be better for me to be working when Chris gets deployed. It would be hard for me to not have anything to do. Unless we have a kid before then, I do thinking working would be the best situation. Once the kids start coming, I definitely don't want to work a full time job, and would probably not want to work at all. I am still thinking about getting a personal training certificate. I would have to do the online option because there is not a school nearby Fort Campbell.
That's about it for now. I'll try to update more often so that the entries are not as long! Have a great week.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Since the 101st division is an all Air Assault division, I will be going through the Air Assault course shortly after arriving. Its a 2 week course that teaches all about being transported in and exiting various types of helicopters. The best part is rappelling out a helicopter hovering at 100ft. I can't wait! After the 2 week school (provided I complete everything successfully) I will be awarded the Air Assault wings to accompany my Airborne wings: (don't worry that's not my uniform.... I wouldn't wear it unless I was awarded it)
But here was the biggest surprise of the instructions. They read: "Officer to enter Active Duty in the Grade of Captain." I've been in the Reserves for 4 years (2 years as a 2nd LT and 2 years as a 1st LT). I was told I should expect to get promoted to Captain about 6 months after entering active duty. But apparently they are giving me "grade constructive credit." This is great news considering that its a raise of more than just a few thousand dollars.
I'm looking forward to heading back to Fort Jackson, SC next month. I report July 12th. I will be able to complete the Chaplain School training with a sense of clarity and drive with my upcoming assignment in view. I then report right to Fort Campbell.
Christina and I are going to take a few days trip on June 28th - 30th down to the base to get familiar with it and hopefully get the housing situation worked out. I'm interested to see what the housing looks like.
Still no word on what battalion or even brigade I'll be with. I'm hoping that information is on my official orders. The Brigade Combat Team (BCT) that I get assigned to will determine when I get deployed. A few of the BCT have just returned from 15 month deployments to Afghanistan. When I figure out which BCT I'm assigned to I should be able to figure out an approximate timetable for my first deployment.
Christina and I are adjusting well to life in Wheaton (suburban life). It is very quiet and we get to see stars at night. Its really great to get to spend time with her family and see mine quite often as well. Hope you all are doing well.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
As I reported in my last entry, Christina and I will be moving to Fort Campbell, KY at the end of August. For those of you unfamiliar with Fort Campbell it is home to the 101st Airborne Division known as the "screaming eagles." It is a division with a rich history of valor and bravery. If you saw the HBO series "Band of Brothers" (which follows Easy Company of the 101st Airborne through WWII) you would be familiar with some of their work.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
If you could only see our apartment right now. Anyone who’s lived in the city long enough knows what we are going through. It’s the week prior to the move. That means you want to pack up and get things ready for the move, but you can’t pack everything because you still need to have a life for the week. So 95% of our clothing is packed up and the other 5% is in gym bags and hanging up. To make matters worse, we are putting most of our stuff in storage but taking the necessary things for a 3-month temporary housing situation. Needless to say, it is chaos in our place.
I just got an email from the Army Chaplain Accessioning Officer. I was so excited to see it, only to find out that the basic message of the email was “sorry, but wait longer.” Apparently the Army is transitioning to a digital system and the group I was accessioned with is the first group to go through the process. That means we are the tests animals for this new program. So it seems we won’t find out any more details for a few weeks.
So for now… we continue to pack. I’ll continue to keep everyone updated as we find out more information.
Good news for all of you who’ve had a run in with Rex, our Terror…I mean Terrier. He is reporting for Doggie boot camp tomorrow. 3 weeks of training. We will see if the dog trainer can perform miracles. Our fingers are crossed.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
So it happened again last night. I got the "aahhhhh" look and sigh.
Outside our current apartment (for the next week) I was talking to who I call "the cat lady". She has taken these wild cats that live in the rocks on Lake Michigan and made them her pets. They are really cute and I can completely understand where she is coming from in wanting to take them in. Chris has to hold be back often from jumping out of the car to take in a stray cat. She spent weeks trying to capture the 3 little kittens and take them into her home... only being successful with one little black one. I noticed the little black cat was back out at the rocks a few days ago so I asked her about it when I saw her by their "home" last night. She said the cat was terrified for 3 weeks in her home and vet said they cat would be better off outside. She got him fixed, and released him back to his friends. The vet said he was happier and already accustomed to the wild by the time she brought him inside. He compared it to taking a raccoon into the house... which she admitted she would not do. This put it in perspective for me as well... I'll think of this the next time I want to swoop a cute wild cat into my arms. That's not really the point of the story, but I did learn a lesson.
What happened next is what really drives me crazy. We're talking and she asks me where I live. I point to our building and referenced how we will be there for only a week more and then we'll be moving. Of course, she asks where, so I start the long explanation of how we are moving in with family for a few months before my husband is stationed, explaining that he is in the military.
That's where the aahhh... moment comes.
Sometimes it looks or sounds a little different, but it always has the same meaning. The person gives you the "that's so sad" or "that's horrible" sigh and look. Their head tilts to the side and their face scrunches up a little bit as if they don't know what else to say. Then, I usually say how this is something we've been looking forward to and we're excited for. That's when their voice inflection changes. The cat lady's comment was, "so this is good for you... ok".
This situation happens over and over again and it drives me CRAZY! First of all, we have a VOLUNTEER military. No one forced us to sign up. Chris signed the papers with his own free will. Yet, people give this look like it is somehow the worst situation that could happen. I understand being sympathetic if our situation is hard, like Chris is in Iraq for a year... but don't give me a sad look simply because we are part of the military. Traditionally, being part of the military has been highly looked upon and people show appreciation instead of disgust. I know this is somewhat a "Chicago" thing. I've noticed here that some people have an attitude that they are too good for the military or that the military is somehow a downgrade of a lifestyle.
If you find yourself responding like this (and some of you did when we told you our situation) please respond with something different. Maybe even check your own attitude and see why you have a repose such as this. I suggest saying, "thank you for your service" instead of the "aahhhh" sigh.
Another neighbor did just that when Chris told them what are situation was. Right away, she thanked him for his service and told him about her cousin that was in the military. It was nice and respectful the way she responded. We appreciated that.