Wednesday, March 31, 2010

One Military Wife's Point of View

I read on one of my friend's blog about another military wife's blog post.  This girl was ranting about what she sees as a lack of support/appreciation toward people in the military and their families from the town she lives in.  She goes on to mention the lack of stickers supporting the military, while there are country club membership stickers.  I went and read the post and in my opinion it sounds like she wants people to spend every second of everyday making sure the military knows they are being thought of and supported.  This is not the way that all military spouses see things and I don't want to be put in that group.  It is also my humble opinion that life has to go on, even if there is a war going on. As an Army wife, I truly believe that Americans are overall very supportive of the military and their family.

I know I am new at this military spouse thing. My hubby just rejoined several months ago, but it is a choice we made for him to serve. There isn't a draft so all the men and women serving made the choice to do so.  He feels passionate about it. He wants to be an officer in the Army Guard to serve our state and country and he doesn't expect anything in return like praise and adulation. He is paid well and has great benefits when on active duty.  These are supported by tax dollars so that is a form of support and appreciation.

While trying to complete OCS in January, he couldn't walk through an airport in uniform without people stopping him just to say "Thanks." The airlines also made a point to offer upgrades just to show their appreciation. These acts of kindness are awesome and left him feeling appreciated. What more could someone ask for? I am also stopped frequently and asked about Mike and if he will be deployed. We know this will happen after he is commissioned. That is something we knew going in. When I answer them, people offer me support, thoughts, and prayers. This show of support, just makes my heart swell with pride for my hubby. This type of support means so much more than any bumper sticker or yellow ribbon ever could. These are people taking a personal interest in my soldier.

As long as people are respectful of those serving and aren't bashing them, I am happy.  I, like a lot of people I know, don't want or need attention just because we happen to be involved in the military.  I know many people are serving our country and I am very thankful for them and the sacrifices they and their families are making.  I know that most people feel the same way, even though, there may not be all the outward signs.

These words are just my opinion, and if you disagree with me, I would love to hear your insight on things.

And The Winner Is....

The winner of the Disney measuring cups is....

#7....Beth Sketoe.  Congratulations Beth!!

Email me your information at and I will get them in the mail for you.  Thanks everyone that entered.  I hope to do more giveaways soon!

 True Random Number Generator  7

Monday, March 29, 2010

Giveaway Time!!

After reading a lot of other blogs and entering in giveaways, I have decided to have my very first giveaway.  In honor of our recent trip to Disney World and my new love of cooking, I am giving away a set of Mickey Mouse measuring cups.

 You definitely can't have too many of these in the kitchen.  I have a red set that I got on our trip about a year and a half ago.  Obviously Disney World is one of my favorite places to vacation, so to enter this giveaway all you have to do is leave me a comment about where your favorite place to vacation is.  Deadline to enter will be tomorrow, Tuesday, at 10:00 p.m. central.  The winner will be announced Wednesday morning.  Can't wait to hear about where you like to travel!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Back to Reality

After driving 2400 miles, spending 5 days at Disney World, and making stops in Mobile, Atlanta, and Memphis, we have finally made it home.  Tomorrow we head to work and step back into reality.  Vacations are great, I am always looking forward to the next one, but they can also be a little stressful.  After spending so much time of always being to together, the nice thing about coming home is getting a little time alone.  I loved our trip and will treasure the memories made there.  It is what will get me through the summer without Mike.  I will have my memories and my pictures of the time we got to spend together.  We have about 6 more weeks together before his training begins.  I know it will go fast, too.  Spring is here, which means a lot of time spent outside and busy weekends.  I love Spring!!  I am praying that he makes it all the way through OCS this time.  I know he will be better prepared, he is already working to be ready, but it's hard to get all the doubt out of my mind.  I hope the conditions of this Accelerated OCS doesn't get the best of him.  I will feel so much better come August when he graduates and receives his gold bar!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Heart Vacations

I love being on vacation.  Until the last day.  Then, I get a little sad knowing I have to leave and go home.  Tomorrow is our last day at Disney World.  What a blast we have had.  We have gone to all the parks, most of them multiple times.  We have hung out at our resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge, which we absolutely love.  In fact, we love it so much, we became Disney Vacation Club members here.  What I love most about vacation, though, is the fact that we are together.  Just Mike, Mom, and me.  We have become our own family.  We have reconnected and just spent time together as a family.  We have enjoyed each other's company and have continued to learn more about each other.  We also spent some time talking about the future like what we would want to make sure to do when we have little ones around.  We also got to see my cousin and her family, which was really fun.   I don't want to have to leave and go back to reality.  I don't want to face the truth that after six more weeks I have to say goodbye to Mike again.  Although, after this vacation, we feel refreshed.  I know we will be fine.  We have another Disney World trip to look forward to over Christmas!!  Hopefully, then Mike will be Lieutenant Nichols and not Officer Candidate Nichols.  We will certainly be celebrating then.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Only One More Day

Only one more day and then Spring Break will arrive!!!  I am so ready.  I can't wait to get to Disney World and be able to forget responsibility.  I am tired of being responsible and look forward to having a week to forget about it.  As much as I love my job, I am ready for a break.  We have been having difficulty with a student.  Mike has been hired to be an aide for this student and we both have had to deal with several meltdowns, which is extremely stressful.  I think after a break, we will all be refreshed and ready to head back to school.  I am also ready for a break from thinking about the Army and how Mike will have to leave again soon.  I will close out the school year in Fayetteville, while he is in Little Rock preparing for OCS. Then, a couple days after school ends, Mike heads back to Alabama.  I am also ready for a break from thinking about OCS and hoping everything will go well this time around.  So, Mickey Mouse, here we come.  I hope you are ready for some pretty big kids.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Flower Pics

I just wanted to show off a few pictures Mike took last week with his photography club.  Some of these look like they could be in a book or magazine.  I am so proud of him.  He has a couple more events he can participate in before he has to leave again.

These were just a few hightlights.  I hope you enjoyed them just a little and maybe they made you think that Spring is just around the corner.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

One Week To Go

Only one more week until Spring Break!  I don't know who is more excited: Mike, me, or the students.  I find comfort in knowing that one week from right now, I will be in sunny, warm, Florida!!  I am tired of this long, cold, gray winter that we are continuing to have.  I think we all just need a break from each other.  It's getting to be crunch time for the upcoming Benchmark Exam for the kids.  That is just a lot of extra stress that we are ready to get out of the way.  Hopefully, after a week off we can buckle down and do our last push to prepare.  I think Mike is ready for a break, too.  Last week he became a one-on-one aide for a special education student.  To say it has been trying, is a major understatement.  All I know is that Mike truly does have the patience of Job.  I know I could not do the job he is doing. I hope this week goes fast, because the anticipation is killing us.  We can't wait to get to Disney World!  We are seriously like two little kids.  This is our last chance for a vacation for a while, too.  Mike will be gone to OCS most of the summer, so this is our chance to get away and have a little fun!  Just 5 work days to get through!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday = Happiness

Today is Thursday and overall I'm feeling very happy.  Here are some reasons why.   A numbered list seems most appropriate for some strange reason.  :)  This is in not particular order other than the order they came to mind.

1.  Today is Thursday, which means tomorrow is Friday, which means then it is the weekend!!!  Do you follow my thinking?  This weekend, we are going back home to central Arkansas.  I get to have dinner with old friends tomorrow night.  On Saturday, I get my hair done!!  Then, on to have lunch with more old friends.  Really, can life get any better?  On Sunday, we are going to grill out for my mom.  Yum!!!

2.  Only one more week until Spring Break!!! Then, it's off to sunny Florida and Disney World for a week.  In case you are someone that doesn't know, Disney World is my absolute favorite place to go on vacation.  I can get away and forget the real world for a week.  If you ask me, life really can't get any better than that. We like it so much we just joined the Disney Vacation Club, which means we will be regular visitors for the next 45 years of our lives.  I hope our future children won't have a problem with that!  ;)

3.  I completed my second Couch to 5K workout today!  This is an app I got on my iphone that is supposed to train me to run a 5K in 9 weeks.  We'll see how it goes.  I have never, ever been a runner, but I have made it through two workouts so far.  This week I am doing a five minute warm-up walk, then alternating jogging for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds for the next 20 minutes.  I end the workout by doing another 5 minute cool-down walk.  Next week, it gets a little harder, so hopefully I can stick with it.

4.  I get a couple hours alone at home tonight.  While that is good news in itself, the part that makes me really happy is that Mike has something to do that is just for enjoyment for him.  He has joined a local photography club and they are having a class tonight on macro-photography.  I don't know a lot about it, but I know Mike loves photography and this is an interest that he can pursue that is just for him.  It seems that lately he has mostly been having to focus on work.  Working for the military, getting ready for OCS again, subbing, and his latest job at my school, which is being a personal aide for a student.  It's nice to know that he is going tonight and just having fun!

Now that you all know what is making me happy, I would love to hear about things that are making you happy right now!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Weekend at Mt. Nebo

Just wanted to share a few of my pictures from this past weekend.  Mt. Nebo was beautiful and relaxing and I tried to get a few pictures to remember it by.

Saw these ladies Saturday morning at the Visitors' Center.

View from the back of the Visitors' Center.

Our cabin on the rim of the mountain.

Giant rocks on the hike we took to the waterfall.

Top section of the waterfall.

Standing behind the bottom section of the waterfall.

The lunch I cooked on the grill behind the cabin.

Views of the Arkansas River Valley.

Sunset at our cabin.  Perfect ending to a beautiful day!

Mom and me behind our cabin before we left on Sunday.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Drill Guilt?

Well, this is Mike's Drill weekend again.  Yesterday afternoon as he was driving to Little Rock, I drove to meet my mom at Mt. Nebo.  It is so beautiful and peaceful here.  We grilled hamburgers, went on a couple of hikes, and just relaxed.  In total, we probably walked about 3-4 miles.  I'm so not in good enough shape to do that, but my goal is to get that way.  I brought Mike's fancy camera along, so I'll post some pics once he can help me get them on the computer.  I guess I should have paid better attention when he was trying to show me how to use the camera.  Note to self:  learn how to use camera before Mike leaves for OCS again!  Anyway, I kind of feel bad for getting to come and relax while Mike is gone and working the whole weekend.  I know there isn't really anything I can do about it, but I wish he was here with us.  He spent his day on a 5 mile march, classes, and who knows what other training.  He has been up since 4:45 and I have for the most part of the day, been lazy.  Mom and I planned this trip when we thought Mike would still be gone for OCS.  It would be a way to help me get my mind of missing him.  But, I still miss him.  He's glad I came and can't wait to see the pictures, but I can't help feeling a little bad.  Does anyone else feel a little guilty when they have time off and their loved one still has to work?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Things That Are Making Me Happy Today

1.  Feeling much better than the past several days.  Left work early to go see the doctor yesterday.  That man sure did work miracles.  He gave me some sort of "sinus" cocktail shot.  He explained the details, but in my incoherent state I don't really remember them.  He also gave me a B-12 shot.  This morning I woke up almost congestion free and with lots of energy.  I use the word "lots" loosely because before I had zero energy.

2.  Getting my paper that is due for class tonight completely finished.  That is such a nice feeling.  I was dreading writing this paper, but now that it's over, it wasn't so bad after all.  I had to write about developing a vision for a school, sharing the vision with all the stakeholders, making sure the vision is implemented, and monitor the progress toward meeting that vision.  I realize it was a great way to see what kind of leader I want to be and what I want my school to "look" like.

3.  The last thing that is making me happy today is The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.  I know I'm a little slow jumping into her wonderful blogging world (I've only known about her a couple months), but I just love her.  She is funny, real, has lots of yummy recipes, and shares good photography and home and garden advice.  My favorite thing about her site has to be the recipes and the wonderful kitchen giveaways she is always having.  I still have my fingers crossed on winning one of the Kitchen Aid stand mixers she is giving away.  I'm actually making one of her recipes tonight for dinner.  We had it a couple weeks ago and love it.

Pasta with Bacon and Mushrooms

Here is the recipe if you are interested.  She has step-by-step directions with pictures and a printable verson on her site.  

Pasta with Bacon and Mushrooms (courtesy of

Prep Time: 10 MinutesCook Time: 15 MinutesDifficulty: EasyServings: 4

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into 1/2-inch Pieces
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 package (10 Ounce) White Button Mushrooms, Sliced Thin
  • 1 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth (OR Dry White Wine)
  • 1 cup Half-and-half
  • ¼ cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 whole Green Onions, White And Light Green Parts Sliced
  • ¼ cups Flat-leaf Parsley, Minced
  • ½ cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • 1 pound Thin Spaghetti Or Angel Hair Pasta
  • Extra Parmesan, For Sprinkling
Preparation Instructions
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon pieces and cook until light brown but not crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Do not clean pan.
Add mushrooms and garlic to pan. Toss/stir around and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes; increase heat to high if needed to help mushrooms begin to turn golden brown.
Pour in chicken broth. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits. Cook over medium-high heat for several minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half.
Reduce heat and pour in half and half and cream. Stir and allow to bubble and thicken for a couple of minutes. Add sliced green onions and parsley, then cook for one more minute. Finally, add Parmesan and stir, allowing cheese to melt and incorporate into the sauce. Turn off heat.
Add cooked pasta to a large bowl. Add half the sauce from the pan. Toss with tongs. ***Add 1/2 cup hot pasta water at this point if the pasta mixture is too thick and gunky. Toss and add more water until it reaches the consistency you need.***
Serve pasta in individual bowls, topping each helping with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with extra parsley and extra Parmesan.

I highly recommend it.  It's fairly easy and reheats well if you have a small family like us that doesn't eat it all in one sitting.  By the way I used Ree's picture because my food never turns out as pretty as hers.