Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Brother Abroad

Aside from my lovely sister-in-law and her lovely children, no one wanted to be at Paul's change of command more than my parents, Mike, and me. And while Mike, in all his awesomeness, almost made it happen, the rest of us were left to wish that a change of command in Iraq wasn't such an obstacle.

I even broached the topic to John, believing I could somehow finagle a "press pass" in order to accompany Mike on his "diplomatic mission".

John said no.

Apparently, he has a "problem" with members of his family travelling to war zones.

So unreasonable.

This is Day 177.

Big Milestone

The new potty has been purchased (since Olivia's is of no use, having lost the "splash guard", which we're told is pretty important).

Let the games begin.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Brother Abroad

Though I wasn't sure whether to post this congratulations tonight or tomorrow given the wacky time difference (and by "wacky" I mean my inability to easily convert the time through simple counting), I would like to wish the new Commanding Officer of Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron-28 a very sincere and enthusiastic congratulations.

Paul is officially in charge.

We can now all breathe a sigh of relief as order will be restored in the world.

Well done, P.

This is Day 176.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Brother Abroad

A bomb attack killed two American service members in southern Afghanistan on Friday, while the country's president both applauded international troops' effort at a campaign rally and promised to hold them more accountable for civilian casualties, house raids and arbitrary detentions.

NATO reported the insurgent attack and U.S. military spokesman Navy Lt. Robert Carr confirmed that the troops were American. No other details were immediately available.

July has been the deadliest month for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. Friday's deaths raised the American toll to 37, well above the 28 who were killed in two months last summer

This is Day 175.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Brother Abroad

HAILEY, Idaho — More than 500 people attended a vigil for an Idaho soldier who was captured in Afghanistan by the Taliban.

The hourlong event Wednesday night was held in held in Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl's hometown of Hailey, in central Idaho. It started at the coffee shop where Bergdahl worked before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 2008, and ended at a nearby park.

The Idaho Statesman reports that family friend Jeff Gunter was one of several speakers at the event. Gunter said that when Bergdahl returns, he wants to take him "to the top of the mountains," so Bergdahl can look down and see all the yellow ribbons and signs hung up around town in his honor.
Bergdahl was serving with an Alaska-based infantry regiment earlier this month when he vanished. The 23-year-old appeared in a video released Saturday by the Taliban.
This is Day 174.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Completely out of nowhere, and not following the viewing of any particular Disney film, O comes to me and says"

"Mommy, when I turn 5, I do not want a spinning wheel for my birthday."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A little heartache in the afternoon....

Though Olivia thoroughly loved dance class, she'd also been expressing quite a bit of interest in gymnastics thanks to the impressive feats of her older cousins. Not wanted to stymie her interest while also not wanting to "overbook" my 4 year old, I agreed to let her take a gymnastics class over the summer while dance was on hiatus so that he could try both on for size and then choose one in the fall.

God knows soccer is right around the corner.

Needless to say, we were headed into her gymnastics class the other day (a class where she is the youngest and most vocal) and she let go of my hand in the parking lot. I looked at her and extended my hand in silent reminder that a parking lot is serious business.

She looked at me and said, "I don't want to hold your hand anymore."

Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Wasn't this the girl that always wants me to watch, to hold, to read bedtimes stories????

"It's a parking lot....hold my hand," was all I said, feigning indifference to her remark.

She then looked steadily around, clasped my hand, and skipped the rest of the way to the studio.

Is this a case of older girl influence, or is she already becoming of the age when she doesn't need her Mommy as much?

I'll hold onto the former, thanks.

A Brother Abroad

Though Paul is back in Iraq on the second leg of his deployment, sorting through all the vacation photos provides some comfort through memories of our perfect vacation.

Case in point:

The above picture was taken before the "men" (e.g. those not in diapers, pre-school, or the stock market), headed out on an early morning fishing trip that would take them into deep water and large swells before returning home with one of the best dinners of the week.

But the dinner proved not to be the most memorable part.

Only two of the above did not get sick on board.


Oh, and the notably absent man who was more than happy not to claim his sea legs, snickered in smug satisfaction for the remainder of the day.

This is Day 173.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Brother Abroad

The Pentagon said today that troops are "sparing no effort" to find an American soldier captured by the Taliban as his family pleaded for privacy and residents in his hometown tied yellow ribbons on trees along Main Street in a show of solidarity.

The actions came two days after the Taliban released a video of Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl in captivity expressing his fear that he would never see or hug his family again. The footage showed Bergdahl with his head shaved, eating a meal and sitting cross-legged on what appeared to be a bunk.

"We've been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and concern towards Bowe and our family," the family said in a statement read by Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling. "As you know, the situation is extremely difficult for everyone involved. We'd like to remind all of you our sole focus is seeing our beloved son Bowe safely home."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates condemned the video Monday, saying he was disgusted by the exploitation of a prisoner. "Our commanders are sparing no effort to find this young soldier," Gates said at a Pentagon news conference.

Bergdahl, 23, grew up just outside Hailey, a central Idaho resort town where residents said he was home-schooled, danced ballet and rode his bike everywhere in town. They also called him adventurous and said he joined the Army at least in part because he wanted to learn more about the world. He had been stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Bergdahl's parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl, have refused requests to be interviewed, and the sheriff declined to answer personal questions about Bergdahl in a news conference that was televised nationally from this town of 7,000 people.

And few in town would speak openly about Bergdahl because of fears that any remarks might hurt the possibility of his safe return. The town learned about the capture in early July but kept quiet about the ordeal.

This is Day 172.

Another Milestone.....

The big boy bed arrives this Friday....a move inspired by my recent discovery of Joseph's affinity for the trampoline arts (in his crib).

Other milestones?

His first blackeye: Thought the jagged cut under his left eye may throw you off (he rolled under O's bed and met a sharp part of the bedframe), the cause of the little shiner under his right eye is a complete mystery. Left to the care of his father, I was shocked to see the new injury that could only be explained with, "I don't know what happened....he was just running around the furniture...."

His first bachelor party: Or so it looked after I returned from the kitchen I'd left (for just a second) only to find him covered in glitter and lip gloss thanks to a certain big sister.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In Memory of....

"I'm not one of those James Joyce intellectuals who can stand back and look at the whole edifice... It was a slow process for me to just crawl out of it, like a snake leaving his skin behind."

"F. Scott Fitzgerald said there are no second acts in American lives. I think I've proven him wrong,"

-Frank McCourt, August 19, 1930- July 19, 2009

A Brother Abroad

The heartbreaking video of the 23 year old soldier from Idaho:

This is Day 171.