Bryan and I are still trying to get settled here in Lawton/Ft Sill and get our apartment in order. We are also continously preparing for the arrival of our baby girl. We try to get our family picture taken every year around this time. We went yesterday to do that and here are some of the pictures from the session.
I have been beyond busy lately and unfortunately haven't had a chance to update this. First of all, this picture is what I'm looking like these days. The baby seems to be doing well. We saw the specialist last week and he finally said that everything he could see looked good. I'm no longer considered high risk and will just have my regular appointments now. My good friend, Laura, had a shower for my this past weekend. It was so fun to be able to celebrate the baby with all of my friends here since we're leaving soon. The movers came and packed up most of our stuff this week. We are now living off bare necessities. They will come and get what's left of our stuff next week. Bryan has officially started "clearing". He is training the lieutentant that is going to replace him and has just been jumping through all the hoops that he has to for us to leave. Last night I hosted my 3rd annual Cinco de Mayo themed coffee for the senior spouses of the batallion. I spent most of yesterday cooking and preparing for the coffee. I definitely think it was a success yet again. The coffee was bittersweet for me though since it was my last one here. Today Bryan and I attended the volunteer ceremony. I had been nominated for the Civilan Volunteer of the Year (Civilian = someone who works full-time as a civilan employee). I was the runner-up for the award but I really never expected to win. I just felt honored that I was nominated. These are actually only some of the things we've done over the past couple of weeks. I have also been having to help out in a different office than my own since they are understaffed. I've barely been getting lunch breaks and have been working late almost everyday. I thought I was ready for a break before but now I'm really looking forward to being unemployed for a while!
This week I FINALLY got my Personal Training certificate in the mail! Now I am officially a certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer! Once we move, I would love to work at little bit but I don't think that will be feasible with the baby coming just a couple of months later. Hopefully soon after she's born I'll be able to start doing a little something though. Speaking of baby, the doctor's office called on Wednesday and rescheduled the appointment I was supposed to have yesterday. Now I am going on Tuesday. This is the 2nd time they've rescheduled me so hopefully this one will stick. I realized I had never shared any pictures from when my mom and sister were here. Below are links to our pictures from Prague and Rome.
You can read all the background information at the link below, but here's the very short version. Wendy asked if she could interview me for milblogging.com. I didn't know how good of an interviewee I would be, but I agreed to participate. She now has a post about it over at her blog. I am so appreciative of how nice it is and all the kind things she said. Thanks again, Wendy!
We are in total PCS mode now! We fly in just over a month and Bryan has made most of our arrangements. We have our housing pre-inspection the first week of May, then our Household Goods are getting picked up a few days later. Our Unaccompanied Baggage is getting picked up the 3rd week, and we're turning in our car and having our final housing inspection right before Memorial Day weekend. As of right now we're supposed to stay in lodging for 5 days, but since the last of our stuff is getting picked up so early, we're trying to get the approval to stay in lodging for the full 10 days. Thinking about everything we have to do is stressful, but I'm sure that it will be an adventure as it always is! I have my next appointment with the specialist on Thursday and we're really hoping that it will go well so I will no longer be considered "high risk". On Saturday we are attending the Brigade Combat Team ball. It will be our 3rd ball in about 4 months so we've definitely had enough of them! I was lucky to be able to find a maternity dress I like so that made me feel a little better about going. Since it is a BCT ball, it will also be fun for us to be able to spend some time with our friends in other batallions.
I hope I can do this one day. I've copied and pasted the story below, but the actual link is:Hoop Dreams
Grannies have hoop dreams, too It's a league of their own, started in Iowa and growing in popularity
By Natalie Morales NBC News Updated: 7:59 p.m. ET April 11, 2007
ALBURNETT, Iowa - It's just what you might expect a group of grandmothers from rural Iowa to be doing — four sisters — Dolores, Marjorie, Virginia and Arlene — catching up over their quilting. But get them on the basketball court and they pick up the pace.
"We play dirty — we're sisters!" says Marjorie.
Delores is a center for the Curvaceous Chicks, a team in the nation's first Granny Basketball League.
"She's going to be 82," Marjorie says, pointing at Delores, the most senior player in the league.
"I don't have any aches or pains or anything, and it just energizes you," Delores says.
For her sister, Virginia, who is 71 and has Parkinson's disease, it's a way to stay active.
"I wish I had half their energy," she says.
Barb McPherson, 62, started the league two years ago with about a dozen players. Barb wanted to keep herself and her friends active, but thought that the gym was too boring and bicycles hurt her rear end. Instead of prescribing a more conventional geriatric activity, she harkened back to her teenage years as a high school basketball player in rural Iowa, and founded the league. "Yeah, we decided no rocking chairs for us," Barb says. "We're gonna die on the court!"
The roster has grown to nearly 100, and new teams are starting up in other states. For these gals, it's more than a social club, it's more than exercise — it's their great Midwestern American pastime. On the court they're equal.
"Everybody feels 16 when they get out here," Barb says.
But youth does have its limitations.
The rules of the game have been "grannyfied" — their games are based on old-fashioned "girls" rules — six-on-six — three players on offense, three on defense, and the half-court line dividing the game into two. The grannies play a slightly modified version, though. There's no running, jumping or physical contact of any kind. And no showing too much skin — their uniforms are also a throwback.
The games are fundraisers, bringing in thousands of dollars for various charities. On the night of the Alburnett tournament, a handful of hard-core grannies drove two hours to raise money for new lights on the softball field at an athletic boosters event.
They're also part of a legacy here for many. Basketball has been a family affair, played by generations of Iowa women.
"I think that's what Iowa is known for," Barb says. "I mean, just about as much as corn!"
For the league's many fans, family and friends among them, it's a source of pride.
Although March Madness has come to an end, the grannies will be suiting up through the summer, even opening for the Harlem Globetrotters on April 15 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
NBC Research Assistant Amber Payne contributed to this report.
I was heart broken to see this on the news this morning. It wasn't as much for myself as for our friends who are currently downrange and will have to be there 3 months longer than they had expected. It is good that the Army is making this a "policy" though, rather than having to extend so many units at the last minute like they've been doing.
Gates Extends Iraq Tours to 15 Months Associated Press | April 11, 2007 WASHINGTON - Beginning immediately, all active-duty Army soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan will serve 15-month tours - three months longer than the usual standard, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.
It was the latest move by the Pentagon to cope with the strains of fighting two wars simultaneously and maintaining a higher troop level in Iraq as part of President Bush's revised strategy for stabilizing Baghdad.
"This policy is a difficult but necessary interim step," Gates told a Pentagon news conference, adding that the goal is to eventually return to 12 months as the standard length of tour in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said the new policy does not affect the other main components of the U.S. ground force in Iraq: the Marines, whose standard tour is seven months, or the Army National Guard or Army Reserve, which will continue to serve 12-month tours.
Gates acknowledged that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are making life difficult for many in the military.
"Our forces are stretched, there's no question about that," Gates said.
He said the new policy also seeks to ensure that all active-duty Army units get at least 12 months at home between deployments. He said it would allow the Pentagon to maintain the current level of troops in Iraq for another year, although he added that there has been no decision on future troop levels.
Without changing the standard tour length to 15 months, the Army would have been forced to send five brigades to Iraq before they completed 12 months at home, Gates said.
Some units' tours in Iraq had already been extended beyond 12 months by varying amounts. The new policy will make deployments more equitable and more predictable for soldiers and for their families, Gates said.
"I think it is fair to all soldiers that all share the burden equally," he said.
Here are some 4D images the doctor gave us from my appointment yesterday. In the first image, the baby's head is turned to your right so you can't see the face. You can see both arms and the hands are clenched into fists. In the 2nd, the baby is facing the you with the head tilted to your right. You can even make out the eyes, nose, and mouth. The 3rd is similar. The face is turned to the right a little more. The doctor said it looks like the baby is smiling in this picture. The blob on the right by the baby's head in all the pictures is placenta. The doctor said the baby was trying to hide behind it!
This is my team (and our little mascot) after they won their league championship. That's Bryan and I in a deep discussion in the background
The basketball season did finally come to an end on the 10th. Myself, the team, and some parents left Thursday night to go to Stuttgart, Germany where our tournament was held. The girls played 4 games on Friday (W-L-W-W) and 2 games on Saturday. We actually made it to the championship game but lost by about 4 points. I was so proud of the girls though. They did a great job and 6 games over a 24 hour period is more than their bodies could handle. They also had fun spending the weekend together and with the friends they made from the other teams. This coming weekend we're going to have an end of season party for the team. It will be a bittersweet party. I have coached some of these girls for 3 years and this isn't just the end of the season, but we will also be saying goodbye to them.
In addition to my prenatal fitness class last week, I also subbed for another circit exercise class on Tuesday and Thursday night. It was a lot of fun but I realized that it's difficult for me to teach a class because I feel like I should be working out as much as the students.
I also started participating in the civilian fitness program last week. I basically get 3 paid hours off a week to work out. It is really nice because it gets me out of the office for 3 more hours and it's not too late by the time I get finished working out.
On Friday I found out that I am being nominated for Volunteer of the Year for our community. I was very surprised to be told that. I do the volunteer activities because I want to do them and really have no desire to be recognized for it. It always does feel nice to be appreciated though.
Bryan had Friday and now today off, so he had a 4 day weekend. He had hoped to play golf today, but we woke up to snow! The weather has been nice so this craziness came out of nowhere. Hopefully the nice weather will come back soon!
Our regular season for basketball finally ended on February 24. Our record was 4 wins, 3 losses, and 2 ties. Although we enjoy coaching the girls, Bryan and I have been looking forward to the end of this season. The team participated in our league tournament last weekend. The girls were definitely one of the top teams in the league, but I had no idea how the tournament would go. We ended up winning all 3 of our games and are the KMC League Champions! That means that we now have another week of basketball. We get to participate in the Europe-wide tournament in Stuttgart, Germany this weekend. We will drive to Stuttgart on Thursday evening and as long as we win, are scheduled play basketball Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Bryan has been playing his fair share of basketball too. There is a group that plays every Wednesday morning for PT and last week Bryan was roughed up. While trying to get a rebound someone accidentally elbowed him in the eye. He had a cut that required a few stitches and has had some vision problems since then. The cut is looking a lot better this week, I just hope his vision is back to normal soon. I've joked with him that he was feeling left out since I've had to go to the doctor so much. He decided to get hurt so he could have as many appointments as me!
We went to England for the weekend from February 16-19. We had a good time but that Pound will really hurt your pocketbook! I hope to get those pictures online soon.
Last night I taught my first fitness class. When I got my certification a few months ago, I really didn't have a desire to teach groups. However, I realized how great a prenatal fitness class would be for our community and now I'm teaching it! Hopefully when we get back to the states, I can continue teaching similar classes and start personal training too.
I have doctors' appointments this coming Monday and Tuesday. On Monday I have my regular 16-week appointment and on Tuesday I see the specialist again. If things go well, it should be my last appointment with him though.
Bryan has gotten the first step accomplished for our move back to the states. His commander signed his leave request form so now he can go to the Reassignments office and get our PCS orders!
That was definitely enough of an update on us for one day!
I received this from my VGLDS aunt, and thought I would share it with those other VGLDS ladies I know!
Today is International Very Good Looking, Damn Smart Woman's Day, so please send this message to someone you think fits this description. Please do not send it back to me as I have already received it from a Very Good Looking, Damn Smart Woman! And remember this motto to live by: Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" Have a wonderful day!
I'd like to thank you all again for the support you've given to Bryan and I over the past week. Right now all we can do is wait and hope and pray, so that's what we'll be doing until we go back to the doctor in March.
Although it may seem like it, I haven't totally given up on the blog. I just haven't taken the time to update it. The officers on post finally decided to start updating their records so I have been pretty busy at work. Basketball season is in full swing which means that I am coaching the youth girls team (with my wonderful assistant, Bryan) at practice or games 3-4 days a week. Bryan and I realized how much traveling we still want to do in the little time we have left here. We went to Ireland this past weekend. I hope to get those pictures online this weekend. We are also thinking about doing a short trip next weekend since we don't have a game. Right now I'm just trying to survive this week. We had a battalion FRG event to go to last night, tonight we have an FRG meeting immediately followed by basketball practice, tomorrow night I have a coffee, and Friday and Saturday nights we have basketball games! Whew!