Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We're in the Army Now

Actually Dean is in the Army now. He was officially comissioned today. The recruiters came all the way from Portland, and brought a flag with them and did the ceremony. At the moment he is a Lieutenant in the Reserves, until he goes "active duty" as a Captain in the veterinary corps. We don't know exactly when he'll start, but hopefully within the next couple of weeks. He quit his job already; his last day was Friday. We didn't imagine it would take so long for the process to transpire - it's been months! We have decided to go to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, a marine base. It was the best of our choices, the others being Ft Hood/Texas, Camp Leonard Wood/Missouri, and Ft Rucker/Alabama.

So, some might be wondering what on earth we are thinking. It's interesting to see people's reactions when we tell them. Some are shocked and appalled, others are pleasantly surprised. We feel good about it, and are excited for it all to happen. We decided to do it for a lot of reasons. Dean's job here in Astoria has been the pits. He knew it would be before he took it, but felt like he was supposed to take it and move us here. We have had a wonderful experience in Astoria otherwise, and have now officially been here for a year. The only problem has been his job (other than the monstrosity we lived in the first couple of months). So, maybe he was supposed to move here and take an awful job that he would hate so that he would be motivated to join the army. If he has had his fill after three years, then he can be done with it. Or he could stay in 10 or 20 years.

They will pay off all his student loans within three years, which was a great incentive. Down the road he could do more training if he wants, to get another graduate degree, or do a residency and become a specialist (in lab animal medicine for instance, or epidemiology, etc.) Dean has always been interested in the military, and now the time seems right. Army veterinarians do a lot of things, if you're wondering. Most large military bases have vet clinics, to service pets. They are responsible for food safety (keeping tabs on meat and such that service members eat) and are involved with epidemiology (public health). The military has lots of dogs that sniff out bombs, ieds, drugs, etc. And, they do humanitarian missions (vaccinating herds of sheep in Afghanistan since the local vets have fled the scene). He could possibly be sent somewhere "sandy" in the future (the middle east), but as far as we can tell they seem to give you the choice. With such assignments come quicker promotions, but we hope to avoid him being sent there.

So there you have it. I am terribly excited that the army will be moving us. I would have been devastated if I had to pack us up again. I am weary of packing and moving, especially since this last move was so horrendous. But I can handle it if someone else is doing the work. Of course I'll get to unpack it, but that's less miserable. Meanwhile, we are trying to sell our house. His army pay will be less than half what he's been making, so we hope it sells sooner rather than later...

Monday, July 14, 2008

the lone cherry

This past week we all were outside in the back yard one evening. I had been laying out mulch around some young fruit trees I bought and planted in the winter. Dean came home and I was showing him what I had done. He happened to notice a single cherry on this particular tree. It was somewhat hidden among the flowers. The tree is about 3 feet tall. The cherry was a beautiful dark red. He picked it, and he and I sampled it. It was the sweetest cherry I have ever tasted! I made a point of buying fruit trees that give sweet fruit, as I can't stand tart fruit. So, we enjoyed our harvest. The boys were, of course, clamoring for a bite, but after Dean had a nibble, then I tried to nibble, it started to fall apart so I slurped it up before it fell on the ground - leaving none for the boys. Oh, well for them!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summer Fun

My apologies to anyone who checks this blog more often than quarterly! I have returned, and might even manage a few pictures! We have had a lot of happenings: Hunter recently lost his first tooth, finished kindergarten, and learned to ride a bike! His teacher said he was a "role model" in class, and he has loved going to school. It was half day, and he rode the bus. I'm glad I listened to my intuition and started him "early", with his Sept 9 birthday. He is now in the 50th percentile for his height, which is fantastic! (Being 7 weeks premature it took about a year to even get on the chart, and he's been in the 10-20th percentile most of his life). He is still having trouble hearing and snoring and breathing through his nose. We've done some naturopathic treatments for him, but since his tonsils are "enormous" (say the MDs) we are going to go ahead and have them removed, along with those adenoids, and probably put tubes in again - all at once. He is becoming a useful helper around the house and he loves his little brother, even though they spend the day competing with each other.

Master Kyler is a cutie and a sweetie. He loves his Radio Flyer scooter, and couldn't wait to go get on it after church recently. He put the helmet on himself, as you can see. The best thing about Kyler is that he has been potty trained for 6 months (he was 27 months when we did it)! Woo hoo! I recommend the book Toilet Training in Less Than A Day to anyone who wonders how to do it. If you follow the directions in the book, it works! If they are cooperative and show any signs of readiness, it can be done as young as 20 months. He likes to play and to cuddle and to rough house.

We spent the last week visiting family and friends in New Mexico and Arizona. The boys did impressively well on both flights, so there was no threat of being thrown off the plane (couldn't say that when Kyler was 20 months old). We didn't even have to break out the benadryl! It was nice to be "back home", though we didn't miss the summer heat. Albuquerque continues to grow like crazy, and there was a lot of new stuff built in the year we've been gone. We got to see David and Grandma Dee's new home (thanks for everything!), and Uncle Dusty and his fiance Pattie happened to be traveling through at the same time so we got to hang with them. We saw Nikki and Pepe and their family as well; Nikki's due to have number 4 any time now.

We went to the Burnham Family Reunion near Heber, AZ (my Mom's side of the family). We are not much into camping, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. Thanks to my folks for bringing all the camping equipment for us, and feeding us there! Dean and Curtis built nice camp fires, and the boys had a ball rolling in the dirt and playing with cousins. There were fun games and activities, and lots of visiting with all those relatives! We had planned to stay for the Heber fireworks show, but with the early flight out of Phoenix the next morning, we decided to drive down there and go to bed instead, which was a relief (I know I didn't sleep much the night before on the swim pad in the tent with Hunter snoring in my ear). Kyler stepped in a recently-abandoned fire just before we left and got some hot ash in his sandals, which burned his toes a bit. He was one sad boy for a while, but is recovering well.