Deployment Preperation

We’ve never done the deployment thing, and I realize how rare that is for an active duty family.  I knew it was coming, but it’s not something that I thought about very much.  Since we’ve found out that Ron’s leaving next year, I’ve been thinking more and more about it.  At times it seems really far away, but I know that it’ll be here before I know it and I’ll be wondering where the months went and why he’s leaving so soon.  I’ve already been all over pinterest trying to find out ideas for countdowns for the kids and resources for me.  The kids and I will actually sit down before he leaves and decide which countdown each kid will use to keep up with the days he’s gone, and I know they’ll enjoy that part (most of the countdowns involve eating candy of some kind each day 🙂

But what about our family staying connected while he’s away?  That’s the main question that I’ve asked of deployed members that I’ve interviewed, and it’s the one I’ve been thinking about the most recently.  Ron and I have been married 18 years (we’ll miss our anniversary together again next year because of the deployment), and at times that seems like a really long time.  At other times, it seems like a blink of the eye.  I have read tons of books and articles about marriage and I understand the basics

  • Pray for him daily!
  • Communication is the key!
  • Speak his love language and keep his love tank full!
  • Don’t go to bed angry!

That are so many more things that we just do that are habits now.  My concern about this distance that we’re going to have is that I wonder if maybe after 18 years I’ve gotten complacent.  Have I continued to do those daily things that say I love you, and how will I be able to continue to convey that to him when he’s away from home?  How will our kids stay in contact with him and feel like he’s still a part of their life?  He’s my best friend, and when I have a problem or even when my brain is moving at 100mph and I can’t get control of it, he’s the one I turn to and the one I talk to about everything.  What happens when I can’t do that everyday all the time?

I know Pinterest can’t answer all of these questions for me, but I’m hoping to at least get some resources to help us cope.  I’ve added quite a few pins to the board now, and I’ll continue to add more of them.  I know we’ll make it to the deployment and then I know we’ll all make it through the deployment.  Please pray for us!

House Projects: Entryway

Since we finally have a house of our own, I’m slowly trying to decorate it the way I want it.  I’m trying to go for a minimalist decorating style.  I’m tired of being surrounded by so much stuff.  And, since we have a bigger house to clean, it makes it easier if we have less stuff in the house to be cleaned.

I’m working on the entryway right now… or at least this week.  I’m trying not to get too bogged down in each area of the house, or I’ll neglect everything else and not get anything finished.

Here are some pictures of the entryway from different viewpoints.  I did the “Command Center” area already, and now I’m working on the small table and that wall above it.

My front door also has a small window beside it.  I want to find some small curtain to go there.  That’s project #2!

I asked some people’s opinions about what I should do above the table, and a lot of people seem to think that a mirror would look good there.  I’m going to paint the table first, and then see what kind of mirror I would like to put there.  At least to try it out.  I think that’ll be a good idea!

Project #1

The previous homeowners left a lot of paint here from the different projects they had done around the house.  One of the small walls in the dining room has one wall painted gray.  I’m going to use their leftover paint and do the table the same color.  I tested it by starting inside the drawer, then if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have anything to cover up!

I liked the way the table turned out.  Now I just have to find the perfect mirror set to go on the wall above it.  But that’s for another time.

Little Women

 I had never read Little Women.  I kind of knew what it was about because I had heard references to it, and maybe it was assigned to me in High School, but I didn’t read much of the things I was assigned to read, so I had never read it.  I almost didn’t want to read it this time, but it was next in line at the library, and if I want to finish this challenge, I have to read it, so I got it.  First of all, it was really long and the words were TINY on the pages.  I was so worried that I wouldn’t like the book and wouldn’t want to finish reading it.  And I did feel that way at the beginning, but that was because I couldn’t keep all of the characters straight.  Once I was able to tell them apart, they came to life.  I had a lot of fun reading the book and was actually telling my family members about the characters like they were read people.  I was anxious to finish because I knew that Jo would eventually fall in love and I couldn’t wait to meet the man who would match her.  I was not dissapointed, and I loved the book a lot.

I immediately went and watched the 1994 movie on Amazon as soon as I had finished the book.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the movie, but again, I enjoyed it.  The book is so long, and the movie couldn’t possibly tell everything that happened in the book, but I think they did a good job or getting the point of the book across.  I also loved the acting in the movie.  It was weird to see all of those big-named actors in this movie when they were so young.

I decided to give Little Women it’s own review because it is such an iconic book and I got so caught up in the March family that I felt like they deserved their own post!   I loved how the girls were all so different yet they were each special in their own ways.  I think that’s what made them easy to love.  Their parents were wonderful and way ahead of their peers in their thinking on women’s rights.  I’m sure that was Louisa May Alcott’s way of bringing out her own thoughts on women’s rights, but since I know nothing of her life, that might not be accurate.  I just assumed she patterned Jo after herself because she was a writer, but that too is just conjecture and might not be true at all.  I definitely saw a lot of myself in Jo.

The only part of the movie that I didn’t like was the end.  The end of the book showed all of the March family together years after Jo’s marriage, and they all had children running around and Meg’s twins were 9 or 10, I think.  I was looking forward to seeing them all together like that in the movie, but it didn’t happen.  It ended with Jo getting engaged.  It was still a good movie, just not the ending I was hoping to see.  The book was better, overall, but that’s also because you can always get inside the characters better in a book, so they are generally better than the movie.

Now that Little Women is behind me, I’ll move ahead to the next library book.  I hope it’s just as good!!

Click here to see what I’m reading now!!

Library Challenge

So, I know I’ve said I’m doing a Library Challenge.  In case you didn’t see the post where I first talked about this, I’m going to try to read through all of the books in the children’s section of our library on Ellsworth Air Force Base.  I thought I needed a place to keep all of the books here and I’ll link to my review of them and then where you can get the books if you want them.

Abbott, Tony (Review 1 and 2)

Ada, Alma Flor (Review)

Adderson, Caroline (Review)

Adler, David A. (Review)

Adler, Susan S. (Review)

Airgood, Ellen (Review)

Alcott, Louisa May (Review 1 and 2)


It’s October!

I’m trying a new tradition of decorating our dining room table for each month.  I’m not doing much, and mostly using things I have around the house, or things I can get from the Dollar Tree.  Here is what I did for October…

I got the black trees from target.  I already had the glass vases.  I got the rocks, eyeballs, and spiders from the Dollar Tree.  I put them all together on Satuday night so that on October first I could get up earlier than everyone else (like I do anyway), and get the table all ready for them to come in and see it.  I was very pleased with everyone’s reactions.  They all liked it and discussed when they thought I did it (the night before or early in the morning).  Anyway, I like how it turned out.

I also decided to make a dessert for the first day of the month that was themed also.  I let Wesley and Price help me pick it out and they wanted this Chocolate Chip/Riece’s Pieces Cookie with Eyeballs!  It was really yummy and lasted us three days!  I can’t wait for November!  I’m looking for ideas now for my table and the dessert!

Weekly Book Review – Oct 9

I thought it would be easier to just review books once a week.  Since I’m reading the library books and many of them are so short, it didn’t make sense to review one or two books at a time, because I would be doing mulitple review in one day.  So here are all of the books I’ve read over the last few weeks to get us caught up.

Adderson, Caroline:

Caroline Adderson has one book in our library.  It was so funny I found myself laughing out loud once or twice and multiple times I would read passages out loud to my family members who happen to be around when I was reading.  It was an adorable book that I think would keep any kid interested.  It’s clearly part of a series, but I had no problems catching right up and figuring out who everyone was.

Adler, David A.:

I’m sure many of you have heard of Cam Jansen, or at least you have if you’ve read any children’s books over the last 37 years.  The first Cam Jansen book, The Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds, was published in 1980.  WOW!  

David Adler is the next author at our library.   According to goodreads, he has written and published 34 Cam Jansen books and 20 Young Cam Jansen books.  Our library has one of those and 4 of the Cam books.  They are really short and quick reads, and just perfect for early readers.  I gave them all five stars because they are wonderful for their target audience.  My favorite aspect of them is at the end of each book, there will be a “click quiz”.  The main reason Cam is able to solve so many mysteries is because she has a photographic memory, and so she says “click” and takes a mental picture of something she really wants to remember.  At the end of each book there are questions about one of the pictures in the book.  A kind of quiz to see how much you can remember.  I’m horrible at this even when I know I should pay attention to the pictures because there will be a quiz!  Also, you can read these books in any order you want.  Our library only had numbers 20, 25, 26, and 30 in the original series, and book #6 in the Young Cam Jansen series.  Their titles are below, but like I said, they can be read in any order.  They are just wonderful!  

Now, the other book in our library by David Adler is so different.  Don’t Talk to Me About the War is realistic historical fiction.  He took the year 1940 in the Bronx, and turned it into a wonderful history lesson and a lesson about growing up during that time.  His main character was a boy named Tommy, and we get to see the development of the United State’s involvement in World War II through his eyes.  We see his unwillingness to discuss anything about the war at the beginning because it was happening somewhere else and didn’t have anything to do with America.  He was mostly just copying what his father was saying.  His father had fought in World War I, so he had firsthand knowledge of what war “in the trenches” was like.  

Tommy just goes about his normal days of going to school, coming home, and listening to the radio with his parents in the evenings.  Tommy seems so normal, and I think that aspect of his character made him so easy to relate to.  I found myself wondering if my grandmother thought some of the same things as she was growing up at this time.  Tommy was born in 1927, and my grandmother was born in 1924, so they were around the same age.  

I love history in general, so I was pleasantly surprised when I picked this book up.  I knew it was next in my library journey, so I picked it up.  It’s also crazy that the boys and I have been listening to a new audible production of The Home Front: Life in American During WWII.  The very first episode of that production talked about Roosevelt using the radio to communicate with the American people.  It talked about his “fireside chats” he would have over the radio, and in the book Tommy and his parents sit down and listen to a fireside chat one night.  

Another thing that happened in 1940, and what really made Tommy start discussing the war, was the rescue of allied forces at Dunkirk.  Tommy’s friend, Beth, was kind of obsessed with the war, and every morning she would read newspapers before school, and because of his relationship with Beth, Tommy began to learn more and more about what was happening in Europe.  He also had another friend, Sarah, whose family had fled Nazi Germany and eventually made it to NY.  She was in their school, but other than Beth and Tommy, she didn’t have many friends.  

I love how real everything seemed in this book and how I could picture the different areas of the Bronx even though I’ve never been there.  I definitely recommend this book for any age, although I’m sure it’s written for 2nd-5th graders or something.  It is a great book for children and adults.  

Adler, Susan S.:

I never had those American Girl dolls.  I had a Real Baby, that my children still find terrifying, and I had cabbage patch kids.  So I missed all of the American Girl things for the most part.  There are two books in our library (so far) about the American Girls.  These two, written by Susan Adler, were next in my reading schedule.  Meet Samantha and Samantha Learns a Lesson.  These books are set in the early 1900s, and after the story is over, there is a section at the back of the books that tells more about what school and life was like during this time.  The basic premise of the first story is that Samantha is living with her grandmother and she befriends a servant girl who lives and works at the house next door.  Her new friend opens her eyes to what life must be like for poor people.  Nellie is sent to work for Samantha’s neighbors because her family doesn’t have enough money to feed all of the children.  So they send Nellie off to work so that she can make money.  In the second book, Nellie and her whole family move out near Samantha and they all go to work for a different family.  Samantha’s grandmother helped arrange the move, and Samantha is so excited for Nellie to finally be able to go to school.  Nellie is a lot older than the children in the 3rd grade because she’s never been to school, and they treat her very badly.  Samantha learns what is happening and helps her friend by teaching her after Nellie finishes her work.  Samantha also defends Nellie from the bullies and has to defend herself when the other girls want to know why Samantha is being friendly to “the poor servants”.  This is a good book to start a dialogue about treating people the same no matter their circumstances.  It shows that children can work hard to make a difference for the people around them instead of waiting until they are older.  I liked them both.

Airgood, Ellen:

Prairie Evers is the only book the library has by Ellen Airgood.  It was a wonderful book about a girl who discovers that change isn’t always bad.  Prairie is an only child and lived with her parents and her grandmother.  Her grandmother homeschools her, and it seems like she does a great job of it.  Prairie gets to learn whatever she’s interested in and she and her grandmother read all the time, and go on adventures around their home.  Prairie’s parents move them from North Carolina to New York (upstate), and her grandmother decides that she can’t stay there because she misses NC too much.  So she moves back home, at the same time, Prairie learns that her parents are planning to send her to school for the first time in her life.  This is a great book about her dealing with these changes and learning that just because something is different doesn’t mean it will be worse.  I really liked this book even though it made me cry (that’s usually a deal breaker for me).

Alcott, Louisa May:

I know this name is familiar to almost everyone, but I had never read anything by her.  Our library only has two books by her in the children’s section.  An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving and Little Women.  I read An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving first and I’m still reading Little Women, so that review will come later.  This book was just a cute little story about a large family in the late 1800s.  The mother and two oldest daughters are getting things ready for Thanksgiving in a couple of days.  The mother receives word that her mother is sick and she needs to go to her as soon as possible.  The mother and father leave with the baby and leave the other kids there alone.  The two oldest girls decide to make the Thanksgiving meal even though they are alone.  The parents come back on Thanksgiving day and they arrive with news and a big surprise.  The story was cute and light-hearted.  I liked it, and I’m ready for Little Women!

September 2017 – Recap

September 2017

was a time of transition for us.  

We had already technically moved into our new house, but we didn’t have any furniture.  We were just starting to get out and explore the new place we live.  Everyone is stepping outside of their comfort zones and trying to put ourselves “out there” and meet people.


is loving his jujitsu class that he’s been taking.  It’s twice a week, so I’m not thrilled about that, but at least he still gets to eat dinner with everyone before he has to leave.  He is settling in at his new assignment and even arranged for the whole family to take a tour of one of his bomb squadrons.  (Sorry, we weren’t allowed to take pictures!)  We learned so much about the B-Ones and lots of stuff they are capable of doing from some guys who really love their jobs.  You can tell by the look on their faces as they discuss the aircraft that they really enjoy what they do.  We see the bombers flying over our house all the time, but now we know what the cockpit looks like and what a few of the people inside look like.  It makes it more personal.  Ron also found out that he will be promoting to Major!  He has worked so hard for the last 8 years and we are all so proud of his accomplishment.  He also found out this month that he will be deploying in the spring of 2018.  Not the best news for us, but a different way to serve God through the military, so we are going to be okay with it.

Ron at jujitsu class…


has been attending every event I(she) can find where other women might be.  I don’t want to wait around for a year or two before I make connections like I sometimes do after a move.  I want to find my people here and start making memories and getting the support I need while we are here.  I’ve attended a spouse event on base, a bible study in someone’s home, and a couple of homeschooling events.  I’m putting myself out there even though it’s scary to make that initial contact, I know it’s going to be worth it with the connections I’m making.  I’m also trying to make the house feel like our home with decorations and projects that I will hopefully be posting about in the future.


Slowly getting everything just like we want it!


There won’t be as many “Chillin’ with Chyna” posts as before since her life just got a LOT more hectic!!  She started working at Starbucks in September.  She’s working full-time right now, but her hours will likely change when she starts taking classes.  She still has her driving permit, but in order to get her license here, she has to take driver’s education class.  This will bring down her insurance, so we’re happier about the class than she is! 🙂  She might not get to start this until the new year because there is a waiting list for the class through the end of 2017!



has been very willing to step out of his comfort zone including more than one homeschool outing where he knew no one and still just joined right in like the extrovert that he is NOT!   He wanted to try a martial art, but quickly decided that really wasn’t for him.  He tried a trampoline and tumbling class that he loves and will continue to do that.  He even used his own money and went to a Magic the Gathering tournament where he knew no one.  It didn’t go like he thought it would, but he didn’t give up and he went back the next day to take a lesson about the game and learn the rules for a tournament.  He’s excited to keep doing these tournaments on Friday nights.  He has spoken with the people who work with the birds at Reptile Gardens, and they told him that he can’t volunteer or intern with them, but there is a Black Hills Raptor rescue that does take volunteers and interns, so he has a new goal for October, to talk to them and see how old he has to be to work with birds of prey.  He’s really doing a great job of stepping out!

Homeschool PE
Homeschool PE
Homeschool PE on base!


is always our source of all the worst puns and jokes he can find!   He has been enjoying the homeschool outings this month and just loving all the new adventures we’ve been having.  He has an old cell phone that isn’t very useful for a phone (it can’t make calls or text), but he has used the camera a lot and does a great job of taking pictures of the places we go and the things we see.  He is really good at getting angles I don’t see when I’m taking pictures.  He’s really liking this new place and especially his ninja classes at the local gymnastics place.  I think he’s going to be trying out their trampoline and tumbling class as well, so we’ll see which he likes more.  He’s also wanting to start making minecraft videos for youtube showing how he builds the things he does on the game.  He’s great at looking at a picture on a screen and turning it into a 3-d model on minecraft.  I have to figure out the editing process first, and then he will start posting videos.

Ready to go to Ninja Class!
Wesley is the one flipping…








Minecraft Art!

Overall, we’ve done a lot this month… here are some of the things we did…

Wesley and Amanda went to an event at Storybook Island
Storybook Island “His eyes are terrifying!!
First time Wesley had seen hail (that he could remember!)
We had two visits to Reptile Gardens in September
Reptile Gardens
Reptile Gardens
South Dakota Air and Space Museum
Air and Space Museum
Our first Sunday at Ellsworth AFB Chapel
Great weekend with the Chapel staff, including a ride on the 1880 Train!
We did take a picture inside the bomb squadron building. The THUNDERBIRDS!
Cub Scout Flag Ceremony
Price joined the cub scouts in raising a flag for a grand opening ceremony at a grocery store.
The movers from Maryland who had our washer and dryer in storage for the last two years didn’t pack them very well, and they were both broken when they arrived here.
So we got shiny new ones!

September was a great month!!  Can’t wait to see what adventures come our way in October!!