Friday, November 25, 2011

Fess up Friday: Your momma dresses you funny

I'm not a typical female.  I only own a few pairs of shoes and almost all of my clothes fit in a 1/3 of my very small closet.  I do try to dress nicely, and for the most part I think I succeed.  I just don't have a lot of clothes or shoes to do it with.  Its not for lack of funds, its just the way I am.  Cheap  Frugal.

Unfortunately for my children, I am also in charge of their wardrobes.  What this means is that when we moved to Korea from Hawaii a few months back, each of my boys owned a single pair of shoes.  Flip-flops no less.  (Since Asha went to school she also had a pair of tennis shoes and a pair of Mary Janes.)

When it comes to their clothing, I do care about quality so I do shop at some name brand places like Old Navy, Children's Place and Gymboree, but only when their sales are super amazing.  Not only do I not buy very many clothes, I also only shop the clearance section.

It occurred to me a while back that this means my kids only wear clothes no one else wanted to buy :/

I may have picked out these clothes,
but I did NOT pick out these outfits!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Thankful

I am thankful for parents who loved me and raised me right.

I am thankful for a husband who loves me and supports me.

I am thankful for three beautiful, happy, healthy children.

I am thankful for a place to live, clothes to wear, and food to eat.

I am thankful for my country and the freedoms it provides.

I am thankful for my husband's job serving our country in the Air Force.

I am thankful for my friends, most of whom I met through the Air Force.

I am thankful for technology that keeps us connected during separations.

I am thankful for the tickets the Air Force is providing for us to travel home in December for three weeks to see our friends and family.

I am thankful for the fact that since we will be gone for so long, I will not have to bake any Christmas goodies or decorate for Christmas this year!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

House Hunting International

So we aren't even quite moved into this place when we get the news that we are moving in about 7 months.  Let me point out first that this is not a complaint post.  We are excited about the move and even the timing of it.  But it is odd to be unpacking boxes in Korea while shopping for rentals back in the U.S.

We are moving to Alabama in June/July to attend a year long training class.  There will be many other students in this class all moving at the same time and so the mad dash to get the housing that you want before someone else gets it has already begun.  The internet makes house hunting internationally SO much easier, but it is still a challenge to get information to make decisions with when you are on the other side of the international date line.  It is even more challenging because my husband has been on a trip to Hawaii for the last week and will turn around and fly back out to Florida two days after arriving home.  We've been house hunting via Skype.  I love Skype!

Here are the options that we are looking at.

The walking path
Yes, please!

1. Student housing on base is fairly crappy while still taking up all of our housing allowance, but it is super safe and super convenient with the bonus of a good Department of Defense school.

2. A much cheaper house just off base would let us save money and still be fairly convenient, but is not nearly as safe.  It would have the option for Daniel to attend a Math, Science, and Technology focused magnet school, but we wouldn't know if he was accepted till after we moved and Asha would have to attend a separate school.

3. A nicer house in a nicer neighborhood with a creek at the edge of the backyard and a beautiful walking path just behind.  It has a good school within a mile and a new YMCA nearby, but the drive to base for my husband each day would be 20 min instead of 5-10, and we would not save any money on rent. 

Which one do you think will win out?
*Did I mention option 3 has a private Jacuzzi hot tub out back?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Home again, Homeschool again, Jiggity Jig (Part 2 of 3)

Daniel's birthday is December 30th.  In most of the 50 states, that would set him to start kindergarten at 5 1/2.  In Hawaii, though, the cut-off to start kindergarten is turning 5 by December 31st.  It was a perfect place for us to be stationed when Daniel was 4 1/2 because he was more than ready to start then.

I wanted to start him in a little Christian school, but they held to the standard of turning 5 by August and would not hear of making an exception.  This was very disappointing, especially when they gave me the very condescending "You'll see.  Next year he will be bigger, stronger, faster." speech, sure that I was just a naive parent who didn't really know what was best for her kid.  But while it maybe true that some (maybe even most) kids are more ready to start at 5-5 1/2, Daniel already was big and strong and fast.  He was plenty mature physically and emotionally, and already advanced academically.  He ended up dis-liking kindergarten at the public school and I feel it would have been different in the private school setting if only they had been willing to consider it.

After a disappointing year of kindergarten at the public school, we brought him home to homeschool for the 1st grade.  Then I found out about a private school for gifted students and he went there for the summer session in a combined 2nd/3rd grade class.  Since the school was more than we could justify spending for the regular school year, I was hoping that maybe he could try the public school again and that the gifted program would keep him from being bored.  I had thought this would fix what he didn't like about kindergarten.  His teacher at the private school advised me that she didn't think this would be enough though.  She believed that he should skip 2nd grade altogether.  This meant we were back to homeschool because I was not naive.  I knew that he was not ready for a 3rd grade public school classroom at 6 years old.

For homeschool that year, we started a 3rd grade curriculum and I knew that we had made the right choice because he barely blinked at any of the work.  He hardly ever needed any help with math or spelling.  He liked reading, poetry and art.  He loved  the Science curriculum and would beg to do it first and do extra.  He did need a little help in Social Studies, and while he understood all the grammar concepts, he hated writing.  Homeschool was good for him because it let him excel at his strengths and get extra support for the subjects that he did not excel at.

I'll be honest though, with my husband deployed for the second half of this school year, it was not an easy one for me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fess up Friday: A Round Tuit

I'm the 'Go-Getter' in my family.

If you know my family though, you know that isn't saying much.  We have trouble getting around to stuff.  I'm not saying we never get stuff done, we just get to it 'eventually'.

The back of my van right now is an example of this very thing.  It has been jam-packed full of things on their way to the thrift store for 3 months now.   I cannot bring myself to cart it all back up 10 floors to my unit and I can't bear to throw it away, but I cannot seem to get around to going to the thrift store when it is open.  It is only open on Tuesdays between (well I can't seem to remember the times), and one Saturday of the month (will it surprise you when I say I don't remember which Saturday either?)  This means anytime we need to bring stuff home in the van, it goes under our feet or around us on the seat.  My husband was patient with me at first, but after 3 months I think he's about to drop me off at the thrift store.

I sure hope he doesn't get a round tuit!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Moving On (Part 3 of 3)

Even though it would be our 3rd move in 1 year, I was super excited for our next assignment.  Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii!  Yeah!!  I think this was payback for the year of moving.  When we arrived there, we lived in a hotel for the first two months.  I'm not complaining about that...with a new baby in tow, having a maid everyday was wonderful!

The complaint starts when the only available housing on base were the houses that were set to be demolished in 6 months.  Really?  This is already our third move in one year!  I took what was given, but with the promise of a brand spankin new house as soon as they were completed in 6 months.  Scratch that.  8 months.  No, wait.  A year.  Okay, how did we end up being the last family in the neighborhood?  They already had the construction fences up around our old house.  The construction workers were knocking at our door asking when we were going to leave.  We'll leave as soon as we have a place to live, darn it!

When we did finally get to move into our new house in Hawaii.  It was fantastic.  Great location on a little cul-de-sac with fantastic neighbors.  There was even a little park built just a few yards away.  I could see the kids playing there from almost every window in our house and almost every day was a perfect day for playing outside.

After 3 years in Hawaii, and 2 years in that house, it was time for our next assignment.  Korea.

Wow.  We were not expecting that.  To be honest, I was disappointed.  Hawaii was beautiful and wonderful, but it was too far away from family and I had hoped to move closer for a while.  Like it or not though, we were going, and I was grateful.  Grateful because the assignment was originally just my husband going there for a year without us.  We got permission for us to go as a family and in the process it was changed into a 2 year assignment.

The housing on the base in Korea is in high-rise towers.  The unit we were given was one bedroom short of what we really needed.  So just to be consistent, the housing company waited until a month after we moved in -to offer us another unit with more bedrooms.  Really?  We would have happily waited in the hotel for a month to get the bigger unit, but now that we've moved in, and settled?  No, thank you!  We've already moved 16 times in 16 years.  We'll make it work.

*This just in!  During my husband's promotion ceremony yesterday, the general announced that my husband was selected for a training school in Alabama.  When we leave Korea this summer (after only one year here) it will bring the tally up to 17 moves in 17 years.