Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Day's Worth Of Ramblings

Good day to you all!
Have any of you ever participated in online surveys? I happened upon a post a while back listing several sites that offered money and merchandise for filling out surveys, but now I am to the point that I could sit at this stinkin' computer 24/7 and still need 8 more days in my week just to fill them out. I'm not sure if this annoyance is worth it or not...well I did like receiving that first check even if it was small. :)
Things are going good here. We're getting used to our back-to-school routine and struggling a little bit but it is so worth it! So far we are doing just fine. Neeley is having a grand time in her class. I think it's really going to be a GREAT year. All that worrying for nothing!
I gave up reading the Angels & Demons. Way too much thinkin' for me. Any other suggestions for a good, light read? Please send them my way.
Have you ever made your own laundry detergent or all-purpose cleaner or any other household product? I have seriously considered it for some time now but Neeley has eczema and I'm downright scared about it.
Well, that's enough nonsense for today. Catch ya later!

An Open Letter To Lil Miss

Dear Neeley,

Today begins yet another new chapter in your life. Third grade. At a new school. With new friends. In a new country. Wow!

Words cannot even begin to express how proud of you we are. This move has not been an easy one for any of us. But you have been our little power house! You have been okay through all of this, holding us both up even as we have had doubts.

This is you today . . .

. . . as you walked in to that big ol' school all by yourself. Even I was a little overwhelmed but you found Mrs. Hurston and the rest of your class and immediately began your day.

What a ride this has been! Here's to you, sister, for your strengths, your passions, your willingness to try anything just once, and yes...even your sassy attitude!

We love you and wouldn't know what to do without you!

This is in honor of you...

In recognition of heroic duty on the home front
- getting used to leaving your home
- saying goodbye to friends and starting all over again
- and again
- and again
- for the courage it takes to be the new kid on the block
- having to leave favorite things behind just because they don't fit on the moving truck or the airplane
- because other kids don't have to worry about where & when their daddies go to work
- for always being able to find the positive in what lies ahead when sometimes you just don't want to


For this and so much more, we honor you...

Our lil brat...

Army brat that is...

Here's to the best year ever, full of new beginnings and new challenges!

We love you!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

12 Years And Counting

Happy Anniversary to my one and only!
At first, it was just us...

Then we added lil miss to our family . . .

Wow! What a life! Thank you for these past 12 years. Here's to the rest of our lives!
** Disclaimer: I SO wish I had all of my pictures organized and saved in one place. I could have brought some from WAY BACK! :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Question For You

With the start of school, I have been, well you've heard me talk all about it, really trying to organize our home and prepare all of us for what lies ahead with this school year. So I have a few questions for you:
  • Do you have a "command central" at your house like others have? For school stuff and the "just life" stuff is what we have. What does it look like?
  • Do you do a menu plan? I've been doing so this month and I LOVE it!
  • How do you store your pictures? As I've mentioned 4,297 times, I have pictures stored on two computers, 4 memory cards, two cameras, in 3 picture boxes, and in four or five albums. What do you use? I just discovered shutterfly to order my prints but have not educated myself fully. I also just made that collage with Picasa. That was fun! But I need to take the time and energy to get ALL of my pictures in one place. Just this week I was looking for some pictures and I had no idea where they were in all of the above stuff. Makes me crazy!
Random questions, I know. :) But I just have random days like this sometimes. Sorry!
Anyone have any good ideas for freezer meals for a couple who are expecting their first baby here in about a week? I so promised this precious momma-to-be that I would be her saving grace, and well I'm just not feelin' it right now. Oops! Guess I better get on the ball.
Thanks for your input!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Soldier

34 years ago, the world was blessed with the birth of a beautiful baby boy...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! We love you!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thank You

Thank you all for the kind birthday wishes. This is how I spent my day...

Well, that and I polished off a homemade chocolate chip cookie/butter pecan ice cream sandwich, had a wonderful Diet Coke, and just had a generally unhealthy day. That's okay sometimes, right? Especially on your birthday when your husband is nowhere to be found because he's in France, and oh by the way, he let his phone die because he didn't take his charger.

Ok, rant over. I'm off for my morning run/walk with good friends. That is, right after I take the Baked Oatmeal out of the oven. Yum! We have Neeley's New Student Orientation at her school this morning so I told her I would get her up early and fix a good breakfast and (hopefully) get her in to the routine of getting up early and ready for school. So far we're failing... :) But we are so ready for next week.

Y'all have a GREAT day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Can I Have This Day?

Happy Birthday To Me,
Happy Birthday To Me,
Happy Birthday To Me,
Happy Birthday To Me!

And I stop many mores! LOL

Have a great day y'all!

Oh You Miserable Rainy Tuesday

Just when I am up with my tennies on on the second day of getting up early to exercise my behind, I wake up to tornado-like weather. Oh joy! That's okay. My exercise buddy and I met outside anyway right before the storm hit, and walked for a bit and chatted and it was good for my soul! :) So I just finished an inside Wii Fit routine that wasn't too shabby. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

I have started using Sparkpeople again. If you haven't tried this yet, I recommend it. I love it! It really helps me...well, when I use it anyway. It counts that I at least think about it, right? The experts lied to me yesterday and told me I was way over on my calories and carbs for the day. Oh wait, did I say they lied? Maybe it was that ice cream sandwich and those darn candy corn! Humph!

I received an email from Neeley's new principal about our upcoming activities. Our New Student Orientation is Thursday morning, school starts Monday, and her Open House is coming up. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, they do their Open House after school starts. What!?! I just don't know. But we are thrilled for school to start on Monday.

Did I mention the fabulous Community Fair we went to this weekend? It was that organizational fair for us to see all of the organizations and fun that can be had here in our community. Oh man, what did I sign up for again? LOL I am now an official member of the Stuttgart Community Spouses Club . . . and I think somewhere in the conversation I agreed to design a newsletter. Blame it on the lack of coffee and the cake with blue icing there at the event for breakfast. Ronnie quickly reminded me that I made a promise to myself and my family that I wouldn't volunteer for much here. I came here with the plan to finish my masters, and just be with my family as much as possible and to just work on us. And well . . . did I ruin that? I guess we'll just have to wait and see about that one too.

Neeley is now a part of Girl Scout Troop 194 here on RB! Woo hoo for FINALLY receiving that information. It took getting to that fair to talk to someone. Boo on that! Now I need to find out what their uniform requirements are and make a mad purchase from the website. I'm not too sure we have the luxury of the GS store here in Stuttgart. Oh but I did hear we have a Gummy Bear store.

And I'll have to save that for another post. Oh My Goodness!

Good day y'all!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Have You Heard of Wordle?

This fun website will take any text you put in and make a fun picture of it. I just put in this web address and it made this random picture for me. Fun! Go try it!
Wordle: Untitled

Happy Thoughts

Lovin' this Monday! It's only 8:55 am here and I've already been up for 2.5 hours and walked/ran for 1.5 of that. :)

Another wife from the unit and I have made this pact to each other to keep us motivated. I just can't (er...maybe won't is a better word) do this by myself. I loathe exercising but I love the feeling afterwards. So we walked and ran all over post this morning. The weather feels fabulous. It's getting cooler here and the sun was out and it was just a great morning to get out and exercise. We are doing this at 7 am every day this week and then we will move it to 8 am beginning next week when our kiddos start school. Yay!

Since Ronnie's gone, I've got a cabbage casserole mixture in the crock pot for Neeley and I. He hates it but she begs for it! Yum!

Before I forget, I wanted to give a shout out to Ireland and the UK. It seems like I have a few return visitors from those two places according to my stat counter, so Hi and thank you for keeping up with us. I would love to meet everyone we come in contact with over the internet. That makes me wonder, how far away are your friends? Do you have any from those countries or other countries that you keep in touch with?

You know me and always "trying" to be organized . . . I have come across some really great websites for those of us with kiddos in school. Love these!



Go check them out for yourself. And let me know if you have others. I'm always fishin' for new ideas!

Well, I'm gonna keep my tennies on for the rest for the rest of the day and try to be as productive as possible today and the rest of this week. We have exactly one week until school starts and with it also comes soccer and Girl Scouts and my own schooling and tons of fun so I'm trying to have a plan and a place for everything before that time comes.

Y'all have a great Monday!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

No Fair Sunday

Today's the day Ronnie leaves for France, so it's No Fair Sunday around here. It helps me though because they get to endure a 12 hour bus ride! :)

We woke up this morning to chilly air outside and it feels wonderful! We have all of the windows open. Makes a good excuse for a couple dozen extra cups of coffee, right?

We're just spending time together as a family today. We've been catching up on our Jericho episodes and playing the Wii. What fun!

He comes back on Thursday and I hope to spend these next several days really getting organized and geared up for school to start the next week. I feel like I have a million and one things to do and no time or way to do them. So I'm going to tackle all of that this week and get our house really in order so that that first week won't be so nuts around here.

I am so excited for Neeley to start at her new school. I know I still need to get you pictures of her new school and I will soon. It is massive! I have heard their new principal is wonderful! She is SO ready to learn again. :)

I'm limiting my internet time this week too because there are days when I accomplish absolutely nothing because I have to check on all of you and read 4,297 emails and of course, facebook is always a priority, right? I know once my classes start I will be on for very different reasons and I'm thinking that will require quite a bit of my time.

I'm ending here to spend the rest of my day with a bag of these.

And just because, I think you should go get you a bag too. Yep, the Commissary already has their Halloween candy out. That reminded me yesterday that I need to start the dreaded worry about a Halloween costume. Oh boy!

Since Ronnie will be gone almost all week and will miss my birthday.........wait! What!?! Yes, I said it. Stinkin' Army! He will miss my birthday, so we exchanged gifts yesterday. I will have to take some pics of my gifts. He did so good!

Bye y'all!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hello Saturday!

Good Morning to you all! It's 7:16 am here making it 12:16 am in Arkansas. :) We're up and at 'em early today because we have a busy day. Ronnie is taking us to the PX so I can finish up some birthday shopping. Then we're off to the Community Fair that I am so excited about. It's where all of our military organizations as well as some local organizations set up in the gym to show you what all there is to offer-lots of clubs to join, USO trips, and giveaways! Then we're off to a baby shower. Those are always good fun! And we will end the day with the ginormous Flea Market they are having at Patch. Wow! We'll hopefully be able to see something today too.

Ronnie leaves tomorrow for almost a week in France so I'm trying not to be extra pouty today. But I WANT TO GO! :)

We've been watching this in the evenings when Ronnie gets home and I think it is keeping me awake longer than I would like . . .

I really am enjoying the show, but some nights it just gets to me. And last night I was so tired by the time we finished, I didn't care what happened. Those poor people!

And Ronnie swears up and down and even sideways that I have to read this . . .

So I'm trying, but I'm not loving it. I can't remember what chapter I'm on, but I'm not very far in to the book and I can tell it's going to be a L-O-N-G read.

I better end here and get ready for the day. I am so glad to be able to get out in this cooler weather. Once again, 75 is the high and we are LOVING it!

Bye for now!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Time For A Makeover

Thank you, Thank You, Thank You Kendra for my new look! :) That girl is so creative and I so appreciate her help! I am NO GOOD at this stuff. I can type away all day long and always have 4,297 pictures to show you, but can never do the pretty stuff right. :) Thanks again!

Our weather is having a makeover of it's own today. I have mentioned several times that we have been in a heat wave. Well, I'm not sure if it's just a lil cold snap, or if our winter really was right around the corner like everyone was saying, but for the next week we are supposed to have high's around 75 and lows of around 45. Wow! And what a difference it makes! It was around 100 degrees here yesterday and I didn't leave home. It was THAT miserable! Yuck! Neeley and I were supposed to ride the bus to Patch and Panzer today to take care of a couple of errands but she has decided she just really wants to play and fix up her clubhouse in this cooler weather. And since we just made a trip to the library I might just take her up on that. I have a lot of reading to do.

I am so not a cold weather kind of girl. And I've also heard that the winters are becoming especially difficult with nasty snow and ice and the winter wind is apparently atrocious. Yay! NOT! I will definitely miss summer. I have really enjoyed this lack of a schedule even if it has thrown me off quite a few times.

One of the things I love about summer is flip-flops. Yes, I brought all 49 pairs (kidding on the number!) with me to Germany. And I've noticed that not many of the locals show their feet around here. Is that something they just do? Or do they just not wear flip-flop type shoes or what? I have everything from the $1 Old Navy flippies to expensive dressy flippies. I took this picture just to show you how much we do in fact love them. The other night I was telling Neeley she needed to go scrub her feet because I thought they were just really dirty from playing outside while she was wearing her flip-flops. I proceeded to try to wipe her feet, only to find that it wasn't coming off. Then I took a closer look at my own feet, and this is what I saw...

Introducing . . . . . . . . . . . . FLIP-FLOP FEET! And I even have it worse than Neeley and I am not outside nearly as much as her. Maybe it's because I was so lily white when we came here and Neeley keeps a little bit of a tan all year. I'm not sure exactly the explanation, except I know I'm not tanning anywhere else. Can I transplant that from just my feet to my arms and legs? LOL Too funny! Never before have I had this happen to us . . .

I mentioned above I have quite a bit of reading to do but does anyone have any good book or author recommendations? I know I am going to quickly be busy reading school books (bleck!) but I am really trying to do some leisure reading to polish my reading skills. :)

Also do you have any good useful websites you visit often? I visit quite a few and I've added some of them to my links but am always open to looking for ideas. I found some really good tips on organizing my pantry yesterday and am very excited to tackle that next.

And I will be sad to show you our first day of school pics on the 31st because Neeley has picked out a rather unusual outfit to wear to school that day. She has always had kind of an off-the-wall sense of style, but this one takes the cake. I'm anxious to see if she sticks with her choice. Tune in for pics of that . . .

Better end here and decide if I'm going to the gym or not today. After that yummy breakfast of oatmeal with fresh blackberries, cinnamon toast, and of course COFFEE I definitely need to do something!

More to come from the Bowden Brigade!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Riding the Wave...

...Heat wave that is. We are apparently in our "summer" right this very week and it is miserable. This miserable is different from an Arkansas miserable but it has kept me from doing my regular run/walk outside like I have been wanting to do. It even made me think about going to the gym instead, but in place of that I am sitting here updating you all and drinking my coffee in my jammies after breakfast. :) Today is supposed to be one of our hottest days yet and if it is anything at all like the past 2 or 3 days or even worse, we're all going to be running around in next to nothing trying to survive. Gotta love this no air conditioning living... :)

Have you all seen this movie yet?

If you haven't, be sure you take a heart pill beforehand. Just kidding, but my word! I've never seen so much action. I don't generally go for this type of flick. I like chick flicks, comedies, those feel good movies that just leave you laughing and happy and don't really require any thinking to get through the movie. It should be for fun, right, and not get you so worked up. We went the other evening and took another couple with us who don't have their car here yet. We really enjoyed ourselves. Patch has a movie theater that we try to take advantage of when we can. It's fairly inexpensive and they show pretty decent movies.

We found out Ronnie will be gone back to the states for a class in March and April so that's always interesting...will have to survive this European livin' all by myself for a month. Time to pull up the big girl pants...

My other challenge to overcome today: I am having the hardest time getting one of my school books ordered. Several companies will not ship to APO addresses and these classes start soon. I think I can order it directly from the bookstore but I may have to sacrifice Neeley in order to pay for it that way and hope it gets here before my classes start.

I'm off to get the day started. I really must do some kind of exercise today. I'm sore from yesterday but have to stay motivated. Neeley is behind one of the other buildings close to us cleaning up their "clubhouse." The teenagers come along late at night and vandalize quite a few things (another lovely thing about living on post) and she apparently takes it as a threat, so that girl got up, ate, and got herself ready and was out the door at 8 am just to go over there and fix their clubhouse again. It's just a bunch of stuff they found when they went dumpster diving around post and they have gathered this junk in a group of trees behind another building. :) I don't mind it much at all. It's just good...but not so They make mud and stuff, which is all well and good, as long as they "find" a water hose too. I just threatened them to leave hazardous stuff in the dumpsters. Note to self: must take pictures of this lil set-up they have to show you. It really is a hoot!

Y'all have a good day! And try to stay cool! And give your babies loves from us!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wow, It's Wednesday

What a day already! Ok, you all know I've been REALLY struggling to find the motivation to get myself up and around and out of the bed before well....9 am! What!?! LOL So this morning I got up at 5'ish with Ronnie, did some things around the house and then got busy. I took a nice long walk/run from 6 to 7, came back in and walked lil Anna Banana, ate some breakfast, got Neeley up and fixed her breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, took care of some other small things around the house, and now I've got the Blueberry Pound Cake in the oven and am REALLY enjoying this cup of coffee. :) Today will be a good day! I can just feel it!

I was introduced to Shutterfly yesterday and Oh.My.Word! I love it! Wish I had more time to do creative things with it other than just order prints of all 4,297 of our pics. I think this afternoon will be another one we spend in the water. It has been so hot here, but I am really trying to be appreciative of this hot weather because we've heard we're going to have an exceptionally yucky winter, starting very soon. We've been told that it will start cooling off in the next 3 to 4 weeks and then it's all downhill from there. I'm so not a winter kind of gal, so I'm preparing as best I can.

Did I tell you that Neeley put a cell phone and a laptop on her Christmas wish list? What!?!

We've heard of a new place to visit and we are planning to go soon. The Koelle Zoo is apparently the largest pet store you could ever imagine. I promise pics of this one because I'm even in awe when we drive by. It's BLOCKS long! Wow!

I've got to take some pictures soon of our new home for you to see. I was trying to wait until we had it completely fixed up but a home is always a work in progress so I'll just have to suck it up and show you anyway. Only if you promise not to judge. :) We still don't have much on our walls and some things are still mismatched but it's home, and we love it!

This is the end of this edition of Wednesday Ramblings! I've got to keep my momentum up for the rest of the day so I don't get my morning lull like I usually do. I'm hoping that by getting up earlier I will get more done and start to feel better about my days. Yesterday was kind of shot just because we ended up catching up with some friends at the PX. We had great fun but it so wasn't in the plan for the day and kind of threw me off. It's all good though because the kids got to spend most of the day playing in the water sprinkler and pool and it was good homemade fun, and it made my lil heart happy!

Talk to you more tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Randomness...Just Because It's Tuesday

Happy Tuesday! :)

I know quite a few of our friends are already in school but we still have two weeks off, therefore, I still have no set schedule. Kind of unnerving for a control freak...

In the meantime, we're still spending lots of time at the library, I am trying to find ways to motivate myself to get back in the gym, and I am getting ready to start playing bunco again. Yay! I so miss our friends and adult time. :) I am also joining a ladies book club in September. And received my "official" invitation to join the Protestant Women of the Church group, beginning in September. Ecstatic!

I am also neck deep in trying to get everything together for grad school. I'm accepted and registered, and have ordered my books...that's been the hard part. No one wants to ship to us "way over there" as one company told me. So I FINALLY have them all ordered and on their way. My school starts September 12th, what I affectionately call Dooms Day. I'm not sure how being a full time student will work for me again but apparently I'm going to do this.

I've also been doing lots of meal planning...FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! I never, never, never do this stuff. But I really am trying to be organized and less stressed and crazy. And I think I've been doing more of things like this just because I have literally no idea how Neeley's school year is going to play out since I know nothing much about the school and the DoD system. I think it's my own personal way of just trying to brace ourselves for what's to come.

Neeley starts soccer next week. Wait...rewind...did I just say soccer? Oh, yes I did! I'm not sure what's gotten in to her either. We have begged her for 3 years now to just try soccer but it finally clicked this year. That, and she wants to try guitar lessons. But first I have to figure out how to get my hands on a cheap used guitar that an 8 year old might tear up because I'm sure that's what will happen.

I'm still waiting to take my drivers test. Now that's a whole 'nother story! I was FINALLY going to be able to go sit for the class next week, but once again our schedule is turned upside down. See, the male figure in the Bowden Brigade gets to take a fun trip to Normandy for the anniversary of some big event. Hhmmm....wonder what that is. :) While lil miss and I get to stay home, because apparently when they schedule "mandatory fun" as they call it, the families aren't always involved. So I've been pouting for a while now. I just don't see that as fair, but I'm used to it after 12 years of this nonsense.

Better run and get ready. We have some birthdays coming up next week and I've got to finish my shopping for the Mr. :) I've been receiving hints here and there for a while now, so I have a few ideas up my sleeve. Will let you know how that goes...

Tune in tomorrow for the next episode in our saga...

Love you all!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Porsche Museum Pics

We went to the Porsche Museum this morning and man was it awesome! Not quite as cool as the Mercedes Museum, but still a really neat experience. It's so hot here today, and Neeley is out playing with friends so Ronnie and I are going to sit down and watch a movie and enjoy some quiet time. Wait? What did I just say? Yeah..........quiet time.....for once!


Gotta love the audio program they give you...

Neeley in awe... :)

But I told her driving the above car would probably land her in this car...yep, the police!

Some other really neato cars...

Standing underneath the sound and motion simulator...

And just because I need more motivation to get out there and exercise, here's me and my bestest lil girl...nothing like seeing yourself in a picture. Yuck!

Random scenery on the way home...

And just because, like I said I need motivation, we ended the trip with the most fabulous coconut ice cream you will ever eat. We get it from this little hole-in-the-wall, you-really-don't-want-to-eat-there type of place and it comes in a half coconut shell. Oh so yummy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Frantic Friday

Today is Friday and Ronnie's last day to work for a few days so we're up and frantically trying to do all that we need to do today so that we can have some fun for the next few days. That's sometimes a challenge, especially since today feels like Lazy Friday instead. I'm off to hopefully get some things done but wanted to show you the pictures we took when we went to the Wilhelma Zoo & Botanical Gardens. I tell ya, you should go to their website ( and check it out. What a beautifully amazing place! We were there all day and it was worth every minute.