Friday, March 16, 2012

Bits about Base Housing

I picked up my most recent copy of Military Spouse magazine today and started reminiscing about how life was different when we were living on post.  I have sworn that I will never repeat that experience, but there are many things about it that are so much different than civilian neighborhoods.  I can remember a few of them like it was just yesterday:
  • Movies at the theater on base (yes, it was a fairly up-to-date Carmike Cinema) always started with the Star Spangled Banner.  The entire audience stood to appreciate our national anthem.  I have yet to experience that in any other movie venue (and why not, I ask?)
  • As BJ liked to put it, we lived in "a gated community with armed guards"
  • People getting lost and holding up traffic at the entrance to the gated community by asking for directions from the armed guards (I don't miss that so much)
  • Kids from all over the neighborhood coming to our house to play fetch with Blaze.  I think they came out of the woodwork...and their parents never seemed to be worried about them.  I'm guessing that's how it was everywhere back in the 50's era?
  • At approximately 5pm every day, if you were within earshot of a speaker, you (and everyone else) stopped the car or whatever you were doing, stood outside and saluted the nearest flag while retreat is played.
  • At approximately 5am every day, you could wake to the sounds of boot camp privates chanting out cadence while they perform the first of their Physical Training for the day
  • I, personally, miss Wetherby Field at Ft. Benning and all of the awesome concerts the MWR brought there.
  • Being surrounded by the military.  It's a feeling of safety, security, and belonging to something so much bigger than yourself.  God bless America!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Favorite Walking Buddies

We had unseasonably warm weather here a couple of days ago.  I took advantage of it and put the boys in the stroller for a walk.  They are all bundled up to keep the brisk wind at bay.  It was a good workout for me to keep the stroller tracking straight while the gale force winds tried to blow me off the sidewalk.  Tucker kept telling me that I was going "the wrong way".  Not sure what he considers to be the right way...

Happy Half a Birthday to JJ!

I can't believe our baby boy is 6 months old.  Here he is above, demonstrating his leapfrog move.  Tucker did the same thing at 5-1/2 months and was crawling a month later.  We are really going to be in for it soon!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sometimes Life is the Sh*ts

This is exactly what it looks like.  We have GOT to teach this boy some table manners!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wrong Way!

I have to admit, I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom.  My hat is off to those mothers who can do it and keep their sanity.  My little boys are the most precious things in the world to me, but I lose it when I'm home with them 24/7.  Especially when I'm also trying to work while all I can hear is "mom! mom! mom!" over and over again.

So, this week I started putting the little men in daycare on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  We started with a half day on Monday and that went very well.  Yesterday, Tucker went to spend the day with Grandma like he does every Tuesday (and Thursday).  This morning, I explained to both of them that it's back to school and we loaded up the vehicle and headed out (which, I'm finding, getting little boys up and out the door is a job itself).  When I turned left onto LA Grant Parkway, Tucker suddenly got very upset and told me very plainly "wrong way!!".  He wanted me to turn right, towards Grandma's house.  Then he started crying "Papa, papa!"  Sorry mom, I just can't get that kid to say Grandma.

At least once I got him to "school" (daycare), he had stopped crying by the time I got out to my car.  His room looks out into the parking lot and one of the teachers was holding him and helping him to wave bye-bye to me.  It looked as though he really didn't care and he was pointing out all the other things he was seeing to her.  Tucker is such a funny...and sensitive...little boy.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Catching Up

I've come to realize that maybe I should have a blog that's made of images.  I've just spent the greater part of a Saturday trying to make a really cool-looking banner for this blog.  I did that awhile back too.  And before that.  This is the first time I've actually written a blog to go along with the cool banner.  Go figure.  I always have enjoyed dabbling on the creative side.

So rather than bore you with all kinds of details about the past few months, suffice it to say "Happy 2012!"  It's a new year.  I always love it when January comes around.  Well, maybe love isn't the correct term for it.  When Christmas is over I'm always very sad but I love the "clean slate" that comes along every January 1st.  For some reason, the beginning of a new year is very refreshing.

I love to look back over the previous year and reflect on all that had happened in the past 12 months.  2011 was certainly an eventful year for our family.  We experienced sadness and heartache when BJ lost both his parents in the span of 5 months.  The rollercoaster of life gave us some high points too, the best being the birth of our little boy JJ on September 6th.  Our move to Waukee and the purchase of a new home was certainly exciting, and BJ's promotion to Sergeant Major was an honorable celebration.  We are truly blessed.

Among many other goals, I plan to build my business bigger and stronger in 2012.  Even though the staggering cost of daycare is taking most of the income I will be bringing in, I am excited to spend more time as an adult.  I love my boys but I yearn to spend most of my days talking in something other than baby babble.  In a few years, when the boys start school, Assist by April will be a flourishing business that will contribute nicely to our family's income while allowing me to have a flexible schedule and a portable career.  I believe in the virtual assistance business model so much that I'm spreading the word to whoever will listen and doing my best to mentor and encourage others who are interested in starting their own VA businesses.

Even though my fitness level (and weight) are a far cry from where I want and need to be, I'm excited about teaching cycling classes again.  I have gone through an interview process with the local YMCA and will be working as a substitute instructor until I can secure my own class(es).  Talk about an incentive to get into shape!

BJ is enjoying being back to work at Camp Dodge.  All of us made a recent trip to Washington, DC and BJ spent a couple of days working at National Guard Bureau.  According to BJ, he worked harder those two days than he does in two weeks at Camp Dodge.  They ran him ragged!  Overall, the trip was productive and we got to see many of our old friends.  The long road trip with two little boys was challenging, to say the least.

In order to keep from boring you, I'm going to sign off here.  Hopefully I will start to get more posts in so y'all can keep track of us.  Free time is definitely at a premium these days, and when those occasional moments come up I have a laundry list of things that I want to work on.  Such is my life for the next 18 years...or more, right?

Here's hoping all of you are doing well.  I will conclude this post with some pictures to entertain you.
JJ on Day 3 of solid food, Feb. 11, 2012
BJ, Blaze, Me, Tucker, my mom Virginia, JJ, my dad Lynn - Dec. 2011

Tucker at Gravelly Point in DC (see Washington Monument in background) on Feb. 1, 2012
Tucker the artist at work on Feb. 11, 2012

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wait, What Just Happened?

I know, I know, I promised updates.  Lots of them.  About pregnancy, our move to Iowa, about the life of a work-at-home mom, about a lot of things.  And I haven't delivered.  I'm sure you have all been on the edge of your seats, just waiting with baited breath to hear what's been up with the Keatings.  Well friends, your wait is over.

We are now a family of four that lives in Waukee, Iowa with a dog and without a cat.  What a difference a few months can make!  BJ and I turned the key in our new house on June 30th.  I love our digs, which is a good thing since I spend a whole lot of time in it.  We welcomed Justin Joseph (JJ) into the world on September 6th, 2011 and brought him home four days later.  Our family feels so complete and we are blessed to have two happy and healthy boys.  Blaze is the perfect big brother and it is very entertaining to watch him with Tucker and JJ.

Sassy, on the other hand, was not a fan of moving all the time and was even less of a fan of Tucker.  We knew we had to find her a home that was more to her liking.  She has found that place and we couldn't be happier that she is so happy.  Meanwhile, Blaze has picked up the slack in entertaining a very busy toddler.

Tucker turned one in June and celebrated with a party in the Waukee city park.  It was a beautiful day and he enjoyed spending time with friends and family.  There will be pictures at some point, hopefully before his 2nd birthday :0)

I am still working out of our home as a virtual assistant.  I recently added another client and am feeling very optimistic about the opportunities available here in the Des Moines area.  I plan to grow the business quite a bit more in 2012.  BJ is working at Camp Dodge in Johnston and recently received word that he is getting promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major.  This is a very high honor and we are very proud of him.  We will celebrate his achievement on October 28th with a pinning ceremony and luncheon.

That, in a nutshell, brings us to today.  The days are getting shorter, the wind is getting stronger, and the promise of a long cold Iowa winter is in the air.  I am reminded how I "hibernate" when the snow is blowing and the mercury drops.  Hopefully that hibernation will result in more posts.  I guess only time will tell.