May 31, 2011

Wait wait wait

It seems that life in the Military is full of waiting. Waiting for the ship to leave. Waiting for it to come home. Waiting on the Detailer. Waiting for orders. Waiting for housing. Waiting for your household goods to arrive or your car to be shipped. Waiting for space at the local military clinic. Waiting at PSD for ID cards or updates. Waiting at the pharmacy (that's a long wait). Waiting at the commissary. Waiting for the phone to ring or the e-mail to refresh. The kind of waiting that makes me most crazy is the waiting for advancement results to be posted. Your life really does hang in the balance. The Senior Chief (E-8) board convened April 18. It's now the 1st of June and nothing has been posted yet. No notifications have been made. No one knows anything, although there is a lot of speculation. What we do know is that this is Justin's last best chance. Out of 47 applicants in his group and rating, 27 are being selected.
      What hangs in the balance? It only feels like our whole lives... If he's selected, he will most likely be pulled off of shore duty early and go back to sea, somewhere, to serve in a specialized job called EDMC. He also has to extend his enlistment to go back to sea and to accept the new ranking. If he doesn't make it this time around, it means we really have done our last sea tour and that when we leave here in 2 years, we retire from the Navy and move on to a whole new phase of life.
    In case you really don't know me, patience is not my long suit. So we wait. And wait and wait. I'll keep you posted.

 {The sail of the USS Kentucky leaving port. Used with permission.}

May 29, 2011

Memorial Day

{Photo taken at Rosecrans National Cemetery. May 2010}

A few days ago I attended an assembly at my son's school. As I looked around I became very emotional at what I saw around me. For all the horrible things in the world around us, I was able to see some good and hopeful things. I stood next to a Vietnamese family who was next to a Korean family. Several Mom's and Dad's in uniform were there also, trying to catch a glimpse of their child's award before they went to work. the local Rotary leader was there with 2 brand new bikes for two deserving children, a community service they have done with this school for years. The JROTC was there with 3 young men and one young woman in uniform to preform the flag ceremony, as well as their coach, a retired Colonel. After the flag was raised and the Pledge of Allegiance was said, all of the 480some children continued to stand to sing God Bless America. Families around me sang in their native tongues and Military Member's stood at attention. I have to say it touched me. There are good things in the world and we live in a country where good things happen every day. In our country people have freedom to express their beliefs even if they aren't popular. We live with the basic human rights of life and physical safety, to worship how and whom we may according to our own hearts and to speak without fear of physical recrimination.
 {Seattle Temple March 2009}

We believe all men, regardless of their corner of the globe should also have these basic rights and on Memorial Day we celebrate and remember with gratitude the men and women throughout the centuries who have died for those rights.
I am grateful not only for my husband and his service, but those who encouraged and helped him along that path, as well as all of the family and friends who have also served our country. What a wonderful country we live in and despite the issues we have, we always have hope.


May 24, 2011

The First of Many

Ever have one of those days that go better than expected? Where you end up being way better than you thought you were capable of? Hard work pays off and this great day it paid off for our Big Kid.
   He was invited with his Math Club at school to attend a Math Field Day sponsored by the Greater San Diego Math Counsel in our area. 31 schools attended with 4th and 5th graders participating. There were several categories to compete it, but Big Kid's chosen category was called Digit Deal. Here's an example:

Numbers are called one at a time. You can't hold numbers in your head to write down later and you get disqualified for doing so. Kiddo competed against about 25 4th graders and they went 9 rounds.

Parents and teachers of the students aren't allowed in the classroom with them during the competition and so we were waiting on pins and needles in a library. At least we had something to keep the Short Kid happy for a while. When we came out, we eagerly asked him what his total score was. About 109 he says. Some were better scores, but most were over 120. He said he thought he did pretty well, but not winning well.

   At the assembly they played a game where they called up one student from each school to participate. He didn't want to go up in front of all of those people, over 500 in attendance, and so they talked his fellow team mate to go down. They are pretty good friends. His friend did amazingly well and stayed until the second to the last round. Their teachers were so proud I thought they would pop.

   We were stunned at the assembly when his name was called. After they called 5th and 4th place in his category, we were disappointed, thinking he wouldn't place. When they called his name as the 1st place winner, he turned to look back and, with a shocked look on his face, said "Mom, they called my name!" We never did figure out how the scoring went, but we were excited for him and his accomplishments.

   The next night the principal of the school called us at home to congratulate us and to talk to him. The Big Kid was excited about the call and found out that the entire math club would be recognized at an assembly the following day. {Due to child protection issues, I have not posted pictures of other people's children here without permission. Thus, no photos of the entire math club.} They are great kids who work hard on problem solving and math skills. They had dedicated teachers who work with them and are proud of their accomplishments.
   Sometimes things in life are hard, and sometimes they come easy. Sometimes we come out of something not really knowing how well we did, but hoping for the best. I know numbers are easy for my kiddo, almost like magic. I hope this is the first of many winning competitions and that his contributions to the world include overcoming hard things. I hope as he progresses in his math and life skills he will remember that some things are easy for some, and some things are easy for others. The plan is to help each other along the way and do our very best, every single time.