Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fair Winds and Following Seas...

This morning Capt(Ret) Bradley Eugene Johanson was taken from this earth. His battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) began shortly after his retirement from the US Navy in 2008 and he succumbed to pneumonia and ALS today. Captain Johanson was the Commanding Officer of the USS John C. Stennis when Bobby reported to the ship in 2006 and performed Bobby's re-enlistment ceremony on the bridge of the USS John C Stennis is 2007 while the ship was on deployment in the Persian Gulf. I was lucky to serve as an ombudsman under Captain Johanson's leadership for twenty-two months.

Captain Johanson was a true leader, a man who believed in his mission and lead by example, he was honest with his sailors, he trusted them and they trusted him. He ended his 30 year career with the Navy after a very successful 2007 deployment with the USS John C Stennis, a deployment spent mostly in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Persian Gulf (the Stennis did not loose a single sailor during that deployment), and a docking planned incremental availability period which was completed EARLY and UNDER BUDGET in the early part of 2008, a pretty much unheard of feat in any government agency.

In a Navy where no less than fifteen CO's have been relieved of duty this year, many for inappropriate personal conduct, loss of confidence in the ability to command, or problems with their temperament and demeanor, Captain Johanson had been a ray of light in our Naval adventure. He was a man who was fair, honest, and judicious when he was put in a situation where it was necessary to discipline his sailors.  He believed in the good in people. Captain Johanson was an amazing sailor, he believed in the Navy, in their mission and purpose, and he worked hard to bring out the best in the sailors around him.

I knew Captain Johanson as a sweet natured man, one who always greeted us with a winning smile and a firm handshake and always left us with a hug when we met with him, whether that was on board the ship or in his home. Captain Johanson wanted to know that the families of his sailors were well taken care of, he wanted those families to have all of the information they could regarding the whereabouts and well being of their sailors and he was honest with his sailors and with their families, something I am finding is scarce in today's Navy leadership.  Under Captain Johanson's wing mediocre sailors became good sailors and good sailors became great sailors, his people wanted to be better for him (I am reminded of a quote from A Knight's Tale, when Prince Edward says to William Thatcher (speaking of his knightly qualities), "Your men love you.  If I knew nothing else about you that would be enough").  Captain Johanson's sailors loved him, if I knew nothing else about him, that would be enough.

Captain Johanson was married to an amazing woman, Junay, a woman he met in the Navy and who stood next to him, tall, proud, and an amazing example to all the spouses she mentored, throughout his Naval career.  She, too, believed in the job that her husband had to do, she cared about the sailors doing that job with him, and she was an amazing example to the spouses who were lucky enough to make her acquaintance.  Today is a sad day, indeed, and through my personal sadness, my prayers have been with his family, I hope that Junay is lifted up by the thoughts and prayers of all those who were lucky enough to know them.

The Navy is better for having employed him, the sailors who knew him are better for having known him, I am better for having had the wonderful opportunity to work with him.  Fair winds and following seas Captain Brad Johanson, you will be sorely missed.

I have made a donation in his memory to the MDA for ALS research, and you can too.

The Kitsap Sun article regarding Captain Johanson's passing, it includes information on the public services for Captain Johanson.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Picture Me This...

So, in another life, in a different me, when I was MUCH younger, I used to really enjoy photography. My mom was a wedding photographer for a while, I took some photography in high school, I even worked for Duke, a very well known studio in Phoenix, although I was not a photographer for them, I worked in sales, but I did get to learn a lot about photography there, the creative side, the technology, and the business side. I really enjoyed photography, and I was pretty good at it.

Now, fast, about 15 years, and I don't remember much of anything about photography, aperture? f-stop?, nope, don't remember what they do...I can still focus a camera and I remember some things about composition, but not much. I used to love to play with pictures in the darkroom, but photography now tends to mean mostly digital, which opens up a whole world of photo manipulating software, software that does the same types of things to pictures that I used to do in the darkroom, but requires a different sort of education.

Why all this talk of photography, you ask? Well, because with my impending birthday, my Sweetie bought me a new camera. A Cadillac of cameras if you ask me. A Nikon D90 with all the bells and whistles, two lenses and a flash. He probably thought he was just getting me a camera, you know, something to take pictures of Punk and Bug with. He knew he was getting an AWESOME camera, but I don't think he realized he also bought me a project! I have ordered a book specifically about my camera and some books on the ins and outs of digital photography, I'll need to read them all before I can do much more than take amazing snapshots with my camera. I'm even thinking about taking a digital photography class when I get to Phoenix. And when I finally figure out my camera, I will have to figure out our new age "darkroom", photo manipulation software, which will require purchasing software, more books and probably a class for that too.

Hopefully I'll have figured out this year's birthday present in time to photograph next years birthday celebrations!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day Twenty-Five - My Day in Detail

Good thing this topic landed on we actually DID something today.

Got up this morning, got Punk out of his crib and put him at the table with a bowl or yogurt and a "circle toast" (Eggo waffle), put "Yighting Keen" (Cars) on the TV, got Bug and nursed him, put Bug in the swing. Put a load of laundry from the washer into the dryer (a good Oxyclean soak does amazing things to small children's clothes), started a load of colors (so we would have something to wear. I took a shower then put this new product on my hair, got Bug out of the swing, got Punk out of his chair to let him play, moved the laundry. Got back in the shower to rinse out my hair, put part two of the product on my hair and then blowdried it. Put Punk in the shower, checked on Bug, then straight ironed my hair. Bobby got home. Dressed Punk, dressed Bug, dressed me. Left for the Naval Hospital. (Oh, FYI the hair product worked okay so far).

Got to the hospital, parked, went up to the seventh floor. Checked Punk in. Waited in the waiting room to be called (pleasantly surprised that they now have a well baby waiting room at the hospital) while I filled out the.longest.survey.ever about my big kid's development. We were called, Punk was weighed and measured (26lbs, 2'11.75", 24th percentile for weight, 78th percentile for height). Doctor came in, checked Punk out, talked to us about his development, declared him practically perfect (apparently I need to work on his fine motor skills, we've never had him stack blocks or string macaroni and these are apparently important developmental tasks, who knew?).

Went down to the second floor, checked Bug in for his well baby appointment, checked Punk and me into immunizations. Punk got his MMR shot, I got a Tdap (pertussis [whooping cough] booster).

Were called back for Bug's appointment. Bug was weighed and measured (10lbs 13oz, 22", again, tall and thin). Doctor came in and checked him out, he's perfect.

Back to immunizations for Bug's turn. The second he got the first shot he turned red and screamed forgetting to breathe (no worries, I'm a mean mommy and blew in his face to make the breathing resume). Nursed Bug in the waiting room while we waited out the required 10 minutes post shots.

Visit to the Naval Hospital, two well baby appointments and six immunizations between three people, about 3 hours.

Back out to the car, and back home...

Punk was asleep when we got home and is exhausted, but still up because we are going for an early bedtime tonight rather than dealing with the aftermath of a late nap. Bug is a miserable little monster, so he got his first Tylenol and is FINALLY sleeping in the swing as I type.

Oh, we ordered Papa Johns for dinner (because Bobby said, "It's been a long day for us all, let's order pizza so you don't have to make dinner").

Tonight is the premier of Biggest Loser (which I will probably watch from my couch with chocolate ice cream), and (not the premier of) Parenthood. Should be a nice relaxing evening from here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day Twenty-Four - Where I Live

Well...vaguely here...

View Larger Map

Bremerton, Washington...for now.

Interesting facts about Bremerton, WA:

Sir Mix A Lot (of Baby Got Back fame) sings a song about the special class of women here in Bremerton occasionally referred to as Bremelos.

MXPX (a punk indy rock group from Bremerton who had some sucesses a couple of years ago) sings a song called "Move to Bremerton"

There are four "mothballed" aircraft carriers here at Naval Base Kitsap's a very strange sight to see them all parked together and eerily empty...I don't have a picture though...hmmm...I should take one before we leave.

Bremerton is a small town with BIG Navy influences. When the carrier that is stationed here is gone the traffic is lighter and there are a lot more women alone in WalMart at two in the morning (huh, Rachel?).

I haven't always loved living here (and as such have spent much of our time here in Phoenix when the ship is gone), but if I'm honest, it is a beautiful place. The people in the Manette Ward (the ward we attend) are amazing people and have had an amazing influence on my life (and I'd be willing to bet they have NO IDEA the influence they have had), and if we found ourselves here again...that would be okay.

Day Twenty-Three - A YouTube Video

Some of you know that my Jetta likes trouble...this YouTube video is a bit of trouble my Jetta (okay, it's now Ryan's Jetta) narrowly avoided in my driveway while I was in Massachusetts visiting the BFF in August of 2007. That is Jackson's (he's a friend of Duane's) car in flames, the Jetta suffered only some soot marks and one flat tire from the incident.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day Twenty-Two - A Website

Do you know etsy? It is an awesome online marketplace (kinda like ebay) for handmade and vintage items.

They have an AWESOME variety of stuff from different crafters/sellers, and if YOU are crafty it is an awesome place to get ideas and to purchase patterns.

I purchased my awesome placemats there, I have also purchased diaper covers, baby wraps, tag blankies, and even hot chocolate!

Thanks to my BFF Rachel, I have spent a lot of time looking at the huge assortment of felt food that can be found on etsy lately. This stuff is SO freaking cute and a lot of the pieces are stuff that would be super easy to replicate (and there are a bunch of patterns for sell to make the stuff yourself too)!

And I can't even wait to place my first order for matching infant/toddler ties from this seller...I just can't decide which one(s) I like best (and Bobby would probably kill me if I bought them all). How freaking cute are my Punk and Bug going to look in those?!?

If you don't know etsy you should definitely get acquainted!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day Twenty-One - A Recipe

My friend Ashley posted about an Eclair Cake that she made here, and while her cake certainly looks good, it made me think of one of my favorite desserts that I make (and since I knew this topic was creeping up, I thought I would share it here), it is a Cream Puff Cake that can easily be turned into an amazing Eclair Cake (I've done it before by adding a layer of chocolate fudge sauce between the pudding mix and the whipped cream topping).

The Cream Puff Cake is one of my favorites because it is SO good AND it is easily adaptable to different people's tastes AND it is easily adaptable for diabetics (so it can be Pops and Grandpa friendly and still taste good enough to be served to a crowd). The basic recipe is:

1 cup water
½ cup butter
1 cup sifted flour
4 eggs
3 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding
8 oz. cream cheese
3 ½ cups milk
1 tub Cool Whip

Heat water and butter to a rolling boil. Add in flour all at once, stir vigorously over low heat until mixture leaves the pan and forms a ball (about 1 minute). Remove from heat and let set for 10 minutes.

Beat eggs in thoroughly one at a time. Beat until mixture is smooth and velvety. Pour mixture into a 13x9x2 glass baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Let cool (when this bakes it rises high and gets puffy, it will settle as it cools).

Combine pudding, softened cream cheese and milk (this works best if you whip the room temperature cream cheese and add the milk in SUPER slowly making sure it is incorporated without clumping then add the pudding). Pour over the crust in the dish. Top with Cool Whip and garnish with grated chocolate or bananas.

* Don’t be afraid to mix this one up, use different pudding/fruit/chocolate mixtures to make it your own!

To make this recipe diabetic friendly use sugar free pudding, and use Cool Whip Free, Cool Whip Lite, or Cool Whip Sugar Free.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day Twenty - A Hobby

As totally old lady as it sounds (of course...the older I get the less weird it gets I guess), I love to cross stitch. I love to take a blank piece of cloth, spend a few days putting some stitches in it and have a beautiful picture come out on the other side, and I love to give the pieces I make away...which means that the most complex and most beautiful things I have ever done belong to other people. I have always loved to cross stitch, when I was in my late teens and early twenties I carried a cross stitch project with me pretty much everywhere I went (it wasn't uncommon to find me sitting in the corner at a party stitching) that I have children it is much more difficult to get time to play with needles and thread...but I still try to get some cross stitch time in occasionally.

Day Nineteen - A Talent

Ummm...I have no talent!

Okay, that might not be completely true, but I don't really have any of the "normal" talents that you think of when you think of "talents".

I'm not a great chanteuse, I don't have a green thumb (more like gray), I don't play any musical instruments, and, while I can dance, I'm not an excellent dancer or anything. I'm a pretty good cook. I am a pretty decent friend. I'm the best sister my brothers will ever have. My husband says I'm a good wife, and I keep three people alive everyday (Bobby's on his own). So, while I don't have the "normal" talents, I'll take the ones I have and keep trying to improve on them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day Eighteen - My Wedding

I don't know exactly what this wants me to talk about but I'll tell you how it went (since you probably weren't one of the 20ish people who were there)...

Bobby and I were engaged for 17 days and were married on August 6, 2005. That morning I got up, a friend of mine came over and did my hair, I did my makeup...about 11:30 or so Bobby showed up at my mom's house (looking spectacular in his blues), I put my beautiful off white babydoll floor length dress on, my mom took some pictures of the two of us (yes *gasp* BEFORE our wedding). Then me and Bobby jumped in his car and went to the church where we set up the chairs in the Relief Society Room for the ceremony. People got to the church about 2, we started the ceremony soon after. Elizabeth Sheffer played the piano for the wedding (she played our song, "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts), and Bishop Doug Cole officiated at the wedding. Our vows were based on The Family: A Proclamation to the World, they were appropriate, they were simple, they were true, and they were short...our ceremony lasted eleven minutes, it was perfect. We signed the marriage certificate, our fathers were our witnesses and we were married, for time.

Last year, on November 21, 2009, I woke up in the morning, I did my hair and makeup, I put on a black skirt with purple flowers and a black shirt, dressed my Punk in his Sunday best and straightened Bobby's tie, we got in the car and drove to the LDS Temple in Mesa, Arizona. We went in and changed into white clothes. Then we went to the sealing room, Bobby and I were sealed as husband and wife, we had friends and family there with us, again, words from The Family: A Proclamation to the World were referenced, then Punk came in and was sealed to us as well...that day we became a family, for eternity.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day Seventeen - A Piece of Art

I have a favorite painting, it's called "Something More Than Color" it looks like this:

It was done by my cousin, Eric Hudspeth, who is an amazing artist (check out other paintings, sketches, and sculptures on his website) and the original hangs in my grandparent's home in MO. I hope to someday find a way to get my hands on it, but if I don't end up with it, that will be okay too, I'll make due with the digital replica saved on my computer.

Day Sixteen - A Song That Makes You Cry (or Almost)

I thought this was fitting for today (and it still makes me teary to this day, it used to make me sob)...

Nine years ago today our world changed...and in a lot of ways that is too bad, because any negative change spurred on by the catalyst of that day is a victory for the enemy. Because I never want the enemy to be buoyed up by a change I make, I try to make sure that the changes in my life spurred on by the tragedies of September 11, 2001 are only positive ones.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day Fifteen - My Dream House

In light of the fact that we just put our first home on the market, this seems fitting.

It's funny, this house isn't perfect, we need more than one bathroom, we need at least one more bedroom, I hate my "hallway kitchen", and there is pretty much no's the first home Bobby and I owned together. We have spent most of our marriage (at least the parts of our marriage when he was home) here in this house, we made two babies here, and we brought them home from the hospital to THIS home, and the fact is that I'll miss living here in this place that has so many wonderful memories for our family.

Someday, though, I hope that we will have our dream home. In Phoenix, near our families, with more than one bathroom, at least four bedrooms, a huge kitchen open to the living area, plenty of storage, and a large yard. More than what the house looks like I hope that it is a place that our boys LOVE to be, a place they can bring their friends and that everyone feels comfortable. I hope that when we move into that house, the one that will be our last, that we have made the decisions that allow us to enjoy the home and each other with minimal stressors from the world for the rest of our lives.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day Fourteen - A Non-Fiction Book

I talked all about it here.

Day Thirteen - A Fiction Book

I'd be remiss if I didn't go with Ender's Game, after all, my brand new nephew is named after the title character (yep, Ender Scott H.).

It's a FABULOUS sci-fi novel by Orson Scott Card in which children are trained as soldiers in the event of a repeat alien attack. It's sci-fi for people who HATE sci-fi. If you haven't read it you should pick it up (you can pretty much find it at every used book store on the planet, or you can borrow one of the 5-10 copies my parents always have), you'll love it, everyone does.

Day Twelve - Something You are OCD About

I'm not really OCD about anything...really. I am particular about how my children are dressed when they leave the house...but even with that, I let Bobby take Punk to the store yesterday in his pajamas because we put on pajamas early and Bobby had an errand to run and I needed the break that him taking Punk would even that, which is probably the thing I'm the most particular about, is something that can have exceptions I don't mind.

Day Eleven - A Recent Photo of You

Okay, well, it's almost a year old, but this is the most recent decent picture of me (we took these last October).