Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What I Do All Day

Some people have asked me what I do all day, especially since the signing of the SOFA between Iraq and the US. I could go on about how much work I do and how busy I am except it's actually kind of boring here. EOD is an on call job. We take turns being on response which means 24 hrs of not leaving our compound and responding to incidents. If there's no calls we don't roll out of the gate.

Here's some of my accomplishments over the pass few months:

I've made it to level 99 and 2,107 lines in Tetris. Can you say Tetris Champion? I'm thinking about entering a Tetris championship when I get back. Yes, it's true that I spent over 99 minutes working on accomplishing this feat off and on throughout the day.

I've watched seasons 1-7 of Scrubs. It's a good show. I've now started calling SPC Elders girls names when we play ping pong. It gets inside his head.

I've watched seasons 1-4 of The Office. I think I lost a few IQ points and some brain cells from watching this show. It has given me some good ideas for some pranks though. I need to see if the PX sells Jello.

I'm currently watching Criminal Minds. What's the best thing about being part of the FBI? It's the cool windbreaker that you get. This show gets me pysched up to join the ATF.

My daily routine is made up of finding time in between shows to blog, work on my climbing wall (almost finished), visit motorcycle websites, and workout. We also do a little training to stay fresh and review techniques. I do laundry every six days or so. When we're not on call we're able to go to the chow hall, PX, and the big gym. I also make Sarah chat and webcam with me.

If you want to feel bad for anyone it should be for Sarah who's taking care of Abby, the dogs, the house, and everything else. She's a remarkable woman. She did inform me that she was going to let Abby and I have some Daddy/Daughter time and dissapear for a weekend when I get back. I probably owe her that much.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Popcorn Princess

Sarah is the absolute Popcorn Queen. She enjoys popcorn so much that we buy it in bulk. She eats it several nights a week and will consume a bowl by herself. Well, apparently Abby has aquired this trait too. Since introducing Abby to the world of popcorn she now demands to have her own bowl. She no longer wants to share with Sarah. She's a big girl now and wants to feed herself. Although she does like to share with the dogs when she gets full.

Here's my popcorn princess:

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Army Life

Due to being in a war zone (supposedly, ask me later about it) holidays take on a different meaning. Not to get any pity or other such nonsense I just want to share a cool picture.

I spent Christmas and Christmas Eve sleeping in my truck up at the crossed sabres which is next door to their fallen soldier memorial. This is all located in Baghdad in the International Zone which is a secured area. We were able to get down to the chow hall and eat some Christmas lunch which wasn't too bad. I did get back in time to webcam with Sarah and Abby their Christmas night (because of the time difference). I'm going to have some fond memories and lame stories to bore people with when I get back. Watch out.

Opening Gifts

We wanted to share with all of you some cute pictures of Abigail opening her presents. Children are truely interesting. What we deem as exciting is very different than what a small child believes. Sometimes the box seems more interesting than the gift itself. Tissue paper is an amazing thing to a one year old. We were more anxious to see Abby open her gifts than she was. I know that many of you have experienced the same sort of things. We let her open a couple of gifts early and she would tear some of the paper off from the gift and then get up and leave it. It was killing us. We wanted to experience her excitement and she was leaving us hanging. She did pull through for us and opened the majority of her gifts when we webcammed Christmas night.

To everyone; thanks for the great gifts! I don't have enough space to post every gift that she received but I want everyone to know that she enjoys them and we appreciate the generosity.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Our Winter

Everyone back home posted pictures on their blogs or mentioned to us about how much fun they were having this winter. Emily, Jon and family vacationed at their in-laws. Jacob, Heather and family were having a campout in their home. Many of you told us about how you decided to take a step back in time and try to do things without electricity or telephones. Well, Sarah and I felt the need to share how our winter has been so far.

These are the pictures that Sarah sent showing me the snow storm that they had. She said that the following couple of days they had temps down in the 30's and experienced some freezing rain. She didn't go anywhere for a couple of days because of the seriousness of the weather (and how bad some people can drive in this stuff).

For me, we've had some cold days too. Yesterday was an extra cold day, probably about 40 degrees. I've had to put on a long sleeve undershirt and beenie at night and in the early mornings. Also my nose got cold when I was up in the turret while we were driving down the highway at a blistering speed of 35 mph. We've also had to use the heater in our room to take the chill out of the air.
As you can read, we've been having a harsh winter too.
In all seriousness we're glad that all of you are safe and that the good ol' mainah upbringing of making do with what ya got is still alive. You're in our thoughts all the time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lights At Blora

Sarah sent me these pictures and asked me to blog them for her. She and Abigail went with some friends to Blora a few days ago. It's a park filled with Christmas lights and decorations. You just drive around looking at the different scenes. It takes awhile to see them all. It's a yearly tradition that everyone in the area enjoys going to visit.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Park

Here's some more pictures that we wanted to share. There's a small park in our part of the neighborhood that we took Abby to while Josiah was here on leave. It was a beautiful day. Abby loves the outdoors. If I leave the sliding door open for the dogs I have to be careful that she doesn't go out after them. I think that she believes that if the dogs are allowed to be outside why can't she. I have to remind her that the dogs don't go outside and play in the dirt after I just dressed them in a nice outfit. Oh well, I guess that's why they invented washing machines.

Loving the swing:

She wasn't too sure what to do on the frog. She doesn't weigh enough to really make it work and her feet don't reach the pegs. Josiah volunteered to show her but I quickly shot that down.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another Day At The Range

We were tasked with destroying some old projectiles. It's sort of like going on a field trip with us. We took the Cpt. and a few other people who don't get outside the FOB much. One of the MPs has a really nice camera and these pictures are his work.

This picture is one of the best that I've seen. It's a big hit with the guys. This is about a 300 lb shot.

It rained hard for a few days and you can see that the ground doesn't soak it up very fast. This was actually a couple of days after the rain. We put the truck in 6x6 and hung on. Of course we had to drive through it a couple of times. Where else can you say that you took a government truck muddin'? And a 20 ton truck at that?

We had a great morning. Nothing better than blowing stuff up and doing a little muddin'.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Informants...

that I have working for me to help keep an eye on Sarah snapped this picture.

I'm not sure what Abigail did but knowing that one year olds get into a lot of mischief, I believe that Sarah just wanted to make sure that Abby didn't get into anything while she was doing laundry.

(just kidding. just found this funny picture.)

Funny story though. When I was a little kid Maria Howatt use to babysit my brothers and I during the summer. We were sweet little angels, all five of us. Apparently we were causing trouble one day so as punishment she took our bicycles and tied them up in the tree. To make things worse my oldest brother, Jared, helped her. What a traitor! Ask her some time about it.

Another funny story. When my parents had to go somewhere in the evenings we would babysit and watch ourselves when we were older. We loved to tie knots and play with rope. My dad would teach us different ones and then we would practice with each other. Oftentimes we would take turns tying each other up. This one evening when my parents were out of town we challenged Zachary that if we tied him up he wouldn't be able get undone. He told us that he could do it. So we took him and tied him to the couch. After a few minutes he confessed that he wouldn't be able to get free. We told him since he challenged us he would have to do it by himself. He was left like that for awhile until it was about time for my parents to come home. That was an easy babysitting night. We knew exactly where he was.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I'm fortunate that in EOD they try to promote people as quickly as possible. Here's my fellow team member and I getting pinned our Sergeant's stripes. He's prior infantry and has waited a long time for this. In the regular army getting your stripes is a huge deal because now you're not just a junior enlisted soldier but a non-commisioned officer. You're expected to act different. You're in charge of troops. In EOD they always treated us like adults and expected us to act as such, from the 19 yr olds all the way up to us old guys. Our jobs haven't changed but we get more money for it (not too bad). We're also a step closer to becoming Team Leaders.

I was up at VBC working for a month at CEXC (pronounced 'sexy') so they made the trip up so that my fellow team member and I could be pinned together.

Just a little side note. That's the CPT wearing the army's new Army Combat Shirt (ACS). You wear it alone under your vest with your name, rank, and unit patches all on your sleeve.

Here's the team with our Platoon Sergeant. Yes, my team leader has a black eye. We got some boxing gloves and we've been fooling around with them. Nothing says "Hi mom, I'm doing well in Iraq" like a black eye.

What my wife doesn't realize...

... is that now that I have the internet in my room and she's given me the password to this blog I can post things that she would otherwise censor. At this moment she's asleep in bed and I get to show all of you what I'm going to do to our lawnmower upon my return. I found this wicked awesome picture the other day but have yet shared it with her.

Jared W., Bill, if you do it to your lawnmower first let me know how it went.

Can't you just imagine what the neighbors will say as I ride around the front lawn mowing the grass. There's even a seat for Abby. Or maybe I'll take it up to the Mini-mart for a chocolate milk.

Poppity-Ann, do you think that your bank would sponsor me so that I could start building the next winner of the lawnmower drag racing circuit? If anyone else is willing to sponsor me or if you have parts laying around the house that I could have, please email me.

Sweetheart, if boxes start coming from UPS please just put them in the shed. I'll open them when I get home.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Four Legged Passenger

Part of our EOD mission is to search and clear buildings and the surrounding areas when "important" people come to visit. We enlisted the help of this lady and her handler when we received the tasking. She did a great job even though it took a few hours out in the heat. Her handler did a pretty good job too. She reminded many of us of our slobbery friends that we had to leave behind. It was nice to have her around for the day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Abigail's Birthday

Abigail is about a month old in this picture.
Abby's giftJosiah put it together while she took her nap.

I am not sure who liked playing with it more.

She loves the music that it plays from the toaster/radio.

What is cooking Abby?

Josiah made her lasagna for dinner. She loved it. She also enjoyed her cupcake as well. We were all so happy that Josiah could be home for Abby's 1st birthday. Happy Birthday Abigail!

Abigail's Birthday Party

At the end of a very long day!

Blowing out the candles!

Playing with my new toys.

I love the tissue paper!

One of my birthday cakes.

Abigail had a blast at her birthday party. She plays with her toys and loves the new outfits and shoes she received. Thanks to everyone that came. Thank You for all the wonderful gifts!

Abigail's One Year Photos

Abigail just loves having her picture taken. We had these taken the same day as our family ones. Sorry it took me so long to get them blogged.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saying Goodbye

We drove Josiah to the airport on Saturday morning. Abby waved goodbye from the car as he walked into the airport. We all had a blast while he was home. Abigail was able to have her daddy home for her 1st birthday. I will be posting pictures of that and some of the other things we did while he was home.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Visiting New Hampshire

One of Aunt Mikhaela's paintings. Thanks for sharing with us!
Having a blast with Aunt Mikhaela! She was even kind enough to share her food with me!
Trying to hug the camera.

Cousin Cameron and Uncle Jon came with us to have some great food and great company. Cameron loved Aunt Mikhaela's room!

This was on the way back. The trees were more of a rustic color. On the way they very bright colors. I will blog more of those in the future.

Abby and I stopped in New Hampshire on the way up to Maine. We stayed at my sister Emily's home. Abigail and Cameron loved playing with each other and the dogs. I for some reason didn't get any pictures at their home. Aunt Emily posted a some very cute ones on her blog. While we were there Aunt Mikhaela let us stop by and have lunch and a tour of the campus with her. We were very lucky to see some of her great work.