Saturday, February 28, 2009

More Pictures of Abigail...

These were taken when my mother and Azriel went to visit Sarah and Abby.

Isn't she getting big?:

She loves to get behind the wheel and pretend to drive:

Being silly with Grammie and Azriel:

It's amazing how much having a child changes your life. I can't wait to see my little girl.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Budget Cuts...

Due to the economy the military has started looking at its budget to help relieve some of the strain. They've always been very quick to downsize personnel to meet their budget requirements but due to the high unemployment rate they feel obligated to keep these people on and have decided to trim the fat somewhere else. The military has decided that the biggest cost of war is fuel, trucks, and ammo. Of course they can't take away the ammo because that would be silly. How can you fight a war without ammo? They've decided to cut back on the fuel assumption and look at economically smarter ideas. Here are some of them;

Bring back the French Military Vespa. With incredible gas mileage how could we not say 'Yes' to such a great idea. Most modern military vehicles get 3-6 mpg. Can you imagine how much fuel we could save with this incredible piece of military equipment? This model comes with the optional Anti-tank Recoiless Rifle. The Army could use this to set up check points, recon, and patrol the roads.

How many out of shape soldiers do you see around post? In order to help the Army keep up its physical appearance and to save money they are deciding to use human power. This 'recon trike and cart' would be used for short trips outside the gate whenever the Army feels that the cost of firing up the trucks only to go a few miles down the road isn't worth the cost of fuel. If you score a 250 or above on your PT test you will be assigned the gunner's seat in the cart. If you score below, you have to pedal.

Have you ever tried to negotiate a Humvee around the canal roads of Iraq or up in the mountains of Afghanistan? It's nearly impossible. Coming out later this year is the new Combat Burro. With little or no training, each company will be receiving 4 Combat Burros to aid in traveling to the hard to reach areas. These specially trained burros were purchased by the government for $43,995 each. Compared to the cost of a new Humvee, the savings reach into the thousands of dollars.

Don't you just love the "Good Idea Fairy"?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thanks Guys!!....

I wanted to publicly thank my family and friends for sending packages, letters, and Girl Scout cookies to me while I've been over here. Thanks for looking out for Sarah and Abigail and most of all thanks for your prayers on my and my family's behalf. It's such a relief to know that I have such good friends looking out for me and my family.

Thanks to the guys at The Horse website. Several of them sent me BOXES of motorcycle magazines to help with the downtime.

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

At The Park...

Abigail decided to take the "adults" to the park while Amanda and Jeff were visiting. This park has to be one of our favorite places to go. Sarah sent me a ton of pictures and I decided to post my favorites.

Here's Abby pushing mommy on the swing:

The kids on the teeter-totter:

The kids on the jungle gym with Abby supervising:

Enjoying the slide:

Aunt Popitty-Anne practicing for next year's rodeo on the infamous frog: (read this post if you missed it ).

You can view more pictures of Amanda and Jeff's visit on their blog. They also went to the Alamo and zoo.

Thanks Amanda and Jeff for taking time from your busy schedules to come and visit Sarah and Abby. They really enjoyed it!
We're going to miss the enjoyable Texas winter when we move up to Missouri. They wont be quite as bad as the good 'ol New England winters that most of our family are experiencing but after a winter in Florida and two in Texas it'll be quite a change.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Rodeo

There was a rodeo in town so the crew went and checked it out. Of course Amanda had to stop and get a pink cowgirl hat to fit in. She sure wouldn't want to stand out.

Abby trying the hat on for size.

They had bull riding, barrel running, calf roping, and a few other events.

Crazy Aunt Popitty-Anne again:

Sarah and Abby:

Good 'ol Texas fun.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Good Quote:

"Some people will tell you that slow is good - and it may be, on some days - but I am here to tell you that fast is better. I've always believed this, in spite of the trouble it's caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba...."

Hunter S. Thompson - Song of the Sausage Creature

Visitors ...

Sarah's sister Amanda and her husband Jeff took time from their busy schedules to go down and enjoy the nice Texas weather. I was given the task to blog their week long adventure. Sarah sent me a TON of pictures so I'll break them up a little into a few different posts.

Here's crazy Aunt Popitty-Anne. She never fails to make life interesting.

On Fort Hood there's a couple of outdoor museums where you can see old military equipment from a few different countries. Here's Uncle Jeff and Abby taking a stroll looking at the tanks. I was told that those two bonded pretty quickly.

I'll post some more pictures tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Getting Anxious

Can you tell that I'm anxious to leave the sandbox?:

Yes, I've already started packing up things that I don't need or haven't used. Note to self; bring less stuff next time. As we start to come up on two months left here in country I've started thinking more about the things that I miss and things that I'm looking forward to. Of course my family is first. I can't wait to be with Sarah and Abby. Here are some other things that I'm looking forward to:
I can't wait to be able to walk across the hall to the bathroom instead of across the compound.
I can't wait to eat home cooked meals. (Even if I have to prepare them myself).
I'm not going to miss inhaling all of this Iraqi dust.
I'm not going to miss putting on 35 lb of gear and driving an up-armored truck to go to the market.
I can't wait to ride my motorcycle.
I'm not going to miss showering with the guys.
I can't wait to eat Chinese food made by Chinese people or Mexican food prepared by Mexican people.
Don't worry, I know that even though we're getting close to being done we still have work to do. Once I get in the truck headed out the gate all thoughts turn to the mission and what I have to do to keep safe and do my job.
It seems just like yesterday that I was the new guy walking around with huge eyes wondering what I was doing here in a different country.

Friday, February 13, 2009

In The News

As a child it was always exciting to get your name and picture in the newspaper. Most often they spelled my name incorrectly but it still was pretty cool. It usually happened because of sports or the good 'ol Pinewood Derby as a Cub Scout (the Stinson 'wedge' car was pretty fast). This time my picture was tied to something not so exciting. Our team got a call that a car bomb went off at a local market place. When we got there the place was swarming with coalition and Iraqi troops. The Iraqi bomb squad gave us permission to have a look around so we could let our command know what happened.

I was with my fellow team member and one of the security guys at the blast site when the MP saw a few guys taking our picture. He went over there and had them delete the ones of us but I guess a picture slipped through. This picture found its way to the New York Times and Voice of America websites:

It's really not a big deal having our picture taken although it does mean that harassment and owing a case of beverage will follow. We already have one "Hollywood" in the company and hopefully he doesn't think that we're trying to take away his spotlight.
On a good note, these types of incidents are slowing down and things are improving here. The Iraqi bomb squad is learning and improving. Let's hope that things continue to improve.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Cron-o-Meter

Since work has been a little slow lately I've had quite a bit of free time on my hands. I thought that since I have about 10 weeks left here in the sandbox that I would work on my fitness a little more. Wouldn't Sarah be surprised if I came home looking like this:

In order to come even remotely close I've been watching what I eat. I'm not talking about watching it go onto my plate and then into my mouth but actually being careful of overloading on calories and carbs. My team leader is a big fitness nut and told me about a program called Cron-o-meter. It's a FREE computer program that you can download from the 'net and it calculates your daily intake for you. After typing in your age, weight, activity level and setting your protein, fat, and carb percentages you input the food and portions that you eat and it tells you how you're doing. It's a very easy program to use. It has a HUGE database of foods and their nutritional value so you don't have to worry about inputting it yourself.

I've set my limit at 2400 calories a day since I'm trying to lose some body fat. In order to not lose muscle I need to up my protein by A LOT. The hard part is that I like carbs. They taste sooo good. I've kept track these pass four days and I'm actually not doing too bad. The food selection here sometimes makes it very hard. Yesterday I wandered around the chow hall for about 20 minutes trying to pick something healthy to eat. They tend to fry a lot of the foods that they serve. I'm trying to cut down on my portions at meal time but eat more often throughout the day. Finding and planning healthy snacks can be difficult. It defiantly takes more time and thought trying to eat better.

I've been lifting weights and doing cardio five times a week plus some pull-ups here and there. The lifting program that we're doing now is a higher rep/ lower weight program. It's suppose to help define the muscles instead of just adding bulk. I've never really tried it before so it's going to be interesting to see the results. Last time that I had my body fat checked I was at 14%. I'm trying hard to get around 8%.

P.S. I was going to post progress pictures of myself but I didn't want to scare anyone.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


It's nice to see how quickly little children can bond. These are a few pictures of Abby and a couple of her friends. It's neat to see them learn to show affection.

She loves these little 50 cent rides that are found at shopping centers.

We're happy to see that Abigail plays very well with other kids. She does have her "mine" moments but for the most part she's learning to share.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Some Cute Pictures...

A friend of ours took some pictures of Abby for us. I thought that I would share a few. Thanks Heather!

You really gotta love that smile and the wild hair. Sarah says that Abby's sweet smile is just to lull you into a false sense of security. Apparently Abigail has gotten into the "tornado" phase and likes to go through the rooms. She's also been showing off her climbing skills and giving Sarah heart attacks.