Saturday, May 30, 2009

On Being an Air Force Wife Part 6

Through my blog I get a lot of questions about what it is like being an Air Force wife.

I know that my experiences are not typical, and that some other spouses have had a harder time with being married to the military, while others yet, have an easier time.

I have decided to post some parts of emails that I have sent in answer to questions that I get as a way to help others.

I know that some people may disagree with my answers, because their experience is different than mine, and that is fine.

I am just saying that this is my experience, my life and the way that I have seen things unfold in the last 14 years of being married into the Air Force.

If your experience is different then you post about it on your blog, please don't slam me for my experiences.

I also decided to post our story, mostly because I have never typed it all out. (yes there are parts that I have not included, deal.)

So without further ado here is part six, life after crosstraining, AKA Georgia:

December 2007 came fast and yet slow.

I was not able to get a teaching job for that fall, because we were on orders to move to Georgia.

I had resigned my position at the alternative school that summer, because Jerry was going to be gone, and we lived to close to the school for me to feel comfortable teaching with him gone.

Plus we were paying for Jerry to live in the billiting at Keesler ($45 a night), $100 more out of our pocket per month on our mortgage. So money was very tight.

Jerry graduated from tech school right before Thanksgiving, and we spent the holiday with his mom.

Jerry had to report to Robins before Christmas, but due to a mixup at Keesler our stuff could not be packed out until over Christmas, which was fine with us. He and the kids ended up coming up to Georgia on the 30th, and I followed on the 3rd, after our stuff was packed out. (and after getting the car fixed due to extreme cold weather.)

Since being here we have dealt with a whole new side to the Air Force. It has not been a fun ride (its getting better, probably because we have moved away from the base and base community.)

If we can ever rent out or sell our house in Florida (the military is no help what so ever on that!) we will be in pretty good shape.

I guess at this point the best advice I can give anyone in the military or joining the military is not to ever ever ever buy a house while you are still in. It seems they will screw you every time, and make you move before it is reasonable. (for more on that you can look at posts on here about housing).

We still need people to stand up and write and fight for the military man and woman. We still need people to tell congress how wrong it is that the FBI/CIA/Postal service have their homes bought from them when they are transfered and the military member is left to be foreclosed on.

Friday, May 29, 2009

To the driver of the chicken feed truck...

That was going 60+ miles an hour down Riverside Drive in Macon tonight at about 6:45....

I am very thankful that my husband was heads up and paying attention to you as you drove towards the interstate coming from the east going well above the speed limit.

I am thankful that my husband was paying attention to the fact that you, sir, had not slowed one single bit as you came down the hill.

I am thankful that everyone around us was also heads up and paying attention to the fact that you were barreling towards the intersection at at least 60 miles per hour. So that no one else went into the other turn lane and went around us, to get hit.

Because God knows that you were not paying one lick of attention as you were speeding past The Shoppes at River Crossing!

You sir, need your license removed and to never be allowed to drive on the streets of the United States ever again!

I want to know what you were thinking as you were driving through a busy part of Macon going at least 20 miles over the speed limit in a big rig!

How do I know you were going at least that fast?

We had a green arrow to turn left into the Shoppes At River Crossing. Jerry started to turn then stopped, we both saw you barreling down the hill and I said to Jerry, "He's not going to stop is he?"

Jerry said nope.

and about that time you must have stopped talking on the phone or what ever it was that was keeping you from driving safely. Because you slammed on your brakes, locking up the tires, and nearly jack knifing your truck coming straight at us, and the Mustang behind us.

You must have skidded a good 100 feet before you realized that we were not pulling out in front of you to turn, and that we, unlike you were paying attention to the vehicles around us.

You then let off the brakes, actually saving the day, by being able to keep the truck from jack knifing and rolling over us (of course Jerry and the Mustang behind us were already starting evasive manuvers and getting over to the right lanes to hopefully avoid your rolling truck.)

If I close my eyes right now, I still see your truck barreling towards us.

I see your truck starting to loose control.

I can see the trailer rolling out of control and killing me and my family.

I can see if Jerry had gone on the green arrow, your truck slamming into the passenger side of our Trailblazer and killing us all.

I am going to have nightmares about it, I know I am. I am going to have nightmares about what if Kelsey had been driving, she would have pulled out, because she had a green light.

Or what if I had been driving (never thought I would be glad that I had a pina colda with dinner and let Jerry drive.), but what if I had been driving and had been not watching you come down the hill.

Or what if Kelsey and/or Natalie had gone to Macon to the mall with one of their friends? And they pulled out on the green light.

I have pictured those things for the last 3 1/2 hours, so I know that I will have nightmares about it tonight.

I can only thank god that Jerry saw you coming, way to fast for that road, and knew that you would not stop.

I can only thank god, that he stopped our Trailblazer from pulling out in front of you, because we had the green light, and by all rights should have gone.

I can only hope that you realized that your actions almost cost the lives of a family.

I can only hope that you stopped doing what ever it was that you were doing that caused you to run that red light at 60 miles per hour.

I can only hope that you did not kill anyone else on your way home this evening, all because you felt the need to use exessive speed on a main road in Macon tonight.

Be glad, be very glad that it all happened to fast for me to get your license plate (oh wait you were still speeding when you ran the red light!) Because I would have reported you if I could have gotten it!

On Being An Air Force Wife... part 6

Through my blog I get a lot of questions about what it is like being an Air Force wife. I know that my experiences are not typical, and that some other spouses have had a harder time with being married to the military, while others yet, have an easier time.

I have decided to post some parts of emails that I have sent in answer to questions that I get as a way to help others.

I have also decided to post our story, in parts, mostly because I have never typed them all out before. ;) Plus maybe seeing what we have been through will help someone else.

I know that some people may disagree with my answers, because their experience is different than mine, and that is fine.

I am just saying that this is my experience, my life and the way that I have seen things unfold in the last 14 years of being married into the Air Force.

If your experience is different then you post about it on your blog, please don't slam me for my experiences.

So without further ado here is part six: Our life back in the United States
July 2005 we got on a plane at Mildenhall and flew into Baltimore, in hopes of meeting our Trailblazer at the port (what was supposed to be a 3 week trip for our truck).

Our truck had not made it yet so we took advantage of the situation and played tourist for a week. First in D.C.

Then in Baltimore...

The we rented a minivan and headed for Florida (I had to report to work the Monday a week after we landed.) On our road trip we stopped where Stonewall Jackson was killed...

And in KannapolisThen we arrived at our "new" home in Eglin. I had to report to work first thing Monday morning and now our Trailblazer had finally arrived in Baltimore. Jerry took the kids to his mom's in Mississippi, then he took the rental van back to Baltimore and picked up our Trailblazer. He got back to Florida with just enough time to enroll the kids in school.

Luckily (or unluckily) for us we had found a house before we left England. A co-worker of Jerry's had a house for rent that was coming available on the 15th of August. Which with the housing market at the time was lucky for us. The unlucky part was that I found a job 50 miles away, that I was offered right before we left England. The teaching job market wasn't too hot, so I took it. It was a LONG school year.

It was made especially long given the sickies that infected all of us. DJ got tubes put in, Kelsey had to have 2 root canals, Jerry started his runs with potassium problems, and Natalie and I just had the usual run of sickness.

Then you add in that my 96 year old Grandmother was diagnoised with brain cancer, and the family was called in at Thanksgiving, because the doctors did not feel she would make it to Christmas (she suprised us all and passed away in March of 06). So I missed a lot of days that I did not plan to miss when I took the job.

Anyway, that was a long year.

Renting also was not a happy thing for us. Because we "knew" the owners the property manager thought that meant that we should do more and put up with more issues than the normal renter. Like the above ground pool that was green when we moved in, and then the side blowing out the day before Katerina hit. Yes the fun part about that was the above ground pool was why we were supposedly paying $300 more a month for the house, so that they would have a maintance company come and clean it. And then she didn't even have someone come out to look at it for 7 months, only after we gave our notice that we would not be renewing our lease. It was a major hazard, and we could not allow the kids to play in the back yard at all (it had a deck surrounding it, and not all of the water would drain out.)

We decided after that to look into buying a house. The Air Force had a regulation stating that you had to be on station for 36 months before they could even consider moving you. We figured we had at least 24 months left. So we bought our house, right before the bottom fell out of the market. Like within 8 weeks, of the bottom falling out, too bad we didn't see it coming.

But it gets worse! About the time the bottom fell out of the market, Jerry found out that the Air Force had decided to tell all Staff and Tech Sergents in his career field that they either cross-trained to a new job, or they got out of the Air Force, not retired, just got out, no benefits, no nothing.

Now I am the first to admit that we were upset with this prospect, however we researched the career fields that AFPC (Air Force Personnel Command) said that were eligible for transfer into, and choose three that would be a good fit for my husband’s strengths and for our family. A few days after he submitted his choices AFPC told all of the people in his career field that the list that they had consulted (sent out by AFPC with the notification of cross training), was invalid and that he had made needed to be changed as they were not available. I understand that mistakes happen, and this was an inconvenience at worst, so again we did the research, and submitted new choices.

My husband’s choice of Air Field systems was accepted and he revised his class dates. There were problems with this step in the process as someone in the training command did not look at my husband’s previous training and take this into account when assigning him to classes. They assigned him to take a basic electronics course, which considering he has been working in F-15 electronics for the last 14 years this was unnecessary. My husband and his command had to spend many man hours preparing and filing a waiver, including finding and tracking down copies of training certificates that should be in a data base on a computer somewhere. Finally a few days before he was to be at Keesler AFB for basic electronics we were told that his waiver had been accepted, and his class date for his Air Field Systems course work would begin in April.

With this knowledge I was scheduled for a hysterectomy in January/February for a condition that could not we could not postpone the surgery. A week later we were told that Jerry's class date had been moved up to January. With the help of my husband’s current command (again after many man hours on the part of his section chief, and commander) this was changed back to April. Then they tried to change the class to March, again I was on medical hold due to complications from my surgery and a secondary surgery, so the date was changed to May 1st.

The training command has known since March of Jerry's class date of May 1st. Tuesday April 17th Jerry received an email stating that as of March 1st, 2007; all academic classes longer than 99 academic days no longer can be done in temporary duty status, that this is now considered a permanent change of station. Air Field Systems is a 130 academic day course, so he would be under PCS orders. Jerry went to his command and to the outbound assignments to find out what that meant for our family. After 6 phone calls while Jerry was in the office of outbound assignments , he was told that the family would stay here with full entitlements to Eglin housing allowance, and that he would go to Keesler alone and living in billeting with chow hall rights. This was an answer we could live with.

Tuesday April 24th Jerry received word that the above statement was not true. That his orders would be cut for the entire family to move to Keesler and receive Keeslers housing allowance. Jerry and his chain of command started to argue this situation and try to figure out a way around this.

Wednesday April 25th at 830 in the morning Jerry received his PCS orders to Keesler with a follow on to Warner Robins AFB in Georgia . The orders were for the entire family to move to Keesler and set up house, and then follow on to Georgia in 5 1/2 months when his training is done. Also the orders came with a report no later than date of April 26th at 10 am. I am not sure if you are aware of the time it takes to out-process a military installation but I can tell you that 26 hours is not enough time to do this, even if one were single airmen with nothing to call his own, except a dorm room.

My husband and his command were successful in getting a waiver after about 60 man hours of O-8s and E-8’s time, so that the family can stay on station here at Eglin with Eglin housing allowance. When he received the waiver he was told that he would be put up in billeting for his entire class.

Plus we have discovered that we are not the only family that encountered these problems; we have found other members of the Air Force that were force cross trained that did not have a command willing to fight for them, or to ask questions on their behalf.

Upon Jerry’s arrival at Keesler on June 12th he discovered that the base shuts down on every other Friday and his report no later date, happened to fall on such a Friday. So he had driven over to Keesler to an empty base, no one could even tell him what was going on, because anyone he found could not help him.

On June 15th when he reported for his first day of classes, he discovered that no one in the school actually had him on a rooster for that class, and they had to track down someone that knew what was going on. Then he when he in-processed into the finance at Keesler he was informed contrary to what we were told when his waiver for housing and for the family to remain in place, that he was not to be provided with billeting rights for his entire stay and that he was only entitled to the Air Force covering his billeting for the first 10 days of his stay, the rest was to come out of our pockets. If he chose to move into the dorms, like some of his counter parts have done, we would loose all rights to our housing allowance.

Paying for his billeting out of our pockets ended up costin us $5000 that we had not been made aware of, of course this is preferable to the almost $8000 we would loose if we loose our housing allowance. We have friends that are currently going through this exact hardship, and after Jerry hearing what the other Sergeant’s wife is going through he said no way. Not only do we not have our spouses for 6 months due to this cross-training, but we are also now short on our source of income. Then you add in the fact that someone in finance or military personnel did not enter the waiver for our family to keep Eglin’s housing allowance, which is about $100 more a month, so not only do we have to pay for Jerry’s hotel room, or find a cheap apartment for him to rent for 4 ½ months (which by the way no one in Biloxi will do a short term lease), but they lowered what they said we would be getting.

Yes that time was very very stressful, and it still has been, for the last 18 months since....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I heart faces is giving away the cutest bag!

Go on over to and enter to win!

What my class received in the mail on Tuesday

This is what my class got in the mail on Tuesday in response to their President's Day letters that we mailed back in February. They were so excited! Its like I said on Tuesday, I am sure that it is a pretty standard affair, but it sure made there end of the school year a good one!

On Being An Air Force Wife... Part 5

Through my blog I get a lot of questions about what it is like being an Air Force wife. I know that my experiences are not typical, and that some other spouses have had a harder time with being married to the military, while others yet, have an easier time.

I have decided to post some parts of emails that I have sent in answer to questions that I get as a way to help others.

Plus our story, since I have never put it down on paper.

I know that some people may disagree with my answers, because their experience is different than mine, and that is fine.

I am just saying that this is my experience, my life and the way that I have seen things unfold in the last 14 years of being married into the Air Force.

If your experience is different then you post about it on your blog, please don't slam me for my experiences.

So without further ado here is part five:

I should have probably started with this instead of ending with it, as it is what we have experienced as an Air Force Family.

Here is our story life in England:

We arrived in England in June of 1997, at this time Princess Di was still alive, Paul and Linda were still fighting her cancer (big news there), and we had no idea what to expect.

Jerry's sponsor was to be one of the guys he went to tech school with, however his wife had a baby, so one of the other guys stepped in.

Our first experience with British roads was traveling from RAF Lakenheath out to Ely, down all of the back roads. Jerry's sponsor told us that they called the roads the Drunk Monk roads, meaning that the Monk's that made the maps and roads were all drunk. We still to this day call the roads the Drunk Monk Roads, and it fits.

The best piece of advice he gave us, was to not let the weather stop us from traveling and visiting things if we wanted to do something. If you wait five minutes the weather in England changes. ;)

Or if you wait for the weather to be nice to do something or see something, you will never see it.

We arrived to find out that temporary living for families on base had not been reserved for us, as we had been promised, but that we would be staying at The Smokehouse Inn a hotel just off of Mildenhall. From there we could walk onto RAF Mildenhall to go to the BX annex (at the time it was just a shopette and toy store), or catch the shuttle bus to RAF Lakenheath or RAF Feltwell. The only drawback at that time was that the room did not come with a mini-fridge, and Natalie was still drinking from a bottle.

Things went from bad to worse, when around 4th of July we had to move from there to a hotel out by the 5 ways Roundabout, where they had no extras what so ever. Plus we still had no car, as the Jeep did not arrive in country for 2 months after we shipped it. From there we were totally dependent on taxi's and co-workers of Jerry's to get to and from the base.

Luckily we found a cute little house in the village of Lakenheath. When I say little, I mean little. 3 bedroom 900 square feet of little. Our neighbors included two couples on either side of else originally from Wales, both of which were not connected to the base in any way; two couples where the husband was an American stationed on one of the bases, and the wife was British; two more couples who one or the other of them worked on one of the bases, and then 2 strictly British couples (having nothing to do with the base).

The weekend the Princess Di was killed we had plans to go to Newmarket for the Open Stables Days. We hadn't watched the telly that morning, and only heard about it in the car on the way down. We were kind of surprised that it was still going on when we got there. As one person involved said though, a lot went into planning it, and it would have been hard for them to cancel.

The first year in England I substitute taught mostly for Feltwell Elementary School, but off and on for the other schools on Lakenheath and Feltwell.

Kelsey attended the local village school, Photobucket in their pre-primer program. PhotobucketThe best part of this, other than she was in school at 4 was our first official trip to London. We had gone down to the mall one weekend, and then decided to drive into London from there. We got to see Picadilly Circus from our Jeep. I was in awe, Jerry kept telling me to quit pointing the strange people out cause he couldn't watch them. There were signs for Q all over the place, and Jerry asked me what that meant. Kelsey's smart self said "its a line dad!" Good thing we had her with us!Photobucket
The following weekend we went down and found the underground station to park at. When we got to Buckingham Palace we looked around and decided to go to the museum and shop around the corner. Kelsey was standing there waving towards the top of the palace. We asked her what she was waving at and she said the Queen. Jerry and I didn't believe her really, but we humored her. When we entered the musuem and shop she told everyone she saw that she just waved to the queen. Well one of the shop workers took her seriously, and asked her if she knew which window it was that she saw the Queen. Kelsey being the girl that she was said of course! So the shop lady grabbed a picture of the front of the palace and asked Kelsey to point to the window where she saw the Queen waving. Turns out the window Kelsey pointed to, was one of the Queen's sitting rooms. The Queen was getting a portrait or something that day, and really was sitting in that window that day (there was a documentary a few months later about it.)

Jerry worked nights and stayed home with Natalie when I was teaching. Which led to the bobbys coming out to the house for a visit. You see Jerry and Natalie had been watching tv, and Jerry went to take a bath (no shower in our tiny house). While Jerry was in the shower, our smart little girl decided to use the phone to call 999 (the British version of 911). Then she hung up, and took the phone back off the hook. Jerry didn't notice, gathered her up, and upstairs they went to take a nap. Next thing Jerry knew, the local police was on the doorstep checking on them.

In January 1998 Jerry went TDY to Italy for 6 weeks to drive a bus. Not his career field mind you, but there was a "battle" going on in Kosovo and we had troops at Aviano that needed to be driven back and forth.

My parents, and Aunt and Uncle came to visit that summer and we traveled to places like London, Nottingham, Norwich, and the like. Photobucket

And so did my friend Karen!
In the spring/early summer of 1998 I had interviews with both the high school and the elementary school about teaching in the ESOL programs. I accepted the position at the high school, even though I had never taught at that level (other than subsituting), because it was the first one I was offered. And I enjoyed every minute of it.

March of 1999 we finally got base housing on Lakenheath. We were happy to move onto base at that time, as the exchange rate was quickly going up, making living off base almost impossible ($2.00 to one pound).

Jerry's mom came to visit the summer of 99, and with her I went to Amsterdam, and we all went to Stonehenge. Plus Jerry did another stint of driving in London (something we really don't recommend, but this was in the days before the tolls for driving in London.)

September 11th 2001, is a day that I think noone will forget where they were. I was sitting in my classroom grading papers. It was about 230 almost 3 in the afternoon in the UK. Jerry came in my classroom and said a plane just hit the pentagon, we have got to get out of here and get the girls NOW. I didn't believe him, and he had me go to and that was when I saw it for myself. School was just getting out for the day, so he and I ran up to the office and told the principal and office staff (about that time they were getting a phone call from the base personel, ordering him to send all staff home with orders to stay at home until further notice). Our principal went on the intercom and announced what was going on and that we all needed to get home and wait for further information, and to pray for the families and victims.

Jerry and I left my school, went to the base video store to get a top up card for my cell phone, and the base went from threatcon bravo to charlie. The girls both went to after school care on Mildenhall, about 5 miles away and by the time we drove over to Mildenhall we had gone to Threatcon Delta (basically you had to have orders in your hand to get onto the base, or to get the kids the police had a list of all of the parents and had to check our ids.) We were supposed to go and feed a friend's fish in their dorm room on Mildenhall, and we were turned away at the gate.

Getting to our house was just as tough, and there were police with M-16s patroling base housing, and granade launchers at the gates, and other big big guns watching every move you made, every car was searched with dogs, and mirrors and everything else. When we got home all we could do was sit and watch everything unfold on the TV (mind you the first three planes had already hit before I left work.) I remember sitting on my couch crying, and praying.

That night I got a phone call saying that schools would be closed until further notice, as only mission essential personal would go in to the base. Jerry had to go in the next day (you know those planes had to be ready to fly, not that they did that I remember but they had to be ready.) The base commander had messages on the TV channels saying to stay indoors as much as possible and everything on base was closed. The commisarry did not reopen until the 14th for a couple of hours (good thing as everyone was out of everything by then).

Teachers went back to school on the 13th (but boy oh boy was the base commander pissed about that.) The girls and I had to walk over to school and the gate guard was like what the hell do you think you are doing? My answer "Well I guess that the superintendent thinks that teachers are mission essential personel since I just got a call to go into work." The gate guard searched my purse, the girls bags, and everything else (and remember we walked from housing onto the main part of base, it wasn't like we had come from truely off base.)

Life on base changed a lot. We went from being able to drive on and off base with whoever in the car as you pleased to everyone coming on and off base having to have either a pass or an id. There was a main British road that went between base housing and the main section of the base that they closed off to only base access, which pissed a bunch of the Brits off. To get from the Village of Lakenheath to Brandon, you had to go around the base one way or another, adding a couple of miles to your journey. The small mini-mall on the corner by that road slowly lost businesses. Mildenhall went from being fairly open on the non-flightline side, to being totally secure (effecting several of the local businesses there as well.)

We went from being carefree about traveling down to London or to Brimingham or to Oxford, or to Cambridge to having to stop and think about every trip that we made, and where in those cities we were going to be going to.

Let's see if I can sum up the next couple of years without making this even longer (ha!)....

2 trips to Penn State for training, 2 trips to Hawaii (one for training, one to visit friends,) 1 trip to Italy for training, 15+ trips to Germany for soccer, leadership camp, and trainings, 2 trips to Iowa (one for Grandpa's 80th birthday, the next for Grandma and Grandpa's 60th wedding anniversary), 2 trips to Mississippi (one for Jerry's dad's funeral, the other in conjunction with my grandparents anniverary), 2 trips to Arizona (once for my reunion, and once for Karen's wedding). And all of that is just me! Ok so the ones in blue the girls at least did with me. ;)

July 2004 DJ was born at Lakenheath's Hospital.

February 2005 we found out our next assignment, back to Eglin we were to go in July.

We made great friends, spent a lot of time siteseeing, and a lot of time doing things that we probably shouldn't have done, but all in all it was a wonderful time! Overall it was an easy assignment for us, because Jerry for the most part did not go TDY, Lakenheath at the time was considered forward deployed, in other words they sent people to Lakenheath, and for the most part until the very end of our 8 years there did not send people from there to the desert. Other than his trip to Italy, he went to Texas once for 7 level school, and Germany once for medical tests.

Next up: Life back in the states

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Swimming and fishing

We were invited on Sunday to a bbq/fishing/swimming in the pond at Kelsey's friends house.

Jerry and I got there just before the rains came in for the day, so I didn't get a whole heck of a lot of pictures like we all wanted. Luckily C has a birthday coming up in a few weeks, so we will go back for that.

DJ was upset because he wanted to go swimming, and fishing, so Cass asked her Nana and Papaw if we could go over Monday.

From 2009-05-25 memorial day weekend
From 2009-05-25 memorial day weekend

The catfish that I caught, that DJ and everyone else claimed:
From 2009-05-25 memorial day weekend
From 2009-05-25 memorial day weekend
From 2009-05-25 memorial day weekend
From 2009-05-25 memorial day weekend
From 2009-05-25 memorial day weekend

On Being An Air Force Wife... Part 4

Through my blog I get a lot of questions about what it is like being an Air Force wife. I know that my experiences are not typical, and that some other spouses have had a harder time with being married to the military, while others yet, have an easier time.

I have decided to post some parts of emails that I have sent in answer to questions that I get as a way to help others. Plus our story, since I have never put it down on paper.

I know that some people may disagree with my answers, because their experience is different than mine, and that is fine.

I am just saying that this is my experience, my life and the way that I have seen things unfold in the last 14 years of being married into the Air Force.

If your experience is different then you post about it on your blog, please don't slam me for my experiences.

So without further ado here is part four:

I should have probably started with this instead of ending with it, as it is what we have experienced as an Air Force Family.

Here is our story prior to England:

Jerry and I met in 1994, while he was stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale Arizona. We were first introduced by my friend Amber, and his friend Terry. Amber was trying to set me up with Terry, as they were on a bowling league together. That didn't work out quite like she planned, as he found it hard that I already had a child. Jerry and I however hit it off. At that time Jerry knew that he was to be reassigned soon, as the Air Force was closing the F-15 side of Luke by the summer of 1995. He also knew that he wanted to stay in the Air Force as long as they would have him.

Jerry and I got engaged Christmas of 1994, and planned to get married January 1996 (the weekend of the Super Bowl in Phoenix no less). I returned to school at ASU West when the new semester started in January 1995 and told my advisor that I was engaged to be married after doing my student teaching the following fall. My advisor, advised me to look into moving the wedding up to the summer and going with Jerry to Florida, as it "would be easier to get a teaching job where you do your student teaching."

Jerry and I discussed this together, and with both of our parents, and moved our wedding date up to July 8th, 1995.

Jerry PCS'd to Eglin in April, with a road trip to Minnesota and Mississippi. I finished planning the wedding.

The first week of July Jerry, his mom Carolyn and his sister Lisa all caravaned to Arizona for our wedding. We were married at 6 p.m. July 8th, 1995, in Avondale Arizona.
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

We stayed in Arizona another week, packing and getting ready for Kelsey and I to move with Jerry to Eglin Air Force Base Florida.

We moved into our new home in Niceville Florida, (a tiny one bedroom, duplex) around the 20th of July.

Two weeks later, the Gulf Coast of Florida was slammed by Hurricane Erin. The base told us to stay home, and that we would be fine. This little desert girl was not a happy camper! ;) Jerry still tells the story of the newsreporters announcing that there was a tornado spotted in our general area, me waking him up, and him walking outside looking around and saying that the tornado was past us, so he went back to bed.

A week or so after that we found out that we were expecting Natalie, our honeymoon baby. Photobucket
I did student teaching pregnant with Natalie, suffering from morning sickness the entire pregnancy.
Which was not helped by the arrival of Hurricane Opal on October 4th 1995. We knew the storm was coming, and about 3 in the morning the shop called Jerry into work to sandbag. About 5 Jerry called and said he was coming home and we had orders to evacuate to his parent's house in Mississippi. At that point Opal was a strong Cat 5 storm just off the coast. I finished packing, and shoving things into our huge walk in closet, so when Jerry got there all we had to do was grab the stuff, and Kelsey, jump in the truck and go. We knew not to try to take the Crestucky 500, as it was the main evacuation route for everyone, and so we went east to go west, and raced the storm. There was times when the rain was going past us as we drove down the highways. We made it to his parent's house in about 8 hours, instead of the usual 5. When we returned to Florida everything was different. People could not get out to the island to see their homes, schools were closed for 2 weeks to clean up the mess. Once schools reopened we had to deal with the traffic that normally went across Okaloosa Island all trying to take the Mid-Bay Bridge, turning our usual 15 minute commute into 2 hours. It was my first experience with a major storm, and I wanted it to be my last!

Natalie was born at Eglin Air Force Base's hospital on April 17th 1996. Natalie was a daddy's baby. If he wasn't home between 4:30 and 5 every night, she cried and nothing would calm her down until she got her daddy. When she was about 2 months old Jerry had a promotion party to go to during/after work. I encouraged him to go, yeah about an hour after his usual time for coming home, I went and tracked them down! ;) I told him that he could stay at the party but we had to come too, because she wanted her daddy.

Shortly after Natalie was born we learned that Jerry would be deployed to Saudi Arabia for his first overseas tour in September. Several of his basic training/tech school buddies were already there, and others were to go before him.

June 25th 1996, a nightmare happened. Khobar Towers was bombed. We had friends there, people that Jerry worked with, people that Jerry went to basic and tech school with. I remember riding in the car home from work with Jerry listening in disbelief to the news reports. The next day I needed the car so I drove Jerry to work, only to be stopped about a mile away from his work. Only necessary personel were allowed passed that point. There were reporters, and base security every where.

Life as we knew it changed for the first time. Base security was stepped up, there was no easy way on base, and most every time we went on base we had to both show our id cards. Going to the 33rd side of Eglin became more secure (the 33rd lost 13 members that day.)
From 2009-05-16 relay for life

About a week before Jerry left for the desert in September he found out that he had a new assignment. We were going to Lakenheath England the next summer if we accepted. If we accepted? What are they crazy? Of course we accepted! The last few days before Jerry left for the desert were busy days. Not only getting ready for him to be gone for 90-120 days, but also making sure our part that needed to be done before Christmas for us to go to England was done.

Jerry left for the desert right around my birthday and returned shortly before his birthday in November. Those were some trying months for me. I was on my own, with the two girls, miles away from family. I had friends and neighbors that I depended on and leaned on, but it was still nervewracking and hard. My mom came out to visit over her fall break which helped.

We were worried about Natalie not knowing Jerry when he came home. She was still so little when he left, and he was going to be gone for up to 5 months. So on the advice of friends I took a couple of pictures of Jerry, both alone, and with the girls, and then I wrapped them in clear contact paper. Every time Natalie would cry just wanting attention and I was trying to cook or clean, I would hand her the pictures (or Kelsey would) and tell her to tell it to daddy. She said her first words (bad dad) while he was gone.

Jerry didn't know exactally when they would be home, it all depended on when their relief showed up and how long it took to get the planes back in the air to come home. Plus of course there was and is OPSEC to consider.

I will never forget him calling me at work the day before he landed back in the Gulf Coast. I asked what he was doing and he said that he was just sitting there.

"Where, at work?"

"Kind of"

"Where are you working at?"


"Here? Like 5 miles away?"

"No, not that close!"



He was in Philly at a hotel near the airport, waiting on a flight to Florida the next day. At that time Okaloosa Regional was fairly small, with limited flights in and out.

I will never forget him getting off the plane and coming through the gate. Kelsey saw him first, then I did. Natalie turned and lunged at him, she knew him at first sight.

With having orders overseas we knew we were off the hook for him going back to the desert for a while.

Getting ready to go overseas to England was a job in itself.

In order for your orders to be processed you have to go through what feels like a million appointments.

We met with 4 or 5 different people at the hospital, and Early childhood specialists, because the hospital and schools on base overseas have to be able to cope with any problems you and your children might have.

We had to get passports, which meant all original birth certificates, marriage license, and court paperwork (for Kelsey since she is not Jerry's biological daughter.)

We had to deal with movers, changing the dates that they are going to show up, showing up a day early, while we were still in bed, and in the process of gathering things to take to the Airmen's attic, and to give to friends. The man that did our walk through told us it would be a one day pack out, and that they wouldn't come the first day that they were assigned to come, even gave it to us in writing, but they showed up anyway. Needless to say, they had to come back the next day.

We had to figure out how to get the Jeep to New Orleans to the port, while we were in Mississippi on leave. Then we also had to figure out how we were going to get back to Eglin to fly out, as they wouldn't allow us to fly out of Jackson. (Thanks to my mom going with Jerry to NO, and Jerry's mom for getting us back to FL.)

We left Florida, flew to Philly, stayed the night there, and then flew directly into RAF Mildenhall on June 20th 1997.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On Being An Air Force Wife... Part 3

Through my blog I get a lot of questions about what it is like being an Air Force wife. I know that my experiences are not typical, and that some other spouses have had a harder time with being married to the military, while others yet, have an easier time.

I have decided to post some parts of emails that I have sent in answer to questions that I get as a way to help others.

I know that some people may disagree with my answers, because their experience is different than mine, and that is fine.
I am just saying that this is my experience, my life and the way that I have seen things unfold in the last 14 years of being married into the Air Force.

If your experience is different then you post about it on your blog, please don't slam me for my experiences.
So without further ado here is part three:

In this segment I was asked by a friend what questions I thought she should ask when she met with her husband's Army recruiter, this is what I came up with:

If you deciede to go this route, how soon would he leave for basic? (especially important question if you are worried about his job. And word it just like that, that way the recruiter doesn't think its a done deal, because if he thinks its a done deal he will try to screw you.)

Are they going to promise him a certain career field? (Some times they say you will get such in such, and then after boot you find out they were wrong, if you can, get it in writing.)

What rank will he be when he joins?

How much money is that per month?

How much time is there between promotions typically in this career field (each career field has an average promotion time frame, don't believe the recruiter if he says he doesn't know, push him to find out. The higher the rank the more money.) And Army promotes differently than the Air Force, so that is one they definatley have to answer for you. ;)

What post most likely will be his first assignment? (If they can tell you this, promise you this, you can figure out the rest, and a lot of your concerns will be answered. ) Google is a wonderful thing. :)

Will you have to live on post or off? (Depends on the post)

If you can live off post what will the housing allowance be?

What is the seperation allowance for his rank?

Will you get seperation allowance while he is in basic?

While he is in training?

How much time will he spend "in the field", not gone persay, but training on post, and not coming home at night?

How soon after he signs up would insurance kick in?

When will you get your id card so you and the kids can be seen at Luke while he is in basic? She is in Phoenix so Luke is the closest base.

How often will you have to move? (Army is really different than AF in this reguard)

Ask about deployments in the career field that they are saying he is going to get, or the battalion that they say he is going to get. I think most battalions do 18 months at home, 12-18 gone, even now. (Air Force is definately better in that reguard.)

Letter from President Obama

My class wrote to President Obama for President's Day back in February. I included a short letter introducing them, telling about our community, and our school. Today in the school mail we had a letter from President Obama thanking us for the kind words, and a picture!
I know that this is standard protocol for the White House, but it sure feels pretty darn special to all of us here in our small town and small school. I am waiting to share it with my class once they are all back from other classes, but I can't wait for their reactions. :)
I will try to scan both to share tonight when I get home from work.

Patty Cleveland
Keep up with the Cleveland family, check out our blog at

I Heart Faces~Silhouettes

I heart Faces contest this week is all about Silhouettes. So get on over there and take a look!
From 2009-05-16 relay for life

Monday, May 25, 2009

Another Memorial Day Post

I couldn't decide which video I liked better. They both make me cry, every time.

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

I hope that today you took the time to remember what Memorial Day is really about.

Remember that today is a day to remember all that have given their lives to that you and I can live free.

Remember that today is a day to go to the cemetary and tell your Great Grandparents, Grandparents, Parents, Aunts and Uncles, Nieces and Nephews that gave their lives for our freedom, thank you.

Today is the day to thank a Veteran and an Active Duty military member (both full time and reserve.)

Today is not just about swimming, and BBQ's, but about giving thanks to those who gave all.

On Being An Air Force Wife.... Part 2

Through my blog I get a lot of questions about what it is like being an Air Force wife. I know that my experiences are not typical, and that some other spouses have had a harder time with being married to the military, while others yet, have an easier time.

I have decided to post some parts of emails that I have sent in answer to questions that I get as a way to help others.
I know that some people may disagree with my answers, because their experience is different than mine, and that is fine.I am just saying that this is my experience, my life and the way that I have seen things unfold in the last 14 years of being married into the Air Force.

If your experience is different then you post about it on your blog, please don't slam me for my experiences.

So without further ado here is part two:

The question leading to this answer was:
I guess the only other question I have for you is about life on base. I dont really know what to expect from the people. I know you said he would be meeting other airmen with families, but I am a young wife, and mother. I have found this to be a problem in my home community- the other people my "age" arent at the same place in life. We have three children and pulling all nighters might be the norm for some 22 year olds, but our all nighters involve childrens tylenol, and cinderella. I worry that this will also be an issue with other air force mothers, who are likely to be officers wives, and in their 30's instead of 20's. The recruiter maintains that the people are wonderful, but in reality... are they? Any new town is a strange situation, I know. But is it easier with other air force families? And shopping, or daycare or babysitting. Is that hard to come by?

My Answer:
Is he enlisting or going in as an officer? Officers wives can be their own breed, and tend to stick together. Most of them have degrees too, so they are career oriented almost as much as their husbands. Not in a bad way, just in their own way. I can say these things because some of my favorite co-workers/friends have been officers wives, we just didnt tend to hang out, outside of that realm. I have only known a few that had children at a young age, so you are right there.

Enlisted tend to have families younger, or so it seems. We had our kids young too, but usually managed to meet others about our age with kids too, you just have to look and get involved in the moms clubs. After we had been in England about 2 years and the girls were older we found babysitters we could trust (teenagers that went to the school I taught at, and people that Jerry worked with's kids), so we went out more. But at Eglin both times we hardly ever went out, found and had friends that liked bbqing, hanging out at home. Trust me, you can find people with common interests, you just have to look. At lot of the times Air Force famlies tend to be more welcoming and open because they have been the "new kid" too.

She also asked about benefits like Tricare (insurance):

Benefits are supposed to start right away. Like when he reports to meps or something like that you can get your id too. I am not 100% on how that works I just know that a few friends from Atlanta had to come down to Robins to get thier ID's when their husbands went off to basic, they were national guard, but the same in theory. All you should have to do from there is show your id, tell whoever the provider is that you have tricare, and they figure it out. Before you get an assigned base if you dont live near one you would be Tricare Prime, I think, you can go to and its all explained. One you see an off base provider, the other you are seen by an on base provider. The on base provider program you pay nothing out of pocket unless you go into the hospital, the other you have a co-payment I believe. If there is a problem usually the recruiter can help you out, or the people at meps (depending on how close it is).

Also about shopping:

On base you will have access to the BX (shopping, kinda sorta a small walmartish, not a good description), then the commisarry (the grocery store), shopette/gas station (convience store), Class 6 (liquor store, lots of times part of the shopette). Most bases are in or around a fairly good sized town, so there will be Walmart and other grocery type stores close. Overseas it tends to be you do most of your shopping on base, because off base you have to pay in what ever the local currency is, and the exchange rate can be wacky. There will be things that you would buy off base because it is just "better", but probably not a whole lot (unless you are like us, who had Welsh neighbors who introduced us to many "british" things that we now miss and even once we moved on base I would go off base to buy. If you live overseas and they give the chance to live "off base" take it, yes its more expensive but you gain a wealth of experience that you cant beat.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

On Being An Air Force Wife.... part 1

Through my blog I get a lot of questions about what it is like being an Air Force wife. I know that my experiences are not typical, and that some other spouses have had a harder time with being married to the military, while others yet, have an easier time.

I have decided to post some parts of emails that I have sent in answer to questions that I get as a way to help others.

I know that some people may disagree with my answers, because their experience is different than mine, and that is fine.

I am just saying that this is my experience, my life and the way that I have seen things unfold in the last 14 years of being married into the Air Force.

If your experience is different then you post about it on your blog, please don't slam me for my experiences.

So without further ado here is part one:

My husband has been in 16 1/4 years, and we have been married almost 14. We met at his first duty station. I can answer some questions about him joining while you are married just because I have had friends that have gone through it.

I am not sure what your husband does now, so I am not sure if the pay will be better after he joins or not. I know for most married couples the first year or so is tough, both being seperated and finacially, because there is a lot of things that he will either need to buy or will be "charged" for where they take it out of his pay. And it will be things that he doesnt think to tell you that they are taking out, because they just do it, and expect that he or you knew that it was happening (uniforms, stripes, dry cleaning.) Plus you have to adjust to having to pay for him to be living somewhere while you are still at home (depending on his tech school it could just be while he is at BMT.) You also have to take into account that they will start taking out dental, tricare, etc right away. And sometimes the first paycheck doesnt go out on the first first, or fifteenth, they "promise" it will, but I have heard of pleanty of people that it doesn't. So if you can save for that chance I would. Or else make sure that you have family backup plan if you can (your parents, his parents what have you). Have the plan in place and if you don't need it that is great, but it really sucks when you need it and you dont have a clue as to how you are going to buy groceries because his check didn't go in like it should have. If you have a mortgage, have him get that on an allotment as soon as he can, same goes for any car payments, student loans or anything that you know goes out monthly and is the same amount monthly. The military doesn't charge you to send the payments, and you don't have to think about them, so it makes it really nice. If you have a house that you are going to want to sell so that you can go with him to his first base, start trying to sell it as soon as he goes to basic if not now. Especially in this market.

I think the best advice I can give you is to take everything that the Air Forces gives you as a gift. If he gets an assignment close to family and friends as his first, know that you are extremely blessed. If his first assignment is in Korea and is a year apart from you, know that it means that you are getting it done quick. If he goes somewhere like England and you can go with him embrace it. Do not just sit at home, hating the weather. Go out and see the culture, get to know where you are living, see everything that you can afford to see. Let the kids get to know the history of your new home. If you sit at home or dont travel more than 10 miles from the base, I can promise you that you will hate it. I know lots of people that hated England because they never did anything! I met a couple right before we left who had been there for 3 years, and had never been to London or Cambridge, and we were only 30 miles from Cambridge, and 70 to London. Same goes if he is stateside, get out and get to know people and the surrounding community.

Know that basic will probably be very hard on him, especially the first few weeks. He will have to adjust to not being able to talk to you every day, as you will too, but he will be totally on his own. Just know that if he doesnt sound as connected to you its not that he isn't its just that he is exhausted. Tech school will be easier, as the demands on him are less, and different. They will still expect him to do PT daily, and he will have to go to study groups, and if he doesn't pass a test they will expect different things out of him. But he will have some freedom after the first few weeks (Phase I). If it is a longer school they will allow you and the children to go to the station with him. If it is a short school they wont, which is actually a good thing if your oldest is starting school in the fall.

At your first assignment he will have to go through a program called first term airmens
class. It is about 2 or 3 weeks. This is where they will show him all of the programs the base has to offer, help him file the moving expenses paperwork, get all of the things you all need. If I remember right, he will check in with his shop and then after about a week in most cases will go to the FTAC program for the next couple of weeks. I can almost promise that in FTAC he will meet other airmen with young families, get to know them and lean on eachother.

We spent 8 years over in the UK and loved every minute of it. Our older two started school there, and if we could have stayed we would have. We have been blessed as far as deployments go, Jerry has only had one to the middle east, one to Italy, one to New Jersey, one to the midwest US, and then two trips to Texas. The worst thing for us I think was his crosstraining, and thats because of how late in his career it was (2 years ago). Most deployments though the guys can call home once or twice a week for free (DSN), the deployments tend to be about 6 months (versus the 18 for the Army), and they tend to be not directly in the line of fire. Of course there are execeptions to every rule, but generally life is easier than it is on the other services.

Trust me the Air Force can and will jerk you around, and life isn't always the easiest, but the way I look at it when that happens is at least he has a good paying job.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

This is still crazy! Post Office Caps the amount they will pay for a home

I still find the fact that the Postal Service buys employees homes, when the military does not absolutely unfair! Especially considering that they have spent upwards of $2 million on a single home before! The government could buy 10 homes in Florida for that!

CNN) -- The U.S. Postal Service will reduce the amount it pays for homes of
employees who are relocating in the wake of a CNN investigation that found it
was buying large homes for more than $1 million.

The Postal Service
bought this 8,400-square-foot South Carolina home so an employee could

The new policy, which is expected to take effect June 14, will
set a limit of $800,000 for a home. The limit is now $1 million, but before
February there was no maximum.
In a statement to CNN, Postal Service
spokesman Gerald J. McKiernan said, "It became apparent at the height of the
real estate bubble that a number of relocations involved high value homes,
thereby moving the Postal Service to reevaluate and change its policy."
investigation revealed in February that the Postal Service had no limit on the
amount it would pay for a home of a relocating employee. It paid more than $1
million for 14 homes in the past five years.
That included $1.2 million for
an 8,400-square-foot, six bedroom lakefront home in Lake Wateree, South
The South Carolina home belonged to Ronald Hopson, the former
postmaster in Lexington, South Carolina, and his wife, Evelyn. The property
includes 5 acres, four bathrooms, two half-baths and an indoor swimming pool. Watch more on the house that $1.2 million bought »
CNN investigation prompted Sen. Chuck Grassley to request a review of the relocation
policy by the USPS inspector general's office. That review, completed this
month, found that "while Postal Service relocations are generally comparable to
other federal and private sector companies, the benefits it provides to
relocating employees are very costly to the Postal Service."
The inspector
general's report found that the Postal Service spent $73 million for relocation
benefits to more than 2,000 employees last year.
"In our view, some of the
relocations that occurred during this time period were exorbitant," the report
For example, the report cites a home in Indian River Shores, Florida,
that was purchased by the Postal Service for $2.8 million in November 2007. The
home was sold eight months later for $1.1 million, a $1.7 million
Grassley criticized the amount paid for relocations.
"My reaction is
that it's outrageous, particularly if you look at specific instances within that
report, but overall surely it goes against what the Postal Service has recently
been mandated to do, operate within their income, operate in a more
businesslike, cost-effective way," Grassley said.
The report said that
"underlying the high cost of relocating employees is the fact that the Postal Service does not limit the loss it will take on an
employee's home sale."
McKiernan said the Postal Service relocation policy
"is to enable highly qualified employees to relocate as quickly as possible to
where they may provide the best use of their skills in support of the
organization's goals."
Don't Miss
Special Investigations Unit: The stories behind the stories
Blog: Post office mansion?
He said in the
statement to CNN that the Postal Service has purchased 2,646 homes in the past
five years as part of the relocation assistance program. All have been
The report found that Hopson received more than $75,000 in relocation
benefits, including $16,075 for a house-hunting trip.
"We spoke directly with
the relocating employee who told us that he and his wife indeed had traveled
back and forth to Texas from South Carolina on house-hunting trips," the report
states. "Consequently, this relocation appears to have been made in accordance
with the policies and procedures in effect at the time of the
The report revealed that the home is now under contract for
$950,000, which would mean the Postal Service would lose $250,000 if the sale
goes through.
"He wanted to voluntarily move," Grassley said. "Nobody was
making him move. They bought his house. They lost $250,000 on his house. So I
think it gets to a point where they ought to make more efficient use of their
personnel, and they wouldn't be wasting this $73 million."
Hopson, who is now
the customer service manager for the USPS branch in Carrollton, Texas, has
declined to discuss the sale, referring questions to the USPS media

Friday, May 22, 2009


Days of school left!!!!!!!!!!

Can you tell I am just a bit excited? ;)

Warner Robins/Dublin/Macon/Twiggs County Photography

Do you have a family gathering coming up this summer?
Are you wondering who is going to be in charge of getting all of those group shots that you want everyone in? Plus any extras?
Do you need portraits done for your child, or family?
 But you don't want to pay the high prices to have someone take them, plus make the pictures?
 I am just getting started in the business and would like to have the opportunity to take your pictures.

 I can take pictures for birthdays, dances, reunions, parties you name it.
For $40 an hour, I will take all the pictures you may want of your special day, edit the best ones, and put them all on a disk for you, then you can take the disk and have the ones you want printed out. All for the price of my time. 
 Contact me and we will discuss what you need/want done.
Scroll down through my blog to see examples of both edited and straight off camera pictures.
Patty Cleveland

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Adventures of Measurement Man!!

My "student teacher" from the high school had to come up with a lesson to do with the class this past week. It would have been nice had I known she was going to do it, just so I would have been prepared, but it worked out, because I wasn't in the the mood to teach math Friday afternoon. :)

The lesson she brought was found here and can also be found here.

After their measurement men were created they were to write stories of the Adventures of Measurement Man! I think they had a good time with this activity. I only wish that they would fit in the laminating machine at school so they could take them home and not get ruined on the bus.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Twiggs County Relay For Life~School prize edition

Our Relay For Life committee gives out a prize to the school team that collects the most money each year.

I am proud to say that the elementary school blew the middle and high schools out of the water! We raised over $7,000! That is more than $2,000 over our team goal!
From Drop Box
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Believe me when I say every child in the school, every family in the school was a part of this fund raising effort. We raised over $3,000 on our field day/May day. We raised an additional $1,000 (that I know of) during the classroom change drives. All of the money goes to such a great cause, and it is so nice to know that we live in a community where at least the families (if not the businesses) support the schools.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Twiggs County Relay For Life~Entertainment edition

For entertainment at the Relay For Life, we had the forementioned train rides, and bouncy slides. But we also had more, lots and lots more!

There was a Christan Group from Macon called Ignite They did a great routine for everyone to see.

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As well as a performance by the instructors at the studio that showed the way out of trouble is by calling for Jesus.
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Which is not normally my cup of tea, but it was pretty neat.
There was a LOT of music and dancing:

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The GREATEST Entertainment of the night had to be the womanless beauty pagent.

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The "ladies" all went around for about an hour getting donations for the cause.
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Chadrina's Nana was giving out the awards, I love the look on "her" face.

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Then the boys serenaded the winner.

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As the night went on, and it got later, the fog rolled in, but that just meant more fun for the younger crowd.
They played football:
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Got extremely silly
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Played some jungle frisbee too
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Not to mention some pretty serious Tug Of War
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and I would be remiss not to mention the jumprope (played with the tug of war rope)
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And I mention that Natalie, her friend Ashley and I stayed until 1:50 am? ;) By about 1:30 I was dead on my feet, most everything was cleaned up, so I didn't feel too guilty leaving. There were entire teams that had packed it in by then, and our team still had 2 people, plus at least 2 signed up to come out and walk between 2 and 4.