19 July 2014

Wyoming Governor's Mansion

Back to blogging about our road adventure back in May!

One of the places that Maiden and Rick took us was the Wyoming Governor's Mansion and I absolutely loved it!

This beautiful and elegant house was home for the Governor's and their families that governed from 1904 to 1976; many dignitaries from around the country visited and were entertained here. The historical house has been open to the public for tours since 1977 and many of the furnishings dated back to the original 1904 style, although the kitchen, basement laundry and fall out shelter were done in 1950's style.

I could have spent All. Day. Long. Exploring this beautiful historic treasure, examining furnishings and wondering about who did what and sat where and thought about what in each room. But when you have five kiddos with you (four five years and under) and you're doing your best to keep them from touching things and running under the scarlet rope that cordons off some of the rooms (you can look, but can't go in), well, you just can't ponder things in a philosophical way. There was also an audio tour that you could do, but those really aren't possible if you also want to keep an eye and an ear on your small children.

Instead, it was a quick run through, sometimes literally, clicking pictures while holding hands and constantly reminding little ones not to touch and don't go in there! Even still, we were able to see every room and marvel at times gone by and the way people used to live in frontier Wyoming.

The Governor's Mansion: built in Colonial Revival style, with Corinthian columns added later.
The foyer - stairs are to the immediate right, formal dining room straight ahead.
The nursery, redone in the 1904 style. The first First family had five small children. The children chose this corner room because the windows looked down on the small yard and carriage house, and they could thereby talk to their pet pony through the windows.

One of the bedrooms, done in early 1900's style

The maid's room (one of two), on the "third" floor (the house is technically 2 1/2 stories).

The kitchen, done in 1950's style, big enough to cook for large gatherings of dignitaries.

My favorite room - the breakfast room, with windows over looking the yard and carriage house, where polling often took place for local elections. The other room that was my favorite was the main living room (where the books are), but I didn't get very good pictures of it. It was towards the end of the tour and the kids were quite restless by that time.

The laundry room in the basement - I may never look at laundry the same way again (this is only half of what it took to do laundry)

The Fallout Shelter, complete with bedding, food and games for the long winters below ground in case of nuclear fall out.

The office, done in Wyoming theme, complete with lots of bucking bronchos.

The Formal Dining Room
If you are ever in Cheyenne, I highly recommend checking out this piece of history - it was just lovely and it's very close to down town Cheyenne.

A last picture of four of the five happy tourists.

16 July 2014

The waiting and guessing game

We have been at Kirtland for four years. Four years and twenty-five days, to be exact.

One does not usually stay at a base for such a long time. However, there were a lot of things up in the air recently. Also, Mike wanted to re-enlist for six years, and to do that there was a very small time frame (one week actually) and so we had to wait for that week. If he was re-enlisting for four years, he could have re-enlisted months earlier. We can't get orders if the guys who decide that don't know you're staying in the Air Force.

Anyway, we are up for orders. We don't have orders yet and we knew that we might be hearing something soon, but up until this week it was only rumors and speculation, on our part.

Mike took leave the last two weeks and returned to work this week where he learned two things. 1) We are most definitely hot for orders. 2) His position is being eliminated. This means that we will most definitely be getting orders soon. They told him at least 45-60 days, but with the Air Force you don't really know.

I doubt, and there's always room for error in the Air Force, that we'll be getting orders back to Kirtland (meaning we would stay here). And we don't want to stay at Kirtland. Albuquerque is nice, but we are ready to move on and take our little adventure elsewhere.

I did the math today and this means that we could be moving over Christmas or in winter. Blah. I mean, I have thought in the past what it would be like to move over the holiday season, and how we would prepare for that, so it's not a new thought or anything. Moving in a warmer season would be preferable for me. Who knows though, maybe moving in winter is tons of fun and I don't know that because I haven't experienced it before.

So eventually, I'll be writing about which new base we're going to move too. We really don't have much idea of where we're going, so we'll just continue to hope we don't get the few bases we really don't want to move to (I'm talking to you arctic climate bases as well as other bases in New Mexico) and dream about where we want to go for now. And then when we get a RIP, I'll be planning like mad. [insert evil cackle here]. :)

15 July 2014

Musings on change

I've been going through my blog posts list over the last few months, or maybe it's been a year?, and have been adding labels to old blog posts.

You may or may not have noticed the increasing size of my labels link up posts on the side bar. They have expanded quite a bit lately . . . .

Since doing this requires opening each post, and since I title my posts so oddly and randomly at times, I sometimes I have to do a bit of skimming to see what the label(s) should be.

This past weekend I came to the realization that I don't blog like I used to. My blog posts used to be much more of a diary/thoughts/put-it-all-out-there kind of thing, no matter the subject and I don't do that anymore.

My blog also used to be private, and was private for the first four years that I wrote it. Although even after I made my blog public, I continued to write my thoughts freely.

Now I censor. I don't think this censoring business started as intentionally. I don't know if it's because of lack of courage for fear of judgmental thoughts or what, but my blog isn't really the same.

Part of me has been trying out different styles of writing, part of me has become more stoic and I keep my thoughts to myself: even in my daily activities very rarely do I freely open up with anyone anymore. Maybe that's a trust issue.

In the past few years I have been burned by people that I thought were friends. There are very few people that I come in contact with on a regular basis that I would consider to be friends now. People that I could turn to and trust and have a good time with. And even then, I am constantly second-guessing levels of commitment, on both ends. Unfortunately, this also smacks of insecurity, but I'm being transparent in this post.

And these feelings, in turn, come out in my writing. I feel I have to guard myself, unfortunately, and I lack the courage to put my real thoughts out there. I mean, the thoughts I write on my blog are real, but they are superficial. I don't write about the deep things that I ponder; the issues that are close to my heart or how I really live my life.

Just as my blog has changed over the past few years, so have I. I am working on becoming the person that I used to be, especially in regards to my relationship with Christ, but I am not there. Yet. I hope to get there, but honestly, I don't know if I'll ever arrive. I guess we shall see.

I do hope though, that I can start writing like I used to write. If you're wondering, take a hop back to 2007 and 08 and read a few posts. I think you'll see a difference.

09 July 2014

In for another six!

There has been quite a bit of uncertainty in the past few months about Mike's career in the Air Force. The Air Force, among other branches, are currently going through manpower cuts, and there have been Force Reduction Boards that have been put in place to select airman to mandatory out process from the military.

As I have written about, Mike was on just such a board. Since February (in the midst of deployment training), Mike has been preparing to go before the Board (or preparing his file, really). He has made sure that everything is in order, no metal or ribbon forgotten and that he is looking his best, all in the hopes of getting to keep his job. 

His Commander even wrote a letter on Mike's behalf, explaining why Mike was an excellent airman and deserves to stay in the Air Force. His Commander also had Mike write a letter explaining why he saw himself as a good airman. Nonetheless, it's been a bit of an intense time around here. Nothing is guaranteed.

In the last few weeks, some of our friends were notified that they were to be forced out of the military. The reasons were either not given or ridiculous ("he has too many years in" (9 years)). It really has been heart breaking to stand by and watch lives being broken up and see our friends forced into unemployment and homelessness (until they find jobs and places to live). We still hadn't heard anything. 

I was trying to trust in the Lord, whatever the outcome of the decision, but the waiting to hear was pretty hard. Very tense. Mike was applying for jobs and looking at his options and preparing to be forced out. 

Finally, we found out. Mike is being allowed to stay in. Praise God! It was a huge release to just know, one way or the other, and a huge relief to know that Mike will be able to stay in. Mike is very grateful. 77% of the airman on the Force Reduction Boards received notification that they would not be able to stay in the Air Force and were given six months to out process. We are very lucky.

Two days after we learned the news, Mike re-enlisted for six years. 

We don't know that the Force Reduction Boards won't happen again in that six years, but Mike wants to commit to a career in the Air Force. Six years will put him at fifteen, which will make him eligible for early retirement if we have to go through all this again at that time. 

The re-enlistment ceremony was very nice. My Dad was in town visiting and was able to attend. Flower sang "Happy Birthday" through Mike's speech (she learned there was to be cake afterwards) and it was well attended. I am very proud of Mike and how hard he works. 

We're excited about what the next six years has to bring us! :)

08 July 2014

35 in 365 Update

It's time for an update on 35 in 365 list! I'm going to try to update on this list once a month, as a sort of motivation, if you will.

This past month, I got three things checked off the list! Yay!

  • Ride the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad - one scenic train ride through the San Juan Mountains, including over Cumbres Pass and through Chama Valley completed on 30 June 2014
  • Visit Roswell, New Mexico - home of all things alien folklore and fun
  • Visit Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico - a spectacular national park that meanders down seven hundred feet to an immense lime stone cavern - so incredible!
I will be posting separate blog posts on each of these soon. :)