If Monica picked a pail
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
All right, Daddy. This post is for you!
Since Ryan is in WV training for the Reserves, I thought I would post a video of Leah walking since she is getting so much better. Ryan was able to catch her very first steps - a milestone he completely missed with Monica. But when he left, she was still only going about 10 steps at a time and she couldn't pull herself up without holding on to anything. Well, about two days later she figured out how to balance enough to push back up and she has been going and going and going! Ryan left on the 7th and will be home on the 7th of August.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
THEN- it came time to actually conduct my own interview. So I thought long and hard about who I wanted to interview. Well- actually it wasn't that long nor was it very hard to come up with BLAINE KEMSLEY! For those of you who know him, you know he recently came home from volunteering to serve in Iraq as a civilian with the Corps of Engineers. And those of you who don't know him, now you know why he came so readily to my mind!
I have to preface my article even more to let you know that I have loved and respected this man for many years. He was one of my favorite seminary teachers and is head of a family I adore. They rank up high among my list of favorite people. (Ok, I don't actually have a list, but if I did, you know they'd be on it.) SO- writing this article was about more than just my grade. And it's the first article I've written that got me a 95 on the first draft. This is my final draft and I thought I would share it in my blog. And yes, after this interview, my pedestal for Brother Kemsley shot up a few more notches! So here is my KUDOS to a hometown hero...
A local architect who recently returned from volunteering to work on $540 million worth of improvement projects in Iraq said that the media has done the campaign in Iraq a disservice by not telling the whole story.
Blaine Kemsley worked among the troops as he served in the Corps of Engineers and said that significant progress has been made in rebuilding the infrastructure of Iraq, but it takes time. He said the world expects everything to happen in six months, but it just can't be done, because Iraq is so far behind the rest of the world.
Kemsley ran an office of five to eight project managers of the Corps of Engineers in Baghdad, Iraq. He oversaw 83 projects worth $540 million. These projects included sewer lines, communications centers, housing, police stations, electrical grid projects, hospitals, schools, roadways, and water treatment plants.
He said some of his favorite projects were the hospitals and elementary schools for girls and for boys, but especially two water treatment plants which provided 45 percent of clean water to Baghdad. He said the water was cleaner than Albuquerque's out of the tap, and it was so fulfilling because when he left, the Iraqi unemployment rate was at 35 percent and that meant that many people were previously drinking dirty water.
But his time wasn't without disappointment. Kemsley said that the most frustrating part of the job was the lack of security from the Iraqis. Two of the schools he had helped build were blown up, but luckily no one was hurt.
When asked about the reaction from the Iraqis' to him as an American, he said that "they are anxious for us to not be there. They want to control their own country. And they want us to be a memory."
But he doesn't think it will happen in this generation if we learn anything from history and our campaigns in Germany and Japan, who are now America's allies.
Kemsley said, "There are three kinds of people who volunteer to serve in Iraq. There are the soldiers who are true heroes. And there are the civilians who are true patriots. And there are those who go for the money, because it can be really good."
Kemsley volunteered to work in Iraq for six months, but extended his stay twice in order to finish a couple of projects and to allow a smooth transition for his replacement.
He said he felt inspired to volunteer to work in Iraq with the Corps of Engineers when he lived in Germany. He said in 2004, when the 1st Armored Division in Wiesbaden deployed to Iraq, he was left behind with all the families and saw what they had to go through. Then the Corps of Engineers launched a campaign to write to the deployed soldiers letters of support. And while he was writing a letter, he said he felt a tug at his heart that it wasn't enough to simply write his support, that it was his personal duty to support the troops and get his boots on the ground.
Kemsley said he felt safe with the troops, that they are dedicated, talented and professional. He also worked with Iraqi Americans who were instrumental and that the Iraqi nationals were "tremendously respectable."
He said that among the things he missed the most while working overseas in Iraq were his wife and children. But beyond that were the freedom and convenience that America has. He said Iraq just has limited freedom.
Kemsley said if he could tell America one thing about Iraqis, he would say "They're just like us. They want their freedom, and happiness, and family. They just want a normal life."
Blaine Kemsley is a father of 7 children and has two grandchildren. He is married to Shauna Kemsley and works as a supervisory program manager. He has been an architect for 26 years.
P.S. Can I just say how impressed my journalism professor was? Not with me, but with all the accomplishments of Brother Kemsley. He is pretty impressive!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I think she thought if she put on her life/swim jacket, and put on Leah's swim diaper, that maaaaybe it would increase her chance of making it to the pool! Whatever her motivation was, it made me laugh!
Monday, July 20, 2009
The cake was strawberry with vanilla frosting and Smuckers strawberry jelly on the inside.
I don't know the names of the ponies, but I have to admit here that I stole the idea for the cakes from my friend Cristine. When we were living in Germany, there were over 600 babies born in one summer from our post. So there is a group of us that our girls all turn the same age in the same summer. Well, she is much more creative than I am when it comes to baking, and anya turned four in May. So if it weren't for her great idea to do the design on the ponies' hinies, I wouldn't have made these cuties. I was pretty pleased with my handiwork! Leah's smash cake. You'll see how much she enjoyed it!
Aunt Elisha and Leah
Me, Christina, and Natalie
Monica took a swing at her pinata.
Then Katie got to take a swing...
Then we learned a lesson.
Austin got up to swing and the pinata was down!
It happened so fast, I threw the camera down to get everyone their bags to collect their candy!
There's a dimple!Monica enjoyed showing off all of hers to the oohs and ahhs of everyone else. Then she had to change and show off her new dress!
There are better pictures of everyone else on the CD, I have but again, (for the last time) those will come later. But all in attendance were:
Princess Katie Milberger
Princess Aly Farrow...and Kitty. Again. Princess Bella Foutz - and - you guessed it. Kitty!
Since Monica turned four, we let her invite four friends to come celebrate her little party. They all came in their favorite princess dresses and had fun with the finger foods, but especially the little cupcakes. I took out my wedding china and used it for the first time for the party! I made sure to use it over my plushiest rug in case anyone dropped their plate or cup, but there were no mishaps! Well, there was one. I spilled on the tablecloth, but the 3 and 4 year olds were impeccable. HAHA!
All the princesses holding up their cakes.