A Hot Date
Daniel and I have a date tonight and we're going to see "Rocky Balboa" at the local theater. We've heard that it's pretty good so we're really looking forward to it.
*Update: It was good, but not brilliant. It didn't have us on the edge of our seats; we think the main thrust of the movie was the positive messages of self-respect, courage, and building into other's lives. A definite feel good movie, but with this one, the good feelings lasted longer than the drive home.

More Snow

We woke up to SNOW!! We thought a walk would be a great idea, unfortunately it wasn't. A certain boy was way too tired. This:

quickly turned into this:which graduated to this:

A direct quote from Eve: " I am a wild girl and I eat snow!!"

We look happy but I couldn't feel any of my extremities. I didn't even know if I was smiling or not.

This was how we finished it off - we were SO cold!! The wonderful smell of hot coffee was nearly immediate upon our arrival home.

Recruiting changes a person. We had Sat-Tues off for Christmas and have Sat-Tues off for New Years as well. And I am so grateful. We've needed a bit of a break. It used to be that I would take my time off and not think any more about work. But I've changed. Now I think about how much momentum I'm going to lose by being out of the office for those extra days. For me, missing a day feels like it sets me back a week. I'm really looking forward to getting back to the regular Air Force. However, I know that this kind of change will stick with me, and I will always be more attached to my job now, as opposed to before I came to recruiting. That's probably the biggest thing on my mind when it comes to thinking about transitioning out of recruiting and into a regular unit. The tempo will be so much more relaxed, and there are two temptations: One, losing all of the inner drive I've developed and get lazy, Two, being overly aggressive and put others out by overworking them, carrying a high pressure approach over from recruiting. I know that somehow I'll find a balance. I also know that I'll be forever changed.

What a Christmas we had!! Having children to share this holiday makes it so amazing. The way Judah's eyes lit up when he saw the presents under the tree- it makes the late nights of shopping and wrapping and secrets all worth while.

The enthusiasm didn't last too long though for Judah, this was him after about 15 minutes. It spiraled downwards through out the present opening process.

Eve on the other hand had a total blast! She would've been happy had we stopped after the butterfly wings and the tutu. Funny how those were the least expensive items we bought her.

Next day we did a stocking for Eve full of candy and all kinds of yummy things for a little girls tummy.

We headed up to our good friends Sam and Tarrah's house to spend Christmas together. We had so much fun. There is always amazing food involved when we visit plus, lots and lots of laughter. We are really going to miss them when we move.

Judah loved Duncan except when he was licked nearly to death. He didn't think that was so much fun.

Look at those impish grins! The men are laughing at Tarrah and I because our ability to understand their humor is lacking. We really don't think that is such a bad thing after all.

The boys got some quality "baby bonding" in. Basically Judah laid on Abraham and called it good.

We ended the night with Tarrah's incredible apple pie and some homemade vanilla ice cream. The girls blew out the candle after we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. It was the sweetest ending to a really special day. We made a lot of great new memories, it was one of the best Christmas' we have ever had.
To Each and Every One
MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone !!!
The Question
I was starting to formulate an answer to "the question" knowing that I am going to be asked it a lot when I get "back to the Air Force" (done with recruiting). And a few posts back, I was asked the question, so I am going to make an attempt at an answer here.

The question is "insert name here is considering applying to be an Air Force recruiter. What advice do you have?"

First, don't.

That being said, they won't listen to me, I know because I didn't listen to anyone who said that when I was considering it. So knowing that the short answer will be ignored, here is the long answer. Location, location, location. You have a lot of say in where you will be assigned as a recruiter. Start with a political map and aim for red. Go down south and try to get in or very near a large city. There will be more people to talk to and a higher propensity to enlist. The problem is that you may have more people fail the ASVAB. There are pros and cons about every location. Up north the schools are statistically stronger educators. But they are also statistically less likely to enlist. If you are near a city, you will have more people to talk to, which means more disqualified people trying to waste your time. But you don't have to spend an hour and a half driving one way to a high school. In my area, I spend a lot of time behind a steering wheel. I know some people whose farthest school is 15 minutes away. Another big consideration is realizing the difference between finding 2 people a month that want to join the Air Force, and finding 2 people a month who are qualified to join the Air Force. 65% of Americans are overweight. Well, there goes 65% of your population from being qualified. Add in law violations, asthma, other medical issues, and drug use and you start to get an idea.

I personally LOVE talking to people about the Air Force. When I have a young person in my office, and I am telling them about the Air Force and their options, I lose track of time. And that is what everyone pictures when they think of recruiting. Truth be told, that's only about 10% of my job. You are your own secretary and you do all of your own administrative work, from planning, scheduling, documentation, to keeping your office clean and your regulations up to date. For every person that you meet with, there are potentially hours worth of paperwork to do.

You really really need to have an outgoing personality and like to talk.

Another question that sometimes comes up is "Is recruiting different in the Air Force as compared to other branches?"

Yes, and no.

It is different, but an Air Force recruiter has more in common with Army/Navy/Marine recruiters than they do with people that hold a "regular"job in their own service. Recruiting is sales and numbers, and pressure. We don't get it quite as bad as the other services, but it's still not even comparable to the regular Air Force.

Recruiting is the hardest thing I have ever done. Harder than basic training, and harder than deploying.

I have also learned more and grown more in recruiting than I have anywhere else, in any other job. Having been a recruiter puts you on a whole other playing field. You will pick up invaluable skills that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Just remember, location, location, location.
Newest link
Check out Army "Strong" Wife and welcome her to the blogosphere. Another good blog about life in recruiting. And more proof that for us married soldiers/sailors/marines/airmen, the support we get from our civilian spouses/partners/best friends/teammates is invaluable and they are just as much "assigned" to whatever tour we happen to be in the middle of, as we are. We both get orders, we both feel the stress of recruiting, we share the ups and the downs. Thanks to all of the spouses for making it a team thing. It would be too much to carry alone.
Too pretty to eat
This is one of my mother-in-law's Christmas cookie creations. She is amazingly talented.

Happiness is....
Finding out that your best friend in the whole world spent the night

Playing with a balloon after shopping for untold hours with all of Vermont

Christmas cookie making with Daddy

Watching Judah eating his first Christmas cookies ever, after taking a nap, while Daniel cleans up from the tornado that hit our kitchen.

Moving on to the bigger and better...
the Veil is Lifting
November is a month of disillusionment in recruiting. Not for recruiters but for potential leads. You see, college is not for everyone. In fact, only about 50 percent of freshman actually graduate 4 years later, click here to check your college's stats. But. . . almost 100% of high school seniors think that college is for them. And then there's the college freshman. They haven't had their first finals week yet. They haven't gotten their grades back yet. They still have time to cram at the last minute but that last minute is fast approaching. Now here we are in the middle of finals week at most American universities. A lot of those freshman won't be returning in January, and I firmly believe that there is no shame in that (if college truly is not the best thing for them at that time *see note). They could very well be taking a first step in the right direction.
Now please don't assume I'm anti-college, I'm currently pursuing my third degree. I just don't think that 3 walls and a chalkboard for another 4 years is the right environment for a lot of 18 year olds. I also believe that you can achieve those same goals through a non-traditional route, such as joining the Air Force Military.

*I also believe that there are definitely times that someone feels like quitting and should push through that first reality check wakeup call and continue their education. In no way do I think that all freshman dropouts should be commended

** Another issue here is timing. As I mentioned, I'm pursuing higher education, but when I was a 17 year old High School graduate, I knew that going off to college would be making a bad choice. I was mature enough to know that I was too immature for college. I've grown up a little since then, and the timing is now right for me to go after a degree.

What do you think? Do people blindly go to college (13th grade) or are teenagers legitimately researching all of their options to find the one that best suits meeting their goals? If so, why the dropout rates evident on the website I linked to above?
We like to start 'em young
Our Last Vermont Christmas Tree
Sunday afternoon we went to get our Christmas tree. We like to go to a different place every year so this year we went to Adams turkey farm. Yeah, I know, they sell Christmas trees too.

Eve totally dug the tractor ride down to the Christmas tree lot. She kept saying: "big wheels keep on turning..."

Judah was happy as a clam. He investigated the trees, decided they were pretty boring and plopped himself down to eat snow.

We finally decided on our "perfect" tree, bunny ears and all. Eve was Daniel's moral support with the cutting part.

We found shatter-proof ornaments at Walmart this year. With a 1 year old who loves all things shiny they are a very good thing.

There is no typical beautiful Christmas tree picture because well, it isn't all that beautiful yet. We are shooting to have it done by Christmas. That's reasonable right?!

Does anyone else "steal" from the coffee pot? I watch the drips until I think there is enough to fill my mug. Why can I not wait the 2 extra minutes until it is full?
Why can't civilians understand that we like to deploy? And it's not an Air Force thing, I had this conversation with an Army SFC. We've got a new congress and they want anything to happen as long as it's change. I can see it now, bring the troops home, everyone thinks they did the troops a huge favor and everyone will listen to the media and not listen to the actual troops who (for a large part) want to stay and finish the job. Or maybe go on a shorter rotation and when their turn comes up again, go back for another round. But as long as there is any kind of change, all we are going to hear is "see, we told you so". I'm just glad 2008 is still 2 years away.
Wintery Vermont
This morning I took the kids on a walk early because the weather report called for snow, and snow it did. I have never lived in a more gorgeous place for snowy wintery weather. Well, there was Alaska...regardless, it is so beautiful here tonight as I write this....Andrea

There is some kind of magic that happens between children and snow.

Rest in Peace
The following links will take you to a fellow bloggers site where you can read about Major Gilbert and Captain Evans. Captain Evans was the Air Force Civil Engineer who we lost 3 days ago. Major Gilbert's tragic loss came on the 27th of November. Please read their stories.
Major Gilbert's Story
Memorial Website

Captain Evans' Story
Fund Site
Newest Groupie
You know, I shouldn't have to be in this position. Not only am I about to tell you about our recruiting office's newest groupie, but that fact that I am saying "newest" means that there is at least one other prior to him. Recruiters should not have groupies. But ask any recruiter and they will tell you about some weird guy that just won't go away. This is somebody who has figured out that we work there and we're trained to listen to people tell us their stories. Which is why they love a new face. It's great fun watching a new recruiter deal with a groupie for the first time.
So anyway, this newest groupie has been coming in and his current effort is to get the Army to change their star to his newer, better design. He gets on tangents and starts talking about the war, and how God is still blessing the military but isn't happy with us for not enlisting this yahoo. I came back the other day from being out and saw him in the Navy office talking with, yep, a new recruiter. And as much as I wanted to step in and bail him out, these groupies just get more encouraged the more anyone talks to them, so I ducked into my office and locked the door. Maybe someday I'll tell you about the first (and now that he's back, current) groupie, "General George". **hint-he's been arrested twice already for impersonating an officer.
Our first round of Christmas cookies
Today I took the kids to our good friends Sam and Tarrah's house for an ornament exchange and cookie decorating party. We had a lot of fun! Eve took the cookie decorating very seriously. Must be the "German" in her. Thanks so much Tarrah for the great time!

Have a little cookie with your sprinkles!!

The finished products. Eve and I even got a little crazy and made purple- the "it" color in her world right now.
26 Years
Happy Birthday Daniel!

He's a good man. I have known him for 11 years, detested him for 2, loved him for 9. He is the guy you want to have drive by when you are broken down on the side of the road, the man you want to see you when struggling with your groceries, the muscles you want to have help you when you're moving, the friend you want next to you in life. He is not a regular guy- he is way more than that and I am so glad that I am the one he comes home to. To many more years of being older than you-Happy Birthday! ......Andrea

Also, Thank you Conny (my wonderful mother-in-law) for bringing him into this world. It's a much brighter place because of him.

V vs. V
Goodbye Verizon, Hello Vonage

Hmmm, $75 a month or $25 a month? It's soon to be official. We switched today. Just waiting on the equipment and new phone number.

What I think is going to be interesting is how this is all going to play out over the next several years, and I don't mean for me, but nationally.

One of the things you can do is buy a WiFi phone from Vonage and use it anywhere that you can pick up WiFi. Of course right now that means that you are probably carrying two phones around 'cause the WiFi phone isn't going to get enough service to replace your cell phone. Unless you live in a city covered by WiFi clear to the city limits. But as WiFi gets more and more widespread and available, I expect there's going to be a distinct shift in the market as cell users become WiFi users. Somehow the major players in the cell phone industry are going to have to keep up. Like I said, should be interesting. At least for now, we're saving $50 dollars.
Just 5 hours?
I once heard it said that the difference between America and Europe is that Americans think 200 years is a long time, while Europeans think 200 miles is a long way. I talk to people (mostly applicants) all the time who can't imagine driving for more than an hour or two. As a recruiter I get a lot of "windshield time". Driving applicants to MEPS (Click here if you don't know, thanks to Station Commando for the link), Driving to headquarters (since we recruiters are all stationed hours away from any kind of base, unit, civilization. . . ) Driving to a local base (if your unit headquarters isn't established on a base itself). All in all, we do a lot of driving. My farthest high school that I have to visit is an hour and a half away. I cover a third of the state I recruit in. We drive a lot. So I think of that quote at the top a lot. And this weekend I had to make a trip (for work) that was 5 hours each way. In one day. And you know what, it didn't phase me. It was like "Oh, 5 hours, sure, whatever. At least I'll still have Sunday"
For the Clairiest Claire in the whole world
To Claire:

Here's a nice clear picture of Eve for your viewing pleasure. She is very excited to see you when you get back home!
5 Months
We have 5 months left here. It feels so short to me. Not so for Daniel. He says he can't see even past this week. Oh but I can. It makes me feel almost giddy. We often play a game called "When we leave here". When we leave here everything will be perfect! Ha! I am not so foolish to think that but... it might feel like it for a few days at least. We have had fun here- good good friends, a cute house that the government so lovingly pays for, lots of great trips to Boston, had a son that we are crazy about, the list goes on. But we are so ready to be on our way.

Waiting is the name of the game now. We are waiting to find out which base we will be sent to. This part is hard for me. Doesn't the government know I am a planner? I am the first born child, type A, don't even think about taking my lists away from me kind of girl. I need time to research and investigate this new place. And time is ticking away. We just want to know. Even if it's not a place we had hoped for, we really just want to know. All I ask is - Please, don't send us back to North Dakota.

Good thing I am not superstitious. But I bet I just made some of you who are shiver!...Andrea
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