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January 28, 2015

Book Review: We Got Him: A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein

All this talk about “American Sniper” reminded me that I had a book review to share with you, still, regarding Operation Iraqi Freedom. It’s called, We Got Him: A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein, by Lt. Col. Steve Russell (Ret).Me and My SoldierMan: Book Review: We Got Him: A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein http://www.meandmysoldierman.com

Full disclosure: Steve is a long-time friend and gave us the book for free. But this was a while ago and he has no knowledge of this review. Or probably my blog.

We Got Him focuses on a very specific timeframe – Steve’s time as commander of the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment while they spearheaded the search for Saddam. I originally intended to share this review for the 10th anniversary of the capture, but, well, December is a crazy busy time and it gets away from you.

Steve has been a daily journaler his entire adult life, and the benefit of it is shared in this book. The detail, not only of his decisions and mission executions, but also of the soldiers he served with and over, makes the reader feels immediately present. You begin to feel you know the people he served with, at least to a degree, which is especially poignant since not everyone makes it home. I appreciated that he gave life to several of those who died in the line of executing this mission, as well as listing their names in the back of the book for posterity.

January 27, 2015

It’s not about yoga pants

It’s a little earlier in the year than usual for these kinds of posts, they have already gone viral about how yoga pants are lazy (can’t really argue with that one) or immodest (ehh….) and suddenly women are all MOLON LABE about the yoga pants.

And I guess you can do that, but it seems like a pretty silly hill to die on

In the winter it’s yoga pants and and those aberrations from nature, leggings-as-pants. In the summer it becomes bikinis and visible underwear. And the same conversations circle the drain for weeks and weeks on facebook and blogs and youth groups and Bible studies. Usually the responses say either A) this is anti-men because they are unfairly portrayed as being too morally weak to resist lusting after women dressing a certain way, or else B) it’s not unfair (statement A), but it’s anti-woman to put the onus on women, it’s the men’s problem and they’ll just have to deal with it.

Me and My SoldierMan: It's not about yoga pants

January 23, 2015

Awesome Mommy Moments

I'm sending this from my phone, so I don't know how it'll turn out. But, I wanted to get this out while it was on my mind. And no, that title isn't sarcastic.

I was thinking about it the other day and we do have our share of what I call Awesome Mommy Moments. Most significantly, probably, was Baby G saying "Momma" for the first time yesterday, and actually using it in reference to me. The luster faded a little when I realized she essentially means, "I want something!" (But isn't it basically the same thing anyway?)

Other awesome moments:

-when she lays on her back, on my lap, and babbles. And babbles. And babbles. I love it. I'm recording as much of her little voice as I can, since it changes so much, even for girls.

-she likes me to rock her to sleep now, even for naps. I was surprised at how much I missed that. Plus, I carry her into her room upright, swing her blankie around her like a cape, and as soon as the blankie hits her back, her head hits (literally collapses) on my shoulder and she opens her mouth for her paci. It is the sweetest thing. Well, except in the middle of the night. That's getting old. Sorta.

-Speaking of night, the other night I had put her back in bed and put myself back in bed, and picked up the baby monitor to watch her for a bit. (Best purchase ever, btw.) Maybe I've mentioned it before, but she does this thing when she's falling asleep, she lays up on the crib wall and gently scratches her head until she falls asleep. I was watching it again and thinking how cute it was...and then realized I was doing the same thing! I almost always do! And the awesome thing is, this is something she wouldn't have learned from observing me. Here is a spontaneous, organic, behavioral similarity we share. It's pretty thrilling.

- Speaking of sleep (because right now the most awesome stuff involves sleep) adding a nightlight to her room has changed our lives. Now, unless something is really wrong (a tummy ache the other night) or she's done something really outstanding with the paci in her sleep (sometimes she sticks it through the bars by accident) she can wake up in the night, scoot to where it is, put it back in her mouth, and go back to sleep without disturbing me much, if at all. It feels like she's newborn again; I haven't had this much sleep in months! And I won't lie, I'm pretty proud of her. As much as I know my craziest days are ahead, seeing her gradually develop mobility has been so exciting. New milestones are way more fun than I expected :)

I know there are others, but this is what's on my mind at the moment. Also, oh my goodness, life is good. It's not perfect. It's not easy. But it's oh so good. Playing with her and making her laugh and rocking her to sleep is my life now and who knew it could be so amazing. As much as I couldn't wait to be a mommy, I literally had no idea how much I would love it, warts and all. (figuratively speaking - she doesn't have warts)

January 21, 2015

We Saw “American Sniper”

311494id1_AmericanSniper_Final_Rated_27x40_1Sheet.inddBy now you’ve surely read a half-dozen or more reviews of “American Sniper,” and probably even read the book. So you know what it’s about. You know who stars in it and who made it and who loved it and who famously hated it.

I don’t want to rehash the same old points (though I’m going to reference a couple). But I do want to look at what stood out to me as a couple of the most impactful elements of the movie.

Let me preface by saying that I don’t know and never met Chris Kyle or Taya Kyle. Never had any interactions with them ever. So I’m not speaking from any position of first-hand knowledge. Also, I haven’t read the book. And I know a dozen people are itching to comment with, Oh, the book is SO much better! Yeah, here’s the thing: that’s always the case. Like, 99.999999999% of the time. I don’t think that sentence or anything like it should appear in movie critiques. It’s stating the obvious, and a movie should stand or fall on its own ability to tell a story, not how it compares to the literary version of the story.

I’m also going to reference a few other posts about the movie. Apparently it needs to be said that I don’t necessarily endorse anything beyond the quoted portions of those posts. So, okay.

So, to start off, the movie was definitely what I’d call “rough.” You see people killed. You hear a child tortured. It’s loud. It’s violent. It’s filled with f-bombs. You will not be comfortable for more than maybe 5 minutes in this movie. That’s not a criticism.