Sunday, June 5, 2011

Boots on my Floor!

Look who's home! I know this may come as a surprise to some. Spencer did not want his buddies to find out he was coming home so I had to keep the news off facebook.

Paul and I traveled to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, again last Thursday, June 2, and attended Spencer's AIT (Advanced Individual Training) Pinning Ceremony on Friday. It was so good to see him and, of course, we were so proud of him as he received his pin. After the ceremony we were able to load up all of his belongings and bring him home! We had a wonderful trip home with lots of stories, laughs, and discussions about the future. A wonderful time for Dad and Mom for sure! I knew once we got him home we wouldn't see him all that much so I treasured those 6+ hours in the car.

He will be leaving around the 13th to travel to Fort Bliss, Texas (El Paso) where he will be stationed. He is to report in on June 15th. He is driving there so please remember to say prayers for his traveling safety if you will. I am more nervous about him driving by himself that far as I was when he was preparing to leave the first time. I'm pretty sure this goodbye is not going to be any easier and probably harder as we will have no idea when we will get to see him again.

Right now I know that we are so happy to have him home or at least know that he is in Lee's Summit! I am loving hearing his truck coming and going again.

You may recall that I posted Spencer's address for anyone who would want to send him a note of encouragement and appreciation on Armed Forces Day - well I thought it was a great idea and appreciated so much all of my friends and family who did just that. Spencer didn't actually get all of his mail for several days after Armed Forces Day because they were in the field. When he returned his Sgt called him down and Spencer said there he stood holding all of these cards and letters. He said to Spencer, "Riffe, I didn't know it was your birthday". Spencer replied, "It's not, Sir. My birthday is in July." Sgt., "Then what is all this about". Spencer, "I have no idea, Sir"! Spencer said, "It was crazy how much mail I got." I said, "Didn't you know about Armed Forces Day?" Spencer, "Nope, never heard of it"! Ha! Ha! I told him next time just tell the Sgt. it's just my mom and one of her crazy ideas! We got a good laugh about this, but he did truly appreciate all the cards and letters - but Jan Sapp, if you are reading this he is still trying to figure out where he came from! Ha! Ha!

Anyway, for today I am happy to have those boots sitting in my floor and I am going to enjoy each minute I have with my soldier.

I'll keep you updated as our military journey continues!

"Proud Army Mom"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Friends and Family:

Here's an update of our time with Spencer:

We arrived in Oklahoma on Wednesday evening late, ready for bed, but so excited for morning to come. Family Day was Thursday morning. The soldiers demonstrated what they had learned over the weeks at Basic Training and then when that was over we were able to see Spencer. He was able to stay with us off base until 8:30 p.m. We had so much fun meeting his friends and hearing story after story of his experience.

Friday morning we were up and off to graduation. What a wonderful ceremony they had for the soldiers. There were 207 soldiers graduating. Now I must brag -Spencer graduated with honors. He was in the top 10%. I was so glad I didn't wear buttons that day because I would have popped them off! After graduation the day became very long as Spencer had to move to a new location on base where he will be for the next 6 weeks for AIT (Advanced Individual Training). He got moved in and all his paperwork done and then he was able to leave on a weekend pass! He stayed in the hotel with us 2 nights! We had so much fun. He pretty much just wanted to sit around, watch TV and eat junk food! It was so wonderful having him with us.

We took him back to base on Sunday around 1:30 p.m., as we had to get on our road home. Believe it or not, I didn't shed a tear leaving him. He seems to be so happy and knowing that in 6 weeks he gets to come home for 10 days helped too!

We feel so blessed to have had this special time together as a family. It was a precious time and I thank God for allowing us all to be in Oklahoma together.

"Proud Army Mom"

Monday, April 18, 2011

Graduation Week!

It's here, finally ~ graduation week! Nine weeks tomorrow we said good-bye to Spencer with promises of seeing him at graudation in nine weeks. Nine weeks seemed like an eternity, but here we are getting ready to go see him!

I was really bumming this morning because we hadn't heard from him in 2 weeks, but the day got brighter. Around 2:00 p.m., my phone rang and I looked down and to my surprise it was Spencer! Was I ever glad to hear his voice on the other end. He sounds so good. He said they had been out in the field for 4 days and then when they got back on base they had to start cleaning and preparing for graduation! He said he'd be able to call more now because they get to keep their phones with them!

I asked if there was anything he wanted me to bring him and he said, "yes -Mountain Dew or A & W Cream Soda and Fudge Rounds". I asked him how about if I bring you both Moutain Dew and Cream Soda? His response, "That would be sweet!" (that's my boy)

I thought this was so funny he said, "Hey, Mom, Whitney sent me this picture of her and Taylor - Taylor is wearing one of my shirts. Has he been wearing my clothes?" (I told Taylor not to but he didn't think Spencer would find out). Taylor you're busted! He sounded more like my Spencer during this conversation!

He told me that he just found out today that he would be receiving an Honor Grad Award at Graduation. I guess just a few soldiers get picked to receive this so it's quite an honor. He has excelled in all areas of his training. I know I'm bragging but I can't help it. We are so proud of our Soldier!

Well next time I'm on here I will be posting graduation pictures. Can't wait to share with you.

As always, thank you friends and family for your prayers for Spencer. It has been such a comfort to know so many of you are lifting up Spencer's name to Lord every day. Let's remember all our soldiers in our prayers.

Proud Mom of a U.S. Army Soldier

P.S. It suppose to be in the 80's and 90's in Oklahoma! Could be hot but better than cold in my books!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Countdown Has Begun!

We leave for Oklahoma in 17 days! Graduation is April 22 but we will be heading down on the 20th so we will be there for Family Day on the 21st. We are getting so excited! We can't wait to see him and I'm pretty sure Spencer is feeling the same way. He is anxious for us to meet his new friends.

Spencer sounds really good. He is upbeat about his training although he said he is ready for basics to be over. He said the hardest thing is not having any alone time. You are with the same people 24/7 with no breaks from each other. He is also missing hearing country music! He said that they sing alot but they are all starting to forget the lyrics to songs since they haven't been able to listen to them. I asked him if this was making him appreciate the little things in life and his answer was, "Definitely"!

He said they don't get yelled at near as much anymore. He said the Sgt.'s are actually starting to joke around with them.

They are beginning to get more phone privileges. He said today he had an hour that he could talk. He talked to us and then called Whitney. Whitney definitely enjoys hearing from him.

I am so anxious to see him in his uniform. He said they got their dress uniform and shoes and their berets. He said they get to start wearing their berets the last week of basic. He is very anxious to get wear it!

Thank you to everyone who has written him. He really appreciates the letter and cards. We all appreciate all of the prayers that you have been saying for Spencer.

"Proud Army Mom"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Five More Weeks and Counting

Well, we are down to five weeks until we get to see our soldier. I can only imagine what it is going to feel like the first time we see him in his uniform. I know we are going to all be very proud because we already are! Paul better not wear a shirt with buttons because I'm pretty sure he'll bust them!

For those of you haven't heard, Spencer is sick. I'm asking everyone to say a prayer for him and all the other soldiers. He said everyone is sick. He said diffrent ones have bronchitis, others upper respiratory infections and others have strep throat. He called today and sounds horrible. He said he has had a fever, but he seemed to be better today, but he sure didn't sound better. He doesn't want to ask for a sick call because he doesn't want to miss out on his training and be behind. I always knew he was tough guy. Sure is hard on me. I want to be able to take care of him! He asked that we send him cough drops - said his throat is raw. Kind of pitiful, he said he is having to buy cough drops off other guys for $.25 a piece! I went to the store and bought two big bags to mail to him tomorrow. I figured if he got better and didn't need all of them maybe he could sell them and make some of his money back!

I thought it was so sweet--I asked him if there was anything else that I could send him and he said, "Oh, can you send me some pictures of the family"? (He didn't take any with him because he didn't know if he could have them or not). It melted my heart to know he wants pictures of us!

Other than being sick he sounds good. He has been learning to shoot and is really liking it. He said they have been doing obstacle courses where they have to run, then crawl under barbed wire, jump off 3 ft walls, etc. He said, "It is really fun". He got to throw a live grenade. He said he threw it and then had to duck behind a wall and was able to watch it blow up through a plexiglass window. He said, "It was awesome"! (remember this is all while he has been sick!) What a kid!

I was also thrilled because he said he has been going to church. His bunkmate and two other guys have been going together. That's a praise!

Well, until next time, continue to pray for all our military men and women. It sure makes you much more aware of their service when you have one of your own serving our country!

Dawn ~ "Proud Mom of a U.S. Army Soldier"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Two more letters

Can you believe Spencer has been gone for one month and actually in basic training for 3 weeks. He has 6 more to go!

I have actually received two letters since the last time I posted. No phone calls, but at least we are hearing from him.

It sounds like he is doing good. He has just been describing, in detail, what they have been doing. It sounds like he takes it all in stride. In the letter I received Monday, he was telling us how some of the guys in his platoon had things on them that they shouldn't, such as extra gloves and food, and therefore, the whole platoon has to pay. So what sounded like forever, they had to do push ups, sit ups, they got their lockers emptied out on the floor, etc. He went on and on and I am feeling so bad for him. Then he ends his letter, "It was fun and we all survived". Sounds like a soldier who's adjusting pretty well, don't you think?

Then in his letter today he was excited because he had passed his physical training test and had actually shaved a minute off his 2-mile run. He ran it in 14:25! Pretty impressive! He then went on to describe going to the gas chamber. He told us how he was so nervous and how when they had to take their masks off they have to keep their eyes open and look at their Sgt. He said everyone was coughing , but he didn't cough once. He said it burns so bad when you breath and it burns your eyes so bad. He said he just took slow breathes and stayed calm. He said when his Sgt. led them out he said there were guys who were uncontrollable but Spencer, feeling victorious, yelled, "Terminators" (that's the name of his platoon) when he reached the door. He said as soon as they got outside he started laughing and smiling! He faced the giant and won! You could tell from the letter how proud he was! I can tell he loves the challenge.

Well, the next 3 weeks will be rifle training. Wonder what stories will come out of this training?

As always, thanks for your prayers. I know I feel them and by the way it sounds he does too.

Until the next letter or phone call,

Dawn ~ "Proud Mom of a U.S. Soldier"

Monday, February 28, 2011

Finally . . .

I got to hear his voice after 3 weeks! Music to this mother's ears. I had been having a hard time today just missing him and then he called. God's blessing to me today!

He says he is doing ok. He was anxious to hear if we had received his letter and said he had another one on the way. He said, "Everyone just writes like crazy". I can't help but chuckle. He thought no one would write home, especially not him!

He said he has been eating lots of yogurt and Nutri-Grain bars (I could never get him to eat those at home). He says they are "tasty"!

He said the weather there is terrible. He said the mornings are freezing cold because the wind blows all the time. His exact words were, "it is ridiculous how much the wind blows. It never stops"! He said you dress for the cold in the morning but by afternoon you are dying because you are so hot.

He said the routine is setting in and the days are very long. He said they do a lot of marching. Paul asked him if he felt like he had gone in physically prepared and he said "yes - that's a piece of cake"! I guess that's a good thing.

I told him that he had lots of people praying for him and he said tell everyone "thanks"!

That was about the extent of our call tonight. He hung up rather quickly. I was able to say "we all love you" and the last thing he said was, "I love you guys too"!

Well, that's it for now. Thanks for going on this journey with me.

"Proud Mom of an Army Soldier"