Sunday, December 21, 2008

In honor of the snow...

I changed up the blog for a little bit! I cannot believe how much snow we've gotten and it just keeps coming down! Maybe some more pictures to come if I don't freeze trying to take them...

Monday, December 15, 2008

And so begins the 9th month...

Our last Dr. appointment (Friday) showed us that Paisley would rather be standing up than resting on her head... She's in breech position and that doesn't make the doc real comfortable. (What about me?!)

The crazy news is that if she hasn't flipped by this Friday, they want us to seriously consider having her manually turned the week after Christmas. (Doctor manipulation of my baby belly!) When - if! - she turns after all that pushing, pulling, and kneading of her comfort zone, they'll want to induce me to begin labor before she changes her mind. If all of this happens...we'll have our little girl in 2 weeks rather than 4!

Anyway, it suddenly feels like lots to get ready for! But on the other hand, I've heard story after story of babies flipping on their own right when they're supposed to! So we'll see how it goes. If she stays breech and we wait for her to flip but she doesn't, then she'll soon be too big to flip and it'll mean a c-section, which I'd really rather avoid.

So it's not all that big of a deal, and God's will will be done, but if you think about it, could you send up a prayer that Paisley turns on her own so I can go into labor naturally and at the proper time? Thank you!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

We Need A Little Christmas!

It's incredible to me that we're already 4 days into December! So much to do, so much to think about, so much going on...!

We spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with my parents, 3 of the brothers, and my uncle, aunt, and cousin at my parents' house. What a spread it was! Everyone had a hand in making the festive meal. We had more rolls than we could eat, and so many desserts, they lasted for days!

We have so much to be thankful for this year! I am so grateful to have Andrew home, for one thing. And now we have a baby on the way and a new life outside the Army. Lots of uncertainties, and that's the only certain thing sometimes... But it's such a wonderful life!

We're already moving into the Christmas season. The tree's up and the cinnamon candles are burning. Our Netflix queue is full of Christmas movies and we've been practicing Christmas songs for our church ensemble for weeks, now.

Our first performance was last Sunday as a kick-off to the holiday series at church, A Charlie Brown Christmas. And every Sunday through December, our ensemble will be caroling in the season, both on the stage, and after church during the fellowship/mingling time. "We" are my dad, Andrew, me, Jenny, and Tyler & Shelley Cook. It's been lots of fun so far... It even "snowed" at church when we sang White Christmas!

Ooh...I haven't made an advent chain, yet...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fall Fetishes

My current loves/cravings/fetishes of the season ~ written in no particular order ~ just because they make me happy!
  • The yard peppered with bright yellow, orange, and red leaves...
  • The crisp autumn air...
  • Sweaters and scarves...
  • Hot apple cider with whipped cream...
  • Dutch Bros. candy cane hot chocolate...
  • Holiday-scented candles from morning til night...
  • Catching up on Heroes Season 2 in the long evenings...
  • Christmas ensemble practice...
  • Internet at home!...
  • Perfecting my baby registries...
  • Dr. appointments and birth class...
  • Chandler and Lincoln!...
  • Sitting on my huge exercise ball instead of a chair...
  • Visiting at Mom and Dad's...
  • Weekly updates on baby's growth...
  • Intermittent nights of painless sleep...
  • Our house on 6th...
  • Apple crisp...
  • Talking and playing, planning and dreaming with Andrew...
::Happy sigh::

Monday, November 03, 2008

More Matching Bellies...

These shots were taken just days before Lincoln was born... And now he's out and so precious and Jenny's way smaller than me! So here she is at 9 months and I'm at 6 months along... Wonder if and when this will ever happen again?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Dum, duh, duh, DUH!

Yeah, that title isn't really supposed to sound as dumb as it looks... 

It's my attempt at a trumpet fanfare! I mean, what else would you do but celebrate with trumpets on the day we finally have our own high speed internet connection at our own house for the first time since...well...2006?

We're going to a youth costume party tonight to take pictures. I might post some! (But raise your hand if you actually believe my usually empty promises to post pictures of events...)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lincoln James Brock

...Was born on Monday, October 20th at 12:17pm! He weighed in at a more "normal" 9 lbs & 8 oz, but measured longer than Chandler by just a little bit! He's 23 inches long. Jen and Lincoln are both doing perfectly and they're planning to bring him home today sometime.

There are lots more pictures to share, but they're all still on Wes's camera...

Praise the Lord for his safe arrival! What a precious little boy.

Heart On Your Wrist

I just stumbled upon this fun site for unique mommy jewelry! I love it! Hmmm... I should show Andrew...

Heart On Your Wrist

Friday, October 10, 2008

21 and counting...

21 pounds, that is. Not weeks.

Back in my first trimester, just a few short months ago, I remember lamenting the fact that I couldn't eat anything without being sick! (I'll never forget guzzling a glass of refreshing sweet tea at a bbq place in Savannah only to run to the restroom and lose it all! Yeah, still cold! Yuck.) Nothing would stay down, it seemed. Even my favorite foods were repulsive. I wished for the day I could eat more than crackers and Sprite. I wondered if I would ever see food the same way again? Will I still love pizza? BBQ? Chopped salad? Mexican food? Spaghetti? Diet Coke?

Well, here I am at week 26 of 40 and - apparently - I had nothing to worry about. The appetite came back with a vengeance! I LOVE FOOD! Ha! I've never weighed this much in my life. Truly. Yeah, I'm used to seeing three digits on the scale...but these three?? And in this order??

I really wish I didn't hate to exercise. But there are just so many better things to spend my time on, you know?

Like eating.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

how time flies!

This has been a 3-week whirlwind since we've arrived in Oregon! We've moved out of my parents' and into a little red house in St. Helens. My dad bought this house about a year ago and it was the family "flip this house" project for a while. I even helped! Caulking, painting, finishing all the trim, etc. while Andrew was deployed.

When the housing market tanked, it wouldn't sell! Or rent! A few times, papers were even signed only to fall through. Dad began to refer to the house - affectionately, of course - as the "flip flop."

Then we came to town. And all of a sudden it became clear that God had saved that house just for us! So now we're renting a house with three bedrooms, a huge bonus room, a brand new bathroom and kitchen, all new appliances, cabinets, fixtures, windows, blinds, carpet, hardwood... I remember that as we were working on the house last year we wondered over and over, "This is just an old fixer-upper house! Why are we putting so much time, effort, and high quality stuff in here??"

We are thanking God (and Dad!) every day for our "new" house! What a blessing. And our landlords are so easy to work with! *smile*

I've yet to take pictures of the house. That's probably because the yard is a weedy mess right now and the inside isn't much better! But when I can, I will. And I promise to post them.

For now, we're just having fun moving in and setting up house. And finally getting out of boxes and luggage and zipper bags and travel cases. And deciding on new paint for the baby's room.

Andrew's been working at a temporary job that was available right when we needed it! But we've got our eyes open for the next thing, hopefully much closer to home.

This life is one adventure after another as we continually learn to draw close to the Lord and walk with Him every day, for every decision, in everything. He keeps showing Himself faithful to us and we don't deserve His love and intimate care. Praise Him!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

At last!

The entirety of our westward journey shall be duly chronicled with photos and stories in the days to come. But for now, we will just say that we've made it to Warren, Oregon and are happily occupied with catching up on rest and life with my family and preparing ourselves to take the next steps of house and job! As I type, the trailer is being unloaded. And the Murano is breathing a sigh of relief.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oregon, here we come! - Part I

Well, in the wee small hours of tomorrow morning (5 am...yeah, yeah, but it's early for me and the baby! and the alarm's set for 4:30!), we're jumping in our car/trailer combo and heading west. It'll be bittersweet...sad to say goodbye to Dad and Mom H and yet happy to be on our way to settling down in a home and clear of the Army. (Although we hope to see our Harper parents in January!)

We're gonna meet up with Greg & Carolyn & Elisa for lunch tomorrow and we can't wait!

It's rather ambitious of us, but we hope to make it a long way tomorrow. Gas stations and stretching breaks and all. We'd appreciate your prayers.

Oh, and a very HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY to Aunt Becky! (Oops, was that a secret?) : ) Love you so much and see you soon ~

Monday, September 08, 2008

news from the Razorback State

Whew! I've been wanting to blog for quite awhile, now, and only just now am I able to! No internet, Hurricane Gustav, Blogger issues...all were conspiring together against me.

But I'm here now and this is what I wanted to finally say:

It's a GIRL! We're gonna have our baby girl in January and we're halfway there! We couldn't be more thrilled. Andrew's been practicing with, "C'mon, girls!" And "You two." And "My girls, this, or that..." And friends and family have already gifted us with girly outfits, bunny slippers, embroidered bibs, animal books... Which makes it so real! I think it's finally starting to sink in that we're gonna have a "little Cassidy" to love and hold in just around 4 months!

Waiting for a baby to come sure flies by faster than waiting for a deployed Soldier to come home! I'm pretty sure that all my future "waiting periods" of life will be compared to that unending 15-months we endured.

Andrew and I have been having a great time of visiting and resting in Warren, Arkansas for the last week. Mom and Dad H are so hospitable and loving and generous...we decided to stay a few days longer! Andrew's getting in a little lawnmower therapy, working on the yard today, and I'm about ready to learn from Mammaw Smith her secret of perfect pear preserves. : )

We'll pick up our 5X8 U-Haul trailer on Thursday, pack it tight, and then leave out westward on Friday... Looking to arrive in Warren, Oregon about a week later.

So please, if you think about it, pray for safety and smooth sailing on our 2,000+ mile trek! It's an adventure! And I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful and full of pure joy Andrew and I are to be on this adventure together. And baby, too!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ultrasound postponed... Thursday. Andrew had an unavoidable briefing come up today right over the time of our appointment, so we had to do some quick changing around. But Thursday morning is the new time! We'll know soon!

Monday, August 25, 2008

quick life update...

I feel so disconnected lately! We haven't had consistent internet in our apartment for the last couple months and finding a good time to get down to the business center in our complex isn't all that simple. And inevitably, when I do, someone's already here. Ah, well.

The nerve of our neighbors to encrypt their wireless signal. I tell ya.

Here's what's going on! This is Andrew's last week in the Army. He's running around on post getting signed out of everything and turning in every last piece of random equipment he was issued about 3 years ago... I'm impressed that he only lost one thing during that whole time! Oh, and my family had to scurry around and send us a fleece jacket that I packed and left in Oregon not realizing it was Army issue! Well, Jarrod came through in a pinch and all's well. Better than paying for a new one!

We're excited about tomorrow's ultrasound in which we hope to find out our active baby's gender! He/she's been kicking and bumping and flipping around a lot this last fun to feel the life in there! What a miracle. I'll try to get online again to share the news!

Last Wednesday the movers were at our place all day packing up everything and heading off to Arkansas. We've been sleeping on an air mattress, using paper plates, and wearing the same clothes over and over since then. Pass the dirty's just like camping! : )

We've got some apartment scouring to do this week and the random moving tasks like changing our address with the Post Office, cancelling service with the power company, etc.

Friday is Sarge's last day. (haha! it just cracked me up to write that! that is SO not Andrew.) We're hoping to leave town on Friday, then, and head southeast first to see Andrew's grandparents in Jacksonville. Then we're off to Columbus, GA on Saturday to stop by William and Amanda's new place. Up to Warren, AR on Sunday...and we're looking forward to just resting there and spending time with Andrew's parents and grandma for about a week! Whew.

After that, it's the Oregon Trail for us! We'll hook up a trailer and load it with the essentials (storing the big stuff in Arkansas). We've got plans to stop along the way to see some friends and family and then roll in to my parents' place in Warren, OR on or around September 14th.

Then we commence serious house-hunting, new job finalizing, and settling in to our "new life" in Oregon. There's a light at the end! We're gonna make it!

I really don't know why everyone needed to know all these details...but I can tell ya it helped me just to write it out! : )

Thanks to all who have prayed for us, for our baby, for health, for safety, for miracles, and for protection and direction! God is great and even though most things seem out of our control, we can trust God to hold us close and to control all aspects of our lives as He guides us to fulfilling His perfect purposes for us. Praise Him!

Monday, August 04, 2008

an unexpected promotion

God answered an impossible prayer for us last week! In fact, it was so impossible, that it didn't even make it on our "impossible prayer list" that we've been bringing before the Lord for the last several weeks...

Andrew has been "promotable" ever since he passed the board in 2006, way before the deployment. He was laterally promoted from Specialist to Corporal as a formality that did not result in a higher pay rate or even necessarily more responsibility or respect.

The only thing holding him back from being promoted to Sergeant was the strange promotion point system that the Army has in place. Contrary to what it sounds like, there is not a set number of points that you strive for in order to be promoted. That number ebbs and flows like the tide, according to how many Soldiers of each rank are currently in any given MOS (job title). So really, you just do your work and hope the points number comes down enough in a certain month to meet you where your points currently are. There isn't a whole lot you can do to raise your points, you see.

But we both just thought that it would be nice to leave the Army as an E5 Sergeant, rather than an E4 Corporal. The higher rank would look better on resumes and provide a little more income, etc. But you have to understand... that just became too impossible to pray for.

So we gave it up. Besides, he doesn't have much longer in the Army, so at this junction...why bother?

At the beginning of last week, it was brought to Andrew's attention that there were promotion orders with his name on them sitting in A Company's office. WHAT?? By Thursday, we were attending his promotion ceremony.

Such an unexpected "parting gift" and a wonderful way for Andrew to be able to leave the Army with his head high, knowing that he accomplished all he could during his time in active service, and carrying the surprise proof of God's provision on his chest! 

Our God is a God of the impossible! And He still does miracles for us!

This is just before the ceremony... I'm pointing out the fact that he's still a Corporal. Just 2 chevrons, see?

Andrew was called to the front of formation and was given a word from the Captain. I was given the high sign to come up and stand beside him.

Now I get the signal to do the "pinning" as the promotion orders are being read (shouted) by a reader in strict military style.

My turn! I just have to remove the old rank and place the new one on his chest. I think I'm glad they're only velcro these days and not the real pins! Army tradition is to pin him, then punch him in the rank so as to draw blood... nice, huh? I didn't punch him. I just made sure the rank was on real good. : )

Then the new Sergeant Harper gives a little speech.

Here are the brothers in arms who've been together through the deployment, till now. These are the guys Andrew will miss when he goes. SGT Prochazka, SPC McNew, SGT Harper, SPC Meyer. (do you see Andrew's 3 chevrons now?)

sister mommies...

We didn't take many pictures on our recent Portland visit... but my mom snagged this one for me on my phone. Jenny's about 3 months ahead of me. She's having a boy; we won't know ours til later this month. She's due in October; I'm due in January. I always wondered what this time of life would be like and if I'd ever share it with any of my brothers' future wives...

It's so much fun, already! Even from this distance. But we're closing that gap soon and we'll be able to share once again in the water aerobics, baby yoga, slow and easy shopping, eating lots and lots, baby registries, and other silly things that you only do when you're expecting.

Love ya, Jen!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

getting antsy...

...about a lot of things!

1. We're getting antsy to "clear"!
Andrew has only 8 business days left before he starts the "clearing" process. Which means running around post for your last 2 weeks getting every form, every paper, every checklist signed off on from all of the various offices and buildings around Ft. Stewart so they'll let you leave! It's quite the extrication program.

The good thing about clearing is that he won't be doing his regular daily 5am-5pm workday. And he'll be around for packing and overseeing the moving truck...

2. We're getting antsy to know the gender!
Our 20-week ultrasound at the end of August will finally tell us whether we should load up our baby registry with more blue or more pink...! We can actually settle on a name from among all our favorites, and it will just be so nice not to call Baby "It" anymore.

3. We're getting antsy to become civilians!
August 30 is Andrew's last day in the Army and after midnight he can sign out for the very last time. We feel the stress melting away...

4. We're getting antsy to start our westward journey!
Our own version of the Oregon Trail... As soon as we sign out, we'll be following the moving truck to Arkansas where we'll unload whatever we can't fit in the Nissan and spend a good time visiting Andrew's parents. Then we'll head west.

5. We're getting antsy to settle into a house!
Instead of an apartment! Could it be true? We're following up leads and crossing our fingers!

6. I'm getting antsy to change up this blog!
Random, yes. And it's more me than Andrew. But the blog feels kinda somber and un-fun. As soon as we become civilians, our blog will undergo a makeover! Including a name change. Be watching for "Harper's Bazaar" in September...

And all of this will be happening in the next 6 weeks! It's an exciting, unsure, hopeful, and crazy time. But God already knows the answers. He knows where He's taking us and why. We just need to rest. Which feels impossible at the moment with so much to do!

My dad shared this passage with me just this morning. So timely!

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me -- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
(Matthew 11:28-30  The Message)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

harper's together!

William, Amanda, and Benji are in the process of moving about 4 hours away to the other far side of Georgia. So last weekend, we all met up in Columbus to see their new place! Looks like a great set-up for them and it was fun, as always, to be with family! 
(If this picture seems awkward, it's because it was. My camera was perched precariously on a conglomeration of steps, wallet, and cell phone in an attempt to capture us at the right angle. Mercifully, I didn't fall on my way down and into the pose!) 

Monday, June 30, 2008

a visit from mom

I can hardly believe she was here, and we only took this one picture to prove it...but she was! My mom came for a much-needed visit for a few days last week. We did a lot and we did nothing at the same time. We just chatted and talked and cried and laughed and shopped and shared and ate and caught up on everything we could think of!

Andrew and I drove down and picked her up in Jacksonville, then spent the next day browsing to our hearts' content in a giant Babies R Us! We followed that up by a great visit at Andrew's grandparents' house. Aunts, Uncles,'s always fun to get together! And I was so glad to be able to introduce them to my mom. Crazy how suddenly my life has 2 separate worlds and my family doesn't know all the people I know anymore!

Mom kept me company while Andrew was at work. We did Starbucks, Target, and even just hung out in her hotel room while I used the bigger and better laundry facilities over there!

Amazing how a girl never stops needing her mom. I love you, Mom. Thanks for coming all this way to visit us! See you in July ~

Monday, June 09, 2008

up for air!

So much has happened in the last 2 months since Andrew's return that it feels as though we've been in a bubble, or in a cave... Just regrouping, taking care of each other, learning how to live together again, going before the Lord and just seeking Him for our next steps with so many decisions coming up so quickly!

But here I am popping up or out for a bit of air beyond Facebook. Andrew's at work. I think practicing for some change-of-command ceremony they'll have tomorrow. I'm feeling a little cooped up in our 500 sq/ft apartment with outside temps in the high 90's... but it's nice. I can clean the whole thing in 20 minutes flat.

We've visited with family, driven to Atlanta a couple times, and Jacksonville. Drove all the way to Miami to board our cruise ship for a 2nd honeymoon a few weeks ago. Met up with friends on Hilton Head Island last weekend.

And did I mention I've been battling (and losing to) morning sickness for the last 3 weeks? Yes, we're due in January! And we go to our first ultrasound tomorrow to hear the baby's heartbeat. We are so thrilled and God is so good! His timing is always perfect.

My mom gets to come for a visit in about 2 weeks, and then in July we're planning to visit Arkansas and Oregon! We become a civilian family on September 25th, and we're pretty excited about that. Our huge prayer request right now is for clear direction for a job for Andrew after the Army. Lots of possibilities, but it doesn't seem like we've found *the* thing for us quite yet.

I have a feeling I missed something...but this is a pretty good update for now!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

this is a big deal, folks

I purchased this sticker at Ft. Stewart right after Andrew deployed and brought it to Oregon with me. We bought our Murano a year ago and I plastered the driver's window with it the day the car became mine. (Much to the chagrin of Jarrod, who considers any sticky vehicle adornment a direct insult to the vehicle, the maker, and human decency, in general. As do I. Except for in this case.)

Well, Andrew's no longer in Iraq. I know! He's not there. He's coming home to me. So today is the day of freedom! Hip-Hip-Hooray!

going crazy

It's only 6pm and already I just want to go to sleep so that tomorrow will come! This is like Christmas Eve. Only way more intense.

On the list of the 5 incoming flights left, Andrew's is now the 3rd one down!

Only just now (yes, even after previous exclamation-point-filled posts) - only just now, now that the sun is setting on my last day alone, am I really and truly letting myself (what am I saying? I have no control over this!) ... letting myself be thrilled all the way to my toes!

I'm going crazy here, friends.

I need to clean out some cupboards. Something productive.




Not weeks. Not days. We're talking hours, now.

And my parents and grandparents are on their way here! Andrew is somewhere probably over the ocean at this point.

AAAAHHHH! The last day has finally arrived! In case the inordinant number of exclamation points hasn't sufficiently relayed the message... I AM SO EXCITED!

Oh, I've missed Andrew for so long and I'm just about done missing him!

[big sigh]

I'm at the main office of our apartment complex right now on their "business center" computer. The *free* wireless that I was picking up at my apartment has been very elusive for the last day or so.

Today is hot here. It's beautiful! And I'm about to run and do some beautiful grocery shopping. And grab a beautiful coffee. And everything is just beautiful!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

march madness + irish luck

Haha! So it's kinda crazy, but this is my first year to join in and fill out a bracket...and I'm beating everyone in my family! I know, right? Insane. Beginner's luck. Cause I had no idea what I was doing.

Now if Memphis can just hold out over Texas...

Friday, March 28, 2008

"Hey, Ya'll!" from Savannah

"Nice to be back among the magnolias, again!" It's true! They're blooming gorgeously.

Wow, so much has happened since that last post! I know I can't even begin to cover it all, but it is, indeed, time for a status update. So I'll do my best.

The last days before I left Oregon were some crazy last days! I had a special day with my Granny...introducing her to the joys and luxury of a great pedicure. I spent a couple crazy last-minute shopping times with Jenny. Even on the day I left, we needed one more trip to Sonic and our favorite shopping area. (Found some great deals at Kohl's!) Incredible to both of us that it was a year ago right now that we were going to the gym hard and heavy (and Sonic) in those few last months before Chandler came. Speaking of that little guy... it was so hard to leave him!

My dear family took me out to a "last & celebration dinner out" Tuesday night at our favorite: Stanford's. I then left Wednesday night...and it was snowing in Portland. How bizarre for this late in the year!

Here's a picture from my phone of our new place! Our black door (with our very own trips will be great exercise!) is flanked by the windows. The one on the right is the bedroom and the one on the left is the living room with the mini-kitchen to the back of that. We have the garage just under the living room, too! And that's the place! Can't wait to make it homey..

I'm typing this from my apartment living room, "borrowing" a kind but unsuspecting neighbor's wi-fi. Southern hospitality at its greatest!

I arrived yesterday, via a flight to Jacksonville and a rental car. It's nicer than I thought it would be to be back! The sun is shining, the breeze is fresh, and everyone's kind. Again, southern hospitality, right? Although everything's nicer when Andrew's on his way home.

Yeah. Did I mention? He's already left Ramadi by convoy and arrived at TQ to await his flight to Kuwait and then on across the ocean! His travels are expected take a while, and then some... but we do have an actual date/time that he's supposed to be here!

2:30 am on April 3rd.

Crazy, cause that's the date I'd picked on my margin survey a while ago! Who else picked that with me? We're the winners. : )

So, I've been busy these last couple days just moving in and making trips to Target, WalMart, Starbucks...just the essentials. My first dinner back here I just HAD to eat at none other than Cracker Barrel. Just a minute from my apartment! Which is going to be my downfall...good thing there's a fitness center here.

Anyway, I've kinda typed at this all day. And now I have Cracker Barrel leftovers heating in the microwave.

Oh yeah! My car arrived late this afternoon! (and everything inside seems to be in tact!) Another man with a heavy accent. He sounded like the Indian janitor on the Tom Hanks movie, The Terminal. But it turns out he didn't look like that at all! He was taller, his hair wasn't all white, and he said "Ciao" and "mama mia"...very Italian. (How'd he learn Italian in India?) [wink, wink]

I have to add the winks cause you might not be ready for me to be funny. But my Soldier's coming back from Iraq healthy and happy and safe! please excuse the uncharacertistic giddiness.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

at least one of us is on our way to georgia!

Unfortunately, it's neither one of us, yet...but rather, our Nissan.

It was all quite insane. There I was yesterday, vacuuming out the Murano, getting it ready to be picked up on the 20th. I was in the middle of the second seat when my phone rang and the nice man with an accent (yeah, another one. It causes me to wonder if maybe I'm actually the one with the foreign accent?!) -- anyway, the nice man told me that he would like to come and get my car in an hour. At least that's what I understood. Haha! No, I really did understand. And it really was an hour.

I went ahead and asked him if I could pack a couple of boxes in the back of the car, and maybe my vacuum cleaner, too? (I mean, how else could I get my nice new vacuum to Georgia? By plane? Um, no.) He said that I could put whatever I wanted to in the car, it's just that they weren't liable for loss, etc. I think he said that, anyway.

Panic and pandemonium.

I felt as though my house was on fire (I imagine that's kinda the feeling, anyway!) and I was forced to quickly decide what of all my possessions did I really want to save?

Though in this case, it was trickier. I didn't want to send my most precious things that way. What if something happens on the road? It's a wide country! And yet, there were a few things that I knew I wouldn't be able to take on a plane, therefore I won't have them at all for the next 8 months or however long...

At the same time, it was so exciting because some things that I thought I would just have to leave in Oregon, I actually now had the chance to take with me! Like my apple green KitchenAid and my cookbooks, my vacuum cleaner, my jewelry box (empty, of course), some other books, and even some framed pictures! Aaahhh! Too many decisions!

My wonderful Mom, Seth, and Darren sprang into action when they saw my great need! (Just kidding. They merely sat there and continued to eat lunch while I panicked!) Seriously, though, Mom helped me empty my jewelry box, Darren helped me pack it in it's original styrofoam and box, and Seth did the same for the KitchenAid. Seth also chatted it up with the guy with the accent while Darren loaded 2 Rubbermaids into the back of the car. Great stall tactic.

Guy: So are you moving to Georgia?
Seth: What?
Guy: Are you moving to Georgia?
Seth: Oh! No, that's my sister.
Guy: Who?
Seth: My sister. The one who's panicking.
Guy: Ah.

I watched it leave on a truck and went back into the house in shock. This is actually happening!! I'll be with Andrew so soon. Maybe even in 2 weeks!

Meanwhile, I wonder how the KitchenAid, vacuum cleaner, and jewelry box are enjoying their road trip? If they could talk, I'm sure they'd have some stories to tell.

Meeting Elisa

Here she is at 3 months old, already! Greg and Carolyn and Elisa are in town for Spring Break and we got to meet her on Monday. What a beautiful little girl! I love her expressive face. Here are a few of my favorite shots of her. (The people whose hands and noses you see asked to remain anonymous. Not really. It's Carolyn, Weston, Dad, and Mom, I believe.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

The New Twenty

I turned 30 on Saturday, but really, it was painless. "Thirty is the new twenty," Jenny assures me. (Yeah, she's still 29, but I believe her, as usual.) I pause to consider if 20 would be worth going back to... After just a little bit of thought, I realize that I'd sure rather be here where I am at "the new twenty" than back where I was at "the old twenty!" My life was wonderful then, but ever so much more beautiful now.

I have a wonderful family, including a new nephew who makes life more exciting every day! (By the way, they sure don't make it easy for me to leave when the time comes! Couldn't they be awful or at least indifferent??)

I am surrounded by friends who love me for no reason of my own and always think the best of me no matter what!

And the greatest blessing I could ever have in this world became mine just a couple years ago: my precious husband, Andrew. He should be home in less than a month, Lord willing! And we have a whole life of love and togetherness and life and adventure and possibilities ahead of us.

Yes. I love where I am at "the new twenty."

So, after a morning of manicures and pedicures with Mom and Jenny... I came home to open up my special gift from Andrew! (As you can see, I'm proudly displaying the turquoise Tiffany's box!)

"What could it be?" (Although he had my help in picking it out, I still love the suspense!)

Slipping on my new aquamarine ring!

A closer look...

Chandler loves "playing along" with Redcast...also known as Uncle Sef!

And riding the motorcycle with Uncle Jarrod...

Jenny & Chan

Caught in the act of talking!

A really yummy hotwings spread for the party that night!

Sharing a mini corn dog and water with Chandler...

Jenny and Jarrod serve up a wonderful dessert! (Notice the flowers...they're from Andrew, too!)

Seth, Darren, & Jarrod (with little Owen Kangas, too)

The next morning's photo shoot for a better view of the amazing arrangement from my Sweetheart!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Redcast's First "Official" Review

So with the addition of a new publicist in the last couple weeks (this is the big time!), Redcast is beginning to get more media attention. The first-ever review in an online music magazine was a marvelous start! NeuFutur (pronounced "new future") gave a 7.8 out of 10 and wrote a very detailed and positive critique on the Redcast EP.

Click here to read the March 1st review! (Click "NeuFutur" above to go to their home page.)

Friday, February 29, 2008

the ironic day

...or the day that shouldn't even be.

I mean, why, of all the times? When I want the days to go by as quickly as possible...and when I'm counting every minute... Why does this have to be leap year?

retiring an old friend

This is my semi-trusty old phone. I've had to replace it once during this deployment, just a trade-in for another of the same...(musta wore it clean out!)...

This phone holds a crazy place in my heart! It's the first phone Andrew bought me when we were courting. He made a huge move back in February of '06 and "put me on his plan." Gave me a Georgia number and everything! Now wouldn't you call that a bit presumptuous? Or maybe confident. Yeah, we'll go with that. Startled me at first. I mean, didn't it seem fast?

It's today's version of "going steady," I'm pretty sure. See, I didn't need to wear his class ring or letterman's jacket as a promise. Instead, I carried his dog tags and accepted a cell phone on his plan.

This is the phone that hasn't left my side during this entire deployment. It's ring has always been loud to be sure I won't miss it, whether it's in my purse, my pocket, or plugged in on my nightstand. I've come to know its quirks and issues. I've come to love it and hate it. But it's not the phone's fault, entirely.

Separation makes you love the thing that connects you all the while hating it because it's all you can have and it's never enough.

Just the other day, my phone was eligible for the "new in two years" Verizon deal. I needed a new one and I'd been drooling over this!

Yes, I'm the proud owner of a "PinkBerry" that has more features than I've had time to figure out yet!

I'm not quite used to the ringtone, either. My brain must be reprogrammed to hear it even in my sleep, like I could the other one. I would "hear" it even when it wasn't ringing. I can't tell you how many times I've quickly shut off the hair dryer because I thought I heard my phone, but didn't! And those phantom leg vibrations when the phone isn't even in my pocket? Or those weird "my phone's about to ring" thoughts right before it would? I know things about this phone that I logically can't even know!

As the rep was working on my purchase, some grandparents next to me were being so confused by what their particular rep was or wasn't saying. I mean, really. If they needed a new phone, why would they have to start a new contract just to get the phone on a good price? They are already paying on a contract. Their grandchild dropped their phone in the toilet. Same contract, can't you replace my phone? Yes, it is very confusing.

Soon, the grandma left in utter despair and the grandpa looked at my old phone and asked me, "Hey, are you done with that phone? Could I buy it from you?"

The reps (both mine and his) looked incredulously on, wondering how this would go down. I simply responded with, "I don't know about that, cause I was really hoping to make a big deal about smashing this one against a wall when my husband comes back from Iraq."

He didn't push the issue after that. I may have shocked him.

What I didn't tell him was that even if I don't destroy it like we've seriously threatened...I am a little sentimental about it and I won't sell it to a stranger who has no earthly idea what we've gone through together.

Monday, February 25, 2008

so i called

Woman With Heavy Accent: Haylo an tank you for calling Target.comb, owcanIelpyoutoday?

Me: (great.) Hi, there. I'm calling about an order I placed in December. By January, I received it, but it was the wrong item. I returned it and received the same wrong item, again.

WWHA: I can put you on hold for 1 or 2 meenutes, zatokaywityou?

Me: Sure. (long 2-minute musical interlude)

WWHA: Haylo?

Me: (okay, now we're getting somewhere)

WWHA: Can you geeb me yur name?

Me: (So I do.)

WWHA: And can you comfeerm yur mailingaddress?

Me: (That, too. Did you know that was one word?)

WWHA: An yur email?

Me: (Okay, we should be through with the preliminaries for now...)

WWHA: I can put you on hold for 1 or 2 meenutes, zatokaywityou?

Me: Sure. (again??)

WWHA: Okey. The system won allow me to re-order, so I can give you refund, zatokaywityou?

Me: Did I purchase that on my Target card?

WWHA: I can put you on hold for 1 or 2 meenutes, zatokaywityou?

Me: Okay. (Did I ask a hard question?)

WWHA: Heylo?

Me: Yes, I'm here. Okay, I need to tell you that the bracelet I received is labeled as a necklace. But it's not; it's a bracelet. I ordered the necklace.

WWHA: Can I have yur oder number?

Me: *number given*

WWHA: Okey, you order "fox" pearl beaded necklayce.

Me: Yes, but I received a faux pearl beaded bracelet.

WWHA: I can put you on hold for 1 or 2 meenutes, zatokaywityou?

Me: (Are you serious??) Um, sure.

WWHA: Haylo and tank you for waiteen. I hab geeben you a refund and ordered the necklayce for you.

Me: What necklace did you order?

WWHA: The fox pearl beaded necklayce. (Why did I even ask?)

Me: Okay, but I think I will receive the bracelet again because it is labeled wrong. Can I give you the item number of this bracelet? 1-0-6-6-8-0-6-9.

WWHA: No, I poot a note that you want necklayce.

Me: What is the item number of the faux pearl beaded necklace?

WWHA: 2-3-4-0-6-2-7-4-5. The catalog number ees 1-0-6-6-8-0-6-9.

Me: But wait. THAT is the item number of the bracelet.

WWHA: Jes.

Me: (!) But I don't want the bracelet. I want the necklace.

WWHA: Jes, as I said, I poot note that you want necklayce.

Me: Okay, but what item number did you just re-order for me?

WWHA: Jus poot V-0-0

Me: Wait, what is this number?

WWHA: A-S-I-N number.

Me: For what?

WWHA: Es for the necklayce. Jus poot it in.

Me: Okay, V-0-0...?

WWHA: B as in Bravo.

Me: Oh.

WWHA: B as in Bravo-tree zeyroes: zeyro-zeyro-zeyro.

Me: Okay.

WWHA: V as in Victory-seben-four-C as in Charlie-D as in Delta-I as in Indigo.

Me: All right. This item number 1-0-6-6-8-0-6-9 is the same for the bracelet AND the necklace? Are they in the same family?

WWHA: Jes.

Me: (I must move on or go absolutely insane.) Okay, what should I do with the bracelet that I have?

WWHA: Jus geeb it.

Me: (Give it? Does she mean "return"? Maybe if I ask another way.) Should I return this bracelet to Target?

WWHA: Jus geeb it.

Me: (Give it... Last ditch effort, here.) I'm sorry. I wish I could understand you! I have the bracelet in my hand, what should I do with it? Should I return it in the box to Target?

WWHA: Jus geeP it. Es up to you. Return it or geeP it.

Me: Oh, I can keep it?

WWHA: Es up to you.

Me: So it doesn't matter what I do with the bracelet?

WWHA: Jes. It doesn't matter. CanIelpyouwitanytingelse?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

the sweetest boy at 8 months old

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just like uncle andrew!

"Watch me, Uncle Andrew! I've been working on my push-ups!"


"2...! This is so much work!"

"Whew, that was enough. Oh, and have I ever shown you this pretty dresser?"

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