14 December 2010

On the Road Again!

Well, our time in Fort Benning is dwindling down...we should be moving by the end of this week! So, apologies if you don't hear from us for awhile after this.  The Army is moving us out to El Paso, which means they will come into my house and box it all up for me. Well, let's be honest...I have to have more control than that, so I've basically packed up the majority of our house. I think the movers are going to laugh at me (or be super grateful...) when they walk in! I just had to be sure all those important things were wrapped up well and coated with bubble wrap. Plus, it's helped me not go crazy. It is a bizarre feeling sitting in your house, furniture and belongings intact, and knowing that you're moving in less than a week...it feels like you should be doing something. You know, like packing. So I did. Sorry, movers. But I will gladly let you haul all the boxes and heavy furniture out to the truck. I'll provide the lemonade, snacks, and moral support!

Of course with moving comes lots of goodbyes. Yesterday was my last day at ESL, and it was so bittersweet. It was sad to leave my students behind, especially two of them--Maguey (Maggie) and Maritza (Ma-reet-za). They are from the Congo and El Salvador, respectively, and have been so much fun to have in class. We ended the semester with a Christmas party and we acted out the Christmas story, which was hilarious. One of the teachers also explained all of the Christmas traditions, such as stockings, Santa, presents, and more.  While many other countries celebrate Christmas as well, it is a Christian holiday and not all of our students come from "Christian-rich" societies. In addition, they celebrate differently! It was fun to be able to share the Gospel as well as our traditions with them.

Today I went to my last Cardio Core. I don't think I've talked much about this, but it's a class I go to at the gym with Dana and Meghan and it has been kicking my butt since July! Our instructor is great--we love her! She's just the right balance of challenging/encouraging you. We've been using the TRX system lately and I LOVE it. We've done all of the exercises in that picture! It is so hard but you feel so good after you do it--good sense of accomplishment! And you can temper it to your ability level and make it easier/harder on yourself throughout the workout...I am going to miss this class! It has kept me in such good shape outside of running. Hopefully we'll find another class like it  in El Paso.

Finally, we're having to say goodbye to all of our friends. You think 5 months really isn't that long, but we have really gotten to be great friends with about 7 other couples. We've had a ton of shared experiences and have had a hilarious time trying to figure out this Army life! The other wives and I have spent many days and nights playing games, eating, and talking while the guys were out training and have gotten so close! Thankfully I get to have two of them with me in El Paso, but it's going to be so hard to leave the others. We're hoping that when the guys have to come back to Benning in a few years for the Captain's Career Course that we'll all be here at the same time :)

When I left Starkville in June, I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this whole Army life. But so far, I have truly enjoyed it. I've learned a lot about myself, Brian, making friends, and a lot of acronyms and Army lingo! I think we've all gained some confidence too, which comes from experience. I was so nervous coming here and now I feel so at home. I'm hoping for the same kind of experience (or better!) out in El Paso. 

When I left Starkville in June, I did what I always do when I leave that town for a long period of time; before I get on the road, I take my ritual drive through campus. I go slow and go through all the memories...football games, living in the dorms, going to Wesley, FPC, walking on campus, giving RoadRunner tours, eating outside at the Bakery, meals and fun at the Chi O house, running on South and North Farm, and so, so, so much more. This past summer as I was leaving out the main entrance I (of course) started to tear up, realizing that I really was about to begin a journey I knew nothing about. Up until that point, I had done the predictable and the comfortable: school! But this was new. I was listening to KLOVE, the contemporary Christian radio station, soaking in the warm summer sun, and this song came on...it's by Matt Maher, and it's called "Love will Hold Us Together".  These verses hit me:

Love, will, hold us together
Make us a shelter
to weather the storm
And I’ll, be, my brothers keeper
So the whole world will know
That we’re not alone

And then....
This is the first, day of the rest of your life
This is the first, day of the rest of your life
‘Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It’s gonna be alright, s’gonna be alright

During this verse, I started laughing! Pure, uncontrollable laughter! Well,  laughter with tears rolling down my face! Because I felt like God was speaking directly to me and saying, "Rebecca, why are you so upset? It's gonna be alright!" And of course, it did feel like the first day of the rest of my life; I was leaving the world of school and truly felt like I was becoming an adult...It was one of those beautiful moments in life where even though you're sad, you're also inexplicably happy. I love the combination of laughter and tears--it's like your body just can't hold it all in so it has to find multiple ways to get everything out! I started and finished the drive with a light and joyful heart, knowing that God was on my side and that His love would forever be around and in me. Praise the Lord!

Plus, the song has a fun  "sound" to it...sorry, I'm totally not musically-inclined, but it just sounds like something that we'd all be singing unabashedly and joyfully because of the promises in it! What joy there is in knowing that with Christ, we are never alone. And He is so good to bless us with people who uplift, encourage, support, and rebuke us in love as well as remind us of His love through their words, actions and life. Praise the Lord!

Blessings to you all! And Merry Christmas! Perhaps by the New Year we will be in Texas! Oh the adventures to come...

07 December 2010

Comments Fixed!

After much twiddling around, I think I have finally fixed the comment conundrum! Someone test it out :)

06 December 2010

A 6-Week Synopsis...

6 weeks ago, we were told we were moving to El Paso that week...well, that plan changed, and the date got moved back to mid-December, so I pretty much pushed the whole "moving issue" aside and went on with my merry life. Well, it is now mid-December. Annnd where did the last 6 weeks go? I'm not really sure, so I'm going to try and recap them to remind myself!

Let's start with some of life's constants...class at Auburn continued, and I went to my last college class ever last Wednesday-I was thrilled. Still waiting to hear if I have to take the final this week; keeping my fingers crossed that the answer is 'no'!

Dana, Anica, and I ran in the Soldier Half-Marathon here on post on Nov. 13-we had so much fun! It was unseasonably cold that morning (it only got out of the 70's last week!), and we couldn't find Anica, so Dana and I were literally the last people to start the race! We eventually found her though around mile 3, which was good! About 2 miles in, we had to run up this pretty steep, long hill. Well, even though we trained on hills, we weren't looking forward to running up this one! But we didn't dare to stop, because they put drill sargeants on the hill, who were yelling things like "Stay Motivated!" "Keep running!" "Do not stop!" as we ran up the hill. Dana and I died laughing and didn't stop running! It was hilarious. The race went by pretty fast; we clocked a fast few hours, running about 7 miles in the first hour, which was awesome! We slowed down a bit the last 6, bringing us in to finish around 2:03--we were happy about that! Somehow during these races you get to about mile 7 or 8, and you start to think, "Wait, I'm at mile 8?! I've run 8 miles already?! This is crazy!" But they are so much fun and it's so nice to have people to run with! We talked and laughed the whole time!

After the race, I came home and showered off because Lindsay and Allen came up to visit for the day! I made sure to make up the calories I burned off that day by pigging out on tailgate food while watching the MSU/Alabama game! (I think...can't remember if that's who we played that weekend...) We showed Linds and Allen around Benning and had such a great time catching up with them. I'm going to miss having them so close to us when we get out to Bliss!

The next weekend, we trekked over to Starkville for our last home game for who knows how long! We had so much fun; almost all of the old crew was there! Allen and Lindsay, Matt and Leigh, Paul, Mark and Caroline, and all the younger siblings! We had a blast tailgating, catching up, and of course, getting very little sleep. It was such an exciting game, even though we lost! I lost my voice I screamed so much during the game!

After coming back from Starkville, Brian and I stayed in Benning until Wednesday (Brian had to work) and got home Wednesday night. We stayed with my family on Wednesay (my mom's birthday!) and Thursday night and with his family on Friday and Saturday night. It was so wonderful to go home and to get to see both families; I really enjoyed that. We caught up with family and a lot of old friends, which was such a great uplift for us! And we managed not to overeat on Thanksgiving...amazing, since we ate two Thanksgiving dinners! We played a lot of games, saw some movies, and went hiking as well as knocked out some Christmas shopping, which was a plus! But no Black Friday for me...slept in instead :)

Things started to wind down after Thanksgiving; my class finished up, and I'm almost finished with ESL classes. Our last teaching day is Thursday, and on Monday we're having a Christmas party, which I think will be fun! I did do quite a bit of subbing the week before Thanksgiving and had quite a few interesting experiences...did I mention I had two kids named Sean Paul and Shakira? Yeah, it was sort of difficult to call them that all day without smiling to myself...poor kids. Imagine having that name for your whole life...

Family related news: Clay and Lindsay have made some great progress on the wedding and I can't wait for it to get here! Linds picked some gorgeous dresses, from none other than my favorite J.Crew--and they're maroon! Emily got accepted into a summer abroad program at Clemson and is now going to INDIA this summer! I am jealous! And finally, Paige and Eric made the Huntsville Times with their epic deer hunt over Thanksgiving break! Paige came home with 3--she beat all the boys!

This past Thursday-Saturday, the Kisers and Arants came to visit us! Nathan is home on R&R from Afghanistan, and they wanted to get together while he was home. They've been in Mississippi so they drove over on Thursday morning to come see us. We had a great time together catching up, showing Shellaine around Benning and where Nathan lived while he was here for BOLC, watching football, eating, and relaxing! Shellaine, Lindsay, and I also got some shopping accomplished, which was exciting :) It was really nice to spend some time with all of them, especially before we move out West!

Speaking of moving out West, we are in the process of leaving Benning. Brian started "out-processing" today, and will take anywhere from 3-10 days to complete. It's a bunch of paperwork, running around, and contacting different people before you can leave any post. While he's been doing that, I've been cleaning house, organizing our stuff, and getting it ready to be packed. The Army is moving us out there, so I'm purging through some of our stuff and trying to categorize it so that I don't have dishes, sheets, and books all in the same box! Since the Army is pretty volatile with timelines, we won't know our Christmas plans until they are upon us...I'm a little bummed about this because we can't set up a Christmas tree this year since we're in the middle of moving. We probably won't get one either while we're out in Texas, because they don't grow Christmas trees out there...I guess for the first time in my life I'm going to have to buy a fake Christmas tree. Or maybe I'll just buy a cactus. I could hang ornaments off of the little prickles...All about getting a little creative!

It's been a crazy last few weeks and I know the next few will be just as hectic! But it's been a fun mixture of friends, family, and exciting experiences. It's been a good reminder to be thankful for the intangible things in life, as well as a lesson in being flexible and patient. I hope you all are off to a wonderful Christmas and holiday season--I'm living vicariously through your Christmas decorations and trees! One day soon you can sit with me, sip hot chocolate (or a margarita), and admire my ornament-adorned cactus... :) Love and blessings!

18 November 2010

Lessons in Patience

So I mentioned a post or two ago that I had begun substitute teaching in one of the elementary schools here on post. Since then, I have been called almost non-stop! This week I had a class everyday; 2nd grade Monday and Tuesday, 3rd on Wednesday, and kindergarten today. I have learned quite a few lessons...

A) I am not cut out for elementary school. The insane organization included (more so in the lower grades) as well as walking the line between nuture/discipline is so difficult! I know this will be a line I'll walk even in secondary classrooms, but it's a little easier to me to discipline a sassy 16 year-old than a doe-eyed child who is just rambunctious!

B) I get frustrated giving directions 14 times...in a row. One of the teachers assigned an hour long math assignment in the book; I thought once I explained it to a quiet classroom they would all begin to work diligently. Well, turns out they don't know what diligently means, much less how to follow initial directions...I think every child asked me this question: "What are we doing?" I took a lot of deep breaths yesterday.

C) Kids learn to lie very early on! They are so devious! You learn quickly which ones are trustworthy and the ones who want to just leave class and "go to the library"...

D) Praying for patience means you will get opportunities to practice it. Literally, this morning I was reflecting on how I needed to see this subbing opportunity as a chance to love on these kids as the Lord loves them, and that I need to have more patience with them in general. So, I put on a cute teacher outfit, complete with hose (sorry, it's November and cold and I can only think about my grandmother admonishing me if I didn't wear it! ha!), a black skirt, my little black flats, and a cute cardigan. I then walked into the office, expecting to get put with 4th or 5th graders, since this has yet to happen...and then my biggest fear came true: the word kindergarten came out of the receptionist's mouth. I laughed. Out loud. Oh but this gets better.

So the kindergarten/specials (music, art, etc) hallway is getting new furniture, so all the classes had to be vacated and the teachers had to move out all of their supplies-this is a large order for them! So instead of being in their normal classroom, my class and another kindergarten class were combined in the gym. By the way, the gym is separated by a cloth curtain and the cafeteria is on the other side...this became a problem at lunch time...

In all reality, the day went way better than I ever intended! Having the other class there actually helped out, and I did have an aid. The real teachers were in the school building moving their classrooms, so they came down periodically to check in on us. I had two problem kids that were difficult to deal with, but they improved over the day! One hilarious thing: one of the kids had his jeans on backwards--and they were zipped and buttoned! We made him turn them around in case he really really needed to go to the bathroom and was stuck in his pants! Considering the craziness of the day, this kids did pretty well, especially when I said "1, 2, 3, eyes on me!" and they countered: "1, 2 eyes on you!". We worked all day on kindergarten things, like practicing our R's and N's, coloring, and doing various centers that worked with fine motor skills and thinking strategies. All in all, kindergartners turned out not to be as scary to teach as I thought!

Each class has two PIE partners (Partner in Education) who are soldiers who partner with the class for the entire year. Well, today was "Incredibly Terrific Kid Day". The soldiers brought in this huge package and handed out letters to each of the kids. We split up into groups and the kids could choose one letter for one of the adults to read. The letters were from their parents, daycare workers, the teacher, the principal, grandparents, and other important adults in their lives. The first one I read was from a dad...terrible idea. I was crying as I read the letter--it was absolutely the sweetest letter I have ever read. It talked about what a great kid he was, how he was proud of him for not giving up in soccer when many of his teammates quit, how he was such a supportive brother, and how much he loved him--does that not make you want to just bawl? The others were just as sweet--thankfully, all the other teachers were tearing up too! I'm sure we did this in elementary school but oh, it was the sweetest thing-I'm tearing up now as I think about it! And these kids were so excited about the letters--it was such a surprise for them! Their smiles were so big as they heard all these positive things about themselves! It was really neat to get to be a part of something like that.

Moral of the Story: praying for patience (or any other spiritual discipline...) leads to practical application. (Duh, I know, but it was sooner than I expected! :) )

And how perfect was it that Glee was about a substitute teacher this week?? :)

I have tomorrow off and can I say that I am estactic about that? This week has worn me out! Each day except today I have had something after school. On Monday and Wednesday, I rushed out of school after the bell rang, jumped in my car, drove to Auburn, sat through class, and came back...those were long days. Tuesday night we had a Thanksgiving dinner with all of the ESL students, which was so much fun! We had over 100 people come and some amazing food. I only ate Hispanic food...ha! One of my students is going to teach me how to make some authentic Salvodoranian (spelling?) food and I'm pumped about it!

We are headed to Starkville this weekend for one last hoorah, and we are so excited! All of Brian's old roommates as well as a lot of friends are going to be in town, and it's going to be a great weekend!

07 November 2010

New Additions!

New additions to my life, that is. And no, I'm not referring to babies, so get your mind out of la-la land :)

This past week has had a lot of new additions for us! Last weekend Brian and I trekked over to Starkville because Clay PROPOSED! And is now ENGAGED! Lindsay said yes-whew ;) AC and I hosted the after-party at her house and we had such a great time catching up and doing what we do best: entertaining, "cooking", and laughing a lot! We got to see a lot of people including Emily, who drove in from Clemson, Erin, the brothers, Paige, and a lot of old friends! We even had time to visit my the Sherrards and their precious boys, which meant playing various games of baseball/tennis/soccer/football/trains. So addition #1: New sister-in-law! I have to admit it is sort of strange to think my little brother is getting married; I think most older siblings (or at least big sisters...) can agree that while it is totally fine for me to grow up, my little brother and sister must remain as I remember them...always living at home, cute as a button (they still are :), and not becoming adults! It is so weird to watch/experience...it still surprises me every time either Clay or Emily moves into adulthood a little more; it's like I don't expect it to happen, even though I was doing the same things at their age!
Pictures of the entire engagement night are on Facebook!

Onto new addition #2: Brian started Stryker Leader Course this week! A Stryker is a troop vehicle that is sort of like a tank on tires instead of tracks. Brian could potentially be in a unit one day that uses these, so we're glad he's getting the training! He's out on the range today learning how to manuever and direct them as well as use their firepower...something he loves doing.

Addition #3 to my life: I started my stint as a substitute teacher this past Friday. There is no high school on post, so my only options are either the one middle school or six or seven elementary schools. Take a guess at which one called me first...the elementary school. Now, I love darling, precious, small children. But I cannot, I repeat cannot, teach/manage/spend 8 hours with them continously. If they were my own children, I think I'd be ok. But I'm never going to have 23 children all of the same age at the same time...Let me just recap the day for you and show you exactly why I am not cut out to be an elementary school teacher--they have just become my heroes.
I got there around 8 (school starts at 8:45!) and got into my cute 1st grade classroom and read the super-detailed notes the teacher left me. (Which I totally appreciated). I quickly texted Lydia, one of my best friends from high school who teaches 4th grade, and frantically asked her what a number sentence was...yes, I had a brain failure...I remembered a few minutes later it was things such as 2 +3 =5... The teacher's outline was broken down to the minute, such as this example: 11:23, line up for lunch. Have "teacher's assistant" (a student) pass out lunch boxes. Have the "hand sanitizer" (a student) give everyone some Germ-x. 11:28-walk students to cafeteria.

One awesome thing: they have lunchroom supervisory staff, so I got to eat in my classroom! No teacher's table for me!

The kids started off behaving pretty well, but let's be honest--I'm a sub, there are 23 of them, and 4 of them I can already tell I have no patience for...At the end of the day, I think I had 5 different students cry (all for pretty random, unseen reasons, such as "my leg hurts right here...") and one of those students was a repeat offender. I had a boy get stuck in the bathroom (the door doesn't lock, but it does stick a little), twice...I also had a few "injuries" that I just told the kids to put a wet paper towel on, one girl told me she felt like throwing up (?!?!), and the class was overall pretty rowdy...I learned this lesson for about the ump-teenth time: I must be firmer from the start. I struggle with asserting firmness in the beginning of the class because I want the students to know that I care about them and that I'm a generally nice person (unless you have an inability to stay in your seat, as one of the students did...). But, this is a very, very, very fine line to walk. Because if you're too sugary sweet, you lose them--I teetered on this edge on Friday. I also have a very hard time making those kids pull keys...partly because I'm afraid they'll burst into tears and I'll never get them to regain composure. Again, I am not cut out for 1st graders.

I had some serious trouble with a few of them, and it was a little difficult to discipline them because their names were so crazy, I couldn't remember them/pronounce them without some trouble! I of all people should be able to pronounce names...it's not like I have a degree in language with a personal interest in phonetics...Thankfully some of the kids clued me into some of the ways that the teacher gets and keeps their attention...praise the Lord for sweet kids who have mercy on a floundering substitute!

I spent a lot of my day sorting through their folders, making sure I got their homework and lunch money out and putting announcements in them for them to take home. Thankfully my neighboring teacher came to check in on me and I quickly asked her the best classroom management techniques for 1st graders...she simply said to be firm and make them pull a key...it only sort of helped me!

I basically survived the day thanks to encouraging texts from Lydia and Paige, Eric's girlfriend, who has been subbing constantly this semester! While I am going to enjoy this small little sub-paycheck when it hits the bank account, I am constantly being reminded that I am not cut out to be an elementary school teacher! Give me high schoolers with their drama, drugs, pregnancies and love triangles...this is the world that I understand--not the highly-routinized world of 1st graders! They often reminded me that I was not doing it the way the teacher did...sorry, kiddos...the notes weren't that detailed. If they were, it probably would've been 10 pages long!Onto this week...this Friday I have 2nd graders...

Probably the funniest thing of the day happened in the beginning. Only some of you will get this, simply because it's Army-related...so we did the Pledge of Allegiance and the kids informed me that I needed to turn the TV on. So I did. We missed one song, but we made it in time for the last song...it was definitely the Army song, and the kids had motions. They marched in place for the entire song, and during the line "and the Army/goes rolling...along", the kids rolled their arms and they saluted! It was hilarious--it took all self-control to not burst out laughing!

Well, that's the end of my additions for the week! Unrelated to additions, me and 3 of my friends here went to FDR's state park yesterday and went hiking! The park is about 40 minutes away and we had a great time! We took 2 of the girls' dogs and hiked for about 6 miles. The weather was chilly but once you got on the trails it was perfect. The leaves have finally begun to change so it was beautiful to walk through the woods. Pictures to come!

27 October 2010

Change of Plans!

Well, disregard the last half of the most recent post...the Army has had great mercy on us and is letting us stay at Ft. Benning until December! This means I can finish my class in Auburn hassle-free! Praise the Lord!

26 October 2010

Living Up to the Name

...The name of the blog, that is, but I'll get to that in a bit. I get the "blog-slacker" award for not updating in a month...but a big thank-you to all of you who consistently write in yours, because I love reading about/seeing your life unfold, even with all the miles between us!

So the month of October has been a busy one! Brian had his cumulative field exercise where they had to assault and take over a village. The allowed the wives to come watch and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. Lots of loud noises, simulation explosions of bombs, artillery shells, and mortars...pretty cool. Their company XO (executive officer) stayed with us on top of a building and explained everything to us; their movements, why they were doing what they were doing, and the final objective: to take the building we were standing on! And they succeeded :) Way to go Charlie Rock! Pictures are on Facebook if you want to see. We don't look so cute because we had to be at the buses at 5 AM, which means ponytail + no makeup = not cute. After spending about a week cleaning weapons, Brian and his classmates graduated last Thursday and finally got to put on their blue Infantry cord. Those pictures are also on Facebook...

On Oct. 14, I flew to Baltimore, Maryland to visit some of my best friends! These are girls I went through life/high school with and we've stayed close ever since. Katie lives and goes to school in Baltimore and they convienently had a half-marathon in the fall--perfection. I've always wanted to run a half-marathon in the fall! So Lydia, Sarah, and I flew up to Baltimore and we spent the weekend eating amazing food, running, and catching up, all while climbing 4 flights of stairs to get to Katie's apartment. After a half-marathon that's all on asphalt/concrete, 4 flights of stairs kills your quads/knees. It was such a fun trip and I want to do it again...now. We spent Saturday after the race at Inner Harbor, sitting on a pier and enjoying the beautiful day! Sarah and I ran the half-marathon together and it was perfect weather; about 70-75 degrees and a nice breeze! We even got a suntan from our running tops! We did deem that Baltimore had a terrible finish line...it was extremely chaotic and the race officials/policemen were not very helpful in terms of pointing you in the right direction! They should basically put us in charge. Duh. But it was an incredible, much-needed trip and it only made me miss them more!

October also (finally) brought around my substitute teacher confirmation. It only took 7 weeks and no updates, but hey, I'm finally allowed to be a sub for the schools on post-whoo hoo!

Auburn class is going well-still enjoying the content, classmates, and my teacher! My ESL classes are also going well; I usually have between 5-12 students each time and we've finally moved off of the verb "to be" and are into new and exciting things like the present progressive tense! (For non-grammarians, that's verbs ending in -ing...) They are truly great students and I really enjoy teaching them.

This past weekend we had a really great time hanging out with friends! Saturday morning Dana, Hannah, and I ran a "Cross Country 10K", and let me tell you, it was truly cross country style! The first 5K was not--easy, on grass/pavement, and we came across the clock at a pretty respectable time, considering I haven't run a 5K since high school! And then...the "cross-country" part started. The last 5K was basically all sand. Yes, loose, beach-like sand! And it was washed out, so you really had to watch your step. Needless to say, we had to slow down! Dana placed 4th in our age group and Hannah and I came in 7th and 8th! Pretty exciting! We went out for Mexican food afterwards which was incredible. That night we had them over as well as our friends Kristy and Kevin for football and a fire outside! The boys watched football while the girls ate dinner, made smores, and talked outside all night long! It was a great day!

Now onto our latest news...Brian was supposed to go to Ranger School this Sunday. Ranger School is a 61 day "school" designed in three phases: forest, mountain, and swamp. Each phase is 3 weeks long, and you can fail or be recycled (start the phase over) at basically any time. It's a comprehensive school to test leadership, physicality, tactical knowledge, and various other components while being under a large amount of stress. Ranger School students typically get about 1-2 hours of sleep a night (or none) and run on about 1-2 meals a day (or none). It is supposed to be worse than any combat situation you'll ever come across. Oh, and I don't see him except once, for 8 hours, during the entire 61 days. But we can write letters :)

Now, having said that, we have discovered that Brian is now not going to Ranger School on Sunday, which means that we're on orders to move to El Paso (Ft. Bliss)...next Wednesday. Ha! Talk about completely being caught off-guard! We knew that if he didn't get a Ranger School slot for October, then he would probably get one for January. We were led to believe that he'd most likely stay here, doing details and odd jobs for the holding company. We knew there was an ever-so-slight chance we could go to Bliss, but honestly, we both sort of dismissed it because A) we thought he'd be going to Ranger school, and B) because if he didn't go to Ranger school, we figured they keep us here. WRONG...So, hence how the blog title is coming true: we are PCS'ing (Permanent Change of Station) NEXT WEEK! Yes, I am still a little in shock/denial. I have really come to love Ft. Benning and I feel like we're are finally getting settled into a routine/commitments. We've traveled a lot the past 3 months so we've been out of town most weekends, but I was really excited about these upcoming months because I thought we would get into a more "normal" lifestyle. I've taken on some newer commitments (substitute teaching, and I also just started working with First Pres-Columbus- youth group 2 weeks ago) and I was excited about getting more involved within those areas. Just goes to show that your plan isn't always the plan that's going to happen! I've gotten some really wonderful encouragement from friends and family and that has made this so much easier--so thank you! It's not that I didn't expect this...I just didn't expect this until May! I think the hardest thing will be to leave my friends--it is amazing how quickly we have grown close over the past 4 months. I guess that's what you have to do though! Thankfully I get to take two of them to El Paso with me, since their husbands are also stationed there! So here goes to step 2 in this grand adventure...the Lord has reminded me, especially through the words of my friends, that his plan is sovereign and that it is also perfect; therefore while this may not make sense to us, there is a purpose behind it, even if we don't see it. These past few months have really been a struggle with trust and I feel like this is just another exercise in learning to trust fully and wholly in Him. But praise the Lord, because He is good! While I've struggled with trusting Him I've also seen firsthand the many blessing He's poured so lavishly upon us, and I know His faithfulness will remain, even in red, dry El Paso.

Speaking of El Paso...there is practically no grass. And the trees look kind of strange...But mom reminded me: I can decorate a cactus for Christmas. And that has always been a dream of mine. (Not really, but it's about to become one...)

Our mission this week: Keep our chin up, and pack some boxes!
It may be awhile before you hear from us...I mean, it only takes 23 hours and 24 minutes to get there!

29 September 2010

I smell fall!

Yes, I do indeed smell fall! Cooler weather has finally blessed south Georgia and I could not be happier! To celebrate I've thrown all the windows open (those that will actually open...some are painted shut...), gone running at 1:30 PM and didn't die of heat exhaustion, and spend my evening hours outside! It's been a glorious week, even though Brian's in the field! This week he's gone all week-left Monday morning and back late Friday night. They have to clean weapons and turn them in before they're released...once they did this and didn't get home until 10:30 on a Friday night--hoping this time it'll be a little earlier.

So. I feel like I have a lot to recap, and I can't quite remember where I left off...Well most recently, we ventured back to Starkville this past weekend to see our Bulldogs BEAT Georgia! We really enjoyed the game, especially because our dear friend Paul let us sit with him in seats that have chairbacks, which really making sitting on bleachers waaay more comfortable. We spent the weekend hanging out with our brothers and friends and tailgating, which was a lot of fun! We stayed with the Coopers from FPC, and had so much fun--I love staying with them! Their house is on a pond and we spent a good bit of Saturday morning eating breakfast outside and enjoying the cool and peaceful morning! We headed back Sunday and it was raining-FINALLY! We were so thankful for it; I don't think it's rained here since August! Which, I love sunshine but things were starting to get pretty dry...which leads to fires. Brian and his company have started many fires while they're out in the field...some from hot weapons or ammo, sometimes flares...basically, they've put out a lot of fires recently!

Also recently I've begun teaching my own ESL class. Our beginner class got to be too big (16 people!) so we split them up. I started teaching on my own on Monday and I'm really enjoying it. In my class I have about 6 Hispanic women, a lady from the Congo (Africa!), and a sweet boy who's Clay's age from China. All in all we have a really good time! They are such an easy bunch to teach; I have to think through how to present things to them, but they are so motivated and stay on task-a teacher's dream! I think they think I'm a little crazy, but that's expected...I mean, aren't all foreign language teachers just a little crazy?...Reflect on your high school foreign language teacher and get back to me. Because I remember at least one crazy one...but it was fun!

I also got some good news last week: I have officially (after 6-7 weeks of waiting...) been offered a job as...a substitute teacher on post! Haha I know-super exciting, but hey, at least it generates some mula! Although, I would've never thought becoming a substitute teacher would be such a long process...the application was ridiculous (resume, references, transcript, among other forms...) but now I have, literally, about 50 pages of federal/state forms to fill out. Oh the joys of being employed by the government! I hooked up the laserjet printer because I realized how much ink this was going to expend! I'm about to fill out a "Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions" packet. Yes packet--it's about 12 pages long. Crazy! After I finish all the paperwork I have to have a background check done and then I should be good to go-whew! Good news is: once I'm in the system, I'm in...so I won't have to do this all again when we move! Otherwise I'd be making copies...

Other than that, class has been going really well as well as life in general. I've been hanging out with the girls quite a bit; last night we went downtown for dinner and trivia, and we won! I wasn't much help, but I'm going to blame that on the fact that the topic areas weren't my forte: alcohol was one of the themes and apparently every week there is a token Star Wars question. I knew I should've watched those when I was younger...too bad I can't phone a friend! Dad, Allen: I'd be calling you! Thankfully some of the other girls know their Star Wars trivia and we got that question correct :)

Brian is almost done with IBOLC, which I cannot believe! 3 more weeks and we're done! Also heading to Baltimore in 16 days according to the official email from the race officials for the half-marathon and to see Katie, Sarah, and Lydia...totally not ready for the half, but hey, we're just running for fun, right?

Oh my goodness I almost forgot something! Last week the other IBOLC wives and I hosted a coffee, which is like a small social. Our theme was "tailgate", so we all wore our team colors! Except I was the referee :) I was the designated "speaker" for our group, so I thanked the hostess (a general's wife--she let us use her house since it's so much bigger (and nicer) than any of ours!) and the other wives, so I thought I'd be "non-partisan" in my attire...haha! But my cowbells were decorations, so the MSU presence was known. Some of the senior officer wives thought they were hilarious and kept ringing them throughout the night-it was funny! We got to socialize with the senior wives and we got a lot of advice from them. We were supposed to be done around 8....well, all of the senior wives left except the general's wife (whose house we were in) and the two wives of our battalion and company....we ended up staying over there until 10 PM! The general even came in and let us rack his brain with questions about how to deal with our soldier-husbands concerning deployments, change, and other Army-related issues. They were so incredible and such an amazing couple-a wonderful role model for all of us! I could not believe they let us stay so late! They gave us a lot of great ideas about how be a supportive spouse as well as a list of books that they've found helpful over the years--I could've stayed for another 2 hours! We finally decided it was time for us to leave, and as we were cleaning up, their daughter and I went to dump out a bucketful of ice and their dog got out! Annnd it did not come back before we left...we even shook the treat box! Their daughter assured me that the dog did this all the time, but I hope he finally made it back...Way to go Rebecca--lose the general's dog...I've been keeping my eye out for him, just in case...

Well I think that's all for now! Hope everyone is doing great!

16 September 2010

Habla ingles?

Hello bloggity blog world! Hope life is finding everyone well this beautiful Thursday! It's amazing to me how much my mood can change when I walk outside...it is just gorgeous here today! We've had some really refreshing mornings recently (which has been great running-wise), but the afternoons keep reaching sweltering temperatures. But today...ooooh today is glorious! So, needless to say, I'm a pretty happy camper. Plus I've been in the presence of some really awesome people who uplift me and that has helped my mood greatly! These "people" include my friend Hannah and all of our ESL students! We started teaching this week; Hannah's with the intermediate class, and I'm with the beginners. We each have a co-leader, but mine is not teaching on Thursdays so I get the class to myself, which I really enjoyed! It lets me be creative with my lessons and my students, which I love! The women in my class are all incredibly sweet; I was a little intimidated to be teaching adults, but I actually really like it! They're easy to get on task and I don't have to discipline-ha! They're also eager to learn because they have a lot of life situations where they need to be able to speak English, and I love, love, love, LOVE helping them to learn more English so that they can be successful in these situations! I tell you, this is a rewarding job, and I've only been there twice! The other week I had to help a woman translate a field trip permission slip-she knew what it was, but she couldn't figure out how to fill it out. I love giving them helpful tools and vocabulary to aid them in learning not only the English language but also our culture. For example, today we tried to explain tailgating...yeah, that didn't go over so well! As well as explain that there was really no equivalent to "Viva Mexico/Espana/whatever country!". "Go America!" just sounds cheesy. haha!

So I'm currently on a high after this morning. There are some challenges but having Hannah there really helps--we can talk it through on our drive to and from class, so that is wonderful for both of us! The director and some of the teachers teach with some old-fashioned methods, and Hannah and I are itching to be able to use some of our new-fangled ones that we think are a bit more effective. So, we would love some prayer for patience, respect, and insight, as well as humility...these women have taught ESL on and off for quite a few years, so I'm sure we can learn something from them while still infusing our own "flavor".

This week Brian is in the field again. This whole field-business is starting to get a little old. I got pretty lonely (and a little self-pitious...) the other night, but we're doing better now. The Lord is reminding me that He is my all--my support, my encouragement, my best friend, my Provider-everything. I've really been missing home, friends, and family this week, so I'm anxious for Brian to get back so I can have a little bit of normal in my life! All of these new things are so exciting and I've been able to make some great friends, but we're still in the learning process about each other, which is great! But sometimes I dearly miss the familiarity of people who will sit on the couch with me, eat ice cream out of the carton, watch cheesy chick-flicks, and pass the whole night talking! All that said, I am so thankful for my friends here-the Lord has been so good to both me and Brian in the "friend department" and I am so grateful for all of them and how quickly we've gotten to be close. Just part of the growing up process, I guess...it's a little painful, but I'm sure there's a purpose! And there's always reunions, such as the upcoming one in Baltimore! I'm behind on my half-marathon mileage, but that's ok...it's for fun, right?...

Other news...well, college football Saturday started off with a bang at the Page household. I watched our game last week (ahhh it was so antagonizing!) and then Brian celebrated being out of the field with a full day of football! I went to a concert with Dana, Stuart (her husband), and Dana's mom, who's in town. It was an outdoor concert (my favorite kind!) and it was a perfect night. We had a lot of fun watching the privates hoot and holler over Laura Bell Bundy; she was crazy! But she was a really good/funny performer, and she knew how to work the crowd. Needless to say, we laughed a lot! Her album is called "Achin' and Shakin'", so half her songs were more melancholy while the other half were...shakin'! And she danced the whole night away...once she even tap danced while she sang! After I got back, Brian had called a few guys and had them come over; I had made a big pot of chili for them as well as the Wardens' favorite rice crispie treat...peanut butter rice crispies with melted chocolate chips on top...yum. Gran used to make it for us all the time-we love it! Some of the guys felt like they needed to bring something over since they were going to be "guests" in our house. What did they bring? Beer (of course), as well as coffee and Dunkin' Donuts. Ha! Well, everything got eaten, so I guess they thought it was a great combo!

Brian and I are headed to Fort Rucker this weekend to see Allen and Lindsay as well as Matt and Leigh-we're really excited about it! We're going to watch the MSU v. LSU game and just hang out--should be lots of fun! Friday night Brian and I are going to meet Emily and her friends in Opelika for dinner; they're coming down for the Auburn v. Clemson game which is in Auburn this year. I can't wait to see her! And meet all of her crazy friends...they have some pretty epic times up at Clemson!

As far as news concerning Brian, well, he's in the field. And his PT clothes still stink. haha! They go directly from PT to the washer; I usually wash them immediately! If I don't, the whole house smells...I don't know what they're doing in the field this week; probably more live fires and playing Army, if I had to guess! We're getting close to Brian being done with this training, which I CANNOT BELIEVE! I feel like yesterday we were in week 3, and the end felt so far away. Now, we're about 5 weeks out! Crazy how time flies! And it's only going to go faster; almost every weekend this month and in October has something that we're doing or somewhere that we're going! We're trying to take advantage of the fact that we still live close to friends/family, since El Paso is going to be...really. far. away. When we went to Starkville, I used the atlas to measure distances from El Paso to places that we'd want to go...let's just say it was depressing, and you should just come to us...Hey, it's a new terrain! Skiing! Grand Canyon! Could be awesome! :)

Well think that's about it for now...Hope everyone is doing great! Love and miss you all!

09 September 2010

A Day in the Life of a Dawg

Whew! It's been a long time since an update...very sorry! Life has been sort of crazy these past few weeks. Let's see...started my class at Auburn (it's going well), Brian was in garrison for 2 weeks (hooray!), my "job" started, we went to a Braves game again and to Starkville, among various other outings! So yes, life's been pretty good here at Benning! To begin...Brian was in garrison the past two weeks, which means he went to class for the day, and then came home every night! Super exciting. They got off pretty early some of the days too so Brian and I took advantage of having more time together. We mostly lazed around, but at least he was home! But this week we're back to normal...after our lovely holiday weekend, Brian went to PT Tuesday morning, which went late, rushed home, showered, changed clothes, and was out the door and won't see him again til Friday night. This week their learning about Urban Ops, setting up a patrol base at night, and doing a live fire. Urban Ops: Not totally sure, but pretty confident it has to do with urban warfare. Patrol base: Brian explained this one to me. It's a base you set up when you're out on patrol and cannot make it back to the FOB (forward operating base). It's got a pretty rigid schedule of what has to be done, and someone has to be up at all times pulling security...AKA, making sure the bad guys don't find them/overrun their camp for the night. It's a lot of rotations through weapons cleaning/maitenance, eating, "hygiene" (which equals changing your socks and "taking a shower" with a baby wipe or two...), and sleeping--well, in 1 hour increments. No thanks. So I'm betting on him being pretty tired when he gets home tomorrow!

Brian and I trekked to Atlanta two weeks ago to go to another Braves game, but this time with his parents and grandparents! Sorry, I managed to not take any pictures somehow...but we had fun! Brian and I were a little more saavy this time and packed a cooler with our own food. And of course, the Braves won!

Next on the list was another Ranger graduation, except this time I took pictures! If you ever come on a day when they're having one of these, we'll go--they're fun, and educational too!

To begin, you get a little background on the Rangers, where they were formed, and some of the major battles they've led (Normandy, for example). Then we go onto a rappeling demonstration. Brian will learn a lot of these tactics when he's in Ranger School!

This guy is hauling himself up the wall...wanted you to see how tall it was!

Next, we get a demo of C-4, which is an explosive! They blow up a building back here.

This is some type of rigging system that's used to haul things up a wall/rockface. They pulled some people up while we were there. (Soldiers, no civilians...ha!)

Ok, this is called an Australian, or Aussie, rappel, and it is TERRIFYING! I should've taken a video of it, but this man comes flying, face forward, off the top of the platform and starts to fly/run down the wall. It is so scary! Then he "shoots" at us with a gun. You know, gotta make it realistic...

Up you go!

So this is pretty awesome. They demonstrate how they can drop in/pick up soldiers into a combat zone. So first, the soldiers rappel out of this Blackhawk (thank you, Allen :) helicopter.

Next, they are picked up by a helicopter and they attach themselves to a rope. Then, the helicopter flies away, carrying their bodies hanging from a rope outside of the 'bird! It's insane! I have a picture but it won't cooperate, so I'll upload it later!

Next Demo: Squad Tactics
This is what a squad looks like; when Brian takes command over a platoon (~30-40 people) at Fort Bliss, it'll be comprised of two squads-A and B.

Next, a Ranger climbs up to this platform, which is about 1 ft. wide. He must run/walk over it, jump over that yellow Ranger block in the middle, then jump onto a rope, shimmy across, touch a Ranger tab, and then ask for permission to drop into the water. This is something Brian will have to do one of the first days he's in Ranger school!
So here's this boy running. Yep, he almost fell after he tried to be macho and jump over the yellow blocks. I think I would have great success with this...hurdle form :)

Shimmying across the rope...Once they touch the Ranger tab, they have to drop their legs and hang, and say "Permission to drop sir!"

Once permission has been granted (and they usually let him hang for a few seconds, for our enjoyment...), he drops into the water!

While dropping, he screams "Rangers lead the way!"

We had a few other demos, such as combatives and various weapons. This one is a wire that is made for decapitating someone, such as this lovely watermelon.

Whoops forgot the combatives pictures. Well, they weren't too interesting-just guys beating up on each other. Usually the loser (pictured below), gets dumped into the water. May I remind you that they do these demonstrations year-round....can you imagine being dropped into that water in January?!

Well that's all for Ranger Graduation...onto Starkville! One thing I love about the Army...on national holidays, we get not only the holiday off, but we also get a "training holiday", so we get a 4 day weekend! I'd say it's usually well deserved! So we headed to Starkville Thursday afternoon and we stayed with AC in her adorable new house! Brian wore his uniform so AC was trying parts of it on...ha!

Second Lieutenant English:
Ok, so my weekend was full of 'dawgs and real DOGS! AC and Jesse got a yellow lab...meet Maggie! She's so fun!

Friday Brian and I spent the day visiting friends and eating our favorite Starkville cuisine (Mexican food...delicious). I had breakfast with Erin at City Bagel, of course, and then AC and I went over to the Sherrards for some good quality playtime with the boys! Thankfully, Joseph still remembers who I am and we had a blast playing sports, trains, and reading--I miss them so much! And baby James is growing so much! Joseph had lots of play-plans for us, so I didn't get to see baby James too much...was too busy chasing a 2 year old around! I don't know how they do it full-time!
Friday night we went to dinner at Old Waverly (a fancy golf course in West Point) with Lindsay, Clay, and Lindsay's family. We had such a wonderful meal and it was great to catch up with her family!

Here we are again at City Bagel Saturday morning! Ha I love this place!

The girls at Anna CLEMMER'S tailgate! Yes, I know I'm not wearing white, and it was a white-out game. Here's why: A) I thought a white-out was stupid for the first game. I wanted to wear school colors! B) I really wanted a new MSU t-shirt (haven't bought one since freshman year!), and I wanted it to be charcoal gray. So yes, I rebelled. But so did Brian. He wore maroon...


Showing off their sweet tats...

Me and Linds!...and John :)

We found Stacey!

Ok, so the white out did look pretty cool. Whoops. We had tickets for the upper deck on the west side (where this picture is taken from), but some of Stacey's family friends had 50 yd. line tickets that they didn't need, and gave them to us! How awesome is that?! We sat about 30 rows up from the field-amazing! Erin sat with me and Brian and we even had chairbacks so we were super comfortable...thank you to the Brown family!
All the white you see to the left side of the stadium is the student section...AKA, the last part of the stadium to get any shade!

I've been trying to get a good picture of this for years...guess it takes sitting on the opposite side!
Ah how cute is this?! Leigh's sister got a baby bulldog! Her name is Izzy and she's 8 weeks old. Isn't she precious?!

Proof: Brian can hold a "baby".

Out on the town!

Friends! Leigh don't hate me...it's your husband's fault!

Sunday, Jon (our first college minister) got ordained at First Pres! It was a crazy fun weekend in Starkville! I was so glad we were able to be there for it! This is some of the old FPC crew!

They had a lunch honoring Jon and Bib after church--it was so fun to see all these people I've been missing!

Whew! All in all a wonderful weekend, although I now have a cold due to staying up waaay too late with friends and getting no sleep while going 90 miles an hour all weekend! It was pretty sad leaving Starkville; I think Brian and I have been in denial about our new life...ha! We both keep thinking we're going back to State for classes "in the fall" (I know, classes have already started...), but this weekend was a sore reminder that A) we aren't students there any more, and B) that we don't even LIVE there any more. So yes, I cried. Of course. But it was a very happy reunion of friends and I can't wait to do it again in a few weeks for the Georgia game.
Hannah and I started our "job" as ESL teachers today! We gave the diagnostic test of several of our Hispanic friends/students, and we start teaching on Monday-we're excited! I've also been going to a Bible study with them on Wednesdays which has been a lot of fun...lots of talking and fellowship plus Spanish practice!
Well that's all for now...thanks for sticking through this epically long post! Just for you Em :)

22 August 2010

Picture Post!

Hello again! Sorry I am terrible about forgetting to put up pictures! Here are some from recent outings!

This is my sweet friend Hannah; she is the one I'm going to teach the ESL classes with! She speaks Spanish too as we are super excited about teaching this class together! This picture is from our scavenger hunt from our BBQ last weekend. The boys (our husbands) weren't too excited about it, but we had fun :)

Like I mentioned in the last post, we went to see the Airborne students jump! If you ever come to visit on a Monday-Wednesday (and sometimes Thursday) we'll go see them! Although when you come, I'm going to be prepared and bring snacks...we had to wait quite awhile to see them jump because of weather conditions.

Can you imagine what it feels like getting sucked out of a plane? Me neither. And that's why Dana and I have decided that at some point in our lives, we are going skydiving! Because this looked like a ton of fun!

After they land, they have to stuff their chute into their pack and then walk back to the main grouping area, near where we were watching.

Ok, total change: I knitted this entire baby hat! Ok, I know the brim is huge...it's for a child with a large forehead, ok? haha! At our weekly lunch/craft meeting, we knitted! My friend Michelle has about 10 million craft skills up her sleeve, and she has a very easy method of knitting. You do it on a circle or straight "loom" (it's plastic--don't think I'm getting too fancy!), but it is so incredibly easy! My grandmother tried to teach me, Emily, and Lindsay to knit last Christmas, and I was a complete failure. I can't wait to whip out something and show it to her! The best perk: the looms are $5 at WalMart!

And finally, to conclude. This is what our house about to become: FANTASY FOOTBALL CENTRAL. I've also been informed that while Brian is in Ranger school (all of November, most of December, and most of January), I am in charge of making sure the household keeps it's Fantasy Football reputation. I am slightly intimidated by this task, and I have a lot to learn before then...

Thankfully, I have Sports Illustrated to help me, and I believe Brian is bringing home an ESPN magazine. But even with their help, I still think I'm going to need flashcards. "Donovan McNabb!" "Eagles transfer to the...somebody's whose red and gold! No idea what position he plays! I think QB!" See? I totally can do this... (sense the sarcasm...)
Can you tell the Page household is ready for FOOTBALL SEASON to be here?! Brian for all of it, me for college football!

19 August 2010

New Responsibilities!

Hello blog world! Thought I'd give you an update on recent Benning news...Life has been a bit of a whirlwind recently! Brian and I spent the weekend relaxing, working out, and going to a BBQ that us wives threw for all of the married couples in Charlie Company on Saturday night. We had a really good time! It was nice to finally put faces with names to all of our husbands, and for our husbands to learn who our friends are...They only know them as "Oh, that's _____ wife" (last name, of course), so we thought it was time for them to meet all the girls! And we knew the prospect of food and beverages would lure them in... :) We're so sneaky!

I mentioned awhile ago that I have been applying for jobs and doing some intense job searching. Well, in one of my many Google searches this past week, I came across IFM: International Friendship Ministries. They offer Bible studies, run a cafe, and have a variety of services for interational families, such as ESL classes, women's lunches and craft hours, as well as programs for families and children. I inquired about it Sunday afternoon, and that night the director called me! Very exciting! They serve a large number of military spouses, many of whom are here for their husbands who are participating in WHINSEC (don't ask me, I can never remember what it stands for...it's waaaay too long of a name for what they do...). WHINSEC basically is a school where we (the USA) bring in Army officers from various countries to train them, build relationships, and give them continued tactical learning opportunities. They often come with their families, and IFM works to be a "home away from home" for them while they're here. The director invited me to join his wife for a "meet and greet" on Wednesday, so I went! I also brought along my friend Hannah, who also speaks Spanish! It was so exciting to be in a real home in a neighborhood--haha! Haven't had that experience in awhile! We socialized with the women and got to speak a TON of Spanish! I was nervous at first (like I always am...) but the women were so friendly and open and by the end I felt like we'd been lifelong friends! I also was introduced as...an ESL instructor! Yes, I am now employed! Hannah and I are now teaching ESL classes twice a week to these ladies--we start Sept. 2! We are still trying to decide where we'll be having classes, (either on or off post), but we're hoping to bring in even more learners! It's a volunteer position, but I am so excited about it! I feel so affirmed in my career choice/calling: I am so thrilled to get to plan lessons and give these ladies as many learning experiences as I can! Hannah is just as excited-we're going to have a blast doing this! The director and his wife are delightful...I can't wait to get to know them better! So that is "new responsibility #1".

New responsibility #2 is...my last graduate class EVER.

I cannot tell you how excited I am that this is my last class! It started last night, and it seems like it's going to be a blend of a few classes I've already had (which is awesome)...Second Language Acquisition and Spanish Linguistics--I enjoyed both of those classes, and it seems like there's going to be a lot of overlap. Everyone was so friendly to me at Auburn...now if I can just learn my way around! I know the basics, but the traffic is awful there! I'm going to have to give myself a lot of time to get there and park! The professor seems kind as well, but her accent is a little difficult to understand...going to have to stay focused for the entire class! I have never taken just one class during a fall/spring semester. The poor other students seemed so stressed yesterday-I don't envy them at all! I remember those days of feeling overwhelmed, underprepared, and thrown to the wolves...no thanks! It was last spring...with wedding planning thrown on top. I would prefer to never re-live that schooling experience!

Onto my dear husband. Brian has been in the field since early Tuesday morning and won't be back until late Friday night. They're doing "live fire exercises", which include real rounds in their guns...ah! But they get to do a lot of STX (sticks) lanes (I believe that is "squad tactics"), which puts them in simulation type drills of things they will need to know upon entering a unit as well as that can be used overseas in real combat situations. It's overcast today so I'm super thankful for that--hopefully it's making it a little cooler for them out in the woods!

The girls and I have been doing some Army-related excursions recently...Monday, we spent 4.5 hours out at Fryar Field, waiting for the Airborne students to jump. Finally, they did! I have pictures but they're not on the computer yet--I'll show you soon! It was really neat to see them jump; we know one of the students who's a cadet at MSU, but they're little tiny specks in the air, so I have no idea which one he was! We are also going to a Ranger school demonstration/graduation tomorrow morning, so that should be fun!

Well I think that's about all in Army world...for those of you who've tried to comment and can't, I don't know what the problema is! I've tried through a different account and it let me comment, and I've fixed the settings so that they're the most "open" for comments...Sorry!

11 August 2010

Braves and a Birthday!

Hello blog world! Thought I'd give you an update on recent happenings... Last week was a long one! After having a weekend away, Brian was in the field three nights in a row-needless to say, I was really ready for him to be home! Friday night we had some bad weather but then Saturday turned out beautiful! After running some mundane errands (and helping a poor dad in Target try to find school supplies for his kids...), we packed up and headed to the big ATL for a Braves game! Somehow, in all of my life, I have never been to a Braves game-or a MLB game period. It was time to change that. The Braves being one of Brian's favorite teams, he was pretty pumped too! And we went all out. I mean, all out.

We walked around a lot just passing time before the game started. We even ran into someone Brian went to high school with! Of course, I had to be in Braves spirit...Brian already had a Chipper Jones shirt, but I needed one too, of course! So I went with Prado. Why? Well, my rule-of-thumb is to always go with the Hispanic name first. And second, the Prado just happens to be one of my favorite museums in the world. Pretty perfect pick, I'd say! Too bad he was out with a finger injury...

And here we are in our official gear!

The park-it filled up! We played the SF Giants. (And won!) Brian said I was lucky. Guess that means we'll be going more often... ha!

Our very American dinner. JUMBO hot dogs (the were a foot long!), fries, and I just had to have a Coke...

Whoops-sideways. Here's Brian enjoying his very American dinner.

In our seats! Turns outs, the Braves give a military discount-so if you want to go for cheap, come with us! The tickets were almost 50% off! A little perk to him being gone all week!

See? It got pretty crowded!

I made him take a lot of these. =) I'm getting pretty good at taking self-portraits of us.

Ok so this week I also celebrated my birthday! I turned 23 yesterday-ah! And today is my Dad's birthday-Happy Birthday Dad-O! He's the big 5-0! So I decided to make my own birthday cake. I have a small obsession with petit fours, so I decided to attempt to make them out of a cookbook Stacey gave me for my KitchenAid mixer. Ok, we didn't have one of these growing up, but they make your life SO.MUCH.EASIER. It has superhuman powers when beating up not-quite-softened butter, which is amazing to watch. Yes, I am 5 years old. Anyways, I made EVERYTHING from scratch. Cake, icing, everything. The cake turned out alright, and then I went on to the icing. I had to show you...the icing recipe called for 4 CUPS of sugar. See? (sorry, it's sideways too)

After boiling that with water and a 1/4 tsp. of cream of tartar, you mix in 3 CUPS of powdered sugar! Oh my gosh I'm on sugar overload just talking about it! I used this super antique candy thermometer of my grandmother's to check the boiling icing...Mom and I thought it would be a really cute wall decoration in the kitchen since it's old, but I had to pull it down and use it--thank goodness it still actually works! This thing is probably 45 years old! Incredible. But I do have a confession to make...I still haven't tried one of my petit fours. I think I'm a little nauseous from how much sugar I used. Seriously, every time I look at them, I feel sick to my stomach. Brian, on the other hand, thinks they're delicious. What a good husband.

Thankfully, I was able to eat a little cake on my birthday because my amazing friend Dana MADE me a cookie cake! As it turns out, her family does cookie cakes for birthdays too, and she made me one! Isn't it darling? And she made her icing from scratch too! Being unemployed leads to multiple hobbies, such as aerobics and baking...they're counteractive.

Brian took me out for dinner last night to celebrate. We went to Country's Barbeque, which was a.ma.zing. My birthday dinner usually consisted of flanksteak, baked potatoes, and fruit salad, and this was a close second! We had BBQ pork and I had some of the best corn on the cob that I've ever eaten! We were stuffed.

Brian has been in and out of the field this week. They were sweet enough to not make him go in last night! Kidding--the Army doesn't care that much about my birthday. Actually, maybe they do-every time I came in the gate yesterday, the security guard wished me a happy birthday! Sweet people. No, Brian's training schedule just so happened to not have him in the field last night, which was awesome! This week he's doing MGT: Machine Gun Theory! Crazy! He learned to call for fire yesterday and Monday and today he's in the field shooting off 50 cal's and Mark 19's- and some SAWs- crazy! The range they're on is only about 1/2 mile from our house, so I can hear them...tat tat tat! Brian's sargeant said that he was a good shot on the 50 cal...so proud. Now I know he can defend himself...We (the wives) hear that once a month, they invite the spouses out to shoot the guns-we are so going! We're pretty excited about it.
Hmmm, other recent news...I've been applying for jobs and I've heard back from two and subsequently been denied by them, so that's been pretty awesome...ha! I've been doing lots of resume-tweaking and online work, so I'm still hopeful! I also start class next week...I keep forgetting that! Going to have to call my Auburn girls, since I still don't necessarily know where I'm going! Hope everyone is doing well!