02 December 2011

Busy Much?

So the past week and half have been...insane, to put it lightly. It has been a whirlwind of activity, all of which has been very fun and somewhat hectic. Some of this stems from my inability to say no to volunteer activities, but we'll get to that later...

I pretty much had ants in my pants last week because my ENTIRE family came to El Paso to visit me for Thanksgiving! (So very gracious of them to come over to Mexico El Paso.) I am the Christian Honor Society sponsor at school, and of course we sponsored the Thanksgiving food drive for families in the church, school, and community. The day they arrived just happened to be delivery day for the baskets, so they were able to come along and join the fun of delivering the boxes for members of the community, who just happened to live smack dab in the middle of the GHETTO. Seriously...I was glad I spoke Spanish because that was the only language being spoken. I told my students this was great practical application for my class and should encourage them to take notes and pay attention lest they end up in the ghetto again and need to talk their way out. But I digress...thankfully, my dad and Clay were there to go with us to the apartments, otherwise I would've left immediately (the students in CHS just happen to be all girls). While we were in this apartment complex, we watched someone get arrested (mind you, at 2:30 in the afternoon...?) and arrived at a door that had a very professional sticker that read "Police and authorities are not allowed to search your house unless the provide a search warrant"...just the place you want to be, right? The last food box we delivered was to a house that was literally a stone's throw from the border. Seriously, about 5 houses down was the FENCE. You know, the border fence. Creepy...I have an unspoken rule that there are certain places I will not drive/go to in El Paso...well, those rules were broken for Thanksgiving food baskets and the Lord kept us safe, so the day went well.

Once I was off of work we had a whirlwind of activity in my house, which was awesome because I'm alone most of the time now! Minus my fish, but they keep to themselves...
My parents and siblings did some major yard work for me as well as a "backyard beautification" project that is awesome! I have this trellis/arbor thing over my patio, and we laced burlap and another material through it so that the birds would stop defecating all over my porch...it looks lovely and it's working so far! I don't know how I haven't blogged about this yet, but my brother and sister-in-law are HAVING A BABY! I'm so excited!! But that dear babe kept Lindsay sick almost all week (and on top of that, she got the stomach bug...yuck-o) so poor Linds had a hard trip....next time will be better; she'll be healthy and there will be a baby to play with!

We went to Hueco Tanks, an awesome state park near us. We had to wait awhile because it rained. Whhhhhat? It was bizarre, but totally worth the wait because we had so much fun! We also celebrated Mom's birthday while they were here with a bit of hiking and plant education :)

After I they left and I shed my fair amount of pity tears (after a full house it gets LONELY around here!), I geared up for this week which was the finale of our Christmas children toy drive...yes, in charge of that one, too. We had to have all the gifts to the organization by Dec. 1, so we were crunched for time...I made quick work of Wal-Mart's toy department and can I just say--it is WAY easier to shop for boys (of all ages!) than it is for girls! Especially if those said girls aren't into princesses, because oh my gosh, that's all there is! And it's all sickeningly pink...yuck. I plan on giving my kids this book and this book , as well as a fair supply of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Roadl Dahl (as well as many others...I'm somewhat obsessed with kids books), and we'll have lots of adventures and leave the princess talk for the movies.

There were lots of other events thrown into the past few weeks but I'll spare you the details because they're not really all that exciting! I'm not hearing from Brian very often any more but from what he wrote last week, it sounds like they're doing well. He got promoted a few weeks ago too, so that was exciting!

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods! I said that phrase a few days ago and I got some strange looks... :)

20 November 2011

San Antonio Trip!

Forgive me for my long absence...I don't have as much free time any more! Haha! And when I get home from work, well...If my body finds the couch/bed, it usually stays there!

The past 2 weeks have been incredibly busy--I feel like that is life's current tempo right now and for the next 6 weeks or so! School has been going well; I've had some change in my responsibilities, which I'm thankful for because it relieves some stress from my day. Although with letting go of a responsibility, I inevitably end up with another one! I've become the yearbook sponsor, so each week I am learning more and more about how to do this...mostly by guessing/brainstorming/trying to be creative, but if you have any suggestions, I'll gladly take them!

Last weekend, we got Veteran's Day off from school which worked perfectly with our plans to go to San Antonio for the half-marathon! Me and my friends Dana and Katie left at the crack of dawn Friday morning for the 8 hour trek to San Antonio...very boring drive, with very few opportunities to stop for gas. Texas is way too big. Seriously, when driving 8 hours through the South, you'd at least go through 2, maybe 3, states in 8 hours time! We definitely pulled over to pee on the side of the road...thanks a lot, Starbucks ;)

We had drop Dana's dogs off at her in-laws, who live on a ranch, complete with cattle and a Texas longhorn--so cool! Stuart's dad drove us around the ranch and I got the full tour--it was a lot of fun! After that we went to Dana's house and went out to eat with her family at a delicious Mexican restaurant--you know I never turn down Mexican! Afterwards we headed to downtown to our hotel and got settled as well as met up with our friend Michelle, who also ran the race with us. Saturady morning we headed to the expo at the Alamodome...I love race expos! It's an awesome place to try stuff (like food/drinks related to exercise/running) as well as see lots of neat gear. It's also very difficult to show shopping-restraint! We had lunch on the Riverwalk, which is beautiful! It reminded me of Europe; very pedestrian, with lots of restaurants dotted along the river. It was very picturesque and such a relaxing afternoon! After picking up Julie, another friend, from the airport, we  went back to the Riverwalk for dinner. It was super crowded but we got to eat at a delicious Italian restaurant and people-watch throughout dinner--such a fun time!

Sunday morning was the race; it was supposed to be sunny but instead it was a little damp and cloudy...which I was very thankful for! It's been awhile since I've run in humidity...it practically doesn't exist here, which is awesome for the hair, but a little hard on the lungs at first! The race was a lot of fun; lots of people and fun music every mile. At the mile 6/7 exchange, a band was playing "Living on a Prayer" and when we ran by the stage, they were on the chorus... "Oh, you're half way there, oh, you're living on a prayer"; we died in laughter because we really were halfway there to the finish line! Dana and I didn't train as well as wanted to for the race; LIFE got in the way...we have big plans for the spring though and we're going to dictate life a little better than we did this fall! We ended up finishing in 2:05, which isn't too far off of my PR! The course was very flat except for the last 0.2 miles, which were uphill! You ran uphill, rounded a corner, and had about 200 meters to the finish line...See, you should always run through your hills when training! Next time, I'll follow that advice...haha! We had to rush back and shower before we got kicked out of the hotel and then got in the car and headed home...it was a long drive back! We had to take a couple of stretch breaks and we killed a bag of Salt & Vinegar chips...our bodies were craving super salty foods!

We ran in honor of our husbands and had some awesome tanks made...It made me so proud to run for Brian! We had a few people comment on them, which was really cool! I'll leave you with some pictures from the weekend--I'm off to finish cleaning my house because my whole family is coming for Thanksgiving--SO PUMPED!

Our shirts!

29 October 2011

Fall has come to El Paso!

We have finally reached fall-like temperatures...the 60s-70s! And this morning the thermometer tipped into the 40s...practically the Ice Age, considering until Wednesday it was 85-95 degrees! I am so thankful for this beautiful weather...it feels so nice outside!

In other news, life is good here in EP! The past few weekends, I have been working with other wives from our battalion to create props, signs, tombstones, and the like for a haunted house. Our battalion sponsors a local elementary school, and since the guys are gone, we're taking up where they left off. Thankfully, we have several soldiers still here so they were able to help out! Last night was the haunted house, and it looked awesome! (And was probably too scary for lower elementary students, but whatever...) You know the Army is in collaboration with something when the outside section of the haunted house is covered with camo netting and lit up with chem-lights...ha! We thought we were going to be selling tickets, but instead they needed more actors in the haunted house so we got painted up and scared little children for 3 hours straight. Dana pretended to eat a (plastic) rat as well as follow kids around with it, Michelle scared kids to death with her scary eyes and mutilated cow head, I jumped out from behind hay bales, and Sue was the school marm, shooing kids into the "school". The haunted house theme was a haunted ghost town, so we were western all the way. Here are some pictures...we look RIDICULOUS.
To make it even better, the inside part was the scariest of all; very dark, very creepy. We probably lost 40 people after they got done with the outside portion to tears...there was an "emergency exit" near us, and we watched countless kids leave!

Props we made:

 Dana and I  built/spray painted this, came up with this "caption" and painted the whole thing!

 Michelle and Sue!

Aren't we creepy?

The end of the night-we were pooped!

The Halloween fun will continue tonight--we're carving pumpkins!  I'm going to try and make mine a little more advanced than my normal...we'll see what happens!

I've gotten to talk to Brian on the phone once since he's left, but I get emails every few days. He seems to be doing well and is so happy to hear from us! School is going well too; we're in full "holiday swing" and my Christian Honor Society students have lots to do...Thanksgiving food drive, Angel tree adoptions/party and some other ideas they've dreamt up...I have some awesome students!

I'm sure there's more to report, but pumpkin-carving is calling my name! Have a spook-tacular weekend!

10 October 2011

Cool-Weather Camping!

Hello bloggy world...sorry for my long absence-the past 2 weeks have been insanely crazy!

I think I'll start with the most recent events and work backwards...
This past weekend, my friend Dana and I decided (at the last minute) to go camping. We needed a break from El Paso and her 90 degree days and went in search of fall-like weather up in New Mexico. Thankfully, we found what we were looking for only 2 hours away in Cloudcroft, NM. The elevation there is almost 9,000 ft., so the temperatures were much cooler. We decided to just go for a night, since we both had things we still needed to get done at home. We drove up on Saturday and found ourselves surrounded by pine trees, aspen trees whose leaves were a gorgeous yellow (think gingko tree on State's campus...) and cool air! We went to a "dispersed campsite", which is "maintained" by the National Forest Service. A dispersed campsite is free to use, and is basically found off of the beaten path--which also translates into no bathrooms and no running water. Yes, we can pee in the woods! We found our campsite about 1.5 miles down a gravel road. Surprisingly, we had quite a few "neighbors" who were also camping/ATVing, so it was nice to know we weren't alone in the vast wilderness!

After setting up camp, we took her hilarious dogs, Bruno and Howdy, on a long hike through the woods...gorgeous. It was just the medicine we needed! We spent the rest of the evening cooking hot dogs and smores and drinking hot chocolate that was waaaay too hot...but it felt good on our cold hands! We even managed to keep our meager fire going for over 3 hours! We basically scavengered for wood and what we found did not want to cooperate with us! That was really the only thing we weren't prepared for; both Dana and Stuart and Brian and I (as well as our families...) are camping/hiking junkies, so we have ridiculous amounts of gear between the two of us. Stuart even has two large tupperware boxes completely organized for camping...it was awesome! After seeing those I'm inspired to make some for us--it makes it so you can literally throw them in the car and you'll have almost everything you need to go camping for a few nights!

Once the sun went down the temperatures dropped dramatically. The weather said that the low for the night was going to be around 38 degrees....chilly, especially to us "desert" girls. Well, the weather LIED. It definitely got down to somewhere between 20-24 degrees...we were freezing. We even had good sleeping bags! The next day we had planned on going on another hike, but it was so cold (at 8:30, it was still only 28 degrees!) we decided to pack up and try again another time...Dana's poor dogs were shivering they were so cold! It was such a fun trip though and we hope to do it again...although we might not camp with these cold temperatures!

In other news, I've been keeping myself busy around the house with lots of tasks that I wanted to get completed. Brian has been deployed now for about 2 weeks, so I'm trying to keep busy with little projects around the house as well as other goals I'm trying to meet while he's gone. So far, deployment hasn't been too bad, but I'm sure those bad days will come. We've gone weeks as well as a full month without seeing each other (and sometimes without talking to each other) so I think this whole deployment thing will really set in once he's been gone longer than that. To keep me occupied I have loads of school work I can always do (joy, joy...haha!) as well as some fitness goals and projects to fill up my time. We girls try to make a point of seeing each other often, especially on the weekends so that the time doesn't feel so lonely.

The Lord was so good to us before he left; we got to spend some great quality time together and make a lot of fun memories. Saying goodbye was pretty awful...the hardest part was walking away from each other-neither one of us would move after we ended our 4 minute (or more?) hug...That was definitely when it hit me. Thankfully, Dana and Stuart had to say goodbye at the same time we did, so Dana and I had a brief cry-fest in the parking lot before heading home...

Since then, I've gotten to hear from him via email every couple of days. We're hoping Skype will work, but apparently their Internet isn't too great where he is, so we'll see! He says that he is always busy and is enjoying what he's getting to do, so that's good!

School for me is going well; we're to our 9 week mark which is crazy to me! I think I've finally settled into teaching and it's getting easier to plan/create for my lessons. Well that's about it from El Paso; we finally got a "cold front" this weekend, so we're now down to the 80's--haha! I sure do miss those crisp autumn days at home!

22 September 2011

Swimming in BBQ and 1st grade-isms

Hola blog world! Thought I'd fill you in one the happenings of the Page household...for one thing, our garbage (up until yesterday) and kitchen (still...) smell of the approximately 65 POUNDS of barbeque pork Brian and I cooked up  last week. Yes, 65 pounds. Let's just say my crockpot and one that I borrowed from a friend were running non-stop from Monday night to Thursday afternoon...

A little background: I serve as a co-leader for our FRG (Family Readiness Group) for Brian's company. We decided to have a predeployment picnic and wanted to step it up a notch from the normal hotdog menu...If you need a reason to dislike hotdogs, go volunteer to unwrap 150 of them and grill them...but anyways, we decided to change the menu to a BBQ, complete with pulled pork and all the sides. Thankfully, we had a lot of wives and soldiers bring sides, chips, and desserts, which meant my leader and I were responsible for all the meat, drinks, and servingware. Well, we were preparing for around 100; there are about 150 guys in Brian's company, but we figured not all would come...until we got word (on Tuesday, before the cookout THURSDAY) that it was now a "mandatory" event for all soldiers...hence the need to up the ante on the meat! I seriously love BBQ pork, but if I don't eat it again for a solid 2 months or so, I will not cry. I have never in my life made so much food! (on top of that I made a ridiculous amount of pasta salad...) The picnic though was a great success and I think fun was had by all. Much thanks probably to the 2 kegs and whatever the guys brought in, but whatev. I was happy with the turnout :) And they ate my food. But they didn't eat enough, because I still have 1 1/2 crockpots full...hello, freezer.

I always get so nervous before things like this because I'm paranoid that I will run out of food and then people will make fun of me. No seriously, they would...that's how these guys are! :) I know they mean it in jest, but I would feel terrible about it for days...so I just opt to have too much :)

Needless to say, I was glad for last Thursday to come and go! This past weekend, one of my friends (who dates a guy in Brian's battalion) decided to host "Thanksgiving" for our group of friends before they left since they won't get to have a real Thanksgiving overseas. It was so much fun! We cooked a 25 pound turkey (see, she too worries about not having enough!), 4 pumpkin pies, apple crisp, 6-8 quarts of mashed potatoes, gravy for days, mac'n'cheese, grilled butternut squash, and homemade whipped cream for the pies! Can you say 10 extra pounds?...But it was SO.GOOD. And so much fun! Love making good memories before they leave!

Finally, I leave you with some of the most hilarious things that 1st graders say:

"Mrs. Page, one time, I was dancing around by myself, and I was swinging my arms and I accidentally punched myself in the face." (he just randomly told me this one day, which makes it that much better)

(after I had read a book about fish and they were telling me what kind of fish they'd like to be) "Oh yeah, I'd be an ALIEN FISH! Did you know that alien fish are more powerful and dangerous than any other fish? They can kill any other fish that swims in the sea...they're that powerful." (and on, and on, and on about alien fish)

The same kid said these things. He is so funny, and he doesn't even mean to be. What's even better is that he gets so excited that he talks super fast and when he runs out of air he takes a gasping breath and continues. Seriously, Katie and I love this kid. Even if he does talk to himself and distract the class all day long...

17 September 2011

My nickname is Tyra

A few weeks ago, I was asked by several of the other teachers in my school to help them with a "project" they had at their second job...They work at Christopher and Banks, which is a clothing store, and needed "models" to show off their fall line. Well, Katie (the 1st grade teacher) and I say yes, more out of a feeling of obligation than a true desire to walk the catwalk. Well, as it turns out, Katie's husband deployed today, so I had to fly solo! I knew a few other of the teachers who said they were going, but...let's just say I almost chickened out! Thankfully it was only in the store, not out in the middle of the mall. And we got a 40% off discount for doing it...bonus! I basically laughed embarrassedly (is that word?) thoughout the entire thing...yes, you may laugh at me too :) But their clothes fit the bill for the dresscode at my school...skirts below the knee, no sleeveless tops, and closed toe shoes. Yes, I resemble a nun every day that I walk out of the house. But I'm thankful for the job! :)

The first graders this week were chock-full of funny things they said, one of which being the following.

 We have a sweet girl who is Hispanic in our class. Well, she and a friend were returning to the cafeteria after a quick trip to the bathroom. (seriously, 1st graders have to pee ALL. THE. TIME.) She came up to me and the male teacher, with whom I was having a conversation, and loudly delcared, "Mrs. Page, there's a crotch-rotch in the bathroom!!!" With a look of consternation on my face, I asked her to repeat what she had said. She responded, a decible louder, "A crotch-rotch!!!" Thankfully, something clicked in my brain and I said to her, "A cockroach?" To which she and her friend replied "yes yes yes! A crotch-rotch!"

Soooo hilarious. To make it even better, my school is very conservative (you know-Nun Rebecca) and I doubt the word "crotch" has ever been uttered within its walls. Annnnd I was standing next to a male teacher. He wasn't so amused, but I was dying laughing.

Hope that brightens your day and that you don't find any crotch-rotches in your near future.

11 September 2011

An Oddly Quiet Sunday

I am sitting at the computer, attempting to get a grip on my numerous lesson plans, and I cannot let go that today is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. And it is strangely quiet. Living on a military post, I expected some sort of ceremony of remembrance for this significant day. And perhaps there is one...I am a little out of the loop these days! Or maybe it's because each day we eat, sleep, and breathe the reminder of 9/11, so everyday is a memorial to those historic events. Either way, it is quiet. On that day back in 2001 I would've never in my wildest dreams thought I'd be here on it's 10th anniversary; a military wife, a bonafide teacher, in the desert of Texas, and about to send my husband overseas. I suppose days like these help us to be reflective of life, and that it is just a mist, here and then gone. James 4:14: "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." That is not meant to downplay the significance of life, but rather to help us realize our time is short; we must use all we have here for the glory of God.

Perhaps it's quiet because not everyone can remember the searing images of that day; my students were only 5 and 6 years old when it happened, and when they mentioned the anniversary this weekend there was a distance in their voice; there was awe and sympathy, but no relatability; they cannot relate to what they cannot remember. For me though, I was 14 years old and that day and the following day are forever in my memory. I wonder if this is how people felt after Pearl Harbor, or the OKC bombings, or the various other attacks people have committed against us. What is really strange about my memories is that I only remember the colors red, white, and blue. For example, my English teacher was the first one to catch wind of what had happened; she always watched the news before we got to school, and that day, she couldn't get the TV to turn off (it was a TV/Computer contraption that sometimes worked against you...). She turned the TV around so that we could watch; she had on red shoes. I had on a red and blue striped shirt. When we made it to Geometry, my friend Lydia had on a red shirt and red ribbon in her hair. The next night at youth group, we--teenagers--spent 2 hours at the alter, surrounded by red, white, and blue candles, crying our eyes out and crying out to the Lord. I was so burdened for the ones left behind; I remember weeping for those who couldn't find their family members, those who had perished, and for the fear the attacks put into my heart.  In college I met a guy who's dad had been in the Pentagon when it'd been hit, and he'd not made it outside in time. To this day when I hear personal accounts of that day, I always end up in tears...I probably will for the rest of my life.

And now, 10 years later, we have found two of the biggest offenders of 9/11, as well as many others I am sure, lost many lives, and sent soldiers overseas for longs months or years away from their families. That day though, and the months that followed, showed me, and I think the rest of the country, what it is to be an American again. And as believers, we have an even greater responsibility to continue to pray for our country, for everlasting peace, our national leaders, those who protect us and our freedoms, and that eternal truth would come to those who do not know it.  

06 September 2011

A Visit from the Pages

Over Labor Day weekend, the Pages and Eric flew in to see Brian once more before he deploys shortly. We had a packed weekend of fun activities and little house projects!

Saturday morning we went to Hueco Tanks, a state park about 30 minutes from us. It's the easier hiking around here...fewer cacti to run into! No, I'm really being serious...We ran around and scaled up numerous boulders and saw some neat cave paintings; Brian and I have been here once before with friends and it was nice to go back! This time though, some of the rainy season had passed, and things were GREEN! Excuse me?...Aren't we in the desert? Amazing what fractions of an inch of rain do to this place!

After hiking around and working up quite a sweat (still pretty hot in the desert!), we grabbed a quick lunch and then cleaned ourselves up! The guys headed to Lowe's to buy...PAINT! Yes, we painted two of our walls, which is so exciting! Military housing always has white-ish walls, and we're tired of them...so we painted two green walls this weekend, and with the Pages' expertise, we got the whole job done in about 3 1/2 hours! It adds so much to the rooms. I am already dreaming of painting some more rooms! The Army's only stipulation is that you either pay a fine for each wall you paint or you prime your painted walls before you leave so you don't get charged...definitely keeping my rollers so I can prime!

We spent the rest of Saturday evening watching football and catching up! Sunday we headed to church and heard a great sermon and Sunday school lesson! I haven't talked much about church yet, but we've started going to First Baptist and are really enjoying it. The teaching is solid and based purely on Scripture and we have found a GREAT Sunday school class! The teacher does an excellent job of facilitating the class and everyone contributes--it is so neat!

Sunday afternoon we headed to Cattleman's Steakhouse, which is about 45 minutes outside of El Paso. It's famed for it's food and atmosphere; several movies were filmed out here and they also have a variety of animals to look at and feed...like goats, rattlesnakes, longhorn cattle, horses, buffalo, and ostrich! We got to go on a "covered wagon" tour of the movie sets as well as see some replicas of pioneer houses. It was really neat! We ended up being there almost 4 hours! And of course, the food was delicious. If you've never eaten a cow that was grass-fed, do it. It is the BEST BEEF you will ever taste in your life! Thank you, Texas for excellent red meat :)

The filmed "Courage Under Fire" here! As well as a Chuck Norris movie...haha!

As we drove into town Sunday we gave the Pages a tour of where Brian works and then headed home to be lazy...we had just eaten a very large lupper...aka, lunch/supper. The rest of our time we spent talking, telling stories, and just catching up--it was so nice to have visitors, especially now that we have the new house! I'm so glad they were able to come out and see us before Brian deploys. 

Well that's it for now...this teacher is beyond exhausted.
More to come on life in general, school, and Brian's deployment...

27 August 2011

Life Lately...

Life has been a whirlwind the past 2 weeks or so. Seriously, we have not stopped moving until the late hours of the night and then we're up at the crack of dawn again for round 2!

A recent recap of life: We signed for our house on post last Monday. Last week we ran loads of boxes to our new house from the apartment every night, as well as trying to get the apartment clean so we could officially move out. Oh yeah, and I started my job...I got my students on Tuesday, and the day went great! I was literally sweating bullets when I got my first class...I was so nervous! And the air conditioning is pretty much nonexistent in my classroom, which I think added to the beads of sweat on my bead and running down my back...felt like I was burning alive. Hopefully my savvy teenagers didn't catch on...My highschoolers were gone from Wed-Fri. on a spiritual emphasis retreat which allowed me to get used to my other daily tasks at school as well as do some "revising" to what I already had planned. Here's how my day looks: 8-12:30: First grade assistant/Special Ed assistant...I spend a lot of time with an autistic boy, even doing pull out class with him every day for an hour. The 1st grade teacher just happens to be a friend of mine though so it's a blast being in class with her all morning! And I'm learning a lot about 6 year olds, such as: they do not know how to control their bladders and/or can't remember to go to the bathroom; they usually need help opening at least one item in their lunch box; they are MAJOR tattlers; one second they think you're the devil, the next they're telling you "I love you, Mrs. Page!".
I have also learned a lot about first grade; I'm trying to remember all of the phonics I so hated at that age as well as explain things like place value and making up goofy movements so that they can remember Bible verses...Katie (the 1st grade teacher) and I often share lots of laughs as well as looks of frustration...they are so cute but can be so whiny at times! :)

Next, I take the autistic boy (who's also in the 1st grade...) out for an hour so we can do specific practice on things like counting, the alphabet, and much more. I'm learning a lot about teaching and working with all types of students but I can't say it's always easy...I've already had to chase him down (literally, I'm sprinting) a few times this past week...we had some hard days, but I'm hoping for better next week! He's a really sweet boy when he wants to be ;)

After my morning of 1st grade,  I head off to teach my Spanish class. I was supposed to have both a Spanish 1 as well as a Spanish 2 class, and in fact, I still do...I just expected them to be at different times. Instead I teach them both during 7th period. I'm calling this a "creative challenge"...ha! And truth be told, I made a command decision to move some of the original Spanish 2 kids down to Spanish 1 because after I gave them a diagnostic test I realized they knew nothing...seriously, nothing. Thankfully my principal was cool with that :) They had a variety of Spanish teachers last year so it's an understandable situation.

After that, my afternoons vary. On Mondays and Wednesdays I help with the high school choir. Yes, please start laughing because if you know me, you know I cannot sing. I wish I could, but I'm at best an alto with some very good singers standing next to me who I can try to blend my voice with and match their note...So with choir I sing with them and do crowd control...it's hilarious to me. The rest of the afternoons I'm either with 1st grade or being the yearbook sponsor, which is another title I carry for this school year...haha! Also no experience with this, so we'll see how it goes. I truly love the school I'm working for as well as all the teachers, and the day keeps the time rolling along, even if I am doing laps around the school!

So, school has provided me with quite a workload of lesson planning and grading, and once we got done with last week, it was time to rent a U-haul.  We picked it up Friday afternoon and starting loading up our cars.  Saturday we have some dear and generous friends come over and help us move all of our stuff to the new house...no rest for the weary, right? We started at 7 and got done around 1...had to do it while it was at least a little cool out! This past week we have spent unpacking and trying to get things set up, but progress is slow...I think we're burned out! We helped our friends Stuart and Dana move today into their new house which was very exciting! Most of the friend group is now established in a house...so much better than cramped apartments!

This last week was busy with unpacking and unit-related activities. We had a battalion pre-deployment ball last night which was a blast! It was a really fun night and I got to know some of the guys Brian works with and see a lot of friends which made for a great evening. Disregard the fact that it took me a solid hour to get my hair to cooperate...grrrr. It is at times the bane of my existence.

Brian is doing well; work has slowed down some and they now have all of their official gear for deployment. The deployment uniform looks a little different than what they wear in garrison, so they get issued all this stuff in the new camo...uniforms, ruck sacks, body armor...the list goes on. You should see our storage closet-it is a mountain of green and tan! He's set to leave soon; in keeping with OPSEC (Operational Security...another Army acronym for ya!) I'm not going to publish exactly where he's going/when he's leaving, but if you want to know his mailing address or something like that let me know and I can get it to you once he gets overseas :) He loves Vienna sausage. Disgusting, right? Just the sight of those slimy things makes me queasy...  Perhaps that's why he makes a good infantryman...he will literally eat almost anything. As long as it's not a tomato.

Well I'm sure I'm forgetting things but I think that's plenty for now...Pictures of the house to come once it's all set up!

15 August 2011

Disney World and Moving!

Well, this post can't be too long because of all the life happening right now, but I figured I'd update you on the latest happenings in the Page household(s)...

Last week, Brian and I flew to Disney World for one last hoorah before he deploys in a few weeks (ahhhh). We arrived on Monday afternoon and decided to hit the park immediately! We started with Disney's Hollywood Studios, which used to be MGM. Of course the first thing we do is Tower of Terror...I forgot how exhilerating that ride it! After some rainshowers and getting free ice cream (bonus!), we headed back to our resort. We stayed at Shades of Green, which is a Disney resort specifically for all branches of the military and their dependents. It's very nice and we had a great time there last week! Tuesday, it downpoured again while we were at Epcot...we finally broke down and bought ponchos because we were getting so wet...but that didn't deter us! We spent 4 hours walking around the "countries"; if you've never been to Epcot, they have about 15 countries represented in small clusters with food, artifacts, videos, and sometimes rides associated with that country. We had a blast--I loved seeing all of the creative architecture and eating delicious German carmel and chocolate...and Brian of course had a beer :) At Epcot we also rode a ride that simulated a space shuttle take-off and flight...it was awesome! We realized at the end of the day as we watched an amazing fireworks show that we had been walking/on our feet for over 13 hours...yes, my feet were aching!

Wednesday was my 24th birthday and we spent the morning sleeping in a bit (it was downpouring again...) and eating breakfast in bed....breakfast being PopTarts, that is. Everyday we carried in our own lunches and snacks to deter some cost...their food is pretty expensive! That afternoon we returned to Hollywood Studios and did the Rockin' Roller Coaster as well as Tower of Terror...three more times. Seeing a trend? We also went to the Indiana Jones Show which was really great! They go through how they accomplish special effects in the movies-lots of explosions! That night, Stacey and Zach drove down from Gainesville to have dinner with us at Paradiso 37 in Downtown Disney. It was sooo yummy! It was so great getting to see them too and catching up on life as well as laughing a lot!

Thursday we got to get into Magic Kingdom an hour earlier than normal since we were staying at a Disney Resort, which was awesome! That meant that in 1.5 hours, we had ridden Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean! We got quite a few fast passes that day and rode Splash and Space Mountain various times...Splash Mountain is Brian's favorite, and Space is mine :) We saw lots of Disney characters as we roamed around too! Which reminds me...I definitely got a picture with Mulan, my favorite :) And if Nemo had been around, that probably would've happened too... :) Yes, I'm 24 years old, why do you ask?... haha!

We flew back into Huntsville (after being delayed 2 hours), arrived at 6:45 PM, said goodbye to our families at the airport, and drove to Jackson, MS. We got to Jackson around 11:30 that night, and we pulled out of the driveway Saturday morning at 6 AM sharp...We were planning on stopping but we were making good time, soooo we drove all the way from Jackson to El Paso for a grand total of about 1,050 miles...15 hours or so. But hey, the GPS said it was going to take 18 hours...take that! The reason we wanted to get back quickly is because we had so much to do! I had a bunch of lesson-planning to do and we had to pack up the house...which we signed for this morning! We officially have a house on post now! Hooray! So this week consists of...Brian going back to work, me starting my job (get my students tomorrow!), moving...and about 12 things for the FRG in our unit. One step at a time, right?....

I'll update you on school whenever I find a second to breathe...until then, I will be moving boxes and educating minds! :)

07 August 2011

The Epic Vacation of 2011

Thought I'd update the blogworld on the Page happenings over the past 3 weeks or so...and the craziness isn't over yet! In a nutshell, I've been living out of a suitcase since July 21 and will continue to do so until August 14...yep, almost a month!

A brief recap of my life before the "real world" starts on August 15...
July 21-flew to Jackson for Krystina and Eric's wedding weekend! And what a wonderful weekend it was. The rehearsal and the ceremony/reception went off without a hitch except for a brief rain shower...or rather, monsoon. The rehearsal was at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame (Eric's a huge sports fan!), where Stacey, Karen, Elizabeth and I played all of the interactive games at the museum. We were such enthusiastic participants that Elizabeth ripped the slit in her dress so bad that Jan had to walk behind her on their way out! It was so much fun though! I stayed with Karen and Jared, which is always so much fun--I love their darling house and ridiculously comfortable bed and their company of course! Karen took me to her Bunco group Thursday night and I almost won the award for "Most Losses". Who doesn't love a game where you can get a prize for losing?

Saturday, Krystina was a gorgeous bride; I had no doubt about this because the girl is stinking drop dead gorgeous in everyday life, so I was sure as a bride she'd be beautiful! It was probably the most people I've ever seen at a wedding ceremony...perhaps because Eric is the pastor of the church they got married in! You could tell how much the congregation loves these two...I know they must be a blessing to their church! Then they swept off and spent the week in Hawaii. jealous. Their wedding also allowed me to see almost all of the MSU girls I was close to in college! It was so neat to catch up and hear about how their lives have developed over the last  year.

After the weekend in Jackson, Stacey and I drove up to Starkville Saturday night. Sunday I was flooded with love from some of my dearest friends at First Pres in Starkville. FPC was probably the hardest thing to leave behind in Starkville, and it was an absolute blessing to get to spend a morning in worship there again, especially because Joey, our college minister, spoke!

That week I stayed with Clay and Lindsay in their darling house; it is quintessentially cute, and has so much CHARACTER! I'm  dying to be in a non-cookie cutter house/apartment! Lots of windows, natural light, and old house charm. Unfortunately I took no pictures of their house...but Lindsay has some up on her blog!

That week was insane...better to just give a brief synopsis: lunch/visits with old bosses, student-teaching teachers, friends, children, church family, and so many more! We spent the week cleaning up/setting up Lindsay's new classroom at Armstrong Middle School! So proud of her!

Thursday I headed down to the beach with the youth group as a chaperone to BigStuf, a youth conference in Panama City Beach. We went last year and had a great time, so we decided to repeat again this summer! We had some pretty good speakers (and one we didn't care for as much...) and the youth leaders got to spend time being poured into from the leaders of Think Orange, a ministry that's aiming to join families and churches in one mission to raise up their children as followers and disciples of Christ...amazing! We also played some intramurals, and made it to the finals in frisbee! We lost, but the kids were great sports and showed awesome sportsmanship.

We returned on Sunday, and mom picked me up in Birmingham to cart me home...thank goodness for family to be my chauffeurs! Brian also arrived from El Paso last Monday, and we spent last week at home between mine and Brian's houses, catching up with family. Last Tuesday, I drove with mom to Atlanta to pick Emily up from India! She's been there for the last 4 weeks with a project from Clemson, and she told us some hilarious stories about being chased by monkeys and sittinng on elephants as well as various temple visits!

We've just returned from Birmingham from an epic friend reunion...almost all of our friends from MSU were able to come, as well as both our brothers and their respective wife/fiancee! We spent the day shopping/window shopping, eating great food, and spending time in great conversation. It was the last time for many of them to see Brian before he deploys, and it meant so much to us for them to drive such a distance to see us. It's so refreshing to see friends! I miss living in the same town as all of them!

And the epic vacay is not done...we're flying out to Disney World tomorrow morning! Whoo-hoo exciting! Brian wanted to go before he left, so we're heading down there to spend a few days to ourselves :)

It has been an insanely crazy few weeks but I wouldn't trade them for anything! When we get back, we sign for our house on-post, I start my job, and Brian goes back to work...all on Aug. 15! It's going to be INSANE! Moving, new teaching job, and a lot of Army-related things to do...I try not to think too much about it, otherwise I feel stress building...instead I'm focusing on the fun of right now and I'm just going to take a deep breath when I get back and soak in my last few weeks with Brian before he leaves!

19 July 2011

Running for Margaritas

Hola blog world! I know I probably don't need to say hello every time I begin writing, but I feel like my readers (hi, mom!) deserve a salutation.

This past week has been a whirlwind of getting ready for my JOB! Which I'm still so estactic to have! Since I'm working at a private school, I don't have some of the things usually provided in public schools...like, textbooks. Actually, the other classes have textbooks, just not Spanish...so, let's just say I panicked a little, found some serious bargains on teacher books on Amazon, and I have recovered :) Thankfully, I was overly ambitious in college and did a TON of legwork that I am now so incredibly grateful for. The perfect time in my life for my "need to overachieve" is coming to my rescue! I did a pretty in-depth linguistic individual study during grad school that basically helped me to get all my grammar notes researched, organized, and ready to present...praise the Lord!

Thanks to the encouragement of a few other blogs, I couponed for the very first time! Can I get an "amen" on how awesome Walgreens is?! They list all their coupons, mailers, as well as the manufacturer's coupons on their website! Which is great for someone like me, who runs out of patience hunting down all those coupons...well, it totally paid off; we paid only half of the bill on school supplies for my classroom! I'm totally inspired. This is very good for me, because I will spend a fortune on organizational things as well as all things related to school...I love school supplies. Especially post-it notes.

Now onto the title for this post! Dana, my incredible friend who is also stationed here with her husband, and I are running a marathon this fall. (As I type this, fear is mounting in my soul...) Yes, I'm slightly terrified, but at the time we started this, I thought, "this is the perfect time to train! I don't have a job!" ha. ha. ha....Oh well-we'll make it work in the form of early Saturday morning long runs! Having the accountability to get out of bed is a must for me, and Dana and I end up talking the whole time, so the time flies by! (well, usually flies by...) This past Saturday we had to do a 9 mile run, but we decided to split it up; we ran 6 in the morning, and that evening, we ran a 5K! The 5K was called "Run for a Margarita"...fitting, right? Well, we posted a pretty good run time and then celebrated with a free margarita and free dinner!  I have not run a 5K since high school...you want to know why? Personal pride issues. You see, I knew I would never be able to run as fast as I did back in high school, and I was honestly scared that I would be so ashamed of my time that I haven't run one since I graduated! Lame, right? Well, the time didn't depress me too much because I was excited about my marg. It was perfectly refreshing! But we decided that wasn't enough (it was super hot) so we went and got Sonic afterwards too...we had earned it, no?

Here are some pictures from the race!

drinking our margaritas! I didn't think I'd like alcohol after a race, but this was pretty good :)

Well that is all for now! The next four weeks in the Page life are crazy...Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Florida again! Excited about being in the South for awhile! Maybe it'll rain! Fun fact: up until last week, our annual rainfall for this year was 0.31 inches. That's right: not even an inch. It did rain the other night, so we might've pushed up over an inch :)

10 July 2011

Pictures from Phoenix!

Thought I'd share some photos from our weekend in Phoenix over the 4th of July!

Our first view of Arizona!

Picture after we got done rafting the Salt River...wish I could've taken my camera along because there was some gorgeous scenery!

 Dinner & Transformers 3!

Flagstaff, AZ. GORGEOUS city!

First view of the Grand Canyon! It was a hazy morning, that's why the picture looks a little blurry.

Foster, our resident daredevil...

Moose/elk! Not sure which one...

Crouching behind the wall, trying to keep the rain off of us! It was blowing sideways...

Historic lookout tower!

The Colorado River

Rainstorm in the desert on the drive home!

"Our" mountains! We live on the other side of that "dip" to the right.

07 July 2011

4th of July!

Whew: put your seatbelts on...this is going to be a fun, entertaining, and probably long-ish blogpost!
(Ok, I just reread all that I wrote...it's not long-ish, it's long. But it's fun!)

Well, where to start? Brian has been home for a week and we've managed to fit in about 10,435 activities! I deem it as making fun memories before he leaves for the 'Stan!

Activity #1: (ok, this is unrelated to Brian...) I got a...J.O.B.! Let me just tell you how ridiculously excited I am about this. I cried after the interview/job offer. In the parking lot. No shame, no shame. So here's the lowdown: starting this fall, I'll be the high school Spanish teacher and dual enrollment supervisor at a small private school. And by small, I mean I'll be teaching both the entire sophomore and junior class. It seriously could not be a better atmosphere for a first year teacher; small classes, only 2 major preps, and an incredible, supportive environment! And bonus: my new friend, Katie, accepted the 1st grade job there, so I'll even have a friend when I start working! We are so excited! This past 6 months have been a serious trial in letting go of control, learning to be humble, and trusting the Lord. In all honesty, I have applied for almost 20 jobs since arriving in El Paso, and to no avail...to say I got discouraged/frustrated is probably an understatement...

But, the Lord put on my heart Duetornomy 31:6-8...amazing. A friend brought it up in a deployment Bible study during June, and it gave me such peace knowing the Lord controlled my past, present, and future. I feel like I finally was able to let go of my control and put my full trust in the Lord. So that happened on Wednesday, June 15. That afternoon, I went to Bible study, and afterwards, I went to UPS to make copies of my MS teaching license and a letter from Texas telling me what additional tests I need to take for certification. Well, a man rushed in and asked to skip me in line--he was about to be late for a flight. I was in an awesome mood, so I said yes. Praise the Lord I did. Because as the man exited, a woman walked in with two kids in tow...As the UPS man was making my copies, he asked me if I had taken the Texas tests (he was reading my letter...ha!). After I responded, we chatted about what the test was like. The woman overheard us and asked me, "You're a teacher? What's your content area?". I responded "Spanish", with a little bit of depression in my voice...

And then... She asked me..."Are you looking for a job?" (I'm thinking, duh, I am...) I say yes, and she responds by saying..."Well, I teach Spanish a local private school, and we're about to PCS (aka--move) to Germany...would you be interested in interviewing?"

I think I sort of freaked her out I was so enthusiastic. So, to make a long story a little shorter, she gave me the principal's name, on Friday I dropped off a huge packet of info--resume, cover letter, recommendation letter, transcripts, and more--and Monday they called me, and that afternoon I went in for an interview and he offered me the job on the spot! The Lord provides! We just have to put our full trust in Him. I can take no credit for this...Praise the Lord for His goodness!

You still there? Because it's about to get even more fun! (told you--put on your seatbelt. Might want to grab a snack... ;)

For the 4th of July, Brian got Friday and Monday off, so we headed off to Phoenix Thursday afternoon to meet up with Paul and Foster for a fun-filled weekend! After a long, anxious drive to Phoenix, we kicked off the weekend! Friday, Paul, Brian, and I traveled around Scottsdale/Phoenix area, seeing the sights and eating Chipotle...which the boys absolutely love! That night we grilled out and some friends of Paul's came over to eat and hang out. We spent the afternoon/evening swimming in Paul's parents awesome pool and catching up-so fun! Foster flew in that night, arriving a little later than expected....but he got there eventually!

Now, onto the weekend adventures!

Saturday: woke up, put on about 12 layers of sunscreen, as well as 45 layers on resident lobster, Brian, and headed to the Salt River outside of Phoenix for a good ole float trip. This was quite possibly the quintessential float trip...it was seriously perfect. 3 1/2 hours, the river was calm with a few zippy rapids (nothing too crazy) and PLENTY of people-watching. I have never seen float trips turn into such a production! As we entered the water, we saw people with floating platforms/floats, complete with floating coolers and stereos. It also was pretty cool (apparently...) to throw marshmellows at everyone...they became really swollen and slimy once they were in the water, so when you got hit with one, it sort of slid down your skin...sort of gross. And all I could think of were all the birds that were probably going to choke on them...
Funny memories from the trip...getting totally turned around in a rapid, got separated for a few minutes, and almost capsized the cooler (tragedy!). Thankfully Paul had a good grip on it's float (yes, the cooler had it's own mini-tube) and we didn't lose a thing :)  While we were in the Southwest, I saw plenty of folks who qualified as rednecks...ha! A super drunk girl gave us a show from the riverbank, and we watched a guy get arrested by the park rangers on a boat, and even got a few sprinkles of rain! Thankfully for our skin, it became a little cloudy the last hour of our trip, which was fortunate considering we were going to be out there for awhile! The river was packed with people, but it thinned out as the current carried us along. Incredible trip! That night we went and saw Transformers 3. I'm a huge Transformers fan...goooo Autobots! This one was pretty good, but I'm not very critical on movies, so if you're snooty about them, you may not like it...the plot probably could've been thickened a little and the last hour is a pretty intense battle, but I overall, not too bad :)

We woke up early and I walked upstairs at 5:30 and thought to myself "wow, someone left a lot of lights on..." NOPE-it was the sun! Yes, 5:30 AM and the sun was already over the horizon! Would've been great for running purposes! We packed up the car and cooler and headed off to...THE GRAND CANYON! I cannot tell you how estactic I was about going here...I was like a little kid at Christmas. It took us about 3 hours to get up there, and of course we went straight to the edge...it's indescribable. I might've teared up a bit...tried to not let the boys see it-the sunglasses covered it up well :) It's just simply amazing. I feel like it's a physical metaphor for the grandness of God, even though nothing on this earth will ever compare to His enormity and presence!

After the initial shock wore off, we toured around a little geological musuem and started down the ridge trail, stopping to take LOTS of pictures. The boys about gave me a heart attack about 13 times due to their need to be dangerous...geez I seriously almost threw up at one point I was so nervous about them! I determined I will never take small children to the Grand Canyon! They'll just have to wait until I can trust they won't wander over the edge!

As we continued to walk, the people thinned out and we were able to stroll in peace. Once, I looked over to my left (into the brushy forest) and saw a horse. Or so I thought. On second glance, I realized it was not a horse, but rather either an elk or moose calf! And yes, it was the size of a horse, but fatter! It was literally about 20 feet away, just munching away...it never flinched at our gawking.

We toured around the main lodge area and then took a bus back to our car for lunch. While we were eating, a storm rolled in and it started to rain. No biggie, we thought--we're in the Grand Canyon, so we're just going to make the most of it! Well, while we were eating lunch, the temperature dropped by 30 degrees! Yep...from 90 to 60 in just under half an hour...ridiculous! And with the wind and water, it was so cold! The rain did not deter us though; we headed off on a bus to see the more "off-the-beaten-path" trails and views. Our plan was to get out at a stop, hike a ways, and then head back to the main bus station. Well, we got off the bus and it was sprinkling and the wind was gusting around, but I convinced the guys "it wasn't that bad", and we were only going to walk a mile, so let's get to it! We waved the bus onwards, the bus driver looked at us like we were insane, and left us there. Well, about 30 seconds after that, it began to start raining...like, driving rain. And of course, the wind picked up. We got about 25 feet down the trail and realized this was a terrible decision. Of course the guys are giving me a hard time because I was sure this was a great idea! Well at that point we were freezing cold, and about to get soaking wet! So, we spent 10 minutes huddling behind a retaining wall, awaiting the next bus to pick us up! We probably looked ridiculous as we hopped up and bolted to the bus when it got there...I'm sure the guys will never let me forget this one!

After that adventure, we decided it was time to start heading out. We left through the back gate, which allowed us to go up in a historic lookout tower and view another part of the canyon. By this time the temperature had raised up to 70 and the rain had stopped, which was great for us!

Overall, the day was wonderful. We've come up with a better plan of attack for the next time we go so that we can get in the best hiking/least amount of crowds! We really wanted to hike down into the canyon, but it's typically 20-30 degrees hotter inside the canyon, and we just didn't think that was the greatest idea...

On the way back, we got to watch a cool lightning storm as well as see a true forest fire, which, while completely dangerous, was sort of beautiful at night.

Monday morning we swam in the pool and just hung out together, and Brian and I hit the road around 12:30. It was an incredible, relaxing weekend which we both needed! It's so nice to get out of town every now and again for a little refresher!

If you hung on to the end of this, congratulations...you deserve an award. But it was just so much fun I couldn't leave stories out!

30 June 2011

June Overview...

So first I must apologize for the long absence...life has been pretty good the past few weeks, but not much of anything "blog-worthy" has happened other than the everyday life things. I figured you probably don't want to hear that I've eaten spaghetti and mac'n'cheese for almost every meal while Brian's been gone...

Good news though: the boy is back! He got back this past Monday and I was super duper excited to see him! He was gone for the entire month of June, and for about 2 weeks of the past month, we haven't had any contact (they're not allowed to take their phones into the "box" with them...I'll explain...). In all honesty, the two weeks where we didn't get to talk went by faster than when we could; this is probably because I knew once we could talk, it was only a matter of days before he got home, which made me quite antsy! Matter of fact the day he got back, he had to stay at work for another hour or so and I was about to go crazy! First off, they said they'd be back between 7-9 in the morning...so you better believe I was showered and looking cute by 7am...mind you, I was so excited I could hardly sleep the night before, so when that "7-9 AM" window turned into more like "12-1 PM", I fell asleep for almost an hour--power nap, right? I literally was completely useless that morning; I tried to clean more and failed, I tried to read, watch TV, be on the computer, and nothing would keep my attention. I'm pretty sure I wandered around my apartment for the better part of the morning...seriously, I felt like it was our first date all over again-haha! I was just ready to have him home!

According to Brian, their time at NTC went really well; his company (about 135 guys) and his platoon (about 40 guys, which he's in charge of) did really well with all of the tasks they were given. This was meant to be as close to real-life combat as possible, and he feels like they got in a lot of quality training time, which is awesome! He's glad to be back though to an actual bed and things like cold beer :) And my cooking, of course! Haha! While I'm no Paula Dean, I'll wager to bet I'm better than MRE's...

While he was gone, I filled my month up with some "projects" that needed to get accomplished before he got back, and for the most part, I got them done! My biggest one (other than applying for jobs) was to go through all of my undergrad/graduate course work, notebooks, and textbooks and decide what could stay and what could go. I had something like 4-5 good sized boxes full of school stuff that I had stuffed away for a later date, and I finally decided it was time to get tough and start tossing things.

To say I'm slightly nostalgic would be an understatement; I love to keep mementos (ticket stubs, brochures, etc.) from just about everything I do as well as about 1,487,230 pictures (most of which I have duplicates of from the time when "digital cameras" weren't invented...or rather cheap enough for a teenager...), as well as lots of other, well, things. I'm really trying to get better at paring down, and while I've improved, I still have what I call a "holding period" for certain items. If I can't throw it away immediately, it will usually stay in my little collection from anywhere from 2 months to a year before I can bid it adieu. I feel like a traitor if I throw it away too soon! Be assured that I am nowhere near being a hoarder...I think I just attached sentimental feelings to random objects...The good news is, a few friends of mine have helped me be a little more successful in scrapbooking, so I'm finding a home for many of these mementos! My definition of scrapbooking: pretty (cheap) paper, rubber cement, and a Sharpie to write down captions. Fancy, right? haha! Some of the girls I know are so good at it...I don't have the patience; I want the final product now! :)

In other realms of the past month I have been upping my running and working out with Dana. She's convinced me to do a full marathon with her (yes, we're crazy) this fall. It's called the "Marathon to Marathon"...there is a town called Marathon, TX, and basically you drive out 26.2 miles and then literally run a marathon to the town. Should be a blast! :) I'm actually looking forward to it; when is a better time to do this in my life? Even if I don't love the distance, at least I'll have done one and I will know how I feel about it, right? We've decided races are going to be our "deployment therapy", so we've already got two on the calendar (the marathon and then also the San Antonio 1/2 marathon) and I know we'll add more for the spring! We're going to make t-shirts and everything...aren't we cool? haha! And at least it'll keep us in shape so that we can be hot little mamas for the boys when they get back :) Their "prize" for all their hard work...haha!

We also spent a lot of time this past month hanging out with some awesome wives; it was really fun to get to know some of them better and it makes me excited to know that we'll have a good support system once the guys leave. It's so much easier knowing they too are eating spaghetti every night because it's too much of a hassle to make full dinners for one person...so we often have potlucks!

This 4th of July weekend we're headed out to Arizona to see our good friends Paul and Foster! We're going to go to the Grand Canyon and I AM SO EXCITED!!! I know it's going to be hotter than blazes but I honestly do not care! We'll cool off the next day because we're going to do a float trip on a river...gotta pack the 100 SPF for darling Brian, our resident lobster. Maybe I should buy him a swim shirt-he would love that.

So, look forward to an exciting post/pictures next week! Hope everyone is doing great!

16 June 2011

"7 Women & 2 Infants" Moving Company!

 So today I was reminded about another reason I love this Army life! Since we've moved here, we've helped two friends move on-post, which is super exciting since the on-post housing is awesome. And we've got a few more on this list to help move in the near future!

Today it was Jessica's turn! We arrived bright and early and helped her pack up numerous rooms in her house, load up the cars, and head across town...all without the boys' help. And two infants in tow :) With a super poopy diaper explosion. Yep, motherhood can probably wait for me :)

It's just hilarious and so fun to me when all of "the girls" take care of business while the guys are working hard for us and the country!

And to boot, we were all matching. We totally looked like a legit moving crew! So, should you need moving help and/or advice, we've got lists for you! And then we successfully caravaned 6 cars about 10 miles...simply amazing :) Go girls go!

14 June 2011

Another Warden Wedding!

Since I cannot seem to sleep, I figured now was as good a time as any to blog about this past weekend! My baby brother got married in Memphis to the lovely Lindsay Sistrunk and boy, did we have a good time! The past two trips home since I've been in El Paso have followed the same  pattern: 90 miles an hour, staying up so late I thought I was still in college, seeing tons of friends and family, and losing (or partially losing) my voice...

It seems logical to start from the beginning, so here goes! My flight left bright and early at 6 AM Wednesday morning. I was so excited, I only got about 3.5 hours of sleep the night before. This was also probably because I was afraid I wouldn't wake up since Brian wasn't also getting up with me! 3:30 AM is a common wake-up call for him...gross! So I be-bopped down to the airport and was in Huntsville by noon, headed to Casa Blanca, claro :) That afternoon mom, Emily, and I managed to squeeze in a little shopping followed my last minute details for the rehearsal dinner. This is the first time to be on the groom's side of things for me! We headed out to Memphis Thursday morning and Em and I got to spend a lot of car time talking, catching up, and jamming out, of course. After meeting up with Clay, Linds, and Chelsea (another bridesmaid) for lunch, we picked up the tuxes and headed downtown! Lindsay's mom has worked for the Peabody for the last 20+ years, so we got the hook-up for this wedding weekend!

Before the craziness started, my family and Lindsay's family went to Pete and Sam's, a delicious Italian restuarant where you can brown bag in your own wine...love it! Reminds me of City Bagel :) It was such a nice time just getting to talk before all of the guests arrived for the weekend! Afterwards we had a "Warden hotel party"...our family had arrived from out of town and we ended the night telling stories, laughing raucously, and having a few drinks--a great time with the family!

Friday kicked off all of the wedding fesitivies. We had a super fun bridesmaid brunch which ended up with us laying out by the pool...my kind of fun! That afternoon, two of my best friends from home, Erin and Katie, got into town! We headed off to the rehearsal at First Pres and realized that only parts of this incredibly old and gorgeous church are air-conditioned...whew, it was a little hot! But I have to say, it was one of the smoothest rehearsals I've ever been to! I usually get scolded for talking/laughing too much...typical.
We had the rehearsal dinner at "The Arcade", a fun 50's-themed diner near downtown. They served classic American food and a Elvis favorite, fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches--delish. In typical Warden fashion, the rehearsal dinner turned itself into a party as well...ha! It was so much fun to catch up with all of our old friends from MSU and home! I got to see some people I haven't seen since our wedding or before, and I was so thrilled! But of course the party couldn't end there! Our cousins had never been to Beale St. before, so we took them out and about to show them all that Beale offers :) It was a fun night and my head hit the pillow waaaay later than I had anticipated!

Wedding day arrived and for once, I didn't have something to do early on Saturday! We had a big family lunch at Rendevouz (spelling?), complete with ribs, coleslaw, beans, and super sweet tea! Oh how I miss sugar-ladened sweet tea! This was a new experience for most of us...I've never had dry rub ribs before! Sorry Memphis, but I think I prefer them sopping wet with sauce!

From there, we headed to the church to start primping and taking pictures! The church was gorgeous; I wish I had taken more pictures inside! I thought it would be weird to watch Clay get married (they're younger than me...they're supposed to stay little! haha!) but the day went perfectly! We spent our time getting Linds and ourselves ready, steaming dresses, and trying to keep our dresses taped up, which wasn't working so well with our sweaty bodies! Unfortunately the day was  pretty hot...it was one of those "low heat" days, where the humid air is sort of oppressive...we discovered why after the ceremony when a massive downpour ensued! The ceremony was beautiful; I had a perfect view of my favorite part: watching the bride come down the aisle. Eric, my brother-in-law, was my escort; a fitting replacement for Brian :)

During the ceremony, we heard a huge crack of thunder and a low laugh went throughout the congregation...everyone was probably thinking, "great, I definitely did not bring in my umbrella"...and dear old Emily was thinking, "oh crap...left my sunroof open...". The clouds did make the sanctuary have a very romantic feel and the candles enhanced that. Joey, our college minister, did the ceremony and it was wonderful-I loved being able to hear him speak another time.

Thankfully, the church had a covered carport, so we were able to load cars without getting too wet...Emily sacrificed herself and made a run for her car...her curly hair recovers better from rain, but we can't say the same for the dress--it was pretty wet! The reception was in two of the Peabody's halls, and they looked gorgeous! Once everyone got there and dried off, the party started! The food was amazing and I was able to walk around and catch up with tons of people I haven't seen in forever! I was so happy at one point I almost started crying. I went to the bathroom just in case I did start crying...ha! I'm so ridiculous. Finally I realized I should eat...oh. my. gosh. The food was amazing. And the butter was in the shape of ducks, naturally! Not long after the cake-smash, we hit the dance floor! Most of us girls decided to ditch our shoes...maybe not the best decision! I have some serious bruises from my feet being crunched by groomsmen's shoes! And not to mention a few glass shards from broken bottles...we had a lot of party fouls that night! In case you see pictures and wonder about all of the Elvis glasses people had on, those were part of the table decorations from the rehearsal dinner that we all brought to the reception! There is also a "party hat" that rotated heads throughout the night...it was at our wedding too and has been at many subsequent events...no telling how many people have worn it!

We were a sweaty, dancing mess after just a few songs but that did not stop us! We have such a fun bunch of family, friends, and relatives that will dance the entire night! Something I cannot understand though: why do banquet halls/reception places always take up the water glasses? I can't tell you how thirsty we all were! So I just started visiting empty tables and taking swigs out of glasses that appeared totally full...at that point, I did not care! When it came time for the garter/bouquet toss, Clay's guys pulled a great one on him...He and his buddies, mainly the frisbee guys, have been "icing" each other for who knows how long. Well, one of Clay's friends distracted Clay while Drew, another friend, slipped a Smirnoff Ice under Lindsay's skirt. Clay knelt down to get the garter, and discovered the Ice....hilarity ensued. It was so funny--his face was priceless! So after sucessfully getting the garter, he managed to drink it, with all the guys surrounding him and laughing hysterically. So funny!

The mothers of the bride and groom also had some "spotlight" time during the evening. My mom's name is Sally, and so her signature song is "Mustang Sally"...well someone made sure it was dedicated to her and she danced in the middle of a circle during the entire song, rotating partners from Clay, Lindsay, Dad, and more. Lindsay's mom took over the mike on "Don't Stop Believin'" and sang the entire song--too funny! And then my sister impressed us all with her "stanky leg"...hilarious! I have video evidence :)

Another funny thing from the evening: I cannot tell you how many people thought Eric (my brother-in-law), was actually my husband! There were a lot of folks there that night that have only met/seen him once or twice, and they do look a lot alike! It was so funny..."Rebecca, where's Brian? I saw him earlier"..."Actually, that's not Brian..." Instead Paul was my faux-husband/dance partner! I basically danced around to various friends and family throughout the night-I imagine we all probably burned about 3,000 calories! Which made plenty of room for cake...

Finally it was time to bid them good night, so they left the room and...headed to the elevator-ha! They stayed in the "Romeo and Juliet" suite in the Peabody--the room even had a balcony overlooking a living room-it was so cool! We continued the party until midnight and then, once again, headed to Beale St. As we waited for everyone to meet us in the lobby, we saw 4 different brides and grooms come in together, and of course we all cheered them onto the elevator...poor things.

We headed home on Sunday and then I flew out on Monday afternoon--it was a wonderful trip! But on average I think we got about 5-6 hours of sleep a night for 3 nights in a row...which doesn't sound so bad but when coupled with how busy the days were, it got to be exhausting! The only way Emmie and I stayed awake on the way home was blasting fun music and drinking caffeine! And since then, I can't seem to catch up/get regulated with my sleep schedule! I slept a ton Sunday night and last night I got 11 hours of sleep, and 3 hours after I woke up, I accidentally took a 3 hour nap...whoops! I think now I'm back on track though :)

Overall, we had so much fun! It was so fun being home and seeing so many people! I still don't have voice hardly; we sang our lungs out during the reception and when you add that to tons of talking, I don't have much left in me!

Surprisingly though, when we flew into El Paso and I saw the mountains, I had a sense of home sweep over me...maybe this place is starting to feel more like home to me! Although we're supposed to get over 105 degrees tomorrow and my poor air conditioning just can't keep up...think I'm going to live in the pool! I'm sure I'll have more memories come to me over the next few days from the wedding weekend, but this is a pretty good outline of all the fun that was had!

06 June 2011

Happy Birthday to Brian!

Today is Brian's 25th birthday! Since he's not here to celebrate I thought I'd honor him with a lovely blog post. He'll probably never see it though, considering he doesn't really read this...but that's ok :) Now you all know!

He headed out for NTC on  Friday, and according to him, today things are going to pick up as they get ready to go to "the box" this weekend. They'll spend this week prepping their gear, going over missions, and more, and then they'll spend the next two weeks "in the box"...which means, they'll be spending the time in a replica Afghani town, complete with townspeople, foreigners, and the like. They'll get to experience what daily life will be like in an Afghani village; eat their food, talk with their leaders, and do combat missions. I can't wait to hear about it when he gets back! Thankfully Brian will eat just about anything, and he's found that he kind of likes Afghani food and he really loves their chai tea...I think he's addicted to it, he likes it that much! :)

We celebrated his birthday last week, going out to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, having sherbert instead of cake, and opening presents!  

So, happy 25th birthday to Brian!...you're officially old ;)

Birthday boy!
I made him take this picture...it was his first day of IBOLC back at Ft. Benning :)
 He was thrilled, let me tell ya ;)

Hope you all have had a wonderful start to your June!