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!

01 June 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Hello blogworld and welcome to June...how is this possible? I can't believe it's June already!  We've now been in El Paso for 5 months...doesn't that mean it's time to move again? Ha!
The past few weeks here have been quite HOT. We're apparently going on around 115+ days of no rain, although we have a 30% chance of it today. I'm going to say that's not going to happen...sun is bright, not a cloud in the sky. I absolutely love the amount of sun we get here, but I think rain might help cool us off... A week or two ago, my friend Lucy came into town! Her fiance works with Brian, so we spent some time together while they were at work...which equated to lounging by the pool and talking for 5+ hours. It was so nice to lay out, soak in some sun, and have girl time, buuut...in true "Rebecca" fashion, and in my eagerness to get my first tan of the summer, I neglected to put on sunscreen with a respectable SPF. (In my mind, SPF 4 will do...). Well, I learned my lesson (for the 12th time in my life...). I was hot pink in quite a few areas. The El Paso sun is intense! Not to mention I'm 3,500ft. closer to the sun than usual-ha!

Well, the sunburn has subsided, which is great considering my brother is getting married in 10 days! Which is blowing my mind...I am so excited about seeing all my family and friends, but I know it's going to be a whirlwind of a weekend! I'm sure a lengthy blog post or two will be dedicated to this after I get back.

So onto this weekend! While with Army life there are lots of long hours/days, they do know how to do a holiday right. On federal holiday weekends, we not only get the holiday off, but also the Friday before or the Monday after off, resulting in a 4-day weekend! They totally deserve it. We did the math and realized Brian works a 12-14 hour day...everyday. So thankful for him! So in light of his long hours, we did Friday right: I subbed, he slept in and lounged all day! We capped the day off with Hangover II. Hilarious. If you go see if, make sure you shield your eyes for the pictures at the end...

Saturday we got up pretty early and went on a hike with our great friends Stuart and Dana. There is a ridgetop trail right behind our apartment that we decided we wanted to tackle. Roundtrip, it's about 7-8 miles, and normally, that wouldn't be too much of a task for us; Brian and Stuart spend large parts of their lives "hiking" around strapped down with heavy gear, and Dana and I are putting in some running miles, so we figured this shouldn't be too bad! But once again, the Southwest got the best of us. After spending 25 minutes climbing up the mountain (and feeling the burn in our calf muscles....) we reached the ridgeline trail. The wind blows constantly in El Paso, and up here on the top of the mountain it can get really gusty! Hiking up here is a little slow...you have a lot of careful stepping to do around cacti and rocks! Inevitably you get pricked a time or two by one of these little monsters. We had high hopes of making it all the way to the end and coming back again, but the sun started to get to us; we had started at 7:30, but it is probably in the 80s here by around 9 AM...and too, we also lost the trail.  Actually, it totally disappeared! We could see where it picked up again on the next mountain, but the only way we could get there (or so it seemed) was to climb down this super steep rock face, and we decided this was a little to treacherous for us! Especially once you see what the boys were carrying...All in all it was great hike, and we were pooped afterwards!

Sunday evening, Stuart, Dana, and our friends Ashley and Josh came over for dinner and games--so much fun!  We played this great game called "Funglish"; if you like word games, this one is for you! It's very similar to Taboo but with a fun twist. I think I turned my family off of this game over Christmas because I wanted to play it so much!

Brian and I have been celebrating his birthday this week since he is leaving tomorrow for California. His true birthday isn't until Monday, but since he won't be here we decided to deem this week "birthday week". Which means I'm graciously allowing him to watch "Civil War Week" on the History Channel...haha!

The past two days I've been helping Ashley and Josh move on-post, and it's getting me so excited about whenever we'll get to move there! The houses are almost brand new, and while they're pretty much builder-grade type houses, they're HUGE and clean! And they have laundry rooms. I am SO excited! Too bad we're still number 121 on the waiting list...patience.

While the guys are gone at NTC, a group of the wives from our brigade are doing a Bible study called "Tour of Duty", which is about preparing our hearts and minds for deployment. It starts today and I'm really excited about it! The author is a military wife and we're going to Skype with her at the end of the study-so cool!

Well, that is about all from El Paso! I'm getting so excited about going home next week! It'll be a good pick-me-up since Brian will have just left.  Here are some pictures from the past few weeks that I'll leave you with!

For our anniversary I decided to make our wedding cake. We already ate our topper...I figured it wouldn't make it through two moves...especially to the desert!

 Stuart and Dana on our hike!

See all the stuff the boys carried with them? I took full advantage and loaded Brian with some snacks and water :)

Our hallway...some of Brian's stuff for NTC. Notice how I said some...yes, there is more...