Friday, April 30, 2010

blog fog

I made up that phrase at 9:15pm last night, as I was falling asleep. Shortly thereafter, I determined that I am a boring for going to bed that early.

Anyway, I haven't blogged in a few days because I've been a funk. That's what my parents always called bad moods when we were growing up - not the angry kind of bad mood, but the "blah" kind of bad mood. But I've been in a funk because I've felt like the end of OCS is close, but not close enough, and I just feel anxious all the time. And as I was writing Andrew a letter earlier this week, I realized that the feeling I have is that this is permanent. Like I'll forever be in a state of "almost" but never really finished. Does that make sense? And then, I get a letter today from Andrew, dated a week ago and he says "I feel like we're pretending to be married, like this is never going to end. I know it will end, but in the moment it feels so permanent." Hello, man after my own heart.

So then I started reading Donald Miller's new book, A Thousand Miles in a Million Years. I've had it for months, but only started reading it this week. Then Martha emails me the next day and says "hey, I just finished Donald Miller's book and it is so good!" Do you see the trend here?

Basically, I decided to shake off my funk. A few bubble baths and one long conversation with the boy later, and I think I might be back on track. Then I read something in my book. He was talking about observing a friend hold her baby girl for the first time, and he says:
It was as though having a baby made all the fairy tales come true for her, as though she were a painter who discovered a color all new to the world. I can imagine what kind of conversation God and Danielle will have, how she'll sit and tell God the favorite parts of the story he gave her. You get a feeling when you look back on life that that's all God really wants from us, to live inside a body he made and enjoy the story and bond with us through the experience.
First of all, Donald Miller's writing style speaks to my soul more than any other author. It's so simple, but it's so profound and I find myself wondering why it had always been so difficult for me to put it all into words. Second of all, this is exactly what my heart has been trying to figure out for the last several weeks. It is not about waiting through the current moment to get somewhere good. It is most definitely not about feeling trapped in a moment because it's not moving quickly enough toward a better one. It is about taking the story that God wrote for me and getting lost in it, no matter how it reads.

The good thing is, time allowed me to talk through that with Andrew tonight. Things are a lot clearer when you can talk it out with your BFF, no?

So while this time is hard and I want nothing more than for it to pass quickly, I will most definitely not wish it away. Nope. That's just not my style.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

fancy pants jewelry organizer

That's my latest craft. I decided that my bulletin board with push pins needed an upgrade. My goal: something a little classier, that wasn't so hard on the eyes.

I started with some cork board, a cheap poster frame from WalMart, scrap fabric and pretty ribbon, picture hanging hooks and some decorative pushpins. I ended up with this:

Then I finished it off with all my bling, to look like this:

And here's my little craft helper. AKA sniffer of anything I have in the floor.

Oh, those puppy eyes. So cute.

Monday, April 26, 2010

about my new crush

His name is Andrew. I believe you've heard of him?

The phone lines parted long enough yesterday afternoon for us to talk for ONE FULL HOUR. It was like the olden days, when we could carry on a conversation about anything and everything, being shocked at how the time had ticked by so quickly. And it was such a relief to know that after all this, we can still do that. When he called tonight, I told him that all day I've felt like I had a new boyfriend. He liked that. It's true, though. I have a crush on my husband.

And in true Andrew-update form, here are some highlights from our conversation:
  • He's getting his wisdom teeth removed on May 21st. His dentist said they aren't that bad and they don't think it'll take more than a day or so to recover. If only I could go up and take care of him for the weekend!
  • I have been instructed to organize a tour of restaurants for his return. Some are specific to the triangle (Caffe Luna, Rue Cler, Baby Moon Cafe) and some are chains (Chick-fil-a, Bojangles, Cracker Barrell), but all of them are on his list for a specific reason. He wants to go to the Bojangles on 15-501, because that's where we would eat after church. He wants to go to Caffe Luna, because that's where we went for Valentine's Day this year. He wants to go to the Chick-fil-a in Summerville, SC, because that's the trip that started the Navy talk. Who knew my husband could be sentimental?
  • I have also been instructed to plan a trip for us to take shortly after he gets back. The only criteria is that it must have good food. He said that when he's trying to get through a moment or series of moments at OCS, he thinks about me and food. To which I replied, "so nothing has changed, then?"
  • He made a 99 on his quiz today. I knew he was smart, but seriously...he's SMART.
  • In 10 days, he'll be a Candio and will be able to eat whatever he wants (with a fork and knife!) and have his cell phone. Along with a bunch of other privileges, but that's what he's the most excited about. Speaking of which, I should start assembling the care package...
I can maybe see a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. One month from today, I'll be in Newport, hopefully enjoying dinner with the almost-officer. Oh boy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

a weekend at home

When Andrew was here, we would often go through spurts of lots of weekend travel. By the fourth or fifth week, we were anxious for some downtime at home. It appears that this habit continues (even when he's not around) and while I'm desperate for distractions, I still need some time at my very own house in my very own bed.

Thankfully, that came this weekend, complete with gloomy rain. That's the best kind.

I spent my Friday evening cleaning (don't judge me, it's not as sad and pathetic as it sounds) and then I picked up a burger from Chili's and watched Julie & Julia. It's not the first time I've seen that movie, nor is it the first time that it's made me look into culinary school.

On Saturday, I had a shopping date with Laura (the sister-in-law) to find a dress for Hi Moms. It was a success, since we found a dress on clearance and a lot of other things that I would consider really good finds. I'm not going to show you a picture of the dress, because it looks funny on the model and you might pre-judge it before you see it on me. Just know that it's from White House Black Market and is very adorable.

Saturday night included dinner with my family in Youngsville, to celebrate Tyler's birthday. It's something I'm always eager to enjoy, but having them around for the last several weeks has made me especially grateful. And there was steak, which always makes things better.

That brings me to today, Sunday. I've been on an email date with the boy this morning. I'm currently still in my pajamas, watching the Food Network. If I got in the shower, I might miss prime Andrew time, so I'm waiting for him to depart for lunch before I go doing anything crazy like that.

Later, I might go searching for some shoes to complete my outfit and I think I'd like to do some sewing.

I am in love with weekends like these.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

how to get super relaxed

It's a 10-step process. Are you ready?
  1. Leave work at 2:30 for a "business meeting."
  2. Sit outside with a glass of wine for an hour, discussing advertising objectives for 2011.
  3. Change into a yummy bathrobe, get ready for your hour-long Swedish massage.
  4. Think about something else while she works out the knots in your shoulders and neck, so as not to ruin the experience.
  5. Stay in yummy bathrobe while you sit in the lounge and catch up with colleagues.
  6. Drive home, with the radio off.
  7. Take a bubble bath, with Edwin McCain playing on Pandora.
  8. Eat a baked potato for dinner.
  9. Watch the Wedding Planner on TV.
  10. Stay wrapped up in your favorite blanket until you decide that no, 9:30 is not to early to go to bed.
Maybe I'm bragging. Okay, fine. I'm bragging. But would YOU turn this down if given the opportunity? And would you keep it to yourself?

I didn't think so.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

the list

It's time to revisit it, don't you think? Remember the mega list I made before Andrew left - my dream sheet of all the things I had planned to pass the time? Let's see where I've ended up, now that we're over half way there...
  • Organize/set up/use my craft room. CHECK
  • Don't give up on jewelry making, even though Impatient Page wants me to. I'm getting there. It's actually on my list for this weekend.
  • Sew comforter for newly designed Charleston bedroom. Plan B, since I discovered that the fabric is not washing machine friendly, is to find a cheap duvet cover. In progress...
  • Sew curtains and headboard cover for newly designed Charleston guest bedroom (taking reservations now for future guests) Nada.
  • Take up journal making (it's looking like I'm going to have enough stuff to get my own table at the market in Charleston!) I've made one...CHECK!
  • Learn how to cook for one and enjoy food that Andrew could do without (i.e. pasta salad) CHECK. I've consumed a lot of chicken nuggets and pasta.
  • Develop some sort of exercise routine using the rowing machine, my pilates mat and TWC exercise on demand channel. CHECK.
  • Study, study, study the Bible - if I don't look at this time as an opportunity to learn and grow, I think I might be missing a major blessing. Always room for more, don't you think?
  • Stay with my precious grandparents in Black Mountain. CHECK.
  • Girls' weekend with Aunt Rita. + Nanny, Mom and Mir. CHECK!
  • Maybe visit Anne I in DC? I think I may have just invited myself, Aunt Anne! Not yet!
  • Day trip to the beach with Mom if it gets warmer. Waiting for the warm part.
  • Lots of day trips to Youngsville so Rudy can play with Uncle Jake. Not as many as I'd like.
  • Dinner with Grandma C. CHECK.
  • Martha? Meet me half way? If only...
  • Warsaw, so Nanny Johnson can teach me how to make sugar cookies. And biscuits. And creamed corn. I'm waiting on a free weekend!
  • IKEA, duh. Oh yes.
  • Concord craft weekend! CHECK CHECK!
  • Girls night/day with some work friends (note: transform living room into craft central; make snacks!) CHECK.
  • Take Rudy to the dog park. Does day camp count?
  • Watch A LOT of girl movies - Netflix is going to love me. Definitely yes.
  • Maybe babysit some sweet cousins in Clayton? Not yet!
  • Make some oatmeal cookies, just because. Hey, I forgot about this one...
  • Watch Dancing with the Stars, 24, What Not to Wear and a lot of Food Network. Duh.
  • Find a place to live in Charleston - and daydream about it. I definitely have a list of potentials.
  • Start looking for a job in Charleston. My professional resume-writing aunt is working on mine as we speak. Thanks, Mir!
  • Write my sweetie lots of letters. Every day.
  • Take care of Rudy, who will be devastated/heartbroken when Andrew leaves. CHECK. And he's taking care of me as well.
Not bad, if I do say so myself. Let's see what I can knock out in the next 5 weeks...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

i blogged too soon

He DID call :) There was a class meeting during phone time, so he was allowed a quick call to tell me that he passed his midterm today. About half the class failed - it was apparently a doozy. The bad news is, the class got beat pretty hard by the DI, so he's wet (from a little diddy with running water, courtesy of the DI) and exhausted. But he passed. One more to go.

And if I may brag, he tied for the highest score on Friday's midterm and scored 10 points higher than the class average on yesterday's test. True story.

I'm so proud of you, smarty pants. Keep it up - then hurry up and get on home.

day 45: updates on the boy

It's been a while since I've posted an in-depth update and I'm sure you're all just dying for the details. I'm currently sitting on the couch, passing the time with a rerun of Friends, daring my phone to ring. This is my nightly routine, between 6:30 and 7pm, when Andrew has phone privileges. I think I lose a few years of my life each time.

Anyway, here's how we're doing...
  • In 16 days, he'll be a Candio (Candidate Officer). This is when he gets more privileges (including his cell phone!) and will be in charge of helping with OCS Class 18-10. From the OCS Survival Guide:
The Candidate Officer phase of your training is to instill leadership skills. You will be assigned a billet (job), which you are responsible for. This is the period where you can finally attend to personal matters. Libery begins at 1830 (assuming your duties are taken care of). You are considered junior staff at Officer Training Command Newport. With it comes many perks, but also a great deal of responsibility. Your class is responsible for the day-to-day running of OCS. You are ultimately responsible for the junior classes. Remember what other Candios did for you and your class. Try to remember what was done well and what could have been done better. It is now your responsibility to take care of the other classes. Above all else, enjoy this time. You've earned it.
  • Right now, Andrew's getting through midterms. He passed the first two with flying colors, had the third today and has the final one tomorrow. The classes are Sea Power (Naval History), Naval Operations and Seamanship, Navigation and Engineering. And if you know the boy like I do, you know these are right up his alley.
  • For the most part, we've been able to talk every night for the last two weeks, even if only for a few minutes. We talk several times over the weekend, since he has extended phone times, and he also has email privileges on Sundays. I love the email time - the last two Sundays we've spent all morning and most of the afternoon emailing back and forth. It's a different way to spend the day together, but I'll take it.
  • He still seems to be doing really well. Of course, he's ready for this to be over, but he has a great attitude about it. After a particularly rough day last week, he said, "No matter what happens, I have a good life." If you only knew what a blessing it is to have a husband with that attitude. It makes the wife worry so much less!
  • So what's next? Wrap up midterms, another PFA, another uniform inspection, drill competition, finals and then the Candio phase. Once he's a Candio, there are only 3 weeks left!
And that's about it. Questions? Concerns? He didn't call tonight. Since he's in the middle of midterms, I didn't expect much. I heard whisperings of study sessions going on about this time, so I imagine that's where he is. I look forward to the cell phone days when a simple text message will keep me alive. But really, I'm looking forward to graduation weekend when I can see the handsome thing in his summer whites.

36 days, folks. THIRTY SIX DAYS.

Monday, April 19, 2010

homey things

I had another girls weekend, only this time it was with my fabulous mother-in-law and sister-in-law. The project? Redecorate Andrew's old bedroom so that it's a little less 14-year old boy, but still has the Andrew vibe. Basically, we just needed to preserve all of the artifacts he's collected throughout the years, but take down the Michael Jordan posters. After a rather successful trip to IKEA, all parties were pleased. I even emailed Andrew a picture of the finished product and got his thumbs up during our email exchange on Sunday.

But clearly, any trip to IKEA leads to master plans of redecoration for any gal, especially this one who is about to have the blank canvas that comes with moving. So here's our plan: take all of the furniture and bed linens from our bedroom and use it in a real life guest bedroom. It will be very Charleston-esque, in colors of marigold and brown and something akin to steamed milk. And there will always be fresh flowers on the nightstand for the guests we have. My mom always did that when I came home during college and it's the most inviting thing in the world. You're going to love it.

But all of this means that we get to redo our own bedroom. First things first: buy a grown-up bedroom suite. Then comes the fun part. I found my inspiration piece back in January - a beautiful fabric called Asian Willow Sage. I came across it the day I got my sewing machine and was with my MIL getting all the goodies to go with it. It was one of those rare moments when I knew I'd regret leaving the store without it. So with no idea how I would use it, I got several yards. We'll see how it manifests itself in our new room, but here's the direction I want to take it...

I don't know about you, but this makes me feel happy and relaxed. That should be your aim when decorating a bedroom, no? I can't wait to see it in real life and share the pictures so you can be jealous. Not really, but I will brag. I just have to.

Friday, April 16, 2010

girls weekend!

Last weekend, I went with my mom, grandmother and two aunts to spend the weekend in Charleston. We had such a great time and I am so thankful for these women! We did the usual eating and shopping and spa-ing (all of the things that make a girls weekend great) and we stayed up late talking and laughing until we couldn't breathe. Perfect.

Here's the recap in pictures. And if you see a really good one, it was probably taken by Mir when she took charge of my camera.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

ORLP? Check.

I just got another sweet phone call from Andrew and he passed ORLP this morning. Praise God for that, because there was some serious anxiety over the situation.

He has one midterm tomorrow and a few others next week, then things will slow down a bit until another PFA and one final inspection. Then finals. I know it doesn't sound like things are slowing down, but the worst really is over. When I talked to him tonight, he said he feels like he's almost done even though he's really only half way there. But in 21 days, he'll be a Candio (when he'll get his cell phone!) and 21 days from then, he'll be graduating. I really can see the light at the end of the tunnel. True story.

He's in great spirits, which does more for me that anything, and is looking forward to our celebratory graduation dinner at this cute little place I found in Newport. I've actually been lucky enough to talk to him every night for the last week and he is still my amazing husband. Even telling me about the horrible things he's enduring, I can hear in his voice that he's still Andrew.

God is so good. I'm seeing that more and more.

the many ways to count the days

I started having anxiety today, wondering if I write too much about Andrew and the Navy. Maybe I should write about the exciting things that Rudy and I have been doing? Only, you people came for the good stuff…the Andrew updates. And Rudy and I haven’t been doing anything exciting. When we do, I’ll be sure to share, but until then you’re stuck with the Andrew Show.

I realized yesterday that I have several interesting ways of counting down to Andrew’s graduation. When we were engaged and living apart, only seeing each other on the weekends, I always told Andrew on Wednesdays, “Tomorrow, I can say ‘I’ll see you tomorrow.’” Clever, I know. It just made the time feel shorter. Here’s what I have for our current stint apart:
  • There are six weeks left, which is the same amount of time between spring break and finals and that ALWAYS went by fast.
  • There are 6 more days of Sunday email correspondence until…
  • I will change my sheets 3 more times (is that gross?) until…
  • When the stack of envelopes on beside my bed runs out, graduation will be in 23 days.

So basically, it’s not that much time left. Fingers crossed, no one adds any weeks to that countdown.

In other news, I’m having a fun weekend in Concord which will include redecorating and IKEA. Always a plus. Charleston pics coming soon.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

it happened on a plane

I know I owe you an update on Charleston. In short, it was wonderful. Once I've had the time to download the pictures, I'll tell you all about it.

I also have a quick Andrew update: he passed the mid-PFA yesterday, but failed the first round of ORLP this morning. He's feeling confident about the retake, but keep him in your prayers. Odds are he'll pass the second round, but nothing is guaranteed. Of course, I'll keep you posted on all the goodness and anxiety that is OCS, but for now I have a a story for you...

You know how I said last week that I'd been having a rough week? Well that carried into the weekend. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time in Charleston, but I didn't expect to be hit with that much nostalgia. The second we pulled into town, all I could think about was the anniversary trip Andrew and I took there last year. Every major landmark that makes Charleston the charming little city that it is, took me back to that weekend and made me ache for my husband. It was rough. I was blessed to be able to talk to him a handful of times throughout the weekend, which was helpful, but I was still feeling a little sad. And for whatever reason, it all came to a head on Sunday afternoon.

I had dropped off my aunt and mom and was making the last leg back home by myself. I don't know what set me off, but I cried the whole way home. And then all the way through lunch. And then through my phone call with Andrew. And then while I unpacked. No exaggeration, folks. I was a disaster. This really isn't like me - I'm a "cry it out" kind of person, where once I've had my short little cry, I'm cried out. I don't start back up again and it's rare that it lasts that long. So I went to bed with the world's worst headache and most swollen eyes and woke up at 5am to catch a flight to Columbus, OH for work. Needless to say, I wasn't in the best emotional state for the exhaustion that comes with traveling.

Stick with me, I have a point.

Fast forward to 6:45pm, when I was boarding the plane to come home. I had turned off my phone, partially in preparation for the flight and partially because I was afraid that if Andrew called, I'd get upset after I hung up and embarrass myself. As fate would have it, I needed to look up something in my email, so I turned on my phone for a second, only to find a voicemail from the boy. A sweet one saying that he knew I was probably on a plane, but he thought I'd enjoy hearing his voice when I landed. Boy, was he right. Except the tears came. AGAIN. This time, I was sitting beside this big, burly, sunburned bald guy, who I knew would just think I was ridiculous if he saw me crying, so I turned my head to the window. Only he started to talk to me anyway.

It turns out, he was a construction worker, from my hometown of all places, on his way back from Columbus. And instead of a big scary bald man, he turned into this sincere and sweet teddy bear-like object, who listened to me ramble on about my husband. AND he used to be in the Navy. Divine intervention all over the place...

We had a great conversation about the Navy and faith and how the two work together and he said, "You know, I really believe that you only need two things to get you through this life: the love in your heart and the God of the Earth. And it sounds like you have both, so I think you'll be just fine." Thank you, Mr. JD Construction Worker. All of a sudden, I realized that as much as I love and miss Andrew, the love that I have for him and the God that I know makes all of this, not only doable, but totally worth it. And all of a sudden, it didn't feel so desperate anymore. It felt like more like a calling - which is usually uncomfortable, but almost always fulfilling.

So today, though I'm exhausted from a fun weekend and travel and crying, I feel a lot more at peace with Andrew's absence than I was over the last week. Who knew that Jesus would speak to me through this unsuspecting traveller, but I'm thankful for it nonetheless.

And by the way...6 down, 6 to go. We're halfway there.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

7 weeks to go!

A few things that you might be interested to know…
  • Mid PFA is on Monday. This is the physical fitness assessment that they have to pass three times throughout OCS. Pray for him, will you? He had some issues with his form last time and “just barely passed.” Of course he only mentioned this after the fact because he didn’t want me to fret.
  • ORLP is on Tuesday. This is the same sort of inspection that he had last week, just dialed down a little and conducted by officers.
  • Academics have picked up and next week, if I’m not mistaken, brings midterms. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about how his tests have gone so far, but I’ve heard through the grapevine that they’re pretty challenging. I’m requesting a full write up of academics, including the types of tests and big evolutions he has coming up, in my Sunday email :)
I also heard that of the 50 that started in his company (Foxtrot) only 28 are left. And historically, only around 45% of the original class graduates on time. That turns my stomach upside down, but I’m praying that the worst is over and that things continue to go well from here on out. I plan to be on a plane in 48 days and I’d rather not tack on anything to that countdown if I don’t have to.
In other news…Charleston this weekend! The girls’ weekend will commence at 8am tomorrow and I. can’t. wait. The weather is supposed to be beautiful, we have spa appointments and a cooking class scheduled…maybe I’ll even find a dress for the Hi Moms dinner?
The last time we were in Charleston, we were celebrating our one year anniversary and we decided to look into the Navy. A lot can happen in a year, eh?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

if we're being honest...

This week has not been stellar. With the passing of RLP, comes the opportunity for more phone calls. With the opportunity comes the hope and without the call, there is disappointment.

For three nights, 7pm has come and gone without any phone calls. Others have gotten calls and some for the full 30 minutes, so I know it's not an issue of the lines being too long. So I started making stuff up. Here's what I have so far:
  • He lost his phone card
  • His phone card is broken
  • He got in trouble because I sent him the score of the Duke v. Butler game in the subject line of an email (he can only only and send email on Sundays)
  • He forgot my phone number
  • My phone is broken
All of these are completely ridiculous and I won't even bring up the thoughts I have deep, deep, deep down about how he doesn't want to call because I know those are even more ludicrous. And he would flip if he knew I was thinking them. But nevertheless, I decided that it's more torturous to NOT expect something and get surprised than to know there's a small possibility. Because no matter how much you tell yourself not to get your hopes up, it. does. not. work.

So what's a girl to do?

Shake it off! Once 7pm rolled around tonight, I decided it was time to a) turn on the lights because hello, no one can be happy sitting in a dark living room and b) take care of myself. My husband would demand it. And I'm pretty sure he did right before he left.

Here's what I'm doing (this is list mania tonight!):
  • I took a bath with my "optimism" bubble bath from Bath & Body Works. Not that I totally buy into that sort of thing, but it did smell good. There was also some Norah Jones involved.
  • I made a real (kind of) dinner. A BLT with no L or T, add avacado and ranch. BAR?
  • I've been saying some pretty candid prayers, because I know He's not threatened by my big questions or concerns.
  • I'm currently cozied up with my DVR.
So maybe it's nothing too exciting, but making the effort to do something other than sulk certainly lifted my spirits. Also, tomorrow marks 7 weeks until graduation. How did that happen so fast?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

good news all around

There's almost too much to remember! Short story? He passed RLP, I got two phone calls AND two emails this weekend! You can't even believe what it's done for my spirits to know that the worst is over and he's still in tact. He sounded incredible - the same Andrew I've loved for the last four years.

Here are some highlights from all of the communication I was blessed with:
  • He was in charge of RLP preparation for his class (Foxtrot) and they were told that they did better than any class in years. Yay!
  • They have email access now, which means that he can receive email all week and respond on Sundays.
  • They have the opportunity to call every day, but the window is small so depending on the line, it may not happen. But it's a big window on Sundays. He said to expect a call always on Sunday and hopefully, a few times during the week.
  • His bronchitis and sinus infection are finito - he said that getting sleep was just as medicinal as the antibiotic.
  • He feels like the weeks are going by faster and he's not having any second thoughts. Even though it's hard, he knows it's right.
  • They're getting more and more privileges now that they've left the Indoc phase and are officer candidates. Next up: forks and knives!
Needless to say, I've been beside myself today. Dare I say it's all downhill from here?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

no news

There are rumblings that between 20 and 30 people failed, but who know how true that is. Either way, Saturday brings a second chance and hopefully, good news from Andrew!

I'm leaving tomorrow to spend the weekend in Black Mountain, so you people will just have to wait until Sunday for an update. Lucky you :)

Happy Easter!
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