Thursday, May 27, 2010

greetings, from newport!

Here I sit in this empty church parking lot, hacking into someone’s wireless. Something about being on a military base makes me think that some Jack Bauer-like character is going to drop from the trees and tell me I’m doing something to violate national security. Let’s hope this doesn’t trigger that.

I’m here! First of all, it is beautiful. The weather is perfect and this town is so charming. I don’t want to forget a single second of this experience. In so many ways, it feels extremely surreal. When I saw Andrew for the first time, it was exactly how I expected it to be. I (of course) was in tears just waiting for him - before I even saw the handsome thing come walking across the grass in his uniform. Before he was even close enough for me to see the familiar lines of his face, I could tell that he was beaming. Which made me melt, duh. It was perfect. I stood there for several seconds, just taking it all in. It didn’t feel real. Or allowed. I kept thinking that at any minute, someone was going to run up and tell him that he did something horrible and he can’t graduate. OCS has a way of inducing stomach ulcers, taking away any bit of optimism I possess and overall, teaching me that hoping for anything will always lead to disappointment. It’s rather depressing.

I was able to spend a couple of hours with Andrew throughout the day, when I first got on base and again after dinner. We just sat on a bench in front of the cutest little church and “visited.” It felt very much like we were courting (leave enough room for the Holy Spirit!). But it was so nice to be able to carry on a conversation, uninterrupted, FACE-TO-FACE. He got to show me around, so I could have a visual for all I’ve been imagining over the last three months. He walked me through the first day, from the Candio dropping them off at the stairs at the main building to the chaos that ensued thereafter (and for the next several weeks). I’m so glad this is done – I can’t believe all that he’s been through. He kept saying, “You shouldn’t be here. This place is horrible, you don’t belong here.” I think his worlds were colliding, and two very different worlds they are.

Later this afternoon is PIR (pass in review) when the regiment is handed down and they are relieved of duty. Hi Moms is tonight (pics of our snazzy outfits coming later!) and graduation is first thing in the morning. Then he is done, sir, done. I think that’s one of about 500 new military phrases that are going to be introduced into my vocabulary.

Oh, what a sweet time it is. God is so faithful, no?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

the time has come

I cannot believe that I'm leaving in the morning to go see the boy. I was telling a friend of mine today that in a lot of ways, it feels like only a blink. But then I think back to certain benchmarks and I can't believe it's ONLY been three months. Just this week, I've noticed that my memories are starting to blur. I don't like it. There are times when I think of a moment when Andrew wasn't around and I can't figure out why he wouldn't have been there. And there are others when I can't figure out why he was there, only to realize that there was life before OCS. Believe it or not, our entire marriage has not (and will not) be spent separated by delayed letters and static-ridden pay phones.

Because my flight is at 6:45am (eeks), little Rudiger went to Sunny Acres to be boarded today. As much as he drives me nuts sometimes, I actually kind of miss him. This is the first time I've stayed alone without my guard dog. This morning, I told him that the next time I see him I'll be with Andrew. He had a tiny bit of hope in his eyes when I said that, but I think what he really wanted to say was, "Andrew is dead to me." It's okay, Rudy. Don't take it personally.

So, here we are. My bags are packed (I'm ready to go), my check list is all checked off, my flight and rental car early check-ins are both complete, my reading material is gathered and my stomach is in knots. Sounds about right.

Also, I have NO clue how I'm going to react when I see Andrew tomorrow. I think I might really just dissolve. And he'll have to keep his military bearing, so that should be interesting. "Hey, who's that Officer with the crazy crying lady? Why is he just standing there?" Let's hope it's a little more romantic than that. I go!! Pictures soon :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

summertime makeover

How is it? It's fitting, don't you think?

The closer we get to graduation, the more proud I am of that boy and the easier it is for me to go with him wherever he takes us. On our wedding day, I vowed to follow him as he followed God. It's easy to say that when you can't envision a life where one would be choosing paths that would force the other to come along without looking back. You see it more of a mutual journey. Not that this isn't, but you know what I mean. Who knew how I would be stretched to keep that promise, but I'm thankful that I was blessed with the challenge. There really is no one else I'd rather tag along with.

And here we go...

Friday, May 21, 2010

she works hard for the money

Today was my last day at McKinney. Kind of.

I started at McKinney 2+ years ago, fresh out of college and a new wife of just two weeks. I had no idea what I was doing, no idea how to have a real job and no idea what the real world was like. Fast forward to now and I have to say that I'm lucky to have found this place.

There were definitely days/nights/weekends/weeks/months where I was borderline miserable, only because I was so consumed by my work that I would have dreams about PowerPoint and Excel. There have been times when I'd go home just long enough to sleep, leaving Andrew to eat Malt-o-Meal (ew) for dinner. But I can say with certainty that when things were good, I really did love my job.

And the good news? I don't have to leave it. McKinney has agreed to let me stay on full time, working from Charleston. Obviously there are check points in place so that if either party isn't happy with the arrangement, we can deal with it appropriately, but I can't believe I landed this opportunity. I was almost so overwhelmed by the thought of having to find a job in Charleston that I just didn't want to do anything about it. Queue God and His quirky ways of blessing me when I don't deserve it. The reality is that if it weren't for that husband of mine, I wouldn't have a reason to leave, so this is really the perfect set up.

The downside is that I am absolutely a people person and I will SO miss the collaboration and conversation that I got to enjoy in the office. I loved being able to chat with a coworker for 10 minutes when my brain was strained from working on the same project all afternoon. Or having a friend to grab lunch with when I left mine on the kitchen counter. Or having someone to walk with when I wanted coffee in the morning. But I'm sure I'll back from time to time for various reasons (it's part of the deal) and I look forward to that.

For now, you can find me at the sunny Charleston branch. And you better believe I've been daydreaming about how to decorate.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

rudy the warrior

Today was a camp day for Rudy. He's usually a zombie when I pick him up and he's out for the rest of the evening. That's why I love it so much. So I opened the back door of the car, expecting him to fumble out and slouch to the house, eager to get to his bed in the living room. Instead, he darted across the yard (almost ripping my thumb off in the process) chasing after a rabbit that was hiding in the bushes.

Rudy the Warrior, Exhibit A.

I let him out in the backyard to do his business and called him in after a few minutes because I didn't want him traipsing around in the mud. Only he couldn't wait to go back outside. He just sat by the door and whined. Ok, fine. Back outside you go. I was curious to see what he wanted, so I watched him sniff at the base of his tree. The tree where he collects anything that he's found in the yard, so he knows where it is at all times. Then I watched him prance across the yard with a stick in his mouth. I smiled and thought, "That dog, so proud of his stick..."

Oh, but it was NOT a stick. It was, my friends, a squirrel.

Rudy killed a squirrel. Rudy the Warrior, Exhibit B.

After a minor freak-out, I called him to drop the squirrel at which point he looked up at me like, "What? I'm just playing with my squirrel." I called my dad who (while laughing hysterically) convinced me that yes, I needed to get it out of the yard because yes, Rudy would eat it. Or it would decompose. Neither of which I'm okay with. But we have no scoopers of that magnitude and I was paralyzed with fear over the thought of having to get some sort of towel or bag and actually FEEL the squirrel tail as I picked it up. I just now shivered thinking about it.

Lucky for me, my neighbor was playing basketball outside so I asked to borrow a shovel. And he promised not to tell my OTHER neighbor that I disposed of the squirrel in their backyard. It's wooded, they don't ever go back there and they'll never know it was me.

But if they do, I'll be gone in a few weeks anyway. Me, The Officer and The Exterminator...headed off into the sunset.

Monday, May 17, 2010

a chili kind of day

It has rained and rained and rained and rained and rained.

I know we need it. But it turns our back yard into a duck pond that Rudy likes to frolic in and then carry back into our house. The house that I have to keep clean for the realtor who is showing it to potential renters. But I'm not complaining, because we need it.

We are NINE DAYS away from Newport, people. Nine days. 11 days from graduation. I asked Andrew what he wanted to do after the ceremony and he said he wanted to take a nap. Fair enough. In the last week, he's fallen asleep mid-sentence, mid-text and mid-march. Yes, mid-march. He was marching to work off the last of his demerits and he fell asleep. Then, he dreamt that he was reaching out for something and when he woke up, he had his hand in the face of the guy leading the marches. He said he almost poked him in the eye. If that's not sleep deprivation, I don't know what is. If the boy wants a nap, he'll get a nap.

As I've written this, I decided that I want my chili to be taco soup. That's not too hard, right? Just switch up the seasonings a bit and use tortilla chips instead of crackers? Sounds good to me.

Also, I think this is the first time I've cooked something that wasn't frozen in at least a month. I better brush up before Andrew gets back or he's going to be super disappointed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

oh, hey friday

I love Fridays, but I especially love Fridays when that extra Friday-ish mood strikes, making it that much more enjoyable.

I was able to skip out of work early today, since all my clients were at an off-site and my boss was golfing. The realtor was showing our house (it's back up for rent) and Rudy was at camp (please don't judge me) so I decided to enjoy the afternoon solo. As an aside, can I just tell you how mom-like I felt debating whether or not to pick Rudy up early? This was the conversation in my head:
I could pick him up early, but he would really enjoy having the afternoon there. Besides, I really would enjoy the time to myself (like I don't have time to myself 80% of the day) and the longer he plays, the earlier he'll fall asleep tonight.
All you real moms out there, don't get your panties in a twist. I know that my ridiculous dog is nothing like a human child. But I still get tired of him like you do your own kids :)

So, as I was saying...I had the afternoon to myself. I left work just in time to get to Starbucks as they began their half-off frappuccino happy hour. Grande Carmel Frappuccino, coming right up. And what was beside the Starbucks, you ask? Oh, just a Hancock Fabric. How is it that I can come up with 327 projects just by wandering around there for an hour? I don't know, but I love it.

5pm rolled around, so I picked up the littlest Castrodale and headed home. Root beer float for dinner? Check. And week 2 of my photography class is all about shutter speed and aperture and ISO, all of which I still don't understand, so I practiced shooting the same potted plant 500 times to try and get the hang of it. We're getting there.

Now, I wait for the boy to call. I only have one more Friday night without him. I'm not sure how that happened so fast, but I'm glad it did. Come onnnnn, 12 more days!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

coming soon

Here's a random compilation of thoughts surrounding what I have coming down the blog pipe:
  • A new design: in honor of summer and Charleston and changes
  • A peek into some photos I've taken in my photography class (you didn't know I was taking a photography class, did you??)
  • A recap of some craftiness
  • Some thoughts on Navy life post-OCS
  • A few funny Andrew stories from the last week
  • My party plan for the welcome back/bon voyage extravaganza
For now, I don't feel like doing any of the above. I plan on getting a scoop of ice cream and catching up on some DVR instead.

And in case you were wondering...two weeks (that's 14 days) from this very minute, I'll be with that boy of mine. I bet you $5 I'll feel like this:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

craft room on-the-go

I'm not sure what inspired me, but I think it might have had something to do with my preppy new Navy wife friend and her awesome find. When other people craft/organize/do things I like, I want to do them, too. Immediately.

I set out on Sunday afternoon to find the essentials for a craft room in transit. Not because I'll be a traveling crafter, but because I'll be a mover who doesn't like to hammer nails in rented spaces.

The task: find ways to organize, set up and use the craft room that don't require installation or a state of permanence.

The Ingredients?

An inexpensive crate from Michaels, turned on its side so that the yarn threaded through the handle slots will hold the ribbon collection.

A vinyl wall hanging (en route from to inspire perseverance: Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort.

Cute containers from the clearance aisle. You see an impractical tea pot? Why, I see a scissor-holder.

I stole this from the aforementioned Make It- Love It blog. Dry erase markers write on glass just as well as they do on a dry erase board, so if you "frame" a piece of fabric, you get the same effect. But classier.

Lots and lots of potential. Stacked in a milk crate.

More potential, waiting for its owner to sew some sort of contraption with pockets so it will have a home.

I don't know where we're going to live when we get to Charleston, but it MUST have some place to put all of this. Otherwise, the effort would be all for naught. And we certainly can't have that...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

my mom is better than your mom

I really can't believe how blessed I am to have this lady as my mother. What a wonderful one she has been. In honor of mothers day (and my obsession with lists) here are some reasons why I love her:
  • She's the most selfless person I know. She would, hands down, rather do something for someone else rather than herself.
  • She's beautiful. Ever since I was a little girl, I can remember loving to watch her eyes when she smiled.
  • She has my sense of humor. When we're together, we just laugh and laugh and laugh. One of my favorite memories is of the Christmas break before Andrew and I got married. She and I were busy rearranging things to accommodate my move and all the gifts we'd been getting. Something set us off and we sat in the hallway for several minutes, paralyzed with laughter. Nothing's better, my friends.
  • She doesn't judge. You can tell this woman anything and she'll listen with open ears, not once making you feel exposed.
  • She loves HARD. Friends. Family. God. If she loves it, she's all in. If there's one thing she's taught me, it's that life isn't worth living any other way.
Happy Mothers Day, Mom. I'm glad you're mine.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

a wife of noble character, who can find?

Get ready. My horn? It's about to be tooted.

I reached ultimate wife status yesterday. As if open lines of communication with the boy weren't enough, let me just tell you about this conversation regarding the care package...
Me: Did you get your package?
Andrew: YES.
Me: Did you like everything in it?
Andrew: Page. I've been sharing with the guys and man, you are a hit.
What is it that Proverbs 31 says? She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. That's how you keep a group of boys happy, my lady friends. Works every time. Every. Time.

Also, can I take credit for the cake if the recipe isn't mine? I sure think so. If you disagree, maybe wait a few days to tell me. I'm enjoying this too much.

When I talked to Andrew last night, all he wanted to do was list all of his "firsts" for the day:
  • Walked outside, just to look around
  • Ate with his right hand
  • Ate with a fork
  • Wore his khakis (he sent me a picture of himself and WHOA, is he handsome!)
  • Listened to music
  • Watched a baseball game on the TV in the workout room

He also said that at breakfast/lunch, he felt so uncomfortable eating freely that he didn't enjoy it. He said he had this constant feeling of "I'm about to get in trouble." But it wore off by dinner and in addition to the standard meat and potatoes, he enjoyed 4 bananas and 13 pats of peanut butter. Yeah, that sounds about right...

He also said that the guys worked out in the staff gym, which comes equipped with a sterio and TVs. He was adorable: "Page, I got to watch the Red Sox game! And one of the guys put on 50 Cent! I feel like I'm in college."

Needless to say, he's enjoying his newfound freedom. He did say that it kind of feels too good to be true, like he's just waiting for his bubble to burst. I'm sure that's natural, but let's hope the next 3 weeks go smoothly.

And don't worry, he still misses me. I told him that I bet he was having so much fun that he forgot about his poor little wife back home on the farm, to which he so tenderly responded: "yeah right!"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I stole this from my lovely sister-in-law. Love you, boo.

It's a site that scans your blog and makes a word cloud out of all the text. Are you surprised by the results?

I think what I'm trying to say is that if I could JUST GET through the WEEKS to see ANDREW, I'll be GOOD.

Oh man...21 days from today, I'll be packing for a 9:30am flight the next day. And I'll be a crazy person, for sure. Woo hoo!

Monday, May 3, 2010

packages of care

Andrew's been gone 58 days. 8 weeks. 2 months.

Somewhere around day 13, I decided that when he was finally given the privilege of receiving care packages, I was going to make a Mississippi Mud. His fave. A recipe his mother inherited when she and her husband were engaged - a recipe that I have inherited to keep my husband just as happy as she's kept hers for the last 30+ years. He asked me for it weeks ago and he's been talking about it ever since. How could I not??

I wanted to add other stuff, too. I (seriously) have looked forward to putting this care package together for weeks. I have had trouble falling asleep at night wondering what to put in it. Out of control, I know. What can I say? I love the boy. And I adore speaking his love languages.

So, what made the cut? The cake, of course. Smuckers All Natural Peanut Butter, because I've watched him toil over many a jar, mixing it to the right consistency. A sacrifice worth making for good peanut butter. And because in the middle of the most depressing "I hate the food here" letter ever, he said: I just want a PB&J.

Then there's the chocolate-covered espresso beans from Trader Joe's. My husband, with a taste for all things bitter, keeps his little stash beside the couch for a post-dinner snack. Stick these in his stocking at Christmas and you're golden.

Keeping in the bitter theme, extra bold Espresso Roast coffee (a la Starbucks). He'll brew it strong, strong, strong and drink it black. I have to take over coffee-making duties when we have company, because he'll hurt their tummies without even thinking twice. He went on and on during one of our phone calls about smelling coffee from the Candio lounge a few weeks ago and I decided then that the boy needed some good coffee.

He also asked for his headphones so he can listen to Pandora on his iPhone. His wish is my command. And finally, forks. Because seriously, it's about time don't you think?

Tomorrow, the FedEx man will take this little package of care to my officer-to-be. And when he opens it, we'll be just 21 days away from seeing each other. 3 weeks. Less than a month.

Hallelujah for that.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

oh sunday

I wish you could see what I see right now. I spent the afternoon, after my morning email date with Andrew, cleaning the house. There are now two stacks of books/magazines on my coffee table. One includes the Donald Miller book I was telling you about and two Jodi Picoult books. The other includes a Southern Living magazine and two Charleston cookbooks. And beside the coffee table is the sweetest dog ever, munching on his newest Trader Joe's treat. In fact, he just tossed it far enough away that he has to get up to get it, so he's whining at it. When I said sweetest, I think I meant laziest.

This is my Sunday. This was my Sunday when the boy was here, so I think this is why Sundays have gotten the reputation of being the hardest day of the week for me. But today, a breakthrough: I haven't cried at all.

That's big news. I usually go the whole week, without crying and then catch up on Sunday. Not this week. I did a little bit of almost-crying at Chad's wedding last night, but that's only because he made me. Chad is the dear friend of ours who officiated our ceremony and played a gigantic role in counseling us while we were dating/engaged.

When I went to speak to him, he was asking about Andrew and he grabbed my hand and said, "You miss him, don't you?" That was the only excuse I needed to get all teary.

Anyway, the wedding was perfect in more ways than one, but I digress. Today has been good! I think it's because, if I squint, I can see the light at the end of the stupid tunnel. Wednesday, Andrew will be a Candio and he'll get his cellphone back. As if I wasn't already psychotic about having my cellphone nearby, the chance of a random text message will surely increase the crazy factor by a good amount.

My plan for the rest of the evening is to sit here, with the sunshine coming in and my Vanilla Lime candle burning, reading some very good books and maybe even watching a movie. And I might - watch out - cook a real dinner.

Happy Sunday.
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