Our journey throughout our first year of marriage and our second deployment.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eclipse Premiere!!

Last night I went to the midnight premiere of Twilight with my friends, Amanda and Melodie, and our little sisters! Tristen came up from Tulsa and it was wonderful having her here to watch the premiere with and just spend time with her! She really is the most hilarious person I know!! So, we went to Qdoba for dinner, got some snacks for the movie at Dollar Tree and then went to wait in line! We got there at around 8:30 PM and were pretty close up! It was so exciting!

We ate dinner, talked, and played Phase 10 to pass the time and it was an absolute blast!! Tristen got there at about 10:45 and then at 11:00, we all started standing up! They let us in MUCH earlier this time than they did at the New Moon premiere, which was great! So, at around 11:30, they opened the doors! :)
Tristen and I before going inside!

Amanda, her sister Kristy, Me, Tristen, Melodie, and her sister Christina

The movie was absolutely amazing! :) It was well worth the wait!! I can't wait to go back and see it again! David said something about us going to see it next week! :D So, I can't wait!!! Tristen got to spend the night and that was fun!

I felt bad because David had spent all day working (He has 2 days left of working at Lowe's) and then when he went home, Taco and Belle had gotten sick in their kennel and were all dirty, so he had to clean them and give them baths and then clean the kennel and he did laundry for us last night and to top it all off... our upstairs neighbors' hot water heater pipe burst and there is water flowing down the wall of our hallway with bubbles forming under the paint! :) We didn't get to bed until about 3 and they came this morning and started working on the pipe at 8... we were glad it was getting taken care of but COME ON!!! Good news- they're coming to clean the wall and repaint the entire wall... meaning our dining room wall gets taken care of! YAY!!! :) Excited for the fourth! I'm 2 classes and 2 exams away from a wonderful 4-day weekend filled with fun and family!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

In Honor Of Andrew Looney

Today, a dear man I had the honor of graduating with was remembered in my hometown!

Andrew Looney was 22 years old and graduated in the Spring of 2006. He joined the Army shortly after graduation and was deployed for his first tour in Iraq. During his tour, Andrew was injured and lost part of his foot. He recovered quickly and finished his tour, never drawing attention to the loss he suffered as he fought for his country. He then returned to Afghanistan for his second tour. On Monday, June 21st, Andrew, along with another soldier, were injured by a suicide bomber igniting his vest near them. Andrew died the next morning due to the injuries he sustained from the bomb.

Andrew received multiple awards, including the Purple Heart, for his ultimate sacrifice that he made for his country! He will be buried in the Arlington National Cemetery. His memorial is tonight in our hometown. It's amazing how a town can come together after a tragedy!

The Westboro Baptist "Church" has groups that travel around the country to Fallen Soldier's Memorials and they picket the funeral. It's disgusting and disturbing that one human being would do that to another. I can't imagine having to deal with the death of your son and then having a group of men, women, and children there to protest what your son died for. I understand that there is freedom of speech, but there is a line there that is inhumane to cross! THANKFULLY, there is a wonderful group known as Patriot Guards.

They travel to the funerals of Fallen Soldiers and show their support for the friends and family. When there are protestors, they strategically place themselves in front of them to block the family, loved ones, and media from seeing the negative signs and from hearing the nasty words. Thank goodness for these Patriot Guards! They allow us to focus on those who have given all they can for this country!
So, as we remember Andrew Looney and the wonderful life he shared with us, let's also remember the ULTIMATE Sacrifice that was made as Jesus gave his life for all of us! We all sin and without Him, we fall short! All of us! But God loved us and sent His Son so that we may be saved! Thank goodness for that! And Thank you Andrew Looney for your sacrifice! You are my hero and will always be loved and remembered! God bless you and your family and God bless America!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Lovely Weekend

After a few weeks of being sick, breaking toes, and dealing with other things, it was nice to just have a good weekend with nothing breaking or falling apart!! We spent Friday night just relaxing! Saturday, we got to sleep in before getting ready and going to Tulsa with Bri! David dropped us off at Liberty Church for our friends, Kayla and Adam Zachary's wedding! Kayla and I met at Liberty when we were babies and my family went to church there until I was 8 and we moved to Georgia. So, it was cool to go back to the church I grew up in after 15 years! It was great having Mom there to help me with names and faces! Kayla was breathtaking and the happiest most giddy bride I've ever seen! I cried throughout the ceremony, but that's normal! Haha! The reception was gorgeous too and it was wonderful to catch up with old friends and see everyone! Bri, Kayla, Lindsay and I were all on the same floor of WMU our freshman year and we suited together in Taylor our sophomore year! In the last year, Kayla, Lindsay and I have had our weddings and at each wedding, we take our Suitey picture! Lindsay was in Texas being a bridesmaid in another friend's wedding, so she wasn't able to be there, but Adam stepped in and took her place in our Suite picture!

Kayla's Wedding in June

Lindsay's Wedding in May

Our Wedding in August

We went to Owasso and spent some time hanging out with my family before going back to Tulsa to the mall. We dropped off my wedding ring to FINALLY get it soldered and then hit up the Semi Annual Sale at Victoria's Secret and getting rose salve and wall scents from Bath and Body! It was a ton of fun and I had a blast getting to spend the day with Bri! Today, I cleaned up the apartment and David had work. Esther and Caleb, David's sister and brother-in-law were out at Lake Carl Blackwell for their Army Family Day with his unit and were able to stop by and see our apartment and hang out for a little while! It was nice to have them here and we had a good time just talking and playing with Gabriel while Gideon ate and slept! A new week has started and after the last 2 weeks, I'm determined to make this one a successful one! Ready for the 4th of July!! Woo Hoo!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Rough Day...

I woke up from a terrible nightmare to a phone call. My Mom was quieter than normal when she asked if I knew Andrew Looney. Specialist Looney, who graduated from high school with me, was killed Tuesday from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. He was 22 years old. Today has just been rough. Having known someone who gave their life and then preparing to send my husband over there in a few short weeks is just overwhelming. I can't even imagine what Andrew's family is going through at this moment. But, I lift them up in my thoughts and prayers and ask that anyone reading this does the same. God bless you Andrew Looney and thank you so much for the sacrifice you have made for this country!

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Entertaining Welcome Home Weekend!!

David finished his HazMat class this Friday, so Taco, Belle, and I left for our "home" on Thursday afternoon to get some things done before David met up with us and we began the weekend festivities with our families! We went and picked up our wedding album and it is GORGEOUS!!! I couldn't be more excited with it! As we walked in the door of my parent's house, we were hit with instant chaos! Taco and Belle were all excited and I was struggling to get them in the door with my hands full, Mom was getting ready for us to go get food and decorations with David's Mom and then we noticed Goldie, our family Golden Retriever's tail was bleeding. Mom called Dad and I went to help Alex, my little brother, unload the dog's kennel from my car. He was banging on the back door and we couldn't get it opened. Come to find out he had broken the handle on the way out and he had to walk all the way around the house to bring in the kennel. Mom was trying to get ahold of the vet and then David's Mom showed up... all this happened within about 5 minutes. It was CRAZY!!! Liz, David's Mom (Lovingly referred to as Mo- which I like to think stands for Mother Other for my other mother :D ) and I went ahead to Wal Mart to get the food while Mom dropped Goldie off at the vet. Then we got a call that Goldie had flees, so Mom and Dad went ahead and bought Taco and Belle some medicine. We all met up at Hobby Lobby and finished the shopping before going back home. I spent the rest of the evening with my family watching Glee, So You Think You Can Dance, and the Real Housewives of New York City reunion show while eating chicken and rice! It was a wonderful day!

FRIDAY!! I went to eat lunch with my dear friend, Meagan Monroe! David got into town from his class and met us at Panera! We spent the afternoon just hanging out and then got ready to eat dinner with my family in celebration for Father's Day. As some of you know, just a little background, when David came home for R&R from Iraq, that evening, my Mom went in to cardiac arrest and was sent to Bailey Medical and then life flighted to another hospital and spent about a week in ICU. We joked later that we really just didn't want David to have to deal with the attention of being home. He doesn't like to be in the spotlight AT ALL! Well, before dinner, Tristen let her little Lucy out to go to the bathroom and Lucy BOLTED. I yelled for Tristen to go get her and lunged from the bar stool I was sitting on to grab Taco and keep him from going outside too. I took one step and nailed my left foot into my parent's end table. I dropped to the ground and started laughing and crying, I couldn't figure out which I wanted to do more. My family laughed,... my tripping and falling is no new thing to them, I'm a clumsy girl. But, when I tried to stand up, I couldn't. I looked at my left foot and said,."That doesn't look right,... right?" Sure enough,.. my two feet looked pretty different and my Dad and David carried me to the van and rushed me to the emergency room with the rest of my family following behind.

They were both cracking jokes the whole way to Bailey Medical and when we got their, they grabbed a wheel chair and checked me in. So, I iced my foot and waited while David and Daddy kept making fun of me for what had happened!

They called me in and put me in a room for x-rays and an hour later, discovered I had indeed broken my fourth toe. My foot looked like Spock's "Live Long and Prosper"! When they told me I had broken my toe, I was ok at first and then it settled in. David had his party the next day, he had JUST gotten back and has 2 weeks until he officially starts training for the deployment.. I have to be on crutches for 3 weeks... the timing just stunk along with the fact that I had been out sick all week with a sinus infection and an inner ear infection. They wrapped up my foot in a post-op boot and told me how to care for my broken bone and then sent me home with my own pair of crutches. Yippee! Thankfully, we were already planning to stay at David's parents 1-story house rather than upstairs in my old room at my parent's house. We went home, had our lasagna dinner and watched Star Trek, in honor of my foot. :(

After dinner, we went to David's parents house and clonked out, we were so exhausted! David got up and changed the oil in our cars while I tried to get around, making cupcakes and preparing for the party that afternoon. I was really sore and couldn't do much, although I could put some weight on my foot. Mo helped a lot with the preparations and David, his Dad (Do) and his brother, Ben helped set up the tent, tables, and chairs in the front yard! I finished my patriotic cupcakes and then took a nap before really getting ready for the party!

My family came over and helped finish decorating before the party started.

Tristen hanging the decorations in the tent.

And I was under strict orders to rest and ice my foot before the party started...

People started showing up and the party was underway! It was a gorgeous afternoon/evening with a light breeze and the tent was perfectly placed in the shade! There weren't any mosquito issues or anything, just a nice relaxing cookout with friends and family! My sister-in-laws, Aimee and Esther are both Army Wives as well and all three of us went through the last deployment together. During the party, they had a presentation and gave me a dozen gorgeous roses, the Army Wife Flower, and a beautiful Army Wife Poem that was framed.

Do read the poem out loud for everyone, since none of us would have been able to read it without crying.

The party continued on and after being on my foot for almost the entire day, I was glad to be off of it and just crash! It started to bruise pretty bad too.

We went to IHOP for breakfast the next morning to celebrate Father's Day with my family! It was a nice breakfast and it was good to spend some time with my Daddy. I am so thankful and blessed to have him and treasure the relationship we have! We went to church after breakfast and because I had been on my foot too much the day before, I had to be on my crutches all Sunday. :( Mo and Do made a presentation in their Sunday School class about their mission trip to Cambodia and it was wonderful to be there to listen to the experiences that God has allowed them to take part of. It really makes you think about what things you have that you can live without so that others can live with. The worship service was wonderful as well. It was as if God had this message just for David and I and what we're going through right now! Through the service, I got to thinking about things and the past year or so. We've gone through a lot, but on a personal level, I have acted at times in ways that I know re inappropriate and I felt convicted during the service to right those wrongs. I'm still needing to address things, but I feel like a self inflicting burden has been lifted from my shoulders.

Lunch with David's family was great and we were able to spend the afternoon with both of our families and have some time with Ben and Aimee before they leave for New York! It was definitely a crazy weekend, but it was a wonderful weekend! I feel like the past two weeks, I've tried more than anything to be independent and to just make it through my day-to-day life without anyone else's help. This weekend, with David being home for about 2 more weeks, I feel like God showed me I can't be completely independent. I am always dependent on HIM and I need to stop pretending that I am in control when I know He always is! That, and no matter how far away David may be or how long he is gone, I will always be dependent on him. Being off my foot and having to let others help me and do things for me this weekend has been a humbling experience and I'm sure I will continue to learn and be humbled over the next few weeks, but I am so thankful for life lessons and for the ways that God shows us that He is still in control.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Keep Moving Forward!

David was able to come home this weekend and we had a great time just relaxing at home and enjoying the little things in everyday life! :) Taco and Belle were so excited to see him and last night I made a Lemon Chicken Tarragon with rice and veggies along with some cookies for dessert and he had 3-4 helpings! I've never had him eat that much in one sitting, so that was a good thing! He went back to AR this morning for his HazMat class and I went to Lexington (Oklahoma, not Kentucky) for the FRG meeting! It's amazing how things can change drastically in such a short time. A month ago as I was driving to our first meeting, it had just hit me what was getting ready to happen and the fact of the deployment had started to sink in. I can't even describe the array of emotions that ran through me. Everything from anger to fear to just not wanting to be in this situation again. A lot has happened in the past month to prepare both of us for what's about to take place and all of it, as well as situations not directly correlated to the deployment, has helped us to accept what is going to happen.

I think it's so easy when given a difficult situation to doubt and have concern about what's going to happen. We don't know why things happen or why people have to go through certain situations or why outcomes are they way they are. But, we are all faced with challenges in our own lives. For me, my challenge is directly associated with who I am! I am an Army wife! My husband is an American Soldier and I am BEYOND proud for the things he does and the sacrifices he makes. We did not ask or volunteer to be going through what we are. But, the fact is that we are going through this and no amount of sadness or anger or frustration will change that! This is the life that I live and I chose to do so when I said "Yes!" to the man that I love. So, I can choose to make this experience a positive one and to benefit and learn from it, or I can be upset and sad about being away from my best friend for about a year and a half. Of course, I'm not happy about him being gone, but it is my job and duty to ensure that my soldier is encouraged and prepared to take on his mission, do so safely, and return home! I know it's not the best of situations, but it's what we have and I want to make the most of every day I have, both with my soldier and without him! I came home tonight and after multiple encouraging calls from family and friends, I watched Meet the Robertson's! I may choose to be happy about things, but it doesn't mean I'm not emotional! If you know anything about me, you know that emotion is my middle name... (figuratively speaking) so as this movie came to an end, of course I was crying! But the movie ended with this wonderful quote that I wanted to share!

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
–Walt Disney

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Friday, June 11, 2010

David's Coming Home!!!

Last night, I had the pleasure of going to my friend Leslie's house for dinner! She made pasta and tilapia and it was delicious! While dinner cooked, we watched the first episode of Glee! (Oh my gosh, if you haven't seen it yet, you're missing out!! It's amazing) and we watched So You Think You Can Dance! It was nice after a long week to just have some girl time! Well, David texted me and told me he was going to be coming back to Stillwater for the weekend! He had his 2nd test today in his class and then he didn't have anything to do until Monday morning at 7:30, so he's coming home!!!! Granted, he got stuck in Little Rock's rush hour traffic and went 12 miles in one hour... but EVENTUALLY he'll get here! I'm so excited! It's only been a few days, but when your man is gone, you miss him! It doesn't matter how long he's been away! So, I'm off to bake my Daddy's famous chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies for dessert and I already have spaghetti and meatballs made and ready for him to eat when he walks in the door! I'm so excited and thankful for this weekend and the extra time I get to spend with my Hubby!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Psychology- DONE! Now on to the rest of Summer School...

So, after what seemed like days and days of checking the computer for my psychology grade, I finally received it! I made an A in my psychology class and have a 4.0 for my May session!!! I am so unbelievably excited! I worked hard for that A and finally feel like I know what it takes to be the student that I can be. I've been taking my geology, lab, and college algebra classes this week and it's been rough, but that A was the encouragement I needed to strive even higher for the next several weeks and continue to attain a 4.0 GPA every semester! :) David also had Part 1 of his first test in his HazMAT training and he got a 44/50 on that! I'm so proud of him! His Part 2 is on Friday and they have 2 whole tests next week as well before he finishes the class and gets to come home.

I received my first email from the FRG (Family Readiness Group) yesterday and our first official meeting will be this Sunday. I know I'm young to be an Army wife and I'm definitely the youngest of all the wives in the FRG, but I am so thankful and blessed to be able to have a strong group of women who will be going through near the same experience as David and I over this next year. I'm anxious to get involved and to get to know these women! I think it will be a blessing to play an active role in the FRG! So, that's coming up along with David's party! I've never planned a party before,... so I'm a little concerned. I have all the invitations sent out and now I guess we just have to work on the decorations and food. Any fun patriotic ideas for a cookout party? Let me know if you have them!

Things are getting a little easier with David being gone. I cannot believe how close this deployment is. Less than 3 weeks now until he starts his training and is mobilized. I know that we are going through this for a reason and God is in complete control! I pray for this next year and that David and I will grow as individuals in the Lord as well as in our marriage! I have no doubts that this next year will strengthen us more than anything! It's amazing to look back at our relationship and see how God has used David's basic training and AIT and his first deployment to prepare us mentally, emotionally and spiritually for what we are about to face! I am so thankful for the strong support system of family and friends that I have for they're the ones that have kept me positive over the past few months! Thank you all so much and enjoy this crazy gorgeous weather we're having! :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rough Start to the Week

Last night was the first night of David being gone for his HasMat training. And let me just say, it was one ROUGH night!Taco had a boy issue that was very disturbing for me, I'm so not ready for him to grow up! We finally went to sleep at around 4 AM, I just couldn't sleep for the life of me and Cosby was extremely entertaining! At 4:30, we heard this huge BAM BAM BAM!!!! Taco woke up and started barking and I was shaking, it sounded like someone was trying to break in! I didn't figure out until I was about to leave this morning that our closet door in our guest bedroom had fallen over. Goodness! So, we finally went back to sleep and wouldn't you know it, at 6:00 a huge storm came through and I was awake until around the time I had to get up for class!

So, today was David's first day of his class and it was also my first day of my geology and college algebra classes! Boy was it exhausting! I've got a lot of work to do in the next 8 weeks to ensure that I pull off a 4.0 for both terms this summer. That is my academic goal from now on, to achieve nothing less than the very best and finish every semester with a 4.0 until I graduate! It's attainable and I shouldn't expect any less than my best from myself! So, here's to the next two months of summer class and the next two weeks of David's class! I hope both are exciting, successful, and go by real quick!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What A Weekend!!!

WOW has it been a busy past couple of days! Life has just been a roller coaster lately! I had my psychology final on Friday! We got our study guide on Wednesday night and when I got to class Thursday, my professor didn't show up and we had 3 chapters we were supposed to be lectured on! I spent all of Thursday studying for psych, writing extra credit papers, doing my study guide and then trying to do laundry, cook and get the house ready for my in-laws. So, by the time class came Friday morning, I was super nervous! Up until Thursday evening, I thought I would be able to pull off an A in the course! Well! My professor was there Friday and the review was wonderful as well as the final! I feel like I gave it my all for that class and we'll see in a few days, but I'm pretty sure I've got an A headin' my way!!!

So, after class, I came home, did some cleaning, did some grocery shopping and took a nap until we got a call from Mo and Do (David's parents) that they were on their way! David and I were able to make my Grandmother's recipe of Blueberry Ice Box Pie together! He did a fabulous job making the crust! :) I am so proud! When his parents got here, his Mom called me, giving me fair warning that they had brought David's birthday present with them. For as long as he can remember, David has DREAMED of having a GIANT Pooh Bear!! Mo and Do recently returned from their mission trip to Cambodia and they found the Pooh Bear David had wanted for years!! So, we now have the largest Pooh Bear EVER sitting on top of David's desk next to my heffalump. We're definitely going to have to have a Winnie the Pooh nursery now... only for when we have a boy though. When we have a little girl, I want to deck her room out in PINK!!!! :D We enjoyed chatting with Mo and Do, had some nice dinner at Red Lobster (YUM!) and then on the way home, Do stopped by WalMart and bought us Madagascar (David had never seen it) and we watched that and ate dessert! Before we went to bed, Mo and Do were able to show us their slide show of Cambodia and tell us all about their trip this past month! I am so blessed to have such wonderful and God-loving in-laws! We had a delicious breakfast casserole the next morning, followed by some one-on-one time with me and Mo while David and Do went to get coffee! It was lovely to just have a nice sit down chat and to be able to discuss the near future with the deployment and everything.
Mo and Do had to leave to go to our cousin's wedding in Texas, and so David and I spent the rest of our Saturday just enjoying one another's company! We decided to make homemade pizza and invited our friends Leslie and Adam over for dinner and a movie! We love having couple friends that we can spend time with! The pizza was delicious and the movie, The Tooth Fairy, was absolutely amazing!!! I would love to own it someday! After they left, David and I finished packing and preparing for his class he has over the next two weeks. He left this morning and so starts this road to deployment. This next two weeks will be a good tester for us to prepare us for this next year! I start my summer classes tomorrow in College Algebra, Geology with a lab and am even thinking about adding an internet course in Government. We'll see! So, class coupled with fulfilling duties of my office in Kappa Kappa Psi and getting David's going away party planned will definitely keep me busy and keep my mind off of him being gone! It'll be a good two weeks! Hope you all have had just as wonderful of a weekend! God bless!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to bring you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11