Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

Hmmm...that phrase really makes me want to go watch Hope Floats now.  I love Gena Rowlands and her character Ramona Calvert.  Plus, who doesn't love Harry Connick, Jr?  Seriously.  Ok, back to my original thoughts behind the post.  Several big changes have occurred in the last few months.  Some of them have received my blogging attention and some of them have not-mostly because I just don't know what to say about them or haven't had the time.  The newest change has been a job change.

I had been an assistant manager at LOFT since January.  I truly love LOFT, I really do.  Who doesn't love to play dress up?  However, it was quickly becoming clear in the last month or two that LOFT just wasn't the place for me any more.  There are a variety of reasons behind this decision.  The biggest reason is the fact that I was driving an hour in to work and an hour home.  That is 10 hrs a week spent driving, add in 40 hrs (or more) spent at work, and that leaves very little time for a life outside of work.  When I began my journey with LOFT it was at a location only half an hour from my I moved up the ladder the drive increased.  I didn't mind it at first because there really weren't any options closer to home-until the Shops of Grand River came along.  The Shops of Grand River is a new outlet center opening up a mere 20-30 minutes from my house and right across the street from where my husband works.  I knew there would be a variety of opportunities arriving with their opening.  The problem quickly became what company could I choose to work with that would be as enjoyable as LOFT with a product I would be able to enjoy.  You don't leave the only career you've ever imagined yourself in (teaching) to settle for just any retail job.  At least I didn't and wouldn't.  I wanted a company I could believe in.  Thus began my search.  I began checking the website frequently to see what stores would be opening up.  I began trying to imagine myself with another company.  I began trying to figure out how I would leave my LOFT family, because that is how I feel about the majority of my LOFT co-workers.  They are my family.  We have our ups and downs, but we were in it together trying to be successful and rallying together through everyday life. We've experienced engagements, marriages, births, and even deaths together-so many new beginnings and endings.

Recruiters began visiting the mall where I worked asking for names of potential candidates for managers, associates, etc.  I would kindly take their card and think hmmm...don't think I would really want to work there.  One company I did go through the interview process and they offered me a job.  I turned it down.  {Gasp}  I know.  It was a very hard decision.  Believe me.  In a nation with a high unemployment rate I was not only ready to quit my current job, but turned down the first job that was offered.  I couldn't explain why I turned it down either.  I felt crazy.  The job just didn't seem like the right fit for me.  I'm a girl who trusts her instincts...sort of.  I spent the next few days/weeks wondering if I had made the right choice.  Then along came a job that sort of fell in my lap.  Granted, I impressed them in my interviews and if I hadn't they would not have hired me.  I received a call from the area manager wanting to set up an interview.  I went.  I talked a lot.  Weeks went by with little info.  I finally interviewed with HR.  A few days later along came an offer.  An offer I couldn't turn down.  Not because of money, not because of the shorter drive, but because it is a company I can feel passionate about, although those first two things helped seal the deal.  My new job is as an assistant manager at JOCKEY.  (I think I'll only work at companies who capitalize every letter of their name from now on.  From what I've heard it shouldn't be too hard either because people who work at JOCKEY are said to work there for a very, very long time.)  I have the pleasure of working with a store manager that I worked with at LOFT.  And a fun side note is that another manager I worked with at LOFT will be managing a store right around the corner from my new store.  Yay!

I've been amazed at the perfect timing in so many moments along this journey to a new job.  I can't really blog about a lot of them but just know I'm feeling really blessed and my stress level has gone down tremendously.  My last few weeks at LOFT were spent being the one in charge because our store manager found a new job.  I feel like I did my best, but I also feel like it nearly killed me at times too.  Not because I couldn't manage the store, I did a great job with that-but I ended up working 6 days a week at least two weeks and didn't work the schedule I had planned all week once in the five weeks or so I was the lone full time manager.  It changed daily due to circumstances out of my control.  It left very little time for life.  A life I love and want to keep.  Then came the job offer.  A weight was lifted and I began planning my exit from LOFT and my entrance into the world of JOCKEY.

My last day at LOFT was a lot of fun.  I went out with a bang and I hope my team had fun.  We rocked our numbers and I think our clients enjoyed themselves.  There are things I know I will miss at LOFT.  (New shipment anyone?)  I then had two days off to run errands and pack for Georgia.  Tuesday-Friday I stayed in Locust Grove helping move JOCKEY from one store to their newly remodeled store across the street.  I learned so much about the company I was amazed.  (Personally I think you should look them up on facebook, it will give you a glimpse into how relaxed and fun they are as a company.)  I was able to meet my fellow manager peers in the area.  I even met some lovely ladies from home office.  They patiently put up with all of my questions.  Trust me, I asked a lot.  The days were long-10 to 12 hours long.  The nights spent sleeping were short.  Especially when you stay up til 3 am brainstorming ideas and writing a list of questions you want to remember to ask.  We were done ahead of schedule so I was able to come home Friday instead of Saturday.  This left me with a weekend off.  My first Saturday and Sunday off since July.  Really.  I was able to learn a lot more about my new store manager and I think she was able to learn a lot more about me.  There are high expectations for our new store and our team.  I know we will be able to achieve them.  I'm hoping we can surpass them.  Just a note about how relaxed and fun the company is: the two ladies from home office hugged everyone before they left to catch their plane back to Wisconsin. (One of them even swept and mopped the floor.  Really!)   Retail friends: when was the last time anyone from home office hugged you, let alone did the grunt work in your store?  I'm so excited to work with them again next week in our new store!  Every job has its draw backs and I am sure that I will learn those in due time.  Right now though, I'm ready to have some fun!

In case you were wondering my weekend will be spent sleeping, laying around the house resting my tired muscles, and reading.  At some point I will venture beyond the house to shop for groceries.  I will unpack my suitcase and do some laundry, then repack for another three days of training in Georgia before coming back to set up the new store.  I may be out of touch online for the next few weeks as a result.  Can you believe we are halfway through October?!  I made my first pumpkin roll of the season.  The rest of October will pass in a blur.  Maybe I'll get caught up in November...nah probably not.  

Off to watch Hope Floats I think.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What's a Wizzel?

Last Sunday we had Jordan and Laura come for a visit.  Jordan had graduated from boot camp on Friday and is officially part of the USMC brotherhood.  Laura is his proud older sister.  Dave and Jordan had fun talking about covers, ribbons, blouses, and all kinds of other uniform parts while the ladies talked.  It always brings a smile to my face to see my Marine spending time with other Marines.  (No offense to those who aren't Marines, but they just relate to each other in a very special way that you have to witness to believe.)  During the course of the evening we brought out a montage of videos that Dave had sent to me during his deployment with the 22nd MEU.  One part of the video was a bus ride back to the ship from being out in port.  He introduced the Marines around him and asked if they had anything to say to "Wizzel."  Well, the guys who frequented our house on weekends were already familiar with my nickname, but on Marine was like "who's weezel, weezer, who?"  Then Goodson kindly explains, "you know like fo shizzle my nizzle?  She's Wizzel."  It goes on to show their conversions for the next 5 minutes or so, which at this point I should add they had indulged in a lot of alcohol while in port.  {Sigh}  I really miss those boys.

Last night I decided that I was going to make lasagna.  Lasagna is a meal I only make when we are having guests over for dinner because we don't really do leftovers well in my house.  I sent Dave a text asking if Jordan was back in town (he had driven Laura back to her home in New Orleans where she is finishing grad school).  He wasn't sure, but soon got back to me and said the Jordan would be coming over for dinner.  You see, lasagna is a meal for Marines.  They love it and almost always have seconds.  Hence my facebook status about making lasagna and wondering where my Marines might be.  It was nice to have a Marine over for dinner.  In a perfect world there would have been a few more Marine faces at our dinner table, but maybe some day I'll get them all together in one place for dinner again.  I really miss them.  (I know if I miss them, Dave must really miss them and vice versa.) 

Sidenote: My lasagna was a topic of discussion at one point during the bus ride video conversation.

Now for a complete subject change.  I was driving somewhere this week and my mom was along for the ride.  We were talking about people hoarding things or having too much junk.  I told her that I realized that I couldn't run away from home when I was younger-we've determined maybe around age 13 or so.  One time I made up my mind to run away and packed up all the stuff I wanted to take with me.  By the time I was done packing I realized I couldn't leave because I had too much stuff and I couldn't carry it all.  (This little story snippet tells you sooooo much about me, lol).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

I've been meaning to blog about this for almost a month now.  On September 6th we celebrated our 5th anniversary.  I can't hardly believe it has been 5 years already, but apparently it has.  It seems like just yesterday I was in Ohio with my ear glued to my cell phone, while Bivins was in DC with his ear glued to his hatching a plan about when we would get married.  I knew at the time that marrying him wasn't a mistake.  It was something I knew without a shadow of a doubt, more than I ever knew anything else before in my life.  I was supposed to marry this man.  There are times my heart sings and times that it cries, but I'm always glad I married him.  My life wouldn't be the same without him.  I wouldn't change a thing.

This new song by Rascal Flatts Why Wait reminds me of our "Augtember" plan to get married.  I first heard this song on my commute to work.  I really love the song, but I don't really like the video at all...could be because it is so cheesy and ridiculous.  I get it, but I wish it wasn't so cliche.  Still, I'm glad we didn't wait and have been married for 5 whole years.  I have so many memories I cherish from these five years.  I'm trying to file them away for future reference while still leaving room for new memories.  Our anniversary was spent with dinner our at Cheesecake Factory.  My absolute. favorite. restaurant. ever.  (Thank you Pailin and Shannon for introducing me to this for my farewell to DC dinner.)  We get to eat there about twice a year-anniversary and my birthday-and any more than that and I would need new clothes because it is so yummy!  I could eat my body weight in cheesecake...over the course of a month or so anyhow.  Yummy.

My original thought for my anniversary blog was to choose 5 memories that are some of my absolute favorites from the last 5 years...we recently spent a night sitting on the tailgate of his truck, looking up at the stars, and sharing some of our favorites-although they were categorized by cities/states.  (This is how I make timeline distinctions-life in Ohio, life in DC, life in NC, and now life in AL...)

So in no particular order here are some of my favorite memories of our first five years together.

1.  Moving in to our very first home together.  Our apartment in DC (technically it was VA) was wonderful...although my memory tends to gloss over the ugly parts.  Who could forget the u-haul being stopped on the national mall?  Or the fact that there were air fresheners plugged in to our sockets before we even had boxes moved in?  Or all those lovely closets?  I had a closet just for the boxes we saved for the next move!  Our first apartment is where we learned how to live with each other.  It sounds ugly...and sometimes it was...but other times it was too amazing for words.  I will forever cherish those times spent together, building a firmer foundation for our relationship that would get us through so many times spent apart in the coming years.

2. The 22nd MEU.  I'm pretty sure it was anti-together, but we made it through a six month deployment.  A little weathered, a little stressed, and a lot of longing, but we made it through.  Through the deployment experience it reminded me that even though I am capable of taking care of myself I really do need my husband.  I think we both were able to remind each other through cards, letters, videos and pictures that we truly care about each other.  I have all of them saved in a if I could just remember which box...and they are some of my favorites.  Distance did make our hearts grow fonder.  I don't think either of us will soon forget the welcome home hug (really the sobbing Wizzel attack) when I finally spotted him after six long months apart.

3. Anniversary Beach Trip 2008.  This one was cut short due to a hurricane, but really did we expect anything less on our anniversary?  I mean we did get married in the height of hurricane season.  This trip was a fantastic way for the two of us to "get away from it all" after moving back to Alabama and beginning the adjustment to civilian life.  (Which by the way, is it really ever possible to adjust to this?  Nope.  I didn't think so.)  I loved our walks along the beach.  They reminded me of our freezing cold walks along the beach in NC when I would beg to go to the beach in December (or somewhere around then.)

4. Moving into our own place in Alabama...well our own rented place anyhow.  We truly have tried to leave a lasting impression on this new place.  We have remodeled some of the rooms-well repainted anyhow.  I have enjoyed turning our home, into a colorful home after our bland white and beige rentals from DC and NC.  My husband has an eye for paint, let me tell you.  Although I'm still trying to talk him out of painting the outside pepto bismal pink.  Just kidding.  I don't always understand where his visions are going, but he makes great choices and they turn out beautifully.  I look forward to some day owning a home of our very own and adding our own personality to it. (Hopefully I can train him not to shoot holes in the floor...another blog for another time, lol.)

5. Blogging while he is sleeping, er sleeptalking I mean.  This would actually be several different memories that add up to big laughs, from cleaning supplies to cardboard to speaking what I am certain is Russian-although he will neither confirm nor deny this, the man makes me laugh.  He just mumbled something about "blank this, deuces!"  Lovely dear.  Just lovely.  I love him.  It's a good thing too cause "hold still, [he has] a flashlight."  Lol  (If you are confused about this memory grouping you probably need to read some of my other blog posts, but I can't honestly tell you which ones.)

I'm hoping that the future brings many more fun memories.  Among them I'm hoping we are able to visit DC again soon, take a trip to Ireland, and spend lots of quality time together.  These years post USMC active duty life have been the most challenging, but I've learned a lot and loved a lot too.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What makes you happy?

I like to say in my other life I was a teacher.  In this life I am now a retail manager/wannabe fashionista.  I'm not sure why I feel the need to distinguish what I am because really I am many, many things to every person who knows me.  Plus, I'm still a teacher at work every single time one of my associates or clients learn something new.  I may not be planning lessons or grading papers or having parent/teacher conferences, but I am studying the latest trends and making them approachable for clients of any age, coaching my associates to be the best they can, and dealing with client service issues sometimes too.  Over the past two years I have sometimes struggled with whether or not retail is where I want to live and for the moment realized I do and that it isn't so cray for me to spend my day playing dress up.  My mom and dad both love to tell stories about how as soon as I was old enough to dress myself I would change clothes several times a day.  The first question I ask myself when I wake up is "what am I going to wear today?"  If it is an important event like a night out, a meeting with someone, or even a style event at work I can't think about anything else related to the event until I answer the "what am I going to wear question."

My style is slowly evolving over the past two years or so.  I am constantly working to dress my age.  I think women can find themselves struggling at certain ages to look age appropriate.  Specifically, women in their early to mid 20's who are just starting careers and want to look professional, but not stuffy or like they are still in high school and then women in their mid 40's to 50's that still want to be fashionable, but not look like they are dressing like their daughters.  I get to help these women find something to suit their age and life.  It is so much fun.  I had a client yesterday that was so excited when she came into our store.  She was a first grade teacher and probably approaching 40.  It was her first time in our store and after trying on two tops she said to me "I thought this store was just for young people, but you really carry things I can wear too."  I told her that was my favorite thing about our store, we dress women of all ages.  She browsed around and found a few other things to try on and I would go and give my opinion on the fit.  While she was trying things on she told me "I am having so much fun!"  Fantastic!  That is what we want-our clients to have fun.  You know what?  I had fun too because she was so excited about finding two tops she loved to start this school year.  Our last client of the day was a mom who had been searching for pants that fit.  She said she had no butt anymore and pants would just sag on her.  She started off with the wrong style and I said I really think you need to try this other style.  She jumped up and down when she put them on and said finally pants that fit!  She was sooooo excited.  I was excited for her. It was a great way to end the day...

I started my day by answering the ultimate question "what am I going to wear today?"  I purchased a skirt two weeks ago that I absolutely love.  I don't usually wear skirts at work, mostly because they don't usually fit me well or look flattering.  I LOVE this skirt.  It even has horizontal stripes and I bought it anyway, secretly wondering if the husband was going to say he hated it.  (For the record, he likes it too although that could be because it is a little shorter than most skirts/dresses I wear.)  I was inspired by the way our mannequin was dressed to add a little color to my outfit.  I typically wear the skirt with a black tank, black cardigan, and my black slingback heels (that I can wear approx 4 hrs before I need to put on my black wedge sandals with a slightly lower heel).  Yesterday I wore my skirt with a purple petal tee from last season, a jean jacket, and the bootie shoes that are so in style.  Facebook friends: the risk was wearing the bootie shoes with my skirt.  I hadn't worn the shoes with anything other than pants and I'm still not totally confident in wearing them with skirts, but everyone loved it yesterday (other than the husband) so I guess it worked.  Dee, the store manager, and I had been pulling outfits on Friday for our DM to come try on and Dee said one trend she hadn't been able to talk herself into was the bootie shoes.  I agreed that I just couldn't do it, BUT that got me thinking...I have some of the bootie shoes, why not try it?  So I did.  See... (Please excuse the pic quality b/c these were taken at the very end of the night and I was really very tired and apparently crooked.)

I also talked myself into purchasing a pair of Converse tennis shoes when I went to TJMaxx on Friday.  I had a Friday night free and so I met the husband in Trussville and we wandered the Borders, TJMaxx, Target, and Bed Bath and Beyond to name a few.  I found the perfect pair of Converse and they were a great price $24.99.  They made me happy.
I was anxious to wear them so I decided to wear them in to work.  If I didn't have to go to work then I think this is the outfit I would have worn instead.  Unfortunately, Converse tennis shoes are not appropriate work attire.
I can't wait to think up new outfits to wear with the Converse.  I do that you know.  Find something I love and create outfits around the new piece.  I don't know if it is the fun color or the fact that they are so comfy, but I instantly feel happy when I put the shoes on.  I may have to be careful not to wear out the happy in them.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sand Between My Toes

In case you haven't heard this about me yet, I absolutely love the beach.  It is my favorite place in the whole world to spend time.  It doesn't matter what time of year it is, I love the beach.  If it happens to be winter time then I just have to wear about five layers of clothes to stay warm on my walk along the sand.  I became really spoiled living in NC because we were only about 20 minutes away from the beach.  It was great to just wake up in the morning and decide to head to the sand and surf.  I miss it.  A lot.

This is my fourth trip to the Gulf (and Dave's I don't even know what number b/c he was so spoiled by coming in the summers growing up...)  My first trip to the Gulf (Orange Beach, AL) was for our honeymoon.  I had never experienced anything quite like it.  (Beach vacations always occurred in VA so the water and sand were a little different.)  Our honeymoon was about a week after Hurricane Katrina hit the coast.  I wasn't sure what we would find when we arrived at the beach, but it turned out that the beach was mostly deserted and there were tons of sea shells.  Dave and I  took a walk along the sand together while the in-laws unpacked the car and relaxed for a minute.   (Yes, the in-laws went on our honeymoon with us.  We stayed in neighboring beach houses and it was kinda fun.)  Dave and I came back from our walk with huge seashells that washed ashore whole.  (By huge I mean shells the size of my hand.)  That is the one lasting memory I have about our honeymoon that years from now I will still share with you, the giant seashells.

My second trip to the Gulf occurred for Dave's pre-deployment leave.  We spent about 4 days at the beach. just prior to going back to NC so he could leave "on a boat."  We brought Dave's brother from another mother Tyrone with us as well as the in-laws again.  It was another fun trip to the beach.  Bonnie and I went to lay in the sand while Mr. B. and the boys fished.  We took some wonderful family pictures during that trip.  Some of the pictures taken are among my favorite pictures of our family together.

My third trip to the Gulf happened for our third wedding anniversary (the summer Dave EAS'd from the USMC).  It was our first trip with just the two of us.  We had a lot of fun, but just like family vacations growing up our anniversary hits right in the prime of hurricane season.  We were able to spend about 2 days at the beach before we had to head home a day early because of Gustav coming along the coast.  I remember being happy to spend some time at the beach with my husband (because together is a great place to be), but I also remember the trip home taking a very long time because of all the traffic from people evacuating.  Gustav didn't really make an impact, but better to be safe than sorry.

And now to my fourth trip to the Gulf.  We didn't make it to the beach at all last year.  Not a single time.  I decided this year that we were going to make it to the beach or we were going to need to move a little closer to one.  (I still want to move closer to the beach, but it may have to wait awhile.)  Dave and I began planning and I said that we should see if we could manage a whole week at the beach.  We haven't ever taken a week long vacation anywhere with just the two of us.  All of our time off when he was in the USMC was spent visiting family (and we loved it that way); however, we were getting to the point we really needed a vacation.  After much planning and waiting and planning some more, here we are...together for a week at the beach.  We arrived on Sunday and made a trip to the Tanger Outlets to see what deals we could find.  We walked around and around and around.  I found a few things to purchase and Dave found another pair of Oakleys.  We finally stopped shopping because we were hungry and went to Mellow Mushroom for a yummy dinner and a tasty beer (Harp and Guinness on tap).  By the time we made it to the beach house we were a little tired.  We unloaded the car-seriously how many bags do two grown adults need for a week at the beach?  Too many apparently.  I dread the day we should have to travel with children.  If that happens hopefully I'll learn to be a lighter packer.  Honestly.  Two duffel bags, a suitcase, a bag of just beach towels & shoes, a bag of food stuffs, and bags of I don't even know what...too much stuff!  We watched some tv and then went to bed.

Monday morning I woke up at 8:30am unable to sleep any longer.  Someone didn't tell my body we are on vacation and I can sleep all day if I want.  Maybe I sleep more peacefully at the beach, thus requiring fewer hours of sleep.  I was awake before Dave, like a whole hour or two before him.  That doesn't usually happen either.  I went to the living room and watched some tv.  (We like having cable tv

(Mom, I was thinking about you in this pic and how much you love the beach too.  "I  carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart...")

After our walk we ventured to the grocery store to find some lunch and dinner fixin's.  The best part of the trip was Publix.  We purchased a basket of fruit and only spent $20.  I am now in love with Publix.  That same basket at Wal-Mart would have been probably $30 and the fruit would go bad in a day or two.  I don't think it will be the case with our Publix fruit, but I will let you know.

I also purchased a travel sized edition of Scrabble.  I meant to bring our game from home, but with all those other bags I forgot.  (Did I mention I am a last minute packer?  It probably didn't help.)  I am ok with the new purchase, in fact I love it.  The Scrabble tiles click into the board.  For an OCD person like me it is an amazing thing.  No more making sure the tiles are perfectly aligned on the squares.  No worries that bumping the board will shift all the tiles and mess up the words.  I love it!  We played two rounds last night.  It was a lot of fun.

Now I'm off to see what today at the beach shall bring...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dry Spell

It has been somewhat of a dry spell for my blog.  My life went from part-time worker with an amazing amount of time leftover to write away to full-time co-manager with absolutely no time to think up a complete sentence, let alone take the time to type it out.  I spend my "down time" aka "off days"  doing all the things I can't manage to do on days I work and I also try to catch up on a bit of sleep.  (Yankee's that is what southerner's call a day off day....I know an off day sounds like something is just wrong, but nope-here it means you don't have to work that day.)  Tonight I decided I would just blog about the random things rolling around in my head that if I had all the time in the world I might write a whole darn blog about it.

Facebook Status (FBS): Is it a bad thing if you think of random things you would make your facebook status throughout the day?  I feel it may be a bit obsessive.  Oh well.  For instance, I just made my facebook status "If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, then the way to a Marine's heart is through the liquor store...just sayin'."  I, loving adoring wife that I am, bought my husband a six pack of Strongbow at the liquor store tonight.  If you didn't deploy with the 22nd MEU almost 3 years ago then you may not have had the pleasure of drinking the delightful cider in....I think it was Malta.  My Marine loves it and spent a lot of time talking about it and hunting it down, but to no avail. (Except for that one time in Ohio last July when we were inadvertently delayed by my stupidity and paid the idiot fee.)   One day he was delightfully surprised when he walked into our local liquor store (where they pretty much all but know him by name) and found it.  He told the guy how excited he was to find it and the guy said from now on Dave will be able to find it there.  In fact, as I picked up the six pack from the store the same guy said "Strongbow is good stuff" to which I replied "Yeah, my husband loves it."  He knew exactly who I was talking about.  Is that a bad thing? (Note to self: Next time take advantage of that opportunity to ask about the freakin' Duplin!)  Anyhow...if I could write a paragraph for my status instead of a line or five....this is what I would write today...  I really like doing that.  You know ...  dot, dot, dot.  (I'm crazy.  Friday Night ladies, at least I don't overuse adjectives.  Honestly!)

FBS: "So much for straight hair..." -  It wasn't raining when I left my car to get a delightfully tasty cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera, but after ordering and receiving said bagel it was time to return to my car and zip across the street to the mall for work.  It was pouring down rain at that time and I didn't bring my umbrella in with me.  I looked a little weathered the rest of the day.  My bagel was delightful though.

FBS: "Finally watched Julie & Julia.  Thanks Biv Biv for putting it on our instant queue!" - He added it to our instant queue on Netflix probably a month ago, but refused to watch it with me.  Thanks to the rain I had time to watch it this evening and it was a wonderful movie.

FBS: "I think I'm allergic to Alabama" - Yeah this was yesterday's status.  I think I really am allergic to AL.  My eyes are puffy, my nose is stuffed, and my head feels like there is an elephant in there.  Ugh.  It started with a terribly raw throat.  We've progressed to hacking, er I mean coughing and sneezing.  Lovely stuff these allergies.  Just when I get used to one temp the weather makes a drastic change to throw the sinuses all out of whack.

FBS: "About to slip into a cough syrup coma while watching The Ugly Truth again." - Yeah, I've forgotten whatever else I was going to write and I'm going to allow the cough medicine to take over and watch The Ugly Truth again.  I'll probably fall asleep on the couch too. 

Blog Readers: Have a wonderful night.  Maybe my dry spell of blogging will experience a rainy season soon...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Finally Part 2

Sorry it took so long to write about part 2 of our fantastic "Airport Rendezvous Weekend" celebration.  Life after the weekend away was a bit tiring and it hasn't really stopped.  I'm feeling a little over scheduled some days.  I can hardly believe March will be over in a little more than a week.  It doesn't seem quite right that it is almost over, but time flies when you are having fun, right?  Ok...on with part two.

We left the house and were on our way to Chattanooga.  I actually stayed awake the whole ride there.  I typically fall asleep in the car if it takes too long to get somewhere.  It only took a little over 2 hours to get to Chattanooga.  We checked in to our room at the Hilton Garden Inn and dropped off our bags.  (Almost as nice as the one in DC...they are kinda tied in my mind for the best hotel I've stayed in thus far award...although the Chattanooga one had a wonderfully wonderful bed that allowed me an amazing night of sleep.)  Then we walked across the street to find some dinner.  Bivins tried to walk me out in front of a car too.  You would think by now I would stop trusting that he wasn't going to get me run over and just look both ways for myself, but I haven't seemed to learn that yet.  We ended up eating at Applebee's and walking back across the street to the hotel.  Our room had a lovely whirlpool tub and it was quite relaxing.  I almost fell asleep in the tub it was so relaxing.  I somehow managed to crawl out of the tub and into the aforementioned wonderfully wonderful bed for a long night's sleep.  I now know that should we ever "settle" somewhere that I would like a whirlpool tub and a wonderfully wonderful bed in my home.  It isn't up for negotiation.  I don't think Bivins and I would really have to negotiate about it anyhow, he liked them both too.  He slept til noon!  He very rarely does that. 

Saturday we woke up late.  Like noon late.  We finally managed to get ready and headed out to the mall to wander around a bit.  We discussed doing some touristy type things like going to the aquarium and visiting Ruby Falls, but we opted to spend the weekend relaxing and enjoying the time together instead of being tourists.  We ate lunch (at like 2pm) at Big River Grille & Brewing Works.  We sampled their homemade brews and selected our favorites to sip on during lunch.  In addition to great beer they have great food too.  My favorite was the baked potato soup.  YUMMY!  Oh it was sooooo good.  I thought about getting some to go, but didn't.  Man it was good.  I am sure that we will visit there again should we make it back to Chattanooga.  We shopped around at the mall a bit and didn't really find anything.  (Essentially we were wasting time until dinner, lol.)  We did manage to find a set of towels and a shower curtain that inspired the remodeling of our spare bathroom a.k.a the eyesore.  After a few hours we decided to figure out where to eat dinner.  We selected O'Charley's because we have not eaten there since living in J-ville and we really love their food.  Plus, it was right across the street from our hotel and we could walk there.  Which means we could both drink and not have to worry about driving.  Prior to heading back to the hotel we decided to stop at a wine & liquor store.  We thought we would just stop and see if maybe they happened to carry Duplin County Wine.  (I'm pretty sure this is the ambrosia of the greek gods.  I may be a little partial, but I think it is what they were drinking.)  We wandered the whole store, which was pretty big-it almost rivaled the ABC store on Camp Lejeune.  Yeah it was big.  Anyhow, we wandered and had just decided to leave when we turned around and BOOM!  There it was, the drink of the gods.  I clapped and giggled like a little girl.  I'm pretty certain that the owners thought I was a touch crazy.  We bought 9 bottles.  We probably would have purchased more, but they only had 3 bottles of the Hatteras Red which is my absolute favorite.  (I'm telling you I would have made Bivins buy every single bottle of HR they had.  Lucky for him they only had 3.)  We did get their business card and they said that if we give them advance notice they can purchase a case of it for us next time.  You can bet I'm keeping track of that card.  I love that stuff!  (I think it was the only thing that saved my sanity at times while the boys were deployed.  No I wasn't an alcoholic, but Friday nights with Anna would not have been complete without our bottle of Duplin, especially after a week of teaching.)  We carefully stowed the wine in our hotel room and then walked across the street for dinner.

There was quite a wait for a table at O'Charley's so we ended up sitting at the bar, which was first come first serve.  It was fine with us.  I believe we each started the night with a margarita.  The food was yummy and so were the drinks.  We had Sangria and Bivins also had a vodka tonic or two and even some beer.  Sometime after we finished our food the guy next to Dave said something about "you just drank enough to take down a water buffalo!  I would have been sick by now."  Dave said "yeah."  Then they struck up a conversation about Haiti and somehow learned that the guy was also a Marine and had been with 3/8 (Dave's old unit) when they had been deployed to Haiti.  They bough each other beers and continued chatting for awhile.  The Marine kept apologizing for his language during some of his stories and I would laugh and say "it's no big thing I'm the wife of a Marine and I love hanging out with the boys."  It was so much fun to meet another Marine on our trip away.  It made me laugh and smile (Bivins too).  We finally wandered back across the street to our hotel room and relaxed in the whirlpool tub til I felt like jello.  We set our alarms for the morning and slipped off to sleep.

Sunday we woke up and knew we had to leave.  Yucky.  We showered and gathered our belongings.  Dave did the final check to make sure we didn't leave anything behind and we were off in search of breakfast.  We ended up eating at Moe's (similar to Chipotle) and then we drove by a Fresh Market.  We decided we would shop there since we haven't been to one since we left J-ville.  We bought all kinds of yummy things, including steaks and potatoes. Then we finally made the trek home.  It was nice and sunny so I slept 80% of the way home.  I just couldn't keep my eyes open.  We finally made it home.  Crissy was reading on her front porch so we wandered up to show her the stuff we found for the bathroom.  She loved it.  We unpacked the car and began cleaning the house.  It looked terrible.  Then Dave cooked our yummy dinner.  Steaks on the grill and baked potatoes.  Before I knew it I had to go to sleep and it was back to the daily grind of work and school...

Nothing can compare to that first weekend spent together, at least not in my mind, but it was a really wonderful, relaxing weekend spent away with my husband.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  

Monday, February 22, 2010

Airport Rendezvous Weekend Celebration~Part 1

This past weekend we celebrated our 5th "Airport Rendezvous Weekend" together. The first weekend took place in Feb 2005. Bivins and I began our relationship with lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, get the idea...lots of phone conversations. Enough to make my family highly irritated about the cell phone permanently glued to my ear when I wasn't student teaching, at work, or sleeping. We first began talking somewhere around the end of September/the beginning of October when my lovely friend Abbie gave some Marine my phone number. (It wasn't Dave, but the other Marine didn't want to call me so Dave did.) The rest as they say is history...but I guess I'll share it in case you haven't heard the story. The idea of "Airport Rendezvous Weekend" was hatched as a plan for me to fly to DC and spend the weekend hanging out with Bivins to see how things would go in person. We chose President's Day weekend b/c he would have an extra day off to spend with me. Also, it gave me time to save some of my substituting money to spend during the weekend. I purchased a plane ticket, spent several hours choosing a hotel I could afford in a decent part of town (went with the Hilton Garden Inn), and then counted down the days until I would get to fly to DC. Finally the day of my flight arrived and I nervously waited to board the plane that would take me to what I knew would be a life changing weekend(I left somewhere around 5ish I think)...I just wasn't sure if it would be good or bad until I got there. It was the first time I had flown by myself and I am a very nervous traveler. I spent the first half of the flight wondering if I had forgotten anything important and the second half nervous about how the weekend would go.

I imagined our meeting hundreds of times, but nothing I imagined compared to how it actually occurred. (I arrived somewhere between 7-8pm.) My plane finally landed at Dulles International Airport after what felt like hours, but it was really probably only 45 minutes or so. I not so patiently waited to get off the plane. Once I got off the plane I followed to signs to baggage claim. If you haven't had the pleasure of a trip to Dulles then you may not know that finding baggage claim at Dulles is a bit like a treasure hunt. I turned down one hallway only to be met with another sign, and another, and another, and another. I'm not sure how many twists and turns I made before I finally came to baggage claim. (By this point my feet hurt b/c in an effort to impress I put on black dress boots with my outfit. They were fun to take off and put back on at security checkpoints too.) I began the hunt for the Marine in the pink dress shirt, which actually didn't take long to find. I think I spotted him a minute or so before he spotted me. I gave him a big hug and at that very second knew that he was something special. We grabbed my suitcase and hopped into another Marine's truck so that he could drive us to our hotel. I was so nervous in the truck I didn't talk hardly at all. I had spent months talking about anything and everything with Bivins, but I couldn't manage more than a few words when I met him face to face. We made it to the hotel-one of the nicest I've ever stayed in-and dropped off my bags so we could go get dinner. Bivins had a present for me since we had missed Valentine's Day the previous week. He had purchased a lovely white gold heart shaped necklace with 3 little diamond chips. It was beautiful. He chose something that suited me perfectly. (I wore it almost every day after that. I even wore it on our wedding day.) The rest of the weekend I only remember in bits and pieces. I know we visited a bookstore and had fun walking the aisles browsing books, we visited the barracks because I wanted to see them so I knew where to imagine him when I was talking to him on the phone, we went to the mall (where I would later work after we were married), we ate out, we found a cute turtle ring we didn't buy, I met a few friends Combs & Martin (and probably a few others I don't remember), and I know he called my mom and sisters (woke the sisters up) to ask if he could marry me. (Mom said he had to ask the sisters-who didn't care they just wanted to sleep.) So from that weekend on we were unofficially officially engaged. I received my temporary turtle engagement ring in the mail about a week later and I wore it everyday. Still have it, but I don't wear it much because it doesn't fit my right hand very well. I flew home Monday afternoon a woman who knew that she had found the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with (or his life depending on how it all plays out.) We both had a weekend we'll never forget. So every year we celebrate the anniversary of that wonderful weekend that changed our lives forever. (We both agree it might be more important to us than our wedding anniversary. Even though our wedding made our bond official for the government and God, that first weekend linked us together forever in our hearts and minds.)

So now that you know why the weekend is so very special to us I'll tell you a little bit about how we spent our weekend this year. We decided it was time to get away for a bit. We haven't really been anywhere on a vacation in the last year or so. We've been home to Ohio, but that is a teensy bit different than a weekend spent relaxing. My weekend actually begins on Thursday night when we decided to exchange presents. Bivins knew he was getting a Dremel Multi-Max because I had to call him from Home Depot and verify I was purchasing the correct power tool. So I told him he could go ahead and have it since he knew what it was, but I was saving his card for the weekend. He said I was going to get my present now too since he had his. (He had been trying to give it to me for at least a week or so at this point and I kept telling him it wasn't time yet.) He goes to the gun safe to get it. I'm thinking he purchased something to maybe go with the gun he bought me for Christmas. He comes back and is standing behind where I am seated on the couch and says "close your eyes and put out your hands." I open them to find a Zales box in my hands. I'm thinking maybe he purchased me another necklace, but nope. I opened the box to fin a diamond anniversary band inside. I smiled great big! I was so surprised. I've had a simple solitaire and plain wedding band. I didn't really need anything else at the time. I thought maybe someday down the road I would think about adding something to it, but hadn't thought about it recently. I love my new band. It is so pretty and a very nice compliment to my diamond solitaire. I didn't want anything that would detract from it. Bivins does a wonderful job picking out jewelry for the Wizzel. After I got over the shock and surprise from the the lovely gift I finished packing for the weekend. I had to work all day Friday so I left Bivins with a to do list that included taking Zeke and Zeus to his parents house for the weekend. Grandma Bonnie loves to babysit the fur babies and Zeke loves going to visit, while Zeus spends at least the first day he is there hiding under a bed. (Bless his heart he's just a little special.) All day spent at work waiting to leave for our weekend was similar to the anticipation of waiting to board the plane. I've never been so happy to be done with work for the day. Then I drove home through the end of rush hour traffic. Yucky. I made it home and threw my make-up, toothbrush, and straightener in my bag. I stopped next door to say hello to the Friday Night Ladies and pick up my package from my momma. She did a beautiful picture frame for us. I love it! We put our bags in the car and we were off to spend the weekend in Chattanooga...

To Be Continued...

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Mission

I started this mission quite some time ago. I even blogged about it and suggested you join me in my mission. It was a mission to purchase, read, and change after reading Beth Moore's latest book "So Long Insecurity, You've Been a Bad Friend to Us." I told you I was going to purchase my copy from amazon. Well, I was...until the laptop came down with a virus and the desktop pc hadn't been put together. Several days after the laptop became infected I finally put the desktop pc together and it was up and running, but running verrrrrryyyyy slowly compared to the laptop. So by the time I checked facebook, read my e-mail, checked my bank account balance, and checked to see if anyone had blogged anything interesting I was tired of waiting on the slooooowww pc and logged off. I finally remembered I needed a book at the beginning of this week. I place my order on amazon and decided to only purchase one book and pay the shipping. Two days later my inbox was lacking a notice saying my items had shipped. I logged onto amazon to check the status of my order to find that my order was scheduled to deliver between Feb 24th and March 8th. What? Are you kidding me? Apparently orders are being delayed on some items due to the winter storms. So I cancelled my order. I decided I would make the trek to a real bookstore and pay the few extra dollars to get the book in hand much sooner. Saturday night I was finally able to make it to the bookstore to begin the journey of completing this mission.

This is the point in the story where my mission changes a little bit. I am still very excited about my Beth Moore book, but have yet to open the cover. Once I enter a bookstore time stops. I must wander all of the aisles browsing the titles looking for something that catches my eye. If it were a library I would take home a stack of books, but since I must pay for the books I limit myself to only 1 or 2 and wait until a book "speaks" to me. I found several books that left footprints on my mind and heart, footprints that I may revisit some day when I have a larger book budget. Ever since I married a crazy, tender-hearted, warrior-like Marine I have enjoyed reading stories about Marines and their brotherhood. (Ok, truth be told I have always loved reading historical fiction and more recently historical nonfiction as well.) So after locating my Beth Moore book right inside the doorway and selecting a copy for myself, I wandered over to the military/history section of my wonderland called a bookstore. I picked up several different selections and pondered spending my $16+ on them, but continued searching until I found a title I couldn't put down, "Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives" written by Jim Sheeler. I read the synopsis on the back of the book and knew I would like it, but just like watching the movie Taking Chance this experience was going to be like poking a bruise just to see if it would hurt. I turned to the center of the book and looked at the 24 picture pages. I quietly read the captions with a sad heart until I came to a picture and caption that made tears roll down my face in the middle of the bookstore. At that moment I knew I couldn't put this book back on the shelf. I simply must read this story...

I couldn't wait to get home to begin reading this story. It is a story that touches upon a variety of aspects in a deceased warrior's journey home to a final resting place. (This is an issue near and dear to my heart since my own Marine played a role in countless other grieving Marine families' lives during his time in DC.) The picture that made tears roll down my face was of Katherine Cathey, wife of Marine Second Lieutenant James J. Cathey, and his casket ( facebook users view original post if you'd like to follow the hyperlink to see the photo). Katherine Cathey refused to leave his side the night before his funeral saying she wanted to spend one last night sleeping by his side. The Marines there to guard him during the night located an air mattress, some sheets, and pillows so that she could spend the night with him. She fell asleep listening to a playlist on her laptop of songs they would have listened to at the formal wedding they would never have. There were several parts of the book that made more tears quietly roll down my cheeks, but several times I had to smile and laugh to myself. I finally read about the Marines locating and preparing this makeshift bed for Katherine. It is so like Marines it makes me smile. It reads as follows:

In the mortuary the night before Jim Cathey's funeral, two Marines stood near the casket, unfurling sheets on a makeshift bed.

"Make it looks nice, dude. Make it look nice," one of them said.

"Who are you, Martha Stewart?" the other one shot back with a grin.

Another looked at the blanket.

"If you're pregnant, do you get hot or cold?"

One of the Marines who has a child of his own looked at the bed.

"She's going to need another pillow," he said. "Since she's pregnant, she'll need to put a pillow between her legs."

Then they saw the car lights outside and took their positions.

One of the Marines asked Katherine if she wanted them to stand guard over Jim throughout the night. She said yes because she felt like Jim would have wanted them to do so.

The next chapter goes on to give you glimpses into the lives of these particular Marines, personal friends of Jim's, who came to bring a brother home and take care of his wife left behind and their unborn child. It is what brothers do in times of need.

Many of the reviews state that this book should be required reading for every American. I agree wholeheartedly, yet I know that not every American would truly appreciate the value of the lives in this book. Some Americans just don't get the fact that there are still Marines and soldiers dying in war and their families are left to navigate life without them. Even though Marines have left Iraq, there are still Marines in harms way in places like Afghanistan. (A country many of us didn't even know how to spell its name 10 years ago.) I still say my prayers for Marines in harms way often and include their families in those prayers too. I finally finished reading this book tonight and I just couldn't go to sleep until I blogged out my thoughts.

I am slowly finding my niche in life beyond my time as the wife of an active duty Marine. It has been a much harder adjustment than I ever thought it might be. It has tested me, my Marine, and even our marriage at times. Slowly we are each finding things that bring us those moments of happiness. Each of us rushes home to share stories about our run ins with other Marines or Marine family members. Those quick moments that remind us that our Marine family is still around, just not as easily accessed like it was during active duty. Those moments bring a smile to each of our faces. We also have taken newer Marines and their family members under our wings as well. A few weeks ago we took a brand new Marine and his lovely girl out to dinner while he was home on leave after completing boot camp. It was a truly fun night and we enjoyed welcoming them to the Marine Corps family. We look forward to supporting each of them in their journey through life during active duty. We know another young man who has made the decision to enter the Corps and look forward to supporting him as well. Our mission continues...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cold Weather Tips for My AL Friends

Ok, so after years of living in the north with the cold, snow, ice, and dryness I've learned a few things I thought it might be helpful to share.

To help with the dryness in the house: If you have heating vents in the floor you can place a mug of water on them and when the heat kicks on it will help moisturize the air a bit. This can be problematic if you have small children though. Another option is to just boil some water on the stove and let the steam fill the air. (My mom also boiled water with spices too and it made the house smell like she was cooking something yummy, but I'm not sure what she put in that pot of hers.) If you happen to have a humidifier it helps too.

To help with dry skin: In the winter months especially regular bar soap can be extremely drying to your skin. (It is drying all the time, but it can be noticed more in the winter.) Try using a shower gel or body wash. They make some lovely ones with extra moisturizing ingredients in them so that your skin dries out less. My current favorite is an Oil of Olay body wash that is extra moisturizing...but it was a tad expensive(for body wash) so I bought the Equate version (although Dave says it smells just ok and not fabulous-who cares at this point) and it works the same.

Also, I use a thicker lotion in the winter, sometimes even a body cream. My absolute favorite lotion in Johnson's body care deep hydrating extra dry skin lotion. When used in combination with the aforementioned body wash it keeps me from having dry itchy skin. FYI: If you apply your lotion as soon as you dry off from your bath or shower it helps seal in the moisture.

To help with dry/cracked lips: My new favorite is Burt's Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with pomegranate oil. I love Burt's Bees anyhow because it moisturizes my lips fast and relieves the chapped lipped ouchiness quickly, but the stuff with pomegranate oil is like magic. I had a big split down my bottom lip and it was healed within a day or so after using this stuff every couple of hours or so. (Friday Night Ladies this is the stuff Crissy said smelled really good.)

Not wanting to bathe b/c it is soooo cold when you get out: If you have a space heater, then place it in the bathroom about 10-15 minutes before bath time to warm up the bathroom and leave it there until bath time is over. It helps warm up the air a bit more so leaving the warm water isn't so painful. Also, warm your towel up in the dryer beforehand or place it near a vent to warm up when the heat kicks on. Keep a warm robe or something in the bathroom to wrap up in right away too instead of maybe having to travel out into the bedroom.

Static OUCH: The water on the vent thing will help a bit with this, but some static shocks are going to happen. So is staticky hair. To help with staticky hair (I'm sure there are super expensive products on the market to help with this) you can rub a dryer sheet on your hair. It will temporarily help keep it down at a normal level. A dryer sheet can help with static cling issues with clothing as well, like skirts that get stuck to tights. Rub a dryer sheet on them and viola problem gone.

I'm cold: Not many options here folks except lots of layers.

Feet: I love wearing knee high socks on especially cold days because it helps keep my legs warm. I wear socks and slippers around the house. (Typically slippers were a yearly Christmas gift or winter purchase for me. Every year I need new ones because I ruin them by the time winter rolls around next year.) Up north I traveled from house to house with my slippers. When we would visit my grandparents my slippers would go on as soon as my icy, snowy shoes came off. (I just now remembered why I would take my slippers...cause of the yucky shoes needing to come off.) Your slippers do not have to be ugly either, although I think they sent all the ugly options to 'Bama and kept the cute slipper options up north from what I have seen here lately. They all look like eskimo shoes or something. My current faves are silver ballet slippers with little rhinestone gems on them, although my mom sent me white furry ones for my birthday. I may have to bust those out in the next day or so with the dropping temps. I did see some ballet type slippers at Wal-Mart that have a nice thick rubber sole on them which is good if you tend to wear the slippers out of the house sometimes. Another option is the fur lined Crocs, but mine tend to squeak when I walk and it annoys me so I don't wear them for long periods of time.

Body: Wearing a robe around the house all day and all night is perfectly acceptable in the winter cold. It is necessary to stay warm. Blankets all over the house to snuggle in is also acceptable. Long sleeve t-shirts under sweaters and sweatshirts are also good.

Hands: Wear gloves. If you are so cold you need gloves inside...well...I'm sorry, but do what you have to do to stay warm.

Neck: Scarves are a must when venturing out into the cold. I have a nice variety from my years spent up north...and my recent fascination with scarves as outfit accessories. If you need to borrow one let me know...

Head: Suck it up and wear a hat, but tuck a dryer sheet into your pocket to deal with that crazy static filled hair. Or, just keep the hat on the whole time you're gone from the house.

Ok, I think that is all the wisdom I've gained from living in cold weather. If you have an issue I've forgotten to mention then leave a comment and I'll see what I can come up with.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Curvalicious! (No, I don't think that is really a word, but it is now. Just like Fergalicious...but curvalicious instead.) That is my motto for 2010. It has a whole-lotta meaning around it too. I have decided that I am going back to carving out some time spent on me. Not time spent doing things I like, but time spent on me, myself, and I. The first part of that me-time begins with my new membership to Curves. I have been attending for about 3 weeks now and I absolutely love it. I love that in less than an hour (really about 30-40 minutes) I can complete a well rounded workout set at my pace and speed. If I'm feeling icky I can still workout, but go slower. If I'm feeling super charged then I can go at lighting speed on the machines. (It should be noted lighting speed has not yet been reached.) I am attending Curves because I have gained about 30lbs since Biv Biv returned from deployment and we moved to the land of all fried foods aka Alabama. (So not cool since I was excited to lose that amount over the course of our first two years of marriage.) Also, I want to be healthier in general. I know my lack of movement is bad for me and can result in a myriad of health issues if it doesn't change. So I finally made the effort to change and went to Curves. (It also helped a friend sent me a free 30 day trial membership. Thanks Megan!) I have previously attempted to "be healthier" and my walking and/or eating more salads and veggies lasts for a few weeks at best but is quickly pushed aside. Curves is getting me where it counts-my checking account. I am determined not to waste my one-time membership fee ($99) and my monthly premium ($34) by not going. So the goal set by Curves is 3 visits per week. I started the week of Christmas and managed to make it 2 times per week (they were closed two extra days during those weeks) and so far I've been twice this week. I'm kind proud of myself. Especially since they weighed and measured me on my first visit. I weighed 190 lbs. The nice lady commented "You hide it well." Yes, I do...and that is my biggest problem. I gain 5-10 lbs and don't even notice cause it all hides. Finally, I hit an extra 30 lbs and I'm like "Whoa, I need to fix this. I miss those smaller clothes I bought a year and a half ago." I'll keep you posted on the progress. I'm kinda hoping I can wear some smaller clothes by summer. (All of my smaller clothes would be nice since I have a pretty nice summer wardrobe packed away in a box labeled "Too Small Clothes." (Sigh, and when I moved to DC I had a box labeled "too big clothes." Ho hum.) So we'll see what happens in the next few months. I love that the girls I have met so far at Curves are all upbeat, positive, and motivating. The fellow members I have met are all very excited about the place and super excited about their success too. My goal: Fit into my jeans I bought at White House Black Market about a month after Dave deployed. Once that happens we'll see what I decide to take on next. (It'll be a few months before that happens though.)

The second part of this focus on me resolution is that I am looking forward to a focused bible study/self discovery journey. I recently started reading Beth Moore's blog thanks to some free time and a link on my cousin Julie's blog. It happened to be the day that Beth unveiled her latest book due to be released on Feb 2nd. It is entitled "So Long, Insecurity: You've been a bad friend to us" and in this book she apparently attacks the many insecurities women face and counters those insecurities with God's truth. I'm going to pre-order my copy from Amazon (which if you click on the book title you can read the official reviews and pre-order your own copy if you so choose). As part of the book's release Beth plans to conduct a book study via her blog. The topic of insecurities and female self-esteem strikes a chord with a woman, as a sister, as a wife, as a teacher of adolescent girls, and so many of the other titles I bear. The one that feels it the most is as the teacher of adolescent girls. They are so vulnerable to many things that are all directly tied to their own sense of self worth. Anything I can learn to help me with my own struggles can in turn help me mentor them with theirs. So that is another thing I am looking forward to starting this year.

Ok enough about me spending time on me. Here are some other things I am looking forward to during the next year.

1. A visit from "the boys." Not sure how many of them will make it, but they are all welcome. We'll pack them in on the floor if we need to. Sure beats the field in the snow any day I'm sure. Oh how I miss my boys. Combs is coming for sure. Still waiting to hear what Doc Rob, Byneezy, Fat Travis, Volvo, and...I'm forgetting somebody darnit, will decide.

2. Perhaps a visit from the mom and sisters to my humble abode here in AL. I think it would be fantabulous for them to see where their wonderful brother calls home (and where we currently reside). There must be a Friday Night involved in this visit. The MUST be.

3. If not a visit from Ohio to here, then a visit to Ohio for Dave and I. We'll have to figure it out, but I refuse to go more than a year without seeing the fam.

4. More remodeling for our home! There is a spare bathroom that is in dire need of remodel assistance. It is an eyesore. Seriously. The goal is to remodel before the boys come visit. Guess I better start hunting for remodel pieces. The plan is to start with a shower curtain we like and go from there.

5. Traveling to all the touristy type places in AL that we have not yet been to. Places like Vulcan, the zoo, and some parks n stuff. It is seriously a shame we haven't visited them sooner.

I think I'll stop the list there for now. I don't like to plan too terribly far ahead. You never know when the next move will occur, lol. Just kidding...sorta.

Goodbye 2009

I have thought about this blog for a few days now. I'm not sure if you are aware of this or not...but it is now 2010. I've been a bit busy so the blog rolled around in my head for a bit until I had time to type it out. Here are some random thoughts about 2010 so far: it is a nice even number, it is now almost 10 years since I graduated high school (holy cow, where did the time go?...), and yeah that is pretty much it. For our household 2009 was a pretty stagnant year. There were some subtle changes, but nothing as big as in years past. I'm rather glad it is over and hope that 2010 is a little more lively for us (I'm probably going to eat my words in the near future and will be kicking myself for wishing this). As the eternal optimist that I am, I forced myself to come up with a list of the 10 best things that happened in 2009. Forcing myself to really sit and think about the past year and remember some of the happy moments. These are in no particular order.

1. Spending time in Alabama getting to know everyone here-whether they are new friends or old friends-and learning what makes Alabama so unique. (I'd say there's no place like home, but it still doesn't feel like home...which is odd for us b/c we've been able to make everywhere else feel like home.)

2. Moving into our own place again! Woooohoooo! It is nice to have a place and space of your own. Now I can arrange my boxes into several different rooms instead of just one small storage area, lol. (Seriously. I'm still holding onto the theory of not unpacking everything b/c it will just need packed up again. I think the earth will disappear if all my boxes ever get unpacked. j/k)

3. Katie graduated from Ohio University! So cool. Which also meant a wonderful trip home to see the clan. (Clan with a C not Klan with a K, ok?) Even if I did have to pay a $300 idiot fee it was still fun.

4. Since we've got a place and a space of our own we are enjoying entertaining again and having friends over. We still don't have visitors often because we have hectic schedules, but it is fun.

5. Combsy came to visit us in Alabama for his Spring Break! It was pretty cool. (We're hoping we can get a few more buddies involved this year...we'll see how it turns out.)

6. Remodeling. For the first time we are able to fix up and paint the place where we live. It is fun to transform the space you live in. I'm so glad to have walls some color other than white or off white. It is fantastic. We are enjoying the remodel process. So far we have been pretty agreeable about paint colors and decorative elements in the rooms. (So far...we'll see what 2010 brings, lol.)

7. Friday Nights! 'Nuff said. So, I'm a little verbose and 'nuff said won't cut it. I really love Friday Nights with the girls next door. It is one of the things I look forward to because they are so crazy. You never know what is going to happen. (I'm so blessed.)

8. Christmas Decorations. For the first time in 2 years I was able to put up my Christmas decorations. (Ok, so the year Biv Biv was deployed I could have put them up, but I was boycotting Christmas til he got home.) I really enjoyed having the tree up this year and the wonderful feeling I had when I could sit in the living room with just the Christmas tree on. Peaceful. (I enjoyed it so much our tree is still up...shhh...don't tell my subconscious 'cause I have a rule about decorations. The tree should be promptly stowed away prior to Jan 1st.)

9. Sibs Wknd @ OU! I was able to visit Katie at school for sibs wknd her senior year at college. It was so much fun! I really enjoyed our time spent together and I think she did too, minus that crazy cough/cold/plague like thing she had. (She sounded terrible.)

10. Refrigerator Art. Ok so this isn't so much an event, but it is fun. The neighbor children draw us pictures and we post them on our refrigerator. (I received a drawing from the half sister for my birthday, but that technically happened in 2010.) It is kinda fun to have something other than our magnet collection on our fridge. We rather enjoy our fridge art without the cost and patience it requires to raise our own children to create fridge art.

We'll see what happens in 2010. I know I have a few things I'm already looking forward to like a potential visit from Katie (Mancub, you better intern in Atlanta, ok?) and a visit from "the boys" for spring break. I can hardly wait for that. Is it March yet? (I know, I know it will be soon.) Also, I'm really hoping 2010 brings me a full-time job. I'm kinda bored with this part-time stuff at the moment (thankful I have a job, but just getting too much unpaid time). We'll see how it goes though. Biv Biv and I rather enjoyed our year together minus USMC interruptions...but...well y'all know ;)