Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thanksgiving with Family & New York, New York

It has been a wonderful past month. I can't believe how it has flown by, but when I think of all the wonderful time with family and new friends I can say we are truly blessed.

Our new church has been exactly what we prayed for. When we left Hawaii our prayer was for a church family that would be as wonderful as our last church. We also prayed that Daniel would be able to get to know some of the members so he will know some of the people I will be chatting about constantly this next year. Our new church emphasizes the lifestyle of a church family. We see the people from the church several times a week. This is exactly what kind of supportive and loving family I need down here during these upcoming months. It is such a blessing. We have already started building some great relationships with several couples. We are so thankful for the great Biblical teaching, wonderful fellowship, and heartfelt worship. We feel at home with this church.

The Marine Corp Ball was great fun this year. We had talkative people at our table and the a couple from our church was also there. We did not know many people because it was the ball for the unit Daniel was with at the base here in Cherry Point, not the unit he is deploying with. The guest speaker was good and the live band really lent itself to the traditional music played at the ceremony. The evening was very enjoyable despite knowing only a few people.

The following week was Thanksgiving and it was a great week. Daniel's parents came in for a full week. They stayed with us for half the week and Daniel's older brother Everett and his family the rest of the week. Unfortunately I was sick for most of the week, but that didn't stop us from having a great visit. We showed them around our local area and hit a few antique stores. I was glad we did; we came away with a great hall table. (I had been searching for one for some time.)

Thanksgiving day we traveled over to Everett's home for the day and enjoyed a yummy meal, and great conversation, but most importantly wonderful play time with the adorable nephews. These two boys are so much fun. Daniel and I love to play with them. The oldest is three and such an intelligent boy. He always has something cute to say and a precious smile to go with it. Meghan, our sister-in-law, Mom, and I took a quick photo on their couch...

Hmm, it is not letting me post the picture. I will try again.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Football Game and New Family Addition in Feline Form

Hello Dearest Friends and Family. I have not written in a while mainly due to the fact that our computer crashed. We got the blue screen of death and then the eventual computer gibberish(that is what it is to me) that let us know it was the end. Daniel handled everything so I just stood by and gave moral support. We are back up on our desktop we just need to get the old hard-drive information recovered. Daniel is assigned to that mission as well. He seems to enjoy it...

We have been maintaining a steady schedule with Daniel "out in the field" last week with training and my activities with LINKS and KVs. Basically Daniel was sleeping under the stars or in a mini tent last week as they were conducting night operations and staying with the ammo and vehicles. Thankfully it wasn't too cold last week.

The weekend before the field week we had the chance to go to the NAVY vs Duke game on Saturday. Navy beat Duke 38-13. It was an absolute beautiful day outside and we had great seats so it made for a wonderful Saturday event. On our way home from Durham, where the game took place, we met up with sister Sarah for some dinner. She took a break from her studies to hang with the sis and brother-in-law. We had a good time with her.

Earlier in the day I had cut Daniel's hair. I just had to post the picture because I was quite proud with how it turned out. It is not the best picture because he had a hat on all day, but I think the shaping and sides turned out well. I just wanted to post his cute face anyways, even if I hadn't shaved his head.

The fall foliage around here has been just beautiful and we took a quick photo of an amazing red tree in the parking lot as we were headed back to our car that day of the game. I just wanted to post it for extra color... :)

This last week as I was running errands I went into the pet shop to get our lizard Leelu some yummy crickets. I made the mistake of going back and looking at the kittens. Well, it really wasn't a mistake just a bad idea if I wasn't planning on taking one with me that day. Well, I fell in love with the little boy kitten that was peach with white strips. He was not as small as the rest of the kittens and because they had had him for so long they were willing to give him to me for free. I couldn't pass this offer up since most of the cats at the Humane Society were older cats with histories... I wanted a fresh kitty to mold into a sweet cuddle-bug. Well, that day I went home and discussed it with Daniel. I went back the next day and picked him up. There was not a lot of molding needing to be done on his part because the instant you touched him he would become limp to be held and start purring. He has the loudest purr of any kitten I have heard. The vets even said they could not find his heartbeat because of the purring. So he is an absolute lovebug. The only problem was convincing the master of the house, you know, Meli, that this was a good idea.

For about 5 days Meli did nothing but hiss at everything that got near her, the kitten, us, a piece of laundry I would fold on the bed near her nap spot. She was a rotten cat. She was not happy with the arrangement with the new kitten and made sure we knew it as well. As the days went by the kitten, now named Oscar, couldn't contain himself any longer and he started showing signs of wanting to play with her. She finally caught on and that is all they do now. They chase each other around in circles and then lay down for a bit and wrestle. They are hilarious to watch and we are so happy with our new baby. He is doing just what we wanted, keeping Meli from getting lonely and fat, and keeping Maryn from getting cold at night when Daniel is gone. They are both good little portable heaters.

Here he is being the lovebug. You can tell he just woke up for the camera. I have more pictures on the other camera but that photo program has yet to be added to our desktop so I won't be able to get them up on here yet. He is so much fun!

This last weekend we made a quick trip up to MD to visit my parents before Daniel leaves. It was a late drive up Friday night and and afternoon/evening drive back on Sunday. On Saturday morning we went to the Academy to explore for a bit. Daniel was amazed at all the construction that has been completed since he left. There were several renovated halls and entire buildings. They are renovating King Hall now and building a new field house. It was another perfect Saturday to be out walking in the amazing weather. We just love visiting the Academy, with Daniel's memories, our dating throughout his time there, and then our wedding at the chapel there are just so many reasons to keep it on our list of places to go.

Well, this week we are preparing for Daniel's parents visit for this next holiday week. Daniel is in his last week of training and unfortunately they put the language classes last. He comes home and I ask him to repeat what he learned so it will hopefully stick in his memory longer. The Arabic alphabet and sounds is the hardest part. I know it is so much easier learning a new language if you have someone either speaking it with you away from the class or at least someone to explain the new things learned. I got him a little book with pictures and the English alphabet spelling out the sounds of the Arabic words. I hope it is helpful. He is also getting all kinds of literature from this class. We just have to use it during his leave time so he doesn't forget it all. That will be the challenge.

Love Ya'll!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Birthday Weekend and Tons of Visitors

Daniel's birthday week was a very special one. We were able to have Sarah and her beau Andrew over for Wednesday and Thursday night before they left on Friday afternoon. We spent Thursday night playing games and enjoying cake and ice cream. Daniel donned his Afghani garb for S & A and didn't get to change in time before we made him blow out the candles. He told me to never let him wear that outfit again during pictures-taking times. I like it on him, besides it was tailored just for him, and he looks good in anything. :)
We played two different games that night on the porch and had a great time together. It was a wonderful visit.

On Daniel's actual birthday we had dinner at home then had a second night of ice cream, but went to Coldstone for Daniel's favorite cake batter creation. He loves the cake batter flavor!

The next day we ran several errands in the morning and then enjoyed the MumFest in the afternoon. It was basically a big fall festival for New Bern. They had vendors from all over the state there with all kinds of crafts, information and yummy food. It was a perfect day to be outside and I snapped a shot next to the Neuse River in the downtown area of New Bern.

Daniel's weekdays are very busy so we are thankful for the weekends to relax and rejuvenate for the upcoming week. We had the chance to connect with my family this past weekend as Daniel and I met my parents on Saturday morning and drove to Sarah's university for her family weekend. It was another glorious Saturday to spend outside and I am thankful we made the trip. It is only a two hour drive to her school and they have a lovely campus.

Sarah, as an RA, had to take part in the Homecoming activities. She helped decorate the truck for the parade and encouraged her residents to take part in it as well. She did an excellent job of decorating and their float was one of the cutest. As you can tell the school mascot is the camel. They have some school spirit. Sarah, along with some her her residents, was in the truck bed throwing out candy to the bystanders.

During the parade I was able to snap a couple of other shots as well... Here are Momma and Daddy sitting on the roadside during the parade, and quick shot of the Danny boy and me. It was a bright sunny day so the glare was extreme.

That evening we went to dinner and went to see "Flags of Our Fathers". It is an excellent movie, but beware it has extremely graphic war scenes. I had to look away at times, but the overall theme of true heroism is captivating. I just need to read the book now and luckily we have it...It is next on my list.

We returned home late on Saturday evening and went to Sunday school and the church service in the morning. We took a nice long nap to prepare for the upcoming week and to recover from the lack of sleep from the weekend. Daniel had planned to be out in the field all week, meaning he would not come home at night for dinner or to sleep. He would be outside sleeping or in the barracks at Le Jeune due to the early mornings and late nights.

But, last night I got a call around 6pm saying he was coming home early. I was very excited. He called later and said he was going to stop by a friend's house to see if he was back from leave. John, a friend of Daniel's from Okinawa just returned from Iraq and post-deployment leave. Daniel wanted to stop in and say hi. We also knew another friend from Oki, another Daniel, was visiting that evening and my Daniel wanted to see him as well. He originally thought he was going to miss seeing both of them this week due to being busy in the field, but his team finished up early and Daniel called and told me they were headed here for dinner and to spend the night.

I multiplied dinner times two and got the house ready for guests. I just love having people over! We had a great evening and they had a good chance to reconnect and recollect Oki stories. I snapped a picture of the three of them this morning around 5am before they headed out the door. John, my Daniel, and Daniel. They are really great guys and both have such a kind spirit. It was a joy meeting Daniel finally (I had met John) and having them stay over.

Yesterday during the day I went over to the director of the St. Charles Singers' house again. I have been twice now. (I never filled the blog readers in.) I am now an official St. Charles singer. Basically it means she contacts me with certain gigs and I can say yes or no and sing as much as I want. I love the flexibility and the opportunity to sing different styles of music. I have a gig set up at a restaurant in Jacksonville already and I have to fill an hour of time. I am doing a couple of duets, but mostly solos ranging from Disney to country-pop to Broadway. I just love having the opportunity to sing on a regular basis. We already have 4 performances lined up in December as well. It is all very exciting. I will be sure to let ya'll know how that goes.

Last week I also finished up LINKS mentor training. I am now a mentor which means I will be helping facilitate monthly LINKS training for new Marine Corps wives or just wives who want to know more about the Corps, the local area, or meet new spouses. I went to LINKS training in September and they asked me if I would like to be a mentor. Well, I passed mentor training and I am on the list for next months class. It is another excellent volunteer position to meet wives and stay involved. I really do look forward to this opportunity.

I am picking up the activity level with KVs again as our Marine spouses prepare to deploy again. This Thursday is a big meeting where I will meet other KVs, mostly wives of the men Daniel works with. I am looking forward to meeting them as well as building the KV program within Daniel's team.

I am headed to lunch now with another Marine wife. She is getting her car fixed in the shop so I am going to swing by and pick her up for lunch.

Have an excellent week!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fall Days

Thank you for your thoughts and calls. I am feeling better. It was just a day of feeling under the weather. I don't know what caused it, but I am happy it is over.

The day after the last post I decided to finally get some bulbs in the ground in our front yard. The mailbox was a perfect place to make a new flower bed. I dug up the sod and turned the soil for some bulbs. You can't tell now, but come spring this bed should be full of daffodils and grape hyacinths. I also planted a small planter with full size multi-color hyacinths. I am looking forward to seeing the blossoms come spring.
It should make for a colorful season.

Daniel and I bought another bookcase. We seem to always have a need for more book storage. I know it is nothing like the book lovers in our family, Daniel's Dad, and Lolly, my sister. They have more of a collection, but we definitely have a start on our own library. As we were putting it together Meli thought she would help out by laying on the directions. She has a fascination with laying on paper or plastic. It must just be a different texture than normal, or she knows it is something that is not going to stay there for a long time so she better get her chance to sit on it then. She is a mess!
Excuse the devilish eyes. I have a hard time getting her yellow eyes at night, of course because of the flash...

We have hung more pictures and put more items in there final place. It takes a bit of rearranging and that is part of the fun of the new home. I know I should not focus on our material possessions, but I am very thankful to finally have them.

Yesterday I decided to be a tourist in our town. I enjoy taking the camera on outings. I mostly hit downtown historic New Bern and did some antique shopping. There are several places on the main road to slip in and shop around. I am not planning a major purchase. I just like looking and thinking about how an item could work in a house, not necessarily our home. I have to know about these places so when my my mother-in-law comes she can scope them out with me. She is an antique-lover as well and she is much more knowledgable about the items than I am; a great shopping buddy.
Here is the old First Baptist Church built in 1809. It has a huge wooden door and beautiful iron gate wrapped around the grounds.
Here is the street light decorated with flags for this next weekends MumFest in New Bern. I don't know what it will entail but there is a lot of hype for it. We may go...
And here I am walking the streets of New Bern on a perfect fall day.

I hope to take some pictures of Daniel this weekend. I know I haven't posted any of him lately and he is too cute to keep off this blog!

Have a great weekend. We are taking the weekend easy. Who knows something may come up, but it will be nice for Daniel to relax after the busy week's schedule. His day consists of waking up early, going to work, coming home, running, eating dinner, then doing a few things around the house before he crashes or I make him go to bed. It makes for a strict schedule so the freedom of the weekend is very welcoming.

I am off to the gym. It is arms day!

Love Ya'll

Monday, October 02, 2006

Getting Accustomed

This past week kept both Daniel and me busy. Daniel was on the range the entire week. He leaves the house around 5am so it is an early morning every morning. The hour drive to work and back is finally getting to be habit for him and me. He usually calls before he leaves or as he is leaving Le Jeune and we can time when he will be home for supper.

Last Tuesday they had some shooting at night so he stayed over in Jacksonville. He has a place he can stay whenever they need to stay late or wake up extra early. I am glad he doesn't have to drive back during those times. He is tired enough from the early mornings here. He still does a great job of getting things done once he gets home at night. He is too good with my feelings to just plop down when he gets home and zone out. (I know I would want to do that on some days.) He is a pretty wonderful husband...

Last week I met up with Stephanie, a mutual friend of my friend Jo in Hawaii. When Jo found out we were moving here she connected me with Steph so we could get to know each other. Well, Stephanie has been a perfect connection for many reasons, one being she is an absolute doll. She is very kind and considerate and I have enjoyed all my conversations with her. I was looking forward to having some time in person to get to know her better.

Secondly, her husband is a Marine also and it turns out that he is doing the same training that Daniel is doing right now and they are both deploying this winter for a year. I cannot express how good it is to connect with another wife who is going through the exact same feelings I am right now.

We went out on Wednesday and did some shopping and then had lunch together. We had a great time chatting and sharing our emotions about this upcoming deployment. I am not in the exact same boat as her because they have three dear children. She has to cope with the family while her husband is gone. I hope I can be of any help to her during this time.

I am hoping this relationship with continue to grow as we get closer to deployment so we can be supportive friends for each other.

Friday evening Daniel had to work late and return to the range on Saturday morning so I met him in Jacksonville for the evening. He had gotten tickets to this Broadway review show being done on base. We had a great time at dinner and the show. It was a perfect date night. I even had a chance to chat with the director of the production about auditioning for the group. I just emailed her asking about a time and place for auditions so I will fill ya'll in when I know more.

Saturday and Sunday my girlfriend Katy came down for a visit. We spent Saturday in Morehead City and Atlantic Beach. We did some shopping then walked on the beach for a while. It was an absolutly beautiful day. The weather was just perfect. Saturday evening we met up with Daniel and a friend of Katy's for dinner at a yummy seafood restaurant. It was a great ending to a wonderful day.

Sunday we went to church again and had a nice lunch at home before Katy had to leave to get back to her regular schedule to prepare for her week. She is a 5th grade teacher in Virginia, and a darn good one at that. I am quite proud to call myself her friend. She is a special chica.

Today has been a little bit of a yucky day for me. I woke up did some things around the house and then went to the gym. When I was driving back from the gym I started getting very nauseous. I thought it just must have been working out too hard or the motion of the car, but sure enough when I got home I got sick. I have been weak and yuck feeling since I got home. I am hoping I am not coming down with something.

Last time I posted for some reason it wouldn't let me post pictures. It is looking like it will not let me this time either. I am going to have to investigate after I post this.

Have a good week family and friends!

Finally some pics

Here is the house after a good mowing. THis was several days ago. We got some cute pumpkins and mums the other day and they are living on the front porch right now. They add some nice color.

We are still organizing and hanging up things in the house so I will post some inside pictures at a later date.

We are very happy with the house. Let me extend another welcome to anyone thinking about making a visit down south. Our house is open, we have space, and we love guests.

Here is Katy and I a few weeks ago when Daniel and I made a visit up to my parents. This was taken at a surprise party for my Dad's birthday.

Here are the Daddy's girls at his birthday party.

That is all for now. Love Ya'll!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Furniture Installed...

Thank you for the kind feedback on the new blog. I hope to continue to post pictures and stories on here as I did before. Our time down here is just as important for me to remember as our time in Hawaii.

Since the last post we received our household goods. It is amazing how you can forget what you have in just a matter of 2 months. The move-in day went very smooth and we spent the rest of that evening setting up house. It was a good feeling, a little daunting at first because we had the movers unpack all the boxes and the kitchen was in absolute chaos when they left. It looked much better after a few dedicated hours of organizing. It is amazing how I can fill a kitchen even with the wonderful amount of space it has for storage!

We are happy to be sleeping in our own bed with our own pillows. Meli has not stopped reminding us of how she loves her scratch posts now that they have been reunited. She will just wrap herself around one and lie there for hours. She is adjusting just fine... :)

Daniel is on the range this week learning several new positions and techniques. Unfortunately they are going to be doing some night firing this evening and he is staying the night. He has an all day Saturday session as well. I found out that my girlfriend Katy is hopefully going to come down for the weekend. It is such a perfect weekend for her visit with Daniel busy and gone! I hope it all works out for her to come down.

We are still praying about churches down here and this past week we revisited the first church we visited here. It has got some great teaching going on and a very warm environment. We are hoping to get involved in a church sooner rather than later so Daniel can experience some of the church before he leaves.

This last Saturday I went to an all day class for Marine wives. It was mostly focused on new wives to the Marines Corp but there were several like me who have been married for a little over a year that had still not attended the class. The class is called LINKS and it is incredibly informative. It is led by volunteer wives who have the desire to help wives stay active, informed, and connected. I was able to meet some very nice ladies and actually made a nice connection with one specific one. Her husband is on a team much like Daniel that is going to deploy the end of this year. Having that in common was enough to get us chatting away, and we spent the day getting to know each other better.

After the graduation ceremony two of the instructors were encouraging me to become a mentor with LINKS. I had already been thinking about it, but there encouragement set it in my mind more firmly. I am waiting now for a call so I can be trained as a mentor. I think it will be another excellent opportunity to meet new ladies and to stay active in the Marine Corp family.

The wife who I had a special connection with called the day after and invited us over to dinner. It was so thoughtful and we enjoyed the social outing after the long days of unpacking and organizing the house. I look forward to getting to know her better.

It has been such nice weather down here and I am planning on planting my bulbs and mums before it gets too cold. I just needed the garden tools to start.

Our neighboring house is just being finished so I am excited about the new neighbors. Daniel has met them and has said they are very friendly. It should be nice having more people in our little corner of new construction. It can get kind of quiet on the end of the street where we are, that is except for construction noises.

Well, that is all for now.
Take Care!

Monday, September 18, 2006

We Are Here

We have been here for almost a month and I am a terrible blogger. We moved in the night of August the 21st directly after we closed on the house. It was a perfectly stormy day with lightening and bursts of hard rain to welcome us to green North Carolina. (It is incredibly green here, more so than Hawaii. That is one thing I have already fallen in love with; the green forests, grass, and beautiful plantlife.)

The entire moving process went smoother than I could have dreamed. Flying from Hawaii to California, then driving across country was an adventure and a wonderful time for Daniel and I to explore the US. Our first multi-night stay was in Missouri, where Daniel's parents live. We ended up staying there for a week and a half. We were not in a hurry to get here to NC and live in the hotel on base before our house closed, so we stayed there. Daniel was able to work a few days in the shop with his Dad and I was able to do some great shopping with Mom. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and look forward to another long visit. Here is Daniel and his Dad. (They love getting down and dirty in the shop.)

Once we got here we started visiting churches right away. We have already visited three churches and it seems like there is no end in sight of the churches around here. We are still praying about our choice and planning on visiting some more in the following weeks.

Meli has adjusted peacefully. We finally got her some toys to target her playful biting onto rather than our ankles. She finally knows what it is like to be a mainland cat and be able to drive for long distances without seeing the ocean. I think the one thing she wants to do now is explore the outside. She has started pushing through my legs to get outside to say goodbye to Daniel in the morning. I am not too excited about letting her out on a regular bases, but just in case she escapes we got her a name tag for her collar with our phone number. She is still getting used to that. This picture is of her on the carseat floor. She slept about 95% of the time on the drive across county. She loved having free reign of the car when she was outside of the cat carrier.

When we first moved in we had a few projects in mind for the house. The first big one was painting our red bathroom blue as well as our bedroom. It was our first big painting project together and it turned out great. We are happy with the color and Daniel is a great roller. I was a taper and edger. We made a great team!
Daniel also became an amateur plumber, installing our garbage disposal and removing the toilet to paint behind it. He also did some minor electrical work when he switched around some of the switches for the lights. (Some switch positions were not very logical.) I guess it all comes along with moving into your first home. He will become mister fix-it now for everything... :)

Biggest news this week is our furniture arrives on Thursday! We are very ready for our own bed, pots and pans and every other amenity we have been doing without. We are very gracious for the borrowed items from family and friends. Thank you for helping us adjust. It will have been 4 days shy of two months without our household goods. I am very excited about making our new home more comfortable. There is only so much sitting in lawn furniture you can do. :)Thankfully it is scheduled to come this week!

The unfortunate news for our family is Daniel is going to be deployed again in a few months. He is already undergoing training with several other Marines. The training is keeping him busy and requires him to drive an hour to work everyday rather than the 15 minutes we had planned. We had to adapt to this change in a matter of two days. The USMC keeps you on your toes. I am so thankful we are on the east coast now.

We are so much closer to family and we have already been able to see my side of the family several times since leaving Hawaii. We are grateful for our new house and the ability to have several guests stay with us without being too uncomfortable. (I can't wait to get the furniture!)

Well, that is the update for now. I will post more pictures of the house once we get settled. I hope everyone is able to get this page as clearly as they were able to read our Hawaii page. Thank you for your time and love.