Monday, November 30, 2009

Guitar Hero!

The Casting Shadows/Dave Calvert Pose:

Days left to play Guitar Hero before we leave the country: 46 (sigh)
Good thing we are playing next Monday and all of New Year's Week-End!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I get to play Guitar Hero (or Rockband....can't remember) tonight with Crystal and my sister-in-law, Alanna! Caleb is going to his brother's poker night, which means I will be rocking out all night with my girls.

In case anyone is trying to reach us, I forgot to pack the cell phone chargers, so are phones are dead! Give me a break, I have been packing all week for our MOVE out of our house....the chargers were the last thing on my mind!

We are also having a wonderful time in Charlotte. Ben is being spoiled every minute. He has had delicious food (with lots of butter), apple cider instead of apple juice, rides daily on the riding lawnmower with Buna, fun chasing the cats ("tats") and a bedtime that is around 9pm instead of 7pm.

Come Monday, this little boy is not going to know what hit we get back into our "routine".

Hope you are all still enjoying this nice long week-end with family and friends.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


....Last Black Friday Shopping Spree For Me For A VERY LONG TIME!
Starbucks, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Michael's & More....Here I Come!
I have this sick habit of buying stuff on Black Friday, only to return it later. There is something about the rush of being out there with the crowd that makes it all feel like Christmas is coming soon. At least I can try and get a good deal on things we need for PNG!
(Can you tell I am in denial? I'm addicted to Black Friday!)

Picture Time....

We thought it was important to get a good family picture while we were all together. Personally, I like this one better, even though my mother-in-law is not looking at the camera. We hope to photoshop/change it.....

Family Shot:

And, in case you don't remember what Ben looked like last Thanksgiving (you can visit this post):

And the year before:

My how things have changed...

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving, we headed to Charlotte to visit with Caleb's side of the family. Caleb's brother, Carson, joined the Air Force and we have not seen him since June. He was able to fly home for the holiday and surprise his father. We picked Carson up at the airport....which meant that Ben and I could make signs to embarrass....I mean, honor him! Hope you enjoy the pictures. We will not be in the states when he graduates as a combat controller, so we were excited that Ben had this time to spend with him! Ben pronounces "Carson" as "Tartit".

Good times!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All My Bags Are Packed....

When I was a little girl, I remember lots of wonderful Christmas' with my dad's side of the family. We would sit in my grandparents' finished basement and laugh and talk 'til the wee hours of the night. I remember times when my Uncle David and Aunt Diane would pull out their guitar and sing for us. I remember loving these times SO much that I actually thought I would start playing the guitar. I got one for Christmas.....but that talent never took off.

One of my favorite songs to sing was "Leaving on a Jet Plane". I remember I would change the words around to fit the occasion.

"All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go.
I'm standing here outside your door.
I hate to wake you up to say good-bye.

The dawn is breaking it's early morn.
The taxi's waiting, he's blowing his horn.
Already I'm so lonesome, I could cry.

So kiss me and smile for me.
Tell me that your remember me.
Hold me like I'm never going to go.

'Cause I'm leaving on a jet plane.
Don't know when I'll be back again.
Oh, Friends. I hate to go...."

Obviously, I changed the words around again to fit our departure.

Let's just say that it is all starting to sink in.

We are tasked with packing our house, cleaning our house, determining what needs to go in the crate, deliver the items for the crate in 3 weeks to Charlotte, then live out of 2 suitcases each for the next month or so until our visas arrive.

Our pastor this month is doing a series called "Baggage". How appropriate, right? But, one thing that I have realized lately is this: Even though this process is hard, it is easier to decide what to physically leave behind versus what to emotionally leave behind. The baggage that has stayed for all these years- baggage from the past, baggage from life, is harder to leave. In fact, in the face of this newfound, wonderful-at-times STRESS, it is rearing its ugly head all the more. All my insecurities and worries are hitting me tenfold lately. I'm coughing it up to the hormonal time of the month....I tend to get just plain moody....but I pray that in the coming weeks, I am able to leave this emotional baggage in the states....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friends from Church!

Ben was sporting Joe's cool dude shades after we took group pictures this past Sunday. I hope to have a book made for Ben that includes pictures of all the MANY people who love him!

The pictures below are friends from our small group at church. The only people not pictured are David and Amy because they went to the second service. Beware, Matzers, we WILL get a picture with you soon!

Joe, John and Amy:

Matt, Jennifer & Brayden:

Jill and Corey with Ben:

Jennifer and Greg with Ben:
Chris, Brian and Kristin with Ben:
Another Family Photo Opt:

Rethinking Christmas Toys.....

....since kids have SO much fun playing with packing paper! Baby Brian found the Pampered Chef boxes and tore into the paper!

Ben was right behind him!

Where's Ben?

Time for hugs:

Happy Birthday, Brayden!

Our friends Matt and Jennifer threw a great big birthday party for their son Brayden. Brayden turned 1 in October, but was sick for his big day. So, the party was postponed, but you would have never known it. So many people were to love on this little man. Happy Birthday, Brayden! Jennifer made all the cakes herself. Needless to say, I was impressed!

Family picture time:

Not the best picture, but since he is a best friend, I thought I would post one of Baby Brian. Sometimes I hate my flash!

Bryaden tore into his cupcake. Maybe the extra month of practice helped....because Ben was afraid of his cake when he was that age!
Not so anymore:
Our friend, Jennifer, made the cupcakes for the kids....and they were a HIT!

Visit with MeeMom and PopPop

MeeMom and PopPop visited from Baltimore two week-ends ago. We had such a good visit with them. My mom (MeeMom) was in a PT class most days, but we enjoyed spending time with her in the evenings. Then, on Monday morning, I woke up at 3am to drive to DC. Ben rode back to Baltimore with MeeMom and PopPop....and I heard he was spoiled mercilessly! Marbles Kids Museum for the first time!

This boy loves fire trucks and choo choo trains!

We came home with a Mr. Potato head after this trip. Ben sat at this little table for almost 15 minutes! He loves his Mr. Potato head. It was SUCH a good purchase!

We had rain almost all week. But, then on Saturday afternoon.....the sun came out! This meant a trip to the park!

We also took a "hike" through the woods. Ben was leading, so we got a little turned around....i.e. LOST.

Thank you, MeeMom and PopPop for visiting. We all had so much fun and can't wait to see you over Christmas!

Baby Samuel is Here!

Our friends, Duane and Beth gave birth to little Samuel! He was born on September 28th at 5:34PM. He weighed in at 5lbs, 8 ounces and was 19 inches long....which is GREAT considering he was born at 34 weeks!

He was released from the hospital on November 1st! My friend Brittany and I could not visit him fast enough!
Samuel, so many people have been waiting for your safe arrival into this world. You are blessed to have amazing parents who love you more then you can even imagine at this point in time. It was a privilege to hold you....and, yes, I am ready for another one! (But, that will have to wait for a time!)
Congrats, Beth and Duane! Seriously, you have so much to be thankful for this holiday!

The Best Bonfire EVER!

We are a part of our church's "Young" adult group....though we are quickly growing out of that title. The "Original Young Adult" group of our church invited us to their annual bonfire. Let me just say that this was the best Bonfire EVER. We had over 40 people there.....the food was AMAZING....Ben was able to ride on a big red tractor.....good times that we are going to miss! Fried Turkeys- Mmmmmm!
The afternoon began with Yard Games then ended with the bonfire.

Ben's FAVORITE part of the whole day (quite possibly the whole year)!

What a beautiful piece of property....who would have thought it was actually within Raleigh city limits??
Ring Around the Rosey with Kelly and Carson!
Carson and Ben were best buds by the end of the night:

Amazing food!

Here is a picture of Ben "making a muscle". Honestly, it is the funniest thing you have ever seen. The next time you see Ben, ask him to make a muscle for you!
Great time with great friends!
Thank you, to all the Originals! We hope to make an annual event out of this!