Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Skydiving in Hawaii

I just found this photo and the corresponding video from last year in Oahu.

Definitely one of the best, and scariest, things I've ever done! But it was a bluebird day, and I distracted myself from thinking about my impending death, by looking out at luscious Kauai, the pristine beaches of North Shore and all of the LOST-esque scenery. Some of the LOST props were stored at my airfield where I jumped, which was a mega bonus to see.

I'm going to try to figure out how to post this video, so far, not so good. But I highly recommend skydiving to anyone who is thinking of it and is scared like I was! My instructor had jumped over 7000 times and his wife was in labor; he was planning to go to the hospital later that day with her, so I knew he wasn't afraid we'd die:)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

King Ranch bust

Yesterday morning we attempted to make my two year long dream come true- going to the King Ranch Cowboy Breakfast. Alas, I didn't know HOW MANY PEOPLE HAD THE SAME DREAM AS ME!!!! This remarkable ranch is the size of the STATE of Rhode Island, and is only 45 minutes away from our house. Knowing that soon we will live in as opposite a culture to Texas as possible, I love exposing Claire to Western or Southern things and places and food. So we put on our boots and headed on down...

We got there at 9:30 (it is a once a year event that runs from 7-11 and Claire has a long mid-day nap); I thought that would be perfect timing. Little did I know that the 4 mile driveway into the ranch would be bumper to bumper, even that late into the event, and in one HOUR in the car, we'd only moved about 1/2 way into the ranch. The natives were getting restless in our car, and knowing that most of the food/activities would be over by the time we parked, I tucked my tail between my legs and turned my cowgirl boots around. We headed for a popular local diner instead, where we choked down everything Bob and Jillian would frown upon. I can't believe we will leave TX without me experiencing this! A lesson in dying to my expectations.

We had a great rest of the day and headed out to a beautiful beach house that our friends are renting in Port Aransas (I love hearing ocean waves from the deck!) I guess we'll have to pay to take a tour of King Ranch and go to their amazing Saddle Shop some day soon, when the rest of Texas isn't trying to go there also! Yeehaw.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My daughter the model...

Claire does not really enjoy getting her photos taken and doesn't stay still for a second, but our talented friend Beth captured her well in San Antonio this weekend, for some 18 month photos. If you live in the San Antonio area, I HIGHLY commend her to you! Click HERE to see the preview. Claire was in love with Beth's first born, Carter, who was helping, by entertaining Claire. A perfect little photog assistant! Thank you Beth, Claire will model for you any time!!

San Antonio Rock and Roll weekend

We had a fantastic weekend up in San Antonio. Thank you to the Anderson's, who opened their relaxing home up to us. Claire couldn't get enough of their backyard and play room... It made me long for the time where we can plant roots and have something like that. Some day, kiddo, some day.

We tried a couple new great restaurants, both of which had live music! La Focaccia on Saturday night, for Los to carb up. The Italian food was delicious. And Sunday night we went to The Cove, which is my idea of perfection: organic, yummy food, outdoor seating, a great bar, music and a kids playground. Something for everyone! Thank you to the Marqueses and Saxtons for suggesting such awesome places!

Claire had a great time playing with Carter and being a model for her mommy.

And Los did really well in the San Antonio half marathon. He got a 1:40 time, which is a good, consistent pace he needs for his upcoming Houston Marathon. He is going to break 4:00 this time (4th time's the charm!) And Claire and I liked all the live music. She was dancing a lot, and I tried to capture it a bit on my phone. Here they are after Los finished his race.

I got to go to the best outlets in the country, the San Marcos outlets, during nap time too; so I was a happy camper. I love the Williams-Sonoma and Crate and Barrel stores. Trying to get everything we want to have for our house before we make our big move! I know it's dorky, but I will really miss those outlets when we move:)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Veteran's Day: Being a military wife

I didn't grow up knowing anything about the military. My mom is a pacifist and the military just seemed so far away and foreign. I remember being on a bus in 5th or 6th grade, after school, when I heard the announcement that the Gulf War had started. I think I felt scared at the time, but quickly resumed my daily norms and forgot all about it. On September 11, 2001 it hit a lot closer to home. Shortly thereafter, we were in NYC for the marathon and I remember the smell of death in the air, smoky and putrid. It made me want to vomit. Seeing the aftermath of violence on our turf brought me to attention quickly. As much as I want to live in my oblivious, comfortable world where "everything is great!" I now had seen first hand the global reality of discord and unrest.

A few months later I met a guy who captivated me. But he was joining the military. I don't "do" or "speak" military. I moved to CA and he moved to FL, as far away as we could be from one another in this country... Yet my heart couldn't shake him off, so on Veteran's Day weekend 2002, he flew to Oakland from Pensacola to come see me. And after that my staunch, stubborn heart was ruined for good- whether I liked it or not, I loved a man in the military.

Over 18 months we only saw each other 3 times. But letters and emails and phone calls flowed like wine, entwining our hearts together. On Christmas Eve 2003, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I cried. He lived in Corpus Christi, TX for flight school, I lived in WA, having started grad school. Nothing about our proximity to one another would have suggested our relationship would last- but God knit us together from afar. On New Years Eve 2004, he asked my parents for my hand in marriage. My step-mom said, "it's about time!"

So I took Matt Damon (aka Will Hunting's) advice, and packed up my stuff into my little Acura, moving 3,000+ miles across the country to "go see about a boy." I didn't know a soul in Jacksonville or the state of Florida, other than my boyfriend, but God provided me a wonderful job and community. And I learned, as it turns out, when you live in the same city, relationships are harder! The other person finds out you're not perfect and vice versa. I used to always straighten my hair at the salon the day I'd be seeing Los. He was dismayed to find out I have curly hair:) But God continued to grow us closer to one another, and one day, in the middle of a labyrinth in a gorgeous cathedral in France- for the first time, I heard Carlos say, "I love you." Which was immediately followed by, "will you marry me?" I sobbed. Amazed. Grateful. I forgot to say yes until he asked again.

So I married a military man. I had no idea what I was signing up for. I had no idea how many times I would fear for his safety and life, praying to God fervently. I had no idea 5 years ago how my heart would despair when he would leave me on deployments. We spent our first two Christmases and anniversaries apart. I wept like a baby when he left me and tried to bury myself in grad school books to ignore my broken heart. I lived for hearing his voice from Japan or the middle East, carrying my phone everywhere with me. One time I answered in the middle of a dental exam, shedding tears in the chair- that was awkward. Getting a dog was the best decision we made early on in our marriage. We call Burly the "glue that holds our marriage together." After finishing our 'sea' tour and starting our 'shore' tour, life changed once again. After having a rhythm of together-apart for 3 years of marriage, being together all the time was hugely unfamiliar. And not exactly graceful. But it has become so wonderful and now I can't imagine life apart. I have no idea how I will explain to our little girl next summer, in Japan, that we are not going to be seeing daddy for months at a time. Daddy loves us, but daddy is serving our country.

Being a military wife is hard, certainly not for the faint of heart. I am fiercely proud and completely in love with a man who has given his life to something bigger than himself and our immediate comfort. I am grateful that God is our rock and nothing, not life nor death, heights nor depths, can separate us from His love. He who knit us together watches between us when we are apart. I never imagined that this would be my life. I never imagined how proud I would be to call a military veteran my husband. I still largely see myself as a pacifist, and long for the day when war will cease. I don't know what will happen in the rest of my lifetime, but I am grateful to be married to a man of fortitude, strength of character, who serves us daily and serves our nation. I can not adequately or succinctly express my admiration for my Veteran on this day. Suffice to say, being in the military is hard and comes with great sacrifice. Your family, comfort, community, mental health and even life can be be taken. We live in a country full of luxuries and people (myself included) are spoiled and self-centered, forgetful of the fact that others are sacrificing on their behalf. So please thank a veteran for their selflessness today.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Holidays! (a little early)

I know it's just the first half of November, but we used for our Christmas cards this year, and just got our proof in an email. I really liked Minted and am in love with this little girl on the photo... Being her mom is so much fun and our lives are full of blessings. I don't know why November is the only month of the year we focus on thanksgiving, but I am giving thanks for this sweet season of life. 17 months old today and Claire couldn't be more fun. What are you thankful for?