Being an aunt rules.

I talk about these kids a lot because they’re pretty much amazing. And now there’s another added to the W bunch! Our nephew, Rand, from Aaron’s oldest brother, was born October 25. He’s so cute and little… and little and cute… and little. And just freakin’ adorable. Tonight we got to “meet” him on Skype.

brand new baby!! randolph james (picture from family friend)
sis-in-law katie, rand and our niece lena
katie, lena, bro-in-law bruce, rand
joel, rhianna, aunt lizbiz, zaia (scott & anessa's kids)

We will be going back to Illinois in late winter for a few weeks… I can’t wait to meet him in person! And of course, I miss our nieces and other nephew like crazy too. Except for the oldest, Joel, I’ve been around since all of them were newborns. It’s hard not being at “home” for things like this. 😦 However, I am so proud of all of them and so blessed to have inherited them when we got married.

The season of good.

Good things are happening in the W household… Fall is here! And to celebrate, we’ve had temps in the 90’s in the desert. Fall-like, eh? And the leaves turn yellow and just fall off the tree. It has been cooler at night. In fact, I’m using three thin blankets now instead of just the sheet and and one blanket. How did 65 degrees become cold? I digress… Here are a couple pics of our fall decorations.

I put candy corn and a white pillar in the hurricane. I made the leaf coasters from felt.. super easy, and cheap! Gotta love that Pinterest for ideas.

A “Happy Harvest” decoration, a couple pilgrims, pumpkin salt/pepper shakers and leaf garland. I swore we bought more than this when we got married… our collection seems to shrink every year!

Running

As far as running is concerned, I’ve discovered the track at the gym. It’s indoor, and measured weird. 11.3 laps equal one mile. I did some half-mile repeats yesterday without the Garmin and felt really good. Just taking it literally a step at a time. No use in forcing myself to run when I just don’t want to. Staying fit and healthy is the goal here, so whatever exercise gets me there, right?

Work

There’s been some drama at work lately. I’m not a fan of drama, never have been. I try to stay away from it, and sometimes come off as a big jerk. This isn’t personal drama, it’s scheduling drama. I had been offered a promotion, like I said, and so I worked in this new position for a couple weeks. It’s just not my thing, doing administrative tasks, and especially having lots more responsibility for not-so-great pay.  Because I was in the office more, I wasn’t teaching as much. I love teaching and tutoring. That’s why I sought out this job in the first place. (I don’t think I’ll ever be a principal. Ever.)

I talked with my boss on Monday, which went really well. We figured something out to where I’ll be working in the office on Fridays and the rest of the week I’ll be tutoring in the evenings. And, get this, I’ll have most Saturdays off! I have no idea how that transpired, but I’m not gonna complain.

I still would love to find a full-time aide position or something like that. I’ve applied at a few districts, but not getting my hopes up. The job I have now definitely suffices. I love being able to be at home during the day and get things done.

Husband

I love my husband. Seriously. It gets sweeter every day, and I thank God for giving us the strength to get through the distance, because being together is just the best thing ever. The other night he went to bed earlier than usual because he had a migraine. I wanted to go to sleep, too, but just wasn’t tired enough. I stayed up for awhile and then finally headed to bed. It was such a great feeling knowing he was home. Sleeping alone was something that took me awhile to get used to, and now I really try to not take for granted that we’re together.

We work well together around the house. We try not to eat out except for once a week, so during the week I’ll get dinner ready and then he’ll cook it since I don’t get home until two hours after he does. This system works out well. We also both tackle the chores around the house. I’m blessed to have a man who not only knows how to do things around the house, but doesn’t complain about it.

Right now it’s rumored that his unit won’t deploy until the end of next summer. How awesome is that? It could change, of course, but that’s the latest he’s heard from one of his superiors.

Church

Harvest is an awesome church. We love the people… we’ve made some good friends through small group. We officially became members after doing the “mission and values” class. We were approached by one of the pastors who asked us if we’d be interested in teaching the junior high class on Sunday mornings. We would go to first service and then teach in the second. We met with another pastor on Sunday who oversees some of the youth activities and he explained our duties. Basically we’re going to set up a coffee shop feel for discussion, study and prayer for the 7th/8th graders. We have so many resources at our disposal… it’s just crazy. And we have freedom in what we teach, which is great. We’ll start that October 9th.

Around the house

We got a washer and dryer a couple weeks ago for just $150 total! I got them on Craigslist, and the guy and his wife actually brought them over and set them up. I went to Lowe’s to get a hose for the hot water and a vent for the dryer, and wa-la! No more hauling everything to the laundromat.

In the interest of saving money, I asked one of my friends from our old church (sad to say “old church”… boohoo) how she makes her laundry detergent. It’s cheap, mostly all-natural and so easy to make!

Just one batch lasted me almost two months. Granted, we’re only two people, but lots of time we’ll have two outfits per day when we work out. Mix these ingredients (I found both Borax and washing soda at Walmart) and use 1 tbsp per regular load.

Going into fall and winter…

I am so excited about the next few months. About the cooler weather, earlier sunsets. About giving out Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters. When we lived in the apartment, we didn’t have kids come and trick-or-treat, so we’re doing it this year since we have a house. There are lots of kids in our neighborhood; I see them walking back and forth to the school down the street all the time.

I’m excited to celebrate our first Thanksgiving at home. We went to my parents and my in-laws’ before for dinner. Last year I had my immediate family over. This year it’ll be the two of us, and hopefully a house full of friends. We’ll see… lots of people already have  plans.

And there’s the Turkey Trot and Thanksgiving Parade.

This Christmas we’ll get to celebrate at home. Not sure where we’ll get a real tree (that’s something the husband insists on…). I suggested decorating a cactus, but he wasn’t too keen on that.

While it’d be great to be able to go back to Illinois and celebrate the holidays with family, it’s nice to just be at our home and celebrate together. After all, the two of us do form our family for right now.

 

El Paso

Aaron mentioned the other night that El Paso is starting to grow on him. I have to agree, and it surprises me. Most likely, we’ll be here for about three years. I’d actually love it if we were here through the end of his enlistment (4.5 years left). We’ve joked around about settling here, but I’m not quite sure about that possibility. I admit, there’s something about Texas in general that draws me in. With his job prospects in the civilian world, we could live in a number of different places. Guess we’ll see what’s in store for us…

The Fourth of July Blur!

Wowzers. The weekend of the Fourth of July. I’m posting now from our hotel room in Oklahoma City. After roughly ten hours of driving, we’re safe and sound for the night. Because of all the commotion in the past few days, I wasn’t too keen on blogging tonight, but as Aaron reminded me, the longer I wait, the harder it will be to remember everything. Here goes…

The movers came on Friday and packed everything up. Well, mostly everything. It was strange at first, seeing them touching all of our things, but then I got quite used to it and decided it was nice that we barely had to lift a finger!

sleeping arrangement from friday until last night.. ugh. kitteh not included.
box of silverware they forgot to pack.. in their defense the drawer didn't look like a drawer.
corner of crappola #1
corner of crappola #2

Friday night we went out to eat with my family (Mom, Dad, sisters Emily and Leah and Leah’s awesome boyfriend Tim) at Chili’s. The “children” then went across the street to get coffee… duh!

Saturday we saw my grandparents and then went to my in-laws for swimming and dinner.

Sunday morning we went to church at Faith for the last time for a long time. Pastor Rick, his wife Leigh Ann and lots of people prayed over us, and then we went to the all-church picnic and were able to visit awhile. We will miss our church family!

Sunday afternoon we got together with a good friend, Mila, and she took some pictures for us in the Pekin Park. We hadn’t had pictures done in almost two years, and we wanted some taken at one of our favorite spots in Illinois before we departed. Here are a few…

Sunday evening after we got pictures taken, we went over to my cousin Bryan’s house and had dinner with him, his wife Michelle (who has become a great friend and older sister to  me!) and this cute little Miss Thang…

me and my "niece" adeline (my cousin's daughter)

Monday was so much fun! We went to my in-laws’ house to swim, relax, and then go out to the fireworks. I definitely got some sun and had a great time with family. All four boys were together this weekend! Too bad I didn’t get a picture of that. Now you have to see our mugs again. 😉

After hanging out at the house, we went to the place at the park they had staked out since the morning. I never really went to the fireworks until we started dating. Last year Aaron missed them; the year before, we spent the Fourth at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona.

riding on a sweet trike aaron's uncle brought
mean faces! rhianna and uncle aaron
our niece rhianna! handstand!
squinting at the sun but oh so cute! our niece zaia

Speaking of this little girl, we were all up early Tuesday morning and on our way to the Children’s Hospital for Zaia’s open heart surgery to correct her sub-aortic stenosis. The surgery went perfectly (as I knew it would!), and we’ve been getting updates today from my sister-in-law and her mom, Anessa. Zaia no longer has a heart murmur! So glad we were able to be there. We didn’t get to see her awake before we had to leave, but I still gave her a kiss! God is truly our Jehovah Raphe, our Healer.

While she was in surgery, we ran around Peoria to get a few errands completed. Last evening, we went over to my sister’s new house in Farmington. She and her boyfriend, Tim, moved in a couple weeks ago and have made the place look fantastic! I should have taken pictures. Emily came over, too, and we had a nice time just relaxing after a long and stressful day.

I was up at 4:30 this morning.. I just couldn’t sleep any longer. Our goal was to get out the door by 6AM, onto Starbucks, and on the road. We had a long day ahead of us, as we were planning on driving about 700 miles from Peoria to Oklahoma City.

whoops! one beer left, guess it needs to be drank. don't worry, elizabeth was driving!
all loaded up!
backseat.. yeah. kitteh's in there.

We got everything, I mean evvveryythinng out of the apartment. We were 30 miles out and realized that we hadn’t dropped the keys and check off at the office… whoops! We had to drive back and drop them off. So we did, and were behind schedule about an hour and a half. After I stopped freaking out and realized the world wasn’t ending, all was well.

bye bye Peoria!

Annnddd.. we’re cozy in our hotel room in the OKC, like I said. No major incidents, no major scares. We stopped in Springfield, MO, for Arby’s and man did it taste good. Aaron drove the rest of the way.  Luthor did great, even after the sedative wore off. I think he slept most of the time.

It’s still hard to believe that…

  • 1) we’re in Oklahoma. Where the wind…. (you know the rest).
  • 2) the interstates in this state are great… very clean and well-kept.
  • 3) we will be in Albuquerque tomorrow!
  • 4) we get to actually live together. Craziness!

Please pray for safe traveling and good weather. I will post later with a blog of our trip! Thanks for reading; I love sharing mundane fun all things that happen in my life and it’s a pleasure to share it with you!

>My Nana

>

Nana, myself, Grandpa Ted

My Nana, my great-grandmother, Bernadine Irene, will be 95 years old next month. 95. She’s outlived many people in her family, including her first husband, five out of six siblings, her son and her grandson-in-law. She stands at barely five feet tall, with a shoe size of 4.5 (I asked her one time). There’s not a mean bone in her body, and back in the day, she was quite a looker. (Some say she’s where I got my curves…)

The man on the right is my great-grandfather, Ted. Technically he’s my step, but they’ve been married since way before I was born. My real great-grandfather died of heart failure in 1957. Grandpa Ted is Polish, and came from Chicago. He didn’t learn English until he was about 10 years old. He’s also a veteran of the Second World War.

I remember going to their house when I was little, and of course it seemed much larger than it does now. We played on the deck, ate warm tomatoes from the garden, and explored the field behind the house which is now a built-up subdivision. I helped Grandpa Ted rake leaves.

When I got older, we’d spend more time chatting and reminiscing, always over a cup of Folgers coffee. She always had her hair done, nails painted and makeup on. She says the reason her skin is still so pretty now is because she wears moisturizer every day.

Aaron and I went to visit yesterday. Those two were at the top of our list for visits. We had a nice time, and Aaron and Grandpa Ted talked a lot about the military. While Nana has a hard time getting around (although she still passes her driver’s test!), she is completely coherent. I can’t imagine what it must be like to look back on that many years… many people are lucky to have lived a fraction of that. I mean, it’s almost a century. That is an amazing accomplishment. What must it feel like to look into the eyes of your great-great-granddaughter (my cousin’s daughter Adeline)? Five generations… Nana is 40 years older than my aunt, and 70 years older than me.

As we were getting ready to leave, we hugged and kissed. She squeezed my hand and I realized that may be the last time I see her, or him, alive. It’s very possible. However, I’m confident they know Jesus and so I feel a peace, even now. But there was a look in her eye that she was thinking the same thing. I can only imagine what that is like, and pray for such a long life.

I am so blessed with having had my grandparents and great-grandparents around. Currently, I still have three grandparents alive, and two great-grandparents.

I love my Nana.

>grown up

>

so is this what it’s like to grow up?
to look on life from the outside
just watching and waiting
and waiting and watching
to find some semblance of order
and mercy of life in the aftercalm of
near death experiences, bipolar tendencies,
clanking beer bottles, cigarette butts and
three Little girls, the product of love
so is this what it’s like to grow up?
to realize that parents and their parents
aren’t getting any younger
they aren’t getting any stronger
and they still aren’t as wrong as we think sometimes
to realize that prayer can work
that the past cannot be rewritten
but still can be redeemed with
three Little girls, the product of love
so is this what it’s like to be grown up?
to just be thankful for the time we have
the laughs we share, and
that we’re all ok, we’re all fine, we’re all making it through
parents who still love each other
thirty years later
and three Little girls, the product of love

>Not sure what’s out there…

>…for me in Texas, but it’s all gonna be happening prettttty soon.

Within a week I’ll have my husband back.

Two weeks from tomorrow the movers come.

Three weeks from yesterday we say goodbye to Illinois.

The stress of moving fell upon me last night after I got back from St. Louis. It was definitely a reality check. So, like I always do, I made a list of everything that needs to be done…

  • schedule appointment to repair rock chips in windshield (USAA will be billed directly for this! LOVE this insurance company/bank)
  • schedule oil change
  • call lodging and reserve a room at Bliss
  • get hair done (duh! essential before hubby arrives!)
  • get cash envelopes ready (we got most of our travel money advanced to us.. thank you random finance person in Korea for doing your job)
  • schedule vet appointment for Luthor
  • pack bag for Chicago next week
  • make list of food to take to Chicago (yes, “making list” is on my… list)

I normally don’t make posts like this, but I’m a little overwhelmed. I’ve emailed some properties in Texas, but I can’t schedule an appointment to see places until we’re down there. Who knows what will be available in three weeks’ time.

No idea where we’ll live… no idea where I’ll work… there are only a few certain things. Here’s another list…

  • We are indeed moving to Texas. Though I’ve heard of orders changing en route. Lord, spare me.
  • I will be with Aaron. Every night. For a long time. 
  • I will miss my friends.
  • I will miss my family.
  • I will miss my church family.
  • I will love the heat, seriously.
  • I will love getting settled in our new place and decorating it.
  • I will love our road trip… just us + kitteh. I love driving around with Aaron.

Things are already beginning to work out…