Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Homeward Bound

It all started when John was given a pair of buddy passes to fly anywhere in the Continental U.S. for only the price of the taxes! We wanted to take advantage of this generous opportunity so we planned a long weekend back up in Utah to visit with old friends. The trip was fun. We headed out last Thursday, got to indulge in First Class even, and arrived in time for lunch. We spent the next couple of days just visiting, got in a game of poker (and for me got to catch up with my Rude Rammette ladies!), snowboarding (for John who's been craving snow since we moved to the desert), and spent Easter day at our beloved Church where we had made many great friends. A special thanks goes out to all those who made time in their busy schedules to hang out with us, and especially Matt and Karie for putting us up through our stay! All in all the trip was enjoyable and we're glad to have gone! Thanks to those tickets, we got out and were able to cultivate precious relationships that we built during our Utah assignment.

Hanging out with Tyler

Easter Egg Hunt with the kids

However, the way back was a little more trying. After carefully examining the travel trends, we noticed that there were two larger airplanes traveling back from SLC to Phoenix Sunday evening, but with considerable vacancies, ensuring good fortune for us "Standby" passengers. We showed up the standard 2 hours prior to departure and quickly learned that in 24 hours, the plane had filled up and even over booked it's available seats. The Standby list was horrendous too, as we were last on the list at #20. That's nineteen other people hoping to hop onto the (already too full) plane that had priority over us. That's alright! The next plane had even more vacancies so we'll just catch that one! Wrong. It had also over booked within the last day and led to a hopeless night for us. Luckily, John remembered a friend of his lived in Salt Lake City, not far from the airport. To our good fortune, "Bring'em" was still there (he's on his way out to Korea- leaving in a week or two) and even came and picked us up. We cuddled up, watched a movie and pulled up a nice piece of carpet and went to bed. The next morn, we showed up at the all too familiar airport around 9am. Three missed planes later, along with the stress of missing a work day (I won't even go into all the cool plans John had for that work day that he was missing), we changed our tactic.

We began checking the availability of flights to Tucson. After-all, it wouldn't be too bad to fly there and rent a car to drive 90 minutes to the Phoenix airport to retrieve our car and drive home. Hope surfaced in a seemingly unpromising day. We grabbed our bags and ran across the airport, downstairs and to the counter for assistance. Upstairs, as the last plane flew off, the clerk made the Tucson suggestion when she saw that they had 3 vacant seats with nobody waiting on standby! But apparently in the time it took us to run down there, the plane filled up and again we peered out as our ride when home without us. Finally- we went onto Orbitz and bought one way tickets into Phoenix. Bummer!!! Our cheap trip turned out not being as budget friendly as hoped- isn't that the way it always goes?! Moral of the story: I'm not even going to say don't travel standby. It was an awesome opportunity and I'm sure that we'd take it again... Just know that there's a possibility that it won't work out as planned. I think next time we will leave a little more room for "slop" (like 3 days at least) which would take some of the stress out of the forced flexibility. Well- it feels GREAT to be home!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Phase I: Update

Well, Phase I has been a long and hard project. There was more work than we (ie: John) anticipated! He took one week off work and completed as much as he could- but he's pretty much a one-man team. He had help from friends the opening weekend, and I try to do what I can, but when it comes down to it, it's all him! His efforts were cut short during his week off work with his family arriving that Thursday, but he's been working on it every chance he gets since. Another obstacle: John has been a travelling machine lately, which does not help with the finish line of Phase I either. Once his family left, he also took off to Vegas for two weeks for an Air Force class. He was home for 4 days and left again to Florida for one of his buddy's weddings. He got back from last Sunday night and we are fixing to head out for a quick visit to Utah. He's got a week back from that and leaves for 3 weeks to Alaska! Phew!!! So we're hoping the last brick is down by his departure to Alaska!

Here's the Progress Report!

We worked on the retaining wall to finish that up. I glued the netting down in between a layer of stone and John capped it with the finishing stones. I raked down the dirt piles to even out the area and now it's all ready for planting (with exception to the drip irrigation to water the plants)!!
**Kindly ignore the dog poo pictured... Once the yard is finished, we'll be more on top of picking it up- but till then, it's just dirt.

Now it's just finishing up the patio. I didn't realize it at the time, but during the design phase John would ask my opinion and I gladly gave my 2 cents. I wanted a curvy, flowy landscape- with out the harsh lines and corners. John drew it out as such, but now that it's time to fit our square pavers into our curvy design... you see where I'm going with this. The patio is finished- with exception to the areas that John has to custom cut the bricks to fit. So that's what he's up to now!

He would actually just eye-ball the curve and draw his best guesstimation on the back side to give him a pattern to cut. After sawing the bricks, with his brand new miter saw (I don't' remember what it's called actually) he had to chisel the last little bit to separate the pieces. He learned that he has to cut as deep into the bricks as the saw will allow since the more he depended on the chisel, the more likely the brick is to crack in an undesirable location and thus be worthless! So then there's the fun part where he checks out his precision and fits it into the space.

Left: Notice the clean line around the (future) fire pit and the slivers he still has yet to do. He'll keep chugging along, but the end- at least of the patio- is very near!

Next stop: Digging the trenches for the irrigation system (sprinklers and drips). It should be an easier and quicker phase, but unfortunately when it's done there is nothing too tangible to show for it!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Memory Lane

Every now and then, a memory comes along and reminds you of your childhood- how innocent, carefree and fun it was. My family (with the military background- and enjoying to move) relocated to a suburb of Cleveland Ohio when I was 7 years old. My best memories of growing up were there, in Sagamore Hills. We moved into a house in a very quaint neighborhood of 50 homes that surrounded a little picturesque lake. I remember moving day, standing out on the quite street soaking in my new home when a young girl (about my age) rode her bike by. Turns out she lived next door and she was who I spent most of my time with the next 9 years we lived there. Lynn was her name, and I looked up to her. She was a year older and to me, she had her life together- even as an 8 year old! I pretty much joined everything that she did because we did everything together! We were in baton together, among other things, and would lead the 4th of July parade in our little neighborhood wearing our tiny little sequence leotards. I made many friends in the Startlighters (as we were called for competitions and what not) and it's nice to still be in touch with some of them. I was reunited with another girl, Debi on myspace. And thanks to Debi for sending the picture, it has brought a smile to my face, and a tear in my eye to the days that were.

That's me- front and center (yes- with a little boy's hair cut... still not sure what Mom was thinking when she did that to me) and Debi is pictured left of me with Lynn behind her.

By the way- Mom- do you still have those precious pictures of our Willow Lake times? If so- Share!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Drum Roll Please...

Today was our scheduled Ultrasound that we've been looking forward to! Mentioned at our first doctors appointment was the Big U/S in early March that would be detailed and when we'd be able to find out the important question; "What's the baby's sex?" Well today we got our answer!

Just for a little background... I'm now coming up on 19 weeks pregnant (for those who haven't yet had kids and don't know, it's out of a 40 week pregnancy). John and I are seeing the first signs of me "showing" which to be honest, right now isn't that exciting- I kinda just feel chubby. I have noticed the waist on my pants shrinking and I've resorted to "rigging" my button with a hair tie in order to give me that much more comfort room. When I look down, I see a little belly and it even obscures my view of my belt but I'm not sure it's that obvious to anyone else (except for John since he's always checking out my body).

So now for the fun part... I'll share a few pictures from this morning's Ultra Sound! The baby was normal and healthy according to the woman who gave the baby a "physical" as she called it. All the heart chambers were developed, the spine and the ribs present. According to the latest measurement, my due date is right on! All in all, it looks like we're going to be the proud parents of a healthy baby!!!

Alien Baby! It's a Skull shot.

A tiny little footprint..

The Profile

The $$$ Shot!
If you're not too sure what you're looking at, I did a little labelling but I'll spell it out for you anyhow. The little arrow is pointing to the "external hardware" and actually the unattached white blur to the left is a hand... I don't understand guys but it seems the fetish begins VERY early! We're having a little boy! You can imagine "Daddy's" excitement! And as to that old "fighter pilot curse"... Not this time!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Dog-gone it!

With the recent increase in temperature here in the Phoenix area, it's got us thinking about how HOT the summer is going to be. The last week in February was in the 80's and you better believe that I was out in shorts and tank tops to enjoy it! John and I try to exercise our dog, Cana, regularly because we sometimes sit back and ponder the realization of his life... We ARE his life. He waits eagerly at home for us when when we're out having fun (or I suppose working too) and when we get home from a long day, he's rearing to go. He wants to get attention and to play, even when we're exhausted from the long day we may have had. So we make it a point to take him out and let him run on most (I can't say all) days, whether it be hitting a racquetball down the street and watching him fumble after it, taking him on a bike ride where he heals to the bike, or going jogging with him (which just makes me mad because I'm trudging along and he's just barely trotting- usually he can manage a fast walk pace beside me). We realize in the summer, it may become more of a challenge to get that daily release for him with the extremely hot days and scorching pavement. There were times last week where he would avoid the black pavement and tip-toe to the shadows where he'd rest between throws. Through the night in the summer, the lows get down to the 90's!!! We came up with a plan, with some help of a show I've seen a couple of times- The Dog Whisperer. I've been training Cana to run on a treadmill. It's actually quite comical to see just because it is so unnatural looking, but he's caught on and now even knows how to mount the treadmill and the direction to face. Anyhow- I just wanted to post the video because I thought some of you may appreciate it. Run, Cana Run!