Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas.

Here, before we head out to Utah tomorrow, are a few pictures from our Christmassy house! I'll post the outside, complete with fantastic white lights, next time I download pictures! Thank you to my sweet husband for climbing on our roof to hang them!

Here is our little tree. TEAR, our first Christmas tree! We've never had our own place to decorate before this year since last year we were in transit, so it was SO fun to decorate our OWN place!

Our DVD case serves as our mantel.

Since we are going to Utah in the am, we did our own little Christmas morning here today. Matthew did a great job wrapping my gifts, and we had a fun time having a low key day together.

Dutch was pretty interested too.
I just realized I didn't take a single picture of Matthew because he had the camera! Don't worry, I'll make sure we both take good pictures while we're in Utah--- we are so excited to see family, friends, and SNOW! Thanks to Leslie and Joanne for taking care of our little kitten Dutchy!


So, since Matthew has been home, and since I have been finished with school, I've been cooking quite a bit (and Matthew has been VERY helpful).

This was our Stout pot pie--- beefey, Guinnessey, delicious!

Above is the "T" on the top, and below is the inside of the pie.

Matthew found a cheesey potato soup, so we whipped it up! Topped with bacon and scallions, and accompanied by a loaf of homemade french bread. YUM.

This is a pizza that Leslie introduced me to-- a Rachel Ray recipe. I made a homemade pizza dough, and then we busted out this buffalo chicken pizza!

Also, my mother in law has a killer sugar cookie recipe that Matthew has been craving so I made some of those for us. My forte is NOT decorating cookies, so... oh well. They tasted good!

Enjoying the soup.

Me too!


Staci = Awesome.

Well friends, I just have to say, this post should have come weeks ago.

Staci sent me a hand-painted oil painting of a wine glass and wine bottle that is now happily hanging in our kitchen.

I had been asking Staci to paint us something for our dorm room walls from the beginning of our NYU adventure together in 2003. I'm SO thrilled to have an original Wolfson on my wall now!

I have to say folks, this is going to be a tough birthday present to beat!

THANKS STACI!!!! I LOVE IT! (And Matthew does too!)

Monday, December 15, 2008


Hello all,

So I just posted the Thanksgiving post and thought I'd give you a quick little update since that business is a few weeks old.

We are REALLY enjoying being home together! So far Matthew's work has been really laid back since everyone one went on block leave December 5. We don't have enough leave to take the whole month off so Matthew has been working, but most of the days have been going to PT and that is it! So he is done with his work day by about 7am. Honestly, it makes me glad we AREN'T taking leave- it is so laid back right now it would be a shame to waste leave days on this!

And I finished school! Woo. I finished out well, except I did have to leave my last 19th century lit class early after I did my presentation due to food poisoning... but other than that, i think things finished up well. I actually have no idea how to check my grades so I have no idea how I did, but I know that I did my best, and considering the hectic events surrounding finals I'm happy with how things ended. So now I am enjoying my MONTH off! Ahhh, how nice!

I cannot explain the LACK of stress right now. I know that is probably So unfair to say because most of you have real jobs and your husbands/boyfriends/parents/close ones also do. But right now it feels like Matthew and I are just playing house, and after this year... it is SO needed. It is wonderful knowing that we are flying to Utah for 10 days and going to see family and good friends, and NOT have to pack up everything we own in the Civic, drive across the country, live in a hotel, stare our first deployment in the face..... you get the idea. Some of those nasty stressors from last year just aren't there this year! Praise God!

So what have I been doing, you ask? Well, cooking quite a bit. We have had some great meals, and I have enjoyed making a lot of stuff from Scratch. of course I have pictures, but I won't bore you with those in this post :)

We've been seeing friends a lot, and tomorrow I will be babysitting my neighbor's little boy who just turned 1. I am excited! Sadly, they are moving away for some training so that is VERY sad, but as we always here, the Army is a small little world and we'll hopefully see them again soon.

Well I think that covers the latest happenings. We'll be in Utah the 20-30 and are excited to breath mountain air and HOPEFULLY be snowed on! We can't wait to see you if you are in utah, and if you are not, we'd love to hear how you are! Also, after the 30th we'll be here, back into a heavier work (and eventually school) schedule but we'd LOVE to have visitors! If you have a break, long weekend, or spring break, come see us!!!

ok, peace out for now, more soon.....!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Well friends, better late than never on our Thanksgiving meal.

First, here is Matthew's first post-deployment beer:

The fridge was well-stocked for him.

Here is Matthew taking the Dutchy out for a little walk.

And wrestling with the beasty.

A better picture of the first beer.

Even though Matthew was really pretty sick, he still had an appetite, so we did the full Thanksgiving meal. It was so fun! Here is our little table.

Now here are the requisite food pics:

My chocolate pecan pie (pretty much for me and me and me since
Matthew doesn't like pecans...)

Our raw little turkey... we actually just did turkey breast since it was the two of us.

This, out of order, was our Thanksgiving morning monkey bread.

Matthew requested potato casserole instead of mashed potatoes and I happily said yes since they are muy low maintenance.


Matthew carving up the bird!

Me making gravy... and may I say, I totally impressed myself. I read a bunch of different recipes for gravy and then made up my own conglomeration, and it tasted GREAT! Honestly, it was the best turkey gravy I've ever had. For serious. Mmmm.

We were recommended this wine at our local wine shop so we tried it out. It was decent, but we tend to like more dry wines and this was very sweet-- it help up well for the Thanksgiving meal but didn't do well with leftovers. The wine was Pacific Rim Gewurtztraminer (guh-ver-tss-tram-in-er) and it is much like a Riesling if you've had that, but I think a bit more complex as sweeter German wines go. I believe it is also an organic which is kind of fun- I think it was about 14.99.

I made my mom's cornbread and sausage stuffing- it's fabulous and unbeatable-- yep, I said it! Matthew tried it and actually really liked it! Score one more for me broadening that palate!

And of course, green bean casserole... kind of looks grody up close but is naturally delicious.

And so friends, there was our thanksgiving meal. We had a nice morning relaxing, cooked, and then enjoyed our meal. I also made a French silk pie for Matthew-- don't worry, he wasn't neglected. I completed it with fresh whipped cream (uuughhhgmmmmdrooollmmmm) and we enjoyed that baby QUITE a bit.... unfortunately I spaced getting a picture of that. It was surprisingly good.

And so, our first holiday with just the two of us. We missed our families but really loved cooking and eating together in our own home-- pretty great feeling!

So... Happy late Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008



Let me tell you, it is a great thing!

Currently he is "reintegration" which is a 7 day process that every soldier goes through when they come home. They do medical check ups, emotional/psychological, they do lots of briefings, and it is 7 days consecutively (except we will get Thanksgiving day off) so that there is a week's worth of accountability to make sure they aren't drinking too much or getting too crazy.

So he is there now, so I am going to full you in!

So yesterday at 3:00am I woke up and started get ready (though I was actually awake at 2, I made myself stay in bed til 3). I headed to the parking lot where everyone parks at 4am, and met up with my friends Karla and Chanel.

Me and Karla on the bus to the hanger.

Chanel and baby Briley on the bus!

So we got to the hanger around 4:15 and then sat around and waited until about 5:45. At that time they let us head outside (it was about 15 degrees out, literally-- VERY cold) to greet the plane. We stayed inside until the last possible minute for Briley's sake, but when we heard "Ladies and Gentlement, the Eagles have landed!" we RAN outside to see the plane!

Here is the stairway to heaven... hehe, the one that they will eventually deplane from... the plane is stili taxiing.

So now everyone is waiting outside, cheering when the plane arrives,
and freezing all our little butts off!Lots of people had signs and fun things like that.

So then they began streaming out of the plane, all clearly very exhausted, and most scanning the crowd to get a glimpse of family. Matthew actually spotted me, and when he waved I recognized him! It was so fun! (They had their gear, including helmet on, so identifying them was very tricky).

Matthew is the guy in front on this photo- he is behind the dude without a helmet.

After they arrived they got to set down their bags, weapons, body armor, kevlar (helmet), and then they formed up.

After spotting our husbands we ran back inside to defrost and wait for them to open the doors. The band began playing and as the doors were opening we heard them say "first strike"

I am pretty sure there is no possible way to describe the anticipation, the pride, the patriotism, the love, the excitement pulsing through every vein...

It was really quite something-- about 300 soldiers, all JUST off the plane form war, coming in to the band playing, marching in unison, families cheering. So cool. And honestly, kind of made me re-remember that this is a REALLY big deal.

Of course the Army had to have the Army Song sung, and the 101st Airborne Division song, and a General speak... but really the ceremony only lasted about 5 minutes, and that was good. Being able to see them RIGHT there was crazy!The General speaking.

The prayer.

And finally, they broke formation. We made eye contact amidst the crowds and found eachother, and embraced and... it was wonderful. It was fulfilling, it was so wonderful! I can't describe it! Of COURSE I cried, and Matthew did a little too-- it is all very overwhelming, and particularly after 4 days of traveling including one night spent on the sidewalk at the Baghdad airport (yeah...) he was a little tired :) SO good to see him, and wow, that is just a really huge understatement. My heart is in one piece again.

Here are our friends Chanel and Jonathan reuniting. Briley was born in May and Jonathan hasn't seen her since she was about a week old-- he has been gone since LAST september and was only home for his RR in May for her birth for about 2 weeks. I love the reunions of families with babies!
And then, 15 minutes later, they were gone again, out into the cold to collect their things and turn in their sensitive items (weapons, night vision, etc etc).
About 3 hours later we made it home.

My cheesey and poorly hung sign was awaiting him... kind of a joke since if you know Matthew you know he's not really a giant picture of me on a banner kind of guy, but hey... this is a big deal! So you know, you gotta pull out all the stops. And as for my shoddy hanging job, I blame it on my dwarf ladder, my lack of gloves, and the 20 degree weather when I was hanging it...

And so, we are reunited. It is great. I am so thrilled that he is home, and that we get to spend our holidays together! What a wonderful surprise! We have at least 12 months without deployment to look forward to enjoying, and we are going to live it up! Thanks to everyone for your prayers and encouragement while we've been apart, it has meant so much and really has been crucial to both of us!

We'll keep you posted on our adventures! For now I've got to go work on my final papers for school while he's at reintegration..... !

I'll leave you with the following pictures that I took off of the local newspaper- these are NOT my own photos, but some of them are neato.

See Chanel and Karla off to the right... that is Chanel's "YAY" sign!
SFC Mac is one of Matt's good friends, and his wife Joanne is one of my good friends!

Matthew is in this one, see if you can spot him! Behind him is Jonathan, and the second from the left in the front row is Luke Rella, Karla's husband!