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!

Monday, November 17, 2008

THIS Week!


This week my Husband comes home!!!

I can't wait!

I REALLY can't focus... that whole homework business... not happening like it should. I'm trying to stay focused, but it is haaaarrrrd!

But the great news is that soon Matthew will be in transit, and on his way back! I'll let you know when he gets it here!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


So last Friday I had a day of awesomeness.

It started out with Life cereal, and so of course you know you're setting yourself up for a great day when you start it with Life.

I then went and hit around a racquetball with my friend Jen, and though I had a few pretty horrible whiffs, over all it was great.

THEN I went to Zumba. If you haven't heard of Zumba google it up-- it is a group fitness class that uses latin dance to give a great and FUN work out. Last week was my second time, and let me tell you, the first and second classes were seriously some of the most fun I've had in QUITE a while. If you like dancing AT ALL, you should look up this class in your local area and DO IT.

This is why I loved it (and why you will too).
1. I got to shake my booty, and no one laughed.
2. I got to shimmy, and no one laughed.
3. I got to jam out to various latinish music mixes.
4. I got to burn calories by dancing!
5. I smiled a LOT because I felt so cool doing the merengue, mamba, salsa, and several other fun dances.

So you get the idea. Really. It was SO much fun. SO much fun! And even though I didn't know all the steps the first time around I could pick it up quickly and still have a great time, so don't be intimidated! Just go! SO FUN!

After that I did homework, and normal stuff like that. I did go buy some shoes I have had my eye on and found them on sale somewhere I hadn't looked before. I have been enjoying that purchase-of-awesomeness all this week :)

The awesomeness continued that night when Leslie and I went to the Post Theater where we got to stand for the National Anthem before the movie played. The unawesomeness of the day was that we saw Nights of Rodanthe which was pretty sad, but then we should have known. But the great part was that we only paid 4$ for it, and the post theater is surprisingly nice here!

So, thanks to everyone who contributed to my day of awesomeness!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Parental Perspective on the Election.

Hey all,

My parents (via my mom) sent this e-mail last night in regard to the election. As you may know, my mom was in county Government for 8 years in the Republican party, and has supported McCain during the election season. I appreciated very much their perspective, and it reinforced my love for my country, and my family! I thought I'd publish it on here because it is great to see her historical, and politically experienced opinion. Anyway... enough preface.

Hello my children,

After the various concerned texts and emails to make sure that I am "OK" with the election results, I decided I would share my thoughts about this election and the state of our nation.

A Contemporary View: I, too, am very proud of my country that we have finally elected our first African-American President! I do believe it is a great time for America and a testimony to the world that we ARE the country we talk about being - a place where anything can happen if you work hard enough at it! I love the fact that Obama is a great orator ------- certainly we are all ready for that! There is no doubt in my mind that he is very smart and appears to be measured. Having observed him, I would say that he has learned a great deal in his nearly two years of campaigning and that's good. Elected office of any kind is a steep learning curve and he needs to surround himself with good people and then be willing to make up his own mind. If his campaign is any indication of his executive skills, his administration should function very well. Of course, the unknown factor is what all the "good old boys" will do to him when they call in their tickets. I am worried about that but hopefully he will remember that he got a mandate from the people for CHANGE - not more of the same Washington BS! I share everyone's disdain of the insider stuffed shirts bloviating endlessly and saying thee SOS!

Speaking Historically: This morning I was thinking about just what it means to our nation that we have elected a black man to the highest office in the world. You may think this is odd, but I was overcome with emotions because I remembered so vividly the crisp Sunday morning when I was 13 years old, arriving at church to find the deacons (including my own dad) standing out front, each one with his gun in arms, ready to "defend our church against the negroes"! (They had been told that some blacks were going to try to "integrate" our church that day and were having none of it!) That particular moment changed my life in many ways - too many to elaborate on here. But I tell you this simply to remind you that I KNOW, as does your dad, how far we've come ----- and we are both so very happy to finally be here! Please do not doubt that!

On President-Elect Obama: He is a wonderfully charismatic man and I look forward to his presidency. I will pray for him everyday, as is my custom for our president and our nation. I am not upset at all about his election - I think it would have been bad for our country to deny him given all factors. I sincerely want him to be effective and admired, both at home and abroad. After Bill Clinton's ridiculous escapades that made a mockery of the Office of the President and George Bush's many blunders on assorted levels, I REALLY want success in Washington. I don't believe it's good to have one party in control of the Congress and White House so I will continue to work to elect republicans in two years. However, the party I joined has left me behind. The GOP had it's chance and they blew it! Having said that, the Democrat Party reminds me much more of the party of my childhood than of recent years ----- much more centrist. For that I am thankful and more comfortable. I will remind you that I grew up a Democrat, in a staunchly Democrat household. My dad's job was really only secure when a dem was in office. That was a totally different party than the one that has been the tax and spend party of the past 20 years however. At this point, there appears to be little difference in the two parties.

As a parent: Your Da and I are so proud of all of you for taking part in this election. It has never been an expectation that you would be little clones and think like us. I believe we get a little credit for raising you all to encourage you to think for yourselves! Sometimes we may not agree;that's never really been necessary. Remember my motto while in county government: "If we are all thinking alike, then someone is not thinking!" I really believe that. There is far too much intelligence in your brains that can benefit our country and our family to ever attempt to harness and control it for my own intent and purpose.

Please understand that this letter comes from both of us, from our hearts, intended give you an historic perspective, embedded in a sincere love for our country and pride in our family.

We love you all, Mom and Da

Matthew' Brigade in the News!

Hey all!

Click HERE or HERE or HERE to see an article (it is short!) about Matthew's brigade coming home early! WOO!

Just a little over two weeks-ish now! :)