Saturday, August 29, 2009

Food, etc.

Homemade blueberry pie with Vodka crust (the vodka evaporates, but helps the crust roll out more easily without creating a gummy or tough crust).

The bacon and leek part of my bacon and leek tart- I forgot to take a picture of the tart!

A GLORIOUS Raspberry Buttermilk cake- this was SO delicious!

Strawberry scones.
They cooked up much bigger than I thought, but Matthew and I both loved these! They were really pretty easy too!

I also made a really great raspberry ice-box pie but didn't take a picture of THAT either! But I've had some fun experimenting lately.

Broken Lizzard.

We had a great weekend in Nashville this past weekend. Our Anniversary celebration was 2 nights in the Gaylord Opryland hotel. The first night we ate at an Irish pub and listened to some great live music. On Saturday we shopped for work clothes for me, and had a great time together. That night we took the shuttle in to downtown Nashville to go to a comedy show with the Macs. It was Broken Lizzard playing at Zanies- Zanies was such a cool place, we would TOTALLY go back! And the show was fantastic- we laughed our guts out!

Here we are on the bus!

So fun to see Farva and all our favorite characters!

They did sketches where they appeared as characters from their movies,
but also did individual stand up.

Yay! SO good to laugh and let off some steam!

After we got to meet them! Really cool guys. We got this picture!
The McCaslands got this a poster signed, and here they are with the guys!

Here they are signing the poster.
I decided to have them sign a ticket- we should have brought one of the DVD jackets but didn't think of it! So I got them to sign my 4 by 2 inch ticket stub. YES!

Shook Farva's hand- he was excited to meet a native Utahan.

All really great guys!

We had SO much fun! After that we enjoyed some of the broadway strip downtown and had a great time with the nightlife. The show was so much fun, and we even got to see a clip from their upcoming movie- hooray!

Anyway, great time! If you are a BL fan, definitely find a live show near you- you'll love it!

Week of the Eagles.

Every other year when the 101st Airborne Division is at home, they celebrate the Week of the Eagles. This week is full of really awesome events, including homecoming celebrations for Veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and OIF and OEF. They do a Division review (where ALL the units of the whole Division are surveyed by the commanding general, General Campbell (oddly enough :))), sporting competitions like basketball, softball, combatives, running, toughest Air Assault soldier, and more. They also have lots of fun events, like free concerts!

For the first free concert I went with a few friends to save spots. We got there around 2:00pm on a 95 degree day and waited around until the 6:00pm start time. Matthew came over when he got off of work around 5, and the Cragwalls joined us too!

Here we are!

Me and Leslie!

Despite camping out early for good seats, people crowded in more and more. No one likes big crowds or being crowded, least of all Matthew.

Matthew was VERY happy when, just 10 days out, Hank Williams, Jr. decided to join the set list. All of the artists did the concerts for FREE! It was great!

The crowd behind.
The crowd in front.

So the full line up was Hank Williams, Jr., John Rich (who was a total lame face- had about 1 hour of time on the stage and spent NO JOKING 45 minutes talking about the war and politics-- YEAH WE KNOW, we've been there! We don't want to talk about it NOW while we're all here, IDIOT! Sorry, but he was SO obnoxious! He thought he was preaching to the choir, but come on! NOT a political platform! You're here to SING!), Jake Owen, and then Carrie Underwood! WOOT!

Let me say, she sounds JUST as good live- girl can sing! WOW! She did a great set, lots of energy, good songs, and even sang "Paradise City" and can definitely sing Rock!

Here's about the best picture we got- not a great night time camera we have.
So the night was great. They told us there were 75,000 people there! Insanity! We chose not to go to the other concert the next night with Rodney Atkins- we'd had enough crowds!

The next day was the air show. After growing up near an AF Base, I never really cared to go, but when we heard they were going to simulate a whole Air Assault on the bad guys, we showed up!
They had a little insurgency set up in the middle of the field. They showed us how OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters scout out the insurgents and locate a place to insert men and weapons.

Then the Black Hawks come in and drop the dudes (what Matthew was just qualified to do):

Guys fast-roping out.

They sling-loaded in Howitzers and did attacks on the insurgents, really cool.

Here is a picture of the 160th pilots (Nightstalkers!) doing their final fly-over with the missing man off to the right. These are literally the best helicopter pilots in the world- they fly all kind of special ops people from all branches of the military- no big deal!

They also had static displays of helicopters. Here I am leaning in to a Black Hawk.
The next week all the sports stuff began. We went to a lot of the combatives rounds (Wrestling, basically) and it was SO fun! The tournament Matthew did was primarily holds. In this they could punch, knee, and slap the face. In the final round (in a big cage and everything) they could punch the face, kick, everything- INTENSE!

There was one female who beat down some dudes in her weight class and made it to the final round. She won second place. Hooah Lt. LaForce! She was awesome- pretty dang hard core. Everyone who fought was great, it was really exciting to watch.

Week of the Eagles 09 was so cool! We had a great time, and are looking forward to celebrating the homecoming of the next deployment with our second WOE in 2011!

Matthew's Birthday in review.

Trying to catch up with my blog before school begins! Here are a few pictures from Matthew's birthday (he worked that day).

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting, of course.

Dutch was pretty interested in the cupcake.

Our friends dropped this gift off in the afternoon on his birthday. Dutch had been sniffing it, climbing it, biting it ALL day. He couldn't WAIT to get whatever was in that bag OUT so he could take his rightful place in the giant bag!
The Macs gave Matthew a home beer brewing kit! Should be fun for him to experiment. He hasn't gotten going on it yet because he has been so crazy busy, but I know when he gets into it it'll be really fun!
Dutch was finally able to commandeer the bag:
It was a great birthday. Despite being called in to work right in the midst of our celebration the next night, I think he had a pretty dang good birthday!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Air Assault.

So this is an old post, but I never published it! He graduated in July, so it has been a while, but still exciting!

Matthew has officially graduated from Air Assault School!

You may wonder what that is... so click the link below to see a short video that shows ONE of the things they do (fast-roping out of a helicopter). You can slide it to 1:20 and get to the action sooner.
They also rig different things to helicopters- particularly trucks, water, fuel, etc etc, and they have to memorize the weight of those items, all the weight capacities and limits for the various things they use to sling the items, and then they have to know how to actually properly DO it. YIPES. Pretty intense! They started with 250 guys (after the initial run and inspection- they dropped a LOT of people then but we don't know how many) and only 130 graduated!

At the ceremony they had to do a few last push ups before they could get their pin.
Aw, graduate!
SFC Mac and some guys from Matt's unit came to congratulate him.
And naturally, his lovely wife!

So CONGRATULATIONS MATTHEW! I'm proud of ya, and glad you got to have a few weeks away from the regular ol' grind, and enjoy some physical challenges as well as a few "rushes."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy Anniversary!!!

Happy Anniversary to us!

It has been a great two years!

And not much has changed!

Well, of course it has. SO much has happened in these two years! We are loving married, each other, and learning more about how to be loving and unselfish spouses.
The journey continues!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

This Guy.

Today, on his birthday, I'd like to say that my husband is the cream of the crop.

Where to begin? He is easily one of the kindest people I know. He has more integrity in his little finger than most men have in their entire lives (no but for reals, this is a man of REAL integrity here). He is honest. He is stubborn. He can be quiet, but he can be obnoxiously loud and boisterous when surrounded by those he loves.

He is intelligent. Wow. Like, just ask the guy a question about something he might be remotely interested in, and he can probably spout off an entire history of it (particularly if you're asking about anything to do with history/military stuff). He is easily more well-read than I am (hello, lit grad student, and yet...), and has the pop culture knowledge of a 15 year old girl and Ryan Seacrest combined. We win at trivia. Always. We also usually win at board games (yes, even Settlers of Catan) because he is so strategic.

He is so well organized. You thought I was OCD prone? Meet my husband! But this turns out to be a real asset to him- he is constantly on top of what he has going on and often what others do- not in an irritating pedantic way, but in a helpful "thank God SOMEone was paying attention" kind of way. He is thorough. He is thoughtful. He LISTENS. And he Listens. And you know he married me, so he listens some more. He is so kind to listen to my circular babblings as I sift through my thoughts, and only nudges me in one direction or another when he has real wisdom behind his opinion.

And with that, he's wise. He's knowledgeable yes, and he's wise. He cares deeply about family. He cares passionately for his friends. And though you may not receive regular phone calls or e-mails from him as a member of his family or as a friend (due to his rather intense phone phobia and overdose of computers as work), you can know that he thinks of you, prays for you, misses you, and talks of you often. And the texts, e-mails, and random calls you give to him are a gift he deeply cherishes.

He loves being at home. He takes pride in the home he has provided us, and I think rightly so. With that pride though, he knows God has given us all we have, and that is how he remains humble. He is willing (most of the time...) to apologize, to admit wrong, and to make amends when the time calls for it. This, I will say, is rare because he is so careful with his actions and words. If ever "respond, don't react" is embodied, it is through Matthew (and of course, his father, whom Matthew is so very much like).

He refuses to admit it, but he loves our cat. He is absolutely wrapped around Dutch's little paw, loves him fiercely. For a non-animal lover, this is significant. I suspect one reason he decided to love Dutch was because Dutch was my companion while he couldn't be. He places me before himself. Honestly, I'm so selfish, and he really usually isn't. It is humbling to me to have a husband like Matthew. Oh, and did I mention he is the absolute best Mario World 3 / Super Mario World video game player I have ever witnessed (sorry Ian and Gavin!)? It is impressive.

Matthew likes to cook. He is neat, tidy, orderly. He likes to water the plants and sit outside during cool evenings and grill. And he loves beer, and coffee, and Hebrew National Hot Dogs. He is sensitive, and yet manly. The best example of this I can give is that when he was in training when he first went on active duty and we were apart he sent me the following text: "I am cleaning a grenade launcher and listening to Norah Jones."

Matthew is also funny. What often escapes others is that his humor is often obscure, or quiet, but usually brilliant and hilarious. He keeps me laughing. He can also be a real weirdo. I mean, like really weird. Like singing "You've got a friend in me" in his best (and quite impressive, may I add) Randy Newman voice to our cat at 9:00 at night. He's so straight-laced at work that these moments of weirdness are most often the ones that remind me how much I love him.

But then, seeing him come home from work, usually well past the average workday ends at 5:00 when he's been working since 5:30, reminds me of that too. I see him standing tall with his military bearing, his uniform, his coffee mug, and his planner, stepping out of the Civic which he insists he drive rather than the new car his job has enabled us to buy, and I know I have always loved this man. First as friend, now as friend, lover, husband. Matthew is not perfect, he is a work in progress, but I have to tell you folks that I really, really, really love this man.

I could not be more proud of you Matthew. I can't imagine loving you more, but I know my love has grown for you every year I've know you, and each year we've been married. I rejoice at being together on your 27th birthday, and I thank God for blessing me with you- weirdness and all.