Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Head Family Christmas

The cutest nieces and nephews in the world.

Elf Yourself has quickly become a family favorite. We elfed Jon's family while on the mountain and watched ourselves dance. Tonight we elfed all my nieces and nephews - it is hilarious!!
Later tonight we will have a scavenger hunt to find our presents and then read the Christmas story. The whole family is not together since Brian and his family all live in Malaysia but I am sure we will Skype them which is almost as good.

Monday, December 29, 2008

McPherson Family Photo

Jon and I at his parents cabin in West Virginia
Kaitlin, Thomas, me, Jon, Lucky, Jenn, Larry and Ginger

This is the new family after Kaitlin and Thomas got married Dec 14 - since Jon couldn't make it to the wedding we asked for another family photo so Jon would have full family photo to take with him when he deploys.

We spent a few days at the cabin where Jon made a pencil holder, table (of some sort) and lamp with his father while I relaxed and read my new books! We also geocached in the town and found out Wardensville WV was the population center for the United States sometime around 1790. Interesting facts you learn while exploring. We drove to North Carolina yesterday and went geocaching with Kaitlin and Thomas in the rain but were also able to find cool caches in NC (no fun facts though). Today we went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls (supposed to be free but cost and arm and leg so we just looked around the rest of the museum) and ice skating, Molly thoroughly enjoyed it (until the final lap). Tomorrow we will do some more fun things around town and head out for the Head Family Christmas in Maryland!!
More pictures to come.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Whirlwind Texas visit

Last week I went to Texas for a what could be considered one of the best weeks I have had in months. There really was not much I didn't get to do in one week - it was the perfect week to fly on down to Waco.
Here was what my week looked like:
Monday - 7pm arrive in the middle of a sleet storm to be greeted by these two lovely faces.
Lisa and Aniyah
Tuesday - I borrowed Lisa's car to go visit Methodist Children's Home to see my old co-workers and my boss offered me a job for the week. Then I drove by the church to see Shawn, Monica and Melissa - Jon's old co-workers who were setting up for the Christmas store. This is a store our church does every year where we sell gifts at about 10% of the cost to urban families we work with during the year. It is AMAZING!! That night I volunteered at the Christmas store along with some others from my old Lifegroup and got to see many of the families I used to work with on Friday nights. At the end of the night we got to run to the store to replenish the store for the next night (who doesn't love shopping with other people's money?).
Wednesday - I went to work! Yep I took my old boss up on his offer since I had my nights planned but open days and made some money on my trip. It was so fun to get to go back during the Christmas rush and remember the good, bad, and ugly of working in a non-profit during the holiday times. Because I got to be there working I got to have much better conversations with friends instead of the 5 minutes I visited on Tuesday. It really was a joy to get to work and I realize how much I miss it but I wouldn't give up life in Alaska with Jon for anything!!
That night Lifegroup Christmas PARTY. What could be better??

The girls of LG (and me)
Thursday: Work again during the day and that night an impromptu shower thrown by some girls from church. I got to see so many friends in this one setting it was GREAT!! It made me a little sad that Molly won't get to grow up around these women that all mean so much to me but I know we will visit and really everywhere we go we will get to be around other great ladies.

Mandy made a Noah's Ark cake for us (this is the theme of our room).
Yes that is a boat ontop made of cake! AMAZINGMichele, Me and Tonja
So I wasn't so good at taking pictures during the week but there is one of me at the shower with the Carpenter's. I hung out with Michele for the past year and Tonja and her husband run the Feast a ministry for urban families that Jon and I volunteered at on Fridays for 6 years.
Friday - Babysit for the Dunn's - Annie had her first school Christmas party so I got to hang out with Josh and Emily - we had a blast!!! It was just like I was back to normal life this time last year except this time I knew to cherish each moment with friends because who knows when I will see them again.

That night I got to go to the Feast and see William (who is a transient)- one of Jon and my very good friends. I met William while working at Labor Ready and he is so different from us but such an amazing person to learn some things from. We have spent holidays with him for the past few years - so it is sad that we won't be doing that this year.
Saturday - I borrowed a car and went to Dallas to visit some of my college roommates and there kids. Stina, Steph (Dave) and I met at Chili's and talked for a few hours and their two little kiddos sat in the highchairs the entire time without much of a fuss!!! That night I hung out with the Morales family and we went looking at Christmas lights (pictures of the most ridiculously decorated house to come) with some windows down (to get the cold effect) while drinking co-co. It was so much fun to go through Waco and remember last year when Jon and I drove all over looking at the lights - some nice and some crazy!!
Sunday - CHURCH!!!!! I loved going to ACC for 10 years and it has been hard not to compare other churches but I must say I love worship at this church!! I have never been to another church that makes it so easy for me to worship the Lord and not think about anything else. And the preaching is great - even though sometimes it touches too close to home. This week I couldn't tell you everything Jimmy said but he did say that - Fear is not from the Lord - there are over 365 verses on fear not - one for each day of the year and then some extra. Let's just say that was what I really needed knowing Jon will leave for a year and I realized I have a few more fears than I would like to admit but I am going to make my own devo with at least 365 fear not verses so I can read a new one each day! I also love that ACC has a ministry team up front each week to pray for people!! The rest of the day I got to chill with the Miller's. I slept - ate my last On The Border chips and salsa and health camp chocolate peanut butter milkshake and slept some more.
Monday - we got up at 4am and headed to the airport - make it with 1 1/2 hours for me to check in my luggage and get on my plane - the lines were crazy and I did not make it to my plane - I watched it backing out - along with 15 other passengers who didn't plan on it taking over 1 1/2 hours to check luggage and go through security. But never fear 3 flights and no luggage later I made it home - we went back later that night and got my luggage.

Now for my whirlwind visit of family with Jon!!
Today I go to the doctor because I found out I have gestational diabetes so my diet will probably be changing drastically after 12:15 today and then I go to the airport and pick up JON!!!! I am so excited!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Slow Accumulation of Baby Paraphanielia

While Ashley has been away I have served as the official Molly's Room Decorator. Since this is my first baby room to decorate, or really any room, you'll have to cut me some slack.

Molly's Furniture
That pink blanket is actually mine. I forgot to take it out of the picture. Sorry.

Molly's Almost Empty Closet
The closet is awaiting Ashley's return. The amount of clothes Ashley received at the two baby showers should fit nicely. If you're worried that Molly may have so many clothes that she may not wear the outfit you bought, stop worrying. She will need to wear all of the outfits at the same time to keep warm in Alaska.

Molly's High Chair

Molly's Stroller
Once we get studs on the tires we'll actually be able to use it in Alaska.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kaitlin's Wedding

Jon's little sister Kaitlin got married today!! I was there to represent our family since Jon was told he would have too many important things to take care of this week by the Army - they better have something good for him to do.
3 bridesmaids, Jenn (Jon's older sister is in red), Kaitlin (Jon's little sister is in gold), Thomas (our new brother-in-law is in the vest) and 4 groomsmenThe ceremony was in a historic barn that Stonewall Jackson ate at during the Civil War.
I am the person sitting next to the stairs in the black and white shirt.
Playing the newlywed game

Aunt Linda, Carol, Aunt Karen, Uncle Will and Anne Marie

Only 9 more days until Jon and I are back in the same state!!!! I don't know who is more excited - but to take my mind off the fact I am going to Texas for the week to see friends so the days should fly by.

On the Molly front - only 10 more weeks left (if she goes to the full 40). We have started our library of books for Jon to read on video so while he is gone she will get to see and hear her daddy reading to her whenever I play a video for her.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Keeping your cool

I forgot to tell Ashley about my initial exit out of the plane. When I jumped out of the plane my body twisted in the air so that when my chute opened all the suspension lines were twisted and I was falling a tad bit faster than the rest of the jumpers. I'm not going to lie: at that moment I almost panicked, but that's when training kicked in. They taught us that when the suspension lines are twisted you pull out on the risers and begin a vigorous bicycle motion with your legs. It took a few half seconds (that felt like minutes), but finally my lines became untangled right before I softly fell to the earth. The moral of the story is that you should learn to keep your "cool" in moments when your life flashes before your eyes. And being in Alaska helps because it is always "cool" here during the winter.

Jon finally jumped in Alaska

Random internet picture of Army guys jumping - just imagine one of them as Jon

Snow - what Jon landed in - a few feet of it.

Jon called last night to talk for a few seconds to let me know that after being in Alaska for 5 months now and attempting to jump each month he finally succeeded!! The jumps have been cancelled because of weather and equipment issues - but not last nights. Last night he jumped with a heavy ruck sack (I think 60 lbs but can't remember) and a few feet of snow to land in. He said when he landed he was drug at least 100 meters in the snow and was very thankful for his heavy duty gloves - the same ones we laughed at when we saw them and thought he would never need. Then he had to get off the phone and start the trek to the plane to get back to base.

They look something like the above picture
I guess when you are jumping in single digits with double digits worth of snow you want anything that will keep your body warm!
One funny story about Jon's cancelled jumps. As chaplain you get to pray over the jump and one of the guys came up to Jon at a ceremony we were at and told him that his prayers were effective but he might want to change them. You see he had prayed on each jump flight that no one would get hurt. No one was able to get hurt since they didn't jump out of the plane. So he told the guy next time he would pray that every person would jump out of the plane in the air and land without getting hurt. I don't know if he did this since we literally only talked for about 45 seconds but I do know Jon wasn't hurt and they did jump so something changed!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Virginia Baby Shower

Mrs. Frew, Kaitlin, Me
Kaitlin was giving me "motherly wisdom" from the Bible since she gets married next week and doesn't have first hand experience advice quite yet.
Mrs. Williams, the back of Jessica's head

Working on the scrapbook pages for Molly's first scrapbook.Me
Opening presents

My sister-in-law Kaitlin threw me a baby shower in Virginia (the crazy girl did it 7 days before her own wedding!). It was nice to be able to invite the ladies and friends who I spent many hours with in elementary and high school. Besides the gifts my favorite thing was the scrap booking pages everyone made to go into Molly's first scrapbook. It is always nice to have different ideas and now all I have to do is insert the pictures!!
All the ladies in the McPherson family helped pull off the nice shower - they made my favorite salsa dip along with some other goodies.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Baby Story - not quite like TLC

Taryn, Meredith, Gavin, Conner and Brad
The 12 hours after Gavin came into the world he got to meet his big brother and sister who were super excited to see him. He is going to be one tough little boy!

Gavin Mitchell Head - 9lbs 10 oz, 21.5 inches long, 15.75 inch head

My newest nephew entered the world Tuesday 2:51am and I was there to be the photographer - let me just tell you TLC edits out A LOT for A Baby Story.

For example epidurals don't always work and there is a lot of pain for the mom (and those witnessing). Even with a doctor ready to poke you and give you more sometimes the baby decides they want out right then before they get the medicine in you.

There are at least 10 random people in the room - granted Meredith delivered at a training military hospital but I didn't realize that there would be that many people in there.

Dads don't cut the cord when the baby comes right out - they cut the second round right before the baby gets cleaned.

The "cheese" that the baby is coated in does not come off easily!

Moms really only get to see the baby for a few seconds and then they take them back to give them a bath, shots, weigh and measure and other random things.

I can sleep through most anything - even my sister-in-law going through hours of painful labor- I did wake up 30 minutes before Gavin was born.

This was around 3:40 when the doctors were all done.

Should be interesting when Molly Frances decides to make her appearance - that is all I know!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Farm

One of the best things about visitng grandparents is that it is like stepping back in time. While they always put up the new pictures we send they don't take down the old. Here is a picture from sometime in the early 90's - that would put me in 5th or 6th grade. This is one of those fun finds while I was staying with my grandaddy earlier this month!
Back row: Brian - Brad - Ashley
Front row: Dad - Mom

Brian - Mom - Grandaddy Head - Dad- Brad- Me
Here is the Head family at my Granny's funeral - the reception was at Head's Free Will Baptist where my grandparents went to church for as long as I can remember. It is funny how much alike my dad, brother and gradaddy look.

Dad - Mom - Grandaddy Key - Brian - Brad- Me
We visited my Grandaddy Key while in town - my grandparents lived about 17 miles apart from each other and occasionally helped each other farm back in the day. Both of my grandaddy's were extremely hard workers which is where I am pretty sure everyone in my family got their work ethic from. Grandaddy Key was put in a nursing home last year after a lengthy illness - he seems to love the socialization there. Who doesn't love Bingo day??
The farm house - Both of my grandparents house look a little alike - white siding, red brick chimney and tin roof.
This is the view across the street - this is my parents land in Tennessee.
And last but not least - my favorite thing about the farm - fresh produce - especially tomatoes. I eat about one each meal - my grandmother's used to cut them in slices and put them on a plate for us all to eat. They are best with Miracle Whip and a little salt!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I have been tagged by my friend Beth in Alaska - so her goes.
1. I can be somewhat crafty and prefer to make some things by hand because it is cheaper. I have a hard time spending more than $20 on something I know I can make and I have not had to buy a card in over a year after buying a box of 200 blank cards - I just make it for whatever the occasion is.
2. Jon and I set a rule that we would not spend over $20 without talking to the other person and we are actually pretty good about doing this. (it is the little things that add up though)
3. This is the longest I have gone without playing some sort of sport on a team. Moving, pregnancy and visiting family has made it difficult but I really miss my team sports.
4. Jon and I spent our first anniversary in Sudan. When we got back to the states we did anniversary 1 part 2 and went to a minor league baseball game and it is still one of my favorite memories.
5. I had a tongue ring and almost had to cut my tongue off when it got infected and the doctor could not remove the ring. Luckily right before they were going to hack off my tongue (and sew it back on) the ring came loose. My parents were so thrilled when the found out it was gone - they really love those first "great" decisions you make in college when friends say please do this with me.
6. I never wanted to have a girl - always a boy- but am very excited about Molly Frances McPherson!! While some people feel she has no chance because I will be her mommy I feel she will be more well rounded because I won't expect or force her to be a girly girl I will just accept it if that happens (and then get lots of help from friends).
7. I miss Alaska - while I have only been there since August it really is a beautiful place and I have made some really good friends.



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jon's favorite run on EARTH

So while in VA I am able to go to some old stomping grounds and yesterday I went to Jon's favorite place on earth to run - Burke Lake. I took my niece and nephew (but forgot the camera) an we had a picnic and played at one of the playgrounds for 2 hours.
Why you ask is this Jon's favorite place to run? - Here are the answers I can come up with: 1. Good memories 2. It is a 5 mile loop (leisurely run for him) so no seeing the same thing twice 3. there is no cars trying to hit you or people yelling at you 4. it is a trail run - easier on your knees. There has not been a year we have been married that he has not mentioned running Burke Lake - he loves this run and weather. I am hoping that when he comes in December it won't be snowing too bad and he will be able to run it one day- I know it won't be cold to him no matter what the weather since he will come from Alaska. He does PT there outside and I bet it will be closer to 0 (or negatives) and 30 will feel nice to him!
If you ask my niece and nephew we went to Jon's favorite playground in the world - they didn't quite understand the run park but they are 2 and 4. I let them know I am sure uncle Jon would love this playground but he liked to be the people we saw running more.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Well just to update everyone I am in Virginia/Maryland for the next 2 months. My granny died two days before Jon was to leave for a month for war training in California. Since I was planning on coming down to VA/MD for his little sister's wedding in December he mentioned getting a one way ticket and just staying for awhile. While I love Alaska and the women I have befriended I just couldn't pass up the chance to be with family! This will be the longest I have been around them since before leaving for college. I am getting to stay with my brother and his wife and hang out with their kids for a few nights then going up to my parents for awhile. We figured this would be the best time for a mobile Ashley - I am sure when Molly comes I will need to be a tad bit more stable (at least for a few months).
I will be posting some pictures soon but let me tell you the shock it was to go from 8 degrees to 78! On the drive from Tennessee to Virginia we got to drive through the moutains and see the leaves changing colors - very beautiful.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Granny Head

My granny passed away today so I will be silent on the blog for a bit - I am flying to Tennessee for the funeral.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Movies and burp clothes

Jon and I at Bear's Tooth (not the greatest picture but the only one we have). This is a restaurant that owns a movie theatre where they cleared out every other row of seats so you can eat as a family and in the back they created 2 and 4 person booths. Since this was our first time and we didn't fully understand the seating I made Jon pay the extra so we could have a booth. Next time we will pay $3 for the movie and then you order food at the concession stand and they deliver it to your seat. We had a Brewhouse Pizza - it was pretty good, the movie however was a tad painful. This week is Mama Mia - while I enjoy musicals this one was a little rough even for me - I gave Jon a few sympathetic smiles - he only had one bad comment during the entire time and that had to do with me making him pay extra so we could have a booth instead of just a regular seat.
Here is my first attempt at a burp cloth - not so bad! The onesie was big disaster however - I tried to sew an M in the chest but instead I created a big whole so then I had to sew a circle and just frey the edges. Luckily I am not a perfectionist and since I am sure Molly will only be wearing this as an undergarment who cares if the big black and red circle doesn't always match all her outfits!
Next week - SHOES for Molly!! I am excited to try and sew these I will let you know how they turn out.

When you all come and visit Alaska we will be sure to take you to Bear's Tooth!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sewing - How Mrs. Frew saved the day

Since I don't have a machine yet I borrowed a neighbors to get some of Jon's sewing done today.
What is that - Ashley taking her time and measuring? While I tend to be an impatient person who hurriedly does things I did learn from Mrs. Frew that you MUST measure and pin down or else the sewing job will not turn out correctly.
The slow process of sewing 1 inch velcro squares onto 5 of Jon's uniforms so that he will be able to have his cross and rank on each uniform. There was a lot of turning but I did manage to get them all sewn on the first try!

That is one complete job - the little cross patch in my hand is what had to have a velcro partner in order to actually stick to the uniform. Jon has been wearing a pin on cross but you can't wear those downrange (fake and real war zones). Don't want anything shiny to catch the wrong persons eye!!
The complete pile - 5 uniforms and a name badge on a bag!

Some of you may wonder - how did Mrs. Few save the day? Well let me tell you. While in elementary school my school let out Monday's at noon - my mom worked until 3 (or 4) at preschool so she arranged for me to hang out with our neighbor Mrs. Few. While I would be at her house for a few hours each week she taught me how to sew. She is an amazing seamstress who sewed many of her own clothing, quilts and other random things. My mom has one of her quilts as a wall hanging. So each Monday she would patiently teach me how to measure, pin, measure, cut and sew things. This is one of those fun facts when people meet me they don't tend to believe - I usually get - You can sew???? (with a funny face) But yes in fact I can sew. In fact Molly will be benefiting from my lessons as a kid since I will be making some burp clothes and possibly some shoes (pictures as soon as those are made).

Friday, October 24, 2008

New House

Pictures of our new house on post!

Do you see my decorative pumpkins near the door??

The wall of crosses in the entry way.
Jon thought it looked a little bare so I guess I will just have to find some more crosses!

Living Room- The white stuff outside the windows is snow!

The Study - Jon's work in progress

Dining Room - Walls are bare but we are going for the snow effect.

Kitchen- As you see I was actually cooking for my tea (see the post below for that one)

My favorite thing in the house - WALK IN PANTRY! It also is somewhat bare but since Jon will be leaving next week and I will be cooking for only myself no need to stock up too much!!

We have lived in the house for 72 hours now and love it! It is an 8 minute (very cold) walk for Jon to work. But that means we can share the car much easier now!!
We do have bedrooms upstairs - the guest room, our room and Molly's room (which only has clothes in it right now) and the wash room!!! But as you can tell I took the pictures while cooking so I didn't wander far from the kitchen.

Only in Alaska- As Jon and I walked into the library this morning he said "You know 35 degrees isn't that cold - 25 is cold. But I hear that in winter when we average 0 degrees if we get a day in the teens we will think that isn't to cold either." If you had told me 4 months ago that I wouldn't think 35 degrees was cold I would have called you crazy but now I would just have to agree that it is not!

Lisa Sealey shout out!

So I had my first official tea as a military wife yesterday. Hospitality and food are not my strongest giftings but praise the Lord for friends. We have a lot of friends in Waco we were able to learn from for the past few years. So when I signed up for the tea the first thing I realized that meant was I was in charge of food - immediately I emailed Lisa knowing she would be able to give me some Octoberish recipes. She recommended spiced cider and pumpkin dump cake - which everyone loved by the way. Here are my pictures!

Spiced Cider

Pumpkin Dump Cake (the hit of the night)

My mom has laughed that I never actually cook things and test them before giving them to others. So far I have only had a few failures but not last night - they were both great!! Tonight I cook my first Thanksgiving dinner for Jon and his chaplain assistant (bodyguard - man who makes sure Jon comes back from the war alive!!) and once again I making my first chicken, green bean casserole and sweet potatoes. I figure since they will both be in CA at war training the best thing to do is make sure they get one homemade Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

60 Day Itch

Well we have lived in our house for almost 60 days and will be moving again next week. We found out today that we got on-post housing so we will start the packing/unpacking process this week and next Tuesday we should get the keys and get moved in - just in time for Jon to leave. I will be thankful to be less nomadic soon! Since May we have had our mail forwarded 3 times and lived in numerous houses and hotels but starting next week we will have a stable location for at least 15 months.
Pictures of the new house to come!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Snowy Sunday Afternoon

What do you do on a snowy Sunday afternoon in Alaska??

You make your first snowman of the 2008 winter. (yep Oct 5th, the first snow was Oct 2nd though - not enough for a snowman) Realize what fun could be had - get into snowgear and head out for some major fun!
You go sleding on the nearest hill you can find!
You make a snowangel

Make your second snowman - Henry - a much bigger snowman. While we loved our first snowman we realized that he was pretty dinky so we had to make a bigger and better one!! All the cold weather gear the military gave Jon has come in handy. We were not cold at all while playing outside. Jon got a little wet since he wore his adidas running pants so I could wear the snow pants (what a nice husband), but our jackets were amazing!

And then you back upstairs to your living room
and sit by the fire and eat ice cream!