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.