Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Home" Stretch

Sorry I haven't been blogging much about the house! A bunch of you keep asking for more updates and pictures. Well, sorry, no pictures today (please don't hate me!) but they're coming soon! Our decorator came over yesterday to move a few things around the house and finalize plans. She's coming back on Tuesday to completely finish decorating the house. We have spent so much time and money on the remodel that we haven't purchased too many pieces of furniture. We did go out and get a really comfy loveseat and two armless chairs, but our decorator is bringing in some paintings for the walls, lamps and a number of other things.

I'm going to make a confession here....

Aaron has this huge painting that he LOVES of birds...or ducks...I dunno, I can't really tell! All I know is that i'm not the biggest fan of it. I tend to like more abstract pieces and landscape paintings. Anyway, this bird/duck painting that he has needed a new piece of glass because it had cracked down the middle a while back. Since we need things for the walls, I decided (a little against my will) to drive down to Michaels and I figured I'd just purchase a new frame. Come to find out that the frame isn't standard so they suggested that they could buff out the scuffs in the frame and put a new piece of glass over it. "Sure, that sounds good." But $89 later!! The things we do for love. I admit, the colors in it are beautiful, but it just isn't my style. I know Aaron really appreciates it and I love him, so i'm biting my tongue on this one! Our decorator loves the painting, too. So much that she is bringing two more from the same artist (Audubon) over and will be hanging one in our bedroom and two in our living room. I wonder if I might start ducking throughout the house in order to save myself from flying birds pooping on my head! Ok, that was a joke....

Well, the next week and a half will be a bit crazy. This is the final stretch of our house work! As I mentioned, our house will be decorated on Tuesday, our realtor is coming over to take pictures on Thursday and we have a window cleaner coming on the 13th. Basically, we'll be completely done with the inside on Monday! I can hardly believe i'm writing that.

We are hoping for an open house on March 15, but that will depend on when the work gets done on the outside. Though we've been able to do pretty much everything ourselves, we had to hire someone to replace the trim on the outside of our house because a lot of it was rotting. He'll then put a new coat of paint on all the trim as well. Tomorrow, our realtor and I are going shopping for plants and flowers to decorate the outside of the house. I think it'll look beautiful! We're really going to enjoy living in a completed house for a little while.

Good news is that a house that went on the market in our neighborhood two weeks ago is already under contract! I know they put it on the market for a pretty good price, too. Apparently there are still a ton of home buyers in our area. Yay! If we sell within the next month or two, we'll need to find a temporary place to live until we move in early June. Aaron will pin as Captain June 1 (sooo proud of him!) and then he has 44 days of leave, so we can actually leave town as early as about June 5.

We're hoping to take a hop over to Europe for two weeks sometime between May and June. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, February 20, 2009


I just thought I'd share some thoughts on how i've been feeling about life lately. The biggest thing on my heart is how much I love Aaron.

I hate admitting that the past few months (if not year or so) I realize i've dwelled on all the bad, "ho-hum" things that happen in my life. I'm ashamed of my self-centeredness at times. I'll also admit that i've accused Aaron probably one too many times of not having my best interest at heart. I've usually said this because of something he forgot to do or maybe didn't make the best decision about. But I can say with all confidence that Aaron does and always has had my best interest at heart. I know that he wants nothing but the best for our family.

We've gone through a lot of change together in the last two years or so. I think both of us feel quite unsettled. One reason for this is that as a military family, you automatically accept that your life will never feel completely stable. At any moment, your life can be turned upside down with a deployment. Now, as we prepare to separate from the military, we are again faced with various challenges from scrambling to finish our house and decorate it (this is EXPENSIVE!), to attempting to sell our house in a very difficult and uncertain market, Aaron's search for a civilian engineering job (hopefully on the west coast!), etc, etc, etc.

Recently, I've been making a conscious effort to focus on the good in a bad/difficult situation. Here's what i've discovered that has flipped my life around and back on the positive track:

1) God makes good from ANY situation if I submit myself and our circumstances to allow him to do it.

2) Aaron is the love of my life and I really could care less at the end of the day if the door frame is crooked, the kitchen too small, the dry-wall is uneven, etc, etc. because I get to spend my life with the most amazing man in the world and I find so much joy in his company!

3) I am in this season of my life where I won't be working again until we move this summer. If you had asked me 3 months ago what i'd be doing right now, I never would have thought I'd be home finishing the house, diving into cook books to prepare yummy, healthy dinners for me and my hubby, attending the most amazing woman's bible study at BCC (Burke Community Church - the most incredible church "home" away from home!) and volunteering each week to work with young women who are living through an unplanned pregnancy. The bible course i'm taking is a Beth Moore study. I can't put words to how wonderful she is. She ushers you into a closeness with God like i've never experienced before. Right now we're doing the study of the Psalms of Ascent and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone in any stage of their life. This is a true into-the-Bible type of study!

As I mentioned, i'm loving my volunteer time with the Alexandria Pregnancy Help Center (AKA Sanctity of Life Ministries.) I can't thank God enough for allowing me this season of my life to dedicate some of my time to connect with other women who are in need. We have an incredible director at APHC named Rebecca and an office manager who i'm really connecting with named Margie. Margie is a widow as of 4 years ago who has an amazing outlook on life from an eternal perspective. She's captivating and I love visiting with her. And I must add that I love babies so much! There is nothing more special in this life than life itself and the gift of an innocent child. I look forward to having a family with Aaron and I often wonder what our children will look like :) I would love to have a son someday because I know he'll be just as handsome as Aaron!

4) I am choosing to enjoy the house at this point. Yes! I said it! I'm ENJOYING our house! I have had such a bad attitude about this in the past. You really have no idea the mess we've lived in at times throughout this process, but God is so good! We have food, clothing, a roof over our heads and each other!

5) We are anxiously awaiting the day when our first niece Addison arrives! JOY JOY JOY!!

I know I could list more things, but maybe i'll just write a book later. What's so cool about this list is that i've slowed myself down enough to spend time focusing on these wonderful things and counting it all JOY that no matter what difficulties are happening right now, there are so many wonderful things to dwell on. I feel happier and more energetic with just a simple mind shift.

To end, I want to share a few old photos from my college volunteer days. I spent a great deal of time last week going through old photos from working with homeless children on Skid Row in LA. I promised myself when I left LA that I wouldn't forget what's important in life and get caught up in senseless, meaningless work (y’all know what I mean here.) My first year of work out of college, I pinned pictures of these kids up in my cubicle and I just love and miss them so much and hope their lives continue to be touched by other people who also love them.

My special boy, Jose
Goof Balls!

Look at those eyelashes!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Unfortunately Consuming

I'm using this entry to make a serious confession. I'm not very proud of this, but maybe sharing it will help me to overcome. I have this consuming fear that someone will break into our house when I'm home alone. Recently, i've attempted to discover when this fear actually began and I think this is how:

For starters (just a little background here), I was fortunate and blessed to have grown up in a very safe home in a safe area. My parent's house sits right on a quiet lake at the bottom of a long driveway. I can't think of a time that I locked my car door before going in for the night. I don't remember waking up to strange noises or anything like that because it just wasn't ever a fear. THEN I moved to the oh so awesome city of Los Angeles.

Experience #1: There were a number of incidences around the APU campus that involved creepy men groping girls when they'd go out for a run, but nothing too serious ever happened - At least not that I know of. I sort of just tucked the recommendations to be cautious and aware in my back pocket until one night after a choir concert. We had just returned to campus late - about 10 p.m. - and for some reason I had to stay back and talk with our choir director. The guys were really good about not letting girls walk back to their apartment alone, but I insisted that a guy who offered to wait for me actually not wait because I didn't want to inconvenience him. I assured him i'd be fine so he went ahead and left. I made it most of the way to my apartment when I stupidly decided to enter the side gate (locked by code) rather than the front gate which actually had street lights out in front of it. As I approached the door in my choir dress and heels, I heard a man's voice behind me. "Hey, come here." That's when I said, "What??" Then he said, "Come here." Honest to goodness I assumed this guy was another student who knew me, but his face was shadowed by a baseball cap so I couldn't tell for sure. That's when instinct shot straight through me and at the same time I noticed the duffle bag over his shoulder. Something about his voice and the way he had approached me (while my back was the 11 p.m.....with no one else around in that moment. I immediately punched the code into the key pad and ran through the gate. That's when he started yelling at me! Not to sound too dramatic, but I know that guy was up to no good. I called campus police, but there wasn't much they could do without much of a description of the creepo.

Experience #2: I won't go into the long details about the transformation of mine and Aaron's relationship, but I had actually come out to D.C. to visit for about 3 weeks prior to moving out about a month later. Before I came out for my lengthy visit, I was so excited and didn't think I would have any hesitations. But, about 1 week into my visit, things changed a bit. You'd think I would have learned from my college experience, but no, not much. One day while Aaron was at work, I decided to take a walk up to the Target shopping center about 3/4 of a mile away. I didn't realize there were two ways to get there but I ended up taking the route that went along Richmond Highway which is a really busy street in Alexandria. My next stupid mistake was grabbing my I-Pod and cranking it. Ugh. Anyway, I was just about to Target when a man startled me in a black honda which had pulled up next to me. To make a long crazy story short, he kept asking me to get in his car with him. I refused - Of course. I began walking again. That's when he pulled into the closest parking lot and had the nerve to get out of his car! He approached me on foot and told me he "wanted to take me on a date." That's when I said, "Um, I really don't think my boyfriend would appreciate you doing this." I then told him to "please leave me alone." He huffed a bit then got back in his car (i'm walking a bit faster now.) That's when I realize that he was creeping in the right lane behind me. So naturally I made a run for it to the Target parking lot. This crazy guy started chasing me with his car through the parking lot WHILE PEOPLE WATCHED! I'm in tears now and my heart has just dropped to my toes while I go running into the store and hid in the women's clothing. I called Aaron and he left work early to come get me. I still regret not calling the police. He had a CVS pharmacy polo on and a few weeks later I recognized his car in the CVS parking lot right by our house. The regret.

Experience #3: My car broke down last spring (surprise surprise) so I had to walk to the metro one morning from Aaron's house to get to work. That's when an old nasty man came up beside me in an old maroon toyota and said, "Hey, let me give you a ride. You look like you're going to the metro." Thanks, Sherlock. Then he said,"I'm going there anyway and I can drop you off." I said all too nicely, "No, i'm fine." This guy started to get antsy (Dude! What is it with the men out here?!?) and he yelled, "Just get in my car! I told you I'm going to the metro!" Alright bucko, what part of N-O don't you understand?? "No!" I said. Then he just jetted off. For the record, rather than turning left to go to the metro, he hesitated at the innersection and turned right. I broke into full on tears, called Aaron and then called in late to work so I could get myself together. I thank God that under these last two cicrumstances, there were a lot of other people around. But, let me tell you, people are funny. I think we get so caught up in what we're doing that we aren't very observant. Now I often wonder how many terrible things happen in public and in broad daylight. Scary.

Well, you might be wondering why this is coming out in a blog now. That's because there was an incident this afternoon. I can admit, I love our house (the remodels are amazing) but we have a lot of strange people that walk around here. We're the end unit on a pretty busy street and there just so happens to be a homeless man that sleeps in his car out front. I have no idea if this is even legal. Anyway, Aaron also caught 3 teenagers smoking pot just behind our fence. Oh joy. All of that to say that we just installed new french doors in our basement that lead out into our backyard. It's a bit exposed because part of our fence fell down when it was windy outside but we'll be fixing it soon. Of course I asked Aaron to immediately put the dead bolt and door knob on because I didn't want to be asking for something stupid to happen, so he did. Well, this afternoon as I was painting upstairs, I came down to the basement to get a paint brush and the right side of the french doors was swung wide open. For a split second I thought, "I KNOW I locked both locks." So I threw my stuff down and grabbed my cell phone as I ran out the door. I called Aaron in a panic and said, "I think someone tried to break into the house!" He says, "Oh, no, it's windy and the doors aren't secure yet." WHAT?!? He feels really bad that this happened and I feel bad because I really put him through the ringer over it. He knows the experiences i've had out here and that it's not safe for our doors to be like that when i'm home alone all day. It turns out that the doors swung open (locks still in tact) because the wind picked up and pushed them open since they weren't secure.

Now i've just been thinking, "What's the point of having two locks on the door if a toddler could press it open with their little finger??!?!" I love Aaron so much and I know he means well, but i'm not particularly happy this happened. I suppose I could blame it on my bad experiences. I just don't want to live in fear like this forever. Interestingly enough, i've just started a bible study at church that has already been confronting me with my fears. I pray there's hope because I want more than anything to trust that God can and WILL protect me all the time! But I also keep telling Aaron, "Let's at least still try to be responsible people."


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ohhh the curse on me!

5:45 a.m. Wake up to take Aaron to work (we only have one car right now...)

6 a.m. Out the door, 1/4 awake. Eek. At this point I do remember mentioning, "Honey, I left my cell phone in the house, but it's ok, let's just go." After all, I would just be coming right back.

6:05 a.m. We see Aaron's buddy driving in front of us (they had some sort of early formation this morning) At this point, Aaron suggests, "Hey, i'll just call John real quick and tell him to pull over so I can catch a ride with him and you can turn around and go home." "Sure, that's fine", I said. "But I didn't grab my keys, so i'll need your's." Alright, I assumed (emphasis on that) that Aaron would just take his office key off the key ring. So, he stops the car and we both get out. He hops in the car with John, I hop in the front seat of our car.

6:10 a.m. I arrive home, reach for the ignition and ONLY FEEL THE CAR KEY! AHHH!! That's right, snowing and all, locked out of the house! By this point, i'm starting to wake up...about 3/4 now. "Alright, i'll give him a quick call" is what i'm thinking to myself. Within seconds I remember that my cell phone is locked in the house!

6:25 a.m. Yep, i've been sitting in my car for a bit contemplating what to do next. Option 1: I can drive to base, but have no idea where Aaron will be for his, well, whatever the heck men in uniforms do at 6:30 in the the guns they never use in the Air
Force....something like that. Option 2: I can go knock on our friends' door (the husband gets up pretty early) but I absolutely knew i'd freak the heck out of his wife....I know this because she's a lot like me. Option 3: Wait and hope one of my neighbors is leaving for work and I can ask to borrow their cell phone really fast.

6:30 a.m. Yay! I see movement in the darkness!! One of our neighbors whom we haven't even met yet is just starting her car. I hop out of our car, run over to her and as not-too-creepily as possible, I explain that i've been locked out of my house, my cell phone is inside, and wondered if I could trouble her for a few minutes to call my husband. She was very sweet and handed over her phone right away. I catch Aaron and explain to him what happenend and I get this,

"Oh. Hmm. Ok." (so enthusiastic.)

Uhhh, honey!! Do you hear what I'm telling you?!? It's the butt crack of dawn and i'm locked out with no cell phone AND it's snowing!! I ask him to call our neighbor to let him know i'll be knocking on their door and to ask if I can stay warm in their house until Aaron's meeting is over." That's when Aaron says, "No, just go over there and knock." I say, "Right, and give the poor couple a heart-attack." Anyway (why are we wasting time arguing about this??), Aaron finally agrees to call them, but they didn't answer their phone. SO, I drove over to Andrews and just got home after sitting in Aaron's office waiting for him so I could get the house key, hair all over the place, pajama pants, NO BRA ON! (don't worry, I was wearing a big fluffy jacket.) Some of the guys offered to make me breakfast, but in my mind i'm thinking....("I just want to put a bra on and brush my hair.")

Moral of the story: We'll be hiding a house key by our front porch.....sigh.....