Friday, December 19, 2008

Is It Too Late to Amend My Christmas List?

Just in time for the holidays, Chris Cooley (and brother Tanner) come through on their promise to have women's cut authentic Chris Cooley jersey's in his online store. He even went one better and is autographing them. Available in home white or away burgundy. I know. Awesomeness. While I do not read any other NFL player's blogs (and therefore have little to compare it to beside the NFL United Way commercials on every Sunday), I continue to be inspired and impressed by Chris Cooley's dedication to give back to the community. If you have the chance to look back over his blog from the past couple weeks, you'll see him talk about participating in the Redskins food drive for Thanksgiving (which the whole team helped at, I believe) as well as the day for breast cancer survivors he put together at Redskins Park. They are all cute blog posts. So even though the Skins season may not have turned out the way we had all hoped - I think Cooley's blog helps to remind us that there are (sometimes) more important things than winning football games.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Long Time No See

I know its been over a month since I posted - we've been busy. After my last post, we had a housewarming party, I turned 29, we traveled to Berkeley to see old friends, we traveled to Manassas to eat lots of turkey, we watched the Redskins lose more games than anyone thought they could, we taught the dog to shake and roll over, well, the list goes on. We're getting ready to travel to CT for Christmas - with the puppy (who is five months old now!) and preparing for multiple Christmas events. I'm not complaining, it has been a crazy busy two months, but my husband is home and we are spending all our holidays together - a first! Also a first, he will spend a holiday with my family, which is a great thrill to the Doyle side. I am more than anything looking forward to starting the new year - a full year with my husband and puppy and kitty, a full year where we are not counting down to something or dreading a date arriving or fearing that a date will never arrive. We're just living our lives and having a fantastic time - even when the puppy wakes up at 4:30am.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Veterans' Day!

A few days late, but this slideshow is worth taking a look at - its a nice collage of who Veterans are, without being too overly cheesy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Our Growing Family


Here is the newest addition to our family - Calhoun Krzyzewski Exnicios. We call him Calhoun, or Cal. He is a sweet, sweet puppy who is about 4 months old. He is a Beagle, with what we think might be some Jack Russell, but we're not sure. He is from the Northern Virginian beagle rescue, BREW (Beagle Rescue, Education and Welfare). Big sister Bailey is still adjusting, but is being a good girl and we are all getting used to being one big(ger) family.

We hope you have the chance to meet Calhoun soon!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This is What I Do At Work

Ok, kinda. I am an ethics attorney and I do train a lot of people on ethics. When I showed this clip to my office, we discussed including more song and dance in our upcoming annual training, but I think we may just show this clip instead.

This is What My Friend Megan Does At Work

No really. Not to reveal the man behind the curtain, but she's Blair and sometimes she's British. And she made really awesome Gossip Girl finger puppets. Check them out. You know you love them. . . . XOXO

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Homecoming Photos



Here are two photos that April just sent me -- the left is us anxiously awaiting our husbands' arrival and the right is me with my husband, probably about 15 minutes after he got off the plane. Thanks for the photos April!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

He is Home!!


I am not ready to put into words what this past weekend was like. Even just recalling the welcome home ceremony now brings tears to my eyes and chokes me up. It was definitely one of the most emotional days of my life and one that has been a long time coming. Hopefully, with some time, I can try to find words to even just write about the ceremony, let alone what my feelings were at that time. For now, here are some photos - early ones, from my iPhone. I hope to have some better ones from a real camera within the next few days. My husband is home and safe. He is still demobing in NC but hopefully will be in VA within a week or so. We certainly can't wait.


A big 451 family shout out to the McFarland family - April and Mr and Mrs. McFarland - Jeff's wife and parents. We combined intel and made it through the weekend together - even if we were signless. Thanks for waiting with me and it was so great to finally meet April - our husband's have been together since June but this is the first time we met and it brought a nice symmetry to the experience. (If only she had brought Montgomery. . . )


Photo #1 - the crowd waiting for the 18th Airborne Corps unit that came back on my husband's plane. The 451 contingent hid in a corner - we were not as mighty and didn't have any signs. (We did have flags thanks to Mrs. McFarland.)

Photo #2 - They are in formation during the ceremony - here they are saluting the National Anthem. (Yes they come in, stand in formation and you have to stand and wait and you can't get to your husband.) I know the photo isn't the greatest, but my husband is the one without a beret one. He claims he forgot it, but I think its his last act of protest against IRR :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Changes Around the Blog Page

You may notice that the world clocks are gone from the bottom of the page. That's because my husband is not in Afghanistan anymore!! As of this morning he was in Kuwait - going through customs and getting ready to get on a plane that will eventually bring him back to US soil!!! No offense Afghanistan - I know everyone loves you after reading the Kite Runner and I know Obama is all about sending more people there - but I hope to not give you another passing thought.

Waiting, and not so patiently

I am home today, resting and trying to relax before my husband comes home this weekend. The stress and anxiety of his homecoming has made me feel under the weather this week, so I decided to stay home and rest to ensure that I felt 100% when he returns. Staying home is also allowing some shuffling of things around the house - in a move that can best be described as nesting. I know it seems like there should be nothing but joy surrounding his homecoming and it is a very joyous event, but the getting ready and the waiting is really hard. I feel like there is an endless list of things that must get done before he gets home. I think B-cat is pretty excited to see me take off tomorrow to head to NC just so I stop driving her nutsy. I went through these same feelings when he came home on leave and was sick for the week before he came home - probably for the same reasons - and I know they will all disappear when I see him get off that plane. Unfortunately until then I will still be searching for the perfect place in the apartment for Bailey's squishy box.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Breaking Up, It Turns Out, Not Always That Hard to Do

As the new tv season started this year, I was mindful that the Tivo was not going to be just mine. My husband will be home and we would have to agree on what to record when to assure that both people were satisfied. Mondays, are tough, but I have survived the new schedule, though I've missed a good amount of DWTS. When the season was about two weeks old, I realized there were some shows that were on my Tivo, but I just didn't seem to have the time or inclination to watch. And so I started the process of breaking up with some television shows. The first to go was Grey's Anatomy. I've talked alot about how the show really annoys me but I felt the need to watch it, forced by some pop culture peer pressure. The first week I hadn't watched the season premiere but saw a clip on The Soup - when Sandra Oh was stabbed by an icicle. And the lightblub went off and I realized I needed to erase the episode from my tivo, cancel the season pass and have a clean break. So I don't want to know how Gray's is doing - I'd like a clean break and let us both go on with our lives.

I've felt a loyalty to ER since I have watched almost every season since the beginning, and this is the last season. But in watching the first couple minutes of the season premiere and realizing they were killing off another character, I realized I didn't have it in me to watch this season I am sure I will tune in for the series finale to have some closure - but I think that's like going to an ex's wedding - no remaining feelings, just a good way to acknowledge that everyone is going their own ways and we are all ok with it.

I continue to try to weed out some of the deadweight of my tv schedule. I still tivo Private Practice but haven't watched it any episodes yet, I am sure that will be next to go. I cut out Ugly Betty - I enjoyed the first season but think that last season was just more of the same. I guess this is all part of a natural transition as my life is changing - no longer an Army wife at home waiting for a phone call, but now a wife with a husband and a kitty and soon to be a puppy - and I know I have a lot more things to fill my evenings and weekends than the latest shenanigans that Betty or Meredith gets herself into.

Adorableness in Puppy Form

I can't promise B-cat will be this excited when my husband returns next week. But I think she'll be pretty close.

Things I Can't Wait to Do When My Husband Gets Home

The list is really infinite. Everyday I see silly little things that go on in everyday regular life and think, wow, I can't wait until we can be that normal couple with normal worries and normal conversations and normal bedtimes and all those things that go to be normal. My Husband likes to say, well, what's normal. I'll give you a hint - being long distance for almost four years, having been married for almost 18 mos and never living together, never having spent more than fifteen days together - all those things are not normal. It is who we are and even better, who we have been, and I am really excited to move past it. To not feel that my relationship needs to be explained or have an asterisk after it. We'll just be another twenty-something couple living in Alexandria with a dog and a cat and two jobs we enjoy and we'll do all that silly stuff that couples who live in the greater DC metro region do on the weekends and it will be fabulous.

So all of this is to really say, everything is becoming too real to keep listing what I want to do. I'd say I'm like a kid on Christmas - but that kid on Christmas can't sleep the night before Christmas. I have been on the edge, just waiting for this to happen, for weeks now. I have one week left and it feels like I have miles of quick sand to walk through before I can reach the end. Listing all the awesome things I can't wait to do makes me more jittery, more anxious - so my lack of posts on the many things I can't wait for does not mean that I am not excited for my husband's return. Its just that I'm so excited, I can't even put fingers to keys to begin to express it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Things I Can't Wait To Do When My Husband Comes Home #17


#17 - Celebrate his birthday. October 7 (which it already is in Afghanistan) is my beautiful husband's birthday. I am so sad that he will not be home for it and that there is nothing I can do to make it a very happy birthday - especially since it is his last birthday in his twenties!! I have big plans for trying to make up for missing his birthday when he gets home THIS MONTH and I hope that lessens the blow of having to spend it in Afghanistan. I hope they have cake, baby and I can't wait to have that Bloomin' Onion you so love to celebrate. Happy birthday, we all miss you so much here and are thinking of you today!

(B the W, this is a picture of us celebrating A's birthday last year, at a Redskins' victory over Detroit. I think the Skins starting 4-1 is their present to him.)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Things I Can't Wait To Do When My Husband Gets Home #16

16 - Get dressed. Yeah, it sounds funny but I spent about 5 minutes dancing around my bedroom this morning trying to button the top button my skirt. No, its not that it didn't fit - its that the button is in the back and I had to be a contortionist to get to it. I've run into this more and more the past few weeks, even returning a dress that I realized I could never wear without someone to zip me up. I look forward to having every button buttoned before I leave the house each morning once my husband is home to assist with such things.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Our Blissfully Short National Nightmare Is Over



Thankfully Kim was voted off DWTS. She stated she hoped she had made her father proud. I am sure if the sex tape and the Playboy spread hadn't made him proud, her second round exit on DWTS definitely did.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Things I can't wait to do when my husband gets home #14 & 15

#14 - Commute - This one may be a pipe dream, but a good number of the jobs my husband is applying to are in the same area as my job. That means we could commute in together, never have to sit next to a stranger on the bus and have obnoxious whispered conversations, then giggle while looking at people on the bus. (That's right annoying couple in front of my Tuesday night. Not only did you make the bus late, but you were annoying on the bus.) I promise we won't be annoying.

#15 - Have lunch. This goes along with the above one, if his job is in the same vicinity as mine we can meet for lunch or go for walks or just have a reason to escape the office for a little bit. I also think I will try to make my husband come into the District for lunch while he is on leave. No reason he can't meet me for a sandwich across the street. I worry left to his own devices my husband would develop a rather wide no pants radius, a la How I Met Your Mother.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Li-i-i-ve

This post is only a week late, but since their were three episodes last week, it seems a lot later. I’ll be honest, there are a lot of contestants this time around, though two have already been eliminated. I think they should do more of a front push then once they get the dead weight gone, they can maybe have once every other week eliminations with the good stars. That’s just my thought.
Another side note, Monday is a tivo traffic jam. I actually have to watch DWTS in between MNF. It’s a toss up, though I don’t think I care much about this week’s MNF game and so I think I can give my full attention to DWTS. Once my husband is home though, I think the words "Don’t. . . care much about this week’s MNF game" will probably disappear from my vocabulary.
Here’s my quick run down of the cast - its quick not just because there are so many but because they all are really like F List stars. I am not even sure D list is the right term for them. Except for you Lance. You’re pretty A list.

Cody Linley - apparently he’s on Hannah Montana. I’m unamused. I am sure he will stick around much longer than I care for because of the teeny bopper vote. (How old do I sound?) I like Julianne so at least its not super annoying. Maybe Miley Cyrus will come on and sing that song. You know the one.

Rocco DiSpirito - I feel kinda bad for him because he’s sunk to this level. Some may say he sunk to that level during the second season of The Restaurant. Or when he starting hawking Bertolli frozen pasta meals on Top Chef. I’m just saying you don’t even see Rachael Ray doing this stuff, let alone Eric Ripert or some other real chef.

Toni Braxton - I really don’t have much to say. She dances well, seems nice, is the requisite handicapped individual for the season (heart condition). I don’t think she’ll have the fan base to go too far, despite being pretty good.

Maurice Green - too many athletes this season. I like Cheryl so I won’t mind this pair, but its just hard for me to get excited about someone who is in a little watched sport. And apparently paid a Mexican discus thrower $10000 for something sketchy. Hmmm.

Brooke Burke - again not really famous for anything exciting. Has a lot of kids. By a lot of husbands. Or one husband and then other men. I haven’t actually seen her dance yet, but I hear she is very good. Still, I’m bored.

Ted McGinley - sorry Ted, you’ve already been eliminated. He was ok. One of those guys who you have to IMDB to figure out where you know him from. Did appear as part of the Sorkin mafia on both SportsNite (Gordon) and West Wing (the tv talk show host, Mark). He was also the captain of the water polo team at Newport Harbor High School. Yeah, you can’t make that up.

Lance Bass - really, this is the best you could do DWTS? (no offense Lance) I love N’Sync, but still, it’s a little sad they couldn’t even pull in another 90210 star. I know Tori Spelling isn’t doing anything right now. Out of sheer lack of interest in the others, I will be cheering for Lance. That and I always admire the courage of someone like him to be honest about their lifestyle when they know it will just make things more difficult in their career. (Or maybe its easier when you are in a boy band.)

Cloris Leachman - she’s pretty nutsy. But she keeps it interesting, so that’s something. I will be interested to see how long the keep her around. I do think Corky is a pretty awesome partner for her, he seems like he can handle her nutsiness.

Jeffrey Ross - also already eliminated. Which honestly he had to see coming. Its been the role of all of these comedians to get eliminated pretty early - though I guess Corolla and Penn Gillette made it a little further than the first week.

Kim Kardashian - This is the only time I acknowledge her presence. She is 1) not a star, 2) not pretty, 3) not good at dancing and 4) really really really dumb. She was discussing back stage at one point that she is really shy and this was difficult for her. I would have guessed that, what with the reality show and sex tape. Maybe she should dance naked and it would help loosen her up a bit. I am also happy she is paired with Mark who I also can’t stand. An early exit will make me very happy. Ok, we never mention this pair again.

Susan Lucci - I love Susan Lucci, but this just makes her look so old and frail. At least Cloris Leachman has a schtick and she makes it work for her. But Susan is so tiny, and meek. Channel Erica Cane. Be Erica Cane. And really, eat a sandwich.

Misty May-Treanor - I think I OD’d on her over the Olympics. The Olympics were on while I was moving and not working yet so I could watch daytime coverage, which was often beach volleyball and it seemed like unlike other sports that started and stopped throughout the 16 days, that this just kept going and going. And they would always talk about Misty and how she was going to play and when she was playing and how she won last year. I got it. She plays beach volleyball. Awesome. So sorry, I am Misty May-Treanor’ed out.

Warren Sapp - a pleasant surprise I think he is actually not a bad dancer. The word on the street - and by street I mean Chris Cooley’s blog - is that he is not very nice. Not nice to Kym, not nice to the stage crew, etc. I would hate to think that is true, because he just seems like such a cuddly teddy bear with his family in the audience, but really, Chris Cooley has absolutely no reason to lie to us.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Things I Can't Wait To Do When My Husband Comes Home #12 and 13

#12 - Go for Walks. We live in this awesome area for walking. We are next door to the National Cemetery. We can walk to Whole Foods. We can walk to the waterfront, we can walk to a ton of great restaurants including two of my favorites - Farrah Olivia and Restaurant Eve. We can walk for coffee, we can walk for pizza, thai, yarn, Afghan rugs, bridal gowns, Trader Joe's wine, the list goes on. We can also walk to the George Washington trail which takes us all the way to Mount Vernon. I really do try to walk, on sunny weekends, go for a stroll, take advantage of my location and get some of that Vitamin D from the sun. But it often ends in me dejectedly sulking back home, annoyed at the number of couples out for a similar stroll, with dogs or babies or just happily holding hands thinking how the many many ways they can spend their Saturdays together. I usually start muttering under my breath about people avoiding their civic duty or enjoying the freedom my husband won for them or something like that. Its hard. Its hard to see everyone around you doing the small silly things that you want to do, but can't. Things that you have never been able to do because of fate's sense of humor. So I am really excited to start being one of those couples without a care in the world, trying to decide if they want coffee now or later or who is going to wait outside the antique store with the dog.

#13 - Go on a Culinary Tour of the Greater Washington Area. As mentioned above, we live so close to so many awesome restaurants and only a short metro ride away from hundreds more. With the DC area becoming quite the foodie haven, I can't wait to start exploring more with my husband. We can't highly recommend Restaurant Eve enough - where we celebrated our first anniversary (two months after the fact) and hope that everyone gets the opportunity to check out their tasting room at least once in their lives. I want to take my husband to Farrah Olivia, which is a stone's throw from our place and also fabulous. There are new restaurants going up in this area everyday, including a new cupcake place! Its all so very exciting to think of simply having a Friday dinner out with my husband in the very near future.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Things I Can't Wait To Do When My Husband Comes Home #10 & 11


They seem to come in pairs.

#10 - Eat delicious and elegant chicken salad - because who can think of anything better? Who wouldn't like delicious and elegant chicken salad? Communists probably.

#11 - Get a puppy - no surprise. We are so close to puppy ownership; I've been looking for day care, located a free puppy crate, preparing to buy baby gates. Its all so close. I am especially looking forward to my husband's leave time when he gets home so he can walk the puppy down to the bus stop to meet me everyday. Little puppy all excited to see her mommy, jumping around, wanting to give puppy kisses. Awesomeness in puppy form.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Things I Can't Wait To Do When My Husband Gets Home #8 & #9

#8 - Cook dinner. I enjoy cooking a great deal but I lack the motivation to cook much for myself. Its also difficult to cook for yourself, knowing whatever you are making you will have to eat for the next 7 days. (I know you can freeze it, but when I moved, I brought with me two frozen things of chicken cacciatore and one of taco soup. That stuff adds up in the freezer.) My dinners usually entail some sort of Morningstar Veggie product (such as a veggie burger, veggie buffalo wings or veggie rice cake.) and then some steamed veggies. Honestly, I try to think about what I've eaten for dinner over the last year and I have no idea. Soups. Cheese and crackers. Eggs. All very sad made for one quick meals. Oh, and a lot of take out sushi. I know that some of these meals will come back when my husband is home - we won't have time or inclination to cook every night, but even if its just on Sundays and sometimes Thursdays, I am really excited to dusting off my cookbooks and starting making real meals again.

#9 - Share chores. Yes, I know people who live on their own do their own chores all the time. I've lived by myself for 7 years now, I know that. But I've been married for over a year now. I did my husband's taxes. Hell, I redid his 2006 taxes even. Doesn't taking on that added responsibility of marriage mean that someone else can clean the cat's box once in a while? Or vacuum? I have to say, my husband is really good at chores. He cleans the cat's box much more often than I see necessary, he doesn't let dirty dishes mount up in the sink because he is too lazy to put away the clean ones in the dishwasher, he puts away clean laundry less than a week after doing it. These are the good influences I need in my life. I don't expect him to do all of them, but I hope his enthusiasm for this type of stuff and willingness to do - and not put it off for another day - will make it easier and more likely that I too will complete daily chores. (Unless I can convince B-cat that since she makes the mess, she really should clean the litter box herself.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Let Bartlett Be Bartlett

I am completely against the school of thought that attacks Sarah Palin for being "less than elite" - that is attending a state school, liking to hunt, going to Church. I mean, I may not have much in common with her or her beliefs, but I also don't think using those sort of things as a litmus test is, well, elitist. It kinda disgusts me.

All that said - Maureen Dowd's reference to Letting Bartlett Be Bartlett made me happy. That's all the Obama campaign needs. . . Toby. (And maybe Josh. I mean Josh got Jimmy Smits elected and that is really the same as getting Obama elected, isn't it?)

Things I Can't Wait To Do When My Husband Comes Home #3, 4, 5, 6, 7

I've been away in sunny Orlando for an exciting Government Ethics conference so I will be catching up on all of the exciting things I can't wait to do when my husband comes home in this one post.

#3 - Hang Pictures - there are at least 7 boxes of pictures that need to be hung up in our new apartment but I have decided to "hide" them behind the couch until my husband comes home for a couple of reasons. One, he has a better eye than I do for these things. Two, he would redo it anyway when he gets home. I look forward to helping him do complex math equations to figure out where the Colorado wildflowers should go.

#4 - Sharing Kitty Cuddles - I love B-cat a lot. That said, I probably love her a little less at 6am when she decides that she must have breakfast right now. I look forward to sharing 6am kisses and snuggles, and maybe even convincing her that someone other than Mommy can give her breakfast.

#5 - Grocery Shopping - I enjoy grocery shopping, but its more fun with two people, especially because my husband's penchant for shopping like he's still in college - we end up with a lot of cereals that involve small multi colored marshmallows.

#6 - No Longer Answer Questions - I know people want to know when Andrew will be home and are concerned for both of us and excited that he will be home soon - but I probably answer the same questions about 3 times a day. Yes, my husband is coming home soon, yes, it is still on schedule, no I don't know the exact date, yes I do talk to him most days, yes I am incredibly lucky. (That's always my favorite, discussing how "lucky" we are.)

#7 - Talking About Things As I Think Of Them - We get to talk about once a day and then by email - but I have a tendency to think of things during the day and think to myself, hmm I should talk to Andrew about that. And then he calls around 10pm that night and all that remains is the thought that there was something that I meant to talk to him about, but no memory of what that is - and he inevitably gets distracted by whatever is on Dr. Phil that night.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Things I Can't Wait to Do When My Husband is Home #2

Watch football. Since meeting my husband I have become a huge football fan - thanks in no small part to our couple's fantasy football league in which I am ultra competitive. I now stalk kickers in the hope that they help propel me to victory and know random stats about players whose position I did not even know the name for 4 years ago. Living on the West Coast, its easy to spend a lazy Saturday or Sunday in bed watching football - its starts earlier. The first college game is on at 9am CA time and the first pro game is on at 10am. So you can simply roll over, grab the remote and there is football. This helped to promote my football habit too - realizing this is entirely how my husband intended to spend many of our weekends together. That said, it has resulted in a shared passion - one that we continue by watching games "together" over the phone and strategizing over my poor, sad, weakened and depleated fantasy team this year. After spending 90 min on the phone watching Monday Night Football last night, I was so excited to think that in just few weeks' time, Andrew would be in bed next to me talking about how stupid DeSean Jackson is, instead of over telephone lines.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Things I Can't Wait to Do When My Husband Comes Home #1

As the days slo-o-w-ly wind down and we get closer to when my husband comes home, I hope to try to post one thing a day that I am excited about doing then, much like my to do list discussed below. Don't worry, I know DWTS starts soon, and I promise to give that the amount of attention it deserves. (The jury is still out on OTH this season. I kinda want to throw in the towel but I remember how it has been my friend for so much of this deployment, and so I am trying to stick it out.)

So today, what I cannot wait to do when my husband comes home is have a hug. Its one of those small things that I miss so much - a hug before leaving for work, or coming home at the end of the day, not to mention when bigger things happen. I just want a hug. To say hi, to say I missed you, to say I am never going anywhere again. I know it will improve my mood about 300% as soon as I get that first hug.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

To Do List

Before I get started, this is the 100th post for RSN. Celebratory whoops all around.

We have reached the point in this deployment when we can say that my husband will be home next month. In a little over 30 days he will be enjoying our new sofa with the cat and me. (Hopefully the episode of SNL we will be watching then will be better than the one I am currently watching.) The point is, that's pretty awesome.

I'm starting to put together a list of things to do when he gets home - not just exciting newlywed things like fancy dinners, leisurely walks to Old Town, getting a puppy (!) - but also mundane things like organizing book shelves and DVDs. Its also a slightly awkward period of time because its close enough for some things to wait for my husband's return, but others seem inappropriate. For instance - can the laundry wait until he is home so I do not have to go to the basement on my own? Probably not. Can I wait to brush the cat's teeth until he is home? That kitty breath will probably be pretty strong by then. Can I wait to return items to Ikea? YES! Woo hoo! I do not have to go to Woodbridge or walk through Ikea or resist the urge of Chick-Fil-A on my own.

Its an exciting and anxious time in the Exnicios household and I am looking forward to my husband's to do list growing over the next few weeks.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Long Season Ahead of Us


As I settled in to watch the first weekend of the 2008 NFL season, I really could not have been happier.  I am a huge Pats fan, a huger Tom Brady fan and this was the season that the Pats revenged their heartbreaking Super Bowl collapse and made it all happen.  And then 7:58 into the first game of the season - the first game of the day! - Tom Brady was down.  I didn't even get to see the only playing time Brady would get this season because whoever programs the greater DC football broadcasts decided watching Brett "Giant Loser and Should Go Away" Favre was more important.  I will always be sorry I couldn't be there for my Tommy.  Its been a tough week, but I am throwing my full confidence behind Matt Cassel.  I am, this is how we found Tom Brady, right?  Right??  Anyway, my husband sent me this link to the ESPN Sport's Guy column and it did cheer me up - or at least helped to know that my devastation is shared by many. 

PS I totally called Matt Cassel the new Matt Saracin way earlier than this post appeared.  

PPS Can I still wear my Brady jersey??

Musings on the 11Y


As I get settled in my new job and home, I am also settling into a new commuting routine.  Instead of driving or taking the metro, I take the bus.  At first I was hesitant of this new mode of transportation, but I have since grown to love it.  First of all, the commute could not be easier.  I walk four blocks to my bus stop, which makes a straight shot down the Parkway to the 14th St bridge and into DC to drop me off at 14th and F.  So long as I catch the right bus, usually around 8am, I am able to get a seat no problem.  I have recently discovered the perfect commuting mix of entertainment.  I can’t read on the bus, I get terrible motion sickness in my old age, but I can listen to books on tape on my Ipod.  While doing that, I knit.  Its pretty fantastic and allows me to get in about an hour of knitting in my commuting time alone.  Its also very relaxing and I am able to sort of block out the commute until we hit certain landmarks I know as close to my stop and I have to start putting things away.  My favorite things about the bus, besides its ease and entertainment, are the friendliness of everyone and the orderliness (is that a word?).  A bus is a lot smaller than a metro car, only fits about 60 people or so, so if you are routinely taking the same time buses, you tend to see the same people.  People ask about you when you aren’t on the normal bus and people ask if I finished that sock I was knitting last week.  It’s fun to see what people are reading as well - from the latest nonfiction DC-ish work to The Firm, which I didn’t think there was anyone who still had not read The Firm. The orderliness has to do with lining up and keeping the integrity of the line and ensuring that we line up in order of arriving at the bus stop.  At my evening bus stop there are about 4 buses that pick up there - and a complicated line system has developed, but it seems to work with little drama.  I am sure there will be more tales from the 11Y bus as I continue to commute, an exciting prospect, I know. 

Gone Radio Silent

Hi everyone, 

Sorry for the break in blogging - things got busy with the new job and new place and all.  Plus the three days of requisite mourning for the end of Tom Brady’s season. In good news, we have the start of not one, not two, but three fabulous teen dramas on tv - Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill and 90210.  I have been disappointed in OTH this season - evil Nanny Carrie again? Really? - but Gossip Girl has not failed to produce.  I’ve only seen the season premiere of 90210, this week’s episode is awaiting me on my Tivo, but its been fun even just to 

go OMG its Kelly Taylor, OMG its Brenda, hey that’s Andrea’s kid, etc.  Which side note, if that is Andrea’s kid, why isn’t Andrea like friends with Kelly and all and they share stories of single parenthood? 

The move went well, in no small part to the awesome unpacking efforts of my father.  I have only 5 more boxes to unpack (mostly shoes and purses) and then a ton of organizing to do.  A large part of that will wait until my husband comes home, so that 

we can go through the nesting act together.  Which even if that means there are Nora Roberts books on the same shelf as the Vonneguts, I will try to survive. (PS do not tell my husband that.) 

Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing my husband’s friends Megan, her husband Wade and Adam.  I am willing to say we’ve become friends in our own right at this point, especially after the bonding that occurred this past weekend with large mascots at Nationals Park.  The photo below cuts off most of Teddy’s fantasticness but you can at least see

 how huge he is.  No wonder he never wins a race.  I am holding a “Hi Andrew” sign, but the photo sort of bleaches that out. 

Monday, September 1, 2008

Good Times in Quantico

Taking a break from moving today, as we wait for the movers to bring my furniture tomorrow, so my Dad and I went to the National Museum of the Marine Corps. (Yes my husband and I are/were Army, but we are still awaiting the Army museum.) Anyway, if you are in the DC area and have an afternoon, I suggest you check it out. I think its a really well done museum and very interesting - I also think they did a good job of capturing some of the experience of what being in those sort of situations (the best you can do in a museum of course.) So drop by, its free, see how many push ups you can do, what it was like to be in Korea or jump out of a helicopter at Khe Sahn.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Moving Update

We were able to combine the last two phases - not having to stay at (or pay for) the hotel. So I am officially out of Riverside apartments and into the new condo. No furniture yet, but we're here and the rest of the stuff will arrive on Tuesday. Many thanks to my Dad and father-in-law, Jim, who helped with the cleaning and move - and of course thanks to my ever patient husband who puts up with me in times like this.

More Cooley-ness


I'm not the only who thinks Cooley is pretty awesome.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Awesomeness On Screen

So over at Chris Cooley's blog, they would like us to know that Chris and Tanner are producing a movie. The plot line is said to be

"After losing his wife, a ghost hunter questions what he believes in and decides to retire. When he gets a call from a potential client who guarantees he'll find the evidence he's looking for, he can't resist taking one last shot. What happens as soon as the team arrives at the home, is tragic and shocking...and something that's never happened on any ghost hunting gig before. "

Now a few things. 1) I will be first in line at any Cooley produced movie. I like the Cooleys, I think they are adorable and I will support their endeavors. 2) If this is distracting from other things, say like getting women's replica jerseys in the Shop 47 (Store 47? CC47Shop?), well I would be disappointed. But I did just check and see that you can now buy Chris Cooley short shorts that say "Tight End" across the butt. Nice addition. 3) Chris Cooley's efforts to get the Chief's tomahawk back once again show why the Skins, and DC, is lucky to have him on our team.

First game next week - go Skins, go Pats!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

For Those That Are Curious




This is how my sweater is coming. The second picture is the lace work, which I promise looks a lot better in person.









I am also knitting socks. This is one. They are very comfy and I am excited to cuddle in them when it gets cooler.

If my husband doesn't come home soon, the cat may start wearing sweaters.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Operation Wicker Cat Basket

Because back in December it seemed like a good idea to move before my husband came home (so he wouldn't feel unsettled) and to once again run the move as a solo operation, I am in the midst of a move. There have been many times in the last couple weeks that I crawl exhausted, back aching, into my bed, make that a bed, and think to myself, how did I think this was a good idea? Here’s how the Doyle-Exnicios move has broken down. As you can see, we are about 50% completed, halfway through Phase 3. And by we, I mean Bailey and me.

Phase 1 - Move to new condo which landlords have not vacated. Live in new condo with landlords’ furniture and dog. Supplement landlords’ furniture with a tv, cable, clothes, some food, Trader Joe’s wine, a litter box, Furminator, scratching post, catnip pad, wicker cat basket, knitting supplies and one orange cat. Realize that even though new condo is only on the second floor, not having an elevator makes a big difference when moving. Mentally curse my husband, the Army, the Sony and anyone else who caused me to lug a 60lb (estimated weight) television from the ninth floor of the apartments to the backseat of the CRV to the second floor of the condos. While moving to the condo, prepare old apartment for our (eventual) departure and hid things from the movers (like more Trader Joe’s wine and passports.) Deal with dog with nervous stomach and broken air conditioning. Start new job.

Phase 2 - Movers arrive at old apartment to pick up furniture and other items and bring them to storage for three weeks. Hope that nothing I have sent to storage is anything I (or the cat) will need in the next three weeks.

Phase 3 - Move out of new condo with landlords’ furniture back to old apartment which now has no furniture. Bring back clothes, litter box, Furminator, scratching post, catnip pad, wicker cat basket, some knitting supplies and one orange cat. Realize that while I kept the air mattress out of storage, I forgot sheets and pillows. Realize again that there is no built in lighting in this apartment and that I did not keep lamps out of storage. Go to Target to buy sheets, pillows and lighting.

Phase 4 - Move out of old apartment and into the only cat friendly hotel in Old Town Alexandria. Be sure the hotel is one of the pricier ones in the area. Clean old apartment in preparation for turning over keys. Realize that I thought the vacuum was too hard to carry back and forth between locations and I sent it to storage. Call father-in-law and beg him to bring vacuum from Manassas. Await arrival of my Dad from CT, making Phase 3 the last solo phase of this move. (Thank God)

Phase 5 - Move out of pricey, cat friendly hotel. Move to new condo, with no furniture. Spend one night in condo with no furniture. Excitedly await furniture arrival. Take Dad out for margaritas to celebrate new condo renter-ship, complete with furniture, bedding, lighting and an orange cat and thank him for graciously taking time off to come unpack boxes.

So that’s been my August, which will flow into my September. I really am so happy my Dad is coming to help - all I could think all weekend as I moved back to the empty apartment was that it was the last time I had to lug anything anywhere on my own. I also reiterate what I said last summer when I moved my husband and I from CO to VA - the next move is all yours, babe - I am going to the beach.

PS You can check out how Bailey has helped with the move over at my husband's blog, where she regularly appears as a guest blogger.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Check Out My Husband's Stuff

After a short hiatus, my husband has churned out some new stuff - new photos, political commentary - you name it, you may find it there. So check it out.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

News That Greatly Upset Me on Sunday

I called it, and yet I am not happy to be right. Immediately after Elena Delle Donne "committed" to UConn, I said that was a mistake and she wouldn't last past winter break. I didn't expect her not to last past two days. I know the party line, she's young, there was a lot of pressure, blah blah blah. To whom much is given much is asked. Don't take the scholarship and all that comes with it if you can't follow through. Most analysts say this isn't going to hurt UConn this season - but I am sure this makes Pat Summit a lot happier than Geno Auriemma. No one seems interested in what the real story is here - and I sure hope Geno does not release her from her scholarship. I think if we all gave up when things got tough - a day and a half into the toughness - no one would ever complete anything. Time for some growing up, Delle Donne.

Feeling Better

Thanks for all the long distance hugs and words of support before my first day - I know I was quite the whiner this weekend but sometimes it just all comes crashing down on you and you feel pretty crappy. But hearing from all of you helped, especially Skip who hasn't even met me but still passed along a hug. That's big of you Skip, and I will remember that the next time I purchase squirrel cookies at the Dairy Godmother.

First day went ok - lots of paperwork and what's all this about choosing a health plan AND PAYING FOR IT?? I mean in the Army the health care left some things to be desired but it was there and it was free. Ta da, health care. So I have to research to figure out what these all mean. Don't even get me started on retirement plans. Gotta shower and get set for day two, see you all soon.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

NY Times Modern Love Essay

Please read this beautiful, spot on essay written by a military wife. Her story is so close to mine - the small wedding for practical (and some romantic) reasons before a deployment, the fears and routines that go into a deployment and finally a happy ending with a big wedding celebration. Its nice to read about her happy ending, but made me cry since our's still seems so far away.

Sunday Whine

I figured its been a while since I talked about why being an Army Wife sucks and why I just want this part of lives to end, so I figured today was as good as day as ever to bring it up again. Its not just the big things that make deployment so hard - the missing of birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas or missing crises or family emergencies (that sucks too, don't get me wrong) - but its often the day to day stuff that makes it impossible. I recently left Active Duty and got a new job. This process, though stressful, went fairly smoothly, but it was definitely made harder without my husband. There was no one to give me a good luck kiss and hug before my interviews. No one to tell me my suit looked ok before I left or help calm my nerves on my cell phone before I went into the office. When I got the job, I couldn't even call my husband to tell him, but had to wait until he was able to call me and not know when that would be. No one to have a glass of wine with that night to celebrate or take me out for dinner for a well fought victory. And here I am the night before I start my new job. No one here to help soothe my first day anxieties and jitters. No one to give me a kiss as I leave for work tomorrow morning and tell me they can't wait to hear how my first day went. Again, as I try to sleep tonight, nervous about what tomorrow may bring, I can't even call my husband. Its these small things - the Sundays on your own, no hugs at the end of a long day, no one to share Chinese take out with - all these things that were supposed to come with marriage that make this deployment so hard and in the last couple months of this deployment are really leaving me hanging on by a (fraying) string.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Have You Seen This Commercial?

Its all over the Olympics. I think its terrible. First of all, who lets their kids play sports if their kid is going to be sad like these kids. Second, this commercial is promoting the idea that life sucks and makes you sad and you should go eat at McDonalds when you feel bad because McDonalds makes you feel better. I think this exact thought process is what has caused me to gain about 10 lbs throughout this deployment. Point is, its an awful commercial and I plan to only get my sympathy food at Wendy's from now on.

I Spoke Too Soon

No sooner was the trailer released that they announced that the Harry Potter film's release would be delayed until July 2009. Disappointing, especially when part one of "Deathly Hallows" won't be released until Dec 2010 - so the series won't be completed until 2011??! They have also committed to using the same actors throughout the series, but pushing back the films that far makes Daniel Radcliffe 22 in 2011. Won't he be pushing the age barriers there? Anyway, I'm disappointed we won't spend my birthday weekend watching Harry this year, but I guess it gives me more time to reread the books.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

As Promised




Some photos from leave.

This is the Arch in St. Louis. We went here early during leave to meet Abigail Rebecca Bardill, the adorable off spring of our friends Patrick and Alison.

Our hotel was less than fabulous, but we had this corner room that was tucked away and as you can see, it had a pretty decent view.

Andrew is holding Abigail in the other photo. We have to work on Andrew's baby holding skills over the next year or so, hopefully ending the trend of babies crying as soon as they end up in his arms. I think he need to apply Cesar Milan type philosophies to the baby - if you are afraid, the baby will feel it and not be happy. Calm, assertive leadership.As you can see here, Abigail is quite content when I hold her and her "Uncle" Andrew is seated next to us. We had so much fun meeting Abigail and hanging out with family. We hope to see Abigail again soon, hopefully before too much walking and talking occur.

After St. Louis we hung out at home for a few days. We saw the Smith family, Christine & Hans and Adam. Sorry there are no photos of that. The Smith family picnic involved fruit salad and many Smith sisters (and one Smith brother). We had margaritas with the future Hubers. Hanging out with Adam involved a lot of steak and wine. Good times were had by all.

After staying out too late with Adam and eating WAY too much, we woke up four hours later and headed to the airport for the Bahamas. First we stayed at the Sheraton Cable Beach, which was very beach resort-y, but nice. If you are a Starwood Preferred Guest, you get free bottles of water in your room. If you are not, you have to pay $3.50 for that water. Word to the wise. This is the view from our first room (we had three, long story.)

Next we travelled to Eleuthera for some quieter rest and relaxation. I won't get into the lizard drame other than to say there are lizards in Eleuthera, sometimes inside your condo, and they are sneaky and I don't like them. The lizard drama added a certain je ne sais quoi to the weekend. Here is a photo of the condos we stayed in (Pineapple Fields, HIGHLY recommend) and a few other photos of the vacation, including my awesome mango daiquiri. Sorry for the wonky format, either Blogger needs to update or I need lessons on how to include photos embedded in text.




Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Harry Potter Trailer is Out

See it here. It looks fantastic, it comes out two days after my birthday, which will make 29 a little less painful. That said, this book is so intense, I'm a little nervous to see it. I cried a lot when Harry brought back Colin's dead body in movie #4, so all the death in this movie may be a bit much for me. I'm still looking forward to it. I may reread the book (for the third time) before it comes out, just to get ready. I have been meaning to reread book 7 because I feel that I read it so fast to see what happened that I may have missed some things. As a side note, one of my favorite memories of my relationship with Andrew is driving across country last year. Andrew had never read any of the books and decided he would read them all in about three weeks in time to see movie #5 and then read book 7. We were moving to Virginia but I couldn't allow Andrew to read silently while I drove, so we took turns driving and reading out loud to each other. It was a great time in the middle of a really difficult part of our life as Andrew reported back to the Army. Anyway, enjoy the trailer, despite its dark plotlines, its a great story.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Now That I Can Speak Freely About the Army

Check out Rick Reilly's column on 2LT Caleb Campbell, the West Point cadet allowed to join the NFL draft, only to have the Army rescind its policy after he was already at training camp. I've talked about my point of view on this a bunch on the blog, but I think this column does a good job of summing up what is wrong with the Army's actions.

A Plea to Chris Cooley


I would like to support Chris Cooley's blog, The Cooley Zone, as much as possible, because you know, it's awesome. That said, Chris Cooley's Store 47 does not carry ladies' jerseys. Ladies jerseys are still close to replica, but they are cut narrower and shorter. I like having the ladies style jersey because without it, I look like this in a football jersey. See, sort of large and shapeless. I don't have a photo of my in my ladies' Tom Brady jersey . . . but the point is I am much more adorable in it, here's a photo of the jersey design.


It's difficult to find a suitable ladies' Chris Cooley jersey - I did a quick Google search and came up with this.
As you may note, pale yellow is not a Redskins color. And that's not exactly a replica jersey. Why they think that just because women are more petite and would like a better fit means we would also like it to come in pink or yellow or some other mde up color is beyond me. My Tom Brady jersey may be cut slimmer than Tommy's, but other than that we look like twins during home games.

So Chris Cooley, hook a girl up. I am looking for a replica jersey, in the away colors, like my husband's above, #47, Cooley jersey, in a slim ladies' fit. I will proudly promote the link to the store on my blog if such items become available. And I promise to buy one the moment they are available.

In Case You Missed It

There are TWO United States Basketball teams favored to win the Gold this Olympics. . . sort of gets my goat that you don't hear as much about this team as the quote Redeem Team unquote. I have a lot of opinions on the men's team, but I will leave those out right now and just ask you to check out Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird's awesome performances this summer.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Take A Moment. . .

and check out what's happening at Chris Cooley's blog. He shares tales from Canton, some info on the generosity of Jason Taylor and Nike, as well as his IPod play list. Be sure to check the blog post from a few weeks ago about training camp with the children's hospital visitors, showing again why I think Chris Cooley is really just an all around good guy. (Even if he took the idea from Drew Brees). It also gives me another excuse to buy clothes from Chris Cooley's store, apparently all funds are going to the children's hospital. Making that Cooley jersey a must have. Besides, my husband will be home for a good portion of the football season so the Exnicios Redskins jersey will be reclaimed, leaving me Redskins swag-less. Buying the Cooley jersey is a no brainer.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Knitting Update




After battling with the mail order company to find a suitable in stock color of Brown Sheep Fleece yarn for my sweater, I settled on seafoam from Debbie Bliss Cathay line. Its greener than it looks in this picture, much less blue. I think it will be a pretty spring color, which based on my current progress, may be when I finish it. I am really trying to pick a project and work it to the end, but I have a shawl started that will be a Christmas present, this sweater, I start sock class on Monday and I just found out I need to make baby booties tonight. Oh, and I started that crocheted kitten doll before my husband came home. I don't want to be one of those people with lots of unfinished projects, but there are just too many fun ones to choose from sometimes! I am excited to start commuting on publc transportation so I can knit while I commute - instead of driving on the GW Parkway.

Blech


Its been a trying day. For one, I feel schizophrenic from NBC's Olympics coverage. Everything happened 12 hours ago - do you have to split cycling into three segments separated by beach volleyball? But mostly its because I had to say goodbye to my husband (again) today. Leave is over, he is back to fighting the terrorists and I am back to living in my quiet apartment with the cat. I love the cat, more than almost anything other than my husband, but it really sucks here. In fact, after leaving the airport I tried to come home but was so upset at how empty the place felt and how the bed was still set up with pillows for two people, I had to leave. I couldn't be there by myself just yet. I'm not ready to retell the story of how awesome our leave was or how hard our goodbyes were - mostly because its just too sad, but also because I can't possibly do it justice. I hope to at least post a photo essay of our leave in a day or two.

BTW, this is what comes up when you search google images for "sad kitten". It seemed appropriate for how the cat and I feel tonight. Sad, alone, kinda just wanting to pull the covers over our heads but stuck waiting for swimming on NBC.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

For the Record


Candace Parker is the golden child of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. You will find no Lady Huskies discussed in this article. I'm just saying. You are free to make your own opinions on the matter.

What Do You Think?

This is something both my husband and I had strong opinions on when it happened. . . and now a 180 from the US Army. I just stumbled across this on Yahoo News, which does not have the most in depth reporting style, so I look forward to trying to read what's going on. I have to say, while I was against Campbell being allowed to forgo his commitment, I am much much much more against the Army jerking him around like this. It is no different than the IRR - telling you one thing up front and then changing their mind. (A quick note on the IRR - as I signed my IRR paperwork two weeks ago, I was assured that I would only be contacted in case of national emergency. Apparently those who issued my husband's orders did not read the definition of "National emergency". Yeah, there is a definition.)

Sorry, I got a little carried away, but the Army's actions never fail to create a strong reaction from me.

Try Again

The "Candy Apple" color is on backorder. . . what to do readers?? I can 1) wait, but I am knitting this sweater with a group and have a schedule to keep, 2) switch to a different color (see the listing in the first post) or 3) switch to a substitute yarn available in Old Town - see the colors here.

Help out readers - this is just like your own DWTS!! Except its sweaters. But kinda like it.

Staying at Home

I have been on "terminal leave" from the Army since Friday, July 11. This means I've outprocessed the Army but are using the last of my leave up before I am officially a civilian. I spent the first five days with my parents in Connecticut, relaxing and enjoying time up there. Since then, I've just been hanging out with the cat, getting ready for Andrew to come home on leave. Today I feel like I had a day I could get used to if I chose to not start working again in August and just decided to stay home, be a wife to my husband full time. I got up, did the dishes, watched some Bravo while drinking coffee. After that I called my mom, ran to the Vet's office to pick up kitty food. Met a friend in Georgetown for lunch then went to Del Ray to get cheese from Cheesetique (which if you live in the DC area you have to check out because its awesome) and steak from Let's Meat on the Street, the neighborhood butcher, all for dinner tomorrow. I came home, knitted and seamed my latest project, watched Giada and the Contessa on FoodTV. Yeah, I can definitely get used to this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Colors


For those wondering. . . and I know there were many. . . this is the color I went with for my sweater. I wanted to stay in the reds family and the yarn store I found to buy it from didn't have the Sedona Red color. (But they sold the yarn cheaper than anyone else on the Interweb.) This is Candy Apple, which certainly sounds fun. We'll see how it goes.

I spent the afternoon by the pool finishing up a baby hat for a certain new baby. I won't say who, in case she reads the blog, because I don't want to ruin the surprise. I'll post pictures of the baby set when it is all sewn together, probably tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Race to Win My Heart

Having married a lifelong Redskins fan, and living in the Greater DC Metro area, I have begun a slight love affair with the 'Skins. I mean, they have a band, and a song and Chris Cooley. These are things that are hard to compete with - and if my heart didn't already belong to a team with people like Tom Brady and Tedy Bruschi, well then the 'Skins would have a chance at coming in first. But since they are in different divisions, I manage to cheer for both teams.

You may also know that I love television. The more awful the tv, the more I tend to love it. And my love of the Emmy nominated Dancing With the Stars is well known. Which is why I am so happy to read that JASON TAYLOR, yes AdorAble Jason Taylor is coming to the Skins. The Redskins are really making a run for my heart this year. I think its also common knowledge that I love Rock Cartwright and the name Colt Brennan (I have no real opinion on the man, I just think a child named Colt Brennan Exnicios is pretty awesome).

So here you go, a look at what's to come Redskins' fans. Hail to the Redskins indeed.

BTW, check out Chris Cooley's blog. I really think he is one of the more grounded and generous NFL players I'm aware of. (Mr. Taylor is very generous too, you may remember his love of jungle animals.) But Mr. Cooley is having a beard growing contest - and if he likes your beard, you win awesome preseason tickets. I would totally grow a beard if I could. I am also trying to convince my husband I need a Cooley jersey (NOT A PINK ONE) to wear when we're watching the Skins play. While it shouldn't be so, sometimes the Brady jersey isn't the most appropriate (sad but true.)

Puppy Search Continues


My husband decided this week that lab puppies are too cute to be out of the running for the first Exnicios family dog. Here is an adorable photo of someone's lab puppy named Berkeley. (It is what Google brought me in an image search of "lab puppy" - just a bonus his name was Berkeley.) I see what Andrew is saying - they are really cute - but I just worry what happens when they gain 80 lbs.

Doing Something Well

A suggestion to help make the deployment go by quicker - or at least make something of the time - was to pick something I wanted to learn how to do and then become good at it. Seemed like good advice. So I started taking both cake decorating and knitting classes. I will never make money at cake decorating - but I make a mean rose and now a good rose bud on a vine and honestly, those two talents will get you pretty far. I'm trying to learn how to basket weave and I am not very good with Royal icing - but Royal icing doesn't taste that yummy so why use that when you can make delicious butter cream roses?

My knitting is coming along well. While I may never make money from that either, its a talent I am really taken to, in no small part to my mom and my friend Jeniffer. Both are knitters and its been fun to share the art with both of them. Its been a great skill to have as our lives are sudden filled with babies (not our own) because who doesn' t love handmade knitted baby gifts. It keeps my hands busy and gives me something to focus on. This is my next project the Rusted Root sweater. I am itching to get started on it. . . I can't decide on the color. As you can see from the name, a rust color is suggested(or "Sedona Red"), but I've seen it in a delicious blue or a sage. I may go sage. . . but I don't have a lot of this reddish color in my wardrobe so maybe I will go with that. Here is the company's website, I'll take suggestions as to what color you think best, RSN readers. It will be my first project of "knitting in the round" so wish me luck. I will also be learning toe up socks on double pointed needles next month. I am pretty excited to be able to send my husband some awesome socks. After that, I hope to master the cable knit. Who doesn't love a big poofy cable knit sweater?

I'll let you know how the sweater goes and try to post some pictures of my finished stuff, so you can all oo and ah along with me and marvel at my talents as they grow.

Passing Time


One of the ways I've passed time during this deployment is throwing myself head first into catching up on tv I have missed along the way. This is no better illustrated than by my record breaking 5 seasons of One Tree Hill in five months. That may not sound that impressive but I did the last two seasons in about 3 weeks. Its all about dedication, people.

Anyway, once I finished OTH, left tortured by the summer break to find out who Lucas chooses to take to Las Vegas, I decided to try out a series my husband enjoyed and would soon be returning, Mad Men. I am glad I did, because I managed to finish all but two episodes before the Emmy nominations came out, so I could say that I enjoyed and watched the first season before it was cool to do so. The second season starts next Sunday, July 27 on AMC. You should check it out. I will try not to give plot line away in case you decide to go on a marathon Netflix DVD watching marathon to catch up, but some highlights. 1) Zoe from the West Wing is on it. 2) Don Draper is hot. He's a cad but he's hot and you understand how he has gotten away with it all these years. 3) There are almost no sympathetic or likable characters. I think the Drapers are the most sympathetic, but I find myself wanting to slap her too often. Don is, as above, a cad. 4) The smoking and drinking can turn your stomach if you watch too many episodes in a row. 5) The head writer, Matthew Weiner, was also a big writer on the Sopranos (HBO turned Mad Men down. . . ) but also on the sit com Becker. For some reason this fact amuses me.

There is not much else on right now, and you don't want to be that person on Emmy Night being all "I've never seen half of these shows" or voting for Lost just because it heard it was supposed to be good, (No offense Lost, you did totally rock this season.), so try to catch it in reruns this week or just pick up with it in season two. Its great writing, but not so dense you will never catch up. Or email me nicely and maybe I will provide a plot summary for you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another Favorite Blog


As you may know, June 21, 2009 will be our big "wedding reception" that Andrew and I never had. While our homespun wedding was fantastic, we didn't want to miss out on all the wedding fun all our friends got to have - and thought hey, we have $30,000 laying around that we have no other use for - and so we have always planned on having this Wedding Redux once Andrew returned. Our photographers have a great blog and they are one of the aspects of our reception I am looking forward to most. So take a look at the awesome photos that Eric and Brooke have taken and then think how awesome our photos will be, you know, even if we're already married. And yes, that is a gratuitous wedding shot above - fabulous photography courtesy of Uncle Neil. Who should totally have his own photo blog as well.

On the Other Side

Check out my husband's blog for an adorable photo of the newest Bardill - Abigail Rebecca who I will be meeting one week from today! Abigail's parents, Patrick and Alison, have been huge supports through this deployment for me. Talking to Alison about her pregnancy and now seeing new photos of baby Abigail has been a bright spot that helped distract me on some tough days. (Not to mention all the fun times I've had buying adorable baby gifts!) Traveling to see Abigail next week is something Andrew and I have had on our calendar for several months and will be the highlight of Andrew's leave at home.

Look for the photo of Megan and Wade and a post on their Emmy successes. While we love Megan and Wade dearly, I have to say they are not as adorable as Abigail. Sorry guys.

Army Wives

Since reading the book Army Wives was based on, I have tried to be a little fairer to the show. Some of the plot lines I thought were outlandish turned out to be based in fact - something I should have realized after my experience in Legal Assistance.

This week's ep had a plotline that at first seemed silly to me, but after more thought I realized that it was not only more true to life but that it was something I was a little familiar with. Denise, the Major's wife who is working as a nurse, has been seen with a doctor and people have begun to spread rumors because her husband is deployed. Now Denise's behavior may be a little inappropriate - driving on the back of the doctor's motorcycle - but thus far its been only a friendship. Now I avoided riding on the back of anyone's motorcycle while my husband was deployed, but I have seen that people hold very specific ideas as to how you should behave while your husband is deployed. The night before I was getting married, in a wedding that was sped along because of my husband's deployment, the Army Chaplain who was marrying us told me to not befriend too many males while my husband was deployed. He said I would be "lonely" and "weakened" by the deployment and being friends with other men would allow the door to be opened to other things that would be inappropriate for a married woman. Having seen the horrors that deployment can do to marriage and knowing that perhaps only the Chaplain sees more than a Legal Assistance attorney, I understood where he was coming from, but I was a little insulted since I had and have no intention of opening the door to anything else. More recently our office had an outing to a baseball game - one ticket was ordered for me and I asked for a second, a friend would be coming along with me. I was asked who was coming with me, my husband was still deployed. I explained another Army Captain, a male Army Captain, who was a good friend, would be coming. I was asked if that was appropriate. In the end I didn't go to the game because I didn't want who I brought to an office event to be a topic of discussion. So people jump to conclusions or get bored and look for gossip or maybe are just jaded from the tales you see in the JAG or the Chaplain's office.

Quickly, the plotline regarding the family care plan, the Army would have allowed her that Soldier to stay home until her care plan was reworked and if she could not have, they would have either delayed her deployment until her husband returned home or allowed her to get out of the Army. They would not have asked the FRG to find somewhere for her to place her daughter. It annoyed me because I worked with Soldiers on their Care Plans - and what happens when they fail - and thats not how it works.

So in this week's tally, I would score one for a realistic plot line and score one for completely outlandish and having nothing to do with Army life.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Puppy Update


I think we've narrowed it down to a beagle. And we want to rescue a pup, not get it from a breeder, because too many puppies need homes. So we're looking for a pregnant, homeless beagle who will give birth in about 10 weeks so that the puppy will be ready to come live with us just as my husband comes home. So pregnant beagles out there listen up! We're looking for one that looks like this little guy.

Check In With the Army Wives

So to start, I'd like to mention that I am a failure as an Army wife. I have only sent my husband home made cookies once during this deployment. And I have to be honest. It may even have been while he was in the field. . . not even when he was deployed. I sent Skittles. That's something. My husband appears to have lost more than 15 lbs while deployed, so maybe I should have sent him more cookies. We should probably all send cookies to him through the end of the deployment to be sure he doesn't fade away to nothingness.

Anyway, back on the Army Wives, Roxy's husband has come home. Notice how everyone's husband is injured on deployment, injured just enough to come home a month or two after deploying, but no real serious injury? I have to say, despite being completely unrealistic, the homecoming scene for Roxy's husband had me in tears. It doesn't take much these days with my husband due home in less than two weeks to bring me to tears - simply the thought of seeing my husband, let alone getting a hug, is pretty overwhelming at this point. I have to say, I wish that homecomings were really like the one on Army Wives - injured Soldiers definitely deserve a parade. And the idea that there would 1) be a backfill for someone on maternity leave is pretty preposterous and 2) the idea that they would come in to train up 5 months before needed is pretty ridiculous. I do think the idea that a garrison commander without a combat patch would raise eyebrows is the most realistic thing about the Army I've seen on this show.

The Dad from Wonder Years is doing a guest spot on the show. While its a noble role. . . one has to think that its a small role for a pop culture icon.

I just finished the book Army Wives is based on, Under the Sabers. It was an interesting read. The book is written about the rash of spouse killings at Fort Bragg around 2002 - right after the start of the war. But it followed the lives of several Army wives as well. I was going to go into some of the ways that the book was similar and how it differs. . . but maybe you want to read the book yourself, so I'll hold back. Its an interesting read, though I promise the stuff they say about officers' wives is a little overblown. There is no flag clothing in my wardrobe.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Theme Songs

I think everyone should have a theme song. A lot of life coaches tell you to chose one too. You are supposed to listen to it or hear it in your head before a big day or interview or when you need a little boost. I have a theme song - "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield. I swear the fact that it is the Hills theme song as well is a complete coincidence. It was in fact my theme song long before LC moved to the big city. I think my husband's theme song is "I Don't Wanna Be" by Gavin DeGraw. I don't think its a coincidence that his song is the theme to One Tree Hill. I've included the awesome One Tree Hill slide show video to I Don't Wanna Be here. The actual music video was on ITunes but this was so much cooler. Any other theme song believers out there?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

More Puppies


Another adorable puppy . . . generally I don't like the curly hair of a labradoodle or goldendoodle, but they are growing me. And I hear they are so smart, I like to think they could make me a protein shake every morning for breakfast and have it ready for me when I get home from the gym.