Monday, July 26, 2010

Bell/Hargrave Family Pictures 2010

This weekend Matt, Bennett, and I drove to Fredericksburg, Texas to get to see ALL of our wonderful family on Matt's side. There are 32 of us total...all living somewhere in Texas. This is the first time in ever this has happened, so it was a pretty big deal. I guess Matt's deployment was one of the driving forces for these pictures, but it was a fun excuse to get to be together with so many fantastic people.

The whole gang (hold on). Top row, from left to right: Jess Swaim, Barrett Swaim, Joshua Bell, Alyson Bell, Jason Bell, Emma Bell, Pop (Wayne Bell), Maimie (Mary Bell), Kimberly Hargrave, Joseph Hargrave, Sarah Hargrave. Middle row, from left to right: Rachelle Swaim, Walker Swaim, Marshall Swaim, Rebekah Mains, Nathan Mains, Jennifer Eastham, Philip Eastham, James Crosson, Rebecca Crosson, Suzy Crosson, Jacob Hargrave, Kendall Hargrave, Janell Hargrave, Madison Hargrave. Bottom row, from left to right: Sydney Eastham, Cory Eastham, Cody Eastham, Haley Hargrave, Bennett Hargrave, Matthew Hargrave, Emma Hargrave.


One of the best things about this family is that it is actually two families united by two great people who love each other very much. I just think that's wonderful!

The Bell side

The Hargrave side

The Bell/Hargrave children

The Bell Children

The Hargrave Children
(who is that ridiculously handsome man in the middle there?)

All 13 grandchildren, and not one of them is crying. Amazing!

Our little family

Me and my Mattie

Our Bennett, striking out on another adventure. Seriously, this kid holds still for nobody and nothing. It is amazing we got any good pictures of him at all, and that he was still semi-clean when they did!

We LOVE our family!

After the photo shoot, we drove back to San Antonio where we stayed the night with Bekah and Nathan in their cute apartment. We also got to go to church with them the next day, where we heard Bekah give a fantastic talk, and where Bennett went to Nursery for the first time and did really well (Bekah is the Nursery leader). In fact, I have no concerns at all for him in entering this new phase of life in September, considering he practically pushed my hand away when we arrived and cried when I tried to take him home. We do have some coloring lessons to learn, however, as he was far more interested in eating them than coloring.

I also got to actually hear a lesson and learned that we are studying the Old Testament instead of the Doctrine and Covenants. Where have I been? (Oh, that's right. Primary. Forever.) It was really good to actually feel more spiritual instead of stressed when we drove home. As a side note, I would like to add that I sincerely love teaching Primary and all my kiddos in there. It was just really nice to have a break...

Anyway, we are home now, and today I got a text that has been nine months in the making. My brother Griffin and his wife Ashland welcomed their little girl Zoey Jane Hazard into the world July 26th, 2010. We are so happy for them!

Family is just the best, isn't it? :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Slowest Week

Not a whole lot happened this week, which was nice in a way since we have had so much happening lately, but it also makes for a pretty boring blog post.So since there's not a whole lot to write about, I think I will take this time to address an issue I keep forgetting to put on here.

A few months ago when we first found out about Matt's deployment, we decided we were going to go on a family cruise in the Caribbean during the month of July. Obviously, this did not happen, since that date has come and gone. Here's why.

Sometime after we had purchased our tickets (with travelers insurance), Matt and I were going through our budget together and realized that, while what we were doing was totally reachable, it probably wasn't the best thing financially for our family at the moment. We both strongly believe that vacations are fun and even important, but there is never a good reason to go into debt for one. So because of this belief, we carefully planned our budget and figured we would have saved up enough "fun money" to do whatever we wanted with it come cruise time...but only through penny pinching for several months prior. This would have been fine, but it was a decision we made as a family to simply put the trip on hold (until Matt comes home maybe?) and leave ourselves a little more wiggle room for the remaining months until he leaves.

And then the Haiti earthquake happened and troops deployed from Fort Hood to help, which threw off the dates for Matt's unit's packing time. It moved them from June to July...right when our cruise would have been. So in the long run, we were actually very lucky to not have booked flights and hotels and all that, since we would not have been able to go anyway. At least not with Matt. And that would have been no fun at all (not that Bennett's not fun. It just would have defeated the purpose of a family vacation a little bit.)

So anyway, there you go. I have been meaning to post that for awhile now, since people keep calling me and excitedly asking when we leave. Answer: We don't. We will, however, still be doing something very fun and exciting together as a family before Matt deploys. I'm sure you will all get an eye-full reading about it in the future.

OK, moving on.

Maybe I will write a little bit about our Bennett-Boy this week. It has been awhile since I have dedicated a blog to him. I'm sure you were having withdraws :)

Name: Bennett Wayne Hargrave
Age: Approximately 15 1/2 months
Weight: Heavy. It is a good thing he has asserted his independence and insists upon walking everywhere, or else he would have a mother that looked like one of those really gross women body-builders.
Height: Tall enough to reach doorknobs and counter tops. We are sarcastically ecstatic about this.
Hobbies: "Talking" on the phone or anything that slightly resembles a phone, hiding remote controls in various closets throughout the house, and walking backwards.
Skills: Pointing out his bellybutton (and occasionally mine) to anybody who passes by, and throwing things while making intense faces and "pppsshhhh" sound-effects. He also does a wonderful imitation of cars, lawnmowers, airplanes, vacuums, and anything else with a motor in it (which apparently includes my broom?)
Favorite Words: Ba-ba (ball), buh-buh (book), beah-beah (bear), puh-puh (puppy), na-na (banana), dapuh (diaper), bye-bye, and no-no (do I really have to translate these last two?) I know that to most people these "words" are just a bunch of sounds, but we can usually tell what he is talking about.
Favorite Games: Peek-A-Boo easily tops the list here. Showing us something he knows he's not supposed to have, and then running like the dickens when we try to take it from him comes in a close second.
Obedience Level: Building, slowly but surely. We are trying some Love and Logic in our home and it seems to be working wonderfully. Bennett falls apart now whenever he hears me say the phrase, "Uh-Oh." Who knew two such simple words could strike terror into the hearts of toddlers everywhere? No, really Bennett is generally a very good boy...a very busy, very mischievous, very good little boy.
Things Bennett LOVES: His Bear-Buddy and his puppy, going outside, pushing things (vacuuming has because a very sloooooow process lately), reading books at night with mom and dad, and climbing into and onto and off of and over and under and through and around just about anything he can find. His crib may become a thing of the past before too long.
Scary Fact: Bennett has reached that wonderful Stage of Immitation. If Matt gets a drink, Bennett gets a drink. If I put on my shoes, Bennett wants his shoes on. And if we decide we want to eat ice cream for dinner, Bennett wants nothing to do with his fruits and vegetables. Looks like it's time to start thinking about what kind of examples we are setting...

Sometimes at night Matt and I will go into Bennett's room and just watch him while he sleeps. We feel so blessed to have this wonderful little person in our lives. He makes us laugh everyday--every five minutes, actually--he just makes us so dang happy! Bennett is definitely all boy, but we sure feel lucky we get to be his mom and dad.

We love you, Bennett!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is kind of a big deal for us. Not so much because Matt is in the Army, but because we both just really like this holiday. And that is why we host the annual Hargrave Fourth of July BBQ at our home.

Our guests this year consisted mostly of Matt's family and a few friends of Bekah and Nathan's who we really enjoyed getting to know. Jake and Janell's little family came early Sunday morning and accompanied us to church. Maimie, Pop, and Aunt Sarah came up later that evening, and Bekah and Nathan came with their friends Monday morning, the day of the BBQ. (Yes, we had our Fourth of July party on the fifth of July. Holding holiday celebrations not on the actual holiday seems to work for us.)

It was incredibly fun and patriotic, and we can't wait to do it again. And in loo of the fact that I have done some MAJOR blog posts recently, I think I am just going to stop here and let you look at some pictures. Oh, and I have no idea why some of these are so small, but I am too lazy to go back in and try to fix them. Just stick you nose really close to the computer screen and look hard. Enjoy!

I just had to put this little story in here. Matt took Bennett to the store Saturday to pick up a few things for me. It was just a quick trip, so Matt had Bennett on his shoulders while he shopped. Well, Matt got what he needed, and when he took Bennett down from his shoulders to put him in the car he found a little surprise...

Bennett's first (and last!) shoplifting experience. I guess this balloon was up on Bennett's level while he was on Matt's shoulders, and he just sort of swiped it while Matt was walking around. There is a sucker on the bottom of the string, and by the time Matt found Bennett with the balloon it was too late for the sucker to be returned (once Bennett gets a hold of something sweet and sticky there is no turning back). When he came home and told me the story, I felt so bad I went all the way back to the store and offered to pay for the silly balloon. When I told the manager what had happened (...Sir, my one-year old stole a balloon from your store...) he said they would all be free in a few days anyway, so he just "let this one go." We are raising a great kid :)

Playing in Bennett's room with everybody after dinner on Sunday.

Sunday night (real Fourth of July) the military base put on their usual spectacular fireworks show and we all drove over to watch it.

For a long time the fireworks were kind of little and not very spectacular, but around 9:00 the real show started and it was so cool! It lasted for about an hour, and the finale was incredible. Here's a little clip of it, but Matt was videoing and there is a tree right in front of where he was sitting. Bummer.

It was so fantastic in real life, it's a little disappointing to watch on the computer. It just doesn't do it justice. I had goosebumps at the end.

Bennett, however, was not so much of a fan. This was his first real fireworks experience, and he wimped out a little at the beginning. I was laughing so hard. He put on a much better show than the Army ever could.

He calmed down once he got to sit with his daddy and his Bear Buddy though, and he watched the rest of the show with this look of awe on his face. I'm not sure he blinked for about 30 minutes straight.

Bennett, Maimie, and Kendal watching the works. This is the face Bennett had for the entire time, and every once in awhile he would whisper an "ooooohh" or a "brrooooommm" to himself.

The next day was the day of the party, so we spent the morning decorating and putting food together.

Dang, I wish this picture wasn't so small! Remember a few months ago (like April?) when I said Matt randomly decided to tear into our walls and start work on a "secret project"? Ta-da! This is the fireplace mantle he created from scratch. It is gorgeous, and it makes our living room a lot bigger since we don't need a TV stand anymore. The front of the mantle opens up and houses our DVD player, cable box, and ipod Home. Matt is a stinkin' genius! We also painted the walls, got new furniture, and did a couple of other little touch-ups. But anyway, that is a different post alltogether and I promise to do it sometime in the future. For now though, here is the mantle looking very red, white, and blue-ish (if you can even see it).

Madison, Emma, and Kendal in their Fourth of July outfits. I love these little girls!

Bennett and Aunt Sarah.
(This is a really cute picture when it is bigger than a postage stamp...)

Maimie and Pop, celebrating.

Getting things ready to go outside.

Bennett and Kendal, future bestest cousins.

Swimming in the "pool."

Haha! Well, just use your imagination on this one. This is the World's smallest picture of Mattie and me, showing off our table laden with deliciousness. Actually, we really didn't do that much. Everybody brought something with them, and all I had to do was decorate and be a good hostess while Matt ran the grill. We make a pretty good team.

Matt and the meat. He had chicken, ribs, a steak for Nathan (it was his birthday present from us to him), jalapeno poppers, and corn on the cob all going at the same time on this thing. Matt is fabulous! And he did it all in some very attractive shorts. Oww, Oww!

Bennett discovered watermelon on this day, and I think that's about all he ate (well, except for the food he stole off of other peoples' plates). He seriously had at least four pieces. Long live Summers!

The kids' table.
Seeing Bennett sitting here instead of in his highchair makes him seem so big...

Aunt Bea, Uncle Nathan, and Bennett sharing an IBC Rootbeer.

Like I said, Nathan's birthday is the fourth of July so he has gotten to celebrate it with us the last couple of years. Bekah made him the cutest, yummiest lemon cake, and he wore the same birthday sash we forced him to wear last year because they saved it. Yay! Unfortunately, they didn't save the crown (boo!), but the mere fact that he still had the sash was impressive. He also wore the same shirt and sat in the same spot as last year. Haha! We love these two!


Saturday, July 3, 2010


All right everybody so Haley is the great blogger in our household but she has tasked me with telling everybody what I've been doing this last month. Prior to a Units deployment Army units will either attend NTC or JRTC. We drew the short straw and were assigned to FT POLK, LA. I mean y'all that know me know that I work all the angles I can and of course I chatted it up with the Food Servers, Ice Handlers, Equipment Re-supply office, Medical Attache, etc... most of these jobs are held by civilians (mostly retired military) So when I tell them my Momma's family is from Houma, LA well all of a sudden I'm family and I get and extra pallet of ice, (yes I said pallet) better cakes for desert at dinner and we got all of our hard to find supplies first, and amazingly very easy :-) Anyway do what you got to do. So here are a few pictures for your enjoyment so enjoy!!

Here is the BN CDR giving a certificate of appreciation to the principal of our Adopt A School, my Soldiers in the back that worked with me during the year.

All right here is JRTC we started our convoy oh around 0300 in the morning. It was so humid that morning that I had allready drank an entire camel back before we rolled around 0500. (yeah do the math thats a gallon of water in 2hrs STANDING AROUND!!!)

So during the convoy we constantly get hit by IED's, RKG'S, VBID'S, and of course berated by locals and and oh just about anything else the instructors can think of.

These are some of the NCO's I get the oppurtunity to work with. These are actually my mechanics. These guys can fix absolutly anything. (good folks to have with ya in a war zone)

Once you get in the "Box" everything is a mini Iraq. Ft Polk actually looks a little like Northern Iraq in Kurdish territory. Probably for a more accurate description would we South Texas.

At the end of a 6hr convoy we call in a Medevac chopper for all the wounded/casualties we sustained on our clip. Thats me at the back of My FLA (no really I signed for it. Its my ambulance) It was awesome.

This is our Aid Station on FOB FORGE.

Inside the Aid Station, we had 3 trauma beds, 2 surgical beds, and patient hold that could retain 20 patients. Not to shabby!!

I have a lot more pics but some I cant post given the graphic nature of things and the individual actors that help train us in the scenarios. Alot of the actors are actually Iraqi Nationals that are in America on a work visa helping Soldiers better prep for war. Tet Sui (Chinese General)wrote "To know your enemy you must know yourself" So we spend a month getting to "know" ourselves. I'll just say that I was so proud of my medics. They performed exceptionally well and I am proud to take these Soldiers with me to war, and I know they will perform to their utmost no matter what! Okay I'll get off my soap box but really it wasn't that bad. Learned about alot of area's that we can improve on and I really learned alot about myself as a Soldier and Officer and how I can better myself. Just a few more months and back to the sandbox.