Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter at Maimie and Pop's

Every year Matt's family does a big Easter celebration at his mom and Wayne's home in San Antonio. Every year it is a huge hit. Of course we went last year, but Bennett didn't really get the whole idea of bunnies and eggs at that point in his life. This year, however, our son discovered the true meaning of "candy." We are so proud.

First things first, face painting. Maimie has got some mad skills in this area. Everybody was lining up to have his or her face converted into a work of Easter art.

Bennett got a bunny on one cheek, and a sun on the other. As you can tell, he was very pleased with the outcome.

Wayne got a scar on one cheek, and a brand on the other. Mary embraced the shape of her nose, turning it into a carrot. I feel a special bond to Mary when it comes to our noses...

Rachel and I found our inner bunnies. Rachel's was a cute bunny. Mine was a little creepy.

All the cousins with painted faces and trying with all their little hearts to look decent while posing.

My favorite picture from the day.

Next was the main event--the Easter Egg Hunt. Here are some of the littles waiting for the all clear from the grown ups. There were only five kids this year, and about 150 eggs. You do the math. It. Was. AWESOME!!!

Matt got to SKYPE us on Bekah's fancy new phone to see Bennett's first official egg hunt. Mary helped Bennett find eggs, Bekah carried Matt around, and I took pictures with the camera. Bennett had quite the little entourage and I am sure this moment was well documented. It meant a lot to us though, to have so many people so willing to help us out. You gotta love this family.

Bennett showing Daddy his eggs.

Everybody else looking for eggs.

Every egg has something yummy inside, but each year there are two eggs--the gold egg and the silver egg--which contain money. These two eggs are hidden especially hard, and are quite the trophy for whoever has eyes good enough to spot them. This year Barrett got the gold egg with five dollars in it, and Marshall got the silver egg with three. What lucky boys!

Bennett was more than content with his numerous candy-filled eggs. I finally had to cut him off after he ate the contents of about fifteen during the time I was talking to Matt. Bennett loves Easter more than he loves life.

Sitting in our spoils. Mwahahaha!
(Not really, but he did find a lot)

Aunt Rach brought along her bubble maker machine, so after the egg hunt the kids all had a fun time chasing these little babies around the drive.

This is Aunt Rachel karate kicking her son, Walker, much to the worried delight of Bennett. We all just try to stay out of Aunt Rach's way...

I guess I have developed a skill for vegetable chopping, because that seems to be my designated assignment for every event I go to. I have to say, I do make a pretty spread.

Here is the rest of the food. Lunch was delectable, as always, and the company was even better.

After this I left my camera inside the house, which is too bad because there was still a lot of fun stuff we did I never took pictures of. Like the bounce house Mary and Wayne rent every year. And shooting guns (which Bennett and I watched without participating in. Sorry Matt). And taking a fun family picture. But maybe somebody else in the family will post those and I will steal pictures from them to put on here later. It was a blast.

We drove home that night with our tummies full, our cheeks slightly sunburned, and a head full of new memories made. We are two lucky people.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

OK, time to update. But not extensively, by any means. Here is a quick run-down since my last post to keep you in the loop. Maybe I'll do more later...

-We stayed with my mom and dad in Idaho until April 8th, at which point we all got in my parent's mini van and drove down to Colorado to go to my cousin Colby's wedding. By the time we left my mom was up and moving--cooking, cleaning, and even making plans to go back to work as an active kindergarten teacher upon her return from the wedding. It was perfect timing all around, and I am happy to see my mom doing so well after such a "could be" dramatic thing. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with everybody there.

-We arrived in Colorado and got to attend the "mini Hazard reunion" that took place due to the wedding. The ceremony was gorgeous and happy and the reception was full of food and dancing. I loved it.

-The morning after the wedding one of my bestest friends from high school, Chantell, came to pick me up from the hotel we were staying in. She lives in Colorado Springs and I haven't seen her in way too many years. We had an absolute BLAST hanging out for a few days, making crafts, going to the Garden of the Gods (a way cool National Park) and getting to know her three kids--two of which I had never even met but immediately fell in love with. Bennett made life-long friends with "ucy" and "akkk" (Lucy and Jack) and only attempted smothering "Baby Ali" once in the course of our visit. We are so lucky to have such great friends!

-Tell dropped us off at the Denver airport way before I was ready to actually say goodbye, but we will visit her again soon. There was a subway in the airport that took us to our gate, and I thought Bennett was going to explode from excitement. Later he really did explode on the plane, but in a far less cute way. I have never been so embarrassed, but obviously we survived...much to the disappointment of several annoyed passengers sitting near us.

-We landed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Griffin picked us up from the airport and drove us back to their home. We spent the night, woke up, packed our car (which was at their house from the drive up to Idaho) and waited for Ashland to get home from school so we could visit a little before we had to say good-bye. Bennett and Baby Ozey (Zoey) had a great time playing. By the time we got in the car to go, Bennett was ready for a nap and slept the entire way to the Texas boarder. I love the way that kid travels.

-It is a good thing we left Tulsa when we did, because there was a plethora of tornado touch-downs and golf-ball sized hail immediately following our departure. Somebody is looking out for us.

-I officially hate my GPS. That lady has no clue what she is talking about. Bennett and I had an incredibly stressful trip home, as Maggie (our GPS) continually told us to take random exits and make u-turns in the middle of inner city ghettos. Thank goodness for paper maps and the off switch. Maggie and I are no longer friends.

-We finally did make it home, and Bennett was one happy kid to be there. He ran as fast as he could through the house, pointing at objects and yelling, "Bennett's toy!!!!" "Bennett's bed!!!!" "Bennett's Daddy!!!!" (holding a picture of Matt). What a little cutie.

-Upon our arrival I opened the fridge and pantry and immediately began gagging. Needless to say, my fridge has never been emptier, but it has also never been cleaner. Nothing motivates me like mold. Yuck.

- Since we have been home, I have spent a collective six hours in our backyard, fighting the weeds which had taken root during our absence. Apparently the Hargrave home is situated directly above a thistle patch. Lucky us. I estimate another three to four hours before this battle is won in the backyard. Then it's on to the front. Ugh.

-Since we have been home, Bennett has decided he no longer wishes to stay in his crib. Nothing to date has made my blood run as chill as when I heard the sound of Bennett's bedroom door opening when I thought he was tucked safely away in his crib. I still shudder when I think about that moment. As I am writing this he is sleeping soundly in his toddler bed in his Big Boy room...after almost an hour of me laying by him. We'll see how this goes. I'm not too convinced he can actually handle the task of laying and staying just yet. I foresee a lot of struggle in our future. Pray for us.

-I am loving being home. Despite the chaos that inevitably follows vacations (laundry, mail, unpacking, readjusting, grocery shopping, catching up on life in general...) it feels good to be here in my own environment.

-We have the best ward and friends here. Sunday I felt like a celebrity walking into the chapel. And even though I only told two people I was leaving before we actually jumped in the car for Idaho, word must have spread because everybody was asking how our trip was and how my mom was doing. I feel so blessed to be in a place where we are so loved.

-When I was in Idaho I wished for heat. Today in Texas it was in the mid ninety's. I am wishing I hadn't wished so hard. Although between all the weed-pulling and swimming we have been doing, Bennett and I are developing nice tans. It is April.

- Bennett had his two-year-old checkup. He's healthy.

So that's it. I'm sure there is more that I am forgetting, but honestly I don't want to write out everything in great detail, and you don't want to read it. Just know we had a TON of fun, are happy to be home, and will be updating more frequently from now on.

Hooray for vacations. Hooray for home.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Well it has been quite an interesting couple of weeks for us here in sunny Iraq. April is turning into my least favorite month.

I cant go into great detail but a few Sundays ago I was doing my weekly BBQ for the Company and my platoon sergeant came out and told me we had a medevac request and it was urgent. I didn't have any details at the time but I knew it was either life, limb, or eyesight. That means a bird gets immediately spun up and the ER gets ready to receive the patient. So I go running into the TOC with BBQ grease all over me and smelling strongly of smoke. The initial diagnosis was a seizure, okay not to bad. We have already had a few of those so we were prepared. However once talking to the medic on the ground we found it was much more serious than that. In a nut shell the Soldier had gone into cardiac arrest while doing his daily exercise. Because we are short on medics there was no medic on the base at the time but was only 5 mins away so they did an immediate U turn and headed back. Now you have to remember this all happened in about a 15-20min period. The Soldier stopped breathing numerous times and my medic on ground was constantly starting and stopping CPR. They tried to stabilize the Soldier for the flight but were just unable to. So they continued CPR all the way to the hospital. Unfortunately it was not enough and we lost him.

I have such mixed feelings over this lose. I have lost brothers before. Seen them die in my arms, but in combat situations. You expect that, you can prepare yourself, somewhat for that. But just doing some PT?! Unbelievable! I wish it stopped there but we have had other loses in sister units throughout the battle space the past few weeks also. 4th Brigade, 1 Cav. has taken some hits these last few weeks. Please keep there families in your prayers. Remember the next time you get to go shopping with your family, or watch your kids play at a park, or just sitting around enjoying a good meal with family and friends there are those that dont get to do that. They made a choice to sacrifice the greatest gift of all so we could enjoy the freedoms we take for granted daily.

-No greater gift is this than a man lay down his life for a friend-

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

If you're in the mood to read...

So I have worked for the last month on writing down the story of how Matt and I met. It is quite the story. If you want to read something really long, but possibly entertaining and informational, look over on the side bar of our blog and scroll down to where it says, "How I Met the (wonderful, amazing, fantastic, incredible, intelligent, successful, and handsome-to-boot) Man I Married" posted underneath the pictures of Matt and I, and before the pictures of Bennett.

Remember, no obligation.