Thursday, December 25, 2008

For Unto Us a Child is Born

May you and your family be blessed on this joyous day and may the love of Jesus be ever present in your heart and lives.

Merry Christmas Friends!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Amanda's Gift Guide

How many of you are done with your Christmas shopping? And how many live for the thrill of last minute shopping?!

I'm almost done with my shopping, but I have to say that this is the first year that I have bought everything online so has been awesome! I haven't had to step foot in a store yet and it's been glorious! I come home from work in the evenings and upon my doorstep sits 3 little packages that took me a total of 15 minutes to find, decide whether to purchase, enter my pertinent information and push submit. And quite frankly, I've been finding such great deals on ebay and that the few extra dollars for shipping and handling doesn't bother me one bit because I've saved money on gas and time. And time is money people.

So...for all you last minute shoppers, here is a list of some of my favorite things and gifts ideas for the person who has everything!

The Butler Bag - My all-time favorite purse. It is pricey, but I have used mine for a year and I still love it today. And it keeps me so organized, which I just can't get enough of. It comes in two sizes and a whole slew of colors and I can guarantee you that any woman would love to receive this as a gift!

Wooden Salad Bowl and Serving Utensils - This is my go-to gift for housewarming gifts, birthday presents, etc. I love wooden salad bowls and quite frankly I don't think you can ever have too many of them! You can use them to serve salad or for a centerpiece filled with decorative balls. This one is from Target and was priced at $14.99!! But they range all the way up to $50.

Tiki Tissue Box Cover - haha, this is for the person who has EVERYTHING! haha...I bet they don't have one of these! I don't know why this makes me laugh so much - but it definitely does! This sells on for $19.99.

Photo Sculptures - Basically everyone in my family is getting one of these for Christmas this year. I am obsessed! These are from and range in sizes and prices from about $15 - $150. You can basically personalize anything you want on, it's incredible; Shoes, shirts, skateboards, the list goes on and on.

Tervis Tumblers - Insulated cups that don't "sweat" from icy drinks. You can buy these with all sorts of different designs, words and names, personalized pictures, etc. These are really the only cups that Johnny and I ever use. We love them!

Pure Beech Sheets
- the ONLY sheets that are on our beds in our house. They are totally affordable for how comfortable they are, and once you sleep on these amazing little strands of comfort, you'll never want to sleep on anything else either! You can buy them in either jersey or sateen. The sateen are a little bit more expensive than the jersey, but they are thicker and hold up for longer I think. You can buy these at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Old Fashioned Receiver for Cell Phone
- How perfect is this for a grandparent or parent who doesn't like converting to today's technology?? I would love to see someone driving down the road with this to their ear! Hilarious!

iKaraoke for your iPod - What a great idea for a kid or even an adult who likes to frequent the karaoke bars on the weekends! You can find this at for about $27.00.

Monogrammed Beer Mugs - Aren't guys the hardest to buy for? All the men in my life are, that's for sure. So for the guy you don't know what to buy...why not get him some monogrammed beer mugs? These mugs come in different styles and can be found on

The Intellectual Devotional - Have you heard about these books? They are pretty stinkin' cool if you ask me. Even though I was never a huge fan of learning about Christopher Columbus or the 23rd President of the United States, now that I'm out of school I never want to stop learning! These books are an easy way to stay up-to-date on American history, culture and art. You can find these at any bookstore like Barnes and Noble or Books A Million or online at

BBQ Tool Set - Again, what guy wouldn't like this?! It is totally my go-to gift idea for a guy I have no clue what to buy for. Brookstone has this on their website for $79.99, but I know you can find them cheaper than that.

Ice Cream Ball - Have y'all seen these? You pour all the ingredients inside the ball and then kick, throw and shake the ball all around until you have ice cream! What a great idea for a kid or a family. LL Bean sells these but I've seen them at WalMart and Target too.

Hanky Panky Underwear - My favorite underwear of all times. It is the most comfortable stuff EVER! It's a little pricey and sometimes tough to find (check little clothing boutiques or specialty lingerie stores), but the thongs are amazing.

Electric Wine Bottle Opener - I received one of these Emerson Wine Bottle Openers for a gift a few years ago and I use it all the time! It is so quick and easy to use and this would be a great gift to give someone along with a favorite bottle of wine! Target sells these for $20.00.

Beef Brander - Personalize this brander with your man's initials and he will be one happy guy. It's like arts and crafts on the grill for guys - they'll love it!

Board Games - I come from a fairly big family and when we all get together, we break out the board games. Two of my favorites are Apples to Apples and Cranium. Both are interactive and promote lots of laughing! Toys 'R' Us has the best selection of board games I've ever seen.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Coming Soon...

I'm working on a list of gift ideas for all you last minute shoppers!! So stayed tuned :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blogging Blues

So, I’ve been a bit under the weather in my “blogging life”. I’m sorry faithful blog followers. I think about my dear sweet “tangled blog” every day but when I log in to write a post, I go blank. I literally just haven’t had anything to say. Now, if you know me in real life, you know that I am NEVER hurting for words to say, yet it seems I can’t come up with anything interesting to write about on the blog. Maybe I’m thinking too hard about it and need to stop trying to come up with amazing, genius topics to write about. Maybe I should just log in and write.

I think a lot of my absence during the past month and a half has been adjusting to Johnny being deployed. I have cram-packed my every waking moment with something. Literally in the past 7 weeks, I have only had three evenings (after work) or weekend days that I haven’t had plans. And one of those nights I was sick and the other I was packing to leave for a trip at 4 a.m. the next morning. And the third time was last night and I was “relaxing”. Whatever that means! I only did it because Johnny reprimanded me for being too busy. Except I was miserable last night! I cried more last night than I think I have in total since he left! I feel like I’m doing what I need to do to survive this next year. When I’m busy I don’t have time to be sad or lonely and quite frankly, those are two feelings that can easily creep up out of nowhere and knock me down hard. But being busy isn’t really an excuse to just randomly go MIA from my blog world. It’s not fair to you. I know I hate it when I find a blog I enjoy reading and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, they disappear! It just doesn’t seem fair; even though I may have never met that person, I feel like we’ve been through so much together through all their blogging! So I’m sorry friends! I hope you’ll forgive me and come back to me. I promise I’ll try to do better about writing. I can’t promise you are going to be interested in anything I have to say…but I’ll at least ramble a bit from time to time for you!

Feel free to throw questions or topics my way…that will surely inspire me when it comes to thinking up something to write about! Until my next post here are two pictures which usually give me a good laugh. Johnny and I may be in our mid-20s but we act like a bunch of kids and I loooovvveee it!

(It’s a cabbage leaf!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Old Friends and New Friendships

I love that this girl is back in my life! I have known Mary Kathryn since 4th grade and we lost touch after we graduated high school, but thanks to Facebook, we've reconnected! I got to catch up with MK this past weekend in Charleston since they were in town for the Citadel's Homecoming. Her husband is a Citadel grad (just like Johnny) and she was an Army wife for several years when they first got married. Needless to say, we have a lot in common and I can't wait for Johnny to meet her husband because I know they will hit it off. Her precious daughter Reagan had me laughing the entire time we were together - she has the cutest personality!

Hope to see you soon Mary Kathryn!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pictures from Iraq

Here are a few pictures Johnny just sent me today. You can click on the picture to make it bigger. I have Johnny's address as well, so if would like it just let me know, I'd be happy to give it to you!

He was very excited about seeing the camels. Apparently they just roam around like deer do here.

This is where Johnny will be living for the next year. He is roommates with one of his buddy's from the company and they have fixed up their little trailer to resemble something simliar to a dorm room, complete with a South Carolina flag and everything! The black, wooden looking crosses to the left of the door are holders they built for their Flack Vest (bullet-proof vest) and Kevlar Helmet. They were probably working on spray painting them which is why they are outside.

Here Johnny is at the range shooting a MK-19, it's basically an automatic grenade launcher.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Nerds, computer geeks, technology junkies, geniuses...who ever you are....please help me! Johnny is finally getting settled in Iraq and we've tried twice now to talk using our web cams....both times unsuccessful.

His web cam is built into his laptop, it's that Dell PC I was telling you about before, and I have one that sits above my screen. I actually have two because I was so frustrated when the first one didn't work, that I bought another one, different brand. I downloaded the software, followed the instructions, set up the volume for the speakers and the microphone, yadda yadda yadda.

Both times we've tried to talk, we've been able to see each other and I can hear him, but he can't hear me. HELP! What are we missing? Is it a problem on his end or an issue with my computer or web cam? We are using AIM to do a "Video Chat" and it all seems to work seamlessly except for the one problem that he can't hear me!! I am open to any thoughts or suggestions whether you know what you are talking about or not! I'm slightly desperate at this point and just want to have a normal conversation (normal in relative terms considering he's halfway across the world at war!) with my hunny!

Thanks for your help! Our marriage thanks you! My lack of patience thanks you! And my non-technologically savvy brain thanks you!

If you want to make a comment, but you're not sure how to do that, just click on the bold gray words at the end of this post that says "comments" and type your comment in the box. Next you have to choose from the 4 options. Click on the Google/Blogger option to sign in if you have a blog, I'm not sure what the Open ID thing is so skip that one, click the Name/URL if you just want to put your name so I'll know the comment was from you (you don't have to put anything in the URL line), or you can click on Anonymous, but then I wouldn't know who made the comment and that would make me sad!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Demy

I'm warning you in advance, you will probably want one of these little wonders after this post. DO NOT read if you are an impulse buyer!

So....have you heard of the Demy? It's amazing and I was immediately jealous that I didn't come up with the idea first! It is a digital recipe reader. I know - genius!
I am kind of OCD about recipes. I love them. I love reading cookbooks and recipes in my spare time. When I find a recipe that I like, I type it up in a particular format (every card is the same) so I can print it off onto a 4x6 notecard. I like to put the list of ingredients on one notecard, then put the cooking instructions on a second one so if I'm planning a meal, I can just grab the list of ingredients from each recipe to take to the grocery store with me. All the recipe-notecards are in plastic sheet protectors in a categorized binder. Like I said, kind of OCD. I also love pictures to accompany the recipe. If there isn't a picture, more than likely, I won't try it. So anyways, enough about my weird ways and back to the Demy.

You can store up to 2500 recipes and categorize them any way you want; Mark it as a "Brunch Favorite" so you can get to it easier next time you're planning a brunch. It has two different viewing angles, is splash resistant and can change the font size of the recipe so it's easier to read. It has 3 built-in kitchen timers, converts measurements for you and has a list of alternate ingredients in case you run out of something while you're cooking.
And it can all be yours in exchange for your first born!! It's not cheap, that's for sure, but it's still awesome - admit it! What gadget are you obsessed with currently??

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Another Year Older


Today, I will celebrate my birth. I got up this morning and put on my glasses (I'm blind as a bat without them!) and went downstairs to open up some cards and gifts I had received. It was just like Christmas morning....pj's and all! Then I made myself a delicious breakfast and got all dressed up this morning for work. It's amazing how a nice outfit and a few extra minutes on hair and make-up can make you feel so much better. I am super excited about tonight....I get to go to one of my favorite restaurants - Carrabba's - with my "in-law" side of the family and Chelsea.

And I just got flowers delivered to me at work from my Johnny. He is so sweet. I just love getting unexpected flower deliveries! The card made me cry - of course!

My parents started the birthday celebrations a little early and treated me to an excellent dinner at The Chart House in Melbourne this past weekend. I had such a great time hanging out with them and spending Saturday shopping and going to the movies with my mom.

And YES, I do feel older, so I'm treating myself to a facial at the spa this weekend :) hehe. I think the emotional stress of these past few months have taken shape on my face in the form of wrinkles and lines. Still no gray hair....but it's coming...I just know it!

So, all in all, today has been a wonderful birthday. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful friends and family. And next year Johnny will be home for my birthday! Only 350 days left!

[Chelsea, Mike (my father-in-law), the birthday girl, and
Dotty Jo (my mother-in-law) at Carrabba's Tuesday night]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Moving Forward - Deployment Update

Only 356 days left!

It has been a long week, but it's getting easier every day. Johnny and I said our goodbye around one o'clock in the morning last Tuesday. They flew into Shannon, Ireland where they had a 4 hour layover and then they arrived in Kuwait at 1:45 a.m. (our time) last Wednesday morning. Ireland is one of Johnny's favorite places, so he loved being there...even if it was just the airport! He even got to eat fish and chips, cooked in a Guinness beer batter! It was the closest thing to a real Guinness he could have! He woke up from that dream world once they landed in Kuwait and all he saw was sand for miles and miles. I think it finally sank in that he was actually deployed at that point.

While J was eating fish and chips, that first 24 hours for me was easily the worst day of my life. I literally felt like it was all a dream (in a nightmarish-kind of way). I could not comprehend what was truly going on. It was the weirdest thing to look around on post (what we call the Army base) last Monday night and see all these soldiers in full uniform, flack vest, Kevlar helmet, machine gun - the works - waiting to load the buses. It's the stuff you see in movies. And it's my life. I just couldn't believe what was going on. Well, I believe it now, but unfortunately I haven't woken up from that nightmare yet. Thankfully my mom came into town to keep me company and help keep me going last week. I don't know what I would've done without her.

So far, I have been able to talk to Johnny every day since he left. Sometimes it's a 2 minute conversation, other days we will talk for almost 30 minutes! It might be the fact that we he just finished Ranger School where we could only communicate through hand-written letters, but it's amazing how just hearing his voice for 5 seconds a day helps SO MUCH. I'm very grateful for the time we get to talk. He won't have email access until he gets up to Iraq. And we aren't allowed to mail anything to him until after November 15 for security reasons. But I will be sure to get his mailing address to those who want it so you can send Christmas cards. I'm not sure if I'll actually post it on the blog (for security reasons again) but I'll talk to Johnny about it and see what thinks.

He is doing well. He misses home tremendously, but I think it's easier for him to accept his current situation because this is his job. He has been training for this the entire time he's been in the Army, almost 3 years now....everything leading up to this point. He is an excellent soldier, and awesome leader and we can't forget...a RANGER!!

Here are some pictures from that awful night last week. Don't let the smiles fool you in these pictures - it was a miserable, nauseating night - I had been crying for about 3 days straight prior to dropping him off and was fighting the urge to throw up....I just can't NOT smile when a camera is visible. I think it's a genetic condition...I was born with it.

Fake Smiles....100%. There was nothing happy about that night.

This is Johnny's good buddy Jerry Billings. He just got back from his latest tour in Iraq and will probably be seeing Johnny over there sometime in February or March when he goes back.

I didn't want to let go of him.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pennies and Nickels

One of my biggest pet peeves is bad customer service. It really gets under my skin. I feel like every errand I've done in the past week has been so difficult because of the attitudinal people that work there. Why are people so angry and rude? I think they need a little dose of Jesus. I'm just saying.

Let me tell you this fun little story about my trip to the bank today. Johnny (and I) received 5 rolls of quarters from his aunt and uncle. (Thank you very much by the way for them!!) It's something that they've always done, as long as Johnny can remember. So I took them to the bank today (I will protect the guilty and keep them anonymous here, but if you would like to know, just ask me, I'll gladly tell you) and gave her the 5 rolls of quarters to cash in for me and she goes aways for a little bit and then comes back with a printed off receipt and says, "Okay, here is $48.06."


I'm sure I gave her a blank stare as she tried to hand me $48.06 for my 5 rolls of quarters valued at $50. I said, "Shouldn't it be $50? Why is it $48.06?"

"Oh, there were several pennies and nickels in there so it didn't add up to $50," said the lovely bank teller.

Here's the problem friends. My mom and I JUST emptied out all 5 rolls onto my family room floor just a few days ago because she was looking for the new special state quarters and there weren't any, so we nicely packaged up those rolls again for me to cash in. I know my mom pretty well, and I'm 100% positive she didn't secretly swipe a few quarters and replace them with pennies and nickels.

So I explained this very true story to the lovely bank teller and she just stared at me. So I said, "Could the machine be wrong?" (Hint hint lady, give me the rest of my money.) She said something along the lines of no, that's impossible, it sorts it and adds it up. So I said okay and walked away.

I realize it is only $1.94 that I've been shorted, which is why I didn't put up a bigger fight. It's really just the principle of the thing. She should have just said there was a $1.94 service charge!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Have you heard about the book Twilight? It's definitely not my typical read. I'm into Nicholas Sparks' love stories and James Patterson's type of suspense, but definitely not Harry Potter type books and other weird, scary, science-fiction type things....hence why Twilight would not be a book I would normally run to the store to buy. However, it is amazing. I'm enthralled, intrigued and totally hooked. I can barely put it down. I'm reading it at stop lights and while I'm stuck in traffic. I'm that girl who goes extra slow through a light so it will hopefully turn yellow before I get there so I can stop and read a few more sentences. P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C. But I think I find it so fascinating because I've never read or had any interest in anything close to the book's topic. And believe me - I don't do scary. I can't even watch or listen to scary movie previews, especially at night. But this book isn't scary, suspenseful - yes, but not gory, creepy scary.

But so, my oldest sister Shannon said to me the other weekend, "I have a book I want you to read." I said, "What's it about?" And she said, "Nope, I'm not telling you. I just want you to read it. Trust me." And then as she giggled suspiciously to herself she says, "I can't wait to see what you think of it!" And then my Mom chimes in, "Is that that book about vampires?" Well that did it for me. No thanks. I don't doooo vampires. Shannon persisted, "Noooo, just read it. It's really good!" It's a good thing I trust my big sis, because it's turned out to be a great book! Have you read it? What did you think of it? Are you planning on seeing the movie on November 21??

Well, my blog buddy Sarah B took this quiz and posted her results on her I thought I'd do the same! If you've read the book...take the quiz...which character are you?

You? Take the Quiz to Find Out!">I'm a Alice! I found out through Which Twilight Female Are You? Take the quiz and find out!
Take the Quiz and Share Your Results!

Monday, October 20, 2008


I hate goodbyes. yuk. How do tell the love of your life goodbye for year? yuk.

Thank you to everyone for all the love and support you have shown Johnny and I during this gross thing called deployment. yuk.

I'll write more this week once my eyes dry up a little bit and I stop dry-heaving.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mid-Day Kinda Girl

I hate getting up in the mornings. I'm not a morning person, but I'm not really a night owl either. I'm a mid-day kinda girl. I don't really like to sleep in super late, it's just something about waking up to an alarm when it seems the sun is still sleeping too. Since I work like most adults, sleeping in isn't really an option for me, but pushing the snooze button ten thousand times is!

It's as if my brain plays games with myself. My alarm goes off and I think to myself, "Oh, you don't need to get up right now, it's important that you sleep for another 30 minutes. Amanda, you can get ready in 15 minutes right?" And of course, my sleeping brain answers, "Yes I can get ready in 15 minutes." Well that is the biggest lie ever! Apparently my sleeping-self is in denial about how long it takes me to get ready in the mornings.

I usually use my cell phone as my alarm clock because the power goes out so often in Savannah that I can't really trust my regular clock. With my old cell phone, I could record notes/messages to myself, so I came up with a brilliant idea to record my voice telling me to get up in the mornings since the chimes and buzzes didn't really work. I went on and on in this recording harshly saying, "Amanda, GET UP! This is ridiculous, you are going to be late!" HAHA! As embarrassing as it is, it kind of worked. Probably because it made me laugh at myself every morning when it went off. Some may call it self-inflicted verbal abuse, but I'm going to call it creativity!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Computers & Biscuits


So Johnny and I are in the market for a new laptop...well, two actually. One for him to take to Iraq and one for me at home. We went to Best Buy to look around and we like the DELL Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T5750 laptop because it has a built-in web cam and the price is do-able. I've been doing some research on customer reviews, but I was wondering if y'all had any thoughts? Do you happen to have that same computer? Do you have a different laptop that you love?? Have you ever used Windows Vista? That's what this computer has and I've read mixed reviews on it. It's just such a big purchase and I'm definitely the type of person that has to do lots of homework on the product before I am ok with spending that kind of money. any thoughts you have on that would be great and super helpful!!

I love warm, homemade biscuits....especially as it starts to get cooler outside. So, for dessert last night I made homemade buttermilk biscuits and Johnny and I smeared butter and honey all over was so yummy! It is the quickest, simplest recipe out there for biscuits and it doesn't require active yeast (an ingredient that always makes me not want to try a recipe if it calls for that) and they are yummy, yummy, yummy!
Here is the recipe:

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits:
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sugar
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1 c. cold buttermilk
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 475°. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, mix together the buttermilk and melted butter until the butter forms weird looking clumps. Using a rubber spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring until the mixture begins to pull away from the bowl. Don't over mix! Drop spoonfuls (about ¼ c. size or smaller) of dough onto a parchment covered cookie sheet, about 1.5 inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until tops are golden. Serve fresh from the oven. Yields 10-13 biscuits.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Our Weekend in Asheville, NC

I LOVE the mountains! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. So Johnny and I went to Asheville, NC this past weekend to relax and breathe in some good ol' mountain air.

We spent Friday at the Biltmore house...which is amazing. If you've never been...go. Its huge-ness is incredible. I was slightly frustrated that I couldn't just roam the house. My imagination was confined to numbered rooms and roped off hallways. I like to explore and being told I couldn't go down a hallway just made me want to go down there even more! Every piece of furniture we passed that was within reach, Johnny would try to open a drawer or knock on it for secret cubbies. It was hilarious. And I thought on more than one occasion that we were going to get kicked out. I got lots of great ideas though for when Johnny and I build our dream house in like 10 gabilzillion years! Secret doors, secret rooms, fountains in the middle of a room...just kidding, I won't do that. We seriously spent almost all day there though enjoying the restaurants, winery, creeks, gardens and shops.

We had a great time and the weather was perfect the whole weekend...we couldn't have asked for a better retreat!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Army Life

I'm new to this thing we call Army life. I'm learning as I go, but this past week and a half has knocked me down, shook me up and opened my eyes wider than they were before.

Why wasn't I better preparing myself for this deployment?

The first part of last week was spent filling out form after form for this upcoming deployment. It was the most depressing thing EVER. I had to choose who I wanted to be with me for support if I had to be notified that something had happened to Johnny; Other forms with questions about what if Johnny is taken as a prisoner of war; A checklist of topics regarding everyday life to see what we've discussed and/or do I know how to get the information. It was miserable. It took us a few days to get through them because we could only take so much at one time.

It was the last thing Johnny and I wanted to do...we wanted to celebrate and catch up on lost time and do all the fun things we love to do. So now, the forms are done, and we are definitely enjoying every moment of every day and trying to ignore the inevitable so it doesn't ruin our (my) mood.

I just wish I had somehow better prepared myself for this. I mean, if you really think about it, you can imagine the harsh details one would have discuss before going away to war. I guess it never really gets easier, but I wonder if you at least get use to it a little bit?

I feel like I have so many questions and no answers. I know I'm going to be fine and Johnny's going to be fine and we'll come out stronger in the end, but HOW? HOW do I go through a year of life without my best friend? One day at a time....and I'm sure sometimes it'll be one hour at a time. It's overwhelming, that's all.

But I can say one thing for sure. I am so unbelievably proud of Johnny and grateful for his commitment and duty and honor to his job and our country. Regardless of your views of the war, support the soldiers and troops who help protect our freedoms and what we stand for. Yes, these men (and women) sign up to be in the military, and us wives fall in love and marry into "army life" but it doesn't make it any easier to be apart from those we love.
This is one of my favorite pictures taken in CA at the National Training Center this past April. They were there for pre-deployment training. Johnny is the one of the far right, standing, with black gloves on.

I promise I'll write a less depressing post tomorrow :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sorry for being MIA!!

Hey Everyone!

Sorry for being MIA since last week. As you can imagine, I've been a bit distracted! :) It is SO NICE having Johnny home again. He is adjusting well and has been very busy at work this week.

While we are still celebrating his HUGE accomplishment, we are also gearing up for deployment. Today has been a tough day because we pretty much got final word that he will be deploying in two and a half weeks with his unit. They are headed to Iraq for a year. I truly can not comprehend those words....Iraq for a YEAR. I know this is part of the job and it was only a matter of time before he got deployed, and I should be happy it's not 18 months, it's just that...he JUST got home. So I'm a little out of it today, but didn't want another day to pass without posting something!

Click HERE to view the pictures from Johnny's Ranger Graduation. There was an hour-long demonstration before the actual ceremony where they showed all sorts of things the soldiers did throughout the 3 phases. It was full of explosives and weapons and combatives and jumping out of black hawk' was very entertaining! And I got to pin his Ranger Tab on which meant so much to me because that is what they worked so hard for! Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Life is Good!!

Amazing. Yesterday was that is...when I got to see JOHNNY!!! I am one happy girl :) We got spend a good portion of the day together yesterday and I just stared at him all day long because I couldn't believe it was really him!! And...I don't have a single picture to share with you. Bad blogger Amanda, very bad. Will take some today...promise...and will definitely be taking some at Graduation tomorrow.

But here is my question. We want to go an a little trip sometime soon. Like a long-weekend getaway. But not being from Savannah, I don't know a ton of places within driving distance that would be a good get-away spot. Any ideas?? We don't want to spend a lot of money and don't want to drive more than 7ish hours to get to our destination. So tell me all of your ideas...please and thank you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ode to Fall

In honor of the first day of autumn today, I've made a list of all the things that I love about fall!

1. Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks (if you haven't tried it yet, run to your nearest Starbucks and get one. First of all, it's like a little cup of autumn with whipped cream on top and second, it will change your life forever!)
2. Cool, crisp mornings that make your cheeks pink

3. The leaves changing colors - this is the one time a year that I really, really miss not living in the mountains anymore. How can you not believe in God when you drive through the mountains in October?

4. Sweaters, boots, jeans, scarves (or is it scarfs? I'm so confused now)

5. Apple Cider & Hot Toddies

6. Getting decked-out in leather to ride the Harley because 60
˚ feels like 40˚ when you're flying down the road. And yes, I'm talking leather jacket, chaps, leather're getting the idea.

7. The smell of wood-burning fireplaces in the air

8. Butt-warmers in my car (they kind of make me feel like I have to pee, but aside from that, they are definitely something to look forward to!)

9. Decorating the house for Thanksgiving and Christmas

10. Tweed, Herringbone, Plaid and Houndstooth

11. Mums - I've already killed one so far (And for my Australian friends - these are flowers, I'm not talking about my mom!!)

12. Getting all snuggled up in the comfiest of clothes next to Johnny to watch a movie because in case you haven't heard - HE'S COMING HOME!!!

And just for the record, we are still in shorts and flip-flops in Savannah. BUT I grew up in Roanoke and it actually did get cold there, so I have lived through a "real" fall season before - so I know what I'm talking about!

What are you most looking forward to this fall?

Sunday, September 21, 2008


HE DID IT!!! I just heard from Johnny and he passed the Swamp Phase and will be graduating Ranger School this Friday!! I can't even begin to tell you the excitement and relief I'm feeling right now. It's OVER!! It's like the biggest weight has been lifted off my shoulders! And my husband is officially an Army RANGER!!

I am SO PROUD OF HIM; for his perseverance and commitment to following a HUGE goal of his and not giving up....even when he thought he saw zebras in Georgia! I am driving up to Ft. Benning on Wednesday to see him and I can hardly stand it!! It feels like forever since I've seen him. It's finally OVER!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

GO or NO-GO???

Ok, so here is what Johnny's schedule is looking like as of right now.

Today is the last day of the 9-day FTX (stands for field training exercise where they were given missions to lead) and whenever it is officially over (it could be at midnight tonight...who the heck knows!), they will get their final evaluations and receive either a GO or a NO-GO. This will determine whether he graduates next Friday the 26th or has to re-do the Swamp Phase again. Technically the Swamp Phase is the shortest Phase in regards to actual training and field time because the last week of the Phase is for "Recovery and Out-Processing" before graduation.

So, I am expecting a phone call from him either today, tomorrow or Monday with the word on whether he got recycled or will be graduating Ranger School on the 26th. I'd like to say I am patiently waiting for his phone call with no anxiety whatsoever, but we all know that is IMPOSSIBLE for Amanda!! I keep replaying the different scenarios in my head, like what I will say if he says he recycled or how loud I will scream if he says he is graduating. And unfortunately I have not gotten any letters from him this week, so I can't even analyze his thoughts on how the missions are going to determine if he's doing well or not. I'm a girl...I analyze everything!

I'll update this when I find out...hopefully with good news! Thanks for your prayers everyone! I know they are being heard :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Little Things

This my friends, is romantic. When you are hundreds of miles apart and can only communicate through hand-written letters, it's the little things that melt my heart.

(You can click on the picture for a close-up.)

Hand-picked flowers by my one and only, laminated to the back of the envelope. Is he just not the sweetest husband ever?!! (okay, you can stop throwing up now, the mushy part is over!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Snakes & Coffee

How about an update on Ranger Webb?

I have received several letters from him since he started the Swamp Phase, but he mostly talks about how much he misses home and everything he wants to eat when he gets back! He wants to grill hamburgers the first night he’s home and then put a huge pig shoulder on at 0300 (3:00 a.m.) until the next evening. He mentions food on average, about every other sentence. The poor boy is hungry!! He apparently has perfected the art of dumpster diving for left over food after people are finished eating. This slightly worries me because there is a huge dumpster across the street from our house for all the construction that’s going on around us, so I guess if I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t find Johnny, he’ll either be in the dumpster looking for food, or sleeping on the ground in the backyard. The “adjustment & recovery period” should be interesting! His mood and motivation took an 180˚ turn once he got his GO from the Mountain Phase. He says he can kind of see the end in sight, just barely though because it still seems so far off.


“I’m sitting in a class waiting for the Battalion Commander to come in and I see 9 wooden boxes with locks on them and signs on them that read ‘DANGER VENOMOUS SNAKES’. In the background I hear rattles. I can’t wait for these guys to pull the snakes out! Well, the snakes were cool. Some huge while other were small. And a small gator. I touched them all of course. Except one that was hissing and mad!”

In another letter he says, “Let’s talk about wildlife for just a second: Within the first hour of being close to the woods yesterday, I saw a coral snake & black racer and I probably saw about a dozen banana spiders (HUGE). Then I went to get my ruck sack after a mission and had 3 wolf spiders on it over a quarter in size. It was quite disturbing."

*Side Note - I was going to put a picture of these gross creatures on the blog, but my aunt is extremely disgusted with snakes and I didn't want her to not ever read my blog again!


One day they did “Close Quarters Combat” training in urban areas. This basically means fighting in houses, buildings and towns. They use rope bridges to cross large bodies of water and he said they stay wet the majority of the time either from the swamps or because it rains every day.

If it starts lightening, they go into “lightening lockdown” which means they stop all training and get in groups of 3-4 and sit in an open field until the lightening has stopped.

They are currently in the field for a 9-day FTX (field-training exercise). This is where Johnny will get at least 1 mission where he has to plan, lead and execute a group of guys in order to get his GO. They will be living out in the swamps the entire time.


Physically he is doing alright. He says he has loss a great deal of strength and his pants are very baggy on him (not if he keeps up the dumpster diving though!). He has poison ivy AGAIN, but went to the medic right away this time. His big toes are still numb – they have been since the first phase and his hands and fingers crack open really bad so the medic gave him lanolin for that. He has already said he will need MAJOR foot care when he gets home, apparently they are in bad shape. The mosquitoes and sand gnats are really bad down there, so his neck and face (the only skin that is uncovered) looks like he has chicken pox.

He said they have a term to describe the feelings guys have while at Ranger School. The term is “hurt locker” which describes an intense sadness, deep pain or misery. He said, “This my dear, is a real hurt locker.” He has said more than once that being away from me and our home (as well as the physical and mental demands) has been the hardest thing he has ever had to do in his life.


He wrote one letter on 9/11 and says, “It doesn’t seem that long ago that the towers were attacked. But being here and sacrificing my/our time for a greater cause kind of motivates me. It reminds me what this country represents. I hope that even though we are apart today and suffering because of the separation, that we can feel good about what we are doing and going through.”


And here is a hilarious story (to me anyways) about his encounter with a cup of coffee the other day! These are Johnny’s words:

“A RI (Ranger Instructor) just came into the barracks for our OPORD and he had a cup of coffee. Neuert & I joked about who would be the decoy while the other took the coffee from him. Well, you know I just had to at least smell it. Anyways, I get closer for a better smell. About that time he goes to take a sip. My eyes follow the coffee to his mouth and back down. He looks at me and offers me a sip, I smile and deny it. Then before I know it Neuert is behind me asking, ‘Are you serious?’ See, RI’s often joke like that. They will offer you something they know you want and you get super excited about it and say yes, and then they laugh and/or cuss at you. So the RI answered Neuert and said, ‘Yeah, I’m not a jerk.’ Before I know it I’ve got a hot cup of coffee to my lips tasting the delicious flavors of coffee bean and International Delight (creamer)! Two more sips of joy for me for a total of 3 sips/gulps. Temperature was not an issue during this mission, quantity was. You know I have been craving coffee for well, since Day 1 of Pre-Ranger! So it was awesome!”


He is very scared/nervous about getting recycled again. He said he was burned once with a recycle and it was devastating, so he can’t help but be a little scared. Please pray that he will not recycle! And he asked specifically for prayer for his knowledge, strength and endurance both physically and mentally and that he would be able to execute missions successfully.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What a GREAT Weekend!

This past weekend I went to Charleston to finally catch up with one my favorite people! Anne Magill and I met at Winthrop University our junior year and immediately become attached at the hip. We were both in the same major (Integrated Marketing Communication), so we conveniently had almost every class together throughout the next two years at Winthrop. Since graduation, I've been a bridesmaid in her wedding, she's been a bridesmaid in mine, and we've been there for each other through all of life's twists and turns. We had such a good time catching up, shopping, eating at all my favorite spots and enjoying the beautiful weather that I didn't want to leave!

On my way back to Savannah, I stopped at my in-laws' house in Bluffton to get the crabs out of our crab cage to cook and clean them. So Mike and I (my father-in-law) went to the dock and dumped the crabs into a bucket (I definitely got pinched!! I feel like an official crabber now!) and took them back to the house to boil them up and clean out all the yummy fresh blue crab meat. It sure is a lot of work for not much meat! Ten years ago I would've never dreamed that me - a little ol' prissy Virginia mountain girl -would be teaching her in-laws how to clean a fresh crab! ha! Life is funny that way I guess!

What did you do this weekend? Tell me about it, I'd love to hear!