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!