Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Weekly Blogging....a Lost Cause!

 Wow, look at what month it is! I have decided that I am not a natural born blogger...even with the best of intentions added to no more nursing work or volunteering....I still can't manage to post more than once a month! But, in my defense we have been busy here in Arizona. :) Its just a different kind of busy! Making a concrete bunker into a home, creating little things for our house that I've had crammed in the back of my mind...waiting for that free time.
Little touches to the kitchen

The rose wreath I made from antique book pages-a 16 hour affair! This entire wall is a Goodwill/Ross project-costing me $40 which warms my thrifty soul!
Our dining room with sewing projects in motion...and this beautiful sign a friend made me.

And something to brighten the front door! (again, a thrift store finds/Target ornaments project)
And so, in the midst of all that, no blogging took place! :)
Admiring the Grand Canyon...between restroom stops. :)
 Our trip to the Grand Canyon the 1st week of November was breathtaking! Beautiful! I can't really do justice to the beauty of that scenery, photos are inadequate...but it was lovely.
Such a beautiful array of colors-this is the South Rim of the canyon.
What isn't so lovely are the realities of pregnancy and the Grand Canyon combined. :) Baby Anjuli settled down for a long rest on my bladder and I can't believe I didn't drive Lou crazy with the number of times I had to find a restroom....that would be AT LEAST four times an hour. Yes, not particularly glamorous or funny....but definitely a major and memorable part of the trip!
At the end of November we had leave to travel the 5 hours to El Paso TX and spend Thanksgiving with my friend Whitney and her husband Frank! So much fun squeezed into half a weekend's time! It was like a piece of home-being able to sit and talk with a dear friend who knows your family, your family's names, where they are in life and not having to explain, as you do to all new friends,"Well, my sister...and this is my little sister...yes, she is .....and her husband..." I never realized how exhausting it can be to tell one's life history over each year to new friends in new places! Anyways, we had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, some heart to heart catching up (the girls, that is ;)) and the next evening we visited Cattleman's, a bonafide ranch/steakhouse where your meat is running on the hoof only hours before they serve it to you! Lou ate there as a student in 2005 when he was training at Fort Bliss and he even told me about it during our dating made that kind of an impression on my meat loving husband! How fun to get a chance to visit...and yes, the steak was AMAZING! So was their cole slaw with pineapple...sounds weird but I loved it!
Views are lovely here, I took this from our kitchen door this morning!
We are becoming fast friends with Sierra Vista, the little town outside the fort. I'm not sure how many people live there, but they have the basics...a Walmart, Target, grocery stores, thrift stores, fast food...and even a Coldstone Creamery, which we hadn't seen since we left Virginia! The mall has a Sears and Dillards and that's about it, its even smaller than "Towne Mall" in E-town, which we Fort Knox folks thought was the smallest mall ever! The nearest "big" town is Tucson and its an 80 minute drive from here so we still haven't made it that far. :) Sierra Vista has a large Hispanic population and then just plain "Arizonans", but in spite of it being a little dusty/dirty most of the people are friendly. We discovered the Goodwill, of course, and were shocked at its exorbitant pricing list: dresses are $13, tops $6-8 depending on their perceived worth and so on and so was quite a bummer and we saw our Ebay business fast dwindling. But, I discovered the Salvation Army Family Store one day and was amazed to find that my prejudice towards Salvation Army thrifts was not entirely grounded in fact- this one is neatly organized, 1/4 of the price of the Goodwill and has regular sales! So, we're back in business. Which is nice as I am no longer planning to work in nursing with baby coming in April and the Ebay business provides a flexible and stay at home situation for me. :)
Speaking of Baby-we have a name. :) She is Anjuli Lisette Crist. Anjuli is a name I fell in love with after reading "The Far Pavilions" by MM Kaye while I was in Pakistan. I broached it with Lou, a little worried he might find it too "strange" but he likes it as well, so we have a win-win! :) It means "gift of God" and that's definitely true! Her middle name, Lisette, is a diminutive of my friend/sister in law Betsy's name, Elizabeth. Betsy and I have been friends since before college as nursing students and I wanted our girl to have something of her name. :)
25 weeks today!
And to compare....the 20 weeks photo I never managed to post. :)
Anjuli is doing well, I saw her on ultrasound yesterday and she is measuring right at 25 weeks, active as can be! I'm feeling well, just needing an afternoon nap many days and having general pregnancy related hiccups...but nothing dramatic! I weighed in at 152 lbs. this week, pre-pregnancy I'm usually at 138 lbs. so the doctors are pleased with that as well.
Little hand is balled into a fist, but most of the ultrasound she was moving, mouth open and all limbs in motion!
 She loves to kick 24/7, in fact its hard to tell when she sleeps! If Lou uses a hammer or his power tools, she jumps at the sound! He felt her kick for the first time on the 10th of this month and since then he's been amazed at all the hopping around our little girl does. :)
Lou hasn't let his lack of a garage hold him back, although he dreams of the day when it will again be a reality! For now, his tools are covered and tarped down each night when he's finished.
But in his spare time between classes/work he builds projects like this little family photo shelf for me. :) Yes, I have a treasure of a husband! Now its my job to get these photos updated and matted- 1 down and at least 5 to go!
Good news came our way this week, we'd been praying about our house in Kentucky and finding a renter since we moved here. There were a lot of homes up for sale and rent in our area that were standing empty, so we were prepared to plan for an extra mortgage payment each month in addition to our housing costs here in AZ. But, our property management company called and they have tenants moving in on the 21st of this month, relocating from out of state. What a blessing to have it rented before Christmas! The husband is employed in Louisville and his work is supposed to last several years at least, so we're just very thankful thus far for the Lord's provision in this.
Although we are a 4-5 day trip by car from friends and family on the East Coast, we have made friends here on post and even in our little neighborhood, which has several other soldiers going through the same course Lou is taking. The Lord provides wherever we go, and although I miss my KY, VA and NJ "peoples" dearly, I'm thankful for the new opportunities these friendships create! My new friends Emily and Rebekah join me for walks, exercise, and sharing in re-purposing/cooking projects, as well as just spending time with their little ones, Nate, Levi and Lexi.
Lou and little neighbor Nate setting up the lights on our tree. :)

Nate was fascinated, he calls it the "Santa Tree" and painstakingly hung the ornaments- 3-4 to a branch. :)
We also can take advantage of the gym, post exchange, post office, gas station, and commissary being within 5 blocks of our house! The gym offers free classes (they were $3 a class at Fort Benning/Knox) so I'm able to go to spin class twice a week and have tried some aerobics and zumba as well. It feels so good to be able to be active and I want to stay healthy as possible for Baby Anjuli's growth and birth. :) Lou has been running in addition to his physical training 5 times a week and he has lost 15 lbs since arriving here, we both feel so much better physically. I'm going to start aqua classes at the gym pool when January and my 3rd trimester arrive....but was haunted by the whole bathing suit search. There really are so few choices for maternity suits at a decent (non $150) price...but I found some cute pieces at Lands End right after Thanksgiving, ordered a size up with some trepidation and was amazed to find that they fit perfectly over the baby bump, were modest, and with the sale cost less than a Walmart suit! Yay for terrific sales and high quality bathing suits. :) My final obstacle to water classes has been hurdled and I must do them. Now that my readers know, I will be held more my own mind anyway. :)
The hardest adjustment so far in AZ has been in finding a church home. We had such a good church family in our last three states that its disheartening at times to worship on Sunday and come home feeling as though we still need "church". We've spent some Sunday afternoons watching RC Sproul's online teaching series and that helps but its not a substitute for gospel preaching and friendly kind people! We've tried several different churches and the on post chapel, and are now attending a church in Sierra Vista but we frequently get the "How long are you guys here?" followed by "nice knowing you" end to the conversation once they hear we're in the area for the next 7 months or so. I never took it for granted in Kentucky or Georgia, but now I value it even more that our church family never made us feel as though we weren't worth their time getting to know...since we would only be there for a short while. I LOVED that about them! Oh dear, this sounds terribly "me me me" and I don't mean for it to, could be a combination of missing friends and pregnancy hormones but it isn't always sunshine and singing in this Army adventure so tonight you're getting that side of it. :) Anyways, we'd appreciate prayers about that.
Our 5th year wedding anniversary was this Saturday- the 15th of December. Time truly does fly when you're having fun! When I look back, I can't imagine these years without Lou and I'm so happy to have shared them with him! The man who knows just how to tease me, who patiently puts up with my tendency to over-organize, over-analyze and over-worry. Who works tirelessly, uncomplaining, and always goes the extra mile to make things "just so" because he knows how much I love neat corners and exact measurements. :) Who loves me when I'm sick or well, busy cooking happily in the kitchen or lying on the couch crying because I'm too sick to cook or clean the house and its driving me crazy! Who prays and reads with me.....he's definitely God's gift to me! We celebrated in our usual fashion- by doing things that are special to us....which meant dinner out at a little pizza and wings place, followed by ice cream at Coldstone-chocolate milkshake, and then the 9pm showing of The Hobbit at our local theater. By the way, my usual lament,"That's not anything like the book!" wasn't heard during this movie; I thoroughly enjoyed both the story and the casting. :)
Well, dinner is finishing, as is Lou's Company of Heroes game with his brother Jesse so I will see you faithful blog readers later! Possibly before January....but don't be shocked if not. :) Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas remembering God's greatest gift, the giving of his Son! "God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame", a favorite Elizabeth Barrett Browning quote of mine.