Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Letter

We call this year our "year of anniversaries". Every month, we played the game, "Where were we last year at this time?" and we usually recalled something hospital related. We could not have imagined that this year, Willie would be leading a great team of men, doing his job at 100 percent capacity, and actually liking it. We also could not have imagined how busy we would be. By "we", I really mean Willie. The Army has tried to make up for lost time, sending him all over the globe. 

Meanwhile, the girls keep me in a different state of suspense. Halle's outrageous personality both delights and challenges daily. Here are some of my favorite Halle quotes from this year: "Everyone take a deep breath and eat your chocolate!", (after Willie said, "correct-a-mundo"), "Not 'correct-a-mundo'! Our mundo is fine!", and, (after I heard silence and asked over my should if she was doing something naughty) "Not yet!"

Morgan is Halle's personality foil. Halle will strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger. If that stranger happens to glance Morgan's direction, Morgan may cry. But Halle informs anyone who happens to admire her sister that Morgan is not their baby. "That is my baby sister. You cannot have her. She is my mommy's baby." Seeing the shock on peoples' faces is priceless. 

We were able to travel to Oregon in May/June of this year. We had a great trip, and hit most of the relatives. Halle and I got to play with some baby lions at Bandon's Petting Zoo, and Willie and Halle petted a juvenile leopard there. Morgan just got sniffed by goats. We also caught some Cubs vs. Mariners games, and were able to attend two friends' weddings. Mostly, we just enjoyed our family. 

Willie did manage to fit in several fishing trips during the year. I don't know if you can really call these "fishing trips"; they're more like episodes from Man Vs. Wild. On one trip, he slid down a 30 foot deadfall tree and jumped into a stream to rescue a rod tube that had slipped from his pack. In another country, he rode a horse along with two other riders and herded fish into a large net. 

In all, this has been an exciting year for all of us. The next year promises more challenges, but we are more than blessed with the amazing friends we have here. Most of all, we find daily that our God is faithful and good. We hope that this year will bring you the same peace of walking with Him.

Sincerely, Willie, Kara, Halle, and Morgan

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Impressive Disasters

Whenever my husband is deployed, I undertake some sort of large project. One reason for this is to distract myself and stay busy, the other to impress the socks off my husband when he returns. That's right, I can fix toilets. Of course I can paint large areas of the house! You better believe I can take my car and have someone else fix it. The trouble is that I'm not actually a handy person, hence the last boast. However, I always think that with a little work, I could become Bob Vila.

So this deployment, I tackled the bathroom. After we got over eating peanut butter and jelly for an entire week, it seemed fine. Everything was finished except for the windows. I had taken down the mini blinds and ordered some faux wood blinds. They didn't come for two months, but it was still before Willie's arrival. I opened the first box. A small piece of plastic whizzed past my eye. "I hope that isn't important," I thought. It was. The non-returnable, steal-of-the-season blinds I had ordered were all kinds of jacked up. Now, except for some help from little elves, they will never work. I opened the second set of blinds, sure that I had made all my mistakes with the first set. I hadn't. I had measured wrong. Good thing they were such a good price, because that was the cost of yet another Bob Vila lesson.

Everything worked out. I bought some blinds at Lowes and their installation went as smoothly as the butter that Halle sneaks off the counter every time I look away. The only problem now is that the largest cockroach I have ever seen has bumbled into my bathroom.

After living in North Carolina for four years now, I have learned a few things about cockroaches. There are numerous species, the largest one being the Woolly Brown. It comes into houses when there is extreme weather outside, but it can't actually live inside for any length of time. That means that spraying for these things is pointless. They can't infest a house. But they can fly on your face. True story. It happened to me in Georgia. They can also fall out of a cabinet onto your arm and wiggle their antennae at you. That happened last year, and I let out a hearty scream. Willie yelled from across the house, "Was that really necessary?" I informed him that it WAS absolutely necessary. Obviously anything regarding cockroaches requires screaming.

So, since this type of cockroach cannot live in my bathroom, I just have to wait three days before I can vacuum the dead corpse up and use it again. That's the easiest fix I've had to deal with for the past three months.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Good Friends

Recently, a friend observed that most of my blog entries contain some reference to poop. This reminded me of an incident concerning her and the aforementioned substance, which I will now relate. Our good friends John and Sonja have saved our skins and sanity on numerous occasions. About two weeks after Willie left for a deployment, John called to check on the girls and me. Just about that time, I had realized that I was going crazy. Morgan didn't seem to need more than a half an hour of sleep a day and Halle was being two, which means exhausting.

"Hi, Kara," John greeted.
"Hi. What are you doing right now?" I asked.
"Well... we're going to a basketball game."
"Can I come?" He and Sonja arranged for us to meet and have Sonja ride up with the girls and me. As we drove through the chilly night, the heater began to do its job, and something began to make itself known. "Do you think one of the girls has a little gift for you?" Sonja asked. Well acquainted with that particular smell, I answered in the negative. We both checked our shoes and found them innocent. We passed the animal shelter. Surely, we reasoned, the shelter, while doing animals a good turn, was polluting the air.

Upon reaching our destination, we discovered that Halle had stepped in a "land mine" and had smeared it all over the back of the passenger seat. Basically, Sonja's hair had been flirting with disaster the entire drive.

All in all, the trip was a success. Baby wipes saved the day once more, and we got to hear a moving speech given by another friend, David, who was wearing a tuxedo. It is incredible that a little bit of craziness can actually save your sanity.