Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Derek in Afganistan

Derek up on "some mountain"

 Derek is on the far right.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm starting a project 365 for each day that Derek is deployed. You can follow this project here: 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ferynne Cam 2

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ferynne Video!

Derek's Hat

Monday, October 26, 2009

Baby belly
Myspace Glitter Graphics

Monday, September 28, 2009

Italy and Ferynne

Hello all,

Wow is all I have to say about sweet grandchildren! Ferynne is an absolute doll, but then we all knew that she would be, look at her Mom and Dad.

God is the best! I am still in shock at how He brought about my meeting with my Granddaughter. I am so thankful that He cares about the little things. Even during our stay in Italy He made all the connections that really mattered. But let me tell you that 10 hours on a plane is a long time! I am so sorry, Melanie that you had to do that being so pregnant! at least it was only once and not twice in two weeks. Debbie, when you get to go just have a lot of reading material or be ready to watch a lot of movies ha ha!

I am not sure where to start. Melanie, Derek, and Ferynne met us at the airport. It was a sweet surprise. I had hoped, but wasn't holding my breath. So I got to hold her right away and all the way back to the base. It is about an hour from the airport, not bad considering it could have been much worse. We walked (Derek, Craig, and I)all the way to the end of the base to get our temporary I.D.'s, then to the commissary, then to the shuttle to get back to their home at Villagio. It was a wonderful evening of catching up and chillin out. I just love being a grandma! Their house reminds me of our apartment in West Linn. The layout is pretty much the same except for the laundry room is on the opposite side. and we only had two bedrooms upstairs, and not a maids room. It was almost like being at home a long time ago. We went back to base on Friday to get our permanent temporary I.D.'s so we could be on base without Derek having to always be with us. And did some shopping and exchanging of dollars to euro's, then went back home and did some more loving on the granddaughter (she is soooo cute!)

Saturday we went in to Vicenza to see the hometown of Palladio. Then Craig and I took the train into Verona for the rest of the afternoon and saw the last standing Roman arena that is still in use, they even had a concert that evening. We also saw Juliette's balcony and no, we didn't take our picture with our hand on her breast. It was a beautiful courtyard and fun to pretend that it really did happen and that there really was a Romeo and Juliette. Verona was our first taste of crowded Italy. The different squares are so beautiful all of the architecture is amazing. Then we had our first try at the city bus all by ourselves and then making sure we pushed the button before our stop came quickly up, it was all very exhilerating. I had never used public transportation before! Sunday was a down day and we all enjoyed being together.

Monday, Craig took me away from my sweet granddaughter for the first time since getting there for two whole nights! He is lucky He took me to the Cinque Terre! Oh My Goodness, words cannot describe the beauty and the true Italianess of this area. The Italian Riviera is truly and amazing place. We Stayed in Vernazza which is the smallest of the five towns and it is truly postcardable! We got in late needless to say. after a full day of traveling and could not find a room to save our souls. We were still in awe of the beauty even at night so it did not totally sink in for a while that we might be sleeping on the beach or in the train station, but when it finally did, we had one last option. Climb the hundred stairs to the castle restaurant at the end of town on the break point and see if anyone there knew anyone who might have a room to rent for the night or just give up. (We had already asked around every other restaurant and store that was open) So we decided to go ahead and give it one last try, and as we ascended the last step a waiter caught us out of the corner of his eye and seeing our raggedness and probably figuring since we were not excactly dressed for dinner the only other reason we could possibly be there was to ask if anyone knew of anyone who had a room to rent. Alas, he asked us if we needed a room, and we of course said "si". Giving us our first glimmer of hope, do we dare hope?, he said "come with me". We went with him. He led us into the castle to a room next to the kitchen where he introduced us to MiKayla. He told her of our plight and she looked at us and said that she already turned away a party of four. Then she must have seen the despair in my eyes for the next thing I knew, she asked us if it was just the two of us, we said "si". She said she would call a friend after she finished the desert that she was working on and gave us another glimmer of hope. We waited while she finished the desert, it was a beautiful platter of fresh fruit, cakes and fresh flowers. Craig and I admired the inside of the restaurant. It was fairly empty as most customers were out on the patio overlooking the Ligerean Sea. We couldn't decide if we would rather eat inside or outside (I mean, it would be so cool to eat in a castle, wouldn't it?) So MiKayla finished the desert and took it to the customers and came back in and called her friend. With one look, I knew. God had heard and answered our prayers, she had a room for us! all we had to do now was figure out our instructions on how to get there. Now lets see, go back to the main square go toward the train station take a left at the Farmacia and go up the stairs. Find #54 and she will be there. What she didn't tell us was that there was a maze of stairs and walkways after the Farmacia. Oh, and what was her name? Maria right? o.k., here is #54 but there is a man answering the door. After getting out that we are looking for Maria who has a room for us he says to wait, so wait on the steps we did, half joking half serious that there is no Maria and they were all getting a big laugh out of us. But after a while we hear footsteps and lo and behold Maria comes out of the darkness and into our light. She gets the key and takes us down, down, down to #24. yipee less steps to go up and down tomorrow! Alas, we can only have the room for one night. We use the medium key for the outside door, the big key for the door on the left at the end of the hall, and the little key for the door to our room, directly inside the last door. Then we enter! Our heavenly wonderful, 6x8ish room. It was the best room I had ever seen! seriously though it was spotless, very clean. Now the moment of truth. How much? 60 euro's I could not believe it, I seriously thought they were going to rake us over the coals and then some, knowing how desperate we were, but no! God is good! I quickly gave her the money then Craig and I sank into the best slumber ever! until BONG, BONG, BONG,BONG,BONG, BONG, BONG, seven o'clock already? that was probably the fastest night ever. We spent the early morning securing another room so we didn't have another repeat of last night, then went on our merry little way hiking and exploring the Cinque Terre. It was an amazing day! Wednesday brought our travel day back to my sweetness and children. We trained it to Pisa, it was pouring cats and dogs, until we got to the Field of Miracles, and then voila, God told it to stop and stop it did! Once we got inside the entrance, wow, wow, wow! amazing! the buildings that are there along with the tower are spectacular. The artwork and the craftsmanship that it took to make these building is truly awe inspiring, and the tower, wow! it really is leaning, even more than you would think a building could lean and still be standing! After we left Pisa we trained it to Florence, again, WOW! The Duomo and surrounding buildings were just as spectacular if not more than the previous ones we saw in Pisa. We thought to go check out the line to see Michelangelo's David (after all doesn't every one want to see the perfection of manliness?) and since we were not so lucky with the rain in Florence as we were in Pisa we thought the line might not be so long, not. It was amazing how long the lines were even in the rain. (to be honest, I am kind of glad, no offense Micheal, but I would rather see my perfection of a granddaughter and go home to Melanie and Derek)so back to Melanie and Derek's we went. We trained it back to vicenza, bussed it back to villagio and walked it back to their house. A full day of travel and sightseeing and we unfortunately got back too late to see them for they had turned in for the day as queen Ferynne demanded. lol!

Thursday was a day of rest and a day without Derek as we soon learned that he was to be put on 24hr duty (I am sorry Derek. So we made plans without him to leave Friday morning(meet him at the base as soon as he gets off duty, again, sorry Derek)Then train it to Bolzano and Bus it to Castelrotto for two nights. Oh well, your young, right Derek? Ferynne did absolutely awesome on the traveling end. And Castelrotto, what can I say but WOW! When they tell you this part of Italy has an identity crisis, believe them, they are right. It really felt like we were in Austria or Germany (not that I personally would know what that feels like). It was a beautiful Bavarian village with a beautiful view of the alps (as we were basically right there). Our hotel was about 650 years old and so way cool! It was right next to you guessed it, the bell tower, and boy do they like their bells! I didn't mind them, it was all part of the ambiance. Right away we found a bakery and got pretzels woo hoo! oh, but yes, they still have their gellato shop because after all, they are still Italy, right? Their grocery store I wanted to transplant to Turner, I loved it, it was small and quaint and perfect for a small village, They had two other supermarkets, but I didn't go in them. They didn't seem to have the charm of the one by the hotel.

Saturday we took the bus back to Suis where the Lift to Compache was. It was soo cool, we were on our way to Europe's largest Alpine meadow, yes that is what I said, Alpine. We were in the Alps, I have always wanted to be there! Now I am in such a dilema. What do I like better, the sea or the mountains? I can not decide!!!!! It was soooo beautiful, especially because the weather was so iffy that the clouds actually made it more awesome to look at. It did not start to rain until we were in the lift on our way down the mountain and then it stopped raining by the time we were back at the hotel so we could do some more exploring after the baby was fed and changed. We found the shop that caters to the fans of Kastelruther Spatzen. A famous yodeling group that hails from Castelrotto. They have everything and anything with a picture of this group on it. From calendars to gummy snacks to key chains, you name it they have it and it has Kastelruther Spatzen splattered all over it! Sunday was our day to go back home and of course my grocery store and most other stores in town were closed so say la ve, I will probably never see you again my store of dreams! It was a long way home, I think we were all tired and ready to just be home.

Monday came and Derek went to work, Craig and I took the day and went to Venice as we had not been yet and it would be sad to have landed in Venice and not actually see it, and Melanie and Ferynne, well they got to be home and chillin for the first time alone for the day(I really wanted to stay with them, but Venice was calling and I knew I should probably go). We caught the airport shuttle from the base and then a bus from the airport to the island. We decided against a map as we had not had much luck in the past and I am actually glad. We just wandered around and followed the signs on the buildings to St. Mark's square. We had a wonderful time and found most of our gifts for the kids there. When we got to the square we were once again rewarded with amazing architecture and craftsmanship. Totally awe inspiring. It is amazing to be in a country so much older than ours and see what a civilization can leave behind. It also makes me wonder what we will leave behind, if anything, here in America. Well, things had gone too smoothly the rest of our trip so I guess we needed our glitch. We actually got lost on the way back to the bus and ended up over by the prison,yes, Venice has a prison! We missed the bus by about five minutes, which put us about 3 hours later getting back than we wanted so, instead of being back by 2:00 it was closer to 5:00. We did beat Derek back though.

So it was finally here, the dreaded last night. It all went so fast, and I didn't have enough time with my girls! but, my little guy was calling and my heart was going out to him, I did miss him terribly.(It stinks to be torn, Mom, Chris, I now know exactly how you feel and I totally relate and yes, it does stink! Why can't we all just live next to each other?!) So we did laundry and had to dry our clothes in the infamous dryer (I sure hope you guys call on that thing and get it replaced, it truly is possesed!!!!!!) We even tried to secure a taxi so we wouldn't have to walk the infamous labor walk at 3:30 in the morning with suitcases none the less. They said to just call 10 minutes before we needed them even at 3:00 in the morning, so we took their word for it and packed then went to bed saying our goodbyes then because who wants to get up at 3:00 in the morning right? we sure didn't. So we call the taxi when we are ready to leave as it takes about 10 minutes to get to the gate of Villagio from their house. Craig gets a recording and we leave the address hoping everything works out and out we head with our suitcases making about as much noise as they can on the street at 3:20 in the morning--Sorry people! We get to the gate and wait and wait and wait I know it was only about 5 minutes but we had many things whirling through our heads like if we miss that 4:15 bus to the airport we are not going to get home to Jadeon! Yikes! We take the plunge, we start walking. Only we decide to brave the busy dangerous overpass, after all, how many cars are whipping by at 3:40 in the morning right? well as it turns out there were two, but we didn't pass any at the really dangerous parts thank goodness and then the long haul to the base (I hope the suitcase wheels last--sorry mom). We made it to the base and past security and to the stop by 4:00. A little (lot) sweaty but other than that, no worse for the wear (except the blister that is starting on my heal). We made it, but where was the bus? we were a little paranoid to say the least, oh good, hear it comes. The rest of the way home is pretty much a lot of waiting and luckily we didn't have to make a connection other than my mom and aunt Deanna in Seattle because they were about 45 minutes late taking off from Frankfurt. We had gotten boarded, but had to wait for a missing passenger, then a seat in Business class would not go upright so we had to wait for the repair crew to come and fix it, then we had to wait for a plane behind us, then we had to wait for two more planes that were landing in the runway we needed to take off on! basically it turned a 10 hour flight into and 11 hour flight oh well, what is another hour right? The point is we made it to Seattle (Portland would have been much better) and let me tell you, it is much easier to get into Germany and Italy than it is to get into the U.S. After getting our bags, which I think were the last ones off the plane, and getting through the last checkpoint, it was sure good to see mom and Deanna! Just four more hours and then I could see my sweet Jadeon! We got home a little before seven and were in bed by 8:45ish (from being up at 6:00 the night before--Oregon time, to bed almost 27 hours later) Whew, what a trip! I will never, never, never forget! Thank you God for your generous blessings!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pregnancy update!

So, I'm now 8 months along...Monday I will be at week 32.  It's going by so fast!  Today is my last day at work, and since I've been having braxton-hicks contractions for quite awhile now, the leave is well looked forward to!  I've been having pretty bad Siatica.  The other night I couldn't even walk!  It hurt so bad and then my leg just wouldn't even move, so when I tried to get up to go to the bathroom, I just crumpled down to the ground.  Luckily, Bo was there to help me.  I tried to just sleep through it, but when I'd try to turn over or move my leg to a more comfortable position...well, it just wasn't happening.  It hasn't been as bad since that night, but it does still cause me to limp around every now and then.
I felt Korban turn recently.  At first it felt really weird...Bo and I were in the kitchen and then I exclaimed, "Geez!  It feels like he just went side-ways!"  Bo looked at my belly and was shocked.  He said it LOOKED like Korban was side-ways!  It was freaking him out because, as he put it, "it was round, and now it looks like an inner-tube!"  So he made me go sit down.  Later, I felt a lot of pressure in my pelvis...I can't even really describe how it felt...just odd...just that it HAD to be his head.  So, I guess my baby boy is all ready to go!  I'm not.  lol.  We had a talk in which I told him he needed to wait until at LEAST the start of the 9th month.  He still has time to turn again, but I hope he doesn't because I don't want to have to worry about trying to deliver him breech.  He seems pretty happy where he's at right now, though.
My friend Nikki is making Korban's diapers for me.  They are going to be amazing!  She's very tallented and I figure I gotta help her get her business started.  I'm excited that I get to be her first customer!  The next couple of weeks are going to be filled with baby stuff!  Baby showers, shopping for the stuff that we need that we didn't get from the showers (I LOVE baby consignment stores for this!), etc!  I'll be starting my weekly prenatal check-ups instead of the monthly ones here pretty soon!  Gotta tour the birth center again...just cuz.  Practicing my hypnobirthing technique...prenatal pilates to stay in shape and prep my body for labor...and so much more!  So, I guess that's it for the pregnancy update!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Family Visits

As you all know, mom and dad have been visiting us here in Italy for the past 2 weeks. It's been great fun seeing them and hanging out with them and they are also having a blast seeing us and the various sites around! This last weekend we vacationed up in Castelrotto, Italy near the Italian Alps and they were amazing. Words cannot express actually being there in all the beauty. The area we stayed in used to belong to Austria before the war and they are still very proud of their heritage. Being there you wouldn't even think you are in Italy anymore, it's very German/Austrian looking. We will definitely be returning someday soon! As for the rest of the visit, I will let mom and dad tell you about it when they get home! =P

There are pictures posted of the trip in "Military Life" and more pictures of their visit in "Family Ever After" and of course MORE Ferynne pictures in "Ode to Ferynne". =)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ferynne Isabella Willer

And there is our beautiful, darling girl in all her sleepy cuteness! It's been a long, crazy, fasciniting, interesting, and at times nerve-wracking experience, and here we are, all three of us smiling happily! We've been relaxing for a few hours now and are excited to begin sharing our (perhaps not so) little adventure!

The adventure began all the way back on Friday. I had been put on staff duty until 5:30 in the evening, so Melanie had come on post to busy herself and get some good walking in. After my shift was over, we went to the comissary to grab some food for the weekend (the comissary is closed on Mondays, and we don't have a convenient way to get to post on the weekends, so Friday is our "stock up" day) and then boarded the shuttle bus to take us home. At this point, little contractions were pretty normal for Melanie, but she already had a feeling that we should probably stay on post over the weekend. We went home timidly, and Melanie's contractions took a serious turn, so we decided that we would wake up early in the morning and find a way to get to post. We had some various options, calling the sergeant in charge of me and asking for a ride, calling one of my squadmates' wife and asking for a ride, taxi, or walking to post (something we had never done before and we weren't quite sure how exactly to get to post on foot.) Morning came, and after a long morning of preparation and discussion of our transportation options, we of course took the method that suited our ridiculous personalities most: Blaze a trail on foot!

And blaze a trail we did! Whilst walking we decided that the highway overpass with no shoulder probably was not the best route to take with a pregnant lady in Europe, so we opted for a shady road that I had spied on GoogleEarth that appeared to become overgrown. We had to walk past some awesome old estates and then just as Google told us, voila! A wonderfully lush road of underbrush with a little path down the middle of it. But it doesn't end there, the path ran perpendicullarly right into a set of railroad tracks that we were quickly made aware of as a passenger train shot by. Crossing would not be easy, as there was a sizeable wall on the other end that we didn't want Melanie to try and brave. I did however spy a little pedestrian tunnel when I climbed the wall, so after peering through the brush on our side we found the entrance which of course was barred. This was easy enough for both of us to pass over, and we were quickly and triumphantly on our way. From there the gate to post was easy to find, and we took our baggage into the barracks where would be spending the next few days.

As you may or may not know, I was scheduled to go up to Germany for a month of training and certifications with the rest of the unit, but at the last moment my platoon sergeant gave me the go ahead to stay behind and be with Melanie. Because of this, the barracks are empty, and one of my squadmates gave me the okay to use his room while they were gone, so Melanie and I decided to use it as a little outpost while we waiting for labour to begin. So the weekend was spent watching movies, walking around, and Melanie suffering from some crazy contractions.

Saturday night was our first dash to the birthing center. It was around 11:40PM or so, and Melanie's contractions were getting to that infamous 3-5 minute mark between contractions so we gave the center a call, waited a while longer, and rolled out probably around 1 or 2 or so. They hooked her up to the various machines and started watchin' her, then dove in to see how dilated she was. Still the same 1.5-2cm she had been the week before. Melanie wasn't too happy to hear this, that all the pain and work she'd been through wasn't doing anything. So they sent us on our way, with an Ambien for Melanie just in case she couldn't sleep. We both slept on and off the rest of the night, and napped through the early afternoon the next day.

But then... it started! Melanie's contractions started getting really bad for her. She was nearly writhing sometimes at how painful they were, and the day was very tedious for her. We just tried to relax and rest and watched some movies. Eventually night came and we tried for bed, but it was just too much for Melanie. She was having the contractions fairly often, every 7-10 minutes, and by 11:30 she was fed up with it, so I called the center and asked if the Ambien would interfere with her labor at all, and they said that if it's true labor no, but it may help her calm down. Down goes the pill and we hit the hay, but it did far from help, haha. Melanie started hallucinating from the Ambien, whimpering about coloured fairies bringing on the contractions. She would get up every 15 minutes or so to pee, and I would call her back to bed afterwards, and she would mutter stuff about me just wanting to help the colours bring the contractions. Haha, it was great. Weird, but very amusing. We laid there, Melanie writhing every few minutes, and me in that weird either totally REM cycle sleep or groggy "Wha?" face awake until about 4:30 at which point Melanie said she had had it, and wanted to go in to the center. So again we packed our bags, and shuffled off.

Same as before, Melanie got hooked up to the fun machine (I amused myself by watching the little graphs when she was having contractions and comparing the numbers to the look on her face) and the same nurse from the night before dove in and was shocked at thinking Melanie was now dilated 8cm! She had one of the lead docters come in to verify, and she too said Melanie was 8cm. So we waited until Melanie felt the urge to push, which took about two hours or so, and then we called everyone in and we started the pushing game. This went by super fast, like movie magic five minutes fast (another amusing moment of laughter I stifled at the time) and out popped our beautiful darling you see above!

So the details! Born at 7:43AM Italy time, 6lbs 6oz, 19.75in long, and a good healthy little baby!

Melanie did a fantastic job through it all, no painkillers, never screamed or anything. Didn't even tear! The nurses were all super impressed and proud of her and I am too! And Ferynne has been doing a great job at life so far! She only cried for a second or two after coming out, and already knows that mama and papa are good caring people to safeguard her. She was feeding for a good 40 minutes, was peeping out of those little eyelids from the get go, she's already smiling, and can lift her head a little bit at a time. I'm waiting for her to start speaking Greek and working on that whole world peace thing. And that's about the long and short of it! I'll see if Melanie wants to add anything, and I'm sure we'll remember more as we wait to be released, but until then I hope you're all excited as we are!

Friday, August 14, 2009

In Memory of Mom (Grandma) Willer

Mom fought a long hard fight with pancreatic cancer. I was fortunate that God saw fit to bring me down here to Simi in the last days of her life. I got to sit by her hospital bed, then helped be a caregiver during her last week at home. We had times of laughter while we browsed through old pictures, and times of sadness as she became unresponsive. She continually whispered to us all how much she loved us. Her pastor came over that last afternoon and prayed over her and anointed her. The obituary is here:

Sunday, August 2, 2009


There is a wifi connection near our house that fades in and out. So I don't know how long I have to type this out. But if any of you would like to see pictures of the house, we posted some in the "Military Life" album on our web albums!


Pictures uploaded ;-)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Trip Pictures

I decided to try my hand at Picasa and post my Colorado pics there - I have a public set that is open for everyone and then one with just pictures of me and Sonya posing around (didn't want to make that public). So, you can click on the link to the right you'll get the public set and if you'd like to see the 'private' set, let me know and I'll send you an invite (I'll need your email for that if I don't have it already!). Enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's a boy!

Well, we had our 20 week ultrasound on the 11th.  We are having a baby boy!  Bo and I had a little issue picking the first name, but after consideration, the baby's official name is Korban Atreyu Brooks.  We picked Atreyu for the middle name in honor of my friend Nikki's son, Atreyu, who passed durring labor.  She is very touched that we chose to name our son after hers because she wants the world to know that Atreyu DID, in fact, exist.  Just because he was still born doesn't mean that he wasn't here, that he didn't live, and that he didn't have an impact on other's lives.
On a brighter note, we got the specs back from the ultrasound a couple of days later.  Korban is very healthy, everything is just the right size it should be, etc.  They did find out that I have a...retroverted (?) uterus.  So, that's why I'm only looking 3-4 months pregnant instead of 6.  My uterus was tipped back, now it's straight up and down and it SHOULD pop forward to the correct placement around month 7-8.  The only difficulty this posses is that it's harder to feel where the baby is at right now.  Which would explain why I'm not feeling him move nearly as much as I think I should considering how active Korban is!
Work is getting very difficult.  I'm going to apply for the Oregon Health Plan once I reach my third trimester.  If I wait until then, I will be 100 percent covered, if I get accepted.  And if I do get accepted, I'm quitting my job!  Nikki and I are starting a business together.  We will be making and selling cloth diapers, blankets, burp cloths, post-partum pads, nursing pads, etc.  We have almost everything in place.  We just have to figure out our pricing (we know the cost to make each of everything and aproximately how long it takes to make them), get some inventory stocked up, and get licensed.  We all ready have an offer from the store "Off the Rack," a baby consignment store, to sell our diapers!  I'm very excited for this! It's also something I can do from home while taking care of Korban!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tetons and Yellowstone

I'm never quite sure what pics will be in what order when I add them, but now that they're here, this is what you see! Top pic is of Yellowstone Lake from the top of the Elephant's Back. Second down is the Fishing Hole geyser in West Thumb Geyser Basin - they used to catch fish and then dip them into here to cook them! Next is up in the Tetons on the Canyon Cascade Trail. Last is a beautiful morning in front of the Tetons. I'm hoping to get all my pics up and into a web album soon! We had a marvelous time and loved every minute of our trip (except for maybe road construction...).

Friday, July 3, 2009

Red Rocks, Aspen and Rocky Mountain National Park

The first pic is at Red Rocks Amphitheatre where we saw the tribute to John Denver. Red Rocks is an amazing place and we got there early to explore and then just stayed until the concert. The place was packed, the weather awesome and I almost sang myself hoarse! The next pic is of Emerald Lake from our last day in Rocky Mountain National Park. Sonya and I hiked over 9 miles and visited 7 lakes on the hike! Next pic is of the Ute Trail in RMNP where we came across these two marmots and this one kept getting closer and closer to Sonya! Next pic is near the Alpine Visitor Center at RMNP at about 11,796 altitude. We hiked up the 'stairs' to Marmot Point and this view to the Never Summer Mountains. Last one is up at Crater Lake underneath the incredible Maroon Bells just outside of Aspen. I got to see a pika up there! I can see I'll need to set up a Picasa account for all my pics! We've had a great time, and leave tomorrow for the Tetons and then Yellowstone!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Big South & Agnes Lake

The top pic is of incredibly lovely Agnes Lake. Just a mile from the Nokhu Hut we spent the night in last night. We had to cross some snow fields, but well worth the effort. The bottom pic is of 'Big South' going up the Poudre River. Sonya and I both loved the hike most of the way along this gorgeous mountain stream. Home here for tonight then off to our concert, Aspen and Rocky Mountain National Park tomorrow!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

June business

Wow, I can't believe it is already June 25th. Where did the month go? I thought that after Andrew graduated things would slow down lol. Oh well, I will just have to slow myself down on my own. Graduation was, in and of itself, quite the ordeal. At least Andrew is done with high school. The trick is to now get him done with college ha ha. The next Saturday was his party, we had a house full. Then I got to bake over a hundred cupcakes for my friend to choose for her reception. Thankfully my cousins were here from Alaska and we had a family dinner to go to, so I got to take the extra cupcakes there to get rid of them. I made eight different flavor combinations. We just got back from Sun River and now I am planning Jadeon's birthday party, he turns four on Saturday! It doesn't sound like I am slowing myself down does it? I will keep trying.

God is good, He is very good! He gave me two tickets to be able to go and see my granddaughter after she is born! This also means seeing my daughter and son-in-law whom I know I will be missing like crazy! I already am missing them and I know that I will get to see them before they leave! I just can't believe it though, the way God shows Himself is amazing. I had just finished telling a friend that I didn't think that I would be able to go and see Ferynne after she was born because of financial reasons and then another friend came up to me and wanted to talk to me before I left church, so we went to the nursery (how fitting,now that I think about it) where she proceeded to tell me that God gave her a gift but it was meant for me to have it. She had won two tickets to Europe; any destination, any time frame between August 10th 2009 and August 10th 2010. She felt that God had told her that she was supposed to give them to me, so she did! I couldn't believe my ears! I was crying all the way home from church knowing that I don't deserve these tickets, but am so thankful for a God who delights in my joys and wants to give me the desires of my heart! Needless to say, I AM GOING TO ITALY!!!!!!!!!!!

High in the Colorado!

Fabulous flight into Denver! I was lucky to get a window seat and this was taken out the south windows just as we started descending into Denver. We should be in these mountains on Sunday heading to Aspen! Sonya and I just messed around together for the rest of the day. Had lunch at the Silver Grill (in business most of the time since 1912!), toured downtown (don't go into the Cupboard shop! Too many cute things!) Saw the Budweiser Clydesdales - they have a brewery just on the edge of town and 6 of the clydesdales are here in training - Evan was in one of their commercials as a young colt! Hooked up with Brendan and headed out for a picnic dinner at Horsetooth Reservior and watched the sun set. Back to their fabulous apartment (wow, I wish I had their shower, kitchen, amazing!), getting to know the kitties (Cocoa and Cookie) and planning out hikes for today and tomorrow just north of Rocky Mountain National Park! Mt. McConnell here we come!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pedicure, Facial and Massage, Oh My!

So, I finally cashed in my Christmas present today from Derek and Melanie - Wow! That took a long time! I made my appointment starting at 2, and didn't get out until after 6! Started with the massage and she worked a traction thing on my neck - I could do that every week! It certainly felt much better. She was very good and her kids go to Sprague - so I knew her name! She was very good and I enjoyed my time with her. Then it was off to do the facial. I never knew you could put so many different things on a face! Exfoliating, scrubbing, toning, steam, hot towels - when she put some kind of fluffy white cream on my face with this little brush, I could just imagine her making designs with it, those curls like on top of a Dairy Queen sundae. Then, with something else I teased her that she was using amazing colors like purple and orange and making cool patterns while I lay there. She also gave an amazing hand massage while we were waiting for something to set, or dry or something! Then I got a wonderful lunch in between that and the pedicure. I picked a nice deep purple, but it looks blue in the pic! It was a lot of fun, and I thank you kids very much for getting to experience something new!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Baby Knits!

We just wanted to share some of our handcrafties we've been working on for Ferynne! I started knitting just before going out to selection 'cause I felt like making some stuff with my hands, wanting to make something for Melanie, and perhaps a little out of boredom, haha. Melanie of course was wanting to get into the craft back before I left for basic, and has now been working at it again! It's been fun as we each inspire each other to start new projects, either for each other, for the family back home, or for little Ferynne. =)

So here are two of the projects we've completed for Ferynne, the first is a blanket I made for her. This started right before I left for selection, though with a different yarn and pattern, then as I was working on it (it was very tedious) Melanie and I realised how small it would be, so I found the pattern for this blanket, which was much larger, and wouldn't be quite as detrimental to my sanity. So here's my toss in the running for Ferynne's security blanket!

The colors are a little more bright and vibrant in real life. It is nice and cozy, and should last her quite some time. And Melanie helped with this one by tying little knots in the end of each of the tassles so they don't unravel (no small task!)

Next up is a beanie that Melanie has been knitting for Ferynne and just finished today. She started it... oh, two nights ago maybe with a completely different yarn (two of them actually) but after several attempts at learning how beanie making goes, she changed over to this yarn last night and whizzed on through it, ending with this awesome little beanie for our little rumpkin. The bottom edge actually rolls up and down so you can adjust the length of it and how thick the bottom roll is, and the squiggly mass on the top is a little spindly tail Melanie finished it off with. Very cool I think!

It's not quite as orange in real life, thanks to the bedroom lamp. More a good deep, dusty blue fading into a raspberry reddish pink.

On the needles right now I have a little hoodie I'm making for Ferynne (though inspiration for it has gone through its waxings and wanings, suffering a wait through three other projects until getting back to it finally today) that I will possibly finish in the next week or two, supposing we can find a good long movie series or show to watch while we knit (helps keep the repetetiveness less mind-numbing) and since Melanie only just finished the beanie moments ago, I'm not sure she's sure what she's going to make next.

Otherwise, things are going on as they have been, slow and peaceful with the odd hiccup here and there, with our return to Oregon hopefully coming up in July! Our love to you all! =)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It finally happened

Here lies our connecting rod.

It gave an exceptional performance at the end of its life. Breaking clean through the engine and out the bottom leaving a wonderful oil spill. We could do nothing as we clacked our way down the road hoping to at least reach home. But a mere minute away from the apartment, after the connecting rod exploded out the bottom and we pushed the car into the nearest parking lot, the old car was able to run its little combustion engine the rest of the way without the sad little piece.(As soon as we heard the clacking, we were smart enough to stop at the grocery store on the way home, knowing it was the near end!) Knowing this was going to happen with such a car, I was only happy we had made it home with the groceries!
So for now Derek runs to base every morning for formation. As sucky as that sounds, I'm actually quite jealous of his vigorous 8 mile morning runs! If only I didn't have a pregnant body! I'd be so pumped to join him as he reaches such body condition. But as out of shape as I am right now, it'd probably put me into labor, haha. We mess with the idea of maybe finding a cruddy bike from a pawn shop for him to use... but for now he seems to be fine with the brisk morning run! None of this, nor any of the interesting hardships life has presented us with has any effect on me. It just makes things more interesting and liveable. I'm glad to have the excuse to walk to the grocery store and keep up on my health!

Monday, June 8, 2009


Rick has been working really hard in the yard. He had to scrape off the old yawn and did a ditch for drainage. He added pipe and piped it to the lower part of the yawn towards the rose garden. So hopefully when we replant the yawn and it rains it will not flood the walk. The yard will be lower than the walk this time Yea!!!!!. We still will need to do a wall above and around the yard witch will be a project in its self. So lots to keep us busy for the summer. We are excited to have Derrick and Melanie home soon for a visit before going abroad. Will miss them terribley but what an experience for them. Of course, we may all be able to go visit.

Hot Tub

Here is my new hot tub. I just love it. It is smaller and easier for me to take care of. The top is light weight and easy for me to lift. I can cool it down for the kids to play in for a pool and it will heat back up within the hour, so the kids have fun and I have my heat back in time for my relaxation in the evening.

eyeliner and no glasses

Hi I hope I know how to do this, hear goes. I had my eye liner tattooed on beings I am having cataract surgery and will not have to wear glasses. YEA!!!!!!!!!! I have worn glasses since third grade so this is very exciting for me. As for having my eye liner tattooed on, ouch!!!!!!!!. but love it. Its fun to be old and can get away with silly things like this.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Missing my girl!

Well, I guess the test came out positive! Melanie that is an awesome picture! I can't believe I am missing out on the everyday lives of my children and grandchild. Mom cries miserably in the corner feeling much pity for herself.
Things around here are ramping up for Andrew's Graduation on the 3rd of June, with a family bar-be-que on the 6th. I am almost finished with Ferynne's crib set and it is looking pretty cool. Melanie has quite the eye for colors going together, but then she is an artist at heart. After the graduation festivities I am hoping to get it done.
I have looked at the pictures Melanie posted and it is good to see their happy faces (I am glad that in the midst of the chaos of the Army you two are together--it makes it possible to face whatever may come your way). That is all for now, just wanted everyone to know that I am still here. I will post more after graduation, maybe with some pic's.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So life has gotten back to normal pretty well here. Got things straightened and fixed for the most part. Derek's buddy, Carlos, left to go on leave(he will be going to Italy as well) and sold us his car for a deal. It's a relief having a form of transportation again! Lets just hope this car makes it okay through the time we have left here. It's an okay car and runs fine, but if your looking for reliability this car has warning signs of its future death written all over it, lol.

We get up bright and early each morning and drive to base for Derek's 6am formation and every day is filled with different things to do. We've started taking some pictures of our "life" here and I'll be posting some in our web album today for any who want to see. Derek and I have been catching up on our knitting together and he is just about done with Ferynne's baby blanket!(will be sure to post a picture of that as well!) As for me, i'm happy with the scarf-making safe zone for now... and somehow I manage to still mess things up.

That's all, not much to say. Just thought it was about time for a belly picture!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

and then there was the Army...

And the Army, though great and mighty, begot many screws and many balls that they could not keep. So they dropped some of their balls and "inserted here" many screws... resulting in many screwed persons and many injured plans.

*Begins to translate as the poor exhausted soldier rests from his day of stress and fear*

Oi mama. Plans have been changed. We did not need a visa for Germany but now we need one for Italy. There is not enough time to get one now. So after a bunch of this: (#$*&(%*&#$)%(@*#&$@(*$&#($*@($^&^!@*&#!@#!*&!!@(*#&(@*#(!&#$$#)%#*&!@#@#Y$I#@UHRKJHFI#U$YN#IWENIWRYI#$UYN@#UNYUFNOINU#O$IU@#$NO

New Plans:

Orders deferred until July 20th for the sake of me being able to actually GO WITH Derek to Italy instead of being left behind.

What this means:

We are NOT leaving to fly home to Oregon tomorrow. Completely canceled flights day before departure! Good thing I was slacking in the packing department. We are having to stay here another month and a half! I don't want to be friends with the cockroaches for that much longer!!! I want to go home! I want to breath beautiful Oregon air and soak in the beautiful Oregon weather! Oh fairest of fair! No southerners, no roaches, no North Carolina! Sweet, wonderful Salem! It calls to us both! But instead I get to bug bomb on Thursday and dink around Fayettenam longer(SO BORRRRING). Thank you ARMY!
On top of that...heavens! I will be too pregnant to fly without a doctors slip. Not that a doctors note will keep me any safer on that plane while ALMOST 8 MONTHS PREGNANT. GUH. Scary stuff. Thank you ARMY!

Anywho. Sorry to be so brief. There is just no possible way to explain everything that lead up to this. Simple as this: Visa.

Oh yeah, there are many great little notes such as: We've already shipped our bikes back to Oregon, thus having no form of transportation. (just a sample)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Brooks pregnancy update

So this baby is all ready showing me who is boss.  I don't have morning sickness as bad as Melanie, but it's still pretty intense.  And the tiredness and shortness of breath!  Doesn't make work any easier.  I mostly get stuck on register.  I suppose I should get used to it since I'm sure that's where I'll be for the next 6 months!  I get tired of yelling at(well, not really yelling...more like lecturing) customers at the drive through window  to put out their cigarettes.  When they get mouthy about how it's their choice if they want to get a ticket for it or not, I have to very kindly, but sternly inform them that not only is it the law now, but that I am also pregnant and for the sake of the health of my baby, they really do need to put it out.  So far that's all I've had to say, but I just know that one of these days that reason will not be enough for someone and then I will very politely explain that I do have the right to refuse service to anyone, so if they cannot abide by the law, I will have to close the window on them.  Maybe not those words exactly, but something to that effect.

I've had my first ultrasound and with it have discovered a few new things about my baby.  One, that he or she is an unusually active child.  The nurse couldn't measure the heart at first because the kid wouldn't keep still!  She said it was very unusual for it to be so active so early on (I mean the kid just recently developed it's individual fingers and toes for goodness sake!).  So, Bo and I are definitely in for it in that respect.  Two, the kid is due on my birthday!  Nov. 23rd!  I figure it's my mom's revenge for her missing Thanksgiving dinner with me.  ;-P  Course, I'm planning on a home birth (unless complications arise), so I will hopefully still get some turkey and gravy!

One thing that we will definitely need prayer for is my rare blood type.  Apparently, I am A-.  Not many people are negative.  And in a woman this is very much an issue.  As Bo is A+, this could cause issues with future children.  My negative blood doesn't like positive blood.  If the baby has positive blood, and our blood mixes (not usually until birth), then my body will develop antibodies against positive blood.  So, while this baby isn't at risk, if I have positive babies in the future, my body will reject their blood and they will either die before birth or have severe issues after.  What they will do is after I give birth to this baby, they will test the baby's blood and if it's positive I will get a Rohgam shot which will hopefully trick my body into thinking it all ready created the antibodies.  I have 72 hours after birth to do this.   It is normally effective, but I could be in the small 3% of women that it doesn't work in.  On top of that, for every positive baby I have, I will need to get this shot after the birth.  So it's a little scary.
Well, that's that.  Pretty uneventful otherwise.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Updates, Fayettenam, and Germany(Italy)... Oh my!

And that's what Melanie has to say about her adventures so far in the far Easterly South! An exciting adventure of two souls, filled with the old Nordic wanderlust leading them around the globe (and perhaps influenced a tad by the whims of the big army thrusting them about as the winds blow.) And so, the past few weeks have been filled with such glorious adventures as trying to find apartments near the base that would give short leases (since we would be getting orders to go elsewhere soon), finding out when exactly to fly Melanie out here, moving her in, trying to buy a car, scheduling to by a car, cancelling the scheduling to buy a car because we ended up getting order to Germany, dealing with stupid banks that bear the flag of the Credit Union, when in fact they are totalitarian terrorists hellbent on controlling every dime of money you give them, clearing Melanie so that she could come to Germany with me, and now the wait so that I can out-process from here and we can leave the country. Oish. Oh, and of course Melanie being pregnant every second of every day (and night!) and all the hilarity, joy, and long nights that causes us, haha.

But yes, for those of you who had not heard yet, I was informed that I was being assigned to an airborne unit in Bamberg, Germany (about 150 miles North Westish of M√ľnchen) and we'll be heading there the beginning of June. Do not fret, though, we're planning on taking leave so that we can return to our homeland to visit with the family and snag the remainder of our belongings before hopping the big pond. More updates on dates and such to come as we find out ourselves.

Once all the issues of officiality, arrangements, and scheduling are done though, our lives could not be happier at the moment! Melanie has enjoyed the spite of many a North Carolinan driver, much to her befuddlement, and little Ferynne kicks more and more every day. It felt like home the moment she arrived. (The both of them, that is, hehe.) We apologise for not necessarily communicating with many of you, as there has been much running to and fro and during the week our time during the day is precious (and time during the night reserved for as much sleep as possible!) and the weekends, well, the weekends are ours. So =P

Anyways, we love you all, hope to see you soon, and hopefully will be posting much more often now!



So it seems I am to update you all on this mornings recent news. In our long wait to get Derek's "official" orders, they have decided to change his orders to Italy! We knew some people were being sent to Italy instead, but when we checked his AKO it still said "Germany" in the document. Apparently, this morning one of the other married guys in Derek's platoon came up to him and asked if he had been changed because his orders changed just YESTERDAY. So of course when Derek checks his AKO again this morning it had been changed as well!

And so the process of waiting for THOSE orders starts all over again...*hums a little tune about the army*

Anyways. that is what is happening with us. Not that you ragamuffins deserved to hear it! Not that I know ANYTHING about YOUR lives from your amazing POSTING HABITS. Hah! *huffs off*


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


So many things whirling around in my mind! Melanie leaving home for North Carolina then less than a week later calling me to tell me that my baby will be having a baby in another country where her mommy can't help out like she would like. But, oh, the adventure! Watch out you guys, with a name that means adventurous, Ferynne is already calling the shots and the United States is too boring of a place to be born I guess. I just keep reminding myself that God is the ultimate provider and He will take better care of them than I could. Thank you both (Derek and Melanie) for dreaming big and stepping out into His beautiful creation to live big. Two passages of scripture come to mind Philipians 3:13b-14 but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toard the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. and Philipians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Live big you guys and always keep God your center and know that there is someone here who is always praying for your wellbeing and walk with God.

I am still processing everything. And yes I have been online to find out how much a ticket to Germany will cost. With Amanda and Bo also having a baby, Andrew graduating and trying to get into OSU, Jadeon turning four, Craig turning 42 (Grandpa!!! ha ha), garden season starting, change is on the horizon and it is coming at us all fast! Thank you Lord for not ever changing and being our constant in these crazy times. I am looking forward to all of these changes, I just hope I can be a constant for my family like God is for me. Well off I go to make sense of this wonderfully crazy life. My love to all my family and extended family too!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Think...

Our elusive family members need to post an update of their lives for least an introduction? Gram#2? Lutzfam?
We want to hear from you! =P

Monday, April 6, 2009

Operation: Clean Out & Move Out(Oi Vei)

I will be flying out in the evening on the 15th. 3 layovers and 14 hours later I will arrive in North Carolina on the 16th. Fun stuff. Especially since I'm practically paying for another plane ticket for the baggage I will have with me.


Derek will not be able to make it back out here to see everybody. So this week I have to go through and get rid of most of our belongings. I will be flying out the week after Easter with a very large bag full of items we would need to live off of and move into our new place! Not my favorite plan, seeing as though Derek will not be able to visit family before we move, but it's what's going to work right now. Besides, there is something liberating about completely starting over. Aside from the sense of adventure, it's the opportunity to start fresh, go back to the basics, and realize what a fulfilling and wonderful life someone can lead without the need for "stuff".

Would you like to simply "hold on to" items for us? Borrow it for an period of time?

-Vast Game Collection
-Auto harp
-Sportsman's Warehouse Cot
-Sizable book collection

*You could use all these items as if they were yours*

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cousin Visit

My cousin Wes and his lovely wife Amy came for 'Aunt' visits and one of his 'aunts' is my mom! So, I came over to mom's last night and we fixed a wonderful dinner (Orange cranberry salmon with parmesan rice and carrots and asparagus and other goodies) and had a marvelous time! It was a blast spending time with them and we connected so well! He is interested in doing some calligraphy (can we all say 'Moon Rust Studios'???) perhaps and is writing a novel on his 'ferry' commute over to Seattle every day. Amy is involved with many groups, Toastmasters, a book group and loves scrapbooking so we all enjoyed learning new things about each other. Brennen got started talking to Wes and he's a big D&D fan, so they connected as well! Fun evening and before we knew it, it was 10pm! We're planning on a visit in the future!