Tuesday, December 2, 2014

We are here!!! We are here!!!

Wow! You guys still have a blog? Yeahhh.....

So we did a very poor job of keeping up this blog while we were living in Guam. We did a whopping 15 entries in the year(ish) we were living there.

"Yeah, and you didn't even ever finish your four part Palau travel log. You quit halfway through!!!" you correctly admonish. "And," you add, perplexed, "where have you been for the last year and a half??"

Right. According to the interwebs, two of our favorite Founding Fathers had something to say about making excuses:

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”
― George Washington

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
― Benjamin Franklin

So, in that spirit, we will say merely while we were living on Guam we were making a concerted effort to LIVE every day we were there and take super advantage of our time there. This didn't leave a lot of time for writing about our lives there, especially when we are both procrastinators and at least one of us is a perfectionist.

A lot, and we mean A LOT, has happened since our last blog entry. Those of you who have kept up with us, will know most of this already, but here's the recap:

  • Nick joined the U.S. Air Force as a JAG (Judge Advocate General, fancy way of saying lawyer). He left Guam for good on August 13, 2013 to go to COT (Commissioned Officer Training) for 5 weeks and JASOC (Judge Advocate Staff Officer Course or military law school) for 9 weeks in Montgomery, AL.
  • Amanda stayed on Guam to continue working as a Park Guide at War in the Pacific National Historical Park while Nick was at training.
  • The Government shut down for two weeks leaving Amanda furloughed, bored, bitter and pondering, "why did I stay??"
  • Typhoon Francisco skirted Guam and terrified Amanda (who was convinced she would die while she and Nick were apart), but turned out to be just a bad storm.
  • Amanda and some friends went to the Philippines for vacation over Veterans' Day Weekend. After being there only 12 hours Amanda was hospitalized with a kidney stone for the rest of the trip.
  • Amanda left Guam two weeks later to return to the Mainland for good and meet up with Nick.
  • Nick and Amanda drove to Michigan for Thanksgiving, bought a new car, and Nick returned to Alabama to finish JASOC.
  • Amanda flew down to Alabama two weeks later for Nick's JASOC graduation.
  • Amanda and Nick drove back to Michigan to pack up their stuff (which had been stored in Nick's parent's basement for the past year). With the help of some awesome friends and family we packed up the moving truck and our new car and drove to Mississippi. All in the space of a weekend.
  • Nick started his new job at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS at the base legal office.
  • We hosted both our families in our new house (with very little furniture, but plenty of beds) for Christmas.
  • We experienced our first Mardi Gras season on the Gulf Coast, which runs from Epiphany (Jan 6) all the way until Fat Tuesday. Who knew it was a full season and not just one day?
  • Nick promoted to Captain.
  • We adopted a rescue dog from a local shelter. A one or one and a half year old shih tzu/pug mix named Saru. She is an adorable, willful little scamp who is too smart for her own good, but we love her to pieces.
  • We've traveled to Atlanta and New Orleans a handful of times, Missouri for two weeks (St. Robert for Nick's training and Kansas City to visit friends), Michigan for the Mahanic's Labor Day Bocce Tournament, Las Vegas for a Bachelor/Bachelorette Party, Charlottesville, VA for a week of training for Nick (with a quick stopover in Williamsburg to see friends!) and other places we are sure we're forgetting.
  • We've hosted friends and family from Michigan, Atlanta, Chicago, etc. and showed them around the Gulf Coast.
  • And most recently, we hosted Thanksgiving for some of Nick's coworkers who were unable to make it home for the weekend.
And much, much more.... but that is the abbreviated version.

"So, why have you decided to start writing again?" you query.

A few reasons:
1.      Once we found out Nick was chosen to join the USAF, we had always intended to keep the blog going as a way to keep you all updated on our adventures. We just never got back in the habit/mindset of writing the blog.
2.      Amanda is bored!!! She has yet to find employment and needs brain stimulation.
3.      Since moving to Mississippi, Amanda feels like she has had a very negative attitude that is neither healthy nor conducive to the impending holiday season. She has been focusing on her struggles and depravations (i.e. no Trader Joe's, no job, friends and family live so far away, Nick working long hours, etc.), instead of the many blessings we have in our lives (we're together, we've gotten to travel quite a bit this year, we have our health, Nick is enjoying his job, etc).
4.      This brings us to the fourth, final, and most important reason. In an effort to appreciate our blessings, keep us accountable, and help us get in the holiday spirit (which has been difficult the past couple of years for whatever reason) we are embarking on an Advent calendar activity of 25 days of giving.

Over the next 25 days as we count down to Christmas, we will be doing 25 activities which share our blessings with each other, our family, our friends, our community, and random strangers. Growing up, Amanda always loved the tradition of the Advent calendar counting down to Christmas. In her house, she and her sister either shared or had their own cardboard Advent calendars every year. Every night, they would open one of the doors and get a holiday shaped piece of chocolate as they counted down to Christmas. The chocolate was never very good, but the act of opening the door and counting down to Christmas became a ritual she loved. As we get older and start to establish our own family holiday traditions, the Advent calendar was something Amanda really wanted to include, but not the gross stocking and candy cane shaped chocolate. Last year she found this awesome permanent Advent calendar at Target with little doors one can fill with their own treasures.

Amanda had seen many ideas online about activity based  Advent calendars which included things such as: take photos with Santa, sleep under the Christmas tree, check out books from the library to learn about how people celebrate Christmas in other nations, or write letters to Santa, etc. All of these sound like great activities to do with your family, if you have kids. Unfortunately, our fur baby, Saru, has yet to master reading or writing. So we spent Thanksgiving weekend coming up with a list of 25 things we could do together as a couple to share our blessings with others.

We will try to post everyday about our activity the day before.  No promises! We are procrastinators after all ;-)

As Bing reminds us every holiday season:

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings
I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds
If you're worried and you can't sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you'll fall asleep
Counting your blessings

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! You may have inspired Linda and me to get off our bee-hinds and update our Mahanic BLOG.