Friday, June 22, 2012


Has it REALLY been almost two weeks since my last post? Get ready for a long post with lots of pictures. Man, time is FLYING by these days! No pun intended, haha.  Okay, not that funny.  ANYWAYS... we are proud to announce that we are in the process of closing on a condo in Northport (about .10 miles from the Tuscaloosa line).  I was thinking of holding off on sharing the details with everyone until after our closing date on July 17, but so many people have been asking me about whether we have found anything and wanting to know all about it, I kind of started to feel guilty for holding out! So...fingers crossed that posting pictures and calling this "ours" won't jinx the closing process...if everything goes as planned (and so far it has), we will be official owners of this property in a few short weeks!

I only have a few pictures now, but will post more once we actually move in. The condo is a 2 story town home on a "lake" (read: pond).  The complex we are in has a pool and some really pretty grounds...trees everywhere, green space, etc.

For those of you who have been out of the loop, I am planning on staying here during most of the work week once I start school.  The plan is for me to stay in Tuscaloosa on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights, but that will, of course, have to be adjusted as needed.  Chris won't be able to come to Tuscaloosa while he is in pilot training, but maybe once he is finished and (hopefully) an instructor pilot, he will be able to sometimes. After I graduate, we are currently hoping to use the condo as a rental property.  It is near the local hospital and has a great rental history.

The kitchen had updated cabinets, which we liked.  The appliances are not updated, but that will be okay for now. 

A big selling point was the screened-in porch overlooking the "lake".  It is really low right now because the city was doing some pipe maintenance, but we've been told it will be filled back up soon

A very nice sized living area. The carpet is clean and in good condition, but it needs to be stretched.  And I will absolutely have to paint over that ugly red...dare I say, "crimson" stripe on the wall. The unit has a lot of natural light, which I like.

The entry hall on the first floor also has a half bath off of it. The upstairs has two large bedrooms, a master and a second bedroom, and a full bath. The master bedroom has a walk in closet.  There is also a washer/dryer closet and a linen closet.  The area seems to be very safe and is extremely close to a lot of businesses, restaurants, stores, etc.  It is less than a mile from a great looking gym that I hope to join and from Highway 82, which goes straight to Columbus.  It's about 3 miles from campus, and although I'm sure it will take me a good 15 minutes to get there on high-traffic days, it is nice to be convenient to the highway I will take to get home.

So, that's our headline story! For the record, we are trying to furnish this place as cheaply as possible...especially since I won't be having much company there and we really can't afford to buy much with the pay cut I am getting ready to take!  If anyone has any of the following that they would like to donate or sell at a very competitive price ;) we are looking for the following:

Apartment-size fridge (apparently this is a size smaller than a regular fridge)
Sofa and love seat
TV stand
Bed and/or mattress
ironing board

I'm sure there are tons of other things that we will realize we need.  A lot of things that maybe people have sitting around their house that they have had for years and have since replaced with newer/better models and maybe they would love to get rid of the old model! :)

Two Fridays ago was Chris' class solo party, the party they have after everyone in the class has done their solo flight in the T-6.  First they all got together for the naming part.  This is when the person getting their call-sign (i.e. nickname) leaves the room, and everyone in the room talks about them and makes fun of them and chooses a call-sign, usually based off of a funny story about them.  Wives don't get to attend the naming part.  Chris' call-sign is Yogi because he "terrorizes park rangers".  I don't know if I ever shared the story about how Chris (okay...and I) got into a verbal altercation with an out-of-line park ranger who tried to kick us and a group of friends out of a public park 2 hours before it closed so he could go home...even though we had just gotten our steaks off the grill...he was rude and yelled, called the guys derogatory names because he hates the Air Force, etc...well it was a big mess and Chris had to take a day off pilot training because the ranger wrote this ridiculaous "assault" ticket and we had to go to court and we won because it was stupid.  Don't know if I ever shared that on the blog...I probably didn't want to because it's not the most flattering story but I feel like I have to for anyone to understand why Chris' name is Yogi now! So now the world knows our dirty secret, ha!

After the naming ceremony, the class rented a party bus to take us downtown to the Princess.  The Princess is not only the most popular bar/club in town, but also happens to be Class 13-06's pilot partner (Chris is Class 13-06), which is like a business that sponsors your class throughout training.  They set a bar in the back that I'm pretty sure was just for us, and they had karaoke which I, of course, sang a bunch of times and also sang a couple of times with some of Chris' classmates.  I wish someone could convince Chris to sing karaoke with me! Maybe one day... Here are a couple of pictures from the party bus:

I guess this face is supposed to convey excitement over soloing...?

John, Autumn, and I on the way to the Princess on the party bus!

Saturday was an exciting day because Chris and I headed to Auburn for a weekend of celebrating Hannah's engagement to her fiance, Chase, and Chris Sr.'s 60th birthday.  The engagement party was at Lauren's parent's house.  As always, there is a special place in my heart for my girls and I love to see them any chance I get! Here is a picture of us...Sara, Lauren and I are all bridesmaids in Hannah's wedding, along with Lauren Emily (who was also in my wedding), but she was moving from Tampa to Atlanta that weekend (yay!) and couldn't make it (boo!).

On Sunday, we had lunch at the Saugahatchee Country Club to celebrate Chris Sr.'s birthday.  I'm glad Virginia put a nice lunch together for us, and it was great to be with family! We will be coming to Auburn again to celebrate next weekend, but have the added bonus of celebrating Aunt Bette's 90th birthday along with Chris Sr's 60th!

Well, I know this post is getting rather long winded, but I want to share a few more pictures before signing off! 
I took up swimming this week for is a picture of Nancy and me at about 6:30 am getting ready for some laps! I'm sure people wonder where the heck I got the crazy turquoise and Christmas-tree themed swimsuit.  I got it off this website where all the swimsuits were kind of expensive, but if I ordered the "grab bag" swimsuit, I got to pick my size and they would send my a mystery swimsuit, and it was only $15.  So this is what they sent me! What I will do to save a buck! You better believe I will wear my $15 swimsuit loud and proud to the pool until it wears out!
Last weekend, we went to a cookout that Tommy's (one of Chris' classmates) parents, who were in town, threw. I think this picture is hilarious because literally everyone looks awkward in it.  I'm wearing my glasses because I found out last week that I'm allergic to my contacts and have to wear my glasses for a few weeks and then have to switch to daily disposable ones! :( Such a bummer!
Now that I'm finally home during the week and not in Birmingham, I can decorate for the Fourth of July! Here is my coffee table.  I have a lot more decorations around the house. I will post pictures of them later.
Another bonus of finally being home during the week...I have time to plan meals, grocery shop, and actually start cooking again! I have barely cooked or entertained at all the past couple of months, because I just haven't been home enough to plan, clean, and organize any nice meals or entertaining.  Last Friday night, I made cilantro-lime rice, baked Parmesan edamame, glazed baked sweet potatoes, and salmon-in-a-bag.

Jon and Ralph came over to eat the  (Autumn was out of town). They were so excited about being photographed for the blog! haha

Yummy meal on my 4th of July place mats! And the wine coaster that Meredith made me for Christmas!

After dinner we went to Jon and Autumn's so the boys could work on their latest batch of homemade beer and I could sit around and watch TV while the dogs played. (The black and white one is Ralph's dog, Stuart) 

Ralph could not resist the urge to snuggle Mason! I mean, who could?

For lunch on Saturday I made these delicious "turkey sandwiches" out of tomatoes, avocados, an olive relish that I made, cheese, and (obviously) turkey and bread.

Sunday for dinner, Chris grilled some filets mignon and asparagus that I marinated with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and we had some of the leftover rice from Friday...and some wine from our last wine club shipment.  I bought Chris the year-long wine club membership last year for his wedding gift.  It's hard to believe that our first anniversary is just a couple of weeks away, and our wine membership is already over! Time flies when you are having fun :)

Maybe I haven't posted enough adorable pictures of our wittle baby Mason are some ones I wanted to share.

Mason modeling next year's Halloween costume...just kidding! This is just a picture my sister found online and sent to me, but it is so hilarious and looks just like Mason will when his adult coat grows out at 2 years. 

Poor Mason! Every time we leave him at home, he runs out his dog door and sticks his head as far as he can underneath the fence and watches us leave! I feel so bad for him...I wish he could understand that Mommy and Daddy have to go out and make a living so that he can have nice things like toys and treats :)  You may notice that the fence we spent half a day building is gone.  Don't get me started!!!! Apparently we aren't allowed to put up fences unless they are tacky chain link ones.  The leasing office threw a huge fit and made us take it down (after we also threw a huge fit that it should stay...the lease contract had some gray areas that we thought allowed our fence and they thought did not).  Now Mason only has this tiny space of concrete to go do his business during the day, but at least it's better than him being stuck in his crate for 9 hours.

Mason cooling off in the shade after chasing his ball.

I have submitted Mason's picture to the Lee County Humane Society calendar contest and would appreciate your votes when voting opens! I will be sure to post on the blog and solicit votes all over the place when it starts!

Chris has been flying all week, still working on formation flying and also starting instrument flying.  Instruments are what you use when weather or darkness prevent you from being able to see to fly the plane.  His schedule this week has started at 5:30am, but, selfishly, I kind of like it because that means he is home by 5:30 pm, same time as me! Next week starts his night-flying week...the first flight isn't until 3pm.  He does 12-hour days, so you do the math.  I certainly will not be seeing much of hubby next week! I can't wait to hear about night flying, though, because it sounds cool! It's interesting on base when they have night-flying weeks, because you go to sleep to the sound of faint engines roaring in the distance...except, sometimes the distance is pretty close, and sometimes the noises aren't very faint.  I wonder if I will be able to sleep knowing that one of them is Chris' plane! While Chris is still deciding whether he wants to go the T-38 route or the T-1 route, he has really loved formation flying and I feel that he leans more and more toward the T-38.  As we know, only a small part of that decision is his! So we will just have to wait and see what he decides and, more importantly, what Uncle Sam decides in August.

Next week is my last week of work, my very last day being June 29! Last week I started working in Columbus instead of Birmingham, and I think I will be working here until my last day.  I can't tell y'all how excited I am to finally start this new chapter, as the tension has been building for several months.  I have been working a lot on my teaching materials for the class I am teaching in July.  I must admit, it is a little intimidating to know that I will be teaching people who are barely younger than me.  Some of them may even be older! But I'm excited and ready for it.  I know as a college student, I didn't really think differently of my younger long as they taught me what I needed to know in clear English, I really didn't care if they were 20 or 90!  I think most college students probably have that attitude.

Before I finish, in honor of Father's Day, I want to say "Thank You"  to all the fathers out there, especially my father, Chris' father, and his step-father, Greg.  It's so sad that a lot of people these days don't have relationships with their fathers, because it is certainly a special relationship for a growing woman or man.  I can truly say that both Chris and I are fortunate to not only have relationships with our fathers, but have very close relationships with them.  We both enjoy being with our fathers and appreciate all the life lessons they taught us.  We are also fortunate to love and have special relationships with our fathers-in-law.  We look forward to all of those relationships growing and getting even better over time! Love y'all, and thank you for everything!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Update on Chris

Hey, y'all!
I wanted to give you an update on Chris, since last time I posted, I didn't really have anything new on him.

Last Friday, I thought for sure his check ride would be cancelled.  The weather had been bad the whole week and it had already been canceled a couple of times.  He actually did get to do his check ride. 

For those of you who need a reminder, a check ride is kind of like a "mid-term".  It's super important and if you don't pass it, you can't continue with pilot training.  Last time we went though a bit of an ordeal because Chris did not pass his check ride.  He had to do an 88-ride, which is your second chance.  You are only allowed one 88-ride in pilot if he does not pass a check ride, he has to go straight to his 89-ride, where the evaluator (usually someone high up) decides if you have what it takes to be a pilot.  It was very unnerving that Chris had to go to his 88-ride, especially when several people seemed to agree that he should have passed his check ride the first time.  If you really want to see me go off on fairness, just check out my post from a few weeks ago when we were going through this.  In the end, Chris passed his 88-ride and all is good.  He has been doing really well since then and had a lot of encouragement from his instructors.

I was pretty nervous going into this check ride, not because I don't feel confident in Chris as a pilot, but because we have now experienced how subjective these rides can be.  One instructor may pass someone in spite of messing up one certain thing, where another may fail him for it.  Not to mention, everyone has an off day! And the fact that his check rides kept getting canceled didn't help, because I got a little nervous that he might get sick or not be in his "groove" from missing so many days of flying.

Well, I supposed I shouldn't have been worried.  Not only did Chris pass, but he got a grade of 6E...E for "Excellent", and the 6 is for his 6 downgrades (think of it like a minus 6...6 things "wrong", I guess)..the average was around 18-20 so that's good! We ran into one of the commanders at the commissary on Sunday, who said he had heard about how well Chris had done on his check ride.  Cha ching! Two down, two to go (while Chris is in T-6s).

After this second check ride, it is time for the students to move into practicing "formations", which means you get really just a few feet...from another plane.  A lot of people say this is the time where you figure out if you want to try to fly fighter planes or not.  People who go on to try flying fighters really like flying in formation, and some people really don't like it.  It was exciting because on Saturday Chris and Jon found out that they would actually be flying in formation together! Since they are close friends, that was kind of cool.  They flew yesterday.  Chris said he did like it, but he doesn't know if he loves flying in formation yet or not.  He says he thinks he may after he gets more used to it, but the first time was kind of weird and required a lot of concentration.

There were times when their wings were just feet apart.  At one point, Jon flew ahead of Chris and did all these maneuvers and tried to basically evade Chris, while Chris tried to keep track of him.  This is a similar idea to a lot of the fighter pilot training drills.  Chris thought that was fun.  He said they had the latest flight of the day, so toward the end, they were the only ones flying.  They were flying during sunset, and then it started to get dark, so by the time they landed, all the runway lights were lit up...which Chris said was really cool.  He had never landed using the runway lights before.  I'm so proud of what a great job he is doing and am so happy that he loves flying so much! When he chose to be a pilot, he wasn't really sure if he would like it...but he knew he didn't want a "desk job", and going into pilot training from the Air Force Academy is a pretty popular choice, so he decided to go with it.  It seems like he definitely made the right choice, because I know he loves what he is doing, even when it has him at work until after 10pm like it did last night.

Here is a picture of what a formation looks like...
These are actually some T-6s flying over fact...if you look to the left side slightly below the middle, that's my office building, the big white one.  I haven't actually worked in that office in several weeks since I have been in Birmingham...and I probably will barely be there anymore before the 29th.  But that's still where my stuff is!
Here is another picture...isn't it crazy how close they are!

If I were a pilot, I think this would be my favorite part, since I kind of enjoy tailgating people.  Okay, I said it.

How Chris feels after these formations will probably have a lot to do with what he chooses as his preference during what is called "track select".  Track select is coming up at the end of the summer.  Students submit a preference of whether they would like to fly a T-1 or a T-38 for the rest of training. I'm going to explain this as best I can, but know that when I say "T-38's/T-1's get this assignment", or "People who get T-38's/T-1s are top of the class/want to fly fighters/etc"  I am totally making generalizations! I am still talking about the military and so nothing is 100% set in stone, plus there are a million different reasons why people choose different things so I'm just going to simplify it by saying what is generally the case.

Usually, if you want to fly a fighter, you will choose a T-38 as your preference for track select.  Usually the people who get assigned T-38's in track select are at the top of their class and have it as their #1 choice.  T-38's generally get either a fighter, bomber, or T-6 instructor pilot (FAIP) assignment.  There are usually only a couple of fighter slots that go out per class, so if you don't want a bomber or a FAIP, then you are somewhat taking a risk when you try to get T-38's because there aren't as many options when you train with that plane. But if you want to be a fighter, you have to fly a T-38.  The T-38 track is very demanding as far as studying and how you are expected to perform.

They almost look like little fighters.

If you want a heavy plan (like a cargo plane), you generally will go the T-1 route.  You also get a T-1 if you wanted a T-38 but weren't selected for it.  From a T-1, you can get a T-1 instructor pilot position, or pretty much any other plane besides a fighter or bomber.

I wanted to go ahead and describe this process because I feel like it is right around the corner and will be here before we know it! Naturally, Chris' selections for his preferences (T-1 or T-38) is something he is already thinking about.  Originally, Chris was only interested in flying larger planes, especially the C-17.  Pro's: good experience for a future in airlines or parcel services, desirable base locations, more laid-back culture.  Cons: usually gone about 260+ days a year!  He has received some encouragement by instructors that he should consider the T-38, and he spent his "casual" job (that 6-month period where we were in Columbus but not in pilot training) working for the fighter training squadron here on base, where he formed some good relationships and enjoyed the very distinct culture that fighter pilots have.  So now he is a little interested in that, too, but not sure if he is sold on it.  I think he is hoping that the formations will help him decide. A lot of people hear "fighter pilot" and think that they are probably in the air shooting at enemy plans all the time.  While this is possible, it doesn't happen very often now.  There aren't very many air forces in the world, at least not that we have tensions with right now, that could put up a fight against our planes, so "dog-fights" aren't very likely.  Fighters are home a lot more with their families, and most of their missions are training missions, so they aren't constantly overseas like cargo planes are.  They do have a much more stressful environment because they always have to stay on top of the latest developments in strategy, sometimes requiring them to lock themselves in a "vault" of confidential information to study for hours on end.  Also, Chris knows he wants his next assignment to be a FAIP (instructor pilot), and if he gets T-38s at track select, there is only a slim chance he will get a T-38 FAIP position...if he gets FAIP'd, he would probably get a T-6, which is what he is flying now...and doing 12 hours days! He doesn't think he wants to fly with green pilots for 12 hours a day for 3 years! We will keep you updated on what happens with his track select.  It truly is a big deal because it has big implications for his career. It's important that we not be short-sighted, though...his assignment for the next 3 years is very important, but it's much more important to think about the plane he will be flying for the rest of his career! that I have you updated as best as I can about military stuff (at least, this is all the way I understand it!)...I will go ahead and do a short run-down of our weekend. Not much to update, I was pretty much a bum all weekend because it was SO nice to finally be at home after over two weeks of being gone!!

Saturday, we went to Northport to view some condos.  We found one that we wanted to make an offer on, but the owners had another for sale in the complex that we also wanted to see, but the tenant would never return calls to the real estate agent, so we couldn't go see it (apparently there are strict laws about this).  Our realtor came back yesterday and said that the seller cannot end the lease with either unit's tenant early, and both leases go until next year! So frustrating! However, he said there the owners have another unit in the complex that is the exact same floor plan as the one we saw, that they have not put on the market yet but are getting ready to.  This would be available immediately, and the owners are willing to negotiate, which sounds good! He is going to look at it today and take pictures for us, and then we will probably go take a look on the way to Auburn Saturday for Hannah's engagement party and Chris, Sr.'s birthday.  Then hopefully we can make our offer, they will accept it, our pre-approved loan will process flawlessly and we will be move-in ready by July 1! I'm not going to hold my breath though...

Saturday I stepped out onto my patio to discover some sad surprises and one happy one.  Here is the happy one:

These sunflowers (I think that's what they are...just smaller? Maybe not.) just popped out of nowhere and are so pretty! Some former tenants must have planted them.

My sad surprises included the weeds that have overtaken our patio and all my plants looking funny and black...kind of like they are dying! Rather than a green thumb, I think I have a black thumb.  Notice the irony...beautiful sunflowers that I had no idea were in my yard sprouting all by themselves without me doing a thing.  All my plants that I tried really hard to grow by watering and fertilizing dying!! Ugh! I keep saying I give up on gardening and then keep trying again because I want a pretty yard like other people.  I might as well just wait until one day when we can afford a landscaper, because I am tired of wasting money and effort in the yard! So frustrating! ugh!!!!

I was so excited because my tomatoes turned red..til I got up close and saw that they were all black and had nasty holes in them! I just don't understand.
 Saturday night I cooked dinner and we invited Jon and Autumn over.  It has been a while since I've entertained, and I really miss it! I have been planning to have a big dinner party for some other couples, but that's pretty much impossible to organize and carry out successfully when I'm working in Birmingham all week.  Hopefully I will have the free time to accomplish this next month.

Potato salad, roasted asparagus and squash (Autumn grew the squash...clearly she is more talented at growing things than I am), and steak.  Normally we buy filets from the commissary where they are a good price, but this time we bought sale steaks from Publix...have to say, we were not impressed!

Well, that's all for now.  I just couldn't wait to share Chris' success with y'all so I hope you enjoyed a slightly lengthy, but hopefully interesting, description of what is next for him in this journey!

In Birmingham 'til Friday...Solo Party (party where the class celebrates everyone completing their solo flight and everyone gets their call signs) is Friday  night, and then Saturday we head to Auburn for more celebrating of a birthday and an engagement!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Our Newest Chapter

Hey, everyone! It's been a couple of weeks, and I have quite a lot to share.  I'm going to start out with revealing the upcoming life change that I have been sort of talking about on the blog for a couple of month's now.  I didn't want to share it immediately because I had to take care of a couple of things first.

Things like...resigning from my job at Cadence Bank...

Which I did yesterday.

So now I can officially announce to the world that I have been accepted into the University of Alabama's accounting Ph.D. program, and I'll be beginning my duties month! Actually, for the next year, I will be acting as an adjunct professor, teaching classes and taking classes.  After that, I will be a full-fledged Ph.D. student in a four-year program.  We are SO excited about this and feel that it is truly "meant to be". 

I have shared this with some friends and family, and for the most part, the first question I get is, what about Chris? His pilot training program ends next March.  Enter, faith, hope, and luck.  Chris, to this point, has been doing really well in his training and we hope that this will increase his chances of getting his top choice for his next assignment after UPT (undergrad pilot training) graduation, which is going to be another 3-year assignment at Columbus as an instructor pilot.  They call this a FAIP (first assignment instructor pilot). (Knock on wood) most people who request this assignment get it if they have been doing reasonably well in training, because there aren't a whole lot of people who want to stick around in Columbus for 3 more years flying training planes.

The instructor position is actually ideal for Chris and me in a number of ways.  This is probably the closest to home in Auburn we will ever be, and while we are excited and anxious to begin the "glamorous" (we hope) Air Force life of moving around the country and world, it will be nice to be near our family and friends for a bit longer.  It will certainly be the most stability we will have for the next 20 years to be stationed in one place for 4+ years. Although IP's (Instructor Pilots) do get deployed, this is a lot less likely and only began recently since our current government is making our military leaner.  And, once he completes the FAIP assignment, he is a lot more likely to get his top choices for the plane he will fly for the rest of his career.

Question two...are you going to commute to Tuscaloosa? Yes and no.  Tuscaloosa is about an hour and fifteen to thirty minutes from the base.  It's not a particularly safe drive and it's really not in my best interest to spend 15 hours a week on the road when I'm taking challenging classes and teaching.  We are in the process of looking for a condo to purchase in Tuscaloosa or Northport (which is basically Tuscaloosa, but nicer).  I will keep you updated.  We already made an offer on one, but it was way overpriced and the seller wasn't willing to go below their asking price.  We are going to look again tomorrow.  The plan is to drive to Tuscaloosa on Monday mornings and drive back home on Friday afternoons, with one additional trip home during the week.

Question three...are you going to become a Bama fan? The only people who ask me this are people who barely know me.  Luckily, I am one of the (I think, few) people from the state of Alabama who can differentiate between a university and it's football team.   No, I will never ever EVER say "R.T.", don't worry.  But I will be proud to hang a University of Alabama degree on my wall.  I personally have always thought that it's tacky to have attended one school but be a fan of it's rival.  I also think if you are a passionate football fan of either Auburn or Alabama you really can't ever switch or be neutral...even if you did go to both! (Notice I said "passionate"...there are many so-called passionate fans out there, but if they say "I always cheer for Auburn, unless they are playing Bama"...they aren't passionate fans of either...and that's perfectly okay!). I would consider myself a passionate fan, though, so I have to choose one and OBVIOUSLY Auburn is where my heart is, where my two degrees are from, and who I will ALWAYS cheer for! War Eagle!

So now that I've got that out of the way...I would just like to say that Chris has been more than supportive of me, he has been so excited for me and encouraged me every step of the way.  When I was on the fence about even applying, he encouraged me, knowing that this could be my only chance until he leaves the military, and offered to put his career on hold to be a FAIP.  When I went to my interview and was told that I really needed to move to Tuscaloosa in order to be successful in the program, he immediately jumped on board and has been completely comfortable with the big financial decision of purchasing a property for me to stay in.  Many fact most couples...would not even consider a career opportunity like this that would require them to essentially live 50% of their time apart for 4-5 years.  I am so lucky to be in a marraige where BOTH dreams and BOTH career goals are important, and where we see eachothers' success and happiness as an integral part of our own. After all, going back to school is not just taking a's opening so many doors for me down the road that will benefit both of us and change our lives for the better. 

So needless to say, we are both thrilled about these changes!  If Chris does not get FAIP'd, chances are, yes...I will have to stay in Alabama and complete the program and Chris will have to move.  This is a huge risk! BUT we have to have faith that it will work out because it's now or never.  We just can't worry about that.  The fact that I'm in school will be taken into consideration when the powers that be decide whether to FAIP Chris, and it's pretty common knowledge that if you want to FAIP you are very likely to.  Nothing in the military is guaranteed, so your prayers are appreciated!

There isn't much to report on Chris because his second check ride has been delayed all week due to weather! He is supposed to go today at 1, but the weather here in Birmingham is not so pretty right now, and Columbus weather is usually worse than Birmingham's.  Unfortunately,Chris and I have barely seen eachother for the past two weeks because I have been working in Birmingham since two Friday's ago, with trips to Auburn and Gulf Shores in between.  Chris didn't come with me to Auburn, but he did come to Gulf Shores with me and my family.

Much thanks to Tammy and her friends to an INCREDIBLE launch event for my Rodan + Fields business at her house two weekends ago! As I've said before, our products practically sell themselves and all we need is the chance to show them to people.  With a 60-day money back guarantee for all of our products (and less than 1/2 of 1% of a return rate) it's easy to see why people at least want to give them a try.  I give 1/2 off a regimen for hosting an event.  I can't wait to hear how Tammy and her friends like the products!

Me with Meredith, my sponsoring partner, and Maura, Meredith's sponsoring partner. Thanks, y'all, for all the help!

Rodan + Fields has been yet another blessing in our life lately.  I am taking a bit of a pay cut to return to school...I do get paid, but it's certainly not a corporate salary.  If the success I've had for the past few weeks continues, it will make up for a lot of, if not more than, what I am giving up by leaving my job. Please pray for that, too! We are hoping to make lots of football trips this fall, and those add up, so every little bit helps!

While we were in Auburn, Meredith and I went out on the town with my sister, and who did we run into but Auburn's new Defensive Coordinator, Brian VanGorder! Chris has been showing me videos of him and I had read some articles about what a promising hire he was, so I recognized him immediately.  He was at Irish Bred Pub in Opelika winding down after a recruiting trip.  He was alone, and sat right next to us, so we wound up talking to him for a good 20 minutes, mostly about his family and his recent move to Auburn, and some about football.  He's such a nice guy! And how about that mustache and shirt? :)

Here are a few pictures of us from the beach...we cooked dinner the last night with my family and the Molnars, who joined us in Gulf Shores.  On our first day at the beach, we went to Fort Morgan, which is about 15 miles from Gulf Shores, and got to hang out with a bunch of our friends from base who were staying there.  Fort Morgan is beautiful and not as crowded as Gulf Shores, and I hope we can visit it again! Then our last day at the beach, we joined one of my best friends, Tori, and her boyfriend Bennett and the group they were with from Atlanta.  I love catching up with Tori, who I often refer to as my twin because we are so alike! We are even the same size. We lived together in college during the time that we were both in our accounting master's year, and I miss her and her closet constantly!

We bought this yummy hunk of fresh tuna at the seafod market in Gulf Shores

We turned them into tuna steaks and I seared them and I threw together a marinade out of some stuff we had around...white wine, honey, and orange.  I am still trying to master the art of cooking tuna just enough, but not all the way through, because Chris and I like it to still be raw in the middle! :)

We hit 50,000 miles on our car!

I didn't take any pictures out on the beach.  I have been bad about taking pictures lately but, let's face it, I've had a pretty hectic few weeks.  Traveling for such long times away from my home sometimes makes me feel like I am living a different person's life and I forget about my normal rituals, like blogging.  Does that make me crazy? I'm starting to think so.

Thanks, Meredith and Ryan, for keeping Mason while we were at the beach!

Here is a picture of Mason that Chris sent me last week while I was gone.  I can't wait to cuddle my wittle boy again tonight!

Another picture that Chris sent me last week was of this lovely item that came in the mail for me, finally!

Sorry that this was such a long post and mostly talked about one thing! It just feels so good to be able to let it out and tell people what's really going on! My last day of work here at the bank is June 29 and my first day teaching Audit at Alabama is July 5.  I am SO excited about finally being home with Chris and Mason and sleeping in my own bed for the first time in 15 days! I've got to come back to Birmingham next week.  I hope after that I can go back to Columbus to work, but I am at my job's disposal for at least this month and I am going to do what I can to make this an easy transition for them.