Life in Fredonia, all the Fancy Photos!

Whew… it’s been a busy time here at HHR, with all my photo posts from our trip, updates, catch ups, and everything.  Hope you can stomach one more photo binge.  Can you?

Here are all the rest of our initial Fredonia pics, from our first few days and weekend here!  Just like the other posts of the fancy pics (all the photos from Long Island and then all the photos from Pottersville), I’m just going to throw all the photos in here as a blob, and anyone who wants to can go through them.

As for getting settled in and how we’re doing, I touched on all that earlier this week in our post about finally being here in Fredonia.

So things should be getting back to “normal” around here … if my blog even has a normal! It’s been fun including everyone on the trip, and I know that people have been so curious to see what our surroundings are like, to see the big difference it is to go from Hawaii to Western New York.  So it’s been fun.

But hopefully life will take on a more routine feeling and I’ll get back in the swing of things, around the house, with work, and here too!  I’m hoping that my energy levels keep soaring and before you know it I’ll be posting about running again, and who knows what!

I’m just so very glad to be where I am.  I’m feeling better in so many ways, and just being on the first page of a fresh chapter is so nice.  I’m so blessed to be with my Duggs, surrounded and supported my some amazing family and friends, and to have a whole new section of our story to set out on.  No matter how routinized daily life becomes, that aspect of where we’re at – that newness and that exciting looking-over-the-edge feeling won’t wear off for a while I don’t think, at least I hope it won’t!

Anyways.  For now, I’m quite happy to be posting from Fredonia.  And I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along with us on the trip!

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

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We’re Here, We made it to our New Home!

Hi everyone!

here i am, at my new “working station,” the breakfast nook of nick’s house

I know it’s been a few days since I’ve posted an update.  Things have been busy and we’ve been getting settled, of course – but the main reason I’ve been an absentee blogger is to do mostly with the Internet connection.  And the lack of a decent one here.

Turns out we’re a bit more off the beaten path than anticipated and getting a high speed set up has been a tough challenge so far.  We have a temporary solution (a Verizon MiFi mobile hotspot), but it doesn’t get us very far and bigger files like photos and movies are painstakingly slow to move about, and usually end up getting dropped before completion.

posted this on instagram this past weekend – it’s a collage of our first weekend in fredonia. love it!

So, I wanted to jump in and say hi, even if I do it without all the bells and whistles of oodles of photos and all that jazz.

here’s the front view of nick’s house – it’s lovely!

We’ve been getting settled in, trying to get a feel for the area and see what all we got ourselves into.  The first couple days we were tired from all the traveling and feeling a bit overwhelmed at all we had to do.  But now that the anxiety of such a move has faded and reality is setting in, I’m just pleasantly surprised at how quickly I’ve acclimated, how comfy I already I am.

Our room is set up and we’re all unpacked.  We’re settled in and we’ve been able to visit with family in the area.  And, it’s lovely.  The weather has been perfect so far!  A pleasant change, I’m really loving it (even though my lips are all kinds of chapped).   My cousin Nick’s house is very comfortable and I really feel at home here already.  I’ve always gotten along well with Nicky, so I wasn’t worried about that.  But it’s just nice to now actually be here and to feel so at ease.

our room! i love it, it’s bright, clean, cozy and nice. it makes me happy to be all moved in.

Nick’s house is very nice.  He’s worked really hard to make all of this happen, and we’re just grateful to have such a great place to stay.  Not to mention that being with him, Austin and Rocky is just super fun!

nick’s kitchen, it’s plenty big and very nice

the breakfast nook, where i’m actually sitting right now. i love working here, it’s an awesome set up.

here’s a bigger shot of the living room (with sick duggs, aww)… i can and should take some better pics when the lighting is better and with the real camera, not the iphone.

the laundry room, aka: my dungeon! it’s only one part of the epic basement, and i already whipped into shape and got it all set up, organized, and ready to keep this family in clean clothes and linens. (i’m tellin ya, i’ve been on my a-game ever since we got here, it’s awesome).

I was sick, before we packed up in Hawaii… in the hotel in Hawaii, once we got to Long Island and then throughout our whole time in this state.  But now, just now, I’m FINALLY getting to feeling better.  And what happens?  Duggs gets my cold!  Gah.  Poor guy.  He went all this time being around me and my germs and it didn’t get him at all.  I guess it was bound to catch up to him at some point.  I hope he feels better asap.

duggs finally caught my cold, so he’s not feeling so great – on the couch with our little one

Other than Duggs having my cold, everything is just wonderful.  Moving here, so far, is feeling like the best thing ever.  I’m just loving it. It’s been a big change, no doubt.  But it feels like the world is our oyster now… we have so many choices on what to do!

I’ll tell ya the whole story…

My cousin Nick offered for us to come stay with him, in a small town – Fredonia – just outside of Buffalo, NY.  This area is interesting.  A lot of people wouldn’t see the appeal… but for me, I felt something calling me here.  My mom and her siblings grew up in Fredonia.  It’s that side of family’s “home base.”  Out Patriarch, my Great Uncle John, still lives here, as well as a mix of cousins, aunts, uncles, and other extended family.

The winter weather is intense.  Yes. I know.  I’m not sure how I’ll handle my first winter – but you never know until you try, right?

As for spring and summer, I couldn’t think of a more lovely place to live!  The festivals – there’s something going on every single weekend it seems, the weather, the hiking, camping, Lake Erie, Darian Lake (the amusement park, water park, with weekly concerts in the summer), being so close to the city (Buffalo has a lot going on ya know!) as well as the mountains, the countryside, the Finger Lakes, wine country, Canada, Niagra Falls… every which way there is so much to do.

Where we are now, at my cousin’s house, is a bit off the beaten path.  We’re surrounded by vineyards, it’s quiet and peaceful.  Just a couple minutes up the road though and it’s everything you need – grocery, gas, every fast food and chain restaurant, etc.   So for me, it’s a good way to get the best of many worlds.  A new place, a new climate, a new area to explore – the calm and quiet country life with a busy world not too far away.  Lots of family in the area, and just knowing my roots are here is neat.  Matthew’s family is nearby too, and now my sister is as well.  If we want stuff to do, we just have to look around.

And come winter, even though it’ll be cold and snowy – there’s so much to do!  Sledding, skiing, ice fishing, snow mobiling, hunting, etc.  We chose this area because all year round there’s a lot to do outdoors.  Chautauqua County is an interesting place, full of its own culture and color, and we’re excited to learn more about this place.  Besides, if you’re going to live where it gets cold, you may as well live where there’s enough snow to have fun with it, right?  (that’s what we’re telling ourselves anyways!)

So, we’re here!

It’ll still be a little while before all the details are taken care of and we have our whole lives set in stone and mapped out.  Our car and all of our household goods are in transit, we’re not sure how long we’ll live with Nick, etc.  But for now, for our first week here – things couldn’t be any better.

Thanks for following along with the journey and for all the nice and supportive comments and emails I’ve gotten.  It means so much!

Later this week I’ll put up a HUGE photo post – with all the nice and fancy pics we’ve taken here with the good camera.  It’ll be nice and you’ll be able to get an even better idea of what I’m talking about in regards to the area and all that.

At least now you have an idea of where I am and what our new life is starting to look like.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

 

The Last Leg of Our Roadtrip, to Buffalo We Go!

Hey there readers!  It’s your favorite Northern Newbie, posting a bit to say hey!

check out my new raincoat. i’m so northern, right? i so fit in. i just know it.

I last posted about Camp Curtis and the wonderful relaxing time we had in scenic Pottersville, visiting my sister and her boyfriend Jared, where his family graciously hosted us at their lake house.

saying goodbye, our last couple minutes at camp curtis – here’s roger by the fire on a rainy day

We had a great time indeed.  After we packed up and hit the road though, it was time to bring this show on down.  The whole point of our “road trip” across New York was moving, so as much as visiting was nice – we had to get to the moving part of the exercise. So we were off!

saying bye to my beautiful sister, i miss her already!

me, taking more pics of myself while duggs is telling me to get my crap in the car so we can go, go, go! (oops).

hey there aj, lookin’ good!

about to hit the road

My husband, Duggs, is now (happily! blissfully! excitedly!) a civilian, and has just gotten out of the USMC.  After dutifully serving a contract, we decided that we wanted to give life outside of the military a go.  So we sadly left gorgeous Hawaii and have embarked on a new life.

The military flew us to Matthew’s “home of record,” New York City (since he’s from Long Island).  And rather than pay all the extra money to add on a flight to Buffalo, we decided to take the chance to go visit family and take our time.  So we rented a car (an amazing, luxurious SUV – a Buick Enclave, a vehicle I would do anything to actually own, it’s the nicest ride I’ve ever been in, seriously!  except that I’m a hippie and I’m morally opposed to such massive gas guzzlers, of course)… so we rented a car and went to visit family.  First my husband’s people, all across Long Island.  Then my sister, who happened to have just moved to Upstate NY, outside of Albany.

From here, we had one last journey – about six hours of driving west to lovely Fredonia, NY – our new home.  So we hit the highway, and made our merry way to start a new chapter of our happy hippie lives.

i love the scenery of upstate new york!

we saw a lot of this on the six hour drive

and a lot of this too. pretty, but dreary too!

the sun setting over I-90

Duggs and I really had a nice time in the car together.  Books on tape, podcasts, music and chit chat passed the time nicely.  Not to mention all the scenery and the Dunkin Donuts stops (of course).

oh cute pooch, all snuggled down and being a good boy on the ride. finally, he chilled out and learned how to snooze in the car.

duggs at the wheel, off to buffalo we go!

i’m hanging out the passenger side of my best friend’s ride

So this was the last part of our “road trip,” with the destination being our new home! I’m actually here now, and we’ve spent the last five or so days getting moved in, settled in and what not.  I know I have a lot of posts to catch up on, pics to share and all that – so this week will be my catch-up week, with posts everyday from our new home and backtracking with photo posts from the road trip and our time visiting friends and family in New York.

Mostly I can say, life is good!  Hope to see y’all around this week and I hope to get into a good groove of writing now that we’re in one spot and plan to be here for quite some time.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

 

Aloha to Hawaii, I’ll Miss You So… Saying GoodBye In Photos

Aloha Beautiful Hawaii! 

aloha rainbow state!

good ole wackiness from my first ever trip to hawaii, back in 2009

Saying goodbye to paradise was harder than I thought it was going to be.  This next step of life is so exciting and wonderful, and trust me: I’m blessed, happy to be where I am physically, emotionally, and everything – this point in life is good.

honeymoon at turtle bay, an amazing time

Our life in Hawaii was extreme, we saw great times and faced challenges.  We reunited there after deployments, but it’s also the place from which we had to say good bye.  We spent sun kissed afternoons out on the water, luxurious days at Turtle Bay, fun evenings out and about… it’s where we said “I do,” and it’s where we found the apple of our eye – our sweet pooch JJ Duggan!

our wedding day

exchanging vows on kailua beach, we did our wedding our way and it was so perfect for us

me and the sweet lil’ pooch, oh i’m so glad we found him in hawaii

It’s also where I’ve battled some health issues, it’s where we suffered a great loss when we experienced our miscarriage, coping through a lonely and hard deployment that was tossed at us without much warning.  But through it all, we came out on top, our marriage was bonded tighter and stronger – so we’ll take with us the happy sunny sweet tropical memories and get ready for a clean slate as we wipe away and move past some of life’s tougher trials.

saying goodbye before a deployment

saying hello when he comes back home again! ahhh, the reunion kiss is always the best.

I’m excited to be in New York and starting this next phase of our lives.  We’re literally writing the first page of a new chapter.  Matthew is out of the Marine Corps and he’s now a civilian, we’ve left Hawaii and moved to New York.  We’re setting out on our own, together.  Duggs was already established in the USMC and living in Hawaii when I came out and joined him – this is a step we’re taking together, going through it all hand in hand.

So yes, I’m stoked to be here in New York…

But I’m going to genuinely miss Hawaii.  I just wanted to take a little post to reflect on the gorgeous aina paradise and really say Aloha.

aloha to paradise, i’ll miss the warm pacific oh so much

we had so much fun boating and out in the hawaiian sun – too much fun to be had every hawaiian day

Hawaii is the kind of place where everywhere you go, there’s an epic view and a breath-taking scene to just suck in and fill yourself with.  The lush mountains, rainbows, flowers, the amazing bright blue oceans and the warm buttery sun bathing all of us.  Hawaii really is this vibrant, happy, relaxed paradise and I am so incredibly blessed to have lived there and spent the time there I was able to.

horseback riding on the north shore, romantic and something i’ll never forget. a truly one of a kind experience.

this island is incredible, i could take a million pics and still wish i had more

When family and old friends came out to visit, we were able to have an awesome time with them in Hawaii – showing off our island home.  I made some amazing friends and connections in Hawaii, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay refreshed and renewed my faith and my love of Christ.

sky diving day in the fall of 2010 – duggs, me, anna (my sister), and brian (duggs’ all time bff)

hope chapel women’s retreat 2011 – arise and shine!

L.O.V.E. HCKB Women’s Retreat 2012

me and ashtan and her navy day ball!

haunted lagoon 2011 at the polynesian cultural center, with ashtan + me

girl’s hiking morning at makapuu lighthouse, while all of our hubbies were deployed we made the best of it!

hope chapel k-bay is where i so found my heart for God – this past christmas was so awesome, here i am in between mel and tami!

The military experience is one that we’ll always remember.  Me as a spouse and Duggs as a dutiful member of the United States Marine Corps.  His service is the whole reason we were ever in Hawaii.  Even though the USMC liked to throw wrenches in our plans all the time, I have the utmost respect for the branch and the military in general. I’m grateful for the hard and brave work those dedicated men and women do, and I’m so proud to be married to a man as nobel as a Marine.

our first usmc ball together, in 2010

I tried to pick a couple photos to sum up my amazing Hawaiian experience, the wonderful times I’ve spent in paradise.  And yeah, it was impossible.  So thus… here’s a crazy montage of pics as a way for me to say Aloha!

I’ll miss Hawaii so very much.  I hope that we’ll be able to visit again one day, and hopefully it won’t be too far in the future that we get to go back.  Until then, I’ll take my mainland life one day at a time and find new beautiful sights to oooh and aaah over, I’ll discover new favorite places and I’m sure Duggs and I will forge tons of new memories and create lots of new adventures, all with stories to tell.  But as we do, I take some little pieces of Hawaii with me always – the sea turtle tattoo I got on my first trip to the island, the wedding ring on my hand that will always make me think of Kailua’s soft sandy beach, and the thousands of memories forever etched into my heart.

Aloha Hawaii – I’ll love you always! 

pretty islands (photo credit here)

And to my readers, I thank you (as always) for reading! xoxo, hhr

Mold, Maggots, Moving, Medical Maladies and Miscellaneous Misadventures.

Man oh man! (is that enough alliteration for ya or what? wow! that’s impressive, even for me).

I actually drafted this post back before we even left Hawaii, and just didn’t have time to polish it, upload the pics and get it online.  But for the sake of continuity and explaining a little bit of what the heck happened to me (when I fell off the face of the blogging earth), I figured I’d go ahead with it anyways.  So keep in mind this here blog wraps up our last days and weeks in the beautiful tropical paradise of Oahu, a place I’ll always love and already miss dearly.

What happened to the rest of April 2012?  We were overcome…

Mold, Maggots, Moving, Medical Maladies, and even more Misc. Misadventures!

I really really thought I could keep up with the 30 Days of Blogging Honesty Challenge. I really really did… but clearly I did not.  (My last day was day 12, that’s hardly a noble effort.  Sheesh!)  And I’m bummed, and disappointed in myself. I’ll admit, sometimes I have a hard time finishing through with projects.  And I try really hard to manually get into my brain and change my ways, try to do better- but I’m human, and I long ago abandoned my perfectionist ways and the obscene pressure I used to put on myself to do everything to the letter; I’ve learned when to walk away, or ask for help, or admit I’m not hacking it. So as far as blogging diligently these days?  Keeping up the 30 Days challenge?  I’m so not hacking it.

I did not hack it!

Perhaps it’s a case of bad timing?  Most likely a case of taking on WAY TOO much at a time when I knew I shouldn’t have.  When real life gets super duper busy and something has to go – personal blogging and other just-for-fun hobbies have to get cut before working, or eating, or cleaning do.  So with everything we had juggling, the happy hippie rosieness I add to the Interwebs had to take a backseat (sadly).

A big thanks to the gang that let me play along for the meager days I did, and to all of those who read the entries and had fun with it all.  Here‘s where I found out about it all, over at the fab Tom Baker‘s blog. Maybe next year I’ll try again, and in the very least I have a lot of new blogs that I subscribe to now.  So that’s fun!

Before I get into the super gross stuff, I had better point out – April 17th was our SECOND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!

april 17, 2010 – the best day of my life

So Duggs took the day off, and so did I, and we both stepped away from the compies and the Interwebs and celebrated by spending a lovely, peaceful day together.  We had some lofty and fancy plans, and in the end just opted to relax and be together.  My Dad and Step-mom did gift us the edible arrangement (yummy!) and we got some very nice cards in the mail too.  So- for all the anny love, THANKS Y’ALL!

thanks viper and anna, it was soooo yummy!

We had a great anniversary, and we’re so very blessed to have spent two wonderful years of marriage.  Here’s to many, many, MANY more to come!!

Now,

Onto the gross:

MOLD

looks appetizing, yeah?

They really really did find mold in our house on base.  Oodles of it, gross stuff.  All kinds of colors and colonies.  At first they tried to lie about it and tell us it was dust.  But I’m no fool, no sir-ee, and I pushed and insisted to have them act as if it were mold.

What came of it?  A couple measly attempts to clean out our A/C ducts and not much else.  The sad part is that a new family will move into that very same house (they may already be in there now) and who even knows what can and will happen to them and their health.

a moldy air vent, lovely!

duggs has way better pics, way more documentation… but there are the ones i snapped the day the housing guy told me that our vents were just “dusty” and he didn’t see any mold.

Yes, they’re tearing the street of houses down sometime in 2013 and building fresh brand new ones.  But a year or so is still a long time to dwell in a poisonous death trap.  And who knows what other houses are full of what other kinds of spores and methods of slow respiratory suicide?

Ugh.

I’m really hoping that the longer I’m away from Bordelon Loop, the better I’ll feel.  I want my lungs to get rid of the gunk and the nastiness that’s embedded into my body.  I truly hope that both Duggs and I see some restored health in the near future.  What if all my face pain and ear ache troubles were mold caused from the jump?!  Getting a “cure” out of moving would be utterly epic.

MAGGOTS 

This wasn’t my first encounter with household maggots.  Sad, but true,  Exactly a year ago they plagued me and had me on the edge of my sanity.  There’s just something about maggots squirming all over my home that just horrifies me.  They’re just SO. DAMN. GROSS.

Gross = such a severe understatement.  I hate them!!

eww. eww. eww. eww. EWW!!!!

Now, we didn’t have a massive abundance of maggots crawling all over the place. It’s not like they were covering the walls and ceilings, etc.  But every day we’d find them… four, six, ten at a time and it seemed like each day there would more.  Always congregating in the same area of the house, but I was never able to find an exact source.  And talk about hard to kill. They so difficult.  You have to use bleach (which we were out of) or you have to literally squish them so hard they pop to death.

HOW EFFING NASTY IS THAT?!?!?!

If you just threw up in your mouth a little bit and never want to even ever read my blog again, I don’t even blame you.  That idea is so nasty to me I even hate myself for just typing it out.  Now imagine that I had to live it.

maggot vid of the super yucky crawly guy!

Last year when the maggots came, I prepped this whole crazy blog post about it all, complete with lots o’ pics.  And then, I decided not to post it.  With the use of bleach and hard work, sleepless nights and Carly’s steam cleaner I was able to combat the nasty crawlers in a few days… and well, I had just started my tie dye ‘biz and I was worried no one would want to buy a shirt from the maggot house.  I mean, rightfully so.  And Duggs hates people thinking that he has me living in squalor, it’s embarrassing.

from the 2011 invasion – they came in by the front door.

okay, so looking at this (another ’11 pic) i remember that last year’s batch was actually way way worse than this year’s. the 2011 influx just scarred me so badly, i’m now a huge weenie when it comes to maggots and i’m totally fearful and icked out and just can’t hardly handle them.

last year i had bleach on hand. come 2012, my hippie green ways have so evolved, i didn’t have any available.

same species this year and last, that’s for sure though

last year, i was all no-nonsense. i needed to re-find my old 2011 badassery for this year’s dilemma. i mean, actually… i was kinda badass in my own right after the first couple days. i got over the initial fear and started going rambo on those little bastards. i’m not all shrinking violet, ya know.

look at how tough i was a year ago (and tan, jeals!!), i’m gonna be this gal again!

But we keep an immaculately clean home, that’s just the tropics for you!  It has nothing to do with our cleanliness or hygiene, or the caliber of provider my wonderful husband is… it’s just Hawaii!

MOVING! 

At time of press I’m already in the great state of New York.  But managing such a big move isn’t just a hop, skip, and jump.  So during the last half of April (especially) our lives were really up-ended as the moving date got closer and we had more to do.

my final look at our pink house on the hawaiian hill – so many mixed emotions, so much joy and some really challenging times all went down within these walls. i’m excited to move forward because that’s the direction of life. but i’ll always have a special place for the first home i shared with my husband and all the experiences we shared there.

Shipping the dog = getting his health certified, shots and records updated, making sure his crate is the right kind and all good to go.

Shipping the car = special letter from Honda since it’s a leased vehicle, getting it all cleaned and properly prepped to go, not to mention having to turn it in so we didn’t even have a whip to get ourselves around.

Shipping the goods = movers came and packed, so at least that part is taken care of.  But there’s still lots to plan and accomodate, lots of organizing to do.

there’s all of our worldly stuffs, all packed and crated up

good bye goods, see you in ny!

Prepping the house = painting, cleaning, fixing, mowing.  Just getting the mold, maggot, rat, ant, spider, infested death trap into suitable condition to turn in the keys was such a joke.  The place was such a mess! And yet they had us spit shine the whole place top to bottom as if we were turning over the taj mahal. sheesh!

duggs, the wonderful good man he is, did most of the painting

when i say “most,” i mean like 95% of the painting… i helped do the first coat in a room and a half… he did all the rest + all the final coats on his own

i don’t think duggs slept for two weeks straight with all the prep we had to do to move

Taking care of getting all my meds refilled and stocked, getting in all my last appointments and securing records.  It’s this kind of stuff that you don’t even think of!

what’s a goodbye tour of o’ahu without a trip to good ole tripler army hospital? hahaha. oh, of course.

duggs and i at the pharmacy together, a task we’ve done so many, many times together… and this one was our last

Not to mention planning work, finances, arrangements, figuring out where to go and how we’re getting each step of the way… etc. etc. etc.  There’s a lot that goes into such a move.  Especially considering that Duggs is transitioning from military to civilian.  Not only are we changing continents (kinda) and location, climate, and timezone – but our lifestyle is totally changing in so many ways too!

Duggs had epic amounts of paperwork to do, signatures to get and all kinds of running around to make sure we were all squared away.  Once the packers came and nabbed all of our stuffs, we moved to a hotel 30-40mins away from base (based on traffic) and that’s when things got even wackier!

Limited and low quality Internet, limited access to anything, me and pooch living in a tiny room.  And oh the horror… no more cable! No DVR! I can’t even continue discussing the hardships I endured.

(I’m being sarcastic.  Other than being in a nosy, weird part of town with the pool closed for repairs and the Internet super craptastic, it was perfectly fine.  The staff was lovely and I had a nice enough time.  And pooch-friendly!  Who can ask for more?!?!).

But seriously, what’s a move if nothing goes wrong and all goes smooth?

-Duggs got in a fender-bender, won’t get into the details here – but as it all worked out, we REALLY lucked out on all the technicalities of that one, although for a day or so it was a huge source of stress.  Thank God no one was hurt!

-The shipping company didn’t take the car the first time we went to go ship it – some mess about having wheel locks on and not having the key available to take them off (the key got packed when the movers packed up the house, oopsies!).   So figuring that out made us sweat a bit.  A lot a bit.

adios honda! see ya in new jersey, sooner hopefully than later!

ahh, the thrills and good times we had here.

-The prescriptions for my final day of med pick ups were all messed up, and thankfully we were able to sort it out, but the day we left we spent three hours un-doing that whole mess.    Driving around to the pharmacy and the doctor’s, cabs and all kinds of stuff.  Oy! Mess!

-We had so much packing to do, we were cramming it all into our bags right up until the last minute possible…

jj standing guard over all the crazy mess that we had to pack up. yikes! (we unpacked it all, so that we could re-do the most efficient packing job possible).

When Duggs went to give JJ a quick bath, and the hotel room’s bathroom door malfunctioned, and locked JJ in the bathroom!  Thankfully the tub wasn’t plugged (although the water was running, and it was such an awful waste).  We had maintenance come as quickly as they could and try to break open the door, but since something was broken with the knob and lock, it took them like 15 minutes to bust him out.  Poor guy was so scared – and poor us, so stressed having all this go on while our flight count-down was ticking right in our face.  We didn’t have time to burn!

the crazy bathroom door that self-locked and trapped poor jayjers in there all alone

if you look to the left you can see the pooch in there. i layed on the floor and he put his nose under the crack and sniffed me, gave me little smooches. he gets so scared so easily, i had to go wait with him and stand a vigil.

the maintenance guy who came to free our pooch!

I’m sure more went wrong, it felt like at the time that everything was going out of control.  But then we made it… we made it to the gate, we boarded the plane (the last ones on), JJ made it too, we all got to NY safe and sound and in one piece and well, that’s all we could even ask for.

Moving can be such a colossal pain in the bum, but starting a new chapter of life is such an amazing experience.  It’s so cool to get to start something fresh with Duggs and set out into together and see what will come and figure our way together.

Medical Maladies

Sickness. Yes, I have been violently ill.  AGAIN.  This time it was a stomach bug.  Luckily for me, it hit me the hardest right on moving day and I was rendered useless while trying to pack our house and get everything together to move from Hawaii to New York.  Perfect timing, right? I was vomming and so sick to my stomach I could hardly move.  THANK GOD it has let up the past few days and I’m cautiously optimistic about referring to myself as “feeling better.”  (I wrote this part from the hotel in Hawaii, on one of the last days of April – at the time of press I can tell you that my stomach bug totally cleared up and I’m feeling much better on that front, but of course since traveling to NY I’ve picked up new germs, a new cold, and I’ve had a dreadful sore throat and head aches!  It’s just been back to back to back illness for me, it’s been awful!  I’ve had a “cold” or a “bug” almost nonstop the past two month.  What’s up with that?!?!)

my dear sweet neighbor made me this super delicious soup earlier in the month when i had a dreadful respiratory infection. how kind of her! thank you amber, i’ll miss having such a sweetheart neighbor!!

Back in April when I had the tummy bug, oh man there were some awful awful days though… like, I don’t remember feeling that ill during chemo, honestly. HUGE thank you to everyone who checked in and sent love + prayers + well wishes.  Many, many thanks!

my first attempt at “food” after a couple fierce days of stomach bug

Besides my health, life has just been nutty!

Misc. Misadventures! 

Work is nuts.  Life is nuts.  Leaving Hawaii and the USMC and our lives as we knew it and starting totally anew is nuts…

But it’s nutty in a hectic way as well as a great, wonderful way.  I’ve taken lots of pics during our trip so far and I’m excited to share with y’all the wonderful time we’ve had so far.  I’ve been the recipient of so many well wishes and love, and it’s been such a delight to have a loud and great cheering section, encouraging us along every step of the way.  On some of our bonkiest, most stressful days – getting an uplifting and happy message just meant so much.

The zany crazy days of April are behind us now, and embracing this new life has been an activity sought with zeal.

I’ll wrap up this April Hawaiian catch up by saying this…

Spending our last Hawaiian day in a busy blur, we had so much going on.  I took a minute to chronicle (because of course, I love chronicling as much as I can) and here’s what I pecked out right before we had to pack up the compy:

What can go wrong, will go wrong. Murphy’s Law, right?  It’s so all over this move.  But as it does, Duggs and i just keep repeating our marriage’s mantra: we can get through anything together.  And really, we can. Done: car is shipped. Meds have been (finally) picked up after an uber crazy pharmacy-Tripler ordeal of running around. Rental car is donezo and out of our hands.  House is packed up.  Snacks and sudoku have been purchased.  Movies have been downloaded to mobile devices.  All we have to-do now is finish packing up this hotel room and we’re outta here.  It feels like a lot to do, but after all we’ve been through in the past few weeks – painting, sickness, the maggots, the mold, paperwork hiccups, so much running around, pooch getting a boo boo on his arm – we’ve been through it all together, as we can anything.

And as we get through it, we come out with smiles and funny stories to tell.  So long as I have that Duggs to hold my hand, I’m not intimidated by all this wackiness and manic messiness that’s been our lives as of late.

So now, I’m off to shove some clothes into my suitcases and make that flight!

after saying such sweet sappiness, i had to post a couple pics of me and my duggs being mushy… so here are some that i’ve never posted online, they happen to be from st. patty’s

oh i love this man with all my heart!

The way it all worked out we’ve been able to go on a New York state road trip and spend some much-needed time with family and friends.  Our tour de loved ones has thus far been amazing, and we still haven’t even made it to the Buffalo-area yet – where there’s so much family left to reunite with!

a strange mid-sentence snapshot of me and the duggs being lunatics in the rental whip, riding around new york! stand by for more of our moving antics to come…

As always, thanks for reading!  I’m glad to have made this big ole long post and hopefully it’s been a way to catch everyone up and give somewhat of an explanation for my weeks of no-showing.

We’re still on the road and in the midst of the moving process – so I’m not sure when I’ll be in a place to start posting regularly again.  But I sure do hope its soon.  I love working on HHR and I so do love each and every reader who takes the time to follow my ramblings and see what’s been going on and what we’ve been up to.

When I sign off each post with “thanks for reading,” please know that I truly mean it.  So thanks for standing by and thanks for your patience with all the shuffling we’ve been experiencing lately.

And really: thanks for reading!! 

xoxo, hhr

Ringing in 2012

Happy New Year, everyone!

i found this random image, but it could be hawaii!

After the whirlwind and chaos of Christmas, the Duggs and I had a totally chill and awesome New Year’s weekend.  He surprised me with plans and a dinner rez, and it was just an awesome, quiet, cozy way for us to re-set, refresh and get ready to face a brand new year.

First, we went boating!  On Friday of the long weekend, we took out a Boston Whaler and went boating out on K-bay.

leaving the wake behind us like it's 2011. (is that cheesy enough?)

It was so sunny when we first went out, a totally gorgeous day.

 

i heart k-bay, and the 360 pretty views

Being out in the sun, swimming, playing with the pooch (because it was low tide and he could gallop/prance around like an antelope) – it was all so calming.  I’m so ocean-oriented, that just being out on the water seems to always cure what ails me.

It was just the antithesis of Christmas-craziness, and it felt so good.

When we got home, a bouquet of flowers was waiting for me! Thank you, Duggs, you’re such a thoughtful husband.

special delivery

The next night, New Year’s Eve, we went out to Roy’s in Waikiki.  They had a set menu, with special fare just for New Years and it was SO. GOOD.  Just amazing.  We ate crab, lobster, freshly baked lavosh, I had butterfish and mahi for my entre, Duggs had lamb, and for dessert they had fresh strawberry malasadas, strawberry mochi balls with sweet basil ice cream in the middle, and ginger soda with champagne sorbet floats.  I mean, it was so good. I love food.

Oh.  AND they had funny hats and tiaras for everyone to wear.  It was so cute! We had such a nice time on our dinner date, talking about our favorite 2011 moments.

After dinner, we headed over to The Tanner’s house, where some people were celebrating.  We literally walked in the door at 11:58, and just made the countdown!  I shared a happy New Year’s smooch with Duggs, and we had a toast with a ton of pals!

It was an awesome weekend.  HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

 

as always, thanks for reading! oxox, hhr

my 11 best of 2011

This past weekend Duggs and I have spent so much time going back and forth, asking each other: “what were your top moments of 2011?”  We tried to make a top ten list, but it was harder than you’d think.

What events were more significant than others?  What meant the most to us or had the most impact?

A lot happened this year.  Matthew and I were reunited after a seven-month deployment.  I grew my hair out long.  I tie dyed more garments than I could even count, and we hiked, climbed, swam and crawled all over this island.  2011 was a busy, crazy, strange year.   And here’s the best of it:

My Best of 2011

i LOVE those sun rays

I hope it goes without saying that certain things are the best in my life, regardless of the year, entities like my pooch, my family, my friends, etc.  So this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive of everything I’ve ever loved in 2011… it’s just the highlight reel of things that happened this year: 

1. Matthew’s Homecoming!

welcome home, my love!!!

Duggs came home from Afghanistan.  He came back, safe and sound, from his third and final combat deployment with the U.S. Marine Corps.  Homecoming was totes my favorite event of the year.  Having Matthew back here with me is just beyond words.

best. feeling. ever.

2. This Here Blog: happy hippie rose dot com

I started this here blog, yes! The very one you’re reading!  It’s been a very fun project, a constant in my life that I’ve really come to look forward to.   I enjoy this blog.

And more than any of my feelings – I LOVE when something I’ve written helps someone else, makes another person feel better, or informs someone.  The lovely feedback has just been so inspiring.

2011 hasn’t been an easy-peasy year; during the challenges and hard times (mostly talking about my health here) having a reader reach out and tell me what nice things they’ve gleaned from what I have to say – pushes me to get through it, to carry on, and to do so with a smile.  So, to everyone reading, commenting and being a part of this: THANK YOU!!!

3.  I got a job! 

This just came to be very recently, but it totally counts as a best of the year!  I am so grateful and happy.  I’ve been entrusted with this amazing opportunity and I hope to work really hard and to do a great job.

(If you want to check out who I’m working for, go here: http://www.icucmoderation.com  Just remember, this is my personal blog, and anything I say is just my opinion and nothing to do with ICUC.)

4.  Baptism (and Church in general) 

I was Baptised this year, in September, at Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay.  It wa s decision that I stand by (Catholic family members reading this can speak to me one-on-one, I love you and I’ll always be Catholic-by-birth).   Waiting for Matthew to get home, and wanting his support: September was the perfect month.  Matthew took pics and participated by being there, watching, and praying with all of us, his love on that day meant a lot to me.

Being Baptized as an adult is a really public way to declare my faith, and to just go big with it!  A highlight of the year is certainly Hope Chapel, and the level of faith I’ve exercised in general.  From Women’s Retreat to teaching at Children’s Church, to just attending service with my husband every Sunday, Church has been a solid and wonderful aspect of 2011.

Giving back, community service, helping others, and kindness have been such outward reaches of the church, that we’ve found ourselves really doing good in 2011; many of the projects we participated in were church-related.

Baptism is that symbol of being part of the church, and I am so happy and glad for that.  Praise God!!

5. The Holidays

For the first time ever, Matthew and I were able to celebrate the entire run of holidays together.  From Halloween straight to New Year’s.   Being together made the holidays so much fun.  We both love Christmas, and this year we were able to get so into it and go nuts with decorating, and cards and just everything.

happy new year!!

Sharing that New Year’s Kiss was so wonderful, too. Half of 2011 was spent in deployment mode, me alone in Hawaii and Duggs all the way in Afghan.  Kissing that all away and starting a fresh new together year, was just amazing.

6. The Tanners!

Did you think I’d leave our Hawaiian besties out of the list?  This past year we’ve really grown close to the Tanners, and we’ve made so many fun memories with them.  From the Navy Day Ball to boating out on K-bay, crafting nights with Ashley and watching Jed and Duggs be utterly ridiculous together, we love the Tanners!  Thanks for so much fun in ’11.

bailey and jj, BFFs

this is not drunk knife throwing

duggs and jed

me and ashley

7. Tie Dye Business! 

me, hard at work

Yeah, this year brought into being my little homespun tie dye business.  There’s been a lot to learn, and it’s also been a lot of fun.  I’m not sure what the future of hhr is, as of now.  Regardless, it brought purpose, focus, creativity, and ingenuity to my 2011.  To all my customers, I am so thankful for your support!

Want to check it out?  www.facebook.com/happyhippierose

8. Family Visting

This year saw a lot of our family members out here in Hawaii.  First came my Dad and Stepmom.  A couple weeks later, my Mom came out to see us.  In the fall,. Matthew’s Aunt Anne and Uncle Jeff were out here for business, and we were able to spend some time with them.

my stepmom and dad, cheers!

matthew with my mom (kathy)

aunt anne and uncle jeff out to lunch at the shack

matthew with his aunt anne, on k-bay

Being so far away from family is hard.

So seeing those familier faces in the baggage claim was such a joy.  During their trips we were able to see so much of this island by playing tour guide, it was like being on vacation ourselves!

9. My Birthday

Duggs says that my birthday was a highlight of 2011 for him.  That he loved buying me presents and making the day (heck, the weekend) so special for me.  It was our first time being together on my birthday!  So I know that it was special.

I gave a tithing Testimony at church the weekend of my birthday.  So, in that respect, my birthday was a very important day to me too!!

10. HAWAII 

ahhh, amazing

Just being here is a constant amazement.  This is really the most beautiful place of earth.  All year long we explored, hiked, swam in the warm waters, and sighed at the neon sunsets.  I love living here, and I am forever grateful to have spent 2011 on gorgeous O’ahu!

the view from turtle bay

yeah, turtle bay is gorgeous

aloha!

When we leave, Hawaii will carry such a special place in my heart for a long time to come.

11. Overcoming

I was going to put climbing Stairway To Heaven as one of my highlights.  I mean, it was totally a highlight!  An achievement, for sure.

But there were a lot of metaphorical stairways to climb this year, and I’m proud to say I reached the top, or damn near close, of most of them.  With Duggs holding my hand, the climb is always easier.  And once at the top, the view, spectacular.

trigger point injections, my favorite way to spend a day

grrr, i AM tough!

Pushing through and overcoming the tough stuff is the sort of thing that builds character, and gives me that resolution to dig in and overcome the next time ’round.  You only become strong through opportunities that require strength.

2011 has been amazing in it’s own ways.  But it’s a year I’m glad to see behind me.  I’m so stoked for 2012 and all that it may hold!

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

post-thanksgiving catch up

Hi everyone!!  I’m here, I’m doing okay.  Let me catch everyone up on the holidays, my health, and just my overall happyhippiness.

I’ve missed you dear bloggy-readers, (all seven of you, ha).  To those who’ve missed me and checked in on me, thank you.  And to those who just read, I’m thankful for you too!  (((hugs)))

Today’s post is a long one, but I think it’s a real gem.  Enjoy!

Post-Thanksgiving Catch Up

Thanksgiving!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving.

Duggs and I woke up, put on the parade and got to cooking, baking and smooching.  Yeah. We smooch a lot. I love watching the parade, just so I can get all annoyed at it’s cheesiness and weirdness, it’s so so so commercialized it’s just like a two mile long inflatable advertisement.  Bee tee dubs, when I just wrote advertisement, I totes pronounced it the Brirtish way in my head, so please do so while reading.  It’s much more sophisticated.  Ad-vert-is-ment.

Moving along…  So ole Duggs and I baked and cooked, and it was fun.  Christmas music was playing and I was just so happy.  I LOVE the holidays.  I miss my family, but to celebrate the entire holiday season with my husband: amazing!! what a gift!!

We spent the day with some great friends, here on base.  The Tanners (of course, we heart the Tanners so hard!), our friend Chiffon came and our friend Dana. So six people total.  Luckily, we cooked for about thirty, so the leftovers abounded! Score!

me and ole stinky duggs at thanksgiving dinner and he made a weird face to ruin my photo. thanks a lot duggs.

duggs and his man-friend, jed, at turkey day

the spread of amazing food. such a bountiful feast.

ashley was kind enough to purchase special doggie thanksgiving dinners for the pooches. they went totally nuts. it was great!

dana and chiffon were our other guests. this isn't a great photo bc chiffon isn't looking, but i didn't want to leave them out of my recap!

On Being Thankful

I have so much to be thankful for now. It would take up shifty-five blog posts to even list it all.  I try so hard to focus my daily prayer on thanksgiving year-round.  This season is a great opportunity to reflect on our blessings, to immerse in gratefulness for what we already have.

Also coming along with this season: the temptation to want want want, to shop, to desire things.  The temptation to become materialistic is immense.   In order to shop for others, we see many other things we want.  I’m going to write another blog about gift-giving and my process and etc.

But to summarize the concept of being thankful on Thanksgiving: I am.

  • Thank you God, for life, for your Grace, for everything.
  • Thank you family, thank you friends, for your love.  I need you all so much.
  • Thank you kind strangers, the little random angels that were at the right place at the right time to just get me through.
  • Thank you people who have allowed me to learn, facilitated the improvement of my health, offered me comfort.
  • Thank you United States Marine Corps for training my husband, bringing hom home safely, for putting a roof over our heads and food in our bellies, for taking care of our medical needs.
  • Thank you Hawaii for being beautiful.
  • Thank you church family for loving me, fostering my faith, giving me chances to love on my community and do good works, teach children, help those in need.
  • Thank you tie dye customers for your support and belief in me.
  • Thank you Cletus, for teaching me a special kind of love I never knew.  I miss you greatly  and severely.
  • Thank you JJ, how would I have ever survived this year without you?
  • Thank you Matthew Duggan, your relentless love, patience, care, charm, wit, strength, protection and devotion keep me alive in every literal and metaphorical way. I love you so much.
  • I am so thankful for TV, giggles, my warm and safe home, snacks, cold clean water, hot clean water, the Bible, Scentsy warmers, baked goods, art, music, I could go on and on and on…

Catching Up

So after Thanksgiving, we spent Saturday watching the MICHIGAN/ohiostateblah game at my pal Trish’s house.  Since the game came on at 7:00am here, we had a breakfast party!

trish and me on gameday

a rather sassy photo of me with like one third of duggs back there.

Thanksgiving weekend was a mix of awesomeness and awfulness.

Awesome, because Duggs got a 96 from work (four days off!).  I really wanted to hike one day, maybe snorkel. The weather wasn’t suited for it though, it was rainy and dreary most of the time.  I prefer exploring Hawaii on super sunny days!

It was awful because of how I was feeling.  My ear and thus my face/under-eye-area/cheekbone all started hurting.  All the plans we had for the long weekend were dumped and we spent the whole time, sans Thanksgiving Day and the Michigan game, planted in front of the TV.   We actually went on a huge movie streak and I did some Christmas-crafts, card designing, and present planning.

So… I just had to take it easy.  Rest.  Lay down.  All of which I really don’t care for.  I’m a mover and a shaker, a dancer and prancer.  I was in a lot of pain, and just really not doing well.

On Sunday night I got ambitious.  I know know know I’m not supposed to so much as touch a drop of alcohol.  And while I don’t really mind being dry, every now and then I just miss it.  That missing it has become harder around the holidays.  Spiced wine.  Eggnog. New Year’s champagne.  I cannot partake in any of it and it’s bumming me out.

Sunday night I told Duggs that I wanted to try some wine.

Sweet Duggs went out and picked up a bottle of red.  A nice pinot noir.  I had about half a glass, was enjoying it.  Then bam! All of a sudden it hit me and it was all over from there.  My throat was burning.  My tongue, swelling.  I was getting hot and clammy and I was so incredibly nauseous I couldn’t move.  We busted out the saltines and ginger ale, and I just held on.  We prayed. We prayed so hard.  And eventually, it came to pass.

Because of the porphyria, my liver just cannot metabolize ETOH like a normal liver could or would.   My doctor suggested it may have been the red wine, and that if I’d like, I can try something different.  However, that risk of feeling  acutely crappy is pretty impressive.  I felt MISERABLE.  Like, downright awful.

On Monday morning, I woke up feeling better.  I went on a decorating and cleaning rampage.  I gave this house the deepest cleaning I have since Homecoming!  I was on hand and knee scrubbing out every nook and cranny.  This place is sparkling. Seriously.

look at the shine off that floor! and this was taken a day later, even.

I cleaned so hard I was sore the next day and I chipped my nail polish, *gasp*, the horror, I know.  Don’t worry, I fixed them on Tuesday.  Monday night I started slowing down and the pain started creeping back.   I assume I pushed myself a bit too hard on Monday.

i stole this idea from my friend trish and i think it's so cute. i'll opine on gift wrap at a later time.

kitchen table, set for xmas

Tuesday.  I woke up feeling okay again.  My ear was hurting a bit, but I decided to push through and go for a run.  Post-workout I felt amazing!  Runner’s high, endorphines, it’s all good and they really do make me feel better.  It’s natural pain relief.

i fixed the nails i chipped on monday

After lunch my friend Lynnie called, and as we were chatting I decorated the Christmas Tree, lights, ornaments and all.  I’m so proud that I cranked it out in like two hours!  I had a lovely catch-up with my darling pal (thanks for calling, Lynn, I love you!).

this year's tree!

my fav ornament, courtesy of my friend krista! LOVE!

winnie-a-pooh (how i used to say it, so it's my family name for sweet ole winnie)

i like my own reflection in the ornaments. sigh. my vanity is an issue i need to work on.

Then… it hit me.  A wave of pain came over me that was so incredible all I could was just lay on the couch and text. I was texting Duggs explicatives.  We discussed going to the E.R.  I didn’t know what to do.

I realized my super tight sports bra was still on from my run.  The straps pull hard on my shoulder, which then trigger neck and ear pain.  It sounds weak, or maybe bizarre.  But this whole area of my body is so tender, inflamed, wacky, that even a simple touch like a shoulder squeeze can set me off into barrels of pain.  Hours of uber tight sports bra = crazy amounts of ouch.

I just layed out on the couch.  I cried.  I packed myself with ice. And I just hoped and hoped it would go away.

here i am, tuesday late afternoon, icing and praying ... laying in the worst pain it's been in a long time.

It was bad.  We (Duggs and I) discussed going to the E.R.  My two main docs are both out on holiday leave though, and I so hate to go to the ER blind, without someone who knows the particulars of my case to be there to help out.  (And that’s not snotty… someone unfamiliar with porphyria could accidentally make me super ill, or even kill me; also, explaining my whole medical history takes an hour, the meds I’m on are staggering and I hate explaining them all, and I just get stressed out dealing with new hands in the mix – which I know is inevitable – but it is what it is).

Tuesday evening I felt the worst, strongest, most direct pain I’d felt in a long, long time.  I could have sworn an ice pick was being jabbed into my ear and going through to my cheekbone and under my eye. Just miserable.  I couldn’t concentrate, think, do anything.

I decided to stay home, to ride it out.   I posted this on FB the next day:

it’s been a really rough week/ten days. i was miserable on thanksgiving – but i was having such a nice time with my friends – i didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. the whole long weekend was ROUGH. it’s just been crappy lately.

i’m staying positive and optimistic, and my faith is really getting me through. my lovely amazing husband helps a lot too ♥

but, i’m being honest: it’s been rough. i’m not well, and i’m not sure what we’ll try next, what there is to try next. all my docs are on holiday leave till next week =(

….

[thank you miles!!] i know i’m known for being so cheerful and upbeat, but there comes a time when i have to just be honest and admit that’s it’s been harder than i make it seem.

something HAS to give, i just know it. God has brought me through many many challenges before, and i just know He’ll do it again. and through every struggle i’ve endured, amazing good has come from it. so my hubs and i just keep examining and seeking… looking for the good that will come out of this, the lessons we can learn, the path this is leading us down. and well, we have ideas, but we’re still in the weeds. hindsight is always 20/20, so once we’re out of this, i’m sure we’ll have gained much from it. it’s just no fun going through it!

…it’s tough. but when bad things happen, when times get rough, He pulls me out and dusts me off and shows me some good that has come of it. even cancer.

loss is hard to understand. death, pain, suffering…

but i trust Him. that was my prayer last night. i was literally ailing, just tears rolling down my face from the pain and the anguish and frustration of being in so much pain for so long. and i just prayed, “i trust You. now, get me through this, please.”

so we’ll see. cancer made me a better person, times a million. i was just rotten beforehand. mean, bitchy, bitter, jealous, etc. cancer slowed me down, gave me appreciation – made me NICE. i’m tellin ya… i wasn’t always sugary sweet.

Wednesday was much better.  Still in pain, but it was calming down.  I was starting to rope it in and get ahead of it.

hi, wednesday morning!

I worked on some crafts, took it easy, and just tried to focus on feeling good and calm, asking peace into my body.  Inviting Grace to just come in and soothe.  And it started working a little bit. Thank God.

a cup of tea is oh so nice.

Wednesday afternoon Duggs and I had doctor’s appointments and errands.  During and afterwards my ear was just aching.

my fun outfit for rainy cool wednesday

We came home and had a veg out night, and I just had to ice and take it easy.  It’s just been a rocky road lately.

Thursday. 

Today is Thursday.  I woke up feeling alright and I’m trying to be productive.  I’m doing lots of chores, working on a romantical surprise for Duggs, sprinkling some more Christmas flavor around the house.

this me and the pooch right now. hi!

I have a lot I want to talk about, but I don’t want to have this textual diarrhea and blurt it all out in an unthoughtful manner.  I need to write and edit before I post.  I’m thinking about opening up the floodgates to some feelings I’ve been plastering in for a while.

Losing my health is something worth grieving.  I’ve been really emotional lately whenever I think of past memories that highlight my vitality and strength, like my English Channel Expedition, for example.   On a related note, I actually went swimming recently and I was so slow.  It left me sad and longing for when I was quick, sure of my physical self, toned and in shape.

But, it’s not a total wash. Not by a long shot.  I’m still so very able-bodied and well in many many ways.  I must keep that in mind, be grateful for the many parts that do work, and the oddles of things I can do.

On the worst of days, this medical malady of mine is debilitating. Sure.  But I have okay days, good days and wonderful days on which I’m able to do quite a lot.

I have no idea how I could maintain a work schedule while I’m in this condition.  My docs don’t consider me stable enough to work, and it’s hard taking criticism from people for not having a job.  It’s been really hurting my feelings lately.  I WISH I was working right now, I WISH I was doing what a normal, healthy person of my age would be doing.

Similarly, we want to start a family soon.  But with my meds, it is out of the question.  And there’s no end in sight.  I have no idea, no clue, how long I’ll be on these meds or when something will work.  Family planning is 100% on hold now.  And after the miscarriage, it’s hard to have zero clue when we can try again.  It’s very painful, and I don’t think many people realize how that feels.

So yeah, I have more to say, but I want to say it carefully and tactfully.  In the meantime, at least I’ve come this far in opening up my vulnerability and being honest about what’s really going on.  I am happy, and positive, optimistic.  I do smile.  But I also cringe and cry, I worry and I get upset.  I feel loss and sadness, and most often: physical pain.  There’s two sides to this whole thing, and I think I can show both now.

As always – thank you for reading !! xoxo, hhr 

P.S.  I totally have so many blog posts I’m just dying to type out and put up! More fun stuff, less heavy stuff, too.  Like: Holiday craft and gift ideas, more cruelty-free product reviews! Christmas tie dye, Making your own giftwrap (a fave of mine for years now!), etc.  I want to post about giving, and what orgs Duggs and I are giving to this year.  So, I’ll try and get back on a more regular blogging schedule, I mean it.

i like balls

I like balls, Military Balls that is!

If you’re still thinking dirty (I mean, my husband is a Marine so I see where you could be going with this):  I’m talking about Military Birthday Balls! 

My hubs and I have had a busy Ball Season, attending a Navy Day Ball last month and his unit’s Marine Corps Birthday Ball this month.  We had a good time at both events, but for very different reasons.

The Navy Day Ball was at Turtle Bay, a beautiful and epic venue with amazing views and such good food.  We were also there with our great friends, the Tanners, and we stayed the night in the resort.  We just let loose and had so much fun.

The USMC Ball was nice, too.  It was our last one, ever, so it was a landmark event.  The venue wasn’t nearly as nice as the Navy Ball… the food not nearly as good, and there wasn’t any birthday cake at all. Ugh.  We didn’t stay all night and dance or party down, we just basically came for the ceremony and the dinner.  But, that said, we still had a nice evening and got all dressed up and enjoyed being out and together.

So here’s a random mishmash of ball pics, enjoy!

 

happy hippie birthday to me!

On July third I celebrated my twenty-eighth birthday.  It was one of my very best birthdays to date!

happy bday to me!

Last weekend as a whole was just great.  

Church Stuff:  Friday night and Sunday morning I was blessed by being able to share a testimony at Church, live!   I’d never gotten up and done anything like this before in my life: publicly talking about my faith on a microphone, sharing my personal life and beliefs with others like that, talking about our family finances.  But the story that prompted me to give the testimony was too good not to share.  A real God Story.

My hubs came with me on Sunday, and like a real champ he went to both services with me.  He also recorded me.  You can check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja_xf6w_VK4

Or you can go to my church’s archive page and check it out there: http://www.hopechapel.com/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID=1000053339  on this one, i’m about 35 mins into the 3-Jul-2011, 8am service.   If you feel like watching sermons, watch the Sunday 10am service.  It was an epic epic sermon.

screen shot of my testimony

making faces and flossing my iphone = totally standard.

Getting up and telling my lil’ story was just an honor.  I feel like it was a special birthday present from God.  And it’s a super rad story!!

Leisure Times With My Duggs: My hubby and I also got some nice beach time this weekend.  Being Active Duty military, he had a “96” to celebrate the holiday:  a 96-hour period off work to enjoy the long holiday weekend.  Having him home and getting to spend some laid back time with him was just perfect and awesome, we needed some time like that.  We cooked together. relaxed, worked out, went to the beach, etc etc etc.  Luxurious!

i heart peace and the beach and sunshiny happy days

ole boring stinky duggs reads and gets burnt

I dyed my hair black!  WOO!  My natural hair color is like dirty blond, I think.  For the past year I’ve refrained from putting any color in my hair to see what it would do.  It’s gotten soooo light, it’s been fun.  But I dig contrast.  I love having either dark dark hair or white blonde platinum hair.  Which is weird, because I don’t do a lot of makeup and really look done up.   But I like fun hair.

So anyways, I went back to black.  I had a box of dye that was collecting dust, so I just used it!

dying my hair on the back porch

Oh the food!!!!!!

I’m probably addicted to food.  As soon as I’m eating, I start worrying and wondering what my next meal will be.  I think about food all the time.  So for my birthday, all I asked for was some snuggling on the couch with my boo and some really good food.  And, because I’m spoiled rotten, I got both!

We ate at Koa Pancake House on my birthday morning!!  I love that place.  We had banana pancakes, pork vinha d’alhos, eggs, fried rice.  Oh yum.  It was just Duggs and I, and it was a cute date.  I love breakfast dates.

my birthday breakfast

crazy duggs, eating some eggs n stuff

This is the first birthday of mine that I’ve ever spent with Duggs.  That made it so special and wonderful.  My heart is just all full and bursting, ya know?  It was so nice to have a happy birthday with him!  I’m all mushy and sappy for my Duggs.  What a great guy, I really am the luckiest gal in the universe.

He made me pineapple upside-down cake from scratch with fresh pineapple.  Then some lovely friends came over, and we had a DIY Sushi party!  Duggs made an amazing spread of hors d’ouvres to snack on, fried panko shrimp, and he cut and prepped a kajillion things to go into sushi rolls.

my birthday cakes that duggs made me

nom nom nom... i heart the homemade sushi

chef duggs!

Duggs took some cute pics of me opening my presents, but I don’t have them.  And I was just flooded with emails, FB posts, calls, cards, texts, etc.  I just felt so much love from so many people!  So to everyone who was friendly and gave me some b-day love: thank you so much!  Y’all made me feel so happy and special.

All in all, it was just a lovely weekend and one of my happiest birthdays to date.  That husband of mine sure did good this year!