Please answer the following questions even if they make you feel slightly uncomfortable and awkward. This is all in the name of future generations and posterity.
Since we last talked, you have amassed even more nicknames. Of the following, which do you think describes you best? Squiddzen Squiddlebutt Squiddz Squiddzy Betty Boop Betty Lou Malena
Squiddzy Why's that? 'Cause it's spi-cay. Which is the least appropriate?
Malena. I have never been called that in my life. It obviously was not meant for me.
I've heard you have strong feelings about the name Betty Boop. Do you have any comments?
It makes my blood boil. Notice the alliteration? Betty Boop makes my blood boil.
(We have to pause the interview because the interviewee just ran outside to look for the neighbors dog. I get the feeling she's not taking this very seriously.)
Why did you just leave in the middle of our interview? You're interviewing skills are slightly lacking. Because I saw Chief!!!!!! But don't you remember that this is for posterity? I know, Sarah! big grin Well, laughter is the best medicine and if posterity wants to have me, I need to go out and laugh with Chief.
How are you enjoying your stay with your (most favorite) sister? I already answered that question! No, you didn't. I didn't ask that question yet. It's been miraculous and life-changing! Would you care to elaborate? Because I never stood on a bureau before and flipped onto a bed. WHAT!?!?! That was life changing! Could you share any thoughts on your favorite brother-in-law? My favorite brother in law? He's big. And strong! And he says, 'bay-bee.'
(She is now laying on the floor waving her feet in the air while talking with a very weird accent.)
Tell us about the drive up here. There was a lot of music of questionable nature. The driving was not too safe. But there was gum, so it was good. Do you have any expectations about your stay at our lovely abode? My expectations are set very high. Very, very high. I have yet to experience the jacuzzi and the wine, but I'm hoping my excellent behavior will get me to that point. You do realize that we don't have a jacuzzi here, right? Yeap. But I'm expecting you to get one.
(I was just informed that the waving of her feet in the air and getting herself stuck in the stool is called Erratic Acrobatics-Be Moved.)
What do you see yourself doing in five years? That's a weighty question. Saving the world by supper time. I think the Powerpuff Girls already saved the world by supper time Oh, then I am going to develop an unsend button for emails and text messages to save innumerable rocky relationships. Do you have any other lofty goals for your life? I am going to invent the hoodie-footie that has rainboots attached so you can go out in the rain in it. Christopher and I might go puddle jumping next time it rains. Oh really? Then you can use my hoodie-footie! Wait, five years? How old will that make me? 30? 40? Do you remember that you're only 17? Now I do. Why do you have so many doors in your house? Who is the interviewer here? I'm wondering why you have so many doors! Because we have a lot of doorways that need doors. Because what goes in must go out?
Moving on. What is the best movie or tv show you've seen recently? Ice Road Truckers. Oh my gosh, that is so intense. This one time, they went down the road and it was NOT EVEN SLIPPERY and they slipped. And then they said, "bleep,bleep,bleep". Is there a lot of bleeping on that show? Very much bleeping. Do you ever CRY during movies? Always. I get very emotionally attached. What type of movie really gets the waterworks going? The kind of movie that plays music. And the kind where the dog runs across the field from one side and the boy runs across from the other side and they meet in the middle. That always gets me going. Also America's Funniest Home Videos. Why does AFHV make you cry? Aren't you supposed to laugh at that show? It's just heart-wrenching when everyone gets hurt. It is indeed. Maybe that's what I'll do in my next five years. What? Put all the guys pants back on that get pulled off by dogs in AFHV. WHY are the people in the nude always the people you don't want to see in the nude?
Would you rather be a picture frame or a clock? Picture frame. So I could square my shoulders. Would you rather be a Windows computer or a Mac? Apple. No! Windows! No! I don't know! You might not be my sister if you pick Apple. Ok, then I pick Windows because when God closes a Mac He opens a Window!
That leads very nicely into our next question. What type of advice would you give Andrew's new baby if she was born today? Never type in the dark because bad things happens. What comes out can be very awkward. Hard work never killed anybody, but why take the chance? Never grow up to be like Nancy Pelosi. What do you think her name will be? Addy. Really? Well, that's what I named her. I think it might be Andrea. Really? Love the name Andrea! Why do you think that? Because Andrew has said for years and years that he likes that name. What type of uncle do you think Aaron will be? Um. The silent type.
Is there anything else you'd like to put out there for posterity before we conclude this interview. Any parting words? Anything you'd like to be remembered for? Doing sing-alongs in the car bonds people faster than peanut butter and jelly bonds a sandwich.
And there we have it- Squiddzen's/Squiddlebutt's/Betty Boop's/Squiddzy's words for posterity.
This weekend we drove down to the baby shower honoring these two big people...
...and this little person, scheduled to arrive at the end of next month.
Christopher and I gave them a diaper cake. I made the cake, and he picked the shoes to go on top. It a good thing he choose because we might still be standing in the baby shoe department if I was deciding. I become completely helpless when looking at the cuteness of baby shoes.
Instead of playing typical baby shower games, we each brought and decorated a bib or onesie. Molly did the very pink one on the right. Elizabeth did the one with all the words in the bottom row because she believes her niece will be born a philosopher. I decorated the pink Red Sox onesie. We've got to start her life off on the right foot!
Speaking of Molly, here she is with Alyssa while Debbie was opening gifts.
Her internal batteries are still very charged and her vocal chords are still in fine shape.
Debbie, Carol, and Grandma surveying the showery scene. Our cousin Shana is having a baby around Christmas time, so Grandma will have two great-grandchildren by the end of the year. She's finally beginning to fit in with all her Great- Grandmother friends.
We took Elizabeth, whom we so affectionately call Squiddzen, home with us for the week. She and the various bags, water bottles, and sunglass occupied the back seat.
Humphrey the elephant preferred to sit on Christopher's shoulder as his copilot.
Humphrey's cuteness is the only thing that keeps me from getting jealous about not being chosen as copilot. The fact I was not chosen to sit on Christopher's shoulder is another matter.
One thing I always wanted to do at my wedding was release butterflies. I had been so worried that it would be raining or too cold for the butterflies to fly, but God gave us a sunny day so we were able to do it! I ordered 3 dozen butterflies so everyone in the wedding, as well as some guests, were able to open one of the little envelopes with a butterfly inside.
I love this picture of Grandpa with his butterfly.
Some of the butterflies didn't make it, but a lot of them did. The kids especially loved opening their envelopes.
Zachary's butterfly stuck around for the longest. We carefully passed it from person to person so a few of us were able to hold it. Keri has some nice pictures of it on my bouquet.
Logan the ring bearer with his butterfly. The ultimate fate of that butterfly was less than happy, but he had fun while it lasted. ;)
The first email from Christopher came on July 21st, and between then and August we wrote, wrote, wrote. We had computers and keyboards and we knew how to use them. Then Mr. #54 announced that upon coming home, he would have a month off and would we like to meet? That statement initiated the following actions:
1. call Autumn (obviously)
2. reply that yes, that would be nice but only if some of my family came too (I am ALL about safety.)
3. tell my father that I had been emailing some man I met on the internet through a blog (pause in the conversation to fully explain what a blog is) and that he was thinking of coming to our neck of the woods to meet me. That was one interesting conversation.
4. send more emails back and forth about when and where and the like
5. Dad (who was still slightly shocked) and Christopher talk on the phone
6. Sarah and Christopher talk on the phone. As far as phone calls go, it was quite lengthy. I believe it was somewhere near 2 hours long.
At the appointed time on August 23rd, we meet at an art museum. (This would be a good time to point out that I had no clue what Christopher looked like. There were pictures in the post Stephanie wrote, but I didn't store them in my memory to pull out at a later time. I didn't want to ask for a picture, and since his profile picture on Facebook was a drawing and not of him, I had no other choice but to pray that he was not old, fat, and bald. I don't know if I've ever been so relieved in my life to see what another human being looked like.) Mom and the twins came with me to the museum which was good because I was so shy I barely said anything the whole day. Mom and Elizabeth talked to him more than I did. According to Christopher, I only said 15 words but that is a total exaggeration. I said at least 18. It's not that I was bored or anything, I just was very shy and the pressure was a little intense. One thing I regret about that day is not taking a picture with him. My brain said, "What if you marry him someday? Won't you want a picture of your first meeting?", but the rest of me said "I'm not going to tell him I want a picture! He might think that's weird!" I now wish I had taken a picture of our first meeting because obviously we did get married. Apparently my complete charm made up for my complete lack of words because as we sat in a little Buddha meditating room at the museum, we discussed his next visit. Elizabeth informed me in an intense conversation that evening that "you need to talk more next time or YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE HIM!!!!!!!!!!", so I made sure to open my mouth more for visit #2.
When I told Christopher I was going to write this and asked him if there was anything in specific that he would like me to include, he said to mention his little green book. In his little green book, he writes his plans and goals for life (as well as grocery lists and recipes, both of which are good to plan). According to him, he left the museum and went straight to his L.G.B. and rearranged his life to include me. I felt very honored upon hearing that.
The second time Christopher came to visit, he brought me not only a silver necklace with a dove on it, but an invitation to accompany him to a military ball. I may have seemed very calm on the outside, but let me tell you, there was nothing calm on the inside. A few weeks later, Mom and I flew up to New York for the ball. Here we are dressed in our finest:
And later that same trip:
On December 10th, I took my first real train ride up to visit Christopher. When I reached my destination, he handed me a fancy button that he just so happened to have in his pocket. He had started calling me Button a few months before so I assumed that's why he was giving me a button. I did think it was a little odd that he "just so happened" to have a fancy button in his coat pocket, but he periodically does things that are a little odd. As we drove from the train station to the hotel and on to the restaurant, he kept handing me more and more buttons. Once we were seated, I started making little flowers and butterflies on the table with the buttons because I am very sophisticated and klassy at fancy restaurants. By then I figured out that he had quite a supply in his pocket so I started making requests for certain colors and sizes. Around this time, he dumped a handful of buttons on the table and went to find the restroom. Upon his return, he placed 15 buttons on the table in a very specific order to spell a very special question:
And this is what I said:
Christopher made a very sweet little speech as well, but sadly I don't remember any of it. A lady sitting at another table was watching us, and all I could see over Christopher's shoulder as he spoke was her facial expression changing. She was too stunned to even drink her wine. It was fascinating to see how surprised she was that a proposal was happening right in front of her, but unfortunately it was also a little distracting.
So that's how we came to look like this on Aril 29th, 2011 (yes, we DO realize it was the same day as the prince and Kate!):
Just for the record, I'd like to state that I no longer have any problems talking to him. It's a definite fact that I say many more than 15 words every single day.
You may be wondering (especially if you're here from Kelly's Korner) how Christopher and I went from this:
and ended up like this:
It's a long story that will be made even longer due to my inability to tell a short story. (So 2,678 words into this, don't say I didn't warn you.)
Sometime at the beginning of last July, Autumn and I had one of our many conversations about the lack of acceptable young men in world. Not that they weren't there, we just felt they must not be in our neck of the United States (or possibly all of the western hemisphere). We discussed creating a website dedicated to any and all young men we thought would be acceptable for our single lady friends. A list of sorts. Because we like to take other peoples relationships into our own hands. You can imagine the great delight it brought to my heart when a list of no less than 174 single people was started on Kelly's blog. I immediately contacted Autumn because it was EXACTLY what we had been talking about. We spent a good part of the next two days messaging back and forth about how #73 would be good for so and so and DID YOU SEE NUMBER 12?! We were all levels of excited. We thought all we were doing was finding somebody for other people and that was all, but it turns out a whole lot more was about to happen.
About a week later, I was going through a most unfortunate phase at bedtime called Lie in Bed For Hours Without Sleeping. It was during this time that I received an email from an unknown person named Stephanie. I almost deleted the email because I assumed it was probably just another sob story from a poor person in Indonesia looking for a job and $150,000. Then I realized the subject line said "Kellys Korner SUYL" and I got very intrigued. I opened it to find that it was from a lady named Stephanie who had put her brother Christopher up on The List. He was number 54 to be precise. Apparently I had commented on what she wrote, and here she was telling me that her brother might possibly email me. She told me he had degrees in history, religion, and had gradated from culinary school. I believe the proper word to describe how I felt at the moment was SHOCKED. I had absolutely no recollection of what I may have said and because the post had been taken down (Stephanie put it up without asking which is something Autumn and I totally approve of), I couldn't go back and find it. I was on all sorts of pins and needles the next day. Our plan had been to find that special someone for other people, and OH MY GOODNESS what did I say?? Of course I immediately contacted Autumn and you know what she did? Screamed and giggled. That was her response to finding out that some strange man from the internet might email her best friend.
We did not have to wait long to find out if the might possibly email would appear because during the next night of Lie Without Sleeping, when I was in the middle of watching Emma, I received an email from someone named Christoper who was writing from the other side of the world. It was a very long email. It revealed that he was deployed to Iraq, that his sister had put him on The List in a "spontaneous solution for boredom", and that he had spent "the last hour and a half reading a pink webpage covered with flowers, buttons, and an unusual amount of wedding pictures."
I assure you that had I not been lying down, I would have fallen over. (If you think I went to sleep after that, you are WRONG. There was no sleep in my future.)
The next day (after an emergency meeting with the screaming, giggling one), I wrote back some sort of small, not-very-creative email followed up by a longer one in which I said I was going to a Civil War ball and that I'm penpals with George and Barbara Bush. (I don't know what made me say that part. Was I trying to be an impressive name-dropper?) I also said, "I'm known to use lots of !!!" How true that is.
And so began my correspondence with Christopher.
Part the second coming soon to a computer near you.
Christopher and I recently had a version of the following conversation while standing near the bureau in our bedroom:
Christopher: "I have basically given up hope of having any kind of manly decorations in this house." Sarah: "What are you taking about? I don't mind if you put up something manly!" (It's worth noting he doesn't possess many decorations, "manly" or otherwise. We don't exactly have many deer heads up on the wall.) Christopher: "Look at this bureau. There's a picture frame, two music boxes, a teddy bear, another picture frame, and a candle. There's nothing manly about that." Sarah: "Yes, there is! There's a little military bear!! He's VERY manly!" Christopher: "And what about 'little bear' says manly?" Sarah: rolls her eyes
the military bear in question
I'd like to point out that the bureau we were discussing is my bureau, not his. I have no objection to him decorating his bureau as he sees fit(as long as it passes my inspection, of course). At present, the only decoration on his bureau is a clothes hanger and quite frankly, I don't see what's so manly about that.
In his spare time, Christopher listens to all sorts of extremely educational podcasts by professors discussing the Civil War, Critical Reasoning for Beginners, Game Theory and the History of Art Patrons. I, on the other hand, have been known to listen to episodes 1-19 of The BigBoo Castin consecutive order while I work. It's not that I don't like to be educated, it's just that the need to know if Melanie ever found her turquoise shirt or how Sophie plans on spending her weekend sometimes out-weights the need for me to learn about game theory. (I do have my own game theory, by the way: if I don't like or understand the game, I try not to play it. It is a theory that has withstood the test of time.)
I made a very astute observation the other day: the house will be neat and tidy from Monday morningall the way until around 6:30 Friday night, when there is a dramatic change. I'm not naming any names here, but one of us is home all day Monday through Friday and the other spends the most time at home from around 6:30 Friday night through Monday morning.
Today is the 6th birthday of one of my VERY favorite little people, Molly McButter!!!
She brings so much joy, laughter, and LOUD into our lives.
I have a stuffed elephant named Humphrey that Molly absolutely loves, so we bought and mailed her her own elephant as a gift. She named her new elephant (below) Stuffy, and Carol said she's very attached to it.
Today Christopher got me my very own brand-new uniform and I went to work with him for the Spouse Spur Ride. Here we are looking all cute before things got a little messy.
These are our friends Steve and Kayla.
Kayla and I had only met briefly once before, but we made it our personal mission to do everything together. Apparently it was also our personal mission to have our picture taken at each and every possible moment.
After getting dressed in our husbands' gear, they put camouflage paint on our faces.
Here's the impressive high-tech board which outlined what was to happen during the obstacle course. The man explaining it pointed to each station as he spoke with an equally impressive and high-tech stick.
Our first obstical was to climb up and down one side of the rope wall.
We then carried a sandbag over three walls...
...and walked across the low balance beam.
Here we are walking across the first set of tires. Don't our sneakers just look oh so professional?
After the tires, we walked across the high elevated balance beam. At the end of the beam was a wall approximately 42 feet tall over which I went with an ease that would make Superman jealous. Or maybe it was 8 feet tall and Christopher had to push me up and I kind of tumbled over to the other side.
It was after walking over more tires that things really started to get interesting. We were given more sandbags and told to roll them in front of us as we crawled under the ropes through the mud. The problem was that Christopher's helmet is slightly large and kept falling over my eyes so I really had no idea where I was in relation to the end of the mud pit. That explains why I kept right on crawling and rolling even after I was out.
Before we reached the end of the course, we walked in a zig-zag pattern and crawled through two small tunnels. We somehow missed the memo that we were supposed to carry the sandbags while we walked zig-zaggily which makes a whole ton more sense.
And then we had to run and dive on our stomachs into a bigger mud pit.
From the obstacle course we drove in some sort of tan Army vehicle (I don't remember its name) to, and Kayla and I were VERY excited about this part, the machine guns and Humvee. Please note the way we're holding the rounds. We were quite laid back about the whole string of bullets* thing. If we had been given more, we probably would have started laying them on top of our heads or possibly even wearing them like scarves.
*they were blanks
We each took turns riding in the front and shooting the gun from the turret. Men were shooting at us from the woods and we were told to shot back. There was a small misunderstanding when I mistakenly shot at the lady videoing us because I thought she had a gun and I was trying to get her first. That's probably why I'm not a real soldier- I can't tell the difference between a gun and a video camera.
Here we are in the tan army vehicle with our friend Rachel. We decided that while our uniforms were immensely cool, they weren't pretty, hence the daisies. (I think that last sentence is another reason why we're not real soldiers.)
What you see below is photographic evidence of the great K & S team assembling a gun in under two minutes. Granted, it was only in four pieces but who's counting? Certainly not us.
With all the shooting experience from our time in the Humvee under our belts, we got to shoot guns again. The video lady was notably absent from the vicinity.
At last, after great effort, blood, sweat and tears (and a lot of "WHY CAN WE ONLY DO THIS ONCE A YEAR? We want to do it again next week!" coming from two unnamed participants), we earned our spurs. All the wives lined up and the husbands pined them on our collars.
So that's what I did today. Tumbled over walls, wore paint on my face, shot guns.
Army wife, mother, borrower of all the cute children I come across, laugh-er at very inopportune moments, and matchmaker. I am an excessive user of commas, parentheses, italicizing, and exclamation marks. I'm proud to say I can hang a spoon from my nose. Clearly my talents are just endless.