Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Leave

Ryan was able to have 2 weeks off from the Army for Christmas. So far we have done some fun things but nothing too extravagate. But here are something's we have done.
I had a great idea (or so I thought) to get tickets for a train ride near Boise since Ryan's favorite Christmas movie is the Polar Express. Now I have always wanted to ride this train anyways cause it can be seen from the highway on your way into Boise up in the mountains along the river. I was all excited and Ryan seemed excited too. So I booked what they called the North Pole Express where Santa will be on board and all that jazz. 
Now the train is really neat and they had it all decorated pretty inside, so I figured this would be a great ride. would be a fun ride with little kids or for little kids. I figured the train would be going up in the mountains like I thought but it didn't. It just drove to a place in a middle of a field, oh sorry the North Pole, and everyone got out and the kids sat on Santa's lap and got cookies and milk. Granted it was fun seeing all the little kids but Ryan and I just stayed on the train once we got to the "North Pole". It was windy and really there was NO snow at all so it didn't feel very Christmassy.
Granted there was a Holiday Dinner I could of booked but I thought maybe it would seem more like the Polar Express but it fell a little short. But we did have fun, I guess we had too high of expectations.
But since we were close to Boise( the train was in Horseshoe Bend, which is 30 mins. away) we went over the hill and saw Ryan's family. We were able to see Ryan's grandpa Bill which he lives in Twin Falls and drives Semi so we aren't able to see him often. Also went and saw Ryan's grandma where his little cousins Maddie and Porter live. Maddie is 4 and Porter is 2 and this was the first time we met Porter. Maddie was sure happy to see us though.
After the train ride we came back over and stayed the night at Ryan's mom's house. The next morning we decided since we were in the Snake River Valley we would drive over to Twin Falls/Kimberly and see Ryan's grandpa Bill again and his great grandparents. His great Aunt Donna was there from Wells, Nevada so we got to visit with her also. Ryan hadn't see her since he was 4! Ryan was thrilled cause his grandpa passed down his shotgun to him that he bought when he was 14 years old so that was in 1955. Over all it was a pretty good trip. Just went all over the state of Idaho though.
Once being home we just did some little Christmas stuff here and there. We made gingerbread houses.
Went and looked at Christmas lights.
And on Christmas eve we went to my grandparent's house, like every year, where my aunt Robin and uncle John, cousins (Jason, Justin, Jennifer, and Jen's husband Alan), parents, one of my brothers(David), and my cousins' kids(Harley-2 and Stetson-4) opened presents from the grandparents. We roasted but that's part of the tradition of going to Grandma's house on Christmas Eve.
The next morning we opened our presents. Ryan was so worried I wasn't going to like my present from him. 
I don't know, a laptop is nothing special really. Just kidding I was shocked.
Than we went to my Aunt Robin's for Christmas dinner. This time Jen, Alan, Stetson, Harley, Jason, Justin, Justin's little girl Halley-7 months, my cousins' great grandma Esther, and my parents went. This was the first time we met Halley. She is such a doll! Big blue eyes.
But we ate and than watched the kids being pulled around on the four-wheeler sledding. They didn't stay out very long due to it being cold.
But it wasn't a too exciting Christmas. Still have a week left of Ryan being home so not sure what all we are going to do. Plan on sledding and maybe going to Salmon for a movie but really I'm just glad he is home and I really don't care if we sit on our butts the whole time. :)


I can't believe the year 2012 is already coming to an end. Looking back so much has happened and really it seems like yesterday.
Granted we lived in Challis the entire year, which if it was up to me that would be different. But as of right now I am thankful for it due to Ryan joining the Army. He had talked about it for years(since High School) about joining but this year he actually did it.
My feels on it? Well I'm a little mixed on it still. Starting to come around better on it being a better idea. Still don't like the fact that if he makes Special Forces, correction WHEN he makes Special Forces, I won't know where he is going and for how long. That part will drive me crazy.
Ryan walked into the recruiting station in March and ever since our life's changed. Yeah at the time between March and September it didn't seem like a lot changed but it did. Ryan already at that point had to start the physical aspect of what the Army would bring. Of course no problem for him. :D
September 23rd though was the day that everything really changed. Ryan left that day to go to Basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia. Now I figured I would be a complete mess once he left but surprisingly I did okay. Just okay. I did have my break downs but for the most part better than I even thought I would do. Granted this was the first time that Ryan and I had been away from each other so an extended period of time. The longest before was only 2 weeks if that.
On November 20th my mom and myself flew down to Georgia to see Ryan over a Family Day pass that the Army allowed. Let me tell you I was one happy girl to see him. After the trip I had getting there, there was nothing better to be getting a hug from Ryan. Flying from Boise, Idaho to Minneapolis, Minnesota was no problem. Flying from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Atlanta, Georgia no problem. It was finding our way around leaving the airport that made the trip HORRIBLE! And when I say horrible, I mean it. I knew we needed to get on the interstate to Columbus which is a 2 hour drive from Atlanta. So being that it was close I figured it would easy to find like it is in Idaho. WRONG! Plenty of signs saying the interstate number but none, and I mean none of them say what direction. That means I have no idea which way is going East, West, North or South. I needed South.
So I take a turn looking like we can get to the interstate. Okay we get on the interstate. Wrong direction. Okay no problem we can just get off on the next exit and turn around right, WRONG! NO the exits in Georgia are not like the ones here in Idaho or any other State near Idaho. When you exit you cannot get right back on the opposite direction, it takes you WAY off from the interstate. So needless to say we got lost. For 2 hours!!! we stopped by the first gas station we saw to ask for directions. Asked the store clerk but he was obviously from India and didn't speak clear English so tried our best at his directions, didn't work. Stopped by the next gas station, there was a long line so we asked a gentleman at the slot machine. He was black and obviously born and raised in the south cause his accent was very thick so he was very hard to understand. Asked if we knew where such and such place was, No. Okay do you know where such and such place is, again No. So he told us to go over the hill and make a left at Burger King. Okay easy enough, so we go over the hill and there's a McDonald's and a Wendy's but no Burger King. So we make a left at Wendy's. Still seem a little off course so we stop at yet another gas station. Now the gas stations in Georgia are very different than the ones around here also. All the clerks are behind plexi glass. Makes you feel like your in such a great neighborhood. Anyways this next gas station you couldn't even go into the building. So again there was another long line of people at the clerk but there was a man in military uniform like Ryan's so we asked him to get to Columbus. Another thing about asking how to get to Columbus, everyone seemed like it was on another planet! They look at you like they have never heard of the place. I mean I know Atlanta is large but don't you people ever leave.
But back on subject, this gentleman in uniform did know directions but he was the hardest one yet to understand. But at this point we(my mom and I) learned for us to both listen very carefully and we have a better chance of decoding what these people are saying. We actually weren't too far off at that point. So we made it on the interstate, in the RIGHT direction. Talk about scary though especially when a black woman yells at you to be safe when your in a neighborhood that seems like the hood.
We than have to drive the 2 hours drive to Columbus and didn't actually get there until 2:30am when our plane landed in Atlanta at 10:45pm. It was fun let me tell you.
So the next day which would be Nov. 21st was torture for me. we weren't able to pick Ryan up from Base until 6:00pm. Talk about a very long day. So Fort Benning is really only 15 mins. from Columbus but being excited we left 2-1 1/2 hours early. And let me tell you another good thing we did. Fort Benning is a large Base and of course......we got lost.
Like any military base you have to go thru the gate and show you ID. No problem so we drive looking for the road we need. Thought I was on the right road but I come up on another gate, thinking oh crap I'm leaving Benning. So I turn around. Plus I also forgot the paper with the exact address on it at the Hotel. So I text Zach if he can get me the address again. He calls me and try's to give me directions thru the phone via GPS, wasn't working. So I said screw it drive to the closes gate and ask the guard. Turns out I was on the corrected road and the gate I came to was to go onto another part of the Base called Sand Hill which is where Ryan is. We finally got to where we needed to 20 mins. before we were suppose to get a briefing to get Ryan. Needless to say when I go back to Georgia I will have a GPS of my own in my suitcase.

After the little mishaps though it was really great to see Ryan just short lived. We had time with him from 6:00pm of the Nov. 21st to 8:00pm on Nov. 23rd. It was so hard to have to say goodbye to him again.
He actually really likes being in the Army though. I figured he would and be pretty good at it also. Which he is doing well. He shot expert for his marksmanship. He was thrilled. He also is a team leader in his platoon. Other than being homesick he is kicking butt!!!

But enough about Army(even though that's mainly our life now). Obviously other things have happened besides our trip to Georgia and Ryan being in Basic Training.
All I do is work, work, work. Well not as of resent. I was working at the Village Square grocery store the whole year up until this December. I left for personal reasons but will be starting a new job at the other grocery store in town once Ryan goes back to Training after his Christmas leave.

We still have our puppy dog Axle. He took it way harder than I did when Ryan left. He sat and stared at the front door every night for about a month. Broke my heart. But now he could care less that Ryan is home. Lol.
This year has not been a good year for our cats though. We started out the year with 14 cats(I think) and now we are at 8. Granted Button did have a litter in there of 4 that we gave away so I didn't count them. We started with Aries, Button, Bulls Eye, Skunk, Zombie, Juliet, Gabby, Sissy, Tiny, Gremlin, Ity Bity, Baby Girl, and 2 others we never named. Skunk was the first to go missing, followed by Aries and the 2 no named cats. Ity Bity was killed by one of our dogs and Button was hit by a car. Not a good year at all. We still have a cat farm though.
I'm actually very excited for the new year and to see all the new adventures it has in store for Ryan and myself. So far we now that Ryan will go back to training on the 4th of Jan. and he will have 3 weeks left of AIT and than he has his graduation. Once he is done with his grad. he will go onto Airborne training, which he is excited for, which will be 3 weeks. After that he goes into SOPC which is 3-6weeks and will be really, really hard I guess. But I know he will do just fine. Than after SOPC he goes into the 3 weeks of Special Forces selection. Once they decide if Ryan makes the cut the first time we will be shipping out to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. But what we have found out already, things can change very easily in the Army. So here's looking forward to 2013!!!