Tag Archive | Afghanistan

The Birthday Boy


Today is my husband’s birthday. He hates having extra attention lavished on him so I figured I’d better write a blog post about it, right? Last year his birthday was just one day in a very long list of days that we were thousands of miles apart, so simply being together this year is a great gift for both of us.

Although he’s off spending his birthday at work, we did kick start the morning with cards, a little gift from me and the hippo (although really, isn’t the hippo gift enough?!), and breakfast at our local cupcake bakery where the owner treated B to his chocolate cake donut and coffee. Yum. Tonight a dinner surprise awaits him and in a few days we will continue the celebration over buttery croissants and other delicacies while enjoying our babymoon in Quebec.

In our day to day lives, it’s often difficult to take the time and really appreciate the most precious people in our lives. This morning I have to say that I couldn’t ask to be spending my life — and making a new life — with a more loyal, loving, and considerate man. Happiest of birthday darling!

This picture may be a repeat from last year’s birthday post, but it’s just too cute! Hubby is, of course, the shirtless one sticking his hand in the cake…


Mini Monday: The Crazy Continues

As we enter Day 5 of the shutdown (or Day 7 if you count the weekend), I continue to embrace the positive side of this unplanned (perhaps unpaid) vacation my hubby has been forced to take. Here’s why: it’s been almost a year since he left to spend 8 months working in Afghanistan and apart from two weeks in Dec/Jan and our fabulous Turkey/Greece trip in April we spent about 7 of those 8 months apart.

While we both survived the distance, we learned that seven months is a very long time.

When he came back to DC this summer, he arrived on Friday morning and on Monday returned to his usual routine — heading to rowing practice at 4:45 am and work after that. So in the midst of this government turmoil at least we have the opportunity to spend time (a lot of time) together. And because he was home nearly all of last week to do projects around the house, we spent the weekend just hanging out — playing board games, watching Netflix, and eating too many desserts. While not as grand as sipping cappuccinos in Samos, Greece, like we did during our lazy spring days together, we had a wonderful weekend.

So on one hand we are both anxious for the furlough to end so he can get back to work — he was supposed to travel to Germany yesterday for meetings and that, of course, didn’t happen. Combine that with our upcoming major house renovations and the thought that he may not be paid for weeks on end isn’t exactly appealing. But I realize that worrying about it won’t change the outcome, so this morning I’m raising my iced mocha to toast this chance for togetherness.

Mini Monday: Miscellaneous Musings


It seemed like a busy weekend, but looking ahead we can’t count on enjoying a lazy weekend at home until November, so I suppose Saturday and Sunday weren’t anywhere near as hectic as the upcoming weekends are going to be! The highlight of the past weekend was attending a college friend’s wedding on Saturday evening. The setting was beautiful, the food was delicious and, most importantly, the bride and groom were head over heels in love from start to finish.

But a new week is underway and I appear to be battling the onset of a summer cold. My plan for fighting it is mostly just to ignore it and get a lot of sleep. We’ll see how that goes. So this morning instead of thinking about my scratchy throat, I’m trying to focus on the things that are making me smile and the list is long:

• My husband made blueberry pancakes for breakfast — yum! (I ate them too fast to snap a picture.)

• While I was out running my errands I took advantage of a “free iced coffee every Monday for 6 weeks” deal at Dunkin Donuts and, even more exciting, discovered that the pumpkin donuts are already back.

• We are trying to be frugal this fall because of our upcoming home renovations, but while I was at Trader Joe’s I couldn’t stop myself from spending $7 on this mixed bouquet and these Gerber Daisies. They went so well together and are brightening up the living room as I type!

• Speaking of the living room, we re-arranged the space a bit yesterday and rolled up the boring and stained rug we bought when we moved in to put down a carpet that my husband brought home from Afghanistan. We also replaced the hand-me-down runner in our entry hall with an Afghan piece. I’m trying to get used to walking on them because I’m nervous I might ruin them, but what’s the point of having a memento if you can’t enjoy it?

• And last, but not least, our fall garden seems to be coming along nicely. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we will have as abundant of a haul of cucumbers and sugar snap peas as we did in the spring/summer. I’m also trying green beans (again) because they were a total flop this summer. Speaking of the summer, our tomato plants all appear to be getting a second wind which is exciting. I brought in a small bowl of cherry tomatoes this morning and each of the larger plants have a new batch of green fruit on the vines. Here’s hoping that when they start to turn we can get to them before the birds/squirrels do!

Mini Monday: Better Late Than Never


After a long day of jury duty (which turned into a long week of jury duty) I was pleasantly surprised to find this postcard in our mailbox. My husband sent it from Afghanistan on June 10 and in the message wondered what would arrive home first — his gorilla box, the postcard, or him? I can honestly say that neither of us would have bet that the postcard would be the last thing to make it to DC. Now I am left wondering if this postcard has been on an amazing adventure for the past 2.5 months or just fell into a crack somewhere and was just discovered? I’m hoping it got to go on an around-the-world tour before landing at home.

Doggie Day Care


It’s been about a year since we found ourselves with a dog in the house. In late 2011 we started fostering for a local lab rescue and have hosted 9 furry friends looking for a furever home over about 10 months. Some super fab pups resided in our abode (remember Ian and his dog socks? or Princess Honey and all her pudgy rolls?) and some more, er… challenging guests stayed as well (Black Bart and Timmy were more along these lines). But when my hubby found out he was going to Afghanistan for 8 months and I knew I’d be doing a lot of travel during the time he was away, we had to put fostering on hiatus.

Now that he is back we are getting ready to start some major home renovations and fostering remains on hold, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have doggie guests before the work begins! This weekend my dear old friend Bo is staying while his mom and dad are on vacation. I’ve always joked that the dogs are my “interns,” but so far Bo isn’t working very hard. Although he did keep an eye on the neighborhood for a bit this morning, I’m happy to report he is finally napping.


In the next few weeks we have two more doggie friends coming to stay — Shiloh, a Yellow Labrador and also a repeat customer, and Bella, a Golden Retriever who will be staying with us for the first time. It’s nice to have a dog in the house again even if it means that in less then 24 hours all of the floors are covered in fur and drool.

Mini Monday: Whirlwind Weekend

We spent a long weekend California where we celebrated my birthday, America’s birthday and — the real reason behind our visit — a family wedding. Arriving late last Tuesday and heading back to DC even later last night, the past few days have been packed with family, food, and adventures.

We were able to spend the first few days in our hometown, catching up with our parents and extended family members. My parent’s dog, Bonnie, was particularly glad that my husband is back from Afghanistan. She just couldn’t get enough snuggles, despite the temperature topping more than 100 degrees when we were there.

The final 2.5 days of our visit we were in the Bay Area where we attended a rehearsal dinner, the wedding and a post-wedding breakfast. We also managed to wander on the beach in Half Moon Bay (where we saw some frolicking labs) and do some sightseeing in San Francisco. Despite how much was packed into 5ish days, everything went pretty smoothly.


The terrible plane crash at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday morning impacted our travel slightly, delaying our flight back to DC on Sunday evening about 2 hours, so instead of taking off at 11:30 pm we were on our way about 1:30 am. All things considered we had a safe flight and had nothing to complain about. This morning we were certainly rushing to get  ready and start our delayed work days though.

Not surprisingly, this afternoon I am pretty wiped out, but I wanted to share a few pictures from the wedding. The location, Kohl Manor, and all of the details were exquisite. From the bright flowers to the tasty desserts and unique cake toppers to the bride’s dress and the groom’s purple sneakers, it was obvious that the couple wanted to make sure the wedding reflected their personalities.


As a special treat, the centerpiece at each table was given to the person whose birthday was the closest to the wedding day and since my birthday was on the wedding day, I was able to enjoy the pink and purple blooms interspersed with fragrant rosemary for an extra day (and I lugged the vase back to DC for future use). My hubby and I got a kick out of our trips to the photo booth and enjoyed our time on the dance floor, but most importantly the bride and groom were over the moon in love — who could ask for anything more?

Home Improvement Surprise


My husband had not been inside our house since January 3 when he arrived home on June 21. That was 169 days for me to ruin everything, burn the house to the ground, create a massive mountain of dirty dishes… basically it was a lot of time for any number of things to go wrong.

Thankfully I — and the house — survived the long separation without any major damage. In fact, I wanted to surprise my husband by improving some of our space while he was away.

First a friend helped me clean and organize the closet in my office and at the same time we completely cleared out the small extra room. But that wasn’t much of a surprise to my hubby since I had blogged about it, allowing him to see the pictures of the improved space.

What he didn’t know was the next weekend the same fabulous friend came back and helped me repaint our bathroom, changing it from the very vibrant blue it has been since 2009 to a lovely new shade called Bavarian Cream. We also hung a piece of my mom’s art, adding a splash of color. These two projects combined with the bathtub refinishing that happened in February and it seems like we have a new space! (Ignoring the 80-year-old tile and terrible Home Depot vanity…)

Needless to say he was surprised (and pleased) with the new look when he walked into our bathroom for the first time in 6.5 months.