Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Longest 30 Hours

Monday morning, my 21-year-old, mildly autistic brother Richard was missing from his bed. He didn't mention to anyone that he might be leaving. All we knew was that we said goodnight at 10pm and he wasn't in his bed at 6am. As far as we knew, something terrible could have happened.

There were police officers, detectives, inspectors, bloodhounds, helicopters, guys searching through our whole house, including my room. A dozen police cars in our street. Questions asked again and again. It would have all been very exciting if it wasn't so terrifying. As it started to get dark out, I had to remind myself to breath. I felt constantly nauseous. I felt petty and shallow for bawling my eyes out about missing my husband just one week before.

My best friend Kelly stayed the night. We finally decided to rest our eyes a little after midnight. It was strange to go in and out of sleep, having to remind myself that the nightmare was real. I worried for him being out in the cold every time I heard the heater turn on.

Then just before noon on Tuesday morning, we finally got the call from the police that he had been found and that he was safe! As my dad talked with the officer on the phone, my hubby got online. It was perfect timing. He was the first person that I got to tell. We family took a beat to stop and thank God for protecting Rich. We were all sobbing, we were so happy. Before that call, I honestly was starting to believe that my brother could be dead. Words cannot describe the relief we all felt. God had been there with us and with Richie the whole time. Minutes later, I crashed my phone from trying to send too many texts at once, telling everyone the good news.

Family, friends, church,  facebook, twitter, we had literally hundreds of people praying for him. Possibly over 1000. My dad (being a mathematical man) is going to sit down tonight to try to make an estimation. We had people praying across the country, and in Europe, Korea, China, Australia, and Afghanistan. If we had accepted dinner from everyone that offered on Monday night, we would have had a feast. Friends came to pray with us. Breakfast was provided for us on Tuesday morning. Never before have I felt so much love and support from this many people. The police force was awesome. The volunteers were awesome. Our friends and family were awesome. God is awesome. His love endures forever. 

Here is something that my dad wrote explaining what happened:

Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts, help, and rejoicing these past 36 hours. Autistic folk often don't anticipate how others might interpret their actions, and they are also not known to be meticulous planners. Rich is high-functioning (~Asbergers) and has a good heart. He decided it was time to strike off to college, so packed a bag and left the house before dawn, figuring he would call us when he got settled. He successfully navigated the Chicago commuter rail, then Amtrak, a taxi, and checked into a hotel on campus about 3.5h from Chicago. Thankfully the campus police noticed him and talked with him, eventually connecting with Naperville Police. We got the call at about 11am just as Jonathan and I were about to head into the city to search, and as armies Argonne, Church, UChicago, and School of the Art Institute friends were organizing a systematic area-wide flier distribution and search. We jumped in the car and 4 hours later were having pizza together. Richie is safe in his bed, we are all exhausted, but joyously thankful.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Damage

Today I attended the Lululemon Warehouse Sale in Chicago! It's actually the first one that they have had in the US, so it felt pretty cool that they decided to have it here.

I went with a few friends and we waited over an hour to get it. I was specifically looking for astro yoga pants, and I found them! Good thing I liked the color, because it was the only one I could find in my size.
Here's the damage! Kinda cool how it all matches.
So.. I'm not normally a huge shopper. I just really really love lululemon clothes. And I already wanted my astro pants. Retail price for those babies are $98.. I got them for $55! Also some capris, running shorts, and two shirts. That pink shirt almost got taken from me.. the "dressing rooms" were basically one big room for girls and one big room for guys. I noticed this girl watching me try it on and I was a little suspicious that she wanted it. After all, I did grab the last one on the rack. Then when I was putting my original shirt back on, she tried to take it from my pile on the floor! I had to be like "excuse me, I'm going to buy that." She just awkwardly was like "oh I thought you were done with it. " Nope. Obviously not.

One thing I will say.. I know people hate it when skinny people complain about being skinny, but there was definitely not a lot of the smaller sizes there. It would have been a much better sale if I was a bigger size. Oh well. I am still happy with what I got.

I got to talk to my hubby this morning on the way there, and we decided on a budget. And I was actually $7 under it!  Well.. kinda. It actually went over with tax a little bit. But I don't think he'll be too mad at me when he sees how cute I look in everything. :) And like a said before.. I'm not big a shopper normally. And this is basically what separation pay is for. Shopping and ice cream.

And yes, I'm sleeping in my new astro yoga pants tonight.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My First Garmin Workout

I've had my Garmin 405 a little over 2 months now. I love it. It maps my workout for me. It graphs out my pace and elevation for me. AND it's got this little virtual running partner guy that I can set to the pace I want. This is probably old news for a lot of runner folks out there that have had these watches for a while. I'm a little behind. I'm still super-excited about it.

Yesterday, my training plan called for a 400m (quarter mile) repeats workout. It wasn't that cold out, so I decided to try out the "workout" feature for the first time. The Garmin connect website has this sweet little interface where you can build your workout. 

So I did my little workout. I left through the garage and my poor dog was like "oh no! she forgot me! and took off after me. So those spikes in the beginning are me getting her back in the garage. Sorry, Moka, I'll bring you next time. 

If you look at the graph, it's kind of cool to see when I sped up for the intervals. Once I started the workout, the screen told me how much time or distance I had until the next part. And at the end of each interval, it would countdown (boop, boop, boop, BEEP!) so I could get ready to go fast on my 400 or cross the virtual finish of the 400. I had also told it my target speed, so on the 400 interval, it would beep and tell me on the screen "speed up!" or "slow down!" if I wasn't hitting the right speed. Which might be annoying if you didn't want that, but all you would have to do is not put in a goal speed. 
Once I loaded it onto the computer I could view the graphs and split times. It also graphed the altitude.. but I'm in the flatlands of Illinois so I won't even bother showing you that. 

So anyway.. I'm a little bit of a tech geek so I was pretty excited. :) Now I need to mess with the "course" feature next.. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just in case you were having a bad day..

Just in time for Happy Picture Wednesday.. my hubby sent me an email entitled "Just in case you were having a bad day."

"These guys, well technically one guy and four girls, are being picked up to be sent back to the states soon. A guy is paying to have it all taken care of. We got them all vaccinations so we didn't have to worry about rabies, but Army rules still say they can't be here with us. So it was either get them out of here or put them down. Rumor has it they are being sent into the military working dog program. So those are possible future bomb sniffers and bad guy catchers..."

That's right.. puppies! So cute!! Some guys in James's base found the mother when she was still pregnant and adopted them. These pictures definitely made my day.

<3 Amy

Monday, January 23, 2012

Music Monday

I probably shouldn't be listening to songs like this so early in the deployment.
Still, I can't help myself. My friend invited me to see this band, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, and I teared up a little bit when they played this song.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why I Don't Get Yoga

I had kind of a bad experience at yoga class last night. It was my first night class and it was right after everyone's dinner time. Yeah. I'm pretty sure everyone in my vicinity went to Chipotle. There were like 3 farters near me (that I could hear). #wasntme

We started off with the usual warm-up poses. This was great. Downward dog. Cat stretch. The usual. 

Then it started to get a little weird. She had us do a "Breath of Fire" exercise where we breathed in and out very fast out of our nose for 30-45 seconds from different positions. I actually thought she was saying "rapid fire" for a while, since we were breathing so fast, it seems to make sense.

I've hyperventilated before (not in a yoga class) so I know what it feels like, and this started to make me feel like it was going to happen again. Then at the end, she had us hold in our breath for 10 seconds to "hold in the prana energy we just created." I don't get that. Maybe it's supposed to counteract the hyperventilating she just had everyone do. For one of the last ones, we sat upward on our heels with our head tilted back. 

Instructor: It's normal to have feelings of fear during this exercise. That is the negative emotions getting released.  
Me (thinking): No, it's probably just because you're making everyone feel dizzy with their heads tilted back. Honestly, I'm a little scared I'm going to fall backwards.

A lady in our class had come in sniffling and coughing. She was very obviously sick. The instructor finally got up and gave her a kleenex. 

Instructor: It's okay, that means that you body is getting rid of it's toxins so I'm doing my job well.
Me (thinking): I'm pretty sure that lady just has a cold. 

Then at the end she had us sit cross-legged and bow forward to stretch our backs. 

Instructor: From here, let's take a moment to thank our ancestors that we can be here together today. 
Me (thinking): What? Am I bowing to pray to my ancestors right now? Like in Mulan? I thought I was just stretching my back. 

Throughout the class, she had also reminded everyone that "We are all a part of God" and how we are all spiritually connected. Now, I know Yoga originated from Hindu and Buddhism (maybe some others too, I'm not sure), but I respectfully disagree with those beliefs. I realize that if I'm taking a Yoga class, I shouldn't be too surprised at that spiritual and energy stuff thrown in. It's just a little surprising to me how strongly sometimes those beliefs are coming through in a Yoga class being taught by the YMCA (a Christian-based organization). 

Hm. Maybe I should just stick to pilates. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Picture Wednesday

I decided to post a picture that makes me happy every Wednesday. Here's number one:
This is at IBOLC graduation. Hubby got the Company Ironman award that day, plus we were just both happy he was done with it. It was a good day. :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Back on Track

Alright. Starting to get back into gear. Recently celebrated 6 weeks down of this deployment (thank God!). Still don't know about whether the deployment will be shortened or not. So I can't make plans yet about Chicago Marathon.

However, I did sign up for my first half marathon of the year!

Woot. So April 1st will be my first half of 2012. One of my 2012 goals is to finish 6 half marathons, so this is a start. It's actually the first race of the Chicago Half Marathon Series. If you do 4 out of 6 half marathons, you are automatically entered and you can get points by how you place in your age group. Sounds awesome, right? 'Cept they haven't updated their website for 2012 yet. So I don't actually know if it's happening. I'm all about it, if it is though.

I started this half marathon training plan. I've also been going to my local YMCA for pilates and yoga. It's been a humbling experience. Sure I can run, but I have no upper body strength or flexibility whatsoever. Here's hoping these classes get easier.

I've also been running with my dog, Moka. I've got her on a couch-to-5k plan. She's a little chubby right now, but I've got her up to 1.5 miles of running without stopping. She flops over on her back panting like this when we get home. She's loving it though. She gets super excited whenever I get that leash out.
I've also been in contact with James pretty much every day. He is working in an office right now with a computer with Internet. This is actually totally contrary to what we were told about communication before he left. The exact words I remember were "little to no internet connectivity." However, he is still waiting on getting his own platoon. He is currently one of the newer officers, but the most qualified (only one with a Ranger tab). So we're not sure what that means about who gets the next available platoon. He really wants one, but he probably won't have this nice setup with internet once he get it.  

So.. I'm savoring the frequent communication and the safety inside the base that he's enjoying right now. I'm not sure how long it will last. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I'm not with the Army wives community right now, since I chose to move to be with family during the deployment. I have no doubt that it would have been a terrific support system if I had stayed. However, I know that Army wife communities can sometimes become rumor mills, especially during deployments. This is something I thought I would not have to deal since I moved away.

However, apparently rumors exist among the soldiers overseas too. The registration for the Chicago Marathon (which is in October) is about to open. When I told James I was thinking about registering as soon as possible as it's supposed to fill up pretty quick, he told me to wait a few days. What?! 

He wasn't going to tell me because he didn't want to get my hopes up, but there have been rumors that their requests for R&R leave were denied, because it is switching to a 9 month deployment*. Rumors. So that means I need to wait on Chicago Marathon, since we would be back home in Washington at that time.

The guys that have the first couple slots for R&R leave not too long after the Chicago Marathon registration opens. If they leave, then it's probably going to stay at 12 months. Probably. You know it's the Army, so they can always change their mind. Multiple times. So I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but of course that's impossible. If he gets switched to 9 months, then it would be even longer before I see him but then he would be home. If those guys do get leave, I'm gonna go ahead and register for the marathon. Obviously, I would prefer the former.

So guess what I'm praying for these days.. really hard.


*Soldiers on 12 month deployments get 2 weeks R&R leave sometime during the deployment. Soldiers on 9 month deployments don't, but of course they get to come home sooner.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Blessed Contentment

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." - Phil 4:11

Do you ever feel like maybe God is trying to tell you something? Like when idea or suggestion repeatedly keeps on revealing itself to you? Like a gentle nudge toward something? 

Well. This time, I'm pretty sure God has been slapping me in the face trying to get my attention. Everywhere I feel like I'm getting the same message. Be content with where you are. 

My parents got me the book Faith Deployed. That book, Power of a Praying Wife, my journal, and my Bible have all been my go-to books lately. 

And I feel like God has come at me from all sides. I heard it in the scripture I read, the Faith Deployed devo I read just yesterday was about Contentment...I went shopping at Lululemon today and even my bag was telling met to live in the moment. 
Here's the thing. As I've been going through The Power of a Praying Wife, I'm realizing that I'm praying more for my husband now than I ever had before. I've realized that this is a time for me to recharge in solitude, grow in my relationship with God, and pray. I can still grow into a better wife for my husband while he is away. And I can still be as supportive as I've ever been. 

And if I'm going to be continue to be a supportive wife, I've got to do things to take care of myself while he's gone. I can't just sulk in bed. That's not hurting just me, that's hurting him. 

*sigh* Basically, this still sucks, but it's getting better. 

Also, this is what I treated myself to at Lululemon. It's probably the most expensive pullover I've ever bought. But it's wonderful. And so warm. Also, see that HUGE green watch? I've actually had that since before Christmas, but I hadn't blogged about it yet. It's the Garmin Forerunner 405 and it's amazing. I really have no excuse to be lazy about running when I have these fancy new toys. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

2 Years Today!

I got to talk to my man on skype this morning. Of course we already celebrated AnniversaChristmaGiving, but getting to see him and talk to him was a nice little extra gift. Today we can also celebrate just about 1 month of this deployment behind us. Praise God!