Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: A year in review

2009 was a huge year for us! Let's review, shall we?


I started really worrying about my comprehensive exams...

but then I passed! (so did Kat and Kari, the most awesome study partners ever.) Austin started class at Supply School and met some great guys who would be our groomsmen a few months later. Annnd, one of my best friends, Diana, had her beautiful baby girl - Emma Grace - who I got to meet in...


What a cutie.


We got 6 inches of snow in Athens! Craziness abounded as people in cars such as Honda Civics tried to drive through 6 inches of snow on unplowed and unsalted/sanded roads. Two days later it was 76 degrees, all the snow melted and the drought was almost cured!


April was crazy. We found out that Austin would be stationed on the Arleigh Burke, and that we would be headed back to Norfolk, VA. Grad school and supply school were wrapping up and wedding plans were right on track...until the last day of the month, when all went awry.

We found out that Austin would be deploying and all of a sudden our lives were really accelerated.


I graduated.

Ashley graduated.

And Austin graduated. and I went to Wisconsin to re-plan our wedding in one month as we decided to move it from July 17 to June 12.


We got married. People came. It was awesome.

Then, from June 12-30 we:  left Wisconsin, and left Athens, and arrived in Norfolk. And then we house shopped, and found one, and put in an offer, and it was accepted. And then Austin went to Helo School and then we waited to find out when he would go. And then...


Austin left for deployment and to see the world. He went all over the place. The Seychelles, Kenya, all sorts of little islands, South Africa, Spain, etc, etc, etc.

I pretty much hung out with friends in Norfolk and started job searching...and counted down to our end of August closing on the house.


Ash, Bings and I moved into the house, with plenty of help from friends and family.

Ashley started grad school.


Was filled with house projects. It was my goal to have the whole house as done as possible before Austin came home. Painting, installing ceiling fans (with help from Justin and Haley), mowing my first lawn, unpacking, getting rid of boxes...whew.


Austin came home! Best day in a long time.

We carved, pumpkins, celebrated Halloween and had an awesome week off together.
Oh yeah and I got a job!


We started work and caught up with life. Thanksgiving came and we spent it with family - I baked pies.


First Christmas in our new home.

So, 2009 was intense. To think that a year ago I was worrying about comps is a crazy realization of how much has happened this year! We are excited about 2010 though - a honeymoon (finally), a trip to Europe with our best friends, Harry Potter World!, maybe a new puppy and no deployments! (knock on wood).

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Georgia on My Mind...

I have been feeling pretty nostalgic lately for the good ol' state of Georgia, more specifically for Athens. Maybe it is the cold here (it never seemed this cold in least in my memories). Or maybe it is the fact that friends that I used to get to see every day by default are now flung about the country, but today has been especially winsome.

So, I bring you "Things I miss about Athens":

  • All the cute boutiques with all the cute dresses a girl could ever want
  • Getting to wear dresses all the time because it never got really cold
  • Barberitos, Taqueria del Sol, and Agua Linda. I could rotate Mexican restaurants every day and still feel like I was eating different food.
  • Cookies and Co. Chocolate Chip Cookies. Yum.
  • Walking the campus of UGA and knowing that so much history had happened there
  • My students, friends and colleagues!
  • Wait for it - class. I know, I never thought I would miss class either, but I do! If I could sit around and talk all day with people that diverse and smart and awesome again, my life would be awesome. If we got paid. I still don't miss homework though.

Ok, whew. Just had to get that out of my system. I do love being back here in Hampton Roads and more specifically in Norfolk, (being back here with more financial assets than I had in college is's like a whole new city!) but Athens will always hold a super special place in my our hearts.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Photos of the Navy Bungalow: Holiday Edition

Since there is clamoring among the troops, and let's face it because I am so excited about Christmas decorations - here are some photos of our little Navy Bungalow, all decorated for the holidays (even without my new camera).

Left side of the living room:

(read: at the home inspection - this is not our stuff)

Hey Dennis!


We have refinished the mantle and finally broke down and painted the fireplace. Don't get me wrong, I love brick, but this brick was flat...and red. So red. So, we painted.

It is not the end of our fireplace adventures. We have grand plans for it, but decided to hold off until after Christmas since the fireplace takes a central role around this time of year.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2009

If you have the time...

read this somewhat lengthy article. Interesting.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

House Pictures!

Haha...I bet you all thought that meant I would finally post some - didn't you?

See here is the thing. I have a secret agenda.

I want a new camera. A really nice new camera. One of those DSLR cameras that I have been eye-ing for, um, 2 years or so.

I am withholding photos in an attempt to show my husband how important it is for me to get this camera and show even more beautiful photos of our home than the ones that our old camera can produce.

In any case, that is the deal. Besides the fact that now it gets dark at 4:00, which puts a severe damper on the lovely sunlight that is in our home during the day. Seriously - we have 23 windows in our house.

So, house photos will come shortly. Either I will get my new camera as a late birthday present (since Austin was gone he didn't get me anything...hmmm...) or I will finally relent and take some photos this weekend.

Just thought you should know.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Nicest Places

We have dinner in the nicest places, now that we are officially a DINK family (dual income, no kids).

Like last night, we ate right here:

No, seriously. Austin has this overnight duty way too often for both of us, but apparently I am allowed to go visit so long as he is not actually on watch at the time I am trying to visit. Who knew? So, last night after work I picked up some Moe's (glamorous I know, but hey, Moe's knows burritos) and headed to the ship.

We ate dinner together in the wardroom and watched our Monday night TV lineup on CBS / Monday Night Football. I had the chance to meet some of the people he works with that I often hear so much about, and was escorted off the ship before curfew (hehe).

Did I ever think I would be eating dinner with Austin on his ship? Nope. But, it was so fun I am sure we will do it again in three days.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Business as Usual

Well, it has been almost two months since my last post. That is disgraceful.

Let's do some life updates, eh?

First - AUSTIN IS HOME! Wooo!

I will get all the photos together to do a real Homecoming post, but in short, it was the best day. We had beautiful weather (I even got a bit sunburned) and everything went splendidly.

{This is my friend Leigh Anne and I on the pier waiting for our hubbys! Funny story - we got married on the same day, at the same time - and then both of our husbands left for the Burke. Look at those smiles!}

Since he has been home it has been pretty much business as usual.

{Normal fun family stuff, like carving pumpkins, and you know trying to keep the dog from eating it}

Austin had leave for about a week and a half after coming home and we did tons of fun things, like hanging shutters on the house, installing new lights in the bathroom and know, totally glamorous. We did manage to get to Busch Gardens for Hallow-scream, where Austin forced me to do all of the scary stuff. All of it. And carve up some pumpkins, when Haley came to visit!

{Guess who did which?}

On the 2nd of November we both started working again! Woo! It had been a long break for me, not so long to Austin, but a ship in port is a whole different ball game that he hadn't experienced yet. He is really enjoying it, though we are both getting a little tired of the overnight watches already.

I was offered and accepted a job at Regent University as an Incoming Student Advisor for Undergraduates. I love it! I started on the same day as my new friend Brianne, and she and I have been having fun in training together. I will be academically advising a whole section of incoming undergraduate students, both Freshmen and Transfers. To see me being a professional click here. There I am, bottom right! Soon I will have a bio up on the page links on the right as well.

So, we have been doing a lot of work on the house, and trying to get in the groove of being a family in the same city, while working and taking care of a dog and a grad student adopted child (ha! if you haven't heard, my sister Ashley is attending grad school at ODU and living with us. We love having her here!)

Now that I am back to a semi routine, I am hoping that blogging will return to normal! It was so much harder to get things done when I had, well, little to do. Though I had a lot to do once we got into the house. You will see when I start updating on the projects!

Until then, I am glad to be back sharing our life -- accelerated. ;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I am alive!

Seriously. So is Austin. I talked to him for an hour today.

Now that we have internet, I will be back to regular blogging shortly...once my to-do list gets shorter.

In the mean time, here is a little preview of what has been keeping me busy!

Taking this:

{cute, right?}

To this:

Sorry for the crappy photo quality (phone only until I find my battery charger...wherever that is!) Granted it's not all done yet, I still have pictures to hang, etc. 

Buuuuuut, hopefully this appeases the masses for now, until I can reveal more projects! (and find the batteries for my camera!)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A new address!

Tomorrow morning we c-l-o-s-e on our new {to us} dream bungalow!

We are so excited to move into our 82-year-old little home...after closing I will head to the house to clean it from top to bottom, a la Barb {my mother - cleaner extraordinaire}, and do a little happy dance in every single room.

After that we will begin the moving and painting process. U-haul on Saturday, Navy Movers on Tuesday, {DirecTV set up on Wednesday - yay for having DVR back!!!}. I am beyond excited to get to sleep in my own bed again for the first time since May 9th!

I will try to keep everyone updated on all the projects and things we are undertaking - with tons of pictures - but until we figure out internet and such my blogging will be touch and go.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who have helped us get to this point {you know who you are} and let this serve as an open invitation to all our friends - starting Tuesday, Guest Room AVAILABLE!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fun Birthday Present!

The second of August was my 25th birthday. Oy! When did I get so old? ;)  I got such fun presents and messages from all sorts of people, but I wanted to feature one present that will look so nice in our new house!

"Oh! You have the camera out...
...that must mean you want a picture of me!"
No Bings, actually, just the sign.
There we go.
Thanks Corey for the awesome gift!

Stories from Afloat

"Warm Weather Penguins"
in an email from Austin July 29, 2009

"The Penguins are from the local beach in Simon’s Town, South Africa. There are thousands of them and you can walk right up to them. They came here a very long time ago from Antarctica. 

They just swam too far north and decided to stay. They’re like the northern most penguins in the world or something like that. It was really cool. 

I wanted to pet one, but apparently they bite. Not hard, but still nobody wants to get hurt by a penguin."

Ha! That bolded line made me laugh for a while. To read more about African Penguins click here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I hope I have a kid like this.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A New Blog

Yup, another one.

But this one is not just mine. My friend Kat, of Kat's Adventures in Movieland had an idea to start a book blog. She, Corey and I were discussing it and decided to give it a go as a group!

Check it out here:

Stories from Afloat

"Gift to the Master"
in an email from Austin July 29, 2009
"It is a Navy tradition that after a UNREP (Underway Replenishment) the ships play loud music and offer a “Gift”. A long time ago it was a bottle of wine or something nice for the Captain of the other ship. Now it is more of a joke. 
So they put us in sumo suits and we fought for the master. At that point in the picture I have fallen over and can’t get back up, in part because I was laughing so hard. Everyone else had a good laugh too. It was hilarious."
Tough job, right?
To read more than you probably ever needed to know about UNREPs see here.


"Stories from Afloat"

This will be a new type of post for the blog where I post stories that Austin has written to me to give to share with you all! This will probably be the closest he ever gets to an actual blog post, but maybe we can change that when he gets home.

Stay tuned!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Arleigh Burke in the News...

Check it out

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Addition to the Sidebar

Look over there -->

To the right.

I have added a countdown clock for the new, projected, homecoming date. As it changes I will update the countdown :)

Austin Update!

I got a wonderful email from Austin at approximately 3:30 am this morning with tons of details about his life on the ship.
For example today, which is now yesterday for him, they had some drills:
"We just had an abandon ship drill. I’m in life raft ten. When the ship is under attack or we have a fire or something, we go to what is called General Quarters (GQ). It’s like a battle station. My station is in the control room. I take reports on where the damage is and plot it on these large and confusing charts of the ship. Anyways, they treat like a real emergency. A guy over the 1MC (ship’s speaker system) yells “BOOM, MISSILE STRIKE PORT SIDE MIDSHIPS” for example. And that means we got hit on the left side about the middle of the ship. And we have to respond by sending in firefighters and such. It’s pretty cool. And today we went all the way to a scenario of the ship sinking. I have my own life jacket, gas mask and flash gear (fire fighter stuff)."
Sounds like a blast, right? Apparently he is also taking some sort of class on security at the end of which, he will need to be sprayed down with pepper spray and then has to complete an obstacle course.

Overall, he says he is doing well and staying busy. He seems pretty happy, and we have a tentative return date of October 25th! (only one day after our 9 year anniversary!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Check out

Jessica's blog for some OSL awesome photos of Shelby's recent visit and the Mazzio twins being held by anyone other than their parents.

A break

...from my "semi-retirement" to steal a phrase from my former supervisor, who is also job searching.

I am currently packing to head to Phi Tau Leadership Academy tomorrow morning!

A few weeks ago, when we were out and about looking at houses, I got a call from Wes, the IFC advisor at UGA. He is a Phi Kappa Tau (as is Austin) and has been in charge of Leadership Academy for a few years now. One of his Character Coaches had to drop out at the last second, and he wanted to know if I could volunteer!

After scrutinizing my very busy schedule (puh-lease) I, of course, agreed.

Now for all you non-Greek folks, some sort of (inter)national leadership training (in this case Leadership Academy) is common for (inter)national fraternities and sororities to have on the off years of their biannual conventions. Commonly (more so for fraternities than sororities) those organizations invite qualified and willing individuals to serve as facilitators for small group sessions, etc. (sororities often stick to the members only approach, not that those individuals are not also qualified). At Leadership Academy those facilitators are called "Character Coaches".

So, tomorrow morning I will be heading off to Oxford, Ohio for all sorts of Phi Tau fun (of which, Austin is insanely jealous, but it's ok because he got to go to Paris, of which I was très jaloux). I will be gone through Sunday night, at which time my parents and sister will be here to move Ashley to Virginia!!

I will be sure to take tons of pictures, as I am surrounded by a disproportionate amount of undergraduate fraternity boys men.

and I left my Sperry's in Wisconsin. However will we connect?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A glimpse...

of what Austin looks like everyday on the ship.

These are the new NWUs (Navy Working Uniforms) that Austin is wearing everyday on the ship. Besides the fact that if he falls off the boat he will blend in...handsome right?

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Rollercoaster Story of a Deployment

As I was looking back over my last couple of posts, {maybe admiring that lovely wedding photo again, maybe not} I realized that I never said "Hey! Austin has deployed!"
Though I am sure most of you know by now - that is the case.
Originally last Monday we thought that Austin would get to spend an extra two weeks stateside, due to the fact that he did not have a "No Fee" Passport, which is kind of like a diplomatic-type version. So Monday we were, as I stated, a little "mentally askew" as we had been prepared for him to deploy on Tuesday.

As the night wore on, both of us became increasingly excited about the upcoming weekend in D.C. and the opportunity for him to see friends once again before the craziness of deployment. That excitement should have set off some alarm bells in our heads of course, or at least the "click click click" sound of a rollercoaster about to start plummeting back down to earth.

Tuesday morning he drove in to check in and see what the deal was. The nice people there informed him that since there was a part broken on the email system of the ship, he and one of the other new officers were going to deliver it - as soon as possible. Since getting them out there would be faster than shipping it {apparently} some ambassador somewhere waived the need for their special passports.

At this point we were told to expect as little as a one hour notice that he would need to report to a flight. Oh geeze. So, for the rest of the day we hung out, ran a few errands, and waited. and waited. No call. {Actually they did call once, by about having our hearts jumping.}

The next morning, just for good measure, Austin had me drive with him out too check in. He came back to the car and said he had been told the same thing as yesterday. Since it was so early we figured we could head back to one of our favorite Norfolk places Yorgo's {their everything bagels are the best in town}.

No sooner had our bagels arrived than we got a call to come back - they were booking his flight. So, we headed back down to the base only to be directed to four different buildings to take care of tickets, itineraries, etc. {of course with our luck it was pay day, so everything was jam packed}. By the time we had picked everything up it was about 11:30 - and his lights were scheduled for 2:30. We headed straight to the Norfolk airport to check him in and have lunch there. Shortly thereafter we said our good-byes and waved at each other until he rounded the last security corner.

And, he was off! He headed from Norfolk to Atanta, from Atlanta to Paris {where he had an 11 hour layover}, and then from Paris to meet the ship at some islands in the Indian Ocean...if you follow gossip magazines, he actually arrived at the same place that David and Victoria Beckham went for their anniversary trip, around the same time.

Anywho, he arrived on Friday morning 7:30 their time, 11:30 pm on Thursday my time (EST). I had to wait until early Saturday morning my time, Saturday evening his time, to hear from him that he had arrived and was safe, as the last time I spoke to him was before his 8 hour flight from Paris. I did a very happy dance when the email came through, as witnesses can attest.
For all who are interested in sending notes, cards, care packages, etc. Here is his address:

Ensign Austin Gage
USS Arleigh Burke
FPO AE 09565-1269
email address:
As for this little blog, I feel that I should let you know that some of this blog will be used not only to tell the stories as normal and give life updates, but also to keep Austin up to date on current events, trends, etc. as he can access this blog from the ship, but not necessarily facebook or his gmail account, and his military email won't accept a lot of things like videos.

If you have any favortie things happening that you would like Austin to be able to see the video, or photos, or whatever, feel free to send them my way and I will post them up here!

Oh yeah...

Like many brides before me, I cut my hair post wedding.  I actually could not wait to get some serious inches taken off following the wedding, but had to wait until I had the time to do it!

{Please excuse the Myspace style photos...they were taken with my phone.}


Happy 4th!

I had an awesome 4th of July in DC with some of the best friends a gal could have! I will do a longer post later with photos, but for now wanted to get up this video of the fireworks for Austin, that Corey was kind enough to take on his phone!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This may be counting chickens...

but - I can't resist giving everyone a preview of what has mainly consumed our thoughts and time as of late {although the home inspection went so well, but it is not officially under contract - yet}. Don't scold me.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Back again!

Well, we have been blissfully married for the past two weeks and a few days and have so much to recap!

We want to take a second to thank everyone for making our big day as amazing as it was. We had such a great time and hope that you all did too!

The last two weeks have been insane. Not only did we move me back from Wisconsin to Georgia, but then checked out from Athens and moved to Virginia. Since then we have been busy registering and titling cars here, getting me all set up with the military, oh yeah - and we looked at roughly 18 houses, put an offer on one had it accepted and have a home inspection this afternoon!

Before I start actual in depth recaps, I thought I would update everyone on the deployment situation as well. Austin checked in this morning with TPU, who arranges his travel out to the ship etc. Apparently he has some passport issue, so rather than leaving tomorrow, as originally anticipated, he may be leaving in more like two weeks.

While it is an exciting prospect that we get two more weeks together, we are both a little askew as we have been mentally preparing for deployment happening tomorrow! We will keep everyone updated on the situation as it unfolds. Until then, here is a sneak peek at one of our wedding photos!

{courtesy of Jeff Thompson Photography}

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Daily Laugh

If you haven't seen this already via Perez - you should totally watch it here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Quick Life Updates!

Hello from the lovely land of Wisconsin everyone!

I thought I would shoot out some quick life updates, since our big announcement.


May 9
Courtney graduates with her M.Ed.
and proceeds to run through "The Arch" 
(which I had successfully avoided until they called my name and I returned that library book...) 
May 10
Mother's Day AND Mom's Birthday
Headed to Atlanta to visit the Aquarium and have some delicious Cheesecake Factory
May 12
Got in the car with Mom, Dad, Bings, luggage, all sorts of wedding stuff, and three bags of grass seed that they don't sell in the north, or at least in Chippewa...and headed to Wisconsin.
 May 16
Packed up family, yet again, headed north to Duluth, Minnesota to see my little sister graduate from the University of Minnesota - Duluth. Yay Ash! (even though it snowed. seriously.)

That is Ash on the right, with her college roommate of all four years, Sara, on the left. They were randomly matched as roommates freshman year, and Ash will be a bridesmaid in Sara's wedding this August.
and we proceeded to go out "Duluth-style" to a bar called "Grandma's" where we had a fab time
For the last couple of days my lovely sister and I have been running wedding errands and playing with Bings.
And now, you are up to date!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dear Everyone,

As you may have heard by now, we got the earth shaking news last week that Austin will be deploying sometime between the June 28 and July 1. Until either October or November.

But wait, I hear you saying, isn't that going to wreck havoc on your July 17 wedding date?

Why yes, yes it is.

So therefore, we have decided to move the wedding to June 12, 2009.

After many, many discussions with friends and family we have decided that this is the best move for us due to  issues such as deposits, and the fear that if we move it back, this whole thing may happen again in 6 months.

June 12 is guaranteed, and that's about as good as we can get, so that's what we are going for. We hope that all of our friends and family that are able will still be able to make it, but completely understand that this is throwing a wrench in everyone's plans, not just ours.

Thank you so much for all of your love, support and understanding through this whole ordeal.

We love you all :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

That guy's birthday

Since Austin recently found out about where we are heading, AND turned the big 2-5, AND we are leaving Athens shortly, our weekends (and weekdays for that matter) have become absolutely packed with fun adventures.

Last Friday we went out on the town with the Navy folks to celebrate Orders Reading. On Saturday we headed to somewhere Austin has always wanted to go on his birthday...Medieval Times.

Yes, it is true - a 25 year old man wanted to go see pretend knights joust for his big celebration. I had gone a couple times via school orchestra trips, as had most of the other people who went with us, but we all went in good spirits anyway.

For those who have not been, you go sit in a specific section and cheer for knights fighting valiantly (read: choreographed in advance) for your amusement.You eat food with your hands, and hopefully drink some overpriced adult beverages to induce further cheering for your knight.

Of course there is a story that involves one of the so called "knights" being a dirty, rotten cheater (rest assured, he is NOT from your kingdom) who kidnapped the prince who was carrying a treaty of peace so that the countries would remain at war and he could be the ultimate champion. Right.

Austin had a fabulous time cheering for...the RED KNIGHT!  
(who was not the dirty, rotten cheater - whew.)

Here we are getting ready to watch some medieval jousting

and drinking overpriced, albeit HUGE, adult beverages.

(This is now his favorite chocolate milk glass.)

All in all we had a great time, though our knight was taken down prematurely.

Darn you Yellow Knight. Darn you to heck.

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