Tuesday, August 31, 2010

two weddings and a fair.

Well, here we are at the end of summer. We couldn't have closed out the summer in a better way than a trip to Milwaukee. It was a great time and we really didn't want it to end. We got in on a Thursday night and didn't waste any time on Friday morning getting to the State Fair. It did not disappoint.

R enjoying corn dipped in melted butter. This was after pork sandwiches but before fried chicken. Somehow our stomachs are made of iron at the Fair.

We found the classy side of the Fair with our friends Megan and Matt. In between the fried cheese curds and food on a stick there was a nice little wine tasting area to taste some Wisconsin wines. Right behind the camera though, there was a middle aged woman in a leopard print bikini top and a cowboy hat. She helped remind us that you can try and class up the Fair all you want, Wisconsin, but it's still the Fair.

Cream puffs and beer, a Wisconsin breakfast of champions! The sad part of the day was that it rained a lot, so we were unable to ride the giant slide, which is a Fair tradition that shouldn't be missed. We did however meet up with my parents and we found a funky little 80's cover band to dance to all night. I think we may have started a new tradition.

On Sunday, I stood up as Matron of Honor in my best friend Erin's wedding. It was so beautiful and so emotional to watch my dearest friend marry such a great guy.

Her wedding was at the Wisconsin War Memorial which has a huge deck that overlooks the lake. It couldn't have been a more beautiful day for a wedding.

She was a really glamorous bride! The wedding and reception were beautiful. Her dad even surprised her at the reception with a group of Irish dancers to perform, as a nod to Erin's years spent as an Irish dancer. It was such a personal touch and an unexpected surprise!

We had the whole following week to relax and see friends, eat and drink with family, and enjoy Kopps, (a Milwaukee frozen custard institution) not once, but three times! We even took an afternoon by ourselves to re-visit the Miller Brewery Tour. Yes I said re-visit. You see we've gone once before, but never on a weekday when the production lines are running. So we had to go back. And you get free samples at the end, so can you blame us?

Then on Saturday, we went to R's cousin Sara's wedding which was beautiful. Their reception was in the building that houses Discovery World, and the cocktail hour was in the aquarium.

There was even a tunnel you walked through where the fish swam above you and below you. It had to be one of the coolest, most unique places in Milwaukee to have a wedding.

We made sure to take advantage of the beautiful view to get a picture with our favorite city's skyline. It was so cool to go to two weddings at such beautiful places right on Lake Michigan.

Finally, on Monday morning it was time to say goodbye and head back home to Pensacola. But before we left, R's mom reminded us that we still had the top of our wedding cake saved for our one year anniversary.

So, for breakfast we enjoyed a good luck slice of our wedding cake! It wasn't half bad after a year and a month.

We had one of the best visits and it was a fantastic way to say farewell to a good summer!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

goodbye.

"I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart. I am never without it, anywhere I go, you go..." -E.E. Cummings


Today R's beloved Uncle Bob passed. We are taking a short blog hiatus and we'll return in a few days to update on our wonderful trip to Milwaukee.

Monday, August 9, 2010

jeep jealousy.

On Friday evening, with nothing much to do, R and I decided to have a cheap date and go test drive new cars that we can't afford. I've been keeping my eye on a new Jeep and R's going to upgrade to a big 'ole Tahoe. Not that we are actually shopping, we just wanted to smell that new car smell and see the odometer read less than 100 (thousand). So, we had a little dinner then headed to the dealer. After deciding on the color, we took the new Liberty for a drive around the block. As soon as the dealer handed us the keys, I forgot all about my little Mazda Protege for a few sweet miles.

Well friends, my little Mazda did not take lightly to being forgotten. She has been giving me some trouble lately, but after the fantasy car shopping, she pulled out all the stops. While driving to a friend's house last night, Miss Mazda was making an awful squealing noise, then a snapping sort of noise, then silence. Apparently, she'd had it with being compared to shiny new Jeeps and her alternator belt snapped. We made to our friends house (thank God) and popped her hood, only to find that this was all that remained of the belt:

We let her stay over night at our friend's as she clearly needed a little time to cool off and regroup. This morning, we took her to the mechanic and she's staying the night. Hopefully tomorrow, she'll be in a better mood, but something tells me that my wandering eye has left a permanent rift in our relationship.

We never meant to hurt her.

Friday, August 6, 2010

it's a wisconsin thing.

Every year there are a few holidays we celebrate that force R and I to meet in the middle with our family traditions. For Christmas, his family opens their presents on Christmas morning while mine can't seem to wait and open ours on Christmas Eve. For Thanksgiving, his family has a huge get together around a traditional turkey dinner while my family prefers to lay low and eat take out. His family always bikes down to the lake to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July and it's just not Easter at my house if we haven't gone to a brunch. But there is one celebration, one event that both of our families have always done consistently the same way, with the same reverence and excitement, that it seems we were made to celebrate it together...

The Wisconsin State Fair.

Now maybe you're from somewhere where the State Fair is just not that big a deal. That's because you're not from Wisconsin. Our Fair is awesome. We take it pretty seriously. Our families have both been faithful Fair-goers since we were little kids.

Here's R and his brothers when they were little.

Here's us on the Sky Glider in high school.

Last year, with the famous State Fair cream puff.

We each have our must haves to make a true State Fair experience. For R, it's the pork sandwich dripping with barbecue sauce. For me, it's all the Herb Kohl 25 cent flavored milk I can drink. We never leave without some corn on the cob dipped in butter, maple cotton candy, fried food and beer, and long walk inside the inside the exhibition building with the live infomercials. And I always have to make a stop at the Discovery Barn, where I can ooh and ahh over the newborn chicks and piglets. And it just wouldn't be the Fair without a cream puff, of course.

And next week at this time, when we return to Milwaukee for some weddings, we will find ourselves at the Fair, ready to embark on the experience that helps make a Milwaukee summer just a little sweeter and our belts just a little bit tighter.

We'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

api? check.

After six mentally grueling and physically taxing weeks, countless hours spent holed up in his office to memorize loads of information for exams that are meant to trip you up, only to dump all the information for the next exam, and way too much time spent not hanging out with his wife, Ryan is finally done with API! Today they had a graduation ceremony and he even got a certificate of completion, so it's official!

Even though the long road of flight school is far from over, API is a huge hurdle and, with the Navy's high attrition rate and crazy high standards right now, it's definitely a worthwhile accomplishment to get over it. Tonight, we're going to pop a little champagne to celebrate. The real prize for Ryan, though, is the long break he gets before starting up primary. He's been putting off all the fun stuff he couldn't do because he had to study, so now he can get started chipping away at the growing list. And we're not talking mowing the lawn and fixing the car, here. I mean the important things like catching up on all the shows he's been recording, dusting off his bike for some long rides, and catching up on some much deserved sleep.

Tough life for a pilot.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

weekend warriors.

Sweet weekends. Even when you're unemployed, weekends are just better than weekdays. But when you've spent all week learning survival techniques in API, weekends are even sweeter. After a full week of such exciting activities as the "spin and puke" to teach you spatial disorientation, the altitude chamber to help you learn about hypoxia, and the helo dunker to make sure you know how to get out of a downed aircraft, R's brain was spun, deprived of oxygen, then literally dunked upside down into a sinking helicopter. So if any one deserved a sweet weekend, it was him.

So the weekend began with a mini Purdue reunion. Some of his friends who are a little farther along in the pipeline were in town. Lucky for R, it was an entire night of pure, unadulterated airplane talk.


Saturday we enjoyed a day of lounging around and catching up on some TV. I managed a kitchen victory with a delicious salmon dish. We got the fish fresh from the local fish market and I made a stellar lime butter sauce and whipped new potatoes. It tasted fantastic and it was ridiculously easy, so it'll definitely be a repeat.


Then we went out with some new friends last night and saw Inception and talked about it until we fell asleep... where I had some weird dreams, let me tell you.

Today, after church we hit the road for Mobile, Alabama to see the WWII battleship USS Alabama. After stopping for a some tasty barbecue and homemade banana puddin', we were on our way. Now, if you're reading this chances are you know me and you know just how much I love military museums. I just can't seem to pass 'em up! All the dusty old weapons and long drawn out descriptions. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. And this was no exception. But let me tell you, if you think I love a good submarine or aviation museum normally, just imagine how excited I was when we got to the USS Alabama and most of it wasn't air conditioned and today's heat index was 106... So fun!

In all seriousness, besides my heat stroke, I really enjoyed it and of course it made R's week. Here's some highlights. And if you want to really feel like you were there with us, put on all the clothes you own and then go turn on the shower nice and hot, and just read this in the steamy bathroom. So life like!

USS Alabama looking quite gray and majestic.

Me, gunning down enemy ships. I may or may not have been making gun sounds.

So, this was actually kind of cool. This is the battery room where they store and then load up these huge 2700 lb projectiles to be shot out of those long guns that you can see from the outside. It's cool because no battleship has ever opened up their gun rooms before because of access difficulties. The Alabama opened it up and now we get to experience what previously only a Navy gun crew had ever experienced.

Can't hide my excitement...

Captain R, steering the ship. (Even he knew it was time to start evacuating that floating hot house.)

And finally...
We found this poor Shipmate in the photo lab on the ship. The worst part is that his bunk was over his head, so you know he had to climb to get up there. Now that's honor, courage, and commitment.