Ritchie Crew

Ritchie Crew

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Between the Mayo and the Mustard

As we traveled between the yellow and whites lines this weekend, I had many memories that came to my mind about my college years at ASU. It was one of those trips that your mind wonders as you drive and then you think...how did I get here? I decided that I would share some of our memories with you. It has been one year since I have been to Jonesboro, and boy it has grown! The divided interstate...you cannot get a ticket

Dr. Nancy Malcolm's office (where I worked throughout college)

Oh the late nights in the library studying...Matt did you ever visit the library?

This was Matt's home for most of his college years. The Sigma Chi house holds many memories with friends.

The Student Union holds my freshman twenty five!

My Apartment...I love all of my memories with Holly!

Tara, Holly, and I went out to eat at Lazzari's this weekend to have the famous crabmeat canelloni. Then we went shopping at EmilyAnne's to find some new bows for Caroline. I cannot wait to try them out this next week.

Caroline's easter shoes (also purchased at EmilyAnne's)

Talking to Daddy on the computer

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Such a BIG girl!

We have had a wonderful weekend! I took Caroline outside just for fun and to play. I would have taken pictures, but it was just us two. She had this look about her like she was experiencing a whole new world, and indeed she was...She was born in late September, so the weather had already turned cold. The only time she went outside was to load up in the car for a split second. She was in such amazement as she experienced walking to the mailbox. We even had three people honk! When you live in Sardis/East End everyone honks as they go by, and to live in a small town where people know each other brings a smile to my face. When Matt and I first moved out here I loved being back home and close to most of our friends and relatives, but now with Caroline I see it was all part of God's plan. She is such a lucky and fortunate girl to receive so much love.

Uncle Jared turned the big 2-O this weekend so we got together for a Mexican Fiesta. It shocks me to know that my brother is 20 years old!

Jared and Caroline
Megan and Jared

Jared opening his card from Caroline

Great Grandma Etta and Great Papaw Don

MiMi and Papaw with Caroline before church

This past week we have had a few "growing up milestones" that make me think about how fast times goes by. Little Miss does not want to be rocked to sleep anymore, and instead she wants to be placed in her crib with her sassy. It seems like just yesterday we rocking her to sleep. To make matters better this weekend, she went to the nursery at church for the first time during the service. She loves her voice and not moments go by without her making sure she still has it. For those moms that take your child to the daycare you may laugh at me for these next few statements, but it was so hard to leave her in the nursery this morning. We have only left Caroline with family members so far, and to walk away was hard. I did get a clump in my throat as I held back the tears, and I thought to myself...only an hour. What am I going to be like when I have to take her to school for the first time? Below is a picture of Caroline when I went to pick her up after church. She had so much fun with Mrs. Shea!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lazy Friday

We are having a wonderful Friday off! We have been out and about to East End and then to visit MiMi. We did have a little excitement last night...turns out Caroline was allergic to something she was wearing or something I was wearing, so after a little Benadryl and a quick change of clothes we were back to playing. Below is a picture of a quilt Nanaw and P had made for Caroline.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Out with the Old and In with the New

We have recently tried a few new bath tubs. Caroline did have a newborn spa set, but she kept trying to roll on her side while taking a bath. So we have updated to the big girl tub! She has so much fun with Ms. Duck, but she trys to touch her feet under the water. We also tried the bath-ring from MiMi, but it is a little hard to scrub the bottom!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Flight School Update

I haven't commented on how flight school has been going since the first week that I started flying, mainly because I am always busy studying or sleeping, or if I do have time, I want to relax. But today, President's Day, has provided me with some downtime to be able to share with all of you just how my experience is going.

At the end of my second week of flying, I feared that I would be kicked out of here. Only 0.4% of flight students don't make it through, and while a small percentage, someone has to make it up. Flying, or trying to, was so frustrating. I can tell you what all of the controls do to the helicopter, but I couldn't make them do what I wanted. I was at an emotional and mental low-point. Luckily, that weekend was a 3-day for MLK Day, and I got to see Sirron, Caroline, and my parents. Sirron was so supportive and just there for me to vent to, and seeing our beautiful baby girl allowed me to recharge.

It was also during this time that I called on the prayer warriors in my family and our friends asking them to pray for me. Friends, I am here to tell you that this is what got me through. God showed me that we need to cry out to Him, and He is always there with us. From this time on, things started to click and have gotten so much better.

At about 18 hours of flying, I soloed, which essentially means that I can get in a helicopter by myself, fly to wherever I needed to, and land it. It might not be pretty (probably wouldn't be), but I could safely get it done. Since the solo, I get a little better everyday. There are still bad days, but I find that I myself am my biggest critic.

Everyday we fly (we have had a lot of weather days which have prohibited it lately), we practice normal flight traffic patterns, landings, and emergency procedures. We still simulate engine failures at 1,000 feet and land without power (2 or 3 times a day), and make a lot of radio calls. I really do enjoy it, but it has become habitual in some respects. It's like driving a car. At 15 or 16 years of age, it is the coolest thing, but by 17 or 18, it's just something you do. Rarely does it cross my mind that I am in the air at over 100 mph...it's just another day of work.

I am now at 31 hours of flight time, and I will be done with this portion at 50 hours, so in two weeks, I will be moving on to instrument training. It is 8 weeks long as well, during which we fly without being able to see outside, only using the flight instruments (flying in clouds or in low/no visibility). We still have academics for several hours a day in addition to flying. We have had classes over weather and airspace most recently, and we test over them weekly. Studying has really slowed down the past week or two (a mistake on my part), but will ramp back up over the next two weeks as we prepare for our check-ride.

I get picture messages of Caroline from Sirron or my parents daily, and the three of us Skype, which is a webcam video where we can see and talk to each other a couple times a week. As you can see from our other posts, we see each other as often as we can. It is the thoughts of them that keep me going, and I can't wait to get home to them, but we still have a ways to go. Where it stands right now, I could be home anytime from September to Jan/Feb of next year. By Christmas is what I am shooting for!

Thanks to all of our family and friends who think about us, pray for us, check on us, and read our blog. I hope this post finds you well.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Yesterday we started our trip back to Arkansas. We have set a goal with Caroline that we will visit every state before she graduates and begins her own family. We have so far visited Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. We decided not to count all the times we went to the beach when she was in my belly. With Matt living so close to Destin, we quickly became beach bums!

We stopped at I-HOP yesterday for breakfast to check out the new menu (loved the crepes)

We stayed at Birmingham for the evening to enjoy Valentine's Day.
Daddy and Caroline laughing at belly blowing.

Caroline always telling stories...oh to know what she is saying and thinking

...laughing at her jokes

We opened our Valentine's gifts a little early since we were in Birmingham. NeNaw and P kept Caroline so that Mommy and Daddy could go for a night out on the town. I was thrilled to be in Birmingham for Valentine's Day, because it is such a fun city full of excitement.

Matt opening his lucky scratch-away cards

Daddy opening his card from Caroline

My Marks and Morgan Bag...what could it be?

A pair of earrings! I love surprises! I can wear them to work or on the weekends...
Daddy did so good!
My cards from Daddy and Caroline. Caroline can already spell Mommy...GT?

My card from my little girl

Inside of my card from Caroline, which I will keep forever.

My pair of earrings from Matt

Caroline reading her card from Nanaw and P

Caroline reading her card from Daddy

Everything goes to the mouth these days

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Alabama Trip

We traveled to Alabama last week to visit Daddy and to escape the snow. Well...the snow found us! We had plans to watch Matt fly, but Family Day was canceled due to the snow and ice. I took this next picture of the ride, because I worked so hard scraping all the ice and snow off this morning so I could go to Walgreens to get a few items for Caroline. Our family is ready for the beach weather!

Caroline's new favorite position to take a nap

Never can get enough kisses

A few of the Blackhawks at Fort Rucker

Friday, February 12, 2010

Let Valentine's Day Celebrations Begin

Finally Friday morning, and we are getting ready to go see our Daddy fly! Caroline and I are getting ready to go see our Daddy at noon, but it has started snowing in Enterprise. Matt's flight instructor said he has not seen snow in Enterprise since 1985. Now it is snowing on Family Day! We are anxiously awaiting Matt's phone call to give us the scoop. We went out to eat last night to celebrate Valentine's Day with the Ritchies.

Caroline was telling Mommy about her dreams

Caroline eating breakfast...check out that bib...little Miss Hygienist

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Unafraid" - March Book Review

The books just keep getting better! Unafraid is a historical fiction written by Francine Rivers that shares the life of Mary. Francine has written five books about the five chosen women that God chose to face extraordinary challenges. She does remain true to scripture, but adds fictional thoughts to let the women speak to us in a new way.

When God spoke to Mary, she responded in obedience by bearing the Messiah. Francine writes that she did not know that raising the perfect son would break her heart and change the world forever. Francine writes about events and features of Mary that the Bible is unclear of, and by adding the fictional aspects it puts a mother in Mary's footsteps. One chapter writes about her contractions that she had as they traveled to Bethlehem, and her comparing Jesus to other children. The other women would tell Mary about how he was such a happy baby, and only cried when hungry. Mary even compared Jesus to his other siblings. At one time, Mary was even boastful about her son to become the Messiah one day. She was reminded by the look on Jesus's face that he was not her son, he was God's son and she was just the vessel that helped deliver him. This would be a great book for mothers!

Going to see our Pilot

Nenaw, Caroline, and I headed off on our adventure to Enterprise. Friday is Family Day for Matt, so we will get to see him fly. This gives me joy to get to see him live his dream, and for Caroline and myself to be a part of it. We stoped in Tupelo Tuesday night, then headed off to Enterprise in the morning.

Caroline is the perfect traveling baby. She went on her first trip to Alabama when she was only two weeks old. Each time she is more playful, and out of all the trips I have never once heard a wimper out of her. We usually stop a few times to get gas, stretch, and eat along the way. It was so helpful with Nenaw traveling with us, because she could help and keep us company.

After checking in at the hotel, we anxiously awaited Daddy's arrival. She was all grins and giggles for her Daddy. This may sound weird to some, but I love staying at hotels on the weekends. This gives us family time, without any obligations or arrangements. It is so important to spend as much family time as possible. Caroline is growing up so fast, and I wish I could just soak it all in and remember every detail and moment we have together.

Caroline and Daddy studying together before bedtime
Caroline telling Mommy a story

Still telling Mommy a story...