Ritchie Crew

Ritchie Crew

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Only Two More Months!

Only two more months, and this sweet little girl is going to be ONE! I have been looking at photographers online all day, and I am worn out and tired of looking at pictures! If anyone knows or would like to recommend any let me know. I am looking for one photographer to take her yearly pictures and another to take pictures at her birthday party. I really wish Ami was available!

Friday we decided to drive out to Lake Side Country Club and take a few measurements to get ready for the party. Mamaw offered to babysit Caroline and I headed off to Little Rock to meet Jill and begin shopping for the big day. After shopping at ALL of the party supply stores, decor stores, and more we found exactly what we were looking for all along!

Jill (the pony) and Caroline
Caroline checking out the paisley design...she approved!

Sneak peek at the design

Lake Side Country Club is a little different than what typically would come to my mind when I picture a Country Club. I decided that I would take a picture to share with you, so you can see that it is more like a private park. You need a code or remote to enter, but once you enter you are overwhelmed by these adorable rutstic cabins. I am a little jealous of the people that live in the cabins along the lake!

The view from the pavillion

The pavillion where Caroline will celebrate her first birthday!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Family Grill

We decided that Friday night we would invite the family over and grill pork chops. Papaw Troy grilled, while the ladies prepared the side dishes. The dinner was delicious, and even Caroline tasted a few bites!


MiMi and Caroline...Here we come!

Caroline loves the camera and video camera...she is such an investigator lately.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our Week

Matt reminded me this morning that I am a little behind on blogging. I am way behind on blogging this week, and it is because I have enjoyed spending time with Caroline every opportunity I had this week. Caroline usually goes to sleep around eight and then I enjoy catching up on my nightly reading, which leaves no time for housework or blogging. I am going to use this weekend for cleaning and quality time with little Miss.

Caroline is almost ten months and her new favorite thing to do is climb things! Anything! You name it... her crib, cabinet drawers, me, Snow White, boxes, chairs, etc. I turned my head this week and the next thing I know she is climbing into her car. You can forget her sitting in the car...those days are long gone.

Kevin was riding over our house for a training mission this week, so we got a close-up view. Caroline was amazed as she watched Kevin out back. You would not believe all the questions we had the next day about the helicopter. Such a small town! Thanks Kevin for letting Caroline get to watch you fly! We get to see Daddy fly next week!

Caroline was so excited about the Sonic Tots container, but would not eat a tot! What is wrong with this girl! She does not know what she is missing out on!

I took this next picture to show my progress on my Sweet Potato Vines. They started off with two leaves of each color, and now take a look. They are taking over!

Caroline loves her Papaw, and she had a blast helping him with the black-eyed peas today! Boy oh Boy! You can make a mess quick with these little peas!

Our free goodies from Mamaw and Papaw

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

Caroline and I filled our bellies at Mamaw Moren's house this afternoon and then headed off to Lake Catherine to see the Ritchie crew. Each year the Ritchie family meets at the lake and has a relaxing weekend.
Caroline showing Aunt Peggy her shades

Before the Ritchie gathering, we stopped to see the Vincent family at their home near Lake Catherine. Cheryl is a Park Ranger at Lake Catherine State Park. It was so much fun to see Ben and Blake dump water on each other and have fun in the sun! Boy oh Boy! What would I do with a boy??

Major V (Capt V), Caroline, and Blake

Caroline also got lots of kisses from Pooh Bear...

Our Sunday

Sunday afternoon naps are always the best, because Caroline is so tired when we get home from church. She plays her heart out! Today when I put her in the crib, I think she may have been asleep in seconds of her head hitting the blanket. I just love this dress that Aunt Debbie brought us back from Florida! Thanks Aunt Debbie! And check out those big girl shoes...

Last night was the final night of the Miss Arkansas pageant, and it was a little emotional listening to Sarah give her fairwell speech. When I was a High School Senior I brought my video camera to school the last day and recorded any messages that anyone had to say about the past, present, or future. Sarah ended her Senior statement by saying that she would be Miss Arkansas. She has accomplished a lifetime dream. Caroline watched each night this week for about twenty minutes and then it was her bedtime. Caroline loves her Aunt Sarah!

We accomplished quite a bit of cleaning this weekend. Caroline is such a huge help these days. She has discovered the dryer, and she tried her hardest to climb in with all of the clothes.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

REAL Flight School

It has been so long since I have talked about flight school on here, so I thought I would share while I had the time. Recall that back in January, I initially had big problems flying a helicopter...thankfully, that passed, and I became pretty comfortable in one and was able to make it do what I wanted it to...all that to say, I was successful. The next phase was instruments, during March and April. I just thought that I had had problems in the first phase. No doubt, without question, it was only by the grace of God that I got through this phase successfully. The month of May brought my final course of Initial Entry Rotary Wing training, Basic Warfighting Skills. It was only a month long, and the last two weeks of it were the first time that I had fun since being here. Sad, huh? Anyhow, BWS was flying low and fast, landing in fields, etc. and I had a really fun stick-buddy and instructor.

Now, when I got here in May of 2009, the wait between BWS and the Blackhawk course was 4-5 months, but it has been dwindled down drastically. At the end of May, I was given a Blackhawk start date of July 9th. So, as you probably know, I was home for 3 weeks, which gave me 3 weeks to be back down in Fort Rucker and learn the things that I need to know before I started the course...which was a lot. So when I got back on Saturday, I took time to get back settled, and I started casually looking at the information Monday night. On Tuesday afternoon, 4:00, I got a call that I was to start the Blackhawk course the next day at 7:30 am. My 3 weeks became 2 days, which were gone, and I hadn't used them to accomplish a thing. I sat in class Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and was not in the mental mind-set to be in academic classes...at all.

Panic sat in. I had a test on Monday morning over the limitations and emergency procedures of the helicopter. I had to know the startup and runup procedures, with about 50 associated notes, cautions, and warnings...all of this while not knowing what the inside of a Blackhawk looks like. Now throw in the fact that I was lost in academics (the hydraulics system was greek to me, yet it is very very very important, as it is impossible to control the helicopter without it), and I was very frustrated and scared. I studied like I never have...I didn't know that I had the ability to do what I did, but I caught up, passed every test they threw at us and made it to the flightline last Friday.

This study guide is about 2 inches thick with note-cards, each card being one piece of info I had to know for my test on the 4th day of class.

So last Friday, July 9th, I flew a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, albeit very poorly. I went from a helicopter that cannot takeoff if it weighs 3,500 pounds because it's too heavy, to one that carries 3,000 pounds of fuel. It can weigh up to 22,000 pounds, but the ones here are stripped of most mission equipment, and we weigh in about 15,000 pounds daily.

Now, in addition to the weight, the change is like you have been driving a Geo Metro without power-steering for a long period of time, and then hopping in a decked-out Cadillac. Remember, helicopters don't want to fly...airplanes do. So the little helicopter I flew in for 5 months was constantly fighting to go to the ground, which required a constant fight from the pilot. The Blackhawk is, in some respects, like an airplane. You don't have to fight it to fly...it's smooth...it's fluid...it's awesome.

It is still like learning to fly all over again, though, and in my first 4 days of flying, I have had one good day, which was the second day, making it all the more frustrating. The first phase that I am in is only one more week long, and then I have a check-ride. This next week has to be a good one, or I'm not sure what will happen. Scary thing, they are sending people home from here...after being here a year and a half...if you don't have it, they don't have the time for you to get it. It is a real enough consideration for me that I am putting off buying plane tickets to fly home the first two weekends of September, because I may already BE home! If I were to get through each course successfully, no hiccups, I will be done at the end of September, and home about mid-October. It can't get here soon enough.

In the meantime, I am going to do the best I can, not worry about it, pray heavily, and ask my friends and family to pray for me.

Such a BIG girl!

Maybe I should have used the word SPECIAL instead of the word HUGE when closing yesterday's post. Clint lost sleep last night due to this post. Okay Nancy...here we go! Below are the pictures from Beyond Wild Studio.

Brittany came along to help take pictures and for Mommy emergency support. Caroline was a big Brittany fan yesterday! Caroline asked me if she could go and spend a week with Brittany...what do you think Brittany??

Side view of the virgin ears

That is right...we got Caroline's ears pierced! I know that some may agree or agree to disagree. I was not nervous, until we got to the Studio. Caroline did great! She did pucker up and shed a few tears for about 5-10 seconds.

Trish marking the areas on Caroline's ears

...now the other ear

I do not know why I have this look on my face, but I think I was in the middle of talking.

We made a friend at the studio.
My sweet angel!
Amanda and Trish pierced both of Caroline's ears at the same time. Caroline did great...I was really surprised that Caroline kept her head still...she is a very busy girl these days!
A little love and hug from Mom.
Small tear...but look at that gorgeous bling.

Close up view

Amanda, Trish, and Caroline
Thanks so much Trish!

Caroline did great yesterday, so I decided to let her tell you about her experience. This will be her first blog post, so pay close attention. Caroline writes:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Go Go Go (Playing Catch Up)

Here are a few pictures of last weekend...oops! I am a little behind on posting. Aunt Megan and Uncle Jared came into town to see us this past weekend. Caroline is sporting her new cover-up from Aunt Debbie in the pic below. Thanks Aunt Debbie! You can also see about our shoe wearing habits these days...one shoe on and one shoe off.
Uncle Jared taking Caroline for a stroll

Caroline and Uncle Roger
Let me just say that Matt and I are just fine with one child and one child only for now, but if Matt and I are to ever have a little boy...below is a picture of what our little boy would look like. I had not washed clothes in a week, and Caroline was out of sleeping attire, so I put on our gift from Tara and Sutton. I gave this onesie to Sutton, because Tara is a Hygienist. She passed it back down to Caroline. Look at those pretty blue eyes. Boy oh Boy!
Usually on Fridays I try to take a few snaps of Caroline before we head off on our adventures, but this shows the challenge I face trying to take pictures. Take one.

Take two.

Take three.

Take four.

Take five.

Take six.

Then she decided to move to her favorite place in the house...the master bathroom! She loves my hair products! Once again, she is so active it is hard to get any pictures.
Thanks for the dress Aunt Debbie!

We hope you all have a safe and fun weekend. We have a HUGE post coming up tomorrow, so we hope you all return to see and hear the news!