Friday, December 31, 2010

do.

2010.
if we know each other in real life, this letter may have arrived in your mailbox this week. if we know each other and you didn't get one, don't worry, this version is better--it has links!

*
Friends and Family,

When I first tried to write a letter to you all, the only thing I could write was:
“This year our family was only together for 4 of the 12 months. Bah-humbug.” 
Must’ve been a bad day.  But this morning, as I reflect on our year, I realize we have had many incredible experiences and so much to be thankful for…

JANUARY: After completing Basic Training, Seth came home for two weeks over Christmas and New Year’s. On January 4th he returned to Ft. Benning, Georgia to finish Advanced Individual Training (AIT).

FEBRUARY: Quinn and I flew down to Ft. Benning to attend Seth’s graduation from Basic and AIT. He was awarded “Honor Graduate” of his platoon and, because of high test scores, was offered a slot in Airborne school. Quinn and I returned home, Seth stayed in Georgia to jump out of airplanes.

MARCH: After completing Airborne, Seth finally returned home! A few days after his return, we took our first big family vacation to Cape San Blas, FL. It was a wonderful time for our family to reconnect. On the 24-hour drive there and back, we got to spend time in Georgia with my grandparents and other relatives.

APRIL: Between Seth’s training in Georgia and his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan we found ourselves in a sort of limbo. April was spent trying to establish a bit of normalcy. Seth started his own company—Beaver Creek Construction. (We live by Beaver Creek. Creative, right?) It may seem like a strange time to start a business, but it allowed him to work as a sub-contractor for the short time he had at home.

MAY: Piper turned 3 on May 8th! She loves princesses, play-doh and painting. Later that month, I surprised Seth with a trip to Canon Beach, OR. Seth and I both spent a year in Canon Beach when we were first dating, so it was great to spend time in a place with so many memories.

JUNE: Seth and I celebrated 5 years of marriage on June 4th! He spent the month at Camp Ripley, MN for AT (Annual Training). The girls and I tried to stay busy—going to the farmer’s market, the Art Festival, and even an I-Cubs game on Father’s Day. While Seth was gone I had the house painted and re-roofed as a surprise. It was great seeing the look on his face when he pulled in the driveway!

JULY: We tried to spend as much time together as we could. Seth and I were lucky enough to take an incredible hot-air balloon ride. Something we’ll never forget. Quinn Margaret turned 1 on the 28th! She is very sweet-natured and loves to snuggle. She already looks up to her big sister, which sometimes gets them both into trouble!

AUGUST: On August 1st, Seth left for a year-long deployment. It was a very difficult good-bye. He spent the month of August at Camp Shelby, MS in training. Piper started preschool on Mondays and Fridays and it was a great distraction. I’m not sure who loves it more—me or her!

SEPTEMBER: Seth continued his training and spent a few weeks at Ft. Irwin, CA. They got to experience America’s version of Afghanistan in the desert there.

OCTOBER: In October I had the opportunity to visit Seth in Mississippi. We had a wonderful four days together and (thanks to his aunt & uncle) stayed in a beautiful, secluded cabin near Jackson. By the end of the month, Seth was in Afghanistan.

NOVEMBER: The girls and I spent Thanksgiving in Chicago with Seth’s aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was a great time and we may have to make it a tradition! Seth had his own make-shift Thanksgiving complete with canned egg-nog.

DECEMBER: The girls and I have decorated our little tree, visited Santa Clause and mailed Christmas gifts to Afghanistan. This will be a difficult Christmas for our family, but we are very blessed.

God has used so many people provide meals, baby-sitting, house-cleaning, and even gifts to brighten our days. Thank-you for your support and prayer as we try to live a normal life under abnormal circumstances. We love you and we’re so grateful to have you in our lives! Merry Christmas!

Seth, Bethany, Piper and Quinn

*
that includes you, dear blog-readers! you guys are awesome. i don't know why you care about our little family--but i'm so thankful that you do!
you are so kind and sweet and funny and cute! i wish we all lived in the same neighborhood so we could go on walks together!  and take our kids to the park! and go shopping! and have coffee! or...other beverages! and bump into each other at the grocery store where we exchange eye-rolls cause our kids are being monsters! but, even without shopping and chatting and eye-rolling--i still value my friendships with you guys.
2010 was a hard year. but it was a great year, don't ya think?
and we have so much to look forward to in 2011,
including; the great, triumphant return of our mr.a!
(okay, that's not for like, another 7 months, but still!)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

see.

reader request, vol. 5

after my last wear post, some of you requested some more views of our house. i have to admit, a picture of our house today would probably be different than a picture of our house in a month from now. i've found i really like switching things around. and, with two young kids, the needs of our family are constantly changing.
right now, piper's really into coloring and painting, so i moved two chairs out of our living room to make room for a little craft area for her. but, in a month, that phase may be over, so i'll move things again.

here is the latest incarnation of my art wall.
it has morphed over the past couple of years, things added, rearranged...
1. clock: target, a christmas gift from mr.a's oldest brother.
2. diy picture: i cut a picture out of a book that reminded me of mr.a. i had some muslin that i matted it with, $0
3. tree picture: marshalls, $15
4. diy: i cut a page out of a really old dictionary and stuck it in a frame i already had. it's an 'L' page. i circled the "love" entry with a red crayon. $0
5. original print: this was a house-warming gift from my super-talented friend, miss k. it has all our names, our address, and some other sweet words. (click on the link to see more of her work!)
6. botanical print: i bought this at my favorite boutique in the twin cities, patina. patina is a great source for affordable art & quirky accessories. $28.
7. biblical print: this is a page from a very early copy of the Bible. i'll have to ask my dad just how old it is. my parents had it in their house for years & passed it on to me when they moved. it fits perfectly with the rest of this wall and i like that, it's the center. literally and symbolically.
8. original painting: a friend of ours is a fantastic artist. at his first art exhibit i saw this painting and fell in love. i asked him if maybe i could do a "layaway" of sorts so that it could one day be mine. he said he had just sold it "to a family member." months later, on christmas morning, i found out he had sold it to my family member! my mom had bought it right under my nose! it was such a wonderful surprise and one of my most-cherished posessions. see more of ben's work here.

as you can see, it doesn't take a lot of money to make a unique art wall in your home. just some creativity and patience as you collect your pieces.

the rest of our living room has come together slowly. i got the vintage red chairs on ebay ($120 for both), the couch on craigslist ($300), the coffee table at target ($85), the moroccan pouf was free from work, the side table is from tj maxx ($50) and the yellow rug was from gilt groupe ($105). (i think...or maybe one kings lane.) the rug under piper's table was from target. (maybe $115?) and i recently added these sconces from home depot to bring a bit more light into the room ($30 each).  piper's little table was a flea-market find ($20). the top of the table was really beat up so i just painted it with a coat of chalkboard paint. everything in our house has been purchased little by little. just as we could afford it.
so...there's a little glimpse into the main part of our house. i'm certainly no decorating expert, but i feel like i'm slowly figuring out what my personal taste is, and how to translate that (affordably) into our home.

if you care to see even more,
here are some old posts featuring parts of our house:













do.

news radio.
yesterday i had the opportunity to be on a local news radio program. it was very nerve-wracking! i had never been in a radio station before. yowza! there's a lot that goes on in order for us to hear those voices over the airwaves.
two of my dear friends and i were interviewed about life as the wife of a deployed soldier. apparently we're experts. whether we like it or not...ha.

i can't remember a thing i said, but i remember crying. yes. i cried. but it's not my fault-- they kept calling us heroes! i swear, say the word "hero" in my presence and you're asking for some tears. but overall, i think it went well. i have newfound respect for radio deejays. i can. not. imagine having to carry on a little conversation with yourself for thousands of people to hear. i was really impressed with our host.






Wednesday, December 29, 2010

wear.

a do.
somehow i ended up with all this hair and no clue what to do with it. i like long hair. i like my long hair. i just don't have much when it comes to hairstyling skills. i can kinda straighten it or kinda scrunch it, but beyond that i can't do much. except maybe a bun.
(that you're all probably sick of seeing.)
one of the cutest girls i know always wears her hair in a braid.
so, i thought i'd try to be cute like her today...
 i began with about a fraction of the cuteness that she has, but i like the braid!
 it was finally warm enough to bust out some flats! halle-mc-lujah!
anyway, my sister got all the good hair-doing skills.
tonight i asked her if she'd come do my hair every day. she laughed.
which, i think, was a no.

cardigan: j.crew
top: anthro
pants: heritage
flats: steve madden
necklace: gift
braid: diy!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

do.

merry christmas!

the girls and i have spent the past few days driving back and forth and all over town to make sure we hit (almost!) every family event. today will mark our fifth christmas gathering. crazy? yes. stressful? a little. super-fun and totally-worth-it? definitely.
here are some moments from the past few days...

christmas eve day:
we spent christmas eve day with mr.a's extended family...

quinn tries out her mini tea set...
 my newest nephew!

christmas eve:
piper hangs her daddy's stocking...
our attempt at a "family" picture
(per piper's request)...

 christmas morning:
we spent christmas morning with my family.
a christmas picnic...
 i love this face...
 piper says, "hi daddy!"
 we always read the christmas story...
 before presents...
my sister & i diy'd our own version of this...
aren't we awesome?!
my best friend...
a christmas day tradition since 2000!

the day after christmas:
we spent the day after christmas with mr.a's other extended family.
they're a little kooky...
skype session...
i got a little choked up when everyone started singing christmas carols to him.
eating lunch with mr. a...
charades!

my (unsuccesful) attempt at a group shot... 
(almost) the whole fam damily...
though we desperately missed mr.a...
the girls and i truly had a blessed christmas. we are so fortunate to be surrounded by so many friends and family. mr.a's relatives are as dear to me as my own. they make me laugh, make me feel loved, and were a great distraction from missing him. i am one lucky lady.

see.

for linda.
hi linda. i didn't want you to have to wait any longer, so here you go...




not only did i get to talk to mr.a on christmas day, i got to see him! i opened two gifts from him as we skyped. (this and this!) it was the best part of my day.



p.s. i wrote this post a couple days ago and just now was able to get my photos to load!  
and i had to load them one at a time. grrrr....
anyone else having upload trouble?
advice?

Monday, December 27, 2010

do.

if this were facebook:

Bethany Arganbright would love to be blogging but blogger won't upload any of her pictures. Boo.

of course i have technical difficulties when i have so much to blog about!
christmas! presents! surprise packages! skyping! charades! lions & tigers & bears!
plus! 200 followers?
are you guys sure you're following the right blog?
whether you're here by accident or on purpose: thanks so much for reading.
it's humbling and, honestly, still a shock that anyone reads this little blogspot.
i love you, guys! i would still blog if you weren't reading, but i have to admit, it's pretty cool to know someone's out there.*


*especially mr.a! i think he waited til i had 100 followers before he ever read a single post. now he's jumpin on the dtwsld bandwagon. y'all can tease him about it. i suppose he's always been a little behind the times. wink! love you, baby!**

 **yes, i call mr.a 'baby' or 'babe'.
is that super-annoying? i used to know this couple who started or ended every sentence with 'baby!' it was so annoying. i know we don't say it that much, but it's still my term-of-endearment of choice. he's also known as 'sether', 'sexy beast' or 'stud muffin.'

okay, just kidding about those last two.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

see.

for the past couple of months, we've had very little communication with mr.a. 
he had been using a satellite phone to call me when he could (every 5 days or so), but they are extemely expensive to use (they cost the military $9 a minute!) so we kept our conversations brief. but finally his COP (combat outpost) got some phone lines set up and computers with internet access! (whew! that was a lot of parentheses!)



umm...is quinn not the sweetest little nugget you've ever seen?!


yay! we love that face!!!
that may be the best christmas present i'll get this year!

(though my sister is pretty sure her gift trumps skype. we'll see!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

wear.

simple+sparkle.

as you may have noticed, i'm a big layerer. maybe even a compulsive layerer. i'm not sure i ever wear just. one. shirt. i've been this way for years.
ask my older sister about the era where i wore a plain white gap "favorite t" under everything. i probably had 12 of the same white t-shirt. weird, i know. but i could also tell you about her era of wearing embroidered cardigans. she had like 6 cardigans embroidered with little flowers.
they were cute, but...six?
all that to say, it was a really big deal for me to wear this sweater all by itself. i tried it with a belt, with a bright-colored tank, with a big honkin' necklace; but in the end i decided those cute little puffy shoulders could hold their own.
still, i couldn't help but get my fix by wearing these sparkly flats,
layered with jewels:
coat: kenneth cole 
scarf: target
sweater: french connection
jeans: gap
flats: banana republic

this is what piper did while i took these pictures...
and this is what quinn did...
ha!