I’m Ba-a-ack!

Hi Everyone!

So its been almost two years awhile since I’ve posted anything here.   After spending 9-months in Afghanistan where I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and started reading more blogs I slooowly became inspired to start updating mine again.  I’ll probably be making some changes to the format and layout (I have to read some other blogs first about how to edit a blog..) but I decided I should stop putting it off and just write.

What’s going to be the focus of this renewed blog you may ask.  Short answer: a little bit of everything.  Long answer: updates on our lives, travel adventures, recipes/cooking experiments, probably some pictures, thoughts, and prayers.

And now for a long overdue update on the McLeans!  (This may get long-winded, I won’t be mad if you skim..)  I returned from Afghanistan in March, Ian flew to Bamberg a few days prior to be here when I arrived.  It was SOOO good to see him and be home together again.  At the end of March we flew home to Texas for a wonderful 30 days of leave.  We spent time in Ft Rucker, Alabama, San Antonio, New Braunfels, Austin, and Northwestern Arkansas spending as much time with family and friends as we could.  It was a wonderful month of sweet fellowship, delicious food, beautiful weather and sunshine, and just a little shopping (ok, maybe a lot).   And I got to meet the newest member of our family whom Ian had picked up and been taking care of while I was gone, our sweet puppy, Trooper.  Trooper is a one-year-old (so I guess not really a puppy anymore) Hungarian Vizsla and is so energetic and companionable.   He loves to follow Ian and/or I around the house or play fetch- he LOVES attention in general!  Ian grew up with dogs, but this is a first for me.  It’s been a fun learning process.

At the end of April we headed home, hoping to take Trooper with us but had issues with his paperwork to fly  (He actually finally just joined us in Germany a couple of weeks ago- but more on that in a bit..).  After getting home, I started work again and moved to a new job in my unit.  I am now working in the Support Operations (SPO), specifically the Transportation section.  As my unit moves from Bamberg, Germany to Vicenza, Italy we have to move all the vehicles and equipment we have as well.  My job is to work with other logisticians in the battalions and make a plan for movement and order German national trucks to haul it to Italy.  I also coordinate buses and any other transportation support our brigade requires.  I’ve learned a lot and have enjoyed staying busy.  Ian and I have been able to take a few fun trips this spring/summer- we visited LEGOLand Deutschland; Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany on the Austrian border right in the Alps; Dresden, Germany; and Bolestawiec, Poland.  Our new (to us) Jeep Liberty has been great on the road.

A couple of weeks ago, Ian’s little sister, Maggie flew to see us and brought Trooper with her!  It was so much fun to have her here in Germany and get to show her around a bit.  We took some day trips to Nurenburg, Wurzburg, LEGOLand, and of course showed her our beautiful town of Bamberg.   We have loved finally having Trooper here with us.  He is getting adjusted to wood floors and stairs, and is doing great.

Our next big event will be getting the current McLean Manor all packed up and ready to move.  We will be moving to Vicenza, Italy- in Northern-Italy, right between Verona and Venice.  We leave Bamberg on August 8th and it will definitely be bittersweet!  We are excited to live in a new country and pick out a new home together.  We’ve loved our time in Bamberg and the central location in Germany, but we are ready to explore Italy.

Between all the travel, work, dog-walking, reading, etc I have found lots of time to spend in my kitchen.  Being gone for 9 months made me realize even more how much I love to cook/bake/experiment and how I love to feed people 🙂 I’ve been reading some new cookbooks and am trying to get better at writing down what I make so I can remember it for next time, and measure things better (so I can actually duplicate a success).  I’m a little bit obsessed with Mason Jars right now and wish I had a garden full of produce so I could can it all.  Instead I started with some delicious pickle recipes from my Mom, Aunt Joy, and Grandma- they turned out great!  And of course it wouldn’t be a true Becca cooking project if I didn’t make a ton…all in all I ended up with about 16 jars of pickles (some very small so they went fast)..lots to stock the fridge with and lots to share!

Phew!  That was a long update.  Thanks for sticking around to the end!  I hope that you are enjoying your summer with lots of sunshine and smiles.  Until next time…


Bittersweet…

Well I am back in Virginia again, waiting at the airport for my flight to DC and then I’m off to Germany! My past 2.5 weeks in San Antonio have been amazing…my best friend asked me to spend the rest of my life with him and marry him (I said YES! We are SO excited :)), I got to spend wonderful time with my family, see great friends in Austin, and make so many special memories. Leaving today is bittersweet…I am so excited to start this new adventure that God has for me- I know that I am going to be stretched in ways I never imagined. On the flipside, it was SOO hard to leave Ian and my family…I have no idea when I’ll be back in the states, its seems especially hard leaving when the journey is so open-ended. I covet all of your prayers as I embark on this next journey. I will be turning off my cell phone tonight, but message me on facebook or get a hold of me through here if you want to talk. Know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers, come see me in Bamberg! You’ll have a great (and free!) place to stay and I can show you around.

Here are a couple engagement pictures Jana took for us while she was in town… we had a lot of fun and they turned out great! 🙂


Its been fun Ft Lee!

Hello everyone!

Well, my time at Ft Lee is coming to an end…This morning I finished Rigger school (finished with honors, earning a red hat!), turned in my leave form, picked up my clearing papers, and started out processing.  My first household goods shipment going to Germany was picked up today, the rest is being picked up next week.  Next Friday (August 26) I sign out at Ft Lee and start my trip home!  Ian is flying in to help me with the drive, I’m so excited to see him! 🙂 I’ll be in Texas until September 13th, if you will be around send me a text or call and we’ll have to get together!

So my schedule for Rigger school was pretty easy…we were done by 4 most days and had no homework.  To fill my time, I picked up an old hobby and started some new projects 🙂 Here are some pictures of my creations:

My family of colorful eggs 🙂

A furry wombat for Ian- his favorite animal.

These are for my soon-to-be-born-nephew, Michael!

This one is probably my favorite! I love elephants! 🙂

These are for Laura, Anna, and Lucy 🙂

Just a few more…

So that’s what I’ve been up to! 🙂 I’ve enjoyed having something to do, its helped make the time go by faster!  I hope you and your family have been doing well, I’m looking forward to seeing some of y’all soon!

 

 


Oh so much to say…

So. It has been quite a while since my previous posts…but I was on facebook this evening and saw that one of my friends started a blog and after reading it, I was inspired to post anew. (Thanks, Delaney!! http://finishlineaddict.wordpress.com/)

Since my previous post, so much has happened in my life.  Here is a brief list of the most recent happenings in my (sometimes!) exciting life:

  • Was heavily anesthetized and had all four wisdom teeth removed.
  • Rekindled an old hobby and crocheted some stuffed animals for my sweet niece Lucy’s first birthday.
  • Spent an amazing weekend in Washington, D.C. with my wonderful sister Jana!
  • Read about 15 novels…I love my Kindle!
  • Went to the beach with some great friends to celebrate finishing BOLC.
  • Graduated BOLC with honors.
  • Started Airborne School- two weeks of training down, our jumps start on Tuesday! (more of that to follow)
  • Went to Atlanta for the day, and explored the World of Coca-Cola Museum and the Olympic Centennial Park.

As you can see, I’ve had a full past 6 weeks! Finishing BOLC was bitter-sweet, I’m so ready to move on, but I will miss the great friends I’ve made.  It’s been fun keeping in touch with them and hearing about their experiences as they go back to their civilian jobs or report to their new units.

As soon as I graduated BOLC, I hopped in my car and drove down to Ft Benning, GA (apx 100 miles south of Atlanta) for Airborne School!  Airborne School is a three-week course: two weeks of training and then jump week.  Yesterday we finished all of our training: we learned how to get into the parachute harness, how to exit the aircraft, how to land correctly to prevent injury, how to maneuver in the air, and how to recognize parachute malfunctions.  Here at Airborne School, we ‘double-time’ (run) everywhere…The first week, all our training occurred in a field about a mile away from the barracks.  We ran this distance 4-6 times a day last week, as well as lots of running for PT.  This week our training moved to a new site, a bit closer to the barracks, but still about a 1/2 mile run 4-6 times a day.  Needless to say, I am very thankful for the four-day weekend…my body needs some time to recover from all the running and practice falls!  We start our jumps (weather permitting) next Tuesday morning, I can’t wait!! We will make five jumps and then graduation is Friday morning at 0900.  My mom is flying in on Wednesday night to see my final jump and help pin on my wings at graduation!  I am SOO excited to see her!  She will be joining me on the 9hr drive back to Virginia and get a chance to spend the weekend with me at my apartment in Hopewell.  I miss my family so much, it will be so encouraging to get to spend some time with her!

Well, that’s a brief update on my life…I’m so thankful for all of the experiences I’ve had the past few months, I’ve made some great friends and some awesome memories.  God has been so good to me, I am so thankful for His blessings in my life.  I am counting down the days til I finish rigger school and head back to Texas!  I will be home at the end of August through 12 September, I would love to get to see some of y’all!  I hope all is well with you and your family!  Blessings! 🙂

 


NASCAR!

So I know I destroyed my last posts attempt at every two weeks/once a month posting…I promise that I will at least write sometimes! 🙂

The past month has been filled with PT, class, hanging out with friends, taking exams, some more class, running, and some more exams! 🙂 We have almost covered all of the major occupations of a Quartermaster Officer: Aerial Delivery (that’s what I’m going to do!) and Field Services, Petroleum and Water, Food Services, Mortuary Affairs, and Maintenance. My favorite block of instruction so far has been the Sling Load Inspector Certification Course (SLICC). It was a week long course where we learned the equipment used in sling load operations: using helicopter and huge ropes and chains to airlift cargo- everything from Humvees to fuel drums to cargo bags filled with boxes of ammunition and food. We learned how to rig the equipment and then were instructed on how to inspect the loads and certify them to be lifted. It was great! I loved it! 🙂 I finished with a 99% average and am now SLIC certified!

I’ve also had a great time hanging out with friends, we’ve found some great things to do! One of them being our adventure to Richmond this past week to Richmond International Raceway to go to a NASCAR Race! About 20 people from our class went. It was a night race so we got there early to tail-gate and hang out…and watch the spectacle that is called NASCAR. NASCAR fans are CRAZY!!! We met some of the most red-neck, eclectic people ever! It was so great 🙂 We also had Pit Passes so we got to go down on the track to see the cars before the race. Following that was a free concert by Rodney Atkins! My friend and I got a great spot in line so we were really close to the stage for the concert. And just like any great blogger, I got lots of pictures. Enjoy! 🙂 (You can click on the picture to see it bigger, these are also on Facebook!)


BOLC weeks 1-3

Well, I hate to admit it but I have already failed on my goal to update my blog at least every other week…I may have to change that goal to once a month…either way, here I am now! 🙂 The last 3-4 weeks have been pretty busy here. BOLC (Basic Officer Leadership Course) week 1 began on 28 February and was filled with mandatory power points and briefs and lots of paperwork. There were a lot of early mornings, we had to be there at 4:30am most days, and then we usually go until 5pm. We took our first diagnostic physical fitness test and started our PT (physical training) program. With our PT program in place, we’ve been doing A LOT of running. When it’s all said and done, I’m averaging about 10-15 miles a week, sometimes even more. Weeks 2 and 3 were Tactics: learning about convoy operations, using battle simulators to run convoy ops, basic map reading, we did a land nav course, and then spent three days at the range. At the range we zeroed our weapons, qualified, did a SRM (short-range marksmanship) course, and some barricade shooting. This week we began our more ‘technical’ training that is more job-specific. Its been nice having a set schedule and a routine. My day usually looks like this:

  • 0515: wake-up
  • 0600-0700: PT
  • 0830-1200: Class
  • 1200-1300: lunch time!!!!
  • 1300-1700(or until complete): more class
  • 2100: Bedtime! 🙂

In the evenings I usually come home and cook dinner, sometimes go for a run, read and just relax. The classes haven’t been very difficult so far, as long as you listen and pay attention in class, there really isn’t anything to study or look over later.

So thats what goes on Monday-Friday….now for the weekends. 🙂 Its been so fun having my weekends free and not having to work or study! I usually start Saturday morning with a 5 mile run (got to get ready for Airborne school!!) at the Petersburg National Battlefield with some people from my class. Then its home to relax! 🙂 I’ve had fun getting to know everyone in my class (there are 50 total: 43 LT’s, 2 international students, and 5 DA civilians). This past Friday evening I cooked Tacos and had 12 people over to my apt for dinner and games! This Sunday I went to Jamestown with some friends to see the historical Jamestown settlement (first established in 1607) and to see an annual event called “Military through the Ages”. They had re-enacters from almost every major war or conflict represented. They all had on authentic, period uniforms and equipment. We walked around the ‘camp’ and then got to see the parade. Here are some pictures to help describe it:

  

This is at the end of the Pass and Review when all the different re-enacters were lined up by date.

After the parade we went to the Indian Village:

I was trying to have a serious face but people kept making me laugh…:)

This is the inside of the church at Jamestown Settlement.

And then the girls tried on some of the armor from back in 1607…(I had a bun in my hair so my helmet didn’t fit right 🙂 ) For your viewing pleasure, I also have a picture of us at the range last week so you can compare our equipment updates… I’m so glad our armor has changed so much!!

Then we walked down to the dock, getting distracted once to take a picture in a hollowed out tree trunk…

From left to right: Sarah, Steven, Me, Kelly, Brian, Kalli, and JP (all people from my class).

They had replicas of the ships that brought the first settlers over in 1607  that you could board and tour.

Another group picture:

Walking back to the parking lot they had a courtyard with all the state’s flags…I had to get a picture of Texas! 🙂

Next on our list of historical adventures is historical Williamsburg and Yorktown, and we also want to go tour a plantation sometime. We passed some on Sunday that were built in 1670! Thanks for sticking through all the pictures! Hope y’all are all doing well!


My new home!

Apartment hunting is over! I found an amazing apartment on Monday and signed the lease on Wednesday. Thursday, the movers came and delivered all my furniture…It feels so good to have a home again! 🙂 I am living in Hopewell, on the smaller cities around Ft. Lee. The building that I am in is a historic middle school, built in 1925. Last year it was renovated and re-finished into fun, beautiful lofts. Each of the apartments are in a classroom so each one has a really different and unique layout. Mine even has some of the original chalkboards!! I love the character that this apartment has, I’m so excited I found it! Here are some pictures so you can take a virtual tour! Wish you all could come see it in person!

Here it is from the outside: James E. Mallonee middle school

 

This is what you see when you first walk in the door of my apartment. The door on the right is where the washer/drier and water heater are.

Here is a shot of the front door/entry way. The double doors on the left is the washer/drier and water heater, the single door is a coat closet.

The living room, I LOVE the chalkboards! They have a 4-5in ledge on the top that has been great for decorating, I haven’t had to hang anything!

Left side:

 

Right side: (the window panes are a gift from my sweet cousin, Kim. I’m so excited to take some cool pictures of historic Petersburg to put in the panes!)

Here is the kitchen/soon-to-be dining room: (The door on the very end, right side, is the pantry.)

I love that the kitchen is all along one wall-it makes it look really open! I’ll be getting a table and chairs soon, it’ll go underneath the windows on the right hand side.

The ceilings are really high so all the cupboards go up really far. And since I am not tall, I can’t reach any of the top shelves! But even without that space, I still ended up with an empty cabinet when all was unpacked! The pantry is huge and has lots of storage too!

And of course, it wouldn’t be my kitchen without a little bit of Texas 🙂

This is my favorite chalkboard 🙂 (thanks Aunt Sue for the great words!!)

So in between the kitchen and living room is the door to the bedroom:

The closet door is straight ahead (when I get a dresser/vanity, it will go against the wall on the right) :

More great chalkboards! 🙂

The bathroom is on the same wall as the door to the bedroom:

Well that’s about it! I start my Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) on Monday afternoon so I’m enjoying my last few days with no responsibilities and nothing to do. 🙂 Hope y’all have a great weekend, blessings!