30 January 2013

Can you blame me?

Can you blame me for being home seeing these cuties on the regular rather than living alone in Germany?

Not to mention that the temperature has never dropped below 40, there's no show on the ground, and South Carolina's even had a couple days where the temperature reached the 80s! Home sweet home.

18 January 2013

Sail Away with Me

Yup, this is going to be us in less than 100 days. We just booked our block leave trip and we're going on a CRUISE. Traveling in Europe is amazing, but in my opinion a cruise is the PERFECT vacation for RELAXATION. And after 9 months of separation that is exactly what we need. Hello, 2nd honeymoon!

Labadee, Haiti + Falmouth, Jamaica 
George Town, Grand Caymen + Cozumel, Mexico 


17 January 2013

Life in Afghanistan

I could never give you a true depiction of what life is like in Afghanistan. RC would have to do that and quite honestly I don't ever see that happening on this blog... BUT the FRG, Rear D, and the soldiers down range have done an amazing job of trying to keep family members in the loop via social media. Almost every month each troop (company) posts an update on the unit's Facebook page. There is always a nice write-up with mentions of promotions, awards, and daily life of our boys. RC was promoted to 1LT a few months ago and I was so proud to see his name mentioned.

The best part of these monthly updates is ALWAYS the pictures! I mean look at the way my husband hams it up in front of a camera! There are usually at least 30 pictures for each update and even if your soldier isn't in them it's always exciting to look through the album. Being able to actually see what it looks like at his COP somehow makes it seem not so far away. Plus I am extremely proud of my husband and I so cherish having these pictures of him. 

And it's not just photographs they are sharing with us. The guys down range even recorded videos wishing everyone a Merry Christmas (which you can watch below)! Through a program I can't remember the name of, they were also able to have each soldier record a video to send home to their family. In RC's video he gave a quick shout out to both his family and mine. He also read a Christmas book for our nephew Brayden since we don't have any children of our own. The video was burned onto a DVD and sent in the mail with a copy of the book he read, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas'. Not only did it bring a smile to everyone's face to see RC and hear his voice, but he also scored a big one in the 'favorite uncle' department which is a fierce battle between him and my brother.

I am so thankful for technology. Not only has it made this deployment much more manageable on a day to day basis, but it has given me some fabulous pictures and mementos to remember this time in our lives. Even though it's a time I am not eager to ever repeat again it's still a season that I want to document. 

08 January 2013

2012 Recap in a Christmas Letter

Since this blog serves as a scrapbook of sorts I thought it would be fun to include our Christmas letter from this year. It actually recaps our year quite well.  I hope you can pick up on the sarcastic undertones. RC and I wrote it together, but he should get most of the credit. I love his sense of humor. Both the letter and Christmas card were his ideas and it was fun for us to collaborate on both even though we were miles apart!

Dear family & friends,

I hope that this holiday letter finds you well. Since we no longer reside in the Charleston area we thought it would be appropriate to provide a quick synopsis of the past year. Overall 2012 was quite uneventful for the Leigh family. In April Ross went to school to learn how to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. He jumped not once, but five times. I guess it's a good thing he's not scared of heights. In May, we traveled approximately 4,453 miles or 7,167 kilometers to the Land of Schnitzel and Fascism. It was only a 9 hour flight. Ross did not jump out of this airplane only because he spent most of the flight sprawled out over two seats while Emma sat on the floor of the aircraft. We saw castles, paintings, libraries, mountains and a bunch of old buildings. We learned that Germany has one of the strongest economy in the EU and Germans as a whole are pretty OCD about everything. It’s been interesting exploring this country, but honestly you can genuinely sum up most of Germany in two words ‘SECOND BEST’.  

Emma got a job as a teller at Community Bank after an extremely long job hunt of four days. Her resume and people skills were weak; however, since most of the other Army wives were going back to the states in preparation for their husband's deployment the manager at the bank reluctantly gave Emma the job.  In June, the Army decided that life in Germany wasn't exciting enough and sent Ross to Afghanistan. Ross spent the first half of his deployment on an extremely large COP with a booming population of 25 soldiers. Emma spent the summer months drinking her sadness away. She could not bare the thought that Ross would be home in the spring and she would not have the house to herself anymore.

When Emma was not morning the return of her husband she was out traveling with a few close friends she had known for a very long time. Most of her traveling companions she had known at least 5 days. Ross became a Platoon Leader in September. His Platoon consists of 20 of the finest soldiers in all of Afghanistan. He will remain the platoon leader throughout the remainder of the deployment and for at least six months once he redeploys. (Unless he gets fired of course.) Ross has learned a lot since becoming a Platoon Leader. He learned that you should never place someone's mattress in the snow and to never, under any circumstance, refer to your boss as "your sidekick." 

In late October, Mrs. Dianna decided that Emma's drinking problem had become serious and she needed an intervention. Seven days later, Emma and Dianna were in Poland for Emma's rehab, which consisted of driving from Germany to Poland just to purchase pottery. During Ross’ deployment Emma also perfected two German phrases every American Army wife needs to know; "How much?" and "Do you speak English?” .

Despite her severe emotional bonding to H&M, pommes, and radlers (a delicious concoction of beer and lemonade), Emma decided to move back to Charleston, South Carolina for the rest of the deployment. She is now taking reservations for hour increments of quality time with Germany’s favorite red head.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Ross and Emma