Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Merry Christmas

Our first family Christmas picture <3

Merry Christmas!
Honestly, this has been the hardest Christmas. I’ve tried to stay positive and happy. For the most part it worked, but there was always that little nagging feeling in my heart. I love being around family, my only wish was that all of my family would be here. But this was our year to sacrifice and we have. I am already looking forward to next year. Our firsts for everything!
We were pretty spoiled this year. I can’t wait to finally get our own place again when I can use all of our new stuff and decorate just the way we want =]  It will be so much fun!
Brandon and I got to Skype on my Christmas Eve and his Christmas morning. I always LOVE to see him and hearing him. Unfortunately, everyone else seemed to have the same idea so his internet was a little patchy and it took quite a bit of calls to have a good conversation. In the end we got to open presents and it was great like it always is. We’ve been lucky with the amount that we get to communicate. I can’t imagine how much harder this deployment would be if I couldn’t see him and talk to him at least every other day.
We even took our first family Christmas picture… it took a while for us BOTH to get a good picture! But it worked out in the end. Even though it wasn’t the ideal first Christmas, it sure will be remembered. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What else is out there?

12:01 am marks the beginning of the Winter Solstice. But that's not the only thing happening tonight. No, no! A total lunar eclipse is also taking place tonight. In fact, a total lunar eclipse happening on the morning of the Winter Solstice is very very rare. The last time this took place was in 1638, the next time these two will coincide will be in 2094 (NASA). Needless to say, it's a sight worth staying up for. If only the clouds didn't get in the way. I went out about 12:30 to see what I could see. Unfortunately it wasn't much. We were able to catch a glimpse of a slowly disappearing moon but we weren't lucky enough to see the majestic red/orange colors that were supposed to be present. I decided to go out one more time at about 2 am just to see if anything had cleared and to my great surprise it did! The sky was super clear around the moon and I got to witness the full, glowing red moon in all its glory. I wasn't sure what to expect but it far exceeded what I had planned on. I've seen huge reddish harvest moons that sit on the tops of the mountains many times, each as breath taking as the last but this was different. This moon stood high in the sky for all to see. It glowed with a magnificence that I don't think I've seen anywhere before. Maybe its just because I've had a lot on my mind, and have been doing some thinking tonight but I was taken away with the beauty.
This rare happening that I witnessed tonight brings me into even more deep thinking. 
  • It makes me think of the wonder and the unknown out in space. 
  • I feel special to have witnessed this little piece of history. They say history is happening all around you but sometimes it's not that easy. Even though this isn't a great happening, one that will be retold in our children's children's children history books, in 2094 the news will report this same exact thing and say this hasn't been done since 2010. I plan on being able to turn to my grandchildren as we watch the red moon and tell them of the first time I saw this great happening. Not very many generations will be able to say they witnessed not one but TWO total lunar eclipses, both on Winter Solstice. 
  • It makes me feel so small. Though it also makes  me feel connected to people I don't know, to people all over the world. I'm not the only individual seeing this astronomical beauty. People everywhere are witnessing the same exact moon that I am. So while I turn my gaze star-ward and look out into the deep black depths of space and see the brilliance of the moon, I feel tiny, but knowing that I'm not alone give me the hope that even though I may be just one little person on one little planet in one galaxy of millions, I'll never be alone. 
So many thoughts are pinging around my head. I wish I had the words, the space, and the ability to reign them in and shape them into words that form sentences that flow into stories. What a great breath of fresh air would that be! But as I ponder how to do that , I've realized that maybe, if I found a way to paint the pictures in my mind with my words, I might just be left feeling empty. . I fear not having something inside to latch onto and to feel something is my own. Now I'm not sure which I would rather do, spill my words out onto paper, or bottle them up and savor the jumbled mess inside my head. 

I guess you'll just have to stay tuned to figure out what option eventually wins. Maybe I'll find another escape for the random jumbles but for now I think I will stay with letting them out slowly as more move in. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Our December as of today

Wow the first of December has seemed to fall into a black hole somewhere. I can't find it anywhere! But really, its now December 17 and it feels like yesterday was the 1st. This month has been lots of busy and lots of down time.
Finals were this last week and my Fall semester is officially complete! I had a lot of fun working in the elementary and middle school and I feel like I've learned more this past semester than the whole rest of my college career! I am so very very thankful that I decided to teach elementary school. I love it and can't wait to finally get into my own classroom =]

Brandon is doing well. He started in the ER this past week and from what I hear he is liking it though it's long hours and boring a lot of the time. I think it is pretty special how many cool people he is meeting and I like hearing about the things they are doing over-seas for the soldiers. We get to talk a good amount which is probably my favorite part! I know i've said this before and i'll say it again, I LOVE skype and all its amazing abilities (except when it doesn't work)!!

 This Christmas season is a hard one for us.  We wish we could spend it together but everyone has to make some sacrifices, that's what keeps our country the greatest place on the earth! This year it's our turn to make some sacrifices. But we are trying to be positive and we are looking forward to next year.

Peace and Blessings from ours to yours <3

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another busy week has flown by. Not that i'm counting or anything but that makes 5 weeks that we've already put behind us. I find it kind of silly that everyone is talking and preparing for the "holiday madness" and I've come to find that the holidays are more of a relaxing break from the madness of school. Though this year I"m not looking forward to much of the holidays. I'm already looking forward to next year, they will be our first Thanksgiving and Christmas together, ever! I have begun to look at the holiday's for what they really are and should be. They are a time when family's should be pulled tighter. A time when we rejoice in the love we have for each other and the love we have for and get from God. He sent his son so that we might be saved. It might be that I've matured and grown up in the last couple of years and that could be because of the situations that have arose but holidays aren't just about present's and good food anymore, they are worth so much more. My one Christmas wish this year would be that my whole family was home and safe and together this Christmas season but I know even Santa's magic can't make that a reality. So I'm going to have to settle for the next best thing, skyping Christmas morning with Brandon. 

Lately we have gotten to skype a ton! It is always a blessing to see his face and his smile. I love it! There are honestly no words to describe how happy it's made me to be able to see him with my own two eyes and know that he is okay. Brandon had a great Friday night. President Obama and General Petraeus made a surprise visit to the Bagram base and gave a speech to the soldiers. Brandon even got to shake the presidents hand! He was so excited when he was telling me about it! He even snapped a couple of pictures! Besides this unexpected visit things have just been work and down time for him. He is still on a crazy sleep cycle and I hope (for his sake) that things calm down and he get's it back under control!

I finished up my practicum experience at the middle school and I really did enjoy teaching math to the 6th graders. But after having a 2nd grade experience and a 6th grade experience I think I will be headed back to the younger grades. They are just so much fun to be around! Besides that, I'm getting ready for the semester to wind down and that's about it!

God bless you!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our first Skype since he's been gone!

our week!

This week and weekend has been nuts!
I left for home on Monday night hoping to beat the worst part of the storm that had been snowing on us since Sunday. All of the roads were fairly dry and good until I got to Blackfoot (about 25ish miles aways from my house). It started to blizzard and when the big trucks and semi's passed they kicked up more snow  making it complete white out conditions. I have honestly never been so scared while driving in my entire life. I had a death grip on the wheel and was hunched over. I was so excited when I saw the "1 mile till Shelley" sign and as I got near the exit two huge semi's came flying by me, blinding me to everything and by the time the snow had settled a little I was blowing by the exit. I braced myself for a couple of more miles to the next exit and I made sure to get off of it. Though the bad roads weren't finished with me yet! I traveled down the road to my house, completely in the middle (I couldn't see any lines or where the road even really was, luckily I've traveled it a million times!) FINALLY I saw the familiar circle window of my parents house and i slowed down to turn into our driveway. As I eased off the road I started to slide right for the ditch, I got myself stopped and tried to start going and by golly wouldn't you know it I was stuck, in front of my own driveway! I ran inside and my wonderful father got off the treadmill and came outside to help. Finally I was home!

The rest of the week has blurred into one big giant relaxing day! I made my first ever apple pie, all from scratch, I cleaned, got Thank You notes taken care of, And in between it all I got to talk to Brandon a couple of times. It is always a treat to hear his voice and I love talking to him. I like that when we talk we don't necessarily always talk about what's going on over there. We talk about random things. It makes it seem more like he is on a vacation rather than in a combat zone. I don't know if it makes it easier on him (I think it does though!) but I know it helps me to not worry. 
Today I got the best surprise. My Christmas packages had reached Brandon (in less than a WEEK!) and he got his computer up and running and we got to Skype today. I can't even tell you how amazing it was to be able to see his smile. Just seeing his face and getting to joke face to face with him makes a little of the weight lift off of my heart. I can't wait for our next Skype date. 

All in all we are doing well. Happy with each day that passes because it means we are one day closer to homecoming! 

When times get to tough to stand, fall to your knees and lift your heart to the heavens. God will always be there to shoulder your burdens.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Brandon update!

Well, from what Brandon has said, when we get to talk, things are pretty boring. In my mind I'm overjoyed! But he's not too happy about just sitting around. He's said he wishes he could do more medical things. I have a feeling that will come eventually! So there isn't too much to report. I was very excited to get his Christmas packages all sent: two boxes and they were packed tight! I hope that he is excited to get them and is happy for some Christmas joy! I hate the fact we won't get to spend our first Thanksgiving or Christmas together but I'm praying that we will get to skype for Christmas so we will some-what be together, as much as we can! The time is still going by. The last little bit seems to have flown faster than before so I have hope that the rest of our time will too. That's about all that's been going on. Once I get more info I will post it for all to read! 

*don't forget! If you want/need Brandon's Address feel free to message me on Facebook or email me at and I'll happily give it to you!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving filled full of delicious food and thankful hearts.

This week of giving Thanks

This past weekend has given me some down time and with it, lots of reflection. I truly have so much to be thankful for.

First off, I have the grace of God looking down on me. I couldn't be the person i am without his glory and I am so very thankful for his love for me and for all of us.

Second, I have the most amazing husband. I could NEVER have even imagined a husband as great as Brandon is. He is always there for me. It doesn't matter if we are together or thousands of miles away he is always there for me. I love him so much and I know he loves me just as much. He has given up so much for our country and for our family and future. I can't wait until he returns. He is my love, my best friend, and my hero.

Third, I have the most amazing family. They are so supportive and I wouldn't trade them for anything. I'm so lucky to have my own family be amazing but when Brandon and I got married I gained even more amazing family members. I love everyone in my family and I am so thankful for the support and love they have given me and us.

Forth, as if i didn't have enough already, I have the world's best friends! They have been there through thick and thin. I hope that all of you guys know how much I love you! I've been so lucky in my life to always be surrounded by friends I will never forget. This year I've gained even more friends and still have all of my friends from previous years. I love each and every one of you and hope that you know how much you mean to me!

I am such a lucky girl and I am so thankful for everyone in my life. Thank you all for being such good examples. I love everyone of you!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I have Brandon's address!

Brandon finally made it to Afghanistan! It makes me a little nervous, who am i kidding... I'm terrified but I know that God is watching over both of us and will keep us safe in his arms. Whatever is to happen will happen and everything will be okay, it has to be =]

I did get his address and if you would like it just email me at I am trying to follow the rules and not post any information directly about Brandon. All to keep him and everyone else safe. So please try and not post any address information after you get it or any dates if you know them. We just want all of our soldiers to come home safe, each one of them. 

I've gotten to speak to Brandon a couple of times, I'm sure you've all seen on his facebook that his first night of work was very eventful. Its stressful to hear his stories but when he's telling me them all I can think of is that He is safe, because he still talking to me. From our talks, he sounds like he is enjoying (I don't think enjoying would really be the right word but I can't think of a different one!) his time while over there. It's always a great surprise to hear his voice. And every time my phone rings i get those butterflies all over again. 

Life here in Logan has been cold, not too eventful but life goes on. School is winding down, Only three more weeks (plus like a week off for Thanksgiving) until finals week. I am so looking forward to the week long break next week! That's about all thats been going on, I know really boring but as long as I'm busy the time keeps on flyin! The time is going by maybe not flyin but its going! Over 2 weeks down! It's going to happen and we will get through it all. We love all of you!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Package to Brandon!

Hey guys! 
So right now I am starting to collect things to put together a package for Brandon. I don't know his address yet but I'm hoping to get it all ready and then when I get his address I can just ship it out. The reason I'm telling you guys this is if you want to write a note or send something little (I'm only planning on sending a flat rate shipping box from the post office this first time) to go to Brandon I would love to put it in the package but I will need it soon! I'm hoping to send it out Thursday, November 18, 2010 so if you want to add things to this first package then I need it by the 17th. If you can't get it in time don't worry I will be posting his address and I will definitely be sending more packages. Anything that goes will be appreciated. If  you have any questions just let me know! Love Jess 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

On his way!

So this journey really begins. And I'm not happy about it at all. But I'm beginning to find out that being a military wife is much more than just living our life according to how the ARMY says we can and watching him go once a month and now for 6 months. It's about being strong when you don't have any strength left. It's about being disappointed and more happy than you ever thought you could. It's waiting all day for a phone call and missing it when you accidentally leave your phone in the car. The up's are so amazing and the downs are the worst. But in the end, that day when he gets off the plane and he's home all of the bad will go away and it will be the best day ever.

Brandon and his pal Nerdin in the Maine airport
Brandon left for Fort Benning in Georgia on October 29, 2010. He spent a week there doing everything and anything. He got the small pox vaccination (It was NOT fun from everything he told me about! luckily its almost over so hopefully he starts feeling better). Unfortunately he got issued everything he got in Utah again in Georgia so he had to ship everything back home. He had to qualify with both of his weapons on Thursday before he would be able to go to Afghanistan. Brandon passed on his first try, I am so proud of him!! He did all sorts of stuff to prepare him for his time overseas. This Friday, November 5, Brandon left Georgia, his final destination Afghanistan. His plane stopped at a small airport in Maine where the whole town congregates at the airport to shake soldiers hands and thank them. Brandon said it was one of the best feelings he's felt. We got to talk for a couple of min over facetime (a program much like Skype but we get to use our Ipod/Iphones to communicate) it was seriously the best I've felt since Brandon left. It was so good to see his smile and talk face to face (kind of!) From Maine the troops flew to Germany. I got to facetime him again in Germany for a while until it got really late and he had to get back to his job. Saying goodbye gets harder each time because I never know how long it will be until the next phone call, but its just one more thing about being a Military family. Today Brandon landed in Kuwait and tried to call. I wasn't expecting him to call my phone and I accidentally left it in the car during dinner and missed them all. I can't express how horrible I feel, much like a big black hole has formed in my stomach. I'm just praying that he will try one more time before he leaves for Afghanistan tomorrow (?). That's all we know right now. I know he's safe and i hope he knows that he is loved. When I find out more information I will be sure to let you know. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

These struggles are only going to bring us closer

The date has been set: Friday, October 29, 2010.
The day our Hero is set to deploy.
I was hoping for Halloween but I will take this date over Friday the 22 which is when it was supposed to be. Halloween week has been quite busy. I started my middle school practicum but thats for another blog post :) lets just say I LOVE IT!
We came down to the Lehi area in the later part of the week to spend some time with our family before Brandon left. It's been crazy but we feel so blessed to have the family we have. Friday morning Todd Brandon and I made our way to the airport at around 5:45 am. We got Brandon's boarding passes and bags all checked in. Then made our way to security. I felt a little silly to be sharing such a private moment with everyone else in the airport but what other choice did we have? I didn't want to say goodbye at home, I wanted to spend every moment I could with him. After lots of tears and lots of hugging and kisses we watched Brandon make his way through the airport security. Watching him walk away was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. All I wanted to do was run up, wrap my arms around him and not let him go. But this is all part of our life. God has set a plan for us. This is just a tiny portion of that plan. My new motto: "Everything will be okay. It has to be." I won't let it be any other way! He made it safe and sound to Dallas and from there he made it safe and sound to Columbus, Georgia. From there he hopped in a cab with some other guys and carpooled to Fort Benning, Georgia. We aren't positive how much time he will spend in Georgia but from there he will be heading to the middle east. Once I find out more information I will post it. 
Don't forget RED FRIDAYS, until the last soldier comes home. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010


"just keep swimming"

~finding nemo

"reach for the sky"

~toy story

"nothing's impossible"

~alice in wonderland

"hukuna matata! it means no worries for the rest of your days"

~the lion king

"even miracles take a little time"


"they say if you dream about something more than once, its sure to come true."

~alice in wonderland

"if you live to be 100, i want to live to 100 minus a day
so i never have to live without you"

~winnie the pooh 

"all it takes is faith and trust"

~peter pan

"ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind"

~lilo and stitch

Friday, October 22, 2010

stress, waiting, more stress, more waiting:  It's a never ending cycle for a military wife I swear!!
Even though we technically got married on the 9th of October, we decided to go ahead with the ceremony and reception on the 15th of October because we had it all planned out and we really wanted to share the moment with everyone that couldn't make it the week before, especially Brandon's mom (my new mom now =] ). So we kept our ears trained on the phone, just waiting for a phone call to come and ruin all our plans (again) but we didn't get a phone call so by Wednesday we were home free, everything was going to happen as planned. Brandon was called to go down to Camp Williams to get SRP'd (all his shots and checkups to make sure he is "deployable ready") on Thursday but we were promised it would only take 3-4 hours and he was starting at 8 in the morning so we didn't have a worry in mind. Thursday was a day full of running around, last min. details, decorating, greeting family as they trickled in and rehearsing for the next morning. Friday came and the wedding (yes the second one haha) went perfect. As we were trying to get the rings off the pillow I somehow got the bow tied in a knot and it took us 5 complete min to get it undone but as we figured later, it just wouldn't have been a real Brandon and Jessie wedding if something like that didn't happen. If it wasn't the rings it would have been something else! Everything went perfect, lots of slip ups, cake in the face and happy, joyous feelings. Everything a wedding should be. Or a second wedding at that!

As I look back now I wish it would have lasted longer, not the wedding part that was long enough but the family part. There is nothing like being surrounded by family, especially members that you haven't seen in a while. I'm not sad that its over, quiet the opposite really, two weddings is enough stress for me, add in a freak deployment and the stress levels just shoot over the moon. I've had my stress limit for the next 8 months, but this is my life were talking about. the stress isn't about to go away any time soon. I want to thank EVERYONE that was apart of our wedding. It just wouldn't have been as special if every single one of you wasn't there. I especially want to thank Annaliesa. Girl, I honestly don't know what I would have done without you. You were there through everything and never said "ya know.. your too stressful and crazy for me." You stuck it out and I can't thank you enough. You are truly amazing and I love you so much!
Mr. and Mrs. Prince

Beauty in the Madness

Finally they call with the good news (?) well I guess it all depends on who were talking about. It was good news to Brandon, the worst news for me. But at least it didn't come as a surprise to me. The epic phone call that we had been waiting and waiting on finally came and told us that Brandon was one of the "lucky" two that are boarding a plane to Afghanistan. We just don't know when that plane is going to take off. Great. Our wedding is 9 days away, let me say that again NINE DAYS AWAY! We were also informed that because he had technically been given his "two week notice" when they told us he might be going that they could easily call up and in 48 hours he would be flying away. As you all know, I'm a worrier. A huge, horrible worrier. Now Brandon is the exact opposite of me. Brandon is not a worrier, he's a fly by the seat of my pants kinda person. (which seems to always work for him which completely baffles me!) But after hearing this news we were both convinced that he was going to be called up and would be on a plane before our wedding date. So being the planner I am (or at least try to be =] ) we planned how we were going to make sure we were going to be able to get married no matter what. The compromise we came up with was to hold a very small ceremony with the family that could make it on Saturday October 9, 2010. We got to have the church ceremony (no courthouse weddings for us!) and some of our family was able to attend. Unfortunately not everyone we really wanted got to come but I'm beginning to find that this is EXACTLY how our lives work. Rarely things turn out the way they are planned and surprisingly I'm beginning to be okay with it. The ceremony was perfect, we rushed through it a little too fast, spoke a little too soft, and our nerves showed a little to much, but for planning everything in 2 days, it was amazing. Besides nothing matters except our joining together with God as one. And I've got to say, it's the best feeling in the world to know that I'm married (finally!) to my best friend and that God is with us in our union and will be forever more.

waiting games

I don't think I've had a more stressful week in as long as I can remember, and let me tell you I've had some pretty stressful weeks in the past! I should probably clarify: when I say week, I really mean from last Thursday morning at 8 until now, Tuesday night at 7:15. And my "week" won't stop there, oh no it will keep on being stressful until we get that wonderful, horrible phone call. I should probably start off by giving some background to my story. It's Sunday night and we are in bed attempting to fall asleep when all of a sudden "Forever Young, I want to be forever young...." starts blaring out of Brandon's phone. Brandon switches into military mode the second he answers the phone. When he finally hangs up he explains to me that there is a massive wildfire that started at Camp Williams and everyone might be getting called back down to help fight it. Not even 5 min. later Forever Young starts playing again, this time a different person calling for the exact same thing. We waited patiently for the next day or so to hear word and for Brandon to get called to come and help out. Now its Thursday morning, I am just about ready to head out the door to my 2nd grade classroom practicum and Brandon is just about to get out of bed to get ready for school when yet again his phone starts ringing. It's the military, at this time we are both expecting it to be about going to fight the fire, we couldn't have been more wrong. I could tell it was something more serious by the tone of his voice, all rough and deep. When he got off the phone Brandon informed me that the 144th (his unit that is currently deployed to Afghanistan) is in need of two more medics and there are only 4 medic to choose from. Whoever is chosen will be deploying in the next two to three weeks. Great! Our wedding is in 22 days and he very well could be leaving before then :( Needless to say I was a wreck, here I am about to go into a classroom full of second graders and I've just had my whole life shaken up turned upside down and dumped off a cliff! As soon as I got out of class we met up and started talking about the pros cons and the possibility of him actually leaving. I was thinking okay our chances of him staying are kinda good until he informed me that one of his friends just finished his chemo treatments and he is un-deployable for 6 months. Wonderful, now he has a 33.3% chance of staying. My hopes are dwindling but there is still a little light in my heart. Well there was until he tells me one of the other kids has a messed up leg and doesn't move very well, perfect. And then he continues to tell me that he is the ONLY one of the remaining three that passed his pt test during the past drill, and not only did he pass it, he KILLED IT! 300 is a perfect score and Brandon (being the stud he is) passed with a 319. Thursday was a day filled with tears, frustration, anger, excitedness (for him!), confusion and eventually acceptance. We made lots of phone calls to family and friends letting them know the possibility of the situation which ended up with more questions than answers, tears, and love. During his phone call we were told that we would know final decisions by Monday at the latest. Perfect, a whole weekend of wondering and not knowing. We made plans to go down and see some of our family. Surprisingly the weekend was mostly positive we got to be with family, hold the baby, play with the kids, wrestle and fight with siblings and have a good relaxed time for the most part. Finally Monday came around. We woke up and got up to school by 5:45 for Brandon's first class. We spent the whole day waiting, looking at the phone, begging for a phone call. I'm pretty sure we even yelled at it a couple of times. Brandon finally got a call and all they had to say was, "we have no information".  Back to the waiting games for us....