Grissom Honorary Commanders: 434th ARW Operations Group

On March 16, the Grissom Honorary Commanders were invited to check out the 434th ARW Operations Group on base. Ops Group Commander Colonel Chris Amend showed us the air traffic control center and the KC-135 flight simulator on base.

We spent the morning visiting with the expert air traffic control folks at RAPCON (Radar Approach Control) and had the chance to guide some planes to a safe landing in the ATC tower simulator. Grissom controls all air traffic up to 10,000 feet from central Indiana to Chicago. They saw a huge increase in air traffic for the Super Bowl in February but of course handled it with ease.

In the afternoon, we were in for a special treat with the opportunity to take the controls in the cockpit of the KC-135 flight simulator. It was amazing to sit in that pilot’s seat, looking out at the runway at Pearl Harbor, and lift a plane up off the ground and over the harbor. Being 8 months pregnant at the time, I opted to do my simulation without the motion, but with it on, that machine tilts back far enough to throw you back in your seat.

It was amazing how much muscle power it takes to steer the plane and bank it left and right. But once he switched on the autopilot, it’s just a matter of tapping a button. The real fun part was learning how to land. But with expert guidance from our instructor, I kept an eye on the gauges, lined up with the runway and landed her safely on the ground.

I am so honored to be part of this Honorary Commanders program and have the opportunity for these rare experiences.

KC-135 Flight Simulator

In the pilot's seat of the KC-135 Flight Simulator

KC-135 Flight Simulator

Landing a plane in the KC-135 Flight Simulator

Honorary Commanders visit KC-135 flight simulator

Honorary Commanders visit KC-135 flight simulator (U.S. Air Force photo)

Grissom ATC Simulator

ATC Simulator

Grissom RAPCON

Grissom RAPCON

Grissom Air Traffic Control

New Grissom Air Traffic Control Tower to open summer 2012

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Honorary Commander for Grissom Air Reserve Base

Last Sunday, I took my oath as an honorary commander for Grissom Air Reserve Base. I was one of seven selected for this awesome program, which provides community leaders with a rare, inside look at the base, its mission and its hard-working people. It’s one of the best military base community outreach programs in our country.

Each honorary commander is matched with key commanders at Grissom. I will be working with the Marine Corps Reserve on base, taking a look at the life of a Marine, learning more about the history of the Marines, and witnessing them in action. I’m excited to get to know these hard-working individuals as I interact with them throughout the year.

In addition to my focus with the Marine Reserves, I also get opportunities to learn about other units at Grissom as all seven commanders will come together several days throughout the year for activities in each command post. The one I’m looking forward to the most is the KC-135 refueling flight. I already had the chance to do this in August 2010, but it was such an exhilarating experience to see two planes connect at 30,000 feet that I can’t wait to do it again.

Stay tuned to keep up with my year as a Grissom Honorary Commander!

Grissom Honorary Commanders Induction

Col. William "Tim" Cahoon, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander, speaks at Honorary Commanders Induction Ceremony

Grissom Honorary Commanders Induction

Honorary Commanders take oath of office

Grissom Honorary Commanders Induction

Receiving my Honorary Commander certificate from Col. Cahoon

Grissom Honorary Commanders

Grissom Marine Corps Reserve Honorary Commander

Honorary commanders take oath today – 2/12/2012

Grissom’s honorary commanders: Part 1 – 2/16/2012

Grissom’s honorary commanders: Part 2 – 2/16/2012

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Pregnancy Update: 2 down, 1 to go

Third trimester starts this week! Eek! Pregnancy has been great so far, baby girl is growing, growing, growing, and so is my belly! Chad and I are both so blessed and excited for what’s to come. There’s a lot to process, and a lot of unknowns, but we take it day by day and learn something new about pregnancy and babies every day.

We had a great Christmas with family (despite my terrible cold that left me voiceless on Christmas morning – yuck!). Needless to say, grandmas, great-grandma, aunts and nieces are all very excited for baby girl and showered her with all kinds of pink gifts. Who can resist buying cute pink baby things?

We built the crib and changing table this weekend, so we’ve got a start on her nursery. And the boxes of other things are piling up across the house (why does such a teeny tiny thing require so much stuff?!?). One day, it will all come together. I hope.

Here’s some new belly pictures, our Christmas family pic, and the start of our little monkey’s nursery. Just 3 more months until this bun is done baking!

22 weeks pregnant

22 weeks

Christmas Family Pic (22 Weeks)

Christmas Family Pic (22 Weeks)

26 Weeks Pregnant

26 Weeks

26 Weeks 3 Days Pregnant

Getting Rounder

Crib

Crib

Changing Table

Changing Table

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We’re having a girl!

We went to have our ultrasound on Thursday and found out that our little one is a baby girl! She was moving so much and stretching and rolling around. We could see everything – her little fingers and toes, her tiny beating heart, and even her spine and ribcage. It’s so amazing to see how much she’s growing in there! I’m 19 weeks now and she’s about the size of a mango – 6 inches long and 1/2 pound.

Baby Girl Ultrasound at 19 Weeks

Our Baby Girl's Ultrasound - 19 Weeks

I started feeling flutters the night before Thanksgiving. It felt like little sparks going off in my belly and I just knew it was our little one kicking away. I’ve felt her move more and more each day. I have to say this may be the most exciting part of pregnancy – starting to show, feeling those first movements, and finding out that it’s a girl all in the same week!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we had Chad’s mom and stepdad down here for the first Thanksgiving at our house. And we deep fried the turkey! And it didn’t catch on fire! It was the first time I had fried turkey and it was soooo good. And it only took about an hour to cook so no slaving in the kitchen all day for Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving with Fried Turkey!

We’re looking forward to Christmas with our families and reaching more milestones with our little baby girl. Next up: choosing a name and setting up the nursery.

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Baby makes 3!

Big news! Chad and I are expecting our first kiddo in April! Today I’m 14 weeks and 3 days (about 3 months) and my due date is April 26, 2012. The baby is healthy and so is my pregnancy so far. We’re so excited and our families are all super excited, too! We feel so very blessed and loved and are looking forward to this new adventure!

Our first ultrasound - 8 weeks and 6 days. Our little gummy bear!

Stay tuned – I’ll be posting belly pics and more fun pregnancy stuff as the journey to 9 months continues!

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Foo Fighters!

It’s official… Dave Grohl possesses the Pick of Destiny.

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
September 22, 2011
w/Rise Against & Mariachi El Bronx

When I bought these tickets (as a surprise for Chad’s birthday) I didn’t really pay attention to who the opening acts were, but I was stoked to find out that Rise Against was opening for the Foo. I hadn’t seen them since Warped Tour ’04? At one point, Rise Against was my favorite band. Sadly, they didn’t play any songs from their most epic album, 2004’s Revolutions Per Minute. But as always, they put on one hell of a rock show.

If you’ve never been to a Foo Fighters concert, go! These guys are not kidding around when they say they will play a fully-energized, face-melting, crowd-surfing, straight-up rock show for 3 hours. If there’s one band left who has passion and drive for what they do and for the fans who support them, it’s the Foo Fighters. I love Dave’s energy and the way that this band somehow manages to make a crowd of 10,000 seem like an intimate concert.

For the thousands who were scratching their heads during “This Is a Call,” saying “Is Dave singing about fingernails?” Yes, he is singing about fingernails! Do yourself a favor and catch up on 16 years and six albums worth of Foo Fighters history.

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Florida Vacation!

Bonita Beach

Sun and Sand!

Me at the Beach

Getting some sun!

Chad at the Beach

Chad at the Beach

Grilling hamburgers and hot dogs

Grilling

At the beach

Trying to take a pic with no sunglasses

Going to the movies

Going to the movies

Sunset over Nashville Tennessee

Driving home - Sunset over Nashville

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Indy 500 100th Anniversary

This year’s Indy 500 race was the 100th Anniversary and my first time attending The Greatest Spectacle in Racing! This race is one of the greatest highlights of our city – you can go anywhere in the world and tell them you’re from Indianapolis, and they’ll respond with “oh, yes, the Indy 500!”

Of course I was cheering for #67 Ed Carpenter – a fellow Butler University grad and a Park Tudor grad! What a great race he had! Ed stayed in the top 10 for all but a few laps, and even led for 3 laps under caution! Congrats to Ed for finishing 11th!

My second pick was the eventual winner Dan Wheldon, whom I had met during my days interning at Radio Now downtown. I thought he was a very nice, down-to-earth guy, and not much bigger than I am, but then again you have to be tiny to fit in those cars. Congrats to Dan for driving into Victory Lane!

Mom, Dad, Uncle John & Aunt Sarah at the Indy 500

Indy 500 Memorial Day Weekend

Tribute to our Troops

Indy 500 Pace Cars

Pace Cars

Ed Carpenter Indy 500

Ed Carpenter

Danica Patrick Indy 500

Danica Patrick

  View all my photos and videos from the 100th Anniversary Indy 500.

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My backyard turned into an ice rink!

Central Indiana was blanketed with a sheet of ice this week while the rest of the Midwest was buried under 2 feet of snow. Icepocalypse as we called it, caused 3 days off school, lots of accidents, cabin fever, some creative outdoor activities, and some great pictures. Here are some photos and videos that I took, all of which are posted on my Flickr.

Ice pellets
Ice pellets

Icicles dripping down the bushes
Freezing bush

My dog Jude
Dog on ice

Chad sliding down the driveway

Me sliding down the driveway

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How to make your own recipe book

I made my own personalized recipe book as a Christmas gift this past holiday season. It took some time, but it was really quite simple.

As I made some of my favorite recipes throughout the year, I snapped some snazzy shots of the finished products. Then I gathered all of my recipes and photos and started to create a photobook with my favorite online photo store, Snapfish.

If you’ve never made a photobook before, it’s incredibly simple. You can choose different sizes, hardbound/soft cover, number of pages, different themes and layouts for each page. You can truly make it your own. Just upload your photos, choose your layouts, and drag and drop your photos onto the pages.

Here is my finished recipe photobook.

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=1AbtW7Vs0bs3KQ

(Note: If I said I love Snapfish, why is this photobook in Shutterfly? Because I love a good deal. I did make my gift recipe books in Snapfish, but after the holidays, Shutterfly sent me a discount code for a free 8×8 book, so I made another one. I chose to link to the Shutterfly book because it doesn’t require you to log in like Snapfish’s share feature.)

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