Sunday, August 23, 2009

let's get the smack-talk rollin'

i'm not naive to the fact that texas tech is in a "rebuilding" year, but stranger things have happened...texas could think they don't have to show up to the game and get their butts beat. :)

the game is less than a month away! come on red raiders! and you know why texas moved the game up a month...because they are scared to play us later in the season!

the schwalbe household will be divided on sept 19 but we will be in pennsylvania that weekend so our friends steven and laura can run interference if necessary! :)



Friday, August 14, 2009

got crabs?

we were walking down to our dock and i said to ken, "honey, what if i get crabs while you're gone?"

yeah...we both stopped and cracked up laughing.

what i meant was that we have a crab pot and i wasn't sure if i could get the crabs out without ken's help. (he was in VA for a class last week.)

anyway, after he got back we cooked up our first batch of crabs. yum yum! a few photos and a couple of videos i couldn't resist sharing to give you a chuckle...
echo really wanted to get the crabs
the prize crabs


echo getting bit by the crab
(press the play button on the left)
echo's battle scar on her nose


echo knocking over the crab bucket
(i'm considering entering it into america's funniest home videos!)
we gottcha!! crabs are better with shiners!

Friday, August 7, 2009

6-month memorial ~ 11 July 2009









i can't begin to explain how hard it was to be at matthew phillip's grave on July 11, 2009. 6 months after our little boy went to be with Jesus.


it was just plain hard.


we went a few days before the 11th to check on things and see what we needed to do to install the bench, and i just couldn't believe that this was where i had to visit my first child. of course i know he is not in that ground, because he is in heaven, but it didn't keep me from holding onto the grass and half-thinking about pulling it up and digging him out with my bare hands.


oh, Lord, why? we need You to give us strength to carry this burden. better yet, carry it for us on the really hard days.


if you're in austin, feel free to take a look under the bench. you can read the letter we wrote to our son. we invite you to just sit and think about life, how precious it is, and what really matters.


we want matthew phillip's short life to bless you.


(The letter we put under the bench):
July 11,2009


Dear Matthew Phillip,
Six months ago, on January 11, 2009 you went to be with Jesus and it broke our hearts. Even though we know you ascended to such a perfect place in heaven that we cannot comprehend, we were still so sad to let you go.

Baby boy, you were born five days earlier in such a beautiful place in Chania, Crete, Greece. Daddy works as a Lieutenant Commander in the Civil Engineer Corps for the Navy and we were stationed there for the past two-and-a-half years. We are not sure why you came early at 28 weeks but you were a fighter. You were not sick at first but for some reason that we will never know, your little body starting shutting down on January 11, 2009. Mommy did not make it to the hospital before you went to heaven because I was at a hospital two-and-a-half hours away recovering from a c-section. But daddy came and saw you each day. He got to see you open your eyes and look at him. I am convinced through daddy’s eyes at that very moment, you were able to see all of the love that poured out of both of our hearts for you.

Every day without you is a hard day for us. On some days our anger with God is so intense we cry out like David did in the Psalms: “Why Lord?? Have you turned Your face from us and left us all alone? Why did You want our precious Matthew Phillip with you in heaven?” But on other days, which are slightly better, we can find some comfort knowing you are cradled in His perfect arms looking down on us full of joy. Mommy and daddy think about Matthew Seth Shubzda, our best friend who introduced us, and Phillip Raymond Schwalbe, your uncle and daddy’s big brother, who both left this earth early before they bore their own children. We are sure you were immediately cradled, hugged and kissed by both of them as soon as you got to heaven.

We talk to you each day. We pray for you each day. Mommy is a hobby writer and I have been afraid to write on most days, but I promise to acquire more strength and courage and write about you more. I want to tell your story, precious son, because in your brief five-day walk on this earth, you have already touched the hearts and lives of so many. God is not done with you yet, sweet boy! He intends to give true joy to those who hear about you. He intends to bring those who do not know Him to a very real, authentic place with Him. And in those moments, through your sweet life, He will meet them where they are. In time, they will decide to begin a walk with Jesus and gain eternal life. When these souls get to heaven they will find you and thank you, our precious son, for bringing them to the Father. What a special little boy you are!
The Lord has great plans for you yet!!
God performed a miracle to bring us home from Greece but we are still not here in Austin. It gives us comfort to come to this place where you are buried, but we know your life did not end in this soil. Your eternal life in heaven began January 11, 2009 and will impact many souls way beyond this day.
We will be near Annapolis, Maryland for the next several years but we will come back and tend to your grave as often as we can. When we are not here in Austin, you have friends and family nearby who will come to this place to fix the flowers, pull weeds, or talk with you and Jesus. Daddy and I put in a nice bench today for these very moments, these very chats.
We love you precious son. We miss you each and every day, but we find comfort in knowing that one day we will ascend to heaven and hold you once again. We are going to smoother you with hugs and kisses at first, but then when we come to the realization of all the glory in heaven, we will realize the eternal perspective, complete joy, and total fulfillness you have had for these last six months.
Until next time sweet, precious boy…we love you very much!
Mommy and Daddy

pictures from b-day + trip to s.carolina

here are a few of my favorite photos from my b-day weekend in annapolis and our trip down to south carolina to meet angie and ben's second child, beautiful m.e. (mary everett). thanks to my wonderful friends, bill, joni, jack, cynthia, sarah, angie, ben, andy, m.e., and most of all my sweet husband, for giving me such a special birthday. thank you standing by me when at times i felt like crumbling. i love you all!
















Tenth Avenue North - Hold My Heart video

I found this video link on a blog I follow on Facebook. She said it sums up her last few weeks. Although we are not struggling with the same things, I relate to this very much in my own life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ry6udsW9leA

Also, if you are on Facebook, please consider joining "Pray for Keith Beasley." I feel that we need everyone out there praying for this man and his family. He literally needs a miracle to be healed. I do not know this family personally; Keith and his family are very good family friends of one of my best friends and college roommates, Sarah.

Have a good weekend...be kind to yourself. :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

hello from me, the blog stranger

one of my friends said to me recently, you haven't posted in awhile so i just wanted to check how you're doing.

hmmm...so it's obvious when i'm not doing well?

darn, i thought i could hide it by being a recluse.

my birthday was full of fun with my sweet husband and our best friends, bill, joni and jack who came up from raleigh, and my sweet friend sarah flew in from austin and surprised me. sneaky girl. we had a great day of boating and CB and pauline were able to join us -- they live here. the only problem was ken's bad fall resulted in a broken rib that he realized a few days later. yeah, he's not so young anymore...he can't be doing all that fancy wakeboarding stuff! bill's mom, cynthia who lives in annapolis, knocked herself out cooking me a fantastic birthday dinner. ken even got to reconnect with an old friend from NAPS (naval academy prep school) he hasn't seen in 15 years. eric and his family live here so we look forward to seeing them more.

(i wish i could upload the pictures from the b-day weekend but blogger is not cooperating right now...i'll try later.)

i just kept thinking, i should be sharing this weekend with my son. explaining to him that this was mommy's first birthday with him and how much her life had changed for the BEST because of him. so i was, a little, or a lot, depending on how you measure, sad, that weekend. but i tried to stay as happy as i could. after all, these wonderful friends went out of their way to make this a special time.

on sunday sarah and i, and joni, bill and jack drove down to raleigh, spent the night, and then the girls, jack and i headed to south carolina to see angie and meet her second baby, M.E. (mary everett) who was born april 30.

it was a wonderful time. it was a difficult time. when i arrived i saw M.E. and she was adorable. you see, baby girls do not make me sad. it's not hard for me to be around them at all. especially not this one; she belongs to one of my best friends. but what i was not expecting, was to walk past andy, age 2, jack, age 1 and think, matthew would be exactly 1 year younger, and in a year from now, he should be playing cars or arguing with them over kiddy lawn mowers.

i went to the car and broke down. and my friends understood. they finally saw the bad, and the ugly. see, from greece, i only reached out to these very best friends of mine when i was doing ok. no one, except ken and my mom, saw me or heard from me when i was a wreck.

i was and still am, a wreck, more times that i would like to admit.

so since getting back from s.c., i've been back in annapolis, adjusting, stressing about buying a house, and getting used to seeing pregnant ladies and newborn-to-6 month-old boys ALL OVER this town.

i stay home more than i need to.

but one place i am thankful for is the brigade sports complex, otherwise known as my free gym at NSA Annapolis. seems the baby boys and pregnant ladies don't really hang out there as much as they do the commisary, the NEX, target, petsmart, sprint, etc. could i literally continue to do all my shopping online like i did in greece? the plus side is that it will get to me house way sooner than it did in greece. the down side; i'm not facing IT.

IT. yuck.

and then i had this crazy idea (actually i have to blame joni and angie conspiring while we were in s.c.) to train for a HALF MARATHON.

does anyone remember how i was training for the athens marathon right before i got pregnant with matthew? oh yes, how i hate to run.

but apprarently this idea has taken flight and quite possibly could be transformed into something bigger. let's just see how the half on the jersey shore goes on oct 18.

october 18, 7 years ago, we lost "big" matt in a navy jet accident. our son is named after him for all you new followers of my blog. sometime soon i'll tell the story behind our matthew phillip's name.

anyway, this jersey half just happened to be the only half marathon within driving distance 12 weeks out. really? it just happened to fall on that day? hmmmm....

although my knees want to fight me on this, i hope to start and finish this sucker on oct 18. i have no time goals. my goal is to run (or crawl) across that finish line. that's it. please pray for me.

speaking of prayer requests, i'm currently going through the establishing doctors thing. while my case scared one OBGYN away, i am hopeful, now that i am in a new network they will not be scared; but be insightful and graceful, patient and understanding. i've had some pains that are unexplainable, other then possible scar tissue from my c-section, so they need to figure this out. i'm excited to have the opportunity to be in the johns hopkins network as an active duty dependent. this network is offered to active duty and their dependents here in maryland and a couple other places in the country.

if you could pray next monday at 11am for my appointment with the OBGYN i would appreciate it. i hope i can get through the appointment without balling my eyes out.

i had to go to the Family Practice doc yesterday to establish myself as his patient and get the OBGYN referral. as i opened my medical file to show him and read to him what had happened, i broke down. he was gracious and found a kleenex.

let's hope and pray this gets easier...