This is the time of year when I usually start looking for Hearty things. Growing up in Pennsylvania and Colorado this was the time of year when the skies clouded over, the wind blew hard and the snow fell freely.

Naturally I find myself craving those Hearty things. Soups that coat your insides and radiate heat from deep in your belly. Sweaters that envelope you in soft and cozy comfort. Mittens that shield your delicate phalanges from the icy steering wheel. Bear hugs from loved ones that recharge your soul. Late evenings of cuddling on the couch with your toes tucked under your husbands legs for warmth.

So as the days here in Yuma get "colder", dropping so low as to reach the 40's at night, that old familiar craving for all things Hearty comes creeping in. Since I cannot bring myself to stand over a soup pot as the 70 degree sunshine streams in my kitchen windows I will tell you, instead, about a Hearty day I had recently.

Being married to a Marine comes with certain negative aspects....long hours, deployments, really stinky laundry... But it also has a much longer list of positives, one of which is called
Jane Wayne Day.
This is essentially take-your-wife-to-work-day on steroids. Since one
of the negatives aspects of Marine Corps life had popped up that week (Chris was sent to San Diego all week for training) I went to Jane Wayne Day all by my lonesome.

First we divided off into smaller groups of wives and headed out to different stations. My group's first station was MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program). In a pit of ground up tire pieces they taught us some different self-defense maneuvers which we got to practice on each other. Next it was on to the Obstacle Course. I have heard about this course ever since Chris decided to join the Marines. They make the Marines run it a lot and they have to complete it in a certain time frame. I was feeling a tad nervous looking at all the objects that I was supposed to hurtle myself over and I was wishing I had my cheering section (Chris) with me instead of having to go at it all alone. Of course they had Marines stationed along the course helping us with each stop but there is nothing quite the same as having your husband as the one making sure you don't fall on your butt. In the end I made it up, over and around every obstacle save the rope climb at the end (my shoulder injury would not allow for it). I was very proud!

Next they gave us a taste of part of the CFT (Combat Fitness Test). We sprinted, low crawled, baby crawled, dragged a "casualty", fireman carried the "casualty", carried ammo cans, and threw a fake grenade into a target zone. It was exhausting and I didn't even get to the end before it was time to rotate stations.

Next, video gamers prepare yourselves, we went to the virtual shooting range. We learned how to load a pistol and an M-16 and got to practice shooting them at the large wall of screen. They were hooked up the computers so they recorded our shots without any bullets being fired. It was ok but the Marines there gave horrible explanations (Chris is pro at explaining things) and I was ready for the real thing.

Luckily, after a quick lunch we got on a bus and headed out to the real shooting range! My group shot the pistol first. It was only the second time in my life I have fired a weapon and I LOVED it. We got to shoot 12 rounds and I managed to get 10 on the target, impressing myself with 2 in the head and 4 in the chest. Yea, I dare you to come after me! Next was the M-16 which I had fired at TBS family day in May. This was more fun because there was something more than an open field to shoot into. I did ok but the dang thing weighs a ton! Lastly we were treated to the shotgun. Wowza, that thing has some power behind it! I got to load and fire 10 rounds and it was a blast (literally). I could have spent all day there but alas bullets do not grow on trees....

We headed back to base and took a seat in the Nite Lab were we learned how Night Vision Goggles operate. Then we went into their dark room and got to try them out. It is amazing how much you can see with the smallest amount of light! They showed us different chemicals that are visable to the NVG's but not the naked eye and we also got to see how an Infared Camera works. We had a quiz at the end and I won a chem light stick for explaining the difference between how NVG's (night vision goggles ) and FLIR (forward looking infared) operate.

Lastly, I got to fly in the flight simulator. It is a trippy experience and made me a little dizzy, you sit in the pilots seat and are surrounded by video screens that simulate the area and react to your controls. It was cool to use the same controls they use when actually flying and the Marine helping me even showed me how to do a loop-di-loop (technical term...).

After all this I headed home confidant that even though my husband was unable to witness my amazingness (another technical term) I had done well! It was a Hearty day to be sure.

As you head off into your Turkey induced coma this week please add the men and women of our armed forces to your list of things to be thankful for. It is because of their Hearty nature and resilient attitude that we can enjoy our feast in peace.



The past week has seen a lot of Nutty events. This is not hard to understand since I am pretty Nutty and Chris loves to laugh at my silly antics.

Tuesday Koda graduated from puppy class. We have been taking classes for eight weeks and they have really helped us get her under control. In order to graduate she had to do specific tasks at different cones and she only got one treat at the very end. She stopped halfway through for a good scratch but otherwise she passed with flying colors. Following are the Nutty photos we took after graduation!
Yup. Nutty.

Wednesday was a day off because it was Veteran's Day. We got up at 7 and headed over to the DiFelice's to pick them up for a hike. Here in Yuma there is one hiking trail..a few less than we are used to being as all four of us are from Colorado. It is called Telegraph Pass and it is a couple mile hike to a "mountain" top that is home to many antenna. As Bekah noted, "In Yuma you can't escape technology even on a hike!". It started out very easily but when you start climbing the "mountain" it was pretty much straight uphill...this state hasn't mastered the switchback trail yet. Mike and Bekah are pro hikers so they made it to the top super fast. I took a little longer since I basically couldn't breathe and am not a pro hiker! Chris stayed back with me and was, as always, my cheering section. Well, I did make it to the top and it was nice to accomplish it. Here are some photos of the Wood's (Me, Chris, Loki and Koda) and the DiFelice's (Bekah, Mike and Bailey)
(Insert Lion King Music Here)

We are so lucky to have Mike and Bekah in our lives because on top of being amazing friends they bring a little bit of Colorado to Yuma. (And they too are a little Nutty)

Lastly, I wanted to give you a peak into my job, which I love but can be a bit....well, yes....Nutty. For the past 4 months I have been nanny to twin girls. Their names are Taylor and Mckenna and they are freakin' adorable. I get to their house every weekday at 6:15 in the morning and leave around 4 each afternoon. They are almost 9 months old so our days consist of eating, playing, bouncing in the exersaucers, crawling as far as they can, going for walks in the stroller, crying at the top of their lungs because teething hurts and naps. It is so much fun watching them explore and grow. Soon they will be walking and talking and not babies at all!
Taylor Ann

Mckenna Joann

Hope you let your days have a little bit of Nutty in them. It is so much more fun that way!



While many of our loved ones watched snow melt or rain fall this past week we here in Yuma were lucky enough to enjoy a crisp fall(ish) weekend.

Heading into this holiday weekend Chris and I had big plans. We had assembled our Halloween costumes and planned on going to a party on Friday night and Saturday night. As we settled into our Friday evening, dinner eaten, dogs playing happily, TV lulling us into comfortable relaxation on the couch, it became apparent that neither of us wanted to leave the house. So we didn't, we stayed right there and deepened our butt prints on the couch!

Saturday greeted us in a lovely manner, at 9am, which is equivalent to sleeping until noon in our house. We made a delicious lazy breakfast of egg-in-a-hole and sipped on steamy cups of hazelnut coffee (my idea of a treat is flavored coffee on the weekend...plain old breakfast blend Monday thru Friday). The dogs spent time outside, alternating between frolicking in the crisp morning air and napping on the sun baked concrete.

Midday we roused ourselves and headed out to see a movie at the local multiplex. Being the economically aware pair that we are we stopped at Target stock up on snacks that would be smuggled into the theater in my bulging purse. Early movies are the best because you get your pick of seats and can talk through the previews. We were seeing Zombieland in honor of Halloween. 90 minutes later we exited into the bright sunshine after enjoying a comedy about killing zombies, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am very picky about my horror movies!

Next stop ....Kohl's! Chris and I usually go clothing shopping a couple times a year (I, of course, add my own trips in between) and get new seasonal clothing. It is a lot of fun and we always have a good time picking out stuff for each other. Knowing that we didn't need winter clothing we shopped for Crisp fall weather clothing. We both left with several new items and since we "shopped Kohl's" our total savings was over 50%! Awesome!

We headed home and we were almost immediately sucked in by our oh so comfy couch... Can you see where this is going? Yes, we stayed on that couch all night and played hooky from yet another party. We watched food network instead...yummy yummy!

Sunday was another beautiful Crisp fall day complete with sunshine and wispy clouds! I took Chris out to breakfast (love having my own paycheck now!) and we had a Fort Collins flash back as we sat on the patio of the bakery to eat with our puppies leashed to the table. We continued our flash back day at the brand new Yuma dog park. Honestly these should be mandatory in every town. We were spoiled rotten in Fort Collins with several dog parks within a 10 minute drive of us. In Virginia we were starved for dog parks....the Internet told me the nearest one was 90 minutes away! The park here isn't the biggest we have seen but it is awesome to have one. We love watching Loki run full speed (he gallops like a horse) and Koda (who never leaves her big brother's side) running as fast as she can only to wipe out because she can't stop herself very well.

Sunday afternoon Chris left for some training in San Diego and I bought myself a new toy. Yes, I am now the proud owner of a Bissell HeatPro 2X carpet cleaner! The carpet in our dinning/living room is now cleaner than when we moved into the house! Hooray!

And that, my dearest friends, is how to have yourself a relaxing Crisp fall weekend! Hope all of yours were just as splendid.