Sunday, November 29, 2009

Care Package Party 2!

The day for the second care package party is January 23rd. We are going to try to have it at Mark's church (Salem Covenant Church, the same one we got married at). We have to look into that a little more, so I will let everyone know when we find out for sure. I am thinking of getting pizza for everyone who comes too!

I will talk to Mark when he is back (in FOURTEEN days!!!) to find out what they really liked or new ideas if they've come up with any!

I spoke with Mark tonight, and they had gotten off work hours early to watch the Vikings they were pretty happy about that. He stayed later tonight after work to talk with us (Heidi and Jake, his parents, brother and I) on Skype, so that was nice :)
I got most of our shopping done this weekend. I started shopping a month ago, and am excited to give everyone their gifts! We're also making house progress! Looking at some more tomorrow, and have narrowed down the neighborhoods we like. Yay! Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Mark said they got turkey and ham, which was alright, otherwise they worked like usual. I'm so thankful he will be home for Christmas, so soon! How did I get so lucky??


Friday, November 27, 2009


Article that Lyle found. I talked to Mark and he said that he was sleeping when the football playing was going on, because he is working nights again. He is so excited to come home too!

A touch of home on Thanksgiving



The line judge and the cheerleaders carried automatic weapons at this championship football game.

It wasn't covered by ESPN, and the Chinook helicopter occasionally hovering overhead wasn't there to provide aerial views. But for a few members of a Minnesota National Guard company operating supply convoys from this base, Thanksgiving Day touch football was a brief reminder of home and a respite from the small-arms fire and roadside bombs that make the roadways of Helmand Province one of Afghanistan's most hotly contested areas.

The football games, a round robin between companies in the battalion, were the first of their kind, designed as a morale booster. The games had no title, although given the surrounding moonscape terrain, the Dust Bowl might have been appropriate.

Spirits were high among the Guard 114th Transportation Co., based out of Duluth. The 114th is in the middle of a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan. Based out of this Marine base, its 180 soldiers run supply convoys to several bases in Helmand.

Even after a grueling mission that took several days, the Minnesotans conducted themselves well enough to climb to the championship game, after defeating the always feisty 811th HQ Division 3-2.

The victory was sparked by an acrobatic catch by Staff Sgt. Travis Bergland that took him back to his days as a flanker for the Albert Lea Tigers. Compared with the field back in Albert Lea, Bergland acknowledged, the Afghan terrain -- which included rocks of various sizes -- presented a special obstacle to running effective pass patterns.

Before the championship game against the Fort Carson, Colo.-based 68th, Specialist Shelby Lago of Federal Dam did her best to inspire her colleagues.

"We're good at ice fishing, we're good at drinking beer and it looks like we're getting good at football. Let's bring our 'A' game today. Wolfpack on three," she shouted.

Standing nearby, Specialist Marcheta Blumke of New Ulm thought about the significance of the game.

"We all love football. If this weren't happening, we'd just be in our tent watching movies," she said.

Advantage, mountaineers

But the Minnesotans were never able to contend in the final game, finding themselves heavily outmatched by a team that many thought sported some ringers, given its status as the head of the battalion. The first touchdown came off a long spiral pass that literally left the 114th in the dust.

"We came from Colorado," yelled one sergeant on the sidelines. "Altitude."

There were some excellent efforts. At 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, Sgt. Brian Haglund displayed a swim move on defense that often left his opponent outflanked. Haglund, from Coon Rapids, played semi-professional football.

"Any team sport I'm in for," Haglund said. "I'd rather be doing this than alone doing PT [physical training] any day."

After two 20-minute halves and a 10 minute halftime, the Minnesotans bowed to their superior opponents, 6-1. The end result: several skinned knees, a scraped hand or two and one bad ankle sprain. And then it was back to the reality of a holiday spent nearly 7,000 miles from home.

Despite the intensity of the newfound rivalry, no one talked about meeting again here next year for a rematch.

Mark Brunswick • 651-222-1636

Saturday, November 14, 2009


29 days until Mark leaves the sandbox. He's excited. We're excited.

Next care package party is in Jan. I have to talk with the parental unit and the in-laws to figure out a date that works with everyone. I am no longer working at the hospital, so I have weekends off! I feel free. haha.

Mark got back safely from his mission. He couldn't tell me much about it, but he went with a bunch of guys, and they were gone for about 3-4 days. I think he liked getting "out" a little. He also said he saw his first tree since he's been over there. It was at a different base. I think it's a little tricky to get a tree to grow in sand. He also said that they have giant kangaroo rats. Not their proper name, I don't think. He said they are giant rats that hop like rabbits. Gross! That would be enough to make me run in the other direction. They also have desert spiders. Ick to that too. I wouldn't survive over there. About every 4-5 days they see a cloud. I was confused by this at first, but it makes sense that a desert doesn't have enough moisture for them. Makes sense.

Mark still gets Thursdays off, in which he works out. I got a question about what they do on their days off. I only know what Mark does, and it's...not much. He works out and reads. Good thing for him I have a stock pile of magazines and his junk mail to send his way. hehe. There isn't much for entertainment over there. I think they have a "common area" with a TV, but i'm not entirely sure. He said something about watching the Twins game a while back, and said they might have it playing in there. I'll have to ask him more about that.

They are still all enjoying everything from the care packages. I will put up a revised list later, based on their feedback of what was sent. They were just happy to get packages, but I wanted to know more about what exactly they liked the most/least. Oh, and nothing exploded or leaked in route, which is good.

We are currently house hunting. I feel like I have to include "we" because there are several of us going at it, even if Mark isn't directly house hunting with us. We spent hours last Sat driving around with the Realtor looking at houses, and stopping by open houses. We are getting a really good idea of where we want to live, and what we want in a house. If everything goes our way, we could be in a house early Feb. Yes, I will be living there before Mark gets back. I might get us a dog to keep me company though :) (sorry parents!). Speaking of parents. I like them. They've been helping a lot with this too, so thanks!

I am starting full time at my job just after Mark leaves. It's an exciting and scary transition all at once. The living alone thing will be good for me, but we all know I love and need people around me at all times. It'll be interesting to say the least! My family doesn't think I can do it, gotta prove 'em wrong. I've already asked all my friends to take shifts on who is staying over hehe. (I'm not kidding about this one.)

I'm waiting for Mark to send me pictures. I guess he has a bunch, including some of their living/sleeping area. They still have crappy interwebs though, so i'll have to wait. If nothing else, I can put them up when he is back. LESS THAN A MONTH! Woop.

Oh, he might also be moving back to working nights. There is a guy on nights who is going on leave, so it would be a temporary thing. I don't know how he gets his sleep straight with all this switching. So, he'd be supervising the night crew I guess.

Hope everyone's doing good. Could everyone else start a blog so I can read about you? I need updates on everyone. Ok, thanks. :)


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happiness is...

A surprise call from your husband, when you think it will be another week before any contact....even if it is only a 2 minute conversation.

Gosh, I love him. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Update of sorts

Most of the time I have so much to say, but nothing to write. Know what I mean?

Mark is well. We haven't been able to communicate much because of bad internet connection and poor phone quality. Our phone conversations are frustrating, but very much appreciated. There is a delay in the phones... so I will say something, Mark won't hear it for 10 seconds or he starts saying something and we both end up talking/hearing each other at the same time. The conversation is mostly us talking over each other, or waiting in silence to see if the other person will talk. The internet is so-so. He has some sort of internet card that he bought, so he can get internet in his tent, but it is very slow and cuts in and out. BUT, like I said...we are very appreciative for any contact, even if it's minimal.

We don't talk much about what is going on over there. He always asks about my days, and doesn't want to talk much about his. I think he likes to hear about my mundane day-to-day activities. It makes him feel like he is still in touch with civilization to some point.

38 days until his leave. Everyday I get out of bed, I think, "one less day we have to wait!" I am thankful for everyday I make it through with out going crazy. :)

I have been really busy, and have had some super exciting achievements lately...but will elaborate more on them at a different time maybe. There is always a light in the darkness.

One small update I guess...Mark is now going on missions. I don't have more to elaborate on that topic.

If nothing else, this deployment has brought us closer and really made us appreciate the small things in life. As dumb as it sounds when people tell you...don't forget to say your "I love yous" and give hugs. You are never promised a tomorrow.

Please keep these troops in your prayers, especially with the increase in missions.