One family's musings and quest towards a Fabulous life!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


While we were sad that Brian was unable to spend the holiday with us, I enjoyed a wonderful visit with my Aunt Karen and Uncle Wayne Barnes over Thanksgiving. They drove in from Santa Fe, NM on Wednesday afternoon just in time to meet me for an ultrasound (more on this with pictures in the next post!), then we headed out and had a catfish dinner at Texas Roadhouse. On Thanksgiving, we enjoyed a great meal at The Range Restaurant in Salado, TX. The Range is a quaint restaurant with excellent food (family owned restuarant run by a husband and wife team trained at the culinary institute of America - a rarity in Central Texas!!) housed in a restored historical physician's home and office from the 1800's. We did end up eating in the basement (or as we termed it, the "dungeon") but we were eventually joined by another party and enjoyed our meal. Aunt Karen and I hit up the Black Friday sales for a little bit Friday morning and managed to pick up a small Christmas Tree and fresh wreath for the front door. I suppose it is time to change out the fall decorations for the Holiday ones. We also got a chance to explore Austin on Saturday and checked out the eclectic shops on South Congress, toured the flagship Whole Foods Store and watched some live music while eating appetizers at Eddie V's. The BEST thing we discovered was a cupcake vendor selling their wares out of a "silver bullet" trailer in a vacant lot on South Congress. They were the most delicious cupcakes I can remember eating - my favorite was the one that was like a hostess cupcake (with cream filling!) but REAL. We also got a chance to drive through the Annual "Holiday in Lights" display that the post puts on. It took quite a while to get out to Belton Lake, but the displays were great. I think my favorite was the whale, however I think Aunt Karen and Uncle Wayne enjoyed the tunnel of lights. I hope you enjoy some photos from Thanksgiving that Aunt Karen was kind enough to email me to share with all of you, and I hope that you were all able to enjoy as wonderful a Thanksgiving Holiday as I was.

Uncle Wayne and I in front of our House

Aunt Karen and I in front of our House

The "Belly Shot" (for all of you who have been asking!)

Aunt Karen and I at the Range in Salado

The three of us following Thanksgiving dinner

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Aidans's Room

Aidan's new room, and me with the crib!

Slideshow # 2

Follow the link to see slideshow #2 of Brian's unit in Iraq....


I realize that I owe updates on recent events. Bear with me as I attempt to separate the last few weeks into a few posts! I traveled to Chicago two weeks ago for work ( To attend the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Annual Meeting and Conference), but got to spend some wonderful hours each day with some of my best friends, Caroline and Colleen. It was great to see and spend time with them both! They also got Aidan some pretty neat stuff, which I'm sure he's going to love wearing! I have included a few pictures from my recent trip, I hope you enjoy!

The bean, reflecting the Chicago skyline

A close up...

Colleen, Caroline and I at the bean sculpture!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Link to 2-7 media slideshow

Hi everyone! We hope that you all are doing well. Below please find a link to a slideshow/ commentary that highlights the work of Brian's Battallion, 2-7 Cavalry. No footage of Brian, but you can see the Forward Operating Base (Fob) in the initial sequence of photos and learn a little more about the day to day life and work of the soldiers. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Time keeps ticking along...

Hi everyone! We haven't posted in a few weeks, so I thought I would share what has been going on for us. Brian reports that he has received lots of packages lately, and is very appreciative! I just mailed out his Christmas tree, and for those of you that are planning on sending packages in time for the holidays the cutoff they have set for Brian's FOB is NOV 21st, just a little over a week and a half away! The post office says priority mail can still be sent up through Dec 4th, but as Brian's FOB doesn't get mail as often as some of the others they have suggested the more conservative estimate of Nov 21. The big news where Brian is includes the addition of more electricity generators - which mean a minimum of 1 hot meal a day, and an ice cream cooler! (This is apparently BIG news :) )

Here in Texas, things have been going well. I enjoyed a wonderful visit with my Mom, and we put together a crib for Aidan (I'll post pictures soon). Thanks to Mom and Dad Kasarjian for purchasing this much needed item! I ended my 90 day tasking working for the Warrior Transition Brigade, and am now back at the Department of Social Work providing post-deployment support as a member of the Care Manager Program.

I am looking forward to my upcoming trip to Chicago for a conference, and the opportunity to spend time with some of my best friends from college, Caroline and Colleen! I must admit I am also looking forward to the opportunity to eat good food and do some holiday shopping as well.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and with it my visit from Aunt Karen and Uncle Wayne! They will be driving in from Santa Fe, New Mexico and I am excited to share my home and the eclectic vibe of Austin with them! They will also be accompanying me as I prepare a special surprise for Brian (which will also be shared with each of you!)

We have enjoyed seeing photos of everyone's Halloween festivities - the costumes have been wonderful! We miss and love you all, Katie and Brian

Monday, October 20, 2008


Hello Everyone! Brian and I wanted to officially announce that we are pregnant and expecting a baby boy in early March! We've included the pictures from the latest ultrasound below. Please enjoy, and we'll post some additional updates to catch everyone up on recent events soon!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Hello everyone!  I realize that it's been a little while since we last posted, but we haven't had much exciting news to share.  Brian has been settling in at FOB (Forward Operating Base) Garry Owen (as much as one can settle in when living on a cot in a tent with 9 fellow soldiers) but reports that he is very busy and for the most part enjoys the work he is doing and the folks whom he works with.  I recently mailed Brian the cord that allows him to transfer images from his camera to his computer, so hopefully we will have some images of the new FOB to post soon! 

Things in Texas have been quiet as well.  I am looking forward to Mom's visit in a few weeks, and have enjoyed the cooling temperatures (average daily temperature is now down to 86!).  Maggie recently started obedience school, and although she had a rough start things are beginning to go smoothly and she enjoys her weekly classes with the other dogs.  She now can sit, lay down, front, and walk on her lead (this required a harness so that she is no longer able to drag me around - good for me, but she doesn't particularly care for it) , and go to her place (either her crate or mat).  We are still working on staying and not running through the gates.  She is a work in progress.  I am also cat-sitting for a colleague this week, and this has been a learning experience for Alli.  She is not used to sharing her space, especially the upstairs which is her domain (Maggie isn't allowed up there).  It seems her ability to hiss and be cranky is not limited to her interactions with Maggie.  Alli and Bob do seem to have some fun chasing each other around and stealing toys back and forth though.  

Other than that, things have been pretty quiet here.  I am also looking forward to attending an upcoming conference (International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies) in Chicago this November.  The program looks great, but I am most excited to spend time with my best friend Caroline, who calls Chicago home.  Our good friend Colleen is looking into making the trip out as well, so it might be a great mini-reunion!  

Our thoughts recently have also been with Aunt Karla and her family and with Grandma Murphy as they spend time in the hospital recovering and taking steps to lead stronger, healthier lives.  Our love and best wishes are extended to both of you.  

Thank you again to all who have been sending Brian packages.  They seem to average about 20-30 days to arrive, with arrival to Iraq occurring in about 10 days and then taking an additional 10-20 days to make it out to him at Garry Owen.  They are still building up the FOB (hopefully a Dining Facility and fixed latrines and shower will be up before winter) so food, building supplies and ammunition continue to maintain priority over mail and packages.  He does truly appreciate all of the food, toiletry items, photos and small gifts that have been sent.  It makes life a little bit more enjoyable and comfortable and he is grateful that he has been given enough to share with those who aren't receiving some of the comforts of home.  

Happy October to all, and if you happen to be one of our New England friends or family members, enjoy the apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and changing foliage for us!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Thanks to everyone who have sent candy and other nice things.  I've passed a lot of the candy out to my soldiers in the shop and they were happy to get it.  

My address has changed to:

CPT Brian Murphy
HHC, 2-7 CAV, 4/1 CD
FOB Garry Owen
APO AE 09331

Thanks again! I appreciate all of your support.

Friday, September 12, 2008

whirly bird

Hey this is me in a Blackhawk helicopter.  Always a fun ride, with lots of breeze.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Catching Up

Hello Everyone! It's been a busy month of August here in Texas.  I was out of town for about three weeks, first in Albuquerque, NM for the annual Force Health Protection Conference (see photos below from my trip up Sandia Peak on the Tram!) then to San Antonio, TX to train with Dr. Edna Foa on implementing prolonged exposure therapy into the Army "bank" of effective treatments for PTSD.

 Following all of these trips for work, I was able to make a fun trip to visit Uncle Dave and Aunt Joan in Cincinnati for labor day weekend and their annual fireworks party.

Aunt Joan and I went down to watch the duck race (the rubber ducks were joined by the real ducks, who were helping to herd them back into their barriers; see middle picture) but we're still not sure who won.  A lot of the rubber duckies seemed to be great escape artists.  The last photo is the view of downtown Cincinnati from the deck of their condo.  What a great place to watch the fireworks from!

In other news, a few congratulations are in order.  First a big Happy Birthday and Congratulations on your retirement to Mom Kasarjian.  Sep 1 was the official day for both, and I'm glad I was able to spend it with you!  Next, congratulations to our brothers, Brian and Liam.  Both are beginning new jobs in the first two weeks of September, Brian with the Plymouth Public School System as a permanent substitute teacher and assistant soccer coach at Plymouth South, and Liam with Westchester County in the Human Resource Department.  Liam will also be continuing as the assistant soccer coach at Iona Prep.  It is interesting to note that both brothers are now employed alongside their fathers.  I guess the Counties and Towns in Massachusetts and New York like the Murphy and Kasarjian men!

Finally, below you'll find the photos I've promised of our house and pets.  Since many of you have not met our girls yet, Maggie is our 1 year 9 month German Shepard/Australian Shepard mix, and Alli is our 4 1/2 year old cat.  Maggie wants to be Alli's friend, but she won't have any of it.  You'll constantly find Alli swatting at Maggie from a countertop or couch.  

We hope this post finds each of you doing well.  One last item that I almost forgot - Brian's unit held a "town hall" meeting with the Brigade commander where families were able to be updated about the current mission and living conditions and ask questions of the command.  If anyone is interested in watching it or finding out more about 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, head over to  .  The link to the town hall is on the homepage, on the right hand side.  You can also check out his current unit, 2-7 Cavalry, under the "our Units" and "4th Brigade" tabs.  If you do watch the town hall, Brian is still currently moving back and forth between COB Adder at Talil and COB Garry Owen, closer to the Iranian border.  That's all for now, we miss you all !
Love, Kate

Friday, August 29, 2008


Hello all,
Iraq is hot as usual, smells bad, and I have met the sand flea in full force, however none of this high tech weaponry has much effect on them. I am bouncing between two different bases right now, so as usual whether I'm in the states or in Iraq, the Army has given me multiple places to hang my hat.  I should have my new job soon, but I cant post what that is.  If you are that curious you can call kate, and she can fill you in.  Its not too exciting though.  

Anyway, I found out that I will be on leave sometime in March, so I'll be back in Texas then.  Other than that I'm just doing pretty much the same stuff every day, trying to stay out of trouble.  More to follow... Time for bed

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Maine Send-Off & Iraq Address

Above you'll find pictures from Brian's Maine send-off.  Again, a big thank you to Aunt Joan and Uncle Dave for meeting Brian with special maine goodies (lobster roll for lunch!) and snacks for the plane ride.  Brian certainly appreciated spending time with you both, and his fellow soldiers were jealous on the next leg of the trip (word is he wasn't sharing!).  

We also just received Brian's current address, I have included it below if anyone is interested in sending along a note or a package.  The address will probably change in a few months, but for now, to contact Brian:  THIS IS THE NEW ADDRESS.  1/9 Address will send stuff to the wrong place!  He can still get it, but its a little tricky.  Leave it up to the Army to switch units on him as soon as he gets there.

CPT Brian Murphy
HHC 4/1 CD
APO AE 09331

The cheapest way to send anything is still to pick up the flat rate boxes at the U.S. Post Office.  They come in several sizes, with the largest 12"x12"x 5-1/2" for $10.95 (this is $2.00 cheaper than the domestic rate for the same size).  They have special Military boxes, but if none are available you should still pay the reduced price as you are mailing to an APO.  You will have to fill out an international customs form, I find that it is easier to pick up both of these in advance and fill it out/pack the flat rate box at home rather than at the post office.  

If you are looking for ideas of things to send, snacks and toiletry items (q-tips, baby wipes, sunscreen) are always appreciated.  Brian generally consumes anything caffeinated, twizzlers, starburts, gum, etc...  He will be in the vast desert expanse known as eastern Iraq, so there will be nowhere to buy anything.  If you have any old books laying around that will also help pass the time at night.

We hope that all is well with each of you!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

sand fleas and dust

hello all, brian here.  I'm in Talil Iraq (Check google maps for a better idea where that is), and enjoing lots of odd bug bites and microscopic dust, which is clinging to everything.  Its all and all not to bad here.  So far I havent settled into any role yet, but I'm awaiting that decision shortly.  Although once I do find out what I'm doing i'll email kate and she can tell you what the job is, as I'll be unable to put such information here.  Either way, i'm doing very well, and the environment is quite stress free (for me anyway).  Hope everyone is doing well.  I'll have some pictures up once I conquer a technical difficulty (i forgot the camera cable).  Adios.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Goodbye Fort Hood!

Brian and I
Brian with his rear detachment Commander, CPT Poole
Brian with the "hug lady".  Rumor is she has hugged every soldier departing to and returning from deployment out of Fort Hood, TX.  Brian was excited about hug # 3 :)

Brian waving Goodbye

Hi Everyone! I spoke to Brian this afternoon and he has made it safely to Kuwait.  He will be heading to the weapons range tomorrow morning to zero his rifle, then after completing a few other tasks and briefings he will make his way into Iraq.  I've added some pictures from Brian's Fort Hood Goodbye (approximately 0300 on Tuesday) above.  He officially departed at 0500, before heading to Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Bangor, Maine; Germany; then finally Kuwait. 

 A big thank you to Uncle Dave, Aunt Joan, and her dad for surprising Brian with their smiling faces, a fresh Maine lobster roll, and snacks for the plane during his layover in Bangor! Look for pictures from Maine in a few days, along with some photos of our home in Texas and our pets, Alli and Maggie (per special request!).  

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Hello everyone, I'm about to embark on my favorite all expenses paid government vacation to the middle east.  Now I've already been here once, and let me tell you it was just great.  Now I'm headed back to the Southern part of the country, and I'm going to look for a nice timeshare.  Once I get the address I will send it to Kate, and some others.  This way you can send lots of (COFFEE, baby wipes, candy) Liam will be responsible for all of my musical needs, because well, they dont listen that kinda stuff here. I'll hopefully be coming home around mid-March for my 15 day "Vacation."  By home I mean Texas.  Well thats it for now, gotta finish packing, out the door in three hours.