Happy 25th Birthday, Ethan! 5 years of pictures…


Once upon a time, in the year 2002, on Christmas Day, Bethany struck up an online friendship with this guy in the Air Force. It concerned me a little, that my little girl was talking with this Air Force man, but I knew he was in Florida…..far away. 

Then he began to send pictures….

Ethan    Ethan

  ethan7  ethan4

And I thought, “Well…this is ok. And he’s kinda cute.”  And he was just a kid….nothing scary.

Some of the pictures concerned me a little, but still…. it was ok. After all, we’d probably never actually see the guy.


I’m not really sure what concerned me more….the grin, or the fact that a guy had purple beads on his lamp.

We learned his father worked for Focus on the Family, so we thought he couldn’t be too bad.  After all, it would be easy enough to email Focus and see if they really had an employee by that name. We were regulars on the Focus mailing list. So in May of 2003, we invited him to come for a visit, for her birthday. He tried to tell me he was really a 42 year old serial killer. I wasn’t too worried….we have guns and I’m a darn good shot.

He couldn’t make it that weekend, but on Memorial Day weekend, he asked if he could still come…..that day. And our house was a mess. I thought, “Oooohhhh, not this weekend. I need to clean.” But he said that he was sure our house wasn’t any messier than his mom’s house. He rarely knows what he’s talking about.  So I said it was ok. I thought I had probably 10 hours to clean. How was I to know that the trip from Eglin AFB in Fort Walton, Florida to Deer Park, Texas could be made in 8 hours? It can….if you fly the “Red Rocket.”  

(Beth has pics of the Red Rocket, his car. Maybe we can scan them in here.)

He had to call for directions on the way, but he got here safely. I figured he was pretty tired, because his tires were hitting the curb when he pulled up. He denies it, though. (He’s denied a few things over the years…like who started the arguments…)

He must have been tired….or we just bored the poor guy to death. He did this a lot.

Sleeping again 2003 Bunny ears

Note in the 2nd picture….Brandon making bunny ears. You have to be brave to fall asleep at our house!

He says he doesn’t dance, but he did once. And we remember. Scary. dancecat

He came back in June of 2003 for Bethany’s graduation party. He braved unbelievably dangerous conditons to be here. What else would you expect a bomb tech to do? (Can you see that little mosquito bite? They apparently didn’t have mosquitoes in Florida, because he sure whined like he’d never been bitten before. )

Ethan's wound NoWhining

And he had a rousing good time (this is Party Ethan…  Ok..maybe not…)

Ethan Unaware

He came back one more time July 16, 2003, before leaving for 2 years in Italy. Beth made him a birthday present…an Air Force memory album….

Memory album page

Ethan's book

…which included pictures of his adventures at our house.

Whiskers Your grrrrfriend……

Well, it didn’t include all of them. We didn’t get pictures of the candle spitting contest or the silly string on the ceiling fan. I wasn’t here when those things occurred,and I’m not really sure if I should thank God I wasn’t, or not.

Brandon told him he looked stoned in his official Air Force picture, and this was the reaction:

Ethan and Beth July 16, 2003

Apparently, when he went to Italy, he began to build incredible strength….

Bubble wrap (That’s bubble wrap.) And he finally made a friend.

Ethan and Basta

While stationed in Italy,he went to war, in the summer of 2004.

Fun in the SunIraq 2004Ethan and Sadam

Watch me blow this upEthan's only friend

Hanging around on a big gunRambo

EOD gangWhat a mess

There were times we were so proud…..

KOOLAIDwonder twin powers activate 

After Iraq, he came to visit, in October, 2004:!cid_X_MA4_1098667965@aol[1]

Ethan's banner in front yardSilly string Oct 9, 2004

And we had a party that night, and people wouldn’t go home. He got tired again.

Exorcism Sleeping like a baby

Being tired makes you do strange things.

Afghan woman Oct 12, 2004

And there was an inside joke about HEB Didn’t take long for the joke to get out. Beth says it was his fault.

He soon had to go back to Italy, carrying a purse

Ethan and his purseEthan at the airport Oct 13, 2004

Ethan and Beth Oct 13, 2004Ethan's plane 5

And he learned to climb mountains and play “I’m a Little Teapot”….

Ethan in Italy I'm a little tea pot

He went back to war again in 2006, and it apparently makes you do strange things with Gold Bond powder that people in Texas send to the sandbox


And, bless his heart, he can’t sing Amazing Grace to save his life….

Ethan Sept 20062

 Isn’t Brandon a good photographer? Or maybe it was Photoshop….or something….

Ethan and Beth

And since you already know we swiped these….

No…not a tough guy. Just a good guy


desert heart stoneGold Ethandesert heart stone
A lot of life has happened between all these pictures, but we want you to know you are loved still, and your safety and happiness are prayed for…always. Happy birthday, Sweetie.

Monty Python


19 thoughts on “Happy 25th Birthday, Ethan! 5 years of pictures…

  1. :wave:Thank you for sharing this.  You did a great job. :goodjob: How thoughtful and well beatiful.  The Air Force base here in Charleston have a lot of C-17’s flying in and out to the sandbox everyday.  The pilots talk about flying the box and how how proud they are trying to help out our troops.  Happiest Day to Ethan.  Take Care, Sharon

  2. Best blog I’ve read in a while!! Heck, if they’re sending you to Italy, you might as well go with a purse… it’s just the thing to do :ROTFL:

  3. Happy Birthday, wonderful photos ~  Hope he has a great day and a blessed year ~
    Hope you have an awesome turnout for your VBS week ~

  4. Happy Happy Birthday to you!  Lalalala  Happy Happy Birthday to you!  Mimimimi    May the Lord richly bless you!  Happy Happy Birthday to YOU!    Here’s wishing you many more Ethan.  Thank you for your willingness to serve our country. :goodjob:

  5. This is grrrrrrrrreat. What a neat thing to do for Ethan and what a lovely tribute. He looks like a fine young gentleman. This was one of my favorite sentences…..β€œHe tried to tell me he was really a 42 year old serial killer. I wasn’t too worried….we have guns and I’m a darn good shot.”. :ROTFL: πŸ˜† :ROTFL:  Go git him, Cindy!! I hope Ethan reads your Xanga today. ***HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ETHAN!*** Thank you for serving our country. :yes: Blessings ~Carolyn :heartbeat:

  6. Thanks, ladies. Carolyn….yes, he saw it. And he is probably hiding under a table about now, going, “Oh, my gosh! How can she do that to me?” :ROTFL:
    I had lots of good laughs going through all those pictures. And I figured…I don’t get to embarrass somebody everyday. I save it for special occassions. πŸ˜† (However, I would like to point out….he willingly posed for most of those pictures. :giggle: )

  7. RYC: yes, I often think of that.. how anyone survived without the motion-sensing monitors, etc. But some of those new-fangled things will give me so much more peace of mind! They’re going crazy over peanut butter as of late. Most info says not to give babies peanut butter til they’re at least 2 years old… 3 if a parent has an allergy. One place even said 5 y/o!! Good think I dont like that stuff!!

  8. :goodjob:  What a sweet tribute to Ethan!  Not sure what to think of the Gold Bond Powder (hmm), but the picture with that sweet dog makes up for it!  Happy birthday to him  :sunny: 

  9. RYC: yeah, I think a lot of it is fear mongering… but since we don’t eat a whole lot of it anyway, I might as well keep her away from it for a few years, too… one less thing to worry about and you KNOW how my worry mechanism is!!! πŸ˜† Then there’s all that talk of SIDS and every few years they change their guidelines. Currently, they should sleep on their backs. But who knows what it will be in a decade from now. They make it very difficult to relax. Right now, I do worry a bit about SIDS and other weird stuff but it’s not a consuming worry, it’s just in passing, really… I hope that doesn’t change into outright fear when she’s born! That’s one of the reasons we got that Angelcare monitor… peace of mind. It was double the price of the regular monitor but I just don’t know how paranoid I’ll be, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

  10. we have guns and I’m a darn good shot.”
    Carolyn, I was thinking about what our pastor told Steve. Our pastor is a police chaplain, and is a former police officer (in Georgia). Once he taught a gun safety class at church, the same one required to get a concealed carry permit in Texas. We took it and when we went to the gun range, he saw the target I just shot and told Steve, “Don’t make her mad.” :ROTFL:

  11. RYC (again haha!): yeah… a few years ago that neighboring town was named the best place to live in the US so the prices went up but its always been super expensive. A lot of bank CEOs and crap live there. There are more reasonable places there but the cheapest we’ve found is a townhome for $474,900. Still out of the price range at this time!! We drove through that neighborhood with the townhome before we knew the price and saw Porsches and stuff in the driveways… definitely out of our range! I think part of it is the historical status of the town… it really is quite beautiful… but way too expensive. There’s a Montessori in that town, which she will NOT be attending…. there’s another Montessori in a town about 15 mins from here and the difference in price amounts to thousands per year. I just can’t fathom spending that much extra just for that town. What we’ll probably end up doing is moving to the town over from there. Lots of reasonable places. We want a condo or townhome instead of a stand-alone house for now b/c you get more bang for your buck out here that way. Until you can afford houses into the 400 and 500k range, it’s just not worth it. I hate the cost of living out here… it’s asinine.. and totally not worth it! If you want to be really floored by home prices, look at places down the shore… like Stone Harbor, NJ or Love Ladies, NJ. Absolutely incredible! A shanty is like 700k! Granted, at least you get a beach there…. but still. If you want something actually on the water, you’d better be prepared with over a million to spend. Kind of depressing that I’ll never be able to afford something like that! Must be nice!

  12. Yeah….I watch a show on tv sometimes, where a couple looks at houses, and then a team gives them the price of a renovation on each. They choose one out of 3 houses. I can’t remember the name of the show right now. But the prices on houses everywhere else is just insane. Our house is about 2600 square feet, but not in an upscale neighborhood, and the county values it for taxes at around $120,000. We might be actually able to get more for it if we repaired things that need to be repaired. It was in sort of an upscale neighborhood when we bought it in 1980. But now there are $350,000 houses down the road, that are 4000 square feet, and there’s one neighborhood with even bigger houses, and some acreage. You can still get good houses in the $100,000 range, probably 1500 square feet/3 bed/2 bath, but several years old. Houses are growing like weeds around here right now. When we moved out here in 1980, there was nothing within 2 miles. Now there’s houses everywhere, and streets that were not here 3 or 4 years ago.
    I think our cost of living is one of the lowest in the country.

  13. :heartbeat:Ethan has been blessed to have the Hartman family on his side. :heartbeat: :yes: That was a very special tribute to Ethan. Happy Birthday to Ethan. :sunny: :love:

  14. Ethan has been blessed to have the Hartman family on his side.
    Who says we’re on his side?? :ROTFL: (That was too easy….couldn’t resist it!) :giggle:

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