Saturday, December 1, 2012

Re-Connected and It Feels So Good

Happy December, everyone!  I cannot believe we're already in the last month of the year.  After living in our new home for two weeks, we FINALLY got our internet and TV all set up yesterday, so I am now able to fully connect to the outside world again!

The unpacking of all of our boxes has gone A LOT more slowly than I expected, practically at a glacial speed.  Even with my husband home this entire past week on permissive TDY, not much progress has been made.  But we were able to get enough of our belongings out of boxes last week to be able to properly cook Thanksgiving dinner for the two of us.

Overall we love our new home.  It has all of the space we were looking for, and then some with 4 bedrooms plus an additional loft type space upstairs.  While my husband and I love our house, I believe our dogs might actually love it even more than we do.  They have a fenced in back yard to run around in and no longer have to be leashed up in order to go outside.  They have more space to run around inside the house, plus a staircase to go up and down that gets them lots of exercise.

Much of my focus has been spent on trying to find a new job.  I found one position a couple weeks ago on post at Ft. Sam that matched up perfectly with my experiences at my previous job, plus it offered military spouse hiring preference, however I never heard a word back from them.  I do have an interview coming up this week for another position I applied for, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

Lastly, I have a little news to share with everyone.  This news is a big reason why the unpacking of our house hasn't gone as planned, as I haven't exactly had the energy to do a lot of lifting and shifting of things...


My husband and I are expecting our first child!  Needless to say, we are very excited!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Journey to the Alamo, Part 2

Last Thursday I began a little recap to get everyone up-to-date with the on-goings of our lives over the past month and hope to wrap it all up here today.  I know I had mentioned my intentions of following up with part 2 the day after the original post, however life intervened and I lost my free internet access before I was able to complete the post.

Two weeks ago on Monday the 5th, we picked up all of our fur babies from boarding and said goodbye to Georgia as we began our journey west.  We decided we wanted to cram as much of our stuff as humanly possible into our smaller sized sedan since we had decided to do a partial-DITY, which included 90% of hubby's gear.  The trunk was packed to the brim.  We had items covering half of the back seat as well as in the floor behind both of our seats.  There were a few items at the floor at my feat on the passenger's side of the car.  And lastly, we had a soft-pack roof top carrier loaded up above (and tied down to our car with ropes that wrapped around and were knotted inside).






It made for a cramped car (especially with three animals and the two of us inside) and kind of sucky gas mileage, but we've had easy access to most anything we'd really need or want until we are able to move into a place and receive our household goods delivery.

On our first night we stayed at a hotel in Mobile, AL, and the next morning as we went outside to load the car back up in prep for check-out, we stumbled across the Batmobile nestled in the back of a Warner Brothers Studio truck.  And upon further inspection of the truck, we also saw Batman's motorcycle inside.




Guests and employees of the hotel, along with employees of the neighboring hospital, all made their way outside to get the same pictures we snapped.  It's not something you see everyday!

For the most part our pets were fairly well behaved over the course of the three day drive.  When we first began on day one, the dogs kept bouncing around and the cat wouldn't stop crying, but eventually they all calmed down and were good until the end of day three when we finally arrived in San Antonio.

We made it to Fort Sam Houston last Wednesday the 7th, and before we even checked into a hotel, hubby decided he first wanted to check in with his unit to let them know he arrived and to find out how everything was going to work from then on out.  This meant that I was then stuck in the car for a couple HOURS with the kids, getting funny looks from all of the soldiers who walked past our car.

Hubby got a quick orientation with his unit before being told he didn't have to report until Tuesday morning PT, following the four-day weekend for Veteran's Day.  We were excited by this as it meant we could get a jump start on house hunting on his unexpected free days off, well before he would be approved for permissive TDY to secure housing.

After meeting with the housing office first thing Thursday morning, we started hitting the town and looking at houses available for rent that we had found online.  We quickly crossed off several houses after seeing the upkeep of the exteriors and the neighborhoods, or rather lack thereof, and then also found several houses we were interested in looking at further and began contacting realtors.

We looked at the inside of four or five different houses in different neighborhoods over the course of two days (not to mention drove by and checked out from the outside another 15 or so places) before we decided on one that we absolutely love!  It has over twice the square footage of our previous apartment and met our requirements of a minimum of three bedrooms/two bathrooms, fenced-in backyard, nice kitchen, and garage.

After deciding that would be the house we'd submit an application on, we decided to relax a little bit and do some of the touristy things in San Antonio before officially becoming residents.  Friday afternoon and most of Saturday were spent in downtown San Antonio, checking out the Rivercenter Mall, The Alamo, and the Riverwalk.









We ended up spending the full 10 days of temporary lodging we were authorized living out of our suitcases in a hotel room before we finally received approval on the house we applied for.  After two weeks of hotel stays and eating out at just about every chain restaurant out there (and getting absolutely tired of it), we were very excited to escape nomad life at the end of this past week and finally move into our new home!

We got into our house this weekend, and the movers were able to quickly come out and delivered our HHG shipment yesterday morning.  So now I am absolutely swamped with unpacking our house, scheduling appointments for various items (we won't have internet set up at the house for over another week still), updating our residence with all necessary parties, and oh yeah, that pesky little item of trying to find a new job.  After two months of unemployment, I am going rather stir crazy and miss being a contributing member of society.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Journey to the Alamo, Part 1

We have been in San Antonio for a full week now, and we're still working on getting all settled in here.  The past month has been a crazy little whirlwind of sorts!

When hubby finally arrived home for good last month to begin his hometown recruiting duty, we quickly fell back into a nice and normal routine.  It also helped a bit that his work schedule was short and easy, only having to work 10a-2p Monday-Thursday for two weeks!  It was then made even easier on him because of how quickly he delivered results and brought in contact information for 5 potential new recruits after his first day of work, when they only expected 8 leads out of him the entire time.

The movers came to pack us up on Monday the 22nd, and they were in and out with everything loaded onto the truck in about 6.5 hours!


When I met with the pre-move inspection guy the week before, he thought we had way too much stuff for the packers to be able to take care of everything in one day and said they'd likely pack on that Monday and then finish some packing & load up the truck on Tuesday.  I thought two days to pack up and load a 1000 sq ft apartment sounded a little crazy, and I was right.  They didn't even need a full 8-hour day, and they even took some breaks in there as well!

Hubby and I then got to spend four nights sleeping on the floor of our largely empty apartment until that Friday when we finally checked out with the property manager and hit the road to Virginia for the wedding of hubby's brother.

We spent over a week in Virginia with family and helping out with wedding preparations over the course of the week.  Our first full day in town that Saturday was when the bachelor and bachelorette parties were held.  For the bachelorette party, us girls got together at an apartment and spent the night in enjoying drinks, games, yummy snack foods, and a wedding movie marathon.  The bachelor party was a longer affair and began with a late morning trip to the shooting range, followed by lunch at Hooter's where my brother-in-law was made to get up in front of the restaurant and spell out "I Love Hooters" with his butt, and ended with an overnight stay in Washington D.C.

Halloween night a bunch of us got together at my mother-in-law's boyfriend's house for a bonfire he holds each year.  The night was spent eating tons of food while hanging out at the end of his driveway in front of two fire pits that were so hot and bright I felt as though I was getting a tan at 9pm.

Lighting of the fires (hubby is on the right)

Our host decided to dress as the Green Lantern (as well as don a horse mask he loves to break out at any and all occasions, including weddings...)

Blurry photo of me, but proof I was there!

The wedding day was the following Saturday on the 3rd, and surprisingly I don't have any pictures of my own from the big day.  I'm kind of disappointed that I didn't snap any shots from their day or get any pics of me and my hubby together, but I suppose it is what it is.

The morning after the wedding, hubby and I said our goodbyes to all of our family, not knowing when we'd get to see them all again, and hit the road to begin our journey to Texas.  As luck would have it, we got a flat tire about an hour down the road that Sunday, and as we hadn't yet replaced our full-sized spare tire from a flat I had a month prior, we had no spare in the car and were delayed a couple hours on our drive back to Georgia in order to get the car towed to get the tire replaced.  The most unfortunate part of this meant we weren't able to get our dogs that night from where we had boarded them and had to wait until the next morning to be reunited with our babies.

Check back tomorrow for part 2 of our trip!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Westward Bound

I've been all sorts of horrible with keeping up with social media these last few weeks with everything I've had going on, but I hope to be back to a more regular blogging routine in the next week or so as we begin to get settled in San Antonio.

For right now I will leave you with a picture of something we saw this morning as we left our hotel to continue our journey west. It was nestled in the back of a Warner Brothers Studio truck.

Friday, October 5, 2012

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #75

Linked Up @ Wife of a Sailor

1. What's one thing in the past month you would have changed?  Nothing really.

2. What was your favorite thing that happened in September?  Easy!  My husband came back from his deployment :)

3. Sometimes I like to sit on my couch and eat frosting from a can with a spoon.  Whipped varieties are the best lol.

4. What was your favorite childhood Halloween costume?  I had a very cute bunny costume that I wore when I was like 3 or 4 years old.

5. What are you looking forward to in October?  I get to go to a friend's baby shower this weekend, and I'm super excited for it because originally I wasn't going to be able to attend.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy October

Happy October, everyone!  Given how incredibly long the last five months were and how slowly time seemed to move, I cannot believe we're nearing the end of the year.  I kind of love this time of year, from October through to January, with all of the holidays and other special days it brings.

As of today, hubby and I have been married one & a half years.  Usually I'm not much of a half-year celebrator, but I figure there will likely be times ahead where we'll celebrate half-birthdays and half-anniversaries in order to best take advantage of the time hubby and I have together, especially when we have children.

We're very lucky that with all of the time we've spent apart from each other this last year or so, we've somehow managed to be together for just about every special day or holiday, with the only exception being both of our birthdays.  We've gotten our anniversaries (dating & wedding) and bigger holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and even Easter together.  It really is amazing when you think about the fact that in 18 months of marriage, we've only been together for about 5 months of that time.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Our First Homecoming

After my husband learned of his (original) report date for our move to San Antonio, I put in my notice at work for mid-September in order to have a couple weeks at home to take care of all of the final things necessary for our move.  It then turned out to be the perfect date, as my husband returned back to the states just one day later!

The Army decided to fly my husband back commercial as they didn't want to keep him there the extra days it would have taken to get him on a military plane back.  So I got to meet him at the airport and greet him the moment he stepped off the plane (yay for gate passes!).  I was so excited about seeing him that my whole body was shaking from the moment I saw his plane pull up to the gate until well after I was back in his arms.  That first hug and knowing I had him back safe and sound was the best feeling!

My husband's deployment was part of a program where they deploy you after AIT and before reporting to your FDS to basically give you a jump start in your MOS.  Before he left, he had been on TDY at Ft. Bragg for a few weeks.  Since he deployed from Bragg, that's where he returned to in order to return gear that he had checked out from one of their units, so we spent much of the last two weeks together in Fayetteville.

After leaving the airport together, we immediately returned to the hotel I had checked into so he could drop off his bags, and of course see his babies Kiba and Saki.  The dogs were so excited to have their daddy back!  We're still not sure if Saki really even understood what was going on, but Kiba went crazy when she saw her daddy and was so happy to have her parents back together.

Sleepy corgis

Since he was on TDY status there with nothing to really do, simply waiting for his gear to return that was sent back after him, hubby and I got to spend practically 24/7 together from the moment he returned until earlier this week.  We ate out lots, spent time shopping, and I even managed to drag him to see Finding Nemo in 3D with me!  We lived out of suitcases in a hotel, dogs in tow, until late last week when he was approved for a pass to travel back home for a long weekend since we live just five hours away.

A happy Saki getting a mid-car ride head rub from his daddy

We got to spend a few nights at home in our own bed (which we seriously need to upgrade btw... after a week of sleeping in a king-sized bed at the hotel, it became even more apparent that we need something larger than the full we've had for years).  We got to visit one of our favorite restaurants/bars in town, got to visit some family down in middle Georgia, and also got to go to our church together for the first time since July 2011, all before heading back to NC on Monday.


Originally hubby was only supposed to be at Bragg for no more than a day or two, but since the return of his gear was unexpectedly delayed, it basically threw off timelines for everything else for us for the next month or so.  After hubby received and turned in his gear, he was then on the next plane out of Fayetteville to get back to his AIT location, as technically he was still attached to his old brigade there throughout the deployment and had to return there for meetings, briefings, and ultimately out-process for our PCS.

So sadly after a week and a half of being back together, we're now separated again.  But at least this time it's for a much shorter period of time!  Our time together was great and we pretty much fell right back into our natural rhythm with each other.  Before he left, I had people tell me that this deployment would change him and he wouldn't be the same person, basically trying to instill fear in me in hopes that I would/could somehow talk him out of going, however I pretty much see the same man I've always known.  The only difference now is he has a clearer picture of where he'd like to go and how he would like to advance his career.

After months of uncertainty, we finally have some dates for how the next month and a half are going to pan out and confirmation that we will actually be in our town about a month longer than originally expected.  Since timelines were thrown off and it was beginning to look as though I would ultimately be responsible for cleaning and checking out of our apartment and driving our car and pets out to Texas by myself, meeting hubby there with his early October report date, hubby's LNO from the deployment decided to help us out a bit to make our move easier and now hubby's orders have been tweaked so that he will now be coming home for two weeks of hometown recruiting duty before we ultimately, and FINALLY, report to our first duty station.

It has been a VERY long journey, with way too much time spent apart from each other since hubby originally left home for BCT August of last year, but we're now finally getting our time back together!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

While I Was Away...

I've been rather neglectful with my little blog here over the past couple weeks.  I also have been really bad about keeping up with all of my favorite reads as well.  But I'm sure everyone will understand given the fact that my husband arrived back stateside from his deployment in Afghanistan just over a week ago!!   So of course we're spending just about every minute of the day together that we can and enjoying being reunited!

I hope to be back soon to share a little about our homecoming/reintegration and posting more frequently again, especially as we go through some new twists and turns that the Army just gave us.  In theory this brief change in orders is supposed to make our upcoming PCS easier on us due to change in timelines... only time will tell if that actually turns out to be the case!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Six Months of Uncertainty

For the last six months, I've been walking around with this fear in the back, and quite often the front, of my mind, and the only person who has had any idea of what I have been carrying around with me is my husband.  And he hasn't been around for about 97% of that time (just a rough guesstimate on that little percentage...).

Back in early March, when my husband was finishing up AIT and was out of contact for several days for an FTX, I had my annual exam with my gynecologist.  It is a doctor's appointment I really don't mind one bit and usually I'm in and out of her office in no time at all.  However, on that day just over six months ago, my doctor felt something during my breast exam that she asked me to have looked at further with an ultrasound.

After the most agonizing three-hour wait of my life sitting in the imaging office's waiting room (thankfully they were able to squeeze me in the same day so I didn't have to wait even longer for an appointment), I was finally brought back to see the ultrasound tech.  She looked at me for a good 10 minutes, which of course felt more like 30.  Then after taking some images with the ultrasound machine, she said she was just going to show them to the radiologist, who instead actually came into the room to perform the ultrasound all over again so he could get a better look at me.  After another 10-15 minutes, he finally said that he wasn't too worried about what's there, especially since I'm young and all (umm, I don't care if I'm young, because young people can get cancer too you know!).

I was told to monitor myself over the next several months (umm, months?! Really?!) for any changes and then go back for another ultrasound in 6 months to be reexamined.  I then had to live with this bottled up inside of me for the next several days until my husband finally returned from the field so I could share the news with him.

Monday morning I went in for my 6-month follow up appointment.  It wasn't until Sunday night when nerves started to hit, and then Monday morning I was a complete mess with worry about how my appointment would go.  I had absolutely no appetite could hardly sit still.  My husband called me in the morning as I was driving to the doctor's office.  He could tell right away that I was freaked out and tried his best to tell me that it would all be okay.

Thankfully my wait this time wasn't nearly as long as I had a fairly early-morning appointment, but it still wasn't any easier.  After another agonizing 15-minute ultrasound session, I was then left to lie on the bed in the exam room with ultrasound gel still on me (you know, in case they felt the need to come back for another look) while the two ultrasound tech's in with me consulted with each other for about 10 minutes while referencing my earlier scans and radiologist reports from 6-months ago.

After they spoke with the radiologist briefly after he had had an opportunity to look at my new scans and compare them with my old ones, I was FINALLY given the GOOD NEWS that they are not particularly concerned about what they see and the radiologist believes it is just dense tissue.  Nothing on my scans makes him think it could be a tumor.

I have been told to still monitor myself regularly for any change, but this time my follow up report said that no imaging follow up is recommended.  I was so relieved after hearing the news that I practically had to fight an urge that bubbled up inside of me to hug the ultrasound technician!

After leaving the office to drive into work for the day, I still wasn't feeling like myself and was on verge of tears for much of my drive.  Thankfully my husband called me again shortly after I left to check on me and see how things went.  He was happy to hear the outcome, but definitely still worried about me given the fact that I was still very emotional and reeling from everything I'd been going through.  He could hear that there was still some panic in my voice.

Before hanging up, he told me that he would call me back shortly after I was scheduled to arrive at work to make sure I made it in okay (it was a 30-min drive from the imaging office to my work)... little did I know at the time it was also to see if I received a delivery of flowers he had arranged for me a couple weeks ago, knowing how rough of a morning I was going to have.  I certainly did not expect this sweet gift from him!  I'm just so thankful that he was so determined to make it to the phone to call me multiple times that morning to check in with me all along the way.  I really do love that man so much!

I've gone back and forth debating if I wanted to share this on my blog or just continue to keep it between just me and the hubby.  Ultimately I decided that if other women are strong enough to share their stories and struggles concerning things like fertility issues and other health concerns, then I can most certainly talk about this thing I've been living with for the past 6 months, something which will likely always be on my mind and on my radar to watch out for in the future.

Friday, September 7, 2012

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #74



1. What's one thing in the past month you would have changed?  I would have pushed myself to continue to go to the gym and workout some of my frustrations, rather than just giving up and having a pity party that didn't exactly do me any good.

2. What was your favorite thing that happened in August?  Attending my future sister-in-law's bridal shower in Virginia.  I also got to see my father-in-law for the second time ever (he lives in Germany, so he isn't around much).  The similarities between he and my husband is a little scary at times, especially given the fact that hubby lived with his mom most of his life and didn't spend a whole lot of time with his dad when growing up.  There are some strong genes on that side of the family!

3. What did you do to celebrate Labor Day?  I spent Labor Day home from work, cleaning the house, dropping off items at Goodwill, and running a few other errands around town.

4. What do you HAVE to have handy by your bedside?  My cell phone is really the only thing I really have to have, though often times I'll have my iPad too for reading in bed at night.

5. What are you looking forward to in September?  Cooler weather (hopefully), college football, enjoying my Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and most importantly, hubby finally coming home!! :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Updates

As my final day at work is quickly approaching, I'm beginning to get more and more excited!  Most of the stress that has put me in a not-so-pleasant place for much of the last month and a half or so has been pushed aside as I prepare for my husband's homecoming.  Many things for us are still very much up in the air (thank you, Army), however we finally have a target return date for him!  And I think much of what has helped to allow me to be in a better mood is hearing my husband's growing excitement about coming home that he's finally begun to express over this last week.

My personal demons/issues are still hanging around for the most part, I'm just not dwelling on them as much right now.  I got so low that any and all motivation to continue on my workout plans went right out the window, and I haven't been to the gym in about two weeks now (and I've only worked out at home a couple times in that span).  I was hitting such a dark place of self doubt and frustration with things that I was even beginning to doubt my husband's desire to return home to me (which thankfully he quickly squashed after I finally opened up to him a little bit about some of what's been bugging me).

Lately I've been doing A LOT of cleaning and organizing around the house.  The other day I took what will probably be my last load of donation items over to Goodwill, and it all filled not only my entire trunk, but also the whole backseat of my car as well.  I have purged tons of items that we no longer need or want, and I hope that others will find good uses for them.  In total, I've donated about $500 worth of items, based on the lower-end estimates from Goodwill's donation value sheet.

I have also been putting together an in-depth home inventory of everything we own for both PCS and insurance purposes.  Currently, my Word document is at 9 pages long!  It was after typing and tallying it all up that I realized just how many DVDs we own... it's a lot!  I'm very thankful that much of my organizing came during back to school/college sales, as it allowed me to nab some neat little storage totes for really cheap.  They especially came in handy for organizing and storing my baking & decorating supplies -- one of my shoe box sized plastic containers is completely full of nothing but cupcake liners (yes, I may have a small addiction).

Lastly, I recently began watching The Big Bang Theory.  I had heard a lot of good things about the show, but hadn't ever seen it.  I fell in love with the show rather quickly!  After a solid week of watching several episodes a night while doing things around the house, I am near the end of season 4 and should have completed all five of them before the premiere of season 6 later this month.

Things are about to start getting all sorts of crazy for us, and after thirteen months of sitting back and waiting, waiting, and waiting some more, I'm more than ready to get this show on the road!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Liebster Award

I have received a Liebster Award from Kathryn at My Life as a Reserve Army Wife.  I also previously received this award from Liz at Liz's Diary (formally The Optimistic Army Wife) last month.  The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.


I've been in a bit of a funk for much of the last month (more to come on that in a future post), which has put me in a place of not feeling like blogging as much so I'm not bringing everyone else down with me, but I have decided it is finally time to participate and thank the girls who have nominated me!  I will be participating by sharing 11 things about myself and answering the 11 questions given to me by both of my nominators to show my appreciation for their nominations.  Hopefully I should be getting back into regular blogging shortly!

11 Things About Me:
1. While I'm right handed, I throw with my left hand.
2. I learned to play the violin in sixth grade and was in orchestra for four years.  Pachelbel's Canon in D was my favorite piece to play.
3. I worked in a library for over three years, and for a while I pretty much had the entire Dewey Decimal system memorized (I still remember some of it).
4. I really do not like coconut.  I also don't like most peppers (I'll only eat red peppers, in moderation, and when diced & combined with cheese) or anything with a lot of spice/heat to it.
5. Super Mario Bros. is my favorite video game of all time, and I just love that Nintendo stayed true to classic Mario when they released the New Super Mario Bros. game for the Wii and combined the best elements of Super Mario 1-3 and Super Mario World.
6. For much of my life while growing up, I wanted to be a teacher.  I was definitely the teacher's pet kind of kid and loved helping my teachers out in the classroom, hoping to be them one day.  It's something I still think about.
7. While in high school I entertained the thought of being an interior designer after taking several art classes, but then decided it would be "smartest" to major in business in college.
8. The yellow sauce (or white or orange sauce, depending on where you go) they serve at Japanese hibachi restaurants is probably my favorite condiment.
9. I am so terrified of snakes that the sight or intense thought of them will make me hyperventilate.  This fear includes just seeing them on TV (I have to cover my eyes).
10. While in college, I had a management position where I was ultimately responsible for the supervision of around 70 of my peers (one of whom was my husband).
11.  Part of me would really love to open a bakery.

Answers to Kathryn's Questions:
1. What made you decide to start a blog?
I started this blog when my husband left for basic training last year as a way to document the journey and changes in our lives, as well as to become connected to the military community while not yet living in the middle of it.  It's now a place to pretty much talk about anything and everything I might be going through, thinking, feeling, or doing and share little bits of my life.

2. What have you learned from blogging?
I think that blogging (combined with having a husband who's been MIA from the house for quite some time) has helped me to spend more time thinking about me and what I want.  Even if I don't have many answers yet, blogging has allowed me to have the much needed time to focus on myself that I've been missing.

3. If you could travel anywhere (don't worry about money), where would you go and why?
Either Italy for all of the history, food, and wine, or to Australia & New Zealand for the amazing sites.

4. What is your favorite animal?
Other than my two corgis, my favorite animal is a monkey.  For some strange reason, my husband always shoots me down when I ask if we can get a monkey for a pet.  I have no idea why... ;)

5. If you could have your dream job, what would it be?
This is something I have really been struggling with lately, but if career mobility wasn't an issue I would most love to work in marketing research, likely as an analyst.  I'm very curious and like to learn about others and really enjoy the consumer behavior & research side of marketing & advertising.  Owning my own bakery would also be a lot of fun!

6. If your iPod/radio was turned on right now, what type of music would be playing?
The current playlist I was last listening to on my phone has lots of pop, pop-country, pop-rock, and alternative music on it.

7. What's your favorite movie?
Probably Finding Nemo, but I also love Love Actually and the Harry Potter films (Prisoner of Azkaban is probably my fav of the HP movies).

8. Where did you attend college?  If you haven't gone yet, where would you like to go?
I graduated from the University of Georgia with a BBA in Marketing and an ABJ in Advertising.  I hope to attend graduate school somewhere, if I can ever nail down what exactly I'd like to do that would actually move around with us.

9. If you could live anywhere in the U.S., where would it be and why?
I don't have an exact location, but my dream place would be in a suburban setting with low-to-moderate humidity, moderate temps with lows in the 50's and highs in the 70's pretty much year-round, and plenty of places around to eat and shop.  If anyone knows of a location that meets this criteria, can you please ask the Army to move us there permanently?

10. What annoys you most about milspouse bloggers?
This is more about all bloggers/social media users in general, but misspelled words in postings really bothers me, especially when it's habitual.  Spell check is a default feature in browsers now people, so please pay attention when you see that little red squiggly line appear beneath your words!

11. If you could have an entire day to yourself, what would you do with your time?
I've had entirely too many days to myself over the last thirteen months, but a good "me" day includes a Gilmore Girls marathon, with some yummy cheesy pasta and a glass of a good chilled white wine, and my husband around to take care of the dogs for me!

Answers to Liz's Questions:
1. Which animal print is your favorite?
I'm not a huge fan of animal prints, but if I had to choose, I'd go with zebra.

2. What was your high school mascot?
We were the broncos.

3. Are you an iPhone person or an Andriod user?
iPhone all the way!  I <3 my Apple products :)

4. What is your favorite song of all time?
It's hard to choose, but I think I'll have to go with "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat.  That song was big when my husband and I first began dating in 2007 and quickly became a favorite as it made me think of him (it's been my ringtone for him on my phone for the past four years or so).

5. What is your favorite song at the current moment?
"I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz

6. What is the best part about summer?
I've come to find that summer isn't really as exciting as an adult as it was as a child when summer meant breaks from school.

7. What's one road you never took in life?
Since graduating from college with my first degree, I never really took the "traditional" paths you're "supposed" to take in my life, but I don't regret any of the roads I've taken since that time.

8. What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
Overall it is probably Chick-fil-A, but if I want a burger I prefer McDonald's over other burger places.  I also enjoy Quizno's.

9. What was your best childhood toy?
I think the toy I probably most enjoyed playing with (at least that I can remember at this point) was actually something one of my best friends growing up owned, a Skip-It.

10. What is your favorite holiday and why?
Probably Christmas-time.  Not necessarily just Christmas Day itself, but that time of year overall.  I just love the festivity of it.

11. If you could live anywhere in the world, money not a factor, where would you move to?
It's hard to say for certain given I haven't ever left North America, but I would have to say Italy to drink wine and eat pasta all day long, and be able to explore not only all that there is to see in the entire country, but also have fairly easy access to see all of the beautiful and historic places in Europe I'd love to visit.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Call Me Maybe, Army Style

A friend of mine on Facebook shared this video this morning, the latest in a fad of people shooting their own videos lip synching to Carly Rae Jepsen's song "Call Me Maybe."  Only this time, it was performed by deployed U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.


I kind of love it!  I love seeing the guys enjoy themselves and just acting goofy.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Halfway!

As of this morning's workout, I am officially halfway through C25K!  Four weeks down and four to go!


This week was rather brutal on me, and I think it may just keep getting tougher when looking at the days ahead if I cannot make a change.  I've had plenty of energy and drive for all of my workouts, and I have good form during the running portions.  My problem is breathing properly and making sure I get deep enough breaths in order to keep going and avoid side stitches.  Here's hoping a little more conscious effort on my part will help me improve even more over these last four weeks!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Long and Tiring Week

This has been one of those weeks where the days at work are incredibly long and I am left so tired and frustrated by the time I get home that I want nothing else than to unwind in front of the TV with a big ole plate of pasta and a glass full of wine.  In fact, that is exactly what I am doing this evening!

Monday was the first day of fall semester at the university, so everything in town has become absolutely crazy with increased traffic this entire week.  Yesterday, I had to go to the pet store after work to pick up a new bag of dog food, and it took me 30 minutes to drive to the pet store that is all of 2.5 miles away from my office!  It was insane!

Today at work, I spent about 90% of my 8-hour day using and staring at Word and a handbook I'm currently working on completely redoing, as the original document I was reviewing for accuracy was driving me crazy with its lack of consistency with regards to its formatting (headings, spacing, etc.).  At one point when the handbook was first created, I imagine it was decently formatted, albeit simple with no table of contents.  And then over the years as various people have edited it, they just randomly typed in however they saw fit in the moment and consistency went right out the window.

For most of the week, it has felt like each day is one day later than it actually is... I spent most of yesterday reminding myself it was just Wednesday and not yet Thursday.

Thankfully tomorrow is Friday!  The only downside to the day is it will be two hours longer than usual for me as I have to attend a meeting that doesn't begin until just after I'm usually out of the office for the day.  But at least it will be Friday!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Winding Down

We're finally hitting that point in my husband's deployment where the end is starting to come into sight.  I have to say, I'm more than excited about his return home, as I'm sure you can all understand.  Last night I had a very real feeling dream in which he was finally back with me again, and in it I didn't want to let go of him.  We're one of those couples who usually holds hands most of the time when we're out walking together, and in my dream I was pretty much attached to his arm, not wanting to leave his side.  After all of the time we've spent apart over this last year, I'm fairly sure I will actually be like that when he returns and we're finally together for an extended period of time, at least for the first couple weeks or so back together.

We know his estimated return time-frame based on when he left and the number of days the deployment is set to last, but currently he hasn't been told any date as far as when they're definitely going to try and get him out of there (not that I could share it if I knew in respect of OPSEC).  And knowing how many attempts it took for him to get in, "boots on the ground" and all to officially begin the deployment, I wouldn't be surprised if it takes several days from when they say he's coming home to actually get him out of there depending on weather & safety conditions.

With the deployment quickly coming to an end, that also means that my time at my job is nearing an end as well since we'll finally be PCSing after hubby returns.  Starting today, I'm beginning the process at work of passing on many of my duties and training my co-workers on how to do many of the things I'm currently responsible for.  Because of the way things tend to work at the university, replacements for positions typically cannot be hired until after the incumbent has left the position, so I will not be able to actually train my replacement and have to teach/refresh people who currently work in my office well enough so that they will then be able to train my replacement when he/she is eventually hired.

One of the biggest items I'm passing on are my payroll & personnel duties.  Right after I began working in my current office, we switched over to a new payroll system for all of our hourly employees, so no one else here (not even our business manager who trained me on our old payroll system) truly knows all of the ins and outs on how to use the system.  Even though I still have several more weeks left at my job, I'm starting that training process now in order to give the guy who is taking over that aspect of my job a few pay periods of experience using the system before I leave so I'm easily accessible for any questions he may have.

I have a feeling that during my last two or three weeks here, my days at work are going to be pretty long and boring, as at that point I will have passed on pretty much everything I do on a daily basis.  But I know I will certainly be able to fill much of that time with continuing my house & job hunting searches.  Plus I'm sure I'll be making daily lists of things to do to prep for the move/hubby's homecoming.  One thing's for certain, I'll most definitely be bouncing off the walls of my office with excitement over my husband coming home!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today... my husband began his military career.

One year ago today... I drove to Ft. Gillem in Atlanta to go to MEPS to see my husband swear in and get a final little bit of time with him before seeing him off.

One year ago today... I had to say the hardest goodbye of my life (as of that date... the deployment goodybe in April was MUCH more difficult) as he loaded the bus that would take him to the airport to catch his flight that would ultimately result in his arrival at Ft. Leonard Wood to begin BCT.

One year ago today... both of our lives changed significantly.

One year down, twenty-nine years to go!
(At least if my husband's current military career aspirations pan out - it's always subject to change, depending on effects on our relationship and quality of life with future children)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nutella Filled Crescent Rolls

Since I first tried Nutella several weeks ago while visiting my in-laws, I have quickly become a Nutella addict.  I would spread it over/dip into it just about everything I could if I thought it wouldn't taste completely nasty.  One of my favorite new snacks is to spread Nutella on some flat-bread and have a sweet little sandwich of sorts.  I even told my husband the other day how I have discovered that Nutella is a PMS-ing girl's best friend, and it would be in his best interest when he returns to make sure we have some stocked in the house every four weeks.

I had seen a pin a little while back for sprucing up basic canned crescent rolls by spreading some Nutella inside, then rolling them up and covering them with cinnamon & sugar before baking according to the regular package directions.  I decided that this would be the perfect week to try out the recipe.


It is one of the easiest recipes to make, as there's only a couple additional steps to the standard canned crescent roll recipe of open can, pull out and divide rolls along perforations, roll up, and bake.

Now, I promise I am still motivated to get into better shape, and I've been sticking with my gym routine (I've actually begun getting my lazy butt out of bed early enough in the mornings now to go before work!).  So far I've really been enjoying my treadmill days when I work on tackling the Couch to 5K training program.  I've tried starting it a few times in the past, but never made it past week 1 day 2.  Currently I have completed week 2 day 1 and am going strong.  I have found that I actually enjoy the jogging/running portions and even though I'm tired afterwards, I really do love how I feel after that 30 minutes on the treadmill!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fontina Macaroni & Cheese

As luck would have it, right after sharing my previous post about how I'm trying to be really good about working out and getting into better shape, which includes making sure I'm eating well, I found myself in need of some serious comfort food and indulged a bit after deciding to make a Fontina Macaroni & Cheese recipe I had sitting on my recipes-to-try list.


Mac & cheese is probably my most favorite food of all time, as it combines my love of pasta with my love of cheese.  It is the absolute perfect comfort food, in my opinion.  I currently have 12 different mac & cheese inspired recipes sitting on my Pinterest recipes board, not to mention others that are saved on my computer and in my recipe binder at home, and the only thing that has kept me from trying all of them already is the fact that quality cheese is expensive, so it takes a lot of willpower to overcome my more frugal tendencies and actually purchase cheeses that cost more than $4/lb -- the 1/2 lb block of Fontina for this recipe was just over $5.

Overall I really enjoyed this dish.  The recipe is super easy to make!  You simply cook 1lb of pasta to just under al dente, toss it with 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter until melted, and then stir in 1 cup of heated heavy cream and 8oz of shredded Fontina cheese (the heat from the warm pasta & heavy cream will quickly melt all of the cheese).  Next you season it to taste with salt and a pinch of ground nutmeg before adding it to a 2-3 quart casserole dish.  For the topping, you melt 1 tablespoon of butter and then mix into it 1/3 cup of panko breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup of grated parmesan, and then sprinkle the crumb coating over the pasta.

The recipe calls for then baking the dish for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, just until the pasta is bubbly and the topping begins to brown.  The dish certainly comes out tasty when following these baking instructions, however if you want a creamier dish, I would recommend not baking it for this time, but rather just place it under the broiler for a little bit to brown the topping, as the creaminess that first exists before placing the casserole in the oven is lost a bit after the baking time.

I think this recipe would also serve as a good base for experimenting with different seasonings and other mix-in ingredients, such as chicken, shrimp, bacon, or vegetables.  And of course you can also always change up the type of pasta you use -- I usually prefer to use whole wheat pastas, but for this recipe decided to go with a fun corkscrew shape from the pasta stockpile my husband and I had amassed last summer when we were able to score boxes of it for free at the store when combining an awesome $1 off coupon with a BOGO sale.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Getting Fit

For several years now, I have not been very happy with my body.  It largely began about half-way through college, and has continued through to today.  I now have a very strong desire to change that.  I'm tired of certain clothes just not fitting quite right and having to shop for looks that help to conceal the parts of my body I'm not comfortable with.  Plus there's the extra motivation I'm receiving from my husband getting into really good shape while doing his daily workouts while deployed, and not wanting him to put me to shame when he gets home :)

Growing up, I was always on the skinnier side -- tall and thin up through when I graduated high school at almost 5'8" and around 125-130 pounds.  I was fairly active when I was younger, with some of my favorite activities being playing outside with my friends in the neighborhood... riding my bike through the street, roller blading around in my driveway, swimming in pools at neighbors' and my aunt's houses, playing hide & seek, and going on little hikes through the woods surrounding my neighborhood.  Anything that got me outside of my house and time with friends, I enjoyed.

Once I entered high school, my schedule became busier and left me with less time to spend as much time outside, however at this time I then got a job working at the local library where I shelved books.  This job kept me on my feet the entire time, where I had to move around constantly - walking, bending, kneeling, climbing - all with a stack of books in my arms (or while pushing around a 6-shelved cart loaded down with books to be filed).

Then I began college and entered the world of all-you-can-eat dining halls, late night snacks of sweets & runs to Waffle House, and of course partaking in the typical college experience of parties and the consumption of alcoholic beverages.  I had a new job that also kept me on my feet the entire time I was at work and had a hilly campus to walk across getting to and from class each day, however it wasn't enough and I slowly saw my weight creep up to 140-145 pounds.  Not anything too bad yet, but I was definitely feeling uncomfortable with my new stomach and thighs.

During my final year of college, I began dating my now-husband, and we found ourselves eating out for at least 9 out of 10 meals when we were together.  I was also very stressed in my student management position at work.  It was at this time that I also went on the pill, and quickly found myself gain another 10 pounds and got up to 155+ lbs.  I tried going to the gym on campus some during this time, but with my crazy schedule between classes, working 30-40 hours a week, and seeing my now-hubby every weekend we could, it was difficult for me to squeeze in enough time, and my twice-a-week 1 hour workouts simply didn't cut it.

Then came the summer after I graduated college.  Hubby and I had just moved in together, and both found ourselves unemployed with nothing to do for a period of about 3 months.  I was applying for full-time positions left and right, and he was busy looking for a new part-time job after moving back to my area to continue to earn some income while he returned to school in the fall.  We quickly fell in a routine of sleeping in until 11am each day, and not moving ourselves from the couch very often during the day other than to get something from the kitchen or to let Kiba outside.  During that time, I managed to put on another 25 or 30 pounds and soon found myself at the heaviest I've ever been at about 183 pounds.  I'm pretty sure my heart skipped several beats when I saw that number come up on the scale.

Thankfully August came, shortly after hubby returned to school and got back into a routine of sorts, I secured a full-time job and managed to find a routine of my own again too.  After a year of going to work each day & being a little more mobile and getting back into eating structured meals again, I had lost about 10 pounds and was in the lower 170's.  Another year of this routine, combined with taking walks most days on my lunch hour, earned me another 10 pound weight loss and I found myself hovering right around 160 pounds.

Shortly before my husband and I got married last year is when he signed his contract to join the Army, and we both decided it would be a good idea for him to work out as much as possible between that point and when he was scheduled to leave for basic at the beginning of August in order to prepare him as much as possible.  One of the gyms in our town was preparing to open a second location and was offering new membership deals for people who wanted to join, with no enrollment fee and a reduced membership rate of $29/month, so hubby and I both decided to sign up so we could go work out together, since the buddy system is always good to have when getting into a new routine.

About two weeks after we got married, the gym officially opened and we quickly got ourselves into going an average of four times a week for about two hours each day.  Between mid-April and mid-July, I had managed to knock off another 10 pounds and got down to about 150 pounds.

Once my husband left for basic, I found it to be much more difficult to continue working out, as doing anything that I usually did with him was hard for me to face without him by my side.  During that time I managed to get down to 141 pounds, however I believe much of that weight was lost during the last week or two leading up to hubby's graduation from basic, as I was so excited and nervous to see him that I could hardly eat much.  I did manage to keep that weight off after I got my appetite back... that is until Christmas rolled around.  My routine of cooking for one went back to a lot of meals out when my husband came home on leave for two weeks, and between all of the eating and celebrating that goes on at that time of year, I put that last 10 pounds back on.
 
Since that time, I've been sitting steady right around 151 pounds.  I had gotten back down to about 146, but then when stress hit me with this deployment, it shot right back up to 151.  My previous gym membership expired in April, and I did not wish to renew it only to have to deal with the hassle of trying to get out of the contract when we move (it was hard enough for my husband to cancel his contract when he left for basic, and they even had a military clause built in for "easy" canceling), so it's been a while since I've had a place to go to get in a good workout.

Why am I telling you all of this, you ask?  Because I want to try and get back on track, and hope that by discussing where I've been and spelling out my plan for the future on here, I'll be held more accountable for my actions.

  • Exercise: I recently purchased a voucher on one of our town's daily deal websites for a two month membership at a small local gym in the area that is open to its members 24/7 with keycard access.  They have no contracts or enrollment fees and you simply renew your membership on a month-by-month basis, so once my two months are up I am under no obligation to continue going and also have no contract to try and wiggle my way out of, which works perfect for our upcoming move.  I've been good about going so far and have been there 8 out of the 10 days my membership has been active thus far.  My goal is to make it there 5-6 days a week for at least an hour a day, getting in a variety of cardio and strength training.  I have also purchased Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred DVD and intend on working through it every day for a month as well, alongside my gym workouts.
     
  • Gear: I finally invested in some good running shoes so I am now no longer working out in my New Balance toning/walking shoes and have the proper support and cushioning I need for my feet and walking/running style to support my workouts.  I cringed at the thought of spending over $100 on a pair of shoes for myself, but as soon as I worked out in them for the first time I immediately knew I had made a good investment.  I have also purchased some more shorts and sports bras so I have more clothes to workout in without having to do laundry so frequently.
     
  • Food & Drink: Over the last couple months I have drastically increased my water consumption in order to stay better hydrated, and am continuing my trend of getting plenty of water each day.  Water has always been my beverage of choice (even as a kid, I always preferred water to any other drink), I just wasn't every very good about drinking enough of it.  Over the last month or so I have also increased the amount of protein I am eating each day, and am now working on incorporating more fruits and veggies into my daily diet as well.

I have made note of all of my starting measurements and took beginning pictures of myself as well, but I have decided to wait to share them until I have made it to the end of my two month gym membership to reveal a final before and after of the work I have done.  I certainly want to lose some weight, but more important than the number on the scale, I want to slim down, tone up, and increase my overall strength & endurance.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Reunion

This weekend was the weekend of my 10 year high school reunion, however I decided not to attend.  The reunion planning committee decided to hold the reunion at a bar in downtown Atlanta, a little over an hour away from where I live.  I had thought about going, but when the people I would have most cared about seeing had decided not to attend, I decided it wasn't worth spending $70 for a ticket when I wouldn't exactly be getting my money's worth out of it, not being able to fully take advantage of the open bar given the fact that I would have had to drive myself back home that night to take care of my dogs.  And I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to eat that much in whatever appetizers they were serving throughout the night.  Maybe if they had arranged for a sit down meal of some sort, it would have been a little more worth it.  They probably then would have also gotten a better turnout that way as well, as there were many people from my class who were not happy with the plans.

So instead of paying to spend a few hours making small talk with people I haven't seen in ten years, I decided to have a quiet weekend largely at home... working out at the gym, running a few errands, going to church Sunday morning, reading a bit, and then partaking in my own form of high school reminiscing by listening to music from some of my favorite groups from my high school days while cleaning up around the house & doing some baking.  I'm sure my dogs didn't exactly care for me cranking up my iTunes while dancing around my apartment, but it sure did make washing dishes and putting laundry away a hell of a lot more enjoyable!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dreams

Like I'm sure is common of most mil-spouses going through a deployment, I tend to have dreams at least once or twice a week that my husband is home with me again.  Last night I had a dream that my husband called me to let me know that there was a chance the Army could be sending him home two or three weeks early.  Funny thing about some of the dreams I have at times is once in a great while, they come true and I find myself in a deja-vu moment in real life, usually several weeks later, if not more (I had one of those moments when at my mother-in-law's house earlier this month).

Sadly this is one dream that I know will not come to fruition.  And my husband actually laughed at me this morning when I told him about having this dream.  At least I'm not having dreams that I cannot discuss, like he is.  After asking him how he slept the night before, he said he had some crazy dreams.  I asked him what it was about, or if he could even say since there are so many things about his days that he cannot tell me, and was told that it was about work and so he couldn't share.  He then chuckled at himself in disbelief that he's now having dreams that would be considered classified.  We all have dreams about work from time to time, it just so happens that his work is all on a need-to-know basis.

But boy would it be nice though if my dream actually came true... I can wish, right?

Friday, July 13, 2012

ABC's of Me

I saw Liz over at The Optimistic Army Wife share this a couple weeks ago, so I thought it would be fun to fill out myself and share some tidbits about myself.

A. Age: 28

B. Bed size: Full -- we really need to upgrade, as a full sized bed is barely big enough for two people, let alone two people and their two dogs & one cat

C. Chore you dislike: Cleaning bathrooms

D. Dogs: I'm all sorts of in love with my two corgis... even when they misbehave

E. Essential start to your day: 6 out of 7 days each week, I have a mocha or latte to drink not too long after waking up

F. Favorite colors: Blues (especially shades with some green in them like teal, turquoise, & aqua) as well as red

G. Gold or silver: Silver, or white gold

H. Height: Just about 5'8"

I. Instruments you play(ed): Violin

J. Job title: I primarily perform business manager type duties at work

K. Kids: We just have our three fur babies right now, whom we refer to as our kids

L. Live: In a town I'm kind of tired of in Georgia

M. Mom's name: Mom

N. Nicknames: The only ones I really respond to anymore are ones my husband calls me, none of which have anything to do with my actual name

O. Overnight hospital stays: None to speak of as of yet, and I've only been to the hospital once in my life thus far (*knock on wood*), to get stitches for cutting my chin open during a bicycle accident when I was 10.  It took 20 stitches to close it up.

P. Pet peeves: Drivers who cannot maintain a consistent speed; people who complain about not having much money but still find a way to work into their budget funds for things that are not absolute necessities (i.e. getting hair professionally dyed and/or straightened, getting nails done, buying cigarettes, buying things for the house, etc...)

Q. Quote from a movie: "I shall call him squishy, and he shall be mine.  And he shall be my squishy." Sorry... like I've mentioned before, I'm a huge Finding Nemo dork

R. Righty or lefty: Righty, for the most part (I throw left handed - I'm slightly ambidextrous, which I believe I get from having a mother who is a righty and a father who is a lefty)

S. Siblings: I have a younger brother, and if you add in my in-laws I have another brother and 3 sisters

T. Time you wake up: Between 6 & 6:30am during the week, depending on how many times I hit snooze, and between 6:30 & 7:30am on the weekends, depending on how early the dogs decide to wake me up (thankfully they tend to sleep later in the winter since the sun doesn't rise as early as in the summer, which means I get to sleep later as well!)

U. Underwear: I've got some on... usually your classic bikini cut

V. Vegetables you don't like: Peppers, and mushrooms unless they're diced up really small (I like the flavor of them, but the texture weirds me out)

W. What makes you run late: I'm usually really early unless I'm waiting on my husband

X. X-Rays you've had: I believe I had one when I cut my chin open as a kid (see letter O), but otherwise the only other ones I've had are your standard dental x-rays

Y. Yummy food you make: Cheesecake

Z. Zoo animal you like: Monkeys

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Little Getaway

This past week I took some time to get away from home for a little bit and visit with my in-laws up in Virginia.  My mother-in-law had asked me several times if I'd like to visit, starting immediately after my husband left on his deployment.  After we found out in May that his time in the sandbox would be extended another month, I decided to take my MIL up on her offer to spend some time at her house to give myself a much deserved and needed summer/mid-deployment vacation, and then began working lots of extra hours throughout June to build up comp time so I wouldn't have to use any of my annual leave hours.

I left after work last Monday and drove a few hours that evening to break up the drive a little bit, eventually staying in a hotel in North Carolina with my pups.  As always, my dogs were very happy to ride in the car and get to see other people.


The last couple times they went on a long car ride and stayed in a hotel, they got to see their daddy, and I actually got the feeling after we were at the hotel for a few hours that they were expecting to get to see him again.  Our dogs are very expressive, and my husband and I have learned quite a bit about how to tell what they're thinking or feeling based on their facial expressions, body language, and sounds they make.  Thankfully they both perked right back up the next day when I arrived at my MIL's house and they got to see more people they know, as well as meet some new friends who enjoyed giving Kiba belly rubs (Saki received head massages).

For the 4th, our whole crew got together to partake in the usual Independence Day traditions of eating tons and tons of food and then going to see a fireworks show at a local park nearby.  We had toyed with the idea of heading to Washington, D.C. to see the big fireworks show, but quickly decided that we really did not want to deal with the headache of being surrounded by thousands of people at the National Mall, not to mention the traffic of trying to get in and then back out of the city.

During our get-together, I ended up having a little emotional break down, when someone jokingly made a comment about my dogs that struck a nerve and resulted in me crying profusely over missing my husband so much.  I'm pretty sure I freaked out just about everyone there, until they realized that while I did not care for the comment that was made, my crying actually wasn't about the comment itself but rather something deeper.  After talking about it with my mother-in-law, she then started to basically beg me to quit my job, leave my apartment, and move in with her for the remainder of my husband's deployment so I won't be alone any longer.  Aside from the many logistical problems that would make moving difficult, it wouldn't do anything to fix the underlying issue of needing to be with my husband.

On Thursday, my MIL decided to take me into into the city, since my only real exposure to DC was when I flew into the city several years ago to interview for a job in VA.  We spent a couple hours there, walking around to see most of the monuments and memorials in the area.

FDR Memorial

MLK Jr. Memorial ; View of Jefferson Memorial from MLK Jr. Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Federal Reserve Building

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Reflecting Pool (empty for construction) & the Washington Monument

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial
Tidal Basin, from in front of the Jefferson Memorial

After the long walk circling the around all of these memorials in the 100+ degree heat, we decided to retreat to the car and then drove around the rest of the National Mall, past all of the museums so I could then ultimately see the Capitol and the White House from the comfort of our air conditioned vehicle.


We had decided to have a girls' night that evening and after having dinner as a family at Bonefish, the guys went their own way and the five of us girls went to the movies to see Magic Mike.  None of us expected much out of the movie, however we were hoping for at least a little more from it than was there.  If you haven't seen it but are interested in seeing Channing Tatum show his moves from his earlier real life stripper days (which are actually pretty good), then I would recommend hitting up your local Redbox kiosk after the movie is released on DVD.

The most memorable part of the movie for me was during the 4th of July strip club scene, after the guys started dancing on stage wearing camo pants & combat boots, when my mother-in-law whispered to me that I should have my husband dance/strip like that for me when he returns home.  Definitely not a comment I expected my husband's step-mom to make to me!

On Saturday we drove up to Maryland to visit with my MIL's cousin and meet her family.  After overloading on yummy appetizers and Chinese food, we then went out to this little park area in the middle of their neighborhood to view a wonderful fireworks show that was put on for the neighborhood residents.


This little neighborhood show was seriously wonderful.  Definitely better than the local city show we went to see on the 4th!

Other highlights of the trip included finding a new addiction after trying Nutella for the first time ever (and instantly regretting not trying it sooner!), visiting a local winery and doing a wine tasting (I love me some good wine), and making a lot of progress on the current book I am reading, Fifty Shades of Grey.  After hearing all of the buzz about it about a month or two ago, I decided to download the first book on my iPad and give it a read.  I've gone back and forth a bit about whether or not to read it while hubby is gone, as I've heard often that you'll want to have your husband around after you're done with it, but recently decided to just continue through and finish up the book, as I'm very curious to see how the relationship between Ana and Christian develops.

I made the 8.5 hour drive home on Sunday, driving straight thru except to make pit stops for me and the dogs along the way.  It surprisingly wasn't too bad of a trip to make in a single stretch.  The dogs were very well behaved and slept for most of the drive home.  While driving through the Richmond area in VA, I found an amazing radio station that plays all of my favorite alternative songs/artists from the 90's thru to now (I enjoyed it so much, I made a note of the station number so I could pull it up to listen to online while at work or home).  And then I got really excited when I had to stop for gas in South Carolina and filled up my tank for the cheapest I've gotten gas in many months...


$3.13/gallon for premium gas!  I was really jealous of the people whose cars don't require premium, as regular gas was $2.85/gallon.  But I'll take what I can get!  I've been paying around $3.50 around where I live lately, and the last time I got anything less than that was when I was in middle GA last month and filled up for $3.27 while I was on base at Robins AFB for a bit.

The dogs were both completely exhausted after we got home and slept amazingly well Sunday night.


They were so tired that I actually had to wake them up to feed them their dinner that night, and usually Kiba starts bugging me each night about 15 minutes before dinnertime in hopes that she'll get food early.  As for me, I'm still recovering from being on the go so much last week and the trip home, but I hope to be feeling better rested within this next day or so.

Overall, it was a really nice trip.  I only wish I had gotten to spend some more quality time with my brother-in-law and his fiancée, as unfortunately a lot of their time was accounted for with wedding planning appointments they had scheduled.  Thankfully we're working out plans to get together at some point in the next month or two.

Monday, July 9, 2012

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #73

So, I'm obviously a few days late this month with my fill-in, but for good reason as I was out of town for most of last week visiting my in-laws.  Better late than never, right?  I'll be sharing some of the details of my trip this week!


1. What's one thing in the past month you would have changed?  There's actually not much of anything from June I would have changed, at least nothing I can think of at this point.  The month flew by fairly quickly for me, which is always great!

2. What was your favorite thing that happened in June? Getting to Skype with my husband for the first time in a month. I missed getting to see him.

3. What did you do to celebrate Independence Day?  I spent the day with my in-laws and some of their friends. We cooked up and ate tons of food, hung out, and then went to a local park to watch fireworks.

4. When you PCS, what items do you take with you and not let the movers pack (and if you do a DITY, what do you take with you and not box up).  When we PCS, I'll be packing in the car our important documents, my jewelry, our laptops and iPads, a bottle of port wine that hubby and I are trying to age, anything we will immediately need for our pets, and then of course as much of our clothes as I can then possibly fit into our car.

5. What are you looking forward to in July?  The two things in July I've been most looking forward to are hitting the half way point of hubby's deployment and visiting with my in-laws, both of which have now passed!