Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dear New Neighbor

Dear New Neighbor,

I know that you've seen me outside quite a bit over the last several days taking care of my car, but I promise I'm not completely obsessed with it.  Washing it twice within one week never happens (twice within one month doesn't even happen -- but shh, don't tell my husband).  I just kind of screwed up on my washing job on Saturday and missed some spots, so the OCD side of me felt the need to re-wash it today so it looks uniformly sparkly clean underneath the layers of pollen.  And vacuuming and cleaning the interior unfortunately (for her) happens even less often.  So please don't think I'm some odd chic who you're going to have to deal with seeing outside all the time.  I really do love my car, but I'm not enthusiastic enough to keep this cleaning cycle up every week.

Just be glad I'm not using my husband's car cleaning schedule, because he would be outside washing, AND waxing, her every week.



P.S. My dogs are SUPER friendly, so please do not be alarmed if one of them gets away from me and comes to greet you.  They love people very much.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Project 52: Week 9

Week 9 Theme: Season Change-Spring

With the weather we've been having for the majority of the month, it almost seems as though we just skipped right over spring and straight into summer (or rather, we went from fall to spring, and then to summer and just glossed over winter).  Trees and flowers are in bloom, and pollen is EVERYWHERE.  Average pollen counts in Georgia are usually around 5000-6000, though last week we hit record breaking numbers of over 9000.  I just hope it passes quickly!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

AIT Graduation Trip, Part 2

Continued from yesterday...

On day 3, we decided to wake up at 5-something in the morning to get outside early enough to get some pictures of the sunrise.  It wasn't as pretty as many of the ones hubby has seen during his time there since there were no clouds in the sky for the sun to illuminate, but I think the view was still pretty gorgeous and worth the early wake-up.  We had a quick breakfast with his mother at IHOP that morning before she left to head back home, and then found ourselves waiting in a small line outside of Best Buy to pick up the new iPad that was being released that morning.  At first we were just planning on getting one for hubby to take with him on his deployment, but I managed to come away from the shopping trip with my own as well!  Then after running a few more errands around town & base, we headed out on the hour drive to the casino we were staying at for the next few days.

We fell in love with the place as soon as we arrived.  The hotel itself was gorgeous in all aspects!  From the lobby, the bars/restaurants, and room to the pool and spa areas -- all wonderfully designed and decorated.

I found the "mini-bar" assortment of drinks and snacks they had arranged on the coffee table rather amusing.  Needless to say, we didn't touch any of these items and just enjoyed the free chocolates and complimentary bottles of cheaper water we received each night with turn-down.

Our stay included some gambling at their blackjack tables, eating, relaxing, and enjoying some drinks at their bars.  We also took some time to pamper ourselves a bit and got a couples massage while there.

For signing up for the casino's free club card, we each received a voucher for a free meal at the buffet restaurant there and decided to use them for our lunch on day 4 of my trip.  After having one glass of wine too many the night before, I had said I didn't want anything other than water with my meal that day, even though one of the selections on the drink menu sounded good.

I should have known that hubby would have gone behind my back and order this for me when I stepped away from the table for a couple minutes to get another plate of food.  Thankfully it wasn't too strong!

Overall we really enjoyed our time there and were not the happiest when it came time to check out and head back towards base on the next-to-last day of my trip.  After checking back into our original hotel for that last evening, we decided to go to the movies and saw Act of Valor.  As would be expected, hubby was glued to the screen during all of the action sequences.  And I spent the very beginning and very end of the movie, the parts with the pre- and post-deployment scenes with the families, wiping tears from my eyes.  We both liked the movie though, so I have a feeling it will eventually find its way into our DVD collection.

When Monday morning rolled around, I definitely did not care to get up because that meant saying goodbye yet again in the matter of several hours time.  For this last morning, we decided to get up early again to try and capture some more early morning pictures as some freakish winter weather conditions had rolled into town and we were looking at snow-filled clouds and mountain tops dusted with white (it was 80 degrees just two days prior).

There were definitely some pretty views to be had out there, which is why I ended up letting hubby keep the DSLR camera with him for his final week there, in hopes that he'll be able to capture a few more good pictures (all but this last pic with the flag were actually taken with my phone -- the flag picture is one of many hubby took with our real camera, but the only one I had on me at the time of writing this post).

Goodbyes are still awful, and I didn't want to let go of him when it came time for me to leave.  I'm just thankful that I'll get to see him again at the end of next week.  I will have to say that one thing I love about our relationship is the fact that even after all of these separations we've had to endure thus far, every time we're reunited it feels as though nothing has changed and we fall right back into our usual routine and habits with each other.  I'm sure that will change to an extent when he returns from this deployment, but for the time being I'm loving the fact that we still maintain a sense of normalcy when we're back together, even though we did have a good conversation and laugh about how surreal it feels at times with him being in the military now and how different things actually are with our lives compared to this time a year ago.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

AIT Graduation Trip, Part 1

I returned home late Monday night from my 6 day/5 night trip to see my husband for his graduation from AIT and to spend a long weekend together on a mini-vacation of sorts.  I'm not sure how long it will take for me to recover from my trip, but overall I have a feeling I'm going to end up fairly sleep deprived for the most part of this next month and a half or so, until after hubby has made his way overseas and we've figured out a rhythm to the madness, so I might as well get used to it now.

After finding out so late that my husband would be deploying, I was faced with purchasing a last minute plane ticket to fly out and see him in an effort to get in as much time together pre-deployment as the Army will let us.  As a result, I ended up crossing off another item from my 101 in 1001 list, which was to fly first class.  The plane tickets for coach weren't too much less than the tickets for first class when it came time to book my flight (plus coach seating on the flight I needed to take home was sold out), so hubby told me to go ahead and treat myself and I got to fly in first class for the first time ever.  Free checked baggage, spacious seats, a power outlet to charge my phone during the flight while watching a movie on it, continual offerings of snacks and free drinks, plus this yummy meal at lunchtime -- a Philly Cheesesteak with a fresh side salad and blondie.  I think one of my favorite parts of this were the tiny little salt & pepper shakers that came on the tray.  They're just so cute!  The free glasses of wine were also great :)

Day 1 on my trip included a short late-afternoon awards ceremony for the members of the company that had successfully completed training and were graduating.  Afterwards my husband got to change from his ACU's into civies and I got to take him off base for the night for dinner & time together (which included my MIL as well).

With day 2 came graduation day!  The ceremony was short and sweet, and then shortly after I found myself at hubby's barracks, helping him to move all of his duffels/sacks/bags of clothing and gear out of his room and over to the new set of barracks he's staying at temporarily before leaving his current base to head back towards my way on TDY for his deployment prep and briefings.  One of those 40 pound duffel bags actually got to come home with me!  I'm sure I looked quite humorous, or possibly pathetic, toting that thing around the airport with my own luggage.  This day was pretty nice though, as after we finished everything we needed to take care of on base, hubby was released on a pass to stay with me for the rest of my time there.

Part 2 of my trip to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Project 52: Week 8

Week 8 Theme: Sunrises & Sunsets

This week I was able to get a little more variety in, as I was able to get shots from two different states, both with very different surroundings.

The first two images are of a sunrise and a sunset around where I live.  I really love how the sunlight is playing with the clouds in the sky with these two images.  For the second group of two images, they were both taken when I was visiting my husband this past week for his graduation from AIT.  To get the sunrise shot, we were up and out of our hotel room by 6am that morning.  Unfortunately good sunset shots kind of eluded us, as we were chasing the sun the one day we were actively trying to go out to capture it and just barely missed the good pictures.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Promising Friendship

About a week ago I was busy going through a pile of papers and items on my desk trying to find something that I wanted to bring with me on my trip out to see hubby this week.  During my digging, I came across this old fortune I had received many years ago when hubby and I first began dating.

I never take stock in fortunes I receive from cookies, mostly because 99% of them are so random that you have no idea if what they say could actually pan out into anything relevant.  But this one actually meant something to me at the time.

Hubby and I met at work during college and became fast friends, but after about two years he moved 4 hours away to go to pharmacy school.  After he had been there a little over a year, we started talking up a storm again and eventually decided to test the waters and go out on a date.  One night a couple weeks later while getting some dinner with a friend of mine, I received this fortune and immediately tucked it inside of my wallet, with a feeling that there was something to it.  Little did I know at the time that our future would involve him moving back to the town where I live after deciding pharmacy school wasn't for him, finishing up his biology degree at our alma mater, and that our friendship would turn into love that would lead us to getting married and spending forever together.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Project 52: Week 7

Week 7 Theme: Work

This week's theme was a piece of cake, especially for someone who works in an office 40+ hours a week and is surrounded by a plethora of work related items.  So here is a little peek into some of the views I have around me each day in my office.

Folders, files, and binders are frequently scattered across part of my desk in the never ending battle of new people entering my department, my phone rings what seems like 100 times a day (thankfully I get to transfer about 90% of my calls to other people!), post-its & signature stickies are my best friends to take care of processing all of the paperwork I have to do, and my truly awesome life planner helps to keep me organized and my life (both work life & personal life) on track.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dear Weekend

Dear Weekend,

Please go by quickly.  I've got a pretty amazing husband to go see next week.

Thank you ever so kindly!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

First Day of "School"

Yesterday my dogs got to go to doggie daycare for the first time and came home with a glowing report card for mommy.

We've never boarded our dogs in the town in which we live.  Usually if we go out of town and will not be bringing the dogs with us, they stay at either my parents' house or with hubby's grandparents.  When I started planning for my trip out of town next week, I had decided that I wanted to board the dogs this time (or have a doggie daycare option to get them out of the house on the day the movers would be here packing up our place, back when we were planning for that).

As we have a tendency to spoil our "kids" and love for them to be pampered, the majority of places around town that offer dog boarding just were not good enough.  The idea of paying someone just to have my dogs locked up in cages/runs all day every day just did not sit well with me.  I then decided it would be worth the extra money to take them to a place in town that offers much more than just traditional boarding.  They offer doggie daycare, dog & cat boarding, a doggie spa, grooming, a dog park, training classes, at-home pet sitting, and also do adoptions.

The great thing about their dog boarding is they offer a few different options, none of which results in my pups being locked up in a chain-linked cage all day.  The one that really appealed to me was their doggie daycare sleepovers, where during the day they get to play with other dogs of their size in a play group, running around as much as they'd like between inside and outside play areas, and then are only ever locked up at meal time, for an hour nap during the middle of the day, and at night for bedtime.  Another great thing about their doggie daycare is they have cameras setup in the play areas for each play group and have a live webcam streaming all day long so you can hop on their website and catch a glimpse of your dogs whenever you want.

In order to have my two considered for doggie daycare sleepovers, or even just regular doggie daycare, I had to bring them in for a temperament test so they could make sure my kids would fit in with their regulars and did not demonstrate any concerning behavior while interacting with the other dogs or with any of the staff.  I'm proud to report that Kiba and Saki came home with a spectacular report card and have officially been accepted to attend doggie daycare whenever we wish!  I spent a lot of my day at work watching the webcam stream to see them playing, and I don't think either one slept for more than maybe 10 minutes during their 8 hour day there.  Needless to say, I had two very exhausted dogs when I brought them home.

Kiba likes to stay close to me while she sleeps...

...while Saki likes to pass out underneath the bed

They managed to muster some energy to come bark at me as I started to blow-dry my hair after my shower, but then soon passed back out

"I'm listening mommy, I promise.... zzzzzz"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Project 52: Week 6

 Week 6 Theme: Temptation

Please excuse the lack of creativity in my selections (as well as eh quality of my images) for this week's theme.  Most of my pictures are of temptations I have every time I enter the grocery store, with the final image being of a temptation that I am very thankful only comes around once a year (I'm pretty sure I'd weigh like 300 pounds if Girl Scout Cookies were out year-round).

Unfortunately I've been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster this past week, so this project wasn't exactly high my priority list.  First there was stress, followed by excitement, and the week was ended in a bit of terrifying fear.  The hardest part about the end of the week was the fact that it happened right as my husband was leaving for the field for a week long FTX, which means I cannot speak with him about it until the end of this week when he returns to his room.  This is one time when I REALLY could use to have him around.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spice Cabinet Organizing: Execution

Earlier this week, I mentioned that one of the organizational issues I currently have with my apartment is the utter lack of organization when it comes to my spice cabinet.  I think my main issue with it is the simple fact that all of the spices are in different sized & shaped containers.

I ultimately decided to just go with these jars, which I found at Bed Bath & Beyond for 99¢ each.

I like that they're clear, which enables me to easily see the contents of each jar as well as how much there is remaining.  Plus they still have the simple shaker tops that come standard with the spice containers you buy at the store when replenishing your supply -- same functionality, but now I've just got uniform packaging for all of my spices!

To create labels for the jars, I simply typed up a Word document with the names of all of the spices, and then I printed out the pages on full-sized clear label sheets I already had on hand.  I then just used my trusty paper cutter to trim down each label to size.  Another easy option if you don't want to bother with cutting your labels would be to purchase the return address sized clear labels so you can just peel and stick after you're done printing.

Overall I am very happy with how these turned out, as well as the improvement they have made to my cabinet.  Now I have all of my spice containers down on the bottom shelf for easier access, rather than having half of them hidden behind the larger objects on the second shelf.

Before & After:

I put all of the jars in alphabetical order to make finding necessary spices easier, though I did put the ones I use the most up front for easiest access.  And all that remains on the middle shelf now are the larger items, which can all be seen.  The last thing I might do is to create a tiered platform to elevate the jars on the second and third rows in order to make them easier to view.

Now I just need to come up with a fix to take care of my baking supplies on the top shelf!

Extracts, and sprinkles, and cupcake liners, oh my!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Throwing Frugality to the Wind

I officially just finished making all necessary reservations for my trip to fly out and see my husband in less than two weeks!  We decided that we want to use a good portion of the money I've saved up towards our move that has now been postponed to really enjoy ourselves while I'm there & have a mini-vacation, saying goodbye to our usual $60/night hotel stays (for this time around, anyways).  The day after his graduation, we're heading out of the town where the base is located to spend 3 days/2 nights at a casino, resort, & spa!  It killed me a little on the inside to throw my more frugal tendencies to the wind and spend so much money on my flight and our hotel stays, but we really deserve this time so I think it will be worth it.  Bring on the weekend of nice meals, pampering at the spa, a little fun playing some blackjack, and overall just enjoying relaxing, quality time together!

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #69

1. What is your favorite/most unique anniversary/birthday gift from your spouse?  I think one of the most meaningful items he's given me was actually a Valentine's Day present the first year we were together.  We had been spending so much time together around the earlier holidays & my birthday that I was beginning to have trouble sleeping without him during the week when we were apart from each other (we were long-distance for the first 6-months of our relationship), so he went to Build-a-Bear and made me a bear to sleep with at night.  The real thoughtful part of it was before having it stitched up, he sprayed the stuffing on the inside with some of his cologne that I love so it would smell like him.

2. What's your first thought when you see it's snowing (or what would you say if you don't live somewhere with snow)?  I get excited and hope that it's the kind of snow that's fun to play with, rather than the heavier snow that just freezes over, so that way my dogs will have fun going out to play in it.

3. What's one thing in the past month you would have changed?  I would have found a better way to manage the stress I was dealing with concerning the uncertainty of our move and waiting to hear about hubby's upcoming deployment (yep, we found out he will be deploying).

4. What was your favorite thing that happened in February?  Honestly, I think I'm going to have to go with getting my hair cut for the first time since September.  It's really hard to find someone who can actually give me a good cut because my hair is naturally a bit of a pain, and I think this was probably the second best cut I've ever received (sadly the person who gave me the best cut I've ever had left the salon I go to).

5. What are you looking forward to in March?  Easy!  Finally getting to see my husband again after being apart from each other for the last two months :)