Happy 2018 New Year!

Happy New Year!

I wish your families all the health, happiness, peace, and joy that this new year could possibly bring.  I can’t wait to see this year unfold.  And I hope it will be one of our best years yet.  Take care and God bless!

 

Continue Reading

Goodbye, 2017!

2017

 

There have only been two years in my life when EVERYTHING changed (which is saying a lot as an Army brat).  One of those years, I graduated from high school, moved away to college, began chipping away at my liberal arts degree, and most importantly–met the love of my life.  The other year, I graduated from college with my bachelor’s in English Literature, married the love of my life a month later, and entered life as I know it as a military wife.  But if I was going to pick a runner-up year, a year that gets honorable mention in terms of change, keeping busy, and experiencing life: it would be 2017.

Two months into February 2017, my husband returned from training and we were once again a reunited family.  (For any of my military readers out there–aren’t homecomings the best?)  We weren’t supposed to be moving until June, but came down on orders in March to move the first week of April.  That actually happened to us.  (For my military readers out there–doesn’t that happen a lot? lol)  So we had to pack up and leave our apartment, which was an extra big change because it was our very first home together.  We travelled 500 miles (with a toddler, a lab, and a morning sick mama) to move into a house we hadn’t even been in before.  Good news is, we loved the house!  Fun fact: we didn’t have a choice. haha

Life in our new house, at our new duty station was great.  In fact, I think we liked our location even better. (Although we will always look back fondly on our previous two years and would be more than happy to go back!)  As our family excitedly awaited the arrival of our second baby, we also lived the hours of Army training life.  Early mornings meant early bedtimes, and there was a lot of packing, meal prepping, and long days.  We made the best of it.  In fact, we made a goal to focus on our “quality” of life.  That had been our goal for 2017.  We knew that our free time would be limited, with pregnancy and Army training taking up so much space in our life. So we tried to squeeze every drop of value out of our weekends together that we could.  I can honestly say we really, truly did.

Once the Army training came to an end (congrats to my husband on his graduation!!), life finally slowed down for us.  And when I say it slowed down, I mean we had a lot of time off.  More than we have ever had before.  Some days it felt like we were back in college, hanging out on the weekend together–we had that much time off.  And we loved every single second of it!  We had spent so much of 2017 learning to make the most of our time together.  And so when our break finally came, we really knew how to spend it.  Our second baby came along, and our family went into full-hibernation mode, enjoying the peaceful calm that comes once the baby arrives.  We spent some real, long, happy days as a threesome.  And now, as a foursome!

Looking back at the year in review, I can say that it was the quality of life we shared that made 2017 so impactful.  The hustle and bustle that took up so much of the year ended up being completely worth it.  The pregnancy and Army training paid off.  Because not only did they have the best conclusions possible (especially the pregnancy conclusion! haha) but because it was during those times that we really learned how to make the most of our life.  Like I said earlier, we felt like we had to squeeze every bit of life out of the time we had together, because there wasn’t a lot of it.  This year, we learned to make the most of our weekends, and even just the most out of an evening together.  It was a daily practice at first, but then it became a habit.  And now, I really feel like it is our lifestyle.

As 2017 comes to a close, I feel grateful.  This year was filled to the brim with blessings.  I’m still surprised myself when I look over the year and realize how much has changed and happened, how many prayers have been answered, and how many memories have been made.  I know it’s cliche to say it was “the best Christmas ever,” but I can definitely say that the ending months of 2017 have been some of the best in my life.  And while it will be bittersweet to say goodbye to 2017, I’m glad that I can pack it up inside my heart and take it with me into the new year.  Or as we always say among military friends, it’s not really goodbye after all, but really just, see you later.

See you later, 2017!  You were too good to me.

 

 

Continue Reading

December 2017

December 2017

 

“On cold December fragrant chaplets blow, / And heavy harvests nod beneath the snow.”  — Alexander Pope

Hello, December!

I’m so glad it is December.

This is absolutely one of my very favorite months ever.  And the fact that this is my baby’s first Christmas…well, this month is more than welcome around here!  As I said in my last post, I like writing to-do lists.  But I like writing realistic ones.  Or at least ones that give me a breather some months.  Last month, my to-do list was pretty soft.  But I knew I had a baby on the way and didn’t want to overcommit.  (<–Or let’s be real…I wouldn’t have gotten anything done anyway, but I would have had guilt along with it!)  Anyway, I’m looking at another soft month ahead, and I’m totally excited about that!  Here we go, December 2017:

  1. Celebrate my baby’s baptism.  I’m about halfway done with her gown.  I can’t wait for her special day!!
  2. Make 4 new recipes.  Currently thinking:  rigatoni, crab pot pie, and sloppy joe’s…I still need one more.
  3. Continue to toddler-proof the house.  It’s part of my grand plan for a cleaner house with less cleaning. ha!
  4. Play some Christmas music on the piano.  “Sleigh Ride” is a real favorite of mine.
  5. Read “A Christmas Carol” by Dickens.  Because it’s Christmastime.
  6. Bake Christmas cookies.  See above.
  7. Finish my two knitting projects.  I’m making a turban and a stocking for my baby!  Shhh…it’s a surprise!
  8. Mail out Christmas cards! Because stationary and photos are so much fun.  And I kind of need to.
  9. Wrap presents.  And there are a lot of them.  Good thing I love wrapping paper parties!
  10. Spend my very favorite holiday with my very favorite people.  I LOVE Christmas!

And that’s pretty much it!  So, not a lot of hardcore “t0-doing.”  But that’s because I know myself too well. haha  Because when it comes down to it, all I really want to be doing in December is spending time at home: cooking, knitting, crafting, drinking coffee (and shopping online).  So here’s to a restful December 2017!  What are your plans?

Continue Reading

Happy Thanksgiving, 2017!

Happy Thanksgiving, 2017

 

I know I haven’t been posting lately…but I couldn’t think of a better way to “get back on my blog” with a post wishing all my readers a happy thanksgiving.  I’m so grateful for your readership!  I know it goes without saying…but a blog doesn’t exist without readers.  So thank you for coming back so often to read and to support this place!

Without taking up more of your time on this holiday– Happy Thanksgiving, 2017 style!

And PS: thanks for being so patient and understanding about my absence.  I was taking off time for my little growing family.  But you should see some new posts popping up here and there during the holidays.  Maybe not as frequent as usual, but I’ll be around.  I hope you will be too!

Continue Reading

5 Christmas Traditions for Military Families Facing Separation

 

If you are a military spouse then you have probably spent your fair share of holidays apart from your spouse. Our first Thanksgiving married was celebrated via Skype, and to this day, we still have yet to spend a single Halloween together! The separation can be especially difficult if it occurs over Christmas. It’s hard being apart for any holiday. But at least none of the others have songs playing in every store about “being home” during them. You probably already have a set of Christmas traditions, but consider adding in a new one to mix things up during separation.

1. Decorate your tree with red, white, and blue ornaments and lights.

One of my friends does this when her husband deploys, and I think it’s such a good idea.  Decorating patriotically can serve as a constant reminder for “why” you are both enduring holiday separation. While the tree can primarily be covered in red, white, and blue, I think a yellow ribbon in place of the star wouldn’t be out of place!

2. Set up a mini-tree instead.

When we were apart during the holidays, it was too hard to try to set up our Christmas tree as if everything was normal. Because it wasn’t. At the same time, having a bare house when the entire town was fancied up was depressing.  A good balance for me was making my house feel Christmasy without setting up the way we usually did together, with all the special ornaments and the family tree.

3. Find someone who is having a rougher Christmas than you and help them out.

This is definitely not a case of misery-loves-company. It can cheer you up to help someone else, and remind yourself that you don’t have it all that bad.  Of course its lonely to be apart during Christmas. But you have the rest of your lives to spend together once he returns home! There are others though who are expecting to have a rough Christmas, whether that’s because they are homeless or terminally ill or abandoned, and they aren’t necessarily looking forward to better years in the future.  You have all the Christmases of the future to look forward to, but they might not.

4) Begin a new Christmas decoration tradition.

We all have our own way of decorating each year–whether that be a manager scene or a nutcracker collection. But consider changing or adding to your collection something new. Put yellow-ribboned wreaths on each window, or buy a soldier santa for your front lawn. There are many, many, many military-themed Christmas decorations.  Collecting nutcrackers was a good way for me to add a bunch of soldiers to my decor.  If all else fails, there is nothing more classic than a Christmas wreath for your front door that shows off your patriotism.

5) Save Christmas for when he returns.

As an Army brat, growing up we often didn’t celebrate holidays on the day they were supposed to be celebrated, if it meant leaving my dad out of it.  Consider opening a few handmade gifts with your children, or with family if you have any visiting.  But save the “real” Christmas present exchange between you and your spouse for when he is home! It’s just as fun as the real Christmas Day celebration, I promise.

At the end of the day, being alone for Christmas is hard.  And even though familiarity is comforting, don’t try to make the holiday be exactly like it was on the other years.  It’s going to be different, and so embrace it and make it so.  Even though it’s really hard being “left behind,” think about your loved one who doesn’t even get to be home for Christmas.  No matter what kind of separation you are enduring, try to make your soldier a part of the day.  Call, video chat, or even just write a long in-depth “Christmas edition” letter.   Any way you can feel connected during the time apart is a good thing.  And remember, next year, you won’t be spending it apart!

Continue Reading