Three Year Anniversary


You know how there are some days you just really want to remember? Yesterday was one of those days.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was our three-year wedding anniversary. But first, a little back story to the days prior. Joshua had duty on Sunday and for the first time in a long while, I brought a home cooked meal to him on base. I made one of our favorites— chili rice— and paired it off with a side of biscuits and cookies. I am so glad I did that because after dropping it off to him on Sunday evening, I didn’t have contact with him until Wednesday afternoon when we was on his way home from the field!

Being a military wife has never been an “easy” feat. The long hours, time apart, time demands, and always having to take a backseat to his career can be really rough on any relationship… But you learn to live with it. And usually, he’s able to tell me when he won’t be coming home at night because he has to stay late and be up super early, or because he has duty, or whatever the case may be. But this past week, I was expecting him home Monday night. And when he didn’t come home OR call, I was a little (ok, a lot) worried. After freaking myself out and convincing myself that something was wrong, I learned that he was in an area without cell phone service for 3 days straight. He also called and left a voicemail (of course it was while I was on a conference call for work!) with an emergency contact number in case anything happened with me or the baby.

Then Wednesday rolled around. At that point, I wasn’t sure how long he’d be in the field and without a phone. Didn’t know if he’d be coming home or even able to call. I had ordered chocolate covered strawberries to celebrate with him if he did come home, and they arrived during the day and I was sad just not even knowing if I’d be spending it alone or not. I know, pity party, right? Well I’m pregnant. My hormones are all over the place!

A little after 5pm, right when I had finished work for the day and was wondering what the heck I should plan for dinner, that lover of mine gave me a call! He told me he was coming home. This was literally seconds after I posted the following:


He was covered in face paint and had been in the field for three days without a shower, but he was on his way home! I knew he’d probably be exhausted and figured we would have a quiet night in, but no… He had other plans for us. There is this adorable little restaurant in downtown Wilmington with little private balconies for two right along the Riverwalk, and he wanted to take me there. I have to tell you— it was super romantic and über sweet to have my man plan a date for us after his insane hours at work that week and not being able to communicate. ::swoon::

After he showered up and we made a reservation at the restaurant, we walked along the Riverwalk and stopped to have an appetizer and drink at a little outdoor cafe.

Catalinas Riverwalk

From there we went to dinner at Riverboat Landing, the romantic little balcony restaurant. It was such a nice evening… we talked about everything. Work, the baby, the pregnancy, our careers, future plans, how far we’ve come, the scenery… everything. He had planned to take me to a movie from there, but I was the one who was too tired. Pregnancy is tough work! So instead we set off to get a cupcake for me and a cigar for him, but unfortunately the shops were closed. So we headed home, but on the way we stopped at McDonald’s for a McFlurry to top off the night. :-) It ultimately made me feel better after dropping my birthday Oakley sunglasses off the edge of the balcony and getting them all scratched up… Oops.

RiverboatLanding1 RiverboatLanding2

It’s crazy how much life has changed in the last year alone. We’re homeowners, we moved (again) from Virginia to North Carolina, and we have a baby on the way! Despite the ups and downs we’ve had, I love this life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

One Year Later

Last week, Joshua and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary. One year. Wow! So much has happened in the past year since we said our vows on Lake George.

We were in not one— but two more weddings. Felice & Christian and Nikki & Anthony.

We traveled— a lot. New York, Utah, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio.

We moved— again. We went from a 3rd story apartment building to base housing here in Virginia.

We cut up all our credit cards— then got two new ones.

We got older— his 25th birthday last July and my 27th this past May.

He got promoted to Sergeant— and transitioned into a new position as infantry instructor to officers.

I started working for with a new company as a graphic designer— then switched positions to become a social media strategist.

He continued taking online courses toward his Bachelors— and changed his major to Homeland Security when he transferred to a new online school.

I designed six wedding invitation suites— two for close friends, four for new clients.

We gave our first puppy, Gypsy, to a family friend— and Ladybug turned one year old.

We got news that we might be moving— again.

We went to Kings Dominion— a bunch of times.

We ran through our new neighborhood late at night when everyone’s Christmas lights were up— for a whole month.

We discovered a mutual love— for Pirate’s Booty, Spartacus, creating new nicknames for Lady, nature walks, charcoal grills, and wedding cake.

We celebrated 9 holidays— together. No deployments, no training evolutions, no classes. 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Memorial Day.

We welcomed 4 baby girls of close friends & family into the world— Sage, Ari, Mia, and Zoe.

We went to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball— and saw Justin Timberlake there.

Firsts: I got my first tattoo— he got his first archery bow.

We ate a lot of Moes— on Mondays.

We figured out the best way to share our schedules & sync our calendars— after much trial and error.

He shaved his head— and I dyed mine platinum.

We got our first Christmas tree— and forgot to water it.

We downloaded Foursquare— and continue fighting to be the first to “check in.”

We upgraded to a queen size bed— with a pillow top, and it’s heavenly.

We drank too much Starbucks— and not enough margaritas.

Joshua: Cheers to another year, and dozens more after that. You’re my best friend & my better half, and I couldn’t imagine my life without you in it. I love you, baby!

*Wedding photography by the extremely talented Mitch Wojnarowicz.

Long Distance Love When You’re Broke

I know it seems like all I’ve been posting lately are links to my blogs on Military OneSource, but… that’s all I’ve been writing lately. As you know, my job comes before my blog (much as I wish it was the other way around!), and since writing for Blog Brigade is part of my real-life job… I get it done!

I do have a fun post planned to share all about my one-year anniversary this past week with hubby. Including whether or not to eat the top layer of your wedding cake after it’s been frozen. A do or don’t? Stay tuned!

For today, check out my post over at Blog Brigade about Love Distance Love: Weekend Getaways on a Budget. This could have also been titled Traveling When You’re Broke, Why Long Distance Relationships Cost So Much, or How Joshua & I Made 3-Years of Living 12-Hours & 6-States Apart Work. You can pick your favorite.

As always, if you’re a milspouse and you want to be a guest blogger at Blog Brigade, check out the Blog Call page. This month’s topics are Making friends when you don’t have children, What’s in your emergency kit, and Military culture shock. Looks like the deadline for these topics is 7/08/12.

Happy Thursday! Today is happy because tomorrow is Friday. And I welcome Fridays every week. Cheers!

April Highs

Dear blog,

I’m so very sorry I’ve been neglecting you this month year. But you see, my life has been so completely full of so many wonderful, interesting, & challenging things, that… well… there just hasn’t been the time.

I realized today that I haven’t really posted anything “personal” this year— no photos of the day-to-day of our lives, how we spend our time, etc. I’m tired of saying “I’ve been too busy to post.” This year has just been flying by, and while I’m loving every bit of us living it— and I need to make the time to document it. Transitioning back into a lifestyle blog (non-work, non-business) seems like the best idea!

April alone has been so much fun. Husband & I are busy bees, and on top of that I’ve very recently been forced to make some lifestyle changes (more on that later). But change is good, and it’s what I need right now. Out with the bad, in with the good. Out with the old, in with the new. Focusing on LESS (my One Little Word) of everything.

Let’s take a look at the highlights of April, shall we? Hard to believe we’re already halfway through the month… and over a quarter of the way into 2012!

Joshua & I have been satisfying our Mexican addiction & enjoying the warm (but fluctuating) Virginia weather by eating outside whenever it’s nice out. We’ve been terrible at grocery shopping this month, so our go-to has been take-out and restaurants.

Easter weekend, we had a quiet couple of days at home working, although we did venture out to Georgetown with Lady to go to the home of DC Cupcakes. We met my girlfriend Ashley and her boyfriend Thomas there, and we enjoyed a nice afternoon full of sunshine and sugar.

Those cupcakes, by the way? Seriously amazing. And so worth the line that wrapped around the block to get them.

I’ve mentioned before that we live in base housing. We were lucky enough to get a house with a fenced in yard for Lady. By “yard,” I mean a small plot of grass. Too small to purchase a lawn mower for… or so we thought. Then one day our yard became a jungle overnight. The grass grew taller than Lady, and suddenly… something had to be done…

Enter Husband. He went to Lowes & bought us a weed whacker, then proceeded to cut the the grass while I stood by and drooled at how sexy it was. Why does weed whacking attract me? It doesn’t, but I love my man in a white T-shirt & jeans… add to that his strong arms, rugged combat boots, and initiative to clean up our yard and well— I just love him, is all I’ll say. :-)

One of the biggest challenges this month was discovering that I have a wheat allergy. I went to the allergist on a whim (mainly out of curiosity), and asked to be tested for a gluten intolerance. Turns out, I’m not only allergic to wheat, but also dustmites, cockroaches (ew… you remember from my time living in North Carolina how I feel about these), cats, and dogs.

Okay, I knew about the cat allergy. But dogs? DOGS? Ha, ha. I may be “allergic” to Lady, but… she isn’t going anywhere. Ever. And that’s all there is to it. :-)

One of the BEST things to happen this month was that my family came to visit. My mom was here for 5 days from Albany, and my brother and his girlfriend were here for 3 from Philly. It was so good to have my family here! I miss them so much, all the time. Joshua & I took them to a local winery for a tasting and some delicious food. We all left with several bottles of vino!

We also took them to Kings Dominion, the closest theme park here to Quantico. What BLAST that was! We went on a bunch of rollercoasters, played some games, and got soaking wet on the water rides. It was the best day!

With the warm weather upon us (and my hair’s desperate need for a trim & some color), I’ve been getting creative with my longer locks. I’ve rediscovered my curling iron, learned a cool twist on YouTube, piled it all on top in a bun, and ditched the bangs with a skinny headband. It’s been kind of fun playing around… and now I’m debating getting lowlights.

While my mom was in town, I took her shopping with me to get new glasses. I love my mom’s opinion. She’s the best shopping buddy ever. A pair of prescription glasses and sunglasses later for me, 2 pairs of sunglasses later for her, and we were out the door.

My dear sweet husband’s Dell laptop finally gave up on him (a mere 2 years after he bought it), so we financed a beautiful new 17″ MacBook Pro for him— the same computer I have at work. He is in love, I was happy to teach him the ways of Apple, and all is well is our happy home. :-)

Humble Beginnings

Sometime in the past year, I met a very inspiring woman who told me the stories of her “humble beginnings” as a military spouse. This woman is the owner and president of a successful, booming government contract company. Her husband, a service-disabled veteran, is the CEO. They have a beautiful family, a beautiful home, and they are good to their employees. She shared hilarious stories of their first duty station with Husband and I, and memories from their first years together as newlyweds. And seriously? She’s definitely my most real role model.

I’ve now come to love that term, humble beginnings. These are our humble beginnings. Sometimes I get frustrated, seeing how far ahead of us other couples are, especially the ones that are close to us in age. I get jealous that they have so much, or have accomplished so much, and I wish we were there too. But I am slowly acquiring the patience and wisdom to sit back and tell myself— STOP. Those are not your humble beginnings, that is not your story. You’re living your story your way, and you’re doing the best you can. In the end, that’s all you can really do or say, right?

Husband and I don’t have a lot of extra money, but we work really, really hard. We never air our dirty laundry in public. We try to never fight in front of other people— it’s so tacky. We don’t own a home, and we have two car payments. Aside from our beds & our desks, all of our furniture is hand-me-downs from my family… beautiful & solid hand-me-downs, because my family has exquisite taste, but hand-me-downs nonetheless. We have big goals and bigger dreams. Sometimes, we drive through neighborhoods with big houses, pick out the ones we wish could be ours, and say, “Oh look, there’s our house. Honey, did you leave the light on?”

Our china cabinet is filled with an assortment of sparkly new crystal from our wedding and family heirlooms from both sides of our family. We’ve discovered that martini glasses should not be left in the freezer door to chill, because we’ve each broken a beautiful new martini glass from swinging the freezer door open too fast. We’re down to two.

We’re struggling with this work-life-love balance… but we’re strongest in the love department. Never-ending, unconditional love for each other. Work and life? That balance is hit or miss. One week we’ll both excel at work and let the house become a mess and eat take-out every night. Another, we’re struggling to get out of bed in the morning after staying up late cleaning, watching movies, or feasting on trial & error home-cooked meals from the previous evening.

We’re learning things together— big and little life lessons. Like, did you know you have to put the Christmas tree in water right away, not 2 days later? Yeah. Learned that one quick. Or that hanging pictures & wall art can be pretty easy, as long as you have the right tools? That mice in kitchen pantries even show up in the cleanest of houses, and that Tupperware can be a great investment? We know that Husband doesn’t mind vacuuming, while I prefer to mop. He’ll take out the garbage, and I’ll clean the toilets. Washing dishes is a chore we divide up, because we both hate doing them. Laundry? Joshua does his weekly. I’m lucky if I get to mine once a month.

Sundays are always reserved for military haircuts and picking up the newspaper for coupons. Sometimes, Husband’s hair doesn’t come out as he likes it and he gets upset. Some days, the paper doesn’t have any coupons & I get upset. On random occasions, he just shaves his hair off at home & we forget all about getting the paper.

Mondays are for $5 burritos at Moes. Our love for burritos began long before our marriage, and it’s kind of our thing. On his last deployment to Afghanistan, I waited a whole 7 months before having a burrito, because it didn’t seem fair to have one without him, when he couldn’t. We love our Moe Mondays.

The best part of every day is when we finally get into our comfy, pillow-top, queen-sized bed together, Husband on his back, my head on his chest, Lady by our pillows or feet. We set our alarms for work the next day, kiss each other goodnight, and off to sleep we go.

These are our humble beginnings.