Sunday, November 4, 2012

...on Birthdays

I'm 25??  Quarter of a century? That's so weird.  I feel like I'm still 18 and stupid.  When you say it slowly, it sounds even worse.  TWEEENTY FIIIIIVE

Celebrating was fun!  I have more friends in the Jacksonville area than I remembered.  I feel ashamed at how silly I can be sometimes.  I was thinking "I don't want to ask people to celebrate 'me' on my birthday.  I'll just stay home."  I was getting down in the dumps like a little kid because I felt weird asking people to hang out with me on my birthday??  Luckily, Megan asked where I wanted to go for dinner - I didn't have a choice about whether or not we were going, just WHERE do I want to go?  hahahaha I love her so much.  Once I realized that I was being silly and of course my friends would want to hang out with me, I started inviting people and feeling much better about it.

My husband went out of his way to make this week special for me.  I love him so much.  He sent me flowers on Oct 30 - the anniversary of our first date!  He mailed me a birthday present with a card and a wonderful note.  Having his handwriting to look at was very special.  That's not something I get to see very often!  I got phone calls most days, and one day I got TWO!!  I love being with my husband more than I can put into words, but this was the absolute next best thing since I couldn't physically have him here.  He really did a great job.

I got countless phone calls, emails, gifts, text messages, and the obligatory Facebook message since it just rubs birthdays in your face!!  I still need to call back a few people - SORRY EDEN!!  Hahaha, there is a long car ride today with her name on it.

I spent the day with my family in Raleigh.  It has been fun!  We ate a delicious dinner, I got a few gifts, and just had a good time watching TV and movies with them.  They're pretty great.

PS new Tumblr account for everyday postings... little things that interest me.  Also because I am bored.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

...on Prepping For The Holidays

One of the topics that weighs heavily on my mind is how to share the holidays with my husband while he's 7,000 miles away.  I want to be able to start new traditions like any other family.  The whole Thanksgiving/Christmas season is my favorite time of year!  I don't like the idea of being away from my husband during the season, but that is what I have and I need to find productive ways to make it as great as I can.

I am going to create homemade decor for our home.  Pinterest had several cute ideas!  A monogram "wreath" for the front door, a garland for our columns on the porch, perhaps lights and garlands for indoors as well.  I am planning on making them during the month of November, taking photographs for an album, and sending our home holiday spirit to David in December.  Now that I think about it, I have only 4 weeks to create all of my projects!  That seems like such a short time frame right now, haha.  It's going to be great to stay busy AND create lasting home decor at the same time.

...on Getting Good News

I've discovered that the months leading up to the deployment are the worst part of the deployment.  I cried and freaked out about the deployment up until the day that he left.  It has been 3 weeks since he left and I haven't had any kind of emotional breakdown.  I do understand that I'll eventually have a breakdown... but I'm fine so far!  Husband has WiFi in his "room" and a satellite telephone to call me, so we talk every day in some fashion.  One of my worst fears was that we were going to have a strained relationship because we wouldn't be able to communicate often.  Ehh, that hasn't been a problem so far!  :)

I found out last week that I have gotten the job with Wounded Warrior Battalion on Camp Lejeune.  I am beyond excited about it!  I'll be an aquatic exercise rehab assistant!  I also found out that a former coworker got a similar position!  YAY!!  She's really amazing and we work well together.  I can't wait to get started.  I will finally make money that is worth mentioning and contribute to my family!

Friday, October 12, 2012

...on Care Packages and The Holidays

Dirty Little Secret:  I LOVE CHRISTMAS DECOR!!!

My 25th birthday is in 3 weeks, and when I lived in my own apartment, I would decorate for Christmas as early as Nov 3!!  When I lived with Ryan, he forbade me to decorate before Thanksgiving... I think I got away with 2 days prior to Turkey Day.  David is kind enough to let me decorate whenever I want!  (Plus, he's not here this year and I could do it anyway.  I'm in charge of this beeyatch!)

The first care package went out on Wednesday Oct 10.  I think I will make it a bi-weekly event, so the next one will go out Oct 24-ish?  I might have to include some cute Halloween-themed goodies inside!  I know the other wives are doing that.  David likes candy a lot (probably too much) so I think I'll stay away from that.  I'm also going to put in some delicious home-canned food!  I'm going to do roast beef, green beans, apples, and potatoes.  David is going to love it!  :)

I think I'm going to host my family at my house for Thanksgiving this year.  With Grandma's passing, we don't have much of a reason to say in Garner.  I am really going to enjoy having my family here, too.  I can't wait to show off my little one-stoplight town, take them to the beach, and have them meet my in-laws.  I guess I should start planning this shizzzz pretty soon.  My family doesn't do planning very well.  They're kind of the go-with-the-flow, last-minute-decision kind of people.

I had an interview on Tuesday for Wounded Warrior Battalion on Camp Lejeune.  I would love to have that job!  My goodness, it sounded like an amazing opportunity.  If I get the job, I'll be working by December.  That would be awesome - especially to keep me busy while David's gone.  I want to see Eden for New Year's Eve, though.  I hope this job doesn't keep me from doing that...

I suppose I have to clean the house at some point.  I'm getting a weird sensation to go do that now.

Monday, October 8, 2012

...on Dealing with Loss

Ever since I dropped David off, I have been dealing with the "loss" pretty well.  I went out with friends last night and upon coming home, I started to miss him very badly.  I still didn't cry, just had a slight ache of sadness.  I've been lucky enough to get 2 phone calls from him, so I think that has helped me deal with him being gone.

After I got off the phone with David on Sunday, I got a phone call from my mother:  My grandmother died in her sleep on Saturday night.  I am actually very relieved that she isn't in pain any longer.  The last time I spoke with her on the phone, I was trying to ask her about things to get her mind off her pain.  I asked her about the fall weather and about the card that I wrote to her.  She wouldn't pay attention to me at all - in fact, she just kept saying, "I hurt so bad."  I broke down and cried into David's shoulder because I can't stand hearing my most amazing grandma cry out in pain.  I heard pa cry out in pain, too.  Man, that feeling just sucks.  There is no other way to say it.  It sucks.

I accepted grandma's death that day.  She's been in so much pain from this shoulder injury that she wasn't eating or even getting out of the bed.  She turned 90 years old last week, for crying out loud!  It was her time to go.  Here's a little quirk about grandma - she NEVER said "I love you" back.  When I was a kid, I would say "I love you grandma!" and she would reply "Thank you!"  (It is actually very humorous to me.  She's a kook!)  Well, the last day that I spoke to her, she said "I love you, too."  Even grandma knew she was going to die and she wasn't afraid to return my love.  David heard it, too, and he looked at me with a look of wild surprise mixed with awe.  I'm glad I got to share that moment with my husband.

I feel myself getting more emotional about David being gone... It's a mixture of not being able to speak to him and the fact that he's been gone a few days now.  I'm bound to cry and get emotional eventually, ya know?  Well, add the fact that I've lost my grandma and my emotions are running on "high."  For that reason, I'm not going to grandma's visitation.  I have never liked the idea of standing around for a few hours and crying in front of people whom I don't know.  I would rather remember my grandma on my own and have my emotions shared with my family on the day of the funeral - I will definitely be present for her funeral so I can pay my respects and say "goodbye" along with other members of my family.

Today I am baking pumpkin bread to send to my husband overseas.  I'm also preparing my home-canning endeavors to send food to my husband.  Everything that I have learned about cooking and baking is 100% accredited to my grandma.  I was 10 or 11 when I asked her if I could help her bake, and of course she said "Well yeeeeeeessssssssss!" in her very unique vocal inflection.  We baked a 1-2-3 Cake, which is a recipe in which every ingredient contains a 1, 2, or 3.  The second thing we baked together was a set of pecan pies for our family Thanksgiving.  I love that lady more than I can put into words and I will continue to think of her every time I bake anything  :D

Friday, October 5, 2012

...on The Day of Reckoning

I'm in such a weird cloudy/foggy emotional state right now.  I guess I just can't believe he's gone for a year.  A year?!  I can't really fathom how lonely and weird it's going to be until it really gets started.  Well, here goes Day 1.

On our last day together, we had lots of errands to run.  I am very thankful for those errands.  Before we got started with our day, I was feeling very sulky and crying a lot.  Once we had a list of things to get done, I was feeling much better with my mind off of his departure.  We visited mom and dad while we were in Jacksonville, too.  I know they liked seeing him; he liked it, too.  

The whole day is kind of a blur to me now. I can't really believe how quickly it went by.  Around 4pm we were home from running our errands, so we started packing.  We checked (then we double-checked and triple-checked) his packing lists.  Once he was packed, he was getting jittery and nervous.  I was trying to be the calm one so that he didn't feel like too much of a mess!  What kind of wife would I be if I was sitting around crying while my husband was feeling so chaotic?  We watched some "Scrubs" and I made dinner.  By 6:45 he shaved and got dressed.  Any time he left the room, he called for me to come sit with him while he was doing his last-minute chores.  It was very sweet, and I appreciated it very much.

We left the house by 7:30pm or so and headed to Lejeune.  We made sure to hold hands for the entire duration of the drive.  We got to the building where everyone was gathering, loaded up his stuff onto a giant 7-ton truck, and went inside with the other families.  We huddled next to a couple with whom we had a double-date a few days ago.  There were so many children running around!  I'm used to having unit functions where there are maybe 7 or 8 adults and a child or two.  I can't imagine having to be a parent while saying goodbye to my husband.  That's going to be a very interesting time.

I don't even know what time it was when the Command Team started their send-off speeches.  They had a few people talk to us about who to call if we needed anything and the Chaplain said a prayer.  That's the first time I teared up - I was hugging David around his waist with his arm around my shoulder.  I was thinking, "This is the last time I'm going to see my husband for a year."  We went outside and found a private place to sit and talk for a bit.  He wanted to be one of the very last people on the bus so that we could spend every second together that we could.  When the time came to really say "goodbye," I kissed him all over his face, walked him to the doors of the bus, and told him I was going to turn around and go straight to the car.  That's what I did.  I didn't even see him get on the bus, really.  I just turned and left, and I cried all the way to the car.  

I didn't cry at all last night.  I came home, put on some "30 Rock" and texted Eden until I fell asleep.  I think the kitties knew I was sad because Winslow came and sat right on my chest (which is not unusual at all) but then Winny sat right on top of my feet (extremely unusual).  We all cuddled on the couch and I eventually fell asleep.  It was terrifically comforting to wake up with a cat splayed out across my chest and one curled so neatly over my ankles.  I got up, turned off the television, and went to bed.

I slept well, but I had really stressful dreams.  It wasn't a bad dream per se, but it was one of those dreams that I felt very frustrated and woke up with a strange feeling.  It was like a weight was pressing down on my chest.  Anyway, I woke up with kitties cuddled all around me (thank heavens for those cats!!) and I felt better.  I even went back to sleep for a few hours.  I have spoken to Megan about staying the night at her house and we're going to the Seafood Festival in Morehead City tomorrow.

I really haven't cried today, either.  I saw a pair of David's shoes on the ground and I thought, "I don't know if I want to pick those up or leave them there for a year."  I'll probably leave them there.  It makes me more comfortable to think that he still lives in the house, even though he really doesn't.  I know that I'll feel much better when I can speak to him again.  I'm hoping to have an email within the next few days.

In the meantime, I have two people to meet about prospective jobs!!  I have to get in shape for a photography shoot.  I am going to volunteer with my FRO and with LINKS as often as possible.  I have a few friends to meet up with and I am going to Raleigh.  Little steps to get through this year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

...on Happy Moments

This past weekend was spent in Raleigh visiting with friends and family - it was an amazing couple of days!!  We went to Roth on Friday and had a bang up time!  Their Cinnamon Porter was on point - it tasted like I was drinking an oatmeal cookie!

Saturday was spent tailgating with great friends.  There was so much food and brew!  It was an amazing time and seems like the 4 hours we spent together just flew by.  We were there for the NCSU v. Citadel game, which was a good game! NCSU won by a landslide. :)

Sunday, David and I visited with my family in Garner.  We got to spend time with Grandma, and we even read her a birthday card.  She took a fall last week and fractured her shoulder.  Her hip and head are bruised as well, so she's in a bit of pain.  It was sad to see her looking so frail, but it was awesome to get to laugh with her again.  She's such a silly lady and I love her very much.  Julian loooooves David because they play together.  David can lift Julian up and toss him around in the air.  Julian just giggles and laughs :)  It's so cute.  I know David was getting tired of doing the same thing over (and over and over), but that's how a 3-year-old's brain works.  We spent the day with my fam, had dinner, and then went to Goodberry's.  What a great day!

Monday, poor David didn't get the day off.  He had to go to work to print something off, have a dentist appointment, and some other stuff.  I went with him since it was just a short day and he wanted me to spend time with him if I could.  It was sweet that he wanted me there.  We came home mid-day, had a delicious lunch, snuggled on the couch, watched David play Pokemon, and then we went out for Yozio and a walk on the beach.  While walking on the beach, we ran into a couple of people David knows from his unit and we stopped to talk for a while.  Then we continued our walk on the beach, when David started talking about how great we get along and he's the happiest that he's ever been.  He stopped our walk, got in front of me and held my hands.  He told me more awesome beautiful things about how if he could marry me again, he would do it all the same.  Then he got down on one knee, took a box out of his pocket, and held out a necklace to match our wedding rings.  It was beyond sweet - I cried.

He didn't have to propose - we are already married.  He didn't have to plan it all out, get me jewelry, take me to the beach, and he didn't have to get down on one knee... but he did it.  It was a most perfect proposal and I love it.  My dreams have already come true because I'm married to such a loving, caring man... but today another dream came true and I got the proposal of a lifetime :)  I dreamt about it last night and woke up with a smile. When I hugged my husband before he left for work, I was thinking about how lucky I am.  And right now, I'm documenting the evening that we had together so I can read about it when I miss him the most.  I'm sure thinking about it will bring a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.

Monday, September 17, 2012

...on Pre-Deployment Leave

David and I just returned home from a long and needed vacation.  We spent the first week traveling north to see family.  Our final destination was to spend a few days in CT with John, Allison, and our new nephew Ian.  Since the trip is 13 hours long, we decided to split the trip exactly in half by stopping in VA to visit extended family.  The first night was spent with Grandma and Grandpa Alden.  Aunt Kathy, Uncle Tom, and the boys all came over for a delicious lasagna dinner.

We made it to CT successfully, where we had 4 days of bonding fun with our brother and sister.  Oh, and Ian is simply precious.  He is a work of art!  Whenever we went out to eat, he was simply content in his stroller/carrier and wouldn't make a peep!  The week with John and Allison was filled with activities like visiting a winery, going to a Submarine museum, going to Boston, and Tastes of Mystic.  It was awesome!  I like them a lot and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet "Baby E."

On our trip back to NC, we stopped in VA again.  We spent a few minutes in Occoquan then headed to Tom and Kathy's house for dinner.  Grandma and Grandpa Alden came over and we had an AMAZING meal of meatloaf and potatoes.  It was simply marvelous!  Because there was a big storm, Grandma and Grandpa Alden lost electricity to their home.  We stayed the night at Tom and Kathy's house instead.

We got back home to find that our kitty feeding system hadn't worked like we had hoped.  I fixed the problem by putting out several bowls of cat food for them to last through the final week of our vacation.  We left for our flight early on Mon Sept 10.  We got to Florida by plane, then took the Florida public bus "LYNX" to get to our hotel and later to get to the parks.  It worked out well, except for the one glitch that I didn't notice in the initial planning of the buses... after David sorted it out, we were good to go :)

Monday was spent shopping for groceries and at a fun Irish Pub near the hotel.  We walked to/from those places because they were such short distances away.

Tuesday "Day 1" was spent at Epcot.  David and I loved being immersed in different cultures - it was like we were traveling around the world!  We had a blast and spent easily 6-7 hours at Epcot that day.  We had Norwegian chocolate, Moroccan kebabs, French pastries, and German bier and brauts.  I met Snow White again!  She's by far my favorite Disney Princess actress.  The way she moves her hands, walks, poses, even speaks is simply perfect.  I also met Mary Poppins that day... I wish it had been Julie Andrews.  We saw a British cover band called British Revolution and had tons of fun dancing to their classic rock!

Wednesday "Day 2" was spent at Hollywood Studios for the most part.  We enjoyed The Tower of Terror twice in a row :)  That was my second time conquering that ride and I'm still proud of myself for doing it!  We had a good time looking at the candid photos that the ride took - I was screaming in sincere horror and David was laughing and relaxed.  In the pictures, he was always looking at me with this expression of, "What is she screaming about?"  Like he had no cares in the world about a 13-story free fall!  After Hollywood Studios, we headed to Downtown Disney where we spent the evening eating and drinking at Raglan Road Irish Pub.  How do I even describe the most amazing food that I've ever had??  I got Shepherd's pie, David had Fish&Chips, we both had a "Flight of Dublin" beer tour, and we indulged in Bread pudding for dessert.  The "Flight of Dublin" consisted of a Harp, Smithwick's, Kilkenny, and Guinness.  The Kilkenny was my favorite because of its creamy consistency- it is a typical amber ale, but uses nitrogen when drafted.  Man, it was good!!

Thursday "Day 3" was spent in Magic Kingdom, but there wasn't much for kids our age.  We spent a very short period of time there and headed BACK TO EPCOT!  hahahaha, can't you tell how much we loved it there?  We had dinner in Germany where we had free reign over a delicious buffet of German food.  There was a live musical performance that was silly and fun!  We did a "Flight of Germany" beer tour, but I can't really recall what it consisted of.  The beer was all very delicious, but none of them are dark and malty, which are the beers that stand out to me.

Friday "Day 4" we spent in Animal Kingdom and... you guessed it... went back to Epcot afterward!  In Animal Kingdom, we enjoyed walking around the zoo/safari type setting they created.  We rode the Himalayan Yeti ride twice and the park was pretty much spent after that.  We ended up going back to Epcot that evening for more drinking and food.  We started with a "Flight of Tequila" from Mexico (we shared it!), David got a Modelo and I got a margarita, then we headed to Britain for a Black and Tan, stopped in Morocco for a gyro, then ended up in Mexico for dinner.  We missed the evening fireworks, but we didn't mind.  That was our final day at Disney and I really think we lived it up!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

...on Daily Improvement

So, part of surviving distance is to make a plan each day to get OUT of the house!  Seriously though, if I didn't force myself to go somewhere, I sincerely wouldn't.  I didn't have toothpaste for the first 3 days after I got home from PA.  (Don't freak out, I used mouthwash every day.  I scrubbed with a toothbrush, too).  I saw myself living as if I was still in college, simply because I lost the drive to get out and about!  "What's the point of cooking a gourmet meal when my husband isn't here to enjoy it?"  Answer - Because I enjoy it!!

Most days I make a plan with a friend - accountability is KEY to make sure you actually get your butt off the couch.  I've established a workout routine to hopefully reach some goals in the 2 weeks that I have left.  I'm actually significantly improving in the areas that I was hoping for, so I'm really glad!  Also, I have a strong passion for finding a job to have once David leaves again in 6 weeks.  I've been applying for positions and I'm actually highly qualified for these jobs!  I haven't heard anything from them, yet... but I'm keeping my hopes up.  A couple of them are my dream jobs!  Jobs that can turn into a career!  Okay, Bev, time to keep my feet on the ground.

Also part of my daily plans are home-furnishing projects.  I have made several pieces of art which I now have littered around the living room.  My best friend Eden took me to IKEA for the first time and we bought a few pieces of decor for the kitchen; Eden also hand-made an apron for me, which is now hanging in its rightful spot in the kitchen.  All of these little projects have been hours of enjoyment, they've kept my mind off of missing my sweet husband, and they now serve a purpose in the house.  (Kind of.  I guess it depends on your perspective.  My husband's take on wall art - "I just don't understand having things in our house and their only purpose is to collect dust,")  He's going to love the stuff that I made, though.  He's the kind of guy who appreciates the hard work that goes into hand-making things :)

Here are some of the projects that I finished!

Cat grass!  I bought the seed starter kit at Walmart, then transplanted to my own flower pot.
The cats LOVE it.

Found the idea for this wall art on Pinterest.  I used fabric, styrofoam board, and staples.

The wall art from above, shown hanging in my living room.

The canister for the noodles and dispenser for the oil add a nice touch.

Eden's hand-made apron <3

The mirror and pictures from IKEA look so lovely.

This embroidery project is my favorite!  It's a gothic letter "C" and is proudly displayed as you walk in the garage door - husband and I will see it every day!

Friday, August 17, 2012

...on Making Friends and Goals

Today has been a surprisingly fantastic day!  Not that I was expecting it to be bad or anything, but I guess I was just assuming it would be any other normal day.

Most importantly - I got to talk to my husband today :)  It has been 4 or 5 days since I've heard anything from him, so this phone call was very nice!  It was a fantastic way to begin a morning.  David is doing well, but he is dog-tired.  He just got out of the field and his team is spending the day cleaning the vehicles and weapons they used.  While everyone else was at breakfast this morning, David was sending emails and getting things done on the computer.  It seems like the poor guy doesn't ever get to eat meals!  I worry that he's going to cross a threshold for his capacity for mental stress... I feel so helpless in this situation.  All I can do is lend a listening ear, comfort him when times get tough for him, and send him all of my love.

Today I made plans to go to the gym with my friend Michelle.  I did a workout by myself until she got there, then we did a zumba class together.  It was fun!  She and I met at work, so I am definitely grateful for my job, although the organization for which I work isn't my favorite.  I like Michelle a lot despite the fact that she's only 19 years old; she's got a very grown personality and has a good sense of humor.  I love how eager she is to hear "my wisdom" about college, relationships, marriage, etc.  She's got a lot of knowledge and motivation to work out, so she's definitely a great person to have in my life!  She lives in Wilmington, and has invited me to her apartment, so I think we have potential to become close friends.

After lunch, I met up with a friend named Jenny who I met through LINKS.  I am seriously glad that I started volunteering with LINKS!  Jenny is great - we spent 3 hours together and it felt like no time at all.  We met up at my favorite Italian place nearby called Englese's.  I had the lobster ravioli, which I will totally order again!  Anyway, we spent two hours at the restaurant, just talking about books that we're reading, how to deal with a long deployment, and our pets.
Her husband was deployed for a year, so she knows what crazy things are going through my head and how I'm feeling.  She gave me some really great advice and a sense of hope that David and I might be able to talk more than what I imagine.  I think I'm defensively imagining that I'll never get to talk to my husband so that if this is the case, then maybe it won't hurt as much.  It is nice to have hope for a better situation, though.
We talked about making goals while our husbands are deployed, for the simple fact that you will always be striving for that goal while they're gone.  I want to get involved in a workout routine like what I did in college, I want to get a more permanent and full-time job, and I want to decorate our house to make it more homey. I'm in the process of decorating already, and I must admit that it's really fun!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

...on The First Phase of Deployment

I'm having a roller-coaster of emotions right now, and although I'm quite literally surrounded by friends right now, I can't get these thoughts off of my mind.  I need to write it all out so that I can feel better.  I can't ignore them anymore.  I can't push them into the back of my mind.  My thoughts tend to swirl into oblivion until they are all I am thinking about, almost obsessing over them, until I come to terms and cope with the inevitable.

David and I have started the first phase of deployment: ATG.  I have to preface this next paragraph by saying that I have dated guys in the military before.  I have dealt with separation several times in the past 5 years; however, I have never been married before and I am quite honestly scared of this deployment.  I am scared that my husband will change or I will change, and we will be reunited in a year to find out that we are totally different people.  When you are just dating, you are able to either work out those differences or leave.  In marriage, you're not supposed to leave, but people often do.  I hope that a year apart from each other doesn't provide an opening for our relationship to change drastically and cause any unhappiness on either of our parts.  I know this thought has circled my mind a few different times.  I am trying to push the thought out of my mind altogether, but hard as I try, I can't always ignore it.

I am also very scared of the fact that I have to find a way to carve out an existence by myself for a year.  Okay, not literally by myself, because I have such great friends that I can lean on... but my husband is my best friend.  He completes me.  I can't imagine my life without him now that I have had the honor of having him with me.  I know a year is temporary, but it's still a long time in my opinion.  I know that, ultimately, I'll be okay and I'll probably come out a stronger person because of our time apart.  I know that lots of people do this kind of separation all the time.  I know that I have a nice, long list of all of the things that I want to accomplish over the next year.  I know that people say I'll get through it.  I'm not as strong as I thought I was, so it's definitely going to take a lot of courage and inner strength to get through this year.  I'm already starting to cry just thinking about it.

My heart breaks every time I think about being away from my husband.  I love him so much that I am willing to go through this deployment... and at the same time I'm very cognizant of my fears.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

...on Our First 6 Months

David and I have officially been married for 6 months!  In looking back, it was a trying period of time for both David and me.  I'm so thankful that David has such a good attitude, because the very beginning of our life together was a little bit of a roller coaster for me and I wasn't always the most fun person to be around.  A lot of growing up has happened since then, and I'm much better for it now.  I really wouldn't be as stable as I am without the support of my wonderful man!

For the most part, though, our marriage has been tons of fun.  We've gotten to know each other a lot better; we've learned each other's quirks and our pet-peeves.  I just realized something interesting: David and I didn't have to learn how to live together.  It just kind of... worked.  We both go to bed fairly early and we wake early, so no problems there.  You know how the saying goes, "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise!"  I help him out as much as I can when it comes to getting him ready for work, and he makes sure to tell me how much he appreciates it.  We eat the same way: choosing real food over packaged/processed items whenever possible.  We both love to cook, and we're both helpful in cleaning the kitchen.  (Or, rather, we are sometimes helpful in cleaning the kitchen, ha!  Sometimes we let the mess linger for a bit longer than we would like.  Still, the point is that we're on the same page with that.)  We are both pretty frugal.  We believe in homemade cleaning supplies to reduce synthetic chemicals in the house.  We never fight over the thermostat.  We adopted 2 cats in April that we share in the responsibility of cleaning up after, feeding, and watering them.  I'm really pleased at how easy it was to move in here and sincerely feel like it was my home!  David definitely helped me feel welcome here by getting excited to decorate with me when my furniture was being moved in.  Wow, that seems like it was so long ago!!  How time flies when you're having fun...

To celebrate the first half year, David made dinner at home while I set up a movie for us to watch - we chose Kung Fu Panda!  We ate on the coffee table while we sat on the floor, so it was kind of a picnic in the living room :)  Afterward, David treated me to a full-body massage, which felt phenomenal.  We went to bed and we both slept like logs.  I can easily say, without a doubt, I have never been treated so well in all my life!  David is such an easy man to love.  He's the most romantic, most understanding, most respectful, most appreciative, most eager-to-please-his-wife man I know.  Marriage won't always be this easy, I know this, but having a guy like him around will definitely help the hard times be few and far between.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

...on Our Family Vacation!

My in-laws have a timeshare, and apparently they use it quite often to get together with the family.  This summer, the family of my MIL (mother-in-law) all drove up to a ski resort in Massanutten, VA.  Obviously, the snow sports were not in season, but the lodge had literally hundreds of other activities in which we could partake.  Since I had a mandatory meeting at work on Sunday evening, I did not leave for the trip until Monday morning.  The family had been at the resort since Saturday, so I spent two days being jealous and hearing about all of the amazingly fun things that were going on.  I have a problem with acting like a 2-year-old when I'm jealous, and I have apologized profusely to my husband about that... it's going to be a personal project to get over myself and grow up!

When I did arrive on Monday, dinner was being prepared (talk about perfect timing, huh?) and the family was literally buzzing!  I walked into the "main" apartment and was confronted by at least 14 of the 20-something family members who were in attendance.  I met some of my new aunts and uncles for the first time, and grandpa gave me a hug.  I must admit I cried a little.  He doesn't do much of the touchy-feely business, so hugging really isn't his forte... but he hugged me!!  It was heart-warming.

We spent the week doing yoga, swimming, working out, taking walks, watching movies, playing board games, playing card games, cooking, eating, drinking, laughing, etc etc etc!  We took a class on stress management, a class on massage techniques, and even went on a tour of some pretty sweet caverns nearby.  It was truly a TON of fun.  I loved hanging out with David's cousins, who are roughly our same age and equally as nerdy as we are.  The best part was that David had a week to be stress-free!  He rarely gets a break from the stresses of his job (technically he was still doing some work stuff during the trip via his computer!)  Nonetheless, it was great seeing him relax a little bit.

Friday, July 6, 2012

...on Easy Date Night Ideas

David and I are a very LAZY married couple, and that is one of the many reasons why we work well together.  We are fine with sitting on the couch, cuddling, watching a tv show or movie, and only getting up to cook a meal!  Don't misunderstand my message here - we spend plenty of time talking with each other, laughing, playing cribbage, and communicating :)  One thing we really don't do is choose date nights outside the confines of our home.  We spend plenty of time out of the house with friends, but rarely just the two of us; I know he and I both get cabin fever every once in a while, so having options on hand for a random date might be a good idea.

Get a large-mouth mason jar and a handful of pop-sickle sticks.  You can color-code the pop-sickle sticks based on how much money is required for the date, so you know what to aim for when you're randomly choosing one out of the jar.  I don't know if I would do the pop-sickle stick thing because I tend to cheat.  If I don't like the date idea that I pulled, I'll pull a new one... haha!  So I think the best idea is for me to have a list of them set aside somewhere for quick reference when we need them.  The ideas on Pinterest were: Dates at home, Cheap dates in town, Expensive dates in town, and Dates that require planning.

Dates at home:
-Rent a movie (his choice/her choice)
-Play a board game
-Picnic in the yard (or living room if weather is bad)
-Candle-lit dinner
-TV Show marathon
-Give each other a massage
-Get a few craft beers and do a tasting
-Wine and Cheese night
-Homemade Fondue
-Bake a dessert together

Cheap dates in town:
-Dinner at an inexpensive restaurant
-Dessert only at a restaurant
-Walk on the beach
-Walk through the park
-Window shop/ Walk around a shopping center
-Visit Airlie Gardens
-Go out for wine and appetizers
-Go to a fitness center for Yoga
-Rent a kayak for an hour
-Movie at a theater (his choice/ her choice)

Expensive dates in town:
-Dinner at The Melting Pot
-Sushi night!  (Sushi is not BOGO in our current town like we're used to having back home)
-Ferry ride and dinner
-Couples massage at a spa

That said, whenever the urge overwhelms us to leave the house, we can use this little trick to quickly choose a nice date.  I read this idea from a blog on Pinterest where the date ideas were separated out by price range and the preemptive planning involved (i.e., Stay at a bed and breakfast), but that really isn't needed for us.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

...on A Parasailing Adventure!

David, his sister, and I went parasailing this past weekend.  If you asked me, "Hey Bev, how was your time parasailing?"  I would reply, "It was fantastic!  Although we were flying 800 feet in the air, my stomach didn't drop like it tends to do on roller coasters; in fact, the general sensation was extremely serene!  The view was amazing!  We saw literally hundreds of sharks in the water (which promotes my fear of swimming too far out in the ocean), but we didn't see any of the wild ponies on the islands of the outer banks.  I would totally do it again!"

If you were to ask David and Theresa the same question, "Hey guys, how was your time parasailing?"  Their reply would be dramatically different.  They didn't have a bad time, per se, but they definitely had an adventure-filled experience.  They went up in the air for about 2 minutes before the boat went KAPUT!  (I was still in the boat, taking pictures and enjoying a chat with the fellow parasailers).  The captain of the boat tried to restart the engine twice, as David and Theresa drifted toward the ocean in the parachute.  Recall the hundreds of sharks that David and I saw on our turn in the parachute?  Yeah... they were descending directly into THOSE waters.  Yikes!

Meanwhile, on the boat, the captain turned to the first mate and said, "Well, shit.  Go get 'em!"  The first mate promptly threw on a life vest, dove into the water, and proceeded to swim out to my husband and sister-in-law.  Because the wind was still blowing into the inflated parachute, Dave and Theresa were pulled about 50 feet onto a small, undeveloped island where they were dragged into a sinking mud pit full of pillars of clams.  I couldn't see their bodies anymore, but it was evident that they were on land because I saw them manually deflating the parachute.

During his swim to shore, the first mate was given a ride by an inflatable rescue boat... until the motor of the boat got entangled in the parachute chord.  So, the first mate (poor guy!) hopped back out of the boat and continued his trek to the now beached parachute.  The captain of the boat continued his attempts to fix the engine by going below deck and switching out the broken fuse.  He tried to restart the boat, and the fuse blew out a second time!  All he could do was wait with us on the boat while his first made and the rescue boat pursued David and Theresa.

Of all the people that a crash-landing could happen to, David and Theresa are probably the best candidates for several reasons.  They are both extremely tough, calm in tough situations, and are problem-solvers.  Plus, David is a Marine and knows survival tips that would come in handy during an event such as this one!  Eventually, the parachute chord released its grip on the rescue boat and it reached the little island to aid in the rescue.  I began to worry when I saw an extremely muddy couple of people emerge from where the parachute had gone down and meet up with the rescue boat, but they were not immediately brought back to the main parasailing boat.  I was wondering, "What's taking so long?  Is everyone okay?  Are they doing first aid?"

I sat patiently, just waiting to hear anything at all, when finally the rescue boat docked alongside the main parasailing boat to "rescue" us as well and take us back to the facility on land.  Thankfully, despite landing in shark-infested waters and being dragged 50 feet into a clam-filled sinking mud pit, David and Theresa came out with just a few minor scratches.  I thank my lucky stars that they are alive and well!

If you're reading this and thinking, "I am NEVER going parasailing!" that would be extremely unfortunate.  The boat failure and consequential crash-landing is an event that happens one out of 10,000 flights!  In the four years that the captain had been working for the company, he had never witnessed a situation like ours.  It was extremely apparent that they practiced their emergency action plan often because it essentially went perfectly.  No one was terribly hurt, and we were not angry at all.  We got refunded our money and were given free t-shirts.  I really appreciate the manner in which the parasailing company treated the situation and would whole-heartedly fly with them again any time.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

...on Au Naturel Cleaners

I've really taken an interest in making my own home cleaner, body soap, laundry detergent, facial cleanser, etc. I've been using Pinterest as a resource to find a lot of these recipes, and wanted to share them!  It's also much easier for me to have all of these recipes in one location.

I can't remember where I found the home cleaner recipe, but it's probably the simplest recipe ever:

Homemade All-purpose Cleaner
1 part water
1 part white vinegar
orange peels for scent

When you've got your water/vinegar mixture ready, put orange and/or lemon peels in the mixture to soak.  You can buy a big bag of oranges, and as you eat them throughout the week, dump the peels into your container.  The citrus oils are also considered to have cleaning properties, but I really like it for the smell.

Why do I choose to use homemade house cleaner?  For several reasons:

1) I don't like the idea of harsh, synthetic chemicals running rampant in my home.  That's a personal point of view that my husband and I share after doing research on how chemicals are causing physical harm to humans.  He and I are "au naturel" kind of people.
2) I feel an extra sense of pride when I clean with homemade cleaner.  I didn't go out to a store and pick up a bottle... I MADE IT!
3) Because the cleaner is not harsh chemicals, the smell doesn't sting my nostrils, doesn't trigger migraines, and doesn't linger for long after I clean.
4) It cleans just as well as any store-bought cleaner and is very inexpensive.

Homemade Laundry Soap
1 (4lb) box Borax "All Natural Laundry Booster"
1 (3lb) box Arm&Hammer Washing Soda
2 (2lb) boxes Arm&Hammer Baking Soda
2 (14oz) bars of Zote Soap or Fels Naptha

All of these ingredients can be found in your local grocery store in the laundry aisle (or baking aisle for baking soda).  You will need to use a cheese grater, also called a "Knuckle Buster" here in the south, and grate the 2 bars of soap.  Then, mix all of your ingredients together in a container that can be kept dry and water-proof.  You will need only about 1/8 cup per load!  Some folks have used much less, like 2TBspn per load of laundry... I guess it depends on your personal preferences and how much water your washing machine uses.

**If you want to make it scented, add approximately 1 TBspn of your essential oils to the grated soap before mixing with the other ingredients.**

Use in conjunction with one of the stain removers that I have listed below:

Homemade Non-Bleach Stain Remover
2 parts hot water
1 part Hydrogen Peroxide
1 part Washing soda  (Arm and Hammer brand, similar to baking soda)

Mix ingredients together and allow clothes to soak for 30 minutes or so.  The longer the soak, the more effective it will be!

**Use within 4-6 hours of mixing the ingredients together**

Homemade Stain-Remover Pre-Wash
#1 - Vinegar
Use plain white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle to soak your stained clothes before you wash.  You can spray it in the armpits, on spots, etc.  You can also add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar, along with your normal laundry detergent to help remove stains.

#2 - Lemons
You can add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice to your normal laundry detergent to help remove stains.  If you want a pre-wash soak, boil 2 lemons in a large pot of water.  Use the lemon-water to soak your laundry for an hour before you wash with your regular laundry detergent.

I just found this recipe the other day:

Brown Sugar and Lemon Face and Body Scrub
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sea salt
2 Tbspn coconut oil
1 Tbspn honey
2 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbspn of your favorite essential oil (Ex: eucalyptus, spearmint, lavender, jasmine)

Mix all ingredients together - it should form a paste.  Rub lightly into skin to exfoliate and rinse with warm water.  Apply a moisturizer afterward if you so choose.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

... on Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

I am so very proud of my husband for being promoted today :)  I won't discuss rank, but any wife can say that a lot of hard work and sacrifice goes into being active duty military and a promotion is a big deal!  I was able to go to his ceremony and pin on his new rank, but I know that we all would have loved for his family to be able to make it, too.  A schedule mishap occurred, and we were originally told that the ceremony would be on Tuesday morning... well at the last minute they switched the schedule to Wednesday morning.  Unfortunately for us, his parents had taken off work for Tuesday so that they could come to the ceremony and the schedule mishap meant that they could no longer join us  :(  We enjoyed a lovely breakfast together and we all know that his parents were there in spirit today.

Also... because my husband got promoted and because I started my job this weekend, we are making a nice sum of extra money each month.  We are happy in our simple little lifestyle and enjoy our frugality, but having more money is never a bad thing!  We have lots to save for and I'm excited to learn David's tricks for doing so :)  I found a new blog ( that has lots of money-saving tips, most of which David and I already follow, but there have been cool pieces of advice here and there that I've enjoyed reading about.

My job has been fun and I've met some awesome people.  Most of them are younger than I am, so I feel a lot more leadership responsibilities.  Although the other head guards have been there longer than I have, they still do a lot of delegating instead of leading by example.  I agree that delegation is a wonderful tool for someone who has inherited more responsibilities with a new job title, but I think that leading by example and jumping into the hard labor with your team mates allows you to gain respect.  Plus, taking out an extra bag of trash here and there never hurt anyone.  I have survived the opening weekend and can't wait to see what the summer has in store.

Friday, May 25, 2012

...on Cabin Fever

I need a date with my husband, and I need it now!

I love our home and our kitties with all my heart :)  I just feel like I've gotten stuck in a suuuuuper boring routine.  I wake up with Dave at o'dark-thirty, make breakfast, send him to work.  Then I spend the entire day avoiding boredom as best as I can.  I clean the kitchen, vacuum, clean the bathrooms, take a nap, read, visit my regular websites, yadda yadda yadda.  Every now and again I'll go visit my FRO, go to the library, or go workout.  I start dinner so that by the time husband gets home, we can eat, hang out, go to bed, repeat.

Mer.  I need something to break up this monotony!  My job starts on Saturday.  I wish it wasn't on the weekends at all... I would much rather work all day during the week and get to spend some actual quality time with my husband when he's off work.  Le sigh.

We both have read the book called, "The Five Love Languages," and it's a good read for any couples out there, married or not!  Anyway, my love language is definitely quality time... but with David's job, there doesn't seem to be much of that.  I'm in a poopy mood lately and I'm missing my husband a lot.

Today, my mother- and sister-in-law are coming over to spend some time with me.  I'm sure there's a great, fun day ahead of us!  I think we're going to cook lunch and take a walk on the beach.  It should be a good time.

Monday, May 21, 2012

...on Volunteering

If anyone reading this is a military spouse, I highly recommend that you start volunteering ASAP!!!  You might think that you'll get married to your Marine, you'll move in to your first home together, and you'll have a wonderful life together forever and ever, amen.  Then, when you least expect it, the Marine Corps will tell you otherwise!

Also, because military families can expect to move every 3-5 years, we military spouses may find it difficult to find a job.  That simple fact is one of the main reasons why I'm a lifeguard for yet another summer.  (I've been a lifeguard for 10 years now, people.  I have graduated college with a BS in Nutrition Science and a minor in health.  I had plans to do something, ANYTHING! with my degree... and here I am working at a pool again, haha!)  I'm not complaining, because it's a job and another source of income for us.  It's something that I can do this summer to feel like I'm helping provide for our family.  I will make more friends along the way as well!

I started applying for jobs at the beginning of February, when I decided to move in with David the next month.  Every day I applied for at least one job.  By the end of April, I had applied to about 75 positions in a 60-mile radius.  My mother-in-law was putting my name out as well, but nothing was happening!  I had two (let me repeat... TWO) interviews.  Needless to say, I was disheartened and felt completely unintelligent, lazy, and unwanted.  I didn't want people to get the impression that I was one of those women who wanted to get married and mooch off of her husband and be perfectly content with that.

In between applying for jobs and cleaning the house, I wanted to get out and meet people on base.  The Marine Corps has the possibility to become your second family, but only if you WANT it to.  The feeling of closeness is like having family members that you can choose to keep!  It is quite a humbling feeling to have people around you who know exactly what you're going through and can make you feel completely sane in your weakest, craziest moments.

The first 4 months of David's and my marriage has been a roller coaster, to say the least.  I tend to have trouble coping with things when I can't gain my footing and control over a life event... and there were plenty of life events shoved into that 4 month window!  I cried many times on David's shoulders (best husband ever!) and, until I got my "sea legs," I was a wreck!  Through volunteering, I was able to meet my Family Readiness Officer (FRO), who is an amazing human being.  She has helped me realize that my emotions are not actually all that crazy!  I'm all over the place because I am a very sensitive person, but she has felt the same things before.  I honestly can't tell you how amazing it feels to know that I'm not insane.  I already love her like she's my family, and I've known her for only 2 months.

I also started volunteering with LINKS, which is an organization in the Marine Corps that helps spouses, families, and the Marines themselves learn how to cope with and navigate the Corps.  LINKS gives seminar-style workshops that teach others about all of the resources available to service members on and off base, how to cope with deployments/separations/PCS, and how to be a positive attribute to the lives of your Marine and to the other Marines around you.  I went to the LINKS for spouses class immediately after I moved in and absolutely LOVED the environment.  The ladies who lead the workshop are all amazing people who genuinely love giving their time and effort to other spouses.  I met lots of people who have similar stories as I do and others who have been in much longer and could offer advice.

While David is gone for a year, I know that I'll at least have FRO and LINKS to keep me busy.  I'll be able to learn new things from more experienced wives, but I eventually want to be able to give my guidance to another young wife who was as lost as I was.  Life is hard, marriage takes effort, and the Marine Corps is a completely whole new world.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

...on Deployment

David thought that he was possibly going to a ~2 month training with his unit over summer.  Pretty much everyone in our unit will be there.  I was preparing for that, you know, getting into the mindset that my husband was going to be gone for the summer.  The FRO is dating a Marine who is deploying for 7 months, so she and I were making plans to stay busy together... even a girl's trip to Charleston, SC was up for discussion!

On Wed May 2, David was told he was being looked at for deployment... he would be attached to a different unit throughout the deployment, he would fill a billet for a higher rank, and he'd be good to go for promotion when he gets back!  He came home and told me that he was being looked at, but that he didn't know if he would go because of his rank.  The very next day, he told me that he was going.  I heard it in his voice when he called to let me know that he was heading home from base... something was amiss.  He got home 30 minutes later, just as I was getting out of the shower.  He walked into our bedroom and I could see that he wasn't happy... something was up... it hit me before he said the words!  "Well, I'm deployin."

I was in shock for a bit, scared, worried, wanted answers but didn't know what questions to ask.  I just kept repeating, "okay... okay... it's okay..."  I teared up a little bit and asked, "When?"  He said sometime in the fall, but that he didn't know exactly.  All he knew is that he wasn't coming back until fall of 2013...

A whole YEAR???  My friend's boyfriend was leaving for 7 months... why did I have to deal with a whole year?  I have to be in this house, away from my friends, away from my family... FOR A YEAR?  Needless to say, I was petrified.  I didn't feel ready!  We're going to miss Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, our First Anniversary, and our wedding has to be postponed.  WOW!!!  I cried a little bit, but I think it was all sinking in... I was just sad and numb.  I didn't sleep well at all that night.  I couldn't fall asleep, and if I did ever finally doze off, I was tossing and turning so much that I woke up again.

I do realize that this is the life I chose.  I married this man (and the military) out of my own consent... but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow the pill of your first deployment.  Needless to say, the first deployment being a year long is terrifying!  I'm worried about him being safe, I'm worried about where he's going and what he's doing, I'm worried about being able to take care of our home and bills on my own, I'm worried about staying sane!

I have lots of things to keep myself busy... I have volunteer stuff with LINKS and as my unit's AFRO, plus my job starts up some time this month.  I will be visiting my friends a lot (I hope) and if I'm lucky, I'll win a trip to see SNL!!!  Thank goodness that our unit is still his parent command.  If I had to leave my FRO and all of the new people that I've met through the unit, I would be very sad.  But I'm not!  So yay!

The day after he told me the news, I was ANGRY.  I was in a sour mood, I was snapping at David, I was being abnormally quiet, I was isolating myself from him, and I was just not myself at all.  My FRO texted me and asked how I was doing.  I told her my feelings, and she totally made me feel so sane.  There is a sequence of typical emotions that people feel in the pre-deployment stage, and I was just going through all of them.  She and I talked more, and like I said before, she was totally relating to me since her boyfriend is leaving soon, too.  I love her so much.  She sort of "gave me permission" to cry and shout and be angry.  Since I was home alone, that's exactly what I did!  My cats were hovered around me, giving me cuddles and love while I was crying it out.  When I was finished and emotionally dried out, I felt much better.

I wrote David a loving note, apologizing for snapping at him and being so angry over nothing.  I promised that I would work on focusing on the things that I can control, and that I would live in the moment.  Living in the moment is much easier once you know that your time is limited.  Every time I touch him, I soak it up.  I try to remember exactly how it feels so that while he's gone, I'll have something to think about to help me get through it.  I was going to help the FRO that day, so I dropped the note off with David while I was there.  He made me feel better, too, the way that only David can do.  He hugged me and said, "You are a strong and independent woman.  I am glad that I married you because I know that you can handle it and support me... but I know that you're upset right now, too, and you're allowed to be!  Tell me anything that's on your brain.  I'm your husband.  I want to know."

I have been much better since I wrote that note and promised David that I would be a better wife and supporter.  It really got my mind in check to control the things that I can control and to prepare for the things that I can't.  Since we can't have a wedding next year, I decided to change my name!  I went to the SSA on Monday May 7 and got that done.  Next up is getting a new license, getting my name on all of our bills, learning how to navigate our online bank accounts, filing away our important documents, get a Power of Attorney, and David also wants to get wedding rings so he has something to wear while he's over there.

I started looking up care package ideas, since it's been a loooong time since I last sent one of those bad boys.  A friend told my FRO and me about a great idea to send cake/cookies so they stay fresh :)  I can't wait.  Well... okay... I can wait... but he's going to be the most spoiled husband over there, for sure!  MEGAWIFE OF THE YEEEAAAAR!!

...on Being A Military Wife

Life has truly been awesome since we got married.  I have been absorbed into his family like I've belonged with them my whole life.  It's such a good feeling to never have to complain about the "dreaded" in-laws!  They are such great people and I'm fortunate that I am now one of them :)

Moving in was a big change.  I have been away from my friends and family for the first time in my life.  Yes, I know that I'm not "far" by most standards, but like Sam Gamgee says, "It's the furthest from home I've ever been."  I've had to rely on my husband for many things - I don't have friends close by, so he invites me everywhere.  I don't have family close by, so we go to his parents' house a lot.  I don't have a job yet, so he's helping pay my student loans.  All together, it has been a rough transition (and still is!)  I have been financially independent for a long time.  Having to ask someone for money was embarrassing to me!  Being home all day is not fulfilling.  I do dishes, laundry, take care of the cats, etc...  but it never feels like enough.  David never makes me feel this way, but I always feel like I should do more than sit around the house.  I got a job as a lifeguard on base, so I'll be bringing in money very soon.  I can't wait for that.  Luckily, I have the most supportive husband in the entire WORLD.  He has stepped up every single time that I needed him.  When I was unable to cope with so much change, he was there to hold me and let me cry it out.  What did I do to deserve this man?  I don't know... but I am the luckiest girl on the planet to have him.

The fun part about moving in was getting access to things on base.  Free stuff?  YES PLEASE!  It's been such a fun adventure learning about military life - there are so many good people on base who make it a point to welcome new members, teach them about base, teach them about military life, and support them when Uncle Sam calls their spouse to duty.  The LINKS organization really tugged at my heart strings when I took the class for spouses - I'm training later this week to become a volunteer mentor who helps teach parents/spouses/children about the military.  I cherish all of the friendships that I've developed over the past few months.

Mostly, my days are all the same.  I wake up with David around 5-6am and make him scrambled eggs for breakfast while he shaves and gets dressed.  We sit at the table, eat, talk about what our plans are for the day, and he leaves for work.  I rarely go back to bed afterward, so I'll usually check email/Facebook for a bit while I sip coffee and wake up.  Then I start with daily chores and errands.  It can get mundane sometimes, but I like the feeling of knowing that I'm taking care of my husband and keeping him from getting stressed out over what he needs to get done on top of a full workday.  When he was single, he never ate breakfast, would go to work, come home stressed and tired, would sometimes skip dinner and go straight to bed.  He was able to do shopping and errands on the weekend, if he was lucky.  He definitely makes me feel very important for all of the things I do around the house, even the tiniest and most insignificant things!

He'll say: "Awww, we're out of my yogurt."
I'll say: "No, we're not, babe!  Check in the refrigerator door."
He'll say: "Oh my gosh, you're the best wife ever!  I love you."

I'm not even kidding.  That's how it goes.  He's so appreciative of everything, and it's amazing.  To all of the husbands out there, make sure you tell your wife how cool she is for doing the little things... she'll appreciate it, I'm sure!

David and I will text/email each other during the day, and he always calls me as he leaves the gates from base.  I usually have dinner cooking and it's ready when he gets home.  He'll walk in the door, immediately dispose of his uniform on the living room floor, take a deep breath and say, "WOW!  Smells great!"  See, it's the little things :)  We sit down at the table together, talk about what we did that day, listen to music, check the new posts on Imgur, and then go to bed by 9pm.  We wake up and repeat.

Some days I'll bring lunch to the office and hang out with him there... Over the course of the last month, I met and became instant friends with the Family Readiness Officer (FRO) at our unit.  She is a civilian employee (nope! not a member of the military!) and her job is to give the families of the Marines all of the information about deployment and help us have fun!  We did Jane Wayne day where the wives get to shoot guns, run a Combat Fitness Test, eat MREs, and play Marine for the day.  She gets to put on unit events for families, spouses, etc. and then she does other things like morale boosters for the Marines.  Her first program was Combat Cookies where a group of us wives baked cookies and sent them to all of the Marines in our unit.  That was fun!  She helps spouses in so so so many other ways, too.  She helps out when the Marines are deployed and spouses don't know who to contact in case of an emergency (remember that the spouses are hundreds, even thousands of miles from home!)  I've been hanging out with the FRO and have become close friends with her.  We are able to relate on a lot of things (losing friends, coping with deployment, etc.)  She asked me to become her assistant, so I took some training on base to learn how to go about doing that... Again, I met some really great people!  So now I am the unit's AFRO, hahahahaha.  That's what the guys call me, anyway, and I love it.  I really feel like I'm part of the family.

...on How We Met

Marrying Dave is the best thing that has happened to me!  He is the sweetest, most loving man I've ever known.  Our relationship is so fulfilling in every way, which is why I wasn't afraid to jump into it head-first.

We met in 2009 through a mutual friend, Ryan.  Dave and I lost touch for 2 years for various reasons, mostly because he was in a long-term relationship.  Want to know something weird?  The night I met him, he was head-over-heels for his girlfriend and needed help picking out a promise ring for her... so I helped him out!  How strange, haha!  Anyway, we didn't speak again until fall of 2011, when I moved in with Ryan.  Dave had just returned from a deployment and was in the process of ending his relationship with his girlfriend.  Since there isn't much to do in Jacksonville, Dave would drive up to Raleigh to visit Ryan every other weekend or so.  We met, talked about life, and became friends.  By the end of October, we were texting each other daily and making plans for our weekends together.

Dave returned to Raleigh for a weekend celebration for Halloween and my birthday - it was a blast!!  The first night he was in Raleigh, he took me out to dinner at The Gourmet Factory on Western Blvd.  He was texting me through the week to see where I wanted to go and how I wanted to dress.  I told him I love any reason to get dressed up, so even if we hit up a sports bar, I'll probably wear something pretty.  When I suggested The Gourmet Factory, I mentioned that you can color on the tables... he was sold!  We had a 3-hour date that was never void of any conversation.  Dave even played the little piano that sits in the corner of the restaurant!  He is so much fun :)  [Shameless plug:] If you're in the Raleigh area, make sure you visit The Gourmet Factory!  It is a true gem.  The food is phenomenal, the atmosphere is lots of fun, and the waitstaff is beyond words.

The Halloween costume party on the following night was simply amazing  :)  A bunch of our friends dressed in Nintendo character costumes, which was hilarious to say the least.  I am so glad to have such silly friends in my life!  Dave was sneaking kisses throughout the night, and made sure to hold my hand as we walked up and down Hillsborough St.  I guess you can say this point in time is when we started an "official" relationship ... although we were dating exclusively before then.

Anyway, that's how we met and started dating!  We took a trip to Williamsburg, VA together when he was at a legal course in Norfolk.  We spent Christmas with each other's families.  We spent every weekend together that we could fit in.  It was definitely busy, what with all the traveling, but it was a lovely time in my life.

The first day I came to see the house that he bought was in Dec 2011.  We had a short, sweet weekend together in the same place I now call home.  When I returned to Raleigh, we spoke to each other again, and Dave asked me to move in with him.  I was astonished!  I didn't know he felt so strongly about me... apparently he had conversations with his dad about how he knew I was "the one."  His dad, having met and married his mom in the course of a few months, told Dave, "When you know, you know."  Anyway, we made plans to have me moved in after my lease ran out in May 2012.

Long story short, Dave was being looked at for deployment.  He didn't want to leave without marrying me, so we did it!  On January 23, we marched down to the magistrate's office, exchanged vows, and signed some papers that said we were legally married.  We were intending to call it an engagement until he came back from deployment and we could have a wedding... Well, we found out the very next day that he wasn't going to deploy.  So, we just started telling our families and closest friends.  In the military, getting married quickly isn't anything new; it's just another Tuesday to these folks.  To our civilian family and friends, we had to explain a bit more, and for the most part, people were very excited for us!

The day we got married, at the courthouse, Jan 23.

I was able to get out of my lease when a friend said she needed an apartment closer to campus for 3 months.  That meant I was able to get her to sublease my room from March until May... Isn't it great how life works out, sometimes?  :)  I moved out of my house and ended my jobs in Raleigh, came out here with Dave, and here we are.  We chose a different order of events than most folks do, but who cares?  We are happy.  I can't wait to see what else is in store for us!