Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wedding Weekend

Usually you'll find us lounging around doing little things around the house or at the farmer's market on the weekends; we like to spend our down time just being together as a family enjoying each other. This weekend we got to be a part of something even better, celebrating the marriage of my cousin, Hannah, and her new husband, John.

The boys have been waiting weeks to step out in their fancy clothes and carry out their very important job. I was skeptical as to how things would go (they are 2 and 3 year old boys, you never know when a nose might get picked, or a dirt fight might ensue). But, they made this mama proud. Boogers and dirt stayed where they belong. They walked with my sister Avery, who was the flower girl, and made lots of people smile. Who can resist two blonde boys in suspenders and bow ties, honestly? 

(Best picture I have of both of them in their "fancy clothes" is from a few weeks ago when we tried them on, I still can't get over the cuteness..)

Jonah said "hi mom" and "hi nan" as they were walking to their spot and Jack just looked around aimlessly (so "Jack" of him). Jonah took a seat with daddy during the rest of the ceremony, standing still and being quiet isn't really his thing. After the ceremony, the whole wedding party lined up to greet the guests and shake their hands. In true Jack style, he opted to give everyone a high five instead. 

Hannah and John decided to have the ceremony and reception at Hannah's dad's house. Such a gorgeous place. They live on top of a hill that overlooks all of our hometown in Southern Ohio. The view is amazing from that deck we're all standing on in the first photo. It was such a good day, everything went so smoothly. Hannah was absolutely gorgeous, she and John were all googlely-eyed and each other the entire time. You know, the kind of love that's contagious and you can't help but smile. I loved it, I just love seeing her so happy. She so deserves that.

(One of my favorite photos of them. If you are around Chillicothe, Ohio and in need of a photog, Nancy Harris did a wonderful job)

My sweet husband and I. I can't believe we've been married almost FIVE years. My, how time flies.

Hannah and John,
I wish you all the happiness in the world. Marriage is such a big adventure. There will be times you will want to rip each others' heads off. Totally normal. I've always though arguing with your mate is totally fine, as long as you arguing to move towards a solution. My advice to you would be to never stop learning about each other, surprise each other often, and always remember your wedding day and how you felt that day.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Eat Healthy. Be Healthy.

This cute, little graphic is the lock screen on my phone. Every time I look at it, it makes me happy. It's a constant reminder of the journey I'm on to a better me. I want to be healthy, and something as simple as this little slice of watermelon is helping me get there.

I decided on May 12th (Mother's Day) of this year that I was done being lazy, overweight, and sick all the time. I didn't really tell anyone about my decision because I was nervous about failing and everyone knowing about it. I told my husband and I told my friend Nicole.. and that was about it.

Since then I've been eating better, way better. (Although anything would have been an improvement from my previous diet, that's for sure. The first month was the hardest. It was so easy to fall back into bad habits. In the past I have used food for comfort, so naturally in those first few weeks when I would get upset about something I would immediately look to food (mostly carbs, my weakness) to "cheer me up." After a few times of that, and then waking up the next morning feeling like crap (both physically and mentally), I started to turn to other things to cheer me up instead. Like the gym, playing with my boys, reading, etc. My biggest obstacle so far with my diet is my craving for late night snacks. I always want BAD food right before bed. It's probably just out of habit, but man... so tempting. I've allowed myself popcorn before bed if I'm still really hungry (YOLO, haha, but that's even slowly being cut out. My most favorite part of my changing diet has been adding in a protein shake after my morning workout. I like to use chocolate protein and mix it with unsweetened almond milk, YUM. Tastes a lot like chocolate milk, just better for you.

I have learned to love my "me" time at the gym in the morning. I usually do 30-45 minutes on the elliptical while listening to music, usually my 90's station. The Price is Right is usually on one of the TVs while I'm in there, so I also like to mentally tell the contestants how wrong they are between my high intervals. I have good memories of watching "Come on down" (what I called it as a child) with my grandma while my parents were at work. Every day, she would bring me an oatmeal cream pie, mmmm. Funny that now, 20 years later, I'm watching the show from an elliptical burning off 300 calories rather than eating them. 

After cardio, I do weights/strength training. I know a lot of girls that don't like weight training, they are afraid it will make them "buff." I like the way I feel after lifting. Stronger, healthier, it rocks. I like seeing the changes in my muscles. I like becoming stronger, being able to lift more weight every week or hold it for longer. I know if I cut out the weight training and just did cardio for 90 minutes every day, the pounds would drop way faster. But, I'm not in this just to get skinny, I'm doing this to get fit, strong, and healthy. 

Today, I'm at 27 pounds down. Still, a very long way to go, but sometimes we need to be reminded of how far we've come already (especially on weight loss journeys). 

That picture on the left is so hard for me to look at. That wasn't even my highest weight either. I'm not ready to reveal what my starting weight was back in May, but it was my highest weight ever and I'm never going back there. For now I can tell you that my ultimate goal is to lose a total of 100 pounds. I can also tell you that my first "big" goal is to be below 200 pounds and I'm still not there yet, almost though (: When I do get there I will be rewarding myself with a new tattoo. 
The jeans I'm wearing on the right are two sizes smaller than I wore 3 months ago, and yes.. maybe I was showing off my new boots (: 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Reintegration: the first 3 months

Did I really leave all of you hanging on the eve of our homecoming.. oops! muaaaahhhaahaaa. 

I kid, I kid. 
Homecoming happened right before Easter, and it was wonderful, amazing, beautiful, and made me feel like I was gonna throw up.. all at the same time.
Best feeling ever. Hands down.

Since that day, we've been busy. 

Jeff and I are both full time college students. He's majoring in pre-nursing, me .. well I'm still deciding (: 
We spend most our nights at the kitchen table, laptop next to laptop, spewing cuss words as we navigate math problems. Popcorn and coffee often fuel our "homework dates" and we cherish the nights we can move our wild and crazy party over to the couch and watch an episode of "Rules of Engagement" (our new fav show). 

Other than studying our life away, we've been up to a few fun things as well. 

I did the Color Run in Nashville with my mom and sister, so much fun!

We often spend our Saturday mornings at the farmer's market and we always look for local festivals and fairs to explore.

Jeff and I got to spend a night at the gorgeous Opryland Hotel Resort in Nashville for the Rakkasan ball. If you haven't been... put it on your bucket list now. It's so beautiful. and HUGE! It's like it's own little town, and who doesn't like to get dressed up and fancy for a night with their husband? (:

We recently spent Jeff's post-deployment 2-week leave in Ohio visiting and reconnecting with family and friends. We took the boys to see some good hometown baseball at the Chillicothe Paints game, we went to a waterpark and had a blast, and we had the chance to see so many people we have been missing! The boys were smothered with love (as it should be) and Jeff and I enjoyed the change of pace. 

Also, my husband turned into a caveman.

Hehe. Of course that animal on his face is gone now, as he went back to work today.. but he was lovin' it for a while!

As a family, we have made the choice to commit to a healthier lifestyle. We joined the YMCA here and I have been working my butt off in the gym to get healthy! Our diet consists of mostly lean meats and veggies, some whole grain carbs, fruits, and lots of water! Of course we have our cheat meals, but setting this example for our children is important to us. Jack and Jonah have done so wonderful with this change as well, Jack has recently started asking for almond milk over cow's milk and Jeff is drinking it too! 

The only place I really notice a difference so far is in how my jeans fit. They are so loose on my thighs and almost falling off! It's a good thing right?! I have lost 20 pounds and quite a few inches since May and I have no intention of looking back. I recently ordered a new bathing suit, and for the first time, I feel sort of comfortable wearing it, that's huge for me!

Hope y'all are just as well as ever! and just because.. two updated pictures of my boys (: Jack will be 4 soon, and Jonah just turned 2.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 194: The Eve

We've been busy busy busy around here for the past week. My to do list has been a page long almost every day.

#1 Get yourself put together, woman - by this I mean, I'd like to NOT look like I've spent the past few months struggling to have the time just to brush my hair in the mornings. Last week I treated myself to a pedicure with my BFF and later she touched up my hair for me and got rid of my skunk stripe.

#2 Buy the perfect outfit - I spent all day Saturday looking for a new outfit to make my soldier move just a little bit faster to get home.. if you know what I mean. Anyone that knows me knows I really don't enjoy shopping, actually I loathe it. Turns out, hating shopping makes you a sucky shopper. T-minus one hour until I had to pick up the monsters from child care and once again my BFF swooped in to save the day. She found me a shirt I ended up loving in 15 minutes. Seriously, I don't know how she does that. 

Let's just stop here and say... a good BFF during deployment is necessary. Go find you one, seriously. 

#3 - Buy your child a new mattress to be delivered immediately because he ruined his - Say What?? You heard me. Jack SOAKED his mattress in water, and somehow I missed it until days later when it started to stink. Sneaky snake, that one. Anyways, 3 days before the soldier is due home and Jack was sleeping in my bed. Um, yeah.. I love my kid but mommy and daddy don't want you in the middle ALL the time (; A trip to the PX and $300 later and the mischievous one got a new mattress delivered today (and they even hauled away the old one, I didn't even have to touch it).  

#4 Find a phone to use until your eligible for an upgrade next month because of course you busted your screen in the only week that it's important you have a working phone. - Self explanatory.

#5 Clean, clean, clean - My fellow milspouses will probably agree... you just always want your house to be spotless when they get home. Forget the fact that a month ago, he probably wouldn't have even recognized it with all the slacking you've been doing. He's going to come home to a perfect home, and yes.. you are totally going to let him believe you've kept it that clean the WHOLE deployment. And he's going to be so proud. (:

#6 Hurry up and do all those things you said you'd do while he was gone - only we don't have time for that, so really we'll just justify why we didn't do them ... moving along..

#7 Try to ignore the nervous feeling - Sometimes it's a good nervous, you just can't wait to see him, and hold him. Sometimes it's a scary, intimidating nervous .. "What if he isn't attracted to me anymore?" "What if the kids don't accept him right away?" "What if dinosaurs come back to life and RUIN EVERYTHING".. Okay maybe not that last one, but we (milspouses) are so emotional before a homecoming, we like to sabotage our happy feelings.

#8 Explain to your toddlers what is going to happen - Jack's questions consisted of "Is daddy going to sleep here?", "Can I ride in his airplane?", and "Can we mark 5 days off today?". Jonah still just screams "DADDDDDDY!" constantly and dances every time I'm on the phone. So, maybe they don't totally understand.. it's a work in progress.

#9 Keep busy to make time go faster - Absolutely NOT a problem in this house. 

#10 Stay sane through this roller coaster and 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 188 Pt 2: The Happier Post

I told y'all I'd always be honest around here (:
So now that my worries are spewed out.. 

Today started with Jack's voice saying "Mom, seriously I need your help. I can't find the ipad anywhere." So of course, I told him he looked tired and needed to lay down some more. That lasted about 4 seconds. I laid and listened to his ramblings about the "shun" being awake and how he had school today and how I needed to pack extra clothes for him because he likes the water table but he won't pee in his undies, he promises. At about 8:40 I remembered that I had to get Luna to the groomer by 9. Cue: supermom mode. Both kids dressed, equipped with snack bags of cereal and cups, and in the car in ten minutes. BAM. I did almost forget Luna though. Oops

After I dropped Luna off, my friend Nicole texted me with magic words. "Christmas rolls!" she said. AKA cinnamon rolls. 'Christmas rolls' is what her son Corbin calls them and pancakes are ram-cakes. haha. I stopped at her house for coffee and those glorious things. Let me just say that between her two boys and my two boys, the only time things are ever (kind of) quiet is when there's food being eaten. The tricky part is finding a food that everybody likes. But not surprisingly, christmas rolls are a hit. So our coffee was thoroughly enjoy in (somewhat) peace and quiet this morning. 

Coffee was following by a quick lunch and a few chores at home and then we were off on another adventure. Jonah and I dropped Jack off at school, we went to pick Luna up. She looks adorable as always. I think mini-schnauzers are one of those breeds that stay cute like puppies for their whole lives. Or maybe I'm just biased, but seriously Luna IS cute. She's all ready for daddy to come home and give her an unhealthy amount of cuddles, like I'm sure he will. 

This afternoon I had my first "online meeting" with my professor. Very cool that she opts for this versus a physical meeting, definitely helpful for those of us that have children and require babysitters most the time. I think she may be my favorite professor yet. She is eager to help her students, very clear on her policies, and she is very personable. Maybe it's because this is only my second semester, but I still found it amusing that my professor used a smiley and LOL when we were chatting. 

The highlight of my day was finally getting to meet this princess:

My friend Jackie welcomed miss Brynzee to the world about two weeks ago. Some of you might remember that her husband deployed with Jeff last fall. I'm happy to be able to say that daddy was able to get home to see his baby girl be born. Stories like theirs make my faith in the Army a little stronger. Someone somewhere took the steps necessary to get this precious girl's daddy home for her, That's the best gift the Army can give any baby, their parent.

Brynzee is so tiny, she was swimming in her preemie clothes. She's up to about 6 pounds now I think Jackie said. I had flashbacks of when my sister Avery was little (well littler). I don't think you realize how little they are/were, until they grow bigger. Little Miss B is the sweetest thing, she barely made a peep during the hour that I cuddled her. Jackie said I was lucky that daddy wasn't home, that he is a "baby hog." More daddies should be that way. Nothing more precious than a daddy and his baby, that's for sure. 

All I can say is that it's a good thing I already got the "too bad you have baby fever, it ain't happenin'" depo shot... because if anything will give you baby fever, it's this girl. 

Day 188: Letting Go

Here's a post you will completely understand and never understand all at the same time. Enjoy.

Never fails, I think I've got something all figured out... I have asked the right questions, got answers, figured out my plans for every "what if" that could happen... and then something slaps me in the face that I absolutely didn't see coming.

I think I get most pissed off that things don't go my way. I like to plan things, and when I make plans I expect them to go exactly as I planned. Unfortunately that's usually never the case. 

I'm not sure how to deal with changes. I get scared. I cling to what I love. I usually get whiney and need lots of reassurance. When things are changing for me, that's when I'm most vulnerable... and I hate being that way. If I could run away, I totally would. But I'm a big girl and it's not really socially acceptable to do that anymore. 

 I can't handle the nothingness. I don't like the unknown. I want to know how and why and when things change(d). Mostly, just why. 

I need to know that all that time I spent wasn't a waste. I need to know that the juice was worth the squeeze. 

Sometimes though, you don't ever get answers. And that's the point, where you just have to let go, I guess. Letting go is the hardest part. 

I will always wonder where I went wrong. And I'm not sure I'll ever stop caring. But the weight on my heart has got to go. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 186: The Homestretch

Man, has it really been 2 months since I've posted? 
Ironically, tomorrow is my first class of my second semester at HCC.

I finished my first semester back to college with B's in both of my classes. Eh, not what I'm used to but I will take it. I'm so very glad I chose to go back to school. It was hard at times, there were some very late nights I spent juggling sleepless children and writing last minute papers, and LOTS of coffee and mt dew was had... but it was worth it. (And it definitely made time go faster, in terms of deployment). This semester I scheduled easy classes. Intro to Computers and Foundations of Learning. I will have a lot going on in the next couple months and I didn't want to be tied up with just school. I will have softball 2-4 nights a week and a certain soldier's deployment may or may not be getting cut short (:
(Shhhhh, only those who read for themselves get to know that)

The boys are doing great, still growing like weeds. Jonah has an amazing vocabulary and is learning new words every day. His favorites lately are seet-sa (pizza), buckle, ow-si (outside), milk, potty, hug, co-bin (Corbin, the boys' friend), and of course he still yells DADDY every time the phone rings. Jack is mostly enjoying having a playmate around all the time, and now that Jonah is a little older they actually play together. Of course there are arguments and sometimes little battles over toys but they mostly love each other... mostly.

Their new favorite movie(s) are the Cars series. Jonah said "queen" for the first time today while pointing out a Lightning McQueen gift bag in the store. No joke, I've probably sat through that both movies 10 times each... and we just bought them two weeks ago. This is proving to be a bigger obsession than the Lorax stint a few months ago, and I never thought anything would beat that. There is supposed to be a similar movie called Planes coming out in August and Jeff and I have decided that will be our first theater date as a family. The boys will love it!

Off to do some Zumba and hit the sack, 6:30am comes way to fast.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 123: Back to College

Most the time I try to make my blog posts somewhat witty. I like to keep the attention of the reader, promote cohesiveness of the passage, etc. But not today, today I'm just going to write. 

Holy crap, I'm nervous about college.

Tomorrow morning is my first class of my first course of my first semester back to school in four years. Four years ago, I was eighteen. I was living my life virtually carefree. I had a four-year scholarship. My career paid for. I was surrounded by friends going to the same college. I had scored 29 on my ACT and a 3.86 high school GPA fresh in my head to fall back on. The biggest thing I worried about on the night before my first day of college was what I was going to wear and making sure I woke up in time to make it to class the next morning. (Let's be honest, getting up early is still going to be the hardest part..)

I have this lump in my throat tonight. I worry about my academic brain not being "as good as it once was." I worry about my boys being sick and me having to miss class. I worry (after reading his syllabus) that my english professor is going to fail me IF I have to miss class. I worry that I won't have time to complete my assignments to the caliber that I wish to. I worry I will spread myself too thin and other aspects of my life will suffer.

I worry that I will fail.

Not fail my classes, just fail. I tend to be my toughest critic. If I give up on something, it's a month long grieving process for me. I gave up my post-secondary education once already. This time, my critical self has already told my ambitious self that this is our last chance. I can't give up this time. Having a college education is important to me. I have to do this. I'm bad about looking at things from very immediate point of view. I see what I want in the now, ignore the plans I have made for the future for a moment, and act accordingly. 

I'm finishing this post with some advice for us all.
Jack complained earlier this evening of an earache, so when he woke up again about an hour ago I laid with him for a little while until he was almost asleep. I told him that it was time for me to go back to my bed because I was nervous about school tomorrow so I needed to sleep. Through his dreary, little eyes, he said "you be brave at school mama." 

I kissed my sweet boy's forehead and came downstairs to write this blog before I hit the hay. 

Now to pack my bag, the boys bag, and get that sweet boy's apple juice and peanut butter sandwich ready for the morning because I guarantee he will not be so encouraging at 7 o'clock tomorrow morning


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 119: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Lots of exciting stuff going around around these parts. 

First and foremost, we are almost halfway done with this "vacation" and these two boys can not wait to have their soldier back where he belongs!

And this mama too 

Secondly... see that girl.. yes, that blonde on in the photo above. She is heading back to college next week as a full-time student. Starting bright and early Monday morning with an English class.
I feel like a little kid all over again. Nicole (my sister, according to every cashier in the world) even said she's going to take "first day of school pictures" of me. But let's be honest, my class is at 8:30am. The boys are going to my friend Jessica's 20 minutes away, and then I still have to drive back to post, since my class is at the education center here. In short, this all means I will be getting up at SIX THIRTY AM. So, if you have known me longer than... about 10 minutes, you should know this is going to be the hardest part for me. Friends, if you love me, text me Monday. Annoy me until I can't possibly sleep in late. Thank you in advance (:

Also this week, I credit my BFF Nicole for getting the curious cat to take the bait. 
Cat = Me. 
Bait =

Most of my mama friends should know what that is. For that don't, this is a cloth diaper. Not the ugly, yucky kind that our grandmas used to safety pin together. This is the new and improved stylish, adorable, slightly less yucky kind. Why now, when Jonah is already 18 months old? Because I've always wanted to try it. Because it helps the environment. Because it will save money for our family. To me it's worth a try, at least. 
If you have never looked into cloth diapering, I highly suggest that you at least read a few blogs at least.
The Cloth Diaper Report is one that I recommend to explain the different kinds of diapers and how they work.
Jonah wasn't too fond of the first diaper, but by the second time around he didn't mind.

I'm not sure why this photo is so yellow but isn't he adorable in his fluff? (: Hiiiiiiii Corbin (in the background)

I'm also taking this time to shamelessly plug my crochet business (:

The Yellow Palm Tree Etsy Store
The Yellow Palm Tree Facebook Page

Crocheting feeds my creative needs, lets me create things for adorable babies (and adults), and keeps me busy while my husband is away. Win, win, win, right?
Check it out, if you have time. I love to take on custom orders as well, gives me the chance to come up with new designs and get new ideas.

Have a happy weekend

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 116: Netflix is a Military Spouse's Best Friend

If you are a military spouse I don't even have to tell you this. Most people use Netflix to watch movies, we use it to watch 230982304 episodes of every TV series that we find remotely interesting. So here's my list of "shows worth watching that will kill some lonely nights for you" for all my milspouse friends.

1. Scrubs - I actually watched this one with my husband. Think "Grey's Anatomy" but less serious and more funny. I find it funny but some people don't. JD, the main character, has inner monologues which are often the cause of me sounding like a crazy person laughing really hard.

2. One Tree Hill - I just finished this series. It kept my attention mostly the whole series through. Plenty of "love stories" to feed your need for affection. Lots of twists and turns along the way. And there's LOTS of episodes. Should kill at least a month or so. It's about a group of friends in high school. Brothers Nathan and Lucas Scott are the main focus, their dad shunned one of them and stayed and lived "the good life" with the other. Makes for good tv. Also I must note that this series has AMAZING music. 

3. Sons of Anarchy - Hello eye candy! Charlie Hunnam plays the main character, Jax Teller. Jax is a single dad to an adorable new baby named Abel and the vice-president of a motorcycle club who run guns and try to "protect" their small town. Only it can't ever be that easy right? I loved this series and I can't wait for the Season 5 to be added.

4. Vampire Diaries - I started watching this one at the suggestion of a friend. When I first started watching I thought "Oh these silly producers are trying to make Twilight into a TV show." But after a few episodes, I started really getting into it. Brothers, Stefan and Damon Salvatore are both vampires vying for teenager Elena Gilbert. (Don't forget the teenage witches and werewolves too).

5. Gossip Girl - A look into the world of the rich and privileged teenagers of the upper-east side of Manhattan. Blake Lively and Leighton Meester play the best friends whom the show focuses on. In the show, "Gossip Girl" is an online blog that posts information, locations, and the latest on the characters' social lives. I borrowed the first few seasons from a friend during Jeff's last deployment and I have been following it ever since. The final season just ended about a month ago, so they ALL should be available on Netflix soon.

And now I'm sleepy. So there's five, have fun.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 115: She Did Not Need Much

Exactly true.
I don't need much.
Today I had breakfast with my friends. Stephen makes awesome french toast, and he's even learned the perfect amount of crispy that I like my bacon. Yessssss.
After breakfast my BFF Nicole and I went for our first run of 2013. It was a rough one. We did about a mile and a half. I'm hoping to stay on track with the "Ease Into 5K" program and be ready to run my 5K in a few months. 

Then I TOOK A NAP. Yes, you read that right. It was only about an hour. But after not a lot of sleep last night it felt so good. 
Followed by a laughter-filled dinner at home with my boys, and bedtime stories, and big hugs and kisses. 


I don't need much. 
More days like these... "and to love and be loved in return."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 113: Early Mornings

My babies were still sleeping when I opened my eyes for the first time this morning, it was 5:43am. I instantly looked up from my bed over to the sink and vanity that's in my room. For a split second, I saw my husband. Shaving. Getting ready for his day. He looked at me and said "I love you, go back to sleep, baby."And so I did. 

I just miss him.