Well another month has come and gone, but I was inspired to come back to this little space to write about a topic I've been wrestling over in my mind these last few weeks and months: babies and the military
If you guys have read this blog long, you know that I love Navy life and think there are so many positives to this wonderful adventure if you're willing to see them. I also love being a mom more than anything, and family is a big deal to me.
Before we had our son, I felt like I was a pretty good Navy wife in a sense that I loved the adventure. I loved moving and living in different places and meeting all sorts of people. Don't get me wrong, I still love all of that so much, but when I had a baby, things changed. Priorities shifted. I grew up in the same town as my grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins, etc. We were always together, and I loved every minute of it. Naturally, that's what I wanted for my family one day too.
Obviously, the military doesn't allow us to live in the same city as our families and raise our kids with grandparents and cousins right down the street. That dream and this Navy dream can't co-exist, and coming to that realization has been hard for me.
As with everything, it came down to outlook, and I had a decision to make. I could be sad that my son isn't growing up 5 minutes from his cousin, but that isn't going to change anything. Or, I could be grateful for Facetime and the Navy stationing us in the same state for the next couple of years (whoop whoop!). Having a baby did change my perspective on military life a little bit. It made me realize all the more the sacrifice of living away from family. I think these things are magnified when kids come into the picture, because every Sunday afternoon dinner or Easter Sunday or family BBQ we miss takes a toll on me. But then again, today I Facetimed two girls that became some of my best friends in Virginia, and I would have never known them had it not been for the Navy.
There is always give and take. Our son isn't going to live in the same city as our families for a long time, but this is where God has us right now, so I will rejoice and be glad in that. Having a baby makes me long for home more than ever, but right now, we are living and still loving military life, and I really believe that is where we are supposed to be.
(Throwback to this tiny little military baby that somehow turned into a stumbling little toddler overnight!)
It's been quiet around here, and a lot of that is due to life with a toddler (you mamas that blog and mom are so impressive!), but a lot of that is also because we have officially moved! Virginia has been our home for 4 years, but as of this month, we are Texas residents once more!
We bought our very first home in Virginia, and while every place we have lived is sentimental for one reason or another, this place is loaded with memories and nostalgia, and we were so sad to leave. We brought our son home to this house. We conquered our first deployment in this house. We just love this house.
Here we are in June 2015 when we bought the house!
I always like to do house tours on the blog after we leave, and thankfully I have a lot of pictures of this house since we just sold it! I wish I had pictures to share when it was a little more decorated, but we took down a lot of pictures/personal decorations before we listed it for sale.
The front of the house is Aggie maroon, which was totally coincidental, but we loved that!
The downstairs was basically all one room with the exception of a small bathroom. It was very open concept and made for a great entertaining space.
We really loved the layout of the upstairs because all four bedrooms were upstairs, and the laundry room was upstairs too. Having our bedroom just across the hall from the nursery was very convenient, especially in those early days where I was up 4 times a night!
Guest Bedroom/My Office:
Parker's Office (we hung our diplomas but other than that, nothing was really done with this room):
Balcony Off Master:
That's our Virginia home! The memories we made inside these walls will last a lifetime. The time we spent going on walks around the neighborhood, swimming in the neighborhood pool, and hanging out in the cul de sac with our neighbors was our favorite. I don't know if we will ever love a home and neighborhood as much as we did this one, but I sure am grateful we got to live there while we did!
Here we are on our last day of living in this home! Preston and I boarded a plane for Texas immediately after this picture was taken, and Parker and Jenny joined us a few days later!
And just like that, 3 weeks have gone by since my last blog post. All you working mamas that have babies and still manage to blog every day... teach me your ways! I have just settled on blogging when I can, and although this sporadic schedule drives my OCD side a little crazy, this is just the stage of life I'm in.
Since it's Sunday afternoon and I have a second while that precious baby naps, I thought I'd show you what life lately has looked like for us! Let's see...
This picture is from Easter Sunday after church! We stayed in Virginia and hosted 9 other people for a little Easter dinner to celebrate the day. He is risen!
The weather warmed up... for a second, and now it is cold again. Womp womp womp. Preston and his friend thought the water table was too cool, so come on sunshine!
We have had lots of baby play dates lately! If you are a mom, you know play dates are really more for the moms to keep us all from going a little crazy. ;) It's so fun watching babies interact together too though. Love these two friends!
We walked to the park, and Preston enjoyed the swings and slide! He is not quite walking yet, so the park should be way more fun in the next couple of months!
I told Parker I wanted to get Preston an ice cream cone because he had a hard day coming up (more on that below), so Parker came back with three ice cream cones- one for me, one for him, and one for Preston. That's a lot of ice cream, but we finished it together. ;) I love my little ice cream buddy.
The next morning, Preston had his first (and hopefully only!) surgery on his eye. I actually had a similar procedure done last year by the same doctor, so we knew Preston was in great hands! Here he is in the waiting room, completely happy and unaware of what the day would hold. There aren't many pros of surgery for your baby, but one positive is definitely that they aren't aware. He had a great morning playing while we waited to go back. :)
The surgery was successful and over quickly, so we just snuggled while he worked on coming off of the anesthesia. It broke my heart seeing him like that, but so grateful for great doctors and an even Greater God that took care of this boy.
My mom flew in to help me with the surgery, and Preston repaid her by accidentally breaking her glasses... oops! He was happy to help her look through the frames and pick out new ones though! These two are such a sweet pair.
And since Grammy was in town and Preston was doing well, Parker and I jetted off for the very rare date night! We had dinner at Ruth's Chris knowing it would be our last time to go somewhere so fancy before we move, and we saw the movie Blockers. Yall, we were in hysterics! It's wildly inappropriate but man is it funny! We loved it!
Other than that, life lately has consisted of trying to keep up with this super cool dude. I just love him to pieces!
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Fitfluential, Premier Protein, and Costco. All opinions are my own.
Confession: I love Costco. Actually, I have a minor-but-totally-healthy obsession with Costco. The deals are just always so good, and they have so many unique products that I never knew I needed. Actually, as I type this, I am sitting in a dress I bought from Costco for $10 that is amazingly comfortable and has pockets. So yes, I really really love Costco. Preston loves it too, and he takes the whole "take a bite out of savings" thing quite literally.
Today I want to share an awesome opportunity Costco is putting on for military families! Costco is hosting "Military Hour" to celebrate active duty military, veterans, and their families at a special private shopping event! Costco is going to open its doors early just for military families to allow shoppers to mix and mingle with their fellow military community, enjoy free samples and product demos, and more. The first 100 shoppers to arrive at each location also receive a free swag bag with goodies.
I thought I loved Costco before, but I love them even more for putting this event on just for military families. The event will take place on Saturday, March 24th at 8:00 AM. Click here to see if your Costco is participating (mine is!).
Not a Costco member? Not a problem! For this event, Costco is offering an exclusive new member offer for military that join as a new member. You can check out that offer here.
While at Costco this past weekend, I also picked up a new protein shake I found and am excited to try. I have a hard time getting adequate protein lately because, quite frankly, I am on the mom diet which consists of eating my child's leftover waffles and cereal bars. But, I am determine to get more balanced meals with protein in as we approach the summer months. These Premier Protein shakes are available in chocolate, vanilla, and caramel, and each drink is 30g of protein, 1g of sugar, and only 160 calories. Costco is the only retailer who stocks hormone free Premier shakes, which I really love! Look for them when you attend Military Hour next weekend!
I mentioned earlier this week that our time in Virginia is coming to an end. It is, and all too soon! I have said it before and I will say it again: Virginia is the only duty station I haven't initially been excited about. When I found out we were moving here almost four years ago, I was like ehhhh. I didn't know anything about the state other than the fact that it was far from Texas and cold in the winter. That was enough to make me write it off.
Four years later, I can't believe we are actually about to leave. Four years in the same location is basically a lifetime in military terms. The people we do life with here have literally become our family. It's hard leaving people that really know and get you, and that's exactly what we are doing. It breaks my heart to say goodbye, but I am filled with joy at what we are saying hello to.
We are headed to...
We are going back to Kingsville, TX (where we lived for 9 months in 2013 while Parker was in flight school) so Parker can be an instructor. We are over the moon! I mean, we get to live in the motherland! We will be 4 hours from my family and about 7 hours from Parker's family. We really couldn't be any closer, and thinking of a quick 4 hour drive to go see my nephew on the weekends has me doing the never ending happy dance.
Virginia will always have such a special place in my heart. It is where I loved and lost our baby girl. It's where I became a mom to the baby boy that is the center of my universe. It is where Parker and I bought our very first home together. It is where I survived my first deployment. It is where we met friends that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt will be friends for life. Virginia has been the biggest blessing, and I thank God for knowing what we needed when he sent us here.
It's been real, Virginia. Texas, we're coming for ya!
A couple of weekends ago, we hosted 10 family members in Virginia for a very special boy's first birthday! Our time in Virginia is coming to an end (more on that in another post), so this was our last time having family visit! How in the world is our child already one? I could go on and on about how time moves too quickly and it seems physically impossible for our baby to already be one. Instead, I thought I'd keep things light and slightly less philosophical and just share some of our favorite moments from that very special weekend.
We were so grateful and blessed to have so many family members fly in for Preston's first birthday. I get that a first birthday is really for the parents because, let's face it, Preston won't/already doesn't remember it, but it was so special for Parker and me to celebrate our baby's first year with the people we love.
I hope to write a post soon on the party theme and decorations (again, he won't remember or care, but a kid only turns one once, so we went all out!). For now, here are some of my favorite pictures from the party.
All pictures were taken by my wonderful friend Lea at Loraine Marie Photography! Check her out here.
One year of this sweet boy! I can't tell you how much Parker and I have learned about each other and how much we have grown over the last year. Parenting was a whole new ballpark for the marriage, and I am so grateful we get to do it together.
I love this picture. It doesn't have everyone, but these are some of the girls who got me through the first year. They say it takes a village. This is part of mine!
The grandmothers and great grandmothers who made the trip! This boy is so lucky!
Family picture! Not pictured was cousin Emmett, who was upstairs napping. We love our people!
February 5th marked 7 years with our sweet Jenny girl! How we have had this amazing animal for 7 whole years is beyond me. We just love her so much. I probably look at Jenny and say "you da real MVP" three times a day. She really is. She is so good with her kid brother. She is so patient when I can't take her on walks because it's too cold for the baby. She doesn't ever get jealous of all the time we devote to the baby that was once devoted to her. She is just happy to be included. We love that brown dog!
Since it's her adoptiversary, I thought I would reminisce on that sweet day 7 years ago that she made us a family.
Side note: As I am typing this, Parker is in the next room and just said "I love this dog. She is so good". So yeah, I guess we love our dog ;)
February 5th, 2011 was a Saturday. Parker and I were engaged and living in College Station, TX, and we went to Petco to see the puppies up for adoption. There was a rescue group that did weekly adoption events there, and we liked to visit and pet the pups. We were excited to adopt a dog as soon as we were married in June!
We started petting the dogs, and Parker found Jenny. She was 6 months old and the cutest, sweetest thing. We took her for a walk around the parking lot and started talking names. We just knew she had to be ours. We both liked the name Lucy, but Parker's uncle had a dog named Lucy (I have no idea why this mattered seeing as we lived in different cities and our dogs would never meet), so I suggested Jenny, and that was that.
We paid her adoption fee, filled out the paperwork, and she came to live with me and my roommates in my apartment since Parker and I wouldn't live together for 4 more months. We were over the moon obsessed with that dog, and not much has changed.
I have always called Jenny my best girlfriend, and she really is. She got me through deployment. She was a shoulder to cry on when I lost our first baby. She has just been with me through everything. Parker and I hate that she is getting older, but we are so blessed with another year with our sweet brown dog!
And here is my little PSA because I can't help it... if you are in the market for a furry companion, please adopt! :) :) :)
I don't know how long it's been since I did a life lately post, but I do know it has been a while! Life has been so full and so sweet for us lately. Parenthood is the best, we are obsessed with that little baby of ours, and it's just been good. Here's a little look into life lately.
Well, it's Virginia in January, so it. has. been. cold. These Texas kids can't hang, but we bundled up after our 10 inches overnight to snap a quick pic! I am missing that sunshine every day, but it has to warm up eventually, right?
This kid of ours is at such a fun age. One of our favorite things to do lately is to go on "Preston dates". It's our version of date night... with an eleven month old. ;) We really love it! Family dates are so much fun.
We went to the zoo last weekend with friends and had a great time! The sun was out, and it was the perfect day to walk around and look at the animals. Obviously Preston does not care yet, but it was a fun day with friends, and I was not mad about that 6:1 parenting ratio. ;)
Jenny really does not get the credit she deserves around here. She is the best big sister to her human brother. She is so patient and loving towards him. I can't say enough good things about her. Preston's first official word after "mama" and "dada" was "dog", so clearly he is pretty smitten as well.
As great as Jenny is with Preston, she does still prefer to sleep in. No need to get up early for this girl. Good for Jenny... someone should get to sleep in around here!
We had a squadron dining out last week with Parker's squadron. If you have ever been to a dining out, you know it is one of the weirder events you can go to. If you haven't been, stay tuned next week... I'll go into detail about what the heck a dining out is. I always loving seeing this guy dressed up in a uniform!
I am determined to keep blogging when I can sneak a quick 15 minutes in to write (which is apparently harder than it sounds these days!). So today, it's another recent reads post with my three latest reads. It's been a good month of reading lately because I loved all three! If you're a fellow bookworm, read 'em! :)
Scrappy Little Nobody
By Anna Kendrick
I find Anna Kendrick completely hilarious. I feel like we could be friends in real life, but I also feel like she is way too cool for me. I really like her as an actress and was excited to read her book! It's filled with personal stories about her journey to becoming an A-list actress, and it's just plain funny. If you like celebrity memoirs, you will like this one. I was entertained!
Point of Retreat
By Colleen Hoover
I have been on a Colleen Hoover kick lately and have loved everything she has written so far! I started with It Ends With Us, which was easily one of my favorite books of 2017. Slammed was so good, and this book, Point of Retreat, is the sequel. It picks up with the story of Will and Lake right where Slammed left off, but this one is told from Will's perspective. It's so well written, and you just find yourself really rooting for these characters. I love their love story, and if you like lighthearted "chick lit", you'll love it too.
The Magnolia Story
By Chip and Joanna Gaines
I have been waiting to read this book since June of 2017! No joke, I was on a waiting list so I could read it for free, and the waiting list ended up being 6 months long. I should have just bought the book so I could read it right away, but there are so many books that I wanted to read, so I didn't mind waiting. I am like every other girl in America in that I love Fixer Upper. I love the dynamic between Chip and Jo as a couple, and I think they are amazing role models for young couples and families. I have told Parker probably 100 times that I wish I could go shadow them for a weekend and watch them parent, because I feel like I could learn a lot that I would emulate with our kids. Anyway, back to the book. I loved it. It's the story of how their empire came to be. They start from meeting each other on a bench outside of Jo's father's store and go all the way to filming Fixer Upper. I loved loved loved this book! Great people, great book.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 1 Natural Way. All opinions are entirely my own.
Today's Military Mondays post is dedicated to all things baby on a (military) budget. Here's the skinny: babies are expensive. It's amazing how much stuff one tiny little human requires, and even after baby showers, you find yourself having to purchase so many items for your little one on the way. I remember sitting in my nursery a few weeks before my son was born feeling so overwhelmed by how much we already had and how much we still needed. It's just an expensive endeavor, and even though there may not be a way to avoid paying out of pocket for the crib, changing table, and diapers, I did find a secret or two on breastfeeding supplies that I am excited to share with you today.
Okay, let's talk about Tricare for a second. If you are a military spouse, you either love it or you hate it. Although Tricare has it's downsides, let me tell you... it is amazing when it comes to having a baby. Seriously, amazing.
Most insurances cover some of the pregnancy and delivery, but Tricare covers all of it. Even if you are on Tricare Standard (I am too), they cover the pregnancy and delivery. I was a high risk pregnancy, so I had more ultrasounds than I can remember and ended up having to come twice weekly at the end for monitoring appointments to check on the baby. I didn't mind all of the extra attention because it was all covered. My pregnancy cost me a whopping $0. For my delivery, I ended up needing a c-section, which is probably a $10K surgery, and I couldn't help but laugh when I received my hospital bill a few weeks later. $30. It cost me $30 to have our son. All this to say, if you are a military spouse and plan to have a baby, Tricare is pretty great.
Another budgeting item where Tricare really comes through is with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can be expensive too when you think about purchasing a pump and all of the pumping accessories you need. Tricare covers this too, and 1 Natural Way makes it as easy as 1-2-3 to get.
1 Natural Way offers the biggest brands of breast pumps (Spectra, Medela, Kiinde) as well as pumping accessories, compression socks, and postpartum care supplies. It takes less than 5 minutes to order your Tricare breast pump thanks to 1 Natural Way.
Ordering the breast pump is free, but the process can be a hassle because you have to get a signature from your doctor, get that signature to Tricare, and then order the breast pump for free. The cool thing about 1 Natural Way is that they handle contacting both your doctor and Tricare on your behalf. If you are ordering a breast pump, it means you are just weeks from having a baby, and you don't have time to be fussing with insurance and doctor forms. I really like that 1 Natural Way takes care of that for you.
My last little budgeting tidbit as far as breastfeeding is concerned is to remember that Tricare will cover any supplies you might need. From your pump and pumping accessories to milk storage bags, nursing pads, and lanolin cream, it is all covered, so let Tricare pay for that and you spend your precious dollars elsewhere.
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