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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 ;)


Anyway...

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! :) :) :)
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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!


That's life lately!

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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. 

What have you read and loved lately?
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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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Happy New Year friends! How in the world is it already 2018? 2017 was an amazing year for us. We welcomed our son into the world, and my heart fell in love with him more than I ever could have imagined. I am sad time is going by so quickly but excited to see what 2018 has in store!

I am not one to set new years resolutions (mostly because I never can seem to keep them), but I like to reflect on the person I am and think about positive changes I can make to grow as a better Christian, wife, and mom. I like the idea of having a word of the year to meditate on and focus on. When I thought about what that word would look like, several came to mind: patience, flexibility, and kindness to name a few. These are great, but the word I want to meditate on and strive to live out is joy. 

Joy. 

It's such a simple 3 letter word, but it has the ability to turn every situation around for the better. This year, I want to choose joy. I can't control what life throws my way this year. I am sure there will be high highs and low lows just like there are every year. There will be triumphs and heartbreaks. I can't control what happens, but I can control how I handle it. In all circumstances, good and bad, I want to choose joy. I want to live out joy. I want to let go of the little things, find the positives in every situation, and live out joy for my family and anyone I encounter. 

So here's to a new year with new opportunities and new adventures. Here's to choosing joy through it all!


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I am taking the next few days off to spend time with my people and indulge in the magic of Christmas. As amazing as all of the Christmas lights, food, traditions, etc. are, the truly amazing thing is the gift of Jesus. If you have never read the story of Christ's birth, I have included it below. 

Merry Christmas from my family to yours! I will see you in 2018!


Luke 2: The Birth of Jesus

2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,


14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
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Christmas is my favorite time of year (besides summer when I don't have to be cold all the time ;)). I love decorating, I love wrapping presents, and I love blasting Christmas music all through the house for a month straight. 

I am typically one of those people we all silently judge for decorating their house before Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving too, but I am ready by mid-November to start enjoying my Christmas decorations. With this being Preston's first Christmas, I was way excited to jump the gun and get my Christmas on! I thought I would take today to share a few little decorations that make me happy. :)

My mom always had nutcrackers in her house, so I always get excited to display these guys. Nutcrackers just scream Christmas to me!


I love this little nativity set we got from Parker's grandmother a few years back. It's simple and sweet, and those little sheep are adorable!


I bought our stockings when we got married from Lands End. I love the needlepoint look!


I ordered Preston's stocking last year when I was still pregnant, and I am not exaggerating at all when I say hanging it this year was a dream come true. I love seeing his stocking hung next to his sister pup's stocking.


A few gifts waiting to be opened! I love making bows and purposely do not save the bows each year so that I get to make them again. The joy I get wrapping presents and making bows is greater than the $7 I would save by saving the bows each year. ;)


Here is a little snippit of our Christmas tree! We bought a pre-lit tree back in 2011, and this was the year the lights decided to stop working. We had a good run, but instead of getting my rear in gear and trying to fix it, I've resorted to just not having lights this year. I'm a mom... we don't have time to go through every bulb to find the faulty one. Or at least that's the excuse I am using here. ;)


I think I blogged about this last year, but I love this Christmas memories book! Each year, I adhere our Christmas card and write about gifts, special memories, etc. It will be so nice to have to look back on!


A look inside this sweet little book. You can order one here if you are interested!


And lastly, Christmas cards. I blogged last week about my love for sending out Christmas cards. I love receiving cards and displaying them in our home. It makes my heart happy!


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Since I have been such a good blogger this year (sarcasm, obviously), I completely missed my blogiversary! That's still a thing, yes? Earlier this month, Anchors Aweigh turned 5! It amazes me that this blog has been going for 5 years and counting. Even though I have been the biggest blogging slacker this year since becoming a mom and I am not sure anyone reads this little blog anymore, I still love doing it. It has been such a huge part of my identity over the last 5 years, and I am so thankful for the seasons and phases this little blog has gone through.

 
I started my blog on December 1, 2012 as a way to keep our families up to date with our lives in the Navy. We were stationed in Pensacola and had been married a little over a year. You can read my very first post here. It quickly became a full blown hobby and then segued into a way to connect with other military spouses and young women like me. It became a coping mechanism when I lost our daughter and was a way for me to share our story with the world. I went through a season where I made some money with this blog and really put my time and effort into that. And now, it's a place where I still love to jot down a few thoughts while my sweet baby naps. 

This year was easily the hardest year for me, blog wise. Our son was born at the beginning of the year, and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and share every little update about this new little life that I had fallen in love with. But, Parker and I decided we wanted to be more private with him. i don't regret our decision, but it has made blogging so much more difficult for me. This is a lifestyle blog, yet I won't allow myself to fully share the biggest part of my life right now. I really wrestle with that and what I am still doing here, but I just love it too much to quit right now. There is a season for everything, and I am just not ready for this one to be over yet. 

So cheers to 5 years of blogging. Whether you have been here since the beginning (hi, mom!) or just popped in today, I appreciate you taking the time to read this little blog and be apart of it. I am very grateful for this little space!

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Christmas cards were a big deal in my family when I was growing up. My sisters and I coordinated in our best, cheesiest outfits, Mom printed the picture onto a card, and we sent it out to our closest friends and family. I loved sending it and I loved checking the mail each day to see if we received any new cards. 

When Parker and I got married, I started sending our own Christmas card. I have sent one for every year we have been married! I joke that I can't remember the last time I mopped my floors, but I always have our Christmas card in the mail the week of Thanksgiving so it will arrive before December 1st. Priorities. 

We always try to take our Christmas picture in a place that is special to us and represents the past year. I thought I would take today to share our cards through the years!

2011 was the year we got married and our first Christmas together! We took this picture in my Nana's front yard in Midlothian, TX. This was just a few weeks before we started our new lives in Florida, so I love that we were home and in Texas for this card. Jenny was just a year old!


2012 was the year we moved to Pensacola, FL for Parker to begin flight school! We moved that January and absolutely fell in love with the place. We had so many great friends and spent most weekends on the beautiful beach. It was only fitting that we take our picture on the beach!


2013 was the year we moved to Kingsville, TX and were finally back in the motherland! We took this picture on the naval base since that year was spent with Parker logging more study/flight/Navy time than I knew was possible. 


2014 was spent in Norfolk, VA. We took this picture in the middle of such a big, trying time in our lives. I was pregnant with Taylor Grace in this picture. By the time this card arrived in mailboxes, I was no longer pregnant with her. We also had Darla that year, the dog we took in for a year while her owner was on deployment. We took our picture in front of our house with a tripod. That house holds so many memories that I never want to forget, so I love that we chose to take it there. 


2015 was spent in Virginia Beach, VA, and we took this picture on the nature trail behind our house. This was our first house to buy, so that makes this picture extra special to us! Bonus: this is the first picture Jenny decided to crack a smile for! ;)


2016 was the year of the deployment and the year of the pregnancy! Go big or go home, right? Since Parker was deployed from June-December, we had a little fun with this card and made sure it was an adequate representation of 2016. I mailed Parker the sign he is holding. I am in Texas with my family, and Parker is in Bahrain!


2017 was our first Christmas card with baby Preston! It was so surreal for me to get to include our son in this card. It sounds silly, but it was a dream come true! We took this one again in the nature trail behind our house, knowing this is the last year we will get to do so before we move. We also learned this year that getting both a dog and a baby to look at the camera is impossible. (Oopsies- i just realized I cut off the "P" in Parker's name. It was included in the actual card. ;))


All cards are really special to me, and of course I love our card this year because it has sweet baby Preston in it, but if I had to pick a favorite card, it would be our card from 2014. That card was taken on a tripod in our front yard, so it's not winning any photography awards, but it is so special to me. It is the only card that has Taylor Grace and Darla in it. We will Godwilling have so many cards in the future, but that is the only card that will ever say Taylor's name, so it will always be really special to me. 


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It's been a hot minute since I shared what life has looked like lately in our neck of the woods, so this Monday seems like as good a day as any to fix that! Life is always full speed ahead around the holidays, but we are loving every minute of it. Here's what we've been up to...

We had Parker's annual squadron Christmas party this past Friday! It was fun to get dressed up, and this was the first time we used a babysitter that wasn't our family or a close friend. And all we were thinking by the end of the night was "Why did we wait so long to get a babysitter??". We had a blast!

The Christmas party was at the Virginia Air & Space Museum, so of course my husband wasn't happy at all about being around so many planes. ;) They always do a big raffle for tons of prizes at these Christmas parties. A couple of years ago, we won an iPad! We were of course hoping we would win something this year too! We had two tickets and put my name on both of them since Parker isn't technically supposed to win. The first ticket was drawn early on for a gift card, and we were so excited! It was getting late and they still hadn't drawn for the grand prize, a 75 inch TV, but Parker and I decided to call it a night and head home. We gave the remaining ticket to a friend and left. We got a text from said friend as soon as we got home telling us that ticket had won. So basically, had I stayed 45 minutes longer, we would have gotten a free 75 inch TV. Lesson learned, yall! I am kind of glad we weren't there because a hard working sailor deserves that TV way more than I do, but I can't believe how close we were to winning a free TV!

The next morning, we woke up and decided to take baby Preston in for his very first haircut. They charged us for a "bang trim" and not so subtly let us know that our kid didn't really need a haircut. They trimmed around his ears and cut a small amount off the top and called it good. I in turn took my free bag of hair home and taped it to the baby book. That's what the mom's do these days, right? Save their kid's hair from the first haircut? I agree, it feels strange. He was a trooper though and did great!

On the way to our neighborhood Christmas party, Parker stopped to feed the neighborhood peacock popcorn. Just another day in sweet home Virginia...

Preston met Santa for the first time at the neighborhood Christmas party! Santa looked questionably like our friendly neighbor, Steve, but that must have been a coincidence. ;) Preston was very curious and just stared at Santa the whole time. We were definitely expecting tears, but he did great!

In other news, here's a picture of this sweet trooper. She is so tolerant of her little brother and so patient with him. Clearly, as she is laying on a couch with multiple pillows under her, you can see that her life isn't too bad. ;)

Other than that, life lately has looked a whole lot like this: sweet family time with my three favorites. Time slow down!


That's life lately!



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