Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy birthday to me!

Image from
Yes indeed, today is my birthday!  The big 3-0 to be exact!  This time last year, DH was deployed and I was living in North Carolina.  Noelle went above and beyond in the friend department, by making my birthday super special.  We went out dancing that night and planned for a sleepover.  She had flowers for me, handmade signs around the house, my mom's Magic Cookie Bars, and sugar cookies!  She even shared my love of some 50 Cent for the occasion!  May I entertain you with my favorite mash-up version?

This year the torch is passed to Trinnie, and I have no doubt that she'll make me feel loved, as she always does.  As long as the weather doesn't keep us away, we're heading to my favorite BBQ joint, and Haley's joining us too!  It's going to be a pretty low-key night, which is my preferred plan of attack.  I hate how prices are always inflated on my birthday, so I typically steer clear of nice dinners and events.  After dinner, we're heading back to Trinnie's for cupcakes and queso, and getting down with some Wii Michael Jackson Experience and Just Dance 2.  Those games make for an intense workout, let me tell you!  Staying up until midnight isn't really a priority to me, and it was always bittersweet for me, since it marked the end of my birthday.

I'm hoping the weather clears up a bit tomorrow, I'd hate to be homebound all day because of the snow, although I could finally make that snow angel.  :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

#reverb10 Day 31 - Core Story

What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? - Molly O'Neill

When I think back on all of my #reverb10 entries, as they've asked you to do, I know I've whined about money a lot, and probably talked excessively about DH [as I do throughout my blog in general].  My core story isn't about money - I don't want it to be.  My core story is that despite the separations, the challenges, and the struggles that we've faced, I always remain positive and optimistic about my future.  

I typically consider DH the "dreamer" in our relationship, and I (like my dad) am the realist.  Yes, I see the nitty gritty and it gets me down from time to time, but anyone who knows me knows that the whining, griping, and negativity doesn't characterize me as a person.  It's not who I am on a day to day basis, and it's not how I want others to see me.  I share this core story through my energy, through my smile, and through my love.  

My core story is one of optimism, positivity, and perseverance.  I can, I will, I must...and with a SMILE! With that note, I leave you with a great song to get you in that feel-good mood!

#reverb10 Day 30 - Gift

This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable.  What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? - Holly Root

I'll do one of each.  I just turned to DH to tell him the prompt and said that I was inclined to put his homecoming as the best gift I received this year.  He said, "Don't lie, it's this iPad."  Yes, that would be my iPad...the one that he gave me...the one that he's playing on right now.  :)  He loves the iPad - playing Words With Friends with Megan, Erin, and Sara.  He also loves playing Solitaire and trying to ensure that his score is always higher than mine.  He's very competitive, and it's hard to get it away from him sometimes.  I even caught him coming out of the bathroom with it the other day - HA HA HA!

The best gift was having him come home safely to me, after eleven months in Afghanistan.  I was positively glowing that day, and for good reason.  <3
Credit to The Fayetteville Observer

Thursday 5

Head over to Nicole @ Flip Flops and Combat Boots if you want to participate.  This week's words are:
Totally Stoked [Didn't we just do "stoked" last week?]

1.  I am happy that I got to run around and play in the snow today, despite the fact that it spoiled my fondue date with Trinnie.  Definitely not happy about that!  I was really looking forward to a nice, reflective evening over cheese and chocolate.

2.  I am delighted that we got so many chores done today.  All of our Christmas decorations are down, packed, and stored, aside from one box which will hold the lights from the front of our house.  I was even able to put my new tablecloth (50's pink, turquoise, and purple with pansies and daffodils) on our table.  I even found a new recruiter and have an appointment with her [yay for a female!] this Tuesday.  Did I mention that I even went for a run this morning, and spotted a house I liked in our neighborhood?  A girl can dream!

3.  I am grateful for a loving husband who made me breakfast this morning!  He's such a snuggler and a lover!

4.  I am totally stoked that tomorrow is my birthday and we're going out for BBQ with friends!  Yum!  I hope that the weather doesn't spoil it.

5.  I am thankful for a stocked fridge!  It's nice to be able to make dinner and have stuff at hand.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - "Mmm...Mexico!"

#reverb10 Day 29 - Defining Moment

Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. - Kathryn Fitzmaurice

I think I've had so many defining moments this year, and I think most of you have read about them before.  Having DH come home from Afghanistan was a defining moment in my life, because it marked our accomplishment as a couple.  We finished our first, year-long deployment as a married couple.  Part of me hesitates to say this, because I know there are others whose spouses didn't make it home.  I am thankful and blessed that my husband returned to me safely.

The biggest series of events that has affected our life this year was our plan to get out of active duty and move to Colorado.  This set off a chain of events, including me finding a new job out here, moving out here on my own, DH's arrival and struggle to find employment, and our continued battle with our finances.  It has affected our daily lifestyle, how we manage our money, and hopefully make smart choices to put ourselves in a better place in the future.  I'm just hoping that future comes sooner rather than later.  :)  I guess it was a nice wake up call after the fun of deployment money.  It put me back in check, and has me looking at the bigger picture.  I'm hoping we'll have better fortune in 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Love a good day!

I had to do an update to the my earlier post.  I didn't get out of bed until really late today.  Did I go for a run?  Well, I attempted one!  I got dressed, left DH in bed, and hit the pavement.  It wasn't far from my house when the altitude and the incline got to me.  I had to stop running and walk for a bit.  It was pretty ambitious for me to think I was going to go out there and rock a good, non-stop mile like I did in Mexico.  I rallied though, and did a half walk, half run for 11:30.  Did I do a whole mile?  Not sure!  I got lost in my own neighborhood and didn't end up taking the route I had tried to memorize.  Oops!  Better luck tomorrow (or the next day, if I run every other).  The important think is that I got out there and did something active.

I finally left the house around mid-day.  I went to the bank, as planned, and waited a while because our local Chase just plain sucks.  I'm so thankful that it's not where we do the majority of our banking.  After you've experienced the customer service of USAA, you'll never settle again.  After that I went, and promptly got lost, on post looking for the MP station so I could get the VIN inspection that Colorado requires for you to title a vehicle here.  A call was made to my dear, sweet Dixie, a co-worker with an MP for a husband.  She's my go-to girl for when I get lost on post.  Picked up DH's motorcycle decals at the decal office, then went off to get my VIN inspected.  Wow, I had definitely blown by that place on my way through post.  Luckily, I was in and out of there in minutes, thanks to a really helpful soldier.  I made a point of submitting a positive ICE comment card about him.  Pay it forward, folks!

After leaving post, I hit the DMV.  When was the last time you had a positive DMV experience?  Colorado makes it SO easy, let me tell you!  I didn't wait at all, the place was virtually empty, and my vehicle was registered for a fraction of the cost that we'd pay in California.  To put it in perspective, we can register four vehicles here for the price of one and a half back home, no lie!  I was anticipating a lot more, so needless to say, we're going to bang out all of our vehicles this week.  I'm excited about that, as silly as it seems, because it helps us establish our residency here in Colorado.  Everything was so quick and easy that I was able to go home, get the other car, and repeat the entire process.  Rock on!  Tomorrow DH and I will do the motorcycles, since we can go together and get them both done at once.

Oh, and did I mention that I got out of a speeding ticket on the way to the DMV the second time?  Yeah, I was so in the groove with my music and my good day that I didn't notice the sheriff behind me.  Oops! He pulled me over, asked if I needed a ticket today, and my reply was "I don't think so."  He then told me that the correct response was, "No, I don't."  He had seen me at the MP station on post and made a comment about it, and my California license plate - score!  I'm so thankful for that, and it's a nice reminder that I need to leave my California driving back in California.

I may have been rocking out to this song all day, and it's fitting with the sort of day that I've had.  :)  DH had to run up to Denver for work reasons, so I had him stop by the Best Buy, since they're the only store near us (which is ridiculous) that has Apple TV in stock.  I had been gearing up to buy this with some Christmas gift cards, but was unsuccessful at our local store.  He brought it home, managed to find a spare HDMI cable, and now he has successfully commandeered it to watch Centurion on our bedroom tv.  If you're an Apple family, you totally need Apple TV.  This thing is just awesome, with the ability to stream Netflix, YouTube, and anything you have in your iTunes library.  Just watching the CD artwork flip by in your music library is phenomenal on an HDTV.  I've lost DH, as you can imagine.  He's completely sucked in.  You can rent movies and television shows from iTunes as well.

As Ice Cube would say, I didn't have to use my AK today, and FIL and I were undercharged on our Subway dinner (and the cashier let it go).  Yes, got to say it was a good day.

#reverb10 Day 28 - Achieve

What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year?  How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it?  Free?  Happy?  Complete?  Blissful?  Write that feeling down.  Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. - Tara Sophia Mohr

There are so many things that I want to achieve next year.  Being debt free would be a miracle, so I'm not hoping for that just yet.  Having a baby would be amazing, but I'm pretty pessimistic about that right now.  Let's work on something tangible, at least by my standards at this point - enlisting in the Air Force and completing basic training.

I imagine that when I am accepted for enlistment and successfully complete basic training that I will feel accomplished and proud.  I will be proud of myself for having accomplished such a feat - a feat that pushed me to be in better shape, physically and mentally, than I have in a while.  I will be proud of the fact that I am serving my country, and that I am one of the few that chose to make that commitment.

10 Things for Today:
1.  Get my lazy ass out of bed.  I've been trying to do this since 8 am or so, but DH has been insistent that I stay in bed with him.  This is a departure from our norm.  He used to be the one that "couldn't stay in bed any longer" and he'd get up and leave me there.  Now, when I tried to leave, he tugs on my arm or my PJs.  He says he lost a lot of sleep while he was trucking and is making up it.  He's also quite the snuggler and loves curling up with.  I should feel blessed, I know, but I'm also one of those people who gauges her days on how productive she is.  I have a list on my iPad that I'm trying to work through.
2.  Go for a run.  I've actually already plotted it out on Google Maps - 1.1 miles from my house, making a loop and returning home.  The PFT standard for the Air Force is 1.5 miles, but I need to start with something manageable, especially since I'm dealing with the altitude here in CO.  Mexico was nice because it was flat and straight, but now I'm tackling small hills and being beyond a mile high.
3.  Convince DH to run with me.  They always say it's better with a partner!  He challenged Trinnie and I to keep up with him last night. 
4.  Call the local AF Reserve recruiter.  See if there's a good time to stop into that office this week.  I'm hoping to get a female recruiter, but I'll take what I can get.
5.  Download an ASVAB ebook test prep.  Obviously, I'm not worried too much about the math portion - it's the mechanical section that has me concerned.
6.  Look into the ASVAB prep on  [See above]
7.  Drink more water.  I don't keep soda for me around the house, but I do guzzle the sweet tea like nobody's business.  I need to start hydrating more.
8.  Go to the bank.  This will help me feel accomplished, as I'm making a substantial payment towards one of our credit cards.  Slowly but surely, my friends.
9.  Take down the Christmas decorations.  This would REALLY make me feel accomplished today!
10.  Meal plan and go to the commissary.  Again, making me feel accomplished.  It would also make me proud, as I'm trying to prepare for an evening when I can invite Sara over for dinner!  I remember how much I appreciated Noelle inviting me over for dinner when DH was deployed, and I'm trying to pay it forward, not to mention make a new [in real life] friend.

Monday, December 27, 2010

#reverb10 Day 27 - Ordinary Joy

Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments.  What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? - BrenĂ© Brown

Any military wife will tell you that those sorts of ordinary joys come from having a husband return from deployment.  It's those little things that bring joy that civilians will never understand - being able to go grocery shopping with your spouse, doing his laundry, making coffee for him in the morning, snuggling up with something other than a body pillow at night, making dinner for someone else, etc.  As much as I bitch and moan about DH and how much work he creates around the house for me, we're better together.

#reverb10 Day 26 - Soul Food

What did you eat this year that you will never forget?  What went into your mouth & touched your soul? - Elise Marie Collins

BBQ - copius amounts of BBQ, pulled pork in particular.  I've eaten it in as many states as possible.  Trinnie turned me on to Rudy's, which is a Texas-based company.  The "Sissy Sauce" is absolutely to die for.  Is it any surprise that I'm ending this year with more BBQ for my birthday?  It shouldn't.  Wash it all down with a Sweet Tea and you leave me with happy memories of my year spent in the south at Fort Bragg.  Sweet tea is something I didn't leave behind when I came out here to CO.  I regularly guzzle down jugs of sweet tea, straight out of my fridge.  We keep it on hand at all times, and luckily the commissary stocks my fave! 

Ok, enough about food.  I could keep going.  If you keep me going, I may change my mind and say Whoopie Pies and Lobster Rolls from Maine, because I still dream of those treats!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

#reverb10 Day 25 - Photo - A Present To Yourself

Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you. - Tracey Clark

This picture is me in a nutshell.  Fun, lively, and always up for a good time - no alcohol needed!  DH took this shot of me at a HOG Open House event, which had carnival games for families.  It was a really well-organized event, and I was thankful that DH was still in the honeymoon phase of redeployment that he was not only willing to come along, but he also worked the cotton candy booth with me!  When the kids had cleared out, I hit the inflatable slide - head first.  I hope this picture shows that I'm a fun-loving individual who takes on life head first.  I also hope it shows you that I don't take myself too seriously - you can't in my profession!

Feliz Navidad everyone, I hope it's been good holiday for you all! I have 6 days left in my twenties!

Friday, December 24, 2010

#reverb10 Day 24 - Everything's Ok

What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? - Kate Inglis

It's been a tough year and there have been multiple moments where I've wondered if things were going to be alright. I've cried over our checkbook register, felt the stress of a higher-than-I'd-like credit card balance, and worried about a paycheck that wasn't going to cover all of our bills. It's a double edged sword when you realize what these sorts of outward worries can do to your husband's ego and sense of self. DH at times is either overly confident or he can see through my moments of weakness and vulnerability. It is when he holds me and cuddles with me that I feel that things will be ok. We've managed to keep holding on this far, living in a home we probably can't afford, and making minimal sacrifices in our lifestyle, aside from spending fun money. FIL and I have cleaned out the pantry for meals, skipped on evenings out, and passed on frivolous spending.

How will I incorporate this knowledge into the future? I'll probably ask for a lot more hugs, that's for sure, as we take another leap of faith from trucking into God-knows-what. I can only pray that we continue to pull through and that good things come our way.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday 5

1. Jubilant - I am jubilant that Christmas Eve is tomorrow. My family exchanges gifts tomorrow after dinner, and despite the fact that we couldn't afford to give this year, I know I have a few coming my way. I truly am blessed to have a loving family.

2. Giddy - I am giddy about the fact that I still have a week of vacation when I return home from Mexico. I will definitely need the time to bomb around with DH, Trinnie, clean house, and work on my Etsy shop.

3. Excited - I am excited about my upcoming birthday (a week from tomorrow), even though I know we're planning for a mellow evening. It looks like DH might be home for the big event too!

4. Thankful - I am thankful for all that we have and all that we've been able to do. I pray that we can continue to live as nicely as we do, despite our financial difficulties.

5. Stoked - I'm stoked to be able to return home to my husband after this trip, and to get to spend some time with him before school starts back up!

#reverb10 Day 23 - New Name

Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? - Becca Wilcott

I really wouldn't change my name, even for a day. I love my name! "Ir's Erin - Mrs. C if you're nasty!" [Points to you if you recognize that reference.]

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

#reverb10 Day 22 - Travel

How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? - Tara Hunt

My travel goal for 2011 is ANYWHERE with my husband. It's pretty ridiculous how we haven't been able to follow through on a makeshift honeymoon. I really want to be able to do that. It doesn't even have to be anywhere exotic, just somewhere that we can get away and have some couple's time. I would love to go to DC for the MilBlogCon, which coincidentally is the same week as the CEC conference (it's a SpEd thing) in DC, but that's just a pipe dream. I'd also love to go to Mexico again - with DH - come next year this time. Lastly, I'm hoping to spend the summer at Lackland AFB. ;)

As for 2010:

March/April - Quantico, VA. This was supposed to be a fun, welcome home getaway for DH and I. I planned for Easter weekend to be spent visiting the Marine Corps museum, since he and I had been wanting to go. The results were less than desirable, due to DH's PTSD. It was just too soon after deployment for him to be around crowds of that size in confined spaces.

April/May - Myrtle Beach, SC. It took a lot of begging and pleading to get DH to come on a Strong Bonds spouse retreat. DH is an atheist and typically steers clear of anything associated with the church and/or chaplains. He'd also gotten tired of them after his time in Afghanistan, because they kept asking him if he was going to hurt himself. [No, DH won't hurt himself - he'll hurt the unlucky one who pushes him over the edge.]. Luckily for me, the spouse retreat was the same weekend as Myrtle Beach Bike Week, so I convinced DH with the promise that we'd ride out there for the occasion. We had a great time and on the Army's dime too!

Memorial Day Weekend, May - I had finally booked a romantic getaway for the two of us in Pigeon Forge, TN. It was supposed to be our long-lost honeymoon. Unfortunately, DH's grandma was on her deathbed and we had to sack that trip for one to California.

June - My relocation to CO. I went through Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and into Colorado. The highlight was Nashville, as I've mentioned on here before. I can't wait to take a couples trip there with Trinnie and our DHs. It was amazing!

October - Maine. Taryn got married and I checked another state off my list! I really had a great time on this trip. I had an amazing rental car (Chrysler 300), stayed in a fabulous B&B, visited L.L. Bean, and ate a lobster roll! Wait, did I mention I got to be the best woman for one of my best friends as she officially became a MilSpouse? Oh yeah, that too. :)

Thanksgiving, November - FIL and I went to Phoenix, AZ to be with his family for the holiday. We even got to cut down to Yuma to see my family and a long-time MilSpouse friend of mine.

Christmas, December - Mazatlan, Mexico. This is my family's Christmas tradition - gotta love it! The only way it gets better is if DH were here with me. He hasn't been since his first time in 2005, and he's been trying to get back ever since.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

#reverb10 Day 21 - Future Self

Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) - Jenny Blake

Think ahead and avoid repeating the mistakes you've made this year. Start setting aside money to save up for the hard times, when DH is between jobs. Start being more frugal when it comes to spending and starting paying off debt more aggressively. Start being more proactive with your money. Insurance needs to be your priority - you can't keep putting that off. Pick up more jobs whenever possible and don't fritter away that money. Take the earned amount and put it to your target bill. Get DH in checkup and make sure he's on board with the plan. Start prioritizing your health more - you're going to need it! If you're set on having a baby, you need to start tracking your basal temps and get insurance ASAP so you and DH can get in there and get checked out. Now is the time for action, not pity parties.

[FYI: The next few days of blogging are coming to you from my iPad, as I'm away from my computer. The formatting is going to be funky, there may be weird errors, and my posts may be more brief. That being said, FELIZ NAVIDAD!]

Monday, December 20, 2010

#reverb10 Day 20 - Beyond Avoidance

What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing?  (Bonus: Will you do it?) - Jake Nickell

I should've gotten in better shape this year.  I made a few, feeble attempts this year.  I'm sure many of us have attempted this goal, but shirked our responsibilities.  My excuses are busy, lazy, and it was low on my financial priority list.  Like I mentioned before, I've yet to find something economical that keeps me motivated.  Maybe I just need to push through the boredom and make something a routine. 

As for will I do it?  Yes, I will.  I have to, I must.  I have limited endurance, no upper body strength, and a lower half that is increasingly preventing me from wearing what I'd like.  I have to get in shape if I'm going to pass a PFT, bottom line.  That's going to be my goal, especially since there's a deadline associated with it.  

I texted my brother tonight and asked if he was bringing PTs with him on vacation.  Yes, he is bringing workout clothes, so yes, my workout shorts and sneakers went into my bag.  Peer pressure.  My dad is a marathon runner, so I'm sure he'll have his shoes packed to do some runs.  I just need to get active, period.  Let's do this, P Family!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

#reverb10 Day 19 - Healing

What healed you this year?  Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution?  How would you like to be healed in 2011? - Leonie Allan

Part of me wants to cue some Marvin Gaye "Sexual Healing" right now, but I'll refrain from singing to you.  ;)  I haven't healed completely, but I am slowly healing from the hurt I've experienced in my family.  I mentioned on here before how my brother and I have a strained relationship.  It's brought me tears, heartache, and it's made me feel like a complete stranger at times.  It's hard knowing that we used to be so close and then something happened - something that I can't explain or understand.  I feel like DH has more in common with him than I do at times.  Last weekend I had a healing conversation with my brother.  We were able to talk, and (as DH suggested) I made more of an attempt at conversation, so it was beyond the small talk that has plagued us recently.  I think it went well, and he even said "I love you" back after I said it first (I always say it first).  I made sure to let him know that I needed his address so we could send him care packages when he deploys soon.  It's a long, slow process of healing between my brother and I.  It's especially difficult when you don't know what you're trying to fix.  

In 2011, I would like to be healed financially, imagine that!  I know I talk a lot about money on here, and I think everyone knows how it takes its toll on a family.  It's been humbling, it's been rough, and it's been a good "self-check" for me, but I'm ready to move toward greater stability so we can start accomplishing our goals, such as homeownership.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

#reverb10 Day 18 - Try

What do you want to try next year?  Is there something you wanted to try in 2010?  What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? - Kaileen Elise

I think most of the stuff I tried in 2010 had to do with taking better care of myself.  At one point, I decided to start walking/running, since it's a fitness plan that doesn't require a lot of money.  Second, I tried Zumba.  How did they turn out?  Well, sadly I am doing neither activity.  I did one walk/jog back when I lived in Fayetteville, and never got motivated after that.  That needs to change soon if I'm going to be PFT-ready.  I tried Zumba when I got here to Colorado and really enjoyed it!  The school district sponsored a free district wellness program that allowed me to take classes two times a week for free.  Unfortunately, the district discontinued that program.

A lot of my efforts get squashed for financial reasons.  It's been a rough year financially and fitness isn't a big priority for me when it comes to how I spend my money.  I do have a free three month membership for 24 Hour Fitness, due to a class action suit, but that is significantly far from my house, and I'm not sure how often I'd really go.  If we had a Wii/Wii Fitness, I think I could get into doing that, although I haven't heard any super huge success stories about that plan working for someone.

I really want to find something that keeps me motivated that's also low cost.  In 2011, I need to start checking out the gyms on post and the programs they offer.  I also need to start walking/running through my neighborhood, since I've gotta pick it up in the running department.  FIL's doctors at the VA have been encouraging him to walk more, so it works out perfectly for us to ease back into better health together.

So, that's my goal for 2011.  I need to be able to pass a PFT test.  Good thing for me, we live here in Colorado where the altitude kicks your ass and only improves your endurance.  Let's do this!

Friday, December 17, 2010

#reverb10 Day 17 - Lessons Learned

What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year?  And how will you apply that lesson going forward? - Tara Weaver

I think all of the lessons I've learned this year speak to my resilience.  I've always considered myself a strong, independent woman, capable of taking care of myself and roughing through the tough patches in my life.  I've joked in the past about being the breadwinner of the family, but this year I really assumed that role.  It hasn't been fun and it hasn't been easy, surprise, surprise.  We've struggled with prioritizing our bills, having to make minimum payments on credit cards, and eliminate "fun" spending all together.  We've been uninsured and just relied on the grace of God to keep us healthy and safe.  Most recently, FIL and I had to clean out our pantry in order to eat.  It's been a very humbling, very disheartening change in our lives, but we're getting through it, slowly but surely.  Things are looking up in DH's job situation, and with things looking promising with the USAR (a bonus...soon, maybe?  WLC and AD pay!), I am hopefully that we won't have to resort to last-ditch efforts to stay afloat (e.g. selling DH's bike, selling our motorcycle trailer).  I've also started up my Etsy shop, which has given me some money for more fun classes and some dinners out with FIL.

My grandma passed on a family heirloom to me after my Aunt Trish died.  It's a music box she was given by a neighbor when she returned home from her leg amputation surgery, at the age of 12.  My grandma is in her late 80s, to put things in perspective.  The music box is shaped like a beehive, done up in all silver, with a decorative piece of enamel (?) on the top that has a picture of a dancing couple on it.  The box itself doesn't hold much, but the music box still plays.  As cheesy/cliche as it sounds, it really does symbolize the strength of the women in our family for me.  My grandma lost her leg (up to mid-thigh) at so young of an age, yet has always been an active go-getter.  The music box has been around all of these years, but it still plays.  Women in our family were built strong, and I consider myself one of them, and not just by blood.

I plan to take this lesson into 2011 as a reminder to myself that whatever the new year throws at us, we can get through it.  I can and will continue to carry our family and keep our lives as stable as possible as we continue to progress through this transition.  I pray and hope that good things await us.

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #25 + MilSpouse Weekly Roundup #15

If you'd like to participate in the Friday Fill-In, head over to Wifey's.  Heidi @ Empty Nest, PCS and All the Rest is hosting MWR this week.

1.  What is the best gift you have ever received or given? from Jessica Lynn Writes  The best gift I've ever been given was my sewing machine, a '64 Bernina 730 Record, which was the last gift my mother gave me before she died [that picture is not mine, but it's what it looks like].  My mom was the one who taught me the basics of sewing, but that Bernina and I learned the rest, together.  I treasure that big, heavy old machine.  It was built to last and it performs beautifully.  Modern machines are all plastic - this thing is completely made of steel.  I've done a lot of sewing on that machine and it is priceless to me because of my mom.

2.  Do you celebrate holidays differently when your loved one is deployed/gone or do you keep tradition? from The Albrecht Squad  I try to proceed as planned.  My family goes to Mexico every year (typically Mazatlan), because my grandparents have timeshare down there.   We've been doing it since I was young, so it feels weird not to be in Mexico over the holidays.  The only time recently where DH's location changed my plans was right before his last deployment.  I came out to NC to spend my winter break with him, knowing that it'd be one of the last chunks of time before he left for Afghanistan.  This year he's not going with me to Mexico, since he'll be trucking.  It's a disappointment for the both of us, since this is the first year he's been in country and able to go, yet work is keeping him away, again.  The first and last time he went was in 2005.  He's LONG overdue.

3.  If you celebrate Christmas, do you put an angel, star or something else on the top of your tree?  I have a vintage red plastic light-up star with glitter on it.

4.  What are your three favorite websites?  Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter.  I get to lump all of the blogs I read under Google Reader.  :)

5.  On your man do you prefer… boxers, briefs or boxer briefs? Or commando? (yeah, I’m starting to get desperate for questions!)  Boxer briefs!

As for the MilSpouse Weekly Roundup, I chose the update about DH's bonus and my experience with the recruiter.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

#reverb10 Day 16 - Friendship

How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? - Martha Mihalick

Another tough question from the #reverb10 folks!  I'm trying to think of the most influential friends I have and how they've affected my life.  I have so many wonderful friends and so many relationships that I'm thankful for.  I'm scraping my brain, trying to think of the "lightbulb moments" that I've had this year.  I've learned a lot from my family this year, and I know I've learned some from my friends as well, but I'm coming up blank and my mind is fried.  How about I do some shoutouts?

Angela - From you I've seen a living example of what it's like to survive, despite horrific circumstances working against you.  You have the patience and perseverance of a saint.  When I'm starting to throw myself a pity party, I put things in perspective and think of you.  I pray that what you reap after this nightmare is over consists of nothing but blessings and successes.

Haley - I know you're handling this year a lot better than I did during my first year.  Sure, I tease you about your freak-outs from time to time, but in comparison to where I started out, I know you have it together.  Have confidence and feel good about what you've accomplished - I see nothing but great things from you.

Noelle - I love how ambitious you are, and how ballsy you can be!  You are up for anything and you have such an adventurous spirit.  You have such an open mind and you're willing to go out on a limb, even if it means looking like a fool.  You can laugh at yourself, and when you do, everyone can't help but catch your infectious laugh and smile.  You've really taught me what it means to enjoy a deployment.

Trinnie - If I ever need to be reminded of what it means to be a true, reliable, thick-and-thin kind of friend, I look to you.  You really are my rock, I can tell you anything, and you love me without judgement.  I can depend on you whenever I need you, and that is priceless to me.

If I've left you off this list, please don't be upset.  Those individuals stand out to me right now, and my otherwise fried, vacation-ready brain.  :)

Thursday 5

I'm really waiting for the Thursday 5 to have negative, pessimistic words, so call me a Negative Nelly.  :)  This week is the first week at Flip Flops and Combat Boots, rather than Mrs. Gambizzle's.  The words are:


1.  The fact that all of my finals are finished, graded automatically by the computer, and the final grades are in, makes me excited!  I just need to babysit for the rest of the day and a half day tomorrow, essentially.

2.  I am joyful that so many of my students passed our co-taught geometry class.  We had a lot of "on the border" kids that I was worried about.  Luckily, they pulled it out for the final.

3.  I am thankful that I have such a loving, wonderful husband.  Despite the fact that we seldom get to spend any holidays together, we make it work and he goes the extra mile to make me happy and spoil me unnecessarily.  I love my muffin! 

4.  I am happy that by 11:05 tomorrow, the students will be GONE and I'll officially check my mind out for winter break!  Mexico, here I come, in less than a week!  =D

5.  I am pumped that I'm going out tonight with the girls from work!  There's an acoustic Christmas concert at a local bar, featuring some newer country artists.  $5 to get in and my first class tomorrow is a planning period - game on!  The JaneDear Girls are playing, which I'm interested in, since Susie (how appropriate, right?) looks to have some rockabilly/vintage roots.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#reverb10 Day 15 - 5 Minutes

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. - Patti Digh
  1. DH coming home from Afghanistan.
  2. Amazing friends I met in North Carolina - Angela, Noelle, Tara, Emmy, Amanda, Anna, etc.
  3. I love volunteering with FRG!  Devon, Bonnie, Donna.
  4. Great friends and great Friday/Saturday nights dancing!  Tim, April, Shelby.
  5. CiCi's Pizza double dates with Brandon and Shelby.
  6. Fun coworkers - TB, especially!
  7. Getting a job at my first choice school in Colorado.
  8. Moving to Colorado - driving through Tennessee, my amazing stay in Nashville and visit to the Honky Tonk District (Robert's!), going to Memphis and stopping at Sun Records, driving through AR, Kansas, and finally, home into Colorado.
  9. Spending those last few precious days with my Aunt Trish.  Supporting and helping her and my Uncle Jim.
  10. Finally living near Trinnie!
  11. Having DH and FIL finally join me out in Colorado and moving into our big, beautiful home.
  12. Starting my new job and loving my coworkers!  I <3 ESS!
  13. PGR missions and HOG runs/meetings back in NC.  I miss that crowd, it was an amazing group.
  14. Myrtyle Beach retreat with DH for spouses - the last vacation we had.
  15. DH's family - Phoenix and CA for Grandma's funeral.
Ok, that was five minutes!  I think I got the majority of my big events!  I just realized I missed the Brooks and Dunn concert on here, but it kind of goes along with those country friends of mine, back in NC.  Despite the struggles, we really did have some good times in 2010!

Ah yes, because things can't ever go smoothly...

Just as I finished up a post about being a Woman Of Action yesterday, my recruiter finally emailed/called me back!  I wasn't too surprised by what he had to say.  Being of non-prior service, the opportunities in the Colorado area to find a position available in the Air Force Reserve are difficult.  He said he has people that travel multiple states away, once a month, just to drill in an available slot.  The fact that my degrees were non-technical wasn't an issue, but the availability of opportunities is a problem.  His recommendation was for me to go in as enlisted reserve, put in my time, and then go from E to O internally.  I'm not sure where I want to go from here, if I want to check out USAR opportunities or if I want to consider the enlisted route.  This definitely merits conversation with DH.  The recruiter did seem to suggest that there may be some flexibility in terms of training and my schedule.  We'll see - I'll keep you posted.

As for DH, there's still no USAR bonus in sight.  I've been calling Carson and Bragg, and they both say that it's the other post's responsibility.  I finally had to push the responsibility back onto DH, since I wasn't getting anywhere.  He started to get the run-around as well, but finally seems to be making some headway.  Worst case scenario, there's a possibiliy he may have to have a new contract drawn up and swear in again, just so we can get this bonus to go through.  It's all a little ridiculous, and yet not surprising that someone dropped the ball along the way.  And wait, surprise, surprise, DH's original reserve recruiter is on leave right now, so we're not able to speak with him directly.

So much for Christmas miracles!  We're probably looking at January now, if we're lucky, for this enlistment bonus to go through.  May I remind you, my husband ETSed in September and checked into his reserve unit in October.

In good news, he goes to WLC next month and he's on active duty pay for twenty days - WHOO HOO!  And you never thought people could get excited about a military pay check!  It means DH will be back home with us in Colorado, instead of being on the road, which I'm very happy about.  :)  He says one of his SNCOs is also looking into all of the other schools he can go to next. 

Good things are coming to our family, they just like to test our patience first!

Wordless Wednesday - "Feast your eyes on the fruits of the season!"

Makeup free goober mode.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

#reverb10 Day 14 - Appreciate

What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year?  How do you express gratitude for it? - Victoria Klein

With all of the challenges this year, I have so much to be thankful for.  I'm most thankful for my friends and family who've supported me during this time, both financially and emotionally.  My support network is second to none, no doubt about it.  I don't need to name names - I mention them enough on here.  :)

I what I have come to appreciate the most this year is our (DH and I) ability to be flexible and bend with the changes in the wind.  We've had so much thrown at us this year.  We've spent the majority of the year apart, which isn't anything new in the military world, but when we were together, times were difficult.  We've had our fair share of arguments during this period, and I am amazed at how much DH has grown over the five years that we've been together.  He's still prone to verbal outbursts when he's upset or frustrated, but he's become increasingly aware of how his reactions affect others - namely, me.  He's become so much better at apologizing and I find it endearing that he has a hard time staying mad at me.

I am so thankful and appreciative of my husband and how much he's grown during the course of our relationship.  I hope that he understands how much I love and appreciate him, when I tell him that every chance I get.  He has a way of calming me down and centering me when I go off the deep end, which is the role that I typically take in our relationship.  As crazy as our life can get, we always make it through together.  DH reminds me of that fact, comforts me when I'm starting to feel overwhelmed, and loves me unconditionally.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

#reverb10 Day 13 - Action

When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.  What’s your next step? - Scott Belsky

My next step is to keep pestering my recruiter.  I've emailed him, left him messages, he's got my name in the system, etc.  No returned call or message.  I think it's time to call the general 800 number again and say that I'm not getting any response from that specific individual, then ask for the phone number of the OIC/NCOIC at that station, or whomever in the area is in charge.  If all else fails, I have FIL step in and make some calls, since he's a man of action!  He should be able to get me in touch with someone a lot faster than I can do it on my own.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

#reverb10 Day 12 - Body Integration

This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body?  Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? - Patrick Reynolds

This is an odd question for me.  I'm imagining yogis in my head, meditation, and that sort of thing.  Maybe even tantric.  As for when I felt the most cohesive with my mind and body, probably when I'm sleeping or napping.  :)  I try to be alive and present in most everything I do, but I know there are times when I'm too distracted to really be in the moment.  I haven't had one of those "close to God" moments in a while, and this is what this prompt remind me of.  Here's to 2011!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

#reverb10 Day 11 - 11 Things

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011?  How will you go about eliminating them?  How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? - Sam Davidson

  1. Debt - I plan to eliminate this, slowly but surely.  It starts with us getting our Reserve bonus [hint hint, Army Gods!].  It picks up speed when we get our tax return [crosses fingers].  It keeps pace with the smart decisions I make every month.  It's going to be a difficult task, but one that we so desperately need to prioritize.  Being debt free will allow us to rest easier, bicker less, and feel more optimistic about our options for the future.
  2. Clutter - If it's not being used, if i haven't utilized in over a year, it's time for it to go.  I'm tired of being weighed down by things that have no value to me anymore.  I've gotten better at eliminating clutter, but there's always room for improvement!  Tackling projects little by little will allow me to make steady progress.  Less clutter will allow me to organize our home better and minimize our stress when it comes time to move again.
  3. Unfinished Books - I start a bunch of books, lose interest, and never finish them.  I need to take them on, one by one, and prioritize my pleasure reading again.  I owe myself that time, not to mention that it'll help keep my mind sharp and my vocabulary strong.
  4. Unfinished Projects - Scrapbooking, sewing, stocking making, etc.  Projects pile up and I don't get motivated to finish them.  One by one, I should cut out time in my schedule to work on something creative.  I've always enjoyed being creative, and I'd like to regain that sense of pride.
  5. Products I'm Not Using - I vowed earlier this summer to get rid of items I stockpile in my bathroom cabinets, the stuff that sits there half empty.  This kind of falls under the clutter category, which means less to bring along when we move, fewer unused items littering our cabinets, and better value for my money.  
  6. Email Lists - I'm on far too many email lists that flood my inbox and vibrate the hell out of my BB every morning.  I need to start eliminating ones I don't care about.  Less junk/unwanted emails means more time to focus on replying to ones I really care about.
  7. Unanswered Emails - I'm really bad about replying to emails.  If you're not getting a hold of me via FB or Twitter, I'm probably not getting back to you in a timely fashion, sad to say.  I spend much of my work day on the computer, I relax by playing around on the computer, but I rarely go into my email client because I scan them so briefly on my BB.  I tend to forget about them.  I need to get back to people, especially ones that are trying to maintain connections with me.  I owe that to them and myself.
  8. My Etsy Store Items - You know it baby!  Let's get rid of this stuff and make some cash!  I'm going to keep listing and blow things out with occasional sales!  More cash in my pocket means more fun for our family!
  9. Distant Acquaintances and Friends - You all know how it goes.  Nothing personal, we all grow apart.  I need to trim down my FB friends list and eliminate those who I don't contact and who don't contact me.  By doing this, I can focus on others who do want to remain in my life and who I want to keep in touch with as well.
  10. My Underutilized Green Thumb - Yes, it's time to pick up my tools and getting cracking.  I haven't done any gardening in over five years.  I miss doing it, I really enjoyed gardening.  I have a planter I've always wanted to use for herbs, but I put it off because of moves across country.  Now that we're more settled, its' time to finally plant roots, figuratively and literally.
  11. Excess body weight - I think this is everyone's goal.  I'd really like to get in better shape, especially if I'm pursuing the military.  I want to start small and realistic, by eating better and taking walks with FIL.  The perks are obvious - being healthier, improving my self-confidence, looking good for DH.

Friday, December 10, 2010

#reverb10 Day 10 - Wisdom

What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? - Susannah Conway

Choosing to commit to my school over another offer I had.  I had an offer for a position at another school up north that seemed promising.  I would've commuted with Trinnie, I would've been in all co-taughted classes, it was in a higher income area, etc.  It seemed like a nice position, but my heart was with my school.  Granted, I'd never even been on campus at my school, but it was in the community I wanted to live in, my cousin went there, and our family has been invested in this town for a while.  Plus, the higher pay and shorter commute didn't hurt.  

It really was the best decision I could've made.  I really love my job here.  I love living in a small town and a military community.  I have some amazing coworkers and I really enjoy where I'm at.  I couldn't have asked for a better position.  I really feel like I'm a part of our school and that it's where I'm supposed to be.  I feel like a valued member of our team, and I know it's been showing in my work.  Go XYZ School!  :)

Tagged by Lou @ Guinn and Bare It!

Lou @ Guinn and Bare It tagged me for this questionnaire.  Here goes nothing!

Four shows you watch:
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • 16 & Pregnant/Teen Mom
  • Real Housewives of Atlanta/OC
Four things you are passionate about:
  • My students
  • Military families
  • My family
  • Makeup
Four phrases you say a lot:
  • "Definitely"
  • "Let's do this!"
  • "Oh hell no!"
  • "I love you."
Four things you've learned from the past:
  • Network - take opportunities and chances.
  • Never underestimate good manners and a good handshake.
  • Credit cards are bad.  :)
  • A good friend is priceless.  Friendship is made up of little details and make-or-break moments.
Four places you'd like to go:
  • Dun Laoghaire, Ireland - A "must visit" on DH's list.  We've never had a honeymoon, so this would be ideal.
  • Anywhere on the QM2.
  • Jeju Island, South Korea
  • Greece
Four things you did yesterday:
  • Proctored a Scantron Performance Test.
  • Addressed and prepared the majority of my Christmas cards.
  • Took my FIL to Subway.
  • Tutored my student.
Four things you are looking forward to:
  • MEXICO!  Ay yi yi!
  • Ending this semester.
  • The holidays (Christmas and my 30th birthday).
  • Sleeping in during winter break!
Four things you love about winter:
  • Winter break!
  • Mexico!
  • Christmas decorations and cookies!
  • Being about to relax, read, and have some "me" time over break.

I'm going to tag Kellee Lyn at You + Me = Wii, another Colorado MilSpouse blogger, like Lou and I!