Happy late 4th of July!

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One goal I will not be crossing off my list this year as accomplished is blogging every week.  Oh well- such is life!  I can’t believe summer is almost half over already. We’ve been trying not to melt in the Florida heat, but enjoying the beaches and paddleboarding and motorcycle rides.  Yes, D bought a motorcycle. I think we both picture this:

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Even though we look more like this:

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D is still in the first phase of primary, he’s done lots of simulator flights and about 5 actual flights in the T-6B.  The crazy summer thunderstorms make it tough for him to consistently fly but the simulator is always ready!  His training wing had a spouse orientation the other week and I got to do a short flight in the simulator, it was pretty fun but I think the Navy should keep me out of their aircraft unless someone else can land it.  Here I am flying over Pensacola.  In a skirt.  Which made it impossible to eject before my crash landing on the runway.

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I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since D commissioned as an officer.  I was reminiscing the other day and thought of just a few things I’ve learned in my first year of being a Navy wife I would want other new spouses to know.

1. It’s hard being away from D, but I don’t have to be miserable. Yes, it sucked being thousands of miles away from my husband when he was at OCS and not being able to talk to him. Yes I hated that the only thing I had to snuggle at night was a pillow with a sweatshirt on it. Yes I spent a few nights sitting at the bottom of my shower crying because I missed a phone call and no way to call D back. But most of the time I had a great time doing lots of fun things – learning to run, yoga classes, girl time, sunbathing poolside, eating breakfasts for dinner – a lot of things that D doesn’t really like.  Being apart is a reality in the military, so if you don’t want to hate it, make a plan not to.

2.  Work is important to me, at least for now.  I’ll admit, I was sad to leave my practice in Oregon, but pretty excited about having some time off of work during the process of moving.  I didn’t realize until after I started working again, however, how difficult it would be for me to not have the confidence I get from working and how strange it would be to go from being financially self-reliant to completely reliant on D.  And I think I was a little bit more of an emotional mess than I wanted to be not working.  The reality of being a military spouse is that your career becomes secondary to your spouse (unless you don’t mind choosing not to live together) – this is harder for some than others, but figure out how you feel about it and do what you can to make the best of it when you can’t have what you want.

3.  Military life is constant change and unpredictability.  Not only do we have no clue where we’ll be living in the next few years, D has no idea what his schedule is in the next few days.  I can rarely predict when D will be home or not since he can’t either.  And there is a constant change in how busy he is.  He will be gone or studying for 12 hrs straight for a few weeks, and then may have a week or months of pretty much nothing.  That constant change in his schedule and productivity can be pretty difficult to adjust to for both of us.  It requires a plan A, B, C and learning to be okay if none of those plans work out.  It also means giving a lot of “I don’t knows” to family and friends who ask questions.  Note: Some family and friends are more willing to accept this answer than others.

4.  Military wives are awesome.  I absolutely love having ladies who are going through the same things as me.  I love meeting new people and building new friendships and having a built in support group.  And thankfully with technology, these friendships don’t have to end with a new duty station. (And I imagine it’s hard being a military husband,  but I bet they’re just as awesome.)

5. Ask for a military discount. I still forget this everywhere I go.

When I asked D what he’s learned, all he said “Hurry up and wait” (*see number 3).  That’s the Navy for you.

It’s definitely been a wild ride our first year in the military, I’m sure there are many more adventures ahead of us!

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Hello again

Well its been awhile since my last post because of course, sometimes life just gets a bit too crazy to blog. There’s been lots of good and bad craziness these last few weeks, but probably most exciting of all was our spontaneous trip to London! D’s start date for Primary got pushed back a few weeks and somehow planning a little weekend trip to Atlanta or New Orleans quickly escalated out of control into a week in Europe. Not sure how it happened but I’m glad it did. It already seems like a lifetime ago that we went, but it was a pretty incredible trip. Ogling the crown jewels at the London tower, boat rides on the Thames, a tech rehearsal of Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, a haunted house under the London bridge, window shopping through Notting Hill, many strolls through Hyde Park, changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, standing on top of lots of dead people at Westminster Abbey, and many attempts to find the Royal family (we succeeded in catching the princes in their helicopter!). I was really hoping for the Queen or Georgie Porgie. We ate a lot of delicious goodies of course including a plethora of french croissants, the most heavenly mash potatoes I’ve ever experienced, lots of Belgian waffles with gelato on top, some beef bourguignon that blew my own attempt at Julia child’s version waaaaay out of the water, and fish and chips from about 5 different places. And yes, we talked in a British accent a lot more than we should have. I kept saying we should stop, but it’s really hard not to do when you’re there.

And somehow, D has already been in Primary for a month! Primary is the first phase of actual flight training, not just ground school. He starts with ground classes and then does simulator flights before moving to actual flights in a T6 Texan. D is doing sims this week and unfortunately they’ve all been scheduled for late at night, which means I’ve reengaged in my addiction to Gilmore Girls and had little motivation to cook dinner (popcorn counts as dinner right?). It was definitely nice that his flight tonight was a little earlier so we had more than a half hour together. He doesn’t really know his schedule til the day before and its crazy to think about how unpredictable our lives are. We can’t really plan for two days from now, let alone further than that. (Hence the crazy trip to London when we had the chance). As a worrier, I actually don’t mind not being able to plan because it gives me an excuse to not worry in advance. I’m sure it drives some people nuts, and its definitely tough at moments, but I’m actually loving being forced to go with the flow. It can get a little annoying when other people don’t understand that though. (STOP asking me how long we’ll be in Pensacola 1. It’s not up to us. 2. I DON’T KNOW!!!) It is nice to have other military families who get it – we had a barbecue with some of our fellow military couples on Sunday and it just reminds me of how lucky we’ve been to have been so many places and meet so many awesome people even before this life and how many more awesome people we’ll get to meet in the future. It’s been a little over a year now that I’ve been a navy wife. I think I’ll compile some more thoughts on that later, but for now enjoy this glimpse into our whirlwind trip to *LONDON BABY!
*must be read with your best Joey Tribbiani impression

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How to have a birthmonth

As previously posted, my birthday is kind of a big deal.  I actually don’t really care that much if anyone else thinks its a big deal, but it’s my day  to put away any thoughts of self-doubt and criticism and just celebrate the wonderful awesomeness of me!  (If you think this sounds weird or conceited, stop yourself now and start thinking you’re as awesome as I am, because I bet you are.)  I try to celebrate all month long and in order to do this, I think it is essential to get as many free things as possible 🙂 I had a friend request I share a guide to birthday freebies and since I just picked up my last one for this year, I thought now would be a good time.  If you don’t care about this post because birthdays are not a big deal to you – you are doing it wrong.  Birthdays rock.

First of all, claiming birthday freebies requires some advanced planning.  Most of them arrive as a coupon through email but you have to be signed up well ahead to get on the list in time.  I recommend signing up for freebies about two months in advance – I will usually just spend some time searching online for birthday freebies and make sure I’m signed up for all the ones I want to take advantage of.

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Here’s the free stuff I got this year:

Krispy Kreme – Get a free donut and coffee when you sign up for their rewards program and get the hot light app – I got two donuts since I don’t drink coffee
Red Robin – Free burger with their Royalty club
Cinnabon – Free Mochalatta chill – I swapped it for a Cinnabon instead
Sephora – Free Fresh brand facial wash and rose mask with a Beauty insider membership (gifts vary every year)
Jersey Mikes – Free sub and drink on your birthday (I think Firehouse subs does the same thing)
Buffalo Wild Wings – Free snack size wings (8 wings)
Baskin Robbins – free scoop
World Market – $10 coupon with rewards – I got a mixing bowl for a dollar
Moe’s Southwest Grill – free meal w/drink purchase
Ulta – Free mini mascara with rewards membership (gifts vary every year)
Starbucks – Free drink on your birthday -you have to register a starbucks card, but I forgot mine and the lady gave it to me for free anyway
Banana Republic – $15 towards a purchase if you’re a luxe cardholder
Panera – free birthday Pastry with MyPanera membership – mmmmm giant chocolate chip cookie
Marble Slab Creamery – $5 towards your ice cream I did splurge $1 extra to get the dipped waffle bowl, download rewards app
Ihop – free stack of pancakes with email sign up

My absolute favorite birthday freebie is the coupon from Benihana, but unfortunately we don’t have one here. You really can’t beat salad, soup, steak, lobster, onions, zuchinni, mushrooms, and ice cream for like $7. There’s quite a few more that I was either too lazy to claim (ie Chili’s dessert, $5 off Red Lobster, dessert at Fuddrucker’s) or we didn’t have close by (Friendly’s, Outback Steakhouse, PF Changs, Rita’s water ice) Some offers are buy one get one, like Qdoba and Dairy Queen blizzards. And then there’s some places that will send you birthday discounts like J Crew Factory and Container Store.

The best thing to do is spend a little time googling before your birthday to see whats currently available, or if you have some favorite places check them to see if they’ve got a birthday deal.
Click here  for another list to get your started on collecting freebies.
If this many restaurants and stores think your birthday is a big deal, shouldn’t you?

My favorite month.

It just goes that the more fun stuff we have to blog about, the less time I have to blog!  A late happy anniversary to this blog, its been a year since I started writing about all our new adventures.  This month has been busy busy busy but thankfully its been a good busy.  First of all, its my birthday month! Yes that’s right, I don’t just have a birth-day, it’s at least a month long celebration.  Especially this year because I turned the big 3-0. I definitely had some anxiety leading up to this one but now that I not only made it through, but thoroughly enjoyed it, I am totally fine with being done with my twenties.  My actual birthday was great, I went out to breakfast with my friend, spent the day at the beach (a first- yay for living in Florida!), got a massage, and then out to dinner with D.  (And watched 13 going on 30 for good measure).

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So I told D I wanted to furnish our screened-in porch for my birthday.  The only thing I absolutely wanted in a house was a screened-in porch, since I felt it was un-Southern not to have one, but its been sitting bare since we moved in other than a few very uncomfortable wooden chairs.

 

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I was happy to finally be able to enjoy some of our nice spring weather on the porch and wasn’t expecting anything on my birthday.  Needless to say I was very surprised to come home to this waiting for me:

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That’s right, D surprised me with an Apple Watch! I’m still not quite sure I know how to use it, but I’ve been having lots of fun this week trying to figure it out. Now to get D one so we can send heartbeats to each other ❤

My friend also turned 30 this month so we celebrated this week with an 80s party at the roller rink.  I did not realize what a workout it would be! I was prepared, however, that I would be a hot mess trying not to fall, and I’m happy to say I only ate it three times, which I’m pretty sure is a record for me.  Besides the black bruise and rugburn on my knee makes me feel legit.  It was a blast.

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And in addition to all the birthday madness, D finished API this week!  Which means a few weeks ago he had his flight suit Friday, basically a little party at the O club (Officer’s club) on base to celebrate being done with academic tests and getting to wear their flight suits for the first time.  It was pouring torrential rains that day, so we took a few pics at the museum before rather than outside the club.  D has had a lot of fun since then doing survival training – experiencing hypoxia (supposedly monitored, eek!), ejection seat training, escaping from an upside down helicopter underwater – you know your typical stuff any pilot does right?  I’m so proud of him for the hard work he’s put in and excited for him to move on to the next step.  (Of course, we’re back to more waiting in between).  He checked in to Whiting Field in Milton and hopefully will find out next week when he’ll start primary flight training.  So excited for him to be up in the air again!

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And here’s a ridiculous puppy portrait for your enjoyment in honor of his 8 month birthday.

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Whole30, how I loathe and love . . . actually just loathe thee

So when you’re not eating any of your favorite foods, the weeks actually go by much quicker than you’d expect but the days are sloooooooooow.  I am counting the hours to donuts in the morning and they are definitely not going fast enough.  I thought I’d write a about our whole30 experiences.  This post is kind of long, and probably only interesting to those considering doing whole30 themselves, so I’d suggest not wasting your time if it doesn’t interest you.  First of all, let me say that it’s not for everyone.  After this round, I’m feeling like maybe it’s not for me.  I think people should do whatever works for them and so I am in no way a cheerleader for whole30.  In fact D and I joke that we both love whole30 and it ruined our lives.  Let me preface by saying that prior to our first round in September 2014, I really had never made any attempts to change my diet in any way.   Actually I did try to cut down on sugar once and lasted two days before I couldn’t handle the nasty monster I became.  I did gluten free for a week and I had switched over to soymilk (just for drinking) because I was having major stomach issues.  Other than that,  I ate what I wanted when I wanted which meant a LOT of sugar and chocolate.  From the ages of 12-24 I pretty much ate pasta and parmesan cheese for dinner every night.  And I had dessert at least once, but mostly twice a day.  Anyway, D had mentioned whole30 a few times to me but I laughed it off.  When he made a serious suggestion that we try it together, I remember I was at work and I actually teared up at the thought of not eating those foods.  That was a wakeup call to me – I was actually crying over chocolate?  How ridiculous, right?  So after probably a month of debating it in my mind, I agreed.  I’ve now (well, in 6 hours) survived 3 rounds (thats 90 LONG days) of eating only meat, veggies, fruit and nuts.  Here’s what it was like for me.

Round 1 – We were super excited about the challenge this first round.  I removed every noncompliant food from the house so it wouldn’t tempt me.  It was tough figuring out how to eat, but exciting trying new foods and new recipes.  My taste buds started changing and everything was delicious.  It was day 2 that sugar withdrawal hit me bad.  I lay in bed in tears because my body aches were so bad and no painkiller or heat brought any relief because my body only wanted sugar.  I remember thinking, I never want food to have this much power over me.  It was a few days later that gum pain started and lasted on and off the whole time.  Try chewing meat and vegetables when your gums hurt.  Actually don’t do that – eat milkshakes and smoothies (two things not allowed on whole30).  I also had crazy hormonal symptoms that I’ll spare you the details (I think the gums were tied to this).  I was exhausted the whole time.  By the end I lost 12 pounds and I think it was mostly due to not wanting to eat because my mouth hurt.  While I didn’t feel great by the end of it, I did have clearer skin and my stomach was back to normal.  And I actually noticed when I started eating unhealthy foods again how terrible they made me feel.  Hence the “it ruined our lives.”  We could no longer live in ignorant bliss of how junky all that junk food really made us feel.

Round 2 – This round may have gone differently if we hadn’t found on day 2 that we had to move out of our house and find a new place to live.  We were waiting to hear if D got into the Navy and it was super stressful trying to figure out what to do and all I wanted the entire time was a cookie for comfort food.  And to order a pizza so I could pack my house instead of spending an hour cooking.  It was crazy.  Eating was a lot easier because I knew what to eat, but I was so bored of whole30 meals, there was little excitement it- was just an added stressor.  Still had major gum pain that lasted after we were done.  I remember being a super stickler about “the rules” the 2nd time because a few of my coworkers were doing whole30.  Except drinking some alcohol, eating a burger without the bun at a fast food restaurant, and other things that made me seethe.  For some reason I was really angry at them, I think because it’s so freaking hard to do whole30 correctly and I was really proud that I did it, so I was mad when they said they were doing it but cheating here and there.  Then D found out he got accepted as a pilot in the Navy, and we quit on day 30 to celebrate with some ice cream.  I got over thinking I was better than everyone else.

Round 3 – This time I didn’t go through withdrawal and have felt pretty normal even with the major food changes (we were eating pretty terrible before this round).  I have had some gum pain, but its only been a few days so bearable.  This time I’ve had a hard time not eating “fake” unhealthy foods.  IE – plantain tortillas (not allowed I realized) with fruit and cream.  Basically a crepe and deelicious.  I also made chips a few times with potatoes.  But I’m feeling kind of oppositional with the rules.  I think part of it is frustration that I haven’t felt the “tiger blood” energy they promise – I’ve never felt great while on whole30.  Although I do know that I still probably feel better than when eating junk.  I also think I just want to be in charge of what I eat and not follow someone else’s rules anymore.  It helped the first time because I had no rules myself, but I think now I’m wanting to be the one in charge.  Plus I found out that the creator of whole30 could care less about baking.  It’s really easy to tell the world not to bake for 30 days when you never bake anyway.  It sucks when baking is one of your favorite things to do.

I could go on and on about whole30 because it is actually pretty crazy and intense.  If you are considering it, just know that the things that they promise are not true for everyone.  D has felt more energy on whole30 and it’s improved his workouts and he doesn’t have any crazy major symptoms.  It’s kind of a shock to my system when I do it and I’m pretty irritable for most of the 30 days.  Whole30 claims to solve your emotional relationship with food, but I had never felt guilt in my life around eating until after our first round.  I’d never felt bad about eating something delicious and unhealthy until I did whole30, so in some senses it created a problem for me.  But I also eat fewer unhealthy foods, so it’s a toss-up.  Doing whole30 has really made me much more aware of what I eat and my food choices, which means we generally eat a lot healthier at home.  Even though I don’t know if I want to do another whole30 in the future, I am much more motivated to eat similarly on a regular basis.  Tomorrow morning will be paleo doughnuts instead of Krispy Kreme.  And whole30 requires creativity with cooking.  That’s something that I’ve been struggling with since we moved to Florida and so I’m really glad to have gotten a little bit of that back.  I’m finally looking forward to food again instead of just being bored with it.  And that’s a good thing.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

I started this month with a little bit of the blues, not sure why.  Maybe it’s the weirdness of wearing shorts and sandals in December.  But this weekend put me back in the Christmas spirit and I am so excited!  We had a few Christmas parties this weekend that left us stuffed to capacity of delicious goodies and full of cheer.  We had a blast at my friend’s awesome ugly sweater party and went in search of some Christmas lights after our church party (a success!).  There’s always so much going on December and I usually am stressed the whole month and looking forward to relaxing on Christmas day.  This year I’m doing a better job of learning to actually celebrate and enjoy the entire month rather than waiting for Christmas day.  I love filling my house with red and green, drinking gingerbread hot chocolates, having great excuse to bake, bake, and bake some more, getting Christmas cards in the mail from loved ones,  exchanging homemade ornaments with my family, listening to Christmas music nonstop, and peppermint snowflake pretzels.  I’m especially grateful this season for my knowledge of why this time of year feels so special.  I’m so grateful for the birth of the Savior and to know that He is “the light that dispels fear, provides assurance and direction, and engenders enduring peace and joy.”

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To anyone and everyone reading this,  I hope you have a very merry Christmas season this year!

Going public!

I’ve decided to open the blog up to the public!  Why?  Because other blogs have been lifesavers for me in learning about military life and feeling connected to a military community while living far far away from any real in the flesh Navy wives.  I hope that this blog is helpful to anyone going through the Navy/OCS/military wife experience.  I’m pretty dang new at this myself but I’ll continue to share what I learn as I go along.  Feel free to comment with any suggestions or questions, or email us at flyingwiththenavy@gmail.com!