The Last Few Months

Wrote this a couple days ago, guess I forgot to hit Publish instead of Save... oops!

I've been promising and promising a post recapping the last few months. I am hoping a whole bunch of you haven't lost hope in me with my lack of blogging, it's just been a whirlwind of things happening and blogging got pushed to the wayside, but I'm going to work on making sure I'm here at least weekly. I guess the last time I really updated was October, after the American Widow Project getaway even in Kennebunk, Maine so maybe we should start from there? I know I've briefly mentioned some of the things I'm going to talk about but I figured I'd go into a bit more detail because I've been lacking in really posting about any of these adventures.

October (the rest):
Went to BlogHer Writer's Conference. It was pretty awesome. I was both encouraged and discouraged, almost simultaneously, if that's even possible. I don't think it's a big secret I aspire to one day be a writer. Many people tell me now that I am a writer, considering I'm writer right now (a-duh) and I do write for the incredible DStripped, so I guess I'm part of the way there, but I really want to write a book one day - that kind of writer. I suppose the more accurate term would be "author." I felt this conference might help me see where to begin in my journey of becoming an author. And that it did. It helped prepare me for all that writing your own book entails. I met some really cool people, (finally got to meet Karie in real life) and learned all about the process of becoming an author. The reason I was discouraged... well, it's a lot more work than I anticipated. Now, that doesn't mean I'm not going to try. Anything worth having is worth working for, it was just a bit of a realty check. Possibly the realty check I needed to really get to work and put my all into my writing and possibly the realty check to make sure the timing is right before I really do that. So all in all, a great conference.

Z came with me to New York for the weekend of the conference and in off time from the conference we enjoyed site seeing and just hanging out in one of my favorite cities. He surprised me with tickets to go see Wicked on Broadway which was indescribably awesome. I'm pretty sure I had tears in my eyes the majority of the show because I was so awe-struck with the awesomeness that is Broadway and seeing one of my favorite plays. I got to meet a long-lost second cousin who was super cool and got to hang out in the city with her, a real New Yorker and have some family bonding. And we ate some real NY pizza. Mmmmm.
Definitely a wonderful weekend that I will not soon be forgetting.
In the chair before Wicked with my program

Halloween was soon after we got back to NY and we celebrated it at my mom's house in Maryland. We chose to do a Wizard of Oz theme. I hand made the costumes, actually sewing when it came to Ariana's. Mine had one store bought part - the corset - but besides that I made the rest, even the crown. Z and I made his together. The night before Halloween Z and I had our "adult" Halloween night and went to a local bar where we had a blast. We even ended up winning Best Couple's Costume. The tin man and Galinda the good witch - quite the pair!
On actual Halloween night, we took A to trunk or treating at Ripkin Stadium. We figured this might be better for someone as young as her rather than walking through neighborhoods. It was certainly the right choice, as it was pretty chilly out, the cars were parked close together and by the time we were finished with the cars A was so over the whole thing. She did great though, she even finally started saying "Please" to the people instead of trick or treat - still working on that one. She didn't quite understand all that was going on, just that she and everyone else was dressed silly and she was getting yummy treats but we still had fun and we also met a lion and scarecrow to complete our Wizard of Oz crew while we were there! It was a super fun Halloween and I'm looking forward to next year's!
A and I before we left for trunk-or-treating

All of us after trunk-or-treating, A as Dorothy, Mom as the Wicked Witch, Z as Tin Man and me as Glinda the Good Witch

We headed back home to NC for a few weeks in November to just be home and chill out. I also had the Air Combat experience that I mentioned a while back. It was nice to be home and in our own space but I was sad to be away from my parents. I just had been having so much fun being in Maryland and I find the more I'm away from there, the more I want to go back.

My air combat experience was the definition of exhilarating. It ended up being 4 hours from the house (instead of the 2 I'd thought it was... should have looked it up) so a friend of mine came with me and Z stayed with A so she didn't have to endure another long car ride and waiting around while I flew a plane for an hour. Flying the plane... gosh, what can I say. It's so hard to describe but I certainly felt super alive. I won 3 out of the 6 dog fights in the sky, so I'd say it was a generally successful day. After the event we watched a video of the during and I couldn't believe what I'd just done. To read the whole story you should definitely check it out in the Fall/Winter edition of DStripped, as I wrote a complete recount of the experience for the mag! When I got home Z had dinner made and there was one little girl who was happy to see me. Definitely another awesome and memorable day.
Ratso and I (call sign earned: Screamer) pre-takeoff

Then in November, we decided to spend Thanksgiving in Wisconsin with Z's family. We stopped at my family's in Maryland first, spent the night and were on the road the next day. It took 16 hours to get there and I am still so very, very proud of my little girl. She did so well on the drive even with little sleep. Then when we got there, she went right to bed like a good girl. She's so awesome and such a good traveler (wow, I say awesome a lot. Maybe I should watch less Cake Boss!).

I had so much fun in Wisconsin. I really thought I was going to hate it, being the middle of America and all, but it was really nice and we had a blast. Z's family is just awesome and I really enjoyed getting to know them. We had a big Thanksgiving dinner at his mom's house with foods I helped make (pretty proud of that fact, I'm definitely learning my way around the kitchen these days!), we went to a concert to see his uncle's band play, had a themed family dinner at Z's uncles - South American theme, yum - we went to the Wisconsin Dell's and had so much fun on the indoor water parks, A loved to play in the kiddie area and was so cute. We also went and visited Z's horses. A loved petting them but was not so happy when we tried to set her on one. It's ok, she'll grow into horses! We did a million other things too, movie nights, family visiting, seeing the lights. A really cool dinner at an Inn themed in 40s style with little shareable food. I could go on and on about our Wisconsin trip. I really, really enjoyed myself. I definitely think we'll be visiting the middle of America at least a couple times a year, it's a pretty awesome place (there's that word again!)
Us at the Dell's (water slides in November in Wisconsin?? YES PLEASE!)
Z and I at the neat themed restaurant, the Baker House - you got to pick out hats!

After that trip, we returned back to Maryland to begin December, but I will leave that for Part II, as not to overload one post with catching up!

They Really Are Watching

... Kids that is. They really are watching and paying attention. We read about it all the time in parenting columns, to be careful because kids are watching and learning from your every action, but I don't think it really sinks in until they really, really show it. It didn't for me, at least, not until today.

We were in the truck driving off base and had the music up. I was dancing around like a fool, as I'm known to do while riding along and I look back and Ariana is totally jamming out with me. As I watched her, I saw that she was emulating my moves. I did a raise the roof move, her little hands went up. I fist pumped and Ariana's little hands were balled up into two little fists waving. I swung my head back and forth and looked back and there was Ari swinging just as crazily as her mama. When Eenie Meenie (yeah, the Shawn Kingston/J Beibs song - don't judge) came on, when it said eenie meenie miney mo I would point. Needless to say, I glance back and right at that part Ari's little finger is waving through the air pointing, just like mine.

It was probably the neatest thing ever. Ok, maybe not, she does lots of cool things (I mean learning to walk and talk and her now being able to say I Love You Mommy probably most definitely trumps that on the neat list) but still, it was rad.

It really made me feel like I matter. I mean, of course I matter. I'm her source of food, and cleanliness, comfort, all necessities; but this was one of those things where I felt she really thought I am neat, not just the other way around.

Later this evening, we had a dance party in the living room. Not only is it super fun and helps her run off some of her energy before bed, it is also a great calorie burner for mama. We were dancing and laughing and having a grand ol' time. I realized that... Wow, my kid thinks I'm cool. She's probably the only person in the world who sees me for how awesome I really am (kidding, kidding) and that is so... well, awesome. I'll be really sad when I am no longer the coolest person in her universe, when in fact I turn out to be the most uncool person she knows. So for now, I will bask in being this little girl's super cool mom and keep this blog post for when she is older and thinks I am totally lame. Ariana, this cool mama thinks you are the coolest person in her universe, too. More than you'll ever know :)

Who's the Winner Today?

The winner of the Blue Star banner and ornament giveaway donated by the lovely Mrs Flyboy at Trying Our Best is...

Drum roll please...

Momma V!

Congrats Momma V, I will be contacting you shortly to get your mailing addy and get your banner on it's way!

Give it away, give it away, give it away now!

What's up y'all. I bet you're excited for an update. Well, I'm sorry, I don't think this is going to satisfy you in that respect. I know, I know I keep promising the updates. And they will get here - once I organize everything that's been going on in my world within myself I'll be able to share with you all.

However, I do not come to you all today with nothing - I come with fun and happiness and Christmas CHEER! Because I have something better than an update on my silly life - I have a giveaway.

That's right, here is an opportunity once again for you to get something out of this here blog. The lovely Mrs Flyboy at Trying Our Best came to me asking if I would host a giveaway for one of her Etsy items on my blog. Because I 1. Love her to pieces 2. Love giving you stuff and 3. Like the idea of making people happy I grudgingly agreed (kidding - I jumped at the chance).

I am a bad giveaway host because this was supposed to be up before Thanksgiving (yea - late much?!) but hey, I'm here now and I'm a firm believer in expedited shipping so you will get it in time.

Today, we have lovely Blue Flag ornament and banner set!

Here is a photo of the banner. It will be coming to you unframed (to not only save on shipping costs but to also give you the freedom of choosing the frame that best fits your decor).
You will also receive an ornament, a smaller version of the banner, to hang on your tree.
Mrs Flyboy works hard on these and I am honored to be giving one away to one lucky winner.

She included a Gold Star version for me, and I adore it. I can not wait to get the ornament up on my tree (that I have yet to get). The stitching is great quality and you can tell they are made with love and care.

Don't forget to check out her lovely Etsy shop for some of your last minute Christmas shopping!

Oh yeah... the rules (duh). To enter this giveaway you simply just need to follow me and Mrs Flyboy and leave a comment. One entry per person this time, keeping it simple! This giveaway will close at 9 o'clock Tuesday morning, giving me time to get to the post office and get your banner and ornament to you!

Blog Swap - Let Your Hearts Be Light - Chambanachik

Riding the Roller Coaster

This is my second year in a row participating in the milspouse holiday blog swap. Big thanks to Riding the Roller Coaster for hosting this awesome swap. I always have so much fun trading blogs with some of my favorite bloggers. This year, I have gotten the fabulous Chambanachik (you're so awesome!!) to blog for me. I am so excited to have her here and I just know you will enjoy her post as much as I have! You can leave a comment here or over at her blog to leave her some love!

Oh - I totally forgot!! To see my post in this awesome swap, head over to G.I. Joe's Wife where I got the pleasure of posting on her awesome blog!!

Without further ado, Erika of Chambanachik's post:

Her eyes shine brighter than any lights on the Christmas tree. She draws in a big breath and points at
the red and green decorations in wonder. She's "no more than two" like Cindy Lou Who- 17 months to
be exact- but Millie takes in the glory of the holidays with more excitement and joy than anyone I've

Everyone has heard it preached that we should see things through the eyes of a child. And it always
seems a little trite, a little stale, a little recycled to me. Once my daughter came into the world, I
realized what a beautiful concept it really is. My favorite Christmas song, "Have Yourself a Merry
Little Christmas", has the line ,"Let your heart be light." Millie's found the secret to a light heart, I

When I was young, I remember the scent of Christmas cookies would fill the house. I remember
helping my mom stir the batter, and decorating them with icing that stained my fingers. I remember
pulling out ornaments from dusty boxes that smelled like our attic, and turning them over to see what
year I had made them. We helped each other string the big, multicolored lights around the tree, and
Dad would lift one of us up to put the angel at the top. We'd sneak a candy cane here and there, and
deny it if we were caught. We would shake presents for any clues of what they might be. We would
spend hours in snow forts and come inside to homemade hot chocolate.

And just like my parents must have had, our family has bills that we worrying about paying. We have
the stress of getting everything done before the holidays. We are tired after a long day at work or
household chores. A recipe doesn't come out right. A present hoped for won't be bought. A snowfall
interferes with plans. Something goes wrong, and the hopes of the holidays make it seem even more
upsetting than usual.

But Millie doesn't see any of this, just as I didn't see it when I was little. She sees the beauty of the
paper chain hung high and snowflakes taped to her window. She's oblivious to the number of presents
under the tree, or what brand they are, or how much they cost. She hopes for a taste of sugar cookies.
She is thrilled with the Christmas lights everywhere we go. She's content with the family she has
around her. She sees only good things.

There's a line from famous story “A Christmas Carol” by Dickens that reads,“I will honor Christmas in
my heart, and try to keep it all year.” And maybe it isn't possible to do that, although my heart would
like to think so. But we all have this one day each year that has a chance to be magical if we let it. The
stress and worries can wait.

Let this day be a day of joy.

MIA Recap

Oh my blog, how I've missed you so!! I'm sorry for my absence, and honestly this is probably going to be a pretty brief post. I have been on the go-go again (are you surprised). We spent Thanksgiving in Wisconsin with Z's family which was AWESOME and now we're in Maryland. Hanging here for a couple days before I had to LA for the CNN Heroes Awards with some awesome American Widows (and hoping Taryn and the AWP win!) and then finally home. I have a giveaway coming up, which I am going to try to get posted tomorrow as it's a Christmas one!! And I really would like to better update on all the goings-on lately. But for now you get this cheap ass little blurb that I am still alive, sorry :( I also did some road trip segments (really stupid silly little VLogs) on the way out that I'm working on figuring out how to post, so you have that to look forward to (if you really want to laugh at me). The only time I've been on the computer lately has been to do some work for the magazine, and there are some awesome articles in this month's/season's editions both online and in print so make sure you check it out! My air combat experience is told in detail and I'm really proud of both the experience and the piece!! Ok, I'm done blabbing now, I hope everyone is doing well, I'll be back soon - I promise.


Copyright © 2014 | Designed by: Broken Road Creative