Thursday, August 17, 2017

2017 Goals: Update

I haven't done a goals update since March and I thought it was time to check in.

Here is how things are going.

*Finances- This is probably the goal that I am the most proud of! Since we purchased my car brand new last March, my goal has always been to pay it off early. Kyle gives me full control of the finances so my focus was structuring our budget so that we could always make monthly principle payments on the loan. Now while this isn't always an option for most I was determined to make it happen. After a lot of hard work and determination, we successfully paid off my car on August 4th! A whopping 3 1/2 years early. Now we can focus on our one credit card, after that is paid off, hopefully by mid-2018 we will be 100% debt free! 

*Health- As most of you already know, I am an avid runner. One thing I haven't always enjoyed is other forms of working out. It was just never my thing. Using weights, machines, etc., just never interested me. I always got bored. However, that all changed when I started going to Stroller Strong Mom classes. When you have a baby going to regular gym classes isn't always an option because some don't have childcare and some are expensive. I love that I can take E with me (and there are usually fun things for the kids to do during and after class) and I can get a great workout in that includes running and circuit training. Beyond the workouts I am making great friends, which is an added bonus. I have definitely noticed a difference in how I look and feel. I have more energy and confidence. 

*Be More Present- I think this is one that most people struggle with and I'm no exception. I have tried to make it a point to disconnect for periods of time during the day. I don't have my phone in my hand when I am playing with E because that takes away from her. I do keep it close, mostly so I can take photos of something cute she does. I also put my phone away for at least an hour after E goes to bed so Kyle and I can have downtime. It's nice to just talk about our days and focus on spending that quality time together. While it won't always be perfect, but it's working right now. 

*Declutter- This goal has stalled for right now. Since we are mostly settled there isn't much that we need to get rid of at the moment. We do still have some boxes in the garage that need to be broken down and taken to the recycling center but otherwise this goal is on hold.

I really am proud with how these goals are going. I certainly hope to continue on this path and to end the year on a high note in these areas! 

Did you make goals for 2017? If so, how are they going?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Routine Is Necessary

There is always a period of transition that occurs during a PCS whether it's the last few days at an old duty station or the first few weeks at the new one. I'm all about being spontaneous but after a while I need structure. It always seem like the lack of a routine is the hardest part for us to deal with. 
Every time we have PCS'd Kyle has taken 30 days of leave. His leave typically begins once he signs out of the old duty station. I know people who will use some of that time at the old duty station but we prefer to save it for the new place. Thankfully, 10 days of that is non-chargeable leave (the Army is generous in giving soldiers 10 days of leave to look for housing). 

While it is amazing to have Kyle around and present during that time, it's also hard. I certainly don't take the time together for granted but not having a routine is rough. He will tell you the exact same thing, after a while we both are itching for him to go back to work. He misses the structure of work and I miss being able to get things done around the house and take care of errands when I need to. 

This transition has been significantly more difficult. Even though he signed into this unit back in June, his class did not officially begin until yesterday. So we have been together almost nonstop since the middle of May, that means he has been home for 90 days with a few days of in processing thrown in there. That's a lot! When he is home, neither of us have a desire to get things done around the house that need to get done. Instead, we would rather be out exploring and doing things. So, of course, some things suffer. 

We also know that too much time together has a tendency to lead to bickering. We both have very strong personalities and are stubborn so a seemingly small thing can turn into something big. It happens, but we did our best to avoid that. 

To keep from bickering about ridiculous things we had to make the effort to do things without each other. He would golf or go to a concert with friends and I would go get a pedicure or to playdates with E and friends. While spending time together isn't a bad thing, Kyle and I know each other well enough to know that after a while it's time for a little space to do our own thing. This is what almost 10 years of marriage has taught us. E is just like us and she notices when there are shifts from our standard routine, but she is still a ridiculously happy kiddo.

After roughly 90 days at home, he officially started class yesterday. Almost immediately we both had a huge sigh of relief as we settled back into a bit of normalcy. Yesterday was great because we both had things to focus on during the day but we came together as a family in the evening and it was wonderful. 

A routine for us is necessary, it keeps everything moving right along. 

Do you thrive on routine? 

Friday, August 11, 2017

It's Friday!!!

Well, hello Friday! I feel like this week went by in a blur. I tend to stay pretty busy during the week so Friday is always welcome in our house. 

Here are some things that have made me happy this week!

1. Sweet Emma! I'm not going to lie, we haven't been able to give Emma and Fishy as much attention lately but we are doing our best to fix that. Emma and I have been getting lots of snuggles at night and I'm so thankful. Fishy doesn't care too much but I know Emma just want lots of pets.

2. Kylie and Grayson had their first day of school yesterday. If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you know how much we love our niece and nephew. They are now a 1st and 5th grader! I'm in denial at how fast they are growing. Speaking of family! Huge shout out to my Dad for his offer on a house being accepted and to my sister for receiving a huge promotion to a Vice President position at her work!

3. This week I knocked out a workout with Stroller Strong Moms every day and I feel great. Yesterday, I attend my first Thursday class. You have an option of either yoga or a track workout. I, of course, chose the track! We did 4 sets of eight 100m sprints. Holy cow I was smoked but it was awesome.

4. Recovering from any sort of workout is important and my favorite recovery drink has always been chocolate milk! You can't beat the Shatto chocolate milk we can get here. Thankfully, I picked up a few more bottles of it a few days ago and I'm so glad I did. 

5. I swear there is never a dull moment with E in the house. She was in her play area yesterday while I was cleaning up. I thought she had fallen asleep until I heard her giggling. She was just laying there being silly. This picture is a new favorite for sure!

This weekend should be a good one as I have an event planned tomorrow morning (Manicures and Mimosas!!) with the SLAM ladies and we are running a 5k on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. Plus, lots of family time before Kyle starts his structure class on Monday.

I hope you all have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Adventures of a Military Move!

Since we have been settled in Kansas for almost 2 months now I thought it was time to share the crazy yet comical experience we had getting our stuff. Let me just say that if you make it through this whole post, you are a rockstar!

So if you have followed my blog for any length of time you know that I am 100% all for the military moving us. I have zero desire to pack all of our stuff, rent a u-haul, load it, and unload it at our new location. So I will take my chances and have someone else do all of the hard work. This is the 6th time we have had the Army move us and by far the craziest experience we have ever had. 

While by all accounts our move went smoothly, we had 2 things broke (an old plate and the tail off E's giraffe table, but that's an easy fix) and we received our stuff within a reasonable time frame. However, making that happen proved to be much trickier than we anticipated. 

Let's back up to the day our stuff left Louisiana. We were told by the driver that on Sunday our HHG (household goods) would be leaving Louisiana and would arrive in Kansas for an 8am delivery on Monday. This prompted a change in plans, I was heading to Kansas early to sign for the house and receive our goods. Yay right?! Well that's what we thought. 

I arrived in Kansas on Sunday night, unloaded E, and the furry kids into the hotel. Let me tell you, doing that solo is hard! On Monday morning, I loaded everything and everyone back into the car so I could rush to housing, pick up the keys to the house and wait for our goods. I honestly had never been so happy to be in an empty house.

Well, 8am came and went with no sign of the driver. Kyle and I both called only to be told that they were just leaving Branson, Missouri. Ummm Branson?! That's on the other side of where we are and completely out of the way but okay. They said they would arrive by 10:30. I'm sure you can guess what happens next. Yup, no goods at 10:30. After numerous phone calls to both the driver and the manager at the home office we were told our goods would arrive NLT 2pm. 

I get a phone call at 1pm from the driver saying that they are in line waiting to be inspected at the gate!

An hour phone rings. The driver's helper can't get on post because he has a prior conviction on his record from 20 years ago! Now, not only is this frustrating for me but for Kyle as well. He was 12 hours away and could literally do nothing to help.

SO! I try to vouch for the helper because I want my stuff but that's a no go (which honestly is to be expected here). So the helper got dropped off at a hotel and the driver headed back to post to deliver my stuff by himself. At this point it is 3:30pm, I'm hangry and E is flaming out. I grabbed food, headed home, and then my phone rang. The driver can't get on post because his truck is leaking!!!!!! WTF!?

At this point I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I'm pretty sure I cried out of anger and frustration. Since the truck wasn't being let on post, the driver had to go rent a u-haul which was a 1/4 of the size of the moving truck our stuff was on. I'm sure you can guess where this is going. Our stuff had to be offloaded between two trucks without me or Kyle there to watch. Cue panic. It didn't help that the driver was pissed at us (I still to this day have no idea why) and he made it incredibly awkward. So our stuff was off loaded between two trucks in a hotel parking lot. 

The driver was able to deliver one load of stuff at 7pm on Monday night with the help of another worker they managed to pull from another crew. However, that worker was unable to help him on Tuesday so instead of bringing our stuff to start unloading he sat in the hotel parking lot pouting until his manager let him have it.

It took him 3 trips on Tuesday but we finally received all of our stuff. Typically the movers are supposed to put together anything they took apart at the origination location. I said no because I just wanted my house to myself. So that night, I put all of the beds together so I didn't have to sleep on the floor again haha. 

I'm not writing this post to complain at all because let's face it I would rather deal with this then pack my stuff myself haha. We can laugh about it now because it's over and done with. Plus we just got our travel money from the move and paid off my car so that's a win in my book haha! 

Have you had any out of the ordinary moving experiences?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Weekend Adventures

Now that Kyle isn't working a ridiculous schedule we are able to take advantage of weekends together and boy are we loving it! We have a hard time sitting at home during the day especially since there is so much to do. 

Our weekend started as most have lately, with a race. We were up at 6:15am to get ready for the Great Escape 5k on post. The awesome thing about this race is that is took place at the Old United States Disciplinary Barracks (aka the old military prison). The start line was just inside the perimeter of the prison and it was the location of the last known escape roughly 20 years ago. I had initially planned to run with E but it started raining prior to starting so Kyle ran with her instead. Before the race started I met up with my SLAM group for a photo. 

I started running with my friend, Lauren, and let me tell you she kicked my butt into gear. The rain tapered off during the run so it wasn't terrible. For the last mile I ran with my friend, Allison, and we agreed to finish the race together. It was so fun having so many friends along the course cheering each other along. 

I rounded the corner for the finish and I could see Kyle and E cheering me on. I wasn't paying attention to my time until I crossed the chute. Then I realized I had PR'd my time by well over a minute! I have never in my life been a fast runner,  but seeing a 28 minute 5k blew my mind.

Afterwards we went to brunch with our friends and it was a nice reward after the race.

Sunday, we had no real plans at the start of the day. Kyle decided he wanted to plan something so off to KC we went! He decided on the Sea Life Aquarium. It was a great idea! Even though E is still little she gets so excited when she sees animals of any kind and this was no exception.

After the aquarium we grabbed lunch at the Crayola Cafe followed by dessert at Sheridan's. Dirt and Worms concrete for the win! 

Our last stop was the Mummies Exhibition at Union Station. If you have ever heard of the Bodies Exhibit (we went to it in NYC) it's similar only Mummies. It was incredible! Kyle certainly outdid himself with planning such a fun day.

It was the perfect way to spend a dreary weekend. 

I hope you all had a great weekend! 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

When Blogging and Real Life Collide

When I started blogging roughly 9 years ago I never thought that that my real life and the blogging world would ever collide. It just didn't seem like something that was possible. Over the years I have made some wonderful friends that to be honest I've never met in real life. I only began to meet blogger friends when we lived in El Paso, I met several in person which was so fun! When we lived at Polk, I met Jenna from Shallow Roots Living and she is one of my favorite people. 

When we found out that we were moving to Kansas I knew that there were several other bloggers turned friends that already lived in the area and some that were moving the same time as us. I was so excited that we would finally be able to meet in person!

I've followed Amanda from Somewhere Over The Camo for years! We have co-hosted the Military Spouse Appreciation Day link-up together the last few years and I knew that getting together was a must. We met up at a children's museum with our kiddos and let them play for a while. We were able to chat more over lunch and it was awesome to finally meet her. She is just as sweet in person as she is on her blog. I'm sure there will be more meet-ups in the future. 

Lauren and Lisa are ladies that I met through blogging many many moons ago haha. They just so happened to be moving to Kansas at the same time because their husbands are attending the same school as Kyle. 

I met Lauren through blogging when we were both at Bragg, we had the chance to meet in person but it never did work out. Lauren and I shared a common bond due to infertility/recurrent pregnancy loss. Lisa, I remember following her blog but we fell out of contact only to reconnect a few months ago prior to the move. 

In just the short time we have been here the three of us have become fast friends and our kids love to play together. Lisa has two boys, one is the same age at Lauren's daughter and the other is the same age as E. So it's perfect! We have enjoyed a few girls nights, adventures with the kids, and kicking butt in our work out classes. It's nice to have friends that are in the same situation as you. I'm definitely already grateful for their friendship. 

There are a few other bloggers that live in the area that I'm looking forward to meeting in person. It really is amazing to see how big the blogging world is. I'm certain that no matter where we move I will come across someone from this pretty fantastic community. 

Have you ever met a blog friend in real life?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Life Lately

I can't believe that today is August 1st!! This year is already half away over and that blows my mind. 

We have been doing our best to stay busy lately and it is really nice. Here is what is happening in our neck of the woods.

1. We completed 2 more races this past weekend. On Saturday, we ran the Grant's Cause for Spina Bifida 5k. It was a great event benefiting an even better cause. On Sunday, it was the Diva Dash 5k for just me and E. It was so fun running with her. We are working on our goal of completing 100 races by the time we leave Kansas, these were number 81 and 82 (even though Kyle didn't run on Sunday, he is running a few races solo so that way we stay even). Woo!

2. We have a few events to attend over the next few weeks in support of the school that Kyle is attending. We have a social for his branch next week, followed by a Commandant's reception at the end of August, and then an International Friendship Gala at the end of September. Looking for dresses is hard, I don't want to buy so I will likely look on Rent the Runway. Oh yeah and we have to buy Kyle's mess dress uniform. I'm not even lying when I say how EXPENSIVE that uniform is. Thank goodness for the coupon we should be getting for it in a few weeks haha. 

3. We have been working on the last few touches around the house. I hope that we will have all of the pictures hung up by this weekend. It took me quite a long time to pick new frames. I plan on doing a house tour once I have everything exactly how I want it. One of my favorite walls has Kyle's plaques, I do love how it turned out.

4. The weather has been cooling down a bit lately and I am reminded that I will experience my first true winter this year. I'm a desert girl who has lived in really warm climates haha. I better bulk up my cold weather wardrobe. 

5. Speaking of it being August 1st, that means our little precious E is 11 months old! Ummm excuse me?! Since we are only a month away from her birthday, birthday party planning has begun. It's not going to be anything fancy but it is going to be special. We did decide to rent a place on post to have her party. It has a lodge to use (with a full kitchen and seating area) plus there is an huge outside area with playground equipment for the kids. It just makes the most sense.

My family as well as Kyle's parents will be flying in for her birthday and we are thrilled!!! We are so excited to have so many that want to celebrate this precious little girl. 

Here is to an amazing Tuesday!!!