Friday, May 29, 2015

Our Four Legged Family Members

It's no surprise to anyone who has read my blog for a while that we love our furbabies, Emma and Fishy. The last few days I have seen a few posts from friends that have lost their pets or are getting a  new pet and it inspired me to write this.

To be honest I really didn't want pets as an adult, I was happy to not have the responsibility. However, when my parents dogs were having puppies I said yes, but my request was to have the first born girl. Welcome, Emma! She has been my little sidekick since the day she was born and from the moment I brought her home I knew she would always be my little companion.

My ex-husband didn't like her, he thought she was annoying (it was him that was annoying) and never gave her attention so she was not a fan of men. That all changed when Kyle and I got married, she was his dog, she was his baby and always gets so excited when he gets home from work. She is spunky and has so much attitude, she still acts like a puppy at 11 years old.

Next, enter Fishy. I found him when he was 5 1/2 weeks old in an abandoned house in my neighborhood. He had a severe upper respiratory infection and was near death. I never had a desire to have a cat, I just didn't see myself as a cat person. Again, that all changed with him. When my ex and I split up I actually threatened him when he said he was going to take Fishy.

He is a far cry from that sickly kitten and is hilarious. He gives love when we wants to and is the silent and sassy 7 year old observer in our house.

When someone says that the love of a pet is unconditional and without reservation they are absolutely correct. Emma and Fishy have been there to snuggle and love us through deployments, moves, deaths, miscarriages and everything in between. I truly believe that an animal can tell when something is askew in their house. We celebrate their birthdays (with cake and all) and include them in every holiday celebration. :)

They even like each other...well sometimes. lol.

I cannot imagine our life without them, they bring so much happiness and joy. I am a far cry from that person that had no desire to have pets and for Kyle to go from living by himself to having a wife and two pets in a matter of 2 months is pretty amazing.

I am thankful for their constant presence and funny little personalities, they are family.

I hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What's Up, Wednesday?!

I am finally in week 8 of my current classes!! I just have 2 forum responses and half of my final exam to finish and I'm done until next week when my final class begins. Woo! I am also trying to decide if I want to stick with my current plan of starting my Masters in October or put it off until January. Decisions, Decisions! Then there is the decision of finally going back to work (my goal is a school psychologist job) after finishing my Masters or going for my Doctorate (or both). Who would have thought that this girl would be interested in so much schooling haha.

Most of my nights look like this...lots of Chopped, lots of tea, and lots of school. I am ready for a break.

Lately I've been trying to find new recipes that I can incorporate into our daily lives, Kyle loves the Nature Valley Oatmeal breakfast bars and I decided to find a recipe to make our own. I found this recipe and they are to die for (oh and healthy!).

On Monday for Memorial Day, I ran my miles for the Wear Blue Run To Remember foundation and it was really awesome, there is nothing quite like being outside and alone with your thoughts that lets you reflect like that. As I was running I realized that Fort Polk doesn't have a local meetup for Wear Blue. After I got home I realized just how much that bothered me so I got online and submitted an inquiry about starting one here. I can't wait to hear back because I know for certain it would get a lot of interest here.

The next few weeks for us are going to be busy, between our trip to New Orleans, having our niece and nephew for a week, our anniversary, and then block leave. It's going to be crazy but awesome!!

Hope you all have a great day!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Today we honor and remember all those that gave their lives in defense of this great country.

Honor and remember them in whatever way you feel, whether that is having a moment of silence or spending time with friends and family.

Today I will be honoring all those amazing heroes by committing 8.2 miles through the Wear Blue Run To Remember foundation. I know 8.2 miles sounds like an odd mileage but I am specifically running for all of the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division that did not come home. Kyle spent the majority of his career so far in that division and we knew soldiers that did not come home, CPT Ed Chaffin and SPC David Hickman.

If you want to commit miles you can still do so through tomorrow morning.

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Favorites!

It's time for another Friday Favorites! :) Here are some of my current favorite things.

1. Amazon Prime! I signed up for a 30 day trial and I'm obsessed now! I'm going to start purchasing household items like paper towels, toilet paper, etc through them and it's already proving to be much cheaper than Walmart.

2. These shorts from Old Navy! Seriously how cute are they?! I'm not normally a fan of patterns but these changed my mind.

3. Homemade Nutri-Grain Bars. I make them all the time and they are the perfect snack. recipe

4. The rainy weather we have been having, we have had a few good storms and it's nice to just sit back and watch the rain fall.

5. These new Essie colors!! I wanted some new colors for summer and these are perfect for me.

What are some of your favorite things lately?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Coaster Tutorial

I have to say that making coasters is one of my favorites things to do because you can use almost anything to create a design. Make sure you do this in a very well ventilated area, because the smell is strong. Here is what you will need:

Clear Casting Resin w/ Catalyst (I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby, it's the best one I have used)
Mold Release Spray
Molds (any shape will work but make sure they are okay to use with resin)
Measuring Cups and Stir Sticks
Your choice of design elements, for these I used scrapbook paper but you can use fake flowers, bottle caps, etc.

I traced the mold onto the scrapbook paper and cut it out.

Clean the molds and then spray with the mold release, let it dry and then repeat. Let it dry completely before starting.

Measure out 6 oz of resin (I would make 2 at a time)

Add approximately 20 drops of the catalyst and mix together

Pour 2 oz of resin into the prepared mold

Add your design element and pour an additional 1 oz of resin over top (if you use bottle caps or flowers they will shift so just use the stir stick to move them back into place)

Repeat the process with the remaining molds. Let them cure overnight before attempting to remove from the molds.

Once completely hardened they will be relatively easy to remove from the molds and they will look like this!

Have fun making them!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway! It was so amazing to see all of the support and comments regarding blogging. 

Congrats to the awesome Kait on winning the giveaway.

On a side note, thank you to everyone who encouraged me to walk in my graduation ceremony next year. It's definitely going to happen! :) 

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend Musings

Monday.....for once I don't mind that you have shown up again.

Can I just say how jealous I am seeing all of the graduation photos floating around social media! I graduate college in August and if I want to walk in a ceremony I have to wait until June 2016. If you were me would you walk in a ceremony 10 months after you graduate?! I would love to walk in the ceremony but I don't know if people would view it as pointless, then again I've never really cared what people think. ;) 

I have picked a few more races to run this year to include the Pensacola Half Marathon and Houston Half Marathon. I also FINALLY picked my next marathon...New Orleans Rock and Roll Marathon 2/28/2016! I can't wait!

The coasters I made came out perfect!!! It's amazing what you can do with casting resin, fake flowers and scrapbook paper. I'll be posting a tutorial later this week. :)

I spent most of the weekend watching the live showing of the Rock on the Range concert that was happening in Columbus, Ohio. I am in desperate need of a live concert haha! That is the only thing that sucks about living in a smaller town, most concerts are 2-3 hours away and during the week. Boo!

The other half of the weekend was spent writing papers that are due next week. I have a 7 page art analysis paper due on Sunday and it has me a little stressed out. I know I'll get it done but my heart really isn't into it. Oh well. I'm roughly 3 months away from graduating so I just need to push through and get it all done.

 Hope you all had a great weekend!

If you haven't entered my giveaway make sure you do! I'm announcing the winner tomorrow. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Life Lately

Not a whole lot has been going on in our neck of the woods lately but at the same time I feel like it has been busy. (Does that even make sense?! lol) Here is what's happening.

Our vacuum broke. :/ Thankfully Dyson's customer service was awesome and they paid to have it overnighted to their service center (because when you live in a ridiculously small town like we do there are no service centers near) and we should have it back in 7-10 days.

The weather lately has been beautiful! We have had a few nights of rain but otherwise there are no complaints from me at all. I will never get tired of this view.

I am finally getting back into crafting. This stuff will be turned into coasters today, I am making a set for my sister and I can't wait to see how they turn out!

This is pretty much how Emma and Kyle spend evenings haha...she loves being cuddle by him and he obviously isn't hating it either.

We finally decided to take a trip to New Orleans at the end of the month! Kyle has been once and I've never been so it will be fun to explore for a weekend. It will also give me a chance to scope out some fun stuff to do when my sister and I go in September.

After that trip I will head to Florida and pick up our niece and nephew! They always spend time with us during the summer and we can't wait to have them again. :) 

Hope you all have a great Thursday!!

PS: Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

1000th Post and A Giveaway!

I can't believe that this is my 1000th blog post! 

When I started this blog almost 7 years ago I never dreamed that it would turn into what is has or that anyone would be interested in what I had to say. I am grateful for all of you awesome blogger ladies (and a few gentleman) and what's even cooler is that some of you have become good friends.

To say thank you for all the support over the years I am hosting a giveaway, you can never go wrong with Target and Starbucks can you?! :) Can't wait to see who wins, I'll announce that next week.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great day, everyone!!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Another Weekend Gone

Saturday we ran the Contraband 5 miler, it's run in conjunction with the Contraband Days Pirate Festival. I was actually surprised that we were the only runners dressed in anything pirate related. There were a few pirates there from the festival and they wanted to take a picture with us, it was pretty cool!

The race started at 8am and the course ran along the Calcasieu River, it was stunning! The homes as well as the boat houses along the way were amazing. All of the boats had pirate flags flying in honor of the festival and there were a ton of people out cheering us on. The humidity was out of control that morning, 89% to be exact and running along the water didn't help either. 

One of my only complaints was that along the 5 mile course there was only 1 water point, not a good idea when it's so humid out.We were both soaking wet by the time we finished, however they had pizza and beer at the end so we were happy lol.

I still managed to gain a PR, it wasn't by much but hey I'll take it haha. We had a great time running this race and I'm sure we will participate next year as well.

My next race is a 5k this weekend but that will be run solo since Kyle will be working.

 We spent the rest of the weekend running errands and working on school, only 2 weeks left of these classes! Eeek!! :) Oh and some baking happened:

Chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache filling and peanut butter buttercream! YUM!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

PS: Come back tomorrow for a very special giveaway post!!! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Military Spouse Appreciation Day [Link-Up]

 Every Friday before Mother's Day since 1984 this day has been recognized at Military Spouse Appreciation Day. A day to recognizes the commitment that these individuals show to the military community and their servicemembers. The support you give your servicemember is amazing and always remember that you are an integral part of this crazy military world.

Amanda and I are so excited to host this link up today! We hope that you all enjoy getting to know fellow milspouses, this is such a wonderful community and I am always so proud to be a part of it! I have learned a lot in my 7 years and I know there is so much more to learn and so many more amazing people to meet.

 This link-up is simple just answer these questions and then add your link. 

//Tell us about yourself and your blog.

//What branch of military are you affiliated with?

//What is one thing you enjoy about the military lifestyle?

//What advice would you give other spouses who are new?

My name is Jen and welcome to my blog, Marathons and Dog Tags! I love my husband, my country, my fur-babies (Emma and Fishy), my family, and all things Disney. My husband Kyle is a Captain in the Army (just celebrated 8 years of service) and we have been married for 7 years, we have endured 2 deployments, and countless other separations. We currently call Fort Polk home but we have lived at Fort Bragg, Fort Huachuca, and Fort Bliss. I am an avid runner as well and as of last Saturday I have completed 45 races to include a full marathon. I love blogging and have met so many amazing people along this journey.

There is no denying that this life is difficult, there are challenges that come up but to be honest I would not change it for anything. I have made amazing friends and have had the opportunity to see places that I never would have otherwise. I have been able to volunteer with organizations and work with families and to me that is incredibly fulfilling. It really is hard to choose just one thing that I enjoy the most, it has been better than I ever expected it to be.

I would tell new spouses to embrace the journey. Don't dwell on the things that you cannot change because there will be things that are out of your control. Find something that you are passionate about, whether that be running, school, or volunteering. When you have something to focus on when your servicemember is gone it can make all the difference. Most off all, enjoy this life! It really is an amazing experience to include the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I hope you all have enjoyed the link-up! Amanda and I can't wait to see everyone's posts. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Fun Link-Up!

This Friday, May 8th, Amanda from Somewhere Over the Camo and I will be hosting a link-up for military spouses (or boyfriends/girlfriends/fiances) in honor of Military Spouses Appreciation Day! 

We are excited to be hosting this link-up and we have come up with a few questions for you all to answer.

The questions:

//Tell us about yourself and your blog.

//What branch of military are you affiliated with?

//What is one thing you enjoy about the military lifestyle?

//What advice would you give other spouses who are new?

Here is the button
Military Spouse Appreciation Day Link-Up

We hope you all will link-up with us on Friday!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Birthday, Kyle!

On this day 30 years ago my amazing husband, Kyle was born! I am so grateful that he has been a part of my life for the last 19 years (off and on but still lol).

He is kind, warm, loving, compassionate, hardworking, giving, and occasionally sarcastic. ;) I could not imagine spending my life with anyone but him. He is truly one of a kind.

Happy Birthday, Kyle! I love you more than you will ever know!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Small Victories

Saturday we had our 5th race of the year and it was a great one! It was a 5k sponsored by AUSA, we are so happy to support this organization because of all the support they give the military and their families.

It was a gorgeous morning, I think it was 68 degrees when it started and it was a loop through downtown Leesville. Once I hit the first mile I knew I was faster than normal and as I rounded the corner near the finish I realized that I was finally going to reach of goal of running a 5k in under 30 was 29:47.6 to be exact haha. To some people that would still seem slow but I have never been a fast runner and these are victories for me.

It was a well put together run and I can't wait to participate next year.

 We have races the next 2 weekends and I'm even considering running a half marathon at the end of the month called Hell's Hills. Sounds a little intimidating doesn't it?! Haha. 

We ended Saturday by hanging out with our friends that stopped to see us mid-PCS. It has been 3 years since we have seen them and it was awesome, plus we got to meet their son! It was fun to grill and play board games all night, just like old times!!

I hope you all had a great weekend!

PS: Stayed tuned for an announcement on Wednesday regarding an awesome Military Spouse Appreciation Day link-up that Amanda at Somewhere Over the Camo and I are hosting on Friday, May 8th!!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Being The Bad Guy

No matter where you live it is always possible that you will run into issues with neighbors. I have to say that we had been lucky for the most part, until yesterday.

One of our neighbors lets their dog sit outside and bark for at least an hour everyday. Usually we have overlooked it because they were let in once it got bad. However, yesterday the dog was out there from 7:30am until at least 1:30pm barking and howling. I couldn't even let Emma outside because he was trying to get underneath our fence. My next concern was this dog was outside in the heat with most likely no water (they have a lock on their gate so there was no way to get in). I felt bad for the dog being left outside like that and it wasn't his fault at all. The first thing we did was try to call our neighbor, Kyle called several times without any response. 

After getting no response from the neighbor, I called housing. It was a big waste of time! They basically said there was nothing they could do and proceeded to ask me if it was really a big deal that the dog was outside barking and to be careful because complaining could cause animosity with the neighbor. I told him I could care less about that! I was disappointed in the lack of help from the housing office and how they brushed off my concerns like they were nothing. I am pretty sure that no one wants to listen to a dog bark and howl for over 6 hours. My primary focuses were saving my sanity and helping that poor dog out.

Finally, our neighbor called Kyle back and sent someone to her house to let the dog back inside. He did let her know that we called housing when we could not get in contact with her. I am hopeful that the dog won't be left outside for hours on end anymore, fingers crossed!

What would you have done in this situation?

Have you ever had an issue with a neighbor and been forced to complain?