Friday, April 28, 2017

Giving Back

Since I have made the decision to hold off on going back to work until E is school age, I've decided that I want to get back into volunteering. When we were at Bliss, I was heavily involved with our FRG (Family Readiness Group) as both a company FRG leader as well as the Battalion Senior Advisor. It was exhausting but so worth it. I opted to take time off while we were in Louisiana and I am glad I did, it was nice to just recharge. 

Kyle received his in-processing paperwork for school and in it were a variety of volunteer opportunities for me to consider while we are in Kansas. Don't get me wrong I absolutely love being home with E but Kyle reminded me that it's important for me to do something that I'm passionate about and volunteering for a few hours a week doesn't seem unreasonable.

One that I am considering being part of is the Parent Advisory Council for CYS (Child and Youth Services). This is a group that meets quarterly to discuss ways in which to enhance the youth programs offered as well as working on the Parent Participation Program which encourages parents to be active and volunteer within the program. With my background and desire to work in a field that relates to kids I figured this would be a great fit for me.

Another is being the secretary for the individual small group that my husband will be a part of. For ILE (or CGSC as it's also known as) there is the entire class of service members but they are also broken down into small groups. The spouses get together and plan events, essentially forming their own small FRG. 

However, there is one volunteer opportunity that I have been researching on my own for a while. I am looking into becoming a coach with Girls on the Run. It is an organization that works with girls (3rd-5th grade and 6th-8th grade) that utilizes a experience-based curriculum that encourages them to be healthy and confident, but the best part is that they also incorporate running. They have a chapter in the Leavenworth area and it sounds like it would be a perfect fit. I have reached out to the director and am waiting to hear back from her. 

I love volunteering and being able to give back to the community is a huge blessing. I know this year is going to be awesome for so many reasons. Between having more time together as a family and being able to volunteer, it's going to be wonderful. I want to teach E that it is important to give back, I hope I can lead by example for her.

Do you volunteer? If so, what do you do?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Weekend of Fun

We enjoyed another long weekend with Kyle, that is the one perk of his job. They are compensated with days off after a packed rotation training schedule. 

Friday was spent purging his military gear. OH MY GOSH! It's ridiculous how much nonsense they accumulate over the years. These 5 totes were filled with old uniforms and random pieces of gear. The Army came out with new uniforms last year and are in the process of phasing out the ACU pattern, during this purge Kyle got rid of 30 sets of uniforms. Yikes! It was definitely needed.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early to head off to a 5k in Deridder. E was ready to go in her cute Under Armour outfit. Kyle ran ahead of me with her in the stroller, I kept following his bright orange shirt, it gave me motivation. It was a great race, I wasn't feeling the best but still managed a 31 minute 5k.

Once we got home we focused on purging the garage, Kyle made a few trips to the dumpster and it feels good to be junk free. After we were finished we decided to go bowling and miniature golfing. It was such a fun family outing! I wore E while golfing and it was so awkward haha. Any time I bent over she just hung there, it was pretty funny.

Sunday was a recharge and relax day. I worked on our budget and meal plan for the week. These weekends always go by too fast.

Hope you all had a great one!

Monday, April 24, 2017

National Infertility Awareness Week

For a week in April every year is National Infertility Awareness Week. Did you know that 1 in 8 couples are dealing with the heartbreaking impact of infertility? This is a staggering number and more awareness needs to be out there for it. It should not be a taboo subject, it should be openly talked about and it shouldn't be something that brings shame.

I never imagined that Kyle and I would be one of those couples. We spent 7 years on an emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting journey. When you get married and plan to have children you never expect for that dream to take a long time. We never thought that we would be considered a statistic.

We spent years dealing with miscarriages, medications, new doctors, failed cycles, countless negative pregnancy tests, and overwhelming disappointment. It was absolutely devastating. It was not something that we ever expected to go through, it left us both questioning ourselves and it led to bouts of depression. It tested our marriage in more ways than I ever thought possible, it has not been an easy journey. 

We absolutely understand that we are HUGELY blessed to finally have our healthy baby girl but there are still so many out there who have not made it to this point and that breaks my heart. We have been lucky to have the amazing support and love from family and friends since day one but not everyone has that because they are still struggling in silence.

I will continue to do all I can to bring awareness to this important cause because we lived it for 7 years.

So I ask you all to listen to those you know are struggling with this, ask questions, and offer support in any way that you possibly can. Let them scream, cry, be silent, or be angry. Take them to dinner, bring them coffee, or just let them know that you are there for them. Understanding infertility and bringing awareness is absolutely critical. Let those who are struggling know that they are loved and that they are supported.

You all have been a part of our journey and you each have played a huge role in getting us to where we are today. Support means everything to those who are on this journey.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why We Let The Military Move Us

 For those affiliated with the military you are given a few move options when it comes to a PCS move (Permanent Change of Station). I consider us very lucky that we are given these resources.

~You can opt to the have the military move you completely.

~Partial DITY (Partial Do it Yourself), which means the military would move most of your stuff but you can load your vehicles with necessities and move those items. You will be paid accordingly for the weight you move. 

~Full DITY (Or as I call it, a move that there is simply not enough alcohol in the world to make me do). This is when you move all of your belongings to your new duty station (unless it's OCONUS). You have the potential to make a good amount of money this way but as of late those numbers have been going down. 

Kyle and I have always been in agreement, Partial DITY moves are the way to go. Of course everyone is different, but this has always worked for us. Since we are only 52 days away from move #4 I thought I would share why we choose the Partial DITY option.

* I have ZERO desire to pack my belongings. Kyle and I both are control freaks. We know that we each have our own ways of packing, it is bound to cause some sort of disagreement. I will prep some things before the packers arrive but that's it.

*I don't want to drive a uhaul and neither does he. I would rather someone else take on that responsibility. 

*As I said earlier some people focus on the money you can make on a full DITY move, but it has been slowly decreasing over the years. With a Partial you can still make a little bit and not have the stress.

*I don't want to have to worry about finding people to help load our stuff into a truck or off load it at our new home. 

*If we don't have a home at our new duty station secured prior to arriving, the military will put our belongings in storage free of charge for 90 days. This is a HUGE help.

*This may sound silly but the movers will come back and take all of the broken down boxes and packing paper when you are done. Yes please!

*The packers/movers are professionals and they know what they are doing. Of course, we have heard some horror stories about moving companies but they have been few and far between. We have never had more than a few small items broken. Heck, that could happen if we packed our stuff but we wouldn't be reimbursed for it.

*Now that we have E, packing would be incredibly difficult. I want our moves to be simple.

*I actually like the idea of living simply for a bit. Since we take household items with us like a coffeemaker, tv, air mattress, gaming system, camping chairs we are able to "camp out" until our stuff arrives. We have had to do that a few times and it's actually fun. With the addition of E, she will still have toys and her pack n play. 

As I said earlier everyone is different and some choose to move themselves. Do whatever makes sense for you and your family. Kyle and I would like to get through a move with our marriage intact haha.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Weekend 2017

How is the weekend already over?! Kyle had a long weekend so we headed down to Florida on Thursday night to enjoy a fun filled holiday.

Friday, we headed to my nephew's school for his class Easter egg hunt. It was adorable watching his kindergarten class get so excited to hunt for eggs and play.
That night the kids dyed eggs and it was so cute watching E being completely enamored by the dye. What you won't see a photo of is her grabbing one of the cups and getting red dye everywhere haha.  My sister had Kylie and Grayson try the whisk trick to dye the eggs and it was awesome!
Saturday, we loaded everyone up and headed to the beach in Destin! It was the first beach trip of season and it was so much fun. It was a bit windy but that didn't stop the kids from playing like crazy in the water. Of course, they always have Uncle Kyle throw them in the water. It was even more fun because it was E's first experience with the ocean. She was hesitant at first but she loved it. She kept trying to lick the salty air haha.

Afterwards we headed to lunch at Joe's Crab Shack and spent the rest of the day hanging out in the backyard enjoying the weather.
Easter morning Lisa, Kyle, and I got up and knocked out a 4.5 mile run before everyone else got up. It was nice to take advantage of the gorgeous weather.

We got back to the house and the egg hunting commenced. We hid plastic and real eggs, it was so fun watching the kids run around the yard searching for eggs. E got the hang of it and was grabbing for eggs, she of course loved being carried around.
That afternoon we had my sister's neighbors over for a BBQ and had a great time! We ended the evening by playing an Oregon Trail card game haha. It was so fun and I ended up dying from a snakebite lol.
I love seeing these 3 together! It makes my heart happy.

We had such an awesome time this weekend. Lots of laughs and good times. You can never go wrong with family, food, and fun!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My Therapy

4 years ago I started a journey that changed my life in more ways than I ever thought possible. Ever since Kyle and I got married he had begged me to go running with him, and I just didn't want to do it. It wasn't something that interested me because it just seemed so tedious. 

After we moved from North Carolina to Texas, I saw an advertisement for a mud run and I thought okay this sounds fun, let's do it. Well, that event changed everything for me. I realized that running wasn't boring and that I actually enjoyed it. I mean who wouldn't like running through muddy obstacles and ending up like this:

After that race, I started running on a regular basis and made it a point to take that time as a way to focus on me. It was free therapy and also a way for me to lose weight. I was still struggling with significant weight gain from fertility treatments and I had a horrible body image. It helped me lose 50 pounds and finally have confidence again.

Since that race 4 years ago, running has continued to be my therapy and it has allowed us to participate in some pretty amazing events. We have met some wonderful people along the way and it is such a supportive community. I never imagined that this one race would lead to 71 total races and thousands of miles.

I ran until I was 36 weeks pregnant with E and I always chuckled at the funny looks I got from people, but at the same time it made me feel pretty awesome. 

I have dealt with injuries and pain along the way but I have done my best to listen to my body and not push it when I need to rest. Dealing with my back problems earlier this year was difficult but I knew I had to just take it easy. 

I also realized how my body has changed after having E, including my feet (which is something no one ever told me lol). I have been a Saucony fan since I was fitted back in El Paso but my shoes were killing me. I got refitted yesterday and went with Brooks this time. It's important to invest in good shoes, I never realized how critical this is.

I love being able to lace up my shoes and zone out for a few miles. Some days I run solo, sometimes it's me and E, and sometimes we go on family runs.

I don't run with music so taking in all the sights and sounds is one of my favorite things. I have to be able to hear what is going on around me. I am so grateful that I found this outlet that has allowed me to just decompress and relax. It has changed me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I'm not the fastest runner but that's okay, speed has never been my overall goal.

What do you do to relax and recharge?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Never A Dull Moment

E and I arrived home from Florida yesterday and we had such a great time as usual. 

On Thursday afternoon, Lisa, Kylie, and I headed off to get manicures and pedicures in preparation for the concert. I have not had acrylics done in a long and I'm loving them! It's always fun to have a girls day, I can't wait to be able to include E in stuff like that.

Friday was the day our niece, Kylie, had been waiting for! We headed off to Birmingham and immediately hit a ton of traffic, go figure. A 3 1/2 hour drive turned into a 5 hour drive, but we made it and enjoyed dinner at The Cheesecake Factory beforehand. We arrived at the arena for the concert and we missed one of the opening bands which was fine with us but we got to see Misterwives who was really good (If any of you have seen the MTV show Finding Carter, they do the theme song). 

Panic! At The Disco! came on at around 8:45 and they were incredible! I was really impressed. Brendan Urie can definitely sing live and was a great showman. I like concerts with little talking and a lot of music, he delivered. Seeing Kylie so excited was the best, my sister and I were cracking up. She was singing at the top of her lungs and loving every second of her 1st concert. They played for about 90 minutes which was perfect to me. We had the best time!!! Definitely something I won't forget.

The rest of the time was spent relaxing, taking golf rides, going to Target, getting ice cream at my sister's neighbors shop, and just enjoying time together. 

I love having this time with my family! We will head back for Easter this weekend and this time Kyle gets to go. Woo! 

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Little Break

E and I traveled to Florida yesterday to spend time with my family. We were thankful to have missed the bad weather that was happening, it seemed that we stayed just a step behind it on the drive.

I'll be taking a few days off from blogging to enjoy the time with them! Today we have manicures/pedicures planned and tomorrow my sister and I are taking my niece to her first concert, we are going to be the 30+ ladies at a Panic! At The Disco concert haha. It's going to be a great time and I'm really looking forward to it. We wish Kyle could have joined us but we will all be back next weekend for Easter.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Family Fun

Let me tell you how nice it was to have Kyle finally home on a weekend. Being able to spend time together as a family is amazing. He was supposed to have Friday off but ended up having to jump for work (yes he jumps out of planes and helicopters for a living haha) which was okay because I had planned a fun day for Saturday.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to head up to Alexandria to get to the zoo right after it opened. It's not a huge zoo so it can fill up quickly, we got there about 15 minutes after they opened and we had a blast. E obviously doesn't quite understand things like this but it was so fun showing her all of the animals.

I happened to snap this photo of E with a couple of Cougars haha. It still makes me laugh.

The weather was gorgeous and we had the best time.

Afterwards to headed to grab lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings and E made her presence known with lots of squealing and throwing her mum mums on the floor lol.

We ran a few errands before heading home. I was able to knock out my first run in April (my sister and I are doing a 40 mile challenge this month) and relax the rest of the night.

Sunday morning was spent lounging around the house and eating homemade waffles for breakfast.

I went back up to Alex with a friend of mine and thankfully we were able to get back before the weather got really bad. A few tornadoes touched down and caused a lot of damage. We also experienced a lot of flooding and some homes lost power on post. Hopefully we don't have weather like this again for a while. It's really scary.

Kyle has today off and we plan to run a few more errands and hopefully make a trip to our favorite burger place. We are trying to go to all of our favorite places before the big move.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend!