Monday, February 28, 2011
What do you think of programs like "Your Baby Can Read"?
Does it have merit? Do you believe it works? Or do you think it's a load of crap and a waste of time?
(Photo courtsey of ARMMAN01 on Flickr)
Sunday, February 27, 2011
2. I signed up for my second 5K today. It's called the Shamrock Run and is taking place in exactly 13 days. After being a bum and then going on vacation for 2 weeks, I obviously didn't run like I had been. I'm working on it and I hope by race day I'll be able to beat my last 5K time.
3. As a sidenote, I wanted to add that the purse that I posted about yesterday can only evidently be found on the Forever 21 European website. I apologize for any confusion on that. (Luckily I have an Italian friend who said she'd buy it for me)
4. It's raining here...again. I just hope it stops before next weekend. I'm supposed to go to Carnevale in Venice with my best Italian friend.
5. Sean and I were watching 16 & Pregnant earlier and I noticed something. Why are almost all the girls on that show so....white trashy? I really am not trying to offend anyone and I'll be the first to admit that I have family members that can be kind of redneck at times, but seriously? It's like every girl on there fits that stereotype. I just don't get it.
6. When I say I have the naughtiest dog ever, I mean it. While Sean and I were engrossed in Guitar Hero the other day, Boomer took it upon himself to eat my leftover steak. I only noticed it when I found A1 on my blanket.
7. I'm thinking about buying a web domain to host my blog on and in the future to host my photography. For those that have bought a domain, any suggestions?
Saturday, February 26, 2011
See this bag? It was love at first sight for me. Something about it just makes me want to order it right this very minute. Since I still have a giftcard to Forever 21 that I haven't used, I might just do that.
Old Navy has their first wave of swimwear out and I've already spotted a few suits that I like. I'm a huge lover of plaid and turquoise, so this suit was a natural pick for me.
Old Navy had dresses similiar to this a couple of years ago and I missed out on buying one. Luckily they are back again!
All I can say for this shirt is, "What were you thinking Old Navy?" Don't get me wrong, I love retro inspired prints, but the color just doesn't work for me or the print in this case. Not my cup of tea at all.
I really, really love capris. I envy girls that can wear them and wear them well. Something about my body shape just doesn't go well with capris, but a girl can dream. Right?
Also, thanks to everyone for the kind words and support yesterday. I really do appreciate it. And to those that asked if we have USAA renter's insurance, we do, so perhaps I'll give them a call and see if anything can be done.
Friday, February 25, 2011
As most of you know, Sean hurt his back while he was deployed and came back early from this deployment. So..the only stuff that got brought back to Italy was the stuff he was carrying with him. We got one box of stuff after the guys redeployed that had a few pieces of his equipment, a few books and about 10 movies. The guys assured him that they packed up the rest of his stuff and it would be coming back with the main shipment of stuff.
Fast forward to today and he tells me nothing else made it back. NOTHING. That includes equipment, tons of DVDs (including a bunch he borrowed from me) a whole folder of PSP games, everything that people sent him in care packages and pictures I sent him of me and Boomer. It's all gone. GONE. Nobody seems to know where it is. I call B.S. on that. You can't tell me they just decided to leave his stuff there for the next unit, knowing he wasn't coming back. Besides...what happened to the guys saying they'd packed up his stuff. Where in the heck is it?!
I'm just so angry right now that I'm actually crying. I know it's just stuff, but we're lower enlisted living on one salary. We can't replace the personal stuff. It would probably be at least $300 plus to replace it.
I'm just done with today.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Weather aside, I enjoyed Amsterdam. I liked that the city was very English friendly, because let's be honest, I don't speak a word of Dutch. People were very friendly and helpful, which is always a plus. The downside was that Amsterdam was expensive. Food, accommodations, entertainment were all more expensive here then in most of the other cities we visited.
Speaking of accommodations, where we stayed in Amsterdam was probably the most unusual place we stayed on our trip. I picked a hostel that just happened to be on a houseboat. Overall, I liked it. The boat could have used some fresh paint and a little fixing up, but the staff was nice, our bed was super comfortable and the breakfast was great.
The view inside our room. Note Sean under the bed turning down the radiator.
The first day we were there we walked around to get a feel for the city and what it was like. There were two main things I wanted to see while we were in Amsterdam: The Anne Frank House and the Van Gough Museum. The first day, while walking through the Jordaan neighborhood, we decided to stop at the Anne Frank House.
One of the sights on our walk to the Anne Frank House. Notice the really skinny house in the middle!
Outside the Anne Frank House. Of course, no pictures were allowed in the museum, which I always find a bit disappointing. However, I really recommend going there if you are ever in Amsterdam. I found it to be very moving and seeing Anne's diary was just incredible.
I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this. Although as a small child I might have been frightened.
Of course, being in Amsterdam Sean had to have Heineken.
I have to say that being in Amsterdam and smelling marijuana everytime I passed a coffeshop was an interesting experience. It seems though as if you are going to make it legal then you should follow their lead. I never felt unsafe while I was in Amsterdam, of course I didn't go looking for trouble either.
Another canal shot on our walk around Amsterdam.
This was the view from outside our boat. Gorgeous!
The second day we were in Amsterdam I wanted to go check out the flower market and we decided on the Van Gough museum. I was a bit sad that it's not quite time for tulips, so I missed out on seeing a lot of those, but there were a few and I loved seeing the wooden shoes.
I wanted a pair, but they wouldn't fit in my suitcase.
I did get treated to seeing a few flowers while I was at the market.
I looked for this all over and finally found it on the way to the Van Gough Museum. (I am aware the m is a bit cut off, I have yet to stich this photo with another to complete it. Bad photographer, I know!)
The Van Gough Museum was great. One of my favorite art museums I've been in. I'm not sure Sean was impressed, but I was. It was amazing to see the painting Sunflowers in person and to see some of his lesser known work. The museum was a bit pricey, but worth it in my opinion.
I'd never seen this painting before, but it was Sean's favorite and I have to admit it's a bit intriguing. ( I didn't take this picture, I found it from google search)
If you're ever in Amsterdam, stop at a care and get a toastie. We had a basic ham and cheese toastie and it was awesome. Best sandwich of the trip. Other cuisine we enjoyed while we were there was Thai food and one night I also had falafel at a local place. I enjoyed the mix of different food cultures.
See all the bikes on the bridge? I've never seen so many bikes in one city in my life. Seriously, they were everywhere. A lot of them also had extra toys on top so you could identify them, or little wheelbarrow looking attachments on the front, for your kids, groceries, etc.
Hope you enjoyed the recap!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I've been inspired by a few other bloggers out there that have recently done a VLOG or have been talking about it. I thought after 3.5 years of blogging that it was time I did one too.
I apologize for the sound quality, you might have to turn it way up. My webcam doesn't have the greatest sound recording.
Monday, February 21, 2011
I did well eating Paleo until the last week and then because I was sick I decided to be a big baby and only eat Paleo for breakfast and supper.
I felt much better eating Paleo. No bloating, no stomach cramps.
More energy for my workouts and day to day
For the most part I like what my food options are: veggies, nuts, meats, some fruit
I found out I LOVE almond butter, it's just expensive
The first few days I craved sugar hardcore. Even though I thought I didn't normally eat that much sugar, it was quite apparent that I really missed it once it was gone.
Not eating dairy or pasta. Living in Italy and not eating pasta was quite frankly, hard. The last few months I've been drinking raw milk and I craved that a lot too.
Eating paleo here was a bit expensive and also I felt like I didn't have access to some of the fats/meats that I would have access to in the States. Kind of a bummer.
On my vacation I didn't eat Paleo at all and I haven't since I got back. I thought once I was done with it, that I'd probably never eat that way again, but the last few days I've been thinking about going back on it. I think for me there will be a few exceptions though. There are those out there that do eat some dairy with their Paleo lifestyle and things that I like, such as kefir and raw milk are on the list of "Acceptable dairy". I've been favoriting Paleo websites the last few days and feel like I have a better array of recipes to choose from then I did before. I'm not saying I won't eat pasta or risotto or a Reeses Peanut Butter cup, but I think those things will be showing up in my eating habits a little less.
I'm not sure I'll ever eat 100% Paleo, but I can see the merits of eating that way and for now I think I'll go back to trying to stick with it.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Sean turns to me and says, "Is he really saying tonight I'm ****ing you?"
Ha! It was a bit unexpected, I'm not sure I've ever heard that particular word played on mainstream radio.
I have to admit, the song is really catchy and I'm a sucker for a good beat or anything that makes me want to dance, so I downloaded the edited version when we got back home. Then I went on a search for the video. Even the video is a bit....how should I say it? Scandalous.
Perhaps I think so because I'm just a sheltered girl from the Midwest, but Enrique's videos just seem to get a big more risque with each one.
Have you seen it? Do you like the song?
Friday, February 18, 2011
1.What is your favorite MilSpouse blog?
I read so many MilSpouse blogs that it's hard to just mention a few, but there are certain ones I check everyday. Sgt. and Mrs. Hub is one (and also happens to be the first blog I started reading) Jesstagirl and her Officer, Blonde Glambition, Just Another Day in Paradise.
2.What are your favorite perks about your s/o being deployed (we all know there are perks)?
I eat better and work-out more when Sean is gone, so a perk is that I'm healthier. I also get to watch things like Top Model and Jersey Shore instead of UFC fights and other sports crap.
3.How long did you date your
Well...we talked online and on the phone for 7 months, he came to see me for block leave and we got married two weeks later. For a more detailed account of the story, click here.
4.What do you think your
I think he'd do something in journalism, though I think he should write a book. He really has a gift with words.
5.If you could talk to the Secretary of (fill in your appropriate branch) what is one suggestion you would like to bring to their attention in order to improve the lives of military families?
Dear John McHugh, (Secretary of the Army)
I'd like to bring to your attention the issue of funding. I see so much waste in the Army and the military in general, why not put those wasted funds towards more money for college classes for soldiers, building a hospital here in Italy that will service all our needs so we don't have to continually go to Germany for any health issues or towards the improvement of the facilities on each post. The lack of parking at our small post is beyond ridiculous and I can't fathom why money doesn't go towards a parking garage, rather than making the headquarters building on post some new fancy columns?
Thursday, February 17, 2011
First of all, the hostel we stayed in was amazing. Probably my favorite place that we stayed on the trip. It's called Circus Hostel and was on the east side of Berlin, near most of the places we wanted to stay. It even had a bar in the basement with some great drink specials. The link to it is here.
A view of our room
The Hoff Shrine in the bar in our hostel. How awesome is that?!
The Reichstag (the parliament/government building in Berlin) Normally you can go up in the dome and the building itself, but it was closed off and no access was allowed while we were there.
This was a monument to political leaders that Hitler had killed while he was in power.
One of the few things we saw the first night we were in Berlin was the Brandenburg Gate. One of 14 original gates that used to surround the area. Usually in each city I go to I have one landmark that I really love taking pictures of and the Brandenburg Gate was my obsession in Berlin.
The next day we wanted to see what was left of the Berlin Wall, so we headed to Museum Mile, which features different artists work on a long stretch of the wall. It was very interesting to see all the different pieces of work.
Next up was Checkpoint Charlie, the infamous checkpoint between East and West Berlin. There's supposed to be a pretty good museum that is all about the checkpoint and methods people used to get over into West Berlin, but since it was kind of pricey, we opted not to go in.
In some parts of East Berlin they have kept the stoplights from the communist era. I think they are awesome!
We stopped in Fassbender and Rausch, the most awesome chocolate shop EVER! They have chocolate sculptures of the landmarks around Berlin and a chocolate volcano. Sean chose some chocolate covered nut bark and I got five truffles of various flavors. They were all amazing, though I think my favorite was pina colada.
Museum Island was also on our to-do list. Our two museum stops were the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum. The Pergamon has the Pergamon altar, pictured above and some other artifacts like the Gate of Ishtar. That was my favorite thing about the Pergamon Museum. The Neues Museum holds the famouse statue of Nefertiti. I have no pictures of that though, because they weren't allowed.
The Gate of Ishtar
Some of the Egyptian collection at the Neues Museum.
The last night we were in Berlin, we decided to eat at a Rick Steves recommendation for Georgian food. I've never had Georgian food, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was delicious. We shared a menu that came with about 5 courses and it was amazing. My favorite thing by far was cheese bread, but there were great soups, dumplings and lamb kebabs as well.
Overall I really enjoyed Berlin, the downfall was that it was super cold while we were there, but otherwise it was great. If you want to see more of my pics from Berlin, click here.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I have a ton of pictures (around 1500) and lots of stories about all the different places we visited.
Today Sean and I have been taking a much needed day of relaxation. I'm also enjoying hanging out with Boomer, I really missed him while we were gone!
Look for pictures and stories in the coming days/weeks!
Thanks again to all my wonderful guest bloggers, I really appreciate you filling in for me!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
I’m so glad that I’m getting to guest blog for one of my favorite bloggers. For a while I didn’t know what to write about. Then my husband asked me how many dual military blogs do I follow, and I realized that I’m the only one where both spouses are active duty. (Well, that I have found. I’m sure there are others out there.)
My husband and I get asked all the time what it is like to both serve in the same job. We are both Air Traffic Controllers, we are just in different facilities. I bet you all are wondering what that means.
Well let me explain; I work in the tower. Meaning my air space is 5 miles and I mostly clear aircraft to take off and land. My husband works in RAPCON (aka radar) and is in charge of 60 miles of airspace, and about 20+ aircraft at any given time. He tells them what altitudes to maintain, and makes sure they don’t hit each other. He easily has it harder.
When I was still a civilian, I was with a military man, and I can say that hands down being the military member is easier. It is hard work being the cheerleader, and supporter to things that sometimes make no sense to you whatsoever. I know… I’ve been there.
I guess that’s one of the best things about being married dual military, especially having the same job that we do. When I come home and have a full blown break down because I had a bad day on the sims, he understands. He isn’t just soothing me because that’s his husband duty, he is doing it because he fully gets it. We he comes home and says he had a set bust on sims, I know what that means and just how bad that is, without him going into a full explanation. When I come home and say “it was one of those days when I wish I was any other job but ours,” he knows that no other words need to be spoken.
We understand each other on a level not many people can. I understand the stress, and the pressure to never make a mistake. I also understand the sick drive it takes to do this job day after day, and in a twisted way, wanting to be good at it, and end up liking it. I also am fully aware of the mental toll it can take on both of us without any warning.
I am just as proud of my husband as any civilian wife is, maybe even more so. I understand the commitment, and need to serve, that pulled us both into the military life first hand. I know that no matter how much he loves me, he will turn around and walk proudly towards that plane that will carry him overseas to a war zone. He understands that I too, will do that same. I won’t complain about him being gone, or missing special days, because well, I signed on that dotted line too. Then I signed again when I decided to marry him.
It is a hard balance being dual military. We both are very career orientated. Sometimes we have to remember that as much as we love our jobs, as much as we want to be successful at them, none of that will matter if we don’t succeed in our marriage first. One of the highest divorce rates in the Air Force is Air Traffic Control; now make that two Air Traffic Controllers. We have a lot of odds stacked against us, but we both believe that true love, hard work, and dedication to each other can conquer anything.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
But I’m here today because it’s Valentine’s Day and I’d like to share my love story. This is a tale about a boy and a girl overcoming distance, time, and the military to be with each other.
Our story begins a few minutes after the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Day, 2006 when this random boy, Kenny, accidentally spilled a drink down my back. He and I ended up talking until the party dwindled down—several hours, at least. But when both of our sets of friends left, we parted ways without exchanging numbers. In fact the only thing I remember him telling me that night was that he was going to school in Arizona (I lived in New Mexico), and that he was in the Air Force (I was studying abroad in England at the time). This was before the days of Facebook, so we didn’t even know who our mutual friends were at the party. And with that, we went our separate ways.
So imagine my surprise when, exactly 11 months and twenty-six days later, I saw him at a bar in downtown Albuquerque. He was in town for the holidays, catching up with friends, and I was at the bar celebrating my friend’s bachelorette party. After talking, we realized we were both attending the same New Year’s Eve party a few days later. We left each other that night and promised we’d “keep an eye out for each other” at the party.
There were so many people at the party that Kenny and I didn’t actually find each other until after midnight, but it was just a few minutes after reconnecting that we shared our last, first kiss. We kept things simple and only talked via Facebook (which was still brand new) and texting for those first few months, and gradually upgraded to talking on the phone. In May 2007, I flew to Florida to meet him at Disney World. We hadn’t seen each other since New Year’s Eve, and let’s be honest: it was a party and we were both a little tipsy, so meeting him again was pretty nerve-wracking. Luckily, we completely hit it off. Not too shabby for a first date, right?
The next four years consisted of thousands of text messages, phone calls multiple times a day, chatting on the Internet, countless trips across the country, a deployment, and the hope of a future together.
Since my job was a little more flexible than his, I typically flew out on long weekends to see him, and he would drive the four hours (round trip) to pick me up from the airport. But back to my story…Two years ago today, I landed in Atlanta, ready to enjoy a weekend with my boyfriend—it had been two months since we saw each other. My flight was supposed to arrive on the 13th at 11:40 pm, but delays caused us to land around 1 am on Valentine’s Day. Kenny was there to pick me up, and we arrived home about 2 hours later; by 3:30 am we were sound asleep.
On Valentine's Day morning we woke up with the sun, just able to rest for a few hours. While I was in a sleepy daze, Kenny took the rings off my fingers and started fidgeting with them. This was nothing new; he would often take them off and twiddle them around, so I didn’t think anything of it, especially since he put them back on a few minutes later.
But then, as we were lying there, I felt his heart start to race. After a few more seconds of feeling his heart beating faster he whispered, “Will you marry me tomorrow?”
My initial reaction caused me to giggle and muster out, “No way! That’s too soon!”
Then he said, “Well, will you marry me in 2010?”
We had a running joke about getting married in 2012. Don't ask me how or when it started, but two thousand twelve became the "magic" year for us.
I giggled again and this time replied, “No. That's too far away."
After I shot him down again, I could feel his heart beating so fast that I thought it would beat out of his chest. Then, in a very soft and timid voice he asked, "Well, will you marry me sometime?"
This time I said, "Of course!" Getting married was always part of our plan.
Apparently “of course” wasn’t what he was looking for, because he grabbed my hand and said, "I'm serious. Will you marry me?” So I peeked at my hand, and instead of seeing the promise ring he made me a couple years earlier, I saw a gorgeous diamond ring.
Instead of giving him a response right away I started crying, laughing, and bobbing my head up in down in such a way that I hoped it resembled a “yes!” Finally, when I could breathe again and gave him a definite “affirmative,” he gave me the whole scoop about how he asked my mom and dad for my hand in marriage two months earlier!
I’m happy to report that we are six days shy of celebrating our first wedding anniversary. I thought I was happy and in love two years ago when he slipped the engagement ring on my finger, but the love and joy we share now is absolutely amazing. It’s so fantastic that we constantly make ourselves—and others—sick with how cute and lovey-dovey we are. But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Long story short, Valentine’s Day will always have a special place in my heart. Oh, sorry, was that too cheesy? Well if you’re still with me, hop on over to Jesstagirl and Her Officer (http://jessicalynnwrites.blogspot.com) for more sappy posts, pretty wedding pictures, and soon, tales from Italy!
Friday, February 11, 2011
I’m so pleased to be guest blogging for such a MilSpouse institution! I love Melissa’s blog and am honored to be here. I’m an army wife supporting my physician husband, OccDoc, during his first deployment to Afghanistan. My little slice of the interwebs is the annoyed army wife.
If you’ve never had me over to eat dinner you would probably never know I was a pescetarian. A pescetarian is kind of like a vegetarian but they eat fish. I’ve mentioned it on my blog, but for people who know me in real life (my blog is anonymous) they would never guess that about me.
Initially I went vegetarian right around my 22nd birthday about 9 years ago. People often wonder why I made such a drastic change to my eating habits, and by people I mean my family and close friends. They assume it was to take a stance on Animal Rights or due to an aversion to meat. Good guesses, people, but wrong. No, I made the decision just like I make all my important decisions; I woke up one morning and my gut told me.
Let me explain a bit. In grad school I lived in a cute little apartment with just me and my house bunnies, which was down the road from Sonic, a dining establishment my hometown never had. I love Sonic, especially their hamburgers, and I went there quite often for dinner being a busy grad student. One day I woke up and decided my life needed a change before my Sonic addiction had a more detrimental effect on my waist line, so a vegetarian was born on that day.
I started eating fish again about 4 years ago to fit in and to make dinners out with army folks a bit easier and less explaining for OccDoc to army folks about why I never ate anything at neighborhood BBQs when we lived on post. The army folks we knew just assumed I was some sort of weird hippie freak because I didn’t eat meat. Whatever.
Enough back story, here’s my point. Most people don’t know I’m vegetarian/pescetarian because I don’t like the way I’m sometimes treated after I tell someone. I have never, ever made a comment about anyone’s eating preferences, unless they were drowning their food in ketchup (because that’s gross). :) Even though I’ve never done it to others, some people feel it’s completely acceptable to hold steak in front of my face, cluck like a chicken, or tell me how delicious their bacon is (honestly, I don’t care how good your bacon is, I still don’t want any, and I really hope you don’t choke on it). I can’t believe people I barely know think it’s okay to tease me just because I load my plate with veggies instead of whatever was just burned on their grill. I've even had people be pissed at me because I won't just try a piece of meat because they're sure I'll like it. Seriously? Don't try to 'turn' a vegetarian, unless they're trying to 'turn' you. My husband is a glaring exception to this, he has never criticized my eating habits, and he eats vegetarian at home. Every once in awhile he asks to go to a steakhouse so he can have his fill of red meat, which I gladly go along with and order fish.
I’m not sure if the people who tease me had once met a vocal vegetarian who criticized their eating habits, but I don’t criticize the eating habits of others for one simple reason: RESPECT. I respect others’ beliefs and opinions. And I respect my own opinions and beliefs. I don’t try to convince people my religion, political views or eating habits are right for them – my beliefs are right for me. Some times when I hear someone forcing their ideals or beliefs on someone else I have to wonder ‘Who are they trying to convince? The other person? Or themselves?’
Food for thought…
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Valentine's Day is coming up, and I'm making my boyfriend, Shawn, a hardcover book filled with our travel photos. I'm using Blurb to create and print the book. I've spent so many hours looking at our travel pictures that I think I've decided on
One Year Anniversary, Windsor Ruins, MS, September 2006
Spring Break, New Orleans, March 2007
Saratoga Springs, NY, May 2008
Albany State Capitol Building, Albany, NY, May 2008
Brooklyn Bridge, New York, July 2008
Marble House, Newport, RI, December 2008
Church of Christian Scientists, Boston, May 2009
Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), Chicago, August 2010
Bahamas, October 2010
St Thomas, October 2010
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah, GA, December 2010
Lighthouse, Tybee Island, GA, December 2010
My boyfriend Shawn is in the Navy, and I have a job as an interior designer in Alabama. We don't get to see each other very often, so we make it count by traveling to interesting places. My favorite thing about traveling isn't the amazing food or exploring new places, it's being able to spend time with my best friend!