Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Graduation (a little early)


While I'm REALLY excited we're moving to Korea, I was a little bummed when I realized I would miss my college graduation. I finish my degree in December and I was supposed to walk in my college's May 2015 graduation.


Fort Campbell really came through for me on this occasion. They held a college graduation for students from any (accredited) school, getting any degree, who graduated or are graduating in 2014.
You go, Fort Campbell!

There were eighty of us from 22 different schools. The graduate section was a rainbow of caps and gowns and it was awesome. We were a mixture of soldiers, spouses, military children, and retired veterans. To be a part of a group of people that I know worked long, hard hours for years and years just to achieve this one goal... I honestly got goosebumps. All of us endure a lot of stress but on that day, Wilson theater was only filled with celebration and smiles. 

My mom and dad are both teachers and with it being their first week back to school, neither could make the trip down. But, I sent them this photo the morning of and I'm pretty sure they both got teary, probably my usually straight-faced stepdad too. 

Although my parents couldn't attend, I was so happy to have my sweet husband cheering for me in the audience. I definitely could have never made it to this day without his unwavering support and love.

They even held a reception for all of us afterwards. 
This cake had some weird cappuccino buttercream icing (so they claim) but honestly it tasted like coffee with whiskey in it. Fine with me! hehe

Good job Fort Campbell, do more things like this for families! We appreciate it more than you know. Sometimes when you are the spouse of a soldier (or if you are really familiar with military terms, "a dependent of the sponsor"), you feel like everything you do revolves around them. Everything is ultimately because of them and their career and your family's commitment to the military. Being a mom, same thing. Everything you do, is for your children. 

But this degree, this degree was for me.

So what if it was 6 years after I completed high school.
So what if some assignments were not my best work because I was up all night with a sick baby instead of studying.
So what if I didn't declare a major until 1.5 years in.
So what.

I did it. 
I'm doing it.

And as a result... children will learn what hard work can get you husband will breathe a little easier knowing I will someday have a career that can support our family too.
... my parents will be proud of me (I know you have always been, mom and dad!) 

As for my future plans, 
I'm going on to obtain my Bachelor's in Mathematics/Statistics.
After that I plan to become and actuary, but I'm open to other careers in the field.

Therefore I will not be offended if someone bought me this shirt...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

School Daze

"I am a mom of two preschool boys."
I feel like I just have to keep saying it, and eventually it will sink in.

Boy 2 started first. He had been talking about going to school for months. And then, as with everything in the Army, we had to sit through an an hour long orientation and fill out 15 pages of paperwork the week before he started. After that, he did not want to go back. Great. How do you convince a strong-willed three-year-old that school is awesome, and cool, and such a fun time?! 

You tell him three things:
1. There are snacks, every day without fail and you can even have two glasses of milk if you want!
2. They don't make you take a nap like mommy does.
3. They have lots of books and you get to color lots of pictures!

He wasn't totally convinced, but he had a good first day.

We are now in his second week and this morning he was ready with his backpack on 30 minutes before we had to leave. He has the same teachers Boy 1 had last year and I'm so thankful for them! He and Ms. Haley have already created a special bond and as a parent I couldn't ask for anything better than that.

Boy 1 started Pre-K this week. This is his third year of preschool (he has a late birthday) but this is his first at the elementary school and his first time riding a school bus. Boy 1 has always been a worrier. He's the one keeping the other kids out of the street and always wondering if we are going the right way to get home. 

The soldier and I have been trying to "talk up" school for a while and it seemed to be working. T-minus 20 minutes til bus time and he smiled so big for my all my ridiculous photos.

Then it was time to get in line for the bus. I kissed his head, guided him to his spot and started to back up a little and he squeezed my hand and looked at me in a way that said "Mom, do NOT let go"

Of course I tried to keep it together, and I was totally cool as a cucumber until he turned around and gave me this look. 

"ABORT,  I REPEAT ABORT MISSON! Nevermind! YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO! You can just stay home with me until your 18!" I wanted to say all that so bad. 

My heart was screaming, but thank goodness for the soldier. He held me tight and our brave, brave boy got on the bus and went to school. 

He still gets nervous and most days doesn't really want to go to school, but I just keep telling myself it'll get easier for him with time and routine. He does love that they feed him breakfast.

He is brave.
He is strong.
He is smart.
And he is such a joy to have in my life, time to share him a little.

Both boys go to school half day (mornings). Boy 1 is 5 days a week and Boy 2 is 3 days a week. Today, while they were at school, I went to the gym and it was awesome. I miss my boys and sometimes feel a little lost in a quiet house. But, I am looking forward to a little me time and they are thriving and happy and learning new things every day. That can never be a bad thing!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kate and the boys go to Korea

We've known about these orders for a while. But as of today, the boys and I have officially been approved to accompany the soldier to Korea! 

When the text came through a few months ago, "Babe, I have an assignment, it's Korea"
I just said "Okay"
and then I said "Okay"
and then I said "Holy Crap... Korea.... OKAY!"

Then the panic set in,
It wasn't "What if I get lost in a foreign country?"
It wasn't "What if I get homesick and miss my family?"
It wasn't even "What if they make me eat KIMCHI!" 
*which is fried pickled cabbage for those of you not familiar with Korean ridiculousness.

I constantly started to worry...
"What if the Army doesn't let me go with him?"

It's been about three months and that worry is finally over. 
I can't even begin to explain the relief I feel. 

We will not be separated for a year.

and we will get to experience an amazing culture together and give our boys this amazing experience.

The details will all be worked out in the next few months but it looks like we will be heading that way around January/February 2015 and the tour will be for 2 years. 

I do, however, know that we'll be living in Seoul (the capital of Korea).

This city is bigger than NYC and most likely, this little country bumpkin family of mine will be calling a big city high-rise apartment home for a while. Crazy. 

Some military families dread orders to Korea, but I can say that we are honestly so excited!
 This is one of the reasons we love military life. 

We can't wait to arrive in the land of the morning calm. Hopefully they welcome us with open arms. and is it too much to ask for a place a girl can get a good american burger and beer? (: Thank goodness for the commissary.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wedding Weekend

Usually you'll find us lounging around doing little things around the house or at the farmer's market on the weekends; we like to spend our down time just being together as a family enjoying each other. This weekend we got to be a part of something even better, celebrating the marriage of my cousin, Hannah, and her new husband, John.

The boys have been waiting weeks to step out in their fancy clothes and carry out their very important job. I was skeptical as to how things would go (they are 2 and 3 year old boys, you never know when a nose might get picked, or a dirt fight might ensue). But, they made this mama proud. Boogers and dirt stayed where they belong. They walked with my sister Avery, who was the flower girl, and made lots of people smile. Who can resist two blonde boys in suspenders and bow ties, honestly? 

(Best picture I have of both of them in their "fancy clothes" is from a few weeks ago when we tried them on, I still can't get over the cuteness..)

Jonah said "hi mom" and "hi nan" as they were walking to their spot and Jack just looked around aimlessly (so "Jack" of him). Jonah took a seat with daddy during the rest of the ceremony, standing still and being quiet isn't really his thing. After the ceremony, the whole wedding party lined up to greet the guests and shake their hands. In true Jack style, he opted to give everyone a high five instead. 

Hannah and John decided to have the ceremony and reception at Hannah's dad's house. Such a gorgeous place. They live on top of a hill that overlooks all of our hometown in Southern Ohio. The view is amazing from that deck we're all standing on in the first photo. It was such a good day, everything went so smoothly. Hannah was absolutely gorgeous, she and John were all googlely-eyed and each other the entire time. You know, the kind of love that's contagious and you can't help but smile. I loved it, I just love seeing her so happy. She so deserves that.

(One of my favorite photos of them. If you are around Chillicothe, Ohio and in need of a photog, Nancy Harris did a wonderful job)

My sweet husband and I. I can't believe we've been married almost FIVE years. My, how time flies.

Hannah and John,
I wish you all the happiness in the world. Marriage is such a big adventure. There will be times you will want to rip each others' heads off. Totally normal. I've always though arguing with your mate is totally fine, as long as you arguing to move towards a solution. My advice to you would be to never stop learning about each other, surprise each other often, and always remember your wedding day and how you felt that day.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Eat Healthy. Be Healthy.

This cute, little graphic is the lock screen on my phone. Every time I look at it, it makes me happy. It's a constant reminder of the journey I'm on to a better me. I want to be healthy, and something as simple as this little slice of watermelon is helping me get there.

I decided on May 12th (Mother's Day) of this year that I was done being lazy, overweight, and sick all the time. I didn't really tell anyone about my decision because I was nervous about failing and everyone knowing about it. I told my husband and I told my friend Nicole.. and that was about it.

Since then I've been eating better, way better. (Although anything would have been an improvement from my previous diet, that's for sure. The first month was the hardest. It was so easy to fall back into bad habits. In the past I have used food for comfort, so naturally in those first few weeks when I would get upset about something I would immediately look to food (mostly carbs, my weakness) to "cheer me up." After a few times of that, and then waking up the next morning feeling like crap (both physically and mentally), I started to turn to other things to cheer me up instead. Like the gym, playing with my boys, reading, etc. My biggest obstacle so far with my diet is my craving for late night snacks. I always want BAD food right before bed. It's probably just out of habit, but man... so tempting. I've allowed myself popcorn before bed if I'm still really hungry (YOLO, haha, but that's even slowly being cut out. My most favorite part of my changing diet has been adding in a protein shake after my morning workout. I like to use chocolate protein and mix it with unsweetened almond milk, YUM. Tastes a lot like chocolate milk, just better for you.

I have learned to love my "me" time at the gym in the morning. I usually do 30-45 minutes on the elliptical while listening to music, usually my 90's station. The Price is Right is usually on one of the TVs while I'm in there, so I also like to mentally tell the contestants how wrong they are between my high intervals. I have good memories of watching "Come on down" (what I called it as a child) with my grandma while my parents were at work. Every day, she would bring me an oatmeal cream pie, mmmm. Funny that now, 20 years later, I'm watching the show from an elliptical burning off 300 calories rather than eating them. 

After cardio, I do weights/strength training. I know a lot of girls that don't like weight training, they are afraid it will make them "buff." I like the way I feel after lifting. Stronger, healthier, it rocks. I like seeing the changes in my muscles. I like becoming stronger, being able to lift more weight every week or hold it for longer. I know if I cut out the weight training and just did cardio for 90 minutes every day, the pounds would drop way faster. But, I'm not in this just to get skinny, I'm doing this to get fit, strong, and healthy. 

Today, I'm at 27 pounds down. Still, a very long way to go, but sometimes we need to be reminded of how far we've come already (especially on weight loss journeys). 

That picture on the left is so hard for me to look at. That wasn't even my highest weight either. I'm not ready to reveal what my starting weight was back in May, but it was my highest weight ever and I'm never going back there. For now I can tell you that my ultimate goal is to lose a total of 100 pounds. I can also tell you that my first "big" goal is to be below 200 pounds and I'm still not there yet, almost though (: When I do get there I will be rewarding myself with a new tattoo. 
The jeans I'm wearing on the right are two sizes smaller than I wore 3 months ago, and yes.. maybe I was showing off my new boots (: 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Reintegration: the first 3 months

Did I really leave all of you hanging on the eve of our homecoming.. oops! muaaaahhhaahaaa. 

I kid, I kid. 
Homecoming happened right before Easter, and it was wonderful, amazing, beautiful, and made me feel like I was gonna throw up.. all at the same time.
Best feeling ever. Hands down.

Since that day, we've been busy. 

Jeff and I are both full time college students. He's majoring in pre-nursing, me .. well I'm still deciding (: 
We spend most our nights at the kitchen table, laptop next to laptop, spewing cuss words as we navigate math problems. Popcorn and coffee often fuel our "homework dates" and we cherish the nights we can move our wild and crazy party over to the couch and watch an episode of "Rules of Engagement" (our new fav show). 

Other than studying our life away, we've been up to a few fun things as well. 

I did the Color Run in Nashville with my mom and sister, so much fun!

We often spend our Saturday mornings at the farmer's market and we always look for local festivals and fairs to explore.

Jeff and I got to spend a night at the gorgeous Opryland Hotel Resort in Nashville for the Rakkasan ball. If you haven't been... put it on your bucket list now. It's so beautiful. and HUGE! It's like it's own little town, and who doesn't like to get dressed up and fancy for a night with their husband? (:

We recently spent Jeff's post-deployment 2-week leave in Ohio visiting and reconnecting with family and friends. We took the boys to see some good hometown baseball at the Chillicothe Paints game, we went to a waterpark and had a blast, and we had the chance to see so many people we have been missing! The boys were smothered with love (as it should be) and Jeff and I enjoyed the change of pace. 

Also, my husband turned into a caveman.

Hehe. Of course that animal on his face is gone now, as he went back to work today.. but he was lovin' it for a while!

As a family, we have made the choice to commit to a healthier lifestyle. We joined the YMCA here and I have been working my butt off in the gym to get healthy! Our diet consists of mostly lean meats and veggies, some whole grain carbs, fruits, and lots of water! Of course we have our cheat meals, but setting this example for our children is important to us. Jack and Jonah have done so wonderful with this change as well, Jack has recently started asking for almond milk over cow's milk and Jeff is drinking it too! 

The only place I really notice a difference so far is in how my jeans fit. They are so loose on my thighs and almost falling off! It's a good thing right?! I have lost 20 pounds and quite a few inches since May and I have no intention of looking back. I recently ordered a new bathing suit, and for the first time, I feel sort of comfortable wearing it, that's huge for me!

Hope y'all are just as well as ever! and just because.. two updated pictures of my boys (: Jack will be 4 soon, and Jonah just turned 2.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 194: The Eve

We've been busy busy busy around here for the past week. My to do list has been a page long almost every day.

#1 Get yourself put together, woman - by this I mean, I'd like to NOT look like I've spent the past few months struggling to have the time just to brush my hair in the mornings. Last week I treated myself to a pedicure with my BFF and later she touched up my hair for me and got rid of my skunk stripe.

#2 Buy the perfect outfit - I spent all day Saturday looking for a new outfit to make my soldier move just a little bit faster to get home.. if you know what I mean. Anyone that knows me knows I really don't enjoy shopping, actually I loathe it. Turns out, hating shopping makes you a sucky shopper. T-minus one hour until I had to pick up the monsters from child care and once again my BFF swooped in to save the day. She found me a shirt I ended up loving in 15 minutes. Seriously, I don't know how she does that. 

Let's just stop here and say... a good BFF during deployment is necessary. Go find you one, seriously. 

#3 - Buy your child a new mattress to be delivered immediately because he ruined his - Say What?? You heard me. Jack SOAKED his mattress in water, and somehow I missed it until days later when it started to stink. Sneaky snake, that one. Anyways, 3 days before the soldier is due home and Jack was sleeping in my bed. Um, yeah.. I love my kid but mommy and daddy don't want you in the middle ALL the time (; A trip to the PX and $300 later and the mischievous one got a new mattress delivered today (and they even hauled away the old one, I didn't even have to touch it).  

#4 Find a phone to use until your eligible for an upgrade next month because of course you busted your screen in the only week that it's important you have a working phone. - Self explanatory.

#5 Clean, clean, clean - My fellow milspouses will probably agree... you just always want your house to be spotless when they get home. Forget the fact that a month ago, he probably wouldn't have even recognized it with all the slacking you've been doing. He's going to come home to a perfect home, and yes.. you are totally going to let him believe you've kept it that clean the WHOLE deployment. And he's going to be so proud. (:

#6 Hurry up and do all those things you said you'd do while he was gone - only we don't have time for that, so really we'll just justify why we didn't do them ... moving along..

#7 Try to ignore the nervous feeling - Sometimes it's a good nervous, you just can't wait to see him, and hold him. Sometimes it's a scary, intimidating nervous .. "What if he isn't attracted to me anymore?" "What if the kids don't accept him right away?" "What if dinosaurs come back to life and RUIN EVERYTHING".. Okay maybe not that last one, but we (milspouses) are so emotional before a homecoming, we like to sabotage our happy feelings.

#8 Explain to your toddlers what is going to happen - Jack's questions consisted of "Is daddy going to sleep here?", "Can I ride in his airplane?", and "Can we mark 5 days off today?". Jonah still just screams "DADDDDDDY!" constantly and dances every time I'm on the phone. So, maybe they don't totally understand.. it's a work in progress.

#9 Keep busy to make time go faster - Absolutely NOT a problem in this house. 

#10 Stay sane through this roller coaster and