Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Military Moments: Basic Training Graduation

Today, I'm skipping the Blogtember Challenge. I'm very happy with how consistent I've been, and today there is a different link-up I want to participate in. It's called Military Moments, and today is the very first one! 

You can check out the schedule for the link-up in this post by All Things Life and Air Force Wife.

Today's Topic: Basic training graduation stories. 

Since Dan didn't have an actual graduation from basic training at the Air Force Academy, I am going to instead share all about his basic training itself at the Academy. It was his THIRD and FINAL basic training, THANK GOODNESS. 

See, he was enlisted in the Army before. He went to basic training at Ft. Benning, but that was before we met. Then, he switched over the the Air National Guard (no basic training then). And then he went to the USAFA Prep School (which has its own basic training). And finally he went to the Air Force Academy, which again has its own basic training. I added it up, and my poor husband has spent 18 weeks in basic training all together... over three separate occasions. 

• • • FYI: Yes, I was living in Colorado Springs while Dan was going through this basic training, and yes, he was only about 10 miles from me. That said, I couldn't talk to him. Yes, there are close-up pictures of him, but those are taken by a photographer who is allowed in to capture the process. He then posts the photos every night on his website, and I spent hours going through them looking for Dan. Yes, I was able to go watch the noon meal formation most days, but it was from afar, and no, I never got to talk to Dan. • • •

These are all of my letters from Dan, and the box next to it is a scrapbooking box that I bought at Hobby Lobby and decorated with little little jewels and a wooden koala bear (we call each other "koala"). I store all of Dan's letters to me in that box! 

As soon as Dan left for BCT, I decided I needed to make a sign to hold up for him. I knew I would be going to the Cadet Chapel wall to watch the noon lunch formation each day (to sneak small glimpses of my handsome Basic Cadet), and I wanted him to know I was there so he would feel the love and support. He definitely noticed me, and I tried to make the sign discreet so he wouldn't get in trouble. I wrote: "I love you, Lovemuffin" in code, and while it worked for a little while, his squadron was calling him Cadet Lovemuffin by the end of the year -- oops! 

It was a long six weeks, but it was also a nice time to learn how strong I am as a person. I was so happy for BCT to officially be over that year, but the experience was far better than his Prep School BMT (for me, anyway!), and it was a great learning experience. Although we had been together for a year and a half at the time, it was my first time experiencing it up close and personal. 

Thank you, WebGuy, for the following pictures:

WebGuy captured me standing at the Chapel Wall with my sign! :)

Cheering Dan on from afar!

While I am so glad that part of Dan's career is over with, it wasn't the end of the world. I'm not looking forward to Dan's future training away from home or his deployments, but at least I know I will be able to handle them. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

5 Things to Do in Dayton, OH

September 23rd Prompt: A guide to your city! Share some of the hot-spots and hidden gems of where you live.

This one is a toughie since I have only been living here for two months... and much of that has been a blur with a spontaneous last minute trip to Washington DC, a week home in Kansas City, a weekend away in Denver for a wedding, and another weekend camping in another part of Ohio. It feels like I have barely even been here! BUT I tried my best to come up with some fun things I have already done.


1. National Museum of the US Air Force - it's huge, it's full of planes, and it's FREE... what's not to love?

2. Riverscape MetroPark - it's outdoors, it's pretty, and you can do lots of activities there! You can walk, run, bike, swing, people-watch, paddle-board, and more. It's a fun place to hang out with a view of the river AND the city!

3. 2nd Street Market - it's a farmer's market where you can buy fresh produce, but it's ALSO a venue for unique foods. People have booths inside (and sometimes outside, too) where they sell the food they make, including Thai and Colombian (and more!). It's fun, and it is what you make it!

4. Taylorsville MetroPark - There are SEVERAL metroparks to choose from in Dayton, but this one is our favorite so far. You can bike/walk/run on the North County Trail, which eventually runs through seven states and is the longest continuous trail in the entire country! It's nice, it's not crowded, and there are lots of fun pieces of nature to observe while out and about.

5. Dayton Festivals - seriously, there is at least one festival every single weekend! There have been so many since we got here. I have only been to the Greek one so far, but I plan on checking out a couple more this weekend when a friend visits! Dan went to the Beer Festival and loved it, so it seems like they're all great!

It's nice having so much to do for so little. We thought we were going to run into major problems when moving here from Colorado Springs, CO (where there is SO much to do), but each location is what you make it, and we've really enjoyed Dayton, Ohio so far!

What are your favorite things to do where you live?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Blogs I Follow {Blogtember Challenge}

September 22nd Prompt: Introduce us to five blogs you read on the regular, and tell us why!

Since I just did the Liebster Award where I gave a shout-out to blogs I read all the time, I wanted to take a different spin on this one. Instead of listing individual blogs, I just want to share an overall "who I read".

For the most part, I read other military spouse bloggers. It's fun to see different perspectives from all of the different branches, ranks, and parts of the world. I love it! I even follow some older USAFA grad wives, and that's nice too because many of them took the same career path Dan is planning on.

I do follow some others who I have randomly found along the way, though, who I don't know how to classify since they are all so different. I have thoroughly enjoyed "meeting" so many bloggers over the past two years, though. It's been a fun experience, and I can't wait to make this little blog even bigger!

What kinds of blogs do YOU follow?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fall Favorites {Blogtember Challenge}

September 21st Prompt: Fall favorites. What do you love most about this season?

Where do I even begin? I love everything about fall. Well, almost everything. I hate the allergies that come with fall, but deep down, underneath all of that Allegra, Sudafed, and Singulair,  I am a fall girl at heart. It is my favorite season, and I am so glad I have lived in an area that actually has a fall season each year of my life (Missouri, Colorado, and now Ohio). I'm not sure if we'll really get a true fall at our next base in Texas, so I'm going to live it up while I can!

As you can see, fall exploded in our house this past week. I printed some fall photographs and a free printable I found online. I added a wreath from Target and attached a small scarecrow to it. I bought a basket and filled it with fall colored leaves and a few gourds. And what fall ensemble would be complete without a pumpkin scented candle from Bath and Body Works, right? (My favorite is the vanilla pumpkin marshmallow!)

I also made oatmeal pumpkin cream pies for the AFIT Spouses Recipe Club, which was a blast again. I am so glad to have the opportunity to meet ladies who have been married into the military for just as long as me and for many, many years. It's great being able to share stories and learn from the ones who have been around longer.

In fall, I love:

  • the colors
  • the smells
  • the foods
  • the leaves
  • the crisp weather
  • the clothes
  • football season
  • the holidays
  • pumpkins
  • parties
  • giving thanks
  • the decorations
  • family time
  • a "new" season

What do YOU love about fall?