Monday, May 30, 2016

Celebrating Two Years of Marriage

Two whole years have flown by since the most magical day of my life. Sure, the day Annabelle was born can easily be deemed my "best day ever", but it certainly wasn't as pleasant as the day we proclaimed our love to each other with our own, unique vows (of which I totally messed up and   called Dan my wife instead of husband at the very end, prompting these epic photographs... first, Dan processed what I said... then, I gathered what I had done based on his face... oops! Sorry not sorry... that was typical Janelle, and our guests STILL bring that up all the time).

All joking aside, we had a fabulous day, despite the rain, because we were finally saying "I do" gathered by all of our family and closest friends, and it was just the most perfect day. And I promise I'm not laughing or looking horrified in every single wedding photo... here are my personal favorites from our big day!

Two years married have flown by. We have gone through a lot already, such as moving across the country twice and having a precious baby girl. It hasn't been all sunshine... marriage is a real trial. Living with someone else and staying in love is a very real struggle. We are both super stubborn, strong-willed people... so it's no wonder we argue when we both want our way. But I am so happy that our love for each other wins. 

I am still so thankful to be Lieutenant Lovemuffin's co-pilot in this crazy life.

We took our annual photo holding last year's photo, where we were holding a wedding photo. How's that for complicated?! But I love it!

You can see our first anniversary photo in front of our last home in Ohio here... I like the tradition we've started with posing in front of our current home each year because we all know we'll live in so many different places over the years! 

To read more about our awesome Colorado mountain wedding, check out this post - or just watch our wedding highlight video below! :)

I can't wait to see what this next year brings! 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Painted Mason Jar Photo Craft

When I realized Mothers' Day was quickly approaching last month, I knew I wanted to make a photo gift of some kind for my mom and my grandma that featured my little Annabelle. I searched and searched for the perfect idea... and when I stumbled upon this idea, I knew it was the one I'd be making.

(This is the original post I got the idea from! Thanks, Pinterest! She explains how to make it, so please refer back to her blog!)

Oh, and I loved it so much, I decided to make one for myself too!

Each person I was gifting to gave Annabelle an adorable outfit in her Easter basket. My mom gave her the pink and green dress, my grandma gave her the orange outfit, and I gave her the yellow    dress... so I quickly decided to take photos outside of her wearing each of the outfits to the mason jars unique.

Then, I decided to paint them all a different color to match the outfit she's wearing, and I picked coordinating colors for flowers. (They are fake flowers.)

I am extremely pleased with how they turned out and just had to share. 

Luckily, I was able to give these to my mom and grandma in person when they visited before Mothers' Day, so I didn't have to ship them. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ten Years Out

I'm really not sure how it's already been ten years since I finished high school, but it has. Time has flown.

In those ten years, I:

• lived on my own
• went to college and graduated
• joined a co-ed honor fraternity
• taught middle school for four years
• moved across the country by myself
• got engaged and married
• moved across the country two more times
• got pregnant and had a baby
• started my Etsy shop
• bought a house

... and probably countless more things that I forgot to include on this list!

And for nostalgic purposes... here are some photos from Raytown South High School Class of 2006 graduation!

How long have you been out of high school?

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Falls in Wichita Falls, TX

Something we love doing when we move to new places is checking out what the new digs has to offer that's different from everywhere else!

I know Wichita Falls itself has the word 'falls' in the name, but all I knew about this place was that it had recently been through a pretty bad drought. I had no idea there was actually a waterfall here.

Sure, it's manmade... but it's really neat! It's not running all the time, but luckily, we caught it on a perfect evening! You can see the falls from the highway, so after we finished dinner at the Club on base one Friday evening, we headed down there for a family walk. We had a lot of fun and even walked up the path to the top!

I'm glad we found something cool we can take visitors to see! Fun fact: Niagara Falls actually donated this, and we just went there in January!

Do you have a place you take visitors?

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Salvy Splash is Where It's At

If you know anything about me, you know that I'm from Kansas City (Missouri) and am proud of it! And that I love the sports teams from there - namely the Royals and Chiefs!

Well, after an amazing two years in a row in the World Series (a loss in 2014 followed by a victory in 2015!), the Royals have captured the hearts of many... and one player, known for his Gatorade baths after every win, had his time to shine with this epic billboard!

When I learned it would stay up longer than previously thought, I was stoked because we'd be able to go see it as we passed through KC during our PCS. It was seriously put in a spot for people to go take photo with it - awesome idea! 

We hd to get a little family photo and also a four generation photo. We take those every time we get a chance to! 

What is your favorite sports team?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Our Little Bookworm

As a former (and maybe someday again) language arts teacher, I have always been terrified that any child of mine would hate reading.

And for the first several months, Annabelle wanted nothing to do with books. She cried when we pulled one out to read to her, and she always squirmed away.

I was horrified. How could MY child not enjoy books? Her dad and I read all the time. Isn't this genetic? (ha!)

But all worries aside, we officially have a little bookworm now! She crawls up to her (overfilled) bookcase each day and pulls out books to chew on read. She has her favorites for sure, but I don't even mind reading them over and over again because at least she wants to be read to!

Adorable onesie from Line Liam Boutique!

Do you enjoy reading with your kids?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Traveling With a Baby: Packing Edition

We travel with our daughter. A lot. Over the months, I've perfected how to pack for her in the most efficient way. It's taken some trial and error, and sometimes I don't even follow my own directions because I'm trying to save a teeny bit of room in our bag. But I ALWAYS regret not doing it just like this. I'm here today to show you what I do - and really, it's so simple I shouldn't even be writing a blog post about it... but if I were new to traveling with a baby, I'd want to read this!

My little traveler herself! This is during our recent PCS (military move) across the country. I'm so glad she sleeps well in her Pack n Play, and aren't her little dino sheets the cutest?!

I start out by figuring out how many days we'll be away from home. Normally we have access to laundry somewhere on our trip, but for our PCS, I didn't want to chance it, so I packed enough outfits for as many days as we'd be gone - plus a couple because, well, babies. Her pajamas (just the little footie sleepers so far) are not pictured, but I keep them all together and just pull one out when needed. She usually sleeps in the same one two nights in a row when we travel. 

I lay out every outfit for the trip, and then I add matching socks/shoes when necessary and a matching bow for each outfit. The goal here is to do the work up front so it's easy peasy lemon squeezy when you're actually on the road. This way, I'm not spending precious time digging through all of her stuff to coordinate pieces, and she can still wear her adorable outfits.

Then, I fold or roll everything up into a small Ziploc baggie. I was able to fit entire outfits in these bags until she surpassed the 3+ month clothing. Then, I simply started using bigger bags.

While we are away, whether in a hotel or at a friend/family member's home, I can spend less time figuring out what Annabelle will wear by simply grabbing a Ziploc baggie out of our suitcase. It's so easy, and it allows Dan to dress her as well without throwing together a bunch of mismatched pieces. 

This is what I include in one bag - enough for an entire outfit.

*As a side note, I will say that we also go through a bib and burp cloth every day, but those don't fit in with the outfits if using small bags. To combat that, I also pack a Ziploc baggie of bibs and burp cloths, and each morning, I am able to just grab one of each item to place in the diaper bag so they are fresh. 

This may seem a little silly and wasteful to some, but we re-use the baggies for sure. You can save them for your next trip, use them for whatever else you want/need (even food!), or use them as makeshift wet bags in your diaper bag when there's an accidental diaper explosion.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Eight Months: Annabelle

It doesn't even seem possible that I'm already sharing Annabelle's eight month update with you, but... here I am. She actually celebrated eight months on the outside yesterday on Cinco de Mayo - how fun!

As you can see from this month's photo, she is one happy, smiley baby! She was so excited to smile at her daddy while I took her photos that she's pretty squinty-eyed... but I think it's adorable because I know that's a REAL smile! :)

Annabelle had a HUGE month! It was her first full month in Texas, and it will forever be remembered as the month that she did EVERYTHING! Okay, so not quite everything, but this girl started:

• sitting up all on her own
• crawling (and she's getting really fast!)
• pulling up to standing (she's getting more confident)
• talking (she says 'dad' while looking at him and cried "mum" for me - maybe she thinks she's British!
• and she finally has one tooth! It's on the bottom, and it's sharp, but we're so happy it's there!

Annabelle also spent lots of time playing in her room this month (because there's carpet in there...), went to her very first air show, met lots of new "uncles" (Dan's friends from the Academy who are also here for pilot training), went on her first play date (she does NOT know how to share), and got a visit from her Grammy and Great Meme!

I can't believe my next update will be at nine months! She will have been on the outside for the same amount of time she was on the inside at that point! Be on the looking for a comparison picture! :)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Military Spouse Appreciation Day Link-Up

Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, and I'm linking up with Amanda at Somewhere Over the Camo and Jen at Marathons and Dogtags for a fun get-to-know-you post! 

//Tell us about yourself and your blog. Hi, I'm Janelle! I'm a wife to Lieutenant Lovemuffin, also known as Dan. We have an eight month old daughter, Annabelle, and we recently moved to Wichita Falls, TX so he can go to pilot training. I used to teach 8th grade reading and writing before getting married and being whisked across the country. I love reading, writing, running (when I'm not injured), blogging, crafting, my cats, game shows, and all things Kansas City sports related. I also run an Etsy shop, named after my little girl: AnnaKate Paperie.

//What branch of military are you affiliated with? Air Force! But Lieutenant Lovemuffin originally enlisted in the Army nearly 10 years ago in June of 2006! He then transferred to the Air Guard and was training to become a B-2 Crew Chief when he received his acceptance to the US Air Force Academy in 2009. He graduated and commissioned from there in 2014, got his Master's degree in Applied Physics at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and is now ready to begin pilot training (ENJJPT) at Sheppard Air Force Base. 

//What is one thing you enjoy about the military lifestyle? I am not a big fan of the unknown, so a lot of aspects of military life aren't for me... but all the adventures we've been able to go on and will be able to go on in the future are pretty awesome and have definitely helped to break me out of my comfort zone. We've traveled via Space A twice now (and are planning a third trip VERY soon, so hopefully that works out!). I'd say Space A is a huge benefit. I've also made a few really great friends through this military lifestyle... not many, but hey - quality over quantity any day!

//What advice would you give other spouses who are new? Learn how to be alone comfortably. It took me a while to get the hang of being my own company, but I'm an expert at it now and sometimes crave it. It's a great skill that I'm happy to have acquired. Sometimes (okay, often times), you'll be alone as a military spouse, and it's no fun at all dwelling on the fact that you're missing your man. Also, go with the flow. It's easier said than done, I know. But it really will make you less crazy... and you know what they say: flexibility is the key to air power. ;-)

It's been fun linking up today, and I look forward to meeting some fellow military spouse bloggers who I haven't connected with before! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Our First Visitors in Texas

This past week, we had our very first visitors at our new home! My mom brought my grandma down to Texas for an early Mothers' Day gift! Annabelle was so excited to see her Grammy and Great Meme, and we all had a wonderful few days.

There's not too much going on here aside from restaurants and shopping, so we stayed in a lot (after eating lots of food, including a Mexican buffet, of course). It was nice to just go through our daily routine with company.

They even babysat for us on Thursday night, so Dan and I went mini golfing, hit the batting cages, played some arcade games, redeemed our tickets for candy (duh), and went to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. It was nice to get away for a few hours, and I know they enjoyed their time with sweet little Annabelle.

We'll see them again in just a month when I head to Kansas City for one of my best friend's baby shower! Dan won't be able to make it for that trip, so wish me luck, and send all of your 'traveling alone with a baby' advice my way! It'll be a road trip for us, not a flight.