Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Year Two (Cotton) Anniversary: The Gifts

Our second wedding anniversary was just a couple weeks ago, and I never got around to sharing the gifts we exchanged. I headed out of town for a week just after this, so I had already pre-written and scheduled my blog posts for that timeframe.

Better late than never, right?

We decided last year before our first anniversary to follow the traditional anniversary gift theme each year. Last year was paper, and I gave Dan a typed version of our wedding vows (that we wrote ourselves) to each other, and he gifted me (paper) tickets to see The Rolling Stones play at Arrowhead Stadium, which was a blast.

This year was cotton themed, and it was a little more difficult to decide what to give Dan. Unlike last year, I was preoccupied with a crazy baby, so I ordered his gift on Etsy from BeCoProductions.

It is a custom cross-stitch of one of our wedding photos. The seller was wonderful to work with and accommodated all of my special requests - like flipping our photo so we would be on the correct side with "Mr. and Mrs.", making sure some of my hair was showing even though it wasn't in the photo, and even adding Dan's tiny ribbons on his uniform. I am in LOVE with how this came out, and we have it hanging in our dining room now.

Dan got a little more creative with his gift, and he definitely does know me well. He decided we didn't need any more "stuff" in the house, so he rented a COTTON CANDY MACHINE for us. Guys, I am not even kidding. This man is a keeper! He knows the key to my heart for sure. I am obsessed with cotton candy, always wanting some at ball games and carnivals. He truly does know me. We had a blast making 45 (yes, 45!!!) things of cotton candy one night. We let Annabelle help for a while before her bedtime, but she looks cranky in the picture below because she was tired and mad that we wouldn't let her have any. Sorry, kid, but you of all people will NEVER need straight sugar. 

The cotton candy machine was such a fun surprise!! We had so much fun making it... and he rented it from Outdoor Recreation on base - how cool! I didn't even know they had them. 

Do you follow the traditional anniversary gifts with your spouse?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Military Wellness Initiative

Before I even get started, I just want to say that this is NOT a sponsored post; I just love this product already and think the gesture of this program is extraordinary. The wonderful people working for the Military Wellness Initiative do not even know me personally or know that I have this blog.

Anyway, have you military spouses heard of the Military Wellness Initiative? If not, they are doing a pilot program right now for all military personnel and their dependents in Texas (for the time being - it sounds like this is just the beginning of the road for this wonderful opportunity).

My husband received an email about the program, and we signed up right away. We received the UA Band from UnderArmour at NO COST to us at all. That's a $180 value (each), and we're pretty stoked about it. We each got one; we do not have to share... just to make that clear.

We also both received access to the UA Record app, where we can track our steps (synced automatically through the band), sleep, fitness, and even nutrition. I am really loving it already, and I won't lie: I've become one of THOSE people who tracks my steps now. I have never done this before because I knew I would become obsessive... but after having a baby and staying at home with her, I need a reason to get out an about a bit more and get moving!

This is the perfect solution. I'm able to take Annabelle with me on walks. The heat and humidity has been brutal here lately, but we're making do (and walking inside when we can).

If you have a step tracker (no matter what brand), how do you ensure you get your 10,000 daily steps in? My goal is set to 7,000 steps a day right now because I'm just starting out and still figuring out how to accomplish it while staying at home with Annabelle. I have hit my goal two days in a row, though, so I think I'm ready to step up my game (haha... pun intended).

If you are a military member or spouse living in Texas, check this out TODAY! This is the last day for the Military Wellness Initiative Pilot Program sign-up! You won't regret it!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Ten Years of Service and Still Lookin' Good

It's been a big week for my handsome husband, Lieutenant Lovemuffin. Earlier this week, he finally had his very first day of Air Force pilot training (and just a couple weeks ago, he promoted to First Lieutenant!)

Yesterday, however, was a big milestone for him. It marked exactly TEN YEARS since he first joined the US military. I don't say the US Air Force because he enlisted in the Army first, way back in 2006.

Dan was in between his junior and senior years of high school when he went to his very first basic training (of three because of USAFA) at Ft. Benning in Georgia.

Since his enlistment in the Army, he has played in the Army band, performed funeral honors for many veterans, transferred to the Air Guard, trained to become a B-2 Crew Chief, received acceptance to the Air Force Academy Preparatory School, earned the Top Science Student award, receive an appointment to the Air Force Academy, worked hard to earn a Bachelor's degree in Physics while competing on the flying team, commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, attended the Air Force Institute of Technology and earned a Master's degree in Applied Physics, and started pilot training to fulfill a long-held dream.

I'd say he's accomplished a lot in his ten years of service, but he is itching to finally REALLY get out there and serve his country instead of being in classes!

Really, I just thought he deserved a huge shout-out for all of the hard work he's put in over the past ten years! I love how selfless he is to defend our country, and I am so proud of all he has accomplished and all he will achieve for the rest of his career!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Taking Off on a New Journey: Pilot Training Has Begun!

Is my post title cheesy enough?! I sure hope so! Anyway, yesterday was my handsome husband's very first day of pilot training.

This is a huge accomplishment in and of itself because only so many people are picked for Air Force pilot training, let alone his program (ENJJPT), where they track to T-38s no matter what after T-6s, but he has worked SO hard for this.

You see, he enlisted in the Army ten years ago (more on that in the next post!), eventually switched the Air Force Guard, and was accepted to the Air Force Academy Prep School in 2009... where he earned his appointment to the Air Force Academy... and graduated from there and commissioned in 2014.

He has gone from a high school boy enlisted in the Army to a leader in the Air Force as an officer. He promoted just over a week ago, and now all of his hoping, wishing, praying, and flat out HARD FREAKING WORK is coming to fruition.

He is FINALLY where he wanted to be all along.

He is FINALLY in pilot training.

Sure, the days (and weeks and months) are going to be long and like nothing we've experienced before... but this is the realization of a dream, and I couldn't be prouder of my husband. He has earned this, and he is going to do so well. He always does. He sets his mind on something, and he accomplishes it.

I am so excited to be his figurative co-pilot on this new and exciting journey!

PS - I had to share this picture of Annabelle since this onesie FINALLY fits... and it matches our whole pilot theme here. This is the onesie I gave Dan when I told him he was going to be a dad... way back on January 1st, 2015. She is nine months old and finally fits into it! And she's on her daddy's airplane blanket playing with her stuffed Air Force One and Spruce Goose planes.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Nine Months: Annabelle

My sweet baby girl is 75% of one year old. How is time passing so quickly? It's crazy to think that it'a already June... it's the beginning of summer, and I so keenly remember going into last summer knowing it was my last one alone and that I'd have a perfect baby in my arms at the end of it.

Sure enough, September arrived, and Annabelle entered the world. The fact that it's JUNE now just blows my mind. I am flabbergasted.

She is growing so much and changing daily. She is learning new skills, like how to stand on her own. She's constantly babbling, just trying to get us to understand her adorable little language. She loves her pets, but only one of them loves her back. She is finally excited about meal time and exploring new food options. Her favorite is still butternut squash, but she's added homemade avocado pineapple yogurt to her eclectic palate.

Annabelle went on her very first flight this month (actually six flights!), played with her sensory spaghetti, fell in love with her duck pond water table, and got all patriotic for Memorial Day. She is a busy little bee for sure, but we wouldn't have it any other way.

Annabelle shows her attitude daily - she is incredibly stubborn and strong-willed. We have no idea where she got either trait. Just kidding. She loves to smile at herself in the mirror, jump up and down to music (or just because), and hang out in the backyard with us while her daddy grills dinner.

We can't take her anywhere in public without being stopped a million times by people who want to talk to her or smile at her. She loves flirting with anyone who will give her attention, and if she wants someone to notice her, she will go to great lengths to attract them - from staring and smiling continuously to fake coughing to reel them in... followed by more smiles. She just loves people.

We feel so blessed to be this spunky girl's parents and can't wait to see what the next month brings! She is turning into such a fun little person to hang out with.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Pre Pilot Training Travels

We recently were able to take a couple weeks of Dans leave and travel the country a bit! Annabelle still hadn't flown on an airplane, nor had Dan's aunt and uncle met her, so we first headed to Portland, OR to see them for a few days. While there, we went to the Evergreen Aviation Museum an hour away and wine tasting, of course!

After that, we rented a car and headed up to Seattle, WA for a couple days and then caught a Space A flight out of Joint Base Lewis McChord, which was really neat. Annabelle did SO well on the  c-17 we flew on, and it was our third Space A trip! I definitely prefer it to commercial flying, but it's not always a smart option... just depends on your timeframe! Dan had 10 unused days of paternity leave that the Air Force so graciously lets new dads use any time within the first year... and since Annabelle was born on the first day of his three week break between grad school classes, he never needed to use it... I'd say we put great use to it!

From Seattle, we went to Colorado Springs, CO! Yes, I know, I know... we've been there a million times and even lived there for several years... but I have zero regrets because I got to eat at my favorite restaurants, see friends, and even visit my former coworkers and some students I taught a couple years ago, and let me just say that it was a real treasure seeing these teenagers interact with Annabelle. That alone made my heart so happy! We also were able to take Annabelle to the Air Force Academy and Garden of the Gods for some photos, which I will share another day because I love how they turned out.

From Colorado Springs, we took a Greyhound bus (don't do it... just my advice) to Albuquerque, NM to visit one of our good friends, Aaron, who has now been deemed Uncle Aaron. It was so great catching up with him for a few days; we had so much fun! From there, we flew home to Texas and slept SO well in our own bed. Traveling is a lot of fun, but it sure is exhausting... especially when you're moving cities and hotels every few days!

Enough of my rambling... I'll just let the pictures do the rest of the speaking for this post.

We had an amazing trip overall and are so fortunate that we had all that time together before pilot training starts! Lieutenant Lovemuffin will be so busy that I like to call this the calm before the storm. 

Have you visited any of these cities?