Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mike's Career Update

This past weekend we went to Lake Anna to visit with one of Michael's good childhood friends, Kyle, and his wife Alice (the couple I made the toybox for, for the baby shower). Kyle and Alice live a few hours from us and since life keeps getting in the way, we don't see them much and I really never had the opportunity to get to know them, especially since I missed their wedding last year. Saturday was super cloudy and dreadful so we spent the night inside just catching up and I really got to know them both much better. Their little boy, Ty, is due in just a few weeks and Alice sure looks like she's ready to meet him! ;)

Sunday started out cloudy but cleared up by the afternoon and we took the jetski out and did some tubing with Alice's two daughters. After a long day in the sun and the water, we packed up and headed home.....sat in traffic on 95 for a solid two hours. Anyway, we had a great time and I really hope we're able to clear some time after Ty arrives when we can go visit them and meet their sweet boy!

Sooooooo onto Mike's never ending story with the Army... after a long year and a half of trying to switch to Active Duty from the Reserves, it has happened. We have dealt with his crappy recruiters and MEPS being a pain in our asses, but it's finally done. Mike signed his new contract last Friday and got orders to South Korea for one year. Neither of us are too excited about it, but it is what it is and we will get through it. I will address several questions that I continue to get from friends and family:
1. Where in South Korea?
  • Camp Carroll, South Korea is on the Southeastern portion. It is a very small base and about a 3-4 hour train ride to Seoul. From what we've heard, not many people have enjoyed being stationed there.
2. Will I be going with Mike?
  • No. Mike's 1 year tour will be unaccompanied and not only that, I still have two years remaining on my contract at my current duty station. Next July I will be up to pick orders to my next duty station, and Mike will also be looking at order to transfer after Korea. We are going to try to colocate and hope for the best. 
3. Where will I live while he is away?
  • Our lease ends Oct 31 and I don't really like where we live right now and the house is just too big to have all to myself. I plan to rent a basement apartment somewhere in the Fairfax/Vienna/Falls Church/Springfield/Annandale area. A lot of people have suggested I get an apartment to myself but I have several reasons why I don't want to.
    • For one, an apartment community would charge me an arm and a leg to keep Max and Winston. Also I don't want Max in an apartment where we might end up on the second or third floor because he gets excited sometimes and can be noisy when he runs around and I know how much I hated that when I lived below a family with a dog. \
    • Secondly, I only plan to sign a 6 month lease, and then take it month to month until Mike returns. We are hoping to save a lot of money while he is away and either buy a house while he is home on leave half way through his tour, or buy one when he gets back. 
    • Lastly, basement apartments are much cheaper. I can rent a basement for about $1000/month and have my own bedroom, own bathroom, small kitchenette, and a living area all to myself and probably my own private entrance. Also most single family homes that have basement apartments have a fenced in yard which will be very convenient for Max. By having a landlord instead of a management company, I can also work into the lease agreement to have utilities be included in my rent so I'm not paying 5 bills a month. It's just more convenient and less stress. If I got my own apartment, I'd be spending closer to $2000 and not have the convenience of a yard, too. 
I can't really think of any other questions I've been asked except, "Are you happy about it?
  • To answer that, I have to say...Yes and No.
    • I am happy that Mike has finally switched to Active Duty because we have wanted that for some time now.
    • I am happy that he is not leaving until December because that means he will FINALLY graduate from GMU this fall! (He'll have to take his finals a few weeks early but his teachers are accommodating.) 
    • I am happy that his time away will provide us the opportunity to save a lot of money and get jump started on the things we pay off my car, buy another car, buy a house, etc.
    • I am not happy that I will have to be apart from my husband for an extended period of time and I am not happy that he will be in a shitty part of Korea.
  • I think that answers the question. I am just trying to stay focused on the silver linings of this.... mostly that he'll finally finish his degree and that we can save money but some days it's hard to think positively. I am glad that I will be moving back to Northern Virginia because I've about had it up to my neck with living in Southern Maryland. ICK.
Well that's about it for now. Here's a few pictures just because... :)
Michael's cousin Danny and his blushing bride, Stefanie :-)

 Audrey taking Max for a little walk around the house :-)

Girl's Night with Megan and Jennifer :-)

You. Are. Mine.

So it's been a long time since I've written, as usual. I often find myself thinking about what I want to blog about, and then by the time I sit down to write, they are not really worth talking about. So I guess I'll address some things since my last post.

GIRLS on HBO: So the season ended and I was extremely disappointed. I am disappointed for two reasons:
1) I really loved that show and I'm sad that I have to wait until the new season airs.

2) The last episode sucked and since the first few were so funny, I'm nervous that the writers wasted all their humor and ran out. I am, however, too far invested in the show to stop watching it when the new season comes out. Will post more on this where there is a real update.

Favorite song: It was "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gyote, but now I have fallen for another. One of my little secrets/guilty pleasures is So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) on FOX and I have loved it since Season 1. They are currently on Season 9 and I really thought I would've outgrown it by now but no. I am so attached to this show and have my favorite choreographers and this season, to include the most brilliant, Sonya Tayeh (find blog here)

Last week she choreographed a piece using two beautiful dancers, Tiffany (so cute) and George (totally have a crush on him!) to a piece called "Turning Page" by the group Sleeping At Last. (View there piece here)

I heard the song and started listening to the lyrics and was like, "OMG MUST DOWNLOAD NOW!" K, so I haven't been able to turn it off. I looked up the song and found that it is actually from the Twilight movie soundtrack which was kind of disappointing because I never got into that series, but oh well, the song is sweet. I had Mike listen to it and we have decided that we will dance to it at our vow renewal ceremony (don't ask when it will be, I have no idea -- maybe next year?). The words are just so sweet and just kill me with love! Listen to it here.

Aaaand now what you've all been waiting for.... my recent literary obsession: 50 Shades of Grey series. I finished all three in just over a week. I am obsessed. Don't believe me? See my latest purchases.

Yeah, so anyway, as you all know, I'm a huge prude and did NOT think I'd be able to make it through those books because it's basically a porno. EW. I had a hard time getting started in the first book because I kept falling asleep but once I got to Chapter 8 I just FLEW THROUGH IT! I couldn't put it down. Even the sex scenes didn't bother me...probably because reading allows for your imagination to do what you want it to (as opposed to a video that leaves nothing to the imagination). I must admit -- during some parts of it, I had to get out the dictionary because I didn't know what some of *those things* were. I also had to converse with Michael about why people would do *certain things*.... I am glad my marriage is normal. Wait, what is normal? Nevermind, I won't go there.

Anyway, at first I pictured Anastasia to be like Hannah from "GIRLS" ... awkwardly shaped/not super attractive. I was like, "If Christian is so good looking why would he be with an ugly girl?" Well then I got more into the book and discovered she is so far from ugly -- she is skinny and pretty with "the perfect ass and perfect tits!" I couldn't make that up if I tried, ha ha... By the time I got to the second book, I was in love with Ana, and in love with Christian, but separately. I could never live with someone who told me what to do and made me call him Sir. By the end of Book 2, I could understand Christian and really felt for him. (Mike has repeatedly made fun of me for being so obsessed with the characters and said that I am jealous that is not my life. I almost agree with him ... minus the canes and floggers. ewwww hahaha)

One of my favorite parts is when Ana asks him why he is the way he is, he responds with, "Because I'm fifty shades of fucked up." ... It got me thinking.... Aren't we all fifty shades of fucked up? No, we didn't all come from crack whores who were pimped and out and watch our mothers die from drugs and go through foster care and later get seduced and then become a dominant....but in some fashion, we are all F*ed up. I don't know why I liked that part. Maybe because it explains the title of the series, but I just agreed with it. We all have our issues. And it made me feel better about mine.

I was slightly disappointed with the end of the third book.... I feel the writer just ran out of room and was like, "Crap! Better cut this short!" I don't know, maybe not. I mean, she did write like 1600 pages on the subject, so perhaps it was just time to end the story. Either way, I really enjoyed the story. I know Michael is excited to "have his wife back" after over a week of me running home and plopping down on the couch to get lost in my book and barely spoke to him. I am anxious to discover another book that I just can't put down. Must find one soon...

On another note, the vicious work week is nearly over and we are going to Lake Anna on Saturday to visit with some friends that we don't see often. Looking forward to it.....


Saturday, June 9, 2012

I can't believe I am posting another blog entry within 2 weeks of each other. Shocking.
There are couple things I want to address: My new favorite show, the song I am currently hooked on, and wine, of course.

If you are not watching GIRLS on HBO, you are WRONG. Mike tried to get me to watch this show about a month ago but the episode he started me on was really sexual and we all know I'm a prude so I was really grossed out and thought he was a perv. He kept trying and trying but I was like "ew, no". So Friday our power went out for about four hours while it stormed and we had nothing to do and no power so Mike was watching GIRLS on his phone and I was playing Tetris on mine but I was listening to the show and I could not stop laughing. So I gave in and we started at Episode 1. They are only into Season 1 right now and the episodes are only 30 minutes so catching up is EASY.

Girls, if you have ever had a girlfriend, this show is for YOU. It's basically four girls that are all very different but all have a connection and are very good friends. I personally found that I related best to Marney because she's in a hellish relationship that is so loving it's suffocating and if any of you reading this know me, you know what/who I am referring to. I just LOVE it because every episode has a conversation that I have had with my girlfriends. Bad sex? Drunk? Feeling fat and think you should be anorrexic? Hate your job? Hate your parents? Nanny? It's got it all and you should all be watching it.

Since I'm always thinking I'm a fatass, I personally loved the dinner date episode where one of the girls wasn't eating and the other girl (the host) got offended and her girlfriend said, "Oh sorry, I don't mean to be rude. I'm just not really into eating this week." ..... ha ha ha, I couldn't help myself.....

I just realized I really hope my mom isn't reading this. Or worse, my dad! Oh well, worse things have happened...

If you don't have HBO please send me a private message on facebook or email me and I will tell you how to get access to the are missing out on lots of laughs.

The second topic of interest would be the song I'm currently HOOKED on. I know I'm late to the game but "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gyote is killing me. I LOVE IT. I hated the song originally, probably because I wasn't listening to the lyrics but Mike loves the song and would NOT change the station when it came on so I started listening and it really grew on me and I now have it on repeat. The funny part about the song is that I started liking it right after I saw the first two episodes of GIRLS and, like I said before, Marney is my favorite right now and that song just totally sums up her and her boyfriend's relationship (at least where I am in the series right now). Again, if you know me at all, or have for a few years, you know exactly what I'm talking about. I have just been rocking out to that song for six days now and can't get enough. Besides, we all have that someone that screwed us over, or that we screwed over, and just became somebody that you used to know.... ah, okay I need to get my ipod out..... ;)

Now onto my favorite topic, maybe. WINE. Saturday was the Virginia Wine Festival at Bull Run and I have been looking forward to this for some time now! A bunch of our friends got together and enjoyed wine and people who are passionate about wine, as well as fried food, foot long corndogs, philly cheese steaks, funnel cakes, and cheesy fries!

Side note: Maybe I should not really be into eating this week......

Anyway, we went with our friends Matt and his girlfriend Cammie who the night before became his FIANCE which is just so exciting! I didn't even notice the ginormous glittery rock on her hand for like 2 hours and all the sudden I was like WHAT?! Ah, so so so happy for them. Love you guys.

The happily engaged couple!

I also got to see Rhya which was a treat because she is finally DONE with college and is home for a while so I'm definitely looking forward to spending more time with her. The wine was good, most of it anyway. Even though there were over 100 wineries there, we probably only tasted about 7 of them because the lines were really long. In order to keep the buzz up, the group I was with just rotated turns for buying bottles so we had wine to drink while we waited in line for the next winery. It was a blast.

Sunday we went to Mike's very close child-hood friend's baby shower. He and his wife got married almost two years ago and are due to have their baby boy, Ty Meyer, at the end of August. Alice looks incredible -- I can't believe this is her fourth baby.... Kyle is just so excited and I know he's going make an incredible father. As many of you know, I always try to personalize gifts when children are involved. I just think it's so much more personal and something they can keep forever. Also because it just shows that you care and put a lot of love and thoughts into making it. Homemade gifts are the best <3 So I took on the biggest challenge in homemade gifts that I have ever faced -- a toy box. It was Mike's idea but I was happy to bring the idea to life and he swears that I took it to a whole new level and really made it come to life and surpassed all expectations. I also made a "Daddy Doody Kit" for Kyle as a practical joke for when he's on a diaper duty. I really think they loved our gift.... Overall, I was happy with the end result, but of course there are areas of improvement. I hope I can do another soon. Below are pictures of the final products...

I look like a fatass in this picture but but these are the
happy expectant parents and the toybox that I made.

And here is the "Daddy-Dooty Kit" I made for Kyle complete with
protective eye wear, tongs, plastic gloves, butt paste,
diapes, wipes, and an apron. Good luck, Kyle!

Well, I guess that's all for now. We are leaving to go camping with some friends here in a few minutes so I'll have some good pictures to post once we're home.... :-)

I hope you're all going to watch GIRLS right now. And listening to Gyote.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

VACATION - Finally!

Ahhhh, since my last post, 45 seconds ago.... a lot has happened... haha just kidding. I just never update so now I have to break lots of updates into more posts.
Last week Mike's sister, Katie, was in town with her husband, Chris, and their 3 year old daughter, Kayla. Since we were leaving for the beach the following day, we only got to see them once but it was nice, none-the-less! We went over to Mike's father's house where his wife cooked us a delicious BBQ lunch and we some smoothies and we just caught up with eachother. Katie is about 31 weeks pregnant and is due July 31 so it was so cute to hear Kayla talk about "the wittle baby is mommy's tummy named Alexis Elise!" hehehe she is so cute. They are living in Minnesota right now while Katie finishes her PhD and they will moving back to NoVA in August and I know Michael is so excited to be close to Kayla again. It was a great visit.

A few hours later we finished our engagement pictures that we never completed from back in October because of the rain. Misty is just so wonderful and I love the work she does.... Here are the previews she sent us, as well as two of the photos she took back in October.

The following morning we left for Nags Head, North Carolina, where my grandparents rented a beach house for the week. It was AMAZING ... literally right on the beach and it was great to have most of the family there. My cousin Rachel and her boyfriend Gabe flew in from California and then it was Me, Mike, Beth, Josh, Audrey, my Aunt Joy and her son, Ian, and my Aunt Cheryle and Uncle Steven, and of course my grand parents. Unfortunately Lexi and her family and then my father and his family couldn't make it. We missed them very much!  Audrey is just so cute... I loved waking up to her every morning. We played a few rounds of scategories which got pretty heated with Aunt Cheryle but it was so much fun. Mike and I got a lot of sun and I got to a total of 4 dozen oysters.... I was in heaven, to say the least. The weather was perfect the whole time and I really hope we can do it again next year!
While there we also got to see the Jepsons, very close friends of Mike's. They have a beach house about 30 minutes away from where we were staying so one day we drove up there and laid out by the pool drinking wine and just enjoying the awesomeness of vacation. Beautiful house too!

 I go back to work tomorrow and I'm really not looking forward to it. Vacation was so good to me and I wish I could just be on it all the time and never run out of money. Saturday we are going to the Virginia Wine Festival at Bull Run Park with a big group of friends so that will be fun and then Sunday we have a baby shower for one of Mike's very close friends. Will update soon. Okay, let's be honest, probably not.... I'll update eventually. :-)

Lauren updated her blog? What?

Wow! It has been a seriously long time since I last wrote...2 months to be exact. So here is one of two posts.... It's not that I forget...I think about it all the time, especially since I follow other blogs and keep up with reading theirs....I think about what I want to write about and what I should say next, etc, but then the days escape me and I carry out my monotonous days at work and home. This post will probably be all over the place but the good is that nothing exciting ever happens to me so there probably won't be any "OMG!" moments.

Since my last post, Mike and I ran the Primal Mud in Warrenton, VA. It was about 4.5-5 miles of muddy obsticals and running and was so much fun! The only downside was that back in September 2011 I suffered a knee injury that still strikes some pain every now and then. It's completely unpredictable - hurts one day, perfect the next. Perfect for a month, kills for a week. I had been feeling pretty good about the run in the weeks leading up to it but I woke up that morning and on my way downstairs to make some coffee, I knew it was going to be a rough day. My knee was killing me. I was able to finish the race, but it took us over an hour which was kind of disappointing because I really wanted to complete it in under an hour. Either way, it was so much fun! I am so glad that I had Mike by my side to help with the obstacles because there is truly no way I could have completed some of them....There was a 20 foot rope climb that I attempted and only got about half way up when I fell all the way down, so I had to do some burpees to make up for it and to get to the next obstacle. I really need to work on my upper body strength. After the race we got a free beer (Natty Light.... it was rough) and hung out and had lunch and listened to this awesome cover band for about an hour and then headed home where I enjoyed a nice warm shower and a nap :-)

Since then, I've been working out sparatically -- no real pattern or committment, which ultimately means no real improvements either. In total, I've lost 8 pounds since January. I would really like to lose about five more but realistically, I just don't think that it will happen. I don't really diet, but I think about what I eat enough to know when to stop/what I shouldn't eat. I know a lot people focus on being "healthy" so they eat organic and non processed and no sugar, etc but (many of you might criticize this, and that's okay because I don't care what you think about what I eat) Mike and I tend to focus more on low fat, lower sugar, lower carbs, and lower calories. So just because a hot dog isn't "good" for you, it only has 40 calories and is 97% fat free. And frankly, (haha get it? Frank's Hot Dogs...) I don't care if it's not providing me nutritional energy -- it's helped me lose 8 pounds this year and look decent for wearing a bikini at the beach this year. And that makes me happy. So anyway, I've been running about three times a week. The other day I did 5.5 miles and felt pretty good, but I don't think a half marathon is in my future. I said at the beginning of the year that I wanted to do a half marathon, the Army 10 miler, and the Tough Mudder this year. After the Primal Run, the Tough Mudder seems impossible. 12 miles of muddy obsticals?? Yikes. I think if I stuck with running and amped it up to like 4 or 5 times a week, I could complete the Army 10 miler by Sept or Oct...whenever it is. I also started the INSANITY program about a week ago. I made it three days and stopped because I was going on leave. I want to get back into it though starting tomorrow ('s always "tomorrow...") because I was already seeing results.... Right now though, I just feel like a slob. For some reason I cannot get into a work out habit. Since my work schedule changes so often and is never the same, all I want to do is get home, have a class of wine, and go to bed.... *sigh*

The semester just ended for Mike about two weeks ago and he is definitely relieved. So am I though because I was tired of editing papers. ;) I am really proud of him. He has been working on his degree for almost 10 years but has yet to complete it because of deployment and military duties. I can't imagine having the determination to follow through on that for a whole decade. Well, he has one semester left and is scheduled to graduate in December. He says he doesn't want to walk at graduation or celebrate at all because "a degree is expected. I need to have one." Basically he thinks that an undergraduate degree is so common these days and "everyone has one" so there is no reason to celebrate. I feel differently.... he has shown serious committment to stick with it for this long throughout his military career and I want everyone to know that I am married to someone with dedication, so I have decided we WILL celebrate it :-) I know he doesn't read this so I don't even mind saying that I am going to throw him an insane party when all is said and done :-)

Last Friday we went to the Nats/Orioles game at National's Stadium with our friends Jabbo and his new girlfriend. She was a hit and Jabbo was....Jabbo ;) . Since living in Maryland we don't get to see all of our friends as much because it's not convenient for any of us to make the drive out to each other so the game was nice because it was very close to us! Plus the weather was perfect and I got to debut my sweet American Flag shorts. I can't wait to wear them again for 4th of July!!!!! (my favorite holiday).

The next day (Saturday) we went to Virginia Beach to wish my cousin and her family a nice good bye as they venture off to Upstate New York where her husband got into grad school. His parents threw a great party with my favorite........OYSTERS! OMG I ate my face off and probably would have continued if Audrey didn't start acting like a crazy person. She was so funny though. She's always a hit! Unfortunately we didn't sleep at all that night because we had noisy, rambunctious boys next door who were drunk and obnoxious. Once home, we saw The Avengers which I strongly feel was a complete waste of $19 and 3 hours of my life. I am picking the next movie, for sure!

In preparation for our beach trip with my family, I begged Michael to buy new clothes and retire the cargo shorts he has been wearing since 8th grade. He reluctantly agreed. Khol's has some insane sales....let me tell you..... we saved $150 and that was without coupons. Brand name stuff for dirt cheap....then since I was jealous that Mike got new clothes, we hit Old Navy where I got a few summer pieces. And of course I had to buy something for Kayla and Tiernan because I love little kids' clothes.... Got Tiernan the cutest Fidora....

Mike was supposed to go to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) last Tuesday (the 22nd) to sign a new, active duty contract but of course the Army F*ed that up, too, so he was scheduled to go today-tomorrow, but literally 20 minutes ago he called his recruiter to ask what time he was getting picked up to go and his recruiter forgot about him..... so now he's slated for next Wednesday. That really annoys me because they just post pone everyyyyyything! Can't they do anything on time? ...Ever? Please?

Now that I've completed this post, which I have actually had written for over a week but was too buzy (or lazy) to post, I will close and start a new post with more up to date information :-) happy readings, everyone.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Girl friends - we all need them!

Ugh it has been over a month since I posted last, even though I vowed to start doing it more! The good news for all of you is that nothing overly exciting has happened since my last post. Basically, Mike came home from California and OMG it was so good to see him! I missed him so much.... I forgot to take pictures of all the work I did around the house while he was gone but this is what I did:

- Finally hung picture frames with pictures of our friends and family all around the house
- Got decorative wall pieces to hang so it would finally look like someone actually lives here
- Got throw pillows for our bed (he really didn't understand the purpose of these but he smiled and told me they look great, just a like a good husband should do!)
- Decorated the guest room (aka "Blair's Room" since she's the only one who ever sleeps there haha), which included new curtains, 3 wall art pieces, and new bed-side table *which is adorable*, 2 new candles, and a picture of me and B :)
- And the real project was the office. Ever since we moved in we kept vowing to put together the office "next weekend". Well "next weekend" came and went about 20 times and now, 6 months after moving in, it's finally (mostly) put together. It really became our, "Where should we put this? I don't know, put it in the office and we'll deal with it later"- room. So it was just an overwhelming space filled with boxes of crap which had no designated place. I spent three days emptying those boxes and throwing away lots of useless crap, and saving some other nice things (to include Mike's elementary school drawings and projects, his hospital bracelet from when he was born, etc)

I went to Ikea and bought floating shelves which look super cool. I also bought a book case, a filing cabinent, and some things to hang stuff up on. It took about 15 failures to learn that in order to hang something heavy, you need to first find a stud in the wall to drill in to! Well it became so frustrating that I just started drilling in random places in order to figure out where studs were because the dang stud finder was worthless! All the holes are currently covered by stuff hanging on the walls but we will have some serious spackling to do when we move out! hahaha! On all the shelves and around the room I hung up all of Mike's awards that he has received in the Army as well as souveniers from all the countries he has been to. This was Mike's favorite room, because he could tell how much work and thought I put in to it, and because it's a place that displays all his hard work and accomplishments. I am so proud of him.

So that was just a quick update from my last post but what I really wanted to write about was this:

I have never had a lot of girl friends. I have always had 3-4 very close friends that I can rely on and depend on, and they can find the same qualities in me. Last summer I went to a concert with Beth's sorority sister, Jessica, where I was introduced to some other sorority sisters. I had a wonderful time and really loved hanging with the girls but assumed I would probably never see them again (or sparingly, at best). Much to my surprise, those girls showed so much kindness and continued to invite me out places. (I bet they have never thought twice about this, until now, if they are reading it - but it made a big difference in my life!) Well, over the past year I have gotten to know those girls and they have introduced me to more of their girlfriends, and so forth. What I didn't realize for so long is that every girl needs girl friends! Boyfriends/fiances/husbands are wonderful and all, but they totally don't have what it takes to be a girl friend! I have had more girl time in the past six months then I probably have in my entire life, and I am so looking forward to this summer with all these girls!

I recently asked Mike if it bothers him when I go out for the night on a weekend with my girl friends, because I feel bad about leaving him at home by himself. He just laughed and said something to the effect of, "As much fun as it sounds to spend the night with six other girls talking about their periods, I think I'll be okay for one night alone."

What it comes down to is that no matter how independent you think you are, or how much you love your man, we ALL need girl friends! And I'm so thankful I have mine.... new and old (yes, Blair and Rhya, you too!!), you girls are the bomb. :)

This past weekend, for Sedi's birthday

Two weeks ago, at the horse race.
Rachel, Me, Katie, Jessica, Blair, and Heather
 Jessica, myself, Ally
Me, Nina, and Rachel - enjoying some wine on a beautiful day :)

Oh yeah - update on the fitness status - been slackin' at the gym but the Primal Run is in two weeks and I'm stoked. Ready to kick its butt!!!

That's all for now. Hopefully I'll post again in less than a month... ;)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Whewwww it's been a while since I posted. Well actually, not that long, but a lot has been going on! This might actually be a long post...

So on the 3rd Beth and I went to a WMZQ event sponsored by the American Heart Association called "Girls with Guitars and a Piano Man" featuring Sara Evans, Phil Vassar, LeeAnn Womack, and Sunny Sweenie. We met a few of our girlfriends up there and a great time was had by all. Unfortunately Sara Evans got sick but thankfully Easton Corbin stood in for her which ended up being waayyy more entertaining anyways!
Beth, me, Jessica, and Allyson

On the 4th my best girl friends had a little party for me. We started the night at on of my favorite restaurants, Bonefish Grill for some seafood and drinks and laughs. It was Me, Beth, Rhya, Blair, and Blair's boyfriend, Zack. It was great to have my best friends there! Big thanks to Rhya for driving all the way up from Virginia Tech just to spend my birthday with me :) She never fails me! And to Beth for giving up a night at home with her dear Audrey. And to Blair for being awesome and organizing my party :)

The girls at dinner.
After dinner we drove to Arlington and went to my favorite bar, Spider Kellys. Unfortunately they redid part of it since the last time I was there and now they replaced my favorite place to sit with SkiBall Game machines which is annoying. Anyway, we found some place to lounge and have drinks. After Spiders we went to Clarendon Ballroom which was a blast! I had never been there before but it was so much fun! So much dancing and good music and I was all about it! It was a good turnout of people too; a few of my work friends showed up, as well as Jessica and some other girls. Mike's good friend Pat came towards the end of the evening to escort us home safely :-) Thanks Pat!!

The next day was the super bowl and I went to Beth's and then the family came over for some food and to watch the game which was fun.

Then the real work started the next day. I've been waiting for a few months now to switch positions at work and move to a day-shop instead of doing shift work and that finally happened for me on the 6th (my birthday!). Well I thought it was going to be this amazing shift and I guess it's true that the grass really isn't always greener on the other side. Basically it's M-F 10-6pm and I thought I'd love it. Well....not so much. I actually really miss shift work! I had so many days off and yes, I do get weekends now, but I really only worked about 15 days out of the month with my old schedule. This schedule has worked nicely since Mike is out of town all month and Max doesn't have to hold it for 14 hours, but other than that, I'm not too crazy about the hours because it's not really 10-6. It IS the military so naturally is 10-whenever your supervisor says you can go, which within the past two weeks has averaged to be about 7-8pm. But it has its pros too... I get holidays, so I had today off. I don't know, maybe I'll like it more once Mike is home and I can actually spend time with him once I'm off work, instead of just coming home to an empty house and being alone.

Speaking of Mike being gone, he's been in California since Feb 3 and will return on Mar 2 so only 12 more days to go! The alone time has been nice for sure, but I do miss him. To keep busy I have been doing minor upgrades to the house. Not actual upgrades, because we live on base and it's a rental, but just like decorating and making it more of a home. When I first made our "I love you because ____" board, one time Mike wrote "I love you because you make this house a home" and it meant a lot to me so I try to keep up with that and try to continue adding little things here and there. Though I seriously doubt that Mike reads my blog, (1. Because he doesn't like reading and 2. He thinks my life is very boring and doesn't understand why anyone would want to read about someone else's life when they have a life of their own. -- I told him it's because that what girls do... read about other girls' lives) I don't want to post pictures of what I've done until he comes home to see them for himself. I've been making quite a big deal of "all the surprises" I have in store and I really want him to be surprised. Since my blog is linked with Facebook, I don't want him to see all the projects. Anyway, I've been keeping very busy with work and my projects so it has made the time go by a little quicker. 

For Valentine's Day Mike sent me flowers to the house right before I left for work. I thought it was especially sweet, seeing as he is 3,000 miles away and still made my day special. I love my honey!

This weekend, on Friday, we had Girls' Night so I dropped Max off at Beth's for the night and then a few of us went to a girl's house where we had some drinks and then went out to Clarendon again and had a blast. Later we went back and hot tubbed for a bit and I must say.... I am so glad I have girl friends again! It is so important for girls to have girlfriends! Husbands/boyfriends are great and all, but nothing beats a Friday night with a bottle of wine and just catching up (okay, gossiping) with your girlfriends! It was a really fun night!

Umm I think that's it for now...hopefully something eventful will happen soon that I can write about....

xo - L

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Our ever-growing zoo....

Haha, so I have been told before that I am manipulative. I agree; I am. However, I never directly witnessed the effects of my manipulation until........ I convinced Mike to let me get a cat!

That's right everyone... my allergic husband who hates cats finally caved (after an incredible temper tantrum, of course) and said that when I was ready, I could get a cat. I didn't waste any time and immediately got online and starting searching local rescues and Craigslist ads of people trying to rehome their animals. I found "Slurpee" (what the heck kind of name is that...) on a local shelter's website and decided I would go see him the next day. And 2 hours later, he declared himself master of the house.

Hi everyone! I'm Winston and I'm a LOVER!

Winston is great. He's totally comfortable in the house and has made it a home. Mike has tolerated him very well and has hardly had any reactions to him. The main thing is that we don't allow Winston in the bedroom because dander on the pillows could pose a very large problem for Mike and the truth is, I kind of like Mike and don't want to him to stop breathing in his sleep ;) Even yesterday he admitted that perhaps Winston is starting to grow on him. I know he is :)

Anyway, enough about Winston. Max is also doing great. I'm still a little mad at him for eating my favorite moccasins and I remember every day because they were my freaking favorite and I wore them with every thing!!!!! UGHHH!!!!! Oh well. I got him a new bone today because he's been extra well behaved recently, and especially tolerant of Winston entering his kingdom.

As far as training for my half marathon, well I was totally sticking with training calendar until Saturday when I went on leave. Now it's been five days since I've been to the gym and I've gained 3 pounds and just feel like a total slob. The way I see it though, I've been working my ass off and have really enjoyed this week of vacation and doing absolutely nothing. I'll get back into it when I get back to work on Monday. Which is actually my 22nd birthday. I feel old. When did I get like this? I might as well be 25, which might as well be 30. OMG stop.

So on Monday we drove to Pennsylvania to see Mike's friends Jarred and Drew, whom he was in Iraq with in 2008. They grew really close and have maintained a great friendship despite all of them being deployed since then and just being far away and moving on with their lives, etc. We met at Jarred's at 4 and had a few drinks and then moved over to a great restaurant and I listened to the boys reminisce about Iraq and what they've all been up to since then. Drew just got back from Afghanistan right before Christmas. For being in such a shit hole, they sure had some fond memories, but like they said, when you're in a shitty place you either make some friends and make some memories, or you get sick and stay miserable for a year. You pick. Drew had to go home that same night but Mike and I (and Max!) stayed with Jarred and his wife, Sarah, for the night. They were so hospitable and I know the boys enjoyed drinking and joking and hanging out.

Mike started school about two weeks ago. He just has this semester and next until he is finally done with his degree, which he has been working on since 2003, but has been deployed so much that he has had to take so many breaks. He leaves for California on Friday for a month for some Army courses and thankfully all of his professors have come up with a way for him to make up the work/keep up with the syllabus so he doesn't have to take yet another semester off. I know he is ecstatic to be so close to completing his degree so hopefully nothing else stands in his way. I am so proud of him.

Well that's about it for now... Looking forward to this weekend. Mike leaves Friday morning and that night  my sister Beth and I are going to a country acoustic show. Then my birthday party is Saturday which I think will be a total blast so hopefully that holds true!!! :)

See ya latterrr!

Oh and one cute picture just because I love my husband so much :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Customer Service

**DISCLAIMER: this is a rant and if you do not like rants, do not read this.**

What happened to good customer service? Does it still exist? Prior to joining the Navy, I worked in customer service for 5 years (my first job was at a restaurant and I worked in and out of restaurants, retail stores, gyms, etc). I have always been a big tipper in that I generally don't do the math because if my bill was only $17, I feel bad leaving $3.40 (20%). So I will usually just leave $5 and call it a day. You have to REALLY piss me off for me to leave anything less that 25% in most cases. Also, I suppose that I have been spoiled by living in Northern Virginia for so long. The restaurants generally provide good customer service, and I let them know their service was good by a) leaving a solid tip, b) leaving a nice note on the back of the receipt for our waiter, and/or c) asking to speak to a manager, which inevitably always freaks the server out, but I let them know that we had a great dining experience and will definitely be back soon. I then go home and write a review on the restaurant. Mike thinks I put way too much thought into this, but the way I see it, when you go out to eat and see your friends the following Saturday night for drinks, rarely are you like, "OMG we went to Chili's and had the most AMAZING service ever!"'re like, "OMG we went to Chili's and waited for 30 minutes while there were 7 dirty tables and then our waiter didn't greet us and it took 20 minutes to get WATER and our food was cold and my steak was overcooked....blah blah blah". You get my point.

So moving to Andrews AFB has been a little bit of a shock for me because though living on base is nice, like little suburbia, the surrounding area is less that satisfying. When I first got stationed here Mike and I went to Applebees about 4 miles off base. It was a Sunday night and Mike had just gotten off duty so he was still in his uniform and I was in regular clothes. We get there and notice a cop is at the front door and I think, "He's probably just getting food to go or soemthing." Mike goes to the bathroom (and of course I wasn't greeted for 10 minutes). Mike returns and says, "Umm we are the only white people in here....." I say that seems normal because we live in a predominately African American area. So the meal goes on, we each have a drink, the cop is still at the front door, and Mike asks for the check. Check comes, hand over credit card, brings credit card back and instead of walking away and giving Mike the privacy to tip at his discretion, the waitress stands hovering over him with her arms crossed waiting for him to write in the time amount and sign the receipt.


So Mike just looks at her like, "Really?" So she gets the hint and turns around, hands now on hip, and Mike tips (30% more because he was afraid she was going to beat his a** if he left her what she probably deserved). He puts the pen down and no joke, she whips around and grabs the receipt as if it's going to *POOF* and disappear.... So I'm like, "Do people skip out on checks a lot or do other servers steal tips from others..? That was weird..." So we just shake it off and head out and the cop is still there. That's when I realize that he is an off-duty cop posted up at the local Applebees on a Sunday night to deter crime. WOW....

We've saved a lot of money by not eating out anymore because of that experience, because the closest place to us that actually makes me feel like it's a real date is National Harbor, which every date there you are guarenteed to spend at least $100 for the two of us. Annoying...

So in addition to the restaurant thing, I have had to forfit shopping at Walmart here. Mike and I have always been huge fans of Walmart. (I truly prefer Target but Walmart is generally cheaper and more convenient.) The first bad experience we had after shopping at the Walmart right off post was that we bought a book case. Obviously we knew it was not top of the line quality but it was $30 and we needed one more for the office and it matched out other stuff. So we get home and put the thing together and right at the end we realize we are missing the last 3 pieces of hardware needed to put it together. So we go to Walmart and explain this at customer service and she says that we have to put the whole thing back in the box and bring the whole thing back to return and buy a new one. So Mike does it the next day. Of course they don't have any more of this bookcase so he leaves with a store credit. Several shopping trips later and many, "Damn! Where is the ___?! It's on the receipt...I paid for it..." I can't tell you how many times I have paid for something at that Walmart and it has not ended up in one of my bags! and of course I'm too lazy to go back up there and explain what happened so I'm probably out like $50 at this point from all the lost crap.

So two weeks ago we go to Walmart for THREE THINGS: poop bags for Max's leash, dog treats, and sports bras for me (gaining weight again. Lovely.) I forget the poop bags and dog treats and they have no sports bras that fit me. I don't realize that I have forgotten the other two things though because I am so distracted by, "Oh we could use this. Let's by this. No it can't wait til next pay day." So we get a filing cabinet so we can finally organize the office and a small book shelf/cubby looking thing for the living room. I go to work the next day and Mike calls to tell me that every single piece of that cheap wood is broken or cracked for the book case. I say it's okay and I'll return it on my next day off and ask him to please set up the filing cabinet and start organizing. Not 10 minutes later he calls to say that the filing cabinet was clearly dropped because the back is bent and he can't even get it out of the box.

You're effing kidding me right?

So he returns it all and I give up and went to Ikea and bought new shit for the same price and guess what? All of it was in perfect condition and looks great in our living room.

I know this was ridiculously long but I have been thinking for a while now about what I have wanted to say. I don't know what it is about this area, but no one gives a rats a** about providing good customer service. I feel like I have to drive back to Fairfax just to have a pleasant Walmart experience. There is another Walmart experience that I really want to bitch about but I'll just save get my point. -_-


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

No More Resolutions

So it's a new year and every year I make the same resolutions:

1. Quit Smoking
2. Drink less alcohol
3. Work out more

Well, this year I decided to not make any resolutions because I always give up like 3 weeks into the new year and then I feel like a failure. So I just decided to do what feels right, and if I quit, then I quit; I didn't fail. By not making any resolutions this year, I've actually done all three of those on my own.

I quit smoking November 2, 2010, so I'm 11 weeks smoke free right now. I feel so good!! Not only do I feel great, but I don't stink like cigarettes anymore, and I am saving lots of money. Well, not really saving, but I guess just spending it on other things, hehe ;) I calculated that when I was smoking I was spending anywhere from $25 to $40 a week on cigarettes alone, depending if I worked a lot that week, or had a lot of time off and was drinking alcohol. (Like most people I smoke more when I drink.) Well anyway, it's been 11 weeks and this actually leads to number 2....

I've cut back significantly on my alcohol use. The biggest reason is because of #3 (working out more). Mostly because alcohol has made me gain a significant amount of weight and I'm down to one pair of jeans right now, which I have to unbutton as soon as I sit down anyway because they are so tight and uncomfortable. So now, I have quit drinking on work nights and have cut back even on my days off, leading me in to #3...

I am so proud of myself! I got myself back in to the gym on my own!! I have decided that I want to run a half marathon next spring (13.1 miles). A lot of people have said it's ridiculous that I'm giving myself a year to prepare and that any normal person could prepare for a half marathon in 12 weeks. That may be true, but maybe they don't realize how bad I am at running. I have always hated running, until recently. I'm not saying I enjoy it yet, but I'm not completely miserable either. Because I was a dancer for so long, my body has great muscle memory and running is something that gives me instant gratification. I can already see my body changing and that alone makes me want to take even better care of my body, leading back to #2, me drinking less.

So without making "resolutions" -- I guess I'll just call these "goals". Lifetime goals. All three of these things are intertwined somehow and I feel better than ever. My goal is to lose 10 pounds, so I have 6 more to go. But really more than the weight loss, I just want to start feeling good about myself. I've been wearing yoga pants and long sleeve tshirts since September and that doesn't really make myself feel to attractive or fashionable or anything, so I kind of splurged this week and bought a few new tops that make me feel pretty and kind of raise my confidence. That sounds dumb that I need new clothes to feel confident, but, please don't forget, I am a girl and I like to feel pretty  :) and if new clothes and a newly-changing body are what make me feel pretty, I'm okay with it.

Oh, and a side note, we told everyone we eloped on New Years too. Hehe, lots of people were shocked. Some were mad, some were sad, and some were happy. A lot of people have judged us for it. All of those are okay with me (and Mike). At the end of the day though, I look my *husband* (hehe, I love saying that!!) and I know that I am the happiest I ever been in my entire life. Mike, Max, and I make the perfect little family for now :)

Speaking of Mike, he was told on Saturday that he is on a deployment list to Afghanistan and is scheduled to leave in March or April. Normally I would react more but seeing as the last time he was supposed to deploy, they cancelled it two weeks before his departure date, I am not going to react at all or become emotionally involved until something is more final. I prefer him here in the States, but I know he wants to deploy badly, so I will be supportive of him no matter where he is.

Also my camera died like 2 months ago and I haven't been able to find the charger but I finally found it yesterday so it's finally charged so I'll just add a few pictures down below....

Mike, Me, Katie, and Chris (Mike's sister and brother-in-law)
They came to visit for Thanksgiving

Miss Kayla -- Mike's Niece. 

And a picture of Max...just because he's handsome :)