Anchors Aweigh : June 2014


Roadtrip with My Rockstar Mom

Not many people will ride in a car with you from Texas to Virginia just because. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that Parker and I drove to our new home in Virginia a couple of weeks ago so we could check out a few houses. He had to immediately leave for training, so I flew back to Texas to coordinate the movers. It was a heck of a two weeks, but it's a military move. I wasn't exactly expecting smooth sailing. Mom and I decided to make the most of it and have a little girls trip back to Virginia (with the Jen pup of course). We had so. much. fun. I don't have the luxury of living in the same place as my family, so getting 22 hours of uninterrupted driving time together was the 

This past week could have been terrible. Parker wasn't just at training. He was at SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) School. For any pilot wives out there, you know what I'm talking about. It's not fun at all, and we will just leave it at that. Having my mom here to distract me and be my buddy for the week made all the difference. My mom is one of my best friends, and we just have a blast together. 22 hours in the car sounds miserable, and Jenny certainly wasn't a fan, but we were eating it up.
Jenny was not impressed.

When we did finally arrive to Norfolk, we Mom was eager to explore the area. The only problem we had was that I have never lived in this city. I was just the worst tour guide ever, and we got lost going almost anywhere we went. Life's about the journey, not the destination, right? Right. We did manage to find a Chipotle and the beach fairly easily. Where there's a will, there's a way. Chipotle never tasted so good, and we ate these entire bowls with no shame. There were some veggies and chicken in there, so that counts as healthy, yes? We'll go with it.

Our favorite evening was venturing down to Virginia Beach to put our toes in the ocean. News flash: the Atlantic is cold! Our toes did not stay in very long, but the locals were happily torso-deep in the water swimming around like it was no big deal. Our tourist-status was quickly evident. Earlier in the week, we checked out a sale at Old Navy (love that place) and couldn't resist these little dresses for $12. That's how we became these people: the grown mother/daughter duo that matches. High school Chelsea would have been mortified, but we wore those dresses proudly! Don't worry, we didn't hold hands. That would have been overkill.

I went a few steps into the water for my photo op and instantly regretted it about the time a wave came up. I got soaked and got to go to dinner in a wet dress, so that was fun.

We had such a great time together, and Jenny loved having her Mama K/Nana K/ Mama Kelly/ Nana Kelly/ Grammy around. Mom spent the majority of our trip trying to decide on a good grandma name. Am I pregnant? No. Is my sister pregnant? No. Somehow though, it became imperative to decide so her two grandpups wouldn't be confused. No decision has been made, so Jenny will still acknowledge her the same way she always has... with a waggy tail and that precious, unimpressed face.

 Thanks for the memories, Mom! It was one of the best weeks of my life!

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3 Years

It's hard to believe it's been 3 years since Parker and I said "I do". In some ways it feels like yesterday, and in others it feels like this is the way it's always been. This third year of marriage was just as crazy and chaotic as the first two, but just as fun and exciting too. We've lived in four homes in our three years of marriage and are days away from moving into the fifth. Seriously yall, that's nuts.

We celebrated our first anniversary by ziplining and our second anniversary with a weekend getaway to Fredericksburg, but it looks like our third anniversary will be celebrated with a nice little dinner a few days late. And that is perfectly okay. We have been trying to go on a cruise for two years and were so hoping we could go at the end of the month for our anniversary, but the Navy had other plans. You play the hand your dealt, and this hand involves a nice, low key evening to celebrate our anniversary. Hey, I'll take it.

Our sweet friend took our third year anniversary pictures out on the water by our home in Corpus Christi, TX. We did the cliche Pinterest-inspired "hold your anniversary picture from the year before" thing that all 2011 brides seem to be participating in. I think the whole picture in a picture concept is just fun, and we couldn't believe it had already been a whole year since we took our last anniversary picture in Fredericksburg, TX. 

Year three was pretty great. We got to spend it living in Texas, and neither of us were complaining one bit about that! We found a church we really liked in Corpus Christi and met so many new friends, and there were more military/flying milestones than I can count. Each year of marriage has brought on a richer love and a deeper understanding for the other one. There is no one else I would rather do life with!

Three years down, forever to go! And I thought I loved you then...

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Finish This (25 Edition)

It's been a few weeks since I participated in the "Finish This" series, so I thought today sounded like a great day to pick that back up :)
I have 25 cents to use a payphone, so I call... my husband. I assume if I'm using a payphone, I've lost my phone or my car is broken down and my phone is dead. Both scenarios sound like instances where the husband would be summoned to come to the rescue. 
I found $25 in my pocket, so I buy... umm, gas? I'm not really one of those find $10, spend $10 kind of girls. I'd put it in my purse and save it for my next Target visit. Target. Yes. 
I have 25 minutes to watch anything on TV, so I turn on... Friends. Duh. Each episode is only 22 minutes long, so I have 3 extra minutes for activities! Winning. 
A meal I can prepare from start to finish in 25 minutes or less is... my Buffalo Turkey Joes... or my BBQ Chicken & Avocado Quesadillas... or my Spinach & Pesto Turkey Meatballs. You get the idea. I'm all for quick meals in our house!

At the age of 25, I wish I had known... where we would be moving for the fleet. I'm 25 and this is what I would like to know, so that's about as reflective as I can get with that question.

If I drove 25 miles from my house, I'd be in... hmm, interesting. Since we just moved to Virginia this week, I have absolutely no clue. I'd be somewhere on the east coast. I really need to look at a map since my east coast geography is terrible. I'm from Texas. We know where two things are: Texas and Mexico.

Linking up for Finish This series.
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Swedish Meatballs

I can't believe that I have had this blog for over a year and am just now sharing my Swedish Meatballs recipe! My mom made this for us growing up, and I have been making it for Parker since we got married. It's a slightly more involved recipe, but it just screams "comfort food". This is a recipe that I make again and again, because really, it's just that good. 

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 egg, beaten
2 1/4 cup milk, half and half, or light cream, divided (I always use milk and will use that as the example below)
1 slice of bread, crumbled into small pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 tsp pepper + a few shakes, divided
1/8 tsp allspice or nutmeg (just skip this step if you don't have either of these on hand)
1 lb of ground beef
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp instant beef bouillon granules

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine egg and 1/4 cup milk. Stir in bread crumbles, onion, parsley, 1/4 tsp pepper, and allspice/nutmeg.
2. Add ground beef and mix well. I always mix with my hands to ensure all ingredients are fully incorporated. Shape into about 30 meatballs. 
3. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook about 15 meatballs at a time in hot butter. Cook about 10 minutes until no pink remains, turning to brown evenly. 
4. Remove from the skillet, reserving any drippings for the next step. Drain meatballs on paper towels.
5. Stir flour, bouillon granules, and a few shakes of pepper into drippings. Gradually stir in the remaining 2 cups of milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. 
6. Return meatballs to the skillet and heat through. Serve over rice or noodles. 

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Corpus Christi House Tour

Since we have officially moved out of our Corpus Christi home, now seems like as good of a time as any to do a little house tour. This might be our favorite house we have ever lived in, but we really have loved every one. We were there less than 4 months, but it definitely felt like home by the time we left it. For the first time, we lived in on-base housing. Base housing is hit or miss, but if you are in the military and get stationed in Corpus Christi, live on base. Trust me. It was so fun living a few doors down from our friends, and the house was perfect for us. It was a little smaller than any house we have had before, but there are just two of us plus a furball. We really don't require a mansion over here.

We decorated very minimally since we knew we were only going to be here a few months. We had a few boxes in the garage full of pictures that were never hung. We hung a few, but for the most part, we just enjoyed the white walls and rolly pollies. (Seriously, we had to sweep rolly pollies out of the house daily. They were all over Corpus Christi for some odd reason. Weird.) I snapped a few pictures before we left so I would be able to look back and remember the house we called home in Corpus Christi, TX!

This was a great little room with the biggest master closet we've ever had... score! Parker actually built every piece of furniture in this room, which I love. What's not pictured is the big black blanket we hung over the window to keep the light out. It was super classy, let me tell ya. Here's to hoping I actually invest in some blackout curtains at the next location. 

Living Room:
Love this room! We finally purchased a sectional during our time here after talking about it for over two years. This was our favorite room in the house. We are all about vegging out on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and our latest TV obsession. 

My Office:
This house was a 2/2, and every other house we have ever had was a 3/2. Losing that third bedroom was actually no big deal at all, but we did have to get a little creative. I work from home and he needs a quiet place to study, so I made my little office in the corner of our living room. It worked perfectly. Love that turquoise desk Parker built me in Kingsville!

Dining Room:
There really isn't anything special about this room itself, but man do we love this table! So excited to have little Phelplets sitting around it in the years to come.

This was a smaller kitchen than our other houses have had (I have always been so spoiled in the kitchen department), but it did the job. It really was the perfect size for the two of us.

Parker's Office (Man Cave): 
I thought I'd try out the fancy panoramic section on the iPhone with this one. This is where the countless hours of studying with a few video game breaks happen.

We loved this house. We try to see the best in every living situation and really have loved everywhere the Navy has stuck us. This place was truly wonderful though. We will miss our Corpus Christi home!

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And Then, Life Happened

There are times where life feels like it's in overdrive, and all I want to do is go to sleep so I don't have to think about it all. Now just feels like one of those times. Don't get me wrong, this is a wonderful time in our lives. So many exciting things are happening, and we couldn't feel more blessed. We moved to Virginia, found the perfect little house to call home, and Parker is officially through with flight school. We are popping the champagne bottles and loving this season of our lives. 

Coming off of the winging ceremony and then driving to Virginia a couple of days later, Parker and I were on such a high. Everything seemed so easy and perfect, and I felt on top of everything that was thrown my way. And then, life happened. Nothing bad happened, but life happened. We found out Parker would be the only aviator of his friends and classmates to report for duty immediately, which zapped our hopes of taking a little vacation for our anniversary. We found out Parker is going to fly the E-2D, and we couldn't be more excited. This seems like the perfect plane for Parker, and I feel like God has us right where he wants us. With this plane selection, we also found out that we have two options after our year in Virginia: We stay in Virginia, or we go to Japan. Our long time hopes of getting stationed in San Diego were slashed, and we suddenly have a 50/50 shot of going somewhere I never, ever planned: Japan. 

Everyone that goes to Japan absolutely loves it. I have never talked to a military spouse who spent time in Japan that did not adore her time there. So many military couples dream of going to Japan, but I never have. Japan would mean giving up my job, saying goodbye to our families, and likely having our first child overseas. It would be a wonderful adventure, but it isn't one that I have ever wanted to experience, at least not right now.

It's also started to sink in that Parker could deploy as soon as a year from now. I'm not naive. I know the military life comes with deployments, but they've never felt imminent like they do right now. Suddenly, I miss the safety net that flight school offered. It may not have been easy, but it meant falling asleep next to my husband every night. I'll take it.

The thing is, God has never abandoned us, and I have never felt like we were in a place God didn't want us to be in. He has so carefully orchestrated and planned our lives to be so much greater than we could ever dream of. If we end up in Japan, it just means God's plans are bigger than my own. If we end up in Japan, it will be a wonderful adventure. If Parker deploys sooner than later, we are strong enough to handle it. If our first child is born overseas, that baby is going to have one heck of a cool story. Life is happening, we can't stop it, and I don't want to. I find myself saying the same phrase I have every time life has thrown us for a curve and placed us somewhere we didn't expect. 

Lord, not our will, but Yours.

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He's Baaaaaack! {The Boy Behind The Blog}

The Boy Behind The Blog link-up is over, but I decided to keep with it because, let's be honest, I look forward to sharing the answers Parker comes up with to some of these questions each month. I tried to think of some off beat questions that I didn't know the answers to or that I thought might be fun to read. So, here we go! 

Questions and Answers (my responses to his answers are in grey):

1. If you could change one thing about your wife, what would it be?
This is a very loaded question if I've ever heard one. I would make her less of a worrier about things that don't matter, but she's pretty good. (like events, how we're going to get where, etc)
He's right, I stress over planning things that are no big deal at all in the big scheme of life. He's also right in that this was a very loaded question, but he gave a great answer to it!

2. What's your favorite Disney movie?
Braveheart. Probably either Aladdin or The Lion King. I like all of them, so it depends on how I feel that day. 
He got the eye roll when Braveheart was the first thing that came out of his mouth. I was surprised to learn he hasn't seen some of the Disney princess movies, like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Those are classics! I'd give him the boy excuse, but he has a sister, so he should have seen them.

3. What thing are you most excited about in the next 5 years?
Children. I can't wait to see Chelsea become a mom.
Well if he isn't just the sweetest husband ever. He'll be the best dad one day. 

4. What's your favorite room in the house?
Living room. That's where I get to hang out with my girls.
I probably would have said the same answer. We get so excited for evenings on the couch watching our favorite shows and just hanging out as a family. It's the little things. 

5. What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
Duh, cookie dough.
I was already typing this answer when he said it. The man loves his chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream! Now that I think about it, this may have been a question in the earlier rounds. Oh well.

That's it for this month! And Parker thought he was done with all the questions... poor kid.

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Home Is Where The Navy Sends Us

All you military spouses are nodding your heads right now. Home is where the Navy sends us. Truer words were never spoken. When we first began this military journey 2.5 years ago, I didn't believe that anywhere other than Texas would ever be home. Texas is all we knew, and I couldn't imagine ever loving anywhere as much as we love our home state. 
To a degree, I was right. Texas still is home, and it always will be. When Parker and I talk about "going home", Texas will always be it. The majority of our family is in Texas, and to me, home is where your family is. I know there are so many other wonderful places in the world besides Texas though, and I don't want to be old and gray and not have visited any of them. Thanks to the Navy, we are adding quite a few stars to our world map and experiencing places we otherwise probably wouldn't. Getting to come back to Texas for a year has been a gift. It will probably be a while before we are back here for good, but it was fun while it lasted! I'll be taking my new favorite shirt with me to VA and wearing it proudly. Gotta represent the homeland!

I was also very wrong about believing nowhere else could ever be home. Each place we have been has felt abundantly like home. Pensacola became home to us. Kingsville became home to us. Even Corpus Christi has become home, and we lived here just 3.5 short months. Norfolk will be home too. Home for me is where my little family is. As long as I have Parker and the Jen pup, I'm home. Here's to the next chapter in our story! I know it will be full of ups and downs and plenty of adventure. There is never a dull moment with these two around.

Our little sign is getting longer! Can't wait to see what this thing looks like 20 years from now!

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Zucchini Parmesan Bites

Thanks to my blogging friend Jamie for sharing this recipe for a simple summer side. I am always looking for new ways to incorporate veggies into our dinners, and I really enjoyed these little Zucchini Parmesan Bites. They are the perfect appetizer or side dish along whatever goodness you've got cooking on the grill!

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 medium zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
Pinch of garlic salt

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the EVOO until fully coated. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and garlic salt.
4. Dip each zucchini round into the Parmesan mixture to coat evenly on both sides. Press gently so the coating sticks.
5. Place each round on your cookie sheet and bake 25-30 minutes, or until browned and crisped.

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The Time

Yesterday was Father's Day. I thought I would start this post off by stating the obvious. It's Monday, after all. I didn't get to spend Father's Day with my dad, but I did get to sit at home and think about how awesome I have it. I have a dad who loves me and is always there for me. I take it for granted, but days like yesterday make me realize how rare and special that really is.

I have a small obsession with anchors. I know that was a random transition, but let's go with it. From being a Delta Gamma in college to marrying a Naval Aviator, the anchor has just followed me everywhere I've gone. I think of an anchor as a stronghold: something that is secure, trustworthy, and safe. When you drop the anchor, you can count on it to hold the boat steady. In so many ways, that's the way I see my dad. He has always been the anchor for our family. He works harder than anyone I know for his children. He is a safe haven when the world seems to go dark. He is a constant in the sea of life's unpredictability. He's an anchor in my life. 
You know, the number one thing kids really want from their dad is time. When you're all grown up and living on your own, that's the stuff that sticks. He used to take us to Toys R Us when we were little and let us pick out a new toy each time, and I don't remember it. He shelled out money on new toys to make us happy, and they definitely were all we wanted at the time, but that's not the thing I remember. Instead, I remember him sitting at my TaeKwonDo practices for hours on end. I remember peeling hard-boiled eggs with him and getting gently teased that only half of mine were edible by the time I was through with them. I remember going on walks as a kid and my dad sticking his foot halfway into the street sewer to show me it wasn't something to be afraid of. Those are the memories I cherish as an adult, and those are the memories I hope Parker and I can fill ours kids with some day. My dad has been an anchor and a provider for our family. He has given us more than I could ever thank him for. Of everything he has given me, the thing I am most thankful for is the time. 
Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you!

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Happy Birthday To The Birthday Boy!

Today my wonderful husband turns a quarter of a century old! Since I turned 25 four months ago, I have prepared him for this milestone and given him all the insight into living life as an adult who is officially halfway through their twenties. So much wisdom comes from being four months older, let me tell ya. 

In all seriousness, I am so excited to celebrate Parker today! I am just very glad he was born, really. We had an impromptu birthday celebration 10 days early since we knew we would be in the process of moving on his actual birthday. June was probably the worst month for birthdays/events out of the year with this move and training schedule, but you have to play the hand you're dealt! I surprised Parker with a few gifts and a cake when he came home from work one day, and it was the perfect little celebration for just us. I knew I wanted to try to bake a cake before we left, because it's just not your birthday until you've blown out some candles. That's the way I qualify the occasion, at least. 

It was a really simple, low key evening spent together. Honestly, that's what the good stuff is made of. It's a little weird that we are both 25 now. We met when we were just a couple of 18 year olds. In hindsight, we were babies! I've loved every minute of laughing and growing with this wonderful human being. Here's to your 25th birthday, Parker! So glad you were born and God chose us to do life together!

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