Anchors Aweigh : March 2014


Airplanes, Airplanes, & More Airplanes

This weekend was one Parker had been looking forward to for months. The Blue Angels were in Kingsville, Tx! Air shows are pretty cool no matter who you are, especially ones that involve the Blue Angels. These guys are the best of the best, and what they can do is simply amazing in my book. I loved getting to see them fly, so imagine going with a bunch of student aviators... those boys were in heaven!

I sort of loved that the airshow was in Kingsville. We had the hour commute, but we got to go back to the town we used to live in. Hello, nostalgia. We even got to see our old house when we knocked on the door unannounced to ask for our old doormats back. That's another story for another day, but let's just say it was sufficiently awkward. Anyway, I digress. There were a lot of people gathered for the event, but it seemed like we knew someone at every turn. The military is like a giant fraternity sometimes, in a good way of course. I loved getting to hang out with old and new friends all day!

The first part of the day was spent walking around the display area and checking out all of the planes. Nothing makes Parker happier than when I can identify an airplane correctly, so that was my goal all day. Some men appreciate quality time or massages, others appreciate airplane knowledge. You play the hand you're dealt. 

This is actually the plane Parker is flying right now! T-44A

This is a coast guard plane, but that's all I remember... can you tell these guys like planes? I couldn't either.
Obnoxious? Probably. However, it seemed like the natural pose considering the paint job.
Parker in front of the... yellow plane... apparently I can't remember what this one is either. Oops.
Acting like tourists with the Russian helicopter!
This is inside the P3. This plane wasn't open for touring, but the pilot found out the guys were student aviators and let them right in. Parker was in airplane heaven!
 So this isn't an airplane, but look Dad! I found a corvette!

We finished up touring the different planes on display, and we had all built up pretty decent sunburns and appetites at that point. The corn dogs fixed the latter, and applying aloe vera like it's my day job is currently working on the former (sorry for forgetting sunscreen, Mom :/ ...). There were different planes flying over us while we were walking around, and the Blue Angels were the grand finale. Grand finale indeed. If you ever have the opportunity to see these guys fly, go do it. It's just plain cool. 

This is Fat Albert, the plane that always flies out right before the angels. I still can't figure out why we call it Fat Albert.

We might need to photo shop Jenny into the above picture for our Christmas card this year. It doesn't get much better than having the Blue Angels flying in the background!

All in all, it was a really neat experience. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I love seeing Parker so happy. Goodness that man loves planes. Thanks for a memorable weekend, Kingsville! Naturally the coolest thing to happen in Kingsville all year would happen the month after we move. It happens. I'm just glad we got to venture back to the motherland to see it!

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Getting My MRS Degree: Guest Post from Katherine

I am excited to have Katherine from The Newsom's Nest taking over my blog today to talk about getting an MRS degree. If there is anything I learned in college and from marrying Parker, an MRS degree is a real thing, yall! Fun fact: Katherine and her husband are fellow Aggies, but I met Katherine through blogging. However, our husbands were in the Corps of Cadets at the same time and actually knew each other at A&M- small world! Take it away, Katherine!

I was just over 19 when we were married, and Marshall was 22, by only a few days. We were babies. And anyone who didn’t know us thought we were cra-zay to get married so young. If you actually did know us and spent time with us, then there was no problem to be seen. We are thankful our parents and siblings saw the love and understood this all. Perception is everything. (And to this day, people still think we’re both 18 and in high school- I’m sure this will be the case for some time) 

We got engaged right after spring break my freshman year at Texas A&M, and decided we were getting married that summer 2011. Why such a short engagement? It happened this way because Marshall was on contract and was commissioning into the Marine Corps upon his August graduation. We didn’t know what would happen next. So we decided to have the wedding 2 days after that. And honestly – who wants a long engagement? When you know, you know- you know?

If you’ve been following along, or if you will follow along on my blog, you will see that I’m still in school. If you are any good at math, yes, I am in my senior year now, right on track with where I would be otherwise. I continued at Texas A&M the fall we were married, then that spring we moved to Virginia, so I took that semester off while searching for options to continue school. Everyone who didn’t know me well and saw that I was leaving school said that I would never go back--- um, excuse me? I knew I would never let that happen, proved them wrong, transferred it all over to Liberty, and jumped back on board the next summer, 2012. I only took one semester off. And yes, I am on track to graduate right on time, same as before, this May- in less than 2 months!

So if you’ve got any of that so far, I am still getting my academic degree. But I actually already have a degree! I picked up my “’MRS degree” when I married Marshall, and this was set in stone when we moved away from our home state in 2012. (Because I was married and so young and hadn’t finished school at that point!)

I was SO confused the first time I heard the term, because you really have to think about it. M-R-S – what’s that spell? Mrs? Mrs! I have a strong feeling my dad is the one who coined this term, because I have heard it countless terms throughout my life via him only. It was often a topic of conversation when talking about my future- My mother and paternal grandmother did the same thing – they each found the man of their dreams while at Texas A&M, got their “MRS degree,” and moved away, leaving school and their sophomore year behind (Yes- same age and timeline, too. The coincidences are a little freaky, to say the least)

Back to the point – My dad always told me that I would never do what my mother and grandmother did and get taken away from school because of a boy. Under no circumstances! My mom also helped this along by telling me to finish my degree all at once, because if I leave, who knows when I’ll be back? She was originally class of ’91 at A&M but finished as class of ’98 at Mary-Hardin Baylor, after moving with my dad in the Army many times and having babies (my brother and I), of course. That was her big selling point! To this day, I don’t know how she finished her degree in Math, of all areas, as a military wife during a deployment with two toddlers in tow, not to mention all of our activities like T-ball, soccer, and dance. But she did. Military spouses have to be superwoman sometimes (many times) – it’s in our job description (yes, like a real job – we wear a lot of hats). And keeping busy never hurts, too!

So, actually getting my MRS degree? What’s that? Does anyone see something in that title… a title in itself, perhaps? I left school without a degree but with a new title and name – as a Mrs. Thus, my dad has always called it an “MRS degree.” He even spelled it out (M-R-S) while telling me to never follow in my mother’s footsteps by running off with a boy before finishing school. It usually took me a while to realize he was actually saying “Mrs.” He was pretty adamant about that not happening to me, even though he did so with my mom and took her out of school (See the irony?) He even had me promise all while growing up that I would never get my MRS degree, and being the daddy’s girl that I am I would ecstatically say “I promise I will never get married and always be your little girl, daddy!” Not an exaggeration, y’all- this is what my childhood was like! With him being gone quite a bit with deployments, drill, etc. while I was growing up, I was attached at the hip. Which is why it was so hard to tell my parents that I had gained a boyfriend my second week as a freshman at college and he just so happened to be a senior and was also just coincidentally in the same Corps of Cadets outfit my father was during his time at Texas A&M, Trident P-2, and was also on a military contract. WOAH. Those senior boots get ya every time. You can see where I’m headed with this.

Naturally, after Marshall proposed to me in Corpus Christi (March 2011), I was ecstatic. Then it set in. I would become a Mrs. I knew what was happening soon – he would graduate, commission, and leave for training in Virginia soon after. What kind of a timeline does that look like for us? Would I stay behind at school until I finish, or leave and go with him- then when would I finish my degree, if ever? I surely didn’t want to take 8 YEARS to finish it like my mother did. I always knew I would never take that long! But wait, I have to tell my parents I’m engaged! Of course they have to know. My dad would be so upset! He made me promise I wouldn’t get married and run away before I get my degree. I am his only little girl, after all. He surely isn’t going to give me away just like that! What am I going to do?! You can imagine how nervous I was making that phone call to my parents (I called them in Whataburger- have to get some honey butter chicken biscuits for breakfast, y’all! We went there to celebrate after we got engaged that morning at the beach).

All that to say, that this is all worth it. That internal battle I know I was going through when the engagement sunk in that morning was only shadow of what was to come – the uncertainty, the excitement, our future. At this point in time Marshall and I have been married for over 2 and a half years. We are both still young in our marriage and have a lot of learning to do, but it’s so wonderful to be able to learn and grow together. We love where we are now in our relationship and work, and we both know that this growth wouldn’t be possible without what brought us here – getting married young, moving together; Putting my husband’s career before mine. Now, I have his support while finishing school, and he has my support while leading his platoon. Yes, I have an “MRS degree.” I use it every day in marriage (do you ever use your degree?) And yes, I’m also getting my actual bachelor’s degree in education in May, and I will use parts of that every day in working at a preschool, as I do now. But the fact of the matter is, I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. I take pride in my “MRS degree” because it is who I am – a Mrs. and a wife!


A Tough Act To Follow

I talk a lot about my relationship with Parker and our adventures together on this blog. I grew up wanting to get married and have a family, and Parker truly was and is an answer to prayer. I didn't have a list of qualities or attributes I wanted in a husband, but I knew the type of person I wanted to marry. This "type" would be a Christian, someone who strives to be better each day, someone who puts their family's and others' needs before their own... I knew the type I was looking for.
They say you look for a man like your father when searching for a husband, particularly if you had a positive childhood experience. My dad is my hero and always has been, and while my childhood may not have been perfect, it was honestly perfect. I grew up in a home full of love, full of people who really, truly loved me. I idolized my dad growing up and still do. I have never met a man who can instantly make people feel at ease, who can make you feel like what you're saying is important and matters, and who shows true selflessness day in and day out like my father does. Parker had a tough act to follow. 
He and my dad aren't the same person by any means, but they share a lot of the qualities I love most about my dad: dedication to work and family, love, compassion, honesty. My dad "gave me away" almost 3 years ago to go out and make a life with my husband. It's a nice idea in theory, your dad giving you away to the man of your dreams. I am Parker's wife and love my identity as this, but a piece of my heart will always, always belong to my dad. After all, he's the first man I ever loved.

Today, the man I have idolized my whole life, who has become my confidante and best friend, turns 50. Today, I just feel blessed. I feel blessed to be his daughter. I feel blessed that God chose him to lead me through life. I feel blessed that in addition to a father/daughter relationship, we have a solid friendship. I just feel blessed.

Happy birthday, Dad. I love you so much.

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I Did What? Seriously...

Do you ever have those moments where you sort of have an out of body experience and can't remember how or why you did something? There are times where I am scratching my head trying to figure out how I got myself into a situation. I used to pride myself on being so organized and timely with my life. I don't know what happened because now, I would lose my head if it weren't attached. I am the person who is frantically searching for her phone while she is talking on it. On that note, here's a story.

A couple of weeks ago, I drove to the commissary for a quick grocery run on my lunch break. I live on the Naval base, so it's about a 2 minute drive. I got to the grocery store, did my shopping, and went to check out. I reached for my keys as I was getting ready to walk back to my car, and they were nowhere to be found. 

Great, when I can't find my keys when I am out, there is only one place they could be. At that point I knew I had locked my keys in my car. I was annoyed, but ultimately I could call roadside assistance and they would be there within the hour.

I walked outside to my car to see my expectation was indeed the reality. I locked my keys in my car. Annoying, but not the end of the world. But wait? Why was my car subtly vibrating? Oh my gosh...

Yes. I locked my keys in the car while. it. was. running. How in the world does that even happen? So I sat next to my locked, running car with my groceries at my feet and tried to figure out how I was going to get myself out of this one. This was the thought process:

Seriously Chelsea, how did you even do this? 
I better stay next to my car so someone doesn't try to steal it. Oh wait, they can't. It's locked.
Shoot, I bought milk at the store that's going to spoil. That's $2 we'll never see again.
Speaking of money down the drain, so glad I recently filled my car up with gas. More money down the drain.

After a series of illogical thoughts, it finally occurred to me to call my husband. Thank you Lord that he was on his lunch break. He rushed home, found the spare key, and came to save the day. He of course wouldn't put me out of my misery and unlock the car until he snapped a picture and got an explanation of how I could have let this happen. Husband, I have no idea. You picked a real winner, obviously.

So that's my life in a nutshell. I wish I could say this is the only time I have ever been so careless, but that would be an utter lie. One day, I will learn to pay attention. How does one lock their keys in their car while it's running? I have absolutely no idea, but apparently, it's possible.
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Half Marathon Training: Snacking, Snacking, Snacking

Once I got a couple of weeks into my training schedule and started building up the mileage, something became really evident: I was hungry all. the. time. I imagine this is how it feels to be pregnant. I would eat and be hungry 10 minutes later. It's funny because you would think I would have maybe lost a little weight during this grueling training process of running all the time, but not so. I think I lost a couple of pounds in the past four months, but that's it. I consumed way more calories than I usually do in a given day, but let's call a spade a spade. I was also burning way more calories than I usually do. 

Snacking became a struggle because it was so easy to grab a cookie or some chips every time I was hungry. And like I said, I was hungry all. the. time. I had to get creative and find snacks that would curb the hunger but that also weren't terrible for me. I would have hated to gain weight during the half marathon training because of my appetite. The thought of that just seems counter-productive and downright depressing, so the quest for healthy snacks was in full effect. What I found is that the healthier snacks were actually much better at curbing my appetite than the cookies were. Win win, if you don't count the fact that I didn't get to eat the cookie.

So what did I eat to curb that constant hunger during half marathon training? I want to share a few of my favorite snacks that were actually enjoyable to eat!

Nonfat Vanilla Yogurt, Blueberries, and Granola. 
This was hands down my favorite snack and my #1 go-to after a run. It has enough substance to keep me full for a couple of hours, and let's be honest, it's completely delicious. I used Dannon Light & Fit Vanilla yogurt. It is 110 calories for 1 cup and lower sugar than the other options. I know people rave about Greek yogurt, but I preferred this option, primarily for the taste benefits.

I rediscovered these later in my training, but I was hooked. I say rediscovered because I absolutely loved pistachios growing up but had completely forgotten they existed. I also liked that I had to crack each one. It kept me from eating handfuls at a time. Let's face it, nobody has time to sit there and peel pistachios for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Chunk Rice Cakes.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you this was a substantial snack that really curbed my hunger, because that's a lie. Rice cakes aren't heavy and therefore made a good snack if I just needed to make it an hour until dinner. I actually bought these out of peer pressure because a lady at the grocery store said they were delicious and I had to try them. Apparently I can't say no to a perfect stranger, so in my cart these went. No regrets here! These rice cakes actually have little chocolate chunks in them. Winning.

Hard Boiled Eggs.
This was the perfect healthy snack after a long run. I don't eat the yolks, but I ate hard boiled egg whites like they were going out of style. Simple. Healthy. Sustaining. Enough said. The only downside to this snack is that you have to peel the shells off. This wouldn't be a downside if I didn't have the patience of a fruit fly.

Sundried Tomato & Basil Wheat Thins and a Cheese Stick.
This is something I munched on consistently throughout my training. I like these 2% milk cheese sticks by themselves, but paired with a sundried tomato & basic wheat thin, you've got a match made in heaven. If you haven't tried these wheat thins yet, do yourself a favor and go grab a box.

What are your go-to snacks after a long work-out? I am always looking for new ideas!

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Skillet Sausage & Veggies

With summer well on its way, I have been trying to make an effort to cook healthier foods. This doesn't mean I'm cutting out desserts or anything (that wouldn't lead to a very happy version of myself), but I am trying to make sure our dinners are nutritious so we feel a little less guilty about that slice of cake at the end. I was really excited to make this recipe because, not only is it a one pot meal (less dishes = happy wife), but it's chock full of veggies without skimming on the flavor. Win-win in my book. Parker and I really enjoyed this dinner! It's one of those meals that would be so easy to mix and match depending on what protein/veggies you are in the mood for. I'll be making it again!

3 red potatoes, quartered
2 Tbsp veggie oil
garlic salt, salt, and pepper, to taste
lean Italian chicken or pork sausage, sliced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
3 bell peppers (one red, one orange, and one yellow), diced
2 Tbsp Thyme
1 zucchini, sliced and quartered
1. Place oil and potatoes on high heat in a large skillet with a lid. Season with garlic salt and pepper. When the skillet starts to get hot, reduce heat to low and cook with the lid 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent potatoes from burning.  Remove from heat and set potatoes aside in a dish.
2. Add sausage to the skillet and saute on medium low to cook until browned but not quite cooked through, or about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
3. Season chopped vegetables with salt and pepper and add the bell peppers and Thyme to the skillet. Stir with the sausage. Continue cooking until the bell peppers are slightly browned.
4. Add zucchini and cook an additional 5 minutes, mixing everything together as it cooks. 
5. Return the potatoes to the skillet and add salt and pepper as needed. Cover and cook 5 minutes more.


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The Circus Came To Town

Some friends invited us to go to the circus this weekend, and who doesn't love going to the circus?! I hadn't been in at least 15 years, and Parker had never been! Needless to say, we added another drop to the experience bucket this weekend. I was interested to see how much fun we would have. I absolutely loved the circus as a kid, but I didn't know how entertaining it would be as an adult. It turns out, pretty entertaining. I don't care how old you are: a line of elephants holding each others' tails with their trunks has to be one of the most adorable things ever.

We started out our circus adventure with copious amounts of overpriced junk food because that seemed like the natural thing to do. When at the circus, eat like a 5 year old, right? Let's go with it. Not pictured: the salted pretzel and giant churro that followed. If you need me, I'll be at the gym.

There were some really neat acts, but being the animal lovers that we are, those were our favorite. I know we see dogs all the time, but it's not every day I see a poodle, so I really enjoyed the poodle act. Those pups have some serious ups! The camels were cute too, and they inspired Jenny's 2014 Halloween costume. We think she'll be the cutest camel! I doubt she shares in that sentiment. 

I loved the acrobatic acts as well because it's just amazing what those people can do with their bodies. The guys with the jump ropes in the picture below were human monkeys and could do flips for days. They made it look so easy, which I think is impressive considering I can barely do a cart wheel. The guys in the yellow were super talented too. Not only could they do flips for days, but their balancing skills were off the charts. We loved these two acts.

Of course a man became a human cannonball at the end, and of course Parker had to immediately look up the science behind how that was done. I am one of those people that thinks the sky is blue because it's blue, so I took it for what it was and thought it was neat that a man shot out of a cannonball. In case you are wondering about how he actually did it, it has something to do with a bag. Yes, that's all I got out of the explanation Parker found. 

Last but not least, I bring you pictures that can make any case of the Mondays you may be experiencing just a little less prominent. These big guys need no introduction. I mean seriously...

Anyone else want a pet elephant after seeing that? Me too. All in all, it was a great night with fun people! And Parker can now say he has been to the circus...winning.

Have you ever been to the circus? Were you obsessed with the elephants too? It's an understandable obsession I think.

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Spring Is In The Air

Yesterday was the first day of Spring. To those of you who actually have seasons where you live, you are probably doing the happy dance. It's funny, I've always lived in my little bubble called "the south". What's normal for us isn't normal for most of America. I was talking to someone about our upcoming move to Virginia and how it's so cold there all the time, and she was quick to say "Oh no, it still gets hot. Virginia actually has seasons". Hmm, interesting. You mean there are places in the world that actually have a Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter? Well that's a foreign concept! Texas has three temperatures: cool, hot, and boiling. With the exception of a few cold weeks out of the year, it's hot all. the. time. As much as I love the heat, I am excited to move to a place where Spring is actually a thing. Yes, I will be fully regretting that statement come next Winter.

In honor of the new season that has everyone smiling just a little bit bigger on this fine Friday, here are my three favorite things about Spring:

Spring break (only when I was a student; now it's just depressing)
perfect weather for walking the dog

Jenny was not impressed, but what else is new?
Those three things just make my heart smile. I asked my sponsors this month what their favorite thing about Spring is. Read all about it below!

Blog // Twitter // Bloglovin // Pinterest // Instagram //

What is your favorite thing about Spring?
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The Boy Behind The Blog: March Madness

I just think March Madness is fun to say. Parker and I don't really get into college basketball, but March Madness sounds exciting. Anyway, that was random. Today Parker is back for another edition of the boy behind the blog! As many of you know, I love this link-up, and Parker willingly participates in exchange for a home-cooked meal. Kidding, kind of. Here's more from the boy behind Anchors Aweigh.

Questions and Answers (my responses to his answers are in grey):
1. What's your lucky number? 
25. Not gonna lie, I stole it from my dad.
I was ready for him to say he didn't have one, but you learn something new every day! 25 is his dad's baseball number from college.

2. Do you have a lucky charm?
Just to make Chelsea happy, I'll say my wedding band.
Feeling the love, husband. Feeling the love.

3. Do you fill out a bracket for March Madness? Who do you want to win?
I did once- Texas A&M. I just don't care about basketball. Last year to sharpen up on my c++ skills, I wrote a program to pick the winners based on random number generation. Strangely, this method proved ineffective. 
Although a supreme waste of time, I still think it's cool he wrote a computer program to fill out his bracket.

4. March 10th is "Middle Name Pride Day". What's your middle name?
Fun fact: I refer to him as "Parker Lee" almost as much as I do just "Parker". 

5. Submit one question that you would like to see on future The Boys Behind The Blog.
What kind of airplane do you fly?
For some reason, I don't think this will be selected.

That's all folks! Happy Thursday almost Friday!

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