Anchors Aweigh : May 2015


Weekly Confessions

Happy Friday yall! This is what rounded out our week...

I confess... I had a blogger frustration last week. Out of nowhere, my posts stopped publishing to Bloglovin. This went on a few days, and now it looks like it's working-ish. I kept reminding myself throughout the week "this shouldn't count as a real problem", but it was frustrating nonetheless.

I confess... we have a closing date on our house and are so. darn. excited. Every couple of hours, either Parker or I look at the other and say "I'm just ready to move in!". Moving can be a pain but we try to be really efficient. These last couple of moves, we have had every box unpacked in 4-5 days. We will see if we can keep up the trend with this one.

I confess... Virginia is beautiful in the summer. For how much I complained about the terrible winter (I'm sure I'll be just as bad next winter), the summers sure are pretty. Sunshine never goes out of style!

I confess... I was a bridesmaid in a wedding last weekend, and I had my hair professionally done. At the end of the night, I must have pulled 50 bobby pins out of my hair. It reminded me of my wedding night because I literally sat there and just pulled them out one by one. On the plus side, not buying bobby pins for a while!

I confess... The latest Bachelor break-up was not a shocker. It just didn't seem like it was going to work for some reason, but the hopeless romantic in me wanted it to. Oh well, onto the next season.

I confess... 90% of the pictures on my phone are of these two. Pups for days!

Have a great weekend! We have plans to pack and eat all of the random food in our refrigerator. It's going to be wild. 

Grieving: It's Different For Everyone

I have been really blessed in my life. In 26 years, losing my daughter was the first really difficult loss I ever encountered. But boy, did it hit me like a ton of bricks. There was no way to predict how I was going to handle the grieving process because this was such foreign territory for me. Each day has been another step in this new, unprecedented journey. 

Most of us have encountered loss in our lives, and we all handle it a little differently. I've decided grieving is kind of like eating a Reese's. There's no wrong way to do it. Do you remember those commercials about people eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in strange ways with the caption "There's no wrong way to eat a Reese's."? If not, just side step the analogy. In all seriousness though, grieving is an independent journey. 

I recently saw a Facebook status from a woman who suffered a miscarriage. She was essentially scolding those who have chosen to keep miscarriages private, alluding to the fact that they aren't brave enough to admit it to the rest of the world. I really hated that. We are all different people with different personalities. Some of us choose to internalize grief while others heal through outward expression. It's not about the right way to grieve: it's about the right way to grieve for you.

I have been really open about our loss, and that was always my intent. I hoped that some good could come from sharing our story with Taylor, and writing about it has been extremely cathartic. That doesn't mean everyone has to do what I did. There are plenty of people who miscarry children and never tell a soul, and that's okay. 

The point of this post is that I think there is grace in grieving. We all have unique ways of navigating difficult journeys. Sharing versus internalizing has nothing to do with being brave. It's just two different ways of handling things, and I think it's our job to respect rather than criticize. 

We live in a very judgmental, critical world. Go be the difference!

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I'm going to apologize right now for the hashtag title. When I thought about what to call this post, that's what came to mind. Aside from the hashtag nonsense, it really was such an amazing weekend. Three day weekends are a beautiful thing, and we spent ours in the motherland, so that made it extra special.

My little sis from my sorority and one of my best friends/favorite people, Jami, got married to the love of her life this weekend, and I was so honored to get to stand beside her. They are amazing people who I cannot say enough good things about, and they sure know how to throw a party! 

Parker had a squadron event Thursday night which means we took a 6 AM flight to Texas to be there in time for the Bridesmaids Luncheon Friday. I was running on adrenaline but sleep on holiday weekends is overrated. The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner were great, and Parker and I got to catch up with so many wonderful people from college. We decided more friends need to get married so we have more excuses to venture back to the great state. 

At the Bridesmaids Luncheon with the stunning bride!
I also gave Jami the ring bearer box Parker built for them. She asked him to make it for her which was so sweet and such an honor. I decorated the inside and tried my best not to ruin it with my 11-year old handwriting. The cream colored roses are an ode to our Delta Gamma days, and I was excited to put in a personal touch that I knew would mean something to her. The little ring bearer sure did look cute carrying it down the aisle!

I used my rings as a placeholder for the picture. 
Saturday was the big day! We spent the morning grooming and had the time of our lives that evening. Seeing her walk down the aisle to her husband was such a perfect moment. The reception was one for the books, and I spent 90% of it on the dance floor. Now that I have to be an adult, I don't get a chance to dance it out as often as I would like, so I was loving it. Parker humored me and danced the night away with me, and my twin sister and brother in law were there too. I got to hug more sweet friends from college and catch up with people I wish we got to do life with more often. Texas, one day we will live there forever. One fine day. My parents and little sister were also there, which made it really fun. It's a neat transition when it becomes ridiculously cool to go to a party with your parents. In that way, adult > adolescence.

Unfortunately most of the pictures we took are a little on the blurry side, but you take what you can get.

Just hanging out with the life of the party. 
Oh hey, same face. 
Favorite forever date. 
There might have been a photobooth. 

Four of my all-time favorite people. Anytime we are together, we take a "twin + Taylor picture".

Sunday was spent sleeping in (3 days of very little sleep finally caught up to me) and hanging out with the family. Unfortunately my littlest sister was away, but I soaked up every moment I had with my other sisters and parents. I didn't want it to end! 

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was Sunday night. We all went back to my twin's house after some killer Mexican food (thank you Texas) and played a little Taboo. Parker and I love this game, and playing it with your family is just a blast. Everyone got really into it, and Danielle, my mom, and I came out victorious. In the other team's self-defense, it's not really fair when you put the twins on the same team, and the score was really close. My dad decided not to be on a team and instead just yell out answers when it suited him. He did this for both teams, so it seemed fair. This is sort of his M.O. when it comes to playing games, and I kind of love it. That night made for a great memory. Had my littlest sister been there, it would have been perfect. It was still pretty darn close!

Fam Bam.

More weekends like this one, please. 

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Oatmeal Cinnamon Cookies

A few weeks ago, I decided to make some plain jane oatmeal cookies. I just felt like going back to the basics, but these quickly became some of my favorite cookies I have tasted in a while. The husband agreed and, weeks later, he is still talking about these cookies. They are oatmeal with just a hint of cinnamon. Perfection!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 3/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups quick oats

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, vanilla, and water, and mix well. 
3. Add salt, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix well. 
4. Add flour, and mix just until combined. Lastly, add oats and mix just until combined. 
5. Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake for 8-11 minutes. 


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Thankful for Real Heroes

Just wanted to drop in and wish you all a happy Memorial Day. Please take a minute to pray for those families who are having a hard time today. We are the land of the free because of the brave, and today is a day to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. They are the real superheroes of the world!

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Recent Reads: May

I really loved the three books I read this month. It was a busy month and I had originally hoped to read more, but these reads kept me engaged and happy! Here are the books that occupied my nightstand this month...

The Silent Wife
by A.S.A. Harrison

This one was really interesting. Each chapter is written focusing on either the husband or the wife, and you find both characters are really flawed. The relationship dynamic they have with such limited communication seems crazy, yet in some weird way it works for them. I enjoyed this one and recommend it for a different, lightly suspenseful read.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
by John Boyne

Parker and I actually listened to this as an audiobook on a long drive. It's a quick read and an older book, but if you haven't read it, do it. It's told from the viewpoint of a young German boy during WWII. By the end, our jaws were on the floor. Boyne ended the novel brilliantly and did a good job in using a fictional story to portray real history. 

The Husband's Secret
by Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty, you are my new favorite author. At first, I wasn't crazy about the number of characters in this novel. There are three main characters all with different story lines, but the way she intertwined them was genius. She reveals the shocking twists and turns of the novel in the epilogue, and you really cannot believe what you are reading. Yall, I cannot recommend this book enough. It's been my favorite book I've read all year. 

So that's it! Right now I am reading Babyville by Jane Green and hope to read more of Liane Moriarty's books in the coming weeks as well! What's occupying your nightstand these days?

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The Boy Behind The Blog: Darla Edition

For this month's Boy Behind The Blog, I thought it would be fun to do a Darla-themed post. Our little Darla pup is going back home really soon, and we are so sad to lose her. I cried the other day just thinking about it. She is a part of our family and has weaseled her little way into our hearts. I just wish I could explain to her that it's all going to be okay and that she isn't leaving us because we don't love her anymore, and I wish I could explain the same to Jenny. Their worlds are about to change and it breaks my heart to think about it. But, Darla and her mom are going to be so, so happy together and we will figure out life as a threesome again. 

I asked Parker a few questions about our favorite black dog, and he so kindly answered them. 

Questions and answers (my response to his answers are in gray):

1. What will you miss most about Darla?
Probably watching Chelsea with her and watching her be Chelsea's shadow.
Cue heart melting. We call her my shadow because she really does follow me around everywhere. Even if I am sitting in my office working, she lays by my feet and stares at me until I get up. Sometimes she gets to sit in my lap while I work too.

2. What will you miss least about Darla?
Her eating Jenny's poop
It's true. This has been the bane of our existence. A few months ago, Darla decided Jenny's poop was delicious. So, now we follow Jenny around every time she goes outside so we can pick it up right away. We get lazy sometimes though, and Darla capitalizes on this laziness. Jenny is on special food for her hips that apparently tastes as good going in as it does coming out. TMI? Apologies for the visual. 

3. What is your favorite Darla story? 
Probably Chelsea going into the laundry room, shutting the door behind her, and realizing she can't find Darla 30 minutes later. Chelsea wondered where she was because she wasn't right at her feet like she usually is (see answer #1). She checked the laundry room and found Darla sitting there, patiently waiting to be let out. 
Gosh, I felt terrible about this. It makes for a funny memory though.

4. Who do you think is smarter, Jenny or Darla?
I typed this answer before he said it. We love Jenny something fierce, but Darla is smarter than she is. 

5. If Darla had to choose to live with you, me, or Jenny for the rest of her life, who would she choose?
Well, she likes me, but she loves Chelsea, so Chelsea. 
See, it would probably be Jenny if Jenny had the ability to produce food. Those two pups love each other, but since Darla loves eating more, I agree. She'd choose me. 

So that's it! Here are a few favorite pics of this little pup that has stolen our hearts...

I realize this is the boy behind the blog, but I could not find pictures of just Parker and Darla. I'll be sure to remedy that shortly!

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Skinny Quiche

I get really bored of lunch food and was itching to try something a little different to munch on during the lunch hour. When I saw this recipe for a skinny, crustless quiche, I knew I wanted to try it. Quiche is delicious but often not the healthiest option, so I loved that this version was so low in calories and so high in protein! I ate this 5 days in a row and loved it. Of course it would make an amazing breakfast as well!

1 cup low fat cottage cheese
2 cups liquid egg whites
1/2 cup broccoli, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup extra lean ham, diced
1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a pie plate with cooking spray.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Pour mixture into your greased pie plate and bake for 45 minutes or until the center is set. 


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A Wonderfully Ordinary Weekend

I realized recently that I hardly ever do weekend recaps anymore. That's mainly because all of our weekends are similar: we eat more food than we should, we sleep a lot, we go to the movie theater or watch a movie on the couch, and we hang out with friends. It's always a little different, but I probably just covered 80% of our weekends in that synopsis. We are like the rest of the humans on the planet in that we love those weekends something fierce. Sitting here writing this, I just realized it is already Sunday night, and that is too close to Monday morning for comfort. 

Anyway, I wanted to recap this weekend to remember what weekends look like down the road. Life is always changing, and I am sure these normal, run-of-the-mill weekends will not always look this way. We won't have Darla, he'll deploy, we'll hopefully have kids... life will just change. 

So this weekend we actually started a little early and went to the movie theater Thursday night to watch Pitch Perfect 2. It was aca-awesome (sorry, I can't help it), and I highly recommend seeing it. I probably give the first one the edge, but I quite enjoyed the sequel as well. 

Friday night, Parker suggested Greek food at a great little local restaurant, and we felt like we ate the menu. I'm pretty sure we waddled out of there and collapsed on the couch as soon as we got home. We had a pizza which is pretty mundane on the Greek food spectrum, but we got the sampler appetizer to make up for it. Other than the gyro meat and pita bread, I could not name another thing on this plate. Scratch that, there is a giant pile of hummus. Other than that, I have no clue:

Does anyone else take pictures of their food for no reason?
Friday night, we watched the latest Survivor episode and may have been high fiving/fist bumping when the person we wanted to go home got the boot. We get way too into that show for our own good. 

Saturday morning, we woke up and decided we needed to work out after the meal we had the previous evening. I am a terrible motivator and kept casually saying "I could be convinced to not workout" and "Wouldn't you rather just eat cinnamon rolls?". Those statements didn't fly, and before I knew it we were out the door and each heading out for a run. I felt amazing afterward, and I was so glad he held strong on the "let's work out" thing. We enjoyed a cool down stroll with the pups as well. 

Pre-run selfie fun. 
The pups look like they're dying here. No worries, they're still alive.
Saturday was spent doing a little packing here and there to get ready for the upcoming move, errands together, and another movie date that evening. That's where things went south for me. You see, I had made him the deal that if he went to see Pitch Perfect 2 with me on Thursday, I would see Mad Max with him on Saturday. I made good on the promise and sat through the darn thing, but yall, it was painful. I told Parker it might be the worst movie I have ever seen in theaters. Dramatic much? It wasn't my kind of movie, and Parker thought it was just okay. He so got the better end of the deal seeing Pitch Perfect 2. 

Sunday was spent driving about 45 minutes away to collect boxes from another military family who just moved here (free boxes for the win!), getting stuck in traffic, and having a little QT (quality time) as Parker kept calling it. I also met one of my friends for a fun girls lunch, and we saw Hot Pursuit in theaters. If you're keeping track, that's three movies in one weekend. That's a bit above average, but I enjoyed 2 of the 3 ;)

So that was our weekend! It was wonderfully ordinary. 

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S'mores Nachos

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LetsMakeSmores #CollectiveBias #sponsored

I usually save recipes for Tuesdays, but this treat I am about to share with you blew my mind and I just really need to tell you about it today. S'mores nachos. I don't know why it took me 26 years to discover this, but I am thankful it didn't take 27.  

I love s'mores over a campfire just as much as the next person, but unfortunately we do not have a fire pit in our backyard. I wanted to figure out a way to still enjoy one of my favorite desserts inside, and s'mores nachos were the answer. 

Parker and I decided on the fly to have a little date night in, and I wanted to whip up a quick snack we could enjoy while watching a movie. These s'mores nachos were made in under 10 minutes and ready before Parker even knew I was making anything. Super quick and super yummy equals my kind of treat!

Before I stop teasing and actually share the recipe, I will say one more thing. One of the great things about this dessert is quantities are completely up to you. Make as much or as little as you want. Love marshmallows? Cover your plate with marshmallows until your heart is content. Like chocolate syrup? Go nuts. You get the idea. This is something you can make without having to reference a recipe or worrying that it might not come out right. Trust me, it will. 

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars (sold in 6 pack), divided into rectangles
Honey Maid Graham Cracker Squares, divided into quarters
Kraft's Jet-Puffed Mini Marshmallows
Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a pie plate or round dish with cooking spray. Arrange Honey Maid Graham Cracker quarters along the bottom of the pan. 

2. Top with Hershey's Milk Chocolate rectangles. 

3. Top with Kraft's Jet-Puffed Mini Marshmallows.

4. And finally, top with Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. Bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes. Let cool for about a minute and enjoy!

So there you have it. S'mores nachos exist and can be a part of your life too. We had such a fun little date night in, and I love that I found a yummy way to enjoy s'mores indoors. Such a quick, easy solution for summertime! Walmart made it easy and had my ingredients ready in the below display, so definitely check that out:

What are some of your favorite s'mores recipes for summer?

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Weekly Confessions

It's that time of the week again! Here's what the last few days have looked like in our world...

I confess... Parker ended up spending the night in Pensacola on Monday. I made the best of it by watching DWTS live rather than the usual recorded episode I watch every Tuesday. It was a nice consolation I suppose.

I confess... I've decided I am going to sit down this weekend and redo my blog design. I've never paid someone to do it before, though I really should because it takes me hours! We will see how it goes this time. Also, there is like a 50/50 chance of me actually sitting down to do this. 

I confess... I just finished The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty and it was so. darn. good. I'll do a full review of it later in the month but this is your PSA for the day: go read it. It was brilliant.

I confess... I've been running a few times a week and it feels amazing I had pretty much given up running these last few months for no other reason than running in the cold is no bueno. Now that it's warm, I actually get excited for my runs! Okay, that's a lie. By excited, I mean I don't totally dread them as much as I did when it was cold. 

I confess... Two of our friends invited us over for dinner this week and served enchiladas. I just wanted to hug them and say "Bless you sweet humans for serving the food of my people". Texas forever. Sorry Virginia, but not really. 
I confess... Parker wants me to learn how to make homemade ice cream. I just don't know if I can justify that when Bluebell is so tasty and so pre-made, two of my favorite qualities about it. 
So that's a random hodgepodge of what's been on my mind this week. If I did a weekly confessions: husband edition, it would consist of one bullet point. "I flew planes. The end". Men are so elaborative. Hope yall are having a great week! It's almost Friday!

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Home Ownership On The Brain

So about a week ago, something really cool happened. We became homeowners!!! We got our dream house and could not be more thrilled! Starting out on the journey of buying a home, we were pretty discouraged. We just weren't finding anything that felt right and were afraid we would run out of time and have to settle with something we didn't love. A few weeks later, we saw this house, and we were obsessed. We also saw another house the same day and thought we could see ourselves in either one. That's about the time I discovered that buying a house must be just like being the Bachelor.

We went with our gut and haven't looked back since. Putting in the offer was really fun and nerve-racking at the same time. We carefully chose our offer, they countered, and we felt that what they countered with was very fair, so we took it. We are so excited to make memories in this house. Godwilling, this will be the house we bring babies home in, host family and friends in, and just enjoy life's sweet moments in. 

Since we bought a house and I am a girl, naturally decorating has been in the forefront of my mind. We want to make it our own and a place we genuinely love spending time in, but we don't want to go overboard. I am under strict orders from the hubs not to buy a single thing until we move. Anything we buy now is one more thing we have to move, so I am fighting the good fight and only window shopping. 

I've been taking pictures of different items in different stores that I might want to purchase for the new home, so I thought I would share a few of them! Who knows, maybe we won't buy any of this, but I have loved gathering inspiration from window shopping and, of course, Pinterest. 

Let's see...

We need new bedding, and I love the blue and white on this quilt I spotted at the NEX. We wash our comforter fairly often since the dogs lay all over it, and it would be really nice to have something like a quilt that is lightweight and not as cumbersome to wash. Parker doesn't love the idea of a duvet cover, so I am thinking a quilt like this would be a nice happy medium. 

This is just a little picture frame I found at the NEX as well, but I like how simple and clean it looks. We tend to love more modern decorating, and I like this on a bedside table in a guest room.

I had to laugh out loud when I saw this next one. I spotted this at Hobby Lobby. Necessary for the laundry room, right?

This was a display at Hobby Lobby, and I just LOVE the Navy and white. I really want to do either our room or a guest room in this color scheme. I like the print in the middle with the gold reef.

The Navy broke my office chair when we moved to Virginia (sadly, not many pieces of furniture were spared in our last move), and I have just been making do and not leaning too much in it. After almost falling over for the hundredth time last week, I decided a new office chair would be a good investment. I like this one at Target.

If you have any decorating tips or advice, I am all ears!

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