Anchors Aweigh : June 2016


Twin Sister's Baby Shower | Details

When Danielle told me she was pregnant, I was (and still am!) over the moon to be an Aunt! I really just can't wait, and knowing my nephew will be born in just a couple of months is just the happiest feeling. After the initial shock of "oh my gosh I can't believe she's pregnant", I started thinking about her shower!

I knew from the get-go that I wanted to throw her a baby shower and had so many ideas swimming around in my head for what I wanted it to look like. As soon as we found out the baby is a boy, I scoured Pinterest like crazy! For some reason, girl things just seem easier but I was determined to make this little boy's shower one my sister would love.

The shower was a couple of weekends ago (belated blogging at it's finest!), and it ended up being so wonderful and just what I was hoping for! Danielle loved it and was showered with so many sweet things for baby G.  I thought I'd share a few pictures of some of our favorite details!

Of course there were yummy baby boy-themed treats! Those cake balls are literally the biggest cake balls I have ever seen. I think I had 5 cupcakes and have zero regrets about it. 

I wanted to make little corsages that Danielle, my mom, and her mother-in-law could wear, and after much Pinteresting, I threw in the towel and decided to wing it. A little ribbon, hot glue, card stock, and stickers made the dream a reality. I also added a magnet to the bag so that they wouldn't have to poke a hole in their clothes.

Do you think these two are excited to be grandmothers??

The same family friend that did our wedding flowers put together this beautiful arrangement for the centerpiece. I surrounded it with a few baby pictures of Danielle. All I can say is thank goodness my mom labeled those pictures! I can't tell Danielle and I apart as babies but I am 90% confident the pictures we had displayed were of her.

My mom really wanted to do an "advice for the new mom" table, so I made a little sign, cut up some card stock, and called it done. Sorry mom- I don't think the advice cards made it home with Danielle, but it was a fun activity anyway!

My favorite thing we did was an activity called "Make a bowtie for baby Emmett and big brother Sul". Danielle loves her pup Sully like I love Jenny, and I knew she'd be thrilled to have him incorporated into the shower. I winged this idea as well, but it turned our great! The bowties that attached to the onesie adhered with a snap, and the bowties that attached to the dog collar adhered with velcro. Each guest made two matching bowties- one for the baby and one for the pup!

I also made a banner with the baby's name to hang in the main room. I just picked out a few colors I liked at Michaels and went for it! These were the same colors used on the invitation, so I tried to keep a subtle theme with that. 

It was a great day showering my twin and baby nephew! We are so ready to meet him, and Danielle is ready for me to stop banging on her stomach to talk to him. ;)


This past weekend, Parker and I celebrated 5 years of wedded bliss! We are still scratching our heads at how quickly the first 5 years went by, but here we are! Marriage has been the greatest adventure for both of us. The highs are high, the lows are low, and then there are those every day moments that end up meaning the most.

Looking back, the first 5 years weren't anything like I expected yet became everything I could have hoped for. 6 cities, 5 moves, 1 angel in Heaven, countless friends spread across the world, and the same sweet brown dog. It's been one heck of a ride!

Year 5 brought two of our favorite vacations we have ever taken as well. The cruise to The Bahamas was literally something we have been wanting to do since getting married, and I am so thankful we finally got to take it. It was our early 5th anniversary celebration, and we couldn't have chosen a better way to celebrate! The ski trip we took for my birthday was also one of our favorite vacations to date. Parker had never been before, and it was only my second time to go. I am still not sure how we made it out with all of our bones in tact, but I'm not complaining!

Year 5 was also our first year not to move, so that's an accomplishment in and of itself! We still love being homeowners and would be pretty content living in our home forever. I am sure the Navy will shake things up sooner or later though. ;) Here's my wonky attempt at putting this year's favorite activities into the number 5:

Marriage really does get sweeter with time. We love each other more deeply, understand each other more deeply, and appreciate the life we've built together. 5 years down, forever to go!

Around The Clock Heroes

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

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Growing up, I never dreamed of becoming a military wife. It's not that I was adamantly against the idea or anything, but I really never gave it a second thought. Nobody in my family or close extended family had served in the military, so that world was about as foreign to me as it gets. 

We are 4.5 years into our military adventure, and in some ways it feels as though I've only scratched the surface. Before, military life simply meant adventure. It meant moving and experiencing and trying new things. Don't get me wrong, it still means all of those things, but I am starting to see that it is so much more. 

It's Christmases spent on opposite sides of the country. It's missed birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and births. It's an empty chair at the dinner table. It's a vacant spot in the bed. It's answering the call, no matter the time or day. These men and women who serve in the military are the definition of Around The Clock Heroes, sacrificing their todays with family so that we may have our tomorrows. 

Parker and I haven't spent Easter together in 2 years. He missed his sister's wedding. He was away for his birthday and our anniversary. I could go on and on, but there is no need for that. I am not the only wife who has ever had to say "see you later" to her husband, and Parker is not the only person to leave his family to serve his country. More than 2 million Americans serve on active duty or in the reserves today. More than 2 million Americans are Around The Clock Heroes, and more than 23 million veterans have earned this title as well.

Kroger has stepped up to say thank you to America's heroes. For every Kleenex® Facial Tissue 4-pack bundle purchased from your local Kroger and other Kroger stores, Kleenex® Brand will donate one pocket pack to the USO. Our service members sacrifice so much, and we can never say thank you enough, but knowing Kroger has set up this initiative to help our military makes me proud to shop there. I picked up 2 KLEENEX® BUNDLE PACK® Tissues during my weekly shopping trip and loved thinking of the 2 packs that would be donated to the USO!

We are the home of the free because of the brave. Today and every day, I am thankful for those brave Around The Clock Heroes. To anyone who has served, currently serves, or will serve, thank you. 

Weekend In The Great State

A couple of weekends ago (clearly I'm a bit behind on the blogging thing!), I headed for a weekend of family, food, and fun in Texas! If you know me, you know my love of Texas knows no bounds, and reuniting with family in the motherland is just about the greatest thing ever! My grandparents, mom, sisters, aunt, and cousins all reunited to celebrate my oldest cousin's high school graduation and my twin's baby shower. It was a festivity-filled weekend!

I got in Friday afternoon, just in time to celebrate my Grandaddy's birthday! We went out for Mexican food at our favorite little dive (oh Texas, how I love you and your Mexican food) and ate more enchiladas than we will publicly admit. ;) The waiters brought a giant sombrero for Grandaddy and sang him Happy Birthday. He loved it! I just love this picture. He's so special to me!

Saturday morning, we woke up and got ready to celebrate our graduate! My oldest cousin, Blake, just graduated from high school and is off to college in the Fall! She is the most beautiful woman inside and out, and I know she is going to do such great things. I love these sister-cousin-friends.

When we got back to the house, I snuck in a quick Facetime date with this cutie to check in and probably tell him everything I had to eat that day. #conversationgoals. Seeing his face is my favorite!

Saturday evening, we indulged in some ultra-fine dining in the form of Whataburger. My aunts and cousins live in Illinois now, and I live in Virginia, so we aren't privy to certain luxuries like Whataburger. When in Texas, one must get Whataburger!

We woke up bright and early Sunday morning for my twin sister's baby shower!  Before the shower, we got a glimpse of my grandparents' "pet". And by "pet", I mean fox. They have a few foxes that they leave puppy chow out for. I mean seriously, how fun is that?! This little guy was just coming up for breakfast...

The baby shower was perfect and wonderful, and I'll do a full recap on that soon! Here's a picture I snapped with the expectant twin. She loves it when I tap on her stomach and yell at the baby. Loves it, I tell you.

The baby shower took it out of us. It was awesome, but hosting is exhausting and we were wiped! Before going to bed, I snapped this picture of my precious grandparents holding hands over late night chit-chat. Just the sweetest.

I was set to fly home to Virginia Monday afternoon, but I snuck in a quick family lunch with the family that was still in town! My mom, Nana, cousin Jon, and I all went to a cute little lunch spot called The Dove's Nest, and I had to snap a picture of this sign and send it to Parker. #5. #5 is a real thing in our house. I always go into his office when he is getting ready and naturally sit in his chair. He'd prefer not to share said chair when he's getting ready. ;)

Lunch was delicious and dessert was even better. I've forgotten what this pie is called, but it was chocolatey goodness under vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate and caramel sauce. Need I say more? Yum.

I loved getting to spend some one on one time with the boy! We call him "the boy", because out of 7 cousins (not including husbands), he is the only boy! The first 6 were girls, and then this family finally got a boy! We haven't gotten to spend enough time together since I was already almost off to college when he was born, so Monday with just him was super fun.

Overall, it was just a wonderful 3 days. The motherland never disappoints, and I am counting down until my next visit to the great state! #TexasForever

DIY Little Critters Tic Tac Toe Board

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

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love Summer something fierce! The pool days, the warm nights, the backyard BBQs... it's all just perfection to me. Our neighborhood gets really fun in the Summertime with kiddos running around and backyard hangouts every evening. Since so many of my neighbors have little ones, I decided to get a little crafty one Saturday and make a DIY Little Critters Tic Tac Toe board! Tic Tac Toe is one of those simple games even the smallest youngsters can grasp, and the "little critter" play pieces make it a backyard favorite! 

Instead of "X's" and "O's", I opted for ladybugs and bumble bees. It's whimsical and way cooler to a tyke than boring old letters. If you're interested in making something similar, here's how to do it!

Start by gathering your supplies. I used:

A square board (can be purchased at any craft store, or in my case, found in the garage)
Paint for the board and play pieces
9 garden stones
Black permanent marker
Paint brush (I used a foam brush, but a regular paintbrush will work too)

First, paint your board. Since I was operating off of the "little critters" theme, I chose to go with a kelly green to resemble grass. 

Next, take your ruler and permanent marker and draw the tic-tac-toe grid. 

Now for the fun part: paint your critters! Take 9 stones (one for each square), and paint half with one design and half with another. I chose to go with ladybugs and bumble bees.

I didn't want to make them look "perfect". Let's face it, I couldn't even if I wanted to! I like that they look like a child made them. I think it adds a little more whimsy and fun! If you have little ones, this is a great activity to let them help with too.

I really love how it came out, and the neighborhood kids do too! To further try to secure my position as "the tiny humans' favorite neighbor", I also brought along a go-to for backyard BBQs... ice cream! I found two new flavors of EDY's® Ice Cream based on my favorite candy bars and snatched them right up! I grabbed Nestle Butterfinger® Peanut Butter Cups and Baby Ruth® and man did those kids dig in! Parents enjoyed too and reveled in the fact that these ice creams are made with no artificial colors or flavors. 

Ice cream and Little Critters Tic-Tac-Toe... a winning combination indeed. To create this combo for your next backyard hangout, head to Walmart and look for EDY's Ice Cream in the frozen section. There will also be demos during the month of June at select Walmarts. Click here to see if your store is on the list!

What is your favorite Summer activity?

Military Mondays: Advice On Gearing Up For Deployment

I was talking to a friend the other day, and she summed up deployment in one word that's the best definition I've ever heard: it's unnatural. Deployment is really, really unnatural. Nobody gets married excited about near year-long separations. That's not the point of marriage. Marriage is doing daily life with your best friend, not sending them away for months on end. Deployment is unnatural. 

Because it's so unnatural, navigating the waters of deployment can be tough. You are as prepared as possible for them to leave, but nothing can actually prepare you for that long journey ahead. I wanted to share some of my advice for the weeks leading up to the big D. I did a lot of praying and talking to friends in the hopes of making our last few weeks together as wonderful as possible, and I feel like God answered in a big way. The days have been so sweet, so full of love, and I can honestly say we have enjoyed every moment. For deployments to come, we will do things the exact same way. It just clicked for us and is helping make the transition that much smoother. 

1. Have family come visit a few weeks before. For many, family will want to come down to say goodbye. We knew this going in and were so excited to have Parker's parents stay with us, but we were adamant about having our last 2 weekends just the two of us, so we asked that they come a little earlier. They totally understood, and it was a wonderful visit. I think I would have resented just about anyone for coming down on our last weekend together, and I didn't want to have those feelings to people that I love. Confer with your husband and set the expectation. 

2. Don't go out of town on your last weekend together. Go to your favorite restaurants, go on walks in your neighborhood, go to the movies, etc. Go do whatever it is you enjoy doing on the weekends, but don't go out of town. You know how when you go out of town, you need a weekend to recover from your weekend? You don't get that if they are leaving just a few days later. Stay low key your last weekend so you can fully enjoy every second. 

3. Don't have a countdown to the day they leave. I never thought about how many days we had left. It's setting yourself up for failure and just not worth it. That day will get there sooner than you care to think, so don't waste time counting down to it. It's a mental game. 

4. Don't pick silly fights. Everyone argues over silly things every once in a while. Emotions are heightened right before they leave. Keep it under control and do everything in your power not to pick a fight. It's just not worth it, and you'll regret it big time after the fact. 

5. Live life normally. We didn't spend every night talking about the deployment or all the things he would miss. We just carried on with our normal routine. We weren't in denial about what was happening, but no good comes from dwelling on the fact that you are about to be separated. 

So that's my advice. I'd love to hear yours!

3 Tips For A Well Trained Dog

I've had this post idea floating around in my head for a while now and finally decided to sit down and write it out! When we adopted Jenny 5 years ago, we were really looking forward to training her. She was six months old and basically a blank slate- she needed to learn everything. We've invested a lot of time into the Jen pup and are so proud of how far she's come. She isn't perfect, but she's well mannered and listens to the commands we give her, which is really all we ask of our dog. Today, I'm going to share our top 3 tips for a well trained dog!

1. Decide what "well trained" means to you

Everyone's definition of a well trained dog is different. Maybe it's that they get along with other dogs. Maybe it's that they know their basic commands like "sit" and "stay". Maybe it's that they walk off leash without running away. Decide what it means to you. For us, we wanted to develop a really strong "sit". Wherever Jenny is, we can yell "SIT", and she typically sits regardless of what she's doing. She stays in her "sit" until we tell her "okay", releasing her to get up. We also wanted Jenny to be able to walk around off leash and come when called. Her knowledge of "wait" (our version of "stay") was also something we emphasized. We never taught her to roll over, play dead, or speak because those weren't important to us. Decide what's important to you and work on those specific skills. 

2. Be consistent

This is the best advice we have ever been given about dog training. Everyone in the house has to be on the same page. Parker and I are equally tough on Jenny and both expect the exact same behavior from her. If one family member is strict but the other is lenient, it will quickly undo most of the training you are working towards. Dogs are smart and realize what they can get away with. 

3. Use a different voice for "happy" and "upset"

If Jenny does something she isn't supposed to, we both lower our voices to a quick, deep tone. This lets her know she is in trouble. If we are praising her, we use a higher-pitched voice with a lot of inflection. This lets her know she did something good. As much as we like to think it, dogs don't speak English. They rely on our voice inflection. If you use a happy voice to say "Don't do that!", you might as well have just said "I am so glad you did that. Do it again!". Switch up your voice so your pup knows when they are being praised and when they are in trouble. 

What are some of your favorite tips for dog training?

If I Could Go Back And Tell Myself One Thing On My Wedding Day...

This month marks five years since Parker and I said "I do". Five! Seriously, how is that possible? We are still scratching our heads on how the time passed so quickly, but low and behold, here we are almost five years later. 

With our anniversary coming up next weekend, I've been a huge sap lately reflecting on the journey and all of the life that has happened in five years. In some ways, the years look exactly how I expected, and in others, absolutely nothing like I expected. I suppose that's life for ya!

Looking back at our marriage, I can honestly say I have no regrets. Of course, there are fights I picked for no good reason and words that should have been prayed about before they were said, but that's all part of the journey. And I don't regret the journey. Marriage is messy, but it's a beautiful mess. 

If I could go back and give that bright-eyed 22 year old getting ready in the bridal salon one piece of advice, it would be simple: enjoy the ride.

There have been moments where I wanted to hurry time up (babies) and moments where I wanted to freeze frame time (gearing up for deployment). Wishing time away or begging time to stay hasn't worked for me yet, and learning to just appreciate each stage for what it is has been one of my biggest takeaways over the last five years. Each stage has been a blessing in some form or fashion!

So that's it. Simple stuff, really. To the bright-eyed bride-to-be or to the brand new wife, enjoy the ride. Marriage is, without a doubt, the most beautiful ride!

5 Tips For A Successful DIY Military Move

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of CORT for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Let's call a spade a spade: moving can be a giant pain in the you know what. Parker and I have lived in 6 different cities in 5 years of marriage, so that's a lot of moving! Fortunately for us, moving doesn't cost us a cent when we are relocating on military orders. When Parker and I get the news that we are packing up and moving to a new city, we get really excited. The Navy packs us, loads up all our stuff, transports it, and unloads it in our new house. We are just responsible for getting ourselves to our new location, which is hardly anything worth complaining about.

That's all well and good, but there have been 2 moves in the past 5 years that were not on military orders, so we were stuck trying to figure out how the rest of the world did it. Cue the complaining and whining about having to pack up our entire house and move it. We have been so spoiled by the Navy that moving ourselves seemed less than enticing. However, if we were going to be forced to move ourselves, we were going to do it the most cost-effective, practical way possible. Specifically, there are 5 tips we like to keep in mind when doing a military move ourselves.

1. Renting a moving truck is like buying a car. It's negotiable. I found the very best deal online and then called the local truck rental company in town. I told them the deal I found, and they matched it. We knocked $100 off of our moving truck because of this.

2. Blankets and towels can double as bubble wrap. You have to move all of those blankets and towels anyway, so why not use them to wrap some of the more fragile kitchen items? The trick to this is to pack the fragile items in smaller boxes, very compactly. I wrapped all of our drinking glasses in towels and packed them tightly together, and it kept them safe during the bumpy truck ride.

3. Boxes can be free. One of the most expensive parts of moving, if not the most expensive, is buying all the boxes. Those pieces of cardboard are not cheap! We could have easily spent several hundred dollars on new boxes, but we found a way around that. First, ask people who just moved for boxes. They are eager to get rid of them, so it's a win-win. If you don't know anyone who recently moved, then take a trip to your local Lowes and ask them for boxes. Huge shipments of merchandise come into these stores multiple times a week, and the boxes just get thrown away once the merchandise is unloaded. Parker went to Lowes one evening about an hour before they closed and came home with 20-30 boxes. The disadvantage of this route is that your boxes are all different sizes and harder to stack. The advantage? They are free. If you are moving far away and it's important to stack your boxes compactly, Lowes has the cheapest boxes to purchase as well.
4. Pay your friends with pizza to help you load/unload. Loading and unloading is a pain, and we honestly couldn't have done it by ourselves if we wanted to. I am just not strong enough to help Parker lift the heavy stuff, so we needed man power, literally. We had a few friends help us pack up the truck in the morning in exchange for free breakfast burritos, and we paid people to help us unload that same afternoon with pizza. Much cheaper than paying movers, and who doesn't love a little free pizza?

5. Look into furniture rental. This is something we recently discovered, but for moves where you may only be there temporarily or have to leave a lot in storage, it's a game changer! If you are in need of temporary furniture, CORT Furniture Rental has the perfect solution. Our journey in the military is unpredictable at best and requires a lot of flexibility, so CORT's easy solution to rent furniture allows each new house to feel like a home. It's essentially "furniture on demand" and is there when you need it and gone when you don't anymore. Simple. Hassle free. Worry free.
I hope these tips are helpful to anyone with a move on the horizon. Moving can be stressful and a hassle, but these tips will help ease the process!
Visit Sponsors Site


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...