Anchors Aweigh : 2017


Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

I am taking the next few days off to spend time with my people and indulge in the magic of Christmas. As amazing as all of the Christmas lights, food, traditions, etc. are, the truly amazing thing is the gift of Jesus. If you have never read the story of Christ's birth, I have included it below. 

Merry Christmas from my family to yours! I will see you in 2018!

Luke 2: The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Around The House At Christmas Time

Christmas is my favorite time of year (besides summer when I don't have to be cold all the time ;)). I love decorating, I love wrapping presents, and I love blasting Christmas music all through the house for a month straight. 

I am typically one of those people we all silently judge for decorating their house before Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving too, but I am ready by mid-November to start enjoying my Christmas decorations. With this being Preston's first Christmas, I was way excited to jump the gun and get my Christmas on! I thought I would take today to share a few little decorations that make me happy. :)

My mom always had nutcrackers in her house, so I always get excited to display these guys. Nutcrackers just scream Christmas to me!

I love this little nativity set we got from Parker's grandmother a few years back. It's simple and sweet, and those little sheep are adorable!

I bought our stockings when we got married from Lands End. I love the needlepoint look!

I ordered Preston's stocking last year when I was still pregnant, and I am not exaggerating at all when I say hanging it this year was a dream come true. I love seeing his stocking hung next to his sister pup's stocking.

A few gifts waiting to be opened! I love making bows and purposely do not save the bows each year so that I get to make them again. The joy I get wrapping presents and making bows is greater than the $7 I would save by saving the bows each year. ;)

Here is a little snippit of our Christmas tree! We bought a pre-lit tree back in 2011, and this was the year the lights decided to stop working. We had a good run, but instead of getting my rear in gear and trying to fix it, I've resorted to just not having lights this year. I'm a mom... we don't have time to go through every bulb to find the faulty one. Or at least that's the excuse I am using here. ;)

I think I blogged about this last year, but I love this Christmas memories book! Each year, I adhere our Christmas card and write about gifts, special memories, etc. It will be so nice to have to look back on!

A look inside this sweet little book. You can order one here if you are interested!

And lastly, Christmas cards. I blogged last week about my love for sending out Christmas cards. I love receiving cards and displaying them in our home. It makes my heart happy!

Anchors Aweigh Turns 5!

Since I have been such a good blogger this year (sarcasm, obviously), I completely missed my blogiversary! That's still a thing, yes? Earlier this month, Anchors Aweigh turned 5! It amazes me that this blog has been going for 5 years and counting. Even though I have been the biggest blogging slacker this year since becoming a mom and I am not sure anyone reads this little blog anymore, I still love doing it. It has been such a huge part of my identity over the last 5 years, and I am so thankful for the seasons and phases this little blog has gone through.

I started my blog on December 1, 2012 as a way to keep our families up to date with our lives in the Navy. We were stationed in Pensacola and had been married a little over a year. You can read my very first post here. It quickly became a full blown hobby and then segued into a way to connect with other military spouses and young women like me. It became a coping mechanism when I lost our daughter and was a way for me to share our story with the world. I went through a season where I made some money with this blog and really put my time and effort into that. And now, it's a place where I still love to jot down a few thoughts while my sweet baby naps. 

This year was easily the hardest year for me, blog wise. Our son was born at the beginning of the year, and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and share every little update about this new little life that I had fallen in love with. But, Parker and I decided we wanted to be more private with him. i don't regret our decision, but it has made blogging so much more difficult for me. This is a lifestyle blog, yet I won't allow myself to fully share the biggest part of my life right now. I really wrestle with that and what I am still doing here, but I just love it too much to quit right now. There is a season for everything, and I am just not ready for this one to be over yet. 

So cheers to 5 years of blogging. Whether you have been here since the beginning (hi, mom!) or just popped in today, I appreciate you taking the time to read this little blog and be apart of it. I am very grateful for this little space!

7 Years of Christmas Cards

Christmas cards were a big deal in my family when I was growing up. My sisters and I coordinated in our best, cheesiest outfits, Mom printed the picture onto a card, and we sent it out to our closest friends and family. I loved sending it and I loved checking the mail each day to see if we received any new cards. 

When Parker and I got married, I started sending our own Christmas card. I have sent one for every year we have been married! I joke that I can't remember the last time I mopped my floors, but I always have our Christmas card in the mail the week of Thanksgiving so it will arrive before December 1st. Priorities. 

We always try to take our Christmas picture in a place that is special to us and represents the past year. I thought I would take today to share our cards through the years!

2011 was the year we got married and our first Christmas together! We took this picture in my Nana's front yard in Midlothian, TX. This was just a few weeks before we started our new lives in Florida, so I love that we were home and in Texas for this card. Jenny was just a year old!

2012 was the year we moved to Pensacola, FL for Parker to begin flight school! We moved that January and absolutely fell in love with the place. We had so many great friends and spent most weekends on the beautiful beach. It was only fitting that we take our picture on the beach!

2013 was the year we moved to Kingsville, TX and were finally back in the motherland! We took this picture on the naval base since that year was spent with Parker logging more study/flight/Navy time than I knew was possible. 

2014 was spent in Norfolk, VA. We took this picture in the middle of such a big, trying time in our lives. I was pregnant with Taylor Grace in this picture. By the time this card arrived in mailboxes, I was no longer pregnant with her. We also had Darla that year, the dog we took in for a year while her owner was on deployment. We took our picture in front of our house with a tripod. That house holds so many memories that I never want to forget, so I love that we chose to take it there. 

2015 was spent in Virginia Beach, VA, and we took this picture on the nature trail behind our house. This was our first house to buy, so that makes this picture extra special to us! Bonus: this is the first picture Jenny decided to crack a smile for! ;)

2016 was the year of the deployment and the year of the pregnancy! Go big or go home, right? Since Parker was deployed from June-December, we had a little fun with this card and made sure it was an adequate representation of 2016. I mailed Parker the sign he is holding. I am in Texas with my family, and Parker is in Bahrain!

2017 was our first Christmas card with baby Preston! It was so surreal for me to get to include our son in this card. It sounds silly, but it was a dream come true! We took this one again in the nature trail behind our house, knowing this is the last year we will get to do so before we move. We also learned this year that getting both a dog and a baby to look at the camera is impossible. (Oopsies- i just realized I cut off the "P" in Parker's name. It was included in the actual card. ;))

All cards are really special to me, and of course I love our card this year because it has sweet baby Preston in it, but if I had to pick a favorite card, it would be our card from 2014. That card was taken on a tripod in our front yard, so it's not winning any photography awards, but it is so special to me. It is the only card that has Taylor Grace and Darla in it. We will Godwilling have so many cards in the future, but that is the only card that will ever say Taylor's name, so it will always be really special to me. 

Life Lately

It's been a hot minute since I shared what life has looked like lately in our neck of the woods, so this Monday seems like as good a day as any to fix that! Life is always full speed ahead around the holidays, but we are loving every minute of it. Here's what we've been up to...

We had Parker's annual squadron Christmas party this past Friday! It was fun to get dressed up, and this was the first time we used a babysitter that wasn't our family or a close friend. And all we were thinking by the end of the night was "Why did we wait so long to get a babysitter??". We had a blast!

The Christmas party was at the Virginia Air & Space Museum, so of course my husband wasn't happy at all about being around so many planes. ;) They always do a big raffle for tons of prizes at these Christmas parties. A couple of years ago, we won an iPad! We were of course hoping we would win something this year too! We had two tickets and put my name on both of them since Parker isn't technically supposed to win. The first ticket was drawn early on for a gift card, and we were so excited! It was getting late and they still hadn't drawn for the grand prize, a 75 inch TV, but Parker and I decided to call it a night and head home. We gave the remaining ticket to a friend and left. We got a text from said friend as soon as we got home telling us that ticket had won. So basically, had I stayed 45 minutes longer, we would have gotten a free 75 inch TV. Lesson learned, yall! I am kind of glad we weren't there because a hard working sailor deserves that TV way more than I do, but I can't believe how close we were to winning a free TV!

The next morning, we woke up and decided to take baby Preston in for his very first haircut. They charged us for a "bang trim" and not so subtly let us know that our kid didn't really need a haircut. They trimmed around his ears and cut a small amount off the top and called it good. I in turn took my free bag of hair home and taped it to the baby book. That's what the mom's do these days, right? Save their kid's hair from the first haircut? I agree, it feels strange. He was a trooper though and did great!

On the way to our neighborhood Christmas party, Parker stopped to feed the neighborhood peacock popcorn. Just another day in sweet home Virginia...

Preston met Santa for the first time at the neighborhood Christmas party! Santa looked questionably like our friendly neighbor, Steve, but that must have been a coincidence. ;) Preston was very curious and just stared at Santa the whole time. We were definitely expecting tears, but he did great!

In other news, here's a picture of this sweet trooper. She is so tolerant of her little brother and so patient with him. Clearly, as she is laying on a couch with multiple pillows under her, you can see that her life isn't too bad. ;)

Other than that, life lately has looked a whole lot like this: sweet family time with my three favorites. Time slow down!

That's life lately!

Recent Reads: November

I may not have been a good blogger in the month of November, but I did get into a few books this month! I read two that I absolutely loved and didn't want to end, and I read one that I never should have picked up in the first place. Here's what occupied my nightstand this month...

It Ends With Us
By Colleen Hoover

Yall, this is one of those books where I was so bummed when it was over. I just loved it! It's about Lily who had a tough life growing up, but everything seems to be working itself out now that she has fallen in love with Ryle. They are happy and perfect, but the reappearance of Atlas, her first love, threatens to change everything and causes her to question everything she thought she knew. I am a new fan of this author because she writes in such a personal way that you can't help but get sucked in. I loved this book and think you will too!

By Colleen Hoover

I loved It Ends With Us so much that I picked this book next since it is written by the same author. It again did not disappoint! I was hooked from the first chapter and couldn't put it down. Layken, who just turned 18, moves with her mother and brother to a new state where she meets her handsome neighbor, Will. They instantly hit it off and have the best first date either has ever had. A couple of days later, Layken shows up for her senior year of high school only to find out that Will, who is 21, is actually her teacher. Their worlds are turned upside down as they wrestle with the feelings that pull them together but the reality that keeps them apart. The characters are well developed, likable, and relatable. I loved this one and already have the sequel on my list to read for next month!

Everything I Learned About Life, I Learned In Dance Class
By Abby Lee Miller

Ugh, I kind of hated this book, but it's totally my fault for choosing to read it. I have never been a fan of Abby Lee Miller, but I used to love watching Dance Moms, so I thought I would give it a shot. I was hoping for some fun, behind the scenes moments or back story on how the show got started. There was none of that. Instead, she gives parenting advice (she doesn't actually have kids, so there's that) and repeats herself over and over. I really wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. Not so good, yall. 


November 23rd is easily the most emotional day of the year for me. It is the day my baby girl went to Heaven. I still remember November 23, 2014 like it was yesterday. We were living in Norfolk, VA, and I had listened to our daughter's heartbeat the night before with my doppler. She had hung on for one more day, and I was grateful. 

November 23, 2014 was a Sunday. We went to church that morning, and I don't remember what we were singing, but I remember being very emotional during worship. I was holding my small, pregnant belly when I looked up with tears in my eyes and said "God, thank you for this gift. I give her back to you when you are ready". When we went to check her heartbeat that night, it was gone. She was gone. 

I am finally to the point now where I can type that without crying. I have written and told it so many times, but I still do get emotional sometimes when I think about what could have been. She would be 2 and a half now, full of personality and ideas all her own. Knowing I will never get a life here on earth with her is still just as painful as it was the day I found out she was gone. I will always mourn what could have been, no matter how many children I have or how much time passes. 

November 23rd fell on Thanksgiving this year. The two previous years, November 23rd has been a really hard day for me. I feel numb and almost dead inside on this day every year, so I assumed that is how I would feel this year too. I woke up feeling empty thinking of Taylor but full knowing I got to celebrate her life with my baby boy for the first time. We were in Texas with family, but I wanted to celebrate with my little crew before the hustle and bustle of the day ensued. It ended up being a really sweet time. Like every year, we sang happy birthday and blew out a candle on a cupcake. This year was really special because it was the first year Preston was with us to celebrate his sister in Heaven. I held him close and just felt thankful for the journey. I will always miss her, and I will always love her, but I know she is in Heaven watching over her brother here on earth, and I know as soon as I get to Heaven, I am never letting go of her. Another year has passed. We love you, Taylor Grace. We love you so much.

Baby Registry Tips For A First Time Mom

When I set out to create my registry, I had absolutely. no. clue. what I was doing. Seriously, none. There are sooo many baby products out there. Never having had a baby, how was I supposed to know what I needed, which brands were best, and what was extra that I could leave off? What I quickly realized after talking to friends is that very few first time moms know what to register for. We haven't had a baby yet, so how are we supposed to know what they need, right?

I registered for a lot of things I use and swear by, but I also registered for a lot of things I didn't end up needing or using. I thought I would take today to put together a list of several items every baby registry needs as well as give a few tips and tricks on creating a baby registry for the first time mamas of the world.

Choosing Where To Register

When choosing where to register, you want to take several things into consideration. The goal is to make it easy for people to purchase off of your registry. While any gift is generous and appreciated, babies are expensive, so if people purchase things you actually need, that will really help to ease the financial burden of welcoming a baby into your family. 

1. Return policy: you will inevitably end up returning a lot for various reasons. You will be given duplicate items, you will realize you don't actually need the item, etc. Make sure the store has a great, convenient return policy. 
2. Proximity to where you live: this sounds like a given, but you want to register at a place that is close to where your baby showers will be AND where you live. For example, if you register at Buy Buy Baby, but the closest Buy Buy Baby is an hour away, nobody is going to buy things off of your registry. 
3. Give people options: Register at 2 different places, and put different items on each registry. 

I chose to register at both Target and Amazon, and I would choose them both again in a heartbeat. They are convenient for almost everyone and returns are free on Amazon and always easy at Target for any items I needed to return. Amazon gave online shoppers a great option, and Target was perfect for anyone that actually wanted to go to the store.

Throwback to registering at Target with my sweet mom!

Basic Items Every Registry Needs

Here is a basic list of items that every baby registry should have. You will have items to add to this list, but here are some essentials:

Changing Table
Rocking Chair
Car Seat

Diaper Genie
Changing Pad
Changing Pad Cover (the wipeable version will be a life saver)

Milk Storage Bags
Breast Pump (check with your insurance provider before registering- most cover this)
Pumping Accessories
Nursing Pads
Nursing Pillow
High Chair or Booster Seat
Baby Spoons

Swaddling Blankets
Baby Mittens

Crib Sheets
Burp Cloths
Diaper bag

Good luck mamas!

Baby's First Halloween

Our first Halloween with a kid is in the books! Oh my goodness, can we talk about how cute little kids are on Halloween? Parker and I have always loved passing out candy to little kids, and it had been 2 years since we did that together since he was deployed last year. We passed out candy to about 10 different Moana's and more Marvel characters than I could count. 

Our favorite part was definitely taking baby Preston trick or treating though. He's a baby, so of course he had no idea what was going on, but man was he cute! I had an old lion costume for Jenny as well, so they were both lions. Jenny was a whole new level of unimpressed. I mean seriously, this picture speaks for itself. 

We went trick or treating to a few of our neighbor's houses and called it an early night. Parker and I both felt super awkward trick or treating because it was obvious that Preston couldn't eat the candy, so clearly we were trick or treating for our own benefit. We really just wanted to get the trick or treating experience with Preston for his first Halloween!

One awkward moment that I am still kicking myself over- it was still light outside when we took Preston trick or treating, so you couldn't tell which houses had candy and which didn't since no porch lights were on yet. I knocked on a sweet lady's door who speaks only broken English, and when she answered the door, she looked completely shocked to see us and instantly put her face in her hands saying "oh no, I wasn't prepared!". I kept telling her "it's okay, it's okay!" and started to leave, and she ran to her pantry, found some dried mangos, and tried to offer me them. She was mortified. I was mortified that she felt so badly. Eeesh, it was awful. After that encounter, I was ready to call it a night. Other than that though, the night was so sweet and so fun seeing Preston as a little lion cub!

I hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween! Happy November!

Life Lately

Oh Monday, you always get here so quickly. It's been a hot minute since I shared what life lately has looked like in our neck of the woods, so this Monday seems like a perfect time to remedy that! Let's see...

Baby playdates yall. You know you are a mom when baby playdates are the best thing ever. It's fun watching baby P interact with his little friends. They are all so sweet together! 

October was the month of visitors! First up were Parker's parents! They both have Fall birthdays, so we celebrated with a little cake and a lot of baby snuggles. 

My parents were next! We went to the pumpkin patch and spent the rest of the time eating yummy food and playing with a cute baby. Ahh, the good life. 

Last but not least were my grandparents! They visited from Florida, and we had the best time! Obviously Jenny thought they were there for her.

As luck would have it, Parker was away on a last-minute Navy field trip, so he missed their visit. We were all so bummed! My sweet friend and her husband met us on base so they could give my grandparents a tour. I was so grateful. I have had a tour of this plane so many times that I've lost count, but I couldn't tell you five things about it. #ItsAllGreekToMe

Baby P and I stopped to admire the plane with Dad's name on it! How cool is that? Fangirling for my husband over here.

Just a typical afternoon catching up on some light reading.

This night was a hoot. It was time to put away a lot of the baby gear P has outgrown, so Parker had the delightful task of disassembling everything so we could box it up and store it for future babies. Yep, he hated that. Here he is writing himself a note to open next time he assembles it as a reminder of how much he hates assembling/disassembling baby gear.

That's life lately!

Recent Reads: October

It's time for another book review on this little blog! My latest three reads were all really good. I read one book that was light and fun, another that I couldn't stop thinking about days later, and a third that affected me in a way that no other novel ever has. Gosh, that sounded dramatic. Here's what occupied my nightstand this month!

Just Listen
By Sarah Dessen

I have read several Sarah Dessen novels, and they are always light, easy reads that I really enjoy. This one is about a high school girl who goes from seemingly having everything to the girl who has nothing and nobody. Annabel has a dark secret and has had to deal with more as a teenager than most do as adults. She meets Owen, a loner, music-obsessed boy, and the two navigate an unlikely friendship as she works to overcome all she has been through. I really liked this book. It was light but wasn't afraid to touch on real issues. If you like chick lit, read it!

Gone Girl
By Gillian Flynn

I am almost embarrassed doing a review on this because I am convinced I am the last person on earth who had not read Gone Girl, but nonetheless, here I am. I absolutely loved it! It's just a brilliant book with an even more brilliant main character. Amazing Amy seems normal at first, but we quickly realize there is more to her brilliance than what meets the eye. She goes missing, and her plot slowly unravels into what is one of the most thrilling stories I have ever read. If you are one of the latecomers to this book too, read it now!

In Order To Live
By Yeonmi Park

It sounds really dramatic to say this book changed my life, but it definitely changed the way I view my life. This is the true story of Yeonmi Park, a North Korean who fled with her mother to China and eventually South Korea to escape the extreme poverty and inhumane life she had in North Korea. Here is what got me on this: this girl is my age. The things she went through while I was going to school, having birthday parties, going to college... it's absolutely mind-blowing. This is a book I will remember for a long time, and it made me wish that I could adopt a baby from North Korea, but of course I know that isn't an option. Yeonmi is real and honest about her journey, and the things this girl did to survive are nothing short of extraordinary. If you read one book I recommend all year, make it this one. 

Post-Baby Weekend Bliss

Life in general looks oh so different now that we are parents, but I think our weekends are what have changed the most. Pre-baby, a weekend looked something like this: going out with friends on a Friday night, sleeping in Saturday, dinner and a movie Saturday night, church Sunday, and a nap Sunday afternoon. I can safely say that the only part of that list that is still true post-baby is the church on Sunday! All that other stuff, while fun and definitely missed, doesn't quite fit into life with a baby, so we have had to restructure our weekends and create the new normal. 

We definitely miss our weekly date nights, but we are coming off the weekend high, and I wouldn't trade these weekends for anything. This child of ours has changed our lives in the best way possible, and I can't imagine weekends any other way now. We had family/friends in town for about a month straight, so this was our first weekend in a while that we got to spend just our little family. It probably looks so boring, but I wanted to document what a weekend looks like right now. I know this, like everything, is just a season, but weekends like this have me wishing it will last forever. 

Parker was on a Navy-sanctioned vacation for 10 days and got back late Thursday, so Friday night was our first full night together in a little while. We spent it doing what really cool kids do... sushi at our favorite restaurant and then catching up on the episodes of Survivor we missed while he was gone. Does anyone else still watch Survivor? We love it every season!

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning and headed to the park. Preston loves the swings! He's too little for really anything else, but seeing the joy on his face from those swings is the best thing ever! 7 AM on a Saturday never looked so good. 

It is Fall in Virginia, aka the best weather on the planet: sunny and 75 (I can't believe it's like this year round for all you Californians! No wonder so many people love living there). We had an outdoor lunch at a local sandwich shop and enjoyed some wonderful vitamin D in the process.

Saturday afternoon, we were still looking for ways to enjoy the weather, so we headed to the Botanical Gardens for a nice little scenic walk. We wanted to go to the zoo, but apparently they close earlier than we thought, so the gardens it was. Clearly, Preston loved it. ;)

Saturday night was for pizza delivery and a game of golf. Has anyone played the card game golf? We love it and have taught a few of our friends. I love playing any game, and this is one Parker will actually play with me. Winning! He won this round, so we rematched Sunday night, and I won. Marriage is about give and take, ya know?

Sunday we went to church and then to the driving range so Parker could play some real golf. Other than that, we laid low and enjoyed time as a family. QT with these three is my favorite. 

Sunday night was date night in after Preston went to bed, so we pretended to be fancy and had wine and cheese.

Nothing special, nothing fancy, but the weekend was just what we needed after the busy month we just had. One day, I am sure weekends will be spent watching kids' soccer games or going to swim meets, but for now, I am so grateful for this sweet season of life. Too bad it's Monday! 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...