Anchors Aweigh : 2017


Pumpkin Patch Bliss

I would start off this post saying something cliche like "I just love Fall", but really, doesn't everyone love Fall? Temps are cool but not yet cold, it's finally football season, and Fall scents of apple and pumpkin are the It's the best!

I love love love the pumpkin patch and have been so excited to take Preston to the pumpkin patch this year! I had two Fall pregnancies and took both my babies in utero to the pumpkin patch, so getting to take my cute, chubby baby in person was so sweet. My parents were in town earlier this month, so we decided to all go and make it a big family outing. I was in heaven!

This pumpkin patch had so many pumpkins and so many fun things for kids- a petting zoo, pony rides, and carnival rides. Super cool for toddlers and kids, but obviously there wasn't much our baby could do to participate. We couldn't stay too long (#napschedule), but we were able to walk around the patch, take photographic proof that we made it, and of course pick our pumpkins. Both my boys were dressed in maroon since the Aggie game was on later that evening!

Even though Preston had no clue where we were, he still seemed to think the pumpkins were cool to touch and play with. He is just getting to that age where he is discovering every little thing. It really is the most magical thing to relearn the world through your child's eyes, and I know it is only going to get better.

I picked a pumpkin for both of my babies before it was time to go. This was my third year in a row picking a white pumpkin for our angel baby, and it is one of my very favorite traditions. Like I said, I had a Fall pregnancy with Taylor and with Preston, but before I knew about baby Preston, I dreamed of taking Taylor Grace to the pumpkin patch. I won't ever get to do that here on earth, but I will always pick a beautiful white pumpkin just for her. The pumpkin patch was so special this year, and as cheesy as it sounds, a dream come true getting to experience it with my perfect, healthy baby. God is good all the time, all the time God is good. 

The Struggle To Co-Parent Is Real

I've mentioned on the blog before that coparenting was a struggle in the beginning for Parker and me. Good grief, it was the struggle of all struggles. Quite frankly, we were terrible at it. Something clicked around month six, and although we aren't perfect (who is?), we are finally a team and able to do this parenting thing together well. 

In the interest of oversharing, I thought I'd open up today about why we struggled so much with coparenting and how we learned from the experience. I have had a couple of people email me asking how we handled the struggle because they too were having a hard time. If people are being totally honest, I doubt there are many couples that don't struggle with coparenting to a degree. I mean, think about it. You take two people raised two different ways, give them a tiny human that they love more than life itself, throw in sleep deprivation, and you have... a recipe for disaster. 

Let's start with why I stunk at coparenting. Simply put, I was (am) fiercely protective of my son. My parents were very protective of me growing up, and I am that way with my child. I joked (but seriously) that I had a very short list of people I trusted with our baby, and sometimes Parker wasn't even on it. Basically, it was a piece of paper with my mom's name on it, because she really was the only one I gave him to and then didn't immediately feel anxious the second I stepped out of the room. Here's one small example that comes to mind of how I was in the beginning: I was told that infants are not allowed to have water, so when Parker washed the bottles, I made him carefully dry every last drop before filling it with milk. If there was even the tiniest drop of water in that bottle, I bit his head off. It's embarrassing to type now, but hey, it's how I reacted and I have to own that. In a nutshell, I needed to C H I L L. 

Now let's go to why Parker was less than stellar at the whole coparenting thing. Parker struggled with the loss of our freedom to do things as a couple. When you have a baby, you can't just go to dinner on a whim, and you typically don't leave the house much those first couple of months. The week our son was born, Parker reorganized the entire kitchen and filled our dining room table with kitchen supplies to donate to Goodwill. A.) That was my stuff. B.) He was going that stir crazy after a whopping three days of parenting. Parker very often talked about how hard it was not getting to go on date nights and how much he missed our old life. He hated being woken up in the middle of the night if I needed help breastfeeding (that's like a five person job in the beginning, no joke). He did whatever he could not to hold the baby because he hated when the baby cried and he didn't know why. Sometimes I would ask him to hold him so I could have a 5 minute break, and he would give the baby back 3 minutes later because he was done. In a nutshell, he needed to suck it up and realize he was a dad now. 

I say all that not to make my husband sound like a bad husband or father, because both couldn't be farther from the truth. Parker is the best husband and the best father to our son, but he struggled in the beginning just like I struggled in the beginning. We just happened to struggle in different ways. Around month 6, something clicked, and it has really been smooth sailing ever since. I chilled out, and Parker rolled up his sleeves and started to fall in love with this new stage of life. 

If you're struggling with coparenting, the best advice I can give is talk it out. We were very open with each other about how we thought the other one was acting, and while it may sound harsh, open communication is how we got through it. Bottling it up is never the answer. We talked it out, encouraged each other, gave the tough love when it was needed, and eventually we made it to the other side. 

Parenting is a team sport, and we are getting better every day. Nobody's perfect, but I am so thankful I have this guy to figure it all out with. 

Our 10th Navy Ball Together

Parker and I have officially been to TEN Navy Balls together! Good grief, how did that happen? Since Parker was in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M and contracted to go into the Navy after graduation, we attended the Navy/Marine Corps Birthday Ball each year in college. Our first ball together was in 2007! We were 18 year old babies! It was one of our first dates, and we were both so clueless and awkward that I am sure it was a disaster. Obviously it wasn't a complete disaster, because here we are 10 years later. ;)

We were really excited to go to the ball this year! We missed last year because Parker was deployed, so it had been 2 years since we had gotten dressed to the nines and ready to dance. Parker's parents were in town to watch our little man which was so appreciated! It was nice to be able to take a night off knowing he was safe and in good hands. 

The ball we have attended the past few years has been the Hawkeye Greyhound Ball. It's a ball for E-2 and C-2 pilots which I love because we know so many people. It's always fun to go to parties with your friends!

The ball always consists of a dinner with a speaker and then a themed after party. We all typically hope the speaker is short-winded, if we are being completely honest. This year it was all great, and we were excited for the after party.

This year, the theme for the after party was "holidays", and each squadron picked a holiday to dress up as. Our squadron voted for Oktoberfest. I am the first to admit I was bummed the theme wasn't Cinco de Mayo (because how easy is it to throw on a sombrero and a fake mustache and call it good??), but Oktoberfest actually turned out to be a really fun theme. Thank you Amazon for having Liederhosen for sale at a reasonable price!

Ball number ten is in the books, but it sure was a good one! Just for fun, here's a picture from each ball we've been to together over the years.

A few fun facts...

1. When Parker picked me up for our first ball in 2007, I was wearing a pink dress. He had to go to the bathroom or something, and I decided I didn't like that dress anymore and instead borrowed the blue one in the picture from my sister. What was wrong with the pink one? Who knows. 

2. I've repeated dresses a couple of times (hello, 10 different balls!), but apparently I love the little black number because I wore it in 2009, 2010, and 2013. 

3. I was about 14 weeks pregnant with Taylor Grace at the 2014 ball. 

4. The dress I wore in 2015 was both mine and Parker's favorite dress I have worn to a ball, and we both know there is a zero percent chance I will ever wear that thing again. It was a bridesmaid dress from his sister's wedding. The dress had to be ordered online so I didn't get to try it on, and I ordered it way too small. I had to practically starve myself to fit into that thing, so we joke that it's the prettiest dress I'll never wear again. ;)

5. 2011 is the only ball where Parker didn't wear a uniform. He was out of the Corps of Cadets but 2 months away from commissioning, so he couldn't wear a military uniform yet. A suit it was!

The World We Live In

I took a couple of weeks off from blogging again, but this little blogging break felt different. We have had friends and family cycling through and staying with us for the last 3 weeks, so I have been enjoying life and trying to spend as much time with each of them as possible. But, I also couldn't seem to put words on a page with all that is going on in this world. 

This latest shooting in Las Vegas is something I just can't wrap my head around. How can someone be so cruel to take 59 innocent lives and ruin hundreds more? How can such evil exist? This is not the first mass shooting this country has seen over the last few years, but this one has hit me harder now that I am a mom. This world seems to be getting worse, and as much as I want to, I can't protect my baby from all the evil that exists in today's world. 

I look at my sweet, perfect baby and wish more than anything I could make this world perfect for him. He's still so innocent. He doesn't know hate. He doesn't know violence. He doesn't know pain and suffering. He only knows his own happy, love-filled world, and I wish there was something I could do to keep it that way forever. 

Another thing I've been meditating on lately is just how much trust we have in the complete strangers around us. I trust that the person at the stoplight beside me isn't going to pull a gun and shoot me because I have no option but to trust them. I trust the person in line behind me at the supermarket not to pull a knife and stab me because I have no option but to trust them. How awful is that? I went to church this past Sunday, and I didn't feel completely safe. Parker and I had a rare-but-amazing date night this past weekend at the movies, and I didn't feel completely safe in the theater. It's depressing, but it's the truth. 

So where do we go from here? Where is the hope in a world that seems so grim? The only answer I can come up with is Jesus. He is close to the brokenhearted, and He is the only one that can redeem this broken world we live in. I am praying for all affected by the Las Vegas shooting. God is bigger! Jesus, be near!

Hug your loved ones and be kind today. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Babies Take Chi Town

This past weekend, we packed up our little family and headed to a city we have always wanted to visit: Chicago! My aunt and uncle live there with my cousins, so we were so excited to visit them and see a new city. My twin sister and her family of three also flew in, and we loved getting the babies together again! It was a quick weekend trip, but we packed in as much as we could and loved every minute of it!

Exploring a new city with a baby is a little different. Normally, Parker and I would have set out into the city and walked around all day long. With two babies that have to eat and take naps, that's not really an option. But, we made the best of what we could do, and my family was super accommodating of our littlest travel buddy. 

We started Saturday out with a trip to the Navy Pier. This is rated the #1 tourist attraction in Chicago, so we were excited to check it out. It was a beautiful 85 degree day, and the water was really pretty!

We ate lunch at a restaurant on the pier, and Parker and I both had our first lobster rolls. I loved it and he liked it. Neither of us are huge seafood people, but I thought the lobster roll was so so good!

Speaking of food, Friday night we ordered in and had authentic Chicago deep dish pizza. Oh my goodness, that stuff was amazing! To think Chicagoans can just eat that whenever they want. So good. 

After we walked along the Navy Pier for a little bit, we headed to see that infamous silver bean. Why is this mirror bean thing so famous? I honestly have no idea, but we took our picture in front of it like the cheesy tourists we are and checked it off the old bucket list.

Twin shot with the bean. It was much bigger in person than I was expecting!

Other than touring the city for a bit, our days were spent doing this: playing with the babies. I wouldn't have it any other way! Preston and Emmett are so close to being able to play together. This time next year, they're going to have so much fun!

Chicago was a really neat city, but these people were easily my favorite part. Quality family time with the people I grew up with... it was heaven. We were sad to say goodbye but thankful that the holidays are just around the corner so we get to see them again soon!

Life Lately

Happy Thursday! We are over here savoring the last moments of Summer and getting excited for all things Fall with our little guy. As excited as I am for pumpkin everything and sweaters, our first Summer with Preston was so much fun, and I am sad it's almost over! Here's a little look at life lately in our neck of the woods. 

Preston and I flew home to Texas two weekends ago to celebrate my sweet nephew's first birthday. Give me all the Texas weekends! I never want them to end. Here's a shot of me and my beautiful mom before the party started.

I love my mom for a million reasons, but one is for how much she loves her grandbabies. I call her the baby whisperer. Preston loves his Grammy!

A rare moment when both babies are sleeping at the same time? Two happy mamas right there. Fun fact: motherhood is a team sport until one of the monitors starts making sounds. At that point, you pray it's her kid that's woken up and not yours. It's every man for himself when it comes to the napping game! ;)

If this isn't the definition of chaos, I don't know what is. I looked over, and my sister was literally wearing a bucket on her head. #motherhood

Preston wanted to "help" walk his sister pup. Jenny was less than impressed, per the usual.

I got such a kick out of this. I am a huge clutter freak. I hate clutter, and if there is an extra glass, shoes, anything laying around, I'll put it away as soon as I see it. Parker was charging something on the baker's rack in our kitchen, and he knew as soon as I saw it I would move it, so he wrote me a note so I wouldn't touch it. I did wait until it was charged but then snapped a picture after I moved it. I am not a big cleaner, but I will never have clutter lying around if I can help it!

I posted Monday about our new version of date night, and we have been loving it. A glass of wine, music playing in the background, and dinner on the grill... it's the best!

Sweet Jenny... she is such a trooper. Every once in a while, she will look at me as if to say "So we are seriously keeping him??". Yes Jenny, we are seriously keeping him. ;)

That's life lately!

Post Baby Date Nights

Having babies is a huge lifestyle change (duh), and as wonderful as every second of being a parent is, we would be lying if we said we didn't miss our weekly date nights or sleeping as late as we wanted to on a Saturday. Sleeping in, what's that??

While sleeping in may be a thing of the past, we have managed to create the new version of "date night", and it's been so good for us. I lay Preston down to sleep in the early evening, and as soon as I do, it's date night. This doesn't happen every night- Parker may have to work late, I may meet the girls for dinner, etc- but when it does happen, it ends up being some of our favorite hours of the week. 

We pick out some delicious meat for Parker to grill, I whip up a few sides, and we pour a glass of wine from our boxed wine (keeping it classy over here). We turn on some easy listening music and snack on an appetizer while we talk about our day and cook our meal. We don't get on our phones, and we don't turn the TV on. It is pure bliss!

The hardest part for Parker when we had baby Preston was giving up our independence, flexibility, and the loss of date night. That all just comes with the territory of having a newborn, but the minute we put our baby on a schedule and he went to bed early, Parker and I suddenly had something to look forward to. We got "us time" back. I've said a few times on this blog that Parker and I struggled a lot with coparenting in the beginning, and I want to go more in detail on that in another post because I think it's something a lot of new parents can relate to. I can see now that a lot of that struggling was just because we didn't have any time as a couple anymore. One of the best things we've done for our marriage is put our sweet baby to bed early and turn the evenings into intentional, couple time. 

Another reason we are savoring this time is because we know, like everything, this is a season, and we won't get these "date nights in" much longer. Once Preston starts eating table food consistently, we will eat dinner together as a family, and he will stay up a little later. That will be so much fun, but we aren't rushing it. For now, we are loving time alone just the two of us and savoring this short, sweet season we are in. 

Date night doesn't have to be a 5 star restaurant and a night on the town. If you're new parents, put that precious baby to bed, cook something fun together, pour a glass of wine, and voila... date night. :)

A Very Cookie Monster First Birthday

This past weekend, I flew to Texas to celebrate my nephew's first birthday! My twin's son is as close to mine without actually being mine as it gets, so it was an extra special, nostalgic weekend knowing this baby boy is already one!

I mean, didn't I just post this picture for the first time yesterday?

I helped Danielle plan the first birthday party, and we had so much fun making her vision a reality! Baby Emmett has been an eater from day one, so we thought a cookie monster theme was only fitting. I want to share a few of the decorations and details we included for the party!

I made a lot of the decorations on and then had them printed at the local UPS Store for cheap. I like to think of it as Etsy on a budget!

Here is the invitation I made for her to mail out. I don't know how to use photoshop or any of the fancy design websites, so thank goodness for picmonkey on this one!

We wanted a pennant banner to go around the gift and food tables, so I created the two pennants below to alternate. I loved how these came out!

Here they are hung up over the kitchen island. This was our favorite decoration (and also the most time consuming to make)!

I used scrapbook paper and cardstock to make the circular banner hanging over the gift table. A little PSA for mamas: that baby trampoline was the hit of the party. All one year olds need a little baby trampoline, apparently!

Here is the little banner I made for his high chair to use while he ate his smash cake. It was immediately thrown into the trash because it was covered in frosting, but it served its purpose!

Here is the month by month progression my sister did. This was so fun for guests to look at and see how much our sweet Emmett has grown in the last year. 

I made this print (also on picmonkey) to display on the food table. That quote kills me!

A fun thing my sister did that I want to do for Preston's first birthday too is this: she gave every guest a piece of paper and an envelope and asked them to write a letter to Emmett and mail them to her. She is going to keep them sealed and give them to Emmett when he turns 18. How special is that?! Here is the template I created and printed out for guests to write their letters. 

I wanted Preston to dress the theme, so I made him a little onesie that said "Cuz is one" and used a cookie for the "O". He was so darn cute in it! It's too bad he slept for half of the party. ;)

And last but not least, here is the birthday boy "sharing" his paci with his cousin. Preston was most definitely not impressed. I'm sure it won't be the last time they annoy each other!

It was such a special weekend celebrating someone I love more than just about anything. How this baby is already one is beyond me, and it just reminds me how quickly I'll blink and be celebrating Preston's first birthday. So grateful for these boy cousins!

Hope in Humanity

If you've read this blog long or know me personally, you know I have a deep love for Texas. It's where I grew up, and it will always be home. We call it the motherland around here, and though we are loving this military adventure around the world, we can't wait to put down roots in Texas one day. 

Seeing the devastation in Texas and parts of Louisiana from Hurricane Harvey has been just that... devastating. I scrolled through Facebook and news articles last week in shock at just how powerful this storm became. I read an article titled "Toddler clings to drowned mom"... there are just no words. I just can't imagine the horror. People lost lives, everything they owned, pets, and the list goes on and on. 

My parents and sister live just north of Houston, and thankfully they are all okay. South Houston is a different story. Scrolling through the images of flooded homes and streets, it's hard to fathom how any good could ever come from a situation like this.

There is one positive thing I am taking away from all of this devastation and heartbreak. For the first time in what felt like a long time, people seemed to be turning towards each other rather than against each other. Hundreds of people have donated money, time, items and put their lives in danger to rescue those stranded in their homes. Seeing the way everyone came together to help restored my faith in humanity. Politics, religion, skin color... none of it mattered when it came down to a life and death situation. I am so proud of how everyone came together to support each other. 

I saved these two images because I thought they so well embodied the good that is still in this world. #TexasStrong

These are people driving down to Houston from other cities with boats to assist in rescue efforts. Many spent days in the flooded city rescuing people and animals who were stranded. 

Life Lately

Tap tap, is this thing on? Every once in a while, I unintentionally take a week off from blogging. Oops! I'm back today and it's just life lately. Life has been full, and we are salvaging what little is left of summer together as a family. Here's what we've been up to, according to the photos on my phone. ;)

Jenny had a week long sleepover with our neighbor's pup and loved every minute of it. Bella is basically the 3 year old version of Jenny, so they got along great and were two peas in a pod!

I had a little eye procedure done this past week, and since Parker was stuck on the ship (you can read that little tale here), this sweet friend took me to the hospital and stayed until it was time for me to go home. Super grateful for her!

Quick blurb about the procedure because I just think it's so cool that doctors can do this: Since I was a toddler, my eyes have not worked together. I can look out of one or the other, but not both simultaneously. My right eye is my dominant eye, so I look out of that one and the left eye is just there. It turns slightly inward, but I have gotten pretty good at hiding it over the years, so even my closest friends really had no idea. I went to the eye doctor in Virginia for a routine check up, and it turned out that this doctor actually specializes in my condition and can fix it. I picked this doctor at random, and most doctors I have met with before had no idea what my condition was even called, so to stumble upon a doctor that specializes in it was a God thing to me! He performed a quick surgery and moved a muscle in my right eye about six millimeters, and boom! For the first time in over 25 years, my eyes work together and I can see out of both simultaneously. I also have depth perception and can see 3D movies now. Pretty cool!

I wish Preston could appreciate how cool it is to see peacocks on our daily walks. It's the time of year where the neighborhood peacocks have shed their feathers, so they look like giant blue chickens!

This pup came running up to us on another one of our daily walks. We were pretty sure we knew who the owner was (you don't see a lot of frenchie strays), but we kept her with us until the owners were home and we could be sure she belonged to them. They are happily reunited, but she was the funniest little house guest for the couple of hours we had her.

This. This is the good stuff. This is what I try to do as often as I can throughout the day, and this is what gets me excited to start a new day each morning. I just love this little boy. Watching him grow is the greatest joy, but I sure wouldn't mind keeping him little forever!

I made a pan of brownies for a party we were attending and asked Parker to slice them. He decided edges are overrated, so this is what I found when he deemed the job done. Whatever, they were sliced and that's all that mattered! ;)

We've been friends with this girl for 10 years and have loved having her stay with us this past week! 

She also volunteered to watch Preston while Parker and I got away for a much appreciated date night! We used to go on 1-2 date nights per week, so that was a biiiiig adjustment when baby entered the picture. We did the stereotypical dinner and a movie, aka our favorite date night, and had the best time.

That's life lately!


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