Anchors Aweigh : July 2017


Life Lately

Happy Wednesday! We are taking it nice and easy today preparing for company over the weekend. Here is a look at life lately in our neck of the woods!

Right before we left for vacation, Preston "noticed" Jenny for the first time. It sounds pretty silly saying our son noticed the dog that's been sharing a house with him for the past 5 months, but up until now, he has never really paid any attention to her or noticed she was there. He has started looking at her and reaching out to her. So sweet!

Parker went fishing with my uncle and cousin while in Texas and caught so many fish! We fried them up and had them for dinner. So yummy! Parker doesn't get to fish very often, so this was the highlight of his trip to Texas!

This is my morning view, and I just love it. I don't remember what life was like before getting up at 6 AM every single day, and I don't want to. I love my morning walks with this furry girl and these chubby little feet.

Just a father and a son taking in the views behind the brand new outlet mall. Love these two and watching their relationship develop.

You know how fresh air just does a person some good? Well, the same goes for babies. When Preston gets fussy or irritable, we take our operation outside and do a little front porch sitting. On this day, I took advantage of my happily distracted child and did my bible study. Jenny sunned herself, Preston watched, and Mama got some "me" time. Win-win-win!

My post Monday about airport perks for the military was shared by the USO and went viral for a little while after. Parker and I thought that was pretty cool!

And last but not least, I give you Jenny in her natural habitat. It's a rough life.

That's life lately!

Military Mondays: Airport Perks for Military Families

It's been a sweet forever since I did a Military Mondays post, but I am excited to dive back in every once in a while when I feel like I have something beneficial to write about for my fellow military spouses out there!

Parker and I just completed our first airplane trip with a baby (and lived to tell about it!), but this post isn't going to be about tips for traveling with babies. That would be a one-word post: survive. ;)

Today, I want to share some perks that military families can take advantage of in airports while traveling. These make life a little easier, and they are all free... you just have to know about them!

Two Free Checked Bags Per Person

The key to this one is you have to be traveling with the active duty service member. As a spouse, I don't get the free checked bags unless Parker is with me. If he is with me, we each can check 2 bags for free!

Free TSA Pre Check For Active Duty Military

All you have to do is register at the front counter by showing your military ID. This again is only for the active duty service member, so spouses have to pay the fee if they want to do TSA pre check. For spouses, it costs the normal $85 for 5 years.

Military Discounts

I have found that most of the restaurants in airports have military discounts. All you have to do is ask for it before you pay. Some don't, but you will be surprised at just how many do! It's usually 10%, but it's 10% you don't have to pay. ;)

USO Lounge

There is a USO lounge at the major airports, and they are awesome! They are for any military member or military family member, and the active duty service member does not have to be present in order for the family to enter. The people in the lounges are always super friendly and interested to hear about you. You can chat with them or take a seat in one of the awesome reclining chairs. A lot of them have little playrooms for children too! The best part... is the free food. Everything in these lounges is completely free for you to take. There are always great snacks (I have walked out with entire boxes of girl scout cookies before), and sometimes there are little toiletries like toothpastes and shampoos. If you have a layover, go spend it in the USO lounge!

Blogging After Baby

Parker and I talked a lot while I was pregnant about what would happen with this blog after Preston was born. Neither of us were comfortable sharing details or pictures on a platform we have little to no control over. At the same time, I love blogging and he loves that I do it, so we sort of tabled the discussion and never really came to a decision. 

Fast forward to February, and we have this perfect, beautiful baby boy that we just can't get enough of. I want to shout him from the rooftops and share every little update, picture, and video with you guys. But it just doesn't feel right. It's one thing to share all about me and Parker, but it's a whole new ballgame sharing about our child. I want to believe everyone who reads this blog is a good person with good intentions, and hopefully that's the case, but there's no way to really know for sure. 

I decided to blog about our lives and just leave the baby out of it. I would share pictures, but only of the side of his face or his back. I would share his name, but no other personal details. I wrote about adjusting to parenthood, favorite baby products, etc. It was fine, but I had lost the zest and passion behind this blog. I blog because I love it, and I just didn't love it anymore. 

I told Parker that I'm an all or nothing person. If I am going to share about our lives, I want to share everything. If I can't share everything, I might as well just quit. We still felt keeping details of our son's life private was the best way to go, so a couple of weeks ago, I told Parker I thought I was done blogging for good.

I was ready to type out a post explaining that Anchors Aweigh would be no more, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I absolutely love blogging. It was my biggest coping mechanism when I lost our first baby. It's introduced me to so many great people who have become real life friends. It has been the best creative outlet for me, and bottom line, it's a big part of who I am. 

So where do we go from here? I am still going to blog, but I am careful about the pictures I do share of our son and don't plan to share his milestones, likes/dislikes, or any other personal details. I so badly want to, but I feel like this is best for him. Part of me feels guilty, because this blogging community has been so supportive and encouraging in our journey to become parents, and I want to share this little miracle with those who have prayed over us and loved on us. I share a lot of pictures on Instagram, so you are welcome to request to follow me there!

Thanks to everyone who has read this blog over the years. The support and community are why I continue to love blogging, and I just don't feel like I am done yet. See you all Monday. :)

Padre Island 2017

This past week, we hopped on a plane and flew to the great state of Texas for our first vacation with our baby! We met my entire extended family in Padre Island, TX for a week of sun, sand, and more food than any of us care to admit. 

Growing up, I went to Padre Island every year with my Nana, cousins, aunt, uncle, mom, and sisters. Easily some of my fondest childhood memories came from these trips. We went every year, but it had been 4-5 years since we had been with all of us kids growing up, going to college, getting married, etc. We were adamant about starting the tradition back up now that babies are in the picture, and I am so glad we did. It really was the best week ever!

We laughed that we flew all the way to Texas for a beach vacation when we live in Virginia Beach and have a beach in our backyard, but family makes it all worth it! This was Preston's first flight and trip to the motherland, and he handled it like a champ. Here are some highlights from our trip!

There is nothing better than the sounds and smell of the ocean! We found time to enjoy it in between naps and feedings. #vacationingwithababy

I am convinced there is nothing better than discovering the world through your child's eyes. This motherhood gig is the best, and I am so grateful. 

Kissing cousins! We were so excited to have the babies back together! Next year, they are going to be nonstop!

Emmett was mildly interested in the other tiny human on the floor. Preston was only interested in things he could shove into his mouth.

My best bud. We are pretty obsessed with each other these days, and I love it!

Hey boys, smile! This is what they did the entire photoshoot... clearly the ocean was calling them a la Moana. My mom (aka Grammy) was in her element! She is seriously the baby whisperer and so, so good with these babies. Emmett is obsessed with her and at the age where he will only go to certain people, her being one of the few on that list. While Preston will still allow anyone to hold him, he cries for half the people that try, and my mom is one of the few that can calm him down every time. I just love seeing her be a Grammy! These boys are the luckiest.

Nana with her grandkids and great grandkids! She is the grand matriarch and one of my favorite people on the planet. Thanks to her for starting this tradition so many years ago!

Back in the airport ready for the flight home! Funny story... we showed up for our flight Sunday evening, and as we were pulling up to the airport, I looked up our flight number on my phone only to realize our flight was actually... Monday. Cue a minor panic attack from my husband and the biggest "oopsies-please-still-love-me" faces from me. There was nothing the airlines could do for us since it was so late in the day, so we got a bonus day with my family and flew out the next day. Other than Parker having to extend his leave and us having to shuffle a few things around, it ended up being just fine. An extra day with my mom, twin, and baby Emmett? Yes please! Shoutout to my husband for being very understanding through the whole ordeal. The takeaway here is one should never book flights at 6 AM when they are sleep deprived from caring for a newborn.

Finally on the plane and ready to go! I snapped this picture because Parker does this every. single. flight. I find it so endearing that he is the one person out there that reviews the safety information in the back of the seat. I mean, the guy's a pilot, so in the event of an emergency, I am sure he would know what to do better than most people on that plane regardless of if he reads the safety card or not. I still love that he reads it though!

That's Padre Island 2017! We are already so ready to go next year! A one year old Emmett and Preston running around the beach like banshees? Bring it on!

What Do You Buy On Amazon?

We were out to dinner with a couple of our good friends the other day, and I mentioned something I bought on Amazon in passing. My friend told me they don't have an Amazon account and have never bought anything from Amazon, and I looked at her like she was from Mars. Never bought anything from Amazon?!

Parker and I have a new Amazon package on our doorstep every week it seems. The deals are always so good, and with free 2-day shipping thanks to Prime, Amazon has us hook, line, and sinker. 

My friend then asked me what we use Amazon to buy, and I opened my mouth and told her... nothing. We buy everything from Amazon, but when someone asked what we buy from Amazon, I was at a loss. We had a good laugh as I desperately tried to come up with something we had recently bought from Amazon. 

I took a look at our orders page, and the list of purchased items is so random. No wonder I couldn't think of anything on the spot. I assume we aren't the only Amazon-obsessed people out there, so I thought I would put together a list of some of the random things we have purchased from Amazon in the last 30 days. Looking at it, 75% of these items are for the baby. Apparently babies aren't as cheap as we thought...

1. Sound machine for the nursery (a life saver once we transitioned him from our room to the crib!)

2. New sleepsack for the baby (he outgrew his other one)

3. Swim diapers (I did actually try to buy these at Target but couldn't find them, so Amazon to the rescue!)

4. New baby carrier (Our old one was not made for support, so this was necessary for carrying around 17+ pounds of baby all day!)

5. Cow socks for a COW party (a tradition to honor the Commanding Officer's Wife, or C.O.W.)

6. Gaming controller (why??? Obviously not for me)

7. Watering can (we bought some plants for the house, so of course I needed a watering can!)

8. Router (apparently our old one was 5 years old and "not performing". Whatever you say, hubs)

9. Rug pad (I bought a new rug at Target but forgot about the rug pad, so Amazon saved the day again)

10. Baby float (for all those afternoons at the pool!)

Amazon just gets me. What would we do without it?? What random things do you buy on Amazon?

Life Lately

How in the world are we already almost halfway through July? 2017 is flying by, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Here's a look at life lately in our neck of the woods...

It's pretty hot in Virginia these days, so many afternoons are spent poolside trying to escape the heat. Preston loves it! He lays in his little float and just chills. 

There are few things Jenny gets more excited about than when her humans put on their tennis shoes. She knows tennis shoes means there is a good chance she is getting a walk. Sometimes she sits next to them as a not so subtle reminder that she'd like to go on a walk, please and thank you. 

Preston is more and more interactive lately, and Parker is obsessed. It's pretty hard not to be! Seeing these two together makes my heart go pitter patter. I love seeing Parker be a dad to this boy we love so much. 

We escaped for a little baby-free day date climbing the Cape Henry lighthouse! No baby, no diaper bag, no stroller... but what do I do with my hands???

We had some friends over and had a low-key Fourth of July get-together. Good food and good friends... it doesn't get much better than that! We didn't see a single firework in real life this year, but thankfully everyone I know and their dog posted videos of fireworks all over social media. 

On July 4th last year, Parker had just deployed and I was newly pregnant with Preston and sick as a dog. It was so wonderful celebrating with both of them home safely this year!

Jenny turned the big 7 on July 5th! She was unimpressed, per the usual.

And last but not least, you've all heard of this greatness, right? I think I was late to the party, but Parker and I are now obsessed with Halo Top. This whole pint for only 320 calories? It's so yummy! It rivals Blue Bell (our favorite) for most delicious ice cream and it's so low in calories. The only downside is I can eat an entire pint in one sitting without even trying, so we limit how often we buy this delicious little temptress.

That's life lately!

Anniversary Date Climbing Cape Henry Lighthouse

Parker and I have a tradition for our wedding anniversary. We don't do gifts. Instead, we do an experience. We love this tradition! There is nothing better in our book than creating memories, and we have done some really fun things for each anniversary!

1st anniversary: ziplining in Milton, FL
4th anniversary: sailing in Norfolk, VA
5th anniversary: cruise to The Bahamas

We knew we wanted to keep the tradition going, but this year posed a slight obstacle in that it was our first anniversary with a baby. We don't really have the freedom to go and do whatever we want anymore, especially with no family living near us to watch the baby. 

I had never left Preston with anyone other than one of our moms, but my friend Karly was kind enough to come over for a few hours while Parker and I escaped for a day date to celebrate our anniversary. We decided this year's experience would be climbing the Cape Henry Lighthouse! This has been on our Virginia bucket list for a while. It's the oldest lighthouse in the country! We climbed a lighthouse back when we lived in Pensacola and loved it, so we thought we would love this one too!

We both agreed that the experience could best be summed up as... underwhelming. Don't get me wrong, we had the best time going on a baby-free date, but the lighthouse was just not much to write home about. It was only 192 steps, so it took us about 3 minutes to climb to the top. Once at the top, it was all enclosed, so we couldn't really take in the view in all it's glory. We climbed back down, took a walk around the perimeter, and then drove to the oceanfront and walked along the beach.

Walking along the beach just talking and eating froyo was probably our favorite part of the day. There isn't much better in my book! It was a gorgeous day, and just getting to spend that one on one time together was such a treat. 

We are really glad we climbed the lighthouse. It was underwhelming, and we wouldn't recommend it to a friend, but we had been wanting to do it for so long, and we were able to keep up with our tradition of celebrating our anniversary with an experience. 

Next year, Preston will be old enough to leave with Grammy for a few days, so we see another cruise in our future! 

Happy Birthday To Our #1 Girl!

Yesterday, our favorite pup in the world turned seven! Parker and I have spent the last month talking about how much we wish dogs didn't age and she could be with us forever. Jenny made us a family and has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. Another year with her is such a gift, but so bittersweet knowing she's only getting older. She really lights up our lives and gives us so much to smile about every day!

For those who may be newer around here, we adopted Jenny from a rescue group when she was six months old back in 2011. We went in to "pet the puppies" (does that ever really work?), and of course we went home with the puppy. She immediately caught our attention, and we just took to her. She was obedient from the start and wanted to do everything we said. She had a low-key, loving personality that we adored, and seven years later, she still has that same sweet demeanor we fell in love with. She's also the most unimpressed pup around. A common phrase in our house: #Jennyisnotimpressed

I call Jenny my best girlfriend, and she really is. She's just my little sidekick. She was my saving grace during the seven months Parker was deployed, and she has been so patient and understanding as we have adjusted to life with a baby. Seven years of Jenny loving, and it just gets better and better! Happy birthday to our #1 girl! 

Happy 4th, Yall!

I hope you all have a safe and happy 4th of July! I feel so blessed to live in this country and so grateful to the men and women who fight for our freedom. We are the home of the free because of the brave!

Amidst all the fun BBQs and fireworks, take a second to remember how blessed we are to live in a free country. This time last year, Parker had just left for deployment. The 4th of July was one of our first holidays of many to spend apart, so I am very thankful to have him home this year. Thank you to those who have served and who are out there serving right now!


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