Anchors Aweigh : August 2018

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Life Lately

Happy Wednesday! I write these Life Lately posts and realize nothing I'm writing about is too terribly exciting, yet I will look back on these days and miss these beautifully mundane moments so much. 

So here's life lately...

We took a family trip to the Botanical Gardens, and it was so neat! Parker isn't so keen on walking around flowers all day, but this Botanical Gardens had so many amazing birds that talked, danced, and that you could pet. Here Preston is petting a bird named Sweetie. So cute!


This picture just screams Texas to me. The water isn't the bluest, the grass isn't the greenest, and the sun is blazing hot, but this. is. home. 


Parker has been humoring me in my love for games, and this week we broke out Phase 10. I played all the time as a kid but hadn't played in 15+ years, so it was fun to relearn how to play. Parker read the rules for like 10 minutes... it's an elementary level game, you guys. 


Preston wasn't feeling well the other night and fell asleep in my arms at 6:15 PM. The cuddles are a little more rare in this toddler phase, so you can bet that I stayed there and snuggled that boy for an hour while he slept. It took me back to the baby stage and gave me all the feels!


When I finally decided to put that sweet boy in his crib, I walked into the living room to a husband and Chinese takeout. Bless him. Oversized t-shirts and Chinese takeout on the couch... just living the Friday night dream!


I have seen every episode of Grey's Anatomy at least 3 times, and here I still find myself binge watching it yet again. I just love this show. This is one of the only shows that can bring me to tears over and over again. 


A Life Lately post wouldn't be complete without a little Jenny update. You guys, she is just the best big sister ever. I love her so much, and I love how much she loves her brother.


And lastly, I jumped into Preston's crib the other morning when I went in to get him up, and he thought it was so funny. I had never done this before, and he looked at my like I was nuts before breaking out into the cheesiest grin. It's the little things. 


 That's life lately!

All About That Twin Life

Tomorrow is my half birthday. I've talked before about how a half birthday should be a real thing, and I always make a point to let Parker know it's my half special day in case he wants to buy me presents. Spoiler alert: sadly, no presents are ever given. 

Tomorrow is my half birthday, but it's also someone else's half birthday... my twin's!

If you've read this blog before or known me longer than .5 seconds in real life, you know that I have a twin. She's my best friend and my other half. We are the same person but also very different. She's funnier. I'm more creative. She makes a better first impression. I am more social. The same, but different.

In honor of our upcoming half birthday, I thought I'd give a few facts about our life as twins:

1. We Facetime multiple times a day every day. It's very rare that we go a day without talking on the phone. 


2. We are both boy moms, and her son is only 5 months older than mine. Basically, we have gotten to go through almost every phase of motherhood together. 


3. We switched places at her high school track meet, and you can read that story here


4. People always ask if twins can read each other's minds. No. At least, we can't. However, we often think the same thing at the same time. Since we share identical childhoods, different stories or words spark the same thought for us both.


5. We are mirror twins, whatever that means. I am left handed and she is right handed, and our hair naturally parts on opposite sides. 

6. We didn't think it was possible to be any closer, and then we had kids at the same time. Motherhood has brought us together, and we are so grateful we get to do the journey at the same time. 


7. Our husbands are very supportive of this twin thing. They know we are close and have just kind of accepted that we are a package deal. Funny story: Parker filmed my reaction when we had our son, and not 2 minutes after Preston was born, you can hear Parker ask me on the video if I want to call Danielle. I waited, by the way, but I laugh because Parker just assumed I would want to talk to her there on the operating room table 2 minutes after my c-section. 


8. Our dream is to live in the same neighborhood and raise our kids together. The Navy is kind of cramping our style on that one. ;)


9. We have the same taste in pretty much everything... we like the same music, the same food, the same TV shows, the same movies. Ironically, the only exception is our taste in men because our husbands are pretty different. Both are great guys though!


10. Danielle was slightly cooler than I was in high school, and one day Freshman year, she saw me in the hallway and didn't say hi. She was trying really hard to be cool and didn't want to talk to someone "not as cool". WE HAVE THE SAME FACE! I have given her a hard time for that for 13 years with no intention of ever stopping. 


Being a twin is one of the greatest blessings of my life. It's a built in best friend to go through all of the ups and the downs with, and I am so grateful I get to experience it. I'd love to have twins one day since I know just how special that bond can be... but then I think about my saint of a mother wrangling us as toddlers and question the desire. ;)

10 Weird Things About Toddlers That Don't Make Any Sense

We are officially out of the baby stage and into full blown toddler life. You guys, toddlers... they are the most confusingly adorable tiny humans. I felt like I had the baby phase on lockdown. I knew just what my kid needed, I could stop his crying almost instantly, and he was just happy to be in my presence. I unknowingly traded that for the world's cutest, most opinionated dictator. I do love this phase too, but man if it doesn't keep me on my toes!

Here are 10 weird things about toddlers that don't make any sense...

1. If they fall asleep in the car for even 2 minutes before their nap, they will only take a 45 minute nap. It could have been from 9:00-9:02 AM, and even though nap time isn't until 12 PM, the kid now seemingly only needs 45 minutes (plus the 2 they got in the car) of sleep vice the normal 2.5 hours they usually get. Riddle. me. that.


2. They have the ability to push every button you have, yet 10 minutes after you put them to bed, you miss them like crazy. 


3. They look at you like you are the worst thing to ever happen to them when they don't get what they want, but don't you dare think about leaving the room while they're upset. They'll just get even madder because how could you abandon your best friend like that?!


4. They have the world's most bipolar appetites. Yesterday, they liked apples. Today, they hate apples. Tomorrow, they will look at you like they have never heard of apples. 


5. Fisher-Price may have spent decades creating the most colorful, stimulating toys for your child, but your kid would much rather play with the empty toilet paper roll. Leave a little toilet paper on said roll, and it's Christmas freaking morning.


6. You know, if I had peed myself and was incapable of changing, I would be grateful if someone cleaned me up and got me into fresh britches. Toddlers, however, will flail and scream every second on the changing table while you're performing this selfless and necessary service. Sitting in poop > clean underpants.


7. They may have their own super cool $10 toddler cup with a weighted straw and fun colors to drink out of, but pass your Yeti, because they'll have what you're having, please. 


8. Do you know how wonderful it sounds to be pushed in a comfortable stroller through the aisles of Target and admire the world around you? Well if you ask a toddler, the answer is "absolutely terrible". Why would they want to sit comfortably with snacks when they could run amuck through the aisles and touch everything?!


9. Right before it's bedtime, they get a super burst of energy that renders them the thirstiest, hungriest, most literate tiny humans on the planet. Aka, they need a drink of water and to read 10 books, please. 



10. They're hungry ALL. THE. TIME. Like where do they put it all???


Don't Undersell Yourself

One of my favorite qualities of my husband is his humility. The guy graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas A&M University, is good at pretty much anything he tries, and is a Naval Aviator for a living. Yet, when he is having a conversation with someone, if he is not an expert, he will lead with "I don't know anything on this, but...". 

I feel like I have had a habit in the past of speaking for 10 minutes straight on a subject I know almost nothing about. I'm quick to talk and slower to listen, and I don't like that quality. I started trying to take a page out of my husband's book and lead with "I'm no expert..." or something like that, but I realized recently I took it to another level. 

Instead of humbly talking about accomplishments or things I knew, I shortchanged myself. The other day, I made a joke about never opening up a book to study in high school and not trying. I thought about that conversation later, and it ate at me. In reality, I did try in high school. I tried a lot. I took almost all AP classes and graduated in the top 7% of my class while playing tennis all four years. 

Here's another example: when people compliment Preston's behavior or accomplishments, my first response is "oh it's nothing I did". He is a sweet boy by nature, but his good behavior is most certainly due a lot in part to something I did. I am the one home with him all day, and as great of a dad as Parker is, he works long hours and isn't always around. Our son knows sign language, knows how to do a couple of chores, and is (normally) a very sweet and well behaved little boy, and I taught him a lot of that. 

I'm not saying the answer is to walk around broadcasting how awesome you are, but instead of me saying "oh it's nothing I did" when someone compliments Preston, I need to proudly say "thank you". Instead of saying I never opened a book in high school, I need to say "I studied and tried my best". 

It's a trivial concept, but I think a lot of people have a habit, like I do, of underselling themselves. Own your accomplishments. Be proud of your work. There is a happy medium between bragging and discrediting, and I am consciously trying to choose it. 


Military Mondays: What I Learned From Our First Fleet Tour

It's time for another Military Mondays post, and now that we are officially done with our first fleet tour and onto shore duty, I thought I would reflect on what I learned over the past three years and how it grew and changed us as a family. For those that don't know, the fleet tour for an aviator is the three year period immediately following training where the pilot is placed in a squadron. This is when they deploy and carry out the missions they've been trained to do. The training wheels are off, and it's the big leagues!




1. Deployment is awful, but I also learned more about myself in those 7 months of separation than I ever thought possible. 

I went into deployment thinking of it as a game. Either it was going to win, or I was. Either I was going to survive, or I was going to thrive. There were hard days, tears, frustration, you name it... being away from my husband was hard, but I didn't want to just wish 7 months of my life away and be miserable. I tried to live life as much as I could, and I came out much stronger and more independent than I knew I was capable of.

Pro tip: Get a dog. They make deployment 1000x more doable. 



2. Homecoming is better than your wedding day.

Seriously, it's just the best day. It's a moment you have played over in your head a thousand times, and there is not a single feeling in the world like being back in the arms of the one you love, knowing they made it home safely.

Pro tip: If you gain 30 pounds over deployment, give him a little heads up before the big reunion. 



3. The friends you meet over this period will be some of the best friends you ever make.

There is nothing that bonds you like going through a deployment together. The girls in our fleet squadron and in our training squadron right before the fleet made Virginia home for me. They truly became my family. We took care of each other, checked up on each other, and supported each other when we knew the answer to "How are you doing?" was "terrible, eating cake". I could write a novel about how richly the people I met in Virginia have impacted my life for the better.

Pro tip: Find people like this and never let them go. If they all stay in Virginia, don't move to Texas.




The fleet tour has (like everything) so many ups and downs, but (again, like everything), the positives are there in abundance if you're willing to see them. I look back on our three years in the fleet and honestly loved every minute of it... even the not so fun parts. It was one heck of a journey!


Winging Gifts for the Naval Aviator

This feels like a random post to write because my husband earned his wings of gold 4 years ago, but I get so many emails asking where I purchased the gifts pictured in this post, so I thought I would write out the details for any fellow aviator spouses out there.

It can be hard to figure out what to get those aviators for their winging or other special occasions, but these are some of the most popular gifts that you can't go wrong with!

Model Airplanes

I have purchased a model of every plane Parker has flown, and he loves this. Each plane represents a different stage in his Navy career and brings back memories of that chapter. We have the T-6, the T-45, the T-44, and the C-2. A few places I have purchased them are Wings in Pensacola, FL (website here),  the NEX (most Navy Exchanges have the models of the planes flown on that base), and Squadron Toys (website here).  My favorite place to purchase them is Squadron Toys because you can get the squadron logo on the base. This makes it all the more special for the aviator!



14K Gold Wings

This is easily the most expensive item on this list, but it can be a really neat gift if it is in the budget. Pilots are given plastic wings at their winging. These wings are earned following countless hours of flying and studying, and the real 14k gold wings are pretty spectacular. The pilot won't wear the wings very often since wings are only worn with the formal uniforms, but having the beautiful 14k gold wings makes wearing the formal uniforms all the more special! The best place I know to purchase these is Wings in Pensacola, FL (website here).




iPad Mini

Another very practical gift is the iPad mini. An iPad mini is great for the cockpit because pilots can access charts and publications without having to handle bulky paper products. It reduces the weight of their helmet bag while saving space. If you want to go the extra mile, you can purchase an iPad mini, cellular version. This includes a GPS, so that even if cellular data is not activated, pilots can see themselves on a moving map in flight. If cellular data is activated, they can also update weather and file flight plans on the go. The bigger storage is also ideal because the aviator can store more charts and publications (website here).

Side note: Big thanks to my husband for the description on this one. I have very little idea of what I just wrote. ;)



Kneeboard for the iPad

If you gift the iPad mini, or your aviator already has the iPad mini, another great gift is the kneeboard that the iPad clicks into (website here or here depending on which iPad mini they have).



Personalized Helmet Bag

All Naval Aviators have a helmet bag of some sort. Most use the standard forest green helmet bag. Something neat you can do is order a personalized helmet bag with the wings and their name on it. It's the standard bag, but the wings and name are embroidered in gold (website here).

Parker's bag is several years old and has seen better days, but I couldn't find a picture online of what one looked like for reference, so here you go!


Subscription for ForeFlight

ForeFlight is an app for the iPad and iPhone that allows the pilot to see charts and other publications required for instrument and visual flying. The subscription grants them access to all of the required documents while saving space in their helmet bag. There are three different plans, and the basic plan has everything they need. The pro and performance plus are great too, but the basic has all of the, well, basics (website here).


I hope this helps! Feel free to email me with any questions! If I don't know the answer (which is likely), I have a husband that probably will. :)




Life Lately

It's been years (okay not really) since I did a Life Lately post, so here's a little glimpse into our oh so glamorous life! And by glamorous, I mean sunscreened noses, peanut butter faces, and toddler tantrums... and I wouldn't have it any other way. ;)

Let's see...

It gets up to about 100 degrees every day here in south Texas, so we are regulars at the local pool. These patriotic boys are my favorite pool buddies!


We live in a very small town now with not much to do, so sometimes I take Preston to Dollar Tree for a change of scenery. We love Dollar Tree in our house! Everything is $1, and they have so many great things there! Side note: Preston sometimes walks around with his hands behind his back and it. kills. me. every. time. 


On this particular day, we walked away with a paint with water book, a truck, and a kitten book that Preston picked out. $3 well spent, yall. 


Jenny's favorite day is empty peanut butter jar day. Every time we finish a jar of peanut butter, she gets to lick the jar clean. Heaven for this girl!


The other day, Preston stopped playing, came over to sit in my lap, and just snuggled. Toddlers move at a rate of about 150 mph, so the sweet cuddles are everything.


Preston and I visited my family for a week and loved every minute of it. This was the big draw of moving back to Texas for me, so I have tried to go home as much as possible. Preston's highlight of the week was gardening with Grammy. Give this boy dirt and his Gram, and he is a happy kid. My mom just has a way with this kid, and it's so cool to see him already have a special bond with her.


I am always begging Parker to play a board game with me. I get restless laying on the couch watching TV every night. Now that we are parents, it is a much harder to actually have adult conversation, so I don't like wasting our nights together glued to a TV. He finally gave in and played yahtzee with me the other night, and we had such a fun night! Board games... do it! Live a little. ;)


Oh water table, how I love you. If you have a kid over 1, buy a water table. Endless entertainment and our favorite way to beat the heat. I like playing with this more than the pool because A) it's not a drowning hazard and B) he can play independently.


Jenny is also a fan of the water table. It's her big girl bowl.


Lastly, Parker had a late flight, so I took Preston on a mommy/son date to Taco Bell. So fancy, I know. We had a great conversation over chalupas and sippy cups. ;)


That's life lately!

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