Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring. Prom Dresses. and The Weekend.

Based on my walk yesterday, spring has arrived. How timely the official start of spring was the same day. :) The one true indicator... flowers are in bloom. 


Which strikes me as incredibly bizarre because a week ago everything was covered in a thick layer of white stuff. 


Snow is not the norm around here, which makes it incredibly exciting when it does happen.
It melted as soon as the snow stopped. 


And then it was Monday. A big day for me. I finally took my GRE test. This has been a major stressor in my life for several months. But it's over now. I treated myself to breakfast before test time at Blue Surf Cafe which is my favorite brunch place in Wilmington. You can see my test prep book in the background, cramming more vocab into my brain at this point.


When I got to my testing center, it was immediate lockdown. You can't have any of your stuff, can't leave the testing place, and can't take more than a minute between most of the 6 separate sections. There is a video monitor, double glass, and sign in/out verification. They don' mess around! 
I was in there for 4 hours taking the GRE. Time did fly by but 4 hours?!? 
That is done. I won't know my official scores for another week.


The rest of the week I subbed every day. All good experiences :) 
On Friday, I knew I wanted to see Beauty and The Beast. I hadn't heard great things about it but I wanted to judge for myself. I liked it. It was different than I expected but still ok. 
I was thinking it would be all dramatic and special effects, like some of the other Disney animated movies they have recreated. Beauty and the Beast has a lot more singing and quirky characters. 


After our Friday movie date, I asked Ky if she would like to go to the library book sale Saturday morning. We went and scored a ton of books. I have never been to a library book sale but oh my goodness. Book lovers paradise! 


And because she had soo much fun with me, she decided to hang with me on Sunday too!
Actually, we didn't get to go to Raleigh last weekend because of husband's work and snow.
This was our (last) prom dress shopping day.
When we walked in and saw all the dresses, I knew we were in the right place.


Her prom dress criteria has made this hunt very challenging.
She knew she wanted cut outs which a popular style this year.
And preferably a front slit.
Not too sparkly or too plain.
She was also hoping for red or navy.
So, pretty much narrowed our options to the bare minimum.
I don't know about you, but I've noticed prom dresses are a bit sparkly.
It's a thing.


I had been rooting for this black dress we found in Wilmington.
But she wasn't in love with it.
And it's her choice :) 



When Ky tried on the green dress, I felt like we found the one.
 She liked it more than the black and her friends liked it more.
Friend approval is super important.

And now, we can cross prom dress off the check list! 
I'm hoping everything else can be handled online. Amazon sells shoes, right?



Nicole

Friday, March 10, 2017

New Groove. Spring Fever. And Prom Shopping.

Life is good. Are you feeling it too? We are finally hitting a new groove after all our post deployment adjustments. I think Florida was key in creating this vibe. I always love a vacation to a new place. Disney was not new but everything else was. I can ride the high for a long time. And it needs to be a long time because our next adventure isn't for a couple months.


I said it in the "Our Week of Florida-ing" post but reading in a hammock is my favorite thing. Tied with chocolate and wine. Preferably by the ocean as well :) I don't necessarily need company...haha
But truly, I'm pretty much obsessing over all the Florida memories this week.



New hair always turns things around. And SnapChat filters with false eyelashes. Lipstick is a bonus :)


After vacation, we all jumped back to our regular routines. I took one day off to get the house in order and then back to subbing. Things have definitely settled down with subbing now that I have a few schools I work with consistently. I'm getting to know the kids and school atmosphere. Those two things make work life flow a lot smoother! Lesson learned.


Speaking of school, the campuses are so different here. More trees for sure. 
Right now, everything is blooming. Spring is here!


Warmer weather means making tough decisions regarding reading and walking the dog. 
Charlie always votes for the book. He does. He says don't worry about it. Someone can do it later 😜


The last thing filling up our week has been prom dress shopping. 
We didn't think she would be able to go due to a family wedding around the same time.
This week we learned prom would be after the wedding.


Now we are in panic mode trying to find a dress.
She hasn't found "the one" yet.
I think we will be visiting Raleigh this weekend.
If we can't find one there, then we are out of luck!
That's the biggest place we've got.
The black dress is my favorite so far. 


Our life is screaming spring right now with all the stuff going on. 
We just need the weather to catch up! 
This photo brings we back to the things I love about coastal Carolina in spring and summer.
Blue skies, white puffy clouds, warmer weather, and warmer water.
Please hurry!









Nicole

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Our Week Of Florida-ing

If the term Florida-ing was a thing, I'm pretty sure we did it last week! Some how, some way we managed to see the whole state in 7 days. By car, while sick, so yes, that makes us champs!


What started as a post-deployment Disney vacation turned into a North-East-Middle-South-West adventure in true Semper Fi Family style. Did I mention with everyone dealing with illness at some point during this adventure? This is the story of our lives. We cannot go anywhere without at least one person getting sick. You should see the medicine bag I travel with.


We came into Florida on the northeast side through good ole Jacksonville, Florida. Navy town through and through. We were wowed by the big bridges over the waterways and ports along the waterways. Always love seeing America and how things work.




If you know your way to Disney from the east coast, then you know you travel the beach towns a little longer before cutting into the middle of the state. Orlando is the middle and it is a busy metro area. Home to Disney World and lots of other theme park-ish outlets. Traffic was oh-so reminiscent of California. And Florida drivers are mean! (I got the bird more than a couple times!)


We spent 4 days doing the Disney thing. DisneyWorld is so much bigger than Disneyland. (Remember that is what we are used to.) We were overwhelmed in a good way. Not that it mattered much because 2 days in the kids started going down...with the cold virus/influenza going around. By Day 4, I was the last man standing and I took advantage of extra magic hours at Magic Kingdom in the pouring rain by myself. Yes, I'm lame.


Zac really wanted to see Harry Potter World at Universal. I made a deal with the kids a few months ago, the reward for reading all the HP books was a trip to Universal. Ky tried with all her might but only got to book 5. Derrick could care less, he has the movies. Zac has read the series enough for all of us, three times over. He loves the books, movies, and now Harry Potter World! It was so awesome to see him (through pictures) enjoy the park with dad.



Next stop, the Florida Keys. My husband and I were super excited to get down to the Keys because it was something new. My husband was ready to move down there pronto. Water, fishing, sunshine. I think it's a nice place to visit :) A really nice place to visit. I would love to go there when it warms up a bit. I think we will be back.


It was lovely. More than lovely. We were actually down there to help my grandmother move from one vacation spot to another. We are so happy to be able to spend time with family outside of Iowa. It gives us a little more quality time when that happens. After a couple days in Marathon, we drove up to Tampa area on the west side of the state.


We weren't expecting the Gulf of Mexico to be warmer and more beach friendly but it's true. The Florida Keys aren't really built for beaching, more boating/fishing/drinking/Iguana dodging/hammocking. Yes, I'm going to continue make up new words for this entire post :)



And may I say, I love hammock-ing! It's my favorite. Take me back!


Opps, I almost forget about the overabundance of dirt cheap Cuban coffee 
in the Keys!
How could I forget the best?!?
Reunited and it feels so so soo good!
North Carolina needs to get on the Cuban coffee and Pho trend ASAP!


Last stop, Tampa/ St.Petes Beach on the west side of the state. This was a little too fast paced for us. We were reminded us of places like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee with all the touristy attractions. But, the beach, now that is a different story! The beach was wonderful.


We walked a good length watching the sun slowly fall into the water. 
The sunset was wonderful. It was such a nice trip. 
I'm sure we will be repeating this one again...and again.
The East Coast does have its perks!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Heart Eyes for February Books

I'm not going to lie, February's book post is going to take all of three minutes to read. 
This was not a big reading month. Life just keeps picking up speed and reading goes to the wayside.
You may not find a lot of books here, but you will find good books.
I was happy with the few I finished this month.
So, read on, and get some great recommendations :)


#1 The Mothers by Brit Bennett. This is a debut novel getting a lot of attention right now. It's a coming of age story about a young couple whose relationship wains when hard decisions are made. As years pass, they question whether things could/should have gone a different way. However, there are more people to consider now that time has passed. It's a good book. I was most drawn to the setting in Oceanside, California where we lived for so long. It felt so familiar and really transported this homesick girl back to home :) I appreciated that. However, I just don't see the wow factor people are talking about. A great book but I think there are better books out there. Go find them :) 
I'm not recommending this one.


#2 We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Agozi Adichie. This is a short non-fiction piece of a TedTalk Adichie gave once upon a time. The topic is feminism. Not in your face, angry feminism but a gentle prodding to consider long held beliefs/assumptions that no longer fit into our changing world. It is intelligent and relevant to everyone, not just women. I want everyone read this book, especially my daughter :) It just makes sense...and it's only 40 pages...so it's do-able. 
Recommending this one!

#3 The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino. What a fun read. My favorite book this month and so far, this year! I do not watch Fixer Upper but I'm a fan of this couple.  The book is written in alternating voice between Chip and Joanna telling their story, mostly pre- Fixer Upper tv show. It's interesting, funny, endearing, and inspiring. 
I highly recommend The Magnolia Story. You will fly right through this book.

That's all the books for February. Time to figure out what to read in March.
I'm thinking its time for a Hunger Games re-read.
Not really sure what else is out there. I'm looking for a really good fictional story that isn't too heavy. Any suggestions?

Linking up here and here and here for tons of book recommendations. 
Go read them all!



Monday, February 27, 2017

A Year of Family Selfies

Hello on this Monday! I was clearing out my draft folder and thought this post should go live.
Just some random goal I came up with and managed to complete in 2016.

A Year of Family Selfies. That was the random goal :) 

Ultimately, I was just happy to have a monthly family picture.
I wasn't going for anything glamorous, just simple pictures documenting us in real life each month.
Being a military family was a major complication.
A year of selfies doesn't equal 12. A year of selfies gets to be whatever the military 
decides he will here for.

In 2016, the magic number was 6. 
A mediocre number, Marine Corps, but still thankful for 6 :)



Hiking Idyllwilde January 2016


Miniature golf Murrieta February 2016 
(no Zachy)


San Francisco in March 2016



Bearizona in April 2016


University of North Carolina Wilmington- May 2016



Movie bound- June 2016


A goodbye in July 2016

Just to complete a full year, I'm adding our homecoming picture.


A hello in January 2017.

I think we need to try again in 2017. Kind of hoping for 12 pictures this year ;)