Friday, August 10, 2018

College Bound. A Smaller Space. And Lots of Transitions.

Tomorrow, we are going to load up our car with stuff and drive to Iowa. We are delivering our child to college. A 4 year state university. A ginormous student body and campus. Diverse ideas and driven people all pouring into my child. My smart beautiful child.

My friends asked me yesterday, "How are you feeling?" And yesterday, I felt very positive. I'm not sure why and next week I might feel differently. Today, I'm excited for her. I remember so distinctly desiring that independence of moving out on my own and becoming an adult. It really is an exciting time in life. She is smart, level headed, and open minded. She is going to be fine.

And we are going to be fine. I keep forgetting that not only are her parents going to miss her (that's us :) but her brothers will too. So, maybe next week will be a little off for us.

It's a big season of changes and transitions for us. In preparation, we moved to a smaller space. And the first couple of days, I was panicked! Like what the freak was I, who pushed hard for this to happen, thinking?!? Two weeks later, Best. Decision. Ever.

First and foremost, the money we are saving is worth it. Second, the space to take care of is so small. No stress of all the things I should be doing to take care of the house instead of doing important things like hanging with my kids, my husband, or showing up for a friend. This smaller space also has been amazing for us to gather together. I noticed that in our big houses we all tended to go to our separate areas and do our separate thing. So, I like our new togetherness... for now :)

Ultimately, everything is pointing to the direction of military retirement. Only a few months left to go before his ceremony and leave begin. Official retirement begins a couple months after that. No, we don't know where we are going. We really do not. We know there are two choices: Southern California or Austin/San Antonio, Texas area. There are pros and cons for both, we have no real convictions about either (right now), so we are going to be persuaded by a job. I'm going back to school so I can do a career change. Both places have plenty of education options for me to do that. Worst case scenario, we hang in North Carolina past retirement until things fall into place. Which is totally doable now that we have a smaller space! See how all our decisions come full circle? I'm so happy for that!

Today, I'm connecting this picture with this post because it was a moment captured. And today's post feels like it a moment captured. The husband and I went for a walk here while Zac had cross country practice at the same place. We came to this pond and it was one of those moments that left you in awe. The colors and the stillness of the water were my idea of perfection. It always just sets my mind right.

Happy Friday everyone! I hope this weekend is just what you need!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Hiking in William B. Umstead State Park

If you know our family, then you know hiking is our thing. We hiked all over Southern California and truly miss all the trails out West. Some of our favorite trails were along the ocean and in the mountains. Heck, we were happy anywhere we could find a trail to overlook any part of the city.

We love to get out in nature and just cleanse all the crap that we collect in our heads from life. One thing we've missed terribly at this duty station is hiking. Coastal North Carolina is flatter than a pancake. Hiking is non-existent. Not being able to get out in nature makes me feel restless and sometimes grumpy. So, when we go inland, I'm always looking for trails. Raleigh has this cool outdoor retreat in the middle of the city called William B Umstead State Park that has lots of trails. It's beautiful and a perfect fix for a girl desperately needing to hike in a place where the terrain changes elevation.

When we drive to Raleigh for airport pickups (mainly), this is one of our go-to places. We have never truly hiked Amsted Park before now. We are always exploring little foot trails or driving along tree canopied roads.  This trip we allowed a few hours to hike a trail at William B. Umstead State Park.

We automatically scoped out the trail with water. Those trails are our favorite. The boys like to get a little daring and test their balance.

You can see from the trail map there were a few choices. Of course, this is only a small section on the west side of Umstead park. There are lots more options around the entire park.

Even the Marine husband got comfy and relaxed.

We came across lots of bugs and flying creatures because HELLO it's North Carolina. How cool is this lunar moth? Cool story...this moth was hatching from caterpillar to moth right before our eyes. I love that we got to observe nature in action!

Hoping the last few months here bring a few more hikes!   

Friday, July 27, 2018

Life Update- Iron Infusion

Hey readers. I wanted to take some time to share something a little more real life today. I feel like it's worth sharing to bring a little more understanding to the lack of follow through over the past year.

The bottom line is that I've been dealing with a health condition over the past year. It's not too serious. I'm just one of the millions of people who deal with iron deficiency anemia. Nothing too abnormal but it can get kind of debilitating for me. Since last summer, I have been dropping super low on my red blood cell counts. Hemoglobin, hematocrit, RBC. All of them. Usually, doctors will prescribe a heavy duty iron pill and bounce those numbers up pretty quickly. After 10 years of iron pills, my digestive system said 'No Way. No More!" So, this past fall, we had to find an alternate way to get me my much needed iron. By way of iron infusion. They pumped iron right into my veins. It's pretty wild but worked like a champ. There are some risks and it's a little nerve wrecking going into the infusions but my body takes hold and goes to work. It's amazing and it helps me so much.

Unfortunately, it was only a matter of time before I needed another iron infusion this summer. It's a little disheartening when your body doesn't work like it was intended. But praise the Lord for modern medicine. In June 2018, I had another infusion and my body absorbed the iron the way it needed. And so now I'm juiced up and my red blood cells are nice and healthy :)

The problem is maintaining the iron stores and maintaining the healthy red blood cell production. My body works against me in that way. I will give you the basic cause...female issues. That might be TMI but I also know there is a whole community of women out there who need to hear this. I know I have felt like I'm the only one experiencing all this with the big scary (to me) treatments. This month I underwent a medical procedure to see if I could assist my body in maintaining my iron levels. I am one week post procedure and feeling on the upswing of recovery. Over the next few months, we will know if this is the answer to my problem. I am happy to talk about that with anyone who might feel that information is beneficial but prefer a more private platform. (You can email me at It's funny because today at the bank I overheard someone talking about their anemia problem. And I wanted to say, "Me too!"

I give you all this information to bring a little more understanding for what is going on in my world. Why I start things, like running, and then abruptly stop within weeks. Because my poor heart can't keep up with me running when I have little oxygen to deliver in my blood stream. The same reason for no adventures or pictures to share. Do you really want to see me hanging out at the clinic? It's pretty uneventful and I know for some people it can trigger sad/sympathy/etc feeling. I want to try to keep this a happier and lighter space.

So that's me guys. Things are looking up and hopefully adventures and fun hobbies are on the horizon.

Much love to you all!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Time For Adulting

Oh yes, girlfriend can now use the term 'adulting'. Not that she would, or even knows what that means :) But... now her long journey into figuring it out begins! It has been such a pleasure being her mother with the exception of 9th and 11th grade year...those I do not want back! And I'm very much looking forward to being mom to adult Kyli.

This girl is funny and smart. Loyal, influential, fierce, and quick witted. She is humble and easy going and unaffected by trends and mainstream (outside of scrolling through Insta and Snapchat every five minutes). She loves Jesus and is truly interested in others. She loves animals. And she loves shoes, lots of shoes, always. And stickers, so many freaking stickers!  And junk food. Just all the vices!

We have thoroughly enjoyed her childhood and are so lucky to have her! Now, sink or swim baby! (Just kind of kidding ;)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

DisneyWorld 2018

DisneyWorld in July. Call us crazy! Long lines, humid heat, all the things you want to avoid on vacation. And despite all the negatives, we had the best time! We hit the parks in the morning and night. We took breaks for naps and swims in the heat of the day. And we let the kids have some freedom to roam the park while we (the parents) did our own thing. 
That may have been the best part for mom and dad :)

We wanted to do something special for Kyli's graduation so we let her pick the destination. She picked Disney because that's her thing. Her friend from California joined us and we road tripped to Florida from North Carolina. Super simple 8 hour drive.
We had four days of park hopping thanks to our military tickets. And we got to enjoy the early & late hours, thanks to our military hotel on property. We will miss our military perks in 2019!

Here are a few fun pictures of our DisneyWorld trip.

Magic Kingdom


Hollywood Studios

and Animal Kingdom.

Yes, Magic Kingdom is awesome. It's the iconic Disney place. However, we enjoyed Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios way more! Less crowds, shorter lines, and more thrill rides.
When you have teens that is what they want.

They also wanted freedom to go off on their own and ride Dinosaur four times in a row while being completely obnoxious (I'm sure). We, the parents, were also able to do adult things, like ride the "slow" rides and eating Dole Whips!

It was a blast for our last DisneyWorld trip. Disney is always a good time!
I admit I'm ready to graduate to something a little more grown up though :) 
Stay tuned for those adventures!