Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Brooklyn | One year

Your quirks at one...

.You are wearing size 12 month clothing and busting out of size 3 diapers.  We are so very close to the end of a box, so why would we jump now?!

.You stand on your own these days and still cruise on around the furniture like nobodies business.

.You took your first steps this month.  You are fairly wobbly and don't go more than a step or two before plopping down, but you do it without thinking and typically when no one is really watching.

.You say 'mama' sometimes... not consistently.  But it is in your vocabulary these days.

.You just picked up on waving within the last few days.  To add to your high fives.

.You love dolls still.  And keys.  And balloons.

.You eat anything and everything.  You don't like ranch, but everything else seems to be pretty fair game. You love fruits especially.

.You still love to nurse too.  You nurse in the morning, before nap time, before bed time and sometimes once in the night.

.You still use a binky in the car and while sleeping.

.You now put yourself to sleep.  You nurse and then mama gives you kisses and I lay you down.  Sometimes you fuss for a second or two, but you do eventually fall asleep.  And lately you've been staying asleep or putting yourself back to sleep from 8 to 9 pm until 5 am.

.You don't really have a good nap schedule.  Sometimes you nap twice.  Sometimes you nap once for a few minutes.  Sometimes you nap for a few hours.  There is no rhyme or reason.  You nap best in the car if you are really tired.

.You love to drink from your cup and eat snacks from the snack cup.

.You are so very ornery.  Always up to no good and looking for the next thing to get into. But you know when to flash your beautiful little smile to get away with it.

.You are a flirt.  You love attention and dole out smiles like candy.

.You love daddy and sister.  A lot.

.You love to sit outside or sit inside and watch outside.

My Brooklyn --- I hope the light always shines brightly for you.  You are such an incredible happy baby and it takes a lot for you to lose your spark.  The small reaches for mama and the big smiles you constantly toss my way remind me so much of how innocent your love is.  Thank you for being the beautiful little girl you are.  Mama loves you so very very much.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happy birthday Brooklyn!

It's the end of a very long day... there's a lot going on in our neck of the woods these days.  But today was extra special as our baby turned one.  It went so incredibly fast with Grace.  Ten times faster with Brooklyn.

As I sit in the (almost) quiet (Diesel doesn't know the word quiet..) night, I can't help but think back to a year ago at this time as we were being moved out of the labor and delivery ward to the recovery wing.  It was the beginning of a very long night of parenting alone.  Little sleep and lots of tears.  I struggled, a lot.  Back then I was about to feel run down and scared that having two was not going to be an easy transition.

But now?  Now I marvel everyday at my sweet second baby.  The ornery one in our family.  The one who knows that one look that will let her get away with just about everything.  She cuddles at just the right time. And already shows such an amazing personality.  God without a doubt knew what he was doing.

I'm not sure where the last year went.
Today you are one...
Happy birthday my baby girl!

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Monday, March 20, 2017

7 years married, and the makeup equivalent.

2010 was 7 years ago y'all.  Please raise your hand if you also find that hard to believe.

Why is this significant?

It means Rob and I have been married for 7 years.  On March 17, 2010 we went to the cutest courthouse in Annapolis, Maryland and said our vows.  It was us and the Justice, jeans and rings.

Now every year on St. Patrick's Day we celebrate.
Obligatory cute picture of my kids on St. Patrick's Day.
LipSense color // Bravo

This year Rob took the day off of work and we made a day of it.  Our first adventure was the parade here in our little town.  We happen to live in a college town... and apparently no one had school or work.  So that was chaos.  As I expected, my husband however did not expect such chaos.  As a result there was no way for us to get close enough for the girls to really see.  So we ducked into a pizza place and grabbed some lunch.  Grace was able to see some horses through a break in the crowd and she was perfectly content.  Now we know what to do different next year.  After that we headed for KC.  A 30-45 minute drive depending on where you are headed.  Rob rented a corvette for the day so after picking that up and a swing by the golf store on that side of town we were headed to my parents to drop the minions off with gaga.

Let's take a break here because it is IMPORTANT to note that this is our first date in over 3 years.  Except for a military ball shortly after we had Grace... this was the first time we were out without our kids for fun.

Our evening without kids included TopGolf (kind of like bowling, except with golf), tons of great food and a stop by the jewelry store, where my husband let me pick out a new pair of diamond stud earrings.  We cruised town in the corvette and took lots of pictures of just the two of us.  It is possible my husband may be a believer again in leaving the kids for an evening of just us time.

That's how you celebrate 7 years.

7 years...


I felt impossibly good all evening.. and thanks to THIS new found makeup lip obsession... I made it through the entire day with color in one place.

Maybe you've heard of it?  LipSense.

Y'all.  You MUST try this.  The color lasts all day.  You only have to apply once.  The gloss layer has completely replaced my chapstick regime and my lips have never felt better.  Plus I get to support one of my closest friends from high school and her sweet little family (we both have 2 girls and we were both pregnant at the same time with both... our youngest even share a birthday!).

Anyway... Chelsea is offering a special 10% off discount to Somewhere Over the Camo readers.  Just go here and tell her Amanda sent you and she will hook you up.

If a redhead can pull it off... you can too!

Here's to 70 more years with my love and another day of long lasting lip color.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Transitioning out of the military - what YOU need to know.

So your spouse came home with news you may or may not have been prepared to hear... your adventure as a military spouse is coming to an end.

My husband came home with that news less than a year ago.  He was being medically discharged from the Army.  Officially he has now been separated from the Army for almost two months.  But he signed out on terminal leave at the end of October.

Here's my best advice for you, the spouse, on how to handle the transitioning period that comes with leaving one world and entering another.

---DON'T PANIC.  Easier said than done, I know.  But if you can keep your panic instincts under lock and key the whole situation will go a lot smoother.  I confess, I panicked at one point.  I didn't feel we were getting the answers we needed in a timely manner and one day I just lost it.  It's natural, but it also doesn't help.  You are still at the mercies of the military.  Their timeline will always satisfy their needs, not yours.

--BE PATIENT.  Also easier said than done.  The answers will come.  One week you may be waiting on word and the next week you may be out.  The last two weeks went absurdly fast but up until then we were playing the waiting game.  Patience is not always an easy thing to come by, especially when it comes to your life... I get it.  So find whatever solace you can and stick to it.  For me, God has a plan worked wonders in talking myself off of the ledge.

--DON'T FIXATE ON ESTIMATES AND DATES PROVIDED.  The Army may say terminal leave will not start until February.  Suddenly it's the end of October and your husband just signed out 4 months early.  They have no idea.  Which leads me to...

--HAVE A PLAN A, B AND C.  If you only make a plan for the initial time period given... you'll be super stressed when you have two weeks notice of your last day in.  Try and keep an open mind and an open end game going.  If plan A doesn't work out, have a plan B  and C... just in case.  The last thing you want is to be done with no idea of what is next.

--NETWORK.  This helped my husband immensely.  He was able to land a job months before his official end date with the Army.  He had a great network of people sending him job suggestions and advice for the next steps.  Also, LinkedIn worked WONDERS.  Use it.  It's free!

--GO SOMEWHERE YOU KNOW.  It's tempting to just start over somewhere fresh... but I definitely think the best thing we did was come back to Kansas.  We have a built in support system already and it was easy to figure out Rob's job situation and our living situation since we were familiar with the area.  We've even decided to make our current town our forever home.  Who would have thought?!

--BE THANKFUL.  It's easy to be mad when the military decides to unexpectedly give you the boot. But if you can be thankful, it will help with the moving on part.  The Army provided my husband years of experience in his field and gave him an amazing starting point for his career.  I am and forever will be thankful for that.

I spent 6 and a half years living the military life alongside my husband.  I left Kansas and my eyes were opened to all that the rest of the country has to offer.  I loved most of our adventures and hated some too.  Now that we are in the civilian world, I am grateful for the tough times that we went through, because it made us appreciate all that we have now even more.

As always, if you face this unexpected road, don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail!  I can give you an idea of what to expect and help prop you up in times of uncertainty.  Just remember, you got this.

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Monday, March 6, 2017


Two weeks ago Wednesday I turned 27.  The last year has gone by in the blink of an eye (like I say in basically every single one of my monthly updates for Brooke).  My 26th year of life was a crazy one... as every other year for the last 8 plus years have been.

I had my second baby.  Lost our first fur-child.  Welcomed another fur-child.  Moved back home.  Said goodbye to the Army world... the only world my marriage and most of my adult life had ever known.  Baptized our second baby.  Celebrated a third birthday.  Hosted our first holiday for family.  Caught up with old friends.  And truly started to settle into our new normal.

And now I'm 27.

One of my best friends celebrates her 27th birthday in just under two weeks.  She asked me on the morning of my birthday if I felt any older.  I don't.  At all.  I'm another year closer to 30.  Which doesn't scare me.  It scares me how quickly time is flying by.  Sometimes I feel like we just graduated high school and were so excited at college and what it was going to bring and do for us.  Now we are all grown up with marriages, engagements, kids of our own.  We live across the country and are all on our own paths.

But when do we truly start to feel like adults and grown ups?

I was lucky in that my 3 closest friends from high school were all able to be in town the weekend after my birthday.  I had won a gift card to a local spa (thanks to this here blog!) and was able to treat myself and 5 others to an afternoon at the spa.  So we rounded up my mom and sister and all made the drive out to the spa.  We learned quickly we aren't grown up enough to follow the "quiet please" rules.  And when they tell you to stay hydrated, that clearly means with alcohol, right?  It was nice to get away from our new normals and just be us for an afternoon.  Be pampered, relax and chow down on some amazing food.  It was a really good welcome to 27.

Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri | AMAZING.  WORTH THE TRIP.

I'm hoping 27 is good to me.  Lots of good things are in the works and I am still loving every minute of being back in the sunflower state.  We are happy and healthy (finally after a week plus long bout of crud) and spring is rolling in.  All things that make the days just a little bit better.

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