in which we wandered

My friend Loralee came to town this past weekend to help me organize Ryan's unit's Dining Out and homecoming. She works in the hotel industry, and after the craziness that was planning the event last year, I called upon her expertise early on. We made a plan to visit about 5 venues this weekend, which we knew would be tricky with the boys, but we were optimistic. And so, Saturday was spent venturing from Alexandria Bay, to Clayton, to Watertown, and Sunday was spent visiting Tug Hill Vineyards.

We did lunch in Clayton at the ChannelSide Restaurant, and it was amazing. We shared poutine, and I had their Yum, Yum, Yum salad. The boys enjoyed food from their large kids' menu, which was actually reasonably priced, and we enjoyed a sunny afternoon by the water. It was supposed to rain all weekend, so the sunshine was enjoyed by all.

On Sunday, we ventured back to Tug Hill Vineyards - you may remember that we went blueberry-picking the other day and missed their brunch - and we decided to sample brunch before meeting with the event planner. Guys, this brunch was perfection. It's a bit on the pricier side at $21 a person, but they do offer a military discount, and the boys ate free. We each had a Bloody Mary, and it was pretty much the best thing I've indulged in in a long time.

After exploring the venue, which we are totally sold on, Loralee had to head back to Nashville, so the boys and I went to the splash pad on post after nap time. Both boys were mostly terrified of the splash pad, but they loved the playground on the side, so it was worth it!

Weekends like this are so fun for me because the boys get out to play and explore, I get to see the sights around us (and yes, there really are things to see up here, as much as people may say otherwise), and we get to enjoy this summer that is flying by. Little by little, our time here is winding down, so I want to enjoy it while it lasts! I hope you all had wonderful weekends, as well!

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

to all the military spouses

These thoughts have been on my mind so much lately, probably in large part because this deployment is tapering down, and I wanted to get them down before I turn into a hot, mushy mess from holding them in. First and foremost, this isn't solely for spouses - it's for those significant others, the families and all those left behind when our armed forces are deployed or sent for duty elsewhere. Because if there's one thing I've learned in the last six months, it's that we all have our crosses to bear.

I'm not of the school of thought that, as an Army wife, that I have the hardest job in the Army. You'll never see me sporting a bumper sticker that says as much. You know what I do believe though?

Military spouses are badass.

I have learned so much in the last six months. I've learned to manage our finances solely (not totally well - ahem - emotional purchases), how to mow the lawn consistently, weed whack, tackle passports solo, run a unit FRG, maintain relationships with neighbors and family, clean basements, repair broken pipes, unclog drains, act as both mom and dad, keep two tiny humans alive and thriving and maintain a household. I've kept our cars up-to-date with service, held my job successfully, been to all the doctor's appointments, switched daycares solo, and canceled subscription memberships.

Have I had bad days? Yes. Have I had great days? Definitely. 

Military spouses inspire me on a daily basis. So many of the wives and husbands left behind here so readily offer to help others but never ask for help in return. They're selfless and kind. They become the entire functioning unit of a household, and if only one thing keeps me going when I'm at a low point - it's those amazing individuals.

Whether you think you're just holding it together, or you're thriving, or you're struggling, know that you're not alone. You're doing amazing, and as the days tick by, you're getting stronger and stronger.

Own it. 

the weekend that wasn't (and more)

I'm a day late and a dollar short here, but it's been a busy past few days (and weekend) here in Black River. On Friday, both my boys had little coughs, but I wasn't too concerned until the middle of the day when Spencer's teacher mentioned his cough sounded worse. So, I picked them up early from daycare, and off to Urgent Care we went. It turns out that both boys have strep throat. So, while we'd had plans to go to Whitaker Park and hike this past weekend, it just didn't happen. Instead, we had lots of cuddles and laid low. 

We did take a trip to try out our new local juice bar & yoga studio, Atman Juice Bar & Cafe, in Watertown though, and it was a hit. It's a bit pricey ($5.90 for a small smoothie), but it was totally worth every penny! The boys loved it, and you can tell the ingredients are top-notch. We shared a Bhakti Berry...divine.

On Sunday, I tackled my longest run yet with my neighbor, Emily, and we conquered 18 miles! Seriously, my previous longest run was 14 miles, so this was an adventure and a half. Honestly, my body is still pretty sore and struggling to recover, but it was a big accomplishment to finally get it done, and we've finished our last long run prior to the 18.12 Challenge

Yesterday was also a big day for us. Porter and I made the trek to Syracuse to PGI at Crouse Hospital to meet with his gastroenterology specialist. We've been lobbying for this referral for a long time, so to be able to sit down with a specialist and discuss Porter's problems was huge for us. While yesterday wasn't about answers, it was about next steps, and I feel confident we're getting closer. We'll be going to back to Syracuse in a couple weeks for Porter to undergo a Barium Enema test, as well as a sweat test to (hopefully) get a better idea of what we're looking at.

So, yesterday was a bit of a wash work-wise, but we're back on track today, and I have my first run back from our long run tonight - 5 miles. The days are ticking by, we're under 90 days till Ryan's homecoming, and I'm getting more and more excited for things to come. Here's to another great...and busy...week of all the things!

what's up, august?

I have to lead in with this picture of my little Spence because he just takes my breath away...he's getting so big! I digress...

Is it just me, or is it insane that we're already into August? I have so much that I still want to get done this summer, and I'm getting a little antsy to keep the momentum going! First things first though, we're starting to secure our vacations and trips for this winter, and that means planning, planning, planning! We're planning our first family trip to South Africa together this winter, and I'm so excited to share the Motherland with all my boys.

My mother's entire family still resides in RSA, so we'll be going there for a couple weeks to bounce between houses, show them the sights and maybe get in some alone time (what's that?!) But in the midst of all the planning, I have a bunch of things on my to-do for these final summer months, and I'm sharing them with the world for accountability!

1 // Install our backsplash. I like our kitchen well enough, but it's dark on dark on dark. We have dark cabinets, dark granite, and dark floors. My hope is that installing a clean backsplash will really brighten the space overall. If we have the time, we hope to pain our cabinets, as well, but who knows? We won't be here too much longer, so we'll see. Current status:

2 // Figure out Porter's passport. We all have passports, but we dropped the ball on getting Porter his before Ryan deployed. Fun fact about passports for littles - both parents have to be present, or you have to petition the passport agency for special circumstances. That means that Ryan needs to write a letter of consent, as well as fill out a special form and get it notarized, as well as provide a copy of his orders. Fingers crossed?

3 // Encase the wrought iron railing out front. This thing has been a thorn in our side since we moved in. The railing isn't actually nailed into the cement, and the pillars are so. dated. I've done some research about how to replace/encase I just need to find the time!

4 // We finally got our referral for a gastroenterology specialist for Porter in Syracuse. You may remember that he was hospitalized in May for extreme diarrhea and dehydration. They believed the cause was allergies to milk proteins, lactose, soy, eggs and shellfish. He's had two tests since then though, and all his allergy panels are clear, and yet his digestive issues (which are too TMI to discuss on here) continue. We'll be meeting with the specialist on Monday to discuss further diagnostics and testing because little man continues to barely gain weight and suffer from severe constipation. Please keep your fingers crossed for us! I'm excited and hopeful that we can finally get him some help.

5 // Figure out how to scratch this creative itch I've had lately. I had a little shop, which I closed for a number of life reasons, but I really want to gameplay a proper little business to satiate that creative outlet I crave. Let's be honest, my job doesn't really do that for me these days, and I strive to really accomplish something, if that makes sense.

We're heading into another awesome weekend though, and I can't wait to see what's in store for my boys and I! Assuming the weather cooperates, Emily and I will have a long run Saturday and a day of local exploring Saturday afternoon. Sunday is up in the air, but we may try brunch...we'll see! Have a great weekend, friends!

running wrap-up: july

July was a better month than June, so we're definitely making progress now! We had bigger hopes for this past month's running, but honestly, I'm pretty pleased by the building we've done. August is the month of our 18.12 Challenge, so we're hitting two weeks of big mileage, then we'll be tapering down for the end of the month. Then, I'll be getting ready for Chicago, which is insane. The weeks and months are flying, which is so good, and so bad, but I'm ready to push it!

I started relying heavily on my Garmin instead of Nike+ running for my mileage and pace this month because the beginning of the month was spent with a broken phone. Since I've replaced it, the battery can last longer, but I'm getting used to really relying on the Garmin vs. the Nike+...crazy thoughts. It was a much slower month, and that was a bit of a mental game. Emily prefers a slower pace, which is better for my long runs, so I'm doing my best to dial back whenever we run together - which is often.

Here are some of my stats for my records:

Longest run: 14 miles
Shortest run: 3.01 miles
Fastest pace: 9:57
Slowest pace: 12:00
Miles this month: 65.02
Miles this year: 339.19

I started my August off right today with a 5-miler this morning. It doesn't escape me that we haven't been building as much as we need to/should have been, but running when your husband is deployed is hard even in the best of times. I'm working to keep prioritizing, regardless of what mental and emotional days like to throw at me. Fellow runners - how did you do?

farms, family & blueberries for days

Every week, I try to think of something fun to do with the boys. I made a point during this deployment of pushing my bounds and getting out of the house on weekends - as hard as it might be - because these boys and I need adventures to fill our cups. This weekend, we decided on a trip to Old McDonald's Farm in Sackets Harbor on Saturday. We've been once before, but this time it was a little warmer, Porter is a couple months older, and we figured it would be a fun time for all. We were right. The boys had a blast.

We went with my friend Mareike and her daughters, Marie and Ava, and it was a really good time. The boys got the chance to pet the sheep, play with the baby goats (and feed them), and Porter really loved petting the bunnies. They also found every single barn cat and forced their love upon them, whether they wanted it or not. Several of them really did love it though, so it was a match made in heaven.

On Sunday, my neighbor and I started our morning super early for what was supposed to be an 18 mile run. We mapped it out, and the trail we'd hoped to run had a marker at the beginning that said "10 miles"...that was perfect. We ran 6 to the trail head, and then we hopped on the "10-mile" trail...which turned out to be 1 mile. Apparently the decimal fell off, and it was supposed to say "1.0" We were frustrated, but we called it at 10 miles, and we plan for a big week this week, so here's hoping!

After the run, we decided to head up to the Tug Hill Vineyards for some berry-picking. We'd hoped to do brunch, as well, but they have three seatings - 10, 1, and 4 - and we couldn't really swing any of those. So, instead, we had a blast picking blueberries and eating our way down the rows. We also got about a pound of raspberries, but I'd be lying if I said we didn't eat all of them before we got home.

It was truly a perfect weekend with my little men, and we enjoyed every second of the good weather and sunshine. There's something about being outside and just letting my boys run wild that speaks to my soul. I've been reading a lot about "childhood unplugged," and I'm doing my best to really aim for that with my littles. This time with them is so fleeting, and every time I turn around, they've grown a little more. For now, I'm grateful for these times, and these days, and these years we have to explore together.

I'm linking up today with Weekending today from B Loved Boston.

currently: the summer edition

I think one of the best (and worst) things about summer is just how fleeting it is, especially up here in northern NY. For all intents and purposes, this will be our last summer here at Fort Drum, and I'm a mixed bag of emotions about it. On the one hand, Ryan and I are excited to, hopefully, put roots down at our next duty station. We have our sights and hearts set on one, but the verdict is, as of yet, up in the air. If we get it though, we'll be in close proximity to a big city, which I find that my wandering heart needs, as well as a lot more culture than we have up here. 

I swore up and down that I wouldn't be that Army wife...the one who hates their station...but I've struggled with a love/hate relationship with NNY from the start. It's beautiful, but there's not a lot for kids, and this is the season of life that we're in. I want more for them. I want sports, rec centers, restaurants, museums...STUFF. I have high hopes. Please keep your fingers crossed for us! But for now, we're loving summer, and we're savoring these lazy summer days as much as possible. Currently, the Moore family is...

Loving: Trips to the Blizzard Barn. My boys certainly love their ice cream treats, and there's nothing better than watching them savor (literally) their childhood, then stripping them down and letting them run wild.

Watching: For me, I'm re-watching The Vampire Diaries. I know, I'm a sucker. Ha! See what I did there?! The boys don't watch much TV except while getting ready for bed, and when they're doing that, it's Mickey Mouse. The Moores pretty much live by Mickey Mouse these days.

Reading: Love Real Food by Kathryne Taylor of Cookie and Kate. There's something about these fresh, real recipes that just scream summer and have me excited to cook again.

Hoping: For our orders to come down soon and for them to align with our hopes and wishes. 

Savoring: The summer sun and time outside! Winters up here are fun, but they're also hard, and they last a long time. Summer days start to dwindle early here, so if we can, we're outside playing in the driveway, or the backyard, or at the park. Summer, please don't leave us yet.

Drinking: For the boys, it's chocolate shakes with rainbow do you like that?! For me, it's Archer Farms Donut Shop Blend iced coffee. So good with a splash of cinnamon. It's like summer in a cup.

Attempting: To get better at photography and use my DSLR every single day. To be honest, my lens is beyond destroyed by little baby fingers, and I'm contemplating investing in a new one just to take this a step further. But...I have to fully commit.

Feeling: Excited for the last few months of this deployment. Nervous for the Chicago Marathon getting closer and closer. Happy about this time with the boys. Proud of what I've accomplished with my weight loss goals thus far. Inspired by house projects and preparing to list our house for rent.

Planning: I just barely started planning Spencer's third birthday party. Can you believe that? Yes, I'm starting early, but oh my goodness...time flies when you're having fun! I'm also planning some trips for the family in the next 6 months or so. In the works - a potential cruise and a trip to South Africa! The last time I went, I wasn't married, I didn't have children, and I still blogged over at my old book blog, i swim for oceans...crazy, right?

these are my confessions

How is it already Wednesday? I mean, seriously? I feel like my to-do list grows daily, but the days keep getting shorter and shorter. I find myself wishing time would slow down, even just a little bit, so I can accomplish a little bit more of what I want to do each day. I also wish time would speed up so Ryan can come home. The dilemma, my's real. 

I found myself sitting in my car the other day thinking of all these random things I've learned about myself in the last 6 months of my husband being gone. Here's the thing...if there is one thing that deployment is good for, it's learning a lot about yourself. Like, a lot. Some of these things are so petty. Some of them are super introspective, and since I love "about me" posts, I'm going to force some of my confessions on you today, as I link up with Jessi's Design for What's Happening Wednesday.

1 // I hate wasted time. When I make an appointment for a scheduled time, I expect the appointment to be at that time. I find myself getting more and more angry and rageful the longer I wait for a doctor's appointment? Keep me waiting 30-40 minutes, and I'll be a hot mess by the time the doctor comes in. Yes, I realize that emergencies take precedence, but oh. my. gosh. HURRY UP.

2 // I love fall and all things fall...but I hate Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Does that mean I'm not basic?

3 // I've discovered I really don't like LuLaRoe. Now, there's a caveat to that. I love their black leggings. They're like butter. However, I searched and searched for a single pair of black leggings, and they arrived with a hole in them. Needless to say, I was unimpressed. I've got a bunch of LLR gifts in my closet, but 99% of them are just not me. I'm not a fan of patterns and 99% of my wardrobe is black, gray, or white.

4 // The less sleep I get, the better my selfies are. This is the truth.

5 // I am physically incapable of going to Target without spending money. I can go for toilet paper and leave with 14 items for my children. Does that mean I am basic?

6 // The only good part about having the bed to myself during this deployment is that when my side of the bed gets too warm, I can roll over to Ryan's side and enjoy a cooler spot for a few hours. (Sorry, honey! This bed is all mine.)

7 // I don't like gangster rap. Again, there's a caveat to that. I don't love gangster rap unless I'm running...then, bring on allllll the gangster rap. I think it's an anger thing that fuels me?

8 // Before I had children, one of my favorite shows on TV was Law & Order SVU. Having two little boys now though, I find it really difficult to watch. I can't see shows where children are injured or killed. It, quite literally, elicits a very visceral response, and I just can't do it. I mean, can you imagine anything ever happening to a face like this? Nope.

9 // This is awful, but most of the time, my first reaction to one of my children falling is just laughter. Of course, there's a big difference between an actual fall and a little tumble, and I swear I have an appropriate response to both, but yeah. So, there's that.

10 // I have unpopular political views, and I've discovered I'm actually pretty passionate about politics this past year. It's been a struggle to deal with a lot of family and coworkers when half of what they say is so clearly just preached ad nauseum. I've learned that it's important to have our own personal convictions - whether popular or not - and while I don't preach them to anyone, it's important to me to stand fast to them.

the dog days of summer

It was a swampy, humid weekend here in NNY the past few days, and I'm feeling pretty grateful for the rain we had overnight and this morning. I'm sure it'll get more humid as the day goes on, but right now, the cooler breeze has me feeling pretty darn happy! I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending.

We had a relaxing weekend overall, which started early (4 AM) on Saturday for my 14-mile run. Emily and I started at the house (she lives across the street), and we ran into Watertown, looping a bit, running part of the Black River trail and finishing near her work. It's the longest run I've done thus far, and as much as my body hurts, I'm so proud that I did it!

We went to the zoo later that morning with Mareike, Marie and baby Ava, and then the boys had a long two-hour nap, affording mommy a nap, too! I slept a full hour and a half in the middle of the day, and it was glorious. The latter half of the afternoon was spent doing grocery shopping, playing with the water table and running around like little mad men.

Sunday was a pretty laid-back day, too. We went to Alexandria Bay in the morning to play at the playground, and the boys had the time of their lives. They never cease to amaze me with how much energy they have, and how every single time they visit is like the first time. I love watching them play. They both had good naps, and then we went to the Blizzard Barn for a pre-dinner treat, before playing again in the back yard.

I've said it once, and I'm sure I'll say it a million more times...weekends are the hardest during deployment. Having the boys by myself for 48 hours is no joke. Stay-at-home mamas, I salute you. I love these little men more than life itself, but they are downright exhausting! Regardless, we had a fun weekend, and I look forward to the next one with my sweet boys.

I hope you all had wonderful weekends, too!

let them be little

^^^ photo courtesy of Kindred Hearts Photography

A lot of what I've learned about motherhood has been trial and error - plain and simple. Nothing has come easy, and nothing was just "dumb luck." I read every book I could. I downloaded the apps. I followed the milestone markers and worried appropriately when my child didn't quite hit what he was supposed to hit at the exact time he was supposed to hit it. I comforted his colds, scolded his tantrums, and praised his good behavior, and I'm proud to say that I'm raising sweet, sensitive little boys who, yes, act up from time to time. 

That's okay. They're children. They're meant to.

Some of the biggest lessons I've learned about motherhood, however, are lessons about myself. They're about humility and patience. There's an age that our children reach where they suddenly become cognizant of what we're saying and how we say it. They sense our emotions and they react accordingly. I remember the day that Porter was kicked out of daycare shortly after Ryan deployed that I sat in the car at a stoplight and cried. I didn't think my boys would see me, but I heard Spencer's little voice pop up from the back..."You okay, mommy? You okay?"

I'd learned to stop the involuntary gag reflex at poop and vomit long ago, but I hadn't realized that my son understood tears, or that he knew that mommy was sad. There was genuine concern in his voice. I wiped my tears away quickly and reassured him..."It's okay, buddy. Momma's just a little sad. Let's go home and play."

It's important for my child to see emotion, but it's equally as important as a mother for me to assuage those worries and fears. Especially while Ryan is deployed, I'm the literal rock in my children's lives. I'm responsible for their well-being - physically and emotionally - and I take that duty very seriously.

Similarly, I've struggled with body image a lot of my life. I've been known to make errant comments about hating pudge, or "fat rolls," or how I wish I had my old body back. If there's one thing I've learned about my children, it's that they're always listening. They're little sponges. When a child looks at us, they look at us with pure, unadulterated innocence. They don't see flaws. They see mama, and mama is a life-bringer, a goddess, the protector. They reach an age though where, just like they understand emotions, they understand the criticism.

What am I teaching my boys if I belittle myself in front of them? 

All mothers will attest that motherhood is the epitome of selflessness, but I'd go further than saying it's solely by acts. It's in the little steps we take each day to preserve their innocence and keep them young. I make a conscious effort every day not to pollute my children's minds with negativity and the garbage that society likes to feed us and that we so often buy into. 

Let them be little, and love them with all your heart. They're watching.

I'm linked up today with Jessi's Design for What's Happening Wednesday :)

weekends at the beach

It was super hot and humid this past weekend here in Black River, but it really was pretty much perfect weather after a rainy Saturday morning. Despite not being sure it was going to turn completely around, some friends and I from the FRG decided to go ahead with our plans and meet up at Southwick Beach State Park in Henderson. It's about a 45 minute drive from here, so we left at about 10:30 to ensure we would get plenty of time.

For those unfamiliar with life up here in the North Country, we really don't have any real beach access. By that, I mean we don't have direct access to an ocean nearby. We do, however, have access to lakes, and Southwick is on Lake Ontario, which turned out to be just as amazing as the ocean.

If I didn't know any better, I honestly would have thought we were at the ocean. Because we've had some storms lately, the wind was quite strong, making it seem like there was an actual tide - and kicking up the waves. Spencer and I had a blast playing in the water, and Porter would have loved to join, but it was a little rough to manage two little ones while keeping them both safe.

Southwick also has a playground area, and when the kids were sufficiently cooled off, we had a picnic lunch, and they played for an hour on the slides. If I've learned one thing lately, it's that Spencer has no fear. That boy goes headfirst down the slides, climbs the ladders without assistance and generally goes wild. It makes my mama heart so happy to watch!

I made the decision to forgo naptime on Saturday because it would've meant leaving early, but both boys conked out in the car and slept for a good hour, guaranteeing a fairly happy late afternoon back at home, too. Honestly, there's so much to do here during the summer, and I'm so grateful for that. This week's mission? Figure out Porter's passport card. I want to take the boys to Canada!

5 on friday: the adulting edition

It's Friday again! Is it just me, or is this summer flying by way too fast? I should say it's too slow because I want the time to fly and for Ryan to come home...but that means winter is coming (insert GoT theme music), and I'm just not ready for winter yet. I digress. We're heading into another busy weekend starting with my longest run ever tomorrow morning, so here's hoping things go smoothly! And now, it's time for another Friday Five. Today, I'm linking up with Meet at the Barre and Smidge of This for Five on Friday and Friday Favorites. 

1 // In super adulting news. I started doing Financial Peace University again by myself last night. Ryan and I have been working with this Dave Ramsey program for a while now, and we've had amazing success. We got off track for a good bit though, and I find it a little disconcerting how good I am at spending money, so I really want to hold myself more accountable. This program is seriously life-changing, guys. Dave Ramsey says that we should "work like no one else now, so that we can live like no one else later." Yes, it means sacrificing some of the latest and greatest, but I've been reminding myself lately that I'd much rather be entirely debt-free and spending my money on travel in the future than living with a few extra things now. 

2 // Porter learned how to walk while we were at my parents' in New Hampshire last week. Like, he actually walked...again, and again, and again. Since then though, he hasn't tried at all. He's perfectly content to keep cruising around forever, and while I think it's adorable, I'm kind of at a loss as to why he just doesn't want to walk. Spencer walked early, and once he started, he never stopped. Mamas - any advice?

3 // I posted this on my instagram last night, and it appeared to really resonate with people, so I wanted to share it here, too, if only for my personal accountability. A lot of you know I chronicle my running journey here, but for those who don't, I'm not a fast runner. I'm envious of those who are, but that's just not me - and it'll probably never be me. I'm coming to terms with that though, and I'm just damn proud that I'm out there and moving.

4 // On a more somber note, in the wake of NYS Trooper Joel Davis' death, Fort Drum and the US Army have been under intense scrutiny lately. It saddens me to see such death and destruction, and I urge people to remember that these are not the norm. I hope that people remember that the Army and our military are not defined by radical individuals with tainted histories and, instead, simply honor the memory of a policeman who served honorably through to the end of his watch.

5 // On a much happier note...we're going to Southwick Beach State Park on Lake Ontario tomorrow, and I'm excited to get my boys back to the beach! We haven't been since South Carolina, and I'm ready for some sun and sand - even if it's on a lake. These little men are water babies, which makes my mama heart so, so happy, and I can't wait to dip my toes in the water and splash around!

thursday thoughts

I've been making a conscious effort lately to blog, even when the blogging slump is real. Please tell me I'm not the only one who really actually wants to blog, but is fairly certain nobody wants to read it?! Regardless, I wanted to get some thoughts down because I swear the days are flying now, and we're full-speed ahead with our summer happenings. 

// Porter has been doing this grinch smile, snarly face thing lately when he's super happy, and it's one of the funniest things I've ever seen. He has four teeth now, so he looks like such a goon, and it makes me so happy to be able to send these pictures to Ryan overseas. See exhibit A:

// I've discovered if I write my to-do list down every morning for both work and housework, I get so much more done. I find myself getting flustered before I do it because making long mental lists is basically not going to happen these days. I find it super cathartic to cross things off daily.

// I'm becoming braver as a mother. I remember when Spencer was little, we lived our lives routinely around nap time. If something fell too close, we couldn't do it. Now, I'm a lot more willing to stretch the bounds. Yes, there are meltdowns with missed naps, but sometimes a 45 minute nap in the car after a day at the beach is totally worth it.

// I'm getting antsy waiting for our PCS orders. We're waiting anyway since Ryan dropped his packet for a specific unit, but so many of our friends in the company know where they're going, and I'm jealous! I'll miss Black River, our home, neighbors and daycare, but I'm not so sure I'll miss Watertown or Fort Drum.

// Running is going well! I'm a huge head case, and it's one of the hardest things I have to deal with, honestly. When I think too much about the fact that I have a 15-mile run to do on Saturday morning, I psych myself out. I need to remember to celebrate finish lines, not finish times. I'm never going to be the fastest runner, but damn it...I'm going to run!

// I've discovered that I'm stronger than I thought I was going into this deployment. Ryan is my rock, and he's the missing piece to this family, but I've learned a lot about us, what makes me tick, what makes our marriage work, and it's actually been good for us.

// Budgeting is a dirty word right now, and it's frustrating. Every time I turn around, something new is breaking, or it's on the fritz. I'm working to be patient and remembering to do the baby steps above all else. The plus side? We never ever touch credit cards, and we haven't dipped into our savings at all :)

I could keep writing my endless musings, but those are the biggest thoughts swirling around today, and it feels good to get them down in words! Deployment is a journey, but it's one that can be truly transformative if you let it be, and I'm determined to do so.

the week of the fourth

We got back last evening after a whirlwind trip to NH and Maine to visit family. Last Sunday, I realized at the 11th hour that I actually had both Monday and Tuesday off, so we packed up the car, the boys and the dog, and I hit the road - all 8 hours of it - to NH to visit Oma and Opa. My cousins, whom I haven't seen since my uncle passed in 2005, followed me there, and though it was just me and the boys in the car, it was nice to have people to talk to at the rest stops.

On Monday and Tuesday, went went to Kokosing in Maine. It's a tiny old girls' campground that was later turned into sort of off-the-grid cabins that have only the basics - running water, rustic beds, etc. There are no dishwashers or's really like unplugging, and we used to go there every year when we were children. Taking my boys this first time was like coming full circle. They loved it! Spencer would've played in the lake until his limbs froze off, and even Porter enjoyed a dip in the chilly water. We ate lobster with family on Tuesday and enjoyed time just being alive and with good people.

The real reason for my trip was that I needed to go into the office for work on Thursday, but while we were in NH, the boys and I ate it up. We had river days in Albany, where my parents live, and we picked strawberries - joined by a mama and baby black bear. We even had ice cream in town, which later gave us food poisoning...totally worth it? The jury is still out on that one...

Leaving is always hard. We packed up again yesterday morning, and we drove back to NNY, hoping that Oma and Opa will come visit us soon! It was a long drive for all of us, but we're settling back into a new week here, and I have some big goals this week. 

I hope you all had the very best of 4ths with your loved ones and friends!

I'm linking up today with B Loved Boston for Weekending. Join in the fun!