mini memos [2]

Since I posted this last week, a few people mentioned it might be a fun linkup, so I decided to offer up the chance for people to post their own and link them here, as well. Throughout any given day, I think of these little letters to myself and things around me, and I finally started putting them down on paper. And thus - "mini memos" was born. This is a little ode to life lately over here, and it's fun to look back and see those fleeting moments that flash through my mind.

Dear Spencer - Terrible twos aren't a joke, are they? I love that you want to be independent, but goodness gracious, son. Please just let me help you put your diaper on. And don't throw your lollipop at the hairdresser.

Dear running - My legs hurt. Like a lot. And I have 18.12 this weekend, so I'm scared. Please give me a break, or miraculously make Sunday not hurt so bad.

Dear South Africa - We're hopefully booking tickets today to see you in December! I can't wait to be back just in time for your summer!

Dear Porter - Bubby, mama is nervous for your appointment on Tuesday. I'm really hoping we get you some answers because I just want you to be comfortable.

Dear neighbors - You're going to be the reason we really miss New York. Watching Spencer play with his little friends makes my mama heart smile, and I think it will also make my cry when we move.

Dear Army - Please give us our orders. I know you don't owe them just yet, but I must know!

Dear GIFs on iPhone - You make conversing with my friends so much more fun. Thank you for keeping me laughing throughout the day.

Dear margaritas - You're still my favorite. Thanks for making this deployment easier ;)


And now, it's your turn...

outdoor adventure days

Seriously, this was probably one of our busiest weekends on record since the start of this deployment. I knew I'd be putting the boys through their paces from the start, but I was still somewhat hopeful that we'd have a good weekend - and we did - it just wasn't relaxing at all. On Saturday, we spent the entire day at Outdoor Adventure Days on Fort Drum for an FRG fundraiser. We had the opportunity to host a food booth to raise funds, and we did great, raising over $500!

Spencer and Porter had a blast, too, and they got to play with everything from bait fish, to snakes, to turtles and beyond. Plus, they had a rock-climbing wall, "mining" where the kids could dig up fake diamonds and gems, archery and so much more. It's a neat event, and I'm glad we were able to experience it, even if the boys are a little young to appreciate it.

Sunday was spent at the beach. We've been to Southwick once already this summer, but I know that summer is wrapping up far too quickly, and I decided we should have another day playing in the water and really just soaking up the last sun of the season. Last time we went, Porter wasn't walking yet, so this was a totally different ballgame.

He had a blast carrying his own bucket to the water (which was just about as big as he is), and Spencer loved playing with the big kids. I had to drag his silly bum out of the water so he wouldn't get too cold, and once I did, he spent the rest of the afternoon having a blast on the playground. I thought they'd nap once we got in the car to head home, but both boys were on strike, so they had another early bed time.

Every time I turn around, another day is gone, and we're just that little bit closer to Ryan coming home. We're busy with all the homecoming prep already, as well as searching for a dining out venue, so I'm loving the fact that I really don't have time to dwell on the countdown anymore. The distractions are a dime a dozen, and I'll take it!

We have a fun week ahead, and Oma will be coming to town on Friday just in time for 18.12 next weekend, so it's sure to be a busy next few days. I hope you all had wonderful weekends!

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

5 on friday - the happy edition

It is, for all intents and purposes, a swampy and disgusting day here in NNY. I'm seriously hoping this humidity breaks this weekend because it feels like I'm stepping into a sauna every time I open the back door. But, it's Friday, and for that I'll be eternally grateful. Today, I'm linking up with Meet at the Barre for  Friday Favorites.  

1 // GoFundMe...I'm shamelessly putting this out to the world. As you probably already know, I'm running the Chicago Marathon on October 8. This is my first marathon, and I'm running in honor and support of Fort Drum's homecoming troops. As such, I started a GoFundMe, and I've been so touched by everyone's generosity thus far. There's still a little time to raise funds, all of which will go welcome home baskets for our single soldiers, a celebration of their service overseas and refreshments for the various homecoming events. If you have it in your heart to share this little campaign or donate, it would be SO appreciated!

2 // Hand Lettering - I've been working on some hand-lettering lately because I needed some sort of stress-reliever, and this is a little bit of all of that for me. Plus, it really helps with the whole slightly-OCD thing, and I get to be creative on the side. If you haven't tried it, it's worth a shot! I bought this book to learn more, and I use a few online tutorials.

3 // Beach days - As summer winds down, I find myself craving more and more sunshine - probably because I know this has the chance of being an epic North Country winter. We're heading back to Southwick Beach on Sunday, and I can't wait to spend the day in the sun and the water with my little men. 

4 // Riley Grace Boutique - My sisters found this gem on Facebook. It's a closed group where they sell some of the cutest clothes at cheaper-than-boutique prices. Since I've lost a bunch of weight through running this summer, I've required pretty much an entirely new wardrobe. Needless to say, you know you've bought a few things when your deployed husband asks what the heck Riley Grace is.

5 // Bondi Band - I'm so excited to announce that I'm Bondi Band's newest brand ambassador! I discovered their products about 8 months ago when I was looking for a moisture-wicking headband for running. Since then, I've been happily obsessed with their products and never run without them.  They reached out after seeing my share their goods for months, and they asked if I was interested. I'll have more details on this soon (including a discount code!), but check them out...they're amazing!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

mini memos

Do you ever find yourself crafting little notes to yourself during the day? I certainly do. I think them in little letter forms, and I was inspired to do something revolutionary today - and just get them down on paper or, in this case, le blog. Life is constantly flying by and changing in a second, and these are just little thoughts that I think - far too fleeting and otherwise gone too soon. 

Dear Ryan: This one's for you. Yesterday was your birthday, and I'm really sorry we didn't spend it together. At least they didn't duct tape you like they did in Korea :)

Dear hand-lettering: You're slowly wheedling your way into my OCD heart, and I love it.

Dear fall: I'm watching you slowly creep your way in, and while I love watching the leaves turn, I'm just not ready for summer to go yet.

Dear deployment: Can we break up yet? You've taught me a lot, but I'm over you.

Dear Army: I know we still have time until you owe us orders, but I'm getting impatient. If we could just find out if Ryan's been chosen for assessment (soon), that'd be great!

Dear New York: You've charmed me this summer, I'll admit it. I think I may miss you just a little bit when we move.

Dear Run4PRs: Thank you for leading me on this running journey to the finish line in Chicago. I really needed you! 

Dear doggie playdates: Thank you for keeping my pup and, by proxy - me, sane. So grateful for Jenn, Bolt, and the chance for our furry friends to meet.

Dear daycare: If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You've made it possible for me to do my job again. 

Dear DSLR: Why do we have such a love/hate relationship? You take such pretty pictures, but you're so hard to bust out with the boys in all their glory.


And there you have it...What do you think? Should I make this a little link-up?

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?