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?