Friday, September 27, 2013

Fall Favorites

Fall Favorites Collection
I love Fall and often times combine its seasonal fun with that of Christmas and winter time.  Living in Montana, the climate is pretty similar to Wisconsin's and I love chilly weather clothing because of it.  I love snuggling up with a good book while wearing a cozy sweater, topped off with a warm scarf.  Warm neutrals and anything pumpkin-related are my favorite things for this season.  The clothing is always so chic and I feel you can pair a sweater with leggings, jeans, or anytime of fabric and it looks awesome.  I don't have that Louis Vuitton bag up there, but it's definitely on my Christmas wish list :)  I just made pumpkin cake cookies from a spice cake box mix and they're the perfect treat for when the weather starts to get cooler.  Baking with Christmas music floating in the background from my favorite Pandora station just makes me incredibly happy.  My husband loves the pumpkin cake cookies and especially enjoys them with a hot cup of coffee.  

What are some of your fall favorites?

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Inspiring My Love for Jesus

Aubrey Kinch creates beautiful freebies weekly and "be blessed beautiful" is my computer's background and iPhone's wallpaper.  Its simple message reminds me that regardless of how I feel today, tomorrow, or anytime, I am blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people things.

I came across the Back to the Bible app via Instagram and it's a 60-day devotional of sorts.  I really like the layout and not only is it an app, but it also has a coinciding journal app to record your thoughts.

I love both of these so far! The day that I read my first passage in The Confident Woman Devotional, I penned my first site on alert all by myself.  I know this means nothing to 98% of you reading this, but it was a big deal to me.  I sometimes lack confidence when it comes to my AF careerfield because I didn't choose it and I was not a tech major in college.  Despite these two fatal flaws, the AF made me an operator.  I work really hard to be both competent and confident in this careerfield.  The passage talked about having courage and faith in yourself and voila, coincidentally I penned it that day, too.

One Thousand Gifts and the Devotional both were in my hands at Barnes and Noble and since I really (really really really) like journaling and writing, I went with the devotional.  Now I wish I splurged and got both!  The purpose of "one thousand gifts" is literally that, to learn to appreciate at least 1000 gifts/blessings/praises/mercies in your life.  It's a life dare that's so simple and so meaningful- it's something that I think most people would appreciate having that perspective in their lives.

Jud Wilhite's new Bible release, The Uncensored Truth, is a pretty awesome Bible.  It's a NLT version and although I do not attend his parish or church, he seems like an AMAZING pastor.  Please check it out and have a read through.  He is casual, yet inspiring and it's incredibly refreshing.  I know I get excited about things, but when I was reading this while on alert, it captivated me.

I have had my eye on the ESV Study Bible ever since I saw ShesSewSassy's account on Instagram, raving about it.  I really love reading different translations of the Bible and despite this love, I haven't read the entirety of the Bible but it's a goal of mine :)

My favorite Christian jewelry just involves a simple cross.  My sideways cross necklace has been accompanying me everywhere, especially on alert.  My devotion to Christ while starting this career path has provided a lot of solace from stress.  I also like having it as a simple of what I've been focusing my life on.  If you're looking for something similar, try ThreeBirdNest's sideways gold cross.

What inspires you? I've started listening to Christian radio stations, especially after I realized how ridiculous the song "Blurred Lines" is and the fact that Robin Thicke completely dismisses the song's impact.  If you have any Christian song recommendations, books, devotionals or just inspiring things (doesn't have to be Christian-related), I would love to hear them!

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

20 Things About Myself at 23 (Part II)

6. I love to read and I'm sure many people know this from the two blogger books swaps that I've hosted in the past.  I have loved to read every since I was a little kid.  At a time when there were probably few opportunities for my parents to go out and buy things or pay for activities, the library was free entertainment.  I don't think I ever realized that as a kid, but I did know that I loved the adventures that I read in books and getting completely soaked into a story and its characters.  That love continued on as I grew older and went to student competitions, like Battle of the Books and the English Writing Festival.  Although it was slightly dampened by required reading, some of those high school and college classes introduced me to new favorite books.  I'm sure that my fellow book lovers would also like to know that our next blogger book swap will be in November with one of my great friends, Nicole :)

7. I firmly believe that developing a relationship with Christ is a journey and one that people need to go on at their own time and rate.  Although I post spiritual pictures/text on my blog and Instagram, that doesn't mean that I don't respect your needs and concerns.  For me, sometimes it's hard to identify as a Christian, in fact I still don't.  There are still so many negative connotations that go along with being a Christian, none of which I support.  I'm a follower of Christ but there are a ton of Christians that I don't necessarily like (ahem, Fox News).  I like Jesus and what he stood for and I'm doing my best to follow in his name and to be a better person.  As a follower of Christ, I think there are things that he lived for and taught that still help the world today.

8. One day when I'm a mom, I totally think I'm going to be a hipster mom.  I can totally picture myself with a pumpkin spice latte in one hand, Etsy shop diaper bag, and a little baby boy who could be a mini GQ model. I'm excited to plan birthday parties, trips to Disney World, and take a stab at sewing clothes (not that I don't do these things already). I'm excited for the opportunity and privilege to hopefully become a mom one day. I talk about it enough on my blog but I'm really excited to have kids with Ryan.

9. My dream job would be to be paid to craft and design. I would love to scrapbook, design birthday parties, or create DIY tutorials as my main source of income. I swoon at the thought of a crafting chain, like Michael's or Hobby Lobby, sending me free product to create a tutorial for them. If I could blog all day about crafting and DIY or really get my blog going, that would be amazing.

10. I think it's incredibly important to pay attention to your audience. This is kind of a broad idea, but I believe it's important to understand your privileges and what you bring to the table. My perspective and life experiences will most likely be different than the people I talk to through my blog. I try to respect that and understand that people might get it and sometimes they might not. When I first wrote about the difficulties of a young marriage, I got some backlash. But then I realized that the audience I was talking to is very diverse. One comment I received was that marriage for her was easy. All I kept thinking of was that's awesome, but my experience has been otherwise. In looking more closely at the situation, we have two very different lives. Not to get into too much detail, but at 23 (and Ryan being 22) we are very different financially than let's say a couple in their 30's who have been in their careers for some time. Whereas some people would be done with college at Ryan's age, he's just starting and that's because of his service to the military. I would also say that our experiences in the military have also fashioned a different outlook on live than other people may have. Our experiences help fashion our outlook and it's important to keep that in mind.

Be sure to look out for Part III!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

20 Things About Myself at 23 (Part I)

I'm not sure if I've ever really listed out 20 things about myself on my blog, apart from blog awards, and I've seen it in the blogosphere as well as on Instagram.  So here is part one :)

1. I got married when I was 21 to a great man, Ryan, while he was in the Marine Corps.  During that time, I experienced the end of a deployment while we were dating, and Ryan was deployed to Afghanistan for almost our entire first year of marriage.  Right now we're in our third year (2.5 years down), but we're still learning a lot about each other, our habits, effective communication, and how to be better partners.

2. I was baptized a Catholic but was re-baptized as an adult, a few months ago, at my new church home.  Declaring a church home has always been something really important to me.  Growing up, I was very much Catholic, but as I got older, I didn't really agree with a lot of the religious doctrine.  It was much more than a time of, "I don't want to follow these rules." Instead, I personally felt that it wasn't a good fit for me or what I truly believe in and support.  I came to realize this more and more as I attended other worship services and realized how much more open these services were and people developed a relationship with God far more than I saw in Catholic services.  In my Catholic family and community, it kind of felt like there was more emphasis on doing things a certain way, instead of living in God's name.  When I went to Great Falls Christian Community for the first time, everything just seemed to click and I love it there.

3. I love dogs.  I have ever since I was a little kid when I would go to the library and check out volumes of books on dogs to learn more about breeds.  One summer, while babysitting, I put together a folder of print outs of different dog breeds.  Probably around that time was when my family got a yellow labrador and it kind of made me realize that my mom and I had very different outlooks on how we thought a dog should be a part of the family.  My parents had an amazing kennel built for our dog that had indoor/outdoor access and it was pretty cool.  However, our dog never was really in the house with us and for me, that was pretty sad.  When I met Ryan and his family, it was a 180.  His mom has three labs and they all are such a big part of the family.  I knew that when Ryan and I got dogs, it would be the same.  I really love having our dogs be indoor dogs and they're like our kids.  Holly and Blu are so spoiled but I don't think I'd have it any other way.

4. I am addicted to Instagram.  Hands-down, it's my most favorite of social media outlets.  I love seeing a snapshot of people's lives, especially awesome people who love to craft, or are awesome parents, or just create really beautiful photos.  The Instagram accounts I follow always inspire me, either with crafting or spiritually in developing my relationship with Jesus.  I need to put together a list of awesome Instagrammers to follow ;)

5. I have been compared to Leslie Knope, and I love it.  In case you don't know who Leslie Knope is, then we can be best-friends.  I'm just kidding...sort of.  She's Amy Poehler's character in the show, Parks and Recreation.  She is hilarious and Mindy Kaling confirmed that she is awesome (she is a writer/actress in The Office).  Leslie Knope has the type of spirit and energy that is intoxicating and contagious- it just spreads to everybody else.  Awhile ago I wrote a really long, really depressing blog post about how I greatly disliked the town that my duty station is located in.  All I could see were the problems and what it was lacking.  Now I can't ignore those things, but I can definitely spin an alternative outlook on it and so I've started thinking more positively.  I try to be an influence for good at work, with my friends, and at home.  I'm enthusiastic about life and I try to bring that to other people to brighten their day.

Part II is coming up!

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Taking Stock:001

I came across "Taking Stock" with Meet Me at Mikes.  Sometimes waking up on a weekend morning and doing a bit of blogging, is simply perfect! Plus, you might discover something fun.

Making : A ton of craft projects for Halloween.  I'm "pre-blogging" and making sure I take a lot of pictures of the different signs and craftiness that I'm working with for future October blog posts.

Cooking : More like "baking" but I made an amazing pumpkin dream cake and the frosting with this recipe is to die for!  If we really want to talk about cooking, I made this Cajun Chicken Pasta after I did a penned site all by myself. 

Drinking : Water, lemonade, and apple cider- can you tell that I love Fall?

Reading: So many books right now! I just finished Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns), which was hilarious!  I've been tackling a few eBooks but mainly focusing on The Art of Racing in the Rain.

Wanting: To go to the Influence Conference.  I would love to go but Ryan and I just can't afford that, plus plane/hotel/spending money right now.  I hope all those who attend have a blast and I'll be following Instagram hashtags! :)

Looking: At my husband's beard-less face.  He recently shaved and he no longer looks like a lumberjack.  I swear, he looks like two completely different people with and without a beard.

Playing: More like Ryan's playing, but he's playing the new Grand Theft Auto V.  It was released this week and I feel like every guy I know (and ladies, too) are playing this game.  There goes husband-wifey bonding time. *le sigh*

Wasting: Frosting. Definitely just tossed the spare mini container of frosting that I made because I couldn't stop eating it. *le sigh* #toodelicious

Fixing: Holly's bad habit of hitting the door everytime she wants back "in" the house.

Deciding: To not follow as many "fitness" Instagram accounts.  After awhile I realized that so many of these accounts just had pictures of themselves in bikinis, boxer-briefs, or thongs.  The nudity started to overcome actual fitness encouragement, workouts, and healthy eating.  Rock on with your hot bod, but that's not why I follow them.

Wishing: For a new Fall wardrobe, especially this sweater, the boots, and that hurrr.

Enjoying: A Badger football game- definitely miss college gamedays!

Waiting: To become a 1st Lieutenant...but seriously. #onemoreyear

Liking: Happy Mail! I absolutely love getting snail mail or just fun packages.  Tracking an order on Amazon makes me giddy.

Wondering: About the talented team that made this short film for a film festival.  Cargo is about a family during the zombie apocalypse, and in a span of seven minutes, the film makers create an amazing story.  I've never heard of this film festival, but then again I don't know off too many, however, this was awesome!

Loving: It's Just Emmy's Hoop Exchange and now Garland Exchange!  The sign-ups for her most recent exchange just ended but I'm excited to be partnered up again.  My swap partner for the hoop exchange

Pondering: Over my planner.  I spent an hour on my last alert planning the rest of September-December in terms of tons of blog post ideas.  Then I went into the daily pages and started marking important days and when things needed to be mailed.

Considering: Becoming a doula.  When I was going into college, I really wanted to be an OB/GYN but the idea of science courses at UW made me feel like I wasn't smart enough.  I think I could have done it, but I wouldn't have had much time for other activities.  While working on my Master's Degree, I thought more about becoming a doula and how this might be a great opportunity for me.

Watching: Scandal! I'm totally a Gladiator now ;)

Hoping: That my next blogger book swap will be less stressful than the last and my co-hosts will be awesome :)  Also in the "hoping" category, I hope that we get a ton of great people who are committed to being great swap partners.

Marvelling: The beauty of birth and celebrating that our good friends, Troy and Sherry, just welcomed their second daughter, Serenity, into the world last night.

Needing: A vacation to Disney World, lots of character dinners, and a portable money tree for said trip.

Smelling: Nothing. The capsules give me wicked boogers.  Too much? Probably but keep in mind these capsules are as old as the Cold War.

Wearing: Light knit sweaters, long sleeves, and scarves! Love this fall-ish weather :)

Following: So many new Instagrammies :)

Noticing: That in less than a month, it will be ABC Family's 13 Nights of Halloween.  I love Halloween!

Knowing: that I'm becoming a more experienced, and better equipped deputy is an exciting thought.  I'm still pretty new but I feel way more comfortable in my job.

Thinking: About affordable ways to make Christmas cards this year.  I think I'm going to design some and then have them printed via Vista Print.

Feeling: Awesome that the Pope made a speech on not focusing so much on birth control, gays, and abortions.  I think Pope Francis is going to great things for the Catholic Church.  I grew up in that community, but no longer identify as Catholic because of how the church was set up.  He seems like an amazing Jesuit.

Admiring: These beautiful rings on Etsy.  Love the itty bitty mountains :)

Buying: More like not buying :/ Ryan has put me us on a strict budget.  I believe, living off love, is the phrase. #ugh

Getting: Together our spare bedroom!  We had the mattress, bedframe, and headboard arrive via Amazon this past week.  We're really excited to put it all together.

Bookmarking: Birth Without Fear Blog- it's so inspiring and wonderful!  I love seeing the updates on my Facebook feed from their FB page.

Opening: Lindsey Herber's baby shower invitation!  So ridiculously cute and I wish I could fly to California this minute!  I'm definitely putting together an awesome present for her and need to pick up diapers for that raffle ;)

Giggling: more like "excited hands" (it's a Kim-ism) over all of the exciting events and new that's happening.  A friend just announced that she's having a baby and another friend is getting married today! Yay for happiness!!

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Military Spouses vs. Female Service Members

Military Spouse Magazine has been doing a series of articles addressing stereotypes among military spouses and it also brought up the relationships between military spouses and female service members. That specific article was brief and written by a female Army veteran who now works for the magazine. As an Air Force officer, I couldn't relate to what she had said but then again, I had the opportunity to be a spouse first. I never looked down on someone for missing their husband too much while they were deployed because I know how that feels. When Ryan was deployed, romantic comedies and shopping comforted me. There was many a night I would find myself waiting for a bus back to campus with a Target bag in hand because Target seemed to have healing powers during that time. I also know how it feels to be overqualified for jobs and you're still sending in applications to find something temporarily because you're living off of E-4 pay. It's not fun trying to figure out how to budget groceries off of one very limited income. Even though I don't have kids, I know childcare is insanely expensive and it's usually more cost effective to have one partner stay home with the kids.

But at the same time, I definitely have felt the differences of being a service member instead of a spouse. When I was in ROTC, I was warned that some spouses would hate me for two reasons, 1. I was pretty 2. I spent a lot of time with their husbands. I wasn't even in my careerfield yet and I already had women hating me...great! It doesn't matter that while on alert, I usually have a sideways messy topknot, glasses, and a pimple or two speckling my face. It doesn't matter that when I wake up, there are probably tendrils of hair glued to my cheek from drool (yeah, that's a pretty picture). There are just going to be women who dislike me for just being in that position. It didn't matter whether I was attractive, ugly, or the highest ranking person that woman knew- I would be considered a problem. I haven't had to face too many jealous wives or girlfriends yet and thank goodness. Again, I think drool tendrils help, but that's just my opinion. If that day ever comes where I am in a battle with a spouse, I wish I could have a frank conversation in saying that I have zero interest in their signicant other and I am no threat to their happiness.

I am very much in love with my husband, regardless if we fight or if life is being particularly difficult. I am also fiercely loyal to him. I still notice when people are physically attractive, however, I'm the kind of woman who also remarks when another woman is also very beautiful. It's not a defense mechanism to call out every pretty girl on the block, it's just something I notice. The human body is a beautiful thing, and to be treated with respect- so should relationships. I trust my husband and he trusts me. I am not there to seduce your partner, I am there to provide nuclear deterrence.

I am far more concerned about my test scores and becoming a better missileer, than throwing a wrench in your relationship.

However, that's not to say that I haven't felt the effects of being a female service member and not solely being a spouse. The thing about being an officer is that I'm still a spouse, that just didn't stop when I become a butter bar. You may have seen my rant on Instagram about a recent e-mail sent to me by the president of our spouse's club. A little background- we live in a small town. There are a ton of mom and pop style restaurants casinos and a few boutiques. Some of boutiques downtown are incredibly cute, but most of the businesses here are severely lacking in quality or customer service. Despite having two universities, the town isn't bustling and to my understanding it's the second largest city in Montana. There's potential for economic growth, but it's underutilized. With that being said, activities for female service members or really just women in general are few and far between. I'm friends with several military spouses and I suggested they check out the spouses club. Emphasis: I led them to the spouse's club. When Ryan was stationed at Camp Pendleton, there wasn't an enlisted spouses's club (to my knowledge), but there was an officer's one. Not being an officer yet/not being a wife to an officer, I didn't participate but I think I would have loved it! Whenever my friends would come back from a spouse's club social at our current base, they would say, "Kim you would love this! This is totally your thing!" After a couple of months living here, I thought I would send in an e-mail and see if it was possible. The e-mail basically said, "due to few opportunities for women in this area, would it be possible to be a part of this group, despite being an active duty female service member?" I also put in that I respect that it's a space for military spouses, however I'm still a spouse. The response was a subtle "no" and a suggestion that I volunteer for a project they ran. To me that basically read, you can't be a part of the group's social activities, but we need manning to meet our goals. Cute.

I was an active duty spouse. I am now a veteran's spouse. I am an active duty service member who is married. No where in there did I just stop being a spouse. No where in there did I stop needing an opportunity to bond with women in a similar situation than me. Just because I'm a missileer doesn't mean that I don't go to the commissary or BX. I was just there to pick up ingredients for a pumpkin cake and walked through the same checkout and tipped the same bagger that you probably did. It doesn't mean that I don't have the same worries that other military spouses have. We worry about bills and paying off my school loans. We worry about when is the right time to start having a baby (which if you've read my blog, you know I think about frequently). We worry about getting time to see our family back in Wisconsin.

That e-mail could have gone several ways. I respect that it's a spouse's space, however, I don't see the importance of the dividing line when it comes to wine nights, book clubs, and any other social events. To me it seems trivial, especially with so few opportunities for women. That e-mail should have provided resources or other opportunities, and ones that didn't include volunteering for a project that needed manning. That just annoyed me. Not that I don't like volunteering, but there are tons of already existing volunteering opportunities.

To sum all of this up, I'm simply disappointed. It has put me in a position where I recognize that there are few opportunities for female service members and instead of creating a liaison between the two groups, there's just a dividing line. It has also made me realize that maybe I need to create this opportunity. Maybe I need to organize wine nights, a bookclub, a rollerskating night, or any fun activity. This thought got me excited- the possibilities are endless! Then I thought about it further, would I exclude Hannah, Emily, Rhi, or Allie, just because they're spouses? No, that's not like me. I would want every woman affiliated with this base who needed a night of fun, to have that night and to meet other great women.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rearranging my blog domain

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

So if you liked me on Bloglovin- please like me again this time at or

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Can You Pass the U.S. Citizenship Test?

Photo Source: PolicyMic

This past Sunday's sermon at GFCC was about citizenship, specifically into the Kingdom of God, but it also touched on becoming a U.S. citizen. I became a U.S. citizen through birth, despite being born in the Philippines. I actually got to witness my mom's naturalization process while growing up and I was pretty young then but this past Sunday gave me the opportunity to reflect on that.

My mom had to take tests and she had to learn civics, government rules and procedures, etc. She was diligently tested on matters that high schoolers "learn" but do anything to pass and many naturally born citizens take for granted.

It got me to thinking about how many of today's citizens would have a difficult time passing the U.S. citizenship test. It also sparked a challenge between me and Ryan. Could we both pass this?

I went to the USCIS website, you can too, and checked out the free resources. There you can find a list of 100 questions and answers that could be asked on the civics test. There are also downloadable civics flashcards, vocabulary and writing flashcards, video and audio as well. If you're interested in doing the challenge with us, comment below or send an e-mail! I literally just got this idea overnight and thought that it was important enough to follow through because it's my role as a citizen to actually understand what I represent. I'm going to try to find more resources, maybe track down some at the local library, and see if I can find a practice test to quiz us on. If not, maybe I can put something together and post it here so we can try it all out together.

If you're still pretty confident in your abilities to pass(way to go rockstar), see if you could get through these questions, provided by PolicyMic's 5 U.S. Citizenship Test Questions You'd Probably Fail

(remember, no Google searches)

1. What does the Constitution do?

2. Who becomes the President, if the President and Vice President can no longer serve?

3. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

4. What is freedom of religion?

5. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?

Stumped? You can find the answers by clicking on the PolicyMic link, or better yet, join us in prepping to take our practice test :)

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Back to "Blogspot"

I've reverted my custom domain name back to "blogspot" because fun fact, AF computers can't access blogs that have custom domain names. This is something I learned through trial and error and all of those fun, awesome blogs that have custom domain names are impossible to look at on alert. So if you want to reach a broader audience, maybe you should consider not having one. I know, I know, it goes completely against the branding rules but there's an audience of people out there who can't look at your blog and that's a shame.

With that said, I would hate to lose you on Bloglovin, so please make sure that you can still follow me. I promise I'm still updating things :)

Y'all are rockstars :)

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Now Dating a College Freshman

We had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate the last day before classes started at our friend, Jeff's birthday.  A delicious BBQ, yummy birthday cake, and some brew with friends were perfect ways to top off the day.  We ran through a rainstorm with heavy winds (yikes) with our friends Hannah and Anthony.  Ryan was upset to have left the party early, so I was really glad that our friend Troy invited him over to continue the end-of-the-summer festivities.

Ryan was really excited to meet other Wisconsinites at the party.  That's one really great aspect of military life- seeing other people from your home state. I get excited when I meet people from Wisconsin or even Minnesota and a Wisconsin license plate makes my heart go all a'flutter.

 The next day was the first day of classes for a lot of students, whether it be Kindergarten or the start to a college degree.  Although I was content with sleeping in the next morning, I definitely wanted to snap some pictures of the new college freshman in our husband!
Also take note that he's rocking a Badger tee, even though he's going to school in Montana.

 After four years in the Marine Corps, Ryan is taking advantage of the G.I. Bill and going to school in the town that we now live in.  I think he's interested in becoming a high school teacher, but for now he's tackling his gen eds.  I'm particularly excited about his creative writing class and how it's focusing a lot on poetry.  Maybe I'll get some love poems out of this gig ;)

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Having Babies

A ton of my friends are either pregnant or recently gave birth.  These are people who I respect, value, and love and some of these ladies are blogger friends that I've never met but that I think are awesome. I pray for their babies and the expansion of their families all of the time.

It caused me to think about the life plan I had created in second grade.  At that age, anytime in your 20s seems so far off.  I do remember wanting to be a teacher and have two standard-sized poodles.  I would have either been dating or married and between 24-26 we would have our first baby.  Well I'm turning 24 in a couple of months and although I definitely don't believe in the life plan I created when I was eight years old, my 23-year old self can't help but focus on my life ambitions.

When Ryan and I first got married, there were a few times that I was positive that I was pregnant.  We definitely weren't ready, and of course, you know that little thought in the back of your head grows with worry by the minute.  I remember two very specific incidents where I started to freak out.  The first was when we moved into our first house and I was on a new birth control (wasn't taking any chances) and the oral medication made me feel nauseous.  So I wasn't preggers and took myself off that birth control.  The other incident was on a trip back to Wisconsin, where I wasn't feeling good but I wasn't on Mirena yet.  I remember walking to Walgreens in the disgusting humidity of a Wisconsin summer and just sweating balls.  I was nervous and anxious because again, we weren't ready and I had just graduated from college.  Again the tests were negative.

I'll be 24 this year and Ryan and I have been married 2.5 years.  Now I'm starting to feel ready, but I often feel that everyone around me isn't ready for us to have a baby.  It feels weird to phrase that, other people aren't ready.  But ultimately many of our life decisions are influenced by expectations and trends on society.  My good friend, Lindsey is having a baby and got married around the same time that Ryan and I did.  She shared a link with her Facebook followers about the timing of families and how people always have an opinion on when to have a baby.  The article, Having Babies (in Opposite World), discusses today's expectations to wait and how people can feel guilty if they don't hit certain life benchmarks, if you will.  The author of the article, Courtney, describes how friends of hers have been made to feel guilty about their pregnancy for whatever reasons.  Courtney was told her entire life to be a responsible adult and wait to have children.  It's pretty solid and standard advice.  So she and her husband waited and had her first at 27 and second at 29.  However in her 30s she came into certain health concerns that inhibited her ability to have more children.  Everyone's biological clock is different, but hers cut off at 29, when she was under this presumption that she would be able to have babies for a good solid 10 years or so, even if they waited.  She wishes that they had started sooner.

This article got me to thinking, because Courtney brought up a lot of great points that haven't necessarily come up in my life in terms of parenting.  We have moved from a society where women got married very young, had babies young and that was it to what we have today where young women are encouraged to commit to a career and get married/have babies much later.  The problem is that whatever the common ideology is becomes this social law.  I covered the marital aspect of it in my post, I Got Married at 21 When Everyone Else Was Getting Chocolate Wasted, where everyone had an opinion of my choices in getting married.  People didn't take into consideration my feelings, the impact of how they chose to talk to me about my choices, and ultimately they forgot about the two people who were getting married in the equation.  As soon as I accepted a proposal at 21, everyone saw my life going down the tubes but that didn't happen.  People forgot to take into consideration that I had certain factors in my life that caused me to grow up a lot sooner than many of their own college-aged children.

Now when all of that is said and done, I don't think every young couple should just have babies for the sake of having babies.  Each couple needs to have that discussion on their own timeline, not with the influence of other people.  I just think that in terms of our society, we need to cut each other some slack.  People have opinions when someone has a baby at a young age, at an older age, doesn't breastfeed, has five kids, gets married young, etc.  I don't know if it's just this kick I've been on, but when you feel like judging, think of an encouragement for that person instead.  I can tell you that having walked in some of those shoes, they've already felt stress from people who are completely unrelated to their life. Empower, don't bring down.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

If Ryan and I were LEGO figures...

While I was on alert, I thought it would be a lot of fun to kind of do another post on where we're at with our marriage.  Ryan and I have been married for over two years (2.5) and are going through some pretty major phases in our life together.  I have graduated college, been commissioned as an officer, completed my tech training, and we now live in Montana.  Ryan has finished four years with the Marine Corps, has completed a civilian job working as a gun retailer, and now he is starting college.  So I e-mailed him some questions and we actually kind of made a game with it with our friends the other night.  We know a lot of young, married couples due to our military background and it was fun to see what their responses were. 

1. Where are you in your life?
We're now living in Montana in a really great house.  We have two German Shepherds, Holly and Blu.  Blu is having incontinence issues, which can be very frustrating at times.  Ryan has just started his college career and it's fun seeing his accomplishments through academic fields.  I'm adjusting pretty well to my job, and I'm adjusting to living in Montana.  Right now I'm also accomplishing my Master's Degree.

2. What is the thing that surprised you most about marriage?
There are several aspects that are really not very exciting.  I think while you're growing up, influencing factors come into play due to how impressionable media, magazines, Disney, and social media outlets like Pinterest can be on a young person.  I definitely thought marriage was a lot more exciting that it really is (or at least in my marriage). It's really just the day-to-day stuff and balancing responsibilities such as being an Air Force officer and paying bills.  You have to make things romantic and take the time to pay attention to your partner's needs.  You think this would be obvious but it's easy to get wrapped up in your job, school, etc.

3. What are the best parts of your marriage right now?
We're definitely learning how to communicate more effectively with one another and what buttons not to push.  I can recognize the areas that I need to improve upon and hopefully this will help make our marriage more cohesive.  Being in a better rhythm with our day-to-day has made it easier to being better partners.

4. What are the areas of improvement?
My area of improvement is a definite need to respond better to what Ryan needs.  My husband is very devoted to organization and keeping a clean house.  If he's got his mind set on something, it kind of needs to be done right away or it stresses him out.  If you know me, this is so completely not like me whatsoever.  Whenever he asks me to do something, I try to get to it right away to kind of help him with his love language.  His area of improvement would be patience and being more romantic.  It's very obvious that I married a Marine.  He's very disciplined but sometimes he forgets that I'm not a PFC and I'm actually his wife.  His personality has definitely helped me curb my expectations on how being realistic with romance expectations.  It's important to keep in mind that if I don't express what I'm looking for, then he can't possibly know.

5. How has your partner changed?
I have changed basically due to our lifestyle.  I'm not crafting as much as I used to and I get stressed a lot more easily in regards to my job.  I realized certain aspects of my personality weren't changing for the good and I kind of addressed that in this post, Practically Imperfect in Every Way or My Flaws Through the Use of GIFs. It's really important to me that I stay optimistic and see the beauty in our everyday lives here.  Montana is a beautiful place, maybe not Great Falls, but the state is really pretty. There are certain opportunities that I need to take advantage of because I won't experience it anywhere else.  I'm also trying to make sure that I don't let myself go and actually put together outfits instead of living in workout shorts (I love being comfy).  Ryan has changed in terms of how he reacts in a relationship.  I think having that long distance relationship aspect played a major part in our relationship dynamic.  When I went to see him, he definitely made an effort at being more engaged in activities and being more romantic.  We lived in the moment because it was always uncertain the next time we would see each other. 

6. What do you love about your partner?
I love that Ryan is very honest and loyal.  I feel safe with him and even though he's 22-years old, he always amazes me with his maturity and how much responsibility he has held in his life.  Ryan always takes care of me, no matter what and he definitely pays attention to my body language, regardless if I say anything. 

7. What is the most stressful aspect of marriage right now?
We both said the same thing- money.  Paying off school loans, car loans, vet bills for Blu, and any other bill that comes across our way definitely takes a toll on our budget.  We do have a strict budget, so it just isn't possible for us to go out on a lot of date nights.  Ryan's strictly a student right now and  I'm working on my Master's Degree and my job, so it's really just my source of income.  This limits us to one date night per paycheck and sometimes that gets sucked into one of Blu's vet bills.  Our dog, Blu, has incontinence and a heart murmur.  The incontinence is probably the worst because money goes to not only the vet, but also into cleaning supplies and we also just bought a carpet shampoo vacuum.  It's not ideal but it's what we're working with.  

8. What are some of your goals?
I really can't wait to pay off loans! We have one of our cars paid off and we're thinking of trading the other one in to get an SUV.  School loans take a lot out of every paycheck I have and I can't wait for a promotion.  We're also trying to plan ahead so we can have kids, but that probably won't happen for another 3-4 years.

9. How do you see yourself improving as a partner?
Responding to Ryan is really my main priority. I don't have an innate way of just thinking, "hey I should vacuum." It's really not something that comes to me naturally.  This really frustrates Ryan, so I'm working on thinking ahead and recognizing that by accomplishing x, y, and z, this will help alleviate Ryan's stress and the things that burden his part of our life.  Ryan is working on trying not to get as irritated (addressed above that he needs to be more patient).

That's basically it :) There were a couple more questions but they dive more into some of the questions already asked.  If you're in a relationship, how would you have responded to these questions?

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
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