Starting Over

I haven’t blogged here in a while. I got an idea in my head for some changes I wanted to make, and the more I looked at the changes the more I knew I needed to start from scratch. I’m blogging now over at Back on Land, and I would love if you followed me over there!

The fate of this little blog is up in the air. I most likely won’t be back here, but I think I’ll just let it sit here for a while because I’m proud some of the things I’ve posted here.

Thanks and hope to see you over there ….


Small Things Saturdays

I started a series a while back with the intent to take time to appreciate the small things in my life that make me smile. Then, for whatever I reason I stopped. Boo. But now I’m back, and I have a LOT to be thankful for. So here’s this week’s Small Things list.

  1. Being able to chat with my sister, Kelly, online. Having an amazing sister is no small thing, but when you live soooo far apart, getting to keep in touch is wonderful!
  2. Photo albums. Mine are a mess and completely INcomplete, but looking through with my kids is sooo special!
  3. Unexpected compliments. I got one this week. I’m keeping it to myself, but it definitely made it ALL worth it.
  4. Good movies. I really love watching movies (especially when I can get out of the house to do it!). I’ve had several opportunities to see great movies lately, and I love it!
  5. When my husband brings me a soda at the end of the day just because. I don’t usually keep soda for me in the house (zero self-control …lol), but just one every now and then is so nice!

That’s today’s list. What’s on yours? Haven’t made it yet? Try it!

Cheap and Easy: I Love You’s

We usually keep V-Day pretty low key in my house, but this year, for some reason, I’m all about the LOVE! I even threw a few decorations up this year (cheap and easy ones, of course)! That REALLY got me in the spirit and got me pondering what it’s all about. What did I come up with? Well, LOVE, duh! February is THE month of looooooove, and I am lucky to have more than a few very looooooove-ly people in my life! What I don’t have is a ton of cash to spend on Valentine gifts and trinkets for each and every one of them! Soooo, here are a few ways to tell those special someone’s that you love them without breaking your Valentine bank!

For him …

  1.  Say it old school. If you were a child of 80′s or 90′s, you definitely remember getting one or two (million) of these hand-folded notes. We hoarded them to show just how cool we were. Josh and I have an inside joke about these bad boys (there’s a creepy ex-girlfriend involved …lol) so this year I’m slipping one in his uniform pocket. I hope he finds it while he’s at work surrounded by a bunch of sailors... I’m mean …
  2. Say it with sweets. Pinterest is RIPE right now with sweet sayings to print out and wrap around a candy bar or a lollipop. If you’ve got a printer, paper and tape, you can pretty much lovey-up any candybar or sweet on the market. Or maybe buy some sweet sentiments in the form of candy message hearts. It may sound silly, but every year I get a kick out of making up as many dirty messages as possible with those seemingly innocent candies.
  3. Say it with a song. Or ten songs. Sneak an “I love you” playlist on his iPod. Poison’s “Something to Believe In” just reeks of love, right? What?!? Your man doesn’t want to listen to 45 minutes of 80′s hair band ballads? THAT’S CRAZY TALK!?! Okay, actually neither does mine, but I know he’d appreciate a few special tunes like “I Wanna Grow Old With You” by Adam Sandler, “Bubbly” by Colbie Calliat, or “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.
  4. Say it simple. Josh does simple things for me (like #5 here) that shows me he loves me. So how about returning the favor? Take his car in for a scheduled oil change. Cook his most favorite meal ever. Snuggle up on the couch and actually WATCH a football/baseball/basketball game with him. Simple things mean a lot to me, and I’m sure he feels the same.

For them …

  1. Say it with vinyl. I found an awesome vinyl wall cling at the dollar store that said “Wish It. Dream It. Do it.” in two-inch black letters, and I knew I had to have one for each of my big girls. The plan is to sneak them up on their bedroom walls while they are at school and see how long it takes them to notice them.
  2. Say it at lunch. I pack my girls lunches 99% of the time anways, but in February I’m adding a few little notes here and there to let them know I’m thinking about them. My oldest isn’t into cutsie messages anymore so I’ll come up with a few less effusive notes for her. Honestly, I don’t think they care so much what it says as that it’s there.
  3. Say it at unexpected moments. A little “I believe in you!” note slipped inside a textbook, a chocolate kiss on their pillow, or a dry eraser “Good Morning!” on the bathroom mirror can make a bad day better or take a good day all the way to great!

For everyone else …

  1. Say it with snail mail. I’ve picked up a few inexpensive cards at the Dollar Store lately and slapped together a few hearty-heart postcards, and I’ll be mailing them out to some out-of-towners over the next week or so. Add some cute kid pictures, and you’ve made an auntie or grandma’s day!
  2. Say it with your mouth full. Invite a friend or two for a potluck lunch at your place. I got the sandwiches; you bring the chips and potato salad.  Nothing says, “I love you, guys!” better than a gabfest with your favorite ladies! (Local friends, who’s in?)
  3. Say it with Skype! Living a million miles away from everyone sucks, but being able to have a face to face conversation makes it suck a whole lot less! I’ll be scheduling a couple of convo’s for this lovey-dovey month so I can keep in touch with my peeps!

Most importantly, JUST SAY IT! Gifts and notes are great, but nothing beats hearing I LOVE YOU! And honestly, like a good “I love you,” these ideas are good year round! So spread a little cheap and easy love today!

(Did your brain go straight to the gutter with that last line? Yeah, mine, too. Somehow I knew that would happen.)

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One Navy Wife’s Thoughts: That Brown Bag

A few times times a year, I make a long shopping list on a brown paper bag. It isn’t for Christmas or a birthday. There are no fun toys and high fashion jeans on it, but it’s important just the same.

  • 2 bottles of shampoo
  • 3 small boxes of q-tips
  • 4 deodorants
  • 3 cans of shaving cream and 3 boxes of razors

I don’t buy it all at once. I try to watch for good sales and better coupons. That brown bag sits in my bedroom slowly filling up.

  • Lotion
  • 2 extra toothbrushes
  • 3 tubes of toothpaste
  • 2 or 3 small bottles of Listerine

What you don’t shop like this? All your bathroom needs for three months at a time?

  • Foot powder
  • Nail clippers
  • Large bag of Laundry detergent tablets

I write my list on that brown bag with a big black sharpie marker. I double-check and triple-check the list every time I make it. I can’t forget one item. We talk about the list and make it together. I check items off as they go in the bag. Double check.

  • 3 shower scrubs
  • A pair of shower shoes (size 10.5)
  • 5 bottles of bodywash

In a different bag, I gather other things.

  • Snacks
  • Hard candy
  • Granola bars

I gather all these items so I can send my husband away. Send him out to sea for months at a time. Give him back to the submarine and the Navy that he serves so proudly.

That brown bag … I make my list while he is home with us, while I can take care of him, he can take care of us, all together. That brown bag … it means he is home … for now. Because that brown bag is a sign that he will leave again … when the brown bag leaves it takes him with it.

There is no brown bag while he is gone. There are smaller bags. Ziploc bags. A taste of home. I fill them with letters and photographs and sunshine. That brown bag takes care of the basics; the Ziplocs I send away are filled with love.

That brown bag … it’s filled with love, too. It’s filled with me taking care of him when I can’t be there to care of him. It’s my to have and to hold; for better or worse. In my house it’s all in that brown bag.

A Mom’s Special Birthday

It’s funny how things change as you get older. Take birthdays, for instance. We run quite the range of ages in my house: 36, 35 (yep, I’m his Mrs. Robinson for the next few weeks), 14, 12, and 2, and we all celebrate a bit differently.

For Alli, who will be three in a few months, it seems to be all about her. Everytime we talk about birthdays, she says, “It’s my birthday!” She doesn’t really seem to care about what kind of cake or specific presents as long as they’re HERS. Alli’s birthday theme is “ME! ME! ME!”

In Sydney’s case, the theme is “change.” She’s at the weird “tween ” phase when she’s too old for cutsie character decorations, but she doesn’t want a full-on girlie girl spa party. Boys are just okay, and full-on giggly sleepovers are just the thing! I expect next year to be vastly different.

“Independence” is the name of the game for Aubrey. She’s already put in her birthday request: manicures, dinner, and shopping time at the mall with her friends … with no adult supervision. She wants to do things on her own, and even though it makes me a little sad, I know that I’ve raised a good girl and that I can trust her and her friends to behave. (I’ll be clinching my cell phone the whole time anyways, but hey! I am a mom!)

My theme? Family. I know it sounds crazy, but on my birthday I realized that I love my family more with each passing year! You think when your kids are born that your heart will burst from all the love and that it just can’t get any bigger. You’re wrong. I’ve been a mom for almost 15 years now, and each year, each day, each MOMENT it seems the love just grows! I also realized something that I sometimes take for granted. They love me so much, too! It read all through the details of my day.

Aubrey streamered my door and blew up 36 balloons. She stood outside my bedroom door when she heard my alarm go off, and she giggled when I opened it up to see my surprise. It’s funny because even at 36 I looooooove party decorations! Colorful, bright, and silly! What’s not to love! The party decorations ran over into my birthday cake, too. Atop the most delicious cake I’d ever had were candles and party blowers and curly ribbons! Like a party on TOP of my cake! Sydney even wrapped each part of her gift to me individually in bright blue streamers! It.was.AWESOME!

At the end of the day, when Josh and I were getting ready for bed, I asked if he knew about Aubrey’s plan to decorate my door, and he said, “Of course! It was the first thing the kids said when we went shopping. ‘Can we buy decorations?’ They knew you’d like it.”

You know, I had an amazing birthday. I got the perfect presents. A beautiful bouquet of flowers was delivered to my front door, and I got more birthday well wishes than I could even count, but that single moment took a wonderful day to a whole new level of perfection! Just knowing they were really thinking about about what would make me happy was the best gift anyone could have ever given me.

But I’ll be real. The cake was a close second.

Small Things Saturdays

I started a series a while back with the intent to verbally appreciate the small things in my life that make me smile. Then, for whatever I reason I stopped. Boo. But now I’m back, and I have a LOT to be thankful for. So here’s this week’s Small Things list.

  1. Mornings when my sweet, sweet Aubrey makes me a pot of coffee. She truly loves me.
  2. That last ten minutes in the morning between sleeping and getting out of bed. (It’s gotten much better, thank you!)
  3. This.

    "Here, Mommy! I made this present for you!"

    “Here, Mommy! I made this present for you!”

  4. The little notebook I keep in my purse for jotting down thoughts while I’m out and about. My 12-year-old gave it to me, and the front page say
  5. Last Monday night my husband parked my car on the street and pulled his into the garage to make a quick repair. Tuesday morning before he left for work, he backed his truck out and pulled my car back in. If that’s not LOVE, I’ll eat my hat. :)

That’s today’s list. What’s on yours? Haven’t made it yet? Try it!