Military

Dream Military Weddings

This post was originally published on Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them.

It started with a proposal to spend the rest of your lives together: to make the world know how much you love each other through a pair of rings, a set of vows, and probably changing your relationship status on social media. Many people grow up wondering what their wedding will look like when the time comes. It may include robust flower arrangements, an extensive guest list, and elaborate centerpieces. When I was planning my wedding in the civilian world, Pinterest became my best friend and my enemy. Pinterest is wonderful for making you feel crafty and creative. It will also encourage you to make those individualized mason jar invitations that explode glitter, fireworks, and cupcakes when opened. And can be made in three easy steps! Oh, if only it really was that simple, and if there was about ten more hours in the day this would be incredible! Unfortunately, that is not reality, and furthermore the military lifestyle complicates our ambitions for marriage before we even get started.

The Multiple Journeys to Wedded Bliss

Since my husband commissioned into the Navy, I have made friends with numerous couples who started as friends, became fiancés, and ultimately spouses. Every single journey to their marriages looked different, but the end result was always the same. Wedded Bliss.

wedded bliss

Couple #1 got engaged directly after the commissioning ceremony. They were engaged for a few short weeks before having a small beach ceremony with family and friends, and then the husband had to depart for his first training school.

Couple #2 had their ceremony at the courthouse and followed up with a larger reception with friends and family a year later when their schedules allowed.

Couple #3 spent the last 10 months planning their dream ceremony and reception to be held this summer.

Each one of these scenarios was unique. Not every story was lived how they pictured it would be when they were younger, but none of them have any regrets. When your ultimate goal is to spend the rest of your life with your partner, you make the best of the hand you are dealt, and I would not call that settling. Each of these couples still has the same result.

As with anything in the military, flexibility is key, so be prepared to start with your wedding if you are new to the life. You will hear many times over the course of your lifetime that the military comes first, but even if you find yourself compromising on your wedding there will still be great rewards in the end. Regardless if you elect to do a courthouse ceremony, a small ceremony, or a large wedding, the ending will be the same: you will be lawfully wedded to your service member, the love of your life.dream military weddings-2

Are you a military spouse? What did your nuptials look like? Do you have any advice?

Travel

Three Days in San Antonio, Texas

You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas!

-Davy Crockett

I can’t lie. I haven’t been the biggest fan of the Lonestar State since moving here in April 2017. My main complaint is the heat. My second complaint is how long it takes to travel ANYWHERE. Texas is a beast of a state.

Those complaints aside, I spent a wonderful weekend in San Antonio, Texas with my best friend when she visited me in May 2017. Despite the heat, I loved San Antonio! I loved the history, the sites, the food, and just the overall experience. Do you have a trip planned for San Antonio yet? Add it to your list and you must do and see everything we did! I did the hard part of researching, planning, and testing it out, so you don’t have to! You’re welcome.

Accommodations: We stayed at this fabulous Airbnb. The host was super kind and full of recommendations on where to eat and what to do while we were in town. It was also very conveniently located less than a mile from the Pearl District and more affordable than any of the hotels I researched.

Never used Airbnb? Well pal- if you use this link, you will get $40 of travel credit when you sign up. What are friends for?

Transportation: We parked our vehicle at the Airbnb and used Uber to travel downtown and then walked to many of our destinations from there. Some of our other excursions that were not located downtown, we drove to easily in my car from the Airbnb.

Itinerary:

  • Day 1-
    • Arrive and check in at your hotel or Airbnb.
    • Find your way to the Pearl Brewery for amazing food, views, and shopping. You have to sample a flight of beer at Southerleigh, and indulge in macaroons from Lorraine’s Bakery. 10 out of 10 friends would recommend it.
    • Next, travel downtown for the Riverwalk. Take a riverboat tour and enjoy hearing about the history of the Riverwalk and recommendations on places to go while you’re in the area. IMG_0172
    • If you are there on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. You CANNOT leave until you have experienced the light show outside San Fernando De Bexar Cathedral. It’s completely free and worth sticking around until 9pm, 9:30pm, or 10pm. fullsizeoutput_ac9
    • We intended on going to Cowboys Dancehall San Antonio after the light show, but I’m an old lady at heart and was ready for bed instead. However, this place has great reviews on TripAdvisor. They offer dance lessons, live music, and tasty drinks if you’re not quite tuckered out yet. me
  • Day 2-
    • Head on back downtown for what you really cannot leave San Antonio before seeing. The Alamo. Do I even need to explain? It just has to be done. To be honest, I was underwhelmed because I expected it to be a lot larger. Which apparently is the case for many. But the amount of history and significance of the destination continues to make it a must-see. fullsizeoutput_ace
    • If you’re in the market for souvenirs then you should definitely make your way to the San Antonio Market Square. There are tons and tons of little shops and stands for you to acquire everything and anything you need and don’t need all at the same time. I saw some pretty large margaritas and there was also live music and performers in the center of the Market Square. IMG_0286
    • Despite The Alamo not being what I anticipated, the San Antonio Missions exceeded all expectations. They make up for in size what they lack in popularity. I had never heard of the Missions before researching things to do on this trip, so they were a pleasant surprise.
    • If you still have time, you could also go to the San Antonio Zoo, Japanese Tea Gardens, maybe even the Old Time Wooden Nickel Company.
  • Day 3-
    • I really wanted to experience something unique and a little weird on this trip. And I definitely succeeded. The Toilet Seat Museum. It’s exactly what you think it is. Hundreds of toilet seats decorated and on display. A very kind, elderly gentleman has been honing his toilet seat decorating craft for decades. He has been on numerous television shows and even honored by the mayor of San Antonio for the museum he runs in a small building located next to his home. Be sure to stop, sign his guest book, and sign the toilet seat for whichever state you hail from. IMG_0304
    • On our way to another excursion, we decided to make a pitstop for a unique photo opportunity. The Largest Boots in Texas. They’re on display outside a mall. I won’t lie. You can skip this. It wasn’t that impressive. IMG_0289
    • Have you ever been down into a cavern? Well a short drive outside of San Antonio you will find Natural Bridge Caverns and Wildlife Ranch. If you’ve never been in a cave, you really must. And if you’ve never driven next to elephants, giraffes, ostrich, and various other wildlife, you really, really must.

San Antonio helped me change my negative Nancy outlook on Texas. Texas was no longer the never ending stretch of hellish heat I was stuck in. Instead, it became an opportunity for adventure I got to conquer- one mile (going 75 mph) at a time. I DO love the speed limit here.

Have you ever been to San Antonio? What did you think and what did you do?

Never been? When will you be coming? I’ll meet you there!

San Antonio pinterest graphic.png

Health

The Weighting Game

Pun intended. The weighting game-2

My second blog post was titled, How to Lose Weight. I recall being so proud of writing this post. I was told how brave I was for being so honest about my struggles with my weight throughout my life. I remember feeling almost smug at how I had it all figured out. I had dropped a pretty decent number of pounds and I was down to the lowest weight I had been in many years. I was pretty pleased with my progress.

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Looking fly-y-y-y

 

Fast forward 3 months. Well ten pounds crept back on, but no big deal. I knew I had the combination figured out on how to easily lose it again. I’d get right on that once we were settled into our new move to Florida.

IMG_7693
Not that noticeable, but ten-ish lbs heavier. 

 

Fast forward 4 months. Well another ten pounds crept on, kinda starting to feel like a big deal, but all I needed to do was get back into my routine, follow the steps that made me successful before and I could drop the weight in no time. I’d get right on that once we were settled into our new move to Texas.

Houston
Black dress, hand on the hip does wonders to hide that I’m 20ish lbs heavier.

Fast forward 8 months. Sonofabitch. I’ve gained 30 pounds total since that super awesome, lowest weight ever circa summer ’16. It’s officially a big deal. Unfortunately, my half-assed attempts at working out a week here or there, and tracking my diet/nutrition on my ghetto-ass, generic, weightwatchers app isn’t cutting it.

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In case you didn’t know, the leaning pose is slimming. But alas, it doesn’t deceive the scale and I have some weight to lose.

While I fear of sounding like a broken record, shit just got real (I’ve said this before, and yet I continued to gain). Buuuuuuuuuuut, for real this time. Being more active and making good food choices are now my job. What does this look like for me? Allow me to break it down…. in a list!

  1. Weight watchers: my bootleg app isn’t going to cut it. I joined weight watchers again. I’ve peeked the new freestyle format, and I think I’m in looooooove! Even more than I was with the Smartpoints. Eggs are zero points. I could, for real, eat eggs for every meal.
  2. Water: Goal- 120 ounces a day. I’m going to be peeing so much, my coworkers will probably think I have an UTI.
  3. Morning Exercise: I’ve become a bit obsessed with Tone It Up. Each day there are daily moves to complete and I’ll throw in whatever videos pique my interest on their youtube channel. Katrina’s booty is serious booty goals.
  4. Evening Exercise: That’s right. I have two workouts scheduled. Why? Because instead of coming home from work and sitting on my NOT-Katrina-esque booty, why not do something more productive? So I’ll be going for a walk or jog/walk around my neighborhood. C25k is my app of choice.
  5. Rest Days/Cheat meals:
    • As far as rest days are concerned, I was given some great advice from a friend who doesn’t plan rest days. Instead she listens to her body, and if she’s exhausted, too sore or sick one day, she rests. Otherwise she rallies, gets her shit together and worksout. I like that idea. Maybe Wednesday is going to be a shit day and I’ll need to hold off on busting my rump to finish the Tone it Up Daily Moves. Or maybe I’ll have the energy and mindset to kick my own ass and take names everyday.
    • Cheat meals are my cryptonite. It never fails, if I even overindulge on one stinking meal, I can pretty much gurantee I won’t lose any weight that week. So I need to really be strategic with my nutrition and recognize that “cheat” meals are only cheating me and my health. If only brownies and pasta didn’t taste so good. I’ll figure it out. strategies for weightloss.png

I have my plan. I have my spreadsheets written out. And I look forward to dropping these pounds so I can post a super bitching before and after comparison again.

Military

Flight School Survival for the Military Spouse

Lies about flight school:

  1. Flight school for Student Naval Aviators (SNAs) goes quick.
  2. SNAs will be entirely consumed by flight school, with little time for anything else.
  3. Every SNA wants to fly jets in advanced.
  4. SNAs will move quicker through the training pipeline in Corpus Christi vs. Milton.
  5. There is no crying in flight school.
  6. Mustaches look sexy.

Before my husband went away for Officer Candidate School (OCS) and ever since, I spend so much time trying to make timelines and predict when and where we will be going next. This may or may not be my first mistake. I’ve been warned numerous times, through various means, that you cannot make plans when you’re living life as a military family- but I try anyways. Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment. I cannot help it though. I’ve been a planner, a scheduler, a goal setter my entire life, and you know what they say about old dogs…

Thus far this has been my experience with the timeline of my husband being in flight school. (His branch is Navy btw)flight school timeline.png

OCS check in: May 2016; Graduation: September 2016. This was back when OCS was 12 weeks minimum. It took my husband 15 weeks thanks to an unfortunate timing of pink eye. You can read a bit about what OCS was like for me here. It’s my understanding that OCS is shorter now.

OHARP: September 2016- November 2016. Officer Hometown Area Recruiting Assistance Program (OHARP). Following OCS my husband returned home for about 3 months and would work at the closest officer recruiting office before he had to report to Pensacola, FL for flight school.

Flight School Check In: December 2016. He checked into the command for flight school, but it would be another couple months before actively beginning training. In the downtime he would have to muster for Physical Training (PT) 3x a week for about an hour and then he would return home for the day. Alternate days required a quick morning muster with the rest of the day to do as he pleased. Quite the tough life these aviators go through in the beginning (note the sarcasm).

IFS: Introductory Flight Screening. SNAs spend this time flying 14 hours in a small aircraft at surrounding airports with civilian flight instructors. They also must pass the FAA Private Pilot test. SNA’s that already hold a private pilot license (like my husband) do not need to do this portion of training. However, other students who reported about the same time as him completed their training in about 2 months. This will vary depending on weather, scheduling, and dumb luck.

API: March 2017. Aviation Preflight Indoctrination. API is 6 weeks long, 4 weeks of academics and 2 weeks of survival training. The academics portion includes aerodynamics, aircraft engines and systems, meteorology, air navigation, and flight rules and regulations. API is a very busy time for the SNA and will require ample time studying. My husband joined a study group with 4 other SNAs and said it made a big difference for him in a positive way.

4 weeks into API is Flight Suit Friday. This is for the SNAs who have passed all of their exams thus far and have earned the right to wear those super comfy flight suits. This includes a party at the Officer’s Club where families and friends are invited. Definitely take the time to celebrate this accomplishment and watch Top Gun that runs on a constant loop while you play pool and have a few drinks.

Then comes the survival training, or Disney week, as it is fondly called. The SNAs will be taught a crash course on- well….. survival.

Primary Check in: April 2017. 3 days after finishing API, we had to report to Corpus Christi, TX for Primary training. 3 days!!! Talk about stressful. If the SNA is going to NAS Whiting Field, they had to report the afternoon of completing API.

Primary Training: June 2017-January 2018. I say this with great hesitation. I fear I will be jinxing it. If the stars align correctly, then my husband will complete primary later this month (January). It has been longer than original sources said due to a hurricane, and an unheard of snowstorm, and Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years. The list goes on and on. My conclusion is: everyone is a liar and nothing ever goes according to plan.

When the SNA is actively training in primary-yes they are busy with studying and prepping for flights/simulators. The training includes more ground school, contact, basic instruments, precision aerobatics, formation, radio instrument navigation, night familiarization, and visual navigation. However, there is downtime to be had when the weather is crap or the schedule is backed up and training drags on and on and on. This allows for the SNA to spend unneccessary amounts of money on things because they’re bored and dreaming of greener pastures. Just my SNA? Didn’t think so.

Since Thanksgiving and Christmas occurred during this time in training, my husband was able to take leave for 5 days at Thanksgiving, Wednesday-Sunday, and then 6 days post Christmas, Thursday-Tuesday.

At the close of primary training (if it ever ends), the SNA submits their dream sheet for what they would like to fly for advanced training, and many cases- the rest of their career.  Their dream sheet of their top 3 choices is submitted on the Tuesday after they complete all of their training events and then the selection results are shared on Thursdays.

Advanced Training: TBD. The options include jets at either NAS Kingsville or NAS Meridian, E2/C2s at NAS Corpus Christi following on to NAS Meridian after a few months, P3s/P8s at NAS Corpus Christi, or Rotary at NAS Whiting Field. Word on the street is, it will be at least April of this year (2018) before he would check in for Advanced training. We shall see!

So why is the list at the beginning of this post a bunch of lies? Allow me to explain.

  1. Flight school for Student Naval Aviators (SNAs) goes quick.
    • We’re already over a year in, and it will be incredibly unlikely for him to be completed and winged in 11 months. But…. cue the motto: We shall see! 
  2. SNAs will be entirely consumed by flight school, with little time for anything else.
    • This is part truth, part lie. When they are actively training- Yes, they should be consumed with studying, if they want to keep their scores up and not kicked out of the program. However, there is a lot of downtime in between phases and when the weather sucks. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It’s nice to be able to spend time with your SNA. Bonus points if you can go a whole evening without talking about an airplane or the Navy.
  3. Every SNA wants to fly jets in advanced.
    • My husband, and many other SNAs want to fly jets. They’re the fastest and I think Top Gun has a lot to do with it. But there are a lot of SNAs who want to fly other aircraft for their career. Allegedly P8s have the best schedule flexibility for a homelife. And rotary opens up a lot of options for where you could end up after getting winged. Regardless of what they may want, the needs of the Navy will ultimately prevail.
  4. SNAs will move quicker through the training pipeline in Corpus Christi vs. Milton.
    • lies. straight up lies. SNAs in Milton that classed up for primary after my husband have already selected.
  5. There is no crying in flight school.
    • I may not have cried, but I have become increasingly anxious the longer it takes and the uncertainty of when and where we will go next.
  6. Mustaches look sexy.
    • They don’t. Why are mustaches a thing in flight school?!?fullsizeoutput_11c2

I’ll come back and update this post as we continue to move through the pipeline. Assuming we ever make it through. Flight School Survival.png

 

 

Military

Preparing for a Military Move

This was originally published on the Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them. Preparing for a Military Move-3

Moving is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Add to that the seemingly complicated amount of paperwork, communicating with the right departments, moving companies and your spouse, and moving as a military family can feel downright overwhelming.

Fortunately, the military is aware that a knowledgeable and informed family makes your life and their lives much easier! If you are a Navy family, Navy Household Goods is holding a series of webinars to answer any and all of your moving questions. You can read all about what will be covered and how to access the the webinars on their flier.HHG Webinar schedule - Jan - Mar 2018-2HHG Webinar schedule - Jan - Mar 2018

Not a Navy family? No worries! Move.mil also has very informative tutorials on their website, which can be found by clicking here!

My advice is to not wait until you’re facing a move to be educated on the topic. You will go into the experience much more at ease if you take the time to learn all you can now. I’ve been through two permanent change of station (PCS) moves, and I still intend on attending the webinars. There may be something new or improved that I don’t know, the military does love switching things up on us! Am I right?

Health · Military · Random Ramblings · Travel

Long Time No Blog

Guess who’s back… back again…. List Five Blog’s back… tell a friend…. If you didn’t rap that in your head, we can’t be friends.

Well it’s been 8 months since my last post, or 33 weeks and 6 days or 237 days to be exact! Oh how I have missed thee! It really doesn’t feel like it has been that long. So much has happened since my last post in May, job changes and A LOT of traveling. I will write more detailed posts about all of the exciting events, and try to leave out all the boring stuff, over the next few weeks.

Why haven’t I written? Have I been so busy? I’m tempted to say yes, but the fact that I’ve had time to binge watch ALL seasons of the Jersey Shore speaks a louder- NO. I guess it just got away from me. I had numerous instances where I would have thoughts about writing again, but it just never came to fruition.

I knew it was time to get to writing again though when 3 different people in the last week asked me what was going on with my blog, or lack thereof. My sincerest apologies if you enjoyed my ramblings in 2017 and felt completely lost without them (highly doubtful).

So here is a quick highlights reel of the last 8 months:

  1. May 2017- When we left off, my mother in law was visiting us in Texas from Maryland. Later in the month, the bestie came for a visit. We went to San Antonio, Texas for a long weekend.
  2. June 2017- The husband and I went for a trip to visit his brother and boyfriend in Seattle, Washington- I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest.
  3. July 2017- I rejoined the workforce as a Subject Matter Expert in Mathematics. We also explored a bit more of Texas with rivertubing in New Braunfels. MayJuneJuly
  4. August 2017- Since I have a history of working too much, I took on a second job at a local elementary school as a special education paraeducator. I also took a vacation to the Outer Banks, NC with my bestie’s family. The husband stayed in Texas to continue his flight training. Oh and we faced a bit of crazy weather. Hurricane Harvey- you might’ve heard of it.
  5. September 2017- Lots of working and dreaming of future trips.
  6. October 2017- I flew back to Delaware for my grandfather’s funeral. My sister and nieces came to visit us in Texas from Delaware!AugSeptOct
  7. November 2017- Because I can’t stop traveling, I took a roadtrip of New England with my bestie, followed by staying in Maryland to help my mother in law recover from a surgery. It was my birthday and Thanksgiving!
  8. December 2017- Traveling is wonderful, but it’s nice to be back into a routine and working again. At least until we took a little camping trip to Big Bend National Park in west Texas after Christmas. Spending New Years on the Rio Grande is a fantastic way to bring in the New Year!
  9. January 2018- I deactivated my facebook *gasp*! What will I do with all my free time?! Stay tuned my friends. Stay tuned.  NovDecJan

More about my plans for 2018 and everything that happened in 2017 in future posts. I hope all of my readers have been well and I look forward to catching up with you all soon!

Travel

Preliminary Life in Corpus Christi, Texas

We’ve been in Texas now for a month. There are a couple things I noticed immediately upon crossing the state line from Louisiana into Texas (besides the dead armadillo on the side of the road).

  1. I’ll be damned if everything didn’t suddenly feel bigger. The trucks got bigger, the land seemed to open up, my hair rose about 3 inches. It’s true that everything is bigger in Texas.everything is bigger in Texas
  2. The radio stations. I’d say about 33% became church music. 33% became country. 33% became latin music. 1% everything else.
  3. Bad drivers. When I lived in Delaware, I thought Pennsylvania drivers were the worst. When I lived in Florida, I thought, well I was wrong… Florida drivers are the worst. Now that I’m in Texas, I was wrong… Texas drivers are the worst. Danger. Danger around every corner my friend.
  4. Drive-thrus. There is literally every restaurant I’ve ever heard of and not heard of in Corpus Christi. And almost every single one has a drive thru. I guess it makes sense why it has been named the fattest city in the country.
  5. HEAT. Goodness gracious is it hot. It was only mid April when we arrived and it took us 6+ hours to unload our moving truck. Not because of how much stuff we have, but because we had to keep taking breaks to recuperate from the heat. It is hot. It is humid. And it is not even summer.

In our first month here, we’ve only done a little bit of exploring. Mostly our time has been spent settling in and adjusting to our new basecamp, but we have been able to get out a bit.

  1. Padre Island. One of the first excursions we took was a drive down to Padre Island.
    • We had lunch at Mikel May’s, which is a wonderful place literally hanging over the water. I recommend the seafood nachos. Thick, crispy freshly fried tortillas drenched in parmesan cheese, gulf shrimp, crab meat, and scallops.Lunch Date on the WaterSeafood Nachos
    • We drove down the beach, literally right on the beach. The sand is pretty packed so you don’t need 4 wheel drive to explore, especially if you stick close to the surf. During our drive we came a campsite of a group of people who were mostly nude. This was not a nude beach, but to each his own! We were definitely overdressed, so we turned around and headed back.Off the Gulf Coast in Texas
  2. Farmer’s Markets
    • I have really grown to love farmer’s markets. Being a conscious consumer and supporting local artisans and small business owners is something we should all strive to do more. I’ve been able to find two farmer’s markets in Corpus Christi. The Southside farmer’s market is on Saturdays. My first visit included maybe a dozen vendors and I picked up some homemade soap from one vendor and green beans from another. The second week was their semi-annual craft fair and they had about 40 vendors with everything from musicians, live chickens, jewelry, crafts, baked goods, and fruits and vegetables. There is another farmer’s market in downtown Corpus Christi on Wednesday evenings from 5pm-7pm. I have not been able to venture down there yet, but it is on my to-do list.
  3. Movies and Shopping
    • Corpus Christi has so much shopping! Just like they have every restaurant you could imagine, there is also every store you could ever want to spend all your money in. I haven’t done a significant amount of shopping, besides groceries-in which case, I recommend the HEB- but it’s nice to know the option is there. And believe me, ALL the options are there.
    • I love going to the movies. I’ve grown a deep affinity for popcorn, and have been known to drive 1.5 hours to attend a dine-in theater. I am not ashamed. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a dine-in theater in Corpus Christi yet, but the one theater closest to us has an IMAX and even their standard viewing rooms have these AMAZING reclining seats. It really takes the experience above and beyond.Movie Theater lounging
  4. Downtown Waterfront Strip
    • Finally three weekends into moving here I was able to convince my husband to go explore downtown with me. It was very beautiful! Spanning the entire waterfront there are white gazebos for overlooking the green water. You can spend the afternoon on a rented pedal bike, jet ski, or boat tour. Or you can even buy seafood right off the fisherman’s boat on the pier! Talk about farm to table!! I was most excited to come across the Selena memorial. This was easily the most popular point of the waterfront. Everyone was taking photos with the statue commemorating the life and loss of Selena. The memorial is beautifully crafted with a life-size statue of her entire body and a white rose bloom. There are also murials painted on the water-facing side of the pavilion. Corpus Christi also has a museum for Selena, which I will be sure to visit in the future.IMG_8389IMG_8390
    • Also located at the far end of the waterfront strip is the Art Museum of South Texas. Every first Friday of the month they offer free admission into the museum. If you love art museums this is a great way to spend a couple hours of your time. There is also a spectacular view of the bay, a wonderful cafe if you get hungry or thirsty, and a marvelous fountain with large sculptures outside. The Art Museum is not the only museum located here. There is also the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. I have yet to visit this museum, but will certainly give a review when we do.IMG_8450Art Museum of South Texas.pngIMG_8449
  5.  Corpus Christi Bay
    • Since my husband is in the military, we are able to rent boats from the Morale,  Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) on base. There are public companies for civilians to do this as well. We rented and 18 ft boat to explore the waters surrounding Corpus Christi. What an amazing way to see the coast and wildlife! We traveled down the shore to get a different view of downtown, the base, the oil rigs out in the water, wind turbines, and Padre Island. Outstanding views!corpus christi bay
    • Part of our boat adventures included docking at Doc’s Seafood Restaurant for lunch. We pulled the boat right up to the back of the restaurant, tied ourselves to the dock, and had a scrumptious lunch before heading back out on the water. I highly recommend the Ahi Tuna Sandwich! My mother in law also said her shrimp and avocado salad was the BEST salad she’s ever had!Doc's Seafood Restaurant
    • There is so much wildlife to see as well. There are 3 dolphins that seem to hang out near the base a lot. I’ve named them Boris, Helga, and Juniper. So many different birds! Big ones, small ones, the ones with the big beaks, I clearly don’t know birds, but there are many and fun to watch the big ones dive bomb into the water with a big splash as they hunt for fish. Speaking of fish, the fish literally jump out of the water down here! It’s quite comical to see! Oh and the jellyfish– not comical to see, and I will NOT be getting into the water.

I guess we have seen and done a lot more than it feels like. And there is so much more on my list! I have my mother in law visiting, and my best friend coming at the end of May. These are perfect opportunities to do more exploring. The definites on my list include going to the USS Lexington, the Selena Museum, Texas Surf Museum, and a Hooks baseball game. My possibly/maybe list would include horseback riding on the beach, the Texas State Aquarium, and glow in the dark mini golf. These are budget dependent.

Stay tuned for more travel updates! Sometimes we get so wrapped up wanting to travel to new and faraway places, we forget to explore where we live! Take a day and be a tourist in your own town! What have you never seen where you currently reside?

Health

Winning at Weight Loss

I DID IT!! I had family visit and I still was able to lose weight! winning at weight loss pin.png

It can be so challenging to stay on track when you have family or friends visiting you. They’re on vacation, and whenever someone is on vacation, of course a favorite thing to do is eat!

I was so worried that with my mother in law being here this week, that we would go out to eat and I would make poor choices. I was so worried that I would stress eat, because I tend to get frazzled a bit with visitors. However, I can say my eating was on point, I did most of my workouts, and I am super pumped with how my week turned out!

  1. Eating Plan
    • Typically I make my menu for the week on Sunday, I was off track a bit with my MIL visiting, so I didn’t get to do it until Monday morning, followed by my grocery shopping to make the menu successful. I plan out every single meal. This is breakfast, lunch, dinner, 2 snacks and a dessert, every day.
    • This week, I’ll share my breakfasts, they’re always the same. I alternate oatmeal with fruit, or turkey bacon and scrambled eggs 6 days a week, and pancakes on Sunday.
      • I eat the Quaker brand weight control oatmeal, slice up some strawberries/bananas, or blueberries/bananas. IMG_8490
      • I pan fry Butterball brand turkey bacon, mix up one large egg with 1/2cup egg whites and scramble. Top with some ketchup and enjoy!IMG_8437
      • For pancakes I whip up 1 cup bisquick, 1 large egg, 1/2 cup almond milk, and 1 table spoon of vanilla. I portion out 7 pancakes on a griddle and top with about 4 ghiradelli dark chocolate chips. Flip, and when they’re done I drizzle on some sugar free syrup. Sundays are for pancakes. Sundays are for Pancakes-2.png
  2. Workout Regimen
    • C25K– Have you started it yet? You really need to download this free app. I completed week 2, and I am so thrilled with how my training is coming along.
      • I haven’t experienced any of the hip pain I was getting the last time I tried to pick up running again.
      • I love how it literally takes zero thought on my end. It tells me when to run, and when to walk.
      • I never, ever, ever, thought I would run for exercise. This app really makes it so easy and borderline enjoyable…. well, at least tolerable.
    • Yoga- I alternate yoga with C25K, 30 minutes, 3x/week
      • I have a couple youtube videos I’ve found that I like:
        • Tone it Up
        • Yoga with Kassandra
    • Large Muscle Groups- In the afternoon/evening I do 20/30 min of exercises focused on different muscle groups. I have workouts I follow through YouTube and Pinterest. I’ll share those another time.
      • Tuesday: Arms
      • Wednesday: Back
      • Thursday: Abs
      • Friday: Legs
  3. Restaurant Success
    • It’s so tough to eat healthy when you go out to eat. I wrote how you can eat out, and stay on track on the post When Weight Loss and Real Life Collide. I actually took my own advice this week!
      • I made our dining out part of my eating plan, so there weren’t any surprises, scoped out the menu prior to going, and had amazingly delicious, but still healthy food while dining out. Everybody wins!
  4. Water
    • I’ve been slacking a bit with my water intake. I haven’t been drinking sodas or alcohol instead, but I haven’t been drinking as much as my body needs.
    • This week I made sure to increase my water intake and it has really helped with my appetite. For two weeks I had the biggest appetite, and I was so pissed about it. Well now it makes sense. I wasn’t drinking enough water.
    • I try to get at least 120 ounces of water in.
  5. Weight Loss Update
    • My goal for this month is 3%/6.4lbs
    • Week one: 2.4 lb loss
    • Week two: 2 lb gain
    • Week three: 3 lb lossWeight Loss Transformation.png
Random Ramblings

Finding Identity and Purpose

My world was just rocked by Selena Gomez.

The humansofny instagram page shared a photo of her at the Met Gala and she was quoted,

“I feel like I’m just starting, but I think I’d be fine if it all went away. I get that from my mother. From the moment I started singing, she always reminded me that all of this was a privilege, and could be taken at any moment. So singing is not how I define myself. I try to keep my identity rooted in my friendships and my faith.”

This spoke volumes to me as I’ve struggled with my identity and sense of purpose so much over the last couple months. It’s gotten even more difficult the last couple weeks. I have built so much of my identity into my career and defining my success and myself off of how much I work, how much money I make, and how I am titled.

identity and purpose graphic.png

I need to change this dialogue. I am not my job title. I am not defined by how much money I make. I have a purpose and identity outside of that.

I took some time to read and reflect old blog posts, (well not that old since I have only been blogging for a few months)… I had so much passion and hope and truly connected with what writing was giving me. I need to explore that more. Because I am more.

So what defines me and my identity?

  1. Advocacy and helping others
    • At a recent interview, one of the questions they asked me was what motivates me. And honestly I thrive when I feel like the work I am doing has a purpose. I want to help others, I want to empower others. I want to leave my community, my world better than I found it.
    • It was easy to align this with my job with the Delaware Readiness Teams, and I was feeling like I needed a job that fulfilled this in the same way. I believe I will someday. But I believe I also do this through my writing. Not only here on my personal website, but also through the volunteer blogging I do for the Military Spouse Advocacy Network.
  2. Family
    • Family is not only defined by blood. I am incredibly lucky to be close with my brother, sister, my in-laws, my best friends, and my best friend’s immediate family as well. Oh and my husband. Him too.img_4122img_7189
  3. Values
    • I’ve spent the last few months really getting to know myself and confirming where I stand on issues, and my beliefs. I believe in being a good person. I believe in all people. And I hope I can be an advocate for those beliefs.
  4. Independence
    • I am a strong woman who don’t need no man.
    • Seriously though, even though I know I have people I can depend on, I take a lot of pride in knowing I can and do take care of problems myself. Everything from hanging pictures in my home, to cutting the grass, to fixing the vacuum, to absolutely anything. I firmly believe I can do just about anything.
  5. I don’t have a number 5.

How do you define yourself? If you lost one of those identifiers, would you feel lost? Without a clear and defined career, that’s exactly how I was feeling. But I’m glad I have had the opportunity to delve deeper and redefine myself. Thanks Selena Gomez. 

Health

Weight Loss Trials and Tribulations

This week has been tougher than last week. I took the time on Sunday to meal plan, to schedule out my days, and plan out my workouts. I had everything set up to make it a successful week. Despite this planning, I have had multiple hardships try to get in my way.

Weight Loss Trials and Tribulations pin graphic.png

  1. I have had the biggest appetite all week.
  2. And then my husband asked me to make him banana bread, so I had a couple of unplanned pieces of that. (I make pretty delicious banana bread, I’ll have to share the recipe some time)
  3. I skipped a couple of my workouts. No valid reason why, other than being lazy.
  4. I had a couple of unplanned snacks. (See #1)
  5. No #5, so just 4 self-sabotaging, flagrant attacks on my weight loss endeavors.

Now even though I have had to combat all of these challenges this week, I also took some pretty awesome steps to stay on the healthy track.

  1. On Monday I started the c25k app to track and train my running again. I love, love, love this app for multiple reasons.
    • It’s only 3x a week, so I don’t get burnt out with running.
    • It tells me when to run and when to walk during my training, so it literally takes zero thought on my part.
    • I can listen to music, or chat on the phone with my brother while still using the app
  2. On Tuesday I picked up a yoga mat and two 3lb hand weights to improve my at home workouts.
  3. Even though I skipped a few workouts, I still worked out everyday, just not all of the workouts I had planned. Currently my schedule is different activities 3x a day. I knew when I made this schedule that I wouldn’t really be able to commit to such an aggressive plan, so I don’t feel terrible about missing some of these workouts. The activities are:
    • alternating running or yoga in the morning,
    • focused muscle groups in the afternoon,
    • alternating walking/bike riding in the evening.
  4. I posted a workout/food daily on my instagram. Feel free to follow me there @cjampics or click on the link to your right/bottom of this page. These posts keep me accountable. Apparently they haven’t gotten too annoying to anyone yet either. Mostly I get comments about them being a motivation for others to workout/eat healthier too!
  5. I don’t have a #5. Letting down my namesake (listfiveblog) left and right.

What does this all mean for the scale? If you recall, I was on track to lose my 3% weight loss goal for this month. Specifically I had lost 2.4 lbs in week one. This week I am .4 lbs down from my starting weight. Let’s make this next week better.