Friday, May 27, 2011

Feeling

Feeling is the best word to explain the past week. Feelings of pain, joy, accomplishment, love, and even anger have consumed my mind and body. Feeling the emotions of life is a beautiful gift that I believe my parents taught me at a young age and I have embraced completely. Life is so much sweeter when you feel from the inside and truly embrace emotions whether it's sobbing tears to the point of gasping for air and smeared mascara on your pillow, laughing until your abs are burning and tears are trickling down your face, or caring so much that your heart feels as if it's growing in your chest, feeling is precious.

Ryan's grandfather passed away on May 25th and tears were shed across the country. While I have not known him as long as others, he was a strong, faithful, and extremely sweet man who was a dedicated wife, father, grandfather and great grandfather. His love of life, his family and golf will live on in all of those who experienced him. I am truly blessed to have known him and I will forever hold him in my heart. To Ryan, his grandfather and his father are the two most important grown men in his life and I pray that compassion is bestowed upon him and beautiful memories fill his mind and heart. Tears have been shed and will continue to be shed for the loss of a wonderful man whom opened his heart and home to me the moment he met me. His wink and endearing smile will forever be imprinted on heart.



Ryan and his grandpa


Four Generations of Handsome & Loving Men


Feelings of accomplishment overcame as well this past week. I officially created an etsy site after crafting several more headbands and taking higher quality photographs. Custom orders are encouraged as well. My email is bettysbabybowtique@yahoo.com.




Accomplishment was also felt when I completed an 8 hour Advanced Motor Boating course and became a Virginia lifetime certified skipper!! Melissa and I were two of three girls amidst a sea of men and we rocked it! We were the 2nd and 3rd people done and we drove the boat like total studs! It we impressive and felt really good!!!


When Ryan came home Saturday morning, he walked into a clean house, Amura the cute little bunny chilling in the backyard, coffee brewing and me in the kitchen cooking him a lovely breakfast! That was the start of a wonderful weekend and our first almost full weekend in months! It is amazing and sad what you can get used to living with. After a wonderful breakfast and some snuggle time, we headed out to Home Depot and dreamed! Then it was off to Best Buy where we walked out empty handed because we couldn't for the life of us remember why we went there. Lesson learned: write it down. After that mishap, it was off to the golf course! We only played 9-holes because that's all I generally play; the first 7 were good, the last 2 were horrible. Talk about ending on a low note...ugh. The good news is that I played all 9 holes with the same golf ball!! That's an accomplishment for me!


Feelings of love consumed the entire weekend! We grabbed a cold beer after golfing and went out for sushi in downtown! It was like a date day and night! Sunday was no different! We went canoeing and fishing for a few hours and it was glorious! I caught 4 huge catfish and Ryan caught 2 huge catfish and a sunny! He wins by variety, I will by numbers! Fishing is so much better when you actually catch fish! A lovely afternoon spent on an extremely still lake with my baby was perfect! That night, we made homemade pizza and I drug him to a Big Band performance. Little did I know that we would be the youngest people there and that it wasn't traditional big band music...oops. It was free though! Oh and my baby danced with me! Thanks Sweetie! I know it's not natural for you to dance and I love you for getting out that and spinning me around because I love it! Muah!


Sunday ended with me falling asleep on the couch like the old lady I am and Monday morning started with a kiss and me telling Ryan he looked cute! He smiled! Today was Memorial day and I spent it away from my sailor... He worked while I mowed the lawn, weeded, watered and cleaned. Dinner was spent together and I made him a sweet little treat of chocolate covered strawberries! Yum! Conversation was flowing and feelings were brewing... Please say a prayer that the worries don't come true.


Happy Memorial Day to all the good men and women who have served and are serving our beautiful country. God Bless you.


Much love.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Amura

Amura: meaning Big Smile

Gender: Unisex

Origin: Polynesian

Potential: Helper

Desire: Freedom

My little bunny has finally been named, Amura. I googled "names meaning smile" because every time I walk out back and I see her/him hopping around, nibbling grass, sunbathing, I get a huge smile and get a sudden urge to take photos! Amura popped up in the results and seemed to fit the mold. I don't know if baby bunny is a male or female, so a unisex name is perfect! Amura and her mama are always out back nibbling my grass which is a huge help to me...I only have to mow once every two weeks now! And last but not least little bunny wants freedom from all the dogs and cars in the neighborhood. Luckily, squash plants and parsley are yummy foods to her/him and I have lots to provide.

Enjoy this slideshow of my new little friend.


Soaking up the rays! This one cracks me up! Didn't even flinch when I saw her and started snapping pictures!

Bunnies are cute! I've never had a positive experience with a baby bunny growing up, but we were always rescuing the bunny from a cat or such and once a human touches a bunny, the mama abandons it. One time my cat had just had kittens and she let a little bunny nurse with her kittens! The bunny lived longer than others in the past, but it still died.


Watching this little guy grow is exciting to me! I love nature!





Eat Up!



Much love.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Couponing

In an effort to be faithful to one of my New Years Resolutions...being thrifty...I have recently started couponing. It is not easy, but it is satisfying when you save over 50% of the value of your purchase.


Thankfully, I have a good friend who is a coupon pro and has been guiding me. Apparently sticking with it and being organized, knowing store policies, and finding a few great websites to follow are key. Several stores double coupon that are under $1 and most accept a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon.


I have been doing it for a little over two weeks and when I use coupons, I save anywhere from 50% to 80% and that is pretty sweet! Granted, I am not saving that on my entire order, I am only saving that on items that I have coupons for. Ryan and I are not 100% brand loyal people which is good, but we do have preferences and we eat a lot of fresh food which rarely has coupons. I don't plan to be an Extreme Couponer, but it would be really nice to be able to live off of $200 or less in groceries each month. When it is just me at home, that is easy peasy, but when the hubby and kiddo are here, that will be a little more difficult. Luckily, if I stick with it, my savings should only increase!


Since I am not working (I know you this doesn't bother you honey), it bothers me to spend money on myself. But when I can save with coupons, I feel much better if I have to spend money on myself or any luxuries like the $13 mojito from Date Night!


Resources:


The coupons in a Sunday paper


Facebook has a lot of pages that are geared toward saving/couponing


Restaurant.com is great for dinner dates and gifts!


There are also a ton of blogs about couponing such as KrazyCouponlady, CouponChallenge, but the food stores are geared toward my area of the country.


I will continue to update you on my progress. Wish me luck! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask, I will be sure to try to direct you in the proper direction.


On a free note, I won a beautiful pair of earrings this weekend. They are silver teardrop hoops with crystally looking diamonds on them. On a thrifty note, I purchased a dresser for my stepson's room! It is three large drawers, painted black which is the color we planned on painted any dresser we got and it does not have any hardware. We will have to get some at Home Depot and they just happen to give a 15% military discount! Pictures to come!




Much love.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Date Night

Oh Date Nights how I love thee! Ryan came home from work today and we were both in great moods which sadly hasn't been the case lately, so we took full advantage of it! After a little gardening teamwork style, some paperwork, lots of kisses and some grill action, we headed to the beach! Our intentions were to walk the beach and then dream in Home Depot about the perfect kitchen, master bath...ahh!


We started walking and went into a few stores along the way...


My baby loves his glasses. No purchases were made here this evening.


And a big congrats to my honey once again for being admitted to the iMBA Penn State program! It's cool going to a school that people actually know. Between the Phillies hat that he wears for me and his Penn State sweatshirt, he is one popular dude! This football was a little reminder of just how cool Pennsylvania the State really it! :)


After seeing this, my ears perked up. Is that music I hear? Oh heck yea it is! And guess what? It's live and free! Just my style! Neptune's Corner, I heart you! Thank you for making a little walk along the beach absolutely amazing.



Neptune was pretty sweet even as night fell (right). He was huge!


And the vibe, well it was awesome! Anyone and everyone was welcome! Notice Mohawk dude! Love his hair! There was a preppy golf couple that broke a beautiful blue glass the moment they sat down and looked beyond embarrassed, but no one seemed to care. The Steelers fans were so relaxed decked out from head to toe to cellphone covers with Steeler logos while enjoying cold turn the Rockys blue Coors Lites! Kids were playing lacrosse in the grassy patch and while I'd like to say kids, but can't, grown men were doing tricks with their bikes. It was a neat evening! Oh and who can forget, the waitress nearly ignored us, so we made friends with the bartender, Ryan to exact! He gave us dessert menus and made me the most amazing peach cranberry mojito! I giggled it was so good! :) The downside...that mojito cost us $13. So much for a cheap night. Sorry babe. I didn't know :(






Above: My Mojito and the fire pit. It was a communal, 10 people sit around fire pits kind of place. Very beachy! I think I am starting to like this place a lot more. Summer, bring on the fun!


And of course, the music! You gotta love live performances by locals that are actually good! Classic rock, some crazy country, Billy Joel, and many others were music to our ears last night!


Alas, we bit ye farewell Neptune. Thanks for watching over us and letting us have a grand time together! Date nights are the best!

Much love.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Supportive

Anything boys can do, girls can do better! Ok, so maybe not better, but we can do it!


I have been pondering over what to write in my next this blog post because my days have been very mundane recently, but this article put a whole new light on them. While life can appear to be mundane with routines taking over and household chores and food shopping being daily norms, they are completely necessary. I may not be working full time, but I am getting my masters and the house is always in order, the yard work done, the pantry stocked, laundry done, dinners thought of and prepped, birthday cards sent and signed with love, etc. etc.... these things don't just happen on their own and I am honored to do them, but would they be done if I was working full time?? The answer is Yes, they probably would, but my free time now that I can spend with my family would be slim to none and I treasure that time because as a military wife, you don't know when it will be snatched out from underneath of you. As the article mentions, the military labels us dependents, and while there are some wives whom are just that, the majority of us are supporters. We make the home function smoothly while our best friend and soulmate is serving our country; we do a man's job at home because it's the right thing to do and we don't want to add any distractions to our husband's already stressful lives. We support them through and through. Ryan says that I make his life ten times easier and that without me he wouldn't be able to do what he does. We all know that he would still be able to do what he does, but knowing that you have a loving wife supporting you is the light at the end of the tunnel which gives him an extra boost each day. Without Ryan, I would not be the woman I am today. My level of independence, confidence and understanding of what loving someone through thick and thin truly means have grown tremendously this past year.



Back to cleaning: Cleaning is generally very calming for me and while I may not always enjoy it, the end result is glorious! Plopping down in a chair with a glass of ice water and a killer song on the radio in the middle of a clean house puts a smile on my face. While cleaning comes totally naturally to me...I think it's in my blood...trimming bushes does NOT come naturally, but you bet your booty, I trimmed the front bushes this morning!






Shaping the bushes was just fine, but my lack of height and extremely weak arms proved to be the challenging aspects. I was in my tippy toes much more than anticipated and one can only hold a trimmer straight out in front of her for so long...my breaking point was about 25 minutes and that was with a few breaks. Lesson learned: keep working on those push ups and pull ups babydoll! Ironically, last weekend I was bragging to my mom about how strong my arms are getting. Bahaha! Silly me!



Fun: M.A. Econ students can have fun too! A little cookout of burgers, veggie kabobs, homemade cookies in which phrases such as "these are the best cookies I've ever eaten...for real...they are" were dropped and I smiled, strawberry rhubarb pie and homemade whipped cream, and beer led to lots of laughter! I always seem to worry about having people over because I can only control the food, not the atmosphere, and I hate that, but I must say, this past Tuesday was a blast! The realization that people are having fun, laughing, chatting, enjoying good food and all with no effort, is a beautiful thing! Happy is an understatement as to how I was feeling Tuesday evening.




So, I'm still not great at capturing semi low light movement clearly, but practice makes perfect! I love these crazies!



Weather: Hail?!?! Really Mother Nature?!? Hail in May in Virginia? Crazy! It was quite ironic and scary because I was chatting with my mom and she was telling me that my brother had to go to a secure area for a tornado warning this afternoon when the skies got dark, wind picked up and hail started pouring from the sky. It was not a comfortable situation. Instantly I began thinking what do I do if there is a tornado warning? There aren't basements here...Oh my heavens, I hope my car isn't getting dented by the larger than marble sized hail... Then is all stopped, the skies cleared and the sun broke through. My car is fine, phew!



School: Well, as most of you know, I am getting my masters in economics and with that comes a thesis statement i.e. paper. This summer I am working on my reading/research portion and then late summer, early fall I will begin my writing. My topic revolves around consumer protection, economic theory regulation and the Dodd Frank Act. Thrilling eh?!?! It is to me, but not to most. Basically, I want to apologize in advance for future posts that revolve around venting my frustrations with the paper.



Much love.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Emotions

As I sit here with a glass of wine, I reflect on my life with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes. A roller coaster ride only begins to explain my moods and emotions lately. Over the past several months, the number of goodbyes and welcome homes have been endless and they begin to wear on a heart...my heart. After a good cry and conversation with my wonderful husband, I always seem to feel worlds better. Communication in all forms, words, hugs, kisses, tones, letters, is a strength of ours...thank God! It is through all the times apart that we have learned to communicate verbally and through written words, but Lord only knows just how much I cannot wait until our face to face communication outweighs our distance communication. Military life is rough, but for your soulmate, anything is worth it and I sure have my soulmate!




Sunshine puts a smile on my face and yard work makes me feel accomplished, so what better to do on a duty day when I am down and out then get outside and work in the gardens!




Our little pepper plant that is growing like a stud in an old paint can of my daddy's.






Above: The left side of my driveway...fern, flowering bush, cute little flower
Below: The right side of my driveway...mint, daffodils, cute little flower




My little seedlings are starting to really grow! The chives are struggling a bit, but I'm sure they will start growing like weeds anytime now! The acron square are doing great though! There is such a beauty in watching handplanted seedlings grow into blossoming plants! I am such my father's daugher! Thank you daddy for giving me your green thumb and your love of gardening! I only hope to achieve your level of perfection and creativity!







Our baby bunny stopped by for a visit. I have yet to catch a photo of our flightless birdie that likes to chase the lawnmower, but one day I will!



Oh and a little creativity for the afternoon...my new earring holder! Thank you to my brother and his girlfriend for the idea! It's perfect!






After visiting Ryan on the ship for a little dinner of homemade calzones, I came home to see this hanging on my neighbors garage! Her love it coming home!!






No matter the time or place, a sign like this puts a loving tear in my eye! Welcome home hero! God bless our troops! Thank you for your love, courage and dedication; you are truly heros in my eyes!

Much love.

I Heart Faces: Flower Photography

This is the perfect opportunity for me to share some of my floral photography!


I heart flowers!












much love.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Living life

My parents' puppy just keeps getting bigger which is a good thing to them because they have acres and need a large dog with a strong bark! Her bark still has some growing to do, but with each visit, it gets stronger and less squeaky! Isn't she a cutie?


She also shares the family's love of flowers!



These were completely candid! I was taking some alone time walking around the yard and she was bouncing around behind me, jumping at at trees (she's a bird chasing dog), and apparently smelling flowers...or should I say eating flowers! :)


My best friend was on her to town from Houston, but her first flight was delayed which led to her missing her connection and resulted in a 10:30pm arrival :( It was a bummer since we only had a few hours to hang out as it was, but we made the most of it because that's what the Sarahs do! I enjoyed some quiet time and snapped a few pictures of the house and gardens before heading to the city and yapping my head off for hours!



The top of my parent's house...


Sarah's visit was short, but sweet! We enjoyed an evening and morning of talking wedding and life! I love seeing her and cannot wait for her to get married this summer! It is going to be perfect! Next time I promise to visit her (she's always flying to me and I really need to step up my game and visit her). Soon darling, I promise!


Oh and I got my hair cut! Two plus inches gone and some flippy layers later and I am unsure girl. I never love my hair when it is first cut... After a few weeks, I get used to it and generally love it. Hopefully that happens this time. Ryan likes it a lot, so that's good! Then again, I don't think he would dislike anything on me. :) Love you babe!



I drove back to VA on Saturday after a sad farewell with Sarah. I didn't cry, but I wanted to. I don't know what it is, but when it comes to goodbyes, I am emotional. Every time I leave my parents, I fight back tears. My strength at holding back tears has improved significantly since being a navy wife, but the emotions still bubbles beneath the surface, so just because I don't show my emotions doesn't mean they aren't there.


This is my first sign of home...




The sight of this bridge and the barren trees lets me know that a long bridge and a few tunnels separate me from my home. The smell of the ocean has never been associated with home for me, but for the next year and half it will be. I'm learning to love it a little more every day. No longer will that salty smell remind me of just vacations and trips to the shore... I'm living life.



Man amazes me.


Much love.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I'm the Coolest Aunt!

Ok, so maybe I just think I'm the coolest aunt, but these two cuties sure think I am pretty neat! Tickle fights in the grass, intense games of tag that generally result in face plants and laughter, high pushed swings, and of course spinning round and round and round occupy most of our time when we aren't at gramma's house because there we jump on the trampoline, spray poppop with water guns and dig!



These are the adorable faces that greeted me after a five hour drive with burning abs from the gut bust class I took the day before...and power walk with my mama!


She is such a big girl using a real big kid swing! I find it quite ironic the little one is in the big kid swing and the big kiddo himself is lovin' the PINK baby swing! Under dogs, which Gramma rocks at, and tootsie tickles were the excitements of swinging!

While I may be the coolest aunt, I sure am not the most timely aunt. I don't think I have ever given either of these two birthday presents on time...Oops. But who doesn't love getting a belated birthday present?!? It's such a welcomed surprise! I would like to change my ways, but I really prefer to give presents in person and living 5 hours away and being a military wife sometimes makes that a challenge...better late than never! So...I gave Miss Casey two bows and she modeled them at the same time for me!!


She's a cutie! One look at those eyes and you melt! Oh and she is one determined little girl! She does everything with gusto! Big brother, you better watch out! This one is on your tail! :)



I may be small, but I'm mighty!

We bid farewell and I headed off to meet up with a girlfriend for a little walk and talk at the outlets, but before any walking or talking occurred, I just had to snap this picture! These nuclear cooling towers have been part of my life since I can remember. They may be scary to some, but to me, they are part of life and totally normal. The cooling towers are majestic and billow steam clouds 24/7 and sound a practice alarm the first Wednesday of every month at the same exact time like clockwork.


Walks and talks are always interesting with two PMSing girls...sorry if that's too much detail, but if you are a girl, you know you get a little more moody, drama oriented, and opinionated than usual that time of the month...and I certainly was. It's funny how that happens...I look back at myself and think What were you such in a tizzy over and why in heaven's name did you feel the need to say such ridiculousness?? Eek! It's wonderful to have friends who love you and you love no matter what!



I came home to my family i.e. college graduate brother, hs junior punk of a bro, darling sister, crazy and oh so sweet puppy and my amazing and caring parents! The yard is looking better than ever. Every year springtime hits and the yard comes alive with color, but not without hours of loving labor. Thanks to my parent's, I had a very colorful upbringing and my children will always remember poppop's flower-filled yard! Here is a creative glimpse of my father's perfections...I didn't pick the most colorful ones...more to come in upcoming posts:





And who can forget, the grilling brother! Ryan and him are grilling machines and I love it! Veggies, steak and a fresh salad with a lovely daddy-made drink of tropical rum, OJ and cranberry juice (equal parts...it's yummy and super girlie!!)


We all watched American Idol and cried when James got voted off. Really America?!?! Scotty needs to go. I love Haley! Sis and Mom love Lauren! Dad just doesn't like Scotty. Brothers don't care. Pretty typical of the boys...


Today I had a super upbeat visit with my gramma, took my mama on a belated (see any patterns here) mother's day haircut date, took tons of pictures, got a tutoring job (Yay!), cleaned a bit and am now waiting to pick up my bestie!! Her flight is delayed, so I think it is nap time to ensure that I am in full Sarah mode for when she arrives! hehe! Can't wait! Happy Weekend to all!


Oh and Ryan is a pretty fantastic and super cool uncle!

Much love.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Enlarging Photos on Blogger

Hello Fellow Bloggers!

I was having issues making my photos large, even after I selected the "large" option from "small," "medium," and "large" options, so here is my solution, thanks to Stephmodo!

How to Enlarge Photos!

Original Size
s400





Enlarged
s576




Bigger Enlargement


s640




Much love.