Tag Archives: adventure

In the Army Now

24 Aug

I guess it’s a high time I talked about this. Time to bring it all out into the open. Time to let you know what has been on my mind besides babies and books.

I should preface this by saying that my husband’s job with the Army was never a long-term, definite thing. I entered in to my relationship with him under the assumption that he would not be staying in any armed forces until retirement. We weren’t “lifers”, as the military community often refers to it.

Captain J did his duty, deployed to Iraq once back in 2008-2009 and made the decision that once was enough for him. Together, we decided that when the rest of his commitment was up (about 15 months from now), we would happily make our way back to Tennessee or some neighboring Southern state and start new jobs and add to our family.

To be fair, J has always had big dreams that change pretty frequently. I knew this about him. During deployment, we read this blog and fantasized about buying a sailboat and cruising around the Caribbean for a year or two before finally growing up, getting jobs, and starting a family. After he got back from Iraq, our desires seemed to shift. We knew we wanted a child so we started thinking that our boating/vagabond plans could wait until we retired. We then started imagining ourselves somewhere in a small town with lots of land, a small hobby farm, and a couple of kids running around. It has only been until very recently that these daydreams have started changing yet again.

Captain J came home from work one day and caught me completely by surprise saying, “How would you feel if I didn’t get out of the Army?”

Umm, excuse me? Had I just heard him correctly? ALL of our plans, varied as they may be, had one thing in common and that was freedom. No more looming deployments or time out in the field. No more being owned by the U.S. Army. I thought he was more than ready to be a civilian again. Heck, talk to him long enough about growing a beard and you could probably convince him to get out in a heartbeat!

I answered his question truthfully: ” I don’t know.”

I really don’t know. Here’s what I do know-

I know I want J to be happy. I don’t think he will be happy in a job around our home town. He feels led to do something different, but he isn’t sure the transition from Infantry Officer to civilian desk job would fulfill him at all. The pay cut we would experience would definitely be a bummer, too. I would likely have to go back to work immediately as opposed to enjoying my time with Baby K before he enters kindergarten (Yuck! He can’t grow up!). And we come to my only reservation about staying in…

Baby K.

I want him to know his family. Both of our parents live in the same area, the area that is nowhere near any Army post. I think the closest we got to them was during our brief stay at Ft. Benning. I’m afraid of not having their influence in his life. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family and I want him to feel that, too as he grows older (Again, can I make that NOT happen?).

Anyway, the decision is still up in the air, but J is leaning towards staying in the Army, at least for a bit longer. We have already discussed and submitted our wishes for our next duty station. There are some exciting options in the works, but who knows what will happen. He still has plenty of time to decide.

And I still have plenty of time to fret over this. I think I’ve been doing that since I met him. If you’re thinking of getting hitched to the military, you should probably go ahead and disregard all plans you may have made in your pretty little head. They’ll definitely change. But you know what? I’m happier than I’ve ever been. So, my Master’s degree was put on hold for a few years…so what? I’m working on it now. In the mean time, I’ve made some great friends along the way, been fortunate enough to see much of this great country of ours, and have become a stronger person directly due to some of the things I’ve faced because of my husband’s job in the Army. It won’t be so bad if he decides to stay in. It might just be another adventure.

I’m still at the beginning of the last adventure he asked of me, though! ūüėČ It looks a lot like this:

Here’s to adventure! May God’s plans for us be our plans, too.

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Favorite Days

28 Jul

“Describe your favorite day.”

Every form of this question has left me feeling baffled and slightly sad when I heard it asked. Am I supposed to have a very favorite day that sticks out in my mind? Furthermore, should I be answering these questions like a good little lady by saying “my wedding day”? Or as a Christian, “the day I was saved”… Or when I’m a mother, will I say “the day K was born”?

I can’t imagine the latter. Maybe the day after K is born. I’m no masochist.

Still, I can’t imagine choosing one day in my entire life that is the most special to me. Perhaps this is a good thing because it may insinuate that I have many wonderful days, which I do. I’m not sure I could even choose a favorite day this year, but there are many runners-up. Walk down memory lane with me?

Captain J (pictured above) and I were in a small town in Alaska just beginning our journey across America. We were bordering Canada while our friends back in Fairbanks were experiencing an ice storm that debilitated the city for a while. Meanwhile, we were enjoying a mostly snow free experience in Alaska in November, which is almost unheard of for this area. The wind was fierce in that little town. It whipped our faces and watered our eyes as we fought against it with a¬†vengeance. Who else would walk our pups? This day was beautiful to me because we were together, experiencing a quaint town, and marveling in our last taste of Alaska for a long time. It’s one of my favorite days because we were headed to the lower 48 on a journey that had no time constraints. I cherish uninterrupted time with my soldier when I come across it.

Or maybe my favorite day is this one- when we felt warmth on our faces in sunny California for the first time in a long time. We drove the scenic route that meandered along the ocean for miles. Huge crashing waves provided our picture perfect views, waves we just aren’t accustomed to as East Coasters. There was a man in front of us on our drive riding his motorcycle. We got a chance to talk with him; he was discovering our great country with little more than the clothes on his back and the gas in his tank. As we walked away, we day dreamed about having few responsibilities and the freedom to just simply go.

It might have been this day as my brother, sister, and I snuck off to take pictures for my mom as a surprise Christmas gift. Ever terrible liars, Jake and I dodged phone calls from my mom who was questioning the original lie that “we really wanted to try out the new restaurant in Tellico”. Paige didn’t have service that night or if she did it was sketchy at best. Again, I love uninterrupted time with people I love. We took photos, ate, and boy, did we laugh. It was a great day (Note: No, we did not give the above photo as a gift. ha)

Or perhaps it was the day we got to finally announce that a baby would be making his way into the world to my family.

It could have easily been this day when Captain J and I walked hand in hand along Tybee Island in Georgia for Valentine’s Day weekend. We strolled, imagining the next time we took a trip to the beach that we’d have a son or daughter in tow.

This day was so memorable for me, too. Many of my closest friends were in the same place at the same time, a rarity in military life. I prepared a breakfast brunch for them as my mom decorated the back porch to see that everything was perfect! This was to be our last trip back to Tennessee before we moved for the second time in less than a year.

See? These are just a few. I don’t know that I can pick just one special day because God has blessed me with so many.

Do you have a favorite day?

Our Great Migration

28 Apr

Remember when I promised you long, long ago that I would add more photos from our trip across America? Well, I’m a liar no more! Here they are…in all their glory. Please excuse my inability to make slideshows/movies/etc. There’s an extremely awkward part towards the end, but I have no desire to fix it. Maybe I’ll get better, ehh? Probably not. Enjoy!

Savannah On My Mind

16 Feb

As you may have heard, J and I had a great time visiting Savannah, Georgia last weekend. We didn’t want to leave. One weekend just wasn’t enough time to do all that we wanted to do! He didn’t get off work till rather late on Friday so we had a four hour drive ahead of us in the dark. It’s unfortunate that we missed all of Friday there, but we were glad to check in around 11:30 pm.

Our bed and breakfast, the Eliza Thompson House, was perfect! It was a beautiful old building with very gracious employees and gorgeous atmosphere. It wasn’t without perks either! There were designated wine/cheese times, a dessert hour, and complimentary sherry available 24 hours a day. Most of which this pregnant gal didn’t partake in, but I still enjoyed sitting in this old room, chatting with my man-

Honestly, we collapsed into bed when we arrived, too tired to explore the city at all. In the morning when we awoke, it was a beautiful, sunny day. The shaded parts of the city were windy and sort of chilly (sorry Alaskans. I became one of them!) but for the most part we were able to enjoy the sun on our faces. After a good breakfast at the inn, we headed toward the trolley station to purchase informative tours.

The trolley ride was interesting because of all the deep rooted history¬†tied to¬†Savannah. I would definitely recommend informative trolley, horse carriage, or walking tours during your stay in this city. It’s much better to know what you’re staring at, right!? It’s something we will probably do each time we visit Savannah because there’s so much more to learn that the guide could¬†teach us in a 90 minute tour.

The above is Mercer House. I was disappointed that we didn’t have time to tour this old home because I had been learning so much about the happenings inside from the book I’m reading, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. We will definitely go tour this one next time.

By the close of the tour, Baby and I were starving! We walked over to Paula Deen’s restaurant to see what it was all about, but we, of course, didn’t get in. This was true for both days we were there. You wouldn’t believe the line that the place attracts! We just wanted to say that we had been there, done that, so we weren’t too disappointed that we couldn’t get in. I mean, I like Paula Deen, but we’re in the south, baby! My grandmother can make fried chicken just as tasty, I’m sure! ūüėČ I took a photo in front of the joint for good measure.

We found ourselves eating at the Six Pence Pub for lunch, which was very good. Reminiscent of European pubs, the atmosphere was fun and talkative. We both had sandwhiches and talked about what we would do the rest of the day, as I tried to focus on our conversation. I was in full alert mode because I’m pretty sure we had been dining near Derek Dooley (Go Vols)! Anyway, there’s some Hollywood connections at the famous bar (aside from ole Dooley) that make the place definitely worth a peek inside.

We walked down by the water after lunch¬†to watch the boats sail in and soak up the talent of the local artists in the area. After seeing the¬†pretty blue water, we decided that it was the beach we were actually craving. We found the car and drove to nearby Tybee Island for a midday nap in the sand. It was a nice day for it.¬†We strolled around, holding hands, and talking excitedly about how likely it was that the next time we were at a beach that we’d have a little one in tow. It’s pretty crazy to think about!

After that, we went back to the hotel to get ready for our Valentine’s celebration dinner. How appropriate that we went to the Olde Pink House.

Picture courtesy of Daniel Mayer

¬†I can’t believe we got in! I called a week in advance, but our butler told us that it’s usually booked months in advance. I understood why when we arrived. Inside the house is gorgeous! The service was exellent, too. Our waitress saw that I was in a delicate condition and offered to trick me with a fruit drink of punch instead of an alcoholic beverage. It was yummy! The food was good and it wasn’t one of those places that try to rush you out. The appetizer came well before the meal and dessert wasn’t rushed afterwards. We spent a couple of hours there and enjoyed every second of it. A lovely black lady meandered through the tables in her huge hoop skirt and sang in a soulful voice, Georgia on My Mind.

Here are a few photos of us getting ready to eat that night:

Ok, so maybe it was just me getting ready!

We had many other adventures during our stay, too. We toured churches, homes, and gardens. We listened as people regaled us with tales of ghosts! We looked up at the huge trees with their spanish moss draping down and silently begged to not have to go home just yet.

Until next time, Savannah!

Love,

Greener Grass

21 Jan

Why does the grass always seem to be greener on the other side? I’m sure if I were in Alaska right now I would be longing for the tshirt weather we’re experiencing here. I’m positive that I would be entirely sick of the snow and forty below temps. So tell me…

Why is it that as I sit here watching The Wild Within, my mind is drifting back to the place where J and I fell in love? There’s something about that place. The beauty of Alaska is unlike any other place I’ve visited. I think life is supposed to be lived like that or mine is at least. You can drive for miles, hours and not see a single soul. You may not cross a single road. All that surrounds you is God’s green earth (or white winter wonderland). That, my friends, is beautiful.

Spending time in the woods- hunting, camping, and fishing- changed me. Of course, I grew up camping and fishing, but doing it in Alaska is a whole different ball park than East Tennessee. Fishing, for sure, is a time for re-invention. Different fish, different rules call for different strategies. I enjoyed the excitement of hooking my first grayling and showing my Army man that I wasn’t a total girly girl. Camping became a popular past-time ¬†for us, too. Waking up to the freshest air¬†I can imagine, beside the best friend¬†I could imagine, and knowing that all we really have in a thousand mile radius is each other is something that changed me.

I don’t want to move back to Fairbanks, but I would consider somewhere on the coast of Alaska in a heartbeat. I missed shopping, chain restaurants, and the instant gratification that cities can bring during our stay there. I would trade all that in, though for the modest cabin life Captain J and I once had. I miss it. Alaska, the place I said I would never want to go, has become a place that spoke to my soul. How could it not?

If you haven’t visited Alaska, you should. Put it on your list. If it weren’t for the Army,¬†Baby, and wanting him/her to be around all the people we love, we’d be in Seward or Haines at the drop of a hat. I hope one day we can return to the place where we began-

 

City Life in Cali

30 Nov

San Francisco ¬†wasn’t ready for us….and boy (or girl), lemme tell you- we weren’t quite ready for the streets of San Fran. These two Alaskans in our F350 just didn’t mix well with the traffic and congestion in the hilly city. The first hour or so was quite stressful as we tried to navigate around the city and attempt to not¬†¬†dismember any innocent pedestrians. Thanks to the help of Magellan, we found our way to our first stop: Wags Hotel.

We knew hauling two huskies up and down the streets of a busy city was just asking for trouble so we chose to board them for the night. I swear, their “hotel” was better than ours. You wouldn’t believe the ammenities/goodies/extras they offered: One on one swim time, Yappy Hour, and more. I’m pretty ashamed of myself for pampering them so, but I’m sure they had a good time (Their report card said so! ūüėČ ).

After Captain J and I decided on a location to rest our pretty little heads, we set out to explore the city…on foot. No more driving for us! We walked everywhere we went. I’m surprised I survived.

We strolled down to Fisherman’s Wharf to walk along the water and view Alcatraz from a distance. Later we spotted Ghirardelli, which quickly became my favorite place in this whole entire world. I was in chocolate heaven!

After a quick snap of this photo (and J telling curious onlookers that I was a “chocolate fiend”), we strolled on down the street where we came to a wine tasting. Being in California and not tasting wine is criminal so we sat down to enjoy a few swigs of California’s best aged¬†grape juice.

Afterwards, we continued on down the road to Pier 33 where there were tickets to Alcatraz being sold. Knowing that I’m slightly obsessed with prison shows and culture, J hopped in line to buy us tickets. The boat ride took approximately 12 minutes. In no time, we were standing on the island- looking out at the bright lights of San Francisco. I regret that I didn’t bring my camera during this time. How could I forget that?! All I had was the iphone and it doesn’t have great capabilities in the dark. Oh, well…I’ll have to savor those memories in my mind. I did get a picture of a quote from one of the wardens of “The Rock”-

I thought this was pretty profound especially when I think about all our soldiers who have given all. Did you know that before Alcatraz was a prison that it was actually a military base? Did you know that families occupied the island as well during the time the inmates were there? The tour was quite interesting and I’d definitely like to check out some more literature on the topic.

Around 8 o’clock that night, we finally had dinner. As suggested by my dear dad-in-law, we had dungeness crab and chardonnay. It was excellent! These Californians have it down a little better than Fairbanksians, I just have to say. We left the restaurant with our bellies full and began the long trek back to our hotel.

I didn’t get much sleep that night because there were two women in the room to the left of ours that were having an excellent time together, if you know what I mean. Then to to right of us, there was a young couple who argued in German during the wee hours of the morning. Add in cars honking, tires screeching, and the hustle and bustle of city life and it’s easy to see why I slept very little.

I woke up with a spring in my step, though. I was ready to get out of that hotel! Captain J and I put on our walkin’ shoes and got to stepping bright and early. We had breakfast in the Wharf then headed to Lombard Street to see the crooked roads and beautiful gardens.

Photo Credit Here

Then we went to see the interesing Chinatown district where I wanted to snatch up a couple of those beautiful Chinese children and high tail it to GA and call it a day! (I promise I’m kidding) They were all so¬†precious and it reminded me of¬†the pull I feel¬†to adopt from China. Maybe one day.

We followed the streets to Coit Tower. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to go to the top due to construction on the tower.

Note Annoyed Smile

I could go on forever. We literally went all over this city and by the end of the day I felt as if I had done a half marathon, at least. Then I began to ponder how San Francisco(ians?) stack up in marathons. I bet they win more often than not. You wouldn’t believe the steep hills that I was huffing up. Whew! I get tired just thinking about it. I just know if I lived there, I’d look amazing with all that extra exercise I would likely get.

We loved this city, but were glad to drive out of the congestion and back into a slower pace. We definitely wouldn’t make it as city folk! Tomorrow we’re camping in Yosemite. The adventure continues…

P.S.- Does anyone else have the Full House theme song in their head now?

Hello, Sunshine.

30 Nov

I’m not sure how much sense this post will make as it is 2:30 am and there are a bunch of yayhoos next door being obnoxiously loud. We’re in California- San Fransisco to be exact. I’ll have to save this city for another post, there’s just too much to tell!

But I will tell you about Northern California- It was very rainy at first. We had experienced rain all throughout the ferry ride, Washington, and Oregon so it was just more of the same to these ole vagabonds. Finally, we drove out of it into a town called Crescent City where we were able to catch our first glimpse of the shoreline. After a quick stroll around the water, we loaded up the dogs and were on our way to our next stop.

Orick was interesting,¬†a tiny little dot on the map- nothing at all like you would picture when you picture the state of California. It was here where I met my first Californians and….wait for it….

Sarah Palin fans! I was surprised, to say the least. I knew these people had to be good people when I walked in their cafe and saw this:

Right beside their Northern Cali flag were the flags of the two places I’ve lived- Alaska and Tennessee. It was pretty cool. We talked to them a bit and hearing that we were among people who held TN very dear to their hearts made me happy all over again¬†to be on this journey back to the south. To all you Tennessee folk reading, one man told us he was “at a place called Tellico just two weeks ago.” Small, small world.

I’ll tell you what wasn’t so small, though- those huge Redwoods! They are magnificent. We saw some on our trip to NZ, but those were transplants, if you will. They weren’t native to that area so they hadn’t had the time to get as big as these it seems. I had so much fine hiking around the national park (except I have a bone to pick with them–but I’ll save that for later) and exploring these very old, very large trees. I’m too lazy at the moment to get my camera, but I will post some photos later that certainly won’t do them justice.

Thanks for following along in our adventures! I apologize for lack of commenting/contacting on my part. I’ve been trying to keep up with all of you as best I can with limited internet access. I hope this post finds you well! Much more travel joys and woes to come…