Saturday, December 27, 2014




Just thinking about everything we have gone through this past year and all I can say is WOW! What a year. So here is a very quick recap of our year...

- Kicked off the new years with family back in Texas
- 2 Months pregnant with surrobaby
- Got temporary custody of Adams niece
- Headed back to Fort Bragg, NC
- First huge snow of the year in NC!!
- Bought a minivan.... For those of yall that don't know I am SO not a minivan person haha
- Brynna started gymnastics
- Adam was in the field and his battery was involved in a training accident that killed a soldier, severely injured 2 others, and a few others suffered minor injures.
- Brynna did her very first pageant(she decided pageants just aren't for her)
- J&J(surrobaby's parents) came to visit and we found out surrobaby was a girl :)
- Brett got septic arthritis and ended up having emergency surgery and was hospitalized for a week and out of school for a month and had to do physical therapy twice a week
- Adam's niece went back to Texas
- Brett turned 6!!

This was 2 weeks after surgery.
The right foot was the infected foot and the left foot was what his normal ankle would look like

- Adam reenlisted into the military
- Brett was able to go back to school exactly one month after his last day of school due to the infection
- We headed out to our first beach trip of the year
- AND we found out we'd be pcs'ing to Alaska come October!!!

- Our 3 year wedding anniversary
- I got pregnancy induced lactose intolerance(that was miserable!)
- Brett was released from physical therapy
- Headed to the beach for memorial weekend and we decided to camp at the beach at 32 weeks pregnant haha
- Adam became a big brother again!!
- PCS'ing began.......

- My last full month pregnant
- Found out I was SEVERELY anemic.. My numbers came back at 7.4 and they want them at 11 when your pregnant
- Brett's last day of kindergarten was in June
- We decided to make one more beach trip to the outer banks. It was one beach we wanted to see before we moved from North Carolina and we knew if we didn't go before I delivered then we wouldn't be able to go at all.
- Brynna learned how to swim
- Adam's birthday!!

- My due date with surrobaby was July 16th!
- Went into labor July 1st and had surrobaby July 2nd at 1:02am. I was exactly 38 weeks! If you'd like to read more about the surrogacy journey click here and it will take you to my surrogacy blog.
- Since we were moving to Alaska Toyota wouldn't sign off on us taking the van with us so we were able to just give it back. Which I was VERY happy about ;)
- July 17th the movers came and July 18th we headed to Texas
- Adam and I were able to surprise my family in Mississippi while we were on our way back to Texas
- Temporarily moved back to Texas to live with family and Adam started his tdy school to reclass in Fort Sill, OK while we lived in Texas

- I chopped off about 10 inches of my hair and donated it..
- Adam failed his reclass which actually turned out to be a blessing in disguised
- Brett started 1st grade and Brynna started pre-k
- Brett came home from his first day of school with his very first loose tooth!

- Adams orders ended up change from Alaska to Fort Drum, NY
- Since we were now moving to New York we had to drive. Originally we were flying to Alaska so we had a crap ton of suitcases we'd be flying with us. Well now we had to scramble to find a second vehicle that could tow all of our luggage.
- We ended up purchasing a GMC Acadia
- Adam was promoted to Sgt
- We left Texas and started our road trip to New York September 27th. If you'd like to read about our road trip click here. A few stops along the way were Graceland, Grand Ole Opry, and Niagara Falls.
- We finally got to New York September 30th

- We were offered our first home October 2nd but turned it down. A few days later we were offered another home which we were happy to accept.
- Brett started school again in New York a few days after we got a house
- October 11th Brett was climbing our fence and had his hand bit by our neighbors dog and we put in a full arm splint for about 3 weeks
- My great grandma passed away a few days before my 24th birthday
- Found out Adam would be deploying sometime in 2015
- Our HHG were SUPPOSED to get here the end of October but never showed up -___-

- My mom came to visit to help with our HHG but they ended up getting here after she left.
- We experienced our first REAL snow!!
- Our HHG FINALLY got here November 14th. 4 months without HHG was now fun.
- We got to experience our first lake effect snow storm. THAT WAS CRAZY!!!! Schools shut down, the base shut down, EVEN WALMART CLOSED haha
- We celebrated our very first Thanksgiving just the 4 of us..

- Adam and I went to our first military ball and we had a great time
- Brynna turned 5!!!! WOW! 5 years old 29lbs and 3 feet 3 inches tall.. And she is still in a 5 point harness which I'm pretty proud of :)
- We had a great Christmas. It was just the 4 of us and it was our first Christmas alone with no family other than the 4 of us but I was so thankful to have Adam home with us and be together :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Surviving the Holidays!!

Even though the holidays are supposed to be filled with holiday cheer and lots of "singing loud for all to hear", the gift buying and prepping for the BIG DAY can become a little hectic and stressful. There really isn't enough time in the year to really prepare is their? So I have created a list of a few must haves to survive the holidays.

1. My Keurig. Whether you want coffee, tea, or the kids want hot cocoa this is a MUST HAVE on my list. When I'm going to be out shopping all day I brew myself a cup of coffee right before I'm about to walk out the door, then grab and go. When we're all sitting around the Christmas tree watching Christmas movies I make some hot cocoa for everyone with my Keurig right before the movie starts. If you don't have one well now you know what you should put on your Christmas list, and if you drink coffee as much as I do you will not be disappointed.
2. CAMERA! This would have been number one but I can't function to take pictures without some coffee running through my veins. My camera goes almost everywhere with me and during the holidays its either charging or right next to me. I am always taking pictures of something. Plus with my husband being in the military they do a lot of free stuff around the holidays and you need something to take a picture of your kids with Santa and Elsa!
3. Wine is another drink I could not survive the holidays without. I am not a big drinker but I do love my moscato d'asti. This is the drink that turned me into a wine lover. For holiday parties I will bring the wine, and when my husband and I are up late wrapping Christmas presents, he enjoys his Sam Adams beer while I enjoy my cupcake wine.
4. Red lipstick. Recently I started wearing red lipstick and I personally love it even more during winter. I feel like its the perfect winter color. During Christmas time we have lots of photos, Christmas parties, and with my husband being artillery we have the St Barbara's Day Ball which is a perfect time to wear red lipstick. Some days instead of doing a full face of make up I only put on a tiny bit of mascara with my red lipstick and I'm good to go.
5. Our new snow plow. We just recently moved up north and with the holidays comes a ton of snow. I have now idea how people survive up here without a snow plow! This past week the snow in some places was up to my thigh! Yes I'm short but for a southern girl that is a lot of snow! My snow plow helps clean the driveway faster than a shovel so I can hurry up and get to all the good sales while other people are still shoveling away :)
6. Boots. With living up north you pretty much live in boots and skinny jeans during the winter. My go to boots are my riding boots unless I'm going to be out in the snow for a long period of time and for that I choose my snow boots.
7. Last but not least FAMILY! This is honestly number one in my book I could not survive the holidays without my family. We live about 1,600 miles from home even though its hard not being with our extended family, spending the holidays with my husband and children is the best thing about the holidays. We put the Christmas tree up as a family, go see Santa, drive around and look at all Christmas lights, make gingerbread houses, and you cannot forget Chippy the elf. My husband and I probably have more fun hiding Chippy than our kids do looking for him.
Speaking of husbands, aren't husbands and dads the hardest people to buy presents for? My husband is normally pretty easy because it's normally the new BIG THING that's out, but my dad and step dad I am always clueless with them and most of the time they end up with a gift card. Well next year for Christmas I already have presents picked out for the men in my life. The best thing about it is I won't even have to waste wrapping paper on it. I'll just hand him the crowbar to open his Man Crate.
Go take a look at all the different crates at
The thing is next year he may be deployed during his birthday and the holidays, but Man Crates ships directly to APO/PPO addresses so instead of having them ship it to me and THEN me shipping it to him, they will ship it straight to him. For all my military friends and family that are interested in Man Crates they also offer a 10% discount to all active and retired service members AND their families. Another good thing is if they don't have a crowbar to open the crate, a crowbar comes with the box.

A grown man opening a gift with a crowbar is like a kid at the candy store.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Perfect Christmas Breakfast!

What do you cook Christmas morning? Normally we have no time to cook breakfast and last minute I'm throwing together some pancakes, eggs, and bacon. What I hate about doing that is during that time I could be helping the kids open their boxes the toys are in. Putting up their clothes. Or getting prepared for Christmas lunch. So this year I stumbled upon a breakfast recipe and at first I never made it because I kept forgetting to buy the ingredients. Well I found it again when I was skimming through all my awesome pinterest pins and finally decided I HAD to make it! I am SO thankful I did. It is AMAZING!

I found this recipe at Tomatoes on the Vines. I did change up the ingredients a tiny bit but it is good either way.

First Ingredients:
- 2 Kings Hawaiian Sweet Round Bread.
- 8oz cream cheese softened
- 7 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups mik
- 2/3 cup half & half cream
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar(sometimes I forget to add this and its still amazing)

Ingredients for the following morning:
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cups of milk
- 1/4 cup maple syrup

- Lightly grease your pan(I use a 9x13 but you can use slightly bigger or smaller)
- I just tore apart the round bread and placed it in the pan
- In a large bowl beat the cream cheese(the first time I didn't have a mixer because we had just moved and didn't have our stuff yet so I used a fork, it was painful but it got the job done. The cream cheese was still a little clumpy but the end results turned out great.
- After that start to mix in the eggs, milk, cream, syrup, and vanilla.
- Pour over the bread, cover, and let it sit in the fridge over night.

- The next morning preheat the oven to 350°F and pull the French toast from the fridge
- Mix 2 more eggs, the milk, and maple syrup and pour over the soufflé again. This helps get the top part covered also and make it a little more moist.
- Bake uncovered for about 50 minutes. Depending on your oven it may not take that long or it may take longer. My oven I have to cook this for about an hour.
- Once it is done cooking you can either eat it plain or you can pour the powdered sugar and a little more syrup over it. It's all up to you :)


These are our camping plates
and silverware haha

What some military spouses may not know..

My husband will tell you I am a researcher. I get as much info as I can about things because I refuse to get myself into a situation that I know nothing about. Some days it drives him absolutely crazy because even though I am ALWAYS right he hates to admit it. Facebook, google, and personal blogs are great ways to get REAL opinions and recommendations. You could learn a lot about the military life or certain installations just by using the internet. Here are the few things you may not know as a military spouse but might want to know :)

PCS/Moving- ANYTIME the military moves you(pcs) you are given DLA. I have read numerous times where people didn't know they received this money when they moved and found out too late so they lost out on the $2,000+. Click here and you can also see what else you receive whenever you move(this is only for a PCS not if you move from one house to another at or near the same base). If ya'll have an upcoming PCS try and go to the levy briefing to write down everything you need to remember. Yes the husbands go but it helps if you go too, that away you aren't clueless when it comes to the move and if he forgets something maybe it will be something you remembered :)

MyCAA- Very few people know about MyCAA and it pretty much turns in to wasted money if not used. MyCAA gives you $4000 to pay for almost any type of schooling. To some $4000 might not be a lot. And truthfully when it comes to school it really isn't. BUT that is $4000 you don't have to spend on school. The only down fall to MyCAA is you have to use it by a certain time. You have to be married to an active duty service member in pay grades E1-E5, O1-O2, or W1-W2. You can use that money to get a certificate in something or you can use the $4000 to help pay for a degree. It won't cover it in full but it will help. So don't let that money go to waste, USE IT! You also need know MyCAA does not cover books so if you take a class through your local junior college you will probably have to pay out of pocket for your books.
FASFA- A lot of military families who qualify for MyCAA also qualify for FASFA and you can use MyCAA and FASFA together. FASFA WILL PAY FOR YOUR BOOKS!

METLIFE- Tricare does not cover dental work. Tricare covers your health and vision but not dental. If you plan on seeing a dentist have your spouse or even yourself enroll you and your children(if you have them) into metlife to cover your dental. ALSO Tricare only covers the eye exam. It DOES NOT cover glasses, contacts, or the contact exam. You will have to pay that out of pocket.

WIC- In the beginning surviving off what little pay ya'll get is hard paying for all the bills, gas, and groceries. And then you are left eating bread and water the last few days before payday. WIC helps military families up until a certain rank. I'm not sure if military families without children qualify but it doesn't hurt to call your local wic office and ask.

Space-A & Patriot Express-  Not many people know about this. Space-A and Patriot Express can be pretty amazing. It is a way for military members and dependents to travel and pay very little for flights. It can be a bit difficult but to pay $4-$50 per person to fly is pretty cheap! For those of yall wanting to know more about space-a click here and it will take you to the FAQ page. I'm not too familiar with it so I don't want to give the wrong information to people, their are many requirements to travel space-a.

ICE- If you only remember one thing from this blog post PLEASE remember ICE! ICE is a GREAT tool for service members and dependents to use and it can be done anonymously if you'd like. Now don't abuse this tool. It is a website where DoD customers can rate their services provided. I will personally say I have used this a LOT in the past year. A LOT more than I wanted to. But every single time it was necessary. Don't file a complaint just because your husband was smoked for showing up 30 minutes late. Or because he is having to work late all week. Their is a time and place for an ICE complaint. You can't expect someone to fix something they know nothing about and that's where ICE comes in place. Not only can you make complaints on the ICE website but you can also provide positive feedback. My son was bit by a dog and the doctor we saw off post at the hospital also worked on post and followed up with us twice about the dog bite. He did great with my son so we provided positive feedback on ICE about him. It is a great tool for all to use.

CYS- Child and Youth Services is on every military installation where dependents are allowed. It is where you enroll your kids in sports, child care, and many other things. If your spouse is deploying CYS gives you a little more benefits. Here at Fort Drum we get:
- 16 hours free care per month/per child at Hourly Programming.
- $2.00 per hour after 16 hrs of free monthly hourly care
- Free Care for deployment briefings
- Free Care for FRG meetings            
(including one month prior and 3 months after  deployment)
- 20% fee discount for Full Day and Part Day care with a working spouse  
- $300 SKIES Credit (instructional) per Dep.  
- $100 CYSS Sports Credit per Dep.
But your child does have to be enrolled in CYS before you qualify for all this. And all you need is an updated physical, shot records, and certain records. You can call CYS to schedule an appointment and see what all you need to bring.

DISCOUNTS- here is a discount list. Those probably are not all of the discounts you and your spouse can receive with a military ID. Any time we make a big purchase or set up service with someone we make sure to ask about a military discount. We don't ask for it whenever we pay for dinner and if they give it we just add the discount they gave us on to our tip we give. But like we bought furniture a few months back and that was a BIG purchase but we got a small discount that makes it not SO BIG! haha. Our phone, tv, and internet service we have a discount. If you buy a car at the end ask if they do a military discount. Don't ask up front because they will probably act like they gave a military discount but jack up another fee to make it even out. During certain military holidays a lot of the stores near military bases will do sales and then if you show your military id you will get even more of a discount! Last year Kirklands had a HUGE sale. I think it was the weekend of veterans day and if you had your military id you got the extra 10% off. Well I had been eyeing this huge painting that I just loved but it was over $100 and I am cheap when it comes to buying décor.. That weekend I managed to get the painting for $30-$40!!

Military OneSourse- The military life does have it's difficulties. Your spouse could be suffering from PTSD and you may think you have no where to turn but Military OneSourse is confidential and offers a lot of help. You or your children could also be having problems coping with the recent deployment. Give Military OneSourse a call. Don't knock it until you've tried it. Maybe you are new to the military and are clueless when it comes to budgeting. Call Military OneSourse. Their is help out there and all you have to do is make the call.

The military does have a LOT more to offer military spouses these are just some of the things I have seen that most people don't know about.

(you can click on every bold blue word and it will take you to their website to get more information)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Driving... Sliding in the Snow

Since I'm now a pro at driving in the snow I will inform everyone of what I have learned.

We own an SUV and a car and whenever we were moving here I envisioned my car getting stuck EVERYWHERE and just flying off the road at the very first snow fall. Well my car can actually keep up pretty well in the snow. The other day I had to take the car out to make it to an appointment on time. I was TERRIFIED! Snow was still coming down pretty hard, the snow plows couldn't keep up, and it was already dark out. I walked out to a car COVERED in snow! I had to clean the car off and THEN shovel all around it. Oh my goodness shoveling is a work out. Snow is not as light as it looks.... But we finally got on the road and here are a few things I learned..

#1 Try to NOT look like a southerner when you are driving. Driving in snow is not as easy as it looks but it's also not nearly as hard as it looks either. Up north they are pretty good at keeping the roads clean but their are times the snow is coming down way faster than the snow plows can plow it. Now for real here are my tips.

You have to slowly accelerate, you can't take off like you're racing Vin Diesel in the Fast and Furious. Your tires will probably just start spinning and you will possibly get stuck and look like a southerner. Just like accelerating, if your going to stop you need to slowly stop... SLOWLY! If you can help it never fully stop. When it comes to a red light I try my best to start slowing down early and HOPEFULLY by the time I get to it, it's green so I can just continue going instead of coming to a full stop. Give yourself space and time. Don't pull out in front of someone like you would on a day in the middle of summer. You wont take off as fast as you normally would and they wont be able to stop as fast as they normally could. In snow weather you don't have to drive like a grandma but you also don't have to drive like an idiot. Remember... Slow and steady wins the race :)

Be prepared. Be prepared to get stuck, be prepared to go get groceries and then walk out to a car that is covered in snow. BE PREPARED TO BE STUCK IN THE MIDDLE OF NO WHERE WITH NO SERVICE IN A BLIZZARD!!!!! I can't say it enough. BE PREPARED! Have a shovel in your car so if you get stuck in a patch of snow or work all day and your car is snowed in you can shovel around it. If it's snowing out or is supposed to snow take your ice scraper/brush into the store with you. Keep blankets, jumper cables, a shovel, waters, snacks, non perishable foods, some handwarmers/footwarmers, first aid stuff, a deck of cards, and whatever else you may need(diapers, wipes, a can of formula, baby food, etc.) You could also invest in a flare gun, an extremely loud horn, etc. You can never have too much if you're ever stranded. BE PREPARED!

Don't get mad at the snow plow drivers, they are just doing their job. Yes they may block your driveway with even more snow for you to shovel but it's not like they were doing it intentionally. They are just trying to clear the streets. Maybe even take some goodies to them at their job. And another thing don't get mad at the "idiots" who are driving too slow. Because they are just being safe and may be new to driving in the snow. At one point in time you were probably just like them.

Just because you have all wheel drive, snow tires, or chains doesn't mean you wont wreck. Also, you don't NEED a truck to live up north. You also don't NEED an AWD vehicle, you can survive just fine with a compact car. BTW I am so not really a pro at driving in the snow but just in the past few months I have learned a lot about how to drive with snow on the ground and not thinking "WE'RE GOING TO DIE!!!"

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

New York Snow..

WOW!!!! Nature can do some beautiful things! It's seriously amazing.. GORGEOUS!

We have lived in upstate New York for about 2 months now. Before upstate New York we lived in North Carolina and before North Carolina we lived in Texas. So we haven't really experienced the whole life changing snow thing before. BUT we were so excited to finally get the opportunity to live somewhere where it has snow more than 1 week out of the year. About a month ago whenever my mom was visiting we got a little snow. Nothing too much but it was SO EXCITING! Everyone said we'd hate it but is that even possible??

IS IT????
How can you possibly hate snow?
It's like a winter wonderland!

BUT as I am typing this we currently have NO snow.... AND it's 7 degrees outside!! How is that possible?? It is unethical for it to be THIS cold with NO snow.

A few weeks ago we had our first snow storm, a lake effect snow storm. It was CRAZY! We were SLAMMED with snow! It was like nothing I had ever seen before. The kids were so excited to go play in it. And we tried... But we quickly realized this was not the type of snow storm you want to play in. It HURT! The snow was coming down sideways and piercing your skin. You couldn't even open you eyes. The whole base shut down for 3 days. Schools were closed. HIGHWAYS SHUT DOWN! The snow plows just couldn't keep up. But once the snow storm was finally over the fun began. The shoveling, snow plowing, salting, sledding, and just so much more. We shoveled some during the storm but finally had to just give up and wait for it to pass. The next morning we woke up and the kids were so excited to shovel snow and go sledding. Yes they like to shovel snow. We have a little wooded area right out our front door that's in between our house and the house across from us. No cross street.. Well the snow plows made 2 huge hills in that area and all of the neighborhood kids LOVED IT!

I can't lie though I seriously expected the snow to be at least 2 feet tall by now. I didn't expect to see any grass. But that's not at all what is going on. All the snow we got in the past month is gone. Completely GONE! And guess what tomorrow is supposed to bring..... SNOW!!!

...Do you wanna build a snowman??

The hill in our front yard haha
Another hill in our front yard :)
Another snow storm was rolling in..
Boidoe loved the snow just as much as the kids :)