Snovember Update

That’s no typo.

We woke up to a couple inches of fresh powdery snow covering everything. My toddler ate her breakfast in record time to be able to go out and play in the snow this morning.

It’s also 20° degrees outside today, so we won’t be venturing out. I thought this would be a good time for a quick update. Yes, we are still moving to Arkansas. We will leave Ohio at the beginning of the year. We listed our home for sale and it was under contract in 3 short days (YAY!).

Things are moving smoothly. We are downsizing, packing, cleaning, and trying to soak up everything Ohio. It is sad though – each event becomes a new “last” for us.

Like yesterday we ventured out to Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs. We ate lunch (cheese curds are life), fed the goats, and got ice cream. I couldn’t stop myself from wondering if this was the last time we’d visit Young’s in the next month and a half that we have left in Ohio.

It’s bittersweet because we love Ohio, but we are very excited for new the adventures that 2020 will bring us.

10 years

Cheers to 10 Years and many more!!

That’s right. My husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary yesterday. It’s been an adventurous decade. We met in 2007 and got married shortly after in 2009.

We started our marriage by totally uprooting our lives and moving to the Azores! We lived there for two years, gained a cute pup, made life long friends, and soaked up the culture.

We eventually packed up our things and moved our family to Okinawa, where we spent 3 years breathing in that tropical ocean air. Japan taught us a lot – mostly how to be gentler humans in such a busy world.

4 years ago, we settled into our new home in Ohio. We bought a house, had a baby, lost our cute pup to sudden illness, went through two deployments, and fell I love with the gem city. Ohio will always have a special place in our hearts.

It was a beautiful, but quick 10 years. We’ve had a lucky run. Plenty of ups and downs, but we always manage to pull it together, together.

But here we are, celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary while preparing our home for the market – We will be on the move again soon! Our family is packing up and moving to…

Little Rock, Arkansas!

Caffeine Crushed

I quit drinking coffee.

Back in July, my anxiety was VERY high and caffeine was making that worse. I don’t drink soda, so coffee was my only source of liquid caffeine and I loved it.

But as my anxiety climbed, so did my coffee intake… or maybe it was the other way around. It actually began to physically affect me with acid reflux.

After lots of conversations with my doctor, we agreed that I should stop drinking coffee. Not just switch to decaf – I mean quit it for good.

So July 7th, I tossed my coffee and packed away my coffee maker. Day 2 was hard. Thinking back though, it may have been more of a habit than an addiction.

I actually don’t miss it. My anxiety has gotten better though never truly dissolving. I also want to point out that my acid reflux issues have dramatically dropped (I love acidic foods though – hey, tomatoes – so I imagine this will always be an issue for me.)

If you are thinking of quitting for any of these reasons, I totally recommend it. There is no trick though – you just have to decide to quit. Coffee is heavily advertised though as a mother’s savior, but really… water does the trick.

Hang in there, friends!

Reclaiming photographer

I have spent a lot of time behind the camera – teaming up with amazing people who enjoy modeling and makeup artists who have amazing talent. Heck, our awesome collaborations have even gotten us published in magazines a couple of times!

I had been practicing my craft for as long as I can remember. I have always loved being behind the camera. It was in 2009 though when I took it up a notch by creating a website and properly advertising.

I had many volunteers who enjoyed modeling just as much as I enjoyed shooting. We’d come up with new ideas for photo shoots and spend a couple of hours just playing around. It was some of the best times and it was a great way to explore wherever we were living at the time.

In 2017, my husband deployed soon after our daughter was born. After much contemplation, I decided that I wouldn’t have time to plan, execute, & edit like I used to. I quietly deconstructed my website and portfolio… putting it away for safe keeping.

Now I still did a few shoots for a couple of close friends. I just wasn’t advertising for new clients. I’ve been itching to get back into it. It’s one of my creative outlets that I haven’t been able to use.

So how do I reclaim myself as photographer?

Honestly, it’s been hard to get back into the swing of things. I’ve had a dedicated page on this website for a few months now that will eventually hold my portfolio. I have started keeping up with an Instagram though, so that’s progress! I have even put feelers out there for models to practice on. It’s all coming together, so why do I feel so nervous?

I photographed people for years – countless beautiful faces. It’s a craft I’ve been studying since I was a teenager. Something though – something has me holding back from the big jump.

Wish me luck, guys.

Dayton Area Fall Favorites

It’s finally September, so if you haven’t gotten spooky yet – now is the time! I started decorating around August 1st because I was just too excited to wait. Would you be interested in some Fall decor photos?

Since moving to Dayton, Stephen and I have developed some favorite annual Fall events that we always attend. It’s been super exciting to share that with CJ as she gets older. We LOVE autumn. The tree changing colors, the welcoming fall decor, all of the mums, spooky decor, and the crisp cool air speaks to us.

Two weeks ago was the Fairborn Sweet Corn Festival and even though this is mid August, it really feels like the start of autumn for us. It’s held every year around the 3rd weekend of August at the Fairborn Community Park. The dinner is what draws us in – blackened chicken, corn fritters, lemonade, and fresh steamed & delicious corn!

Another favorite is Katie’s Pumpkin Barn. This is a small place and it is not a u-pick pumpkin patch. It is better because it is literally a barn full of every color, shape, and size of pumpkin you could imagine. The barn is always decorated for the spooky season and usually opens at the start of September.

They have a live stock that you can look at and sometimes pet. They even have a small corn maze that is super friendly for small children. I think what I love the most is the classic Halloween decorations. Katie’s is our favorite stop in Autumn!

Peifer Orchards is a new place that we explored last year. We went Apple Picking! Again, this venue isn’t huge, which is what we loved about it. They sell mums, baked goods, pumpkins, and apples. You can do your own apple picking, which is so fun! It’s a bit of a walk down the path, so if you have little kids make sure to bring their strollers. CJ got tired and just sat down in the middle of the trail last year after all of the excitement. This year, we will bring the stroller.

Honorary mentions –

Tecumpsah Land Trust for Sunflowers – its best to check their Facebook for updates about the fields.

Hiking at the smaller family friendly trail at Wegerzyn once the leaves begin to turn.

Apple Butter Festival in Enon in October 12th & 13th

Sauerkraut Festival, if you don’t mind give crowds! October 12th & 13th in Waynesville.

Potato Festival – get there early to beat the crowds. I recommend the potato ribbons! Happening on October 5th & 6th in Spring Valley

Ohio Renaissance Festival is a must! Now -Oct 27th on Saturdays and Sundays

5 Tips for the Three Rs

Every Wednesday, Layla from Lettered Cottage does a segment called “Let’s Go With Layla” on her Instagram and she shares 5 tips, ideas, or cool finds that she spots out and about. A few weeks ago, she decided to open the floor up to anyone who wanted to participate and host their own Let’s Go With Layla!

Stepping WAY out of my comfort zone, I decided to hop on Instagram and share a few of my favorite five tips in the topic of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

So let’s go (with Layla!)

Tip One: Cutting out the plastic water bottles! I’m actually super guilty of this. I’m very weird about drinking water from the sink – I always have been. So up until about March, I was buying water bottles by the 24pack. Between my husband and I, we would put out 60-70 bottles a WEEK!

I finally had enough so I just dove in and bought a water filter while I was at the grocery store. It has reduced our recycling waste by a bunch and I feel much better about our smaller impact on plastic use.

This is the one I purchased from the grocery store Classic 18 Cup Dispenser

Tip Two: Ditch the plastic shopping bags! I invested less than $7 in reusable grocery bags from my local grocery store and haven’t looked back since! I always take them with me! Pro Tip: buy a clip to hang them from the cart, so you take up less space inside the cart. It’s so nice not bringing all of that one use plastic into my home. Luckily lots of stores now recycle their plastic bags, so you can just bring them back to the store if you’ve got a collection or forget your reusable bags.

I want to add that I just switched to using mesh bags for my fruits and vegetables instead of those super thin & hard to recycle plastic bags in the produce section. I love them so much! Click here for the Mesh Bags I bought on Amazon.

Tip Three: Regifting Books/Library Card! I joined a challenge in January on Facebook where if you shared the post, you agreed to send one book each to the first 5 people who commented, as long as they also shared it and committed to the challenge.

It got me thinking – I tend to read books and just leave them sitting on a shelf for… well, ever. So now aside from this challenge, I’m also making it a habit to regift these books. I’ve also stepped up my library book borrowing game up.

Tip Four: I try to be really smart about buying CJ toys. I tend to buy less toys that have batteries and buttons because they break easier, creating more waste. I also look for toys made from recycled items. Bonus points if those toys are second-hand, but I always deep clean them when I get them that way. Don’t worry – she has plenty of new loud and bright toys too.

Tip Five: Reusable straws & cups are a favorite in this house. I purchased some reusable straws on amazon and have collected an assortment of reusable water and coffee cups over the years. Most places don’t mind you using your own – some even encourage it.

The straws came in a carrying pouch, so I can keep them in my purse. The cups are harder to carry around, but they do encourage me to just fill up at home. That ultimately saves a little bit of money – especially at the coffee shop!

So there you have it! 5 easy ways to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! What are some of your favorite 3R Tips?

Dismissive Nature

I don’t often touch on the military subject, but I wanted to put a couple things out there – from both sides of the spectrum.

“This is what you signed up for” is a phrase that military spouses hear way too often. I don’t think people mean any real harm by it, but they also don’t realize how dismissive it can be to our feelings. So friends & family, please delete that phrase from your mind when asking us how we are doing and responding with those words when we tell you we miss our spouse.

For a lot of us, we loved our spouse before they joined the military. I met my husband two years before he joined. I married him because I loved him and I couldn’t imagine spending my life without him. I can guarantee you that the idea of spending 6 to 12 months alone with a baby in a house where things just start breaking the second your spouse leaves town was not an appealing factor in our marriage.

So instead – you can substitute those words for something more encouraging like “Wow. That’s got to be hard, but you’ve got this!” Or the cliche but still encouraging “Hang in there. They’ll be back before you know it.” — OR my personal favorite “Wow. That’s rough. More wine?

On the opposite side of the street though, I would like to address other military spouses for a minute. You guys. We get it. Deployments and short tours… they are hard. It’s not easy. You miss your spouse and you have every right to.

HOWEVER, when your civilian friend comes to you and talks about how their spouse is on a business trip for a few days, it is NOT okay to compare that to a 6 month deployment.

EVERYONE is allowed to miss their spouse no matter how long they are gone.

So please check yourselves before you say “Well at least your spouse isn’t gone for six months at a time.” It really is just as dismissive to them as “This is what you signed up for” is to us.

Those are just some thoughts I wanted to share with you all. If you are going through a deployment or your SO is out of town, I just want to say that you aren’t alone. It’s rough, but you’ll get through it. Also, an evening glass of wine can’t hurt. Just drink responsibly!