I love to read but I don’t always make time for it. I’ve been putting more effort into getting everything done early so I have at least 20 minutes to read each night before bed. It doesn’t always work but I’ve read more books in 2017 than I have in a long time and I’m hoping for even more this year. Here is what I finished in January…
The Aviators Wife by Melanie Benjamin
The book follows the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh as she meets, travels with, begins a family with, and eventually lays to rest her husband, Charles Lindbergh. It was an interesting story. It provided a lot of insight into the life of someone I knew very little about and the trials and tribulations of their marriage, other than the kidnapping and death of their first born. It was fascinating and heartbreaking. Benjamin is a good author. Unfortunately, I didn’t really care for Anne or Charles as people. It took quite a while to really get into the story but I’m glad I stuck it out and finished the book. I learned a lot. I give the book a 3.5/5. Worth the read if you’re interested in the Lindbergh’s or WWII historical fiction.
Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham
I read this book because of my love of Gilmore Girls. It wasn’t my favorite but not terrible either. 3/5 stars. It follows a woman who is trying to make as an actress in New York. She works as a waitress, lives with a friend and acquaintance, and takes frequent acting classes. The story was kind of predictable but it was easy and quick.
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer by Fredrik Backman
I loved this book. It’s a novella about a man who is aging and his family connections. Some parts were a little confusing but you can really see the pain of being on both sides of a family member aging. 5/5
What are you reading? Have any good suggestions?
Wednesday’s are early release days at my son’s school. When the husband is away, like he is now, it makes for a looooong time before bed for the boys. I like to take them somewhere to pass the time. This week we explored Balboa Park which we haven’t done since moving back this summer.
We started at the United Nations Building and Gift Shop. There are a bunch of houses to check out from many different countries but they are only open on weekend. Boo! The gift shop was really cool though. My first grader loved checking out all the knick-knacks from different countries. He wants to come back on a weekend and explore the houses. I think it would be best without the toddler.
From there we headed to the Organ Pavilion. It’s a great place for kids to run around. I was hoping to tire out the toddler and knew this was a great place to get out energy. We spent about 20 minutes running and playing and yelling and having a ball. Perfect place for a toddler! The first grader loved it as well.
Walking out of the pavilion, we stumbled upon the Japanese Friendship Garden. My first grader really wanted to check it out so we paid $10 (for me, the boys were free) and made our way through the garden. It was beautiful, although I didn’t get to enjoy much as I was trying to keep a 20 month old on the path and quiet(ish) while people were meditating. The boys both loved the water features, particularly the toddler who tried to throw rocks, leaves, and sticks into the ponds. (Joy!) If you’re visiting Balboa Park with a toddler, I suggest you skip this one. It’s beautiful but it’s hard to enjoy the beauty while focused on the 20 month old sprinting through the flowers.
After leaving the garden, we walked to the Model Railroad Museum. If you’re kids are at all into trains, TAKE THEM HERE!! It was pretty cool. They had so many model trains. We got there 30 minutes before closing so it was just $4 for the three of us. Score! There were multiple windowed areas with huge landscapes and hundreds of feet of track. At the back there is an area really meant for kids. We spent 20 minutes back there until they kicked us out. The toddler kept saying “choo choo!” and the first grader asked me three times before we got to the car if we could come back. Success!
We ended out Balboa Park trip with a walk by the art museum which is closed on Wednesdays. The boys ran around the front steps and ate a snack before we headed back to the car. All in all, a perfect afternoon.
Last weekend we were supposed to take Roxie out for her first overnight. Long story short, due to the Navy, the weekend didn’t go as planned (shocking, I know). We did still manage to get her out to a campsite where we had awesome family time.
On Saturday afternoon we headed to Sweetwater Summit Regional Park in Bonita, CA. We got to our campsite around 1630. After hooking up to power, the boys and dog headed to the park while I got started cooking dinner. I brought my Instant Pot and made turkey chili. I’ll post a recipe later because it turned out really well! They came back before dinner was ready and built a campfire and played on the bed. We enjoyed our delicious dinner sitting outside by the fire. Everyone really enjoyed themselves, except the dog who was a little freaked out about the whole situation. (She did enjoy the chili though.) After cleaning up, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. This was probably the best part of our evening. The air was cool but the fire was warm. We sat around (as much as a 20 month old will allow) and talked and ate and laughed. Perfect first evening in Roxie.
Any tips or ideas for taking your RV out in SoCal with a toddler?
Those are the words spoken to me tonight by my 6 year old. He asked me if he could clean the toilet. I did “let” him clean the toilet.
Other sentences he uttered tonight:
“Can I clean the windows?
“The dining room table should be cleaned. I’ll do that.”
“Ben, you want to help me sweep?”
That’s right. My 6 year old swept the kitchen, living room, and dining room. He also vacuumed all those rooms as well as the hallway. He cleaned 1/2 the windows in the house. Then he finished by cleaning that table.
As he’s asking me if he can clean this and clean that I just kept telling myself, “play it cool, don’t get too excited.”
It’s now 8pm. Both boys are asleep. And the house is clean! While they cleaned, I finished the dishes. I have been relaxing since they went to bed! What?!?! I keep seeing “ways to make your life easier” and “steps to decluttering your life” and I feel like I have cracked the code. Make your kids clean every night after dinner. It’s our new routine.
So…we went to Vegas and came home with an RV! (No, we did not win her, we bought her.) She’s a little thing, Class B. We are very excited. We’ll be taking her out tomorrow to spend the day at the beach. Look for her soon on Outdoorsy! We’ll be renting her when we don’t plan to travel.
Which, speaking of traveling, we are starting to plan our Yosemite vacation! Deployment is coming this summer so we will be taking the boys, dog, and Roxie on a two week vacation before the husband leaves. Any Yosemite travel tips? I’d love to hear them!
I eat and feel so much better when I meal plan. Plus, I don’t spend nearly as much money on take out. Here’s what’s cooking this week…
- Breakfast: Eggs with broccoli
- Lunch: PB & J Sandwiches
- Dinner: Briam from My Little Expat Kitchen
- Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs
- Lunch: Celery with PB
- Dinner: Baked Potato bar with ground turkey
- Breakfast: Eggs
- on the road the rest of the day
- Thursday-Saturday we will be in Vegas without the kids!! Woohoo!!!
- Dinner: Instant Pot Hamburger Helper (recipe coming soon)
What are you making this week? I love to try new recipes!
Just a reminder to take a moment from your busy life and smell the pine trees. Go on an evening walk with the kids to check out the neighbor’s Christmas lights. Sip hot cocoa by the lit tree with just carols playing quietly.
I’ve been stressed about the cookies I haven’t baked. And the presents I haven’t wrapped. And grocery shopping for Christmas eve dinner. And the fact that I don’t know what we’re eating on Christmas day! And the list goes on.
But tonight my older boy wasn’t feeling great. He cuddled with the husband while I cooked dinner. After the baby went to bed, he cuddled with me and asked to watch a cookie decorating show. We held hands and relaxed together. He was excited because he chose the correct winner. I was happy because I spent an evening not worrying about anything. I can get so caught up in the things I (feel I) need to do to make this time of year magical that sometimes I forget that simple can be magical.
I have always liked lists. And travel. And reading. And cooking. And the list goes on. :o) So I thought I should put together a list of things I’d like to do before I’m 40 which include many of the things I mentioned previously. I have about 8.5 years to complete this list. I may or may not add to it. We shall see as time goes on. They are in no particular order and I will post each time I complete one.
- Cook all the recipes from one cookbook.
- Visit 5 (more) foreign countries.
- Go on a trip in an RV.
- Take a yoga class.
- Break my half marathon time.
- Raise money for a homeless shelter.
- Go on a girls vacation.
- Go to a concert.
- Read 100 books.
- Set up a backyard movie and have lots of kids over to watch.
- See all 50 states.
- Do a strict pull-up.
- Attend Oktoberfest in Germany.
- Try stand up paddle boarding.
- Complete a triathlon.
- Celebrate New Year’s Eve in a foreign country.
- Learn to play a new sport.
- Spend a month doing an act of kindness every day.
- Go white water rafting.
- Ski in a foreign country.
- Learn conversational Spanish.
- Go wine tasting in Napa.
- Write a children’s book.
- Buy a meal for a stranger.
- Do a handstand push-up.
- Dead lift 300lbs.
- Sell something I created.
- Go apple picking.
- Visit Mt. Rushmore.
- Go on a family vacation with all my family (parents, brother and family, sister, and of course my own husband and kids).
- Go to an NBA game.
- Send a care package to a service member I don’t know.
- Blog every day for a month.
- Take a cooking class.
- Relax in a natural hot spring.
- Plan and execute a full day surprise date for the husband.
- Spend an entire day at the spa.
- Have a minimum of 6 months of expenses in savings.
- Eat a meal cooked by a celebrity chef.
- Host a cookie exchange.
What are some of your “bucket list” items? Anything you think I should add?
Being a military spouse has its ups and downs. I am more frequently asked about the harder or more frustrating parts of our lifestyle. But I prefer to talk about the aspects I love…
- Wine: I can go into the Exchange and buy ten bottles of wine and no one will bat an eye. I get more of a knowing glance than anything else. One day I even had a woman say, “Oh, your husband’s deployed? You many need more than that!” Even when he’s home, this lifestyle can ware on my nerves and a nice glass of rosé is all I need to unwind after the boys are asleep.
- Friends: I think this is one of the best things about being a military spouse. The friendships which form are stronger than any other. No one knows what this life is truly like more than those living through it with you. I’ve been fortunate to have a great group of women surround me with each new squadron and command my husband has joined. Also, I live in a big military town. Everywhere I go I meet other spouses and have formed some strong bonds with them as well. We need one another. And, friends always bring wine over. (Never leave your house wine-less. You never know when someone will need a bottle!)
- Traveling: I love to travel and, since we meet lots of people doing this life, we know people all over the world! There is always someone who is willing to open their home or share their knowledge about a place we are headed. Also, since we move every few years, we are forced to travel. I’ve driven across the country 4 times and been up and down both coasts. With bases all across the country there are frequently places to stay for a reasonable price. And, Space A flights, while unreliable, are a cheap way to fly if you have the time. I’m 37 states in, just 13 more to go. We are hoping for an overseas tour soon so we can explore a new continent!
- Moving: This is one of those things that many people despise but I love. I get an itch every few years to be somewhere new. Searching for a new house. Looking at fun things to do with the kids around town. Finding new restaurants. New friends. There are so many things to love about moving! I get so excited to find and explore a new place that I get to call home. With every move, we try to put a new destination at the top of our wish list.
- Homecoming: Deployments sucks. Homecoming doesn’t make up for your spouse being gone 6-15 months but it is so nice. And fun. It is such a happy moment getting to so see your spouse after so many months. The joy is overwhelming. It’s also a relief. Those months are stressful. It can feel like a burden lifted off your shoulders just from the stress relief of seeing your spouses face and feeling their embrace. Homecomings…
Don’t get me wrong, there are many other parts of this life I love, these are just a sampling. I’m sure I’ll get around to posting about other favorites soon.
Hello. (How are you? It’s so typical of me to talk about myself, I’m sorry).
Welcome to my first blog post on Teacher Life, Military Wife. This isn’t my first foray in blogging but it has been quite a while. I’m rusty. My writing skills have certainly lessened since having two kids which have sucked all the vocabulary from my brain, leaving me fumbling for words and struggling to form a logical sentence, never mind cohesive paragraphs. But, so is the life of all moms. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
So…Who am I? I’m your typical blogger. [Think Basic White Girl] Woman. Early thirties. Two fun, busy, sometimes whiny but usually happy boys. A sweet dog we adopted recently who has been so wonderful with our toddler even though he weighs more than her and has taken to trying to ride her like a horse. I am married to the Navy. Or rather, a man in the Navy, but really, they’re almost one and the same. I have been a teacher on and off for 10 years. Currently I teach English online to (mostly) adorable kids in China. I live in idyllic seaside town. I eat a lot of cookies which I bake myself. I am into CrossFit. I love a good historical fiction book about WWI or WWII. (I feel like I should add Starbucks and legging addicted just to complete the basic white girl status but those really aren’t me. We can just pretend.)
My hope with this blog is that I can keep all these memories which are fading so quickly. The times with my boys which drive me crazy. The delicious and high calorie dessert I consume daily. The highs and lows of Navy wife life. My every day life.