11 Ways to Give Back This Christmas

I was sitting on my couch last week just thinking about all of the presents I still had to buy & just kind of fixating on the idea of giving. With our budget being a bit tight this year, I started to get a little sad about how much we COULDN’T get this Christmas. But God stopped me real quick. How about being GRATEFUL for all we do have & all that we CAN give this Christmas. So I started researching a little & came up with this little list of ways we can all give back this holiday season!

Donate pajamas at Carter’s

This is actually something that I am personally participating in this holiday season. And one that I probably will do every year from now on. I think this is so cool! You can read more about their mission here. You can go into any Carter’s store & pick out any pair of pajamas, take them to the check out counter & donate them to a child that needs them. Toys are always so fun to give, but some kiddos really need a cozy & warm pair of jammies!

Donate to your local food shelter

Most food shelters accept more than just food items. They also need toiletries, formula, diapers, blankets, paper plates, cups, the list goes on! All great things to give & donate!

Care Packages for Deployed Service Members

If you are apart of a military family in some way, you may have a loved one overseas or know someone who is deployed over the holiday season. Throw a care package together for one of the many men & women who are away from their loved ones. It doesn’t have to be much. It can little stuff. Toothpaste, kleenex, chapstick. Just some things to help them out & give them one less thing to worry about. I found this really cool website where you can put your care package together, send it to them & they will ship directly to a military service member over seas! The website is call Support our Troops. They make it so simple, so that if you do not have any direct ties to any one over seas & don’t have an address to ship to, you can just send it here & they take care of it for you!

Volunteer 

You don’t have to donate material things…donate your time! During my research I also found this website called Volunteer Match. You may have heard of it, but I just discovered it. It’s amazing! You basically put in your general location & keywords of any specific thing or place you’d like to volunteer with & tons of options pop up. I typed in “Christmas” & most of what I saw was helping recycle/dispose of old Christmas trees after the holiday. Something you probably don’t think about, but it needs to be done & they need volunteers for it!

Donate toys/books

I feel like this is one that is beginning to be very popular in our society. Collect toys around your home that your kids no longer play with & donate them to a local daycare, family in need, library, foster home, goodwill, etc. It’s not only a great way to declutter a bit, but it can really make a little family’s Christmas that needs it!

Baked Goods

Odds are, you have baked or will bake something this Christmas. Why not make a little extra for your local fire house or police officers? Deliver them on Christmas Eve or Christmas day! They are always working , even on the holidays! It would just lift their spirits to get some homemade cookies during the time away from their families. Also, if you live on base, take one to the gate guards that are working that day. Such a simple way to say “thank you” for all of their service!

Giftcards for Teachers

I’m not just talking Starbucks or Chick-fil-a, although I KNOW those are much appreciated. But throw in a Wal-mart, Target or a local school supply store. It’s nice to give them something fun, but they also spend a lot of their own money buying things for their classroom. Help them out a little!

The Salvation Army

There are lots of different ways to give on their website! You can find them here.

Fisher House/Ronald McDonald House

I have personally stayed at the Fisher House at the Naval Hospital in San Diego. We were blessed enough to come home just in time for Christmas, but we did spend our Thanksgiving there. And let me tell you how amazing the people were who donated so much food & time during the holidays. It helped us feel a little better when our little guy was in the NICU. The families that stay in these houses are all going through some really hard stuff.  A small Christmas tree to put in their room to decorate or just a meal they don’t have to cook would mean the world to them! When we were in the Fisher House, someone donated pumpkins during Halloween & we got to carve one with our little girl. It was a nice little getaway from the stresses we were dealing with.

Donate to your local NICU

Majority of NICU families were not prepared for their baby just yet. We weren’t Our little Noah was 3 months too early. We didn’t have clothes to fit a 3 lb baby. We didn’t have his room put together. Heck, we hadn’t even bought his crib yet! Donations are so appreciated by these families. We got quite a few clothes donated to us & it was amazing & heart warming. The momma sitting alone in her baby’s pod waiting for the next feeding time when she gets to hold her baby, who has cords hanging off of every limb of their tiny little body, isn’t thinking about Christmas shopping or what she’s even going to wear the next day. Anything & everything helps! We were also in the NICU for Halloween & someone donated these adorable little pumpkin knitted hats they made. Every baby in the NICU got one. We still have it. It is so special to us! So donate anything! Strollers, carseats, clothes, books, crafts for decorating incubators, knitted hats, etc. Also, send some goodies to all those nurses, nurse practitioners & doctors who are working with those tiny humans! Send a sweet card or some yummy gingerbread cookies! They love it!

Show Thanks to Your Mailman/woman

I got this idea from a sweet insta-friend of mine. She set out a little basket full of water & snacks for all of the delivery services delivering her packages. So thoughtful, right? You can see the one she put together on her instagram page, @holdingmoonbeams.

Are there any ways YOU like to give back during the holidays that I don’t have listed on here? I always love new ideas!

Merry Christmas, Y’all & God bless †

Brittany

Raising Superheroes

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What do you envision when you think of a superhero? Does your mind wonder off to Marvel & the Avengers? Do you picture Superman flying through the air or Catwomam sneaking through the night fighting bad guys? First responders & our military? Or maybe you think of a particular person in your life or someone you may not know personally but know of their accomplishments through the media.

Have you ever stopped to think how they became so heroic? I mean if you’re Superman, you’re kinda born that way, with super human powers & strength. But even Superman could have used those powers for evil or unethical things. It’s all in how he was raised. That goes for most of us. And I said “most” because there are some heroes who grew up not having a healthy, respectable role model to look up to & learn from. The majority of our lives can all be connected back to our upbringing with our parents and/or caretakers.

So how do we do this? How do we raise our children to be heroes? And what is a hero? It can mean so many different things to each person. For me, a hero is anyone who overcomes adversity with faith, dignity, kindness & humbleness. An adversity can be anything that creates a challenge, turmoil, or grief in a person’s life. I started thinking about this after watching the movie I Can Only Imagine. It’s a beautiful film. I highly recommend it. Tiny spoiler alert though, it may trigger some stuff if you’ve ever gone through/dealt with abuse in your life. It’s about a father-son relationship & basically how it created a powerful testimony of God’s love & purpose in these two lives.

Photo from https://www.courageouschristianfather.com/i-can-only-imagine-movie-review/amp/

The movie is extremely encouraging to any parent, in my opinion. I related to it in the fact that I struggle with guilt after disciplining my children. My husband & I would never physically or emotionally harm our children. We would never harm them in any way. Period. But I always think, “Maybe I could’ve handled that differently.” Or, “I shouldn’t have yelled.” But my husband is always so great about reminding me that we are just trying our best to raise strong, loving, independent & rule-abiding adults. Our littles get upset when they get in trouble & I just hate seeing them cry. But we get down on their level & explain why we can’t do certain things- for theirs/others’ safety, it’s not kind, they’ll get too full & not eat dinner. The list goes on.

But then it happens. It clicks with them. Whatever the lesson may be. And you see them implementing them in their day to day lives.

One thing I have learned being a momma is that children, especially little bitties learn best by their environment. So lead by example. SHOW them how they are expected to act & speak. That’s how you raise superheroes. This is not to say you can’t ever be angry or sad or what have you. But it’s in the way you handle yourself & cope in those situations. You raise heroes by being a hero yourself. Be the best version of you. And you may not feel like it. But just by taking the time to play with them. Putting their dolls clothes on. Get on their level. Opening their juice [it really can be that simple!] or making them lunch. You do everything for them & they see it. Holding them when they have a bad dream & reminding them it will all be okay. It all matters. Much more than any of us realize.

Related: He’s Not Just a NICU Survivor

My kiddos are my heroes. Hands down. My Noah has overcome some huge obstacles even before he was born. And same with my baby girl. My Paislee. She is so full of life & knows no stranger. God is working through them both in so many ways already.

Related: My Beauty and the World’s Beasts

Making them feel loved, important & heard is the most heroic thing you could ever do for them. I promise you they see it. You are their world & it’s your job to guide them down the right path so they can survive in this world of sidekicks. A great leader creates more leaders. Why do you think God created us?! So we can lead others to Him!

Just some food for thought on this quiet Sunday 💕

As always, God bless †

Brittany

The Perfect Romantic Vacay: For Those Young Parents Who Just Need a Minute

Having two toddlers running around can really take a toll on the romantic spark in your marriage. Tommy [my hubby] & I love each other so much, but the daily routine wears us down after awhile. By the time the kids are in bed, we flop down on our mattress, turn on The Office & try to soak up the hour or two of quiet before we finally call it a night. The diary of a toddler parent, right? We have learned the hard way how important it is to take time for ourselves. After the kid’s bedtime, laying in bed half asleep doesn’t count! I’m talkin’ REAL time. Intentional time. Not just dating your spouse but enjoying them, talking & listening to them, & making memories with them. It’s all of those things that made you fall head over heels for them in the first place! Keep the romance alive.

Related: 8 Ways I Show My Husband I Love Him

Being in the military can sometimes be hard to plan that time together. Believe me, we get that. It took us almost 3 years to make the time. We knew that once Tommy became a recruiter, he would not have any leave time. After his graduation he got 30 WHOLE DAYS of leave. So you best believe we were going to take full advantage of them. Especially now since we are so close to family. We are also so incredibly close to our most favorite place in the entire universe.

Gruene, Texas

There are so many fun & romantic things to do there. And places around the area that are super fun too! Gruene Hall [pictured above] is the oldest dance hall in Texas. Tons of country music legends have performed here including George Strait, Pat Green, Lyle Lovett, Tracy Lawrence & Willie Nelson.

It’s just a neat place to be in. So much history & good music.

DAY ONE

We took 5 days for our little getaway. The first day we got there a little late in the day but were able to make it to the Whitewater Amphitheater to see a few of our favorite Texas country artists play. Cory Morrow, Pat Green & Josh Abbott Band. It was amazing! We had such a blast. The amphitheater was so cool too. The river is directly behind it. There is so much room which makes it seem less crowded. We even got to meet Cory Morrow & Pat Green after the show! Tommy was on cloud 9!

I’ll admit, it was hot but it was a darn good time!

 

Pat Green on the left & Cory Morrow on the right

DAY TWO

Just to back track a bit, we actually stayed in New Braunfels the first three nights of our vacay. It’s very close to Gruene & all of the fun things to do around the area. This day we decided to drive just about an hour to Shiner, TX. My husband LOVES Shiner beer & has always wanted to visit their brewery. We figured since we were so close, why the heck not?! It was so fun, ya’ll. They had a ton of yard games set up around the brewery, a gift shop, & FREE BEER. You get these cute little tokens that you exchange for a free beer.

 

 

They assign you a group number & you just wait for your number to be called to go take the tour. This older woman was giving our tour & she had worked there for about 20 years. She was so cute & gave us an awesome tour. I would highly recommend going if you are ever close to the area. We had so much fun!

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After our visit at the brewery, we just couldn’t wait any longer to get to Gruene. We were craving our favorite wine & they only have it at The Grapevine which is a tiny little wine tasting place there in town. We always get a bottle for ourselves & hang out there for a while. It’s called Texas Blackberry wine. If there is one thing to take away from this post, it’s this wine. If you like sweeter tastes. You used to be able to buy it on their website, but now due to TABC laws, they are no longer able to. Sad day. Guess that means you HAVE to go now 😉 Live music, good wine & yummy sides.

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After our little break at The Grapevine, we ended our day with a delicious dinner at The Gruene River Grill. Heads up- you might not wanna read this if you are hungry because I have some mouth watering food pics coming your way!

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DAY THREE

This was our favorite day of the whole trip! Our number one favorite thing to do while in Gruene/ New Braunfels is floating the river. We’ve done the Guadalupe & the Comal. Both are super fun, but the Guadalupe is usually always a little low so you might have to walk a little bit. The only downfall of the Comal is that they have a “can ban” so no cans are allowed in efforts to keep the river more clean. Which is great, just inconvenient for everyone. This time we decided to float with the Gruene River Company. What was supposed to be about a 3 hour float turned into a 6 hour float. We had the best time & even made a friend along the way. That’s what the river is all about! Oh & I got one gnarly sunburn. But it was totally worth it!

 

 

Tommy even went to go jump off of one of the cliffs along the river. It was just a good time all around! I talk it up every time I get a chance to 🙂

DAY FOUR

We tried to take it a bit easy this day. We were extremely worn out from the river & I was even more extremely sunburnt. BUT this was the day that we got to check into The Gruene Mansion Inn. The most romantic place in Texas (in my opinion). We had only stayed there once before after Tommy had graduated from boot camp. So we were long overdue for a nice stay there! I can’t get over how pretty it is y’all. They have so many rooms to choose from. It the sweetest little bed and breakfast. The perfect spot for a couple’s getaway. They also have bigger rooms for families if you’re taking a family vacation. I promise this post is not sponsored, I just love it THAT much.

We stayed in the Pent Haus 14. It was so cozy & romantic. We had a wonderful view of the river too. I’m sad I didn’t get any good pics of our room, but just look at this place! It’s beautiful!

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After we checked in, we just laid in bed for hours. It was so nice. As parents of two toddlers, we never get to do that. A huge piece of advice I can give to parents or any couples that lead busy & stressful lives- when you go on vacation, take at least one day to do absolutely nothing. Lay in bed all day. Watch your favorite shows, a movie you haven’t seen or just sleep. Take advantage of that time, because you both know it won’t happen again for awhile.

That evening we went and walked around a little bit in Gruene and ate at one of our favorite restaurants there, Cantina Del Rio. We ended our day with some tasty margaritas, yummy enchiladas & more lazy time in bed. It was perfect.

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DAY FIVE 

We started our morning with a delightful breakfast. They have the sweetest little lady in the kitchen cooking an amazing spread every morning. Delicious home cooked food to start your day! We decided to add some mimosas to the mix. I mean, why not?!

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Once our tummies were very happy, we spontaneously decided to drive to San Antonio for the day. We were about 40 minutes from the city & really thought it would be fun to walk down the river walk & see The Alamo since we were so close. Our first stop was the river walk. We stopped and had some famous margaritas followed by a river tour on one of their river tour boats. I will say, it was extremely hot. It would be much better to go in the spring time or fall when it’s not scorching out. It didn’t help that my sunburn was killing me. But it was still cool nonetheless to see all of the historical buildings around the river & learn a little something while we were there.

After our nice little tour we went to visit one of the most historical, if not the most historical, building in Texas- The Alamo. We only spent about an hour there. It was so incredibly hot & my sunburn was just too much for me to handle, but it was so cool to see. Neither one of us had been since we were younger & it’s just humbling to stand on that ground where so much was fought for.

After our little tourist-y day, we headed back to Gruene to our room & got ready for dinner. We were starving. We saved the best place for our last night! The Gristmill. They have one of the best chicken fried chicken around. The place is huge, too. They have to coolest decorations & the atmosphere in general is one of a kind.

Oh & you gotta get the onion rings. My mouth is just watering now thinking about them. I told you…tons of food. I’m just a foodie. I’m not sorry.

DAY SIX

This was our last day…we were so sad to leave. But it was the fourth of July, Tommy’s favorite holiday of the year. And we were anxious to get back to our babies. But you best believe we weren’t leaving until we got some more of that delicious breakfast. Their cook outdid herself that morning. Our food was so yummy.

I love pretty food. This was the perfect way to end our stay in Gruene. Sitting on the patio, the fresh smell of morning in the air & freedom all around. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

If you just decided to scroll all the way down here & read through our amazing little getaway, I hope you can take away a very important point- make time to get away. That doesn’t necessarily mean to throw down a bunch of money & go on an expensive vacay somewhere by the ocean. You could literally just stay home. Let your babies go spend time with their grandparents (which is also extremely important) & take time for yourselves. Cuddle. Laugh. SLEEP. Just be. I can’t tell y’all how much we needed that time. I’ll remember every second.

Related: Five Reasons Why Healthy Grandparent-Grandchild Relationships are Important

Until next time…

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As always, God bless

Brittany

 

 

 

 

THE BIG MOVE

Long time no see, friends! Howdy FROM TEXAS!

I have missed writing these past couple of weeks! Needless to say, our little family has been busy busy busy. We have travelled over 2,000 miles, seen majestic national landmarks & made it back to our home state of Texas. And can I just say, “Ahhhhh it feels so good!” We have only been back for a little over a week but it feels great to be home. There’s just no place like it!

I am so excited to take you through our whole moving experience- especially the road trip. It was all a huge whirlwind at first. Let me fill you in a little bit….in case you are just now tuning into the blog, my husband, Tommy, is a Marine and just recently graduated from recruiter’s school. The anticipation of waiting to hear where we would be stationed next was intense. Tommy had put in a special request for Fort Worth, Texas, where we were born and raised. We prayed hard for it and had tons of prayer warriors behind us through it all. I remember Tommy calling me the day he found out and he said, “Are you ready for this?” At this point I had no idea what to expect. The Marine Corps is so incredibly unexpected [my fellow spouses can attest to this]. So, honestly I was expecting the worst. He just sat there for a minute and said, “Killeen, TX baby!” I was sitting at the table eating lunch with the kids & I jumped up so high with pure excitement and joy flowing through my body. I was crying tears of happiness and relief. We were finally going back H O M E.

The next couple of weeks after we found out, we were basically just chillin’. Tommy was finishing up his school & I was constantly looking for houses to rent in the new area we would be living in. The amazing thing about this whole set-up was that we didn’t have to pack or move ourselves. The Marine Corps was going to do that all for us…or so we thought. About a week and a half before our expected move date, all of the Marines in Tommy’s class found out that the movers that were supposed to be scheduled to move all of us were backed up, therefore would not be able to move anyone out until middle or late July. That was just not going to work for us. We had a house lined up, a road trip planned to see all of these awesome places in almost a week & NOW you choose to tell us this?!

IO mad guy

You’d think I would get used to things just not going my way after almost 4 years of being a Marine Corps spouse, but no. I was livid. And extremely stressed out, to say the least. After getting some advice on what to do from a family friend of ours who is also a Marine, we decided to go ahead and move ourselves.

So I had about 5 days to pack up our house. Which in hindsight was not bad at all, but in the moment it was immensely overwhelming to me. All the while, my husband was working on getting the moving truck, towing trailer [for my car] & making sure we had all the funds necessary to make this move of ours happen. If you have ever or plan to ever rent a moving truck out of California to anywhere else in the U.S., I have a little tip for you…don’t do it. It’s so insanely expensive. My husband ended up buying a cheap flight to Vegas, picked up the moving truck there, drove back to our house [about a 5 hour drive] & we packed up and moved out 2 days after. See…whirlwind, I warned ya. It was way more inconvenient on our part, but much less in regards to money [like 3 times as less]. It was definitely the smarter route.

A friend of ours joked that we were proof that Murphy’s Law truly does exist. The journey leading up to our move & even some happenings on our road trip was just one chaotic mess after another!

DAY 1

Then we headed out on our trip. Once we knew we were going to have the moving truck we debated on whether or not we wanted to still make our stops along the way. I was so looking forward to seeing the Hoover Dam & the Grand Canyon. We finally decided, “Why not?!” We had four whole days to kill [what my husband “rates” for this particular move]. The first day, our goal was to make it to the Hoover Dam. Tommy was especially excited about this stop. We were all packed up & ready to head that way!

It took us a good 7-8 hours to get to the Hoover Dam. Another little road trip tip- if you are going to be traveling a long ways with toddlers in a car, just be prepared to stop A LOT. Especially if one or both of those toddlers is potty training. Both of the kids did amazing in the car. We watched Coco maybe 30 times, but they were calm & kept themselves entertained the whole way. Paislee had zero accidents the whole time, too! We were & are still so proud of her for that! Huge milestone in her potty training journey!

Anyways, back to the Hoover Dam…it was a huge heartbreak. TIP- check the websites of any major landmark or stop you plan to make before you go on your road trip. I say this because we failed to do this & we were not able to see the Hoover Dam in result. The Dam closes at 5:30. They are currently doing some construction & they close from 5:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. What really sucks is that we literally pulled up to the gate at 5:30 on the dot. Tommy was so bummed. I felt terrible. So, do your research people. Learn from our mistakes!

We were still super excited about the Grand Canyon the next day, though. We drove a little more to our hotel in Kingman, AZ & called it a day. The kids also slept really well in the hotels. They went to bed a little [sometimes much] later than their usual bedtimes, but that’s just all part of it. We weren’t too concerned about bedtimes & nap times. The kids never have trouble sleeping in the car either. So sleep was not an issue on this trip!

DAY 2

We woke up the next morning & made our way to the Grand Canyon! The kids were in such great moods that morning! And so were we. We got some decent sleep & were very excited to get back on the road again.

This is the day it started to rain. It rained almost the entire day. Except for the time we were actually at the Grand Canyon [we can thank God for that 🙂]. I will try not to spam the next portion of this post with the beautiful pictures we captured, but I can’t make any promises! It was so majestic & serene, y’all. I can’t begin to explain how big it actually is. There are no words to describe it. It was true proof of God’s handy work. We are so blessed to have been able to take the kids [and the dogs] to see this.

It’s like you almost feel like you can touch Heaven. That’s how magical & peaceful it is there.

Tommy went out on this cliff where you could get some awesome shots of the Canyon. I was too much of a chicken to go out there myself, although I did try.

It was a wonderful day. The kids are still so little & couldn’t really appreciate the beauty, but it was still such a memorable moment for us as parents & something we will always remember doing with them!

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But you better believe that Paislee remembers this! It was the highlight of her trip to the Grand Canyon, if you ask her.

And of course we had to get the kids matching shirts! I got the smallest sizes they had…I just couldn’t help myself.

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Day two was our favorite road trip day! It was filled with tons of fun & lifetime memories!

DAY 3

This day was filled with lots & lots of driving. This is the day we made the most time. And it rained all. day. long. This is the day we finally made it to Texas! This was the hardest day for me. I was getting so tired of driving. And although the kids weren’t having any real meltdowns, they were constantly dropping something that I couldn’t get for them. Their snacks, their blankets, the cups, their toys. Everything. And I was driving, so it was hard for me to pick whatever it was up for them.

Something that made the drive so much easier was the walkie talkies that we bought before we left California. So if the kids did drop something, I could let Tommy know immediately & we could both pull over to the shoulder really quick so I could grab it. It was so much easier & safer than picking up the phone & calling each other every time we needed to stop. It was also helpful in just keeping the other person in the loop of cars passing or something coming up that I couldn’t see because the huge moving truck was in front of me the whole drive there. I would highly recommend getting a pair if you have to drive separately on a road trip with someone. The ones we purchased are down at the end of this post 🙂

Then we made it. To Texas. The homeland. The promiseland.

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We were a little excited, could you tell??

We started the day in Albuquerque, NM & ended the day in Abilene, TX. We drove a lot, but it was so worth it. Because the next day would only be a 3ish hour drive to our new home!

DAY 4

The final day had come! We were going to see our new house today! No more driving. We would get to sleep in our own bed. It was going to be a glorious day! Abilene is only about a 3 hour drive from our home in Nolanville. It seemed like the longest 3 hours though. Probably because we were just so darn excited. When we arrived, my dad and one of my younger sisters was there to greet us! A huge sigh of relief & thankfulness came out of me when we saw our home. It was beautiful. And it was in Texas. What could be any better?!

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DAY 13

Jump ahead a little, & today we are just loving our new home & town. It just feels right here. We are still unpacking & trying to get in all of the quality time we can before Tommy starts his new position as a recruiter & I start my new job [which I just accepted last week, yay!]. It is so nice being so close to family. We can spend the big holidays together, & even the weekends that nothing is going on. We are cherishing this time in our lives & love that our kids are finally getting some real Texas time. God has answered our prayers. Like He always does. The road was surely bumpy & stressful along the way [when is it not?], but we got here. Welcome to the next chapter in our life! We hope you keep reading 🙂

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As always, God bless

Brittany

Why Change is GOOD for the Faint of Heart

As some of you may have seen on social media, about a couple of weeks ago we received some very exciting news! We are moving back to Texas! Killeen, TX to be exact. A good ole country town with HEBs & Whataburgers as far as the eye can see. We couldn’t be happier!

When you have a spouse in the military, it can be so hard. New places every few years, new people, the long hours your spouse works. Not to mention those week to month long field ops and deployments. We have been so blessed in that we haven’t experienced a deployment in the almost 5 years my husband has been a Marine. For him, it’s a bittersweet thing. That’s why they join, right? Of course, he never wants to be away from me and the kids. But we have gone through lots of times where we couldn’t see or talk to each other. We’ve been through it all together. From poolee functions, boot camp, weeks of field ops, Sergeant’s course & now Recruiter’s school.

Related: Three Things I’ve Learned as a Marine Corps Wife

There are about to be a lot of changes happening with our little family. My husband is currently in school and will soon have a new job in the Marine Corps. Recruiter. So if you live in the Killeen or any of the surrounding areas, he’s about to get to know y’all & your kiddos REAL well. He will be changing lives [as corny as that sounds] 7 spreading the good word of the Marine Corps. We are all so proud of him. With that comes a lot of change as well. The only thing I’ve heard about being a recruiter’s wife is, “Be ready for the long hours.” Encouraging right? Eh. It’s okay. It’s like when you find out your pregnant and literally everyone who has had a baby has to share their wisdom with you. Like, “The first trimester sucks” , & “Just wait until the last 2 months. You’ll never stop peeing.” Oh, but my personal favorite, “You think you’re not getting any sleep now? Just wait til that baby comes.”

I GET IT! Ya know what I mean?

Anyways, although the long hours won’t be the highlight of this job, I know Tommy will get so much experience and pride from it. He has been studying and working so hard throughout his entire school, even practicing & using me as recruiting bait. Needless to say, I think we are all excited for this change! I haven’t seen him this exciting about the Marine Corps since he joined.

We lived in a few houses on base, but this one was special. The best neighbors & memories we will never forget!

I too will be getting a new job. I still plan to work in the same field as an ABA therapist, but with a different company that will allow me to be home on the weekends when my hubby won’t be. Or will be, since that’s the only time we will probably see each other. The life. I have an interview set up already & I am very excited for this transition. The company I have been with for the past year & a half has been so wonderful. I have learned so much working here. Working with children on the spectrum or that have any kind of special needs is truly my passion & they helped me to discover that!

Then there’s the whole thing about moving with two toddlers & two dogs. It’s gonna be an adventure y’all! The greatest thing about the move is that the Marine Corps is moving everything for us & packing it all. Such a huge stress taken off of our shoulders. Because looking for a house in a town you don’t & have never lived in is super stressful. Also looking for child care is tricky. But we are making the best of it. Our families have been so awesome & have offered to look at homes for us since they only live a couple of hours away. I just couldn’t feel more blessed y’all!

So this all sounds great, right? But WHY is it great? Especially for me. Someone who is so faint hearted. I like staying in my comfort zone when it comes to pretty much anything. I’m not the “adventurer” type. I don’t do dangerous things or take risks & chances. This man right here has helped me come out of my shell in so many ways.

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He adapts so well to new situations. He is my calm before & after the storm. Most times, he even helps me to avoid the storm altogether. Waiting to find out where we were going to be stationed next was one of the most stressful situations we have gone through. I cried so many tears of joy when Tommy called me to tell me the news. It is a moment I will never forget.

Related: 8 Ways I Show My Husband I Love Him

Being in California for the past four and a half years has been a big step out of my comfort zone. I was born and raised in Texas. I never imagined myself leaving it. But I would follow my husband anywhere. Living in this foreign [to me] state & meeting so many new people has helped me grow. It has made me so much stronger. I’m such a family girl & being away from my family was hard. So hard I can’t even explain. But the positive side of it is that it has really helped me to be more independent. I’ve had to do and learn a lot of things on my own when it comes to being a working mother & wife. And my introverted self managed to make some beautiful friends that might as well be family.

Change is scary. Change is hard. But is is good. It is healthy. And it’s so EXCITING sometimes! We are so looking forward to this new chapter in our lives. We can’t wait to go back to our home state. Only a couple of hours away from family & friends. And don’t worry, the entire road trip will be documented & there will be an entire post [or two] dedicated to it! So blessed to have y’all on this journey with us!

Have any of you gone through some changes lately? Or have some coming up soon? Share them in the comments, I would love to hear about them & how you coped 🙂

Bluebonnets here we come!

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As always, God bless †

Brittany

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Fun Easter Traditions to Start with Your Family

EASTER IS ALMOST HERE! Let us celebrate the reason for the season- our Almighty God & His only begotten son! This time of year always fills my heart with so much joy, it’s overflowing. Easter is my second favorite holiday of the year- Christmas being the 1st :). Mostly because we get to rejoice in the realization the He has risen from the dead after making the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. But also because it truly brings families together. Holding traditions is such a precious and simple way to spend quality time with your families. Seize these moments as they probably don’t come along very often in the midst of our busy and chaotic lives.

Being a relatively new and young family ourselves, sometimes it’s hard to start our own traditions. I’ve come up with a list of really fun traditions you can start doing with your family tomorrow on this joyous day!

Coloring eggs

I believe most families include this in their Easter traditions some way or another. Probably a “given”, but so much fun! Even if you don’t have kids, this is a great way to get everyone together and get those creative juices going. I like to boil the eggs the night before and have the kids color them on Easter. There are so many ways you can do these, it’s crazy! I found this really fun way to color eggs with shaving cream and food coloring by The Crafty Morning blog that looks so fun. And it’s a great sensory activity for the kiddos if you’re wanting to stray away from the typical store bought egg coloring kits. I also found some ADORABLE decorating ideas for older kiddos and adults on the Homesteading blog! From glitter eggs to mini flower holders, they have 32 super creative ideas. Go check them out!

Easter Morning Church Service

The best way you can start your Easter festivities to wake up, get dressed up in your flowery dress & ironed polos and praise the One who made it all possible! Easter services are always to fun, too. My family and I attend Baptist churches where praise and worship are held at the beginning of each service. It’s so fun and uplifting to praise Him and lift up His name on this glorious morning in particular. Everyone is so happy and each heart is filled with the Holy Spirit, you can just feel it! A wonderful tradition to start if you are religious.

Take Pictures

Taking pictures is probably my favorite hobby. I am ALWAYS taking pictures of EVERYTHING. Just ask my husband. I’m always looking for a good photo op. What better time than when everyone is dressed up in their spiffy Easter outfits?! These do not have to be taken by a professional. But capture the moments. Take a picture of your kiddos with their Easter baskets full of eggs every year and see how they grow. They always say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” But I say, “A picture holds a thousand memories.” They are so special to have and I encourage all of you to never stop snapping those pics! We started this tradition for Paislee’s first Easter. We actually got professional ones done that year by the wonderful Olguta with Oh My Goddard Photography [I highly recommend her if you’re in the San Diego area, she takes beautiful pictures!] and last year just took some ourselves. But, c’mon! Look how adorable! Such sweet pictures I will always love and hold dear.

Paislee’s 1st Easter

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Noah’s 1st Easter, & 1st of us as a family of four

Have a Picnic & Easter Egg Hunt

Easter is usually paired with some beautiful weather, so take advantage of it! Find a nice park around your neighborhood, or even the beach and have yourself a picnic! This would be a perfect time to talk & laugh with your family while the kiddos go on an Easter egg hunt. My family does do an annual Easter egg hunt at the house, but I think a picnic would be so much fun. Enjoying the sun, letting the kids play and just soaking up that quality time. Pack some finger sandwiches, fruit, and maybe some mimosas and you’ve got yourself a low-key Easter brunch on the lawn! How perfect.

Dinner & The Passion

This is one that I would love to start this year with my family. It will probably just be me and my husband watching it since our babies are still really little. But I think it’s so important to remember the reason we celebrate this day. I know a lot of families like to make a ham and all the yummy fixins that go along with it. After your tummies are full and happy, what a wonderful way to end the day by watching The Passion of the Christ. An amazing illustration of the purest love we will ever experience. Watching the story of Jesus unfold is something I will never get tired of. It makes me cry every time. I’ve just bought it on iTunes and can’t wait to watch it with my family tomorrow 🙂

I hope you can start some of these traditions with your family & I pray that you all have a beautiful Easter 🙏🏻

And as always, God Bless †

Brittany

 

8 Ways I Show My Husband I Love Him

People really don’t lie when they describe the difference of their lives before & after kids. It is very different. Your priorities change. Your sleep schedules changes. Your daily routine changes. Your finances change. Basically your whole world is turned upside down because of this tiny little human you made. These are not bad changes, they are all for good I promise. But recently I was talking with some of my girlfriends, specifically, about how much your relationship with your significant other changes after you have kids. All of your time is focused on these little people who you want to raise to be decent human beings. Date nights are a must, of course. But not everyone really has the luxury of having a date night every single week. I started thinking about this, and how much my relationship with my husband has changed over these last 5 years.

I have grown to love this man more than I could’ve ever imagined possible. Everyone talks about not knowing how much you could love until you have a baby. And this is so true on two accounts…your baby and your husband. When you see your man holding that baby for the first time, it’s like “uh, okay I’m ready to make another baby” haha [not really]. I kid, but it’s seriously such a special moment and something I will never be able to forget. Even through all of this love and growth as a couple, it is sometimes hard to set aside time for ourselves and our marriage. I try my hardest every day to do something for my husband. Big or small. Just so he knows I see him, I appreciate him, and I love him so much. Life isn’t perfect & some days pass where I fall short, but I try.

I came up with a little exercise for myself. I thought of somethings that I know I do to show my husband that I love him.

Letting him enjoy time with the kids

Now, when I say this, I don’t mean when I’m like, “Okay baby I need to go to the store, can you watch the kids while I’m out?” No. This is special time. Like for example, my husband and I refer to ourselves as “a team”. We work together on everything. Every night I will unload the dishwasher and he will load it. So, usually after dinner I start to clean off the kids’ placemats and bring everything to the sink. He and the kids will usually start playing while I’m unloading the dishwasher. Not every night, but some nights they do. And they will turn on some music and start jammin’ out. It’s just so sweet to watch. He looks so happy and content. I go ahead and load up the dishwasher so he can have that time. I get to spend all day with the kids while he is at work. I know he misses that time & loves to spend every second he can with our babies. He deserves that time just as much as me. I would never want to take him away from that.

Buy him his favorite snacks/drinks at the store

Every time I go to the grocery store I ask him if he wants/needs anything. He will occasionally need some shaving cream or something essential, but never gives me anything he wants. I always make it a point to get him something there that I know he loves to eat or drink. Then when I bring everything home he gets so happy that I restocked his favorite snacks. It’s the little things 🙂

Thank him

This might be a hard one at times, but this is the biggest one for me. Anytime I see him doing something around the house- dishes, laundry, hanging up pictures, vacumming, etc. I always try to thank him. Even though most of the things he’s doing should be done around the house anyways, it never hurts to give a little ‘thank you’. I know I always appreciate that! And for other things too like hangin out with the kids while I take a quick shower or go on a run. I’m so grateful to have a husband that is there for me when I need a little break. The least I can do is thank him.

Sweet texts

This is one that I love to do and should do more often. When I can sense he’s having a hard day or I walk by a picture of him in the house and start to miss him, I’ll type up a sweet little text and send it to him. And he will do the same for me. It’s such a nice way to express your love and let him know that even through the chaos of the day, he is always on my mind.

After I wrote down these four ways I show my husband I love him, I was curious at what he would say if I asked him the same question. “How do I make you feel loved?” These were his answers…

When I surprise him with his favorite meals

I love do to this. His absolute favorite is beef stroganoff. It sits in the crock pot all day, so when he gets home the house smells so good! I love seeing his face when he walks through the door and takes a big whiff.

Talk him up

This is something I didn’t really notice that I did, but it’s so sweet. He loves when I talk him up to the kids like he’s a superhero. I always tell them, “Daddy is the best!” Because he totally is 🙂

Making him lunch 

We are fortunate enough to live close to his work, so he comes home for lunch almost everyday. He will usually call me on his way home and I’ll ask him what he’s hungry for. If I’m not too busy making the kids’ lunches or running behind I love to make his lunch and have it ready. He never asks or expects it, which makes me want to do it for him!

Showing interest in things he loves

The biggest example he gave of this was our annual trips to the NASCAR race. Every year I’ve woken up way too early so we could head out and get a good parking spot to tailgate. Although I enjoy doing this with him every year, this is totally his thing. He is such a die hard fan, & the greatest joy I get out of it is seeing him so happy & excited. He’s seriously like a little kid [or me 🙂] on Christmas morning!

You can use these as ideas to start showing your wife or husband you love them, or I challenge you to try out this exercise with them! It was really cool to see what we both thought of. And it’s a really nice way to think about those little things that happen almost on a daily basis. It helps you to appreciate your spouse more. I would love to hear what y’all came up with & if you share some of things my husband and I thought of! Let me know in the comments 🙂

As always, God bless †

Brittany