Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas

Michael and I didn't go to Utah for Christmas because of his work.  Instead we got to go to Los Angeles and spend the holiday with other family.  It was so fun to wake up on Christmas morning with little kids again.  They are so excited about santa coming and it makes the whole holiday that much more fun.  
We were a little sad about not going to Utah so we wanted to try extra hard to make it feel festive here.  We had a bit of a challenge on our hands, making it feel like Christmas, when the weather is still like warm enough for short sleeves and snow hasn't failed in over 10 years. So we went a little over board in decorating our apartment.  Here are some of the things we did

You can't really see in the picture but there are little wrapped up boxes in the red bowl.   Plus my tiny tree I bought at Trader Joe's

Happy Holidays

We painted our own ornaments, that is a mustache, Michael and I still don't understand what so great about them but we figured we would jump on the wagon

We wrapped our pictures hanging on our wall, cheapest decorating trick

It was fun decorating our apartment and even though it wasn't the same as going home we both still had a great time staying here.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Spirit

Michael and I live in California.  He works all the time as a Marine and because of his crazy work schedule we don't get to travel (travel to Utah especially) as much as we would like to.  This year is no exception.  We were hoping that we would be able to come to Utah for the Christmas holiday but we had no such luck.  He was denied liberty and that means we are grounded here in California.  There are worse places to be stuck obviously.
This news was especially hard because there is a new little baby that I desperately need to go see.  My amazing sister just had her first baby and all I want to do is give him a big hug and a kiss.  We both wanted to go and see our family and friends,  tell them how much we love them and miss them, but it will all be ok because I think they already know those things. 
Michael and I are going to have our own little Christmas here.  We bought a Christmas tree, went shopping yesterday for each others gifts and are making traditions of our own.  We will also go see other family in Los Angeles.  
It was initially hard to hear that we weren't able to go to Utah for the holiday but, we have both accepted it.  Even though there isn't snow or cold weather, fireplaces or hot chocolate, it still feels a lot like Christmas.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thanksgiving weekend

Thanksgiving was a fun holiday here in San Diego.  Michael and I didn't go to Utah for the holiday but Michael's family came here!  They were all really excited about the warm weather, apparently blizzards aren't as fun as the beach...?
I cooked Thanksgiving for 10 people.  Michael and I, his family (3), my favorite neighbor, and four Marines that showed up last minute.  Thank goodness I bought a lot of extra food.  I have come to find that jello served on Thanksgiving is a total Mormon tradition.  A lot of people were confused by this side dish but they all loved it, thanks Mama Mara for the recipe!
On Friday we decided to go to the San Diego Zoo!

 We spent the whole day there, we saw birds, gorillas, lions, reptiles, polar bears, and of course the pandas.  San Diego Zoo is the only zoo in the world that had a complete family of panda bears.  The new baby just got here a few weeks ago.  There were tons of people waiting to see the panda family so the only pictures we got were photo bombed by people with poor style, bad haircuts and a lot of satchels .  Enjoy!

We also saw this handsome creature.  Still not quite sure what it is, but I do know that he moved super slow and when he finally stopped his feet were in his water supply.  A worthy goal.

We ended the day with some much needed soft serve.  And yes documentation is also needed because I haven't had a good twist cone in years.  

It was a really fun weekend and even though it was hard to say bye to Michael's family we were still so grateful that they were able to come visit us.  Who's next?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Color Run

A few weekends ago Michael and I did a 5K in San Diego.  We drove down and as we approached the stadium where the race was held the traffic started piling up.  California always has bad traffic but this was ridiculous.  These are just some of the people there.

All those tiny little dots are people and we came early!  We stood in line for a long time and got our number, t-shirt, and really cool sweat band

Michael is a great model for the sweat band.  We waited with lots and lots of people to start our race.  For safety they only allowed groups of 500 people start the race at a time.   Michael and I waited our turn and finally got the the starting line.

The color run is a race that as you run every kilometer you get colored powder thrown at you.  It sounds really weird and under any other circumstance I would not appreciate strangers throwing things at me especially while exercising but, it was actually really fun.

We finally made it to the finish line.  We were both tired and really thirsty.  After running through 5 different powdered dust clouds we needed the water!  The blue station really piled it on me and orange station piled it on Michael.  (As the pictures below illustrate.) Overall, it was a really fun adventure that we got to do together.  Maybe we will do it next year for anyone that want to join us!

Don't mind my Bob Ross hair being accentuated by my sweatband

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Marine Corps Ball

November 10th is the Marine Corps birthday.  Every year all around the country Marines and guests are invited to a big ceremony to celebrate.  This year was the 237th birthday, Michael and I went last night and it was full of fun, patriotism and emotion.
I have been excited about going for the last few weeks,  I bought a dress, had my neighbor practice my hair, and I even bought red lipstick for the occasion.  My dress was the only short dress at the ball but I didn't care because I am not really the ball gown type.  Even my wedding dress was short.
This is my dress.  Short, lace, 20's style

He is the most handsome man ever, I love when he is in dress blues!  

Marines wear their most formal uniform for the event.  Michael has a very serious face on because the jackets are super uncomfortable apparently

We arrived at La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, where the ball was held and took our seats in the ball room.  Before dinner was served they always have a short presentation where the Commanding Officer speaks, they have a cake ceremony, and a short video is played from General Amos (he is like the President of the Marine Corps).  But before all those things they always have a colors ceremony where everyone in the hall stands as the American flag is brought through the room.  It was so interesting to watch the demeanor of the Marines in that room as the National Anthem was played and the American flag was brought out.  Every single Marine in that room, without any prompting or instruction from their superiors, snapped their feet and legs together, straightened out their back, put their arms by their sides with their hands in fists and watched as that flag moved through the room.  Every. Single. Marine.  All the joking, talking, and boys being boys stopped in a split second.  There was such a respect, patriotism and sense of duty in the air.  I started to tear up a little because I was in awe.  Even now as I am writing this I can still feel the love that those men and women have for their country.  There is nothing more patriotic than seeing 300 Marines stand at attention out of respect for what they fight for. 

After the color ceremony a video was played that showed fighting done years ago in World War II and the current fighting that took place only a few weeks ago in Libya.  If you remember the news they said that a Marine unit specifically was responding to the bombings in Libya, that is because Marines are always the first to respond.  They showed real footage from Afghanistan and had interviews from Marines that were severely wounded over there.  The whole video made everything a little too real.  I am more informed now than I have ever been before but I still love my bubble.  I don't like thinking about the fighting over there, I wish there didn't have to be fighting at all.  I got very emotional thinking about the friends we have over there right now and the possibility of Michael being over there sometime soon and it became a lot to handle.  After the video the guest of honor spoke about the brotherhood and sisterhood that is created through military service and the mood of the room changed.  The feeling of camaraderie replaced the feeling of fear for me.  The whole night was a huge mix of emotions for me that I am still trying to sort out but I do know one feeling without a doubt.  I love my husband!
Dinner was served after that and the night went on but I will always remember the feeling of love and pride I have for my husband, not only because he is an amazing person, a great husband but also because he is my hero.  He decided that he owed his country 4 years of his life and even though it is hard, and demanding, dangerous and uncertain he does it because he loves this country, and he loves his family.  I am proud and honored to say I am the wife of a Marine. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mason Jar Light Tutorial

 Michael and I have a little porch at our apartment.  There isn't a whole lot of light out there and because we are getting patio furniture soon we wanted a way to have lots of light so we could eat dinner outside in the evenings.  We decided to make jar lights.  We used Mason jars, wire and Christmas lights.  They turned out really cute!
This is the view as you walk up the stairs to our door

This the view from on the porch sitting on the chairs

To make them you will need Mason jars, the lids- not the tops (not the part that seals the jars when canning but the actual lid part that screws on) and wire.  We used 19 gauge stainless steal wire, and pliers so twisting the wire is easier.
I wanted the wire to be secured onto the actual lid so that we could take the jars down and clean them without having to take the whole assembly down, so Michael came up with a great system.


First you punch eight holes (four set of two) on the jar lid.  In the picture above it just shows two but they will be three more sets of two around the jar.  You twist the wire on itself in order to make it more secure and strong.   Do this three more times with each pair of holes made in the lid.  If the lids were the face of a clock the holes would be punched at 1:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 11:00.  The picture below shows a better picture of the hole placement.

Then you attach the jars to each other and depending on the space you are using you will need different amount of jars.  We used eight for the space we were working with.  These are the jars before we put lights on them.

This is the final product.  Michael did all the handy work, I just supplied the idea.  I think we make a great creative team!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Great Military (and other) News

Yesterday Michael told me some of the greatest news I have heard in a while.  Before I share the news I want to address some military terms to make the story more clear.  There are a few different types of units in the Marine Corps,  some are combat deployable, some are non-deployable and some are MEUs A MEU is a Marine Expeditionary Unit,  this is the unit that Michael is in.  A MEU is a unit that doesn't deploy to combat zones, instead they get on huge boats and sail the Pacific Ocean.  They are a global presence, taking up port in various Oceanic and Asian countries.  MEUs are much easier, emotionally, to deal with for spouses because you have much more of a guarantee of safety on a MEU as opposed to a combat zone.  MEUs are usually deployed for around 6-7 months.  Ok a lot of background but now you will understand why the news is so great!
We were really lucky that Michael got put in a MEU unit, but over the summer they told him that he would be deploying on a MEU in August,  this was obviously devastating news but Michael fought it, told his superiors that he didn't want to go and by some stroke of luck they decided to pick someone else to go on the MEU.  So he dodged one bullet.  Yesterday Michael came home and told me that there is a second MEU scheduled for next summer.  And again, they decided to take someone else on the ship!  So what does this mean... Michael is for sure (as sure as military life gets) not deploying for the next year and a half at least.  He may not deploy at all!  
I am so happy and grateful that we have been so blessed with the timing of everything.  
In other news I am dominating my chemistry class, highest score in my class,  sorry I just have to brag a little.  And also we have been getting very festive lately.  We have been making fall desserts,  decorating our apartment and trying to pretend it feels like fall here even though its 75 degrees and so sunny I haven't worn pants all year.  This is the wreath that I made, with Kate's help- to be fair all of Kate's help and her idea and her materials, its very festive and I'm quite proud.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Michael is back!

Michael has been back from his training for a couple week and I must say, I am so happy he is back!  The day he came I was so excited and nervous, I couldn't sit still!  I went to base two Fridays ago and waited for him to arrive.  It was the longest hour of my life.  They told us that they would arrive on base at 3:00 so that is when I got there.  Then I got a text from Michael saying that they had to have a brief at 4:00 so he wouldn't be out for a while.  I got so anxious and fidgety waiting for so long that finally I couldn't sit in the car any longer.  I called my mom and forced her to talk to me so my mind could be distracted.  After our talk, I was standing in the parking lot and I started to see all these marines dressed in their uniforms walking toward me.  They were all carrying their huge bags and backpacks and I couldn't really see Michael in the group.  As the marines passed me to get into their cars and to go back to the barracks, my heart started to sink because I didn't see Michael in the crowd.  I finally went back to my car and tried to find a song to distract me.  I was looking out the window when I saw a guy walking in my direction.  I couldn't see his face because he was carrying one of his bags like a baby bjorn.  I was getting so excited because I thought it was him but I didn't dare jump out of the car and hug him on the off chance that it wasn't actually my husband.  Finally when he was about five feet from the car I recognized his face and bolted out the driver door.  He dropped everything on the ground, gave me the hug I had been waiting for!  All my anxiousness and bottled up energy just disappeared when we finally got to hug each other again.
That weekend Michael ate a lot, and slept a lot.  He was so excited to sleep in a bed because the cot he had been sleeping in was so small he couldn't get both of his elbows in at the same time.  Geez, what a complainer!
I am so glad he is back!  It is amazing how much you can miss another person.  I took for granted all the wonderful things he did for me.  Silly things like opening pickle jars, and making sure I walked on the not street side of the side walk.  His unit has no scheduled training deployments or regular deployments for the foreseeable future, and I am so grateful for that!  We are both hopeful that we can serve the entire contract without him deploying.  Cross your fingers!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

25 days later

Michael comes home tomorrow!   I am so excited that I can't sleep!  It feels like he just left yesterday and at the same time it feels like I haven't seen him in years.   Funny how time works.  I have had a lot happen these past few weeks.  I flew to Utah for a wedding, built closer relationships with my friends in California,  my mom and sister came to visit me and I spend two days in Los Angeles visiting my sister-in-law.
It was so fun having my mom and Anne come visit me for the weekend.  We had a lot of fun while they were here.  We ate lots of good food, went shopping, went to the beach, and visited some of Anne's friends.  It was a great trip and as much as they came for a last vacation before the new baby, the trip was so beneficial for me in many ways.  Yesterday I went to Los Angeles and visited with the only family I have out here.  The new baby is such a sweetheart and I can't wait to see that whole family again in a few weeks.
I have been so blessed and surrounded with love while Michael has been gone.  It constantly amazes me how gracious, kind and warm people are.  As much as I have loved growing and developing relationships, I am so excited to have the love of my life back.  I have missed him terribly, and the fact that I will get to see him in about 17 hours is almost too much to handle!

Monday, September 10, 2012

An Overview

Last week I went home to Utah for a few days.  My sister-in-law got married and also my sister had a baby shower.  I realized while I was there that a lot of people know very little about my life so I thought I would write and answer the most common questions I got while visiting.

Where do you live?
We live in San Diego county, specifically north county in Oceanside.  It is just south of Camp Pendleton.

How do you like California?
We love it!  The weather is perfect, the people are kind, relaxed (for the most part) and the church here is growing but still in need of faithful, strong members.

What does Michael do?
He is a marine and his specific job is aviation ordnance.  Meaning he works with the weapon systems of fighter helicopters.  He likes his job although the people he works with are sometimes a little crazy and irresponsible.

What are you doing out there?
I am going to school.  I am majoring in biology.  I will graduate with my bachelors in about two years and after that I will apply to physician assistant programs around the country. (yes Utah has a great programs so if I get accepted there we could be moving back to Utah in about two and a half years)

How is church out there, do you have any callings?
Church is different outside of Utah but we love it!  I play the organ, I am in the Young Women's presidency second councilor, and Michael and I work at the temple.

Do you get to live with Michael and do you get to see him very often?
Michael and I finally live together.  We have an apartment off base and we love our little community.  Normally, I see him everyday.  He goes to work at around 5:30am and he walks through the front door around 5:00pm.  He gets every weekend and every holiday off.  He even gets random holidays off like Columbus day, and Halloween.

Any children in your future?
No!!!  Thats about all you can say for that question.  Saying "holy crap, no, never, not in a million years, children totally scare us"  is not always the most polite response.

Is being a marine wife as hard as you thought it would be?
Honestly, no.  It is definitely hard, don't get me wrong its probably the hardest thing that I have ever done, but I love it.  People often told me before I married Michael that it was going to be awful.  That I would never see my husband, that he would change after bootcamp etc.  Those thing have proven to all be false.  Michael does leave every once in a while for a couple days and the current month long training deployment has been hard but other than that he is home everyday.  He didn't change after bootcamp, if anything it made him softer and more sensitive because he saw how awful a person can treat another and he promised he would never be like that.   For a newlywed couple, financially,  it is a great option.  What couple in their early 20's can say they have complete job security, education 100% paid for as well as a housing check every month while getting your education after your military contract is up, great health insurance and coverage,  never having to worry about if bills, food, and housing will be paid for?  That doesn't happen very often. We are incredibly grateful for the perks of military service.

Do you like being married?
I love it!  I can't wait to have my husband back in a couple more weeks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Patience and waiting

I am slowly learning about waiting.  I had a large dose of waiting handed to me today when I told my sweet husband, "I love you, don't forget ok?"  It is a silly worry of mine that I have had since our wedding day that if he doesn't hear those three words from me directly that he might forget.  He is leaving, actually he already left, on a month long training in the middle of the desert.  I won't be able to tell him I love him for a long time.  I think he understands this worry because although we have never discussed this fear of mine he always knows the perfect way of reassuring me that he will never forget that I love him.
I was doing really good the past week, trying to stay in the moment, enjoying our time together, only having like three melt downs (which I am really proud about) but then as we were sitting in the car together this morning it all hit me.  It was like all the times I had choked back my tears, took a deep breath and smiled my way through, were now catching up to me.  "Can I have one last kiss?"  Those were the words he said to me and the flood gate opened.  "last kiss?"  What if I wanted like three more last kisses?  I realized then that this was bye,  that I didn't get to turn the car around and drive home with him, that it wasn't just some mean trick that the military was playing on us, and that he was in fact leaving me to do his duty.  Tears just fell, I wasn't crying, I had just finally allowed myself to release the tears that had been building for so long.   I watched him, in the rear view mirror,  pick up his gear and walk away. 
Then I realized, as I drove away, that I am waiting. I am not being patient.  I am just waiting.  Patience implies that there is something great on the horizon, that you aren't happy with where you are, but that it will get better you just have to be patient.  I am not patient,  I am not using patience during this. I am learning how to wait.  Michael is my something great on the horizon and it is hard without him but but I am still happy.  I am happy with the person I am, with the marriage I have and because of that I do not need to be patient.  Michael is everything to me and he can make me happier than anything else but the great thing about waiting is that I don't have to look to the horizon to find happiness.   I can wait for him for as long as he needs me to, because I am happy, at this very moment in time I am happy!  It is this feeling of peace and empowerment that will help me survive the coming month.  It will be so wonderful to have him back home safe but until then I will just wait.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Busy Life of Mine

I have been so bad about posting on this blog lately!  My life has been busy, crazy and exciting.  I started school again over the summer.  I took a political science course, and public speaking.  They were both easy classes but due to the short time frame for summer classes the course was very dense.  I am in school again after a few weeks of break.  I am majoring in biology and will transfer to CSU San Marcos or CSU San Diego in fall 2013.  As far as the rest of our summer it has been filled with trips to the farmers market every Thursday, beach trips on Saturdays and lots of random unit functions for Michael's work.  Michael and I have been learning to surf and we both really enjoy it.  Michael is much better than I am at picking up the whole surfing thing.  I think that due to the large amounts of upper body strength required to combat the waves here, I am at a bit of a disadvantage.  This Saturday we are going to try out paddle boarding.  It looks much more mellow and I am really excited about it!  The next month is going to busy and very sad because Michael is leaving for a month.  A month is not a very long time at all but I am obviously heart broken to have the love of my life leave for any amount of time.  He leaves on Wednesday, and I am going to miss him like crazy.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that I am coming to Utah because my best friend Andrea is getting married to her sweetheart the second week in September.  I am excited to see family and friends while I am out there.  I am extra excited to come because I get to see my best friend of all time Ms. Elizabeth Pack.  She is my favorite girl in the whole world, and she has been my best friend since high school.  Being able to see her after almost two years is going to be so great!  I also get to attend a baby shower for my favorite sister, Anne.  She is having a cute baby boy in November/December.  It is being thrown by my other favorite sister Emily.  I am lucky to have such a stellar family.
After I get home my mom and Anne are coming to visit.  We are going to have a great time shopping and going to the beach and who knows, if I am secretly gifted at paddle boarding we can try that too.  Are pregnant women allowed to swim...?  Hopefully!
Although it will be hard to have my cute, amazing husband gone it will go by fast because I have an amazing family and amazing friends!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New Callings

I have received a new church calling!  That makes three for me now, which is the norm here in California. I am the new Young Women's first councilor!  I have never worked in Young Women's before but I am really excited to get to know my girls.  With Michael and I being being temple workers, me being the ward organist and now this new calling Michael and I have been very busy but it has been a wonderful challenge.  Cross your fingers that they stop giving me callings though, I don't know how many more I can handle!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chris and Katie Weekend

On Friday my favorite married brother and his wife came to visit us.  They arrived on Friday and left on Monday.  The weekend was full of fun times, stories, legos, and food.  On Friday we had a homemade Indian food night that turned out really well.  Everyone pitched in making chicken tikka masala, and beef buffad, both tasted delicious.  On Saturday we did what any self respecting couple in their mid-twenties without children would do and went to Legoland!  We went on rides, ate some churros, and of course played with legos.  Chris and Michael has a lot of fun, Katie and I just enjoyed the child-like transformation of our husbands.  On Sunday we had time at the beach and topped the day off with shopping.  Katie found some really cute clothes, and I had fun being a personal shopper.  Yesterday was sad because we had to say goodbye but not without going to Hodad's for lunch.  Best burger in San Diego!  Katie has pictures and video and all sorts of documentation that I will be stealing from her Facebook as soon as she puts the pictures up but until then you can check out her blog here.
I can't wait for the next round of guests that are coming sooner than usual.  Michael's brother and his wife will be arriving on Friday.  June is turning out to be busy but we are very excited for it.
at the beach

Handsome men building legos

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Color Run

Michael and I signed up for the color run!  We are both very excited.  For those who don't know the color run is a 5K race held in San Diego. At five different check points you get a different color of chalk thrown at you and by the end of the race you are a big walking rainbow. Sounds fun right?  The race isn't until November so it will give me plenty of time to get in good running shape.  It won't be a problem for Michael, he is lucky enough to run fifteen miles uphill in full combat gear every few months, but for me I could use a little help.  We obviously don't have pictures of this yet but check out their website here.  Their FAQ are kind of funny.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bar Stools

Because our dining room is technically a piano room we didn't have anywhere to eat for a while. But, my fairy godmother of home help gave us some barstools and we have put them to good use. I finally got the time and motivation to give them a little makeover.
The original bar stool.  Very cute mid-century.

Step one: take the whole thing apart and spray paint the stools red

Step two: let the paint dry and reassemble

Step three:  line 'em up and take a picture
If I had a sewing machine and was feeling extra extra motivated I would reupholster them also, but that will have to wait.  They are pretty cute just the way they are.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bathroom Painting

Michael and I had another painting project that we finally finished.  I will let the photos speak for themselves.  We are pretty proud of the final project. Before, during, and after. The whole project took about a month but it was very worth it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Live Fire Air Show

Last Saturday Michael and I went to an air show.  This is not uncommon living near a military base but this one was different.  This was live fire. (don't be discouraged if you don't know what that means cause I didn't either.)  Pretty much the aircrafts you see flying will shoot bullets and rockets and all sorts of ordnance, right in front of you!  It was the coolest thing I have ever seen.  It was like an action movie but everything was in real life.  Michael works with helicopters, his entire unit is just a helicopter unit, but these are no life flight type aircrafts.  These are crazy armored, and loaded helicopters.  Each as a turret on it, yes you read that correctly, a turret.  And missile launchers, what helicopter doesn't have a missile launcher?  We were so close to the helicopters that I could literally see the guys inside them, one of them even waved to the crowd.  It was an experience like nothing I have ever seen.  We took video and pictures of the entire show and I will post the video another day, in case anyone was curious.

The field where all the ordnance was shot

This is the helicopter (obviously) and if you look at the ground you can see four men.  They are part of a recon platoon and they are about to get lifted up in the air

Here they are harnessed to the helicopter.  It is so weird watching them just float off the ground into the sky.

The show was so interesting and quite amazing to watch.  I will post a video of everything when I get it all edited.