We have orders!!

After waiting months and months to find out where we’re PCSing to, we finally have orders!! We’re headed too….

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MCAS Miramar!! Back to CA and we couldn’t be more excited! After spending our first 7 years of Marine Corps life at Pendleton we are so, so pumped to get back to the area that we know and love. We told the kids yesterday and Adelyn was jumping up and down all over the place and shooting hoorayyy!! Adorable! The boys were pretty excited too 🙂

I’ve already started the process of looking at housing, schools and seeing where the best place to live. It’s a bit overwhelming and stressful but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I loved it too! San Diego is packed full of amazing things to see and do and getting to spend another few years of our lives there is a major blessing in my book. Can’t wait to get out there!

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4 more years!

We’re still waiting on orders – tear – but yesterday Brian reenlisted! IMG_2963-Edit

These aren’t too too big of a deal anymore because once you’re past 10 years it’s pretty much certain that you’re in for the long haul! We’re at 14 years now, so this enlistment will take us to 18 years which is CRAZY to think about. The Marine Corps life has it’s ups and downs but for us, the ups far outweigh the downs. Here’s to 6+ more years of enjoying this wild and crazy ride!

TGIF!

This was a tough week. After the horrific shooting in Las Vegas earlier this week, my heart has been extremely heavy. So many people just experienced the worst day of their life and it left me feeling helpless. Wishing that things in our society would change but not knowing what needs to change, how to do it or even how one person could help make a change. It almost felt silly to me, to blog cute pictures of our kids or talk about any struggles we may be facing, when I’m still trying to wrap my head around how something like this could happen in our country. But I want to end this week on a lighthearted note, with something that makes me smile and reminds me of what’s most important in my life. These 4 kiddos. These four people, who I’m trying with everything in to me, to rise as good human beings. So this weekend I will put down my phone a bit more, say yes when they ask me to play with them and remind them of how much I love them.

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Today we went to the Dallas Arboretum (it’s a teacher workday for our district!) I paid a whole heck of a lot more than I did the last time we went (pictures here) and the whole reason I paid an arm and a leg was to get a cute picture of my kids in front of the pumpkin. But life with 4 kids and more specifically our youngest Cal, just doesn’t make that easy. Here are a couple of the outtakes I got of the sweet rambunctious 3 year old….

Here he is being the rebellious younger brother that doesn’t want to stand by anymore…

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Sticking his tongue out at me….IMG_2833-Edit

And intentionally turning his head away from me lol!IMG_2893-Edit

But regardless I’m glad I ended up with that one cute smiling picture up there and it made the outing worth it. Those 4 smiling faces are my WORLD (plus their awesome Daddy) and I’m so glad I get to do life with them. Off to enjoy our 4 day weekend!

Homemade tents and mismatched socks

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I sure hope these are the memories that my kids have of their childhood.

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The times after homework is finished and the chores are all done. When they ask for a snack and to watch cartoons and I say yes! And even one-up them by making a tent!

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I hope they remember these moments and not the ones that at the end of the day I look back on and regret. Not the times where I get mad to quickly. Or when I yell instead of being calm. I think we all have them as parents or at least as Moms I know we do. It’s easy to look at people’s lives on social media and think that they have it all together. Sometimes I look at people’s photos and forget that that just shows a glimpse into their day. That they have struggles just like everyone else. But regardless of the moments I look back on and have “mommy guilt” about, I look back at these pictures and know that the majority of their days are filled with love and kindness. Giggles, snuggles and everyone always having mismatched socks! We’ve been talking a lot about extending grace to those around us and it’s something that I need to work on extending to myself as well. Love these kiddos to pieces and I’m grateful at the end of each day that I get to be their mommy.IMG_2772-Edit

Plano Balloon Festival

IMG_2749-EditFriday we went to the annual Plano Balloon Festival! This was our first time going to the event and I’m glad we had a chance to see it before moving away. It’s a Friday – Sunday event with morning and evening launches and a nightly balloon glow! There are other events throughout the day but as it’s a balloon festival that’s all we cared about seeing 😉 We got there in time to see the evening launch but they ended up cancelling it due to weather which was a bummer. (Even though it was completely clear skies with a very light wind, but what do I know about hot air balloons lol!) But there were lots of food vendors and activities for the kids so the time moved by quickly as we were waiting on the balloon glow.

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This is really the reason I wanted to come at night! I knew the kids would love it! They even let you walk around and see the balloons up close.

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The announcer would do a little countdown and have all the balloons light up at once, pretty cool to see!

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The kids loved all the character balloons and each of them had a favorite that we had to get up close and see! Definitely recommend going it you happen to be local!

A look back!

So as I sit here patiently *not so patiently* waiting to hear what our next duty station will be, I figured it would be fun to look back on our last duty stations and share a bit about them all! So far we’re on our 4th duty station. Our first was…

Camp Pendleton

Brian was stationed here from around the beginning of 2004, I joined him at the end of 2004 and then we moved away in the summer of 2011. We were super lucky and got to stay here back to back and we ABSOLUTELY loved our time there. Brian started off as a helicopter mechanic and then LAT moved after his first enlistment to combat camera. When it comes to first duty stations, let me tell you, it doesn’t get much better than southern California! There are so many things to do in the area. I feel like we did a good amount but looking back I wish we would have done even more! There’s the beach, hiking, parks, local sports teams, farmers markets, Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, lots of adorable local/a few hour drive cities to travel to and I could go on and on and on. This was by far our favorite place we’ve lived!

Syracuse, NY

Up next was Syracuse, NY July 2011 – June 2012. Syracuse University runs a military program yearly, where a few combat cameraman from every branch of the military, apply to attend their program and go to college for a year (really just Sept-May) through the Newhouse School of Public Communication. When Brian came home from deployment as a newly promoted Staff Sergeant it was time for orders and with such a small MOS, the only place he could get orders to was Syracuse. For 11 months. He hadn’t even applied for the program! I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this duty station. This was our first time having to rent a place “out in town,” our oldest was starting kindergarten and since we were 2,700 miles away in Camp Pendleton we had no idea where to live. I decided to take a step back from my controlling ways ha, and let my husband find a house for us. NEVER AGAIN! Within the first 5 minutes that we arrived at our house, I wanted to cry and punch him all at the same time lol. I say that lovingly as we just laugh about that house now. But at the time, oh man did I want to kill him. There was only one bathroom, no A/C (and it was 95 degrees outside,) it was a dingy old house and we lived about 2 streets over from the crappy part of town. But for how horrible our house was, his time at Syracuse was a huge blessing to our family. We had just came off of three deployments and his first semester he had classes 4 days a week and his second only 3! It was amazing! We had so much family time together. Syracuse wasn’t my favorite town but the towns around it were absolutely beautiful. This was the first place I ever lived that had all fours seasons, got REAL snow, the kids LOVED it and we traveled all over in our short time there.

Marine Corp Base Quantico/Pentagon

So after our time at Syracuse, my husband received orders to Quantico, VA and we stayed there from July 2012 – Dec 2014. This was the first place that we decided to buy a house (mainly because the housing list was 12 months long and we didn’t want to move twice.) We bought a home in the town south of Quantico and really loved that house! After living in base housing/renting for the last 7 years it was pretty fun to own a home of our own, it made me feel like a real grown up! All we had heard about Quantico was that the traffic really sucked. I’ll be honest, I heard people say that and blew it off like they were crazy. I mean we grew up in DFW and had suffered through the traffic on the 5 all up and down CA! But they were right. It was was an horrible as people say it is. I honestly don’t think people know what traffic is til they live in NOVA. I can not tell you how many times the simple 13 mile drive from Stafford to Fredericksburg – which should take 15 minutes – took an hour! You literally plan your life around traffic. You’re constantly having the internal battle of do I attempt to fight the traffic or not. It was insanity. That part about living in northern Virginia was pretty darn miserable. But other than that, the area really grew on me and I miss it more than I thought I would. It’s an absolutely beautiful area, with SO much history and lots of things to do and see. Another area with a beautiful fall, just enough snow that you don’t hate life and a base where you don’t have to worry about deployments which was a nice break. Brian stayed at Quantico for about 2 years and the last 6 months was moved up to the Pentagon which sounds cool (and I think it was lol!) but it made Brian’s commute to work extremely long. It was 35 miles away and easily an hour and half drive home. I should mention though, exactly 4 months after buying our house Brian got put on the HSST list and a couple months later received recruiting duty orders. Not what we were hoping for as he had just tried to be a DI before coming to Quantico and his MOS told him no, we need you! Apparently they didn’t need him that bad! But if you ever happen to be stationed in the area or live in NOVA, you will love it! So much history, historical places to see, battlefields, museums, beautiful parks, a couple national parks even nearby, not far from DC and all it has to offer – cherry blossom season is my favorite!, 4 different seasons, lots of local sports teams again and so much more.

Recruiting Station Dallas

And last – our current location, RS Dallas. Jan 15 – Jan 18. While I’ll be the first to attempt I was dreading coming on recruiting duty, our time on it has been a complete blessing. We ended up being stationed 20 minutes from family. 6 months into recruiting duty, Brian’s higher ups pulled him up to the RS headquarters to be the program specialist because they loved him so much. We went from horrible 12+ hour days 6 days a week, to pretty much a normal working day. We couldn’t have had a better experience! While Texas isn’t my favorite as far as places to live goes, there is some nostalgic about being back near our hometowns. And our kids getting to live so close to lots of their grandparents is pretty dang crazy for military brats!

I’d love to hear what your favorite duty station has been?! Or your favorite place you’ve ever lived?!