The Weekender: Birthday and Fourth of July Edition

Why is it that weekends and holidays always go by so fast? Crazy to think that 5 days ago I was heading home for my birthday and holiday time off yet here I am gathering my things to head back to Madison for work. Blah.

I spent a lot of time waiting for a skype call from J. Unfortunately he’s been swamped with work over there (who knows what he’s actually doing…) so he has not been able to skype me. He did call last night though thank goodness!!

On Wednesday I had a half day of work because I had to go get pretty for a photo shoot. Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’ve found that breaking the 9-10 months into smaller increments makes the deployment go ‘quicker’ so I scheduled a photo shoot for fun. And it was SO MUCH FUN. Except for all the mosquitoes. That wasn’t fun….

During the photoshoot my roommate called and said that J had sent flowers. Luckily my parents house is only about a 50 minute drive from my apartment so mom and I hopped in the car and drove to go get them. There’s no way I was going to let them sit in an empty apartment all weekend. And they are STUNNINGLY beautiful. The guy can make this gal happy even 8000 miles away.

Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 8.11.56 PM

Thursday, the 3rd, was my 24th birthday! I’m getting so old ;) My birthday is always kind of difficult because most people go up north with their families so no one is really around. But it was a great day spent with family :)
My dad and I started my birthday was a local diner with some bottomless coffee.

Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 9.07.58 AM

The rest of the day consisted on day drinking and a BBQ with the family.

Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 8.14.34 PM

My grandma didn’t know what to get me for my birthday so we went 50/50 on these amazing new shoes. My nano’s are getting a bit worn so naturally I needed to add another pair of trainers into the rotation. Just like when I ran I had countless shoes going–some things never change.

Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 8.13.48 PM

Speaking of running. This gal is signing up for a half marathon in November. GASP. Yes, be shocked. I am. In all honesty, my speed on my PT test came when I was running distance and the only thing holding me back from that max PT test is my run time. So time to get my ass in gear.

Then my close girlfriend took me out for martinis on my birthday. Yum! Except they’re toxic. Two and I was…. quite buzzed.
Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 8.11.21 PM

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. I wish everyone was as patriotic everyday as they find themselves on the fourth but it’s still great to see all the red, white & blue out and about.
Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 8.14.14 PM
Being that I don’t live on the lake and my friends in my hometown were all out of town I spent the morning cleaning out my car. After moving it so desperately needed a cleaning…. the things I found were entertaining.

The rest of the day involved more family time, day drinking, and another BBQ. Nothing exciting, yet the relaxation itself is amazing to me.

July 5th–helped my mom clean out our storage shed. Moving me made a mess everywhere since we did it in stages and now it’s so good to say everything is done. Stay tuned for pictures of the new apartment; I love it and don’t want to move out for a couple years if I can swing that with J.

More day drinking (I’m seeing a theme here..) and then the fireworks with my parents and the family I went to Colorado with.

All in all it was a great holiday weekend. I had fully intended to get some workouts in but July is going to be a step-back month for me. I’ve been going hard for a while now and with Annual Training coming up I’ll be out of the box/gym for 14 days anyways. Come August I’m focusing on Crossfit and those goals I have while J is gone, as well as my first CrossFit competition. And incorporating more running into my routine again too.

I came back to my apartment and got two awesome shirts from J for my birthday in addition to the flowers. One is from KANDAHAR CROSSFIT which is where he’s supposed to be, and another says BACON COFFEE FITNESS; the guy knows the way to my <3
Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 8.22.12 PM

How was your holiday weekend? Can you believe summer is half over already?

Beauty in the Darkness

Screen shot 2014-07-01 at 7.32.25 PM

photo 1As I’ve mentioned before, there are good times and bad times throughout this deployment. This past weekend was incredibly challenging for me.

I’ve spread myself pretty thin the past month—moving, not sleeping well (can count nights I’ve slept through since March on one hand..), moving, CrossFit 5 times a week, and Annual Training right around the corner. I think this past weekend was the straw that broke the camel’s back and led into an anxiety breakdown. But I got it out of my system so we’re moving forward :) 

Last night I was laying in bed during the storm watching The Princess Bride, one of J’s favorite movies that he recommended I watch. In my peripherals I could see a vibrant orange sky, which was really weird since the storms were outrageous {again…} yesterday. Kind of made me freak out a little bit. It was nothing I had ever seen before.

I ran to the balcony to have a completely breath taking view hit me. I have never ever seen a sky like this during a thunderstorm. It was like a sign from God, that I so desperately needed.

Yes, there are hard days, and unfortunately I’ve had quite a few of them lately. But just like the sun shines through the storms, the good days always outshine the bad ones.
Each day, be it good or bad, will be worth it when he’s home. God reminded me this in the sky last night.

photo 5

 

A Day in the Life: My New {Loved} Normal

My (week) days have changed quite a bit since the move. Here’s a look into the crazy schedule and how I balance 2 workouts a day while working full-time!

0430: The blaring of ‘No Sleep for Brooklyn’ as my first alarm clock. Begrudgingly stumble out of bed.

Screen shot 2014-06-29 at 7.16.19 PM

0435: ‘Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy’ serves as a backup alarm on those really tricky mornings where I’m absurdly tired/sore and bed seems better. Between this second alarm and an internal dialogue I’m changing into my gym clothes in about 2 minutes and zombie walking to my car.

0445-0455: Blare FFDP Pandora station on my way to the box. Nothing like some angry music to motivate myself before a killer WOD.

*Favorite part of day from 0500-0645*

0500-0600: CrossFit WOD. I love being physically challenged and exceeding new limits but the mental strength I have gained in 9 months of doing CrossFit has changed me so much. I went from absolutely hating the build of my body, feeling weak and lacking all self-confidence to embracing my large quads, traps, and shoulders (for days).

Screen shot 2014-06-29 at 7.12.46 PM

0600-0645: Sip my morning happiness in a cup, respond to J’s email that I received overnight, listen to a solid playlist, throw breakfast together.

I love this time of the day because it’s the closest to ‘normal’ that J and I can have while he’s away. 90% of the time I have an e-mail waiting for me either when I wake up or after CrossFit. I rely on those every day.

Screen shot 2014-06-29 at 7.15.03 PM

0700-1600: Be on that work grinds.. e-mails, phone calls, teleconferences, meetings, etc. {someone pay to send me back to school so I can have a job that doesn’t sit at a desk all.day.long…} Some days I love my job when I’m busy but most days I have so much free-time I go nuts and work on studying for my Personal Trainer exam. While J is away it’s important for me to stay as busy as possible so this job hasn’t been the best to me since he’s been gone.

Screen shot 2014-06-29 at 7.18.12 PM

1600-1800: Workout #2. I follow Krissy Mae’s strength training programming and try to get a second workout in 5 times a week. I don’t do it because I feel like I HAVE to but rather because I WANT to. I am happiest in the box/gym and working out. I’d rather be building bigger muscles than building a bigger ass sitting on couch watching the TV all night..although sometimes that happens too… ;)

1800-2100:  Make dinner, do some blogging, Pinterest, Netflix… just try to relax. Right when I crawl in bed I do some journaling in the journal J got me before he left. Writing has always served as therapeutic for me and it’s been helping me significantly.

So that’s that. It’s pretty boring and standard but it works for me. Routine is something I need being someone ridden with anxiety and increasing OCD. Eeee.

What’s your day like? Is there a certain way you love to start your day?

Globetrotting {& Updates}

Anyone still out there? For those of you keeping track the past three months have been crazy busy… but also amazing! I’ve been doing lots of traveling and then just moved as well. 


April: I spent a week in Colorado. It is definitely a state I would like to move to someday in the next 10 years. The scenery is breathtaking. The hiking, skiing and all the outdoor activities there will make it amazing for raising a family someday. Not to mention I’m not one to just lay around all day. I want to be active and outside and what better place than Colorado?! And I would kill to see a concert at the Red Rocks. Things to look forward to I suppose :)

DSC_0452

DSC_0421 

DSC_0333

<3 land

<3 land

DSC_0306

my favorite 5 year old, Hannah Banana.

my favorite 5 year old, Hannah Banana.

DSC_0257

best part of CO: hiking in 72* weather with snow capped mountains in background

best part of CO: hiking in 72* weather with snow capped mountains in background

an old house I was obsessed with on a hike.

an old house I was obsessed with on a hike.

May: I took a long weekend down to El Paso/Ft Bliss, TX to see J before he left for his 9 month deployment. It was a perfect weekend taken right out of your favorite rom-com movie, even with 3 cancelled flights and a really bad head cold upon my return.

DSC_0546 Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 7.38.31 PM

The rest of the month I did a lot of heavy leaning on family & friends while adjusting to the incredibly long distance relationship I found myself in. 

June: I moved to the other side of town into a BEAUTIFUL apartment and gained a roommate. J recommended that I get a roommate not only to save some cash while he’s away but because there will be days where I need some company… and boy was he right. It’s only been about a week and a half but there’s been some tough days in there and it’s been so nice to just sit on the couch and have someone to talk to.

I also did more globetrotting and spent 4 days in Kansas visiting my best friend and her husband. We’ve been best friends since 2nd grade and I consider her my sister. Her husband is Active Duty Army and they just went through a deployment two months after getting married so her advice was so welcomed and appreciated.

Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 7.42.59 PM Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 7.41.11 PM

Despite all the craziness I still have a lot of fun stuff up and coming: 


July 3: My birthday, and I’ve been promised a Skype date 
July 12-26: two weeks of Army training {okay this part may not be fun at all… but more money!}
August: Toying with entering into my first crossfit (team) competition (even though I don’t feel like I can hold my own yet), weekend in Chicago visiting my roommate from college and meeting J’s mom, as well as a bridal shower & bachelorette party for an old friend

Now that I’m all situated in my new place and the major craziness has somewhat wound down, I fully intend on finally blogging some more (apart from my two weeks in the field for the Army). I have found my new schedule has opened up a ton of time in the evenings for me to get things done that I want to do finally :)

Getting Through Each Day

It’s been two short weeks with countless remaining, but dare I say I’m adjusting fairly well to this deployment and the long long distance relationship J and I are in. That’s not to say that it’s been easy… quite the opposite. The first week was filled with no appetite, no sleep, and LOTS of phone calls to family/friends full of tears.

In fact the biggest thing I’ve learned is that no matter what there’s going to be good and bad days. And virtually every day will include a (hopefully) brief moment of sadness. As much as I love this weather we have up here in WI I have found myself longing for nights grilling out, laughing and going on long walks outside. Instead I’m having a turkey burger on a paper plate (moving so soon!) and packing up more boxes. It’s hard not to think of what could be instead of living with the situation I’ve been dealt.

Image

That being said I have found some great coping mechanisms and strategies so far!

Set aside something to look forward to every 1-2 weeks.
Breaking things up into much smaller time segments is much easier than thinking of the big picture. I’ve made sure to put time towards something fun every week for the next 6 weeks. If I don’t I’ll lose my sanity thinking about how long remains. Some things I have coming up: moving and getting a roommate, parents visiting and helping me move, a weekend visiting my bestest friend/sister in Kansas, and a photoshoot for fun!

Lean on my support system… but also stand up on my own two feet. 
One of the things that J said that he really wanted me to do was spend as much time with friends and family while he’s away. In fact, he was the one who encouraged me to move and get a roommate. He also recommended that I also make time for myself… time to deal with the emotions I’m feeling, be it good or bad. And I’ve made sure to do just that. I think I’ve struck a perfect balance.

Make things fun.
Yes, it is impossible incredibly difficult to make a relationship through a deployment fun… BUT there are a lot of fun care package ideas. Just yesterday I sent out the first one and I had a lot of fun putting it together. Already have the next one all lined up–just have to be patient because mail takes for.ever. to get overseas. It’s difficult when I’d rather be spending time together but I’ve come to terms that that’s just not a possibility right now; so it’s time to suck it up and make the best of our situation.

Image

Cherish every second of each conversation.
I have become that girl who has her phone attached to her 24/7; and I wouldn’t have it any other way. IF I had a friend tell me it’s annoying then I wouldn’t want to be around them anyways. Cause anyone who supports me and understands will encourage me to have my phone in case he calls. The time difference and our schedules are complete opposite. But I have had a couple phone calls and they’ve been amazing. Every second counts. Luckily e-mails are exchanged every 1-2 days and they’re re-read countless times… makes it easy to hold onto until that next conversation.
Be positive.
I could be miserable everyday if I really wanted to. But instead of being bitter about all the time we are losing I choose to look forward to all the fun things that we can do together when he’s back. It has really brought an entire new perspective to me–I took for granted the time I could spend with people I dated in the past. I will never ever take time for granted again. You have to make the best of every moment you have with someone.

Image

The days will not get easier; it’ll never get easy to miss him….but they will get more tolerable. And each day is a step in that direction. Hoping that the upcoming move and my 2 week Army training will really make the next 6 weeks fly by. And the small small chance that he comes home early is also a nice little ‘pick me up’ when I need one :)

Remember

Most of you are all celebrating Memorial Day this weekend–it’s easy to think of it as a long weekend, BBQs, friends/family & the kickstart of summer. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate the fact that I have a 4 day weekend… but there’s so much more to it than that. This year I am even more emotional about the holiday as with each year I serve I am thankful for never being put in harms way.

Please remember what this holiday is all about. It is for my brothers and sisters in arms who gave the ultimate sacrifice protecting OUR freedoms that we take for granted each and every day. For those families who lost husbands, dads, sons, wives, mothers, daughters, friends… who mourn every single day.

Image

It’s very easy to get caught up in the BBQs and fun…. but look at that picture and let it sink in for a moment. To that widow and her son… Memorial Day is about remembering those who didn’t get to come back home to their families and loved ones.

And take a moment to think of those who are overseas still supporting OEF. I thank God daily that J made it back home safely from his tour to Iraq in 2007, because many didn’t have that luxury.

A hero is someone who has given his life to something bigger than oneself.

-Joseph Campbell

A Big Introduction

I originally intended on posting about Colorado first before the big news but for some reason I can’t get something out of my mind so I figured it’d be best to tell ya’ll the story.

If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw this picture a few days ago.

Image

He’s the new man; the guy who has made me happier than I’ve ever ever been. It all happened real quickly, thanks to the Army. I remember saying I didn’t want to date into the military for a while when Tyler and I broke up…but sometimes you just can’t help fate. It knocks on the door and you run wild with it. Because Lord only knows when something this powerful and amazing could walk into my life again… if ever.

So here’s the story of how J and I came to be.

A few years ago when we both were still in ROTC we had some FTXs together up at Ft. McCoy… never thought anything of it, just acquaintances at that point. The summer of 2011 we both had an assessment camp (LDAC) for a month out at Ft. Lewis, WA to test our leadership capabilities before becoming Army Officers. Because we both flew out of Milwaukee and were the same regiment we ended up on the same flight back home.

I had turned 21 out at LDAC when in the field so he treated me to a couple drinks during our layover in Vegas. After a few shots of patron we passed out on the flight home, woke up in Milwaukee and carried on our merry ways.

We did manage to stay friends throughout the years and got together once for a Badger game. But I never thought twice about the possibility of him and I really. And I wish I had at the time but hindsight is 20/20.

We both had our own relationships the last couple years but when Tyler and I broke up he also found out he was deploying. In January he came to Madison and we got drinks and hours passed and it felt like minutes. The conversation we have is amazing and effortless.

J went out on a limb and told me how he felt about me when I met him for dinner in March. The rest is history. Since that day we have talked every single day. Because the urgency with the deployment and him leaving things were relatively rushed… and as much as I hate that he had to deploy the beginning of our relationship, it’s hard to say if we’d be at the point we’re at right now if he hadn’t been leaving.

Image

Last weekend he flew me down to El Paso to see him off and it goes down as the weekend that will forever change my life. I’m sure many of you are thinking it’s impossible to be so sure about someone so soon, but the saying that ‘you know when you know’ is actually true. He’s my man… and I cannot wait to have him back home safely with me. That’s when all the real fun starts. As challenging as these months will be, it’s the thought of him and I together again that will make me hold on tight and strong every day.

Regardless of your stance on the military and the war we’re currently in, I please ask you to say a prayer (or a warm thought if not religious) for his safety, and for every man and woman overseas still. I would appreciate it greatly. Freedom is not free.

A soldier does not fight because he hates what is in front of him. He fights because he loves what he left behind.

So with the cat out of the bag, there will be more posts on here centered towards military and long-distance relationships. This week has been incredibly difficult on me emotionally (as I’m sure the next couple will be as well…) but once him and I find a groove and a schedule to talk it’ll be fine. Thank you all for your warm thoughts and congratulations to me. Every single heartbreak and sad day before he walked into my life was worth it.

Image

Tell me: Any tips on distance relationships? Military relationships out there?