Reflections on my newlywed life: my random thoughts on life about: me & my husband, home decor, travels, cooking, baking, weddings, being a Marine Corps spouse & fashion and other things that interest me!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

separated but united

SEPARATED: disconnected, parted, disunited, detached, scattered, cut apart, marked, disassociated, removed, severed, distinct.

My husband and I were just "separated" for a month and a half... six weeks... 42 days, however you want to look at it, it was a    l  o  n  g     time. On many levels we were separated, but as a committed married Christian couple we were never disunited, disassociated, or severed. We both went through tough moments and feelings. Although those moments hit we didn't let them have a lasting impact. 

Through Christ we are one body, one soul.  Mark 10: 7-9 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."

UNITED: cooperative, linked, in agreement, collective, banded, unanimous, incorporated, unified, collective, one.

Yesterday we got to see each other for the first time in 42 days. It was amazing to be with my partner, team mate, best friend, associate, companion and spouse again. It has really been so fun just being around each other, we've both stopped several times and said "Is this real? Are we really with each other right now!?" We are both just in awe of the other one and so appreciative to have the other and be together. I've heard that there is an adjustment period and sometimes an awkwardness about being reunited after that long but honestly there's been none of that. I know that even if there is that awkwardness or a relearning phase, which would be totally normal, we can handle it.

So although we may have been "separated" physically we will always be "united" in our marriage.

I'll probably have to come back to this blog post in a couple weeks when my husband deploys. For now I am going to enjoy the time that we actually get to spend together!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Our Life

Ty and I were so lucky this past month, he had to go to a short 2 week course in California and it just happened to be only 1 mile from where my grandparents live. Also, last minute I bought my ticket and by calling Hawaiian Airlines I got the ticket for half the online price! Then, my wonderful mother-in-law was able to make arrangements to be in San Diego for part of the time with us and my mom and sister were able to make it out too. It all worked out so well, it was no coincidence that it all fell in place like that. I know that God had a hand in making it all work out and it was just what we needed. 

It was so nice having my husband around for dinners and able to spend time with me. Lately (as in the past year) work has been crazy and even when he is home, he is working. The time in California was a much needed breather from the crazy and hectic Marine Corps life we've been living. 

There are so many times when I wonder if this military life is really worth it, the endless sacrifices made make me want to pack up our house and move back to Minnesota and have a "normal' life. At times I get jealous of friends who seem to have it so "easy" (although no one has an "easy" life). But then it is times like these that I remember that the sacrifice IS worth it. This where we are called to be at this time and there are so many wonderful things that we get to experience that we would not get to if we lived in Minnesota with a "normal" life. I've always thought I wanted a normal life but I am starting to realize a normal life just won't do. I want OUR life and to fulfill the purpose we were created for. It might not always be a walk in the park but I truly wouldn't want any other life or to do that life with any person other than my wonderful husband.

P.S. He comes home tomorrow night after being on the Big Island for the past ten days! Can't wait to see him!! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Crock pots & Paradise

We've been living in Hawaii at the Lodge at Kaneohe Bay for the past month. Basically our room is a normal hotel room with a medium sized refrigerator and freezer, a sink, and a microwave. It is pretty nice (no five-star hotel, but it isn't bad) and it's right on base which is super convenient with us sharing a car! They have a decent breakfast in the mornings which has been really nice and again convenient, especially because they have coffee 24 hours a day and my husband is somewhat of an addict- people call him Starbucks.

Since we don't have an oven or even a hot plate (flat heated surface, typically portable, used for cooking food or keeping it hot- silly enough, didn't know what it was until I came here) we've been eating out a lot, cooking on the grills at the courtyard at the lodge, eating Panera's frozen soups and sadly a few nights have been the classic microwave dinners.

Last week I decided to buy a crock pot. We already have a crock pot, but it is in storage somewhere in Honolulu until we get a house on base. It was hard for me to convince myself to buy something that I already had and didn't really "need," but I am so glad that I got it. We've had a couple meals in it so far, pot roast, Mexican chicken, and chicken tortilla soup. Walking into our room smelling cooking food has been a nice way to feel at home. This week I am going to try some new recipes in the and I am excited to see how they turn out! I am trying Italian chicken tonight and crock pot meatloaf tomorrow. Sounds way better than anything that comes out of a cardboard box and it is much more budget friendly than going out to eat.

What are your favorite go-to crock-pot meals?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's official: We are moving to Hawaii!!

Okay... so it has been official for several months but it feels "for real" official to me now because we just got our tickets from Minneapolis to Honolulu! With the Marine Corps (and I am sure the other branches too) things are subject to change at any time and things aren't really official until you are actually there and doing it. 

My husband got orders for Hawaii back in July and we had a "plan" but of course the Marine Corps had something else in mind, so we had to deviate from our perfect little plan and just go with the flow for a while. Honestly, life usually ends up working out way better than my puny little "plans," but it can be hard giving up control and not doing things the way I want to.

These past two months I got to be in Minnesota with family and friends to catch up and get lots of quality time in before I live a daunting 4,000 miles from "home." While being here I was reminded of just how blessed Ty and I are with so many amazing people who love and support us. So in reality this other way of things being done by the Marine Corps ended up being a blessing in disguise. 

At this point I am sad to say goodbye to loved ones here in Minnesota, but I am also so ready for the turquoise waters, palm trees and island vibes! I am ready for the next chapter of our lives and just feel so grateful to be able to have this great adventure with my best friend in paradise.

Can't wait until the pics I am posting of Hawaii are my own!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall in Minnesota: Sweaters and boots

There is just something about chilly fall days, the crisp fresh air, and the crunch of leafs under your feet that I love! Being back in Minnesota for the fall has been awesome to me because fall is a beautiful time of year (and a season Hawaii will not have)!

Wearing sweaters are so comfy and warm! For these two outfits I paired a neautral sweater with a pale pink and light magenta shirt. Adding the belts brought some definition and the boots keep the look totally fall, comfy, and warm. This is probably one of my favorite fall looks, it's super causal, cute, and totally functional!

Monday, September 24, 2012

3 in 3: Three states in three years!

Plymouth, Minnesota
October 2010- September 2011

Our cute little apartment in Plymouth, Minnesota holds a lot of good memories. It was the first time we moved out of our parents houses (besides the summers we worked at camp and lived in cabins!). We had 6 months of engagement time to build up our household goods (HHG) stock.  I heard about a furniture store closing from a friend so we went and picked out a brown sectional L couch at a deep discounted price (gotta love that!) As the months passed I picked up things here and there, we registered and got awesome gifts for our wedding, and I got a lot of our bedroom furniture from a quant second hand re-purposed store called The French Flea in Anoka, MN.

We picked up paint from Walmart and painted the living/dining room, the bedroom, and bathroom. The Walmart paint was so cheap (like $10/gallon) and we were under the impression that we may only be living there for 3 months. As it turned out we lived there for almost a full year before the Marine Corps orders came for Ty to move to Virginia. When Ty and his dad were painting the living room they called me and told me that it looks really "mustard yellow." I freaked out thinking it would be bad, but when I saw it I loved it. It was more of a pretty gold color and for $10 how could I go wrong! I really think painting the walls in your home or apartment make such a difference. People spend lots of $$$ on paintings and decor but really some paint makes such a difference. My mom went at least 10 years in her home without painting the walls. They were bare and white, once she painted them a deep tan color the house felt more like a home. I will try to remember that for every move and paint our walls, I think it is worth it!

During our first year of marriage Ty was finishing school and working part time with a lawn and snow care company. I worked at Maranatha Christian Academy as a Paraprofessional. I got to take the cute kids out to recess (what a great job!), I helped out with gym class, and I stayed for the after school program. I loved working at MCA so much. The staff, parents, and students were all such great people! We didn't realize it then, but looking back we got so much time together. We got almost every weekend together (unless there was a snow storm), we got every evening together (unless there was a snow storm and then sometimes I'd have to sleep alone - foreshadowing?!) and we got most mornings together. I loved being able to sit on our patio and eat the breakfast we made together. We lived close to our family and friends so we would often have people over for dinners, swimming, game nights, and movie nights. It was so nice having everyone we love and care about within about 15 minutes from us.

The apartment was next to the French Lake Park Reserve. We would go for walks and runs through the forests, Ty got lots of practice "humping" (military term for taking a fast paced hike with gear) through the forests there! We met up with family and friends at the awesome rope playground. The young kids always got Ty to play tag with them at the park and you could tell the kids loved it (but I think he loved it just as much!) We would walk through the nice neighborhoods, walk on the path near the lake, and take walks to Target (which was only a mile away- Score!)

Life in Minnesota was simple and easy. We enjoyed it and knew where we were. We knew who we were. We knew what to expect.

Stafford, Virginia
October, 2011- September 2012

Moving to Virginia was probably one of the hardest and most intimidating things I have ever done. Pretty much everything was going to be different. Mom and dad didn't live just one town over anymore, no-sir-ee, they live over 1,000 miles away, along with everyone else we know and love. Being from the midwest suburbs, most people are nice and friendly, well the East Coast just isn't known for their "Minnesota Nice." Even just adjusting to how people treat each other and how store services are lacking was difficult. Besides that there was figuring out where we live, where the stores are, find a church, find friends, what the towns around us are called and the I-95 nightmare of a road (most of the time it's fine, just sometimes it is awful!)

The first time we saw The Aventine Apartments was once we were about to move in. I am so thankful that it was as it appeared to be online. I have really grown to love our two bedroom place. It has extra high ceilings and white crown molding. We painted the kitchen and the living room which, in my opinion, made all the difference. We painted the living room the same gold color we had in Plymouth. I think this helped make it seem more cozy and familiar more quickly.

Besides all the logistical changes there was the emotional change of being separated from Ty.  We were so used to being together all the time and doing everything together. We went to the same high school, college, volunteered at the same low income apartments, went and served at church together, worked at summer camp together, coached at the same middle school... everything we've done for the past 7 years has been together, so this sudden change of us being so torn apart was very, very difficult. I had to learn how to understand that Ty's work had to come first, that he was gone constantly, that he would be tired when he was with me and that what he was doing was some of the most difficult most intense training in the world.

Although there are some rocky spots and things can be tough, this past year I think I have learned and grown more than any year in my life. I have always loved learning but this kind is different, it hurts, it isn't fun like going to college. I am learning to be more patient. I am learning to be flexible. I am learning how to give others (especially Ty) grace. I am learning how to deal with people from different walks of life. I am learning how to get things done without the help of anyone. I am learning I can rely on myself but at the same time how to ask for help. I am learning that Marine Corps spouses are some of the closest friends I will ever have. I am learning just how important family and friends are.  I am learning just how little control I have over life. I am learning how to not want that control over my life. I am learning how to be less selfish. I am learning about the Marine Corps, its customs and traditions. I am learning just how blessed I am to have my awesome husband. I am learning a pride for my country and the Marine Corps that I had never had before. I have been learning all these things and more, but it doesn't mean that I won't be revisiting these lessons. I am in no way the perfect wife or know how to do everything... but I am learning!

I couldn't be more proud of my husband. He absolutely amazes me. I am not sure how he does all that he does. Honestly I wouldn't last even an hour doing what he does but by the grace of God he has (and he's done it at an outstanding level). He has had highs and lows with the Marine Corp, The Basic School Training, and Infantry Officers Course but overall he has passed one of the world's toughest and most demanding training and done so in a manner that I can be proud of him! He won't tell you but he received the "iron mike" award while at TBS. This is an award for the top Marine in his company for physical fitness. It is so cool to see how God works through Ty and enables his body to do the things it does. It is such  good reminder that we can't do anything without Him!

Well, now almost a year later and I can honestly say, I know how to drive to and in Washington D.C. and I can get to most places there. I know where things are and even know some of the road names up there. I have a lot of girlfriends and feel like I've known them for much longer than I have. I feel like I have a place in Stafford. It has become "home" and I don't want to leave all the memories and friends behind.  Next I will go "home" to Minnesota for about 2 months until we move to our next "home"...

Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii
November 2012 - ?

Next stop on our world travels with the Marine Corps is K-Bay (short for Kaneohe Bay), Hawaii! We will be living in a tropical paradise that is 4,437 miles from our Minnesota home. I have been trying to learn all I can about Hawaii but I've decided to give it a rest for a while. I know what I need to know and I am excited to discover things while I am there. I am thinking about trying out surfing, going to some of the surf competitions on the infamous North Shore, catching some rays, taking long walks and runs on the beach, waking up early for gorgeous sunrises, learning about the Hawaiian culture, going to a local farmers market, getting shave ice, going kayaking, taking hula lessons with my friend Kerri, going hiking and seeing some awesome views... oh yeah and maybe I'll get a job!

I know five awesome ladies that are going to Hawaii with their husbands at the same time as us. I am so grateful because I will already have friends when I get there. It doesn't feel like I am totally starting over this time!

I cannot wait to get to Hawaii, but at the same time I really can. I want to be able to take in the next two months in Minnesota and soak it up. I cannot wait for the fall weather in Minnesota (the chill to your bone cold), the beautiful leaves, the loveliness of wearing a sweater and fall boots! But most of all the people in Minnesota are what draws me there. My amazing family which I am so grateful to have. Not being near them has shown me just how much I love them. Also, in November Ty and I will finally get some time to be together and I cannot wait to just be with my husband and enjoy actually being with my best friend!

It is interesting how the term "home" has come to take on new meanings to me. It isn't just one place anymore. I call my mom's house home, I call Minnesota home, I call Stafford, Virginia home and I even call Hawaii our home. Sometimes it gets confusing but I am grateful to have such a life that I get to experience so many different "homes" and all the wonderful things that come along with that!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Officer Commissioning

My husband was officially commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in the spring of 2011. The ceremony was held at the Minnesota State Capitol in the beautiful rotunda. It was a beautiful spring day and our close family came to participate in the ceremony. It was a very proud day for our family and I. It symbolized all the hard work he had done in order to become a officer in the USMC and all that was ahead of him still. Here are a few pictures of that special day. (from my phone, so not the best quality!)

Later on, in the early fall of 2011, he had the opportunity to do another commissioning ceremony at the University of Minnesota TCF Stadium during half time of the Gophers football game. Two other Marines were at the commissioned ceremony too. It was really neat to see him representing the Marine Corps and even see his face on the BIG screen!

Recap of the past year

I have been so bad at blogging. I read my friends blogs regularly and always love hearing what they are up to or what is on their mind. I never feel like I have anything that interesting to say or that anyone would really care to read. I think I am just going to start treating this like a personal journal of our daily lives, almost like a scrapbook/journal. There are so many sweet moments in life and I feel like I have forgotten so many and would have loved if I had been documenting them all along.

One thing that I LOVE that my mom did for my sister and I was that she started a journal for both of us (before we were even born!). She would write about the funny things we did, our milestones, and just our daily lives. We love looking back at those journals, reminiscing, and finding out what we were really like as kids!

So who cares if others read this or not. And who cares what they think (not me anymore)! I am going to start writing so that I don't lose all those sweet moments and memories. The next couple of days I am going to post special moments and memories that have happened over the past year. Then I will write about where in the world Ty and I are now and where we are going next!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls!

  • Ty and I decided to make homemade cinnamon rolls this weekend. I love to bake, but it was even more fun with him helping out. He is strong, a perfectionist and really good at fine details so he was perfect for kneading the dough and rolling the dough into a perfect 16x21 inch rectangle. I found the recipe from All Recipes (a website I love because it has lots of ratings and comments- this one has a 5 star average from over 4,500 people, so you know its good!) I made some modifications based on the comments, my needs (no bread machine or large kitchen aide) and for my taste buds.. like more butter and sugar for the frosting since I don't love cream cheese and to bake it at a lower temp.. Here's our version, hope you enjoy :)

Makes 12 delicious cinnamon rolls

  • 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 small 8 oz pack of dry active yeast
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Stir milk, eggs, butter, bread flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl until it is a dough. Then knead by hand the dough (we did ours for a long time- like 25 minutes).
  2. Heat oven to 200 degrees and then TURN IT OFF. Cover the dough with a moist paper towel over the bowl, and put in the oven for around 1 hour (the dough will almost double in size)
  3. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Place in oven preheated to 350 degrees.
  5. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My little piece of paradise in D.C.

When you think of D.C. you probably think of the White House, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and all the Smithsonian Museums, and so do I. But there are many other things that our Nations Capital has to offer. One if these gems I discovered with a couple girlfriends a few months ago (and have gone back several times since). The U.S. Botanic Gardens is a little piece of paradise in D.C. As I went into the building the first time the feeling of warmth and humidity took me to a Caribbean island. The smell of water and plants was a needed break from the city smells. And then the beauty of the plants, trees and flowers overtook me. I fell in LOVE! This place is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is a retreat, a place to contemplate the beauty in what God created.

When I go on vacation to some place warm and tropical, what I look forward to the most is a change in my surroundings, experiencing new cultures, seeing different wildlife and vegetation, and usually a change in temps... (for the warmer).. I like things that are new, different, not the same as what I am used to all the time. There is beauty in the differences in people, in cultures and in nature.

At the US Botanic Gardens I can go to different parts of the world in a couple easy steps. One area is like a tropical oasis, another has a mini waterfall and Hawaiian flowers, there is a room that the air is super dry and warm and has plants from dessert areas. Being able to see how there is so much diversity in nature all in one spot is pretty amazing. If you are ever in the D.C. area I recommend checking this place out. And you probably don't have to come all the way to D.C. to go to a botanic garden, I think most major cities and universities have indoor gardens, so do some research and check one out near you! And you don't have to go to a botanic garden to see beauty in nature, take a look around you and enjoy the creation around you.

I captured a couple photos while my sister and her boyfriend were here visiting. Of course I took them to the Botanic gardens! Here are a couple pictures, wish I would have taken more!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Meal Planning

I've tried meal planning before and it was really great to have all the ingredients to make a couple complete meals. In the past our plans would change all the time and we ended up not eating at home as often as I planned, so some of the fresh indregdients would go bad by the time I got around to making it. Now that we live in Virginia with no family dinners, I get to come up with a dinner for everyday of the week! So I am going to give meal planning a second chance. I've been hearing from quite a few friends on Facebook how they love meal planning, it saves time, money and stress! So today I've scoured friends blogs, Facebook notes and Pintrest for some yummy recipes. I came up with 6 meals for this week that I am excited to make! Here are the meals I picked with a link to the recipe :)

1. Easy Broccoli chicken Wild Rice Soup 
my friend Monica shared this recipe on her Facebook page

Made this one before and it was awesome! I baked at 375 for 40-45!

I guesstimated the cost for our groceries this week and it looks like it will be about $85. (Food is more expensive out here in VA) That $85 is a good price for us, our normal grocery bill has been between $85-$120/week since we've moved to Virignia. I am about to go to the grocery store now, it'll be interesting to see what the actual cost is, hoping I can get it even below that $85! I'd love to hear about your experiences of meal planning and how you go about doing it! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Extrodinary English Architecture

I went to Enland in the spring of 2009. There were so many amazing views, buildings, landscapes, cathedrals, cottages, castles.... I was blown away by how much beauty one country could hold. I'd like to share the stunning architectural designs that wowed me while I was there. 
 Windsor Castle

 The Church at Windsor Castle

 Gorgeous royal gates for Buckingham Palace

 Buckingham Palace

Random pretty building

 Westminster Abbey


Big Ben

Eye of London

Tower Bridge

Even the Starbucks is unique!

Shakespeare's Globe Theater- a must if you are ever in London

Salisbury Cathedral


The London egg shaped building

Saint Paul's Cathedral