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.
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!