March madness & military life

March has been a wildly busy month – but I think I say that about every month!

It has been a month filled with learning, new projects, stepping out of my comfort zone, lots of coffee, family visits, & goodbyes to good friends.

Graduation & goodbyes

One of the main highlights of the month was B graduating from the Air Force Institute of Technology with a Masters in Electrical Engineering this past week! He has spent the last 18 months working so hard & learning SO much. His next assignment is {luckily} at this base so we don’t have to move. We realized last week how settled into our tiny house we’ve become. Moving is going to be hard whenever we have to do it next!

The graduation of this class of students from AFIT also means that many many many of my military spouse friends are moving to their next assignments all over the country this week.

It breaks my lil heart to see them go, but I keep reminding myself that, as people say, “it’s a small Air Force” and it’s likely we will be stationed with these same friends in the future. And for the ones going to the DC area, I can visit with them when I return to Virginia to see my family!

Friends moving away is something that is still new to me, seeing as I’ve only been an Air Force spouse for, well, 18 months or so. The more “seasoned” spouses have dealt with this for years, but I can imagine that it doesn’t get much easier to say farewell.

Being a military spouse means leaning hard on the community around you, making fast friendships, and sharing a special kind of bond with those who you might never have spoken to if it wasn’t for your spouse’s career. I don’t exactly know how to explain this connection to people who haven’t experienced it before. Being a military spouse is beautiful & terrible all at the same time.

You have to open your heart fully, knowing that it’ll be broken a little bit every time the PCS orders arrive.

But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

In photo news…

I’ve been snapping away lately, as a few friends have asked me to take photos for them & their families this month. I’ve done head shots, a newborn session, a couple session {which I’m currently editing}, & countless test shots around the house with a new lens.

The newborn session was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone, as I had never done anything quite like it. I’m so grateful to my sweet friend for trusting me to take photos of her little one! & happy two week birthday, Ember!

My friend Elisa needed some head shots for her professional portfolio – she’s getting her PhD in English and is a professor! – and asked me to help out. We went “on location” to a coffee shop that has some good backgrounds – lots of brick & colorfully painted walls. Of course, the weather was rude to us and decided to be barely above freezing, but Elisa was an amazing sport and braved the cold!

For the love of books

Life update: I think I want to be a librarian. I don’t know what kind yet {school, children’s, YA?} but since taking this job at my local library, it feels like a pretty great career for me.

I’m working in the Youth Services department as an associate, which means I help the actual librarians in the department prep events, I do teacher collections, & random tasks like bulletin boards.

But it also means that I work the desk in the Children’s department, and answer patron questions all day long! It feels like the coolest treasure hunt ever to be given a random search criteria & come out with just the right book for the kid or a parent.

It’s not so great when a child asks you to find “the book I was reading a few weeks ago with stick drawings but I don’t remember what it’s about or the name of the book or the author but there was a gun in it.” I wasn’t so successful there!!

Alas, grad school is the next step if I really want to pursue this, and I don’t quite have the funds at the moment – but I am learning a TON in this job.

Goal setting missteps

Remember how I wrote that big long post about how excited I was about my new planner and using it to set TONS of goals and meet them all?

Yeah… more on that later.

April showers

Looking forward to April, it feels like it’ll be a bit of a calmer month for me. I may be jinxing myself just by saying that!

B starts his new job next week, so he’ll be going back to a regular work day, while I mainly work evenings at the library & weekends at the coffee bar. It’ll be interesting to see how we work this out and make time to see each other!!

I’m excited to slow down a bit and re-focus on my goals and on self-care. I also may have a giant pile of laundry I need to catch up on… #adultingishard

Forty truths & no lies {about me}

Hello there, dear readers & people that I actually know in real life! I love you all!

This is going to be like those beginning-of-the-year icebreakers that everyone actually hates, except I’m the only one talking and it doesn’t suck.

I’ve picked up a few new followers over the past few months & thought it was about time to do a proper introduction of myself.

Standing in the snow & wearing my LuLaRoe, as usual.

And what better way is there to do that than dumping a bunch of random {and some fun} facts out onto the interwebs? I can’t think of anything, so here goes! Continue reading “Forty truths & no lies {about me}”

Dayton Coffee Crawl

I don’t think it really needs to be said, but I love coffee.

The first thing I do when I go to a new place is to search for a coffee shop to try out – & the second is to try to find a bookstore, so I think my priorities are set in the right places.

When I found out we were moving to Dayton, I was so concerned that for some reason, they wouldn’t know how to do good coffee in this random spot in Ohio. (I was spoiled by my east coast upbringing, I think) But after doing a quick Google search, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised!

Once we arrived in Dayton, we made pretty quick work of checking a few coffee shops I found off of my list. Somehow, though, I still haven’t managed to get to them all! Now that we’ve been here for over a year, I thought it would only be appropriate to do a series of posts that I’m going to call the Dayton Coffee Crawl – visits to every single local coffee shop in the area, with an overview and my thoughts on each one. Traditionally, “coffee crawls” are single-day tours of a number of coffee shops in an area, resulting in some SUPER CAFFEINATED people. But I don’t have the time for that and goodness knows my heart can’t handle too many shots of espresso in one day!! It’ll be a slow crawl.

Continue reading “Dayton Coffee Crawl”

Feelings on friendship

It’s hard to make friends.

It’s hard to make friends when you’re an introvert, a generally awkward person, a young & childless military spouse in a place that is new to you, and a liberal & not religious military spouse at that.

I have learned so. dang. much. about adulting in the past year since we moved to Ohio. I’m in that post-grad identity crisis stage still, which is weird enough on its own, but pile on the desire to make friends in a completely new environment where you don’t know anyone, and still being a newlywed, and you’ve got a LOT OF FEELINGS ALL THE TIME.

When I say that I’m not great at making friends, I mean long-lasting, deep friendships. I’m the kind of person who has a lot of acquaintances and people that I can talk to, chat with, enjoy spending time with at social events. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting to know people on this level, but sometimes I want something more complete. I often end up with just a few close friends, and unless I’m living near those friends, those friendships tend to be more distant than I’d like. I’m not the best at keeping up communication – just ask my mom when I last called her! 😫

Some people are so lucky to be able to form fast friendships that last and have depth, closeness, and heavy meaning, no matter where they go. I envy religious people who can connect through their faith to people and use that as a basis to form friendships, and develop those deeply through fellowship and study. I think that is a beautiful thing, but I’m not a part of a faith that allows me to have that right now. Mothers also instantly have something in common, a shared experience of giving life & raising children, and that can help form fast friendships. I don’t have kids yet, and understand that having kids majorly changes your life, your focus and your priorities, and that it might be harder to become friends with women that don’t yet share those experiences. I can still keep my fingers crossed that I’m just making up that idea though!!

I put such a focus on military spouses because that’s one of the most prominent parts of my identity at the moment. I don’t have a life-defining career, so the main way that I can find and make friends is through the group of Air Force spouses that I am a part of here in Dayton. There’s a shared experience that military spouses have that gives us a way to feel instantly connected to each other, and allows us to explore friendship – but many of us have big differences! I am a liberal, pro-choice feminist, and just by typing those few words, I might instantly alienate a lot of military spouses that I’d hope to be close friends with. I don’t generally have a problem being friends with people who don’t share all of my views, but I know that other people might find it more difficult, and that the closeness I’m looking for sometimes comes from sharing those types of views and ideals. Of course, maybe it’s not “worth it” to pursue friendships with people that would be turned off by big parts of my identity, but it still feels so discouraging to mentally cross more names off the list of potential friends.

Lately, I’ve been putting myself out there a little more, have been more active in these groups, and have been putting more of an effort into the chances that I do have to connect with other women and make friends. And I think it could be starting to pay off! I’m continuing to meet more women that I’m excited to get to know better and to see more often, and I think that feeling is mutual with some of them! I know that building lasting friendships takes work, a spark, effort, and that it won’t always work out the way I might hope – but here’s to hoping.

Also, I am totally aware of how freaking cheesy this whole post sounds, but sometimes my brain just really likes to write cheesy-ass things. #sorrynotsorry

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Our Dayton Bucket List!

My husband, Ben, is an officer in the Air Force, which means we’ll be moving every few years as he gets new assignments. His last base was Hanscom AFB, right outside of Boston, and it was a perfect place for him to be stationed as a young officer when we were first dating. Boston is a city filled with young people and lots to do in the downtown and surrounding areas. We packed so much into those 4 years while he was stationed there and while I was in college at Wheaton. We even made a Boston Bucket List, but not until we had about a year left in the area, and between me finishing up college and us planning our wedding and move, we definitely didn’t check off as many places as we had hoped.

During the winter of 2014, we found out where he would be headed next – or should I say we, since we were engaged and planning our wedding. He had applied to AFIT, the Air Force Institute of Technology, what seemed like AGES ago, and got the call one evening that he had been accepted to a program to get his Masters in Engineering! We were thrilled! But then came the realization that we would be moving to Dayton, Ohio.

I’ve grown up on the East Coast and near big cities my whole life, so when I heard “Ohio” my mind immediately went to: Midwest, cornfields, empty, sad cities past their prime, economically depressed, old houses, no fun, nothing to do!

And while there are plenty of cornfields out here, I could not have been more wrong about Dayton. Continue reading “Our Dayton Bucket List!”

Anniversaries

It’s been almost a year since Ben & I got married, and a few days after that will be a year since we moved to Dayton. What the what?!?????

Time is FLYING by, and I’m not sure if it’s because life has been generally good and we’ve been keeping busy, or if that’s just what it’s gonna be like as I get older. Either way, I still can’t believe it.

It’s been quite a year. We got married (duh), moved to Ohio, bought a house, have been slowly furnishing the house and making it ours, adopted two cats, I started a new job (almost a year ago there, too!), Ben started grad school, we’ve traveled, made new friends, found communities, and have explored this new area that now feels so familiar.

I feel like the only thing that could have made this year even crazier would be having babies, but don’t worry, that’s not happening for a few years. (Really Mom, I’m not pregnant, I promise!)

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about where I was (both physically and mentally) last year, how many aspects of my life have changed, and how Ben & I have grown together. It’s been a wild first year, but there’s no one I would rather have spent it with. Here’s to many more crazy years ahead of us!

 

Summer snaps – day forty one

We had a trip to the vet this morning (checkup and nail trimming, so nothing to worry about) and I snapped this pic when Ben was showing the vet something on Samson’s belly. Ugh, this cat is too much. Just look at those eyes!

Today’s thoughts: I can’t wait to move

This evening, I learned the hard way that you cannot turn on the faucet in the kitchen and take a hot shower at the same time.

I can’t wait to move.

I’m quickly learning that as a military spouse, there’s a lot of jargon and acronyms to learn and remember – TLF being one of those. TLF stands for Temporary Living Facility, which is where Ben and I have been living since we got to Dayton. When you’re PCSing (moving to a different base) you usually get to stay in the TLF for a few days on the military’s dime, which is what we’re doing for a few more days. Since we can’t move into our house until September 4th, we’re extending our stay until then.


At Wright-Patt, the TLF for us (married couple, no kids) ended up being a duplex which used to be base housing. Two bedrooms, one bathroom, a full kitchen, and laundry. It also comes with a heat lamp in the bathroom that glows red and makes the room look like a murder room! Doesn’t every house need one of those?

It’s been really great to have a home base while we’ve been exploring the area, and it feels super safe here. It’s nice to have the kitchen even though the pots and pans they provide are ooooold and kinda crusty. Ben is awesome at making it work, and even cooked us some insanely delicious pan roasted brussel sprouts with garlic and bacon. He’s an amazing chef!!

Anyways, while we are so lucky to have this space while we wait for our house, some parts of it are getting a little frustrating!! For one, I’m really looking forward to being able to shower and do dishes at the same time.

Also, there’s no wifi. Boo.

 

Thanks for reading! ~Margaret