Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cornbelly's Pumpkin Farm 2013

Just a couple pictures from our autumn fun at Cornbelly's at the end of 2013… as you can see, i'm not at all good about posting things like this in a timely manner...
I sure love my cute girls 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Park City Getaway Dec-2013

Back in December of 2013, Clark and I spent a whole weekend alone in Park City! It was truly my favorite trip to date! It snowed like crazy the entire time. I was able to snap a few pictures here and there, but they certainly don't do the weekend justice. It was indescribable :) 

I absolutely LOVE this picture. Breathtaking view...
 You guessed it! Eggnog for me, and yoohoo chocolate milk for Clark. Incredibly romantic…..
 The cabin was beautiful
 Orange rolls for breakfast one morning..… yummm
 Kneaders treated us right throughout the weekend. From the orange rolls, to warm baked potato soup and asiago cheese bread on a cold winters night…..
The sheer volume of snow was mind boggling. It was so deep! It just kept comin' down
 That's right. A hot tub on the patio… in the snow! Yes please!
 Even the apple crumble bread was from Kneaders. We didn't just eat Kneaders mind you. We ate on Main Street at a little place that was amazing. We also went to Tucanos and the Thanksgiving Point Deli! Delish! We got cheesecake, and lemon dessert that my mom sent with us from Washington. We had chocolate, fudge and rice krispies from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Mint Milano Cookies…. we ate terribly. It was totally worth it
We snuggled by the fire and read together. We enjoyed the hot tub and jetted tub. We went out and saw  Catching Fire and Ender's Game. We even went shopping!
I only snapped pictures with my big camera, so I we never got pictures of Clark and I together. Like I said, these pictures don't do the weekend justice. But oh, was it wonderful. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

This is it! Until we meet again...

I don't usually write just to get things out. But this final stretch before I leave has given me a lot to think about. I have so much in my head. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. I have two dear friends here in Utah whom I've confided in, as well as Clark. Now I'm thinking it might be good to have a journal of sorts, talking about my pre-basic training, pre-life change, pre-military thoughts. Then I can look back after basic and compare those feelings and thoughts to the overall experience. Isn't that what a journal or a blog is for? 

I've worked so hard to get here. I spent the last 391 days preparing to join the Air Force, and now I have 18 days left before I leave. At first, we didn't even think we would ever really get here. There would of course be something that would prevent this from happening. There were SO MANY hoops to jump through, and obstacles in our way. Then when things really started to fall into place, I pushed harder than ever. I felt like I was doing everything I could possibly do to prepare physically, mentally and emotionally. But what was I preparing for exactly? And how much can you really prepare for? I don't even know the answer…

I have faithfully been to the gym every day, 6 days a week for the last 390 days. I've pushed myself harder than ever. I've lost weight, increased my endurance, set goals, surpassed goals, been healthier than I've ever been, and stronger than I ever thought possible. My confidence has grown. My determination and motivation have proven true. I couldn't be happier. There have been bumps along the way… shin splints will threaten to haunt me for the rest of my life, I just know it. Eating healthy is NOT easy. It's an exhausting, never-ending task that you constantly have to be aware of and dedicated to. A vacation to Disneyland, and a bout with pink eye and the stomach flu have forced me to take small breaks from the gym here and there. But by and large, it's actually been an awesome commitment that I've stuck to. I'm proud of myself. I don't think I could ever go back. My son is my little workout buddy, and whenever he comes to visit, he loves to go to the gym with me. He challenges me. He wants to compete and race. He doesn't give up, and he loves being a part of my hard work. It's been a neat thing for us. Something we can share together. I've pumped protein powder, creatine, and L-Glutamine into my body for the last year, hoping it will help with the strength training. Getting in shape has been a huge part of getting ready. A year ago, I was 30 pounds heavier, I just had my 4th baby, I was 25, and had never really given any thought to exercise or fitness. I've come so far, and found something I'm truly passionate about. 

But while I was focused on surviving the physical challenges of basic training, other aspects of basic training have taken longer to sink in. And while I have tried my best to exhaust every resource imaginable, gleaning as much information as possible as to what I should expect, I know that you can't really prepare for everything. You know me, I'm surely going to try. But I'm realistic enough to know that I just can't prepare for EVERYTHING. Despite that admission, I still spend my days considering every aspect of this journey. Will I be able to do the push ups? Will I get the hang of the marching and the saluting? I'm sure I will. But there's not just a physical aspect to basic training. It's a mental thing. They're gonna be yelling. They're gonna break you down, so that you can build yourself back up again as a team. As a unit. I've tried my best to be as prepared as I can for the mental side of things. Then there's the control aspect. They want to control everything I do, in every way possible. It's only been recently that I've realized that I'm a perfectly healthy, functioning member of society. I'm mature. Responsible. Organized. Capable. Competent. ESTABLISHED. I'm 26, I have a successful marriage, 3 children, I've been a surrogate mother, and so much more. I've been through a lot. Yet I'm going to be treated as if I'm an incompetent, clueless 17 year old, who needs to be told what to do, and how to do things. That's hard for me. I'm so established in my life, that I just have a certain way of doing things. I don't want to be told what I can eat, when I can pee, who I have to shower with, how I have to fold my underwear, how I have to do my hair, when I can and can't shave, when I can and can't call my husband and children, and when I can and can't smile. It's gonna be so hard. I already know it's going to be hard. I already know that I'm just gonna have to put those things aside, keep my mouth shut, and do what I'm told. Just get through it. I know. And I will. I'm just not looking forward to it. 

Then there's the fact that it's all just going to be miserable. This also just kind of started to sink in. For the longest time, I was just thinking, "I have to be prepared to wake up so early, that the world technically shouldn't exist. I have to be prepared to spend an hour a day working out. I have to be prepared to only call home one day a week. I have to be prepared for TI's yelling at me like crazy. I have to be prepared to be away from my husband and children for a long time." So that's what I've been doing. I've been "preparing." If only it were that simple. How can you be prepared to be miserable for the next 3 months of your life? Every aspect of basic training is meant to be hell. I'm sorry if it's a joke to you because it's not marine or army boot camp. It's still a hard thing to go through. Every aspect is meant to make you miserable. Sleeping is meant to be miserable. Sleeping on crappy metal bunks and mattresses, in a room of 60 other people, uncomfortable. Sharing a bed with a person who will wake you up every time they move, and vice versa. Eating is meant to be miserable. Whether you're being yelled at while you eat, or having to choke down crappy food in under 2 minutes. Showering is meant to be miserable. From being told you can't use conditioner, to being told you can't shave, to actually showering in a room full of other people. All in 2 minutes of course. The Texas heat is meant to make you miserable. Wondering if there are scorpions or snakes. Living with 60 other girls, some who are clueless and immature, some who are mean, some who are just difficult. TI's yelling at you. Not being able to see your family. I could go on and on and on. I'm just not looking forward to being miserable for weeks on end. 

There's the fact that I'm going to miss my family more than I can comprehend. My husband is my best friend and my life revolves around him. Around my family. My girls, (7 and 3 1/2) have never been without me for more than a long weekend. The inability for them to comprehend the vast amount of time in which they won't see me is hard to think about. Will it be hard for them?

So there’s my family to think about. Trying to think of what they might potentially need in the future. A mom is always thinking of the needs of her family, whether someone else has it under control or not. Whether she’s physically there or not. It’s something we’re born with. I’ve done as much projecting as I can, to make sure that forseen circumstances have solutions and whatnot. But there will always be unforeseen things that arise. I know that Clark will handle everything else. He’ll do great. But it's still an aspect I've had to prepare for.

I was talking to Clark, and I told him I really didn’t want to face the 24 hour period of time between leaving home, and getting to basic. The period of time where I stay at the hotel by the airport on Monday night, then spend the next day at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) where I swear in again, and then sit around and wait for a long time, while my family comes to say their last goodbyes. Followed by what will most likely be a late and long 4 hour flight to Texas, where all you have to think about is what you left behind, and what is ahead of you. What an excruciating 24 hours it will be. The in-between. The butterflies, the nervousness of what’s ahead, and the heartache of what you’ll be missing. Change is scary. Change is hard. I’ve never been one for change… which is probably surprising to you considering the fact that my life seems to be filled with exciting challenges and experiences. I'll be dreading what’s ahead. Knowing 8 ½ weeks will seems like years. All the same, that 8 ½ weeks will also “fly by” because I’ll be so busy. I hate hand-writing letters. I can type so much faster. I can say so much more when I don’t have a pen in hand. Yet letters will be my lifeline. And I’ll look forward to them, no question. The night at the hotel will be torture. Everyone says they don’t sleep. Then they don’t eat the next morning because they’re too nervous. I don’t like breakfast anyway. And the icing on this cupcake? I’ll cry like a baby as I say my goodbyes. Crying makes me tired. And I’ll already be very very tired…. 

I’m hard on myself. I want to succeed, not just barely, but I want to be on top. I know no matter how good I do, it won’t be good enough, for me. I want to make my family proud. I want to excel. I have a fear of failing. I also have a fear of scorpions, spiders and snakes. And of showering in front of ANYONE. If you tell me I’ll get used to showering with other people, I’ll punch you in the throat. My bladder has gone through 4 pregnancies… and I’m quite concerned about how that’s all gonna go down. They make you drink water like a fish, which I don’t mind. But the bladder control thing will be interesting. Have you ever tried working out on a full bladder? Yeah, me neither… I wonder how many girls will be my age. I wonder how many kids they’ll have had. I feel like I’m coming in behind the curve. My body isn’t what it used to be. I don’t like being put in uncomfortable situations, but I love meeting new people and making friends. I care what people think of me. I shouldn’t, but I do. And as we’ve established long ago, people either love me, or they hate me. It’s never in-between. My recruiter said that he thinks my biggest challenge will be the fact I’ll be surrounded by 18 and 19 year old girls. There’s probably a lot of truth to that. I don’t want to be eating garbage. They tell you to expect junior high cafeteria food. Nutritious and delicious. Yes please. Oh, and I am NOT a morning person. I don’t do well with 6 am, let alone 4 am. Excuse me, 0600, 0400.  I’ve been told that even people who have served for years have a hard time getting up that early.

I’ve been memorizing everything I can think of. Rank is tough to get the hang of. An E-8 is a Senior Master Sergeant. Their Chevron has 7 stripes, two of which are inverted. An E-9 Special Classification is the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. Their Chevron has 8 stripes, 3 of which are inverted; a Wreath, and the Seal of the United States, flanked by 2 stars. Those are just examples of Enlisted. Then you’ve got Officers. I have them all memorized, but then when I’m quizzed on the spot, my mind goes completely blank. I’m sure it will be easier to recall what I’ve memorized when my TI asks me on the spot, yelling. Then you’ve got names to memorize, all the way up to the Commander in Chief, President Barrack Hussein Obama. I’ve memorized all 3 verses of the Air Force Song.

And the creed:

I am an American Airman.
I am a Warrior.
I have answered my Nation’s Call.
I am an American Airman.
My mission is to Fly, Fight and Win.
I am faithful to a Proud Heritage,
A Tradition of Honor,
And a Legacy of Valor.
I am an American Airman.
Guardian of Freedom and Justice,
My Nation’s Sword and Shield,
It’s Sentry and Avenger.
I defend my Country with my Life.
I am an American Airman.
Wingman, Leader, Warrior.
I will never leave an Airman behind,
I will never falter,
And I will not fail.

I’ve memorized Core Values. My Reporting Statement. I’m still working on the saluting, stances, and marches. But there’s just not enough time left, so I’ll just have to learn the rest while I’m there.

I found out that even though basic is just under 3 months, I will actually be separated from my family for 4 months. There is a delay before my family gets moved to Monterey, California.

People ask me if I’m excited. “18 days, it’s practically here, are you excited!?” I used to think I was kind of excited. It was a big adventure, a new journey, a new life for our family. My response? “I think I’m ready. I’m ready to get things going, and to get it over with. But I’m not looking forward to being miserable, and I’m sad to be leaving at all. I’m overwhelmed.” So am I excited? Those aren’t the words I’d use. I've got all sorts of emotions running through me as I great ready to go. I’m sure it will be great. I’ll learn a lot, it will make me stronger, and it will be a big accomplishment. I’ll be glad for the experience, and I’ll probably make some friends. I’m really just excited to get our life in the military moving. And basic training is just a necessary step along that way. One small step. It probably just won’t be my favorite part.

Clark will post my mailing address on facebook for those who’d like to write me. Even if I can’t write back all the time, I’ve been told that those letters from friends and loved ones will be my lifeline, and I know I’ll appreciate them. If you can spare a minute, please write me :) He’ll also be posting updates, for those who care. Luckily for all of you, sometimes they post pictures on the USAF Basic Military Training facebook page.

I appreciate all of you who are willing to be there for Clark while I’m gone. As much of a life change as this is for me, he’s got a whole new life ahead of him as well.

At the end of the day, I know that no matter how much I try to prepare, I’ll never really feel ready when it’s time for me to get on that plane. That’s the nature of the beast. And I’m sure that when I get there, I’ll say to myself, “What the hell did I get myself into.”

I still wholeheartedly believe that this is the right decision for our family. The right path to take. To move forward in life, you have to make an effort. Put in the work. It’s not supposed to be easy. I know that the benefits will outweigh the sacrifices 10 to 1. I’m excited for the opportunities this will bring. And to be quite honest, as much as I’m looking forward to basic, I’m looking forward to DLI all the more. The subsequent two years will be filled with a category 4 language. I’ll be completely submerged. I heard it’s hell. I’m totally terrified. One step at a time right? ….

I’m having a small farewell in Pleasant Grove 48 hours before I leave. I’d love anyone and everyone to come say goodbye! Because I won’t come back to Utah. (details are on facebook)

But I think this is goodbye to the blogging world. Until we meet again :)


A few evenings ago, recruits from all over the Salt Lake and Utah County area swore in on the ice at a Grizzly's hockey game at the Maverick Center. It was a fun experience. Lieutenant Colonel Bol conducted the oath. We were all careful to not slip on the ice and break our necks. We had to get there 2 hours early, which is why the stadium seems empty. It was actually jam packed, and it was military appreciation night. There were lots of different things going on, from all branches of the military. I couldn't tuck in my shirt because my khakis were maternity pants. When I was headed home that night, I bumped into my brother and sister in law, who weren't expecting to see me out on the ice! It was a lot of fun. Here are a couple pictures snapped throughout the evening fun memories to take with me as I start this new chapter!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas, 2013

Tree Farm with Family

On the day after Thanksgiving, my parents, siblings and my hubby and kiddo's all went to a tree farm to cut down a Christmas tree. We had a blast, and snapped a family picture while we were out. It's not the best, the light was harsh, but I'm glad to have an updated shot of my wonderful family. I had such a great holiday with them….

My brother AJ and his cute friend Jessica :)

Grandpa made hot cocoa for the grandkids and packed it up in a thermos. They were in heaven :)

This puppy lives at the tree farm. He loves new friends that will throw the stick with him :)

Brynlee loves her Auntie Kimmy :)

How cute are we! I love these pictures :D

Mom & Dad! <3

I'm seriously IN LOVE with this picture!!

Taylor and Brionna got to have a turn sawing the tree. Fun stuff :)


Pretty proud of herself. She thought it was pretty neat sawing that tree...

The tree continued to get bigger as we got it home and all set up. As it got warmer, it filled out more and more. IT WAS GI-NORMOUS...

silly girl

Wrestling with Uncle AJ

Clark took my picture...

Giant Teddy Bears, loli-pops, and family. It was pretty great :)

She loved Thomas :)
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