Monday, June 18, 2012

Welcome Home

First of all, I must apologize! It has been forever since I updated this blog. In my defense, we did not have internet in our apartment in California, so I wasn't able to update regularly. However, we are finally settled! And when I say settled I mean settled! After a long year of living out of a suitcase and living all over the country, we finally have a a place to call home.
This is our pretty new house that unbelievably, sits on the Potomac. Just as a reminder, we live in Washington, DC. Andy works at a Naval Intelligence base, right on the DC-Maryland border, called Suitland. We live on a base in the District called, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. We were not sure how we would like living on base, but so far so good! The base sits right on the Potomac River and our house almost backs right up to the river. So we have a great view out on our deck! It is a tri-level house and has taken some getting used to but we are so grateful to have a home again! The stairs help us keep Zeus in good shape! Words cannot even begin to express how great it is to have a place to call home again!

As I look back on this year I am humbled and amazed at God's goodness. This time last year, I had quit my job, packed up my classroom, we had packed up our house, moved in with my parents, and we were preparing for Andy to go to OCS for 3 months. We have lived in 5 different places in the past 12 months! Most of our stuff has been in storage, but our lucky parents held on to somethings as well, and we took what we needed in suitcases. My parents were kind enough to take care of Zeus for about 6 months while we were in transit. We went down to one salary and there were a couple of times this year I was not sure how we were going to make it, but we always did. This year has been challenging, but God provided every step of the way. Andy and I learned what it meant to truly rely on each other and our faith. A year later and we made it! I know life will always throw its punches at us, but this year has taught us a lot about dealing with those punches. We are so excited about what God has planned for us here in DC. And I promise to do a better job of sharing it with you all!
Much Love! Andy, Amanda, and Zeus

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our first visitors!

Ok... I know that I have not published in a long time! In my defense our apartment in Port Hueneme, CA (where we are now) does not have internet, so I have to go different places to get internet.  So to get all my stuff together and blog is more difficult than it seems! But nonetheless I finally have my act together and can update everyone.

We are in California right now for CECOS (school of the CEC). We will be here until May and then we will finally make our "official move" to D.C. and we are so excited! This whole no house and not having any of your stuff thing is starting to get old! We are being good sports but excited to be settled again. However, while we are in California we want to enjoy it!

So we had our first visitors ever! Living next to all of our family and friends we didn't have visitors before. But now we love that people can come visit us! The first to do so were Andy's sisters Alyse and Aubry. It was so nice to have them here, it felt a bit like home.

On Sunday we took them to Santa Barbara! Santa Barbara is only about 40 minutes away from us and it is gorgeous! We had a blast!

While we were walking around we ran into a bike shop and... that meant we needed to rent a bike! So we rented a 4 person bike that we could all ride in together!

After biking the coast we decided that we had to take a walk on the beach! The sand between your toes is one of life's little pleasures!

Finally on Monday before they left we took them on a hike that I am in love with. You can see the ocean for most of the hike and the view at the top is worth all of the work to get up there!

We had so much fun with the girls! We are "stuck" here right now, so we would love to have more visitors. Its not a bad place to be "stuck"! : )

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Two Years!!!!

WOW!!! 2 years! I can't believe that it was two years ago that Andy and I said "I do"! Where have these 2 years gone! And HOLY COW we have been all over the place in the past two years! Life is so amazing! It takes you so many different places and you experience so many different things. I am so blessed to get to do this thing called life with Andy.  He is an amazing man and I love being his wife.

January 9, 2010 was beautiful. It was a gorgeous day in Arizona and we had so many friends and family there to celebrate with us. It could not of been more perfect! Being the sappy girl that I am I looked through all of our wedding photos and wanted to share a few of my favorites!
Beautiful Bridesmaids

What a handsome guy!

 Thank you Andy for the past two years! May God bless us with many more precious years! I will follow you anywhere! Being married to you is the best ever! Love you!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas comes from the heart...

First let me start by saying I love Christmas. I am cheesy Christmas! I love the tree, nutcrackers, cookies, and all the good stuff! Last year, with it being Andy and I's first Christmas we bought all the lights and goodies. This year, all of our wonderful holiday belongings are locked tight in storage in Arizona and we are in Virginia.  Obviously I have a problem! Hence, us learning a difficult but much needed lesson.

There were days that I look at my sad little Christmas tree...
and missed the fresh smell of a tree with bright lights. I mean this Charlie Brown tree is cute but its not an actual Christmas tree. And pathetically I felt bad for myself. I felt bad that we didn't have all of the "stuff" that we normally do. The "things" that I thought made it more Christmas-y for me.

Then one day as I was doing my study I realized how horribly I was messing up Christmas. I am so unbelievably blessed. First of all, we don't celebrate Christmas for the tree, nutcrackers, and lights! Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ and how He was sent to Earth to save us. This year has brought so many changes and difficult times for us. Each time something comes up and I feel overwhelmed all I can say is, "I am so glad I serve a God who is in complete control and I don't need to worry!" He has provided every time we need Him to.  This year I have really learned that He will always meet our needs, but it just may not be the way we want Him to or even the needs we think we need Him to meet. God knows me so personally. He knows Andy and I's needs even better than we know our own. So what are my needs...

A Christmas tree? Lights? My awesome Nutcracker collection? No! These are all awesome blessings that He has provided and that I often let get in the way of Christmas. Not only has He met all our needs, but He continues to bless us in amazing ways. I am spending Christmas this year with my Navy husband! There are so many people that do not get to spend the holidays with their loved ones because they are serving. And this very possibly could my future, not this year. Thank you Jesus for giving me this Christmas with my husband! 

This is our first Christmas without our families. We miss them so much and its hard not being with them. However, we have been adopted by some extended family and our new military family out here. We have had so many invites to church services, dinners, and parties we can't do them all. Thank you Jesus for kind people who see family as a matter of the heart, not DNA.

I am jobless and moving all over with the military constantly having an IOU on you is financially challenging. Andy and I love to give gifts to our family and friends and each other. This year we really had to tone down our gift giving, which at times has brought me to tears. But truly what gift could I give that is better than the one God has already given us? Thank you God for the gift of your son, Jesus.

By the time we are back in DC in May we will have lived in 5 different places in one year! That much moving and living out of a suitcase is driving me crazy! But every time we move God provides a place for us at just the right price. We always have clothes on our back and warm food in our bellies. Thank you Jesus for keeping us safe and protected.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think all of the Christmas decorations are wonderful and next year when we are back in DC, in a house, with all of our belongings I will be overly excited to put them all up again. But I will have a new appreciation for it all. I know it is not a need of Christmas. God has already provided all that I need. It is a blessing for all us to enjoy. Christmas is a matter of the heart, your heart. Its not in the gifts, decorations, or food. I needed this reminder this year. So thank you Jesus for stripping me of all the decorations, gifts, shopping, food, and family that I have relied on for Christmas to draw me closer to You.

Monday, December 12, 2011

America's Game: Army vs. Navy

This past Saturday, December 10, Andy and I went to the Army Navy game! This game is always the last regular season college football game and is filled with numerous traditions. The game is normally played in Philadelphia, but this year it was in Washington D.C.. Although we always thought it would be cool to attend this game, the real reason we went was Ben and Jenny! Ben is Andy's cousin and is a senior Cadet at West Point. So when we found out that we were going to be stationed in D.C. Jenny said they were coming down and asked if we wanted to go. We absolutely love hanging out with Ben and Jenny and knew that we would have a blast!
 Of course we had to cheer for Navy!

The game was played at FedEx field in MD. It is where the Redskins play.
 This is Ben marching on the field before the game. All Cadets and Midshipmen that attend the academies must be in attendance at this game. They both march on the field. This was West Point marching on the field, specifically Ben's group.
 This is all of the Cadets at West Point.
Jenny, me, and Andy waiting for Ben to march on the field.
The Midshipmen of Annapolis Naval Academy.

Yay! Ben caught up with us! In the background is all of the Midshipmen. Ben's uniform is something that they pretty much only wear for this game! And you do not want to know how much that cape costs! :)
 Jenny and I!
 Andy and I cheering on Navy!
Love them!
 The President doing the coin toss!

Half time show was Lee Greenwood singing "God Bless the USA". Its always so cool to be places that do an awesome job showing support to our troops and honoring them! I love being at events that honor all of those who have served and currently serve. 
Throughout the game both sides play commercials that they have made that support their team. Some are funny and some are silly. Here is one I love because its from the Seabees! And I love my Seabees (or Seabee)!
Love this picture! Love this girl! Being a military wife holds many challenges. It has been something that I have had to adjust to the past 6 months. I would not trade it at all, but it is a unique position. It makes me so grateful for other military wives (fiances:)). I have met so many wonderful women so far! One of my favorites being this lady! Not only are we weirdly alike in so many ways, we also get each other because we both love men who serve! The encouragement and support she offers me is amazing. I am so grateful for her and that we get to experience this crazy military life together, as wives, friends, and cousins. 

So that was another awesome experience that Andy and I got to do while here in D.C.. We are loving all of the new things we get to do and experience everyday. God continues to bless us and watch over us here. Right now life is an adventure for us and I am so grateful that I get to experience it all with my handsome husband!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Discovering DC

Let me start off with saying there is so much to do here in DC!!! We will not get it all done in the 2 months we are here. Luckily we will be moving back and can set a goal of getting to see it all. It is challenging because we are residents, not tourists here. So we have silly work schedules, cleaning, grocery shopping, and errands that all get in the way of our exploring. But one Sunday we both were off and wanted to see some of the sights. So we took the metro (We are official metro card holders and riders. I take it to work everyday). We started off looking at the big guys...

The Washington Monument, which is currently closed because of the earthquake they had in August. You can see the monument from all over in DC and at night it is lit up.

 Andy and I both agreed the World War II Memorial was our favorite. It is extremely peaceful and leaves you with a very strong feeling of reverence. 

 This is the pond in the memorial with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. They purposely put the WWII Memorial between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. So as you walk this stretch of the mall you honor all of those who fought for the start and preservation of our country.
This is where Andy and I stopped in amazement. Each one of these stars in the memorial (not all are pictured) represent 100 Americans killed in WWII. There are over 4,000 stars. As a teacher I love that they did this. Graphic representations are very powerful with students and people in general. It's a very humbling memorial.

 The steps up to the Lincoln Memorial.
 President Lincoln, himself (well not really). The reflecting pool is currently under construction so we could not get any pictures of that.
 This is the Korean Way Memorial. They have these statues in the grass.
This is the wall for the Korean War Memorial. It is granite with these images lasered into it. It is very cool how they did it.

This is the Vietnam War Memorial. It is very simple, the wall with the names inscribed in it.
 And there were the fall trees. We were in love!

 I thought this leaf was so cool. It was in the process of turning red.
So far we are loving DC! We are excited to see and experience more of it but so far that is what we have seen. DC is amazing because you constantly are surrounded by history. We are so blessed to be here for the next couple of years!