Friday, February 17, 2017

Creating a Wish List Instead of Setting Goals

Some of the prompts for #LoveBlog spark an idea for a post right away. Others take a while and I have to simply wait for inspiration to come to me. Today's prompt is one of those that made me wait for inspiration. However, when inspiration finally came, it presented me with the perfect idea. In case you're wondering, today's prompt is "wish" and I'm going to be sharing my thoughts on creating a "wish" list rather than a "goals" list and how it can benefit you.

I've always been a big fan of setting goals. In fact, the goal of becoming a teacher is what kept me on track in school and helped me earn scholarships for college. While long term goals were great for me growing up, I've found that they're a little harder to focus on as an adult because life has so many variables and is rarely predictable - especially as a military family with a newborn.

Even though long term goals seem near impossible to set, I still thrive on the idea of looking to the future and aiming big. I don't see the benefit in setting goals that may or may not be realistic. This is where the concept of a wishlist comes in.

A wish is something you desire. However, unlike a goal, it is something that you have little to no control over. If you don't achieve it, it's not due to effort but often do to other factors. This definition and the unpredictable nature of wishes is what makes them a better fit for our family than long term goals.  (I want to note that we still set goals - they are simply on a smaller scale of one year or less.)

For those dreams that are more long term, I'm proposing the idea of starting a wish list. Much like a goal list, our wish list will help guide us towards the future that we'd like to build. However, the wish list will allow for the flexibility we need as a military family with a highly unpredictable future. (We can't guarantee where we'll be living from year to year - let alone what we'll be doing.)

I'm going to share three items from my wish list below and then I want to encourage you to do the same.

1. I wish to expand our family by at least one more in the future.

2. I wish to establish a successful work from.home lifestyle for the first few years of my children's life.

3. I wish for my son to grow up happy and strong.

What items would make it on to your wish list?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Five Things Your New Baby Actually Needs

Today's prompt for #LoveBlog is wisdom. Many ideas went through my mind for this topic after I agreed to be a cohost for the prompt. I thought about marriage and the lessons I have learned in the past two years. I thought about the many things I have learned from being a military spouse. I thought about our recent move and the many lessons I learned. There were many contenders for topics. Then, our little one arrived before I could even prep this post and I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. We weren't quite ready for his appearance and we definitely didn't have everything set up. It wasn't a big deal though because we did have the things that he really needed as a baby.

A week and a half after having Baby Coastie, his nursery is still in disarray. There are still a pile of wall hangings in the hallway that we need to take care of. And the house is far from perfect. None of this matters though because we have our little one in our arms and we're all healthy. We had the essentials that he needed ready and that's what mattered. I know the many lists out there may say otherwise but there are really only a few things that are truly a necessity for your baby. Today, I'm sharing our top five items that you need to have on hand for the arrival of a little one.

Newborns sleep a lot. This means that they need a place to rest their head when they come home. Of course, everyone has different parenting styles so a bed may look different for different people. You might choose the traditional crib, a bassinet, or a cosleeper of some sort. For us, we opted for a pack and play in our room to start out. He'll eventually move to the crib in his nursery, but for now, he's sleeping with us.

Another thing that babies do a lot is eat. After all, they have a lot of growing to do in those first few years. A baby can't eat the food we eat, so having special food on hand before he's born is important. The type of food you choose is once again up to personal preference. For us, food means breastfeeding so we made sure to have a few accessories on hand (pump, nursing bras, nipple cream, etc). For others, formula may be the good of choice. Make the choice that's best for your family but make sure you have what you need before baby gets home.

The third thing that babies do a lot is create body fluids (poop and pee for those of us not afraid of the words). You're going to need a lot of diapers over the course of time but I would definitely recommend having some newborn and size 1 on hand before baby is born. Nobody wants to make a diaper run in those first few days home. I recommend the different sizes because you never know what's going to work for your baby. This is an area with options once again - disposable or cloth diapers. It's best to make a decision before baby is born so that you're prepared for all those dirty diapers.

Babies need warmth - especially if they're born in the middle of winter like our little one. Make sure you load up on season appropriate clothing for your little one to wear. I say "load up" because babies have a way of making a mess throughout the day. Laundry quickly becomes inevitable. Also don't forget the blankets (of all shapes and sizes) that can also provide your baby with added warmth.

Car Seat
They won't let you leave the hospital without this one which is what makes it a necessity. It's important that you pick out a safe car seat that can keep your baby safe on long trips. If you're car seat is a used one, please make sure you check the expiration date. For us, we went with a new travel system that we hope will be used for this little one and any future additions to the family. Travel systems are nice because they come with a stroller, infant carrier, and car seat base. The infant carrier doubles as a car seat for the baby's first few months of life. Eventually, we'll be looking into a convertible car seat that can grow with him. This wasn't a necessity yet though.

I know I said we were sharing our top five items but I couldn't resist adding this one in. The item your baby needs more than anything else is love and security from his or her parents. Those first few weeks in the real world have got to be scary after all. Provide lots of snuggles and affection to let your little one know that it's all okay.

Do you have a little one in your life? What would you put on your necessity list?

Don't forget to link up with #LoveBlog below!! And if you haven't checked out the other prompts, I highly recommend doing so.  This blogging event lasts through the end of the month.

Before you link up, why don't you check out who's hosting the link up today?

Brita of Belle Brita 

Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.

Pam is one half of the duo behind The Coastie Couple, a blog that chronicles the military lifestyle through the eyes of a husband and wife. The Coastie Couple recently moved from California to Michigan and are expecting their first son this month.

Charlene of Enduring All Things

Charlene is a 20 something wife and fur mamma living in Ohio. She uses her blog, Enduring All Things, to inspire young wives to keep God first and their husbands second in everything they do.

And as if a link-up isn't enough, there's also a giveaway to enter! Best of luck!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Long Distance Relationships: Three Questions to Ask

Today's prompt for #LoveBlog couldn't be more perfect for us. The prompt is "long distance," which is something we have a lot of experience with. As a military family, we have a lot of distance between us and our family and friends. In addition to this distance, we also did a year of long distance dating before getting married. Deciding to give long distance dating a try was not an easy decision for us but it's one that I'm glad we made. Today, I thought I'd share three questions that you should ask yourself before entering into a long distance relationship.

Below are three of the questions I asked myself before deciding to pursue the long distance phase of our relationship. We had to make this decision after 8 months of dating when the husband was reassigned to a ship in California (as far from SC as he could go without leaving the country!). We had been dating long enough to see potential in our relationship but not long enough to know if we could survive the distance.

Will you regret not giving it a go?
This was the most important question that I asked myself. I don't believe in regretting decisions and I often use that as a basis for the decisions I make. For this question, I looked to the future. Could I see myself asking "what would have been" if we didn't try it out? I found the answer to be yes which gave me an indication that we should pursue long distance dating.

What obstacles lie ahead?
This next question was important because it meant I wasn't living with my head in the clouds. I recommend looking at the obstacles you might face before making your decision. Long distance isn't easy and comes with many challenges. While you can't predict them all, you can at least recognize the challenges that lie ahead.

Are you willing to put in the time and effort needed?
This one is a big one. Every relationship takes time and effort to make it successful. Long distance relationships take just a little bit more because you're working with more obstacles. If you're not willing to adjust to a different style of dating, then long distance might not work out for you.

Long distance dating isn't easy but it can be done and it can be successful. It's not a fit for everyone though, which is why I recommend taking your time to make the best decision for you and your relationship before diving headfirst into long distance dating.

Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? We'd love to hear your story in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

He Said, She Said: Liz Wilcox

We really hope that you've been enjoying this series as much as we have! It's been the perfect way for us to introduce you to some awesome new people while still spending time with our new baby boy. Have you checked Instagram lately to see how we're doing? In the meantime, I think you'll enjoy these answers from Liz Wilcox and her husband! They genuinely sound perfect for each other!

Oh and Happy Valentine's Day to you!

What is the story behind how you two met?

He said: We met on a blind date. A friend of mine and a friend of Liz's were chatting on Plenty of Fish. When they decided to meet up, Liz's friend wanted to bring a friend along, so Dave brought me. We met at Mcguire’s in Destin, Florida, ate dinner, watched fireworks and spent almost every day together since.

She said: It was Memorial Day weekend. My friend was going on a date with a guy she met online. This guy was in town for a road race and brought his friend along for the weekend. My friend asked me to come along to occupy the 3rd wheel. I said yes, but was not looking forward to it. Her dates were not usually guys I would speak to, but I figured at least it was a night on the town.
We got to the restaurant and I was immediately in love. These two guys looked like fun goofballs! I could tell my date was extremely nervous so I just chatted his ear off the whole night. We watched fireworks that night and he put his hand on my shoulder… then immediately took it off, then rested the hand again. How cute that he was so nervous!
He was the first genuine guy I’d met in a long time and I decided on the drive home that he must be mine.

How long have you been together?

He said: May 26 2013 after our blind date. We have been inseparable since.

She said: We have been together since 2013 but have had to endure many long distance stints. We met in May 2013 and spent 2 months dating before Ed moved to NY while I stayed in Florida. I moved in with his parents after 6 months of being apart, and then 4 weeks later told him we should just get married, that I was tired of being apart. We tied the knot 9 months after meeting and enjoyed another 10 months living in that honeymoon phase. At the end of January 2015, Ed began some rigorous military training on and off for about 5 months, where I’d see him for 1-3 weeks at a time. Then he was sent to Afghanistan for 12 months. We were finally reunited about 6 months ago and never want to be apart again!

When did you know that your spouse was “the one”?

He said: Instantly. A few days prior I had a dream about my future spouse, and I knew as soon as i met Liz, she was it.

She said: Pretty much the day I met him. I told my mother I was smitten the next day. She said, “Oh dang. He’s the one.” (See question number one)

What is your favorite TV show and/or movie to watch together?

He said: Anything really that we can both get into together. We enjoyed Breaking Bad and also Dexter, Fargo, and a few other shows together.

She said: We have very different tastes but we both seem to like the show Fargo.

What is your spouse’s favorite food? What is your favorite food?

He said: mine is probably mexican, liz could eat pizza hut every day of her life

She said: Ed’s favorite food? Umm, I don’t know. He likes lots of different foods. Peanut butter and jelly? My favorite food is steak, but I think Ed might say Mountain Dew.

What is your favorite thing to do as a couple?

He said: Workout. We have gotten into a really good workout routine lately and out of all the things we do together, I would say that is it.

She said: Drive around and I talk and he listens.

If the house caught on fire right now, what would be the first thing you grabbed?

He said: Chelsea

She said: The dog. I’d say my child but I know Ed would grab our daughter and forget the dog.

If money were no object, where would you take your spouse for a week?

He said: Disney in either France or Japan.

She said: I don’t know what it is called but there is some kind of car race in the desert you can participate in. He talks about it from time to time. I know he’d love it. I think it’s in Moab, Utah.

Describe the perfect date night with your spouse.

He said: After we leave the child with a babysitter, just a quiet dinner, most likely steaks, and chatting. We are pretty boring.

She said: Eat steak and potatoes. Go for a long walk alone without our daughter. Lay in bed and talk and laugh.

Describe your spouse in just three words.

He said: Motivated as hell.

She said: Willing. Able. Forgiving.

About the Author

Liz and Ed are currently in Alabama and live in a 36’ fifth wheel home with their 2 year old daughter, Chelsea. To learn more about their unique way of life, go to where Liz chronicles their hilarious journey into the world of full-time RV travel and helps others find their road to happiness through heart-centered and personalized online training.

Four Ways to Meet New Friends

Making and keeping friends as a military spouse can be difficult. With constant moves and reassignments, you never know where you're going to be next and as adults, we're not always great at making new friends. It's not as easy as it was when we were kids - you can't find your new best friend in your first class of the day.

Since making friends is much more difficult as an adult, I thought I'd share a few ways that I have made some great friends in my adult years. I'm no expert and I'm certainly not a pro at meeting people and making friends but I can safely say that over the past couple of years, I have managed to build quite the support network that stretches across the country.

Get Involved
My first piece of advice is to get involved in the community where you live. This could be attending a class at the local library or going to a town event. Getting involved will allow you to meet new people who have the same interests as you.

Through an Acquaintance
How often have you heard someone say "oh we met through so and so"? Often times, this is exactly how we meet new people. Invite your friends and acquaintances to do something and encourage them to bring a friend or two. You might be surprised at how well you hit it off with a friend of a friend.

At Work
Work is truly a tricky one when it comes to meeting people. You spend a lot of time there (typically 40 hours a week) so it is certainly a huge part of your life and therefore a great place for meeting people. You might have to be careful about becoming too close to your coworkers depending on your job. If this isn't a concern though, I recommend inviting a coworker or two out for coffee to see if you get along outside of the office.

Having trouble meeting people in person? I recommend seeking out online friends. While you can't grab an actual coffee with a friend, you'd be amazed by the power of a virtual coffee date. Some of my best friends are ones that I met online and talk to daily.

What tips do you have for making friends as an adult? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below!

Linking up with #LoveBlog again today!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Five Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

Today's prompt for #LoveBlog is counseling. We haven't been to counseling before but I can see how it could be beneficial for a marriage. Since I don't have personal experience with counseling, I thought I'd build off the prompt and share five ways that you can strengthen your marriage. After all, counseling is one way to strengthen your marriage.

Keep in mind that we are not counselors or marriage experts. We are simply two individuals who are happily married and offering a few tips from experience.

Weekly Check In
Schedule a weekly check in where you can discuss how everyone is doing. This could be a family meeting or a date night. It doesn't have to be anything formal - you could even check in for a few minutes before bed.

Have the Tough Conversation
Don't shy away from the tough conversations. If something is bothering you, it's much better to get it out in the open rather than to let it stew.  Air your frustrations with each other in a civil manner and work together to find a solution or compromise.

Set Expectations
Let each other know what you expect in a given situation. This isn't about setting rules - it's about communicating your needs. For example, when the husband was deployed, we set expectations of when I could expect communication from him. While he couldn't control it at all times, we did talk about what we needed from each other during that time apart.

As mentioned above, we don't have personal experience with counseling, but it can be beneficial. If you're having trouble communicating, talking with a counselor could help you work through it. Sometimes a third party can be helpful.

In my opinion, the best way to keep your marriage strong is to actually communicate. Communicate the good. Communicate the bad. Communicating with each other on a daily basis will help keep your marriage strong.

What do you do to keep your marriage strong? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Two Acronyms Every Military Spouse Should Know

Today's prompt for #LoveBlog is secrets. At first I wasn't sure where to go with this prompt since we don't keep secrets in our relationship. Then, I realized that there is one area where "secrets" exist for us and it relates to safety and the military.

My husband's job often takes him into dangerous situations. This is pretty common with the military. It is also why protection of information and "keeping information secret" is important. In fact, there are two phrases that every military family member should know and practice on a daily basis.

This term is short for "Operations Security" and should be practiced at all times by the military member and family members. Military members will have even more practice with this term since they have access to a lot of sensitive information. There are times though when family members have access to information such as deployment start and end dates. In these cases, it's important for family members to keep sensitive information to themselves. It's perfectly okay to say "I don't know" even if you do know the answer. Remember to keep safety in mind at all times.

This term refers to the phrase "Personal Security" and is extremely important for family members. Once again, it is important to think through the information that you are sharing with others. I recommend asking yourself the following question before sharing any information with others (especially on a public social media platform): Could someone use this information to harm my loved ones?

Of all the military acronyms that you'll hear over time, these two are the most important ones since they refer to safety and security. It may feel like you're keeping secrets but that's okay since it's for a good reason. If your friends and family have a hard time understanding this, then you might want to explain the two terms to them. After all, a lot of miscommunication is a result of misunderstanding.