Thursday, January 28, 2010

All about the Apron

I've been wanting a pink apron for some time now. Why? I guess because I love pink! So while I was in North Carolina earlier this month I picked up a Williams Sonoma pink apron. I brought it home and decided to snazz it up a bit. I bought some zebra print fabric and with the help of my mom (okay she pretty much did it all) added some fun to the apron!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back to the Rock & still truckin'

I'm back in paradise! At least for the next four months! The trip back was painless, no major problems, we even managed to push through those crazy SoCal storms last week, whew!

I've quickly fallen into my daily routine, which these days isn't much. I find myself either running with the dog, at the gym, reading, or out with friends. That's pretty much what we do here! Back home it was easy to fill up a day with errands, shopping, time with family and so on. SO many places to go, so many things to do. Here in Guam, it's a chore just to go and get your tires rotated in town. What takes 20 minutes in the States takes at least 45 minutes here, or more. It's either 25 mph traffic & stoplights. Closed roads. Closed businesses (yes,very common) or a fabulous combination of both. It's the pace of life, what can I say? Which isn't necessarily a bad thing folks. Guam has taught me to slow down, take up things that interest me and appreciate the values of friends and family. And to answer your question, yes it took a full year to realize this.  I love being able to walk over to Julie's house and chat with her while we watch Tommy get into everything (he's approaching those terrible twos!). Bible Study and dessert with a small group of friends from church. Or lunch at this unbelievable crepe and tea restaurant with Abby and Kate. One of my favorites, a hike to Haputo beach with Katie and her giant dog June. Back home my days consisted of crazy work hours, volunteer commitments, church activities, all of which were in separate parts of the city. I would typically leave at 6:30am and not get home until 8:30pm. More often than not I wondered why I paid ridiculous rent for a place I barely saw. It was easy to get caught up in so many things that you lose appreciation for them. I still loved my life back home and the hustle and bustle but this opportunity in Guam has given me a new perspective. I used to think I wasn't "up to par" unless my Outlook was chock full of appointments (all color coded of course). There was something about feeling more validated as a human being when I could complain (or is it brag?) about how crazy my life was when deep down I was really just trying to keep up with the Joneses. 

I often compare Colin's 2008 deployment with his 2009-2010 deployment. We were dating in 2008, so I was in SoCal and he was floating around the Pacific on a ship for 9 full months. Plus the other 2 1/2 months he was in Guam. We were blessed with two 10 day opportunities for me to come out and visit him. A tough year but we learned more about life and each other than many dating couples learn in the life of their dating relationship. Round two has been a tad different. Colin's been playing in the sandbox since August 15th. This time we have not had the luxury to see each other. Something about the military preferring that dependents not hop a plane into Kuwait City or better, Bagdad. Seriously, what's their problem? [Smirk] Instead we have learned how to enjoy the first year of marriage 10,000 miles apart, both of us away from the comforts of home. We've been blessed to learn even more this time around (and might I add, I've learned many men are far less, shall we say "charming" when they're married to you versus still trying to woo you. I'm pretty sure it's a fact of life). We've had many more fights and arguments but we have also shared some great conversations and had the opportunity to write old fashioned letters. We both know that we'll survive these 8 months apart and will be so much STRONGER because of it. I couldn't be happier for having married my man, I'm proud of what he does and cannot wait to see his face in April after 8 crazy months apart. I am sure most military wives can agree we regularly fall asleep each night dreaming about the outfit we plan to wear when we pick our husbands up at the airport. So far, my outfit has changed five times. I expect another dozen changes or so. Tis' the simple things that keep me going.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I wanna be a pilot now!

A dream came true for me today. Well, almost. I had the opportunity to visit an F-18 Hornet squadron at MCAS Miramar this morning! A friend of a friend, Dave offered to show us around the place, it was so cool! I took my longtime neighbors Kyle and Cooper with me (boys love this stuff!!) and we got to check out the planes and bombs (duds of course) and learn all about it. Of course, everything is in acronyms so I still don't remember everything Dave told us about but it certainly was a great experience. The boys even got t-shirts, coins and patches. And yes, I'm incredibly jealous. :D

I was the photog this time around so no pics of me (I'm kinda bummed now) but I sure had fun doing it!

Do we have a future pilot perhaps?

Coop checking out the cockpit

Cooper, Dave & Kyle

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A vacation from my vacation?

Why not? This past week I had the pleasure of spending some time with my bud Chelsey and her family! We were challenged with finding the hotspots in Fayetteville, North Carolina, we think we succeeded. We ate greasy southern take-out, hit the Army base (Ft Bragg, HUGE!) and even braved the "Walmartians" of a true southern Walmart. A trip to the strip club and tattoo parlor would've completed the experience but we felt our husbands might not have agreed. :D

A weekend trip to Raleigh gave us the pleasure of lunch with Kristen (one of my other bridesmaids, now a friend of Chelsey) and her family followed by some shopping. By the end of our shopping trip it was Caitlyn: 5 Chelsey and Kristen: 0. Clearly I was the one who was shopping deprived. :)

Here are a few shots from my trip!

We ventured out on several freezing runs. What a change from Guam!

This is where I discovered Jeffrey isn't a fan of flying. Shh, don't tell Colin!

One of Chelsey's many talents

Since I couldn't spend my anniversary with Colin, I spent it with my bridesmaids. Shopping, naturally.

Jeffrey doing his best smile for Aunty "Caytwyn"

Chelsey and Jeff, so cute!

Matching Macs!

Okay is this not awesome???

Calling all Active Duty and their wives! One of our better known bloggers is giving away a FREE Sony E-reader! With all the traveling we and our hubbies do, this is a no brainer people!

Click here to visit Samantha's Blog: A Day in this Army Wife's Life!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Gracefully accepting the ways of the Navy? Yeah right!

January. I can honestly say that January has never been a favorite month of mine. So of course it becomes the month I got married so you have to wonder what the Big Guy upstairs is trying to tell me. Since I graduated college in 2005 January has always been a tough month. For reasons I cannot divulge it's just been host to a few less than savory events. I soon came to expect every January to bring something depressing or painful. I thought perhaps 2009 would break that vicious cycle when Colin and I tied the knot on the anniversary of his move (definitely depressing!) to Guam (1/3/2008). 2009 was a pretty darn good year for us. We had the time of our lives celebrating our time together after a year apart. It was fantastic!

So after riding through my first anniversary I was ready to coast through the remaining month and a half of Colin's deployment. After all I'm in North Carolina with one of my best friends, Chelsey, Jeff and their cute little son, Jeffrey. Getting ready to head back to Guam to see my pup and friends. Boy was I wrong. I found out today that Colin's been extended. 

Now before anyone says "I told you so," yes, I know that you should never expect your man to come home on time. However, who can really put their husband on a plane telling themselves "I hope he comes home safe, sometime next year." Uh huh, really. I need something tangible to live on and if a nice solid date (and flight number preferably) cannot be promised, a specific month should be practical. So I told myself March was the magic month. It sure helped me get through the first half. 

In today's military it is very common for deployments to be extended. It's just what happens. They need more people than they have to cover problem spots all over the globe. After all, only 1% of the U.S. population serves in the armed forces. Yes, ONE PERCENT. So we think about sacrifice. That is the classic word often heard in military jargon. Before I married the Navy I never completely understood (or really, just didn't care) the term. But I am beginning to. 

Most of our dating relationship was spent apart. We like to call it the Navy's version of premarital counseling. We got to spend a whole year learning the ropes of deployment, separation, change, communication and so on. So when Colin left last August, I figured I could do this. He'd be back the first week of March, we'd spend the rest of the year traveling and enjoying the rest of our time in Guam! Or, not. Now I've learned that he won't be coming back with the rest of his det, but rather on his own a month or so later. Knowing my temper he slyly snuck this into our conversation during a very groggy phone call at 7am this morning. Lovely. 

So once it all came clear (about a bowl of cereal and round of ABC's with Jeffrey) I wanted to cry. As if it was not hard enough waiting two more months. I went to the gym and pounded my aggressions out but it wasn't quite enough. Chelsey and I went to Barnes and Noble afterward to let Jeffrey play trains and read in the children's area (his absolute favorite activity...this kid rocks). I wandered the store looking for a novel to read on the plane tomorrow but as I walked around I began to feel as though the darn store knew the mood I was in. All these military wife books happened to be all over the place (doesn't hurt that this town is home to Fort Bragg, a base with over 60,000 troops). I tend to stray from these, they're pretty typical. Women talking about the pain and sacrifice of marrying a brave soldier or sailor, raising kids on her own and all the little things they hate along the way. Yes, some give you that fuzzy feeling inside at times but they're all pretty much the same most of the time. I end up realizing I can get the same advice from my girlfriends going through the exact same situation. However, since it was all staring me in the face, I spent some time looking at Confessions of a Military Wife by Mollie Gross. The book was pink, my favorite color and it had camouflage high heels on the front cover. Huh, where did she get those? Once I got over that random yet typical Caitlyn thought, I checked it out. It was the PERFECT therapy. I laughed my rear off just reading the first few pages. Hence the first chapter: 

“I remember when I hit rock bottom. There I was with no make-up on, hadn’t showered, eating raw cookie dough out of the tube, hitting on the toothless bagger at the commissary, and ordering jewelry off the TV. And that was just my first day!” 

I think Mollie is right, there is nothing you can do about the situations thrown at you so why not laugh? We certainly have plenty of crazy adventures to entertain ourselves with. 

So as I skip through the next three months I will try my best to find the humor in every "fun" situation that graces my presence. In the meantime, I will enjoy our weekly phone calls (have you ever had the pleasure of a weekly phone call from your husband in a war zone? It is surprisingly UN-interesting, we actually get tired of talking because it's the same story every time, I feel for Colin, it's pretty boring out there!) and daily e-mails. When the big group of guys get home, I'm going to put my big girl panties on, go to the airport to greet them with a big smile on my face. Because I know the love of my life is not far behind, doing his job. And, for that matter; doing pretty a pretty kick butt job if I do say so myself.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

365 days of being Mrs Chance...not too shabby!

So this whole "Missus" business is still a little weird to me. Kids come up to me and call me "Mrs Chance" and I wince. I feel so old! I still prefer "Miss Caitlyn" but I guess that is just something I'll have to work on. In a few years.

So as you might be able to tell our first anniversary was on Sunday. Colin earned some major points by not only remembering our first anniversary but he sent some amazing flowers! The day itself turned out to be more difficult than I thought, probably because I kept thinking about how amazing that day one year before had been. I love great memories but it sure stinks when you can't share them with the one you love. Still however I am so grateful for Colin and how hard he is working. This year has been a whirlwind, so much change for us and somehow we've made it. I think we're off to a great start!

Check out these blooms!


Trying to mimic the pose from my wedding day...below. "Trying" is the operative word here.