Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Seattle is for lovers

Big news, people of the internet! For the first time in quite a long stretch, I have events to blog about! You see, while Cary was gone pretty much my only possible topics for blog posts were as follows:
1.The times and trials of a 23-year old married college graduate attending beauty school
2. Living the single life: It involves more Lean Cuisines and Grey's Anatomy than you might think.
3. Talking to your dog- Is it normal? Should you get psychiatric help? The warning signs that you need more social interaction.

And so, I just decided to steer clear of the blog-o-sphere for a spell. But never fear! My return is nigh! And now, with pictures!

We decided that we were long overdue for a little adventuring around these parts, and my extremely adorable husband decided to plan an entire Seattle getaway to whisk me away too upon his return. I had no idea what was in store, aside from the time we were leaving and when we were coming back. Friday night, Cary gave me a packing list. The list ranged from swimsuits and suncreen to nice dresses and tennis shoes, so just packing made me pretty dang excited. I rushed home from school on Saturday, hopped in the car and Cary handed me a typed up itinerary for our weekend, including reservations for restaurants, tickets for various activities, directions to every destination, and even a little bonus gift of a Lego model of the Seattle Space needle and some spending money. You guys. Seriously. Could my husband be any cuter?? The answer is no. It is just as cute as it gets right there. Homeboy guaranteed himself a reeeeeeal good week with that gesture. I'm just telling it like it is. Every minute of our trip was glorious. It was just a straight week of remembering why I'm so in love with my goofball of a husband and exploring our cool new state.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a million pictures of what I'm sure I will always remember as one of the best weeks of my life.

 For starters, here is page 1 of the itinerary Cary handed to me as we drove off to Seattle. Seriously? I die. He makes me smile.
Here is a grainy picture of the beautiful lobby of the awesome resort we stayed at called Suncadia. It was so fancy and amazing and relaxing. I wanted to stay forever!
 Cary living the fancy life at the hotel lounge. We felt a little out of place amongst all of the richie riches that typically hang out at such establishments, but we tried to pretend we belonged there, and we talked about things like yachts and stocks and such while we ate.
 This picture is so hilariously adorable to me. Good grief, I love that guy.
 It really doesn't get much more idyllic. Heaven on earth.
 And heaven in my mouth. S'mores are my favorite thing in the world. And s'mores with my boo at a mountain resort? That's the tops, baby.
 Just being fancy in our robes.
 I decided that getting all dressed up for dinner warranted a mirror pic. You stop your judging right now, you don't know my life! I do what I want!
 Slightly out of order... That will probably be a theme in these pictures. Here's a little tour of our amazing hotel room. If you look up "spoiled" in the dictionary, there will probably be a lovely picture of me right next to the definition.
Chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool.

On our very own private balcony. Who knew Washington was so dang beautiful?
Our hotel's kitchen was fancier than my kitchen at home! We cooked a few meals here, because we would have had to take out a second mortgage on the house in order to afford eating at the resort restaurant for every meal and once again my thoughtful husband spoiled me. He brought all of my favorite foods and planned each meal so perfectly. I am telling you guys, I am just completely whipped. How did I get so lucky?

He probably did all of this to butter me up so that I wouldn't complain about going on a bike ride. Actually, our bike ride was one of the highlights of the trip! It was SO breathtakingly beautiful. We biked past rivers, through mountains, into a neighborhood that we got lost in, and even for about a mile on a trail that was clearly not meant for biking with the little cruiser bike I had. But besides those brief moments of terror, and the wicked sunburn I got on my back, it was so so fun. We biked for a good 3 hours, which is about 3 hours longer than I'm used to and boy howdy, I have never been so saddle sore in my life. But it was worth the bruises. I love going on adventures with that husband of mine. He's just the best adventure partner there is.
Plus, I had really awesome helmet hair after. 
 After our bike ride, we cooled off with a dip in the resort's amazing pool. I wouldn't normally post such a scandalous picture, but the view from the pool was just so gorgeous! Plus, I worked my booty off (literally!) while Cary was deployed, and my end goal was to wear a bikini on our vacation and not feel like a humongous whale, and to that end I feel moderately successful. And if you are silently judging my pasty white stomach or my skanky swimsuit, I kindly invite you to kiss my newly-toned booty.

We got all spiffed up for dinner at the hotel one night. That's my husband, always dignified.  
I'm a sucker for a man in uniform. And I know I already told this story on Facebook, but it deserves telling again. As we went to pay our not-tiny bill after our indulgent meal, our server told us that another gentleman picked up our bill to say thank you for our service. In light of the recent KC-135 crash, this gesture was especially poignant. Both Cary and I felt so humbled and so grateful for such incredible kindness. We talked to the man for a little bit after dinner, and we left feeling so happy that there are such great people in the world. 

Not pictured: We spent a lot of our time at Suncadia at their incredible spa. We got massages, sat in the sauna, soaked in their warm, hot, and cold soaks, drank fancy water with cucumbers and lemons in it, wore comfy robes, took the most amazing waterfall/aroma therapy showers, and just became so thoroughly relaxed, our DNA uncoiled. After a completely blissful 2 days, we took off for our Seattle adventure!

 We went on a little harbor cruise around Seattle, which was surprisingly delightful! It helped us get our bearings on the city and the weather was so gorgeous.
 After our cruise, we were both feeling quite parched when we happened upon a Red Robin on the water front! We decided to plop down at the bar for a quick Diet Coke and Freckled Lemonade pit stop. The bartender probably thought we were big weirdos. But he kept the DCs coming and we tried to make up for our ridiculous bar order with a gigantic tip.
 And then I got a giant ice cream cone. Soft serve ice cream cones are definitely among my top 5 favorite foods.
 That afternoon we went to the Chihuly glass gardens. It was so beautiful, as you can tell by this extremely high quality photo.
And here is Cary posing with something that at the time I thought was extremely cool but while looking at this photo, I don't have any idea what it is.
 And here's Cary staring up at the ceiling full of shiny glass things.
 More posing and more glass things.
 And hey, look who we found! By awesome coincidence, my wonderful sister-in-law Lauren was in Seattle on a business trip! We spent the evening with her and it was so great to catch up and wander around Seattle with her! Love that girl!
 Space Needle time! I spent the majority of our time riding the elevator to the top of the Space Needle thinking that they are really missing out on a tremendous opportunity by taking that ride down so slowly. They should most definitely have at least one elevator that takes you back to the bottom, Tower of Terror style.
 And then we went back to the Space Needle the next morning, mostly because our tickets were good for 2 trips. But it was cool to see Seattle at night and during the day!
 Seattle is a really cool place.
 Fish and Chips time! I'm not a humongous fish and chips fan, but I will say that these were quite tasty.
 We went to the most adorable bakery on a recommendation by our friend from Spokane and it was so delicious! I choked at the register and made the unfortunate mistake of ordering an underwhelming chocolate chip cookie, but Cary got a coconut cream pie that was to die for. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
 We also went to the Pacific Science center! It was super fun, and we watched a really boring movie about butterflies. But it was in IMAX 3D! Which really just means that I spent the whole movie trying to focus my eyes and wanting to take my glasses off. But it was still plenty of fun, and if nothing else, we got this hilarious picture of Cary at a giant table.
 And then the highlight of Cary's trip... We made the pilgrimage to mecca, AKA the REI Flagship store. It was the most humongous REI in existence, and Cary wanted to wander every inch of it. I had to buy some candy to make it through the experience. But even for someone who is admittedly "indoorsy" such as myself, it was a pretty cool store.
 Then we went to the zoo! And this is the most important picture. I figured no one would be interested in a bunch of poor quality photos of zoo animals. But you might be interested in this picture of a group of senior citizens who were at the zoo this day, engaging in their pre-zoo stretching session. It's important to be properly stretched and limbered up for any zoo experience.
 And here is a positively ridiculous photo of Cary posing with his Lego Space Needle. That goober. I sure like him.
 Hey, I helped build it too!
 The Seattle Aquarium was tons of fun! I think the only lame part about couple's vacations is that it's kind of hard to get pictures of the two of you together. Thus, Cary is scuba diving with a headless eel.
 Free Willy!
 Nerds marry other nerds, and then those two nerds live happily ever after.
 Sea otters!! I could have watched them all day! They were so cute and funny.
 And somehow we are back at the Space Needle... I'm rolling with it.
Oh yeah! How did these pictures get down here? After Suncadia, but before Seattle, we went on a rafting trip! It was the best! We pulled up to the meeting spot and were a bit disturbed to see a big group of 7th graders getting ready to go rafting, and we were apparently in their group. But despite my fears that the entire rafting trip would be spent listening to Justin Bieber songs and searching for inhalers, it was actually super fun! I was pretty shocked. There were some decent sized rapids, we all got completely soaked, and Cary never managed to push me out of the boat, despite his many attempts. I'm not sure who was more obnoxious, the 7th graders or my husband....
 Yay rafting!
 Just feeling saucy in my wetsuit.
 We love living in Washington!

What else can I say? Life is so good right now. And I want to just save up all of it's goodness and put it in a jar to look back on when things maybe aren't so good, and that's what this blog post is for! Now I can always remember when we were young and in love, always ready for adventuring.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Here's a toast.

I never intended to become a military spouse. Growing up, I was blissfully unaware of this entire world of the men and women whose lives revolve around defending our country. The occasional story of those who gave their lives for our country might have caused me to bow my head briefly in reverent gratitude, but mostly I lived my life quite naively removed from exactly what the price of freedom is. But here I am, 5 states, several TDYs, and 1 deployment in, and I think I am beginning to earn my stripes as a military wife.

Cary came home from his first deployment this past Monday and it was just as amazing as I'd hoped it would be. The relief and peace I felt from hugging him tight, with both his feet planted on the same ground as me, replaced all of the anxiety and worry that had been hanging over me for the last 2 months. I've slept like a baby for the last few weeks, my heart glowing every time my hand finds his in the night or I feel him roll over and tuck me into that crook in his arm where I fit so nicely.

Living in this my-husband-is-safe-and-sound-and-the-world-is-finally-right bubble made it that much more jarring when I woke early in the morning last week to a phone call from my dear friend, saying that a KC-135 had gone down in Kyrgyzstan. Her husband had been flying during the same time and she hadn't heard from him. Cary and I immediately sprung from bed and the two of us dropped to our knees to pray for the crew and their families. As Cary and I rushed to get dressed to be with our friend, Cary thought through the facts and felt pretty certain that our friend's husband wasn't on board the plane that went down. I was so relieved that he was probably okay and my friend wouldn't be getting that knock on her door. But just as the relief flowed over me, the awful realization that it was someone else made my stomach tie itself in knots.

We spent the morning waiting for updates, crying tears of joy as we heard that our friends were safe, and trying to quiet the gnawing heartache at the knowledge that other families would not receive that long awaited good news. The news finally broke that the downed crew was from Fairchild. I will never be able to forget the anguish on my husband's face as he sobbed into my shoulder, "They were ours." Cary went to the Academy with two of his fallen friends, went to trainings with the other, and had just barely sat across from them all at the chow hall in Kyrgyzstan.

The next day or two felt like I was just moving through a fog. People kept asking me if I knew them, which really; no, I didn't. I'd met them maybe once or twice, but I can't say I knew them all that well. But that's just the thing. Even when it's not someone I "know", it is always someone I know. It was someone who married right out of the Academy like us, went to pilot training like us, kissed goodbye as he left for his deployment like us, and probably talked the night before just like us. It was someone who has a baby, like Shaelynn and Joel, and they were planning on going on a family trip when she got home, like Shae and Joel. It's someone who sent their loved one off to war, with hope in their hearts that their joyful reunion was just around the corner, just like us. I no longer have the luxury of being removed from the poor anonymous souls that lose loved ones at war. They are my neighbors, my husband's coworkers, my friends. They are regular people with regular jobs who were counting down the days until they were back together as a family.

I remember anxiously watching the news for updates about the crash, the newscasters mentioning it briefly between headlines. I couldn't believe that the whole world wasn't in a frenzy over the crash. The news was playing some clip about pigs at the state fair and it made me so irritated! How can the world keep turning when the world is completely falling apart for these people just like us? As time continued to roll along as we waited for updates, Cary mentioned that his little brother just asked a girl on his first date to a dance. It hit me then that the world needs to keep turning. I can't force Cary to sit at home for the rest of his life and never go up in a plane again. I can't make all of my friends and family members vow to never leave home or take risks ever again. And so, with wobbly knees and tears stinging at my eyes, I will send my husband out to do his job. So will countless other military families, police families, fire fighter families, and all of the other families who continue to fight the good fight even in the face of grave danger. We are all on the same team. The team that continues to put their lives on the line to fight for the good. To preserve some sense of peace and security. And when called upon, to lay down their lives in the cause for right.

These brave people aren't fighting so that we can live each minute in misery and fear. They are working and sacrificing with everything they have so that Cary's little brother can go to prom, and my nieces can grow up in a free country, and so that we can all live happily and peacefully with our families. This is how we honor them. We honor their sacrifice by living for the ideals they were fighting to protect. Because the world doesn't continue to turn in spite of their deaths; the world continues to turn because of their ultimate sacrifice.
Land of the free, because of the brave.