Boys versus girls


I have to apologize for ignoring this little space. I have been busy doing everything other than updating my little blog. I have been spending lots of time hanging out with our friends that are staying with us, cooking some meals, babysitting, working out (I am finally back on the bandwagon)and watching my new fence go up.

Having our friends stay with us really has been a treat. Their daughter is so good with Eva. After an initial period of weird regression (ie forgetting that she was potty trained), I can honestly say that Eva is happier, more easy going and smarter than she was before they started staying with us. The sister dynamic is so special. I know that their daughter isn't really her sister but for now she is functioning as one.

I realize that I am not "supposed" to say this but I hope our second baby is a girl so she gets a sister instead of a brother (this is not a pregnancy announcement but I will keep you posted).
I wanted a boy so bad when I got pregnant with Eva. I was SURE she was a boy. I couldn't imagine having a girl. I never wanted a girl baby. I had a boy name picked out, my boy bedding chosen and had dreams only featuring wild little miniature men.

After mourning my initial plans of having a boy baby, I settled into the fact that I was pregnant with a girl. Now that we are working on our second baby, I know I shouldn't plan or hope for a particular gender but I can't help it. I love the bows and the dresses and the baby dolls.
I love that I don't have to worry about raising a little man. I can cuddle my little girl and work to keep her soft and sweet. I don't have to think about molding a strong, tough adult man. My focus is keeping my daughter sweet, happy, and loved. Don't read too much into that statement. Of course Moms of boys raise their boys to be sweet and happy and loved but you also have to work to raise a man who is going to be willing and able to protect and lead a family in twenty years.
Of course having one of each would be nice and B would love to get a mini- me too but I am sending my uterus pink vibes. I'm doing a pretty darn good job at being a girl Mommy (if I do say so myself) and loving the process. Having a house full of dresses sounds just perfect.

How about you? Do (did) you want one of each or two of the same gender?

Find me on twitter and instagram (jamiegrace01)!

PS- Cool giveaway next week.  Keep your eyes out.

A couple things I'm loving except my wedding ring


Lazy post in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

I have written about paraben free products a few times. For my reasons behind searching out paraben free products, click here. I have tried a couple paraben free foundations with very little success. I recently got this one.

It is the best one to date.   By far.   It has the consistency of a regular foundation and is light and not cakey. Like the rest of the paraben free foundations that I've tried, it doesn't last all day but it's stillbette than any of the others.
I was turned on this product by the one and only, Raven.
She was not lying.   It is probably my favorite hair product ever.   It makes my usually wavy, frizzy, poufy hair relax without making it oily.  If you have thick, wavy hair, try it.  You won't be disappointed.

Another products that I have been super into lately is this one.
My husbands razor. How come men's razors are so much better than women's?   Well, one reason is that I am too cheap to buy myself nice razors instead opting for the cheapie pink disposables.  I guess I just answered my own question but this razor really is nice.

Another thing that I am loving today?  Not wearing my wedding ring.   After 5 years of wearing it everyday, I developed an allergy to white gold. I visited the doctor who confirmed that, in fact, I am allergic to white gold and it isn't going to go away.   I need to go pull an Alexis (RHOC reference for those not in the know) and buy a fakey until we prioritize purchasing a new ring.
Last thing that I am loving today, is my sweet Eva having a temporary sister. I love watching her play with our friends (who are staying with us).  They're having so much fun.  More on this tomorrow.

On protecting little ones


I don't normally comment on politics or news events on my blog.  The reason for that is that I don't usually feel qualified to weigh in as a subject matter expert.  I feel strongly about this story though and I think it is worth mentioning.

Jerry Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of his 48 child sex abuse charges yesterday.  This man is a monster who terrorized children and surely permanently changed the course of their emotional development.  He deserves to spend every second of the rest of his life behind bars.
One aspect of this terrible story that has not been discussed enough, in my opinion, is the fact that he had the children's charity foundation which helped give him access to these young boys.  As parents, we are stuck in a tough conundrum.  We need to allow our children to leave our sight and be part of teams and participate in activities but we also need to protect them from predators.  Most coaches, group leaders (church, sport, etc), and other parents, are not predators.  Some are.  You can't tell a child molester by his looks.  Most are not driving large brown cargo vans with boarded up windows.  Most molesters are trusted family friends, family members, and other adults with full access to your child.

This is probably my greatest fear with Eva- that she will fall victim to a monster.  The emotional damage that it does is all encompassing, potentially life altering, and permanent.  I don't know how I am going to deal with letting her out of my sight.  I guess I am going to just try my best to trust my instincts and hope for the best.  I don't want to be an overprotective, helicopter parent but I don't want her to be attacked by a predator either.

Final thought on this matter.  Joe Paterno passed away with his image tarnished because of this case.  He SHOULD have his image marred.  He did not do what he should have done with the information that he heard.  I believe that we, as adults, have an obligation to protect children.  He had an obligation to follow up and follow through.  He failed those children.

I will be back to my regular silly programming tomorrow.  I just felt so grossed out by this story and I am thankful that he received a sentence that matches the crime.

Find me on twitter and instagram (jamiegrace01)!

Friday letters panty edition


Dear Eva- we really need to work on the panty wearing thing. I know you hate them but even though I want to not care if you wear them around the house, I can't help but feel weird when Uncle D glances over and sees your hoochie coochie.


Dear Maryland mosquitos- Seriously. Please leave me alone. I look diseased with all my marks and bites and scabs and scars. Please cut me some slack.

Dear bitchy dentist office receptionist- I can't wait for my appointment so I can tell the dentist what horrible customer service you repeatedly give to me.

Dear TriCare- Thank you for switching our dental insurance carrier which resulted in my bill being dropped from $700 to $160.

Dear Maryland weather- Please don't attempt to out heat hell this weekend. I would really prefer my husband not die of heat exhaustion out there working on the fence.

Dear self control- I haven't seen you in a while but please come back. I know the house is filled with junk food but please stop stuffing your face all day long. Your body in a bikini is a scary sight right now.

Dear readers: Thanks for sticking around. "We know you have a choice when reading and feel proud to be able to win your business today. We hope to able to service you during your next read as well" in my best airplane steward voice.

Hooking up with Ashley!

It's hot and I am a girl


It wasn't until after I began typing that I realized the point that I was trying to make so please bear with the verbal/ written diarrhea-ness of this article...

I am 29 (ahem..again).  How in the heck did I not get the memo that East Coast summers are unbearable?  It is 100 freaking degrees with 80+% humidity today (and tomorrow).  Imagine the most humid place that you've ever lived.  For me, that place would be Hawaii.  I lived in Hawaii for almost 4 years and seriously the humidity is brutal on my thick, frizzy hair.  The humidty on Oahu averages around 60% humidity at 78 degrees.  Yeah, let me repeat, it is in excess of 80% humidity here right now.

Take a moment to process that.  This weather makes leaving your house  not bearable...  That is sort of similar to Maryland winters that are 20 degrees and windy and snowy and miserable.

During this spring (my first one spent on the East Coast), I looked around and thought, "Man, this isn't so bad".  There is so much open space and the weather was pleasant.  People drive slow and don't know how to merge but at least we can afford a big house with plenty of land.

News flash:  The reason that houses are cheaper here is because is sucks more than places where houses are more expensive.  Want to know why it's so expensive to live in Southern California?  Go visit Orange County in January or July (or late June).  The answer will hit you like a ton of bricks the moment you step off the plane.
As I am writing this post, I look out the window.  I spend some time watching my husband out there squaring up fence posts around our giant suburban lot.  Out there working in the 100 degree weather with the insane humidity.
It struck me that he is all MAN.  I would not be out there building a fence in this weather.  No way.  No how.  I would walk through the flames of hell and fight a dragon to protect my daughter but protect our property?  In this heat?  Nope.  Puzzles and story time take priority.

There are distinct differences between men and women.  It seems silly to imagine that they don't exist.  In my opinion they are biological.  As a non-feminazi but pro-women's rights type of female, I am able to look back and smile at the differences.  My husband is the man and I am the woman.  I don't say that to infer differences in our power or happiness.  It is just a happy acknowledgement that we are different.

Our priorities are different but our ultimate goal is the same.  

I am lucky that I have a husband who's priority is taking care of his family (both financially and our security).

It is also interesting to acknowledge the differences between men and women.  What creates the differences?  Nature or nurture?  What do YOU think?  I think both, personally.

Find me on twitter and instagram!

Sometimes and always


Sometimes I want to go back to work
Always I am thankful for moments like this.  She was having a toddler meltdown this morning.  When I picked her up to soothe her, she fell asleep in my arms.  This is what it's all about.
Sometimes I am really thankful that our house is so big.  We are EASILY fitting our family (B, me, Eva, & Kingston) along with my girlfriend, her husband, their 4 year old daughter, her Mom, her 90lb lab, boxer, and kitty. There is enough space that everyone can live comfortably, not bump into each other and find places to hide from each other.
Always this house really is way, way more house than we need.

Sometimes I think my new boobies are too big (like when my new shirt came in the mail today and it was too small across the top.  first. time. ever.)
Always I take it back.  Big boobs are cuter than no mosquito bites.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is either flat or lying.  Or both.
Sometimes I feel really ready to have another baby
Sometimes I am so glad I am not pregnant
Always I know it I am going to go back and forth until I get that little pink line.  Then I will cry.  Then smile.  Then be so excited that I smile while crying and tell my husband and call my sisters.

Sometimes I think I put out TMI on this here blog
Always I don't really care.  (Did I mention that I am off the pill and we did the "married thing" on the "special day" this week.  Waiting, waiting, waiting...)
*side note: yes I realize how lame the above language is and my sister already texted to to make sure I knew that "married thing" is how 12 year old amish girls speak.  I am not going to write here what I wrote her back- the crude details that I didn't initially write when I was trying to be PC*

Sometimes I think I should drink less wine.
Always I don't really feel guilty about it.  I just pretend to be.

Come find me on twitter and instagram (jamiegrace01)!

Hooking up with Megan for her "Sometimes and Always" post!

Military Monday: Janna- Ft Carson, CO


The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  

If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  

Name and blog site: 

Branch of service: 

Where currently stationed: 
Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, Colorado

How long have you been there?:
1.5 years, and it has just flown by!

Favorite restaurant in the area: 
The vibe is Vintage Modern, with an extremely creative menu.

Previous duty stations: 
Fort Gordon, Augusta, Georgia

Three favorite things to do in your current city: 
*Well, it's Colorado so I HAVE to say Snowboarding trips.  Fort Carson makes them super easy an affordable too.  They rent you gear, take you up there, get you discounted lift tickets, and bring you home! Albeit, we did break down on Christmas Eve last time. Good times.
*Hiking, another given. Whether you want to scale a mountain or just saunter down some trails, Colorado has it all. Pike's Peak happens to be one of the biggest draws of the city.
*Visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, which happens to be the only zoo located on a Mountain in the world! The views are incredible and the experience is awesome!
Favorite duty station so far:
I used to think that I would never get used to being landlocked and snowed in, but now Fort Carson and it's beauty has grown on me. For now it is my favorite.
Who is your hero?: 
My soldier, of course.  I'm sure that seems cheesy, but he is everything I could ask for and more.  He makes me so proud to be his wife, and I strive to be strong for him and to support him in the way that he deserves every day. He is deployed right now, but says hello from The 'Stan.

Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend?:
Oh boy, summer is FULL of festivals and Farmer's Markets.  I have attended "Territory Days", "Wild West Days" and every Farmer's Market I can find.  There are also many music festivals, a Renaissance Festival, and there's a little town at the foot of Pike's Peak called Manitou Springs that has tons of shenanigans going on all the time. 
What is the overall feel of the community/area/base?
There are FIVE Military Installations in the Springs, so it is a very transient town.  The good news is that this also lends to a lot of support from the community.  There are always "Welcome Home Soldiers" signs everywhere, the news is flooded with support of our soldiers, and we also get some pretty good discounts ;)

I'm pretty sure that you can see how cool it is here, but if you want to know more come visit my blog!
I'd love to meet you and share experiences Military or otherwise.

Thanks for having me, Jamie! I feel so honored to have gotten to share.

If you are a military spouse and want be featured for this post, please send me an email at HandlingWithGrace {at}

Previous Posts

Camp Pendleton, CA - Michelle
Ft. Hood, TX - Alia
Ft. Stewart, GA - Victoria
Camp Pendleton, CA - Marcella
Norfolk, VA - Samatha
Ft. Lewis, WA - Martha
San Deigo, CA - April
Holloman AFB, NM - Kristi
Ft. Bliss, TX - Stephanie
Anchorage, AK - Nina
Kaneohe Bay, HI - Bri
Okinawa, Japan - Kara
Ft. Campbell, KY - Jenn
Monterey, CA - Kate 
Jacksonville, NC - Nicole
San Antonio, TX - Mrs. Duh
Ft. Drum, NY - Sarah
Pearl Harbor, HI - Lauren

I have a sister wife


Way back when, back before I was married I was living in San Diego going to UCSD, living at the beach, drinking all day and all night long and dating B.  He was attached to a boat then and was gone a lot.  He worked with a guy on the boat who lived with his wife in the same apartment complex that we did (small world).

After spending many a night bonding over our love of Arbor Mists and cheap white zinfandels, we formed a forever friendship.  We spent night after night chatting through our wine induced haze.  The wife and I fell in love, I mean became instant besties and have been ever since.  They transferred to Hawaii so when B came up for orders, we stalked them,  followed them, I mean chose to transfer to Hawaii also.  We lived with them for a month or so until we could get into the house that we wanted.
{5 years ago when we were living with them in Hawaii}

Here we are 5 years later, with a kid each.  We transferred to Maryland and low and behold, they followed us here. Because they are going to purchase a home, they are staying with us for a couple months in the mean time.

Their four year old and my two year old are besties.   It is so sweet to watch them play and argue.
Anyways, the point that whole back story was so that I could brag...

My sister wife has an active obsessive compulsive disorder that presents itself through cleaning. She cleans all. day. long.  My floors, bathrooms, laundry, and fridge have never been cleaner and she's only been here 2 days.   She can't help herself and really, who am I to stop her?  If scrubbing the crap out of my house brings joy to her soul, it is just not in me to deprive her of that.  I have 3,200 sq/ft of house for her to work through her OCD on.

She cleans.  I cook.  We take turns breaking up the girl's fights.  It's a match made in commune heaven.

Oh, and you know what makes it even better?  Free labor.  Shortly after their arrival my husband promptly handed her husband some gloves and put him to work with an auger digging fence posts for our new fence.

It is a good lesson to remember.  Nothing in life is free.

My wish


You know how usually when you drive in the car and the music is on, you sing along to the lyrics but you aren't listening. You mindlessly sing along while you're dreaming of a shirtless Ryan Gosling and silently judging your neighbor for letting his lawn get so long and glaring at his crappy car out on the street.

Well the other day, I didn't do that.

I stopped. I listened... Then I started bawling.

This song is so beautiful. The lyrics are amazing. It is incredible what you hear when you stop and listen.

"I hope that the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you want to go,
And if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.

If one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window.
If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.

But more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to.
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,

And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

I hope you never look back, but you never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you left,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get."

-Rascal Flatts-

It's a very vloggy day!


Ok ladies. Here is my very first (and probably last) Vlog. I say "ummmm" far too often and my daughter was being really annoying precocious. I only did this because I am sort of obsessed with both of the hosters. Go visit Raven and Becky to get in on the action.

I was going to re-do this video but I am more of a "one and done" type of girl (feel free to read that as a lazy blogger with a couple good shows waiting for me on my dvr).

Peace out ladies! Hope you're having a great Tuesday!

Does my voice sound like my face?!  You know what I mean... Does my voice match?

Find me on twitter and instagram (jamiegrace01)

Update: No, I'm not getting a divorce. I am having a problem with my ring but I do usually wear it everyday. Things are ok but thanks for the concern! :)

Military Monday: Amanda- Heidelberg, Germany


The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  

If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  

Name and blog site: Amanda, Overseas Adventures

Branch of service: Army

Where currently stationed:
 Heidelberg, Germany

How long have you been there?: A little over half a year.

Favorite restaurant in the area:
 It’s hard to pick a favorite. Food in Germany is all so good. Restaurants use fresh, in season ingredients and everything is made to order. I have had meals I’ve preferred more than others, but I have yet to have a bad meal here. I have also only been to a few restaurants compared to what’s available in the area, so I could declare a favorite today and find a new one tomorrow.

That said, I have an affinity for Café Rossi. This was the first restaurant we went to in Heidelberg. I got a dish I don’t remember the name of because the name was most of the ingredients. It was made of beef with some vegetables and goat cheese. Everything tasted amazing together. I’d love to have it again, but the next time we went it was not on the menu. In addition to the food, Café Rossi makes a good first place to go because most of the items on the menu have an English translation below them and the waitresses we have had have all been happy to speak English. If you’re checking out the Altstadt (Old Town) area, it’s also really close to Hauptstrasse (Main St.)

Previous duty stations: Fort Stewart, GA

3 favorite things to do in your current city:
Explore-We like to start off somewhere we know and just walk or drive around and see what we can find. On the weekends we’ve been exploring other nearby cities like Mannheim, Speyer, and Schwetzingen. We have an ever-expanding list of places we want to see both in Germany and elsewhere abroad. I’m sure we won’t get to them all, but we can make a good start.
Eat-The food in Germany is awesome, so we like to try different restaurants and see what they offer. I try to get something different every time, but when I have been at a loss what to get my default is Jäger-Schnitzel, a veal or pork schnitzel topped with mushroom sauce.  I recently got to try a vegetable and cheese Flammkuchen (flame cake) in Mannheim and would love to get one again.
Enjoy the Sights –There are a lot of interesting things in Heidelberg. I enjoy walking up to the the Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Way), a trail up the side of the mountain where you can get a great view of the city. The Hauptstrasse is a mile-long pedestrian street which is fun to walk. We even have a Schloss (castle). While I haven’t gotten to go inside it yet, I plan to, and it’s cool to look up and see when walking around the city.  

Favorite duty station so far: Definitely Heidelberg. I’m someone who can find things to love and ways to be happy most anywhere, but I’m not sure much could top this.
Who is your hero? My husband is my hero. As a medic and Iraq war veteran, he has put his life on the line to help others return home safely. I think that takes a lot of commitment and bravery, although I’m sure he would say he was just doing his job. I also admire that he continually strives to expand his knowledge and skills so he can help as many people as possible in the future. 

What is the biggest drawback to your current duty station?
I think the biggest drawback is probably that everything is divided. The shopping center with the PX and shops other than the commissary is separate from either of the housing villages. The hospital is separate as well. The shuttle between them only runs a few times a day and cabs don’t come onto post, so until we had a car it was a little hard to get anywhere. Even now it can be inconvenient when I need to get somewhere other than in our village when my husband has the car. On the upside, the village I live in has the library, commissary, vet clinic, and a few other things which are easy enough to walk to.

How strong/ or not is the sense of community in the area?
It seems there is a pretty strong sense of community, both on post and off. On post, people have been very quick to welcome new people and to help out where needed. Our first time waiting for a taxi to go into Heidelberg someone actually stopped on her way off post and insisted on giving us a ride and a small tour of the city. Out in the city, people are generally very friendly and helpful when approached. It seems to be a common assumption that the Germans are cold and distant toward outsiders, but that hasn’t been our experience at all in any of the nearby cities.

Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend?
Around Christmas, Heidelberg has a Christmas Market. We were able to wander that and tried some Glühwein (mulled wine). In February we went up to Mainz for a parade during Fasching which is a carnival celebration similar to Mardi Gras. In March we went to the Lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of Museums) where one ticket gets you into many of the museums in Heidelberg, Mannheim, and Ludwigshafen. I would really like to see the Schlossbeleuchtung (Castle Illumination) where the castle is illuminated by Bengal fires to look as if it is on fire and fireworks are set off. This happens three times a year in June, July, and September in commemoration of the castle’s destruction by the French in 1693.   
What is the overall feel of the community/area/base?
The part of the base I live on feels kind of like a big neighborhood. The city of Heidelberg has sort of a small town feel, but it’s a university city, so especially near the university there are a lot of younger people. Both on post and off, it’s a very safe area, and it’s not uncommon to see the older children walking around on their own even after dark. 

If you are a military spouse and want be featured for this post, please send me an email at HandlingWithGrace {at}

Previous Posts

Camp Pendleton, CA - Michelle
Ft. Hood, TX - Alia
Ft. Stewart, GA - Victoria
Camp Pendleton, CA - Marcella
Norfolk, VA - Samatha
Ft. Lewis, WA - Martha
San Deigo, CA - April
Holloman AFB, NM - Kristi
Ft. Bliss, TX - Stephanie
Anchorage, AK - Nina
Kaneohe Bay, HI - Bri
Okinawa, Japan - Kara
Ft. Campbell, KY - Jenn
Monterey, CA - Kate 
Jacksonville, NC - Nicole
San Antonio, TX - Mrs. Duh
Ft. Drum, NY - Sarah
Pearl Harbor, HI - Lauren

A Saturday check in


Hello ladies (and Jake and Robert).  I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend so far.  Our Hawaii (and San Diego before that) besties are moving in with us this week.  The husband got here on Wednesday and his wife (my Navy bestie-estie) and daughter arrive later this week.  They are staying with us until they find and close on a house.  To say that I am excited for them to join us in Maryland is the strongest understatement of the year. Sort of like me saying that my swim suit bottom from last year is a "little" snug #omgchubass

*Check out this link .  According to the pentagon, military suicide rates are a soldier per day.  This is unacceptable. Something has got to give.  If you or someone you know needs help, reach out.  Tell someone.

*We are being eaten alive by mosquitoes here in Maryland.  It's terrible. We hung a zapper by our back deck and purchased a purple marten bird condo in hopes that they'll help kill them but anybody have any advice for us non-native east coasters?  The mosquitoes are out of control.

*Watching DIY network makes me very sad for my 1980's kitchen.  Oh and how come I've never bumped into the "take me home" guy during my million trips to Lowes and Home Depot?  But our spa is almost ready and the fence should (finally) start going up in the next week or so!

*This happened to me the other day.  

Enjoy rest of your weekend!

Are you following me on twitter and instagram (jamiegrace01) yet?

Soft moments


I tried to wake Eva up this morning but she wasn't quite ready to welcome the new day. As I snuggled her in my bed, I was overwhelmed by one of those waves of gratitude. You know the one. It builds up and then crashes over you, filling your heart and soothing your soul.

I am so lucky to be this little girls Mom. As I stroked her eye brows and studied her perfect face, I imagined her in five years and then in twenty years. I imagined her being school age and I imagined her being my age.

Things are so easy right now. Two has proved to be my favorite stage yet (sound familiar? I say it about every stage). She follows directions, understands consequences, is potty trained, can easily communicate most all of her wants and needs, and still has her sweet innocent nature.

I rubbed her little fingers and held her tiny hand. I thought about how good life is right now and how lucky I am. I started to imagine my Mom holding me in bed and thinking those very same thoughts. I struck me again that Mothers watching their children sleep while they dream of their futures is a universal action. It is an action that transcends culture and time. It matters not what language she uses to dream or what position she holds in life. Mothers dream of beautiful, happy lives for their children... It is just what we do.

I am thankful for these soft moments that make me remember just how good I have it. Life is easy right now and I am fully aware of how fragile it all is.

He rocked it.


I mentioned this already but I turned 30 last week.  I can't believe it either.  I don't FEEL like I should be 30.  Anyways, before I left for my California trip a few weeks ago, I kindly beat my husband over the head with the idea reminded my husband that if he blew off my birthday (ie, "Here's some perfume that I picked up from the mall on my way home from work.  Do you want to go to dinner somewhere?  Should I call?"), that I would be very pissed off.

So after missing us greatly on our two week long vacation without him, my husband did not disappoint.  I don't brag on my husband very often on this here blog because if I have something nice to say I say it to him in person not on this blog (that he doesn't read) or facebook (like a marriage poser- ps you're not fooling anyone).  But seriously, he spoiled me rotten and gave me a weekend worthy of a BIG 3-0 birthday.  Oh, and he is cute.  Really, really cute. 

Friday night started out with dinner and drinks out on the town with friends and sans baby.  He didn't make me schedule the baby sitter (score) or drive home (double score).
{my tatties look HUMUNGO in this pic but it must be the angle or the lighting.  They're big but not this huge.  I promise}
Saturday, we woke up and went to a Maryland wine festival.  We had a blast.  He got us VIP tickets so we didn't have to mingle with the commoners (kidding obviously but it WAS nice not to have to wait in lines for wine and cheese and get free desserts).  
{note to self: pose like this in the future #lookskinnerthanreality}

Oh, and also included with the VIP package?  A neck, wine holder lanyard.  Boo yah.  No more losing your wine glass on sloppy nights (...just kidding... sort of...)
Sunday, the babysitter came back out and B took me out on a Baltimore Harbor lunch cruise.  They had roses and champagne waiting for me at our table.  The sun was shining.  It was warm and wonderful.

I had a FANTASTIC birthday weekend.  

I am so lucky that I get to repeat it next year for my next big 3-0 birthday!

Military Monday: Michelle- Camp Pendleton, CA


The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  

If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  

Name and blog site:  Michelle, from You had me from Hello

Branch of service:  USMC

Where currently stationed:  We are at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Ca

How long have you been there:  It will be 1 year as of July!  Time has really flown by!

Favorite restaurant in the area:  We like to eat!  Café de Thai is awesome for Thai and their sushi isn’t bad, Harney Sushi has fantastic sushi, but the atmosphere is really funky-they turn it in to a night club in the evening.  Island’s is good for American if you don’t want the typical Chili’s menu, and aside from the taco trucks, Rubio’s has the best fish tacos you can buy!

Previous duty stations:  This is our first as a married couple.  My husband was stationed at NAS Pensacola when we met, while I was also living in Pensacola.  I’ve also spent a few months in Okinawa, and Kadena AFB (well, all of Oki) is just stunning. 

3 favorite things to do in your current city:
1) Exploring the area!  We’ve been up to Big Bear, Pasadena, Laguna Beach, and San Bernardino.  As long as you can stand the traffic, it’s so easy to see this half of the state.
2) Going to Del Mar Beach on base.  I think it’s cleaner than most public beaches, and it feels much safer going there alone versus out in town.
3) We also like to go out to the Safari Park or down to the San Diego Zoo.  Military gets in free and I bought a season pass so it’s pretty painless to just up-and-go.
Favorite duty station so far:  Between Pensacola and Pendleton, Pensacola wins by a landslide!  The base is beautiful and old (think Live Oaks with Spanish moss and old brick buildings, right on the Gulf of Mexico).  It’s simply beautiful.  The whole “Pensacola Area” is great.  It has stunning beaches and Biloxi is only 2 hours away, if you like to gamble.  The area has a nice Southern feel to it, which I adored.  There is a noticeable lack of Military Pride. I think it’s because most Marines/Navy that are there are in flight school and unless it’s a weekend that they don’t have flights you don’t really sense a military presence.  Of course, you go to Seville Quarter (a bar complex) on the weekends and most guys have a high and tight.  Then you know you’re in a military town!
Who is your hero?  My best friend, Heather.  She’s a c-130 pilot in the AF and pretty much a badass.  I started out as her baby daughters’ nanny and we consider each other family now.  She’s done some very amazing things as a Pilot and she’s a great mother, friend, and person.

What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station?  To be totally honest, I’m very happy with Camp Pendleton (California itself... that’s different).  It’s easy to access, is centrally located between LA and San Diego, and right on the coast. If you go to Main Side there is a BX, Oil Exchange, coffee shop, and a pool.  If you go through the Main Gate, there is a bunch of different food options and a brand new BX and Commissary.  The airfield is between those two areas, so I know my husband is happy about that.
Have you joined any groups on base?  Yes!  Through my husbands squadron, I’ve joined a wives group as well as the all –hands volunteer committee.  Getting involved is one of the best things I’ve done since moving here (joining a Military Wives Bible study is the other).  I love meeting new people from different places, and learning from their experiences.

If you are a military spouse and want be featured for this post, please send me an email at HandlingWithGrace {at}

Friday Favorites 6.1


My favorite picture this week: 
My sweet Eva.  I didn't hear from her for a little while.  I knew she was too quiet.  When she didn't answer when I called her, I knew I had to go find her.  I found her like this hiding in her circus tent.  

She is obsessed with lipstick.  Seriously.  We all have "that friend" who is compulsively applying lip gloss.  You know "that friend".  And then when you put a couple drinks into "that friend" and the gloss gets thicker and thicker and begins to smear around the corners of her lips as she begins to slur her words a bit. Anyways, I fear that is the future for my little girl.

My favorite food (still):
1 cup quinoa, a tomato, a can of black beans (I used red beans this time but I like black better), half of a bunch of cilantro, 1 lemon squeezed, seasoning to taste (I use a Greek seasoning blend and LOTS of salt).

This is my favorite food right now.  I do understand that the quinoa is a carb so it's not helping my saddle bags but it's good and I don't feel as guilty eating it than when I choose Top Ramen for lunch.

Favorite summer item of the week:
Fedora.  I don't own one... yet.  I am going to get one this weekend.  I never wanted to jump on the bandwagon because, honestly, I think when people wear a hat, they are making a commitment to a certain look- it says (to me) that you are working really hard to try to look good.  Effortlessly cute, normal girls don't wear hats.  Girls that are trying to be fashionistas wear fedoras.

  Well, friends.  I am going to break down and buy a fedora.  I just have not wanted to do my hair lately and maybe throwing a fedora on will make me look a bit more pulled together.  Geez, could I possibly have come up with a statement that makes me sound any lazier or less fashionista chic?  That is my true reasoning though.  I will let you know how it turns out.

Favorite nail polish: 
Sinful Colors "24/7"

What are your favorite things this Friday?  Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

PS- Have you entered my Shabby Apple giveaway yet?  Go here to enter!

Go visit Lindsey, aka The Bargain Blonde to see lots of other Friday Favorites!

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