ABC Reads: 6 Month Update

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I tried to do the monthly link-ups for this challenge but for a while, I wasn't really reading enough.  Here is my 6 month update for the ABC Reads challenge - I did better than I thought!

A: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (5/20/16)
C: The Cellar by Natasha Preston (5/11/16)
W: The Wicked Will Rise (1/5/16)


An Attitude Adjustment

Monday, May 30, 2016

It's pretty obvious from this post that we weren't particularly happy about our first duty station.  However, sometimes all you need is an attitude adjustment.  As I said in this post, we gave ourselves a week to be whiny and then we moved on.   I started two Pinterest boards a few days later and started looking for things to do in the area - first in NY and Canada, and then in New England.

Let me tell you, I am getting more and more excited about this move!  Yes, I am still dreading the winters, but I did learn that there is a place to ski only 30 minutes from Watertown!  I love skiing!  Also, there is so much to do during the other seasons!  Josh and I are definitely outdoor lovers, and being right near the Adirondacks is going to be so great for us!

There are quite a bit of things I am excited about now!  Here are the things we are most excited about:

Exploring Canada

We will only be 30 minutes from the Canadian boarder, and we plan to take full advantage of that.  We plan to take overnight trips to Niagara Falls, Toronto, Mont-Tremblant and Quebec City and day
trips to Ottawa, Montreal, and Thousand Islands.  We also hope to do a camping trip in Algonquin Provincial Park.   I think Canada has so much to offer and it's sad that it seems to be a country that we forget about here in the states, just because it's so close and seemingly similar to the states.

Hiking in the Adirondacks 

We hope to hike and possibly camp in the Adirondacks.  I've heard the park is gorgeous and I definitely want to spend some time there.  The park is fairly large but if my calculations are correct we should only be about an hour from part of it!   I definitely want to go sometime in the fall because the photos I've seen are beautiful and I love fall colors!

Wine Tasting in the Finger Lakes

I have a feeling this will be a go to activity when we have visitors!  I hear nothing but good things about the finger lakes and the surrounding wineries.  As a wine lover, I can not wait to explore this area!  I have also pinned Watkins Glen State Parks multiple times on Pinterest, so I can't wait to explore in that part of the Finer Lakes region!  I fully expect Josh and I to have an epic wine collection before we leave NY!

Exploring Vermont and New Hampshire

I've never been to Vermont and I've really only spent one night in New Hampshire, so I am excited to discover what both states have to offer!  All I keep pinning are beautiful photos from Green Mountain and White Mountain National Forests, and photos of adorable small towns!  There is way more to do in each of these states than I thought, and so many camping opportunities! 

The Festivals

I have seen so many different local festivals on Pinterest!  I can not wait to take part in at least a few of them!  Also, we will only be about 1.5 hours from Syracuse where the Great NY State Fair takes place!  It looks amazing!  And I have already found a Renaissance Festival in the area - unfortunately we will miss it by a few weeks this year.

Proximity to New England  

We are so excited to be close to so many great New England cities.   Most of these trips would have to be overnight trips but we will be within driving distance of Boston, Providence, Hartford, Salem, Portland, and so many other great cities and towns!  I can not wait to start exploring!  I've been wanting to do Boston for years, so you can bet that will be one of our first stops!  Also, I am determined to find Stars Hollow ;)

Chautauqua Lake, New York

Thursday, May 26, 2016

During our visit with Grandpop, we stopped at Chautauqua Lake in NY.   Again, this was almost 20 years ago, so I don't remember too much about it.  I do remember that I LOVED the boat and was wandering all around, but my sister was glued to my Dad's lap.  She was not a fan of being out in the water!  I loved being on the water and was fascinated by the boat itself.  The Chautauqua Bell is actually an authentic Mississippi River-Style Stern-wheel Steamboat.   I loved watching the paddle-wheel on the back!  I would love to make a stop here while were living in New York just for nostalgia sake.

Niagara Falls, Canada

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Since I announced that we will be moving to Upstate New York in a few short months, I figured what better time to share my first experience with the area.  Back in 1998, my family visited my Grandfather in Bradford, PA and took a few little mini trips during that vacation.  One of those was an overnight trip to Niagara Falls, Canada and we also spent some time in New York.  This was almost 20 years ago so I don't remember the details of the trip but I do have some pretty fantastic (ahem) pictures from the trip.  These are from our trip to Niagara Falls and the Niagara Falls Botanical Gardens, and next week I'll share some from our time in NY.

Four Things

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I saw this cute list going around a while ago and thought it was a cute idea! 

Four Places I've Lived:
1.Abingdon, MD
2. Street, MD
3. Harrisonburg, VA
4. Moving to Fort Drum in the fall
Four Jobs I've Had: 
1. Loss Prevention
2. Barnes and Noble (Cash Supervisor)
3. Schwan's Route Sales Rep.
4. Customs Protection Officer

Four Movies I've Watched More Than Once: 
1. An Officer and a Gentleman
2. Revenge of the Bridesmaids
3. Top Gun
4. Step Up

Four Books I'd Recommend: 
1. Room by Emma Donoghue
2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
3. The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman
4.Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Four Places I've Visited: 
1. Rome, Italy
2. Roatan, Honduras
3. San Vito, Costa Rica
4. Savannah, Georgia

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:
1. In VA with my husband
2. Somewhere warm and sunny
3. Costa Rica ... always Costa Rica
4. With friends

Four Favorite Foods:
1. Mac&Cheese
2. Pasta
4.Strawberries and Kiwi

Four Shows I Watch: 
1. Chicago PD
2. Arrow
3. Hawaii Five-0
4. Flashpoint (already ended but it's on Netflix and amazing)

Four Things I'm Looking Forward To This Year: 
1. Josh's Graduation from AIT
2.  Getting settled in our new home.
3. Day trips I have planned with my sister
4. My Arizona friends visiting in this weekend!

Four People I Tag To Answer These Questions: 
1. Everyone!!!

101 in 1001: Second Update

Monday, May 16, 2016

Pay off my car - Check! 02/24/16
Get my Military ID - Check! 02/17/16  (this took a no time at all!  I was so surprised!) 
Write weekly letters to Josh during Basic - Check! Last letter was sent at the beginning of March because that was the cutoff.
Visit Charleston, SC - Check! 03/21/16
Watch Josh Graduate Basic Training - Check!  03/23/16
Visit Annapolis - Check! 04/30/16
Visit Yorktown or Jamestown - Check! 3/24/15 (Visited Yorktown but still plan to visit Jamestown)
Double Savings in one year - Check!  Well, that happened a lot faster than I thought!

In Progress:

Pay off all credit cards - We're a little more than  halfway there with this one :)  Josh's are paid off (and cut up) and mine are getting there.  One of them I'm almost done with and one of them I cut up and am not using anymore so I'm taking my time paying it off. After this, we are only keeping one card.

Have a Monthly Sister Date - Because of the Holidays we didn't really do this in November or December but it's not like I didn't see her, so I'm counting it.   January we just chilled.  February we went to the movies and watched 13 Hours and we also had a Fuller House marathon at my house.  March we finished Fuller House and went to lunch.   In April, we went to Annapolis for the day.

Connect with Military Spouse Bloggers - This is one I started putting a little more effort into recently.  My favorites that I have been following for a while, even before Josh joined, are Whimsical September and Anchors Aweigh.

Go to a Concert with Laurie - My friend Laurie and I are concert buddies for life!  We go to at least one concert per year, so we knew that we needed to find one ASAP for before I leave.  My sister also said she wants to go to a concert.  I got to thinking about who all of us like and Brantley Gilbert was the first to pop into my head.  Turns out he will be in NOVA in June, so I looked for tickets and found tickets for an amazing price in the pit (standing room).  We are so freaking excited!!

Sell Books I Wont Read Again - Ugh.  This is happening and I really don't want to talk about it.  I've sold a few to friends and made about $50, and now it's time to take the rest to a used book store and try to sell them.  I'm hoping I have good luck because all of my books are in great shape (I'm a bit of a Nazi when it comes to my books).

I have added more things to the original list since we have found out where we will be stationed.

I also made the list on the Day Zero Project website which you can check out here.

We're Moving To ...

Friday, May 13, 2016

I'm not going to lie, I've had this title and a completely different introduction for this post in my drafts for months.   Getting to move somewhere new was the thing I was most excited for when Josh joined the Army - now, I'm a bit apprehensive.

Once Josh picked his job way back when, we were able to get a list of the bases that he could be stationed at (the list had about 17 or so bases).  There were only two on that list that we absolutely did not want, the rest looked great.  I didn't want Fort Bliss just because I really have no desire to live that close to the Mexican border, especially with Trump possibly becoming president - I just see a lot of potential issues there.  However, the one at the top of our "do not want" list was Fort Drum.  It is in upstate NY so it's super cold and snows all the time and after these last two winters in MD, that is the last thing I want.  Also, there is literally nothing around except Canada, even then most of the places we want to see are hours away.  Also, I read that Drum has a super high deployment rate.  

So, where are we moving? ... Yupp, you guessed it, the number one on our "we don't want to live here" list ...

To say we are disappointed is an understatement.  I'm not going to lie, I cried when I got off the phone with Josh.  I gave myself some time to wallow and feel sorry for myself, and now we are trying to be positive and make the best out of it.  We don't know how long this assignment is, but I'm hoping it's only two years.

I've done a lot of research and honestly, if it wasn't for the shit weather, this would be a great place for outdoor lovers like Josh and I.  We're actually looking forward to the summer months there.  We're also looking forward to exploring some of French Canada.  Niagara Falls is high on Josh's list so I am excited to take him there and revisit it as an adult.  Like I said, we're going to make the best of this so I have started a Pinterest board and started looking up things to do in the area.  Seems like we're definitely going to be improving our skiing/snowboarding skills.   Of course, there is also the advantage of only being 6.5 hours away from home, so I can go home for important events (such as the annual family Christmas dinner and my 10 year reunion).

So, Army wives, if you've ever been stationed at Fort Drum feel free to try to make me feel better about this.

Skyline Drive, Virginia

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Skyline drive is a place I visited a few times during my time living in the Shenandoah Valley and it's definitely a super beautiful area with some great views and great hiking trails.  Since these last few days have been super long and tiring (and since I am going to Virginia this weekend), I am just going to overload you with photos from my first trip to Skyline Drive.  I really don't have much to say about it - the photos speak for themselves!

Hayley Larue Design