Friday, May 11, 2012

Military Spouse Appreciation Day 2012

Military Spouse Appreciation Day
May 11, 2012

Military Spouses,

Today is your day to shine. Today is your day to embrace your love. Today is the day to let is be known that we have one of the toughest positions in life -- being a military spouse. It is one thing to be a spouse, but it's a totally different thing to be a MILITARY spouse. We endure some of the most difficult times one has ever known. We accomplish many tasks at hand that we never thought we'd have to experience. We fulfill the duty of being a wife, a maid, a cook, a lover, a financial planner, and a support system for our spouse. WE are strong.

My husband and I first got together in June of 2007. When we first started dating I knew immediately he wanted to join the military - mostly because we both had 4 years of JROTC together in high school. At the time, I had absolutely NO idea what it would be like to be with someone who's in the military. All I really knew was that we'd have to spend a lot of time apart and most of our communication would be by snail mail or by the phone if we got lucky.

Fast forward to May 2012, our high school graduation. My (now) husband and I were still together and he would be going off to basic training in just 2 weeks. I was panicking, I was freaking out, but I was doing my hardest to stand strong for my husband. On our 3 year "anniversary" he approached me with a Promise Ring and looked me in the eyes and promised he would "return when all of the Army training is done." THAT is when it hit me - I was about to embrace on the adventure that I knew so little about!

June 15 came so quick and before I knew it, I was balling my eyes out as I had to drop him off at the Recruiters Office so he can be on his way to MEP's and leave first thing the next morning. Never in my life have I felt so empty, so alone, so lost; I knew it was going to be a long road ahead. 

But, we made it through all 10 weeks of Basic Training and the day of "Family Day" at Basic was the best day (at that moment) of my life. When the Commander told all of the families that they are allowed outside to go find their soldier, I BOLTED, I mean, I ran so fast someone would've thought I was about to get kidnapped, out that door to go find MY soldier! It felt like HOURS trying to find him through all of the chaos of other families trying to search for their soldiers, too! Once I found his platoon, I ran up to his Sergeant (probably dumb of me, but I didn't care) and asked if I could go find him in the platoon. With his permission, I again, ran to the beginning of the platoon and started searching - head by head, glasses by glasses, uniform by uniform, beret by beret and then.... I spotted him. I found the love of my life in the mix of all of the other soldiers in his platoon, just standing there. Once our eyes met, I could've swore I entered a fairytale. The smile on his face was the biggest I've ever seen, his eyes lit up, he ran through everyone, I ran passed everyone, and once we met at the end of the formation, all I could do was jump into his arms. It was the best feeling I had EVER experienced and it was WELL worth the 10 weeks of snail mail!!!

When AIT came around, it was much easier. He would call me every night to say goodnight, he would text me every morning to say good morning. On every 4-day he would come home to Florida to come visit me. It was hard, but we managed. December 2010 rolls around and we got married. The 23rd of December was the BEST day of my life, hands down. But, as they say - gotta take the good with the bad & the bad with the good - because a month later he left to Korea for 12 months. It was the longest 12 months in my entire life but it made our marriage unbelievably strong!!!

They say the first year of marriage is the hardest and I couldn't agree more! Being separated as newlyweds (even though we were together for 4 years) was the worst possible thing but yet, the very best thing that has ever happened!!!


I'm not telling you all this to brag or to just rant on about my life, I'm sharing this because everyone thinks military spouses have a luxury... well, it's far from it! I am married to my HUSBAND, not the MILITARY. I support my husband and all of the soldiers who are in the United States military. As for the spouses, I will be the first one to give a standing ovation to each and every single one of "us." So, on this day, Military Spouses, stand up, keep your head high, put a smile on, and walk around knowing you hold one of the hardest "titles" known to man. Be proud that you spend MONTHS away from the one you love, be proud that they're across the world FIGHTING for us, be proud that you have the HEARTWARMING homecomings, and be proud that you get to CHERISH every single second your spouse is home -- because, nobody else knows what it feels like except, us.

Photo by: LMPav Photography


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Recipe: Bacon Chicken in the Crockpot

Photo By: LMPav Photography

Bacon & Sour Cream Chicken

1. Bacon
2. 1/2 cup Sour Cream
3. 2 cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup (OR) Diced Mushrooms & 1 jar of Alfredo sauce
4. Salt & Pepper
5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6. Boneless skinless chicken breast (2)
7. 1 Cup of Flour

1. Pre-heat your crockpot/slow-cooker on high. Pour 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil into slow cooker to let simmer.
2. Slice each chicken breast into 3-4 strips (for a total of 6-8 pieces)
3. (OPTIONAL) If your chicken is FROZEN, place 6-8 pieces of bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-low heat. Make sure your bacon is NOT crisp & is able to bend. Drain on a plate or paper-towel. Proceed to step 5.
4. If your chicken is NOT FROZEN, proceed with step 5.
5. Once bacon is cooled (if cooked) wrap one slice around each piece of chicken. Place bacon-wrapped chicken in crockpot.
6. In a medium bowl, combine Cream of Mushroom Soup (or Mushrooms & Alfredo sauce), sour cream, and flour and mix with whisk to blend. Pour over chicken in crockpot.
7. Cover crockpot and cook on high for 2 hours.
8. After the 2 hours, make sure your contents are bubbling. If they are, turn crockpot on medium.
9. After the 3rd hour, check your chicken breast to see if it's cooked. If not, continue to cook chicken for another hour on medium.
10. Once chicken is cooked, serve immediately, or let simmer on the "warm" setting.

Serve over a bed of rice or noodles.


Pinterest inspired RECIPE
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Sunday, May 6, 2012

LMPav Photography: Steilacoom, Washington


On April 7, 2012 I took a trip down to Steilacoom, Washington. My husband and I originally wanted to go to Fort Steilacoom Park, which we did, but on our way home, we got lost and found Pioneer Orchard Park. Yes, how ironic is it that we got lost but come to discover such a beautiful place?!

Well, this park was so beautiful that I had to capture every moment! These photos were taken with my Samsung NX100 camera around 2pm. We made a trip after this around 7-7:30pm, when the sun was setting, and that day I regretfully forgot my camera at home... DARN! Living on the West coast I am privileged to be able to watch the sun set longer than 10 minutes and, with this view, it is breathtaking!

With having recently moved to Washington and still trying to adapt to the area, Pioneer Orchard Park has changed most of my feelings about the Evergreen State. Yes, I still will always go back to my home (Florida), but I will give Washington the benefit of the doubt and agree that it is a perfect vacation spot!

The mountains, the blooming flowers, the snow, the villages, the close-knit community, and the warming long sunsets makeup for those long, dreary, wet, rainy days.

I hope you enjoy looking at these photos as much as I enjoyed photographing them!