Happy Wednesday! Here is a very special pre-homecoming edition of What I'm Loving Wednesday. :)
I'm loving that I got to spend a long weekend in Maryland with my family and friends to take my mind off of all the preparations for Brian's arrival home. Let's be honest - he doesn't care if I scrub the baseboards or deep clean the washing machine (thanks for planting that stupid idea in my head, Pinterest). My weekend away was exactly what I needed to stop driving myself insane (at least temporarily) - even if I did have to share my bed with a certain dog. :)
As much as I might feel like I'm going out of my mind with excitement and anxiety, I'm loving getting ready for Brian's homecoming. I wanted to do a few things to make him feel special, like hanging a welcome home banner and having a meal he'd love ready at home (Crock Pot BBQ sandwiches and baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon honey butter). I hope he can feel how much he has been missed around here.
I'm loving that I'm only working a half day today to finish up some last minute errands. This is another instance of driving myself crazy (as is running around the mall for two hours yesterday trying to find a new homecoming outfit since it will most likely be raining and the dress I planned on wearing isn't going to cut it), but I'm excited for some time off work to enjoy the sunshine and get things done.
I'm loving that I can finally cancel our Skype subscription and won't have to see this screen pop up on my phone again anytime soon!
I'm loving that there is a certain happy reunionI've been anticipating for 234 days just around the corner. :)
...am way too comfortable being by myself. I'm an introvert, and spending time alone has always been my preferred way to recharge. While that's all well and good, let's just say that I've never had quite as much "me time" as I have had over the past (almost) 8 months. I think I'm done with it.
...have become a little too glued to my iPhone. This is really not a great development at all, but there is something comforting about having a connection to the outside world in moments when I am very much alone. I have spent a lot of time scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and my favorite blogs and sharing my own little happy moments as well....not to mention checking my e-mail for notes from Brian and the reassurance that he's safe. Being far away from most of my family and friends, my handy smartphone also enables long conversations to catch-up when I feel out of the loop or lonely. This is also amplified by the fact that social media has become part of my daily responsibilities at work (which is a double-edged sword). Even with all of the positives, I am really hoping that to break this habit with Brian's return and spend my time in the moment with him. Being addicted to my iPhone is not really how I want to spend my days. On that note, this article from the New York Times is a good read on the topic.
...have become a morning person. I wake up four days a week at 5:30 am to fit in a workout before I even have a chance to think about it. I kind of love it. It just works so much better for me than spending all day dreading dragging myself to the gym on top of all of my other evening responsibilities (like making dinner and watching Jacoby Jones on Dancing with the Stars).
...have almost completely changed my eating habits. I am a little bit nervous for Brian's return given my renewed dedication to eating healthy by limiting eating out to one meal per week (if that) and cleaning up my food choices with more whole grains, fruits, and veggies and fewer processed options. I can tend to get a little obsessive (in a bad way) about these kinds of things when left to my own devices. While it sounds like Brian is on board with at least making some healthier choices, I have to say I'm excited for date nights out and at least a few more opportunities to indulge in dessert. :)
...spend significantly more time in sweats. I'd guesstimate that I change out of my work clothes approximately 2 minutes after walking in the door at the end of the day. I used to at least wait until we had finished dinner. Not a habit I plan on changing, actually. There is nothing like pulling on a pair of boyfriend sweats after a long day in dress pants and heels.
...am more independent. Brian sees this in a lot of ways, but I mostly have just adapted to the circumstances out of necessity. I have run our entire household myself and somehow managed to hold it all together. I travel alone and feel confident I can take care of myself (although I can't always manage to get my luggage in the overhead bin without some assistance from a helpful stranger.) Driving somewhere I was unfamiliar with used to cause extreme anxiety for me, but now I've had to do it so much I hardly even think about it.
...have become extremely frugal. This is so out of character for me, but I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've been out shopping for myself and actually bought something since August. Saving money has almost become a game to me! Brian makes a little bit more while he is deployed, and we are obviously spending less on gas and food. It has given us an awesome opportunity to get ahead financially, but I may have taken this to a little bit of an extreme. I hope I can let go of this and find a comfortable middle ground again once Brian is home.
...have learned to practice gratitude. Over the course of this deployment, I have had some great days and some really sad, low days when I didn't even want to get out of bed in the morning. Thank goodness for a job that requires me to (at least on weekdays). Keeping a daily gratitude journal has really changed the way I look at things at the end of the day. I have heard a lot recently about the link between gratitude and happiness, and I can attest to it. I hope it's a habit I continue.
Overall, in thinking about the ways I have adapted to being alone, I realize how much Brian just provides the balance to my somewhat crazy, obsessive-compulsive self. I am just ready to get back to our normal.
I have been extremely blessed to have several visitors to Savannah over the past few months: my parents and sister for my birthday in January, my dear friend Amanda in February, and Megan this month for a very Savannah St. Patrick's Day! St. Pat's just so happened to fall during Megan's spring break from law school, and I knew it would be such a fun weekend for her to visit! The weather was perfect on the Saturday of the parade, and we enjoyed walking around seeing all of the craziness downtown and then escaping the crowds for dinner on Tybee at the Crab Shack. The weather was a little less favorable for our beach day on Sunday, but we were stubborn and stuck it out for a few hours anyway. Monday called for a traditional Southern meal at Mrs. Wilkes (after a long wait in line) and some boutique shopping on Broughton Street.
We hit a little snag when I dropped Megan off at the airport on Monday night and her flight was delayed because of storms in the area, meaning she would miss her connection in Charlotte to get home. After being re-booked for a flight first thing in the morning, which ended up being cancelled, Megan was told she wouldn't be able to get out of the airport on any airline to any destination until 8 o'clock that evening(!). We finally decided to drive her to Jacksonville to hop on a flight straight to Baltimore. Whew...such a comedy of errors! We arrived in Jacksonville to absolutely perfect summer-like weather, and I'm still kicking myself for telling work I would be in later that afternoon. I totally should have packed a beach bag and played hookie!
It was so nice to have Megan in town - and she is officially my last visitor before Brian returns home!
On January 27th, I turned 27 - my one and only golden birthday! (And let's just pretend this post isn't over a month late.) I wasn't really looking forward to this birthday without Brian until my mom, dad, and sister booked plane tickets to come down and visit me for the weekend. We actually lucked out with some nice, sunny weather (although it was less than warm), which was great for dragging my sister around to do all of the fun, touristy stuff for her first visit to Savannah. We did the Old Town Trolley Tour, wandered around River Street, ate way too much yummy food (including a trip to Paula Deen's), climbed to the top of the Tybee Island Lighthouse, and celebrated with a birthday dinner at Garibaldi's and chocolate cheesecake.
It has been so much fun to be a Ravens fan over the past several months. I first started watching football and cheering for the home team when Brian and I started dating. Five years later, I would now consider myself a full-fledged fan by my own accord and not just by marriage.
Football season started just a couple of weeks after Brian deployed, and it became my own little tradition to settle in for a day of football at home every Sunday. I am the type of person who needs to relax and have some downtime before the hustle and bustle of a new week begins, and I began to really treasure those football days. I cheered with every success, every amazing catch and last-minute win. I groaned with every failure, missed tackle, and dropped pass. It is easy to feel lonely in a house all by myself, but Ravens games
were always a welcome distraction and passed the weekends a little bit easier.
It has been an incredible season, and I am so excited that they made it to the Super Bowl!
Brian will be waking up in a few hours, at 4am his time, to cheer on the Ravens from Afghanistan. I hope they can bring home the win!
I can't believe it is already time to recap my year in pictures (just like in 2009, 2010, and 2011). One of the reasons I love having this blog is so that I can document life as it happens. I love going back through old posts and reflecting on happy memories. Here are some of the highlights of 2012!
After 8 months of unsuccessful searching, I finally found a job in Savannah! (...and have since spruced up my cube so it is looking much prettier.)
Brian took me out for a fancy dinner on the water in Savannah to celebrate the big 2-6 (This was also the day Brian was told for like the third time that he was deploying, but he was nice and waited until the next day to tell me.)