for my daughter, madeline, having turned one.

Littlest lady, girl baby, girl girl, chicken, chicken nugget, Maddie, Madeline.

Just over a week ago you became one year old. One year ago, Daddy’s and my life changed in ways we could never have imagined. You brought us so much joy and happiness with your very first breath; so much purpose and humility with your very first cry; so much peace and contentedness with the first time you shut your eyes to sleep; so much patience and grace with each new day. 

Maddie, honey, you are the best thing to happen to us. You are the best thing to happen to our marriage. You are the best thing to happen for so many reasons, for so many others, too. They say there is nothing like like your first child, and you, sweet little girl, are the best. You are the one who made Daddy and I parents. You have shown us what it means to love unconditionally. You have shown us what it means to feel full. 

When I announced your birth here, a year ago today, I said you can’t rush perfection.

Today I say this- Madeline Iris, you are perfection. Please take your time growing up so that we can continue to enjoy every single second. I love you. So much.

Love,
Mommy

Baby pictures from newborn to one year old

milspouse appreciation: all the cool kids are doing it.

May 11, 2012 Milspouse AppreciationHappy Milspouse Appreciation Day! If you are a milspouse, you are part of one of the coolest “cool kid” clubs in the world and for that you deserve lots of recognition, praise and, most of all, appreciation! So in case you aren’t hearing it enough, I would like you to know that I appreciate you and the sacrifices you are continually making for our country, for your marriage and for your family. I admire you, I look up to you and I and proud to call so many of you my friends. Also, I think you are very intelligent and beautiful and strong and funny and witty and patient and good at everything you do!

If we haven’t met before, my name is Allison and I am a milspouse. “Hi, Allison.”

I met my soldier, Andrew, almost seven years ago, when he was just starting his Yuk Year at West Point and I was a sophomore at Marist College. Two years ago, we made it Facebook-offish and said “I do,” in true mil-fashion: first in a Colorado Springs courthouse and, six months later, in a church on Long Island. Three months after our “real” wedding, Andy deployed to Iraq for a year (which was when and why I started this blog). We spent three years in Fort Carson, CO and just moved to Fort Benning, GA. We have two pups: Lily the Goldendoodle and Hudson the German Shepherd aka Lily & Hudsie. I am 7 months pregnant with our first child, and, because we are just that patriotic, she is due on the Fourth of July! I am new to stay-at-home-momhood, but, right now (pre-baby), I enjoy filling my time with cooking, baking, photography, crafting, organizing, music and social media.

You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest (LOVE!), Instagram (alliegirl428) and sometimes even Twitter.

Many thanks to a couple of really cool milspouses, Ann Marie and RC, for organizing the MilSpouse Appreciation Day Blog Hop today!  I can’t wait to hop around and meet some more card-carrying (DD 1173) club members!

grateful.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Andy and I were together, which is not something we take for granted. Last year at this time, he was still deployed. That’s sort of crazy, when you think of how quickly the time seems to have passed this year.

This year we are on a new budget- in honor of our first child arriving this summer, me quitting my job (in less than two weeks), moving with Andrew to Fort Benning, GA for the Captain’s Career Course (in less than three weeks) and then me planning on stay-at-home motherhood for a while. How’s that for laying it all out on the table? Anyway…as a result of this new budget, we decided to go easy this year on gifts for each other and on plans for the evening.

When we got home from work, we exchanged cards and our “little somethings.” I gave Andrew chocolate covered strawberries from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and some chocolate covered pretzels (that I pilfered from work). He gave me Ghirardelli’s Dark Chocolate with Raspberry Filling squares (my fave) and a voucher telling me that the new Sophie Kinsella novel, I’ve Got Your Number, which was just released on 2/14, is being delivered this Saturday! That boy knows what I love!

After our gift exchange, we headed out to a “crappy” Mexican restaurant in town. We chose it for our dinner date because I had a $25 gift certificate there, which was better than having to use all of our “Eating Out” budget at our favorite Mexican place. Plus, it had okay reviews on Yelp.

We were seated right away (no reservations required for this classy joint) and just as quickly changed our minds about the place. Although the atmosphere wasn’t anything to write home about, the table next to us had just gotten their food. “Are you seeing what I’m seeing!?!” Their plates were probably 20 inches in diameter, the food looked delicious and their margarita glasses were the size of small watermelons. We had come to the right place. Andy had a HUGE beer to start, which was so heavy he could hardly lift it. I ordered the avocado chicken tostada, and he had a combo plate with a chicken chimichanga and an enchilda. Andy ate every bite on his plate, and I came close to doing the same (eating for two, holla)! It was so tasty! We sat back, stuffed, finishing our drinks and smiling. It was the best Valentine’s dinner we could have hoped for. Little did we know it was about to get even better…

Andrew eventually called our waiter over to ask for the check. At that, the waiter leaned in to our table and said, “I want to tell you that the couple that was sitting to the left of you just paid for your meal. They told me to tell you thank you for your service, and they hoped you had a happy Valentine’s Day.” We looked at each other stunned. “Wait, are you serious?” ‘Si. It has been taken care of.’ We looked over to thank the couple, but they had already gone. Their random act of kindness could not have fallen on a more appreciative couple that night. Andrew, still in his ACUs from work, sat back in shock. No one had ever done anything like that for us before.

A gal, sitting next at the table next to us with her family, leaned over and was like, “That is so cool!! You guys are lucky!!” That’s when it hit me. I started digging in my purse and whispering maniacally to Andy, “We have to pay it forward!!!!!” I pulled out our $25 gift certificate and thrust it at the girl, “You have to take this! We were going to use it for our dinner, but now we’re paying it forward to you!” She was beaming. She even broke into a little speech: “My son actually has something to say, although he is really embarrassed. (he was shrinking under the table at this point) His teacher told him that there’s something you need to say any time you see someone in uniform. Go on, son! Say it!” Her son pulled himself up from under the table, looked Andy right in the eye, and said, “Thank you for your service to our country, sir.” It was all I could do to not burst into tears at the table.

When we got to the car, Andy couldn’t stop saying how uncomfortable he felt, how embarrassed he was. I told him I didn’t think he should be embarrassed at all. If anything we should feel proud that those people in the restaurant tonight were the people whose freedoms he was defending every day. They were the people he fought for when he was deployed. They were good people, who cared about other people and who took the time and effort to spread the love on Valentine’s Day.

That generous couple gave my husband and me the perfect reminder this year. They reminded us to be grateful- grateful that we got to be together this year, when so many families were forced apart because of training and deployments; grateful that we live in such a fortunate country; grateful that we can afford to give back to our country; and grateful that we are surrounded by such exemplary fellow Americans.

I am incredibly proud and so incredibly grateful.