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Printing Memories with Chatbooks

As good as I have been with documenting our lives on camera actually printing photos has been another story entirely… When an add for Chat Books came across my Facebook feed I took a look at their commercial and I was instantly intrigued.

Here is what sold me…

  • It’s a free app but you do have an option to create from your computer.
  • While the Instagram & Facebook Series options are pretty awesome, if you aren’t into social media you can create your own books using any photos. I have now made a book for our wedding, my pregnancy and birth of both kids, a book of all Parker’s crafts in his first year of school, and portfolios of items in my shop.
  • Since you can create them on your phone you have the flexibility to create them whenever you have time. Since I still spend about 30 minutes a night rocking Caity it was a great opportunity to make that time productive.
  • If you opt into the Instagram or Facebook series photos are automatically synced from your accounts. Once you have reached 60 photos (60 pages) you are given a notification to edit before it automatically shows up on your doorstop.
  • Prices start at $8 with many size and style options.

Although I can look at the same images on my phone whenever I want there is something different about seeing our memories in print. The kids also love looking at the photos, since most are of them and recalling memories from when the photo was taken.


Christmas 2013

We had such a wonderful Christmas and New Year. We celebrated with Rob’s family at our house a few days before Christmas. It was great to spend time with them and let them watch all of Parker’s new tricks. One Christmas Eve we packed up and headed to NJ.

We spent New Year’s in playing board games by the fire and making a few yummy appetizers! Even Abby wanted to play along.

Rob and I took a little time for ourselves and went to the movies, stayed the night in a hotel and then went to NYC for some sightseeing. It was so relaxing and we even splurged for some room service breakfast! We took the fairy into the city which I haven’t done since I was little. We visited the 911 Memorial, ate THE best sandwiches I think either of us have ever had, visited Macy’s and walked around the city for awhile.


In the end we made our way back to VA with a packed car, happy hearts and full bellies.

We also got to make a pit stop on the way home and visit the Train Garden with Rob’s parents which was a lot of fun. I think all of the trains were a little too overwhelming for Parker this year but he will be running them next year, I am sure of it!

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and a great start to 2014!


On This Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has always been one of my favorite nights filled with family traditions and love. If that wasn’t enough, four years ago Rob proposed to me on Christmas Eve. He had an ornament made asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. How could a girl deny such romance?

Rob was deployed during Christmas two years ago when I was pregnant with Parker. It wasn’t too bad for me because I was able to go home to New Jersey but I knew it was hard on him. This deployment was much harder and I found myself leading up to this evening with, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” stuck in my head. I wanted nothing more than for my family to be whole on Christmas Eve. I am so fortunate that my soldier came home to me a few days ago and I can spend the evening in his arms.

We are celebrating one last Christmas Eve in New Jersey with my parents and sister. It feels like Christmas here because it is all I have ever known. Our Christmas Eve is Chinese takeout dinner, exchanging ornaments, drinking recipe by the fire, reading Soldiers Night Before Christmas, leaving cookies for Santa, and wrapping last minute gifts.

I know that there are many families who will be celebrating Christmas apart this year. I just wanted to say thank you for your service and sacrifice. You will be on my mind and in my heart. 


Our Part-Time Military Life

On our second date, while walking around The White House, Rob got a call from the station chief in Alaska. I remember walking next to him and listening to his side of the conversation. He was being asked to deploy for a few months to back-fill a team that was being sent overseas. I remember feeling my heart pound a little harder and faster. 
You see, I didn’t really grow up around the military. By the time I was born, the veterans in my family had all finished their service and it was never really talked about growing up. It’s not that my family isn’t patriotic, it just wasn’t part of our life. My father was enlisted in the US Army as an Artillery Forward Observer during peace time (for those of you who are old enough to remember that). My maternal Grandfather was a Navigator in the US Army Air Corps on a B-17 at the end of WWII but never made it into combat as his training was completed near the end of the war. My paternal Grandfather was an Engineering Office in the Air Force. 
Although we were only on our second date, I knew that Rob was a Weather Forecaster for the Air National Guard. At the time, I couldn’t tell you what that title meant, but it was definitely an attractive quality. When he got off the phone, he looked at me a little nervous and elaborated on their conversation. I will never forgot what he asked me then, “would you be willing to wait for me?” My response, “when can I come and visit?”
Four and a half years later, we are happily married with a beautiful baby boy. While I still have a lot to learn about the military way of life, I am learning more everyday. Rob often throws around acronyms but has learned my “remember who you are talking to” face and will automatically provide more detail. I was so proud to watch Rob reenlist and commit to protecting this country for another six years. This past June, I also had the honor of participating in his promotion ceremony to Technical Sergeant. Parker even got to help “tack” on his rank. 
For awhile now, I have referred to myself as a part-time military wife. I mostly call myself that out of respect for those women and men whose spouses serve full-time. For those service men and women whose full-time job is to train and maintain their readiness to deploy at anytime. For those spouses who live the military life 24/7. 
Don’t get me wrong, being a part-time military family is not easy or any less honorable, just different. We have to find our place in both the military and civilian world. We have to find balance in both our military and civilian life.
As a SAHM, I have to switch back and forth from a 9-5 civilian life the hectic, unsettled life of a military wife. As many know, the one weekend a month and two weeks a year is truly a fallacy. I may live a normal life most days but I live with that thought in the back of my mind, “will he be here next month”. When we are preparing to hunker down during a natural disaster, I am thinking, “will he be here to help us through it?” 
Rob has to find balance in both his civilian job and his military career. Taking time to get ahead in one, means he has to sacrifice the other. He wants nothing more than to pursue a commission in the Air National Guard but that would mean leaving his civilian job for six months. While his civilian employer must hold a job for him, it would impact his career advancement. With only about 38 days in uniform each year, he has a very limited amount of time to train in his area of expertise. He often spends time outside of his military commitment doing this, which takes time away from his family. Not to mention the limited amount of time his has to build a strong camaraderie with the members of his unit. 
Rob was actually deployed for a few months last year in the middle of my pregnancy. I never talked about it here because I was still new to the blogging world and it made Rob nervous that people would know he was gone. Now that I am a little more experienced and Rob has learned more about the blogging life and what it means to be married to a blogger, he is more comfortable with it now. I am so excited to share some of my final thoughts as we get ready to send him off for another few months and what it is like to be a single SAH parent while he is gone. 
Part-time military life may not be easy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. While it takes work to find balance and our place in each, we are so lucky to be a part of both.