Friday, July 22, 2016

Taking it back to Curacao

...and taking it back to the end of May...

My first vacation of the summer (yes, that's right, there have been and will be more) was to the island of Curacao with my mom, dad, and brother. It was a dive vacation for the guys. They had both recently gotten their diving permit/license/sorry dad, whatever you call it, and were excited to experience the reefs up close and personal. It was a "relax in the sun and work on our tan" vacation for my mom and I. All such goals were met plus a whole lot of fun.

We visited so many different beaches and they were all spectacular. The inland terrain was not what we were quite expecting. It's pretty much desert, with lots of cacti and low shrubs, not much green and a whole bunch of sand. However, it had a beauty all it's own.

Some favorite experiences and places?

  • Shete Boka National Park - so hot, but pretty cool. The park is along the northern coast of the island which is very treacherous due to the winds and currents that hit the coastline. The water has created some very interesting formations in the rocks including a natural bridge and a hole that spits the waves into the air. 
  • Batidos - fruit smoothies! Seriously, you've never had a smoothie this good. There are stands all over the island selling this deliciously cool treat. Watermelon is my flavor of choice. 
  • Hato Caves - we took a guided tour through these caves. Again, it has some really cool formations. At one point the tour guide turns off the guide lights so you can experience how dark it really is. And we got to see a whole bunch of bats! 
  • Watching my brother attempt to navigate an island with not so exact maps and poorly placed (or not placed) street signs. Very entertaining. Although to his credit, I gave it a try too and didn't have much more success. 
  • "Discovering" and exploring an abandoned building on the side of a cliff and later finding out it was a quarantine hospital. The bricked off upper floors should have given us a far we have not experienced any adverse affects.
  • Discover Scuba Diving - since dad and Jordan were having all the fun diving, I decided to do a discover scuba class. The instructor began by showing us the basics of all the gear and how to use it. Then we got to try it out - underwater! Breathing underwater was a little freaky at first, and I'm not a huge fan of interacting with water creatures, but all in all it was really interesting. I'd do it again. 
All thanks goes to my dad for planning a pretty epic vacation :) And as always, please enjoy some pictures. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

An ode to friendship & family

...although this isn't really an ode, I suppose. An ode is meant to be poetic. And sung. This will meet neither requirement. But it's a catchy title, so sue me :)

Adam and I seriously have the best support system. We have not one, but two flesh and blood families that have encouraged us, loved us, and pushed us through all our lives. Throughout this process of transitioning to the Army, they have been so wonderful! They have spoken wisdom and offered guidance when needed. They have devoted so much time to writing letters to Adam and praying for us. I am incredibly thankful for all that they have done for us in the last few months.

We also have a wonderful group of friends. All throughout our married lives, Adam and I have lived a minimum of 16 hours away from our blood relatives. During all that time, I've been amazed at how God has created "family" for us in those places - He's given us beloved friends who are close by and provide all the nearness of family without actually being related. Inevitably, we've moved on from those particular locations, leaving behind those we love. But just like family, those are bonds that won't be broken anytime soon. No matter how much time passes between actually hugging their necks and laughing uncontrollably at each other's ridiculous stories and antics, we find it so simple to settle back into the routine of genuine friendship.  Again, just like family, their imprint on our hearts is here to stay. We haven't left them behind, we've only said so long for now. Now, we have the incredible privilege to have a family that spans multiple generations, numerous backgrounds, so many states, and even a few time zones.

One such branch of our family, some of those hailing from the great state of South Dakota, were willing and able to join us for Adam's graduation this weekend. They drove 13+ hours to spend less than twelve with us. Again, I am so thankful for their loving support.

Guys, you are awesome. And, we take adorable pictures.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

My American Soldier

Warning: upcoming is one sappy post about one amazing husband.
If you have a strong gag reflex, keep a trash can handy.

The Soldier's Creed: 

I am an American Soldier.
I am a warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient 
in my warrior tasks and drills. 
I always maintain my arms, my equipment, and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy 
the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier. 

Adam graduated from Army bootcamp yesterday. He is officially an American soldier. 
I had the opportunity to listen to him and 194 other men and women repeat this creed at the ceremony. It quite literally gave me chills. 

I am so unbelievable proud of this man. He has always amazed me with his strength of mind, body, and character. And his determination in this dream has only solidified my faith in him further.  He is an incredible husband; loving me, providing for our family and following God's call on his life all at the same time. I know he'll do all he can to be the best soldier possible because that's just how he operates - with excellence. 

He's proved time and again that defeat is unacceptable. Quitting? Not an option. He truly is a warrior, a servant, and a guardian of our way of life. He embodies the values the army holds dear - loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.
 He is an American Soldier. 
Now he just has the uniform to attest to it. 

And gosh darn it, he does look good in that uniform! 

Babe, I love you. I am so proud of you.