That One Time I Went to Montreal…

Hello again friends!

 

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That’s right–IM BLONDE AGAIN! My friends say I look like I’m 16 again, and my Mom basically cried because I remind her of when I was a little girl. I’m digging it... 😉

Happy Tuesday!

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted! I have so much to catch you up on, you might hate me with how much I am going to be posting in the near future. I have so many adventures to catch you guys up on! I’m so happy it’s finally summer and the spring semester is over. I fully intended on making the most of this nice weather here at Drum, exploring, taking little trips, and I want to totally revamp this blog to share everything with you guys! I will first throw it all the way back to March, when Momma B and I went into Montreal!

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CANADA! It’s crazy to think, that since the move to Fort Drum, I’m literally about 20-30 minutes from the Canadian border. So many friends are always like, “NY!? That’s awesome! You must visit this city so often!” But unfortunately no…NYC is further from good ol’ Drum than it is from Boston….

But if you read my last post you know that my Momma came up to visit me for a week, and then we ventured off to Montreal for a quick weekend trip! My Mom is one of my favorite people to travel with, and is most definitely the person who gave me the wanderlust bug. She’s traveled all over to places like France, and Iceland (BY HERSELF might I add) Momma B is a bada$$.

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After work on Friday night, Momma and I said our goodbyes to Cadence, who had my best friend Anna coming to get her. (Thank you 100 times over again for watching her Miss. Anna! I know she had a blast with Apollo and Ares!) Grabbed some quick dinner at McDonald’s–ya know, getting in our last bit of MERICA–and headed into Canada!

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3 ½ hours of gabbing, and trying to figure out the conversion from miles to kilometers, before realizing my car had them on the speedometer later, and we made it to our beautiful hotel! We stayed at the Omni Mont Royal. This hotel is part of the same chain of hotels, as the beautiful and historic Omni Parker House, Jim and I stayed at in Boston the night we got engaged, and BOY they never disappoint. We were greeted with the sweetest bellhop, who said “Bonjour madames!” 🙂 I was eating it up.

After dropping our bags off in the room, we headed downstairs and grabbed some drinks, at Alice Bar and chatted. Jim called to check in from Louisiana, and I was really hyping up Montreal. Just from our little drive through downtown, I was in love. The apartments had crazy architecture, with these CRAZY long metal stairs and colorful doors!

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Photo from mtlblog.com

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The next morning we hung out in our robes, before heading down to breakfast at the Le Petit Opus Cafe. The cafe was even just so beautiful. I wish I had taken more photos of it. Beautiful white marble everywhere, with amazing gold accents. &Of course the breakfast was INCREDIBLE! All my French words from high school were coming back to me. Ms. Finacey would be so proud.

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After fueling up for the day with croissants and fruit, we were ready to adventure around the city!

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We explored the cobblestone streets of the city, and found ourselves at our first incredible stop of the day, Notre Dame Basilica.

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If you ever make it to Montreal, this church is an absolute MUST SEE. I won’t bore my non-history buff readers too much, or spoil it too much for those wanderlust readers like me, who want to explore on their own, but a little background; The original Notre Dame Basilica was built as a small chapel in 1672. By the 1800s, it was too small for the number of attendees, and thus began the construction of the incredible structure we see today. The church is easily identifiable by the amazing twin towers on the outside, but the breathtaking architecture on the inside is what got me. AND as our speaker reminded us, they have NO affiliation with Notre Dame in France. They are not the “fake Notre Dame” or the “Canadian Notre Dame.” Sorry not sorry for the plethora of photos. LOL They do not do any justice to just how incredible this place really is.

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Look at the detail in that woodwork ^ It is INSANE.img_3105img_3122

We also hit up the Montreal Biodome. It’s basically a SUPER cool zoo/indoor rainforest. Of course, because phones stink, my phone kept dying from the humidity while we finished our adventuring around the city and at the Biodome. I did get a few photos. But I am so excited to say I finally got a fancy new camera! Still figuring out how to use it, but it’ll be nice to have some higher quality photos for the blog!

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As you can see, Uggs were not the best choice of footwear in a melting city.

Once we got back to the hotel, we relaxed, headed to the hot tub, and totally hogged it from these teenage boys who wanted to hop in. Then we headed back upstairs and got some room service. It was so nice having this fun experience with my Momma, hanging out  with her, and exploring Montreal. This summer, we plan on making our way to the Canada again to visit Niagara! I absolutely can not wait, and really want to adventure around Toronto. I have a ton of cool spots I want to hit up while we’re there. If you’ve ever been, please comment and let me know what are must sees, and must eats! 🙂

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I’m so sorry again for being MIA! I was so swamped with finals, and then just enjoying the last couple weeks not being in school, I totally neglected the blog.

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer so far!

//xo

Autumn

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

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When The Boys Are Away, The Girls Will Play…

HI FRIENDS!

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Like my new glasses!? SC: autumn_benson13

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since Valentine’s! Life has been crazy in the Beson/Wollinger household the past month and a half! Jim has finally returned home after being away in Louisiana for some training with the Army. &Boy was that time a whirlwind between this insane semester, and all the traveling and girl time I had!

Let’s go back to the day before I left for home. I was KILLING myself to get through the week and get all my homework done, before I left for Massachusetts.

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I had class until 7:30 and then I was up until about midnight powering through essays and finishing my marketing module, eating all the Girl Scout cookies I acquired between my coworkers child, the Girl Scouts at the PX and my friend Anna’s purchase at the commissary.

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&I was also praying all the frickin snow would end!

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SC: autumn_benson13

I woke up bright and early and had some breakfast, packed up some lunch for the road and headed off!

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Once I finally got into town, my girl Caroline, was also traveling to MA from Drum to visit with family, met up with me for a fun night out! We were headed out to celebrate my best friend Alex’s 21st birthday and St. Patty’s Day! Carrie and I spent the afternoon grabbing bathing suits at Marshall’s to hang out in my brother’s hot tub (got the whole house to myself for the weekend!) &Gathering some pregame goods, including some ingredients to make “pot of gold jello shots” and of course a cake for Miss. Alex!

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photo from delsih.com was having too much fun to take a photo 😉

Cadence was all ready for St. Patty’s too!

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SC: autumn_benson13

Carrie, Alex, my best friend Nicole and I did the girly thing and got all ready for the night together. Kyle would’ve loved it. A bunch of girls messing up his house with clothes everywhere and makeup and hair products. Good thing he doesn’t read my blogs 😉 LOL

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We finally headed into Boston +1 with Alex’s step Momma joining the party! Once we made it to West End Johnnie’s for drinks and dancing, I will shamelessly admit, that I paid off the bouncer so we didn’t have to stand in the freezing cold for an hour. We had the time of our lives dancing the night away, and drinking Goose and cran and just being 20 somethings…until about a ½ hour prior to last call some nasty dude with crusty lips in a trench coat (no joke) came up to me and started to try to dance with me. When I had informed him, I was all set and married, he whispered into my ear, “I don’t care.” I proceeded to shove him, and push us through the crowd to the other side of the bar. NOT OK.

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We all stumbled our way to the cabs, and headed to Bova’s!

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My sister in law had introduced me to this place on my 22nd birthday, and I will never not go there after a night out. Alex had requested we go all out, with the real 20 something clubbing Boston experience, though she was a bit cranky once we got there, her step momma and I headed in to face some hot pockets and cannolis. We grabbed an Uber XL back to the island, and I stuffed my face in the backseat, and chatted up our driver.

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boobs.

I was dead by the time we made it back to my brother’s house, but somehow my girls talked me into hot tub time at 2am. Nicole was passed out on the couch, and we were dumb enough to think 10 minutes was enough time to warm up the tub after turning up the temp, and ended up freezing our butts off in 30 degree weather…typical us.

The next morning was all about coffee. Dunks with Carrie, Starbs, and George’s Coffee

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I spent the next day just lounging around with my girls, Alex and Marissa. We grabbed some nachos and drinks at Jalapeños, and I picked up this AMAZING shirt for Jimmy’s Easter basket:

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For the rest of the night, we hung around in the hot tub (which we sufficiently managed to heat up) and played Never Have I Ever..;) watched some episodes of the final season of Girls and ate cake! There was no shortage of crap eaten on this trip..

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Sunday was family day! My Momma and I drove into New Bedford to see my Dad’s side of the family. Words don’t even describe how great it feels to be surrounded by your loved ones. Living so far from everyone hurts my heart. I miss dinners with Jim’s parents and sisters, and little brothers every Sunday, and spending Saturday nights hanging around with my brother. We typically only see a lot of my Dad’s side of the family once a year at our Annual Cookout. My cousin Elizabeth made so much good food, and I got to chat with my Aunts and Uncles and see my sweet Papa, and all my baby cousins!

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Momma and I headed back up to Fort Drum early Monday morning, but not after a quick visit for breakfast at the firehouse with Kyle!

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My Mom was coming up to spend the week with me, and then visit Montreal the following weekend! But that trip will be in my next blog post.

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I didn’t get too many photos, where I still had work and class all week, but we spent the week, having dinners with some of my girlfriends! We totally hit up Cracker Barrell more than once, once with Carrie and this cool dude:

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&Once with my sweet best friend Anna. &My Momma met my new girlfriend, Carissa, and her sweet girl Aria and we got dinner one of my favorite spots, Stefano’s in Carthage, NY.

 

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Sorry..def licked the canoli before I took this pic…

The rest of Jim’s time away was spent between work, school, Sundays with Anna doing church and lunch dates and Gilmore Girls and wine. &I had one girls night with Carrie, and a couple of other spouses at Drum, eating chips and brownies and doing face masks!

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Yes…yes we do have matching pjs.

I am so very happy my hubs is home, and hopefully here to stay for a while. &Congrats to the handsome dude too, for graduating Air Assault School while he was there! 🙂

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I have so many adventures planned for this summer to explore NNY. I mean, a list, literally a mile long. &I’m excited for my next post, recapping my Montreal trip with Momma B! I hope you all are having a wonderful week. &If nobody told you yet today, you are beautiful.

//xo

Happy Hump Day!

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Valentines&Strawberry Crinkle Cookies!

HELLLLO EVERYONEEEEE!!!

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Happy February! I can’t believe we’re almost half way through month two of 2017! I love February, because there’s a lot of LOVE in this month. There are family birthdays, Valentine’s, mine and Jim’s anniversary..and also something else happened that I loved. In case you didn’t hear…..THE PATRIOTS WON THE SUPER BOWLLLLLLLLL!!!! YUPPPPP

Sorry not sorry to my Pats hating readers. Which I’m sure, there are many. Unless you’re from the NE area. But I’m a born and raised New England girl, and the love I have for the place, the people, and the sports will never leave me, no matter where Army life takes us.

But any who…on to the real point of this post! Valentine’s treats! Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s, Galentine’s (which I still celebrate, and will have a post coming up soon about the gals in my life!) or even if you have one of those anti-Valentine’s party, everyone loves FOOD! I made some yummy Strawberry Crinkle Cookies on this snowy Sunday. Jim and I had some, and I’ll be bringing the rest into the office for a Monday pick me up for the team!

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If you want to make these yummy treats here’s what you’ll need:

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-1 box of Pillsbury Strawberry Cake mix 

-1 8oz tub of Cool Whip

-1 egg

-Powdered sugar

-Decorative sprinkes

Now, preheat your oven to 350 degrees!

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Grease your baking sheets with your Pam cooking spray. I love the olive oil spray for a lower fat alternative.

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In a large bowl (preferably a red or pink one 😉 ) slightly beat the egg, and then add your Pillsbury Strawberry Cake mix and Cool Whip!

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Mix it all up, and then start rolling the mixture into little blobs and rolling them in the powdered sugar until they’re covered all around!

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Sorry bout the lack of photo for this step, got a bit messy….

Place your cookie blobs on your greased baking sheet, an inch apart and add your sprinkles!

Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Mine were in for the full 12, so keep an eye, as mine started to brown a little too much around the edges, and we don’t want that..

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While they’re baking, enjoy the February issue of Better Homes and Gardens..I mean, whats better than one of the most aesthetically pleasing magazines, and the smell of baked goods filling your house?

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…..and once the time is up, pull them out the oven, and let them cool!

&ENJOY!

STEP BY STEP FOR SCREENSHOT:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease baking sheet with Pam (insert link) spray
  3. In a large bowl, slightly beat the egg, and then add your Pillsbury Strawberry Cake (insert link) mix and Cool Whip
  4. Mix it all up, and then start rolling the mixture into little blobs and rolling them in the powdered sugar until they’re covered all around
  5. Place your cookie blobs on your greased baking sheet, an inch apart and add your sprinkles
  6. Bake for about 10-12 minutes
  7. Let cool, and enjoy!

img_2875I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s, Galentine’s or anti-Valentine’s. Whatever you do, just be sure to spread love, light, and positivity. Because the world needs it. 🙂

 

//xo

 

Home for Christmas

Happy Thirsty Thursday friends!!

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It’s currently Sunday. We’re just lounging around the house. We went to breakfast at Longways Diner this morning, and have no other plans really for today. Just gonna clean up around the house, maybe grab some groceries and just prepare for the week ahead. It’s 13 degrees outside here at Drum, and we got quite a few feet of snow dumped on us this week. So I’m just gonna hang out in my fuzzy socks and enjoy my Christmas decorations just a LITTLE while longer…;)

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So, this post is gonna be a recap of our trip home for the holidays! This may get long, but these are some of my favorite posts to look back on. Unfortunately even though Jim had been on block leave for a bit, I had to work up until the night before Christmas Eve. We headed to MA on the 23rd, right after I got out of the office.

SOMEHOW we managed to stop only ONE time on the way. Grabbed gas, went pee and grabbed some food for the road. I swear, I must’ve played the bladder cards right that day, because I drink a TON of water everyday, but we did it!

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Christmas Eve was so much fun. I started off the morning, heading to my hometown, while Jim stayed at his parents house. I’ve never been so excited to go over that bridge onto the island. I was so blessed to grow up in such a beautiful hometown, and though there is a lot of beauty in Northern NY, there is nothing like be surrounded by the ocean, and gorgeous views daily. It’s truly motivating and inspiring. The ocean brings me so much peace.

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I went to lunch at the absolutely breathtaking new hotel, The Beauport with my Mom, her boyfriend Farrell and his sister. I was in so much awe of the architecture, and the stunning Christmas decor and the views from our table I didn’t take a ton of photos! 😦

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After lunch, I headed back to the Wollinger house for dinner, and family time. Jim’s Aunt and Uncle came by and we had a Yankee Swap. I was pretty pumped about my gift. Dunkin’ addict over here 😉

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I bought this educational game for Andrew, my little brother-in-law a few years back, and he plays it with me every chance he gets when I am over. It’s been so fun seeing how much he got out of that gift, and how much his knowledge has grown over the years. He is a math wiz.

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Christmas used to be all about tradition for me. Since my Dad passed away Christmas has been veering further and further from the traditions I grew up with. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to love the change. I now have two incredible families to celebrate the holidays with. My two brother-in-laws are still at the Santa stage of their lives, so Christmas morning is always a blast with them.

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This picture is in my in-law’s living room. I used an app. Andrew totally believed me. Mikey, not so much. He sai he wasn’t falling for it 😉

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Cadence loves her Papa

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After Christmas we headed to my Momma’s house for round two. We are always so spoiled by the amount of gifts we receive between the Wollinger’s and the Benson’s. We are so blessed to have so many loved ones that care so much to go out of their way for us. Jim’s parents and Andrew soon followed and we all hung out at Momma B’s house, ate some good food and hung out. Christmas felt a little empty sans Grandpy and Uncle Jimmy, but I felt them there in spirit. ❤

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Don’t mind the jar of queso…I got hungry…

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My Mom is the cutest. Home decor GOALS.

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Wouldn’t be a holiday at the Benson household without an appearance from Alex!

We ended Christmas over at my big brothers house–but not before making a quick pit stop at the Lobstah Trap Tree. Like the most Gloucester Christmas thing evah.

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Kyle, Stephanie, Jim and I hung out in Kyle’s new hot tub for the rest of the night.  I am NOT a fan of winter, and didn’t think I’d be real into going into a hot tub in the freezing cold, but it’s actually amazing!!


December 26th is my little bother-in-law Mikey’s birthday!

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Mikey is one of the sweetest, silliest, kids in the world. He is so curious about the world, and some of the best conversations I’ve ever had with any human being have been with this kid. I can’t believe he is 10 years old.

We started off the morning curing out Christmas hang over at Cape Ann Coffee’s. YUM

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Seriously tho…Massachusetts just does breakfast better then NNY….

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&Went for a ride around the Backshore before visiting my brother at the firehouse.

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All my life I looked up to my brother as my hero. He entered Marine boot camp just before the attacks of 9/11/2001. I was too young to fully understand the impact of that tragic event on this country, but I knew Kyle was going to protect us. &Now I see him thriving in his role as a fire fighter. His passion to protect and serve is something I so respect. I am so proud of him. &Visiting him at work, brings me so much happiness.

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Cadence loves her Uncle Kyle

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That afternoon we headed up to celebrate Mikey turning 10. I loved listening to Mike and Andrew and their cousin Maggie chatting amongst themselves. A child’s perspective of the world is so pure and innocent. I don’t ever want them to grow up.

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After the birthday celebrations we didn’t have anything planned, and ended up meeting up with one of my best friends, Marissa at the mall. I was helping her pick out some interview clothes and then we went to dinner. I try to stay away from chains when I’m home because there are so many great food places on the North Shore, but we REALLY missed the 99s.

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Sorry not sorry for the silly Snap filters

The 27th was a REALLY warm day at home. We had some sibling time with Jim’s sisters. Went into downtown Newburyport, and had some delicious lunch at Agave, played Cards Against Humanity and waxed some body hair. #casual

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Since the girls had plans for the night, we headed back to Gloucester and took Cadence for her first real walk on the beach. Good Harbor never fails me. We went just around sunset, and it was stunning. When I’m by the ocean I can feel in every inch of my bones, the work of God. He has created such beauty. Photos can’t do it justice.

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“The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the hands of his work.” Pslam 19:1


The 28th was a LONG day. So much adventure. We started out the day at our ABSOLUTE FAVORITE BREAKFAST SPOT EVER. (&If my brother Snapchats me from there one more time, Im gonna punch him.) Red’s in Salem.

Breakfast was spent with Nana Janice and Momma B. It was so nice to spend time with them. We went to the House of the Seven Gables, surprisingly its one of the places I’ve never been to in Salem. Neither had Nana Jan! She was born and raised in Salem, and her mother was a tour guide at the house, but she still had never taken a tour! When people find out I am from the North Shore area of MA, Salem is always a topic of conversation. It truly is an awesome area. If you’ve never been, go. &The House of Seven Gables is a quality “tourist attraction.” Not kitschy by any means.

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Once we got back to Gloucester, we wanted to soak up some more time in the nice weather. With all the snow and low temperatures here at Drum, Cadence hasn’t gotten many walks in, in the past few months. &We were heading to Boston that night, so we wanted to get her energy out. We took her for a walk at Ravenswood. I love walking trails. So peaceful. &Cadence was happy too!

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Jimbo and I went skating at Frog Pond for date night–back where he proposed over a year later!

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The rest of our time home, was spent hanging around with friends and family, and soaking up as much New England as we could.

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We even spent almost 2 1/2 hours chatting it up with one of the owners of Sully’s. &He was pretty frickin Boston. Definitely will never forgot that conversation, and I hope that won’t be the last time we speak with him! Sly is one of the coolest guys around!


There is nothing better than being home for the holidays. But I am so happy to be back in our home, at Fort Drum. I miss everyone and everything back home–but Im so happy to be back in my routine, and spending time with the hubs. I can’t wait to see with 2017 has to offer, and though I can’t believe Im saying this–Im PUMPED for the Spring semester to begin!

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Happy New Year everyone!

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What are some of your goals going into 2017?

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23 Things

HI GUYS!

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I wrote this post some time ago..it’s been a cray busy holiday season between work, and traveling home for the holidays..so let’s step back in time for a moment, and talk about birthday things.

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So, I’m writing this on Sunday morning.  I’m almost one month into 23. Jimbo is watching some movie about Watergate (he’s a huge history buff) with Cadence snoring on the couch both in food comas from Sunday brunch &Im here sitting at our dining room table, looking out at the Winter Wonderland that is Fort Drum right now. I thought it would be a good time to get a post together. I haven’t posted in a bit, and I’m in need of some blog therapy.

So..you know that saying about “birthday blues?” Well, Im no stranger to those. Maybe it’s because my amazing childhood celebrations set the bar to high for adulthood, maybe it’s because just before entering adulthood I spent a birthday watching my Dad go through chemotherapy. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last two birthdays away from Jimmy? But I have to say…22 was good to me. I had some extreme lows..but I don’t think anyone goes through a full year of life 100% on high. Ya know? I want to reflect on the memories of the roller coaster that was 22. This may be a long one. So..lets go over 22..with 23 things.

  1. 22 Celebrations.

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I started off my 22nd year sad because Jimbo was away for basic training. But one of my best friend’s Marissa, came to the rescue. We went to the nail salon, and blasted “22” by TSwift. &On the night of my birthday, I got a call from Jimmy, and then went out with my sister-in-law, Amber and Riss to West End Johnnie’s. Now…I am in no way a “clubber” or “party girl.” Not to say I don’t have fun when Im out..because I do. But, I’d rather be at home, in a onsie baking something good, and watching a movie. But I truly have never had more fun than I did that night with those two girls. Running around Boston, taking ridiculously 22 year old selfies in nasty bathrooms after last call, and eating giant cookies at 2am from Bovas. So, thank you ladies, for making my 22nd celebrations so special. &Of course I spent the next day in bed with Riss, napping, watching New Girl and chugging Gatorade, until my little brother-in-laws told me to come downstairs, because in true Wollinger fashion, we had a birthday cake with the whole fam. Cant say it was my cutest Wollinger family party look..walking down the stairs in an oversized tshirt, last nights make up, and sweating Grey Goose…but, at least I had fun!

2. Enchanted Village with Momma B

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Momma B and I went to the Enchanted Village at Jordan’s Furniture. If you don’t know what that is…lets just say, its a very Massachusetts Christmas thing to do. This huge furniture store has a whole village with these dolls, showing different scenes of Christmas scenes from the 60s and 70s. A display that they had taken from Jordan Marsh. They have an ice rink, Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins galore, and a 4D showing of the Polar Express. I felt like a little kid again, and had such an awesome day with my Mom.

3. The Wollinger Ugly Sweater Party

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Maybe it was all the Mike’s Hard Karla and I drank that made this holiday party so amazing!? Maybe it was cousin Shayna’s ugly sweater….but what played such an amazing role in this evening…was NANA. LOOK AT NANA WOLLINGER GO ^

4. Jimmy coming home for Holiday Block Leave

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Watch this super sappy video from when I picked Jim up at South Station. That day was such a fun day. Even though he stunk, like an Italian sub, from his 48 hour bus ride from Benning. After he showered, and we hid him in Gloucester for a few hours, we got Jim in a giant box that his parent’s amazing neighbors wrapped, and surprised his mom and dad. That was just the beginning of the surprises that weekend. I took Jimmy to his surprise Christmas present. A stay at an extremely historical hotel, the Omni Parker House in downtown Boston. It was so beautiful..breathtaking architecture. Which leads me to #5.

5. Getting engaged the day before eloping.

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Yep. You read that right! Jim &I were “running away to get married” that weekend at Cambridge City Hall. Well, our families knew. haha We just plan on having an actual wedding in 2019, so we didn’t really tell everyone that we were eloping first. The night before, Jimmy and I took a walk through the theater district of Boston (one of my FAVORITE areas, right near my future school, Emerson.) and he took me down to the gazebo in Boston Commons, a place where he had “fake proposed” many a time, embarrassing me in front of hundreds of passers by..and he said to me..”Wouldn’t it be cool if I literally proposed to you, before we were married?” &I said to him, “Well, you’re kind of running out of time buddy..” So this fool, gets down on one knee..and me, thinking he’s faking again (with TONS of people around because it was Christmas time) tells him to get the heck up. But he pulled that gorgeous ring out of his pocket..and it was legit. Here’s our beautiful engagement photos taken by the incredibly talented Gerri Mazzeo.

6. Celebrating Amber’s Birthday

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I had another awesome night with Amber, for her “Quarter Century Celebrations” between our interesting, edible, Uber ride to Storyville, and 3am pit stops to an iHop, with Amber in pajamas…it was a night to remember. With the following day looking similar to my birthday, with cake and boozy sweat at the Wollinger home.

7. Trip to Savannah and Jim’s Basic Training Graduation.

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It was an interesting….journey down with Momma B. But Savannah is my favorite “city” next to Boston. Southern charm, adorable shops and restaurants downtown…and SUNSHINE AND PALM TREES. Nothing makes me happier than sunshine. I had so much fun with my Momma, and even got to meet up with Mariah, and baby (legit baby, HES SO LITTLE IN THESE PHOTOS!!) Levi.. &After our little vaca we got back in the Rogue for the 4 1/2 hour journey to Benning to see Jim graduate from OSUT! I’ve never been more proud of him, mostly because I could see the pride in his eyes for his accomplishments and his dedication to this country. It’s truly an amazing experience being a military spouse. ❤

8. Bruin’s game with Jill and the Masquerade Ball with Kira

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It was rare that I got to spend time with my IFS girls outside of work, and these two nights made 22 an amazing year for me. ❤

9. Moving to Fort Drum

This may not be my choice place to relocate to…though I will always love the North..it’s a tad rural for me. But moving out of state, and especially just out of my hometown, has been eye opening. &Living on a military instillation, has been humbling. Seeing, and now living the military family life is an honor. There are a lot of sacrifices we make losing time with our family member, and worrying about their safety..but I am so proud of Jim.&I love this country.

10. Easter away from home.

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I burnt the bacon, and got nothing but sh*t about my cooking for Easter dinner from Jim and Sheps. But–I loved it! ❤

11. Grandpy passing.

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This was so hard for me, between living away from my family and watching the death of my Grumpy Grandpy just bring out the worst in some family members…this was a harder death to grieve than my own fathers. But I have comfort in knowing my Gramps is now in a better place, and that I will again see him someday, free from the stress of human life.

12. My blog post about Emily 

This blog post about ANSTO Emily, is the piece of work I am the most proud of from my 22nd year. She inspires me on a daily basis, and to have the chance to tell her story, was such an honor.

13. Uncle Jimmy passing

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Another pit fall of my 22nd year was yet another family member, and male figure in my life passing away. He lost his battle with addiction. Addiction is something  I will never stop preaching about. People turn to drugs, typically when they’re in a very vulnerable place, and they just take a hold of your soul, and suck the person you are right out of you. But in his death, I do feel relief, that he is in a better place now. The best place, with our Lord..in his eternal rest. No more hurt, no more pain. My Uncle Jimmy spent a large chunk of the end of his life in Beverly, MA at the River House. The River House is a shelter that helps to guide individuals to a self sufficient life. They provide the resources for those who may have fallen off course to find stable income, find a permanent home, and they provide a lot of love and support. If you have the means–please donate to the River House. You can do this in a monetary donation–and every dollar counts, no amount is too little–or through providing a meal. Click that hyperlink to learn more. 🙂

14. Meeting the Gariss’!

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We’ve made a lot of new friends here on Fort Drum. But the Gariss’ are by far our closest and best friends. Trever and Caroline are two of my favorite people in this world. I never want to play Cards Against Humanity again without the raunchy humor of Caroline. She has quickly become one of my best friends in the world. &Little Wesley has become like another honorary nephew for us. I love that sweet, happy little boy with all my heart and soul. No matter what distance the Army puts between us, my friendship with the Gariss’ will not break. I love you guys. 🙂

15. New job, new work friends!

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Moving from MA was hard for a million and one reasons. One of the biggest was leaving my employer, the Institution for Savings. IFS is an incredible employer, and a place I still intend on continuing my career with if we move back home. But a new home, means a new job, and I knew it was going to be hard to find a place that competed with IFS, with the way we treat our customers like family, to the wonderful people I worked with, to the opportunities to both grow in my career, and help my community. But my new employer has done that for me. Northern is incredible to their members, they care so much for their community, and they have amazing people that work for them. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity in my 22nd year to have worked for two amazing companies.

16. VISITS AT DRUM

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Not really sure what was happening in this photo…

I had the opportunity to visit home a lot this summer, unfortunately two of the times I was home were for funerals, but it has been so nice having so many friends and family come to visit us at Drum. Momma B came up for Mother’s Day, Jim’s parents and little brother visited for a weekend in the summer before Jim’s deployment, his sister’s and brother-in-law came to visit–and we had SO MUCH FUN–my Mom and brother came up, my best friend Alex, and her boyfriend AJ came to visit us, and next weekend, we’re expecting my best friend Mariah, baby Levi, and her husband Spencer to come visit! I am SO excited to finally meet her hubs!

17. Old Forge

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As much as NNY would never be my residence of choice-there is a lot of beauty up here. Especially in the summer time. We spent a day at Old Forge. It was so adorable and charming. Adorable little shops, yummy restaurants. It was so much fun!

18. Father’s Day Weekend

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We went home for the weekend of Father’s Day, and normally–that’s a pretty crappy day for me. This year especially. No Dad, no Grandfather, no Uncle Jim. But I luckily have the best Father-in-Law in the world, and it was so nice to be able to celebrate with him. We went with my sister and brother in-laws to our favorite breakfast place, Red’s and took a walk around Salem, MA. It was such a beautiful day, and a huge highlight of my year. My heart was so full on the drive back to Drum that day.

19. Mariah’s Bridal Shower

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My best friend Mariah is a Navy wife–and as I’m sure a lot of my fellow military spouses know, sometimes you have to do things slightly out of order. We both eloped, and are having our weddings in the future. But, this past summer, my fellow bridesmaids and I threw her a bridal shower! It was a blast, and all the hard work we all put into this, was so worth it. It came out beautifully, and it was so nice to be able to all be together in MA, to celebrate Mariah and Spencer’s love. ❤

20. Jim’s First Deployment/Homecoming

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Photo by Marissa Frederick Photography

My 22nd year, definitely revolved around Jimmy joining the Army. But one of the biggest parts of this year, was Jim’s first deployment. We were “lucky” so to say, that he only went for the tail end of the deployment, but it was still tough. I was in a new environment on my own–and it was such a transition to be on my own, working and living in a totally unfamiliar place, and then a huge transition again to go back to life together. It’s easy, because you love one another, but it is hard to go from the routine you had living by yourself, and the routine he had with the Army overseas, back into marital life. But I was so blessed to have him come home safe, as well all know–that isn’t the case for all military personnel. I am so proud to be with a man, so devoted to his country.&I love this country I call home, so very much.

22. Home Decor

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They say home is where the heart is, and I left a HUGE piece of my heart back in Massachusetts. That will always be home to be. But currently, my heart, my life, and my man–are here on Fort Drum. I hear a lot of military wives that struggle with feeling home, in a place they know is temporary. But no matter the time spent in one location with this Army lifestyle, I want my house to be a home. I love interior decor–I get it from my Momma. I’ve had so much fun making this house a home, since we’ve been here. &I especially love the Christmas decor we have up currently. It’s so cozy to come home to at night, after a long day of work. I know someday we will leave this home we are in, and though I will always be excited for the next adventure, I will surely miss this place.

23. CADENCE

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This is quite possibly the best thing that happened to me at 22. I adopted the sweetest little Boxer mix in the world, Miss Cadence. She is my baby. She came to us, a bone wreck, with Kennel Cough, with such a sad back story–and to be able to nurse her to health, and give her a happy life, makes my life worth everything. She is so good with people, children and other dogs. She loves her stuffed monkey, chicken flavored treats, and carrots. She’s the biggest cuddle bug, and my number one fan club. I love my Cadence. ❤

 

Here’s to 23..the year Blink 182 says nobody likes you….here’s to hoping my handsome hubs continues likin’ me 😉

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Photo by Gerri Mazzeo

Welcome Home Jimmy!!!

HELLLLLOOOO GUYS!

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It’s been a bit! I know I promised a Game Day recipes post a ways back. But  I had a little bump in the road, where I had a great opportunity with an awesome sponsor..but we just couldn’t agree. I got really hard on myself for a while, and was thinking to myself–where is the blog going? Do I want to stop it all together? Do I want to go full throttle, and make it more of a center piece, and make it a full time income? &The answer is still…I don’t know. I love blogging. It’s my favorite hobby. It keeps me sane, it keeps me excited, and it gives me so much opportunity to connect with people I would have never had the ability to before. It’s such a wonderful creative outlet, and I don’t ever want to hate it. But yeah. So I think maybe later on next week, I might post some more rambles, but for todays post….JMMY IS HOMEEEEEE!

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the whole photographer thing, but then I realized…“Who am I kidding? Im Autumn Benson…when do I not go overboard?” I was sooo happy when I had reached out to a lot of talented photographers in the Fort Drum area, and found that Marissa Frederick had an opening! I have been admiring her work since before we moved here, and when she had an opening, I HAD to jump on it.

Marissa did such an amazing job capturing one of the most special moments in our lives. Jimmy came home from his first deployment. Though we were lucky this wasn’t a long one, that didn’t change the worry in my heart, the restless nights, the pit in my stomach..and the absence of my other half weighing on me.

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This photo is actually from the photographer for 2-87 ^^^ The rest are all Marissa 🙂 

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Wesley realizing it’s BOBO!!!

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Since then we have just been enjoying each other and life is back to normal! We went home to MA to visit family. Had dinner at the Wollinger’s in honor of Jim’s coming home.

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Jim and his dad give me life:

PLEASE WATCH THIS 

&Spent some time with the Benson fam, as my Daddy was honored along with all the other Gold Star Families in Massachusetts with a beautiful statue in Taunton, MA. We didn’t end up going to the ceremony, because I just knew it would be too emotional for me right now. But I am so blessed and honored by my Father’s sacrifice for this country. I am so proud to be a part of both the Benson/Wollinger families.

Also, we celebrated this little cuties 2nd birthday!

Oh yeah! &We had our closest friends up here come over for the Pats game, made some yummy food and just hung out 🙂

 

Wesley booping Sheppy^ So adorable!!

So that is all for now. I hope everyone enjoys their long weekend. I know I will. I am very excited to be spending time with Jimbob and my Cadence. Until next time! ❤

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

//xo

PS–Im a blonde again!!

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PS PS–LOOK AT THESE CUTE TARGET DOLLAR SPOT FINDS:

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IM BACK IN MA!?!?!?

HI GUYSSSSSS

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&haha to the readers I got with that click bait 😉 I am actually REwriting this post. This was due to be posted on Tuesday. I was having technical difficulties, and decided today would be the day…and I ended up losing the whole post. I was attempting to upload it on my new domain, that I have been working on for so long now..but alas it was a fail. But I drank a cup of coffee in hopes it would give me the energy to put away my mountain of laundry, but it didn’t. It did motivate me to get this rewritten and put on Netflix in the background! SO–where have I been? Where am I? Whats new?

There’s been lots of rumors going around that I moved back home, and one creepy app in particular had some nasty individuals speaking about me being “back home, and broken up with the Army guy.” Not sure where all that craziness got started, but I did not move home, and “Army guy” and I are still happily together. Well, in heart, not distance. But we’ll get there.

I DID GO HOME FOR A QUICK MINUTE THOUGH! It was rough timing with Jim, but I drove home for the weekend a couple weeks back with the pup for my family’s 6th Annual BBQ Reunion, and my best friend Mariah’s bridal shower! I had a blast, and also came back to Fort Drum an exhausted mess. I swear Im only now getting back to normal, and getting Cadence and I back into a good routine.

The morning of the BBQ started off a bit rough. I got into MA around 1am, after working all day, and then hopping in the car with my pup.

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I headed to my brother’s house to help him out with some cooking and run errands–but the morning ended up being me stuck in tourist trap beach traffic, and then having to tend to my frantic Momma B who took Cadence to the carwash. My crazy rescue pup got a little nervous and went “cray cray” as Momma B would say, chewing on the dashboard of her brand new car, and biting at the water on the windshield. Traumatizing for Momma and Cade. But alas, after all the craziness, the show went on!

I didnt get a TON of photos (unlike me) but I was really just enjoying my time, and trying not to get to sad with all the “Where is Jimmy?” questions. Even some of the Wollinger fam, and even their super awesome neighbors, The Palen’s came by!

Cadence had a pretty overwhelming day and had to have a nice nap with baby Levi.

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Later on my adorable big brother had his coworkers that were on duty come by for some food and brought all the children at the BBQ out to see the fire truck!

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The night ended with lots of laughs with old friends, a couple rounds of beer pong, and this epic Momma who couldn’t let Levi who thought it was still party time, cramp her style!

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The next morning was the morning of my best friend Mariah’s bridal shower!!! I am her maid of honor, and I have to say, that with the crazy distance, and mess that was planning this, us bridesmaids did a pretty banging job with the partayyy.

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&Of course before Cadence and I headed home (with lots of technical difficulties..) I had to show this pup the ocean, and what she gets to look forward to every time we visit, and when we finally do get to bring her back to our home. She couldn’t stop sniffing the air. Neither could I. Miss that salt air..

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But back to reality, and Cadence and I are home in Fort Drum! Had a crazy past few weeks in the office, and finally got the house picked up and things back in order this weekend. Aside from that mountain of laundry… But things are a little different in the Benson/Wollinger household….because Jimbob is DEPLOYED. Yep the D word has finally become reality and it sucks. We’re being told this shouldn’t be a long one. But I won’t say too much more in the name of OPSEC. But I can tell you, that I miss that dude like crazy. Things have been all over the place lately, but I am settling in and getting into a routine, and crazy office life/preparing to finish my bachelors has been keeping me busy. But getting into bed, and having his side be empty is not easy. This house being so quiet…is strange.

I wasn’t sure how I would do with him leaving this time. After all, the first week after he left for OSUT I was a MESS. That was our first time being separated. But I was at home, with my friends and family, in familiar territory.

But honestly…this time around I’ve been more “okay.” If that is the right way to say it. It’s scarier because I know my man is now in a dangerous place. But..I’m holding it together. Not crying in my room and thinking the world is ending, and all that teenage angsty stuff. Because life goes on. Living on post has given me the opportunity to be surrounded by all of these Army families. Might not be my family…but it’s inspiring to see all of these families, with small children keep on going, when their husbands and wives are deployed. Because if my Dad taught me anything, it’s that life does go on. Whether you chose to be present or not. &This time, I chose to be okay. Because my life will continue to move. I will continue to hustle and build my own career, and take care of my baby Cade. &Hold the fort down until my handsome man is back by my side farting and stinking the place out, and making strange noises, and whistling the Hunger Games whistle when he’s hungry.

So here’s to all the military families KILLIN it with keeping it together when life hands you orders.

 

Until next time.

 

“Im gonna put my body first, and love me so hard till it hurts….gonna love myself and I don’t need anybody else.”–Hailee Steinfeld (This song is my jam)

//xo

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