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.
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.
- 22 Celebrations.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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’!
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 😉
Photo by Gerri Mazzeo