See Ya, Summer

It’s been awhile. Summer tends to do that to blogging, does it not? Summer is now regretfully over, and with it go my days of laying on the beach doing nothing but reading brain candy and hanging out with my family. However, I did accomplish a few things…

10418338_10203281611134586_2339180192512064705_nI shot a wedding in Connecticut & the Fireman joined me as my assistant. He’ll never volunteer his services again.

10519577_10203348506646932_5832005185605614006_oThis is my lake. See why I want to be there all day, every day?

10498329_10203267736148412_6259141960078368925_oMy sister came out to visit for a month (!!!!) this year and it was AMAZING. We had so much fun together & she was already planning her next visit out before she even left.

Obviously, the highlight of the summer was the Fireman’s return home from deployment, but my 2 week vacation to California was right up there in second place.

But the best thing I did all summer was hang out with this precious man:

10527320_10203176236140277_8255681100750404190_nI realize what a gift it is that my grandfather is still around and kicking (and sassy!) at 88. He is such a sweet man & if I was given the option to hang out with him or hang out with my girlfriends, you KNOW I’d pick him any day.

10577067_10203303815289676_3933535083251009874_nA few of his favorite things include reading every book he can get his hands on (sound familiar?), eating chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake, or Oreos at any turn, & taking naps on the porch. He is hilarious & opinionated & he even has his own hashtag on Instagram (#grampftw).

10653656_10203464519027169_8344865596165815764_nHe tells me every time that I leave that he’s going to cry (stop it already, you’re breaking my heart). Gramp, I love you bunches & I know that Mom will tell you you’re online again & you’ll pretend to be over it but will secretly be thrilled.

Anyways, Summer. So long, buddy. I can see the trees changing colors and I feel the morning chill & secretly I’m thrilled about pulling out my sweaters & boots. I’ll be back to posting more often, but I’m slowly getting back into the swing of it all! Happy Fall, y’all!!

Transitioning

I woke up Monday morning, ironically, the first night that the Fireman slept through the night since he’s been home, and there I was staring at the ceiling at 4 am, listening to him mumble in his sleep next to me. It was the sore throat that woke me up, and the sheer exhaustion that slapped me in the face the next few days as I sucked on throat lozenges and ate Zicam like it was my job.

Civilian life is a tough transition. We’re a one car family right now, so there’s that. Then there’s the inevitable question of, “What will we do today?” followed by the realization that without a schedule there is no day ahead of us. The schedule is what drives him. The days loom ahead on the calendar, empty & full of supposed R&R & leave, but they look like a blank slate. Scary, right?

2014-02-15 10.44.26Food used to appear at 6 pm on the dot. Food now has to be shopped for, prepared, & cleaned up. Laundry, oh laundry, you freaking beast. You’ve doubled, tripled in size & taken over the floor of our bedroom. Shoes are everywhere. Backpacks are everywhere. Weights are on the floor in the office. The dishwasher is run every few days. The eggs run low. The milk runs lower. Sometimes, the patience runs the lowest.

The transition is hard. A week and a half in & we’re still struggling a little bit. The Fireman is starting to sleep through the night, after waking up at least twice nightly. Daily routines are starting to become established. Little by little, we’re getting back to normal.

So bear with me, as I wade through this new part of life to get back to our old life. Projects are coming, but summer & my family are here as well. Balance is important & so is chocolate.

Caitlin out.

Friday, Friday

I’ve been seriously absent (again) around here lately. Great reason though.

10527262_10203180718852342_2046162171753022332_nThe Fireman arrived home last Friday & we surprised his family the next day. I’ve had the whole week off to hang out with him (freaking amazing).

1908032_10203181737877817_6565329572897054923_nThere are no words to describe what it’s like to have him back after 6 months without sounding like a total sap head, but I’ll say this: seeing him come down the stairs at Logan made all the worry of the last 6 months melt away.

IMG_2626Deployment sucks. So, so much. The last 6 months have been a struggle. But it’s over now & I’m so happy that he’s home.

IMG_2638-3So I’ll just be over here hanging out on the couch & going on great adventures with my favorite if you need me.

Oh, California

Oh, California. There are so many things that I could say about you. So, so many things.

IMG_68952 weeks in California after being in a small town for the last year is much like being slapped in the face with a large fish. It will boggle your mind for a moment and then confuse the hell out of you. Stop lights? 4 grocery stores in a 2 mile vicinity? Jamba Juice? Starbucks? WHAT IS THIS PLACE!?

IMG_6897I felt super out of place until my dad placed the keys of his large truck in my hand & I had some country music blaring…then it was on like Donkey Kong.

IMG_6976California is such an incredible place to visit. Really. You’d need more than two weeks there to really appreciate it, but I tried my best. Mornings were spent on runs to the beach, sometimes conning my bestie into joining me (Starbucks is the best bribe ever), and afternoons were spent at the beach. What else? We roadtripped to Vegas, tanned, drank more beer than I can even fathom, had girls nights, ate Mexican food, visited a fire station (because I’m 5 years old), admired the local sights & ate our faces off at my parents house. There’s more, but at the risk of damaging my so far pristine reputation (cough, cough), I’ll temporarily forget about it.

10407912_10203050300991977_5796460345515208341_nMiss one eyed Moxie entertained us to no end, especially my 2 year old cousin who is completely enamored with her.

2014-07-21_0002She’s also obsessed with my dad. How adorable are they together!?

10501707_10203040503347042_3644613372972652883_n

I know I’m completely jumping around here, but there was so much that happened. I turned 25 while I was there (really the actual reason for the trip) & had such an amazing day. It was the first time in 5 years the Fireman hasn’t been with me, but also the first in 5 years that I’ve been with Amy & the rest of my family in California. Win win. We had dinner at the Cliffs in Laguna Beach…literally right on the water. This was the view from dinner. Also, some amazing mojitos & a great live band that entertained us.

10469702_10203050297151881_2409113498966650876_nWe also made the unfortunate mistake of parking about a mile away, on a hill, while all wearing 5 inch heels. Brains do not run in the family, as it turns out.

10410171_10203050301511990_7520663775698132449_nBeing in California for my birthday also meant that I’d be able to participate in my beloved July Fourth shenanigans, including a parade full of Shriners, bands, & hot shirtless guys walking around. Wait, what?

IMG_6997Vegas was…well, Vegas. We spent less than a day there & my, oh my, was it a day. Pool, walking the strip, insane sandwiches at 430 am & delicious vodka tonics.

2014-07-21_0006And dressing like hookers Vegas. Can’t forget that.

IMG_6999And jumping on the beds. Our dad taught us well.

IMG_6995IMG_7011Our uncle overnight us 14 (14!) lobsters, which we tortured the dog with.

2014-07-21_0007But really. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

2014-07-21_0001If you visit my parents, you will receive a large drink within 10 minutes of your arrival. Those few weeks, they were homemade mojitos (literally, I can’t even describe how incredible they were). This man is the master of the mojito. And the lobster. And the ribs. And the macaroni salad.

2014-07-21_0004Also, apparently massive hair runs in the family. Noted.

IMG_0015

These 3 girls were just THE best to let me stay with them for the whole 2 weeks.

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So basically, in summary, California was awesome. Liver pickling, but awesome, nonetheless. Let me rally for a year or so & I’ll be back!

Friday Four

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written one of these little posts up, so here goes nothing.

1. Is over a week too long to be still claiming jet lag? I hope not, because seriously, y’all, this jet lag is kicking my butt.

10414640_10203071654165793_6346436665692076468_n2. My few days off have been spent here:

10557348_10203123464941030_4895462411310849248_n3. With this precious old thing:

10527631_10203100010114674_8189701045085431637_n4. And I started running again.

10342772_10203084703452017_8726523508440244247_nThe end.

Oh Look, A Blog Post

Well this is embarrassing.

As it turns out, trying to consistently blog as a 25 year old is just as hard as when you’re 24. Who knew? Also, summer.

Here’s what I’ve been doing (other than EMS-sing):

IMG_1707

Wedding-ing.

IMG_1767Selfies with the bride-ing.

wedding swiftOh hey, look there’s me doing my thang-ing.

IMG_2606-2And snuggling with babies. So much snuggling.

This post has been brought to you by an exorbitant amount of iced coffee and little sleep.

Caitlin out.

NYC: Brooklyn & Chelsea

Last month I went to visit one of my girlfriends in NYC. I hadn’t been since I was just out of high school, and it had always been in the middle of the winter, so I was thrilled to finally be warm. I showed y’all the 9/11 memorial, but we also hit up some great other attractions.

2014-06-13_0018We did the whole walking through Washington Square Park after a brunch at Buvette (seriously, go. You’ll die). After that, we met up with some of her friends and walked to Brooklyn, where we got caught in one of the most intense rainstorms of all time. #worthit

2014-06-13_00192014-06-13_00202014-06-13_0021By the time we got to our destination (the old Domino sugar factory), the sky was blue and the sun was shining. Go East Coast weather.

2014-06-13_0022We went to Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety” exhibit at the old factory. It’s being torn down (this month, I think), & she, got permission to create an homage to the sugar cane workers inside of it. Everything was made out of sugar and/or molasses.

2014-06-13_00232014-06-13_00242014-06-13_0025Crazy, right? It was the coolest thing of all time.

2014-06-13_00262014-06-13_00272014-06-13_00282014-06-13_0029The next day we hit up Chelsea and the High Line.

2014-06-13_0030It was gorgeous. I absolutely loved Chelsea!

2014-06-13_00312014-06-13_0032Also, the Highline was insane. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see trees and greenery in my life! It’s a walking garden that was built on the old elevated train tracks that run through Chelsea. It’s massive & has benches, lawns, vendors, & water features, & it’s all located right next to the Hudson River. Love, love, love.

2014-06-13_00332014-06-13_00342014-06-13_00352014-06-13_0036NYC, I loved you & I promise that I’ll be back!

Reflections on 24

Oh hey y’all. Remember me? I’m smack in the middle of a super long vacation in California which is why I haven’t shown up for class since…well, last Wednesday. But I realized on my run this morning that today is the last day before I cross over into my second quarter of life.

Let me rephrase: tomorrow is my 25th birthday.

At 25 you’re expected to have your sh*t together, non? Because if that’s the case, just fail me now. 24 was a rough year. 25 is an even harder age. I am constantly being bombarded with engagement and pregnancy announcements (and divorce announcements, if you can believe that) & I feel like I am hurtling uncontrollably towards some invisible finish line.

2014-07-02_0003Most of 24 was dominated by a deployment. The first half, it hovered over my head like an axe I felt would drop at any moment. For the last half of 24, I’ve been alone. As one of my coworkers told me, “It’s lonely, but it makes you a stronger person.”

She’s right. I started traveling again. I read such an absurd amount of books that I’m embarrassed by it. I started working out again and dropped to sizes I haven’t fit in since high school. 24 was a very in between year. 25 will be too.

2014-07-02_0002I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to spend my 25th birthday with my family in California for the first time in 5 years. I’m lucky to have all of these crazies in my life (including the one eyed wonder pup, Moxie). I’m lucky this deployment is slowly drawing to a close & I’m hopeful that 25 will be better than 24 was.

So tomorrow, feel free to have a slice of cake on me :).

Skin Care 101

I had bad skin when I was younger. Like, BAAAAAAD. No matter how much I washed it, or applied Clearasil, or Oxyclear, or whatever product I was desperate to use, it never helped. My poor kids are genetically cursed. Later in high school, the tides turned and my skin started clearing up, but it wasn’t until I was about 19 that it really cleared up. I still have occasional breakouts, but don’t wear any sort of coverup unless it’s bad. This is a HUGE improvement over what I used to have to cake on to cover up the blemishes.

It’s taken me almost 25 years to figure out what makes my skin happy, so I figured I would share it in case you’re in the same boat as me. I’ve been using this regime for almost 6 months and haven’t had a single issue.

2014-06-23_0001I wash my skin with EV coconut oil. Just rub it in, and then wipe it off with a wet washcloth. Remember, your skin needs hydration; without it, it will just produce more and more oil.

I use this fantastic toner after washing my skin. It doesn’t contain alcohol, so it’s not overly drying.

2014-06-23_0002I swear by this eye cream. I’ve been using it for YEARS (and before you laugh at me for using it in my 20’s, let’s just talk about the fact that I have no wrinkles or bags under my eyes). It makes your skin feel so smooth, and as someone who hasn’t had much sleep in the last few months, it diminishes the bags and dark circles that I get. It’s a bit pricey for a tub, but it will last you for quite a few months.

2014-06-23_0003Remember how I mentioned all that Clearasil? Well, after over 5 years of using it, I was sick of how it dried my skin out and I was grossed out by the amount of chemicals in it. I found this here in NH during one summer, and purchased it on a whim, after seeing the organic ingredients in it. It made my skin feel so much better after just one use. It won’t dry you out, and bonus, it smells great.

2014-06-23_0004Because of where we live, my skin is SUPER dry during the winter, so I moisturize with thick Nivea cream (the kind that comes in the blue tins). In the summer though, I like light moisturizer, and this is my new favorite. I received it for Christmas (thanks Beth!) & now swear by it. It’s so light and thin, but I have no idea how much it costs (yet!).

So there they are, my arsenal of tricks. Please share if you have any!!

Deployment

So I forgot to post again last week. No excuses, but here’s the thing: the last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle for me. We all know that people only share the happiest and shiniest moments of their lives on the internet.

I now have a bit of a confession to make.

Four and a half months ago, the Fireman was deployed to the Middle East.

2014-02-15 10.44.26Sometimes deployments are portrayed as something of a romantic notion; the soldier goes away and those left behind pine for him until he makes his triumphant return. Great. Except that they always gloss over the every day life that we deal with by ourselves. Remembering to pay the bills. When was the last time I did laundry? Have I vacuumed at all this month?

I’m here to dispel the notions about deployments. Hollywood has lied to you. There is nothing romantic about watching your best friend walk away from you at the airport gate. Nothing about sleeping alone for 6 months. Nothing about coming home to a dark and empty house, night after night. There is nothing romantic about be able to talk to your loved ones sporadically, worrying everyday about their safety.

Grocery shopping can be done almost monthly. The laundry gets put off as long as possible. Sometimes dinner is a box of macaroni and cheese and the dishes stay in the sink for two days. Spiders are trapped under jars.

The novelty of being able to not worry about anyone other than yourself and stay up late and go out with your friends wears off. There’s nothing more that I want right now than to curl up on our couch with the Fireman and watch a movie.

There have been so many instances where I find myself wanting more than ever for him to be home: when his 9 month old nephew giggles; when it’s a lazy Sunday and I want someone to drive around with; when I have a bad day. He isn’t here to partake in my joys nor my sorrows.

Let me repeat: deployments are romanticized. The homecomings are amazing and worth the wait, but the leaving, the first day, the first week, the first month, they all suck. Don’t forget the middle. Don’t forget that you’ll only be able to see your loved one through pictures. You’ll find yourself hungry for snippets of their daily lives. You’ll worry daily about them. Your days will start to blend together, until one day, you realize that you’ve established a new routine that doesn’t involve anyone else.

And when they come home? It’s almost just as hard as when they leave. Suddenly, it’s not just about you anymore. You have someone else to consider. For the first few days, you tiptoe around each other and try not to get in each others way. I mean, we all say that it’s not going to be that way when our person comes home, but really? We’ll do a small dance around each other for the first two days until we can get adjusted to it.

They’re coming home from somewhere so structured that sometimes they’re lost when they’re set free. We’re at a place so unstructured that we can’t remember how long that milk has been in the back of the refrigerator.

It’s hard, but there are some sweet moments. Receiving a text that tells you how much they love and miss and appreciate you. Being asked to Skype because they miss seeing you. Talking; really talking about everything and nothing at the same time. These are the things that keep you going when you think that you can’t do it any longer.

You’ll learn things you never knew about yourself while you’re alone for so long. You’ll find that you really are incapable of killing spiders. You’ll learn you can reupholster a couch by yourself. You’ll find yourself driving around and finding small back roads that beg for exploring. You’ll learn how to be alone & do things by yourself. I’ve traveled by myself, gone on dates alone, & I even learned how to jump my car battery (I mean, I had him on the phone with me, but still).

Deployments suck. You’ll never find someone who enjoys them. I’ve struggled the last few months with a myriad of emotions that have thrown me around. This isn’t an excuse to why why I’ve been scatterbrained and forgetting to post, and blahbitty blah blah, but real life happens. Deployments happen. We can see the end of the tunnel now, but every step there feels like quicksand. Soon enough, he will be home and life will be back to normal, but until then, we’re a world apart.

And of course, a little tip: if you know someone who is dealing with a deployment, offer an ear. A free dinner. A movie night. Even letting them know that you’re around if needed is the biggest thing that you can do. Trust me on this one.