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Archive for the ‘North Carolina’ Category

Happy Fall Y’all

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Fall has finally arrived officially! Here in North Carolina we have been celebrating the on and off cooler weather. It’s a big deal when you don’t step outside and melt into a puddle of human with a frizzy ball of hair on top.  It also makes for better trips outdoors when the mosquitoes aren’t all over you and the sweat stays at bay a bit. Half-marathon training is also going a lot smoother. I am just not built for heat and humidity. With the cooler weather there’s also about a thousand more options on things to do. We have festivals, fairs, and races out the wazoo. AND JEANS! I can wear jeans again! Not sweaters quite yet, or scarves, but I will soon, and it will be glorious.

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We’ve already done a little hiking (well nature walks I guess. No actual hiking here!). No crafting just yet, but I’m on it. This season also makes it a lot easier for someone who has a zombie themed kitchen to find cute decor, haha! I do wonder what the homeowners face is going to look like when he comes to visit at the end of this week. I sure made this rental home ours, haha. I’m super nervous to meet him. I’ve never really had a landlord come over to check out the digs so I’m paranoid about it, of course. “Hey, you know how your house is kind of an epic fail inside? Well I made it pretty. I can make it prettier if you take it out of our rent.” Seriously, there is a complete iron mark on the carpet in our master room. Who the hell irons on the floor? Actually, who the hell irons? We have the awful wallpaper, odd outside paint job, marks all over everything, ugly counter tops… I could go on. But it’s our funny little home and I love it.

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I am again, appreciative for the awareness I have of how awesome it is to be back in the U.S. for actual seasons. I have Okinawa to thank for that. Being home for the holidays has been pretty amazing. I suppose now that I’ve been on the sidelines for them before, some of the things Americans do for holidays is pretty silly. The pumpkin spice crave is definitely one of those things.  I am just not a fan of everything I eat tasting like potpourri. Wait unless it’s actual potpourri, that’s allowed to be pumpkin spice. And pie. Mmm…. pumpkin pie.

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See? Pumpkin spice smelly stuff. HAHA!

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We have a lot on the ol’ bucket list this season. I plan to conquer it.
So Happy Fall Y’all as they say here in the sort of South, I hope you get out an enjoy it!

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When you get orders to Camp Lejeune (or one of the bases nearby), you’re told one of two things;

“UGH. I HATE THAT PLACE.”

or

“Oh, I LOVED living there, you will LOVE it!”

I got a lot of both. A lot of the hate came from either single Marines, or people who are not as adventurous as I am. The love side was a mixed bag.  I think if I had gone from my home on the West Coast, straight to living here on the East, I would have joined the Debbie Downers. But luckily for me, I had that… we’ll call it, interesting 3 years in Okinawa, Japan. I won’t lie, things are almost as different here on the East Coast as it was switching from San Diego to Okinawa. There is a CULTURE SHOCK here, believe it or not. And while, yes, Jacksonville is mainly chain stores and restaurants, with no large amount of local fair, it is special in it’s own ways.

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You really just need to venture out. And this post applies to wherever you reside, not just Jacksonville.  I suppose we’re well off, considering we’re very outdoorsy people and I’m not one to be caught dead in a mall unless it’s been a few months and have a friend to go with. I really love the movie Mall Rats though. I make no sense. Anyhoo! Generally I can get us all in the car and head out to just about anything. The Mr. is all about fishing at the current time, his myriad of hobbies usually reduce down to one at a time, and right now, fishing is IT. Once the cooler weather comes to stay, I’ll be breaking out the camping posts left and right after multiple trips to reside in a tent for a few days. AKA: HEAVEN. I grew up camping. I grew up visiting Yosemite and staying in a cabin. I grew up heading to the lake to ride around in a boat. These are things I will pass onto my son. If God graces us with a daughter, she better buckle up for a lifetime of tomboyhood because this Mama is no sissy pants. Unless a big bug tries to fly at my face, I ain’t havin’ that shit.

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Now I will admit that this is no San Diego or Olympic Peninsula, but it’ll do. Bloom Where You Are Planted, right?  I do miss hiking, and local hole in the walls, but if I really need those things, I can drive to them. Here, right in Jacksonville though, it does take some exploration to make this place home. I fell in love with this park, Onslow Pines. The trail isn’t extremely long, but it’s full of trees and peacefulness, and suicidal mosquitoes. Seriously don’t mess with me bugs. It’s long enough to occupy us until we come back around and burn energy at the playground. I found it through my running group, Stroller Warriors, and have since made it a favorite stop when we want to get outside.

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The simple truth is, this park reminds me of Washington. Of home. I think that’s very important. That no matter where the military might move you, you find something that reminds you of home. It’s harder here. Nothing is really quite the same. When I buy a new plant, I think of my Dad. When I watch a sunset on my back porch I think of my Mom. Small things take me back home. Small things, make it easier to be away. People in the civilian world don’t think it should be hard for us, afterall we’ve just moved somewhere else, people do that all the time.  We still make friends, do normal tasks, but we do it with only the memory of our once homes, instead of the actual thing. So I highly encourage you to high five a military family member, we love that. Maybe not in a creepy way though okay? Just a, Aww yeah way to be, kind of way. Because most of the time, we’re trying to make a place home, that is very much far from the original.

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You get homesick. You get used to your new home. You get homesick again.

Make the best of the middle bit.

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I have a few travel posts to get to, don’t I? Nothing exotic mind you, I’m still waiting on that random millionaire to hand me a check for being awesome. Then again, I just moved from a small island in Japan, I’m all good on exotic for a bit I think. So let’s rewind back to July, where I got to finally explore a little bit of Raleigh.

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Yeah, I meant a little bit. Apparently the 4th of July fest in Raleigh is srs bzns. Fighting through the crowd was something else. I assume there were vendors, I think I got close to maybe two of them.  This is where the whole Californian in me gets reaaaallll depressed. Street fairs back home are incredibly laid back, holiday or not. People bring their dogs, stroll around with local coffee, and shop at their leisure. This was more of a clusterfack of people needing iced beverages and over priced light up doodads. But, nevertheless, I did still get to see a little bit of downtown Raleigh, and I WILL be back to eat at all of the restaurants. And sight see (but mostly eat food).  At this point I was missing big cities, so I was soaking up everything I could.

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Yes ladies and gents, you read that right, DEEP FRIED GIRL SCOUT COOKIES. Is there a girl scout patch for childhood obesity? SIGN ME UP. I actually did not partake in this ridiculousness this go around, but if I see them out on the streets again, I’m all over it. Just for the sake of saying I ate something so insane. I know they do things differently in the South, but really!? Also check out that Christian Science reading room. Now there’s a place I’d like to pick up a brochure in, scowl, laugh, and walk out of. I really wish I’d been that creep to take pictures of the crowd, because whew, there are some real winners in Raleigh.

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Like these people for instance. WINNER STUFF. I’m not sure how well I’d pedal and drink beer at the same time, but I’m willing to give it a go.  They were cruisin’! I missed the smorgasbord of insanity that is a bigger city.

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At some point my stomach made it’s point rather clearly that if I didn’t eat something I would probably keel over. The lines for truck food were meh, so off to ZPizza! I forgot to mention that about 4 or 5 restaurants had cornhole game sets right outside. So I may be in a big city, but it’s still the South. Anyway, my Dad and I taught the mini to play cornhole, which he CLEARLY cheats at. The food was awesome, we were directly behind a stage that at first was rocking out, and then somehow turned into an intro to a myriad of international sports teams. For 20 minutes of looking directly at them, I still don’t know what sport they played. My best guess was frisbee. That’s a thing right?

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I definitely have a lot more of Raleigh to explore. Overall it was a lovely little side trip from the airport to catch some holiday goodness and totally drag my guys around. Sorry for immediately dragging you all over Dad, please come back someday.

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As you can see, New Bern is really, really hideous.

Oh who am I kidding, it’s adorable. All of the houses on this street looked like the doll houses I begged for and never received. Lookin’ at you parents! To make them even better, most of them were little B&B’s. Swoon worthy little B&B’s. Dreamy little B&B’s.  It was such a sleepy little town. No really, we went on the wrong day and basically everyone was sleeping. I am not accustomed to the South and how Sundays and Mondays are basically off days for everyone. They don’t really do that in Southern California, instead, mornings things are closed if the surf is good, and open if the surf the prior evening was bad.

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There is no surf here. But everything is closed. Brain does not compute.

Thankfully, there were a couple of shops open we could cruise and escape the heat for a moment. The HEAT. Oh man, another Southern staple I am not a fan of. I like the sunshine… and the thunderstorms, but the heat? No thank you, sir. I do like on the sleep days how a lot of the shop owners had their dogs with them. One shop had a multitude of Corgis, one of which slept in a playpen which was squee worthy.  I think I’ll make a few more trips to check out the Farmers Market, bike rentals, carriage rides, and a few of the restaurants. We ended up back at our favorite sushi joint, Ginza Japan.

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It’s a bummer I don’t drink soda, and never have, or I’d probably be really excited about it being the birthplace of Pepsi.

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Oh and did I mention there’s bears everywhere?

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No not those kinds of bears. These:

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Please excuse my child.

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Let’s be honest, my life is basically a vacation. I’m a stay at home Mom, married to what I assume to be the only Marine who doesn’t really leave a whole lot. See, he’s such a good Marine, that they want to keep him around a lot, which I know sounds a bit silly, but making sense of how the Marine Corps works is almost an impossible task. So how on Earth do I feel like I need vacations still? Especially after having just moved from Overseas? Well because even though my life may seem like a vacation to the every day outsider, it’s not always the case. I do have an amazing amount of free time, with no real duties outside of making sure my potty training son is aiming the right way and that the laundry doesn’t meet the same height as Mt. Kilimanjaro. My husband works 14+ hour days, 5 days a week, and our weekends are really the only chance to be a normal functioning family. I hadn’t seen my Dad in person in over two years, so when he told me he was coming out for a quick visit, I was ecstatic. Because when it comes down to it, THAT’S where I struggle with military life. Missing our families. Okinawa was somewhere around 6,000 miles away from my family. Now we’re about 2,000 and some change miles from home. SO close, yet so far. We’re on the wrong coast for both of our families, so sometimes it’s hard making the Skype, texts, and calls the real time we have with our family. Enter: Dad Visit.

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After picking him up in Raleigh, I immediately made him wander through the packed streets of Raleigh for their 4th of July festival and fireworks. My Dad is such a good sport and totally put up with all of my mini adventures while he was here. The people on the left of the photo above taught my son to take small flowers and shoot them off using their own stems, and the people to the right of my Dad & Jax got engaged right in front of us. Raleigh is not a boring town my friends. When they found out we were from California they were kind of amazed we were there. I almost forget sometimes what it’s like outside towns that aren’t completely run over with military families. It’s such a nice break when you see the clueless faces of people who know nothing of your crazy life. Hearing “Thank you for your service” never gets old. These days hearing it is pretty rare, and that’s a really sad fact.

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We made side trips to New Bern, Wilmington, and little areas around home. Somehow I also got my Dad to transplant my tomatoes and Angelonias, in true Dad form. We did our favorite things, like visit an aquarium, and drink craft beers, even managed to check out the State Farmers Market in Raleigh before he flew out again. The weather was amazing while he was here, the day he came the rain stopped, and the day after he left, it began again. As if my Dad brought the California sunshine with his smiles. If you live around here, definitely get out and explore. A lot of military here complain about what a terrible place is, and I’d guess they would be right if they stuck to only our small town. But there are a lot of hidden gems, you just have to get out and find them.

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It’s so amazing to have family around. I look back at how I took it for granted living in the same town as them for so long, and am amazed at how military life has made me appreciate the time with them so much more.  If you’re lucky enough to spend time with your family regularly, you’re lucky enough. For this part of our lives, I’ll look forward to the short visits, and the silly calls and texts, and when the time comes to settle down, I’ll hold onto what the military way of life has taught me about being thankful to be able to hug the the ones you love or share a cup of coffee in person.

I’ll be posting small posts about some of our Adventures with Papa soon.

xoxo

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I uh…. don’t get out much. Okay I get out a little, but never to the places I really love. Like Forever 21. And H&M.

Don’t rub your eyes, you read that correctly, I CAN be girly when I want to be. Not as girly as about 95% of the other girls shopping in Forever 21, but I try. Today I had to drive into Raleigh again to say goodbye to my Dad (whose visit I shall blog about later), but I didn’t want to waste the whole day away at home, so we cruised a little bit. We checked out the State Farmers Market, which I wasn’t at all prepared for. It’s HUGE. I wanted one of everything. Somehow I managed to only come home with a jug of cider and some preserves, but next time it’s on like Peachy Kong. And by Peachy Kong I am of course referring to the Peaches that were the size of my face.

After that, and saying goodbye to the Pops, I dragged the little over to a mall I had slightly googled. My original plan was to go to a State Park nearby but the slight rain, and choice of slip flops told me I should maybe try something else. Come fall and cooler weather however, expect a blog post on that epic park. Anyway, onto the mall… I was really just wanting to get into a Forever 21 so I could feel old, and a Pottery Barn so I could feel poor. Mission Accomplished. I’ve always been a bit fashionably challenged, usually my outfit selections go jeans, white tank, shirt. The end. So I kind of need to spruce up things in my closet, and probably get rid of the things I’ve had that let’s face it… don’t belong on someone over the 25 year old hump. So today I spoiled myself a little bit.

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Do you ever do this? I go window shopping sometimes and walk out with things for everyone but myself. But then a day like today comes by and I sort of splurge. Not financially, I’ll be honest, I’m a cheapskate. I’m that chick who is scouring clearance racks in the backs of stores while her kid plays angry birds. I suppose I like bright colors and Ikat, according to my buys today, but mostly you’ll catch me in t-shirts and flannels. Here’s to hoping I take on a bit more style in my Forever 21 old age. Someone please open a Forever 31 so I can not hang my head in shame while shopping in the lace & rainbow colored throw up that is Forever 21. And to add onto my slightly old feeling, I only walked about a 1/3 of the mall itself, as I ran out of parent patience and was tired of the mall already. I can only handle little doses. Now I need to go hiking and chug a beer and eat a steak. MAN STUFF HUZZAH!

I apologize for the iPhone photos. Go out this week and spoil yourself a little bit. I’m sure you deserve it for something.

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Although if you know me at all, I can’t imagine you’re shocked by this. 

And if you don’t know me personally, welcome! I’m terrible at this.

 

I am completely settled in North Carolina now. Well, as settled as I’ll get. I still get odd looks when I’m blaring Sublime out my windows and playing with my magnificent blonde hair. Yeah, I’m from California, bite me, you judgers!  Now technically since I’m blogging on a Wednesday, this is supposed to be a Warrior Wednesday post, but alas, I’ve also been a terrible warrior. My workouts have come to a stand still after a gnarly sinus thing that left me basically incapacitated and wanting to dunk my entire head in a vat of coffee every day. I’m mostly better now, having drowned my sorrows in homeopathics and really terrible food choices. But I announced on facebook that I’m going to make July my bitch, and make it my bitch I shall. 

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This is my July goal. Letters. Snail Mail. Post. Postage. Owl Post. 
Whatever you call it, if you’ve contacted me, you’re getting it. Now that we live in an actual house, and not a Japanese cement block, we have a mailbox, and a mailman! Well actually mail lady. She hates my holly bushes and pokes fun at my boxes. She’s wonderful and I want to high five her all the time, but… well that makes me a weirdo. I found a small supply of stamps and have a surplus of crafty crap I have no use for, so I figured I’d hook myself up with some pen pals and get to writing and doodling and general sticker placing. 

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Look see?! It’s already working and I have a postcard to stare at above my desk! Along with some super nerdy artwork I have yet to frame, need to get on that. Anyway, back to July plans. My Dad comes in tomorrow for a week long visit that I’m ridiculously excited about. Perfect timing as I haven’t had much freedom lately and really like to play Bed & Breakfast & Tour Guide. Plus my Dad is the coolest. No really. I have picture that proves his coolness factor dating back to when I was a wee baby and he was rocking Ugg boots, shorts, and checking out the morning surf breaks. No not THOSE Uggs, cool Uggs. YES THEY WERE COOL. Don’t argue with me. If you came from a surfing family in Southern California, you probably grew up with Uggs. The fashion people stole them and ruined them and I hate them for it. *Cough* Moving on.  Anyway, I’m going to attempt some small adventures while he’s here and I’m of course stoked about it. After that it’s my little dudes birthday. 4 years old. MY CHILD WILL BE 4 YEARS OLD. Man, I’m ancient. Then after that it’s onto planning a mini road trip, kiddo & I, up to Ohio to see some more Fam. They haven’t met Jackson yet, so they get to meet him at his prime, 4 years old and full of personality. Yay. Then in August we’re taking a trip to Tennessee for some NASCAR where I will surely drown in all things country. So hopefully my blogging will pick back up now that I have a reminder to blare at me when I’m being a bad writer. I wish I could do that for everything. 

*REMINDER* Stop pressing air fluff on the dryer, take that shit out, it was dry 4 cycles ago.

*REMINDER* You’re not fooling anyone with those weak ass tan lines, you were sunburned, don’t do that again.

*REMINDER* You really don’t need to go to Ross. Stop it. 

*REMINDER* You can actually run farther than 3 miles now. Stop doing barely 3 miles. 

 

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