Thursday, July 24, 2014

Coming to a Close


Fort Sill's Recreation Area

I didn't think our time here in Altus would go by as quickly as it did. I feel like it was just yesterday we were pulling into this tiny town. I remember thinking what in the world was I going to do here for 3 1/2 months?

We have had some great adventures while being "stationed" here. This TDY (Temporary Duty) has been a great time of getting to know some people from Columbus. I am bummed that they will not be closer to us, but so excited for what God is doing in their lives. I can't wait to keep in touch with them as they head off to Kansas and Alaska :)


I will be sad leaving this tiny town because I have had great memories here:
- Tuesday Girl's Night watching the Bachelorette.
- Days at the pool in 100+ degree heat. We didn't even leave the coolness of the pool most times.
- Weekend BBQs because there wasn't anything else to do.
- Experience the church culture in this tiny town.
- Coffee Shop Afternoons of reading, putting together a puzzle, or just talking.
- The baby scorpion and tarantula experience
- Traveling to Medicine Creek and our Failure at Meers (overrated).
- Our day on the "beach" at LETRA (Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area) with our new friends heading to Dover :)
- Living the slow paced country life
- Trip to Oklahoma City
- Trip to Dallas
- Trip to Colorado Springs
- Trip to Fort Worth
- Our 2nd Anniversary bust where we ended up going to a "nice" restaurant all dressed up.

Gabe will actually be flying the C-17 tomorrow!



This will be his 1st of 3 flights. After the 3 we will be on a 1,500 mile trek North East to our new home. We don't have an exact date of leaving or house and our household goods are still in Birmingham, Alabama, but we will have a blast figuring everything out once we get there. We can't wait to join the McKenneys and the Johnsons. They were in our class during UPT and both got married within this past year. So blessed to have them in our lives for the next 3-5 years.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fort Worth for the 4th of July!

     We have been blessed to receive a few days the past 2 years to take vacation and spend it with friends. Last year we headed to Destin, Florida with some friends. Then, this year we had 2 couples from Mississippi moving to Arizona, so we decided to meet up with them for a few days in Fort Worth, TX.
Patriotic nails.





      We opted to stay at the Naval Air Station this year which is located on the north side of Fort Worth and about a 10 minute drive to downtown. This is a beautiful base with the hotel right on a lake. We brought Zoe with us so she could reunite with Dixie whom she spent a month with in Florida this past February as well as a weekend in North Georgia.






     On this trip the Apseys (F-16 guard in Vermont- training in Phoenix, AZ) and the Nemethys (A-10 in Tucson, AZ) were with us for 2-3 days.

      We tried to pack as much as we could into those too short days. We headed to the Stockyards for dinner and Billy Bob's Country Bar. After dinner we headed to a somewhat sketchy bar off the main street and ended up racing goldfish. I may have had a crying moment thinking that this time with our friends was going to end soon, but got over it and enjoyed our night. We had a bizarre taxi ride with strobe light, laser light show, and a fog machine for our quick trip.
Loved relaxing by the water, but hated being close to it. Gabe and AJ floating in the distance.
Dinner at Risky's BBQ. When in Texas, do as the Texans do ;)

       
































        We headed to lunch at Panda Express and Target to pick up some inner tubes for river floating on the 4th of July. It was such an interesting experience. It was the 5th annual Trinity River 4th of July celebration. There were hundreds of people, rafts to float in the river, food vendors, and performers on jet skies. We floated for about 2 hours before heading downtown. Dinner downtown at the Flying Saucer was amazing! Then we had enough time to head back for fireworks on base to finish off our time with the Apseys. The fireworks were a nice way to spend time with the Apseys.














 
       We enjoyed some lunch with a couple food trucks, which was my first time eating from a food truck. We had the options of cajun, mexican, asian, and cupcakes! We used our inner tubes from the day before to enjoy a day on the lake by the hotel, another trip to the stockyards to see the cattle drive, dinner at Cattleman's, then a trip to the rodeo for AJ's birthday. The rodeo was a lot of fun and reminded me of the stock shows I would go to growing up. There was bull riding, calf roping, mutton chasing, and barrel racing. We headed back for some final minute hanging out in our rooms and so the dogs could get some energy out.         We had to say goodbye to the Nemethys and send them on their way to Tucson for more training. We had one last breakfast with them, then cried our goodbyes out one final time.







     Once the other couples left we still had a day and a half left to enjoy some "couple" time and celebrate our 2 year anniversary.
     When we had moved to Columbus 2 years prior visited wine country and knew we needed to head back. So, on Sunday we headed to Grapevine, TX to revisit our favorite winery at the time (La Buena Vida) as well as to walk the streets of this small town.
     We showed up and found out that our vineyard was closed and turned into a wedding venue... read- no possible way of getting our favorite Sangria.
    We went into a few shops before heading to The Homestead Winery for a wine tasting. We headed into an olive oil store where we could taste different oil and balsamic vinegar infused with various items (lime, jalapeno, coffee, chocolate, pomegranate, champagne, etc). We had so much fun trying all of them. We ended up with some Burboun Smoked Brown Sugar as well as some cilantro and citrus habanero olive oil. Can't wait to cook with them.
I have been participating in a photo contest with doTERRA, so I took the opportunity to snap a shot at the winery.


















         We heard about a winery just down the street of the olive oil tasting, so we made our way for some tastings. The Homestead Winery offered a large variety of wines. Red, white, dry, sweet, and even chocolate which was the consistency of wine, but tastes like chocolate. I was good for about a sample of it. We looked at their other options and sat out on their front porch. After we were done with our 5 samples we headed just down the street to a fabulous Mexican Restaurant. I had an amazing breakfast option with so much food! We headed back to our hotel room to take a nap and get Zoe out and about before we headed to our anniversary dinner.
        I had found an amazing seafood restaurant in Fort Worth a few days weeks prior to our trip and knew we had to go. Their seafood is boat to table within 36 hours, so it was pretty much as fresh as we could find in the last 3 months. The food was phenomenal. I had Swordfish and Gabe enjoyed some massive scallops. We told our waiter we were celebrating our anniversary and a few minutes later the hostess brings rose petals and a card from the restaurant. In addition we received an amazing Ghiradeli chocolate dessert. It was the best food that we have had in months.
        Before heading back home I wanted to visit the Water Gardens. This is a group of sculptures representing different things. They had a "mountain" that Zoe enjoyed climbing up. There was also a serenity pool and then one with misters out of the middle. The final one was this waterfall one. We weren't sure how Zoe would like all the water, but she managed to get to the bottom without carrying her and she laid down once we reached the base.


      We quickly snapped a few photos of each other and headed back up and to the car. We had a 3.5 hour drive ahead of us and Zoe was pretty hot :) It was an amazing weekend of seeing our friends. I know the AF will bring us back together at some point down the road.

















        Since then we have enjoyed the last few weeks of Altus. The end is in sight and before we know it we will be on a 5 day trek to the East Coast. Gabe has finished his final simulators!!! I was able to do one with him and it was so interesting! I flew the plane in Altus, Colorado Springs, Alaska, Hawaii, and Germany. It was so cool to experience the full motion simulator. Now we are waiting on Gabe to have his 3 flights over the next 2-3 weeks. After his last flight we will be packing up the car and heading out!
She loves her ball and cannot be without it.

During a workout I caught him looking at the C-17 that just took off. Soon...soon.

Zoe in her 4th of July bandana.



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Colorado Springs Trip

       Waaaay Back in June after Memorial Day I wanted to take a trip to Colorado to see my family since it had been almost 6 months since the last time I saw them. I decided to leave 3 days after getting home from our trip to Dallas. I took Zoe and our trusty Saturn with me for an 8 hour drive to civilization. I left at 4 AM because I love getting up early to drive and getting to my destination before the sun sets. I arrived at my sisters front door by 11AM.

         I was there to see my niece and nephew, sister and brother in law, and to see my parents. Once we move to Delaware I know I would have to travel home to see them (unless a bike race was happening near by) and we aren't sure what Christmas will look like for us this year. I didn't have an agenda wanted to hit all of my favorite restaurants and places I hadn't seen in a year. This included Hacienda Colorado, Chipotle, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Flying Horse (my parents place), and all the fresh air and mountain views Colorado has to offer.

         Some days I don't know why I ever left that place (other than my cute pilot husband of course). I love my niece and nephew and my sister and her husband are so hospitable. They let me bring Zoe so Gabe didn't have to worry about her with his long days, and I just felt safer driving the 16 hours with her sleeping beside me.
      
          My trip included:

- The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
- Hacienda Colorado, Qudoba, Shangri La, Bourbon Brothers, and more
- Bass Pro Shop (we went 2 or 3 times, just checking out the fish... and boats)
- A trip to Focus on the Family (a.k.a. Adventures in Odysee, a.k.a Whit's End, a.k.a. giant 3 story slide)
- Walks to Starbucks
- Dinner to see Gabe's parents
- A trip to Breckenridge
         - Crepe a la Carte
         - Anniversary Shopping (Hat, Shirt, and a little high altitude Whiskey)
- Visiting Castle Rock with my parents
- Swimming with my family
- doTERRA class for an old housemate of mine
- Plenty of playing outside
- Library with the kids
- Bowling
- And much needed summer shopping (hello Gap 50% off shorts sale)

        It was almost 14 days in Colorado and I did not want to leave; however, I was soon over welcoming my stay and the husband was anxiously waiting our return. I left at 4 am again and got home around noon due to the time change. I had an amazing trip and I definitely cannot wait to return to the state I love.

       Here are just a few photos from my trip:

1st glimpse of the mountains in New Mexico






She brought money so Colby (her brother) and her could ride the Carousel.


Scavenger Hunt through Fox Run Park



Breckenridge Ski Resort

My Funky Monkey for Dinner


My sister Liz, her husband Stephen, and their kids Kyla and Colby


It lightly snowed the morning we left Breckenridge... The white spots are snow. And I am wearing shorts :)

Bowling with my parents on my second to last night.


Morning on the drive back.

Great car ride buddy.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Guest Blog Post

     A month or so ago I was asked to write a guest blog for a fellow military spouse.

    I "met" Emily through an Academy Spouse Page where we were sharing our blogs. I was interested to read about her journey through UPT and further training. After starting from the beginning of her post I quickly realized we have a lot in common. They were stationed in Coumbus for UPT about a year before us, got married only days before us at the Air Force Academy, and I worked across the street from where they used to live. I contacted her via Facebook messages and got to get to know her and her family more and they are some amazing people. 
   Currently her husband is flying F-16s in Germany! Not at all jealous about the location. They have an adorable son! I have loved seeing Germany and Europe through her posts. 

    Gabe and I would love to travel around and see Europe and Germany in the hopefully near future. 

    Without further adieu: 

http://www.adventuresofalexandemily.com/2014/07/guest-post-10-things-doterra-edition.html

      Feel free to click around and read some of her previous posts.

     In the meantime I will relax here in the 100* heat of Oklahoma. Which we only have 1 month left... Hopefully.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

February Overview

       
       How is it already the middle of March?! Seems like just yesterday I was sending Gabe off for his first day of pilot training, now he is all graduated and is an actual pilot :)

        It's kind of amazing how busy January was and then February was just a calm, revitalizing month.

         A week after graduation I went back into work at the school district main office. I think I worked for almost two weeks and barely caught personnel up on their paperwork. Meanwhile, Gabe was finally able to relax, sleep in, and just veg after 6 years of either school at the academy or pilot training with minimal breaks in between.

        February also brought the beginning of TDY... Aka Gabe traveling solo for training. He has been in Washington State trying to evade capture while Zoe and I retreated to Florida with a wonderful spouse while we counted down the days till he returned.

        It was a blessing going to Florida because I haven't had to focus in Gabe being gone. Yes, I miss him so much, but know this is just another step before moving.  This is the first time we have been away from each other for a month since we have been married. This is a great way to prepare for the inevitable. I won't always be able to hang out in Florida, but knowing that I have an amazing connection of friends to help me through makes it that much easier to bare. Thankfully we are a little bit away from the inevitable deployments, so I will take in every chance I have with my husband (when he returns to us, hopefully in one piece).

                                 

      


         I mentioned my "official" news... No we are not expecting, but I have turned to an old form of supporting my body. Through essential oils, this is something I have never done before!  While in Florida I took countless classes from those in my organization, then I began getting messages from friends and family asking about what possible oils could be used for different things. I love looking through my "Modern Essential" book to learn more about essential oils, why they work, how they support our body, and where they come from!

          If you ever want to learn or hear more about dōTERRA essential oils please do not hesitate to contact me! Leave a comment or email me at sara.cleaver.paterson@gmail.com

           I will share these with anyone who will listen :) I am so excited about essential oils. Check out my post titled "it's official" to hear my testimonies :)