Thursday, November 29, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Days #26 & #27

Day #26:

Thankful for my husbands smart decisions & wise choices. I've been watching "Married to the military: Alaska" & I have to say that I am extremely thankful that Kolt chose to get out of the Army. Living in Alaska is hard when you're not from here & I couldn't imagine moving here & then having my husband deploy for a year. Especially with a baby. It takes a very strong woman to survive an Army marriage & I commend the women who do. Kolt's decision to join the Coast Guard is one of the best things he could have ever done for himself & our family. He knew the Coast Guard would be different & he knew it would be better for us. He was right & I am proud of the choice he made to join.

Day #27:

Thankful for my baby girls smile! Because no matter what happens or how my day is going, it fixes anything that is wrong. I wake up happy every morning, it keeps me patient & kind when she is screaming her head off crying because she wants to be held instead of put down, & I get to watch it melt her daddy's heart on a daily basis. I stare at her for hours, just to see her smile. ♥

Sunday, November 25, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day #24 & #25

Day #24: 

Thankful for patience. The patience that others have had for me & the patience that I have acquired & learned throughout my years. I truly believe it has helped me to be the best wife, mother, & friend that I can be.

Day #25: 

Thankful for my husbands understanding, appreciation, & compassion for everything I do. Whenever I ask him if it's ok to buy something or ask him his advice on whether or not we need it or should get it (like the new play yard that we have absolutely NO room for in our house)..... his answer is "whatever is going to make things easier for you" & even though I tell him, he will never know how much that means to me. ♥

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Black Friday

When we lived in Arizona, I would go shopping on Black Friday with my cousin(s), sister, mother, whoever.  It wasn't the wake up at 3am to go stand in line by 4am for a store that opened at 5am to race other shoppers to *hopefully* snag at least one of the five laptops that were on sale.  When we were in San Diego for Thanksgiving a couple years ago, I actually woke up at 5am (by myself) to try & get to an office depot by 6am (which was when they opened, no standing in line for this girl) to snag a laptop for my mother.  Thankfully, I arrived & parked just as they opened the doors & there was probably only 15-20 shoppers who had been waiting.  So as soon as I parked, I bolted from the car, into the store, straight for the first sales person I saw to point out the laptop which I had circled 5 times with a black sharpie in the sales ad.  When the salesperson returned from checking to see if the laptop was still in stock, I was handed a tag & told I could pick the laptop up from the cashier.  YAY!  My first Black Friday mission completed.  After that I decided to head to the mall & target.......  I mean, I was already awake, so why not?   

Last year I don't remember buying much online, I couldn't do any shopping in the stores because we don't really have any here.  I think I bought a wireless printer which was one of my Christmas gifts from Kolt.  

But now, a year after we moved to Alaska, & with months of online shopping experience, I decided to go Black Friday shopping online.  But *only* for the things we either have been needing or expensive items we were planning to get in the near future & only if we could get a good deal on them.  So a week before Thanksgiving I started researching the Black Friday sales ads, made my list of items to get & which store to buy them at, & of course, discussed the planned purchases with Kolt to make sure WE both agreed that it was a deal we couldn't pass up.  I think I did a great job with the money we saved, not getting out of control with the shopping bug, & I was able to purchase almost everything on my list.  So here it is:  My Black Friday bragging.

First off let me start by saying Kohls, Best Buy, & Target are my go-to stores, so those were obvious places of interest, but also the great thing about online shopping is that I can compare prices a lot easier with other stores to make sure I am getting the lowest price.  I also like to check the ads to make sure that the Black Friday Sale price is actually a good deal, not just $2 off -or- to make sure that a regular every day sale price isn't actually lower than the Black Friday Sale price (Kohls had a few items that were actually cheaper when they went on a regular sale than they were at the Black Friday Sale price.)

Everything we bought at Kohls was not only on sale, but they also sent me a 15% off coupon to use for Black Friday & we earned $15 Kohls cash for every $50 spent.  So.... we bought a kitchen knife block set, a cooking skillet/pan, a cardigan for Brinleigh to wear over her Christmas dress, & a pair of jeans & leggings for myself (because I still can't fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes & planned on buying them when we came home in December).  I ended up buying $390 worth of items for only $204 & earned $60 Kohls cash, with Free Shipping.  The Kohls cash will be used for items I planned on buying but were not marked down any lower for Black Friday than the normal sale price.

We also decided that living in Alaska is a once (maybe twice) in a lifetime opportunity for us & the scenery here is just too beautiful to not be able to take great pictures of.  We have point & shoot digital cameras & our iphones, but we wanted a NICE professional type camera.  Not to mention that all of our friends with kids always talk about how it is extremely nice having such an awesome camera to capture memories with.  After seeing some of the cameras our friends & family use, & hours of research on my part, we found a camera that we wanted.  The original plan was to buy it with our income tax return money, however, it was on sale for Black Friday.  It is normally $819.99 & was on sale for $499.99 (Free Shipping) so we just couldn't pass it up.

We have been planning on buying Brinleigh's high chair soon, since she likes to be in the dining room when we eat & the kitchen when we are cooking/baking.  We usually just put her in the bumbo seat on the table or the counter but we can't be more than a few feet away from her when she is in that seat.  We were going to wait until after Christmas since we won't be home for most of December & it would save us some money to go to Arizona with, BUT, it was on sale at Babies R' Us for Black Friday.  It is normally $59.99 + shipping, however, it was advertised on sale for $27.49.  When I went to purchase it though, it ended up being $39.99.  Brinleigh will also be starting on solid foods in the next few months so we bought some dishes, utensils & bibs, which were buy one get one free on specific brands.  So what originally would have cost us $25, we only paid $13 for & got free shipping. AND The Ruey family paid for the Babies R' Us purchase because they wanted to get Brinleigh a baby/Christmas gift.       

So there it is,  My Black Friday deals of 2012.  All made from the comfort of my couch & not to mention Kohls sales started online on Wednesday, Best Buy sales started Thanksgiving day & therefore, Babies R' Us was the only shopping I had to do today.  Other than my Babies R' Us Black Friday purchase, I spent the day with Kolt & Brinleigh.  Kolt made a delicious breakfast, we all got ready & walked around downtown to look at some of the stores that were having sales.  Then we decided to stop at the grocery store to pick up some stuff to make our own pizza's for dinner.  After dinner, I took a short nap with Brinleigh while she off & on watched "How to train a dragon" with Kolt.  It was a GREAT day!  


Friday, November 23, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day #23

Thankful for Black Friday ONLINE sales. Instead of having to rush through a Thanksgiving meal, sacrifice time spent with family, stay up all night to go stand in lines in the cold weather, drive around town wasting gas, racing people to the stores that only offer the really awesome door buster deals to the first however many people, getting trampled, pushed & shoved by angry rude shoppers, & then standing in checkout lines for an hour or two......... I can shop from the comfort of my nice warm couch, wearing pajamas & eating delicious leftover Thanksgiving food.
(But just for the record, when I'm home in the lower 48, I do love going out shopping on black Friday with the family, but I do think it's a little too dangerous these days to take the baby.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our first Thanksgiving as a family!

Well let me just start off by saying that I think we had an outstanding day, especially with a momma who only got three hours of sleep.  
I think I fell asleep around 5am this morning & then the baby woke up at 7am to eat.  We went back to sleep but she was ready to be up for the day at 8am.  Kolt woke us me up for the day & could tell right away that I was NOT in a good mood.  At all.  He got the baby's diaper changed & took her downstairs so that I could get some sleep.  Little did I know at the time, but he also took her with him to the grocery store to pick up some last minute Thanksgiving necessities.  This was a big deal because Kolt has never taken Brinleigh anywhere on his own without me AND I always get up with the baby & don't really get any sleep without her next to me.  When Kolt came to wake me up at 10am he had hot cinnamon rolls getting ready to come out of the oven.  HEAVEN.  That's what I felt this morning.  Even though I was still extremely tired, I couldn't help but be in a great mood.  I had a happy baby, happy husband, breakfast ready, & Kolt took the baby to try & let me get some more sleep.  
Kolt started cooking the turkey after breakfast & I got to take a nice long shower (another rare luxury for me these days).  We had our friends Cooper & Kate over for our Thanksgiving feast & also Kolt's boss whom he invited the night before.  (He is fairly new to Sitka & didn't have anywhere to go.)  We had Turkey, of course, mashed potatoes, white & brown gravy, rolls, green bean casserole, stuffing, Chinese cole slaw, some kind of squash or sweet potato casserole, & cranberry sauce.  We also had a pumpkin pie that I made the night before, which actually didn't get eaten because it turned out not so good (I'm blaming the pre-mixed pie filling that I bought for the first time to avoid making it completely from scratch.  WRONG.  It sucked.) & Kate made a chocolate chip cheesecake with oreo crust which was really good.  Of course, me being the picky & bland eater that I am, only had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, & rolls.  I was also quite proud of my portion control & avoided eating myself into a food coma.  (I'm still working on losing baby weight.After relaxing a bit & watching some tv, our guests left.  A few minutes later some of Kolt's friends showed up at the door & the next thing I knew I had a dining room full of guys, a baby & a 4-year old in the house.  Hahaha.  Kolt went back to one of the guys houses (they all live in housing) & I stayed home while Brinleigh took a late & very long nap.  Overall, a great day.  I have to say, even though I miss our family on this holiday, I really enjoy waking up & being able to stay home all day & not run around town to numerous houses.  


30 Days of Thanks: Day #22

Thankful for my new little family! Brinleigh has made holiday's a lot more fun for us & I absolutely LOVE celebrating as a family now. I am looking forward to starting our own holiday traditions with our baby girl. Kolt & Brinleigh truly do complete me & make my heart full ♥

Thursday, November 22, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day #21

Thankful for Brinleigh's first baby cousin who was born today! We are so happy for aunt Dana & Thankful that baby Peyton was born healthy with no complications. We can't wait to meet her in 2 weeks.

                                                  Peyton Fae Andrews  6lbs 4oz ~ 19in

30 Days of Thanks: Day #20

Thankful for my Husband! 7 Years ago today, I married my best friend. We have been through some hard times, endured our ups & downs, but we always seem to make it through. He is my support system, an encouraging voice, a shoulder to cry on, & a friend who always has my back. He gives me strength, shows me love, & makes me laugh until I cry. He is the love of my life, an amazing husband, & a wonderful father. Everyday I thank God for blessing me with such an amazing man!

30 Days of Thanks: Day #19

Thankful for my siblings. They are like friends that God personally assigned to me for life. We are all so busy & some of us are far away, but no matter how much time has gone by since we have seen each other or talked to one another, when we do get together we always have so much fun. We laugh & smile, tell jokes & pick on one another, reminisce about old times & introduce new "friends." My siblings are awesome & I absolutely love having them in my life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Fall!

It's the middle of November & you know what that means.  Winter is just about here..... along with the days of darkness.  It is getting dark by about 4:00pm right now & I couldn't even tell you when the sun comes up.  Kolt is still working nights (3pm-midnight) & Brinleigh & I are on his schedule & so all of us sleep until about 11am-noon everyday.  Brinleigh is still growing, too fast for my liking.  She is awake more often & has a pretty steady sleep schedule although she has been waking up more during the night the last few weeks.  She is able to sit up & hold her head up as long as we are supporting her.  We have been putting her in the bumbo seat more often & she seems to like it a little better now that she is stronger.  When we wake up in the morning we come down stairs & she plays on her playmat on the floor.  She kicks & wiggles so much now that she usually turns herself a full 360 degrees during the time she is playing.  We have also had to start buckling her into her swing, bassinet, & bouncer due to the fact that she has learned how to lift her butt & back off the floor with her feet.  This has made diaper changing more challenging & bath time a lot more interesting.  She is such a happy baby, always smiling & we love to make her laugh & giggle.  She has recently found her hands & constantly has them in her mouth, which is currently producing a massive amount of drool.  So you can imagine what a pleasant mess that is.  Brinleigh loves being held & prefers it over sitting or laying on her own & she absolutely ADORES her Daddy.  Her face lights up when she see's him & when he is holding her or playing with her she just stares at him.  She enjoys sitting with him while he watches tv & she does not like being left in the living room when we eat at the kitchen table.  We either take turns holding her or we put her in the bumbo seat on the table.  We are working on ordering her highchair so that she can sit at the table with us & we can both eat at the same time without shoveling a plate full of food into our mouths in a matter of seconds.  
Kolt is cooking for Thanksgiving again this year & we will have our friends, Cooper & Kate, over for the day.  After that we have 2 weeks until we head home to Arizona for our Christmas vacation!


Monday, November 19, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day #18

Thankful for patience. Without it, I would probably be going bat shit crazy right now at 4:30am when my daughter is wide awake thinking it's playtime even though I know she is tired. Breathe. Someday, in the distant future, I will get a full night of uninterrupted sleep. I hope.

30 Days of Thanks: Day #16 & #17

Day #16:
Thankful for the people in my life who take the time out of their hectic schedules to ship me items I cannot get online or in Alaska. You really have no idea how much it means to me or how excited I get. Even when it's something stupid like socks or pumpkin bread :) Thank You to my sister & to my "favorite friend." 

Day #17:
Thankful for the people in my life who take the time out of their hectic schedules to ship me items I cannot get online or in Alaska. You really have no idea how much it means to me or how excited I get. Even when it's something stupid like socks or pumpkin bread :) Thank You to my sister & to my "favorite friend." 

Friday, November 16, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day #15

Thankful for my education. I know there are people in the world who aren't as fortunate to have received the education that I have & sometimes I forget to appreciate it. It has given me the experience needed to obtain jobs & inspired me to pursue a college degree.

30 Days of Thanks: Day #14

Thankful for technology. With Kolt having a job in the Coast Guard, we will be relocated to different states throughout his career. Because we won't be able to travel home very much, Technology is what will allow our families the opportunity to watch our baby girl grow. With computers & smart phones we are able to send & receive pictures & videos & talk through video chat programs like Skype. Having our families involved with our growing family is extremely important to us & technology makes this possible. Because of technology, Brinleigh will grow up getting to know her grandparents, aunts, uncles, & cousins even though we will be thousands of miles apart.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day #13

Thankful for my faith in God. My faith has helped me find my way when I was lost, healed emotional wounds, encouraged me to be a better person, carried me through some of the hardest times in my life, blessed me with healthy family & trustworthy friends, comforted me when I needed it most, supported me when I needed backup, guided me to find peace & happiness within myself & shown me first hand the power of prayer.

Ideas for Brinleigh

This is the first year we will be celebrating Christmas as a family instead of just a couple & Kolt & I are both VERY excited!  We are anxious to include Brinleigh in our Holiday traditions (Winterhaven Wagon Ride the night of Christmas Day) & to bring her along with us to all of our many different stops throughout Christmas Eve & Christmas Day.  Because we had to spend so much money on plane tickets to travel home for the holiday, we have told our family that we are not buying anyone Christmas gifts this year.  Of course, we are not expecting gifts from anyone, we are just looking forward to spending time with our family & friends.  This Christmas we plan on focusing on Brinleigh & making this holiday special for her & our family.  

We have had several family members ask us what to get Brinleigh so I thought I would list a few ideas for anyone who wants to buy her a gift.  

Oball Rattle
Sophie Giraffe Teether 

Fresh Food Teether
Feeding Utensils & Snack Dishes
High Chair or Stroller Suction Toys

Headbands (The stretchier the better.  Baby girl has a big head like her daddy)
Clothes 9+ months 

There are still some larger items we still need to buy for her, such as: Highchair, exersaucer, pack n' play, etc.  So if anyone wants to give her gift cards they will be put towards those items or clothes.  ALL of our shopping is done online & we mainly shop at,, &, which ever has the best deal/sale & can offer free shipping.  

Brinleigh also has her own savings account set up that we make monthly deposits into & if anyone gives her money or checks for any occasion, it will be deposited into her savings account.

                                                                      OBall Rattle                                                        

                                                           Sophie Giraffe Teether

                                                                Fresh Food Teether           

                                                   High Chair/ Stroller Suction Toys

                                              Feeding Utensils & Snack Containers


 And for those who are curious as to the larger items we are planning to buy:

Space Saver High Chair (goes on our regular kitchen chairs)

         Exersaucer or Jumparoo

        Pack n Play

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day #12

Thankful for friends. The new ones I have met in Sitka, the old ones I have known since elementary school, the close ones I talk to weekly & the ones I sometimes go months without catching up with. Work friends, school friends, coast guard friends, or family friends. No matter what kind of friend they are to me, there is a reason I choose to keep them in my life. They are there for support, encouragement, advice, & entertainment. They make me laugh, they let me cry, they allow me to vent, & they offer their honest opinions. I credit some of my closest friends for making me stronger, pushing me to be better, & keeping me humble & sane. To all of my friends, Thank You for being some of the many special people in my life.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day #11

Thankful for the United States Military, service members & their families. They are the ones who choose to defend our country, not for the money or the benefits (because lets face it, the pay isn't great & Tricare can be some what of a pain in the ass, and the chances of getting deployed or having to stand duty on a holiday, anniversary, child's birthday, spouses pregnancy, birth of a child, etc. are very likely at some point or another) but for the honor & privilege to protect their country. They are the men & women who do what they are told even if they may not agree with it, they don't get paid overtime for all the extra hours worked & they can't call in sick. They witness friends die, welcome home their fallen comrades, & put on brave faces to tell a family the news of a death. Their families sacrifice quality time & special occasions with their service member who can't be present & they are expected to carry on their normal everyday lives not knowing where their soldier is or if he/she is safe. Every few years they are uprooted from their homes, schools, & jobs that they have just become accustomed to, only to be relocated to a new foreign place where they most likely don't know a soul.
Not a single day goes by that I am not Thankful for the brave men & women who choose to defend this great country that I live in & fight for the freedom that I have.
Not a single day goes by that I am not grateful for the brothers who fought next to & helped protect my husband & family.
Not a single day goes by that I don't think about those who have been lost. They did not lose their life in vain. They gave their life with pride & courage.

Day #10

Thankful for my in-laws. I'm not gonna lie, I secretly smile in my head when I hear some people complain about how awful their in-laws are. I don't like to brag, but mine are pretty awesome. They aren't obligated to love me or like me but they choose to do so anyway. They accept me for who I am & treat me like I have always been a part of their family. I may not express it very much, but I appreciate the love & support that they have always shown & continue to give Kolt, Brinleigh, & I.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day #9

Thankful for Family. No matter what happens in life, the decisions I make the choices I choose, the paths I travel down, they are always there. They love me & understand me, support me & encourage me. They are role models & best friends who can comfort me in ways nobody else can. They give me the advice that I need even if it isn't what I want to hear. They are honest & caring, & they love me for me.

Friday, November 9, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day #8

Thankful for law enforcement & firemen. Both risk their lives on a daily basis to help save & protect the public. Firemen helped my family when our house in North Carolina caught on fire & law enforcement provided Kolt & I with jobs for several years. Although firemen are generally more liked & appreciated, people aren't usually grateful or thankful for law enforcement until they are needed. Law enforcement aren't the bad guys unless you are doing something wrong & their stone wall attitudes are usually their own protective barrier needed for the horrible things they see & deal with on a daily basis. So instead of arguing with the cop that pulled you over to give you a speeding ticket, maybe you should thank him/her for possibly saving yours or someone elses life when it could have been taken during a motor vehicle accident that could have been deadly because of the speed you were driving.
OH...... & when you call 911..... don't yell, scream & argue with the dispatchers. All that does is prolong the process of getting you the help you are calling for.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day #7

Thankful for the mistakes I have made in the past. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned from them & appreciate the paths they have led me down. I refuse to regret the bad choices & decisions as they have helped me grow & some of them have brought me to where I am in life. I have an awesome life, wonderful family & friends, a beautiful & healthy baby girl, & an amazing husband. The mistakes that I have made have helped mold me into the person I am today, & I think I am pretty damn awesome!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day #6

Thankful for being an American citizen & having the rights & freedoms that I do, like voting. I think sometimes those of us born & raised in America can tend to take it for granted & forget that there are so many other countries who are not as fortunate as us. So when the candidate you voted for today doesn't win, think about other countries who don't have the choice like we do. And if you didn't vote today, then even though you have the right to speak your mind about the election, you also had the right to vote & chose not to, so shut it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Days 4 & 5

Day #4:

Thankful for my dog, Gunner. Mine & Kolt's first "child", we got him when he was just six weeks old. Kolt has wanted a chocolate lab for a long time & I love how excited he was when he finally got one. Gunner has taught me patie
nce & helped relieve me of some of my compulsive cleaning habits. He has been a best friend to Kolt & I and comforted me through a very rough first winter in Alaska. He has brought us joy & laughter & entertains us on a daily basis. He is the greatest dog I could have ever asked for & I am so excited for Brinleigh to grow up with him.

Day #5:

Thankful for my Summer Infant Video Baby Monitor. Because without it, I wouldn't be able to accomplish my most recent feat of putting Brinleigh to bed at a specific time every night in her own room (Instead of whenever she falls a
sleep in her swing in the living room & then her waking up every time she hears a loud noise, & then having to risk waking her up again when I pick her up to take her upstairs when I go to bed). She is only 3 months old & is with me ALL of the time, except for the rare occasion when I run an errand or go to a doctors appointment & leave her at home with Daddy. Therefore, we (mostly I) have some attachment issues & do not like her being any place that I cannot actually see her. This monitor allows me to not only hear her if she cries but see her move, breathe, wake-up, etc. I do believe this monitor is helping me inch closer & closer to one day...... far, far from now..... letting her sleep in her own room by herself. Without me. But even when that day comes, I will still be able to see her :)