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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Five Favorites

Linking up with Hallie this week to share some recent favorites that I am super excited about. 

Five to be exact. 

Here goes . . .

1 - PicLab.

My boss was showing off his new iPhone 5 when he clued me in to this new (to me at least) app. It's great. Many of you may have heard of the app "A Beautiful Mess" and I was so disappointed when I saw what it costs. Then I went and read the reviews and got even more disappointed. I'm so glad I held out because PicLab is free (and probably the same, if not better). And now I can create strange photos of my dogs in just seconds (and most interesting man memes)!

2 - Pixelmator. Maybe you noticed my new blog header? Yes. Things are different around here. I downloaded Pixelmator in the App Store last night. An hour or so of tinkering around and I had this bad boy to show for my hard labor:

Not to mention the countless other strange photos I created that hopefully will never see the public blogosphere. The app was $15 but I'm really impressed with what it does so far. It took me back to high school photography class playing around with Photoshop for hourssss. (Oh, what's that? You need someone's face on someone else's body? I'm your lady.) I will definitely be playing around with it more now that quality time with my husband consists of staring at our laptops! 

3 - Running. While my training updates have been nonexistent as of late, I have indeed kept running. My half marathon is on Saturday in Annapolis and I decided to take the plunge and buy my cousin's Marine Corps Marathon registration. (She initially registered—the slots fill up in TWO hours!!—but can't train due to a back injury.) I was so excited when I found out the transfer fee is only $30. So, I am committing to 26.2 miles on October 27, 2013 with Big Momma D for her 50th Birthday! It will be (God-willing) my third marathon and my mom's first!

Yup. Pray for me.

4 - Family Vacations. I just booked my flight to Ocean City, Maryland for a week-long family vacation. And it just so happens that my 83 year old grandmother will be married in the Church on July 1, my birthday! Yes, yes, she's the one that's the retired judge with eleven children. Go Grandma, it's my birthday! Get married like it's my birthday! 

5 - Natural Family Planning. Man, oh, man, there have been some pretty amazing NFP posts lately. I think there was a memo that went out to all the awesome Catholic bloggers that the past month was the best month to write NFP posts. (Didn't make the contact list.) Notables include Katie's, which brought up some really interesting discussion in the comments about postponing pregnancy in early marriage. Then I saw Kallah posted a comment and we started an e-mail back-and-forth on the topic. Kallah went ahead and wrote a beautiful post that has both inspired and emboldened me to write my own post (that I may just be editing until kingdom come). Obviously, there are countless other NFP posts that are so so thoughtful, like this one and this one, but I really do love reading them because it is certainly a situation just like this:

What Should We Call NFP?
The sisterhood. 

Those are just some things I am loving lately. Head over to Hallie's blog to see what the cool kids are into these days. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Repeat Bar Woes

Memorial Day Weekend was our final hoorah before we set off into dreaded Bar Review Season. We spent that time wisely, doing mainly either one of two things: (1) being outside, enjoying the amazing weather, or (2) being inside, watching television. 

Being outside. No photo of being inside. Sorry.

We really watch too much TV. We finished Season 2 of Walking Dead (where, oh where, can we get Season 3?!!?!), watched all of Season 3 of Arrested Development (you know, to get "caught up"), and started the new season of Arrested Development on Netflix. (Unfortunately, I missed all twenty-five awkward intros on The Bachelorette premiere because of this! Including the infamous fantasy suite creep who—unbeknownst to me until after he was asked to leave—was my classmate at UM Law. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.) 

It was the least we could do to rest our brains before bar review. Yes, "I said we!" (I know I make far too many SNL references to ever build any kind of readership. I'M OVER IT!)

Well, when I set about convincing Will to attend law school, I didn't consider having to re-live the bar study experience. The bar isn't until July 30-31. That's 2+ months I get to overhear all the same Kaplan bar review lectures (inevitably listened to at 1.5 speed - inherently annoying and yet the best part about studying from home) whenever I'm home. Hearing the sped up voice of my old nemesis, the Kaplan torts professor, affected my blood pressure so much more than anticipated, a visceral fear not even shielded by that $265 bill for bar dues that arrived today (a physical/financial reminder that I did, indeed, pass the bar exam last year). Just the sight of the books sends a shiver down my spine.

Daisy's, too.

Needless to say, I will be staying far, far away from our office over the next 2+ months. Also, the fact that this appeared on my Facebook newsfeed this morning only confirms my conviction:

Yup. That's exactly what Will will look like in about two days.

This may be a very long two months.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Three Years Ago

Today marks our third anniversary of entering into the holy sacrament of marriage.

And although things may have gotten off to a rocky start . . .
No, I will never get over this.

I am so lucky to have married my best friend!

Love ya, Willy B.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Anniversary Weekend

Will and I are celebrating our third anniversary this week. We aren't 100% sure we will be stationed outside of Florida, but decided to check a couple boxes off the "before we leave Florida" list just to be safe: (1) De Leon Springs Pancake House and (2) the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Fat seven-year-olds at heart.

Let the magic puns commence! 

First stop on Saturday was De Leon Springs for some famous all-you-can-eat pancakes. We knew we'd be spending an arm and a leg at the theme park so a $5 all you can eat pancake breakfast sounded like just the ticket.

By the way, I don't know what's going on with my photos. I uploaded them on the new Blogger app and it compressed them all. I guess my riveting J.K. Rowling-esque narrative will have to do for today.

There was quite the wait, so we wandered around a little. Here is the tourist attraction, the Fountain of Youth:

I know. Just breathtaking. 

Here is the restaurant. It's an old sugar mill.

The place is pretty cool. You cook your own pancakes at the griddle on your table. 

This is a big plus for me since I love everything undercooked. I made my pancakes a little oozy in the middle and it was just the best thing ever. 

I ended up having to change my shirt after this meal because I had syrup all down the front of me. Good thing I brought a spare! 

As an aside, Will and I were discussing the now socially-defunct MySpace on Saturday. I wondered if I would be as embarrassed about this blog five years from now as I am about my MySpace page that I laboriously maintained back in '05. (I think I can consider the deal sealed with that little gem about needing a change of clothes after our romantic anniversary meal.)

Okay, off we went to Universal! I was a giddy child. 

Hogsmeade! O. M. G. !!!

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! I think I can hear the Weasleys. (But Harry, we are only in our fourth year!)

As you can see, it had just snowed in Hogsmeade despite the 80+ degree heat. Will demonstrates how shockingly cold it was. 

Purchased some butterbeer in like an $80 novelty mug. 


Checked out the wand selection at Ollivander's. 


The majestic structures at Harry Potter World. 

Photobombing this fam.

We spent the vast majority of our time pretending to fly on broomsticks and casting off dementors, but we also explored Dr. Seuss World for a bit. 

Sunday was mostly spent relaxing at Will's uncle's on the river. We kayaked, paddle boarded, and played frisbee with the mutts.  

Seriously, the perfect weekend . . . because our marriage is like a long book that you love, and never want to stop reading . . . like the Harry Potter series. (Credit: The Office finale.) 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Proud Tiger Wife Presents... United States Air Force Commissioning

Ever since I've known Will (over six years now - weird!), he's always had a lot of admiration for people serving in the military. If Top Gun or A Few Good Men is showing on TNT or USA, hold on to those afternoon plans, because we're not moving until the final scene airs. (At first I thought it was just a Tom Cruise thing, but now I know better. No, wait, it is kind of a Tom Cruise thing.)

Will and I spent a year apart while I finished my senior year of college and he moved back home to Daytona Beach. We met in the middle a few times in Savannah, and he would always point out the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum from the highway and talk about his grandfather, who he happens to be named after. His grandfather flew B17 bombers in World War II, retiring as a Captain. He was a proud Air Force man. Will would always talk about how he would don his Mighty Eighth cap wherever he went until the day he died.

But the opportunity to serve really never came up for Will. After high school, Will was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship playing college baseball. There, he happened to meet his super hot future wife. And you know how I talked him into law school, not commissioned officer training. 

During Will's 1L year (and my 2L year, obviously), Will mentioned JAG to me for the first time. The tables had turned! We both ended up attending a seminar held at the law school with a panel of JAGs from across all branches to see what it was all about. (Okay, I really just went for the free lunch, but Will was really into it. I promise.) 

That summer, I worked at the Department of Justice in D.C. with a lot of former JAGs. As part of that internship, we went to an Air Force disciplinary hearing and toured Andrews Air Force Base. At that point I was like, okay, let's do this. I ended up applying to the Direct Appointment Program the fall of my 3L year and Will applied to the One Year College Program shortly thereafter (his 2L fall). 

We were galavanting through Ireland that October when I checked my voicemail and it was the JAG I interviewed with. I thought there must have been a problem with my application materials (the application process is super lengthy) so I called back right away. She informed me that I was selected! We drank Budweisers in Dublin that night, because, AMERICA! The following spring, Will was in New York City for a moot court competition and got the call on the New York subway that he had been selected! I happened to be in a meeting at the time when he called with the news. I was wearing an Air Force t-shirt and started crying and sweating profusely. Not embarrassing. We were going to be JAGs together! Except not. Every JAG selection is contingent on being medically cleared and passing the bar exam. I submitted my medical records and got rejected. C'est la vie. 

But you know who wasn't rejected? And who went on to complete ALL the requirements of ROTC in a year and a half. (You may not know what those are—I barely do—but suffice it to say: it's crazy.) And so, the day after law school graduation, Will commissioned as an officer in the World's Greatest Air Force.

The venue for the ceremony at Homestead Air Reserve Base was spectacular. Don't trust me, see for yourself. ("Look, look with your special eyes!")

Just the largest American flag you have ever seen and your average everyday F-16.

Just behind the hangar (outside that door to the hangar in the first photograph above) were more F-16s. Lots of F-16s.

The eight men commissioning sat on-stage. (By the way, the cadet MCing did a great job!) At the start of the ceremony, my dad asked "WHAT! WHERE THE HECK IS THE AMERICAN FLAG??" We were all like, "Huh? There's one right there....?" (????)

Yeah, he got us all. 

Will was the third cadet called. His detachment Captain gave him the Oath of Office.

Then Will's parents and I were called up to pin on his Second Lieutenant ranks. My moment of truth.

Nailed it.

Self-proclaimed record-holder for fastest pinning-on ever. I am smiling at my dad in the photo below because he was teasing me about messing up before I went up there. Typical Billy Nolan.

For inquiring minds, the dress is J.Crew Factory. It's still on sale!

Once we were escorted off-stage, Will received his first salute from Sergeant Knox.

Then he had the opportunity to give a one minute speech. He talked about living up to his grandfather's example and thanked everyone for their support to get him to this point.

After all the officers were commissioned, the Detachment's Lieutenant-Colonel gave each 2Lt two coins: one for the detachment and the other for becoming an airman. 

And, of course, a salute was given by each in response. 

I love this photo because I know Will is on the verge of laughing right here. He held it together. 

Afterwards, there were lots of photo ops.

With my parents.

With some lovely law school friends!

With his godson, Ethan.

Will's mom and my mom. Happy Mother's Day!

With his dad, Ned.
And finally, a closeup of Ned's tie, an homage to Will's grandfather.


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