Antiquing in Abilene

It’s official! Steven and I have caught the antiquing bug. Steven is always on the hunt for a good coin and I’m looking for cameras and photos. There’s a lot of fun and nostalgic things to be found in the in between of antique stores. We went to five different antique stores, and I must say, they were all a bit overpriced. We did find a few goodies to take home with us, and I thought I would share some items that I couldn’t help but snap a few photos of!

Steven said, “People who own antique stores are really just hoarders that are okay with selling some of their stuff,” as we tried to make our way through a tight fit in parts of a one store.

I love that there’s a window over the kitchen sink. If you look close enough you can see that it shows a man walking through a gate and a child running to greet him.

I would have loved to have made this beautiful camera mine! It’s a Kodak Retinette 1A Schneider Kreuznach that was made in Germany. They wanted $90 for it! Although it’s pretty, it’s not worth that much!

I like the antiques that surprise you with a laughing fit.

I’ve seen this Smokey the Bear doll in several antique stores. It’s always on the pricier side and never with a hat! He is really cute though, and a good reminder that “only you can prevent forest fires!”

I feel like I should know who this invisible man with a removable face is, but I don’t! Do you know who this guy is?

Three states in between us and home, but it is always finding us here.

The drive to and from Abilene was much quicker than we originally thought! We’re going to have to venture West more often!

I actually ended up with a total of four cameras, but the one not pictured is for a friend!

& of course a few more photos to add to my collection!

Discovering Kansas City, pt. 2

Over the past weekend, Steven and I ventured our way back into Kansas City. This time around was a bit different, we were there for a marriage retreat with Steven’s company, but we did get some time to ourselves as well!

We got to Kansas City a few hours earlier than we were able to check into the hotel. The Kansas City (actually, it’s in Mariam to be exact) IKEA had just opened up on the 10th, and since we haven’t been to IKEA since moving to Kansas, we just had to go!

This IKEA is set up a bit differently than the one I am used to back home (in Sacramento, California). This entire IKEA is above part of the parking garage, there’s a separate parking garage alongside it as well. I don’t know if it was because of the parking set up or what, but the place seemed larger and well, more confusing! Since it was so new, and it was a Friday, the place was packed! Steven and I do not do well with crowds, so we passed up the showrooms and only wandered around the shopping area. We only grabbed a few things – BUT we will return one day soon! Or… when the “newness” has worn off a little bit.

We fought through traffic to get to our hotel, which was across the street from the Kansas City stadiums WHERE everyone was headed. (Now I only insert this story mainly for my father if he reads this:) Walking up to the hotel by the entrance I see a woman wearing a “Posey” jersey. I couldn’t help myself and asked her if the Giants were in town (which is weird to me now, because I do not think the San Francisco Giants play the Royals – pretty sure they are different leagues BUT sometimes weird things do and can happen?!). She went to tell me no, but her husband cut in to say that she was confused (probably because the Detroit whoevers are also orange and black) – but I told him “No, she is right” because GO GIANTS! Laughter ensued.

Anyway, the rest of the night was taken up by the marriage retreat activities and hanging out at the hotel restaurant.

This is what 8 am us looks like on a Saturday. Confused on why we’re not still in our pajamas!

I’ll blame the beginning the day that lead to my What I Meant to Say… post on this #FMSphotoaday challenge prompt: Beginning. We started our day of with too many cups of coffee.

We were at the marriage retreat seminar/activities until noon. We ate lunch at the hotel and then ventured into the water park part of the hotel (CoCo Keys) until around four, all while Kansas City was fighting off a thunderstorm.

I did not take my phone or camera with me to the water park for obvious reasons. We did have a lot of fun though! I think this would be a fun place if you had smaller children especially. The lazy river was short and to the point (and extremely shallow for this long legged lady) but there were adult spas that were outside and indoors! Steven and I even went down the waterslide together at a very high speed in a very pitch black tunnel. Steven says I screamed a lot.

Saturday night’s marriage retreat session was Date Night. I had packed us semi-matchy outfits for the occasion. Also, notice the large cow image in the picture above – that’s randomly placed in the hotel.

Our plans fell through a little bit. We had wanted to go to the Country Club Plaza for dinner but due to the Plaza Art Fair and the thousands of people who showed up for it, we could not find any parking! I feel like Google Maps and the Yelp Apps have so many things MISSING from them. We finally gave up and ate dinner at a Red Robin. When we pulled out of the parking lot we saw a restaurant that we would have much rather eaten at, but was nowhere to be found on any app. Sometimes not knowing where you are or what is around you in Kansas City can be really frustrating.

The next day, we were released by 10 AM to check out of the hotel and do whatever we wanted to do in Kansas City. People were already piling in for the Royals’ game that afternoon so we wanted to get out of the area fast.

Said stadium from just outside our hotel’s parking lot.

I had wanted to go to the Kansas City Workhouse last time we were there, we just never got the chance. This time, it was our first stop! I need to go back here with my Canon DSLR because I did not even bother in most spots with my phone. It’s stunning, eerie, and enchanting all at the same time. It was once a jail though (late 1800s to early 1900s), so, there’s that.

Limestone makes me look and feel tiny.

To fill our bellies we went to Pigwich for lunch. As we were driving there I was sure we were in the wrong area, it’s in an area that feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere! It’s alongside several train tracks and a pretty cool looking bar/hangout called Knuckleheads.

The best cheesesteak of life. I will never visit Kansas City again without stopping here. The sandwiches and special made chips are AMAZING!

We were not sure what else to do, and the Country Club Plaza Art Festival was still happening. We walked around, amongst SO many people, so much beautiful and interesting art pieces, heard some good live music, and ate even more good food!

My pictures do not do it justice. This place was pretty awesome.

We were beat! The day got a bit too hot for us to comfortably browse the art along the street so we got in the car and headed back home

Needless to say, Tayte cat was very happy to have us back home (or at least our legs).

What I meant to say was…

Over the past weekend Steven and I attended a “marriage retreat.” It’s a paid weekend off post, in our case Kansas City, where you attend a few seminars on having strong bonds and have time to do fun activities the rest of the time. Going into the weekend, I figured it was going to be somewhat preachy, some gobbledy-gook “here’s what would happen in a perfect world” kind of thing. For a two night stay and five meals paid, I did not think it would be a horrible trade off though. I was excited to spend time away with Steven as well as be back in Kansas City!

I never sleep well in hotels, especially if the beds are not as soft as I would like. The first night (and the second, for that matter) I woke up with the slightest sound and did not get the rest that I might have needed. I drank three cups of coffee the next morning with breakfast, and that was two cups too many. We split into groups, the service members on one side of the room, and their spouses on the other. We were going through questions having to do with deployments, how we spoke to one another about them and what happened during them, both while they’re happening and now that they’re all home. The day before when we took the introvert/extrovert quiz, my test results were 7 introvert answers and 7 extrovert answers. I’ve never been one to really speak up in classroom set ups, it’s the introvert in me. However, since we were all a group of wives with similar life experiences, I was trying my best to be an active participant.

How do you feel your relationship has grown (since their return home)?

The other wives talked about how their relationships are always growing, how they learn with their spouses and about their spouses every single day. I believe that to be true about my husband and myself. This question hit a tender spot in my heart, though. This year, instead of having a new years resolution, I had a word of the year for myself to focus on: GROW. The first ten days of this year I was pregnant; my belly was going to grow, our family was going to grow, myself as a mother was going to grow. Instead, after now two miscarriages, I’ve had to grow as a human being and fight for my positive attitude in times of utter defeat.

There I was, apart of the two couples without kids out of the 18 total couples, over caffeinated with very little quality rest. When I spoke up I got unexpectedly emotional. I said my husband and I have grown since his return from deployment because we have had to go through some hard battles here at home too. I cried a few tears with a very shaky voice. I think what I said was quick but thinking back on it, it felt like I went on longer than I needed to – without even addressing the question. I was so embarrassed after that. I will probably cringe about it for a long time, really.

Not like any of the wives will read this, but I needed to put this out there for myself. What I meant to say was, my husband and I have grown immensely in the last year. During deployment, he was over there dealing with a ton of stress and danger, all while being in a place that was so completely different than what he was used to. I was back home, in a place we had just barely moved to, miles and miles away from friends and family back home, and learning and dealing with some weird medical conditions of my own. During a deployment, you do not communicate as well with your spouse like you normally would. You protect them from any burden happening on your end of the world, you keep it to yourself, you learn to become strong in a way that civilian relationships don’t. When they get back, that’s when you get filled in, and it can be a lot to take in at times. You are forced to grow, and reconnect, learn each others schedules and lives all over again – it can be fun, but it can be stressful. Steven came home from deployment earlier than the majority of the other spouses at our retreat. Shortly after he got home, we were pregnant, and it was something we had been wanting for over two years at the time. Two months after that, I had a miscarriage. When we were starting to get positive again, we suffered another. With deployment and with miscarriage, they are not something that ends and you just get over. It takes time to get back to who you were.

With infertility issues there can be a lot of miscommunication, or lack of communication at all. Trying to fight infertility can take away from intimacy in a big way. When it comes to military situations, I think there’s a pretty good community of people and support to take care of yourself and get what you need. When it comes to infertility situations, there’s not that community and support, and we’ve had to lean on one another above everything. We have been put in two not-so-normal situations that force you to get thicker skin, get in there and fight those battles, and you can only hope to come out on top, but there’s so much not knowing at the same time.

We’ve grown as a couple because we have learned how to be strong on our own, but at the same time, to be strong for the other person. We have fought our way through times apart and learned how to be so thankful and appreciative during those times that we are together. No matter what the situation, we will always experience them differently, but it is up to us to communicate and to understand one another and offer support when it is needed. Excuse the corny Army related lingo statement, but Steven has been the best battle buddy I could have ever asked for. We’ve made it through some pretty hard battles, and I could not have done it without his continuous love and support.

I guess the biggest lesson I took away from the marriage retreat focused around (my year of the word:) Grow. It’s important that you grow and that you develop, not just as a person but as a couple. It’s also important that you, as a spouse, support the growth of your husband or wife as you both learn and do new things. You two are the foundation of the relationship, where it began, and where it grows, and that is just as crucial as what you have grown to be. A mediocre metaphor, my apologies.

If you are a military spouse, a highly recommend attending a marriage retreat if and when you can. It was not life changing, but it was helpful. There’s nothing wrong with getting a new perspective on something you know well.

Discovering Kansas City

Kansas City is larger than any other city I’ve ever been in. Granted, there’s Kansas City and then there’s the Kansas City area, not the same but they might as well be. Steven and I have gone many times, a mixture of his medical training and trips to my fertility doctor. The majority of those visits were for a few hours, and mainly making quick stops at stores we love but don’t have back in the part of Kansas we live in. Over Labor Day weekend, we went for a few days, to try to experience all we could in a short time. These are the events that followed:

We got to our hotel, checked in and unloaded the car. We stopped in Lawrence for lunch and got to the city a bit later than we had originally planned. However, we did have a few hours to find and wander around River City Market Antique Mall before it closed. The outside of the building is covered in a colorful Lewis & Clark mural and looks HUGE! It’s four stories, including the basement. As soon as we walked in I knew I was going to love the place.


Too many old photographs to go through!


This place is after my heart!

If you are going through Kansas City and love collections of awesome and random things, this store is a MUST. From clothes, furniture, toys, home goods, there is seriously everything you could think of at a relatively decent price! We were in there for two hours and it was not enough to see everything.

A few blocks away is a must see for book lovers:


Kansas City Public Library (the parking garage!)


even the steps are books!

The sun was starting to get lower, and our stomachs were starting to grumble. On the way back to the hotel we made a stop in the Shawnee area of Kansas City to see a hidden gem I’d seen many photos of online:


Sauer’s Castle, Built in 1871.

It’s currently abandoned but there is a caretaker who lives in a separate home on the property. It’s completely gated off, but the caretaker said that almost nightly – someone is trying to break in. I honestly cannot blame the people for their curiosity, the place just reeks of history and creepy vibes. The current owner lives in New York, and does not seem to be in any hurry to restore the property. I hope one day soon he’ll change his mind and open it to the public. I would most certainly pay for a tour!

For dinner, we went to a little place called Mi Ranchito. It honestly was not much to look at from the outside, being attached to an auto repair shop, but the outside patio was packed with people – so we thought we would give it a shot! Manhattan and the Fort Riley area do not really have the Mexican food we are used to, but this place has been the best Mexican food we’ve had since moving away from California! It was also a gorgeous night, the weather was behaving itself, and the patio was a great place to be.

We went back to our hotel, tried to recover from walking and standing in the hot tub, and then retired to our room to look over the photos I had got from River Market Antique Mall as well as figure out what we were going to do the next day. Of course, until this happened:

Around 11:30 PM our hotel was evacuated. 200 some folks standing in the parking lot for a half hour because someone decided to smoke in their room. Kudos to the hotel though for having a very efficient alarm. There was no way anyone could sleep through it and/or take their time getting out of the hotel; it was so loud it could have easily induced a headache in no time.

We got up, got ready, checked out and headed out for more adventures. We ate a quick breakfast and then Steven was nice enough to let me make my way into an ULTA. The first one did not have any of the Naked Basics 2 palette by Urban Decay that had just come out, so we jumped on the freeway for ten minutes to the next. Can I say how unfair it is that Kansas City has multiple ULTAs in less than a fifteen minute drive radius, and Manhattan has none?! Anyway, I got my hands on the new Naked Basics palette, and yes, I love it!

Next it was off to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This museum is COMPLETELY free to visit, minus the $8 to park in their parking garage.

There is art all around the museum, but they’re most known for the huge shuttlecocks that are in various locations.

The building itself is a piece of art:

Water Lilies by Claude Monet. I saw it and was immediately brought to tears. I’ve seen this series so many times in art history books and never thought it would be as big as it is. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

I also cried when I saw the few pieces they have by Vincent Van Gogh (Pictured Olive Orchard). To be in front of a canvas that he painted felt like such a huge honor. If only he could have known how much is artwork is known and loved today.


Modern & Contemporary Art Gallery (Can you spot the Andy Warhol?)

We spent somewhere around four hours in the museum, and by then our legs and feet were exhausted. We had originally wanted to go to Country Club Plaza after, but there was just no way.

We made a quick stop to Gates BBQ and had some of the best barbeque we’ve had since coming to Kansas (Oklahoma Joe’s who?). SO delicious!

On the way back home we stopped in Topeka to see the very famously offensive hate group, The Westboro Baptist Church. Their amount of arrogance, hatred, and downright disrespect for others is mind blowing. Across the street, however, is a wonderful sight to see. We took the above photo in front of The Equality House.

Turns out we should have left Kansas City earlier and completely skipped Topeka, though, because we got stuck in the middle of the worst storm we’ve had this summer. High winds, rain so heavy we were only going maybe 20 MPH in a 75 MPH zone and almost had to pull over, and not to mention the pretty but very scary light show:

I definitely fell in love with Kansas City that weekend. I’m ready to go back and explore more!

Photos featuring Fluffy White Clouds

With everything that has happened this past year, I feel as though I built a lot of barriers around myself and my feelings. It is bizarre to me that some people who have been through the same thing can be so unsympathetic. It is hurtful how ignorant people who have not been through it can be. I have been lucky enough to come in contact with MANY wonderful people who do understand, though, do not get me wrong. What I’m trying to say is, I feel like in many ways, I have lost my way with words.

I’m trying to get myself back together, back into the world, back into the old, but good habits. I’ll write more about my journey back to happiness next week.

These past few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time behind the camera lens. These are the snaps from the past week!:

Last weekend was Steven’s birthday weekend. I thought for sure we would spend every day fishing at this particular spot. We only went last Saturday, but it was probably the most beautiful day to be there.

While Steven fished, I sat back at a picnic table brainstorming blog ideas. Not a bad view.

I use to ALWAYS take jump photos. The area was so green, I had to take the opportunity to shoot one for old time’s sake. I’m a little rusty.

I’m making a video for Steven’s family because they have yet to be out to visit us. Since we moved into a new house, I’ve video taped a tour, as well as the surrounding areas. We went to a few of our favorite places on post.

I like to caption this one with “Eat your heart out Led Zeppelin!”…. (Stairway to Heaven)

While we were at the top, the clouds got quite the sense of humor. I turned around to see what almost appeared to be a working chimney!

Thanks to my handy dandy tripod, I took a few photos of Steven and I! It was really hot and I wore out quickly running between Steven and my tripod! We got a few good ones, but the majority of them we looked too tired.

We’re still in counseling for our miscarriages, and when I told our counselor that I had taken maternity photos for a friend she grimaced and gave an empathetic nod. I told her I actually did really well with it. My friend pictured found out she was pregnant the same day as I did, the first pregnancy that I lost. Her due date is ten days after mine would have been. Not until I was home sifting through the photos did I realize that if I was still pregnant, I would have looked the same. Even then, I was able to quickly shake it off. Granted, I have high hopes that we will have our rainbow baby next year. I have been having more good than bad days lately.

One day at a time.

The Year of Life Lessons

A year ago today Steven, my husband, left for deployment. We expected him to be gone for 9 months. He’d only joined the Army not even a year before, and we had just moved to Kansas four months prior. It was nerve wracking on so many different levels.

The night before had been restless. The morning of I remember feeling numb; trying to be strong but being so broken. There is so much that I wanted to say, to express in some way, but could not find the words, enough words, or any one word that would mean as much as I wanted it to. My husband, the love of my life, my best friend wasn’t going to be in the bed next to me when I went to bed that night. He was not even going to be in the same time zone for much longer.

And so they went. He traveled for a week before he got where he needed to be. Every morning I woke up around the time he was getting off work, evening there. When I went to bed, he was waking up. It’s so bizarre being on opposite sides of the globe.

Shortly after he left I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor (the main cause of my infertility struggles). I’m still, and for as long as we want to have children, I will have to take medication (that is more often used for women recovering from breast cancer) to keep it under control. It cannot be removed, it will just grow back.

He got to come home SIX months earlier than expected. He was safe, he was an arm’s length away, he was in the same time zone! There’s so much that forces you to be strong in the Army life, so much that will break you down to where all you can do is cry, and then there are moments of absolute magic. Military spouses are lucky in the sense that we have many first kisses.

I could not help but feel that we cheated deployment somehow. Many times I have thought that because of that, we lost the two pregnancies we had during the time he could have still been deployed. Maybe it was life’s way of working out the kinks, or balancing the scales, whatever it may be.

Being happy without guilt has been a complete struggle this year. There’s been a lot of self loathing, anger and depression this last year. We’ve been handed a lot of unlucky hands time and time again. Before this year I had a completely different mentality with many things. Before this year I did believe that everything happens for a reason. I love the romantacism behind the idea, but at the same time, why did our babies have to die? What reason was that? With that, the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” part of me struggled. Sometimes choosing happiness is not as easy as it sounds. I understand depression in a whole new light. I understand heartache. I’ve been there, I’ve picked myself up, but every once in a while I trip and fall… hard.

We’ve hit the one year mark of a difficult year. We are together. We are safe. Not everything happened the way it was planned. Not everything happened the way we wanted it to. BUT We made it!


(taken last night: August 4th 2014 by yours truly, with help of my tripod)

I hope with every single ounce of my being that the next 365 days are much more kind to us. I hope that we can find happiness and not have to fight for it. This year I hope happiness finds us. Please.

A Week Without Internet

Whoops! It’s been two weeks since my last post! It was actually quite accidental really. We moved on post, almost effortlessly! We only moved a half hour away but had to change our television and internet providers because they did not serve the area of our new home. Our internet provider’s installation process and customer service has left MUCH to be desired. We finally got internet on Monday, an entire week after they should have had it up and running. The last two days are entirely my own fault for not posting!

We LOVE our new home! It’s 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath, all hardwood except in the kitchen and bathrooms! We do not share any walls with our neighbors, just a driveway, and they have been wonderful! Everything is out of boxes and practically all organized – minus my own office. Moving here has even been good for our lifestyle habits, we have a community office that we frequent for their gym.

ANYWAY – I’m back! I guess I will skip my post on April’s Ipsy bag and my favorites for last month, but I have to catch up on my 100 Happy Days project and other things as well!

Please excuse the short post for today. It’s my birthday! See you tomorrow! ♥