Happy Birthday, Baby Boy

Happy Thursday, ya’ll!

If you’re reading this, you can already guess from the title, what today is; It’s our sweet baby boy’s first birthday! One whole year ago on July 9th, this sweet boy made his debut and has stolen our hearts a little more each day!

This first year, we decided to not share a ton about our little babe just out of wanting to be overly cautious while we got the hang of this whole parenting thing along with navigating this Army life of ours.

While this is certainly not the way I had always imagined a first birthday would be (global pandemic, hundreds of miles away from family, deployment…) I wouldn’t change a thing.

As crazy as that sounds, this last year has stretched and challenged both me and my husband in ways we never thought possible. I didn’t even know growth in the ways we have was real. Don’t get me wrong though , we’re still just winging this whole parenting thing and doing the best we can. We are by no means experts nor will we ever be!

There is something so incredibly beautiful in all of this though.

Our sweet baby has had his daddy gone more than he’s been home. He’s lived (and still living) through a global pandemic. We stayed with Grandma and Pa for several months. 

He is silly and so expressive! He loves his Ailey girl and giving her pats. Reading stories and singing songs are his favorite things to do. He has ten teeth and knows how to sign and say different words. He crawls around the house like nobody’s business, and walking isn’t too far off! He has been so incredibly sweet and patient with his mama while she’s navigated this (temporary) single parenting gig. We really did luck out!

Happy 1st Birthday, sweet boy! If you remember nothing else I say to you, I hope you’ll always remember this; You are kind. You are smart. You are strong. Mama and daddy (and Ailey) love you!

Hi world, I’m Kaz!

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XOXO,
Leah

Our Military Family

Being married to someone in the military was never anything I planned to do, but when I married my now husband, I married him for all that he is despite what he had signed up to do.

Now, over two years later, a puppy, new house, countless trainings, and a sweet baby boy later; here we are. If I’ve learned anything these last few years, it’s that even though this lifestyle is hard for me, it’s just as hard for him:

He wakes up and leaves before our baby has even started stirring each morning. He sometimes comes home with only a few hours before bedtime.

He packs his bags to leave and gives us both one last kiss and hug. He puts on a brave face to try and make it a little easier on me.

He ignores the calendar as time flies by. He knows that we’re running out of days, out of time before the inevitable “I’ll see you soon” comes around again.

He promises to call and text. He hopes our baby boy will remember him despite all of the time apart.

Before we know it, he’s gone again, and we’re wishing time would hurry up.

I know his heart breaks a little when he thinks of all the things he’ll miss out on; playing together, first steps, and all of those sweet snuggles.

I know how much he wishes our time together could just slow down a little. I wish it would too.

I know he’s conflicted between wanting to stay home with us and his sense of duty.

So for now, we’ll pack up the bags and hold on just a second longer. We’ll remind him how proud we are now and always.

We remember now and everyday that it will never be, “Goodbye”. It will always be, “I’ll see you soon”.

XOXO,
Leah

How I Prepare For Guests: T-48 Hours

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We all know that feeling of still having a million things we’d like to get done before guests come to stay. I’m currently right in the middle of it!

Every time, I always wonder to myself what I can leave until the last 48 hours beforehand. Have you ever done that too? After many times hosting, these are the 10 things I’ve learned can wait until almost the last second to do:

1. Putting fresh towels out. If there’s a clean towel left unattended for too long, my pup will find it! She loves smelling fresh laundry, so I’ve learned it’s best to wait until right before guests arrive to put these out!

2. Vacuuming. Did I mention I have a puppy? With a big back yard to play in and spring in full swing, it seems like she’s always tracking something into the house. Laminate floors are not too forgiving either. Needless to say, I may or may not be putting the vacuum away as you pull up to our house.

3. Lighting candles. I love how inviting a good smelling candle can make a house, but I’ve also been in homes before where you can tell the candles have been burning for days. For our home, I’ve found that the perfect compromise is lighting the candles an hour or two before guests arrive. This way you can still smell the scent, but it’s not too overpowering!

4. Stocking the fridge with the fresh stuff. It’s no secret that fresh fruits and veggies don’t last forever. That’s why I wait until a day or two before to stock up on the fresh goodies; fruit, veggies, dips, etc. This way, they’re good and ready to snack on, but not pushing their expiration or sell by date!

5. All of the pretty flowers. I think a pretty bouquet of flowers really adds an extra touch to a guest room or kitchen table. Not only are they pretty, but they smell good too! Just like fresh produce though, flowers don’t last forever. Whenever I go out for the fresh food, I make a point of it to pick up some fresh flowers too!

6. Cleaning the kitchen, living room, etc. This is not to say I don’t clean, because I do at least once a week. I do however wait to give every day spaces like the kitchen and living room until the day of before I go through one more time. Life is never 100% neat and tidy and neither are the spaces we live in on a daily basis!

7. Laundry. I like to have as little in the dirty clothes hamper as I can when we have guests. This way my husband and I know we have plenty of clean options for whatever we end up doing. There’s almost nothing worse than getting ready to go out and realizing that part of the outfit you had in mind is dirty!

8. Any kind of baking or cooking. I always like being able to offer guests something homemade; bread, cookies, muffins, etc. It’s a nice little extra touch since when we do have guests it involves a full day of travel to get here. Since there aren’t any preservatives, it’s best not to make them too far in advance. It also helps makes the whole house smell so yummy!

9. Stocking the coffee and tea bar. Our coffee and tea bar gets used on a daily basis and even more so when we have guests! I always wait until the day of to restock and top things like sugar off. That way, it’s fully loaded for guests to use. I also make sure to have a little dish with peppermints nearby in case it’s a grab and go kind of morning for coffee!

10. Make the bed(s). Last but certainly not least, is making and freshening up the bed or beds depending on how many guests are coming. This always involves clean sheets, fluffing up the pillows and smoothing out the comforter. I normally finish it off with a cozy blanket on the end to help make the room feel warm and inviting!

What are the things you leave until the last 48 hours to do before guests arrive? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO,
Leah

New House, Who ‘Dis?

Happy Monday, y’all

Today I’m sharing some pretty big news; the biggest news of 2019! If you follow me on Instagram (@alongftride), you’re already in the know. This past week my husband, our Ailey girl, and I moved into our new home!

This has been in the works for quite a while, and after much searching we finally found the one that felt like ours from the moment we stepped foot in it!

If you’ve been following along with my How I Prepare For Guests series (Bathroom and Guest Room are up!), you’ll also understand that a new house means preparing a little differently than I used to. We have T-minus two weeks until our first guests arrive, and I’m in go mode!

Stay tuned to see how I’ll be tweaking and revamping my ways to make sure our guests feel welcomed in our new home!

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XOXO,
Leah

How I Prepare For Guests: The Bedroom

Happy Monday, ya’ll!

If you read my post two weeks ago, you’ll know that this is part two of that series! If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, you can click here and get all caught up!

After I have the guest bathroom all stocked and fully loaded with the things to make my guests’ stay a little better, it’s on to the bedroom. When I’m getting the guest room together, I always try to think of little ways to make it comfy, cozy, and inviting; a place I would want to stay in.

First things first: the bed: I’m a big believer in fresh sheets and plenty of pillows!  There are normally at least four pillows on the bed, not including decorative ones. This way our guests have plenty to use if they want, or the extras can just go on the floor.

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Depending on the season determines what kind of comforter or duvet cover is on the bed. In the colder months, it’s a little ticker and warmer. Right now, I have a white duvet cover that has an almost woven like texture to it on the bed.

There’s a mirror and a small hutch in the corner of the room, but other than those and the bed, there’s not much else in the ways of furniture. The guest room isn’t big by any means, so less is definitely more in this case!

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Little touches you’ll also find are a letter board with the Wi-Fi information, extra blankets in the hutch, and hangers in the closet.

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What little things stand out to you the most when you stay at someone’s home? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO,
Leah