need an update?

9:12:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

I don’t mean to be MIA so often, but I can’t seem to catch up with life these days. I work, I sleep, I work, I squeeze in a doctor’s appt (or two or three), and work again. It has been a nice distraction from reality… or maybe just a successful attempt at avoiding the cards that life has dealt.

So you know by now that Nick and I have wanted a baby, have been trying for a baby for far too long, and have yet to conceive that baby. What you may not know is that not only has the fertility testing begun, but it’s in full swing these days.

Unfortunately, the results haven’t been great.

We have no definitive answers yet… we’re always waiting for results from the next test they’ve come up with… but my doctor is optimistic, and that makes me optimistic. It seems that Clomid may be in the near future, assuming the little swimmers make straight A’s on their final exam, and hopefully that’s all it will take. Sometimes the results we receive seem like good news, but most of the time the entire process and discovering that a completely “natural” conception will never happen for us is completely disheartening and borderline disturbing. If I focus too much on it (as I have so many days recently), I am a complete mess.

So for now I’m keeping it vague… mostly for my own sanity. If I discuss the details of what we’ve learned and what has yet to be determined, I will be forced to face reality again. And honestly, I just don’t feel like it.


I'm not pregnant.

7:23:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 3 Comments

I've been gone for a while, and there's a reason for that.  I've had a really difficult time lately and my patience has been tested in ways I never imagined.
Nick and I have been trying to have a baby for what seems like an eternity.  Of course he's gone quite often, but when he's home my life is consumed with beginning the next chapter in our lives. Nothing about it has been easy.
Lately I have found myself so obsessed with it that I can't enjoy or appreciate anything else in life.  The only time I'm even remotely happy is during the 2 weeks that I'm waiting to ovulate... when I know there is absolutely nothing I can do to change things.  The rest of the month I'm depressed knowing that I'm not pregnant, or obsessing over every little change in my body wondering if "this is it", or following the internet lives and stories of others in my situation that are even more psychotic and obsessive than myself.  It leaves me feeling empty, worthless, and ultimately a failure... wondering if Nick and I will ever know the joy and happiness of conceiving our own child.
These feelings might seem a little premature, because there are plenty of people that have been trying much longer than we have or have been through so much more during the process.  But when I want something, I want it now.  I've never been a patient person, and this experience has reminded me of that.  It has strained my emotions, strained my mental health, and unfortunately even put some unnecessary strain on Nick and our marriage.
I can't let it control my life anymore.  I am going to do everything in my power to focus on something else for a while, and try my hardest to ignore the clock ticking in my head.  It's not going to be easy.  But I want nothing more than to wake up one day and realize I'm a few days late, take a test, and share the surprising joy with my husband when I tell him the good news.  I don't want making a baby to become a chore, or look back and remember this time as stressful or emotionally draining.
I don't know what's in the cards for us.  I don't know if we'll have to dig further into fertility testing, or never be able to have our own child and end up adopting.  But I also don't know that if I relax a little and let nature take it's course that we won't conceive many children in our lifetime.  I need a new hobby or a new venture in life to be excited about so that it is easier to put this in the back of my mind for a while before I reach my breaking point.

I don't want this post to be completely depressing so I'll leave you with this... I can proudly say I completed my first half marathon!  I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face holding the hands of two of my best friends in 2:24... not too bad for what seemed like 13.1 miles uphill!  It was exhilarating and I can honestly say I had the greatest time doing it (except maybe the 13th mile).  It's a moment that will live with me forever.  There's no greater feeling than reaching a goal you never thought possible.   


riviera maya

9:29:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 2 Comments

To celebrate our 1 year anniversary, Nick and I flew down to a beautiful all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen for 7 wonderful days.  We ran in the mornings, spent our afternoons reading and relaxing on the beautiful white beaches, and shared romantic dinners and walks in the evenings.  Wonderful doesn't even begin to describe it.  We also found time to parasail on our anniversary, and ventured to Tulum to explore a magical ancient Mayan village on the Caribbean.  Jealous yet?
Here are a few pictures from our trip:


I'm back!

10:50:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

where do I even begin?  It's been almost 2 months since my last post. 2 months.  What have I been doing for the past 2 months?  Let me fill you in...


Nick is home!

I brought Nick home July 21st, and he's been home so long now that it feels like he never left.  We've frolicked in Mexico for a week (happy 1yr anniversary to us!), played in the sand of Wrightsville beach (for the 1st time in 5 years... since the day we loaded up the moving truck and headed to TN), and just enjoyed every single moment of being together again.  I don't know how I ever survived 8 months without him.  


I'm 1 week away from my 1st half marathon.

I briefly skimmed my previous posts before writing this, and I must admit I giggled every time I read about my running.  The last time I mentioned my training I was barely surviving 2-3 mile runs, and now my easy runs are 5+ miles.  My long runs on Saturday are 10-12 miles, and although painful at times I always make it.  It's amazing to see the progress I've made in just a few short months.  On Saturday I will run the Women's Half Marathon and finally reach my goal!  (I've also lost a few more pounds, not that I'm counting or anything :)


Big changes are on the horizon... hopefully.

Nick and I have spent a lot of the last 2 months thinking, and planning, and getting ready for where life will take us next (and no, I'm not pregnant).  We have a lot of big plans, and for now I'm crossing my fingers that everything falls in place the way we need it to.  When things become a little more definitive, I'll be happy to share.  


I feel like I should have a lot more to say after such a long hiatus, but my mind has gone completely blank.  Stay tuned for pictures from Mexico and details on readjusting after the deployment.  It feels good to be back!





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nothing can rain on my parade today

4:13:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

today is a great day... today is the day before I pick my husband up and bring him home.  No more wondering and wishing... he's really coming home.  In less than 24 hours I will be face to face with my best friend again.  Tomorrow night I will inch my way back to my side of the bed because I will no longer sleep alone.  Tomorrow I will fall back in love all over again with the man that makes me smile through life.  Tomorrow will be a new beginning to the rest of our lives together.  We will laugh, we will dance, we will share silent little moments of loving stares, and we will just be.  Together again.  Today is a great day.

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I got a phone call yesterday...

4:14:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

my LAST phone call from Nick until he's stateside.  We're in single digits!  I can't wait to see his face again!

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sweet summertime

4:00:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

There's nothing I love more than a hot sunny day in the summer... except maybe a hot summer day making memories with the best friends a girl could ask for.  Friday was one of these days, and when you add in two adorable little girls, a late afternoon showing of Eclipse, and a Mexican dinner, the day is nothing short of perfect.

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after 5 years of impatiently waiting...

10:32:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 1 Comments

I finally got my first dslr!  I had my heart set on the Nikon D90, but after a little more research and thought I decided to go with the d5000.  I couldn't be happier.  While the rain poured down yesterday evening leaving me confined to my house, I gathered up some scrap fabric and a little padding and made a camera strap cover.  It took less than an hour, and I'm quite proud of the results.  I was in love with all of the covers I found on Etsy, but couldn't stand to spend money on something I could make myself.

many more pictures to come in the future!


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baby Caroline!

9:57:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 1 Comments

I finally met my sweet little baby Caroline... she is the little speckle that belongs to my dear friends Carrie and Shane.  I would say I'm madly in love, but I don't even think love describes what I feel for that little baby girl.  She has definitely made the list for reasons to stay in Tennessee.

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training has begun!

8:29:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

Today was my first day of training with the YMCA, and it was GREAT.  I was the only runner there (the group is made up of runners, walkers, and run/walkers), so I got one-on-one training with a seasoned marathon veteran.  I usually run in the mornings after a 12-hour shift at work, so I was amazed at my energy level after a full 6 hours of sleep.  We ran a 5k in under 31 minutes (9:56 pace).... over a minute faster than my 5k last Sunday!  I also managed to pull out a 7 min pace for the last 1/4 mile of the run.  I've never had the self motivation to push myself at the end, so that was a proud moment.  My coach was so encouraging and really made me confident that I WILL run this 13.1 miles and am more than capable of doing it.  He seems to think I'll break 2 hours.... as long as I break 2:30 I'll be happy.  There should be plenty of half marathons in my future to work on better times :)

If you haven't already, please donate to the Restore Ministries of the Middle TN YMCA to fund my training!  I need to raise $125 by next week, and another $125 in the weeks to come.  Your help is greatly appreciated!

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so... about the 5k...

10:52:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

My first 5k didn't go quite as well as I'd hoped.  I thought that running with a group and knowing it was a true race and counted for something would be great motivation to improve my distance, but it was hard.  I had a lot of factors going against me... I worked 10 hrs overnight prior to the race, I hadn't eaten in a loooong time, and my water ran out 45 min before the race started.  I've learned in the past 2 months that hydration is everything when it comes to running.  I've also been cheating for the last month since the temperature soared to over 95 degrees on several occasions, so I wasn't prepared for the heat and humidity and what felt like 3.1 miles of an uphill battle.  

Despite everything that went wrong, I did it.  I ran my first 5k, and my first race ever.  I can scratch that off the list of goals to accomplish, and move forward to longer distances and the many races I have lined up on my calendar in the months to come.

I never run for speed, so I was satisfied with my 32.01 time in the 5k.  I found myself at the front of the pack during the start of the race, and before I knew it I had completed the first mile in 6.5 min.  Not good.  I usually strive for a 9 min-mile pace, and I wore myself out much too quickly.  My competitive nature kicked in, and I couldn't stand to watch anyone pass me.  Next time I'll be sure to line up in the very back and force myself to go slower than I want.  32.01 might be a pathetic time for many, but I was just glad to cross that finish line in one piece.  I have plenty of years ahead of me to improve my time and start winning these races.


I knew when I showed up at the Country Music Hall of Fame this morning that the Fourth of July Music City run was in honor of our troops, being that it was Independence Day, but I wasn't prepared for what I learned after the race.  While I was rehydrating and catching my breath I pulled the new t-shirt out of my bag to check it out, and saw what was printed on the back:

Proudly supporting currently deployed 278th Armored Calvary Regiment in Iraq

I immediately lost it.  In my mind I was running for Nick and my other friends in the 278th and thought about them every minute of the run, but didn't realize that the entire run was dedicated to them and the Wounded Warrior Project.  The combination of endorphins flowing through my blood and the emptiness I feel until Nick returns home safely collided for a 15 min. post-run sob in the middle of the Country Music Walk of Fame.  I had just finished my first real race since becoming a runner, and a new me, and I hadn't talked to Nick in over 2 weeks.  I felt like a whole new person... a new person that he had yet to meet.  I feel like I've dealt with this deployment well over the last 7 months, but I also feel like he has missed out on so many important things in my life.  I couldn't handle another milestone that he wasn't a part of.

The day wasn't completely lost though, because a few hours after arriving home I was shocked to receive a call from Nick.  It was amazing.  We were able to talk for nearly an hour, and words can't describe the way it felt.  2 weeks might not seem long to go without talking to someone, but when it's your best friend and your rock that you share everything with 2 weeks can feel like an eternity.

I can't help but count down the days until he's finally home.  It still doesn't seem real, but I don't think it will until I'm safe in his arms once again.  It's impossible to understand just how much I miss him.


If you haven't already, please check out the donation page for my half-marathon training.  100% of all donations go to the Restore Ministries of the Middle TN YMCA.  I need your help to make my dream of becoming a half-marathon runner a reality!

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I ran my first 5k!

9:39:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

What have I done today?  Well, I've worked a full overtime shift and ran my first 5k. Not just any 5k... a race honoring our soldiers of the 278th ACR currently deployed in Iraq.  They ran with us, all the way in Camp Taji.  What are YOU going to do today to celebrate your independence?  Whatever you do, please don't forget the brave men and women that risk everything to ensure your freedom, and the freedom of nations around the world.  While you're drinking beer and watching fireworks, they're fighting for their lives to make sure you can do just that.  




more on my first 5k later...

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still going strong... but I need your help!

11:01:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

I'm still running, and I'm still loving it (most days).  I'm not running 7 days a week anymore, but I'm maintaining a good 4-5.  It's been over 2 months since I began my journey into running... 2 MONTHS.  Probably the longest I've ever stuck with any workout routine.  It's not a phase, it's not a hobby, it's not a trend... it's a habit.  Even on the days that I'm not really looking forward to my run, my goals and progress keep me motivated.

Now comes the favor...

As much as I love running, I'm not very optimistic that I can make it to 13.1 miles alone.  The plan was always to do weekly long runs with Katie to train for the half marathon in September, but 2 months later our schedules have yet to allow it.  So I've decided to train with a group at my Y, but in order to do that I need to raise $250 (or more!) for the We Build People campaign in middle TN.  I'm happy to donate to the cause myself, but it would be helpful and greatly appreciated if I could raise some of the funds and even exceed the required amount.  I have been assured that 100% of all proceeds will go directly to the organization.  Here's a little info about the campaign:

Your gift to the YMCA is crucial in making our mission possible. The Annual We Build People Campaign and the YMCA Foundation offer opportunities to make donations.
Your gift to the YMCA We Build People Campaign makes our mission possible: to not turn anyone away due to an inability to pay. Our campaign helps to fund programs such as Y-CAP, Urban Services Youth Development Center, membership assistance, Restore Ministries,Fun Company, DiabetesSmart, ABC (After Breast Cancer), swim lessons, Christian Emphasis and the USSAA program. With your help, thousands of kids and families have the opportunity to participate in nurturing programs that help them grow in spirit, mind and body. Every dollar raised goes directly to providing assistance for people who are in need. Please join us in helping build strong kids, strong families and strong communities. To find out more about how you can help:

If you can donate $5 or $10, it will not only help out a great cause but it will also help me to reach my personal goals and scratch something off my bucket list!  Running has been life-changing, and I promise there will be many more races in my future (some before the half marathon... but more about that later).  If you can't donate financially, I welcome emotional support and encouragement too!

Want to donate or help? Simply go to the link below:


lake memories

10:27:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

I had the most amazing time with my family at the lake this weekend.  The two lonely cabins might be small, the air-conditioning non-existent, and the days hot, but it is truly a magical place.

We've been coming to the lake for almost 20 years now, and I've cherished every moment I've spent there.  There's nothing like a peaceful morning on the dock reading with coffee in hand, and only an occasional boat passing by, or an afternoon of skiing and tubing with the wind in your hair, or lazy evenings with endless chatter by the water.

The best moments of my childhood were spent at the lake.  Growing up, my cousins were my best friends.  I would often spend the Summer at my aunt's house growing closer to my cousins everyday, and I loved it.  Illness, careers, babies, and marriages may have gotten in the way recently, but nothing can ever take those memories away from me.

I'm already counting down the days until our lake trip next year.  It's one of the only thing left to keep me close to my family, and in a time when everything seems to be changing, that is truly priceless.  

There's only one thing I would change about my lake trip this year.... I would have stayed longer.  


life really is good.

9:22:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 1 Comments

I haven't been feeling particularly bad lately, but I also haven't been in the greatest mood either... I've just been living life day by day.  Not everyone is born with a sunny, glass-is-half-full kind of personality, and some of us need to be reminded of the good things in life to keep a smile on our faces.  And that's okay.

I've really embraced my new running lifestyle, and although I don't look forward to running every day I can honestly say I enjoy the change.  I run at least 6 days every week... I still can't believe I can truthfully write that.  I really am a runner now, just not quite the distance runner I was hoping to be after a month and a half into my plan.  I'm still only running 2-3 miles, which is a long way from the 13.1 miles I'll be running at the Women's Half Marathon in September.  But I haven't given up, and that means more than any numbers that could ever measure my progress.  I just began running indoors this week, because I couldn't stand the 90 degree temps at 8 in the morning.  There are both good and bad to this: I HATE running on a treadmill (I definitely thought it would be easier, and was sadly disappointed), but I love adding an extra hour of weight training every day after my run.  It's the perfect combination.

I've also started eating a lot healthier.  I didn't eat terrible before, but my diet now is almost entirely made up of fresh fruits and vegetables mixed in with a little hummus and turkey or chicken salad.  These are my favorite foods anyway (except for Mexican... that will always be an occasional necessity), but I've stopped being lazy and grabbing the more convenient snacks and meals lying around.  I've also started grocery shopping immediately after my workouts (I know my fellow shoppers at Publix appreciate this), which makes it almost impossible to buy anything unhealthy.  I entirely skip the middle section of the store, and only shop the perimeter.  If I don't see it and know it exists, I can't want it.  Simple as that.

What else?  Oh yeah, the end is near.  Since I can't share anything without risking OPSEC, I'll just direct you to this link:  TN National Guard Troops Return From Iraq Early.      I'll leave it at that.

No, actually I won't.  Can you imagine the most annoying cheerleader in the world jumping up and down and screaming in your face?  That's going on inside of me right now.  You'd probably never know it, especially since I'm not really allowed to share my excitement with the world, but I'm doing it now.  When I read that article on my way home today (I don't usually play with my phone while driving but I was stuck in standstill rush-hour traffic, just for the record), I literally teared up when I saw the picture of the women hugging her husband.  I can't wait for that day to get here, but I also never want that moment to end because I know it will be magical.  And completely unforgettable.  We're so close to everything I've been dreaming about for the last 7 months, and it feels incredible.

I'm also a lot more appreciative of my job today than I have been in weeks.  A good friend of mine needed help with bookkeeping/accounting/tax stuff, and I took the job to add a little extra to our vacation fund and help a friend out.  And do you know what I learned in two 8-hour days working my new second job?  I do not miss working in an office all day, every day.  Not. At. All.  I hate staring at a computer screen and having my butt glued to a chair for 8 hours a day.  I would much rather be running around like a mad woman/drug dealer/waitress (aka RN) for 12 hrs any day of the week.  It's just not for me.  Patients and families often tell me they could never work a 12-hr shift, but I promise 12 hrs as a bedside nurse is a lot shorter than 8 hrs at a desk.  I've lived both lives, and I hope I never find myself back in an office full-time.

One more thing... I don't know if it was writing about it, or my more positive outlook today, or maybe a combination of both, but I didn't have the wedding obsession today that I usually experience.  I actually spent a while pre-planning a friend's wedding on the phone, and I enjoyed every minute of it.  I still dreamed about having the wedding we were talking about, but without the regret and anxiety I normally feel.  All weddings are beautiful, and magical, and memorable (okay, maybe not all weddings).  I was able to focus on the good pictures and memories, and never once stressed about anything I would have done differently.  I may not get the chance to do my wedding again, but I will be able to celebrate anniversaries, and baby showers, and kids' birthday parties, and all of the other many celebrations in life.  Besides my parents (and probably only because they footed the bill), who even remembers my wedding a year later?  It really doesn't matter.  I'm married to the man that I love and will spend the rest of my life with, and I'm happy.  Even on bad, depressing days, the thought of Nick and what we share can keep me smiling for hours.

The thoughts keep pouring in, but I'll try to keep this from becoming a novel.  I'm happy, looking on the bright side of life, and that's all that matters.  Now if only this mentality would stay while I work the next 6 out of 7 nights...


so over it.

11:58:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

I've spent the last year obsessing about my wedding (over a year if you count the actual planning), and I'm so over it.  Well, not really over it at all, but I would do just about anything to let it all go.  As sad as it is to admit, I literally spend  about an hour almost every day replaying the details and all the things I would have done differently.  I dream about renewing our vows (although I never plan on doing it... one wedding really is enough).  The funny thing is, nothing really went wrong on our wedding day.  I was relaxed, the venue was beautiful, and I'm pretty sure everyone had a great time.  I'm starting to think no wedding would have ever satisfied me.

I dream about a destination wedding.... we seriously considered it, but were afraid to disappoint family (especially Nick's grandmother, who ironically wasn't able to make it to our wedding due to a recent surgery).  I would love a small, intimate gathering (immediate family only) on a secluded beach at sunset.  I would wear a simple white sun dress with flip flops, and Nick would wear khakis and a white shirt Cuban-style.

I dream about a beach wedding at Public Access 13 on Wrightsville Beach where we shared our first kiss and the beginning of a lifetime together... and also where Nick planned to propose had he not become impatient about making me his wife ;)  I would wear a sleek, straight, flowing dress and go barefoot.  No setting would have been better than Wilmington... the small, magical city where we first fell in love.  I love Nashville, but I will always wish we had been married in Wilmington until the day we die (sleeping peacefully, The Notebook- style).

I can't even watch wedding shows, or any tv show/movie with a wedding, without my stomach literally turning inside.  I don't understand it.  It's over and done (and it was wonderful), but no matter what I can't let it go.  Absolutely ridiculous.  I've been too ashamed to write about this for so long, but I'm really hoping that writing it down helps me move on.

You know what's really funny?  I never really wanted a wedding to begin with.  Of course I had thought about it, but I wasn't the little girl dreaming every night about a big flowing gown and my celebrity crush of the moment standing at the end of the aisle.  But like everything else in my life I started planning, and I became obsessed.  No decision could ever be "right".

There is one thing that always eases my mind and gives me peace... and that it the man I married.  Because I know that at the end of the day, that's all that matters.  He is everything I've ever wanted and more.  The wedding is really so insignificant compared to the lifetime we will create together.  And that makes me happy.


the closer it gets to Nick coming home...

12:34:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 1 Comments

the harder it is to make it through the day without him.



11:51:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

It's getting closer and closer to Nick returning home, and I don't think it's really hit me yet.  I don't even know what to say or think.  I spend more and more of my days imagining his return, and many of my nights dreaming about running into his arms... but at the same time it doesn't seem real.  I don't really believe that he will ever come home.

Maybe it's a defense or coping mechanism, because if I spent every minute of his absence dreaming about his homecoming I would have never survived the past 6+ months.  It just seems so surreal.  I know I had a similar feeling when he was gone for 14 weeks during boot camp and AIT, but it still doesn't seem right.  I should be counting down the days and making banners and throwing a party, but I just can't seem to let myself get excited.

Having said that, I can't wait for Nick to come home.  I want to spend at least a full 24 hours lying next to him with his arms wrapped around me without saying a word.  I look forward to enjoying the little things in life together again, and making new memories with every passing day.  I want to live each day without feeling as if my life is on hold.  I want to set our plans in motion for the next few years.

Most of all, I want to feel married again.

Nick and I were together for 6 years when we got married.... and it seems he's been gone since the day he became my husband.  We got married in August and he was gone for AT by September.  He came home a month later, and left again December 5 for pre-deployment training.  He hasn't been back home since.

As sad as I am to admit it, I don't even remember what it's like to have him home.  He was gone for nearly all of 2009, and halfway through 2010 he has yet to be here.

The end can't come soon enough.


southern hospitality

6:11:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

My neighbors are awesome. 

My flag is never twisted, I never miss trash day, there’s never a day I come home from the grocery store without at least one person offering to carry my bags inside, and I never discover a problem at my house that a neighbor hasn’t already offered to fix. 

They're kind, generous, and always looking out for me without asking for anything in return. 

They have been this way since the day we moved in, but their kindness reached a whole new level when Nick deployed and they became my protectors and guardians. 

They embraced us in a neighborhood it seemed we would be outcast by several decades. 

My next-door neighbor even adorned his American flag with a yellow ribbon in which Nick’s name and the words “be safe” were carefully printed. 

It is an honor to be a part of this community. 

It seems inevitable that we will leave this home in the months to come, and when I mourn my little lake house it will be their faces that fill me with sadness and grief. 

They are truly one of a kind, and will forever leave me with the true meaning of southern hospitality.


10 reasons I love my husband

10:21:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 1 Comments

In honor of Memorial Day, I thought I'd take a minute to appreciate (and brag a little) about my heroic, brave husband.  I could write a book about the reasons I love Nick, so this list is just a start.

1.  He's always the first to apologize.
I'm stubborn.  Really stubborn.  For that reason I've always found it hard to suck it up and apologize, even when I know I'm in the wrong.  Within 5 min of any fight or argument Nick is always the first to apologize... regardless of who should really be taking the first step.  I can literally scream at him for absolutely no reason, count to ten, and he will be right there saying "I'm sorry".  Never fails.

2.  He supports every decision I make.
Whether I'm planning my next degree or career, or adding to the list of businesses and hobbies I imagine in my life, Nick supports all of my dreams.  He hates to have any sort of debt, but if I really want to go to school and add another 50k+ to our student loans he never tells me no.  He supports the big things in life... and all the little things.  I couldn't ask for more.

3.  He's my biggest fan.
Although I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world, or the most talented artist, or the world's greatest genius, my husband thinks I am.  He always makes me feel amazing.  He doesn't even have to speak a word... I can see it in the way he looks at me.  I feel the same way about him.

4.  He inspires me.
I'm a better person because of Nick.  Not that I wouldn't be a pretty awesome person without him, but he makes me even better.  He inspires me to reach my goals, create new goals, and try new things every day.  Finding him brought me a little closer to having a perfect life, and made me want to fix and change every other little aspect of my life to make it perfect as well.  Because of Nick my future is so much brighter.

5.  He encourages me to have my own life.
Nick and I love to spend lazy days together cuddling and watching movies, dancing in the kitchen while we make dinner, and sharing our deepest and most unconventional thoughts with each other. As much as we enjoy our time together and can never get enough of it, he always encourages me to do things on my own.  He is happy to watch me fill my social calendar with dinners and dates with my girls, and loves to see me enjoy time away from home.  Of course the Army has forced me to have much more of my own life without him than I ever desired, but he prepared me in the best of ways for surviving life without him here.

6.  He's the smartest person I know.
I promise if you spend 10 minutes with Nick in a meaningful conversation, you will quickly agree that he is extremely intelligent.  Historical facts and dates roll from his tongue like flavors of ice cream.  He is passionate about his thoughts and beliefs, and I guarantee you will never truly win an argument with him... even if he lets you think you did.  He can fly an airplane, create a combat strategy that will blow your mind, and explain concepts that the geniuses of the world can't understand.  He is incredible.

7.  He has dimples.
Enough said.

8.  He has dreams and aspirations.
Nick has never been one to dream small or create small, insignificant goals... and I truly believe he will reach each and every one of his grand dreams and become the greatest at everything he ever does.

9.  He can always make me smile.
Whether I'm having a stressful or emotional day, or we've just had an intense argument, Nick can always put the biggest and most genuine smile on my face.  As long as I'm smiling, nothing else in life matters to him.

10.  He meant every word of his wedding vows.
The one belief that Nick and I will never differ on is the commitment of marriage.  My parents have been married 27 years and his 28, and we always knew that whenever we chose to get married it would be forever.  Marriage is hard work and sometimes a struggle, but it's a challenge we're up for.  Divorce is not an option for us, and we don't believe anything can or will ever tear us apart.  We didn't say our vows lightly, and meant every word of them.  I'm confident that no matter what life throws our way, we will battle it head on and come out victorious.  We went through a lot during the 6 years before our wedding, and it only made us stronger.  I know that Nick will never give up on us, and I'm reminded of his love and commitment to me every day.



bring. it. on.

7:53:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

I am a runner.  I am a runner.  I am a runner.

(No matter how I write it, I love the way it sounds.)

My new found love of running has been life-changing.  It's hard to believe I've only been running for 10 days now, because it has truly changed me from the inside out.  My daily mood is better, my subconscious is focused on pride rather than self-loathing, I have more energy, and each muscle in my body thanks me every day for moving just a little bit more.

In just one week of running I've gone from only 0.5 mile runs to 2 mile runs.  This might not seem like a big achievement to the average runner, but for those like me that never thought running was a possibility this is a HUGE accomplishment.  If I can increase my run 1.5 miles in one week, I'm well on my way to crossing the finish line of the women's half marathon in September.

13.1 miles?  BRING IT ON.

I have always hated running.  I've been jealous of people that do run, because I never thought I could be one of them.  Even when I played sports and was in the best shape of my life, the thought of running made me cry.  I felt like some people were just born runners, and I would never be able to do it.  Look how far I've come.

One of the main problems I've had with any workout routine is losing motivation after a few weeks or months, and eventually finding myself back on the couch eating cookies and watching tv.  This was a concern of mine a week ago, but not anymore.  I love the way running makes me feel.  I'm shocked that after a 12-hour night shift on my feet and moving 400-lb patients, I can't get home fast enough to lace up my shoes and hit the road.  I can be exhausted or sore, but I still want to run.

I started running to get in better shape and lose a few pounds, but I don't think that's what's going to keep me running.  Running is so much more than exercise.  It is the best stress-reliever and mood enhancement I've ever experienced.  After a few miles of running my mind is clear, there's a smile on my face, and I feel GREAT.  It's a much better cure for a long stressful night at work than any amount of whiskey could ever be.  I'm in the process of trying to plan a vacation for Nick's return home, and I've found myself focusing on going somewhere with a great place to run.  I've always thought that exercising on vacation was a sin and mocked people that packed their workout clothes next to their bathing suits, but I get it now.  I can't imagine sitting around for a week without running.  I've also been researching pregnancy and running, because at the chance that Nick knocks me up in the next year I don't want to be confined to my behind.  (and for those of you curious, it is completely safe to run while pregnant... some women even continue to run half and full marathons late into their third trimester!)

I hope this inspires someone else to become a runner.  Try it out for a few days and give your body time to adjust, and I promise you won't be disappointed.


I feel GREAT

10:21:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

They say that exercise is the best therapy for your mood, and after a week of establishing a daily running routine I have to agree.  I've only been running a mile every morning, but it's amazing how great I feel.  You have to understand that although I was very athletic growing up, I have NEVER had endurance.  I played softball for 10 years and even ran track in middle school and was recruited to run in high school, but I was a sprinter- 100 yds max.  Running long distances has always been a challenge for me.  But for the first time in my life, I'm facing that challenge head on.

One of the main problems I've had with exercising as an adult is establishing a routine and sticking to it.  I can find an excuse to take a day off on any day of the week.  It's only been a week, but already I've fought great excuses to maintain my motivation.  When I woke up Friday morning after increasing my weights at my class at the Y the night before, I could barely walk down the stairs... and I still found the motivation to run.  On Saturday morning when I woke up feeling like I'd been hit by a bus, I still laced up my shoes and hit the road.  And today when I woke up to pouring rain, I put on a hat and watched the rain fill the lake as I ran by.

When I started running last week I was having a lot of pain in my ankles and knees, and assumed that the old, worn-down shoes I was wearing didn't help.  After a few recommendations from friends I made a special trip to Fleet Feet to get fitted for running shoes.  I couldn't have been more impressed.  I was there for nearly 2 hours while the salesman measured and inspected every inch of my feet, and found the perfect choices for me.  He even went as far as watching me run on the sidewalk in each of the 3 pairs of shoes he had chosen, to make sure they were keeping my feet and joints aligned while I ran.  It was an amazing experience.  I left with brand new Mizunos complete with padded inserts, 4 pairs of fancy socks, new shorts and shirts (who knew you weren't supposed to run in cotton?), and a big smile on my face.  If you're in need of new shoes or have never been fitted for the right shoe, I highly recommend them.

As if I needed another reason to feel great, Nick will officially be home before I know it.  I can't give a specific date (as if the military would even let me know one), but it will be MONTHS earlier than expected.  I'm on top of the world, but mostly still in shock.  It just doesn't seem real.  As crazy as it sounds, I don't think I allowed myself to believe that he would ever come home.  We all deal with deployments differently, and the only way I knew how to adjust to life without him was to imagine that my life would always be without him.  That brings me to another subject... I'm so nervous about his return.  I'm finally in a place where I have established my own routine and found contentment as a pseudo-single adult, and I'm terrified of readjusting to having him home again.  Not that I would trade it for anything in the world... it's just a little scary.  I can still hear myself telling him multiple times a day after he returned from BCT that he was doing something wrong, because that's not how we did it here anymore.  I have to remind myself that it's okay for the dog bowl to move to a different location, or for the laundry to quadruple in size, or for the bed to shrink to half of it's size... it's just great to have him home.  I was talking to a friend of mine the other night at dinner about my worries and concerns when he comes home, and she reminded me that I feel this way EVERY time he's about to return after a long absence.  She also reminded me that I worry myself for nothing, because after about 2 weeks of readjusting and fitting him back into each day, it's like he never left.  She couldn't be more right.

In other news, I'm hosting one of my best friend's baby showers next weekend!  The details are coming together and I'm busy working hard on some final touches, but I can't elaborate yet because she likes to quietly stalk this blog.  I really hope this shower proves to be everything she has hoped for... and I can't wait for little Caroline to be here!  If there's one thing I've been missing in Nashville for the last few years, it's a cute little baby around to spoil rotten :)

happy Sunday!


happy mother's day!

10:45:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 1 Comments

For as long as I can remember, I've been told I look just like my mom.  When I was 5, this meant nothing to me.  When I was 13, I rolled my eyes every time I heard it (but then again, I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes at everything).  But now I can't hear it enough.  It is such a compliment to be told I look exactly like my mother; she is beautiful inside and out.

I know I'm not the only person to consider their mom their best friend, but I mean every word of it.  Now that I'm older (and of age) I can talk to my mom about anything and everything, and I often do.  I call my mom any chance I get... whether I need a shoulder to lean on, an ear to cry to, someone to share my excitement with, or most often to update her on every little detail of my usually boring life.  And she answers every time.  There is no one I'd rather talk to, and no one that understands me better.

My mom has been there for me through every step of life.  She has never judged me, and she supports every decision I make (no matter how much she may be cringing on the inside... like the new tattoo on my foot).  When I called to tell her I was engaged I could see the tears of joy in her eyes.  When I called to tell her the engagement was off, I know she felt every bit of pain I was going through.  And when I called to tell her I was engaged again, to the same man that had broken my heart before, she was genuinely excited for me.  While my friends warned me to be careful and gave that less than assuring look of disapproval, my mom shared the excitement of wedding planning with me (again).  She never made me feel bad about my decision, and she embraced Nick back into our lives with a warm heart and without questions.  For whatever reason she has trusted every decision I've ever made, or at least made me believe that she did, and for that I am forever grateful.

My mom has made more sacrifices than anyone else I've ever known.  She sacrificed her own career numerous times for her family, and always supported my dad in reaching his own career goals.  When we needed her at home, she was there.  And when life threw a long curveball that no one was prepared for, she gave up everything to raise her two grandchildren.  She has never given herself enough credit for all that she is done for our family.

I will never understand what it feels like to be a mother until I have children of my own, but I completely understand the unconditional love between a mother and daughter.  There's nothing like it.  If I can be half the mother that my mom is, my children will be blessed.


it's not getting better anytime soon.

4:00:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments


something's missing

12:38:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

There's only one word to describe the way I've been feeling lately... 'blah'.  I have an overwhelming sense of boredom with my life, like something's missing.  I spend hours every day dreaming about new careers, having a baby, moving to a new place... the list goes on and on.  I'm just not happy with my life right now.  I want something new, something exciting, and something to remind me that I'm alive.

But of course there IS something missing from my life... Nick.  My best friend, my husband, my shoulder to lean on, the person I share everything with... is not here.  I guess it's natural for me to feel the way I do.  I know I have to go on without him, I just can't figure out what I can change right now to make everything better.

I miss him so much.  Sometimes I think I can't go another day without him, and other times I worry that he will be home too soon before I can readjust to having him here again.  It may sound crazy, but there are so many mixed emotions that go into a deployment.  And I know he feels the same way... he's told me that although he can't wait to be home again and have me in his arms, he's never felt more pride or success than he's felt during this deployment.  I don't take it personally... I really do understand.

On a side note, I ran 2 miles today.  I'm still a really long way away from the 13.1 miles I'll be running in September, but it was my very first run (I had to wait for my tattoo to heal), and at least it's a start.


think you're having a bad day?

7:14:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

this should remind you to be grateful for everything you have


this. is. crazy.

12:33:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 1 Comments

all photos courtesy of The Tennessean

Thousands are without power, water, homes, cars, clothes, & food...

please donate to the Nashville Red Cross

Despite living next to the lake, I am on dry ground today and my house has been spared from this disaster.  I am so grateful for everything I have today.


random sunday thoughts

12:52:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

I got the best nursing education available in Tennessee from the accelerated nursing program at Belmont University.  I'll be paying for it for the rest of my life.

When Nick told me that we were moving from the sunny beaches of Wilmington to a city in Tennessee I'd never heard of (if you aren't familiar with MTSU, you probably haven't heard of Murfreesboro either) I thought "at least I won't have to deal with hurricanes anymore".  I didn't realize I'd be trading a couple of hurricanes a year for weekly tornadoes (and now ridiculous flooding).

There are 27 colleges and universities in Nashville.  Many of them offer nursing programs.  No wonder it's so hard to find a nursing job after graduation.

My dogs are incredibly loving, sweet, and innocent.  I think I take them for granted far too often.

I would move to Chattanooga in a heartbeat.  Aside from being the home of most of my extended family, it's one of my favorite cities.  Just spend a day walking the riverfront streets downtown, and you'll know what I mean.

I am dying to live in an old, historic Craftsman home.  I'm constantly browsing what's for sale in downtown Nashville, Winston Salem, and Wilmington.

I'd never heard of straight line winds until I moved to Tennessee.  If you haven't experienced or heard of them, consider yourself lucky.

My tattoo is almost out of the itching phase.  And for that, I am thankful.

The month of May produces the most rainfall on average of any other month in
Nashville.  The average is 5 inches.  For the whole month.  It's May 2nd, and so far we've had 15 inches of rain in the last 24 hours.

Nick has been gone for 148 days... 5 months.  I think that's long enough.


time to build the ark

10:26:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

Good news:  Even though we live next to a lake, our house is thankfully located on top of a hill.

Bad news:  We don't own a boat.

In case you haven't heard, Tennessee is flooded.  Not just in my immediate area, or the greater Nashville area, but THE ENTIRE STATE OF TENNESSEE.  I-24 at the Bell Road exit is a lake.  I-40 near downtown is a lake.  Over 50 major roads in Nashville are closed due to flooding.  30,000 people in Nashville are without power.  Vanderbilt Children's Hospital's main lobby is flooded, the ambulance bay is flooded and the ER is flooded. I heard on the news that in Perry County a church was floating down the highway.  Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.  Thousands more are stranded or have been rescued from their cars by boat.  Some have lost their lives.

Oh yeah, and IT'S STILL RAINING.

This is not typical rain.  The sky has literally opened up.  To top it all off, middle TN + Spring  = tornadoes.  Lots and lots of tornadoes.  So far I haven't heard of any touching down in Nashville, but the storms keep coming.

I was watching the news last night about the state of emergency in Tennessee, and they mentioned that National Guard troops would be activated in all parts of the state to deal with this disaster.

WHAT National Guard troops???

Maybe they have forgotten that Tennessee's largest NG unit, the 278th, is sitting in Iraq right now.  Over 3,200 soldiers.  Do you think the active duty Army is going to be sent to Tennessee to help out?  Don't hold your breath.  Because that's not their job, it's the responsibility of the National Guard.  So as you can see, it makes a lot of sense that the NG is often deployed to the war zone before active duty troops, and for longer durations.  Apparently, EVERYTHING is the responsibility of the National Guard.

Of course I'm a little biased, but the way our government uses our military has always frustrated me.  And for the first time, it's directly impacting a disaster right here at home.  I'm proud of what our men are doing in Iraq, and they're doing great things, but I'm still ready for them to come home.  And we need them here now more than ever.


carolina on my mind

6:45:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

I still live in the South, I still get my fair dose of heat and humidity, I live next to a lake... why does warm weather and sunshine make me miss NC so much???

I've said it before and I'll say it again- I LOVE my friends in TN.  They have been so good to me, and have become much more like family than friends.  But deep down I think my heart will always belong to NC.  Just say the words Wrightsville Beach, Eastern NC BBQ, dogwoods, Wilmington, etc, and my face just lights up.  Tennessee has been a great home for the past 4+ years and this city I live in is amazing and full of life and excitement... but NC will always be my real home.

I'm anxious, excited, and scared to find out the path that Nick chooses in the military... but I'm so ready to find out where we will be living for the next 20+ years (even if all I know is that we will be moving around every 2-3 years).  Of course if he calls to tell me to pack my bags for the Midwest or somewhere far far away, I may quickly wish I was still in the dark about our future.

I would love more than anything to move back to NC, but I also want my husband to be happy and proud of his career.  If nothing else, I suppose we can retire in NC ;)


it's a clover, NOT a flower

10:34:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

I was just showering and admiring the beautiful artwork permanently attached to my body when I had a shocking realization... my tattoo looks like a flower.  Never in a million years did I want a flower permanently inked on my foot.  I stared at it for what seemed like hours... I looked at it from all angles and sides, and tried to imagine what I would think it was if no one ever told me.  I was starting to freak out.

Then it hit me... why do I care what it looks like?  I know what it is, and I know the meaning behind it.  If I cared about what other people thought, I would never have gotten a tattoo at all.  I didn't get this tattoo so that other people could see a tattoo on my foot, I got a clover on my foot because it has a very special meaning to me.

So for the record, my tattoo is a four-leaf clover.  But if you see it as a flower, or a satanic symbol, or anything else, that's okay too.  Because I didn't get it for your interpretation, I got it for myself.  And I love it.


I'm not a runner

10:27:00 AM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

The Country Music Marathon took place in Nashville this weekend.  A few of my friends were running the 1/2 marathon and I planned on cheering from the sidelines, but instead tornado watches and severe weather warnings kept me at home.  I didn't want to miss them crossing the finish line, so I spent about 20 min glued to my computer to watch the live feed of the finish line around the time I thought they would cross it.  Wow.  I was amazed at just how many people were running the 1/2 marathon; it seemed like a continuous stream of 50 people were crossing that line during the 20 minutes I watched.  But what was more amazing were the type of people crossing that line... very few looked like "runners", and there were people of all shapes and sizes.  I literally saw at least 10 people that I would have bet couldn't even walk a mile, and here they were finishing a 13.1 mile run.  Talk about inspiring.

I remember when my friend Katie told me she was going to run and invited me to train and run with her... I thought she was crazy.  It was the last thing I thought I would ever do.  I had no desire, no motivation, and never in a million years thought that I could do it.  Katie herself promised me she had never been a runner, but at 5'4" and 100 lbs I knew she was in much better shape than me to make it happen.  She trained for only 3 months, and went from only being able to run 1 mile at a time to running 13.1.  I didn't envy her during the months of training, but jealousy took over every inch of my body the day I watched her and thousands of other cross that finish line.  If they can do it, I knew I could do it too.  And I decided I would.

I thought I would have to wait a year for the next Country Music Marathon, but Katie texted me last night about the Women's Half Marathon in Nashville in September.  I haven't been this excited about something in a long time.  It's perfect... the weather should be great, I have the perfect training partner, and plenty of time to get myself ready.  I've always said I wasn't a runner, but that is going to change soon.  Really soon.  We both have a foot that needs healing for different reasons, so it's going to be a couple of weeks before we can start running together.  She promised me we would start slow, only 1-2 miles the first run, because honestly I can't do any more than that yet.  But that's how she started back in February, and she said every week she surprised herself at how far she was able to go.

I can't wait to feel the accomplishment and pride when I cross that finish line.  Because mark my word, I WILL cross that finish line.  Hopefully running, but no matter what my two feet will cross it.  And I might not be breathing well or feeling great, but I will have a big smile on my face.


the damage is done.

8:20:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 1 Comments

I did it.  I got my first tattoo.

It was by no means spontaneous, and I put years of thought and worrying into my decision.  At the same time it was something I never thought I would do, because it is so uncharacteristic of me.  But I wanted it, and I got it.

Four-leaf clovers have a lot of meaning to me.  My Granny, the only grandparent I really had as a child, was born on St. Patty's Day.  She passed away 3 years ago, and since then clovers have become an obsession for me.  They're all over my house in different shapes and forms, and I love them.  I even had a four-leaf clover charm hanging from my rear view mirror from the day after she died until 2 months ago, when I wrapped it up and sent it to Nick in Iraq (because as I told him, no one would be more proud of him or protect him the way that Granny would).  Of course I'm pretty sure my grandmother would roll over in her grave if she thought I got a tattoo for her, but that's just a minor detail.

I also more recently learned that my aunt Teresa (who's been in a coma for 10?... 11?... maybe 12 years now?) had a love for sitting in the front yard for hours at a time searching for four-leaf clovers as a child.  With that revelation four-leaf clovers took on another meaning, because they were also a way to remember and honor someone else that I love.  (and luckily I think she would LOVE the idea of me getting a tattoo!)

Four-leaf clovers also have a third, more cheesy, meaning for me.  I feel so lucky to have found Nick, and for us to spend our lives together.  He is absolutely amazing (although it took years of training and a broken heart), and when I think of him I feel like the luckiest person alive.  So he was definitely on my mind when I chose this design.

Ironically, I don't feel like a lucky person.  I have been known to say on more than one occasion that I feel like I have the worst luck in the world (and Nick feels that way as well, so together we have a lot ahead of us in the future).  Maybe this tattoo will bring me a little extra luck?  Probably not, but it's worth a shot.

I've known for 3 years that I wanted to get a tattoo of a four-leaf clover, but it took hours and hundreds of designs to figure out exactly what I wanted.  And then I had to figure out where to get it... not an easy task.  The idea of a tattoo on my foot didn't come to me until a couple of weeks ago, but as I thought about it I knew it was perfect.  I definitely wanted to put it in a place that was easy to cover up, and also somewhere that wouldn't show when I was 80 and wrinkly.  Let's face it, if I'm wearing strappy sandals in my old age I have more to worry about than a tattoo on my foot (and I feel sorry for those around me).

So there you have it, my first tattoo.  Sorry Mom (and Dad), but I got a tattoo.  At least I waited until I was old and married, and didn't get some guy's name on my butt when I was 18, or a hand print on my cleavage, or a tramp stamp (no offense to all the ladies out there with the ever-popular butterfly tramp stamp).  

If you see me wearing a lot more of my ballet flats this summer it's not because my toes are cold, I just think my tattoo looks too good with a cute pair of flats :)


the ride of my life

2:49:00 PM Jaclyn Armstrong 0 Comments

... bike ride that is.  In my quest to find a healthier me, I've dusted my bike off and explored the springtime beauty of the little paradise in my front yard.  Today I combined two of my passions: spinning the fat off my thighs and capturing the wonder of nature on (digital) film.  I found more than I could have ever imagined.

I found that a best friend doesn't have to breathe oxygen to breathe life into you.  Sometimes a best friend takes you on the ride of your life when you least expect it.

I found these little beauties just about ready to pop and ooze the sweetest flavor of the South.  And I found myself ready to savor every last drop of my childhood.

I found myself admiring my favorite little bench that has carried me through my first year of marriage, my first year in seven years without Nick, my first deployment, my first year becoming a nurse, and my first year of challenges and sacrifices as an Army wife.

I found that the simplest things in life are often the things that bring the biggest smile to your face and the calmest feelings in your heart.

I found that even with my husband gone, my family seven hours away, and challenges trying to knock me down every day, I have a lot to be grateful for.

I found that time alone and self-reflection can make life slow down just long enough to breathe and remember the little things that make life so great.

I found that sometimes a little sunshine is all you need.