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.