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.