Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dollar Rides and Holiday Fun

The hubs and I celebrated our very last Christmas together as a family of two last week! We were so blessed to be able to drive home (sooo much better than those icky christmas eve flights we had to take the last two years) and spend the holiday week with our family and friends back in Georgia. I know that with being a part of the military this may not always be possible, heck next year for all we know we could be celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus in Alaska, so we both really soaked up the time we had at home and ease with which we were able to travel to see everyone!

We were also able to reflect on how different the holiday season will be next year with our little one being almost 9 months old!! It's such a crazy thought to me and doesn't even seem like it's going to be a reality that we will have a little miracle to tote around this time next year. It was incredible to see how genuninly excited most of our family members were to know that next year Baby Charlotte will be among all of the Etheridge clan and celebrating the holiday season with us. We can't wait :)

Winston was clearly not as excited as we
were about the car ride home..I think
 he was happy to not have to spend Christmas
alone again this year though ;)

Love this man!

25 week bump!


All the "kids"
In other exciting news my stud of a husband had his dollar ride (aka first flight) in the Raptor right before we came home! I was lucky enough to be able to go and snag some photos of his flight which was an incredible experience. For those of you that have been with us from the beginning, or at least following the blog for almost a year, know that this has been a long journey for us. From being accepted to the Air Force Academy to dropping a Raptor after pilot training he's come a very long way and it's taken a VERY long time to get to where he his now. I couldn't be more proud of his dedication and determination to make it to this point. As I was standing up in the tower taking pictures I was incredibly excited and nervous for him and overwhelmed with emotion at the thought of all the hard work that had gone into that very moment he took of in the Raptor for the first time! You can blame that on the pregnancy hormones if you'd like though, I'll allow it.  I sure am one lucky lady though to be able to stand by his side throughout this incredible adventure ;) 

The Etheridges

Friday, December 13, 2013

Photo Update 12/13

Life around here has been pretty quite since we got back from being home for Thanksgiving, hence the lack of posting. However I was perusing through the hubs photos on his phone yesterday and came across a few that would make for a somewhat satisfactory post...so here ya go ;)
We found this deadly friendly fella on our walk
with Winston last week! Yikes! 
In case you haven't heard we have bears here on base! These
guys love to get into the trashes and cause all sorts of problems
for the housing company. I've yet to see one, only the "evidence"
they leave behind, but the hubs snapped this photo on the way
to work the other week.
Yes this photo is from Halloween. Yes it's December.
But hey, better late than never right? 
Baby Charlotte already has her stocking ready to go for next
years holiday festivities ;)
Also, (as you can see above) we finally settled on a first name for our sweet little girl, Charlotte! It was the first name that we both really loved and it just seemed to stick. We're still stumped on the middle name, so I'll get back to you on that later, but hey, at least we're half way there with figuring out what to call the little munchkin! As far as a baby update goes, I had my 24 week appointment this week and everything looks great! Baby Charlotte is very healthy, growing right on track, and is VERY active...like her daddy! We didn't get to see her this last time but I'm hoping at my next appointment we will get more photos of her!

The Etheridges

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pregnancy Products I Love

If you aren't pregnant, planning on being pregnant, or a man, this post is probably not for you. However, I know when I first jumped on the train of being pregnant  I personally LOVED any and all posts that had product reviews for first time mom's and women who were dealing with changing and growing bodies, hence this post. I'm obviously not full term so I'm sure there are even more things that will come to mind the closer we get to April, but here are a few things that at week 24 I can honestly say I love and am so glad I spent the extra money on...

Earth Mama Angel Baby Products (stretch oil and lotion), $13-$16:
* I've been using this stuff since I found out I was expecting and love it! It smells great, is all natural, and helps keep away those pesky stretch marks. It's worked great for me so far (fingers crossed/knock on wood) but I'll be sure and update if things start going south within the next three months. I bought this cute little trial pack for a friend when I found out she had a little one on the way and she also attested that the other products are fantastic! Iv'e also been using cocoanut oil at night which doesn't seem to hurt.

* My amazing mother-in-law gave me some spending money for maternity clothes (you know, since my belly has tripled in size and all). I was very hesitant, and still am, about spending money on maternity clothes, and find that I feel like it's a total waste of money to buy something you'll only wear for a few months. However, after investing in a workout top and workout jacket I'm in love! Seriously, if you plan on working out while you're pregnant nothing will make you feel better than some workout gear that is made for your growing belly. This particular top and jacket I can vouch for and wear almost every day! The best part is is that these will also help you transition back into your pre-pregnacny workout clothes during the 4th trimester when things still aren't fitting perfect, win win! I also got mine on sale for 50% off, so keep an eye out for those clearances!

* I was given one of these for Christmas last year and we have been inseparable every since. Once I got pregnant though it was literally attached at my hip. These things are amazing, not to mention their customer service is out of this world (I had to have a top replaced and they sent a new one no questions asked within 5 days). When you're pregnant staying hydrated is incredibly important and this thing makes it so easy to take on the go or lug around the house with you. Best part is it's nearly indestructible and is great for taking to the gym or in the car as well! For those of you with military base access you can also find them at the BX usually, so tax free, yippee!

*This thing was such a lifesaver for me! During my entire second trimester I've had awful lower and upper back pain, specifically a muscle spasm when I sit up straight for more than a few minutes at a time without laying down or standing up. I literally lived on this heating pad. We took it in the car with us, used it on the couch, and in bed every night so I could get some relief. Another added bonus is that many people use these in babies crib to warm it up before placing them in it to keep them asleep (disclaimer: make sure and REMOVE before placing baby in crib).

*This may be TMI for some of you (again, if you're a man I warned you earlier to stay away), but many know that with pregnancy comes some ahhh how do you say "enhancements" and ribcage expansion. These things have helped me stay in my normal sized undergarments a little longer and prevented me from having to go out and spend $40+ on a new bra that may no fit in a few months time when I have a nursing baby. If your cup size increases drastically by all means splurge on some new undergarments, you deserve it anyways, otherwise I'd highly recommend these for those in between times you just don't fit comfortably anymore.

Things that DIDN'T Work for me:
*Pregnancy Pillow: Yuck, this thing was awful. At $60 a pop, we sent it back after one failed attempt at using it. If you want something similar I'd recommend just purchasing a regular body pillow from Target or Wal-Mart!
*Preggie Pops: I had awful nausea during the first trimester and these suckers did absolutely nothing. However, some people swear by them.

If you have any other pregnancy recommendations I'd love to hear from you! Just leave
a comment below the post!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hearty Homemade Soup

It actually got down to about 40 something last week (crazy, I know, we do live in Florida after all) but don't worry yourself sick, it's back up to a balmy 70+ degrees here this week. I jumped at the opportunity to make a homemade soup however when it wasn't a million degrees out still in the middle of November. This recipe had been on my Pinterest board for AGES, literally, and so I thought I'd stop starring at it every week I make the weekly menu and just try it already.

It was SO good and pretty easy to make. The best part was that all the ingredients, for the most part, were fresh and the ones that weren't could totally be subsisted with their non-canned versions. Now that we have a little one on the way I'm trying to be more conscious about the meals we introduce into our weekly food rotations. Since the hubs generally detests veggies, he wasn't a huge fan. However, he's going to have to learn to suck it up a little when Baby E starts to eat solids and "normal" people food. She can't live off of potatoes and red meat anyways right?! That's what I'm saying!

So, if it's nice and fall feeling where you are this weekend or next week I'd highly recommend adding this to your menu :) It also makes awesome leftovers, seriously. I ate it for lunch for a week straight! So yummy! I think I'm going to try not adding in the cheese next time to make it a tad healthier as well.

Hearty Fall Veggie and Cheese Soup
*Adapted from here*
3 cups chicken stock
2 skinless, chicken breasts cooked and shredded

2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (or you could peel and blanch your own!)
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ tbsp salt
½ tbsp peper 
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup tomato paste
8 oz pepperjack cheese, divided
1 cup cilantro, chopped

*Cook all ingredients except for cheese in crockpot on low for 3-4 hours or until ready to serve. Once you are ready to eat stir in cheese. You can also make on the stove if you prefer, I just love the ease of the crockpot plus it makes your home smell heavenly.

The original recipe recommended serving with tortilla chips, so if that's your thing I'd go for it! You can also add more Jalapeno's if you want a spicier taste!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Warning: Baby Update

Winston is very excited to announce that he will be looking forward to a baby SISTER this coming April! We could not be more excited about having a sweet baby girl and feel so blessed to grow our family within the next few months. For those that have asked or are going to ask, no, we don't have a name picked out. Of course we already had a name if it was a boy, but a girl we are a little more stumped on. Don't worry though, you will all be the first to know when we do settle on one we love :)
For those that have been wondering how the pregnancy has been for me, it's certainly had it's ups and downs. I don't like to complain as I know that being with child is such an incredible blessing from God in the first place. However, it's hasn't been the most enjoyable ride at times. The first month was great, not even a hint of pregnancy woes...then I hit the second month "wall" as I like to call it. On the day we found out we were expecting, which was coincidentally the morning he was leaving for a month, the nausea and all day morning sickness set in. I was completely useless for a good month (which conveniently was when the hubs was away flying planes in Arizona). I'm pretty sure God knew that I needed to sit around and be a bum for those few weeks so I can honestly say that was the one time I was almost thankful the hubs was TDY for a few weeks. It was such a blessing to be able to go home and have my wonderful mother-in-law pamper and cook for me those few weeks he was away! I didn't have to lift a finger which was AMAZING!

Enough of my pity party though. The second I hit the second trimester the nausea and food aversions fled and I was able to indulge in my favorites again like cereal (milk was a big NO for baby), chocolate (seriously what girl doesn't like chocolate, mine apparently), and red meat! Other than back muscle spasms that hit around noon until bed time everyday I'm feeling much much better!

As far as little one is concerned, she is growing and healthy! Our visit to find out the gender went great and it was so wonderful to have my sweet husband there. His flight commander and scheduler have been amazing and so understanding. He hasn't missed an appointment yet, which is saying something for how busy they keep these guys!

For those of you that love Winston updates, he is doing great as well! He has certainly been more affectionate within the past month or two which for him is very new. If you know him at all you know he loses interest in being personable after about five minutes and prefers to sleep in the corner like an old man. However, now that I've moved into the second portion of the pregnancy he's become very clingy, which I'm really enjoying! I love to snuggle my little old man of a pup and he's finally letting me!

I'm exactly at the half way mark this week and can't believe it! Time is really flying by and I know it will continue to do so as we get closer to April. The hubs is literally beside himself with excitement over the fact that we will be having a baby girl, which I love. I can already tell he loves her so much, which warms my heart everyday.

The Etheridges

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Savannah Shenanigans

Last month when the hubs took leave we decided to finally take our "post-UPT trip". I know, I know...most of you are thinking, "umm didn't you finish up UPT almost 9 months ago?" The answer to your question would be, yes. However, if there is one thing that you as my reader should know by now it's that you have to take things as they come in the military. Meaning that we didn't really even have a chance over the past 9 months to think about taking a nice relaxing vacation. Between driving Winston to Louisiana, the hubs getting sent to Washington for a month right after he graduated, moving to San Antonio for 10ish weeks, moving to Florida separately, and then him being sent off for more training to Arizona, it's pretty obvious that the past 9 months have been chalk full of shenanigans that didn't allow us to breath for more than a second. Oh yea, I also went on a cruise and we found out we are expecting in April. I forgot those two fun exciting things ;)

Anyways, even though some of you may scoff and say that this was just any old vacation, gosh darn it this was our gift to ourselves for getting through an intense year of UPT and I'll take it! We had debated about going on a cruise but after we found out I was having a baby, aka a little nugget growing inside me, we decided hitting the high seas may not be the best option. Then we thought about Disney which is only 8 hours away. However, at this point I had JUST gotten over being terribly ill (thanks all-day morning sickness) so we figured spending hours out in the hot sun wasn't the ticket either.

We finally settled on hitting up Savannah as it was only about a 2 hour drive from Macon and way outside tourist season there. In the end it was the perfect option for us and I'm so thankful we ended up choosing to stay there. We found an awesome deal on an old historic bed and breakfast, which yes, was haunted apparently. It was gorgeous and the food was amazing! I think the hubs and I both scoffed down our own weight in biscuits and grits both mornings we were there. We pretty much spent our two day trip walking around the historic downtown area of Savannah, eating insane amounts of amazing southern food, and just enjoying not having a schedule and each others company. The weather was insanely perfect, meaning there was zero humidity which this baby mamma was very happy about! All in all it was a phenomenal trip and I am so grateful my sweet husband took the time to take me on a mini-vacation before more crazy training ensues over the next 9 months.

There are tons of paths just like this one in Savannah!
After living in the desert part of Texas we LOVED all the trees!

Fireplace in our room

Beautiful street view from our room.

The courtyard of the B&B...ignore the old
man snoring.

River Street

Probably the BEST place we ate. Seriously, go here if
you are ever in Savannah, amazing!!

Tiny baby bump appeared in this photo...then
it went away for a few weeks...and now it's back!

The Etheridge

Friday, October 11, 2013

Life, Love, & Loss

While we were home in Georgia on leave we had to take an unplanned tripped to St. Simons to be with the hub's family as his grandmother passed away unexpectedly the day after we arrived. We both felt very blessed to be able to be with family during this time and despite the somberness of the situation were glad to see some family members that we hadn't seen in a long while. It was touching to listen to the story of Mary and Hollis who were high school sweethearts, just like Mitchell and I. It's a true testament of their love for one another to look at the family they created and I feel honored to now be a part of that incredible family. At the reception afterwards we got to listen to the Etheridge clan sit around and tell stories of Mary and Hollis from when they were younger and raising kids of their own which was such a treat as we are about to head out on the same adventure ourselves in a few months time.

Some photos from the trip down to Brunswick..

Sweet Cousin Amanda and Baby E

First official "bump" photo...it's tiny but it's there!
Outake of first bump photo

Saturday, October 5, 2013


The hubs was able to take leave for a little over a week before another round of training ensues so naturally the first thing on our list was head to Athens for the UGA vs. LSU football game. I had been to the one in 2004 and we both attended the UGA/LSU game in 2009 the day after we got engaged. This game holds a special place in our heart for that reason, plus last time we lost so we really wanted to see the Dawgs pull a win out this year. To say it was an eventful evening of football would be a huge understatement. After almost giving me and baby a heart attack, especially in the fourth quarter, we were elated to see the bulldogs beat the tigers at home in Athens! I'd say it was also a true testament of love for my husband that I sat out in the heat for 4 hours on hard metal seats with an aching back while 14 weeks pregnant and miserable ;) It was well worth the pain though to be in Athens to see the Dawgs pull out another great win.

The Etheridges

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Homemade Salsa and Life Updates

As the 2013 UGA football season kicks off today I thought it would be appropriate to share a yummy homemade salsa recipe! Salsa is a staple in The Etheridge household during football season, and honestly all year round. When we were in Del Rio we were lucky enough to just be able to pop on over to HEB and grab some of that yummy goodness that is known as Julio's. Seriously, if you are ever in Del Rio (for whatever who knows what reason that may be) or even in south-west Texas you can get your own at the local HEB. It's pretty much life changing.

Anyways, since we aren't able to have Julio's to get us through this football season, or probably any in the very near future, the hubs and I decided to make some from scratch. After eating real Mexican salsa for almost two years the stuff in a jar from the grocery store just doesn't do it for us any longer. So the search for a fresh, homemade, recipe began. After much research it seemed that most of the recipes I found were pretty much exactly the same. We did multiple taste tests throughout the process and came up with this scrumptious concoction! The hubs is convinced it's the best salsa he's ever had, but I'll let you guys be the judge of that.

Homemade Salsa
3 Tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1.5 Cloves of Garlic
1/5 Cup Cilantro, chopped
1-2 JalapeƱo, chopped
1/3 White Onion, diced
1/3 4oz. can of Green Chilis
1/4 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1/2 tsp. Salt
1-1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
1.5 Tbsp. Lemon
Hot Sauce (to taste, we used about 2 Tbsp.)

Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until well combined and 
desired constancy is reached.

In other news, August was a pretty laid back month for me but not so much for the hubs. The AF sent him to Arizona for a few weeks to learn to fly one of those fancy jets. This was his first real taste of flying a fighter, and to say he throughly enjoyed himself would be an understatement I believe. I was super bummed I wasn't allowed to accompany him on this trip, as I know some wives have in the past, but I was lucky enough to be able to head home for a little while and enjoy the comforts of Georgia. My in-laws were so sweet and housed me for a good while which I was so thankful for! Here are some photos that summed up our time apart this past month...

My stud of a husband.

Winston loves to steal daddy's spot
on the bed while he's away.

Caught red-handed snoozing on the couch
(and watching TV?).

I swung by and grabbed these while I was home.
So excited to go with Mitchell's family in October!

Beautiful flowers from my sweet husband!

No road trip to and from home is complete
without a chicken, egg, and cheese biscuit.
If you've never had one, do it, you won't regret it.

The Etheridges