Ways to Celebrate Your Marriage During a Deployment.

One of the hardest things about Andrew's deployment has probably been living most of our first year of marriage 7,667 miles apart. We eloped last February {you can see the photos + post from that here} + then a month after that he was gone. Our first deployment lasted 5 months + then he was home for a month. The second deployment lasted 3 months + then he was home for Christmas + we finally got to take our honeymoon, which was wonderful. Now he's gone again for our third deployment + won't be home until April. So for 9 of the 12 months from our first year of marriage we've been loving each other through spontaneous gestures + phone screens. 

We had to learn how to adapt to that lifestyle quickly. They say your first year of marriage is the hardest + adding to it the stressful + often lonely lifestyle of deployment living + our marriage was facing what seemed to be a daunting challenge for survival from the very beginning. If I am being honest, though… it’s come easy. If anything, I love Andrew so much more now than I ever did when we stood in the woods + exchanged our vows.

Today I’m sharing a few tried + true ideas to celebrate your marriage during a deployment, in honor of Valentine’s Day + our first wedding anniversary, which we just celebrated last week and are 3 days apart.  

1.    Write love letters – Before Andrew left for his first deployment, I created a journal to take a piece of home with him on his travels. I filled it with love letters, photographs, notes from family members, messages to read on birthdays or holidays he’d miss out on celebrating with us at home. He was instructed to bring the journal home every deployment so I could fill it with new letters + photos, but he made a spin on my idea all on his own. He began to write letters to me + he mailed a care package to me halfway through our first deployment. I sobbed. There was something about receiving handwritten love letters from my husband while he was away that made me feel closer to him somehow. It’s now become a tradition of ours + we mail it back + forth every few months. I love that we have all of our letters in one place + the journal is a keepsake I will treasure forever when this season of life is over.

2.    Send a care package – In honor of Valentine’s Day + our anniversary I sent Andrew a package filled with our favorite Valentine’s candies, necessities he was running short on, a teddy bear that I doused with my perfume that he can have close by when he’s sleeping so it’s almost like I’m there, a picture frame with a photo of us inside + love letters on greeting cards to open on each special day. You can decorate the box however you want + include some of your + your husband’s favorite items. Think about what your husband would love to see in a love themed package from you. When Andrew opened this one he was blown away + felt so, so loved... I couldn’t ask for more.

3.    Make them something personal – This almost goes hand in hand with the care package, since you would have to send whatever you made along with it. You could make a scrapbook of your relationship, or a journal similar to what I mentioned in idea #1, a playlist of songs that remind you of your love, a scrapbook full of boudoir photos of yourself if you’re feeling spontaneous, or a picture frame of the two of you framed with things you love about your spouse. That is what I chose to include in my care package this last time + he absolutely loved it!

{He didn't know I snuck this screenshot haha} 

4.    Have a Skype date – Planning when they will be online might be difficult, but if you can plan for a special Skype date on your anniversary, go for it. You could sit + talk over dinner. You could plan to watch the same movie at the same time or just enjoy being able to see each other on video. You could also do this over the phone instead. This is not going to replace a real date but it’s the best way to spend time together when you are miles apart.

5.    Make plans after the deployment – If you can’t celebrate your marriage during the deployment, make plans to do so after. You could plan a special trip or even just a meal at a nice restaurant. You can always celebrate your anniversary later – or if the opportunity arises, earlier. Andrew + I went to a really nice restaurant in downtown Fort Worth while he was home, since it was only one month until our anniversary + he wouldn’t be home until April. He surprised me with this idea, which was such a nice gesture + made me feel so special! The restaurant was very accommodating to the idea of us celebrating it early due to a deployment + they went above + beyond to help celebrate our day + acknowledge Andrew for his service. Even though it’s not your actual anniversary, you can still celebrate it a little before or after the fact if the need arises.

I hope these tips give some of you ladies an idea for what to do for your significant other while
you two are separated by a deployment, or distance caused by work. Is there any other ideas y'all
have that you wouldn't mind sharing with the rest of us looking for fresh ideas to keep that spark


Dear Liam + Noah // To The Ones Who Made Me Mama First.

Liam + Noah...

You two are growing up so fast before my eyes, I just cannot keep up. It feels like a year ago I found out I was carrying the both of you. That only yesterday you two were in the hospital being born... I remember the first time I saw you both so vividly. Liam, you were looking up at me with such curiosity, your mouth in a little "o"... and Noah, you had your eyes scrunched tight, with the biggest scowl on your face. You did not like being apart from your mama... and that still rings true today. You are still so stubborn but also such a love... I hope you never lose that. Your wife will be very lucky to have someone who is as affectionate as you are. And my Liam... you are such a gentle soul. Always so observant + calm. But you can be goofy + full of life all the same. You remind me of your Daddy Drew in those moments. I can see that you are taking after him in many ways... and that makes me excited + happy to see who you are going to become as you grow into a man, because he's a pretty incredible role model to take after.

Very soon you both will be 4 years old. We are working on getting you two ready for kindergarten next fall + you two are becoming more + more independent every day. It makes the realization settle in even more that you two are not babies anymore. You're independent little boys. And even though that fact makes my heart ache, I couldn't be prouder of you.

I hope you two continue to be the greatest of best friends. That you will never lose the goofiness + the love that are rooted in your hearts. Although time needs to slow down + you two need to stop growing up so quickly, I am honestly excited to see who it is you come to be over the years.

I love you both always. Thank you for coming into my life when you did + changing me for the better.


 Noah. {3 years, 10 months}

Liam. {3 years, 10 months}


Deployment // To The Moon + Back. {Thoughts on Deployment Life}

Each deployment is its own experience. Your first deployment may not be your hardest + your shortest deployment might prove to be harder than any other deployment. You never quite get used to having your spouse live away from you, in a war zone, working long hours to make a better future + life for your family. Just because you have been through a deployment before doesn't mean that you have every future deployment under control + that they won't challenge you, because they will. 

And although you will never truly get used to them leaving every so often, you will learn better how to get through those times apart. You will figure out what works best for you + your family. You will learn if counting down the days works for you or if you should just count down the months instead. You will figure out how to stay busy, even if how you choose to do so changes during each deployment. You will learn a lot about resilience, patience + how to be more independent. You will learn how to be "man of the house" + fix things that are broken, take your kids to all sporting events + learn how to stay sane even when you feel anything but. 

You will understand what your spouse needs from you while they are gone, whether that's an occasional care package or a listening ear after a long, stressful day. You will figure out how to cope during deployments. If you don't, you won't ever make it through. 

You will never get used to seeing your spouse walking away, you will never get used to those lonely nights + having to be both mom + dad to your kids. You will never get used to that last kiss, that last hug, that last goodbye. Your tears will always come, the first day will always be hard + you will always wish they didn't have to go. This is a good thing. This means your spouse is someone special. That their presence in your home is a welcome one. That them being gone is not the norm, even if you understand why they have to go. That when they return, you will put the pieces back together + can be a full family once again. 

Deployments are so hard. They never get easier no matter how many you end up tucking under your belt. You become a single mother who has to look after the home + pay all the bills, do all the chores, fix all the broken things, entertain the kids, pass the time for yourself + manage to keep the spark of your marriage alive through a phone screen. It's not for the faint of heart by any means. But this man is worth it all. And so I'll wait... wait for that next embrace, that next first kiss + that next magical trip home that'll be full of so many adventures, late night cuddles + further stretching of my heart as he grows to occupy more of it still. No, deployments don't get easier. But you learn to survive them... to be deployment strong because your spouse needs you to be. 

Before Andrew left for this new deployment, he surprised me with a moon necklace, because our thing is to always say "to the moon and back" to one another. He also left notes scattered all over the house for me to find, for him to appear in my day out of the blue even when we're miles apart. The gestures made the sting of goodbye just a little bit sweeter, because even though he's back in Afghanistan, I can be reminded that his love is all around me still. I'm thankful to have a man who never stops pursuing my heart, despite the 7,667 miles that separate us. And it is because we never stop trying that I know we are deployment strong. That we will survive this season of life one day at a time + before I know it, I'll be back in his arms + we will both be home.


Deployment #3.

Here we are again... a new year + a new deployment. I took a hiatus from all social media to enjoy my husband, the holidays + our new home together. The time was magical... we went on our honeymoon +  celebrated our one year anniversary a month early since he will be on this deployment when it comes around. The time went quickly + now we are on our third deployment + being apart.

I'm anxious to see what the year 2018 holds for us. We are trying hard for a baby of our own + are starting a new journey of seeking fertility assistance when he comes home from his next break. Carson is starting t-ball + will be graduating kindergarten, Cooper will hopefully be starting soccer in the spring + Liam and Noah will be starting pre-k in the fall. We also are hoping that this deployment life will be put behind us. That we will be able to have him home every day with us again. But until that day comes, I am back to keeping this house together by myself, raising the boys + paying the bills... counting down the days until he is back in our arms again.

Deployments + goodbyes don't get easier as time goes on. I don't think I will ever get used to the hole in my heart when he's away. I don't think the worry of him being in Afghanistan + in danger of not coming home to me or the boys again will ever be something we become used to. The military lifestyle is not for the faint of heart. But I know our love can endure any number of miles or days that separate us. Our story started that way, two years ago, after all. Hold your loved ones close, if you're so fortunate as to have them under your roof every day. I envy the days like that. I'll be posting more in this space to pass the time. To share life with all four boys in our new house + how I'm surviving our 3rd deployment. Xx


Autumn // 2017 Bucket List.

Photo via my IG: @kelly_ann

Fall is my favorite time of year! I love when the weather gets colder + we can layer up in our cozy sweaters + scarves. We don't see many days like that here in north Texas, but next week some cooler days are in the forecast + I can hardly wait! There's something about this time of year that is just so cozy. It brings my heart so much joy. 

This year looks a little different for me though, when it comes to the holidays + being cozy since my husband is off on a second deployment. So a majority of the holiday season I will be alone. I'll have to take the boys trick-or-treating alone, Thanksgiving I'll be alone {or at least at the mercy of friends + family since it's not my year for the holidays with any of the boys}... but thankfully, we just booked Andrew's ticket home last night + he will be home just 9 short days before Christmas! That's going to be the best gift of all... having him home for Christmas + New Years. 

To pass the time until Andrew gets home + to make the most of our holiday fun this year, I've made a bucket list for the boys + I to do for the fall. A few of these we can already check off the list, but there are a ton still left for us to keep us busy with in the coming weeks. Hopefully it'll give some of you an idea or two as well to do with your kiddos or loved ones.

1) Bake a pumpkin pie
2) Visit a pumpkin patch 
3) Go through a corn maze
4) Carve a jack-o-lantern 
5) Go trick-or-treating 
6) Go on a hay ride
7) Have s'mores
8) Watch Hocus Pocus 
9) Enjoy hot chocolate outside on a chilly evening
10) Curl up under a blanket with books on a rainy day
11) Watch football
12) Stomp on crunchy leaves
13) Take pictures in our Halloween costumes
14) Have a picnic in the park
15) Hunt for acorns + pine cones
16) Visit animals at the petting zoo
17) Eat Thanksgiving dinner with loved ones
18) Give thanks XO 


Autumn // A Trip to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch.

The boys + I went on a little adventure to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch today to find ourselves the perfect pumpkin to carve to place on our new front porch. They had so much fun climbing on all of the play equipment + running around among the hay-bales + pumpkins. They are absolutely obsessed with all things Halloween + fall, so they had a blast to say the least. Here are a few photos from our adventures today, including a few iPhone photos I snapped {+ one a kind lady took of the three of us}. 


Updates, New Beginnings + Davis Family Photos {2017}

Hi friends! Lots of changes have happened for the Davis family as of late. The biggest change of all is that we have closed on our forever home! I'm so excited to share photos of it in the coming weeks as I slowly complete unpacking everything we have + making our house into a home.

Andrew came home from his deployment in the middle of August and left in the middle of September. We had the greatest time together + I miss him terribly. Counting down the days until Christmas when he will be back home again with us all!

I was diagnosed recently with PCOS which means it looks like we will be in for another rough journey to having a baby of our very own, just as I went through with Liam + Noah all those years ago. I am clinging to hope, though, + trusting in my OBGYN + my new infertility specialist that before long we will be pregnant with baby #5.

I know I've been horrible about keeping up with this space. Now that I have a house that I can truly make feel like my home, as opposed to our tiny little apartment I am happy to announce we are officially back to our normal blogging like I did all those years ago. I don't even know how many readers I still have in this space anymore... but any of you who are reading this who have stuck around, thank you.

I look forward to getting back into the swing of things with our little corner of the internet, to share our home, our adventures + my experiences as a mama, deployment wife + bonus mama.