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[ad] Today I am dreaming of Christmas parties. Anyone else? We’re only halfway through the month and we’ve already had more family gatherings than I can count with so many more to go. And Christmas parties in the Bartlett household means photos…lots of photos. But I just didn't feel very photo-ready thanks to my grays (and yes, I had A LOT of grays). So I picked up @zotosprofessional hair color at @sallybeauty and these days I'm feeling gorgeous, confident, and ready to take on the holiday photos. Today on the blog, I'm sharing how I get myself photo-ready as well as what I plan to wear to this year's Christmas party! #MyAgeBeautiful #sponsored #linkinbio
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[ad] Today I am dreaming...

I've been a bit MIA lately. Why you may ask? Well, because I've been half on the struggle bus and half working on a rather large project that I've had in draft mode for far too long. And I am SO excited about it. I literally woke up the other day and decided THAT was the day I'd get started on it and I've been hooked on it ever since. If you're a mom in Southern Maine, you won't want to miss this! So be sure to sign up for our email list via the link in my bio so you can be one of the first to know what's going on.
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I've been a bit MIA...

Well, it's officially the day Zack and I have been looking forward to for a couple of years now. While we've already unofficially been "moved on" from military life for a couple of months now, today it's official that Zack is no longer an Active Duty Marine and I am no longer a military spouse. The first big chapter of his adult life and our life together has officially ended. It's scary almost when you've been living with all the stability of a lifestyle for so long. A stable job, stable income, health benefits, a home. It's been a challenging couple of months as we get more settled here in Maine and figure out the next step for our little family. But I know we have so much to look forward to in the next year and it's refreshing to know we have the opportunity to start over. I am so proud of this guy and I can't wait to see what the next chapter of our life has in store for us. •
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Well, it's officially the day...

This mama is on the struggle bus today. This morning I spent over an hour searching for Allie's sippy cup of milk only to find it in the shower...where I looked 5+ times considering that's where she was playing while I got ready for the day. I then got the incorrect order from Dunkin and to make that even worse, it was pumpkin flavored...and if you know me, you know I cannot stand anything pumpkin flavored so I couldn't even suck it up and drink it (shoutout to @mwhited8195 for bringing me the correct drink order!). Nap time wasn't any better. A solid 40 minutes of crying before Allie finally went down...then she woke up 30 minutes later 🙄 And now I'm scrambling to get everything on my to-do list done so we can officially launch Blogmas tomorrow 😬 It's been a morning and I'm about ready for my own nap at this point. But at least it's Friday? 🤷🏻‍♀️😂
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This mama is on the...

It's yet another snow day here in Maine. The last winter I spent here was in 2015 and we maybe had three snow storms all winter. This year, we've had 3-5 just in the last couple of weeks 🙄 I'm already homesick for beautiful and warm North Carolina summers 😔 anyone else here who hates winter? If you need us, Allie and I will be curled up inside with some movies and a never-ending to-do list. #bloggerlife •
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It's yet another snow day...

Blogmas starts in T-5 days! I've been working so hard on producing awesome Blogmas content these past couple of months so I'm super excited to finally start sharing it with you all this weekend. Today on the blog I'm sharing a quick breakdown of Blogmas 2018, what you can look forward to on Mainely Keating, and 25 blog post ideas for those of you who want to participate in Blogmas as well! You can find the link to the full blog post in my bio! •
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Blogmas starts in T-5 days!...

We Have Orders!

We Have Orders! | Keating & Co.

We finally have orders, my friends!  But first, let me give a little backstory.

We already had a bit of a plan in place for when he returns home.  I know it’s not realistic to make plans in the military, but we did.  First, we ideally wanted to stay on the east coast, preferably North Carolina, but we requested South Carolina since he’d already spent five years in North.  We assumed they wouldn’t let us go back so we didn’t bother to request it.  Since we want to live in North Carolina long term when he gets out in 2018, living in one of the Carolinas would allow us to purchase a home and get settled a bit before he gets out.  We figured it would make the transition a bit easier.

Next, we wanted his time off to align with my dad’s wedding which is happening at the start of September.  We had our fingers crossed that his report date would be the end of September rather than August.  That way he could be here for the wedding and he’d be able to help out more with the move.  I did not want him to have to fly to our next base and leave me to make the drive by myself with an anxious dog.  That’s far from ideal and it literally gave me anxiety to think about.

The last thing we needed was for him to be back in PMO (military police station). Currently being overseas, he’s in a field unit and field units deploy.  As an MP (military police), he’d be in a non-deployable unit like he was when we lived in North Carolina.  This was my biggest concern.  We want to start our family when he comes home this summer and it worried me to no end that he’d possibly come home from being away for 12 months just to deploy and leave again soon after arriving.  This would either prevent us from having a baby like planned or it would mean I’d be going through my entire pregnancy and/or delivery by myself.  Not only would that have upset me, but it would have upset him as well since he wants to be present for every moment of it.

So we had a bit of a plan in place.  About three weeks ago, we got an email from the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) regarding my “back problems”.  Since I got denied overseas travel last summer, it’s required that I fill out EFMP enrollment forms.  For those of you who do not know what EFMP is, it’s a program designed to fit the needs of dependents who need ongoing medical care for things like diabetes or even more serious issues like autism.  Sometimes this limits where a service member can be stationed which is what really worried me.

After 8 months of stress last year trying to get approved to move to Japan, the nightmare still wasn’t over.  I called the program director for EFMP and she was so incredibly helpful and supportive.  I explained to her that I had zero issues with my back and she assured me as long as I wasn’t on any medications for it and haven’t been hospitalized in the last year for it then I’ll be all set and the enrollment packet will be quickly denied.  Thank God!

This made me feel a bit better, but then came the part where I had to get the paperwork signed off by a doctor.  I have a doctor here, but it’s only a temporary doctor since I’m only here for a year.  I had never visited her before so of course when I called to make an appointment, she wanted to do a whole physical for their records and didn’t have an available time slot until the end of May.  When the military gives you paperwork at the end of March and says it needs to be done ASAP, they do not mean two months later.  So I was super worried that it would turn into another PCS horror story where they send him to his next base without me again.

Thankfully, the doctor was able to see me this past Monday, I submitted the paperwork that night, and we got orders yesterday.  SO.  With all that said, I am SO excited to announce that we will be moving to MCAS Miramar in beautiful San Diego, CA this September!

I cannot even begin to explain how excited we are.  It’s not the Carolinas, but we’re very excited to have the opportunity to see the west coast and live in California.  He’ll be back in PMO so there should be no more deployments between now and when he gets out and he doesn’t have to be there until the end of September which means he’ll be here for the wedding and to help me move.  It worked out so perfectly for us.

It’s such a sigh of relief right now.  He told me at around 4 o’clock yesterday morning (yes, I was still up at 4am) and I instantly broke down in tears.  This past year has been so hard on us and it’s such an amazing feeling to have the plans in place and really begin to take the steps needed to make the move.  At the same time, it doesn’t even really feel real.  I’ve never left the east coast of the United States before.  And I never could have imagined being able to actually live in California.  And the road trip out is going to be so much fun!  I cannot wait see other states and I know Zack is super thrilled to be stuck in the car with me for so many days (did you catch the sarcasm there?).  We definitely plan to extend the trip a bit so that we can make some stops and explore a bit on the way over so it’s going to be amazing!

Of course I’d like to thank all of you amazing people for being there for us this past year.  It’s crazy that we’re already making plans for him to come home.  Sometimes I feel like he just left yesterday.  But these past eight months really have gone by so much faster than I had anticipated and I couldn’t be more thankful to have all of you!  So from the bottom of my heart, thank you!  I’ll keep you all posted when I have more updates on our move!

Have you lived/been stationed in the San Diego area?  I’d love some tips on where to go and what to do while we’re there!

XOXO
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