A Vinlymation Christmas

I had a Vinylmation Christmas! I wanted Vinylmations for Christmas this year. A lot of sets are getting harder to find, so I asked for some of the ones that I knew would be sold out soon!
Urban 6Vinylmations Urban6 Xmas
Villians 2Vinylmations Villians2 for Xmas
NerdsVinylmations Nerds Xmas
For Cody! Star Wars Series 1Vinylmations StarWars Xmas
I also got some 9" Vinylmations!
Gonzo Muppets Series 2Vinylmation Gonzo Xmas
Retro Mickey Mouse & DumboVinylmation Project Disney Xmas
The Mad HatterVinylmation Mad Hatter Xmas
After Christmas the Disney Store was running a sale on Urban 6, so I bought 7 more hoping to end up with a complete set of 12. Well, that didn't happen! I got 2 that I needed and 5 duplicates!
Urban 6Vinylmation Urban6 pair
Cody and I visited the two Disney Stores located in the Denver area yesterday. I was able to trade 3 of my duplicates for 3 Vinylmations I didn't have yet...
Dr. Facilier from the Villians 2 Series and two Vinylmations from Cutesters 2 Series
Vinylmations 3 trades dec2011
I have a total of 51 duplicates to trade when we go to Disney World again!!! Now I am on the lookout for shelves or a display cabinet for my Vinylmations! I hung our wedding pictures in our hallway this week. I decided it would be cute to sit some of the Vinylmations on top of the frames...
Vinylmation Hallway
Thanks to my family for getting me some Vinylmations for Christmas!

The Denver Aquarium

Yesterday Cody and I headed down to Denver Colorado to check out the Aquarium. With my new found love of the ocean and sea life, I was pretty excited. I wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures with you!
Denver Aquarium 11
I love how bright all the colors are!Denver Aquarium 12
Denver Aquarium 14
Denver Aquarium 7
Denver Aquarium 6
Denver Aquarium 5
Denver Aquarium 2
Denver Aquarium 1
Denver Aquarium 13Denver Aquarium 10
Denver Aquarium 9
Denver Aquarium 8
Denver Aquarium 4
Denver Aquarium 3
One of my biggest fears in the world is Sharks! Cody almost had to force me into the shark area. They have a large tank full of Sharks that look like this guy...
Denver Aquarium 15

We had fun! I wish I would of taken some photos with us together, but it was really busy. I was lucky to get the photos I did. Now I can't wait for the spring so we can go to the Denver Zoo!!

MOSAIC - December 2011

Monthly Mosaic - Dec 2011

My Life Recap / December 2011
*Got a job working as an Animal Care Specialist
*Posted about how the year 2011 has changed me
*Cody and I went to the Denver Aquarium
*Found my cute Penguin Planter
*I turned 30!!!
*I made a cool photo montage from Disney Vacation pictures

Goodbye 2011! I can only imagine what 2012 will bring me....


This Year - PART 2 & 3

This post is about how I have changed as a person this year. If you missed Part 1 you can read that first {HERE}.

Part 2Title Pic

Immediately following my goodbye with Cody the talk of me moving to California started. I already had a love for California and so does my friend Dan. Dan travels a lot and in the past has drove across the country many times. He was able to tell me the route I would take and it really got me pumped up about driving it. I am the type of person that once something is planted in my head, that's basically it. The decision has been made. I follow my gut and after a night of sleeping on any idea, I am good to go. Part of me has always wanted to live in California. It is just so beautiful. There is so much to see and do in California. Dan and I had a long drive back from Texas to Ohio. I had plenty of time to talk myself into the idea of just jumping in my car and going to be with my husband! So, that's what I did!
I thought, why the hell not? I wanted to be spontaneous! I wanted to just GO and live life. I wanted to be with my husband. What if this was the only chance I would ever get to live in California? It was like, "Okay, Cody + California = Right Decision!" I stayed in Ohio for 2 more months, quit my job and packed all my stuff into a storage unit. I was off!
Travel to California Day 1/ April 14 2011
What a trip and experience. I know not everyone will have the same "life changing" experience that I did just from driving in a car. For me it was an emotional thing. I felt so alive and free. I grew up in Ohio all my life! There isn't Mountains, rolling hills and rock sculptures. It changed me. It made me realize how much more there is to this life. How you just have to get up and GO DO STUFF. You have to experience MORE. Make the most of your life! JUST DO IT! The most breath taking part of my trip was around Flagstaff Arizona! AMAZING! Most of my drive was on Highway 40. If you ever take a road trip, I highly recommend it. The scenery is breath taking! I didn't even stop and sight see, so I can only imagine how beautiful the rest of Arizona and New Mexico are! (Can't wait to go back!)
Travel to California Day 2
There was a stretch of highway that was very windy through some mountains, I do believe in Arizona. I drove so much that I forget! It was so beautiful and fun to drive. I brag to Cody about it all the time. When your out there by yourself and no one else is around you just realize how precious life really is. You just feel so alive. You feel one with your surroundings.
Travel to California Day 3
The west has forever changed me, and I honestly don't know if I will ever be able to live anywhere else. Living in California for 3 months was such a great experience. Cody and I really enjoyed all of our time there. We miss it already. I felt so happy there, like I belonged. It just felt right. Something tells me that Cody and I haven't seen the last of California.

See my posts about Driving to California:
Day 1 {HERE}
Day 2 & 3 {HERE}

There is a whole other point to this entirely way to long blog post.

Part 3 Title Pic

It is something that I have gone back in forth with myself about, wondering if I should share it with my readers or not. If you have followed my blog for awhile, you may know that I used to post about watching movies a lot. I would rate them and let you know if I hated it or loved it. Well over time I pretty much watched everything on Netflix that I wanted to. When Cody was gone, besides watching Roseanne I watched movies. Lots of movies! Then I started to watch television shows instead. This started when I moved to California. Are you wondering where this is going, why it matters if I share this? Bear with me here. I hadn't had television cable in years. Needless to say I didn't know half the shows that had been on TV for years! I started watching a series called DOG TOWN. Dog Town is a show about the Best Friends Animal Society in the state of Utah. The show is amazing! It really shows you the behind the scenes of how many animals are neglected and abused in the world. Something I really knew nothing about. The Best Friends Animal Society takes in all types of animals and nurse them back to life so they can be put up for adoption. I would cry and cry watching some of the episodes and seeing the abuse. Most of the stories did have happy endings, which was also emotional to watch at times. Of course now that I was living with a roommate who had cable in her house, I would watch TV during the afternoon.

At first I watched HGTV daily! I really had missed HGTV. Cody would come over on the weekends and we would try to agree on a channel. (Never HGTV.) We would watch Animal Planet sometimes, but mostly we watched shows like COPS. One night after I took Cody back to the base, I decided to not go to bed and just watch some TV by myself. I turned it to Animal Planet and a show called Whale Wars was on. I didn't know what it was and at first I had no idea what was going on. Each episode is an hour long, so of course I got sucked in. It was full of so much excitement and something was always happening that kept me on the edge of my seat. I started watching it in the middle of a season. Most of what was happening didn't make sense. I also didn't realize that what they were doing was so important. I am sure most people know about the show Whale Wars. I think its getting ready to go into its 6Th Season. Whale Wars is about a group of people called Sea Shepherd's that are trying to stop whaling and the killing of other wildlife. Well I was lucky and Netflix had Season 1 - 3 for me to watch. I got sucked in. Then I got Cody sucked in.
Whale Wars

The reason I am hesitant to post about this is because I know not everyone may support what the Whale Wars show stands for. I am not someone to talk about any type of politics or religious things on my blog! It's a design blog!! I also don't because in my real life I have had life long friends stop talking to me because we didn't have the same beliefs and views. Agreeing to disagree wasn't okay with them. They decided it was better to just stop talking to me and end our life long friendship. I have seen what debating about issues does to people. The stress it can cause and the hatred. We all have opinions, that is part of being human. I don't debate with anyone. I rather be friends. I feel like no matter who you are or what your beliefs, stopping the killing of our Wildlife may connect us all. Going to California this year gave me the chance to see the Ocean up close and personal. It's so beautiful, along with all the wildlife that lives in it.
Weekend 7 - 5.30.2011
Of course, Muffins loved the beach!
The reason I am saying all this to you is because right now my heart is broken. I have been watching Whale Wars since May of this year. I started recycling this year because of Whale Wars. The things that I have seen on that show, other documentaries about the Ocean and the Sea Shepherd's have made me view the world differently. It hasn't changed my political views, it's just made me more knowledgeable of things that are happening in the world that no one knows about! You can love animals no matter how you vote. Animals will love you back and our wildlife is so important. It's a planet thing, it's about caring and doing your part to spread the word about things people don't even know about. Endangered animals being slaughtered for money is what I see. By watching these shows and movies I have learned the importance of these animals in the Ocean. How we need them to make the world go round. The world we all live in together. I had never even heard of whaling! A lot of people won't even give the show Whale Wars a chance, or they make fun of it. I don't think this is a fair thing to say if you don't know why they are actually out there or what they are doing. They are out in the ocean fighting the Whalers because no one else will. They are some of the bravest people I have ever seen in my entire life. It takes a lot of courage to risk your life to save Whales, or for any cause you feel strongly about. It takes compassion and bravery! Life among whalesPirate For The Sea Movie
Two great films that made me love Whales even more! Lots of great information.

Every night I go to bed I have to fall asleep watching TV. A few nights ago Cody was super sleepy and was out like a rock in like 5 minutes. I decided to watch one of the last Whale documentaries that I hadn't watched yet on Netflix. The movie is called The Cove. I had never heard of it. It came out in 2009. I have to say nothing I have ever watched in my life made me cry this much. I had to pause it and go get Kleenex. Why was it so sad? It's raw footage of Dolphins being murdered. I don't know a lot about Dolphins, but do know more after watching this movie, The Cove. Dolphins are so harmless to people. Most people love them. You see a Dolphin and you smile. They are extremely smart and have been know to save drowning humans. Why am I telling you this? Because I feel helpless and frustrated that even after this movie was filmed that these poor Dolphins are still being killed every year in Japan. It's hard for me to swallow because the evidence of wrong doing is so clear in the footage, yet nothing is done to stop it. Whaling is so tragic and heartbreaking to me. I just want people like me, who didn't know this was all happening in the world we live in, to also know about it. I think it's important to spread the word. Like I said, its all about the animals and our planet. Nothing else. To see an innocent sea creature being killed pulls at my heart strings like nothing else in this world can. I didn't even realize it till I watched these shows and movies. All I want is to let people know about it and if they choose to learn more, they can. I feel like maybe if I say something, someone else will also care as much as I do. Then they will also spread the word.
I have always loved animals but I guess I didn't realize how much till this year. I have always been into decorating and design. In high school I was an Art student. Art and design is all I ever really wanted to do. Earlier this year I had planned on going to college for Web Design. Well, design stuff has been put on the back burner. With the exception of my blog and decorating around my house. I am happy to announce that I finally got a job here in Wyoming. I am going to be working as an Animal Care Specialist. Not only did Cody joining the Air Force turn my life upside down, it has changed me. I am a true believe of the saying,"Everything happens for a reason." It did for me this year. I am still me. Just happier inside. I feel like I finally am going to have a job that matters. I feel like I am going to make a difference. If I had the guts to do what the Sea Shepherd's do, I would. I don't know how to swim and even though I think the ocean is beautiful, it is also one of my biggest fears to be out in the open water. Ironic? All I ask is that if you are an animal lover, take the time to research or read about some of the things I talked about. I feel like this is a way I can make a difference, by sharing it with others.
Muffin Me Beach Logo May2011 Thanks. This is all from the bottom of my heart.


Merry Christmas

I have always loved this picture! I hope everyone has a great day with their family and friends!
Apartment Therapychristmastreewallcollage_janeschouten
Next year I would love to make a wreath like one of these!
Retro Renovation & Georgia Peachez
Vintage Xmas WreathVintage Xmas Wreath
Cody and I will be watching A Christmas Story and other Xmas Shows!
And if you didn't see this, its pretty awesome......
It's a good day to be a Bengals Fan!


This Year - PART 1

When you are a blogger you have a tuff decision of how much to share with your readers about your personal life. I have a lot I want to say. Some of it is more for me and some of it is things I do really want to share with my readers. When I have wrote more "personal" posts this year I have mentioned how much I have changed. I really wanted to explain some of that and just do a recap post for the entire year. I have wrote a NOVEL, so I decided to break it into 2 posts/ 3 parts that way it's easier for everyone to read.
Part 1 Title Pic
2011 - This year was the best year I have had in a long time. The last prior 5 years Cody and I had lots of drama and heartache. Like every year you have your ups and downs. The beginning of the year marked Cody leaving for Basic Training for the Air Force. I was glad when we got the news he would be leaving at the beginning of the year. It meant one last Christmas and New Years together with our families. I remember the day Cody left as if it was yesterday. My memories of the day are so strong I can relive it in my head over and over.

It was hard because Cody and I had never been apart for longer then a week. I really wasn't sure what to expect or how strong I would be. I have gotten to a point in my life where I have learned to control my emotions more. I am able to hold in my tears and seem like I am "okay". When I was a teenager and probably up to a few years ago I cried all the time. I have always been an emotional person and wore my heart on my sleeve. The day Cody left was a very long day. Cody's parents and I waited with him at the MEMPS processing center all day. (Which felt like forever!) We watched Cody swear in and sign his last paperwork. Then we sat around even more.

Cody Swearing in USAF - 1-4-2011

We were one of the only families there. Most of the "kids" swearing in that day had no one to support them. I found that very sad. When we finally made it to the airport I held my tears in. When the time came (finally) we made our goodbye really fast and I gave him the quickest lamest hug ever! He had asked me not to cry, so that was what I did,....for him. We said goodbye around 1pm in the afternoon. It didn't hit me that he was gone till around 5:30pm that evening. I was actually cooking myself dinner and I lost it. The apartment was so quiet without him there with me. The loneliness and reality hit me like a ton of bricks. Ironically he called right then to inform me that he had landed at the Dallas Airport. He was calm and collected of course, still excited. Yes, he was excited to go to basic training!!

I was only able to talk to him for a second and I apologized to him for crying. Of course he wasn't mad or anything, I just didn't want him to have to hear me cry. Over the next few hours I pulled myself together. He called again when he reached San Antonio. This call was very quick. He was not aloud to talk. He was being forced to call me so that I knew he was alive. I hated these stupid calls. I was trying to pull myself together and gather up strength! Hearing his voice did not help me forget that he was gone. I know I didn't sleep much that night. I knew there was a possibility that I would get another call. Whenever someone goes to basic training they are made to call their family or spouse and read off a message that is pre-written for them. I got the call from Cody at 3:30am. My phone rang and I just started crying.

I had already told Cody I was not going to answer "this" call. The reason I didn't answer the call is because they are now at the point where they are expected to be a machine. They are calling to inform you they are alive and that you can mail them letters at the address they give you. Basically Cody sounded like a robot. Cody already speaks fast and I knew there was no way in hell I would be able to write down the LONNNNGGG address when he read it off to me. (Especially at 3am!) It took about 20 times of listening to the voicemail he left on my phone and about 6 days for me to translate it. In the voicemail Cody repeated himself and made few mistakes when he was telling me the address. With the help of a few fellow Airman that I already knew, I got it and starting writing novels to Cody daily.

Still reading? This post is no where near to being over, sorry.

Okay, things got way better. Of course the first night and day were ruff. Honestly though what kept me going was working really hard. If you don't know, I worked at IKEA in the Home Decorations department. I actually started to cross train into the Children's department also. Which meant plenty of hours at work and plenty to keep my mind busy. I worked with some amazing people their, many who I miss very much now. If I hadn't laughed everyday or kept myself busy I think I would have went insane. Staying busy and remembering to laugh is key! Everyday I went to work I also had this cloud of happiness around me. I was so PROUD of my husband and what he was doing! He joined the Air Force not only for himself, but almost MORE for me. Our life was at such a dead end and we hated what it had become. We needed change.

When I met Cody, all the way back in 2003, he had mentioned he was considering joining the Air Force. We had been dating maybe a month. My reaction of course was,"OH! That's not something I want to go through!" He never brought it up again. It may sound like I stopped him, but it wasn't like that at all. He just simply never said anything else about it. EVER. Then he lost his job in 2009, and like I said we hated where our life was headed. Nowhere. Once he got the guts to tell me one night that he wanted to join the Air Force I listened to him with an open mind. Honestly it freaked me out at first, but not enough for me to be against it. It was just scary to think of how much it was going to change my life in every single way. You have to decide if you support your husband or do you fight it? Well I embraced it. Part of me has always wanted to experience living somewhere else. I never saw myself living in Ohio the rest of my life. Fear turned into excitement.

All these emotions and all this new found excitement kept me going while he was in Texas. It's always so cheesy to say,"You don't realize what you have till it's gone", but it's so TRUE! My heart was just full of so much love for Cody everyday.

New Sticker for my car

I couldn't even imagine what he was going through. I wanted to know everything! I wished I could be by his side for every moment and emotion he was feeling. I couldn't though. I had to just guess and hope he had time to even think of me. Miss me. I wrote him everyday. Probably the most mushy things I will ever say in my life. The letters really helped me get through the basic training time period. It was the only thing that made me feel like I was connected to him. Sleeping alone was hard. I would wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and forget he wasn't in the bed. That would be a heartbreaking feeling. Besides working and letters, there were my pets also.

Pets are so amazing! The love they have for you. It was pointless for me to call a friend or talk to anyone about my feelings. Unless you go through it yourself, you can't explain the emptiness and the void you feel without your husband. Basically the best way for me to describe how I felt is LOST. My pets slept with me every night and would come up to me if I was crying. They really know when you are upset. It helped me a lot to have that support and love from them. You don't have to talk to them and try to explain how you feel. They just love you no matter what. Last but not least, I watched a lot of funny television. I laughed. My all time favorite show is Roseanne. I grew up watching it. Having Netflix allowed me to watch every episode back to back. If I ever started to feel down, I used the show as a distraction. What ever works right?

Most of all though, I would get weekly calls from Cody that would lift my spirits like nothing else could. I only had one phone call that upset me because the call was so rushed. I hung up with him and just became very frustrated that I couldn't have my husband. I do believe it was the week before his graduation. By then, enough is enough and you are just plan fed up! Of course I survived the 8 weeks without my husband. Duh. It feels like the end of the world, but it's not. It taught me to be more independent. The time and distance only made our relationship stronger. Honestly we needed it. After being together for 7 years already, it did us good to be apart and really realize how much we appreciated each other. I want to give a million KUDOS to anyone who ever has to deal with a deployment with their husband. I know that is way harder then 8 weeks of basic training. It makes basic look silly! I will say that basic training taught me that I am a stronger person then I ever thought I could be. A fellow Military wife once said to me,"You can either cry and fall apart or choose to be strong and carry on." It's so true. I love Cody more then anything in this world, and I chose to be strong for him. I have a bond with him that I could never have with anyone else.


The 8 weeks ended and The Graduation came. You think it's going to be great and exciting, then you get there and it's not. For me it was the most stressful thing I had experienced yet! I thought the day Cody left was hard,.....Nope. Try again. First of all I didn't have my Military ID yet. (long story) They had messed up my information so many times, that it delayed it from happening before the graduation came. I didn't have a guest pass to even get on the base. All Cody's family did and my friend Dan who I had drove to Texas with had passes, just not me. I cried and cried when I got to the place you go to get your pass and they told me I might not being able to get one. (another long story) As if I am not stressed enough already! One thing I learned about the Air Force so far, is that one person tells you one thing and then 5 minutes later your told something else. I lost lots of sleep that night after I was told I may not get in to see Cody graduate. Then I go back the next day and they gave me a pass like it was not a big deal! It was a complete emotional roller coaster for me! What was happening was they were in the middle of changing a policy on how and who gets guest passes to get onto the base.

For those who don't know, the Air Force Graduation has two parts. A Coin Ceremony the first day and then a parade the second day. The first day I was super excited and happy! I got to see Cody for the first time and it was an amazing feeling! Nothing is better then that first hug!


It's awkward having all the family there, when all you want is to be with your husband alone. The weekend went pretty smoothly. The day of the parade I broke down crying. I still hadn't been allowed to be alone with my husband. I could careless about a dumb parade. I felt so many emotions it was hard to explain. Cody had also announced to me the day before that he would be going to school all the way out in California. (2,400 miles from Cincinnati Ohio) I didn't take this well. I couldn't even bare the thought of being apart from him another moment, let alone 2,400 miles! Everything hit me at once and I broke down crying in front of everyone before the parade even started. I kept yelling,"I just want my husband."


The parade happened, then lunch with family and finally I got to be off base ALONE with my husband. It was surreal. He looked so different, way to skinny. He acted very strange. He didn't even know how to act in a car or with me. He was paranoid we were being watched. (You aren't even aloud to hold hands on base.) It was a very emotional 4 days for Cody and I. Sunday, the last day being the worst of course. Cody and I got to spend 3 days off base together. We did nothing. No sight seeing around San Antonio, nothing. We stayed in our hotel room and were just happy to be able to TALK. Sunday I was so nervous. Sick to my stomach all day. If I could erase this day from my memory I would. I cried and cried. Nothing Cody did or said could stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks. I know, a baby right?


Well of course the time came when he had to go back to base. My friend Dan waited in the car, while I walked with Cody over to the saying goodbye area near the dorms. There were families crying everywhere. The thing that got me the most was a little girl sobbing, because she didn't understand why she had to say goodbye to her big brother. It's a memory I will never forget. I can't even remember what Cody and I said to each other. I know he told me he would see me soon, because everyone always says never to say goodbye. We made it quick. A fast kiss and a somewhat long hug. Then he turned his back to me, and he was gone again.

I turned my back quickly also and didn't turn back. I lost it though. Boy did I. I sobbed, not cried. I covered my face in embarrassment, because I knew I must of looked horrible. I calmed down by the time I got to the car. Thanks to Dan for being an awesome support to me at probably one of the hardest moments in my life. I felt so frustrated that I had to go through this separation AGAIN! Your thinking to yourself,"I just got him back!" Your angry, depressed and you feel like you have had your heart torn out of your chest. We drove back to the hotel and I think we must of sat in the car for at least a half hour. I cried, Dan listened to me talk about how I felt. It was like, now what? I ended up pulling myself together. I actually decided to hang out with Dan and play cards the rest of the night. I easily could of just went to my room and cried some more. What good would that do? After a few hours, I started to remember that I was strong and that I could do this, AGAIN.

Thanks for reading. I will post Part 2 and Part 3 after Christmas Day!
Cody Swears In and Ships Out {HERE}
Weekly posts when Cody was in Basic Training {HERE}
The Graduation {HERE}
All Military related posts can be found {HERE}