Our little adventurer!

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One of the biggest adjustments I have had to make moving to South Florida (or soflo as they say) has been the reptiles. They are EVERYWHERE. Tiny lizards, Iguanas the size of my left leg (though I haven’t seen a gator yet) and every size in between. These little creatures are always scurrying out of bushes and under your feet and if you were to ask my South Florida friends they will tell you I am NOT A FAN. On multiple occasions I have embarrassed myself by jumping, screaming, and even tripping over myself to escape them. I continue to hope that this quality is endearing to my new friends but I’m not quite sure that is the case.

Penelope however LOVES these little guys and is always on the lookout. Every time she goes outside she is always peering into the bushes and under cars trying to find one to chase. On the bright side being that our washer and dryer are in the garage “sigh” I am able to bring her with me to protect me. I would bring Luna but we all know she can’t go anywhere that isn’t “childproof” because she is a danger to herself. #labproblems

Penelope has become such an important member of our family and its so fun to see her personality develop. I have never doubted for a second that we were meant to find her because she fits our family so well. Its funny too because initially she was a very shy and reserved little girl and as time has gone by she has really come out of her shell and gotten comfortable with us and with Luna.

Another way she has fit in so well is by bonding so closely with Dean. Luna and I have had a very special bond from the day we got her being that we have never been apart and as much as Luna LOVES Dean she is for sure my dog. That is not something I realized until we got Penelope. Now I have some insight on what its like to be second favorite and as much as I thought that would be sad the fact that we both have a little one who adores us has been so fun. Don’t get me wrong I KNOW that Penelope loves me and Luna loves Dean so no hard feelings here! This doesn’t surprise me either because Penelope is very adventurous! She and Dean run after lizards anytime they see one and it is the goofiest thing I’ve ever seen. They both are much more wild than Luna and I who prefer to run away from lizards, frogs, loud noises, and Dean sneaking up on us multiple times a day.

 

Regardless she has transitioned extremely well and our family seems to have the perfect pup to human ratio that things really couldn’t be more fun in our home and we can’t wait to see all the fun we will get to have with them both in the years to come.

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Madison

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When you choose to take on this lifestyle there are a lot of things that come with it. Something most people will never understand is that your definition of family changes. Family is no longer defined by blood but by the people who invest in your life. These are the people who stay in touch no matter how long its been since you have been “home”, the ones who ask how you are even when everything seems fine, and the ones who show up.

What I’ve come to learn is that next to my immediate family, military wives are quick to take on this role. I was skeptical at first but I think I speak for all of us when I say that it only takes one to change your mind, and maybe even change your life.

For me her name is Madison.

At our first duty station I arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed  and ready for married military life. Before I had even arrived she had scoped me out. Seeing that I was transferring on a Facebook page she messaged me letting me know that she was excited to have a new friend and would love to meet up with me for lunch after I got settled. She will be the first to tell you that we are an unlikely pair. Madison was 20, married with a 1 year old (Reese), pregnant with another on the way (Rhett) and at this time babies were not even on my radar. I thought she was crazy and she thought I was strange. At any other time we probably would have crossed paths and continued on with our lives without ever thinking twice but God had a much bigger plan in mind for us.

Within the next few months we would make the 2 hour drive to each others homes every few weeks when our husbands were both gone and we slowly discovered how similar we were. I am convinced that what solidified our bond so fast was our love of Jesus and our mutual obsession for the Bachelor #SeanandCatherineforever. She would bring Reese to my house and I would bring Luna to hers, eventually I acquired a pack-n-play and she added a doggie crate to her decor. We would stay up late and watch movies, talk about where we our dream stations were and share our love for Jesus.

In normal military tradition when things go haywire or there is an emergency your husband is never home. I swear it happens EVERY time just ask any military spouse.(cue every military spouses “amen” here). So last year when Luna became incredibly sick of course Dean was on duty. Luna was and continues to be an incredible source of emotional support for me when Dean is away and I never knew I could love a dog in that way so when the vet told me that she needed surgery or she wouldn’t make it I was crushed. I had never been away from her before so driving home alone was awful. When Dean didn’t answer his phone my next call was Madison. I needed a friend and she was just that. She was there for me in one of the saddest moments of my life and i’ll never forget that.

Within the next month she was getting closer and closer to her due date and so the trips came to a weekly basis where I stayed for longer periods of time just in case! I even remember when her contractions started to come closer together and more intense because Luna wouldn’t leave her side. Luna even followed her into the bathroom when she had to pee.

THEN on March 11th at 8:22am while I was feeding Reese breakfast MY GODSON Rhett Acker Wilson was born!

 

 

When I brought Reese to the hospital to meet up with Madison and Cole I was so overwhelmed and proud of her and to this day I’m so glad I was able to be apart of Rhetts birthday.

God is sometimes funny in his plans, but its amazing to me how he knows exactly what we need and when we need it. Madison was the exact friend I needed in ways I never could have predicted. Still to this day she is a constant reminder to me that family is not defined by blood.

Most people know this but in addition to her accomplishments as a wife, a mother, daughter, and friend, she has also overcome a diagnosis of Leukemia once and she will do it again. In the midst of this sickness her faith is unwavering, and though she is the one with a worldly weight on her shoulders I am the one who is growing in my faith watching her live a life after Jesus, one full of immense strength and optimism. Im so grateful to have this example of joy in my life, and SO blessed that my godson has such a fighter for a mom. Even when her schedule is packed with doctors visits and kids to take care of she is constantly calling to check up on me. She always asks about my kids (dogs are kids right?), wants to know how Dean is adjusting to his new job and filling me in on how she’s feeling blessed that day. Have I mentioned how incredible she is? The ONLY time I have seen her southern sass come out was when her mom told her she was going to cook all paleo meals for her and she had to give up string cheese and chicken nuggets and she STILL called me to tell me that she felt guilty about being mad at her. [side note: Tracy you are amazing, no wonder Maddie is such a great mom]

Im looking forward to the day when this cancer is just a whisper of her story and we are sipping cocktails in the sun celebrating each others victories and laughing about how fun life is with our husbands.

“For I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the Lord’, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

To donate to Madisons Cancer fund choose any of the following links

To shop through her Stella and Dot fundraiser

http://www.stelladot.com/ts/p9wf6

To shop through her silent auction

https://www.32auctions.com/organizations/25218/auctions/30020

To shop through her t-shirt fundraiser or to donate

https://www.booster.com/miracles-for-madisonwilson?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=mobile-campaign-page-share&utm_medium=social&ref=facebook_social_mobile-campaign-page-share&utm_content=miracles-for-madisonwilson

 

Cost and Worth

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Military life is different. Some would say “You just can’t understand”. And that is partially true, but that is one of the reasons why we have this blog. To help family and friends get a glimpse of what it’s like.

Today I wanted to express something that’s been on my heart recently. That is to say, “the amount of time with my family at home”. Or should I say “the lack there of”.

I literally only get to see my family half of the time. And I have a very generous schedule in relation to the rest of the CG and other military branches. I am home for a couple days but then at work for a couple of days.

People that know me will understand why I will break it down like this:
Putting travel times aside (because they vary and are greatly influenced on one’s choice of where to live) let’s only focus on work hours. The average work week is usually broken down into a 40 hour work week. But let’s say 45 for discussion sake. (And for the sake of those who will say they work more)

 

52 wks x 45 hrs = 2,340 hrs / yr

Time spent at work in a civilian job

(365 dys x 24 hrs) / 2 = 4,380 hrs / yr

Time I spend in my job

That’s the difference in the time that I am away from Kathleen and my little puppies.
There are those military members who get deployed for even longer. So the next time you see an active duty service member or a vet, think of the amount of time they cannot get back.

To me, that is a little part of what it means to sacrifice and serve your country. That is a part of military life that you cannot understand how it feels unless out go through that yourself.

The time away from each other is stress on our marriage but at the same time it allows us to grow. We were forced very early on to realize the things that put stress on our marriage. And with limited time together we find ways to be more efficient. It encourages us to not spend our time on things that don’t mean as much.

You know what they say “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” This type of schedule has made me better appreciate the fact that Kathleen boldly said “I will follow you wherever you take us.” I am very lucky to have her. I hope and pray for most couples that they will be able to find what stresses their marriage and to adjust habits so that the stress will make them grow closer.

 

 

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There comes a time in your life as a military spouse when you crunch the numbers for the first time. This is usually a time when your home alone and its been a long duty period and your thinking “gosh he’s been gone a lot” and then you start to add….

Let me begin by advising all military spouses reading this.

IF YOU CAN EVER HELP IT DO NOT CRUNCH THE NUMBERS

That being said I can feel some you already adding them up, and I’m laughing to myself because as a fellow military spouse I know how efficient we are and its a compulsion at this point haha.

Anyway there comes a time when you will sit down and really think about the time you spend with your spouse, and the time spent without them.

The first time I did this was a shock. When I realized that out of the almost 18 months we had been married we had spent roughly 8 of those months together I was speechless. I remember sitting down on my bed and not being able to stop the flow of tears that had invaded my eyes. I can vividly remember thinking of all of the time we were missing out on and how many memories we could be making. Could we have gone on a vacation? Hosted parties? Laughed at each others jokes in bed before falling asleep?  Thats the one thing with time, its something you can never get back.

So many times when you tell someone your husband is gone you get a response I still can not ever get used to.

“well that must be nice to have some time to yourself”

The first time I heard this I think I was so caught off guard that I actually responded

“what…?”

As much as this question drives me crazy and I don’t understand it, it brings my mopey self back to earth. This is when I remember Gods greatness and wisdom in a plan I can’t see. This requires faith and patience from me. Those are VERY hard for me to be great at every day but he has never been anything but faithful and patient in return.

I think to myself how much different my life would be without such a great love and I can’t imagine it. I would take 1 year spent with Dean over 5 spent with someone else any day. The cost of this life is so much less than how much Dean is worth to my heart.

Thats when I get to ask people my favorite question in response.

“Wouldn’t you do it for the person you loved?”

And I haven’t gotten a no yet.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Foundation

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When we started this blog our main goal was to keep our family and friends updated on our life. We also wanted to express and share our passion for happy and healthy marriages. God has really led us to this ministry and we decided we really wanted to be apart of building others up in their marriages.

One of the reasons we feel so strongly about this is because of the influence others have had on us and our relationship. There are many couples who have inspired us, encouraged us, and given us countless building blocks to establish a firm foundation for our marriage. We felt it so important to communicate in this blog that…

The Burtons didn’t figure out marriage on their own!

What! I know, your shocked. But seriously, every day we incorporate lessons we have learned from others. They have been amazing examples of all the qualities that make marriage great. I think the best example of something we use and think about EVERY day comes from one of our favorite couples. Bob and Sonya came into our lives when we were dating and without knowing it they taught us our number one piece of advice we give to all couples we meet.

Always, always, ALWAYS speak positively about your spouse. ALL. THE. TIME.

The more you build up your spouse to others, the more it reinforces to yourself how incredible they are. It is so much easier to love your spouse when you focus on all their positive qualities. You always want people to see your spouse the way you do and talking about them in a negative way can not only influence one’s opinion of them but it can eventually ruin yours. Just imagine if you stumbled upon your spouse having a conversation with someone about yourself. What would you want to hear?

We have known Bob and Sonya for almost 4 years and we have only heard them speak wonderful things about each other. It has been such an encouragement to the way we love each other.

That being said as a NEW ADDITION to the blog we are going to be featuring a married couple once a month who is a great example of something to learn from. WE ARE SO EXCITED to start this new column.  As excited as we have been to share our hearts with you and teach lessons through this blog, we have learned so much from others and can’t wait to continue to build up our own relationship through you. Marriage requires a commitment to constantly improve and hopefully our blog can make that FUN. Ultimately  you should strive for a deeper relationship with your spouse.

So, How does this work?

First, we want other people to have the opportunity to share on this blog. We want to hear if their is something that is very important to you and your marriage. We also want to hear about other couples who have influenced your relationship in a positive way. This gives us the opportunity to learn from each other and to find new ways to build on our foundations.

To submit to the column please email the following information to  hisbootshershoes@gmail.com

Featured Couple:

(if featured couple is not you how do you know them):

Priority or Lesson you feel important in your marriage:

Photo: (not required)

Additional comments or examples:

Happy submitting!

Meet Penelope

There is a new puppy addition to the Burton family. Of course some of you are thinking “Wow Kathleen and Dean cannot control themselves with dogs” which would be accurate thinking. We LOVE dogs, probably every dog we meet.

Call us crazy, call us obsessed, but the Burtons adopted a baby cow. Ok TECHNICALLY she’s a puppy but lets be honest, she looks like a little cow.

Meet Penelope!

When we moved to southern florida what we soon discovered was that there were animal shelters and rescues all over the place. I couldn’t believe the number of dogs without homes and how full these places were. This was such a different experience for us because when we got Luna we didn’t have hardly any places to choose from because the only place near us that had adoptable pets was a cat rescue. (Just an FYI Dean and I are not cat people lol). So we went online and eventually found a local woman who’s Labs had a litter of puppies and there we met Luna!

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Around Christmas time Kathleen brought up a serious problem with puppies. Sometimes people buy puppies as presents and either don’t realize how much work they are, or just decide that they are no longer interested in their dog like they thought they would be. A few months into “training” some families just give up and send these dogs to a shelter or rescue. That literally breaks our hearts. So we decided to go out to the local places around this time when puppies are usually turned in after the holidays to see some possibilities.

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One day when Dean was on duty and I was coming home from running some errands I drove past a local rescue and decided that I would stop inside and so the doggie fever began. Throughout the next week we stopped at every humane society, rescue, or shelter we drove past to look and see if there were any pups who would fit into our family. There were dozens of possibilities and we met with some who we thought could become part of our family but none seemed to fit. It was also very important to us that we chose a dog that could definitely get along with Luna and that she felt comfortable having in her home.

You see as much as we wanted another dog, if we were going to go the route of rescuing instead of finding a breeder I wanted to know it would work before we committed to this new dog. For me once that paper was signed that dog would be ours for life and with a rescue you don’t always know their history so we wanted to be sure.

 

When we went to the humane society there was a liter of 8 puppies that were “Lab Mixes” that all looked like baby cows and we fell in love with them. We narrowed it down to two boys that we had played with and when we couldn’t make a decision we realized that our decision maker needed to be Luna. We brought her in to meet each dog individually and were surprised to realize that Luna hated them both. Her disdain was so obvious that we KNEW we couldn’t take one home. Dean suggested that maybe she wasn’t a fan of having a boy puppy in her space so we went back to the litter and in the back of the cage was a sleepy little girl with a face that looked just like Luna’s. We decided to give it a whirl and we are SO glad we did because from the moment we put them together their tails have not stopped.

 

 

 

Luna and the king bed

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This move was a bit tougher on the baby. I think between Deans training and visiting family we were not in our own home for so long that when we started our 3 day trip to Florida she was so stressed out that she made herself sick. It was really hard for Dean and I to see her like that so I couldn’t wait to get into a place for her to feel like we were finally home. It definitely has given us a small glimpse of what traveling with kids might be like one day! Overall I am so glad that we finally have settled in and I can tell Luna is feeling much more relaxed.

When we got Luna, the first few months she slept in her crate at night next to our bed so that if she started to cry for us I could reach down into her crate and she would sleep on my hand. Eventually when she was house trained we caved and decided we just couldn’t sleep without her. (if you haven’t realized by now luna runs our household)

 

Sleeping with Luna was always fun for us and most of the time provided a very funny source of entertainment in the mornings that Dean and I could laugh about. Several mornings we would both wake up before her and (while she slept upside down in between us) we would try not to laugh at her baby snores and take turns softly rubbing her belly.

This system was very fun and adorable until Luna reached 60 pounds and we realized that the three of us were sleeping in a FULL sized bed and that wasn’t going to fly for too much longer. We decided that when we moved we would use our bedroom furniture for the guest room and then buy our very first bedroom set! The decision to buy a king was not a difficult one for us. It was either a larger bed or Luna would need to sleep on the floor. The thought of that nearly made us weep. You see, once you wake up next to two little paws under your pillow that smell like Fritos (all dogs paws smell like Fritos just an fyi. I swear by it, go on and smell them.) you just can’t imagine waking up without them. I know for me its such a comfort having her in bed when Dean is away. Especially when a stranger breaks in to your house to come kill you and she perches herself on the edge of the bed until dawn growling like she will rip their arm off. In this particular instance it was actually the shower caddy in the bathroom falling into the tub with all the bottles of shampoo and conditioner rolling out but IT COULD HAVE BEEN A CRIMINAL. Needless to say she makes me feel very safe when Deans away lol.

The day our king set arrived and we made the bed it took Luna 2 hours to decide that from now until eternity this would be her new favorite place. In the midst of unpacking we realized we didn’t know where she had gone which in Luna terms means she has probably stolen something. We started our search and soon discovered our little baby

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She is loving it so much and its so nice to see her feel so at home again. I love waking up next to her, and going to sleep hearing her snore. But mostly I love that all three of us get to be a snuggly family together in our new little oasis.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Florida

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The Coast Guard is really amazing at making sure that families are taken care of. Surprisingly when I meet new people at my station they ask me “How is your wife doing down here?” At first I was shocked they were concerned about this, but then I realized they were genuinely curious about how she was adjusting.

Kathleen had a bit of a culture shock when we arrived, and by a “bit” I mean a huge shock. She has never been to Florida, even for vacation so I was super excited to see her experience so many firsts. During our first week here while we were house hunting I was secretly writing down things she was saying to me. Now when people ask how she’s adjusting I usually add one of her “sayings” into my answer.

Ladies and Gentlemen, My Wife.

“I bet oranges are so cheap down here”

“Its SOOO flat here. There are no hills…”

“The palms on the trees look like they are stapled on, don’t you think?”

“I really only like the tall palm trees, they look really clean and sophisticated.”

“Weather here is so nice”

“The grass looks fake…”

“Florida is so odd, Its like another country that I don’t understand yet.”

“What is that?!? Is that a lizard???”

(Kathleen would like it noted that lizards/iguanas in southern florida are GIANT and terrifying and any human in their right mind would want to cry when they see them)

I love that she didn’t know I was writing these things down when she was talking. I look forward to watching her continually experience “firsts” down here