Adventures in Homeschooling!

In September #TeamGrim will embark upon our next great adventure: homeschooling!! Since our kiddos are only 3 we are choosing to do mostly informal style of preschool: ie, reading, outdoor exploration in nature, crafts and a few workbook type activities. We’ll be mastering the knowledge and skills necessary for Kindergarten while still having the chance to be kids.

Here’s some information about our new school in case you’re interested:

Mascot: Lions

Bible Verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

We chose the name for several different reasons:

  • The “North Seeking Arrow” is used when developing navigational maps for aviation. Since Daddy is a Chinook Pilot and our family is engulfed in the aviation world, Ryan’s suggestion seemed almost too obvious.
  • The NORTH will always be HOME for us.
  • We love adventure and traveling ourselves!
  • It was related to two of our favorite scriptures pertaining to school and child-rearing: Proverbs 3:5-6 (Our school verse) and Psalm 127:3-5

Lions were chosen as our mascot for a few reasons as well:

  • The Bible often refers to the Lord as a Lion (Lion of Judah: Revelation 5:5; baby Jesus: Luke 2:7; and Revelation 19:16)
  • Lions are widely known as maintaining a family unit. They live in prides and work together to hunt and defend their family. It is one of our strongest desires to instill an unbreakable sense of family with our children.
  • Lions are used to symbolize wisdom, courage, strength, pride, and military might.

We’re wicked excited to begin this journey and I pray that God will continue to lead us!

6 Years of Wedded Bliss

3.9.13 – 3.9.19

It’s hard to believe it’s been 6 years since our magical wedding day! Our love story and marriage has always felt like i’m living my own real life fairy tale. (Cheesy, I know! I live for cheesy) That’s especially the case for our anniversaries. We’ve always tried to do something exciting to celebrate and we haven’t let the Army interfere too badly (so far).

This year was no exception and we were able to book a marvelous weekend in Lake Placid at the Mirror Lake Inn. Our room overlooked the frozen lake with ice skating, snowshoeing, and dog sleds right out our front door. You could say we have a thing for B&B’s since we were married in one and honeymooned in some in Ireland, and this had the feel of one for sure!

We had beautiful scenery and gorgeous weather the entire weekend so we headed up to Whiteface Mountain to see the views from the gondola. We’re so thankful to live where we do and see some of the most beautiful sights surrounding us. We took a bit of a driving tour around and to check out the area, and finished everything off with a horse drawn sleigh ride!! Peaceful, serene, calm and SNOWY mountain views at sunset, what could be better than that? We started our marriage in a horse drawn carriage so it was extra special to be able to take our kids for a ride on our anniversary!

Our marriage has had its share life’s ups and downs and growth; we’ve faced illnesses, hurts from others, struggles with infertility and the Army life; but we have always placed each other first even before ourselves. We defend each other no matter what. I’m so thankful for a godly man who leads our family, the kids and I are so blessed to have him!

I can’t wait to see what the next 6 years bring us!

PCS Adventures with Toddlers

Let’s talk road trips with toddlers! In December, 2 weeks before Christmas, we PCS’d or moved from Fort Rucker, Alabama to Fort Drum, New York. It was about 1200 miles total and we broke it up into 6 days so we could have fun and not rush it. We’re no strangers to PCS’ing since this was our 3rd, but it’s the longest distance we’ve gone and the kids weren’t babies anymore. (I still can’t decide which is harder…toddlers or breastfed but sleepy babies.

By the Numbers:
2 Vehicles
2 Adults
2 2-year olds
1 RV/camper
1 Boston Terrier
8 Total states!

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Tip 1: Break up the trip: We stopped for overnights in Fort Campbell, KY – Lebanon, OH – and Buffalo, NY to break it up and see friends and family along the way. It gave the kids a chance to run, play, and get some wiggles out without being cooped up in the car all day everyday. This made the trip a lot more fun and way less stress…for the most part!  We also had our camper so we had a familiar place to stay every night that gave the kids a sense of normalcy.  By the time we arrived in New York, however, we were all tired and definitely ready to get settled!


Tip 2: Every day the kids received a new toy to play with to start off the drive with something fun and exciting. This helped for a whole 10-20 minutes every day 🙂

Tip 3: I always swore I wouldn’t be “that parent”, but we installed a Kindle in between their seats so that they could watch movies when they became truly restless. We are “extended rear-facing” so my van’s DVD player wouldn’t help us in this situation. I purchased a $20 arm that attached to the headrest and it worked like a charm!

In the end, we do what works to keep everyone sane and mostly happy. What tips and tricks do you have from a move or relocation with kids?

Be A Beautiful Snowflake

Did you know that no two snowflakes are the same? God, in his infinite wisdom created each individual snowflake with its own signature that compound to fill the beautiful snow that we get to experience here in the North Country. We finally experienced our first decent snowstorm and it’s so soothing for me to watch. It really had me thinking God’s amazing design for this Earth and for us.

God doesn’t make mistakes. And He didn’t make a mistake with me or you either.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well.” ~ Psalm 139:14

I’ve always been somewhat of a people pleaser and i’ve always been so hurt when people don’t like me or approve of me, but over the years I’ve learned the hard lesson of being myself no matter what. Deep down I’ve often wondered what my parents would think, what friends and family will talk about behind my back, or how people will judge me for certain things that I do.

That’s certainly not fun and it’s no way to spend your life. Becoming a Mom myself changed so many things about me (as it should). I often reflect on how I’m living and examine it through their eyes. Am I demonstrating behavior that I want them to replicate and showing them a healthy way of living? I love my children for who they are and who God has destined them to be, not who I picture they’ll be. But I never want them to constantly stress about what others think so I need to be the example.

If you live trying to please others or change for who you’re dating, what your parents want (As an adult), what a “friend” wants then the world is missing out on someone truly amazing! You’re never going to be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay!

Most people hate the cold and the snow, but we LOVE it. A lot of people hate tattoos, and we love them. I’m sure people disagree with aspects of our parenting, my political beliefs, my sports teams, etc. In the words of Rachel Hollis in Girl, Wash Your Face, “Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business!”

If people sit and listen to gossip about you (especially without defending you), those are not your people. If they hate the core of who you are, they are not your people. If they don’t care whether or not they miss out on important events in your life or if the relationship is always one-sided, they are not your people. If they don’t care about hurting you, not your people either. Surround yourself with those who love the raw, real you no matter what!

Now, I’m not one of those who believes that if it’s not harming others then it’s okay. As a Christian the Bible is my guide. My spiritual leadership aids in this. And, as a wife, my husband is my other half and I submit to Him as the leader of our household.

Life is too short. And the world deserves ME. Not a filtered chameleon.

Update from the NORTH Country

TeamGrim is wrapping up one of the craziest months we’ve ever had (and that’s saying a lot)! It started with Ryan’s graduation from flight school (more to come on that later), continued with a 1400 mile PCS from Ft. Rucker, Alabama to Ft. Drum, NY, and then we threw in Christmas with some snow!

We’ve been in our house now for 3 weeks and are already LOVING our new duty station. We’ve wanted to get back to the North since we were married and we are FINALLY here. Moving is one of my favorite benefits in the military life, but this one was a bit more intense that we expected. Turns out that two crazy weeks of packing, driving, stops, colds, and making a new house a home takes its toll on toddlers.

Logan and Emma are old pros with road trips and PCS/change as Army brats. Overall, they did amazing! But it was still a lot to take in when you’re not even 2 1/2.

We’ve had a few little snow storms with a couple of inches each to play in, we saw Santa come in from Canada to Sackets Harbor, attended a Watertown Wolves hockey game, saw Disney on Ice in Syracuse, and celebrated Christmas & New Year’s already!

We’re still working on getting 100% settled and enjoying having Daddy home on PCS leave with us. We have a lot more adventure and challenges headed our way in 2019, but we are anxious for all that is to come!

Thanks for following along on our journey!

~Melissa G.

Embracing the Army (PCS) Journey

PCS + Christmas + Flight School Graduation = a whole lot of insanity fun!!

My motto since Ryan’s first 1 year deployment in 2011-2012 (and tattooed on the inside of my wrist) has been “Embrace the Journey”.  it’s my reminder to stop worrying about the future, stressing about the present and letting go of the past.  This has been a necessity as an Army wife and even more so as a flight school spouse.  I have to live in the present!

As Ryan’s journey through flight school progressed and he wasn’t afforded any breaks (the Army is cutting down the “bubbles” between instructional sections in order to push students through faster to get them to their units due to a severe shortage of pilots), it was my hope to not PCS at Christmas.   (For those unfamiliar with military acronyms, a PCS is a Permanent Change of Station or as permanent of a move as you can have in the military).  Well, it’s been said to never tell the Army your plans!  The Army and God definitely have a sense of humor!

Never tell the Army your plans!

I’m probably a weird one, but PCS-ing is one of my favorite aspects of being married to a soldier.  I grew up as an Army BRAT and my adventurous side gets restless and needs a new home and city to explore every few years!  We’ve been trying to get back up North and to the cold/snow since Ryan entered the Army and Ft. Drum, New York is the closest he can get us to my home in Maine.  So, even though I had no desire to uproot our lives a few weeks prior to Christmas, we’re embracing all of the wonderful things this move has to offer!

  1. We get SNOW! and COLD! for Christmas 🙂
  2. TeamGrim gets to travel through 8 states (almost) on the Army’s dime.
  3. Christmas adventures in different states. 
  4. The ability to see family and friends along the way.
  5. Getting to decorate for Christmas…TWICE!!
  6. Fun stories to tell and memories to look back upon.

I’m taking this whole situation as a reminder to myself to look for the good in every aspect of life.  Duty station assignment that you don’t like?  Explore it anyway and find reasons to like it.  Deployment/extended separation?  How can I grow in my relationship with God and how can this bring me and my spouse/kids closer?  

We can either focus on the negatives all of the time or we can find reasons to be excited and to embrace the memories that we’re making.  There is a LOT of stress in this life and it’s not for the faint of heart.  I have my days that I’m not the biggest fan of the military and i’m definitely ready for retirement, but i’m so thankful for all of the opportunities that we’ve been granted that most never get.

And now, it’s almost time to #Drive2Glory!

~Melissa

My Calling

In April, I worked my last day of my career in national security/government contracting to fulfill my dream of focusing on my husband and my kids.  Long before we were married, Ryan and I discussed our joint desire to be able to reach a point of financial security to allow me to stay home with our future children.  Being a military family comes with many challenges and I wanted to be as present as possible in our children’s lives.  While I commend dual military families and those with multiple careers (seriously, that’s tough work to balance it all!), I always knew it wasn’t for me.

Often, reality can feel different from our dreams.  Since that time i’ve struggled to find my identity beyond being a wife and a mother.  We often find our self-worth within our career or chosen profession, and all of my dreams have or are coming true.  But was this enough?  Society often pushes us to “want more” for ourselves and that we should strive to have it all: the husband, the kids, the top of a corporation…and the white picket fence.  Was it okay to “just” be a wife and a mom?  Could I REALLY be the driving force behind my family?

What if it’s OKAY that my role IS to be a military spouse and a mom?  What if that is my calling and my “mission field”?  I know that God is using me to encourage and lift up/support my husband as he serves our Country.  I know that God is using me to be engaged in our children’s lives and to set the example.  And I know that He is going to use me to pour back into the lives of other military spouses and families.  How will my mindset change and what more can I do if I transform my thoughts into THIS being my calling?  God has called my heart since I was a young girl and wanted to marry a soldier and to stay in the only life I ever knew.

What if it’s OKAY that my role IS to be a military spouse and a mom?

I’ve recently joined a book discussion group with a friend that started it in her home and we are diving into the book “Wife of a Soldier, a Journey of Faith” and today I had the great pleasure of meeting the author.  It’s been speaking to my heart and I highly recommend reading it, no matter your situation as a military spouse.  Diana Jeurgens describes how God has called each of us to this role for a reason.  It’s no mistake that I grew up wanting this life, that I married Ryan, that these kids were given to us to raise.

This military life can be exciting and stressful, lonely and friendly…it’s all in how we view it.  I know that i’ll still be human and have my moments that I hate the separations, deployments, and LATE duty nights…but oh, what a wonderful life this can be as well!

I’m not sure what the distant future holds for our family, but i’m so excited to serve God where He’s placed me for this season.  My husband has a very difficult role to play and I know that God has called me to be his supporter and to take care of our life on the home front.   I’m anxious to arrive at our next duty station in New York and I already feel led to a few areas of opportunity!

Melissa G.