Reunited in Pennsylvania


When my friend Lindsay started talking about planning her daughter’s first birthday party, I was disappointed we would miss it. You can read about the amazing friends we have made in the military here and hereThey were among our first friends in Steve’s first enlistment, and some of our closest. But everyone has seemed to move on from this crazy life, leaving us stranded here at Camp Lejeune by ourselves. Friendless. Okay, pity party over. Like usual, Lindsay and I began scheming. This is usually when you can cue Matt and Steve’s “uh-oh’s.” I realized Maybree’s birthday fell on my three-day weekend off work, and Steve would be off early on Friday! Combined with my recent desire to visit several national landmarks in DC, I decided this was a perfect weekend for a roadtrip! (And luckily convinced Steve to agree).

With a brand new car to break in, the mother-in-law willing to stay at the house and watch our dog, and Lindsay offering lodging in their quaint little Pennsylvania town, how could we refuse a little getaway? So, we packed up the Explorer hoping we didn’t forget any essentials, and we were off to visit our friends in small town Pennsylvania! Reunited at last!



One thing Lindsay and I have in common – a photography obsession. So, of course, I had her take some family pictures. I don’t think we could have picked a more perfect time of year to visit. The Pennsylvania fall made for some beautiful scenery, and my boys were looking handsome as always 😉 And of course, I returned the favor and took some Shank family pictures!


My husband is a pretty low-maintenance person. But there are a few things that are non-negotiable… food and sleep being two of those things. Recently, when he’s been complaining about getting hungry I’ve found myself saying, “I have a granola bar in my purse.” Apparently he’s catching onto my trick… because he now thinks a granola bar is the equivalent of offering a baby a bottle and saying, “Here – be quiet and stop crying!” When he pointed this out, I couldn’t help but laugh, because it is so true!

Look at this Daddy-Duo. The boys pushing the strollers was cracking us up! Two and a half years ago they were patrolling Marjah together in full combat gear… now they’re a couple of suckers with strollers 😉

Walgreen’s photo better be ready… 
I’ve got a whole bunch of new photos to print for my frames!!!
My baby boy ❤

I had so many favorites – I couldn’t pick just one!

And last, but not least, a picture that perfectly sums up our family every time I try to coordinate a family picture. But I think we got some pretty good ones today. 

Thank you Lindsay!!! We love you guys!

After the photoshoot, it was off to Maybree’s first birthday party! Time sure does fly, and I’m trying to figure out how to slow it down. It seems like just yesterday we were tentatively calling her Pedro because Lindsay didn’t know if she was having a boy or girl! And now her sweet princess is a year old with more attitude than most teenage girls I know. 

[Steve wants me to point out she gets this from her mother, sorry Linds]. 

Wait Mom, you mean I can eat as much sugar as I want and you’re not going to get mad if I make a mess? I don’t understand…

Pretty birthday girl before, and messy birthday girl after 🙂 Mommy took away the cake before it was too destroyed for us to enjoy later…

Adults? Who, us?

Happy Birthday sweet Maybree!

What did our two big bad husbands with babies do on our last Saturday night together for awhile? Play with all of Maybree’s new baby toys and eat the rest of her chocolate cake. I even caught the dad’s watching Youtube videos on Maybree’s new Fischer Price Ipad cover. I suppose our “young” days are over. But parenthood’s not so bad 😉


But our weekend didn’t stop there! We still had a visit to Washington D.C. on the way home. We stopped at the Marine Corps War Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery. God bless you Staff Sgt. Malachowski and all of your fallen 2/8 brothers. Your sacrifice is not forgotten. 


Last but not least, we fought the D.C. traffic and made our way to the Marine Corps Museum. You can see the amazing architecture built to replicate the iconic flag raising at Iwo Jima from I95, and I’ve wanted to stop every time I drive by! We finally made time to stop this trip. It was a great museum for both children, adults, and adults who still think they’re children (my husband)! I would recommend it to anyone who has time to visit! 


Whew, we made it home, unpacked the car, and I was ready for bed! What an exhausting, but amazing, family weekend getaway! We love our friends, and we are so blessed in this life we have. 

3 thoughts on “Reunited in Pennsylvania

  1. I wanted to Amber! Unfortunately we would have had to get a guest pass since we had the new car, I knew we would have talked for hours, and I had homework due at midnight 😦 But I PROMISE we will next time!!!

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  2. You have such a beautiful family! That's so exciting that you were able to get to your friend's daughter's birthday party!! Hopefully I'll keep in touch and still see my friends I've made here every once in a while! Love that you guys took each other's family photos-great idea! Following you back and added your button! 🙂

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