Saturday, December 31, 2011


If you know my Grandmother you know that she beautiful, intelligent, and regal. She is the center of my family, and perfectly embodies what it means to be a family’s matriarch. She is one of the most influential women in my life.

She’s my second mom, my light, ….my Gram.

I thought I’d write a list of reasons I love my Gram in this post.. but right now I can’t.

I would’t even know where to start. But, I WOULD know where to end…

I love my Gram because she’s one of the strongest people I know.

Friday, December 30, 2011

TOP 10 of 2011!

In the spirit of resolution and reflection, I thought it would be fun to list my TOP 10 moments of 2011. This was actually a more difficult task than I had bargained for.. I had a lot of amazing moments in 2011! Here’s my list, in order of occurrence (NOT in order of importance!)

1) MY BRIDAL SHOWER! Friends and family braved the snow on a frigid February Sunday to come help me celebrate my impending nuptials :) Rob and I were showered with LOVE and some seriously amazing gifts that day.

2) MY BACHELORETTE PARTY! My amazing MOH’s and bridesmaids coordinated a fabulous night out for me and my closest girlfriends. We were spoiled with a stretch hummer limo around Boston and a fabulous dinner at Joes. I wore my first ever (and probably last ever) leopard print dress and partied the night away.

3) MARRYING THE MAN OF MY DREAMS! On April 2, 2011 <3 We celebrated the best day of our lives with 200 incredible people. Our wedding was literally everything I could have EVER dreamed of. Our ceremony was romantic, and our reception was a PARTY. It was perfect. I would go back to that day a million times if I could.

4) OUR MINI-MOON! Rob and I decided to take a short “mini”moon instead of a honeymoon right away. His schedule with the Navy was tight, my work schedule was insane, and we were preparing for our first BIG MOVE. We vacationed at the INCREDIBLE Equinox Resort in Vermont and enjoyed lots of wine, breakfast in bed, and spa treatments as newlyweds :) We plan to take our REAL honeymoon to Italy later this year.

5) ROB AND BRITT GET ENGAGED! Two of our favorite people decide to tie the knot and ask ME to be a bridesmaid!

6) THE BIG MOVE! I did what I thought I could NEVER do.. move 1,000 miles away from home!! The adjustment to Charleston and Navy life has certainly been an adventure.. but I’m enjoying the ride. The BIG MOVE also helped me realize who my real and true friends are, and I have a new-found appreciation for the friends who really kept in touch and made me feel loved, even from far away (you know who you are).

7) CHARLIEDOG! We added the furry little guy to our family in August 2011 and life definitely hasn’t been the same since. Who knew we could love a little creature as much as we love Charlie?

8) OUR FAMILIES VISIT CHARLESTON! Ed, Judy and Lauren visited over Columbus Day and my family visited at Thanksgiving. It was so nice to have a taste of home here and it was fun to share our new life with them all :)


10) OUR FIRST CHRISTMAS! Decorating our little home, dressing Charlie up like Santa Paws, hosting our first Christmas party, and spending Christmas at HOME in Plymouth with our families.

Of course, there are a few moments I would like to remember only as DISTANT memories (our apartment getting robbed, etc).. but all in all, 2011 was good to me.

Hoping for a happy, healthy 2012!

Home for the Holidays

“Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays…” :)

We were so BLESSED this year to be able to travel home to Plymouth for the holidays. Rob’s Command was on holiday stand-down, so he was able to take leave for Christmas. We packed our car (/sleigh) and hit the road on Tuesday 12/20 at 2PM. Rob was just getting over a nasty head cold and I started feeling crummy late Monday night. I felt AWFUL by the time Tuesday night rolled around, and spent the entire drive in the passenger seat blowing my nose and praying my misery would subside in time to enjoy Christmas at home.

Rob drove STRAIGHT THROUGH THE NIGHT Tuesday night (like a maniac) and we arrived at Ed & Judy’s around 6AM Wednesday morning. Charlie settled in to his temporary home just fine, and Rob and I went to bed until about noon that day. We spent the day laying around and catching up with his parents, and went to bed early on Wednesday night.

Rob and CharlieDog napping after our LONG trip home.

On Thursday we had dinner with Mary and my parents at the Cabby Shack and I practically died when I finally had the clam chowder I’ve been craving for the last 7 months. NOTHING beats Plymouth seafood.. not even Magnolias! Charlie stayed home that night and got LOTS of love from Ed & Judy :)

Cabby’s clam CHOWDAH.

Rob and I had lunch at the Water Street Cafe with Jenna and Ashley Friday afternoon. We ran errands afterward and I had my FIRST Marylous iced coffee of the trip. Mmmm I missed MLous. On Friday night we went to Chandler’s Christmas party and caught up with our Plymouth friends. After the party we went to the BBC and then headed home around 1AM.

We woke up early on Saturday morning to help Ed & Judy get ready for Christmas Eve dinner. We ran a few errands and then went home and napped (whoops!). Lauren and Ryan came over around 2PM and the rest of the family, including my parents, came over around 5:30. We had a delicious dinner and it was great catching up with Rob’s family. WE stayed up really late that night (in our new Christmas Eve pajamas - a tradition we started this year as our own little family) chatting with Ed, Judy, Lauren & Ryan. It felt really nice to have some family time and we wished we’d be able to spend more time with them.

Ed & Judy’s Christmas tree.

Ryan & Rob on Christmas Eve.

Lauren & Ryan on Christmas Eve.

Judy woke us all up at 7AM to open our gifts on Christmas morning. Everyone enjoyed opening presents, and I was SO EXCITED to finally be able to give Rob his BIG gift - - a trip to San Francisco to visit Matt, Sandy and Ashu! I thought it would be really nice for him to have one last “guys weekend” before he deploys and Matt & Sandy were more than accommodating and helpful. I had been planning this trip for MONTHS and Rob was so excited when he opened his gift. It was all worth it.

The ticket I made for Rob’s BIG Christmas present :)

Christmas morning at Ed & Judy’s.
We packed up our bags and went to my parents’ house to open gifts around 9AM Christmas morning. We received SO many wonderful gifts from both families.. we are so lucky! Charlie loved tearing apart the wrapping paper and was a happy dog all morning. Mom made day-ahead-breakfast casserole and we all scurried around to get ready for Christmas dinner at Gram & Bumpas. Christmas dinner was a blast as always. I love my crazy family.

Mom & Dad’s Christmas tree.

Saunders Family Christmas!

Our 1st Christmas!!

Christmas Charlie.

Jamie arrived on Christmas night and spent two days with us in Plymouth. It was SO GOOD to see her and I was so happy that she made the drive just to see us while we were in Plymouth. We ran errands/made returns on Monday 12/26, and played a really fun game of Catch Phrase with the whole family that night. We had breakfast with Jackie, Seth and Alison on the morning of Tuesday 12/27. Mary, Jamie and I got our nails done on Tuesday afternoon.. and Jamie went home :(. Rob and I drove to Belmont to have dinner at Lauren & Ryan’s with Ed & Judy. It was nice to spend some more time with them, and I was really sad when we had to say goodbye to Lauren & Ryan that night.

On Wednesday 12/28 Rob and I went out to lunch with my mom, Gram, Auntie Jo, Elyse, Tina, Ashley & Mary. THEN we drove to Braintree to meet up with Christopher and surprise Amanda at dinner (thanks Ry for helping me plan that!). It was so good to catch up with two of my best friends, and I left dinner feeling refreshed that night.

Surprise dinner at Joes!! 12/28/11

On Thursday 12/29 Rob and I took Charlie for a nice long walk through Pinewood, had lunch at his parents house, had dinner at MY parent’s house with Mary & Mike, and then made our rounds to see my aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents to say our goodbyes.

We finished our last load of laundry, packed our bags, and hit the road at 6AM on Friday morning. We stopped in Virginia to visit with Dan (one of Rob’s fraternity brothers) and his fiance, Tina. We had a great dinner at the Dogfish Head Restaurant and Rob even helped Dan move a big piece of furniture while we were there. We were back on the road around 7:30 and eventually stopped at a hotel in Chester, VA for the night.

We woke up early, took advantage of the free continental breakfast, and hit the road again. We took our time and even stopped at JR’s in North Carolina where Rob bought a few cigars and a new humidor. We were home in sunny Charleston by 5PM and it was 72 degrees!

We’re settling in for the night now - planning to lay low for our first New Years Eve as a married couple.

Missing home already. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas PARTY!

On Friday 12/16 we hosted our FIRST EVER Christmas Party! We invited everyone in Rob’s Power School class and a few other Charleston friends as well. I’m pretty sure we had about 45 people here in our tiny apartment that night, but it was really really fun nonetheless.

I baked and cooked for the party all day on Friday. I made homemade vanilla cupcakes w/ buttercream frosting, gingerbread cheesecake bites, brownie candycane bites, mini crab cakes w/ special dressing, prosciutto pinwheels, spinach & feta pinwheels, etc etc etc. Rob concocted an AWESOME cranberry pomegranate mojito for our punch bowl, and friends brought drinks and food as well. We had a great time.

I’m already planning to host another party next year.. But, who knows where in the world we’ll be by then. I just hope that wherever we end up we have friends with us that are as great as these ones.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmastime in Charleston

Christmastime in Charleston is weird…..

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the warm weather and literally EVERYTHING else about Charleston.. but it just feels so WRONG to decorate a Christmas tree when it’s 75 degrees out. I listened to “White Christmas yesterday” and felt like a complete phony. “Where Are You Christmas?” is more appropriate.

Even though I’m not feeling the Holiday WhoBalation (Grinch reference!), I still love all things sparkly and Christmas-y - so naturally we decorated our house two days after Thanksgiving. Once the lights were up and the weather cooled down to a chilly 65 degrees I felt a little less like Scrooge.

Rob and I have enjoyed as many Christmas-y activities around Charleston as possible. I dragged him to the Holiday market for some shopping (sorry honey, you’re such a good sport!), we went to the Daniel Island tree lighting, and drove around the Island the night of the holiday lights judging.

Now we’re REALLY in the spirit and we’re looking forward to hosting our FIRST EVER Christmas party this weekend and our big trip home for the holidays :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Professional Woman

It’s official: I’m a professional woman. I went on my very first BUSINESS TRIP!

I packed my bags and hopped on a 5AM flight out of Charleston on Monday 12/5. I landed in Boston, changed my clothes in a tiny stall at Logan airport, hailed a cab, and headed to BSC for a day full of meetings, hugs and overall excitement. I picked up my new BSC laptop and phone to set up in my teeny tiny home office, and checked into my hotel room around 4PM. I relaxed for a bit and then met Mary for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. It was SO good to see her again and I was seriously on cloud 9. I met up with some BSC friends for drinks and Joes on Newbury and Michelle even drove all the way from NH to see me :) I headed back to my hotel room around 9 and passed out after a super long day. I spent Tuesday running back and forth to meetings again and trying to get everything organized for my new position. I caught a cab around 3:30 and made it to Logan just in time for my flight home. After delays and terminal changes I FINALLY arrived back in Charleston at 11PM. Rob picked me up and I chatted his ear off about my adventure the entire drive home.
- - - - - - - - -

Business trip firsts:

1) Flying by myself. No Daddy or Robert to help me figure out what to do at the security checkpoints, guide me through the terminals and rub my back when I feel sick at takeoff or landing. (Yes, I realize this makes me sound like a huge baby but whatever, I’m over it). I DID IT. I got myself through security, made my flights, and DIDN’T PANIC when things went wrong.. changes in terminals, flight times, etc. This probably sounds incredibly juvenile but I’m actually really proud of myself.

2) Slept at a hotel by MYSELF. Pretty sure the Park Plaza in Boston is haunted, but whatevs. I enjoyed sprawling out in my big comfy bed and being called a "Mrs" when I checked in. It’s the little things, people.

3) Charging things to an EXPENSE account and having other people pay for your enjoyment. Amazing! I think I’ll be a professional woman forever now. ;)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My family visits Charleston!

Have I told you lately how much I love my family? I really, really REALLY love my family. The kind of love that makes you feel like you got punched in the stomach. The kind of love that makes you cry when you’re not sad.

I really, really love my family. And I was the HAPPIEST girl when they were here visiting last week.

Mom, Dad and Mary hopped in the RV and drove to Charleston on Saturday 11/19. They arrived early Sunday afternoon, hung out with us for a bit, and then Mom & Dad headed to their campground on James Island to set up for the night. Mary set up camp on our couch and got to know her doggie nephew, Charlie :)

Sisters!! First time seeing each other in 6 MONTHS!

We met my parents in Downtown Charleston for dinner Sunday night and feasted on Hush Puppies and seafood at Hymans. After dinner my parents went back to the campground and Mary, Rob and I headed back to our apartment.

Rob and Mary waiting in line at Hyman’s 11/20/11.

Mom & Dad being silly at Hyman’s.

Hyman’s 11/20/11.

Rob worked Monday and my parents picked me, Mary and Charlie up for the day. We hung out at their campsite and fussed over Charlie eating every stupid acorn he could find (edit: which turned out to be a phase, thank GOD). Rob arrived around dinner time and Dad grilled some burgers and hot dogs. We roasted marshmallows and enjoyed the campfire for a while before we headed home for the evening.

MaryMoo and CharlieRoo in Mom & Dad’s motorhome!

At Mom & Dad’s campsite 11/21/11.

At Mom & Dad’s campsite 11/21/11.

My parents did some touristy stuff in Charleston on Tuesday while Mary and I had some sister time. We went to lunch with Alyson and shopped in Mt. Pleasant. Rob and I took Mary to Sonic for dinner and she LOVED her burger just as much as we thought she would. Sonic really is amazing, you know.

Mary enjoying her burger at Sonic 11/22/11.

On Wednesday my parents packed up their RV, checked out of the campground, and checked IN to the rental apartment in our apartment community. It was really nice to have them right next door for the last few days of their stay. We lounged around on Wednesday and then Rob and I took my fam to Magnolias for dinner. It was DELICIOUS (again) and Mom, Dad & Mar really liked their meals. The night ended on a bit of a sour note as I experienced ANOTHER allergic reaction (still not sure what I’m allergic to) and passed out in a Benadryll induced coma around 8PM.

Dinner at Magnolias 11/23/11.

Dinner at Magnolias 11/23/11.

I woke up feeling fine on Thanksgiving morning and popped all 22LBS of my FIRST EVER Thanksgiving turkey into the oven. I cooked for most of the day and just enjoyed having my family around for the holiday. I made mashed potatoes, butternut squash, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, apple pie, cranberry almond bars, and other little treats. The turkey was cooked to perfection and dinner was delicious. My first Thanksgiving was a success! I’m very proud, if you couldn’t tell already… :) We all ate WAY too much, and settled in to watch Elf - our Thanksgiving night tradition.

My first Thanksgiving meal!

Our first Thanksgiving as a married couple :)

Mary and I woke up at 4:30AM on Black Friday to go shopping. We headed to the Tanger Outlets in North Charleston and scored some AWESOME deals. It was fun to get into the Christmas spirit with my sissy :) We got home around 9AM and Mary packed up her things. Mom, Dad, Rob and I drove her to the airport for her 12PM flight.

Sisters on Black Friday morning. 

After we dropped Mary off Mom, Dad, Rob and I went out to lunch and went to Ft. Sumter for a tour. It was a gorgeous day and we enjoyed the ferry ride and history at the fort. We ate leftovers for dinner and lounged on our porch for the rest of the night.

Mom, Dad & Rob at Ft. Sumter 11/25/11.

Mom and Dad packed checked out of the apartment, packed up the RV and left early Saturday morning. I moped around the house and sobbed for a while (half joking here) and then Rob and I spent the remainder of our Thanksgiving weekend eating leftovers and starting our Christmas decorating :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm stronger than I think I am.

It’s official. I had my first ohmygod-I’m-all-alone Navy wife moment. That’s the only way I can really explain it. Sheer panic, nerves, tears… and my husband was out of reach.

Everything is fine. We’re all healthy and we’re all safe. But this was definitely a learning experience for me. The whole reason we’re in Charleston this year is for Nuclear Power School and Submarine training. But you know what? I actually think this is more like military wife training. Easing me into what life will really be like a year from now, when we will undoubtedly face our first deployment.

Honestly, we’ve been really blessed so far. Rob has been putting in really long hours at school but we still have evenings and weekends together. We’re a Navy family now. We talk about jobs, ranks, and bases almost daily. Even the dreaded word DEPLOYMENT comes up in conversation a few times a week. My heart aches, but I’m ok right now. It’s just part of the new normal.

Rob spends about 13 hours a day on base. No big deal. I work from home, take care of the house, and talk babytalk to Charlie all day. However – when Rob IS at school  (a super top-secret facility on base) he’s not allowed access to ANY electronic devices.. no phones, no computers. So, when his poor lonely Navy wife has an emergency,  she’s stuck to deal with it all by herself… Just like she will be when he’s 10,000 leagues under the sea (only half joking there…. submarine cruising depths are “privileged” information that even wives don’t get to know).

Something big happened, and I couldn’t call him. I couldn’t call my best friend for reassurance. My husband, my rock, my everything… out of reach. So who did I call instead? My mom, obviously. From 1,000 miles away my Mama calmed me down, talked me through my anxiety, and gave me strength. Even from 1,000 miles away, she knew what I needed.  She told me to call Alyson. She doesn’t even know Alyson, but she knew I needed her.

My Mom, sister, and Aly helped me get through a nightmarish day without my husband. By the time Rob walked through the door in his Khakis that evening, I was ok. I had red, puffy eyes.. but I handled the day.

I’m not alone here. Even when Rob is out of reach, I’m not alone. This is the first time I’ve admitted that, and it feels good. All part of this Navy wife training I’ve committed to, I guess.

I’m stronger than I think I am, and “Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger” –Sara Evans

More about Alyson later…


(Thank you Mama, I love you).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I don’t consider myself a cynic. In fact, I’m a glass-half-full kinda girl. I try to find the positive in everything.. but for some reason I was completely AGAINST forming any attachment to Charleston when we first arrived here.. including getting attached to friends. I had such a hard time leaving Boston friends behind that I just decided I wouldn’t bother making friends here. Why make friends when you just have to leave them? Leaving is hard. The less attachment I have to this place, the easier it will be to leave.

I have so many wonderful people in my life. Sometimes I wonder how I got so blessed. Why would I need any extra friends here in Charleston? I’m blessed and I have everything I need. I mean, I have the most incredible husband in the world. I have amazing, supportive parents. My sister is my best friend. My Grandparents are DEFINITELY better than yours. My Aunties are like my other Mom’s, and my cousins are more like sisters and brothers to me than cousins. My cousin Jamie is my other half. Rob’s family has become my own, too. I love them more than I could have ever imagined I would.

My college roommates are some of the most amazing girls I’ve ever met. Amanda, my MOH and twin. Lauren, the one who texts me EVERY Wednesday night for our remote Law&Order SVU “date”, Chelsey.. one of the most supportive, positive people I’ve ever met. Meg, my first roommate and one of my biggest fans (I love you). And Brittany, one of my best friends in the world and one of the people I would honestly do ANYTHING for.

Other college friends too: Rob Littleton (who’s marrying Brittany – could that BE any more perfect?). Christopher, Kendyll, Joe and Jordan –four people I gave my heart to within the first week of life at EC.. four people I still couldn’t live without.

Ali Nigro –a friend-of-a-friend who turned into a best friend. One of the most important people in my life… and the person who reminds me most often that she loves me (Thank you, Ali).

Plymouth friends, our wedding party, Jackie & Sethmo, PKT brothers, and my Bay State Fam. 

With all of those amazing people, why would I need more?

Well, it turns out I get attached to things pretty easily. And that’s ok. I love Charleston, I love my little house, and I love my friends here. And it’s all worth it – even if it will hurt when we leave

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween!!

We’re celebrating the way everyone should, by passing out candy to the little neighborhood punkins, eating a new garlicy pasta dish (to ward off vampires, of course..) ;-) and tormenting our OWN little punkin, Charlie, by dressing him in a doggie sized costume!!

Charles River, Dog Sheriff. 

We really started to get into the Halloween spirit this weekend when we made our first trip to a pumpkin patch, carved our first pumpkin together AND roasted pumpkin seeds! Pictures below!

Rob at the pumpkin patch!

Punkin’ Pickin’!

Scooping out the good stuff ;)

The finished product!! A CHARLIE PUMPKIN! Are we artists or WHAT?

Charlie lovin’ his twin/pumpkin face. 

Roasted pumpkin seeds! Mmm.

Hope you all have a fabulous Halloween.