JORD: A Unique Timepiece AND a Giveaway!

Are you in the market for a new watch for yourself or a loved one?? I’m so excited to announce that Love Dwells Here has partnered with JORD Watches to give away $100 credit towards one of their amazing wood watches!!

Jord Watch Giveaway

This post is sponsored by JORD Watches but all opinions are 100% honest and my own.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I knew that I wanted to get the hubs something super special.  He’s definitely a watch-guy and has many, so I knew that he’d LOVE one of the amazingly hand-crafted wooden watches from JORD.  With free shipping and so many wood choice combos, how could you go wrong??

Jord Wood Watch

I chose the Dover in Olive and Acacia, and oh my gosh, it is beautiful!  The olive wood and acacia compliment each other so well and you can SEE the mechanical movement of the watch!  After taking the time to really appreciate the stunning quality of the watch, I moved on to the cedar humidor watch box that’s included free with your purchase!!  The watch box is beautifully crafted and really completes the package of a JORD watch- and it can even be engraved if you want.

Jord Watch Giveaway

I surprised him with the watch a bit early (gotta get those pics, you know!) and he was so excited!  He’s responsible for a lot of the chauffeuring of the kids to and from after school activities and practices, and now he has a beautiful and unique timepiece to ensure that he sticks to the schedule and arrives on time.

He loves that it’s versatile enough to dress up for a night on the town as well as wear it as an everyday watch even when we’re just hanging out at home.  You absolutely cannot beat the quality, craftsmanship, and style of a JORD watch!!

You have until February 24th to enter our JORD watch giveaway!

The winner will receive a $100 gift code towards the purchase of any watch in the JORD collection and everyone that enters will receive a 10% off gift code! So enter today, and make sure to share with all of your friends so that they can score a 10% off code, too!

Remembering 9/11

Ten years ago (September 2011), I wrote:

I cannot believe that it has already been ten years since September 11, 2001. At times it seems like it was yesterday– I can vividly remember everything that happened that day. I overslept (big surprise). My roommate, Taryn, woke me up with the news that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane; I thought that she was joking and I was annoyed with her for waking me up. I went into the living room and turned on the TV. Still consumed in feelings of disbelief, I watched in horror. I called Jacob and he immediately headed over. He too was amazed and in shock. We were all glued to the news for the next several hours watching the events of the day unfold. I remember that we all ate Eggo waffles for breakfast, and even still, every time I have one I think of September 11. We continued watching throughout the attack on the Pentagon and the crashing of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. In between watching the events, we talked about what we would have done in the same situations. We heard that gas prices were going to go up, so we each took our cars and to fill them up. When we got gas that afternoon, it was $1.35 a gallon. We went out later that evening to get groceries and it was up to $4.25. None of us went to our classes and later found out that they had in fact been canceled. Most of them were for the remainder of the week.

Our lives, like the lives of many Americans, changed that day. While none of us were directly affected by the attacks, as a country we were. We (at the age of 19) were too young to remember anything like this happening in America before. The most horrific war that we knew was the Gulf War – not even a war when compared to the great tragedies of the World Wars or even Korea or Vietnam. We were not old enough to remember a brutal and deliberate attack on American soil, such as Pearl Harbor. While we did know of things happening to Americans abroad, they never seemed as important because they weren’t happening here. We, as well as others, remained in awe. Horrified that something like this could happen in the US, we discussed the possibilities for the future. We debated whether or not America should go to war and blow up Afghanistan as a whole, or take it slow to limit the number of innocent lives lost. As one would expect, emotions did get the better of us at times and we thought the US should use any and all force to seek revenge.

In the decade since September 11, 2001, my life has drastically changed. I’m no longer the naive 19-year-old pondering what America should do in response to the attacks on 9/11. I’ve gotten married, had four kids, and proudly watched as Jacob enlisted and went off to war. As a military family the events of September 11 and the subsequent “War on Terror” touch our lives more closely than I ever would have expected a decade ago.

I’m envious of those that are able to keep their kids shielded from the events of September 11. Kids that are able to maintain their innocence for a while longer, trusting that people are inherently good. As “Army Brats”, our kids have been exposed to war, death, and the tragedies of 9/11 younger than most. In school, they learned about what happened on September 11 and seemed to grasp most of it. They understand that Daddy went to Iraq last year because of what happened that day.

However, this year we went into even more depth explaining it to them. We watched “Nick News: The Story of 9/11” earlier this week and it did a great job of answering most of their questions. And then this morning, for the first time ever, they watched the events unfold as they did a decade ago. Christopher and Nicholas sat there in shock as they watched the planes fly into the towers. Nicholas was deeply offended when the plane hit “the GREAT Pentagon”, and they were both in awe as Flight 93 went down in PA.

I’m thankful that I got to spend today at the park playing with my kids. And thankful that all six of us got to sit down to dinner together tonight. I’m thankful for those that lost their lives a decade ago and those that have lost their lives fighting for our country since then. I’m thankful, and proud, to be an American.

(sorry about the poor video quality– it’s ten years old, too!)

Three years ago (September 2018), I wrote:

It’s been seven years since I sat down and wrote that, and it seems like everything has changed and nothing has changed all at the same time. Jacob got hurt and was subsequently medically retired so we’re no longer an Active Duty Army family, but a Retired Army family. We’ve added another kiddo and moved away from Fort Bragg and the constant reminder of Army life, but it’s still such a big part of our lives.

Because of 9/11, our life is completely different than the one I’d envisioned for us seventeen years ago. We live on the opposite side of the country from most of our family, we have friends spread throughout the world, we’ve buried more friends than most our age, and we have endured more trials and sacrifice than I ever would have thought possible, but that all comes with the territory when you’re a military family.

We spent this past weekend together as a family, and while we were at Disney World, the fact that September 11 was looming on the horizon was never far from my mind. I am grateful that the seven of us had a chance to spend time in one of our favorite places; a chance to be carefree and light, before the weight of today was upon us.

I plan to spend today like I have every other September 11th for the past sixteen years- watching the news coverage of the attacks, crying as the names of those that were lost are read, and praying for the families of those that were affected as well as all families, because really, we were ALL affected by the events of September 11th. I plan to hold my kids a little bit tighter, and a little bit longer, because life is short and it can all change in the blink of an eye.

I’m sure that we’ll discuss the events of September 11th at the dinner table as we do every year. They were all born post 9/11 so none of them have any memories of what life was like before then. They’ve always known war, they’ve always known terrorism; in fact, we’ve been fighting the War on Terror for their entire lives, and they live, to some extent, with the fear that this could happen again. But, their lives have also been filled with immense patriotism, pride in the military, and the desire to make the world a better place.

“The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit.  Instead, we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic and religious freedom, the rule of law, and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom.” – Rudy Giuliani

While those brutal attacks seventeen years ago threatened our way of life, ultimately, they were not successful. While many lives were lost that day, those that survived did so with the resolve to fight for our country, for our way of life, for our freedom, and that spirit continues on today. Even in the midst of the current partisan politics, I truly believe that most people are trying to do what they think is best for the country. People are still fighting for America, and I hope, still proud to be Americans.

And today (September 2011):

No longer a naive 19-year-old college student, 29-year-old Army wife, or 36-year-old wife of a medically retired US Soldier, I am now an Army widow.

While 9/11 didn’t directly impact my life at the time, it played a tremendous role in how my life turned out. 9/11 and the subsequent War on Terror is why Jacob eventually enlisted in the military. It’s why he got hurt and subsequently died from those injuries.

Even now as an Army widow, I still agree with what I wrote before Jake died.

The First Day of School

It’s that time of year again that I look forward to with both excitement and a bit of sadness– the first day of school!  While I do look forward to my house staying cleaner, having more peace and quiet during the day, and the fact that fall is FINALLY on the horizon, I also dread going back to our hectic school year schedule and giving up the fun and more carefree life that we enjoy during the summer.  Plus, there’s that whole thing about the kids being another year older and another year closer to moving out of the house (cue more excitement and heartache).  But for now, they’re all living at home, all busy with school and their extracurriculars, and all excited to start a new school year!

Christopher, 15, Sophomore

Christopher is starting his sophomore year with a schedule full of honors classes (including AP US History- my all-time fave class in HS) as well as digital media and public speaking thrown in for fun!  He’s still working at Chick-fil-A where he loves being the cow, active in community service, and looking forward to playing tennis again in the spring.

Nicholas, 13, 8th Grade

Nicholas is ready for 8th grade and excited that he’s taking high school math this year!  He’s a part of IMPTech again this year, and along with the rest of the class, is responsible for putting together the school news.  He’s still playing the trombone and looking forward to playing it through high school (and maybe after!).

Benjamin, 11, 6th Grade

Benjamin is starting 6th grade- his last year before Middle School!- and is looking forward to learning as much math as possible because it’s so much fun!  He’s planning to play basketball this winter and spring and is keeping busy running to stay basketball-ready!

Alexandra, 10, 5th Grade

Lexie is excited for 5th grade this year, especially since she got her first choice teacher!  She keeps busy with Girls on the Run and her club soccer team- really, most of our afterschool craziness is from her soccer schedule!

Miss Ellie will be starting Pre-K next week and then all FIVE of the kids will be in school (at least for the morning).  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all of my newfound time and freedom but for the next few days, I’m enjoying having some one-on-one time with my littlest sweetheart!!

Christmas In July

Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays- like to the point that growing up, I could never sleep the night before and I was up all night, waiting in anticipation.  And by 7am (our family’s designated Christmas morning wake-up time), I was completely ready with hair, make-up, and nails done, having already read a book or two while waiting to get ready.  So, it should come as no surprise that I love the Christmas season and want to enjoy it throughout the year.

A few years ago we started celebrating “Christmas in July” at our house, partly as something to look forward to as the summer dragged on, and partly because I love celebrating Christmas!  We’ve incorporated some our favorite Christmas traditions into a celebration that we look forward to all year long.

We always make Christmas cookies and listen to Christmas music (and there’s usually some Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers playing since that transports me to my childhood!).  In December, we always make multiple kinds of cookies (we love cookies!) including cut-out sugar cookies, but for Christmas in July, we keep it super easy and just do sugar cookies.  I typically buy unfrosted, round sugar cookies from the grocery store but we always make homemade frosting and pull out all of the sprinkles and toppings.

Of course, the kids snack while they’re decorating.  In Ellie’s case, it’s usually one sprinkle on the cookie, and then one in her mouth.  And they ask repeatedly if they can eat the cookies as they frost, but we save them for the end.

The kids love putting their personal touches on the cookies and it’s fun seeing their personalities come out in their decorating.  I have one specific child whose goal is to get on as much frosting/sprinkles as possible which makes the cookies absolutely disgusting to everyone but him… so he gets to eat everything he decorates (smart kid!).  And a couple kids are very particular with their decorating and sprinkle placement is a precision-task.

After the cookies are decorated, it’s time for dinner and a movie.  Growing up, our Christmas Eve tradition was to go see a Christmas movie at the movie theater and then come home and have pizza for dinner.  We’ve continued that tradition with our kids but adapted it a bit depending on the year.  If there’s not a Christmas movie in theaters or the years that our kids weren’t old enough/cooperative enough to sit through a movie, we watch classic Christmas cartoons at home while we have our pizza, so that’s what we do for Christmas in July, too.

And it wouldn’t be Christmas in July without some presents!  Now, while we may go all out on Christmas, we absolutely do not go all out for Christmas in July.  Typically I just wrap up things that I found on clearance at Target and have sitting in my closet, but I make sure to use Christmas paper or bags so that it’s extra special.

Every once in awhile their gifts will have more value, but they’re technically things that we were already going to pay for so it’s not like it’s costing us additional money.  One year, the kids got tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party as their Christmas gift– we were already planning on going, but Christmas in July gave us the opportunity to surprise them with the trip in a fun way!

I think my absolute favorite part of Christmas in July is the chance to do something together as a family.  As the kids get older, I know they’ll want to spend more and more time with friends or they’ll be busy with jobs and activities, but at least for now, they look forward to this day in July and it’s a can’t-miss event for them.  And I get to spend time surrounded by those that I love, eating cookies and listening to Christmas carols– what could be better?

Does your family celebrate Christmas in July?? What’s your favorite Christmas tradition??


Amazon Associates Disclosure

Love Dwells Here is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to