add it to the list

Part of being a military wife means I spend a great deal of my time in worry.

I worry about Hubby - his safety, his sanity and when the next time is he'll get a hot dinner.

I worry about myself - can I put up the emotional front of being okay with him missing another birthday. Can I ever be enough of a mom and dad for the little boys?

I worry about the little ones - are they really as emotionally resilient as people say they are? Are the choices we making now going to cause severe issues when The Bear and The Monkey are older?

They just released a new survey that figured out that proved the do have issues. Is that really something that needed to be shared just before Christmas?

Add it to the list of reasons to feel guilty.



I sit here in our Christmas-ed home waiting.

Waiting for the great blizzard of 2009 to finally hit us. I <3 snow. I especially <3 snowy Christmases.

Waiting for my parents to get here. Their flight was delayed because of said snow storm. And, because it's a flight. Poppy is going to be meeting The Monkey for the first time. And, they both adore The Bear.

Waiting for Christmas in general. I'm hoping the next week is filled with cookie decorating, lots of family time and some hot cocoa.

Waiting for Hubby to actually get a break. He was supposed to start leave yesterday at 4 pm. He worked until 8 last night. And, he's back in today. I know he has this drive to be the best, but sometimes I wish he would settle for being mediocre. I'm really hoping I don't have to wait until December 2011 to get this. This Navy business really tests my patience around the holidays.



my christmas list

While I've been busy preparing for a fun Christmas for The Bear and The Monkey (and Hubby and my parents), I realized it's also my Christmas. I don't need anything really. But, here are my Christmas wishes:

1- A day diaper free. We're talking 24 hours where I don't have to change a single diaper or say "The Bear needs a new diaper" 12 times before it's changed with a heavy sigh. (In all fairness, Hubby has been changing WAY more diapers than before The Monkey was born. I still have a whole bunch to change myself though.) When I suggested this to Hubby his response was sure in 3 years. I'm surprised he didn't ask if he could just buy me something instead.

2- A whole weekend (I'm getting greedy here, huh) with Hubby home. His one weekend a month "off" is really him working Friday overnight and getting home exhausted Saturday morning. It would be nice to have 2 and a half days where there was no work. No fretting about him "supposed to be" at work to study for quals. Just us as a family.

3- A new computer battery. My laptop isn't that old. I got it just after I graduated in 2006. However, the battery is kaput. It dies in less than 2 minutes of me unplugging it. Even if it has been charging all day. It's getting annoying having to be no further than 5 feet from the outlet.

4- A family picture. A nice picture of the 4 of us. We don't have to be in dressy clothes. I am asking for everyone's eyes to be open (well, at least the 3 biggest of us). We do have newborn pictures scheduled for next week and I'm hoping that we can get a decent shot with all of us.

5- A full night of sleep. I won't be too greedy on this one. I'm willing to count 5 hours as a full night's sleep. (I know this one is unlikely and would never actually not feed The Monkey if he woke up hungry.) If only there was some way for Hubby to be able to nurse for a day...

6- Nursing tops. I'm much more active with The Monkey than I was at this point with The Bear. The Bear still has play dates that he (honestly, we) needs. I'm not super modest, but I'm also not the type to just sit there half naked in a room full of people. The few I have mean I have to do laundry every 3 days which just isn't practical with two little ones.

Those are my big dreams this year. :-) What do you really want for Christmas this year?


the bear turned 2

Amidst the craziness of Hubby coming home, my parents visiting, Thanksgiving, preparing for The Monkey and the normal Christmas hubbub, The Bear had a birthday.

He turned 2 on Monday. I was only one of those crazy moms with "2 under 2" for 4 days. Let me tell you, 4 days was enough of it for me.

I was terrified that The Monkey would arrive ... well about when he did ... and The Bear's birthday would be easily pushed aside. I like birthdays. A lot. I grew up in a house where we celebrated them hard core.

We had a party 2 weeks ago for him. It wasn't anything super huge. Remember that list of other things going on in our lives I just rattled off? There were about 20 people though. We had it at our neighborhood community center. There were 7 of his little friends there. Entertainment was limited - all the kids ranged in age from 2 years, 6 months to 1 year, 10 months. We had coloring, play dough making and brought our home made ball pit up there. (It's a kids' plastic pool we fill with balls.) We asked for no gifts which shocked my mom. However: 1) he doesn't need anything. 2) Christmas is coming up super soon. 3) I want him to know birthdays are a time of friends, family and fun (and balloons) 4) I knew he would get spoiled with gifts from our families.

It was a big deal to me because Hubby was deployed during his birthday last year so it was our first party together. My parents were also in town, and that always adds a bit of pressure. I had my first mommy needs to be perfect moment. I had seen this awesome rainbow cake and felt the need to duplicate it exactly. (The Bear's theme was balls which was really just bright circles). While my cake didn't end up as I had hoped (and involved a few tears), The Bear seemed quite happy with it.

For our main decoration, I had ordered a photo mural from this shop on etsy. It was cheap ($10) and served as a unique focal point. The Bear thought he was so cool to see himself so big.

My absolute favorite picture of the day was this one. Can you guess how old he is? :-) We are those evil parents who have birthday parties and then he gets lots of new stuff. Not sure how he'll survive the year with us.

And, as you can see. He still got WAY too many presents.

I know I'm going to have to let go of that mommy pressure to be perfect, but I think we all had a (mostly) good day. Since he has no concept of dates, we treated the whole day like it was his birthday. We did however go out to dinner and get ice cream on his actual birthday. But honestly, that was more for me than him. I did do most of the work though.


new addition

I realized I've been away for awhile - which probably 2 people noticed (I'm being generous with the 2). We've had a busy time the last few weeks, and I'll slowly catch up on the big things that have been going on.

I would like to introduce the newest member of our family.

His blog name is The Monkey. He reminded me of a little monkey when he was born - long skinny limbs that would clutch on to anything possible. A little fuzz all over to protect his baby skin.

He joined us at 5:48 pm on December 3rd (12-3 for you other number lovers). He weighed a whopping 8 pounds, 5 ounces and was 20 inches long. As a point of reference, The Bear weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces so this guy took us by surprise.

I'm trying to get myself in the swing of things while still remembering to take care of myself. I just had to show him off for all to see :-)


i <3 faces - fall

It's been a while since I've played along. But, I actually had taken some fun pictures of The Bear to celebrate fall. I LOVE fall. It's my favorite season, and I have to start the brainwashing early :-) We had gone to a local college's arboretum one morning. The colors were beautiful. How can you not love New England? I realized just now that most of the pictures are of his back (I do what I can with a small child). There was one that just captures the essence of him.

He was captivated by all the leaves on the ground. At first he was a little intimidated by the crunching noise, but in true boy fashion it didn't take long for the jumping to begin.

Don't forget to head over to I Heart Faces to check out everyone else's fall pictures!


holidays: toddler style

I refuse to quit doing fun things with The Bear once Baby arrives. While a lot of things are going to change (I'm not in complete denial), I don't want to stop things that are educational and stimulating for him.

I just got an email from our local children's museum with their schedule for the next few months. I was so excited to see that they have a special event for New Year's Eve. It's called "Countdown to Noon". The event there runs from 11 am - 1 pm doing all the NYE festivities ... just 12 hours before Dick Clark. There is hat making, confetti, snacks, making resolutions and ending with the big ball drop at 12 noon.

We'll be going this year, and I would love for it to be a tradition. I know we won't be here long enough for it to be a real tradition, but it wouldn't be hard to do something similar at home. I just thought it was an awesomely easy idea that allows little ones to celebrate in a way that won't wreak havoc on their sleep schedule.


giving thanks: day 13

Today was a rainy, rainy day here for us. There were gusts of wind up to 40 mph. It rained basically all day. It never poured, but there was a steady rain all day.

Because as you all know, I strongly dislike Saturdays I try to jam as much as I can into them when Hubby is gone.

Despite the rain and my cold, The Bear and I adventured out to see Thomas. THE Thomas. Like Thomas the Train. He was visiting a local train station and it was actually quite cute. It would have been a wonderful day if a) it had not been raining or b) I had a maternity rain coat.

None the less, The Bear loved the train ride. He loved all the train tables set out. He loved the electric train set. He was given a Jr. Engineer certificate by the conductor (cheapest engineering degree he's ever going to get). He had a fabulous time. We were able to go with some friends, and so I had a pretty good time, too. Trains don't excite me as much as The Bear, but I can now say I have seen Thomas.

It was nice to have something that filled our gloomy day. And, I definitely earned some good mommy points. Bear, remember this when you pick out my nursing home :-)

do you shutterfly?

I love shutterfly. It's an all in one photography site. I upload our pictures there to have them backed up somewhere safe. I have a "share site" where I have monthly posts of our family's adventures to share with family and friends far away. I order prints from there (they'll mail them to you or you can pick them up at Target). I order gifts from there - calendars, books, mugs . . .

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a Shutterfly House Party Host. I had some friends over and shared my love of Shutterfly. It was like a reverse Pampered Chef party; people came over and got stuff for free.

Because life happens, I have some extra freebies left over. Each guest got a free 20 page 8 inch by 8 inch hard cover book AND 12 5 by 7 folded holiday cards. You have to create your own account, upload your pictures and pick your designs. The one catch is you do have to pay for shipping. But $8 for a personalized bound book is a pretty great deal. The codes expire November 23rd so you don't have a ton of time, but a totally reasonable deadline.

If you would actually use them, leave me a comment. I have 4 free books and 4 free sets of cards. I'm no MckMama or DesignMom so I'm doubting there will be a huge rush on these. Just let me know which ones you would want and what you would use them for :-)


giving thanks: day 12

I've been feeling pretty crummy lately. It's a combination of allergies and being very pregnant.

At this point of the pregnancy with The Bear, I was in the hospital being induced. As of tomorrow at 3 pm, I will have never been that pregnant before. While I'm not comfortable, I am grateful this baby is bigger and stronger than The Bear was. I am glad Baby does not have these health issues and I have a fighting chance of having Hubby he here for the birth.

Thank you for giving me a full term baby.


If there are any moms out there that use or want to try gDiapers?

They are an amazing compromise between disposables and cloth diapers. The outsides are cloth and come in super cute colors. The insides can be thrown away or flushed! You can also compost them, but I haven't tried that.

Disposables take 500 years to break down which is gross. I wanted to try cloth diapering The Bear, but Hubby didn't like that idea.

It's a bit of a hefty investment (as are most cloth diapers), but I have some $10 off coupons. If anyone would use them or know someone that would use them just let me know. I would love to share!


giving thanks: day 11

This is going to sound weird. Just hear me out.

Today, I am thankful Hubby goes away. I miss him so and hate him being away, BUT it does give me some freedom and guts I wouldn't have if he was here. I'm not talking doing anything crazy. Just little things I feel I can do without him here.

This underway:
I've made The Bear's birthday invitations. I probably would have bought them if Hubby had been home.
I made some garland and decorations for his party. These could have been bought, too. It's filled my nights, and I really like the homemade approach for a lot of things.
I made a photo collage in our front hallway.
I made duvet covers, pillow cases and curtains for The Bear and Baby.
I recovered our chairs.
I just did a trial run of The Bear's cake.

While I can't wait for him to be home, I'm trying to make the most of these lonely nights. Not too much longer though. And, then I'll gladly give up my crafts for some TV and snuggles.

the ugly chairs

Hubby is older than me - by 5 years. And, since he was one of those people that enlisted in the Navy when he was 18. He had been a "grown-up" before we were married.

The good news: He was able to furnish our first apartment with all stuff he had before me.

The bad news: He was able to furnish our first apartment with all stuff he had before me.

We've slowly replaced a lot of the furniture with things we both like. However, we still have the ugliest kitchen table known to man. (The sad thing is I think Hubby actually likes it.) While we've agreed to handle the ugly table and chairs for one more move, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I still have the ugly, impossible to clean table. It has lots of little cracks which seem to have magnets for crumbs. I still have the country kitsch, yellowish white painted chairs. I was able to make some small changes that make the ugliness bearable for the next year and a half.

The ugly chairs before I attacked them:

The slightly less ugly chairs:

Green plaid really wasn't my thing. I knew I couldn't do anything drastic so I recovered the seats. They do it all the time on HGTV so really how hard could it be. Well, a little harder than I anticipated. I borrowed a friend's staple gun and spent $15 on fabric.

All 4 chairs are recovered and put back together. I'm not sure how Hubby will react, but I like them. And, if you ever need a stress reliever, I highly suggest you find yourself a staple gun :-)


11/11 at 11 am

Veteran's Day.

Originally called Armistice Day and first celebrated in 1919. Wilson said "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

It was supposed to honor those who fought the war that ended all wars. It's still a day honored and recognized all around the world for the day peace returned to Europe.

In 1954, it was changed to Veteran's Day to also honor those who had fought in all those wars the first one didn't end.

While I appreciate Veteran's Day and the fact that at least one day a year Hubby and all those who serve(d) in the military are given the respect they deserve, it also makes me sad. All those restaurants making a big deal about giving a free meal to vets one day a year are missing the point. Those men and women don't give of themselves one day a year. JFK said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

It also hurts my heart that 90 years ago, we were so sure that war would never come again. World peace had been achieved. We could and would get along. Stability had arrived. There are still wars being waged around the world. While it would be nice for Iraq and Afghanistan to suddenly be turned into miniature Disney Worlds were everyone is happy and gets along, it makes me wonder if it would really matter. Would another group simply step up and take their place as our foes? A new battleground be established?

Regardless, I am grateful my grandparents, father and Hubby have all served so that I did not.

My grandpa in WWII. He took pictures from airplanes while flying over Germany.

My Grandma in WWII. She was in an internment camp. They let her out to join the WAAC. And, she wanted to after the US had taken all her belongings and made her live in a horse stall.

Hubby taking his oath when he was commissioned in 2006.

giving thanks: day 8, 9 and 10

So I fail. Monday was a less than pleasant day and I totally forgot to write. And, once you slack the first day the second day of slacking just comes so naturally. Apparently, the same rules that apply to exercise apply to blogging.

Day 8: Monday, The Bear and I ran some errands. I bought some of those things that we didn't save for Baby - like pacifiers. No one needs used pacifiers, and apparently you're supposed to replace them every 3 months anyways. It was fun to buy those final little things. While I am definitely at the uncomfortable stage of this pregnancy, I am so very grateful that Baby is growing properly. We had a scare where we thought Baby might have IUGR also, and I am thankful he's developing as he should.

Day 9: Every other Tuesday, we have MOPS at our church. MOPS is amazingly wonderful. If you have small children, I strongly recommend you look for a local MOPS group. The kiddos are down the hall with grandma types and the moms get to have real, grown up conversations. We did a super fun craft. I made mine for my mom as part of her Christmas gift. I love handmade gifts; it's just so much more personal than buying something. It warms my heart to make things for other people, and I'm really excited for Christmas to come.

Day 10: Today, The Bear had his two year old pictures. It's still 3 weeks until his birthday, but I'm trying to get things in before Baby comes. I would feel awful is we skipped pictures or his birthday party because of Baby. I know siblings have to share, but sharing doesn't involve blowing off someone's big day. His party is in a week and a half, and I like having some pictures out at his party. I also found an amazingly awesome idea on etsy that I wanted to be able to for his party. The photographer was the same one that did my maternity pictures. Sara is amazingly patient and kind and wonderful. With all the Christmas pictures going on, she said it would take about a week and a half to get the files on a CD. She was kind enough to email me one earlier tonight so I could use it at his party. How amazingly nice is that? So here's your sneak peak.

I can't wait to get the rest of them! I can't believe he's almost 2!


digital card templates

I'm hunting for a place that sells (or gives away free) templates for boy birth announcements and/or Christmas cards.

I've found a few places that can print 4x8 or 5x7 cards so either size is fine. I have Photoshop Elements. I would rather put my own pictures and text in versus paying someone to do it for me (yes, I am a control freak).

Legacy Digital Design has templates for $1.99. But, I haven't determined if I really like any of them. Lettering Delights which I've used before and love has 14 layouts for $8.00.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? I've searched etsy, but those have someone else putting the things in and sending me a final file.


giving thanks: day 7

Today, I am thankful for a twitter's "World's Thinnest Book." Funniest thing I have seen in quite some time.

Some of the entries included:
"How to Dress Age Appropriately" by Mariah Carey
"What Men Know about Women" by any woman
"How to be Modest" by Kanye West
"Home Style Cookin" by Victoria Beckham

I know Hubby would be so sad, but it is slightly funny - "Our Victorious Decade" by the Chicago Cubs.

I love when people can find humor in things. It was just so silly and trivial it made me smile. Anyone have any funnys they want to share?


giving thanks: day 6

This afternoon, there was a baby shower for Baby. Baby is a boy, and we kept everything from The Bear so we didn't need anything. (On a side note: the 2 year gap works out well for storing things. I could not imagine the tubs we would have should there be 4 years of stuff being kept.)

There was no baby shower for The Bear which made me feel like a failure of a mom before he was born. There have since been other things that have made me feel like a failure and I'm over the no baby shower thing. It was nice to have something special for baby 2 that baby 1 didn't get. It makes things seem slightly more fair in my world.

It was so fun to get together with friends and eat and play silly games. I loved the low key part since it was for baby 2. No pressure to buy huge gifts; just a fun Saturday afternoon. I am so very grateful to have made good friends here. They make the days pass when Hubby is gone. I know if Baby should make his arrival before Hubby returns, I have a great support system here.

I did find it amusing that there are 4 of us with kids ranging from 23-25 months. And, we're all pregnant with kiddo 2. At least there's one thing that's reliable in the military world :-)

big brother training

I've been trying to slowly introduce The Bear to baby things. I don't want him to feel like his world has been invaded, and honestly after digging something out and setting it up I get pretty worn out.

The boys' bedroom is all done. Crib is up. Tummy time mat is down. Baby clothes have been washed and put in drawers.

We have the pack n play in our room up. The bouncer is out.

The newest addition was the swing that goes downstairs. The Bear is learning which things are "baby" and which are things he can play with and climb all over.

As soon as I had set up the swing and told him it was for Baby, he got his stuffed elephant. He put him in the seat and starting patting his head.
He's going to be a good big brother.

I'm trying to find a few things for Baby to give Teddy when he arrives. So far, I've found 2 big brother books. He has one we read already and another will be for the hospital. I finally found a blue stroller. The Bear loves to push things - including his stroller when it's empty. Based on his past driving experience, I wanted to give him a stroller that Baby wouldn't actually be in though.

I'm currently hunting for a boy baby doll. He likes to take care of his stuffed Curious George and he mimics everything I do. I thought it would be good to give him a little baby doll to take care of also. The only reasonable one I've found is $20 on Amazon. I really was hoping it wouldn't be that expensive. I don't have much doll buying experience though. Is that a reasonable price? I don't want the freaky kind that talks and eats and poops. Just a little doll.

I have found lots of unreasonable dolls though. My personal favorites:

Found at Target.com should you want to buy it

This wouldn't seem unreasonable unless you take into account I searched "boy baby doll" at Walmart.com and this was the only result I got. Something seems a little off.

small talk 6: never a survivor winner

I remembered the fun world of Small Talk Six today and thought I would play along. The Bear and I are having a lazy morning of jammies and Curious George. I used to do these things all the time in high school through email and my first blog (which was quite advanced since it was like 2000). Head over to MomDot to play along. It's an excellent way to feel like you've accomplished something when you really haven't :-)

Today's topic is “6 reasons why you would be doomed if you were stranded on a deserted island all by yourself.”

1. I am a very picky eater. I would say I was the world's pickiest eater, but it seems my friends are just as picky. We're drawn to each other, I guess. Nothing that comes from the sea. I'm not really into meat; the thought of eating bugs makes me gag. So unless island has a potato field, I wouldn't last long.

2. I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Going from running 24/7 to being all alone with no responsibilities would surely insight a mental breakdown. I can't even handle more than a night of nothing now. I always have to be starting a craft or project to occupy myself. There are only so many sand castles I could build.

3. Grass and sand. I can not stand sitting in grass or walking in it barefoot. It grosses me out. I can handle sitting in sand (as long as I'm dry), but I could never sleep on it. I would have dreams of little crabs climbing all over me. You can only last so long standing.

4. I would worry about The Bear. While a break would be nice, I have a feeling Hubby might not handle being alone with The Bear for forever and a half alone. It wears on me, so I know it would get to him. It would be interesting to see what he ended up dressed in every day.

5. I would also miss Hubby. The Navy has gotten me accustomed to him being away for long periods of time with limited communication, but I don't think I could handle being the one away. Emotional wreck - check. Wracked with guilt - check. Nervous breakdown - check.

6. Right now, I'm very pregnant. 36 weeks, 1 day to be exact. There is no way I could deliver this boy by myself. It would make an awesome TLC special though. "I did know I was pregnant, but I gave birth on a deserted island because I'm an idiot and thought I could do it myself"


giving thanks: day 5

I need all seasons. I'm the type that thinks the 4th of July should be celebrated in shorts and Christmas needs snow.

Fall is my favorite season. I love the activities and the crisp air. Lately, I've been able to sleep with the window open in our room. It's chilly, but perfect snuggle under a blanket weather. (Granted it would be more perfect if Hubby was home to snuggle with, but I'll take what I can get.)

This morning was the perfect morning. Nice and chilly in the morning, but not too cold if you're under a blanket. The Bear slept until 9 am this morning. It was fabulous. I woke up at 7:30 which is the normal time. It was so nice to be able to stay in bed, read the NY Times on my phone and spend quiet time alone.

The Bear's window stays closed so don't fret about him getting sick(er). His room stays a nice and comfy temperature. He also has those warm jammies that have the feet.

It was a wonderful start of the day.


giving thanks: day 4

Today, I am grateful for The Bear. While we have our trying times, he really is a good kid. He doesn't mean to be bad; he's just testing the world.

September 2008 - Exploring his world

The last week has been really rough on him. He's been getting breathing treatments with his nebulizer every 3-4 hours for 4 days. He doesn't like them, and I don't blame him. He has to sit still for 15 minutes at a time. He has a loud machine strapped to his face blowing something up his nose. I can't imagine it's fun if you understand it which means there's no way he would enjoy it since he doesn't understand.

He cries. He pouts. But, he knows not to take off the mask. He knows not to fight it (now at least - when we started these it took 3 adults to keep it on).

He's a good boy though. He loves to color. He loves to give me (and his stuffed George) kisses. He loves to point to every picture of Hubby in the house and remind me that's DaDa. He can make me smile no matter how awful I feel.

February 2009 - Reunited with Daddy

He is a fighter. But, that kept him safe. No matter how feisty he may get, I know it's the reason he's with us today.

December 2007 - Feisty and opinionated already

While he's preparing to be a big brother, he'll always be my baby boy. For that, I am grateful.

November 2009 - Practicing be a big brother; he put the elephant in

the personal touch

I LOVE all things personalized. I am a complete and total sucker for anything with a name (preferably mine or someone in the household) on it.

Luckily, I was born in the 80s and given a name every 5th girl had. The other 4 were normally Jennifer, Sarah, Jessica and then some girl whose parents thought outside the box. To keep this completely factual, I just googled. Apparently, Stephanie was the 6th most popular girl name in the 80s. Sorry I forgot about you, Ashleys.

While it drove me crazy to be Stephanie H for the majority of my first 18 years, I loved being able to get those cute little pencils and cups with my name.

The Bear and Baby both have names that aren't on the top 10 list. They're the old fashioned sit on the porch type (I totally stole that description from another blog but I can't remember who). While I love them, it makes those personalized pencils harder to find.

I was recently introduced to VistaPrint.com which lets me make all sorts of fun things with the boys names on it. And, it's insanely cheap. Most of the things have free offers where you just pay shipping. Depending on what it is and where you live, shipping can kill the free deal.

I just got my "mommy cards" in the mail. They have my contact information and "Mommy of The Bear and Baby" on them. 250 cards I got to design for $5.67 works for me. I doubt I will ever need 250 cards, but I'm one of those dorky moms.

I ordered return address labels (the kind with our names and little caricatures). I've ordered a pen twice (you only get one free one at a time). I also have sticky notes, notebooks and a t-shirt coming. It's all cost less than $15 total. Some of the things are gifts (what grandma wouldn't love a "Nanny of The Bear and Baby" shirt?) and some are just for me.

Just wanted to pass along the site. I might be addicted. I was limiting myself to the "free product" area until I discovered almost all the tabs have something to offer free. Not as fancy schmancy as etsy, but way cheaper. Happy shopping :-)


giving thanks: day 3

The logical object for today's thanks would be The Bear. But, we had a bit of a rough day. While I'm still thankful for him and love him to bits and pieces, there are times to be honest.

What I was really thankful for today was Target. Shallow? Perhaps. But, honest.

Dollar section you always get me.
Food area that serves me popcorn AND a large slurpee for $2.12 you bring hope to my day.
"Halloween" pajama pants (they were black and purple striped) for $1.75 amaze me.

While these are not the most important things in my life or the biggest things to value, it helped ease what would otherwise have just been a bad day.

So my dear Target, today I am thankful for you.


giving thanks: day 2

So I have a feeling by the end of the month, my OCD is going to get the better of me. I really should have started on the 1st so my days match the date.

Lesson learned.

Since yesterday was my momma, it seems fitting that today I give thanks for Hubby.

He's my anchor. He keeps me level headed and supports me - financially, emotionally and mentally. We've only been married 3 years, but they've been 3 jam packed years. While I never would have guessed I would be a Navy wife (I believe our pastor might have told me he was shocked when we were doing our pre-marital consultation), I love the journey it's taken me on.

At Military Ball in 2006 - My first dip into the strange world of the Navy

Jamaica on our honeymoon

Watching the 4th of July Parade this year

Thank you, Hubby. For being mine. For forever and ever.

top ten tuesday {wishes for The Bear}

There's a website out there called 1001 rules for my unborn son. It's slightly humorous especially more now that I had a son and am pregnant with son #2. I decided for this week's list of 10 over at OhAmanda, I would list 10 things I would like for The Bear. Probably not the most important 10 things, but at 35 weeks pregnant this is about as clear as I'm thinking.

So Bear, I wish that you . . .

1. Live a life so that you are never ashamed to look at yourself in the mirror. Realize that you will not be perfect and mistakes will be made (by yourself and those around you). However, you should never act in a way that you can't look yourself in the eyes.

2. Find what makes you happy. While money and fame might have their appeal, I want you to find something in life that makes you happy. As long as this does not hurt you or others, I give you full permission to follow your dreams.

3. Surround yourself with positive people. It makes a difference.

4. Have a good relationship with your family. I know there will be times over the next 20 years in which you will truly test our patience. That's okay. Please know your Daddy and I are doing the best we can. And, when we get too unbearably embarrassing you can bond with your baby brother.

5. Stand up for yourself. Standing up for yourself does not translate to being mean or hurtful. It means valuing yourself and your emotions. You do not have the right to push someone, but you have the right to tell people not to push you and leave the situation if they don't stop.

6. Celebrate. The big stuff and the little stuff.

7. Are a life long Cubs fan. While Daddy just wants you to like them because he does, it goes deeper than that. Cubs fans have a sense of eternal optimism. No matter how awful things are going you stay devoted. You always have that hope of things getting better. There's always "next year."

8. Don't cheat. Ever. No matter how big or small you think something is, cheating is not excusable.

9. Love to learn. Whether you learn through books or travel or playing, please be a life long learner.

10. Know how loved you are. By me. By Daddy. By your grandparents. By this little brother you will be meeting soon. No matter what, you will always be loved.


giving thanks: day 1

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. It's warm and cozy and just perfect to me.

In my attempt to make Thanksgiving more important (and to help improve my mood), I've decided to make a point of listing something I am thankful for. I should have started yesterday on the 1st, but I'm not perfect.

Day 1: My Momma. She seems like a good place to start. She's a rock if you ever met one. For the first 5 years of my life, it was just the two of us. She's the type you can call at 3 in the morning because you don't know which section of Psychology 101 to register for (No joke. Happened in November 2002) She's my momma. And for that I will always be grateful.

1990-Vacation to Mackinac Island

2002-Football Game @ U of I


The Bear entered our world the day he was considered full term - 37 weeks. I was induced since he had IUGR.

We were told that the risks associated with him being 3 weeks early were less than the risk of him being still born should we wait any longer. Not a tough choice from our point of view - we wanted a living son. Not much else really mattered at that point.

The Bear did have some issues when he was born. He was super small. His lungs weren't fully developed which meant a trip to the NICU and troubles breathing. He didn't know how to suck which made feeding him difficult and trying.

I would gladly take any of those challenges to have The Bear with us today.

There are still consequences from his early entrance into the world that we are discovering. He has had pneumonia on two different occasions in the last year; the first being last Christmas when we were in the PICU. Those little lungs have taken a beating. He's still small although almost comparable to his peers now.

Today, he was diagnosed with asthma and the beginning stages of pneumonia again. The asthma I can handle. It's just a label, and I had it myself when I was a kid. We're back to having breathing treatments every 3 hours until he clears up a bit.

I know we made the right choice. But, I wonder how long we will be discovering the consequences of our actions. How many small little things will The Bear have during his life that remind him of his rocky start? When will I stop feeling guilty for it all?



Feeling a bit like a juggler. Lots of balls all in the air that I need to catch and quickly toss back up.

Some things are big but really light. Some things are small but very dense. All different sizes. All different weights. Some things need to be handled gently. Some things must be tossed with great force.

Some things only I can be responsible for. Some things I have because I can't tell people no. Some things I just picked up because they were sitting there looking like they ought to be taken care of. Some things would really be better if other people had but somehow managed up in my hands.

Even the best jugglers can only handle so many balls. It's time to sit down and evaluate which ones mean the most to me. Which things are those that really matter - to me, my family and my morals. Which things are the ones that I would be sad if I let fall.

I can't do it all. I know this logically. It's time to evaluate it all.

If I act promptly, I can pass balls to others or simply set them down. Otherwise I might drop them all. Some will bounce and be fine. Others might just shatter and never be the same.


happy halloween!

Leaves have changed.

Pumpkins are painted (carving is not suggested for 22 month olds).

Costume has been purchased.

All that's left is candy to eat.

Wishing everyone a safe and scrumptious day!


top ten tuesday {learned as a military wife}

I recently found OhAmanda, and she makes me smile. Every Tuesday, you're supposed to make a list of 10 things. They can be serious or fun or a mix of both. Go here to check out this week's list.

Ten Things I've Learned as a Military Wife
1. Plans change. Accept it.

2. Hubby is gone a lot more than the 6 month deployments. You have underways (which range from a week to 3 or 4 months). Even when the boat is in, he has to spend the night on the boat every 3rd night.

3. Some days just stink. My worst days tend to be on Saturdays. It's important to remember not all days are bad and even the worst days end.

4. Holidays are flexible. With them gone so much, we tend to have floating holidays. Christmas in February sounds just fine. A birthday dinner of Taco Bell on the pier because Hubby has duty works for me.

5. While it's hard up here on land, it's just as hard under the sea.

6. Sending little gifts with Hubby helps pass the time for both of us. It gives me something productive to do while he's working crazy hours and reminds him that he's loved after they leave.

7. E-mail will test your patience. Back in the day (like when Hubby first joined the Navy), the boats didn't have email. They had family grams or something of that sort. You were limited to like 40 words every month. I don't know the details, but I know it was one way communication that couldn't really say much. We have email now. There are still crazy regulations, but I get to sent it myself daily. However, they don't actually get to the boat every day. There is also a crazy lag time between asking a question and waiting to get the reply. Because there is always the potential of getting an email, you because obsessive with checking it. I never know what time emails will be sent for that day (if at all). The possibility of it all plays with my emotions.

8. You will learn all the acronyms. I was totally overwhelmed when we first started dating that Hubby never actually used words. Now, I can talk in letters with the best of them.

9. You will forget your social security number. Everything is done with Hubby's SSN. We just decided to switch The Bear to a civilian pediatrician. When I was registering him there, they asked for mine. It was the first time in 3 years anyone has asked. And, I couldn't remember.

10. Divorce rates are higher in the military than for the general population. It shocked me when I was filling out a form, and I had to circle what number spouse I was. It went up to 7. No joke. That's in Elizabeth Taylor territory. You will also find the strongest partnerships and bonds in military families. The lifestyle breaks the weak ones, but it makes the strong ones that much stronger.


politeness police

The Bear is 22 months old and has budding language skills. I'm definitely learning his priorities though. He has mastered words such as "cookie" and "dinosaur" but we're still working on "thank you." (I should not complain though; he's been consistent with "sorry" and the little "love you" melts my heart.)

I was getting frustrated with him and trying to get him to come to the door so we could go somewhere. I don't remember where, but I can guess we were probably running late. He was standing in the kitchen looking at me just being a 22 month old.

I had finally had enough and busted out the full name followed by a "come here right now."

He gives me his little half smile and prompts me with "please".

Exasperated, I repeated please.

He came to me immediately laughing.

The politeness police caught me without my manners.



I'm realizing that life is going to be getting very hectic here shortly. Hubby will be home in a few weeks. My parents are coming to visit (twice). And, you know there's this baby that's due to arrive 6 weeks from today.

I really want to develop a sort of chore chart for myself. (Yes, I do have a 5 year old deep inside myself) I remember when The Bear was born and how easily it was to get overwhelmed. This time I know what I'm in for, but I also will have another kiddo to love, feed and bathe.

I think the idea of breaking up all the housework and assigning certain days. Having small tasks that I can accomplish in less than hour will keep the house clean and me sane. I hope at least.

I need to sit down and figure out what will work best for us on which days. Does anyone have this sort of system? Or one that would work better?


my name is Stephanie

And, I'm an emotional shopper. I have been attempting to fill this underway without spending money all the time. To be fair to myself, it's not like I'm spending hundreds of dollars. It's just $10 or $15 on a trip to Target. (I know justifying it is really just showing how addicted I am)

It doesn't help matters that The Bear needs something to do most days. He can last maybe one day just hanging out at home, but after that he goes stir crazy. In the summer, we would go to the park a lot. Now that it's getting cooler, we don't last very long there though.

I decided to have a mini photo shoot with The Bear. Besides shopping, I am addicted to taking pictures and Photoshop. Those are free hobbies so Hubby encourages them. We went down to a local beach for the morning. It wasn't too chilly in the sun, and The Bear loved being able to run around the entire beach. It isn't often that you get the whole place to yourself (minus the adorable old couple walking along the water holding hands).

My favorite pictures from our adventure.

Hanging out on the boardwalk

Taking his time on the long walk to the water

Potential life guard in training? I was a life guard for 4 summers, and Hubby was certified to be one.

Taking a break to play in the sand

Hubby should be so proud of me. We didn't step foot in a store and had a great day. He might be shelling out some major dough to send me to therapy for taking too many pictures though. Think there's a contest for most photographed child? If only it awarded Target gift cards as prizes . . .



Fall is my favorite season. I love the smell. I love picking apples and pumpkins. I love having it be warm enough to still go outside but cool enough you can cuddle under a blanket. I love wearing hoodies (when I'm not hugely pregnant and have hoodies that fit). I love the colors of the trees.

I've been waiting to take The Bear to a local arboretum to take some fall pictures, but the weather has not been cooperating. We did manage to take a few on Saturday when we went to pick pumpkins.

I think we have a little fall lover on our hands. I can't wait until next year when Hubby will actually be home with us in the fall to enjoy it with us.


God as a parent

Preface: I was raised in a Christian home. I attend church on an (almost) weekly basis. The Bear goes to Sunday School. Regardless of your view of God, I think this can be applied to any higher being you personally trust in.

I don't have the best relationship with my biological father. He might be a major butt head who has made some poor choices in his life. (I think that might be the nicest way to say that.) I never really liked the idea of God being our Father. My father was a bit like the Old Testament God - full of wrath and not someone I could easily approach with worries or doubts.

I read The Shack earlier this year, and I found it quite interesting. The character had issues with his father and so God appeared in a motherly form. It was what he needed then.

As I venture through this journey of parenthood, I have been taught many lessons. One of the greatest ones is realizing how God must sometimes feel with me.

"How many times do I have to tell you no?"
"It's okay. You'll be fine in a few minutes."
"Trust me. Do not do that."
"Come here. Sit with me and tell me how you feel."
"If you don't stop, you're going to get hurt."
"I know you didn't mean it. It's okay. I love you."
"I'm sorry I had to yell at you. It was really for a good reason."

I can only imagine the times in my life that God has sat there shaking his head wanting so badly to slap my hand but knowing the only way I'll learn is by doing it myself. Knowing that when I truly feel guilty for what I've done, he feels just as bad about it as I do.

What would God be telling you?


someone needs to work on their math skills

At my last OB appointment, the doctor had some concern because I was measuring small. If you haven't been pregnant, they take a tape measure and actually measure your stomach to see how big you are. A little old fashioned and weird, but it seems to work.

This is how they found The Bear had some issues when I was pregnant with him. This last appointment, I had officially fallen off the "normal" scale which meant I was more than 2 weeks away from my due date. People (including babies) all grow at different rates so they consider anything in a 2 week window to be okay. I was 32 weeks and measuring at 29 weeks.

I was scheduled for an ultrasound this morning to check Baby's size and the amniotic fluid "just to be sure." First of all, as a mommy this is enough to cause a panic attack. Add in the fact that we've had an IUGR kiddo and Hubby will still be gone when they would normally induce an IUGR baby and I was a ball of nerves.

The doctor still hasn't called me with the official results, but the ultrasound tech did share what she found. Baby is estimated to be a whopping 4 pounds, 15 ounces. No joke. The Bear was 5 pounds, 11 ounces when he was born. Baby is 32 weeks! That means there is probably another 8 weeks of growth to happen.

Baby's weight puts him where an average babe is at 35 weeks.

Just to recap:
Tummy measuring 29 weeks
I am 32 weeks
Baby measuring 35 weeks

How is that possible? No wonder I'm so uncomfortable. That's a lot of baby to cram in such a small place.


baby needs a name

Baby has a real name. I am obsessed with names. I needed to give this child a name since we knew he was coming.

Hubby tolerates me and knows when to give in. He finally agrees to a name while we were in Disney World at the end of August. We bought The Bear Mickey Mouse ears with his name on them. In my effort to be fair, I wanted to get a pair for baby.

He committed. Baby has a name. A name I LOVE. The deal was that if we found out the gender we wouldn't share the name until Baby was here. Our friends and family know Baby is a boy, but they have no idea what his name will be.

There are advantages to this. We told everyone The Bear's name and I got tons of "eh" and "I don't like it" responses. Now, everyone agrees the name totally fits him. I'm sure I would be getting the same kind of reaction to people this time so it is nice to save me from dealing with those people. No one says anything negative to you after the kid is legally named.

I need a blog name for Baby. Baby has worked so far, but it will only last so long.

battle of wills

The Bear has never been one to easily give in. I still remember the doctor telling me when he was born that he didn't want to baby-sit him when he was 3. No joke. Nothing about "it's a boy" or "congratulations". I was told my kid had spunk.

This past week, we've been transitioning him from his crib to his big boy bed. The crib is a convertible one which means that it goes from crib to toddler bed to full size headboard.

The Bear had been trying to climb out of his crib. He had gotten one foot on top of the crib and it was only a matter of days before he was going to end up falling on the floor. I wasn't in any rush to switch him before Baby came, but things rarely happen on my timeline in this family.

He LOVES being in his "new" bed.

The problem is he can get out of it. All by himself. Whenever he wants. He's normally okay once he goes to sleep. The battle is getting him to lay in it long enough to fall asleep. He knows he's supposed to lay in it. He'll stay put as long as I'm in the room and goes scurrying back in as soon as I walk in the room.

It took almost an hour tonight to get him to stay in. Most of that hour the furthest I could get in leaving was shutting the door before he would be yelling and out of bed.

I'm not sure how long it's going to take to get him used to this idea. Supernanny gets it all done in less than an hour. I don't yell or even say anything. I just open the door and point to his bed.

Not our last battle of wills, I'm sure. Here's to opening I have more persistence than a 22 month old.


family rules

I recently found a fantastic blog post on the pleated poppy. It was linked by someone, but I can't remember who. You MUST go over here to check it out. There are many other people out there copying this idea and posting their own family rules. Just check out the comments section.

I want to make this during this underway. I know The Bear is little (he'll be 2) and Baby isn't even here yet, but I'm going to do it anyways. I'm pregnant; I'm allowed to have moments like this.

Honestly though, I like the idea of having family rules. Rules that apply to all of us (including Hubby and me). Rules that just always have been there hence the making it when he's little thing.

What rules can you think of that would apply to your family? I love most of the ones other people have used, but I need rules that grow with us. She used 16 rules which is a good number to aim for. I love the "never leave angry" one. Something my parents stressed, and I want to pass on is to "Celebrate every day".

Any suggestions?


the lies we tell

We just said good bye to Hubby. Again.

It's not deployment (6 months), but it is a fairly long underway.

We met Hubby on the pier for lunch. I'm a sucker for pain. We always say good bye in the morning when we drop him off and then go through it all again at lunch time. Usually, I head down to the river to wave to them as they go out to sea.

When The Bear and I were walking back to our car after watching him go down the hatch, I lied to my son.

He was screaming and yelling "Bye bye, DaDa" over and over again. It's just what he does. I on the other hand prefer to quietly lick my wounds alone.

I was trying to shush him a bit. I told him that "Daddy will be home soon." I lied. It's going to seem like forever to me so I know it's going to seem like forever to a 21 month old. I know I was just trying to make him feel better, but I don't want to blatantly lie to my child.

Yes, this is not a deployment. Yes, we've gone longer with Daddy gone. But, it's almost 10% of his life so far.

Of The Bear's first 2 years of life, Hubby will have been gone for 49% of it.

I keep telling myself The Bear is too little to remember all this and it really won't have a negative impact on him emotionally or developmentally.

Maybe that's just the sort of lie I tell myself.



We had maternity pictures taken a week ago. I totally thought they were gross when I was pregnant with The Bear. This time, I'm a bit more sentimental about it all. I think it's because we've always planned* to have 2 kids, and this is "the last time" I'm doing all this.

I found a fantastic photographer through some friends. If anyone is in the Connecticut/Rhode Island area and in need of a fantastic photographer who is patient, wonderful and cheap, may I suggest Sara's Photography.

One of our last family shots as a family of 3

The classic heart shape on the tummy - with my hand and Hubby's

A soon to be family of 4

Not too much longer until we meet the little guy!

*I say planned, but we all know how plans work out for us. Hubby mentioned the other day that since Baby is a boy, if I wanted to try for a girl in a few years we could discuss it.


sweetest boy

Life has been pretty hectic around here. We're trying to get as much done for Baby and prepare for the holidays, too. I know I'm not going to feel like braving the stores when I'm either 39 weeks pregnant or when I have 2 little ones in the snow.

Sometimes, it shocks me how grown up The Bear is. He's had a rough patch adjusting to Hubby being home. He loves hanging out with him, but everytime Hubby leaves - either for work, a shower or The Bear has to go to bed - we had some full out temper tantrums. He doesn't get when he's leaving for a few minutes, a day or a month.

I've started a habit of giving his crib friends (the 3 stuffies that hang out in his crib) kisses good night.

Tonight, he gave good night kisses and hugs to all 3 of them and laid them down. George earned a prime spot sharing his pillow while the other two were put down by his feet. He tucked George in under the blanket. Then he sat down and rubbed the back of his head like I do before bedtime. After a few minutes, he looked at me. He put his finger to his lips and told me to "SHHHH".

Sometimes I just want to squeeze him and keep him little forever.


TLC and Babies

TLC is my companion when Hubby is gone or at work. After The Bear goes to sleep and the house is in relative order, I turn it on. Hubby doesn't ever watch it when he's home which is fine. But, I love it.

Right now, Multitude of Multiples is on. It's a new one for me. It's following families with large order multiples; think Jon & Kate Plus 8 or Table for 12.

A mom carrying quadruplets just found out one of her babies has IUGR. That's what The Bear was diagnosed with. Hers is a very severe case. She's only 28 weeks pregnant which is 12 weeks before the baby is due and 9 before the baby would be considered full term. The doctors told her that the best way to ensure the baby's survival is giving birth immediately.

However, every day she can keep the other babies does major things for their development and growth. When I was pregnant, the doctors told me that every day a baby remains inside the mom is the equivalent as 3 days in the NICU. So keeping the babes in a week longer shaves 21 days off of a NICU stay.

What would you do? Sheer numbers vote 3 to 1 to keep the babies in as long as possible. But, as a mom that just hurts my heart. Can you knowingly let one of your children die when there is only a risk of health issues to the other ones?

Is there a typical answer? Is there a right answer?

EDIT: She chose to wait 2 more weeks until she was 30 weeks. The little girl was stillborn.


In and Out

Hubby is very frustrated with work.

How did a 3 day weekend turn into a 22 hour weekend?

Breathe in. Breathe out.

My Labor Day

I wrote this just after The Bear was born. I am so very glad I did. While I'll always remember parts of it, I'm glad it's written down to really remember. It might be overly gross if you have not given birth.

But, this was my labor day.

We went into the hospital Thursday night, December 6th, at 6 pm to be induced. I was 37 weeks, 1 day. There were problems with the umbilical cord. They said he would be safer being born at 37 weeks than risking being inside me longer and being stillborn.

The put in the first pill around 8 pm. I was all hooked up to a million machines and they said I was having contractions that were about 2 minutes apart. (Made me feel stupid since I just thought my back was hurting) I had another pill inserted at 1 am and a third at 5:30 am. All this time, I was 1 cm dialated.

They came in to check me at 9 am and I was at 2 cm. So excited for change.

At 10 am, things got scary. I was having very strong contractions and The Bear's heart rate kept dropping. I wanted an epidural (the doctors said I was in the hardest labor it would be, but I was done). In order to have the epidural, they wanted to break my water to insert a monitor on The Bear's head to measure his heart rate (they can't do it for the 10 minutes or so it takes to get the epi set up). They did that and started to insert the epidural. They did it wrong - and had to come back later to fix it (my left side was still getting all the feeling). During all this, The Bear's heart rate was going crazy. They started some sort of fluid flow through the uterus since them breaking the water eliminated the cushion The Bear had had from the contractions. I was put on oxygen and given a shot to stop the contractions since they were now coming non-stop without any break between them. Hubby lost it watching me hooked up to so many machines and the room full of doctors (there were 7 doctors and 3 nurses in there at that time).

The shot didn't stop the contractions or really slow them down. It just made them more regular with breaks in between. After all this, I was at 4 cms by 11 am.

At 2 pm, I had this very strong urge to go to the washroom - like poop. The doctor came in and I was at 10 cm. I started pushing at about 2:20 pm (Hubby had decided to go get lunch at 1:50. He has great timing like that.)

The Bear was born at 2:49 pm. 5 pounds, 11 ounces. 19 inches long.

They checked him out and we were able to see him at 3:15ish for 20 minutes. Then, they took him away to the nursery since he was little and not breathing consistently. He finally got to back to us around 8 that night.

My favorite parts of it all -
The doctor saying he would never want to baby-sit. He said The Bear was too feisty for him.
We were put into room 6 - Dec 6th at 6 pm in room 6.
We had CMT on the TV during labor. The Bear was born during "It's a great day to be alive" played.

Holding my baby for the first time


Boys, Mickey and Baseball

Hubby has had a crazy schedule and we've been trying to cram in as much possible before he ships back out. The schedule now has him leaving soon and getting back JUST before Baby is due to appear. But, you know it is the Navy. So the schedule changes on at least 3 times a week.

We did find out Baby is a boy. The ultrasound tech actually said "Well, it's pretty obvious" and had his private parts up on the screen. No joke. Hubby and I both could tell. I'm loving the idea of having a house full of boys. We're working out the kinks of bedding and room decoration. By kinks I mean my overly high demands and an exhausted Hubby trying his best. I finally decided to make the boys' duvet covers, pillow cases and curtains. More details will be coming about that grand endeavor. Baby does have a real name now. Hubby wants to wait until Baby arrives to make the big announcement. The middle name is known; it's Hubby's grandfather's name who passed away in January as well as my dad's name. I love middle names that are in honor of someone. The first name is unique (but meets my crazy criteria). Now I just need to come up with a blog name for Baby.

We took a 4 day trip to Disney World. It was insanely exhausting, but we all had fun. The Bear did really well with the early mornings, lack of naps and late nights. He was the one jumping on the bed at 10 pm while Hubby and I were hoping for sleep.

I was surprised how many of the rides The Bear could go on. He loved the characters. He was surprisingly brave walking up to the characters himself and dolling out hugs. Chip & Dale were his favorites.

Hubby and I both had birthdays. Hubby had duty on mine. So even though it was a Sunday, we didn't get to celebrate together. Hubby's was Saturday. He had Friday night duty and the potential of working through his big day, too. Luckily, he got home just in time for us to go to the Cubs v Mets game which was his birthday surprise.

The Bear really does love baseball. It's amazing how into it he gets. He's learning so much all the time, too. He learned that when they pay the Da Da DaDa Daaa music he's supposed to say "Charge!"

I was able to take one of my all time favorite pictures of The Bear there.


What's too many?

I'm obsessed with TLC and thus am relatively well versed in the Duggar family. In case you haven't heard, Michelle is pregnant with their 19th child. No joke. The oldest is 21. 19 kids in 21 years is impressive. And, insanely scary. I guess now she has a slew of built in baby-sitters though.

I wonder at what point it was like well what's one more? I'm scared transitioning from 1 to 2. Is 2 to 3 bad? 3 to 4? I'm not going to get the far.

What is too many kids? Is there a too many? They're financially sound; much better than most people with no kids or even one child. She's not old - only 36. The kids seem well behaved and relatively well adjusted. (The whole not kissing until your wedding day seems that at least Josh has some social differences though.)

For some people, I could almost argue that one child is too many. Is there a point in which people should step in and say no more?


Really it's me

So we've running around crazy style. Between cramming as much in as possible while Hubby is in between underways and getting ready for Baby, I feel like the month has flown by.

The Navy decided they needed new uniforms. Why? To look more cohesive with the rest of the armed forces. That's what they say at least. I think they just needed a reason to help boost the economy. From my 2 seconds googling, I think there are about 400,000 personnel currently in the Navy. Why not have them all shell out gobs of money for new outfits. And, in case you didn't click on the link - the uniforms are less than attractive. You aren't allowed to tailor them so they just hang like bags.

Hubby needed me to call the 800 number to order some new undershirts for these snazzy uniforms. Only in the Navy does getting a new uniform also entail new boots, new undershirts, new socks and I wouldn't be shocked if he told me to order the official underwear for him. The uniform shop on base is small and lacking since everyone is scrambling to get everything all at once.

On base, they will sometimes ask you for your military ID. Uniforms are only allowed to be purchased by authorized personnel after all.

In order to prove I was in deed ordering for Hubby (what civilian isn't secretly trying to order these official Navy shirts that look exactly like blue t-shirts?), I needed to provide them with some information. Last time I called, they asked for his social security number and name.

This time I was asked for his: full name, rank, date of birth, social security number, full address with zip code, email and how long we've lived here. Seriously. For 5 t shirts. Is there that big of an underground ring of improperly buying and wearing solid blue shirts?

Someday life will be easy. Someday.


So smart with so much to learn

It amazes me how much The Bear is learning everyday. We're currently rocking through the animal noises. I've never heard a cuter monkey. There are times when he just makes me laugh though.

My mom had taken The Bear to the park down the street from our house. He had climbed to the top of the slide and was about to sit down. My mom walked over to the bottom and touched the slide. She was surprised at how hot it was and told him to stop (she's a bit overprotective and was afraid it would hurt his chubby little thighs. She told him it was "too hot".

So he sat down at the top like the obedient little boy he can be.

He proceeded to blow on the slide. Like I he does when I tell him food is too hot.

Good try, Bear. But, that's an awful lot of huffing and puffing to cool down the slide.



I am finally hungry. Like really, really hungry. It's not so bad during the day, but at night I find myself going to the pantry in search of food ALL THE TIME!

I was delighted to find some Oreos in there. I was crushed to find only two in the package. That was just not going to cut it.

I then discovered a box of Girl Scout Peanut Butter Patties (or Tagalongs as they're called in some places) that I had shoved in the back a while ago. I'm very possessive of my PBPs and was probably hiding them from Hubby (love you, honey).

I looked at the nutritional information on the side. I try to eat relatively healthy and like to use the serving sizes as at least guidelines. I was disgusted to find out they consider a serving to be 2 cookies! Seriously, I don't think I have ever only eaten 2. Those 2 cookies had 14% of my daily fat. I was completely grossed out. How do you cram that much fat in teeny tiny cookies?

I got over it and grabbed 6 cookies.

I may be fat, but at least I'm an informed eater.



When I was pregnant with The Bear, I was convinced he was a girl. I mean absolutely 100% sure and ready to live in a world of pink. All the old wives tales told me girl. The Chinese Lunar calendar said girl. My gut said girl.

When the ultrasound tech told us he was a he, I was shocked. Hubby of course was ecstatic. He had been secretly hoping for a boy (don't all dads?) and was totally surprised since I had brainwashed him into believing we were having a girl. I asked the tech if she was sure. She was. At every ultrasound we had after that (we ended up having a bunch because of medical issues), I always played dumb and had them check the gender again.

I was sad. Part of me was sad, because I'm a girly girl and wanted to paint nails and do hair. I think a bigger part of me was sad because I was so very sure of it. It's rough to be told you're wrong.

The end of my pregnancy brought us many other issues. He was diagnosed with IUGR and an irregular blood flow through the umbilical cord. I was put on bed rest and induced the day I was considered full term (37 weeks). The scariest moment I've had was when Hubby and I were sitting in the OBs office. He told us I would induced that Thursday night, because "the risks of having a baby 3 weeks early outweigh the risks of him being stillborn."

We were so grateful to hear our son cry and be able to hold him. Grated, he took a short trip to the NICU and we did face challenges with him being small. He's a fighter though. I would never trade him for anything. I love having a little boy. Trucks and trains suit me better than I expected.

This time, I feel that Baby is a boy. I am the first to admit my mother's intuition is lacking in the guessing the gender bit though. But, I honestly don't care either way. I would love to have another boy. There's something that warms my heart being able to say "my boys" in reference to my family. A little girl would be fun though and those bows still catch my eye.

I just want a healthy baby. I'll be content with any child God sends my way.


The Tour

I am OBSESSED with the Tour de France. My dad and I started watching it about 9 years ago together, and there's been no looking back. I don't mind July underways (when Hubby is gone with the boat), because it means I get to watch it everyday. It takes a hardcore fan to want to watch the 2-3 hours of it daily for 3 weeks.

I love the suspense. I love the tactics. I love watching the scenery. I love the attitudes. It's a team sport in which there is only one winner. Yes, Lance Armstrong won the Tour 7 times after battling cancer and has made a comeback this year. But, he had a team of 8 other men who rode for him to win. The tactics and support are team based. There aren't any other sports I know of in which men exert weeks of effort and risk serious injuries for someone else to get the glory.

Bicycling is called a gentleman's sport. There are unwritten rules of proper conduct. Yesterday's coverage featured 3 rules of the Tour which really can be applied to life in general.

1) Know who is in charge - Not only the leaders who have done it before, but those pesky things like cars which you will lose against.

2) Know when NOT to attack - Do not mess with things during feed zones (when they pass the lunches out WHILE they are riding past) for food is a serious thing. Don't chase your teammate down. Swallow your pride for the good of the group.

3)Respect the yellow (the overall leader wears yellow) - Do not be that guy that attacks when the leader has a flat or other unfortunate event. I remember when a spectator's bag got stuck on Lance's handlebars and pulled him down. Instead of taking advantage, everyone else slowed down and let him catch up. You want to win because you're the best not because of someone's bad luck.

While some people learned everything they needed to in kindergarten, I learn things from the Tour.


Movin' on Up

This could possibly also be called "The Dangers of IKEA"

We live in a 3 bedroom duplex in the land of Navy housing. I've had my rants before, but it's not a bad place to call home for 32 months we'll gracing Groton with our presence.

As things are currently arranged:
Hubby and I are in the master bedroom which is fairly large.
The Bear is in the smallest of the 3 bedrooms.
The middle bedroom is our office/guest bedroom.

We're going to be switching The Bear into the middle bedroom which is slightly larger and able to accommodate an extra crib. All the stuff in there (bed & desks) will be shoved into The Bear's current room.

Baby will be sleeping in our room for the first few months. The Bear was in our room until he was 4 months old. It saves precious steps during those 2 am feedings and with Hubby in and out allows me to insert the pacifier without opening my eyes. I'm also hoping it will help The Bear sleep a little bit better during those transitional months.

I'm doing all I can to not have The Bear blame the changes on Baby. We're going to be switching the rooms in about a month so it's not too close to the birth. I'm trying to make his new room fun for him.

While my mom was here, we went to IKEA. It's only about 45 minutes away, but Hubby always felt it was too far to drive "just to look". I'm thinking he knew what "just looking" can do to our credit card bill though :-). I bought new sheets for The Bear and Baby. They're green with white hippos which I felt was gender neutral enough since we don't know is Baby is on team blue or pink. I also got new things to hang on the wall and one of those cool rugs that has a town with roads on it. The same type of rug was $70 at Target. How could I not buy it? This was my thinking until I realized our cart was overflowing, and I was carrying a table.

I find it odd being pregnant for the second time. I still love shopping for Baby, but we own most of Babies R Us already. I'm realizing how focused I am on easing The Bear's transition, I've flown through the first half of preparation for Baby.