fresh start

I am finally getting into the swing of being a mommy of 2. Life isn't ideal (since Hubby isn't here and it's FREEZING outside), but I'm feeling much more emotionally stable. Yes, it took me 8 weeks to get there. Don't judge.

I am not a happy pregnant person. Some people glow and love every moment. I swell and am a big ball of hormones. Some how that doesn't seem fair to me.

I have no idea who reads this. I know there are a bunch of followers, but I have no idea who most of those people are or if they actually read. And, I know there are a few people that read in RSS or just check the website. (It would be nice for you to stop and say hi, but if you like to remain quiet that's your right.)

I'm just putting out a blanket apology in case I posted something or said something to upset someone or hurt their feelings. I'm typically not a harsh person, but there are times when things just overwhelm me. And, I typically take it out on the wrong person (just ask Hubby).

So, I'm back to being me. I hope we can all start out on a happy, emotionally stable note :-)

favorite photo friday

Since I'm taking a million and two pictures with Project365 and I majorly stink at uploading them every week, I decided to start favorite photo friday. I'm taking all the pictures, but this is just easier for right now. Here are my favorites from the last week.

Favorite of The Bear: He's a little ham. He hands me my camera and says "cheese". He can completely melt my heart.

Favorite of The Monkey: He's such a serious kid. It's hard to capture his smiles with the camera. It makes me so excited to get his goofy side.


hello reality

The Monkey is 8 weeks old today. Crazy how fast the time has gone. I know it went by quickly with The Bear, but it seems to be so much faster this time.

Since he is 8 weeks old, I can no longer hold on to the excuse of "I just had a baby" for not working out. He's sleeping great. We're getting into a schedule. And, I'm just getting lazy. Since Hubby is always gone and I have 2 little ones, I'm relying on DVDs for now. (Our YMCA has childcare, but the kiddos have to be 6 months old.)

I just tried the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. It was hard, but I was able to keep up. The only problem is that Jillian never had children and she sure as heck never nursed. Ever try to do jumping jacks while you're nursing? It hurts. A lot. I highly do not recommend it.

I then busted out the Wii Fit. I didn't use it to exercise today; I just weighed myself. Holy moly depressing. Our old fashioned scale gives you a little leeway (the little pointer is small and it's hard to read when you're standing on it). Mr Wii gives you the number nice and clear on the TV screen. I'm up 12.6 pounds from this time last year. Granted, that was the end of the deployment and I had been busting my butt. I weigh 6 pounds more than when I got pregnant with The Monkey which is a more realistic weight.

It's time to get my butt in gear.


state of the union

I LOVE watching the State of the Union. I don't care who the president is, I just love it.

-It reminds me of high school. You only sit with your friends. I would totally be the rebel Democrat* that sat in the middle of the Republicans. It's like they think the "others" have cooties. And, this is also why I would never be elected to any public office.

-I can't decide if it would be an honor or an insult to be the cabinet member to be left behind. Like hey, you're so awesome that in case we all explode, you're the person we trust to rebuild our country or hey, seriously not going to happen but we just want you to feel left out.

-I want to be the person that picks out their clothes. Obama with the red tie; Biden with the blue one. And their stripes go opposite directions. The little matching flag pins are adorable though.

-I feel like it's the World Series. Only half the room claps and stands up at a time. The Supreme Court is pretending to be impartial and doesn't show emotions. It could also be because they're all a lot older and all that standing is hard work.

-Regardless of how you feel about Obama, he's a really charismatic speaker.

*I really don't fit in either box. I'm socially liberal, but I don't like being the country's mother. I just picked Democrats since the last president I voted for was one (but it wasn't Obama).

blog reading

Just out of curiosity - how do you read "your" blogs?

Do you go to all the different websites?
Do you read them in a RSS form of sorts (like Google Reader)?
Is there some other secret way I don't know about?

I never had a de-lurking day earlier this month like a lot of people did. I sort of wish I had. I was a little pre-occupied with the boys to realize it until about 3 days later. If you would like to make my day, leave a comment if you read this and let me know how you keep tabs on the blogosphere.


Our family is quickly approaching deployment #2. It felt like we had so much time to get ready - physically and emotionally - and then I realized it's the end of January already.

We've done this before. We actually just did this. Hubby has been "home" for less than a year. Home from deployment does not mean home with us, but none the less he at least has been gone less than 6 months at a time.

Hubby was gone from the time The Bear was 8 months until he was 14 months old. Luckily, we were able to visit him a few times during the first half of the deployment. The Bear and I went to Panama, Georgia and Spain.

This time is going to be a bit different.
The Bear is older, and he gets it. He knows that when Hubby leaves sometimes it's for quite a while. I can only imagine how long 6 months feels to a 2 year old. Good-bye has become a traumatic word in our house. I need to do so much more for him. We did a lot of things last deployment, but they really were more for me than him. I need to start working on projects for him.
The Monkey is here. Two kids definitely make things a bit busier here. It also makes it harder for Hubby to leave.
We won't be trekking to any ports. It makes me sad since I love traveling and I really love seeing Hubby. It just isn't practical with two kids. International flight with two small children? I might be brave and in love. But, I'm not stupid.

It's time to start getting my self into gear. I just wish I had some new things. With the last deployment so fresh in our memories, I feel like I need to do more than last time for Hubby.



The Bear, Monkey and I had MOPS this morning. I LOVE MOPS. An hour and a half of grown up talk, yummy food, a craft and 3 grandma types down the hall with the kiddos (the itty bitties stay with the mommies). Does this not sound heavenly?

As we were walking out, one of the grandmas stopped me to tell me how great The Bear was. It was random and for no real reason. She just wanted to tell me he was a happy, well adjusted kid. She said he had the perfect balance of being able to play with others and standing up for himself.

It was one of the best compliments I could get as a mom. What's the best thing someone could tell a mom?


valentine's day

I wanted to make Hubby's Valentine's Day present this year. I like to give homemade things (or at least things I have a homemade touch) - especially for Valentine's Day.

I am relatively crafty, and he's gone for a while so I have the time and freedom to make a mess without him realizing. Does anyone have any suggestions? Or places I can find suggestions?

Thanks :-)



Hubby left again today. It was actually the first time since he's been on the boat that they've left on the first try.

The Bear had a really rough time with this good bye. He was sensing it a few days ago and just hasn't been himself. Any time Hubby would leave - for work, after lunch or even just going upstairs - The Bear would freak out. Screaming and yelling. He wasn't just mad; he was scared.

He's been getting himself physically sick about it. He had a fever. He made himself throw up this morning after we left the pier from crying so hard. (Of course, the boat was delayed. We were able to have lunch with Hubby one last time which was amazing. But, it started The Bear's cycle of crying all over again.)

He's always been able to tell when Hubby is about to leave and has had problems adjusting. I'm not sure why these emotional problems are increasing though. It really hurts my heart. I'm not sure what I can do to help him.

Tonight, I had put The Monkey in his crib while I gave The Bear a bath. The Monkey fell asleep in there so I left both boys in their room while I went to put away laundry. The Monkey woke up and started to cry. I went in to get him so he wouldn't bother The Bear. The Bear was awake, but just laying quietly in his bed. As I was walking out of their room, The Bear starts screaming.
He would rather have a screaming 6 week old in his room than sleep alone.

What am I supposed to do? They say kids are resilient. But, how resilient are they before there are some serious long term issues?


gender roles

I was a psych major so I overthink things. Actually, I overthought things before I was a psych major. But, anyways. I know there is a difference between sex and gender. Sex is the anatomical classification from birth (or surgery should that be how you got there). Gender is the views society puts with the anatomy. I took a communications class that forever changed how I think of things. If anyone ever goes to the University of Illinois, let me know and I'll make you enroll.

I try really hard not to gender my boys. I'm not decking them out in pink and bows, I do my best to not limit them based on what I think is the boy thing to do.
They do have lots of blue clothes, but they also have greens and reds and whites and yellows.
I didn't do a sportsy nursery with The Bear. First off, not all boys are athletically gifted. If he did get Hubby's genes and be able to catch, I didn't want to push it on him. (The boys' room now is red and blue with baseball accents. I let The Bear pick.)
They have truck and trains to play with. They also have art supplies, a play kitchen and a stroller with a baby doll.

I know a lot of what we think is appropriate is based on what we saw our parents do. I was raised in the type of home where the girl could hang her own pictures and move the furniture, but the boy better open the door.

I'm wondering what type of gender roles our kids will think are normal. Hubby is gone for long periods of time. And, I'm not going to wait 6 months to get out the drill and install a gate. I'm not that frilly. Or patient.

Do military kids have different ideas of what are mom jobs and dad jobs?


brotherly love

The Bear got a play kitchen for Christmas. He LOVES it. I knew he would like it since he always plays with his friends' kitchens, but I had no idea it would be such a hit (or I would end up with plastic food in every room of my house).

The other day, we were waiting for Hubby to come home for dinner. I was trying to stall The Bear as long as possible so I asked him to make us dinner in his kitchen. He went over and banged some pots and pans about. He brought me over a plate with some french fries and a cup to drink. I thanked him, pretended to eat my plastic dinner and then asked him about The Monkey's dinner.

He ran into our real kitchen and grabbed something (side note: him being able to reach the counters is not cool). He then came in with a plate and put it in front of The Monkey.

He had filled the plate with pacifiers.

Some days, he just melts my heart.

shutterfly freebie

Have I mentioned that I <3 href="http://www.shutterfly.com/">Shutterfly. It's how we share our pictures with our families and I order all our picture-y gifts (prints, calendars, books...).

Right now, they're having a sale where you can get a free 20 page, 8x8 hard cover book. You have to pay the shipping, but it's a free personalized book. The offer code is THANKS and is good for one use per account.

I'm unfortunately not paid by Shutterfly (although that would be fantastically amazing). The only freebie I'm getting is the same book you can make :-)


p365: days 35-41

Here are The Monkey's weekly pictures. I'm doing fairly well with it so far; I've lasted 6 weeks. I still can't believe he's 6 weeks old today. It helps that I'm trying to take pictures of our life. While they don't seem interesting now, I'm sure in 25 years he'll wonder what a Wii is and why our phones looks so funny.

Thursday: The Monkey was hanging out watching Hubby and The Bear play Rock Band on the Wii. Yes, our two year old plays Rock Band.

Friday: This is where The Monkey sleeps at night - a pack n play in our room. He has a crib in The Bear's room, but we didn't want to have him sleep in there until he's sleeping better at night. We figured there were enough changes in Bear's life without completely messing with his sleep. A sleepy Bear is a cranky Bear.

Saturday: The Bear is goofy and a big help. He was picking up toys under the kitchen table, and he thought it was funny to stay under there. Who needs toys when you have a table?

Sunday: The Monkey taking a nap.

Monday: The Bear trying to help out and give The Monkey a pacifier. He's very concerned with making sure The Monkey has one when needed. The problem is The Monkey will sometimes take them, but he doesn't NEED it. I love what a good big brother The Bear is.

Tuesday: The Monkey is so serious. He so gets his personality from Hubby. He smiles, but they don't last long. I was so happy to finally capture a silly Monkey with the camera.

Wednesday: With the addition of The Monkey, a bigger car was definitely wanted. It was finally warm enough outside for me to take a picture of our new minivan.


meal planning monday

Here is our plan for this week's meals. One of my resolutions is trying to get us on a plan. We eat healthier and cheaper when I have a game plan. And honestly, there are days where one less decision is like a hug from God.

Monday: Ravioli for The Bear and me
Tuesday: Duty night so something low key like PB&J
Wednesday: Taco Soup
Thursday: Hamburger Helper
Friday: Duty night - left
Saturday: Tortellini and garlic bread
Sunday: Going out

I'm on the hunt for some new meals to try. I just got a crock pot that I'm up for using. I don't mind if it takes a while to make. The only caveat is it has to be toddler friendly. Suggestions are welcome :-)

This is not set in stone. It's already been changed (and it's still Monday). Hubby called about 45 minutes ago saying he wouldn't be home until after 8. So it's a plan. And, I'm planning on it changing.


i am a mom

Last night, Hubby and I entered into one of the most controversial choices of parenting.

Not formula or nursing
Not co-sleeping or independent sleeping
Not pacifiers or thumbs
Not circumcision or au natural
Not home schooling, public or private schools
Not trade school, community college or a 4 year university

It was much more serious and life changing than that.

It was the great minivan decision. Hubby has a small 4 door car, and I had a Jeep Patriot. I LOVED the Jeep. Hubby and I bought it just after we were married. It was sad to get rid of it, but with the two little boys we had just outgrown it. The backseat was jam packed with car seat-age and the trunk was full with the big stroller. Let alone all the other stuff I need to have in the car just in case.

Enter the world of minivans. We bought a 2008 (barely) used Grand Caravan.
It is delightfully big. Not ginormous, but we can easily fit every thing we need and my parents when they visit. It will be so nice to have all that room the next time we move (because I like to plan ahead).

I am officially a mom.

And, I like it.


p365: days 28-34

The pictures will be printed out in 4x6 form, but I figured it was easier to upload them in this format. I really want to capture things going on in The Monkey's life besides just pictures of him.

I'm not doing a traditional year; I'm using this as The Monkey's first year scrapbook. He was born on December 3rd, and it just makes more sense for our life now. My weeks run Thursday - Wednesday since he was born on a Thursday.

Thursday (28 days old): We celebrated New Years Eve with a Countdown to Noon at the local children's museum. Hubby and The Bear had lots of fun playing with the bubbles.

Friday: The Monkey hanging out with Poppy.

Saturday: The Bear and Monkey's Christmas gift to my parents was a photo session for the 4 of them. Since The Monkey was in such a good mood, Sara took some extra shots of him.

Sunday: My parents had to go back home after spending 2 weeks with us.

Monday: Hubby works hard. When he is home, he's often half asleep on the couch with one of the little boys.

Tuesday: Sometimes I forget how little he is. He was hanging out on the couch. Right before he rolled off.

Wednesday: The boys playing (making a mess) in their room. I can't wait until they're big enough to actually play with each other.

Check out how other people are doing at Jessica Turner's site.


bad mother of the year award

Self-nominating myself on this one.

The Monkey is barely a month old. Like not even 5 weeks old yet. And, I've already called the ER about him.

He was hanging out on the couch with me last night. He was laying on a blanket. I was (finally) eating my dinner. I spaced out for 3 seconds.

He rolled off.

And, hit the floor.

The hardwood floor.

Yeah, I suck. Of course, it had to be during the 10 minutes Hubby was actually home and was able to witness my failure. He freaks out and so we call the ER. To which my guilt and his panic was met with the answer of "I can't see him through the phone. Do what you feel is right." Not the most reassuring.

It's been 24 hours and The Monkey seems to be fine. He's acting like his normal 1 month old self. Who knew 1 month old babies could roll? He was on his back which is harder than starting from his tummy. Obviously, my child is crazy advanced. Hopefully, this incident won't eliminate him from MENSA.

wordless wednesday


dinner discussions

I find this slightly ironic to post tonight since Hubby wasn't home tonight for dinner. And won't be tomorrow. Or Thursday. Maybe on Friday though.

I really want to make a jar full of conversation starters. The Bear is little, but he's starting to be able to communicate with us. I don't need the conversations to be at a 2 year old level though. I remember my parents had a little flippy book thing on our table when I was a kid that had a question to jump start dinner.

Anyone have any suggestions for questions? They can be serious or silly or somewhere in between. I want to get as many as possible. Hubby is never consistently home for dinner, but it would be nice to have when he is here. And, if it takes us 9 years to get through them all I'm cool with that, too.

project 365

I attempted Project 365 last year. Project 365 was scrapbooking kit that encouraged(made?) you take a picture every day for a full year. I didn't order it in time so I attempted to make one myself. I tried. I failed. I made it until about April before I gave up on the picture of the day thing. Life happens.

I attempted to finished scrapbooking The Bear's first year of life. I wanted a real scrapbook for the first 12 months. Each year after that, I'll just be making a Shutterfly book. Faster, cheaper and much more compact. Well, I made it to September 2008 which means I still have 3 months of his to go. He's 2. I'm behind. Life happens.

With The Monkey, I decided to merge these two goals of mine. Instead of making a traditional baby's first year scrapbook, I'm taking a picture every day for his first year of life. I got the kit this year (called Project Life this time). It's supposed to arrive tomorrow which excites me to no end. It comes with little cards for daily journaling so The Monkey will understand some of the pictures his silly mom takes.

I've taken a picture every day so far. It's easy with the holidays and him being so itty bitty. I'm going to be posting them every Thursday. He was born on a Thursday so Wednesdays end his weeks. I apologize for bombarding the internet world with pictures, but I'm doing this to keep myself accountable.

On the bright side, if I do fail he can't use the whole "second child gets the shaft" line. I'll probably still be working on The Bear's baby book when he's 32.


room temperature

What temperature is the thermostat in your house set at?

Since we live in this fancy schmancy abode in housing, we don't have to pay a heating bill. There are HUGE differences in temperature upstairs and downstairs. A parka would be nice while I sit down here, while The Bear is upstairs napping in shorts. I kid you not.

We don't have to pay a separate heating bill (hence the fancy schmancy part of housing), so that's really not an issue. I don't like to be wasteful though. While I'm not paying a bill, I don't want to make it insanely warm just because I can.

So what's room temperature?


I like plans. A lot. I like big dreams. I like having high hopes. Hence, my yearly obsession with creating resolutions. But, you know plans change :-)

For 2009, I wanted to "waste less". A bit big on the changing your life scale, but I think I made some progress. My aim was not only one to better the environment (I have a green, crunchy side to me), but to also waste less time. Waste less energy on things that don't matter. Waste less of myself. There's always room for improvement, but I consider it an overall achieved resolution.

My goals for 2010 are a little different. I switched to using the term goals because resolutions are much harder to keep come February.

* I want to have plans. I'm going to make Hubby sit down with me and actually create (and stick to) a budget. He has dreams of going to law school, and the sooner we start planning for that the better. Part of the budgeting is me being faithful in my meal planning. It's not hard, and I actually enjoy having a menu. One less decision each day is wonderful.

* I want to spend individual time with each boy every day. I'm not talking hours every day (there are only 24 of those in a day). Taking 5 minutes to sit down with one of them and read a book is important to me though. I want each of them to have that undivided attention. It will also be something I can check off the "I'm an okay mommy" list. No matter how awful I feel as a mom, I can rest assured that at least that was done.

* I want to read 26 books. This is one book every 2 weeks which is doable. I read (this should be pronounced in the past tense) when Hubby was gone, but I don't often read when he's home. I love reading though. It's also something for myself. With the two little ones and a deployment looming, I need to give myself ways to recharge my batteries.

* I want to take care of myself. Once I get the all clear to start exercising from the doctor, I want to get into a routine. I'll have to stick to a DVD at home and my Wii Fit until June when I can start taking the boys to the YMCA. They have child care available, but kiddos have to be 6 months old.

* I want to potty train The Bear. Not a shocking or impressive feat since he'll be about 2 and a half before I realistically get around to it. It will be a big change for us though. And, it doesn't hurt to have one thing on the list that I know is going to get done.

* I want to maintain a positive attitude. There are going to be the days where I am completely overwhelmed - remember that whole 2 small ones and a deployment approaching thing - but I can do it. There are going to be days where the Navy tests my patience to no end - but there is an end and my frustration isn't going to change anything. I know I will slip up and have my grouch moments, but I really want to do my best to keep it all in perspective.

Those are them. I'm sure you were all waiting on the edge of your seats to hear my big aspirations. It helps me to write it down though. I need to be held accountable. Even if it is just by myself.



This was one crazy and hectic holiday season.

Hubby was home - or as home as he gets. It was so very nice to have him here to go to church matching the little boys and put together toys and start all those Christmas traditions. In typical fashion though, we crammed the days full and I have no doubt he went back to work completely exhausted.

My parents came. It was nice to have them here. My dad got to meet The Monkey and The Bear got some hard core spoiling. I really want the boys to know my parents even if we live far away.

While it was The Bear's 3rd Christmas - isn't that crazy, I can't believe it's his third anything! - it was his first one where he got it. He opened his presents and played with all of them. He actually had to play with every toy before he would move on and open another. It was nice he enjoyed the gifts, but holy moly did it take forever and a half. It was also the first time he had things to put together. Hubby had the honor of assembling a wagon (from Santa), a play kitchen (from my parents) and a piano (from his parents). Next year, I'm asking for a bigger house to hold all their gifts from this year.

The Monkey has also been a little growing machine. I can't believe he's a month old already. He has the occasional rough night, but for the most part he's a really good baby. I'm getting the hang of this whole mommy to 2 thing :-)

My parents left today so our holiday season is officially over. Lots of fun and memories made. But, I am ready for some down time.