Thursday, June 30, 2011

365

One year ago today I sat in a tiny, old, one-bedroom TLF at Hill Air Force Base and missed my family. A thousand miles from the nearest friend, I was a lonely mother of a 2-month-old little boy. I yearned for a connection to everyone we had left behind. This blog was born out of my desperation - grandparents wanted updates on the baby, and I needed an outlet. Each afternoon, I sat down to chronicle our life, and through those daily missiles I felt a little closer to home.

It wasn't long until we were able to leave Utah, the source of the most unhappy months of my life, and found ourselves nearer to at least some of the people we loved. But many interested parties were still far from us, and voiced their support for my continuing narrative of our life. I've maintained the daily updates through life in 4 different states now, with visits to many others, and have enjoyed the connection this blog gives me to loved ones far and near.

Not only have I kept in closer contact with those whom we love, but I've also gotten to know many other mommas here in the blogging interwebs. Priceless knowledge and strength has been gleaned from the posts of mothers just like me, raising their families in a manner I would like to imitate. Through my connection to other bloggers, I've learned about myself and how to be a better mother to my boys and wife to my loving Husby.

With the birth of our second child merely weeks away, daily postings are a luxury I'm not sure I'll be able to afford myself in the near future. I intended this blog as a place to hold memories, to be able to look back and see where we've been. And while I've done my best to keep up with a daily post, I've begun to see that this blog and it's readers may benefit from less-frequent, more-heartfelt postings. Thus, I've decided to cease holding myself to a once-a-day standard. Have no fear, little blog - you'll still be seeing me often. But from now on, my visits will be more meaning full and less hurried. My boys keep my busy, and I'm sure they'll keep your pages alive and well.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Uncle A's 21st

Happy Birthday, Uncle A!

Please excuse the poor quality in both photos and writing in recent days. 
My camera is packed away, leaving me only a sub-par camera phone
 with which to capture the essence of my little boy and our daily life.
Life has been getting in the way of blogging lately, and I like it that way. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Flashback

He used to be so little ...
facing the back as he rode in the car ...
sitting on Daddy's lap to read a bedtime story ...
video
I know he's not much bigger now,
but he just won't stop growing!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Laptop

A few months before we were married, and knowing that we would need to keep up with family and friends while on the move, Husby invested in a laptop. She served us well for four years, allowing us to check the news, webcam with grandparents, and ... oh yeah, keep a blog. But her time was coming to an end; she has been threatening to crash for some time now. Instead of waiting for the inevitable, we took her to Best Buy this afternoon as a trade-in. Since she was a fairly expensive laptop for her time (and hadn't actually crashed yet), we were able to get the maximum trade-in credit toward a new laptop. Thus, you now read a post typed on a brand-new, shiny and blue Gateway laptop. Hello, world!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Practice, Practice, Practice

RJ's new favorite activity is walking - around the room, around the house, anywhere outside, all over. If he's awake, he's reaching for a hand to help stabilize his adventuring. And as soon as those new shoes are on his feet, he's anxious to be out the door and playing outside. It's a good thing we're about to move into a larger place with more room to explore - we're running out of adventure here!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shhh...

Quiet stirrings, whispered greetings, hushed voices. 
Hot coffee and chocolate milk. 
Scrambled eggs and buttered toast. 
Aftershave and a uniform. 
A farewell kiss and a beckoning pillow. 

This is how we spend our mornings, readying ourselves for the day in the dim light of the breaking dawn, cautious of our noise in order to continue alone. Just in the next room, the toddler sleeps, and we spend a few moments alone together. Too soon, he'll walk out the door to face his workday, and I'll return to bed, begging for a few more minutes of rest before my mothering duties are required. We relish this time together, and are grateful for the moments we have.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Diaper Dilema

We're back in 'sposies for a few days in attempt to get rid of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad diaper rash. I suspect that whatever is causing the rash has been trapped in the cloth diapers, so we're doing a full purge and stripping: hot wash(es) with some bleach and Dawn to get rid of anything that might be stuck and sanitize the whole system. 

Hopefully the rash will clear up in a day or two and we can get back to cloth diapering. For now, we're using Luv's disposable diapers, and couldn't be more unhappy with them. We found ourselves at WalMart when in need of diapers, and Luv's is similar in price to Target's up&up, so we chose to try them out. Never before have we had leakage issues in disposables (and really not in cloth either, once we figured out the proper fit), but I can't seem to change him fast enough to keep all the mess in these flimsy, poorly-made disposables. I can't wait to get him back into cloth!

Monday, June 20, 2011

28 Weeks

Hello, third trimester ...

Goodbye, wedding ring, sanity, sleep, energy ...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

In celebration of Husby's second Father's Day, and to make transporting himself and his necessities back and forth, to and from classes, the boys and I presented him with a messenger bag (what was that I was saying about his need to carry a purse?). But this is no ordinary messenger bag; this is the Bag of Holding, which, according to legend (and the Dungeon Master's Guide) can hold massive amounts of weight without requiring more strength to haul. At bit like the geek's Mary Poppin's bag, there should never be an issue of fitting everything he needs inside. In fact, I'll be impressed if he can actually fill the entire bag - with a multitude of pockets and compartments, the bag is truly well-designed. He'll be off to class in style.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Firsts

Today has held many new first for RJ:

Breakfast this morning consisted of Scrambled Eggs and Blueberries, neither of which he has tasted before and both of which he has decided to love. In fact, I couldn't quite keep up with his demands for more - he ended up eating most of my eggs on top of his! Thank you, Lord, for a boy who eats like his father - rarely turning down something new.

On our way out to run errands this afternoon, it was decided that now would be the perfect time to turn RJ's car seat around. (We've been planning to make the change soon anyway, as he'll need to be moved and adjusted before Baby Boy's arrival in order to make room for the infant seat beside him.) He meets both the height and weight requirements to be forward-facing, and Husby was sure that he would love being able to see where he was going. RJ was a little hesitant at first, but once he discovered that he could see Momma and Daddy while he rode, he was thrilled. The whole way to the store, he was giggling and showing Daddy his window.

Our main errand was a trip to pick up new shoes for RJ; as his walking skills develop, his little toes need protecting. We found a simple pair of blue sandals for everyday play, and some nice sneakers for church. He'll need to grow into the sneakers a bit, but the sandals fit perfectly, and we're all excited to try them out!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

One Step Closer

No longer does he need the support of holding onto a table, chair, leg, or other stable object - this boy can stand on his own! He has yet to venture out on any more steps alone, but is sure willing to show off his standing skills. It's only a matter of time before we have a walking (running!) boy on our hands!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Steps!

They are few and far between, but we've got 'em, folks!

Just tonight, RJ took 3 consecutive unsupported steps!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On Carrying a Purse

Women carry purses so that everything we might possibly need is neatly contained in one easy-to-grab parcel. Mommas, as well, pack their essentials into a bag of holding in order to carry with them everything they need for themselves and their child(ren). So why is it that men insist on an entirely different system? 

After work, Husby came home and changed out of his uniform into 'civilian clothes'. We were headed out to dinner; I scooped up the diaper bag, ensuring we had everything RJ and I might need. Husby grabbed the toddler, and off we went. Upon arriving at the restaurant, however, a neglect was discovered. All of Husby's 'essentials' we back home, still in the pockets of his ABUs. If only the man carried a purse, he wouldn't have to worry about transferring items from 5 different pockets whenever he changed his clothes. I wonder if I could convince him of this ... ?

Note: We were able to pay for dinner, even though the man had no wallet, 
because I made sure I had mine before we left home. 
Ever prepared, this Momma is (or, at least, tries to be).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Owies

Over the course of today, I managed to traumatize my child multiple times. Mother of the year? Not me.

At lunch, I spilled my entire drink on him (he was crawling at my feet, having just finished his meal, while I was finishing mine). He was none too happy about being suddenly wet and sticky, and while still wearing his clothes, but a quick whisk into the tub for a clean-up dried those tears.

Not more than an hour later, his fingers got caught in the door as I was trying to close it. I quickly scooped him up for a snuggle, but it took quite some coaxing to get him calmed down again. Once he stopped screaming, he settled in with his blankie and napped for a bit. I noticed a rather swollen finger when he woke, called the pediatrician, and got him right in to be seen. Unsure of exactly how much damage may have been done, she ordered an X-ray of his hand. 

Being 13 months old, he needed someone to hold him still. Being 27 weeks pregnant, I was not eligible for the job. Being at PT and unreachable, Husby was unable to come to our rescue. Enter sweet female sergeant willing to cuddle my screaming child and attempt to keep him from moving while a picture is taken of his now-purple finger. It was so very sweet of her to volunteer, but I think both she and RJ were a little worse for wear afterwards. We're still waiting to hear how the films came out, but no news is good news in the situation.

Finally home from the clinic, it was time for dinner, bath, and bed. But my poor little man just couldn't catch a break! On his way out of the tub, he slipped, bumped his chin, and bit his tongue. Sad and tired, it didn't take much to get him to sleep tonight; hopefully he'll wake up tomorrow thinking that today was just a bad dream.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bradley Birth

In preparation for the birth of our second child, Husby and I have been doing quite a bit of research. Looking back, there were many things about RJ's birth that could have - and should have - been done differently. Most of the decisions we the first time around were uneducated (even though we thought we were informed). Our labor was induced, and epidural was administered, I pushed for 3 hours, and ultimately a vacuum was used to assist in the delivery. At the time, these things we presented to us as both normal and safe. Now that we've done more research and educated ourselves, we know this to be untrue.

Instead of a repeat performance (which would be perfectly acceptable from the viewpoint of the medical community), we're looking for a more natural birth this time around. I did an extensive amount of research into the options and methods available, and came upon the Bradley Method. I had heard about it from other Christian parents, and was intrigued; after looking into it further, we decided that it looked like the best course for us and we signed up to take the classes.

This evening was our second class session, and so far we are thrilled with the method. Dr. Bradley, who 'invented' the method, comes at things from a simple, Godly perspective, making the whole process easier to understand and much, much less frightening. We're getting lots of good, useful information, and are excited to continue in our learning. The method is deemed "husband-coached childbirth", teaching husbands and wives to work together through labor and birth, strengthening their relationship and creating the safest environment for their child.

As we read through the books and attend classes, we're taking notes and posting them under the "Our Birth Method" tab you'll find at the top of the page. Interested parties, feel free to browse through.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Day Off

For the first time since we arrived in Kansas, Husby has the day off! (Our first weekend here was Drill, so he worked both Saturday and Sunday.) While we're grateful for the work he has (and the paycheck it brings), it is refreshing to sleep in together and spend our day doing whatever we want. RJ has been missing his Daddy lately; the boys are getting in some good bonding time today.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Double Ear Infection

As an only child (thus far), RJ has few others to share with than Momma and Daddy. So when he wants to practice his sharing skills (and this is encouraged, as we'd like him to be a nice boy), I am usually the one on the receiving end of his gifts. I've been given many a paci, blankie, toy truck, spoon, and so-forth, but the gift he's shared with me the last few days has been the most unnecessary. 

Thank you, my son, but you really could have kept the sinus infection to yourself.

A doctor visit confirmed that not only have I contracted the sinus infection RJ is just getting over, but that it's moved into my ears, leaving me with a double ear infection and 10 days of antibiotics. Is it my day off yet?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cloth Diapering (Again)

After adjusting to life in Kansas, we're finally back in cloth diapers. [While we were traveling, and staying with family, we used disposable diapers for convenience (and to cut down on laundry needs).] Our system is fairly simple, but works well for us:

The Stash:
Accessories:

The Plan:
  • Daytime/Normal Use: a 4.0 (snapped to the appropriate size),
    stuffed with 1 one-size insert and 1 doubler
    • usually last 2-3 hours before needing to be changed
  • Nighttime/Heavy Use: a 3.0 (in the appropriate size),
    stuffed with 1-2 doublers (2 at night)
    • usually last all night without needing a change
  • The PlanetWise bag serves as the main 'dirty diaper' storage,
    with the Diaper Duffles as supplements while the larger bag is washing. 
  • Target wipes serve not only as cleaners, but also as a diaper liner. Left out to dry for an hour or so, the wipes become soft and stretchy - we simply lay them in the diaper to help catch the poo. [We were originally using Bummis Bio-Soft Liners, but have found that the Target wipes are softer, more durable and less expensive.]

While RJ's is the only bum needing diapering, we typically make it nearly two full days before we're down to the last 4 and need to wash. Since the type of diapers we're using can be machine washed and dried, it only takes a couple of hours to get everything ready to start again (if I stay on top of it, that is). Once we're diapering 2 bums, I anticipate needing to wash every evening to have enough to get us through the next day. Still, the cost of nightly laundering is much less than doubling our stash, and the diapers don't even need folding when they're done, so I can handle this extra task with ease.

The Cost:
  • 4.0 Diapers @ $17.95 (x14)
  • 3.0 Diapers @ $9.95 (x12)
  • Diaper Inserts @ $0 (included with 3.0s & 4.0s)
  • Large WetBag @ $29.99
  • Small WetBag @ $6.25 (x2)
Total Up-Front Cost: under $400
(some diapers were purchased on sale)
Plus Target Wipes @ ~ $8/month (~ $100/year)

Compared to Disposable Diapers:
  • One Child ~ $30/month (over $350/year)
  • Two Children ~ $60/month (around $725/year)
    • Calculated using Target Up&Up Diapers,
      which we were using before switching to cloth
Over all, we spent just about what a year of disposable would have cost, but our stash will last all through RJ's diapering needs and is large enough to accommodate both boys for the time they are in diapers together. Our only recurring cost is wipes, which is negligible in comparison. [For the first few weeks, Baby Boy will likely be in disposable newborn diapers while his cord heals and he grows into the smallest cloth diapers, but this should only cost us about $50, which is less than investing in newborn-sized cloth diapers.]

Note: 3.0s have the equivalent of the one-size insert sewn in, so only a doubler is needed in addition.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Greens

As of today, we've officially been accepted for rental at a new apartment complex nearby. We were originally hoping for base housing, but Husby's orders don't provide us that 'luxury', so we're on the other options. Just south of the base is a nice, new-ish town which is home to a nice, new-ish apartment complex on a golf course, and we've chosen to make it our home for the next year or so. We've rented a two-bedroom, one-bath unit on the first floor, which just happens to be handicap-friendly (meaning it comes with a few minor changes to accomidate a wheelchair). While this isn't something we need, it may come in handy with small boys around (lower counter tops, easier shower/tub access, etc). Our lease begins July 5th, so our holiday weekend will be followed by lots of moving and unpacking.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Things I Love: Cloth Diapers

Thanks to the advice of another blogging momma, we took the plunge a few months back and started cloth diapering with RJ. I can't imagine going back to disposable diapers - we're saving a lot of money, with almost no extra effort, and we're loving it.

All our diapers have been purchased from CottonBabies - a company based in my old home town, St. Louis. Not only are their products high quality, but their customer service is above and beyond. BumGenius, the brand we use, was invented by a mom who wanted something better for her child, and the simplicity of the design makes the whole process a breeze.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth Cloth Diapering post.

Note: These opinions are honest and true 
- I've received no compensation from the product manufacturers - 
they don't even know I'm 'reviewing' them.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Things I Love: Umbrella Stroller

While we were in Texas, a need arose for a stroller. I had mine packed snugly into the trunk of my car, and would have had to unpack nearly everything else that was in there in order to get to it. Instead, we decided to invest $15 in an umbrella stroller for convenience, and it's turned out to be one of my favorite 'baby gadgets'. 

RJ is getting bigger, and so am I - the farther along we get in this pregnancy, the harder it is for me to carry him, even for a short time. The large stroller takes a bit of work to get set up, and while it was my only option I was more than willing to do so in order to avoid carrying RJ when possible. I'd use it for trips to the mall or walks around the block, and we were just fine.

The umbrella stroller is so much easier to set up than the large stroller - I find myself using it all the time! For a quick run into the bank, I would have just carried RJ before. Now, we're both more comfortable, and it takes almost no effort at all. He can snack on Animal Crackers and Apple Juice while I fill out paperwork; we don't have to struggle for space. I'm not sure what I would do without my umbrella stroller!

Note: These opinions are honest and true 
- I've received no compensation from the product manufacturers - 
they don't even know I'm 'reviewing' them.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Things I Love: IKEA High Chair

When RJ started eating solid foods, we started looking for the best high chair available that wouldn't break the bank. A fellow blogging momma shared her simple chair, and it caught my eye. I was looking for something that would be easy to clean, lightweight, and easy to travel with - this chair was exactly what I was looking for. Found at IKEA, the chair and tray together were about $25 - much less than other chairs, and much more suited for our needs.

I was sold from the moment we put it together. And then took it apart to move to another state. And then put it back together again. The legs simply pop on and off, and the seat itself is small enough to fit in the floorboard of my backseat. Easy to pack and easy to set up. 

The simple plastic design makes clean up a breeze. And, as a bonus we only just discovered, the seat and tray are both dishwasher safe! Most messes are easily wiped out and off, but every once in a while RJ gets excited with his dinner and we're left with quite a clean-up afterwards. Into the dishwasher it goes, and is as good as new when the cycle is done. 

IKEA high chair, I love you. You're everything I wanted and more.

Note: These opinions are honest and true 
- I've received no compensation from the product manufacturers - 
they don't even know I'm 'reviewing' them.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Things I Love: BX/Commissary

Living on-base affords us the luxury of shopping at the BX ('base exchange' - a military version of Target) and Commissary (grocery store). These shopping centers offer products my family is in need of, while charging less than the local or mainstream stores. I may be a Target lover, but when it comes down to it, I'd rather pay less dollars for the same item. Plus, there is a nearly 100% guarantee that there will be little old ladies for RJ to wave at, which is always a plus.

Note: These opinions are honest and true 
- I've received no compensation from the product manufacturers - 
they don't even know I'm 'reviewing' them.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Diaper Bag

I've decided to purchase a new diaper bag. Costing a bit more than I had originally intended to spend, this bag holds the promise of being my be-all-end-all bag for the rest of my diaper-bag-carrying days. Plus, I'm ordering it through a lovely shop I found on Etsy, meaning that it's completely customized to be exactly what I want and need in a diaper bag. Watermelon Wishes is a small business run by a Mom, and I couldn't be happier to support them.

Here's a sneak peak at some of the details being worked into my bag:



I am ridiculously excited, and will be anxiously awaiting it's arrival (in July).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Target

I really shouldn't be allowed in Target by myself (or without Husby - am I ever really by myself anymore?). I could spend hours just perusing the isles, much to the chagrin of my toddler. Even packed tight with animal crackers and apple juice, my diaper bag can only keep him happy for so long, and then I am forced to take my items to the counter and head home.

Over the last few days, I have spend entirely too much at my local Target(s). Out of the 3 nearby, we have chosen a favorite - and I assure you we will be frequenters.

I always go in with a short list and a plan to stick to it. And I almost always come out with at least one additional item. Recently, my list consisted of maternity tops [all of mine from the last pregnancy are AWOL], and I did pretty well sticking to it. Although, I may have purchased more than I intended. And over the course of more than one shopping trip. But at least now the Belly and I will be properly covered, and that's what's important, right?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sick, Again

RJ's little body doesn't think he's seen enough doctors lately, and so developed a nasty cough to encourage me to find a new pediatrician. The clinic on-base handles all referrals, so we headed there first this morning to see about getting him seen. Two hours - and multiple visits to the same three offices - later, we finally got all the paperwork sorted out for us to be covered here in Kansas and no longer in Mississippi. We were allowed to see a nurse, who then tried to convince me that my child isn't actually sick and thus doesn't need to see a doctor. Um, no. There was no way I was going to accept that, and after kindly arguing with her for quite a few minutes, she reluctantly sent us to a neighboring town for an appointment with a family practitioner.

Less than two minutes with an actual doctor yielded a diagnosis of both a sinus infection and mild bronchitis. Um, yeah. That's what I thought, crazy base-clinic nurse. Prescriptions in hand, we arrived home tired and sad, ready for nap time. Get well soon, buddy. Momma misses her happy boy.