Thursday, April 10, 2014

Munchkin-ism of the day

So I have no idea why, but Munchkin says "set the bed" instead of "make the bed". Every morning she'll tell me "I set my bed, Mama!" It's just one of "her" things. Tonight while I was trying to get Lil Man to go to sleep (trying being the operative word here), she runs into his room quite upset. "Mama! I have bad news!!! Lightning unset all your pillows! Your bed! Unset!" All the while gesturing wildly like she's knocking pillows over. Sure enough, Lightning had burrowed through the pillows and they were all over the bed.
We have 6 extra pillows on our bed when it's made: 2 Euro pillows, 2 king pillows, and the two small accent pillows that came with our bedding set (it sounds like so.many.pillows. like that, but it's what came in the set!). Apparently it's quite tempting for the kids and the dog to hide in them. I found Munchkin hidden in them last night after I told her she needed to sleep in her bed and Lil Man likes to hide there to try to escape the terrors of getting dressed--and he's actually quite good at hiding in them! 
Who knew that making the bed could bring such drama and shenanigans into our day! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Plans? HA.

So most people know the saying "Tell God your plans and watch him sit back and laugh." right? Well, at this point, add Army into that as well.
We're at reenlistment time, and a few months ago, Mark decided that he was ready to be done with the Army, finishing his contract this November. So we started that process (there are required classes for soldiers to take prior to ETS) and were working out as many details as we could this far out. We were excited (and terrified, I won't lie) and our families were excited that we'd be coming back home too.
Enter the Army (and God, too, really) when Mark finds out that he's come down on assignment. Location? Ft. Polk, LA. I just had to laugh. Seriously, we're the ball in a game of ping pong! The wrench in the works of this is that he now can't just quietly finish his contract. If he chose to decline the assignment (that requires a 2 year minimum reenlistment), his ETS date (last day in the Army) would be moved from November to July, which is when we would be moving if he accepted the assignment and reenlisted. We are NOT prepared to move up our move that quickly, because while his last day in the Army would be in July, he has terminal leave of about 60-70 days to take, so we'd be leaving in May! Um, that's right around the bloomin' corner! Talk about scary. So, we talked, weighed options, thought about it all, and he has decided that the best course for our family is to reenlist. I won't lie, I'm happy and disappointed at the same time. Happy because even with as crazy as the government is, it's still a more stable financial situation than getting out would be. Mark used to love his job, then got a little burnt out, but is starting to get the love back, so I'm happy that he's happy at work (most of the time ;) ). I'm disappointed because I was REALLY looking forward to living in the same area as our family again. FaceTime is great, but it doesn't replace really being together. At least we HAVE FaceTime for the kids to get to know their extended family!
I do feel bad for Munchkin, as we had told her we were moving to Texas around her birthday (since she now knows when that is, and will proudly tell you!), and she is SO excited about it all. Bursting her little bubble by telling her that we're moving to Louisiana instead will be hard, but we're already making plans to make sure we get some quality time with the family.
One plan that hasn't changed is we are not taking the most direct route (again...) and we're snaking our way down the west coast with a little stop at a special place called Disneyland! Thanks to their generous military discount on tickets and hotel, we're making one of Munchkin's dreams come true and visiting the princess castle. Now, granted, the park she REALLY wants to go to is Walt Disney World in Florida, but that's just not in the cards! We'll get her there someday. There was even a Disneyland special on the travel channel a few weeks ago and she saw bits of that and got super excited--and so did Lil Man--Cars land anyone?!? So at least we have a super bright spot about halfway through the trip!
I know that July will be here before we know it and I've got the moving butterflies, but I know that in the end it will work out like it always has and we'll grow where we're planted again. I won't say I'm thrilled to be going back to Ft. Polk, but again, we'll make the best of it.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

2013 is gone and 2014 is here! It feels like we just said goodbye to 2012. So, 2013 in a nutshell:
January
I really got bit by the knitting bug! I really love it and I'm glad that I finally got through it and discovered how awesome it is!
Lil Man got his first haircut and looked SO grown up. He's only had a few since because he HATES them, but it's amazing how much older a nice haircut makes him look!

February
I got to go buy new clothes! :) The time at the gym really paid off (although I need to get back in the exercise habit...) and it's been great.

March
Brought some crazy up cycling sewing, Munchkin got her first recital costume (and LOVED it!), and I started my running journey!!!! (still close to the beginning of that...).

April
I received The Liebster Award for the blog (which was awesome), got to go shopping with Munchkin thanks to Crowdtap and Old Navy, got an awesome haircut, tried a new reward/behavior chart (that works well, when we remember to use it!), and kept up with running. Lil Man started showing more and more of his personality, Munchkin continued to crack me up, and we participated in The Great Cloth Diaper Change!

May
It. snowed. Seriously, our last snowfall of the season was May 17, 2013. Not. fair. The USS Anchorage was commissioned and we definitely missed the public tours, but life goes on. Munchkin participated in her first dance recital and did AWESOME. I was so proud of her, she was beautiful and danced her little heart out--and just like her mama, got a little bit bossy on stage and dragged some classmates into line. We FINALLY got summer weather at the end of the month...and it only got better.

June
June brought MG & Granddaddy, Mark left for training, MG & I (and Lil Man in the stroller) did the Color Run, had an amazing family photo session, spent lots of time outside enjoying the amazing weather, explored around our area a bit, and I turned 27.

July
Mark and I did the Bear Paw 5k (where he saw just how non-runner I am...), Lil Man drank half a bottle of benadryl and spent the day in the ER (where he amazed everyone and was perfectly fine), and we thoroughly enjoyed the nice summer weather with family bike rides or walks almost every night.

August
We ventured into the world of pre fold diapers (this late into our cloth diapering game, I know) and found out just how awesome they are. I also participated in the World Breastfeeding Week blog carnival and shared a bit about my breastfeeding experience, we dealt with the effects of the sequestration--which while not as bad as no pay, still made life on post difficult. My children got mistaken for twins (and then somehow, triplets....that guy was on something), I seriously hurt my foot  (it's almost completely healed now), but still managed to do a 2k and a 5k two weeks later, and another 5k the next weekend! Also, Munchkin started asking for a new pet....a unicorn. Oh...and Mark turned 29. We've been reminding him he's almost 30 ever since.

September
We celebrated our 7th anniversary, Munchkin turned 4, and Mark went off for training. Lil Man got new clothes and had to get size 2T and 3T....at 21 months old. He's a tank. We got our first snow of the season...oh. joy. Thankfully it didn't stick around.

October
Lil Man started potty training!!! We kept up our family walks as long as the weather held out. We participated in the Frightening 4k (Munchkin called it the candy race, as every k marker had a 'trick or treat' station!) and had a blast trick or treating on post on Halloween!

November
We went to the Sochi Send off and saw some of the local Olympic athletes as they got ready to head off for all the pre-game stuff they have to do. Munchkin met Miss Alaska Sweetheart and was so impressed! I got promoted to grandma of Munchkin's doll. I'm not sure how I feel about that. We ran in the Skinny Raven Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving...in 12 degree (0 with windchill) weather. It was cold. We had a laid-back Thanksgiving dinner with friends and enjoyed the quiet time.

December
At the beginning of the month, the kids and I got sick, causing Munchkin to miss her first dance class ever. Lil Man is officially potty trained (with the exception of nighttime) and I gave him a haircut (the beiber hair just wasn't cutting it anymore). Mark participated in his first triathlon as the swimmer. Lil Man turned two and was so excited for his birthday!! He became the present police for Christmas, making sure we didn't sneak a present early.

So here we are. January 1, 2014. To be honest, 2014 scares the bejeezus out of me because it's going to bring a LOT of change, but I'm excited to see where it all ends up.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Time flies

Since I've moved over to Bloglovin' for reading blogs, posting on my own tends to slip my mind! Since my last post was Munchkin's birthday, it's only fitting to start this one off about Lil' Man's birthday!
We officially have a two year old and he's amazing. In a way, it feels like he's "finally" two, since he's seemed like a two year old for so long already. He's huge and so smart, he's always seemed older than he is. His official birthday stats from the doctor are 33.9 pounds, 35.8" tall, and a 90th percentile head circumference. They were quite impressed by his strength (shown when fighting being laid down to be measured) and they never even addressed any of the development milestone questionnaire (which generally means he's meeting or exceeding everything, they really only bring it up if they're behind--and I had to mark "yes" on everything except for one that I marked "sometimes" because it's not something that we do often!). He talks SO well and is always making sure you know what he wants! No random pointing and grunting for him.
Another huge milestone moment: He is about 90% potty trained!! He started off and on a while ago, and we just sit back and let him lead. Then a few weeks ago, he just wanted to go in the potty. So I went with it and he is now in big boy undies when awake, diapers are only for sleeping times, and really, he's had a few naps in undies and more than a few that the diaper was still dry when he got up. I never thought he'd be in undies before two, and we were a little over a week away from his birthday when we just went with it! Thankfully he's not afraid of toilets, so we don't have to worry about it when we're out! As crazy as it may sound, I'm actually a little sad to be thinking of all the details to sell our diapers, but that will be happening for the majority of our stash soon.
He had such a blast on his birthday, he was SO excited to see his presents "Pwesents?!?! For me?! My pwesents!" and proudly answering "TWO!" when asked how old he is now.
We've also now taken the front rail off of his crib to make it a toddler bed and while he doesn't stay in it for more than a few hours, it's still nicer to have him come climb in with us than to have to go get him! He's getting better and I doubt we'll be cosleeping when he goes to college.
Another huge milestone that 12/17/13 brought: We have reached my breastfeeding goal. I am SO proud to have been able to nurse him for 2 years and meet the recommendations. We're on the downward slope now, but I will let him lead this too, for the most part. I do distract and redirect sometimes. We're pretty much at before sleeping times and then a few times in the night--which honestly is more from my lack of willingness to actually get up to rock him back to sleep than anything else--and then the last "night" bit right before we get up.
There's been other stuff here and there, but nothing worth blogging about this far after the fact! I'm wanting to make sure I blog more regularly, but we'll see how that works out!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Munchkin!

This past Wednesday, Munchkin celebrated her fourth birthday! I cannot believe how fast the time has flown. It's mind-blowing to think that it was already four years ago that we were kicking deployment's booty and bringing home our little girl for the first time. So much has changed, we've moved twice, had another baby, Mark's had wildly different duties with varying times away from the family, but it's all just come together as our life. She's already talking about her next birthday when she turns five...oh, honey child, let's not think of that just yet! Let me enjoy you being four. So independent, yet still loves cuddles. So smart and eager to keep learning new things. So in love with dance (even if this year proves to have some growing pains as she gets pushed higher and held to higher expectations to become a better person and dancer).
We celebrated last Saturday as a family because Mark had to miss her actual birthday for a training event, but it was great just the same. She helped me make her cake, which was a "rainbow" cake that she requested. We used neon blue, green, and purple to color white cake and swirled it together, and it came out pretty decently. She opened her presents from us and Grandma & Grandpa--and loved it all. (She got more presents in the mail on Monday, and a friend dropped off another on Thursday!) She declared it "The best birthday ever!", so I think she was pleased.
We have the Red Robin Royalty Reward card, and both Munchkin and Lil Man are in the Kid's Club, so the week before her birthday, I got an email with a coupon for a free kid's meal as a birthday gift for her. Red Robin is her FAVORITE (I think the balloons have a lot to do with that), so on Wednesday, we went there for late lunch/early dinner and had a good time. I made sure that our server knew it was her birthday, but asked them to please not sing to her because she would cry--she even cried when Mark tried to sing Happy Birthday at home!--and he was very sweet about it. He brought her the birthday ice cream and quietly told her Happy Birthday, but that was it. She clapped and laughed as they sang to another person a couple tables away from us though...silly girl! Her balloon popped as I was putting Lil Man in the car, so we went back in and they were more than happy to give her a new one, which made her day.
More and more, I see her turning into a girl, leaving her toddler self behind. She's not a baby anymore, but she's always MY baby. Her long golden hair, which she refuses to get cut, makes her look even more grown up--it's past her little booty now, I have to make sure it doesn't get tucked into her pants or skirts!--and people comment on it ALL the time. I'm so glad to be her Mommy and I can't wait to see what this year holds for us.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Classics survive for a reason

When we first started cloth diapering (when Munchkin was between 5 & 6 months old), we went for a pretty pricey WAHM diaper that was an All-In-Two system. The inners and inserts were bamboo--and we're still using most of those inserts now as boosters for nighttime. The outer parts...well, nobody told me that the sanitize cycle on my washer would be too harsh for regular use. I found that out after our stash of 16 diapers (which, now, seems tiny!) delaminated after about a year. I was really wary of any other system, with the exception of pockets. I didn't even like the idea of All-In-Ones! I'd learned my lesson and wanted to treat anything with PUL very nicely so it would last. Munchkin spent about a year in disposable diapers again, because I didn't want to buy ANOTHER stash of cloth.
Then it was time to figure out what we wanted to do for Lil Man. I wanted him in cloth for a myriad of reasons, with cost being a huge contributing factor. I began building his stash early, keeping costs down by buying from baby steals and finding the majority from another mama who didn't need as many anymore. Pretty much almost all of Lil Man's diapers are pockets, and I got snaps whenever I could. We don't use any of the velcro diapers we have anymore because the velcro is shot and Lil Man is way too adept at taking them off (he's even gotten a snap one open)!
A few of the diapers we have are sized, and he's pretty much grown out of them now, so a couple months ago we headed to Wasilla to go to Arctic Baby Bottoms...aka, cloth diaper heaven. Mark actually is the one who suggested we go....don't be too surprised, he's the one who suggested cloth diapering Munchkin in the first place! I knew I didn't want to buy anything TOO expensive because I'm *hoping* that we won't be in them TOO much longer (I'm hoping and praying about a year more) and I just really hate spending money when I can help it. I'd been looking into prefolds and covers...and convinced Mark to let me get them. We got 6 Osocozy unbleached diapers and 3 Thirsties covers. I prepped them that night and started the next day. We had a couple Snappi's from a couple different giveaways/goody bags, so we were set. I fell.in.love. Seriously! I had some gift card money on Amazon that'd I'd saved and earned more from Crowdtap, so I ordered another 6 diapers and one more cover. These things are amazingly absorbent. The one downside is that I forget to change as often as I should because they DO.NOT.LEAK! We even had one last overnight. I just have to be more mindful of the time and make sure I change him before he asks. I am going to have to sew some extender tabs on the diapers because we bought the premium size--rated for 15-30lbs, and Lil Man is currently 31lbs. They just don't quite reach around the waist as well as they could, but I found a handy tutorial to take care of that.
I thought to take some pictures when the new diapers came to show the difference between unprepped and prepped (oh, the shrinkage...but oh how soft they get!!!)--and a cutie Lil Man excited for mail!

He was so excited!! 

Prepped vs. Unprepped

They look so huge out of the package...

...and the shrinkage...mainly in length, but a little in width too.
These are now my absolute favorite go-to diapers. Mark loves them too....because I change them. He hasn't quite mastered how to get these on a wiggly Lil Man, but he's trying. I can only imagine how fancy these seemed to the mamas who were used to using flat diapers, and now these are considered "old-school". I prefer to think of them as the classics now (I'm not quite up to trying to fold flats!), and they have definitely survived for a reason, even with all the cool new diapers out there!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My take on breastfeeding advice


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

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As NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center's blog carnival for World Breastfeeding Week wraps up, it's a chance to share any breastfeeding tips and tricks we've learned along the way. I'll talk to the mom's first and have a little bit to say to dad's in a minute.
New moms...please don't be afraid to keep asking for help. It really shouldn't hurt--it will be uncomfortable, but flat out pain isn't good. I cried every feeding for the first 6 weeks of Munchkin's life because of a shallow latch. She grew a little and was able to get a good latch and we were golden from then on out...but six weeks is way too long to have a problem. I technically understood the problem and the solution...but nobody was ever able to get me to understand how to apply it. Remember you're both learning something new, and while it is natural, it doesn't mean that it's instantaneous knowledge. Also, remember that each nursling is different, so don't expect every journey to look the same!
There will be times, especially if you have more than one child, that you will be absolutely and completely touched out. You won't want to have another human being be near you for absolutely any reason what so ever. That's ok. Try to stay calm (it's hard!!) and gently take time for yourself.
As you progress through your baby's nursing career, they will find increasingly interesting positions to nurse in. You'll have fingers in your hair, your nose, your mouth, your ears, hopefully not your eyes (but they'll try!), toes in your face...I've seen some crazy stuff, but as long as you can try to maintain a sense of humor, it'll pass. Lil Man is having to learn his nursing manners all over again because he LOVES to put his fingers in my mouth and flail his arm up and down. The only time he's a calm nursling right now is when he's that perfect amount of tired. And that's ok.
Oh, and one last thing before I get started on my advice to the dads...remember him? Yeah, he's new to this too and probably completely lost. Try to give him a break, ok? He's doing the best he can.

Alright, new daddies. Welcome to a crazy adventure. Oh goodness, you've just been through a lot and your wife is hogging the baby and ignoring you. Well, at least it seems that way, huh? With newborn's tummies being the size of a marble and breastmilk being so easily digested, they need to eat often. I promise that some of that time, Mom is really wishing you had a pair of lactating breasts too. Please, please, PLEASE, don't offer formula as an alternative if she really has her heart set on breastfeeding. Even if it comes from the nicest, truest place of you..don't. It will NOT come across as supportive and she's likely to get upset and angry. So right now, the best way to help your baby, is to help your wife. Make sure she stays hydrated--breastfeeding takes a lot of water and it's easy to forget to drink enough. Help her get comfortable, childbirth is hard! The kicker...remember that she DOES love you. It may not look like it, but she thinks you're amazing. It's a big adjustment for everyone. As the baby gets older you'll be able to do more than just change diapers. Another thing that is so important: be her protector. Even in the hospital. If the nurses and doctors try to push something that you as parents aren't ok with, that's your time to step in. If somebody gives her a hard time about nursing, you stand up for her. Encourage her, show her that you are proud of her. Oh, and be prepared to have the baby try to latch onto you. Munchkin loved to latch onto Daddy's nose as a newborn...he quickly learned to not let her face near his bare chest.

Nursing is such a short time in a child's life, my biggest "tip" is to try to enjoy it as much as you can. Celebrate every milestone, every achievement, cherish every stage. They're all amazing and you can't go back in time!


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World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 3 with all the carnival links.)

  • Breastfeeding and NIP: A Primer — Rachel Rainbolt of Sage Parenting, featured today at NursingFreedom.org, uses her informative and candid voice to share with you everything you need to know to breastfeed successfully in public, from the practical how-to's to handling the social stigma.
  • Lactivist Ryan Gosling — Breastfeeding mamas, the time is long overdue for a Lactivist Ryan Gosling. Fortunately, Dionna of Code Name: Mama has created some for your viewing pleasure.
  • In Defense of Formula — Amy of Mom2Mom KMC, guest blogging for Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, asserts that formula is a medical tool rather than a food. She examines how this perspective supports breastfeeding as normal and eliminates the negative tensions between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks — Throughout her breastfeeding journey (since March 2009), Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has shared countless tips and tricks on the topic of breastfeeding.
  • Nursing in the Wild — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am posts about how seeing other moms nurse can make all of us more comfortable with nursing in public.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding — Sara Stepford of The Stepford Sisters confronts the social stigma vs. the reality of breastfeeding and opens up about the steps she takes to make herself and others more comfortable with the process.
  • Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old — This is where Lauren at Hobo Mama and her second-born are at in their nursing relationship, two years in.
  • Perfectly Normal — Stephanie from Urban Hippie writes about the way she and her family have done their part to try and normalize breastfeeding in a society that doesn't get to see breastfeeding as often as they should.
  • Diagnosis: Excess Lipase — Learn about excess lipase and how to test if your expressed milk has it. That Mama Gretchen shares her own experience.
  • Redefining Normal — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy reflects on how we can normalize breastfeeding in our society.
  • Nursing Openly and Honestly — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work feels that the most socially responsible thing she can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture her children openly, honestly, and with pride.
  • Wet-nursing, Cross-nursing and Milk-sharing: Outdated? — Jamie Grumet of I Am Not the Babysitter shares a response to the Wendy Williams quote about milk sharing being akin to slavery, by giving a brief history of the wet nurse.
  • Tackling Mastitis with an Older Nursling — Much of the advice available for supporting recovery from mastitis seems to be aimed at mamas with younger nurslings. Juliet of Twisting Vines, posting at Natural Parents Network shares tips for dealing with mastitis while breastfeeding a toddler.
  • Milk in the eye — Gena from Nutrition Basics discusses how breastmilk cured her 3 year old's case of pink eye.
  • Boobie Biter — Rachel Rainbolt at Sage Parenting offers guidance on how to survive and thrive a boobie biter with your breastfeeding relationship intact.
  • My take on breastfeeding advice — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her insights on nursing for both new moms and new dads.
  • My Top Five Breastfeeding Tips for Delivery Day: Think "A-B-C-D-E"Mothernova shares how her continued success at breastfeeding with her second child rests on a foundation of five key things she did to prepare for baby's arrival, along with things she did when she and baby first met. Easily enough, these tips can be categorized as "A-B-C-D-E": Access to lactation consultant, Baby-friendly hospital, Communicate your plan to breastfeed exclusively, Demand, and Expect to room in.
  • Breastfeeding Buddies: Twin Brothers Nurse while Living in the NICU — Twintrospectives at How Do You Do It? shares her 5 tips for learning to breastfeed multiples while in the NICU.
  • Breastfeeding on a Dairy-Free Diet: Our Journey and Our Tips — Finding herself nursing a baby with food allergies, Jenny at Spinning Jenny embarked upon a dairy-free journey with her son for eight months. Here she relates her reasons for making the decision to give up dairy in her diet, why it was worth it, and tips for moms on the same path.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding in my Home — Shannah at The Touch of Life shares how she plans to help keep breastfeeding normal for her own children, even when her breastfeeding years are over.
  • A Year With My Nursling — The more you see and hear, the more normal it becomes, so That Mama Gretchen is sharing her heart on the last year of breastfeeding - the ups and downs, but mostly the joy of her priceless relationship with her son.
  • From Covered to Confident — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares her personal NIP evolution: she started by covering up from neck to ankle while nursing in public. Eight years later, she has gained confidence and the ability to nurse without stressing about flashing a little skin. She shares her views on normalizing breastfeeding - what influenced her and how she hopes to help others.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding for Older Kids — Sadia at How Do You Do It? hopes that openly discussing breastfeeding with her (now weaned) daughters will help her children feel comfortable with breastfeeding and their bodies in general as they grow.
  • Nursing in Public — Listen up, mammas. Those other people around . . . they don’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about you and that beautiful baby. Nurse on, says The Swaddled Sprout!
  • How to Nurse a Teenager — Sarah at The Touch of Life declares: the purpose is to help normalize breastfeeding a toddler.
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