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MIA

The past few weeks have been a little crazy (which is why I haven’t posted in well over a month…)! ¬†I have tons of pictures I could post, but it’s 6:55am right now, the kids and hubby are sleeping and I’m trying to enjoy every last second before the little monsters wake up…so I’ll do a little updating now and a picture post later. ūüôā

Here are some things that have happened in the past month:

  • Zach’s Welcome Home party (I forgot the camera…but I do have one picture below!)
  • My family¬†reunion¬†(I forgot the camera for this, too)
  • Zach’s family¬†reunion¬†will be this Saturday (I’ll try to remember the camera this time!)
  • We’ve started cloth diapering¬†almost full time (I haven’t found the right inserts to try a cloth diaper at night yet)
  • Irelyn had her 4 month appointment (she was 14 lb 9 oz, 25 inches long and is growing perfectly!)
  • Made it to 5 months of exclusive breastfeeding ūüôā (I tried some dairy a couple of weeks ago to see if she’s still sensitive to it…she is.)
  • Kaden spent a week at his dad’s house while Zach & I were house-sitting for my aunt
  • Irelyn learned to roll from back to belly (she’s been going from belly to back), has been learning to sit and has attempted to crawl twice!
  • Zach went to Columbus this past Tuesday to take his exam for the Ohio State Highway Patrol¬†(he passed!)¬†We should know if he got accepted into the academy in a few weeks ūüôā
  • Irelyn had her 1st taste of solid food [this morning! – video below]

We are trying baby led weaning with Irelyn. ¬†Basically, we’ll be skipping cereal & purees, starting with simple foods such as avocado, bananas, peaches, broccoli, etc and allowing her to feed herself. ¬†The idea behind it is that she’ll learn to chew before swallowing (which will help her to only ingest solids as she is actually ready for them), it is supposed to help her be less picky towards the texture (with a 3 year old that would only eat mac-n-cheese and popsicles if I let him, I love this),¬†plus¬†I don’t have to spend time pureeing and storing foods for her, she’ll just eat what we eat!

We¬†tried avocado today. ¬†She was so excited when we put it on the tray and she licked it for a few minutes – I don’t think she actually managed to swallow any though.

Obviously, Kaden was narrating the entire event…I’ll only bore you with a little over a minute of it. [please ignore my messy house]

And here is the one and only picture I have from Zach’s party.

I’ll post more pictures as soon as I have some “free” time to edit them! ūüôā

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He’s Home!

Finally! ¬†Zach got home around 3am on Friday morning. ¬†He will be home for 10 days before he has to go back to Kentucky for a few days, but that’s nothing compared to the 10 months he’s been gone. ¬†He got to meet Irelyn around 3:30am on Friday – we checked on her while she was sleeping and she woke up. ¬†She spent an hour awake after that and was all smiles. ūüôā ¬†When Kaden woke up Friday morning I told him there was a surprise in my room for him…he came running out with a huge smile on his face when he saw that Zach was his surprise! ¬†Here are a few pictures of the three of them.

Of course, the kids had to have special outfits to wear. ¬†I had planned on that being a surprise for Zach at the airport, but since plans changed and he came home in the middle of the night, we just had a photo shoot in the living room [it only took Irelyn 10 minutes of wearing the onesie to spit up all over it anyway]. ¬†I ordered Irelyn’s skirt & bow on etsy and I made the shirts they’re wearing.

We’ve been pretty busy the past few days with visiting family, church and transitioning Irelyn to her crib (that was one huge failure from my 28 day challenge…). ¬†The first night she slept in her crib, we were up every two hours – but last night she only woke up one extra time! ¬†The past couple of days have been amazing and has made the past 10 months worth the wait. ¬†Tonight’s post is going to be short, but we’re taking the kids to the park in the morning and we’ll be doing Irelyn’s 4 month picture tomorrow, so I’ll post those soon!

Here are a few more pictures from today ūüôā

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28 Day Challenge Update

It’s pretty obvious that I recently lost all motivation to post.¬† Zach left Afghanistan a couple of weeks ago and since I’ve been able to talk to him more often, I haven’t spent much time organizing/thinking of things to post.¬† As far as my 28 day challenge goes, I did start and finish organizing the master closet (which I’m sure Zach will appreciate once he’s home) and I’m halfway done cleaning both of our cars.¬† With the 90+ degree weather we’ve had, we haven’t been spending much time outside.

Now, for the exciting news of the day week year Zach will be HOME within the next 2 weeks!!!!¬† He’s not having surgery and is in Kentucky right now, waiting to fly home. ūüôā¬† He has internet access there, so we’ve been able to skype (and see each other clearly for the first time in 6 months!).¬† Irelyn was confused & happy to see him clearly for the first time on skype yesterday.¬† I hope this helps these¬†last 2 weeks pass quickly…although now that we’ve made it through 9 months of this deployment,¬†2 weeks seems like nothing.

The three of us went to the park this morning (at 7:30am!) and took some fun pictures this afternoon.

Irelyn loved riding in the stroller and Kaden had so much fun playing at the park.  Irelyn ended up needing an outfit change after spitting up all over her clothes and needing her dirty diaper changed on the picnic table five minutes after we got there.  We managed to make it home before it got to 80 degrees though!

We decided to have a mini photo shoot¬†in our living room today –¬†of course with a red, white & blue theme!¬†¬†Irelyn¬†had fun trying to eat¬†the streamers and Kaden tried rolling them into the flowers I made a few weeks ago.¬†¬†I’m pretty happy with the pictures we did get. ūüôā

And here are a few¬†pictures of the past week (plus one of the hubby ūüôā¬†).¬†¬†I¬†came across an $80 Baby Einstein jumper I liked for Irelyn and was able to find the exact one at a garage sale for $15!¬† She’s loved sitting in that and her bumbo while watching Kaden play.¬† Kaden has been learning so many new things lately and he’s so excited for Zach to come home in a couple weeks (I’ll probably have an entire post of pictures once he’s here!).

That’s all for tonight.¬† I’ll work harder on posting regularly again… at least until Zach is¬†home.¬† ūüôā

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Day 18 – Transition to Crib (and some AWESOME news!!)

Okay, good news first: ¬†ZACH IS BACK IN THE UNITED STATES!!!!!!!¬†For the first time in 5 months, I feel like I can finally relax knowing he’s not in a war zone. ¬†The reason he is home early is because he needs surgery on his shoulder. ¬†So, even though he’s back in the US, he probably won’t be home with us for another couple of months. ¬†But within the next month, we will be driving to wherever he is to see him ūüôā ¬†Waiting a little longer for him to be at home with us will be a breeze compared to waiting all these months that he’s been in Afghanistan.

Transitioning Irelyn to her crib…this has been interesting. ¬†Since she was born, we have co-slept. ¬†I have one of these¬†cute little “snuggle nests” and she sleeps about 6″ away from me in our bed. ¬†She has always been a wonderful sleeper – after surviving the first couple weeks of nursing around the clock, she wakes up once or twice a night to nurse, I lay her back down and she drifts off to sleep. ¬†I¬†love having her right next to me during the night¬†(because I can easily check on her anytime and because I¬†hate sleeping alone). ¬†I co-slept with Kaden for at least a few hours of the night until he was 7 months old and loved it.

So, here are the reasons I’m trying to transition her to her crib.
1. ¬†She’s starting to get too big for the snuggle nest. ¬†She wiggles around and can scoot down to the middle of it, which makes me nervous because I don’t want her roll off the bed.
2.
¬†She’s getting to big for her swaddle blanket. ¬†I want to move her to her crib while she’s still swaddled, so she can get use to the new bed before changing anything else.
3.¬†¬†Zach will be home soon. ¬†We have a queen size bed and regardless of what the picture on the website shows, the little bed takes up more space than you’d think. ¬†Since my husband has been gone all but 8 weeks of our year long marriage and we’ve spent most of it with an entire ocean between us, he’s gonna have a hard time keeping me from hugging him all day, let alone at night (which I can’t do if our daughter is sleeping in the middle and we’re both hanging off the edges of the bed). ūüôā

Now for our progress so far. ¬†I really don’t know because apparently I’m incapable of leaving her in her bed long enough to find out. ¬†Here’s my one…and only attempt: ¬†I put her in her crib at 10:20pm (same time I usually lay down with her for the night and she sleeps til 4am), I didn’t check on her til 10:40pm (still sleeping peacefully), made myself sit in the living room til 11:15 (she hadn’t made a peep), I tried to go to sleep (failed miserably) and got her out of bed at 11:45pm (we were both happily sleeping next to each other by midnight). ¬†I keep telling myself “tonight will be the night I try again”. ¬†Never happens. ¬†I can actually convince myself during the day that I¬†will go to bed without her and even go so far as to getting her room ready for bedtime. ¬†Then it starts getting dark outside. And 10pm comes, I nurse her and we happily lie down in my bed and are asleep within minutes. ¬†Why ruin a good thing, right?

I will move her to her crib. ¬†Eventually. ¬†Soon. ¬†While I was trying to go to sleep that one night without her, in my attempt to rationalize why I should just give up, I realized I have never slept away from her since she was born (& for 9 months before that if you wanna get technical). ¬†She’s been away from me for a total of 2 hours (it took 3¬†separate¬†occasions to total 2 hours) and has had 4 bottles (totaling 3 ounces of milk – I’ll have to post the video of her attempting to drink a bottle, she’s clueless). ¬†Needless to say, we both¬†I may have a slight¬†separation¬†issue. ¬†This is actually new to me, I went back to work full time when Kaden was 5 weeks old and I spent a night away from him when he was 7 months. ¬†At this rate, I don’t think ¬†Irelyn will be away from me for more than dinner & a movie with the hubby by the time she’s 7 months. ¬†Oh well…I still have a little time before Zach comes home to work on this. ūüôā

She also rolled from her tummy to her back for the first time tonight!  I was practically touching her when she rolled and I missed it because I was reaching for something.  Here she is with her favorite toy.

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Days 7 & 8 – Dressers and Pantry

I decided not to take pictures of the dressers (obviously wouldn’t be very interesting), so I’m combining these two posts. ¬†First, I¬†hate laundry. ¬†I hate the entire sorting, washing, drying, folding and putting away process. ¬†I’d rather scrub a toilet than do laundry. ¬†But,¬†putting Zach’s clothes back in his dresser and knowing that he’ll soon be home to wear them made it worth it. ūüôā ¬†Plus our bedroom looks so much better now.

On to the pantry… my embarrassment in a couple of these pictures is a repeat of the “Under the Kitchen Sink” post. Here goes.

Before:

After:

¬†Yes, that thing hanging on the wall is for shoes. ¬†I got the idea from¬†Pinterest, so at least I’m not the only crazy person using it for food! ūüôā

And this one is before & after:

I was so much more relaxed in my kitchen that I made steak and scalloped corn for dinner tonight. ¬†I marinated mine in plenty hot sauce and cajun seasoning – I’ve got to take advantage of enjoying my¬†food extra spicy before Zach comes home ūüôā

I must have been trying to make up for my lack of effort the past few days and rearranged Kaden’s entire room today. ¬†Of course, it looks like a tornado went through there (even worse than normal), but I’m planning on finishing it this weekend. ¬†He now has a little more room for his toys, a reading nook and he was so excited that I moved his bed to a different spot. ¬†Living in a small apartment drives me crazy – I’d rearrange the furniture in my house at least once a month if I actually had the room to do so. ¬†Unfortunately, everything has to stay in the same spot it has been in for the past 4 months…

We’ve gotten some good news from Zach over the past couple of days, although I can’t share very much, we will get to see him sooner than we’d thought ūüôā

Since tomorrows task is the coat closet, I¬†shouldn’t have any trouble posting. ¬†I did start reading another book today though, so we’ll see.

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Day 3 – The Mail

Today’s task was pretty easy, but¬†so¬†necessary. ¬†I had a stack of mail on top of the printer and an entire drawer packed full of mail – so I’ve also taken this opportunity to update as many of our bills to¬†paperless¬†as possible¬†(I’m all for freeing up time that I’d waste¬†organizing it after the tower of paper starts falling off of the printer… and it doesn’t hurt to save a few trees in the process). ¬†

So, here are today’s pictures:

Someday… I plan to upgrade to a small file cabinet and alphabetize everything. ¬†Someday.

I was looking at my blog stats today and was totally surprised. ¬†I started this blog before my husband deployed last September. ¬†My plan was to write about what is happening here at home so that he and our family that we don’t talk to everyday could stay up to date. ¬†I never expected to have anyone I didn’t know personally to be remotely interested in the random things I’ve posted. ¬†But to my 12 followers – thank you ūüôā ¬†I’ve reached 300+ page views since February and that is what makes me want to continue posting. ¬†Blogging is the only time of day that I have to myself, but because I don’t blog until evening, I don’t put a lot of thought into what or how I write¬†(this kills me because since high school I have always dreamed of becoming a published author). ¬†I’m hoping that after Zach is home and I have more adult conversation each day my brain won’t be so fried. ¬†Anyway,¬†thank you to all of you who read each boring, random post. ¬†It means a lot to me ūüôā

We didn’t do much today, we got to Skype with Zach for quite a while this morning and relaxed most of the day. ¬†Kaden has been carrying around $4 and stuffing it in random toys (somehow he hasn’t lost a single dollar in the past 2 weeks he’s had the money), so we made him a bank today.

I asked him what he is going to save his money for. ¬†His answer? ¬†A motorcycle….”cause motorcycles are cool, mommy!”

I found another quote this week that I love. ¬†Zach and I got married just 6 weeks before he deployed last year, so our first year of marriage has been interesting to say the least. ¬†We haven’t had the chance to live together for very long or to experience any of the struggles and happiness that a normal first year of marriage brings. ¬†Through this deployment we have experienced many new struggles and a different kind of happiness than I ever expected to have. ¬†We have grown in ways I didn’t know were possible and we’ve gotten closer in ways we never could have if we hadn’t had to spend so much time apart. ¬†We’ve had to trust each other 100% and find a way to be “together” while we’re 8,000 miles apart, instead of letting the distance divide us. ¬†I absolutely hate having to spend this time apart, but I’m thankful for what it has made us. ¬†I have heard multiple times (as I know every other military wife has),¬†people telling me they “don’t know how I do it” or that they “would never be strong enough to love someone who’d have to be away so much”. ¬†I’m never quite sure if they want an answer, explanation or expect me to have an emotional breakdown, so I just smile and nod. ¬†But the alternative to all the lonely nights, the long and, at times, frustrating days… is to not have him. ¬†And that would be far more painful than any deployment.

So, for us, I don’t expect to have a perfect marriage, to never fight or to have unending bliss in between deployments – my only wish is for forever enough.

Enough patience to stay the course.
Enough passion to get angry.
Enough intrigue to hold attention.
Enough encouragement to grow together.
Enough leniency to forgive missteps and faults.
Enough humility to always count our blessings.
Enough wit to keep laughing.
Enough love to last a lifetime.

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7 Weeks!

I’m obviously not very good at being a mother of 2 AND blogging.¬† That may or may not improve once being a wife finally becomes more than a couple hour a day job.¬† By the time I take care of both kids throughout the day and they are in bed for the night (or for a few hours in Irelyn’s case), I don’t have the motivation to make my brain work hard enough to write.¬† Anything I did write by that time probably wouldn’t make sense anyway.¬† I’ve got some exciting news though…we actually have a pretty good idea of when Zach will be home!¬† I can’t post much on here, but we are definitely getting closer now…and our paper chain is getting shorter ūüôā

Unfortunately, time seems to go so much slower the closer we get to the end of this deployment – and pacing the hall with a fussy baby and staring at family pictures definitely doesn’t help much.¬† But, we’re finally getting close enough that we can actually start to make plans for after he’s home and I can clean/organize and there’s¬†a slight chance I won’t have to re-do it before he gets here. ūüôā

Irelyn is 7 weeks old today!

She’s grown so much and¬†is starting to show her personality¬†(& her temper from her daddy…).¬† She’s very happy and smiley in the mornings and likes to scream and cry from 6pm-8pm every night.¬† Thankfully, she¬†limits the screaming to the daytime and only wakes up a few times per night to eat.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about Irelyn’s personality so far:
1.¬†¬† She’s stubborn and strong willed.¬† And she definitely isn’t afraid to let the entire world know when she’s unhappy.
2.¬† She loves to be talked to…and hates having to sit and entertain herself for more than a minute or two
3.¬† I never have to wonder what kind of mood she’s in.¬† When she’s upset, it’s like her world is ending.¬† But, when she’s happy, she’s absolutely adorable and makes every frustrating minute more than worth it.
4.¬† She HATES her carseat.¬† The second I put her in it she screams and she could literally go on for hours.¬† She’s not one of those babies you drive around the block in the middle of the night if they won’t stop crying.
5.¬† She’s has a pretty good combination of mine and her Daddy’s personalities…so, she’s perfect ūüôā
6.¬† There’s more, but she’s waking up and will probably be ready to scream by the time I click “publish”.

Her two month¬†appointment is on¬†May 16th, so I’ll update her weight¬†and length on my next post (hopefully I’ll get around to that sooner than this one).¬† Kaden lovesbeing a big brother.¬† He tells me multiple times each day that he likes having a sister and that he “loves Iiiire-wyn”.¬† Kaden is definitely one of Irelyn’s favorite people, all it takes is for him to talk to her and she’s smiling and talking.¬† There’s just one thingdoesn’t like about Irelyn…

Even when she’s crying he’s still pretty sweet (for the first few minutes at least).¬† He usually gives her her paci, tries to hold it in her mouth (whether she wants it or not) or tells her that he can’t hear the TV and to please be quiet.¬† When none of those options work, he covers his ears and whines – this makes 6pm-8pm a very stressful couple of hours and would be the reason my brain is too fried to try to blog after they’re both sleeping like angels.

Well, it’s time for me to get Kaden in bed for his nap before Irelyn¬†wakes up and thinks she’s starving.¬† I’ll put more pictures in my next post!