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MIA [again!]

My last post was titled “MIA” (because I hadn’t posted in over a month), I’m not sure what this one should be titled since it has been almost a year!  Obviously, I’ve been quite busy.

Here’s a quick breakdown of our past year:

  • We celebrated Kaden’s 4th birthday in December of 2012 and also our 1st Christmas as a family that wasn’t cut short because of deployment.
  • We moved out of our (tiny) 3 bedroom, 900 sq ft apartment to a 4 bedroom, 1600 sq ft HOUSE!  We have a big backyard for the kids to play in and we’re so much closer to Zach’s work, church and preschool.
  • We celebrated Irelyn’s 1st birthday in March of this year with a rainbow and clover themed party (I’ll be posting about that later!)
  • In 2013, Irelyn has learned around 15 signs, how to walk, said her first words and has shown that she has a very spirited personality (I no longer take her on grocery shopping trips because the terrible 2’s seem to have started early…)
  • Kaden finished his 1st year of preschool!
  • We found out Irelyn has outgrown her dairy allergy; now it is just an intolerance which is much easier to manage.  But she has an egg allergy, so now I’m learning all new ways to cook/bake.
  • We found out we’re expecting our 3rd (and final) baby due on December 11th!  Keep reading for a picture of our gender reveal.
  • I had to wean Irelyn from breastfeeding (we made it 17 months!).  Due to preterm labor issues with both kids, my OB wanted me to wean her by 22 weeks.  Irelyn handled it better than I did.
  • Kaden learned to ride his bike without training wheels and he will be starting his 2nd year of preschool in 3 weeks.  Now we are just planning to enjoy the rest of our summer together.

About baby #3:

Zach deployed when I was 14 weeks pregnant with Irelyn and didn’t get home until she was 4 months old; so this entire pregnancy is new to him.  I’m 23 weeks and we just found out the gender a few weeks ago.  We had the ultrasound technician write down the gender in an envelope, took it to Walmart, and had them fill the box with pink or blue balloons.  We had a cookout with both of our families and opened the box at the end of the party!

……….and it’s a GIRL!

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Her name will be Lillian.  We haven’t decided middle names – she’ll have 2 – but we’ve still got a few months to figure that out.

I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to be blogging about, but my goal is to do so more regularly; I think I can handle more than once per year!

Here is a more recent picture of my sweet little monsters (they’ve changed a bit during the past year!):

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Days 9 & 10 – Coat Closet & Toys

We haven’t gotten much sleep the past 2 nights – between Irelyn waking up more often (I think I can thank her 3 month growth spurt for that), Kaden wetting the bed (cleaning a mattress at 5am while Irelyn is crying in the other room is not the way to start the day) and me having very creepy dreams whenever I do manage to sleep, I couldn’t drag myself off of the couch after the kids went to bed last night to post (I was also finishing the 3rd and final book in the series I’ve been reading).  I’m really hoping we all sleep better tonight.

Anyway, here are my before & after pictures of the coat closet:

The only thing I actually ever open this closet for is the vacuum.  The only item of mine in the closet is my winter coat…which I couldn’t zip over my belly this past winter, so I haven’t touched this closet since we moved in.

Day 10 – toys (day 1).  I’ve decided not to post the before pictures until the room is done.  I forgot to take a picture before I started moving things around, so it looks like I let my child live in a complete mess (not true, we clean it before bedtime, but it amazes me how quickly he destroys it during the day).  I’ve gotten half of the organizing finished.  All of his toys will soon be in labeled baskets/boxes and on a shelf (that I’m going to have to steal from Irelyn’s room).  Day 2 of my toy organization is on Wednesday, so I should have the after pictures to post then. 🙂

Well, I’m going to make a decision I’ll regret while I’m wishing for a second cup of coffee in the morning (although I’ve accepted my dairy free diet, limiting my caffeine intake is one part of breastfeeding I’ll never enjoy) and I’m going to stay up a little longer and enjoy the peace and quiet.

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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. 🙂  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! 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 6 – Under Kitchen Sink

After two days of being extremely unmotivated (and reading another book), here’s what I should have posted on Wednesday!  When we moved into this apartment in February, I was 34 weeks pregnant, on partial bedrest and couldn’t help much at all with the moving. I was so thankful for all the help from our family with the entire move and my plan was to get organized when I was putting everything away.  That mostly worked – except that I lost motivation by the time I got around to areas that no one else ever sees (under the sinks, linen closet, my closet, etc).  Since I had basically just tossed everything under the kitchen sink, I found a lovely surprise that I had no idea was there.  Mold!  Not very much of it and my dad cleaned it up for me, but apparently there is a tiny leak in one of the pipes down there.  So after getting that taken care of and bleaching everything that was down there, here are my pictures.

Totally embarrassed by the before picture:

I really don’t know why I need so many different cleaning products for a small 3 bedroom apartment.

Well, since I’m going to have to post again tonight because of my laziness (and I really don’t have much to say about the disaster that was hiding under my sink), that’s all for this one. 🙂

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Day 5 – Linen Closet

I’m starting to feel like my home really is more organized!  Today has been a great day (and not because of the linen closet).  Zach had some awesome news while we were talking this morning, Heidi stopped by this afternoon and Zach’s dad brought McDonald’s over and had dinner with us.

I was also very productive this morning and had the linen closet cleaned by 9am 🙂

Before (I’m slightly embarrassed because of this mess…but my pantry is still worse):

After (SO much better!):

I’ve also been working on another project.  I’ve wanted to buy wooden letters to hang in Irelyn’s room – I’ve found some really cute painted ones on etsy, but haven’t wanted to pay $40+ for them.  I found something almost as good on sale at JoAnn’s a couple weeks ago (for much cheaper).
6 cardboard letters: $1 each (they were 50% off)
4 acrylic paints to match her bedding: $1.49 each (also 50% off)
6 paintbrushes: $3 (also on sale)
ribbon: $.50
Kaden took the before picture at the bottom:
They’re not perfect, but they were a lot cheaper and more fun to make than anything I could have bought.  Kaden helped paint them and when he saw them laying on the floor he clapped his hands and told me “Mommy! You did such a great job!” 🙂
We’ve got a pretty exciting day ahead of us tomorrow – cleaning under the kitchen sink and my parents & sister are coming to visit in the evening!  We don’t get out much these days, so any adult company is always welcome.  I’ll post again tomorrow night! 🙂
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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 🙂  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 🙂

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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Day 2 – Computer Desk

With Zach being in Afghanistan, I obviously spend a lot of time on and off the computer.  So it’s usually pretty cluttered between my daily coffee, pacifiers, water bottles, burp rags and Kaden’s drawings.  Organizing all of it was way overdue and I’m actually excited to sort through and file the stack of mail tomorrow.

Here’s the before picture:

And this is after:

Fortunately, these first two days have been pretty easy with tasks that only take 15 minutes…I’m slightly dreading days 4 & 5 (kitchen cabinets & linen closet) which I know won’t be quite as easy.  But it’ll be worth it to have a very clean house by the time Zach is home – and I might be able to convince him I became much more organized while he’s been gone.

In other news…I am taking monthly pictures of Irelyn (I try to take the picture on the 16th of each month, but so far I’ve been a week late both months) so here are the two pictures we’ve taken so far.

I didn’t do pictures like this with Kaden, so it’s amazing to see how she’s growing and changing each month.  For her 1st birthday I’m going to make a collage of the photos and frame it for her room.  Here’s where I got the “month” printables 🙂

Even though she has lost her newborn looks, she’s still practically a clone of her daddy…their smiles and eyes are identical.

And one last one of my babies 🙂

I have now succeeded in posting for the past 3 nights straight!  I’ll try for four tomorrow – although I’m not sure how interesting I can make my mail sorting process sound, so you may just want to check back on Friday.  Because of the fact that Kaden helps put dishes away, the kitchen cabinets post is bound to be more entertaining.

And one of my newest favorite quotes:

“Throughout all of your ups and downs together, through all of the fights and moments of failure, you must remember that you are one another’s gift. God has given you the gift of your wife, God has given you the gift of your husband, and you must always honor that gift.”