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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. 🙂

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 🙂 (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 🙂
  • 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! 🙂

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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. 🙂  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. 🙂

And here are a few pictures of the past week (plus one of the hubby 🙂 ).  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.  🙂

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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 🙂  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). 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂  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 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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You Hold My Every Moment ♥

Today has been a good day, especially because Kaden & I got to start our day by Skyping with Zach 🙂  I know that not every day is going to be good, so this post is for all of the bad days over the next several months.

Our pastor has been doing a series on prayer, which has always been a struggle for me.  I’ve always been a worrier, even more so since I had Kaden and now that Zach isn’t here.  So, my goal over the next few months [& the only way I’m going to survive this deployment] is to “just pray“.  I know that God had this deployment planned for a reason and even though it’s hard not to question it some days, I wouldn’t change it.  Just over the past few months, Zach and I have gotten closer and learned more about each other than we ever could if we had a “normal” relationship.  I hate that he’s gone and it’s  impossible not to be terrified something could happen to him, but that is where the praying comes in.  No amount of worry, tears or anger will protect him or bring him home sooner.  He’s in God’s hands and every moment has already been planned.  All I can do is trust God to lead me through whatever comes our way.  I know I’ll still have days that I’ll wish I could throw a fit like my 3 year old and demand to have my husband home.  I’ll have days that I don’t want to do anything but feel sorry for myself and my family.  But no matter how selfish I feel on some days, I know that I’m not the only one hurting, I’m not the only one missing him and I’m not the only person to have gone through this before.  And more than anything, I know God won’t give me more than I can handle.  I know we can all make it through this deployment and we’ll be stronger because of it – and for every person waiting for Zach to get off the bus when he comes home, I’m sure we’ll all agree it was worth the pain.

So, when I don’t want to drag myself out of bed in the morning and for the nights I have to go to sleep without saying goodnight to my husband – I’m going to come back to this post and know that He holds my every moment.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.