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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The End of the Year is Full of New Beginnings


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Last month, I completed all of my goals. I spent every day with family and friends, fit in gym time, and planned our trip/move.
This month, my goals are simple: get unpacked, enjoy christmas time, and get settled into our new home/city. I have survived a 3 1/2 hour flight alone with a toddler, two weeks couped up in a hotel room, two six hour road trips, and moving into a new house. I'm still in the process of unpacking, but we finally got a Christmas tree and pulled out the decorations so it's starting to feel like home. I'm so relieved to have survived our cross country move from California to Tennessee. The past two months have been so exhausting and I am so ready to be settled into our new home!

It's the end of the year, but it is such a new beginning for my family and I.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

November Goals

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1. Buy plane tickets and reserve hotel
2. Find a house
3. Spend time with family
4. Go to the gym 3x a week

At the end of this month, Caden and I will be flying to Florida to spend a few days with Chris before he graduates from recruiting school. Then we will be making the drive to our new home for the next three years- Murfreesboro, TN! So this month I need to get things in order to make that happen, while making time for my family and the gym. This month is definitely bittersweet. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Goodbye SD

Where have I been the past month or so? Well, a lot of it has been spent in a car, and in other people's houses, and anywhere except our home.




We officially left San Diego on October 1st, but we have been non-stop since we first got on the road so I literally have not had one chance to blog since then. We have spent the past month trying to split time between both of our families and our friends, take time for ourselves, and plan Caden's birthday party.

So far, I don't miss San Diego. We scratched most of the things off of our bucket list during our last month there. Thank goodness we decided to let the Navy move us instead of packing ourselves, because we wouldn't have had time to do things like Disneyland, a final trip to all of our favorite restaurants, and a tour of Chris's ship. It has been fun being back in our hometown for the past month (and I still have one more here), but I am so excited to take on another adventure with my little family. Chris left this morning for a month long recruiting school in Pensacola, FL, and it was still just as hard to say goodbye. Caden tried to hold the car door open so his Daddy wouldn't be able to leave, and it was impossible for me to hold back the tears. I know he doesn't understand what is going on, but it breaks my heart to know that Chris will miss so many moments with his son. But this separation is the first step towards having our family together for three years straight!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bucket List



When my husband and I first moved to San Diego a little over three years ago, I made a list of the top 5 things I wanted to do while we lived here. We did scratch two of those things off, but the rest was either too far away (and we have had enough six+ hour drives over the past three years) or not child friendly. It's funny how much that list changed when I started on our new bucket list a few months ago. So in our last two months here, we are really cracking down on our new list!

One last trip to..
1. Disneyland. Caden was too young to enjoy it the first time, and after watching how much Caden adored Elmo at Seaworld and the USO tour, we really want to take him to see the toy story characters!
2. The beach. My california baby hates the sand, but I want to give it one last shot now that he is a little older. And to think, one day he will be begging me to go to the beach.
3. San Diego Zoo. We haven't gone since Caden was born!
4. Del Mar Racetrack. We have gone every summer to see the Classic, so we already crossed this one off last weekend.
5. Our favorite restaurants and coffee shops. Work in progress!
6. The outlet mall. Las Americas Premium Outlets will surely be missed, so we need to go one more time! We need winter clothes after all...
7. Balboa Park. We have been here quite a few times and have visited all the museums, but it is one amazing park!

And a few first trips to..
8. The olympic training center. (Chris).
9. A polo match (Me).

And a first trip together to..
10. The bars in Gaslamp! Chris and I have only gone out to an actual bar together twice, once to a local bar and once while we were visiting family and friends in AZ. I got pregnant a month after my 21st birthday and four months before Chris's, and we don't have family here in Cali to watch our son while we go out, so we just don't. We have each been to a few of the bars in Gaslamp separately with friends, but never together.. So we are excited for my mom to babysit one night while she is visiting us next week!

I don't know if we will have time to do all of this in one month along with packing and all the other appointments and items we have on our to-do list, but I am going to try! I don't want to have any regrets when we move. I can't wait to see what my bucket list will be for Tennessee!

Have you ever made a bucket list before moving somewhere new?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Goals


1. Pack.
2. Clean.
3. Move.
4. Finish our San Diego bucket list.

With just 30 days until we move, that is all I will have to focus on this month!

August Goals
1. Try a class at the gym. Fail. I hurt my knee and then my back two weeks later, and I'm still not able to workout much.
2. Sell all of my textbooks back. Fail. My printer is having issues with the brand new ink cartridge I bought, so I need to get that taken care of first.
3. Work ahead in my class so that I can have the last week of September to focus on beginning to pack. Mostly Success. We mostly enjoyed the last weekend out of the house, but we did start packing.
4. Consignment stores/Goodwill. Mostly success.
5. Scratch something off our San Diego Bucket List. Success! We saw the classic at Del Mar!
 
Monthly Goals

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happy Tot

A few months ago, Caden got so sick that we were praying and worrying about our little man around the clock. It was stressful enough to worry about him being able to breath, but on top of everything else, I was struggling to find something that Caden would eat. In desperation, I went down the baby aisle of the grocery store and filled my shopping cart with fun snack items that I thought might entice my sicky to eat. Nothing kept his attention for more than a few bites, but then I found an organic fruit and veggie pouch that I had been given out when the Happy Family visited our Gymboree class. He sucked down the whole darn thing, even though he couldn't breath through his nose. So, I ran back to the grocery store and stocked up on organic fruit pouches with veggies, yogurt and grains.


I have to say, Happy Family gave this mama peace of mind when I was at my wits end. Their products are still a favorite in our house, and they have even helped during other battles.. Like when Caden suddenly had an issue with texture and stopped eating any and all fresh fruit. Or when his back molars started coming through, and he refused to eat all his favorite foods. Or when I can't seem to figure out how to get the texture of my homemade pouches right!

Does your child become a super picky eater when they are sick or teething? What do you do to make sure they are getting the nutrients they need to get better?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Grocery shopping part 2

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Last week, I wrote a post about a lady whose comment about how young I looked turned into a meaningful conversation in the middle of the grocery store.

The day after I wrote it, I had a complete opposite experience at the grocery store. I was shopping at the commissary, and some lady walked by me and said, 'Oh! The tiniest woman in the world!" I thought that she couldn't possibly be talking to me, but when I looked up, she said, "You are so cute!" I just stared at her as she walked by, dumbfounded that this stranger actually made such a comment to me. I'm used to people telling me that I'm small, skinny, young looking, whatever, but I've never had anyone call me the tiniest woman in the world, and I've never had another woman call me cute like that.

As I walked to the checkout line, a million responses went through my head:

Have you ever seen Little Women: LA?
My husband doesn't think I'm 'cute'
Do I look like a little girl pushing a doll in a stroller?

But I just gave her the 'look' because some people aren't worth it. I'm going to go shine my trophy for being the "tiniest woman in the world" now.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Is that your son?



A few weeks ago, I was grocery shopping with my son. We were in the store for five minutes before some random lady at the grocery store asked me, "Is that your son?" I was a little irritated by her question, but she was smiling at Caden, so I gave her a simple yes. I started looking through the steaks when she told me how young I looked. I'm used to people saying things like this- it's amazing how many people just can't keep their mouths shut. Usually, I ignore their remarks, but for some reason, probably because she was forward enough to mention my son, I told her my age- "I'm 23." I thought that would shut her up, but instead she smiled and said, "Good for you. Better to have kids young so you have the energy to chase after them. It's so tiring when your my age." I don't remember what my response was, but I felt guilty that I had judged this lady by thinking she was judging me. Somehow, we started talking and I told her that the reason I had my son so young was because I had been diagnosed with endometriosis. She said, "So do I," and told me her story- she had waiting a few years after she got married to start trying for a baby and was diagnosed after not being able to conceive. It took her 17 years of trying before she had her child, but she never gave up.

I don't normally open up to people I'm close to, much less a stranger, but there I was, in the meat isle of the super market, connecting with a woman about this disease that had changed both of our lives in such very different ways.

When she walked away, she told me she was happy for me, and I believed it. What a crazy feeling to know that this stranger is genuinely happy for me to have something that took her so long to get. I'm happy for her too, and thankful that she connected with me to remind me of how blessed I truly am.

Friday, August 1, 2014

August Goals

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August is here, which means my husband will soon be also! In the mean time, here are my goals.

1. Try a class at the gym.
2. Sell all of my textbooks back.
3. Work ahead in my class so that I can have the last week of September to focus on beginning to pack.
4. Consignment stores/Goodwill.
5. Scratch something off our San Diego Bucket List.


1. Finish one sewing project. Fail. I put my sewing machine away before we had company at the beginning of the month, and I never found the time to even pull it out again.
2. Try a new lunch recipe. Ehh. Does making steak tacos with leftover steak count as a new recipe since I never eat that for lunch?
3. Drink water with my meal at least 2x a week. Success! For the most part, I've started drinking water with at least one meal a day. I've also cut down on the afternoon caffeine.
4. Declutter. I'd say this was a sorta success. I cleaned out Caden's closet and reorganized and repacked all of his clothes that we are saving in case we have another boy. I did a few things here and there but there is still so much to do!
5. Consignment stores. Another somewhat success. I made it to one childrens consignment store, but the Goodwill box is still in my bedroom until Hubs comes home.

 
Monthly Goals

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

5 reminders that I do love myself

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At first, I was going to opt out of today's prompt, to list five things that I love about myself. But then I realized that every woman needs reminders like this every once in a while, myself included. So here are the five things I love about myself:

1. My size. I'm 5' and 90 pounds. With all the skinny-shaming in the media lately, this is a love that I need to remind myself of every so often.

2. My baking skills. I love baking and making things from scratch, and I'm pretty good at it if I do say so myself.

3. My hair. Besides a short stint in elementary school, I've had long hair my entire life, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. I'm especially loving my hair since I started the no-poo method earlier this month!

4. My perfectionism. I won't go so far as to say that I love my type-A personality, but I do love that I am a perfectionist. My husband might beg to differ though.

5. My maternal instincts. It's not easy being a mother, but it continuously amazes me that I have these maternal instincts that kick in whenever I need them.

Allieology
 
What do you love about yourself? Do you ever remind yourself of these loves?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Perspective

Last Thursday, I went to the first meeting of a women's bible study at my church. As we were going around introducing ourselves, one of the women told the group that her husband was leaving that day for a seven month deployment. She also told us that the emotions hadn't hit her or her three year old son just yet. As a fellow navy wife, my heart went out to her. But I could also see that she had a strength that I didn't have.


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My husband recently left for an underway that will last a few weeks. The day before he left I cried three times for really no reason at all. First, because my son had been whining and screaming for an hour. Second, because my husband told me he needed to go get a haircut. Third, because my husband told me he understood that I wasn't feeling well and about how much he loved me. All silly reasons to cry, right? On the morning I dropped him off, I wiped away a tear as I drove away. A completely normal reaction. But the next morning, I woke up missing my husband something terrible. And I cried. Three times throughout the day, again. I walked around the next few days with a pit in my stomach and a fog over my head.

I've realized that there were many things leading up to this emotional disaster I've been experiencing the past few days. My husband just got back from a long underway earlier this month. My mom flew in two days before he left and flew back the day before he got home. So even though that underway was the same length of time as this one, it went by much quicker because I was enjoying the time I got to spend with my mom after not seeing her for six months. Chris and I got a whole two days together before my nephew got here to spend a week with us. The next weekend, my in-laws came for a jam-packed visit. We spent the entire two and a half weeks we had between underways pleasing other people, and then on the weekend that we were supposed to have with just our little family, we had to have another visitor show up. Not only did Aunt Flow bring the hormones, but cramps that were more painful than I've delt with in months. And then all of a sudden, my husband was gone before I had the time to swallow the fact that he was leaving.

So when I ran into the woman from my bible study at the gym, I immediately walked up to her and asked how she was doing. I thought she might need some support, and also I wanted to know I wasn't alone in my misery. But you know what she said? "It still hasn't hit me yet."

Granted, it may hit her like a ton of bricks a month from now, but that's neither here nor there. The point is that my husband is only gone for a fraction of the time that hers is, and I'm the one crying every day like my world is ending. It made me take a look at myself and change my perspective. I need to look at the positives instead of focusing on the negatives. I get the car everyday to do exactly what I want, and Caden is getting to do all kind of fun things because of it.


I might have to deal with every tantrum and every diaper change.
I might have to lug the dog/toddler down and up the stairs 3/2 times a day.
I might have to take the trash out everytime it gets full, and cook every meal, and wash every dish.
I might have to wake up every time my son cries in the middle of the night and super early in the am.
I might have to help my toddler up the stairs while carrying heavy groceries after every shopping trip.

But I get every kiss and hug that my son wants to give.
I get to kiss every boo-boo and wipe away every tear before having his head lay on my shoulder.
I get to spend quality time with my son every day for weeks. Just the two of us
I get to feel what its like to truly miss someone.
I get to appreciate all of the things that my husband does for our family.
I get to fall in love with my husband all over again once he gets home.


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Friday, July 25, 2014

23 monsters

 
 
Today is my husband's twenty third birthday, and guess where he is spending it? Out in the middle of the ocean. In the four years that we have been married, I have only gotten to spend one birthday with him.Of course, we celebrated early, but it still stinks being away from each other on the actual day.



Maybe I should have put "23 days of monster energy for every one of the days we have to be apart."

Happy Birthday Babe, wherever you are!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Currently..

I am currently..

Reading: Besides my finance textbook, I'm slowly reading Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult.
Writing: School takes the cake on this one too. I have a five page report due next Sunday in addition to all the other work I have to do each week.
Listening to: The guy with the weed wacker/ leaf blower that always comes by my apartment during my son's nap time. Every time.
Thinking: Please, don't wake up Caden!
Smelling: Lunch.. Beef and bean burrito with guacamole.
Wishing: The leaf blower would turn around and go the other way. That my house would magically clean itself and my homework would magically get done so that I could take a nap!
Hoping: That I can stay busy but not wear myself out during the next three weeks while my husband is gone.
Wearing: A pink and white zebra print dress that I bought my freshman year for a jungle themed party..
Wanting: My husband to come home and the underway to get cancelled! A girl can wish..
Loving: The vanilla almond cream cheese frosting I made last night for my husband's early birthday cupcakes.
Needing: A nap, followed by caffeine and a pain pill for these darn cramps.

Allieology

Monday, July 21, 2014

GIF day

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Because it's that time of the month, and because I love Jennifer Lawrence gifs, this sums it all up.

 
Allieology

Friday, July 18, 2014

5 Favorites

My five random favorites...

1. My favorite author is Jodi Picoult. I think I've read about 10 of her books, and I've enjoyed every one of them. I love her writing style, the way she intertwines an extra topic- oceanography, astronomy, baking, drawing- into the story, and the way she respects the subject she is writing about by doing research. I'm currently reading Handle with Care.

2. My favorite chore is laundry. I know its because of how much of a perfectionist I am, but I actually enjoy folding clothes. And I rarely let my husband help, because I end up refolding the clothes (at least I admitted I was a perfectionist).

3. My favorite post this month is SAHM debate.

4. My favorite movie when I was younger was Cry-Baby with Johnny Depp. I actually saw a woman with a Cry-Baby tattoo on her arm a few weeks ago, tear drop and all!

5. My favorite drink from Starbucks is an iced caramel macchiato. I could really go for one right about now..

Allieology

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Cities

My hometown is Phoenix, AZ, where it gets to be 120 degrees in the summer and green rarely grows. I ran cross country for six years (practice was at 3pm most of the time), and somehow I never once died of heat exhaustion. Some people complain that there is only one season in Phoenix, but after spending 8 months in super hot weather, I used to freeze my butt off in the winter when it was 60 degrees out. I thought I would always be used to the weather, but once I moved away I realized something: you never want to return to the melting desert once you have a taste of cooler weather.

This isn't Phoenix, its about two hours away in Sedona.. But I didn't think you wanted to stare at dirt.

I've spent the past four years (besides that miserable summer I spent in Phoenix when I was 6 months pregnant) in San Diego, within 20 minutes of the beach. Where we currently live, it rarely, and I mean rarely, gets over 75 degrees. And in the winter, it rarely gets below 68. Perfect weather, year round. We live within 30 minutes of the beach, downtown, at least 5 malls, The San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, Balboa Park, museums, aquariums, Coronado, and Naval Base San Diego.

Our most recent beach trip - my little Cali boy HATED it.
In a few months, we will be calling a new city home.. Murfreesboro, Tennessee! We are so very excited to see what this new city has in store for our family!

Allieology

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My 3 Favorite Blogs

I love reading blogs that either inspire me or that I can relate to. I love these three blogs for those very reasons:

 
1. The Shine Project. Not only do Ashley and I share the same first name, but the same hometown! With her project, she is able to put at-risk teens to work and provide them with scholarships. Purchasing one of the adorable bracelets or t-shirts from the Thread's shop will fund those scholarships (this and this are on my wish list). But the real reason I keep coming back to her blog- I love the perspective she has on the little things in life.




2. Don't Quote the Raven. This girl is witty, sarcastic, and honest. Some of her stories have me actually laughing-out-loud and some have me scrolling through the comments to see all the controversy she has stirred up. When I find myself second guessing the things I am writing because I'm afraid of what people will react, I think of Raven.

 
 
3. The Freckled Fox. Emily's blog and posts always seems so peaceful and calming (I mean, look at that picture). Her blog is full of inspiration- whether its all the amazing hair tutorials she posts, or the fact that she has four young children and just recently competed in a fitness competition. Now that's motivation.

Allieology

Friday, July 11, 2014

SAHM debate

I don't know why stay-at-home-moms have to be such a hot topic. I don't know how many battles of working moms vs stay at home moms I have heard or read. Any article about either one turns into a battle of right versus wrong, and it is just ridiculous.

I think that a woman's role as a mom is whatever she makes it. When my husband and I were first married, I told him of my desire to be a stay at home mom. I also told him that it didn't seem likely, since I was already a year into college and had plans to have a career. I made sure to get his opinion, since he was just as important to our family as me, and found out that he was supportive either way.

During the summer of 2011, a few months after being diagnosed with endometriosis, my husband and I started trying for a baby. I was working full time as a supervisor at a local sub shop, taking classes online, and my husband was going to be leaving on a deployment shortly after the first of the year. It was way earlier than either of us had expected to be trying to conceive, but it felt right. When I told my boss I was going to be quitting in January, I didn't give them the full explanation. I was hoping I would be pregnant by that time and moving back home to spend my pregnancy with family, but I couldn't say something so outrageous. It wasn't actually until the middle of February, a week after my husband left for deployment, that I found out we were expecting.

I did work for two months when I moved back to Cali at the end of my pregnancy to help pay for the nursery, but when I was offered my job again when my son was a few months old, Chris eagerly supported my decision to decline.

I absolutely love being a stay at home mom. I do think it is a lot of work, but its the kind of work that I look forward to doing every day. I try to take an active role as a mother, but that doesn't mean that I am successful all the time.



My personal view on being a mother will always be the same: I knowingly brought a child into this world and since I have the means to stay home, I will raise my child myself. Of course, there are many women out there who are already knee-deep in their careers and want to have a job and kids, and I won't judge them for their decisions. My mother worked my whole life, and besides missing her as a child, I don't think I turned out any differently because of that factor alone. She was an amazing mother, and now as an adult, I can look back and respect her working so hard to support our family.

I choose to be a stay at home mom because it is the best decision for my family. I take online college classes full time, I live six hours away from family, and I am the wife of a military member who spends plenty of time away and makes enough money to allow me to stay home with our son full time. My husband and I made the decision to have a child, and I believe that my calling is to raise our son.

In the future, I will go to work and begin my career, but I don't know when that will be. God has blessed me with an amazing opportunity right now, and I am enjoying (almost) every minute of it! I have built a wonderful bond with my son, but so has my husband, who goes to work every day. Parenting is what you make it.


The Life Of Faith

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Goals


1. Finish one sewing project. I have like 10 projects that need to get done, but I just can't seem to find the time!
2. Try a new lunch recipe. Lunch seems to be the hardest meal for me to eat healthy (or 'whole'), but I've been doing pretty good the past month. I think adding a new healthy recipe would balance out how many salads I have been eating.
3. Drink water with my meal at least 2x a week. I know this sounds a little ridiculous, but I didn't grow up in one of those "you can only have water or milk with your meal" families, so I have always been hooked on soda and juice. As a result, I'm a 'water snob' and can only drink certain types of water and at certain times (i.e. not with a meal). I just need to suck it up.
4. Declutter. Moving day is inching closer, and getting rid of clutter is the first step towards packing.
5. Consignment stores. Speaking of moving day, consignment stores and Goodwill are the second steps to packing.

1. Finish my planner. I found a binder at none other than Target!
2. Juice once a week. Success!
3. Make meal planning more of an effort. Success. I cheated a little because I've been going grocery shopping about every 3 days instead of once a week, but I still stuck to my plans.
4. Drink more water. Mostly a success, since drinking a glass of water is good for what I usually drink but not good enough in general.
5. Enjoy my last summer in San Diego. I guess I should have put this in July's goals since summer didn't actually start until June 20, but it has felt like summer since like March. I'm still calling this a success since my mom and I got out of the house almost every day during her visit, and we have lots of plans for July. Caden *hates* the beach, so we won't be enjoying our last summer in San Diego in the typical way!
 
Monthly Goals

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Catch-up

How do I go from scheduling posts ahead for a month straight to being a month behind? I guess that's what happens when I have a sick child, get sick myself, and take a super hard business class in one month. Even though I'm over a month late, I have some Easter pictures that are just too cute not to share!


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Away

Since Chris is underway right now, I emailed him this picture with Caden's new Daddy shirt and a sign.
Caden's present to Daddy this year was matching sunglasses since Chris always dresses him like his little mini-me! We are definitely missing our hero today. Happy Father's Day Babe, we miss you!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Good things come in small packages

I have to admit, I always thought the quote was "Big things come in small packages." Either way, I've always agreed with the saying, considering that I am just barely 5 feet tall.

The saying goes for other areas of life as well. Like, have you ever changed a newborn's dirty diaper? Oh nevermind, the saying is really 'good things' not 'big things' come in small packages.

But when it comes to the Venus Snap razor, good things really do come in small packages.

The Venus Snap with Embrace is the perfect on-the-go razor.

 It even comes with a cute little case so that you can throw it in your bag and never worry about going to the beach with leg stubble!


Ok, I think I've used my share of "good things in little packages" references for a few years!


I received the Venus Snap complimentary from Influenster.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June Goals

 
 
1. Finish my planner. I purchased a printable planner on etsy, and I've printed most of the sheets, but I still need to find a pretty binder!
2. Juice once a week. I am not a juicer, but I do juice. Once a week is a pretty good balance for me.
3. Make meal planning more of an effort. I haven't been too bad about dinner, but I need to start planning breakfast and lunch so I don't have to deal with low blood sugar symptoms so often.
4. Drink more water. I am and always have been terrible about drinking water. If I can just drink one full glass a day every day, that would be good for me. As bad as that sounds.
5. Enjoy my last summer in San Diego. I just realized that this is my last. summer. in. S.D.!!
 
 
1. Talk to my advisor/ finish my school schedule. Done! Three more classes!
2. Spring CleanI've decided theres no point in spring cleaning when I have to clean it from top to bottom in three months anyway. Our deposit is over $1000, and you bet your bottom I'm going to get a majority of that back.
3. Workout twice a week. For the first three weeks of May, I went to the gym twice and did a workout at home once each week. But the last week, Caden was sick and I had a 45 page paper due on Saturday, so we stayed home. This week was out of my control, so I'm calling it a success!
4. Family pictures! FAIL. Chris and I both read the groupon wrong, and it expired at the beginning of May!

What are your goals this month? Any big plans for the summer?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Blah

I feel like I've spent the past two weeks either sitting at my computer or with my nose in a book.
I've mentioned it before, but I'm finishing my degree up online by taking one class a month. To put things into perspective, I took over a year off, took 6 months of maternity leave, and a few classes here and there, and I'm only graduating a year late. For the most part, I enjoy this schedule, but every once in a while I get a class that I really need that full semester. Like my capstone business class, where I had to write a 45 page strategic analysis in one week. And thats not because I procrastinated!

To make life even more hectic, Caden got croup for a second time and hand, foot, and mouth in the past week. When I thought Caden had HFM, I felt embarassed because it just sounds like something only dirty little kids get. But in all reality, its a virus that can be passed the same way as a cold!

To make things even worse, literally 5 minutes after I finished my paper at 11 pm Saturday night, I felt like I was going to throw up. Chris made a joke about my body feeling lost without having any homework to do, but I'm still feeling the same way today. So yesterday, my one day off of school consisted of laying around the house and taking a nap. My house looks like a tornado hit it, and I need to go grocery shopping, but I'm going to go sneak in another nap before my son wakes up!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Eighteen months

These shoes don't fit despite being brand new and his size, but I stuffed his feet in for Easter anyway, oops!

My little man turned 18 months last month! His appointment was just last week so I waited to get his stats since I want to be able to keep these updates kind of like a baby book.

Growth- At Caden's 18 month check-up, he was 32 inches and 25 pounds. We always think Caden look so big compared to other kids his age, but he is in the 32nd and 69th percentiles. I think it might be because he is so stalky, just like his daddy! The doctor also pointed out something else that he has of his dad's- wide feet. He is in size 6 shoes, and we have to search for ones that are wide enough to fit his feet.. just because they are labeled wide doesn't mean they are wide enough! We found a pair of Nike SB's that actually fit. This boy is going to cost us a fortune just on shoes!

New skills- It has been six months since I have done an update, so Caden has gained so many new skills in that time! I think the most impressive is that he can jump! He has actually been jumping since he was 14 months, and I mean both feet off the ground jumping. Caden also learned to 'skateboard' on his xylophone after watching skate videos with his daddy, and I have to admit he is pretty good. He even tries to do tricks! Climbing stairs (and everything else) and running are some of the other things he can do now. Any time we go somewhere, Caden throws a fit if I carry him on the stairs. In fact, he throws fits all the time. I thought this wasn't supposed to happen until the terrible twos?

Major events- In the past few months, Caden went to the Birch Aquarium and the Children's Museum, took Gymboree classes, and had his first Easter egg hunt. He also has started going to day care at the YMCA while I workout, and he has so much fun that he doesn't want to leave with me! Another major event was when Caden got sick with croup and an upper respiratory infection. It was terrifying to know that he was having trouble breathing, and I'm still scared it is going to happen again. Last weekend, we had an appointment where the doctor had Caden run around and then monitored his heart and oxygen levels, and everything came back great!

Likes/dislikes- Caden started getting picky about textures with things like strawberries and rice a few months ago, but things got really bad once he got sick. The first 5 days after the croup, he would only drink milk and eat puffs or yogurt bites. I was one stressed mama. We then discovered that he would eat pouches, so it was that and steamed veggies for another week. It literally took a month after getting sick for Caden to start eating normal again. His favorite breakfast food right now is cottage cheese, and dinner is meatloaf. Lunches are a struggle for some reason, but he can destroy a homemade green juice!

Words- I wouldn't say that Caden is behind with talking, but it is not his best skill. He is so focused on mastering physical skills that he just doesn't have time for talking! He can say (with meaning) Mama, Dad, Jack, ow, wow, uh-oh, no, bird, ready, and I love you. He is also learning all done and thank you, and constantly imitates things that we say. He even yelled "crap!" the other day after Daddy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Green Baby Series: Bottles and Cups


When I first had the idea for a green baby series, I thought I could cram all this good info into one post. I quickly realized I was wrong. So I made a basic outline for the entire series and wrote up the first two posts about diapering and bath and body products just in time for Earth day. Last week, I had intended to write about everything that goes into a baby’s mouth, but had to stop at pacifiers and teethers. This week, I thought I would finish up writing about everything involving feeding, but it got too lengthy with just bottles and sippy cups!



 

Bottles are one of those areas that can leave a first time mom feeling completely overwhelmed. Somehow, you choose a bottle (or spend a small fortune trying every single brand), and then less than a year later, you have to do the whole process all over again with sippy cups. I personally found sippy cups to be a more difficult venture, and there are 0 green sippy cups sold in stores. The recent movement to get rid of BPA has led consumers to believe that their products are free of harmful substances, but just because a plastic bottle is marked 'BPA-free' does not mean that it is safe. This article, with citations from a credible study, gives a brief description about why we should stay away from plastics in general. This study, supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH), lists research that plastic products, including BPA-free baby bottles, still release estrogenic chemicals.

Bottles
Somehow, I settled on Dr. Brown's bottles, and I have been very happy with my choice. One of the selling points of Dr. Brown's bottles is that the million pieces help reduce the air that enters the baby's belly and causes tummy aches. Since I only know of one time when my son acted like he had a belly ache as an infant, I believe that was in part because of the bottles we chose, although I don’t have anything to compare it to. While the internal pieces remain the same, Dr. Brown's does sell glass bottles. The last set we purchased were glass, and we never had a problem with them breaking, or falling on baby's head or anything like that. Caden was never into holding his own bottle until he was much older (plastic or glass), so I can't comment on whether it affected him being able to hold it on his own or not. But really, I enjoyed giving my son a bottle, which also could be the reason he never wanted to hold it on his own!

Sippy Cups
These are just as difficult as bottles. Not only are there as many options, but they are more expensive. We started out with a cheap Nuby sippy with a nipple to get my son the hang of drinking out of something other than a bottle, and then we switched to a straw cup around 10 months. When it comes to plastic sippy cups, we really like the Lolla cup, which is a weighted straw cup made in the USA. It does leak when turned upside down, but we don't let Caden run around with a sippy cup so that is not a problem for us. When I started researching green sippy cups, I found that there weren't a lot of options, and the ones that were available were either poorly rated or super expensive (or both). After a lot of research, I finally decided on the stainless steel PuraKiki, and we are very happy with the bottle. The bottle is stainless steal as well as the collar, and the nipple (for infants) and sip spout is silicone. Laura has a great review of most of the brands of stainless steal sippy cups, including the Pura Kiki.  I would like to have a stainless steal straw cup for my son, but I don’t let Caden nurse his milk so I don’t think we will have a problem. When Caden gets a little older, he will use the mason jars with metal lids that we use.

Next week I will be posting about organic food choices, the easiest way to start going green!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May Goals

source
1. Talk to my advisor/ finish my school schedule. I'm pretty sure I only have four classes to go before I graduate, but the requirements for my electives are confusing. I hope I don't have more to do than I thought!
2. Spring Clean. I've never actually 'spring cleaned', but this year I am going to do it (a little late). I've made a list, and I will be happy if I can get a decent portion done this month.
3. Workout twice a week. My Crunch membership expired this month, so I decided to look for a gym with childcare now that Caden is a little older. I signed up for a family membership at the YMCA, so now I can go on days that I have the car, plus we can go as a family instead of Chris and I having to decide who gets to go on what days. I have gone twice, and Caden has so much fun at the day care that he doesn't want to leave!
5. Family pictures! Our groupon expires at the end of the month!


Last month's goals...
1. Finish sewing two sheets. Fail. The past two months have been really difficult for me with endometriosis pain, so I haven't accomplished as much as I have wanted. Plus this month I am taking a capstone business class that is going to hog all of my time, so I'm just going to put my sewing projects on hold.
2. Post once a week to the blog. Success. I posted six times in April and started my green baby series.
3. Clean out freezer. Fail. I did dig through to find some forgotten meat, but I didn't do a full cleaning.
4. Back-up my computer to my USB. Somewhat success. All of my organized pictures are saved, but I still need to organize/add the pictures from the last two months.
5. Plan the basics of our move. Success. Now just waiting on the Navy to tell us where we are going!
6. Schedule Family Pictures. Fail. We just need to pick a weekend in May!

Monthly Goals

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Green Baby Series: Teethers and pacifiers



Somehow, anything and everything goes into an infant’s mouth. At 18 months, my son is even worse! Seriously, he eats dog food on a regular basis, and if I’m not looking he will suck down a tube of diaper rash cream, toothpaste, or hand sanitizer. I’ve pulled batteries, coins, gum, and who knows what else out of his mouth. For the things I can control, I try to stay as natural as possible!


Pacifiers
There are plenty of arguments about whether or not to give your baby a pacifier in the first place, and I really like the view from this article. The AAP does say that giving a sleeping infant a pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS, which is a big benefit in my eyes. However, I think the lines that surrounds SIDS are a little blurred, so don't feel guilty if you decide not to give your child a pacifier for whatever personal reason. I personally chose to give my son a pacifier around two months old, before we switched to co sleeping, and my son is almost weaned at 18 months. (Almost! He would have been weaned already if it wasn’t for getting sick!) I chose Jollypop pacifiers (previously Hawaii medical) because they seemed to harbor fewer germs with the one piece design. At the time, I didn't even think of looking for a more green choice because I really didn’t think that there would be one. But of course there is a natural choice: Natursutten pacifiers are made with natural rubber. They are expensive, but we survived with only two pacifiers at a time with Caden and only had to replace those once because of wear and tear. I'll definitely choose these with my next child if we decide to use pacifiers.

Teething
Chances are, you have had many family members recommend orajel for your child's sore gums (in addition to plenty of crazy old remedies). I personally decided to stay away from orajel because I was afraid of numbing my son's gag reflexes, but with a quick Google search, I found a better reason for steering away: according to the FDA, benzocaine can cause a disease called methemoglobinemia that causes dangerously low oxygen levels. You can read more about the symptoms and concerns in this article from the FDA. As a disclaimer, the children's Orajel box does say that it is intended for children age 2 and up.

Tylenol almost always does the trick, but it is not natural in any way, and it increases the risk of developing asthma if given in the first year, something I wasn't aware of until a few months ago. However, I don't believe this study does much more than provide a link between something we give our children (as a society) and a growing health concern, but that is just my opinion.

The solution- Stock up on teethers! One of our family favorites is Sophie the Giraffe because she is made with 100% natural rubber and food paint. Around 6 months old, Caden would go to town chewing on her feet while they squeaked against his gums. Caden's all time favorite teether was actually his Nuby Silicone teether with bristles. This one stays soft in the freezer and can reach to the molars. Opinions on silicone differ, so this might be something you want to do your own research on.

I know a lot of mom's swear by Hylands teething tablets and Camilla teething liquid, but we only had mediocre results with Camilla and never tried Hylands. Orajel also has a natural teething gel that is actually made with homeopathic ingredients. We have used it a few times, and I’ve noticed a tiny difference, but at this age it is really hard to get it on my son’s gums. Either he clamps down his lips or he sucks it right off my finger before I can get it to the right place. Some people also swear by amber teething necklaces, but I just haven’t been comfortable enough allowing my son to wear a necklace when I’m not looking at him 24/7.

Are there any other natural teething remedies that you use with your child?

I hope you stop by next Tuesday for a post all about feeding our little ones!
 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Green Baby Series: Bath and Body


If you missed the first post, be sure to check it out here! This week I'm sharing about diaper rash creams, lotions, body wash and sunscreen.

Diaper Rash
If you look up petrolatum on EWG, it has a moderate health concern, and this is the active ingredient in petroleum jelly, Aquaphor, A+D, as well as many other creams. Desitin maximum strength and rapid relief both received a 5/10 score, meaning a moderate health concern, due to BHA in the max strength, and propylparabens in the rapid relief. Parabens can potentially disrupt the endocrine system by mimicking estrogen, and are one of the chemicals that I have been really carefully to eliminate out of my family's life.

If you were going to choose one of the creams mentioned above, I would choose petroleum jelly, aquaphor, or A+D original. However, there are many natural alternatives out there. Some of our favorites are Babyganics Healing Groovy petroleum alternative, and Boudreaux's Buttpaste, All Natural.

Remember, you can’t trust everything that claims to be natural. For example, I purchased Burt's Bees diaper ointment and later found out that it contains retinyl acetate, which is a known human reproductive toxicant. I really despise companies that try to mislead their companies with labels such as 'l00% natural' and still place toxins in their products.

I know natural diaper creams (like most natural products) can be pricey, but I have an even better alternative for you: coconut oil! Seriously, this stuff competes with the best of them. I started using it when my son had a bad diaper rash that turned into a yeast infection. Nystatin still hadn't cleared everything after almost two weeks, so I decided to layer it with coconut oil, and we saw improvement right away. Coconut oil helps with yeast because of the antifungal properties. Now it’s my go-to when I start to see redness. If the rash needs a little more protection, I do a layer of coconut oil followed with a layer of Babyganics ‘healing groovy petroleum alternative.’ Another tried and true ‘natural’ treatment for diaper rash is naked time! A little airing-out time goes a long way! For stubborn rashes that are continuously irritated by dirty diapers, I’ve used baking soda in a warm bath (we used to use a tummy tub, but when we transitioned to the big tub I would do the baking soda in just a few inches of water) followed with around 30 minutes diaper free play time, followed by the coconut oil/cream method I listed above.

Sunscreen
We live in San Diego, and spend a lot of time outdoors year-round, so skin protection is a must. For myself and my husband, I’ve relied on Coppertone Sport SPF 50. It does what it says it supposed to- prevent sunburns- but with an EWG rating of 7, who knows what other damage it is doing to my body. The first sunscreen I purchased for Caden was Babyganics Cover-Up Baby Sunscreen SPF 50, and the whole family ended up using it. I didn’t have any problems rubbing it in for Caden or myself, but my husband would groan every time I got it out because it would stick to his hair and leave his skin white. We also never got burned or even tanned while wearing it. Although EWG rates it a 2, I won’t be purchasing it again because there are better, more natural, choices on the market. After doing some research recently, I ordered ThinkBabySunscreen SPF 50+ to replace our last bottle of sunscreen. Sadly, I can’t review it yet because it is still in the mail! Safemama has a great list of natural sunscreens.

 Lotion
 I think it’s a safe bet to say that almost every mom receives Johnson’s baby lotion as a baby shower gift. I think it’s also a safe bet to say that most moms don’t know that is has propylparabens in it.

This is another example of me reaching for BabyGanics before doing any research. Soothing Daily Lotion, Cucumber Aloe, seems like it is a good option, but it is rated a 5 by EWG because of fragrance. This is the same rating as Johnson’s baby lotion, which contains parabens, so I still would choose BabyGanics if I had to choose between the two. (Side note- EWG does have a lot of great information, but some ratings can be misleading. It is a great starting point, but not the end-all be-all in my book.)

Our bottle of BabyGanics lotion is still sitting on the shelf ¾’s of the way full. What do we use? Coconut oil! It’s the magic cream that works for anything and everything. Seriously, in our house, the term, “try coconut oil” has been said way too many times! I even use it on both mine and Caden’s faces, and it dries very quickly without being oily.

 
Soap
Johnson’s baby shampoo, just like the lotion, is probably a U.S. household staple. EWG gives the shampoo a 5, due to fragrance and QUATERNIUM-15, which is a formaldehyde releaser. However, I’m not sure if new bottles still contain this toxin, since Johnson’s was supposed to phase it out by 2013. We use Burt’s Bee’s fragrance free shampoo & wash and haven’t had any problems. Just a warning- a lot of natural baby products have shea butter in them, and from our experience, it burns your eyes. So stick to shea butter in lotions, not body wash/shampoo.

 
If you get anything out of this post, I hope it makes you run out and buy a tub of organic virgin coconut oil! Pretty soon you will be calling it the magic cream also! I’ll see you next week for all about pacifiers and teething remedies!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I am a real military wife

Today I'm linking up with Samantha to share with you what a real military wife looks like.

Mal Smiles
 
Who I am- My name is Ashley. I am a 23 year old stay at home mom to my 18 month old little man and currently finishing up my degree online. My husband, Chris, is an OS2 in the Navy and recently reenlisted for the next four years as a recruiter.

4/27/10
I do fit a few of the military wife stereotypes
-I got married to Chris at 19 in a Chicago courthouse. We knew from the beginning that we got married when we did so that I would be on his orders, but that wasn't the reason for getting married. Being aware of that fact made our decision even stronger.
-I had a child at 21, but it was something that my husband and I were hoping and praying for. After being diagnosed with endometriosis, all of our future plans were rewritten to (hopefully) include a child in our young family.
-I am a stay at home mom, but I don't sit on my ass all day while my husband works his off. My husband and I made the decision to have a child, and we made the decision that I would stay home and give our child some consistency in this inconsistent life.
 
November 2011
My military story- Chris and I got married during my freshman year of college and while he was in a-school in Great Lakes, Illinois. Chris got his orders to San Diego, and during his leave we looked at apartments and made plans for me to move a couple weeks after he got settled in. That all changed when Chris called me the night he got to his ship to tell me that the next day they were leaving for a week, and would only be back for a few days before a 2-month long underway. I definitely got thrown right in to the navy life!
While Chris was underway, I packed all of our belongings into a uhaul with my car hitched to the back and drove from Arizona to California to our new apartment. We spent the next year soaking up newlywed life in sunny San Diego without a single underway while the ship was 'in the yards' for repairs.
When the ship came out of the yards, underways and workups started immediately, and I was once again reminded what it was like to be a military wife. During this time, I was working full time as a supervisor at a deli and going to school online. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2010, and with a deployment a year away, we started trying for a baby. With all of the stress surrounding us, we went through one negative test after another. We had already made plans for me to move back home with my mom in the hopes of me being pregnant, so I left my job and packed up my stuff even though we hadn't gotten a positive test. We were both surprised when Chris called on the second Friday he was gone to hear the results of one more positive pregnancy test.
Chris was gone for almost my entire pregnancy, besides two weeks in between underways, and it was a really difficult experience. He came home when I was 7 months pregnant, and even though it is always a learning experience to transition back to being at home after a deployment, the pregnancy made it even harder. The ship once again went into the yards, and Chris has been home for the first year and a half of our son's life.
We are getting ready to start work ups and underways before a deployment again. After a year and a half of having my husband home, I'm not ready for him to leave again.
Our decision to reenlist was not made lightly- there are so many positives and negatives that come with military life. I know that my husband will excel at being a recruiter, and I know that I will look back and be happy that we took our family on this adventure. There is a sense of pride in being a military wife that I will always have.

November 2012- Yes there is a baby in all that camo!
One thing I wish people knew about being a military wife- I don't wish for people to know how hard it is to be a military wife. I don't want them to experience the lack of control we have. I don't want them to feel the pain of a tearful goodbye at 3 in the morning. I don't want them to worry about feeling like a single parent for months a time. I don't want them to worry about their husband when communication has been down for days. I don't want them to experience the transition from a whole family, to just a part of a family, and back again.
But I do wish for people to know what it's like to be a proud military spouse. I want them to experience a homecoming after being separated for months. I want them to feel the pride in seeing their husband in uniform. I want them to know what it is like to be a part of something bigger than themselves, to know that their family is serving their country.

March 2010- Basic Graduation