Saturday, October 19, 2013

Vote for MJ!!

My cute little guy was entered in a photo contest over at Seams Geeky's facebook page. As you know I LOVE her diapers and here is our chance to snag another one!! Head on over and check out all the amazing geeky entries and "like" your favorite!!

(Then "like" MJ too!)

You can vote here!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Government Shutdown

Now I hate to whine two weeks in a row but, COME ON!? Remember all the awesome good things I had to say last week in this post about being in the military? Well, it all really boils down to one thing: $$$ and if the government shuts down guess who doesn't get $$$. Us. That's right your friendly neighborhood military gets to continue going to work everyday and not get paid for it. Because you know we don't have to worry about bills and things right? No. No, not really. The bills keep coming and unfortunately there isn't a cute little statute set up so we can opt out of our bills if congress forgets to pull its head out of its ass and sign our fucking pay checks.

Okay. Rant over. I needed that.

ETA: Looks like we will be paid. Whew. Still fucking pissed that all this is happening in the first place. Not to mention the 800,000 government employees about to be furloughed. You guys can borrow my rant if you'd like?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Crash and Burn Holiday Plans

We're all a little "down in the mouth" around here today because J's leave request was denied for the Thanksgiving holiday. We were planning on being able to visit our families back home since Thanksgiving is my mother's favorite holiday and the day after is a family birthday.

I suppose it was a little naive of me to think we would have no trouble getting off but with the "real world" stuff going on there just not going to be able to spare him. That and all the guys that are on a deployment right now have already requested their leave for when they return and... you guessed it they'll be back for the holiday.

That is one of the things that's really rough about this job. For all the amazing benefits sometimes it's really hard not knowing what comes next and never being able to make any really concrete plans.

You wont find me complaining about military life very often. The truth is I feel very fortunate. Three years ago when we were first engaged and J was laid off for the winter for the fourth year in a row and we didn't know how we were going to make ends meet and he was fighting tooth and nail to enlist despite medical conditions we learned the definition of struggling to survive. We had to pick and choose which bills to pay and pay for groceries and gas with pennies. I was working full time and going to school full time and digging us even further in debt with student loans. It was brutal. Like we-can't-afford-dog-food-feed-them-rice brutal.

Living in England, not having to survive paycheck to paycheck, having reliable medical insurance, and a steady paycheck is a dream come true. We don't worry that J will be laid off for the winter or that his paycheck wont be enough to buy groceries. Being able to afford to have a baby was a amazing and the experience has been wonderful. We would never be where we are today or have what we have today if it weren't for the military.

Most days that is how I feel. Thankful. And fortunate.

Most days J's job is just a job. He gets up in the morning and gets dressed for work, he kisses me on the forehead and says goodbye to our son, he drives to base and puts in his 8 or 9 hours, and then he comes home.

Most days.

Some days it's harder than that. Some days when there is "real world" stuff going on we ask ourselves if it's worth it. Some days when we are feeling homesick and lonely we ask ourselves if it's worth it. We invariably come to the conclusion that it is eventually.

In the mean time, it's hard.

It's hard feeling like a single parent when I prepare for a deployment or feeling so completely alone and isolated because we literally can't visit our family.

It's hard to watch him put on that uniform and know that someday he might die in it.

It's hard to know that there are so many others just like us. Who feel just like we do.

It's hard today.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Happy 2nd Anniversary!!

Last year on our anniversary some of you may remember I was on a plane, alone. Flying from Sheppard AFB in TX, where J was finishing up tech school, to Wisconsin for the start of my most recent semester of college. I was not quite 3 months pregnant and I still had very little idea what to expect over the next year. It's kind of an understatement to say that the past year has been a roller coaster ride!

I nearly graduated...
We moved half way around the world.
We learned how to cloth diaper!
We had a baby.

This year I am so thankful to be able to share this day with my wonderful husband and our beautiful baby boy. I am looking forward to the exciting things another year will bring!

Here's to another year! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Oh Baby! Homemade Chocolate Espresso Whip Cream

We took MJ to the doctor this morning because he was acting a little bit funny and I thought he might have an ear infection.
I'm actually trying to get a smile out of him here. No dice. 


No ear infection, just super cranky teething baby, but it did get us out of the house! Which is awesome. I'm pretty happy about that. 

The weather is spectacular here today warm and sunny, just the way I like it! So in order for me to NOT spend my entire afternoon in the kitchen I'm making a simple ham with a sweet glaze for dinner with baked potatoes and... broccoli I think. Or maybe green beans. We'll see - I have both. ETA: we actually had carrots instead. Shhhh. 


The point is I'm putting my effort into dessert today! We will be having sugar cookie sandwiches with homemade chocolate espresso whip cream in the middle. I'm super excited as this is something I've never made before and I kinda just made it up because it sounded yummy in my head. Here goes.

This is extremely simple and easy and OMG delicious.

12 Sugar cookies (home made or store bought)
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon hot chocolate mix
1 teaspoon instant coffee

First things first, make sugar cookies! I used an extremely basic recipe which can be found here.
So good warm out of the oven. JP and I almost polished them all off before I even made the cream!

Once you have all the cookies made you can pair them up by size so you're all ready to make sandwiches and that way you know how many are left over you can eat now... 

Next gather the ingredients for your whip cream filling. While you're doing that and munching on some warm sugar cookies you want to put your mixing bowl in the fridge so it's cool when you begin mixing.
Sugar, instant coffee, hot cocoa mix, and fresh cream

Dump everything into your pre-cooled mixing bowl.
Yes, I really whip my cream by hand.

AND WHIP! And then whip some more. And once your arm feels like falling off switch arms and whip some more only not quite as coordinatedly as your dominant arm. Once you switch back because that arm feels like it's about to fall off you should have something like this:
I like to give it a few more stirs because I prefer my cream to be slightly more substantial when I'm using it as filling. So, I end up with this:
I could totally eat this whole bowl with a spoon.

All you have to do now is assemble cookie sandwiches!

Easily one of my most delicious, simplest, and quick desserts. I love the way they turned out! Give it a try and let me know how they turn out for you!

TIP: Use a hand mixer. No seriously, if I had one I would have used it for this... my arm still hurts. 

Also, the cream from this recipe is EXTREMELY sweet. If you want something a little less sweet I would recommend using unsweetened cocoa powder instead of hot cocoa mix OR reducing the amount of sugar by 1 teaspoon.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On the decision to cloth diaper...

Disclaimer: I want to post about why JP and I chose to cloth diaper. I want to make it perfectly clear that I don't judge or hate on anyone who chooses not to cloth diaper.

The number 1 factor in our decision was the $$.

I like to think I'm frugal.

(I'm not.)

I just really like spending money on crap that I want. >.>  Now, of course I WANT our baby! Ha ha ha... most days. But what I really mean is new records for our record player... and new cook books, and fabric for my sewing machine, and a trip to Germany in a few months, and a trip home for Thanksgiving.... and.... and... and...

You know what I'm talking about here.

So, since we plan on having more kids than just MJ, we figured a $500 investment that could be spread out over a few kids and then possibly passed on or resold beats the hell out of $2000+ diapering each kid.

Secondary to that $$ issue there is the environmental concern. Disposable diapers sit in landfills basically forever. It's nasty. I can't throw a disposable diaper in a trash barrel and feel good about myself afterwards.

I just can't.

Using cloth is not nearly hard enough to justify disposable diapers in my opinion. Washing cloth diapers and hanging them out to dry doesn't have the impact on the environment that throwing away 10+ diapers every day does. With cloth poop goes where poop belongs, in the toilet, not in the garbage.

Also, I plan on potty training early. Like six-months-old early. Cloth diapers are not as comfortable as disposables are. It will be easier to potty train MJ because he is more aware of every time he eliminates than babies that can't feel the wetness because of how super absorbent 'sposies are.

One of the main reasons why it's so difficult to potty train a 2 or 3 year old is because parents have spent the past 2 or 3 years essentially "teaching" their child that it's okay and correct to eliminate in their diaper. They are so comfortable and used to doing it that way they struggle to adjust to going in the toilet.

A few more added perks:

-cloth diapers breathe better than disposables and help keep diaper rash at bay.
-no harsh chemicals against baby's delicate skin
-no need to rush out for diapers at 3am because you've suddenly run out
-there are many different varieties, some even use a plastic free disposable insert (best of both worlds!)
-take good care of them and they can be resold, sometimes at half the price you originally paid for them!

In addition to the reasons above, they're so freakin' cute!

How cute is that tush?

I love our cloth collection, I love that we can use them on future babies, I love that they will help him potty train easier, I love that they are better for the earth, and I love that MJ's but is so cute in them!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

MJ's Birth Story

I was so relieved when my birthday past and I didn't go into labor. I didn't want to spend the day at the hospital and I didn't want to have to share birthdays, I wanted our baby to have his own special day. After that though, I was ready. I had been having false labor contractions almost every day since the previous Friday and I was totally in gear to have the baby out! Wednesday night before we went to bed I had another false labor for about and hour and half, I kept telling JP that I thought I might be able to give him a baby that night. Once the contractions stopped I was pretty disappointed and we went to sleep. My water broke at 3:00am and we called L&D to find out what they wanted us to do. I had discussed with the doctor laboring at home for as long as possible before coming in but they wanted me to come in right away because I wasn't having contractions. When we got to the hospital they hooked me up to the monitors and we waited for contractions to start with our fingers crossed that I wouldn't have to be induced. I was 3 cm dilated when we arrived. By 7am my contractions were in full swing and I was throwing up in between everyone. When the nurse checked me and I had made no progress at all I decided to have an epidural so I could get some rest. The anesthesiologist was there by 8:00, he had me hooked up by 8:30, and I was feeling a ton of relief by 9:00. I was actually able to nap between 10:00 and noon! The doctor came in around 2:00 and told me I was fully dilated but he wanted me to sit up and let gravity do some of the work for about an hour. He was back at 3:00 and I pushed for almost an hour and a half before MJ made his first appearance. The nurses and photographer were split right down the middle on what the sex of the baby would be. DH said boy, I said girl, and the doctor said he never guesses! They laid him on my belly and he just stared at me with those beautiful eyes. DH and I both teared up as we took in our son. I was able to hold him and bond with him uninterrupted for more than an hour before they asked to take him for his measurements. It was a truly wonderful experience. The labor and delivery went unbelievably smoothly. Everybody at the hospital was great and I felt both MJ and I were very safe in their hands. After he was born the Doctors became concerned about his weight loss. He lost over 10% of his body weight in 48 hours and because of my breast reduction surgery they couldn't be sure he was getting enough to eat from me. They kept us an extra two days to monitor him and they had us begin supplementing his feedings with SNS and formula. It was excruciatingly devastating knowing that I was incapable of feeding my own baby and keeping him healthy. We're home now and the doctor told us at his check up that we halved his weight loss in two days! The doctor said to keep and eye on his diapers but it seems like I'm producing plenty to cut back on the formula for now. His next appointment is on Friday and if the scale looks good hopefully we can move to BFing exclusively on demand. He's so perfect. JP and I are totally in love with him. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Maternity Pictures

We had our Maternity Pictures taken last weekend by the lovely Leslie Bridges of Bridges to Memories. She shared a few sneak peaks with us and they are absolutely wonderful. I don't use the word blessed lightly because I don't believe in a deity but I am feeling truly blessed as I look at these pictures!

We are anxiously awaiting the birth of our first little surprise baby!! It wont be long now! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

5 Totally Awesome Things About Living in England

Okay this post was initially going to be titled "10 Totally Awesome Things About Living in England but I've only been here 6 weeks people! And I'm 35 weeks pregnant! Give me a break! So, for now, 5 things that are totally awesome about living in England (so far):

1) Better quality food.
-I've noticed the food here is not pumped full of all sorts of hormones...
                and pesticides...
                                     and preservatives...
It's really cool and it makes food taste better and you also eat less! It's more filling because it's whole food. You can still get nasty processed food here but I've been able to find whole food alternatives WAY easier than I could back home.

2) Proximity to mainland Europe for travel purposes.
- We've only been here for a few months and already we are planning trips to Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands within the next year. The ability we have to just get in the car and head off on some adventure is pretty amazing.

3) Castles
-You could practically slice a golf ball into the woods and hit a castle around here. It's one of the coolest things ever to be driving at night on these tiny little roads and see some random lit up castle ruins. We've toured two castles since I got here and let me tell you the history behind these things never gets old for me (haha... history..? gets old...? get it..? no?).

4) Countryside
-The wide open space just astounds me. Rolling hills dotted with sheep... it's like a fairy tale. How so many people can live on such a tiny island and still have so much country side is great. I love driving from one town to the next one highways that would be little more than back roads in the states and seeing miles of pasture with the occasional small village along the way. Quaint doesn't begin to cover it.

5) Also, this.
-In case you didn't hear, the British Parliament passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Britain this week. It's not a done deal but it sure does feel good to be living in a country actually making progress toward equality.