Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shutting This Beast Down

See, here's the thing:  I have too much media in my life.  Last night I was watching the TV, browsing on my lap top and talking on my phone.  Too much, too much, too much.  I am making cuts.  My family suffers from all of our media intake.  I don't know exactly what this is going to look like for our family, but one thing I am doing is hitting pause on the blog.  It's not like I am that dedicated to it anyway so it was an obvious cut for me.  I enjoy it, but there are other things I enjoy browsing food blogs and reading book reviews.  Some things have to go and this blog is at the top of my list.  Along with my Twitter profile that I am also quite inactive on as it stands.  I am about to have 3 babies under the age of 3 and my family has to come first.  Doing crafts and reading books together have to take precedence over blogging.  

I can't bring myself to delete it because I have posts on here from 2006!  I enjoy a good trip down memory lane every now and then.  Plus, once my life begins to have some order and routine I may pick blogging back up.  Only time will tell!!

And, I have to mention that I know I bombed the Advent thing, but I have been computer-less for almost 2 weeks!! Long story, but truly, I did not have a computer to post daily updates.  All I had was my smart phone and all I do on that is look at Facebook.    

So, I bid you an adieu for now.  Thank you for those who have read my blog and hope to back one day...

Sunday, November 04, 2012

So Much

So much to write about.  I am so far behind with blogging.  My excuse is that in the past 30 days me, my husband, and our two children have lived and/or visited 2 continents, 3 countries, and 3 states.  The other day someone wrote somewhere they were tired of living out of suitcase for a week and a half and I just had to laugh.  We have lived in 3 hotels and both of or parents places.  I am tired of it.  Of course I am!  Who wouldn't be?  We have 3 weeks to go before we are all back together in our new home.  (Yes, that means me and the hubs are temporarily separated again).  Those 3 weeks cannot come soon enough!  Le sigh.  

In my head, the posts I want to write are: 

Our Trip to England
Here's me and Caleb in a red phone booth! Any Harry Potter fans out there?

Me and my munchkins.  Two years in a row now that Chris has missed :(

The Gender Reveal
No pics...that one deserves it's own post!!

I would also like to discuss my New Years Goals and my best and worst reads of 2012.  I also love talking about Christmas and what it means to me.  See, I have so much to write about!  

For now, let me just emphatically say I love Once Upon A Time and Grimm.  Seriously, those two shows are completely up my alley!  My dear mother has DVR'd all the episodes so I am being unproductive during naptime and bedtime and watching TV.  And I love it :)  I know this won't last forever.  One, me and Chris have never had a TV in our home (we have a TV for DVDs but no TV if that makes sense).  We have no moral objections to television, but we can't quite justify spending the money.  I think we will add it to our budget in the next year however.  Two, even if we did have TV, I would force myself to self regulate since it is such a time suck.  However, I just realized that I can watch episodes on the Internet (I know, I'm a bit behind the times)!  So, I'm excited about that prospect. 

I'm also kind of pregnant.  I mean, duh, of course I'm pregnant, I meant I'm kind of looking pregnant.  And, by kind of I mean a lot.  This pregnancy has been my biggest bellied one so far.  Weird.  There better only be one baby in there.  

This was 5 weeks ago so you can imagine how big my belly looks now!

That's basically it.  Well, not really, but that's all I got in me for now.  Time for bed.  Can't seem to get enough sleep these days!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happy Dance

We fly to America today!  I am so so happy!  If I had more time I would compose a little jig so you could actually imagine me doing a happy dance, but it's 6am and we've got to wake the kids up and hit the road!  We've got a looooong day in front of us involving lots of flying and lots of driving (and lots of coffee) so wish us well!  Can't wait to be on the OTHER side of the Atlantic when my head hits the bed tonight.  I love my country.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Flashback Friday:Stranded at Zurich Airport

Yes, I know it says Flashback FRIDAY and today is Saturday.  That's the name of Emily's link-up, but it is really an all weekend type thing, ok?? :)

It's about a blast from the past that you either didn't blog about or didn't have a blog to blog about.  This was pre-blog days.  I'm taking it all the way back to 2004 when me and some of the coolest people ever got stranded in the Zurich airport.  We weren't just going to SLEEP like the boring!!  No, we went exploring and documented our fun :)

We got stranded in the first place because my bag didn't make it on our plane so of course we missed our train that was taking us to our ultimate destination.  It would have been too convenient if we had been on a early morning flight and just caught the next train.  No, we missed the last train of the day so had to spend the entire night in the airport!

Oh, and it was a couple days before Christmas.

Here goes:

This is almost the whole group: L-R Chris (my future husband), Helton, my bestie Karole, me, and Karole's husband Blair.  It looks like me and Blair are a couple, but we were actually digging through his bag looking for his hackey sack and we just stood up real quick for the picture ;)  Also, don't mind my very red hair.  I was in Europe and doing as the Europeans do :)

This is Stacy who is missing from the above picture.  I'm pretty sure delirium has set in at this point ;)

This might be my favorite picture of Karole.  Ever. 

Clearly, I don't fit in there.  I don't even remember why that was there.  Is it a toy for kids?  I'm pretty sure most airports don't have play areas. Maybe it was a display of some sort?

Definitely losing her cool at this point!! She is so funny.  I mean, was she cold?  What is she wearing?

What the boring old boys did...

Ha, I made this one bigger so you could see the look on my face.  I swear they said, "make a funny face", but they are both smiling so nicely!  It's really quite comical close up.  

Another one of our friends is really scared of mannequins so of course we had to take this to freak him out!  Oh, these memories make me smile :)

The next morning we had time to go to a coffee shop before we caught our train.  Everyone is good spirits at least, sleep or no sleep!
My hair is so red, it blends in with the upholstery.  Lovely.  

See, they really are a couple ;) 

You know Helton is super delirious when he cheeses for the camera.

Stacy and I were super impressed with her caramel flower on her coffee :)

Yes, this is my Chris.  Before I knew he was mine mind you.  He has learned that that pose is no longer acceptable for pictures ;)

At last, we reached our Winter Wonderland...Wengen, Switzerland

So beautiful it takes my breath away.  I'd say it was worth the wait ;)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Mr. Man 10 Months

2 Months away from being one?!  That is crazy insane.  It has truly gone by so fast!  The first 6 months were hard and slow, but since we got to Germany, I can't really keep up with him!  He is doing so much and changing so quickly these monthly posts barely do him justice.

The basics:

Same as last month.  Naps from 10-12 and 2-4 and sleeps 7p-7a.

He still loves to eat although lately he hasn't been finishing his bottles?!?  He was getting 4 8oz bottles a day and after 2 or 3 days of him not finishing them, we cut it back to 7 oz a feeding.  I have no idea if this is normal??  I don't like it, but there's no dang doctors to ask around here.  There is a nurse line you can call and I have called it before but they don't know my son and he doesn't have a regular doctor (has never seen the same one twice!) so I don't like calling them unless it's super urgent.  Can't wait until we are back with normal pediatricians in America!
As far as solids, he still seems to be eating the same amount, but not with the same urgency.  He used to get real mad if you didn't feed him continually but he's a lot more chill about it so I don't know if he's "maturing" or not as hungry.
He still cries when I wipe off his face.  Such a baby ;)

He has finally started to "play" with books.  He loves looking at them and chewing on them of course.  He likes doing it by himself.  If I put him in my lap all he does is try to grab the book and eat it or something.  Today I sat on the floor for "reading time" with both of the kids.  Autumn loved it, Caleb ignored me.  Hmmm...

Other Things of Note:
I don't know if I've mentioned these before, but he gives kisses on demand, claps his hand, says "mama" and "dada" but without purpose, pulls up to a standing position all the time, but doesn't stand on his own yet, and "yells" happily a lot.  He's quite loud!!

He hates changing clothes.  He acts like it is awful!  He also will not ride in the grocery cart or stroller without screaming.  I don't mean whining, I mean screaming like he's on fire.  We have tried to let him cry a bit but it is really hard when your child is screaming in the middle of a store and all you have to do is hold him to make him stop.  So we just hold him.  This, too, shall pass I tell myself.

Despite the hating of the stroller/grocery cart, he is getting much more independent.  He does great at home now.  He will happily crawl into another room away from me.  He will also let Chris hold him while we are walking through the store, etc.  These are big accomplishments :)  Even though he is more independent, he would still be happily be carried around by mama 24/7 :) AND, last night we went to a military ball and left him with a sitter for the first time and he did great.  When we got home, my jaw hit the floor.  He didn't cry (except when she changed his clothes!) and he went to sleep just fine! 

I know his shirt says 9 months, but I never take those pictures on time and I didn't get it last month's post!  Maybe I'll get the 10 month picture in the 11 months post ;)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Our engagment

I am participating in a link-up over at The Journey of Parenthood and you should too!

SO, our engagment. feels like so long ago.  It was September 13, 2007.  It was a Thursday night and we went to eat at Olive Garden.  There were flowers on the table and candles, which I totally did not notice!  Poor guy, he tried.  We ate and then after we were done, the waitress brought over a large-ish wrapped package.  It was a gift from Chris for me.  It was so big I was totally not thinking it was a ring.  And I was right :)  It wasn't a ring.  It was a beautiful bible that had my future name on it.  I saw it and looked up with total shock on my face and there he was, holding a wee square box with a diamond in it.  I have no idea what I said or did after that.  Well, I know I gave an affirmative answer and all that, but that's all I got :)

All the waitresses came over and fawned over the ring (girls will be girls!).  There was group of Red Hat Ladies eating in the other room who caught wind of what was going on so they bought our entire dinner (including drinks and dessert so it was probably kind of expensive).  We called our parents.  At the time I was living with one of my best friends (well, 2 of my best friends if you count her husband) and they were waiting up on us so they could see the ring.

Inside the Bible, Chris had written these words:

Presented to Meghan, the love of my life, on the day of our engagement  September 13, 2007.  May these words of God ever be the foundation under our lives and the bond between our hearts.  I love you always, Chris

Isn't that beautiful?  I debated about not using the Bible, but I thought even if something happens to it, I want it to get used, I want it to be lived in.  I am so glad it is not sitting on a shelf somewhere "safe".  I love it so much.   The Bible is covered in kangaroo leather and has my initials embossed on it.  He found someone online who does that kind of thing and I really do cherish it.

This is probably my favorite pic from the night.

It shows us how we were back then-silly and carefree and in love :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Joyful Morning

This morning Chris and I took the kids to a park we had never been to before.  No pictures :(  My camera was "lost" and now it's found so next time we go we are going to definitely bring the camera.

 Anyway, Chris and Autumn were playing on different toys and I was sitting with Caleb.  I had brought my to-go coffee and it felt very fall-ish outside.  Autumn and Caleb both were wearing their adorable knit hats.  With my baby boy on my lap while watching Chris and Autumn play, I realized something.

I was happy.  This may happen every day for some of you, but I have been struggling so much lately with life that I almost started crying tears of joy.  It has been so long since I felt such peace and contentment.  It was a gift from God.  I have gotten up to spend time with God the last two mornings and  I have every confidence that it is helping my crazy emotions.

Chris and Autumn played for awhile and then we all went over the small lake to watch the ducks and there was a beautiful swan hanging out.  Autumn had never seen a swan before.  We were both surprised by how big it was!  Chris took Caleb for awhile and all 4 of us walked around the lake and enjoyed the cool weather.

Then something else awesome happened.  I was holding Caleb again while Chris pushed Autumn on the swings one more time.  I was just enjoying Caleb in his sweet, sleepy state and for the first time since he was born, I didn't want him to get any bigger.  This was a sweet moment for me.  As previously mentioned, I have been struggling with depression (such a heavy word!  I guess I could say struggling with feeling blue) for most of his life.  This has caused me not to appreciate the hard stages of newborn and infant babies.  Today I appreciated exactly who he was right now.  He deserves that from me every day.  He is such a precious gift from God that I am so not worthy of receiving.

Today I am overwhelmed by God's grace in my life. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Actually Acted Like An Army Wife!

This is new for me.  I, ahem, did not embrace this life with open arms like some fantastic wives out there.  I pretty much do the minimal.  And then I complain about that.  Ok, actually, I'm being too hard on myself.  (See, I'm trying to get better about that!!)  Part of the problem is we have are coming up on our 5th move in 2.5 years and it is hard to for me emotionally transition between places and hard for me to get out there and meet people which means I never have a baby-sitter so that makes it even harder to attend things with Chris (sorry for the long, probably run-on sentence).  I am planning on jumping into life with both feet once we hit Oklahoma in a month or two.  We've lived there before so I think the transition will be easy on me.  I HOPE so at least ;)

Anyway, night before last we hosted 16 adults, 2 children, and 3 babies in my home.  I can safely say that it is first.  And it was pretty dang fun too :)  I have learned a few things about myself, some I pretty much already knew, but they were confirmed:

* I enjoy planning meals for groups of people and bringing it all together
*I enjoy cooking
* I enjoy hosting things in my home
*I enjoy serving people and being kind to them

*I do not enjoy cleaning my house.  Hate it, in fact
*I do not enjoy picking up after everyone has left
*I do not enjoy excessive cussing in my home (but that one comes with army territory)
*My son does not do well with others (I knew this to be true outside our home, but I thought he'd do better in his own environment. Wrong.)

I had it all planned out and we had done prep work the night before so everything would go smoothly.  My husband was getting off work at 4:30 to come home and help (i.e. watch the kids) while I finished everything up.

It was a good plan.
You know what's coming.

My husband had to take one of his soldiers to the military police station (30 minutes away) at 4 pm.  He got home at 7pm.  Yes, that's right.  He was the last one to arrive to his own little shin-dig.  I got one word for you: STRESS.  Ha!  I was sooooo stressed out! Mostly because of my little man.  Have I mentioned he likes to be attached to mommy A LOT??  Yes, I know I have so I'll spare you, but try taking lots of baked potatoes out of a 400 degree oven while a 9 month old is climbing your back and screaming bloody murder because you dare to put him down for 5 minutes.  Try making cornbread with a baby on your hip.  It can be done, but it ain't fun.

One of the soldiers that I already knew came a bit earlier to help me and praise the Lord for that man because help he did!  He set the table and wrapped the potatoes to keep them warm.  He handled anything that was hot since I had the baby.  He carried chairs out to the family room.  He tried (twice) to hold Caleb, to no avail of course, but he did try.

After dinner, Chris had bought all his soldiers hand blown pilsner glasses and had each soldier stand up so he could something that they do well and how proud he was of them.  Then, they, in turn (without instruction to do so) went around the room and said nice things about their peers and leaders.  It was so awesome!  These men were all in Afghanistan together so after dinner I heard stories about life over there that my husband hadn't shared so that was neat for me.

I was so proud of Chris.  He thought of this all on his own and helped me execute the planning.  Despite the chaos that happened right before everyone arrived, it was a lovely evening and I'm sure we'll do something similar in the future!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pregnancy Journey Week 14

At long last, I am no longer sick.  I am still tired, but I do have two kids I chase all day so that is to be expected.  This baby in my belly is now the size of a lemon! Woo hoo! That's pretty dang big.  Baby Center tells me that this baby can now possibly suck his or her thumb and since my 2 year old and my 9 month old both are thumb suckers, I betcha' this one will be too!  Right about the time this one finds their thumb, I'll need to start breaking Autumn of her habit.  I'm so not looking forward to that!

I don't know how people write out these things every week.  I guess if I was super in tune to my body I would notice little tiny changes, but much doesn't seem to change from week to week.

Symptoms: Some kind of muscle or ligament is hurting me below my waistline!  If I stand up too fast, yowers.  It used to just hurt on my right side and now it hurts on both.  I'm sure it's normal :)  Hmmm, what else?  I still have to eat every 3 hours or so.  It used to be more often than that so I guess it's gotten a bit better.  Like, right now, I asked Chris to go get me some popcorn and I'm trying to wait patiently ;)

Cravings: I'm finally having some cravings which I think is fun.  Pretty much anything greasy.  Yet, another symptom that reminds me of my pregnancy with Autumn.  Some other random things.  It's not any one thing, but I'll see a recipe online and I want to make it immediately!

What I Miss:  Oh golly, I don't know.  I have LOTS to be stressed out about right now, so I would say that I miss not being stressed about having a baby, but what's one more stresser on the list?  I guess I miss the days back when I could just drink coffee for breakfast :)

Best Pregnancy Moment of The Week: For me, I guess it would be the last 4 weeks :)  I'm going to go with "Don't feel like crap anymore"!  Pretty good one, eh?

Questions/Concerns:  Well, other than that ligament pain I was talking about, I don't have much else to worry about.  Once we get to Oklahoma, I'm going to have to find a doctor and all that jazz, but I'm putting off that stress for awhile and focusing on leaving Germany.  God worked out my second pregnancy when I moved so he'll work out this one too.  Plus, Fort Sill has a hospital on base so it will be easier than trying to find a civilian doctor like I had to do with Caleb.

Goals for The Upcoming Week(s): Try to find a boy name.  Try to find a bible study in Oklahoma to join pretty quickly after we arrive.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fun stories about #3

Since I have mostly shared on here the struggle I have been having with this pregnancy (which I believe God is going to use one day to encourage someone else at some point!), I thought I would share some fun things about this baby :)

How We Found Out:  I was late.  With my you-know-what.  However, I had taken a test once already (after I was late) and it was negative so I really didn't think I was pregnant.  There are these little roadside trucks here that sell German food and when we see one, we always get some meat and pomme frites :)  I got a pork sandwich and Chris got half a chicken (yes, he eats like a MAN.  All the time.  I am not looking forward to feeding him and Caleb one day!).  I just couldn't eat mine.  I hadn't gotten the pork before so I just thought I didn't like the meat.  So we traded.  I couldn't eat the chicken either.  I said something along the lines of, "This is nasty.  I can't even swallow it".  Chris looked at me and said, "Get in that bathroom and pee on a stick"!  Haha, I just think that is hilarious!  He said it because we both love the roasted chickens!  So, I obeyed and then came out, handed him the stick, and didn't speak for a full 7 minutes.  Ok, I didn't time it, but I was silent for quite awhile.  It was like my mind just wouldn't grasp what was right in front of me!  Chris, of course, the best husband in the world, was all smiles and joy.

How We Told People: For my parents, we were on Skype so we held up 3 clues for them to figure out. The first was an Arizona mug (where we thought we were going to be stationed.  We were wrong).  The second was 3 baby dolls.  The third was the positive pregnancy test.  They got if after the dolls :)  For his parents, we were unable to Skype so Chris said, "We need your all's opinion on something.  We are looking to buy a car that will hold 3 car seats".  His mom got it immediately.  It was funny because she said the same thing that she said when we were pregnant with Autumn which was, "You are kidding me" about 3 times!  (Caleb's was less of a surprise since everyone knew we were trying with him).  Chris' godmother replied with, "Ok, I'll look into the consumer reports for you" :)  Totally over her head! So then Chris said, "Well, let me know because we are going to need one in about 9 months".  Then she got it :)  My sister was super surprised and super happy.  I never call my brother.  We pretty much communicate through email so when I called him he said, "Are you pregnant again?"  Haha, he was the only one who actually knew before we told him!

Another fun little thing is we think it's a girl.  We are still debating about whether to find out or not, but this pregnancy has waylaid me in a similar manner that Autumn's did.  Caleb's was, by far, the easiest pregnancy I have had, even counting my miscarriage at 10 weeks with my second pregnancy.  That one must have been a girl too ;)  We'll find out in Heaven I hope.  However (there is always a "however" with me), God tends to keep me on my toes (sometimes I say it not so nicely by saying he enjoys throwing curve balls at me!) so I will not be overly surprised if this is a boy since we think it's a girl.

My due date is March 13th, 2013.  We are almost positive we will be living in Oklahoma at that point. I'm a little bummed we are going to have a baby in a state we don't really care about, but it was God's choice, not ours.  We have zero boy names we both like, so feel free to give me suggestions!! :)

Friday, September 07, 2012

There I Go Wearing My Heart Again

This is a family portrait we took last spring while Chris was home visiting from Afghanistan.  It is a lovely picture and I'm quite pleased with it. 

However, I have to tell you a secret.  Sometimes, I look at that picture and I wonder whose those people are with those babies.  I mean, they look so happy.  They look so put together.  That looks like a mom who keeps a clean home and whose children obey her.  Those looks like children who always have their hair combed and who only watch 30 minutes of TV a day.  That looks like a dad who always puts playing with his children after work as his main priority.

And, that, to be blunt, is total BS.  

A lot of times when I blog hop around, this is what I see.  Perfect families.  Maybe not perfect, but better than me.  Better wives, better moms, better housekeepers.  A lot of it is in how I perceive things of course.  I don't expect people to put pictures of themselves in their bathrobes or anything.  I have a tendency to consistently compare myself to others and always see that I am the one lacking.  

Some days my children drive me so crazy that I turn on the TV and lay on the couch with a pillow on my head.  We are getting ready to move again and I have moved so much in the past 2.5 years that the thought of moving again makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and cry.  I am still having emotional issues with my current unplanned pregnancy.  That last one really gets me.  It makes me feel really really bad.  But it's the truth.  Emotionally, it has been one of the hardest things I have faced and it's even harder because I'm not supposed to feel that way!  It's a precious gift from God and I know a number of people who are dealing with infertility and miscarriage who would do just about anything to be in my position.  And, yet, still, I am having issues.  Sometimes, I even fantasize about the mom I "could have been" if we hadn't been uprooted so many times.  I think about the friends I "could have had" if we had stayed in our first home...the place where we got married and where our daughter was born.  

I look at that picture and I want to be that woman who is smiling and who has a firm grip on life.  I want to have things under control.  I want to be content in any circumstance.  I want to always discipline my children in love and not frustration or impatience.  I want to always do our laundry in a timely manner.  I want to get up early and read my bible every day.  I want to be a better me.  

I don't think that is necessarily bad, per se, but it can be dangerous ground.  It's dangerous because I was created flawed.  I am not Jesus Christ, the only perfect human.  I think what I need to learn to do is love myself despite my imperfections.  This is so hard for me.  I don't really know where to begin either.  I think processing it a good start, acknowledging it.  I am hoping that God leads the ways because I'm pretty worthless without Him.  Of course the church answer is, "Of course God will show you the way", but I mean, I hope He really does and I really let him because I'm not kidding when I say I'm worthless on my own.  I have learned that lesson time and time again!  

Isaiah 58:11
"The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail"

That is what my soul cries out for today.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Mr. Man 9 Months

This post is going up 2 days early! Trust me, no one is more surprised about that than me ;)

Holy cow!  This boy is 3 months away from being ONE!  It is truly hard to believe.  I feel bad for him because the first several months of his life I struggled with depression due to post-preggo hormones and Chris being in Afghanistan.  Then, we moved back to Germany and all was good for about a month until I get pregnant again and sick as a dog and depressed-again due to preggo hormones.  I am *finally* feeling like a normal human being and the mom I want to be to him (and Autumn as well).  I am sure I will carry around this mommy guilt the rest of my life!  In truth, I know I shouldn't and I hope I don't.
 So, onward to my chubby man whom I love so very much.

He still takes 2 solid naps every day- 10-12 and 2-4.  He sleeps roughly 7p-7a.  It took a long time to get here and I am enjoying it ever so much!  When he doesn't sleep well, I know something is wrong with him so it's a good indicator of how he's doing.

The boy eats like a champ.  He is round and chubby even though he crawls like a mad man.  He drinks 28oz of formula a day and eats 2-3 solid meals (cheerios, rice, graham crackers, and fruit are staples plus pureed food).  He no longer cries when meal time is over.  However, he does cry every single time I wipe off his face.  Seriously.  Every time!  He's got a flair for the dramatic ;)

His favorite games are: follow Autumn around, chew on everything, and pull books of the book shelf.  Why do we have all these toys again? :)  I surely can't remember when Autumn's obsession with books began, but so far he is not equally inclined.  If I read 5 books a day to him while he actually sits still and "listens", I'm doing well.

Oh my word, y'all, this man child has been through the ringer this month!  He has sprouted his two top teeth, got stung by a wasp on both of his hands, had a double ear infection, and battled Roseola.  That just doesn't seem right, does it?   I joke and say "at least he's Army Strong" ;)  He has actually handled everything really well except the ear infections.  He has had ear infections before and he is super sensitive to them.  Both times I caught them really early because he just gets super fussy as soon as they start!  Not that I have another baby to compare to since Autumn never got them, but he just seems sensitive to them in my opinion.

He is so different than Autumn.  I mean, I know every child is different, but it's weird to me.  Me and my husband are actually very similar in our personalities (that is a good thing and a bad thing!) that I guess I just assumed our children would be like us (which if you are into personality tests, we are both Melancholy/Sanguine) And Autumn pretty much is our little clone.  There are stronger parts of Chris in her than me for sure, but she is also what I would call "malleable".  She just takes things in stride most of the time.  She certainly has a stubborn streak (Chris), a perfectionism tendency (also Chris), super emotional regarding change (me), but overall she's a chill little girl.  Caleb?  Not so much.  He is pretty demanding even as an 8-month-old.  I've mentioned before how we can't leave him with anyone other than me or Chris because he literally cries the whole time we are gone and I just can't stand to do that to him.  Ideally, we would leave him several short times throughout the week to wean him off of us, but with very few friends and no family, it's just not really an option for us right now.  He also gets so MAD if you eat in front of him or if you don't pick him up the second he decides he wants to be held.    The plus side of this more aggressive personality is he laughs harder and louder than Autumn ever did/does!  He smiles much more easily and is generally a very happy little guy.  Autumn is much more subdued in her emotions.  Of course, she has her fair share of temper tantrums like every other 2-year-old!  There is a lot about his personality that hasn't emerged yet, of course.  I tell Chris I am worried he won't ever want to leave my side, but Chris assures me he will grow out of this stage!

Ok, I really did not intend to write that much about his personality!  Children are complex little creatures, no?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mommy Sense

I don't know if that is what it is called or not.  I have heard it before I think, but maybe it is called "Mommy Instinct" or something?  Not sure.  I do know, however, that every parenting magazine says in some shape or form "go with your gut when it comes to your children".  And it is so true!! Here's a story for you:

Caleb is teething.  One particularly stubborn tooth has been trying to break though for about a week now.  He had a blister on his gum (apparently totally normal?!) that bled a couple days ago and there is actually skin hanging down! Gross I know and maybe TMI.  Sorry 'bout that.   He also got stung by a wasp on two different places last Friday.  Poor little man, huh?!  So, yeah, he has been super fussy lately.

2 or 3 days ago he woke up with a long grade fever (100 I think) and even though I gave him Tylenol and Ibuprofen around the clock, it didn't go away.  The next day he seemed better, but still not himself.  He was still fussy and low fever.  I mentioned to Chris that he just wasn't acting like himself and maybe we should go to the ER. He wasn't sleeping as good as usual and just wanted me to hold him all the time.  Chris said to give him another day in case it was his tooth bothering him (turned it to be a good thing we waited).  The next day his tooth still hadn't broken through, he had a fever of 100.8, and when I put him down for his morning nap, he slept for 30 minutes and then woke up crying and would not stop.  So I called Chris and said "We are going to the ER.  Can you come with us?"   Side note for you non army Germany living people:  There is not walk in clinic here and there are not "work in" appointments.  You pretty much have "Well Visits" at the army base and anything else that needs immediate attention you have to go the German ER for Children (called the Klinikum I think).

So Chris came along and off we went.  Several hours later we left the ER with a diagnosis of a double ear infection and scripts for antibiotics.  That was yesterday and today he woke up happy for a change and his tooth finally broke through!  He has had 2 doses of antibiotic but they must already be working because he mostly seems like his old self again.  Still a bit cranky, but nothing like he has been.

This is 3 times I have followed my gut when my logical mind told me it wasn't a big deal and my gut was right.  This last time my mind was telling me it was his tooth that was bothering him.  Part me of was saying, "Of course he's fussy, of course he's not sleeping, his tooth is bothering him", but the other part of me was saying, "there is something more wrong with my baby than a tooth!!".  I had to take Autumn to the German ER last year because she wasn't acting right.  Her temps were not severe (101) but I just felt something was wrong with her so off we went (with my wonderful friend Maryanne who drove me since Chris was in the field) and sure enough she had some sort of virus that would have only gotten worse if we had put it off.

I have learned to trust my instincts.  I, of course, still need to evaluate the situation and not over react, but I don't think I will hesitate to take them in because I am worried that "it's not serious enough" or "they will think I'm over reacting".  One time I did take Autumn in and I was wrong, it was nothing.  And that's ok because it put my mind at ease.  So, lesson of the story is to trust your mommy sense! God gave it to you for a reason!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


See, here's the thing.  Yes, we live in Germany, but we don't travel much.  There a couple of reasons for that.  The main one being traveling with kids, for us, almost takes the fun out of traveling at all.  We lived in Slovakia for 2 years without kids so we did a ton of traveling then and to compare it to now, it was about a billion times easier and more enjoyable.  I guess we got spoiled or something.  More often than not when we travel for more than a short day trip (or short overnight trip) I end up wishing we had just stayed home.

A lot of army people do travel though (both with and without children) and whenever I hear about someone talking about some cool new place they saw or I see some beautiful pictures, I always reminisce about my own travels and am so grateful for all that I have been able to, without children ;)  Haha, just kidding kind of.

So, I thought since I never properly documented any European traveling that I did, I would share my Top 5 Places (in Europe only).  I'll try to just post one or two pictures per place.  I also have to tell you that some of these pictures are mine and some are not.  I traveled with others and we all shared our pictures and I have no idea whose is whose.  Hope my friends don't mind me posting!  These are in no particular order.

Malaga, Spain
Now, I am sure Spain has lots of gorgeous cities.  I have not traveled across Spain extensively so there very well might be much prettier cities that I have not seen.  I mean, Madrid sounds pretty awesome to me, but I've never been there.  Anyway, Malaga is on the very southern edge of Spain so close to Morocco that we hopped on a boat and got to take a day trip there as well.  Spain is beautiful.  I would go back there anytime, any place.  I loved it and will never forget it!

This is actually a picture from Morocco.  They had these pots all over the buildings and I thought they were the coolest things ever!

Wengen, Switzerland
Ok, I also haven't traveled across Switzerland extensively, but I have been to Salzburg and Zurich and Wengen kicks it butt.  GORGEOUS.  We were there at Christmas time so it was snow covered so that just made everything extra breath taking.  I seriously could post 20 photos.  But I won't.  I know these pictures are probably my friend Brooks' but she won't mind :)

Look at all that SNOW!  I don't even like snow, but I was awestruck.  It felt like we were in a magical land (you know, like those wardrobe kids).

Krakow, Poland
I only have one picture to share with you from Krakow.  It is of my friends.  Honestly, it is an awesome city and truly one of my favorites.  However, the reason I get all warm and fuzzy when I think about Krakow is because we spent cold rainy afternoons in this coffee shop (Tribeca) laughing and bonding and I will never, ever forget those wonderful moments in my life. 
I only wish my husband was in this picture with me (I am third from the left if you can't tell!).  He also spent many hours in this coffee shop, but I guess this day he was sight seeing or something :)

Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is kind of a must to be included, isn't it?  If you have ever been there, you know what I mean.  There is just isn't another city in the world that is quite as cool as Prague.  From castles to bridges to shopping to eating, Prague is wonderful.  

Had to include this one since it's me and the hubs before we were dating!!  Just friends :)

Kosice, Slovakia
This city will absolute always make my awesome places list because I invested so much of my time there (2 years) and so much of my heart.  I love this land and I love the Slovak people and I always will.  If you ever go to Kosice, you must see the best of both worlds.  You must walk around the city and you also must hike in the High Tatra Mountains.  Both are amazing, but the mountains will literally take your breath away with their beauty. 

I could probably find a better picture to show you the High Tatras, but I've been writing this post awhile and I've got to get something else done before the littles wake up!

Did you notice...only one picture of a huge Gothic Cathedral??  Ok, one and a half.  I guess they just aren't my thing ;) Actually, they are quite beautiful, but I was trying to find more unique pictures.  

Do you have any favorite cities you would recommend to me?  I am open to US recommendations as well.  People get so caught up in traveling outside the US, that they don't travel at home.  And, the US is truly a place I should see more of sometime! :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sandbox fun

I put Caleb in the sandbox for the first time the other day.  He didn't last too long, but Autumn sure loved having a friend in there!  They played together quite nicely. 

Next time I will be putting more clothes on him.  I thought he woud be easy to "dust off" this way, but sand comes off clothing much easier than skin I found out!

This was obviously during his pre-haircut days.  I look at that hair and I cringe.  I am so glad Chris finally let me cut it!

And then he started to eat it.  

So I kept taking his hands out of his mouth which produced:

tears!  So he had to be taken out of the sandbox.  They had fun though and they have both played in it since then.  I just have to keep a close eye on him and pull him once he gets bored with the toys and starts eating sand :)

I just love it when they play together!  He is totally obsessed with her and she loves having another child to "talk" to and laugh with all day!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mr. Man 8 Months Old

Yes, I missed 7 months.  I was pregnant and sick and depressed.  Unfortunately, he had a big leap from 6-7 months which is when most of his new developments occurred so when I look back here to compare with the new baby I might be a month off.  I'll try to mention which month his achievements happened in if I can remember.

Things that definitely happened from 6-7 months of age:

He learned how to sit up like a champ.  He didn't learn it overnight or anything and there was a lot of trial and error but by 7 months of age, he had it down pat.  And that made my life ever so much easier!

He learned to sleep for 12 straight hours at night and take longer naps.  This happened in a funny way.  We moved to Germany and he was so jet lagged that I was having to wake him up to eat for several days and once he was on the right time zone he just kept on sleeping great!  Who would have thought jet lag would be such a huge blessing?!  That is called the Lord's mercy my friends.  At 7 months of age, he was taking a long morning nap, a long afternoon nap, and a little baby nap/rest time in the late afternoon before dinner.  Then sleeping at night from 7p-7a.

I had to put him on formula.  He was losing weight (just like Autumn did at 6 months old!  Is it their age or moving to Germany?  Kind of a weird coincidence that they both moved to Germany at 6 months of age).  So he was still nursing  on the side and taking 3 6oz bottles of formula a day.

I started him on solids at about 6.5 months of age and let me tell you , the boy loves his food.  He honest to goodness, used to cry every time he a.) finished a bottle b.) finished nursing or c.) finished a solid food meal.  I am not exaggerating when I say he cried every time!  I didn't know what to do because I know you can't over nurse a baby, but you can over feed him with formula.  And, let me tell you, this boy has porked up :)  I think it's fine because he was always so chubby and big until he started losing weight (which is never a good thing for a baby!).  So really, he is just back to looking like he did before.  Hope that makes sense.  I think he has slowed down now because he has been in 9 month clothes for at least 4 weeks now.  But he gained 4 pounds the last 2 months! We have a doctor's appointment in a couple of weeks so I guess I'll see then how he's doing in the weight department.

Also from 6 to 7 months of age, Caleb's daddy came home from Afghanistan and he found out he's going to be a big brother!  He was real impressed, let me tell you ;)   It was big month for him!

Ok, moving on to 7 to 8 months of age.

Sleeping is the same except he dropped his cat nap before dinner which I was happy about.  Honestly the more his schedule can resemble Autumn's the easier it is for me and Chris.  They can now bathe together which is awesome and they go to bed just 30 minutes apart.  He gets up earlier than she does in the morning so I get some time with him and he naps in the morning alone so I get some time with her.  Then they nap together in the afternoon so I get some time to myself.  Works out really well.

He is officially not nursing anymore :(  It was hard for me to let that go, but he just kind of lost interest and then he started biting!  He probably bit me 15 times and let me tell you, when  a baby with teeth bites you while nursing, it freaking hurts!!  So that ended that.  He is drinking 4 7oz bottles of formula.

He started crawling.  He gets around everywhere! It's amazing how fast he is on all fours.  He crawled almost 2 months earlier than Autumn did!  I guess having a big sister to chase is a big motivator ;)

He got his first haircut (by mom).  It's not perfect since I am not a hairdresser but it looks better than it did!

The comb-over is no more!

He's a very happy baby when he's at home or out with me or Chris.  Leaving him with others has been a challenge.  He just cries the entire time we are gone.  We have only tried this 3 times at church.  Each time gets a little better so I'm hoping he will outgrow that pretty soon.  They say separation anxiety peaks at 18  months, but I'm not sure how it could get any worse than it is now.

That's about it!