Sunday, April 28, 2013

How could I forget!?

This is mostly for me to make sure I don't forget, but I forgot to mention one of my very favorite things Owen does. It's such a "manly" thing, haha.

Owen loves to pick stuff up that he thinks is really heavy, and while doing his weight lifting, he'll grunt and groan from the strain of it all. He even has this little one eyebrow lift while he's doing it.Then once he's mastered whatever it is, he looks around with pure pride in his eyes.

So funny.

The other day we were at the checkout line, and he reached back and started trying to lift a bag out of the cart. The entire time he's watching the cashier to see if she notices how strong he is.  I wish I could get it on video. It's the best.

Every once in a while I'll hear an angry scream, and I go over and he's super frustrated because he can't lift something up. Like the couch.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Owen Parker

A year ago (yesterday since I never finished this, haha) we welcomed our sweet Owen into the world. On one hand, it's hard to believe that a year has come and gone, but on another, it seems like so long ago! Two moves and a few months of colic will do that to ya!

When I was pregnant with Owen, I thought I had the mothering thing down. I never put a lot of thought into it, but before he was born I probably fell in the "you can spoil a baby" camp. Then Owen was born and I realized that some kids need it. From the time he was born, he needed to be cuddled much more than Sam or Allie ever needed or wanted. If he wasn't being held he was crying (haha, and from 5pm-11pm, he was crying no matter what). He was also really sensitive to noises and commotion. Poor boy got a rough deal coming into our family as the baby! The only way he could sleep was if he was holding a blanket tight to him (he still loves his blankies!). Where Sam and Annaleigh were pretty independent & loved baby toys, for Owen things like swings, playmats, and Dad were instruments of torture to keep him away from me. Pure mama's boy!

When Owen was nine months, he went to Joel (on his own) for the first time, and for whatever reason, since making this last move, they're best buds now.  When Joel gets home from work, Owen can't leave my arms fast enough to get to him. He's also spending a lot of time exploring-the stairs are his favorite place. He's still shy around new people. He'll hide his head when people talk to him. When he's feeling overwhelmed, he'll lay face first on the floor. 
Oranges are his favorite food in the world (so much that he'll happily eat the peels if he manages to get his hands on one). His first word was "Yuck" followed by "this, Dad, that, dog, Mama, & bye." Bath time and climbing stairs are his favorite. He loves to swing at the park, and go down the slide on his tummy. He's a very helpful boy, and unloads the dishwasher for me any chance he gets. He's always intent on figuring out how things go back together (while doing his birthday painting, he was more interested on putting the lids back on the paints). He's mesmerized by everything Sam does, and loves to poke Allie in the eye (she makes fun noises!) And he is currently unloading the silverware from the dishwasher into the trashcan, so I need to go! 

1 day

4 days

1 month

2 months

three months

four months









In short, Owen is pure sugar, and I am so thankful he is in my life.
Love you Baby! ♥

Friday, April 19, 2013

A first time for everything...

I love my kids, I really do. But when there is free child care being offered, I'll jump on that, haha. Thanks to said free childcare, Joel and I will be attending the Air Force Birthday Ball this May. In preparation, I decided that once and for all I was going to learn how to do a smoky eye. That's right. I'm 28 and have never learned that basic female tool.

Luckily, the world wide web is full of useful information, and I finally found one I could follow along. I think I actually got it down pretty well too! I always thought I had weird eyes, and couldn't do this kind of look.

And then of course, it turns out you can't have good makeup on and a dirty t-shirt, so I squeezed into my favorite LBD. Victoria's Secret did good on this one. I LOVE it. It does wonders to a lumpy body. Ruching is a woman's best friend. :P As if lumpy body camouflage wasn't goo enough.I ordered a plum version on ebay, and got sent a black one instead, so they just gave it to me for free! This is the only tight dress I'd dare wear at this point of my life. And boo, can't find it anywhere on the VS website... 
breathe in...
and let it all out...
But anyways, there it is. I had "learn the smoky eye" on my Do Before 30 list. What a dork, haha.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Social Experiment, part 1


Our last year in Georgia I had the fun of having my brother and sister-in-law move into town. My sis happens to be one of those outgoing people that is a lot of fun to be around. About a month after she moved into town it seemed like she had more friends than I'd made over the four years I lived there. It kind of made me wonder if I was an anti-social weirdo. I decided that while in Texas I was going to do my best to step outside of my comfort zone and really try to make an effort to connect with more figure out if I was antisocial or if it's just who I am. I figured I was only there for six months, so even if I made a huge fool of myself I'd be moving away anyways. So there began my social experiment. ;)

In the end, I discovered that I don't have a problem with meeting people and being friends in a loose, shallow way. I can meet other moms at the park and chat about potty training like a champ. Here's a few things I've picked up over the years about other women.

1. It's expensive. Apparently, to be a real woman, you have to get manicures. I've never gotten one, so I'm a little of an outcast. If you can pay your bills, I don't care if you want to drop fifty bucks on your nails, but personally, I have a thousand other things I want to spend my money on. Second lesson: Don't ever tell another woman that you've never gotten a manicure. It will become their life mission to have you get one.

2. Women (and people in general) are a lot of drama. It makes me feel a little sorry for Joel that he has to live with one, although I'm prideful and want to believe I'm not that bad. I don't know that many people and yet I've been in the middle of several friendship splits. Someone voted for the other guy during presidential elections? Consider that a unpardonable sin. Forget to add a little winky guy at the end of a sentence that slightly opposes what that person says? You guys are through. ;) Don't go to a Scentsy party your friend is hosting because your kid has a fever? That combines the first 1-4!
It's too much for me. I'm too old for that mess.

3. Kids. Kids work both ways. First kids are really awesome because they can get you out of stuff. Don't want to go to a romance party with a bunch of strangers? I'm sure I can find a way to use them to get me of it. The second side though is that kids can keep you from doing a lot of things that you might actually want to do. I don't how many play dates I scheduled while in Texas that had to be postponed because between my kids and theirs someone was always sick. Let me warn you though- if you skip too many dates because your baby happens to be vomiting again, #3 can come up.

4. This goes with #1, but if you want friends, you better be ready to drop money on stuff you don't want. Candle wax, Tupperware, scented edible oils (do you ask for a sample, haha?),purses, jewelry, makeup, stamps...I've seen it all. If you want to do something that doesn't involve getting your nails done or getting drunk, you'll probably be at a party buying stuff. If spending money on things you don't really want causes you anxiety, it's probably not that much fun. If you don't buy anything you're not being a supportive friend. Ya can't win.

5. Judgment. Women are awful. NO ONE knows what judgment feels like quite like the mother who is foolish enough to bring their kid a cookie for a snack amid a group of newly converted-to-organic-diet moms. I shudder at the memory. (Side note, here is what I've discovered: Bring Goldfish crackers, there's not much redeeming value to them, but they seem to be universally accepted. Fruit seems like a safe bet, but you may get a lecture on all the poisonous toxins your child is ingesting.  Fruit snacks are as sugary as you can dare to go, but they have the high fructose corn syrup danger to them. Choose your snack wisely)

Last Friday I had a playgroup at my place. (It seemed like a good way to motivate me to get my house cleaned). I can't tell you the panic I felt when I realized that the only kids drink I had was Capri Sun. I spent a lot of time debating what to do. In the end, I went with the bold move, and left it out on the counter. I had seven moms and their kids come, and there was no comment on it, so overall, it was a success.

6. 85% of moms think there is something wrong with their child. I feel that my role as a friend has largely been taken over by reassuring other women that the fact that their two year old would rather pick his nose than play with the other kids is normal. There are a lot of panicked women out there. The other day on my base spouse page one lady was worried because her 3 month old hadn't had any "socialization with other children her age." I don't want to be mean, but it makes me giggle a little. I don't know if it's because I have three kids, or because I tell them what they desperately want to hear, but I have taken to the role of letting moms know that their child is not insane simply because he's the loudest one there at that moment.

7. It actually is nice to have someone to discuss potty training techniques with. It breaks up the monotony of the day, and it can be more fun than sitting on a bench by yourself. I know my husband listens to stuff like that the same way I listen to basketball stats, so it can be nice to "talk shop" with other women.

Anyways, that's the lighter side to what I've discovered, and all said in fun. I'll have the more serious side another day...if you have any discoveries you've made, I'd like to hear them. I'm sure I'll think of more later!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Come on in...

Our floorplan, except we're flip flopped (the master is to the right...)

I love my new kitchen. Such a huge upgrade from Texas!!

laundry room straight ahead, garage to the right, bathroom to the left!

I really love the sink area. I've got some rosemary going, and plan to add a bunch of other herbs.

dining room from the  kitchen

from the front door

 view from the dining room

super duper high ceilings. Notice the toy lizard stuck underneath the window? That thing is never coming down...

We used the "storage" room above for Owen's room. With just a crib and a dresser it works perfectly!

my little sewing area


Allie's room

Allie's room to the left. Desk, Owen & Master rooms to the right
bathroom straight ahead, Sam's room to the right, playroom to the left!
kids bathroom

view into master bathroom & closet

rest of the bathroom

our backyard. I was  disappointed at first about the big hill, but I think it will be awesome for sledding one day!

That's pretty much it! There's also our bedroom and Sam's room, but I'm still working on those rooms!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Six Years

Six years ago, I never would have thought that I'd be using the word "civilian" to describe every day Americans. Today marks our sixth anniversary from the day Joel joined the Air Force! A lot has gone on in those years.

graduation day!

Growing up, and even when I got married, I never ever thought about being a military spouse. It was just something that was never on my radar. Joel and I met, got married, and had a lot of plans, but again, the military was never one of the things we considered. Then Sam came along,  I quit my job, and we decided to really gain our independence by leaving Colorado and moving to Indiana when he was 4 months old. We had some money in savings, and after a month or two of searching, Joel found a job at a paper factory.  The next few months were pretty rough. Joel was working 10+ hours six days a week, and going to school full time. It was lonely for sure! It got so bad, I convinced Joel to buy me a cat so I'd have a friend. :P Obviously it was hard for Joel, but the knowledge that it would be at least 4 years before he'd have a degree and any better job opportunities is what made him look into the military. I told him "absolutely not" for the army and the marines.  At that time soldiers routinely deployed 12-18 months.  I'm glad for sure he didn't go that route for so many reasons now!  Anyways, Joel enlisted and six months later he was headed for basic. Funny thing is, about a month before he left, he got a much better job as an assistant for a law firm, and we had a lot of "did we do the right thing??" but I have never once regretted our decision!

His 8 weeks at basic also turned out to be very good for me. I've never been very confident, and after we got married I fell into the habit of having him confirm every single decision I was making. When he was gone, I had to make those all on my own. I think it helped teach me that I can do things on my own.

We've gotten to live in some amazing places. The shorter moves (like our last one) are pretty hard-six months is both a long and short time, but overall, the military has opened up so many opportunities that we would never have had before! I love the experience of moving to new places.
Second, and I'm really appreciating this one, as long as Joel stays in for ten years (which he's committed to now), he can pass on a good chunk of his GI Bill to our kids. That means that Sam, Allie, and Owen's first year of college is already completely paid for. That is BIG. Like really big!!
There is obviously job security (and even with the military downsizing, I don't think that Joel will ever be in danger of losing his job), medical benefits, and retirement (although I wouldn't be surprised if those change at some point). I love the fact that our family is part of something important.
We've got another four years before a decision has to be made, but at this point it's looking like we'll be in the full 20 it takes to get to retirement. Joel has taken an officer's qualifying exam, and scored well, so at some point in the future he may put in an application for that  that will take some thought though...the pay & position would be a huge increase, but so would the deployments/moves/stress. There are some things money can't buy!).
There are some things we haven't been through yet. The big one being a deployment. Joel is at the top of the list for going now though. Within a year, he'll most likely be sent somewhere, but I feel like I'm at a stage now where I'll (probably) survive.
Being a military wife becomes part of your identity. They have coffee cups, sweaters, and bumper stickers just for us!
And finally, just to be honest, the uniform is hot. I don't know that you can beat a man in uniform(besides the possibility of a man in a tux, but I can't think of a job where he'd wear a tuxedo every day...)
That just might be my favorite part about this all. ;) 

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