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I'm a twenty-nine year old Army wife currently living near a large Army post. I have an unhealthy obsession with Dr. Pepper, the Internet, cloth diapers, and ridiculous TV shows. I'm a stay at home mom to two beautiful daughters, AJ and Amelia. We also have a 6 year old beagle named Abby who is as dumb as a box of rocks.
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Memorial Day Weekend

The entire weekend was a complete whirlwind!

Amidst thunderstorms, my family arrived in town on Friday afternoon. I had planned on grilling bratwurst and enjoying a nice afternoon/evening outside, but since the weather was not cooperating we moved the party indoors! We still grilled, but instead of hanging outside we enjoyed lots of cocktails inside.

My mom and I made an appetizer for our party we were throwing on Saturday night and we really just enjoyed being all together.

AJ hanging out with her uncles!

Saturday we got up, made a big breakfast and then some of us hopped in the car and headed to post to check out the memorial, a museum, and some of the planes on the Air Force base. My family likes that sort of thing, so it was a nice way to spend the morning. We came back and the boys all went to the beach while my mom and I started cooking! We hosted an engagement party for D's best friend and his new fiance who got engaged this weekend. (You can read all about the recipes on my food blog, This American Kitchen.)

The party was a huge success! D's friend knew that we were planning this party, but his new fiance did not, so when she came in and realized that the party was for her, she was very excited! I was glad we were able to pull it off and that everyone had a good time.

Sunday started slowly after the partying from the night before, but as soon as we decided that we wanted to go to the lake, people started moving! We even took AJ over to cool off a little bit. She continues to think she can swim and tries to dive face first into the water, which makes me incredibly nervous. Luckily she doesn't seem to be fazed, so I guess we'll have to find her some swim lessons!

After some time playing at the lake and in the sand, we came home and stripped her down and let her play in her little plastic pool in the backyard to get some of the sand off of her. I got some of the cutest nekkid baby pictures ever! She just loves water, she can't get enough of it!

Swimming in the backyard!

We were all exhausted Sunday night and I was all cooked out after making all the food for the party on Saturday, so we ordered Chinese food and sat around and relaxed. We played in the yard for a while and my brother, sister, brother-in-law, Dad and sister's boyfriend all walked down the street to the vacant lot to get back in the lake.

Memorial Day began with pancakes and bacon and then we decided to check out the neighborhood pool for an hour before the fam had to hop in the car and head to the airport. We had a nice time sitting in the sunshine and tossing the frisbee around. AJ had to stay home because she needed a nap, but D and I took her back right before dinner so she could swim around a little bit. I think that AJ and I are probably going to try and go at least a few times a week to get out of the house for an hour or so.

All in all, we had a great weekend! We hosted a successful engagement party and had a great time spending quality time with my family. Its always sad to see them go, but I know that AJ and I will be back in Hometown, USA soon for a wedding, and we'll get to see them all again then!

How was your holiday weekend? How did you spend your time?

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Fun in Gift Giving

Do you have any big plans for the long weekend?

I mentioned that I would be MIA until after the weekend, but I have a few minutes while AJ is napping so I thought I'd check in with y'all!

My father-in-law and brother-in-law came into town last weekend and FIL headed home early this week while BIL is staying with us for the summer and working here.

Today my parents, brother, sister and sister's boyfriend are coming into town for the long weekend. D and I are currently trying to hash out the final list of what booze we're going to need before their plane lands! Just typically of my family, we make sure the important things are taken care of.

I've been cooking up a storm (mostly so that I can keep myself busy all day while waiting for them to get here!) and I'm making a few things that I cannot wait to try and will totally be posting on This American Kitchen when I get a chance, so be sure to check in there if you see a new post from me!

I am so incredibly excited to see everyone, but most of all, my sister. She has been in Australia for the past 3 months and I haven't seen her since Christmas. Even though she is 5 years younger than me, we're pretty close, so its been hard to not be able to text her anytime I feel like it! I also have her birthday gift that has been sitting in my bedroom since it arrived in late April. I will post a picture of it here after I give it to her.

Let's just say that I bought the same one for myself, as well. There's really nothing that Abby and I love more than shopping for gifts for each other. Its so much fun to buy a gift you know someone is going to love (and honestly, she is the only person I know will LOVE the gifts I buy for her).

Anyway, this post has turned into the most random post ever, and not at all what I set out to write about! Stay tuned for a real post, hopefully soon! No promises, though! ;)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shift Change!

If you've ever worked anywhere that worked on shifts, you know how crazy things get at shift change. People are leaving, they're anxious to get home. People are coming, they're not as anxious to get into work.

We've had D's dad and brother here for the weekend and FIL is heading home today. (D's brother is staying for the summer.) Friday my parents, brother, sister and their significant others are coming to town for the long weekend. Essentially, we've got our very own shift change going on here this week!

Ours is a little different though. The people heading home are dragging their feet, while the newcomers are chomping at the bit to get here!

We've had a great time with Grandpa and we're sad to see him go, but I'm also very excited to see my family (especially my sister who has been in Australia for the last 3 months) and spend time with them. We have a busy weekend planned, so you may or may not see me for a few days! Ha!

I have to get the house cleaned up, guest rooms ready for the new visitors and laundry done! Not to mention the food that needs to be prepared before Friday.

Like I said, I'll see ya next week! Ha!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summertime And The Living Is Easy.

I don't know about you, but I love the lazy days of Summer. There's just something to be said about a bonfire, a beer and a brat hot off the grill.

Where we live, we're already in the throws of Summer, the high today is supposed to 95-degrees. We've been attempting to stay cool, but at the same time, we're enjoying the sun and sand!

My in-laws were in town this weekend, and we made a trip up to the big store and bought a few fun things, one being a little plastic kiddie pool for AJ to splash around in and the other being an electric ice cream maker.

Keep an eye on my new cooking blog, This American Kitchen, next week (and all the time) for the recipe we used to make the ice cream and for other Summer-time treats!

Here are a few glimpses into what we've been up to this past weekend:

We had some friends over for a summer dinner and I busted out my Nora Fleming bowl with the beach ball charm on top! It goes perfectly with my Fiestaware.

I had an excess of strawberries after we got our farm box last week, so I canned them! The recipe will be on my food blog in a few days.

We grilled pizza. Yep, we're adventurous like that. It was delish! This recipe will also appear on my food blog in the next week!

And finally, I've spent every waking moment some quality time pinning beautiful things on Pinterest. Megan from Magnolias and Mimosas invited me and I'm so glad she did!

So, as you can see, I've been busy around here, cooking, entertaining, playing and relaxing! Oh, I've also enjoyed some ice cold beers on a friend's boat and eaten homemade ice cream with family. ;)

What are your plans for the summer?

P.S. AJ pictures coming as soon as I can steal get them from my FIL's camera.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Hope They're Planning On Cleaning That Piano...

Just a little gem that one of my friends sent me the other day. I hope you enjoy it!

Happy Friday!

Friday, May 20, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In...

Its been a while since I have participated in the MilSpouse Friday Fill-In and since I wrote a few legitimate posts this week, I decided to give myself a break and have some fun!

As always, head over to Wife of a Sailor to link up if you want to join in!

1. What is one of the things you always do special when your husband returns from a deployment? submitted by Keep Calm and Soldier On
Shave my legs? Clean the house? I did both of those last time he came home. I consider them to be "special" because I didn't do either of them that often during the year he was gone. We've only had one deployment though, so whose to say that I'll do those things next time? ;)

2. What do you do to help your spouse and/or yourself re-adjust after a deployment or long separation? submitted by Diapers, Dogs and Deployments
I always try to be extra patient. I tend to get into a groove while he is gone and I'm also a bit of a control freak. Both of these things can lead to some clashing when he gets home because I want things done my way and sometimes I feel like he's intruding on my space. In reality though, there was a place for him in my crazy world, it just took me a few days to figure out where it fit in! I don't think as MilSpouses we can really prepare that "space" before they come home. Everything else can be done, but the service member must actually be in your house to begin that part of redeployment.

3. Are you a crazy coupon clipper (I'm becoming one, so share your secrets with me)? submitted by Married My Airman
No. I had a bunch of coupons clipped last time I went to the grocery store. I forgot to use them and ended up spending WAY more than I ever intended (which would have been the case even if I had used the coupons). I am jealous of those who can walk away with 900 things for like $8 though. That would be awesome if it was the 900 things I needed for my pantry and not all yakisoba noodles and juice boxes.

4. What's your most treasured memory of you and your spouse (not counting your wedding - that's a given)? submitted by Scrubs, ACUs and One Crazy Ride
This is a hard one. There are so many to choose from. I think my most treasured of all though was the first time I saw him hold AJ. I had a C-Section and obviously wasn't able to get up and care for her the first day, but D was in the room with us, changing every diaper, taking pictures and even helping give her that first bath! I have always known that he is the world's greatest guy, and that day confirmed my suspicion that he would be the world's greatest dad, too.

There are a million other little memories that are all treasured, and I think this post has inspired me to write about a bunch of them at a future time.

5. If you could live anywhere overseas, what would you pick and why? submitted by Little Moments Like This
It has never been my lifelong dream to live overseas. I haven't honestly put a lot of thought into it, but I guess if I had to choose anywhere, I'd choose Madrid, Spain. I chose Madrid because I've been there before and it was my favorite city out of all the ones I visited in Spain. I think it would be hard to say, "I want to live in Timbuktu," if you have never even been there. How would you know that is where you'd want to be?

I also think it might be interesting to live in Italy near where D's family is originally from. He took a trip there with his grandfather and cousin when he was 14 and the pictures and stories from that trip might be enough to get me to pack up and move somewhere I've never been before. With that being said, I also think part of my {hypothetical} willingness to go to Italy is because its where some of his extended family still lives. I feel like it would be more about the family ties than the location.

With that being said, I think that my hesitation to move somewhere I've never been before is kind of funny because that's exactly what I've been doing for the last 4 years of my life. As a family, we have up and moved somewhere we've never been before every year for the last four years. Ironic?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Its Graduation Season

When I graduated from college many moons 5 years ago there are lots of things no one told me.

No one told me that it would be next to impossible to find a job, let alone a good one.

No one told me that the second you accept a job offer, a better one will come your way.

I read a piece of advice the other day that really rings true in a "If I knew then what I know now" sort of way. Here it is:

After graduation, you will have a terrible job. You’ll probably have more than one, but rest assured, you will have at least one terrible job.

Don’t worry though: it will seem like the greatest job in the world when you get it. You know how you’ve spent the past four years honing your critical thinking skills, developing complex theoretical understandings of the world, and collaborating with like-minded intellectuals?

Forget all of it.

You are going to spend the first month (at least) doing the most mind-numbing work you can imagine. You will lick some envelopes. You will make a lot of runs to get documents from places around town. You will also find out that your health insurance doesn’t kick in until after a 3 month waiting period, that pay checks are delivered two weeks after the pay period ends (and you started in the middle of a pay period, so not for a month… sorry!), and someone at your office will irrationally hate you because you are young and enthusiastic...

You will either cry or feel like crying at your desk.You’ll probably move up in the ranks—you’re smart, you’re a go-getter, you have ambition. But it will take a long time and it turns out that your new responsibilities are similarly mind-numbing, but now there are more of them.

You will spend a lot of time trying to figure out what you “really want to do” and will probably utter the words, “I would rather write my senior thesis all over again than do another mail-merge.”

To all the recent college graduates out there, read this, take it to heart and know that you're not alone. Embrace the suck, work hard and hope to God that someday you'll figure out what you want to do with your life!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What The Heck?

Can I talk about something here? (Of course I can, its my blog!)

If I have one piece of advice to offer the new and expecting moms, it is this:

DON'T compare yourself to other moms, or your kids to other kids.

Now, for me, I haven't really had trouble with the second part of this. AJ is the most perfect, most adorable, cutest baby in the world. Wait, so is your kid? Of course they are! As moms I think its natural to look at your kid and see Heaven. Seriously, there are days when I sit and watch her play and just smile because I can't believe that not only did I make that piece of perfection, but I managed to keep her alive up to this point!

That's right, folks, I'm taking credit for her! Well, the good parts at least, the stubbornness and attitude come from the hubby (yeah, right).

My point is, I rarely compare her to other kids. I think I heard the saying "every baby is different" enough times during my pregnancy that it must have sunken in. To me, watching AJ learn new skills or get new teeth is exciting, regardless of whether Bobby across the street started walking at 2 months old or Susie was potty trained by her first birthday (I call bull sh!t, people, but I digress).

What I struggled with early on was comparing myself as a mom to other moms.

I didn't have an all-natural, home, water, pain-free, drug-free, hypno, upside-down birth. I had a scheduled C-Section.

I also didn't cloth diaper right away, nor did I breast-feed AJ past the 6 week mark. I have my reasons for each and every decision that I made and honestly, I no longer feel the need to explain myself. I made the best decisions for my family, and while your choices may be different from those that I made, I'm sure they're the best for you and your family.

Plus, lets be honest here.

Some of the choices that I made were not at all what I expected. I changed my mind. I'll admit (and this isn't easy, here) that I was wrong. I thought that I would have a drug-free, all-natural birth. I thought that I would breastfeed until 1 year (or at least 6 months). I had decided that cloth diapers weren't for us. We were not going to co-sleep, no matter what. AJ would be in her crib from day 1.

Well guess what, folks. As I said above, I had a scheduled C-section, only breastfed for 6 weeks as opposed to months, we use cloth diapers, and AJ was in bed with us for the first 3 months of her life and even after that I had trouble putting her in her pack 'n' play in our room, much less across the hall by herself!

I have encountered moms who have made different decisions and some are understanding (without explanation) of my choices, but far more are judgmental. Like somehow, my decision to bottle feed will affect their child negatively. I used to feel like I owed them an explanation as to why I chose to poison formula feed my baby. (Yes, in case you are wondering, I have actually encountered people who equate formula with poison.)

Maybe its because we're past this point and AJ is now drinking the same whole milk that their kids are, or maybe I have grown more confident in my skills as a mom, but I no longer feel the need to even discuss my choices with the judgmental moms. Now, don't get me wrong, if you want to know, I'll tell you, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it, nor will I follow the line "we used formula" with a lengthy explanation about the inability to latch or nipple shields, etc.

If you want to go to a LLL meeting, more power to you! There still are times when I wish that I had been able to breast feed AJ, but those thoughts are no longer ridden with guilt like they once were.

So, to all you expectant moms out there, be ready for the judgment. I think that moms of babies are some of the most judgmental people out there, mostly because the different options are so controversial. Do you vaccinate on schedule or delay? Breast or Bottle? Pacifier or no pacifier? Cloth or disposable? Baby wear or stroller?

I think in the end, no matter what decisions you make for your child, trust your gut. You know what is best for you, your baby, and your family.

Bottom line is, if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Happy 3rd Anniversary to my wonderful hubby!

We have had a great 3 years of marriage and 7 years together before that! I can't believe how fast the time has gone.

It feels like just yesterday that we were two high schoolers meeting for the first time in a friend's basement!

You make me the happiest woman in the world!

I can't wait to see what the future holds for us!

I love you, D!

Monday, May 16, 2011

An Exciting Announcement!

No, I'm not pregnant.

I created a new blog! I'm keeping this one, but I have decided that instead of posting any more recipes here on this blog, I'm only going to post them on the new blog.

Its a recipe blog, you see! If you're interested in cooking, or maybe you need to get some dinner inspiration, perhaps you just like me, either way, head over and check it out for yourself.

This American Kitchen

I plan on posting recipes as I make them but will add in our family favorites from time to time as an extra treat as well!

See you there!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

AJ Playing Outisde

Just in case you wanted to hear her newest word:

"Uh oh!"

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Nautically Inspired Master Bedroom

Going along with my window shopping post from yesterday, I wanted to post another option for my Master bedroom and sitting room.

Now, just because I'm entertaining the idea of redecorating doesn't mean that I'm going to buy all this stuff (we are window shopping, after all) but I'm trying to get ideas because we do need some stuff for the room, and the easiest way for me to decide what I want is to plan an entire room!

I'll start out the same way I did yesterday, by giving you a little background on the room itself.

Here are a few views of the room as it is right now. The first is a picture of the bedroom and the second is a picture of the sitting room from the opposite wall.

A few of the things we have in here are:

beige walls,

a beige bed,

and 17 3 of these dressers, plus a book case and another tall dresser in the same style/color combo. (We obviously love ikea.)

Since yesterday's theme was a yellowy-brown-beige theme, I thought it would be fun to try a new color combo/style with today's post!

I absolutely adore this bedding. I've had my eye on it for a while and I keep coming back to it. Seriously, folks, when it comes to paisley, I have a problem.

I also thought it might be nice to paint the bedroom half of the room this dusty blue color (or maybe a shade or two lighter). I think it would help highlight our furniture a little better than the beige-on-beige combo we have going on right now does.

For the sitting room, I love this chair. I love it even more because I'd get two of them for the sitting room! I think these pillows are a fun and whimsical way to add a little texture to the chairs!

In between the two chairs I'd put this table:

In front of the chairs I like this coffee table:

And across the room, next to the bathroom door, would be this dresser for the whiner's D's clothes.

Let's add a little lighting to the room, shall we? First, we have the chandelier for the sitting room:

For some mood task lighting we'd place a floor lamp flanking the chairs. I like these ones:

And to remedy our ugly fan problem, I'd have the hubs a professional install this ceiling fan over our bed:

I would find somewhere to put two of these cubes in the room:

Lastly, and most importantly, some accessories! This shutter screams "beach" to me!

And this porthole mirror is a fun way to bring the boat into your bedroom!

Next, we have lots of little knick-knacks that I think would tie the whole room together! I would just place them on table tops and around the room, where ever they fit!

Lastly, I found a few pieces of art that I think would tie the room together. The coral pieces are simple enough to accent the decor, while the clock isn't totally nautical, but the weathered look seems beachy to me!

And there you have it, folks! The other dream-theme for my Master bedroom/sitting room! Now all we need is thousands of dollars and we're there! Ha!

I'd love to know what you all think of my imaginary designs!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Some Awesome Things....

At the urging of a few people (ahem, Lora *cough, cough*), I've decided to make Friday Awesomeness a regular thing! I'm glad to be doing it though, because it will really help me to take the time and think about the awesome things either that happened during the week, or things that are generally just awesome!

At some point I'll probably create a button (you know, once I learn HTML and all that jazz) but for now, I'll just host a linky and you can add your list of awesomeness as you see fit!

If you have no idea what the heck I'm talking about, you most likely missed this post last Friday.

Some of the awesome things this week are:

  • Playing outside with the neighbor kids after dinner (and pretty much all day long).
  • Our invisible fence and how well AbbyDog has taken to it (you know, despite her challenges).
  • Monster cookies.
  • Our good friends thinking about buying a house down the street from us!
  • Summer weddings of good friends who live far away.
  • Visiting family.
  • Online window shopping for things I can't afford (its fun to dream!).
  • A hug from my hubby at the end of a long day.
That's it for this week, folks! If you have awesome things and you want to participate, feel free to link up!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

{Online} Window Shopping

Does anyone else do this? Tell me I'm not alone.

I went shopping last night. From the comfort of my couch. No, I didn't buy anything, but I did put a bunch of stuff in my shopping cart, so that counts, right?

The main living areas of our house are coming along nicely, but the upstairs leaves something to be desired. In the guest room/D's office, we're talking about an air mattress that we call a "bed" and the sitting room in the Master bedroom is completely empty, aside from a pack 'n' play filled with toys and AbbyDog's bed (that's a decorating scheme, right?).

I enjoyed my online window shopping so much and was so pleased with my finds that I thought I'd share a few of them with you all!

To start you off, here's the head board that we already have in our bedroom:

Not exactly, ours is flat across the top, but its basically the same color, style and details as ours.

This is similar to the color that is on the walls in every room in our entire house the Master bedroom. Here's a picture of the Master looking into the sitting room when we moved in. We obviously have our bed and dresser in there now, but not much else.

The corner where the stuff is in this picture is where the pack n play sits now.

We have 3 of these dressers (one on each side of the bed working as a night stand and one in the sitting room). We also have a book case that is the same color and we currently have our tv on top of it.

So as you can see, we have little color, but a lot of potential to work with!

Okay, so on to the exciting shopping part of the post! To start, I thought it might be nice to bring in a little color on the bedding. I found this duvet cover at Crate and Barrel.

I like the simplicity of it, coupled with the fact that its not too girly (the hubs likes it) and it brings in a lot of the colors we already have going on in the room (read: beige). If I get this duvet, I obvs have to get the pillow shams to go with it (window shopping, people):

And I plan on throwing a few extra pillows in my "cart" to throw on this beauty:
I think this chair and a half would go perfectly in the sitting room off the Master. Don't forget the ottoman to put your feet up!

And alongside the chair, we'd have to incorporate somewhere to set your drink (be it coffee, tea, or a nice glass of wine after a long day):

I absolutely love this table.

Plus we can't have the room off-kilter, so we'll add another table in to balance it out!

Oh, and since D has been complaining storing his clothes on the floor, I guess we can get another dresser for him.

We also need curtains on the 3 windows in the room, so I thought this pattern would be a fun accent to throw in that would bring out the yellow in the duvet and pillows!

And you can't window shop for an entire room's worth of stuff and not include any accessories, so I'd obviously need this vase.

Some accent lighting would be nice for reading at night. How about this lamp for the sitting room?

And lets add a chandelier to the sitting room as well.

Finally, since we live in an area of the country that gets pretty hot from March to November during the summer a ceiling fan is a must. We have one in the bedroom now, but it is butt ugly not my style. I think this one would look lovely!

So, what do you think? I've got another design idea/color scheme in my head right now, and after shopping tonight, I'll post the second idea tomorrow!

I hope you had fun shopping with me!