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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, January 31, 2012

Eyeballs?

A little back story for you. Several months ago when AJ was learning the names for body parts I told her that eyes are called eyeballs and now she won't call them anything but "eyeballs." This drives D CRAZY! ;)

Today after she finished her lunch I was wiping off her hands and face and she was pointing at things on my face.

She said "Nose!" as she pointed at my nose.

She said "Mouth!" as she touched her own mouth.

She said "Eyeball!" as she tried to gouge my eye out with her little razor-sharp fingernail.

I asked her where AJ's eyeball was and she pointed at her own eye. We repeated this exchange a few times and then I decided to challenge her.

I asked her, "Does PupPup have eyeballs?" to which she responded, "Yes!"

I then asked "Does Daddy have eyeballs?" She thought about this one for a minute and then responded, "Yes!"

I decided to push her a little bit further so I asked her if Grandpa has eyeballs and she quickly and very seriously responded, "No."

Me: Does Mimi have eyeballs?
AJ: No.

Me: Does Obo have eyeballs?
AJ: No.

I asked her a few more times and asked her if she was sure and she told me she was, so I guess its official., AJ's grandparents are all, according to her, eyeball-less. So, so, sad. ;)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Frenzy!

Random mish-mash of a post today. I have a lot of things going on & this is the best way to get them all out!

1. I planned AJ’s birthday party last night. I know I mentioned it before, but last night I sat down and found the decorations I’m going to order, made a list of the people we’re going to invite and wrote down the entire menu for the party. I ran it by husband and afterwards looked into his glazed-over eyes and asked if he thought that was good, to which he replied, “Sounds great, babe!” Check!

2. We’re heading to a brunch playgroup this morning so I decided to make donut muffins again. I made them a few weeks ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about them since then. The best part about them is that I typically have every. single. ingredient in my pantry already so I don’t have to go buy anything when I need want to make them last minute. I am posting the recipe on my food blog for you to enjoy!

3. I’m planning a bloggy BFF meet-up in a few weeks with my bloggy BFF, Moe, and I couldn’t be more excited! So far we have no actual plans other than we are going to meet up. We’re super on top of things! ;)

4. My neighbor across the street decided a few weeks ago that we (the wives and moms on our block) should have a Friday afternoon happy hour to celebrate surviving another week with our kids. Today is the first week its going to happen and I’m looking forward to that cocktail today.

5. I’m going to jump on the nerdy-tax-loving bandwagon and talk about how excited I am to file our taxes this year. We bought our house this year so our return should be beautiful. Now if only USAA would get on board and post our documents that I need to finish them, that would be great!

6. We have already started making lists of things we’re going to purchase with the tax return, once it comes. I’m not going to spoil the surprise now, so check back in a few weeks!

7. I briefly mentioned a few days ago that I am trying to cut back on caffeine a bit, so last week I bought Diet Caffeine-Free Dr. Pepper. Let me tell you, it tastes great, but I’m not fooling myself into thinking that its real Dr. Pepper. I can definitely notice the lack of energy I’m used to after downing a regular Dr. Pepper. I think I’d be faring better with the whole less-caffeine thing if AJ hadn’t decided to also use this week to change her wake-ups from 8:30 am to 5 am. Ugh.

8. Husband woke up with her at 5 am yesterday and got her back to sleep for another 2.5 hours. He’s my savior, by the way. I’m not sure if its me, or what, but he can get her to go back to sleep, but the second I walk into the room, its time to play, play, play and all hopes of sleeping go right out the window!

9. Is anyone else having issues uploading photos to Blogger in Firefox? For some reason they get all distorted and crazy looking, but if I use Safari it works perfectly. This is annoying and the reason for all the picture-less posts lately (I'm too lazy to go over to Safari just to upload pictures). I hate Safari. Sorry if you're a Safari-lover.

10. That’s all for today, folks. I’ve gotta get to mopping the kitchen floors now while I’ve still got time to read HP after I finish. I long for the days when AJ napped for 3+ hours. I got so much stuff done around the house!

TGIF!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ham, Anyone?

Yesterday I was trying really hard to not feel bad for myself after AJ woke me up at 5:27 am and I left the dog sleeping in my bed. I mean, she has been a great sleeper up until now and its not really that big of a deal to wake up early when all you have to do is sit on the couch and drink coffee, making sure to keep the endless stream of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Yo Gabba Gabba playing, right?

Plus husband had to get up at O'dark Hundred for a 12 mile ruck march and had time to come home to shower and change before he had to be back at work, so I wasn't going to be the one to complain about being tired. I figured I'd leave the complaining to the dog.

I decided to make my day productive so I folded some laundry, ran a couple of loads through the wash and made homemade granola. I had the granola pans on the stove cooling and had just pulled the ham and kaiser rolls out of the freezer for dinner tonight when I decided to run to the grocery store real quickly. I had told husband earlier that I'd grab him some beer when AJ and I ran to the grocery store.

I pushed the granola pans back as far as they'd go on the counter so the dog couldn't get to them and made sure there were no glasses or cups within dog's reach before we left the house. About 30 minutes later we came back in and as I set the grocery sacks on the kitchen counter I noticed a piece of something on the carpet in the dining room. I walked over to get a closer look at what it was and I saw the ziploc bag that had the ham in it sitting on the dining room floor. Empty.

Yep, AbbyDog ate almost an entire Christmas ham while we were at the grocery store. I say almost because it was the ham we had for Christmas dinner, so there was about 3/4 of it left that I froze to use for ham & cheese sandwiches. I was really shocked that she was able to eat the whole thing, especially since it was several pounds and Abby only weighs about 35 pounds (more now). Then I remembered that she is a beagle and they have no self-control, or brains for that matter (as is evidenced by the time she ate an entire 1 pound bag of Hershey's kisses with the tinfoil wrappers still on them).

I decided at this point to let myself have a little pity party about the ham. I mean, come on. That was our dinner. Now what are we going to have?

I took AJ upstairs to put her down for her nap and I noticed something on her bed.

I kind of looked away, afraid that it was barf, but after closer inspection I realized that it was ham. It was the center part of the ham that was still very frozen and the dog apparently couldn't eat anymore of. In AJ's bed.

I really couldn't make this up if I tried. And thus continues my own personal struggle with ham.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Drinking The Kool-Aid

One of my unofficial resolutions for 2012 was to read more books and so far, January has started off swimmingly in that aspect! I've officially read 5 books so far and I'm just gaining momentum!

I'm pretty proud of myself, I finally got through The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and while I haven't started the next book yet, I have it and I'm going to read it, soon.

I can't read it right now, though, because I'm really busy reading something else. I started the Harry Potter series last week and I'm steadily making my way through it. I'm really enjoying it so far and I can see why everyone likes the series so much. I'm thoroughly entertained and with each book I read, I'm getting more into it and more excited to finish the series and see the movies at the end.

I decided that since I've never read any of the books nor seen any of the movies (yes, I have been living under a rock for the last 15 years (and yes, the first HP book came out 15 years ago, man that makes me feel old!)) that I'd read them all and then watch all the movies afterwards (probably somewhat consecutively while D is away at training).

I don't know about you, but I am a big fan of book series. Even if there aren't movies made (like the Twilight series, the Millennium series, Harry Potter, etc.) I really enjoy reading series. I think its because I tend to "miss" characters after books are over and with series, the story continues over lots of time.

Part of the reason I've been reading so much is because I finally joined the masses and got an e-reader! I bought myself a Kindle touch with some Christmas money and I'm liking the freedom it gives me to buy a book online and be able to start reading it immediately.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Best Thing I've Made In A Long Time, Possibly Ever

If you are a loyal follower of the old blog here, then you may already know about my new favorite recipe site, SkinnyTaste.com. I tried a few new recipes from the site last week. I blogged about one already on my food blog (the Stuffed Cabbage Casserole, which was okay) but the one I made on Thursday was possibly the best dinner I've ever made.

I'll preface by saying that it wasn't the easiest dish I've ever made, but it was worth every step and this dish has easily earned a spot in our regular rotation.

***

Chicken with Mushrooms in a Garlic and White Wine Sauce


8 chicken tenderloins, 16 oz total
2 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup fat free chicken broth
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 200°. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge in flour.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat; when hot add 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil. Add chicken to the skillet and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is no longer pink. Set aside in a warm oven.

Add additional oil and butter to the skillet, then garlic and cook a few seconds; add mushrooms, salt and pepper stirring occasionally until golden, about 5 minutes.

Add wine, chicken broth, parsley; stir the pan with a wooden spoon breaking up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook a few more minutes or until the liquid reduces by half. Top the chicken with the mushroom sauce and serve.


***

You should also make this side dish to go with it. They really pair perfectly.

***

Baked Rice with Peas

1 cup uncooked long grain rice
14.5 oz can fat free chicken broth (vegetarians use vegetable broth)
1 tsp butter
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
5 oz (1/2 package) frozen peas

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients in a oven-safe baking dish with a lid. Place a piece of tin foil between the lid and the dish to ensure no steam escapes.
Bake 45 minutes (do not open, do not peek, do not stir to rice). When 45 minutes is up, remove from oven and let it sit for 10 more minutes to allow the steam to finish cooking the rice, (do not open, do not peek, do not stir to rice). After 10 minutes, remove lid and fluff with a fork.

***

There you go, friends. Make this, soon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lazy Weekend

We had a super lazy weekend. I think I left the house one time the entire weekend. It was glorious. I could have done without the super-early wake-up call from Miss AJ on Saturday morning (6 am!) but what can you do?

On Friday Hubby brought home a carpet cleaner than he borrowed from one of his co-workers so we could shampoo our carpets. We have a few high-traffic areas in the family room and front hallway that are super dirty and we figured if we only did those two rooms it would be worth it. I went out to Wally World Saturday morning to get the solution for the cleaner and a few other things like milk and eggs.

As soon as I got home we poured the solution into the canister and filled it with water and got to work. We decided to start with a small area by the door to the garage instead of starting in the middle of the room. I'm glad we decided to start there because the thing didn't work! There was a tiny bit of wetness on the carpet (like barely any) and the machine would not suck anything up at all! D called the guy he borrowed it from and he said that the last person who borrowed it said she had the same issue. Uh, duh! Haha! Why would you not tell us that beforehand? Needless to say, the carpets are still dingy. I did at least mop the kitchen floor, though! I had to because I had to get the water and cleaning solution from the machine cleaned up after it got everywhere when we were trying to fix the machine!

Sunday we just bummed around the house. AJ woke up around 7 and once we got downstairs she asked if she could watch "Buddies" which is the Space Buddies movie we recorded on the DVR. I jumped at the chance to put that on instead of Yo Gabba Gabba since it basically makes me want to claw my eyes out. We lounged around on the couch in jammies until 10 and then I got started on the mountain of laundry that is always beckoning to me. Ugh. To make matters even worse, I ran out of my good diaper detergent last time I washed diapers, so I'm using my back-up stash, which I don't like as much.

This afternoon D was digging through my junk drawer and found the squeakers that go to these shoes AJ has. He decided to put them back in and see what happened. You can read about what happened last time, here. Let me tell you, it was so funny! As she took her first step she froze, I was anticipating the absolute fear that she had last time and she started to whine a little, looking like she was going to cry. We both looked at her and said, "its okay!" and she took another step and then she was off! She went crazy! It was the funniest thing. She was stomping all around the house, jumping, running, dancing, doing the funny straight-leg walk that we call the Nazi-walk.

The only part of the weekend that I wish we could change is that AJ is back to the absolute temper-tantrums and meltdowns because she wants me to hold her while I make dinner. She gets so totally bent out of shape that we have to put her in timeout until she calms down enough to agree to do something else. Its awful. I wish there was something we could do to get her past it, but I have a feeling its just a stage and that we'll be done with it in time. Advice? Suggestions?

We don't have much going on this week, just the usual! We're watching a friend's daughter tomorrow afternoon while she goes for her last ultrasound before baby #2, a boy, is born. Should be fun for both girls!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'd Blog, But All I Want To Do Is Whine and Complain

And no one wants to read that, right?

But seriously, I went to the grocery store this morning to get chicken breasts for dinner tonight and a few other things. I walked to the meat department and all I see are chicken thighs, drumsticks and wings. Seriously? Argh.

I kind of dislike the big frozen packages of chicken breasts, so I walked over to the meat guys (butchers?) and asked if they had any in the back. They informed me that they just got the truck in and were working through it, but that the chicken breasts are at the bottom and its going to be several hours before they get to them. Seriously? Argh.

You would think that they'd be trying to get the chicken breasts out as fast as possible, considering that this is a grocery store, and chicken is kind of popular and all. I mean, I would feel safe betting that beef for stew is not going to sell out before the end of the day (and obviously the chicken breasts were ALREADY SOLD OUT).

Whatever.

I have also noticed over the past few days that I'm not doing a very good job of dealing with things that may not go as I have planned. I've been feeling angry, hurt, upset, etc. and I'm not sure why, but I'm going to try and figure it out (soon). ;)

Part of it may be because I have been trying to cut down on the amount of caffeine I drink, but I don't contribute rage issues to that. If anything, consuming more caffeine hops me up and tends to have that effect, not cutting back, but who knows.

***

I wrote a post on my food blog yesterday about a recipe I made for dinner last night. I actually wrote it before we ate it, so I was hoping it would be good. I wrote it during naptime because that is when I did all the prep. I'm happy to report that it was delicious and I don't have to throw the second casserole dish of it out, but I can stick it in the freezer for sometime next month when D is gone at training*.

Oh, that too. D is going to some training next month and I'll be here alone with AJ for a while. Normally this would not bother me, it is par for the course, and all, but with all the anger and frustration I've been experiencing, I'm worried that I'll feel overwhelmed when he's gone. I mean, we'll both be fine; we'll get through it, but hopefully I can find some "me" time before then to decompress.

That's where I run into the real problem, I think. We're trying to be strict about our budget this year. We're trying to save a lot and pay off some debt. I'd rather have the money in savings than spend it on something else. So I guess my question for you is, what do you like to do for yourself to decompress? Do you have any low-cost, inexpensive or free things you suggest?

*I am using the term "training" very loosely. I'm not going to go into what it is he's doing or how long he's going to be gone, but just be comforted in the fact that he is not actually going to "training", but he will be gone for a while.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Our Big Girl!

I briefly mentioned the other day that Miss AJ is quickly approaching her second birthday and with that comes all sorts of interesting and blog-worthy stuff, right?

Hubby and I had been debating for a few weeks when to switch her to a big girl bed. I blogged about it and asked you all for advice, remember? Well, last weekend we moved her furniture around in her bedroom but left the crib in there. The way her stuff was before wasn't going to work with the bed, so we decided that it would be better to get her used to a different arrangement before we moved her out of the crib.

The last nap in the crib (she took all her clothes off).

This past weekend, D had both Friday and Monday off, so we decided that we would take her crib apart and put the twin bed in her room. The bed has a trundle, so we have pulled that out in case she rolls off the side, but otherwise, she's just in a bed. She hasn't had any issues with falling out, which is (obviously) good. She's also been very good so far when it comes to staying in her bed and going to sleep. *Knock on wood.* We only have had one nap (yesterday) where she woke up early and got out of bed and started banging on her bedroom door. She even went right down last night with no issues.
The big girl bed (trundle is not pulled out).

We debated whether we should buy a toddler bed to transition her and in the end we decided not to spend the extra $100 since we already had the twin trundle bed. I'm really kind of shocked at how well she has done so far; I honestly expected a big struggle and I may still get it, eventually (she is my daughter, after all), but all in all, it has been rather painless.

The other exciting bit of news is that we (I) ordered the invitations for her birthday party online this weekend! Also, I may or may not have been accused of "going Etsy overboard" by the hubs. I'm not going to share the details of her party and theme until afterwards, but don't get excited because its on a budget and I'm far from Pinterest-worthy. I will say though, that I'm glad the hubs guilted me out of buying AJ a handmade birthday outfit and tutu from Etsy because I found a super-cute dress and cardigan at Tarjay yesterday morning.

Anyway, that is my little mini toddler-update for all of you who aren't bored to tears by my ramblings about an-almost-two-year-old.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Life As An Army Wife

Kelly is doing a "Show Us Your Life" link up for military families today, and as we most certainly are a military family, I thought I'd join in!


For those of you who don't know me, I'm Beth. My hubby and I have been married since 2007 and are currently living near Ft. Bragg. My hubby and I met in high school, dated for a few years, split for a few years, then reconnected while he was a cow (junior) at West Point. The day he graduated, we got engaged and were married 6 months later on December 28, 2007 at the county courthouse. We celebrated our formal wedding at West Point on May 17, 2008.


In early 2008, I moved to join D at our first duty station, which was Ft. Benning, GA. We were there for a few months before we PCSed (military acronym that means "moved") to Ft. Hood, TX. We were at Ft. Hood for 30 days before hubby deployed to Iraq for a year.

Homecoming from Iraq, 2009.

Stopped along the Oregon Trail en route to Washington State.


AJ's first minutes of life.

When he returned from Iraq in March of 2009, we got orders to PCS to Ft. Lewis, WA. The day after we moved into our townhouse in Washington we found out we were expecting our daughter, AJ. She was born March 9, 2010. We rounded out 11 months in Washington with a move to our next duty station, Ft. Leonard Wood, MO in June of 2010, when AJ was 3 months old.

A 3 month old AJ and D somewhere in Montana.

My hubby attended the Captain's Career Course in Missouri and six months after moving there, in December of 2010, we were on the road again. We spent 2 weeks back home with my in-laws and then 2 weeks in Florida with my family before settling into our very first home here at Ft. Bragg. We are currently waiting to hear whether we'll get to stay here or move again this year.

4th of July 2011.

Our most recent family photo, Thanksgiving 2011 in Florida.




Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reading

I know I posted about my official New Year's resolutions last week, but one of my unofficial resolutions is to read more books. I was an English major in college and I've always really enjoyed reading for pleasure (as opposed to for class). There were certainly a lot of required books that I did enjoy reading as well.

I joined goodreads.com the other day and I have slowly been rating books I've read and marking the books I want to read. I had a list of about 25 books when I started and now I'm up to about 250. Ha! Between finding new books and remember others that I wanted on my list, I think I'm going to be reading for the next 50 years or so!


So far I'm trying to read the Stieg Larsson books so that I can justify seeing the movies. I've been "reading" the first book (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) for about a year now and I've had a really hard time getting into it, but a few friends have told me that once you get into it, it gets really good, so I'm trying.

I also recently read The Hunger Games series at the urging of a few friends. I'm so glad that I read them. I absolutely cannot wait to see the movie when it comes out in March. This series has been added to my list of all time favorites. If you haven't read them yet, I suggest you do so immediately.

In keeping with the series theme, I have decided that its time I read the Harry Potter books. I haven't ever read any of them or seen any of the movies, so I'm planning to read all 7 books and then watching the movies. I'm a hater hold-out and I just think that since so many people seem to be obsessed with Harry Potter, I should at least give them a chance.

It seems like lots of book series are being made into movies nowadays and I was surprised but also intrigued when I saw that Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series is being made into a movie (at least the first book is). Katherine Heigel is playing Stephanie Plum, which is not who I would have picked, but who knows, maybe it will work.

The Stephanie Plum series is really just a fun, easy-to-read series that I started a while ago. I haven't made it all the way through and now I can't remember what book I left off on, but I might get back to reading them again.

So, what about you? What are some books you read last year that you enjoyed? Are you on GoodReads? Let me know so I can add you!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Don't You Just Hate That?

Right after I promise that I'm going to get back to my regularly scheduled blogging I go ahead and think I scheduled a post for today, when in reality, I did not. For that, friends, I apologize. With that being said, let's get back to it, shall we?

We have had an exciting few days around here. I'll start with Thursday.

We've been in our house for a year now and since it was new when we bought it, we had a 1-year manufacturers' warranty that was getting ready to expire. We had walked through the house and compiled a master list that we emailed to the warranty people back in December. Thursday the first group of sub-contractors came to start fixing the things that needed to be fixed.

We had some drywall issues since our house was built in the winter. The spackle they used to mud the drywall in some areas of the house apparently wasn't able to dry completely, so we had lots of nail pops and the tape and edging on the corners were peeling a little bit. It was nothing that few extra nails and some hammer strokes couldn't fix, so they plastered it all up again and left it to dry.

On Friday Hubby came home from work (early, yay!) and mentioned that the Natural Sciences Museum in Raleigh has an exhibit on Genghis Khan (only through Jan 22) and he wanted to see it. We decided to head North the next day to check the museum out and see the exhibit. See, hubby took Mandarin for six months and is currently enrolled in an Asian culture class, so this exhibit was of particular interest to him.

D and AJ in front of a giant praying mantis at the museum.

After the museum we went across the quad to a little grill and got some lunch. We rarely go out to eat, especially somewhere that you sit down, so this was a little treat for all of us. It was a casual place that had a 50's vibe.

AJ at lunch.

The rest of the weekend we just hung around the house mostly and were lazy.

The first decent picture I've gotten of AJ in a long while.

She found some sunglasses from when she was a baby that she has been wearing around the house for the past few days. She always wants one of us to wear our sunglasses with her when she's wearing them. As soon as we get them on she holds her hand up and says, "Walk!" So we walk around the house wearing sunglasses together.

Wearing sunglasses with Daddy!

Once the weekend was over I was thrust into the life of the stranded home-bound SAHM because we had the painters come to finish painting all the drywall work the guys did last week. We also had them replace the door frame on AJ's bedroom door because there was a huge crack that they just tried to plaster and paint over. I'm sure you can guess how that worked out. Ha!

We were supposed to get our back door replaced on Monday as well because it wasn't installed properly the first time and we had a bunch of water damage to the door frame and the kitchen cabinets next to the door. Well, the door couldn't be put in yesterday because it was raining, so we had to wait until today, but its all finished now except the frame needs to be painted once the putty dries. We're having the damaged parts of the cabinets replaced later this week now that the door is fixed.

Its been kind of a pain to have to be home all the time waiting for them to come and fix stuff, but at least I know that there won't be any issues with things if we have to put the house on the market in the next few months. I guess there are perks to buying new construction aside from having a brand new house!

So that's it. That is what I've been up to the past few days. I'm currently sitting around, watching Teen Mom 2 from last week on the DVR while AJ naps and I wait for someone to come back and paint the door frame. After that we just have to get someone here to caulk the shower heads and some of the trim.

Also, D has a 4-day week this week and again next week, so I'm definitely looking forward to the 4-day weekend this weekend. I feel like there are certain months that he gets a lot of time off and then other months when we go weeks without any time off.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Jump!

I don't know if you've seen the little game going around on Facebook where you're supposed to find the song that was at the top of the Billboard charts the week you were born, but I figured mine out.

Enjoy!



Jump, by Van Halen
#1 for the week of March 4, 1984

Friday, January 6, 2012

Going All Mommy Blog For a Minute....

I figured I'd give you all some fair warning that today's post, along with yesterday's are going to throw me fully into the realm of the mommy blogger. If that bores you, then consider yourself warned and move along. I'll be back to my regularly scheduled blogging next week.

With AJ's second birthday rapidly approaching (more on that later) I've been thinking about several things that come along with growing up, namely potty training and moving her into a big-girl bed.

I'm thinking that we won't potty train until this summer when she can be pants-less/naked for most of the day without getting chilly. She isn't really ready yet, although she has started to sit (fully clothed) on her potty when I go to the bathroom. She doesn't yet tell me when she "goes" in her diaper and she doesn't seem bothered at all to be sitting in a wet diaper. Since we use cloth diapers, they are actually wet, as opposed to disposables, which wick the moisture away from the skin.

I know that typically when a kid is potty-trained they need to be able to get out of bed in the middle of the night and go potty if they have to.

With that being said, I don't need to switch her to a big-girl bed until we potty train, but I think I'd like to get her accustomed to sleeping in a real bed for a few weeks (at least) before we start with the hard-core potty training. I anticipate the switch being difficult (mostly for me) because I have a feeling that she is going to get in and out of bed a lot before falling asleep at night. I also am not sure if I should be closing her bedroom door when we switch her to the big bed or if I should leave it open?

Any experienced mamas have advice for me? Right now we close her door completely and keep our door closed as well. She has a lot of cabinets and drawers in her room that she likes to play with and I'm nervous that she will destroy her room if I shut her in there and just hope she goes to sleep.

On the other hand, we have a great bed-time routine down. We give her a bath, get her in jammies and then read a book and put her to bed. I leave the room while she is still awake and she is usually quiet until she falls asleep, but occasionally she cries or whines for a few minutes before going to sleep. When I switch her, do I just continue with the same routine and put her in the bed and leave or should I stay with her? She is so used to us not being with her when she sleeps that I don't think she'll fall asleep if I stay in the room with her, she thinks its a game.

Finally, we have a twin bed that we're planning to use for her room eventually, but should I consider buying a toddler bed to make the transition, or will I just be setting myself up for another whole struggle to transition from the toddler bed to the twin bed? What worked for your kiddos?

HELP!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

AJ's 2nd Christmas 2011

Back to the Boring...

Now that I've caught you all up on what we did over Christmas and New Year's I'm back to the boring old posts about doing laundry, vacuuming and unloading the dishwasher (ugh). Since D is back at work, I've been mostly hanging out with AJ, who is becoming increasingly independent, which makes a Mama both happy and sad.

Just yesterday I was folding laundry in the guest room (this is a hint to come visit us so I can use the guest room for something other than laundry) when AJ was playing in her playroom across the hall. She decided she wanted to go downstairs and play with her kitchen/watch tv, so I supervised her descent and then got back to my folding. It was at this time that I realized she was completely entertained and didn't need me.

After spending the past 22 months being totally and completely needed by her for every little thing, this was both a huge relief, but also a sad moment for me. I've spent the past year or so frustrated because I can't make dinner with both arms due to a clingy toddler wanting to be held (NO, NOT BY DADDY, ONLY BY MAMA!!) and now we're starting the next phase. You know, the one where she goes to school, sleeps at friends' houses and gets her driver's license. The phase where I'm not always going to be the most important person in her life.

I knew it would come eventually, but I guess I didn't think it would hit me like this. I realize that she is always going to need me for somethings (I still need my Mom and I'm quickly sliding towards 30), but now that we're out of the clingy phase, I want to go back.

Funny how that works, isn't it?

P.S. I posted new recipes on my food blog yesterday and another is going up today, so if you need some new ideas for dinners, go check it out!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Post-Christmas Travel-Fest

I've mentioned a few times that we went out of town right after Christmas and were gone through New Year's Day. We went to visit my in-laws for a few days in Hometown, USA and then we make the trek across a few states to attend a wedding of some of our best friends (D was the best man). This was one of the first weddings that we have ever taken AJ to (the first was my cousin's wedding in September) and she was fairly well-behaved.

We knew that this wedding would be a fun one, not only because it took place on New Year's Eve, but also because we have a lot of mutual friends with the bride and groom, and both of our families were invited to the wedding as well. We saw old friends from when we were all stationed at Ft. Hood together. The Ft. Hood group was a crazy, fun group. We were all around the same age, none of us had kids yet and the guys were all freshly back from Iraq. We did lots of drinking and eating out, BBQing and nights at the comedy club in Austin. It was great to see everyone again and get to meet the kiddos! ;)

As for the wedding itself, AJ didn't last very long since the ceremony started at her usual dinner time. AJ and I, along with my friend Nickie's son (who just turned 2) and her hubby Mike spent the ceremony in the back room and then headed over to the reception site. AJ enjoyed "looking" at the sparkly ornaments on the HUGE Christmas tree during the cocktail hour. She also enjoyed walking around the reception hall carrying her purse. She basically thought the crowd was there to see her and she was loving it. It was hilarious.

Walking around with "Mimi" (my mom) and her purse.

The centerpieces that looked just like the ball in Times Square!

My brother and his girlfriend.

Looking at the sparkly ornaments with Grandpa (my FIL).

My sister and her boyfriend.

One of the highlights from the night was when we were sitting at the table eating our salads and we looked over at AJ, sitting quietly in her chair, spoon-feeding herself ranch dressing.

Me and my girl at dinner.

AJ with the bride and groom.

Somewhere between the salad course and the main course AJ completely lost her cool and I decided that it was time to head back to the hotel with my Aunt-In-Law (? D's Aunt) and put Miss AJ to bed. We hopped on the shuttle and I put AJ right to bed when we got back. I dropped off the monitor and room key with D's Aunt and caught the shuttle bus back to the reception with Nickie.

It was about that time that things got out of control, in a good way. It was a long night, so to shorten this post up a bit, the evening included lots of vodka tonics, red velvet cake, cigars, party hats, noise makers, vodka shots with new friends, silly pictures, inappropriate dance moves and so much more.

When I look back at the evening I consider myself lucky that I felt decent enough Sunday morning to successfully navigate a 1.5 hour car ride to the airport for a noon o'clock flight on New Year's Day with an almost 2 year old. What the eff was I thinking? Ha! In all reality, I'm glad I didn't worry about it and let myself have a fun night out with my hubby and friends. I'm sure I'd feel differently if I had felt worse on Sunday, though. Maybe its an omen for how the rest of 2012 will go. That would be nice.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Years Eve Recap

Since I kind of left you all in the dark about our Post-Christmas/New Year's trip, I figured I should come back and let you all in on how we rang in 2012.

We left the 27th and flew to Hometown, USA to spend a few days with D's family for some Christmas celebrations. After spending a day and a half there, we all drove over to Ohio to get ready for a fancy, sparkly New Year's Eve wedding. We had lots of fun. Hubby's aunt volunteered to sit in the hotel with AJ while we partied and rang in the new year in style. I will say that I greeted 2012 in a much different way than I greeted 2011 last year.

Last year on New Year's Eve we were mostly homeless (in a good way), staying with my parents at their place in Florida, and were woken at midnight by fireworks. This year I was taking shots of vodka with 6 of my newest best friends, wearing 4-inch heels and a fancy dress.

Yes, things are a little different this year. I've settled into my life as a mom. We've settled into our lives here in our house. We've had lots of good times this year, but also some trying times as well. We're excited to see what 2012 has to hold for us and I'm excited to share it with all of you.

Monday, January 2, 2012

My 2012 Goals

I mentioned last night that I wanted to make myself a little list of goals or resolutions for this year and stick with them throughout the whole year. I am not normally a goal-setter, so this is a little out of the ordinary for me, but I think it will be fun to go back at the end of the year and look at how I do each month.

So, here are my goals for 2012.

1. Save money, reduce debt. We have a few credit cards that we're currently carrying balances on and I'd really like to reduce those (or pay them off completely). I also want to make sure that we have a nice cushion in our savings. We are scheduled to pay off a loan this summer, so I know we'll make a good dent in our debt in the second half of the year since we'll be able to use the money we have been paying towards the loan to pay extra on the credit card debt. As for the savings, well, our BAH is going up a few hundred this year, so I'm thinking we'll put the extra into savings each month. Should make it easy since we won't miss it. I'm actually really looking forward to this goal. It might be nice to have money for once. ;)

2. Lose weight. This one goes along with #3 and #5. I have gotten into the habit of eating too much, exercising too little, and using too much butter in my cooking, a la Pioneer Woman. Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of little butter on occasion, but I really need to get it reigned in. I'll feel better about myself, and maybe I'll fit back into some of those clothes I used to wear before AJ was born.

3. Eat healthier. Again, this coincides with #2, but since I do all of the cooking in our house and we rarely eat out, it has become apparent to me that I need to adjust my menu rotation. I think it will be a fairly simple change to make, namely cutting back on the comfort foods and upping the veggies and salads, but also limiting the amount we eat in a sitting. I've had success in the past with portion control and I think its something I need to start paying more attention to.

4. Be more patient. Its not that I forget that AJ is a child, but sometimes its just so frustrating! I have never been a particularly patient person (just ask my Ma). AJ has, in her short 22 months of existence, already taught me a lot about myself, and the biggest thing I see that needs to change is my patience level. I'm going to make a particular and concentrated effort to be very patient this year, not only with AJ, but also others. I tend to be anxious and high-strung, so this resolution should help me to relax and calm down a little as well.

5. Exercise more. I couldn't really exercise any less than I did in 2011. I ran a few times, but stopped as AJ got older. She is not really a fan of sitting in the stroller, so that really limited my running opportunities. I think that I can do better this year. I don't want to make excuses to not exercise, so I'm going to try and incorporate other methods of activity, maybe something like P90X or Insanity. If any of you have any suggestions, please let me know!

6. Maintain a positive attitude. I think this goal goes along with #4. Along with a lack of patience, I tend to expect the worst and project a negative attitude about just about anything. I want to be a good example for AJ and I don't want her to grow up to be cynical and negative all the time. I have a feeling this may be the most challenging of all my resolutions for 2012.

There you have it, folks! Hopefully by the end of this year I'll be richer, thinner, healthier, more patient and more positive. Sounds good to me!

What are your resolutions for this year?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ummm

So I kind of up and left for a few days. We went out of town for some belated Christmas activities and then New Years fun. I tried to post a video of our Christmas morning before we left, but our Internet sucks, so it wouldn't upload. I didn't take my computer with me on our trip (which was just as well because I wouldn't have had time to post anyway) so that is why I've been MIA.

In the next few days I'll have a few posts coming your way with our recaps from Christmas, the days following that and how we spent our New Years Eve.

I have decided that I want to make myself a little list of "resolutions" or goals for 2012, which I don't normally do. Check back here tomorrow for my complete list. I think I may go through my list each month and do little updates so I can hold myself accountable.

Happy New Year, bloggy friends!