Friday, May 31, 2013

Organization and Cleaning Challenge

Starting on Monday, I'm going to challenge myself. I'm taking the next three weeks to clean. Room by room, I'm going to reorganize everything. Here's my (tentative) plan:

Week 1
M: Pantry- Check expiration dates, get rid of anything we're not going to eat, and re-categorize and organize.
T: Adalin's Closet- Wish me luck... Really though, it's going to take all day. I'm guilty of using parts of her closet as my own. I have a guitar in there, prom dress, wedding dress, a few coats... lots of stuff. It's time to find new places for those things so we can actually use her closet like a closet.
W: My Closet- Not as bad as Baby A's, but it still needs help. With moving all of my stuff out of her closet, I'm going to need to do some spring cleaning. Anything I haven't worn in a year (with the exception of dress clothes) is going. Winter clothes are going into storage.
T: Husband's Army Closet- I'm scared. That closet really hasn't been opened in about 8 months. I'm afraid that I'm going to find some animals in there.... literally. I'm setting off a bug bomb this weekend, so hopefully that will knock out any spiders that may feel the need to make me pee myself.
F: Anything that isn't done in the list above- Today is if I slack off earlier in the week, which is a pretty good possibility.

Week 2
M: Movies and Media- We have two movie shelves, one for baby/kid-friendly movies, and one for our movies. Right now they're not organized at all.
T: Carpets- I'm renting a Rug Doctor and cleaning my floors. It needs done bad. There are lots of random stains from Baby A
W: Surgery... No cleaning that day. Just attempting to stay calm.
T: Recovery.. and fixing my hair. Since they're shaving part of my head, I need to get a style fix.
F: Bathrooms- Sanitize and steam clean!

Week 3
Whatever is left. I have no plan, just random cleaning!

I'll post before and after pictures as I go.

Have a great weekend!

God Bless ♥ V

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Protecting My Baby

Tonight, I'm having a hard time dealing with the fact that I'm not going to be able to protect Adalin from everything. In the last few days, she's taken a couple spills that have scared the crap out of me. Talking to other moms, Adalin's tally for falls is remarkably low for her age. I guess that makes me feel good. One mom tells me about a fall her daughter (who is younger than Adalin) almost every time I talk to her. I'm not talking fall like "she tipped over from sitting on the floor..." I'm talking "She crawled off the bed again. At least this time she didn't land on her head!" It takes a lot for me to not let my jaw fall to the floor. Adalin has fallen off the couch a total of three times now. The first time was in April. The second was in April as well. The third was today, but I caught her before she completely hit the floor. She's never fallen off my bed, rolled off the changing table, or climbed out of her high chair. This week has been things like face planting on the sidewalk, and headbutting the mantle. She's got some pretty wicked bruises, but she's a trooper.

Every time she takes a spill and starts to cry, I cry. I feel bad for not saving her. I know that I can't protect her 24/7, but I will always feel bad when my baby hurts. It makes me really sad to think about all of the hurt that she will know in life, both physical and emotional... It just stinks. I want to keep her safe forever.

That being said, I will teach my daughter to protect her heart. When I was in high school, I read a book called Guard Your Heart. If you don't own it, buy it. It's less than $3. It's designed more for teenagers, but it has some good points.

Anyway, I'm going to go check on my sweet baby again. I wish I could stop worrying over the little things, because I really do know that she's fine. I just always think about that "what if" scenario. I'll tell you one thing though, my little girl is one tough kid.

God Bless ♥ V

Following Baby Safety Guidelines

Warning: I'm grouchy today.
Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, or any kind of medical/developmental professional... just a frustrated mom.

Today, I'm irritated. I'm tired of people using their babies for attention. I'm tired of watching people jeopardize their child's health and safety to get noticed. I'm just tired.

I'll be the first to admit it, I have used toys and activity centers for Adalin that are recommended for an older age. I'll also say that my child is big for her age and is developing ahead of schedule. This is not me being a proud mom, this is me saying that I will never make my child do something she's not ready for or capable of doing. Sure, I push her to try new things, but only, ONLY, when she's ready.

Here's an example. The Bumbo... Although there isn't a "recommended age" for starting use, I did a little research. Directly from Bumbo's website is this description "As soon as your baby can support their own head you can seat them in the Bumbo Floor Seat." Here's a picture of Adalin the first time we used the Bumbo:

Even though she was a mere two and a half months old, she was good to go in the Bumbo! She had awesome head support at an early age, and most importantly, I followed the safety instructions! 

Another example is the jumper. Although I was unable to find any official age suggestions for jumpers, I found what I could. Everything I've read says to wait for baby to have excellent head control and for baby to be able to support weight on her legs. That doesn't mean wait for the baby to be able to stand on her own. If you can hold your baby's hands and she can hold her weight, you're solid. The other recommendation was that baby's toes touch the floor, but their feet not be flat. I waited until Adalin was almost 5 months because of the last recommendation. Even though Adalin is big for her age, she's got short little legs. She couldn't safely touch the floor until then, so I waited. 

Here's a picture of Adalin outside in her walker (isn't she just too cute? Sorry, mommy moment): 

Notice she has shoes on so she doesn't hurt her toes, and they're soft soled so they don't stunt her foot development. I also have the walker adjusted so her posture is proper. You don't want it too low so she's sitting and scooting, but also not too high so she can still touch the ground. I found all of these guidelines online. Also (most importantly), I supervised her constantly. With all of the hazards outside, I made sure to have eyes on her at all times. If I wasn't watching her, a friend was. Walkers, and other baby toys like jumpers, are absolutely not intended to be babysitters. 

I fully admit that I encourage Adalin to try new things. The kid is fearless. I'm never going to stop her from growing and advancing. Even though I joke about discouraging walking until Jimmy gets home, I'm so excited that Adalin is trying to step (even though she still won't stand on her own). I want my baby go develop at her own pace. I will provide whatever I can to help her, but I am not going to put her in something that could stunt her development or put her health in danger. I would absolutely love to get Adalin one of these: 

The kid would love it! She loves being outside, and loves to push pretty much everything. But I know she's not ready for this yet. Once she's walking, I'll reassess. Right now though, this is just asking for her to fall and run herself over. So I am waiting. 

What frustrates me the most in all of this is when people knowingly endanger their child's safety so others will notice. What kind of selfish parent would do such a thing? Let your baby tell you when she's ready to try something new. You'll know. A one month old is not old enough for a walker or jumper. A six month old isn't old enough for a bike. A five year old isn't old enough for a riding lawn mower. A ten year old isn't old enough to drive a car. Use some common sense people. 

As exciting as it is to get new baby toys and watch your little one's face light up, please read and follow the safety guidelines. Your baby's health is something that should be the number one priority. Exercise is great, but you wouldn't go run a marathon with no training, would you? Let your baby get ready to try something before you force them into it. There's all kinds of articles out there about baby safety. I urge you to do some research and always, always, always read the safety labels (even though they may seem stupid!) before putting your baby in a new toy. 

That's the end of my rant for today. I hope this will benefit at least one child out there. 

God Bless ♥ V

Monday, May 27, 2013

Feeling Helpless

Since Friday night, Baby A has been struggling with a low grade fever, cough, and runny nose. This morning her face was puffy and her cough was worse than before so I bit the bullet and took her to urgent care. The diagnosis was exactly what I was expecting... allergies and teething. I feel so bad for my little girl. I can tell that she's miserable. I wish these teeth would just come in and give her a break for a while.

This is the hardest part about being a mom. I feel so helpless... I would do anything to take her pain away. Tylenol just isn't cutting it. The steamer helps her congestion while she's sleeping, but doesn't do much for the cough. I just wish I could help her.

So, today's mission is baby comfort. I plan on swimming in the pool with her to keep her temperature down, maintaining a regular dose of Tylenol, and pushing fluids as much as she'll allow it. Hopefully she'll be feeling better this afternoon.

On another note, I'm really missing my husband. I know that he can't do any more than I can for her, but I wish he was here to help comfort her. She's such a daddy's girl. Nearly every morning, the first thing she says is "daddy." Every night before she goes to bed, she says "daddy." She loves her daddy. I love her daddy.

This deployment needs to end. I want my husband back. Baby A wants her daddy back. I'm so ready to have my family back together again. I'm hoping the next few weeks will fly by. Tomorrow will be busy for me. I'm knocking out one of the last things on my "to-do-before-the-husband-is-home list:" getting my car windows tinted! Finally! I'm also getting my back adjusted (again). At the end of the week I'm going to visit a great friend of mine and her family over at Fort Benning. I get to go to Alabama for the first time! I'm really excited to see them. I know that the weekend will go by fast.

I hope that you're all enjoying your holiday weekend. Take a moment to remember why we're celebrating!

God bless ♥ V

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Welcome Home Soldiers!

I tell you what, homecomings will never get old. There are no words to explain the level of excitement at these ceremonies. I shocked myself last night, and actually didn't cry. Seeing so many friends reunited with their husbands made me so happy. I just love homecomings! Here are a few of the pictures that I got last night:

There are so many more that I have yet to go through. It's always such a great experience. The high lasts for days. Adalin was a riot last night. She's getting so much more interactive. When everyone was screaming and clapping as the soldiers entered the field, Adalin joined in with her own little shouts and claps. Check out her scream face: 

She's such a goof ball. She had such a blast. I'm so excited to see her at our homecoming. She was so happy to see all the men in uniform, but I think she was a little confused... All I heard until she went to sleep was "Da da dadda! Da da da!" This little girl loves her dad like it's nobody's business. I just love it. 

Welcome home soldiers! You were missed! 

God Bless ♥ V

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Getting Closer

With each passing day, I get closer and closer to that moment. I took this photo in December at a friend of mine's homecoming. I didn't know who the people in this photo were, but I couldn't help but to capture this embrace.

Tonight I get to shoot another homecoming! This time, it's for someone whom I've grown extremely close with these last few nights! I'm fully anticipating getting rather emotional at this one. When I first started going to homecomings, I kept my emotions locked down. I was there to work, to take pictures. I wasn't there to celebrate. The more that I go, the more these ceremonies tug on my heartstrings. The last one that I shot, I cried.

I cried when the buses came rolling in. 

I cried when they entered the field.

I cried when they reached formation.

And of course, I cried as families were reunited with their soldiers. 

These people, I don't even know. I don't know their story, their strengths, their struggles... I don't know anything about them other than the fact that they went through what I'm going through: deployment. I hadn't yet noticed any women coming home. I'm sure that there were, I just never noticed. This time, there were a lot. Seeing mothers reunited with their children really spoke to me. Wow is all I can say. I can't imagine leaving my baby for 9 months. Even knowing that she would be in good hands, I couldn't imagine. 

Tonight, I'm gonna cry. Shoot, I'll probably sob. Seeing one of my best friends get to kiss her husband is going to be amazing. I know several of the people who get their soldier back tonight. It's gonna be pretty intense. I feel like my husband is coming home (even though we still have a while). I didn't sleep for anything last night. It's just too exciting! 

With that, I'm off. I've got several hours to pass before the excitement begins so I'm going to clean and run and clean some more! Sweet Baby A is teething like a monster, so today should be interesting!

Welcome home soldiers!

God Bless ♥ V

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy Days

For the last week or so, I've been in a really good mood. With the exception of Saturday, every day has been pretty great. Saturday was only rough because my mom left back to Michigan, but other than that life has been great.

I'm not entirely sure where this optimism came from, but I'm liking it. I haven't been letting the negatives get me down. My frustrations are being put on the back burner and are extinguished by all the good things going on in my life. It's a great feeling. The other day, I was thinking about how stupid the layouts of Hinesville and Fort Stewart are. Seriously, it's like a drunk first-grader drew the map. It's really irritating. Although I'm still irritated that there isn't a straight path to go anywhere, I'm trying to enjoy the scenery...

I'm enjoying my little girl's company more and more every day. Being away from her so much in the past week has really reminded me of how blessed I am to have the ability to stay home with her all the time. Even though she's stingy with her kisses and likes to high-five my face... she's my little angel and I wouldn't have it any other way. Watching her grow and try new things is the highlight of my life right now.

My photography business is growing too. I've been pushing my envelope more lately. It's been challenging but I love it. Going out of my comfort zone has been a lot of fun. This month alone, I've done my first event, labor and delivery, and my first newborn shoot since October. It feels great to be busy.

School is over until August, so that's a huge load off of my shoulders. I'm feeling much more relaxed. A semester off was exactly what I needed. I'm nervous about not wanting to go back in the fall, but I know it's something I need to do.

Lastly, deployment. We're so close, but so far away. This is frustrating to me, but for some reason I'm pretty at peace with it. I hate not knowing anything about his homecoming yet, but knowing that we're less than xx amount of days/weeks away makes me very happy. I'm so thrilled to be getting my husband back soon. I'm excited to see how our relationship has changed in the last several months.

Okay, I lied. One more thing... Mr. Gunner is growing. I'm excited, and sad at the same time. I think he's going to be really big when we finally get him. I don't expect him to be bigger than Mia, but I think he'll be 30 pounds or so. I'm sad that we're missing the itty bitty puppy faze, but happy that Mia won't beat him up too much.

I hope that everyone can find a little optimism in their day today, especially with all of the sadness happening in Oklahoma. My heart goes out to all of those who lost something in that terrible storm. I can only imagine...

God Bless ♥ V

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Baby's Mommy

I've come to a realization over the last few days: I'm very attached to my daughter. Deployment has caused me to be with her about 99.4% of the time. Until Thursday, the longest I'd ever been away from Adalin was about 2-3 hours. As I posted a few days ago, I had the honor of photographing one of my closest friend's labor and delivery. So, Thursday I was away from her for pretty much the whole day. I would leave for 3-4 hours or so at a time, and then come home for an hour, just to go back again. I didn't want to miss anything important with her labor, but boy oh boy did I miss my sweet girl!

She was in great hands; my mom loved having quality grandma time with her. I wasn't at all worried about her safety or well being, I just didn't like being away from her. I guess I never realized how attached I really am.

Thursday night, I was gone from seven p.m. until about eight a.m. Although she slept for that whole time (except the last half hour or so), I missed her like crazy. Today I'm taking full advantage of all the cuddles she'll give me. Shoot, I'm even enjoying getting smacked in the face with the iPad... Well, maybe not "enjoying" it, but at least I have my little girl with me.

I'm nervous for after my husband returns from deployment. I really want him to be comfortable being alone with her, but I need to work on being comfortable being away from her. I am worried that I'm going to be too controlling with how he will want to do things (she's a very schedule oriented baby). I think that his paternal instincts will kick into high gear pretty quickly. I just need to remember that she doesn't have to be in my care 24/7. It is okay for me to take a break every once in a while. I'm allowed to have a little "me time" here and there. It's just going to be an adjustment having the ability to do that pretty soon.

I'm off to go get some more baby cuddles now. I'll never take her love for granted again. I missed my sweet girl so much!

God Bless ♥ V

Thursday, May 16, 2013

L&D Appreciation

Tonight I'm sitting with some of my closest friends as we welcome a sweet baby girl into the world. It has really reminded me how much work and effort goes into birthing a baby. For being induced, I had a pretty easy labor.
I have a lot of respect for women who can do this naturally. Seeing those mountains on the monitor reminds me of how painful contractions are. I don't want to do this again for a while longer. I'm okay with waiting until Adalin is three or so to have another baby. It's all so exciting but all I'm remembering is the pain. Ouch! Her little smile made it all worth it though ♥

Well, I'm off to get some rest before I take delivery pictures!

God Bless♥ V

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Mamma is Here!

I'm loving this week. My mamma is here visiting for a whole week! After not seeing her for 4 months, this is a nice change. We're getting in lots of mother-daughter bonding time, and Adalin's getting some much needed Nana time. She's getting spoiled like crazy and I love it.

That picture sums up the last few days pretty well. We haven't been too productive, but it's been nice to just relax. I'm done with school until August and it's a great change to not be worrying about when assignments are due. Although I didn't do anywhere near as well as I would have liked this semester, I'm just happy to have a break. This week has been full of pool time and relaxing in the back yard. Today was crazy hot so we've spent most of our day inside. 

My mom has been great for support too. This week, I found out that my back is pretty seriously messed up. My hip bones are tilted and twisted, and my spine tilts to the left pretty bad. To top it off, my neck is actually too straight, if there is such a thing. I guess the weight of my head is putting too much pressure on my spine because my neck isn't curved how it's supposed to be. That's an expensive fix, so I'm going to be looking into alternative treatment that our insurance will cover. I also booked surgery on my head today. I have a pilar cyst on my right temple that is pretty painful. The procedure isn't crazy intensive by any means, but I've never had surgery before so I'm extremely nervous. I am going to make another appointment next week to have them walk me through the procedure. To say that I'm anxious would be an understatement. I'm glad that my mom is here to help me keep calm in all of this. I'll be sad to see her leave. 

The next few days will be exciting! One of my closest friends is welcoming her sweet baby girl into the world. I have the honor of taking her labor and delivery photos. I couldn't be more excited for her. My mom gets to have lots of grandma time with Adalin while I'm at the hospital with her. It's gonna be great. 

On another note, Adalin is really starting to become a little daredevil. We got her a walker today and she absolutely loves it. She is pushing the thing everywhere. 

She also headbutted the corner of the couch today and got her first real goose egg. It's a real pretty shade of purple now... I tell you, this child will be the death of me. She scares me sometimes with her fearlessness. I love her sense of adventure though. She's going to be a blast once she gets a little older. 

That's all for this evening. I've got a sponsored review coming up this weekend. Stay tuned!

God Bless ♥ V

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Love Languages

I love the Five Love Languages. When Jimmy and I were in premarital counseling, our pastor had us take the quiz to see what our primary and secondary love languages were. This was in Spring 2011. Our results:
Primary, Physical Touch
Secondary, Words of Affirmation

Primary, Quality Time
Secondary, Physical Touch

We're a pretty good combination. Since we both have physical touch in our top two, we communicate well in that way. And no, to you pervs, that doesn't just mean sex. It makes my day a million times better when Jimmy just holds my hand while we walk through the store. I feel so loved when he does things like that. This is also great for him, because we can cuddle while watching a movie and please both of his languages. My dream day/moment is cuddling and talking about our love and our life. I love talking about what we love. 

Now days, deployment has put a bit of a damper on my need for physical touch. I still want it, but there's about 7,000 miles telling me that I can't have it. Therefore, that's been put on the back burner now. I've become a words person. That's all I get right now. I took the quiz again tonight and deployment really has changed my priorities. My ]order did flip. I'm now primarily words of affirmation and secondarily physical touch. I'm going to harass my husband to take it again to see where he falls. 

I love knowing how we communicate our love with each other. Although I don't think that this quiz is entirely necessary to see it because people really do wear their hearts on their sleeves. You can tell how a person communicates their love just by watching them. It's just nice to see it on paper or on your screen. Actually knowing, realizing, and accepting your spouse's love language can do wonders for your relationship! Sometimes I get frustrated with him because he doesn't always give me the words that I want. But when I take a step back and look at the situation, I realize that he's been on Skype with me for an hour and a half. That's the best quality time that we get during deployment. I realize that he is waking up at 4:30 instead of 5:00 so he can talk to me before he starts his work day. That is when I realize how much he loves me. I don't know many men who would give up that last 30 minutes of sleep to call their wife for 10 minutes. 

So, if you haven't taken the Five Love Languages quiz, I highly recommend it. Even if you're not in a relationship, check it out. Your love language doesn't apply to your spouse, but also to your children, friends, and family. Here is the link for the quiz: The Five Love Languages

God Bless ♥ V

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Done With Deployment!

No, my husband is not home (sadly)... I just want him to be. At the beginning of deployment, it seemed like the end would never come. It was forever away and felt like he wouldn't be home before I turned 40. Now, the end is here. Well, not really, but we're getting so close!

At this point, I'm just over deployment. I rarely have days where I sit at home and mope, "I miss my husband!" or "I wish he was here..." I don't really do that much any more. Now I'm just done. I'm not angry or bitter by any means, I'm just over it. I'm at a point of peace now. I don't worry much about him now, I know that he's safe. I just want him back.

All in all, I'm just ready for him to be home. I'm ready to cuddle with him. I'm ready to have him see Adalin play. I'm ready to let him kill the crazy spiders we find. I'm ready to cook for two (or three, since Adalin will be eating table food in the next few months). I'm ready to feel really secure at night when I go to bed. Shoot, I'm ready to share my bed. I'm ready to share my life with my husband again.

So, that's where I'm at right now. I'm just ready.

In other news, we are getting a Great Dane. That's right, those huge pony-like dogs who weigh as much as I do... Yeah, those ones. We're getting one in July! Meet Gunner:

Isn't he cute! He's just over two weeks old now, so he'll be almost three months when we finally meet him. We're so excited to get him. I can't wait to mush on his little face. I love his spots, and how cuddly he seems to be. I'll be posting photo updates regularly throughout the next two months as I get them, and will definitely keep you all up-to-date with how big he gets! 

God Bless ♥ V

Friday, May 03, 2013

April Progress Pictures

First, I'd like to say that I can't believe I'm already posting this! I know I posted March late, but wow! April is already gone!? Just wow! I'm pretty happy about that, even though it means my sweet little girl is 9 months old.

Second, I've stepped it up a notch. I know I've posted this about a million times, but I want to make sure that people don't think that I'm just having good luck with being random with my workouts. Rather than just hitting the treadmill/elliptical for 20 minutes, I started C25K. I finished week 3 day 3 today and have officially added over .75 miles to my 30 minute record. When I started at W1D1, I was only doing about 1.3-1.4 miles. Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would be running 2.5 miles in under 30 minutes. I know that it's still slow, but I'm really proud of myself. My goal is to add an extra quarter of a mile each week for the next three weeks (3 miles in 30 mins). After that I want to decrease my time, therefore increasing my speed. We'll see!

Now for the progress pictures. Here are links to February and March. This is what 3 weeks of C25K has done for me:

I'll say, I'm surprised. I didn't think I was making much progress but I am very happy with this. I am really excited to see where I'm at a month from now. I'm trying to eat healthier and am going to push myself harder and harder at they gym. Now here's the real shocker. Progress from February to now: 

Three months really can make a difference! I have been so determined to tone up after having Adalin, so this makes me really happy.

I hope that I can inspire some of you not to give up! You really can make a change, it just takes time! 

God Bless ♥ V