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Friday, April 29, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #39

In an effort to learn more about fellow MilSpouse bloggers, Wifey from Wife of a Sailor started this weekly meme;  here are this week's questions.

1. Have you and your spouse agreed to live in separate locations (a geographical bachelor tour) knowing that the short-term inconvenience would have long-term benefits for your family? How did it work for you? submitted by When Good People Get Together

Oh man, Captain Husband has spent more time as a geographic bachelor than he has as an in-house husband.  He spent six months out in Oklahoma last year because it just didn't make any sense for me to quit my job and move out to Oklahoma with him for such a short period of time.  And now he's living it up as a geographic bachelor in South Korea, although his time there is almost done.  So far it's worked out pretty well for us; talk to me about three months after our upcoming reintegration to see how I feel about this latest go-round.

2. What is your favorite thing about being a MilSpouse? submitted by Sarah Ruth Today

The sense of community that I've found, especially online.  I don't know many milspouses in real life, so being able to connect with other people that I can go to for advice at the drop of a hat is pretty awesome.

3. If you could still have your spouse/significant other and your family, but take the military life out of it...would you?  submitted by Trust. Love. Believe. Bake.

I'm going to have to go with a firm probably.  But only after Captain Husband and I sat down and crunched the numbers to see how the decision would affect our financial future as a family.

4. What have your homecoming experiences been like after a year long tour of separation? submitted by Army Soldier, Army Wife

I'd have to say CH's return from Afghanistan was pretty good; sure, there were some rough period, but that's to be expected during any reintegration.  I'm hoping that our next homecoming will be as good as the first one was, but there's a lot more going on, like having a baby in the house and preparing for our first PCS as a family.  Ugh.

5. If you have a child(ren) why you chose their name(s)? If not, why you would name your child something?  submitted by Tiara's & ACU's

CH and I both like using family names when possible; Sammy is actually named in honor of his paternal great grandfather, Salvatore.  And since CH got to make the final decision regarding Sammy's name, I totally get to name the next kid.  I've already got a short list.

Momma in Focus: Easter

This week's prompt for Momma in Focus is Easter and I've got two for you this time around.   This past weekend was one of those rare occasions where I was surrounded by people who were ready and willing to take photos of me and Sammy, which kept me from having to fumble with the camera, tripod, and remote.  This first one was taken by my mom after Sammy opened up his Easter goodies---we're both still in our pajamas (gotta keep it real).

We then put on our Easter finery and headed outdoors for a little impromptu photo shoot with my brother behind the camera.  There were a few issues with exposure at first, but we wound up with a few good shots.  This one is my favorite thanks to the kissy face I'm making at Sammy:

Easter kisses

Be sure to check out the other lovely photos this week by clicking below--and don't forget to show Casey some love. (I normally also do a Foto Friday link-up, but I just ran out of time and couldn't come up with anything, but hopefully I'll be on my game next week!)

One Day At A Time

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Totally eggcellent: how to make an egg garland

I know I'm a little late to the party on this tutorial since Easter was a few days ago, but this is simply too cute (and cheap) to not share with everyone.  You'll need some ribbon or string, a needle (I used a regular old embroidery needle) and some colorful plastic Easter eggs, preferably with holes already drilled through their tops and bases (unless you really want to go wild and crazy and drill your own holes).  I hit up the after-Easter sales at Target yesterday and purchased four bags of a dozen plastic Easter eggs for 50 cents a pop.

Here are the easy peasy steps:
  1. Cut a length of string; I went with about nine feet.
  2. Thread the string through the needle.
  3. Separate the egg halves and thread them onto the string, reassembling the eggs after you have them positioned on the string.  Repeat until you run out of eggs.
This is what the finished garland looks like:

The whole thing cost me two dollars to make and took approximately fifteen to twenty minutes to assemble, which was exactly how long Sammy decided to nap yesterday afternoon (don't get me started).  And while I may be too late for Easter this year, I've definitely got a great head start for next year's decorations, and at a bargain basement price, too.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vloggin' Vednesday: Notable blog post

Welcome to this week's edition of Vloggin' Vednesday; the prompt today is to talk about a notable blog post, be it your own or from one of the blogs that you lurk on/stalk.  I don't really consider any of my blog posts to be of any note, so I opted for the latter option.

Here's the link to the blog post to which I referred in my vlog; I'd advise you to have tissues ready.  I know many, many other people have spoken so much more eloquently about this, but I felt compelled to add my voice to the mix.  If you're interested in sending Jessica some kind words of encouragement, click here for the address.

*  *  *  *  *  *

Want to join in, too?  Visit the official Vloggin’ Vednesdays page to find current themes/ questions along with the corresponding Vednesday and then link up at Adeline’s Daddy Blog each Wednesday Vednesday.  C'mon, you know you want to!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ten-month update

Sammy turned ten months old on Saturday--um, I totally just realized that I have less than two months to go before he turns one.  It's like I blink and a week has gone by.   Anyway, I'd estimate that Sammy's weighing in at around 24 pounds and is over 30" tall.  The kid is built like a brick house and is wearing 18-24 month sized tops (though he still fits into some of his 12-month pants).  He's currently rocking four top teeth and two bottom teeth and I think an incisor or two up top are working their way through at the moment.  Yay, more teething.

Sammy was looking pretty shaggy on top, so for his ten-month birthday we took him to the barber shop for his first official haircut.  I was worried that he might fuss and refuse to sit still, but Sammy handled the whole thing with aplomb.  It also helped that the barber had tuned the television to SpongeBob SquarePants, which had Sammy transfixed for most of his haircut.  I watched as my baby transformed into a little boy right in front of my eyes as the barber snipped away.

No more shaggy Sammy

Sammy's saying "mama" and "dada" but he has no concept of what the words actually mean. He loves to mimic sounds and will echo back noises with startling accuracy--he had several conversations with my family's rather talkative Great Dane this weekend; I'm really going to have to watch my mouth around him. Sammy will wave from time to time, but I think he just does it for fun, not because he realizes that it means "hi" or "bye."  Another favorite pastime is shaking his head back and forth as though he's saying no; I've had fun with this by asking Sammy questions such as, "Do you want to go to Disneyland?" and "Do you want ice cream for dinner?"

He's still not too sure of grass, but I was able to convince him that moss and acorns can be cool.  And then he tried to eat the acorn.  Speaking of eating, Sammy is continuing in his streak of eating just about anything I put in front of him, which is pretty sweet.  Sammy's also crawling and cruising like it's his job, and apparently he even stood without holding onto anything for a second or two (although I wasn't there to witness this).

Sammy's crawling and cruising with abandon, which has led to some great bruises from his forehead down to his knees (not too mention his awesome bloodshot eye, which was the result of him nailing himself in the eye with a toy).  For some reason, he seems to hate having his diaper changed on the floor and fights me tooth and nail--but when I change Sammy on an elevated surface, he's totally calm.  Weird.  Speaking of diapers, cloth diapering continues to go well although I'm starting to worry about him sizing out of his Fuzzi Bunz.  Though I suppose I can always use my giant baby as an excuse to buy some cute new diapers, right? **wink**

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hoppy Easter!

Somebunny loves me

I hope everyone had a great Easter! Sammy and I spent the Easter weekend with my family in western Pennsylvania.  Once I was up and ready (let's face it--I am not an early riser), my mom helped Sammy with his Easter basket while I snapped away.  The Easter Bunny kept it pretty simple for Sammy's first Easter and brought him a fuzzy bunny of his own, a new board book about kitties, and a summer hat. 

Opening his goodies from the Easter Bunny

Sammy's new soft bunny

I helped my mom clean up around the house and get things ready for the afternoon gathering while Sammy took his morning nap and then it was time to put on our Easter finery.  Fortunately it wasn't raining, so we all headed outside to take some family photos while we were all stylin' (and before all of the food we were about to eat made it necessary to change into more comfortable clothing).

The whole fam

In our Easter finery

And you all know that I can't let any major holiday go by without putting Sammy into some sort of ridiculous themed get-up.  I took Sammy to meet the Easter Bunny for the first time before we hit the road for Pennsylvania:

Yes, that is a carrot-print bunny suit that Sammy is wearing ($2 at the thrift store, aw yeah).  And yes, I did take him out in public in that.  But that is just the tip of the iceberg; feast your eyes on this:

I am an evil, evil mother.  But c'mon, you know you love it.  (And of course I'm totally entering it in this week's Paper Mama Photo Challenge and the Trendy Treehouse challenge.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Foto Friday: Family and Momma in Focus: Freebie

This week's Foto Friday prompt is family, which is fitting especially after having spent the last weekend with Captain Husband's family in New Jersey.  I know I've said this before, but I really couldn't be happier to have been welcomed into this family with open arms.  Not too mention how lucky Sammy is to have such loving and caring great grandparents; it was so much fun watching the three of them spend time together.  I took a lot of photos over the weekend, but this one of Sammy snuggling in close to his great grandfather just melts my heart:

And now onto Momma in Focus; this week was a freebie so we could do pretty much whatever we wanted.  I had some grand plans in mind, but time ran away from me like always, and before I knew it, it was Thursday afternoon and I had nothing.  I was about to go for a walk with Sammy when I remembered that I didn't have any photos of me and him in his new carrier, so I grabbed the camera and took a few photos of us in front of the antique pier glass in the stairway--not too shabby for something last minute, if I may say so myself.

Be sure to check out the other lovely photos this week by clicking below--and don't forget to show Kim and Casey some love.  Have a great weekend everyone!

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #38

In an effort to learn more about fellow MilSpouse bloggers, Wifey from Wife of a Sailor started this weekly meme;  here are this week's questions.

1. How many pets do you have? And what type? submitted by Life and Times of a Displaced Jersey Girl 

A very fluffy Sandy
I currently only have one pet, a very fluffy and lovable cat named Sandy.  She also answers to Sandine, Fuzzlebut, Sandy Pants, and high-pitched baby squeals.  My husband is convinced that she is a Siberian, due to her unusual triple-layered coat and insane leaping abilities (someone was watching Animal Planet), but there's really no way of knowing.  She and Sammy are totally BFFs.

 2. What are your favorite projects to do while hubby is away? submitted by my-inspired-nest

Home improvement projects--things like painting, installing new light fixtures and rearranging furniture in the house are some of my favorite things to do, mostly because he's not around to render a dissenting opinion, ha!

3. What are the must-haves in your deployment care packages?  submitted by Christine's Little Blog

I've been a very, very bad military spouse this time around and have only sent Captain Husband one care package in the nine months he's been gone. (I haven't even sent CH his Christmas presents.)  I'm not a completely horrible person, though; CH has said time and time again that he hates having to bring the extra stuff home, so I've just been holding them for him here at the house.  But on the few occasions I do send him something, I always make sure to include something that will make him laugh, like novelty underwear or something cat related.

4. If you could star in any TV show, which would it be? submitted by Just a Girl

Nerd alert: I would want to star in the History Detectives.  Or It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia--I bet that set is hilarious to be around.

5. What was the biggest hurdle that you faced during your/your significant other's first deployment? submitted by The Pavlik Perspective

I adopted a cat named Josie shortly after CH left for Afghanistan; unknown to me at the time, Josie had a large, cancerous tumor that would eventually take her life only six short months later. I had never cared for a sick pet before, and she and I grew very close simply due to the amount of time I spent with her, bathing her, giving her her medications, and eventually hand-feeding her. Putting her to sleep was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, and I was already at my limits with the stress of dealing with CH's deployment...ugh, my chest tightens just thinking about that time and that was more than two years ago.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A walk in the park

After our trip into New York on Sunday, Sammy and I headed over to Nutley, New Jersey, to spend some more time with my father-in-law and Sammy's great grandparents.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous that afternoon, so Cosmo and I loaded Sammy into the stroller and took him for a walk in nearby Yanticaw Park, which was abloom with spring flowers. 

It had rained very heavily the day before, so many of the park's creeks and ponds had spilled over their banks, flooding the lower-lying areas and creating a watery oasis for all of the ducks and geese.  Sammy was transfixed as he watched them splash about.

We then walked over to the playground where Cosmo and Sammy had a great time at the swings.  Sammy laughed and squealed with excitement as Cosmo pushed him higher and higher; I was finally able to capture some photos of him swinging that actually showed Sammy enjoying himself (rather than looking mad and/or scared).

[I'm submitting this one to the Trendy Treehouse's Shutter Love--the theme is blue]


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vloggin' Vednesday: Ten years ago

Welcome to this week's edition of Vloggin' Vednesday: today's prompt is to tell everyone a little bit about what you were like ten years ago.  I'm not going to lie--I think this is possibly my most boring entry yet...it may have something to do with the fact that I once again waited until the last minute to record my vlog and am exhausted from a day spent chasing after Sammy and trying to catch up on some much-neglected housework (though my bathroom is now sparkling clean).  Maybe one day I'll learn my lesson and actually record this thing the day before it's scheduled.  Anyway, if you watch all seven and a half minutes of this, I'll owe you a cookie.

The song playing in the background is Xanadu by Zero Zero, a band that I spent a lot of time listening to back in 2001.  I was very committed to this week's theme.

Want to join in, too?  Visit the official Vloggin’ Vednesdays page to find current themes/ questions along with the corresponding Vednesday and then link up at Adeline’s Daddy Blog each Wednesday Vednesday.  C'mon, you know you want to!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Catching up at Columbia

I met my friend Kathryn more than ten years ago when we were both studying abroad in Taiwan during our junior year of college; our friendship was further cemented when we found ourselves working in the museum field in Philadelphia after graduating from our respective schools. Over the years we've remained in touch, but work and distance often made it difficult for us to get together--in fact, the last time that I saw Kathryn was two weeks before my wedding--and that was more than two and a half years ago.  So when I finalized the details of this recent trip to northern New Jersey, I emailed Kathryn to let her know that Sammy and I would be around and would love to meet up with her in New York.  We agreed to meet at 116th and Broadway at the main entrance to Columbia University; the drive into the city went by without incident and I even managed to find rock-star parking located just across the street from the entrance to College Walk; the main gate is flanked by two statues representing Science and Letters and were sculpted by Charles Keck in 1925 and 1915, respectively.

After a delicious brunch at Artopolis Espresso of the best-tasting waffles I've ever eaten, the three of us made our way to the grassy areas in front of the Low Memorial Library; it was a a little windy but the sun was out, so we thought it might be fun for Sammy to play in the grass for a little bit.  This probably would have been a great idea if only I had remembered that this was Sammy's first time playing on grass; had I realized this, I probably would have expected him to be a little weirded out by the new experience, but it kind of took me by surprise.  It was pretty funny, actually; Sammy would lean over to put his hands on the ground and then quickly pick them back up again, freaked out by the texture of the blades of grass against his skin.  This went on for nearly fifteen minutes until Kathryn decided that she would teach Sammy that he had nothing to fear.

Sammy never did actually crawl on the grass but by the end of our time there he was at least smiling and enjoying himself.  I guess grass exposure is something that I'll have to work on with him; I just figured that curiosity would get the best of him and that would be that, but Sammy apparently had other ideas.  Our visit was much, much too short as Kathryn had to head home to finish up some school work, but I'm glad that we were able to get together and catch up even if it was only for a few hours. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Many happy returns

Sammy and I spent the weekend in New Jersey where we celebrated the momentous occasion of his great-grandfather's ninetieth birthday.  All of the family was in attendance, including a surprise appearance by grandpa's ninety-three-year-old sister, Nancy.  It was an afternoon filled with good food and lots of laughter, not too mention some delicious birthday cake.

Grandpa got all of the candles with only one blow.

Sammy was more than happy to help Grandpa open his gifts.

The whole family came over to help Grandpa celebrate.

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