Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Na na na na na na na na

MA-MA (mobile) !!!! You were supposed to be thinking of the Batman theme...

We bought our first car!!!! & it's a beauty! Plus, it's freakin' huge! And, I totally love all its little secret storage; in the floorboards, the dash etc...it even has a cooler to keep drinks cool in the dash, right above the glove compartment! So, I can know that I can pump a few bottles worth and not have the southern summer heat turn it into eggnog!

Yep, this is our virgin adventure into the realm of car buying, but I'd still proclaim we got the best deal evah! We saved serious dough. We got so much more in add-ons than we had intended and still saved a buttload of cash. How you ask? No effin' clue. I had all our paperwork ready to go, what markups were around, what other people were really paying for that car, etc, and that price still came in considerably lower than what we planned. Suck it, MSRP.

Our salesman was a nice, old guy who said what I sorta expect all salesman to say, in one form or another, "how can I help you?" He lacked the major douchiness of the Toyota salesman from a while back. His only drawback: his voice. Ya know Josh Turner, right? Well, his voice was about 2,348,908 decibels deeper than his. Jake was in the stroller, with the little shade thing over him, and did that little scared cry as soon as the salesman started talking. My poor little guy!
One of the first extras that come to mind is the free year of Sirius. Soo excited about that! I don't know if that's a standard thing when buying a car now, but I call it an "extra" because it's not something we went in there shooting for. I LOVE listening to all the comics on there! I'm also sooo in love with how much higher we are off the ground. Don't get me wrong, I have a special place in my heart for that Dodge Neon, but it wasn't the safest vehicle for a wee tot. Our new car (!!!!) has so much space! I feel like I'm swimmin' in the front seat!

It's also the teeny things I love, just because they have a new car smell on them: the sunglasses holder up near the rearview mirror, the ipod outlet (pretty sure that's the wrong term!), the radio controls on the steering wheel, the 6 disc, in-dash CD player. H-E double hockey sticks, even the cruise control! :) And, FYI, I'm so very aware that my descriptions are from somewhere down in crapville compared to the beauty that is my ride, but, I assure you, it don't need to be pimped.
LOVE
2010 Dodge Journey


I love love love that I won't have to break my back doing in-car diaper changes!! I also love that we could rent out the hatchback portion to a small family. Can't wait to grocery shop!


I've just started realizing I did a piss-poor job of taking pictures that showed just how awesome this car is. This looks like the inside of any car :( Oh well. I was just so excited to see it this morning!! I ran out to the garage this morning, after Gary got home from PT, and said "It's still here!!!!" He just laughed. What? I had to make sure it wasn't a dream!
(The plastic is still on the floor because they're removing it when we take it back to get that polysteel stuff on it next week)




I've never seen a key like this! Makes me feel like it's straight out of the Jetson's

I have big plans for this mama mobile! Tomorrow, I'm stretching its legs all the way to Nashville, and may make a run through Illinois just because!

And, can you believe this, fellow Army peeps?---I was "randomly selected" for a vehicle inspection the very first time I was going on post with it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"I wish I had a camera...."

Today was one of the best days yet...I wonder if it has something to do with Gary coming home tomorrow morning?? (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Nah... ;)

This morning started out as a FML morning. Jake woke up all smiles and rainbows, took his morning nap no problemo, I ran around and cleaned up, checked the oil for our trip to Nashville, double checked the diaper bag. Check check and check. All systems were go.

As J was napping, I got in the shower. As I'm showering with glorious lava-hot water, all of a sudden the water stops. THEN, it will only come out for me to take a bath, and ICE COLD. Whiskey. tango. foxtrot. I'm twisting and pulling...and praying. After 20 minutes, I see nothing is working. I was pleading with the shower gods because Jake was going to be waking up soon and I really just wanted to be able to get stuff done so we could get over to Nashville. He has no problem sitting in his bouncy seat as I get ready, but it splits my focus!

So, after sitting on the floor of the shower, in an adult tantrum and conditioner still in my hair, I decide to give the shower a second to work out whatever vendetta it had against me. As soon as I sit down at the desk, Jake wakes up and he's uber hungry. All I wanted was to get ready, on a b-e-a-utiful morning, in the cute dress I wanted to wear, go out with my favorite infant, and pick up everything we need to see Gary tomorrow! Instead, I left hours later, while marinating.

Thankfully, the shower graced me with water after Jake's mid-morning snack and we were on our way.

The dress I wore today was so cute. I picked it out all special for when Gary was coming home on leave in '08 (although the Army does blow sometimes, we real life Army Wives do get those ultra-exciting, plan-out-what-you're-wearing-for-weeks-before, dramatic -seeing-your-soldier-step-off-the-plane moments!), it's one of my favorite dresses EVAH. Totally, a '50s throwback, but modern...the Gigi's girl couldn't get over how cute it was :) It was one of those days where I was feeling cute, mentally stoked, and taking care of bitness for Gary's return. I was a force to be reckoned with.

And, everywhere we went, people were totally all Pleasantville. People were starting up conversations with me while picking out cupcakes at Gigi's, the Starbucks guy made it his life's mission to pick out my perfect drink--they had the nerve to be out of Green Tea!--, people were letting me go ahead of them in line...I swear I didn't know what to do with myself!

We picked up Gigi's---Gary's never had those cupcakes before...hope he's ready for a sugar high!--- came home to drop them off and top off Jake, then headed to the commissary for a few groceries. Jake's never been there, so he was super excited to see a new place. He would not stop talking the entire time we were there! People probably thought I was crazy because I was laughing pretty much nonstop listening to my boy.

We were in one aisle when this old man approaches me and touches my arm. I smile at him because he's a grandpa--how can you not smile at a little old man??-- and he says "I wish I had a camera because I'd take a picture of you" I just smiled because I'm not really sure what to say and he continues "Watching you play with your little one was just so beautiful. It was great to see you like that" I said "Aww, that's so nice. Thank you!" and we parted ways. He probably has no idea what a compliment like that did for me. I just thought I was playing with my little man, I didn't think of what it would look like from the outside. I wish he did have a camera!

That's all I have to say about one great day. Now, I have other thoughts...

I made sure to bring coupons with me for the few things I was picking up at the commissary. One of the coupons was for Gerber organic purees. I am still making Jake's baby food, but since I'm not going to get the organic fruits/veggies til next week, I thought I'd give it a try since I had the coupon and all. Oh, I did pick up some green beans and 'nanas to make baby food, but I don't have to do anything but mash the bananas, so I had to get one thing that needs making! Anyway, those Gerber purees are .95 each! You only get like a serving and a half, maybe two. I'm so relieved we won't be buying that food!

I'll make sure to post pics of me all June Cleaver like, in the kitchen, making the baby grub

Monday, March 22, 2010

And the Best Actress goes to...

Samantha LaMay, in A Woman who Pretends to have Strength...

Many of my close friends have been telling me how strong I am, and I thank you guys sooo much for such a great compliment! :) I just don't feel deserving of it; I feel like I'm masquerading as someone who can handle this Army crap.

When Gary told me last night that he wouldn't be back until early Friday morning, it was the whole last straw on the camel's back thing. Last weekend, when J & I didn't have anything specific to do, I got to feeling pretty lonely. It's sooo quiet in our house. All I wanted was for my tall-drink-of-water to come walking through the door. What kept me relatively sane was knowing he'd be home in a few days, late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning. So, with this push back to early Friday morning I wanted to say f*ck. this. sh*t.

I guess these feelings can be expected in the last few days. We're just ready for it to be over. Soo many women are going through this exact thing, and I'd call them strong. Me? Nope. That has 0 logic, but my good friends & my amazing hubby continue to tell me otherwise. I think I'm just an incredible actress who missed her calling ;)

I deal with it because I have to deal with it. I cuddle Gary's mini-me. I do daily chores. I blog at night, when J's in bed, because it's my release, when Gary & I can't have our late night talks. All this stuff helps me pass the time. So I feel like I owe any "strength" to distractions, than to an innate aspect of my personality that says BRING IT, Army. Bring it. I got this.

When I was a goalie, I almost dared someone to come into my box. Step into my house and you're gonna be run down. Guarantee. I feel like that is strength--and that's probably because I invited that challenge. But, the Army is a challenge I deal with because I have to, definitely not because I want to. Wait...we chose this?!? What kind of dumb idea was this?? Well, I'm definitely not going into our reasons for being in the Army...but they were well thought out.

Anywho, I want to thank all those good friends who remind me to keep going, that I can keep going--no matter what the driving force is. I will chalk up some of my "strength" to knowing I have a son & husband who love me more than anything, so I'll get up and handle the day to day for them. There's not one thing I wouldn't do for those men.

But, I won't hate if you ladies keep sending me texts/emails, phone calls too, keeping me afloat. Hintedy hint hint....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I've been busy

Right before Gary left, I was exposed to the addictive art of blanket making. Needless to say, I'd have to wear long sleeves to hide my obsession. It passed the time really well & you didn't have to wait long to enjoy the results. Here's how I spent the first few days of Gary being gone:

(Kevin & Casey, I'm so sorry that the post office has failed us. I was really hoping to get your stuff to you :( Hope you would have like it, though:) )

A baby blanket for Jake :)
Another blanket for Jake, to enjoy as a young boy

One for our friends' newborn. Made for baby girl Jovie Wilkinson

One for Uncle Kevin's girlfriend, Casey. Hope you enjoy it, girly!

And, last but not least, one for Uncle Kev. Can you guess what one of his favorite teams is??
Apparently, I have a desire to spread warmth

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Baby Must-Haves

So, I've been thinking about things I wish we'd known about from the get-go to make life simpler with a newborn. I thought up this list in like 10 minutes, but I figured that's OK because whatever made the list is something super significant to us. I'm hoping this helps mamas of super fresh tots, & those still baking theirs, even people just thinking of shower gifts.

I didn't include things like onesies, receiving blankets, etc., those are obvious. I included things that we feel are God's gifts to parents. In no particular order...
This mobile/sound machine is a recent purchase for us. When we were accumulating what we thought we needed, before Jake arrived, I had no desire for a mobile. Cribs are for sleeping. Well, we still don't use the mobile. I got this for the sound machine aspect. At home, Jake takes his best naps in his swing, but he only has about 10 more lbs to go in there, so I'd like to start making the transition, before it gets down to crunch time. He doesn't like to lay flat on his back during naps, so I'm slowly integrating this during the bedtime ritual & will then start to use it during the day to get him to nap in his crib. Tonight, I put J in his bed, with the nature sounds on, awake but sleepy & left. He, literally, fell asleep with a smile on his face!!
Fisher-price projection mobile at Babies R Us--$49.99

Ahh, Sophie. Hands down, our..I mean Jake's... FAVORITE teether. I swear, it seems like Jake's been teething since the day he was born. This is the only teether he can manipulate to get quality suction. Even now, with his ever advancing motor skills, this is still the best & his favorite! Soo worth the $22 spent on Amazon
The price for Medela brand products seem like highway robbery, but, in our opinion, soo worth it. It's a one time payment, as opposed to formula, for those looking to increase their supply (which I did) & allow others to feed baby for you. It's a quality product. We thought we could get away with a single hand pump at first. No. effing. way. We spent $50 just to toss it out because it was sooo much work. We got ours at Babies R Us for $280, plus a protection plan, & I've used it countless times & will save it for our next babe!
Doesn't this picture just scream sex appeal?? Nipple shields are so freakin' awesome. Not only do breastfeeding mamas get to avoid much of the fun that comes from nursing, but I really think this is what allows Jake to go from straight from the tap to bottle feeding with incredible ease. So cheap at Target.
BEST.SWING.EVER. Totally adorable, & about as comfy as they come--gauging Jake's reaction of course. We had this swing but the motor died. Plus, not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as this one! Jake just loves it! He takes 2 hour naps in it!
Found this on Amazon for much cheaper than in stores

Jake is a very social baby. So, when he'd be screaming, as a newborn, in the backseat, all I could say was we need something to distract him! This works! Now, he plays with it, instead of it being simply a distraction. I can't describe the overflow of my heart when I hear him talking to it in the backseat :)
Target


Baby legs... or assless chaps as Jake's uncles lovingly refer to them!! They're SO convenient. You don't have to worry about snapping/unsnapping anything but the onesie & you're good to go! They come in great prints, too. They can be found at target.com, & many other sites, but I've never seen them in actual stores

Cristal is the one that told me to register for a travel system, & I'm so glad she did! I can't say how many times we've been out & Jake conks out in the backseat (almost every single time, actually!), & all we have to do is bring him inside in the carrier and set him down until he wakes up. LOVE.
Babies R Us

Jake was not so much a fan of the bouncy/vibrating seat at first. Now, he's in love. He can reach the hanging toys, & enjoys the music. Sometimes, when I have to shower & he's not asleep, I'll put him in that & bring him in the bathroom & I can hear him having a grand ol time...until I talk to him from behind the shower curtain & he thinks I'm Oz or something...
Target

This site is so great for inexpensive slings. I do wish they had more colors/patterns to choose from, but this sling saved me when Jake was just born. Gary had gone to training in another state for 2 weeks & I couldn't do anything because I had yet to really understand what our little man was trying to tell me. This saved me! I'd put him in it & make dinner, clean up around the house, go on walks...just whatever. It kept my sanity when I was wondering if I'd ever be able to do anything but hold Jake. Love it!

When we were setting up our layette (check me out!), it was suggested we get sleep sacks. We never used them. I think the assless chaps are a much better way to ease early morning diaper changes. Plus, I feel like the sacks aren't warm enough because nothing is actually on their legs, just kind of surrounding them. I feel like anything (relative term) other than regular jammies are kind of unnecessary...marketing ploy to excited, pregnant women!

This stuff saves lives.

I've arrived

Yep, if I doubted my maternal instincts before, I can no more.

I did the thumb-lick-face-cleaning.

:::sigh:::

Motherhood, you're silly

In a month and a half, it'll be one year since I've graduated. Holy crap...what a year brings.

I used to have stacks upon stacks of textbooks, now I have stacks upon stacks of diapers. I used to concern myself with the latest Dr. Hock exam, now I concern myself with making sure my son is warm, fed & happy. I used to think graduation would never come, now I think time is passing too quickly.

As I put Jake to bed tonight, I was thinking about my to-do list. But, what's weird are that my to-do lists now don't always require me to get out of jammies! Before, my to-do lists basically read:

"Dr. Hock said his class is equivalent to a grad school class. Don't study & you've failed life"

Yah, I was hard on myself (::cough cough:: got an A, btw ::cough cough::: ;) )!! The thing about Mama to-do lists is that you're answering to yourself ( & those you care for, but that goes in another direction..). In college, I'd study my hiney off, so that I would be able to keep grad school an option, and would await the professor's decision. But, how I'm doing now is up to my own standards.

Tomorrow, one of my to-do's is to decide between 2 different photogs for Jake's 6 month photos.

:::pause for breakdown:::
6 MONTHS. HALF A YEAR. what-the eff-ever.

My plan is to get Jake's pictures at 6 months, then again at 1 year. I'm a regular pioneer on that idea, right?! If I were to not make the appointment, there's not letter grade coming to stare at me in red ink at the top of an exam. Instead, I'd look back when he's 10 & we're going through all his baby pictures & give myself a tiny kick to the tush for never getting it done. So, I'll make the call tomorrow, be excited that I have discounts to use, and the universe may remain intact (~~Oh, Lord...I am a mama!)

For me, I feel like my to-do's now are more significant. If I were to ever have done badly in a class, I'd just make it up. But, now it's all about time. If I don't capture now what I want to capture I won't get that second chance. Talk about pressure! :) I love it. I love every part of it.

Hey, I've got a whiteboard & sticky notes, I got this!

Bring it, Motherhood.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pride of the Mama

This past Christmas, I wrote about how Jake was reacting when his Guncle Kevin called his name. Looking back, I feel kinda dumb because it must have sounded like I was saying Kevin said "Jake Liam" & Jake looked up & was like "Yah, what's up?"! Not was I was going for!

I was going for how incredible it was that Jake responded. Whether it be that he liked an emphasis Kevin used on a certain sound/syllable, or the way Kevin said his name as a whole, it was amazing to me that there was something(s) in words that Jake was acknowledging. A moment he & I had tonight reminded me of just how amazed I really am by him.

Sometime between the last feeding of the day & the bedtime ritual, Jake & I, & when he's here, Gary, go and lay on our bed. We'll lay next to one another & let Jake play, talk, whatever he feels like. Well, tonight little man pulled out all the stops. He was laying in my armpit nook ("armpit" doesn't really give off the warm-fuzzy feel does it?!), somewhere between on his belly & on his side--facing me, & using my arm as a headrest. It had to be 10 minutes of talking from him. He'd touch my shirt & say something. He'd touch my glasses & say something in a different tone. He'd look up at the ceiling light & use yet another tone. I wanted so badly to hold him so close that I'd reabsorb him, but I fought the urge! My end of the conversation was a rotation of "uh huh's", "tell me more's", & "that's a good story's"...anything to show my interest & keep him communicating.

Gary & I fully believe in how perceptive babies are. We don't look at them as just little people who are led to react a certain way. They definitely feed off the people around them, but I just love how you can see so much of their personality without them telling you exactly what they need/think/feel. Our little man & I had a moment that I hope will be a foundation for forevah. I hope, & will strive to teach him, he can always talk my ear off, that his thoughts will always be worth hearing to me.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Shouts Outs

I've been thinking a lot lately. This will, ultimately, result in many, many blog posts.

On our many drives, I, honestly, miss Jake when he's in the backseat. Seriously. I wish he was able to be my co-pilot. But, I have to settle to have "long distance" admiration of our little boy. Stupid safety.

I mention this because when I'm wishing I could Britney-Spears him in the front seat, I'm thinking of how he's soo incredibly expressive. He likes to laugh & point, grab things within (& outside of his) reach, squeal to both get a laugh & show he's enjoying something. I find myself congratulating my uterus on a job well done, and going back to the day he was born.

When I first found out I was pregnant, after intense happiness & celebration, job one was to manipulate our insurance so that I'd be able to deliver off post. I was a woman on a mission. I made countless phone calls to Tricare, printed appropriate paperwork, verified coverage of the various aspects of pregnancy....I was gettin' her done (I loathe Larry the Cable Guy...but I couldn't resist). There was no way on God's green Earth I would deliver on post. I'd deliver in the commissary, at 6pm, on payday before I allowed that to happen. & my efforts paid off.

The first office I called, to see if they accepted my newfound version of Tricare, was the fateful office on Memorial Drive that would leave me with the best pregnancy/birth experience I could have ever imagined. They were all so wonderful. I felt like I was their daughter/sister/niece/various female relative titles. They showed me that kind of care. When I walked up, they'd say "We gotcha, Samantha. You don't need to sign in" or when I made a joke about stirrups you'd assume came from a 15 year old boy, they joined in on the laugh, or when they remembered where our conversation left off from the previous month's appointment...I knew it was an incredible office. Gary loved it, too. I mean, it got to a point where if they said "jump" we'd ask "how high?" So, when they told me I had preeclampsia (still not over that I had that just because. Pregnancy is weird. At least it wasn't my fault!) we knew we didn't have to worry at all. And, even though I constantly begged them to let me continue my 3 days a week on the elliptical and 2 days a week of yoga, they'd tell me "Hell No" each time, with smiles on their faces.

Jake's Uncle Kevin said Gateway Medical Center looked like a prison from the outside. And, although he is entitled to his opinion, he is wrong... ;) It's such a nice facility. And, PRIVATE! Not that I care too much about the various fun exams that go on when you're in labor, but I was excited to be in private rooms because we didn't have to worry about accommodating another person's stuff. We had all our stuff all spread out & loved it. One room was intended for labor & delivery, and the other for postpartum. Jake, however, decided to have a third room in the mix because he entered this world via the natural means of brights lights, a 4-5 inch opening, & a mama getting a head massage (with sweet nothings whispered in her ear) from the anesthesiologist. What every girl envisions when she pictures the day her first child enters the world. Ahh, the operating room.

But, from start to finish, Gateway was an amazing facility. Well, before I continue my shout outs, I do have to say that I had to drop the hammer on one of the lactation consultants. There were two total, & I'm not sure if they had some 'good cop bad cop' thing going on, but I gave a piece of my mind to one of them & she certainly changed her tone. Hey, I'm mama. HEAR.ME.ROAR. She was a total a-hole, though. Gary assisted in the hammer dropping, but I'd have to say my words were pretty cunning & she retreated...
To continue: From the moment we checked in, to the moment we checked out, we were taken care of. Everything was explained in great detail by anyone who came in to get to know me better. I couldn't pick a favorite nurse because they were all incredible. They'd wake me with gentle rubbing when they came in to check me, they'd sit with me a minute, and/or watch TV with me, while Gary went home to tend to our dogs, they'd gently remind me that after 12 hours of pitocin contractions that not only was I thee.woman., but I was entitled to pain meds if I said so---they made it known that they'd do the asking if I said to jump, they respected my wish to go natural (until after the 171st hour of labor without any further dilation). They'd let me breathe quietly through the big contractions without interrupting me. They were the bomb-diggity. I guess there is one nurse that was most memorable, though. It was the graveyard shift nurse with long hair who called me a different condiment/ingredient each time she walked into my room; "honey" "sugar" ...it was all good!

The rooms were so nice, too! The room was bigger than most master bedrooms. Had pretty woods floors, & cabinets to match, a pull-out couch long enough to accommodate my 6'3" husband, had a mounted, flat screen TV...greatness! I don't know if other hospitals have this also, but "waitresses" would come to my room twice a day so that I could order meals. &, if I didn't want anything, they'd bring me something anyway--just to make sure I was taken care of. Good ol' southern hospitality!

The postpartum nurses dressed me, offered to help me shower, talked with me. I'm just so thankful for them being such wonderful people. They'd ask if I had any questions & would patiently await my response. Oh, and I am soo loving that after cutting me open, my fantastic OB sewed me up with such precision that the sizable tattoo on my left hip looks unaltered. She even did a mini celebratory dance when she checked me at my 6 week checkup!

(just for funsies---It was like 3am my first day postpartum, & Gary had gone home for the dogs & Jake was off in the nursery--not by choice, he was getting something done--I was hobbling over to my bed & had the urge to sneeze. Sweet baby Jesus, sneezing after having a c-section is a fate worse than death.)

My whole experience was so great that I wish I had some way to thank them, the entire staff. Everyone who treated me as if my pain/happiness/thoughtful moments were their pain/happiness/thoughtful moments. The only thing I can really equate my experience to was when I got braces at 16. I cried & cried & cried because I just knew braces were going to look awful, but the orthodontist was the nice, old grandpa whose stories you love to hear. I remember saying that no matter where I end up in the U.S., I'd take my kids to that orthodontist. I feel the same about Gateway. It's not an impossibility for me to have our next child at Gateway, & I'd be honored to. The nurses, paperwork ladies, nursery girl (she'd always assure me it's ok for Jake to stay in the nursery for a while, but I couldn't! Only for procedures!), hearing test woman, of course my awesome OB ----Wait! Don't cue the music!

It just means so much to me/us that those people made that day as perfect as they could. I'd recommend Gateway to a friend. I actually think I should contact head people at both Gateway & Old Navy & make some dinero from blogging my love of both institutions!!

Seriously, though, I could not have asked for more.

The Baby Food Code

Well, I think I've done it...I cracked the baby-food-making code! With the help of a couple friends, I'm getting some really great tips on how to give Jake the most nutritious foods.

I have a rough idea of what foods I'm going to start with. I have a mental line up of Jake's first foods, outside rice cereal. We've got avocados, bananas, pears, potatoes, & green beans coming. I can't wait!

As with most money saving techniques, we have to spend a little up front to save over the long run, but, luckily, you don't have to wait that long to see the savings, ALWAYS a plus! I found a Baby Food Maker on Amazon -for much cheaper than I've seen in stores, some teeny baby food containers -to freeze when I make large batches, & a baby cookbook that has 100 different recipes for me to prepare for our little man. I can't wait to learn what his favorites are, but it's good to know that I know exactly what's going into his little belly. He'll have all his teenage years to eat brightly colored, death-in-a-bag snacks...let's start him off right!

As a side note, Jake was in his crib at 8:15 last night, woke up at 6:30 (!!!!!!!), ate, & has been asleep in his swing since 7:30! INSANITY! He must be growing or something. He's been napping for over 2 hours, when he slept 10 hours last night. These are the kinds of growth spurts I like!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This is the I-can't-think-of-a-witty-title Title

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about when Jake starts solids. There's so much more that goes into it than just giving your child something other than liquid. Who knew, right? I still stomp my feet & demand a childhood instruction manual, but no dice. Guess I'll have to figure it out on my own...

When Gary & I talk about what we'll take from Jake & apply to our next child one of the things mentioned is letting him/her lead us. That was part of the confusion during his first few weeks. I was under the WRONG WRONG WRONG impression that I had to set the course for the day; he'll eat around this time, try this hour for a nap...these are the thoughts that innocently went through my head. I wasn't hard up about them, but just trying to make sense of things. What would have made an easy baby even easier was for me to realize I didn't have to think at all. Jake would lead me where I needed to be (of course, Gary is included, but I'm going to keep it simple & just refer to myself). Jake would tell me when he's hungry, when he's tired, when he needs a diaper change. It's soo much more simple than I gave infancy credit for. And, I've taken this approach to the start of solids. When Jake was about 4 and a 1/2 - 5 months, he started being completely fascinated with what we were eating. For instance, I heart oatmeal, so if I sat next to him while I ate it, he'd watch me put the spoon in the bowl, trace its path to my mouth, than watch me swallow. Rinse, repeat. He was showing that his readiness for solids was pretty much peaked. Now that he's sitting unassisted, (well, has been for a while) all we're waiting on is for daddy to get home so we can all take part in, what I'm sure will be, good/clean fun ;)

I wanted sooo badly to start him on solids then. But, honestly, it was just because I want those adorable, brightly colored baby bowls with their soft-edged spoons. Can't say aesthetics should play a part in my child's development, or a pretty significant change to his tummy. Gary & I decided to wait until 6 months so that his digestive tract would be more mature. I kept thinking about how I rarely eat sweets, so when I do--like that damn "cupcake" with its own gravitational pull--my stomach will sometimes knot up. That's the last thing I'd want for Jake. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) is also behind the 6 month start, & is helping me figure out where to go after rice cereal.

This is where I get sort of confused. At Jake's age, it's pretty common to be breastfed 6-7 times a day, & he is. But, now where do I mix in the rice cereal "meal"? When we've moved on from rice cereal, as his big solids introduction, to pureed pears, green beans, avocado...what happens to simple booby feedings? I know when I make the baby food (which is a choice I've made--to make baby food with organic ingredients) you add your breastmilk, so am I supposed to pump a zillion times a day? These are the sorts of questions wracking my brain. So, I checked out my friend's blog & she had a great link for steps/tips on how to make the introduction of solids a simple one. Wholesomebabyfood.com is really helping to ease my mind. It's making sense out of all this & I'm sooo thankful for it!! I want to run out right now & buy all the ingredients to make little Jake's "meals" (can you call a tbsp of food a meal?!), but it's all a waiting game. Well, for our situation, it should be. Our plan is to start out slow; we're going to do an entire week, maybe more if necessary, of only introducing the rice cereal. We want to let his tummy adapt, rather than throw him the infant equivalent of a Thanksgiving dinner. After that, I guess we'll just learn as we go!

So, I know this wasn't the most exciting post, but I entice your return visit to our blog with a promise of pictures of us, Jake, or both covered in foods I lovingly spent time preparing!

Monday, March 8, 2010

One Fine Day

'member that movie? Ya know, that movie. C'mon, THAT MOVIE.
Just making sure that my 13 year old brother's method of playing Taboo is, in fact, ineffective. Sorry, C-money ;) :::best Stewie impression::: Now, what did you learn??

We've had so many fine days, but I forget to blog about them because I'm off enjoying them!

I do believe I've begun a love affair with Nashville. Jake & I decided to go there this past Friday, & had a great time! It was nice enough to wear my Maxi dress (2 things: LOVE LOVE LOVE Maxi dresses & told you I'd induce Spring!), & Jake was cute as a button as usual! ;)---someone comment & tell me why cuteness is measured by a button??---
We walked around the mall, & hit a sale at OshKosh! I got Jake theee cutest little shorts set, & fought my urge to by up all their merchandise. &, if it weren't for a feeding Jake was patiently awaiting, Carter's would have seen our smiling faces as well. Well played, Hunger...
We spent more time driving to Nashville than we did in the actual city, but it was a nice outing. I got to sing my country all loud & proud, and listen to Jake talk to his carseat animals. It couldn't have been better if Gary was there!

Today, we went back to Nashville. My attempt to make my virgin trip to the Green Hills mall was foiled by...life. So, we decided to keep it simple & head to Opry Mills again for a surprise ginormous "cupcake" (aka, life preserver) & walk around the mall. Sarah & her wee one met us there & our little double date was a good time!
When J man & I got home, it was still sooo nice out, so when Jake & I were in the driveway & he was smiling up at the sky, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. We laid a blanket out on the front lawn & played for a while. It was so great. He's incredibly expressive now. He motions for what he wants, picks things up, laughs all the time. It's amazing. I'm in awe of him every day.

But, we'll conquer Green Hills mall on Thursday, & hopefully it'll be nice like today for some more photo ops! Isn't he so beautiful?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Crunching the Numbers

Every now & again, I'll look at how we spend our money to make sure we're not going to be poor because we didn't realize we went to Starbucks for the 83rd time this week. So far, things seem to be going well. We're not Nazis about our money, but we keep it relatively in control. Here's me patting us on the back :::pat pat pat::: I had a long day & may throw myself a fiesta should I find I did the slightest thing right. You've been warned.

When we moved to our current house, a month ago already!, we had an appointment to have Direct TV installed. We'd had Direct TV since April or May of 2007, so we had no desire to get rid of it. But, when the tech came & showed us that the only way to run the line was along the floor, we called an audible. We have a child who could be crawling tomorrow with how much effort he puts in during tummy time, so we don't want to run electricity as his speed bump!

So, after pricing some other companies & finding out they're more expensive than Direct was, we decided we'd see how only having Netflix went. We fell in love the first night. Not only do we get to catch up on movies & shows, but we never have to trot down to Blockbuster again, & (this is a big one...!) things aren't so centered around TV. We weren't TV addicts, but it is nice to not *need* it on all the time. And, my grand finale for my love-of-Netflix rant::: we save $668.88 a year!!! Can you believe we've been spending almost $700/year on TV?? That should be a sin.

About a half hour ago, I was putting Jake to bed & thinking of other ways to save. We're doing pretty well; use coupons, buy generics on certain things, eat meals at home for the most part, but I got to thinking if there are ways we can save regarding Jake. I'm breastfeeding, so that's a huge savings. I remember when we tried to find a way around buying the $300 Medela breast pump last October. But, that thing is a God-send, & one of the things I'll add should I go through with blogging about my personal baby must-haves (for pregos that are looking for tips). Anyway, I figured people spend roughly that on a month and a half of formula, so we're making headway there. Cloth diapers? Hell to the no. I'm not even going to deal with that. Skipping baby clothing sales? I'm the little engine that could on that front. I do well, for the most part. But, our little man is sooo cute & I have to dress him as such!! Plus, I think there's a whole wing at Old Navy Corporate dedicated to satisfying my baby-clothing addiction. Who am I to disappoint??
In reality, I do really well with that. I'll pick up something here and there, but I think I fight my urges pretty well

:::pat pat pat:::

In the next couple weeks, when Gary gets home, Jake will be starting solids!!!! His first entree is set to be rice cereal. I don't think there's a way for me to make that (Sarah, I swear to God if you email me a way to make that I'm no longer friends with you), but I will be making his other baby food when he graduates from that. There's a farmer's market I can get my ingredients from & an organic market that will be getting plenty of business from this mama! Both are in Nashville, so it'll be nice little excursions (hopefully in new wheels!) for me & my boy when Gary's deployed.

Other than these things, I can't think of many other ways to cut back. We utilize Sam's Club (we bought toilet paper & paper towels from there like a month ago. Seriously, our laundry room is a y2k closet for paper goods now) & the commissary for good deals, but we're open to suggestions!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I have a lazy child

but I love him anyway!

Technically, Jake has not rolled over yet. Technicalities aside, Jake has rolled over.

But, since I have no desire to be the mama that fudges the truth to say her kid did something..Jake has not rolled over. He's so funny because we'll be laying on the bed together & he almost taunts me. I know he can do it, but he looks at me like he's keeping me lingering. He'll roll toward me, completely on his side, then flop back & have the biggest smile on his face. My kid is effing with me & he's not even a teenager yet!

Other times, he'll use his determined face, and then I know it's on. He'll get up on his side, then he'll use his teeny abs & get to where he's practically flat on his belly, but that one arm is in the way! He just hangs in limbo for a while & then goes back. Foiled again! Before Gary left, he'd be doing this & I'm screaming, in a whisper--so as to not distract him-- " oh my God. oh my God. oh my God..."I swear it goes on that way for like 15 minutes before I realize it ain't happenin'

His strength is never the issue, I honestly think he has 0 desire to be a roller as of yet! Oh well, it'll happen eventually. Until then, he's going to flash me that million dollar, toothless smile, then flop back to his backside:

The Surreal Life

Let me preface this by saying how in love I am with my life. I have the best husband & son I could ever imagine. Love you guys :)

As of today, Gary has been gone 6 days. The first day, I was surprised how well I was doing. I had a few tears when he kissed me goodbye that morning, but Jake & I jumped right into things. But, when by 6 am I had further decorated Jake's room, cleaned up from the night before, got laundry ready for the wash, folded laundry, & straightened up the garage, I realized I had a problem & promptly entered Distraction-Lovers Anonymous.

When Gary left for training when Jake was about a month old, that sh*t was hard. Jake & I were still learning each other & breastfeeding had yet to become second-nature; not to say it was all bad or a bad time, but harder. Gary would call & I'd just cry because I just felt like I was doing something wrong. It was not as simple as it is now to get him what he needed. So, the past few days of Gary being gone, I've been quite impressed with myself ;) I was excited how easy it is, & that's what I chose to focus on.

Over the past week, I've had a tear here or there about missing him, but I've quickly recovered. Today, not so much. I went to the post office to mail a package to Uncle Kevin & his girlfriend, & decided to go for a drive afterward because I didn't feel like going back home & Jake was looking for a nap anyway. So, we left & took a drive over to Starbucks in Clarksville, then took a self-guided tour around the city. Once I hit the 24, I lost it. It's a gorgeous day out, warmer than it has been, & all I could think was how we were "here"again. This place. The place where my husband doesn't get to spend warm summer nights out with me, watching the fireflies go by. Or take a neighborhood walk with me ( & J too, of course!)---yes, our life is like a Nicholas Sparks novel. Or any of the wide array of summer crap we like to do. Time just flew by. Between baking & serving a babe, & moving, the days just go too quickly.

By the time Gary goes to Afghanistan in June, he will have been home about a year & a half. Thank God for that! I love seeing my man home every day. Just wish I could keep him home every single day.

While I was driving, my mind was all over the place. I thought about how my dad called during that time Gary was gone when Jake was a month old. He asked how we were doing & I said that we were doing just fine (which was true). He said "Well, just keep doing what you're doing. You're doing a great job" That was exactly what I needed to hear. I thought about how I wanted to blog about all the stuff I was feeling, to get it off my chest, & how I worry, sometimes, that someone will misconstrue what I'm saying as unhappiness. That could not be further from the truth. I love every aspect of my life. I have the two great loves of my life, & could not be happier; just wish the Army wasn't so much of an abstract (stay with me here...) that I could give "it" some back-alley-Soldier's Wife-vengeance. I thought about how I hadn't realized that my staying so busy/distracted this past week balled my sad feelings into a little corner in the back of my dome that would come to the forefront today. That is weird in itself. I'm not one to push a feeling away. Not that I'm dramatic by any means, but if I feel something, I acknowledge it & move on. I know waaayyyy too many bipolar, passive-aggressives to do that!

When Gary gets mad at something, but doesn't want to give it too much weight, he'll say that such and such is "ball soup". That tickles me :) Well, I'd like to say that thinking about him going this summer is my "ball soup" (I decided that my mama mouth is allowed to say that right now...it's my "release"!) No matter how many projects I've done/lined up for myself, or playdates we've had/will have, or number of friends Jake has met, it's just a kind of temporary fix. Doesn't really take care of the true issue. Obviously. Doesn't make things easier, overall, just makes them easy at one time.

Gary has been able to call at night & we have a nice little chat :) It's just weird to be back to those times where I ALWAYS have my phone charged, & next to me. Weird that Jake will get to know the ins & outs of the post office before he even turns one! But, I'm soo thankful for those chats. We get to laugh over the crazy antics of our boy, talk about how much we miss one another, what we want to do when he gets back. Those chats take us to our own little world. It just sucks (mama mouth is back...you know what it sucks...) that it's really reminding me of deployment.

HOW-EFFING-EVER...

God gives us exactly as much as we are able to handle. I know that this deployment will not beat me up too badly because God is giving it to us. Yes, our sheets may be tear-stained, but I'll get up in the morning & see the smile on my boy's face, hope for a phone call, & drive on. Plus, it totally helps that Jake is like a mini-clone of Gary, so he'll be my version of a "Daddy Doll" (Sarah, Alena....that one's for you ;) )!!

Man, I feel better. Can't say I got through writing this without crying, but I do feel better. Thanks, peeps :) It's a blessing in itself that I'm married to a man that I long for mentally, physically, emotionally... It's a blessing that I have someone to love this much. So, it turns out, there is something worse than deployment, & that would be not having found my other half.

Monday, March 1, 2010

In search of the perfect Mama Mobile

(My goal is to get through today...it's only a month, right? So, I'm surrounded by playdate dates & picking our perfect car to keep busy :::chants::: he will be back in one month, he will be back in one month...)

We're back into looking for a car, &, O.EM.G., it excites me!! Right before we found out we were going to have our beautiful boy (December '08), we decided we wanted to buy a car. So, in my true school-girl-fashion, I do all my research, settle on the financing with USAA (fyi---they're amazing! Not only do they tell you what dealers to go to for the best price, you get anywhere from $1,500-$4,000 off sticker just for being a member!), & head to Toyota of Hopkinsville. I had my heart set on an '09 Toyota Corolla sport. I had all the add-ons, & my how beautiful it was! Gary loved the car, too, but I have a sneaking suspicion he would have let me buy a pink Hummer if I wanted it--he's the best. What a mighty fine maaaaannnn!!!

I had read a bunch of car buying tips, &, as luck would have it, got a booklet from USAA on all the ins & outs of carbuying. One of the tips was to not let the salesman know how much you love the car; that'll screw with your negotiations. I say "Nay!" I don't think you have to hide the fact you love a car. I certainly didn't. I was borderline giddy at the dealership, especially when we took it for a test drive & it was so smooth it felt like we were floating (lamesauce...I'm aware). But, I'm also an intelligent girl. I never hid my love of the Corolla, but we did go in there with a game plan. We were going to pay one price, & one price only. From that booklet, I also learned how much a price is jacked up in relation to what the salesman makes off the car. We weren't going to make his next two months worth of mortgage payments because he thought he could take a couple kids for a ride. Not today, son.

So, we get back from our test drive & settle into his office. Gary says "So, what are you going to do for us?" We were in the driver's seat (lame pun...again, I'm aware); we knew how much the car was marked up, we knew the state of the economy, we knew what dealerships were going through. He tried to eyeball me, from across the desk, when he gave out numbers & percentages, as if I couldn't do math in my head. C'mon now! He was kind of a douche. & we never told him about the $1,000 we were going to put down. We told him we had a down payment, but not the amount. We didn't want him to be good to us because of that. He should treat us right for the sake of treating us right...or at least play like that was the case.

It came down to a final number. We asked for some time to talk, came up with a number we would not pay more than, & asked him to come back. He said he "had to talk to his boss". You could see the disappointment in his face that we had a great time when we first got there, but sat in his office to do business. When he came back with a price much higher than what we said, we thanked him for his time & took off. He never called us, which my friend Cristal said was weird & that we must have really bruised his ego. Point: LaMay Family!

This time around, we have practicality in mind because we're buying with Jake in mind, instead of just for funsies. We're looking at the Toyota 4runner, Toyota Highlander, Dodge Journey, & Dodge Nitro. I'm over the moon for the 4runner & Nitro, but we can't settle on anything 'til we have a test drive. So, we're going to go dealership hopping once G unit gets back! I really cannot wait!! I'll have all my homework done, again!, & will go in there knowing exactly how to handle things. Plus, on top of dealer incentives, we'll get military cash allowance, & recent college graduate incentives (Ok, I graduated a whole year ago...but that's relatively recent!), we'll be getting a smashing good deal!

Wish us luck!