Monday, August 31, 2009

assignments and such

Mark and I went to an assignment brief last week, given by his Commander, Rico. (That's his call sign. The guys all go by their call signs in the squadron, not their names.) Anyway, we found out two weeks ago, that instead of finding out the drop (list of possibly bases we can go to next) by the end of August, we aren't going to get it until November 2nd. We're kinda bummed, but I guess in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't much matter if we find out where we're going next now, or a few months from now. I know I've told many of you our possibilities for the next bases, but I'm sure you don't remember what they all are if I have told you. I can't even keep them straight sometimes. In no particular order, here are our possible choices for the next base we'll go to:

Spangdahlem, Germany Located 2 hours almost directly south of Dusseldorf, Germany, this base is most likely our first choice. It's a stones throw away from Luxembourg, France and Belgium. It's about 45 mins from Ramstein AB, which is also in Germany, and is much bigger than Spang. However, they're closing down one of the F-16 squadrons at this base, so the likelihood of this base being in the drop is slim to none unfortunately. We can still dream though.

Aviano, Italy Located 1.5 hours north of Venice and 6 hours from Rome. Mark's brother is studying at the Vatican in Rome for the next 5 years, so this would be a fun base for us to go to also. However, I've heard from other wives that there's not much for kids to do in this area and that most of the businesses close at 5pm every day. They also told us in the brief that it's very expensive to live off-base. It's do-able, just really expensive. We'd have LOTS of travel opportunities here also though since we'd be really close to Austria (my favorite country I've visited so far) and fairly close to Switzerland and Slovenia.

Osan, South Korea Located about an hour and 45 min south of Seoul. Rico had been to this base and he loved it. He said the base is amazing and big and has tons of amenities on it, and the surrounding area is also very nice. He said there are lots of outdoor activities to do nearby - mainly biking and hiking and that there is lots of cheap shopping to do there also. He can get assigned a 1 year unaccompanied remote tour here, or he can get a 2-3 year accompanied tour. Lots of people travel to Japan and Thailand and other places in Asia while in South Korea. He did say that Korea is "the land of the not quite right", and that Korean's don't really have much concept of personal space.

Kunsan, South Korea Located about 4 hours south of Osan, on the coast of Korea. This is a remote tour, meaning that Mark would be expected to go there by himself for one year. (They don't give accompanied tours to Kunsan.) He can choose to bring Abbie and me over, on our own dime, if he wants. But even if we do go over there, the commander there can decide that families can't be in the dorms so we'd have to go home, or if we get a place off-base, they can decide that the guys need to stay on base for weeks at a time. This is probably our last choice as far as assignments go.

Misawa, Japan Located in the northeast tip of Japan, right on the coast, about 4.5 hours north of Tokyo. They said that it gets very cold at this base and is almost always rainy and/or foggy. Mark would do most of his flying over the Pacific Ocean. They said it's pretty expensive to get back home from Japan, but that many people travel to Australia and Hawaii bc they're fairly close.

Hill AFB, UT Located about a half hour north of Salt Lake City. Obviously Salt Lake City has everything and anything you could ever hope to imagine. Rico said the skiing in the area is amazing and the national park that are close by are really neat too. He said it's a little different because the number of Mormon's in the area, but I think Mark and I would fit in well there. I've looked at houses in this area and there are LOTS of really nice houses for rent within our housing allowance. This is most likely our first choice of bases in the US.

Shaw AFB, SC Located in Sumter, SC, between Columbia and Charleston. The main thing I remember about this base is he said that they deploy a lot because they're part of some unit that handles deployments. And Sumter is kind of a smaller town, so you have to go to Columbia for good shopping (which is only about 30 mins away). This was way up on our list until I heard the bit about deployments. Now I'd be really nervous to go here...

Those are the 7 bases we could be stationed at. There is a small possibility that there would be an active duty guard slot, where he would fly with the Air National Guard in either Vermont or SC. We don't know anything about these bases yet, but Mark would probably prefer flying with the guard over any of the active duty bases, so he'll probably put that as his first choice if one is available. However, I think there are quite a few other guys in his class (of 8 people) who would also put that first... We'll just have to see how it goes.

In Mark's flying news, he's been crazy busy still. This week he has 3 flights, 4 sims and classes 4 days... So much for slowing his training down after the 17th. I think them telling the guys they'd have 2-3 events a week at the beginning of this course is a crock of s***, but oh well. His graduation date is Jan 16, but their goal was to get them done by Dec 15 and so far they are a full 20 days ahead of their goal.... At the rate they're going now, he'll be done mid-October. =) I just feel bad for him because doing so much in training and having a baby in the middle of it all on top of his crazy schedule is a lot for him to handle. But he's doing really well and staying WAYYY more dedicated to it than I ever would be. He shot the gun on the F-16 for the first time today and he had a lot of fun with that. He described it as someone starting a chain saw right next to your ear. I guess it startled the heck out of him the first time he shot the gun, but the 2nd time was much better. I'm hoping to go on the tanker ride next Friday to watch him do mid-air refueling. We can take pictures so if I go, I'll be sure to post those!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Abbie Rose is 3 months old!

Okay, actually she's 14 weeks old, and I'm a little late at getting this posted... Sorry!

It seems like Abbie hit the 3 month mark and she started changing by leaps and bounds. Here are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
~She's found her hands. She'll clench them really tightly and hold them up and look at them for a while. And she's started sticking them in her mouth.
~She can hold her head up for quite a while now, and isn't half as wobbly as she used to be. She now likes her bumbo and can sit in it for more than a minute at a time.
~She'll giggle when you tickle her. It's the cutest thing ever. And you can grin at her from across the room and she'll grin back.
~She'll bear weight on her feet now. Before I'd hold her up and she wouldn't put any weight on her feet, but now she'll "stand" up for sometimes as much as 10 seconds before her knees buckle.
~She puts things in her mouth on her own now. Any toy she can get up there, she ends up sucking/chewing on it.
~She rolled over again by herself yesterday. Mark had just gotten home from work and she had her arm in position and was trying to get the bottom half of her over and she rolled from her front to her back about a minute after he got home. I'm so glad he was there to see it.
~She "talks" a lot now. She'll make a whole bunch of different sounds too and sometimes she squeals if she gets really excited.
~She kicks her legs when she gets really excited - like REALLY kicks her legs.
~When Mark feeds her a bottle she'll wrap her arms around his hands and the bottle to make sure he doesn't take it away. Kinda funny. She's a little piglet.
~Two nights ago I stopped swaddling her when she slept and she seems to be doing really well with that.

Sitting in her bumbo

In her bumbo with her new Krinklz Baby toy - she loves that thing

Our little Mozart
Grinning at daddy
She's a lot of fun at this age
Hopefully she'll play the piano like we do.

A few of her 3 month pictures that I took
Her with her lamb. I don't think the kid can get any cuter.

She's a lot of fun now. We're still having sleep issues, but I won't bore you with all those details. I do think I've read about every book on the subject though and it's amazing all the opposing viewpoints. I'm trying to pick and choose what I think is best for us and Abbie and I will say, last night she stayed in her crib from like 10:30pm to almost 5:30am. She was up once around 3am but by the time I got in to her, she was asleep again. Hopefully this is the start of something good!

Monday, August 17, 2009

the weekend lowdown

Mark and I had a nice and relaxing weekend at home. Saturday we went to an RV show and had fun dreaming about the future and looking at all the really expensive RV's. I think the most expensive one we saw was $280k.... Someday. =)
Saturday night we got locked out of our house... Fun times. We were in the back yard looking at a spider and I had just let the dogs back in the house and shut the sliding glass door and the stupid thing locked. Kinda pissed us off since that stupid door doesn't ever lock when you actually want it to and you have to slam it at least 5 times before you can actually push the little lever down to lock it. Apparently when you shut it from the outside though, that's a different story. Luckily Mark has his cell phone on him and after finding the perfect spot in the middle of the street, he was able to call Nate and Gail, who had keys to our house because they watch our dogs for us.. Thank God. So they came and saved us and then we all went out for ice cream. Oh, and we had Abbie outside with us when we got locked out - thank GOD. Otherwise I probably would have broken a window to get to her.
Abbie got another one of her 2 month shots today. She was supposed to have the other 2 of them, but they were out of one of them so she only got one. I HATE when they give her shots. She jumps and her eyes get big and she sucks in her breath for like 10 seconds and then she SCREAMS. And then about 30 seconds later she's fine. But I still feel terrible. I had her weighed while we were there and she's up to 12lb 4oz! So she's still right in the 50th percentile as far as weight goes, which is good.
I've been supplementing her a little more lately with formula. I really think my supply is kinda letting up some. Last night before she went to bed, I nursed her on both sides for about 5 mins each, and then Mark fed her a 6 oz bottle and she drank all of the bottle. He'd try several times to take the bottle away from her before she finished it and she'd get upset every time. She woke up a little before 3am this morning and I tried everything to get her to go back to sleep without nursing her, but it didn't work. So I nursed her on one side and then tried to put her down again since she fell asleep, and as soon as I put her down, she woke up and cried. So then I nursed her some more on the other side twice, both times she fell asleep but woke up when I put her back in her crib. So after 2 hours of that, I finally got her a 4 oz bottle. I tried taking it away after she drank 2 oz's and she cried, so I gave her the other 2 oz's and she finally fell asleep and slept until 9am. So I just really don't think she's getting enough from me. I've noticed I'm not leaking as much as I used to also, and they don't ever feel very full anymore. I'm still nursing her during the day, but I can nurse her on both sides and she still seems to be hungry. I'll nurse her as long as I can, but it seems like more and more I'm having to supplement her because she's always hungry. I can either let her nurse for 1-2hrs almost continually, or I can give her a bottle and she's happy. I still try to nurse her on both sides before I give her a bottle though. I guess 3 months of nursing is better than nothing... ?
We love her froggy-legged pose. She sleeps like this a lot.
An evening at the park by our house.

Getting better at holding her head up during tummy time.


Her new sunglasses - a necessity when living in AZ.

Taking walks is very tiring.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My preconceived notions

I've been thinking for a while now (since Abbie was born actually) about all these ideas and thoughts I had in my head, prior to giving birth. I thought I had motherhood all figured out before I was a mother, and I was quick to judge my friends who were already moms, thinking to myself things like "I will NEVER do that when I'm a mom". Ha. To all my friends that are parents, I'd just like to apologize for thinking you were nuts have the time - even though you probably had no clue I thought that. =)

I had LOTS of preconceived notions about giving birth. I had a few friends that did it completely naturally without any meds and hey, if they all could do it, so could I. Right? Wrong. You gals are wonderwomen! After 9 hours of being in active labor I jumped all over that epidural like a fat kid on cake. I'm not even sure I want to try to do it naturally next time because that epidural was heaven and I actually enjoyed labor after I'd gotten it. Also along the lines of giving birth - before hand, I didn't at all want to spend all my time in the bed, which is why I didn't want the epi. I wanted to get up and move around. When I was in labor, I didn't want to get OUT of the bed. I just wanted to lay there even though they wanted me to walk around to try to get me to dilate more. Nope. I wanted to stay in bed. I thought I wanted a mirror "down there" so I could watch what was going on. They had a mirror that we could use, but I ended up not wanting to see what was happening because I was afraid it would freak me out.

I didn't at all want Abbie to have a pacifier either. I thought it would be the beginning of a bad habit, but she got one before she was even out of the hospital. That was mainly because of the nurses though, and her having to be under the bili-lights. They said it was comforting for them to suck, so we agreed to give her one. Now I go into her room 14 times a night to stick that stupid thing back in her mouth, and half the time she spits it back out before I'm even out of the room! I wanted to hold off of giving her a bottle, but the nurses thought we should supplement her some while she was in the hospital. Now I'm glad we did because she's had no nipple confusion at all and she'll nurse just fine or drink formula or breast milk out of a bottle with no problems.

I'd seen lots of people riding in the back seat with their babies and I thought there was no way in hell I was ever going to be one of those people. After all, she'd be just fine back there by herself, right? Ha. A few trips with her screaming bloody murder and my arm falling asleep from reaching behind me, I learned that sitting in the back was much easier. (Although I still don't do this a whole lot, and certainly not for entire long car rides. I get her situated and then I move up front.)

One of the big ones was co-sleeping. I would have bet you $3000 before I had here that she would not sleep in our bed with us at night. I was DEAD set against co-sleeping with her because I thought that was the beginning of a really bad habit and I didn't at all understand why people did it..... until I was going on a month with little sleep and getting up with her 3 times a night for an hour each time. I'm still not a big fan of co-sleeping for us personally, but I do understand why people do it now.

Along with the co-sleeping, I had NO clue that some babies just don't sleep well and others do. I thought that all babies slept a lot without coaxing from parents, that you could just lay them down and walk away for a few hours. In my dreams. My baby is particularly tenacious and she definitely lets you know that she's not happy being by herself sometimes. Eventually she'll learn to be by herself, and I always thought we'd "teach" her by letting her cry herself to sleep. That's a LOT harder said than done. When it's your own flesh and blood in the other room getting increasingly more fussy and you know it's going to turn into a full on scream pretty soon, it's next to impossible to just ignore it. And even if you do try to ignore it, you're more miserable than the baby is, so it's not even worth it.

In my 3 short months of motherhood, I've learned that babies don't fit into one mold, and what works for some babies, won't necessarily work for MY baby. And I've learned not to judge others parenting techniques. =)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First swimming experience

Abbie's first swimming experience was a success. She was uber pissy before we left the house and until we got her in the water. She had decided that naps were overrated that day, so she was pretty tired and crabby. But Mark and I knew she'd love the pool, so we took her despite her mood.

She changed from this (above) to this (below) in about 10 seconds. And she was happy as a little clam from then on out.

It's amazing how buoyant babies are!

We only stayed in the pool with her about 10 mins or so. The water was great, and it was 101 out, but I was worried that she was getting cold bc she had little goosebumps. She slept really well once we got home. Go figure.
Mark and I decided if we ever make it back to Luke we are DEFINITELY getting a house with a pool. AZ is definitely the state to have a pool in.
In other firsts, as I was putting sunscreen on Abbie's back, I had her on her belly and she was super pissy, but she rolled over for the first time!! She rolled from her front to her back all by herself, and Mark was there to see it too. We were pretty excited. And then after the pool, she pet Ollie for the first time by herself too. We had her laying on the bed and he was laying next to her and she reached up and grabbed his ear hair. She did it a few times. Ollie just laid there. Pretty darn cute.

Here's another recent picture that I took of her. I love her in the headbands.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

An amazingly wonderful weekend

This weekend has been truly great. Or more specifically, Saturday was truly great!

Yesterday Mark and I went on our first baby-less date in almost 3 months (11weeks and 5 days to be exact). Our friends Nate and Gail offered to babysit for us, so we took them up on their offer. The Mondul's got to our house around 7pm and I showed them the ropes and explained to them the routine and the tricks of dealing with our baby and we were on our way. Leaving her was relatively easy, considering it was, I think, my 3rd time being away from her for more than an hour.

Mark and I went to Westgate, a mall-type area (except it only has a few shops - it's mostly restaurants and a big movie theater and an arena) about 10 mins away. We decided to eat at Jimmy Buffet's Margharitaville, and we sat outside since it was below 90 out. (We were SUPER excited about the cooler weather here - and below 90 is a real treat for us. PERFECT weather.) The food was okay, the conversation was great, as usual. I love talking with my husband. After dinner, we went to The Shout House, which is a dueling piano bar in the same complex. Dueling piano bars have been Mark and my thing to do for a long time. We went to Lucille's in downtown Milkwaukee at least 2-3 times a month while we were in college at MSOE. (They actually offered me a job right after Mark left for ASBC and Florida, and I ended up turning them down because I moved with him, but that would have been fun.) In Florida, we'd go to Howl at the Moon on Okaloosa Island occassionally, but we didn't like that as much Lucille's. Shockingly, there wasn't a dueling piano bar in Enid, so we didn't go to any while we were in Oklahoma. =) We've been wanting to go to The Shout House since we noticed it, and we were excited to try it out. The guy at the door let us in for free, which was awesome since that saved us $16 in covercharges. It was your typical piano bar, I guess. I wasn't as impressed with it as a thought I'd be, but I guess I probably won't think any place is as good as Lucille's was. The singers/players just weren't as good and I guess when you don't drink, piano bars just aren't as fun. Not that you have to drink to have fun, but I think drinking is definitely part of the whole piano bar experience, so when you cut that equation out, the vibe of the bar is just different. And I've never been a huge drinker, but what little desire to drink that might have existed before is now pretty much gone. And since I'm breastfeeding and didn't want to deal with the whole pump and dump thing, I didn't have any alcohol. (There was a girl that was very pregnant in front of us though, and she was drinking a beer.) Mark and I joked that maybe I should have a few sips of his Captain and Coke to help Abbie sleep better. Turns out, I didn't need to...

Yes, Abbie slept through the night for the first time. Unbelievable. Mark's been having talks with her this week telling her she's ruining her chances of having a sibling and if she wants someone to play with she'd better start sleeping through the night, etc. =) We got home around 10:30pm and Nate and Gail had given her 3 2oz bottles, and then I'd nursed her to sleep and she was put in her bed around midnight. I heard her stirring around 3:20am, so I went in and gave her her paci, and went back to sleep, fully expecting her to wake up in 20 mins or so to eat. But I woke up at 6:15am, and thought something had happened to her. Luckily I could see her moving a little in the video monitor, but I still couldn't go back to sleep. She got up around 6:35 to eat and then went back to sleep until about 8:15, when she ate again. I'm not holding my breath that it'll happen again tonight, but at least I know that she is capable of going 6.5 hours between feedings.

Mark and I were talking about our previous jobs during our date and I have to say, this whole stay at home mom gig is by FAR the best job I've ever had.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

11 weeks old

Abbie is 11 weeks old today. I can't believe how much she's changed, even in just the last few weeks. She's much more inquisitive now - you can tell she's really trying to figure things out when you talk to her. She'll hold things if you put them in her hands now. I'm not 100% sure she knows she holding things, but hey, it's a start. She HATES tummy time with a passion still, but she can now hold her head straight up, and also hold her arms out to the sides at the same time while she's on her tummy. She seems to notice the weina dogs now. Sometimes she'll stare at them for a while or watch them walk around, and before she was pretty much oblivious to them. She'll also turn her head and look for you if she hears the sound of your voice. Pretty darn cute.

When she gets really excited she'll kick her legs like crazy!! It's like she can't move them fast enough. She LOVES to be held upright and facing out. She doesn't like to be in the cradle hold position anymore, unless she's being fed. She also LOVES krinkly sounds. We have an elephant on her car seat and the ears have krinkly stuff in them. If she's fussy in the car, you can krinkle the elephants ears and sometimes that's about the only thing that'll make her happy. (My arm gets tired from reaching back there though.) When we read her books, she'll actually look at the pages and we can actually get through an entire book now before she gets bored.

Last night we had the best night we've had in a long time. She went down around 10:15pm, and fussed a little before she fell asleep. She woke up around 12:30am, and I gave her her plug and she went back asleep until 1:30am. I brought her to bed with me at 1:30 and fed her and then she stayed asleep until 5:30am! Usually she likes to do these marathon feeds from like 3am-5 or 6am, but last night she didn't! I'm sure it was a fluke, but I have hope that this is the start of a new trend for us. We'll get there eventually.
Isn't she cute?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Is it really August already?

Time sure seems to be flying by! I can't believe it's already August! Too bad we have 3 more months before it starts cooling off here in Phoenix.

My blog is up to 14 official "followers", which I am pretty excited about. (Official followers are the people who are listed on the actual blog as following - they signed themselves up.) It's nice to know that people care about what's going on in your life and that people are actually reading my blog.

I guess I kind of look at this blog as an online diary sort of thing. It's a sort of therapy for me to write about what I'm feeling and it will also be fun to look back on all these posts someday. I realize that I've been complaining a lot about Abbie's sleep issues lately, so if the blog seems kind of negative, I apologize for that. I guess the sleep topic is just near and dear to my heart right now and it's usually the first thing I think about - and ironically, it's WAY up near the top of the list on questions I get asked by friends and strangers alike - "How is she sleeping?" Despite the fact that we do have a few sleep issues, I don't feel sleep deprived at all, thank God. And I have seen vast improvements in her "clingy-ness" in her short 2 and a half months of life. So I definitely have hope that things will keep improving.

In other news, my hair is falling out like crazy now. I mean, it's coming out in wads. I guess I always did shed a lot, but I didn't lose much hair during pregnancy, and now I'm catching up. Also, I fit into my pre-pregnancy shorts again. I'm still not down to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I fit into my shorts, so I'll take that for now. I had huge plans to start walking every day after she was born.. until I realized it's 100 out at 7am. So.. my work out plans are on hold until it gets a little cooler. I should start doing some work out videos though now that some days she's not so clingy and lets me set her down for 20-30 mins at the time (or naps in her swing for 2 hours - woo-hoo!!)

Here are some recent pictures:

Because I never post pictures of our first babies anymore...

Sitting up in the chair.

Playing with her bears. (We play with her bears every morning.)

In her new towel from the 61st Top Dogs!

Tummy time (which she's not particularly fond of)


Talking with daddy

Our new favorite picture of her - the pucker lip.

She's all about blowing spit bubbles now.

Trying to make dinner while wearing a baby...

She's quite smily as of recently.

The shirt says it all.

The Top Dog ladies threw a shower for us - this is everything Abbie got!!