Sunday, July 31, 2011

It’s a ….



I’m not exactly sure why, but for some reason, I knew this baby was a boy, so I wasn’t at all surprised when the ultrasound revealed his gender.  And even though I’d said if I could choose, I would choose a girl, I am MORE than excited that this little one is a boy.  I asked Abbie a few weeks ago if she thought we would have a baby boy or a baby girl and she said “Ummm…  … …  a baby boy.”  So apparently she knew too, even though it took her a bit to come to that conclusion.


I was going to have the ultrasound tech just write the gender on a piece of paper so I could just open it when Mark called and we could find out together, but this little guy isn’t shy at all so it was very obvious even to my completely untrained eye that he was a boy.  Mark was supposed to call at 11am, shortly after my appointment, but naturally he was delayed due to flying and didn’t end up calling until almost 2pm.  I was able to keep my mouth shut though for those hours, despite my parents really wanting to know and other friends/family texting me, so Mark was the 2nd person to know for sure what we are having.  And that’s the way I wanted it.


Mark seems to be much more excited about this pregnancy now that we know the gender.  I think it is hard for him to connect to the situation being so far away and fighting a war, but now that we know we’re having a boy, he’s very excited about it.  He would have been excited for another girl too, I think just knowing what we’re having makes it more real for him.


I am more excited about this pregnancy now that it’s confirmed I’m having a little boy too.  I’ve heard NUMEROUS mom’s of boys tell me that boys love their momma’s best.  I’m excited about that since Abbie is definitely a daddy’s girl.  Not that she doesn’t prefer me most of the time, but she definitely has a special relationship with Mark.  I’ve been feeling this little guy move and kick some in the past week or two, so that also makes it feel more real also.  I can’t wait until Abbie can feel him kicking, but I might wait until Mark is home before I try to get her to feel that so he can be here for her reaction too.


My midwife freaked me out a bit by saying that a doctor was going to review the ultrasound results and that she wouldn’t be surprised if they wanted a follow up ultrasound done sometime in September.  She was really vague about why she thought that when I questioned her on it and said something about not getting good readings on things in the ultrasound.  I decided to call the office the next day just to see why exactly she thought that since I didn’t want to worry about it for the next month.  The doctor did review the ultrasounds and said that there was no further need for evaluation and the baby was registering normal in all categories.  I guess they didn’t get clear pictures of the hands because he’s so wiggly, but that doesn’t call for a repeat ultrasound.  He is already measuring a week and a half ahead of schedule in many of his length measurements, but that’s not too surprising since Mark and I seem to create tall babies.  (Which stands to reason since Mark is 6’3 and I’m 5’9.)


We are so excited to be adding a little boy to our family and I am glad that we’ll have one of each now.  I think raising a little boy will be a different experience for us, but we welcome that challenge.  I’m interested in seeing the similarities and differences in raising boys verses girls.  We’re definitely counting down the days to December!

(If you haven’t guessed already, join our guessing game linked at the bottom of the page!)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Fill-in

  1. Facebook or Twitter?  Facebook for sure.  I still haven’t completely figured out Twitter to be honest.
  2. Hard Tacos or Soft Tacos?  Preferably neither.  I’m not a big taco eater, but when I make them for Mark, we eat them with soft shells.
  3. Gardening or crafting?  Gonna have to go with crafting.  I prefer to be inside in the air conditioning vs baking in the sun when I’m doing my hobbies.  Although I do love having flowers around my house.
  4. Fruit or vegetables?  I like both really.  If I absolutely had to choose, I would say vegetables.
  5. Motorcycle or bicycle?  I actually have my motorcycle license, but now that I’m a mom, riding them and driving them scares me a little.  So I would prefer a bicycle as long as it’s not too hilly!  I don’t like hills on bikes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My new love.

We purchased one of our only big purchases for baby #2 last week.  I talked Mark into the 2011 BOB Revolution SE Duallie, and I absolutely LOVE this thing.
I knew I wanted to get a double stroller that was a side by side instead of a tandem, and I wanted one that I could use for walking/jogging also.  I have several friends who are “stroller guru’s” and most of them recommended the BOB to me.  I have a friend that I worked with in Oklahoma that has two kiddos, and she’s taken up running in the past year and has lost a ton of weight and is in great shape now.  She completely inspires me to kick it into gear after #2 is born and just get out and be more active.  She is one of the ones that recommended this stroller to me.
I’ve taken Abbie for a few walks on my parents road in this stroller and it’s an absolute dream to push.  Tonight I was walking both of my dogs with one hand and pushing the stroller with the other.  My dogs tend to pull a bunch when I take them for walks, but I had no problem controlling the stroller with one hand while I was constantly yanking on the dog’s leash and telling them to heel with the other.  Abbie really likes riding in the stroller too.  The first time I pushed her in it she said “This is niiice.”  =)
I’m debating on whether or not I want to buy a case for it.  JD Childress makes a custom case for the BOB Duallie’s, but the padded one is like $120 (non-padded is around $85).  I’m mainly worried about it getting beaten up during air travel, but I guess in all reality, I’m not sure we’ll be traveling with it by air a whole bunch.  I’m going to try to ship it back to Italy (if it’s not too big to mail via the USPS), and we’re just going to bring our single Maclaren back with us when we come back next June for Mark’s brother’s wedding.  Baby #2 will still be small enough to wear, so most likely I’ll have him/her in the Ergo if we’re out and about and then Abbie can ride in the stroller.  So we’d really only need the case for when we move back to the States and if we take it on any vacations with us when the kids are older.  I am hoping to have more than two kids though, so I know we’ll have this stroller for quite a few years and I just don’t want it to get all beat up with us moving every 2-3 years and all the traveling we do.  Do you think I should get the cover for it or just hold off for now?
I can’t wait for Mark to get back so he can see how great this stroller is too.  He’s the runner of the family right now and I know he’ll like pushing Abbie, and eventually #2, around in this during his runs once we get out of Italy and the crazy drivers and roads with no sidewalks.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Synchronized squares top

A few weeks ago I finished the quilt-along top I was working on.  I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.  I just love the colorful fabrics.
This was a fun quilt to work on.  It went together fairly quickly and if you had all the time in the world to quilt, you could easily get it done in a day or two.  I took me about a month to get it done.
I have a light lime green fabric to back this with and I’m going to try to get the top, batting and backing put together in the next week or two.  I haven’t decided how I’m going to quilt it yet.  Any suggestions?
I’m feeling pretty comfortable with my mom’s friend’s (or my friend’s mom’s – same difference) sewing machine.  I really like it.  I’m going to have to re-adjust to my machine once I get back to Italy.  Although, in all reality, I’m not 100% sure how much time I’ll have to quilt when I get back anyway, especially after baby #2 arrives.  But I’m loading up on fabric to take back with me, just in case!
I also need to get labels to put on to my quilts.  Does anyone have any recommendations for quilt labels?  I’ve never used one, but I figure I’d better start!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another halfway point

I am almost 20 weeks pregnant.  This week I have my big ultrasound where we’ll hopefully find out the sex of this baby.  I am VERY excited to find out what we’re having, but I’m kind of nervous to.

If I had my choice, I would want to have another girl.  As I’ve said before, ideally I would love to have 2-3 girls and then a boy.  But I’m not going to be disappointed if this baby is a boy.  I’ll still be super excited, I’ll just also be scared.

I feel like I know nothing about having a baby boy.  I didn’t grow up with brothers or with any cousins my age really (boy or girl), so I pretty much know nothing about raising a boy.  And I worry about the differences in raising boys vs girls.  I wonder if people treat young boys differently because they are boys and they are expected to be tougher than little girls are.  I’m not sure how I’d do with that.  But I’ve come to the conclusion that if we can raise a boy and have him turn out like Mark, then I’ll be happy.

With that being said, I think I’m having a boy.  This pregnancy has just been so different from my last.  I didn’t get migraines at all, just headaches, and I’ve been a lot more tired this time than I was with my last one.  And most of the time I don’t even feel pregnant.  I think a lot of it has to do with Mark not being around.  It’s definitely not as fun to be pregnant when you don’t really have anyone to share your excitement with.  He’s not around to take pictures of me, so I haven’t really been documenting my progress as far as how big I am now which is disappointing to me.  I think Mark feels pretty disconnected from this pregnancy too, which stinks.  I’m hoping things will be different once we’re all together again, but we’ll have less than 2 months before I’m due by the time he gets back.

Either way, we find out Thursday and I am SO excited to finally know what I’m having.  By this time in my pregnancy with Abbie, we’d already had 3-4 ultrasounds, so I feel like I was more connected with her since I had lots of pictures of her.  I’m excited to get to see baby #2 for the second time, I just wish Mark was here to go with me.

(20 weeks pregnant)


(A few out-takes.)


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Halfway done

We are finally halfway done with this deployment, thank God.  The past 3+ months have been the longest of my life.  Sometimes it feels as though I’ve been away from Mark for years instead of just months.
Overall, the deployment hasn’t been too bad though.  Yes, it seems to be dragging at times, but that’s really the only complaint I have.  I get to talk to Mark regularly, usually for as long as we want, and I know many military spouses aren’t afforded that luxury.  I have two out of state trips planned during August and September that I am looking forward to and then in mid-October I get to head back to Italy and I am SO excited about that.  It will be so nice to be in MY home again, with all of my stuff, in my comfort zone.  I will miss my friends here though, but I am looking forward to seeing my friends in Italy again also.  I’m not looking forward to get Abbie and I adjusted to Italy’s time zone again, but that’s a small price to pay for getting to be at home.
We are finally in the double digits now, and that makes the rest of this deployment seem do-able.  It was pretty daunting at the beginning when we had close to 200 days left to go in front of us, but now that we’re under 100 days (hopefully), the days seem to be ticking by a little faster.  Mark and I are planning a trip to London, just the two of us, after he gets back, so I’m having fun researching all of our options for that.
Here’s to hoping the next few months fly by!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Should I stay or should I go?

There seems to be some “tension” in the military community regarding whether or not spouses should stay where they are stationed when their husbands deploy or if they should go home.  I’ve seen this question asked on military spouse forums and on blogs quite a bit lately and I’ve seen the answer NUMEROUS times that the spouse needs to “put on their big girl panties and stay where they are” and not take the easy route by going home. 

I’ve done both.  I’ve stayed put (in a foreign country with a toddler) by myself when my husband has been TDY for anywhere from 2 week to 2 months.  And during this (6+ month) deployment, I decided to come back to the States and live with my parents.  The way I see it, there are advantages and disadvantages to both options, but I find it interesting that people seem to think that going back to live with family is the easy way out. 

I decided to come back to the States this time for a few reasons.  Italy was starting to wear on me (not at all my friends or anyone that I knew, just the Italian culture in general) and it had been a year since I’d been back in the States.  I am pregnant, which obviously adds a little bit more challenge when dealing with a 2 year old and I wasn’t sure if I was going to have the HORRIBLE migraines I had with my last pregnancy again.  My husband wanted me to come back and be with family so he didn’t have to worry about me being by myself in Italy.  Our families have had very little chance to see Abbie since she was born due to the military lifestyle and I wasn’t sure when I’d get to spend an extended period of time with them again, guilt free (since I wouldn’t be leaving my husband by himself) and give her the chance to really get to know them.  I haven’t lived in this area in 5-6 years and I missed my friends that live around here and I wanted to spend time with them while I had the chance.

My parents have obviously been a HUGE help with Abbie.  They watch her for me so I can go out to lunch and dinner with my friends multiple times a week.  Or so I can go shopping by myself without bringing my little “helper” along.  I’ve gotten to go to a few movies with friends and I don’t have to bring her to my OB appointments with me.  AND I don’t have to pay them $10/hr like I pay my babysitter in Italy.  My mom does most of the cooking and cleaning and even does our laundry at times.  I have my own car that my dad bought me when we got here (that he’ll sell for probably more money when we leave) and they let my weina dogs out occasionally and feed them for me.  It has been very nice and they are obviously loving getting to know Abbie.  I am worried about them getting depressed when we leave and their house is quiet and toys aren’t strewn everywhere.

But being here hasn’t been all roses and puppies, that’s for sure.  It was a pretty big adjustment for both of my parents and Abbie and I when we got here.  The first month or so was pretty tense at times and we had a few “family meetings” because I was ready to pack up and go home.  It’s not easy being a guest in someone’s house and even though I used to live here, this isn’t my house anymore. While I’m comfortable and relaxed most of the time, it just isn’t the same as having all of my stuff and being in my own space.  My parents house isn’t toddler-proofed at all, so when my parents aren’t around to help me watch Abbie, I don’t get a break from keeping a constant eye on her, except for when she’s sleeping.  There are LOTS of things she can get into here, unlike our house that is pretty much completely kid proof.  At home, I can put a baby gate up in the office doorway and go in there to quilt or work on the computer and Abbie can go between her toys in the living room and her bedroom and I don’t have to worry about her getting into things she’s not supposed to since everything is locked up or put away.  Abbie loves to be outside and at home, I can let her run around in our fenced in yard and she can play with her slide and water table to her hearts content and I can keep an eye on her from inside, but my parents don’t really have a yard like that for her to run around in.

The argument is brought up frequently that you grow as a person quite a bit when you don’t have your spouse around for an extended period of time and you’re forced to handle everything on your own.  And I completely agree with that.  When you are by yourself for a month or two, whether you have kids or not, you have to deal with everything life throws at you on your own, and you do become a stronger person and gain confidence from that experience.  When you don’t have any choice, you learn to cope with being an army of one.  However, I haven’t been completely by myself this time, and I still think I’ve grown as a person despite having others around.  Having your husband in a combat zone fighting a war changes you as a person no matter where you are or who you’re with.  It puts a different spin on things that you only understand when you are married to someone who’s life is in danger every day.  I don’t even think that parents or siblings of deployed service members fully understand what a spouse endures during a deployment since their situation is different.  I do agree that you learn more about yourself when you stay put, but I don’t think there is a completely lack of growth when you go home either.

The longer I’m around this military lifestyle, the more I realize that everyone has an opinion on everything, which is natural I suppose.  It’s just like having a baby, when everyone and their mother is more than willing to share their experiences and advice with you whether you want to hear it or not.  I think it’s great to share experiences and advice, but I think it’s helpful to remember that what has worked for me, might not work for you and vice versa.  Heck, it might not even work for me later on down the road.  Being judgmental and pushy doesn’t help anyone and in fact, usually ends up hurting someone.

The good thing is that the vast majority of military spouses are very supportive of each other, no matter where they decide to go during a deployment or what type of underwear they’re wearing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Girls weekend in Vegas

This past weekend I met up with four friends from Italy, who’s husbands are deployed with Mark.  It was so nice to see a few of my squadron friends again, and to take a little break from being a mom.

I will say that I’ve never spent more money on food in my entire life, but when you’re pregnant and in Vegas, there’s not much else to spend money on unless you gamble (which I didn’t).  Shockingly <sarcasm>, there aren’t any maternity stores on the strip and obviously I wasn’t drinking.  But I sure ate well.  I felt pretty guilty spending $50 – $80 per dinner.

The first night we were there, we ate at Lemongrass, which was Thai food.  I’ve only had Thai food a couple of times, but I’ve liked it in the past.  The other girls bought this soup as an appetizer, which was too spicy for my taste, but I enjoyed trying it.  And I found something on the menu that sounded good, and I ate the whole thing!  Apparently I was hungry!

(Tisha and Lisette enjoying the soup.)


The next day we decided to go to PF Chang’s for lunch and then do a little shopping after we’d hung out by the pool a little bit.  However, we never made it shopping since Lisette’s wallet got stolen (from her purse that was hanging on the back of her chair) while we were eating lunch.  The people apparently knew what they were doing since the manager looked at the surveillance tapes, which showed the couple walking around the restaurant once, then sitting down at a dirty table next to us for 15 seconds and then the woman getting up and pretending to drop something behind Lisette’s chair and then leaving.  We realized it was missing probably within 30-45 mins of when they stole it and they’d already gone to an Apple store on the strip and tried to spend $3000…  NOT cool.  So we spent a while getting my friend’s cards cancelled and filing reports with the hotel security and the policy.  We were all extra aware of our purses after that and made sure that we only carried one form of ID (verses both our military ID’s and our driver’s licenses) and one credit card, which we should have done from the start anyway.  Hindsight is always 20/20 though.  Also, as a precaution, make SURE that you use a purse with a zipper and close it when you’re in crowded places like Vegas.  Lisette’s purse just had a snap closure on it and we think that’s how they were able to reach in and get it.  But how they did that with all 4 of us there was beyond any of us.

(Myself, Tisha, Taryn and Lisette riding in style to lunch.)


(Taryn and myself in the limo.)


After the wallet ordeal, we went home to change and get ready for dinner and the show.  We ate at Michael Mina’s Seablue at the MGM and then we saw Cirque du Soleil’s KA.  Both were amazing.  The food was some of the best I’ve had (which was good since it was expensive) and KA is a fantastic show.  I’d seen KA before with Mark, but we had better seats this time, so it was even better than I remember.

(Lisette and me in front of Seablue.)


(I splurged and got the surf and turf – filet mignon and lobster.  Those potatoes that the filet is on were AMAZING though!)


(Us after we saw KA.)


(A few pictures of the strip.)


After the show, Christina had to leave because she had to work on Saturday (boo!), so she headed home and we headed to Nine Fine Irishmen, which is a fun bar in New York, New York hotel.  We ended up meeting a group of guys that were in the British military and it was fun talking to them and listening to the Irish band and watching the dancer.  They obviously knew we were married so they asked about our husband’s and when we told them we were married to fighter pilots they said “Well how are we supposed to compete with that?”.  Haha.  You’re not.  I asked the one that was sitting by me if he knew Bear Grylls (from Man vs. Wild) since he supposedly was in the British Army too and he rolled his eyes and made the “jerking off” sign with his hand.  LOL!  It’s funny because my husband has a dislike of Bear too, so I found it hilarious that there seems to be a mutual dislike (jealousy??) of him worldwide.  Anyway, I lasted until 2:30am Vegas-time (4:30am my time) and I hit a wall and needed to go home.  So I headed back to the hotel by myself and got some sleep.


Saturday we did some shopping  in the afternoon and ate lunch at The Cheesecake Factory (at 4pm!!).  I actually found a few things that fit me and I bought baby #2 it’s first thing – a little green onesie from H&M.

(Heading out to go shopping.)


We shopped until about 7:30/8pm and then came back to the hotel to change and get ready for dinner.  We ate at Khotan at Treasure Island, which was pretty good and we had a good view of the Siren’s of TI show from our table on their deck.


After dinner, the rest of the girls headed out to a bar, but I headed home.  Being pregnant in Vegas is an interesting experience.  Bars definitely aren’t that fun when you can’t drink, so I figured I’d just head home early and get packed.

Overall, Vegas was a good time and I’m glad I got to see these girls.  It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been in Italy around my squadron friends, so it was great spending time with a few of them.  And after I’d said goodbye to Abbie, I was fine.  It was the leaving her that was hard, but after I was gone, everything was fine.

Less than three months until I get to see the rest of my squadron friends!!  I’m so excited!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Fill-in

  1. If you could have a private concert with any singer, who would it be? submitted by An Air Force Wife’s Blog  Right now, probably Zac Brown Band.  I really like his music.
  2. Is there anything you do to supplement your family’s income? submitted by Our Life, One Adventure at a Time  Unfortunately no.  I stay at home with Abbie and spend money.  That’s about it.
  3. During your pregnancy (whether past, present, or future), what did you nickname your unborn baby before you knew the sex? submitted by Explosions of Love  We called Abbie “Blueberry” when I was pregnant with her and we call this one “PP”, which stands for potential pips.  (We call Abbie “Pippy”, “Pippers”, “Pips”, etc.)
  4. Have you ever won a blog giveaway?  If so what did you win? submitted by Mrs. O’s Life  Yes, I was a quilt pattern book from my favorite fabric designer.  It was one of the first giveaways I’d ever entered and I haven’t won one since!
  5. If I looked into your refrigerator right now, what would I find? submitted by Married to the Army  Absolutely nothing.  My fridge at home is empty and unplugged while we’re in the States.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chicago and Vegas Bound

Abbie and I are heading to Chicago today.  Abbie is staying with Mark’s family, while I head to Vegas to meet up with some of my friends from Italy.  I’m excited to see my friends from the squadron, but I am SO nervous about leaving Abbie for a few days.

I’ll be gone Thursday afternoon through Sunday evening, which will be the longest time and the furthest distance I’ve every been away from Abbie.  I’m not at all worried about Mark’s family not taking good care of Abbie, because I know they will and all 4 of them pay attention to pretty much nothing but her the entire time she’s around.  So I know she’ll be in good hands.  But I’m so nervous about something out of their control happening to her – a car accident, a fire, etc.  I can’t just hurry up and drive back to their house since I’ll be several states away.

I know she’ll be okay, but I’m still worried.  And I’ll admit, I shed a few tears when I think about having to say goodbye to her.  I’m blaming that on my pregnancy hormones.  =)

I’m also worried about Vegas.  I’m meeting up with 4 other girls, and I’ll be the only pregnant one, which is fine.  But in the past week or so, my SPD has gotten pretty darn bad.  My pelvic area hurts a LOT.  If I put too much weight on one foot, I get shooting pains down the insides of my legs and up my back, and sometimes it’s so sharp it makes me gasp for breath.  So obviously walking is pretty painful, any kind of stairs hurts whether I go up or down and even rolling over in bed takes effort.  I walk around like I’m 80 years old and I waddle pretty bad since it hurts to walk.  Standing just makes things worse.  So I’m concerned about keeping up with the other girls or even worse, slowing them down.  I’m going to have to take it easier than they might want to, so I might end up spending the majority of my time there alone.  But that’ll be okay as long as I can keep my mind off of Abbie.

I might not do much blogging in the next week, or I might do a ton.  I’m not sure.  But I just wanted to forewarn you!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Over the 4th of July weekend, we took Abbie to her first rodeo.  She’s getting to the age where she’s able to sit and pay attention for longer periods of time and she really enjoyed it.


(Pointing at the hot air balloons.)


Although Abbie loved the rodeo, it was kind of disappointing for the adults.  It was by FAR the slowest moving rodeo I’ve ever been to.  The clown was more annoying than anything and some of his acts were about 15 mins longer than they should have been.  But at least Abbie enjoyed watching him.


There really weren’t many people competing in the rodeo.  There were maybe 3-4 people competing in each event and there were rather large breaks between all the events.  But I had fun messing around with my camera.




calf roping

The kids spent most of the night trying to attack the clown – literally.  It was ridiculous.  He was literally running all over the place trying to escape the kids that were chasing him…


During one of the breaks they had all the kids put one shoe in a pile at the end and then they all went to the other end and had a relay race of finding their shoe in the huge pile and getting back to the clown.


Barrel racing is always one of my favorite events to watch, although some of the riders were a little disappointing.  Half of them came out of the chute at a walk or trot, so they had pretty slow times.



They had all of of the veteran’s and service members stand up at the beginning, which obviously made me think of Mark, so I spent most of the night missing him and wishing he was there with us, but that’s nothing unusual.