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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Four AM Wakeup

It's 4am and I wake up. Outside, the sky is lighting up with lightning and seconds later I hear the rumble of thunder as it rips through the clouds. That wasn't what woke me up, though. My baby woke me up.

No, not Penny. She had woken up hours before to eat and was finally sleeping soundly in her crib. My first baby woke me up, a little border collie named Dexter.
He's very concerned over these thunderstorms that we've been having lately. While I'm enjoying the rain and thunder, he's barking during the day and cowering during the night.

He was on our bed already, frightened by the sounds, and as the storm got closer, he inched closer. First, I was woken up by him crawling on top of me and hitting me with his paws. Brandon woke up too and pulled the poor guy in between us. For the next fifteen minutes he twitched and hit us and tried to sleep, but with each rumble, his head was up and he was pressing closer.

My poor baby puppy, he just doesn't know what to do when he hears scary sounds! At least he can have some four AM cuddles with mommy and daddy.

Crock Pot Week: Spicy Lasagna

I have to admit, I was super looking forward to this meal. I've never made lasagna from scratch before and thought that this week was a perfect time to experiment with a sort of lasagna meal. Plus, we are a bit addicted to unhealthy Italian style dishes in this family. We love our pasta and sauce!!

Spicy Lasagna

10 oz pkg lasagna noodles, broken into bite-sized pieces, cooked
1 lb ground beef, browned
1/2 lb spicy Italian sausage, sliced and browned
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
12 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
12 oz cottage or ricotta cheese
16 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
 Wowzers that was a lot of ingredients! I made a few adjustments, mostly from laziness. I had slightly more than a pound of ground beef, but I used only two links of spicy sausage, so I imagine it evened out. I added more garlic because we like garlic in this house. Slightly more ricotta, slightly less mozzarella... that should be it! Now check out these steps:

1. Combine all ingredients in greased slow cooked.
2. Cover. Cook on Low 7-9 hours, or on High 3-5 hours.
My Review: Yeah, those instructions are pretty vague, huh? I was like, "Just combine everything? Just like that?" And well... I did! I threw it all in there and mixed it up with a spoon, then turned it on. The top started to get sorta crispy, so I had to stir it a few times. Honestly, this meal was a bit complicated for a crock pot meal, for me anyway. I like the idea of just throwing things in and cooking. This took a lot of steps - browning, cutting, cooking noodles.

Other than that, the food was delicious, of course! We scooped it up and put it on our plates, and I had seconds. I wish it was a bit spicier, but other than that, it was good. We paired it with roasted, yep roasted again, asparagus and mushrooms.

Tomorrow I'm making Shepherd's Pie! A classic!


Friday, March 30, 2012

Crock Pot Week: Herbed Flounder

This book is divided into sections: Beef, chicken, pasta/meatless, seafood, desserts, and drinks. I decided that I might as well make a seafood meal, just to see. I never thought to make fish in the crock pot... but then again, I've only really ever made chili and stew before this week!

Herbed Flounder

2 lbs flounder fillets, fresh or frozen
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp dried chives
2 tbsp dried minced onion
1/2-1 tsp leaf marjoram
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
I made some changes. I didn't use 2 lbs of flounder because seriously, when will we eat two pounds worth? So I stuck a few fillets, frozen because I forgot to take it out the night before. I didn't have dried chives or marjoram, or fresh parsley for that matter, so I just mixed some dried parsley, minced onion and oregano together. It wasn't too bad.

1. Wipe fish as dry as possible. Cut fish into portions to fit slow cooker.
2. Sprinkle with salt.
3. Combine broth and lemon juice, and herbs.
4. Pour over fish.
5. Cover. Cook on High 3-4 hours.


My Review: I was unsure about fish in the crock pot but man, it was tasty!! I put a little bit too much salt in there (hm, didn't measure, just winged it) so it was pretty salty, but whatever. Hardens the arteries, right? The fish was wonderful, falling apart. We served it on top of quinoa with a stir fry side of zucchini, green and red peppers, and mushrooms. Yeah, we're healthy like that. Good meal!!

And tomorrow, we'll be looking at crock pot lasagna!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Your Questions Answered


At first, I only got one question on Monday, so I posted it in my Crock Pot Week post. But then I got another question from a friend of mine! So I decided to split the posts and answer my two questions.

Question #1: From my sister (who I'm guessing was being smart). She asked about my past in Canada. Here's the quick answer: Yep, born in Ottawa, Canada. Lived there until I was 12 when we moved to Colorado. It snowed a lot, it was humid during the summer, but it was a good place to grow up. I still love Colorado! That good enough for you, Jenny? ;)

Question #2: From a friend of mine, Jessi. She asks, "My son is 9 weeks old and in about a month him and I are taking a 2 week trip to visit family. I would love some advice on traveling with an infant." That's a great question!

We were lucky in a lot of regards. Penny had been sleeping in her pack n play since we got home from the hospital, so she didn't have to transition to a new bed at all. Living in hotels was pretty easy with her! And she did great in her car seat, a bonus.

Also lucky: The Army paid for a seat on the plane for her. Penny was strapped in her car seat in between Brandon and I. She slept most of the 5 hour flight, but when she was awake she either sat on our laps or sat in her seat. The only bad time was when she pooped all over herself and I had to change her in the tiny airplane bathroom. That certainly was interesting! She was 8 weeks for our flight.
We had several days of driving. Our first leg was from Los Angeles to Phoenix. She slept most of the way. We had to stop once to feed her, so we coordinated it with lunchtime. She started getting a little upset towards the end of that trip. I climbed into the backseat and entertained her the whole time. She was just lonely.

This was pretty much what we did for every leg of our trip. She was 8 weeks old for the first little road trip and 11 weeks for the last one, the big one to Alabama. She started getting super tired of the car seat by then and would cry a lot. Either I would hold the pacifier in her mouth or sit in the back with her. We stopped every 3 hours at least to feed her and sometimes more to change her diaper or comfort her. Traveling takes MUCH longer with a baby.
Some Helpful Hints

1. Never underestimate the power of classical music. Our friend gave us a Baby Beethoven cd and we played it when she was especially grumpy. It improved her mood a bit.
2. If driving, sit in the back if you have to! Sometimes babies just want to see a friendly face.
3. If they're older, bring toys and entertainment. Now that Penny is starting to grab toys, we make sure she has something to look at.
4. Don't push yourself. If baby needs to stop, then stop.
5. Learn to change diapers in weird places. Airplane bathrooms, front car seats, back car seats, trunks, the bench at a fast food restaurant...
6. Relax! If you're relaxed, then baby will be relaxed.

I hope that helped a bit! At this age, they're still pretty portable. Expect the baby to be a little upset over the changes, but try to stick with as best a routine as you can.




Crock Pot Week: Thai Chicken

Brandon and I like Thai food. No, no, we LOVE Thai food. We already found a place right outside the gate that makes delicious pad thai and drunken noodles, our two favorites. We promised each other we would eat there every two weeks... to save our bellies, since we could go there once a week.

We need to branch out and try different meals, but it's so hard when you're addicted to a good pad thai. While flipping through my crock pot book I stumbled upon a Thai Chicken recipe. It's not very authentic, but it has some of those Thai flavors. I had to try it out to see!

Thai Chicken

6 skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup salsa, any heat
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp grated gingerroot (optional)
2 tbsp cilantro (optional)
1 tbsp chopped dry-roasted peanuts (optional)
 I had to make a few changes. First, I got boneless chicken. It doesn't specify, but I don't like messing with bones! Second, I used smooth peanut butter because I don't like crunchy on my toast and since we weren't using ALL of it for the recipe, I had to compromise. Lastly, I used ground ginger because I don't like grating ginger.

1. Put chicken in slow cooker.
2. In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients, except cilantro and chopped peanuts. Pour mixture over chicken.
3. Cover and cook on Low for 8-9 hours.
4. Skim off fat. Remove chicken and serve topped with sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts, serve on rice.
My Review: This was super easy to make, it took 10 minutes, and most of that was just gathering the ingredients. I was very skeptical about this meal. The ingredients mixed together didn't seem to go well and it didn't smell that great at first. But wow, it was tasty! And the chicken just fell apart, I love when meat just falls apart. Sure, it was Thai food, but it had those flavors, and it was good. I paired it with roasted broccoli and mushrooms (we like roasted veggies!). I also didn't get chopped peanuts, so I topped it with cilantro and green onions. Yum.

Up next: Herbed Flounder (yeah, fish in a crock pot!)


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Crock Pot Week: Italian Roast with Potatoes


Check out Monday's post Any Questions? and let me know what's on your minds!

Also, check out my guest blog at G.I. Joe's Wife! I'm revisiting my birth experience while she's having her own baby!


I got this idea on a whim while looking at my recipe books the other day - I wanted to do an entire week of crock pot meals. I wanted to revamp our typical menu and try new recipes. So I broke open my crock pot book, Fix-It and Forget-It, and flipped through the pages until I found six meals I wanted to make. This is the first one. (And yeah, I'll have some double posts. Whatevs ;) )

Italian Roast with Potatoes
(because, let's face it, who doesn't like a good roast?)

6 medium potatoes, peeled if desired, and quartered
1 large onion, sliced
3-4 lb boneless beef roast
26 oz jar tomato and basil pasta sauce
1/2 cup water
3 beef bouillon cubes
Obviously the picture shows only half the ingredients. I've never made a roast before, so I called my mommy and asked what type to get and she said a rump roast. Done. I also bought the Muir Glen sauce, because I love that brand. I only used 4 smaller potatoes because I have a smaller crock pot. This recipe is designed for a 5-quart crock pot, while mine is 3 or 3.5 quarts.

Of course, then I ran into the problem of fitting that hunk of meat in the crock! But we manuevered the potatoes and onions a bit and got it to fit. Here's the rest of the recipe.

1. Brown roast on top and bottom (can be skipped, but it adds flavor)
2. Place potatoes and onion in the bottom of the crock pot, then place roast on top.
3. Pour any drippings from the skillet over the meat (I used some water to get the drippings off)
4. Mix 1 cup pasta sauce with 1/2 cup water and the bouillon cubes. Pour over meat.
5. Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on Low.
6. When done, take it out, mix 1 cup cooking juices in saucepan with remaining pasta. Heat.
7. Slice or cube the beef, serve with heated sauce. EAT!
My Review: Meat. Potatoes. What's not to love? The beef was perfect, it was juicy and it fell apart just looking at it. The tomato sauce was a good topping and the potatoes were super soft. I made a side of asparagus and mushrooms (roasted in the oven for about 20 min at 350, with oil, salt and pepper), and a chunk of homemade bread. There are plenty of leftovers too! I'm calling this a win and a good start to Crock Pot Week.

Stay tuned tomorrow for our next meal: Thai Chicken.


Balance

Check out Monday's post Any Questions? and let me know what's on your minds!


Also, check out my guest blog at G.I. Joe's Wife! I'm revisiting my birth experience while she's having her own baby!

I knew when we had Penny that I would be busy, but I never imagined it to be this bad. How can one little three month old keep me so busy all the time?

I'm struggling with my writing right now... or my lack of writing. Sure, I blog all the time, but this takes only a few minutes, and I usually schedule them ahead of time so I can spend time with the baby. How can I call myself a writer and want to make it my career if I'm actually not writing?

The week before the baby was born, I sent out two query letters. One agent asked for a partial manuscript and I never heard from the other. That is the extent of my agent search so far, and that was about 15 weeks ago. I need to work on my query letter, send it out to the agents I've already researched, and look for some more agents. That isn't an easy, five minute job.

All the while, I need to be working on another novel or two. I have a few in mind, stewing in my brain, but I haven't sat down to do them yet. When Penny naps, I use the time to do other things. Write blogs, mess on Facebook, vacuum, do dishes, clean, garden, etc. When she's awake, I usually try to spend my time with her, because she deserves it.

I know I need to prioritize. It's so funny, I thought when we got rid of the dish I would have all this time on my hands. Right now I'm only watching Netflix when Brandon is home, and I don't want to take away that special time together. I have to decide what I can let go during the day.

I know, I know, I need to cool it on the Facebook. I've actually gotten way better since we got to Alabama. And blogging, I don't want to quit that, but I can read less blogs...

Ahhh it's hard to strike that balance, once you have a baby in the picture. I just need to give myself half an hour a day to work on my writing, that's all. I can fit that in somewhere, right?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Update on the Pudge

Check out yesterday's post Any Questions? and let me know what's on your minds!

I always speak too soon; I guess I'm a little too impatient! As of this weekend, I am weighing in at 144 pounds. That is about two pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. Aaaannnddd I put on my pre-pregnancy jeans and I could actually button them. Score!

There wasn't any magic to it. Most of it is genetics and eating well. I lost most of the weight before we even left Hawaii, so about six weeks post-partum, but there were those five to seven pounds that were sticking around. Then we lived in a series of hotels, ate out a lot, and spent time with our families where we, not surprisingly, ate a lot.


Brandon and I made a promise that as soon as we got to Alabama, we would eat well. The healthy eating didn't really start until we moved in, seeing as we were still living in a hotel, but we jumped right in. Thank goodness for the Richard Simmons FoodMover. It's a system that helps you track your portions and makes sure you eat all good food. The first week he outlines every meal, so we followed it. Brandon has lost like ten pounds (darn boys) and I lost five. In about a week and a few days.

I'm more excited that I fit into my size 8s again. I still have 10s I'll wear for comfort sake, seeing as the 8s are a bit tight, but it's a nice feeling.

My next plan is to do the 100 pushup challenge, start doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, and basically working out. Sure, I'm skinnier, but geez, I feel so out of shape. Maybe I'll take up running again... if I can find time ;)

Oh, and a plus side to breastfeeding? My bigger boobs make my tummy look even smaller!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Any Questions?

I won't pretend that I'm an expert on anything, but I love seeing these posts on other blogs and I thought I'd give it a try. So, fellow blog readers and bloggers, do you have any questions for me? Anything at all?

Do you want to know more about...

Me? My past, present and future?
My writing and other career plans?
Babies? Cloth Diapers? Baby Gear? Natural childbirth, c-sections or baby-led weaning?
Our journey eating organically?
Border collies?
Chewing gum?
Anything?

I'm going to keep this open for a few days and then answer all the questions on Thursday - even if I have just one! So let me know what's on your mind and I'll be glad to give you an answer!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hunger Games at the Drive-In

Last night we went to go see the Hunger Games at the local drive-in! I lucked out, we were driving by one day and I saw there was a drive-in nearby. I looked it up and sure enough, it's fully functional and pretty popular. And then I saw they were playing the Hunger Games this weekend and I knew it was the perfect solution to seeing a movie with a baby.

We brought some home-popped popcorn and water (yeah, we're exciting like that) and got a pretty good parking spot. The place was cool and cheap - two movies for military: $5 each.

Of course, Penny was difficult. She's into the age where she doesn't sleep very well anywhere but at home, so if we go somewhere she might sleep in the car for a bit but then she's awake and grumpy. So half the movie I was dealing with trying to get her to sleep because it was way past her naptime/bedtime. Finally, after leaning on the hood of the car to watch the movie and rocking back and forth, she fell asleep. For half an hour. Sigh. That makes me glad we didn't go to a movie theatre because I would've missed practically the whole movie with a crying baby in the hall. At least she could cry in the car!

Possible Spoilers Below - my opinion, no plot details!

The movie was good, but not great. Maybe it was because I was dealing with Penny, but I didn't find the movie as epic as I felt the book was. I will say that the casting was great and the imagery was exactly how I envisioned it. I think I need to see it again with less crying babies.

I'm glad we went to the drive-in!! I think we'll be going again sometime. We didn't stay for the second movie, we were tired and Penny was even worse off. Maybe when she's older?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

That kind of day

It's a...

Four loads of laundry
Three loads of dishes
Baking homemade bread
Vacuuming
Clearing boxes
Quick run to the PX
And playing with the baby

...sort of day.


What's keeping you busy this week?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We might have a teether...

Yep, you read that right. There's a good chance that we might have begun the teething process.

After another exhausting night (she didn't fall asleep until 10:30pm, woke up at 2am, 2:30am and 4:30am), I was texting my friend, jokingly asking if all babies turn difficult at three months. She texted back, asking if there's a chance she could be teething. We went back and forth over the symptoms and yep, Penny has most of them.

Symptoms: Drooling more, having difficulty nursing, whining/crying, chewing on hands more, trouble sleeping.
I'm sure you're thinking, Wait, isn't Penny only three months old? Isn't that a bit too early?


Well, hold your horses there. Babies can start as early as three months. It doesn't mean they will get their teeth right away, but the process could be starting. Every baby is on a different time table, so while one could start teething at three months, another could wait until she's twelve months! Everything in the books is an average. Oh, and Brandon started getting teeth at four months, so it's very very likely she's following in her daddy's footsteps.

So what's a mom to do? I sent Brandon out to get some Orajel for fast relief, which she was very thankful for. The whining has reduced dramatically. I'm probably going out today to try and find some teething tablets. Our biggest problem right now with most remedies is she's too young to do most of them - sucking on a cold/frozen washcloth or a teething ring. She doesn't grab things and bring them to her mouth very much, and we found out that stuffing these things in her mouth doesn't help much either haha. So we're sticking with the Orajel and teething tablets right now.

I will say, she slept much better last night. She woke up at 2:30am like she's been doing, I fed her quickly and she went back to sleep until 7:30am, with only a couple times where she woke up and cried but fell asleep a minute later.

My poor baby. She's too little to have this stuff happening to her!
(I decided to be safe and start watermarking my photos. And yes, Penny is in the Moby - we tried it yesterday and she liked it! Hallelujah!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Notebook

I was in the shower the other day, where all great ideas come from, and I was thinking about Penny. I was thinking about all the things that she's done in the past 3 months and how much more she's going to grow and develop over the next few months, years and decades. I wanted to let her know about everything she does, every little moment, and I didn't want to forget about it.

That's when I got the idea for the notebook.
Knowing my penchant for writing, my sister bought me this book for Christmas one year. It's sat on our bookcase waiting to be used for something. I thought the quote on the front was appropriate for a notebook about Penny growing up.

I started Saturday night with a little catch-up. I wrote a page and a half, telling her the big things she's done in the past 3 months (being born, her weight, the places she's lived and gone, her smiles and laughs). I wrote how I wish I had started this notebook when she was born but, as she'll soon learn, time just gets away from you.

I hope to give her this notebook, and many more, filled with pages of all her accomplishments, all my hopes and dreams for her, and some healthy motherly advice, when she turns 18 (or when she moves out of the house). I want her to have something to look back on to see when she did everything and really to see how much we love her and are excited to see her grow.

This is important. Time does fly and I want to savor every little moment. I want to have a record so when she asks me "When did I first smile?" or "When did I first walk?" we can flip a page and find out.

I better keep up with it. I better not let time get away from me from now on. Penny will appreciate this more than I'll ever know, I'm sure.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Buy Buy Buy

Whoa! What a whirlwind week it's been! We moved in, unpacked most of the house (I'm looking at you, guest bedroom), and have been all over the place setting up shop. We've been buying all kinds of things that we needed and wanted for the house. Shelves for the garage, a new super duper expensive but super nice vacuum, nursery furniture, decorations, couches, recliners, bathroom fixtures... ah!

We budgeted all this money, but it still feels like we're spending a whole bunch. I guess we just haven't had such a shopping spree in awhile. But thank goodness for our tax return or else all this stuff would be on the back burner. We've used that return for the majority of these purchases.

I got accepted to Amazon Mom a few weeks ago, like I mentioned before, and we've been taking advantage of the free 3 months of 2-day shipping. I ordered Penny's crib and it showed up the next day. I've also ordered her crib sheets, crib mattress, mattress pad, and new SleepSacks that all showed up within a couple days. I <3 Amazon!

We've been to Lowe's a bazillion times picking out new bathroom pieces and new shelves for Brandon. They have a great military discount. I'm sure we'll be back soon to buy some paint for a couple projects I have.

Before I go, I wanted to brag about this awesome vacuum. It's a Miele Leo - a top of the line canister vacuum.

We needed a new one (we left ours in Hawaii since it was half-broken) and were scouring Amazon for the best kind. First, we settled on a canister vacuum because they're easier to maneuver and are a little better for the allergies. Then we settled on the Miele brand because it's German (we like our German products) and they had awesome reviews. Miele had tons of different models, so we spent some time watching YouTube videos on them and reading reviews. Then Brandon told me we could spend $500 from the tax return on a vacuum and if I wanted a more expensive one, it would be coming from my car fund.

Eh, whatever. I want a vacuum that'll last years and years. So I fronted some money and ordered that yellow guy off Amazon. I won't tell you how much I paid, you can easily look it up yourself and be shocked :P

It gets here this week - probably today or tomorrow. I'm so excited!

I think our spending sprees will be slowing down soon. We've sort of purchased everything we need, except all my garden supplies. That's a whole other post!



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Penny says...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Penny - Three Months


Penny - you're three months old!
It just seems like the days are flying by. I've been eagerly awaiting three months because from everything I read, you will start doing so much more and so quickly from now on. Your dad and I are convinced you've doubled in size just in the last week, you're getting so big all of a sudden. I weighed you the other day and you were just over thirteen pounds! I haven't tried to measure you, but you've definitely grown longer, because you're busting out of your 0-3 month clothes. Your hair is getting longer and has stayed a pretty brown and your eyes are blue.
We've had to say goodbye to your newborn clothes over a month ago and some of your 0-3 month outfits, too. I'm starting to put you just in 3 month size clothes and I might break out the 3-6 month, just to see. You're definitely getting chubbier and we love it! You spent most of the month in size 2 disposables while we were moving, but now you're back in cloth diapers and sitting well into the pocket diapers.
You're a great nurser, about every 3 hours. You don't nurse as quickly anymore because you like to take breaks to look up and smile at me. It's super cute (though frustrating when we're in a hurry!). We can tell you're getting plenty to eat by all those rolls on you!
The nights have been getting a bit difficult since we got to Alabama. Maybe it's the move, maybe it's just because you're going through a phase, but you're having trouble sleeping longer than five hours at night. I'm hoping we can work it out soon! We'll be setting up your nursery in a bit so you can start sleeping in your very own crib. We discovered the other day that you sleep so much better on your side, so on your side you'll be!
When you're awake, you're the life of the party. You've discovered your voice and you like to make all kinds of sounds. You watch our mouths move and try to do the same thing. You're starting to look at your toys and soon I'm sure you'll start playing with them. You hate tummy time still, but I'm thinking if we keep at it you'll be rolling over real soon! If you're on your back, you just wiggle and dance.
Your dad got you to laugh twice in the last month and it's been such a joy to hear. Your favorite song is "Wheels on the Bus" and we sing it over and over to see your big grin and hear your giggles. Those happy sounds you make light up our lives! Though I will say, your sweet little cry is just the cutest thing in the world, especially when you stick out your bottom lip to pout.
I just look forward to every month with you, Penny. You do so much and change so much, it's hard to keep up, but I'm glad we're both here to witness you growing up.

Sleep Issues

I'll have two posts in one day... but I need to write this before the weekend so I can get some advice! I know there are moms out there who could help.

Starting at about 6 weeks, Penny started sleeping awesome through the night. Like up to 9 hours. I was getting a bit spoiled and worried that it would break at some point. She had some issues in Colorado (the dry air was making her nose all stuffed so she kept waking up), but then was getting better on our drive to Alabama. And then we move into this house and it's all messed up again.

Here's how her schedule looks at night: She eats between 5 and 6, then sleeps a bit, then eats again at around 9, and then sleeps, and then wakes up between 1 and 2, eats... and then it gets bad. She's waking up every hour from then on, not hungry, just needing comfort or something. I eventually pull her into the bed with me and deal with her until morning. I'm starting to get tired!

During the day, she naps pretty well. Her schedule is kind of choppy, she'll usually stay up for an hour, then sleep for an hour, then back up, and then sleep. Of course, we've been all over the place, so I know she isn't getting the best naps in the car. She also naps so much better on our bed and on her side... but I'm trying to break that bed habit because she needs to sleep in her own!

She's still in the pack n play in our room until we set up the nursery. I don't really want to move her to her own room until she's sleeping better... mostly for my sanity, so I'm not stumbling down the hall half asleep several times during the night.

Also, we tried to stop swaddling her a couple nights ago and I'm thinking it just made it worse. I thought she was ready to be free (she kept trying to get her arms out) and in the SwaddleMe sacks, but I'm not sure if it's the right time yet.

I was worried that it was the whole transition and moving thing, but she's done so well up to this point. Maybe I'm just getting impatient, but I'm also getting a little tired, so I'd like to find a solution. Plus, she sounds just so sad during the night when she cries.

I'm contemplating skipping that 9pm feeding and just putting her to bed around 7pm, just to see what happens... because lately, I've had to wake her up for the 9pm feeding (mostly because she needs to be changed into a nighttime diaper and her jammies).

Anyway... any thoughts?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What About Penny?

Our stuff has arrived (and so far only one bowl broken), the internet has been hooked up, and we're finally starting to settle into our new home. After that initial shock of realizing I have to unpack all this junk, I'm having a good time. It's nice to open a new box and figure out where things will go. I'm looking forward to that last bit where all I need to do is hang pictures on the wall. We're getting there!

Our couch and recliner were delivered yesterday and we're loving them already. So comfy and new.

I feel like, in all this chaos of moving, I haven't talked about Penny that much. She doesn't care if I blog about her, but I do! She's such a big and important part of our lives. As I type this now she is staring at me upside-down while she lays on the couch and kicks Brandon. Such a cutie.

Here's a sneak peak of our new couch from yesterday, after they delivered it:
I'll be updating more on her on Friday for her 3 month post. Wait a second... 3 months? Yep, my baby will be 3 months on Friday and I can't believe it. I love seeing her getting so big and strong, and figuring stuff out. Soon, she'll be rolling over. Soon, she'll start grabbing toys and actually trying to play with them. And then soon she'll be eating solid foods, and crawling, and walking, and saying real words... wow!

She's been doing great with this entire move. The last few nights she's decided to get up around 1am and then around 5am, but I'm guessing it's probably just a growth spurt. She's back in cloth diapers as of yesterday and we're all loving it. These days she sits in the Bumbo while we unpack.

We ordered her nursery furniture this past weekend. The crib arrived yesterday and the dresser comes sometime in the next week. Once it's all set up and everything, we'll start working on putting her in her own room. It'll definitely be harder on me than her! I don't think we'll be moving her until she's past this growth spurt, because I don't feel like walking down the hall a couple times a night :P

Anyway, Penny is doing great. I think she likes Alabama a lot! More about her on Friday!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Will I ever rest?

It seems like we've been going non-stop since we packed up and moved out at the end of January. That's about 6 weeks now. Time is flying, every day we have something new, and I'm itching to just have a rest. I want to lay on the couch, read a book or watch some shows all day, and just relax. It won't be happening this week!

Tomorrow, our stuff finally gets here. You have no idea how excited we are to sleep on our bed. Oh, it'll feel so nice. Of course, tomorrow means I'll be spending a good few days unpacking and a good many days after that organizing. I'm a bit too excited for it, though. I like organizing.

Yesterday we ventured out and chose a couch. We found a great local furniture store that has a wonderful deal. For $999 you can get a couch, love seat, coffee table, two end tables, two lamps, a rug and custom accent pillows. Wow! But we really just needed a couch and recliner, so he said we can exchange everything and get our sectional and recliner instead of all the extras. The couch we settled on is L-shaped (the original style we wanted) and Brandon got his leather recliner. Unfortunately we had to take the floor model, but the good news is we bartered for free delivery and two free lamps. Sweet.

Today we went shopping some more. I needed shorts that fit (darn pregnancy made me go up a size) and we wanted to find some household stuff. We still need a bunch but we're working on it.

In other news, I got an Amazon Mom account finally so we've been taking advantage of the free 2-day shipping and ordering all kinds of stuff. We got Penny's crib and we'll be working on her nursery. I said today to Brandon that most people do this before the baby is born, not 3 months later!

I won't have internet until Tuesday but I'm obviously very busy, so I might not blog. Who knows? I finally caught up on blogs, though I hardly commented. Let's hope this chaos ends soon and we can be settling in!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Couch Problems

Choosing a couch seems like the hardest decision we've ever made as a couple! We managed to buy a kitchen table, other living room furniture, and a bedroom set, without too many issues. Why is a couch so hard?

I expected this to happen, seeing as we've been disagreeing for some time now. This is our first new couch and we want to get it right. We'll probably have it for awhile!

Here's our disagreement: Brandon wants a fancy leather couch that reclines a bunch. I want something less bachelor-pad (we've had a black couch for years) and microsuede, and one that I can lay on (no recline).

We had compromised awhile ago. We were going to get a couch with a chaise lounger on one end for me, and then a leather recliner for him. But now that we're actually sitting on couches, we just can't agree! Brandon's not sure he wants leather, but then sometimes he does. Really, I just want him to decide what he wants!

Here's the options we have now:

1. Chaise lounge couch with leather recliner.
2. Reclining couch and love-seat.
3. Reclining leather couch with coordinating big round chair for me (I love those!)
4. Regular couch and reclining love-seat.

So much to choose from! And starting tomorrow, we're checking out a bunch of stores nearby. We WILL find a couch!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Housing

Ok, I left you guys at a cliffhanger the last post regarding housing. I even got a couple text messages from my sisters wondering what happened. Here I am! I'll tell you.

We've actually had a great experience with the housing office. They've been so nice and easy to work with. We got to our appointment yesterday afternoon and the lady promptly brought us to "our" house to check it out. It was the exact layout we wanted and we were about to say yes until we got to the backyard. There wasn't really a problem except there was a puddle of water on the patio in front of the door.

A puddle of water? That can't be so bad. Except it looked like a grade issue on the concrete - the slab sloped back to the house. We didn't really care about damage to the house, it isn't ours after all, but we were worried about little puppy feet and little baby feet stepping in an inch thick puddle before coming into the house.

We asked if they had another house this exact model. They said no, but showed us another model as comparison. We didn't like it was much. Brandon kept pushing and pushing, asking if they could just switch houses with someone else who hasn't even seen theirs yet. They said we would have to talk to the people who assign the homes the next day.

Fast forward to this morning. We chatted up the housing office and they said they had one more house we could see, and then we would have to decide that day. Okie doke.

I knew I liked it just by driving up the street. The street was quieter, I liked the location more. And then we stepped into the house and I loved it. Yeah, it was the same model, but this one was brand new, paint just drying on the walls. It had it's differences, too. Like a cut-out in the wall from the front entry to the kitchen. Nicer cabinets throughout. Bigger guest bath. Nicer backyard. The only downside, and it's small, was there was no big storage room in the garage (Brandon was going to make that his "man room").

So we said we'd take it! We signed the papers, got the keys, and walked into our new temporary home. We already love it here. The post is much quieter, things seem simpler. Oh, and we already had a neighbor introduce herself and drop off banana bread! What a treat.

Of course, we're still in the hotel until Monday when our stuff gets dropped off. But we have a beautiful house, I'm so excited. I plan on doing a home tour once it's all set up!

Now if we could only agree on the type of couch we want...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cross-Country Road Trip

We made it! We survived! We're in Alabama now and I can finally sit down and write a blog.

Our drive to Alabama, the final leg of our cross-country trip, was about 24 hours long; about 1500 miles. We decided to take three days because of the baby, and then we decided that we would do the majority of our trip the first two days. Monday, 600 miles. Tuesday, another 600. Wednesday, about 300.

Monday morning we got up, packed our stuff and were out the door just after 7am mountain time. Winston was in a crate behind Brandon. Penny was in the middle, as usual. Dexter? Behind me.

Well, sorta. He did this most of the trip:
We drove through eastern Colorado and into Kansas. Then we drove halfway through Kansas, turned south in Salina, and stopped north of Oklahoma City for the first night. Total: 589 miles, ten hours of driving (with stops every few hours to feed the baby).

Penny did well the first day, but cried for a lot of it. We figured out it was because she was lonely. She's a very social baby, so on Tuesday I spent nearly the entire trip sitting in the back with her and she barely cried. Winston, on the other hand, meowed a whole bunch during our trip. He was super nervous. And Dexter was convinced we were going to leave him every time we stopped so he would barely get out of the car!

Tuesday, we drove through Oklahoma, across Arkansas, did a brief drive through Memphis, and ended up in northeastern Mississippi for the night. Same thing, it was about 585 miles and ten to eleven hours of driving.

Penny had a much better time:
(No, we didn't drive with her like that. Brandon thought it was funny to put a seatbelt on her during one of our stops and I took a photo. She thought it was funny too!)

Wednesday was the day we were waiting for: Alabama day! I was excited that we only had to drive four to five hours. It seemed like we stopped more this time. Penny was fussy and needed to eat. Once, she pooped right after we got back on the road - darn! Oh, and Winston decided to poop in his crate in Birmingham... gross.

Once we got to Rucker, just before 1pm, Brandon had to get a haircut and then a new ID with his new rank. Then we went to the housing office... but that's a whole other story that I'll type up tomorrow or something.

Anyway, we're in the hotel and everyone is settling in! It's really pretty down here, too. I can't wait to explore our new home!

Monday, March 5, 2012

On the road again!

And we're off again on the last leg of our adventure to Alabama!

We're saying goodbye to family and friends, and good old Colorado, and in a couple days we'll be saying hello to our new home in Alabama.

Wish us luck!


I'll be back to blogging in a few days, internet connection willing.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Really, Army?

We've had quite the day today! This morning Brandon's mom came in saying I had a letter. I opened it slowly saying to Brandon is a cheery voice, "I wonder what the Department of Defense sent me this time!"

It was a letter stating when I stopped being on Tricare and saying good luck, pretty much. Oh, really? I called the number at the bottom and they said yep, you get that letter when your sponsor separates from the Army. But no, I told them, he hasn't separated from the Army. Oh well, she told me, you need to go to your nearest DEERS office to get back on. Great.

See what happened was Brandon switched ranks, from Captain to Warrant Officer, and when they did this he had to separate from the Army and rejoin the next day. Well, somewhere the rejoining didn't happen.

We first got suspicious when he didn't get paid this last paycheck. We thought it was just a finance thing and that we would have to wait until we got to Alabama. Then this. So we packed the baby up and headed down the road to Ft Carson (thank goodness we're so close).

We sat in the office from 10am to 11:30, when they said they were going to lunch, just three numbers away from us. Boo. Then we came back at 12:30 and were seen at about 12:50, then sat in the back until nearly 2pm, when they said they couldn't do much but they would give us a call. Grr.

Luckily, they called us once we got home and said that Brandon showed back up in the system. Yay.

The bad thing was no medical coverage, but they said Tricare would cover the bill if need be.

Anyway, that was a challenge. We did receive good news today, though! Our household goods have arrived in Alabama, way ahead of schedule. I can't wait to move in!