Friday, September 28, 2012

6 weeks

6 weeks until little cora joins our family.

i'm not entirely sure i am ready to be a mommy to 2!

we have had our things for over a week (or is it 2?) now and i still don't have the nursery done. i barely have anything done, for that matter. we have boxes in the hallway, wrapped pictures in the bathroom, and it looks like there was a small electronics and clothing explosion in our room.

i have the bedding, the crib is set up, and all the wall decor is picked out, but the problem we have encountered is, the room is just too small. honestly, i don't think i have ever seen a bedroom this tiny before. on the flip side (and across the hallway), bella's room is HUGE.

elephants and some stuff i'm working on for the decor. 

that little corner is the perfect size for the crib. at least the bedding fits!

this room is so small, and has also become a catch-all for things we don't have a spot for yet

what a problem.......

in baby news:
-cora has begun getting the hiccups. i had forgotten all about when bella used to get them. they are weird, but i make bella feel them and she thinks it's hilarious.
-cora is not nearly as active as bella was-i swear i thought i was going to be giving birth to a jumping bean. she moves around plenty, but it's usually when i am laying on her. this bodes well for my hope that she is not as fast forward as bella was! i'm not sure i can take 2 speed demon babies.

in me news:
-i feel miserable most of the time. this pregnancy is much more annoying than i remember the first time around. and now i have a cold.
-i've lost 2 pounds. probably because i can barely breathe, let alone eat anything. it's really not as awesome as it sounds.
-nausea is slowly returning. the (incredibly delicious) bbq i made last night made me gag several times. i know it was incredibly delicious because after dinner, i caught joel sneaking bites out of the crock pot (which he rarely ever does, because he's "getting fat".)
-i wake up every night with massive cramps in my calves. it's pretty much the most annoying way to wake up.
-i went through all of bella's old clothes and am getting so excited about having a tiny baby again.

-is so silly. her new favorite thing to do is apologize. real problem, right? yesterday, i kept telling her no jello (her friends were coming over for a lunch date in a few minutes). so as i am making the little caramel apple bites (another pinterest fail, BTW), she sneaks into the fridge, gets out a jello cup and runs into the living room. a second later, she comes in and says, "aww mommy, i reawwy sowwy i got jello out of da fidge-ee-ator." then she takes a big bite. clearly she knows the meaning of sorry......
-has been measuring everything in sight today. my computer is 400 miles long.
-has been talking a lot (A LOT) more. not that she wasn't talking much before, but it's like having a conversation with a 12 year old now. i was laying in bed this morning, dying a slow death sick, and i hear her dragging her chair into my room. i peer through a half closed eye, and say, "what are you doing?" she says, "bringing my chair in here mommy, so i can look at you." then, "oh i really like this picture you painted, mommy. it's really pretty." then, "can you please turn my chair around? i can't see you when i sit in it."
-every night, right after we finish reading books and singing, bella grabs my hand and says, "i neeeed you mommy! don't go!" it kind of makes me want to cry. it's precious. i know she is just trying to eek out a few more minutes of wake time. but she is very convincing.
-she loves making me birthday cakes. i asked her how old she thought i was. "hmmm...that's a little bit tricky.....300 and a half." yep. she loves me.

i feel like i could fill a book with the silliness that comes out of that child's mouth.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

she may be crazy, but she's my baby.

bella started her new music class yesterday. she had a blast singing and dancing and spinning around in circles. per her usual self, she had everyone giggling at her through most of the class.

after class, i was walking out with another mother and she said, "she is so cute, she seems like she has a huge personality"

to which i responded, "yes. too big!" (insert eye roll and nervous laugh)

i got in the car and said to myself, "why did i just say that??"

see, bella has a personality bigger than her tiny body, that's for sure. but i don't think it's too big. i love it. i think it's perfect. she is wild and crazy and silly and it's just fantastic. there are days where i wish she would reign it in a bit. it is exhausting trying to allow her to have her personality and also be socially acceptable at places like the library and grocery store. but as a whole, i love her quirks.

but i find myself saying things like that whenever anyone compliments her. and it's grating my nerves.

"i love her hair!"

it's so wild.

"she is so sweet"

she is a mess.

i do it when someone compliments me too. deflect. self depreciate. i hate it, but it makes me feel super awkward when anyone says anything nice about me.

when i do it about myself, that's fine-it's something i have embraced and even try to make a joke out of it.

but i hate when i do it in regards to my child. or my dog. or my husband (that's a whole other story......).

i am so proud of bella, and even when she misbehaves or does something embarrassing, i love her and appreciate the things that make her, her. but the response has become so knee-jerk, i wonder if i can unlearn it.

i find myself talking about how rotten she is when i get around other people. she isn't rotten. not at all. she does rotten things sometimes, but she is (almost) 3. she doesn't generally throw tantrums, she holds it together pretty well, and she adjusts pretty easily-even though it may not be as quickly/the way i imagined she would.

she does push buttons. mine. her friends. the dogs. she pushes her limits, daily. but she plays on her own, she is wildly imaginative, she is quick witted and she is so smart.

i like to think that we have cultivated a freedom in her to be her own person, and my remarks may not mean anything to her now. but one day, she will understand what it means, and i never want to do anything to dampen her spirit.

i also don't want to come off like i am bragging about my kid. yes, i think she is amazingly fantabulous, but i don't expect that everyone wants to hear about it.

for now, i try to tell her daily, HOURLY! that i love her and think she is so smart/sweet/brave/wonderful. and i will work on coming up with an appropriate response that doesn't deflect or depreciate. perhaps a simple "thank you" will suffice.

Monday, September 24, 2012

reigning in the tasmanian devil

today was a good day. a very productive one. and i have a confession to make.

i hired a mommy's helper.

bella has hit her stride as a tiny tasmanian devil, whirling around the house, causing a path of destruction in her wake. bless her.

last week, i made the executive decision that, if i wanted to get anything done, i needed some help.

my girl couldn't have come too soon. we walked in the house from the store and duke had spread garbage through the kitchen, living and dining room and pooped and peed in the hallway. it took me 45 minutes to get it all cleaned up. but in the rest of the time she was here i did laundry, cleaned the table off, unpacked a couple of boxes, took 4 loads of stuff down to the dumpster and car and even answered a couple of e-mails. all while bella played excitedly with her new bff.

and i felt no guilt.

if it had been a normal day, i would have gotten maybe half of that done, but would have fought my urge to play with her, and my need to get stuff accomplished. we would play for a bit, then i would tell her to play on her own for a bit, and she would for about 2.5 seconds until she hunted me down, strewing all her worldly goods along behind her thus destroying whatever i just cleaned and in the mean time making me feel both angry and guilty.

before i hired her, i thought a lot about it. it isn't much-3 days a week, 2 hours a day. but just that short bit of productive time made the time i spent with bella so much more involved. i didn't feel like i had to split my time, because i knew i would have time to do what needed to be done.

this week, we started getting back into our routine, and having a schedule always makes me feel more productive and like my time really matters, rather than wasting days with no purpose. i am held accountable for my days, and when i go to sleep at night, i rarely have that "i forgot something!" feeling.

we are re-incorporating a lot of the things we did before we pcs'ed: "preschool" (at home), music class, art classes, and playdates, and starting some new things-MOPS begins this wednesday, and it's the first time i have been a part of this group. and of course, my mommy's helper, 3 days a week! =)

since i decided not to put bella in preschool, and keep her home instead, i feel like all of these different interactions will allow for her to get a well rounded experience that i have control over.

next year, we will look into the german preschool near our house, but currently, with cora coming in a few short weeks, i think it would only add to the chaos, and i like being the one to teach her and experience her learning.

so i get more time to see her "feeding duke and reading him dis book about JEEsus. 'once upon a time, there was a castle and in the castle was a baby named JEEsus.' you like dat story, mommy?"

yes, baby. i like dat story.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

pregnancy update: 33 weeks

33 weeks. this pregnancy has flown by!

granted, my mind has been focused everywhere else for most of it. 

this morning was my 2nd appointment with my german doctor. other than the couple of nurses who speak very little/no enlglish, it's been so great. somehow, even when they don't speak any english, we still understand each other.

the german baby having process is a bit different than it is in the states. for one, i get to see this little muffin every single appointment. back home, i either had to pay for an ultrasound or i got one at 20 weeks (which, at the last doctor i saw, i had to convince her that our insurance did, in fact cover it. after she made me pay for one......). 


girl, healthy and around 4 lbs.

how far along: 
33 weeks

weight gain: 
10 lbs

still mostly non maternity clothes, though my shirts are getting too short and my waistband is a bit pushy. have 2 pairs of maternity pants and have started stocking up with long, warm shirts for the next few months.

how do i feel:
fat. and tired. but mostly fat. i do feel less puffy than i did with bella at this point, and i think i look less puffy too. i think most of the weight i have gained has been belly, where as last time it was kind of evenly distributed. hoping that means postpartum weight loss will be a little less lengthy.

until about 18 weeks, i was doing a mix of crossfit and crossfit mom (which is basically a tailored version of crossfit main, for women who are expecting or postpartum). now that we are in germany, we walk everywhere, so honestly, i don't do much else. 

on a personal level, i am SO excited for this baby to get here. not that i wasn't excited for bella, but it was a different excitement, for sure.

we went through so much to have bella, that i think i spent most of my pregnancy worried and anxious-that i would lose her, that i would be a bad mom, that she would hate me.....i realize now how irrational those worries are, but at the time they felt very real. this time around, i kind of have an idea of what i'm doing, and i am so excited to do it all over again. birth to 18 months-ish felt like such a breeze compared to toddlerhood.

bella is excited too and will often say "i love my baby sister!" and will kiss my belly or hug my belly. or ram my belly with her head.....that's not so much fun.

people always say your second baby will be different from your first. i'm hoping that's true. bella insisted on doing everything super early, so i am hoping this one takes things nice and slow.

we decided early on the name, but chose to keep it quiet for a while. really, i decided on the name and made a deal with joel that i wouldn't tell which was the only way i could get him to agree with it. he's difficult that way.

but, seeing as i am due in.....oh.....7 weeks, and things have been monogrammed, i am letting the cat out of the bag. too late to change it now, so, there.

her name will be cora anne.

i really liked coraline, but joel said it was creepy (like the movie), and i didn't want her to be called caroline by teachers. which would so happen. this coming from a "justin". caroline is pretty, but it wouldn't be her name, and it would be annoying. so cora it is. anne after joel's maternal grandmother.

our list was long and he pretty much nixed everything i came up with, and while his names were alright, they were very VERY popular names, and i don't want to yell my daughters name and have 15 kids turn around.

i think in this whole process, naming her was the absolute hardest part.

i've not really been into taking "baby bump" pictures this time around, so i really have nothing of worth to share. but maybe at 36 weeks i will bite the bullet.

that's all for now. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

job title: military spouse

we've been a part of this military life for 7 1/2 years now. that's not a very long time compared to many spouses, but it is almost half way through a career-after this assignment, we will be 10 years from retirement.

most spouses don't speak of their husbands career as "ours" or say "we" when referring to time in service. but the life of a military spouse is not the life of most spouses.

like it or not, we are in it up to our elbows. while we don't "wear rank", we still have duties that we perform on a daily basis. this is never more apparent than during a PCS (permanent change of station), a deployment, or even a field exercise.

we don't carry weapons, we aren't issued gear, we don't wear a uniform, and we definitely don't get paid. but we make decisions and choices that only military spouses can understand. we face challenges that never cross the minds of most spouses.

when bella was 7 weeks old, we were sitting in a movie theater, watching avatar, when joel's phone started to blink. he walked out, answered it, came back in and said he had 2 hours to get his stuff and get on base-he was deploying to haiti. and just like that, i was on my own with a newborn for 2 months.

when bella was 8 months old, joel deployed again, to jordan for 3 months. our lease in our apartment was up (and we were maxed out of space), so i found a new place, packed up the house and with the help of my friend and her cabana teenage boys, we moved all our worldly possessions into the new house.

when she was 18 months old, he deployed again, this time for 6 months to iraq. he left in the middle of summer, so all of the household chores that he usually took care of (mowing the lawn, car maintenance, household repairs) fell to me. i learned how to use every power tool he owned (which is a lot).

and when she was 2 1/2, we got orders and moved to germany. while he was working on getting his work stuff in order, i was dealing with getting the car shipment arranged, the dogs papers and shots in order (which nearly had us leaving him behind-we missed a cut off by mere hours), overseeing the packers, getting medically cleared, getting passports and official documents in order-all in just under 2 months time.

and now, i spend my days transitioning from our old, big, perfect-for-us house into our new, small, stairwell apartment.

i'm not complaining. i love the adventure. but, just like any job, there are hard parts and parts we enjoy.

my "job" allows me to watch my child grow up and takes our family to some pretty amazing places. it affords opportunities unique to military families. it provides relative comfort. it hands us built in community, wherever we go. we have friends all over the world, and friends who are more like family.

but it's emotionally challenging on a daily basis-we left the house where our first baby made her first home. slept her first nights in her big girl bed, spent her days in her yard with her dogs running around carefree, made her first friends-friends she still asks for. she had her first birthdays, first holidays, in that home. she learned her first words, had her first sleepover, took her first steps, in that home. we face spur of the moment separations, stress from military decisions and worldly events that our completely out of our control, and possibilities of loss that most families will never have to think about or prepare for. some days, it seems unfair. but most days, we take it all in stride and understand it is the life we signed up for.

i may not be reporting for duty every day. i may not have standards that i have to perform to. but i perform important tasks every day, so that joel can do what he has to do. i help enable a stable environment for our child(ren), our marriage. i teach, i cook, i clean. i am an event planner, a moving foreman, and a professional unpacker. i ensure the smooth running of our household and the emotional stability of everyone involved.

so when i say "our" job, i am referring to our team that makes up the military member. one day, bella and her siblings will be part of this team. they will make decisions and choices that only military children can understand. they will face challenges that won't cross the minds of most children. and hopefully, their lives with be enriched by being a part of this team.

i know mine has been.

Friday, September 14, 2012

potty training is for the birds

i was talking to my friend this morning about the woes of potty training. she said something that really struck a cord with me. she said, "everybody always talks about how fast their kid gets potty trained, but no one really talks about the ones that take a long time."

it's true. i guess no one really wants to talk about anything their kid does that isn't "early" or "advanced", or even sheds them in a not so great light.

we i am here to do just that.

bella is not potty trained. not in the slightest. (go ahead and shake your head and cluck your tongue. i do it on a daily basis)

i mean, she knows about the potty. she uses the potty, occasionally. but she is by no means anywhere near potty trained. as a matter of fact, the child would probably go the entire day and not even let me change her diaper if i didn't wrestle her to the ground and threaten to beat her not let her play anymore.

when we arrived in germany, the pediatrician said, "what's up with the diaper?" innocently enough, but it just reminded me of the problem i may have created for myself. let me give you my excuses story.

i know too many people who like to share that their little angel was potty trained by 18 months, sleeping in undies at 2! mostly mothers of girls.

"oh, you'll have no problem. girls are so easy to potty train!"

so at 18 months, i bought her a potty. and not just any potty. the fisher price one that looked like a real potty (except with eyes and a mouth and that sang songs when you used it. why do kids get all the cool things, by the way?) and we began our journey. i would let her run around at home with no dipe and it was great-she never had an accident and she would get SO excited every time she used it. and boy did she use it. like every 20 minutes. it was actually kind of annoying after a while. every time she wanted a party.

"ok," i thought. "i need to encourage her! let's get stickers!! and prizes!!" you know. do it up right.

which meant that we had a week long chart, full of stickers after a day.

from everything i understood about potty training (absolutely nothing), if they use it that much, they aren't really ready. so we put it on hold. she wouldn't tell me if she had undies or a diaper on, so i assumed she didn't really know until she was just about to go.

we waited.

she turned 2 and i thought, hey, maybe we should try again. same story as before-she would go so often and only if she was absolutely nakey. and only at home. we had a few breakthroughs over the next couple of months where she would ask to go while she had a diaper on, and i would ask her over and over, and she would always say no, then come to me with a wet diaper. we talked about it, read books about it, watched her friends go. but she never really seemed to feel like it was something she needed to do (my fault, i know).

honestly, it was easier to just let her be in diapers. we travel a lot, which means if we really went at it, we could potentially have to stop and find a potty every 30 minutes or so. i took her potty with us places, but she never wanted to use it unless it was in the "potty room".

then we found out i was pregnant. and we got orders. and i was done.

the thought of me, on a 10 hour plane ride, with a big fat belly and swollen ankles, dragging her to the potty every 30 minutes, or her peeing in her pants on the plane, or even dealing with lugging a potty/potty seat all over while we  were already displaced, made me anxious. so i made an executive decision. unless she asked for it, there would be no more pushing with the potty.

so here we are, bella will be 3 in 3 months and we are no closer than when we started. ever since we unpacked her potty yesterday, she has been naked, and we are about 50/50. she didn't even have this many accidents when she was 18 months.

my biggest fear is that i have ruined her. that maybe i missed the "ready" signs because i was being kind of selfish, and now she just doesn't want anything to do with it. my next biggest fear is that the light will flip right before november, and then when the baby comes, she will have a fit and regress.

so, currently, she is eating a snack, watching little einsteins and sitting on her potty. because i really have no idea what else to do.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

welcome home

you really have no idea how excited a 2 year old can be until you take everything she owns away from her for 10 weeks, and then give it all back to her on one day.

our household goods shipment arrived today and as the men started unloading the truck, bella stood on her stool looking out the window.

"my HORSE!!!!!" this is of course a horse she had not sat on or looked at once since she got it for christmas last year. but today, she sat on her horse for no less than 30 minutes, yelling, "giddy up, horsey!!!".

she was even excited for her time out chair. seriously. she said, "mommy, LOOK!! it's my time out chair!!"

we opened one of her boxes and it was full of stuffed animals and purses. as i was unpacking some kitchen stuff (how in the WORLD have we accumulated SO much kitchen stuff??) she came sauntering in with all of her purses around her neck. "look mommy! my PURSES!!"

it's really sweet when she pulls each animal out and says, "my yaya got me dis one. OH dis one i got for my birfday! mommy, let's read cooper a story! (that little hallmark bear)". it's heartwarming.

our plan though, is to take this opportunity to slowly go through her things and get rid of a lot of it-donate most of it, maybe sell some. but the blessing that comes with each PCS is learning how much you really can exist without. for instance, while cooking some dishes has been complicated by the lack of certain things-casserole dishes, crockpots and measuring spoons and cups-i definitely didn't miss all the random cups and gadgets that really are just taking up space until i use it once a year.

each time we move, we are baffled at how much we have-most of it is truly garbage (i feel mildly like a hoarder each time we get our delivery). crafting supplies that are half used, baskets that have no purpose (but are wicker and pinterest says there are 100 uses for wicker baskets so i CAN'T throw them out!), pens, tape, spices (yes, they will pack your spices if you don't toss them) that are all hardened. and random furniture that we have collected. each time we move, our houses are vastly different, and so we get set up for that place. our last house was just 3 bedrooms, but it was an older house and so the rooms were large and spacious. which means we had plenty of space for all our stuff. as a matter of fact, there were times it felt like we couldn't quite fill the place out (which i was just fine with) but this place is small. about 600 sq ft smaller, with less open spaces.

as i am unpacking everything, it is becoming a bit overwhelming and tough to see the light, but i've already gotten 6 boxes for the thrift shop and haven't even really unpacked much, so i feel like that's progress.

i guess i will probably disappear for the next week or 2 until most of this stuff is sorted out and organized. pray for me. .....

Monday, September 10, 2012

pumpkins and castles. this is a fairy tale life.

saturday, we enjoyed the beginning of the fall season with a trip to ludwigsburg, germany, to enjoy the pumpkin festival. the festival was on the castle grounds and was absolutely awesome. it was pretty warm, so it didn't exactly feel like fall, but it is still september.

there were pumpkins everywhere, as you can imagine, and the theme was "switzerland". there were pumpkin structures of all types-the matterhorn, a swiss army knife, cows, all things switzerland. plus a few other things that weren't exactly swiss, but were interesting, all the same.


we ate pumpkin burgers (delicious!), pumpkin soup (amazing!!!) and some of us got to partake in pumpkin wine. being 31 weeks pregnant, i smelled some. and then bought 2 bottles. 

i think the coolest part about the grounds was the marchengarten-a kiddy land, based on popular fairytales. it was a permanent structure and was pretty awesome. 

some days, i look around and am kind of amazed at where we are. it wasn't all sunshine and roses getting here, but we have been here for a little over 7 weeks and things are finally starting to feel a little easier and real. 

adjusting to change is something i have always had a hard time doing, even though i have changed so many times now, you would think i would be a old pro at it. i think i crave routine just enough and moving definitely has no routine to it-especially moving to another country.

this has, by far, been our most difficult move to date. being displaced with an almost 3 year old, a big dog, a big ol' belly, for such an extended amount of time and in a foreign country is a bit overwhelming. made more difficult by the fact that the person i have been over the past 7 weeks, is not the person i identify myself as. 

i am generally pretty evenly keeled-not overly emotional or easily stressed out, and i feel like i generally take emotional situations in stride-deployments and tdy's usually don't ruffle my feathers much. but during this move, i have cried more times than i would like to admit, and still after 7 weeks of being in the country, i get very easily stressed and overwhelmed. i have been blaming it on being pregnant and sleeping on, what my husband so poignantly calls, a hobo's bedroll. 

we receive our household goods shipment in 2 days, and my hope is that with a few good nights of sleep we will all be a little less grumpy. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

been a long time gone

i realize it has been a day and a half since the last time i posted. so i will do a brief run down.

-joel deployed last year in may, and i stopped writing because there was little i could say of the stuff that consumed my every moment. he was literally on a top secret kind of assignment, and there was very little he could tell me, and even less i could tell anyone else. so for the sake of OPSEC (operational security-a military term akin to "loose lips sink ships") i shut 'er down.

-he returned, safely, 6 months later with a few awards and no stories to share (officially)

-we found out in march-ish that we were expecting our second little one, then found out shortly after we are having a little girl. i am due 9 november, making me 31 weeks right now!

-we also found out in march that we would be soon moving to germany. we arrived here mid july and have been enjoying the sights and smells (well, not all the smells) since.

so that's the highlights. a lot of other things happened, but nothing really worth mentioning. i absolutely love germany, but have definitely dealt a little with the isolation that being half way around the world with limited internet connectivity and having no cell phone can bring.

bella is now almost 3 and i have been planning her birthday while trying to prepare for the new baby. we haven't received our household goods yet, which makes it 9 weeks since i've seen my comfy bed, or any of the other things i have almost forgotten i own. but they should be here by the end of next week and i will be in hog heaven!

i have started really feeling the need to nest, which leads me to a lot of frustration, as we only have what we came over here with (3 suitcases, 1 of which was entirely filled with uniforms and military accouterments) and the few items we have bought out of necessity (pillows and blankets and a few pieces of cool weather clothes).

for now, i will leave you with some pictures of the few weeks we have been here.

main street (hauptstrasse), heidelberg, germany


walking up to the castle in heidelberg

heidelberg, over the neckar river

Auf Wiedersehen!!