Saturday, April 30, 2011

My New Superpower

Last night I stopped at Target for some essentials (which, if you don't speak my language, is pronounced Tar-jay with a slightly French accent). You know, toothpaste, deodorant, chapstick and of course a good, juicy gossip magazine. So while I was in there I discovered the true talents of my newest superpower: an insanely bionic sense of smell.

I was standing in the makeup aisle browsing when I caught a whiff of the most amazingly floraly, citrusy sweet scent. It just smelled so good! So I start looking around and smelling the sample perfume bottles they have and can't find the darn smell anywhere. Where the heck was it coming from??? I needed to know!! Suddenly, on the other end of the aisle, a woman turned the corner and started walking towards me...and the scent continued to get stronger.

"Um, excuse me, are you wearing perfume?" I asked. "Yeah, but you can hardly smell it because I put it on early this morning. It's the new Kim Kardashian one".

Well, friend who smells amazing at Target, I can smell it like no other. And officially need a bottle for myself.

And then I realized. I have superpowers. I could smell that girl's perfume from one, maybe more, aisles over, and she was even on the opposite end of the aisle as I was. My sniffer is officially bionic. And I officially want a cape and a sidekick.

My kryptonite? The kid with the stinky diaper I caught a whiff of while I was leaving the store.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yes, I Want It To Be A Surprise...Are You Surprised?

Fact: I am not finding out what I'm having.

Fact: People are generally shocked by this.

Yep, you heard me correctly, I want to be surprised by the gender of my baby.

This day and age, I feel that people have fallen out of the joy of being surprised by things. Everyone wants to pick their own Christmas presents, throw their own birthday parties and buy baby clothes the minute they know what they're having. Not this girl. I love a good surprise, hence why Christmas presents still overly excite me, my bridal shower made me shed tears of joy, and I will be arriving to the hospital with my bag packed with an outfit for a boy and an outfit for a girl. Just how I always wanted it.

Think about it. What an amazing surprise to anxiously and paitently await the arrival of your baby and really, really meet them the day they are born. How beautiful to be able to truly look at my infant for the very first time, pleasently surprised with my little boy or little girl, fall in love all over again, and tell my baby it's name. I really don't think there is any better way to do it. At least, not for me.

It truly is the surprise of a lifetime.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Want My Kid To Be Like Tommy Pickles

First, I want to sincerely thank everyone for the outpouring of support for Derek, myself and the baby after yesterday's news of Derek not being able to be here when the baby is born. I definitely wasn't expecting so many people to offer such kind words and even offers to fly out to Washington to give us a hand when the baby arrives. It truly means so much to us to know that we have such wonderful family and friends who are willing to be here for us in one way or another!

Now, onto the stuff that will make you chuckle, and potentially question why you may or may not be friends with me :)

I want to have a kid who turns out to be just like Tommy Pickles from "Rugrats".

Seriously. I was watching the show last night because, well, let's face it: late night TV sucks, and "Rugrats" was one of the greatest 90's Nickelodeon cartoons ever....and I realized that Tommy Pickles would be a pretty awesome kid to raise. Think about it. For those of you who know the show and remember it well, Tommy Pickles was always the leader of the pack, and in cartoonland, he was one brave baby. Besides the fact that he was fiercely independent, easily self occupied and had a pretty healthy imagination. He was nice to everybody, barely ever cried and loved his Grandpa. Who wouldn't love a kid like that?

Now, I might change the outfit up from the diaper and blue t-shirt (my kid will be well dressed. Mark my words) and hopefully my kid will have a bit more hair...but all in all Tommy Pickles is one cute cartoon baby, and I hope my baby will be equally cute...or a whole lot more :)

Now if some toy company could just make a real Reptar doll, we'd be set!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Going It Alone

Today I received the news that no pregnant military wife wants to hear: my husband will not be here when our baby is born.

My heart broke into a million pieces. It's bad enough that hubby is missing most of the doctors appointments that include ultrasounds and hearing our baby's heartbeat...but for him to not be here when the baby arrives is just killing me. I always knew that it was a possibility, but things were looking great for Derek being here in November when our baby will arrive. Now, sadly, my vision of the two of us welcoming our little boy or girl into the world together is shattered. Looks like I'll be going it alone.

I shouldn't say alone, because I won't be totally. My mom said she'd be out and be here, and I've got great friends who will be there for me in a second...but it certainly makes you feel alone when the one person who should be there can't.

I know that thousands upon thousands of Military wive have done this before, and I know it will be ok. Right now it's just heart wrenching though. I just have to remember to roll with the punches, and swing right back as hard as possible. When duty calls, the hubby has to serve...and when baby calls, well, I'll be doing the same.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hello, Second Trimester

Well, after anxious weeks of waiting for this point, and one very exhausting Easter weekend which included an ER trip, here we are! Twelve weeks at last. Second trimester, I've been waiting for you.

I'm sure you are all wondering what the deal is with the ER trip? Well, relax. The baby and I are fine. I was experiencing some sharp pains and a racing heartbeat on Friday, so I took myself to be on the safe side to the ER on base. They determined that my pains were either caused by a cyst of some sort or a clogged gland. No biggie. And the racing heart was a result of some lovely dehydration, so after a ginormous cup of ice water, a couple of gatorades and and EKG...I'm good, and so is the baby :)

Now on to my excitement. I've always known that hitting the twelve week mark is a huge point in a pregnancy, but I never imagined the relief I would feel waking up and knowing that I've made it one third of the way through this process. Today my chances of miscarriage have greatly decreased, and leftovers don't totally make me gag anymore :) Woo Hoo! What's making it even better is knowing that I have a doctor's appointment next week which will potentially include an ultrasound...and I will definitely get to hear the baby's heartbeat. I've never been so excited to visit the girly doctor in my life!

So here's to a prego milestone, and many more to come. Cheers and Happy Monday all!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Believe It Or Not, I Can Survive When The Hubby Is Away

Being an Army wife, it's inevitable that at any given time I could be without my husband by my side for days, weeks, months or even a year at a time. It's just a fact of living the Army life. And while I miss him terribly and always count down the days until he's home with me, I can survive when he's not here.

I get a lot of thoughtful and well-meaning concern when Derek isn't around. People from home feeling the need to check in on me and see how I'm doing, asking me how I'm handling him being away. People wanting to know what I do with myself when he's not home, and now of course, how I'm handling being pregnant while the hubby is away for a few months.

The facts are this: I'm doing fine, thanks for asking! And I'm handling him being away just like I always do. I'm sad for a day or two and then I suck it up, clean my apartment and move on. Life doesn't stop just because of training or deployments, it just changes a little. And believe it or not, I have a life outside of my marriage, so I'm keeping pretty busy :)

As far as being pregnant goes, it's not that much different, and honestly if Derek had to be away at any time while I'm knocked up, this was the best time to do it! Lucky him got to miss all of the crazed nights of insomnia, the moaning and groaning of me being nauseous every night, and even missed out on the idea of me not cooking like a normal person because raw meat grossed me out. Lucky Derek gets to return when I'm settled into the second trimester and probably sleeping, eating and yes, even cooking.

When it comes to things like doctors appointments, no worries. I am perfectly capable of handling them too. Now, I will say this: before I got pregnant, I couldn't imagine him being away during this time. I had images in my head of what it would be like and thoughts of how I would probably want a close friend to come to every doctor's appointment with me so I wouldn't be alone. Well, in real life, not so much. Pretty early on in this process of being prego, I discovered that my previous visions and thoughts were way off. I'm finding that my doctors appointments are somewhat intimate experiences that I don't want to share with anyone but Derek. Getting to see my baby on an ultrasound, or hear the baby's heartbeat on a doppler is something so special and so personal, that if Derek isn't here, I'd rather just go it alone. This experience of having a baby is something I would never want to share with anyone but Derek, and I'm finding that a major component of this experience right now is those doctor appointments...and I don't want to experience them with anyone but my loving husband.

So there you have it. My ability to survive when my husband is away. It's all just part of the life of the Army wife.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

This One Time, At Band Camp...Wait, What Was I Saying?

I've decided that I'm losing my mind. Yep, the infamous pregnancy brain has officially set in...and I feel like I have a screw loose somewhere. I think no less than three times today something just went totally over my head, or I forgot what the heck I was talking about, or even what I was just about to do.

I've never been a particularly forgetful person. I can rattle off phone numbers, birthdays, names and important times and dates like no one else. Sometimes I can be a bit frazzled, but I never, ever forget the important stuff. Luckily I haven't gotten so bad as to forget my favorite (and only) nephew's second birthday tomorrow, or the fact that my family is in Florida for Easter, or even that Derek is working late tonight so my phone call won't come at it's usual 6:30ish time frame. But more than once today I was in conversation with someone, telling a story or having a discussion, and had to stop and utter the words "wait, where was I going with that?". And just fifteen minutes ago I came home from a little league game with my neighbor, to see her significant other's car parked (knowing that he hadn't left the game yet, as one of the coaches) and found myself asking her "how did Vance beat us home?" To which she replied, "he took the Jeep, remember? We discussed this before we left when you saw his car parked here earlier". What's worse is that as I'm typing this, I'm finding myself having to stop and re-read what I just wrote, to make sure that I'm not off rambling about nothing, and actually making sense.

Derek swears that prego brain is a myth, an excuse for having a few airheaded moments. I however, am raising the BS flag on him with this one. It's in all the pregnancy books. I've heard from the doctor and more than a few moms that it exists, and I swear it's hitting me....

Wait, what was I talking about?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Freaking Myself Out

Over the past week or so, the unpleasant symptoms of the first trimester have slowly begun to diminish. I haven't been feeling so nauseous at night, I'm starting to sleep a little better (knock on wood), and I've even found the energy to massively scrub my kitchen. I'm feeling pretty good...in fact, I've almost convinced myself that I'm feeling too good...

It almost feels like I'm not pregnant at all...and that is totally freaking me out. I know that it's too early to start feeling quickening (or, the first feelings of the baby moving that can't be felt outside of my belly yet), and I'm sure that everything is fine. My belly grows a little each week, I'm still craving dairy like crazy, I'm still overly emotional and still having nights where I don't sleep...but I haven't had a doctors appointment in four weeks, and don't have one for another two, so I don't have the comfort of hearing my baby's heartbeat or seeing my little punkin on an ultrasound until then. I don't have confirmation that everything really is fine, even though in my heart I know it is, and somehow these worrisome thoughts keep entering my head that because I'm starting to feel good, something might be wrong.

I know, I probably sound crazy and should be grateful that I'm starting to feel better...and trust me, I am grateful...but I'm finding that not being able to feel, hear or see my baby is making me nervous. I guess I'm getting a little taste of what my parents went through when I was a cell phone-less teenager breaking curfew!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Break From The Mommy Thing To Talk About The Life Thing

This past weekend, a storm system ripped across the East Coast sending some pretty wicked storms and producing over 100 tornadoes...60 of which occurred in the state of North Carolina....and at least one of which tore through Fort Bragg, Pope Air Force Base and the surrounding town of Fayetteville and other outlining suburbs. Having lived there for a brief period of time with my husband before we PCSed late last year, I can only imagine the devastation that the area and Military community there are experiencing. From my understanding, there is now a ten o'clock curfew city-wide to protect damaged homes from being looted. Fort Bragg has also experienced damage near one of their entrance gates, training ranges and fields and many families who were living on base housing have had to be relocated because of the destruction from this storm system.

Stories like this make you stop and think about just how lucky you are. I am grateful for those who were kept safe throughout that storm system, and sorry for those who suffered from devastation and loss. Especially those who are now mourning the loss of the six people who died in this tragedy. It is my hope that these communities will be able to come together to help rebuild what was lost, and support one another. And it is my hope that the rest of the country comes to the aid of these people and communities in whatever ways they can. Volunteering for organizations like Habitat for Humanity, donating to the Red Cross, or even just a simple prayer....every little bit helps, and every little bit goes a long way.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dear Emotions, Can I Have a Break?

I've always been an emotional person. I'll gladly be the first to admit it. I've always been a bit sensitive, and though I always try to bottle my feelings, in reality, I wear my heart on my sleeve. Well, multiply that times ten, and maybe add a little crack and a red bull...and you've got my emotions on pregnancy hormones.

I had always heard that women get a little crazy and emotional when they're pregnant. I NEVER thought that hormones would make you feel like a total wackjob though. And I never thought how exhausting it could be to have these overly-powerful feelings. The littlest things will set me off in one way or another anymore. Walking past a particularly cute onsie in a store could make me bawl my eyes out...the world's most terrible jokes will make me laugh uncontrollably...a tiny tiff with my hubby could cause me the most insane anxiety ever....My emotions are literally on the world's loopiest roller coaster...and I kind of want off.

Today I'm feeling like I just need a break. I need a break from my emotions and my overly sensitive feelings. I'm tired, I want to cry for no reason, I miss my husband, I miss my family...

I miss my non-pregnant emotions.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm Not Fat, I'm Pregnant

Yesterday I scored a pair of nice maternity jeans at JC Penny's for twenty bucks. Considering these were a $45 pair, I just couldn't pass them up...besides the fact that the only other pair of jeans I own that currently fit are the pair of maternitys that my neighbor Jen passed on to me. Yep, it's official...I no longer own a normal pair of jeans that fit. Funnily enough, it really is just my little bump that is causing me to wear maternity pants now. I haven't gained a single pound...in fact, to my pleasant surprise, I've somehow managed to lose a few pounds. I'm not complaining!

However, to those who don't know I'm pregnant, I'm starting to get those unsure looks as to whether I've got a baby shaped gut...or I'm actually pregnant. As I was checking out at Penny's, the saleswoman looked at the jeans....then looked at me....then looked at my belly....then back at me. All with this unsure look on her face as to whether she should ask me when I'm due or keep her mouth shut for fear of seriously insulting me. Finally the woman politely commented that they were very nice jeans, and were they for me. As I replied yes, this look of great relief overcame her face and she asked me when I was due and how I was feeling.

I have to chuckle at the awkwardness of it all. I'm sure it's an inevitable fact of being pregnant, and I probably should enjoy it now before I'm as big as a house and everyone and their mom will bombard me with questions and want to touch my belly. For now, It's just becoming one of those things where I want to blurt out, before anyone can give me the unsure once-over, "I'm not fat, I'm pregnant".

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pregnant in Heels = Prego Psychos

Yesterday morning I caught my first glimpse of Bravo's new show, Pregnant in Heels, which features Rosie Pope, baby guru extraordinaire and mommy concierge to the rich and spoiled. Let me tell you. These women are a bit off their rockers.

The first woman they featured referred to her unborn baby as a "life-force sucking parasite" and her and her husband declared that they were going to raise their baby to know that he was not the center of anyone's universe, just along for the ride. SERIOUSLY?! These are the kind of people who make me think that perhaps there needs to be some kind of test before people are allowed to procreate. First off, while it may seem like your baby is sucking the life out of you at times, it certainly isn't a parasite. It's a little innocent infant who needs you, not some nasty creature. Second off, your baby should be the center of your universe! If you don't want your child to become the center of your universe, and you don't want to baby-fy your apartment because you're too selfish, and you can't give up your precious guest room for a nursery....perhaps you shouldn't be having a baby.

OK, rant done...now on to the other nut job....

The second couple featured hired Rosie to assist them in choosing a name for their soon-to-be born son. But it wasn't just that they were hiring her to help them pick a name...they were hiring her to bring in baby-naming experts...and then a focus group to see how their names would play out in the real world. To these people, apparently the name of their child was more than his name...it was his brand. Yep, these people were branding their unborn son. And in doing so, they wasted an awful lot of time and money, because in the end they never chose a name that went well with the focus group, their friends or the experts.

While the show is certainly entertaining, it's still a bit astonishing. In this economy I can't imagine blowing money to have an expert name my kid...or to have someone come in and have the balls to tell me that I'm obviously having issues with the whole becoming a mommy thing. I'm sure it's a nice luxury to these people, but what ever happened to picking a nice name, being excited over the thought of a baby, and learning along the way? I guess if you've got the money, anything goes...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Great and Powerful...Grandpa?

A few weeks ago my dad jokingly informed us that he wants the baby to call him "The Great and Powerful Oz". This is part a tease on my behalf because anyone who knows me well knows that I am obsessed with "The Wizard of Oz" (so much so that I've had the privilege of meeting and getting a picture with a Lollipop Kid)...and I think partly a bit of uncertainty on my dad's part about what kind of grandfather he wants to be.

Growing up I had 2 Poppys. Looking back on my memories with them, I associate my grandparents so well with what I called them. My Poppys were fun loving men, each with an unbeatable sense of humor. Fondly, I remember my Poppy Warren for his sense of pride when it came to his grandkids...and his love for Rocky Road ice cream, his backyard pool, and staying up late (or so what we thought of as late) when his grandkids were visiting in the summer. My Poppy Ray was a man who loved his family deeply, and enjoyed teasing his grandkids in good fun. I fondly remember him for his ability to make anything grow in a garden, and eating his big, delicious family breakfasts during trips up to Poppy's Farm in the mountains.

My Grandmothers, on the otherhand, were Grandmom and Mimom. And again, I associate each so well with their name. Grandmom Ginger had a smile that lit up any room, and a laugh that was beyond infectious. She loved her grandkids so deeply, and always made sure that the fridge was stocked with pepperoni, cheese, milk and Hershey's syrup when the grandkids would visit. I have fond memories of sitting on the couch in the mornings with her, watching Golden Girls with a mug of "coffee" in my hands (which was really milk with a teaspoon of coffee in it) just like her. Mimom is my only surviving grandparent, and one who I admire truly. When you first look at her, you might think she's my mom or my aunt. She's tall and leggy with blond hair and bright blue eyes and she dresses more fashionably than anyone I know. You would never know by looking at her that the woman gave birth to 6 kids, has 19 grandkids and one great-grandbaby on the way. She's the woman who can cook like no other, never forgets a birthday and always stocks Dixie Cups in her freezer.

I feel lucky to have such strong memories and associations with each of my grandparents, and I hope that my children will do the same. My mom has decided she wants to be "Grams", Mimom "Gam", and Derek's parents "Mommom &Poppop". Whatever my dad decides to be called I'm sure it will be fitting...but for now I'm just calling him old :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Animal Insticts: Don't Mess With My Cubs.

I was a bullied child. It's something in my life that I look back on and know that it helped make me a strong woman today...but none-the-less a painful thing to remember.

I'll never forget the night when I really realized that these kids weren't just being mean to me, they were full-on bullying me. It was a cheerleading practice the night before a competition and I was in fifth grade. After we had taken a dinner break and come back to continue rehearsal, we were getting ready to start our routine again when a girl on my team turned around and said to me "you're so g*y". Then from behind me I heard the words "you tell her! she's the daughter of a b***h!". These comments came out of nowhere. I remember just trying to brush them off. I didn't retort...not that there was time to, because the music started. And then in between breaks of our routine again, the same handful of girls would suddenly burst out in one hateful phrase or another. "You're a fat a**!" (mind you, I was maybe 4 foot 7...90 pounds soaking wet) "hickey girl!" (still, no clue where that one came from)...the hateful words just kept coming, until I finally broke down in tears. I was 10 years old and couldn't imagine how people could say such awful things. And why did they have to be said to me?

The bullying for me continued almost until my sophomore year in high school. My parents had kindly allowed me to change schools, moving from private to public, in the 7th grade where I met some great friends (one who would become my maid of honor in my wedding), yet until about 10th grade I'd still receive harassing phone calls, e-mails and things being shouted at me if my bullies past me on the street. It even went so far to the fact that in the winter I dreaded walking home from school. Growing up in Pennsylvania, winter meant snow, and walking home meant being attacked by snow and ice balls. And it wasn't just girls...boys joined in on it too. Eventually, everyone must have gotten tired of me though, and I ended up making some great friends in high school. From 10th grade on my life consisted of helping out at home, working a part time job and going to a different dance most Friday nights with friends. I was too busy to worry about the bullies, and apparently they were to busy to bully me. And eventually, come 12th grade, my life consisted of oogling over the guy I had met who would become my husband 5 years later, and looking back on my experience, glad that it was in the past.

My experience with being bullied has, though, led to a major fear for my children. I have discovered this instinct inside myself lately where I just want to shield my baby from the awful parts of life. I don't ever want to have my child come home from school one day and tell me that someone was mean to them. I don't ever want to hear that my child told a teacher about it, and the teacher ignored it like so many did to me. I don't ever want my child to have even a minute of people saying awful hateful things to him or her. I just don't want any of it!

I know that part of my job as a parent will be to give my children the skill set and the strength to handle mean kids and bullies. I know that it is my job to teach them how to handle things in life. But I still wish that I could just always shield them and protect them and give them a perfect life. The best I can do is to teach them well, love them like crazy, listen when they speak, and hope that no one bullies them ever.

I chalk this all up to animal instinct. It's like being in the lion's den. Don't mess with the mamma's cubs.

Monday, April 11, 2011

You Can't Sleep Either?!?!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of celebrating my friend Dale's twin boys first birthday. First let me say: what little sweeties...and cupcakes + 1 year olds = awesomely messy. In a good way.

So anyway, as I'm still relatively new to our area (we've been here less than 6 months) I don't know a whole lot of people. Family Readiness is getting set up for our battalion, so I'll get to meet more wives then, but for now I seem to have a very close circle. Yesterday though, I met a couple of new friends and discovered that the words "I don't sleep either" are apparently beyond comforting to me.

One of the party guests was a mommy of a one year old daughter who was just beautiful and so stinking cute (aren't they all?? I just see a baby these days and melt a little bit)...and this particular mommy happens to be due 9 days before me. As we were discussing random cravings and the weird symptoms that pregnancy brings, I mentioned that my biggest complaint was not sickness or exhaustion...it was insomnia. Brittani simply replied "oh don't worry, I don't sleep either. I didn't with Pais and I'm not with this one". REALLY??!??!??! There's someone out there like me?!?! I was beyond excited!! I'm not crazy (well, maybe a little) or wacko or completely abnormal (though some may beg to differ)!

It's funny how hearing someone say that they know how you feel can be a breath of fresh air sometimes. After hearing stories from friends about how all they wanted to do was sleep, it was so refreshing and comforting to hear someone tell me that they're going through the same thing I am. And to also hear that it would diminish in the next trimester put my mind well at ease. I'm finding myself grateful for the more simple things in life these days, and yesterday I was grateful for my new friend...and her insomnia.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hairstylists Rock.

So this morning, on the heels of not being able to button my jeans yesterday, I looked in the mirror. While my jeans no longer fit, if you don't know that I'm pregnant you'd probably think that I'm fat. My little tiny bump, while I know what it is, just kind of looks like I've been sucking down milkshakes and eating a cupcake after every meal...or for every meal. I did not feel very beautiful at all.

And then I had a hair appointment. I put on my best face, the maternity jeans that my gracious friend Jen passed on to me (which, while they are a bit big, they are soooooo comfy!) and headed out the door to visit my stylist Breanne....who is currently now my favorite person ever. The minute Breanne found out I was pregnant, she immediately got to work on making me feel like a million bucks. Her amazing wash and head massage was 100 times even more enjoyable than usual. She took extra time to massage and the warm water was so relaxing. When I sat in the chair, she got to work on giving me an amazing hair cut...and passing on words of wisdom as she is the mother of a three year old son. Breanne recalled how she felt when she was in her first trimester, and I think she took extra care because of it.

It's amazing how something so simple as a hair cut can make you feel so good, and a hair stylist can be someone so special. I am grateful for my hair appointment today in so many ways...I could not have scheduled it for a better day!

Friday, April 8, 2011

So I Used To Be Able To Button My Jeans...

This morning I woke up, ate breakfast (which, I've been on a huge Eggo and giant glass of milk kick), hopped in the shower and went to get dressed. Except that when I went to put on my favorite pair of jeans today, which have a little stretch to them so they're super comfy, I had to suck it in to get them to button....WHAAAAT?!?

I've noticed that some of my jeans were getting a little uncomfortable, leaving angry red marks on my waist where they've started to get a bit tight, so I've been wearing comfy (but decent looking) black yoga pants all week. But this afternoon I'm heading out with my awesome neighbor Jen to have lunch, so I thought I'd "dress it up" by wearing my favorite jeans and a great pair of flip flops (since it's finally sunny in Washington!). Low and behold, they no longer stinking fit. BUMMER. I can button them sure, but I don't just have a muffin top hanging over the edge...I have a whole freaking inner tube.

I know that my body changing size and shape is a normal part of pregnancy, but I guess I wasn't quite anticipating the day my jeans wouldn't fit....especially when I've lost weight since the beginning of it all! But, I guess that the ever present bloating in my wasitline, and the inevitable bump that's sure to ensue in the coming weeks and months was bound to make buttoning my jeans a tad difficult. Looks like it's time to track down a good belly band and make my jeans work!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why Yes, I Am Having a Military "Brat".

I am an Army wife. We are an Army family. And yes, technically, my kids will be Army "brats".

But don't take that as meaning that my kids will be like that awful Veruca Salt from "Willy Wonka". In fact, I will work my hardest to raise them as anything but...however they are going to be raised in a Military lifestyle, and therefore the term "brat" comes with the job.

Army "brat" is actually a term of endearment in the Military community. It's often misunderstood by civilians and taken in a negative connotation. It's a term that identifies the children of  servicemen and women with the lifestyle and culture of today's American Military, and it's a term that allows the children to identify themselves with one another in this lifestyle. These are the children who grow up knowing nothing different than having daddy or mommy leave for a while to go to a far away place. They know nothing different than seeing a parent in camis instead of a suit every day. They know nothing different than food shopping in the commissary, seeing humvees drive down the road on base, and hearing the sound of helicopters overhead on a daily basis. These are the kids you see in those ever touching photos clutching their uniformed parent and hugging them tight. These are the kids who know what being a proud American is all about, and red, white and blue means more to them than just the colors of our flag.

So yes, I am PROUDLY going to be a mommy of an Army "brat".

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Happy Place

My friend Justine (of the fabulous State of the Heart Parenting site), in telling the story of her son Lazlo's birth, talked about having her "Safe Place". This was a part of her Hypnobabies practicing that taught her to have a place in her mind where she and her baby were safe and at peace during her birthing experience. Her explanation of this was truly beautiful, and well worth the read if you pop over to her page.

While I am not quite at the point of having my "safe place", I am at the point of having my "happy place". I'm sure everyone, at one point or another, has had one. It's a comforting place in your mind to go when you just need a break. For me, my happy place always used to be the image of sitting on the deck at my Poppy's farm, in the middle of a warm, breezy summer day, with the book "Charlotte's Web" in my hand. That has always been my favorite image. It's full of great memories, and it's a calm quiet place to go in my head when other thoughts are just too undesirable.

This morning though, in a texting conversation with my hubby, my happy place has seemed to change. Hubby mentioned the idea of him coming home from work and getting to just hold our baby at the end of a long day. Suddenly, the beautiful image of me cooking dinner and looking out through the breakfast bar to see my baby gently babbling to my husband about the exciting day he or she experienced in this big exciting world came to mind. I just picture my husband holding our baby on the couch, looking intently and talking to him or her, and baby in it's own language communicating back to daddy. The image of my little family just makes me smile so big.

For me, I think that having this happy place during my pregnancy will be the thing to bring me out of those slumps when uncertainty, awkwardness and just pregnancy alone start to get the best of me. Having a thought so nice and so gentle is the perfect way to get over the aches and pains and worries of becoming a first time mommy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wive's Tales Out of the Woodwork

When we announced to family and friends that we were expecting, the outpouring of speculation on whether I was having a boy or girl, whether I'd go early or late, and whether my baby would be bald or have a head full of hair began. I have to chuckle every time I hear another wives tale. I myself am totally and completely guilty of such speculations when a friend or family member was expecting, and now that I myself am in those shoes, I find the tales both sweet and funny. Everyone seems to have one thought or another and a different speculation, and it never fails to make me giggle. They are the wives tales out of the woodwork.

There are the general ones that I'm sure everyone has heard...you know, that heartburn means your baby will have a lot of hair on it's sweet little head. The one that tells if the mommy is carrying all in the front it's a boy...and all around it's a girl. Then there is the one that says if you're sick a lot it's a girl, but boys are nicer to their mommies and keep the nausea to a minimum. I've heard these all a million times over, and I guess we will find out in November whether or not any of them are true.

Then there are the new ones. Wives tales I've never heard before, but none the less, they're interesting. The first one ever presented to me came from my good friend Morgan. Apparently if you add up the day you got pregnant and your age, the results determine the gender of the baby. If it's even it's a boy, odd it's a girl. Well, I got odds, so here's hoping! Don't get me wrong, I'll be happy with a healthy baby...but I wouldn't mind a sweet little girl :)

My grandmother informed me yesterday that I needed to listen to the baby's heart rate. Apparently her wives tale is that boys have a lower heart rate than girls do. Funnily enough, Mimom may be correct on this one. Some studies show that female babies have a heart rate that can be as much as 20 bpm faster than males. This one is interesting, but I feel like it would be difficult to judge, since the baby's heartbeat is something like 2x's faster than mine.

My favorite is an old Italian wives tale that says to have the mother sit or lay, and hold a piece of thread with a needle on the end over her belly. If the needle, on it's own, swings back and forth it's a boy...and in a circle it's a girl. While I can't speculate as to the validity of this one, I can say that there are probably a lot of women out there wondering if the person holding the thread swung the needle :)

Speculate as you will, and go ahead share them with me! The old wives tales are always good for a chuckle...and a pondering as to if they're actually true. Any which way you spin it, I'll just be happy to have a sweet, healthy baby in my arms.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Love at the End of the Tunnel

As an Army wife, I face the inevitable fact that there are going to be times, probably several a year, where my husband is going to be away for any given period of time. Whether it be training, field time or even deployments, I deal with him being gone anywhere from a few days to an entire year. As it happens, right now is one of those times of separation.

Being separated from hubby right now has proved certainly interesting amongst my spectrum of emotions, and last night reminded me that it's only human to miss him, especially while I'm pregnant. I was feeling beyond sorry for myself...tearing up at the thought of going to sleep alone again, and at the thought that we still have 7 weeks before he's home. I couldn't help but feel sad. And then all of the sudden this beautiful thought crossed my mind...

Come November, I won't be alone when the hubby is away anymore. There will be someone to hug and kiss and smile at. There will be someone to love and snuggle and feel needed by.

How amazing. At the end of these long 40 weeks, I will not only be an Army wife, but an Army mommy. I will have someone who needs me...just as much as I need them, sometimes more so than ever. I'm going to have a little person to share our incredible life with, even when hubby can't always be here. How lucky am I?

At the end of these 40 weeks, it's the love at the end of the tunnel.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Fridge Is Empty, Freezer Full & There's Fruit By The Foot in My Pantry

One of the oddest symptoms of pregnancy I've been experiencing is my aversion to certain foods. Pretty early on, I suddenly had a major distaste for tortellini and pesto, a staple dinner for us. It was the strangest thing...one night I was scarfing down a plateful, and then next thing I know, I'm grossed out by the thought of that dinner. Really??

As the weeks have gone on, more and more foods have come to be very unappetizing. Before my husband left, I made a point to make a huge pot of meatballs and tomato gravy with the intentions of being able to freeze the leftovers. I enjoyed those meatballs all day while they were cooking, stealing one out of the pot any chance I could. Dinner was fabulous, I had two nice sized containers in the freezer for future meals, I was set....until the next day when the thought of having to eat them again completely nauseated me. And then made me sad. Spaghetti and meatballs is one of my favorite dinners ever...it was always a once-a-week staple at home growing up...and now I can't stand the thought of it! How depressing. Soon to follow on the yuck-meter of foods I want nothing to do with would be any kind of leftover...and anything that meant I had to even look at raw meat to cook.

With hubby leaving for a few months, this left me in kindof a pickle (yum, pickles!). What the heck was I going to eat while he was away, without having to deal with raw meat, and without leaving any leftovers that would just go to waste? Well, if you looked in my fridge right now you'd see, I'm officially living like a college kid again. The contents of my fridge currently consist of condiments, a jar of mini dill pickles, Jello, oranges, water and 2 gallons of milk. My freezer, on the other hand, is another story. In there you'll find anything that is pre-cooked and not raw....Lean Pockets, Eggo waffles, popsicles, and chicken nuggets galore. If I can nuke it, I can eat it...woo hoo!

The most hilarious part (at least to me, anyway) is what you'll find in my pantry. What used to be filled with cans of soup, whole wheat pasta and decently healthy cereals has now been replaced with my favorite kiddie cereals like Rice Krispie Treat cereal and Fruity Pebbles. Replacing the cans of soup are cans of Chef Boyardee, and replacing the pasta is boxes of SpongeBob mac n cheese. The strangest addition to my pantry has been the big box of Fruit by the Foot, which apparently is just the most appealing thing ever to me right now. I mean, really, I haven't had that stuff since recess in 4th grade! It's official, I live like a college kid.

Sigh. Cest La Vie, I suppose. Perhaps I'll be back to eating like a human in a few weeks....In the meantime, hello Fruit by the Foot!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Whoever Named It "Morning Sickness" Must Have Been a Man.

When I was a little girl, and would get an upset tummy, my wonderful mother always knew just what to do. A glass of ginger ale with instructions to "just sip it, Val, don't chug", a heating pad, my blankie, and a hug. Those where the days...

Too bad I'm 23, can't use a heating pad right now...and live 3,000 miles away from my mommy.

Along with my crazed insomnia, random bursts of tears and weird appetite comes a special little pregnancy symptom called "morning sickness". Except that it's not morning sickness, it's "right when I want to pass out and go to sleep sickness". Whoever named it "morning sickness" must have been a man. There is nothing "morning" about it.

Normally, if I've gotten a good night's sleep and have managed to have small meals consistently all day, I can somewhat avoid the awful waves of nausea that hit at night time. If I slept like jumpy bunny at a death metal concert, and haven't much felt like eating all day, I know I'm in big trouble. Such is the case today. I snacked a bit all day but food isn't necessarily my favorite thing ever right now...and last night was filled with me waking up every 2 hours and having to force myself not to just get up for the day at 4 AM. So naturally tonight I'm "sipping" ginger ale, popping Tums, sucking on Bnatal lollipops and cursing the person who named it "morning sickness".

UGH. I miss my mommy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Book That Made Me Bawl My Eyes Out...In The Middle of The PX.

I had decided a few weeks into knowing I was pregnant that I wanted to buy something special for the baby. Just one, maybe two, little items that would be the first things we have and things we could cherish. I think it's something I am going to do for each of my children...buy one or two special things that we will use often while they're babies, and then save away in a memory box. So I set off in search of that special thing. I looked for a special little onsie, a toy, a blankie...anything that would strike my eye and say to me "I'm special!". Funnily enough, after searching the baby sections in a whole bunch of stores, I found my special thing in the place I least likely thought I would...the PX on base.

Ironically, I wasn't even really looking for a baby thing when I found it. I was in the book section at the PX, just looking for something new to read when I spied this blue covered children's book on an end cap. The cover had this happy little baby face peering out from underneath an American flag. How cute, right? So I decided to flip through....

OH DEAR. Oh no. Please don't start in the middle of the PX. Not here. Stop reading and hold it in. You can't cry in the middle of a store! Really with this right now???? There I stood, in the middle of the book section in the PX, the tears just flowing like a bad leaky faucet with no end in sight. That damn book made me cry! A children's book, of all things! And they weren't bad tears in the least! That children's book was the most amazing book I've ever read in my life. AMAZING. It was this beautiful book about how when daddy (or mommy, for those brave females who serve our nation) is away, he is always thinking of our baby and missing them so. This was the first time I had ever seen a children's book like this...and written by a civilian, no less! I was beyond touched by this book, and immediately knew this was my special gift for my baby.

For those of you interested, the book is called "Dear Baby: I'm Watching Over You". It's by Carol Casey, illustrated by Mark Braught, and is available on Amazon or at a base PX near you. I HIGHLY recommend this book to all Military families!