Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review Thursday

On a Kindle store recommendation, based on my purchase of "Belly Laughs" by Jenny McCarthy, I downloaded "Taboo Secrets of Pregnancy: A Guide to Love with a Belly". Sadly, this was probably my least favorite Kindle rec ever.

The book is written by Michelle Smith MS, SLP and Leslie Fossen, and while it proves to show an interesting point of view with one of the authors being pregnant for the second time as she was writing the book, I found it to seem like a much less funny version of McCarthy's book. And not one I will probably read again. I found that the book tried to mix factual information with humor...and that it wasn't the best mix out there. In reading this book I decided it would have been better to read "Belly Laughs" over and supplement with a day-by-day pregnancy book I had received as a gift. That combination was easily more informative, and much more hilarious than "Taboo Secrets".

I never really like to give any book a poor review, but this one I have to say, was just not worth the $7 Amazon charged for it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dealing With Anxiety

Today I'm feeling the need to discuss something that affects pregnant women more than you might think, yet is something that is not commonly discussed: anxiety. And I'm not talking about the "normal" mommy-jitters...I'm talking about the kind of anxiety that makes you worry about every little thing, and stress out unnecessarily during a time when you're already emotional enough as it is.

I've always been an anxious, easily stressed out person. It's something I constantly work on, but also something I wasn't expecting to affect me so much during pregnancy. As someone who is predispositioned to experience anxiety, pregnancy, especially early on, has proved to be a challenging time in dealing with stressors and anxious feelings.

I experienced what I had assumed were normal fears when I first found out I was pregnant: am I really going to have to squeeze out a kid the size of a watermelon? How are we going to make room for a baby in our relatively small apartment? Can we afford this? I'm really having a baby??? Sure, these are normal fears for any first time (and probably second, third and so on) mom. But it was when these fears escalated into much more, and caused me much more stress, that I knew this was not quite "normal".

Pretty early on I was panicked about the potential to miscarry. Once I had gotten over the initial shock of being pregnant, I was excited to know that I had a little life growing inside of me...and petrified that with a rate of up to 20% of women my age having a miscarriage, I could lose that little life. My fears of miscarrying became so intense that at any little tweak or odd feeling in my abdomen, I was checking to make sure that I was showing no signs of having lost the baby. Even more so, my fears of miscarrying developed into a fear of going to the doctor...and them not being able to find the baby's heartbeat.

My irrational fears and anxieties only became worse from there. Feeling the baby move for the first time on Easter was a really exciting occasion for me...but when I didn't feel any movement for several days after, I worried...even though I knew in my head it was totally normal. And when I experienced round-ligament pain for the first time, and didn't realize what it was, I worried that maybe I had moved wrong somehow and had seriously injured my baby...who I knew was well protected in my belly.

After irrationally fearing that I had broken my baby's neck by bending the wrong way, I knew I needed to take up my concerns with my doctor. I didn't want to be stressing out and spending the rest of my pregnancy being an overly-anxious worry wort. I found that discussing my fears with my doctor was a great idea. She reassured me that the baby was fine, even letting me listen to the heartbeat for several minutes just for my piece of mind. She answered my questions about my crazy fears with great comfort, reminding me that my baby is fine, healthy and safe. And she gave tools, not medicine, to help me be able to reassure myself when fear and anxiety takes over. My doctor has made it comfortable for me to call the office with any questions or concerns I have, no matter how big or small they may be, and has provided me with the knowledge and resources to become more comfortable and less anxious with being pregnant.

Now at 25 weeks, I'm feeling good. As the baby has grown, I've become more comfortable and less anxious worrying about if everything is ok in there. Now that I can feel my little peanut move and thrive, and even react, I am more secure in knowing that everything is ok. And talking to my doctor proved to be a helpful tool in maintaining my fears and getting me to the point where the most stressful thing about being pregnant was eating right and picking out a theme for the nursery (or baby-cave, as my husband affectionately calls it).

As a stubborn person, I've always disliked asking for help. I'd rather do things myself...but in this case I learned, sometimes you just need to open your mouth. Help isn't always a bad thing.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Scrumptious Saturday!

Neely's Lime Bar Recipe, from Down Home With the Neelys on Food Network
I've made this dessert before, and it's the perfect summer treat! Super easy, and seriously yummy


Ingredients

Cookie crust:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch kosher salt

Lime topping:

  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (or bottled key lime juice)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • Confectioners' sugar, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13-inch cake pan with nonstick spray.
To make the crust, combine the butter and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt, and mix another minute until well combined *Cook's Note: The cookie crust dough can be prepared up to 2 days in advance, then wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator. When you're ready to bake the bars, simply bring the dough to room temperature and pat out as described above.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan, and pat out to an even thickness over the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from the oven, and cook on a baking rack.
To make the topping, whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, and whisk until just combined, then whisk in the lime juice and zest. Pour the lime topping over the cooled crust, then bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until the filling is set.
Allow the bars to cool completely. Generously dust with confectioners' sugar and cut into squares. *Cook's Note: For the neatest presentation, use a metal spatula or a butcher's scraper to remove the bars from the pan. Leftovers will keep for 2 or 3 days at room temperature, or for up to a week in the refrigerator.

and our cocktail: Perfectly Fresh Margaritas again, super yummy, and this recipe makes a pitcher for 6
1 1/2 cups gold tequila
3/4 cup of triple sec
3/4 cup fresh lime juice, or more if a tangier margarita is desired
2 tablespoons of sugar
8 cups of crushed or blended ice
6-8 lime wheels (not wedges)
salt to rim, and lime wedges to garnish
Combine tequila, triple sec, lime juice and sugar in a pitcher, and stir to completely dissolve sugar. Add crushed ice and fresh lime wheels, stir lightly. Rim margarita glasses with salt and garnish with a lime wedge to serve. Enjoy!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Book Review Thursday...on Friday

Don't hate me, Mommy readers. I definitely chose a much needed nap yesterday over writing the book review.

So here it is on Friday...

Today I'm reviewing "Belly Laughs" by Jenny McCarthy.

There is one word which best describes this book: HILARIOUS! I purchased this book when I was newly pregnant, as a little a little "maybe this will make me laugh about how crazy emotional I am" book. Let me tell you, easily one of the best pregnancy purchases, besides maternity jeans, that I have made to date.

McCarthy takes a ballsy and hilarious approach when it comes to describing the different stages and ailments of pregnancy, and even early motherhood. Her no-holds-bar approach to describing "the mask of pregnancy", the need to constantly pee...and even pregnancy gas (which, the chapter is entitled "Did a Sewer Tank Explode, or Did You Just Fart?"...the title alone had me in tears laughing) is enough to send any woman, pregnant or not, into a good fit of giggles.

Jenny McCarthy also takes a serious note in the book to discuss her difficult labor, and is quite frank about her experience, which I personally found refreshing. It's easy to appreciate her honesty when describing her not-so-easy birthing experience, and easy to appreciate the fact that she still finds the means to wrangle a chuckle in telling the story.

"Belly Laughs" is a really easy read (I did it in a few hours), but one you'll find yourself going back to read again and again. I highly recommend this book to pregos everywhere...and even those who aren't currently expecting. The humor is funny, the tone is light and this book is just genuinely enjoyable.

"Belly Laughs" is available on Amazon.com, and for download on the Kindle. It was also followed up by the books "Baby Laughs" and "Life Laughs".

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yes, There Is Only One In There. Thanks.

Going right along with the fact that pregos do not appreciate fat jokes (as discussed in this post a few weeks ago), today I'm discussing the fact that we also don't appreciate the comments on how huge or tiny people think we look...that aren't meant to be jokes.

Let me start by saying this: it's not really a compliment to any pregnant woman when you tell her she looks big for how far along she is...or that she looks tiny. Telling her she looks big is like saying "holy cow you giant prego monster!" and telling her she looks too tiny is like saying "is your baby really ok in that teeny bump? It looks too small". First off comments like that can make any woman worry "do I really look that bad?", "have I gained too much or to little?" and even "hmmm...is my baby really ok in there?" Second off, do you really think that makes her feel good??? Not so much.

Now, do you want to be the culprit of an innocent pregnant woman's worry? I didn't think so.

This past week has been a particularly no-holds-bar week when it comes to what people say to me. No less than twice I've been asked if I was sure there was only one baby in my belly. No less than twice I've been told how a woman didn't pop until she was as pregnant as me, and looked about as big as I did when she delivered. And I've heard multiple versions of the phrase "you're huge!". It's not really a great confidence booster. And it's led me to the need to write about it.

If you've never been pregnant before (and even if you have and need a reminder), please learn this: every woman's body is different. Every woman shows at a different time and carries differently...but no woman appreciates unwarranted comments about her changing body, whether they were meant to be funny or genuine. For myself I can say that I happened to start showing fairly early on in my pregnancy. Not that it's anyone's business, but I had lost some weight prior to becoming pregnant, and according to my doctor it's normal for a woman who loses weight and then gets pregnant immediately to "pop" early. And I've only continued to grow since then. I can also say that I was quite bloated, as many women can be, up until almost 20 weeks...which means my bump appeared to be more swollen and protruded than it actually was. And now that I'm 24 weeks, my baby is right on schedule with what he or she should be weighing (according to the ultrasound) and I am too. So yes, there is only one in there!

Funnily enough, the women who discussed their tiny-ness with me were at least 4 inches taller than me. Let me tell you how much of a difference that makes in carrying a child. They had a good amount more torso than I do to carry that child, so naturally they're going to carry smaller than me. And the people who called me huge were either men, or clearly clueless women. So I guess I have to chuckle at the stupidity of it all. But still, words hurt and make you feel bad regardless.

So please, dear people of the world, be kind to pregnant women. Don't tell us how huge or how tiny we look. It doesn't make us feel good either way. Why not try the phrase "you look wonderful" instead?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It Feels Like Rocks In My Legs!

Ah, the ever pleasent joys of pregnancy...morning sickness first, then comes the heartburn...and now, leg cramps.

HOLY. COW.

I used to get leg cramps really badly when I was younger, especially when going through growth spurts. And even as an adult if I'm slagging on calcium or vitamins in general, I get them. But nothing compares to pregnancy leg cramps. They are officially ruthless.

I was hoping to be able to stave them off since I'm on prenatal vitamins (and taking them religiously every night), and mostly craving milk and dairy products. But as I've been informed by my doctor, leg cramps are unbiased to pregnant women, whether you're up on your vitamins or not. And apparently they hurt twice as bad as normal ones do...and stretching only goes so far to help.

My first experience with them came last week, when I awoke at 2 am to a sensation I can only describe as feeling like someone was pushing rocks around in my calves. And when I say calves, I meant plural. Yes, my friends, I had the pleasent experience of having both legs cramp up at the same exact time. Delightful, I know. I've had them twice since, and they show no sign of stopping...So I just keep telling myself that November is coming...and eventually I'll look back on the aches and pains of pregnancy...and decide to do it again.

And so to say that I think I'm getting the full on pregnancy experience, in my opinion, would be a fair statement. Morning sickness, heartburn, leg cramps and all. Naturally, there are plenty of upsides to pregnancy...but those are definitely for another post :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Daycare Chronicles

Recently a friend of mine came to me looking for advice on choosing a daycare for her daughter. Like many Americans, it's not an option for my friend to stay home, rather her household is a "2-incomes-necessary" machine. Having worked in a daycare, I was happy to give her a few tips...and now I'm happy to share them with you.

My first advice to anyone looking into daycare is this: when you walk in the front door, the facility should be clean, the staff should be friendly, and the kids should sound and appear happy. If one of those things are off, raise a red flag...with the exception of happy sounding and appearing kids...this one keep in mind that boo boos happen, time outs are majorly disliked, kids miss their parents...and just generally melt down. If you walk in and hear the sounds of an unhappy child, give it the benefit of the doubt. You never know who's mommy just left, who's in time out, or who bonked their little head.

Second, before you take a tour, sit down and talk to an administrator. At the preschool I worked at, it was standard procedure for a visiting parent to fill out some basic information, be given background for the school and have the opportunity to talk about their children and ask questions. Getting a feel for who is working in the office and who is directing the school is always a good move (and, might I say, my directors were awesome). If you don't have questions right away, don't freak out. Take the time to think about things you want to know while you're on the tour.

I always recommend, when it comes to taking a tour, that you see each classroom, meet each teacher and see the general facility. As a teacher, I never minded saying hello to parents who were touring the school...and let me tell you, the kids never minded saying hello either. It's never a bad thing to take a peek at who could potentially be your child's daycare teacher as he or she grows within the school, and even to meet the kiddos your kid will be growing and playing with.

I also say this: don't be put off by a daycare teacher's attire unless it's completely inappropriate. Yes, generally speaking, teachers dress nicely. But you're meeting teachers at a daycare or preschool. This is a whole different world. Whereas teachers in a grade school and above can wear crisp white shirts and perfectly ironed pants, preschool teachers cannot. Let me tell you just how quickly that crisp shirt would wrinkle and get boogers from a teary-eyed two year old all over it. And forget neatly ironed pants. That's just asking for glitter (well, at least in my classroom) and glue to ruin them completely. For preschool teachers, comfort and functionality are key...jeans and yoga pants are staples!

Now, when touring, ask yourself...do the classrooms, while potentially may have floors scattered with books or toys...or even Cheerios...appear clean? And safe? Are they decorated in a friendly manner? How do the bathrooms look? And does the changing station seem functional and safe? Where are lunches stored? Is there a refrigerator for perishable items? And how do the playgrounds appear? Are they well kept, with sturdy equipment and gates or fences that latch shut and/or are completely secure?

When you finish touring, don't hesitate to ask any questions that come to your mind. The more you ask, the better informed you'll be. I also suggest asking if the school does a monthly newsletter, and if you can have a copy in addition to any paperwork or information they may give you.

Finally, go with your gut. If you've done the whole shtick, touring and all, and something seems off...it probably is. And it's probably not the daycare for you. Daycare is a place you should feel safe and comfortable leaving your child...not a place where you feel you should worry!

And remember, when you do chose a daycare, the first drop off is always the worst...for the parent. I promise, you'll hate it more than your kid will.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Scrumptious Saturday

Grasshopper Pie


1 frozen deep dish pie crust
1 1/4 cups of milk
1 package of chocolate pudding mix (not instant!)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 oz of softened cream cheese
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract
green food coloring
thawed whipped cream (like Cool Whip that you find in the freezer section)
Andes mints

Bake the pie crust as directed on the packaging and let cool completely (at least 30 minutes).

In a small saucepan, mix together milk and pudding mix, and cook as instructed on packaging. Continue to cook over low heat, and add in chocolate chips...stir until the chips are completely melted.

In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, peppermint extract and about 4 drops of food coloring. When the mixture is smooth, fold in about 1 cup of the whipped cream with a spatula.

Spread the cream cheese mixture in the pie shell first, and then layer the chocolate mixture over top. Let pie cool in refridgerator for about 2 hours, then top with the remaining whipped cream (which, if you want can be colored with food coloring). Then crush up the Andes mints and sprinkle on top. Keep the pie in the fridge until you're ready to serve. Enjoy!

Chocolate Martini


1 1/2 shots of Godiva chocolate liqueur
1 1/2 shots of cream de cacao
1/2 shot of vodka
2 1/2 shots of half and half
chocolate syrup
chocolate shavings

Dip the rim of a chilled martini glass in chocolate syrup and coat with chocolate shavings.

Mix the liquors and half and half with ice in a martini shaker and shake well. Strain into the martini glass. Enjoy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Belly Love

Last night I paid a visit to my friend who does a phenomenal airbrush tan. First let me state that yes, it's safe. The product she uses is natural, and I checked with my doc first. Second, let me say that no, I don't look like an Oompa Loompa.

So anyway, I have been feeling a little lousy about my appearance between having a belly that shows no signs of slowing down in the expansion process...and living in a place where the sun rarely seems to shine. So I decided to pay her a visit. I was a bit hesitant, mostly because of the fact that I think my belly is freakish and kinda gross looking and I don't really want anyone to see it bare, but I'm so glad I went. Sometimes you just need a friend to see your new bump for what it is...and still think it's cute.

As she sprayed me with the cool, almond scented mist, she just kept telling me how much she loved seeing my belly and how cute it was. It felt so nice to hear from someone who is adorable and petite and perfectly skinny (don't you just hate those girls?) that my belly wasn't freakish at all. Just simple words like that made me feel so good. I don't think she will ever know how much I appreciated it...unless she reads this of course. But even then, it's just the little things these days that can make you feel better about yourself when you're feeling awkward and down. And it's things like that which make you grateful for the people in your life who unknowingly make you feel wonderful.

Women are always being preached to about loving your body and yourself, and while this is a great concept and all, it's awfully hard to do sometimes. Especially while pregnant. So once in a while to hear someone love your body (well, belly really) for you is incredibly encouraging. It's nice to get a little belly love from someone who doesn't have to love it at all :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review Thursday

Another new feature for the blog, in addition to Scrumptious Saturday, that I've decided to do is Book Review Thursday. I've always been an avid reader (ask my mom, I still won't shut up about the Kindle she got me for Christmas...best gift ever!), and it's something I want to instill in my kids. I love reading so much, in fact, that I even read to the baby now. Early reading is such an important thing to do with your kids, and to keep that passion alive as an adult is an enjoyable past time for me. So each Thursday I'll give my honest review of new books I'm reading, or those I've already read. Hopefully my reviews will inspire you to pick up a book, and indulge yourself in a little quite "you" time :)

This week I'm reviewing "Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War" by Alison Buckholtz. I received this book as a Christmas gift from my husband, the Christmas before we got married, and it was one of the most thoughtful gifts he could have given me. Even if you're not associated with the Military, I highly recommend this book. It's a great insight and thought-provoking text on how Military families run, especially when our country is at war.

The book is written as a first-hand account of what raising a Military family is like, especially when one family member's duty takes him away for training and deployments. Buckholtz humorously accounts her ways of trying to maintain normality when life is anything but, and warmly and emotionally describes the bond between fellow Military wives, Military children and their parents, and her experience playing the role of a single parent while her husband was away.

For me personally, this book is always a great reminder that Military families succeed and thrive every day and that time spent apart will always come to a close. If you're Military do yourself a favor and buy this book! You will relate and easily be moved by the author's words. If you're not Military, buy it too. This book gives incredible insight into a world which many civilians often don't get a glimpse into, or have a hard time understanding. You may find that after reading this book, you appreciate the family as much as you appreciate the Servicemember.

"Standing By" is available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobels

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Please Appreciate Your Closeness

Going off of yesterday's post, I'm writing today to remind those of you who are close in distance to your families of just how truly lucky you are. And even if you're hours away, maybe you're still lucky enough to be in the same time zone as them. Please, appreciate even just that little nugget because once again I'm curious as to what that's like in the civilian world.

Part of being an Army wife meant that when my husband received orders to report to a station 3,000 miles away from our hometowns, I had to go too. What moving 3,000 miles away meant was that 1) I wouldn't be able to simply drive a few hours home when I needed some family time...2) I wouldn't be able to hop a cheap, quick flight to get home...3) At 9 o'clock, when I feel like I want to call my mom just because...I can't because it's midnight at home. And so I wonder what it's like. What it's like to go home when you feel like it, what it's like to call home when you want to, what it's like to have your family within a few hours (or minutes even) away.

This has easily been the most challenging part about being pregnant for me. Forget about the gross first trimester sickness, the acne, the stretch marks, the awful dreams and insomnia. Forget all of it. For me, not being close to the women who mean the most in my life, during this time in my life, has been the biggest challenge.

I come form a pretty sizable family, on both sides, albeit a very close one at that. While on my dad's side I've got ten aunts and uncles (including those by marriage) and sixteen younger cousins, I've got two uncles, one aunt, five cousins and an enormous and enormously close extended family on my mom's side. Plus then there's my Mimom, my last living grandparent (mind you, she looks like Barbie and I'm pretty sure the woman is immortal...besides the fact that she also doesn't look a day over 40). I come from a family with a plethora of women, all of whom I love and all of whom I've turned to at one point or another in my life, when I needed them most. Let me tell you, being so far away from such amazing women while pregnant is heartbreaking.

The worst part is that in addition to being so far away, I'm two timezones away as well. My family lives on the East coast, and we're stationed on the West coast which makes for a three hour time difference. So when I'm waking up they've all been busy with their days already, and when I'm eating dinner they're getting ready for bed. It makes communication difficult. They never know when to call me, and vice versa. So to say that I'm literally apart and missing my family is an understatement.

I'm especially missing my mom during this time. She and I have always been incredibly close. She's one of my best friends and I can honestly say that anyone who meets the woman is damn lucky. Honestly, I'd consider you lucky even if the only meeting between you and her was her flipping you off for cutting her off on the road. She's just that amazing. Needless to say being 3,000 miles from that incredible person, while carrying my own incredible person, makes me quite homesick.

And so I say this to all of you. If you're lucky and blessed enough to have your family close by...or even an easy, same timezone phone call away...be sure to appreciate what you have. Please take a moment, when you finish reading this and tell someone in your family how grateful you are that they are close by, and how much you love them. Because I promise you, if you ever move far away, you will miss them for sure.

Contest!

Alright Mommy readers, in appreciation for having such fabulous people reading my life, I'm doing a little contest! If you haven't already liked the This Whole Mommy Thing Facebook page, do yourself a favor and hit that like button!

I've teamed up with my good friend Megan of Reed Photography who is also an amazing jewelry designer. When This Whole Mommy Thing hits 100 likes on Facebook, one lucky winner will receive a piece of Megan's custom jewelry, that she's designed just for this contest!

Be sure to spread the word! And keep reading because I love you for it! I plan to make give-a-ways a staple thing for this blog, just to remind you all of how much I appreciate you all :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Military Realizations

Spending the day with a friend, who happens to be an Army wife as well, an interesting question was posed: what's it like to have your husband come home from work every day? What's it like to kiss him goodnight every night, wake up next to him every morning, and never wonder when the next time you'll get to share a meal again with be?

Having been raised in a civilian household, I grew up with both parents generally home together every night. I knew that my parents would sleep in the same bed every night, kiss eachother goodbye every morning, and know that they'd see eachother at the end of each day. However, now that I'm a Military wife, though I witnessed "normality" growing up...I still really don't have any idea what that's like because I don't get to experience that kind of marriage for myself. I don't start every morning off kissing my husband goodbye, get to cook dinner each night knowing he'll be there to share the meal, and I often go to bed alone blowing my husband a goodnight kiss over the phone. As far as Military marriages go this is pretty standard...but I'm still awfully curious as to what it's like on the other end. I may have grown up in a civilian world, but I certainly didn't marry into it.

This lead me to another set of questions and a slightly harsh reality. Me not quite knowing what it's like to see my husband ever day applies to my kids too...they will be growing up in a world where daddy won't always be home, and we won't always know when exactly he'll be back. I will be raising a family, often playing the role of both parents in my husband's absences, and facing the obstacle of making sure that my children understand that daddy's job is important, the way that I understand it. I face teaching my babies that we need to support him. I face having to make sure that my kids don't hurt in his absence, but miss him just enough to know when he's gone and look forward to him coming home.

While I know that tons of kids around the country are products of the same Military lifestyle that I will have to raise my own kids in, it still leaves me left with so many questions as we begin the journey of having a family. How do I handle all of it, and how do I help my children handle it? How will they deal with daddy leaving and coming home? Will they recognize the difference between them and civilian kids? Will they resent my husband and I for the fact that they will be different than civilian kids? Will they appreciate what their daddy does for our country, and realize that their effort in supporting their daddy is just as important?

I'm coming to the realizations that we've got truly an adventure in front of us, raising a Military family. And while there are books upon books upon books about doing it all, I'm feeling like the best we can do is to roll with the punches, learn as we go, and love our family like crazy. We may face some quite different obstacles and adventures compared to the average civilian family, but we'll figure our own way, as many do.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Scrumptious Saturday...On Monday

So I totally flaked on the Scrumptious Saturday post this past weekend, out of excitement over my ultrasound pictures...sorry loves! So here's this weeks recipes on Monday instead...enjoy :)

Easy Raspberry-Lemon-Blueberry Parfait

2 cups of fresh blueberries
1 cup of fresh raspberries
2 - 8 ounce cartons of lemon yogurt
10 gingersnap cookies

In a food processor or blender, puree the fresh raspberries, or slice them into small pieces. Add the puree or pieces to the lemon yogurt, and fold into each other (do not whisk or stir heavily, it will ruin the texture of the yogurt). In a wine, martini or margarita glass, or bowl, layer the yogurt and blueberries (I do a layer of yogurt, then a layer of blueberries, and repeat once so that the bottom layer is yogurt and the top layer is blueberries). Crush up the gingersnap cookies, and top the parfait generously. Chill for 10 minutes or more in the fridge and serve cold.

Rum-Razz Cocktail (makes 4)


1 cup of fresh raspberries
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
2 ounces of orange juice
2 ounces of Bacardi Razz
4 ounces of light rum
ice

Muddle together the raspberries and sugar and add to a cocktail shaker. Add the remaining ingredients to the shaker, including ice, and shake well. Strain into chilled cocktail glasses and garnish with a fresh raspberry, lime twist and lime zest. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Apparently I'm Growing a Mini Ninja

So, as evident in my previous post, I had my big anatomy scan/ultrasound this past week. Among seeing the awesomeness that is my baby, I learned quite a bit. Firstly, my kid's got a sense of humor already. As the doctor began to take a look at my baby's hand, my awesome kid flashed us a thumbs up. No lie. The pic is in the post below to prove it. Take it as you may, we thought it was pretty funny!

Another thing I learned...I never really knew exactly what position the baby is in. I had just assumed the baby was right side up because all of the strong movements I've been feeling have been in my lower abdomen. I assumed it was the baby kicking me...little did I know that apparently I'm growing a mini ninja, because the baby is in fact upside down and the movements I've been feeling have actually been my kid karate chopping and punching me. I've got images in my head now of popping out a mini-Ralph Macchio. Now all we need is a Mr. Miagi...

I had a couple of other amazing moments at the appointment also. Getting to watch my baby's heart beating was seriously cool. It's almost hard to grasp the idea that that little thing is growing in me, and that tiny heart is so close to mine. Another great moment was getting to see him or her yawning, as the doctor moved the scanner over to the face. It just made me so happy to see that sweet little moment happen. And the thought of it still amazes me.

Getting to see my baby on the screen was truly incredible. It just made everything even more real, and seeing my baby yawn, move, karate chop and thrive was just heart-melting. I can't even describe how phenomenal it was. I'm now even more anxious for November to get here so I can really meet this little person and hold my little ninja :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Now Showing: This Whole Baby Thing

my little stinker at 22.5 weeks, weighing in at approximately 1.2 lbs. 5 fingers, 5 toes and looking perfect <3

Giving a "thumbs up" to let us know everything is going good in mommy's belly

Baby feets :)

Giving us a little face time!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Scary Dreams, Sleepless Nights

Sadly but surely, the insomnia I had been experiencing in my first trimester has once again returned with a vengeance. On top of the fact that I'm up every few hours to pee, I'm now wide awake every other few hours just for the heck of it, apparently. It's really not fun.

And on top of that, I experienced something that no one ever forewarned me about...but apparently is normal in pregnancy: the worst nightmares I've ever experienced in my life.

No less that three or four times last night did I wake up to find myself panicking, panting, grabbing my belly or holding tightly to my husband...having awoken from the most frightening and ridiculous dreams ever. Dreams of myself holding the hand of a little toddler girl (a premonition, perhaps?) and somehow losing her in a different way each dream. The worst of which was like cheesy soap-opera...yet so scary I don't think I really want to share the details.

The final time I awoke from one of those dreams, I was grateful that it was over...and grateful that my little tiny baby must have sensed that I was freaked out because he or she seemed to be giving me reassuring little kicks to let me know everything is fine.

It's a terribly frightening thing, to dream about losing a child in any way. It was like watching some of my very worst fears coming true...and that made for an awfully rough night. The books say it's my motherly instinct kicking in and reminding me of just how much I love and want to protect my child. I say that I feel that way without needing reminding...especially in the form of these horrific nightmares!

The boogie man's got nothing on pregnancy dreams...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Need a Popsicle...Now.

Cookie Monster officially has nothing on me and popsicles. Seriously, Sesame Street could name a new character after me: Popsicle Monger.

If you were to look in my freezer, you'd see the gloriousness of it all: three big boxes of Popsicle brand popsicles. And I promise you, at the rate I'm going, they won't last long.

I'd always known that pregnant women have cravings, and sometimes they could be insatiable, but no one ever forewarned me that literally, when you were having a craving it would overtake your mind until you fulfilled it. Seriously, I almost feel like a drug addict or something...except that my drug of choice is a frozen, sweet treat on a stick. Awesome.

It's funny, I've always loved popsicles in the summer, but never like this. Ironically I had been expecting to crave weird things that I don't actually like, like bananas (yes, yes, I do not enjoy them! Don't judge me) or brussel sprouts. But no, this kid apparently is taking after his or her mommy and craving a favorite summer-time treat.  Clearly, my kid is already awesome and has good taste.

Way to go, cravings!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Truth: Pregnant Women Do Not Enjoy Fat Jokes.

Yes, Ha Ha, I get it. I've got a growing belly, occasionally an appetite that could make me want to out-eat a Sumo wrestler (ok, perhaps not THAT big), and I walk kinda funny. But let's get one thing straight: I'm not fat, I'm pregnant!

I think I'm speaking for all pregnant women out there when I say that not one of us enjoys being the butt of anyone's "fat" jokes...or being called "huge"...or "chubby"....or even "all cute and fat and prego". Nope, I promise you, say that to a pregnant woman and she will not be a happy camper....and you soon might not be either. This, I swear.

Whether it's done in jest, to be cute or to pursue a laugh, I don't find it funny one little bit. If you've ever been pregnant, you know. I've got a growing belly that I can't control, weight gain that's supposed to happen, and a body that is slowly but surely morphing into something I've never seen before. Let me tell you, I've never been so self conscious about my body in my whole entire life. And while some of you may think it's cute and I should have nothing to be so self conscious about, it's just not how I am feeling and people need to be sensitive to that.

At the risk of sounding like a five year old, those "chubby" comments and "fat" jokes, no matter how cute or silly they're supposed to be, hurt my feelings. And if you've ever said them to another pregnant woman, I promise you they hurt her's too. What a way to make a woman feel ten times worse about her ever-changing body, than to call her "fattie" while she's expecting. While you may not understand why she doesn't think it's funny, it certainly makes sense in her head, and it's just not nice.

So please, instead of making a joke at the expense of a woman who's pregnant, self conscious and already overly-emotional, why not just tell her how wonderful she looks instead?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Scrumptious Saturday

This is a new feature I've decided to start doing each weekend for This Whole Mommy Thing. One of my favorite things to do, especially on the weekends, is bake. It's a passion I've developed over the years, especially for desserts and cupcakes, and as a mommy, it's a passion I look forward to sharing with my children. Each Saturday I'll post a fun recipe for a sweet treat...and for those of you who think candy is dandy but liquor is quicker, I'll share an interesting cocktail idea :)

Yesterday on the Facebook page, I shared a recipe for a 4th of July cocktail and cupcake idea. Today I'm going to share another set of recipes as well. Enjoy!

This one is always a classic for 4th of July...
Red White and Blue Jello Pie
you'll need....
1 premade graham cracker pie crust
1 packet of blue Jello, any flavor
1 packet of red Jello, any flavor
1 tub of Cool Whip
sliced fresh strawberries
fresh blueberries
1 cup of ice cubes
1 1/2 cups boiling water


Add 3/4 cup of the boiling water to the packet of blue Jello mix, and stir for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of ice cubes and stir until the ice is completely melted. Pour the Jello into the pie crust, and put it in the fridge for about 5-10 minutes, so that the Jello sets up, but does not totally firm.
Add the rest of the boiling water to the red Jello mix, stir for 2 minutes, then add the remaining ice cubes. Let the Jello cool for about 5 minutes to thicken, but not completely set (i.e. don't put the red Jello in the fridge).
Top the blue Jello with a thick layer of Cool Whip (make sure the Cool Whip is nicely chilled, don't pull it from the fridge before you're ready to use it). Then pour the red Jello mixture over top of the Cool Whip, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Before serving, top the pie with any remaining Cool Whip, and decorate with fresh strawberry slices and blueberries. Enjoy!


And now, a great cocktail...
Blue Bikini Martini
you'll need...
1.5 ounces of Gin
1 teaspoon of Peach Schnapps
1.5 ounces of Blue Curacao


Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a frozen or well chilled strawberry.

Bon Appetit Mommy friends!




Friday, July 1, 2011

The Little Things

This 4th of July weekend will be spent enjoying the little things in life...and one very special day for my husband and I.

It's sometimes the small things that make you appreciate long summer weekends, and mornings spent slept in...and this 4th of July is no different. This weekend, hubby and I are lucky enough to be able to relax and spend time with each other, enjoying good friends, good food...and for once in Washington, what appears to be good weather. Our holiday weekend will consist of warm summer days (finally!), barbecuing with friends, fireworks....and our first wedding anniversary.

This is the first time in over six years of being together that Derek and I will get to spend any kind of anniversary together, and for it to be our first wedding anniversary is pretty special...and a perfect reason to take the time to reflect over the little things that have made this past year so special, adventurous and amazing for us. From finally getting to see each other more than once a month or so to moving across the country, and even that extra line on the pregnancy test that changed our lives forever, this year has been one crazy and phenomenal ride. And while our year has been filled with some pretty major events, it's still the small things like cooking dinner for two, and lounging on the couch watching Doogie Howser every night, that have made this year so incredibly memorable for me.

I hope you all are able to take five minutes and reflect on what makes your life so special, whether you're celebrating an anniversary or not. This particular weekend has always been filled with fond family memories for me, and it's always the perfect opportunity to reflect on the little things that make life, love and family so incredible.