Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bad Mommy

Boy, oh boy! It's already been one of those days and we're only a couple hours into the afternoon. We've still got a whole lot of hours and an outing before bedtime but I feel like quitting for the day already. Potty training is frustrating the hell out of me and like usual, mealtime has been a pain in the butt. Nap time has come and gone with out there being an actual nap. And here I am.. Sitting on the living room floor feeling like the worst mom ever because lunch was a bowl of grapes with a couple gummy bears and there are two little tired faces next to me that are covered in boogers.

It only took a few seconds from there to get me thinking. I am nowhere near being the worst mom ever. Except for when they're only wearing a diaper and throwing a fit, my babies are usually clothed, fed and happy. It boggles my mind that the same doesn't go for every other little one.

Yesterday, after I picked up V from daycare, I was sitting in the parking lot trying to finish gluing a "welcome home" poster before dropping it off for the Solider. A car pulled up into the spot next to mine and I seriously couldn't help but stare at the mother and the dude in the passenger's seat. The two little girls in the back seat were not buckled in to booster seats, seat belts or anything; they weren't even sitting in the seats. They were standing and wrestling between the front and back rows. Their mother, smoking a cigarette inside the car.

I try not to pass judgement but in situations like that, it's hard not to. I called the MP's to let them know about the kids with no seat belt. Who knows what happened or if they even showed up.

One of the speakers from the class that I was taking said the neglect was the most common form of child abuse on post. It's sad that people have no interest in taking better care of their kids. Sure, it's difficult, but it isn't that hard.

Ahh.. Peace and quiet. My babies are finally quietly asleep and I can go back to feeling like Super Mom again.

Friday, June 29, 2012

On The Go

The past two days have been a little more than hectic. I've been taking a Rear Detachment training though ACS and running around picking up and dropping off children at various daycare locations. I almost feel like a chicken with no head.

Yesterday, we had Caesar neutered. He was such a pleasant little creature after the surgery. All he wanted to do was sleep on the carpet. V was able to lay with him without being trampled and gnawed on. This morning, totally different story though. I had to lock him up so that Baby A could enjoy some tummy time on her own while big sis slept.

Guess what happened during tummy time..! My munchkin is officially on the move!! For a while she's been rocking back and forth on her hands and knees and today she finally started making strides forward. It won't be much longer until she's actually up and on the move. I can't wait until her daddy is here to see her!

We have a babysitter coming over tonight. It'll be the first time that some one other than family watches the girls. This mommy is going to enjoy some much needed grown up time over dinner and drinks.

Currently I'm working on a cheat sheet with all of the info that the babysitter will need. I'll share everything on the list once it's finished up.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Guilty Feeling

I always feel a bit guilty when I do or buy something nice for myself while Hubster is gone. If feel as  if though I shouldn't be having a good time spending the money that he earned while he is trapped in the miserable desert.

Over the weekend some of the wives from the company and I took a road trip to Hobby Lobby. We all spent a pretty good amount of money. Not a ton, but obviously more that we could have added to our savings. Along with the shopping trip, we had a nice non-homecooked meal. Even if Olive Garden isn't gourmet, it sure beats an MRE or dehydrated stuff from the DFAC.

I felt extra guilty about today. After our spectacular CrossFit workout, Jacquie and I went to the spa on post and got massages and facials. It wasn't overly expensive or anything, but the whole time we were there I kept thinking how Hubster would probably kill for a massage. Or a pedicure on those nasty boot feet. After dealing with the munchkins on my own for the past 6 months we'd probably both agree that a massage was well deserved though.

In the end, I decided that the best way to get over my guilt would obviously be to treat Hubs to a couples massage over R&R.

I know I can't be the only one who has these feelings. Do you feel guilty when you spend money or visit certain places while your spouse is away?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Georgia Peaches

This afternoon, the babies and I met up with Madeline and her baby to walk the 3 mile loop at the park near our houses. The walk went well but, let me tell you, 2 babies later and I am not in the same shape I used to be. I had a bit of difficulty trying to power walk while pushing a stroller while trying to hold a conversation. I made it through though! It took us just under an hour.

Once we finished up our walk, the 5 of us moseyed over to the farmer's market that had just opened. There were plenty of actual farmer's selling their produce but there were also baked goods, meat and jewelry for sale. Madeline took me to the guys she gets her produce from and I picked up some peaches and tomatoes. We walked a bit further and I bought skirt steak. The beef is grassfed and it was cheaper than I get it at Publix!


When we got home, the first thing I did after unloading the kiddies was chop up a few pieces of a peach and stuck it in the little baby-fruit-juice-sucker-net. My little Georgia peach, Baby A loved it! V, not so much. 

After dinner, I blended up the remaining half of the peach with some water and fed it to Baby A. She liked it much better in the net thing. I got a couple little ugly faces.

We made plans to get together again next week and do the walk and market thing again. The exercise does me well and it's fantastic to socialize with someone the same age as me with a kid.

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Influenster Mom VoxBox is Here!

My Influenster VoxBox just came in the mail! I've been stalking the mailman since last week to see if he had any goodies for me and they're finally here! The items in this box are geared towards moms. I can't wait to try them out.

In this box we have..:
  • Ivory Bar Soap
  • DenTek Comfort Clean & Fun Flossers
  • Stash Tea Superfruits Tea Sampler 
  • Nektar Sweetener
  • Quaker Soft Baked Cookie
  • imPRESS Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails
I received all of these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.

Army Wives and Other Randomness

Shannon slept over last night so that we could watch Army Wives together and then she could just leave here to go to work this morning. For the past four years, I've always forced Hubster to watch with me. Last night I felt like I was him making comments about uniforms being wrong and those type of things. Shannon and I enjoyed the episode although I felt that it was a tad predictable.

For some reason, last night Shannon and I were talking about traveling so I checked the rate for the cruise that Hubs and I are taking over R&R and the military rate finally dropped! I submitted my price drop form. Hopefully I hear back today about it. That's what I love about Carnival. If you book far enough in advance,  you can use the Early Saver rate which gives you on-board credit in the amount of the difference even after final payment.

I should be receiving my Influenster Mom VoxBox today! I've already had a chance to see what's inside and I am looking forward to testing those products out. If you aren't a part of Influenster, make sure to check it out. They send out FREE products for you to test on a regular basis.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Upside of Deployment

I've always been one to see the glass half full. Unless of course it's a glass of mommy juice, then there is never enough to keep it full. Deployment has been no different. Although I do miss my husband terribly, focusing on the positive has made 2012 not so bad. We're quickly approaching the half way point and I don't have any major complaints.

Before Hubster left, I came up with a couple of things that I was looking forward to with him being gone. Saving money and paying down debt is probably one of the most popular items on everyone's list. Between the extra money from hazardous duty and family separation pay, we've been able to not only get rid of student loan and car payments, but also bulk up our savings.

In addition to saving more, we've also been able to spend less. I know they sound the same but in my book they're not. With Hubster being gone, I spend a lot less on groceries. After all, my two year old doesn't really want a steak once a week. Also, since Hubs doesn't need to drive to work everyday, we save about $40 weekly just on gas. The electric and water bills have gone down significantly too.

A couple of the other positives that have come out of Hubster being deployed are:
  • Less laundry!
  • I don't have to cook "for real"
  • Staying up waaay past my regular bedtime
  • Not feeling bad about being bummy looking
  • The house is kinda bummy looking too
  • More time to spend with other family and friends
  • I get to look forward to him coming home
Even with the good things going on during the deployment, I can't wait to have someone to snuggle with and discipline V again. But, things could always be worse and for now there is no reason to dwell on the negative.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bedtime. The Best Time.

Lately, it's been extremely rare for me to get a quiet moment during the day. Undoubtedly, nap times have not been matching up and there is just too much going on for me to sit down and have a minute to myself. Thankfully, there is this magical thing called bedtime. Most afternoons I find myself counting the hours until 8:30. Today was no different.

The day started out with a visit from some friends. V decided to poop her pants just as they were walking up the drive way. Quickly, I got her changed before the door bell rang. They hung around for a bit and then we were off to meet a new friend.

Coffee and adult time with Madeline was fantastic. Of course, it was impossible to get through with the frequent, "V, no." "V, please sit." "Eat your cookie please, V." We made it without any major interruptions and made plans to meet again next week. I had a great time hanging out with another mommy. But guess what.. Just as we were about to leave, V pooped her pants!

We kept chugging along to V's doctor appointment. I was able to get into the bathroom and get her changed and out just in time to hear her name called. While waiting on the doctor, baby A started to get fussy. Let me tell you, trying to juggle two cranky kids in a doctor's office by yourself is no fun. The assistant wasn't the friendliest creature either. And, right before the doctor came in, V pooped her pants. AGAIN!

Afterwards, our time at home was one tear-fest after another. Until finally, BEDTIME!

Baby A went first. She's usually pretty good about it. Not tonight. Fuss, fuss, fuss. She ended up crying herself to sleep. V went down half an hour later. With a bed full of stuffed animals. I'm convinced that she is destined to be a hoarded. Each night, one more doll gets added to the slumber party.

So here I am.. Watching Chelsea Lately, drinking my cup of green tea. I can't think of any better way to end the day. Except maybe with a glass of wine.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

4th of July Care Package

I had fun doing Hubster's 4th of July care package. Aside from his anniversary and Easter package, I'd say this is one of the best ones. For this package I tried to include Americany and red, white and blue things. He requested a couple things but they ended up fitting with the theme.

So, in Hubster's 4th of July box there is:
1American flag
12 Pure Protein Bars
6 Hostess Baseball cakes (I had to eat 2)
1 regular sized box of Frosted Strawberry Poptarts
1 small can of Pik-Niks
1 bottle Flintstones vitamins
2 bags Beef Jerky
6 small bags of assorted chips (BBQ Lays, Cheetos, Chili)
3 red, white, blue beaded necklaces
1 red, white, blue flower leis
1 hand/foot print flag painting
1 box poppers
1 1/2 lb Haribo gummy bears
2 cakes in a jar

The flaps of the box are decorated with festive scrapbook paper and I glued a bunch of stars on the inside of the box. And of course, what package would be complete without something messy and annoying inside. I added a bag of star shaped confetti to the bottom.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cake in a Jar

Long before Hubster deployed I started researching different ideas for fun care packages. One of the favorite things that I found was Cake in a Jar recipe. It's so easy and it allows me to send cake to Afghanistan. You have to be careful to keep everything sanitized though so you don't risk contamination and getting your soldier sick. Since I've done this a couple of time, here is how I do it.

Start out by cleaning your jars well and let them dry.

Preheat your oven and mix your cake batter like usual. 

Spray the insides of the jar with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the jar being careful not to get it on the sides. If you do, wipe it off. Don't fill the jar up more than half way. The jars in the picture above turned out perfectly. 

Bake for approximately 35 minutes at 350.

While the jars are baking, boil the lids in water. Just before you take the jars out of the oven, take them out of the water and dry them off completely.

Once you take the jars out of the over, get the lids on them as quickly as possible. You should here a pop sound within 5 to 10 minutes. If you miss the pop sound, wait until the jar cools and press on the lid. If you can feel it move, it didn't seal properly and you shouldn't send it.

And that's pretty much it! If you know anything about canning, this is relatively similar.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Donate Phone Minutes To The Troops! For Free!!

Up until this deployment started, I never realized how much the USO does for the military and their families. Thanks to the USO I've been able to talk to Hubster for free on several occasions and recently, I sent him a photo book at zero cost to me. We've received a stuffed animal and other small goodies in the mail to help the girls deal with their daddy being gone for a year.

Because of our involvement with fraternities and sororities throughout college, Hubster and I are relatively familiar with donating time and money to various charitable organizations. We decided that going forward, we would do our best to make the USO one of the causes that we'd support. AOL has made it easy for everyone to do the same without ever even having to open their wallets.

The only thing you have to do in order to contribute to the cause is set AOL to your internet homepage. In addition, you can play a game or send a message to send even more minutes. You can click the link below for more info and to start donating!

AOL's Homepage for Heroes

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Earning Money Online!

As a stay at home mom I am often searching for ways to contribute to the household other than the usual cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids. Taking surveys online is a great way to easily make some extra money. However, I often find that I don't qualify to take the survey and when I do, they often take an upwards of 15 minutes for a mere 50 cents.

A while ago I discovered a couple websites that allow you to make money in a couple of different ways other than taking surveys. The links below are the three websites that I use. All three websites also reward your for referring your friends. So click away!

I use SendEarnings to earn money by reading emails. Each day I get somewhere around 5 emails a day that I simply have to open and click the link in the email to confirm that I opened it. They also send daily surveys. You have the ability to signup for other email offers and programs which will earn you more money.

Swagbucks is another great website for earning prizes. Just like SendEarnings, you are able to complete offers for Swagbucks. The best part about Swagbucks is that you can watch videos. My favorite video section is the Homes & Gardens section. There are tons of videos with DIY ideas for around the house. You can even use it as a search engine and earn Swagbucks like that! Once you've earned enough points, you can trade them for prizes or even gift cards.

Search & Win

The last website that I use is InboxPays. This one is pretty similar to SendEarnings. You have the ability to take surveys and complete offers as well as click on emails for cash.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Father's Day Care Package

For holidays and special dates, I always try to send Hubster a themed package. This is the first time in the 5 months that hes been gone that I've actually remembered to take a picture and document it. I got super creative for our anniversary and sent a bunch of snack items that represented different dates and memories from early on in our relationship. Of course I forgot to take pictures.

Here is my Father's Day care package. This is a picture from before it was complete. It's stuffed full of protein bars, foot/baby powder, microwave food and V's artwork. I attempted to make a hand print/foot print of V and A in plaster but I think I used way too much water so the thing is still drying on my counter and the package is long gone.

Father's Day 2012

I've already started purchasing things for a 4th of July care package. I love the $1 section in the front of Target. They always have the cutest little extras to stick into boxes. Hopefully this time around I can remember to take pics.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Coming Home

It's been a little while since I've had a chance to post. Mostly because I've been busy with a unit within Hubster's Battalion coming home as well as going to my parents' for a little while. Each time I visit home, I'm reminded that it was a great decision for the girls and I not to move back for Hubster's year-long deployment. While there are tons of reasons why moving back in with my parents could have been a good thing, I feel like the negatives drastically outweigh the positives. The biggest negative factor being the lack of support.

Sure, my parents would be here and willing to help if I really needed them to. But, they have their own lives to live and jobs to tend to. The majority of my friends either go to school or work full time and none of them have kids. So I end up staying home all day with not much to do. Plus, at the end of a long shift, no one wants to help watch two babies. And honestly, most friends/family members don't understand what it's like to have a deployed spouse.

The best part about staying near Hubster's base is the amount of support that spouses receive. The Army has all sorts of programs, classes and activities, most of which are free. In addition to those things are the various playgroups and get togethers that you can find on Facebook. Other wives from unit are often free to hangout since the majority are stay at home moms like myself.

Each month, the FRG has a coffee-type event for the spouses to meet up. That, plus the FRG meeting, guarantees that I'll have some adult time with other military families at least twice a month. Occasionally there is a Battalion event or just something that another Company may be doing that we get invited to.

After making it alone this time, there is no amount of saved BAH that could convince me to do otherwise.