Family Matters

Tuesday I spoke to my father for the first time in 8 years. We've been emailing for a couple years, recently exchanged phone numbers, but we still hadn't spoken...not really.

You see, my biological parents divorced when I was a baby. Too young to even remember a time when they were married. I was born in England - my father was in the USAF - and my mom left him around 8 months after I was born. I won't get into the "why" of that because 1) I don't feel comfortable sharing it and 2) I don't know the whole story anyway. Mom left, we flew back to the States and moved in with my grandparents. There was a nasty custody battle, which my mom eventually won. We lived with my grandparents for about 2 years, until my mom married my stepdad - who eventually became "dad."

My father only saw me once, maybe twice a year. Mostly because of the custody thing, but probably more so due to the fact that he was in the military. (Something I never understood until very recently...) Every time he would visit, I always got anxious. I mean, I didn't live with this guy... I barely knew him and yet I was expected to talk to him?! As an introvert (which was far worse when I was a child), this was extremely hard. I read something in a parenting book a few days ago that said, basically, your child gets their cues on how to act from you. They don't understand new situations, so they look to you for how they should feel. With this knowledge, I feel certain saying that since my mom was uncomfortable in this situation (as was my stepdad) it makes sense that I would feel this way.

As I got older, sometimes my mom would tell me stories about him. Not really any good stories, either. Actually, I'm not sure I can tell you one nice thing she's ever said about him, unless you count, "He can be nice when he wants to be." And sometimes, when I'd do something that he did, she'd always get onto me and tell me she hated that because Rick did it. I can't tell you how many times I tapped my fingers on a table, desk or computer and got yelled at for it. As all redheads do, my father has a temper. He was never good at controlling it and I've always had a difficult time with it. On several of those "difficult times," I heard my mother tell me I was just like my father. She never meant it in a good way; she meant it to hurt me. And it did. Why would I want to be like someone she clearly hated? Still, I couldn't help that I acted like him. I'd never known him at all...it wasn't my fault. Sometimes I understood this, but more often than not I'd walk away wondering what I'd done wrong.

I grew up hearing about things my father did or said while my parents were married. They were married 3 years, and had divorced long before I became "aware" of anything. All my knowledge of him came from her and what little interaction we had while he was in town.

My freshman year of high school, I emailed him some without my mother's knowledge. I was taking a computer course and accessed my email account there. I can't even remember why I started doing it, but I'm sure it was because I felt like I wanted to know him. After that year, the emails slowed down a lot. I hardly ever talked to him. By my senior year, I might have emailed him a few more times. The last time I emailed him I had asked for money to paint my severely beaten up car. He suggested we "barter for it." That sounded sorta fishy to me, so I did what any teenager does - I asked my mom about it. Of course, she told me not to respond because she was worried what that meant. I can still understand it to a certain degree. 

He didn't come to my high school graduation because I didn't want him there. I didn't want him there because all the information I had on him was from my mom, who said he wasn't a good person. My mom sent the invitation the day of the ceremony so he'd know about it, just not in time. A couple months later, he came to visit at my parents' house. He'd wanted to meet in town, but because I didn't know him I wasn't comfortable with it. He stayed for a very awkward 2 hours, told me to let him know if I needed anything and then left.

That was the last time I saw him. I was 18 years old.

Fast forward to 2 years ago.

He had apparently lost my email address and emailed my mom. I can't remember exactly what the email said, but the idea was that he wanted to talk to me, to get to know me. And to apologize for not really being there, especially after I turned 18. A few months before this, I had been thinking about emailing him or sending a letter or something. He'd been in the same place for a while, so I did have his address. And apparently his email address never changed (unlike me...I've had at least 5 different ones). Anyway, when I got this email I knew it was time.

I'll admit that it's been difficult at times. At first I was a little irritated and upset. Why wait so long to talk to me? But the more we emailed, the more I realized that I'd only heard one side of the story. One side for over 20 years. I've heard my mom tell her side, but I'd never heard his. How he came home from 24 hr duty to an empty house. Despite all the troubles they had, I can't imagine how that felt. How it felt for him to hear me call someone else "dad" after Mom remarried. How it felt knowing he couldn't be there... 

Over the emails and facebook messages, we've mostly gotten to know each other. It's been awkward at times, but I'm sure it's worth it. Oddly enough, it's been easier since Charlotte was born. Everybody wants to talk about the baby and, as her proud mommy, I'm happy to do so! And yesterday, I decided it might just be time to talk to him. So, we used Skype to talk for the first time since I was 18. It was a little awkward, but I think that's to be expected. He got to see Charlotte and he met Joe, too. It was a really nice chat, overall. I'm glad we finally had the opportunity.

Since then I've been thinking about a lot of things related to our relationship. It's frustrating to hear one side for so long and then hear the other, which isn't 100% different...but it's the other side. And, so far, he's nothing like my mother described. Although, that was 20something years ago and they were married. He's my father. Our relationship is obviously different. I think so much time has passed that those things shouldn't really matter anymore. Anything he did, he didn't do directly to me. They either happened to my mom or just plain happened. I had little to do with it.

I think what frustrates me most is knowing that I missed out on something. I didn't invite him to any graduations (high school or college) and I didn't invite him to my wedding. {Although, honestly, it would have been way awkward.} I don't call him "dad" because he was never really around. And I'm fairly certain he's an introvert too, which doesn't exactly help in the talking-to-people department. I just... I never really got the chance to know my father. Not the guy who married my mom, although he is an important part of my life, but the guy without whom I literally wouldn't be here. The one guy who's biologically engineered to love me. I don't even have any pictures of us...well, except for the ones he sent me via email. And I was a teeny, tiny little baby in those. 

That's it. That's all I have. It just...it just sucks. There's really no other way to put it.

Did I have a good childhood? Yes. Did I have a father figure in my life, who I came to call "dad?" Yes. Is it the same as having your own father in your life? Absolutely not. I always felt sort of...different. My brother looks a lot like my dad. Aside from hair color, I look like my mom. But I always sort of stuck out like a sore thumb. Or at least I felt that way. Red hair, blue eyes, pasty white skin, glasses, contacts, nose stuck in a book, quiet, to myself kind of person. My [step]dad has black hair and green eyes, Mom has brownish blonde hair and green eyes, my brother has brown hair and brown eyes. And there's me. A lot of people my brother and I went to school with didn't even know we were related until we told them. Allow me to remind you that I graduated with 37 people. That's how you know it's bad.

I've totally gotten off on a tangent here. The point is this: God totally gets the credit for healing this relationship. It's amazing to me that we're on a speaking basis after so long, and after so many years of me hearing bad things about him. It's also amazing how I feel about all this. I never imagined that I'd want to know him, let alone that I'd feel sad about all the years and things we missed out on. I'll never know what that was like. But I'm glad we're here. I can only hope that things will continue to get better, and thank God along the way.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Wednesday Walkabout yesterday!! =D It was a hit! Can't wait for next week! (And maybe I'll get the link to work on time, too.)


Wednesday Walkabout

Welcome to the very first Wednesday Walkabout!

What is a "walkabout," you say? Well, let me tell you!

This is a weekly linky party with myself and 3 other co-hosts. The idea? Just put your URL in the linky (it can be a specific post or your "homepage"- whichever you prefer), visit a few other blogs, and possibly make some new friends. Easy peasy, right?!

Oh, and you only have to link up with ONE of the co-hosts. =) 

Here are just a few quick rules we've set for the linky party:

The Rules:

1. Please follow at least ONE hostess, and let us know you're a new follower and how you follow!
2. Try to visit 3-4 blogs that interest you. Take some time and let them know where you came from.
3. Grab the button and spread the word! (Not required, but just cool if you do). The more, the merrier.



Here I am, linking up with Taingamala for InstaTuesday again! I really just can't resist the opportunity to participate and share all my cute photos of my daughter with you. =)

Thanks to Google, I found out that you don't find Chuck Norris, he finds you. ;-)
{It should be noted that my hubby loves Chuck Norris jokes.}

Joe came home for lunch one day last week and it just happened that Charlotte was awake.
They had a good time hanging out on the couch, watching Star Trek.

We got Charlotte a little teething, crinkly book. She seriously loves this thing!

My new favorite obsession is vintage pyrex. I didn't even know anyone had/sold it anymore!
My nana used to have bowls like the ones in the bottom pictures and I always loved them.

I decided I'd buy these beauties from Etsy. I can't wait until they get here!!

One of the joys of running errands on post: humvees and convoys.

Got this awesome package full of Japanese goodies from Jes!

Another attempt at conquering the French braid. It's really hard to do your own hair!

Joe picked up some new uniforms Saturday!! Very soon we'll have an E5 in the house!
I'm so proud of my hubby. =)

Tried to get a shot of her in this cute outfit Sunday and she decided she'd rather watch Jasper play.
Still turned out to be a cute photo, though!

Caught the end of her sweet, sweet smile yesterday after a day of rough teething.

Hope you enjoyed a peek at our week/weekend! Tomorrow I'll be hosting the first day of a new linky party called Wednesday Walkabout with Chantal from Scattered Seashells, Jane from Taingamala and Jamie from Handling with Grace. Please stop by one of our blogs and check it out! We can't wait to get started and "party" with everyone! =)



I've kept a journal for as long as I can remember. I think I got my first one when I was in elementary school... I think I was 6 or 7...maybe? Anyway, the point is I started young. Ever since then I've been writing my thoughts down on paper. It's a kind of therapy for me, I guess. Cheap therapy.

I don't know if it's the pack rat in me or maybe I just cling to certain things from my past, but I have almost all of the journals I've ever written in. I'm sure that first one is hanging around in a box somewhere, waiting for me to open it and laugh at my silly 6 year old self. I'm sure a few of them have gotten lost over the years (and moves), but it's safe to say I have almost all of them. Considering I'm 26, there's quite a few!

Over the last few years I've sort of changed the way I journal. I used to use the journal kind of like I blog... Kind of. It was a space where I vented and talked about the goings-on in life. I always wrote more when big things were happening. Anyway, as I was saying, that's changed. Now I usually keep a prayer journal instead. I'm sure it has a little bit to do with blogging - the things in my day-to-day life are "journaled" here instead of on paper. I don't know why I started doing it; I only know that I did.

Last night, I ran across the journal I kept when Joe was deployed. Man, oh man, that one is full of memories, pain, fear, anxiety... You name it, it's probably there. Because I'd written it, it didn't take me long to read through. As with any kind of journaling, I also stopped for a while and then picked it back up. And I didn't start this one until he'd been gone for about 4 months. So there's that too. Anyway, there were so many ups and downs. It's funny how you sort of forget things - things that happened, how you felt, things that didn't happen, things you wanted to happen... In the last year I've almost completely forgotten all of those feelings. Throughout the 8ish months I journaled, there was one constant - okay, there were two:

One: I missed my husband so much it hurt. On an hourly, daily basis.

Two: I wanted to become a mom with every fiber in my being.

I haven't actually, completely forgotten my desire to become a mom, but...it's sort of faded. I forgot the pangs I would feel when learning someone else was pregnant (with the exception of my bestie), or when someone else had a baby. I forgot how often I prayed Psalm 37:4 - "Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart." I forgot how often I prayed "Your timing, God." I forgot how often I prayed, "I know it will be better in Your timing, not mine."

Looking back, I realize that I prayed those things and tried desperately to believe them. If you're a Christian, I hope you understand what I'm saying. Sometimes you can know what God's Word says, but still have a hard time actually getting it. That was me. I knew that one day I would be a mom. I knew that Joe would come home. I knew it. But I couldn't see it. I couldn't plan it. I couldn't know when it would happen or anything like that. Not having any kind of control? That is hard.

Now that our little miracle is here... I can fully appreciate the fact that God's timing IS better. If I had gotten pregnant when I really wanted to, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it as much as I did. I would've had to tell Joe there was a baby in my belly via Skype/email/phone instead of waking him up that morning. I would've had to tell him we were having a girl in a similar fashion, rather than him going with me to the ultrasound and seeing our sweet girl. She would be here and be a miracle either way, but this? This has been so much better!

Finding that journal has really stirred my heart. It's reminded me that God's timing is always best, even when we can't really believe it. I think God understands when we have a hard time with that. And I think He's proud when we pray it to help ourselves believe it. It's reminded me that I need to spend more time with Him - reading Scripture and journaling/talking to Him.

Finding old journals is always fun and interesting. I think by running across this one, God is trying to tell me a little something. And I'm pretty sure I'm ok with that. =)

Have you ever found an old journal? Were you surprised at what you read?


One of Those Taggy Things...

My awesome new(ish) bloggie friend, Bonnie from Makin' Plans, tagged me in this Liebster ("lovester" in english, according to Bonnie anyway, lol) blog award thing, so I thought I'd play along for fun. =)


1. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
2. Choose 11 deserving bloggers and tag them in your post.
3. Tell them you've tagged them.
4. Answer the 11 questions you've been tagged in and give 11 more for the people you've tagged.
5. No tag backs.

Random Facts About Me:

1. I could watch Grey's Anatomy all day, every day.
2. Chocolate in any form (but especially ice cream) is my weakness.
3. Some days, I'm just too lazy to clean.
4. I would rather spend a day in a car than fly. Period. {This is a BAD problem to have when you live in the middle of the pacific. On an island. And miss home.}
5. Breastfeeding is my absolute favorite way to cuddle with the little miss. =)
6. I never thought I'd say that ^.
7. I'm picky about journals. They must be spiral-bound, ruled and hard backed. Must!
8. I've become much more of a girly-girl since having a baby girl. 
9. I L-O-V-E love my iPhone. Yep, I said it. 
10. I read a lot. Mostly historical fiction.
11. I haven't painted my [finger]nails in about 3 years. Toes are always painted, though.

Bonnie's Questions for Me:

1. What is your biggest fear?

Losing someone close to me. One day I'm going to have to face this one and it's gonna be hard.

2. What is your favorite quote?

My brain is too tired to answer this one. Sorry, guys. =P

3. What is your favorite movie?

The Holiday. I've seen it a million times and I still love it! In fact...I may have to watch it now that I'm thinking about it. ;-)

4. What is your favorite color?

I always answer this question with "blue," but I'm not sure that's true anymore. Lately I've been favoring all things pink. Can I say both?

5. What states/countries have you lived in? And which is your favorite?

States: Arkansas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Georgia and Hawaii

Countries: US and England (I was born in England...so that counts, right?)

My favorite is probably North Carolina, though I still can't pinpoint why. Oklahoma will always be near and dear to my heart (BOOMER SOONER!), but North Carolina somehow became "home" for me when Joe and I moved there after we got married. 

6. How long have you known your best friend?

15 years. Yep, not kidding! Though we weren't always best friends, we've known each other since 6th grade. Other than family, she's the person who's known me the longest...and quite possibly the best. =) Love you, Melissa!!

7. What is your favorite meal?

Hmmm. This is another hard question for me. I'm gonna go with ham, mashed potatoes, pinto beans and cornbread - all made by my nana. She's the best cook ever and that meal just screams "home" to me. {It also screams, "eat me now!" ;-)} 

8. What is your favorite scent?

I love all different kinds of scents. I wear Sweet Pea from Bath & Body. I love my hubby's smell (but not after PT ;-)). I love the smell of my freshly bathed and diapered baby girl. I love the smell of cookies baking. 

9. What is your favorite blog to read?

I seriously don't think I can even answer that question. I read so many blogs!

10. What is your favorite book?

Just one? Ok, ok. The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks. I love so, so many other books too, though!

11. What is your favorite season?

Fall! 100% fall. I love when the leaves change colors, the air starts to get crisp and football season starts. I love pumpkin-y things. Dressing in light sweaters, jeans and boots. Snuggling up under blankets on a cool day. Ok. Can we move back to the mainland yet?!! I miss fall!!!


Anyone who wants to play along! (Yes, I'm being lazy. Deal with it. =P)

New Questions:

1. What is one thing you must have in your dream house?
2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
3. What is the worst book you've ever read?
4. What is your favorite dessert?
5. Have you ever met a blogging friend in real life? If so, what was your meeting like?
6. What do you love most about blogging?
7. Mac or PC? Why? (Or do you even care? ;-))
8. What's your favorite vacation spot?
9. What's your favorite room in your house? Why?
10. If you could only use one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
11. What is your favorite season?

Go forth and answer! ;-) Looking forward to seeing your responses! 


Why I Hate Doctors

I don't hate all doctors. In fact, I've had a few that I really liked. But for the most part, I have a dislike for them. Why? Well, here's a little, teeny glimpse:

About a week and a half ago, we took Charlotte in for her 4 month checkup. Which basically means the doctor will give her a decent look-over and send her for shots. Yaaaaay. It's always a pretty rough day, but this day was more rough than usual.

As it happens, Charlotte only gained a pound and a few ounces between her 2 and 4 month checkup, weighing 10lbs 4oz. I found this a little interesting, but I didn't think much of it. The doctor comes in and immediately puts on her concerned face. She checks Charlotte's heart rate and such and then hands her back to me. We talk about the Zantac and reflux, which is going pretty well.

Then we get to the weight issue. She starts by telling me that Charlotte should be gaining more. That there's going to be a lot of brain development going on in the next few months (duh), so she needs to gain. I understand this, but I also realize that Charlotte was born weighing 5.5lbs. She's a little girl. The doctor asks me if I'm feeling the letdown reflex when I feed her, and I do. And then she says the one thing a breastfeeding mother never wants to hear:

"If things don't change, you're going to have to supplement with formula."

I was instantly sad and very, very irritated. I was sad because, as I've stated here before, I love breastfeeding. Not just because it's free and the best food for a baby, but because of the bond I share with Charlotte. I was irritated because instead of saying something like, "I think you should talk to a Lactation Consultant" or "Try ___ to help with supply," she immediately went to formula. She didn't even ask if I had breastmilk stored up to supplement with - which I do. Since the growth curve is based on formula fed babies' growth, not breastfed babies' (don't even get me started on that), of course they go to it.

It just really irritates me that the medical community always says "breast is best," but when something like this happens it's, "oh, you must give formula!" Never mind that supplementing with formula can decrease a mother's milk supply. Never mind that a Lactation Consultant can help with weight gain/feeding issues. Let's just formula feed! I had to tell her three times that I didn't want to take any formula samples with me. Three. Times.

After we left, I felt very discouraged and upset. Fortunately, I have some BFing connections and found that fenugreek can help with supply. So I went to Walgreens, paid a ridiculous amount for 100 capsules, and started taking it. I also ended up calling a LC to talk about supply/feeding issues.  In the meantime, I did end up giving Charlotte a few bottles of stored breastmilk as a supplement. This resulted in a brief preference for bottle over momma. Bottles have a flow, mommas only have a flow when the letdown happens. After giving her a few bottles for 2 days it took me the rest of the week to get her back to nursing normally. A week! I was so incredibly frustrated. Finally I realized that stressing and supplementing wasn't helping either one of us, so I stopped it. I kept taking the fenugreek, but everything else went back to normal.

This past Friday, we went back in to the clinic for a weight check. She gained 4oz in a week. I was worried the doctor would think this wasn't enough. I was prepared for some serious breastfeeding judgment to occur and was determined to stand my ground. And wouldn't you know as soon as the doctor came in she said everything was fine! I was at once relieved and irritated. I spent the whole week freaked out, thinking this doctor was going to rip me a new one (so to speak) because my breastfed baby wasn't gaining appropriately. She asked me if I supplemented any and I was over-the-moon thrilled to tell her that I didn't.

Honestly, I understand that there is reason to worry if a baby isn't gaining weight appropriately. I do. But it really bothers me (obviously) that they go straight to "supplement with formula." Whatever happened to giving a breastfeeding mother support and knowledge instead of cramming formula down her throat? Whatever happened to being supportive of a parent's wishes? I'm all for healthy babies, but it's downright ridiculous for them to offer no breastfeeding support.

If I hadn't had the knowledge and support from online friends/groups, I'm not sure what I would have done. I probably would have taken the formula and ended up weaning her or something because of this doctor's opinion/recommendation. And I would've been in tears for weeks because I wasn't ready for it. I'm still not. I don't know when I'll be ready for her to stop breastfeeding. Every time I gave her a bottle last week, it was all I could do not to burst into tears. I actually did cry a few times. (Of course, I also stopped taking the mini-pill so it could have been the wacky hormones too. I won't discount that.)

I'm thankful that I read forums and blogs about breastfeeding and have a little bit of knowledge on how to increase supply. I'm thankful that I have real-life and blog friends who have breastfed or are currently breastfeeding (shout out to my "bosom buddy," Bonnie! ;-)).

This is just one of several reasons I'm not so doctor friendly. I hate the medicine-pushing, fear-mongering, down-talking that doctors often do. Not all of them do, but it's far too commonplace in my experience. When I was diagnosed with GD: "You're going to have a large baby." When I was diagnosed with hypertension during pregnancy: "Your baby will have trouble getting nourishment. You could become preeclamptic." You must do this. This will happen. You need to take this medication. Your baby isn't growing properly. On and on and on. And you know what? I didn't have a huge baby, even though I was a diabetic during pregnancy. She kept growing fine, despite the hypertension and I never became preeclamptic. My daughter is healthy, strong and growing. I may be a new mom, but I'm not a complete idiot. I deserve some respect and support from any doctor I or my daughter go to.

Is that really so much to ask?


What We've Been Up To, Instagram Style

I hope you're ready for some cuteness, because that's pretty much all I've got for you today! =)

Here's a little bit of what we've been up to lately:

Making faces. =) I absolutely love it when she makes this face! This is her happy/excited face. She gets excited about the iPhone. Lol!

This is my cue to put her down for a nap. Occasionally when she gets tired, she'll start sucking her thumb. Sometimes she'll roll to her side, too, but that's not the norm. I love that she gives me these cues and only sucks her thumb when she's sleepy! =)

Joe had 24hr staff duty (when does he not have it these days?), so we hung out on the couch and watched some White Collar. Cuddles on the couch are the best!

We had to send Daddy a "good night" picture while he was on duty too. =) Bedtime is the sweetest part of the day. 

We took a trip to WalMart this weekend and found a whole bunch of Hello Kitty soaps! Since Annie and I became friends, every time I see Hello Kitty I think of her! And considering we live in the Hello Kitty capital of the US...that's a lot!

I'm still trying to keep up with the current #SheReadsTruth study! Is anyone else doing it too? Proverbs is so easy to skim through... It's actually been a more difficult study than I expected. 

Yesterday, I conquered the French braid!!!! I have never, ever been able to French braid. Not my hair, or anyone else's. It's taken me weeks to be able to get this down. {Apparently my bestie thinks this is sad, because when I shared the news with her she said, "Oh yeah. I forgot you didn't have sisters." Gee thanks, bestie! ;-)} I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to do it on a larger scale (like my whole head), but this is definitely a success!! And hopefully I'll be able to repeat it. 

Omg. I have the cutest kid ever! And, oh, she's getting so stinkin' big! I barely had to prop her up to get her to sit like this! She's using those ab muscles more and more every day. Before I know it she's gonna be sitting up all on her own!

What have you and your Instagram photos been up to lately? ;-)


Show & Tell Monday

Today I'm linking up with From Mrs. to Mama for Show and Tell Monday! {I promise I'm not blogging just for the linky parties these days! There just happen to be several I want to participate in lately.}

This week's topic is all about home stuff. =)

1. If you were searching for a home now, tell me what would be on your "MUST" list.

This could be a long list...

Walk-in closet(s)
Master bath with a big bathtub 
Kitchen with lots of cabinet/counter space
Laundry room
At least 3 bedrooms
At least 2 bathrooms (I'm sick of having just ONE bathroom)
Garage with space for all the man stuff

2. Show me your favorite room in a home.

Living room: comfy, cozy, relaxing.

3. If you could have any room redone, tell me which one it would be and what you would like done.

Well, since we live in military housing we can't do much to the house itself. But our bedroom needs a serious makeover. I love our furniture, but the the comforter, lamps, curtains and deco need some serious help and love. I've been searching for a new comforter/bedspread but haven't found anything I can't live without.

4. Tell me where your favorite stores are to shop for home decor.

Ross, TJMaxx {if there's one nearby}, Target, Etsy {mainly for prints} and occasionally WalMart.

5. Show me your dream home {it can be your home, if you already have your dream home.}


Or this:

Source: google.com via Sarah on Pinterest

What can I say? When I dream, I dream big! ;-)

What does your dream house look like?


Book Club Friday

Hey guys! Sorry I've been sorta MIA this week. We've been having some struggles around the house lately, so I've been focusing on that rather than the blog. Nothing to worry about, just minor issues! But I decided I'd check in before the weekend and share a book I just finished.

It may come as a surprise to you that I'm sharing another historical fiction book. (*wink, wink*) I fell in love with this particular author a while back {while Joe was deployed, I think} and somehow totally missed this book. 

{Thanks, Amazon!}

In 1860s Seattle, a man with a wife could secure himself 640 acres of timberland. But because of his wife's untimely death, Joe Denton finds himself about to lose half of his claim. Still in mourning, his best solution is to buy one of those Mercer girls arriving from the East. A woman he'll marry in name but keep around mostly as a cook. 

Anna Ivey's journey west with Asa Mercer's girls is an escape from the griefs of her past. She's not supposed to be a bride, though, just a cook for the girls. But when they land, she's handed to Joe Denton and the two find themselves in a knotty situation. She refuses to wed him and he's about to lose his land. With only a few months left, can Joe convince this provoking--but beguiling--easterner to be his bride?

My thoughts?

Well, it was a little slow-going at first. She gives you a good chunk of the character's back stories before the two main characters meet. Sometimes I enjoy this, sometimes I don't. Turns out I was a little impatient while reading this book. =P

Once they do meet, though, things definitely get interesting! I'm sure you can imagine given the synopsis. This wasn't my favorite of her books, but it was good! I love the way that Joe and Anna flirted and talked to each other. Sort of reminded me of Joe and I. =) Anna's stubbornness irritated me, and I loved all of Joe's attempts to woo her. All in all, it was a fun read. It also offered a lot of insights into Seattle and lumber-jacking, neither of which I know much about. And, as always, I'm a sucker for historical fiction!

Add this one to your list and let me know what you think!

What are you reading next?



I am far too excited about Joe's promotion and re-enlistment. You would think that I am the one getting these things, not my husband. But I'm excited because this means that we'll finally be able to get closer to home.

I'm trying to plan too far in advance... I've already started looking at possible homes to rent at our hopeful duty station. It's sad, really. I mean, the likelihood of any of the houses I'm seeing now being available in like 8 months is really low. I don't know why I'm even bothering. Plus, we've still got 8 months in Hawaii. Like I said, I think I'm too excited about this...

There are times lately when I miss my baby being so teeny. I mean, she's still pretty teeny for her age... Yet I still sometimes miss the days when she'd fall asleep nursing and I'd be able to cuddle her as long as I wanted to afterwards. I also sometimes miss cuddling after those late evening (think 9-10pm) feedings. She always fell asleep during that one and I got to do this before I went to bed. Sigh.

Going back to the I-plan-way-too-far-in-advance thing... I'm already trying to decide when we should start trying for baby #2. Don't worry, it won't be anytime soon. I know my body totally isn't ready to be pregnant again. And mentally, I'm not even sure I could handle it. My bestie is pregnant with #2 (hope you don't mind me sharing that! :)) and dealing with nausea and exhaustion, so from her experiences I really know I'm far from ready. But I'm thinking about it. Why? Because I stinkin' LOVE babies. I also love breastfeeding and I'm curious what it'll be like with a different, new baby. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm thinking way too far ahead!

Even with all of the "I don't want my baby to grow up" thoughts, I do love seeing all the new things she can do. I especially love the smiles, laughs and jibber-jabber. It's the most adorable thing in the world! 

Also, things like this make me proud:

Big girl trying out her new doorway jumper.

Look at those head-holding-up skills!

Chewing the fingers = teething. 
Not the most fun, but definitely a "big girl" thing!
(Note the slight smile behind those fingers. :))

Sometimes when I put this baby girl to bed, she smiles the biggest smiles. And most of the time, it makes me want to cry many tears of happiness. It's amazing how one sweet little smile can evoke so much emotion. I didn't know my heart could hold so much love!

{Is it obvious to anyone yet that I L-O-V-E, love being this girl's mommy?!}

I'm so glad I've [mostly] gotten back into the groove of blogging and commenting. Adjusting to this mom thing took longer than I expected, but it's made me appreciate all my bloggie friends! I still don't always comment, but I always read. And I definitely missed blogging and chatting with my commenters! Thankfully I'll always have Twitter when I'm not in the blogland.

I love Twitter. And Instagram. And my iPhone. {Is it weird to say that? Oh well.} Where would I be without them? Boredsville, that's where. ;-)

Do you have anything you'd like to confess? Don't worry, I won't tell anyone! 


Blog Star: Hi, I'm Sarah!

Mrs. Monologues

Since it's still Tuesday on my side of the planet, I thought I'd link up with Mrs. Monologues for Blog Star!

First off, I'm Sarah and this is my little slice of the internet. Welcome!

I love to read, bake, sew, and do all things crafty {when I have the time}. Once upon a time I was going to be a history teacher, but that never panned out. As it happens, God had different plans for me so now I'm a SAHM/Army wife and absolutely loving it.

I started this blog of mine almost 3 years ago (!!!) when my hubby turned all Army on me and went to basic training. I got the idea - sort of  - from a friend I worked with. I had no idea what it would turn into and kind of just expected it to be an online journal. Little did I know I'd end up making tons of friends around the world, or end up meeting a few of them in person!

We moved to an island smack in the middle of the Pacific 2 years ago. You know it as Hawaii - Oahu, to be more specific.

{thanks, google!}

At first, I thought I would love living in Hawaii. While it has its perks, (hello, beach and warm weather year-round!) it's not home and it's way too far from family. We honestly can't wait to get back to the mainland! 

What do I blog about? Well... I blog about a lot of things. Since Miss Charlotte arrived, I talk about her a lot and my adventures in mommy-hood (breastfeeding, sleep training, etc). Occasionally I like to brag about my hubby, Joe. When big Army things happen (like deployment, PCSing or promotion) I talk about those too. I've also been known to share recipes, book reviews, and crafty tutorials. Basically? This blog is a little bit of everything! 

Thanks for stopping by! Please hang around a bit, introduce yourself and have a look around my little slice of blogland. Hope you're having a wonderful week!




Aloooooha! It's that time of the week again, folks!

You know...that time of the week when I show you my lovely Instagram photos and link up with Taingamala! =) Here we go...!

I love it when I find her all curled up in bed in the mornings, sucking on her thumb. It's the sweetest thing!

And this was us a little later hanging out on the couch watching TV in our pjs. I love cuddly mornings like that!!

I took this while she was nursing... I couldn't resist taking a photo of those sweet, gorgeous blue eyes looking up at me!

This happened on our way home from shopping Saturday. She was fussing like crazy in the backseat - which she never does. Turns out she had pulled her bow down over her eyes! And, yeah, she totally passed out with it like that too. We laughed uncontrollably when we found her like this!! =D We're awesome parents, y'all. LOL

This was my shopping haul! 4 shirts, 3 skirts (and a shirt for Joe, not pictured) all for $60! Old Navy clearance, for the win! Woo!

I decided I'd wear one of my new, super cute outfits to church Sunday. I am seriously in love with this skirt!!! Love, love, love. Best $7 I've ever spent.

My awesome friend, Annie, sent me this fabulous package full of Italian goodies. The only thing I've tried so far is the Kinder chocolate and ooooh was it good!! I can't wait to try the rest! =D I sure do miss having her nearby, but I can't say I don't like getting packages like this!

We finally got Charlotte a doorway jumper! I've been wanting to get her one for a few weeks, but couldn't find one cheap enough. This isn't exactly what I wanted, but it turned out that our neighbor had one her daughter used and she only wanted $5 for it. Um, sold! And so far the little miss is liking it! I'm hoping it'll help her use those legs and learn how to sit/stand on her own. 

So that's it!! Hope your week is off to a great start! We are trying to figure out our schedules as Joe has been put on the night shift for yet another training exercise this week. Thanks again, Army. *sigh*