A Man Down

I'm popping in today to ask ya'll to say some prayers and send some good vibes our way. Today Joe is going in to have a procedure done on his foot. He's had a lot of pain from spurs over the last year (at least), and it's taken a lot for this to happen. It's sad to see the amount of hoops that have to be jumped through in order for one of our soldiers to be taken care of....but we're both glad that something is finally happening. 

It's a fairly minor procedure {shock therapy, interestingly enough}, although he does have to be put under anesthesia for it. The whole thing will last about 30 minutes. It's not surgery, but if this doesn't work that will be the next step. We're hoping he doesn't have to have surgery, because that could be a gamble. The chances of him needing to be medically discharged from the Army after having surgery are pretty significant. Although we know he won't be in the military forever, we don't necessarily want to be pushed out. ;-)

Anyway, please say some prayers for Joe today, and this weekend. We're told his pain level after the procedure might be pretty high, and he isn't allowed to do much for several days. {Which is why my in-laws will be here. Hooray for family being close and able to help!} We really want this procedure to work so that he can have some relief, and so that they can do the same procedure on his other foot in a couple months. 

Thanks in advance. I'm sure I'll have an update for you next week, along with photos of Charlotte's big-girl bed setup. Until then, you can always find me on IG and Twitter! 

Happy weekend, friends!


So Fast

I'm not sure why, but I've been very very nostalgic lately. Maybe it's because I've suddenly realized that these babies of mine are sprouting up like little weeds and there's nothing I can do about it. Or maybe it's because my 10 year high school reunion was last weekend (I didn't attend), and I'm just....feeling it. It's probably a combination of the two. 

Today my in-laws are on their way for a visit. Along with them, they're bringing a big girl bed for Charlotte. While I'm super excited to fix up her room and to see her in this new stage, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit sad about it. Because somewhere in the back of my mommy brain, this is the picture I still see:

My Bean in her bed for the very first time - the day we brought her home from the hospital. Gosh, she was so tiny! Compared to other kids her age she is tiny, but she is definitely earning her big girl status every single day. 

This one was taken last year, while we were still doing the hotel living thing after we PCSed. The girl is a crazy sleeper! A little less so now that she's bigger, but I've always found her in the strangest of positions. {The same can be said about Millie, haha!}

This one was taken just a few months ago. It's rare that I have to wake her up anymore, but it does still happen in the afternoons sometimes. Yet again with Bunny over her face. I guess she felt her room still wasn't dark enough? LOL! 

This is the one that gets me; it tells me she's not a baby anymore and it hurts my mama heart!! In preparation for her big girl bed, we bought a rail for her crib a few weeks ago. I wondered how she would handle the transition. I prepared myself for the worst - climbing out of bed, not sleeping, etc. But I have to brag on this girl - we haven't had any problems. She stays in bed and waits for us to come get her in the morning and after naps, just like before. I'm hoping this stays the same once we change her bed!

A friend of mine called me last week to tell me her little girl (who is about 8 months younger than Charlotte) had climbed out of her crib. I felt so bad (well, kind of) that I didn't have any advice to give! We've been really blessed with this kiddo - she's never given us problems regarding her crib or sleep. She'll sleep in a pack n play when we travel, in the car, goes to bed when we put her down - you name it. It really surprises me that she does so well with change, but I guess you have to be adaptable when you're a military kid. ;-)

Some days I really can't believe that the last 2 years have gone by so quickly. I guess it's true what they say - the days are long, but the years are short.


An Almost Fresh Start

This is my first official post on the new blog. It would be intimidating, but I imported all of my old posts from GI Joe's Wife. So basically....nothing has changed but the name and URL! 

Despite everything being so much the same, I'm excited! I suppose the reason for that is that I haven't felt like just 'GI Joe's Wife' for a while now. I mean, obviously I'm still married. Joe is still in the Army and we're living the military life. I don't think I realized this 2 or 3 years ago, but a lot changes when you have kids. I feel like I'm so much a different person than I was back then. This isn't a bad thing...it's just different. Actually, I think it's a really good thing. 

These kiddos of mine have put a lot of things into perspective, and they make me think about my daily choices. They also make me think about the choices I made long before they were even born...and sometimes how I think I'd feel if they did similar things. That's normal, right? ;-)

Anyway, when I created my blog 5 (5?! Sheesh!) years ago I was a newlywed. 

Now? We're weeks away from celebrating our 6th anniversary, we have 2 sweet little girls, we've moved 4 times, lived in 3 different states, and survived a 12 month deployment. Life is most certainly different. I'm different. We're different. 

And so, things change. I will always be GI Joe's wife, but I'm now also a mom who is raising arrows. 

Welcome to the new blog. I hope you'll stick with me on this crazy journey; I've enjoyed sharing it with you thus far!


Tricked, Spoiled, and Blessed

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I was very pleasantly surprised this Mothers Day. I had thought that Joe hadn't gotten me anything. Usually what happens is I remind him of an event, suggest a gift or two (because he needs some help), and then leave the rest up to him. A few days ago, I asked if I'd have a gift by the weekend. For the last year or so, he's been notorious for getting me gifts way after the fact. Anyway, he pretty much had me convinced that my gift would be here late. 

On Sunday, he woke up and got in the shower before my alarm went off, so I got a little extra rest before church. As I was getting ready, I heard him running all around the house. I really just assumed that he was getting diaper bags and stuff ready. I thought I smelled coffee, but I was kind of hungry so I chalked it up to that. Since the girls were still asleep when I was finished getting ready (wahoo, happy Mothers Day to me!), I came in to get some breakfast. And I found coffee, donuts, and a gift waiting for me on the coffee table. Shock. Of. A. Lifetime. He totally fooled me! I got one thing I asked for and a surprise gift, too.

Rings with the girls' names on them. LOOOOOOVE!
(I asked for this. ;-))

And a Nicholas Sparks book I haven't read!

My mom also gave me some flowers, which was totally unnecessary and also very sweet. :)

Please excuse the mess that is my kitchen counter and bar. 
It's a work in progress.

I also got a flower from church when we were picking up the girls from the nursery/children's church. I was definitely not expecting anything (mostly because they didn't do this last year), so it was a sweet surprise.

We went to lunch after church, which is something we never do. Then we just spent the rest of the day hanging out around the house. It was really nice!! 

I kept thinking about things our pastor said at church yesterday, and one thing really stuck out to me. Out of all the women in the world, God chose me - specifically me - to be the mother of these girls. I don't know why, but He did. He made me the most influential person in their little lives, and gave me the ability to stay home to love, care for, raise, teach, grow, and cuddle them. It's often a pretty tough job, but it's a special one. In all, the message was a good reminder that I have a special calling and an even more special place in their lives. And I'm so grateful for them.

Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
    are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
~ Psalm 127:3-5


Birth: Pain Free vs. Drug Free

Looking back on both of my girls' births, I can't help but compare them. They are drastically different, and that difference really kind of surprises me. 

From the beginning of Millie's pregnancy, I knew I wanted to try for an all-natural (drug free) birth. My doctors induced me with Charlotte because of my gestational diabetes, and also because I had some hypertension. It definitely wasn't what I wanted, but truthfully, I wasn't prepared to fight them on it. I did get them to wait an extra week before inducing, but that was as much fight as I had in me. Most of that I think was that Joe was in WLC, and unable to go with me and help me 'fight' them.

I really did want to try and avoid having an epidural with Charlotte. But with induction comes lots of medications and interventions. Even though I wasn't induced with the ever-feared Pitocin, they were still forcing my body to do something it wasn't ready to do yet. And once I hit transition, I was pretty miserable. I couldn't get out of bed (which still frustrates me), so there wasn't much I could do on my own to help relieve the pain. Eventually, I asked for an epidural. When the anesthesiologist couldn't come in a few minutes, I asked for pain killers. That is something I still wish I hadn't done. The epidural was fantastic, but the pain killers were basically useless. All they did was make me sleepy, which isn't something you need when you're in active labor in the middle of the night!

I ended up pushing for 2 hours, which now I think is mostly because I couldn't feel anything. Sure, I could feel the pressure of her moving, but I couldn't actually feel how/where she was moving. The plus side to that was that my body had time to stretch, and I didn't tear.

I didn't notice it then, but there were plenty of downsides to having a "pain free" birth:

Charlotte was so sleepy. She was pretty alert after her birth, but she was still groggy - too groggy to nurse before they cleaned her up. She was so sleepy that we had to wake her for feedings. I wonder now if that's why she developed jaundice while we were in the hospital.

I was sleepy. Birth itself is tiring, but the medicine made me plain exhausted. I thought that I was just tired from giving birth, but the truth is it isn't that tiring. I felt like a zombie. 

I was smiling, but I was asleep on the inside. Haha:)

I also had a little bit of difficulty walking - even to the bathroom - while we were in the hospital. 

Part of me also wonders if my "baby blues" were fueled by the drugs I had while in labor. I was so incredibly emotional.

Whereas, with Millie...

I went into labor on my own at 39 weeks - a full week longer than I was pregnant with Charlotte. I was in labor much longer, but I felt that the contractions were far less painful.

Taken while I was in labor. Do I look totally miserable to you?! Nope. ;-)

I did have an IV placed (for saline), but I could move around with help from my nurse. Changing positions, having Joe put counter pressure on my lower back, and using the labor/exercise ball helped tremendously.

I pushed 3 times. The actual I'm-doing-this-on-my-own pushes lasted mere minutes. My body did most of the work before the nurse was actually telling me to push. 

I did tear this time, but mostly because I went from 8.5cm to pushing in less than an hour. My body just didn't have time to stretch properly.

Millie nursed for about half an hour, less than an hour after she was born, while we were doing skin-to-skin. She started rooting and bobbing her head, all on her own. She needed very little assistance. 

Taken probably 10 minutes after she was born.

She was also very, very alert. We didn't have to start waking her for feedings until we came home from the hospital. Even then, the times we woke her were few and far between.

The biggest difference: I felt great. I mean, yeah, I hurt pretty badly from tearing and being stitched. Otherwise, I felt great - especially mentally. I was tired, but I wasn't exhausted. I was up and walking after Millie finished her first feeding.

It has taken me longer to heal because of the tear, but in every other way I felt so much better after giving birth. And it makes me wish I had been able to do it this way with Charlotte, too!

The difference in how I've felt this time makes me want this kind of birth for everyone. It's just so much better. It makes far more of a difference in how I feel - and how my baby feels - than I ever imagined. Sure, an epidural would have been nice. Who doesn't want to be pain-free!? But the pain of contractions is completely manageable, especially if you take the time to educate yourself on natural ways to handle it.

Am I totally against drugs during labor? No. It's kind of hard to say that after having them with Charlotte. Do I wish I hadn't had them the first time? Absolutely. Whatever anyone says, babies do get that medication in their system, and it does make them groggy. There are even chances of other things happening, but I'm not into fear-mongering. (All you have to do is Google the risks of having an epidural anyway. The information is out there, you just have to look for it.) 

Barring extreme circumstances, I think everyone is capable of having a drug-free birth. And I encourage it! It's empowering. I thought I felt superwoman after having Charlotte...and I felt even more so after birthing Millie with no drugs! I wish that for every woman, because our bodies can do amazing things!


Life's a Mess

Life with two little ones can be pretty challenging - fun, but challenging more often than not. Like pretty much everyone else on social media, I post pictures on IG and FB that make our life look great. Maybe even perfect. But really, it's hectic and messy. My living and dining areas are usually a giant mess. The tables are catch-alls for mail, crayons, toys, snacks and sippy cups. 

See? Overtaken by toys.

I spend the better part of the day nursing Millie and parenting Charlotte from our perch on the couch. Which inevitably means lots of TV watching. She will run around and play, too, but yeah. The TV is on. Sometimes I feel bad about it, but I really don't know how else to do it! 

I took this in February, but this still happens allllll the time.

Fortunately, Millie has started napping better, which means Charlotte and I are able to have some good one-on-one time. I usually try to do some sort of activity with her, whether it's an indoor tea party or playing outside. We've also been working on letter recognition lately, and she's getting pretty good!

I just love this one. =)

My cool girl.

Between meals, loads of laundry, dance parties, nursing sessions, cleaning, diaper changes, and everything else, I think this sums up most of my days with the kiddos:

Holding Millie while helping Charlotte climb up on the couch to sit next to me. Because nobody is happy unless they're close to Mommy! And everyone is still in PJs. =P But that's life!

So the next time you see a picture-perfect post of mine (or anyone else's, for that matter) on IG or FB, remember this: 

My house is messy, my floors need sweeping and mopping, there are dirty dishes in the sink, and toys everywhere. But everyone is clean, fed, and happy. One day my house will be spotless, but until then...I'm going to try and enjoy the mess that is life with littles.


Favorite Things on Friday

Taking a break from talking about my kiddos... Let's talk about a few things I'm loving lately! Nice, easy, and fun for a Friday. =) {Say that 5 times fast!}

1. This nursing tank top from Target.

It's pretty much my most favorite item right now. First of all, it's a necessity because I'm nursing. Second? It's cute. Third, I love the material! It's nice and soft. Ahhhhh. ;-)

2. This 3 Day Straight spray from John Frieda.

I received a sample of it in my Influenster box back in February. And I never blogged about it back then because life {and 2 kiddos} got in the way. Anyway, this stuff is awesome. If I blow dry and straighten my hair after using this, it definitely last 3 days. I may have to touch it up with my flat iron in between, but it takes less than 5 minutes. For me, this is fantastic, because I don't have that much time to mess with my hair on a daily basis! {Which is partially why I chopped my hair off again.}

3. Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions

I bought this stuff at Target a few weeks ago. I'd been using something else to treat my acne for quite a while, and even though I wasn't dissatisfied with it, I wanted to try something I could pick up somewhere other than Ulta. The good news is I'm really liking it! It doesn't dry my face out like the other stuff I'd been using had a tendency to do. It's also natural, which I really like. AND it's cheaper! Score all the way around.

4. My latest purse - a Franco Sarto tote bag, purchased from 6pm.com.

I love pretty much everything about this bag. The price was great (although a tad more than I'd usually pay), it has plenty of pockets, and lots of space. It's essentially a diaper bag...without being (or looking like) a diaper bag. SCORE. And since I breastfeed I don't really need pockets for bottles. I throw in some diapers, wipes, a snack and sippy for Charlotte and I'm good to go!

5. Doctor Who.

We started watching the series on Netflix last summer, I think. I wasn't sold on the first season, but it grew on me. And when David Tennant showed up on the series as the 10th Doctor, I was hooked. LOVE me some Doctor Who! Pretty sure we've watched the series about twice now, not counting the "classic" episodes. Part of me really wants to watch them, but I have a hard time with them....unfortunately. Anyway. I'm a sucker for anything spacey-wacey and TARDIS-related these days. =)

What are your favorite things lately? Anything I should try? Let me know!