Sunday, June 29, 2014


I've been neglecting the blog lately so I put together a small list I saw on A Short Blonde. I thought it was a cute idea!

Cooking : 
Spinach Lasagna
Drinking : Gnarly Head Authentic Red wine.
Reading : My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss
Wanting : A hot cup of coffee.
Looking: I'm looking at Facebook a little too often!
Wasting: time, watching Catfish.
Wishing: I could take a trip to Japan.
Enjoying: Ellie's little faces and coos.
Waiting: for Ellie's diaper covers to come in the mail! How do I get so excited about diapers?
Liking: the rainstorms.
Loving: the warm weather.
Hoping: this work week goes by fast.
Marvelling: at how big my little baby has gotten! I've been looking through some photos of her as a newborn and it's just crazy how big she is now.
Wearing: Shorts with spit up on them.
Thinking: about my holiday weekend next week!
Feeling: sleepy.
BookmarkingThe Baby Food Breakdown

Thursday, June 19, 2014


We said goodbye to my new unit last week as they deployed. Now I'm the only one left to work on three big construction projects! It's really got me thinking about what I will do after I get out next year and move back to New York. Should I go to school for something practical like architecture or have fun with it and go to art or culinary school?

My heart is in art school but I don't know if I want to throw away the last five years of experience just to end up with a degree that isn't useful. I have a family and I know we need money to live. I would also like to be comfortable and not have to worry about bills all the time. I would like to be able to buy some makeup or clothes without feeling guilty about it. I want to buy a house too and have a car that has a working climate control. I don't want Ellie to have stressed out parents who worry about money.

What I really don't want is to be the person who gave up on their dreams. I always wanted to work in the art world and I still do. In a lot of ways I think it would be worse to show Ellie that it's more important to make money than it is to be happy with your job. 

The thing is, I can ponder this all day, plan it all I want and life is still going to happen in an unexpected way. "The best laid plans" as they say. I certainly didn't think I would be wearing an army uniform in my life!

I'll just have to see what happens. I plan on applying at art school and culinary school at the end if the year. 

I never take pictures in uniform and my mom is always bugging me for them. Since she got us a couple of camo onesies for Ellie I figured I owed her a few pics! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

8 Things They Never Told You about Breastfeeding

It occurred to me that since having a baby I can't look at my breasts the same way ever again. There is just so much... involvement. Before having a baby it seemed like breastfeeding would be the obvious choice, I mean, why spend a ton of money on formula when breast milk is free and better for the baby? Now I know. I got caught up in so much of the pregnancy excitement that it didn't occur to me that breastfeeding would be such a big deal. Everything I read about it had most of the difficult details of breastfeeding either conveniently left out or mentioned only in passing.
I would like to point out that I'm a working mom who almost exclusively pumps. I breastfeed about once or twice a day so I can get some good bonding time in with my sweetpea after work. Keep in mind that this list is all the things they didn't tell you, so I won't be waxing poetic about how wonderful breastfeeding is, since that's pretty much all you hear about. I have no agenda here, so don't think I'm trying to convince anyone to breastfeed or not, because I really don't care. As long as you feed your baby and keep them healthy it's all good with me! 

So here it is: All the things I never knew and no one would tell me about breastfeeding...

1. They will blow up like hot air balloons a couple days after birth. All the books say that "your milk will come in." Yeah, like Pamela Anderson. Only it's not as sexual as it sounds, it's actually terrifying. I once knew a woman who had a really crazy back-alley boob job - her nipples were lopsided, the shape was all out if whack. They looked terrible. I remember seeing her boobs and thinking, "I never want that!" The day after I got home from the hospital I looked in the mirror and that's what my boobs looked like. It felt like they were going to explode. Great. I was going to be sadly ordering those ugly, humongous size E bras on the internet for the rest of my life... But thankfully they went back to normal after a day or so.

2. Your nipples will be sensitive even if they never were before. If you actually get a chance to take a shower with your newborn around, you will find that you can't even face the shower head without shielding your nipples. Those little water droplets can make you cry in pain. So much for a few relaxing minutes by yourself! I recommend having a cold shower beer to ease the pain (not just for the emotional pain... you can put the beer bottle against your nips like an ice pack!)

3. Your nipples will likely bleed at some point. Yeah. Ouch. Once, to my horror, I was getting the pump ready and as I turned it on blood squirted out. Ladies... always put it on the lowest setting first!

4. Breastfeeding is HARD. I made it through boot camp, but OMG, breastfeeding is hard. People love to say things like, "it's a commitment" and "it's a learning process," but trust me, they are sugar coating it. Friends tell me they've had anxiety attacks before every feeding session. I honestly don't know what I would have done if I didn't have my pump! It hurt SO MUCH I would cry. Not to mention my lactation consultant seemed to be up on a high horse, saying you are "doing it wrong" if it hurts. Getting a little newborn to latch on correctly right from the start with a brand new mom seems pretty unlikely. On top of that, the little one is going to want to nurse every two hours at least, so as soon as you finish one feeding session and can decompress and recover, you have to do it all over again. No matter how good the latch is, you are going to get sore no matter what.

5. The internet is full of lies! I was looking at the La Leche League website trying to find a solution to my baby clamping down on my nipple with her gums. They literally have an article saying that all you have to do is say "Ouch!" and the baby will stop biting you. I'm sorry, because I know people love the La Leche League and everything, but that is a total load of crap. I did find some helpful advice on their website, but really, it's tough enough to breastfeed without a bunch of high and mighty moms telling you that you are "doing it wrong if it hurts" as if you have complete control over how your baby decides to take your boob in their mouth. If you ask me, the answer to most of your questions will be to just practice. Keep at it and eventually you will get better.

6. There are myths about "natural" cures for mastitis. These commonly include, for some horrifying reason, putting cabbage leaves in your bra. Come ladies, you know better than that. Don't make fools of yourselves. I've even seen women on Facebook suggest putting mashed potatoes on their breasts as a cure. I'm facepalming so hard right now.

7. Your boobs will leak everywhere. Before I got pregnant I never knew about products like nursing pads. I didn't realize that I would be forced to wear a bra of some kind 24/7 because as soon I hear, smell, or see my baby my boobs will leak everywhere. If I touch my boobs by taking my bra off or adjust them to get comfortable they start gushing. If I nurse my daughter on one side I have to make sure that I have a cloth diaper folded up against the other breast because it will inevitably leak everywhere.
Taking a shower? Milk is all over you before you can hop in the water.
Changing your shirt? Watch out, or the clean shirt will be soaked in milk if you don't move fast enough.
You need at least four hands just to put on a fresh bra - two to hold the breast pads on so you don't drip everywhere and two more to fasten the bra. 

8. Even if you call them "the twins," they are still more different than you realize. I'm sure we've all noticed that most breasts are asymmetrical, but you may find even more things are different when nursing. Maybe one nipple is flat while the other sticks out. Or both are flat, which may make it extremely difficult for the baby to latch on. This means you get to use a whole array of torture devices to try to "correct" it. Nipple shields, breast shields, sucking devices... Have fun trying them all out! That was sarcasm. For me, most of these products caused more problems than less. You also might notice that one side makes more milk than the other. Not only will you notice differences, your baby will too and may choose a preferred side. Your baby may even refuse one side entirely! That way you can have one giant breast full of milk and the other one deflated and sore. Yay!

9. If you ever had your nipples pierced... the milk will squirt out sideways. Which is awesome. And hilarious. Don't forget to chase your partner around the house trying to squirt them with it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day to all the papas and grandpapas, to all the cat daddies and doggy daddies, all the other furry or scaly or feathery friend daddies!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Ellie Nova - 2 Months

Our little cub turned 2 months and got her shots! It was hard to watch her get stuck with the needle and see her face go from the usual happy and calm to red and crying. I wiped her little tears and gave her snuggles afterward and she fell asleep on her daddy.

Growing? 9 lbs 13 oz and 21 1/2 inches long. 

New and Exciting? Ellie has been having giggle fits in her sleep and smiles at us when we say hello. It's the most adorable thing in the world.

Loves? Sleeping in bed with her mama and papa, the sound of rain, looking at herself in the mirror, looking at her Rock-a-Roo mobile, snuggling with her mama in her nursery and listening to music. She loves to get her diaper changed because she can be naked and kick her legs and wave her arms. She loves rides in the car and being carried on my back in the wrap.

Hates? Besides getting shots, she doesn't like bedtime, having the lights turned off, pacifiers, and going to the pool when it's too hot.

It's so crazy to me that this little girl grew in my tummy for so long!

Thursday, June 12, 2014


As a loose definition I might say that soulmates are for real. I feel like certain people are such a good match that you could call them a soulmate. To me this could be a pet, a friend or a partner in life. It's the person you "mesh well" with (am I really quoting "Clueless" in a post about love? As if.) 

I've had quite a few soulmates in my life. My friend Brian from high school. My friend Kyla in the army. Of course my partner, Joe. I even truly believe Mrs Peacock, my kitty, is my soulmate too.

These people all came into my life right when I needed them. When I came out of the closet in high school Brian was there for me. When I needed some girl-talk with someone intelligent in boot camp Kyla was there. When I saw Mrs. Peacock at the shelter I knew she was going to be perfect. I just had that feeling that I found what I was looking for. I know Joe felt the same way about our dog Murray. All he did was see his picture online and he knew it was his dog.

Looking back on it, it's pretty unreal how close Joe and I came to never meeting. I had just gotten home from boot camp and only had a month before moving to Alaska. I decided to go out by myself to a bar and I was planning on going into a place called The Basement. When I got there something in me was saying "Don't go in!" I just had the feeling that something bad would happen and I actually stood outside my car looking at the entrance of the place trying to convince myself to go in. This voice telling me not to go was so loud that instead I went across to another bar that had some music playing. 
If you ask Joe, he will say that he had never been to that bar before and was only there for an hour. He saw me as I walked in and knew he was going to talk to me. When I saw him I knew I was going to talk to him too and purposely walked by him to sit down at the bar alone hoping he would follow. He did. 

We skyped for two whole years after I moved to Alaska. During one of our skype conversations I remember all the sudden, out of nowhere, thinking, "I will marry this guy!" 
Not "I want to." Not "I hope I marry this guy." Like, I knew I was going to.

One of his away messages on skype.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that counts as a soulmate. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Beginner Sewing - Baby Clothes

Back in 2009 when I lived in Guam I bought myself a really nice Brother XL2600i sewing machine. When I came back to the states to live in San Diego I had a bunch of my stuff shipped by boat, including the machine. Let's just say that Guam shipping stores don't have the same standards as a UPS here in the states, so it wasn't packed as well as I would have hoped. When it finally arrived there were some pieces broken off. I completely thought it was busted! It ended up in storage while I lived in Missouri and Alaska for four whole years. When I finally got it back it stayed in a closet until my mom got here. I don't know the first thing about fixing sewing machines so I had my her check it out for me. It turns out it was totally fine and works like normal! Sweet.

I used the tutorial for the knot baby hat below. I love it! I didn't use a tutorial for the leggings, which is why they came out a little wrinkled between the legs. I was hoping for a harem pant look, but I think I still need to work on it.

Upcycled Leggings - Useful if you already own a pair of baby leggings in the right size.

Baby Headband - I've been in love with these forever but I didn't want to pay $13 for just one little headband, especially considering how easy they are to make.

Top Knot Baby Hat - This pattern by Pretty Pruden is awesome!

Onesie Dress - From Smile and Wave. If I weren't saving those plain white onesies for the next baby I would have made a bunch of these!

Fitted Cloth Diaper - This looks like a pretty decent tutorial for a cloth diaper, but this is supposed to be only a liner. I wouldn't spend the time sewing a liner like this when I can just fold up a flat cloth diaper and put it into the cover. I think you could still use this idea for a diaper cover if you made the inner layer with waterproof fabric or with wool.

Toddler Yoga Pants - I'm in love with these!

I'm also in love with this:

Have fun sewing!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Baby and a Duck

My precious baby! Isn't she the sweetest? I took this picture with her on my old baby blanket and I think it will be my favorite picture ever.

I got to take Ellie out with us to an office picnic today and a funny thing happened: My friend was pushing Ellie's stroller to the dock where a bunch of people were fishing. There was a duck there that was walking on the dock obviously looking for people to give her food. We hung out at the water for a while and as we left the duck starts waddling along next to the stroller, quacking away. It was the funniest thing!

Joe absolutely loves ducks so I had to catch it on video...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Little Hands

Grandma and granddaughter hands.

My mom is leaving today and I'm so sad! Ellie is going to miss her so much and so am I! Miss Kitty is going to miss getting spoiled with treats and Murray is going to miss the long walks. It's time for Joe and I to take care of Ellie all by ourselves and thanks to her help I feel like we can handle it now. I'm really glad my mom got to be here to see Ellie's birth, cut the cord, and then see her grow into a little curious lady!
Ellie loves to sit outside with her on the porch and take naps, she loves it when she changes her diaper, gives her kisses and tickles her feet.

Don't worry mom, we will be back home before you know it!
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