30 July 2012

On Leaving This Crazy Lifestyle

I've mentioned it before, but my husband is leaving the active duty military very soon. (Terminal leave starts Aug. 17).  I have a guest post up today over at Many Waters, explaining my views on the matter.  Here's a taste of it:
My husband’s job search has been a big adventure, but I, personally, have very little to do with it.  So instead I want to focus on what his military separation means to me.  For one, I can only call myself a Navy submariner’s wife for just a few more months. It all goes away August 31. For the past few years, I’ve let his military service define our relationship and also myself . . . read the rest here

And if you found me from Poe's blog, welcome!  If you're wondering, we still don't know where we're headed next!

27 July 2012

The Olympics!

Is anyone else as excited as I am about the Olympics starting tonight?

I have a long history of love for the Olympic games, starting precisely 20 years ago.  It was then that I cheered on my favorite gymnasts Shannon Miller and Dominique Dawes at the Barcelona games.  I was 8 years old and living in Atlanta then, which had already gotten the bid for the 1996 games.  My mom bought me a little t-shirt with the Olympic rings on it that I wore proudly.  I may even still own that shirt.
And, oh, the 1996 games.  It still amazes me that I just lived in the right place at the right time.  Instead of taking a vacation that summer, we went to the Games!  My 12th birthday was the beginning of that summer, and I asked my mom to decorate my cake with the Olympic rings.  I got her to copy them perfectly, too--every over and under of interlocking was meticulously inspected by me to make sure they were right.  She even made black icing for that one ring, which is a feat in and of itself.  I can now spot phony rings from a mile away.

My mom also found us a way to volunteer our way into those games, due to our Girl Scout connection.  I got to volunteer at tennis, archery, and cycling.  The events we went to with tickets were gymnastics, women's basketball, the gold medal baseball game (RIP, Olympic baseball), and equestrian.  Some of my family from Florida came into town to join in the fun as well.  I remember getting up bright and early one morning and heading downtown to watch the men's marathoners run by, too!
Atlanta's mascot Izzy still remains my favorite!
Then after those Olympics were over, we went to the Paralympics!  Table tennis, volleyball, and have you ever seen someone swim with no legs?  I have, and they were way faster than I am.  I think the best part about the Paralympics was that we got to attend the closing ceremony.  I have very fond memories of the summer of 1996.
A phoenix named Blaze was the mascot of the 1996 Paralympics.
Perfect fit for both Atlanta and the paralympic athletes.
As for now, I had to explain to B how much I love the Olympics.  You would think he might have known that already, but in actuality, he was deployed during the last two Olympics.  That means the Games helped me cope with the crazy Navy lifestyle.  The Beijing ones fell right around the halfway mark of his first deployment, and the 2010 Winter Olympics started the day he left.  I went over to a friend's house to watch the opening ceremonies and was so caught up in the Games for a bit that I forgot to be sad about his leaving until two weeks later.  (Yeah, that is how to kick a deployment's butt!)

In case you were wondering about those funky London mascots . . .
So, what about you?  Are you excited for the Olympics or just indifferent?  My only bummer is that I won't be able to watch the Opening Ceremony tonight, as I was invited for a fun night out with friends (and no baby!) to see my friend perform in a musical.  I guess I'll catch it later, but starting tomorrow, my bum will be glued to the couch soaking in all of the amazing achievements of the best athletes in the world!

20 July 2012

7 Quick Takes (Crazy Week Edition)

— 1 —
Baby Cora finally rolled over!  Well, she's still in the realm of normal for that, but I was tired of seeing posts from friends whose babies are (a lot) younger than mine about it.  She only rolls from tummy to back, still only onto her left side, and it often takes some coaching.  Here's a video of the fourth time she did it:

— 2 —
On Saturday, some friends invited me to hit up the local farmers' market.  I brought baby, all excited to buy some nice produce and maybe some fresh flowers.  About ten minutes after we got there, we got caught in a torrential downpour!  We had previously decided to go to lunch at a certain place within walking distance once we were done with our shopping, so we decided to head over early.  I was trying to push the stroller while holding an umbrella, and it just wasn't working, especially once my umbrella inverted itself in the wind.  The car seat part of the stroller has a canopy, which apparently isn't waterproof at all.  I was soaked, baby was soaked, everything in the diaper bag got soaked, too (even her extra clothes).  I spent Saturday night blow-drying the car seat cover with a hairdryer.  I now keep an extra towel and onesie in my trunk!  The worst part: we never even got to buy anything at the market. I think I'm going to try again tomorrow.

— 3 —
I'm pretty sure it's unrelated to being caught in the rain, but this house got hit by a nasty illness this week!  I started feeling nauseous on Monday afternoon, and it got progressively worse that night.  I'm talking 'multiple-trips-to-the-bathroom' worse.  I also alternated between shivering in our 77 house and then being way too hot.  When baby woke up for her usual 4am feeding, I ended up passing out on the floor of our bedroom before I could get to her!  Well, I was really only out for a half a second because I sorta made a decision that my legs were going out on me, so I should just let them.  I plopped on my bum, head between my knees, all while having to listen to my baby wailing in the other room.  (Worst. Feeling. Ever.)  Luckily, B was home, so I hollered for him and he dealt with baby until I regained my composure.  He left for his monthly trip the next morning, so I am sooooo glad he was here!  I had him call me as soon as he got up the next morning to make sure I was okay.  One of my biggest fears of being a mom was what to do when you got sick!  It's not like you can take a day off.  I guess you just deal with it.  Luckily, this sickness got out of my system pretty quickly, didn't hit baby or B nearly as bad (although each got a taste of it), and I'm back to normal.

— 4 —
On Wednesday morning, I decided to take Cora to go watch the Blue Angels practice on base!  She hears them all the time over our house, so the noise did not even phase her one bit.  I went with a friend who also has a baby around Cora's age, and he was a little more into it, watching the planes and such.  Cora was just happy to be out of the house, I think.  It was sooooo humid though!  Everyone had sweat dripping down them by about 10 minutes into it.  I was so happy to get back into my air-conditioned car when it was over!

— 5 —
I was reading a publication from the college I graduated from (the college within my university), and found out they changed the name of my major!  I actually really like the switch--from Child and Family Development before to Human Development and Family Science now.  I've always hated telling people my major because they only seem to hear the "child" part and expect me to be some sort of Super Nanny/Mary Poppins type.  The truth is that I have no desire to work with school-age children (age 3-12), and I only took one class on the development of that age group.  In school, I was much much more interested in family dynamics and relationship theory.

— 6 —
We "officially" started solids with Cora last night.  She wasn't all that interested, which we expected based on the times we had just tried to hand her stuff off our plates.  There's obviously more of a story here, since I didn't plan on starting these until later (although not too much later, as she'll be 6 months old next week).  I'll be doing a more detailed post on this one, but here's a fun picture to hold you over in the meantime:
Sweet potato, everywhere!
— 7 —
I left my keys hanging out of our front door all night last night.  I hate it when I do stupid stuff like that.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

18 July 2012

the Birth of a Nickname

When we named our baby, B and I put a lot of thought into the names we chose, even though we technically named Cora after she was born.  We had two names picked and waited to see which one "fit." In the process of picking our "finalists," we generally strayed from anything that could have a long-standing nickname. My mom never in a million years thought that my name would end up "Cat" after naming me Catherine.  It just wasn't a popular nickname back in 1984, so it never crossed her mind.  But my friends ended up giving it to me in middle school, and, for better or worse, it stuck.  It's definitely my name now--it was even on my most recent business card.

However, the name Cora is very hard to give a nickname.  I guess you could do "CoCo," but that reminds me of a gorilla, so no thanks.  Corry is a different name entirely.  These are actually a few of the reasons we liked this name.

All that being said, I now have a few nicknames for our baby.  I'm pretty much the only one who uses them.  B acknowledges them, but he won't use them himself.  Her nickname?  "Little Boop Boop."  I don't blame him for not using it.  This came about because back when she was about 6 weeks old and starting to give a social smile, I realized she always did it if "booped" her nose.  Basically, I would just tap it with my index finger and say "boop boop" in that high pitch only befitting for "booping" a baby's nose.  This nickname has now evolved sometimes into "Boopsy" and--my favorite--"The Boopster."

I often sing a song I made up that goes, "Lil' Boop Boop, Lil' Boop Boop, Lil' Boop Boop Boop Boop Boop Boop," (award-winning lyrics, I know), while I hold her hands and wave them back and forth.  This can instantly calm her down and smile, and sometimes she even laughs.  However, now I'm starting to fear she doesn't actually know her real name.  So I made up another song called "We love Cora" to the tune of "Frère Jacques"/"Are You Sleeping?", in hopes she might know that her name isn't actually The Boopster.

Here's a video of me singing both of the songs to her (it also includes an example of me "booping" her nose):

p.s. That blanket beneath her in the video?  Yeah, that's the free one we got from Budget for Baby :)

15 July 2012

Flyin' High

Thanks to Groupon, I got to fulfill one of my more adventurous goals from my list!

43. Go parasailing

Even though there are places to do this around here in Pensacola, the Groupon was for a place in Destin.  That's about an hour and a half east of here, and I had wanted to go visit anyway.  My mom was in town to come with us and watch the baby while we were out on the boat.

We had one hiccup in the day, where we found out the idiot who took our reservation had booked us for the wrong Sunday, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise.  They had extra spots on the later cruise, so we went for some ice cream and got the last outing of the day at 6pm.   It was much more pleasant weather!  And sort of a sunset cruise, too, although the sun just sorta hid behind some clouds when it was done.

As for parasailing--I loved it!  Well, actually I was pretty scared watching the first couple go up.  Then I reminded myself that I had pushed a baby out of me, so I could probably do this.

Before we were out there, I had no idea how they got you from point A on the boat to point B in the air.  I had some theories, which were all wrong.

They strap you in, then have you sit on the back of the boat.  Then they let out the line and speed up!  It was actually very smooth, even though I look scared out of my mind there.

Up, up, and away!
It was so quiet and calm once we were 500 feet up there.  I felt like I should say something profound.  Instead, I think I just said "Ooh, pretty" and held onto the straps for dear life.

The deckhand was nice and took pictures!
My favorite part was when they dipped us in the water.  It was a lovely day, and the water was delightfully warm!

We were the second couple of six to go in the air.  This was good for my nerves to get it over earlier, but terrible for my stomach.  I've never gotten seasick before, not even when I was pregnant.  But by the time the fifth couple was in the air, that ice cream and the rocking boat had joined forces against me.  It didn't get too bad (all stomach contents stayed intact), but the last half hour of the trip all I could think was, "Please get me off this boat!"  I was immediately better the second I got back onto land.  I didn't even have that rocking feeling in me when I went to bed that night.

All in all, we had a great day in Destin!

He hates it when I do cutesy stuff like this.

07 July 2012

Our Cloth Diaper Set-Up

I'm always interested in hearing how other families use cloth diapers, so I figured I'd show you how we use our stash!

I had said in a pregnancy post that we would just use the Gerber/Babies R Us prefolds that people had given us in diaper cakes, but a friend who actually cloth diapers her own girls sent us the kind she uses: awesome Cloth-eez prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers!  (Can they please re-design their 1997-looking site already??)  I added some Econobums and one Thirsties hemp prefold to that, and we have the makings of an almost-full stash.  We now use our Gerber/BRU ones as rags for all kinda of messes (mostly as burp cloths).

This was actually my sister's dresser when we were growing up.  Glad it's got some years left in it!
Like my man Alton Brown, I hate unitaskers.  Instead of a changing table, we use just one drawer in a dresser.  Cora's clothes are in those other drawers.  I also think a Diaper Genie is a rip-off, so I got a simple trash can from Target.
This Planet Wise pail liner fits perfectly!
I bought one pail liner, and another sweet friend hooked me up with a second (along with some other great diapering essentials--she doesn't even have a child yet, so this was so unexpected!).  The liner above has owls on it, and the other one has giraffes!

I also won some cloth wipes from an Etsy shop in a blog giveaway back when I was pregnant.
Fun robot print from TurtlesRUs
It was only a dozen wipes, so we added some baby washcloths in there to round it out.  That's Kissaluv's spray you see there, also.  (Although at the time it was most likely about 90% water.) You may also have noticed the box of disposable wipes in the first picture.  Yep, I find the big messes are easiest to clean with the wet ones!  The only issue is that the closest real trash can is in another room.

Anything that's clean goes in the drawer!  (And yes, I trifold them after they dry, just to eliminate that step later!)
Right now, we have 6 covers (Flip, Econobum, Bummis, Thirsties) and about 20 prefolds.  We tri-fold the prefolds, and they are pretty bulky.  So bulky that they sometimes didn't fit under certain onesies (especially before 3 months), so I got a few all-in-ones and one pocket diaper to try out as well.  We've learned that she does better in prefolds at night, though (rarely a leak!).  I've done pretty much all of my cloth diaper shopping through Mom's Milk Boutique.  They have a great customer loyalty program, often throw in free samples, and I can usually hit it when they do "double milk miles" days.  I've already been able to cash out for a $10 gift card!  They also have a SwagBucks option for a $5 credit that costs half as much as the Amazon card, so I've used that as well.  (Too bad there's a one-time limit on cashing out for that one!)

Our basic system is that we have 2 covers "going" at once.  One is on baby's bum, and the other one is sorta "airing out."  Covers go in the pail once they're soiled, and cloth diaper laundry is every 2-3 days in our HE top loader.  Cora needs disposables for daycare once or twice a week, so we keep those on hand as well.  Since we don't have a huge stash, sometimes during cloth diaper laundry, she goes into a 'sposie.  I bring a plastic grocery bag into the room for the trash bag when that happens.

Our apartment won't allow us to hang a drying line on the patio, but hanging them in our laundry room works just fine.
Also, since our apartment faces a terrible direction for the sun (NNE, I think), if any of them are stained and need to be "sunned out," I take them with me to my volunteering gig, park facing due west and put them on the dashboard.  At the end of the day, I come back to some awesomely clean diapers!

Here are our five all-in-ones/pocket diapers.  I'll be doing another post with reviews of each.

In summary: hate, love, like okay, still unsure, like okay
So far, we have LOVED cloth diapering!  I guess it's easy now since our baby isn't really eating solids yet.  But we're saving so much money that we'll just deal with that once the time comes and I'm sure it will be routine soon enough.

Don't let her face fool you; she really loves her cloth diapers, too!

Note: These opinions are my own.  None of these companies have reimbursed me in any way, but if they're reading, I wouldn't mind doing a real review in exchange for a diaper!

06 July 2012

Friday Fill-in

Joining up with this link up today.
Link up with Wife Of a Sailor
1. What’s one thing in the past month you would have changed?
I wish the baby and I hadn't gotten sick (it was just a cold, but it stayed with baby long enough that I ended up taking her to the doctor).  I also wish our apartment hadn't gotten infested with flies this week!  It's grossing me out.

2. What was your favorite thing that happened in June?
I liked taking our trip to Houston and getting to see some familiar faces.  I was starting to get the travel itch again anyway, so that was good timing.

3. What did you do to celebrate Independence Day?
Not much.  We didn't feel like venturing out for fireworks, so we just hung inside all day.  The weather was crappy here, so we didn't even go to the pool or anything.  We watched some fireworks on TV; it was lame.

4. When you PCS, what items do you take with you and not let the movers pack (and if you do a DITY, what do you take with you and not box up) (thanks to Sespi at And You Never Did Think for inspiring this question)?
Other than the important documents, it would be my wedding dress, because if they lose it, I know I'll never order another one.  I think that's the only thing we own that's irreplaceable.  Our movers did an excellent job boxing everything up, to the point where I've decided never to move ourselves ever again.  Worth every penny.

5. What are you looking forward to in July?
My mommy is coming this Sunday, and B and I are going parasailing!  But after all that, umm . . . nothing.  And that saddens me.

Well, this post turned into a real downer.  I'll post something cute, funny, or thought-provoking in a few days.

02 July 2012

Our Quick Trip to Houston

Last week, Baby Cora and I joined my husband B in a trip to the fourth-largest city in the United States.  We had a few reasons for traveling to Houston, but the primary one was that B was attending a job conference where he got to interview with five different companies.  There are tons of engineering jobs in Houston, so we know there is a possibility we could end up living there after B's military separation.  None of us had been to that city before, so it was a good idea to check it out and make sure we didn't hate it.

It also helped that we knew Cora does well on road trips.  This was her third road trip, and she's only 5 months old!  She has now been to 10 states.  We also got to meet up with some family, as we each have a cousin living in Houston.  Business cards were exchanged and advice was given over meals at the Rainforest Cafe and the Cheesecake Factory.  And I got to "talk shop" in my own way with their wives who fawned over the baby.

While B was off doing his thing, Cora and I explored the city a bit.  Since we were staying by the Galleria mall, we wandered around there.  (Bonus points because it was indoors, as Houston doesn't have the benefit of the coastal breeze we have here in Pensacola.)

Cora, "enjoying" watching the ice skaters at the mall
After being in the mall for awhile and not buying anything other than lunch, we headed to a landmark around the corner known as the Water Wall.
It's a wall.  of water.
Lived up to its name.  Also had a nice mist coming off of it.
 At the suggestion of reader Erika, we ate dinner at Pappasito's for some yummy Tex-Mex.

Why yes, that is a Sangria, since you asked.
On the second full day there, Cora turned exactly 5 months old!  We usually do a picture on the glider with her "birth-stat elephant," so we brought it with us.

"Please tell me about a time you had difficulty with a subordinate, Mr. W."
As B went into his interviews with his fancy suit and power tie, Cora and I went to explore downtown Houston.  It was H-O-T that day, so I found some indoorsy things, like going to an observation deck on the 60th floor of a skyscraper.

Helloooooo, Houston!
We actually did walk around outside a bit, though, and found this adorable park called Discovery Green.

It had a big splash area where a bunch of kids were playing in the water.  It took every piece of my restraint not to join them.  But I did find this other thing with water I could stick my head under.

It felt heavenly.
Overall, the trip was good, barring one misadventure with a parking meter that refused to take my credit card and then ate my dollar and went to sleep.  But a kind stranger bailed me out, and I ended up actually liking the next (perfectly-functioning) parking meter I used.

How could I not love a parking meter that runs on solar power?  I guess the "Energy Capital of the World" really does live up to its name!

The good news of the trip is that we didn't hate it!  I wouldn't call it the perfect place to live, but we didn't hate it.