30 November 2012

A Milspouse Once Again

I guess he just couldn't stay away.

In reality, we had gone back and forth about B joining the Navy Reserve after his separation from Active Duty. For various reasons, he decided to postpone any decision one way or another until we knew where we would land. He actually kept telling me that I should join it myself, and I was honestly starting to consider it. It would be nice to have something of "my own" I thought. But then I also thought that I would have to do a full 20 versus B's 11 years left for retirement. Why oh why didn't I do this when I was 23 and living in Norfolk?

Well, now that we have landed ourselves somewhere, the decision needed to be made. Once B found out he could drill two hours away in Indianapolis, I think it sealed the deal. I can even tag along and just go hang out with my in-laws for the weekend if I feel like it. He signed the contract for three years. They threw a bonus at him, and he started telling me how much it was. I said "Yeah yeah, that's great, but when can we sign up for health insurance?"

Yes, this is a enormous blessing in the insurance department. His new job offers really crappy benefits that were going to cost and arm and a leg and still have a high deductible. I don't think his company even subsidizes the insurance since I found something similar online that I could just buy privately. The Reserve version of TRICARE insurance isn't free by any means, but it's pretty good in comparison to what we were offered.

He's actually gone for his first drill weekend right now. I was a bit concerned about doing church on my own for the first time since Cora was born, so I called up his aunt. Of course she wants to help hold the baby during mass! Living near family, even if it is family I married into, is such a godsend and something I should learn to utilize more often.

One weekend a month and two weeks a year. That's how we're doing the military life now, and I'm happy about it.

27 November 2012

30 Things I'm Thankful For

It seems like all my Facebook buddies are doing this, which is great and all.  But I don't like updating my Facebook daily (and many of them have gotten way behind or abandoned the idea by now), so here is my "thankfulness dump" I'll do it here in one post, and hooray, it won't take me all month!  Genius, right? (Of course I would have had to start 27 days ago, so maybe I'm just lazy.)

In mostly stream-of-consciousness order, I am thankful for these things:
  1. Good health for me, husband, and baby
  2. My husband
  3. Our baby
  4. God, Jesus, Holy Spirit; our faith
  5. My husband's job
  6. The internet
  7. My college degree
  8. Our home
  9. Living near family members
  10. Having the option to be a SAHM
  11. Music and my singing voice
  12. Over-the-air (read: FREE) television (and Hulu)
  13. My parents
  14. My car
  15. Friends and family both near and far
  16. That my baby keeps a schedule now
  17. Breastfeeding and a vaginal delivery
  18. Electricity, heat, and indoor plumbing
  19. Literacy
  20. The public library
  21. Our gym
  22. Laughter
  23. Clean water
  24. Blogging and the friendships it has led me to
  25. The many adventures I have had
  26. In-laws. Mine are pretty cool :-)
  27. Pizza, chocolate, and other good food
  28. Love
  29. Hope
  30. Charity
Also, I absolutely adore this VeggieTales song, and I think it is fitting for this post!

And hey, there's a linkup for this!
Linked up at It's Just Called Spicy

25 November 2012

What I Wore Sunday (Vol. 6)

Link up your church attire with Fine Linen and Purple
My husband now refuses to take my picture for me. Once he heard the word "blog" he went running the other direction. It would probably be better if we weren't always rushing out the door for mass every week. We finally got to try a new church today, which our GPS had never heard of and wasn't marked on our map. I had a vague idea of the directions based on my online research last night. We made it before the processional was over, but this church filled up fast! And its attendees didn't know how to scoot to the center of a long pew so the stragglers (there were a lot of us) could fill in easily. An usher came to our rescue after the "Gloria" was over. I still remember back in college the reader would make a pre-mass announcement to get close and make some room.

Well, I now either have to use self-timer or do mirror shots. Here is my attempt at a selfie:
This is my "slightly peeved with my husband" look
Shirt: H&M // Pants: Old Navy // Shoes: they're actually knee-high boots from DSW (Impo brand I think?) (These are the only shoes I could wear that made the pants not drag on the ground) // Necklace: made by my aunt // Watch: a gift from a long time ago (I rarely wear it and found out today that it needs a new battery)

But really, who am I kidding here? The churches here don't want to pay to heat their spaces, so this is what I really looked like the entire hour:
Check out my "after mass" hair
The coat is from Old Navy, and yes it is too big. I've had it since college, and my mom convinced me I needed to "size up" to fit however many layers underneath there. What my mom didn't realize is that coats add that extra room to your regular size (at least all of mine do, that is). Never take coat-buying advice from someone who grew up in Florida and then moved to Atlanta. Remember that, everyone.

I have actually bought a new coat, but I still haven't committed to it enough to wear it or even take the tags off. I thought I wanted a colored coat--like burgundy or at least a light gray, but I also didn't want a pea coat again (so many useless buttons!). Well, I found a gorgeous coat at Burlington and it is black black black. But it was too nice not to buy. And unlike the pea coat above, it actually buttons all the way up the neck so I don't really need a scarf. I should probably just wear it and get it over with already! Next week, my friends. Next week. Feel free to hold me accountable.

21 November 2012

Stuff On My Sidebar and Black Friday Online Deals

I've been adding a few items to my sidebar lately, most under the title "Check It Out"

1. First, I want to mention that I've now joined the affiliate program for my favorite cloth diaper retailer, Mom's Milk Boutique. My very first order of cloth diapers was with them last year on Black Friday. They have great prices and free shipping for orders over $25, which is pretty easy to do. In addition, they have a "Milk Miles" reward program, where you get a $10 gift card at 200 miles. A lot of times they do "double miles" days, so I've been able to cash out quicker than I thought. Their Black Friday deals (going on all weekend, actually) also has stackable freebies, so I'll be putting in an order again this year. I got some free Babylegs along with some other stuff last year with my order. Not only do they sell cloth diapers, they also have baby carriers, nursing tanks, and more.

Signing up to be an affiliate means that I get a kickback if you order by clicking my referral link. They also sent me a coupon code to share with everyone. The coupon code is MMB10 and it is good for $10 off a customer's very first purchase of at least $75 with Mom's Milk Boutique. (The coupon does have some exclusion due to manufacturer restrictions - bumGenius, FLIP, Econobum, ERGObaby, Thirsties, Sakura Bloom and Beco Baby Carriers.)

You can click this box or the one on my sidebar to get to MMB!
2. It's not on my sidebar any more, but I wanted to give a shout out to Lilla Rose, the hair clips that I reviewed and gave away a few months back. I still looooove my clips, and my consultant Linda Menke is running a Black Friday special. It's 20% off all orders, including party orders, on Friday and Free Shipping for orders over $50.  In addition, the adorable Who’s Hoo Owl will be available that day only while supplies last. The owl clip is so cute!

3. I also have my referral button for Swagbucks on my sidebar. I have been using Swagbucks for almost two years now, and it has been a good and consistent way for me to earn a little spending money. It's a point website that is free to join, and you earn points by searching the web, watching videos, even using coupons. You can redeem your points for Amazon gift cards (or other items), and I have earned quite a few--even given away a few on this blog in the past. There's also an option to redeem your points for a Mom's Milk Boutique gift card, so this blog post has just come full circle :-) You should definitely check out Swagbucks if you haven't already.
Search & Win

I'm not much for Black Friday stuff in the stores, but I'll be hunting for some fab deals online this year. I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!

19 November 2012

Recent Craftiness: Cupcakes and Hairbows

I've been seeing this sentiment go 'round the interwebz recently:

I generally agree, and that's why there haven't been too many posts with "Stuff I've Made" recently. Also, sometimes when I finally get to doin' something, I rarely also find the time to blog about it.

I made a comment on a friend's Facebook wall who posted this that I think these Pinterest mommies just never sleep, since I can never get anything like that done until after baby goes to bed for the night. I found out how true that was the night I made these:

I made these for the Thanksgiving (Round 1) at B's grandmother's house, which happened yesterday. They were a hit, and I got to impress the in-laws, but I was up until midnight the night before doing them. Dumbo/masochist me decided it would be a good idea to make half of the batter as mini cupcakes. Great idea in theory, but at 11:15pm, I stared down at them and realized I still had another 12 to go. Sigh. At least it forced me to watch the end of that Stanford/Oregon game, though.

I found the ideas online, and I think these are featured in Hello, Cupcake.
Peas: Skittles
Carrots: Starburst, cut into fourths
Butter: Starburst
Gravy: Caramel sauce
Pie filling: M&M's
Pie "crust": yellow food dye and some cocoa powder added to my homemade buttercream frosting

Also, the actual cupcakes were strawberry (from a box mix, no shame), and someone commented that with the Skittles and Starburst, they were "delightfully fruity." I have to agree.

The other thing I made last week wast inspired by a craft fair I went to recently where I saw some cute headbands/flowers that were definitely made out of old t-shirts and selling for eight bucks a pop.  So I made my own:

Flower Instructions
Headband Instructions (both from Craft Snob)
For the headband part, the directions I found said to sew it, which would be super-easy if you had a  permanent sewing station. Which I do not. We couldn't even fit my craft table in this new apartment, so it is folded up and in the little shed attached to our patio. Instead of sewing, I just kept using my glue gun.

After baby wore the headband for one day, it was already stretched out almost too much. I decided she needed an adjustable one, so I knotted it like those neon bracelets you used to get out of the vending machines (remember those?). The great thing about t-shirt fabric is that it doesn't fray so you can really try anything with it. I made some more flowers and just glued a hair clip on the back so I can change them out easily.

I don't have a pic of the adjustable headband, but it kinda looks like this, except white because I kept using the same t-shirt:

(Source) - someone actually sold these on Etsy and made money.
I think I'm in the wrong industry...

And I'll throw in one more picture of the cute kiddo, just 'cause.

18 November 2012

What I Wore "Sunday" (Vol. 5)

Today is Thanksgiving, Round 1 in our house. B's grandma is going on a fab trip to NYC for actual Thanksgiving (and she gets to see the Macy's Parade!), so she wanted to do Turkey Day early. We complied, and I have corn casserole in the oven as we speak.

We also accepted an invitation from other family members to hit up Saturday vigil mass and then a nearby Italian restaurant afterward.
Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple
Before I show you what I wore to church, let's talk about shoes for a second. Here is a picture of my shoe rack:

Do you notice anything wrong here? Like the fact that I live in northern Indiana now and about 67% of the shoes I own are open-toe or sneakers? The truth is that I hate shoes. One of the first things I do when I get home is take off my shoes. And it's not because I'm trying to keep the carpet clean or any frou-frou reason like that. I also dread shoe-shopping. Because no matter how comfortable a pair feels in the store, it is just never the same when I actually wear them. The two pairs of "nice" black shoes in the upper right almost never get worn because they're just not comfortable. I've decided to blame my feet. I think my right foot is bigger than my left and that my toes are wide-ish but the rest of my foot is narrow. (B blames it on wearing flip flops for 10 months a year while in FL--his theory is that my toes got to spread out.) I don't know. But I have actually added two pairs to this collection recently, for better or for worse.

And one of those pairs is the ever-so-trendy riding boot. I revisited the idea of jeans at mass since I also added a pair of skinny jeans to my closet as well.
Pardon my dopey expression.
There also used to be a bookshelf behind me, but it has now been moved.
Tank top: Merona from Target; Cardigan and belt: Charlotte Russe; Jeans: Old Navy; Boots: Solanz from Shoe Carnival: Watch: Fossil; Necklace: from some Catholic church bookshop (it's a cross with my birthstone in the center)

I'm still getting used to the boots, and B told me that somewhere around the internet he read that it takes 60 days to break in boots. Maybe that has been my issue with all my shoes? Usually I just give up after wearing them three times.

14 November 2012

Day Trip to South Bend

On Sunday we took advantage of some nice weather with a little day trip to "see the sights" of South Bend. It was actually more of a nostalgia trip for B, since he is a proud graduate of the Class of 2005.

There are two ways to get to South Bend from here. One is via the interstates, and the other (which is apparently quicker) takes you through the boonies of the Hoosier state. Oh, who am I kidding? You can drive about seven minutes west from our apartment and you're in the boonies. But we got to drive through little towns with rusty barns and barely pronounceable names. Apparently we were also in Amish and Mennonite country. It looked a lot like this for an hour:

Once we got up to South Bend, we bee-lined it to get to mass on time. Notre Dame is mostly a walking campus, so we had to trek fifteen minutes on foot to get to mass. (Hey, at least it's flat! Says the girl whose college campus was on a huge hill.)

Basilica where we went to mass
It's pretty on the inside, too!
After mass, B gave me and baby the "grand tour." This was actually a re-visit for me, as back in 2007 I was given the "baby grand tour." This time we chanced upon some Taco Bell for lunch at the student center (or whatever fancy name that building had). We then moved on to the library, where "We're Number 1" Moses stands.
I was trying to get baby to hold up her "We're Number 1!" finger, but this is the best we got.
And of course we made a visit to Touchdown Jesus.
There is supposed to be water in a reflecting pool behind me.
We're yelling "Touchdown!!" just like we do every Saturday while watching our teams play.
We then took a little break to stop and smell the flowers eat the leaves.

And look at the ducks:
We thought about feeding them some baby puffs we had in our bag but decided against it.
They'll forgive us since they're Catholic ducks, right?
We also hit up the stadium, the Grotto, and the football practice fields. B kept pointing out buildings that apparently didn't exist the last time he was here, although they blended quite well.

Our day was not without calamity, of course. Baby Cora pulled one of her socks off while we were wandering around and dropped it somewhere, never to be seen again. Then our one-sock baby wet through her clothes while we were in the bookstore. B tried to put her new outfit on in a little sitting area, but she's getting to that stage where she hates getting dressed and will try to escape from it. So that's how this happened:
She bit it pretty hard on the carpet, yet somehow still smiled for the camera.
B was hauling her off to the bathroom to clean her up when I realized I had a camera and could get a picture. For posterity's sake, of course. Poor baby.

At least we got one good family picture to cap off the day:
I wish the stranger who took the pic would have gotten all of Our Lady (at the top of the Dome).
Oh well, beggars can't be choosers.

11 November 2012

What I Wore Sunday (Vol. 4)

Today was no ordinary Sunday. I'm still not sure what an ordinary Sunday will be in this town anyway. But today was definitely not it. Right before we went to bed last night, B asked if I wanted to take a day-trip to South Bend today. So we did!

We attended mass at Notre Dame's Basilica and then walked all around the campus, where B showed me stuff from his college days. (I've actually had his tour before, but it was over four years ago. This one was much more detailed.) I'm only going to show the "what I wore" picture because I'm exhausted, but I promise an honest-and-true photo-dump later.
Join the fun at Fine Linen and Purple
I think I did a LOT better with my outfit than last week, to say the least.

The top is from New York & Company. The blazer is also NY&CO, but bought secondhand from another blogger who was cleaning out her closet (thanks, chambanchik!). The pants (which I also wore in Week 1) are apparently Spoon brand, and I think I got them from the Delia's or Alloy catalog--they're an odd-numbered size, which means I am wearing Juniors-sized clothes at age 28. The shoes are the same as Week 2, and they are American Eagle from Payless. I changed my shoes almost immediately after this picture, since I knew we would be doing a lot of walking.  Also, instead of a ponytail holder, I have my hair pulled back in my Lilla Rose clip. Love that thing.

And the baby? I let B dress her, and then I commented that "she looks like she's about to go camping."

Speaking of the hubs, I couldn't leave you hanging on this Veterans Day without a picture of the handsome veteran I married :-)

Thank you to all our veterans!

08 November 2012

We Are Joiners

B and I made the executive decision that we should join the Y. So on Monday, we did!

There is a Y right down the street from us--less than a 5-minute drive (but no sidewalks to walk there)--so we had discussed it a few times. Googled it, toured it, found out it included childcare up to 2 hours a day and a pretty sweet rock-climbing wall, and we were sold!

Don't hate us, but neither of us actually need to lose weight. Surprisingly, I weigh less than I did pre-pregnancy, but it's probably not a good thing. I do have some love handles that seemed to have sprung out of nowhere that I'd like to lose. Oh, and maybe I might actually get some muscles on this body . .  and GAIN weight in mass.

B is excited to teach me to lift. We went for the first time yesterday, and he taught me how to use the squat rack. It was scary. He also taught me how to bench press. Well, technically I used to bench press in high school, and I eventually even got strong enough to lift more than the bar (45 pounds for all you non-gym rats). I have gotten much weaker in the past ten years, obviously, since B ended up having to scrounge up a 35-pound bar for me to bench press when I couldn't do the regular bar. So my goal is to work my way up. Baby steps, people!

I'm also excited to get back into step aerobics, which I have missed dearly for the past two years. There are actually a handful of group exercise classes I'm wanting to try. I might even pay a little extra and do some swim classes with baby. Oh, and maybe through all of this we'll actually meet people and make some friends in this are who aren't relatives? What a novel idea.

06 November 2012

I Didn't

I didn't vote. And I'm not proud about that. I actually missed it due to something known as PPP. Piss poor planning.

I'm still a resident of Virginia, even though I haven't set foot in the state in two years. We moved to Indiana after the cut-off to register (and I still need to become an official resident). I missed the deadline to get my absentee ballot because I was too busy with . . . life.

The weird thing is that I'm not 100% sure who I would have voted for anyway. I'm Catholic, but I don't believe in single-issue voting, so I jump around a bit. And as for Virginia local elections, I'm very very out of the loop, so I didn't even want to vote on those. I'm actually more in tune with a referendum about charter schools down in Georgia since I have so many educator friends and family members back home. B voted early the week we hung out in his hometown since his residency has remained there the entire time he spent in the Navy. He won't tell me which presidential candidate he voted for, and that's fine. My parents never told me which way they voted when I was growing up, but I figured it out after a while.

I've always hated politics anyway. I don't make it a habit of griping about those in office, and when other people start bashing a candidate I generally remain stone-faced and silent. There have been a few ads or reports on television that I have hollered about to B--mostly because of the overly dramatic propaganda cinema and sound clips taken out of context--but he is the only one who gets to hear it. Now that I didn't exercise my right to vote, it's definitely not my right at all to complain. Not until the next election, and I promise I will be voting here in Indiana for that.

I hope you weren't like me. I hope you did your civic duty and voted. As for myself, I think I'll go to bed early tonight.

04 November 2012

Church Attire and College Football

Fun church fashion link up!
We went to Saturday evening mass since B had to work both weekend days (but he gets home at 4). Any Catholic can tell you that the vigil masses are much more casual, so I didn't end up changing anything but my shoes from what I was wearing earlier in the day. Even two of the Eucharistic ministers were in Notre Dame hoodies/jerseys.  I guess that's acceptable here.
Aaand I just look like a college student failing to look like a soccer mom.
I really don't like wearing jeans to church. It just feels so informal. But I also didn't want to change my entire outfit, and the church we've been attending is always cold.  Or maybe we just sit in a draft.  No, it's definitely cold because most people do not take off their coats throughout the whole service. Either way, the blue jacket stayed on throughout the entire mass. It came in handy when baby got fussy during communion and I just nursed her through it without exposing too much (this doesn't happen very often).

Blue zip jacket is Nike (a gift from a few years ago). Green shirt is Old Navy. There's a gray tank under it since it's kinda see-through. The jeans are Aeropostale .. The pink chucks aren't actually chucks, since they're Airwalks.  The scarf is my first and only crocheted-by-moi neckwear.

The baby is wearing a homemade UGA onesie, a pink Notre Dame zip hoodie (it has a shamrock you can't see in this pic), purple Fuzzibunz babylegs that I got as a bonus in an order of cloth diapers, and UGA socks. And if you're curious about her diaper, she's in a red-edge GMD prefold with an Econobum cover. I won't tell you what underwear I have on, though.

Now that's enough about what we were wearing--let's talk about some football. For the first time this season, both my Georgia Bulldogs and B's Fightin' Irish were playing at the exact same time (see: baby's outfit). We have one TV, so actually going to mass during the most of that time was a good compromise. We came home to an easy win for the Dawgs, but boy, that Notre Dame game about gave us a heart attack as it went into triple overtime!

I should probably apologize to our downstairs neighbors as I couldn't contain my jumping and hollering last night. Thankfully, the Irish won! And now we're thinking that with B's team ranked 3 and my team ranked 5, they just *might* get to play each other--which hasn't happened since before either of us were born. And if that does happen, I have already decided that Baby Cora will cheer for whichever team is winning :-)

02 November 2012

7 Quick Takes (Saints and Souls Edition)

— 1 —
B started his new job this week.  He didn't even know what hours he works until he showed up the first day.  Looks like it will be 6:30am-3:30pm.  Kind of a yikes, but I'm glad he's home around 4. He's also working both days this weekend, which makes me start to question why he ever left the Navy. Hopefully it will settle down soon (and maybe he'll get some overtime or comp time, since they're making him clock in even though he's salaried).

— 2 —
Today is All Souls' Day.  Yesterday, All Saints' Day (yep, went to mass!). And then there was this uber-Catholic family on Wednesday:

So I found this on CatholicMemes.com, but then looked up the blog it was actually from.  Wow!  So much awesomeness over there on Shower of Roses.  Check out their the detailed post about the saints party and their pumpkins!
She even has printable templates for the first two.
— 3 —
On Tuesday, I had gone out briefly after B came home to get my free taco and then to check the mail. T-Bell is so close that the heat never came on in my car, but it was raining and cold cold cold. After I checked the mail, I came back into the apartment whining, "I hate this! I'm so cold! My hands are freezing! I want to go back down South!" and I put my hands on B's face for dramatic effect.

Well, as part of the mail I had just brought in there was a package from my mother.  Among other contents, there were . . . handwarmers.
That was probably the quickest mood shift I've ever had.

— 4 —
Yes, we dressed our baby up for Halloween! We took her over to her great grandmother's house.  She was the only trick-or-treater since she lives in a neighborhood for retired people.

Yes, she's a male lion.  A female lion would just look like a cat. But don't you like that pink flower I added?

— 5 —
We had a recipe fail yesterday. It was quite odd, since usually I'm the picky one, but it was B who said, "I don't like this at all!" Neither of us like avocados, and even the baby didn't like them when we tried a few months ago. But all these crunchy mamas keep touting them as "superfoods" and blah blah blah, so I tried this recipe for creamy avocado pasta. With enough Parmesan and basil, I found it mostly palatable. And it looks like I'll be eating the leftovers and never making it again. I guess we're just not avocado people.

Update: I had one avocado left over and mixed it with some plain yogurt for her lunch, and baby liked it! Still not sure if I'll be buying avocados again, though.

— 6 —
I made my first craigslist sale this week! It's a kitchen appliance I've barely used, so I decided to salvage it from the Goodwill pile because it's in great condition. My husband thinks I'm going to get stabbed when I meet this person tomorrow, even though I chose somewhere public to do it (the CVS parking lot). He'll be at work, so here's to hoping all goes well. I'm also hoping that CVS has some cheap candy corn so I can make these.
Homemade Butterfingers!
— 7 —
Oh, I forgot to update everyone after my previous Quick Takes (#2). Yes, we have a dishwasher! However, be careful what you wish for, because it's not a very good one. I think I need to switch to liquid detergent or something.

Thanks to Jen for hosting. For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.