26 April 2012

I've figured it out

This is a big honkin' deal.  Bigger than Elvis.  Or sliced bread.  I've figured out what type of career I would like to do!!

Like a lot of people I know, I definitely had a quarter life crisis.  Unlike a lot of people, I refused to pay for grad school until I was absolutely sure.  Now my GRE scores are well-expired, and I'm not sure if grad school is ever in the cards.

Back in 2010, when B was deployed, I blogged about trying to figure out my calling and how I went to a Career Planning workshop at Fleet & Family Support to help me out.  Well, almost two years later, I think  I have it.

I want to be a Family Life Educator.  There it is.  I've written it down.  I feel like I should ring a bell or call my mom or something.

I re-read that old blog post tonight, and the only thing that is missing is "the great outdoors."  But I think I can fill that void in other ways, without having my career hinge upon it.

Okay, I actually already sorta am a Family Life Educator.  I have been (volunteer) teaching Budget for Baby class to expectant military couples for almost a year now.  It had been growing on me, obviously.  Sometimes my classes stink and the participants sit there like bumps on a log and just listen to me bumble on about the parts of a budget.  But I taught a class today and seriously hit it out of the park.  I was able to somehow transform it from almost non-participatory to a pretty lively and informative class!  I don't even know how I really did it, but it was kinda magical.  Thinking it might have been all in my head, I read the anonymous evaluations that the participants filled out, and I got perfect marks from every. single. one.

I think this is actually a great field to combine my educational background.  My degree in Child & Family Development can help me teach more of these budget types of classes, and I would also like to get into teaching some parenting skills or other family topics.  My advertising background will definitely come in handy because I will probably be the one who has to market these classes.

As for the next step, I'm not sure.  I know I want to be primarily stay-at-home for a while, so this will be sorta put on the back burner until I'm ready.  I then will need to get some certification and find someone to pay me (the hard part).  However, I am already volunteering my way into it more fully, as I am now taking on more than just teaching the Budget for Baby class.  They made me the chair of the operation, so I'm making some marketing materials and making this class the best it can be!

Have you figured out your calling?  How long did it take you to really know?  (I'm just about 10 years out of high school, in case you're wondering!)

25 April 2012

our ups and downs with breastfeeding: part 1

I have so much to say on this topic that I had to split it up!  Here's part one.

I won't lie, I was pretty intimidated about breastfeeding, mostly because of looking at illustrations like this one:
That just looked painful to me! (But now I know that it's not.)
I don't really like being touched, so the though of my nipple being shoved back in my baby's mouth kinda freaked me out.  But I also knew it was something I wanted to do.  Actually, when people asked, I said I was going to "try."  I had known so many people who gave it a shot and then gave it up after a few weeks.  I knew there would be roadblocks, so much so that a friend convinced me to attend La Leche Leaguemeetings while still pregnant.

So I did.  That first meeting, I wasn't completely enthralled by this group of crunchy co-sleeping mommas, but I finally got the opportunity to see someone breastfeed without a blanket covering them.  I had never actually seen it before.  In retrospect, I wish I would have asked one of those nursing mothers if I could just sit next to her and really observe it instead of simply pretending not to spy on her.

I did a few other things to prepare (read a book, went to the class at the hospital), but I still had no idea what I was in for.  Learning to breastfeed in the hospital was rough for me.  I was already exhausted from being awake for over 24 hours straight (3 of those actively pushing), and now I had to figure out this whole new world.  The nurses propped up some pillows around me in such a way that I couldn't figure out how to do it on my own when they weren't around.  They told me I had to feed her every 2-3 hours, but all I wanted to do was sleep.

Finally, at one point, B went home and brought me back the My Brest Friend pillow that my sister loaned me.  There was a rocker in the hospital room and this one nurse finally came in and set me up there, and it finally clicked.  (I still use that pillow every day!)  By that point, we were actually supplementing at the breast as well because it was day 3 (I stayed an extra day, thank you Tricare), my milk hadn't come in, and my baby was getting very close to losing 10% of her birth weight, which the doctors don't really like.  The syringe supplementing devices were great, and they even sent me home with a few.

I've lost all but ONE POUND of baby weight!!
My mom, who formula-fed both me and my sister, was actually one of my biggest cheerleaders.  That first week we were home, she would get up with me for those middle-of-the-night feedings, and just talk to me and fetch me water and sometimes food if I was hungry.  She was (and is) super grandma!  My mom never even tried to breastfeed, but I think we both have the same kind of determination.  If I really want to get something done, then by golly, it's gonna happen!  She never once tried to convince me of doing anything differently, and for that I am so grateful.

Some weird/fun things that happened early on were that my feet sweat every time I fed her.  I've always annoyed B with my cold feet and had to put on socks every night, but not those first few postpartum weeks!  I was wearing flip flops every day, and it was February.  (Granted, this is Florida, so that's not too weird here.)

And yes, my breasts hurt those first few weeks, as they were just getting used to all that new work they were doing. Sometimes I absolutely dreaded when baby got hungry, but once I actually had her latched on and nursing, I was basically in the zone.  Whenever I put my nursing pillow around me, it felt like I was putting on a suit of armor!  (I still feel that way sometimes when she wakes at 4am.)

I'm glad I made it through those first painful weeks! In part 2 you'll get to hear about a major setback we had a few weeks later.

23 April 2012

hooray hooray, a giveaway!

Well, I promised you a giveaway on Monday, so here ya go!

It's not much, but I think someone will like it:

Yup, $5 to Amazon to get whatever your little heart desires.  It will just be a code given through email that the winner can apply to their Amazon account.

There are two options on there for you to sign up for a site through my referral link for extra entries.  I figure I should probably give a little blurb about each site (and these are the sites that are helping me to give things like this away!)

Superpoints: Earn points by watching videos and clicking the SuperLucky button!  They also randomly send points to your email, usually once a day.  One of the easiest sites I've found.  You can also complete surveys and offers to earn.  Redeem your points for gift cards, PayPal cash, or other items.

Recyclebank: Another point-based website where you can receive points for your curbside recycling if your hauler participates; you can also earn by taking quizzes and pledges relating to living a greener life.  (I live in apartment and don't get any points for my recycling, but I still love this site).  Redeem points for high-value coupons (like $2 off one Kashi product), magazine subscriptions, gift cards, or donations.

Existing members of these sites get just as many entries in this giveaway :)

I'm using RaffleCopter as a host for the first time, since I've found it so easy to enter drawings with it. The giveaway will close Thursday night at midnight (Eastern), and the winner will be contacted on Friday.  Best of luck to everyone!

p.s. if the giveaway widget hasn't loaded for you after a minute, refresh the page.

19 April 2012

something new

Notice anything different??  Not only do I have a new blog design, but my blog also has a new name!  I was kinda tired of using a moniker I stole from a TV network anyway.  The new name makes me smile a lot.  I was looking for some way to incorporate windmills because of my name, but I wanted to make it fun and kinda whimsical.  I was watching a video of myself doing cartwheels taken way back in 2010, and it just hit me.  I was also 40 weeks pregnant as I watched it and amazed I used to be that skinny.  After watching that, I decided that even though I was preggers, I could still do it!  I fell on the first attempt, but tried again and did it successfully!  We were going to get it on video the next day, but I went into labor at 4am instead.

As for my blog design, I won it in an awesome giveaway!  Brea at Utterly Chaotic made it all fabulous.  I had been admiring her work on other blogs for months now, so I was so excited when I won.  She was very patient with me as we put my design on hold during my adjustment to motherhood, but once we got it rolling it went so fast!  She's so quick to respond and didn't get annoyed by my requests to change little minor things that nobody but me will probably notice.  For those of you in the market for a new design, she also offers a military discount :)

And if you're new around here, welcome!  Check out the "About" page for some info about me.  I'll be blogging not only about our super-cute baby girl and my journey through new-motherhood, but also our transition out of Navy life this year (we're treating his job hunt like a PCS, so who knows where we'll end up!).  And I'll be sure to throw in a few other things, like our travels and knocking out more goals on my 101 list.

To kick off my new blog, come back Monday for a giveaway!

18 April 2012

baby's first road trip

This past week we embarked on baby Cora's first big adventure!  It was her first time out of the state--I had to think hard about that, actually, because we live so close to the Alabama border--but she conquered quite a big trip for being such a tiny traveler.

We set out on this trip to Indiana to attend B's cousin's wedding.  We left Wednesday afternoon and drove due north, stopping at a hotel in Tennessee.  The next day we arrived at B's family home just north of Indianapolis.  The wedding was in Fort Wayne, which was another 2 hours, and for one night we stayed another hour away at B's family lake house in Michigan.  That makes me exhausted just thinking about it.  (Yes, I'm still recovering!!)

We had to stop about every 3 hours to feed baby as we traveled, but we had a system.  Basically, Cora is the fussiest eater in public when we don't have our comfy pillow set up like we do at home.  She also takes forever to eat and only wants to be held in one specific way which kills my arm.  So I pumped.  In the passenger seat.  We fed her bottles, which she sucks down so quickly that we actually have to pace her.  Yes, it was a pain in the butt rinsing out bottles and pump parts in rest area bathrooms, but it could have been worse (my arm thanks me).  I also became acutely aware of places that didn't have changing tables in their bathrooms (I'm lookin' at you, Burger King).  But once Cora was fed and changed, back she went into the car seat where she usually cried for about 5 minutes or so and then fell asleep.  All in all, a pretty peaceful journey.

And if you're wondering, I absolutely do not agree with the "lean" system that some breastfeeding mothers use.  (They sit in the backseat and lean over the car seat to nurse.)  I don't care if you still have your seat belt on, it's not safe for you or your baby.  Alright, I'll get down from my soapbox now.

Okay, enough about our systems.  Cora has now been to 6 states!  Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan.  Soon enough she'll catch up to my 47, right?

Here are some fun pictures from our trip!
Cora in her fancy dress
Cora got to meet all her aunts and uncles on B's side of the family!
4 generations
We met this other baby girl at the reception who is only one day older than Cora!
My fussy baby and me

06 April 2012

it's that time again

Head on over to Wife of a Sailor to link up!
1. What’s one thing in the past month you would have changed? I wish that I still wasn't in pain from giving birth!  Ugh, this healing process is taking longer than I anticipated.  If I'm still in this kind of pain in a few weeks, I'm calling my doctor again.

 2. What was your favorite thing that happened in March? Probably our baby really starting to smile and get active and cute!

 3. Check your phone… who was the last person you called and what is your favorite thing about them?  Um, it was the childcare center on base!  I have to call every Friday to arrange drop-in care for Cora while I volunteer.  She did her first day (well, 5 hours) this past week, and it went well!  And we were so busy at the office that I didn't have time to dwell on it.  From the looks of it, it's really good childcare--and they definitely aren't pushing schedules on or overfeeding my "everything on demand" baby--so I guess that's my favorite thing!

 4. If you were a crayon, what color would you be and why?  Burnt orange.  It's a happy color, but still sort of earthy, too.

 5. What are you looking forward to in April?  Baby's first road trip is next week!  We are driving to Indiana to go to B's cousin's wedding, and baby Cora will get to meet lots of her family.

05 April 2012

playing picta-phone online!

I found something new online last week, and I just have to share this with y'all!

On my blog stats, one of the most-used search terms to find my blog is "pictaphone" game.  See, I wrote a post about a new game I learned at a party and posted a how-to guide.  The friends at the party just called it "the best game ever" but I called it "picta-phone" and apparently others do as well (or "drawing telephone" as a book I read dubbed it).  Check out my old post if you don't know what I'm talking about.

Well, now you can play it online!  With strangers!!  The site just launched last week, so they're still working out some bugs, but head on over to http://drawception.com/ and join in the fun!  You can just log in with your Twitter or FB account and start playing right away!

Here's a game I started and where it ended up:
Hilarious, amirite??

04 April 2012

my thoughts on Pretty Pushers gowns

As y'all know I win a lot of giveaways. Well, I win a lot because I ENTER a lot of them, and I try to find ones with less entries to up my odds (uh oh, my secret is out!). Anyway, while I was pregnant, I was intrigued by the idea of a cute labor gown made by Pretty Pushers that I had seen around the internet. I knew I probably wouldn't pay out of pocket for it, and I wasn't sure if anyone I know would give me one as a shower gift, but I ended up winning one!  I always think that's the best way to try something out.  And I'll say it right here that Pretty Pushers did not convince me in any way to review their product--I just wanted to.

Now when I was looking at these, I was reading some of the Amazon reviews.  Everyone loved them, but hardly any of the comments were from the actual user AFTER the birth.  Most comments were something along the lines of "I can't wait to wear this in labor--so cute!" or "I just gave this to my niece who is about to have a baby and she loved receiving it!"

Well, I definitely loved receiving it, too.  Along with the "I dream of Sushi" Pretty Pushers gown, my winnings also included a headband and two pairs of post-partum underwear.  The first thing I noticed was that the cotton was super soft!  The company tells you to dispose of everything instead of washing it afterward since it's cotton and will break down easily (they say that's more eco-friendly since labor goo is hard to get out).

I was actually looking forward to wearing this in labor.  It's basically a halter gown with a low back for an epidural with a few ties in the front for the fetal monitors or whatever.  However, if you read my birth story, you'll see that I was in the standard-issue hospital gown during labor and right after delivery.  When they had me suit up in the gown, the Pretty Pushers was still in the bag in the car.  I think it worked out though because I was actually pretty cold most of the time and the sleeves on the hospital gown kept me at a really good temperature.  However, I did actually wear the headband, and it helped a lot.

Even though I didn't wear the gown during labor and delivery, I did wear it for the next two days of my hospital stay!  After they helped me take off the hospital gown that was covered in who-knows-what (they really did put the baby on top of me and my gown immediately after delivery), I had B fish out my Pushers gown and I put that on.  It was actually really awesome for post-partum recovery!  People tell you to bring an old nightgown for that, but I actually don't wear nightgowns, so I definitely didn't have an old one sitting around and I didn't want to buy something just for this.

You may be wondering how I breast-fed in that, but I think it was probably easier than the hospital gowns.  Since it's a halter top, I just yanked the neck over my head each time I fed her and then pulled it back when I was done.  It was really comfortable that way.  It was also super-easy to go to the bathroom in, since it's a dress.  (If I had gone the "old nightgown" route, it would have been old boxer shorts which would be way more difficult.)  I also got a ton of compliments from the nurses once whenever I got a wave of energy to walk the hallways!  I unfortunately don't have any pictures of me during those two days I was wearing the gown.  Actually, it's probably fortunate because I'm pretty sure I looked like crap!  I had a really rough recovery, so at least I felt pretty good wearing my gown.

As for the post-partum "disposable" underwear, I only used one of the two pairs.  The hospital had that mesh disposable underwear, so I mostly used that.  But at one point, I just didn't want to wear medical supplies any more, so I opted for these.  They were nice, and they have a drawstring.  They have a place to put an ice pack, but I never used them that way.  My only issue was that when I won the contest, I was in denial about my true size--so I probably would have loved them more if I had gone a size up.

And did I dispose of any of this stuff?  Actually, no.  Since I wore it during my recovery, it didn't get all too gross.  I just tossed it in the wash with my other clothes when I got home, and it came out fine!  I currently have it tucked away for the next pregnancy.  Maybe then I'll actually wear it during labor!