28 September 2012

Where Life Takes Us Next

B accepted a job offer!

He is starting his new position on November 1.

He'll be doing something at a power plant, but not a nuclear power plant.

I'm sure you guys don't care much about that, you just want to know where we're going!

Well . . .

It's in the Eastern Time Zone. (I'm actually kind of bummed about this; I loved Central Time!)

It's the second-largest city in its state.

One of us graduated high school about 2 hours away from it.

We will need winter clothes to live there.

It is the 74th largest city in the United States with a population of 255,824.

It is known as The Summit City.

It has a large Burmese ex-pat community.  (I heard that on NPR, lol.)

We are moving to . . .
Fort Wayne, Indiana!

Yup.  Sort of back home for B.  He went to elementary school in this city, and his grandmother and various extended family live there. I finally get my "village" to help raise my child, so that's a plus.  However, I now have to dress my child in pants. And a jacket.  I have to learn how to drive in the snow.  No beach anywhere near, but I think there are lakes which you can actually swim in (no gators!).

As for how his job search went?  Well, I had previously mentioned the headhunters and job conferences and all that jazz.  Those amounted to squat for him.  This job was found the old-fashioned way: connections.  His cousin is an engineer up there (at GM, where he'll be working as well) and blasted his résumé out to anywhere she saw fit. B will be working for a contract company, but within the GM truck plant.

I suppose you want to know our timeline, too?  Yeah, I knew that when it happened it would happen quickly, which is why I quit my volunteer job right when he went on terminal leave.  We're moving NEXT FRIDAY (in one week!).  Holy crap.  The Navy is moving us; we had to pay an extra $100 or so because it's slightly farther than his hometown.  They're packing us up Thursday and the moving truck is coming Friday.  Our stuff will go in storage while we look for a 3-bedroom apartment.  We don't plan on buying a house immediately because I don't like being rushed into major life-altering, debt-inducing purchases.  We currently are debt-free, and will be taking a pay-cut for the initial part of this job (and the health insurance is flippin' expensive!), so we can probably get a better house in a better location later anyway.  We'll hopefully have a house in a year, but no rush. Renting has generally been good for us.  Maybe we're nuts, but we like  having other people mow the grass (and shovel the snow!).

So that's our story. Farewell, Navy.  Hello, Hoosiers!

27 September 2012

A Letter From the White House

Yep, a letter from The White House, not to The White House.  Well, I did have to send them a baby announcement, but then I got this in return!

I really don't care what your political stance is, nor does your baby. I will be getting one of these for each child of mine regardless of who is in office. This is just. plain. cool.

To get yours, send a birth announcement to:
White House Greetings Office

Room 39

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Please include the following in your request:
  • name and home address of honoree(s)
  • form of address (Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., Miss, etc.)
  • exact date of occasion (month, day, year)
  • your (the requestor's) name and daytime phone number
  • any specific mailing instructions if other than to honoree's address
I sent an extra birth announcement and then typed up a little slip with her name, birth date, and our names and address (mostly because my handwriting is awful).  I probably didn't even need to include the actual birth announcement, but it had pictures!  You can make an email birth announcement for free on pingg.com and print it out if you didn't do formal announcments.  Also, I didn't send this until she was 6 months old!  It took a few months after that to get a reply.

You can also get greetings from the White House for a variety of other celebrations, including weddings and retirement.  (I have one from when I got my Gold Award.) Check here to see what qualifies.

This is now in her baby book!

21 September 2012

7 Quick Takes (Empire State of the South Edition)

— 1 —
We're in Georgia this weekend!  We really have no reason to keep hanging around in Florida, and to be honest, I was getting kind of homesick and bored.  I also wanted to meet my friend's little girl that was born in June, so here we are!  It's just for the weekend, but I'm also attending my 10-year high school reunion.  It's being held at the tavern in the town square.  No, I'm not from Stars Hollow, I promise.  But we do have a pretty nice gazebo . . .

— 2 —
My sister will probably be annoyed to hear this, but I have an awesome Mary Kay consultant.  My sister used to sell Mary Kay back when I completely refused to wear make-up.  So my friend Jiza became my MK consultant during my time in Virginia, which coincided with me deciding to become a bit more "put together" (shall we say).  She's another Navy nuke wife, and she does free shipping and handling, so it's been easy to keep buying from her even though we are now many states apart.  She has amazing customer service, too.  My order actually got kinda screwed up (not in a big way or anything), and she threw in all these other fun goodies for me, including a full-sized lip gloss!  You should check out her Mary Kay shop, since she is currently doing an inventory 50% off right now before she moves to Japan!  Oh, she also has a cute little blog.

— 3 —
Speaking of fun products and good people, have you entered my Lilla Rose giveaway yet?  It closes tomorrow at midnight, so you might wanna get on that now.

— 4 —
We have achieved full swaddle wean!  Yes, we are the crazies who had a baby still swaddled at 7 months old.  (She was in the larger-sized velcro SwaddleMe.)  Last week she hit a turning point.  I think it definitely happened because she could roll both ways now.  Even though she had always been a big hater of tummy time, she now rolls over and sleeps on her stomach.  She finally gets to wear footie pajamas now, too!  In the swaddle we just used a onesie so she wouldn't get too hot.

We had to add the bumpers in due to a variety of factors that were waking her up.
She can roll, so I'm not too worried.
 — 5 —
I went to a big seasonal consignment sale last week and got some amazing deals!  This is the same one I went to last year, so I knew it would be successful.  Here's the haul I got for just under $100.  The dress on the right still had the tags on it and will be baby's Christmas dress!  I also got her a Halloween costume :)
I got that ride-on toy in the back right for FIVE dollars!  She already loves just sitting on it.
— 6 —
As for being back in Georgia, I got to see my niece again last night.  She'll be 2 in December (sorry, I stop counting months around 18).  Her hair has been growing, and this child has a pretty crazy mullet now!  My sister tried putting her hair in a ponytail, and it was adorable for a minute . . . until my niece yanked it out.  Oh well, long live the mullet.

 — 7 —
This made me laugh:

For more Quick Takes, check out Conversion Diary.

17 September 2012

Lilla Rose Review and Giveaway

Lately I've been a one-trick pony when it comes to hair.  Yes, the "mom ponytail." Babies like to grab hair, and baby Cora likes to yank really hard (yowch!), so of course I need to keep it up and back.  I was trying to figure out other ways to do a bun that didn't take too long.  I recently received a Lilla Rose Flexi Clip that is perfect for keeping my hair up and looking stylish at the same time!
The Roman-Style Cross Flexi in Medium
 I chose size medium clip hoping it would be able to hold all my hair up, and it did!  It took a little bit of practice – and watching some styling videos on the Lilla Rose website – but I found three easy styles I could do in no time. I loved that this clip stayed in place allllllll day, which is pretty awesome when you realize how much moving around you do with a baby.  I even walked two miles then did 40 jumping jacks with it in, just to test it out.  Yes, it stayed in place!
The Flexi Clip is all one piece; this is the back of it.  The pin has little grooves so it can catch the clip part.
3 of the styles I can easily do with the clip. The third one (the tails-up) is my favorite!
Lilla Rose has other hair accessories including hair sticks, headbands, and you-pins.  I also got a set of these adorable bobby pins!
Flower of Hearts bobbies
One of you lucky readers will win a Lilla Rose accessory of your choice from Independent Consultant Linda Menke.  Check out the giveaway below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition to my review, I wanted to mention that Lilla Rose Independent Consultant Linda Menke is sponsoring a special Mystery Hostess Party starting Sept 15 and ending at midnight on Sept 29. Everyone that orders will have a chance to be the Mystery Hostess and receive all the Hostess Rewards!  Due to a vendor swap also going on this month, the party is guaranteed to earn at least $450 in sales and all other orders will only increase that amount.  This is a great chance to order yourself a Flexi or start your Christmas shopping! (Check out the Flexi of the Month for Sept. – it’s beautiful) AND, if you are chosen as the Mystery Hostess, you can get lots of Lilla Rose loot for the holidays or for yourself.

To order from the party, Click Here.  Add yourself as a guest by entering your information under “New Guests Register Here.”  From there, simply shop and check-out. NOTE: Items ordered through the party will not ship until after the party closes on the 29th. Items will probably ship by Oct. 2nd. If you have problems or questions, please e-mail Linda at cliptomania@ymail.com.  Have Fun!

Also, please note while Lilla Rose does not ship outside of the US, Canada or Mexico, you can still order through my consultant! Please e-mail cliptomania@ymail.com for more information!

15 September 2012

Baby Food, Revisited

Baby Cora has really taken to eating food lately!  The last time I posted about it, she still wasn't all that interested in food.  As much as I stressed over the what and the how in the beginning, I am relieved now that it's all working out.  We are still sorta doing baby-led weaning (BLW), but there are just some foods I wanted to introduce that don't work that way.  Plus, we now feed her twice a day (lunch and dinner), and my lunch foods are not very baby-friendly.  If we're spoon-feeding her and she really likes it, she will grab the spoon and help guide it into her mouth.  In addition, she still hasn't mastered the sippy cup (she just chews on it), but she totally drinks out of a regular cup when we hold it to her mouth and she sometimes grabs the sides.  I went to Target and got some little kid-sized plastic cups and bowls that were on clearance in the kitchen section, and they are perfect.  (I got 4 pieces for $1--can't beat that!  Pink and purple, too.)

The downfall of the BLW approach for me is that it just assumes you're eating super-healthy, which I often am not (especially for lunch).  One thing that has helped me a lot is a site called Babyfood101.  I have absolutely no idea how I stumbled upon this place, but it has been my saving grace.  Instead of being overwhelmed by a bunch of options, I get one email a week that tells me two new foods to give to baby (here's an example for the curious).  It tells me at what age she's ready (and it always matches up to her age, so there's never a food she's not ready for), how to prepare it, whether it is worth it to buy it organic or not, and it even gives an adult recipe for the food too.  For someone like me who has never had a good relationship with food (I generally eat for sustenance and didn't learn to cook until my 20's, so I mostly stick to the same stuff all the time), this is fan-freakin'-tastic!  I've been learning a lot about food and trying new things myself as well.

Oh, and most of the preparation that the site gives me is catered to not having much time (i.e., buy frozen peas instead of shelling them because they freeze well) and none of it has involved a steamer basket.  Most of the things can be finger foods or "fork-mashed" too, so I've only busted out the blender once--and it wasn't for lack of trying to do without it first when we did green beans.  I've used plain whole yogurt to our advantage too, as sometimes I just mix the food with that.  Who would've thought my baby would like pea-flavored yogurt?
Speaking of the greens, I decided for this past week to be a vegetarian.  It's on my 101 list, so I figured now was a good time.  I also got to cross off another goal, which was to make something from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I made her Ratatouille on Sunday night.  Her directions were pretty clear, and I learned how to juice and peel a tomato easily, but I still kinda screwed it up.  It just didn't have enough tomato at the end, so I did what any normal American would do and threw a can of tomato sauce in there.  The whole thing probably should have cooked even longer after that, but we were getting hungry.  The dish came out alright, but it was not nearly as good as the version my cousin made at Thanksgiving that B and I had both raved over.  From the ratatouille, though, we gave baby some green peppers and she loved them.  She has mostly liked everything so far except white potatoes.

Going vegetarian for the week wasn't all too hard, but I realized that almost everything I made had a tomato base to it.  Even the Boca burgers had tomato ketchup!  I also realized that I could never be vegan.  Or at least it would require a major pantry/fridge overhaul to do so, and at this point in unemployment/possibly-moving-soon, that is just out of the question.  As for being vegetarian?  I went to the store one night, and the fried chicken someone behind me was buying smelled heavenly.  I had already eaten dinner, too!  One week was enough for me, so pass me that bucket of chicken already.

14 September 2012

7 Quick Takes (Things That Annoy Me Edition)

Today it's being hosted at Camp Patton!

Sometimes you just gotta get a few things off your chest.  I don't complain too much usually, so today I am going all "kitchen sink" on you with 7 things that annoy me.

— 1 —
The "Happy Birthday To You" song.  The melody of this song is terrible, especially for people who have no musical training.  It has an octave jump that just makes people uncomfortable because it usually requires switching from your chest register to your head if you're female.  It's also really awkward to be the birthday person.  What are you supposed to do?  Sing along?  Smile in silence?

— 2 —
When people on Pinterest don't pin the original recipe/idea and you have to jump through five hoops to get to it.  Or worse, the link is just a generic blog link and not to any post in particular.  Good luck, sucker!

— 3 —
Dresses that tie in the back for no reason.  I have a few of them, and it's usually just a little cotton cord (nothing special).  If it doesn't change the structure of the dress by tying it, then all it's doing is making it uncomfortable for me to sit in a chair (or a wooden church pew, or my car, etc. etc.).  I would just take it out, but often it's sewn in or I would have to cut off those little loops too.

This dress ties in the back, but WHY?  It's probably a conspiracy.
— 4 —
When people write "wa-la" (or some variant) but mean "voilà."  If you're going to use a term, learn how to spell it first, please.  It literally means "see there" in French, so let's keep it French.

— 5 —
Sites that have a "keep me logged in" option, but then don't actually keep me logged in.  Woe is me.

— 6 —
People who want to "eat my baby's face".  Why is this a thing?  I mean, she's cute, but I've never wanted to "eat her up" or "eat her with a spoon" or whatever.  Why do some people feel compelled to eat cute things?  I'm sure Freud has some answer, but please keep your cannibalistic tendencies away from my baby's face!

Please don't eat me!
— 7 —
When people say they are "apart of" something but really mean "a part of" something.  Um, do you realize you just said the opposite of what you meant?  Grumble grumble.

For more of today's Quick Takes, check out Camp Patton.

10 September 2012

Yes, I CAN Believe It

I'm starting to get annoyed with people who say things to me like, "She's 7 months already!  Where has the time gone?!"  Or, "Can you believe how big she is now?"

You know what?  I can believe it.  Unlike you, I see my child every single day.  I feel each day of those 7 months in my back, my boobs, my shoulders, and my hips.  I make sure I have at least one picture of her per week (and I've only missed one week since she was born).  I can remember her as a squishy newborn, a tummy-time hating 3-month-old, and when she cut those bottom two teeth simultaneously.  And what I can't remember? I probably have a video or picture that might jog my memory.

Maybe I'm just too practical for the sentimental mom set.  Or maybe it's because I didn't really start enjoying motherhood until three months into it. I know that babies grow. And they do it quickly.  I don't wish her smaller, saying things like "I'm not ready for my baby to grow up!" when she hits a new milestone.  I also don't (usually) wish her older.  I treat her much like I do myself. I've always been content at the age and stage that I'm at, never striving to look older or younger, so why should I treat my baby any differently?

Saying that certain events "feel like just yesterday" doesn't give full respect to everything that has happened since that event.  Sometimes I feel like I'm still 23, but then I remember all the cool stuff I've done in the past 5 years.  There's no way I could still be 23 with all those wonderful adventures underfoot.  The same goes for my baby--if "just yesterday" she was a marathon-nursing 6-week-old, then what about all those "boring" days we've had just reading together, taking her to the pool, singing her new (usually made-up) songs, and listening to her laugh?  That's where our bond has happened in our own unique way, and it would be very regretful to just gloss over those days in favor of milestones that almost every baby hits.

Maybe I'll change my tune in a few years, but I sort of doubt it.  I can believe that my nephew is 8 years old, even though I also remember very clearly the day he was born.  I recall dancing with him to The Wiggles videos in his toddler years, playing in the yard with him as a preschooler, and I remember the phone call I made to him to tell him that B would soon be his uncle.  The time of year has come again for him to solicit his Cub Scout popcorn to me, and that is when nobody can deny that he truly is a third-grader.

 I enjoy each day as it comes.  You may have noticed that on this blog I never say "I can't believe the week/month/year is over!"  That's because I can believe it.

A picture from yesterday, her first Grandparents Day.
She's getting bigger, but it's happening at the perfect pace.

03 September 2012

Getting Crafty: Decorated Onesies

In the class I taught to expectant parents, we gave out an awesome gift bag.  In it, there were lots of baby essentials like a hooded towel, little mittens, a crib sheet, and even some Gerber onesies.  Blank, all white onesies in 6-9 month size, to be precise.  Since I forced my husband to come to my class when I was pregnant (yes, he sat there and watched me teach!), we also got a bag.  Now what to do with those boring onesies?  Let's decorate!

I got a set of fabric markers to do some drawing, and I also got some fusible backing for some fabric applique stuff.
I bought 5 yards of the Wonder-Under backing.  I think it was a bit overboard!

Here's what I came up with:
Okay, that's more than 5.  I was having so much fun I went out and bought a pack of 12-month size ones!
I had some fabric scraps around the house, including the Georgia fabirc.  I also checked the remnants and quilter's bundles at the fabric store to add to my stash.

The fusible backing is supposed to "glue" the fabrics together with just an iron, but I soon found out that it depended a lot on the fabric itself.  The UGA fabric was a thicker type and kept peeling up in the corners.  My mom was in town during this, so she hand-sewed around the designs to keep them on.  If anything, the fusible backing kept it in place for that, so it was still worth it.

The "UGA" one was done with template I created in Powerpoint.  I just wrote what I wanted and blew it up to about 150-pt font.  The onesies are about the same width of a piece of paper, so that made it easy to determine sizing.  I printed out the page, then cut out the letters.  I then flipped them over and traced them onto the back side of the fabric that had the backing on it already.

After cutting out the letters from the fabric, you just peel a layer away from the backing and it's ready to iron.
The fabric pens were soooo easy!  And so much better than using puff paint.  I had seen the "I'm acute baby" onesie online at some point and thought, "Why should I pay $15 for that?!"  It was almost too easy.  I used a blue washout marking pencil (an essential in any sewing kit) to sketch the design on and then just traced over it with a piece of cardboard underneath the top layer.  I printed out the other designs and eyeballed them.  (I probably should have traced the ND shamrock, but oh well.)  I think the robot is my favorite; I found it by searching Etsy for "robot" and then finding one I could easily draw.  I'm planning on doing one with momma and baby owls, but this has proved much more challenging due to my lack of drawing skills and the intricacy of owl designs.  It's also insanely easier to draw straight lines on fabric, I've found out.

If I ever have to plan someone's baby shower, we are definitely doing this!  But as I've found out, it's still fun to do even after the baby comes.  Baby can wear it immediately, so you even get instant gratification!

Oh, did I forget to mention that I put something on the back of the UGA bunting one?
My future bulldog!