Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Over the past two months I have been dealing with an increasingly difficult personal challenge. This wasn't something I chose, and wasn't something I could immediately change or fix, especially on my own. I am already anxiety-prone and pretty high strung as is, so this particular challenge really took me to a breaking point of sorts over the past couple of weeks. 

Did you know people could break out in hives from stress? I used to do so as a small child on occasion, but hadn't experienced them in MANY years. That is until last month when I had a severe case that covered my body from head to toe in large, painful welts. 

That was a big wake up call that all of my "I'm totally fine!"s and "I can handle everything life throws my way!"s were not fooling my brain. I really had to take a few steps back to figure out a sanity-preserving way forward--especially since stress hormones pass right through the body to breastmilk. 

It took about a week of internal debate, as well as a generous amount of prodding from family, for me to make a final decision. Once I made it, though, it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I'm still feeling really good about it and have been experiencing MUCH less stress in my life overall as a result. 

I have been reminded of one of my favorite sayings, "You can do anything but not everything."  How very true. So, the moral of this story is that you must learn both your personal limits and how to stand up for yourself. It's a crazy, chaotic world and if you don't care about you then who else will?

Monday, June 15, 2015

meal plan monday

Here are some dinner ideas for your meal planning purposes! What have you been cooking lately?

Sweet potatoes stuffed with roasted corn, tomatoes, green onions, and cheese - I am SO happy to be back in the land of American sweet potatoes! Japanese sweet potatoes have their place, but not in meals like these. Yum!

Slow cooker turkey/lentil sloppy joes with veggies and fruit - We didn't have enough ground turkey for everyone, and I was avoiding a trip to the store, so I "beefed" up the recipe with lentils. Tasty, cheap, and a good source of iron.

Vegetable soup with salad and garlic bread - This soup is the perfect way to get in your vegetables for the day! You could easily add in beans, leftover meat, or eat as is. 

Curried chickpeas and spinach over rice - This is a favorite in our house. Cheap, tasty, and healthy! I hated curry before living in Japan and now I find myself actually craving it--funny how things work out sometimes. 

Breakfast burrito bites and fruit - I've made other breakfast muffin type dishes and wanted to try this variation. It was good, but fair warning to GREASE THE MUFFIN TIN. I thought the non-stick pan plus the shortening in the tortillas would be fine, but my parents' oven cooks hotter than our old one and my mom and I had to use a knife to free two dozen of these babies from the pan.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

school's out for summer!

Summer vacation has officially begun, which means I am officially off the hook for prepping a lunchbox everyday, making sure a kiddo gets on the bus on time, and generally running around town for random school needs. Is it okay to be just as excited as the kids are that I get a few months off of school-age mom duty? ;) 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

a weekend away

Back in April, after our first full week back in the States, Hubs and I decided to take the girls on a little weekend trip. Our last weeks in Japan were essentially chaos, and with Hubs off to training for a long time, we really needed some relaxing family time. We loaded up our new car (purchased through Military Auto Source which was the best), picked up Big Girl from school early, and hit the road a couple of hours south. 
Bug was not a fan of the statues.
We visited my alma mater to get some new shirts for everyone. It was so strange, and awesome, to walk around campus with Bug in tow. Never did that I think that nearly six years to the day that I walked the brick sidewalks for graduation that I would be back with my precious girl. That life stage feels so far removed from where I am now and it was such a special moment. 
On the tram to the park. "You're the best parents ever!"
Warm and snuggly.
The next day we visited Busch Gardens. They have an awesome deal for military families where once a year you can get free admission to any of their parks. We took full advantage of this opportunity since we knew that we'd be limited on riding things with Bug tagging along. Naturally, this was the only day the whole weekend that called for rain, but it was also our only chance to visit the park so we loaded up with umbrellas and rain coats and were fine. Thankfully, we still had Bug's winter snowsuit so she was super snug in her stroller all day. Big Girl was nearly tall enough to ride everything (somehow, already!) and she relished in her first upside down roller coaster--Hubs did not feel as thrilled about it. We ate funnel cakes and huge pretzels and picked up a delicious spread from Panera (we missed it!) on our way back to the hotel. 
Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales
One of the awesome nursing rooms!
Sunday morning we did some shopping at the local outlets. There were a few stores that Hubs wanted to visit since we'd not had American stores around for the better part of the last few years. We didn't buy as much as we thought we might, but we did all leave with matching Vans slip-on shoes. Afterward, we stopped by a pizza buffet and ate our fill for the drive home. 
Talking to Daddy in the hotel.
All in all, it was a great, relaxing weekend. It was nice to get some downtime after our crazy PCS, the long trip from Japan, and to spend quality time as a family before the military separated us for the better part of a year. I would say that it was definitely worth it and I know we'd all be up for another trip as soon as we can arrange one!

Monday, June 8, 2015

baby | 11 months

My little lady has less than a week left of being a "baby" (under one) and I can hardly even take it. I say this every month but I really have no idea where all the time has gone! I've delayed posting this as long as possible hoping it would delay the inevitable. ;)

11 month stats--

Weight: about 13 pounds (according to the home scale)
Length: My best guess is between 25-26 inches
Nicknames: Bug, Buggie, Bugaboo, Peanut Girl, Angel Girl
Sleep: This was a super crazy month since we moved out of our house and into a hotel for almost a week, flew halfway around the world and 13 timezones away from the only home she'd ever known, had to adjust to a new house/new people/new place/new everything. Sleep was a total wreck day and night--oh, and add her first tooth and first sickness in there too!
Eating: Thankfully nursing stayed on track through all the chaos, which is something I was worried about. She's still nursing 7-8 times a day and has 1-2 snacks and 1-2 solids meals a day. 
Clothing: Still fitting in 3-6 month pajamas though not for much longer. She can still fit most of her 3 month onesies but is in 6 month pants (for length, waist is still too big when she's in a disposable versus cloth diaper). 

Mood: Mostly terrible this month! She did well with the move and traveling, but it was a rough several weeks once we arrived back in the States. With adjusting to new everything, the time, cutting her first tooth, and getting her first illness, the poor thing spent most of the month just crying and miserable (and consequently mama was pretty miserable too!).
- Growling at grandma's and grandpa's dog
- Dancing to all the YouTube videos/radio songs
- Holding people's hands and walking around the house
- Eating every type of fruit or meat presented to her like it's her last meal
- Strangers trying to touch her
- Any attempts to make her crawl
- When it takes mama too long to replace the food on her highchair tray
- Being left alone longer than .2 seconds
What I want to remember/Milestones: 
- She experienced her first taste of military life with a big international move and then her daddy's first TDY/training since her birth. Not fun things necessarily, but she handled them like a little trooper!
- She got to participate in her first Sunday brunch (and was a big fan).
- She learned how to wave this month and it is really cute! She shouts "hi" at people and then waves her tiny arm furiously when we're out in public--so adorable.
- She cut her first tooth! It was terrible since she had a fever, couldn't sleep, and was battling her first illness, but everyone survived. ;) Thank goodness for amber necklaces, teething tablets, and acetaminophen. 
- She had her first trip to the children's museum and had a total blast. She loved watching big sis play around and the cushioned toddler area was a nice bonus.
- She made her first trip to mama's alma mater and visited her first amusement park.
- She and I celebrated her first Mother's Day on the outside. ;)
What I'm looking forward to: 
- Her first birthday! (I am also simultaneously not looking forward to this, haha.)
- Her mastering crawling--I know she'll get there one of these days--though I have a strong feeling she will be walking first.
- Reuniting her with her daddy (even if it's only for a short period).
- Her first Florida vacation this summer!
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