Tuesday, January 21, 2014

So long, goodbye...

This blog is (obviously) no longer being updated. Rather than deal with revamping it I have decided to move on to another blog entirely. If you're interested in following along, you can see my new blog at:

Not Quite Crunchy Mommy


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Keeping Daddy Involved When He's Not Home - Deployment Survival Techniques

Since I've started this blog I've had a lot of moms asking for ways to keep Daddy 'present' in their child's daily life. Though this list is by no means complete, and everyone does this differently, I thought I would tell you all how we keep things going in our household.

1. Make Memories

First and foremost, when we know a deployment is coming we start trying to plan a lot of family time together. Since our daughter is still young, it's unreasonable to expect her to really remember everything for long. There's a reason why we keep multiple cameras and video recorders in our house. Take lots of pictures. Lots and lots. And when you think you've taken too many, take some more. A lot of people get family pictures done as well.

This will give your child something he or she can actually look at to help remember spending time with Daddy. Don't delete the silly pictures because you're embarrassed. Those are the pictures you'll want to hang on to the most. Make sure there are lots of pictures with Daddy and the kid(s). Put these pictures up everywhere.

Kids cling to the silliest things that you wouldn't even think of. Baby Girl will sometimes walk around all day with her Daddy's expired driver's license clutched in her little hand.

Though no one likes to think about it, there are always risks with deployments. It doesn't matter where he is sent. Though I try to push it to the very back of my mind, I always wonder... Being a military spouse means facing harsh realities. What if this were the last chance you were ever going to get to take pictures of him? Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Snap away, ladies.

2. Videos Of Daddy

Last deployment I convinced Huzzy to record himself reading books. I never thought it was going to be the big deal it turned out to be. Baby Girl watched her video daily, and even at bedtime she preferred hearing the books that Daddy read to her. She was only 6 months old when he left, she had no understanding of what was going on or why Daddy was gone. But she did know that Daddy would show up in the TV and read her stories...for as long as she wanted.

You don't have to stop with just recording videos with him reading. Have your service member record messages to be played at specific time, such as:
  • Birthdays
  • Holidays
  • Graduation
  • Special school or family events

3. Security Items

Most kids have some sort of security item. It might be a blanket, a specific toy, a binky. When Daddy leaves, give them something to help remember him. There are a million different options, but here are a few I love:

  • Build-a-Bear - If you have one of these awesome stores near you, you should check it out. I'll warn you, it isn't cheap but it is so worth it. Your child can make and dress their own bear, and Daddy can record a special message to go inside of it. 
  • Operation Kid Comfort - These awesome people makes quilts for kids 6 and under that include pictures of their deployed parent.
  • Daddy Dolls - You need to have a full length picture of your service member to order one of these adorable dolls.

4. Don't Shy Away From Talking About Daddy

I know that when Huzzy leaves I kind of just want to pretend like nothing is different. The first few weeks I actively avoid phone calls from family and friends calling to see "how I'm handling it". It doesn't seem real yet. It hurts.

This is a painful time for everyone, and especially for children. Even though you are hurting too, you have to help them get through it.

Make talking about Daddy a normal and every day thing. It will help the kids to know that Daddy is still a part of their lives, even if he isn't there physically. If the children are old enough, make sure he is sending them letters or emails that are just for them. If they're too young to read on their own read it to them. When they ask questions about Daddy be as truthful as you can without scaring them. That too, will depend on how old they are.
    Some families still set a place at the table for Daddy. Some do countdowns. Everyone deals with this differently. Just make sure that your child(ren) know that they can talk about Daddy, and it's ok to miss him. Help them get excited about homecoming by thinking up fun things to do as a family once he returns.

    5. Keep Daddy Feeling Involved

    Lord knows that he isn't going to be able to help with every decision or every mini crisis you experience during deployment. Being deployed is tough. Being deployed and away from your children is heartbreaking. They know they're missing moments and memories they'll never be able to get back. They know they'll have to hear about first accomplishments through phone calls and email. It doesn't really get easier.

    One thing I like to do is ask Huzzy's opinion on a lot of stuff. That probably sounds pretty silly. I mean, we do that normally, right? If he's home sure. But how many times have you just done what you thought was best while they're gone and not had a second thought about it?

    I know a lot of the time I will have to make a decision before he can email me back. But I do it anyway. I tell him what's going on at home, I ask his opinions and I try to keep him involved in the way we run our family.

    Trust me, it may seem silly but it's much better than him feeling as if he has no real say or input for 6 months or more. It's the little things that matter.

    And like earlier, pictures. Lots of pictures. I take a picture of Baby Girl for every day he is gone. Every single day. It's a pain, but it is so worth it. I take video. A ridiculous amount of video. He may not be here for everything, but I try to catch it all on film.

    In our care packages, flash drives are the most precious thing you can get.

    This has been a pretty long post, and there's always more to add to it but hopefully this will help out those of you who were looking for help.

    To those of you who have gone through deployments with children, what would you add to the list?

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    Tim Allen Would Be So Proud

    If only

    Everyone sets goals during deployments. It gives you something to strive for, something to keep you busy, and leaves you feeling accomplished (assuming you hit those goals).

    There are some pretty common goals out there. Most spouses express a desire to lose weight or get in shape, some have more personal goals for themselves and others (like me) decide to try to tackle home improvement projects. Some women are super ambitious and set multiple goals. These ladies scare me in an I'm-impressed-but-I-can't-be-your-friend-or-I'll-look-lazy-in-comparison sort of way.

    During last year's deployment I had new cabinets put in. I was extremely happy with these, since our house is severely lacking in storage space and the kitchen hasn't been updated since the 1960's. I kept it to myself and didn't breathe a word of it to Huzzy, expecting him to be overjoyed when he got home. Well, he was overjoyed when he got home, but it had nothing to do with the cabinets. He didn't give a damn about the cabinets. Oh well. I suppose when you return from deployment you have other things on your mind. You know, like spending quality time with your kids. Geez, get your mind out of the gutter already.


    Huzzy has mentioned on more than one occasion that he wants to get the dining room floor sanded down and re-stained. I would love that too, since I'm pretty sure the last people that stained this hardwood floor were the people who installed it. There's literally no finish on my floor at all. It's all worn away over the years.

    Unfortunately, (fortunately?) Huzzy is my own personal Tim-the-tool-man-Taylor. There are some things that Huzzy is awesome at fixing, and then there are the things he thinks he is awesome at fixing just because he read about them in a magazine or saw a picture online. Yikes.

    This man is a danger to himself and everyone around him.

    A couple years ago, Huzzy was working on something in the garage while I was at work. On my way home I got a text asking if we have a first aid kit. He refused to tell me what happened, and said he would be fine it wasn't a big deal. I swung by CVS and stocked up on gauze, peroxide and every other first aid supply I could find. When I got home Huzzy had man-fixed it. Which basically means he wrapped his bleeding hand with a wad of paper towels and duct taped it in place. Nice.

    Later that same year he insisted on installing new attic stairs while I was out... I'm not sure if it happened before or after the new ones were installed, but at some point he managed to fall down the stairs and scrape the hell out of both arms. What Huzzy saw as a do-it-yourselfer's battle scars, I saw as another unnecessary brush with death.

    He purposefully will wait until I am gone before doing anything remotely electrical, because he has this bad habit of "accidentally" electrocuting the people who help him. According to legend, he electrocuted his sister when they were younger, but she swears she doesn't remember it. In my mind that's just further proof that it did happen. He also zapped a friend of his who was helping fix the wiring in the nursery. The man cannot be trusted.

    Where was I? Oh yes, the hardwood floors.

    Since Huzzy is gone, I'm going to take care of the floors myself. I figure in the long run I'm still saving money on gauze, band-aids and therapy bills. Huzzy of course doesn't know, and won't find out until he comes home. And just like last time he probably won't notice for the first few days. If ever.

    The only thing that bothers me is that after this deployment the Enterprise is getting decommissioned. Since he's staying on for the decommissioning and then going to shore duty, Huzzy won't be deploying for years. YEARS.

    People, this means that any work I want to get done to the house is going to have to be done during his duty day. I'm going to be stuck on 24 hour limits to fix the house without the risk of bloodshed. Meanwhile, Huzzy has been collecting an assortment of tools to help him complete all his "projects" he'll soon be able to work on.

    I'm doomed.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Why is OPSEC So Important, You Ask?

    You may or may not have read a story recently concerning Megan Born. She's an Army wife who recently made the news thanks to other people's inability to adhere to OPSEC.

    Megan Born's husband had been serving in Army, and unfortunately he lost his life during a protest in Afghanistan. That in an of itself is heartbreaking. Every husband, wife, child, family member and friend worries when their loved one goes on deployment. Everyone knows that death is a possibility, but I doubt anyone is truly prepared for it.

    When a soldier dies there are procedures to be followed. I don't know of a single milspouse who doesn't have a fear of uniformed soldiers showing up at her house, bible in hand, to deliver some very bad news. I know that I jump a little when there's an unexpected knock at my door while Huzzy is gone. It's a fear that we try to ignore, but it's always there.

    Unfortunately for Megan Born  she did not get the calm, trained soldiers breaking the bad news to her. She found out through a text message from a fellow military spouse on post. A TEXT MESSAGE. Turns out it was already all over Facebook as well. Well isn't that just dandy?

    No one is really taking blame in this, although there are plenty of people pointing fingers. Some are blaming the FRG for leaking the information. Others are blaming the Army. The Army is blaming the spouses. I'm not sure that we'll find out for sure who is to blame (though there is to be an investigation of course) but I cannot believe that someone along the way didn't stop to think, "Hey, should we really be spreading this stuff around?"

    Last year the USS Enterprise also had casualties during deployment. Thanks to the wonder that is Facebook and social media it spun out of control at record speed. At first we were aware that there had been a casualty, but did not know who. Everyone was panicked and scared. I don't think I can stress to you how scared we all were. I was about to pack up Baby Girl and go somewhere else just so that if by chance it was  Huzzy, I wouldn't have to see them show up at my door. Besides, if they didn't relay the message then it wasn't real, right?

    Whoever is at fault for this should be ashamed of themselves. I can't imagine the pain this woman is going through, but I'm pretty damn sure it would have been better to find out the way regulation dictates. No one should ever find out about the loss of a loved one through text message.

    Shame on the Army for giving this information to less than trustworthy individuals.

    Shame on the person that thought themselves above OPSEC.

    And shame on the wives who kept this going by texting or posting about it on Facebook.

    If you haven't already, I highly encourage you to read HouseholdDiva6's OPSEC page. Don't keep it to yourself either. Spread it around. Make sure fellow spouses know what OPSEC means.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    If I Set My Clock On Fire That Will Stop Time, Right?

    Before Huzzy got home it seemed as if time was just dragging. Now that the ship is in port and we actually get to see him again time is flying! Thanks to his awesome  duty rotation he's been able to come home a whopping 7 days so far. Not in a row, but hey I'll take them.

    I think it's really starting to confuse Baby Girl, but at this point I'm not even worried about it. I'm more concerned about this *gasp* deployment we have coming up. Every day he goes to work he takes more and more on board with him. Really it's just convenient to do it a bit of a time then all at once later on. Plus you are far less likely to forget something if you start packing months in advance. It's still super depressing to watch him gather things together or make up a to-do list. I know what's coming down the road and I do not like it.

    I've been trying to come up with hobbies and things to keep me occupied, though it seems as if I'll never have time for the things I actually want to do! When Huzzy is home, I'm certainly not worried about spending time on my shiny new sewing machine. When he isn't home, Baby Girl is sure to keep me busy! Maybe she just doesn't want me to feel lonely, so she fills up all the extra time I have. I love her, but I wish she would fill the time with a little less whining, crying, and sidewalk chalk on my hardwood floor.

    In other (less whiny) news, I've spent way more time on Pinterest than is healthy, but I'm loving it all the same. I'm hoping to actually find the time to make some of these awesome projects. By the way, anyone have ideas for where to get *cheap* fabric? I don't want to ruin good (read: expensive) stuff while I'm learning!

    DIY Crayon Roll Tutorial
    So cute, I want to make a bunch of them up for the kids in the family. They're all little budding artists, you know.

    DIY Coaster Set

    This looks so simple! Assuming I can get the tissue paper to feed through the printer correctly these will make for awesome, personalized gifts.

    DIY Scratch Off

    I didn't even know you could make this yourself, but I'm so excited to try now! I'm thinking they'll make great gag lottery tickets around the holidays, or maybe I can incorporate this into a game somehow.

    Adorable apron tutorial

    This DIY apron tutorial looked so easy and cute that it instantly made my crafts board. Now I just need to find some awesome fabric and make one of my own!!

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Daycares Make Me Nervous

    OK, I'll admit it...I'm scared of daycares.

    Maybe it's because I'm a paranoid first time mom. Maybe it's because I watch too much news, or simply that I've heard too many horror stories.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Are Military Moms Single Parents?


    If you aren't from a military family, this might seem like a strange question. If you are from a military family, then you've probably heard this before.
    "My husband is deploying. Looks like I'm a single parent again."

    "I'm a single parent when my husband is gone. I do all the Mommy stuff and the Daddy stuff."

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Expectations vs Reality

    Ah, the plight of the first time mom. You want to get your kid everything under the sun. All the toys and things that you would have wanted as a child are now yours to give your your little sprog. Spoil? What? No... Never.

    I don't know if it's because I'm slightly OCD (but only on really random things) but Baby Girl's toys have to be just so. Otherwise it drives me insane. I didn't think I was going to be one of those moms. I really hope I grow out of it.

    I Love A Good Deal

    Note: Don't mind the crappy pictures in this post. Huzzy "fixed" my camera when it broke, so it takes pictures now...but it really just needs to be replaced!

    So I'm super excited right now because I found a couple really good deals at the Kmart by me. Stock is going to be different for each store, so the best I can say is go check out yours. Your store may have the same stuff, or you might even be able to find better deals!

    Anyway, I ran out with Baby Girl to get milk. I was going to go to Walmart, but they were super busy so we went to the Kmart instead since they're in the same shopping center. And I'm super glad I did!

    Apparently no one shops at this Kmart, because they still have Christmas stuff! And it's all 90% off at this point. Score!

    These place mats were too cute to pass up (plus, I didn't have Christmas ones yet!) and I only spent $1.90 for 10 of them! They're normally $1.99 each. So I got ten for less than the cost of one! Sweet!

    I don't know about you guys, but I get all kinds of excited when holiday baking stuff goes on sale. I mean really, I can use icing anytime of the year! This package of decorative frosting only cost $1! Much better than the normal $10 it used to run!

    And even though I have holiday pot holders and dish towels, for $0.49 I couldn't pass these guys up. Only spent $1.47 for the 3 of them. A steal compared to it's normal price of $4.99 each.

    Last, but certainly not least, my favorite deal I got there. Hey, you may wonder what I'm going to do with 12 cans of Libby's pumpkin mix, but trust me I have found some wonderful uses for this. Even if I don't use it right away, they don't expire for another two years. I have plenty of time. These guys usually run $1.99 per can but were marked down to $0.49. So it only cost me $5.88 for a dozen cans! I'm in baking heaven right now.

    Anyone want a pumpkin pie?!

     What good deals have you found lately?


    Monday, January 30, 2012

    Military Monday - Who Have You One-Upped Lately?

    Cat over at 5 Nuts in a Nutshell is doing this awesome thing called "Military Mondays", so I thought I would tag along as well. Her post today (if you haven't read it) is about how military spouses like to play the "who has it worse" game. It's true, and everyone falls victim to it as one point or another.

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    I'm Going To Regret This In The Morning...

    Apparently Netflix is missing a couple of the David Tennant episodes I need to watch before watching season 5 of Doctor Who, so I had to order them from Amazon. That's fine by me though, because now I have a DVD cover with his beautiful face on it, and who can resist that? (No one tell Huzzy!)

    He's just so...pretty.

    Anyway, while I was online ordering that I figured I would check out what was still sitting on my wishlist. I only had one day left of Amazon Prime (though I think I may just have to renew it after all) so I was getting free 2 day shipping regardless. Apparently they were having some sort of special on the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD. I had put it on my list ages ago...and promptly forgot about it. So for less than $7 I figured what the hell. I'll give it a shot!

    Wish David Tennant had a workout DVD...

    Even though I'm still recovering from a nasty cold, I thought I would start it today. I usually feel a little better after exercising anyway. It's the getting started  that's so hard.

    The DVD is set up into 3 different levels, so you can basically take on harder work outs as you progress. I started off at 1. Let's face it, I haven't really worked out seriously since well before Baby Girl was born. I was lucky enough to lose most of the weight (hello, 5lbs that won't go away) but I was a little over my ideal weight even then. So I need this. Anyway, I figured level 1 would be safe.

    And it was.

    Sort of.

    Her workouts all cycle, so you do 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs. Then you go back through again until you've finished off the whole workout which is about 20-25 minutes. She doesn't want you to stop or rest and tells you so repeatedly throughout the DVD. (The joke's on you Jillian, I have the remote!)

    Honestly it wasn't hard to get through. The end of some exercises had my legs or arms burning, but it wasn't anything I couldn't do. I was glad when it was over though!

    I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow. That's pretty much a given. But only time will tell if this thing is actually going to show me any results. I weighed and measured myself beforehand so I know. And NO, I will not be posting my measurements online. I'm resorting to workout DVD's...what makes you think I'm proud of my body?! I will post up the amount lost (if any) after I've been at this for a while.

    Honestly with these workout DVDs it's more about what you put into it and less about the DVD. So far her routine isn't too bad, but I have heard other reviewers say they get 'bored' with it. If I get to that stage I figure I will just move up to level 2.

    Oh, and if you've ever had kids make sure yourself prior to starting. I had to pause it halfway through the second round of jumping jacks. Mommies, you know what I'm talking about. They spend a lot of time jumping with this DVD.

    In other news, Baby Girl and I are home again. We were going to stay up there longer but with feeling so incredibly under the weather I opted to come home and sleep in my own bed. I missed it so very, very much. This thing hit me like a truck, and I'm slowly starting to feel normal again. Baby Girl has been sick as well, but apparently when she's sick it means no more naps and limitless energy even though she's sneezing/coughing/snotting on everything within range. Gross.

    I had something else I wanted to write, but thanks to an overly energetic toddler I've completely forgotten. It's taken me way longer to finish this post than it should have, but I keep getting interupted so I'll finish with this:

    Oh yes, please!
    A big old thanks to CrazzyMomma over at Randomonium for this. It made my day.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    Tell Me Thursday January 26, 2012

    Alright, round two! For you newbies out there:

    With so many blog hops, fill-ins and twitter follows done on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I felt it was time to give Thursday a little love. Thursdays matter too, folks. From here on out I'll be putting out a few questions that you can copy and post over on your own blog with a link back here. I'll try to get this up on Wednesday night so you have time to get it posted to your blog for Thursday. After you've done that come back here and enter yourself in Mr. Linky down below. It's a fun way to get to know other bloggers while getting your blog out there as well.

    And begin!

    1. Do you have specific bloggers you follow? - Yup. For sure come hell or high water I will check out The Bloggess, Opal Siren and Bit of Blue Sky. The last two are people I actually know for the real world and everything. The Bloggess I've been reading for ages now and I can't give her up, not ever. She's like crack. I try to keep up with a lot more, but sometimes real life gets in the way of that. It's crazy how many amazing wonderful blogs there are out there.
    2. What is your least favorite part of blogging? - Trying to remember what I want to write! I'll come up with something really great at the worst when I'm washing dishes. By the time I get my hands dry and find paper and a pen I've forgotten it.  I'm also a big fan of commas where there shouldn't be commas so editing can be painful.
    3. Does your blog have a focus? - No, not really. I was going to start it off as more of a military life/mommy blog, but that's kind of gotten away from me. Now I just post about anything and everything. So military life makes it in there, but so do my current geek obsessions and whatever horrible thing my kid just did.
    4. What is your latest project? - I need to finish making Baby Girl's dress that's for sure! I have it all cut out but not sewn together yet. I forgot it at home. :(
    5. And just because : Favorite TV show? - Toss up! I still love Bones, and I watch Once Upon A Time every week...but Doctor Who is really getting up there. I'm halfway through season 4 and I'm going to be so bummed when there's no more. I better slow down!

    Thanks for joining in! Don't forget to link up!!

    Don't forget to leave a comment as well! Feedback is <3

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Baby Fever Or Why I'm Going To Kill My Husband Before We Even Get Married

    Since the Enterprise came back last July I have been absolutely surrounded by pregnant women. I want to start on Baby #2 already as it is, but thanks to these women flaunting their little fetuses all over the place I really want another one. Like, now. Preferably without all of the labor pains, because I did that once and it sucked pretty bad. No matter what anyone says I'm pretty sure the second time is going to hurt too.

    Anyway, Huzzy and I were driving home from a friend's house (this was over a week ago, I am SO behind on my stories) when the baby conversation started up. I totally take responsibility for starting it, but he dug his own grave by the end.