Tuesday, August 27, 2013

the blog is moving!

Surprise! The blog has a new name and a new face. You can find me at www.aprettylittlenotebook.com and read more about why :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

making room for our second-born (the material stuff)

When I was pregnant with Jack, I'm pretty sure I had the nursery and the rest of our house 100% ready for his arrival by, ohhhh, mid-July? But true to all the cliche jokes about your first-born vs. all the others, Andrew came home right at the start of the third trimester and I was all, "So...about this baby. Maybe we should name him and stuff?"

I think I was in deployment survival mode and every baby-related thought ended with me deciding that it would be better to just deal with it when Andrew got home. Needless to say, we've been in MAJOR nesting mode over here. The nursery (what had become more of a craft/storage room) needed to be cleaned out but all of those boxes needed a new home, which meant the basement and garage also needed to be cleaned out as well. We've sold stuff on Craigslist, made a bajillion trips to Goodwill and reorganized boxes that haven't been opened since we moved in together and even though it's kind of been a drag, the house feels so much lighter. I'm a fan of downsizing. Out with the junk!

So now the nursery is painted and it's just waiting for all the fun stuff like furniture and tiny diapers and baskets full of baby clothes. The nest is ready to be feathered, if you will. 

Which leads me to my next question/outloud thought: what does one need the second time around?

I started a mental list in the form of an Amazon Registry for things that I knew I was going to need but didn't want to forget about: another changing pad, another humidifier, some newborn long-sleeved onesies (a Connecticut October baby needs a lot more layers than a Charleston October baby). But what about the other stuff? Here are a few things on my list:

  • I didn't register for swaddling blankets with Jack because I had flannel receiving blankets on my list and I didn't think I'd need both. I can just swaddle him with the cheap flannel ones, duh! WRONG. No one told me about those magical, extra large blankets that you can tie your babies up in so they don't bust out of a weak swaddle at 3am and start screaming. So these are definitely on my list this time.
  • A second Boppy cover. Again, what was I thinking only having one? My Boppy stayed naked a lot of the time while the cover was being washed and when the Boppy itself was slimed...up the creek without a paddle, my friends.
  • I wish I'd thought ahead when I bought our video monitor because you can't add extra cameras to it like you can so many of the others. I really love having a video monitor and I'm not quite ready to take my eyes off Jack, so we're selling ours on eBay and upgrading to this version so we can have up to four cameras on one monitor. Technology! I got it for a good deal on eBay so now we just need the second camera.
  • Strollers. This is another area where I really, really, REALLY wish I'd done some more research. We're getting a double stroller (although I feel like we're buying another car because WOW they're expensive) and the one we picked out is actually a single stroller that can be converted into a double with a kit. Instead of getting that stroller for Jack and buying the kit now, we're selling our first stroller and our jogging stroller to come up with a teeny fraction of the cost of this new double stroller. Seriously, why are they so expensive?
  • I got a LOT of use out of our Ergo but it never quite fit right. I thought it was user error until I did some research and found that it was a common complaint of narrow-shouldered mamas. So we sold our Ergo and now I'm hoping to find a good deal on one of these Beco Geminis, which has been recommended as a good alternative. Anyone else have thoughts on that?
  • A sound machine. Our house is small and all one level and the bedrooms are close together, so I have a feeling that we might need to drown out some noise. Especially with a certain toddler on the premises who likes to scream "HAAAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!" every time Rudy comes in from outside.
Second-time mamas, what else should I be thinking of? Thankfully we're all set on clothes and linens, but is there anything else you wish you'd gotten/can't live without? Do tell.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

three kidless nights

One time, before I had a toddler, I made the statement that I didn't understand the appeal of going to a hotel resort/spa unless there were other things to do outside of the hotel itself. I mean, how boring would it be to just sit in a hotel room with nothing to do??


Needless to say, when Andrew emailed me from deployment and said he'd dreamed up this relaxing trip for us to take and to arrange for someone to take care of Jack, I fantasized about it for months and had no idea what I was looking forward to. He just promised blackout curtains and uninterrupted meals and told me that I'd find out about the rest when he came home.

You guys. This was the most laid back, restful, enjoyable time I've had in a while. Being a single parent for six months is no. freaking. joke. and I felt like a queen what with all the sleeping in and fancy dinners and wearing of dangly earrings. It was fantastic.

AND it was so romantic! Andrew scheduled our first night in Chapel Hill, since that's where we met, and we stayed at the Carolina Inn (love) and walked our college campus and ate at all of our favorite restaurants. So nostalgic. The second night we stayed at the same hotel where we had our wedding reception and even though we had plans to go to a nice dinner, we opted for Chick-fil-a and an early bedtime because we're grownups and we do what we want. The third day, went to the Umstead, this fancy pants hotel where the bathrobes feel like clouds and you can control everything from the lights to the temperature with the iPad on your nightstand so one doesn''t have to leave the bed unless it's to eat something amazing or sit outside on the patio with a stack of magazines and a mocktail. We did both.

It was the best kind of reset button. So thanks to Andrew for planning the trip and thanks to my parents for keeping the boy. He was in heaven with all the chickens and dogs and Uncle Tyler's old trains. He probably didn't even miss us.

And I vow never to knock the art of doing nothing ever again because I've tasted and seen that it is GOOD. Really, really, really good.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

the day he came back {homecoming pictures!}

I woke up at 2am the night before Andrew came home and was wide awake for the rest of the night. The anticipation was worse than what I experienced before our wedding. Now that I know what life with this guy is like, I know how much there is to look forward to and my nerves felt every bit of that emotion. I was just so excited to have him home.

That morning at home was the longest ever in the history of the world but soon it was time to put on our carefully planned outfits and head out to the water. Our first stop was where the river meets the sound, the first place you can get a glimpse of the boat as it's pulling in. As soon as I saw its sail in the distance I teared up, which wasn't at all what I'd expected. It was all just so happy. Six months is a long time, y'all.

From there we went to the pier where we waited and waited and waited for the boat to pull up. When they finally came and we could see the sailors in their dress whites waving at their families on land, everyone cheered and clapped. Jack knew his daddy was out there somewhere and kept waving and calling his name. When the tug boat that assists the sub pulled away, he started to cry for him because he thought Andrew was on that boat. But when I told him that he was still there, that he was still coming home, all was right in his world again.

Once the sailors started coming off, we waited about 15 minutes before I saw Andrew's face. The longest 15 minutes ever and the sweetest second ever when he turned and I saw that it was him. I was already crying at that point so when he grabbed me and just said "I love you so much" over and over again, all I could do was nod into his shoulder in agreement. I've said it before and I'll say it again: he's the sweetest man there is.

Jack was so overwhelmed by the crowds and the activity and the heat that he was a little cautious when Andrew picked him up. But he warmed up to him almost immediately and wanted nothing to do with me by the time we got home. For about two days, he panicked whenever Andrew left the room but now it's like we didn't lose those six months at all. I'm so thankful for that. And seeing the difference in him now compared to the time when Andrew was away has amazed me. He was meant to have his daddy around, you know?

Now we're home and doing all sorts of family things together while Andrew is on stand down and I never ever want him to go back to work. It's been such a sweet time together, all of us getting reacquainted and feeling what it's like to be a complete family. Pretty soon there will be duty days and new babies and more weeks away and we'll find the new normal in all of that, but for now I'm happy to watch my boys play in the front yard while I cook dinner. It's that ridiculously cliche June Cleaver moment that I've daydreamed about for half a year and I hope I don't ever take it for granted.

Friday, August 9, 2013

we're back!

I wish I had a video clip or sound byte of Jack saying that because it's darn cute. He squeals "Back!" any time Andrew, Rudy or I re-enter a room, like he just can't believe that we actually returned. He also likes to announce it when he's done getting his diaper changed, because he knows we'll all be so excited to have him back in our company. That kid. He's a ham.

But here we are! Andrew came home to us about three weeks ago and our little family of 4.5 (Rudy included, obviously) is settling back into post-deployment life in Connecticut after spending almost two glorious weeks in North Carolina. The whole thing - homecoming, being together, being a family - feels completely surreal. We do totally normal things like pick vegetables from the garden and go to Lowes and get Jack ready for bed, but it feels like such a special treat to be doing it together. These are the things that people have been doing all around me for the last six months and now it's my turn! It's fabulous.

Andrew's been quick to remind me that I haven't adequately kept up with the blog so there are a few more posts headed your way soon. Stay tuned!
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