Tell the World I’m Coming Home

Marriage, Military Wife Life

To say that I was excited to have my husband coming home from Basic Training is the definition of an understatement. I can’t even tell you the range of emotions I felt as we made our way to see him turn blue and graduate. Excited, nervous, proud, ecstatic, scared, stressed- you name it I felt it over the three days of ceremony, seeing him, and returning home. 

My husband is a soldier, not just any soldier he is an infantryman. It’s something I never thought I would say. I am so proud of all he has accomplished. He’s a changed man, I can certainly tell, but watching him in his element it’s so natural- like he was born to be a soldier. 


It’s strange the many hats he wears now. In one regard he is a soldier, he defends our country, he is strong, unwavering and unemotional. But on the other he is a loving husband and the best father to our little girl. I was worried that being just five weeks old when he left and four months away she wouldn’t recognize him. But I should have known this is the baby that after a full day of not moving when I was pregnant would throw raves in my belly when he would speak. She was thrilled to have him back, she chatted with him, smiled at him and giggled. She looks around the room for him to make sure he hasn’t left. She is a daddy’s girl through and through. And I just love the smile on his face when he plays with her. 


I wanted his homecoming to be special. I had the house decked out with signs. The front door and our bedroom (mostly for humor- he didn’t think it was that funny but I did!) I think he was just happy to be back together as a family, settling in to regular life. 


It will take him a while, there are things he doesn’t quite remember how to do, like snap onesies. But he is now so confident, so strong, so solid. We had family over to celebrate his return. I went all out with the details- red white and blue to the nines. I know he appreciated not only the gesture but all of the hard work. It shows on his face as he scans a room or carries on a conversation. While it’s strange to have him back, it’s also the best feeling in the world. Like he never left. That we fit right back in as a team ready to work together to get the job done. 

It’s true how the cliche goes- “some people never get to meet their heroes, I married mine.” It takes a special man to lay down their lives for other peoples. I’m so blessed to have him in our lives and defending us. Welcome home Mike- you’re the glue that ties us together and were so glad to be whole again. 

What Having a Baby is Really Like: My Harsh Snap into Reality

Children

 

When Mike and I found out we were expecting, I could not wait to meet our little bundle of joy.  When we found out we were expecting a daughter, I immediately pictured myself  with a designer diaper bag slung over one shoulder and a beautiful little mini me dressed in a matching outfit in my arms.  In my dream, I am totally put together and sipping a Starbucks latte while pushing a stroller through the park.   Bruce Wayne, the picture of a perfect dog, is walking nicely beside us acting calm and approachable.  

I must have been on crack or more likely, really out of it due to a crazy pregnancy hormone imbalance.

Five months after giving birth, I do have the beautiful daughter and the designer diaper bag, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

Most days, it’s a miracle to be showered and wearing semi-clean clothes…  Long gone are the ideas of daily mother-daughter matching outfits and headbands..  While Madeline still looks fabulous in her adorable clothes (thanks to a crazed shopping mommy during pregnancy), I am satisfied  when I smell okay and there’s no visible spit up or milk anywhere on my body.

That dream I had of strolling in the park with baby and Bruce? Oh man, I’m laughing at myself for that one.  What was I thinking? This is a dog that barks at nothing, who the mail carrier rolls his eyes at on a daily basis, and who has never ever been good on a leash. I thought adding a baby into the mix would transform him into a calm approachable pup?  Forget it. Bruce spends all of his time on our walks bobbing and weaving in front of us to protect his baby sister or pulling my arm out of the socket trying to get to a squirrel — sometimes both at the same time.  It feels like my arm is going to break from holding him back.  And forget the stroller on walks.  Thank God for baby carriers.  I’m just glad when we arrive home in one piece.

My husband was away at Basic Training during my first Mother’s Day as a mom, so I wanted to do something fun and special to commemorate the day.   I had a “treat yo self” day a la Parks and Recreation.  I booked a mommy & me professional photo, picked out the perfect coordinating outfits for Madeline and I, and took the time to get my hair cut and styled.  I even put on makeup!   And it looked good! Sure enough, for a few fleeting moments, my dream became a reality.  Here I am, totally put together, chilling in the park with my beautiful little mini me, and wearing matching outfits. This is probably the first and last time for a while!  I’m glad I have it captured on film.

 

 

 

 

Two Years of Marriage: It Doesn’t Get Any Easier 

Uncategorized

Last year, after a year of marriage, I reflected on a hard year. Everyone says that the first year is the hardest, but I don’t believe them.

The past year, the second year of our marriage, hasn’t been any easier than the first. I say that it hasn’t been easier but that is fine with me because it has been more than I could have ever dreamed.

In the past year we were blessed to await our beautiful baby girl who finally made her appearance in January. Not long after my husband left for bootcamp for the army national guard. The realities of being a new mom and being thrust into the role of military spouse has been difficult to say the least. But through all of this, the bond between my husband and I has grown tremendously. We’ve learned to work as a seamless team, making sure Madeline always has a parent and knows nothing but love. Not being able to talk to each other hasn’t strained our relationship as I feared but instead has strengthened it.

There’s something romantic about love letters, whether it’s a full conversation or just random thoughts, my heart skips a beat every time the mailman stops by. Of course then the letter reads about something I wrote him two weeks ago that I can’t for the life of me remember now and I realize what a one way disjointed conversation we are having. Not as romantic as I like to think.

In this second year I’ve learned how much I took my husband for granted, not just with the amount of work he does on a daily basis, but him as well, and knowing that I’ll work on it in the third year. I guess while it doesn’t get easier you just get more aware. You work together to figure out your problems. If your marriage isn’t always evolving, then something has gone wrong.

I now know I don’t wish for it to “get easier” in fact it could get harder and that would be okay! Because we make it through better, together. So bring it on year three, we’re ready.

#realhousewifeofschenectady

Keeping Bruce Entertained 

Bruce Wayne, Pinterest Success

I’m blessed to have been able to stay home with Madeline for 6 weeks and then work from home with her for an additional 6 weeks. I say blessed because, unfortunately we live in a country with a huge lack in paid family leave. But that being said this post was not meant to be political.

I have noticed though that while I’m home with the baby and the dog, Bruce Wayne usually comes last. It’s sad but true. One night while waiting for Madeline to fall asleep and snuggling Bruce, I was feeling guilty as he looked up with his sad puppy dog eyes. Knowing it’s still too cold to take both of them out for a walk I thought I would find another way to keep Bruce entertained. Thank you Pinterest!

Bruce has two Kong toys but he never was super interested, even when I put treats in. But if there is one thing Bruce loves above all else- it’s peanut butter. He’s a sucker for it. But the thought of giving him a Kong full of straight peanut butter seems unhealthy and it wouldn’t last long. So I came up with an idea. I would stuff it with a mixture!

The mad scientist in me pulled out this:


A banana, peanut butter, and small dog treats. I used 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and half a banana mashed together. Then layered it in the Kong toy with the treats and into the freezer it went! (This actually made two).


Bruce seemed to like it- he watched me impatiently hoping he would get one right away. Sorry dude- freezer it is. I’m wondering what other concoctions I can slip in healthily for him? Next try; blueberries, banana and greek yogurt.

But- have you seen this thing?


It’s a Kong brush. Seriously the best invention ever. Cleaning these rubber miracle toys is quite the chore without it!

I now have a happy puppy and a little less (puppy mommy) guilt to carry around.  So I can rest easy, for tonight that is.

A Letter to my Newborn Daughter 

Children

Madeline, 

Here we sit in your room. You’re drifting off to sleep in my arms as we glide softly. You look so peaceful, you know nothing but love. I wish you could stay my baby girl forever.

In two short weeks you have taught me more than I could imagine. You’ve taught me I am capable of more than I knew. You’ve taught me that it is possible to love so strongly that it physically hurts.  You’ve taught me the importance of living in the moment. You’ve taught me how precious life can be. 

I want you to know that I never wish away this time. Yes, you’re fussy. Yes, I’d like to sleep through the night. Yes, I’m sore from feeding you. But to hold you in my arms and look into your tiny face- the rest of the world melts away. I know it won’t be like this for long and I cherish every second. While the rest of the world moves in a blur and time flies by I am in slow motion with you, soaking it in. 

There are so many things I wish for your life. I wish you great success in whatever you want to do- there’s a great sense of fulfillment and accomplishment in achieving your dreams. I wish you great love. It’s cliche but true that as much as I thought I loved your daddy I didn’t know how much until I saw how much he loves you. I wish that bigger than yourself, fairy tale, once in a lifetime kind of love that I have for your daddy for you one day.  I wish you challenges- I don’t want life to be a cake walk for you. I don’t want you to suffer but struggling and working hard through challenges you face will show you just how strong I know you will be. But most of all I wish you joy. I have been happy but I never knew pure joy until I saw you smile. I wish that for you as you sit and hold your baby one day. 

Most of all I am grateful. I never thought I would get to have this moment with you little one. You are my miracle. You will never know exactly how much you mean to me, just know that I will always be here for you. 

Sweet dreams little one. There will come a day when you’re scared of the monster under the bed, when you realize the world we live in. Until then let my arms hold you safe and sound. Sleep peacefully and know that you’re mummy’s whole world. I love you forever and ever. 

Mommy 

The Life of a Military Wife 

Marriage, Military Wife Life, Separation

Of all of the things that I thought I would be, I never thought I would be a military wife. I have always known how much respect my husband has for the military and the sense of duty he feels. So after a few months of marriage when he told me he wanted to join the Army National Guard, I shouldn’t have been surprised. And yet, I still was.

It is an honor to be a military spouse, it is not an easy job.  But it took me a long time to come to that conclusion. At first I went through the stages grief in that my husband will be gone for months on end. I made myself a secret pinterest board and came up with cute ideas for writing letters and going away parties and coming home parties. I did research, I even read the national guard spouses handbook and took notes, creating a glossary of vocabulary I had no idea even existed. For extra research I even binge watched every season of army wives! And yet, everytime I thought of him being gone it was still terrifying. It was such a long process I even began to think it would never happen. When we found out we were expecting a little girl, the idea of him missing her birth and any of her life scared me to death.  What I could not have prepared for was how long the process is. Having had a seperation from the army previously, my husband’s situation is different than most, but still a year as a half later we had no answers and no date for leaving.  I (foolishly) began to think it would never happen! “Hurry up and wait” has almost become a mantra in our house.

So when we got the call that all was good to go for enlistment just after christmas I did a double take. Surely, this wasn’t happening now. As I type this post I am rocking our one week old daughter to sleep. She’s the spitting image of her daddy and it’s hard to think of life without him here. Most days I am just thankful my husband will be here to help me through these first few weeks, but the reality that I will be alone for 14 weeks with a 6 week old baby, a dog, and a full time job is a terrifying thought.  In fact many days it’s more than overwhelming.  It’s all I can do to remember to take things a day at a time. The hardest part is when friends and family ask if he is still leaving. Yes this will be hard, yes I am sure I will make mistakes, no I am not looking forward to it. But seeing my husband light up when he talks about the potential and the path this sets our family on- how can I not think this is the best thing for our family? 

I am sure like anything else, this will fly by. It won’t be without it’s challenges but in the end it will be worth it. My husband is doing something so selfless and I am so proud.  We will all be here waiting. As the cliche says “home is where the heart is” so he will always be home with us. Hurry home to us my love- your girls are waiting. 

Why I Make Homemade Food for my Dog

Bruce Wayne, Couponing

In the past two months I’ve started making homemade dog food for Bruce Wayne.  He has always loved having wet food in the mornings to break up the routine of dry kibble and as a couponer, there were always good deals on the Purina brands.   But, I started to feel guilty.  How good could it really be for him?  He’s a sensitive puppy, we’ve been through many foods in his two year life.  He already eats a grain free all organic dry food during the day, am I counteracting that by giving him canned wet food?

So, like anything else that needs research, I took to Pinterest.  Is it really possible to make dog food yourself?  Well, turns out it is! And not only is it less expensive than buying canned wet food, it’s really easy!  After consulting our vet about foods to absolutely never feed him, it was a matter of getting the recipe right that he would like.  Luckily, Bruce isn’t picky.  So far we’ve had three different versions, all very similar in that he has a particular taste for spinach.

Recipe 1- ground chicken, thawed frozen chopped spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots

Recipe 2- chicken breast, kidney beans, carrots, bok choy, broccoli, apple

Recipe 3- ground turkey, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, apple

Each time I make it , I’m surprised by how easy it is.  Everything goes in the trusty crockpot on high for three hours and then is ground in the food processor.  Once it’s ground to the consistency of dog food, it gets portioned in 1 cup portions into ziploc bags and away in the fridge it goes! It will last up to 5 days in the fridge and is freezable! So, i usually make double batches that make between 9-11 bags to get through a two week span of time.

Now, I can hear people already saying, you make homemade food for your dog? But really, it doesn’t cost much, it’s easy, and it’s better for him, so why not!?  People make food for their babies, in fact, soon enough i’ll be doing that too! Now the trick will be not to confuse them…..