September in Review

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Oh my goodness, what a month!

Earlier this month, David went back out to sea. I handled it a lot better this time, now that I knew what to expect. It helped that I had a MOPS meeting the day before and a book club meeting the day after, so I didn’t have a lot of time to be sad. MJ loved having his daddy home. It’s heartwarming and hard to watch when I see them together. When David walks in, the baby-sized growth that attaches itself to his leg doesn’t come off until it’s time to say goodbye again. I still don’t think MJ understands what it means when David waves goodbye at the pier, but honestly that makes it easier. He figures out slowly that it’s just the two of us again and there isn’t any real anxiety to speak of. The first night is usually hard and we don’t sleep much, but after that he does okay.

When I first got to Spain, I was introduced to MOPS. I only went to two meetings because it was the end of the year for them, but I decided to jump in and join the leadership team anyway! We have our kickoff party this month at a beautiful park on base. I tried out a new recipe for pumpkin spice donuts that blew my mind. They turned out way better than I thought they would and I didn’t have to take any of them home with me. MJ loved all of the other kids running around and kept me busy chasing him most of the morning. I turned around once to find him elbow deep in a casserole dish of sausage rolls. When he saw me looking at him he grabbed two handfuls of them and tried to run away, haha! That’s my boy! Anyway, I volunteered to be a table leader, but was asked to step up and take on the treasurer role as well. I got to sit down with the rest of the team and brainstorm with them for a while, and I’m really excited about this year and the theme we’re working with.

David’s ship has a relatively new FSG (Family Support Group) so it’s still command sponsored. That means his CMC has to appoint all of the board members. I initially contacted him to volunteer for the secretary position, since I have a little experience with that. But, lo and behold, they needed a treasurer too, so I ended up agreeing to that instead. I figured with the two groups, I’ll be a pro by the end of the year. I haven’t met with the rest of the board members yet, but I’ve emailed a few of them and they seem like a great group. I can’t wait to get involved.
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Did I mention, MJ TURNED ONE. My baby is officially a toddler. He’s walking and running and climbing all over the furniture. No talking yet, but lots of babbling and screaming. David and I decided we would wait until we were all together to have a cake and open presents, so I let Marshall have a “pancake smash” instead of the usual cake smash. He loved it, ate the whole thing. We spent the rest of the day playing and hanging out. It was low key, and part of me felt bad that I didn’t have something more exciting planned, but we don’t know that many people here yet. Really though, he’s a year old. He won’t even remember it, right? It’s probably just the mom guilt talking.

I got my Cricut Explore in the mail and hooked up and moved everything I needed to David’s Macbook, plus we switched the office and the nursery so I’m closer to the router. I’m still trying to fit designing and printing into my schedule though. I don’t know how to work it into the hours that MJ is awake because he doesn’t like me being in a different room than him. He’s struggling with some serious separation anxiety right now and that’s making it nearly impossible to work while he’s awake. I’m trying not to stress about it too much, though. It’s new, there are some kinks to work out, but that’s to be expected. We’ll get there.

October is looking full already too. I officially enter my mid-twenties (ugh) and I have a halloween party to plan. The Navy Ball is coming up soon too, and I have a huge surprise to share with you all soon about my hair! I’m debating giving it away right now, but the smarter side of me knows I should wait in case it all goes terribly wrong, haha!

Hope you all had beautiful Septembers. It’s FALL!
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Tears, Tantrums, and 10 Month Olds

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     Today was one of those days where I was counting down the minutes to bed time as soon as I woke up. We started the day with my son waking up early, having soaked through his diaper. (I’d probably be upset if I woke up in a puddle of my own pee too, don’t get me wrong, but it goes without saying that waking up to human screams and being coated in bodily fluids before you’ve had a chance to drink your coffee isn’t pleasant either.)

     I peeled off the old clothes, got him a dry diaper (disposable, because why not) and gave him his bottle. He’s at 4 bottles a day, 5-7 ounces each. But this morning? Oh no. You’d think I had tried to feed him dishwater with how much he fought it. I know why, too. He is usually still asleep when my husband leaves for work, but since he was up early this morning, he had to watch him walk out the door. I’ve mentioned before how attached MJ is to his Daddy, so that started an all out scream-fest. I gave up at 4 ounces and let him run around for a while.

When it was time for breakfast, he spit every. single. bite. back in my face with gusto and determination. We were both covered in applesauce and oatmeal and I was having to dig down deep for patience. After 15 minutes, I abandoned that objective as well and hauled him off to the tub for a bath. This was the happiest he was all day (no surprise) so I let him hang out in there for a good 30 minutes.

After that? It was a constant stream of meltdowns set to a soundtrack of cranky hollers. All he agreed to eat was two handfuls of Gerber Lil Crunchies and a peach slice and noon came and went with me still not having been able to make myself breakfast.

These kinds of days are rare here. My son is a mellow, light-hearted boy who finds mystery in sunbeams and music in the dishwasher. The Resting Grump Face my husband and I have did not get passed onto him. Because of that, these moods throw me off balance. I have to remind myself that babies have bad days and tantrums aren’t a resut of bad parenting on my part.  He isn’t going to starve if he misses breakfast, and no one is going to arrest me for calling glorified cheetos a lunch.

It was a bad day, not a bad baby, not a bad mom, just a rotten string of hours that don’t mean much of anything in the long run. Thank goodness for that.

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August Goals

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I’m a little behind this month, but when I was updating my planner last night I decided to getback in the habit of a monthly to-do list. This month is more hectic than most since David is home, so I’m not setting too many goals. Priority Number 1 is family time and I’m squeezing that in every chance I can get. It’s so, so wonderful having him home. Marshall wakes up and immediately looks for his Daddy, then spends the whole day staring at him. Night time has been hard because Marshall doesn’t want to go to sleep. I’ve wondered if it’s because he’s afraid David won’t be there when he gets up, since that’s a fairly common occurence, but I’m not sure if he’s old enough to have even made that connection. Still, bedtime aside, this month has been grand.

Like I said, not too many goals this month, but the ones I do have need to get checked off soon.

1. Pick up Power of Attorney paperwork
2. Take Marshall’s 11 month photo
3. Read The Light Between Oceans for Book Club
4. Research Printers
5. Send out birthday cards
6. Finish Blog Set-up
7. Finish Periscope Every Day in August Challenge

     And that’s basically it. I have a few packages I’m waiting on and a couple appointments to schedule but as far as I HAVE TO GET THIS DONE items, only seven. How about you? Anything exciting planned this month?
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Excuse the Mess!

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On my recent blogging hiatus, I put some thought into what I wanted out of this blog and decided that Makeshift Mama wasn’t getting me any closer to those goals. The majority of my posts are related to motherhood, and that isn’t going to change. but there are other niches I want to step into. After much thought, I’ve decided to head in a new direction, and with that change comes a new blog name! Junegrass and Willow are both plants native to my hometown, the place where I grew up, met my husband, and was married. Both of these grew in the front yard of the house I lived in when I fell in love with words. It seemed fitting to pay homage to them and to the place that started it all now that this beautiful life has lead me to so many new and exciting places.

I hope you’ll bear with me as I implement some changes and update my look. I’m hoping to dive back into posting full-force in the next week. Thank you!

Naptime’s Secret Weapon

1435413323839Until fairly recently, MJ wore disposable diapers for naps and bedtime. The pockets I had were great during the day, but he never woke up in them without having leaked through to his clothing and crib sheets. I tried adding boosters and changing the type of insert I stuffed them with, which worked for a while, but once he dropped his morning nap and started sleeping 3 hours in the afternoon, we were back where we started. I was really frustrated by only being able to use cloth part of the time, and even though I firmly believe any cloth is better than no cloth, the money I was spending and the waste I was creating motivated me to give it one last shot.

I asked around on some CD Facebook groups and had several people recommend flour sack towels (FST) paired with Flip covers. Both are fairly inexpensive (a Flip cover costs $15 on the Cotton Babies website and FSTs were $1 each at Walmart) so I was able to give it a fair shot.

Oh my goodness, guys. It was amazing.

I folded the FST into half, then half again, and then into thirds. This fit perfectly into the cover since MJ is currently on the second rise snap. I don’t know how such a flimsy-looking piece of fabric can hold so much. I suspect wizardry, but who knows. When I changed him after his nap, the FST was completely soaked but none of it made it’s way past the cover. And that’s saying something. When he wears a disposable, he’s about ready to bust a snap on his pajamas by the time naptime is over.

Needless to say, I’m in love.

Have you tried this combination for naps? What cloth diaper combo works best for you?
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April Goals

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 Well I’m late to the party, but I really liked this link-up so I’m joining anyway. April is going to be a CRAZY month for me, even though we’re already 10 days in .It’s also going to be messy and emotional and since I can be slightly neurotic sometimes, a to do list might be exactly what I need.

-Fill in planner until July with bills/birthdates
-Send out birthday gifts ON TIME
-Buy Mother’s day gifts
-Receive household goods shipment and personal vehicle and fill out appropriate paperwork
-Move out of temp housing and into our permanent house (woo!)
-Buy a ticket home
-Babyproof
-Buy MJ a bathing suit
-Clean and return the rental car
-Research protein powder and order one that doesn’t suck
-Get MJ in for his second flu shot
-Find someone to call the messenger service to see if my passport is in
-Pick up my passport
-Drop D off at the aiport (sans hideous display of emotion)

And that’s it! A lot of those absolutely have to be done, so at least when May gets here April can’t be a complete failure.

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Five Minute Friday: Relief

I’ve never liked bath tubs. Actually, I’ve never liked water. But the combination of water and a small, confined space just didn’t bode well with me.

That is, until I had a baby.

Now, when I can get 5-10 minutes alone, all I want to do is fill up that porcelain heaven and relax. The bath tub here is huge, much bigger than any I’ve ever had in the states. I can stretch out in it completely, let go of the sides and just… float.

The hot water. The silence echoing off the tiled walls. The cool breeze blowing through the window…

Relief, that’s what it’s called, isn’t it?

The pain in my muscles melts away and any stiffness eases. 5 minutes, before MJ wakes up, to just be.

I’m not a mom, or a wife, or a caretaker.

I’m just a body, in the water, with a beating heart.

No expectations or obligations.

Relief.

(Stop)

5 Apps for a Simpler Deployment

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Looking for a few ways to make a current or future deployment more organized and less stressful? Give these five apps a try!

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    Couple- Free
    D and I have used this app since he was in A school. This app is just for the two of you. You both create accounts, and then link up. This allows you to interact and see what the other has posted. In Couple, you can share photos, videos, doodles, and texts. You can also create and update lists (we have one titled “Bills” that I update each time one is paid so D and I both know where we’re at financially.) There are a couple of fun features, my favorite being “Thumb Kiss” which allows you to place your thumb over the “thumb print” of your partner on the screen and do the closest thing to kissing you can get. Cheesy? A little. But that little vibration the app gives you when you and your partner kiss thumbs is oddly comforting. Another neat thing? It’s password protected!
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    UFYH (Unf*ck Your Habitat)- $0.99
    Are you having trouble keeping the dishes clean? Is there a pile of dirty laundry piling up? Can you even remember the last time you washed your sheets? I’ll be honest, when D isn’t home, the house stops being a priority. I clean when people are coming over, but when baby and I are home alone, it’s easy to let the mess pile up. UFYH helps kick my butt into gear. This app gives you daily reminders to complete tasks like making your bed, doing the dishes, and cleaning your toilet so that the mess never gets out of hand. There’s a timer you can use that breaks up your cleaning into “20/10” increments, meaning 20 minutes of cleaning followed by 10 minutes of rest. You’d be amazed at how much work you can get done in 20 minutes when you know break is coming! This app also gives you the option to set goals for yourself and make to-do lists for tasks you need to get done. I use this app at least a few times a week and it’s well worth the one time cost to download it. If you run into any roadblocks while cleaning, you can go to the UFYH tumblr page and post questions there. I asked the community how to get red scentsy wax off of my walls last year and received responses in less than an hour.

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    Mint Bills: Bill Pay & Money- Free
    When D is home, he pays most of the bills on his smartphone. It always worked out that I would set the budget at the beginning of the month, and he would keep track of where the money needed to go and when. This was the thing I was the most worried about the first time he left. What if I forgot one? Sure, when I was single I paid my own bills, but with medical debt, credit card payments, a car loan, and two separate cell phone contracts, there are quite a few more things to keep track of now that we’re married. This was why Mint Bills was such a lifesaver. Mint Bills (formerly Check) keeps track of your bills (and your spending!) and gives you reminders when the due date is coming up. You can set up advance payments one week in advance, if you want to be proactive, and you can pay many of your bills with one click through the app. Knowing that all of my bills are in one place gives me peace of mind and allows me to stay on top of things.

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    Goal Tracker- Free
    I don’t know about everyone else, but I like to use the time my husband and I are separated to buckle down and work on me. Deployments are the perfect time to focus on things I want to improve on or accomplish. Maybe that means losing a few pounds, finishing the growing list of half-finished crafts in my closet, or learning a new language like I’m trying to do right now. Goal Tracker is a handy app that reminds you to set aside time to work towards these goals and keeps track of your progress.  I set a goal to practice my Spanish every day until July 4th (when I’ll definitely be back from vacation) and set an alarm to go off at 1900 every day to remind me. 1900 is when I’m usually in for the night, so I figured that would be the perfect time to open up Duolingo and get to work. This app can work for just about anything though, it’s fully customizable.

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    Countdown Widget for Events- Free
    I know Countdown Apps and Widgets are a popular thing to download during deployment, but they’ve always made me nervous. Say I drop my phone and someone picks it up. If I have an app called “Deployment Tracker” (which is an actual app in the Play Store) that isn’t password protected and I have my husband’s leave and expected homecoming dates programmed in, the jerk who steals my phone already knows too much. OPSEC, right? It’s always better safe than sorry. So, knowing how often I lose phones, I don’t use one. But! For those of you who do want a widget on your phone to remind you that you’re getting closer to seeing  your partner again, consider Countdown Widget for Events. This widget is simple and elegant with a clean Holo theme that doesn’t look obnoxious on your phone. The best part? You can create a widget without a name. So if someone steals your phone, they’re none the wiser!

 Did I miss any? What apps do you use to make the best of a deployment?

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6 Month Update

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Nearly two weeks late on this one, but here it is. In March, MJ reached six months. He’s 18 pounds, nearly 25 inches long, and there are even a few hair sprouting up on that head of his.

He’s grown so much already. Just today, he stood up on his own! I turned around, and he had pulled himself up on the side of his Daddy’s suitcase. The look on his face? Pure glee. He’s crawling and inch-worming all over the place. He holds long, detailed conversations with the furniture and can sit up on his own unasissted.

There’s so much personality in that little guy. His eyes light up every time he sees the cashier at the grocery store. He gasps with excitement every time his Daddy pops up on Skype. He wraps both arms and legs around my hand when I try and put him down for a nap.

I look back now and think about those newborn days, when I was scared that he’d never stop crying and I’d never know what I was doing. I wish I could have seen then what our relationship would blossom into. I no longer wish for him to fall asleep so I can rest my aching arms. Instead, I wish for him to fall asleep so I can gingerly pick him up out of his crib and revel in the snuggles he’s too busy to give during the day. I don’t inwardly grumble about making him a bottle at 4 am, because as the weeks go by, he’s needing those night feedings less and less. Those bleary-eyed bottles are our time. No tv, no phone calls, no Daddy. Just baby and me, wrapped up in covers, singing his lullaby while he drifts back to sleep clutching a fistfull of my shirt.

I fall more in love with this little person every day.

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Ze’ev Handmades Review

I want to share something really neat with all of you. My very good friend, the blogger behind Hannah and the Wolf, recently opened her Etsy store! Hannah and I met about a year and a half ago and my friendship with her has bloomed into one of the closest and most precious I’ve ever had. She’s a beautiful person, a gifted writer, and a very talented crocheter. Just before we moved to Spain, MJ and I received a box from her with mittens and a headband for me and an adorable pom-pom topped beanie for the little one. They’re beautiful. She takes great care in everything she makes and it shows in each of the items she sells.
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I took pictures of MJ in his hat right when he got it, but they’re trapped on the iPhone I no longer have. So I took some more even though the hat fits a bit more snugly than it used to.
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And here is the hat on its own (cute enough without the baby!)

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And here’s the set I got:

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I’m in love with them. There is something about mittens that makes winter a little less miserable. They’re right up there with cocoa and Christmas music in my book.

All of these items, and many more, are available for sale at her store, Ze’ev Handmades, and every purchase you make helps her pay for the treatment she’s receiving for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Also, for every item you purchase equaling $10 or more, Hannah will donate an item (baby blanket, preemie outfit, chemo hat, etc.) to a charity in your honor. How cool is that?

If you’re on Facebook, which I’m sure you are, drop by her Facebook page and give her some support there as well. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, you’d be silly not to.

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