Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vinegar and Bleach

I know I already wrote one post today but I just had to write one more :-) I wanted to share with you the best laundry secrets in the world - vinegar and bleach!

I should back up for just a moment first though. Since beginning to use cloth on D's bum, I have had to rework my laundry detergent regimen. I no longer use any big brand detergents with brighteners and softeners. I use Country Save powder or more recently, Charlie's Soap powder. These detergents are all natural, leave no residues, clean very well, have no scents, no brighteners, and no softeners. All this "naturalness" left me with very clean diapers and clothes, but they were not exceptionally soft or bright (as expected).

Enter...baking soda and vinegar. I read that if you use some baking soda in the wash cycle and some vinegar in the rinse cycle, then you would have even better smelling and softer clothes/diapers. So I tried it! I was SHOCKED at how soft my laundry was when I took it out of the dryer! The vinegar is a natural fabric softener that helps break up any remaining residues left on the clothes and also makes it so much softer. I don't use dryer sheets or anything else like that, so vinegar is my only option to soften my clothes. I read you could use between 1/2 - 1 cup in the rinse cycle. Typically I use 1/2 cup, but today I splurged and used a whole cup. Wowsa! My diapers are super soft!

Unfortunately, a couple of them still had a strange lingering smell (not a vinegar smell...that rinses away completely), so I did something many cloth diapering mamas would never do.....I did a nice long HOT wash and used a full cup on bleach! (bleach is typically a diapering "no no" but my friend contacted the people at Charlie's Soap and they recommended using 1/2- 1 cup of bleach occasionally to disinfect the diapers) I was a little nervous about using that much bleach but I really wanted to kill the smell. Well, after the nice long hot wash and several rinses to make sure any trace of bleach was out, my diapers are incredibly clean and bright (as well as super soft from the vinegar earlier in the morning). I typically use bleach on my white sheets/white towels/and white T-shirts and socks, but now I will occasionally use it on my diapers to disinfect and clean the heck out the them!

So, in conclusion, here are my great laundry suggestions:

If you want to make your clothes fresher and really soft...add a decent sprinkle of baking soda in the wash cycle and 1/2 - 1 cup white distilled vinegar in the rinse cycle. You will be amazed...especially if you use the whole cup :-)

If you want to make your clothes brighter...use a couple scoops of oxiclean in the wash cycle. I know I didn't mention this earlier, but I LOVE oxiclean. I use it on tons of laundry and it always makes my whites come out super bright...and it isn't quite as harsh as chlorine bleach.

If you want to disinfect a particular load of laundry...bring in the big boys...the chlorine bleach. Add 1/2- 1 cup of bleach to a nice long hot wash cycle and then rinse, rinse, rinse. Beware any colored fabrics that may fade or discolor though....I had one green diaper that is now slightly more "lemon lime" haha, but I don't mind because at least I know its really clean!

So, thats my two cents on laundering...

Oh!!! one more cent - if you line dry/air dry clothes out in the sunshine, they will naturally brighten and stains will vanish...especially if you saturate the stain with lemon juice before laying it out (of course then you must rewash it to get the lemon juice out...but the stain will be gone!!) I have gotten out pretty vicious poop stains out with the help of the sun's magical rays... or maybe it's just God giving it a good dose of sun bleach....either way, they come inside stain free!

The Quiet Week...

This week has been a wonderful week so far. My mom and grandma came to visit over the weekend and then they took C home with them so I could have a week-long break from my 3 year old and so that she could have a super fun week with Omi! First of all, we had a blast with my mom and grandma over the weekend. I was so excited to have them here that I dragged them all around town. Fortunately, they are both superb and long winded shoppers, so we browsed our way all over the place!

C was so excited to leave on Monday morning with them... "with no mommy." She was really happy to have Daddy put her car seat in Omi's car (whenever we go anywhere, everyone rides with me so we don't have to switch the she rarely gets to ride in anyone else's vehicle). I packed her Dora lunch box full of snacks and a sippie cup for the road. My mom later told me they had to stop twice for C's bathroom breaks and my mom ended up having to buy two happy meals because C wasn't clear about what she wanted for lunch. Since being home, my mom has taken her to Target and got her a blue icee and popcorn as well as a color changing Barbie. They have made cookies and lemon poppyseed muffins and when my my asked her if she wanted "green beans" with her dinner....C responded by telling her, "no, blue beans." haha!

My mom is constantly calling me to tell me funny things C is doing and how much fun she is having. I know my mom is enjoying this exhausting week and C is probably having the time of her life (you know, eating dreamsicles for dessert and getting a tootsie pop as a soothing reward after skinning her knee). I on the other hand am just enjoying the peace and quiet that goes with having a 9 month old who loves to nap :-)

D and I went to Target as well and I found myself talking to him as if he were actually going to respond to me, haha. I have noticed that he is "talking" more since C has been gone. I guess when she is here, he doesn't feel the need to speak. I think he'd rather just listen to her. I have done laundry and dishes and have rarely even had the TV on. I am just enjoying the quiet. Unfortunately, my car is having an issue so it is currently at the shop getting a few hundred dollars worth of work done (Arrrgggg, I HATE having to spend money on things that don't actually get me anything "new" - at least when the washing machine broke, I got a new one to show for my expense...this time, all I am getting is some new valve that is probably tucked where I can't see it!) I would SO much rather spend money on the beautiful natural bamboo diapers I've been drooling over online!

Anyway, my laundry has quit spinning and rinsing and I can hear little D "talking" in his bed. I need to go get him up and switch the clothes into the dryer. I'll be heading back to Atlanta on Friday to visit and pick up C. I know I will be thrilled to see her as I do actually miss her sweetness and hugs...and her constant chatter. I hope she is excited to see me too :-)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The New Puppy!

If you want to know the reason I haven't written anything in almost a week, here she is:

Yes, we got a puppy. She is a 6 week old miniature dachshund that we named, "Darby." I am still not quite sure how we ended up getting her since I am pretty much the most unlikely person to be called an "animal lover." See, I am lover of people, not animals, yet somehow I felt like my family wasn't quite complete without a "family dog" (I have the movie, Marley and Me to thank for that).

We had decided that if we ever got a dog, we'd get a miniature dachshund since they were small, adorable, didn't need to be groomed, and didn't have a terrible yappy bark. I wanted to be able to just throw the dog in the car with me when I travel and have something to sit in my lap in the evenings when B deploys again. So, when we went to Petsmart on Saturday to get C a beta fish (which we also got!), we checked out the cats and dogs for adoption. This got us thinking more about getting a dog ourselves. We actually went out to a shelter and checked out an older dachshund, but just didn't fall in love. We went home and looked through the classifieds and found a family with 2 puppies for sale. I called them, they gave us directions and off we went! The moment we saw little "Darby," we knew we couldn't leave without her! We wrapped her up in a towel and sat her in my lap and headed home :-)

Thus begins our adventure as dog owners! We had to stop on the way home and get some food and a few puppy chew toys. We made her a box for a house until my mom can bring us a crate and we bought child gates so we can keep her contained in the she can't eat my furniture...and so she doesn't get stepped on! In the meantime, I haven't been able to get much done because sweet Darby is just a baby and is very similar to a human newborn...she cries a lot and mouths (Ahem - CHEWS) on everything, she has to be taken outside a million times and still pees and poops in the house :-) I am constantly cleaning up after her, taking her out, and playing with her. Oh yeah, and I have a preschooler and an infant as well! (And my washing machine broke!) Needless to say, we've been pretty busy...but its a been a "good" busy. Darby is a wonderful addition that is giving me many reasons to smile and laugh. I can't help but to laugh when Darby tries to chew on C's toes, so C runs away from her yelling, "No Biting!" Darby thinks this is a wonderful game and proceeds to chase C around the house until C finds refuge on the leather ottoman or couch...leaving Darby jumping all around the base still trying to get those tasty toes!

Here is a cute picture of the two of them in a more loving moment:

So, now we are a family with a mom, a dad, two kids and a puppy! We have arrived!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The significance of "them" and "f"

Odd title, right? It has good meaning...bear with me. This post is going to be all about my sweet 3 year old, my little "C."

Since turning 3 back in April, I have realized that she is not at all a toddler anymore - she is officially a preschooler...and a very smart one at that. If you didn't know C was only 3 (and that she had really just recently turned 3) you would think she was somewhat older. Her vocabulary is amazing. She speaks as clearly as you and I and picks up on things very quickly. She recognizes roads and intersections as well as many businesses that we frequently visit. She knows how to play "Duck Duck Goose," "Red Rover, Red Rover," "Ring around the Rosy," and "Hide and "bo" Seek."

She knows all the letters in the alphabet and can recognize them and name them whenever she sees words...on signs, on a menu, in a book. She also recognizes her numbers up to 10. She recently surprised me by counting to 5 in Spanish with pretty good accuracy. She also pointed out that something was "azul" ("blue" Spanish) in Target the other day. Her newest interest is learning the sounds that the letters make. She is frequently asking me, "what letter says mmmmm?" or "what says eeeeee?" I will admit my favorite was, "what says, duba, duba, duba?" Hmmmm...I had to think about that one. I then realized she thought "W" sounded like "duba" since we pronounce it "double U." So funny! Oh , and lastly, she can draw a smiley face and can write about half the letters in the alphabet.

She is clearly no longer a toddler. She is 3 and she is headed to preschool in the Fall. The C that I interact with acts like a 5 year old (at least) most of the time. She helps me with D by entertaining him when I need her to and by feeding him Gerber puffs when I am getting our food prepared. She can also determine what ingredients are in brownies or a cake by looking at the pictures on the back of the boxed mix...and she can crack an egg (Thank you Omi for teaching her that one!). With all that being said, it's often difficult to remember that she is "only 3." She does still occasionally throw a temper tantrum and cry when she does not get her way. She still makes a pretty good size crumby mess at the table when she eats and still spills her drink every once in a while. These things are "normal" for a 3 year old, but sometimes seem out of sorts for my little smarty pants. I have to remember that she is not 5 and that she will at times still completely act her age and that this is normal.

So, now to the title of my blog post. These are the things that remind me C is still little. See, my little girl speaks very clearly and correctly about 99% of the time. However, every time she should use the word, "they," she says, "them." Every time. As in, "Them are so cute," or "Them have toys!", or "Do them have toys?" Now, I rarely, if ever, correct her. My husband does...I just always enjoy hearing her "be little." See, to me, this is a small reminder that she is still little - she is not a big girl and should not be expected to speak correctly 100% of the time. Now to the "f" - this is simple. She cannot figure out how to say the "th" sound, so everywhere you would have a "th," she says the "f" sound. As in our friend that we visited today, "Befany."

I write about these things because I know that C is getting older. I know she is so very ready for preschool in the Fall. She is already remembering her Bible stories and wanting to read more. She will tell you that "God LOVES us" (with enthusiasm!) and that "Jesus died for me." Today she prayed at dinner like usual, but in addition to, "God, thank you for the food. I love you. amen"...she then stuttered a bit and added, "God, help all the people in the world. I love you. amen."Her favorite story is how Jesus walked on the water and that is inevitably what bible story she wants to start with when we sit down to read her "picture bible." She is ready to learn at her Biblically based preschool. She is like a little sponge right now.

But... she is still little...and she just needed me to lay with her for a minute or two to snuggle before she fell asleep :-) Now I should head to bed as well because I know "them" will be up bright and early!

Hmm...I just realized when she says, "Thank you" she does use the "th" maybe its harder to say when its in the middle of a word??? I know know!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Diapers, diapers, and more diapers!

This is my blog and since I am in charge of what goes into it, I can write about whatever I want. So, I am sorry if this doesn't interest you, dear reader - you should continue to read on and open your mind to see what I am doing and very much enjoying! This post is going to be on my beloved cloth diapers. :-)

I started cloth diapering D back in the spring and I started by ordering 2 Bum Genius one-size Pocket diapers. This is a diaper that has a waterproof outer "shell" and an inner soft suede-cloth that keeps them "feeling dry." Between these two layers is a pocket where you can stuff an insert in to absorb all the pee. The inserts that came with these diapers are microfiber, but you can order different ones made of hemp and bamboo. You could also stuff a cotton prefold (the old-school cloth diaper) in there as well. Pocket diapers are held on by either aplix (a super strong velcro) or by snaps. The nice thing about these particular pocket diapers is that the rise in the diaper can be snapped down for smaller babies and be unsnapped for larger babies. This makes it last much longer on a fast growing infant! Here is a pic of D in his very first cloth diaper...the Bum Genius 3.0...

There are many different brands of "pocket" diapers on the market, but they are all generally the same concept. You stuff some sort of absorbent material between the water-proof layer (which can be fleece too!) and an inner "stay dry" layer. After using these for a few months, they are not my very favorites, but I love how well they work and how well they fit D. These are hands down one of the most "husband friendly" diapers I have. B grabs these almost every time he diapers our son.

The next diaper I'd like to share with you is what you probably think of when you think of a cloth diaper - a prefold. They are like the gerber cloth diapers everyone uses for burp rags except the ones meant for diapering are much more absorbent and fluffy. The ones I have are made by Bummis and they are made of unbleached organic cotton. The ones I have fit babies from 15-30 pounds. Prefolds are meant to be used with a waterproof cover on top to prevent leaks, but they can be left coverless around the house or outside. This is a very breathable option and would be great when baby has a rash of some kind. D tends to "unvelcro" any cover that I put over them, so he is frequently allowed in the house coverless. Fortunately, I have several fleece covers that stay put with snaps that he can't figure out! He uses these for naps or for when I can't watch him like a hawk to make sure he's not getting anything wet, haha. The covers also help hold in poop by providing a nice elastic leg and back to help contain anything that didn't get absorbed into the prefold. There are several different ways to fold a prefold on a baby. I am not going to go into that on here, but just know that there are different ways that may work better for each mom/baby combo. I gererally prefer a fold called the "bikini twist" that provides a slimmer crotch fold and ample room on the sides to use my snappi. A snappi can take the place of diaper pins (although many people still like to pin!) and is a "Y" shaped stretchy thing...made of plastic I guess. It has little "teeth" that grab into the diaper on each hip and then down on the crotch. This is all very similar to the concept of the grabbers that hold on an ace bandage when you wrap your ankle :-) My snappi is awesome and can get my diapers nice and snug. I would love to have another one as my one gets LOTS of use. I LOVE it! Here are a few pics of D in a prefold without a cover on...

Next, I'll share with you some info about a Fitted diaper. A fitted diaper is a diaper that goes underneath a waterproof cover. Fitted diapers are held on with snaps or velcro...and some use a snappi. They are generally very absorbent and can be made of bamboo, hemp or cotton. I use a Sustainablebabyish organic bamboo fitted diaper on D for overnight. They are very soft and very absorbant. Here is a picture...
And this is a picture of the inside. It has two flaps that are attached at each end. They lay in the center and absorb absorb absorb!
I use this fitted diaper at night with a Dancing Bears fleece soaker. A fleece soaker is a pull on fleece cover. It has no elastic that could cut into D's legs or belly. It is just all soft fleece! D wears this cute combo with a long sleeved T-Shirt and a pair of socks. He is so warm and snugly!

Another example of a fitted diaper is my Motherease one-size fitted diaper. This one is made of cotton and feels very much like a soft towel. I usually add a fleece liner in the crotch so D gets a "stay dry" feeling. It seems bulky in the crotch but because its all so soft, it kinda bunches up nicely and absorbs very well. Plus the snaps that hold it on are great! I can get a great fit with this diaper. Here is a picture of D in this amazing fitted diaper!

Next up is the All In One Diaper. This is a diaper where there is a waterproof outer shell and an inner absorbent part all in one - no stuffing or covers needed. I use these when I go out since they are the quickest and easiest to change. They are just like a disposable diaper! B uses these diapers every time he changes D..and I certainly don't complain - I am just glad he's willing to use my cloth dipaers...and clean out the poop! Here are pictures of my favorite two:

First up is the Bum Genius Organic All In One with snaps (notice the snaps on the front that allow this diaper to snap down to fit a smaller baby...or check out the link if you're confused)

Next is a SposoEasy All In One with aplix closure.

I use a variety of covers for my fitted and prefold diapers. My favorite ones are my fleece covers because the fleece doesn't allow the moisture to get out and leak but it remains very breathable and soft. Plus, mine are either "pull on" like a pair of shorts or snap on - so D can't get it off on his own! I also have a few that have the waterproof layer sewn in between two layers of softer fabric with the outer fabric being the softest "minkee" ever! D is modeling two of my favorite covers here...

This is D with his Dancing bears fleece soaker over his beautiful green fitted diaper. This is what he wears to bed..along with a long sleeved T-Shirt and socks! He wakes up dry everyday!

And this one is a Jam Tots Berry Plush cover over a prefold. This cover is so soft...its makes you just want to hug him and not put him down!

"it does feel soft, mom!"
"all this diaper modeling is making me sleepy"
SO VERY adorable!
So, thats my thoughts about cloth diapering. I LOVE IT and only wish I had started sooner. I love knowing that every time I wash and reuse a diaper that I am saving money...and the planet, haha. Cloth diapering is also so good for D's little bum. He hasn't had anything of a rash since starting a few months ago. Washing the diapers is a breeze and cleaning off poop is a piece of cake (since I use flush-able liners frequently). I figure that motherhood is full of puke, spit-up, pee, touching raw chicken and hamburger meat, taking out the smelly trash, cleaning toilets, scrubbing mildewy tile grouts, and GIVING BIRTH! Seriously, what's a little poop gonna do to me???

If you want to look more into cloth diapering, I highly suggest my friend's blog. Just click here and read about everything you may ever need to know. She has done an excellent job discussing everything cloth! Also, I would recommend this website (Banana Peels Diapers) for any further information and to look at other cloth diapering products. I place the majority of my orders through them and love the girl that runs it. She is SUPER helpful! So, there you have it. I hope you learned something and that the "coolness" of cloth surprised you like it surprised me!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Past 27 Years...

Tomorrow is my 27th birthday, so I thought I'd write a little blurb about some of the things I've done in my lifetime...

1. I was raised in a loving home with 2 wonderful sisters and parents who have been married for over 30 years.
2. I have had more pets than I can recall (well, I probably could if I thought hard enough).
3. I was a gymnast as a little kid and even competed in meets :-)
4. Then I played Tennis through high school.
5. I was in band through middle school, high school and some in college. I played the alto sax, but did have a brief stint with the baritone sax (the BIG one) in my senior year of high school. And I was the drum major for 2 years in high school.
6. I went on my first date when I was 15...I will not let C date until she is older than this :-)
7. I went to every school dance that I could - but I do not like to dance.
8. I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 15.
9. I am still very good friends with a few of my friends from high school...we've been friends for 12 or more years! I am currently speaking of LH (figure it out if you're reading this!), RK (my name twin), and A, my lovely maid of honor :-)
13. I knew my hubby in high school, but didn't date him until College. We got married 2.5 years after that. We had a big and beautiful wedding!
14. I have now been married for almost 6 years.
15. I have moved 7 times since getting married!
16. I graduated from the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs! I have a degree in Social Work.
17. I used my degree for a few years and worked one job that I hated (Behavior Specialist) and one that I loved (Family Advocate).
18. I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. It was then that I realized how much my own mom loves me. You only know when you become a mom yourself...
19. I became an Army wife.
20. I bought a minivan, and I LOVE it!
21. I gave birth to a sweet baby boy. It was then that I learned that the heart can grow twice as big to love every bit as much the second time around.

Certainly I have done many more things than this, but these are the things that stand out the most. I guess they have had the biggest impact on me and who I am. I still hope to have more babies, get a nursing degree and be an RN, go to Europe, vacation in Hawaii, live in a big house with more than enough space...or maybe just one that has a spare room that I can use as a playroom, buy a newer minivan with cooler features, live in a location that gets real snow and allows me to wear all the beautiful LL Bean clothes I love to look at in catalogs, become a grandparent, celebrate 25 yrs...50 yrs...75 yrs? with my dear husband, and retire comfortably. Here are a few pics form the last 27 years :

Me and my youngest sister moving me into college my sophomore year.
A snapshot of me during my bridal portrait session.
Me and my sisters. I was probably 13 years old and in the 8th grade.
Just before 9th grade...the first time I put on my band uniform.
In my senior year of high school. I was the drum major in the picture.
On my 3rd birthday...same age as my sweet C.
I don't know for sure when this was, but I can assume I was between 12-18 months old.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July Update!

My last post was written on the morning of the 4th of July as I anticipated the events of our evening celebrations. Now I want to recap the actual events and show you a few pictures :-)

Well, let me just say that the 4th of July celebration here at Ft. Bragg was awesome, as expected. It wasn't the musicians, vendors, or the food that made it fun. Although anywhere that you can buy funnel cakes, chicken sticks, cheese steak sandwiches, get your face painted and jump on a big bouncy thing is bound to be fun! We hauled our picnic blanket, two chairs, double stroller, cooler, diaper bag, snack bag, and 2 kids to the parade field with thousands of other military families to celebrate that evening. Oh, and it was sunny and HOT! But the kids were decked out in red white and blue and I was pumped for fun. We went along with some friends as well, so we had some other adults to chat with and more eyes to keep an eye on the kids, haha! But what made this event so fun for me was the camaraderie that just kind of "oozed" in the crowd. From where we sat, I saw young families like mine with little kids and/or babies. I saw younger men with military haircuts hanging out with pretty girls. These guys and girls were "livin' it up" drinking and partying - but this was pretty expected from this crowd. I saw older men and women with their families. I saw women gathered in two and threes and some towing little ones in wagons. I saw families with multiple generations all gathered together with several blankets and umbrellas hooked to chairs. Most everybody was in red, white, and blue and everybody seemed to be having a great time! For me, the coolest part of the night was watching the Golden Knights jump out of a plane and float down to the field. The precision and grace of these men/women dropping out the the sky was beautiful and quite impressive!

We had to leave the event early because D'd bedtime is usually at 6:30 and by 7:00 he was beginning to fall apart. We got him home and tucked in bed and C followed shortly thereafter. They were both pooped and fell asleep very quickly. B and I stayed up and when the fireworks started to go off we went out front to see if we could see them. It happened that some of our neighbors were out there as well. We couldn't really see the fireworks through the trees, but instead just saw glimpses of the big ones and heard the pops. However, this ended up being awesome because we got to chat with our neighbors for a long time! Three couples (including us) stood on the sidewalk and chatted about family, work (the Army!), Army housing, and deployments for over an hour. Another family from down the street saw us outside and they came down as well. We had a real "block party!" and got to know our neighbors. It gave me a good dose of reality and sacrifices that military families go through in serving our country by hearing what some of my neighbors are facing. The couple across the street are expecting their first baby in September, but the husband is deploying in August for a year. He will get to come home for R&R for 2 weeks, but thats it....for a year! And before that he was stationed in Korea! The guy a few doors down deploys every 4 months for 4 months. He and his wife are expecting their third child in January - which happens to be the month that he returns home from a deployment. He will then be home for 4 months with his family and then be off again. My own husband has gotten word that he will be leaving in October again for another 6 months....missing the holidays again. (I figured that this entire year, he was only home for Memorial day, 4th of July, Labor day and my birthday. He has missed/will miss Halloween, Thanksgiving, D's 1st birthday, Christmas, New Years, MLK, Valentine's Day, his birthday, C's 3rd...and 4th birthday, and Easter!) Our good friends who got married in April will be kissing goodbye for a year as well next month! Getting to know other military families makes me feel less alone. It makes me feel like their are other families going through the same separation at the same time. Hopefully, this Fall all the ladies on my street can band together while the men are away and the babies are born. I hope we can truly be there for one another!

I can't help but to continue on to Sunday morning at church and share a tiny bit from there as well. It was a great day to be in church! Being the 4th of July weekend, the service was very "patriotic" complete with a HUGE flag draped from the ceiling all the way down to the Choir chairs, the choir decked out in red, white, and blue, and several of our nation's most loved songs. What got to me the most was when the choir did a tribute to all the armed forces (keep in mind that I live and attend church in the city that holds the world's largest military installation!) and sang each of the different branch's "songs." They asked the past and current members of each branch to rise during their branch's song. Wow! When the songs began, tons of men and women stood, both young and old. The younger men, like my husband, stood tall. Their military haircuts and physically fit bodies would have made it easy to guess they were active duty soldiers or airmen. The older men stood proud and reverently as they heard their songs play. Their white hair and shorter statures led me to believe these were our nation's beloved veterans who had devoted prior years of service and sacrifice. I teared up as I saw some of the young women, like myself, stand - probably on behalf of their deployed husbands...or maybe as active duty women. There was a family two pews in front of me comprised of a military dad, a wife, and school-aged son. I only saw them from the back but it was apparent that the wife was crying for several of the songs. Her military husband had his arm around her shoulders trying to comfort her and their young son had his arm around her from the other side. I can only imagine what this family may have been facing, will be facing, or had just faced. Could it be a pending year-long deployment? A death of a friend, brother, or son in Iraq? I don't know, but my heart went out to her because I know there have been many times where just seeing other military families together made me fall apart. When B was gone last year, I cried my way through many songs in church, in the car, and at home. It seems that the next separation is never far from my mind. It's constantly looming over my head....4 more months and then he'll be gone again... I know I am not the only wife who thinks this way. I am sure most military spouses fell the same way.

I am sorry this got so long. Its just that the 4th of July was a special celebration this year. My husband is proudly serving our country. Our family is making those sacrifices that we have always heard about and been "thankful" for. It is just different for me now since I know what those are first hand. I am even more thankful my husband isn't serving in Afghanistan this year...he'll be in South America. But I am also thankful that my hairdresser's boyfriend is in Afghanistan. And that my neighbors and friend will be in Iraq. I am thankful for their sacrifices and for their services. I pray that everyone will return home safely...and that next 4th of July we will be celebrating the upcoming homecoming celebration of all these men and women!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

I don't have much to blog about today, but wanted to just say "Hi!" We made it back from Atlanta safely and have enjoyed being home with B. We all reconvened here in North Carolina Wednesday afternoon after being out of town for about 12 days. B was in the field (think really long miserable camping trip) training and we were at my parents' house. Fortunately B was given Thursday off to "recover" and had Friday the 3rd off as well...and will have Monday the 6th off too! So, we are enjoying a 5 day weekend :-)

Yesterday we cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned some more. We bought some storage bins and containers for C's room and organized all her toys. Basically we dumped out ALL her toys and sorted everything into separate containers and placed them on her shelf in her room. We were also tired of her train table and train set constantly in 100 pieces so we actually moved it to the living room, set up a train track that maximized all the pieces and super glued it down :-) Now, it stays put when she plays...and she is playing on it more now than she ever did before. It doesn't slide or is just like the ones at the Barnes and Noble (well minus all the expensive Thomas the Train accessories)!

Today we are going to a huge 4th of July celebration here on-post. We didn't go last year but are really looking forward to it today. What could be better than a 4th of July celebration at the world's largest Army installation? There is some serious patriotism here! Country singers Julianne Hough and Jason Michael Carroll will be singing and the Golden Knights (Army parachute jumpers) will be doing a freefall demonstration. All that combined with snacks and kids' activities and thousands of our neighbors and fellow military families....sounds like a ton of fun to me!

One more thing - I have made a new friend in my neighborhood. This is really exciting to me because I have had a hard time meeting people up and down my street. I have only made a very small number of friends since moving on-post since last Fall and none of them have been my neighbors. The good thing about being in the Army is that pretty much all my immediate neighbors have moved in the past 5 months, so I am accumulating all new neighbors, haha. One of which is my immediate next door neighbor -my new friend! Our carports are only about 10 feet apart and we can see in each other's kitchen door's probably a good thing that she and I hit it off immediately. They moved in while we were in Atlanta and they just got all their furniture yesterday. They have a 2 year old son and a 2 WEEK old son! They are adorable and their 2 year old is loving playing with C every day. I just love having someone to chat with and feel a sense of "camaraderie" with. Praise God for my new neighbor friend! Yay!

Happy 4th of July! Go celebrate safely :-)