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Friday, December 30, 2011

I've been a busy bee today...see what I did!!

Oy!  I've been a busy bee, working away at making some fun stuff!  I have more planned for tomorrow =)  No worries though, everything I'm about to share with you was simple as pie!!  I'm AMAZED at how far this stuff stretches.  I haven't added the numbers yet but I'd say that to buy all of the ingredients for the things I'm making/have made/will make, I've spend less than $75.  I will be able to make probably a years worth (if not longer) product with what I have bought as far as ingredients go.

This includes:

Laundry Detergent
Cloth Diaper Detergent
Fabric Softener
Sugar Scrub
Salt Scrub
Dishwasher Detergent
Anti-bacteria Spray
All Purpose Cleaner
Bathroom Cleaner
Wood Polish
Carpet Stain Remover
Shampoo
Body Wash/Hand Soap

And so many more that I can't think of them all right off.  Just for the items I listed above, I'd EASILY spend $100 on a month, if not more.  I am so excited to say that I won't have to make my stuff but ever 3-6 months (I'm guessing) and that I have more than enough to make more batches before ever having to pick up more ingredients.  Holla!!!  So below I am going to share with you my own twist on recipes I have found.  You can cut them in half, double them, or use my recommended amounts.  Whatever you see fit.  In the next few days I will be making more stuff, so keep your eyes peeled!!

Laundry Detergent


What you'll need:
1 bar Fels-Naptha Soap (you can find this in the laundry isle of Walmart, and you can subsitute with whatever bar soap you'd like.  I might try Ivory whenever I run out....WAY down the road haha!)
3 Cups Washing Soda (also found in the laundry isle of Walmart-I use Arm and Hammer)
3 Cups Borax (again found in the laundry isle of Walmart-I use 20 Mule Team)
1 teaspoon essential oil of your choice (this is purely to add scent and it totally optional)

You will need to grate your bar of soap with a cheese grater (I have a 4 sided one and used the finest grater side for smaller pieces).  Pour in the rest of your ingredients and mix well.  I used a 1.5 gallon plastic canister (I found a set of 4 in different sizes at Walmart for around $6) and I just put the lid on it and shook it REALLY well until it was evenly mixed.  *Use 2 tablespoons per wash load* This is safe for HE machines.  I have a front loader and I put the detergent straight into the drum rather than using the soap dispenser (as I'm not sure how well it would work since this is a powder).

(grated soap)

(All mixed together)



Cloth Diaper Detergent

As all cloth diaper parents know, special CD detergent is EXPENSIVE!!!!  Well, fear no longer....you can make your own at home for like...I don't know.....$0.50??  

What you'll need:
1 Cup Washing Soda
1 Cup Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Borax

Mix all ingredients WELL into whatever container you choose.  I used the smallest canister that came in the set of 4 I bough.  It's 850ml and plastic.  Perfect size! You use 1-2 tablespoons per load depending on how soiled they are.  This will last you quite a while and costs only pennies!  So stop wasting money and start making your own!  Anything for an excuse to add to your stash...right? =)



Bath, Sink, & Tile Cleaner

This will work wonders in cleaning everything in your bathroom!  This will be thick and almost pasty.  I put it in a spray bottle but I'm thinking I might need to Up-Cycle an old dish soap bottle later for it.  I also double the recipe below so that I had a full bottle.

What you'll need:
2/3 Cup Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Castile Soap (liquid and any scent you choose.  I used Rose because that's what I had)
2 Tbsp. Vinegar
1/2 Cup Water
a few drops of Tea TreeOil (TTO is an all natural fungicide, germicide and is an antibacterial)

Mix together in the container of your choice and get to cleaning! 




All Purpose Cleaner

Pretty much self explanatory.  I used a spray bottle to mix it in.

What you'll need:
1 tsp. Borax
2 Tbsp. Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Washing Soda
1/2 tsp. Castile Soap
20 drops Tea Tree Oil
2 Cups Hot Water (to make sure it mixes well at first)

Shake it all up and keep with your household cleaners.



Antibacterial Spray

This is incredibly simple!!  Lavender is a  natural antibacterial.  So while so many of use have spent tons of money on lysol to keep those germs away for years, we can now do it for almost nothing!!

What you'll need:
Water
Lavender Essential Oil

Fill a spray bottle (Up-Cycle one if you can) with water and add 60 drops of lavender essential oil and shake.  I know that sounds like a lot of oil, but it's really not.  I plan to use this to pray the insides of my trash cans, and other hard surfaces to keep germs away.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

DIY Sugar & Salt Scrubs

Tonight I made my very own sugar and salt scrubs.  I know many of us, myself included, have paid BIG bucks from places like Bath and Body Works and Victoria Secret for the same thing.  I made each of these for probably less than a dollar per half pint.  Are you excited yet??  I am!

I originally found these recipes by stumbling on them through blogs online.  I have now made them myself and tweaked them to my liking.  I made both of them in half pint mason jars.  I use these to shave with, exfoliate, and as a foot scrub.  Heavenly!  They will leave your skin feeling like silk.

Lemon Sugar Scrub


What you'll need:   13 TBS Fine Sea Salt
                             3 TBS Sunflower Oil
                             2 TBS of Pure Lemon Juice or 2 squeezed
                             lemons

(After making this with Lemon Juice I found the lemon scent to be weak.  I like a fairly strong lemon scent. I think I may add a few drops of lemon essential oil next time just to enhance the scent)

(edited to say after a few uses I found the sea salt to be a little too abrasive, along with the lemon.  So I am going to try epsom salt and lemon essential oil instead with the next batch.  If I like it better, I will post the new recipe in a new blog entry 1/2/12.) =)

In a bowl you'll measure out your salt and oil and mix together.  It is important to mix the salt and oil before adding the lemon.  Once the salt is coated in oil the lemon will not dissolve it.  Once the salt is coated, measure out/add your lemon juice and mix together. Then pack it into a half pint mason jar.  You may also Up-Cycle any container of your liking.  I plan to also wash out an old body cream container from Victoria Secret for future uses.  Voila!




Vanilla Sugar Scrub


What you'll need: Equal parts white and brown sugar
                           3 TBS Sunflower Oil
                           1 TBS Vanilla Extract (you may use a vanilla essential oil if you'd like, this for scent)

In a half pint Mason jar you'll pack in equal parts of white and brown sugar.  Then you'll dump into a bowl and mix with your oil and vanilla.  Mix well and pack back into your jar.  Now you're ready to hit the shower!!





*Note-you can substitute the oil for olive oil if you like, but I prefer Sunflower oil.  It's still packed full of antioxidants and it's a lot more affordable.  You can find it in the baking isle at your local grocery store next to the rest of the baking oils.

**If you store your scrubs in the shower as I do, you may want to have a tongue depresser, spoon, or scooping mechanism of your liking to scoop out the scrubs.  This will prevent any bacteria from getting into and growing in your scrub.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

List of Ingredients for Household products

2012 I am dedicated to living frugally, as most of you know.  Being green and natural is what I am dedicated myself and my family to.  It's really not as complicated as most tend to think.  In this post I am going to provide you a list of ingredients and a list of the things I will make with them.  So it will be short and sweet. ;-)

Later I will post a blog with recipes on Do It Yourself Beauty Recipe's.  YAY!!

What I will be making in the weeks to come:

Laundry Detergent
Fabric Softener
Wood Polish
All Purpose Cleaner
Body Wash
Shampoo
Hand Soap
Grease Cutter
Antibacterial Spray
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Dishwasher Detergent
Window Cleaner
Microwave Cleaner
Carpet Stain Remover
Carpet Re-Fresher
Homemade Room Spray

Sounds like a lot right?  Feeling overwhelmed?  DON'T!!!  Many of these items call for a lot of the same ingredients.  Many of the ingredients are easy on the pocket book, go along way, and will make you enough products to last you months and months and months!  Fear not, you too can become frugal and save your family from those nasty chemicals!!

List of ingredients I will be getting initially, all of which should last me quite some time and get lots of different products made:

A Lemon
Olive/Sunflower Oil
Borax (20 Mule Team)
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
Fels-Naptha Bar Soap
Distilled Water
Castile Soap
Essential Oils (these are for fragrance and can be whatever you like)
Vinegar
Spray Bottles (you may recycle ones you already have, same goes for any other container but I don't have any right now)
Mason Jars
Pitcher w/pour spout lid
Citric Acid
Epsom Salt
Suave Conditioner (edited to add that I will actually be making my own conditioner and will use that in my fabric softener as well.)
Rubbing Alcohol
Hydrogen Peroxide
Tea Tree Oil  (a natural germicide, fungicide, and anti bacterial)
Lavender Oil (natural anti bacterial)
Vegetable Glycerin
Toms (or similar) All Natural Bar Soap

If you don't already have a cheese grater, you will need one.

I know that it sounds like a lot, but really most of these items are fairly inexpensive and you will be HUNDREDS of dollars worth of products out of these....and enough of the product (like I said) to last you a fairly long time.  Most, if not all, of these items can be found in your local Walmart, Walgreens, etc.

GO GREEN and LIVE FRUGALLY!!

Stay tuned for my reviews and Beauty Recipes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Top 14 things to NOT say to a Military Spouse.

1. "Aren't you afraid that he'll be killed?"
(This one ranks in at number one on the "duh" list. Of course we're afraid. We're terrified. The thought always lingers at the backs of our minds ---but thanks brilliant, you just brought it back to the front. Maybe next you can go ask someone with cancer if they're scared of dying.)

2. "I don't know how you manage. I don't think I could do it."
(This is intended to be a compliment. Though, its just a little annoying. Here's why: it's not like all of us military wives have been dreaming since childhood of the day we'd get to be anxious single moms who carry cell phones with us to the bathroom and in the shower. We're not made of some mysterious matter that makes us more capable, we just got asked to take on a challenging job. So we rose to the challenge and found the strength to make sacrifices.)

3. "At least he's not in Iraq."
(This is the number one most annoying comment for those whose husbands are in Afghanistan. What do they think is happening in Afghanistan? An international game of golf? Guys are fighting and dying over there.)

4. "Do you think he'll get to come home for Christmas/anniversary/birthday/birth of a child/wedding/family reunion, etc?" (Don't you watch the news? No! They don't get to come home for any of these things. Please don't ask again.)

5. "What are you going to do to keep yourself busy while he's gone?"
  (Short answer: Try to keep my sanity. Maybe there's a military wife out there who gets bored when her husband leaves, but I have yet to meet her. For the rest of us, those with and without children, we find ourselves having to be two people. That keeps us plenty busy. We do get lonely, but we don't get bored, and drinking massive amounts of wine always helps keep me busy.)

6. "How much longer does he have until he can get out?"
  (This one is annoying to many of us whether our husbands are deployed or not. Many of our husbands aren't counting down the days until they "can" get out. Many of them keep signing back up again and again because they actually love what they do or they VOLUNTEER AGAIN and AGAIN to go back overseas  b/c there is work that needs to be done.)

7. "This deployment shouldn't be so bad, now that you're used to it."
  (Sure, we do learn coping skills and its true the more deployments you've gone through, the easier dealing with it becomes. And we figure out ways to make life go smoother while the guys are gone. But it never gets "easy" and the bullets and bombs don't skip over our guys just because they've been there before. The worry never goes away.)

8. "My husband had to go to Europe for business once for three weeks. I totally know what you're going through."
 (This one is similar to number two. Do not equate your husband's three week trip to London/Omaha/Tokyo/etc. with a 12-15 month or more deployment to a war zone. Aside from the obvious time difference, nobody shot at your husband or tried to blow him up with an I.E.D., your husband could call home pretty much any time he wanted to, he flew comfortably on a commercial plane, slept between crisp white sheets and ate well, paying for everything with an expense account. There is no comparison. We do not feel bonded to you in the slightest because of this comment and, if anything, we probably resent you a bit for it. Comparing a 12 month combat deployment to a few weeks business trip is like comparing a shitty ford taurus with mercedes convertible.)

9. "Wow you must miss him?"
(This one also gets antoher big "duh". Of course we miss our men. There are some wives who do not and they're now divorced.)

10. "Where is he exactly? Where is that?"
(I don't expect non-military folks to be able to find Anbar Province on a map, but they should know by now that it's in Iraq. Likewise, know that Kabul and Kandahar are in Afghanistan. Know that Muqtada al Sadr is the insurgent leader of the Mahdi Army in Iraq and that Sadr City is his home area. Our country has been at war in Afghanistan for seven years and at war in Iraq for five years. These basic facts are not secrets, they're on the news every night and in the papers every day ---and on maps everywhere.)

11. "Well, he signed up for it, so it's his own fault whatever happens over there"
  (Yes, ignorant, he did sign up. Each and every day he protects your right to make stupid comments like that. He didn't sign up and ask to be hit by anything, he signed up to protect his country. Oh, and by the way, he asked me to tell you that "You're welcome." He's still fighting for your freedom.)

12. "Don't you miss sex! I couldn't do it!"
(hmmm, no i don't miss sex. i'm a robot. seriously...military spouses learn quickly that our relationships must be founded on something greater than sex. We learn to appreciate the important things, like simply hearing their voices, seeing their faces, being able to have dinner together every night. And the hard truth is, most relationships probably couldn't withstand 12 months of sex deprivation.)

13. "Well in my opinion....."
  (Stop right there. Yo, I didn't ask for you your personal political opinions. Hey, I love a heated political debate, but not in the grocery store, not in Jamba Juice, not at Nordstrom, not in a bar when I'm out with my girls trying to forget the war, and CERTAINLY NOT AT WORK. We tell co-workers about deployments so when we have to spend lunch hours running our asses off doing errands and taking care of the house, dog, and kids, they have an understanding. We do not tell co-workers and colleagues because we are giving an invitation to ramble about politics or because we so eagerly want to hear how much they hate the President, esp. while we're trying to heat up our lean cuisines in the crappy office microwaves.)

last but not least....

14. "OH, that's horrible...I'm so sorry!"
(He's doing his job and he's a badass. Don't be sorry. Be appreciative and please take a moment out of your comfortable American lives to realize that our soldiers fight the wars abroad so those wars stay abroad.)

A Thankless War?

Since my husbands last deployment this has been bugging me to the core of my being.  Someone told someone that I love that our Military doesn't see hand to hand combat in war these days.  That they don't actually ever see the enemy...that war is nothing like it was in wars throughout our Nations history.  These ineducated statements infuriate me.  This, my friends, is why our Military is fighting what I say is a thankless war.  They are not being sent overseas for a glorified vacation.  They are being sent to third world countries, in horrific conditions, seeing things you wouldn't even begin to understand or fathom.

If they are just over there twiddling their thumbs, playing video games, and wasting governement monies tell me this; WHY has/is the suicide rate of our war Veterans sky rocketing with each passing year-these last 1o years?  Why is the divorce rate in Military marriages sky rocketing?  Why is the PTSD and TBI rates sky rocketed? Why does the death toll/KIA rate of our Military continue to increase DAILY??  

Some may argue this as they only hear what the news will portray and the Military family will not often delve into the horrors they live with, the unspeakable things they see while deployed, the wreck marriages go through, the nightmares our Vets live with but that certainly does not mean that it doesn't happen.  

It sickens me when I hear of people making light of what our men and women are doing over there.  Disregarding the simple fact that they ARE indeed risking their lives on a daily basis, afraid to sleep, afraid to close their eyes, afraid to turn their backs.  There IS a reason for that.  The dangers are not fake, they are not "blown out of proportion; they are REAL!  

They don't need your sympathy, but they do need to be taken seriously, to be appreciated, to be HONORED for their heroism and sacrifices.

Since we're on the topic, it also irates me when random people will make comments to my husband while deployed such as, "why don't you ever call?" "why don't you write or email me?" or how about this one "why don't you ever talk on facebook" or anything along those lines.  Seriously, people!  When, as his WIFE, I am lucky to get a few minute phone call once or twice a WEEK, or a letter once a MONTH, what makes you thing he has the time to contact you?  I'm not trying to sound catty but the fact of the matter is that he has a mission.  Until that mission is complete, EVERYONE and EVERYTHING takes the back burner.  Until his feet hit US soil again, don't expect anything from him.  But please remember, that while he is making serious sacrifices, living in utter danger for an entire year-he needs YOUR support, dedication, and love.  He needs to know that what he is doing is appreciated.  He needs to know that the people he loves support him and think of him.  So please, write him, send him care packages, send him cards and pictures.  And most of all pray for him!  Recognize the reality of what he is doing.

Thanks for hearing me vent. I recognize that there are people who will disagree with me, and that is fine.  I just felt the need to share my feelings on the topic and try to shed some light where there often seems to be none.

xoxo

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Almost Time!

Monday at noon is my c-section. It's my third, so you'd think I'd be a seasoned pro with no fears at all, right? NO!!!

My first one was an emergency csection after a 9 hour induced labor with a breech baby. Epi started to wear off and I had to be put under general. So I don't remember any of it really.

Second was at the Army hospital here at Carson. TRAUMATIC experience! When I went in at 5am I was super dehydrated and they couldn't get my IV's started. Doesn't help that I don't have the most cooperative veins to begin with. The nurses literally STABBED my hands with needles while twisting them around IN my hand trying to get the "right spot" I guess. After trying to stay calm even though I was scared out of my mind I finally broke down and just started bawling and saying a few choice words (which I NEVER do in moments like these). Then after they get me into the OR the anesthesiologist took 3 attempts to get my spinal block done. First two times he was using the wrong size needle and then it bent IN my back. Third time he realized what was up and got the proper size and got it in. I had a massive bruise on my lower back and it was the most painful experience. Then while I'm strapped down to the operating table, and they are pressing and shoving on me I'm trying to tell them that I CAN'T BREATHE and nothing. They did nothing. I literally though I was going to suffocate. On top of all of that my shoulders were killing me from having my arms strapped down straight out to the sides.

Over all it was just an awful experience. Most of the staff was just down right mean to me and they acted like they didn't care. They didn't care for me with compassion. I'd even expressed how nervous and scared I was since I was going to be awake for the first time.

This time around I have an amazing civilian doctor and I'm delivering at a TOP hospital. One of the top 1% in the nation. I had my pre-op yesterday evening and the nurses were so sweet with me (even though it took four attempts to get a blood sample-thanks to crappy veins). I have 100% trust in the staff there and I'm not even scared of the surgery itself. But I'm TERRIFIED about getting my IV's and mostly about getting the spinal block and the feelings I felt last time while being on the operating table.

Most people don't seem to understand why I'm so fearful, why I'm finding myself in pools of tears as each hour passes and we are closer to D day. "It's just a c-section" "It's not as bad as you think" "You should be a pro, you've had two before"...blah blah blah!

I really don't know the point of me putting this out there other than to vent and try to find a way to cope with how I am feeling right now. In 48 hours my baby girl will be welcomed into this world...but her Mama is scared out of her freaking mind. I feel helpless and selfish.

Please tell me that the Spinal block is no big deal. That it happens super quick (like in seconds, lol). Because last time the actual poking and putting medicine in me took 15-20 minutes. 

I have fibromyalgia, however, so that area of my back especially is VERY VERY VERY tender just to the touch. Yeah, that's helps in my favor. =(

Thanks for hearing me out. I hope I don't sound too pathetic or whiny. I'm just very very very overwhelmed, scared, nervous, and anxious. But I know once I'm up in my room, out of recover, and holding her in my arms...all will be well in my world.

Friday, February 18, 2011

One Day At A Time

A few updates from last time I blogged.

PTSD still rearing it's ugly face.  I feel as though I'm at my breaking point.  I feel like a failure at a wife.  I do not know how to handle it anymore.  I don't know how many more let downs I can take from his doctors.  I don't know how many more times I can get my hopes up, for my husband to finally get proper help, just for the Army doctors to crush them again.  I don't know how much longer I can wait until the Army can be a past tense reference in my life.  I live a nightmare that I do not wish on my worst of enemies.  All I can try to do is lean on God.  Have faith that He will guide me on my darkest of days.  That He will give me the grace that my husband needs in me.  I admit I feel like throwing in the towel most days.  This is rough.  Please pray that someone will help him that he will get on the proper meds as the several he's on now are not helping.

The boys are doing awesome!  Wyatt gets more and more creative every day.  He's SO smart!  CJ's nearing his second birthday, next month.  He's as ornery as ever and a sure handful.  =)

Baby News!  We had an ultrasound earlier this week and found out that we are expecting a baby GIRL!!!!

We could not be any more thrilled!  She sure was stubborn though!  We tried everything we could to get her to do some somersaults to get the umbilical cord to move as it was between her legs the whole time!  I thought for sure we would have to wait to find out what we were having but she finally flashed us for all of about 20 seconds and there it was!  I instantly started bawling.  Part of me just couldn't believe we were finally getting our girl.  Wyatt is beyond excited to have a baby sister.  He talks about her everyday, it's the cutest!  We've decided to name her Allison Rae.  We will call her Allie.  We cannot wait until she makes her debut on August 1st!  <3

I made these this afternoon to go above Allie's crib. <3

As a side hobby I've stated making tutu's and I'm having a blast doing so!!!  I started before I knew for sure I was having a baby girl.  I have a facebook fan page now as well.  Check it out: LaBu's TuTu's.  Between the boys, Nate, the house, and tutu's I'm keeping myself pretty busy and the days seem to be flying by.  I'm looking forward to May when the boys and I will drive up to WA to visit family friends.  Can't wait!  Really wish Nate was going to be able to come with us though...stupid Army!

Well, that's a quick update for now!

xoxo

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Frustrated and sad!

Well if you follow me on Facebook you know that I've been delving deep into researching breastfeeding (BF) and cloth diapering (CD'ing).

I fully intend to BF but it scares the living daylights out of me.  Why, you ask?  Because I don't handle pain well.  That's also a very sensitive to pain area for me.  Also, having the pain of nursing on top of a csection is why I failed in the hospital with Wyatt.  It was too much for me.  But I want to do it!  I want this baby to get all of the health benefits from it and I love the benefit of losing weight in the process (selfish of me).  Granted, neither of the boys have ever had ear infections or major health problems whatsoever, and they were both bottle fed.  I'm just scared of the pain, and how much pain there will be and how long until it goes away.  Also, how much of my day will be dedicated just to feedings.  I will have two other children to chase around and my husband will be deploying a few months later.  A good pump is super expensive and with our tight military budget I just don't know that it will be feasible on top of all our other baby necessities.   So here's my vent and fears.  Whether it be petty or not, I'm scared!

On the CD'ing issue....ugh, I'm just frustrated!  I know that in the long run it saves SO much money and is much better for the environment but the up front costs and the abundance of kinds/brands/choices out there are endless.  How do you know which one YOU will love and will work for you?  How much money do you have to invest before you find one that works for you and then to spend a few hundred dollars again to get more of the kind you finally feel work for you and your baby?  I know which kind of disposable diapers I like. I LOVE Kirkland diapers from Costco.  I mean, I can get 216 diapers for $39.99 and it lasts (depending on certain factors) close to 2 months.  My almost 2 year old is in size 4 and I get 186 diapers for the same price as above and it lasts me close to 3 months.  That less than HALF the cost of getting the compatible Huggies.  I love Huggies, but not the price tag that comes with them.  I LOVE Kirkland diapers.  They are super high quality and have all of the features I love of Huggies.  So needless to say I'm close to saying forget this whole CD'ing fascination and just stick to what I know.  All of this research is giving me a headache and my frustration is through the roof.  Not to mention I still can't convince my husband to participate in CD'ing with me.

UGH!  I don't know...  If you've made it this far, thanks for reading my rambling.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy 2011, New Beginnings!

As we embark on the new year of 2011, we have many things to be thankful for,  to look forward to, and to be nervous about.

Many of you know that we are in fact expecting our third baby.  It's most definitely been a rough pregnancy so far.  But in light of our unfortunate miscarriage before this, I will take all of this sickness and pain to bring this miracle into the world.  I've learned that you must never take anything for granted.  We are anxious to find out the gender of our precious bundle and of course crossing our fingers for pink!  We will find out on February 26th via 3D ultrasound.  Yes, we are THAT impatient this time around, haha.  We've decided on names for the baby as well, Bentley Michael and Bristol Raelynn.  We are thrilled about welcoming Baby "B" in to the world shortly after Wyatt's 4th birthday in August.

In just a few short months our "baby" will be turning TWO!  I really can't believe how fast the time has passed.  I remember it like yesterday being pregnant with CJ.  I remember the colic and wondering if he'd EVER grow out of it.  I remember wondering how in the world I was going to get through the deployment with an almost 2 year old and a newborn with severe colic.  But we made it and he's been a wonderful blessing in our lives.  Not to mention cute as EVER!  <3

This summer Wyatt will be turning 4 years old, SERIOUSLY!??  That same month he'll be starting preschool.  It just doesn't seem right.  I remember the nights when he was just born pacing the teeny tiny living room of out teeny tiny one bedroom house, wondering what the trick was to getting this tiny creature to sleep longer than 90 minutes at a time during the night.  He's definitely not so little anymore.  I watch in amazement at his wealth of spirit and life.  He's incredibly smart and quirky.  As hard as it is to watch them grow up, it's also rewarding as well to know I'm actually succeeding at this parent thing.

We have another big event to look forward to this summer!!  My best friend Sara will be moving back to Colorado after graduating from her LPN program (so proud!!) and we'll be welcoming her husband, Mike, home from his year long tour in Afghanistan as well.  We are ecstatic, especially Nate to have his buddy back!  We're so proud of you Spc. Poole and can't wait until you're home!

Nathan and I have also made some hard decisions about our future.  Hard as in it means we are going to be taking a "Leap of Faith", placing the trust of our family's future in God's hands.  We have decided that the best thing for our family will be to close the chapter of our lives that involves the Army.  So in fall of 2014 we will finally be ready to work on our future.  Our plans are to pack up and move back home to Washington.  We are unsure if Yakima is where our future will be held, but it's where we're going to start.  Nathan's going to be taking the Police/CSI program at YV Tech, and pursue a career as a police officer or something alike.  Thankfully he will have the GI Bill to cover his schooling.  He will also be able to attend YVCC if he chooses.  All the while the Army will provide us BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) while he is in school full time.  This will be a wonderful blessing as we are unsure of how we will "make it" when we say goodbye to a guaranteed paycheck.  I will be attending YVCC/YV Tech to earn my Dental Assisting degree.  I look forward to the days when I can help contribute to my family.  It will be wonderful to have these opportunities and know that our children will be taken care of.  It is very scary however, moving back home with no jobs and no place to live.  I will have to immediately find a job of some sort.  I'm sure the GI Bill will not be something that happens immediately, as everything involving the military, it's a waiting game.  So getting back on our feet is very very scary.  Especially knowing it's close to $1200 to rent a 3 bedroom home back home. But we are placing this in God's hands, we know that he will take care of us.

We are just so ready to get some stability back in our lives.  Ready to be surrounded by family again.  We know that our family cares about us.  But often times we feel so alone over here.  We honestly feel that  we are "out of sight/out of mind".  Not by everyone of course as many have made extra efforts to make sure we don't feel that way.  But nonetheless the closeness we once felt as faded.  So we hope to be able to reestablish the closeness we once had with our family and friends.  This will be a refreshing new chapter and we are excited!

At some point this year (dates unknown as of yet) Nathan will be going down to Ft. Polk, LA for JRTC again (JRTC is predeployment training).  It's a month long training.  Yes, you heard me right, we are back in to training for deployment.  He will be leaving at some point within the first 3ish months of 2012 for another year long deployment to Afghanistan.  As many of you know, this last one was VERY hard on him and our family. So we could use as many prayers as you can spare.

Also, if anyone would like to plan to visit us after the baby is born I encourage you to!  If you are able to and would like to come meet our new bundle before SHE is much bigger we'd love to have you!  Right now we have a crib in our spare bedroom, but baby can sleep in our room while you visit.  We also have a very nice airmattress as well.  So we have the room and I know I'd love the extra help while recovering from surgery and caring for a newborn and two other little ones, lol.

Well, this has gotten pretty long and it's kind of scatter brained, but I hadn't blogged in quite some time so I felt the need to give a little update into our lives.

I hope you are incredibly blessed in 2011!