The Mommy behind the blog!It is my hope that in the moments where I am dreaming of bedtime, wishing for this phase to pass, or feeling nostalgic for newborn smells, that I can connect with moms who are feeling the same!
Author Archives: Aly
You didn’t picture missing your child’s birth. Or, missing your toddler learning to count to ten. These kids were nothing but a maybe-in-the-future when you enlisted. Now, they are your everything. And, you’re in another country for Father’s Day. We know it’s hard and far from where you want to be. But, we see you and honor you. Here’s to the deployed dads who are missing out this Father’s Day.
We know it’s hard.
The job is hard. The distance is devastating. And, the toddler seems to always throw fits during FaceTime. Waking up in a far away country unable to get in those morning snuggles. And, going to bed every night with still 100 days to go. Is heart breaking. Our hearts break with you.
We feel your absence.
The holidays are obviously different. Your chair is empty. And, there is one less place setting. But, the ordinary days are hard too. Saturday mornings aren’t the same without your pillow fort. Mom’s spaghetti is just not the same. Your family is left temporarily incomplete. Though, they stay strong for you.
We remember you.
The FaceTime ringer is our new favorite sound. The toddler cheerfully squeals “daddy!”. Propping you up on the window seal to tell you about his day. Offering you toys. And, repeatedly kissing the iPhone. Your little ones know you, even on a tiny screen. Your wife feels giddy and her heart flutters every time she sees your face. You are still here to them, even when they can’t feel you.
We see you.
On this Father’s Day we see you. We see your heart ache. We see your brave face. The courage you have to serve the country while raising a family. We see the love you have for your family. As you fight to keep them safe. We see your heart. Every part of you wants to be back to the normal Father’s Day. Opening up a tie again for the third Father’s Day in a row. Or, spending the day grilling out. But, you have a heart for people, especially your family.
Thank you for sacrificing your day for our continued freedom. You are your family’s hero. And, part of what has made this country great. We honor you. And, support you. Here’s to all the Deployed fathers who are missing out on this Father’s Day.
Summer time is upon us. With the sunshine and blue skies, I find it so important to have something to interest my full-of-energy toddler. This summer we are planning on going through a bucket list. So, he doesn’t go stir crazy, and Mom stays sane! Here is our Toddler Summer Bucket List, 50 nearly free things to do your toddler this summer.
Toddler Summer Bucket List: 50 Nearly Free Things to Do With Your Toddler This Summer
1. Celebrate a national day.
Example: June 2nd is National Doughnut Day celebrate with a free doughnut at Krispie Kreme!
2. Make slime.
3. Summer learning program
4. Bake cookies
5. Go to the park once a week.
6. Put a kiddie pool at the bottom of the slide.
7. Local water park/ splash pad
8. Disney movie day
9. Library toddler time
10. Park passport
Booklet of all the local parks, visit each once.
11. Screen free day
12. Toddler’s choice day
13. Hand wash the car.
14. Run through the sprinkler.
15. Swing spider style together.
17. Draw with chalk.
18. Go for a walk.
19. Play I spy.
20. Blow bubbles
21. Taco Tuesday
22. Mess free painting.
23. Discount movie day at your local theater.
24. Skip rocks
25. Play hide and seek
26. Grow lollipops
27. Make breakfast kabobs.
28. Home made play dough
29. Recyclable art
30. Pick flowers
31.Homemade slip & slide
32. Dress up
33. Daily dance party
35. Let’s Go Fishin’ game
36. Go to the local pet store to look at animals.
37. Found art
Go on morning walk and collect cool things and make art project.
38. Homemade pizzas
39. Floor fort for tv time
40. Write a letter to a relative
41. Water painting
Paint with water on the side-walk, watch as it disappears.
42. Printable flash cards
43. Firework painting on the 4th.
44. Outdoor tent
45. Ice cream in a bag
46. Plant and water flowers.
45. Pajama day
47. Make popsicles
48. Dirt Pudding
Run, walk, skip, jump
50. Have them help with a no cut, no cook meal; so they are able to help in the whole process of meal time.
I have been a military wife since 2013. My husband enlisted eleven months after we started dating. So, the military has been part of our makeup for most of our relationship. But, I’ve never felt like “Military Wife” was something I could claim. I’ve never done anything, besides shopping at the commissary, to earn that title. Four months into our first deployment, I know that it is part of our identity, but there are others who have it worse. On this Memorial Day While My Husband is Deployed, I want to recognize the people who we celebrate on this long weekend.
Families who have those on the front lines.
I don’t think I could say Thank You Jesus enough, that my husband has the job he does. As a Medical Lab Tech, he is in a hospital testing blood and urine. My heart goes out to the wives that have to worry about their husbands safety on the daily basis. You are strong. And, we recognize you.
Families with members deployed in dangerous places.
Deployments are the worst, regardless. Months away from your family is hard. But, not every family is blessed with the reassurance of safety that we are. We still get to see each other twice a day via Face Time, and I recognize that is not the norm either. My thoughts go out to families who have to be separated, and constantly worry about their loved ones’ safety of top of it.
Families that have to stay on base during deployment.
I was very, very fortunate that I was able to move back home during my husband’s six month deployment. Being with family has made a world of difference in our time apart. I couldn’t imagine how hard the six months would have been had we stayed back. I’m thinking of you wives and mamas who don’t have the same family support during deployment.
Those who have given their lives.
Lastly, and most importantly, the brave who given their lives for our freedom. Memorial Day is a day for us all to remember and celebrate those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. My heart and my thanks go out to the families who are missing part of their own every day, not just on the long weekend.
Do you ever wonder what a day in the of a mom is like? The real version, not the Instagram image. Let me paint a picture for you…
The little ones have been going crazy since before 7 am. The toddler is getting into everything. You have been constantly saying no. “How do we listen?”
All the way. Right away. With a joyful heart.
Not five minutes later. SAME. EXACT. THING.
The baby wants to nurse every three minutes and only sleeps for twenty minutes at a time. The day flies, but you accomplish nothing. And, you always climb in bed utterly exhausted! Physically and mentally.
And, then you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day. Here is What Mothers Really Want for Mother’s Day.
The kids to listen the first time.
Despite what the little ones may think, we don’t enjoy repeating ourselves. If you just listened the first time mommy wouldn’t have to get upset! The best way to say I love you, Mom is to listen the first time.
Makeup that actually conceals sleepy eyes.
The eyes are the window to the soul. And, a Mommy’s soul is tired. Every mom’s goal when she is putting on makeup is to make it appear as though she actually has slept since her first-born made their appearance.
The perfect cup of coffee.
You can never go wrong with gifting a sleep deprived mommy her favorite coffee!
To be shower, or use the bathroom, in peace.
Just because mommy is always there to help you when you go potty, does not mean she needs you to be there for her. Please give me two minutes so I can take care of my business, alone. Help a mama out and keep track of the kids every time mom has to go to the bathroom on Mother’s Day.
Somebody else to clean up the same mess, over and over. And, over.
Mommy puts the same toys away 372 times day, every day. Please don’t make her do it on Mother’s Day.
A solo Target run.
If you don’t know that a solo Target run is mom heaven, you have not been listening!
We know this day is called Mother’s Day, which sounds like there should be children involved. But, a lot of times mom feels like she is missing some adult interaction in her life. Give her some time where she can talk in her adult voice today.
We know it’s not realistic that there will be no momming duties on Mother’s Day. But, help as much as you can. She will genuinely appreciate any help she receives!
A thank you.
Give that a mommy a heart-felt thank you. For all the little things that add up quickly.
This Mother’s Day, grab your kids at 6:27 am when they wake up. Quietly corral them in another room. Let mom sleep in. Feed them whatever, so long as you don’t leave a mess for mom. Only let the kids in for snuggles. Bring in her favorite coffee. Let her take her time getting ready in the morning.
Chase the kids when they are crazy. Send them to mom when they are snuggly. Take care of the meals and the messes. Send her out for a solo Target run. Say a genuine thank you. This is her favorite job. But, it’s a thankless one.
Cards are nice. Flowers are great. Jewelry is special. But, what mom really wants for Mother’s Day is to breathe and be spoiled.
And, by spoiled we mean a whole day without having to deal with the chaos of daily Momming.
I remember how my heart sunk when I heard the word deployment. Four years into a six year contract, my husband and I thought we might make it out without a deployment. And, than utter disbelief set in with those two pink lines. This could not be happening. Instead of breezing through a military career free of deployment, we were going to do it in one of the hardest ways possible. I have never really felt like I could say much about the hardships of being a MILSO (military significant other). In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever even thought of using that term. But, three months into our first deployment and having survived a birth with my husband 7,310 miles away, I like to think I have some knowledge to share. So here is The How-To Guide for a Young Mom Surviving Her First Deployment.
But, first coffee. Being a mom is exhausting. Coffee comes with the territory. But, now you are parenting temporarily solo, it’s beyond necessary. During deployment it is 24/7, with very little opportunity to tag team this raising babies thing . They might as well call separation pay your coffee budget, because you will need to add at least two cups per child per day over your deployment, and that adds up!
My sanity would surely be less if it weren’t for Face Time. Our family has been blessed enough to be able to Face Time twice a day. So, thankfully I start and end my day by seeing my husband. Whatever your schedule looks like, take every opportunity to Face Time! The days are very long, especially if it’s a day where you’re reminded that your man is gone. Seeing him over a screen will take the edge off.
Bonus: you get all giddy and excited seeing him, just like when you were dating!
Accept any and all help.
This is advice any mom with young ones should take, but especially if you’re running the show on your own. Raising children was not meant to be done alone. It’s hard and exhausting. Don’t expect yourself to be super mom for the whole six months. If someone offers to babysit. No questions, say yes! If someone offers food. Duh! Anything that would be helpful to you. Accept it. You deserve to take some pressure off when you can.
Car rides and Target runs!
Get out of the house as often as you can! Put everyone in the car for a nap time drive. Or, go to Target for gum. Do whatever you need to do to keep yourself from feeling cooped up. Time drags when you’ve got nothing to do. It will be so beneficial for you to just get out and break up the time.
Set goals for yourself while your husband is away. It will give you something to work on. And, will help you feel like you have more purpose than just raising the babes. It could be big or small. Whatever you need to work on to feel like you’re a better version of you.
And, grace. So much grace!
Sweet mommy, this is a hard time. Raising littles to begin with is trying. And, then to have your husband thousands of miles away, while all the family responsibilities fall on you, is a lot. Some days you’ll feel accomplished, like you could take on the world. Some days your kids are in front of the TV the whole day and you forgot to brush your teeth. It’s okay. Give yourself grace. The only expectations you feel like you’re not meeting are ones you laid on yourself. At the end of the day, whatever it looked like, breathe and remember that you are everything to your babies, and that sweet husband who is choosing to serve his country is counting down the seconds til he can see you again.
One day soon mommy, your perfect little family will be reunited. You’ll look back, and say dang I did it! You’ll soak in every day with your husband who you missed so much. But, until then savor every coffee, Face Time date, and Target run. Accept all help. And, give yourself enough grace to cover your time apart!
You’re making it !
It’s Easter week. And, the first time I have put together an Easter Basket. Even though this is my son’s third Easter. Is that awful? My sister-in-law said that she had seen a rain boot Easter basket recently on Facebook. I actually didn’t realize it was a thing. But, I ran with the idea!
Step One Find Your Boot
I found these Ranyzany boots on Amazon. I thought the cute airplane print would be a great base for an Air Force themed basket. Since Daddy is deployed for this Easter. And, E is currently in love with Captain America.
Step Two Find Your Filling
At first, I was worried that his toddler sized boots wouldn’t have enough space for filling. But, they turned out perfect! So, if you’re filling a basket for a toddler, lucky you. Pick out a few fun items. Run with the theme of your boot, like I did. Or, go with the basic bunny Easter basket.
The foam air plane was found at Hobby Lobby, and is a two-in-one craft! The zipper-pull is the perfect addition to his favorite Captain America sweatshirt, and will help him master zipping it up. I chose the Captain America treat containers from Target in place of Easter eggs.
Step Three Assemble
Start stuffing! The goal is to have the items most following the theme to be sticking out the top of the boots. Thankfully, his toddler size 8 boots turned out to be the perfect sized basket! Although, his toothbrush didn’t make the cut. But, that’s okay as TMNT doesn’t go with the theme. Get all the goodies in place. And then add in the filler to make it look cuter and more polished.
Voila! An Easter Basket that has a purpose. I love that these baskets are not only adorable and out of the norm, but they are practical too. My little may or may not already be jumping in puddles with his fancy new airplane boots. April showers after all!
Remember when you were young and how exciting Friday nights were? Things are a little different now that your lifelong date is in another country. As a young mom with a husband who is deployed chances are your Friday nights are going to look like one of these.
The I’ve Got A Last Minute Babysitter Friday
A miracle happened. A throw your hands in the air in the hallelujah miracle. The aunties have asked to babysit the toddler, you obviously gotta get out!
Drop that kid off and speed over to Target. You know. The babies are running low on diapers. The most legitimate excuse for a Target run. First stop: the dollar spot. It has everything you need and want in your life. Yes. I need all these planners. And succulents?! For three dollars? I love succulents! Next stop: clothes. I’ll take all the chambray please. But, baby wearing and budget. You move on. You pass the baby section, and have to make a U-turn. Oh yeah, diapers. After at least an hour you make it to the check out. With everything in the cart. How did this happen?
While an hour in target is heaven, heaven knows you’re not ready to pick that kid up yet. Maybe grab a coffee? No, already had a whole pot. But, you do need a treat. A whole Miracle Tart will do. I mean no refined sugar. And chocolate. And, downing that Kombucha. You know, nursing mom, it’s the closest thing you can get to a glass, with the added benefit of digestive health.Then you’re home by 8:30 to FaceTime. Bedtime is, of course, a hot mess due to the babysitter induced sugar high. But, those couple hours of you time were beyond refreshing!
The I’m Actually Going Out With Friends Friday
You have been planning forever. All week. Texting back and forth ‘ohh where should we go’. Although, the only requirement is that the menu offers more than chicken nuggets and french fries. And, no play place.
The day is the same as all the others. But, the fits are a little easier to make it through because you see the finish line. The get out of jail free card. Just six more hours away. Five. Two. And, then your friend texts they are on their way!
“Yay! Can’t wait! You’re saving me. I’ll be ready when you get here.”
You wish that was the truth. But, you are still a mom. And, doing your hair and makeup doesn’t come as easy to you anymore. Then you’re ready! But, the baby needs nursed, again. Oh well, even if you’re running late, you’re still pumped. Real life adult human interaction! Hot food that you actually want. Not, just baby left overs.
You get to the restaurant. Did they spike my water? You can’t stop laughing. No. That’s just the feeling you get when you’re around real people. You feel like a normal twenty- something again. Until, you remember you’ve got to be back by 8:30. But, who are you kidding? Like you could make it any later, you’ve been chasing little people since 7:30 in the morning. But this. Actually being around grown-ups again, was just want you needed to make it through another week of melt-downs and chaos.
The I’ve Got Nothing to Do Friday
The last and most common Friday, is the I’ve got nothing to do Friday. The day itself drags. So much caring for little people. Constant nursing. And, telling the toddler no. Calm down. Stop poking your brother.
You can’t help but watch the clock waiting for reinforcements get home. The garage door opens right at 5 pm and you send the toddler to yell a good surprise at Grandma. It’s so fun, grandma and baby love it. But, you need to pass off the crazy to somebody else.
You’ll stand around and talk about nothing with them. Or go sit down to breathe. Depending on if the day was lonely or the kids were too crazy. THE night consists of lots of sitting on the couch. Face in a screen. Facebook. Then Instagram. Then Pinterest. On repeat.
All Friday nights end the same. A good toddler cuddle and singing Moana and Thomas and His Friends on repeat. Sometimes falling asleep. But, always wishing that you could be with Him. Dreaming of the Friday nights you used to have. The ones before kids. Dinners or movies, sometimes both! You would give anything to be laughing over nothing and everything with the one person who makes even the most mundane things your favorite.
One day, Mommy. One day that husband will be back. And, your Friday nights may still fall under these categories, but he’ll be here, and that’s all that matters. So soak up those moments where you are just you. Just breathe through the crazy. And, give those babies extra loves because He would give anything to be able to hold them this Friday night.
As I’m hitting publish I realize not all moms were lucky enough to move home through deployment. So, if it’s a Friday night where you’re stuck at home, put your kids in the car and get a Starbucks. Just drive. You especially need a break!
When I told my brother we were expecting his first response was; “Ew. Don’t use cloth diapers!”
Truthfully I never really thought of cloth diapers, because it does sound gross. But, shortly after that comment I read a statistic that said it can take hundreds of years for disposable diapers to decompose. Wow. That really took me back!
Now, I wouldn’t call myself a hippie, but I do have some hippie ideals, one could say. I eat organic when I can and care about what goes in and on my body. I think we should make safe and smart decisions in all aspects of our lives. Y’all I’ve even been looking into essential oils! So, when I thought about how much waste I would be adding into the world by diapering my babies. I knew I wanted to do it in a different way.
So, began my research for a safer way to diaper. I did not like what I was reading about the standard disposable diapers, but I was not sure that cloth was the right choice for our family. On paper, cloth versus disposable, cloth wins. The cost. The eco-factor. The cuteness. But, it still sounded kind of icky. Then I finally stumbled upon The Honest Company and was sold! The diaper prints and monthly delivery were enough for this new mommy-to-be to stock up.
And, then when my little came we found they worked best for his sensitive little bum. I could probably count the amount of leaks on one hand. The absorption is great! And, they have never caused a diaper rash!
Not only do we love the variety of patterns. I’m a sucker for babies rockin‘ the just diaper look, so of course my babies are almost always naked in their Honest Co. But, we also love that they are :
- 20% off in the bundle!
And, I’m so excited to share with you For a limited time The Honest Company is offering buy one get one free bundles!
From April 3rd until April 9th you can get one bundle, they also have Essentials and Feeding, and get another one for free!! We love the laundry detergent and oxy boosts. So, you definitely don’t want to miss out!
Disclaimer: While I do make a commission on bundles sold, these are my Honest thoughts, and I truly stand behind my review on these diapers.
Easton’s new obsession, besides Ninja Turtles and Captain America, is talking about going to Hawaii with Daddy. Which has got me thinking about that family vacation a lot lately. I can’t believe it was almost a year ago! It was hands down my favorite trip, and memory as a little family. I mean who gets a surprise trip to HAWAII for their birthday?! Somebody who’s husband is way too sweet.
But, as I’m dreaming about Hawaii, I wonder if it’s the trip I’m missing or that it was the last real carefree and most together time I had with my husband. Shortly after that trip we found out he was deploying, and that we were expecting our second baby. I cherish these memories. And, I love that Easton does too. Although being that he was 18 months, I’m not sure how much he actually remembers. I think for both of us, we just like the idea of paradise with daddy.
I am so thankful for memories. That they can transport us back to our favorite times in seconds. But, today it’s not enough to just look at these sweet pictures. It softens the blow, but what I wouldn’t give to have that handsome face in real life with me, not just on a screen.
So, for the next four months we’ll be dreaming of paradise. And, counting down the days until our family’s mini paradise of simply being reunited!
One day John will be back with us. And, ‘have even one day we will be back in Hawaii!
Do you remember being a first time parent? You researched everything! For the entire nine months all I did on Pinterest was search baby everything. Yes my research was Pinterest. Having a newborn was a new adventure. There was so much to learn and prepare for.
The second time around? Nope. No researching. Been there done that. I kept one baby alive. I know all I need to know. We’ve got this baby thing down. While that is true to extend, there were still some things that surprised me and made me feel like a new parent again! Here’s a list of nine things I forgot about having a newborn.
How TINY 7 lbs is!
My first was 6 lbs 5 oz when he was born. So tiny. I remember for the longest time being able to wrap my fingers around his thighs, and so effortlessly around his arms. But, now he is almost 30 lbs and that’s all my arms know anymore.
How hard newborn diapers are to change!
I have been changing diapers everyday for the past two years. I didn’t blink an eye about adding more. Until I remembered how little and squirmy newborns are. Their little arms and legs flail all around. You feel like you’ll break them when it’s time to wipe. And, then the scare factor of not hurting the umbilical cord or circ. It took a good two weeks to not feel terrified taking care of that tiny bum. But now that he’s up to ones, I’m a diaper changing pro.
The importance of tucking it down.
All my boy moms out there know! Those darn little things have a mind of their own. And, while I did remember that you gotta tuck it down, I have had some slips. Ok. He had at least one leak per day for his first two weeks. Oh my goodness how does it keep happening?
Which leads me To my next point.
How many outfit changes newborns go through.
The spit up. The blow outs. The leaks. It’s amazing for being so little how messy they can be!
Oh the Spit up!
I had forgotten about all the spit up. Or, maybe blocked it out. When your baby fever hits you don’t take into consideration that you and baby will almost always be covered in spit up. The smell. The stains. It’s the worst. And, because I forgot about the glorious spit up, ask me if I have been prepared with enough extra clothing.
The answer is no.
How much you need to keep in your diaper bag.
Now flash back to the time of researching for the first baby, I knew I wanted to keep using a purse instead of an official diaper bag. I’m still the one carrying it, not the baby, I want it to be cute. I got a big enough purse for diapers, wipes, extra clothes, and all the other spares. As the baby grew the baby stuff in the purse diminished. I totally forgot how much you really need with you when you go out with a little one. They are so tiny, how do they need so much?!
How quickly two hours passes.
I have never been much of a schedule follower. But, you do tend to fall into your daily routine and general schedule. We have been following the toddler eating schedule for quite some time. And, yes they can be rather snacky. But it doesn’t compare to how much you feed a newborn! I definitely had forgotten just how often new little ones eat. Two hours is like all the time. And, two hours in between feedings happens really quickly.
All that you can do while nursing.
Every-two-hours feedings takes up a lot of the day. But, you can still do a lot with a baby latched on to you. The dog needs out? No problem. You need a snack? No problem. Need to scroll through Pinterest? Obviously. Your toddler needs a diaper change and you to give him a piggy back ride while playing Ninja Turtles? Well, still working on that!
How much newborns really sleep.
Everybody knows that new babies sleep. It’s what they do best. But, when you’ve been around a one nap a day kid, the amount of sleep a newborn gets is nerve wrecking! I found myself asking, is my baby ok? They literally just wake up to eat. And, I totally forgot about that!
Even though you already have kids, and you know, basically, what you’re doing. Newborns still are still new. And, they still hit you with a learning curve. Thankfully, the second is a little less scary!