Check, Please!

The last few weeks have been spent seeing how much money we could possibly remove from our bank accounts in the shortest amount of time.

It seems silly to complain about this since all adults have a laundry list of bills, taxes, and various expenditures.

But I still have that naitivity  that comes with new adult responsibility where I’m like

“Seriously? I have to pay for this shit?”

I mean how important is it really to replace the roof that is leaking into the living room?

And who decided it was ok to charge $400 dollars for a damn dog exam? They weigh the same, eat the same, and have the same crud on their teeth.

We complete that check-up every morning for free.

After receiving an extraordinarily large tax bill (did you know it costs $10,000 in addition to paying regular taxes just to work for YOURSELF?!?!), I was about done with the check writing.

Just about. 

On the advice of a co-worker, we decided to start checking out daycares because apparently the waiting lists are insane.

So insane, in fact, that I had to ask my Mom to move into our home 800 miles from her own just to cover the two months between my return to work and the time the slots actually open.

So, we scoped out some local daycare centers and asked what we hoped were intelligent questions even though we are completely naive and had no idea what we were looking for.

We narrowed it down to two options with comparable quality of care but one was closer to my work and the other cost slightly less.

In the end cost won out, and we chose the center that we will spend a little more time driving to but will save us over $900 a year.

Our theme for this entire pregnancy has been “Baby on a Budget.”

We were this close to finishing the nursery spending only  a respectable few hundred dollars, but P-Daddy was having serious anxiety about not having a rocking chair yet.

But I just couldn’t find anything I liked and I don’t like to make purchases until I’m absolutely sure about them.

I knew the right chair would come along.

And it did.

Thanks to P-Daddy.

He found a practically brand new Eddie Bauer rocker at the local Goodwill at less than half the regular price.

Once he sent me the picture, I was sold.

It was similar to the chairs I had been eyeing from Pottery Barn that sold for a cool $1400.

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We picked it up that day and P-Dadddy hauled it in the house through the snow and sub-zero temperatures.

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And then my dog promptly peed on it and stained the whole bottom half.

Welcome to our home.

So I wrote the check for the day-care deposit and checked another parenting first off of the list.

All of this on the heels of another monthly check-up where the babe’s heartbeat is still going strong at 150 beats per minute made for a pretty damn good day.

Even though I got into an argument with the doctor about having to drink that nasty orange drank with 80 grams of sugar just so I could prove I don’t have the diabetus. I mean, doesn’t that crap GIVE you the diabetus?

I mean, really.

Here are the pictures of the nursery, dog urine and all:

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P-Daddy hand painted the trees on the wall! 

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And repainted this antique dresser from my Grandmother. 

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Pick your carrier 

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PB’s view from the cage  crib. 

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And PB, I promise I will clean you more than I did my Cabbage Patch Kid,  Ross Barnaby.

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We can’t wait to spend lots of time in here.

Sleeping peacefully and restfully, I’m sure.

Could someone please convince P-Daddy that the room NEEDS this elephant play mat?

Elephant play mat

Thanks.

And thanks for checking in!

22 weeks! 

Separate Identities

Well, we got separated.

Not from each other, silly.

From the military.

As of today, P-Daddy is officially discharged from the United States Air Force.

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He was active duty for seven years before we decided to settle into little, old Dover, Delaware.

At that time he joined the Reserves, took a full time job working for the state, and we purchased our first home.

I’ll never be able to speak for his experience in the military because I’ll never truly know or understand what it means to serve.

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But I can say that until recently, I had no idea the kind of sacrifices he was making during his three tours (plus a civilian year long contract) in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The pillar of strength that he is, he was the one who reassured me, gave me hope, and made me feel loved from half-way around the world during every deployment.

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To listen to him during our daily phone calls, letters, and e-mails, you would think that the Middle East was a rather boring vacation with bad food and crappy accommodations.

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Now I know that he was not only protecting me physically from the evil in the world, but from all of the emotional anguish that goes along with it.

I lived under a naive little rock of base housing where I believed my husband was eating mess hall slop, getting ripped in homemade desert fitness “centers”, and watching bootleg movies into the night.

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He never spoke about the horrors of war even though I assured him I would provide a listening ear.

A soldier’s job is to protect and I can only imagine all of the experiences he is protecting me from.

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But who protects our soldiers?

Who guards their hearts and souls and shields them from evil?

Who takes away the nightmares and the flashbacks?

Who holds them after their instincts have been trained to seek and destroy danger?

I consider my sacrifices as a military wife minuscule compared to those of my veteran.

I do not say this to minimize the sacrifices of other military spouses.

I only mean that I was blessed to have a huge network of support to hold me up during the hardest days.

My family and friends were only a walk down the hall, a drive down the street, or a phone call away.

I slept peacefully at night dreaming only of the day he would come home.

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I lived in denial.

And I suppose that was the only way I could live.

Separating from the military as a family has been a surprisingly mixed bag of emotions.

A part of who we were no longer exists, and yet it shaped so much of who we are now.

But one thing is clear.

The time was right to say goodbye to the military family and focus on building and protecting our own.

I thank God every day that my husband was safely returned home to me FOUR times and that we have a chance to grow a family and grow old together.

And I will forever be indebted for everything he did for our family, even before some of us came into existence (Peanut!).

Being a military family was an honor and a privilege, but it’s time to go our separate ways.

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Because it’s this family’s time to be together.

Gray Anatomy

Last Thursday we had PB’s anatomy scan.

That’s an ultrasound that’s done around 19-20 weeks to make sure that all the body parts are in place.

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I was  quite surprised at how both terrified and anxious I was in the days leading up to the scan.

To the point that it was hard to even enjoy the process because I was one big bundle of nerves.

I usually try not to let this kind of negative thinking be so all consuming, but the idea of being responsible for the creation of another human carries enormous weight for me.

I’m already an expert in Mom guilt.

Like, have completely surpassed the minimum requirement of 24 hours a day/7 days a week of chronic worry.

Or perhaps that’s just my typical amount of neuroses?

Either way, I often find myself forgetting to exhale and living in a constant state of uneasiness.

I sound super fun, eh?

Anxiety Expert Level: 100000000000000000000

So even though I laid on the hospital bed, frozen with fear, and afraid to sneeze, I quite enjoyed being able to watch the babe swim around for 45 minutes.

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I couldn’t tell crown from rump to save my life, so I tried to spare myself the agony of counting all the body parts and making sure they were all there.

I would hope that if something was amiss, we would have gotten a call from the radiologist, but we were only politely told that we would follow up with the OB at our next appointment on February 19th.

The technician was kind enough to send us home with lots of photos, but holy cow, it might the kind of thing only a mother could love.

There was no cute “profile-of-a-budding-baby pic.”

Just a lot of skeletal looking screen shots.

And in case you’re wondering what we’re having, I’m 98% certain that it might be a salamander.

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It’s too bad they couldn’t send us home with a video of when PB started waving or doing the butterfly stroke mid-scan.

But either way, it’s a relief  to see that PB’s bones seem to be present and accounted for.

Here’s a glimpse of PB in progress:

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The technician spent a solid five minutes trying to get a nice sideline profile, but PB was being stubborn.

Good.

I would expect nothing less than a tiny, little, fire cracker in training.

20 weeks! 

The Eighth Wonder of the World

Dear Peanut,

P-Daddy and I braved the 20 degree wind and cold and went on a hot chocolate hike to celebrate our 8th anniversary.

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That means we’ve been married for EIGHT years.

We like to spend our anniversary outdoors in the blistery winter cold because it reminds us a lot of our wedding day.

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Last year we went skiing at Bear Creek Mountain in Pennsylvania.

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We’ll take you there in about, oh, three or four years.

Since you’re too little to ski right now, this year we headed down to the state park to share a salted caramel hot cocoa and wind our way through meandering paths to end up at the glory that is the Atlantic Ocean.

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While we were walking, I realized that I picked the best Dad for you!

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In celebration of the eight years that brought us to this memorable moment, here are eight reasons you are going to love your Dad so much:

1. You already take his breath away. He was so excited when he found out about you that he couldn’t even talk!

2. Whenever you’re sad or upset about something, he’ll just listen patiently, even if it takes you a solid week and half to get the words together.

3. He loves to hug. Be ready for it at all times, especially when you’re directly in the middle of something super important like building the ultimate Lego empire or baking a prize winning Easy Bake Oven recipe.

4. He can fix everything and manages to get it done before you’re even done crying about it. Don’t worry. He’ll help you rebuild that Lego empire and fix the knob on your broken oven.

5. He plans on snuggling with you a lot. I know this because he’s already bought three carriers so ya’ll can hang out together.

6. He’s hand painting the artwork on your bedroom wall. He’s very creative and I see lots of crafts in your future.

7.  He’s already plotting fishing, camping, and kayaking trips with you. I’ll let you two bond in the wilderness together while I stay home and “borrow” the easy bake oven.

8. He held out for 19 whole weeks before he cupped his hands around his mouth, got in real close to the belly (you!), and in his best Darth Vader voice, said “Baby…….I am your Father.”

But I’m pretty sure you already knew that based on how well he takes care of me, your Mom. How he runs to the store late at night to get me medicine or chocolate smoothie drinks. How he started doing the dishes every night after dinner so that I could rest and work on making you into a functioning, tiny human. How he spent the last two weeks on the phone with insurance companies and contractors trying to make sure the house is in tip-top condition for when you get here. How he takes me to church so we can thank God for all of our blessings. How he calls me from second hand baby stores to tell me about the bouncy seat that is on sale for a steal. How he researches all the baby products because most of it boggles my mind. How he spends his free time with me in hippy, dippy baby stores perusing all natural baby wipes and discussing the pros and cons of wet vs. dry bags for cloth diapers. How he works 60-90 hours a week to make sure we have everything we need. And how he makes sure we know how much we are loved each and every single day.

But you will have a lifetime of discovering these things for yourself.

And I can’t wait to watch.

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19 weeks!