Friday, September 11, 2009


I was 15 years old 8 years ago today. Sitting in ISTEP, and then glued to the television for the rest of the day. I'vehad conversations on this day every year since then about where I was , what happened, what we all felt. I had an uncle in one of the towers, but he made it out. I have noticed that we all feel a need to connect to that tragedy, and while I have had friends who do not approve of the need to make that connection, I believe that it is neccesary to reaffirm why our country is continuing to fight the war against terrorism. And I for one do not care what the President says, we are still fighitng that war and we will be for many years to come. I am still struggling to udnerstand his stance on the War on Terror, maybe it is because I am much closer to the people that are fighting that war than President Obama has ever been, and possibly will ever be.

I did not have any clue that eight years later I would be watching the footage again on tv, not in my second eyar Spanish class, but in my living room. The major difference in my life is that now I am a military wife, and sitting under my tv is my daughter. She is my world and she is the next generation, reason that her daddy will leave soon to fight the war that was, for the most part, begun on that day. She has no idea why I look so sad as I watch the tv, and she goes on tossing blocks around the room.
She is the reason that I am so passionate about protecting our country. She is the reason I get so angry when The President and our government belittle this war, the men and women that fight it, and underestimate the danger to this country. Just in case any of them ever see this, please read on. President Obama, put politics aside, stop thinking about your next election or whether you will be in that office next term. Think about your children, my daughter, and this country's future. I hear you talking about freedom and change for all Americans, but none of this will be possible without first protecting this country and our freedoms. Please remember those who died on this day and who have died since. Please do not make it so they have died in vain.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Apparently the dirty diaper mountain was deeper than expected!

So today, Baby Cheapskate made me smile! Baby Cheapskate ( is one of the best parenting related blogspots I've come across, giving parents a forum to discuss their kids kids’ development and also giving great tips on baby product deals and sales!

So today, one post explained how Baby Einstein and other "developmental" videos do nothing to help kids brain development. I am so happy that such a popular forum is starting to put this research out there! Nothing can substitute for playing with your child. Even if your child is interacting with you while watching the video, your baby is still watching TV! Turn it off, turn on some music and build a block tower. There is no need for blinking lights and moving parts or dvds when a child is just as entertained by a box and a set of wooden blocks.

I, for one, do not feel the need to constantly be competeing with other parents in the "My 6 month old is going to go to Harvard" war . I have been in my share of those debates, and usually a smart ass comment causes people to disregard me as a "contender" and exclude me from the conversation compeltely. Huzzah! That kind of competition only helps parents feel superior to other adults; it does nothing for the children save thrust them into the dog-eat-dog competition that they will ineveitably be exposed to later in life. Constantly pushing children to be better than everyone else at such a young age leads to children who cannot truly enjoy life if anyone has something better than they have. Childhood should be a time of imagination and play, not a time for the social pressure and competition that belongs in the adult world.

What do you think? Do you let your child watch tv or educational videos?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Solids and Swimming and Super Moms, OH MY!

I am horrible at this blog! I really want it to be a glimpse into Emma's first year, but then actual life gets in the way and I go AWOL for a while.
She's is growing up so fast, I can't believe that she's already 6 months old. She has started to push up on her hands and knees, and is getting super close to crawling!!!!! I had David baby proof when I was visiting Indiana, so we're all ready for that day when she becomes mobile! Well, our cabinets are ready. I am not sure if my emotions are! Emma is also well into eating solid food, and even said Mama yesterday! I wasn't here for the first time, but I still got Mama!!!!!!!!!! Woohoo!
Emma has become a real water bug lately. She loves the pool and putting her toes in the ocean! The near perfect weather here makes it easy to take her outside to play, introduce her to trees and flowers and the wildfire constantly burning behind our house. Plus, there are so mnay bunnies running around, it's pratcically Teletubby land out here. I love that ther is so much for me to take her to see around here- Sea World, Disneyland, down to the marina to watch the sailboats.
Over the past couple months, I have been adjusting to life here on base, which is part of the reason that I have been ignoring the blog. There are some days when I just get so angry that I cannot bring myself to put it down in writing. The lower enlisted housing is actually very nice, however the people leave much to be desired. There's Mr. and Mrs. We Need to Fight in the Parking Lot, The Tin Foil, Allergic to the Sun people, and Mr. I Must Rev My Motorcycle Every Day, not to mention the fact that NO ONE talks to anyone else around here. I have tried numerous times to talk to my neighbors and they look at me like I just sprouted an antennae and am about to take off in a charcoal grill. It is hard being so much older than everyone too. I really miss my family and friends back in Indiana, and am beginning to doubt whether I'll actually find anyone to make a real connection with. I love our neighbors to the right, but he's deploying in a few months and she's going home, so I need to find more people to talk to!
The other issue I ahve with making friends is that I have always marched to the ebat of my own drum. I get "there is the crazy woman" looks when I'm outside with 3D glasses on making chalk drawings with Emma, or blowing bubbles for her, or taking her on walks and tlakign to her. People act like it's a crime to let your child experience life instead of plopping them down in front of the TV. I'm not going to apologize for turning off the TV and letting Emma make chalk drawings, catch bubbles, and have unlimited amounts of naked time every day! I may have a different parenting style than these people, but Emma will not be afraid to be herself, spinning in circles until she falls over in the front yard! It is time to take life a little less seriously! Do a cannonball into the pool! Make a chalk drawing, go down a curly slide, or dive into a ball pit. Being an adult and taking care of my family does not mean becoming old before my time (or ever!). OSmeitmes being a good parent means getting down and dirty with the kids. To quote my favourite web comic "We are the grown ups now and we get to decide what that means!"

Monday, April 20, 2009

I have seen my fair share of parents who think that their child is the most amazing, wonderful child in the world. Their parents praise them for turning oxygen into carbon dioxide and then wonder why they are called into their childrens' school to talk about inappropriate behavior. I have gone without bread during a shopping trip just to avoid said children and parents in the grocery store. I missed my PBJ that week, but sometimes sanity is more important. All of this, along with my knowledge of development, has made me very careful about distinguishing truly amazing development from really cool accidents.
Recently, Emma has hit some huge developmental milestones recently. She has begun visually directed reaching as well as mimicking crawling motions while on her stomach. She has actually started playing with her toys, attempting to pull apart links and batting at her toys attatched to her jumperoo. Just a few minutes ago she started laughing out of the blue at her spoon, which shows great strides in her social development. Her pediatrician in Muncie always said she was very advanced socially, as she has had good eye contact and focus almost from the get go.
As huge as all these things are, the biggest milestone she has reached is her 4 month birthday. Her new pediatrician was impressed with her development and she is right on track for most things, and advanced on a lot of her social development. She is in the 85th percentile for hieght and the 25th percentile for weight- she's going to be an amazon! Since she's been extremely hungry lately, she got to start solid foods! Her first food was Earths Best Rice Cereal, and then some cereal mixed in with pears. She is getting used to it, but still can't stand the texture. Interestingly enough, she eats the food better off of my finger than off of the spoon. This weekend we're going to try peaches and cereal! I just can't believe that she's already starting solids, and I'm definitely not ready for the diapers that go with it! I might have to start triple layering the diapers, Full House style.
Speaking of diapers, we've crossed the border into using cloth at night. In an effort to save money, I'm perfecting our cloth at night routine and seem to have come upon a system that seems to work. One Gerber prefold on top with a flat fold on the bottom all in a gDiaper. It holds all night and we save 3 disposable diapers per night. That is 21 diapers per week, 84 per month, and 1008 per year! The environmental impact of those diapers not going into a landfill is huge, but I am much more impressed with the financial benefits. Mommy needs a new pair of Blahniks!
That's it for tonight folks, but let not your heart be troubled, I'll be back as soon as I dig myself out from all these dirty diapers!

Observations on the Development of Visually Directed Reaching
Earths Best
4 month developmental milestones
Manolo Blahnik

Monday, April 13, 2009

There's no place like home.....

I've been having an internal struggle lately. While I am happy with my life, my family, and myself, I'm less than happy with where we live. The interior of our house is actually very nice. it's similar to our university apartment, but mush bigger and better quality. However, our neighbors are crazy and I don't feel safe here. The girl i hang out with is always complaining about the housing, which is grating on my nerves, especially since she is 19 and was living in much nicer housing before they moved here. I feel like they deserve to pay their dues, while David and I have already been there. I know this is stupid and immature, but I feel like David and I deserve to move into better housing before they do because of that. I know that's stupid and immature and I keep trying not to feel that way, but I do. I just have this feeling that our bad luck is going to continue and never get any better. It never does. I'm trying really hard to be happy with my situation and appreciate everything good in my life, but I just keep getting upset over this housing situation. I wish our luck would change just ponce. I wish something Marines related would go our way.

Monday, March 30, 2009

On my own.....

I have gotten my first taste of taking care of Emma completely alone the past week. David has been in the field, so I've been on my own since last Monday. This is the first time I have been on my own with her for more than a few hours and I have to say that I am doing pretty well! I will definitely need a baby break when he gets back but I will definitely survive. Emma has been sleeping pretty well, and he eating schedule has changed a little. Instead of every 3-4 hours, she is eating every 2. I think she's going to be having a growth spurt! I already had to buy her a new pair of pink chucks. Emma is rolling over now, though she prefers to pivot at her butt, spinning circles around herself. She is wearing a bald line into the back of her head! She rolled off of the couch last week, giving me a heart attack. I felt horrible all night and stayed up to make sure she didn't have a concussion. She is resilient though and bounced back right away. Emma is also babbling and cooing a lot more, with more inflection. I just wish I knew what she was saying! She has also taken to sucking her thumb. I keep trying to substitute a pacifier, but she's not too keen on it. I am not making a big deal about it though. Being relaxed and laid backs works pretty well for us here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

For some reason Blogger has not been letting me log in, but I'm back full force now that it's decided to work!
My parents just left for Indiana. I did not want them to leave, it was nice to have people around when I woke up every morning! My mom got my house organized in less than 24 hours. She is a human cleaning machine! It definitely made the moving in process a lot easier. Being close to my parents has made moving both hard and easy. living this far away is hard, but I know that they will come visit often and I'll do my best to go there. I don't miss anything about Muncie the town, but I miss the people. I wish I could have packed them all up and taken them with me!
Moving with Emma was an adventure that I'm glad we had, but not one I'd repeat soon. And next time, we're making sure that everything gets on the truck! In that lights, I would like to present the following:

Claire's 10 Tips for Military Moving
1. Make sure everything gets on the truck or your car will look like it belongs in a National Lampoon movie.
2. Stay at the same hotel chain every night- it's a great way to earn free hotels stays for vacation!
3. Become a AAA member. Their free TripTiks and guidebooks for memebers are indispensible on long trips and AAA discounts can save a lot of money.
4. Check for military discounts everywhere. You never know until you ask.
5. If time allows, stop at national landmarks and cheesy tourist traps. They can be fun and cheap ways to make family memories.
6. If you're out west, travel Route 66.
7. Find out about base hotels before you arrive. They're cheap, clean, and usually nicer than a civillian extended stay.
8. Come prepared with a roadtrip bag- games, music, puzzles, books, etc. Once boredom sets in, there's no turning back, especially with kids.
9. Always have a road emergency kit- you buy a basic one at the store, then add oil, coolant, a serpentine belt, water, energy bars, blankets. The contents depend on the length of the trip and where you're going.
10. Have fun. You'll experience things a lot of people only dream of.

Friday, February 27, 2009

We've arrived!

After four days, 2100 miles, and a few thousand dirty diapers, we finally arrived in California! The moment we crossed into Cali, it hit me that this trip was actually going to end. We were going to arrive at the base, and start anew chapter in our lives. I knew we would, but it did not seem like a reality until I saw that "welcome to California" sign. Actually living in California had never set in as a reality.The prospect of picking up and moving across the country always seemed exciting, and while it is, it became terrifying when we arrived. Once I can get out and see the base, town, and (most importantly!) the beach, I will start to feel more at home. I cannot wait to get a house, settle in, and make some friends. I guess I am afraid of Emma and I becoming isolated.
David is currently checking in and HOPEFULLY finding out about housing! I have been praying all day that we can get into a house soon. I want to start feeling like we all belong here.
Overall, the road trip with baby went over well. By the last day, Emma had either gotten used to the car or given up on crying because she entertained herself with toys and talked to the toy hanging off of her carseat. Stopping every few hours wasn't as big of a hassle as I thought it would be and we were glad to have an excuse to take a break and stretch our legs. she came through the exoerience perfectly fine, and although I do not know if we would repeat the trip with more kids, it was defintiely worth the experience. However, there will not be any more road trips for a while.
Final road trip pictures will be put up later when David gets back! The SD card reader is in the car!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Road Trip Day #3

I thought that today was going to be boring, flat, and brown, but I was way off. New Mexico has to be the most beautiful state I have ever seen. I wanted to climb to the top of one of the plateaus and yell at the top of my lungs! The combination of the red dirt, purpleish bushes, and blue sky is absolutely breathtaking. And we actually saw tumbleweeds rolling across the road. half expected Bonnie and Clyde to go rushing by! We also saw a few wild dogs, which was pretty cool.
We traveled a shorter distance today, which was probably a good thing considering Emma was fussy when we started the trip. We took a couple more breaks than usual for feedings, diaper changes, and picture stops, and arrived much earlier than we have the past couple of days. I even had time to workout and sit in the hot tub at the hotel! Tomorrow we're going to go as far as we can, so it's going to be an extremely long day.
Emma is doing pretty well considering she has been strapped into her car seat almost constantly for the past few days! I think she's going to develop a fear of that thing for a while after this trip. I don't blame her. I love road trips, but I've had my fill of them for a while!
Normally, I would write more, but I'll let the pictures speak for themselves today!

Random house in the middle of the desert

Gorgeous blue sky!
I never thought I would see this stuff in personOur altitude kept changing because of the plateaus and valleys.
The pressure changes really bothered Emma's ears.Giant metal aloe vera plant!

An almost perffect panoramic shot!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Road Trip Day #2

"Cow..... 'nother cow....."
"No, I think that is the same one."
We spent today driving through what is known as tornado alley. (The billboard for "value homes: single and double wide" really made me giggle!) There was not as much to look at through Oklahoma and Texas, so I napped and read my large stack of books. Road trips always bring me back to my bookworm roots. There's nothing better than a country radio station and a good book on a long drive! While not particularly populated, Oklahoma is beautiful. The sky was a brilliant sapphire blue and the red dirt and green fields were breathtaking. I haven't seen that much color outdoors in months! At one point, I looked up and we were surrounded by huge windmills. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. As we hit Texas and the desert, however, things turned more brown and flat, and definitely lulled me into a nap.
Rule #2 for traveling with baby: Expect a really messy diaper when stopping for the night. Apparently, she does not like being dirty in the car, because Emma held it all in until she got out of the car seat. Boy did she let loose. She almost overflowed her diaper with baby poop, sending David diving for a towel to put under her to protect the hotel bed! And now, after having had a bath and a baby massage, she is ready for sleep and so am.

There was a professional fisherman staying in our hotel.
I was more excited by Tony the Tiger painted on his truck.Cool statue of Will RogersThe first of many casinosGorgeous Oklahoma landscapeHome, home on the range!Gigantic windmillTexas Longhorns rockers

Monday, February 23, 2009

Road Trip Day #1

We started our cross-country road trip this morning. We were less than an hour late leaving (an accomplishment for me) and only had to leave 2 things at home. Unfortunately, one of those things was the stroller, so Emma is going to be riding in her sling for 2 weeks until my parents can bring the stroller! Ironically, after removing 2 large items from the packing list, we still almost didn't get in the car! Rule #1 of traveling with a baby: When the car is packed, running, and baby is inside, make sure a door is unlocked before closing it! If you don't, you'll have to wait 20 minutes for a locksmith to come and let you in! Luckily Emma slept the whole time, so she has no idea the potentially traumatizing event occurred. It's all material for the memoir anyway.
So after an hour of yelling and crying and one locksmith call, we were fi
nally on the road! The trip has been fairly uneventful so far. Emma was good for the first 8.5 hours, then screamed for the last 30 minutes. I think that's a pretty good car tolerance for a 2 month old! We're on part of Route 66, so watching the billboards and local ads is just as much fun as a feature film. Apparently, I really need to visit Meremac Caves, and Branson, and everyone traveling the road needs to know about the adult books stores and Jesus. Quite an interesting mix.
From a parent perspective, the trip has been fairly easy. We have been stopping every few hours to feed Emma and change her diaper, after which she entertains herself with her toys and falls back asleep. Since she's going to be traveling a lot in her life, getting into the groove now will be good for her in the future. I was annoyed when I got to a Subway for lunch, and there was no place to change her diaper! It's ridiculous that a major chain restaurant does not have a changing table in at least one of the restrooms! I ended up having to change her diaper on the front seat of the car, which is slanted and, since the door was open, really cold! Needless to say, we're not stopping at Subway anymore on this trip!
OK, I'm off my soapbox, its now time for pictures!

Add Image Goodbye Indiana!

Add Image Sleeping baby and crowded car

Pochahontas, IL- Home of country singer Gretchen Wilson

Really big bridge!

Pretty rocks in Missouri

Sci Fi channel, anyone?

On the road again.....

Fort Lost in the Woods, brought to you by the letter Y


Gorgeous sunset at the end of the day

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shades of green.....

Contrary to popular belief, going "green" is no new movement. When I was in elementary school,we learned about the greenhouse effect and spent countless girl scout meetings making canvas grocery bags. We learned about pollution and acid rain, and I don't know a kid who didn't plant a tree at some point. Ironically enough, Earth Day was a bigger deal then than it is now, the supposed age of environmental revolution.
I am not a bandwagon type and am definitely not a dark greenie, but recently I have been trying to do more for the environment. I like to think of myself as a nice bright shade of lime.With a new baby in the house, I am much more aware of what I'm using to clean our house and cook our meals. I have used Seventh Generation products for years because of allergies and love organic produce, it just tastes better and using seasonal produce makes our meals fresh and healthy. I have made an effort to be healthier since I got pregnant, and am feeling the positive effects of doing so.
Recently, I switched Emma from regular disposable diapers to gDiapers. They are a hybrid of cloth and disposable, with a cloth shell, nylon liner and flushable absorbent insert. When I need to change her, I can switch out the flushable liner, which can also be thrown away or composted because it's completely biodegradable. I also made some cloth inserts to keep my costs down. With the rising price of disposable diapers (Huggies and Pampers are reducing the amount of diapers per box, as well as raising prices) this seems to be the best way to go for my family both financially and for Emma's health. She is very comfortable in her gDiapers and has no diaper rash, a definite plus. I love the gDiapers, they so cool and definitely live up to the hype.
On my quest to be more green, I have been trying to come up with ways to make my new house more green. Here are a few things I've come up with:
-Using used furniture for Emma's room. I bought a dresser and glider/ottoman off of Craigslist for $50!! Not only was it an awesome deal, they won't be sitting in a landfill somewhere. The dresser isn't "green" materials persay. but it's a few years old and the fumes given off by the glue have dispersed by now. I will be getting a new dresser when we can afford one and I'll pass this one on to another family who needs it.
-WallCandy Peel and Stick wall decals are reusable, so they'll travel from house to house and save materials, not to mention saving me from using paint the can release chemical fumes into the air.
-I was also given organic and bamboo onesies, which are actually really soft and keep their shape well! I also pick up organic sheet for her crib and our bed when they're on sale.
Unfortunately, trying to be green is like being excluded from a ritzy night club. Only the poeple with status and cash seem to get in. I have become an expert at finding green bargains online, as well as buying used furniture and baby clothes! I am doing little things here and there that are working to keep my family healthy and save money. I am going to keep trying to do more for my fmaily and the environment and stick to my nice shade of lime.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sweatin' with the baby

I received a the Parents (magazine) Mom and Baby Fitness DVD as a shower gift about a month before Emma was born. Now, I usually pick up a workout DVD, do it once, and then turn it into a lovely paperweight. I just don't have the motivation to do workouts at home by myself. I mean, staying at home, staring at a super fit woman in spandex telling me to lift my leg above my head in a physically impossible way makes me want to strangle her just as much as looking at the same woman at the gym. The only difference is that there's no one else to commiserate with!
So two weeks ago, while feeling incredibly out of shape and fat, I dusted off the Mom and Baby workout and popped it into the DVD player. For the first time, I have actually found a workout that I can stay motivated to do at home! Through the mom and baby workouts and baby massage, I can bond with Emma and get back into shape. The DVD also has mini workouts for moms on the go! And I don't have to satre a a hairy eighties icon in booty shorts- always a plus.
One of the aspects of this DVD that I like is the focus on baby's health and flexibility as well as mom's. The baby massage will increase with Emma's flexibility and aid in digestion, helping her be a happier baby. Baby massage is great for infants with colic or digestion issues by helping gas move through the digestion system. Massaging the jaw helps release the muscles she uses when chomping on her pacifier (and during all that talking she'll do in a few years..... uh-oh, I may end up regretting this!). Massage also increases blood flow to the limbs, strengthens the immune system and stimulates nerves, allowing her to become aware of her fingers and feet earlier. This awareness will allow Emma to learn how these body parts sooner- because I can't wait to wrestle hair out of her hands! Baby yoga will help her develop muscle control sooner, enabling her to roll, sit up and crawl earlier! Time for mommy to invest in some new runnign shoes!
For me, it doesn't matter how healthy a workout is. If I'm not having fun, then I have a better chance of making out with Richard Simmons than doing another abdominal crunch. I guess I'm going to have to invest in a new paperweight, because my workout dvd has assumed its rightful place in my cd tower!


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Life is never simple with a complicated girl

My world has suddenly become a lot bigger. I am about to move across the country (from Indiana to California) with my husband and a new baby. I have lived in this small college town my whole life, not more than a phone call away from my parents or lifelong friends. I met my husband here, got married here, had my baby here. My daughter was baptized in the same church that I was baptized in, where I received First Communion, was confirmed and married. I have been lucky enough to have grown up with roots. I know that I will always have someplace to call home. However, it is time for me to leave this town and everything familiar in it for a new adventure.
My husband David is a Marine, and has recently augmented to active duty from the reserves. We are moving to Camp Pendleton, CA, and I couldn't be more excited because I've always wanted to live there. I am ready to leave the cold and snow of Indiana and spend a few years with palm trees and beaches. I will miss my family, friends, and actually have the change of seasons. (Johnny Carson was once quotes as saying you always knew it was winter in California when they replaced the green potted plants with brown potted plants). I will use what I learned while obtaining a bachelors degree in Family Consumer Sciences- Family and Child Option to raise my daughter and possibly return to the classroom in the future. For now, I plan on being a stay at home mom and continuing my job as a Pure Romance consultant, which I love. I figure it will be a good way for me to make money and to meet people. That's what I am worried about the most: meeting people. I am not into drama and bitchiness, and I have heard more than my fair share of stories about the drama and bitchiness that goes on between military wives. We really are our own worst enemies, but that's a completely different topic for another day.
My daughter Emma (the reason I started this blog) is 6 weeks old. Over the past 6 weeks, she has grown 2 inches, gained 2.2 lbs, and her head has grown at least 2 cm. She has started smiling and cooing to us. I can't believe that she's already growing so fast. Outfits she barely fit in are now becoming too small. Watching her grow is already bittersweet- I cannot wait for her to hit the next milestone, but I want to capture her at this young age. She is the most beautiful baby in the entire world, I never knew I could love someone this much. Every face and noise she makes melts my heart and cements the fact that having a child changed my life in the best way possible. My husband is an amazing father and I strive everyday to be an equally amazing mother. Through this blog, I want to keep a record of our lives together- the challenges and successes my family goes through and Emma's development (as well as that of other children we may have) along the way.