Anchors Aweigh : August 2017

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Six Months of Parenting: Check!

Somehow, we are officially 6 months into this parenting gig! I think every parent says this, but how in the world did the time go so quickly? Didn't I just have him in the hospital?? Time doesn't seem to be slowing down at all, but I can look back on the last 6 months and be so, so thankful that it went the way that it did.

Our first 6 months were by no means perfect, and we had hard days just like any parents, but I can honestly say I wouldn't change a single thing. When I think back on our first 6 months, three things come to the forefront of my mind...

1. Breastfeeding

Months 0-3 can best be summed up in one word: breastfeeding. I opened up on the topic in this post, but to sum up, breastfeeding was so hard for me those first few months. It hurt. A lot. Like, really a lot. The most common question I got during those first few months was "How is he sleeping?". I'd always say "Forget sleeping! Kid sleeps like a champ. Now let's talk about the real struggle... breastfeeding!". It just sort of consumed everything I did those first few months, and if it hadn't been for breastfeeding, those first few months would have pretty darn easy. We are blessed with an easy baby, and after month 3, breastfeeding got much easier too!

2. Coparenting

If I am being honest, which I always try to be, this has been HARD. I didn't expect Parker and me to struggle with coparenting. We were both raised in Christian homes and have the same values. Easy peasy, right? Nope. Ultimately, we are different people who both have different ways of looking at things. We can both be pretty thickheaded, and throw in sleep-deprived and overly passionate about this new little baby (both me), and it has been tricky. We have learned that open communication is key, and we are doing much better at meeting in the middle and seeing the other one's point of view. It hasn't been easy though, that's for sure! #realtalk

3. Everyday joy

The joy. Parenthood can be hard, but it bring so much joy. I didn't realize it was possible to love another human being this much. I'm just obsessed with him and hang on his every grin, giggle, and expression. From the newborn days of just sitting on the couch snuggling this perfect little baby, to the midnight feedings that I honestly looked forward to because I missed him, he has brought me so much joy. Now that he is out of the newborn stage, he is babbling and laughing, and it just never gets old. Oh parenthood, you bring your own unique set of challenges but you bring more joy than I ever thought possible. 



Six months down, the rest of our lives to go! So thankful to be on this crazy parenting journey. I wouldn't trade a single second. Now, if anyone can figure out how to slow time down, be a dear and let me know. 


Military Mondays: What I Wish I Would Have Known Before Marrying A Military Man

Happy Monday, yall! I thought I'd take today to do a Military Mondays post on a question I've been asked several times since being a military spouse: What do I wish I would have known before marrying a military man?


A little backstory on Parker and me: we met when we were 18, dated all throughout college, got engaged our senior year and married the following summer. Parker was contracted to go into the Navy after college, so the moment I met him, I knew he was going to be in the military. There was no "oh my gosh, I'm going to be a military wife!" moment for me. I knew pretty quickly that I was going to marry him, and I knew he came with the military, but it never really phased me. I had no clue about military anything, but I loved Parker, so I assumed I'd just figure it out down the road. 

As with anything, you learn the ropes of military life as you go. I had no idea what a military move entailed, and then we did one, and now I know. I had no idea what deployment was like, and then we did one, and now I know. The one thing I have gradually learned more and more the last six years of military life is the one thing I wish I could have spoken with a seasoned military wife about before Parker commissioned. 

When you marry a military man, much of your journey will be spent on the sidelines, and it takes a decent amount of humility to be able to handle that. 

Here's what I mean, and I'll use Parker as an example: Parker is a pilot. He flies a cool plane, lands on a boat, and gets to see the world. He has the dream job and isn't afraid to admit it. As for me, I am the behind-the-scenes girl that keeps everything running smoothly on the home front. I keep the house in order, I do most of the child-rearing at this point, and I coordinate pretty much anything we do. I keep things running smoothly in our personal lives so he can go out there and focus on his job. At the end of the day, people want to hear about the cool mission Parker accomplished that day and not the errands I ran or meal I cooked. I don't blame them at all- I wouldn't want to hear about my errands either!

The point is, many times as a military spouse, you are the one standing on the sidelines making sure all is running smoothly so they can focus on their jobs. Sometimes, it can feel like your life is taking a backseat, and sometimes, that's exactly what is happening. I think it takes a certain amount of humility to really thrive in the military spouse role, but I do think it is a really rewarding role and feel blessed to be in it. I also think it's a really important role, so next time you're feeling down or even a little isolated, remind yourself that you're helping make the military dream a reality. We are living a huge adventure, and even though my husband may be piloting said adventure (literally and figuratively), I wouldn't trade a single second. This is the good life, yall. 


Throwback to exploring Bahrain together this time last year!

August 11th

Today is August 11th, and it's just one of those days where I have happy memories and think "God is cool". Two of my very favorite days just happened to occur on August 11th, so I'll always look at the calendar and smile when this day rolls around. 

August 11, 2014 is the day we found out we were pregnant with Taylor Grace. It's a day that forever changed my life and the day our parenting journey officially started! It started out as a normal Monday and ended with Parker and I staring at a positive pregnancy test in disbelief. We were pregnant... whatttt?! We were thrilled, scared out of our minds, and everything in between that day. I didn't even plan to take a pregnancy test that morning, but Parker was painting furniture in the house, and we were worried about the paint fumes if I happened to be pregnant. To ease our concerns, I took a test just to be safe. And then it was positive. And then our lives changed forever. A very happy day indeed!


Fast forward 2 years on August 11, 2016, and I am about 12 weeks pregnant with our second little miracle. Since I was considered high risk from my pregnancy with Taylor Grace, I had the genetic testing done a week prior to make sure this baby was healthy. We would also get to find out the gender from this test, but more than anything, we just wanted a healthy baby. They told me the genetic counselor would call with the results sometime in the next 10 days, and what do you know, my phone rang on August 11th. I cannot tell you how anxious I was, but being told "everything looks great- you're baby is perfectly healthy" will forever be one of the sweetest things I've ever heard. I wanted to find out the gender with Parker, who was deployed at the time, so I handed the phone to my twin sister so she could write down the gender for me. She did, and I was able to Facetime Parker just minutes after. I held up the piece of paper, and we both saw we were having a BOY! Oh my goodness, so many tears of joy followed. August 11, 2016 will forever be one of my favorite days.

 
Going from the heartbreak of losing our first baby, a journey that started on August 11th, to finding out our second baby was a perfectly healthy baby boy exactly two years later is just cool. God is just cool like that, and it feels like everything has come full circle. I am spending August 11, 2017 snuggling and caring for my 5 month old baby, and the miracle of that very fact is not lost on me. 


 

Life Lately

Happy Wednesday! Here's a little life lately from our neck of the woods. 

Parker's parents came for the weekend, and we had a blast hosting them! It's always fun having family in town to spoil you and love on your baby. As you can see, poor Preston didn't get any attention at all. ;)


When grandparents are in town, that means it's date night! Parker and I have always been really big on date nights. Before baby, we went on 1-2 date nights per week, so seeing that come to an abrupt halt now that we have a son was definitely an adjustment for us. Being able to leave Preston with the grandparents for an evening and go out just the two of us was such a gift! We tried a new restaurant, saw the movie Atomic Blonde, and just had the best time sipping wine, talking about everything and nothing. We definitely appreciate date nights when they do come around!

Just walking to church... teamwork makes the dream work. Also, that carseat + baby combo is deceivingly heavy.


I snapped this picture after Preston fell asleep for a nap. It's both adorable and sad at the same time. He fell asleep with his little arm out waiting to be rescued. Sweet baby. 

Just a day at the range watching our favorite golfer! If I had a nickel for every time Parker says "I can't wait to take Preston golfing!"... I'd have a lot of nickels.

Friday night... frozen pizza, wine from a box because that's the only way it won't go bad in our house, and a baby monitor. It's not glamorous, but it's our life and we love it. We had this little feast and watched the movie Nerve. Has anyone seen it? I loved it!

I take for granted how beautiful our city is. This was my view as Preston and I took a walk this past Saturday morning. Loving that beach life with my little beach baby.



 That's life lately!


Military Mondays: The Most Important Quality A Military Wife Can Possess

I had a sweet friend email me the other day and ask what I thought to be the most important quality a military wife can possess. I've actually been asked this question before, and it's something I've asked myself through different stages of this military journey. In my years as a military spouse, my answer to this question hasn't changed once. Deployment, moves, kids... same answer, different day. 


The most important quality a military wife can possess is a positive outlook. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: your outlook on military life will make or break your military experience. You will either love it or hate it, and I don't really think there is an in between. Yall, military life can be hard. Sometimes, really hard. Deployments are awful, living far away from family never gets easier, moving just when you're starting to feel established can be rough... there are a lot of reasons to think military life stinks.

The negatives of military life aren't going away, so it's our job to focus on the positives and remind ourselves that the positives really do outweigh any negatives. Yes, deployments are hard, but they are also an opportunity to grow individually and as a couple. They are also temporary, and how lucky are we to have something we love so much that makes saying "see you later" so hard. Living far away from family is tough, but we live in the modern age of technology, and they are always just a Facetime call away. Military life is an opportunity to experience a whole new place you probably wouldn't have otherwise, and hopefully you're family comes to visit so they can experience it too! Moving, while a process, is fun. New houses, new places to explore... it's a grand adventure and we are lucky to be on it. 


One of the best ways I can think of to keep a positive outlook is to surround yourself with positive people. You are going to come across fellow military spouses who absolutely hate military life. Be encouraging to them, but don't let them get you down. Find a few good friends who focus on the good and invest in those friendships. We all have bad days, and surrounding ourselves with optimistic friends ensures they will build us up when we are feeling low instead of drag us farther down. 

I really do believe that for every military negative, there are twice as many positives. It's up to you which you choose to focus on. I hope next time you're feeling frustrated or down about this lifestyle, you can take a deep breath and remember that this is just a season, it will get better, and there is so, so much to be thankful for. 
 


Happy Monday!

5 Images That Accurately Describe Me As A Mom

I don't know how many times I have been scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, see a funny mom meme, and nod my head saying "yes yes yes" to whatever I am reading. It's a nice reminder that all mamas out there go through the same stuff, and sometimes, you just have to laugh! 

I've started saving little quotes here and there that ring so true, I could have written them myself. I thought I would take today to share 5 images that accurately describe my parenting journey thus far.

1. This. Yes, yes, yes. Parker is really pretty good with Preston and definitely doesn't throw him yet, but just lifting him in the air results in a slew of "watch his neck/watch out for that light fixture/he just ate and you're going to make him throw up" repeatedly until Parker has moved on to a seemingly safer activity.


2. It's amazing just how productive I can be with my time. If given a full hour just to myself, I almost don't know what to do by the end of it because I have already showered, eaten, folded laundry, and prepped dinner. Nothing teaches you time management like motherhood! I usually shower during Preston's first nap, and I take what feel like the world's fastest showers so I can use the rest of nap time to be productive!


3. Oh, this. It really is a minute to minute journey. There are moments where I feel like I have this motherhood thing on lockdown. My child is sleeping peacefully, my house is clean, and something delicious is baking in the oven. Then there are the days where my baby is overtired and crying, I desperately need a shower, and I forget to eat lunch. I prefer the first kind of days, but it's all part of the journey!


4. This is the one I most relate to on a daily basis. Sleeping makes for a happy, rested baby, so I find myself counting down to nap time and praying he stays asleep. And then, 30 minutes later, I miss him and can't wait for him to wake up. It's a vicious cycle.


5. This one is just food for the soul. I remind myself over and over that each day is a gift. In the good moments and the hard moments, it's already going by so quickly, and I just want to savor every second of this amazing journey. I want to have joy in the good times and grace in the hard times. It's not always easy, but it's always worth it, and there is nowhere in the world I would rather be than raising this sweet child. 




Almond Joy Cookies

Today I want to share a quick and easy recipe that I have been making on repeat lately. I like to bake a little sweet treat each weekend that we can munch on the following week. Confession: I have a sweet tooth the size of Africa and basically think dessert after lunch and dinner is a requirement. There are worse notions, I'm sure. 

This recipe for Almond Joy Cookies is oh so simple. Does it get much simpler than 4 ingredients? I think not! Not only is it simple, but these cookies taste like little drops of heaven. If you are a coconut person, you will love these. If you like the Almond Joy candy bar like me, these cookies will be your new favorite!



Ingredients:

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semi sweet OR dark chocolate chips (I've made it both ways and love both!)
14 oz bag of sweetened coconut flakes
2/3 cup of lightly salted almonds (I buy the ones in the can with the blue top)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. 
2. In a large bowl, mix all 4 ingredients together with a spoon. Stir until well combined.
3. Wet your hands so the mixture doesn't stick to you, and begin rolling mixture into medium-sized balls in your hands. Pat each ball to slightly flatten, and place on your baking sheet. The shape of each cookie will not change from there, so space them as closely together as you want!
4. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the edges are golden. 



Enjoy!


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