Monday, May 31, 2010

Life as a single mom, army style, day 23

I haven't blogged in a while. I thought I'd pop in and give you guys an update on what's going on with my family. My husband has been gone 23 days by now. He is at the beginning of his 3rd week in basic training after spending about a week in reception. I've gotten a post card, a phone call, and 2 letters from him so far and have sent him one letter with some pictures and am waiting on pictures to come this week to send him another letter. He originally asked me not to send him any letters unless he asked me to send him one, so that's the only reason why I haven't written him every day since learning his address. His basic training is 9 weeks long, so we will get to see him again in approximately 6 weeks at his basic training graduation. We all miss him terribly. Addy and Evie say at least once a day that they miss daddy and Izzy has started saying dada several times a day, which I take to mean the same thing.

Izzy has started walking pretty regularly. She still crawls a little bit, but mostly walking all the time these days. I'm so proud of her, but also a little sad. She's growing out of the chicken-chicken phase when she wouldn't even try to walk and that's bitter sweet to me. Her favorite toys these days are the megablocks that she's loved ever since she figured out how to put 2 together and take them back apart a couple months ago. Maybe she'll be an architect when she grows up. We're battling a virus with her right now. Viruses are very frustrating as there is nothing you can give them to make the virus go away, they just have to run their course. Unfortunately, this virus includes very acidic poop that is absolutely eating up Izzy's diaper area and that is the worst part of the virus. I'm trying to let her go diaperless as much as possible to let the irritated skin air out and there is never a time when she isn't slathered with diaper cream, but its still getting worse, largely due to the fact that she has diarrhea so frequently that her bum really doesn't have time to heal. We're pushing the yogurt to help her stomach settle and pushing liquids and just trying to tough it out while this virus runs its course.

Evie is a strange combination of clingy and independent. She is really missing daddy and to compensate for that is clinging to me a lot of the time. She wants to sleep with me, to always be beside me, etc. But she also wants to do everything herself and she always wants to help me, especially if Addy is helping me so if I ask Addy to help me with something, I try to make sure I have something Evie can help me with, too. Sometimes its hard to figure out what to expect from her in any given situation, but I'm finding myself developing more patience throughout this and trying to spend some extra time with her to reassure her that even though daddy can't be here right now, mommy isn't going anywhere and having her help me with little things like putting up silverware and swapping out the clothes seems to help both of us, so we enjoy doing stuff like this together.

Addy will be starting kindergarden in August. She is the "little mommy" in our family unit. She is always looking out for Evie and Izzy and even me. The other day she told me that since daddy wasn't here to take care of me, she would. It was really sweet. Addy is very independent, which is good, and she also likes to cuddle, which is nice. Its hard to reconcile this big grown up girl with the 5 lb 5 ounce infant that layed in my arms almost 6 years ago. She's so big and so smart and so amazing and I don't tell her that enough, but I'm working on it.

We're finally settling into a routine. It was hard to settle into a routine initially due to the fact that we were gone to Virginia initially to see my sister graduate, then when we went back we had a few days alone before my mom came to stay with us for a few days to help me out and watch the girls while I went to my monthly doctor's appointment. Then my sister had her baby and my mom and I stayed with my neices while she was in labor and in the hospital and for the next couple of days we were there every day. Now, with Izzy's virus, I'm staying home and recouperating from not getting much sleep lately and getting into a routine, which includes daily vaccuuming, and doing 1-2 loads of clothes and 1-2 loads of dishes a day. I'm making breakfast for the girls each morning and we are having sandwitches, hot dogs or leftovers for lunch and I've been cooking for dinner as well. I feel like I'm running all day long just trying to keep up with everything and its very tiring, but I am keeping up with everything, which is great.

I haven't been sleeping well without Joey here, but other than that, I'm doing fine. I'm 17 weeks 3 days gestation at this point and still just feeling fluttering, not feeling kicks yet, but I'm sure I'll feel kicks soon enough. I've been constantly fighting a headache that seems to be brewing. So far, it hasn't hit me full force, but it hasn't gone away either.

So that's our most current update. As usual, I am going to try to blog more, but if it comes down to blogging or sleeping, sleeping is going to win ;)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Life as a single mom, army style, day 12

I am so proud of myself today. Every day the house seems to get cleaner. Today, I vaccuumed behind the girls dresser and finished washing and folding all the clothes. Who knows what else I will accomplish tomorrow?

I talked to BIL today. He's such a sweetie. He's going to come to the house Saturday to mow the lawn for me. I don't know if my MIL and FIL are coming. Apparently MIL is concerned the house might be dirty and she won't be able to handle it. No, she's not OC or anything like that, just pretty intollerant of other people having dirty houses even though they have tons of pets and the floors are always covered with pet hair. . . but whatever. I told him the house will be clean except for possible toys strewn about because I have kids and if they really wanted to come and the house was dirty, I could always clean it while they played with the kids. It irks me that they would think about not seeing their grandkids just because of a fear of a dirty house. Plus, how much cleaning do they think Joey did? Seriously.

Anyways, I'm off to bed. I'll post more tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Life as a single mom, army style (Day 11)

I heard from my MIL for the first time since Joey deployed last night. She's thinking of coming over this weekend to see us and to bring BIL over to mow my lawn. Its been about 2 weeks, so the lawn could use mowing. . . but I'm a little worried about them coming over. I'm cleaning all the time, but never seem to make any progress and MIL was always very critical of my sister's house when we lived with her (of course, she always assumed it was my sister's fault, probably with help from Joey) and she's not really one to jump in and help, she's more the kind to act like nothing's wrong then badmouth you behind your back, so I'm a little worried the house won't be up to her standards. And I'm not sure if she knows I'm pregnant. I wanted to tell her 3 weeks ago, the last time we saw them, but Joey didn't want to. I'm not sure if he wanted that day to be all about him (like every other day LOL) or if he just didn't want to deal with their reaction (when they found out we were going to have Izzy, they had the "not another one" reaction with a bit of "when are you guys going to stop" thrown in to spice it up), but either way, he didn't want to tell them. So I told him that was fine, but it would be his responsibility to break the news to them before he left and I have no idea if he did or not. I think I'm just going to assume they know, but not talk about it while they are here. . . Not sure how well that will work, though, since Evie informed me tonight that if I had a baby in my tummy then she did, too. So I'm sure she'll say something even if I don't. I know I'm stressing out way too much about this, but I can't help it.

Today, I got caught up on the laundry (well, washed at least. I'll fold tomorrow), vaccuumed most of the house and made lasagna all with a headache that has been my constant companion for several days and doesn't want to leave. I'll post the lasagna recipe later as I'm exhausted.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Life as a single mom, Army style, Day 10

We got back last night from visiting my sister, Jessica, in VA for her graduation. After much deliberation, we ended up carpooling with my parents, which ended up being a blessing because I had to nap my way there so I wouldn't barf and still ended up barfing for a few minutes of the ride. It was rough. I'm not sure if I would have barfed regardless of whether I was driving or not, so I'm just thankful that I didn't try driving on my own. I might never have made it there if I had to keep pulling over to barf.

It was a hard decision to make, though. I was really worried about taking the car seats out of the back of my car and not being able to get them back in. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to reinstall them and neither would anyone else. The only person who had been able to install them was Joey and I wasn't sure how I would react to no one else being able to do what he did while he's gone. I guess that's probably a worry that all Army stay at home moms have -- not being able to do everything that daddy can do the way he can do it while he's gone. I guess that's probably a lesson that all Army stay at home moms have to learn, that they don't have to do everything daddy's way while he's gone. That we only have to take care of our children the best way we can, as opposed to the best way that we can when daddy's here. An extra pair of hands makes a big difference and its probably normal to expect to be able to do everything with one pair of hands that gets done with two, but its not always going to be possible. And coming to terms with this is difficult, but important. I would drive myself crazy if I tried to do everything that gets done when Joey's here without him here.

Right now, we are still trying to develop a system, figure out a schedule. So far, the constants seem to be laundry, dishes, cooking and taking care of the kids.

I have yet to catch up on the laundry. I've been doing laundry since Joey left, separating clothes into stuff we wear now, which goes into drawers, and stuff that won't be used until fall or later, which is all in a pile in the girls' closet in their room. When I catch up on the laundry, I'm going to go through the clothes in their closet and box them up by size and season to make things easy once we move. Since Joey won't be wearing any of his clothes while he's in basic, all his clothes are in the closet now, too.

I start and end the day with dishes. So that's basically a maintenance thing as far as dishes go. Its a PITA, but a manageable one and it keeps me occupied for about 10 minutes a day.

Cooking is a constant issue for me. I guess I didn't realise how much Joey was cooking while he was here. I guess I got spoiled in the 3 months he was home with us before he left. I'm doing the best I can to cook nutritious meals that the girls will actually eat and I mostly succeed, but I'm constantly trying to do more, which gives me something to think about and focus on, which is probably a good thing. I'm always looking for different ways to eliminate HFCS, corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial preservatives and artificial sweeteners from our diets. We usually drink green smoothies at least once a day. Breakfast is usually simple with eggs and pancakes, cereal and milk, yogurt, fruit, etc. Lunch is usually simple as well. Sandwiches, leftovers from the night before, etc. Dinner is usually more complicated -- So far, it has consisted of tortellini (which is made by Barilla btw, not Bertolli as I previously posted) with Ragu chunky garden vegetable sauce, sometimes with salad, cheeseburgers, pizza sandwiches (flat breads with pizza sauce, cheese and toppings on it, baked), hot dogs (I have found Hebrew National beef hot dogs to be the most healthy hot dogs, healthier even than the chicken hot dogs I used to buy, so I started buying those), stuff like that. I haven't made any casseroles yet, which is surprising to me. I'll probably find time to start making casseroles around next week or so, once I have caught up on everything and found my own rhythm. I'm really jonesing for some chicken ziti right now, so I might even try to make some tonight.

Taking care of the kids is the hardest constant.

Right now, they are still missing Joey a lot, whereas I'm pretty angry with him. It may be petty, but I just can't get over his arrival call. It started off with him telling me he had less than a minute to talk, so "shut up and listen to what I have to say" and continued to tell me not to send him any packages or letters unless he writes me and asks me to write him. Apparently, he will have to do 1 pushup for every cent the postage costs on a package and 25 pushups for every letter. Somewhere in there, he also said he was at basic and was fine (*insert his scoff here, which seemed to indicate he wasn't all that fine*) and had his M16 in his hand and was doing fine. Then he had to go. He said he'd call me back in 2 weeks, although I know and he *should* know that he doesn't know he will be able to call me back in 2 weeks because he doesn't know if he'll earn the phone priveliges or not. He didn't ask about the kids or say he loved them (although he did say he loved me), but I really just can't get over the "shut up". I understand that he barely had time to say what he was trying to say, but he didn't have to say it like that. He could have said be quiet. So what? I get to cling to "shut up" for the next 2 weeks until he calls me again, at which time I might or might not answer the phone. I definately don't want to hear "shut up" again. I'd rather just not talk to him at all.

I'm getting more patient with them, which is good because I need all the patience I can get. They are constantly testing me, constantly pushing their limits. I love them, but its frustrating when they get in their disobedient moods. I don't even want to be near them when they get in those moods. And I feel bad about that. I don't know how to fix it though, short of teaching them to mind better, which I am doing and have been having some success with. We're making improvements, but it takes time and patience and self control. Time I have a limited amount of, but patience and self-control I'm getting more of. Other than brief spurts of disobedience, everything is going fairly well in my opinion. Its hard to discipline the kids sometimes. I find myself making excuses for them -- they miss daddy, they are tired, they are not feeling well -- which doesn't help them in the long run. I'm trying to keep all their needs satisfied so that they are not acting out due to hunger, tiredness, etc. And when they miss daddy, I try to direct them to their "daddy stuffed animals" (build a bears they picked out that have recordings of daddy's voice in them) or their "daddy books" (hallmark books that he recorded himself reading for them) or pictures of daddy. Its hard, but I really think we're doing great so far.

I have a dr's appointment on Friday to check me and the baby. My mom's going to come watch the kids so I don't have to take them with me and I'm going to go grocery shopping on the way back so that I don't have to take them with me for that either. I love my kiddos, but grocery shopping with 3 little girls isn't the funnest experience ever.

I'm hoping to be able to post more frequently now that I'm finally getting into a routine and catching up on all the housework. Today, I managed to clean the kitchen and the living room complete with vaccuming. If only I could get all the laundry caught up, I might finally be able to extend my clean territory to the upstairs region. I'm going to try to post once a day. I may not be able to, but that's the goal I'll be aiming for.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Single Mom, Army Style: Day 3

Well, yesterday was better than Sunday and today is better than yesterday. Right now, I'm just taking it one day at a time because if I look at the fact that I'm not going to see him for another 67 days (or thereabouts), I get a little panicky and overwhelmed. By now, Joey is at Fort Jackson. Hopefully, I'll be able to hear from him later today, but if not, I spoke to him last night at 10 pm and he was fine, just trying to catch a nap on the bus ride to Fort Jackson. He said the bus was great, it was a coach bus with only 12 people in it, so there was lots of room to sleep, but the driver did not take the most direct route there, so he was frustrated that it was going to take him longer to get there than it would have otherwise taken and he was having trouble sleeping because the bus was stinky.

I really miss him and not only that, I envy him. He is out, living a dream, while I am here raising our kids. It doesn't seem fair (and I know life's not fair) and I know that there's no place I'd rather be NOW, but he is living out a dream from before kids and I'm not. And I don't know why he'd rather be there than here.

I am struggling a lot with my attitude. I know God is in control and I know he was there when Joey signed the paperwork to enlist and I know he has a plan for us. I just wish I could see the "good" part now. Now I only see the hard part and I have to keep reminding myself to trust God.

Yesterday was a large circle, beginning and ending with doing dishes. Somewhere in the middle, Addy wrote Joey a really cute letter and drew a picture on the rest of the paper. I'm going to send it to him with a couple pictures of me and him (the night before he left we went to the movies and they had a photo booth so we got our pictures taken twice in it and we got 2 copies of each picture) and an ultrasound picture (we got 2 copies at the OB's office last time we were there) and probably a letter from me. I don't know what to write though. Its a fine line to stay positive and supportive without lying at this point. I'm just too focused on the hard and negative right now. Hopefully when the time comes to write him a letter, I'll be feeling a little more positive.

I'm frustrated with my kids. I know its hard adjusting to daddy not being here, but they are testing me at every turn and that's really hard to deal with when you feel emotionally raw.

Last night, I made hamburgers for dinner and I threw some shredded carrots into the venison so that they would have a difficult time avoiding veggies altogether. Addy ate pickles and tomato with her hamburger and Evie just ate the tomato. Izzy didn't eat either, but she did eat her burger, so I was really happy I added the carrots into the burger meat.

I am leaving Thursday night to travel to Virginia to see my sister Jessica graduate. She will be the first of us 4 to graduate from college and will be continuing school so that she can get her master's. I'm so proud of her I could burst and I'm sincerely hoping that Angie follows in her footsteps and is able to graduate in 3 years. Angie just finished her freshman year of college. One of these days I hope to go back to college, but that all depends on when I stop having kids. I could go back to school when my kids are in school, but until then I feel my place is at home with them. Even if they are determined to drive me insane LOL.

So until Thursday, I'll be cleaning my house. I hate to leave it dirty when I'm gone because then I'm stressed when I leave because the house is dirty and I'm stressed when I get back because I'm coming home to a dirty house. Its hard to feel happy to be home when all you really see is the dirty laundry, etc. So I guess that's enough random thoughts for now. I'm off to clean my house :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thus begins the life of an army wife. . .

About 2 hours ago, I dropped my husband off at his reruiter's office so he could leave for basic. I didn't think it would hurt as much as it did. I felt like I had been ripped into tiny pieces. I tried not to cry on the way home because the kiddos didn't seem upset and I didn't want to upset them, but I couldn't help it. My eyes were like a faucet left slightly on. A constant trickle. I'm not a big crier. I'm usually just numb when I'm upset, but not this time. I never knew separation could hurt so much.

When I was 18, I was engaged to my first high school sweetheart and he left for the Army. When he left, I was sure I was never going to see him again. I couldn't even kiss him goodbye.

This time was so much different. I felt like a big baby. I was trying not to cry in front of my hubby and mostly succeeded. But then I realised all I had given him was a peck on the cheek and called him back to the car to kiss him properly. I'm not sure how well I hid the tears that time.

I feel broken. All I want to do is curl into a ball and cry, but I can't. I have 3 little girls that depend on me and look up to me and I don't feel like I can cry in front of them. And perversely, it seems like that's when I want to cry the most, when I'm in front of my girls.

Evie is so funny though. She had a meltdown when I layed her down for her nap and said "I want my daddy" through her tears. I said "I want your daddy, too" and was just about to start the waterworks again when she said "I want a popcicle" and it just made me laugh. Master of manipulation, that one. I think she's asleep now, which is good because she was exhausted.

Now that Joey's off to basic, I'll probably be posting at least once a day, not only to continue documenting my journey to supermomdom, but also so I do not forget all the daily things that I'll want to be able to tell my husband about when he returns and probably as an accountability thing, too. Its harder to curl up in a ball and waddle in misery when you have to admit it to other people.

Until tomorrow, then. . .

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Easier than a box of mac 'n' cheese (and healthier, too)

If you're anything like me, you have those nights. You know, the ones where the day has gotten completely away from you and all of a sudden its bedtime and you haven't even made dinner yet. I have those days all the time and usually I reach for mac 'n' cheese, some form of veggie and a fruit. Sometimes I spice it up with hot dogs in the kiddos mac 'n' cheese. It sounds gross, but my hubby introduced them to it and they love it. Other times I make sandwitches with veggies and fruit or with soup if its cold. The only thing is, these all take about 30 minutes to figure out what I have the ingredients for and to make, which is not a fun 30 minutes with 3 screaming kiddos.

I know what you're thinking. There can't be anything easier than mac 'n' cheese that is actually healthier and takes less time to prepare. But there is. Its called Tortellini. It is found in the dried pasta aisle at Walmart. Its a pasta that is filled with cheeses or cheese and spinach and all you have to do is boil it for 11 minutes. While it is boiling, you warm your favorite spaghetti sauce (I like the chunky garden veggie kind that I can only find at Kroger, it has chunks of zucchini and carrot that I love) and when then noodles are done cooking, you drain them and mix with the spaghetti sauce and voila. . . An entire meal in one dish. Best of all, all my picky eaters will eat it happily. And Bertolli makes a brand that is all natural, no HFCS, no junk, just noodles and cheese, dried.

I choose the spinach and cheese tortellini that Bertolli makes because it is just as tasty as the four cheese variety and it has hidden veggies that my kiddos cannot detect and cannot remove. Muahaha. So even if Evie picks out the zucchini chunks in her spaghetti sauce, which she has been known to do, she's still got a green veggie in her dinner and she doesn't even know it. You can also pair this with a salad to add even more veggies or just add some fruit as a "dessert" -- either way, its delicious.

It is not the cheapest food. The totellini alone is $4.50 (or thereabouts) and then you have to add the cost of the spaghetti sauce, but you can't beat it for a quick, healthy dinner and for myself and my 3 girls, one package of tortellini and one jar of spaghetti sauce makes 2 meals -- dinner one night and lunch the next day. So considering that, its not that expensive either. $3-4 per meal for a family of 4, so $1 per meal per person. And its one of those foods that is just as `good when rewarmed. Just make sure you cover your dish while you microwave it as it will splatter otherwise, like any other dish that includes spaghetti sauce.

My husband ships out on Sunday for basic training, so guess what I'll be doing Saturday? Yes, that's right, I'll be grocery shopping. I'll be going to Walmart and Kroger and stocking up on tortellini and spaghetti sauce, among other things.

So give it a try and let me know what you think :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Down to the single digits and Green Recipe #3 (also lactose free)

I'm sorry I've been MIA lately, but my husband is going to be shipping off for Army Basic Combat Training May 9th. Yes, Mother's Day. AKA a week from tomorrow. We have been crazy busy with all the little things that need to be completed by the time he leaves, so it has been understandably hectic lately and I haven't been online very much lately.

I have been diving more and more into green smoothies these days.

Recipe #3 (also lactose free)
handfull of spinach
3/4 cup Orange Pineapple Juice (I used simply orange)
1 banana
handful of fresh strawberries
handful of frozen pineapple
handful of fresh grapes

It was very good. Izzy cried when she finished hers, so I gave her more. Evie and Addy left some in their cups. I thought they were done with them, but they came back for the rest. I was so happy they enjoyed them so much. I enjoyed mine, too. At least, what little I got to drink. These days, whatever I have the girls want, even if they have the exact same thing in front of them. Its kind of cute, but more frustrating. I have to eat in the living room while they eat in the kitchen just so I can eat. . . This, too, shall pass. . . I hope ;)