What It Means.

I was going to post this yesterday, but spending time with the family took a front seat.
We had a great weekend, filled with both our family! Shannon got to meet her Great Grandparents on Mike’s side, and we took tons of pictures, which I’ll post later.
While the weekend was about bbq’s, time off work, soaking up the sun, and adult beverages for the majority of the population, Memorial Day is special for all of those that have been, or still are, military.
I made sure to take a few moments to remember those who have served and lost for our country. The men and women who left behind wives, daughters, sons, husbands, mothers, fathers, and friends to fight for the very things that give me the ability to own this blog. That give all of us the ability live in the freedom that we so enjoy.
I hope you all took a moment to remember those brave men and women who gave or are willing to give their lives for you, even though they don’t even and probably never will know you.
My husband is my hero because of the job that he has done in defending our country. He’s an amazing father, husband, son, and brother.
So I hope that you all took a moment to find the nearest service member and shake their hand. I hope that you all took a moment to bow your head in silence to remember the REAL meaning behind Memorial Day. I hope that you reached out to a Gold Star family if you know one, or gave a hug to a spouse who has the love of their life deployed right now. While we’re enjoying beers and burgers, they are over there dumping sand out of their boots and sleeping with their rifles.
Freedom isn’t free… and I hope that you all remember what it means, because some gave all.
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The Big Reveal

It’s been a pretty tame week here so far. A lot of Army Wives is being watched. Memorial Day this weekend means a four day weekend for Michael, and a trip to NH for the family.
Yesterday was a pretty fun day for us Jones girls. Shannon rolled over twice, however I couldn’t manage to get anything on video. She’s really digging the large amounts of tummy time, and only really wants to be held when she’s eating.
This Momma feels pretty used.
🙂
We’re starting on the whole teething adventure, so I decided that it might be a good idea to run and pick up more children’s tylenol to have on hand. Shannon was wide awake when we pulled up to the gas station, so I decided to carry her in, instead of keeping her in her car seat. She loves to flirt and look around. Who am I to deny her that?
We got what we went in for, plus a coke for Mom. My hands were beyond full, and Shannon was having a great time playing with the lace on my tank top. She’s really loving discovering different textures.
She was having such a great time, that she was working on bringing the lace into her mouth. As we got to the register, didn’t that little bugger lose control of her hand, and instead of pulling the lace into her mouth it went down instead.
My bra went with it.
Yup. My kid pulled my boob out.
The whole kit n’caboole popped right out and I’m not sure who got more red. The little boy behind the register or me.
Of course, my hands were full of baby and extra stuff, and I think I almost dropped Shannon in my rush to unload stuff onto the counter, so that I could put the ‘wild one’ back into her proper place.
Not a word was exchanged between the cashier and I, and I’ve never been checked out faster.
Needless to say, I’ll be wearing turtlenecks for the rest of the summer, and we won’t be going back there anytime soon!
I love being a Mom….
Yikes. 

3 Months!

Can you even believe it!

Little Miss Shannon hit three months yesterday. She’s growing so much faster than I could have imagined, and I’m loving every moment with her.

She handled her shots like a champ, and I’m glad I made the choice to split them up. We’ll be doing the same thing for her 4 month shots at the end of June.

She’s getting so strong! She can push herself up onto her hands during tummy time and you can’t put her down without her changing direction or wiggling herself off her play mat. Often we put her down for the night in her crib and she ends up on the opposite side facing the totally opposite direction. Mike and I get a kick out of figuring out where she’ll be in the morning.

She is discovering her hands and feet, and puts anything in close range in her mouth. Biting down as hard as she can is a fun new thing that she’s been practicing. She would much rather be facing out when you’re holding her, looking around is super!

She and Dixie are best buddies these days, and Dixie is always close by. They ride together in the car, and Shannon is always reaching to attempt to pet her.

She was 9lbs 9oz at her 2 month appointment, and her doctor is THRILLED with how healthy and happy she is.

Breastfeeding is still going strong, and it’s as easy as ever!

All in all, she still remains the blessing that she was when we found out we were going to be adding to our family on Father’s Day of last June! I’m looking forward to each and every day. Watching her grow and learn is so exciting!

It’s All About Choices.

Most of the time, I open a new blog window, sit in front of it for ten minutes staring at the little blinky text line, then decide that I don’t really have anything to write that is of note, so I just hit the ‘close’ button and get on with my day.
This morning though, while I was nursing the baby, and Daddy-O was getting ready for work, something popped up on my Facebook feed that pushed my grumpy button.
I originally wanted to stay out of the whole ‘Are you Mom enough?’ Times article bologna. I’m not really going to voice my opinion on it, because I don’t really care how other parent’s parent. If your kid is happy and healthy… good for you. I’m very pro-breastfeeding and I applaud any Mom that wants to at least try. Anything is better than nothing. I don’t know how long I’m planning on breastfeeding Shannon, but it’s the business of my family. Me, Shannon, and Mike. Period.
My friend over at Starting From Scratch puts it better than I ever would. Go check her out… she’s awesome.
What really got on my nerves was a friend saying that people were getting on her case for being a stay at home mom…that she needed to get a job to be ‘normal’, that she needed to put her child down, that basically everything she was doing was wrong.
Combine this with all the nasty comments that I was reading about the Times article and another comment I read about somebody marrying their husband for the military benefits. It’s enough to make this very sleep deprived Mommy want to scream.
ENOUGH PEOPLE!
Aren’t we all on the same team here?
I’m blessed enough to be able to stay at home with Shannon. It was a decision that Mike and I made together. I worked up until two days before I had her, and I do still go to the barn to help deflect the cost of owning Willow, but my daughter has never and will never see the inside of a daycare. My main focus is Shannon. People who say that being a SAHM is ‘easy’, isn’t a ‘job’, or isn’t ‘normal’ need to pull their head out of their behind.
I’m on call 24/7 and I love it. There are days that I am so jealous that Mike gets to get up, enjoy his 30 minute long showers, and leave for work. I know that his job isn’t stressfree and that he works hard, but he gets to interact with adults. He doesn’t get peed on, he doesn’t have to walk around with a foot and a half tall screaming monster attached to his boobs, he doesn’t smell like puke half the day, and he gets the time to take a shower and put on real clothes.
When she starts screaming at night, there isn’t anything that he can do. It’s Mommy that gets to stumble bleary eyed into the other room at midnight or four am and feed the baby. How is that lazy?
He got to go away for training, while I worked at getting the baby to sleep in her crib and through the night. He got to hang up the phone and go to bed. Most nights, I was so jealous of him.
Don’t begin to tell me that I’m lazy for staying at home with her. Don’t tell ANY Mom that she’s lazy for staying at home with her child or children. I know a Mom who is an inspiration to me. She has 3 beautiful girls, loves her family the way that they deserve, and hardly ever complains about the hours that her husband puts in. I’ll bet the farm that she doesn’t sit around and watch Spanish soaps all day. She’s a role model Mommy and Wife. Anybody would be able to learn a thing or two (or ten) from her.
We chose for me to stay at home with Shannon, not only because we both feel that me being home with her is beneficial to her, but because it’s what we can afford.
Even if I was able to find a job, the cost of putting her in daycare would mean that we wouldn’t be making any money from the job that I had. My paycheck would be turned right back around and put into daycare. The only thing that would be different is that I wouldn’t have the time with her that I’m so blessed to have.
It’s a great option for some, but it wasn’t for us.
My husband doesn’t complain, and he would defend me should it come up. Not that I need defending really.
We share home chores pretty equally, but it is me that does the majority of the grocery shopping, dish washing, diaper changing, dog walking, (I’m not going to say laundry folding because we are both horrible at that), and baby entertaining.
He’s in charge of the bill paying and helps out with everything else every chance that he gets.
And they look really cute together.
I’m glad that my friend is bold enough to speak up for herself, and I just want this to be a message to everybody in the ‘SAHM is lazy’ mind-set. Sit down, shut up, and move on with your own life.
For all of you who make the comment that I’m just married to my husband for his benefits… have you SEEN the man? I’m obviously married to him for his looks.
Sheesh.
Military families have it hard, and the benefits are hardly reflective of the amount of bologna that we and our husbands often have to put up with, not to mention picking up our whole lives and moving because somebody else told us to. Now with Obama threating retirements, the cuts that are being made, and the whole war issue, you really think that we’re going along with this whole thing for the healthcare?
I’m throwing cards in on that one.
The majority of men and women join the military out of pride for their country, and because they want to better themselves. They love what they do, and they do it with all their heart.
Many military families are making way below the poverty line. The person in the family who is enlisted works long hours. They don’t get extra for holidays or overtime. Many days, Mike is out the door by 6, and doesn’t get home until 8. When he has to drive to MEPS, it’s even later. Yes, we get a living allowance, but most of the time that isn’t enough. Even though Mike (not ‘we’…Mike) is an NCO, we have enough to put food on the table, and a roof over our heads.  I work at the barn to defray some of the costs of owning Willow, and I’m so thankful to Mike that we have been able to keep her. Had I not been able to work, and had I not fallen in line with the BEST barn owner on the planet, it wouldn’t happen. 
Not to mention that when signing, he or she is agreeing to put his or her life on the line, without question. 
Next time you see a military wife (or husband!) don’t tell them that they married for the benefits… just know that it’s not all what it’s cracked up to be.  
I love my husband, and I would love my husband regardless of his job. It’s about the person that he is, not the benefits his job can give me.
Now that this blog as reached almost 1,000 hits (whoop!) I just want to let everybody whose reading it know… it’s easy to judge from the outside. Please don’t.
Oh…and that Shannon is the cutest darn thing in the whole entire world.

The Best Gifts…

The best gifts in this life aren’t something that you buy from the store. To me they are the smiles I get from my daughter, while I’m sitting in her room nursing her. I love it when she takes a break from her mid-morning snack to give me a big smile.
They are a good ride, the kind where you dismount and realize… Maybe this IS worth my time.
They are time well spent with family members, or good friends.
You can’t get this kind of stuff for free, you can’t wrap it up and put a bow on it, and you can’t plan for it. It just happens.
I got the BEST Mother’s Day gift this year (considering it was my first one.)
Mike got home, just in time!
We were able to spend the day together, and that was exactly what I needed.
It’s been a whirlwind month, and it went MUCH faster than I expected. It had it’s good moments (like being able to spend quality time with my Mom, watch the Kardashians guilt-free, and hog all the pillows…including the good one that Mike wins custody of every night. 😉 ). It had it’s bad moments as well (The constant screaming/crying from Shannon, feeling like I was never caught up with the house work, and not having the nightly fight over pillow custody.).
Having him home feels like a huge weight has been lifted, and it’s nice to have our house CLEAN for the first time in a month.
That’s the BEST Mother’s Day gift a girl could ask for!
This marks the start of a new chapter in our lives, and we’re anxiously (okay, I’m anxious… Mike is used to all this) waiting to depart to our new ‘home’ and I’m excited to take advantage of all the adventures that a new place has to offer. I hope that I can implant the same sense of excitement into Shannon, so that she looks upon the changes that will be happening to her with a positive, excited attitude.
This is one of the best gifts that my AMAZING mother has given me. With each move, my Mom handled it with grace, and embraced the new places that we were living. She always encouraged us to take the oppurtunity and run with it. To learn, read, touch, see, and explore all the new places that we went. When we moved to Hawai’i she taught us to be open minded and to embrace the culture and the different types of people there. I blame her for the wonderful experience of living there, and the home sickness that I feel whenever I think about our time there. I’m so lucky to experience those feelings.  
Again, a gift that can’t be bought.
I hope that as Shannon grows I’m able to be the mother to her, that my Mother was to me. We had our moments, many of them heated and ugly. Now that I’m a mother myself, I understand.
I look back on my childhood, and the way that I treated her as a teen, and I feel the deepest of remorse. I was pretty horrible a lot of the time, and she didn’t complain, she always remained supportive, and embraced me with open arms.
She still does.
That’s what it means to be a mother, and I can understand that now.
Thanks Mom, for being there for me, and for never giving up!
I hope to be half the Mother that you are.
So, all in all, my Mother’s Day was an awesome one!
I love my Mike, I love my girl, I love my Mom, and I love my life.
Another gift that just can’t be bought.

Pride!

We all have things that we’ve worked hard, have given things up for, and that we are so proud of! Even the simplest things to some people are something worth bragging about.
This post, I REALLY want to brag about my amazing husband. So I’m going to. 🙂
The past month, Mike has been away at Station Commander School, and today was his graduation! I’m so proud of him stepping up and adding this tool to his box. He was given the oppurtunity so he grabbed it with both hands and ran! Isn’t that what part of being in the Army is about? Defending your country AND bettering yourself?
Not only did he use his time to apply himself to his classes, but he also used it to better himself physically. I was constantly getting ‘at the gym’ texts as well as updated mile times. He’s offically better than me in most aspects (Except breastfeeding… I still hold the torch there, thankyouverymuch.).
Every challange that he recieved at school, he took and exceed his own expectations.
I’m so freakin’ proud of him.
Yea, it was only a month…but he’s my husband and I’m allowed to gush about his acheivements…as long as I comply to OPSEC and PERSEC.
Things at home weren’t quite so smooth sailing, but I’m thankful that I was able to pick up the phone and call him. I’m so grateful for him being able to listen to me grump/cry over the phone when the baby was screaming until all hours of the night. So many spouses (military and non) out there don’t get that luxury when their husband’s are gone and my hat is off to them! I’m proud of you, as you should be proud of yourselves!
I’m proud of myself for getting through it.
What the future has in store for us is up in the air, as is usual. Our first PCS as a family looms close on the horizon, that’s known for sure.
Perhaps OCS….then a deployment or two for sure…nobody knows.
I do know that no matter what the circumstances, the pride and love that I feel for my husband isn’t going anywhere, no matter what the situation is. I think that that is really what being a spouse is about. Military or non.
PCS, schools, deployments….bring it on world.
We’ve so got this!
I love you honey, and your girls are so proud of you. I wish we could have been there to see you graduate!