Building my nest


We got the house on Thursday afternoon.  We handed over our life savings and they handed over three little golden handcuffs.  We drove straight to the Depot (We're on a first name basis now that I have been there almost every single day for weeks now), to order the new carpet.

Then the movers came yesterday.  

Now we are up to our eyeballs in boxes.

While everyone else is out partying tonight, we will be unpacking, organizing, hanging things, and putting our things away.  I can honestly say, there is NO place I would rather be tonight than in my new house making it a home for my family.

Cheers to you all.  Happy New Year!  Have fun tonight celebrating the arrival of 2012.

Here are a few pics from New Years 2011 in Hawaii.  We had a big get together.  Lots of friends and neighbors, lots of yummy food, and lots of cocktails.  I blurred her face to protect her identity/dignity  :)



The week when we co-slept


Eva was so sick this last week that she couldn't sleep.  Her nose was plugged up with boogers and her wheezing, hacking cough continuously caused her to awaken squealing in pain from her sore throat.  She was waking up crying every hour or two and taking a long time to fall back asleep as we rubbed her back in her crib.  So, in the bed she came.

I should mention that we don't co-sleep.  Ever.  Even when she was a newborn and I was nursing every 15 seconds.  I don't have a strong negative opinion about it- I just can't sleep when she is in bed next to me.  Never have been able to.  I also knew that I didn't want her to sleep with us long term so I wasn't interested in trying to make myself get used it.

Some people have strong opinions about co-sleeping.  I think all those people should shut up.  Raise your kids.  Love your babies.  Hug them.  Hold them.  Feed them.  Love them the best way you know how.  Work hard to do right by them.  Try to do better every day.

You don't want to co-sleep?  Think it's weird?  Think the kid will never want to leave the parents bed?  Great.  Don't do it then.  Think that babies should stay close to their Momma and co-sleeping is normal and natural and best for children's emotional well-being?  Fine.  Co-sleep away.

{side note: this is the same way I feel about same sex marriage.  Mind your beez.  Don't like same sex marriage?  Great.  DONT DO IT...  Mind your beez.}

For ME though, co-sleeping does not work.  Here is how our week of co-sleeping went.

08:00 pm Eva went to bed
10:00 we went to bed
10:20 Eva woke up screaming.  Rocked her to sleep for 20 mins until she finally goes back to sleep.
11:00 Eva woke up screaming again brought her in to bed
11:01 She is asleep next to me in bed.  I'm awake
11:20 Eva kicks me in the belly
11:40 Eva flips upside down
12:10 Eva kicks me in the face
12:30 Eva whines and climbs on top of me in her sleep
12:35 I lay her next to me again.  She flops over and smacks me in the face
12:45 Eva rolls over on top of me again.
01:05 Lay Eva down next to me.  She whines
01:20 Eva rolls over on top of me again.

You get the point.  Co-sleeping FAIL.

I was inspired to think about co-sleeping and write this post because one of my good friends co-sleeps with her daughter.  She was telling me all of these awful things that people have told her when they find out that she co-sleeps.  People are so weird.

Peace out Christmas


I am happy that Christmas is behind us.  We spent the past 4 days in a gorgeous beach house on the Delaware coast.  Our realtor found out that we did not have anywhere to go for the holiday so she offered up her vacation home for us to stay in.  It is right on the water in a beautiful little vacation community called Ocean View, Delaware.

We had dance parties in the living room at least 3 or 4 times a day, ate nothing but junk food (think pizzas, Cheez-its, Drumsticks, chips/salsa- exclusively junk), drank dark holiday beers and cabs (well B and I did- Eva had milk), watched lots of Bravo tv and Netflix, and spent hours and hours cuddling our sick baby.  Croup really kicked her arse.  She is still a coughing, snotty, sneezing mess.  Luckily she isn't too cranky even though she's leaking boogers like a broken faucet.

{what a difference a year makes]

Santa brought her a shiny vintage inspired red Radio Flyer tricycle

Peace out, Christmas 2011.  You kind of sucked this year and I am not sad to see you go.     

Side note: I don't want to have another baby right now (read here) and my husband is still, shall we say, "not sure" about the whole idea, spending Christmas alone this year really kind of made me feel sorry for Eva.  Being an only child would be lonely, especially since we are probably not going to be re-locating back to Southern California where the rest of our family all lives.  I felt sad for her to celebrate Christmas alone with us.  It is not the way that holidays are supposed to be.  Another baby is definitely on the agenda... just maybe the 2014 calendar's agenda.  

Our Happy 2012 letter


Merry Christmas!  We are enjoying our anti-Christmas in a beach house on the Delaware coast.  I am not going to blog about it right now as I am taking our cuddling, movie watching, and junk food eating very seriously but below is our Happy New Years card that I am sending out to family and friends next week.  
Enjoy your special time with your family this holiday weekend.

Hello Friends and Family,
            2011 is almost behind us.  What a year this has been.  We are still living in our hotel room in Maryland waiting for escrow to close on our new home.  We are getting the keys on December 29.  We cannot wait to be homeowners and start putting together our family home.  There is lots of work that needs to be done but the home is big and close to Brian’s work.  It is everything that we imagined our first home to be.  We are currently recruiting laborers friends and family to come help with projects.  We have plenty of space.  Come visit us in D.C.!
            B is getting settled in in his new position at Ft. Meade.  He finished his Associates degree and is starting his Bachelors degree classes in January.  2011 was a year marked with school and studying for B.  It looks like 2012 will be also.
            Eva is turning 20 months in December.  She is big and strong and the joy of our lives.  She loves to sing and dance.  She is a chatter- box with a very advanced vocabulary.  She loves all things girly.  She wants her toenails painted bright colors, brings her purse wherever she goes, and grabs a head bow and her baby doll when I declare that it is time to go “bye bye”. 

            For me, 2011 was a year filled with intense emotions and experiences.  I was able to move to California to help care for my Mom as she struggled with cancer.  This was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.  I’ve had to learn to make a “home” for Eva in 5 places this year.  From our home in Hawaii, to moving to Fullerton, then to an apartment in Pensacola, hotels all around Maryland, and soon our very own home in Maryland.  To say that I am looking forward to being settled would be a drastic under-statement.  But early in the year, I finished my Master’s degree in Psychology.  I am currently looking for the perfect job that utilizes my education, makes a difference, and allows room for growth… and pays well.  Luckily for me, our circumstances allow me to be really picky.
            Losing my Mom in July was devastating and continues to be the most intensely painful experience of my life.  I miss her tremendously.  I don’t know what else to say about it other than we are trying to live our lives in a way that would make my Mom proud. 
            In 2012, we are looking forward to settling into our new life here in Maryland.  I hope to find a good job, get Eva into a good school, and make our new house feel like our home.  B is going to continue to work hard in school and work all while leading our family and being a great husband and father to Eva. 
We wish you health and happiness in 2012.  We hope to see everybody in Maryland!

B, Jamie and Eva H.

Sick babies, perspective, and Christmas


Last night, after we put Eva to sleep, we were awoken to her fussing and crying and wheezing as she struggled to breathe.  It got worse over the next half hour; her breathing became more labored and her cough/ wheeze resembled the dreaded croup "bark".  After speaking with urgent care, we decided to head out to the ER to get her looked at.

She is fine.  She has croup but she was able to get a breathing treatment and medicine that will help her airways for the next three days during the worst of the virus.

It is so overwhelming to see your child sick.  She pleaded, "Mommy, mommy, mommy" begging to be back in my arms when I passed her off to B.  She gripped me like her little monkey life depended on it when the doctors and nurses walked into the room.  I wished that I could take away her pain and would have taken on her sickness for her without the blink of an eye.  My heart swelled with love and compassion for her as we cuddled in that cold bright hospital room.

After the treatments and medications, the nurse turned the neon lights down a bit and it got me thinking.  I have so much to be thankful for.  There are so many sick babies in the world.  Watching my Mom get sick and die from cancer was horrible.  I still can't even find the words to explain how horrible it all was.  But there are parents who are facing those same circumstances- with their babies.  Parents who don't care about this Christmas ridiculousness of excess, greediness, consumerism, and gluttony.  They just want their child to be free from pain.  Parents who would trade ANYTHING in the world for another "good" day with their little one.    

It was a late night.  We didn't get home until 3:30am.  We took her to a Johns Hopkins hospital.  We didn't have to wait at all and the care was fantastic.  

She did not enjoy the breathing treatments but she was a champ overall.

This quick ER trip has really inspired me to look into volunteer opportunities.  I am still looking for a "real job" but I am determined to find a new volunteer opportunity, as well.  I have been lucky to have been given a good life.  An easy one, for the most part.  I feel like it is a responsibility to give back.

How about you?  Are you getting sucked into worshipping the excess this Christmas season or have you been inspired to give back? 

At least you're not one of these people


(I wasn't sure which into to use so I will leave you with two options.  You can choose the one you like better)
It is never right to compare yourself to others.  You shouldn't derive pleasure from comparing yourself to people in worse situations than yourself.  But just in case you need a little 'pick me up', be thankful that you are not one of these people.
Also, you know when you meet someone (at work or a friend of a friend or whatever) and you think, "Gosh.  You are so weird.  Where do people like you come from?".  This, my friends, is where people like that come from.

 Everybody ready?  Hold on don't blink.  Say cheese!

 Both of these pictures are frightening.
Nothing says Christmas like latex, feathers, and a garter belt.

Can you imagine the photographer explaining to them how to pose for this shot?  Why would they agree?  Wouldn't you be like, "Ummm, no that's weird.  Let's just all smile."

 Joy to the world!

I wonder if any of them are single.

Damn Mommy.  You look good!  (You think that was the point of this picture?)

The pose...  The long johns onsie...  The earring... There are so many questions.

(All pictures borrowed from here)

Military Monday: Sarah- Ft. Drum, NY


The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances) move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  

Today's Military Monday, spouse highlight is Sarah, the lovely blogger behind the blog Dandelions and Daffodils.  Go spend some time with her!

Name and blog site: Sarah, Dandelions and Daffodils

Branch of service: Army

Where currently stationed: Fort Drum, New York

How long have you been there?: Christopher has been stationed here for almost five years, but I’ve only been here since we got married in April

Favorite restaurant in the area: It’s a tie between Buffalo Wild Wings and Apollo Greek Restaurant. If you go to Apollo be prepared to wait for your meal. They’re really good, but not the fastest in town!

Previous duty stations: Fort Drum in the only Duty Station Christopher has been at. Once he finishes OCS we’ll be reassigned so we’ll see what happens!

3 favorite things to do in your current city: We love to go down to Sackets Harbor, about 20 minutes from Fort Drum. It’s a quaint little town by Lake Ontario with lots of cute stores, restaurants, a comedy club, and beautiful park. Free outdoor concerts are offered at the park on Sundays during the summer. Christopher loves going to the movies so he, along with the majority of the Fort Drum/Watertown population, were thrilled when the new movie theater opened up this summer. We spent many dates nights there. To be honest, one of my favorite things to do is go to Joann’s craft store. J A brand new one opened the month after I arrived in New York and it just thrilled me to bits.

Favorite duty station so far: Not that I have a whole lot of other options to pick from…but I do like Fort Drum. I like going to the Arts and Craft Center and visiting Remington Park (there’s a pretty lake, woods, and horseback riding in the summer). The surrounding area is very pretty; it reminds me a lot of Amish country in Pennsylvania. I think a huge reason I like being at Fort Drum is I’m only half a day’s drive away from my family. As someone who is very close to my family and never moved until I got married, I loved being so close. I know this won’t be the case for most of Christopher’s time in the Army so I treasure it while I have it.

Who is your hero? I am extremely patriotic and have always said that soldiers are my heroes. So, I guess that means I married my hero.

If you would like your blog to be featured here and would like the chance to highlight where you are stationed, please email me at HandlingWithGrace {at}

Previous Posts
Mrs K- Ft Polk, LA
Lauren- Pensacola, FL
Jamie- Pensacola

Ode to my monster


See this monster?  He is mine.  Kingston is our 80 pound fawn Boxer.  We got him right after we got married and moved to Hawaii.  He was our first baby.  He is currently living in California with my Dad and sister until we get our house at the end of the month.  I haven't seen him since August.

He is slobbery and annoying.  He licks people obsessively, he tracks mud and dirt in the house, and he steals Eva's food.  He climbs onto the couches, drinks out of the toilet, and insists on being underfoot at all times.  He slobbers toilet water all over the house and demands attention constantly.  He gets morsels of food stuck in his huge jowls and deposits them randomly throughout the house.  His farts are lethal.

 Did I mention that I miss him terribly?!?

It's the little things: 8


I haven't done one of these "little things" posts in a while so here goes.  I have had a rough last few days.  Just missing my Mom a lot and getting a bit depressed about our non-Christmas/ non-family visiting/ non- job finding/ prison cell hotel room living/ holiday season.  Having a harder than average time holding in the tears when I get in a funk.  We just found out that my Mother- in- law is facing some very, very serious health issues that are just too close to my Mom's situation for me to process easily.

Don't feel too bad for me.  I don't want to complain too much.  Despite sounding like I am sitting around feeling sorry for myself everyday, I am not.  I mostly just complain on this here ole' blog.  I would complain less on here if my husband read it because I don't want to load him up with any more burdens than he already is carrying.  He doesn't read this blog, though.  Thats weird, right?!  Anyways, that's a post for another day, I guess.

Of course, I remember everyday that all that really matters is that my daughter is happy and healthy and my husband and I are good.  Everything is successfully moving forward and we are still set to move into our new home in 2 weeks.  We (I) am busily trying to figure out which paint colors to use on each room, which tile to use in the formal living/dining room, etc.  We have each other.  My husband spoils us rotten both with "stuff" and with love.  We are warm and safe.  We have everything we need.

With all of this going on, it it important to remember that it's the little things in life that make it all worth it....

It's the little things: A cheery bright red manicure

It's the little things: My baby meeting snow for the first time.  It was man made but still.  (They carted it in for the opening of the OUTDOOR ice skating rink that is right by our new house.  Yes, you read that right.  There is an out door ice skating rink next to the house that we bought.  We are a long way from our Southern California roots.  Brrr.)

It's the little things: Allowing her to take whatever 'lovies' she wants to take with her when we go out.  Usually its a bow, purse, and/ or necklace.  Sometimes she will go for a baby.  This day she insisted on her horsie and a balloon...  Why not?

It's the little things: A gorgeous sunset lighting up the Maryland sky.

It's the little things: Practicing positive psychology and allowing her to "help" me grocery shop instead of getting annoyed and fighting with her throughout the entire trip.  It might take an extra minute or forty but it is better for both of us.

It's the little things: Hydrating our dry, sore skin with a paraben free lotion (I am still working on lowering my paraben exposure- read about it here and here).  I love everything Burt's Bees.

Grudges? I hold them.


How are you with holding grudges?  I am bad.  Like really bad.  The older that I have gotten, the quicker I am willing to walk away from a troublesome friendship.  Even if I remain friendly, I hold a grudge and I don't hide it.  

Not all of the time though.  I've realized recently that the grudges that I hold are the ones that come as a result of offenses that I would never commit.  If the offense is something that I might make one day (being rude or unthoughtful, doing something stupid while drinking, saying something mean out of anger, making stupid decisions because of love, etc), it is easy for me to forgive and forget.  
But if the offense is one that I would not commit, that is it.  I am done.  Forever.

Case in point #1  
Did you figure out what that dog picture is above?  I don't watch football, but if I did, I would NEVER root for Michael Vick.  Ever.  I don't care that he paid his dues.  I don't care that he did a bit of time in jail and did a PSA for the Humane Society.  Its not enough.  It doesn't even matter.  There probably isn't anything that he could do that we be "enough".  He is sick.  I don't think he deserves a second chance at playing football, making millions of dollars, and being a sports star that millions of children and sports fans adore and look up to.
(ps- how AMAZING is that picture?!)

Case in point #2

I think there is a girl code that includes not having sex with another woman's husband.  I totally think that sometimes people should get divorced and they would be much happier with people other than their current spouse.  I think people should move on when they aren't happy anymore.  It's a little less of an insult because they weren't friends but as a side note, that is the ULTIMATE betrayal.  Anyways, Angelina is out.  I don't watch her movies.  I don't care how many babies she saves.  I don't care how much good she does through the United Nations.  I just don't like her.

Case in point #3

The old man pictured above is Roman Polanski.  He is a famous movie director, write, and producer.  In 1977 he plead guilty to the sexual abuse of a 13 year old girl.  After his conviction, he fled to Europe to escape "paying his dues" for the crime that he pled guilty of.  To me, that is it.  I don't understand why people would look past that and continue to support him.  In 2002, he was awarded the Best Director award by the American Academy Awards for his movie, The Pianist.  Really people?  Did you forget that he is a child molester?  I hold a grudge.  I cannot forget.  I cannot support his films.

But crazy like this?

Easy peasy.  We all make mistakes :)

How you with holding grudges?  Is it easy for you to forgive and forget?  

What is the most annoying thing your kid does?


First things first.  I love my daughter.  Like every other Mom in the world, I think mine is the cutest, sweetest, smartest, most special and unique, most interesting, most likable, and least annoying kid out there.

Keeping this in mind, there are a couple things that she does that annoy the hell out of me.  This post might sound silly to you because none of these things are particularly drastic.  Sort of like when your husband leaves his husband on the floor in the bathroom. Every. Single. Day. Just annoying.

1.  Going through my wallet.  She is obsessed with my wallet.  If the diaper bag is any where with in her reach, it is a guarantee that she will make her way over, unzip it, grab my wallet and pull everything out.  She crunches everything up and shoves it back into the wrong little holes.  She throws half of it on the floor.  It drives me BONKERS.  It happens at least a couple times a day.  As she is going through the wallet, when she sees me walking towards her, she exclaims, "No, No.  Mommy's.  No, No."  She knows she is not supposed to tear through the wallet but she does it anyways.  Again and again and again.  This fun little habit of hers made me MISS a flight to visit her Dad in Florida this summer when I was living in California away from him.  Because of her playing with my wallet, it wallet got lost/ left at the wedding we went to that evening and I couldn't board my flight until the next day.  Did I already mention that she does this a couple times a day?

2.  Toddler make up.  I know it is cute (see this post), but at this point, she has ruined half a dozen lipsticks, half a dozen Burts Bees chap sticks, a MAC compact, and a few eye shadows.  The pictures are cute but I am cheap and I hate wasting.

3.  Pushing me around.  This one is especially annoying.  5 times out of 7 when I am cooking dinner, she will walk in and fuss at my feet.  When I try to ignore her and explain to her that she cannot be the center of the universe at this particular moment because I am trying to cook a meal, she will push herself in between me and the stove or counter and stick her butt out putting as much space as possible between me and my mission (cooking dinner).  I know this does not sound particularly annoying but it is.  There is something about being pushed around and man handled by a 27 pound 19 month old that really infuriates me.  

What about you?  What is the most annoying thing that your kid does?
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