We're home

8.31.2012

After a long day of traveling,

we're home sweet home.

I hope you all have a wonderful, long Labor Day weekend filled with as little labor as humanly possible.



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Wednesday Walkabout

8.29.2012

Hello ladies!  Today is the first day for Wednesday Walkabout.  It is a simple linkup that we are going to host on Wednesdays.  You can link up any blog post and visit other blogs to make some new friends.  Easy peasy.




What is a Walkabout? It's a blog link-up party, every week here and
with our co-hosts! Simply put your blog address or a specific post in
the linky, visit some other people, and make some friends. Easy as
that! I can't wait to talk to everyone!

PS: You only have to link up with ONE of the co-hosts!

The Rules
1. Please follow at least ONE hostess, and let us know you're a new follower and how you follow!
Jane - Taingamala

If you're a new follower of Handling With Grace, let me know so I can follow you back!





Find me on twitter, facebook, and instagram(jamiegrace01)!

The happiest place on Earth

8.28.2012

Guess what we did on Sunday?
Yes, my kiddo is spoiled rotten and we took her to Disneyland.  

What I learned at my day at Disneyland with a two year old...
1.  Do it.  Just go.  It is fun as heck and there is an entire days worth of rides that two year olds can participate in.
{This is her on her first ride.  The characters, lights, sounds blew her mind.  Nevermind that I look like a freak.}
2.  Buy the personalized Minnie ears.  So cute.  Don't be cheap.
3.  Definitely bring the big stroller- not the umbrella.  There is so much stuff to carry and there is stroller parking everywhere.  You'll want your actual stroller.
4.  Don't fight the battle of the princesses.  You'll lose.  Just embrace it.  Hopefully it will be a short phase.

 {Yes, this happened.  I would bet that this is probably the first time that anyone has ever showed Snow White their boobies.  What can I say?  We like boobies in my house.}
5.  Walk the whole park.  We walked most of Disneyland and California Adventure.  California Adventure was pretty cool.  Especially the new "Cars Land".
It looked exactly like the Arizona desert and felt exactly like being in Radiator Springs.

6.  Be ready for jerks.  Right after I took the pictures of the Radiator Springs, two grown men in their 50's started fighting.  Full on wrestling and right in front of us.  My husband pushed the stroller to the side and pulled the guys apart.  He was holding the aggressor to the side when the other guy began to go at him again so my cousin in law had to hold that guy back.  Because the wahoo wasn't done being a complete douche bag, he then started to try to fight my cousin in law for "touching" him.  The idiot did the entire thing in the middle of Disneyland at around noon with his wife and children standing next to him.  Loser.  I wish I had gotten pictures of them so I could do my part to publicly shame them on my little corner of the internet here.

And then this happened...
B and I went on California Adventure's roller coaster.  We flipped upside down, and ripped and rolled and sped through the tacks.  When we were 80% finished, it hit me like a ton of bricks... Oh my God.  I am pregnant and on a freaking roller coaster.  When we were done, I googled "roller coaster and first trimester pregnancy" and proceeded to read link after link about how it is going to cause the miscarriage of my little blueberry.  As far as mistakes go, this was a really stupid one.  Although, so far, so safe.

Disneyland was fantastic when I visited as a child and it is even more fantastic enjoying it through my two year old.  It is true what they say about being able to enjoy thing intensely through your children's eyes.

Have you taken your kids to Disneyland yet?

Find me on twitter, facebook, and instagram(jamiegrace01)!

Military Monday- Kristin: JB Elmendorf- Richardson, AK

8.27.2012


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.  

If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  
***

Name and blog site:
Kristin from Kristin’s kNook (kedarhower.blogspot.com)

Branch of service:
Army

Where currently stationed:
Joint-Base-Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) in Anchorage, Alaska

How long have you been there?:
3 years on September 28th.  We left Pennsylvania to drive to Alaska one week after our wedding.  Yes, we drove a U-Haul (hauling a truck!) the whole 4,100 miles.  It wasn’t as stressful as it seems, and was a great adventure.
We’ll be out of here in the spring of 2013. 

Previous duty stations:
This is the first one!  We’ll be here for a little more than 3 ½ years when all is said and done. 
Favorite restaurant in the area:
Without writing you a book (see the blog for that), I’ll tell you that we actually live 40 minutes from the base in a small town outside of Anchorage.  While there are many raved-about restaurants in Anchorage, I don’t love them all.
Our favorites:
Turkey Red (all organic and so fresh), Palmer
Evangelo’s (Italian), Wasilla
Haute Quarter Grille (expensive, but so good), Eagle River
We’re fans of sushi and Anchorage, Wasilla, and Eagle River all have great sushi.
We’re also frequenters of Coldstone.

3 favorite things to do in your current city:
Um.  My husband would say hunt and fish…because that’s what he does.  There’s nothing that I do do here that I can’t do anywhere else.  I’m not into hunting, fishing, hiking, or camping.  I do like traveling around and seeing new places with my husband, taking pictures with my DSLR along the way.
I mean, I’ll travel in Alaska...  As long as there’s a hotel and a restaurant involved.

Favorite duty station so far: 
My husband would jump up and down and said, “This one! This one!”  I cannot, in good conscience, agree.  I mean, yeah, it was exciting at first.  And yeah, I’ve made friends and gotten a great job and blah, blah, blah.  I just cannot get on board the I-love-Alaska train everyone around here is riding.
The bottom line is that some people were made to live in a climate with 4 seasons.  I am one of those people.
Who is your hero?
My husband, of course!  He works so hard at everything he does and I admire him very much for it.  There’s no one else I would’ve moved to Alaska for.

What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station?
I suppose the biggest problem, and even my husband agrees, is that it is so far from home.  We’re from Pennsylvania.  That’s a whole 24 hours of travel to get home and a whole 24 hours to get back.  Also, it’s cold.  And I like to wear shorts and flip-flops.  You can see the difficulty I have there.

How strong/ or not is the sense of community in the area?
In our small town, Palmer, there’s very much a sense of community.  It’s almost like one of those small Midwestern towns where everyone knows everybody else. 
I suppose there’s a sense of community on base and in Anchorage, but I haven’t lived there.  This part of Alaska pretty much exists because of JBER.  The military families fund the state through their commerce. 
I live kind of a weird pseudo-civilian life (especially now when the husband is deployed) because we live away from the base and I work in a rather civilian town.  While I was a Family Readiness Group leader for a while, I’m not much involved in the military community now.  I teach elementary school full-time and I’m one of the only working army wives I know.
Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend?
In our 3 years here, we’ve tried just about everything once.  We’ve been tourists for sure in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Seward, etc. 
The big thing to do, year round, is hunting and fishing.  You better believe that my husband does indeed hunt and fish year-round J

What is the overall feel of the community/area/base?
The general consensus is that Alaska is a great place to raise a family.  I have to agree with that.  My students are growing up in, truly, an adventureland and they are so happy.  Yes, even when it’s negative 10* and I’m kicking them out into the snow at recess.  They love it!   The sense of community is strong and people here tend to stick together.   That being said, if you’re not going to live on base, I recommend Eagle River or Palmer.  Some parts of Anchorage, like any city, are downright scary.  If you move here with no idea where to live, you could end up in a bad part of town. 

Have you joined any groups on base?

Friday Faves 8.24

8.24.2012

Favorite jewelry find this week:

I NEED a bracelet or necklace like this.   Joy is my middle name.  No, that's not a hyperbole.  It really is.  It is also how I feel right now.  I am bursting with joy for this little baby.  My Eva is seriously the sweetest thing ever and I am lucky enough to do this again.  If I have a cup of coffee (*ahem like this morning), I feel like the joy is going to just shoot me through the ceiling.

Favorite nail color this week:
I have been wearing Sinful Colors Timbleberries everyday for a while but changed it up with this Spoiled by Wet and Wild color that my sister has.  It went on well and has lasted a day so far which is a success for me!

Favorite website this week:

"NAILED IT!".  Visit the site for some serious pinterest fail inspired giggles.

Favorite food this week:
If you follow me on instagram, you have already seen this but oh In-N-Out how I've missed you.  We are making up for lost time by eating it as often as possible.  Yes, I realize my baby is the size of a poppyseed still but it likes In-N-Out grilled cheese's and I cannot say no to the little mass of cells.

Favorite DIY project this week:

It is on.  I know my sewing maching has been broken (it is jammed or something) for oh, I don't know... let's say four years, but I swear when I get back to Maryland, I am getting it fixed and making this.  So easy and cute!

Favorite picture of the week:
I love my little family.  I am so lucky.  We are happy...  For real.  For that, I am grateful.

Find me on twitter, facebook, and instagram(jamiegrace01)!

~if you're visiting from Lindsey or Tara's linkups, leave me a comment so I can follow you back!~


GOMI and mean girls

8.23.2012

I read this post on Samantha's blog this morning and it got me thinking?  What would the mean girls say about me?

Get Off My Internets (GOMI) is a website devoted to bashing bloggers.  It's pretty hilarious.  I guess some people might call it bullying, I like to think of them as the goth chicks in highschool wearing all black and with eyeliner wrapped around their eyes, sitting at the "weird girl table" over by the trash cans and a peek into their secret inner dialogue about all the popular cheerleaders.  They BASH bloggers but like Sammatha mentioned, they know every single detail of the blogger's life from their pets to their shopping habits to their children, and decorating styles so they obviously follow these bloggers pretty damn closely. 

I don't mind a little mean girl action.  I was a mean girl in highschool and I do regret it but hot damn, sometimes that shit is funny.  I don't participate in mean girl behavior anymore but thanks to GOMI, I can read it from a safe distance.  Although, the site is so flipping slow, I really can't handle reading much more than the front page.  And, they really only make fun of the super biggie bloggers who are "professional" bloggers (ie- making real money off their blogs) so I read it in the same vein as reading snarky celeb info on Perez Hilton or D-Listed.

I never have any idea who they are talking about so it makes the read a little easier.  Apparently, I don't read the biggie blogs.  Except Dooce.  They hate her.  I don't read Dooce everyday but she doesn't rub me wrong.  Oh, and they HATE one of the biggie mommy bloggers that I read.  Some of their points are valid but it seems a little CUH-RAY-ZEE to continue to read and follow someone who you think is a stupid, annoying, self-obsessed, selfish poser.

Obviously my little blog would never be on their radar and would never be highlighted on their site but what would they say if they did?

BlackCatLady01: Nothing blog that annoys me- Handling With Grace?  Have you read it?  Probably not but let me tell you why she annoys me.  She is obsessed with her kid.  OK, lady everybody loves their kids but seriously do you HAVE to repeat on every blog how sweet she is and how obsessed you are?  Also, you're boring.  Seriously, how many posts can you write about your stupid home reno projects and what you are going to do the the house?  The most annoying thing is that she just found out she is pregnant again.  God, like we need another pregnancy blog on the internet.  Newsflash, no one gives a fuck!  Stop posting about your stupid growing belly.  We all get it.  You're pregnant and getting fat.  Got it.

Have you checked out GOMI?  (because you are able to laugh at yourself and not take yourself seriously) If they featured your blog, what would they say about you?

Find me on twitter, facebook, and instagram(jamiegrace01)!

Poking eyeballs out

8.20.2012

Sorry for the lack of my military monday post today and the general lack of giggles on my blog lately. No excuses.  I'm just busy being on vacation.

We are having a good trip thus far. On Saturday we went to my sister's daughter's 1st birthday party. We had a great family day. My sister always throws good parties. I pretended like I wasn't a pregnant old hag and stayed up with the late night drinkers. I roughed it out through hours of in depth discussions about how the bankers are screwing us, un-invented million dollar iPhone app ideas, and stock market discussions until I was ready to poke my eyeballs out and went inside to sleep on the couch.
It was such a nice break from the craptastic East coast summer nights. We were able to sit outside and not be a mosquito buffet. After hours of enjoying time outdoors, not a single bite. Maryland mosquitos are brutal. I am happy for that my scabs are getting a chance to heal while we're out here. Maybe by the time I get back, I won't look like a leprosy patient anymore.
Now we're in Bullhead, Arizona outside of Laughlin. We are spending some time with B's grandmother who is very ill from lung and breast cancer. I am so thankful that my Eva can come and bring some joy into a very difficult situation. Cancer is a cruel opponent. The road ahead is not pretty but at least for a few days, my Eva is able to supply smiles and some lightness to the air.
Unfortunately, my pregnant nose is giving me a tough time with the cigarette smoke. I almost barfed when we walked into the casino for dinner last night and even sitting in her trailer is tough. My old lady, heightened senses are screaming at me giving me a splitting headache.
I hope your Monday is going smoothly and your week is starting out on the right foot.

Xoxo

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Yep. Definitely preg

8.18.2012

Everybody who has been pregnant knows this feeling.
{most girls make duck lips to try to look sexy. I make duck lips to attempt to prove that I can barely hold my eye lashes up}
Exhaustion. It's kicked in. It hits mid-day and makes me want to just lay down for the next year or so. Unfortunately, I am one of the lucky people who can't nap and can't sleep in, so no extra (much needed) sleep for me.

Much love to you all. Hope you all are having a fantastic weekend. And please, please have an extra cocktail and stay up past 9pm for me tonight.

Find me on twitter, facebook, and instagram(jamiegrace01)!

.. I don't know when I'll be back again...

8.16.2012

Hola, ladies.  Hope your Thursday is starting out great!  Guess what we're doing today?  
Yep, leaving on a jet plane.  Going back to California for a little trip home.  B is actually going to be flying with Eva and me.  It will be the first time he has flown with her since she was 10 weeks old.  He's carefully scammed every single other of the dozen plus flights for me to do them with her solo.  I plan on making him entertain her the entire time.  In fact, now that I am thinking about it, I might ask the stewardess for a seat in a different section as payback.

I got my hair did yesterday.  Going to the salon is such a treat.  For one it is alone time, away from my Eva.  Everybody knows that I am completely and utterly obsessed with her but it is still nice to have a couple hours alone.  Second, Momma likes getting pretty.  I am vain.  I don't like looking like a slump.  
{before}
{after}
So the goal for the plane ride is to sit far away from my toddler and husband, preen my gorgeous new hair, and read.  And watch the on flight movie.  And nap.  And not share my fruit snacks and string cheese.  And drink bloody marys (damn pregnancy ruining my one flight I am ever going to take where I can have a drink). 

I haven't told B about my grand plan yet.  Wish him, I mean me, luck.  

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!

Counter top lovin'

8.15.2012

It's a good day in my house. Want to know why? I HAVE NEW GRANITE COUNTERS in my kitchen. You're probably thinking to yourself right now, "WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME!". Well, either that or, "Why are you typing in all caps when you're (*ahem*) almost 30?".

I am typing in all caps because I am freaking excited. We had ugly, crappy 1990's laminite counters in here.

And no garbage disposal. Uggh.
But now, my friends. We have gorgeous, fancy granite counter tops.  Like a couple real, live grown-ups.

So excited.
Obviously the gorgeous granite is sort of muddled by the (lack of a) backsplash but patience, my friends.  We're working on it.

Oh and I have a garbage disposal now.  Welcome to 1990, Jamie.

Last thing.  Have you ever tried this thing?
It's from Dominos.  It takes like heaven.  Seriously.  I know admitting that, one, I ate one (and I'm working on the second) and that two, I think they are divine, is sort of white trash.  "Sort of white trash" in a Honey Boo Boo Child kind of way.

Did you notice that I am starting to accept sponsors?  Click on the link above.  Join in while the prices are bare bottom.  Hah!  I said "bare bottom".  Last thing, yes, I am very aware that my bottom is huge.  I got a couple emails about it after I posted this post.  I got it from my Momma :)

Night ladies!
Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!

The least "crunchy" cruncher out there

8.14.2012

Do you know what it means to be a "crunchy" momma?

Lets head straight to my Merriam Webster resource, "Urban Dictionary"

crunchy mama
176 up26 down
Mother who supports homebirth, breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, etc. One who questions established medical authority; tends to be vegetarian and/or prepare all-organic foods.

Now that we are all clear about what "crunchy" means, I can state that I am NOT crunchy.  I don't cloth diaper (we didn't even consider it.  Seriously, not even for 5 full minutes).  I don't co-sleep.  Ever.  Even when she's being really cute and cuddly.  Eva is fully vaccinated.  We don't eat organic.  We can't afford it.
*break*
OK, that last line is a total crock of shit.  I have never even compared prices of organic versus grocery store prices.  I have heard that it is more expensive and that is good enough for me.
*back to scheduled programming*
How am I crunchy?  I DO still wear my sweet Eva.  I wear her in her Ergo at least once a week when we go out and she is asleep or to put her to bed if we aren't at home.  I breastfed her past a year and fully plan to do the same for my new little one.  

The definition's first point though is the most interesting, in my opinion.  A 'mother who supports homebirth".  I support homebirth.  My Mom was a certified nurse midwife and owned her own practice, delivering hundreds of babies in Orange County.  I support homebirth.  But, is it for me?  No.  

I delivered Eva drug free through a midwife program through the hospital in Hawaii.  I am hoping for the same here in Maryland.  I have the choice between two programs.  Both are sort of far away (20+ minutes) and both are midwives IN the hospital.  How do you choose between the two?  Is there a doctor rating site that anyone knows of?  I posted on a wives board and (already) got bad info so I don't want to trust that for my decision making.  


{apparently I am a big, fat liar.  I said I would only post belly pics every other week but seriously, look at my belly.  It is so big already!  I am only 5'1.  If it keeps growing at this rate, my belly might explode this time around.}

OK, the point of all this is to ask.  How do you choose a doctor if it is not by referral?  Do you know of a doctor rating website?

**update- since a couple people asked... I can hold a consultation with the midwives at both groups.  The problem is that both are "groups" of midwives and as with most practices, you are probably not going to be delivered by "your" doctor.  I want to find the program that is rated better**

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!

Military Monday- Megan: Ft Benning, GA

8.13.2012

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.  

If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  
***

Name and blog site: Megan Wadsworth, Growing Up is Actually Kind of Fun @ http://meganwadsworth.blogspot.com

Branch of service: Army

Where currently stationed: Fort Benning, GA

How long have you been there?: 8 months

Favorite restaurant in the area: The Cannon BrewPub, Downstairs at the Loft, the Black Cow, Hunter’s Pub, Wood Stone, Buckhead Bar & Grill

Previous duty stations:
Fort Campbell, KY

3 favorite things to do in your current city: Walk/Run on the Riverwalk (it runs from post all the way downtown, and has several connector trails all over Columbus); Trivia nights on Tuesdays at Hooters or Mellow Mushroom; Try all the different restaurants Columbus has to offer
Favorite duty station so far: Fort Benning (though we’re about to PCS to Fort Carson, so I’m sure it will change soon!)
Who is your hero? I’m going to have to go semi-cheesy on this one and say my mother-in-law when it comes to this kind of scenario. She has been an Army spouse for 30 years (15 moves! Crazy!) and has been my saving grace. Congratulations to her because my father-in-law will officially be retired from the Army on June 1 of this year.
What is one negative rumor you heard about the duty station when you arrived?  Have you found it to be true? The “School of the Americas” protests… wow! Definitely true and a sight to see, but not as crazy as they used to be. There is a group that believes the Army should shut down their school that trains foreign officers, and they come protest in the late fall. They have to shut down one of the gates that comes into post and fence off the surrounding apartments/shops. The protesters come and do their thing for the weekend and then go home, no harm done, a lot quieter than the old days of climbing fences and trying to get arrested to get on the news!

What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station? The only thing I find myself not liking about Fort Benning is how big it is and how almost everyone is in transition all the time. There is not only basic training here for both Armor and Infantry, but there is A and I BOLC, Ranger School, Airborne School, Sniper School, Maneuver Captain’s Career Course and others. It makes it hard to make and keep friends, and the basic trainees have a graduation EVERY FRIDAY, which means poor lost parents all over post and crowded restaurants on Friday nights. On the upside, you get to (and should!) attend some of the graduations, the ceremonies are awesome!

How strong/ or not is the sense of community in the area?
The Columbus community loves Fort Benning and vice versa. There are always events going on around post that involve the public and the community, usually a HOTEx or some other post-wide event that has static displays of all the tanks and vehicles. Even Halloween was huge here because the community comes out to Trick-or-Treat on post. The current CG here on post is very well known and active in the community, and he tries to create strong bonds between Columbus and Fort Benning.
Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend? There are quite a few events that go on in the Columbus area. Every Saturday there is a market down off of exit 8. There is a “Toast of the Town” that is a wine and food festival that happens in the spring. There are also always great shows playing at the Springer Opera House and the River Mill Center. http://www.columbusgacalendar.com/ has a great list of all of the things going on in Columbus, I check it often, because there are new events added all the time. Also, check out the events going on in Savannah, especially Oktoberfest and St. Patrick’s day! It’s a little far, but totally worth seeing while in Georgia.

Have you joined any groups on base?
I am currently a member of the Community Spouse’s Club, which is a group of wives that meets monthly for luncheons. The luncheons fund a scholarship that is available to the children of soldiers on post, and each luncheon sponsors a gift basket for a different charity. It is a great way to meet other wives of all experience levels, and they have door prizes so you can win some really neat stuff. I also attend the group exercise classes at Smith Gym (the large, family-style gym on post) and am in my third month of a boot-camp style class that meets three times per week. The boot camp class has been my saving grace for my sanity while being here and not working. It is small enough that you get individual attention (no more than 12 people), but large enough that you meet some great people and make friends while getting an awesome workout.

5 week bumpdate

8.12.2012

Due to the overwhelming positive response, I will be doing every other week bumpdates.  I am going to do them on Sundays.  Please feel free to skip them if seeing a weird alien belly gives you the willies.  I have every couple week pictures from my pregnancy with Eva also so I will post those along with my current pics to see how different (ie bigger) my belly is the second time around.  I am 5 weeks pregnant today.

How far along? 5 weeks
Size? Sesame seed
Weight gain/loss? 0
Maternity Clothes? Umm, I would hope not.
Stretch Marks? None.
Sleep? Crappy.  I have a hard time going to sleep, wake up and have a hard time going back to sleep, and wake up really early.  Lack of wine?
Best Moment of the Week? All of them.  I am just so excited about having another baby and my Eva is seriously the sweetest toddler ever born.  Oh and having the doctor "confirm" the pregnancy.
Miss anything? Wine.
Movement? Just the beginning of fat movement to my belly.
Food Cravings? Is wine a food?  No?  OK, then carbs, sugar, and cheese.  All my normal cravings.
Anything make you queasy or sick? Nope.
Gender? No idea yet.
Symptoms? My boobs are sooo sore.  I don't remember that happening with Eva (before I had them "enhanced").
Belly button in or out? In still, thank God.
Wedding rings on or off? Off, but that's another story 
Mood?  Elated.
Looking forward to? Finding out the gender in 10 weeks.
5 weeks! 
(there is a little pooch already that I cant suck in.  Look at it compared to last week below)
4 weeks! 
5 weeks pregnant with Eva

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!




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