Random Wednesday Walkabout

1.30.2013





















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Mmmmm.  Quick, sugary, and fatty.  This is right up my pregnant alley.
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Ugh.  The cuteness.  
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I don't like cats but that's probably the coolest latte art that I've ever seen.
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This is the perfect outdoor project for my husband to tackle this spring.
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Source: theberry.com via Maddie on Pinterest

My pregnancy hormones are trying to talk me into getting a puppy.  MUST RESIST THE URGE!
***
Happy Wednesday!  Wednesday means its time for the Wednesday Walkabout link-up!  

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!

One "Mystery Host" and will have their link as #5 in the linky, as well as be featured in Rule #1. Follow all 4 hosts on GFC or Bloglovin' and then keep an eye out next week to see if you're the lucky Mystery Host!

PS: You only have to link up with one of the co-hosts, it will link to all four sites!

The Rules
1. Place your link in the linky below and make some new friends.
2. Follow the hosts for a chance to be next weeks Mystery Host!

MYSTERY HOST: Mrs K from Mrs K and Captain J
Jane - Taingamala
Sarah - G.I. Joe's Wife


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




I finally went

1.29.2013

It has been almost exactly 18 months since my Mom died of brain cancer.  Since she passed, I have visited California three times.  I finally went to visit her on this most recent trip.

I wanted to see my Mom on those other trips and even in the month that I stayed in California after the funeral.  I wanted to see the headstone that I designed.  I wanted to make sure her little space was clean and well-kept.  I wanted to feel what it was like to sit with her (buried) body.

...I just couldn't.

I knew that I had to visit her this trip.  It was time.  I regretted not going when I was home last time.  I tried everything in my power to be "too busy" to stop by the cemetery and used every excuse imaginable not to make it over there again this time but I knew the time had come.  I needed to go sit with my Mom.

I knew that I would cry.  I am a crier by nature and the pregnancy hormones intensify everything.  Tears began to fall as soon as I forced myself to turn onto the cemetery's street.  As I parked in front of her final resting place and got out of the car, I began to weep as I couldn't remember exactly where her little spot was.  I picked that little space for her body to be buried.  I should KNOW where my Mom is; but I didn't.  It took me a minute or so to find her spot and her little grave stone.  I fell to my knees and wept on her stone.

I rubbed the words inscribed on her stone and sobbed as I thought about how special she was.  I wept for my grief but even more so, I wept for her.  She has missed so much already.  She should be here to celebrate these lives that she created.  She should be here.  Alive.  Not dead.

Military Monday: Koko- Ft Wainwright, AK

1.28.2013

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.  (If you emailed me and never received the follow up email, email me again or check your spam folder as I have heard it gets lost there).
***

Name and blog site: Koko Stanley, www.kokolikes.com

Branch of service: 
Army

Where currently stationed: 
Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska

How long have you been there?: I’ve been there for 6 months and Quincy has been there for 2 years (with a year-long deployment in there)

Previous duty stations: 
This is my first! Quincy was at Fort Benning for a little while doing training.

Favorite restaurant in the area: Since Fairbanks is a small town, we are limited in our restaurants. The Silver Gulch is a local brewery and their beer selection is great. It’s a little outside the city (around 15 minutes), so you have to make a trip of it. Downtown, Lavelle’sBistro is the nicest restaurant in town. It’s a wine bar and has a great menu. This is the place to go for a special occasion (birthday, anniversary). There is also a newly opened Great Harvest Bread Company, which is a great sandwich shop. And we have three great sushi restaurants, Asiana is our favorite. 

3 favorite things to do in your current city: During the summer, we love to go out hiking on local trails, like Angel Rocks. The views from the top are gorgeous and there is greenery for days! We haven’t been dog mushing yet, but Fairbanks is the training area for the dogs that do the Iditarod. The trainers open up their facilities for people to come and look at the dogs. There is also a ski hill on post, Birch Hill, that is open during the winter for skiing and snowboarding. A weekend trip to Anchorage is also fun! We also get to see the Northern Lights every night during the winter. Many people fly up here just to see them and they are in our own backyard!

Favorite duty station so far: This one is my first, so this one! I did visit Fort Benning quite a bit and although that had a big military presence, I like that Fairbanks has a lot of mom and pop shops. Local Alaskans LOVE it here.
Who is your hero? Quincy, obviously! I am more and more inspired by him every day. He is the strongest, bravest and best leader I know.

What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station? The cost to get home or anywhere in the lower 48. Alaska is the most expensive plane ticket in the US. It makes coming home for the holidays VERY pricey. Also it’s cold (hello -40) and dark (3 hours of sunlight a day) during the winter. You have to make an effort to go outside everyday no matter of the light or weather. It takes some getting used to. We are probably the coldest duty station there is, so be prepared!
How strong/ or not is the sense of community in the area? Strong. Since the town is small, almost everyone you meet is part of the military. Very supportive town and lots of military appreciation specials/events.
Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend? When the guys got back from Afghanistan there was a big parade put on by the city. It was so amazing to see how the local community was so happy to have them back. Since the town is so small, the local businesses really depend on the military and their families to stay afloat. People really appreciate us here.
What is the overall feel of the community/area/base? Strong. Everyone of course complains about the cold, but we get through it. I think the cold does keep us from doing more activities (FRG picnics during the winter don’t exist) and that’s a bummer. But we do our best to make sure new families know how to get through the winter. There are big workshops to help people adapt that occur on post once a month. 
Have you joined any groups on base? I’m the FRG leader for Quincy’s company. We have a small group, but it’s been extremely rewarding.

If you are moving to Fort Wainwright, feel free to reach out to me! I've survived a winter and know what it takes! 

Letters to the universe 1.24

1.25.2013

Dear Maryland: See you tonight.  I know you're in the middle of a snow storm and it's in the teens but please take it easy on me.  I can almost feel the bitter cold just imagining getting off the airplane.  I will try my hardest not to compare you to California once I get back but just know that I still can't believe that people actually choose to live there if given the choice. 
{my front yard last night}
Dear Delta: You failed us pretty bad this time around.  Between the plane being turned around and sent back to the airport and then delayed for hours and lost luggage the first time around to the CANCELLED flights home today, you pretty much sucked big time but thank you for leaving me stranded at home and not at my connecting flight destination.

Dear Eva: I am a little scared to learn that you inherited your Dadda's need for speed.  We are in trouble in 14 years (unless of course you also inherited your Dadda's love of stealing family members cars to joyride through the neighborhood.  In that case, I am scared for us in 10 years).
Dear Husband: Thank you for being so patient.  And for working everyday so I can take off to play with my sisters for weeks at a time.  And for pretending I am not a huge, lumpy, cellulitey mess when I say things like, "OMG, I am so f ing huge already".  And letting me stay home with my babies.  And for never giving me a hard time about anything.  Ever.

Dear Bethenny Frankel and Jason: Keep it together.  Don't use your kid as a weapon in your divorce.  How about instead of trying to "win" the divorce, you put your daughters needs and best interests first and stop fighting over her.  Idiots.

Dear wine: I miss you. 



Wednesday Walkabout 1.23

1.23.2013

We are here in Orange County still for one more day.  I am soaking in every last 80 degree sun ray and dreading returning to 17(!!!) degree afternoons in Maryland.  Eva has started asking to go home to her "real house" with her "real Dad" multiple times a day so I guess it really is time for us to head home. 
I am a bit afraid to jump on my scale at home to see the damage that two weeks of no exercise and lots of junk food has had on my huge pregnant body. 
{but seriously, In N Out's grilled cheese sandwiches are worth every calorie}

I am celebrating my last day with my California friends and family by seeing a whole ton of them today.  Visits with friends all day and family dinner tonight. 

Cheers ladies.  I have a bunch of good posts and giveaways coming up when I can get back to my regulararly scheduled programming next week.

***

Happy Wednesday!  Wednesday means its time for the Wednesday Walkabout link-up! 

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!
Something new! One "Mystery Host" and will have their link as #5 in the linky, as well as be featured in Rule #1. Follow all 4 hosts on GFC or Bloglovin' and then keep an eye out next week to see if you're the lucky Mystery Host!
PS: You only have to link up with one of the co-hosts, it will link to all four sites!

The Rules
1. Place your link in the linky below and make some new friends. Simple as that.
MYSTERY HOST: Kristine from Heart Shaped Sweat
Jane - Taingamala

If you're a new follower of Handling With Grace, let me know so I can visit you back!
Find me on twitter, facebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!





I caught magic

1.21.2013

Please excuse this mess that I once called a blog. We are still in California. I am still computer-less and this space is obviously suffering because of it.

Things will definitely get back to normal in a couple days when we get back to Maryland.

In the meantime, I'll share this. I caught magic on my cell phone this morning. I took out my phone to video her shaking him around and accidentally caught this moment. This is the very first time that Eva has EVER kissed her brother. She gave him a kiss, smiled, and then pulled my sweater back down and said, "Cover him! He's probably cold!".

I melt.

Letters to the universe 1.18

1.18.2013

*please excuse the horrible formatting.  I'm currently on vacation and blogging from my iPhone and iPad*

Dear 80 degree Orange County weather: Yes, yes, yes. Everything about you just feels so right. Thank you for warming my bones and soothing my soul.

Dear pregnancy/travel/not sleeping with husband induced insomnia: Screw you.

Dear bags under my eyes: See above.

Dear Livestrong and Lance: Continue to separate yourself from your founder and you will continue to do just fine. And Lance? I'm not mad atcha.

Dear Baby Nate (Is it true? Am I really calling him that name?): We are entering into that stage where you're big enough to make me physically sick with your movements and kicking. Don't stop moving because that would scare me but tone it down in there a little. Thanks.

Dear body: This isn't easy on either of us. I can't wait to reconnect with you and make you hard again. Less than 10 more weeks. Hang in there.

Happy Friday. My baby shower is tomorrow. I can't wait to see my California friends and celebrate my little baby boy.

Enjoy your long weekend. Any big plans?





It happened...

1.16.2013

There is nothing that can prepare you for the first time IT happens. You can watch other people, read parenting books, talk strategies through with your spouse, and even see it dealt with on Super Nanny. You can imagine how you'd deal with it but until you're there, you can't really imagine...

What is IT that I'm talking about? The moment when you realize your child has channeled the devil and he's staying for a while.

This morning my child lost her shiz. I have seriously never seen anything like it. She screamed, spit, hit, wailed, flopped, coughed and screeched for 45 full minutes. She did not take a break or pause for a moment. She made sounds that I didn't know a two year old was capable of. She was launching herself at me making primal animal sounds that I've never heard before. Her eyes were filled with a wild insanity.... For 45 full minutes.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never seen anything like this fit that she threw. I don't even know what set her off but she was FILLED with rage and frustration that she could not work through.

I stood my ground but I don't know if I handled it properly. Should I have let it go? She clearly could not work through her feelings. By letting it escalate the way that it did, did I just open Pandora's box? Is this going to become the norm for fits now that she's seen that she can take it up a notch or twenty?

Parenting is hard.

(Anyone have a recommendation for a good toddler (almost 3 year old) tantrum book?)


***
Now it's time for the Wednesday Walkabout.

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!
 
Something new!  One "Mystery Host" and will have their link as #5 in the linky, as well as be featured in Rule #1.  Follow all 4 hosts on GFC or Bloglovin' and then keep an eye out next week to see if you're the lucky Mystery Host!
PS: You only have to link up with one of the co-hosts, it will link to all four sites!

The Rules
1. Place your link in the linky below and make some new friends. Simple as that.
 
MYSTERY HOST: Erica from To the Sea
Jane - Taingamala
Sarah - G.I. Joe's Wife

If you're a new follower of Handling With Grace, let me know so I can visit you back!
Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!  



A Cali update

1.14.2013

As I sit here on my Dads couch watching Dr Phil and drinking a fantastic homemade (by Dad) latte, it occurred to me that I should update this blog.

We are in Orange County and having a great time. Apparently we brought a cold spell along with us though. I am ready for this California heat to show up! The news says the 70 degree weather will be back Wednesday. Thank goodness.

Eva is reconnecting with all of her Aunties and cousins. She remembered how much she loves her Papa and fit right back in with B's parents as well. She loves being around everyone and being the center of attention. It is so deeply fulfilling to be able to share her with all my loved ones.

There are lots of family issues going on. The most acute issue is that my Grandmother's (Mom's Mom) Alzheimer's disease has taken a scary turn and she has begun becoming aggressive, combative, and paranoid/fearful and has started trying to run away.

It sucks. There's no other way to say it. She doesn't remember anyone and she is acting out and doing things that SHE would never do. There are hard choices that need to be made.

We wish my Mom was around to deal with my Grandma. She would know what to do. She always knew how to handle hard situations. She would have been able to navigate this craptastic situation confidently and with grace.

Growing old is for the birds.

Has anyone dealt with progressing Alzheimer's? Any tips?

We're in California!

1.12.2013

On Friday morning Eva and I hopped on an airplane headed for Southern California. After an almost comedically disastrous 12+hour of travel, we made it. Our luggage wasn't as lucky but clean panties are overrated anyways... Right? No? Yeah, no, you're right.

Not happy about leaving her Dad.

On the airplane again!

Bye, bye cold weather!


We'll be visiting family and friends in Southern California for the next 13 days. Excited for a bit of family time and the chance to reconnect with our loved ones.

My little dancer

1.10.2013

I realize that home videos of other people's kids are not that interesting.  Believe me, I do.  But, if you need a smile, watch this video.  
video
 http://youtu.be/eZp3cltXP3M

A stretch mark free belly

1.09.2013

A small handful of you have emailed me asking what I do to prevent tiger stripes during pregnancy.  At the risk of sounding like a total know-it-all doucher, I am going to share my pregnancy lotion rituals.

I didn't get any stretch marks from my pregnancy with Eva.  My Mom and other family members all have stretch marks so I am definitely not on the "genetically lucky" train.  I gained 33 pounds (about a third of my total body weight) throughout the pregnancy so I am also not on the "Oh you barely even look pregnant!" train. I blow up.

With all of that being said, here is my secret.
I am obsessive about applying Bio Oil and then lathering up with cocoa butter.  Bio Oil is sort of expensive ($20+ for a bottle) but my cheap frugal self happily purchases bottle after bottle of this magical serum.  I re-apply this combo every morning, every night, and every time I take a shower.  If my skin feels tight, I run upstairs and add some more.  I start applying both the oil and the cocoa butter when I find out that I am pregnant and continue throughout the pregnancy until the bitter end.  In the second trimester, I go through about 1 big bottle of Bio Oil and 1 tub of cocoa butter per month.  I would guess that I use about a third more during the last trimester.  During the last trimester, I tried to keep my belly "sticky" with product all day/night and would re-apply multiple times throughout the day.

Since we're at it, here is the rest of my lotion routine.  I use
on my crows feet and forehead lines.  I am not sold.  Maybe I got too used to the magical powers of the needle (Botox) but after months of use, I don't think I really see any improvement.

In a pathetic attempt at not looking like an east coaster in the middle of the winter, I use
Jergens daily tanning lotion on my arms, legs, shoulders and chest in the morning and night.  It is cheap and effective enough but the smell bugs my pregnant nose.  Anyone have a better recommendation?

During the day, I use Oil of Olay moisturizer and
Loreal BB Cream under my foundation.

My skin loses it's mind when I am pregnant so I use
Clearasil every night.  It is benzoyl peroxide with no salicylic acid so it is pregnancy safe.

My night time bedtime routine takes about 20 minutes and my morning lotion routine takes about the same.  When I am not pregnant, I add a Retin A product during my night time ritual to help with skin tone.  I also rub pure vitamin E oil on my lips every night before bed.

Now you guys know what works for me.  If writing this post cursed me into a belly full of stretch marks this time around, I can guarantee my house will be filled with big old crocodile tears and pouting.  I will also blame you, dear readers, for the lines on my belly for jinxing me.

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!  

Healthy blueberry, apple, banana bread

1.07.2013

How many of us thought that THIS is the year that we are going to eat a little healthier, get a bit more fit, or drop a few pounds?  I don't think saying almost every single one of us would be a monumental stretch.  A couple weeks ago I found this recipe on pinterest for blueberry, oatmeal, banana whole wheat bread. I tried it yesterday morning with a couple changes.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 medium apple diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together oats, both flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and applesauce. Stir in mashed bananas.
  4. Pour wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir together. Carefully mix in blueberries and apples.
  5. Pour batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour.
Now, if you are looking for a decadent, sugary morning cake bread, this is not the recipe for you.  This recipe does not include butter or very much sugar.  It is healthful.  If you are looking for a fruit filled, mostly whole grain breakfast bread, this recipe is worth a try!  (just slather it with butter and syrup)

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!  

Who am I today?

1.04.2013

I think... my sense of self is being lost in mommy hood. There is no real distinction left between "me" as Jamie and "me" as Eva's mom. I am content with that in this moment but not in the long term. That will probably be a sense of discomfort for me later this year after the baby is born but I'm at peace with my role for now.
{I did get my hair done tonight though. Holla!}

I like... being sore from the gym. I've been working hard this week and my muscles are whining. It hurts so good.

I feel... uncomfortable in my skin. My body is big and bloated. My clothes don't fit. I can't put my own socks on without wincing in pain. This body isn't mine.
{yesterday at the gym. 25.5 weeks}

I want... a pair of maternity skinny jeans. The high for the day is in the mid thirties. I want to wear boots everyday but all of my jeans are boot cut and look weird in boots.

I am... so lucky. Life is hard and sometimes tragic. I have a loved one who is heartbroken right now over the recent loss of her baby. I KNOW that I am lucky. My marriage is strong, my kids are healthy, and things are calm. Life is hard for so many people so much of the time. Life has been hard on me for the past few years. I've been through enough to know that I am LUCKY when things are calm.

Who are you today?

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!  

*Have you entered the $25 Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card and wine giveaway?  Enter here!*

Giveaway + Wednesday Walkabout

1.02.2013

Happy 2013!  It is Wednesday the SECOND day of 2013!  We made it through another year.  I am ready to get this new year started.  Today, Cassidy is taking over the blog.  Spend some time with her and then enter her Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card AND wine giveaway.
***
I'm Cassidy, otherwise known as the author of 'I'll Follow You Anywhere.'  I'm a 30's virgin, still learning my way through the peak in my sex drive and thriving wine collection.  Although, I'm having a great time with it.  I'm a yoga freak with an 'too much' cleaning issue. Oh, let's not forget I'm a Army wife, surviving my fifth move and another upcoming deployment.  Worry not, OPSEC Nazi's, I don't leak the important stuff.  I'm a spitfire Texan, married to a dork in tinfoil. Otherwise known as my 'knight in shining armor.'  No bio-babies yet, but I have an unusual pair of fur-minions, a pit bull and chihuahua. Yes, the chihuahua rules the household.
 
 My blog is my blog. I made it, all on my own. It's little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.  Keeping up?  I'm just a little blog trying to make it in a big blog world.  Some days I have a lot to say and other days, not so much.  I rant. I vent. I inform. My words are rough around the edges, but they have a lot of meaning.  It's real, and it's personal- full of my love, life and drama that goes with it.  Additionally, with a new year comes giveaways, something else I'm a virgin at, and willing to give it a shot.  Are you interested?

I am offering a $25 gift card to Bed, Bath, and Beyond AND a bottle of my father in law's home made wine as a getting to know you present.  Come spend some time with me at I'll Follow You Anywhere.  Say hi so I can get to know you too!

We will chose two winners- one for their choice of wine and the other for the $25 Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card.  
WINNING ENTRIES WILL BE VERIFIED
(must be a follower of Handling With Grace to win)

***
Now it's time for the Wednesday Walkabout.

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!

Something new!  One "Mystery Host" and will have their link as #5 in the linky, as well as be featured in Rule #1.  Follow all 4 hosts on GFC or Bloglovin' and then keep an eye out next week to see if you're the lucky Mystery Host!

PS: You only have to link up with one of the co-hosts, it will link to all four sites!

The Rules
1. Place your link in the linky below and make some new friends. Simple as that.

MYSTERY HOST: Mrs Duh from The Adventures of Mrs Duh
Jane - Taingamala

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

Find me on twitterfacebook, and instagram (jamiegrace01)!  


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