Friday, March 11, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

This is my first time trying this, so I hope I link everything correctly! This week, the link-up is to Wife of a Sailor.

This week’s questions are:

1. During military separations (whether short or long) how do you keep yourself positive and motivated? submitted by Married/Single Parent

So far, I seem to have a baby just before each deployment! Two for two on that! Nothing like a newborn to make the time fly by! But seriously, I do try to stay pretty active, not just taking the kids to play dates and field trips, but also having little projects around the house, taking classes online, etc. I find that hosting get-togethers or dinners for friends give me something to plan and look forward to. Plus, I try to schedule family visits so that we see someone almost every month. That way, when Granny leaves, we can look forward to seeing the cousins in a few weeks!

2. What is your favorite concert you have ever been to? submitted by Young but Not (Completely) Dumb

Honestly, the only concerts I have been to are Christian Bands and Mannheim Steamroller (Christmas music). I know, I grew up under a rock! But the Newsboys are a Christian band that give very fun and moving concerts, so I have enjoyed them. I have been to a few live Orchestra concerts, and my husband and I really enjoy that!

3. What do you miss most about your “hometown”? submitted by A Florida Girl and Her Soldier
I grew up in a very small town, and had no friends actually in town. My friends were from the next county over, because I went to school half an hour away. So while I miss my parents' beautiful house and farm, there isn't much about the town itself that I miss. However, I went to college in DC, and got used to the exciting events and never-ending activities in the city. Even though many of my college friends have moved out of the DC area, I still miss having things to do and people to see all the time.

4. If you could run in any race, which charity would you choose to support? submitted by Wookie & Co.
Well, I have only run one 5K (last year) and it was for the Wounded Warriors. They raise money for injured or killed military and their families. I ran because another wife in my husband's battalion had just lost her husband during their deployment. So, I guess I will do almost anything for my military wives and friends!

5. You find out Willy Wonka is your father, what 3 course meal do you INSIST he create in that stick of gum? submitted by A{muse}ing Mommy on a Pink Park Bench
Haha, that's funny! Hmmm, I think I would go with French Onion Soup, followed by a tender Steak with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and buttery green beans. And to finish it off, a devilishly rich Dark Chocolate cake!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pre-Natal Healthcare: Military vs, Civilian

So this is my third pregnancy with Tri-Care (the military healthcare insurance) and going through military hospitals for the entire pre-natal and birth process. Thankfully, all my pregnancies so far have been completely "normal" and healthy without any complications, so I don't really have any complaints about the system. After all, it is free, and I know civilians can be required to pay $5,000 or more for each birth! Still, it leaves me wondering if we are missing out on any supervision or services that are offered to civilians. I am only seen once every 6 weeks for the first half of the pregnancy, then once a month for the 2nd half, and every 2 weeks during the last month. But during those appointments they only spend a few minutes with me, taking my weight, blood pressure, measuring my stomach, and asking if I am in any pain. If I DID have any complications, would they show up under such brief scrutiny? And there are only 2 ultrasounds total-- 1 at the first appointment to confirm the pregnancy and the number of fetus(es), and the 2nd after 20 weeks to analyze the anatomy and determine the gender. I feel like civilians have TONS more ultrasounds!
The "doctor" who supervises you is also confusing. During this and my previous pregnancies, I was seen by a different nurse or midwife at almost every appointment. Just depended who was available, I guess. And I don't think anyone from the OB-GYN clinic actually works upstairs in Labor and Delivery. So for my other 2 births I was surrounded by new doctors and nurses I hadn't met before. This was fine with me, and I was always comfortable with it, but it is funny to me to hear people talking about "their" doctor being present for their birth. Anyway, I'm just curious what others' experiences have been. If you are military, does this sound like your story? And if you are civilian, please enlighten us to what the other side is like!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's Fat Tuesday!

That's what Mardi Gras means, in French: "Fat Tuesday." It's the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent-- a 40-day preparation for Easter. As a good Catholic, Lent has always been part of my life. Stereotypically, people think it is about giving up something like chocolate, and not eating meat on Fridays. That is partially true, but Lent really means a lot more. It has a 3-fold focus: Prayer, Fasting, and Sacrifice. And most years, I find it incredibly refreshing and inspiring. It's kind of like New Years', when you look back over the year, think about what you want to change in the next year, and then make resolutions about losing weight, spending more time with friends, etc. But Lent lets us do that while being guided by prayer. It's hard to keep a New Years' resolution. Most people lose steam after a few weeks. But Lenten resolutions are between you and God, and it's only for 6 weeks. So if you really go through with it, you can reach Easter as a changed person.
This year, I am focusing on my role as mother. Sure, I think overall I'm a pretty good mom, but there is always room for improvement. Mainly, my patience/anger levels. When I am alone with both kids, and they start whining for things, I get flustered really quickly. Sometimes I get snappy and tell them to shut up, or stop being dumb. But my toddler has started repeating some of these phrases. Oops. So I need to focus on ways to deal with their needs and my patience levels:
1. Get more sleep. I keep forgetting that I am pregnant and need to sleep for 2. Me staying up late and not taking naps takes a real toll on my whole family.
2. Spend less time on the computer. I get sucked into Facebook, including the pathetic Mafia Wars and Kingdoms of Camelot games, and get annoyed when the kids interrupt. Selfish, I know. So I am giving up those games for Lent, and trying to limit computer time to the kids' naptime.
3. Make better meal choices. I have been tired and lazy during this pregnancy, but the more crap I eat, the worse I feel. I need to focus on healthier snacks and meals so I won't be so edgy.
4. Pray every day. I don't do this right now. I plan to take a few minutes each morning and start the day RIGHT!

So those are my goals this Lent. It will be a challenging 6 weeks, especially since hubby will be gone at training for most of it. But I think it will be a good practice to make me a better Mom and get me ready for deployment! Does anyone else have Lenten resolutions? Or are you currently taking specific steps to help yourself or your family?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ah, pregnancy

Well today I am 16 weeks into this pregnancy, which means I'm done with the 4th month! And here is my preggo belly so far. I regret that I don't get a cute little bowling ball belly with my pregnancies. I am an all-over carrier I guess. With the 1st child, people told me it was because she was a girl... but it was the same with my 2nd pregnancy, which was definitely a boy! Not sure yet what this one is. So far I have gained about 12 pounds, and I find myself in a constant mental struggle with that. I expect to gain about 35 total, because that is how it was with my other 2. More than the doctors like, but still a healthy average. And I think I am gaining a little faster this time, partially because I started out really tiny (size 4) and partially because I have been very lazy with eating right, and having constant cravings for sugar! I also think the 3rd baby pops your tummy out much faster, because this is what I looked like after only 6 weeks:

So most of the changes have been to my hips and butt, not the baby at all! Even though I successfully lost the weight after both other pregnancies (and even ended up smaller than I started!) it has really been depressing me this time around. I had just reached size 4 for the first time in my life, and was enjoying that! And now it is hard to give up my healthy body to this pregnancy fatigue and nausea and cravings. But I got through the 1st trimester and am feeling more like myself again, so I think it is time to start getting back into a work-out routine, and making better choices about my meals. Because I still have a LONG way to go. And even though I have a whole deployment to work it off, I know that the less extra weight I carry around this year, the better I will feel in the long run. Does anyone else struggle mentally with pregnancy and post-baby weight? Did you find yourself obsessing about nutrition and weight during your pregnancy, or were you relaxed?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What can you do while waiting for Jell-O?

Tonight I was having a Jell-O craving (yes, I'm pregnant, 4 months along) and I used the "speed-set" method to make it. Well, it definitely takes more than 30 minutes, because while I was waiting for it to do its thing in the fridge, I:
- did the dishes in the sink
- took out the trash
- sorted and started the laundry
- made my husband's lunch
- did a 30 minute workout (elliptical)
- put in another load of laundry
- updated my blog

And now I am still waiting! Come on Jell-O, I need some sweet fruity sugary sweetness! But on a happy note, this is a really productive end to the weekend, and makes me feel a lot more optimistic for the week ahead. :-)

ITT/ Travel

Today's headline resource is the ITT/Travel office on base. There is one of these on every Marine base, and Lejeune's is in the shopping center with the PX and Commissary. I knew they offered discount packages for vacations, especially cruises and Disney World. There are also packages for trips to New York city and throughout the East Coast. They also offer discounted airfare. But to be honest, the one time I needed airfare to Florida, the quote I got from ITT was higher than the tickets I found on sites like Expedia and Hotwire, so do shop around.
But this week I learned something new. ITT also has discount tickets to many LOCAL attractions. For example, the Aquarium doesn't sell military discount tickets at their ticket window. But you can pick up discounted tickets at ITT before you go to the Aquarium. They have discounted movie tickets to use out in town, dinner theater tickets for Wilmington, and discounts for various local shows and some sporting events. So if you are looking for a good family or date night activity, ITT might be a good place to start your search! Their website is: