The Miracle of a Phone Call (Day 80)

First of all...
The love of my life has hit 26 years of air-breathing wonder.
The day we got engaged, if he looks a lil drunk it's because he 1. was teary-eyed from proposing and 2. had a few shots of Jack in him ;-)

A quick shout out to him... the most amazing man I've met. The man who made my life make sense, who made everything work out, the best kisser and most tolerable person (I mean, he deals with me, HELLO) with the sexy back and poop-brown eyes. I hope you had a safe birthday filled with your favorite kind of MRE. :)
Riding in a humvee in AP Hill Va, stole the pic from his FB

A few hours ago, I got just what I needed - a phone call from my hottie tottie Marine babe. I had been getting increasingly agitated and grumpy the past week from not hearing from him and hearing all this crap and not know what to believe and... ah it had just built. But this morning when my phone rang with that weirdo number I felt my heart lift and the weight begin to fall off my shoulders. My babe is ok, he sounds good actually, and even less tired than the last time I talked to him (weird because I'd assume he's busier now, probably more energized due to the lift in the boredom). He is attached to a new company, Charlie, which is neat because that is my "deployment wife"'s husband's company (are you following along... haha). He said they let him use the phone for his bday - woop woop.

He asked what we were gonna do with the house. I told him I'm still undecided and he sounds to be in the same predicament; awesome, no help from the Mr... but it's ok because we've still got time (I'm going to be saying that until we run out of time and are stuck). He agrees with me though and doesn't want to get stuck with a mortgage but he also told me that he might choose to stay with this unit longer so he can go on the MEU with them next deployment (it's rumored to be a MEU next in 2012, we'll see how true that is...) I'm not sure how I feel about this possibility but that's all it is right now a possibility, every time I talk to him he's got a different career idea. He mentioned base housing again but I just don't think that'd be the best fit for us, I could be wrong... and he also said we could look for a bigger place to rent, key problem with that is places bigger that I've looked into cost more than the mortgage on our house would... ah.

But it wasn't a totally business convo, that was just one thing he was wondering about. We talked about what he's been doing a little bit and he continues to assure me that he's not going on patrols but staying at the company's headquarters... however that may be set up I don't really know, but it is slightly comforting that he's not actively patrolling. We talked about BINGO (dammit I forgot to tell him about O-69!) and baby girl and just told each other we loved each other (what an awkward sentence...). I don't usually detail our convos but I'm pretty excited about hearing from him sooo... deal. Heh.

One bad part about phone calls though, is every time I get off the phone I think of things I forgot to say/ask. Is his address different since he's attached to someone new? (I'd imagine not, his mail will probably just take a bit longer, I'd assume). How's the weather? (Doesn't seem important but I'm always curious). And there are other things too but I can't remember them right now so they mustn't have been that important. But it happens everytime we talk on the phone I think of a million things I want to tell him or want to know after the call has ended. Oh well, something to talk about next time I suppose.

In baby news, I think someone is hitting a growth spurt today. 6 weeks old on daddy's 26th bday haha. She has eaten every hour since she's been awake and has been a total grumpy pants. Now she is taking her mid morning nap, hopefully she'll be in a better, less hungry, mood when she wakes up. Now I'm deciding what I should do while she sleeps (other than blog which I'm about to be finished woop woop!) A nap is sounding super appealing to me right about now...
How cute are these tiny feets? And yes, my shirt (actually the hubs') says "I Heart Hot Moms"

O-69... I am SO Immature

I went to BINGO with some sorority homies the other night. A good time was had by all. Little Miss Thang came with me and enjoyed lots of attentions. When they called O-69 I laughed. Loudly. The next times that they called it, I giggled. My maturity amazes me. I did not win a single thing but I did have a fun time. Winning would have made it more fun, but I digress. Lots of money was made for Children's Miracle Network, our national philanthropy, so I guess everyone is a winner.
I made lasagna for dinner tonight and the family liked it. Success.
I have not heard from the hubby since Saturday. Fail.

This post was short and sweet and I am tired and going to bed. Please don't hate me for lack of commenting, bloggy friends, I'm doing my best. If blogger would work better on my phone I'd be all over that, but I only get a few minutes a day for computer time while Poops is sleeping and I'm not using that time to do some other task... I promise I still love you all and do read your posts in my few minutes online, even if I don't comment :)

Home is Where... ?? (Day 77)

Mmm K, so for those of you who've been following more than a minute may know Hubby McHubberson and I bought a house. We were super stoked about this, even as a military couple. Many people didn't understand why on earth we'd do that so our reasoning was as follows:
  • The mortgage on the house we bought would be less than renting a house of that size and it would be our house, to do whatever we want with, build equity, etc. etc.
  • In the Marine Corps, there aren't as many places you can be sent as in, say, the Army. Theoretically speaking, we could request to stay at Lejeune for a long, long time.
  • Although our rental is working for us right now, we are outgrowing our current space. A family of 3 in a 2bedroom, one bath house is a little snug, to say the least.
  • I don't want to live in on-base housing. They take your BAH away and we're saving by having BAH, as our rent PLUS bills, is still less than BAH. We're making money of Uncle Sam, yo.
  • I want to PAINT rooms.
  • Our house is brand spankin' new, hasn't even finished being built yet. And it is SO cute.
  • Renting is pretty much just throwing money away, month after month...
Now, recent events and information have caused us to rethink our decision. Luckily, we have the rethink luxury, as we don't close on the house until it is built - May. We are not currently locked into an interest rate (can't do that until March-ish, 60 days out). So, what may cause us to rethink our cute brand new house, you may ask? Well...
  • As I said, our neighborhood is brand new. SO in the event that we did get stationed somewhere else upon reenlistment, resale will be super hard if the neighborhood is not finished yet (Why buy a "used" house for more when you can have a brand new one for less?) and renting is just a total pain, I hear such horror stories from people who have to rent their homes out.
  • Mr. P is looking at the option of becoming an instructor at MOS school (where we met) which will be in Virginia by the time that comes around. Instructor = no deployment. I can not argue with that.
  • I really don't want to get stuck with a house if the two points above happen and if we get stuck without renters then we will be broke!
  • When you own a house, anything that goes wrong is on you (after the one year builder's warranty that comes with our brand new house, of course). So the dishwasher breaks when hubs is deployed, it's on me. It snows, I gotta shovel. I gotta mow. Lots to maintain and upkeep, especially when I'm on my own.
I am so torn. On one hand, I want my house. And I am beginning to fall in love with North Carolina (I mean the beaches... HELLO!) but on the other I really don't want to get stuck with something as permanent as a 30 year mortgage. Oh the decisions of grown-ups (Gag). I've only got a short time to decide too, and I'm mostly making this decision alone as hubby is out playin' in the sand. YIKES.

Speaking of the sandbox, I had written a whole post on the second worst day of the deployment which I had beginning at midnight last night continuing in to today. Basically, if you've been watching the news, you're seeing hubby's unit. I had spent lots of time scouring photos for people I know, friends' spouses... well now, I'll be looking for my own as well. Hubby is now... more in the action than he was before, so to speak. I had a severe nervous breakdown at around 1 o'clock this morning but now I am just pray, pray, praying. I've never prayed this hard in my life. I'm not going to post the whole thing I wrote before because it was just too much of a downer and I need to focus primarily on staying positive, even though it's getting harder.

Ok, back to the task at hand. House. Right. So. We put a $500 Earnest Money Deposit down, which of course I wouldn't want to just throw away but it, honestly wouldn't be the largest amount of money I've "wasted" in my life if we choose to back out. And if the interest rates happen to go above a certain rate then we can get out of the contract and get our EMD back anyway.
So the task to you, fellow blog-ites, is to give me some opinions. Those of you who own, those of you who rent, those of you who are military. All are welcome. I may not agree with what you have to say but I will consider it and use all knowledge in making a decision. Right now we're leaning towards getting out of it, but I still have my heart set on my home. I told hubbers he was crushing my dreams of buying a house he says "We did buy a house, now we're just returning it" hahaha clever monkey.

Mrs. Who?

I need to do some things for myself.

First and foremost, I need to get back into shape. Ok, I never was really "skinny" by any means, but I certainly wasn't... this... I need a shape that I am at least ok with and doesn't make me wanna vom. I know, harsh, but true. I am so unhappy with my bod at the mo. Typical of a person who had a baby 5.5 weeks ago, I'd assume.

Next, I want a spa day. I want need a massage. The knots in my back are beginning to remind me of the "friendship knot" you made in girl scouts with your arms by holding hands... and then had to undo it and everyone's pointy elbows were smacking you and your arms were being turned this way and that... yeah, not so friendly. Also in this spa day, I want to get my nails done. Although I'm not quite sure this is wise with a newborn, I'm afraid I will gouge her, but I miss my tips, and they're usually so thick it's not like I'd scratch her... hmm. And I need the always necessary pedi. If this were beach season I'd be disowned by several of my friends. My feet sound like velcro when I walk across a carpeted floor (I know, so gross), and the polish is chipped and the nails are jagged. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

I'm beginning to feel more like some old bag lady who has moved in and started stretching out my body than me. I mean, even when I was pregnant I had time for pedis. This is gettin' serious, yo.

Where Has The Time Gone?

My apologies for my slight blogging failure. I've been busy, my bad.

Time is moving quickly, which I much appreciate. The news is no longer my friend, however I'm grotesquely addicted to all the stories, mostly on the internet. While things have picked up, happily, for me here stateside, they have also, unfortunately, picked up for Mr. P's unit over there. Makes me nauseous, but "I knew it was coming" so all I can do about it just pray, pray, pray.

So back to my stateside, lonely, and now busy life. I've had the enjoyment of hanging out with some old friends here in the great state of MD, which has made me pretty giddy. I went out with my Phi Mu big sister, Amber, to see one of my faaavorite bands, Ballyhoo! as well as some other great local bands including Bond & Bentley and Pasadena (google them both, they're great). I had a few brewskis (don't worry, I had enough milk stocked up!) and enjoyed the evening out.
I also got to catch up with some good friends, April and Tiff, for lunch the other day. PF Chang's (I'd also been craving lettuce wraps, mm mm mmm) for a nice mid afternoon meal and good conversation. Little Miss, of course, joined me on this outting. As usual she slept in her seat almost the entire time, she's such an angel.
Lastly, my lovely MOH who I've mentioned before, Maggie, was in town with her husband and kids. Her and her youngest (8 months) came and visited at my house and then last night I met up with them and a bunch of homies from high school for a night on the town. I spent much of the summer before I was married and moved and before Maggie got stationed in P.I. with her hubby who is also a Marine, spending nights similar to this one out in Bel Air, it was a refreshing (and very fun) flashback.

Now of course I haven't been partyin it up the entire time I've been MIA. I've been full time mommy too, just taken a few (well deserved?) nights out for me. On the home front, we're still working on getting my lil lady to sleep in her own bed (which, I must mention, she is currently doing - more on that later), and mastering the art of breastfeeding, working on being able to quickly get ready to get out of the house, trying to establish a routine, and generally just working on being a super mom-daughter pair. We're doing all this preparation for my much anticipated trip back home. In March, we'll be in NC for a week, just the two of us. I'm pretty nervous because my mom helps me out so much here, which is why I've been stepping up and trying to do things by myself better, and not freak out and have meltdowns quite as often.

As for her, she's doing great. We still have bumps but we're getting through them. Right now, she's snoozing in her crib (actually I think I can hear her cooing over the monitor, but she was sleeping). It took a while, I put her down around 9ish and it took about an hour of her dozing, losing her Nuk and then yelling, then I'd go up after a few minutes of her crying and stick it back in, then repeat pattern; but she finally is sleeping. For now. And she's been going longer stretches at night, which of course makes me elated. See? We're getting it... kinda...

I also got a much needed phone call from Mr. P today. I really didn't know it was possible to miss someone this much. But I keep thanking God for each day that passes, because that is one day closer that we'll have our love back in our lives. I just can not wait until he's home - I'm so excited.

Well I know this post was pretty all over the place and random but it was a catch up post. Hopefully I'll be better at posting (and commenting, although I was doing my best at catching up in between going up to give baby girl her paci back). Hope everyone's had/having a good weekend!

Sunshine and Farm Animal Behavior

Ok so last night's post was pretty emotional so we definitely need some lightening up today, yes?

First, if you haven't been to Martinis or Diaper Genies yet, you need to. Amanda is freakin' hilarious (unless you're easily offended) and does a Confession Friday. My goal in blog-life was to make it on her page with one of my confessions and this confession week - I made it. It was a pretty gross story, but definitely not the worst (maybe I'll figure out which is the worst and make it on the Confession Friday mentions again?!)

Next, I want to go on a vacation. I mean, don't we all? But this vacation will be hard to plan, as it will be a post deployment vacation, so I can't even book anything *sad face* Here is what I need from you all. My dear husband never listened when both my mom and I suggested several times that he get a passport. So, unless they're giving out passports in 'Ghan (unlikely but possible), we need a state-side vacation. When he gets back we will be going to Florida to visit his family and he suggested we may go to the Keys? So what I need from you all are suggestions.

Have you been to the Keys? Is it worth it? Good places to stay/things to do/etc? What are some other state-side vacation ideas?? We're thinking late summer here. Remember I won't get much notice to book, so it'd be best if it were an East Coast option so we don't have to fly, but if you've got a way baller idea that includes flying, well I'll certainly consider it. Go ahead guys, give me some ideas!!

And last but certainly not least...

Hi, I'm Ariana Ralyn. I'm a camera-ham and I am 4 weeks old today (Does that constitute a month or do I wait til the 15th to say she's a month... still not sure how that works).

Don't forget to leave your vacation ideas!!

Hello There, Why Are You Crying? I Know You're Trying Your Best

*Warning, this could possibly, make you cry*

I can't believe I didn't post this sooner, and I had to scour the interwebs in order to re-find it. I had posted it on my facebook page but I mean as many times a day as I post on FB there's no way I'd find something posted weeks ago.

Anyway, this is a video taken by the combat news team with my husband's unit from the day he deployed, 8 Dec 2009.
One of my bestest NC gals, Lori, and her hubby are 50 seconds in. My friend Kristin's son is playing around at 1:29. Mr. P's SSgt, Roger, and his little girl Naomi, make an appearance at 2:55, his son and my friend Rachael, his wife, at 3:00. And Hubby and I (and Ari in the womb) make our YouTube debut at 3:49.

I believe videos like this put a real face on the war. This is me and my friends and their families saying goodbye to the most important person in our lives. When you see it on the news, it's sad but it's like... not close to home, ya know? At least that's how it was for me before... Even growing up in the military environment and supporting the troops the way I always have, I never really knew anyone over there, not like this. And actually watching people saying goodbye to their love? It's heartbreaking.

I cry every time I watch this. You may ask why... that's not very smart, Mrs. P, to watch more than once... But in reality, that was the last time I saw my husband. Held him. Kissed him. Felt him. It's bittersweet, I suppose.
I got a phone call today. And one yesterday. It's never enough. I just miss him. So, so, so much. Every time the baby is fussy or I'm having a bad moment, I miss him more and then my bad moments turn into awful moments. I just wish he were back here with us.

The song from the video, Lit "Lullaby"
Hello there, how was your day? Sorry that I was away
Hello there, how is the weather? Sorry I'm not there to play
I'm trying just to make it better for you I know it's hard to understand
(la la la la la)
I'm always gonna love you..... I promise you I promise.. you..
(la la la la la)
Always thinkin' of you..... I promise you I promise.. you..

Hello there, why are you crying? I know you're trying your best
To be good, now for your Mother, hold her and tell her we're gonna be ok.
I never meant to make you feel so bad, hope some day you'll understand..

Bah bah black sheep have you any wool?
yes sir yes sir three bags full

Can you tell I've had a pretty emotional day today? Sorry for the sappy post... But I hope you enjoyed the video, and if you haven't said goodbye to a loved one or a friend as they headed into a combat zone, it helped you put a face, a name, a family.... to what is going on and what military families sacrifice for this nation.

Oorah, Semper Fi.

A Few Points About This Moment (and the Previous Ones)

At this current moment (and a few moments over the past week):
  • There is a crap ton of yucky, cold, white sky poop on the ground. It's still coming. And the entire state of Maryland is shut down. So much for getting things done.
  • Yucky, cold, white sky poop is plotting a return next week. North Carolina sounds more and more appetizing as the days in Maryland go by...
  • There is a tiny little angel asleep on my lap, making the cutest cooing noises in the world.
  • Said tiny angel will be a whole month old in 5 days. Tiny angel's mommy is feeling both proud and oddly sad about this fact. My baby's growing up!!
  • There is a little extra weight on this blogger's body. Wii Fit this morning, told me I was overweight. And that I need to lose like 22 lbs. Ouch, Wii Fit, take it easy.
  • I will be working my buns off, literally, to nix said 22lbs before hubs come home. He will find me attractive and desirable. And so will I. (Meaning, I'm sure he'd find me attractive and desirable even if I'd grown a mustache, after such a long time in a desert with Marines... but I'd like to find me attractive and get that good ol' confidence he loves back and in full swing)
  • My identity may be in question. Best Buy sent me a letter congratulating me on my recent TV purchase and asked if I wanted Geek Squad protection. This TV was apparently bought on my last bday (12 Dec 09), when I was at my baby shower in JVille... Oh and it was bought in my maiden name. Best Buy, so far, has not been helpful in answering the question of whether or not someone has "borrowed" my identity. Nothing's showing up on my credit cards, so I'm left to wonder if someone decided to use me to open their own credit card and purchase a TV? Let the investigation commence!
  • My college has sent me to collections. For a 23 year old just heading out into the world I have immaculate credit. It is established and very high. I don't mean to toot my own horn but... beepity beep. Anyway, I get this notice from collections saying I owe my school 122 dollars. I've been out of school TWO years. I have never received a bill. I was on a full ride for school. All my bills had been taken care of... TWO years ago. Questionable identity again?
  • There is a certain Marine in a certain desert who is WAY missed. Ok, there are lots. But this one is particularly important to me and therefore to this blog. We have finally made it past the 2 month mark, so that's good... I miss him way bad, but I did get to talk to him for 46 minutes last night. It was pretty awesome. He sounds ok, but super tired. I can't wait to cuddle him. He's so warm. If he were here we most certainly would be playing in the snow, but since he's not I'm hiding out inside getting cabin fever.
  • Mom has cooked dinner and I'm going to go eat, when I return I will try to catch up on my fave bloggy friends. I've been a slacker, mostly because I'm never on the comp just my dumb Blackberry Storm and I haven't quite figured out Blogger for BBstorm. Sad.

Blizzard Bloghop (During a Real Blizzard!)

Hello Blizzard Bloghop visitors (if you haven't heard about Blizzard Bloghop and you think I'm losing my marbles, check it out here). I am currently writing this while here in Maryland it is snowing and is supposed to be a real-life blizzard. Woah! (Edit I woke up to like a gazillion inches of snow this morning)

My name is Rachel, but here in bloggy land I simply go by Mrs. P, the abbreviated form of my (newish) married last name!

I started this blog in order to organize my crazy thoughts of everything that was going on at once. As a newly married, newly pregnant Marine wife, I had a lot going on. Now, as the wife of a deployed Marine with a newborn, the fun (craziness) just doesn't stop.

Let's start from the beginning. In 2008, I was a wild-girl party animal. I graduated from the U of MD Baltimore Co. May 08 with a degree in psych (with honors) and a specialty in partying/being a drunk (with no dignity). I was planning on going to law school, but the one I got into (with a scholarship) was in Michigan and well.... I just didn't wanna go to Michigan. SO I decided to work at the Child Development Center on the Army post I've lived next to basically my whole life (Army brat married to a Marine... oops hehe).
That fateful evening I met my hubs (the dark Italian one on the left)

While working there, I met some people and one fine day, was invited to go bowling at the base post Bowling Alley. It was there that I met a group of rowdy, strange, funny, and mildly attractive Marines. One happened to be named Jonny, and I found him particularly dorky. (haha he's gonna murder me when he reads this). Anyway, this silly guy and I ended up hitting it off and then he kissed me, and we always like to say it was Love at First Kiss. After that we had a few ups and downs and he ended up proposing to me 3 months later.

6 months after that, we were married. And 2 weeks after that, we found out we were expecting (Honeymoon Baby!!)! Yea, we don't waste anytime, but I've learned as a Marine Corps wife that there is no time to be wasted! So we happily (and not so happily, like I said, ups and downs) spent our lives in the surrounding area of Camp Lejeune, NC. Until December when we found out Mr. P was headed for the sandbox. On Dec 8, I did the hardest thing I've done yet in my young life (yes, even harder than labor), I said a temporary goodbye to my other half.

On Jan 15, I did the second hardest thing of my young life and gave birth to our gorgeous daughter. Now, together, Ariana Ralyn and I send hugs and kisses (and toilet seats...) to our beloved hero from around the world. And here I am to blog about the days (hours... minutes... seconds) of my Life as a Marine Wife, waiting to be reunited with my one true love.

Thank you, bloghoppers and other bloggy friends, for stopping by and taking a minute to read about lil ol' me!

A Quick Message to the Media

Dear News,
Please stop reporting things that make me scared for my husband and the men in his unit. Please stop reporting things that may give the enemy an advantage. Please just report nice things that make me feel less scared about this whole situation.
Thank you.

Yours truly,
Mrs. P

Your Questions, Answered (Oh, and There are Pics)

Here ya have it ladies, all the things you've been dying to know! Ok, maybe it's not that serious, but... let me just pretend, mk? I could have separated this into several posts, but I don't get to post that often as of late (I say this after having already posted today, I'm a liar liar) so it's all rolled in to one and I am hoping you take the time to read! Also, there are a couple questions that IRL friends have asked, so I just included them.


Do you like pregnancy or just tolerate it? (Mrs G.I. Joe)
It definitely wasn't my fave period ever, to be honest. I know I should say things like it was magical and all... and don't get me wrong, I know I am blessed to have been pregnant and to have my daughter, but it just wasn't my favorite. The first trimester I was in and out of the hospital because of how sick I was, and while the second and third weren't that bad, I was fat, I couldn't indulge in any grownup indulgences (I miss having a couple drinks, ok?!) I was moody and crampy and... yeah I'm glad she's out now.
The day I went into labor. I believe I was in the middle of telling my mom that I wasn't ready to go in to the hospital, that I wasn't in labor yet.

What was your favorite junk food while pregnant? Do you still like it? (Chelle)
Chocolate chip cookies and OJ! And I am having an extremely hard time giving them up. I mean, OJ's good for you, but the rate at which I eat Choc Chip cookies is not. I think it has to do with the fact that I was limited to my choc chip cookie intake due to her PAC thing, but I'm certainly making up for it now. I'm giving myself 4 weeks before I get into serious healthy-eating, working-out, get skinny mode ;-)

How did you pick your daughters name? Is there a story behind the name? (M in the Midwest) Did you both agree with the baby's name right away? OR did one of you have to convince the other? (Kiwis and Cocktails)
Ok so, originally, daddy picked this name. Some others we were looking at included Charlotte (a family name from his side, but I hate the nickname Char - sorry if that's any of your nicknames, I'm just not a fan, I love Charlotte and Charlie... but no Char), Jaclyn, and some other ones that randomly popped into my head. Daddy (Mr. P) found Ariana on a baby name website, and it's an Italian name (like daddy is a partially Italian man) and it means "Holy One." I loved the name, but at first I thought it may be a little too... "ethnic" for me. It sounds horrible, but I'm waaaay on the light (White girl) spectrum and I was afraid that her name sounded almost Spanish and I would look too white to be her mom. Yeah, dumb I know but... Anyway, so that was like the forerunner and I still liked it but was iffy and then when hubby was getting ready to deploy I was like OK Ariana is the name we've been using ANYWAY and the name daddy, who won't get to do much, picked, so we'll let him pick her name and we'll go with it. Ralyn is a combination of mine and his mom's name (Rachel - yeah, we have the same name) and my mom's name (Evelyn), hence why it is spelled with only one "N." (Ariana is spelled with one N because I believe Anna and Ana are pronounced differently and her name is Ar-Ee-Ah-Na). Ralyn also means "Little Lamb" and Rachel means "Lamb" so it's almost like... Me Junior. And I'm awesome, so of course two of me is like, double awesome ;-) Yea, that was a long story for an easy question, but I'm a wordy person (as you know if you've been reading this haha).

Did you have a boy's name picked? (Kiwis and Cocktails)
We really hadn't found one that we were set on. We had discussed Jackson and/or Jack at length, and I really wanted his initials to be JDP, like daddy, but besides that we hadn't gotten far (we'd even discussed Jackson Danger, because when I met daddy he told me his name was Jonny Dangerously hahaha). Long story short, I knew she was a girl from the beginning.

How is your sleeping schedule RIGHT now? Seriously. I need to know this. :) (Kiwis and Cocktails)
Haha, well... with the help of my mom it's not too, too bad. She eats about every 3 hours (when she's sleeping, more often when she's awake) so at night it goes something like this (this is only an example, the times when this occurs vary each night) 7pm-9pm we try to keep her awake, then sleep from 9-midnight. Midnight, she yells so I take her out to change her which takes oh, we'll say about 10 min, to keep even numbers... then I feed her for about 10-15min. Then I put her down and pee, the clean my nipple shield off to be ready for the next feeding so... 5 min. Then she is usually yelling so I pick her back up and lay down and we drift off so add another 5 or so min. So, we woke up at 12... and ended up steeled about 35 min later. So 1235, back to sleep, then she's usually ready to eat again around 3 (or basically, 3 hours from when we started last time). Some nights, she chooses a time where she judt wants to be awake (one night it was 3-5, another it was 5-7). When gramma and grampa were visiting, they spoiled me and she slept with them so all I had to do was feed her, then they took her back and my mom changed her (so spoiled, I am!). So while I may lay down at 10 or 11pm and get up around 9am, it is very patchy sleep. Luckily, she sleeps a lot during the day too, so I can get some good naps in. And like I said, my mom makes it much easier, so she'll take Ari and let me get a good nap in for a few hours when I need it bad. And now that she's started sleeping in her crib, it's getting easier. And I am definitely adjusting to this odd sleeping schedule... lol

What's the deal with alcohol and breastfeeding? (IRL)
I'm still trying to figure this one out. I know it's the same as alcohol and your blood, you just gotta wait it out til it's out of your blood stream before you feed again. And they say that 1-2 drinks is ok when your baby is this young, as often as they are eating. But I'm not sure the exact formula for later in life, like so many drinks = so many hours to wait. Hence why I'm stocking up on expressed milk for St. Patty's Day. It may be a month and a half away, but I'm going to be prepared.
Mr.P/Marine Corps/Military-esque

Where do you and Mr. P want to be in 10 years? (Mrs. G.I. Joe)
Wherever the Corps wants us to be I suppose. Mr. P told me from the very beginning he plans to do this a long time, so I'll be right there next to him! I think I'd like to have another child (or maybe 2 more... who knows) but it's hard for me to think in such large increments of time when things change from day to day sooo much (as I'm sure you can relate). I guess we just want to be together and happy and we're good to go! (Was that a cheap answer??)

Is your Hubby staying in the Marine Corps until he retires? (Mrs. Muffins)
He is indeed a "lifer." Like I said, he told me from the very beginning that his plan is to do this a long time, so I needed to make sure I was in for the long haul. He has all these plans though... different tracks he wants to take within the Corps, he's got a different plan every week. "We could do this..." kinda things. Which I think is really cool and may be one of the reasons he plans to stay in so long - there are so many opportunities and different routes you can go. And the security and benefits are nice, too.

How do you think marriage has been different than dating? (Kate)
I get benefits and am recognized more by the Marine Corps. :-P Ok, I know, I know; that's not what you were really asking, was it. Well, I've got a ton more responsibility since we've been married (and I'm not just talking about preggo/having a baby). I took it upon myself (because Mr. P is horrible with all things finance) to take charge of all our finances. Bills, balancing the check book, savings, etc. It was a big load to take on, especially since I was just learning to do it for myself, but I think I've pretty much mastered it. Pretty much. I also have the responsibility to make sure Mr. P does his best always (not that he doesn't) but I guess that's where "Nagging wife" stereotypes come from... now that we're married and I depend on him, and Ari depends on him, I am always making sure he is on top of his game (and when he slips and is not on top of it, I am on him like white on rice. And not in a happy way). He probably doesn't like this difference, but it just happened, because like I said, we depend on him. Also, living together in general was a big change. He swore up and down when we met how neat he was and how clean our house would be (he'd yell at me about my messy room and swear that our house would never be like that) and well... it wasn't true. We had to adjust to each other's lifestye quirks (like he doesn't fold his towel the way I WANT it folded, and I leave my clothes every where). And I guess we're just generally much more dedicated to each other. There's a committment to not only love and be faithful to one another, but to make sure the other is always doing their best, feeling good, getting all things taken care of, supporting one another... I don't mean it in a negative way but it's more work. Not work like we have to work to be happy but work in a sense that there are just added responsibilities in a marriage than when you're "just" dating. But in any case, I do love marriage, much more than dating, and I am so happy that I married the man I did :) (yeah, cheesie, I know. You're totally allowed to vom now).

When does Mr. P come home? (IRL)
I include this question, as I'm asked it on the reg. The truth of the matter is, even if I knew, I couldn't really tell you. So, the vague answer I stick to is "Late Summer... so they say." Because of OPSEC, even when he does tell me a date, I can't tell you. I can't do a ticker or anything fun like that. Boo. I have a date that I picked in my head, which is sometime in August, but it's a totally made up date that I just count down too because I know it will be generally "close" to when he's coming home. If it's sooner or later than the date I chose, I have no idea. I pray that it's sooner, that way when I find out he's coming home but I still have days left I can be all Oh HAPPY SURPISE instead of it going past the date I chose and then being like... Oh... sad... Regardless, when he's home, you will know it. I'm pretty sure my entire world will be aware ;-)

How does Mr. P feel about missing the birth (IRL)?
Yes, people have asked me this. I just have to say... How would you feel? He's dealing, and it's something we were prepared for. And although he was SUPER excited the day of her birth, he's been pretty bummed out about how much he's missing. I mean, obviously. But like I said, he's dealing. It's his job and we were prepared for it so we just kinda gotta... suck it up. Tough as nails, right?!

What do you find to be the positives and negatives of living in J-Ville? (Chelle)
Well, we don't live actually in J-Ville. I personally haaaate J-Ville haha. We live riiight outside of JVille in a town called Richlands. It's nice being outside of all the Marine Corps hub-bub. However, positives of living in JVille would be proximity to base (it takes the Mr quite a while to get on base and the traffic is horrendous), close to all things "in town" (the mall, the restaurants, the stores, etc.), and mmm... that's really all I got. Negatives I'd say would be TRAFFIC, I HATE driving in JVille, hubs calls it a sess-pool of bad driving, (all the bad driving habits from different areas of the US combined in one area), so much USMC in one place (I like having the support on base and what-not but sometimes being around it 24/7 you just want to breathe, where we live there are other Marines close by but we're not constantly surrounded). I guess those are my only major points. It's much quieter out where we live too (we're kind of in the middle of nowhere) but we spend a lot in gas because everything we basically need is either in JVille or on base, which is about 20 min from us.

Are you active in the KV (Chelle)?
For those non-Marine wives, KV is the Key Volunteer Network, where Marine Corps spouses get together and try to keep other spouses in the loop (generally speaking), basically the FRG for you Army ladies (at least that's what it used to be called, not sure if that's what they still call it...) Anyway, we don't actually have a KV anymore. Apparently, before I became a Marine wife, when the KV was still alive and kickin', they had a lot of issues with it. Women were gossiping, pulling rank, and there was no structure (this is all I hear about it, mind you I wasn't a part of it so I can't personally attest so therefore these are not my opinions on it). Anyway, so it was shut down and thus came the Family Readiness Network, which yes, I am proud to be a part of! The Family Readiness Network is a bit different from KV in that it is more structured and command-run. We are "governed" by the FRO (Family Readiness Officer) who is a trained and paid individual who "rules" over everything Family Readiness. Then each FRO Assistant has to attend a training. Training covers things including general topics like deployments, communication, USMC structure etc. as well as confidentiality, which was, apparently, a big issue with the KVN. I am indeed a Family Readiness Assistant, and was very active in it before hubby left (I like it because I've made my best friends down here through it and it helps me get some insider info, maybe not much and maybe not top secret, but enough that I came home and told hubby when the ball was when he didn't know ;-D) I only became less active because of my increasing pregnancy and then having a newborn. I honestly do think it is a great system and encourage all our wives to get involved, or at least know who our FRO is and how to reach her.

What's the best piece of advice you received as a military spouse? (Or if you didn't get any, what advice do you WISH you'd received?) (Lisa)
Oh, good question! Well, I've grown up military (kind of) my dad is now retired Army, so I had a bit of an idea of what I was getting into. But, my matron of honor in our wedding was my great friend from high school who also happens to be a Marine wife and she had this amazing speech she gave to us at the wedding that was full of lots of advice. I wish I could remember the whole thing (I have it on video but I'm way too lazy to go find it right now) but I think after she summed it all up the best advice I got was - No one said it'd be easy, but they did say it'd be worth it. And that's really the way you gotta think of it. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be the hardest damn thing you've ever done in your life. And people are going to ask you how you do it and why you do it and tell you they couldn't do it. But you do. Because it's worth it. And there really is nothing better. Oorah! ;-)
Me and my wonderful MOH


What's one movie you can watch over and over again? (Mrs. G.I. Joe)
Clueless. I used to watch it all the time in high school... college... ok just in general. I still watch it when I need a lil cheering up, or if there's nothing on tv, or if the cable goes out...

Do you have any tattoos? Would you get any (more)? (Lisa)

I currently have two. The first one I ever got is three stars on the inside of my left wrist. I got this right after becoming an alum of my sorority, Phi Mu. It stands for "Love, Honor, Truth" which is the open motto of our sorority. It is also shaped like the 3 stars on our badge. The second I got when Mr. P went to get his tattoo. He had this big huge plan for a tattoo and I had only briefly thought of getting one. Upon mentioning this at the tattoo parlor, the receptionist said, Oh we've got an open artist for walk-ins if you want, so I was like yeah sure! Anyway, the tattoo is "Ceci Passera Aussi" on my left rib cage. This is French for "This too shall pass" (and if you're fluent in French and that's not what it is, I don't wanna know... I can keep on believing that the translator and the people I asked were correct, mmk?) Anyway, This Too Shall Pass has been a mantra in our household since I was little - whenever we hit a bad spot my mom would always say this. If I was sick, feeling down, whatever - This Too, Shall Pass! And hubby and I are both French so that's why I picked French. And I want MOOORE haha. I want some kind of moto tat (Marine Corps related) but I haven't decided what and whether it's the very best idea yet... I'm thinking maybe just a yellow ribbon?? And maybe something for Ariana. And I've always wanted a phoenix on my ribs (probably under the Ceci Passera Aussi) but I'm a chicken. And it'll be expensive.

What's the best book you've ever read? (Lisa)
Ok so when I was in like elementary school I read this book called "The Doll in the Garden" and I read it over and over and over and it's stuck with me ever since. I haven't read it in ages, but I still think about how awesome I thought it was. I guess I'd say that's the best book I've ever read since it has stuck with me all these years. Also, the Harry Potter books, hands down, are amazing.

CAPTCHA and Smize (The Grievances of a Bored Internet Junkie)

Ok, real quick two grievances I need to discuss.

1. Captchas.
What ARE those words? Randmoo? Moinc? Really??
All you out there with captchas that need to be filled before leaving a comment, I loathe youuuu. Ok, obviously I don't because I'm going through the pain and agony of filling in that word to leave you a love comment. But I do loathe the captcha. Actually, sometimes it makes me giggle, like when it was randmoo. I could totally see myself using that "Omg. That guy talkin to you at the bar was soo randmoo!" Ok, maybe not. I just don't get where they find these words. Why can't it be normal words like "random" or "coin"?? I guess computer programs can figure out and automatically fill in normal words and that would defeat the captcha's purpose? Maybe...
2. When people don't smile with their eyes.
This has nothing to do with any bloggers, actually facebook lead to this realization. I was looking at people's photos (mmk, stalking) and there are some people who it looks like their smile never reaches their eyes! Are these smiles even genuine? Are they really happy? It bothers me, I just want to shake them and tell them LAUGH, life is FUN! Smiling only with your mouth is weird. But smiling only with your eyes is weird too, a la Tyra Banks' "Smize" from Top Model. That was super weird, those models deffo didn't look happy (maybe if they'd eaten a donut first they'd be super-smizing!) A good heart felt smile from happiness shows in both the mouth and the eyes. Remember that when you're getting your photo taken - if you're really thinking about how uncomfortable your shoes are, even if you're "smiling," it's probably going to show up in the picture.
Smize does.not.equal Smile

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