September 18, 2011


Joshua's R&R is close. Like REALLY close. It's been the most surreal couple of weeks in Florida with family. 

Sometimes I have to remind myself that it is a blessing to spend time with my grandmother, GG when I've spent a little too much time with her. So far, I'm a horrible wife (I didn't know my husband's jacket measurements by heart) and a terrible mother (A-I'm a bad influence-I crossed the street from the fabric store to the parking lot without staying totally within the crosswalk lines and B-she's convinced that I should be bottle feeding because "you can't tell how much the baby gets" by nursing which somehow equals I'm starving my daughter to daughter who, btw, is 80th percentile in length and 78th percentile in weight).

The boy seems to be enjoying his time with the family, although tonight he told me he misses his bed. I miss my bed too. I also really miss not sharing a room with a 3 yr old boy but it's a small price to pay in the end to have a little extra support.

With R&R coming up, I've been overwhelmed with emotions. It's weird but then again, what of this deployment has been anything but overwhelming. I'm excited, obviously, but it's a different sort of's a sick-to-my-stomach-wish-it-would-just-get-here excitement. I'm also a little afraid...I'm afraid the Army will screw up and the dates will get bumped...I'm afraid it will go too fast...I'm afraid my son won't be able to handle saying goodbye again...I'm afraid I'll fall apart when it's over...I'm afraid it won't be enough. I miss my husband more than I ever imagined possible.

You know how as a mom when your whole family gets sick...hubby, kids, somehow even the dog but you hold it together, you're strong until you get them to stop throwing up and back on their feet and only then do you fall apart and end up with the worst of it? That's how I feel now. I feel like I've struggled and faked the strong Army wife thing for so long and I've succeeded...our daughter was born safe and sound and our son is managing the deployment like a champ but I'm done. I haven't seen my husband, in person, in over six months. This tiny respite is beyond necessary. Joshua needs to meet our daughter, the boy needs to be thrown and wrestled and I need my husband to hold me...and now I'm crying...again. I'm so tired of being overly emotional. 

Deployment sucks.

September 16, 2011

Britax B-Ready (Doubles mode) Review

Britax apparently read my review because they have come out with foam-filled rubber replacement tires! They're $89.99 (currently) and you can only buy them from Britax. I'm looking forward to buying them soon!

A lifetime...also known as six months of deployment and a baby ago, I posted a review on our new stroller, the Britax B-Ready as a single stroller. This review is over the same stroller in the doubles capacity.

First off, I have come to love this stroller more and more. As you may have read in the singles mode review, the convenience of being either a single or double stroller was the whole reason we bought it in the first place. It's perfect for a family in our situation...a 3 yr old boy, newborn girl and deployed Daddy. The ability to use it for my son with just the toddler seat, just my daughter with her infant carrier or both based on where we're at and what we're doing has been a life-saver.

(Sorry, I forgot to get a shot of just our son in the singles mode)

For the record, our 3 yr old really doesn't need a stroller but sometimes, especially with my husband 7,000 miles away, I like the idea of being able to strap him in. That's one of the things I like about the stroller in either single or doubles mode, our very determined son is not able to undo the straps. Also, if you're concerned about size, our son is 40" tall and very skinny. He fits length-wise with no problem...his feet do hang below where the foot rest is but the way the stroller is constructed, he's high enough that it's not an issue. Plus, another great feature on the toddler seat is that the foot rest comes up and he can just chill with a book or toy-which came in very handy when I was pregnant (I was high risk and had 3 Drs appointments weekly...he was contained but also had room to be entertained). He still has plenty of room above his head but I will say one downside is that if he wasn't a skinny little thing, I could see the straps getting too small very soon but the kid is three so I doubt we'll use it in doubles mode after our Disney World vacation and then my husband's deployment ends.

Before I go any further, I want to mention that a couple weeks after our daughter was born, my cousin came to visit with her then 4 month old son who also happened to have a Britax car seat. We went to dinner together with the babies and used the B-Ready to hold both. We faced the bottom baby backwards and the top baby out and then parked the stroller at the end of the table. My cousin and I sat across from each other and were at all times able to see both our babies all while taking up less room than two of the restaurant slings which hold car seats would have needed. Plus they were much safer in the stroller than those slings ever are...I've seen servers nearly knock them down more than once.

(I didn't get a shot at the restaurant with the two babies and since we only have one car seat, use your imagination to put the two images together and that's what we did at the restaurant)

A few things which I had mentioned in the singles mode review that I'd like to now re-address...

I was disappointed that the wheels weren't air-filled. Not-so-much now. I'm surprised honestly because I expected to grow to hate the stroller without the wonderful air-filled tires that I had come to love on our last couple jogger styled strollers. It really doesn't bother me at all because I don't jog and the stroller maneuvers so fact, I think it handles better in the doubles mode even than the singles. Of course, between the two kids, their seats, the diaper bag and the stroller frame, it weighs close to 80 lbs so it's not for the faint of heart.

Speaking of the diaper bag...still loving that the basket has 3 zippers with which to have more access to everything underneath. I have a large-ish diaper bag that holds a surprising amount of stuff. It's approximately 16"x8"x10" and fits through either of the side pockets without a problem which is great in the doubles mode because the car seat blocks the normal access. Although, I will say I bought a couple large carabiners to clip things onto the stroller for our trip to Disney so we won't have to get in and out of the basket since we'll be living out of the stroller for two weeks but on an everyday normal use basis, it's easy as can be.

I thought the enclosed rain cover was great because it came free with the stroller and car seat and I still think that's great but unfortunately I've come to realize it only covers the top child either in the toddler seat or in the car seat so kid #2 is left out in the rain....I don't think it's going to be a problem for us because when we have both kids on the stroller our son is on top and our daughter is below in her car seat which has a fairly  large canopy. Coupled with the fact that the toddler seat will provide some protection, I think we'll be ok but my husband made a good point that with the infant seat connected, our daughter is kind of low to the ground so if we end up running through the Magic Kingdom in the rain and hit a puddle, she could get wet. I will update after our vacation since that's the most likely time it will happen if it does.

I was also excited about the snack cups (sold separately) because I loved the idea of not having to take off a tray to get the boy in and out. Sadly, I came to find out the snack cups are tiny. They're super shallow and would never hold a sippy cup very long. Since I'm not a fan of running after the sippy cup escapee, I nixed the idea of the cups and did some research. I read that the UppaBaby Vista is made in the same factory the B-Ready is made and has a snack tray which fits both strollers. So, painfully (they're about $30-for a stinkin' tray) I ordered one and I'm happy to report it's true. It fits perfectly and I'm pretty excited about it because the tray is dishwasher safe...yeah, you read that correctly...dishwasher safe. That was a brilliant idea-whoever came up with it should get a raise. You can find the tray at Amazon although I recommend shopping around a bit, you might find it for a couple bucks less elsewhere.

I was going to do another Pros/Cons list as I did with the Singles Mode Review but I honestly can't come up with any real cons. It's a great doubles stroller and I highly recommend it!

Britax is having a sale this month, September, if you buy the B-Ready they will include either a car seat/base, a 2nd toddler seat, or a bassinet for free...for more information click HERE

September 11, 2011

Ten Years

I woke up this morning (too early thanks to baby girl) and there were already half a dozen friends with  facebook status updates remembering where and what they were doing ten years ago. For me, it was my freshman year of college. I was just getting to know my dorm mate and life already felt a little upside down. But this post isn't about me or what I was doing, it's about that day and all the days since.

So many have said that 9/11 was our generation's Pearl Harbor but I disagree. It could have been. Many would say it should have been. But it wasn't because we didn't respond the way our grandparents of the Greatest Generation responded. We haven't been forced to sacrifice and we have forgotten. It's been ten long years of war and though we remember what happened to us as individuals on one day, the battle that has waged on since does so silently. Outside of the 1% of the population directly affected and the minuscule amount of people who actually pay attention to politics, our country has moved on.

Earlier this year when I told our neighbor that Joshua was preparing to deploy, her response was "Really? I didn't think we were still sending people over there." She's not alone in her blissful ignorance. On one hand, I's easier to change the channel when the news turns to the war. War is frightening and unpleasant and our generation is one which, for the most part, runs screaming away from such things. We bury our heads in the sands of reality TV and our own social networking dramas. But the fact is we are still living with the remnants of that horrific day. We are still at war. There are still people who want America to fall and are prepared to give their own lives in that pursuit.

So, as we mark this historic anniversary, let us not just remember what we were doing ten years ago but more importantly remember those who gave their lives on that terrible day as the first casualties of this war and those who have continued to fight and die for our country every day since.

September 5, 2011


Well. We're happily in Florida...sadly it's less sunny Florida and more tropical storm Florida but we expect clear skies again soon. The drive took a total of 18 hours...4 to get to Grandma's house-normally only takes 3 but we had a few stops in town before we could really hit the road. Once we had Grandma in tow, we drove overnight (so the kiddos would sleep more) 14 hours to Nana's house. I'm so proud of my kids! We only stopped 3 times for gas, diapers and nursing and neither of them had a meltdown the whole time.

After arriving at Nana's house, we did what we always do with Grandma (my mom), Nana (my aunt) and GG (my grandmother)...we went shopping. For hours. Surprisingly, both kids did ok-not as great as the drive out because they were fed up with their car seats but overall really good. We got back to Nana's house where we had left Bubba, our Rhodesian Ridgeback. Less than an hour after being back, Bubba fell in the pool and was struggling to get out. I ran barefoot outside hoping I wouldn't have to jump in and save him since I suck at swimming and he almost weighs as much as I do but thankfully my cousin Tommy was home and got to Bubba first. Bubba was clinging to the side of pool and Tommy just scooped down and yanked him out. Nana told us that dogs often drown in pools because they fall in and don't know how to get out but from the look of it Bubba understood the concept of get to the side which gives me some peace of mind but Bubba is worse at swimming than I am-which says a lot! He doesn't kick his back legs...he just sort of flails his front so his bottom half sinks and all that stays above is his little nose. It's pretty pathetic. So, yesterday we went shopping and I bought Bubba his very own lifevest. He loves it and although thankfully he hasn't fallen into the pool again, he's safe if he does.