You didn’t picture missing your child’s birth. Or, missing your toddler learning to count to ten. These kids were nothing but a maybe-in-the-future when you enlisted. Now, they are your everything. And, you’re in another country for Father’s Day. We know it’s hard and far from where you want to be. But, we see you and honor you. Here’s to the deployed dads who are missing out this Father’s Day.
Summer time is upon us. With the sunshine and blue skies, I find it so important to have something to interest my full-of-energy toddler. This summer we are planning on going through a bucket list. So, he doesn’t go stir crazy, and Mom stays sane! Here is our Toddler Summer Bucket List, 50 nearly free things to do your toddler this summer.
I have been a military wife since 2013. My husband enlisted eleven months after we started dating. So, the military has been part of our makeup for most of our relationship. But, I’ve never felt like “Military Wife” was something I could claim. I’ve never done anything, besides shopping at the commissary, to earn that title. Four months into our first deployment, I know that it is part of our identity, but there are others who have it worse. On this Memorial Day While My Husband is Deployed, I want to recognize the people who we celebrate on this long weekend.
Do you ever wonder what a day in the of a mom is like? The real version, not the Instagram image. Let me paint a picture for you…
The little ones have been going crazy since before 7 am. The toddler is getting into everything. You have been constantly saying no. “How do we listen?”
All the way. Right away. With a joyful heart.
Not five minutes later. SAME. EXACT. THING.
The baby wants to nurse every three minutes and only sleeps for twenty minutes at a time. The day flies, but you accomplish nothing. And, you always climb in bed utterly exhausted! Physically and mentally.
And, then you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day. Here is What Mothers Really Want for Mother’s Day.
I remember how my heart sunk when I heard the word deployment. Four years into a six year contract, my husband and I thought we might make it out without a deployment. And, than utter disbelief set in with those two pink lines. This could not be happening. Instead of breezing through a military career free of deployment, we were going to do it in one of the hardest ways possible. I have never really felt like I could say much about the hardships of being a MILSO (military significant other). In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever even thought of using that term. But, three months into our first deployment and having survived a birth with my husband 7,310 miles away, I like to think I have some knowledge to share. So here is The How-To Guide for a Young Mom Surviving Her First Deployment.
It’s Easter week. And, the first time I have put together an Easter Basket. Even though this is my son’s third Easter. Is that awful? My sister-in-law said that she had seen a rain boot Easter basket recently on Facebook. I actually didn’t realize it was a thing. But, I ran with the idea!
Step One Find Your Boot
I found these Ranyzany boots on Amazon. I thought the cute airplane print would be a great base for an Air Force themed basket. Since Daddy is deployed for this Easter. And, E is currently in love with Captain America.
Step Two Find Your Filling
At first, I was worried that his toddler sized boots wouldn’t have enough space for filling. But, they turned out perfect! So, if you’re filling a basket for a toddler, lucky you. Pick out a few fun items. Run with the theme of your boot, like I did. Or, go with the basic bunny Easter basket.
The foam air plane was found at Hobby Lobby, and is a two-in-one craft! The zipper-pull is the perfect addition to his favorite Captain America sweatshirt, and will help him master zipping it up. I chose the Captain America treat containers from Target in place of Easter eggs.
Step Three Assemble
Start stuffing! The goal is to have the items most following the theme to be sticking out the top of the boots. Thankfully, his toddler size 8 boots turned out to be the perfect sized basket! Although, his toothbrush didn’t make the cut. But, that’s okay as TMNT doesn’t go with the theme. Get all the goodies in place. And then add in the filler to make it look cuter and more polished.
Voila! An Easter Basket that has a purpose. I love that these baskets are not only adorable and out of the norm, but they are practical too. My little may or may not already be jumping in puddles with his fancy new airplane boots. April showers after all!
Remember when you were young and how exciting Friday nights were? Things are a little different now that your lifelong date is in another country. As a young mom with a husband who is deployed chances are your Friday nights are going to look like one of these.
The I’ve Got A Last Minute Babysitter Friday
A miracle happened. A throw your hands in the air in the hallelujah miracle. The aunties have asked to babysit the toddler, you obviously gotta get out!
Drop that kid off and speed over to Target. You know. The babies are running low on diapers. The most legitimate excuse for a Target run. First stop: the dollar spot. It has everything you need and want in your life. Yes. I need all these planners. And succulents?! For three dollars? I love succulents! Next stop: clothes. I’ll take all the chambray please. But, baby wearing and budget. You move on. You pass the baby section, and have to make a U-turn. Oh yeah, diapers. After at least an hour you make it to the check out. With everything in the cart. How did this happen?
While an hour in target is heaven, heaven knows you’re not ready to pick that kid up yet. Maybe grab a coffee? No, already had a whole pot. But, you do need a treat. A whole Miracle Tart will do. I mean no refined sugar. And chocolate. And, downing that Kombucha. You know, nursing mom, it’s the closest thing you can get to a glass, with the added benefit of digestive health.Then you’re home by 8:30 to FaceTime. Bedtime is, of course, a hot mess due to the babysitter induced sugar high. But, those couple hours of you time were beyond refreshing!
The I’m Actually Going Out With Friends Friday
You have been planning forever. All week. Texting back and forth ‘ohh where should we go’. Although, the only requirement is that the menu offers more than chicken nuggets and french fries. And, no play place.
The day is the same as all the others. But, the fits are a little easier to make it through because you see the finish line. The get out of jail free card. Just six more hours away. Five. Two. And, then your friend texts they are on their way!
“Yay! Can’t wait! You’re saving me. I’ll be ready when you get here.”
You wish that was the truth. But, you are still a mom. And, doing your hair and makeup doesn’t come as easy to you anymore. Then you’re ready! But, the baby needs nursed, again. Oh well, even if you’re running late, you’re still pumped. Real life adult human interaction! Hot food that you actually want. Not, just baby left overs.
You get to the restaurant. Did they spike my water? You can’t stop laughing. No. That’s just the feeling you get when you’re around real people. You feel like a normal twenty- something again. Until, you remember you’ve got to be back by 8:30. But, who are you kidding? Like you could make it any later, you’ve been chasing little people since 7:30 in the morning. But this. Actually being around grown-ups again, was just want you needed to make it through another week of melt-downs and chaos.
The I’ve Got Nothing to Do Friday
The last and most common Friday, is the I’ve got nothing to do Friday. The day itself drags. So much caring for little people. Constant nursing. And, telling the toddler no. Calm down. Stop poking your brother.
You can’t help but watch the clock waiting for reinforcements get home. The garage door opens right at 5 pm and you send the toddler to yell a good surprise at Grandma. It’s so fun, grandma and baby love it. But, you need to pass off the crazy to somebody else.
You’ll stand around and talk about nothing with them. Or go sit down to breathe. Depending on if the day was lonely or the kids were too crazy. THE night consists of lots of sitting on the couch. Face in a screen. Facebook. Then Instagram. Then Pinterest. On repeat.
All Friday nights end the same. A good toddler cuddle and singing Moana and Thomas and His Friends on repeat. Sometimes falling asleep. But, always wishing that you could be with Him. Dreaming of the Friday nights you used to have. The ones before kids. Dinners or movies, sometimes both! You would give anything to be laughing over nothing and everything with the one person who makes even the most mundane things your favorite.
One day, Mommy. One day that husband will be back. And, your Friday nights may still fall under these categories, but he’ll be here, and that’s all that matters. So soak up those moments where you are just you. Just breathe through the crazy. And, give those babies extra loves because He would give anything to be able to hold them this Friday night.
As I’m hitting publish I realize not all moms were lucky enough to move home through deployment. So, if it’s a Friday night where you’re stuck at home, put your kids in the car and get a Starbucks. Just drive. You especially need a break!
Easton’s new obsession, besides Ninja Turtles and Captain America, is talking about going to Hawaii with Daddy. Which has got me thinking about that family vacation a lot lately. I can’t believe it was almost a year ago! It was hands down my favorite trip, and memory as a little family. I mean who gets a surprise trip to HAWAII for their birthday?! Somebody who’s husband is way too sweet.
But, as I’m dreaming about Hawaii, I wonder if it’s the trip I’m missing or that it was the last real carefree and most together time I had with my husband. Shortly after that trip we found out he was deploying, and that we were expecting our second baby. I cherish these memories. And, I love that Easton does too. Although being that he was 18 months, I’m not sure how much he actually remembers. I think for both of us, we just like the idea of paradise with daddy.
I am so thankful for memories. That they can transport us back to our favorite times in seconds. But, today it’s not enough to just look at these sweet pictures. It softens the blow, but what I wouldn’t give to have that handsome face in real life with me, not just on a screen.
So, for the next four months we’ll be dreaming of paradise. And, counting down the days until our family’s mini paradise of simply being reunited!
One day John will be back with us. And, ‘have even one day we will be back in Hawaii!
Do you remember being a first time parent? You researched everything! For the entire nine months all I did on Pinterest was search baby everything. Yes my research was Pinterest. Having a newborn was a new adventure. There was so much to learn and prepare for.
The second time around? Nope. No researching. Been there done that. I kept one baby alive. I know all I need to know. We’ve got this baby thing down. While that is true to extend, there were still some things that surprised me and made me feel like a new parent again! Here’s a list of nine things I forgot about having a newborn.
How TINY 7 lbs is!
My first was 6 lbs 5 oz when he was born. So tiny. I remember for the longest time being able to wrap my fingers around his thighs, and so effortlessly around his arms. But, now he is almost 30 lbs and that’s all my arms know anymore.
How hard newborn diapers are to change!
I have been changing diapers everyday for the past two years. I didn’t blink an eye about adding more. Until I remembered how little and squirmy newborns are. Their little arms and legs flail all around. You feel like you’ll break them when it’s time to wipe. And, then the scare factor of not hurting the umbilical cord or circ. It took a good two weeks to not feel terrified taking care of that tiny bum. But now that he’s up to ones, I’m a diaper changing pro.
The importance of tucking it down.
All my boy moms out there know! Those darn little things have a mind of their own. And, while I did remember that you gotta tuck it down, I have had some slips. Ok. He had at least one leak per day for his first two weeks. Oh my goodness how does it keep happening?
Which leads me To my next point.
How many outfit changes newborns go through.
The spit up. The blow outs. The leaks. It’s amazing for being so little how messy they can be!
Oh the Spit up!
I had forgotten about all the spit up. Or, maybe blocked it out. When your baby fever hits you don’t take into consideration that you and baby will almost always be covered in spit up. The smell. The stains. It’s the worst. And, because I forgot about the glorious spit up, ask me if I have been prepared with enough extra clothing.
The answer is no.
How much you need to keep in your diaper bag.
Now flash back to the time of researching for the first baby, I knew I wanted to keep using a purse instead of an official diaper bag. I’m still the one carrying it, not the baby, I want it to be cute. I got a big enough purse for diapers, wipes, extra clothes, and all the other spares. As the baby grew the baby stuff in the purse diminished. I totally forgot how much you really need with you when you go out with a little one. They are so tiny, how do they need so much?!
How quickly two hours passes.
I have never been much of a schedule follower. But, you do tend to fall into your daily routine and general schedule. We have been following the toddler eating schedule for quite some time. And, yes they can be rather snacky. But it doesn’t compare to how much you feed a newborn! I definitely had forgotten just how often new little ones eat. Two hours is like all the time. And, two hours in between feedings happens really quickly.
All that you can do while nursing.
Every-two-hours feedings takes up a lot of the day. But, you can still do a lot with a baby latched on to you. The dog needs out? No problem. You need a snack? No problem. Need to scroll through Pinterest? Obviously. Your toddler needs a diaper change and you to give him a piggy back ride while playing Ninja Turtles? Well, still working on that!
How much newborns really sleep.
Everybody knows that new babies sleep. It’s what they do best. But, when you’ve been around a one nap a day kid, the amount of sleep a newborn gets is nerve wrecking! I found myself asking, is my baby ok? They literally just wake up to eat. And, I totally forgot about that!
Even though you already have kids, and you know, basically, what you’re doing. Newborns still are still new. And, they still hit you with a learning curve. Thankfully, the second is a little less scary!
I have never been so glad to live in the time of technology as I was February 7th. FaceTime has become a staple of our daily routine since my husband has been deployed. For nearly two months, we have been looking at his face every day and night at 8:30 through the iPad screen. My sweet boy has been able to see his daddy every day since we’ve said “see you later”, which has helped his transition immensely. And, seeing my husband’s handsome face has kept my loneliness at bay.
I heard in the beginning of this deployment, that wifi is like a military wife’s best friend. This was beyond true as I was laboring with my husband far away in another country. For being a less than ideal situation, it was like the stars were perfectly aligned. I could not be happier with the way my deployment birth went. From the very beginning it all fell into calm and perfect place.
I was up by 4:30 that morning, with what I was expecting to be contractions. But, not sure sure. John called me right as I got in the bath, to decide if the contractions were the real deal.He never calls me so early in the morning! From then on he was there. Facebook chatting through the irregular contractions. And, as they got more consistent. I was able to let him know within seconds that I was going into the clinic, even though I didn’t feel like I was that far along. Within a simple matter of hitting send, he knew I was at 7 cm at 12:00 pm. That it was time to go to the hospital.
The nurse joked that when I came into the ward, there was no way I’d be in labor. That they we would talk about me behind my back, because I came in smiling and looking good. There is no way she is at a 7. I think I was in shock, it was actually time.
It felt so unreal that I almost forgot to hug Easton goodbye!
But, I did feel good. I was on a high of “oh my goodness it’s actually happening” and “my husband isn’t going to miss out”.
Within an hour, I was waddling laps around the maternity ward with my phone right in hand. Between every hard contraction, I’d check my Facebook messages. I was literally walking around the hospital texting while in labor. I’m sure I looked like a phone – obsessed teen, but it was my only connection to my husband. My phone was connected to me. And, my phone kept my husband connected to the birth.
In a lot of ways, it kept me distracted too. The time seemed to pass quicker, because I kept going back to give John the run down. It feels silly to say that Facebook was such a blessing to my labor. Or, I was on Facebook at all. But it was, with no exaggeration.
By the time 2:29 rolled around, they broke my water, and my husband’s face was right there. Set up on the iPad next to me on the bedside table. My mom jokes that after every push I would turn over and smile at John. I don’t remember this, but maybe it’s true. Because, even though my husband was physically thousands of miles away, in another country, he was right there. Even though from the first positive pregnancy test, I was fretting that he wouldn’t be.
At 3:29, exactly one hour after breaking my water, and a few screams, our sweet little Mason entered the world. As he was laid on my chest I was overcome with emotion. This baby who felt like nothing more than a dream. A moment we had wrestled with in the months leading up to it. Was here and it was imperfectly perfect.
My second labor, was much like the first, easy. It was manageable. Uneventful. And, quick. But, most importantly John didn’t miss a second.
We never dreamed we would be having a baby over deployment. Who would? But, this is military life. You deal with it, and make it work, because it’s what you’re living with. We would have given anything to make it so John was there to hold my hand as the contractions hit. To cut Mason’s chord. And, to be able to hold him, smell him, touch him. But, that’s not the way it works. So, I feel beyond thankful that technology exists.
Mason Craig Ronan was 7 lbs even and 19 inches long. His birth story is imperfectly perfect. I wouldn’t change a minute of the physical aspect of it. Maybe that was a trade off for having a husband so far away.
I know attitude definitely plays into the way you handle hardships in your life. And, I know that I do my best to choose to be positive, especially in moments that are out of my control. But, I think my midwife said it best when she said , “God is giving you so much grace, with your delivery and the way you are coping.” I feel so blessed with the ease of my delivery and that my husband was there.
One day, my husband will be home. Our baby boy will recognize his daddy’s face and voice, before he’s ever even felt a hug from him. Until then I will be so grateful for our unique memory and story. And, for FaceTime itself!
Huge thank you to my mom! She was kind of volun-told that she was to be my birth coach. And, she rocked it! So thankful for the calm environment she and my midwife provided.