Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Catered Curriculum

Last month we finally made the leap to get Grace into a preschool starting this fall.  I did research and asked around and finally settled on a local religion based two-day a week morning preschool program.  We are SO excited!  It's a huge step for our smart little lady.  She still has some language issues and has only spent a handful of times away from mama with anyone other than family, but we saw it as an opportunity we just could not pass up.

That's why I was SO excited when we got our Catered Curriculum subscription box in the mail.


What is Catered Curriculum, you ask?  "Everything you need to provide high quality, educational experiences for your 3-5 year old, with the convenience of home delivery."  This subscription box service provides an art, science, math and reading activity, including all the supplies and an easy to follow lesson plan.

In a nutshell you open the box and immediately feel like you are in an elementary school art class again.


This month was the April Showers box.  We made an umbrella for the art activity, made it rain for the science activity, matched the numbers on the dice to the numbers on our worksheet for the math activity and traced, sang and learned letters for the reading activity.


Grace LOVED this and repeatedly thanked me.  I'm a mom who pins away on Pinterest but rarely gets around to following through, so having it all delivered to my door is definitely the way to go for me.  A few of the activities were a little advanced for Grace's current learning level.  But I plan on keeping the neatly bagged (!!!!) activities for learning at a later date.


Catered Curriculum is a great addition to any household whether you are the mom making crafts and lesson plans for your kids everyday or the mom just trying to keep your kids alive (me).

I know just how much love and dedication is going into each box.  One of Catered Curriculum's owners and co-founders is someone I have known since high school.  Delta and I have experienced a lot of life together and I know first hand just how great she is with children.  This is most definitely the perfect venture for her.

To top it all off, I've got a special code just for you Somewhere Over the Camo readers.  20% off your order when you use the code somewhereoverthecamo at checkout.

So parents of preschoolers... go.. try it, you will not be disappointed!

Disclaimer --- I received the April Showers Catered Curriculum box in exchange for this honest review.


always,
amanda
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter

(just to clarify... my hubs wore dress shoes to church and then changed to finish smoking the ham.  He's a business professional these days after all.)

Easter time last year was a bit chaotic as we were about to welcome Brooke the very next day.  It was on a Sunday and the day before was the day I fell belly first trying to pick Grace up from the road.  Grace and I spent the day cleaning the house and doing as little as possible while Rob spent most of the day driving to and from St. Louis to pick my sister up.  We didn't do an egg hunt at home for Grace.  We briefly saw the Easter bunny but didn't have our cute Easter outfit on.  There was no Easter feast.  For all intents and purposes it was just another day.

This year though?  It was our first holiday in our new home.  My parents and sister joined us for mass, a feast, an egg hunt and a small celebration for my Mom's recent birthday.  We ate, laughed, took pictures, watched a movie and overall just enjoyed the day together.

Every holiday is special when you have kids, but I will say Easter is always one of my favorites.  The holiday in and of itself is a special one.  After all, he is risen!  But all of the fun details that go with it make my mama heart swoon.  Special Easter dresses, sweet little baskets assembled with care.  Watching my husband scatter eggs and my babies marvel at the eggs actually holding something.  And don't even get me started on the food.  Rob smoked a ham this year, and Easter will never be the same.

Our fireplace hearth is still scattered with Easter baskets and little trinkets and goodies.  The day after Easter sales were hit up (only 50% off at Hobby Lobby... what say you HL?!).  The ham is still the meat of choice three meals later.

And my heart is still swooning at all things Easter.

I hope all you wonderful readers had a glorious Easter holiday as well.



always,
amanda
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

We bought a house.

Rob and I have been married for 7 years and I never thought that at 27 we would own our own home and be settling in Kansas, for good.  In the Army you never know what the next year may bring you.  The end of last year we didn't know what this next journey was going to be like.  We were cautiously optimistic to say the least.


Y'all, life after the military has been really good to us.

My husband landed a really good job with a really great company that treats their employees really well.  We were able to pay off some debt.  Move back to Kansas.  And now we have finally closed on our dream home.


We are making this little college town in this great state our forever home, and we could not be more excited.

So that's where I've been and why it has been so quiet around these parts.  Please forgive me.  Now that we are finally in the last stretch of unpacking, I am hoping to find a new normal and get settled back into all things blogging.  Which will HOPEFULLY include getting back to reading my favorite blogs.

Any advice for homeownership?  I'm open to ALL your suggestions..


always,
amanda
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happy birthday Brooklyn!


It's the end of a very long day... there's a lot going on in our neck of the woods these days.  But today was extra special as our baby turned one.  It went so incredibly fast with Grace.  Ten times faster with Brooklyn.

As I sit in the (almost) quiet (Diesel doesn't know the word quiet..) night, I can't help but think back to a year ago at this time as we were being moved out of the labor and delivery ward to the recovery wing.  It was the beginning of a very long night of parenting alone.  Little sleep and lots of tears.  I struggled, a lot.  Back then I was about to feel run down and scared that having two was not going to be an easy transition.

But now?  Now I marvel everyday at my sweet second baby.  The ornery one in our family.  The one who knows that one look that will let her get away with just about everything.  She cuddles at just the right time. And already shows such an amazing personality.  God without a doubt knew what he was doing.

I'm not sure where the last year went.
Today you are one...
Happy birthday my baby girl!


always,
amanda
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Monday, March 20, 2017

7 years married, and the makeup equivalent.

2010 was 7 years ago y'all.  Please raise your hand if you also find that hard to believe.

Why is this significant?

It means Rob and I have been married for 7 years.  On March 17, 2010 we went to the cutest courthouse in Annapolis, Maryland and said our vows.  It was us and the Justice, jeans and rings.

Now every year on St. Patrick's Day we celebrate.

Obligatory cute picture of my kids on St. Patrick's Day.
LipSense color // Bravo

This year Rob took the day off of work and we made a day of it.  Our first adventure was the parade here in our little town.  We happen to live in a college town... and apparently no one had school or work.  So that was chaos.  As I expected, my husband however did not expect such chaos.  As a result there was no way for us to get close enough for the girls to really see.  So we ducked into a pizza place and grabbed some lunch.  Grace was able to see some horses through a break in the crowd and she was perfectly content.  Now we know what to do different next year.  After that we headed for KC.  A 30-45 minute drive depending on where you are headed.  Rob rented a corvette for the day so after picking that up and a swing by the golf store on that side of town we were headed to my parents to drop the minions off with gaga.

Let's take a break here because it is IMPORTANT to note that this is our first date in over 3 years.  Except for a military ball shortly after we had Grace... this was the first time we were out without our kids for fun.

LipSense color // Pumpkin Spice

Our evening without kids included TopGolf (kind of like bowling, except with golf), tons of great food and a stop by the jewelry store, where my husband let me pick out a new pair of diamond stud earrings.  We cruised town in the corvette and took lots of pictures of just the two of us.  It is possible my husband may be a believer again in leaving the kids for an evening of just us time.

That's how you celebrate 7 years.

7 years...

Wow.

I felt impossibly good all evening.. and thanks to THIS new found makeup lip obsession... I made it through the entire day with color in one place.

Maybe you've heard of it?  LipSense.

Y'all.  You MUST try this.  The color lasts all day.  You only have to apply once.  The gloss layer has completely replaced my chapstick regime and my lips have never felt better.  Plus I get to support one of my closest friends from high school and her sweet little family (we both have 2 girls and we were both pregnant at the same time with both... our youngest even share a birthday!).


Anyway... Chelsea is offering a special 10% off discount to Somewhere Over the Camo readers.  Just go here and tell her Amanda sent you and she will hook you up.

If a redhead can pull it off... you can too!

Here's to 70 more years with my love and another day of long lasting lip color.



always,
amanda
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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Transitioning out of the military - what YOU need to know.



So your spouse came home with news you may or may not have been prepared to hear... your adventure as a military spouse is coming to an end.

My husband came home with that news less than a year ago.  He was being medically discharged from the Army.  Officially he has now been separated from the Army for almost two months.  But he signed out on terminal leave at the end of October.

Here's my best advice for you, the spouse, on how to handle the transitioning period that comes with leaving one world and entering another.

---DON'T PANIC.  Easier said than done, I know.  But if you can keep your panic instincts under lock and key the whole situation will go a lot smoother.  I confess, I panicked at one point.  I didn't feel we were getting the answers we needed in a timely manner and one day I just lost it.  It's natural, but it also doesn't help.  You are still at the mercies of the military.  Their timeline will always satisfy their needs, not yours.

--BE PATIENT.  Also easier said than done.  The answers will come.  One week you may be waiting on word and the next week you may be out.  The last two weeks went absurdly fast but up until then we were playing the waiting game.  Patience is not always an easy thing to come by, especially when it comes to your life... I get it.  So find whatever solace you can and stick to it.  For me, God has a plan worked wonders in talking myself off of the ledge.

--DON'T FIXATE ON ESTIMATES AND DATES PROVIDED.  The Army may say terminal leave will not start until February.  Suddenly it's the end of October and your husband just signed out 4 months early.  They have no idea.  Which leads me to...

--HAVE A PLAN A, B AND C.  If you only make a plan for the initial time period given... you'll be super stressed when you have two weeks notice of your last day in.  Try and keep an open mind and an open end game going.  If plan A doesn't work out, have a plan B  and C... just in case.  The last thing you want is to be done with no idea of what is next.

--NETWORK.  This helped my husband immensely.  He was able to land a job months before his official end date with the Army.  He had a great network of people sending him job suggestions and advice for the next steps.  Also, LinkedIn worked WONDERS.  Use it.  It's free!

--GO SOMEWHERE YOU KNOW.  It's tempting to just start over somewhere fresh... but I definitely think the best thing we did was come back to Kansas.  We have a built in support system already and it was easy to figure out Rob's job situation and our living situation since we were familiar with the area.  We've even decided to make our current town our forever home.  Who would have thought?!

--BE THANKFUL.  It's easy to be mad when the military decides to unexpectedly give you the boot. But if you can be thankful, it will help with the moving on part.  The Army provided my husband years of experience in his field and gave him an amazing starting point for his career.  I am and forever will be thankful for that.

I spent 6 and a half years living the military life alongside my husband.  I left Kansas and my eyes were opened to all that the rest of the country has to offer.  I loved most of our adventures and hated some too.  Now that we are in the civilian world, I am grateful for the tough times that we went through, because it made us appreciate all that we have now even more.

As always, if you face this unexpected road, don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail!  I can give you an idea of what to expect and help prop you up in times of uncertainty.  Just remember, you got this.



always,
amanda
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Monday, March 6, 2017

27.


Two weeks ago Wednesday I turned 27.  The last year has gone by in the blink of an eye (like I say in basically every single one of my monthly updates for Brooke).  My 26th year of life was a crazy one... as every other year for the last 8 plus years have been.

I had my second baby.  Lost our first fur-child.  Welcomed another fur-child.  Moved back home.  Said goodbye to the Army world... the only world my marriage and most of my adult life had ever known.  Baptized our second baby.  Celebrated a third birthday.  Hosted our first holiday for family.  Caught up with old friends.  And truly started to settle into our new normal.

And now I'm 27.

One of my best friends celebrates her 27th birthday in just under two weeks.  She asked me on the morning of my birthday if I felt any older.  I don't.  At all.  I'm another year closer to 30.  Which doesn't scare me.  It scares me how quickly time is flying by.  Sometimes I feel like we just graduated high school and were so excited at college and what it was going to bring and do for us.  Now we are all grown up with marriages, engagements, kids of our own.  We live across the country and are all on our own paths.

But when do we truly start to feel like adults and grown ups?

I was lucky in that my 3 closest friends from high school were all able to be in town the weekend after my birthday.  I had won a gift card to a local spa (thanks to this here blog!) and was able to treat myself and 5 others to an afternoon at the spa.  So we rounded up my mom and sister and all made the drive out to the spa.  We learned quickly we aren't grown up enough to follow the "quiet please" rules.  And when they tell you to stay hydrated, that clearly means with alcohol, right?  It was nice to get away from our new normals and just be us for an afternoon.  Be pampered, relax and chow down on some amazing food.  It was a really good welcome to 27.

Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri | AMAZING.  WORTH THE TRIP.

I'm hoping 27 is good to me.  Lots of good things are in the works and I am still loving every minute of being back in the sunflower state.  We are happy and healthy (finally after a week plus long bout of crud) and spring is rolling in.  All things that make the days just a little bit better.



always,
amanda
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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Brooklyn | Eleven Months

This time next month our little gem will be ONE.  Say what?!  It really doesn't feel like that much time since we brought this munchkin home... but I really can't recall life without our Cookie.


At 11 months, Brooke's quirks...

.You are wearing size 12 month clothing and size 3 diapers.

.You weigh 20.3 pounds, which is the 53rd percentile.

.You are 30 inches tall, which is the 77th percentile.

.You are a busy body!  All the time... before bed, after sleep, middle of the day.  ALWAYS busy.  It is rare for you to just sit still.

.You are now cruising along furniture rather quickly but still haven't tried to do it alone.

.You have 8 teeth, 4 on the top, 4 on the bottom.

.You give kisses.  Sort of.

.You are OBSESSED with baby dolls.  I've never seen a baby so obsessed with dolls.

.You get into everything.  Cabinets, containers, basically all the stuff you aren't supposed to.

.You will climb the stairs by yourself if nobody is watching.  Which is terrifying for mama when you just appear upstairs when daddy is supposed to be watching you.

.You still nurse in the morning, before naps, before bed.

.You have started taking a 1/2 juice, 1/2 water mixture from the sippy cup per your doctors orders.

.You still only say "dada".  Which is frustrating.

.You have been sleeping from 10 to 5 the last 4 or 5 days and we are not taking it for granted.  When you were sick earlier this month it was basically a disaster in the sleep department.

.You pick up your toys and help put them away.

.You love to look out the backdoor and front door.  Especially when Diesel is in the backyard.

.You LOVE daddy.  He is just the best in your book... but together you all make each others body temperature rise, and so you feel like a furnace after cuddling your daddy.

.You demand food and race to the kitchen when others are in it.  You don't go hungry, but you could fool some people.

To read about Grace at 11 months, click here.



always,
amanda
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Brooklyn | Ten months

(B turns 11 months old today... but as per the norm with second child syndrome... we are a month late.)

It's like overnight this little lady lost all of her baby and grew.  That same night my mama heart broke just a little.  There is a chance Brooke is our last baby.  And if that is the case, it is FLYING by WAY too fast.  I can't seem to get it to slow down one little bit.


At 10 months, Brooke's quirks...

.You are wearing size 12 month clothing and size 3 diapers.  You are still a bit of a chunk... but cute as can be.

.You clap and Daddy taught you to give high-fives.

.You are pulling up on everything and unstoppable.  If you can reach it, you are trying to stand on it, against it, or even on top of it.

.You went through a HUGE sleep regression lately and it has just about killed mom and dad.  Up 2-3 times in the night.  Usually easily calmed, but still a giant pain to mommy and daddy in the wee hours of the morning.

.You fight nap time and bedtime.  You have to be super 100% ready to go or it isn't happening.  Which is frustrating for mama... but we make it happen.

.You have flirted with the idea of giving up your second nap.  Mama hates that idea, so keep that in mind.  Your naps range from 30 minutes to 2 hours.  Really all depends.

.You have 7 teeth.  3 on top and 4 on the bottom.  I think?  I try not to stick my hands near you mouth as you think chomping down is quite comical.

.You are opinionated for such a little person. If you get mad, you let us know.  If you are sad, you let us know.  And most rewarding... if you are happy, you let us know.

.You like to talk... especially as you are falling asleep.

.You just recently decided that you are a big enough girl that climbing the stairs is no biggie.  Another idea mama hates.

.You are mainly nursing in the morning, at nap time and bed time.  You still haven't taken to the sippy cup idea... so you don't drink much else liquid wise.

.You have found very few foods you dislike.  You will eat almost anything.  You favor macaroni and cheese though.  Of course.  That comes from me.  Sorry.  You do not eat any pureed foods unless mom just doesn't have anything Brooke friendly in the house.

.You got a new carseat and love watching the world pass bye, now that you can see it.

Basically this little lady is growing a mile a minute and we can't keep up.  Our second child is ornery as all get out, and she enjoys giving us a run for our money every single day.  But she brings a lot of joy still and that makes it all worth it.

To read about Grace at 10 months, click here.




always,
amanda
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Grace Elaine at 3.


Well we have had a 3 year old (commonly referred to as a threenager in this neck of the woods) in the house for a little over two weeks.  Our little 8 pound, 5 ounce baby is growing up... and it makes my mama heart both proud and sad.

At 3, Grace weighs 33 pounds (71st percentile) and is 37.5 inches tall (60th percentile).  She's our beautiful fair skinned baby girl with long brown hair and huge blue eyes.  She is currently wearing size 3T clothing and size 7c shoes.

Our girl has the BIGGEST heart.  She's sassy and sweet.  She loves to help with chores and will help you out when you need an extra hand.  She knows almost every animal.  But her favorite would be either a "hosey" or dog.  She loves playgrounds, especially slides.  She just started gymnastics, and loves it.  Her dad and I want to get her in soccer too.  She thrives on routine, and knows everything has a place where it belongs.  She loves Barbies and cars.  A lot.  She also loves to host tea parties and play dress up. She's finally grasping the concept of sharing and loves to mother other children.  Grace loves macaroni and cheese and pizza.  She refuses most vegetables but will eat almost any fruit.  She doesn't shy away from spicy things either, and loves salsa.  On almost anything.  She is very independent and is very stubborn to ask for help.  She loves Mickey and Minnie and Octonauts.  She asks if we are going to Gaga's almost every time we get in the car.  Gaga is the term used for my parents and Ein... aka my sister, Erin.  She picked up the sign of the cross on her own and loves to pray before eating.

Grace is an amazing sleeper... but she gave up naps (unless she happens to be in the car at just the right time) and still sleeps between us in bed.  Grace is still wearing pullups as we have had little interest or luck in the potty training department.  I am hoping it comes to her soon.  Grace's vocabulary is still delayed.  Her left ear failed a hearing test just last week and so we are probably on our way to see an ENT after confirming the schools diagnosis at the doctors office.  We are hoping that some answers may be on their way to us.  She gets very frustrated when she can't tell us what she wants or isn't understandable.  But her vocabulary has come a long way in the last year.

Our Graceface, Gray, Gracie, is one of a kind.  She's already showing signs of being a lot like her mama... which will prove tons of fun once those teenage years arrive.  She's the best big sister we could have ever asked for and she loves so deeply.

I just truly can't believe she is THREE.



always,
amanda
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Monday, February 6, 2017

Currently


Making: My to do list for tomorrow.  Always a list.  I am a list person.
Cooking: Nothing.
Drinking: Water.

Reading: Nothing right now.  I desperately need to catch up on some of my favorite blogs.  I've also got a new book to read.  If I ever get around to it.
Wanting: The laundry to fold itself and the dishes to load themselves.  Maybe someday.
Playing: All my favorite shows as everything came back for the year.  Scandal, Grey's Anatomy, Timeless, How to Get Away with Murder, Nashville, The Royals.  Hi, I have a problem.

Listening: To commercials from the KU vs. KSU basketball game (I hate basketball..), Diesel squeak his toy and the dishwasher do its thing.
Wishing: For the weekend.
Enjoying: That for the first time in many days I actually tackled my entire to do list today.  No worries, I will pat myself on the back.


Liking: My new car.  The Mustang wasn't cutting it in a Kansas winter so my husband traded it for a new Ford Escape for me.  Don't worry, he's already planning for his antique Mustang project.
Wondering: If it is going to be 60 degrees tomorrow too.
Hoping: The baby sleeps through the night (KNOCKING ON SO MUCH WOOD.).  The 2 am to 3:15 am cry-fest that occurred last night was awful.  For everyone.

Marveling: At Tom Brady.  I mean... GOAT.  I'm just ready for him to retire so some of the rest of us (cough the Chiefs!) can have a chance at glory.
Needing: To go switch out laundry.
Smelling: Some Scentsy.  Some Christmas scent..

Wearing: Yoga pants and a tank top.
Thinking: Of how happy I still am to be back in the greatest state, ever.
Feeling: Meh.  Tired and my stomach is kind of upset this evening.

I really wanted to blog about Grace at 3... but I didn't write down how tall she is, and she's already asleep... so I can't check.  I also wanted to blog about Grace's cupcake birthday party.  But I have like 2 pictures of the actual decorations... and getting pictures from my mom's camera is a chore.  (Hi Mom, love you!) So instead.. you get this.

Happy Monday friends!



always,
amanda
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Brooklyn | Nine months

I CAN'T keep up.  Somehow another dang month has passed (heck we are coming up on almost two months have passed!!) and Brooke is now 9 months old.  I swear I thought it went fast with Grace, but the second child?  I blink and she is another year older.


Your quirks this month...

.You are still wearing size 3 diapers and mostly 6/9 month, 9 month and some 12 month clothing.  It's really hit or miss on what does or doesn't fit.  You are a bit chunkier than your sister was at this age, but you fit in most of her clothes in line with the seasons, so I can't complain one little bit!

.You can't be contained and are still army crawling everywhere.  And you are fast.

.You are ornery. I thought your sister was bad.  But I do believe you will be our troublemaker.  Nothing wrong with that... just means you are following in your dad's footsteps.

.You eat EVERYTHING.  And get really mad when mom, dad or sister are eating something you don't have a bite of.  So far the only thing you don't like is green beans.  Which who can blame you?

.You have started to pull up on things out of the blue.  But your feet still aren't exactly flat enough to justify walking.  You'd rather sit.

.You love "dada"... and remind mama all of the time with your lone word choice.  Funny I carried you for 9 months as a human incubator, gave birth to you and do everything for you and you say "dada" first.  That's a mom problem if I ever heard of one.

.You have five teeth - 3 upper, 2 lower.  Every once in awhile you remind mama those are present.

.You are showing signs of developing separation anxiety when you watch mama or dada walk away from you.  But it isn't too terrible yet.

.You have had some more congestion which has recently thrown your sleep schedule slightly out of whack.  I don't think you get enough milk when you can hardly nurse, so it causes you to wake up more often.  Luckily these bouts of congestion typically last a day or two and then you are back to normal.

.You are such a smiley and happy baby.  Always handing out smiles to anyone that says anything to you.

.You are a flirt.  Where your sister kind of doesn't care - you are constantly trying to get the attention of others.

.You are still nursing several times a day but mainly before sleeping and first thing in the morning.  You can nap in the truck without nursing first, but find it hard to nap at home without nursing to sleep.

.You had your first Christmas this month and loved it all, especially the boxes and wrapping paper.

Our sweet Brooke, you are still such a joy to be around.  I'm blessed to be your mama.  Your little personality is such a bright spot when the older two are really testing my limits.  Thanks for being you baby love.

To read about Grace at 9 months, click here.


always,
amanda
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