29 May, 2012

What It Means.

I was going to post this yesterday, but spending time with the family took a front seat.

We had a great weekend, filled with both our family! Shannon got to meet her Great Grandparents on Mike's side, and we took tons of pictures, which I'll post later.

While the weekend was about bbq's, time off work, soaking up the sun, and adult beverages for the majority of the population, Memorial Day is special for all of those that have been, or still are, military.

I made sure to take a few moments to remember those who have served and lost for our country. The men and women who left behind wives, daughters, sons, husbands, mothers, fathers, and friends to fight for the very things that give me the ability to own this blog. That give all of us the ability live in the freedom that we so enjoy.

I hope you all took a moment to remember those brave men and women who gave or are willing to give their lives for you, even though they don't even and probably never will know you.

My husband is my hero because of the job that he has done in defending our country. He's an amazing father, husband, son, and brother.

So I hope that you all took a moment to find the nearest service member and shake their hand. I hope that you all took a moment to bow your head in silence to remember the REAL meaning behind Memorial Day. I hope that you reached out to a Gold Star family if you know one, or gave a hug to a spouse who has the love of their life deployed right now. While we're enjoying beers and burgers, they are over there dumping sand out of their boots and sleeping with their rifles.

Freedom isn't free... and I hope that you all remember what it means, because some gave all.


23 May, 2012

The Big Reveal

It's been a pretty tame week here so far. A lot of Army Wives is being watched. Memorial Day this weekend means a four day weekend for Michael, and a trip to NH for the family.

Yesterday was a pretty fun day for us Jones girls. Shannon rolled over twice, however I couldn't manage to get anything on video. She's really digging the large amounts of tummy time, and only really wants to be held when she's eating.

This Momma feels pretty used.


We're starting on the whole teething adventure, so I decided that it might be a good idea to run and pick up more children's tylenol to have on hand. Shannon was wide awake when we pulled up to the gas station, so I decided to carry her in, instead of keeping her in her car seat. She loves to flirt and look around. Who am I to deny her that?

We got what we went in for, plus a coke for Mom. My hands were beyond full, and Shannon was having a great time playing with the lace on my tank top. She's really loving discovering different textures.

She was having such a great time, that she was working on bringing the lace into her mouth. As we got to the register, didn't that little bugger lose control of her hand, and instead of pulling the lace into her mouth it went down instead.

My bra went with it.

Yup. My kid pulled my boob out.

The whole kit n'caboole popped right out and I'm not sure who got more red. The little boy behind the register or me.

Of course, my hands were full of baby and extra stuff, and I think I almost dropped Shannon in my rush to unload stuff onto the counter, so that I could put the 'wild one' back into her proper place.

Not a word was exchanged between the cashier and I, and I've never been checked out faster.

Needless to say, I'll be wearing turtlenecks for the rest of the summer, and we won't be going back there anytime soon!

I love being a Mom....


21 May, 2012

3 Months!

Can you even believe it!

Little Miss Shannon hit three months yesterday. She's growing so much faster than I could have imagined, and I'm loving every moment with her.

She handled her shots like a champ, and I'm glad I made the choice to split them up. We'll be doing the same thing for her 4 month shots at the end of June.

She's getting so strong! She can push herself up onto her hands during tummy time and you can't put her down without her changing direction or wiggling herself off her play mat. Often we put her down for the night in her crib and she ends up on the opposite side facing the totally opposite direction. Mike and I get a kick out of figuring out where she'll be in the morning.

She is discovering her hands and feet, and puts anything in close range in her mouth. Biting down as hard as she can is a fun new thing that she's been practicing. She would much rather be facing out when you're holding her, looking around is super!

She and Dixie are best buddies these days, and Dixie is always close by. They ride together in the car, and Shannon is always reaching to attempt to pet her.

She was 9lbs 9oz at her 2 month appointment, and her doctor is THRILLED with how healthy and happy she is.

Breastfeeding is still going strong, and it's as easy as ever!

All in all, she still remains the blessing that she was when we found out we were going to be adding to our family on Father's Day of last June! I'm looking forward to each and every day. Watching her grow and learn is so exciting!

17 May, 2012

It's All About Choices.

Most of the time, I open a new blog window, sit in front of it for ten minutes staring at the little blinky text line, then decide that I don't really have anything to write that is of note, so I just hit the 'close' button and get on with my day.

This morning though, while I was nursing the baby, and Daddy-O was getting ready for work, something popped up on my Facebook feed that pushed my grumpy button.

I originally wanted to stay out of the whole 'Are you Mom enough?' Times article bologna. I'm not really going to voice my opinion on it, because I don't really care how other parent's parent. If your kid is happy and healthy... good for you. I'm very pro-breastfeeding and I applaud any Mom that wants to at least try. Anything is better than nothing. I don't know how long I'm planning on breastfeeding Shannon, but it's the business of my family. Me, Shannon, and Mike. Period.

My friend over at Starting From Scratch puts it better than I ever would. Go check her out... she's awesome.

What really got on my nerves was a friend saying that people were getting on her case for being a stay at home mom...that she needed to get a job to be 'normal', that she needed to put her child down, that basically everything she was doing was wrong.

Combine this with all the nasty comments that I was reading about the Times article and another comment I read about somebody marrying their husband for the military benefits. It's enough to make this very sleep deprived Mommy want to scream.


Aren't we all on the same team here?

I'm blessed enough to be able to stay at home with Shannon. It was a decision that Mike and I made together. I worked up until two days before I had her, and I do still go to the barn to help deflect the cost of owning Willow, but my daughter has never and will never see the inside of a daycare. My main focus is Shannon. People who say that being a SAHM is 'easy', isn't a 'job', or isn't 'normal' need to pull their head out of their behind.

I'm on call 24/7 and I love it. There are days that I am so jealous that Mike gets to get up, enjoy his 30 minute long showers, and leave for work. I know that his job isn't stressfree and that he works hard, but he gets to interact with adults. He doesn't get peed on, he doesn't have to walk around with a foot and a half tall screaming monster attached to his boobs, he doesn't smell like puke half the day, and he gets the time to take a shower and put on real clothes.

When she starts screaming at night, there isn't anything that he can do. It's Mommy that gets to stumble bleary eyed into the other room at midnight or four am and feed the baby. How is that lazy?

He got to go away for training, while I worked at getting the baby to sleep in her crib and through the night. He got to hang up the phone and go to bed. Most nights, I was so jealous of him.

Don't begin to tell me that I'm lazy for staying at home with her. Don't tell ANY Mom that she's lazy for staying at home with her child or children. I know a Mom who is an inspiration to me. She has 3 beautiful girls, loves her family the way that they deserve, and hardly ever complains about the hours that her husband puts in. I'll bet the farm that she doesn't sit around and watch Spanish soaps all day. She's a role model Mommy and Wife. Anybody would be able to learn a thing or two (or ten) from her.

We chose for me to stay at home with Shannon, not only because we both feel that me being home with her is beneficial to her, but because it's what we can afford.

Even if I was able to find a job, the cost of putting her in daycare would mean that we wouldn't be making any money from the job that I had. My paycheck would be turned right back around and put into daycare. The only thing that would be different is that I wouldn't have the time with her that I'm so blessed to have.

It's a great option for some, but it wasn't for us.

My husband doesn't complain, and he would defend me should it come up. Not that I need defending really.

We share home chores pretty equally, but it is me that does the majority of the grocery shopping, dish washing, diaper changing, dog walking, (I'm not going to say laundry folding because we are both horrible at that), and baby entertaining.

He's in charge of the bill paying and helps out with everything else every chance that he gets.

And they look really cute together.

I'm glad that my friend is bold enough to speak up for herself, and I just want this to be a message to everybody in the 'SAHM is lazy' mind-set. Sit down, shut up, and move on with your own life.

For all of you who make the comment that I'm just married to my husband for his benefits... have you SEEN the man? I'm obviously married to him for his looks.


Military families have it hard, and the benefits are hardly reflective of the amount of bologna that we and our husbands often have to put up with, not to mention picking up our whole lives and moving because somebody else told us to. Now with Obama threating retirements, the cuts that are being made, and the whole war issue, you really think that we're going along with this whole thing for the healthcare?

I'm throwing cards in on that one.

The majority of men and women join the military out of pride for their country, and because they want to better themselves. They love what they do, and they do it with all their heart.
Many military families are making way below the poverty line. The person in the family who is enlisted works long hours. They don't get extra for holidays or overtime. Many days, Mike is out the door by 6, and doesn't get home until 8. When he has to drive to MEPS, it's even later. Yes, we get a living allowance, but most of the time that isn't enough. Even though Mike (not 'we'...Mike) is an NCO, we have enough to put food on the table, and a roof over our heads.  I work at the barn to defray some of the costs of owning Willow, and I'm so thankful to Mike that we have been able to keep her. Had I not been able to work, and had I not fallen in line with the BEST barn owner on the planet, it wouldn't happen. 

Not to mention that when signing, he or she is agreeing to put his or her life on the line, without question. 

Next time you see a military wife (or husband!) don't tell them that they married for the benefits... just know that it's not all what it's cracked up to be.  

I love my husband, and I would love my husband regardless of his job. It's about the person that he is, not the benefits his job can give me.

Now that this blog as reached almost 1,000 hits (whoop!) I just want to let everybody whose reading it know... it's easy to judge from the outside. Please don't.

Oh...and that Shannon is the cutest darn thing in the whole entire world.

14 May, 2012

The Best Gifts...

The best gifts in this life aren't something that you buy from the store. To me they are the smiles I get from my daughter, while I'm sitting in her room nursing her. I love it when she takes a break from her mid-morning snack to give me a big smile.

They are a good ride, the kind where you dismount and realize... Maybe this IS worth my time.

They are time well spent with family members, or good friends.

You can't get this kind of stuff for free, you can't wrap it up and put a bow on it, and you can't plan for it. It just happens.

I got the BEST Mother's Day gift this year (considering it was my first one.)

Mike got home, just in time!

We were able to spend the day together, and that was exactly what I needed.

It's been a whirlwind month, and it went MUCH faster than I expected. It had it's good moments (like being able to spend quality time with my Mom, watch the Kardashians guilt-free, and hog all the pillows...including the good one that Mike wins custody of every night. ;-) ). It had it's bad moments as well (The constant screaming/crying from Shannon, feeling like I was never caught up with the house work, and not having the nightly fight over pillow custody.).

Having him home feels like a huge weight has been lifted, and it's nice to have our house CLEAN for the first time in a month.

That's the BEST Mother's Day gift a girl could ask for!

This marks the start of a new chapter in our lives, and we're anxiously (okay, I'm anxious... Mike is used to all this) waiting to depart to our new 'home' and I'm excited to take advantage of all the adventures that a new place has to offer. I hope that I can implant the same sense of excitement into Shannon, so that she looks upon the changes that will be happening to her with a positive, excited attitude.

This is one of the best gifts that my AMAZING mother has given me. With each move, my Mom handled it with grace, and embraced the new places that we were living. She always encouraged us to take the oppurtunity and run with it. To learn, read, touch, see, and explore all the new places that we went. When we moved to Hawai'i she taught us to be open minded and to embrace the culture and the different types of people there. I blame her for the wonderful experience of living there, and the home sickness that I feel whenever I think about our time there. I'm so lucky to experience those feelings.  

Again, a gift that can't be bought.

I hope that as Shannon grows I'm able to be the mother to her, that my Mother was to me. We had our moments, many of them heated and ugly. Now that I'm a mother myself, I understand.

I look back on my childhood, and the way that I treated her as a teen, and I feel the deepest of remorse. I was pretty horrible a lot of the time, and she didn't complain, she always remained supportive, and embraced me with open arms.

She still does.

That's what it means to be a mother, and I can understand that now.

Thanks Mom, for being there for me, and for never giving up!

I hope to be half the Mother that you are.

So, all in all, my Mother's Day was an awesome one!

I love my Mike, I love my girl, I love my Mom, and I love my life.

Another gift that just can't be bought.

11 May, 2012


We all have things that we've worked hard, have given things up for, and that we are so proud of! Even the simplest things to some people are something worth bragging about.

This post, I REALLY want to brag about my amazing husband. So I'm going to. :-)

The past month, Mike has been away at Station Commander School, and today was his graduation! I'm so proud of him stepping up and adding this tool to his box. He was given the oppurtunity so he grabbed it with both hands and ran! Isn't that what part of being in the Army is about? Defending your country AND bettering yourself?

Not only did he use his time to apply himself to his classes, but he also used it to better himself physically. I was constantly getting 'at the gym' texts as well as updated mile times. He's offically better than me in most aspects (Except breastfeeding... I still hold the torch there, thankyouverymuch.).

Every challange that he recieved at school, he took and exceed his own expectations.

I'm so freakin' proud of him.

Yea, it was only a month...but he's my husband and I'm allowed to gush about his acheivements...as long as I comply to OPSEC and PERSEC.

Things at home weren't quite so smooth sailing, but I'm thankful that I was able to pick up the phone and call him. I'm so grateful for him being able to listen to me grump/cry over the phone when the baby was screaming until all hours of the night. So many spouses (military and non) out there don't get that luxury when their husband's are gone and my hat is off to them! I'm proud of you, as you should be proud of yourselves!

I'm proud of myself for getting through it.

What the future has in store for us is up in the air, as is usual. Our first PCS as a family looms close on the horizon, that's known for sure.

Perhaps OCS....then a deployment or two for sure...nobody knows.

I do know that no matter what the circumstances, the pride and love that I feel for my husband isn't going anywhere, no matter what the situation is. I think that that is really what being a spouse is about. Military or non.

PCS, schools, deployments....bring it on world.

We've so got this!

I love you honey, and your girls are so proud of you. I wish we could have been there to see you graduate!

06 May, 2012

Crossover Confessions

I've never really been an avid dressage rider. I've played with it, even shown a few Training level tests on a crazy paint. I think I only managed to complete one between taking out the entire arena, the bolting home, and falling off (twice).

The beginning of my riding career has mostly consisted of the hunter/jumpers with some western pleasure chucked in there for good measure. I've always jumped on an oppurtunity to ride a different style, but I wouldn't consider myself proficent in anything other than riding the crazies.

I've always been 'that kid' at the barn who will jump on anything that has 4 legs and resembles an equine. Your horse has a rearing issue? Cate'll do that. Just throw her a $20 and a 6 pack. I used to go through helmets like underwear.

When I started riding at FLF almost 4 (!) years ago, I started with the idea that I was going to purchase a new horse with some serious background issues. 'Fix' him with some dressage, than back to the jumper ring for this girl. Dressage is the BEST way, in my opinion, to get background issues sorted out. I wasn't good at this 'stressage' business. Give me 4' ft jumper courses, thankyouverymuch.

This horse, however, was a special case. Rearing, bucking, barn sour, biting, bolting, the whole nine (probably ten) yards. When I tried him out, it took 4 people to tack him up, and every time I asked him to trot off he would rear, spin, dodge left, and then bolt. It was epic.

I hooked up with B at FLF for serious help but I ended up deciding aganist the suicide machine. Free is not always fun. I stayed with B though, and it was the best choice ever.

In exchange for indentured servitude and a small piece of my soul, I've been opened to up to this amazing world that is Dressage, along with breeding. (The breeding thing is amazing in itself) 

Coming from the jumpers is a total 180* for me, and I've learned a lot.

For example...

1) Dressage riders have a thumb obsession. I can't get through a lesson without 'THUMBS UP!' I will admit, I ride with 'puppy paws'. I always have, and it's horrible eq. I've always been effective, and have never been yelled at for it. I always pinned well in eq classes. Now I have dreams about it, and am constantly walking around with my thumbs in an upward position. I even bought neon gloves.

2) Whats up with the sturrip length, eh? I was used to riding with my knees almost to my chin. I feel secure that way, have ridden through MANY a disaster with them set jumper ring short. My first lesson with B, they got lowered about a million holes. Surprise...I could actually open my hip and sit on my rear the way that she asked. Maybe these dressage folk know what they are onto something!

3) Talking is allowed! It's an amazing concept, communication during lessons. I was talk to sit down, shut up, and ride. If I wanted my instructor to know that I had understood what she was saying, I was to nod my head, but I was not to utter any words. B encouraged me to speak and ask questions during my lessons. It's amazing how much you learn when you can ask questions!

4) Circles are my friend. I learned that one the first time I got to ride the 'evil square'. Enough said.

5) Riding a straight line, an actual straight line, is not for the faint of heart or the weak minded. Walking in a straight, correct line, is about the hardest thing I've ever done, other than the evil square.

6) I can feel my horse in my elbows. But only if I keep them soft. Who would have thought that soft elbows would accomplish so much? I never did. I thought I had lovely 'following' elbows. Turns out that was a pipe dream.

7) Dressage riders aren't grumpy. They are perfectionists, with some OCD and an ability to concentrate better than a U.S. Army Sniper thrown into the mix for fun. When it comes to it though, they are wicked nice people. At least the ones that I've met. They have a sense of humor, and the community around here opened it's arms to this newbie without question.

8) It is for every horse. Big, small, fat, skinny, ponies to drafts, every horse and rider combo has something to gain from even the simplest dressage movements. Just like any sport, it takes a special combination of athletes to get to the upper levels, but if you haven't got Olympic dreams, there isn't any reason why your 18 year old mustang/donkey cross can't bust out a Training level test. Dressage doesn't discriminate when it comes to horses. It's wonderful. I read a story in the COTH about a lady who competes her mule at 3rd. She keeps up with those big 'ole WBs no problem!

9) I REALLY need to get my thumbs to listen to my brain. Like seriously. It's pathetic.

10) I want to make a career out of this whole stressage mess. I've never been more frusturated in a lesson before, or felt like more of an amature, but it really pushes me to be better, try harder, and prove to myself that I can get my %*#& thumbs under control it can happen.

Dressage is not easy, and it's not just muddling about in a pattern in the arena. It takes serious devotion and commitment. You have to have thick skin, a good work ethic, and you have to want it. It's not a sport where even the best horse is going to hand it to you or cover your mistakes. It's a sport where you aren't rewarded unless you put the time into it. It's something that you can take and apply to every horse, in every situation.

That's not saying I won't still race around a jumper course for some fun, and to ruin the new position that I've worked so hard for. ;-)

Simply put, Dressage was way more than I thought, and I hope that my goals and ambitions aren't just a nice thought.

This girl deserve more than just a pipe dream, and by God we're going to make it. :-)

She's just so sparkly isn't she?

03 May, 2012

iRide! Among Other Things

Well the household has been sorta quiet since the last time I posted.

The dog has developed up a love of pens. Anybody know how to get ink out of carpets?!

I've spent a TON of time at the barn this week, and I love it. Shannon has been a total trooper, sleeping through chores, and not really being the fusspot that I know she's capable of being. Must be that Ya-Ya influence!


On Monday, the most amazing thing happened...

Yep! I finally sat on my girl! The four legged one that is. I'd never sit on my baby.


She was pretty much perfect. For being such a big mare, I don't think that I looked that over-mounted. I'm only 5'3 and she's 17h. Once she gets a top line she's going to look a lot bigger, but baby steps. We have to get steering down first.

We were going to do more on Wednesday, but when I was getting her ready to go, I discovered some lovely bumps behind her elbows on her belly, right where the girth goes. We've got a sensitive one! Sheepskin it is for her. I put some Vetrolin on them to see if I could get the swelling out, but nothing happened by the time she came in for dinner so she got chucked a bute. I don't know if it helped, as I haven't talked to anyone this morning. I'm going to go down and check on her if the weather holds off.

Now both my horse and my cat (Lucca at least) have abnormal boobs. I'll get into Lucca's later...she's pretty much just a fatass.

I'm so excited to have acutally been able to get on Willow! The stars aligned just right and she was perfect. I couldn't have asked for her to be better behaved! B is so cool and calm throughout the entire process that it's really no big deal to them, and things go so much smoother. There isn't any rush with her, and I'm just enjoying finally having a horse that I might be able to accomplish some of my dreams/goals with. When Wasabi had to be put down this January, I figured I'd never get there. Hopefully the chance that we've taken on Willow will pay off, and it'll be a happy situation for both of us!

I can't express my thanks enough to C&L and to B for making this possible for me. Willow is a better horse than I could have ever dreamed of being blessed with, and I promise that I'll do right by her, no matter when the situation. I don't know how I'm ever going to say thank you properly, and words don't seem to be enough, no matter how many times I say them.

The FLF crew has been the most constant source of support over the past three (very stressful) years and I'm going to be devastated to leave them!

Stupid Army. ;-)

On the baby front, Shannon has decided that 5-9 is going to be her fussy period. She screams like none other, sometimes taking a cat nap at around 7, other times not. I think it's just part of her growing, and I'm doing my best to make sure that she doesn't have a reason to scream other than the fact that she apparently thinks it's great fun. I also have given up on trying to put her down before 10. She has made it very clear that that's just not in the cards, and why force the issue? We have our bedtime routine, and I rock her until 10-1030. The past few nights have been fairly drama free.

I also found the perfect outlet for Miss Dixiepants. Yesterday we all packed up and drove into Burlington to have a looksee at Starr Farm Dog Park.

She LOVED it! She ran and ran and ran and ran and ran. She played with the other dogs, she rolled in the mud puddles, she rolled in the dirt, she ran some more. It was GREAT. She was a totally different dog last night. Instead of her usual WWE Smackdown sessions with the cat, she slept on the floor by the glider when I rocked the baby to sleep. It was wonderful! We will be making it a point to go multiple times a week.

The people there were VERY nice, with a exception of one girl (you bring a tennis ball, start a game of fetch, and expect the dogs to leave you alone? Ding dong). Even when Shannon started screaming, nobody gave us a hard time. We had to cut our time there short because the baby couldn't hold her noodles. I wish we could go today, but it's not really ideal conditions to drag the munchkin out. It's a bit overcast, very windy, and looks like it'll rain any minute. I can't wait to go when Mike gets home. I think that it'll be a really fun family activity, and MUCH easier with another set of hands. There is another one by the Airport, which is closer to his office that might work better, but Starr Farm has a bunch of agility 'toys' that look like a bunch of fun to play around with with Dixie-stick while the hubby is on baby duty!

When Shannon wasn't screaming, she was enjoying watching all the dogs running around. I think she'll enjoy it when she's in a good mood. The outdoors are so good for her. We try to get out as much as weather permits.

Mom and I also made a fun shopping trip into Williston to get a new swing. I'm much more pleased with this one. The old one is getting re-located to my parents house. It works better if you only use it occasionally, so it'll be perfect for them. I also broke down and got a glider rocker. The amount of fussiness that Shannon has been displaying lately was the final push it took, and I told G.I. Joe that if we didn't get one I was going to go crazy. Like bug eyed, 'NO MORE WIRE HANGERS', crazy. He was smart and didn't aruge. My life has been exponetially better since, and at least when Shannon is having a drama moment, I'm comfortable settling in for the long run.

My Dad was awesome enough to come over the night that we got it, and put it all together for me, along with the swing.

I have the best parents in the world!

While he did that, my Mom and I went all handy and hung up one of my favorite baby shower gifts. A giant, handmade turtle blanket! It's too awesome to use as a playmat that will get peed on, and fit the color scheme of Shannon's room almost to a tee, so Mom and I hung it up while Shannon hung out watching her mobile.

 She LOVES looking at it, and the different colors and patterns keep her enthralled while I change her diaper.

Who says that Mike needs to be home to get stuff done?


I want to get family pictures done, but I refuse to go to Sears. It's the last thing that her room (and our house!) needs, and I'm sure that I'll get them done and hung up just in time for us to move. Everywhere around here is so beyond expensive. I want to include Willow and Dixie in most of them as well, which makes things worse $$ wise.

Well I'm off to compile my dream sheet so Mike and I can pick our top 5. He starts calling around tomorrow to see who needs a new SC and this gives us a little bit of control.

For all you military folks out there... this site is Uh-Mazing! I've spent WAYY to much time on it getting info. They started following me on twitter, and I'm SO thankful that they found me!

Check it out, yo!