Mal Smiles

Monday, May 16, 2016

Congratulations, Second Lieutenant Whitt

He did it! DLW is officially a second lieutenant in the United States Army.
We had been counting down to the day for over a year and it was hard to believe it was finally here. DLW completed the Army's Green to Gold program at the University of Colorado- Colorado Springs ROTC program. He is a distinguished military graduate and now a Quartermaster (logistics) officer.
A friend of ours, Captain Curnow, administered his oath. It was extra meaningful to have a friend give his oath and sign his certificate. We owe a big thanks to Joe and Stephanie for coming to the ceremony and for taking so many pictures. They have been great friends to us in Colorado and will be moving this summer, too. That's military life- no one stays anywhere too long.
My dad, Collins, and I pinned on DLW's Quartermaster shoulder boards. The look on DLW's face is priceless.
DLW's close friend, Derek (who lived with us for 6 weeks a couple years ago), was his first salute. These two met when they arrived at Fort Carson almost three years ago and have been besties ever since.
My parents, brother, and grandpa came to town for the ceremony and to celebrate DLW.
We had a lunch party back at the house with close friends, Chick-fil-A, and lots of cake.
Congratulations, Second Lieutenant Whitt. Collins and I could not be more proud of you and all you have accomplished. You have conquered every goal you set for yourself and I can't wait to see what you do next. I am so proud to be your wife.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Baby #2 Bumpdate: 24 Weeks

Confession: I just had to open my pregnancy app to find out how many weeks pregnant I am. The answer is 24.

The Boy is the size of an eggplant or an Atlantic puffin and weighs about 1.5 lbs. We had an ultrasound last week and he is still measuring about 1.5-2 weeks behind my doctor's estimated due date but growing so he's healthy. All of my recent blood work and first trimester genetic screening came back clean so my doctor and I agree that he's just a small baby. She did want to see one last ultrasound before we move to make sure he continues to grow which I can't complain about. He is still breech and folded like a taco which makes it hard to measure. He's stubborn like his father already.

Gender: BOY

Weight gain: 12 lbs. My weight gain is normal but it was tough to see a big jump this past month.

Stretch marks: None but I am horrible about putting coconut oil on my belly. I need to start making that a ritual.

Movement: Oh yes. He may be small but he moves plenty. He was kicking me in the middle of the night last night while the dogs were being obnoxious, too. None of my children want me to sleep.

How I’m feeling: Bigger. Just within the last couple weeks I've really felt larger and in that "maybe she's pregnant, maybe she's just chunky" phase. Getting ready and actually doing my hair helps me feel better but that doesn't happen often. I have no real pregnancy symptoms which is nice so I will stop complaining now.

Miss anything? I missed having a margarita on Cinco de Mayo but that's about it. I don't even like margaritas. I like the idea of margaritas. 

Sleep: Now that Collins is sleeping through the night most nights (thank goodness) I am sleeping better. When she does get up at night I am moving sloooow the next day. The best hours of sleep I get are the two from 5-7 am after DLW gets up and takes the dogs downstairs so I can spread out.

Food: I have entered the cheeseburger phase of pregnancy. It is glorious.

Workouts: Workouts make me feel more like myself and I have been trying to get my booty into OrangeTheory twice a week. It's been hard to make it there enough lately but I feel so good when it's done. I have been struggling with some round ligament pain but have found ways to reduce it when it hits. Increasing my treadmill incline to 2% rather than 1% relieves the pressure and takes the pain away.
Clothes: I hit the Motherhood outlet for a dress for DLW's commissioning ceremony and picked up a pair of over the belly jean shorts for summer. I also ordered a new pair of maternity leggings from H&M because my regular leggings were giving me muffin tops.

Baby items: I snagged some more newborn pajamas at the Carter's outlet in Castle Rock. I am only buying pajamas for this child because Collins never wore anything else as a newborn. You live and you learn with Baby #2.
Best moment this week: Celebrating Mother's Day with one on my hip and another in my belly.

Looking forward to: DLW's commissioning ceremony this weekend! He has worked so hard for the past two years for this day. My parents, brother, and grandpa will all be in town. It will be a relief for him to be finished with his bachelor's degree and to be a second lieutenant

Monday, May 9, 2016

Downsizing to a Diaper Purse (and a Diaper Coupon)

When I was pregnant with Collie, I picked out the perfect diaper bag. It was monogrammed and packed to the brim with everything I needed for a newborn. Now let's jump ahead 20 months and I'm chasing a toddler, lugging a giant bag over my shoulder.

This summer, I am downsizing to a diaper purse. No more giant diaper bag with too many compartments. Just an old trusty purse I've had for years.

When downsizing to a diaper purse, you have to limit your supply to just the essentials: diapers, wipes, snacks, a toy or two, and a few other things I find absolutely necessary for survival.
Huggies Diapers- Keeping Collins' tushy clean and dry is the secret to a happy toddler. Huggies wetness indicator lets me know when she needs a new diaper with a quick peak. When I can't get her changed right away, Huggies Little Snugglers have an absorbent liner to keep baby's booty dry. The diapers are soft and the adorable Pooh Bear print is Collins' favorite feature. Huggies Little Snugglers are available up to size 4 at Kroger stores so we will fit into them for the next few months. I like to keep these diapers in my diaper purse to keep Collins' booty is dry and protected while we're out and about. Click here to save $2 on Huggies Little Snugglers at King Soopers, part of the Kroger family of stores, now through 5/30, while supplies last!
Wipes- I keep both sensitive baby wipes and antibacterial wipes in my diaper purse. We burn through antibacterial wipes on our hands after gym class, restaurant tables and highchairs, and anywhere else germs live. We are germaphobes and do our best to keep Collins clean and healthy.

iPhone- I am not above handing Collins my phone and letting her watch videos on YouTube to make it through an appointment. You do what you gotta do, Mama. I also love that the King Soopers app stores my King Soopers card and my digital coupons (see above for that $2 off coupon).

ChooMee Tops- I've raved about these before. They are silicone tops that slide onto pouches to make them mess free. Life changing, y'all.

Camelbak Water Bottle- Collins has been drinking from a Camelbak since she was 7 months old. She LOVES water and I love that this cute little bottle doesn't leak all over my bag.

Kitchen Shears- Cutting up Collins' food at restaurants is so much easier with kitchen scissors. This is my #1 mom hack. I picked this pair up cheap and I love that is came with a plastic cover so Collins can't cut herself if she accidentally found them in the bag (it hasn't happened yet. Knock on wood.)

Snacks- Our bag is currently stocked with applesauce pouches, Goldfish, peanut buter crackers, and Nutri Grain bars. My child loves to snack and it can buy us an extra 5-10 minutes while we're shopping or eating dinner.

Toys- Toys are heavy! Instead of keeping a stash of toys in our bag, I just let Collins bring whatever she's playing with when it's time to go. It's usually something small that she can hold in her car seat and bring with us anywhere.
I never knew I could have such strong feelings about a pair of tushy cheeks until I had Collie. We are always looking for sensitive baby skin care products and diaper coupons, too. I love her little baby rump and do all that I can to keep it dry. Huggies Little Snugglers fit perfectly in my downsized diaper purse and keep us happy, too.

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Huggies, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #KrogerLittleSnugglers

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Buying a House Isn't as Fun as It Looks on TV & PCS News

I mentioned yesterday that our little world has been a little crazy the last couple weeks. Now let me explain.

First, we are moving back to Virginia!
We struggled to decide between South Carolina and Virginia back in September and ultimately decided South Carolina was a better location for our family. DLW put Fort Jackson first and was willing to sign a contract extension to be stationed there. Orders were delayed (as always) and DLW called his branch manager to check on the status of things. After talking to the branch manager, it turns out Fort Jackson was never an option for us at DLW's new rank and job. That would have been nice to know a few months ago... Fortunately the manager was understanding and was able to get us orders to Fort Lee, VA- our second choice. We are EXTREMELY lucky because he could have just given us whatever was leftover. After that conversation we had a "Request For Orders" online but no official paper orders. So then we waited some more.

In the meantime, I started looking at houses in Richmond and contacted a realtor. After a couple weeks of looking, a great house popped up in our ideal neighborhood. A house hunting trip across the country with a toddler was the last thing I wanted to do so we had a trusted friend go look at the house with our realtor. We decided to put in an offer and see what happened. We were one of five offers on the home but ended up winning! We were excited and overwhelmed and a little worried that we didn't have paper orders yet.
Fast forward a week to the home inspection. Our home inspector was very thorough and found multiple spots of rotten siding, a couple leaks, fungus in the crawl space, and several other smaller problems. I started crying as soon as I read the inspection report and knew this house wasn't going to work. We were already having to pay for a fence, a refrigerator, and new carpet; there was no way we were buying a house that needed additional work. We asked the sellers to fix the problems listed on the home inspection and then we waited.

Fast forward another week and the sellers pretty much told us to "dream on." They refused to fix the siding and only offered a credit towards three panels. They claimed there was no fungus in the crawl space and would not make the other small repairs we requested. We were giving them full asking price with no contingencies or closing costs but they wouldn't install a latch on a window?! Come on.

Thankfully our realtor has been incredibly understanding and helpful. We signed the paperwork to cancel the contract and have our deposit refunded on Sunday. However, we are STILL waiting for the sellers to sign the paperwork. We will breathe easy when everything is signed and the money is back in our account.

This home buying stuff isn't quite with Chip and Jo Jo make it out to be on HGTV.

Luckily, friends of mine posted their rental property on Facebook last week. I quickly sent her a message to give her a heads up that we might be interested if our house fell through. We have since been in contact with them and will be renting in Midlothian, VA for at least the first year. We are incredibly fortunate to have found a great rental situation that allows us to move as a family at the end of the month. The house is move-in ready and has everything we need to get settled in VA.

It's been a crazy couple weeks of ups and down. Renting for a year allows us to move together, let DLW get on his feet as an officer, and take a second look at buying a house next spring. We will also now have time (and money) to take a mini family vacation in Florida between houses. We are looking forward to wrapping up our Colorado chapter in the next few weeks and moving on to the next!
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