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Surviving Deployment

Since moving to Japan, we have been through a lot of deployments with Adam. While I know I’m not the only one who has to deal with them, I thought I would create a list on how we survive deployments in our family. Maybe some of these ideas will help you. Or someone you know.

Surviving deployments as children:

Our oldest daughter just turned 2. Adam has been deploying off and on since she was 5 weeks old. This is the first year that it’s starting to really affect Brooklyn. It is difficult for a toddler to understand why Daddy is gone to work and won’t be returning for a very long time. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible for their little minds to grasp, so I have tried the best I can to help her through this difficult time.

1) “See” Daddy every day. I have placed a lot of pictures around our apartment of Adam. Brooklyn can then see him via pictures all the time. This allows her to have a visual of him and brings her to talk about him a lot.

2) Buy a Daddy doll. We have a Daddy doll that Brooklyn absolutely loves. It’s a great way for Daddy to go everywhere with her. The Daddy doll is the perfect size to squeeze and snuggle with at night as well.

3) Create a deployment countdown. There are multiple ways to do this, but we have created a paper chain deployment countdown. Brooklyn loved help make it and it’s a fun thing for her to participate in each day.

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All you need is construction paper, a scissors, and tape.
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Cut the paper into strips (one for each day they will be deployed). Or, save time and energy by using a cutting board if you have one. Unfortunately, I do not.

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Let your child help by handing you the strips, taping the pieces, or whatever you would like.
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Finished product! After taping each individual piece and linking them together, hang up in a visible place. Then, each morning have your little one take one off. The chain will continue to get smaller and smaller as the excitement of Daddy coming home will grow!

4) Record videos before he leaves. I show these to both our girls. It’s great for Brooklyn to see her Daddy, but also great for Scarlett to hear her Daddy’s voice.

For Moms:

1) Make small goals. Don’t look at the deployment as one huge hurdle to get over. Instead, create small stepping stones to help you get through. Plan a small trip, invite people to visit, train to run a race. Having small things to look forward to allows the time to move by more quickly.

2) Find people in similar situations. We live on base here in Japan, so I am surrounded by women who have deployed husbands as well. It is so nice to be able to talk with them, commiserate about the same things, or just have a shoulder to cry on.

3) Kid-free time. This is key for me. While I absolutely adore my girls, I need a break every once in a while. So, I hire a babysitter once or twice a week to come for a couple hours so I can get away. This allows the girls to get used to someone other than their mommy, and allows me to run my errands at a fraction of the time it takes if I had the girls with me. You’d be amazed how refreshed you feel afterwards!

For Dads:

1) Send packages. I make it a point to send Adam something every 2-4 weeks while he is deployed. It may be something as simple as a card from me and the girls, or a big package full of goodies, movies, magazines, etc. Regardless of what it is, Adam loves receiving things in the mail from us. It is the highlight of his week.

2) Record videos. I try to record a video of our girls and send them to Adam every day. It allows him to see what new accomplishments each girl is reaching and helps him not feel as left out. (he was able to see B’s first steps via video and S’s first time rolling over). Technology is a wonderful thing!

3) Email. They love to hear from you no matter if it’s a good day or bad. It helps them feel more involved and up to speed on how life on the home front is going.

I would love to hear what you do to make it through the deployments!

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Staying Fit with TWO

When we found out we were pregnant with our second child, many people commented to me on how my fitness would go right out the window. That I would be much too busy to be able to exercise. That, while I was able to lose the weight from my first pregnancy, there would be no way I could lose it with the second.

Well, this blog post is written for you: the ones who don’t think it’s possible to work out and be a mommy of 2. I am not here to endorse any workout plan or anything. I am here to tell you what worked for me, and that it can work for you, too.

Around 6 weeks pregnant, I began an almost-10 week morning sickness bout. Dealing with a 12 month old on top of that was not fun. Think: kid videos all day (to this day, I still feel the need to throw up when B wants to watch one of them), crackers ground into the living room floor and this neat-freak, sick momma so sick on the couch that I didn’t even care. (I should mention my husband was deployed, hence the drastically lazy life we led.) So, there obviously was no way I had enough gumption to strap my girl into the jogger and head out for a nice 5 mile run. 

After my morning sickness subsided (hallelujah!), I eased back into running again. I only lasted until 24 weeks along, and from there until S came, I walked. I would walk anywhere from 2-5 miles a day, 4-5 days a week. It wasn’t a lot, but enough to get my blood flowing and my heart pumping. 

So, once S came along, I had a small fitness base. Nothing compared to before I got pregnant with her, but enough. A couple weeks after her birth, I was itching to get back out and start running. I very slowly started around 2.5 weeks postpartum. (This is where I need to say: do what is right for your own body. Every single person {and pregnancy} is completely different. Wait until you and your doctor say you are ready). 

Now that you have my back story, here is where you come in. I make exercise a priority. It’s not the highest priority in my day to day activities, but it is quite high on the list. Once my girls’ needs are met (fed, diapers changed, clothed, etc), we head out each day for a run. I have a double BOB jogging stroller and can honestly say it is one of the best purchases I have ever made.

Thankfully, both girls love to ride in the stroller which makes my life easier, but we usually head out for an hour or so while I run and they sit. I bring toys, snacks, and a water bottle to keep B occupied. After each run, we stop by the track on base or a park and she can get out to run around and play. It honestly is the best of all worlds. Each of us gets our needed daily activities in and we go home happy.

I understand, each family/child is different. I’m not saying you need to do what I do. I just want to say that being a fit mom of 2 is possible and can happen. You may need to put your mind to it, find a way to make it possible for your own schedule, but it is possible!

I would love to read any comments from mommas (or daddy’s) and what works for you and your child(ren) to get your workouts in!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Due to many requests for this recipe, I wanted to post it here and share it with you!

It only involves THREE ingredients.
I don’t think you could get much simpler than that.
(Plus, it doesn’t involve eggs so you can eat the batter guilt-free! haha)
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
30 oz. Pumpkin pie mix
2 boxes – yellow cake mix
semi-sweetened chocolate chips
Pour the pumpkin pie mix (make sure it’s not the real pumpkin puree) into a large mixing bowl.
Mix in the 2 boxes of yellow cake mix.
Mix well.
Add chocolate chips.
(I didn’t measure the amount, just kept pouring until I felt it was enough)
The mixture looks like this once you have it all mixed and have put them in a muffin tin.
Bake according to your cake mix box.
 I cooked mine for 18 minutes.
I made mine pretty large, and it yielded 35 muffins,
so be prepared to share or bring this to a get-together or something.
Or keep them all for yourself. Whatever works.
may have burnt my mouth on this muffin because I ate it too soon after it came out of the oven.
It. was. delicious.
Enjoy!!