Some Useful Tips For New Parents

One of the Physician’s Assistants I work with is currently pregnant, and I’m totally living vicariously through her. I love being pregnant! This is also her first pregnancy, so shes been asking me a lot of questions about raising babies and whatnot. There is so much information to impart but I can’t think of all of them in one sitting. Usually, it randomly comes to me when I think about my own baby boy. So I decided to make a list of some tips we felt to be quite useful for first time parents.

Below, are a few things I could think of on the fly that could help you if you’re also a new parent, or going to be. Feel free to drop any tips you have, as a veteran parent, in the comments!

#1 – Don’t buy name brand diapers or wipes

With my first child, I was all about Pampers, and hated Luvs with a burning passion. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury of Walmart or Target in Germany (although they did have some equivalents) to purchase generic-brand diapers, and even if I did, one can only wonder if I would’ve used them… And it’s such a shame, because I’ve come to find that generic diapers/wipes seem to be of equal or better quality than name brand. However, the overall best thing about generic is the price, because babies are definitely not cheap!

#2 – The “butt spatula” or any other spatula is pretty nifty

No, I did not make this up, but I wish I had thought of this. The butt spatula is literally what it sounds like – it’s a spatula to spread diaper cream on your baby’s bum. Now, I know it seems like a trivial thing to have, but honestly? It spreads on that cream evenly and way better than my finger can, but that’s not the BEST thing about it. The best thing about the butt spatula is that you don’t get cream under you fingernails (gross!). We were given a butt spatula at our baby shower, but a small spatula from the kitchen section at a department store works just as well. Who cares if you get odd looks in the restroom when you whip out one of these bad boys? At least you won’t find diaper cream under your nails!

#3 – Boogie wipes are also pretty nifty

When I was first given these, I thought this was dumb because it’s basically a wipe saturated with saline, but boy was I wrong. I’m a crazy mother when it comes to my kids faces and needing to keep them clean. Rubbing wipes all over their face may suffice, but the Boogie wipes are probably better for their faces. As an added bonus, these wipes are awesome to have if you’ve got a cold, allergies, or you nose is just runny. This doesn’t make your nose raw and irritated.

#4 – Pack-n-Plays are actually good cribs/bassinets

With my first child, I was cutting it real close in terms of making sure I’ve got all the necessary hardware to bring him home. I was frantically searching for a decent crib, but couldn’t find a mattress to save my life. One of my co-workers suggested that I should buy a Pack-n-Play just for the time being. The Pack-n-Play idea worked out so well that I ended up not bothering with the crib and raised my first born in it. Also, Pack-n-Plays now have attachments for a changing table, so you’ve got everything in one without having to buy more!

#5 – Despite being incredibly disgusting, Nose Frieda is the bees knees

Seriously, gone are the days of the nose bulbs. I love my Nose Frieda, even though my son doesn’t! It initially sounded disgusting because it’s typically explained as a tube that you suck your child’s boogers out. Not sure why I didn’t think they would have a stoppage system to prevent parents from sucking up their kids boogers, but it’s there. Sucking up your child’s boogers is still pretty gross but extremely satisfying. Especially when they’re no longer congested, and they do a way better job than the regular bulbs.

#6 – Invest in a baby food blender… Or just a blender

We bought the Magic Bullet baby blender with the intentions of making our own baby food, but it didn’t end up that way. I prepped and froze some food that I made for him once, and that’s about it… But, these are not useless in regards to raising your baby. Our son is still on breast milk/formula and we do feed him Earth’s Best and Beech Nut baby foods, but it is pretty nice to be able to blend up some parts of our dinner so he can start eating our food.

#7 – Baby clothes is expensive! Save your money by going to second-hand stores

I get caught up at Target in the baby section because of the baby clothes. They’re so cute and seemingly cheap, but those things can rack up quite a total if you’re not careful! Fortunately for us, we were given a good amount of baby clothes at our baby showers (one at work and one from family) that we didn’t have to worry and needing to buy more clothes for him. Also, we knew some families that also had baby boys and were willing to give us their kids clothes that didn’t fit anymore. So that, too, brought down the need for us to buy baby clothes, while also increasing the supply we had.

Also, baby’s can literally blow through outfits. There have been a couple times where our son leaked out of his diaper during long road trips that it was better to just throw away his onesie rather than keep it to wash later.

#8 – Pee Pee TeePees are more of a novelty item than anything

My mom bought us a Pee Per TeePee from Buy Buy Baby, or something similar to it. It looked more like a sports cup than a little cylindrical piece you put on your little guy’s privates to prevent an accidental spray. The idea and concept behind it has good intentions, but honestly, a baby wipe does just as good of a job, if not better. It also limits the amount if items you need to fish out of your diaper bag to change your little man.

#9 – Glass bottles are better than plastic bottles

I’m sure that glass bottles have always been a thing, but I don’t remember seeing a lot of them when I raised my first born. There are a couple of obvious benefits to having glass bottles, one of them being that it makes cleaning pretty simple. What I’ve noticed about plastic bottles is that the smell of rotten milk likes to sticks around, and it’s a process to get rid of it. With glass bottles, you don’t have to worry about that. Also, it makes warming up a breeze! Trust me.

The only down side to them is how fragile they are. Our baby boy has smacked bottles out of my hands during feeding, which makes us down on bottle.

I’m sure there are more tips we can think of, and we’ll be sure to post them when we think of them! Do you have any tips for new parents? Let me know by dropping a comment below!

Advertisements

The Story of Jameson

Jameson Stella

Jameson (left) & Stella Artois (right)

There has always been a trend of people deeming certain dog breeds as “aggressive” than others. Growing up, I remember hearing that German Sheppards, Rottweilers, and even Chows were aggressive dogs. Now, the focus shifts to the Bully breeds (Pit bulls, Staffordshire bull terriers, Bull dogs, etc). I hate that people already form nasty opinions of my “block-head” when they don’t even know him, his temperment, nor his personality. To them, they just see the big, blocky head, which a muscular build (its really fat) which means he’s no good. If only they were to give him a chance, they would find out that he’s really a sweetheart that loves to eat. So, with that, I’d like to share Jameson’s story.

*~*

We have always been content with our one dog, Stella Artois. I adopted her when I was stationed in Germany and brought her over to the states when I moved to Arizona. We have never thought about getting a second dog until we watched my best friend’s Belgain Malinois and realized that, maybe, it might do Stella some good since I worked full-time and my husband was a full-time student as well. At the time, we lived in a 2-bedroom apartment, so a full-sized pit bull is probably not something we would want at that time (watching a Malinois was hard enough! She was way taller compared to Stella, and lean, so we nicknamed her “the deer”). Also, I was only accostumed to little dogs and I wasn’t so sure how I’d do training a do that could potentially be my size if it were to stand on it’s hindlegs. Another problem was the many restrictions that followed Pit Bulls and bully breeds, which could potentially make moving as a military family that much harder… I’m also not the type of pet owner that is okay with putting up my furbabies up for adoption whenever I move.

So during work one day, I decided to do a little research on the Bully breed family and try to find a breed that my husband and I could agree on adopting. There were at least 20 different breeds that came up during my search, to include the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. I was intrigued by the way they looked like midget Pit Bulls, meaning we could possibly get away with misidentifying our future pup with another breed. I also found a number of rescue groups within Arizona that we could talk to if we were interested in adopting. Mind you, I was only researching breeds and rescue groups without the intentions of adopting but, I came across Jameson’s photo (then, Zuko) in a shelter that was located in Phoenix. When I got home that night, I told my husband about him and we decided that we were going to go see him the next day.

Jamesone dinner

Jameson thinks he’s a hooman

I had already known that “going to go see him” was more than likely going to be “going to go get him;” however, a part of me was also worried that he might not be there anymore since his online photos were so cute and I was sure many other families, like us, were going to look at him. The only deal-breaker we had was if he didn’t do well with Stella. When we arrived the shelter and asked for him, we were a bit concerned that he had to be kept in the back. Would he be a good match for Stella? Is he actually aggressive? Then, he came out and bee-lined straight to us, as if he had known that we were there to get him.

For the most part, he and Stella initially got a lot. A lot of butt-sniffing and following each other around. At this point, it wasn’t a question of whether or not we should adopt him. We were there to take him home with us, and we weren’t going to leave until then. So then I had to leave to withdraw cash (their card machine was down at the time), and while I was gone my husband was filling out the paperwork for adoption. When I got back, he said that Jameson had jumped on his lap and started licking his face.

Bringing him home was quite interesting for us, because we had to drive about an hour and a half back. Before we made our way home with our new furbaby, we stopped by the nearest PetSmart to pick up a food bowl for him (we weren’t as prepared as we should’ve been lol). It was a struggle for me to handle him because he was way stronger than Stella and I wasn’t used to losing at “tug-of-leash” with a dog that I own. So my husband had to wrangle him. Jameson was not aggressive to other dogs, he wasn’t trying to pick fights with anyone but, he definitely had his mind made to sniff out the treats section. When we finally got home, he started marking his territory in the apartment despite being neutered… THAT was fun! After a while, he started to calm down and become acclimated to living with us.

Jameson bouncer

He doesn’t understand that he’s no longer the baby of the household

Him and Stella used to sleep with us on the bed, until we realized that Jameson is like a big child (or baby) and he likes his space. So, if you were in his way, he had NO PROBLEM kicking you with his hind legs. He also snored really loud like an adult male. Unfortunately, him and Stella no longer sleep in the bed with us anymore due to having our younger son, but he still tries to find ways to sneak on the bed or sneak a little cuddle in with you. Mainly, Jameson is a big-time baby who’s always hungry and misunderstood.

Regarding our children and Jameson, I like to call him Nanny McJameson even though he does a TERRIBLE job at nannying. He’s protective over our baby boy, but we think its because the baby likes to feed him as well. He is also a great informant if there’s somthing wrong with the children. If they’re crying, he thinks that sitting next to them will comfort them, but then he starts to stare at you as if you are the worst parent in the world and you’re neglectng your children (lol).

He also HATES the cold! Unfortunately, we’re now at a place where it snows and he is just not the type to enjoy it. He would rather stay indoors in the warmth, which makes potty time a little difficult. Sometimes, we have to kicking him outside for a bit in order to do his business. And now that I think of it, I don’t believe that Jameson is all that into nature, which is unfortunate for my adeventurous husband. Our backyard typically has a herd of deer pass through on a weekly basis, and of course, Jameson growls and barks at them. However, given the opportunity to confront him, he’d rather not.

Jameson pregnancy

He loved our son even before he was born ❤

We were very lucky to have such a well-behaved and gentle dog as Jameson because we know that there’s not a lot of dogs like him in his breed group that can walk out of an adoption shelter with no problem. We realize that a majority of bully breed dogs found in pounds and shelters can be shy, scared, frightened, and timid, which could be confused with aggression… but really, take it from us, they all are a bunch of big-headed babies, which matching big hearts. And our pets are literally like children, so if they have a history of abuse, they will probably be a little more aggressive than others, but does not need to be less-loved.

Screw all the anti-bully breed nonsense that’s out there, and learn from actual owners about their dog’s. We were always taught to not judge a book by its cover, and we should certain not do that to our dogs. All dogs deserve a chance at love and a home.

 

Tennessee National Guard Puppet Reenlistment

Clearly, we haven’t learned our lesson from that one TSgt from Nellis AFB of what not to post on social media. And while this is a “bit” better from ranting about one’s workplace problems that can probably be solved by better leadership skills, this one is a huge slap in the face for those who have served and are currently serving.

At first, there were a couple of posts stating that this was an unofficial Oath of Enlistment (first, I didn’t know there was such thing; and second, still, WHY?) and others that stated the MSgt who is taking the Oath was doing this for her children. In a way, maybe I get it because April is “Month of the Military Child,” but saying you’re doing it for your children is a terrible reason. I understand that maybe the logic behind it was to make it seem more child-friendly and hopefully help children understand the Oath of Enlistment, but for me, this tradition is an honor that should be held with the utmost respect and shouldn’t be mocked like this. As with everything in our lives, there’s always a time an place for goofing off, and this isn’t one of them.

Another potential thought (though I’m really not giving them excuses to hide behind, I’m just trying to figure out the why) is that they want to make a “unique” spin on the Oath of Enlistment. When my Dad did his Oath of Enlistment for the Navy, him and his crew hiked up a mountain to conduct the ceremony at it’s peak. I’ve also heard some special forces guys do it when they’re sky-diving. These are all really cool and unique ways to do it, but none of which really were made in such an immature way. In times of trying to be “the first” to do something – anything –  out of the ordinary, this unit has definitely gotten to that place, and with pretty severe but warranted punishments.

While there are so many talking points that I could extract from this video, my last mention on this topic is the bitterness of how this reflects on the entire military and Air Force, even though they are a National Guard unit. I will admit that I can become pretty bitter when it comes to the Reserves and Guard when it comes to rank, because the way they get it is like passing out candy. For the Active Duty component, testing into the next rank makes it seem like we’re made to sacrifice a bit of our lives (no pun intended). So when you’ve got an NCO who’s been in for about 10 years & had SSgt on for seven years, it definitely leaves a bitter taste in your mouth when a six-year Reservist who doesn’t know a lick about their job think that they are equal… because in my mind, they are not. Granted, I have come to know a handful of Reservists and Guardsmen who do great things in their military job, but unfortunately, the negative outweighs the positive… Such as this video. In terms of equality, I don’t feel like Reserves/Guard puts as much pressure on their people to become exceptional leaders and to focus on Airmen growth as much as Active Duty does. To me, it feels like it’s a dog-eat-dog world and who you can throw under the bus first in order to get ahead.

And while I do absolutely show every bit of respect to those higher-ranking than me, regardless of what component they are in, it also leaves a bitter taste in my mouth when they do something so childish like this, yet they are higher-ranking than me. These are the people that I should and expected to look up to, but how can you when they fail to see the errors in their actions? I suppose the best lesson this can teach you is an example of what not to do.

 

 

 

April is Month of the Military Child!

My little military brats!

They say that being in the military is a tough job, but I honestly don’t think it’s that tough as people may think. Yeah, the possibility of deployments, TDYs (Temporary Duties, or “business trips”), long hours at work, etc. may seem stressful initially, but they’re all quite liveable and I can get by… However, that’s just me coping with stressors, but I’m not the only one that carry these burdens on my shoulders. My children carry those burdens, too.

Growing up, I had the “luxury” of remaining in one place my whole childhood: I had the same group of friends growing up, grew up in the same house, went to the same school as my sisters, and even had the same job as one of them. And it’s funny that I can now call my own childhood a luxury compared to my children’s life and their futures.

My oldest just turned seven years old last month, and from what I can remember, he’s only had one birthday where he invited his friends from school and daycare. It’s not because we’re a super introverted family (because we’re not), it’s because military families are constantly moving around. In his lifetime, he has moved three times due to my PCS (Permanent Change of Station) orders. And I am super grateful that he’s a pretty positive child that can make friends with just about anyone. Not only has my oldest endured these moves, but he’s also endured many other unfortunate events that have occurred in my personal life and military career. He never asked to experience any of this, but I am so thankful for having such a resilient child to pick up without being put down for a long time.

We are all reminded in the military to not take our families for granted, because when we take off our uniforms for the last time, our families will be the only thing we have left. Sometimes, days get hard and work just piles on our plate, so missing a few soccer practices are okay, but it’s bad when you neglect your duties as a parent. This is why this month is so important! Celebrate you children and love them everyday. You have only one shot at watching them grow up.

YouTube at an all-time low

Last night, my husband told me that YouTube decided to target all gun channels and block their content due to a “violation in their terms of service.” I haven’t taken the time to meticulously comb through YouTube’s current terms of service contract, but it still deeply upsets me. Mostly because they’re “quick” to dismantle gun channels, but can’t even seem to fix the problem with adult-themed content.

Unbeknownst to me, YouTube has been working on this movement since April 2017 by first demonetizing gun channels. If, this movement is to place a censorship on all things gun-related, it’s funny how “quick” YouTube made a move toward this ban. There are loads of adult-themed content on YouTube that poses as child-friendly, but then you find your child watching videos of Spiderman dry-humping Elsa. Why isn’t there a movement against this type of content and why isn’t YouTube acting as quickly to get rid of this content? If the excuse is because they’re unable to continuously review uploaded content before it’s too late, then maybe someone should be looking into creating a “child friendly” YouTube and place appropriate content on there. When I first saw the videos from parent FaceBook groups warning others about these type of YouTube videos, my initial reaction was that parents should be closely monitoring the stuff their kids are watching. YouTube and TV is not a babysitter, and should not be used in that manner. Therefore, parents cannot and should not blame gun channels for exposing their kids to the world of firearms. I know that YouTube can and will censor some content they deem as “too mature” by placing a disclaimer and ensuring that the viewer first logs on to verify their age. So, why not do that for gun channels if they feel so compelled that these channels are demonizing people to commit mass murders?

Honestly, I would rather have my boys watch content from these gun channels because they promote gun safety. Why is it, that we’re okay in letting our children watch videos of other kids “challenging” each other to do stupid things, like the Tide Pod challenge? Is it because it’s funny to watch others essentially poison or harm each other just for the reviews? Clearly, we are raising our kids in a right direction of doing stupid things for attention with total disregard to their own safety. These gun channels do not promote this kind of idiocracy and instead promote gun safety like I’ve mentioned before.

Now, it is YouTube’s right to decide on disabling gun channels, but my thoughts on this is that they need to fix a whole bunch of other stuff on their platform before they begin to attack law-abiding citizens with rights. They should take the time to review ALL of the content they have on there and remove or place some sort of censorship to these videos that expose our kids to acts that are well beyond their comprehension. Stop promoting the idiotic behaviors that could kill our children, while also attacking channels that LITERALLY promote safety.

JROTC Cadet Hero

Slide1

Photo credit – OSBORNE HIGH SCHOOL JROTC CORPS OF CADETS. MARIETTA, GA

It’s almost been a week since the tragic high school shooting in Florida, and of course, the internet is buzzing with so much debate as to what we, as a country, should to do minimize the chances of more school shooting. I have so much to say as pro-gun, but I feel it’s appropriate to discuss the young hero that this unfortunate event made.

Even though there were 17 that were left dead due to this event, there could’ve been more, had it not been for the multiple heroes that were found to have saved lives by sacrificing their own. One of which was 15-year JROTC Cadet, Peter Wang. Although I don’t know him personally, I am compelled to write about him since I was a JROTC cadets about 11 years ago.

There is a petition circulating the internet, requesting The White House to provide a full-service military funeral for this Cadet; and I honestly find it fitting. JROTC may technically not be in the business of recruiting their students into the military (even though a handful of them end up in the military), but this much is true: JROTC builds better citizens for America. Peter Wang was only 15-years old, and I’m sure he knew he had a whole life ahead of him, but that didn’t stop him from protecting and helping out his fellow students and school faculty members to safety. And the incredibly sad thing about this is, as a 15-year old, he did so much more than what any other active/reserve/guard military member would did, given the chance. I’d like to say that he would’ve made an outstanding officer in the military, had this event not occur.

If you’d like to sign the petition for Peter to receive a Full Honors Military Burial, you can find that here.

If you are a member of the armed services that would like to be present for his funeral, it is tomorrow, 20 Feb, but you might be able to make it there in time. You can find that information here.

 

Coffee for a good cause

When I made Staff Sergeant, one of my friends put together an “NCO starter kit”, which included a travel mug. She told me that my daily intake of coffee would significantly increase as my responsibilities as an NCO would increase as well. Of course, that technically didn’t happen to me, although I can say that my intake of coffee did increase when I was deployed.

Having a cup of Joe was my go to thing when I was deployed. Much like how most people made little tick marks inside their caps as the days went by. Coffee was literally my wingman when the days were stressful and dealing with med-evacuating patients. But you know what made deployment coffee so awesome? I was able to receive a free cup of coffee in the morning from generous donors and supporters. It was the greatest feeling to have my deployment coffee paid for from someone in the states that actually supported me. Don’t get me wrong, I was also extremely grateful for all the care packages I received from numerous organizations, but coffee literally spoke to my heart… and not in a near-heart attack kind of way.

Its no Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, but when you’re stuck in the sandbox for 6+ months, literally anything will do. I’ve learned to appreciate what Green Beans Coffee had to offer me, and quite frankly, I miss it. Perhaps I miss it because its synonymous with my memories of deployment. Anyway, if you’d like to buy a deployed troop’s coffee this morning, click here. Trust me, whoever receives your donation would be extremely grateful for it! I’ve made it a habit to buy at least one cup every paycheck. You can buy a lot considering its only $2.50 per cup!

(PLEASE NOTE: I am not sponsored or endorsed by Green Beans.)