Thank goodness for old friends!

When I say old, I don’t mean age…just the length of time I’ve known them. 🙂 This afternoon, one of my oldest friends and matron of honor (though she’s not at all matronly) moved into town with her husband and kids. Her husband got a job here recently, so it was a quick move and until a couple of months ago, unexpected. I’ve been slowly meeting new people since we’ve moved here, but it’s still a feeling of relief and happiness to know that I have people close by that I for sure can rely on. My husband’s ship is gearing up to start sea trials again…which means he’s going to be gone for weeks at a time up until his next deployment.

I chuckle now when I think about how many, many years ago I used to think it would be so romantic to be the wife of a service member. There’s something about a man in uniform, right? What was I thinking!? Yeah, there’s nothing romantic about it.

For example, moving from Florida to Virginia alone in my last trimester of pregnancy was hard. I was working full time, plus monthly obligations to the Army Reserve. I had to choose and secure our apartment long distance. Arrange for the movers. Clean our old apartment. If my husband had seen me almost 8 1/2 months pregnant, sorting through stored teaching supplies and military gear, lifting/carrying/dragging furniture to the dumpster, squeezing a solid wood desk in my compact car…he would’ve freaked out!

You have to be a strong, independent, committed woman or man to survive being the spouse of a Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Airman. I’m leaving Coasties out, cause they don’t count. Just kidding, just kidding! The Coast Guard is very important too. I think. 😉

Anyway, what is incredible is that some women move across country alone and pregnant and have several older children with them. It was just me, and it was hard enough!

I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been deployed, and I’ve been the one home, waiting. They are both very difficult, in very different ways. Honestly, I think it’s harder to be the family member. In my experience, when you’re deployed, you have very specific responsibilities, and that’s all you have to worry about. You get in a rut. Someone cooked my food, cleaned my toilet, and even washed my clothes. I didn’t worry about paying bills. My parents back in the States had my power of attorney, and they paid any bills I had. They even filed my taxes. All that concerned me was my public affairs job, day in and day out.

When my husband was deployed, he did wash his own clothes, and he cleaned. But I paid all his bills. I deposited checks for him. I renewed his vehicle tags and base stickers. I took over all his responsibilities outside of the military. I basically ran the household, and I missed J terribly.

I don’t talk about all of this much, because I don’t want to make it seem like I’m just whining or throwing a pity part. That’s not my intention at all. I’m just thankful for the people in my life who I can rely on if I need help!

If you know someone who has a loved one in the military…show them support, because it’s far from easy.

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Review: Hybrid Pocket Fitted Diaper by Poodelum & Missy Kate

I’ve never had a diaper quite like this one before. We have fitteds, and we have pockets, but this is the first diaper that is both!

“Located in beautiful Bend, Ore., ‘Poodelum & Missy Kate’ began on the far end of my enormous kitchen table with my sister’s borrowed sewing machine.

Just this last spring, I decided to make a change. Our youngest, now 9 months, was going through disposable diapers with lightning speed. I had always been curious about cloth diapering and decided to take the plunge. I already did a TON of laundry anyway, so why not?

My curiosity grew when I found out how many different kinds/types/brands there were. I asked all my mama friends to share any knowledge they had and began searching blogs for any insight mamas I didn’t even know wanted to share with the world.

I became obsessed. But not really obsessed to the point where I buy every different kind/brand out there. I became obsessed with figuring out how to make them myself.

I’ve always been ‘crafty.’ It’s in my nature. I’ve always loved sewing and creating. But now, absorbing a wealth of information from other know-how, crafty, do-it-yourself-genius mamas, I am striving to become an expert.”

Click on Photos to Enlarge:

I received a one-size hybrid pocket fitted to review.

The outside of this diaper is made of cotton interlock, and the inside is lined with french terry cloth. French terry cloth is not considered a stay-dry fabric, but that is normal for a fitted diaper.

Because this is a hybrid fitted, there’s a layer of fleece sewn in the middle to help the outer layer stay drier longer. However, this diaper does need a cover to be completely waterproof.

The pocket of this diaper is quite wide, so an insert can be used if desired for extra absorbency. I used it with a BumGenius insert, and it fit quite nicely.

Our Experiences with the Diaper:

Since this diaper doesn’t come with a closure, a Snappi or diaper pin should be used to close it. Because of this and the fold down rise, it’s easy to adjust this diaper to fit all sizes of babies. This can be a great thing for newborns, small babies, or skinny babies.

Because of the fabric used, I wasn’t sure how well a Snappi would hold it together, so I used a diaper pin. My son is really squirmy, so I did struggle getting the diaper fastened with the pin. However, I know many parents have become well-practiced at using pins and can do it quite quickly. Also, Kate mentioned to me that she has become adept at fastening a cover over this style of diaper without a Snappi, pin, or any type of closure.

If you’re not sure that a no closure diaper is for you, Kate does make them WITH closures.

With one microfiber insert inside, this diaper started to feel damp on my son after two hours, so I definitely recommend using this with a cover. An extra insert or doubler can also be used.

On its own, it’s a simple diaper without a lot of bells and whistles. But what it does have is the ability to be customized to fit many sizes of babies: from the very thin to the very chunky. It’s made well with even stitching and nice, wide elastic. It’s also very reasonably priced: without closure $13, with closure $14.

5 1/2 months old, 19 pounds, 24 inches long

Besides the hybrid pocket fitted diaper, Poodelum & Missy Kate also sells pocket diapers, all-in-twos, hybrid fitteds, fitteds, fleece soakers, wool soakers, and inserts.

You can win a $25 gift certificate to Poodelum & Missy Kate to choose and purchase your own diaper! Come back to My Life: A Work in Progress on Oct. 25 for the Hoppin’ Halloween Giveaway Hop (Oct. 25-31).

Can’t wait? Visit Poodelum & Missy Kate on Facebook to buy your own!

Note: I received a sample product to review. I was not compensated for this review. The opinions are my own and may differ from yours.

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A Family Outing: Fort Monroe, Virginia

If you live in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia (or you’re driving through), consider stopping at Fort Monroe. After visiting there today with my parents and my son, I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of it before! I suppose it’s because the east coast is filled with historical sites, so what’s one more? Really, though, the history that took place at Fort Monroe is just incredible. Oh, and the best part…it’s free!

Formerly an Army installation, Fort Monroe was decommissioned just last year and is now a national monument. The guard shack is even still in place at the main gate, but empty now, of course.

From the National Park Service: “Fort Monroe National Monument spans the American story from the 17th to the 21st centuries: Captain John Smith’s journeys, a haven of freedom for the enslaved during the Civil War, and a bastion of defense for the Chesapeake Bay.”

Did you know Lincoln stayed there? Robert E. Lee was stationed there? Edgar Allan Poe was a Soldier there? And that Jefferson Davis was held there? Fort Monroe was often called “Freedom’s Fortress,” because of the hundreds of runaway slaves that sought and found refuge there during the Civil War.

Once you get on the island, to get to the museum, you first have to drive or walk across a bridge over a moat and then go through an opening in an old, brick fortification. We walked through, and it was a very cool feeling going through an entrance that thousands of people have walked through over hundreds of years.

On the other side of the wall, is a quiet, peaceful, well-kept community. After the Army left, the installation’s historic homes became available on a lease basis. The museum is located inside in the fortification’s casemate.

I wish I’d taken more photos, but I was distracted by Mr. Fussy Pants, unfortunately. You can, however, view a virtual tour of the Casemate Museum here.

Have you ever visited Fort Monroe? Did you like it?
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