Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Say Cheese!

This is what we call his "cheese" face.  He'll tilt his head back, smile like this, and usually squint his eyes. 

Anyways, I'm trying to get back into my photography.  It's always been a hobby of mine, people always expect me to have my camera and I'm always taking tons of pictures.  I get it from my mom, we love being able to look back at pictures and bring back memories of a certain event or time period. 

I've been getting my camera out more and more, playing around with it, getting to know it again, learning what I can by blogs and tutorials online.  There's much room for improvement, but I'm getting better!

We had some new friends come over for lunch last weekend and they have a 7 month old son Chase.  He's such a doll I just HAD to take pictures of him.  So we took him out to my back yard and sat him on a blanket and I started snapping away. 

They're not perfect.  I know I still have a lot to learn and a lot of practicing before I'm where I want to be with my art.  But they're better than I was last year.  Any improvement is a success, and even when I make mistakes, I learn from those mistakes and try to improve for next time.  And hey, they liked these enough that they want to hire me to take their family Christmas photos! 

Stupid Allergies

Connor, our 9 month old son, has eczema.  Really bad eczema.  He was diagnosed with it at 8 weeks old and has been to the doctor countless times, tried numerous creams and oils and even saw a dermatologist and was allergy tested.  A few weeks ago my husband and I went on a marriage retreat in SC (thank you army!) and we brought Connor with us.  His eczema cleared up 100% within a day and a half.  With no medicines or creams or anything done on our part to try to get rid of it, it just cleared up.  Completely.  Just by being away from home.
So that got us thinking.  It's not our house because we just moved here in June and he's had his eczema since around February/March.  The only thing that made sense was our dogs.  The doctors had been telling me that you can't develop an allergy to pets so young, it wouldn't cause eczema, etc.  Then my friend found this article that says otherwise.  And when we came home from the trip, his eczema came back within a day and a half.  And it came back with a vengeance.  A patch on his face got infected and because his immune system was working so hard against the infection he ended up with a rash all over his belly and back.  So back to the pediatrician we went!

He got put on an oral steroid, an antibiotic, and a new steroid cream for his body.  We also found someone to watch our dogs temporarily so we could deep clean the house and see if having them gone helped him any.  And to top it all off (as if that wasn't enough as it is) we had him blood tested for allergies again, this time testing pet dander and a ton more food and environmental allergies.  (Before, we'd had him tested for wheat, eggs, dairy and nuts, all of which were negative.)  The tests showed no allergies.  But guess what?  He started to clear up with the dogs gone.

After coming off of the steroid we waited to see if it came back.  If it did, then it was the steroid making it stay clear.  After a few days he was still clear!  So after a week and a half of the dogs being gone we let them come back home.  And wouldn't you know it, within just a few HOURS his eczema started coming back.  Within 24 hours he had a bad patch of it on his face and the rash was back on his body.  So we made the decision to find the dogs new homes. 

It wasn't easy, we've had the dogs since they were puppies, 5.5 and 6.5 years.  They were our kids before we had our own human baby.  But Connor HAS to come first, and I couldn't let my baby suffer just because we were selfish in not wanting to give up the dogs.  I tried finding them a home together, but couldn't.  So the big dog went to the home of the people who watched them for that week and a half.  They have a large fenced in yard, and another small dog for her to play with.  The chihuahua went to a friend of mine, she has a young son and another dog for him to play with.  I couldn't have just given them to anybody, I couldn't have given them to a shelter.  I know that these people are giving them good homes and that they're happy.  And it's now been a few weeks and Connor is MUCH better.  We're in the process of deep cleaning the house and getting rid of any trace of dog.  We went to a friends house over the weekend and they have a dog, so his eczema came back a little bit, but it's manageable, and with his ointment it's starting to go away. 

We miss the dogs, but Connor is a much happier baby without being itchy, and without having sores from scratching.  And I'm happy that I fought for my son, did my own research, argued (nicely) with the doctors, and FINALLY figured out what was causing his eczema. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

9 Months!

My son is much, so fast.  He's now 9 months old, he's walking, he's 24.5 lbs, wearing mostly 18 month clothes....I can't believe how much he's grown and changed.  I feel like before I know it I'll be sending him off to school. 

Ignore the messy house....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Family photos!

The photographer posted a few photos from our shoot on Saturday.  I'm excited about them, they turned out really great!  A huge thank you to Lisa Reyes Photography in Fayetteville, NC for these photos.  I can't wait to see the rest of them!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My first attempt at meatloaf

Pioneer woman I am not.  Until today I had never made a meatloaf before.  Something about it intimidated me.  Plus the fact that my mom makes the best meatloaf I've ever tasted, I was sure I'd screw it up.  And I was kind of right.  But I had to try making it, and while it wasn't as good as my moms, it was decent.  I messed up a little but now I know what to do different next time. 

The problem is my moms recipe is the "a little bit of this and a little bit of that" type of recipe.  So can you blame me for getting the proportions wrong?  I used way too much meat.  Enough meat to make 2 whole loaves, but only put in enough other ingredients for one.  So it was kind of bland. 

The ingredients

I sliced the onion really thin because I don't like chunks of onion.  And I should have used more onion for the amount of meat I used.
 Then I diced up the onion and threw all the ingredients in a big bowl (except for the carrots potatoes and bouillon).  
 Then you mush it all together.  It's messy.
 Form it into a loaf (or in my case, two loaves) and bake it until browned.
 Mmmmmm meat
Cut up the carrots and potatoes and place around the loaf and cover with beef broth and bake until meat is cooked through and veggies are tender.
 Finished product.  Before I took the meatloaf out of the oven I made a mixture of ketchup and Worcestershire and slathered over the top of the meat.  It was really good.
 Really really good. 
But, it'll be much better next time when I use half the amount of meat and the same everything else.  And there will be a next time.  Very very soon. 

Friday, July 8, 2011


I am not a great cook.  I'm not even that good of a good cook.  For Father's Day my mom got my husband a drink coozie that says, "My wife's a better cook since she found out the smoke alarm isn't a timer."  I'm serious.  And so was she.

I am well known for my kitchen mishaps.  I've shattered a pot lid cooking spaghetti sauce.  I've burned a pot beyond saving while steaming veggies (I got distracted and it ran out of water...easy to do, right?  Just me?).  And best of all, I set a pan on fire.  I was heating butter.  Enough said.  In my defense though, that last one was when I was sleep deprived right after my son was born, and my husband was gone so I was getting like NO sleep.  (On the bright side I learned how to use a fire extinguisher.)  So, in my bio, where I say "I often try and fail at being domestic," this is kind of what I'm talking about.)

Anyways, we recently moved, and we're on a really tight budget being on a soldiers salary, so I have become super motivated to cook every night.  Well, at least 6 nights a week.  I got this great idea to plan a menu for the week, do ONE shopping trip for everything to make those meals, then we would pick something off the list to make for dinner.  I know this sounds like a totally normal thing that people probably ALREADY do, but we didn't.  We just figured it out that night and would have to run to the store, or try to figure out what we can make out of our pantry and fridge contents.  We also have a problem being incredibly indecisive, so this helps a lot with that.  If it's not planned out, our evenings usually go like this:
Hubby comes home from work at 530.  We sit and play with baby.
Hubby:  What should we do for dinner?
Me:  I don't know, what do you want to do?
Hubby:  I don't know...
Repeat every 30 minutes, until finally around 8 or 9 we end up just getting fast food.

It's very frustrating.  And we end up very hungry and cranky.

So, I compiled a list of the meals that we already make, scoured the interwebz for recipes (feel free to leave recipes or links to recipes in comments, we need more options!), and every weekend we make a menu from the list of meals, go grocery shopping, and every night we pick something off the list to make.  It's wonderful.  I feel like I'm one step closer to a better housewife.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Beginnings

I guess I'll start  by introducing myself.  I'm Erin, a 27 year old army wife and new mom.  I've been married to my wonderful husband for 4 years, after a 3 year long engagement.  We have a 6 month old son, Connor, who is the most amazing little boy.

My husband, Chris, joined the army around the time I found out I was pregnant.  He was away at basic training my entire third trimester, and came home on my due date.  Connor was born a week later, then Chris left for AIT (training for his specific job) When Connor was 10 days old, and was gone for 4 months.

(Side bar:  I have SO much respect for single moms.  It's so hard taking care of a baby all by yourself...nobody to help you with the baby in the middle of the night, nobody to hold the baby so you can take a shower, or eat, or go to the bathroom...well, you get the idea.  It's hard.)

So, Chris came home when Connor was just about 4.5 months old.  Then began my real introduction into the military life.  We packed everything up and moved to Fort Bragg.  Luckily, it's only about an hour and a half away from where we WERE, and where my family still is, so I still get to see them sometimes.  It sucks though, moving somewhere not knowing a single other person in the area (aside from my husband and baby that is).

It's an adventure, that's for sure.   My life as an army wife and a mom is a crazy roller coaster, and it's just begun.  This is my life as Mrs. A.

Here's my little man Connor