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Baby Love Pinterest Inspiration.

Babies.

Apparently pinning baby stuff on Pinterest gets people talking…

I didn’t quite realize this until I went back East a couple weeks ago and was bombarded with a ton of baby questions. So, I figured I’d address these questions to the masses on here – NO, I am not pregnant. I just happen to love pinning baby stuff!

Time to calm down people… I don’t ask you if you are getting married just because I see your wedding board! Or if you’re trying to lose weight because I saw you pin a weight loss regimen! 😉

Anywho, I put a little collage together of how I imagine Baby Draper’s nursery when he or she does decide to join our family in this crazy world! These are all pins you can find on my Dreaming board on Pinterest.

Since I have always loved maps and would really like to be surprised with the sex of Baby Draper, having a map room would allow me to create a beautiful gender-neutral nursery! These are just a few of the pins I’ve been inspired by…

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So, mamas to be, how are you decorating the nursery for your lil’ one?  P.S. It’s nice to be back on the blog! I’m finally on break from school. Yippee!3name

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How to Avoid Becoming Bitter in Life – For Military & Civilians

Bitterness.

I’m not really one to post things on the weekend. Typically weekends are all about Blair and me time, however the last few weeks have been different due to Blair’s squadron being on lockdown while out in the field… I originally wrote this post last Monday. I had just gotten home from school and was taking a much needed break – and this is what I wrote.

The second I got home today, I just sat on the couch thinking about life.

What exactly is bitterness?

Past memories, emotions, thoughts, feelings, actions and more flooded through my mind. And the more I thought about everything, the more bitterness started to seep into my veins and go start to my heart. It was at that point that I knew I had to stop myself from thinking such negative thoughts. In the matter of minutes, I had gone from being ecstatic about the “A” I had just gotten on my nursing test to feeling like I was stuck in the deepest of dark places…

Now, there are a lot of things that have happened in my life and relationships with others that made me become bitter at times. I’m by no means perfect… We all have been there or even are there at the moment.

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Seriously, it is time to stop bitterness from taking over our lives!

And this is what I’m going to tell you: It is time to stop bitterness from taking over our lives.

From Facebook, to Instagram, to Blogs, to School, and sadly even to Church, we, as women (and men), are constantly trying to one up each other. – Relationships, Engagements, Weddings, & Babies, Clothes, Hair, Makeup, Body Shapes, & even Cars – We are constantly publicly trying to make our life “seem” better than others’. And we are constantly NOT loving each other as brothers and sisters.

Yet, that is exactly what we need to do – love each other. Help each other. Support each other.

I know it may seem like I am ranting, but please understand I am not! I just want to explain how I got to the point today and how I eased myself out of the pool of bitterness.

So… the reason why I’m going into all of this stems from recent events in the Army. Blair was working out in the field on a “3 days on. 1 day off” ratio. Then something of extreme importance went missing. And that’s when this all started. Blair’s whole squadron was put on lockdown due to the missing item, and are on lockdown till it is found or until all means of finding it are exhausted. As crazy as that seems, I understand why the Army has to do this, and that my husband, as a soldier, has to follow those orders. But it was at the town hall meeting held a couple days later that I truly became bitter.

There were easily 50+ wives at the town hall meeting wanting answers.

When is my husband going to be home? I’m pregnant – what do I do if I go into labor? Why is my husband who works in MICO (Management Information Control Office), stuck out there when he wasn’t even in the field to begin with?

It’s that last question that got me on a roll. I instantly thought, “It’s not like your husband is more important than mine. Your husband has been out in the field all of three days. Mine has been out there for two weeks.”

It was a nasty thought – one I’m greatly saddened by and even embarrassed to admit. But I think it’s important for me to share because it is one vital step to kicking bitterness out of my life.

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“Stop and Smell the Roses” everyday.

So, I’m going to give you some tips to help combat bitterness. Be honest with yourself when reading these. And try applying them to your life. It’s not easy to do – and it shouldn’t be easy. I constantly struggle with bitterness because it is ingrained into who I am as a person. Society has taught us to be like this. Sin makes it habit. And it takes quite awhile to break habits…

Try to:

1. Recognize your expectations of others may be too high.

This is a toughie one. One that requires lots of internal digging and compromise. We all have expectations of others that we feel that they should be or act like. And, honestly, most of the time they are way too high…

2. Question any feelings of jealousy you have.

Stop and open your eyes to what’s important! We all take things for granted and become jealous when someone has something we don’t have, yet most of us have the same things right before us.

3. Be thankful.

We may not have everything, but we all should be grateful for what we do have. From the roof over our heads to even the pictures of past memories we have hanging on the walls, being grateful for the big and little things are vital.

4. Accept your flaws.

When personally attacked, I get bitter. Most of the time I don’t understand why someone might not like me. I try to be nice and friendly, so why don’t they like me? This is a huge flaw of mine and only one of my many flaws I have… Stop and truly examine yourself and the flaws you may have.

5. Pray.

I know all of you don’t pray, and I know I will probably lose a lot of you at this point, but hear me out. Prayer is powerful.

“There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.” ― John Wooden

“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” ― Mother Teresa

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

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I love this! I’m thinking this is going to inspire a future craft project!

Below is an audio clip of Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll hitting on the topic of ending bitterness in our lives. It is an amazing audio clip that will definitely get you thinking and even crying. Blair and I heard this months back and it literally changed our lives. It makes you question yourself. I challenge you to go listen to it. Like I said, it is life changing, so be prepared. Here’s the link – Ending Bitterness

Just know that you can pick and choose what you embrace and bring into your life and what you can let go of immediately. Fall back on yourself. Emotions are a normal part of life. You might not be able to control the environment or happenings, but what you have is what you can do with the situation. You have to be strong. And that takes practice and wisdom, my friends…

Lauren

P.S. Blair was finally able to come home on Friday. It was a huge surprise and I was beyond ecstatic! He headed back out to the field today so I will see him in just a few days. I’m grateful I had this weekend with him and am thankful he is safe here in the states. On a different note, I just wanted to say thank you to all of the men and women who are still overseas fighting. And I wanted to tell the spouses that I’m extremely proud of you all! Stay strong! We are all here for you!

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Getting Ready to Make the Move – PCS Style!

Packing Up and Moving Out.

Try bulk packing hanging clothes by surrounding them with a clean trash bag! *Photo and Idea by

Try bulk packing hanging clothes by surrounding them with a clean trash bag! *Photo and Idea by The Wicker House blog.

This part of a PCS is probably the most calming for me, because I’m dealing with things I know. This is time to organize, throw away any junk and clean! So pop a DVD, or two, or three, into the player and get to packing!

Here are Some Packing Tips to Help You Out!

  1. Start packing the little stuff first. Knick-knacks, pictures, art on the wall – Dust it off and pack it up! *Head to U-Haul and pick up packing paper. Make sure to use it liberally!
  2. Pack well. *Remember you are not moving across town with a PCS. Boxes should be packed tightly, yet not overpacked. The right size box for the right stuff works wonders!
  3. Go to the Dollar Tree and get Color Coding Labels. *These colored dots make it easy to tell what boxes are for what room.
  4. Go tape happy when securing the boxes! *I promise you won’t be sorry! Even try using masking tape on mirrors or picture frame glass – this gives the fragile object a little more support during the move.
  5. If you have extra time, number the boxes and write the contents down on a Packing List. *This way you can make sure no boxes were lost during the move if the military is moving you. And if one was lost, what the contents inside them were.
  6. Leave the kitchen and bathroom for last. *Your family will be thankful they can still make something to eat!
  7. Plan ahead outfits to keep out and rotate washing. *This will keep you out of digging through your boxes a couple days later. Trust me – I was one of those box diggers and wished I had just planned out my outfits! Remember to wear moving clothes – not sundresses! *Guilty*
  8. Give yourself enough time to be able to clean your house/apartment before you leave. *Plan ahead!
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Number your boxes to insure none were lost during a move. Great for those who are having the military move them or doing a partial DITY move!

Important Paperwork & Things to Keep On Hand

  • Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate
  • Social Security Cards, Passports
  • IDs for anyone over the age of 10
  • Car information (registration, insurance, car title)
  • School, Employment, Pet and Bank Records
  • Medicine that is currently being taken and extras like Benadryl, ibuprofen, etc.
  • Checkbooks *To avoid any identity theft!
  • A Packing List *This is just for you to stay organized!

And probably the #1 thing to keep on hand during a move…

  • The Official Orders

Most of these are common sense, but dealing with a PCS can be stressful, so keep a check list for yourself to stay on track!

Lauren

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Our First Year Captured

A Year.

A month from today, Blair and I have officially been married for a year. It blows my mind how quickly it’s gone by – let only how fast the last six years have flown by! So to remember our first year together and freeze our time here in Washington, we decided to have our photos taken at the beautiful Tolmie State Park by the talented Marjorie Santiago at Sugar Lilies Photography!

Blair and I have always loved looking at old photos of our parents and grandparents, and I can’t wait to have a huge collection of photos for our kids to look at and ask us about. Marjorie’s photos captured exactly what both of us were looking for. And despite it raining some (no surprise there!) and being very cold outside, she got us to laugh while we stayed snuggled close to each other to keep warm!

Below are just a few of our favorites that we wanted to share with our friends and family around the country. Enjoy!

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Marjorie is one of my all time favorite photographers, as well as someone who has become a good friend here in Washington. She’s everything a great photographer is: talented, friendly, creative and a go getter! But, I’m not going to lie, one of the best things about her is that she is a fellow Army wife! I love supporting fellow Army wives and she is definitely one that is majorly deserving of praise for her hard work and beautiful creations!

If you are in the Fort Lewis area, she’s the gal to go to for photos. She has great prices, creates beautiful photos and is always having awesome promotions (her last one was a free mini session for Easter!). To check out more of her work, visit her site here!

Lauren

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P.S. I asked Marjorie if I could use the photo to the right so I could show everyone what the part of Washington we live in looks like. Washington definitely lives up to their nickname “The Evergreen State” – they are everywhere here!

Tolmie is right by the water, and is a fun place to visit if you are up in Washington too. Such a great state park!

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A Fresh Cut – Going Short

Short Hair.

I did it – I cut my hair. And no, I didn’t cry! I figure it will grow back, and since I’ve been letting it grow out for the last few months, it was time for some change.

Enter my inspiration: Julianne Hough and her Safe Haven haircut. *JAW DROP*

It’s seriously chic, edgy and fresh. And it’s exactly what I wanted after walking around with long hair like practically every other girl. I’m not the type to dye my hair over and over, so I’ve always gravitated towards just chopping my locks off. I’ve had long long hair, pixie short hair and styles in between – and I’ve got to say that this is probably one of my favorite haircuts of all time.

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If you are in the Fort Lewis area, definitely head down South to downtown Olympia for your haircut. Lindsey Hammer, a talented sylist at Salon Paixao, gave me this new haircut and I sure do love it!

Lauren

P.S. Here is a before and after of my hair!

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Long hair isn’t always better! 🙂

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Canker Sore Treatments

Canker Sores.

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For those of you that have been lucky enough not to have one, this is what Canker Sores look like. Canker Sores are commonly confused for Cold Sores. However, while they are both mouth sores, Canker Sores are not contagious like Cold Sores are and only appear inside the mouth. *Note: do not use any Cold Sore treatments like Abreva on Canker Sores! Again, they are not the same, hence do not use the same treatments.

So this is kind of embarrassing… I’ve never quite done a post like this, but I figure that I might as well pass along the information on treating these little devils since I know I’m not the only person in the world to get them. Currently, I have three Canker Sores. One is on my tongue, another on the side of my mouth and the last one is on my gum line. So my life is pretty miserable at the moment… There is literally no “safety zone” in my mouth. Last night when I ate a Klamata olive I practically punched the wall due to the saltiness hitting all three of them at once. It hurt big time.

I am lucky to say I’m part of the 30-40% of the world that got this gene passed down to me from my parents – being sarcastic of course! Since I was little, I have gotten them. And while I may not have them for a month or so, when I do get one (or two, or three) they always end up being the deep, extremely painful ones that won’t go away until 3 weeks later.

I’ve seen doctors and dentists, on top of doing my own research online, about treating them throughout the years. Below is a list of several different treatments that I’ve found, the pros and cons to them and my personal vote (thumbs up or thumbs down). I hope this helps some out there, so here it goes! (By the way, I do have a favorite so definitely read through till the end!)

1. Hydrogen Peroxide: swish a tablespoon of Hydrogen Peroxide in your mouth for a minute

Pros: you can feel it “cleaning” the sore, whitens teeth

Cons: you have to do it multiple times a day, Hydrogen Peroxide is harsh on teeth enamel causing sensitivity

My vote: Thumbs down – this made my canker sores feel better after the first swish, but I didn’t feel that it really helped treat them.

2. Warm Salt Water: swish a 3:1 warm water and salt ratio around your mouth for a minute or two

Pros: you can feel the “cleaning” sensation, numbs the sores

Cons: it STINGS way too much.

My vote: Thumbs down – the best part of doing this is the numbing you get from it. Other than that, the stinging feels like your are pouring alcohol on a cut. Not worth it for the little amount of treatment it provides.

3. Canker Cover: a naturally medicated patch you place over your Canker Sore to help protect and heal it

Pros: covers the sore making it easier to eat and drink, relieves the pain, lasts for 24 hours, dissolves on its own

Cons: doesn’t cover some sores all the way, starts to peel up after a while, painful to take it off before it dissolves on its own it

My vote: In between – my Canker Sores are often on the longer side so this circular patch doesn’t cover them too well. However, I would imagine that if your Canker Sore is small and a circular shape, the protective cover and pain relieving this patch provides would be extremely helpful.

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4. B12 and Folic Acid: take the recommended amount of vitamins the bottle directs you to 

Pros: taking vitamins that are good for you

Cons: unless taken regularly for over a month, you won’t see any benefits

My vote: Thumbs down – two weeks before Blair and I got married, I got a Canker Sore. This was one of the things I tried to desperately get rid of it with. I didn’t notice any change in the Canker Sore. In fact, it probably got even worse…

5. Laser treatments: a dental laser “zaps” your sore

Pros: kills the bateria that hangs out in the Canker Sore to promote healing, doesn’t hurt

Cons: you need to do this as soon as it pops up, need to go to your dentist

My vote: In between – this really does work wonders if you know your body really well and are able to catch your Canker Sore before it gets too bad. This was another treatment I tried to get rid of the sore I had before I got married. Since my dentist at the time knew me very well, he had no problem doing the treatment, but the Canker Sore was way too bad to treat it by the time I got to come in.

6. Silver Nitrate: a medical swab covered in silver nitrate used by a doctor to cauterize the sore

Pros: straight up kills the Canker Sore

Cons: STRAIGHT UP BURNS THE LIVING HECK OUT OF YOUR CANKER SORE AND MOUTH

My vote: Thumbs down – I almost want to say in between for this one because it does work in healing the sore. However, it is chemically burning the sore which is extremely painful and makes it not worth it. When I had braces and was constantly having my Canker Sores torn back open by them, this treatment was the only way I could force the sores to start healing.

7. Oil Pulling: swish sunflower or sesame oil around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes

Pros: ehhh….. I didn’t notice anything.

Cons: mouth tastes nasty (and oily), jaw begins to hurt after a while, didn’t relieve the pain, numb it or help treat the sores

My vote: Thumbs down – now maybe if you did this on a daily basis you might notice the prevention of Canker Sores, but the actual treatment of the sores by doing this was nonexistent.

8. Numbing Gels: a gel you place directly on the sore to numb the pain

Pros: relieves the pain

Cons: doesn’t help kill the bacteria that could be in the sore

My vote: In between – just numbs, but helps by giving you a break from the pain to make eating possible

9. Gly-Oxide: swish 20 drops around your mouth for a minute or drop 2-3 drops directly onto the sore for 3 minutes

Pros: you can feel it cleaning, promotes a fast healing, small packaging allows you to take it with you wherever you go

Cons: Can’t think of any…

My vote: Thumbs up!!!! – this is by far my favorite. Two days before the wedding, and being my last resort, I tried Gly-Oxide out and by the time I was putting my wedding dress on, my sore was virtually no more. Thank goodness!!

10. Orajel Antiseptic Mouth Sore Rinse: swish a tablespoon amount around your mouth for a minute

Pros: promotes healing, has a slight numbing ability, taste is appealing unlike many other oral rinses

Cons: Can’t think of any…

My vote: Thumbs up – I don’t love this rinse as much as the Gly-Oxide, but when using this together, I’ve found them to be quite productive in healing my Canker Sores quickly and effectively! P.S. I’ve also heard Colgate’s Peroxyl rinse is quite similar to Orajel’s.

*While I know most of these don’t promise to get rid of the Canker Sores quickly, but rather relieve the pain associated with them, I personally know that relieving the pain plays a huge part in the healing process for me.

Okay, so I know that was a lot, but honestly any information or other personal experiences help when looking into relieving and healing Canker Sores. For me, occasionally I have to switch up my “typical” Canker Sore healing routine and try out some of the other ways again as it seems I’ve become somewhat immune to the Gly-Oxide and Orajel. But for the most part those two are the MVPs of successfully getting rid of a Canker Sore. Best of luck to any of you out there with one and happy healing!

Lauren

P.S. Give yogurt a try as well! It may not help immediately, but it helps neutralize the PH in your body. While it’s non-medicinal, it still definitely helps! 🙂

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