Archive for the ‘Loving Life’ Category

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Christmas at our house was low key this year.  We didn’t even cook a roast beast and opted for a Chinese buffet.  No mess, no fuss, and thankfully, no dishes!

We went shopping in our attic for Oliver’s presents.  I have Rubbermaid bins upstairs that have great items that we’ve purchased at consignment sales for mere pennies and have saved for Oliver.

We did splurge on a couple new toys for Evelyn that Oliver hasn’t chomped and drooled all over.

Oliver kept going to the tree to admire his handcrafted Christmas ornaments.  This was easily one of the most fun projects we have ever done.

We spent the day listening to Chrismas music, playing games, perusing our presents, and stuffed ourselves at a Chinese buffet.  I’d say this was one of our best Christmases ever!

Frugal Tip of the Day: (you know I’ve gotta have one!)  Save those bows and reuse them!  We’ve been using the same bag of bows since 2006.  We even have favorite bows that we look forward to using each year.  Also, save the wrapping paper if you have kids.  The backside makes great art paper.  On most wrapping paper, the inside is nice, smooth, and has a satiny finish.  This is great for finger painting!

Week 4: A month has passed already!

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

I can’t believe a month has passed already.  I can barely remember how we spent the last 4 weeks.  Oh wait, it’s coming back to me now… A mountain of dirty diapers, 28 sleepless nights, and lots of Evelyn crying and sleeping.  When she isn’t crying from the gas bubbles, she has quiet moments of intense curiosity.  She’ll stare at anything that she can turn her head to and just sit there quietly contemplating it.  She has also started making the cutest sounds that I need to capture on video.

Oliver is doing better with her now.  It helped that we bought a used cradle swing from Craigslist.  I let him gently rock her and he gets the biggest kick out of it.  He even pats her head while she slowly swings.  He will give her kisses on her cheeks if you ask him to and give her little high fives.  SO CUTE!  We encourage the heck out of those behaviors and frown upon the eye poking that he also likes to do.  The poor guy gets so stressed out when she is crying and starts crying too when she throws a fit.  Those are the “fun” days when the hubby comes home to a very disgruntled momma.

Speaking of “fun” days.  All the grandparents have left now and we had our first week alone.  Wow.  Thank goodness for baby gates.  On the nights that I get 4 hours of sleep or less, I have really bad days that follow.  Poor Oliver gets little to no attention and I can’t help but feel like a bad mother.  Those days suck.  On a good day, Evelyn will sleep for 2 or 3 hours at a time and I can play with Oliver.  He especially likes playing outside, even when it is only 40 degrees. 

My hubby has been good about not complaining about the house.  He even jumps right in when he gets home and has cooked dinner almost every night this week.  He also has a knack for getting Evelyn to sleep at 4 in the morning after she has been up screaming with me for 2 hours.  I think there just might be something behind that phrase “daddy’s little girl” after all.

Zooming out to the big picture, the kids have been fed, clothed, diapered, and bathed this week.  I’ve gotten Oliver back on his teeth brushing schedule and we’ve managed to do it every day this week.  I’ve also taught him to wash his hands in the sink after we get back from places.  We’ve sent out our thank you notes, ordered our Christmas cards, and are ready to decorate for Christmas tomorrow.  I also got 3 loads of laundry done and managed to buy groceries.  We even did a little xmas shopping today using our huge 2 seater stroller that we picked up at the last consignment sale.  Now that I’ve typed all that out, I guess we did okay our first week alone after all.  Phew… how many more weeks until they can stay home by themselves???

Countdown is Over – Welcome Baby!

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

We made it to 37 weeks and on the day that I was writing my countdown post our baby decided to arrive instead.  Please join us in welcoming little Evelyn to our family.  She was 7 lbs 15 oz and 21 1/2 inches long.  She is perfectly healthy and has a sweet little personality.  She is always smiling in her sleep or chuckling over something funny.  Her big brother doesn’t quite know what to do with her yet, but at least he hasn’t tried to flush her down the toilet or throw her in the garbage can.

My mothering instincts told me that she was coming early and I was right!  We were able to get the office cleaned out and half of our bedroom setup for the nursery just in the nick of time.  My contractions started just after dinner early last week.  I had a feeling that they were the real deal and not Braxton Hicks.  I promptly jumped in the minivan and headed to JoAnn’s to buy some yarn to finish the baby blanket that I’m crocheting.  I also picked up some fleece for some jammies for Oliver and the lady behind the counter asked me when I was due.  I told her possibly tonight or tomorrow morning.  Cue shocked looks!  She asked me if anyone knew I was out driving and in labor and if I needed her to call someone.  I said that my husband knew where I was.  I also told them that he said I’d better hurry and get the yarn before my 20% off coupon expired during delivery.  Talk about saving a dime!

That night I labored away while everyone else slept.  By 5am, my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and I woke everyone up.  We all got cleaned up, ate, packed the van, and hauled Oliver over to a friends house around 8am. I got to my doctor’s around 9:30am and guess what?  We were ready to have a baby!  We were sent to the hospital immediately and I was 5 cm dialated when we checked in at 10:30am.  Evelyn was promptly born at 11:55am.

There was no time for an epidural and my hubby owes his life to a fantastic labor and delivery nurse who got me through the worst of it.  We stayed in the hospital for 2 nights and have been home now for almost a week.  Wow!  I still can’t believe it.

2 Pennies will be taking a turn for the baby for a little bit.  I have baby on the brain right now and can’t help it!  :-)  As for this very minute, I am headed to bed.  I forgot how exhausting it is to be a moo cow 24-7.  I love my little girl, but she can be draining sometimes…

36 Weeks and Counting

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Happy Halloween!  We carved up the rest of our pumpkins and lit them just in time for the onslaught of trick or treaters last Sunday.  We had probably 40+ kids come through, our biggest year so far!  Thanks to shopping the bargains last year, we had several very large ghouls, monsters, and creepy things to decorate our house with.  Quite a few of the kiddos were too scared to come up to the front door and my hubby had to go outside to meet them.  Awesome! 

I’ve finally packed away the Halloween gear for next year and, believe it or not, started working on the nursery.  We are at 36 1/2 weeks, as of today, and don’t have much time left for dilly-dallying.  Our nursery is actually a corner carved out of our bedroom, but is complete with changing table, shelves, rocking chair, and bassinet.  What else do you need right?  (Famous last words)

The office will be cleaned out this weekend to be used as our “master guest suite” for the visiting grandmothers.  When the baby is old enough for her own room, she will move into the office and the office will move into our bedroom.  We will make it work! (or die under an avalanche of junk while trying…)

Baby and momma are doing great healthwise.  I’m working on our hospital bags and Oliver’s babysitter bag.  I’ve been typing up a user’s guide titled, “Everything you ever wanted to know about Oliver, but was afraid to ask” for the caregivers.  Looking at the sections titled, “Schedule” and “Routines” surprised me to see how well we’ve figured out how to run things around here.  I went from being lost and confused 8 months ago to semi-confident and settled now.  Of course, the new baby will throw us all for a loop again, but I hope I’m better prepared than I was when I left my job.

I’m also working on my own personal list of “The Essentials” for baby and momma gear.  As I’m getting ready for my little one, I’m creating it in tandem and will post for the new mommies to be out there.  It’s not as fru-fru or fluffy as the lists that are constantly being shoved in their faces, as I am not that type of gal, but hopefully it will be helpful.

Well, back to my Oliver guide and the section about food titled “To Eat or Not to Eat – That is the Question.”

35 Weeks and Counting

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

We have 3 – 5 weeks left to go in the baby countdown! 

I am still obsessing with overhauling our record keeping system.  Apparently, our old system was to keep EVERY scrap of paper that passed through our house.  We have a filing cabinet, but the filing hadn’t been done since 2008.  Ergo, I’ve been digging through at least 5 rubbermaid bins worth of documents these past 2 weeks.  We are down to one bin to burn, one bin to archive, one bin got filed properly, and 2 bins got trashed.  Success!  I didn’t think nesting would manifest itself in this way, but at least we have the office cleaned out. 

By the way, for those who have never “nested” – it is a very real feeling or sense of urgency to get something done.  In many cases, it involves cleaning of some sort.  I literally couldn’t sleep at night because I was up thinking about filing systems and databases.  I have given up my naps during Oliver’s naptimes to push through the paperwork every day.  I literally have been obsessed with doc control.  Weird.

We have decorated for Halloween and our upcoming pumpkin carving party.  After getting beat up at the state fair, you’d think I would slow down.  The party this Thursday is the absolute last thing we will do before the baby comes.  I promise I will settle down and set up the nursery.

For my birthday this year, my hubby got me a maid cleaning service to come in and do a fall cleaning.  I get to talk to them tomorrow to schedule a date.  A very big thumbs up from me on this one.  When Oliver came, the last thing I wanted to do was scrub the toilets and mop the floors my last month.  Now I can rest assured that everything will be clean, sparkling, and sanitized for the little one and I can focus on – setting up that nursery! (I’m trying to psyche myself up for it.)

The fatigue has started kicking in again and we are moving into high-efficiency mode over here.  Hiring a cleaning service, switching to paper plates/plastic cups, eating lots of frozen meals, etc… It’s not very frugal to say the least, but I’m into self-preservation right now.  I can’t keep up with Oliver and the housework and the new baby coming.  We will also be cutting back our visits to the kids museum starting next week.  I have to start saving energy and sleeping more (and work on that nursery).

Hmmm… with the record keeping out of the way could it be that my nesting instinct is (gasp) turning towards actual baby stuff?  It seems that I now have the nursery on my brain and I’m not going to be able to sleep until I get my tape measure out to see if the changing table, bassinet, and shelving unit will fit in our bedroom.  I hope my hubby is a deep sleeper!  :-)

34 Weeks and Counting

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Just thought I would do a quick preggo post before signing off for tonight.  I’m coming up on 34 weeks this weekend.  Wow!  The entire pregnancy seemed to drag for MONTHS and all of a sudden the time is flying by.  I cannot believe that I have been pregnant since I left my job back in March. 

We had our big “box” weekend 2 weekends ago and hauled stuff in between the rooms and the attic.  All the infant stuff is at least in our bedroom and I feel a little better.  The nursery will be set up in a corner of our master bedroom for at least the first 6 weeks or so.  Oliver lasted 7 weeks before we shuffled him out into his own room.  Believe it or not, he preferred to sleep alone and once he had his own quiet bedroom he started sleeping through the night.  Our office/work room will be the baby’s room eventually.  When it’s time, we will swap the “office” with the nursery in our master bedroom.  After that she will only have to share her room with a closet full of tools and a storage rack! lol…  We are trying to eek out every square inch that we can from this little house.  Little house equals little mortgage and we like that quite a bit right now. 

Aside from all that, I guess I’m starting to “nest”.  Our dining room is crammed full of boxes of papers that I have an insane urge to sort, shred, organize, and store.  With Oliver my nesting project was to organize all of our DVDs in binders categorized by genre and then alphabetically.  I also alphabetized all of our CDs in big binders as well.  That was over 100 movies and close to a thousand CDs!  I wish my nesting instincts were more tuned towards painting the house or something constructive like that, but those darn papers are driving me NUTS.

My health is holding out and the baby is doing great.  In the past 34 weeks I’ve only gained 7 pounds.  The doctor said that was great and would be happy if I didn’t gain one more pound.  How did he put it?  Oh yeah, something about large women like me not needing to pack on the fat cause we have enough.  Well…he didn’t use those words, but that’s how it came across. 

This baby is going to be a feisty one.  She kicks harder and moves more than Oliver did.  My hubby thinks she is going to be like me and that we should all run for the hills now.  :-)  We haven’t decided on a name yet and are stuck on a handful.  This little girl might truly have to wait until we meet her before we choose.  With any luck it will be the last thing that pops into my head during labor and she’ll be called “Pop Tart” or something.

Oliver is a trooper.  He’s becoming mommy’s little helper and I’m counting on that to help us all get through the first few months with a new baby.  Our house if full of step stools now so that he can get up and down just about anything all by himself.  That has been nice since I am having a hard time picking him up.  I still have 4-6 weeks left to go and I can’t imagine it will get any easier.

That’s about all I have to say about that for now.  The adrenaline is flowing around here.  You can tell something big is right around the corner!

Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Today we celebrated our wedding anniversary and couldn’t believe how fast the time has flown by.  We’ve been married for 3 years now (seems like forever!).  I slaved over a hot stove all day cooking up a fantastic dinner, set the table with candles, and then we ended up eating in our pajamas and going to bed early exhausted from work and toddler chasing. 

It was the best anniversary I have ever had.

On each of our dinner plates were white envelopes and small brightly colored wrapped boxes.  We had each picked out “genuine leather” wallets for each other to celebrate our third anniversary.  As if that weren’t enough of a coincidence, we picked out the same EXACT card for each other too!  We were meant to be…

We both feel like we’ve finally found the other person that “gets” us and it is a good feeling.

Here’s a picture of us when we first started dating four years ago.  We were so young! :-)

The first year was paper and the second was cotton.  This year it was leather and next year is linen/silk.  We like following the traditional gift giving themes as it helps to keep our spending in check by giving us a category to choose from.  We also set a max of $50 each.  I told him that the max goes out the window when diamonds come around for the 65th, but he said that if I stayed with him that long then I have earned them! :-)

Frugal tip of the day:  When buying gifts for each other, set some guidelines, such as spending limits, that will allow you to have realistic expectations.  We had no pressure operating within the “rules” and there were no let-downs or disappointments in the end.  Some people have argued that it takes the fun out of gift giving.  I say that it is more liberating.  It lets us focus on the little things that make events special, such as cooking a favorite meal or giving a nice foot rub.

Third Trimester: 30 weeks down, 10 to go…

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

We are in the home stretch now!  8-10 weeks to go before Peanut II joins the family.

How have we spent the past 3 weeks?  We’ve all been nice and sick over here.  My hubby brought home a cold from work, passed it to Oliver, then ended with me.  In short, we’ve been miserable.  On the plus side, baby girl is doing fine.  We just had our 30 week Dr. visit today and she has a nice strong heartbeat, has plenty of room, is kicking up a storm, and is right on track to be born at the end of November.  My health is good too.  My blood pressure is nice and low, my swelling is minimal, and I’ve only gained 6 pounds in 30 weeks. 

Oliver is also doing great at 15 months.  He’s had one developmental breakthrough after another and is soaking up every little thing like a sponge.  He loves reading books, both with one of us and by himself, loves climbing, and loves trying to “do” things himself.  His vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds.  He doesn’t say many words yet, but he has dozens and dozens of labels down.  He likes to go around and point to things and have us tell him what they are.  After hearing the name once or twice, he actually remembers it and can go back to that thing when we tell him to.  It’s pretty amazing actually. 

He is also big into doing for himself now.  He gets the first crack at brushing his teeth, getting his shoes on and off, unlocking doors with keys, turning on the dishwasher, wiping his hands and face after each meal and feeding himself with utensils.  He’s mastered turning lights on and off, shutting doors, retrieving his little glasses from the cupboard and drinking milk from them, and then putting his milk away.  He can follow 20- 30 commands now and is starting to chain them together.  For example, I can tell him to put his milk away and then we’ll go bye-bye.  He’ll bring his milk to the fridge, put it on a shelf, shut the door and then head to the front door and try to turn the door knob.  It’s the little things like this that thrill me each day. 

Today he learned how to give kisses and it’s the sweetest thing.  Staying home has been worth every penny that we can scrimp.

Second Trimester Blues and So Much To Do

Monday, August 30th, 2010

I am 5 days shy of officially starting my 3rd trimester.  It feels like I have already been pregnant forever and yet I can’t believe the 3rd trimester is here already.  As I promised my hubby, I have been slowing things down.  Being sick for 2 weeks straight probably helped with that.  Of course, slowing things down means less time to do the things that always need to be done – laundry, cleaning, dishes, shopping, cooking, taking care of Oliver, yardwork, etc… Not to mention the things we have to do to prepare for the new baby!  Either anxiety or massive nesting instincts are setting in.  So much to do, so little time.

To add to that, we are still trying to figure out how another person will impact our finances.  Living frugally has enabled us to live off one income so far.  Every day I scan my brain to think of ways to save, save, save money when our daughter arrives.  I have a running list of what we did with Oliver, what we can do without this time, and what we can recycle that we already have.  Our goal is to spend as little money on “stuff” and to buy as little as possible.  In that spirit, any gifts should be diapers/wipes and baby girl clothes (having it our way, she will be wearing all of Oliver’s hand me downs!).  Otherwise, I am praying that we don’t “need” anything else.

Starting next week, the pregnancy is all downhill.  We will begin the official countdown.  We will start planning labor, delivery, and childcare.  We will start setting up the newborn station and making room for relatives.  We’ll start pulling down the infant items from the attic and begin the long process of cleaning and sanitizing everything from car seats, blankets, and clothes to rugs, play mats, and bottles.  We will have baby on the brain.

This blog will take a turn for the “baby”.  In fact, I am already working on a series of articles about what we consider to be the bare bones requirements for bringing home a baby versus nice to have things.  I am breaking the posts up by categories and might compile the end result into one long list.  This will help me stay organized, stay focused on cost-savings, and might even help some new mommies to be out there.

The farther along I go with the pregnancy the more tired I get taking care of Oliver. He is at the age (15 months) where his mental and physical development is growing by leaps and bounds every single day.  He can learn at least one or two new vocabulary words every day and is one big absorbent sponge.  He wants to learn how everything works and how to do things for himself.  He wants to start running and climbing and using all his muscles.  I have made a commitment to the family that for as long as I am able I will:

1) Take him to the park 3 times a week so he can run, climb, play, and explore.

2) Setup one playdate a week so he can interact with other children. (Thank goodness one of my friends is also a stay at home mom of a toddler!)

3) Take him to the Marbles kids museum once a week so he can run, climb, play, and explore.

I’ll keep you posted how things are going.  I have a few posts that I want to get out that are non-baby related.  In particular, we have a cast iron skillet that is dying to get cleaned, but is waiting on me and my camera to document some great tips on how to clean and season at the same time.  :-)

Don’t eat the eggs!

Friday, August 20th, 2010

I have been sick, sick, sick for a week now.  I spent last Saturday curled around the toilet throwing up all night.  I was suffering from some form of food poisoning and was sick every 40 minutes on the dot.  I was worried that the food poisoning combined with the constant vomiting would hurt the baby as she was kicking up a storm inside. After the 4th go round, we started packing up to go to the emergency room and my hubby mentioned paging my OBGYN.  At 12:30am, my OB said that there was no need to go to the hospital and that the baby was well protected.  He called in a prescription to my 24 hour pharmacy (i heart CVS) to help with the vomiting.  After 2 more trips to the bathroom, we finally got the medicine in me and within minutes I was finally able to sleep (at 4am). 

Needless to say, that little incident has screwed up our entire week.  The house is an utter disaster, the kitchen is a wreck, the laundry is piled up, and poor Oliver has been housebound while I’ve been recovering.  I had a couple more nights of vomiting, but I think those were due to being generally screwed up and not eating.  My little girl had a couple of well placed kicks to my stomach a few times and up everything came again.  I’ve lost 4 pounds in the last 6 days.  Being sick and being 26 weeks pregnant totally sucks.  The last thing I remember eating before I felt bad was a scrambled egg and sausage concoction that my hubby made for brunch on Saturday.  We were worried about the whole salmonella outbreak that’s been going around, but our eggs weren’t packaged at the contaminated plants.  Regardless, they are all in the trash now.

Today was the first day I actually had full meals and felt better.  To make up for being a slug of a mother, I took my LO (little one) out today for some fun.  Now I’m pooped and am wondering if we did too much too soon?  sigh…  This whole parenting thing is tough.

We got up extra early this morning and I took him to a local splash park at the pool.  He loves, loves, loves water and had a great time.  Of course, the one day we decide to try it out it’s 75 degrees and cloudy!!! We’ve been dying from heat here and today is the day it happens to be cool??? another sigh…

His favorite spot was the broken fountain which just gurgled. 

The splash park was pretty cool.  The concrete floor was concave to allow the water to pool up to about 2 or 3 inches.  Each corner had it’s own water feature ranging from sprinklers, to fountains, to water cannons, etc… On a warmer day (HOT day) this would have been much more fun.  As it were, we were the only people there.

Wow, I was tired.  I didn’t get much sleep this week and still didn’t feel too good, but I felt bad for Oliver being trapped in the house.  He had a blast until his fingers and toes went numb from hypothermia…

After a seriously long nap, we went downtown to Marbles so he could run out his excess energy.  His favorite stop this trip?  The post office where he “drove” the truck for at least 20 minutes delivering mail. 

He loves wheels and anything that he can spin/turn.  Bigger kids kept trying to push him out of the way, but he held that steering wheel TIGHT and just glared up at them.  Don’t try to get between him and his wheels!

My plan somewhat worked.  I am now back to being exhausted, but my LO is soundly and deeply asleep right now.  I wore his little butt out and he loved every minute of it. 

Tomorrow, I tackle the mountain of dishes in the kitchen and track down those foul smells from the fridge.  What a week…

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