Saturday, August 4, 2012

Our home library keeps getting bigger and bigger...

Ever since deciding to have a baby (to be honest, even before then) I dreamed of creating the baby's library. And boy have I! I had two showers that were each themed as "BYOBB" - or bring the new baby a book. So with that, the baby and kid's books I already had, and the books I've purchased since then, we have quite a baby book library!

My Chicago shower - the table of books
(there were more in the gift bags - we brought a lot of books home from that shower!)

I do have to admit though that I have a bit of a problem when it comes to buying books, and Lucy is rather spoiled. I suppose there are worse things to spoil a child with, however.

The one thing I have done that I'm glad I finally got around to doing before the baby came was to affix a sticker to the back of each book saying who it was from. So now, each time we read a book, we turn the last page, read who the book was from, and say "The End!"

And I have to be a blushing proud mom for a moment - lately, every time I say "The End!", Lucy gets the biggest, most sweetest grin on her face! I don't know why she likes the end so much, but it makes me want to read more and more books to her before putting her to bed to see that smile again and again!

Now I've never been good at finding kids books at one of my favorite places to buy - Half Priced Books - but my sister-in-law sure is!!! I think it's a great place for books if you have the patience for it, and as Lucy is old enough to pick her own books, we'll be making many more book purchases there!

Before Barnes & Noble closed in our town (still sad over that), I liked to browse the children's book section, but I rarely made purchases there because of the price. For some reason, I have a hard time shelling out $14 for a baby board book.

I'd have to say that the place I buy the most books from - which is odd, because I rarely find anything for myself at this store but get tons of gifts for others - is TJ Maxx. Their selection is random, but I have found some really good books there - including books I have eyed at expensive book stores but haven't felt like purchasing. And at $5 or less, I can't beat that.

But my all-time favorite place to buy books is Kohl's. Each season, they have a specific line of 4 books that are part of their Kohl's Cares campaign. The books also have matching plush dolls (and anyone that knows me knows that I'm a HUGE SUCKER for a plush doll of a book, movie, tv show...). The good part is that the book and plush are always just $5 a piece. The best part though is that the money goes to charity - 100% of it!! (According to their website, at least!) The money helps fund children's education and literacy efforts. So you really can't beat that. So I get super excited each time the new line comes out-

Lucy even has her own library card. I'm not sure if she's the library's youngest card holder at 9 months, but I figure she's got to be on the top of the list for sure. I felt a bit silly checking out two board books when she has probably 40 at least, but to me, the action of getting her a library card, picking out a book, and having her experience that for the first time was more important. It's a huge goal of mine to have her growing up excited to go to the library once a week to get new books and listen to the kids story time.

Obviously, reading is important to me ;)

Which is also part of the reason we're having a hard time finding our future home - it's going to have a lot to live up to to keep all of our books. We're going to have to come up with some interesting book storage solutions for sure!

PS - my Iowa shower was book and sweets themed - here's a reminder for those that were there of the cavities you left with. Also - sorry to those that brought kids. Especially sorry to those that brought kids that found out about the goodie bags to fill to take home!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Where has the time gone?

Time has always flown - except for when I was young in elementary school waiting for class to be over. Which supports the theory that the older you get, the faster it goes...

I wake up at a pretty early time and head off to work. When I get off work, I either go to the gym and head home or head straight home. By the time dinner is made, served, and cleaned, it's past 6. Then we have 2.5 hours or less of quality time with the baby before it's bed time.

So the secret is to make the best of the time available. Clean after the baby is sleeping. Or on the weekend. Read before bed - which unfortunately means reading less- but that's a cost savings as well!!!

Another secret- always be prepared!!! I no longer empty the car when I leave it - those blankets will come in handy someday, as will the beach towels and sunscreen! Keep two diaper bags - one for every day, and one for the evening and weekend outings that require similar but different items.

This is my favorite diaper bag - it's backpack style, so it's not inconvenient each time you try and reach down to pick the baby up. The side pocket is insulated for a bottle, it has plenty of pockets, and holds up to ten cloth diapers. Super plus!!

Take a look at your priorities in life. Although I had a mini (my husband who received my frantic emails today may disagree) freakout about losing my Pinterest account today, I never actually do any of the things I pin. At first that made me sad - I'd love to have time to spend on fun projects again. But I'm okay with that now - I can do them someday, but in the meantime, I'm going to watch the baby learn how fascinating it is to hold her head over the air vent with the A/C running.

Cook quickly, but still healthy. Yes, I love a good risotto and baked dessert and meals that take hours in the oven to cook. But for now, lunch  meat in a whole wheat pita is yummy and quick - and requires less cleanup after!

And it's important to roll with the punches. As hot as it's been lately, I thought it would be fun to take the baby to the city pool with the 0 depth entry that she could sit and splash in. So after getting home, getting dinner made and eaten, and packing and getting in the car, we made it to the pool at 6:30 to find out it closes at 7 every night!!!! So swimming turned into ice cream instead. Still quality time, even though it wasn't what I had planned!!!

On a side note, I did get my Pinterest account back!

Also, still don't understand why a city pool closes at 7 PM - the sun is up until 9:30 through the summer, and people don't get off work until 5! Oh well. There's no fighting the city when it comes to common sense...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mommyhood - the great debate is on!

I've been asked before why I named my blog Surviving Mommyhood. At the time, it was because I was still learning just that - how to survive becoming a Mommy. But it means so much more than that. Childhood is often looked at as the determining factor of how people act as adults - troubled adults must have had troubled childhoods, greedy adults must have been spoiled in their childhood. But what people don't realize - however true this is for the particular person or not - is that most often a person's childhood is based on their primary caregiver's state of Mommyhood. Now, I don't believe this to be entirely true, as I believe in Parenthood - dual caregivers doing equal shares of the "work". And it's not always a mom and a dad - it can be a grandparent, guardian, mentor, or any other number of persons. But in society's eye, it is quite often the Mommy.

But I digress... what got me started on this rant today? It happens to be my birthday (yay) and I wanted to treat myself to a haircut. So I went to my salon and was lucky enough that my favorite stylist was open. So I had the husband bring the baby down to meet the stylist (she's been my stylist since I was still in my "I'm never having kids" phase). She asked if she could give the baby a sucker - specifically, it turned out to be a mango flavored dumdum.

So, being the easygoing Mommy that I am, I said sure. The baby wasn't sure at first, but quickly learned that it did indeed taste yummy and figured out how to work on it. So she had fun with that for a few minutes, and then my husband finished it for her. In the meantime, another stylist had come by and asked how old the baby was. It's a question I'm used to, so I answered that she is nine months old today. So the other stylist responded about how she couldn't believe I was giving a 9 month old a sucker - think of all of the sugar and she can't possibly be old enough for that!! And she was pretty brazen in telling me so.


Everyone has their different ideas of what is right and what is wrong. The morning I found Lucy chewing on my flip flops, I decided she was old enough to not worry as much about what she ate. I keep obvious limitations - no known allergens (peanuts), no seafood, no milk to drink until she's a year. And I don't begrudge other parents their right to make their own rules for their children. But seriously - I don't need to hear your opinion of me letting my daughter enjoy a sucker for a few moments.

I've touched on similar in previous blog posts- the great formula vs. breast milk debate, the debate of organic vs. non-organic. And I've been argued with countless times over the simplest of "choices". I'm quickly learning that when it comes to Mommyhood, no phase in life or state of being can possibly be more debated and heated.

On a side note, life goes on. The husband and I finished our first 5K over the weekend. We were slow and steady, but we finished the race! We're going to be signing up for another 5K next month - this 5K takes place at night and participants are supposed to be decked out in glow sticks and glow in the dark items. I'm going to be purchasing some electroluminescent wire and sewing it into our clothes. I know I won't win the race, but there's still a chance I can win the costume contest for the best glowing costume!

Aside from the wonderful tutu my friend is making me for the occasion - pink and neon green, natch- I need your ideas for costumes for the husband and I. It has to be somewhat easy to run in and somewhat cool as it will still be August in the midwest. I will post pictures after the race, and will put together some sort of prize for the winner if your costume idea is chosen!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Feeling Used

Holy cow - it's been more than a month since my last blog post! I can't believe how fast the time goes. I realized this over the weekend as I went through the boxes (yes, boxes) of clothes that baby girl has already grown out of. Holding up the tiny newborn onesie made me realize how much she's grown. She'll be 9 months old in two weeks, and you can bet that I'm very, very sad about that. People think I'm nuts when I say that I miss the nighttime feedings (now that I no longer have to do them!). She's sitting on her own, inches from crawling, trying to stand, trying to talk, and just trying to grow up too fast.

Speaking of growing out of clothes... I've really learned to value used baby clothes. As much as I love to be able to pick out outfits for her (which has rarely happened to this point with all of the clothes that were bought for her as shower gifts and whatnot), I also appreciate a good value. I bought eight sleepers and a dress last week that were used for a total of $16.

Above - my used clothes bargains! Or, if you prefer, my pile of conquest clothes!!

Buying used is a great way to save money. There are many things I save on by getting used - cars, books, music, games... the list goes on. Of course, there are things that I will not buy used - underwear, swimsuits, and shoes are on the list for sure (however I will accept used baby shoes from good friends). And there are things that I wish I would remember to buy used - take movies, for example. I often find myself buying a new dvd or blu ray, only to wish later on that I had thought to buy it used.

Another great perk of the used item market is being able to sell items! After taking our house off the market and going through our storage unit to try and minimize the items we'd have to store and hopefully move next year, I was able to weed out a lot of items that I no longer want to keep. Some of them are listed on Craigslist, some of them already sold to stores that specialize in used electronics, and others are waiting in the garage to be taken to the Goodwill. I've had some success with Craigslist items in the past with exercise equipment and Coach purses. No bites so far on the items I have out there currently. There is always the old tried and true garage sale as well. They are a great way to make some throwing around money and clear out the junk at the same time. I find them to be a lot of work, however, and would much rather not make the $20 and just take the stuff straight to Goodwill!

Whatever the case, used can be the way to be!

(Although nothing beats the feel of a brand new pair of shoes!!) (After they are broken in - not while breaking them in.)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mommyhood can be a love/hate relationship...

I love being a mom. But sometimes I find myself loving moments and looking back and wondering what I was thinking...

I love that my baby is strong enough to push herself up and off of things.
I hate that it means that she pushes herself off of me while I'm holding her.

I loved when my baby learned to blow raspberries.
I hate it when she does it with a mouth full of food.

I love that my baby is growing and becomes more interactive each day.
I hate that my baby is growing and becoming less of the little bug I brought home from the hospital.

I love when my baby poops after a bout of constipation and two prune/apple juice cocktails.
I hate when I have to clean it moments later.

I love that my baby is on the verge of crawling.
I hate that it means that soon I can no longer leave her on the floor with toys and leave her for a moment without supervision.

I will love it when my baby takes her first steps.
I will hate it shortly thereafter when I realize that my home and baby are no longer safe.

I will love when she says her first words.
I will hate what that word is if I don't start watching the words I use...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

All's Quiet on the Home Front

My blog has been quiet lately. I wish it was a no news is good news sort of thing, but it's more neutral than anything. It's certainly not a bad news situation, but there are some things I wish were different. For example, it would be good news to share that my house sold, but no such luck yet. We press on, however. I spend most of my moments trying to treasure and preserve my time with Baby Girl, as she recently hit 6 months and keeps growing and growing and growing. My wishes that she remain my tiny little cuddle bug are unanswered, so instead I'm trying to memorize her every moment before she too quickly moves into a new phase. My family has been busy - busy enjoying the spring, busy trying to sell the house, busy being active and social and trying to be healthy. I'm halfway through the first weekend I've had in a long time where I don't have any obligations, and it's hard to swallow! Next weekend starts the run of showers, parties, and festivals all over again. I wouldn't give it up though, but it sure would be nice if I had more free hours in the day. Maybe someday when scientists find out how to survive on no sleep...

Today - well, the few hours I was out of the house - was devoted to grocery shopping. I get into food ruts where I can't think of anything to make and want nothing more than to drive through the nearest unhealthy restaurant. The best way to get out of the food rut is to spend an hour or two browsing through a specialty grocery store. On weeks where I have a bit of spending money, I may find myself perusing a Whole Foods or similar market, buying some good looking produce or fancy cheeses. But on weeks like this - where the bills stack a bit higher than is fun, I take my frugal pocketbook and head to an Asian market.

There's nothing more exciting to me than strolling through grocery aisles with products that I normally don't see in my week to week grocery shopping. Granted, I can't read most of the packages, but most of them do have English translations somewhere on them. A larger Asian market will also have some produce and fresh meats and seafood, which can also be an adventure in food. I normally stock up on rice noodles and Panda chocolate biscuit cookies and spend the rest of the time looking for fun new things to try. Candies are usually a safe bet, as well as frozen pancakes and pork buns. However, every once in a while I get an item that sounds good in theory, but goes into the garbage after an initial try. The price can be the best part - tonight's adventure gave me three bags of groceries for $30.

Of course, I still had to supplement my experimental groceries with my regular run of items, so it was a second trip to my "regular" grocery store. I've actually started really enjoying going to the grocery store each week. I do spoil myself each time with a stop at the Caribou Coffee kiosk for a skinny latte, but after that, it's all business. I wish I could say that I have some good frugal tips, but the grocery store is one place I have been splurging lately. The main reason for that is for health- it seems that the healthier you want to be, the more you have to invest. However, I also spend more than I need to for convenience, too. For example - fruits and veggies. I enjoy taking cucumbers for lunch, but if I buy a whole cucumber, I won't find the time to cut and bag it for lunch, and it will end up going bad. I can spend a few extra dollars, however, on mini cucumbers that I do not need to cut up to eat. So I do spend on the convenience, but in the long run, it's worth it.

I also love shopping when it's busy. Not because of the crowds, of course, but they have the sample ladies out when the store is busier. Some of my favorite ways of cooking veggies come from the lady that gives samples in the produce area. And I think she's starting to recognize me as well... either that, or she's very friendly to everyone and thinks I'm nuts for talking to her like I see her all the time!

Grocery shopping used to be a task I hated, but I've found a way to make it a little date with myself each week. I don't do as good of a job at saving money as I should, but I'm taking strides toward being much healthier, so it's a good balance. Now if I could just find a way to start looking forward to exercising the way I look forward to my weekly grocery shopping trip, I'd be set!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter!

It's been a long time since I've blogged, but live moves at a fast pace, and sometimes trying to keep up with it is all I can manage!

The house has been on the market for 2 months. We've had what I consider to be a lot of traffic - usually one private showing a week - but no bites yet. I was really down about this for a while, but with the change in weather and being able to get outdoors with the family and enjoy nature a bit, it's brought my spirits back up some. Being active always makes for a much lighter spirit (and body...)

Baby Girl is growing like a weed, and I wish she would slow that down too, but my wishes are unanswered. She's starting to sit on her own with little wobbling, so soon after that will come the crawling, and the walking, and the running... I'm just hoping we are in a new house sooner than all that so that we can babyproof it as we move in.

It's Good Friday, so I have the day off to spend at home with the baby. We're being lazy and staying in our PJ's late and snuggling and relaxing. The poor girl has a cold that keeps her up more than she'd like, so I think everyone in the house - especially the husband that doesn't get today off work - is just a bit worse for the wear. But we'll get through it. Hopefully she feels much better for a certain someone's visit on Sunday (Hint: hop, hop!).

This weekend, I'm tackling LAUNDRY and CLOTH DIAPER STRIPPING (dun dun dun!!). My household normally does laundry on the weekend, so no big change here, but I'm tackling it from a money saving and green angle. I bought some clothesline yesterday and got that hung and am going to hang my first load of sun dried diapers as soon as they run through the rinse enough times to get 6 months of detergent build up cleaned from them. I was also feeling curious and industrious and wanted to try and make my own laundry detergent. From the research I did on this, you can make detergent that is highly effective at cleaning clothes for what equates to $.01 a load!!! However, this requires a 5 gallon bucket to hold all of the detergent you make. So while I do want to try this, I think I would prefer to be in my new home when I do so that I have more space to work in and don't have the home staged all the time. Also, I think I should probably work through the stockpile of dye and fragrance free detergent that I've stocked up on from various store sales.

I'd absolutely love to hear from anyone that either makes their own detergent or uses any sort of alternative to the typical lines of detergent sold in most stores.

So here's hoping the sun comes out all bright and shiny like it's forecasted to so my clothes actually dry on the line. I'm going to be very embarrassed if I'm in my yard after sundown pulling in all of my clothes to run them through the dryer.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I decided I'd take a quick break from spring cleaning to update my blog, and all of my loyal fans out there. My family is still in the grand swing of trying to sell our house. I'm hoping that with the great spring weather we've been having that it will increase traffic and get us a buyer soon!

The biggest task - and the task that was saved for the end - has been cleaning the basement. I've never been too keen on looking with homes that don't have basements, and it's not even a midwest cyclone-phobia. It's that I simply don't understand where people without basements put their "stuff". However, after cleaning ours out, I've decided that those people are the sane people, because they just don't accumulate "stuff".

Standing in my basement last weekend, amidst the dust and cobwebs and totes full of "stuff", I realized that in the six years that I've been in my current house, the basement that started empty and clean was filled with "stuff" - things that I had spent hard earned money on and decided that I had no place for it in the main part of the house, or I wanted to keep it for our next house where we would have room, or it was something that I just couldn't part with. I think there must have been ten boxes or more of books, the same amount of boxes of video games - ranging in age from 1982 - present, boxes of art projects I never finished, art projects I never started, boxes of clothes the baby has already out grown (I know there were at least 4 of those), and the list goes on and on...

If you haven't caught on yet, I'm decidedly sick of "stuff". In order for us to fit all of our "stuff" nicely into our next house, I'll have to look for a 6 bedroom, 5 bathroom, 3000+ square foot house with a library. Which I know are out there, but they are understandably not in my modest price range.

My husband and I made a pledge that when we move into our new house, and the storage pod full of "stuff" is delivered for us to empty out, that things are either going to have a home that is not storage, or they are going to have a home that is at the Goodwill. Because I am not, ever again, storing, cleaning, moving, moving around, going through, or collecting "stuff".

I'm glad things are moving to a digital format. I remember when iTunes first came around, and I thought it was silly to buy a digital album. I wanted the shiny CD and the plastic impossible to open package- it was a trophy of buying that album! I've of course switched over to digital music since then, but realized as I moved boxes of old cds and cd cases how silly that statement was. I still say the same thing about books and e-books, and I wonder if I will look back in ten years and realize how silly I am now to think that (it's doubtful...). I took my husband's old Nook after he got a new one and while I did read 10 or so e-books on it while I was on maternity leave (I miss when the baby slept more than the cats some days), I still want to replace them with used paperback versions someday. But it sure would be nice if everything else could be digital and we didn't have to store it!!

And as I type this, I realize that I still have a pile of records that need to be boxed up and stored properly, because I will not ever give up buying records. Especially since new ones usually come with a free digital download...

And the problem of "stuff" starts all over again...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Giving it Up

I picked myself up a new book yesterday called Give It Up! My Year of Learning to Live Better with Less by Mary Carlomagno. It's an interesting read so far - it describes how she decided on year on New Year's to give up a different "vice" each month for the year. So far, I've read through her months of giving up alcohol and shopping.

While some of the things she describes giving up - television, chocolate - would be a challenge for me, it's made me wonder- are there things that I could give up that would make my life better?

Alcohol and shopping aren't currently problem areas for me, so I'll really need to examine my life to decide what I want to improve on. The first thing that comes to mind is diet soda. I love diet soda. It's tasty, refreshing, calorie free... but I've heard the lectures too. It's bad for your teeth, it makes you crave sugar more, it has the dreaded CAFFEINE...

Another thing I thought I could do better in life without is stress. If I could do that, I certainly wouldn't need to be reading books on simplifying life...

I've also thought lately of giving sugar the boot, but every time I try to research sugar free diets, I get inundated with information that I am not sure is even accurate. Natural sugar is terrible for you, but chemical sugar substitutes are healthier- really? Eating sugar is okay during certain times of day - honestly? Now, I do believe that corn syrup is unhealthy, but it's syrup- how can it be healthy? My doctor had advised me at one point to cut corn syrup out of my diet completely, and I have been successful at that. So could it be that much more difficult to quit sugar?

On the other hand, while I don't want my family to be a family that is completely and utterly dependent on sugar, I also don't want Lucy to be on such a strict diet growing up that she goes wild at friend's houses with her first taste of the white stuff. So maybe rather than cutting out sugar entirely, I'll refocus my energy and just minimize the sugar for now, or leave that for another month of something to give up.

As far as giving chocolate up - I'm not even going to give that the slightest bit of consideration. That is out of the question. Well, until I try giving up sugar.

So what is the point of giving something up for a month? Partially to try and improve life and become a better, healthier, more active person. But it's also partially selfish- it's a test to see if I can even do it. Because if I can give something up for a month, I can reevaluate that month and see if it even needs to exist in my life. And if I can give one thing up, I can give anything up.

Thankfully, since it's only the 8th of the month, I have a while to think about it. But I urge you to join me in giving something up for a month (and yes, I realize that if you are Catholic you are laughing at me now because you've already given something up! Us Lutheran-raised gals don't know about Lent.) We're starting April 1st, so pick the thing you wish to remove from your life and get ready! Or, to look at it another way, think of the thing you'd like to add to your life, and we'll give up the opposite (I want to exercise more, so I'm going to give up not exercising).

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My adventure in fruit- Dragonfruit!

I've always liked dragonfruit scented lotion, but I was curious a few weeks ago about what a dragonfruit actually was. A quick Google search and Wikipedia entry told me that it was highly likely I'd never find out what a dragonfruit tastes like, since I'm very much landlocked in Iowa, and the dragonfruit is decidedly not a fruit of the continental US. However, I was quite shocked to find dragonfruit at my local grocery store today! Of course, the fruit was marked up at a very high price, but I decided to treat myself to a splurge.

It really is a beautiful and striking fruit. It's got a lovely, and somewhat squishy, hot pink outer, with green leaves that stick up around it. It's even more interesting once it's cut open-

I've never seen anything like it - a white flesh with black seeds. And it contrasts so well with the pink skin. I wasn't sure how to go about eating it, so I scooped all of the flesh out into a bowl using a spoon and just dug in. I'd like to say I was brave and had no hesitation, but that's not entirely true. The fruit has the texture of kiwi- soft and crunchy at the same time. The seeds are the same texture of kiwi seeds as well. The taste, though not bad, is very, very subtle.

So was it worth the money I paid for it? For the experience, yes. But not for taste. Needless to say, I won't be buying dragonfruit again, unless it's very, very much on sale.

Now, for a quick round of "Good Baby Buy, Bad Baby Buy." Good baby buy- washcloths - and plenty of them! Surprisingly enough, I don't keep many washcloths in the house. I'm starting to feel that now that I have a baby learning to eat solid foods. There aren't enough washcloths to clean that puree-smeared face. So if you're expecting, stock up! Bad baby buy - a robe. Very, very cute, but very, very impractical. It's enough getting the slippery, wet baby into a towel, much less a robe! But I did manage to use it once and snap some pictures, since it is cute-

Friday, March 2, 2012

A soapbox for boobs...

Before I get on top of my soapbox, I have to thank my friend Dana for helping to break me out of my non-money-saving rut. She gave me an excellent money saving tip this morning- try cutting kitchen sponges in half. Usually, you only use the outside of a sponge, making the middle of the sponge useless. Cut that sponge in half, and you have twice the usage!!! Seems really simple- one of those tips that makes me wonder why I didn't think of it years ago when I got my first kitchen...

My sister gave me some information today on an author that wrote about raising babies and how to handle that, which of course is a huge industry! And there are so many different theories and ideas on this. I tend to think that there are not many right or wrong answers when it comes to babies and kids, as long as your kids are happy, safe, and healthy. Anyhow, I started to Google this author and her methods for more information, but most of what I found were scathing reviews, tearing the author down for suggesting the use of formula for babies. This took me back to when I had Lucy and tried nursing...

I had not taken any classes to prepare for nursing, because I assumed like many others that nursing would come naturally to me. Well, it did not. And frankly, I don't see how it would be natural to many first time moms! Not only are you learning to hold the baby, but trying to hold the baby in such a way as to latch, and keeping the baby awake- it's all a lot to take in! But I tried, and tried, and tried, and tried... We had gotten two successful feedings at the hospital, and I was counting my success by the fact that it lasted 2 - 3 minutes each time. I was visited by the lactation consultants, who assured me that if I just tried more, it would get easier, but that I had to keep trying. They were actually a bit stressing and made it seem as if I was not trying hard enough. We were sent home on the 4th day, and I had no better luck at home. By the next day, we were at the pediatrician's office, and I was bawling because the pediatrician had decided that the baby was losing too much weight, was dehydrated, and was not getting enough food.

This is where I got the best advice I have ever gotten in regards to nursing, or child care in general. The pediatrician, after handing me a tissue, told me that she could tell I was doing everything I could and was being a good mom, but that it was more important that I was happy, and that the baby was happy because I was happy, than it was to nurse. And then she gave me many, many formula samples.

Now, I am not pro-formula, and I am not pro-nursing. But I think it is unacceptable that this was the very first instance of someone telling me it was OKAY to not nurse, and that they knew I was trying, but there is nothing wrong with failing at nursing. I know it isn't exactly the job of the lactation consultants to tell you this, but I think that there is way too much of a dividing line between nursers and formula moms. I don't understand why a war needs to exist between the two groups. Nursing only moms are brutal to mothers that use formula, and mothers that use formula act like nursing moms are nuts! Frankly, if there is something that a new mother does not need, it's undue stress about feeding.

Nursing is wonderful - it's natural, it's healthy, and it's FREE! But formula is great, too - it provides the necessary nutrition, is convenient, and has worked for many generations. So why are women made to feel as if they have to choose one over the other, and pick sides in a baby battle?

I wish nothing but luck to mothers that want to nurse. But please remember that it is okay to try, and it is okay to fail. It is okay to decide two weeks in that you don't want to put forth the effort and would rather do formula. And to all of you formula moms out there- please don't make your mom-to-be friends feel as if they are crazy for trying nursing. Be a supportive friend- not a negative one.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Readers, I fear I've failed you. It's been a while since I've posted any good money saving tips, and I think it's because I've failed myself lately in being able to save money. I tried clipping coupons, but I feel like I end up spending more money when I use coupons for groceries (this doesn't include non-food items, of course...). I haven't done anything to lower my bills in the last few months, and I'm even ashamed to say that I haven't put any money into my vacation savings fund in a few weeks. It's been a disappointing couple of weeks as far as being frugal goes.

Coupon clipping works well for some, and I still browse the paper for coupons for baby items, cleaning products, bath & body accoutrements, and a good sale on shelf stable items. But I've found that coupons for food are so random that it's hard to work them into my weekly grocery shopping. It's also very tough to plan a healthy, diet-friendly shopping list around what I have a coupon for as well.

I've tried the trick of calling 1-800 numbers for my favorite products to see if they will send me anything, and that's been a disappointment as well. I'm talking to you, Johnson & Johnson! I was promised coupons weeks ago...

I do have to give credit where credit is due - and some of this has been out of my control. Having unplanned car repairs and plumbing issues only helps to decrease the savings I work so hard to create. But I have to remind myself that this is why we have savings.

On top of that, I have put my house up for sale and am hoping to move into a bigger home. So my free time, and cash flow, goes toward projects to get the house ready for sale.

So I guess to sum it all up, I'm too busy and have too many pricey projects to figure out helpful ways of saving time and money.

A quick google search of How To Save Money brings up 172 million results, so apparently I'm not the only person that is currently stunted in this department. That's comforting, at least! The second link I choose tells me that I need to take my own coffee to work, bottle my own water, and borrow books from the library rather than buying them. I used to be in the habit of the first two, however with trying to juggle a baby, car seat, diaper bag, gym bag, purse, and lunch bag in and out of the car, I gave up. I need to give that a shot again. As far as borrowing books rather than buying them, I can tell you right now that is never going to happen. Reading is my favorite thing to do, and re-reading a good book is my second favorite, so I tend to want to hold on to everything that I enjoy reading. Ride your bike or carpool is mentioned, which is ironic because this is something I was just discussing with a co-worker. I would love to be able to ride my bike to work, and it is my goal to be able to do this by the end of 2013. It sounds like a ridiculously long time frame for a goal like this, but if you are familiar with my area of the map, the 15 miles that I go to work every day are not easy miles. Hills, busy traffic, hills, and only about 3 months of the year suitable for bicycling make this a daunting task. However, I'm going to hold myself to it. Even if I have to start it on Saturday morning and only do it once, I will bike to work someday ;)

So since I'm failing you in clever ways to save money, tell me what efforts you've taken, and I'll see if I can work those into my life!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The amazing disappearing mommy!

Those that know me have undoubtedly heard of my recent efforts to lose weight, and I have to say it's been a success! Not one to toot my own horn often, I take pride in announcing that I've lost 12 pounds in 5 weeks. And it wasn't all that difficult!

What does this have to do with mommyhood? Lots! For example, becoming a mommy usually means having a much differently shaped mid section post birth. Not that I was a size 2 pre-pregnancy, but it still changes things up for you, no matter what your shape before. Being a mom to a daughter also means for me a desire to be a good role model, and that means having a positive and realistic body image. The fact that I also want to make my own wholesome baby food for my little one has made me reexamine the things I put into my own body. And of course- the desire to be healthy and live a very long, very full life all adds up to eating healthy and getting into shape.

So how have I done it? Well, a few different ways. Being at home for nine weeks and not wanting to leave the house because of sheer exhaustion has really changed my perspective on food. I want a kitchen filled with wholesome food that will last - not junk food that disappears as soon as it appears and does no good. Also, if I'm going go take the effort to go out to eat with a baby, it had better be some good food! So there went the desire for most of what I ate pre-baby! Money seems to go quicker and quicker out of my hands now that I'm in a house of three, so anything I can do to hold on to that money is key. If I'm going to pay for food (which, in the end, means paying for nothing more than waste... if you catch my drift), again, it's going to have to be pretty darn good food.

I also joined a weight loss program. No, not the one that ships you frozen food. The one that Charles Barkley spouts off about on the Science Channel. Is it expensive? Well, more so than not being on a diet plan. Is it hard to follow? Absolutely not. I'm all about making things simple, and with having a 4 month old, trying to sell my home, and working 40+ hours per week, I wouldn't do anything that would add a ton of effort into my hectic schedule.

I also have to give huge props to two new ladies in my life- Hungry Girl and Hungry Girl has a show on Food Network and also some great cookbooks. I recently got a cookbook of hers that has 300 recipes under 300 calories, and it's worth every penny I spent on it - which was not too many pennies since I got it on Her recipes are good, easy to follow, easy to make, and have ingredients that are affordable and found at the most vanilla of grocery stores. is a blog that I found through pinterest (a huge guilty pleasure and time waster of mine...). Her blog talks about healthy desserts and recipes. I'm truly in love with her desserts, which are sweet, but not saccharine sweet. I think that a big part of my success so far has been in reprogramming my taste buds to appreciate subtle tastes, vs. the huge sugar and salt tastes that are found in most foods today. I recently tried two of her recipes - one for a healthy cookie dough dip that is actually husband approved - - and another for roasted cauliflower that was so good that the husband and I ate an entire head of cauliflower in one sitting...

I urge anyone looking to make things healthier, simpler, cheaper, or just to liven things up to check out these two ladies of mine. If ever I meet either of them, a big hug is in order for them!!!

The best thing, is that the longer I stick with the good eating, visiting the gym, and being more active, the easier it gets. So when the baby is up and running and playing and getting into things, I'll actually have a chance to keep up with her!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

When your life is no longer your own...

I tried to put the baby down for a nap because I knew she was tired. She had other things in mind- like playing. I tried reasoning to her and explaining that we all have to do things we don't want to do. For instance, I have to go to work 40+ hours a week. I'd rather not have to- I could enjoy being at home those 40+ hours each week. I could read, and hang out with the baby, and have arts and crafts time, and cook gourmet meals, and actually make it to the gym each day. But I don't have that luxury if I want to be able to afford a home.

Sadly, reasoning doesn't work on a 4 month old, and she is now playing in her exersaucer while I sit in the chair blogging and wishing I had showered while I had the chance...

I've been thinking lately about the different types of social contracts you enter into once you become pregnant. Like the one about having random people ask you things that you wouldn't in your right mind feel comfortable answering if you weren't pregnant. Questions like "How much weight have you gained?" Or "You look huge- when are you due?" Not to mention the even more random people touching your belly. But what's odder still is how it doesn't seem to phase you as much as you'd think.

Of course, once you have the baby, a whole new set of social contracts begins. Like the contract that makes you just not care anymore about modesty or have any sort of shame in regards to the body. I remember my first "boobs out" moment in the hospital while I was trying to nurse and decided it would just be easier to do it with everyone in the room than try and shoo many, many people out of a hospital room that had never before seen me topless, and really had no reason to see me topless. I didn't even bother getting out of the hosiptal gown for the first couple of days, because every time I got comfortable a nurse or doctor would come in and need to examine some part of me- again for the viewing pleasure of all of my visitors.

But the most exciting social contract of all starts when you begin to venture out of the home with your new baby. This is the contract that states that no matter how well you do things, you're doing them wrong and someone else can show you the right way! Everyone has dealt with this, and everyone that has had a baby is also guilty of this! Admit it- you've had a moment where you felt like you were helping a new mom with a tough situation, but to the new mom, you were being overly critical. I know I'm even guilty of this, and I've only been a mom for 4 months! When these moments happen, it's best to try and remember that most of the time, it comes from a person's desire to see you have it easier than they did. And depending on the type of day you have had, you'll either bite their heads off, or thank them and walk off putting their advice back out the other ear. Every once in a while, you do actually get a helpful gem of knowledge.

I know that there are many more stages for me to enter yet. I have yet to enter the school stage in life where I encounter moms that are way more controlling than I am, and have a sense of accomplishment rooted in their child's social and academic performance. I'm sure once I enter that social contract of parenthood, I'll make many friends, some enemies, and learn even more about life and how fun it can be!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shocking lessons learned in the last four months...

1- When you need a minute with a fussy baby, Nick Jr plays all night long on digital cable and offers downright mesmerizing colors and pictures and songs...

2- ... and speaking of Nick Jr, Yo Gabba Gabba has got to be one of the oddest shows I've ever seen, and I own all of Pee Wee's Play House on DVD. It's like a rave for children. Its the kind of kids show I can get behind!

3- Pureed bananas smell awful. There's no getting around it - they smelled bad going in, and they will smell worse coming out.

4- Baby feeding takes 3 available spoons- one for the mouth, and two for the baby to hold so that the rubber bib isn't flipped up onto the face.

5- Flipping the rubber bib that's holding the spit out food up onto ones face is pure joy for babies and a nightmare for parents.

6- You will not work harder for anything in your life than when you work for that baby giggle. But no sound in the world is sweeter on the ears.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Use your common sense...

The baby has her first cold, which was bound to happen eventually. Thank goodness for infants ibuprofen! It brings to mind the recent recall by Johnson & Johnson of their children's medicine. It seems they have a medicine bottle that has a plastic donut at the top of the bottle designed to make dosing out medicine easier. As rumor has it, some parents were pressing too hard on the top, causing them to give their children too big of a dose. So while there is nothing wrong with the medicine, Johnson & Johnson has recalled the product and is offering refunds.

Now, I'm not saying that Johnson & Johnson is wrong in offering this recall, and frankly with the information I've read about recalls of their many other products and cancer causing agents in their baby shampoos, it's probably a good idea for them to be overly safe. But what is wrong with these parents that are overdosing their children simply because the top of the medicine bottle popped off? Who doesn't take a second and third glance to make sure they are giving their little ones the right amount of a controlled substance?

This leads me to my real question - when did our society put the responsibility for individual well-being into the hands of others? Why are we not expected to be responsible for ourselves?

It reminds me of a certain intersection in town that crosses paths with a set of train tracks. If the light at the intersection is red long enough, cars will back up past where the tracks cross the road. Logic would dictate that if traffic is backed up, you should stop your car behind the tracks, as opposed to on the tracks. But a sign was soon put up stating that one should not stop on the tracks, so obviously logic was not enough. The sign alone must also not be enough because now it has flashing lights surrounding it with a solar panel for round the clock power. At least idiocy is eco-friendly.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day!

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, which, with a 4 month old, a house up for sale, and an aggressive debt payoff/put a lot of money away for a new house plan, means dinner at home and very frugal gifts! That's fine with me though- I'm not big into the commercialism of the holiday. I'd much rather have a homemade gift that has thought and care any day. And nothing says "I Love You" like a clean house, gentlemen!!

So I wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day - whether that means a fancy dinner and date, delivered flowers, buying yourself chocolate, or getting a sloppy burpy Valentine's kiss from a four month old.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Baby, it's cold outside...

... so I'm staying in and keeping warm. The family is having a Big Bang Theory marathon. I think the little one likes Sheldon - he's got a very monotone voice!

Speaking of the little one... isn't parenting fun? Just when I start to get the hang of it and am able to truly enjoy the stage we're in, we enter a new stage. We're now heavy into the stranger danger phase. Strangers, unfortunately, include everyone except for my husband and I and his mother. If people even look at little one, she starts to scream and cry. I guess that just means we'll be spending that much more time at home until she gets through this phase. No sitters for me!

On the plus side, we are moving onto solid foods for sure! Brown rice cereal and apples so far are a big hit. Up next on the list of things to try are sweet potato and zucchini. I don't know why I was so excited to get to this point, since it means a messier baby and more intense feeding sessions, but it is exciting in its own way. She's certainly not the fragile little newborn she was anymore, and I have to say I do miss those times- sleepless nights and all!

I've been couponing lately, and I'm still not sure if it's for me. I'm definitely not one of those super coupon ladies that can get hundreds of dollars of groceries for just pennies. I understand the concept and how that works, but I do not have the time or patience for that sort of thing. I don't mind clipping coupons and storing them for regular use, however. The problem with that is that I end up spending more than I regularly would by buying things that aren't on my normal shopping list. So I'm not sure if I'll be sticking with this new found hobby or not.

Our house will be officially for sale on Monday! This means a whole new level of craziness added to our life. I keep reminding myself that in a few months (hopefully just a few!) we will be able to settle into our new home and really start to settle down. I try not to think of the insanity that will have to occur to get us to that point and keep visualizing the pot 'o' gold at the end of that rainbow!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Are you ready for some football??

The superbowl is going to be a special time for me. Not only it is a time for great commercials and usually a pretty good Simpsons episode (I hear there's a game going on as well??), but it was during the game last year that I announced to my family that my husband and I were expecting our first child. Now, I'm watching my husband juggle the remotes and the burp cloths and couldn't be happier! And he's finally got someone to burp with that's giving him a good run for his money...

I've got a batch of healthy chili on the stove to celebrate tonight. It's got tomatoes, onions, carrots, beans, and ground turkey. I decided that since the little one will be 4 months this Friday and will hopefully get the okay to transition to solid foods, that I would make some baby food with the rest of the bag of baby carrots. Baby carrots never actually get eaten as a snack in our house. I buy them instead of "raw" carrots when I need a carrot for a recipe because they are already cut and peeled. Not exactly organic, or a cost savings, but it saves my time, which saves my sanity, and you can't put a price on sanity. So I threw the carrots into a steamer and got to use my new toy that I got for Christmas - the Baby Bullet.

I've never used anything in the Magic Bullet line before, but they look interesting and seem to have a big following. But somewhere in my pregnancy (probably the weekend I spent $40 at the orchard on apples and spent the whole weekend boiling, pureeing, and freezing them), I became dubbed the make your own baby food mom. So the Baby Bullet was an exciting gift for me. It really was easy to use, and even after the baby is on to real food, I'll be able to use it as well. It even comes with a milling blade so that you can mill brown rice into rice cereal.

So for my unofficial review - a great gift and well worth the cost. With half a bag of baby carrots and 5 minutes (add another 15 or so for steaming, but really - you don't actually DO anything other than turn the oven on for that step) I have 6 servings of baby food. I'm also a huge fan of Alton Brown and all of his theories, and this definitely fits into his multi-tasker theory. The miller can be used later on for milling whole spices, or even coffee beans, and the blender will make mommy some yummy margaritas once little one is moved on. I know that there are other baby food making "systems" out there, and I haven't looked into those fully, but the Baby Bullet has a good cost, name, and reusability factor that would be hard to meet in other systems.

Now, I have absolutely nothing against jarred baby food. I'll probably even have a stockpile of it around the house and in the diaper bag for those weeks where I just can't find time to make my own baby food. Making baby food from raw or flash frozen veggies and fruit is just something that I am happy to be able to do. I'd be happy to make some fresh baby food for my new mommy friends out there as well - just hit me up with some fruit and veggies sometime and we'll work something out!

Oh, and GO GIANTS!

Friday, February 3, 2012

How can you tell a winter storm is coming to the midwest?

... Because the grocery stores are hella nuts! Okay, that's not really a good joke, unless you still have to go grocery shopping tonight!

Yes, there is a snow storm coming, so that means that the grocery stores are being hit up in preparation for being snowed in. Add to that the big game this weekend, and it makes for madness at the market. I'm set - I've got my reusable diapers, a fully stocked pantry, a stack of DVDs to watch, and lots of chores to do around the house!

I have a bit of a "retraction" to make to my last blog post. I had mentioned that I love baby orajel, but I've since learned - thanks to some faithful friends - that there was actually an FDA warning about that product and some risky side effects. After doing some research, I found that it is the benzocaine in the product that can cause a rare, but serious, condition. Orajel does make a natural teething solution that does not contain the benzocaine, which their website offers a $1 coupon for (score!). However, I could not find the product at the grocery store (and wasn't going anywhere else with the mad storm crowds out there!). I did find a product that seems to be safe - Kids Relief Teething, made by Homeolab, from Canada. It's a homeopathic remedy. I haven't had to use it yet, and maybe I never will! But if I do, I'm hoping it works.

If anyone has used the Orajel Naturals, or the Homeolab's Kids Relief, let me know what you think!

I hate getting my cable bill in the mail. It reminds me that I'm paying the cable company WAY TOO MUCH MONEY and still never finding anything to watch on TV. This is where I have to give some mad props to my friend Bridget, who doesn't have cable but still watches all the shows she wants. I'm very envious that she can do this, and wish it was something I could do. Here's how she does it - she first has a subscription to Netflix that she streams through her game system (you can stream this through XBox, PS3, and Wii). Now, that alone would not be enough for me, because as much as I love the instant streaming from Netflix, there is not a large amount available for instant view. She also streams Hulu Plus, which allows for many more viewing options. Still not enough variety? She also subscribes to Play On, and gets many more channels of programming available that way. Of course, it's all legal, legit, and probably saves at least $100 a month from a cable bill. This does of course require internet, but then again, so does blogging, and viewing this blog, so I'm assuming you already have internet access...

Now, I could easily do the same, except for one thing - HBO. HBO - as far as I know - does not do any streaming of their series online without some sort of cable subscription. Their series are great enough that I am willing to pay the cable bill for them. I almost - ALMOST - got myself convinced that I could live my life by waiting for their TV series to come out on DVD, until I learned that HBO has met with my favorite (favorite favorite) author about making my favorite (favorite favorite) book into a TV series. A six season series being co-produced by Tom Hanks and getting a $40 mil per season budget. And this will be airing sometime in 2013. Thanks a lot, HBO - you've lured me in again...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Teething Bites

My baby girl has entered a stage of teething, and rest assured it is unpleasant, for the parents and the child. I've tried many different teething aids that haven't helped. It's got me to thinking about all of the things I've purchased for baby, and what we've used and have not used.

When I was registering for baby products, I tried to make it a point to not go crazy and ask for a lot of items that I was never going to use. I can safely say that I've used everything I got from my showers. Blankets, bottles, books - you name it, I've used it!

However, I've found that there are many items that I wasn't aware of, or didn't realize I'd need, that I've now found invaluable. These would be good shower gifts for a new parent - the kind that they don't know they'll need. Here's my list of items that I now can't live without:
1- Infant Gas Drops: thank goodness for these drops! I would have a very unhappy baby without them
2- Infant Orajel : the only product that's helped with teething
3- Wipes, wipes, wipes, wipes, wipes: I got some wipes at my showers, but no amount of wipes is ever enough
4- Backpack style diaper bag: Especially with the bulk of cloth diapers, those cute little over the shoulder style bags just don't cut it
5- Bottle drying rack: I didn't actually register for this, but got it as a gift at my shower. Thank goodness for this wonderful device!
6- The dumb little organizer that I got from the hospital for the changing table: Who knew I would need such an ugly item from Similac? It is very helpful, however!
7- Humidifier: I think the hospital should send everyone home with one.

I do find the array of baby products very fascinating and spend time researching them on the internet, even if I don't need them. For example - I'm very intrigued by these European bathing tubs. They are supposed to be very calming for babies - I can't see myself buying one, but I would certainly try one if given the opportunity.

Now if only someone could invent a product to make wet babies less slippery, or some sort of tub sling. I noticed that the baby LOVES being in the water, but she is growing out of her little infant tub. I tried giving her a bath in the regular bath tub but she was so slippery!! She sure did love splashing and kicking around like a little frog in the water, however. If only I could affix the tub treads to the baby...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

You do WHAT with your baby's butt?

Hello, my name is Emily, and I cloth diaper my baby...

Of all the new parent questions I get, this is the subject that is asked the most of. Why do you cloth diaper? Isn't that gross? Is that with the pins and the plastic underwear?

I thought I'd do a quick post about it to all of my friends that think I'm nuts (or that are having babies and may want to consider it).

I think people assume I cloth diaper because I'm some sort of eco-freak. While saving the earth from more and more piles of poo and pee stained plastic diapers is a huge benefit, that's not the only one for me. It was actually my husband's idea to cloth diaper. He argued that with cloth diapers, the babies never get diaper rash. I still wasn't convinced. I dreaded cleaning poo out of diapers, doing laundry all the time, and having to carry dirty diapers with me no matter where I went. So I went to my local cloth diaper boutique (Top 2 Bottom Baby, for those readers that are in my area) to get more info. I was quickly initiated into the new world of modern cloth diapers. No longer is cloth diapering a thing of pins with little plastic duckies on them, plastic underwear, and cloth squares that get turned into cleaning cloths once the kids are grown. There are many, many brands of cloth diapers- do a google search for an idea of how much of an industry this is. I settled on FuzziBunz- these are referred to as pocket diapers. At $20 bucks a piece, they can be a pricey initial investment (the store owner recommended 20 - 24 for a two day supply).

Which brings me to my next big perk of cloth diapering- I rarely spend money on buying diapers anymore. I know that people that exclusively cloth diaper are saying "Why do you have to spend money at all on diapers?" We'll get to that later. When I started thinking more and more about cloth diapering, I listened to my parent-friends and their horror stories of realizing at 2 in the morning, or 2 days before payday, that they used the last diaper and were scrambling for new diapers. Or about how much money they spent on diapers. I buy one package of disposable diapers every few months. That's really nice, considering how much I spend on formula...

And it's true - you rarely deal with a diaper rash with a cloth diapered baby. So that is another big perk.

And I'm not exclusively cloth - I do use disposables (or sposies, as they've cutely been dubbed in the cloth diapering community). If I know I'm going to be out for a long time, I'll use disposables. And you can be sure that on my first road trip with the little one, I'll be packing a bag or huggies, rather than worrying about finding a place to wash diapers on the trip. This is where I get a lot of condescension in the cloth diaper community as well. I also use them overnight - my baby is a heavy wetter and is able to sleep through the night longer in a disposable because she doesn't feel quite as wet in an overnight cloth diaper. People who exclusively cloth diaper think that this is inexcusable. Too bad! I'm tired, and to me, getting a full night's sleep is worth it.

So here are my commonly asked questions and their answers:

Isn't it gross?
Nah. You're already cleaning the poo from the baby's butt, what's adding another step to rinse the poo off in the toilet? Also, you get to attach a sprayer to your toilet, which also aids in cleaning the toilet and bathroom later on - an added bonus! Plus, it's like having a redneck bidet (really just kidding here - that toilet water is COLD and I would not recommend it for human-rinsing purposes).

But isn't it gross to clean diapers in your washer and dryer?
Again- nah. Is it any worse than cleaning the clothes that the baby spit up on or peed in? You rinse all of the "solids" off in the toilet, so there's not that much waste going into the washer. And there are cleaning services that will pick up dirty diapers and drop off clean diapers for those that are just too squeamish for this task.

Are you doing laundry all the time??
Every 3 - 4 days, yes. But really - doing laundry really only consists of the 5 minutes it takes to load the washer, the 5 minutes it takes to move from washer to dryer, and then 15 minutes to stuff the diapers again. Less of a time commitment than running to the store to pick up diapers, if you ask me.

Why does your baby have a J-Lo butt?
Now we come to the one big drawback- cloth diapers are bulky. They will make your baby look like she/he is getting ready for a hip hop dance video. But I got used to it.

So there's my lecture on cloth diapering. It's not for everyone, and I don't judge people that say it's not for them. I'm certainly not a cloth diaper or die kind of person! I'd like to thank Erin for turning me on to much of this knowledge and telling me about T2B Baby. If it's something you'd like to think more about, I'd recommend going to your local cloth diaper retailer and start asking questions.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I'm going to let you in on a secret...

I tend to take too much on my plate at once (figuratively, and literally...). For example - I have a 3.5 month old baby at home, and I'm a first time mom. I'm trying to get our house ready to sell and move into a new house. I'm making big changes in my life in regards to food and exercise. I'm also trying to keep up on my reading for book club (and I'm totally cheating - I read Water for Elephants years ago but don't really remember all the details, so I plan on just renting the movie with horrid Robert Pattinson starring). I guess to sum it all up, I have way too much to deal with at once.

And I totally do it to myself! No need to lecture me, because I've already heard it. Sometimes I look forward to the day where it's all "done", and I can sit back and relax. But then I realize that just isn't me and it's never going to happen. My Pinterest board can attest to that!

I went to the hobby store yesterday and stopped myself from buying supplies to start yet another craft - hand embroidery. Once I'm in my future home with a craft room, I'll probably be back at that store buying all of the items that I stopped myself from buying yesterday- but at least, until that time comes, I've saved myself from further to do list overload.

But enough about my huge drawbacks... how about something I'm good at???

My money saving lesson that I'm most proud of recently is to find a product that you really enjoy and purchase a lot (for me, lately, it's baby formula), and to call their customer service number printed on the back of the product to tell them how much you like it. Best case scenario - you get free product in the mail (Hello, free expensive baby formula. How I wish I was in your company more often)!!! Worst case scenario - the customer service rep is too used to getting complaints and doesn't know how to react to you calling to say thanks for a great product. It's worth a shot, though!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Learning to Simplify, or, Baby Steps

I've recently become a parent, and while I love it and all that comes with it, often I am thinking back to "simple" times. When I spent 9 weeks at home with my little one and rarely left the house, I realized just how easy it is to make life too complicated. I also noticed that I spend way too much money- like it's going out of style. So in addition to learning how to be a parent, I've made it my goal to life life simply - making things easy, simple, saving money, and giving myself more time to enjoy little things. This blog will be an account of my dive into simplicity.

A big theme for me over the past three months has been to learn to ask questions. If the answer seems obvious, or the question seems dumb, I ask the question anyway. It's actually quite rewarding. Recently I ordered a new diaper bag from The bag was discontinued by the manufacturer so it was not easy to locate. I had originally ordered it from an online seller through Amazon, but they were wrong about their inventory levels and ended up not having a bag for me after all. So after I found one at Target and it was delivered, I was elated! I got the bag in the mail shortly after ordering and promptly filled it with all sorts of baby paraphernalia- diapers, onesies, toys, many extra socks- you name it! The bag came with a plastic wipe case that you could stuff with wipes and reuse again and again - which was exciting for me since I'm trying to be more green. Unfortunately the plastic was warped just enough that the lid of the case wouldn't stay snapped. Now, this little plastic case was not a deal breaker for me- I was so excited to actually have my bag that had been discontinued that I wasn't going to let it get me down. I called their customer service to ask if they could just pull the plastic wipe case from another bag and send it to me. I figured the answer would be no, and in the past I wouldn't have bothered asking. I called anyway. Of course the answer was no; however, the customer service rep sent me a $15 gift card for my inconvenience (the bag was $40, so it was totally worth the inconvenience)!

So what is the lesson learned by my harrowing tale of a bag with a plastic wipes case adorned with a loose lid? Call customer service and ask for their help. Even if you know the answer is more than likely going to be NO, it never hurts to try, and can sometimes surprise you!