Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mama Milk


(This is more of a personal post that I wrote a few days ago, and I know some of my friends tend to get (very) skeeved out about pumping and expressed breast milk, so if that applies to you, you may want to walk away right about now.)

I have one bag of pumped milk left in my freezer for little man, which he will get tomorrow morning at daycare.

I knew for a long time this day was going to come, but it is pretty emotional for me.  I am still nursing him, one time per day on my long workdays, and two times per day the rest of the week.  So, he has been getting one bag of frozen, pumped milk each day I work 10 hour shifts, which is two days a week.  I will continue to nurse two times per day on my shorter and off days, but now on my long work days as of next week, I'm going to start sending him with a cup of coconut milk to supplement, as we don't really do cow's milk in this house.  

When I first started to pump, as any new nursing mom will tell you, it was an odd miracle seeing what my body could produce and provide for my child.  It is a very, very strange experience at first, seeing these amazing and crazy things your body can now do.  Even that first half of an ounce is a complete success when you can give that to your child.  As I progressed with the pump when I went back to work, it honestly became a bit of solace for me.  In a long day, my two or three breaks to pump were just the calm I needed.  It gave me time to think, to process, to relax if even only for a few minutes.  I do have to say, I am very thankful that two out of the three of my jobs have spectacular pumping rooms, both including a comfy, private spot to relax enough to pump, one even having a couch and a television in the room!  Pumping is something that some women have a really hard time with, and I've not had all of those problems.  My supply has always been good, enough so that there was a point where I had a significant oversupply, and I was pumping 16 ounces at my first morning session before I left for work (DH does daycare drop off later in the morning on those days so little man can sleep in).  I do believe that the pump had a large part of why I had clogged ducts and mastitis, because I was causing my body to produce more than little man was using on my days off.  But in retrospect, that is what left me with such a significant freezer supply that I could continue to send him with milk to daycare even 6 months after I stopped pumping.  

My body has done and continues to do beautiful, amazing things for these children that I am growing and raising.  I do feel proud, that I have been able to provide for him for 17 months even when I am not with him, especially since I haven't pumped since just after he turned one year old.  I feel thankful that I've been able to do that much for him.  But at the same time - I feel sad, because - even though he probably couldn't care, I always felt that I was sending a little piece of me - a little bit of my love - off with him for the day when I couldn't be there.  

I know it is difficult for some people to understand, especially some of my non-mama friends or those who didn't enjoy nursing or pumping.  But, in my progression to becoming a mother, this has been one small but significant piece.  It was my first experience with trusting my body fully and providing for this baby who I no longer carried around in my belly.  Some women think that breast milk is 'gross' or nursing/feeding breast milk this long is 'wrong.'  But to us, it is comfort, it is security, it is trust, it is love.

Babies don't stay babies forever, and I obviously have a limited time in which I will be nursing him or that he would have had pumped milk.  I get that.  It is just one more little thing that makes me think my little man is not so little anymore.  

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our Grocery Crackdown.


I mentioned recently in a post that we have massively decreased our grocery budget and weekly spending at the grocery store, and there have been a few people who have commented on/asked about this.  A few people asked about specific meals that I plan and a few people asked about how we decreased our spending in general.  If there is more interest in my meal plans (which are VERY simple and easy- I'm not into cooking... at all), let me know, and I'll do actual meal plans in an upcoming post.  Otherwise, let's continue talking about how we reduced our spending at the grocery in general.

To self-disclose, while DH brings his lunch to work (which saves us roughly ~$50 a week), I still do buy my lunch the two days a week I work at the hospital.  I try to get cheaper items, but it does add anywhere from $6-10 a week, depending on how hungry I am.  I'm feeding three here right now with nursing while pregnant, okay?  I'm allowed! ;)

Some of these things you might know about already, and you may do already, but on the off-chance you don't, I'll list everything that helps us save.

1. Go to only one store.  So many people recommend comparison shopping at different stores, and trying to get the best price of one item at one store, and going to another store for other 'on sale' items.  Really, though, to be successful with that advice you have to have the will of an iron man.  Because no one walks into the grocery and only buys one item.  I know I sure as heck don't buy only one thing, even when I only need one thing!

2. Meal plan.  This has been almost the single biggest way to save money for us.  Especially since DH and I are parents of a toddler who needs to eat real, healthy food now, we needed to take this step.  It has been a little trial and error to start, but we now know how many meals we will get from each planned menu item, and then we figure out how many dinners/lunches that will cover.  We try to plan for the whole week, minus a day or so, because there is always something that comes up, and I HATE wasting food.  Like it is a huge pet peeve of mine.  

(Side story- I am a terrible cook.  I'll admit it.  One time, I was making lasagna roll ups, and I forgot to buy tomatoes to add in.  Being resourceful and crafty, I improvised and used a jar of salsa we had sitting around. I actually thought it didn't taste bad, until DH thought it was terrible, and I was eating salsa lasagna for the next week because DH refused to eat it and I refused to waste any of it...ugh.  Okay, back to the useful information.)

3. Make a list, and stick to it!  We not only plan out our meals, but also our snacks, drinks, little man's snacks, and any extras like the Clif Bars DH likes to eat after working out in the morning.  That way, when we get to the store, we don't have any wiggle room to impulse buy.  Well, no.  That's a lie.  We do typically give ourselves one item (of food or drink, $5 or so at max) each to 'splurge' on.  We budget that in as well, and it helps to feel like we're buying a fun treat even while we are sticking to a tight budget.  

4.  Stop buying crap.  You heard me!  Or at least stop buying a lot of crap.  Allow yourself that one item per week to splurge on.  But really, you don't need ho-ho's, pop-tarts, gummy worms, an apple pie, and ice cream every time you go to the store.  The crappy-for-you-food is ALWAYS more expensive, and just adds to your bill in bad ways.

5.  Make your meals stretch.  I have two primary ways to do this: by 'adding' to the meal and by freezing the meal.  A favorite around here is taco night.  I sometimes cut the cost on that by using black beans or other kinds of beans in place of meat.  This is much cheaper, especially in the organic variety.  However, after a day or two, it invariably always happens where we have no more taco shells and a ton of taco fillings left.  Well, we stretch our tacos another night or so by making sure we have a bag of nacho chips around.  Nacho chips on the bottom plus taco fillings on top?  Mmmazing.  And it gets our one taco dinner preparation to last us at the very least through two days of dinners and two days of lunches for our entire family.  The second way I make meals stretch is by freezing part of what I make.  This works really well for us to stretch a meal, because we're impulsive eaters.  If it is there, we'll eat probably far more than a healthy portion size.  If I put part of the meal away in the freezer before I even bring it to the table, there isn't that option to over eat, which makes our meals last longer and stretch further.  Bonus?  I have dinner ready to be defrosted on a night where I'm too tired to cook or have worked a really long day and don't have time.

6.  Buy items that take a little bit of leg work.  There are TONS of items that I recently realized I was completely overpaying for.  As soon as I started actually looking at the prices on items I buy, I saw that there were better options.  For example, cheese is crazy expensive, in my opinion, but if you look closely, blocks of cheese tend to be less expensive (*where I shop) than shredded cheese by weight, and there are actually less preservatives/additives in the block cheese than in the shredded.  It takes a little bit more work getting out my shredder and shredding the cheese myself, but I think it's worth it, if you look at the cost over a year's time.  We do the same thing with beans (by buying dry/unprepared) and oatmeal (by buying a whole carton of rolled oats instead of the individual packages).  You have to do a little more work preparing the item or measuring it out, but it is SO much cheaper for just a little bit of work.

7.  Find coupons that work for you and your family.  So many coupon sites offer coupons that I find to be worthless, because I never buy any of the products discounted.  However, there are a few sites I like.  The first is grocerycouponcart.com.  The reason I like this site is because it is easy.  They send me an email every few days/week with new coupons, so I don't have to go anywhere to look.  Also, we've talked about my love of Meijer's Mperks program, which can be found here.  Check with your local grocery store, they may also offer discounts or programs like Meijer's.  The reason I love it so much is that they also discount organic foods, fresh foods, or eco friendly products periodically, which really helps our family.  Also, you can use Mperks on your smart phone, so I can actually clip coupons on the way to the store as DH drives, or check if I really did have an online coupon for that in the aisle.  As mentioned in another post as well, I also shop CVS for personal care products once every few months.  Just tonight, I was able to walk out with a liquid crystal deodorant for free because I had a $5 coupon for beauty products and that applied to the deodorant.  

8. Drink more water and less of everything else.  I can't even tell you how much we've saved by eliminating pop (or soda, as DH calls it!) out of our weekly grocery budget.  Since I'm a speech pathologist, I am frequently recommending to almost all of my clients to watch/increase their water intake, as I work heavily in voice therapy.  I practice what I preach at home.  I drink probably 95% water, buying a container of lemonade or juice about once every few months.  DH still has a propensity for drinking Crystal Light (don't get me started about all the bad ingredients in there, I know...) but even that costs less than buying pop or juice.

9.  Find a store big enough to offer a store brand.  I've mentioned before my love of Meijer's organic line of almost everything imaginable.  Yes, the organic items are more expensive than Meijer's non-organic branded items, but they are often typically significantly less expensive than regular organic brands, and sometimes quite a bit less than non-organic name brands.  We buy almost everything we can in Meijer's organic brand currently, and still stick to our low weekly food cost.

10.  One last (and very random thing) that helps us save money and stick to a budget is when we go to the grocery store on a really busy day, like on a Sunday afternoon.  I hate wading through tons of people, carts, restocking clerks, and chaos in the aisles.  I've found that it drives me nuts to even wait at the deli counter with DH as he buys meat for his lunch sandwiches for work, so I speed around with little man in his sling, picking up one item here, one item there while DH waits.  It really helps us to get out a lot faster, because we aren't spending time browsing each aisle, finding things we didn't need.  I just want to get in, get out, and get done as quickly as we possibly can.

These are the main tips that have helped us to start saving quite a bit of money at the grocery, so I hope they help your family as well.  What are some things you do to save money at the grocery?  I'm always looking for new ideas/tips!

Also, one more thing tonight!  I really appreciate all the positive feedback I've received on the blog recently, and just want to tell you all how much it means to me that you not only came and checked out the blog, but that you keep coming back.  If you like it, please do me a favor and share the blog in your social media, on your facebook, on your twitter, or pin your favorite post to your pinterest boards.  Word of mouth is the best way to grow, and I LOVE hearing all your comments that are helping me make the blog better every day!


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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I need a real camera.


I finally hit my limit.  

I need a real camera.

Like, now.  

(But not really, because I'm going to have to save for months to get a nice one.)

So, DH's parents bought little man the cutest new outfit, and he wore it the other day to meet up with his friends (also known as mama's friends' daughters).  When we got home, I tried to snap a few pictures of him before we changed or he got the outfit dirty.  Well, here were my results.  And let me tell you, these were the BEST of what I took, as I deleted probably 20 pictures before landing on these two.

Please ignore the messy room- see friends?  I have messes too :)  This is going to be little man's bigger little man room, but for now it is just a mattress on the floor for bedsharing when we have a tough night.

See how excited I am about my octopus O?  Oh, no?  Yeah, I can't see it either, or his sweet little face.
These, of course, were taken on my phone camera.  Because, to be really honest, my point and shoot (a Canon PowerShot that is quite a few years old) doesn't take any better or more clear pictures.  And then I'm just lugging around a camera everywhere when the picture quality is just as bad as if I use my phone.  

Then I started to think about it a little more deeply.  When we went to my friend's house earlier this day, one of my girlfriends had her really nice DLSR (or is it DSLR?  hmmm...) camera and was snapping pictures.  When we went to the mama and baby GTG in Chicago, I took two pictures, one of little man watching cartoons from my phone, and one of the amazing pizza, because, well, pizzas don't move, so they don't end up blurry in a picture.  All of the other fantastic pictures were from all the other mamas there.  I also looked through my phone even and realized that most of the pictures from the last year of little man are either from a professional photographer (Hey there @ Kasey Walker Photography!) or pictures my day care provider sends me on my phone (Thank you Lois!).  

And it made me pretty sad.  

All of the opportunities I'd have loved to have pictures of little man of for the future, all the little things, I've missed.  Like him playing in the yard or drawing with chalk at my parent's home this weekend, or how his sweet little face lights up when I pull his yogurt out of the fridge, or how he hugs his stuffed ducky before getting out of bed after a nap.  So many things I'd love to have a photo of to remember later on, when this stage is a distant memory.  And then my pregnancy hormones kicked in and I pretty much ugly cried for about 20 minutes.  (Insert gif of Dawson from Dawson's Creek or Farrah from Teen Mom here, please!)

So, I'm going to get a camera.  I don't know when, because I'm going to have to save up for one, but I am going to make it a priority.  Because I don't want to be that bad mom who doesn't take any pictures of their child, and then the child grows up and thinks no one loves them because there isn't evidence of all the amazing times when they were a tot.  I talked to my friend Kasey (link above) who takes amazing family pictures, and she recommended a camera that she thought to be a good entry level camera for what I needed and how terrible I am at technology, the Canon EOS Rebel T3 camera.  Hopefully, I can get enough saved up to buy it within the next few months, and then not only will I not be a failure parent, I will actually have better quality pictures to post for you all to see.  That way, you'll know my child isn't a fuzzy blob, that he is really a cute child :)

So, here comes the advice and question time.  Do any of you have this camera?  Is it user friendly?  And by user friendly, I mean, would it be easy enough that my grandma could use it?  (Because that's how bad I am at technology)  Do you have any other cameras you love or would recommend?


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Monday, June 25, 2012

Naptown Grows Up!

Hey All!  So, as you may have noticed, I've made a few changes recently to the blog :)

The first addition was a Twitter account, which my sister talked me into doing.  I'm not really in that century, I have enough trouble just figuring out what happens when I hit post here, but I'm trying! ;)  If you'd like to follow me there, I've been tweeting my blog posts over there, as well as tweeting articles I find interesting.  You can find me over on Twitter @thenaptownmama.  I'd love to follow you on Twitter as well if you'd like!

Also, I've added a sponsor page and have two lovely sponsors already, The Kavanaugh Report and Growing Up Geeky!  Please show them some love and check out their blogs!  I have a few more possible sponsors in the works at this time, but just wanted to add a quick note as I've been asked a few questions about sponsorship as well.  At this time, in lieu of payment, I am willing to accept services for the blog.  I may not be always willing to barter for services, but as we are just starting up in the sponsorship arena, if you have a possible idea for me, please email me at thenaptownorganizer at gmail dot com.  

Finally, I know that many of you stop by the blog pretty frequently, and I don't want you to miss out on the fun!  Make sure you're also a member of the facebook page by clicking the link or scrolling down to the facebook box in my sidebar.  I frequently update the facebook page with blog posts, questions for you all, and fun articles and information.  I'd love to see you join!  

(Additionally, if you have a blog that you don't think I've read before, please post a link to your site in the comments box below, I love finding new blogs to read!)


Sunday, June 24, 2012

A little man update :)

During little man's first year of life, I was AWESOME at keeping track of everything he was doing and when he was doing each thing.  I had a yearly day-by-day calendar in which I wrote an entry for every single day for probably the first 8 months of his life, dropping to every 2-3 days for months 9-12.  Since that calendar ended, and I found out I was pregnant again, I realized that I haven't been keeping as great of track as I did before.  So, I thought every so often I'd post a little update on how he is doing and what he is doing.

I'm going to divide this into categories based on what I know from my speech therapy/developmental background and go from there.  I'm going to add a lot of information today since it is the first post, but hopefully the following posts will just be updates!

Little man is just about 16.5 months old currently.

Walking with Grammy

Motorically: Little man is walking and running like a champ now.  He does really, really well on both our carpet and on harder surfaces, but he is still figuring out the art of walking through grass and uneven surfaces.    Thankfully, he has really developed the baby art of falling/sitting down on his bottom if he starts to wiggle/waver too much while walking. so we haven't had too many bumps/bruises yet.  While he does a great job at walking, he still LOVES to use his push toys.  In fact, my parents just bought him a bubble lawn mower this past weekend and it has provided HOURS of happiness and giggles so far.  He loves to open any door/drawer/can/etc. he can find and really likes twisting caps off/opening boxes.  He also is a super fan of the no-spill bubble container, and he can take the wands in and out and even is able to blow bubbles, although most times he brings the wand up too high and blows on the bottom part of the stick :)  He has also gotten a TON better recently at picking up his food to eat, no matter the texture, but I'll go into that a little bit lower down.

Speech/Language:  Little man is increasing his 'word bank' daily, it seems like.  His current words now include:  mama, dada, doggie, hi, bye, up, bubble, open, cookie, cracker, baby, nigh-nigh, octopus, duck, fish, vroom/zoom, yea, uh-oh, and boom.  (I know, the octopus one is weird.  We have a letter ABC puzzle with pictures behind each letter, and he loves picking up the O and trying to say octopus!)  I think there are a few more, but I'm forgetting at this point.  He also signs more, all done, and waves, as well as points to things he wants and to people, as well as pointing at things to show DH or I something.  He is also a VERY good listener.  For example, this weekend, he was playing with the controls on my mom's heating pad while sitting next to me, and he walked over toward the cord plugged into the wall.  I said, "Not to touch" or "Not to play" or something like that, and he looked at me, looked back at the cord, I repeated it one more time, and he walked away.  Thankfully, he understands a lot of what I say now, and is a really good natured child and abides by it.

Playing with another puzzle, but keeping his Octopus O tight in his other hand :)

Eating: We've always had somewhat of a problem with little man and table food.  He loves his mama milk and his purees/yogurt, but hasn't always been a fan of real, table food.  Recently though, he has started to pick up quite a bit (literally and figuratively!) in what he will eat.  Currently, he still gets two containers of baby greek yogurt each day, as well as his oatmeal fed to him in the morning, but most everything else he is taking by himself.  He will now eat almost any kind of fruit, but mostly likes peaches, pears, apples, bananas, and strawberries.  He isn't a huge fan of raspberries or blueberries, but I think the former may be too sour for him.  He will also eat any kind of cracker and most snack type foods, such as soft baby snack bars, string cheese, etc.  We recently discovered that he likes to eat plain bread/rolls and I'm pretty sure he lived off of grilled cheese sandwiches this past weekend.  We are still trying very hard to get in his vegetables/protein over the course of the week, but thankfully he will always take veggie purees or hummus/etc. when presented from a pouch or a spoon.  He also still does drink one fruit/veggie/coconut milk smoothie each day to increase the nutrients he is obtaining.

Personality:  Little man still is a big cuddler, and his love language is definitely still physical touch.  Just today, he sat and cuddled in my lap for about 10 minutes while I folded laundry.  Also, being 'up!' in my or DH's arms is still his favorite place to be.  He has started shrieking REALLY loud when he gets excited about something, and it is really sweet to see/hear him run to DH or I shrieking with a big smile on his face at the end of the day at daycare.  He recently has been having a little more of what I would consider the beginning of a toddler tantrum, but we're not exactly sure of the cause yet (if it is teeth-see below, or sickness, or just being a toddler).  For the past couple of days, he will get frustrated randomly and sit down and then face plant into the carpet with a few exasperated cries.  I try to keep a straight face when he does this, and offer a little bit of love or reassuring words to get him through (even if I'm not giving him what he wants if that isn't possible/good at that time), however, he is so darn cute that I just want to just scoop him up and give him whatever he wanted.  I'm trying not to :)

Random Stuff:  Little man has, I think, as of now 16 teeth.  His canines and first molars are really pushing through and very visible now, and I'm wondering how long it is going to be before he gets his two year molars, because I'm guessing those are coming early too.  Little man also LOVES having his teeth brushed at this point, and after you are done brushing his teeth, he doesn't want to let go of the toothbrush.  We actually just purchased a few more toothbrushes, which might help if we give him one for a toy.  He is still not so much a super fan of diaper changes, but with a little distraction we are getting through it.  He also learned to point fingers ET style with his Grammy & Grampy this past weekend and has now fallen in love with touching fingers with them and us.  Little man still loves being worn, but also likes to lean over my sling/wrap and try to help me push the cart at the grocery store, when he's not staring at the fish tanks in the grocery :)  He also still HAS to know where we are at all times.  The picture below is of him watching DH mow the lawn the other day.  He stood in this exact spot for about 15-20 minutes, between checking on me while I did dishes, watching DH mowing the lawn.

But Dad!  I'm sure my bubble mower could help!

Basically, he just gets cooler and cooler every day.  


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Ways to save $ with a baby or babies at home

One of the number one things a lot of soon-to-be parents think about before having children is how they are going to afford everything.  It is obviously not the most important piece of information, but it is a very crucial piece of information to have figured out prior to having your baby.  

I've shared some tips along the way on how we've kept the costs down for little man's first year or so, but I thought it might be helpful if I compiled them all in one post to keep my thoughts about it organized, because, well, we know I like organization.  ;)

I'll start with some of the things I've already mentioned.  If you are an avid reader of the blog, you've heard these so you may want to skip to part two below where I get to the new stuff.  Otherwise, let's start here.

1. Breastfeed.  This is the single most important thing that has saved us money and is still saving us money at this point.  Thankfully, I was able to successfully breastfeed little man and while we went through a few bumps, it has been pretty easy for the 8-12 months, after we got the first few months out of the way.  Breastfeeding has saved us immense amounts of money because it is free, compared to spending a large quantity of money on formula.  The only supplies you need for breastfeeding (we'll talk about pumping below) are your breasts, your baby, and a few minor additions of products.

One of the products I did use was nursing pads.  I linked a brand below available at Kohls, but I actually received mine for free after being given a brand new unopened box from a cousin who hadn't used them.  If you use these frequently, a box of cloth nursing pads (which I washed my set every night in the shower by hand) can save you a lot of money versus disposables, especially if this is your first baby.

You can also buy nursing bras, nursing tanks, and nursing shirts, but these are all really unnecessary options.  While they are nice to have, and I do have several, if money is really tight just having an adjustable strap tank top with the straps loosened all the way fulfills the same purpose.

2. Pump your breastmilk.  This one costs a little more, but is still less expensive overall than buying formula.  I purchased an electric pump from Medela for around $150, I believe, but my Medela hand pump ($35) would function just as well (and sometimes better) than my electric pump, had I not already have the diagnosis of carpal tunnel.  If you are a stay at home mom, I could very easily see just getting by with a hand pump.  We also used breast milk storage bags, but some mamas I know actually just freeze the breast milk into 1 or 2 ounce ice cubes from trays and store/save it that way, which is also a lot cheaper than constantly buying the bags.



3. Buy used clothing/toys.  We've already talked about my love of used here, but just to reiterate, buying used clothes for baby saves a TON of money, especially with how short of a time they are wearing each item.  It also is safer for the baby because by the time those clothes get to you and you wash them, most of the chemicals used to treat the clothing initially are long gone.

4. Cloth Diaper.  You can read more about the money you can save when cloth diapering here, although I will admit that it cost us personally significantly less than the $200 cost of our KaWaii diapers I mentioned, mainly because we've received some diapers for free through the blog, as well as for little man's first birthday and Christmas, I asked for cloth diapers for gifts from family and friends and was able to build our stash to a significant size without having to spend any money.  You can also buy used and save on diapers as well.



Okay, so now let's start the new tips.

5. Buy items that plug in.  I have total buyer's remorse in regards to little man's swing.  Not the idea of the swing, or how much we used it, because MAN did he love that thing, but in the actual swing we registered for.  At the time, I didn't know that there was an option that plugged in.  Nowadays, designers of baby items are getting smart and realizing that parents don't want to have to buy 8,343,968,024 batteries for one baby item.  And that is just what we had to do with little man's swing.  I know our nanny for the first several months got frantic calls on her way in sometimes asking her to stop at CVS and pick up batteries on the way.  DH also had to make several 3a runs to pick up batteries for the swing when it stopped on those nights where little man wouldn't sleep anywhere else.  There are GREAT products out there now like swings that do plug in, and I am eyeing a few of them for the new babe if it fits into the budget.

6. Buy neutral.  While most of our clothes are definitely boy-themed, there are a few areas we were able to buy in order to reuse.  All of our socks and white onesies will be reused for the next baby, as well as some more gender neutral bottoms such as brown or black pants that could be paired with pink or purple tops if we have a girl next.  We also decorated our nursery in a completely gender neutral theme (tan, cream, and chocolate brown, with cream safari animals on the blankets/pictures/etc.) so that we don't have to do one single thing to change the room when the next baby comes.  Well, aside from drilling a hook in the wall to hang the wetbag, I don't know why we haven't done that yet.

7. Buy items that serve multiple functions.  For example, the potty we recently bought for little man has it's own little potty that he likes to sit on now (which gives me 5 minutes to pee in peace, we're not potty training yet, it's more of a distraction for him for now), a ring that you can put on your toilet for him to sit on there in the future, and turns into a step stool when the base isn't being used.  Some potty designs now have step stools even designed to hold adults in more neutral colors, so you can always use it.



8. Make your own baby food.  In the beginning, little man wanted nothing to do with baby food that I made, so we did purchase store-bought organic baby food for a while.  But I kept trying, and now he will eat some of the baby food I make.  Even if you buy organic produce to put it in, it is still cheaper, and you can still give it to them in a squeeze pouch if you buy a Sili Squeeze.  I love to use Mrs. McGee's homemade baby food recipes here.

9. Use coupons!!!  As a mama who breastfeeds, cloth diapers, cloth wipes, and uses mostly hand me down or purchases second hand items, you may think I can't use coupons to buy baby items.  This is completely wrong.  I am a CVS coupon freak and I LOVE getting deals there.  I am an ExtraCare member and often you will get coupons for $5 off or $10 off a purchase just for buying other items there.  I use these coupons to buy necessary things for little man, like toothbrushes, tylenol or medication for fevers, etc.  There are tons of great ways to save at the stores you know and love, you just have to make sure the things you buy with those savings are kid-centered :)

10. Buy organic, but buy store-brand.  We have an AWESOME chain store near us called Meijer.  I'll be the first to admit, I used to HATE Meijer.  There are always a million people there, and it can get hectic sometimes.  But now, after shopping there for a few months, I totally understand why.  They have an amazing selection of their own store brand organic items that are often on sale (or further discounted through their MPerks program, which you can sign up for online).  These store brand organic items are typically even less expensive than some of the non-organic name brand items.  Some of the items we buy organic for little man every week are fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, crackers, meats, dairy products, etc.  Almost anything you have a need for, they have an organic or eco-friendly store brand option.  We also buy knockoff seventh generation cleaning products or paper products when we need them (such as toilet paper) in the store brand.  It saves us a TON of money on groceries, especially since I was shopping between Marsh/Kroger and making an extra stop at Whole Foods every week, which was costing me and arm and a leg.  (Although, I do have to admit, I love and miss Whole Foods, it is just so expensive!)

I also want to add one more item, but I'm not going to number it, because this option is not available to everyone.  One way that we have saved A LOT of money since little man was born is the fact that I now work weekends.  Sure, DH and I don't get to see each other as much as previously, but it is a temporary adjustment, and it allows DH and little man to have their own uninterrupted time to bond each week as well. When I work weekends, we obviously don't have to pay any day care costs, because little man is with DH.  It gives me my full paycheck from those hours to use on what we need, and I don't spend so much of it on day care, which is going to be especially helpful when we have the new baby and our day care costs are going to double.  Thankfully, being in healthcare, I have this option, and would highly recommend picking up weekend hours to anyone who also has this option!

I hope some of these tips will be helpful to you, as these are all a huge part of how I save money and am able to stay at home more with little man.

What are some of the things that you do to save money?



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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

End of the first trimester

Today, I am 12 weeks and 5 days pregnant.  Based on some calculations, that is already at the end of the first trimester.  Based on other calculations, the first trimester is over at 13 weeks 3 days or even some people have commented that 14 weeks should be the end of the first trimester, depending on what method you use.  Either way, I'm already there, or I'm very close to getting there.

I thought, since I'm ending one phase of this pregnancy and beginning another, I'd do a little check in and update.

This pregnancy has been very different in some ways, but it also has been much the same in other ways.  I have had significant morning (but really all day) sickness this time around, just like last time.  However, the medicine I relied on the last pregnancy to make it better actually made it worse this time around, and I also abstained from taking the medicine so I WOULD feel sick so that I would feel the symptoms of this pregnancy.  I was very scared at times during the first trimester of this pregnancy due to the previously explained events, and feeling sick was sort of a terrible but warm fuzzy feeling that reminded me everything in my body was still working on growing this child.

I also have had some newer symptoms.  I've mentioned to a few of you while asking for advice or recommendations, that I've had pretty frequent migraines this time around.  I will all of a sudden get significant vision changes, with a strong headache following about a half hour later.  It can be triggered by nausea, sunlight, fatigue, not eating enough, not drinking enough, and standing up too quickly, from what I've gathered so far.  It also has been triggered once or twice by absolutely nothing.  These headaches last anywhere from a few hours to almost a full day, which makes it very difficult to be an active parent to little man on those days.  Thankfully, I have a very patient child who is just as happy to sit and cuddle in my lap as he is to run around and play.  

Another new symptom is the 16 year old boy acne.  I don't think I need to say more, but I'm ready for that to be over with.... really?

I've also had much more dizziness this time around.  Very frequently in the mornings I've noticed that if I don't eat something soon enough, I tend to get very woozy and have needed to lay down on the floor a few times, at home, in our bathroom, in my office at work, etc.  I've been trying to add more protein into my diet, especially for breakfast, but there are days when I am tired and I sleep in a little later, and then am running out of the door right on time and grab breakfast at work.  I need to either get up earlier or put a protein bar in my car to have something on the way.  I really, really like Lara bars, so maybe I'll try keeping one of those in the car.  (Lara bars are a food bar- an alternative to granola bars or other nutrition bars/etc. that have TONS of processed ingredients and, well, basically crap in them.  Lara bars have no more than 9 ingredients in any bar, and are made from fruits, nuts, and spices.  All whole food, all real food.  That's it.)

I am terrible at taking pictures, so I don't have a lot to share in terms of my 'bloat bump' at this point, but I do have one picture I'll share.  Some days, I think I look 5 months pregnant, and some days I think I look normal, so I'm pretty sure it is all bloat or residual mama pouch from little man's pregnancy, but I know everyone loves bump pictures, so I'll share :)


(And yes, I'm wearing maternity pants in this picture.  In the first trimester.  Yep.  They're elastic waisted and amazingly comfortable.  My sister calls these my 'Thanksgiving pants'.  Don't judge, you know you love them too!)

I'll try to post little updates every so often as I go along, as I remember to!  I also have some fun stuff coming up on the blog, including some great giveaways coming up in the next few months as well as a few posts about product updates about what I am currently using, a few thoughts on the transition from one child to two, and a few more thoughts on my parenting style and how it is very rapidly changing.  Hope you come to check it all out!


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Monday, June 18, 2012

July 18 Ultrasound Update

I returned today to the Maternal Fetal Medicine department at the hospital for a repeat ultrasound.  We had completed the Nuchal Translucency scan last pregnancy with little man, which screens for chromosomal abnormalities based on a fluid measurement from the back of the baby's neck in addition to comparing this number with running blood work and analyzing different hormone levels in your blood.  Both of those two measurements gives you a risk level for having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality.  

The MFM department asked that I return to them around this time anyway, to check on the baby, and look at the dark spot in the sac.  Since we were going to be there anyway, we went ahead and completed the NT scan again.  This time, however, we did not complete the associated blood work.  Based on the information I was presented with today, if there is any problem with the placenta, which they were questioning my problem to possibly be a placental hemorrhage at this point, that it would throw off the blood levels they were attempting to obtain for the screening.  Apparently, it would decrease the accuracy of the test and increase the false positive possibility.  Seeing this, and all the other scary stuff we have been through in this pregnancy, I declined that part.  

During the ultrasound, both the tech and the doctor were back in the room.  They confirmed that the 'mass' they are now calling it in the sac had not gotten any smaller, but it had also not gotten any bigger, and it didn't really look any different than before, which was good.  Based on the NT part of the scan, they gave me good numbers and a low risk for chromosomal abnormalities as well.  

Since this was around the time last time that they predicted little man's sex (at 13 weeks 1 day) and it was the same tech that performed that ultrasound, I asked her if she'd peek down a bit and let me know if she saw anything leaning towards another boy or a girl baby.  She took a look and while she was really sure last time with little man, she said this time she was unable to give me any more than a guess right now and it could be wrong.  So, I'm taking that to mean it could still be either way, which is fine by me.  Because she was unable to tell today, DH will actually be able to be present for the next appointment in which hopefully they can give us an answer at that time so that we could find out together, as a family.

They set me up for my next ultrasound at 18 weeks, 6 weeks from now so that they can look again, and then from that point, determine how often they will have me return for ultrasounds until the end of the pregnancy.  I think the doctor mentioned something about having me return at least every 6 weeks if things continued to go well, and more frequently if the mass began to grow or change at all.  

This ultrasound was the first one that anyone bothered to give me any pictures of the baby, even though I've had so many.  This ultrasound was also the first that I was relaxed enough and calm enough that I probably would have asked for them if they hadn't offered.  It felt really, really nice to feel like this is starting to be just a 'normal' pregnancy again.  And of course, hearing that sweet, reassuring heartbeat, and watching those little legs and arms and body move around during the test, just makes me feel so proud, so happy, so strong that I am carrying this child, despite what I previously was told.  

In other news, I meet my new Ob this week at my first appointment with her at the end of the week. I'm a little nervous, but hopeful that it will go well and we will hit it off, since there aren't a whole lot of options left to me of doctors that deliver at my hospital that are not in my old Ob's group that he could possibly cover for.  I did cancel all my appointments with the old Ob.  I am thankful for the care that he provided to myself and my son during my first pregnancy, but I just think there were a lot of things I would have liked to happen differently with this pregnancy and it didn't leave a lot of trust there, which is imperative to me.  

Thanks again all for checking in on me and the baby, I so appreciate all the kind words and love we've been shown in the past few months.  


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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Video Monitoring

For the first 6-8 months of little man's life, we only had an audio monitor.  I felt okay knowing we had an AngelCare monitor, where it picked up his movements and set off an alarm if he stopped breathing, so I didn't think we needed to go the extra mile and get a video monitor.  (See the AngelCare monitor below)


Then I saw all the cool pictures of my friend Nicole's (@ the Kavanaugh report) baby from his video monitor and thought, maybe we really should get one.  So, following her recommendations, we bought the Dlink wireless Day and Night camera below.  (Click the link if you want more information- it really is awesome!)

We liked this camera better than all the other cameras (baby video monitors and surveillance cameras) because not only was it not terribly expensive (I think we bought it at Fry's for $80?) comparatively, but it had better features than most.  With this video monitor, there are no handheld units.  It is just a wireless camera that you screw into the wall in their room and then plug into an outlet for power.  We are able to see little man in his crib either on our computers, our iPad, or our iPhones.  You can opt to have the sound on or off (usually we have it off, because we still keep the AngelCare on just in case), can zoom in to the picture, can take pictures of the screen image, and can check it from anywhere!  It is really reassuring to me as some days I still have a really hard time leaving little man to go to work.  If he is at home with DH, such as when I was working today, I can just tap one button on my phone and see him/hear him snoozing away peacefully during his naps. 

Since we bought the video monitor, however, we love it for many reasons other than the reasons listed above.  The first being, I never knew how much he WASN'T sleeping when I thought he was!  


Turns out, little man really likes to nap for a while, wake up, sit up, sometimes stand up and play with his mobile, coo or chat to himself a little bit, and then lay back down and go back to sleep.  Sometimes he will go back to sleep for 10-15 minutes, sometimes he will go back to sleep for an hour or more on top of whatever he had already slept for.  Once I was able to see him, I stopped going in at the first coo every time, and realized better what his sleep habits were.

Also, I realized just how funny he is (and I think a lot of other babies do this as well) at sleeping.  I've taken a few examples to show you just how he sleeps.  Because, really, that can't be comfortable!!!

Exhibit A
Exhibit B

Exhibit C
And my favorite, Exhibit D
Sometimes, we turn on the video monitor just for a few minutes to see what funny position he is sleeping in that night.  It is really reassuring to me to be able to see him and know what he is doing, even when I am not in the room.  Especially since we have a child who sits bolt upright (just like his mom, oops) as soon as the door to the bedroom opens.  It doesn't matter how quiet we are, in his entire almost year and a half of life, we've successfully checked on him in the middle of the night/nap a total of two times without waking him up.  

And just a little love from tonight, little man cuddling his stuffed bunny and sucking his thumb.  Makes my heart melt every time :)





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Thursday, June 14, 2012

I'm not perfect.

I'm not sure what it is about the crunchy community, that everyone wants to be so good at everything eco-friendly.  Maybe it stems from the fact that a lot of people see it as an all-or-nothing thing?  I don't know.  In all reality though, it is such a continuum.  Even if you were to do one little thing differently, like recycle some of your cardboard, or try to turn the lights off in your room after you leave (which I am doing SO much better at, by the way!), you are making a difference.  I just sometimes am in awe of what we could do as a country and as a world if each person just did one little thing to reduce their footprint.  

But, as I said, I am not perfect.

There are tons of things that I do, that are not even remotely eco-friendly.  There are many that I am currently trying to work on, but there are some that I just can't get past, or don't want to get past, for whatever reason.  I figured I may as well put them out there, because not only does it make me feel better if I'm not trying to hide my few really-environmentally-bad habits behind the guise of being this crunchy mama, but also because maybe it will help people to see that we all can do something, even if we don't do everything right.

So, here goes.



1.  I am addicted to nail polish.  Yep, and not just the better-for-you healthy nail polishes, the bad stuff.  I have a small, okay, maybe not so small addiction to seeing sparkly glitter polish on my toes.  I don't know what it is, but if I get a little flash of glitter from my toes, it makes me feel all happy inside.  :)  Plus, I have ugly toes (well, are there such things as cute toes?  I'm not sure... but if there would be, mine would NOT be in the running!) and need to hide them as much as possible.  I did however, abstain almost completely from toe nail polish during little man's pregnancy, and now I try only to paint them once a month with this pregnancy, and I always take the polish and sit outside where there is a nice breeze and I'm not breathing all those chemicals in.


2.  I use plastic silverware at work.  I know, this one is really bad.  But here's the thing, I cannot deal with the smell of the silverware at work after it has been washed in the washing solution they use.  The silverware ends up smelling like dirty water, and every time I bring the fork with the food on it to my mouth I want to put it down and stop eating.  ( .... and I may have just come up with my next diet idea for after this baby is born!)  I need to just go to Target and buy some cheap silverware to take back and forth to work, so that I'm not constantly using the plastic silverware, but yuck, that smell....

3. I drive an SUV.  And actually, we just sold my smaller SUV to buy a bigger model with three rows of seats after the news of this pregnancy.  Logistically, we would have not been able to fit both DH and I, little man, new baby, our two dogs, and the luggage we would need for all 6 of us in my smaller SUV, which would have made it really difficult to even travel to my parent's home.  We would have had to put the dogs in the front seat with us, which I find to be dangerous and distracting to the driver, as they don't just sit still and constantly want to hop into the driver's lap.  The good thing about the new car is that it has really similar gas mileage to what we were getting before, and the gas will actually cost less because this car I can put regular fuel into, thank goodness.  Yes, we could have bought a van.  No, I'm not even going there.  I know some people love them.  I'll leave it at that :)

4. While I'm an open-up-the-windows-and-air-out-the-house kind of homeowner, DH is not.  He likes the a/c on at all times and likes it cold.  (Although I guess we somewhat make up for that in the winter because he also likes it freezing then, too)  I often-times will not argue the point and the air stays on.  This one, I have been working on, because I actually like getting some fresh air in the house.


5.  And last, but definitely not least, I'm a huge tree killer at work.  Because of my job as a speech pathologist, and the type of clients that I am seeing at my job (frequently those who are seen for initial assessments, given recommendations, and then not seen for continuing treatment), I print and distribute A TON of handouts.  I've tried making the print smaller, but then my older clients complained they couldn't read it.  I also do try to print double sided handouts when possible, but the bottom line is basically just that I kill tons of trees for my job.  

So there.   I've self-disclosed some of my worst habits.  

(Should I feel better yet?)

I guess I just have to try to rationalize those facts to myself.  I do cloth diaper my child.  I have breastfed for the last year and a half.  I recycle every item possible.  I buy used clothing, toys, and goods.  I support organic farming and organic businesses/products.  I use family cloth.  (Pretend you didn't hear that one and we'll talk about it later!) I used to carpool to my job with a coworker when it was a farther drive away.  I buy all healthy personal-care and home-care products that aren't spewing tons of chemicals into our planet when they are thrown into the trash dump.  

(I still don't quite feel better yet...)

Make me feel a little better here, people!  What is one thing you do that is really eco-friendly/earth-friendly and one thing that you do that is completely NOT eco-friendly?  


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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My love of used.

I did not used to be this way, not in the least.  In fact, the area in which I grew up, buying things used was pretty much a frowned upon thing.  I'm talking, like, even in high school, when we were the age of driving for the first time, I had classmates showing up left and right with brand new, beautiful, expensive vehicles.  While some of those bad habits or inclinations to buy big or expensive things have stayed with me much longer than they should have, after becoming a parent, my whole attitude turned around.

Financially, there are a million things I would have done differently had I known just what the value of a dollar was before I had my son.  After having little man, with so many other things in my life, my attitude about money just changed.  Now, I am interested in doing whatever I can to save money and put our family in a better position.  I have to say, it would have been a lot easier had I figured that bit out earlier in my life, but I think that DH and I are in a good place that we are still in our twenties and have learned how to plan, how to budget, how to save, and how to use our money wisely.  

There have been a few things that have REALLY changed our day-to-day financial picture.  The first was tackling our grocery shopping.  I will be the first to admit that we spent WAY too much at the grocery store when we were dual income-no kids.  We spent probably $200-300 every 1-2 weeks, averaging at least $ $600-800+ per month only on groceries, for two people.  It was just crazy.  Now we are able to get out of the store with mostly organic, fresh food for our family of three at just around $100-130 a week.  Once we got that under control, we really looked at other areas of our spending.

I think that DH and I spent poorly in two different ways.  He liked to buy very expensive, big things, as I think that most men do.  Game systems, golf equipment, stereo systems, phones, pretty much any kind of electronics.  I was a different kind of spender.  Over the course of a month, I would spend a little at this store, a little at that store, buy some things for the house, buy some new clothes for me, etc.  It would all add up so much.  

Since we've had little man, both of those poor spending habits had to end.  We both have drastically reduced any money we spend on either of those areas, pretty much just giving each other once or twice a year to spend a reasonable (read: small) amount of money on ourselves.  Also, in the quest to find better ways to spend our money, we've found used.

Initially, I was kind of just lucky enough to be given a really good option to try out using things second hand.  I have a very generous family and group of friends who donated SO many things to our family when they found out we were expecting or since little man has been here.  I have one cousin, who I will forever be grateful to, who has given us BAGS and BAGS of clothing from her two boys.  In the past, this was something I would have probably turned my nose up to, big time.  However, I had an open mind about it and thought, okay, I can use some of this stuff, it is pretty cute, and it would be pretty expensive to buy him a new wardrobe every three months in the beginning.  

Little man in his hand-me-down Halloween costume!
As time went on, I began to put more of the used items from my cousin into rotation than even the new items I had purchased.  There were tons of adorable little outfits she sent that were already so soft and worn in from washing and wear from her boys, they were so comfortable for little man, and he looked so cute in them.  Looking back on his first year or two, the outfits I've thought about keeping for memory's sake after we finish having children are ALL outfits that my cousin gave me, or that we were given as gifts.  There is not one item I can think of that little man wore enough for me to save and treasure that I had actually purchased. And, to be honest, after the first several months of being entirely supplied with clothing from my cousin, who was so ridiculously generous, I only had to buy a few small pieces to supplement his wardrobe, like shoes, socks, or sweatshirts/coats as they live in a warmer area of the country.  And when I did buy those, I went straight to the second hand shops, because that fit my budget and my comfort zone much better.  I have also gotten plenty a good deal by going to garage sales in some of the nicer neighborhoods around my area, where you could see exactly the home/family the clothes were coming from, if you were more concerned.

A few of my garage sale finds- I believe I scored all of this for around $10.
In total, since little man was born (I did buy a bunch of clothes before he was born, and I'm not sure how much those cost), I have probably spent less than $200 in the almost year and a half he has been with us.  And, to clarify, he has had a full wardrobe in all of the following sizes: 0-3 months, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-18, and now even in the 18-24 range that he needs because of his cloth diapered bottoms and 26+ lb baby self.  

But not only has it saved me money, it is better for him as well.  Some parents choose to buy all organic for their children's clothing for a certain period of time, like Selfie over at the art of making a baby, who chose to clothe her daughter in only organic clothing for the first 6 months of her life.  But here's the thing, if you have used/pre-owned clothing, by the time it gets to you it has likely been washed and worn enough that many of those chemicals used to treat the clothing are no longer present.  We also own a steam-sanitizing washing machine, so I feel comfortable with even the second hand store clothes that didn't come from family because I know they are truly clean by the time they come out of the dryer.  For a similar benefit of decreasing all the bad things that your child's gentle skin absorbs, you can purchase used clothing that is absolutely leaps and bounds cheaper than buying all brand new, organic clothing.

We also have been extremely lucky with family and friends who have provided toys and baby gear to us.  A few of my amazing aunts, cousins, and especially my awesome SLP coworker/friend have been so generous as to pass along any toys they have laying around.  Sure, we get a lot of the noise makers (thanks Tara! ;)) But we also get a ton of really great educational toys as well, so it is a really nice mix.  So far, other than a few new distraction car-ride toys for long trips, and tot school toys, we've only purchased one big toy for little man so far, and that was his Christmas present last year.  We've been able to use all of the gently-loved toys and little man LOVES them and has not a clue that each toy wasn't purchased by us for crazy amounts of money for him.  And this isn't even mentioning any of the eco-friendly benefits such as less money/energy spent on production, packaging, transporting, and distribution/sales of clothing/toys!

At the end of the day, since giving birth to little man, it is really a numbers game for me.  Every time we spend something frivolous, expensive, or even the necessary-but-expensive items, in the back of my head I am equating it to how many hours of work I have to do at my PRN job, away from little man, to make up for it.  If I can save hundreds of dollars by having joy in accepting or purchasing gently used items, that means hours and days more of time that I am able to spend with my child.  And really, with that as the bottom line, there is no better motivation.


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Saturday, June 9, 2012

DH

I know father's day isn't for another week or two, but I couldn't wait.  DH is such an awesome husband, father, and friend, that I don't want to only appreciate him one day of the year, I want him to know, that on a random Saturday, he means just as much to me as he does on any day in celebration of fathers or husbands/partners.  


DH and I met on our college rowing team.  In the very early stages of our relationship, he was a good friend.  When I left my college campus to change majors and change schools for a semester, and then changed my mind and came back, he was the first person I saw down in the basement workout area of the old arena that came up to me with a huge smile on his face and welcomed me back to the team.  

When we first began to date, we not only spent time together actually on dates, but we also spent time together with our rowing team as well.  Our team traveled across the country for regattas, and he was my favorite 'bus buddy.'  One bus trip, we were on our way I think to South Carolina, and the bus kept breaking down.  It would drive for a little while, overheat, pull over to the side of the road, the driver would get it working again, and then we would be off... to only break down a few miles down the road.  Now, imagine this, an entire bus full of huge male athletes and some female athletes.  On the side of the road, in the south.  It was HOT.  Each time the bus would break down, obviously, the air would turn off, and we just had to sit in our teeny, squished seats and wait for the bus to start working again.

It was on that trip, probably only a month or two after we started dating, that I really knew I could have a future with DH.  As odd as it sounds, sitting there next to him, sweating like a crazy person, cranky as all get-out from it being so hot, and in the midst of my full-fledged motion sickness, I wasn't embarrassed or anxious or nervous about him actually seeing who I really was.  I was comfortable.  


Now, I wouldn't admit that to him until WAY later, even after he told me he loved me first :)

My mom also said she knew that it would probably be a pretty serious relationship, because of how often I spent on the phone with him the first summer away from him while I was back in my hometown, and he was off working in New York.  We spent hours on the phone with each other.


The subsequent summer away from each other, after we had been together for a year, not only did we call each other frequently during the summer, but we also took home a notebook and we wrote each other every few days as well.  We still have those notebooks and I look back on it and smile at all the new-butterflies and new-love feelings we were having.  It was great to have it all written down.  I actually still write in mine to him every so often when I get the itching.  It's romantic, and I'm so thankful to have a partner who wasn't afraid to express how much he missed me and needed me in his daily life.


Fast forward to now.  We have been together for 9 years and have been married coming up on 5 in a few short months.  We have a beautiful child at home and a second on the way.  Sure, there are times, as with every relationship, where we drive each other crazy, but that comfort, that trust, that understanding, that intimate honesty, that is still there.  He knows me more than almost any other human on this planet.  (After becoming a parent, I can't say that he knows me better than anyone, because I think my parents know me very close to as deeply as he does, just as I know my child as deeply as anyone can, and hope to always will)  

He still does things for me that other people would groan and sigh over, that he accepts without a word of complaint.  A few nights ago, when I was feeling sick in the middle of the night, he went scrounging around our kitchen at 4 in the morning to grab me snacks and something to drink to help my stomach feel better.  He wakes up sometimes at ridiculously early times in the morning to go work out, because he doesn't want to miss any time in the evenings with little man and I.  He has not questioned with the new pregnancy when I need a break, a nap, or a moment to myself.  He just takes little man, and plays like there is not a thing in the world he'd rather be doing, even if there was something he was just doing.  He does the dishes, independently, without me ever asking, just because he wants to help out around the house.  He goes with me and little man every week to go grocery shopping, because he thinks it is a fun way to spend time with us.  


I could go on and on for days about how many things he does that are so little but so big at the same time.  But the gist of it is, I married an amazing man who is so, so very right for me.  He is so much more than I could have ever expected from a man, and he is so very patient and gentle with who I am.  

We've had a really good past 9 years, and I look forward to decades more time to spend with you, because no matter how much time I have with you DH, it will never be enough.


♥ the naptown organizer

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