Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: BB

BB = Before Baby
This picture was taken in 2008 while we were visiting Brian's parent for Christmas break.  Oh to be that young again! ;-)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Don't You Get Bored?

I have been asked this question a lot lately...."Don't you get bored being home all day?"  The answer is yes and no.  Being a SAHM is something I have always wanted to do.  Even as a little girl I used say I wanted to be a wife and mommy when I grew up.  Now that I am actually living this dream, I can say that it's not always what I dreamed of.  However, it is still my dream job and I truly do love it.

Being a SAHM is a tough job!  It's definitely not sitting around eating bon-bons all day.  I am exhausted at the end of the day, but I find this to be the most fulfilling and rewarding career.  As I said in a previous post (The Mess Can Wait), I stay at home so that I can take care of Hannah....she is my #1 priority.  However, I am also in charge of so much more.  It is my responsibility to keep the house clean and orderly, to prepare the meals, to do the shopping, to iron, to feed the dog, to get the mail, to do the laundry, to keep our social calendar organized, and so much more.  Yes, Brian helps me in so many ways and I have been blessed with an amazing husband who actually likes to do some of those things too, but ultimately they are my responsibility. 

So how do I stay sane?  How do I keep this job from becoming mundane and overwhelming?  Well, it's not always easy, but I try to switch it up a little, every once in a while.  I agree that staying locked up in the house would drive me crazy, so I make a point to get out of the house at least once a week (usually more often).  We do all kinds of things: grocery shopping, lunch dates with friends, play dates, story time at the library (haven't technically gone yet, but it's on the calendar for mid July), dinner dates with daddy, shopping trips (even if it's just to look...remember we are always trying to be thrifty!), and even just walks in the neighborhood.  Getting out of the house is a priority for me.  When I first had Hannah I found myself staying inside a lot!  Mostly due to the fact that I was healing (physically and emotionally) and that taking a one or two week old baby anywhere is overwhelming.  But it didn't take me long to realize that I couldn't survive that way.  I started going stir crazy and knew that I couldn't keep up that routine.   

When I think about my role as a SAHM, I often think of the Proverbs 31 woman.  Who has time to get bored when you have her standard to live up to (ultimately, it is God's standard, but you know what I mean)

Proverbs 31:10-31
A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.  She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.  She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.  She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.  She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.  She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.  She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.  In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.  She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.  When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.  She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.  Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.  She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.  She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  Shewatches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Being a stay at home mom is exhausting and mundane at times, but it's so rewarding.  I am blessed to be able to stay home every day with my beautiful little girl and watch her grow up.  Being confined to these four walls can get tiresome, but being a SAHM is not a boring job.  It is full of surprises and joy!  I have been called to be a mother and I take this job seriously.  I strive to be like the woman spoken of in Proverbs 31 (well, maybe not the "she gets up while it is still dark" part! haha)  What a lofty goal! 

I am so blessed!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Day in the Life of Me

I thought it would be fun to share what a typical day looks like for me and Hannah (is that the proper English or is it Hannah and me?  or Hannah and I?  I never know.)  Hannah is 3.5 months now, so life is just starting to get a little more exciting.  She has really come alive in the last month or so.
  • Our day begins at 6am (well, sort of).  Brian usually wakes Hannah up (unless she has already woken us) and brings her to our bedroom.  After a minute of cuddling with Daddy (she won't cuddle for long because she is STARVING!) he hands her to me so I can feed her.  I change her diaper, shower her with kisses, and we smile back and forth for a couple minutes.  Then I put her back into her crib for her morning nap.  I usually go right back to sleep as well!
  • We are up for the day between 9 and 10am (sometimes earlier...depends on what Hannah wants to do).  If she hasn't already woken me up, I will get her by 9:30am and bring her downstairs for her next feeding.  I try to wait until 10am to feed her, no matter when she wakes up.  So if it's early we will play for a few minutes first.  This could be anything from laying on the floor and starring at each other to sitting in the exersaucer while mommy checks e-mail...just depends on her mood.  At 10am (or a little earlier) I feed Hannah again and change her diaper.
  • After her tummy is full, I put her in the pack n' play that we have in the playroom downstairs.  I put her on her tummy and put a couple toys and a mirror in her reach.  I set the timer (right now we are doing 7 minutes at a time) and leave the room.  This is her "independent playtime".  I try to stay out of sight and let her explore on her own.  We are trying to work up to 15-20 minutes at a time, but I don't add minutes until she is able to go the allotted time without fussing or crying at all.  That shows me that she is capable of more alone time, so I add another minute next time.  While she is playing I usually try to wolf down a bowl of cereal or something for breakfast (7 minutes doesn't give me much time to digest, but at least it's something).
  • When "independent playtime" is over, we usually head back upstairs to get dressed for the day.  I put Hannah in the bouncy seat in our bathroom and shower while she plays with a few toys.  This is not always very relaxing though.  She usually fusses the whole time and I am constantly reaching out of the shower and trying to pop the paci back into her mouth (after dripping her with so much water that she is soaked...opps!)  After a very quick shower, I hop out and get dressed as fast I can before another melt-down starts.  If I'm lucky I can take a minute or two to brush my hair (forget about makeup!).  Then we head into Hannah's room to get her dressed.  She gets her bath at night, so we just change her clothes (although I sometimes just let her stay in whatever she slept in...just depends on how dirty it is).
  • Once we are both dressed, we head back downstairs for some more playtime.  It is usually around 11:30am at this point.  We spend time in the playroom playing with different toys, looking out the window, practicing different skills (sitting up, rolling over, etc.), listening to music, bouncing in the jumper, and just hanging out.  This playtime doesn't really have a time limit; Hannah decides when it's over.  But it's usually at least 30 minutes or so.  One or two days a week I use this morning playtime to run errands.  After we get dressed, we head out to go grocery shopping or to meet a friend for lunch.  I can't stay in the house all day every day...I'd go crazy!
  • At some point during the morning, Hannah starts to get fussy, so I try to let her take a cat nap.  I don't put her in her crib for this nap, I just let her fall asleep where ever we are (in her bouncy while I'm showering, on our bed while I'm getting dressed, in the playroom while we are playing, in her car seat while we are out and about, or even in my arms.)  There is no schedule with this nap (imagine without a schedule!)  Ultimately I'd like her to stay up during this time so that she is good and tired for her afternoon nap, but I certainly don't force her to stay awake.
  • Depending on what time it is after all that is done, we will sometimes go on a short walk around the neighborhood before her next feeding (which is at 1:30pm).  All depends on how our morning has unfolded.
  • Between 1 and 2pm I feed Hannah again (I aim for 1:30pm).  Right after this feeding, she goes down for her long afternoon nap (2-3 hours).  This is when I do whatever it is I want to do (clean, prepare dinner, blog, check email, rest, eat lunch, finally feed Bubbles, finally take Bubbles out....opps!)
  • Hannah wakes up somewhere between 4:30 and 5pm.  I try to push her feeding until 5:30pm, so if she wakes up before that, we play for a few minutes.  I feed her and then usually put her in her exersaucer in the kitchen while I work on dinner.  Then it's just the waiting game for daddy to come home from work....our favorite part of the day! :-)

So that's our day in a nutshell.  I can't wait to see how this all changes as Hannah grows up.  It will be fun to look back on how different things are as she gets more mobile and interactive.

Here is video of Hannah from the other morning.  I just loves those laughs!!  Enjoy! :-)
Click here to see the video

Friday, June 25, 2010

Are we crazy?

We may have lost our minds, but we are going to attempt to go out to a "fancy" dinner tonight....with Hannah!  Oh boy!  We are going to try out a new steakhouse in the city with some friends and have no other option but to bring Hannah with us (kind of last minute and not sure how Hannah would do with a babysitter anyway).  We made our reservation for 6:45pm so that we could try to beat the "fancier" crowd and to try to work around Hannah's bedtime (which has been 7:30pm lately, so we'll see).  We are hoping that she might sleep in her carseat, but you never know!

I asked Brian if we were even allowed to bring a baby to a fancy restaurant.  I mean, have you ever seen a baby in a steakhouse (and we're not talking Outback).  Hmm....I wonder if they will even have a sling or highchair for her car seat.  If nothing else, I'm sure we will get some weird looks.  :-)

This is sure to be an adventure.  Wish us luck!  I will be sure to let you all now how it goes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All About Me...A to Z

A: Attached or single? Definitely attached and loving it!!  We will celebrate our 6 year anniversary on Aug. 7!

B: Best friends? My husband, Brian is my best friend hands down!  But I am also blessed with some great girlfriends and family members that I consider to be my best friends

C: Cake or Pie? Can I pick both?!  I really like them both...just depends on my mood.  But if I had one of each side by side, I guess I would pick pie (as long as it's apple, pumpkin, key lime, or something else yummy)

D: Day of choice? Saturday because Brian is here with us and we don't normally have any obligations.

E: Essential item? Jesus, my family and friends

F: Favorite color? Depends on my I guess.  But having a little girl is starting to change that.

G: Gummy bears or worms? Both...I LOVE gummies!!

H: Hometown? Born and raised in the Daytona Beach, FL area (but no longer live there)

I: Favorite indulgence?  Lately it's been ice cream :-)

J: January or July? July!  I definitely like summer better than winter

K: Kids? Our sweet baby girl, Hannah who is 3 months old

L: Life isn't complete without....? My family and friends!

M: Marriage date? August 7, 2004

N: Number of brothers & sisters? One of each, plus 2 brother in laws and 2 sister in laws

O: Oranges or apples? ones.  But I also love orange juice.

P: Phobias? Bugs of all kinds!!  YUCK!

Q: Quotes: I'm really not a quote kind of person

R: Reason to smile? My sweet little girl makes me smile every day!  She is such a blessing from the Lord.

S: Season? Fall

T: Tattoos?  Nope

U: Unknown facts:  See my previous post - 25 Things About Me

V: Veggie? I like most veggies but the first one that comes to mind is corn on the cob

W: Worst habit: Picking the skin around my nails

X: X-ray or Ultrasound? Ultrasound!  What an amazing day it was to see our little peanut on her first ultrasound!

Y: Your favourite food? Pasta...yum!

Z: Zinc or sunscreen? Sunscreen

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

3 months old....better late than never

I realized today that I never wrote a 3 month post.  Silly me!  I will try to resist the urge of saying things like "I can hardly believe she is 3 months old already" or "Man, time flies!"  But those things are certainly true!  Hannah turned 3 months on June 11 (so more than a week ago).  I weighed her on June 19 and she was 13 lbs. 8 oz.  She is starting to fit into 6 month clothes (3-6 months) and wearing size 2 diapers (when she isn't wearing cloth).  She has come alive in the past few weeks!  It's amazing to see how different she is from just one month ago.  She is so much more alert and active (hard to believe, since at her 1 month pediatrician visit the doctor called her "active").  Wait till the pediatrician sees her at her 4 month visit!

This is what our days look like at 3 months (well, at least an outline):

6 or 6:30am - Wake, feed, change diaper, put back to bed
9:30 or 10am - Wake, feed, change diaper, playtime with a cat nap thrown in at some point
1 or 1:30pm - Feed, change diaper, put down for afternoon nap
5 or 5:30pm - Wake, feed, change diaper, family time with a cat nap sometimes thrown in
8 or 8:30pm - Bath, feed, bedtime routine, change diaper, put down for the night

Our goal lately has been to get her to bed earlier.  In the beginning we were trying to get her to stay up until 10pm, but now that she is older, it's time for an earlier bedtime.  She needs the extra sleep and mommy and daddy need some time alone!

For the last week or two she has been struggling to make it through the night without waking up to eat.  This has been very frustrating since she was doing so great.  I'm not sure if this is a growth spurt or a result of moving her bedtime earlier (therefore moving her last feeding earlier), or something else.  Last night when she woke up fussing at 12:15am, I stood at the foot of the crib watching her flail around in her sleep.  She wasn't really awake, but was definitely restless.  I tried everything I could think of (took off the blanket, turned off the fan, gave her a paci, rocked her, changed her diaper, etc.)  but when none of that worked, I just fed her and put her back down.  She fell asleep with little trouble after that and slept until 6:15am.  Who knows?!  I wish I could figure it out, but I keep reminding myself that this won't last forever.  There may even come a day that I miss our middle of the night cuddle time. ;-)

So here's what Hannah has been up to these days:
  • Not rolling over like she used to.  This is weird to me, but I remember reading that while a baby is learning a new skill, they often seem to forget an old one.  Who knows?!
  • Squealing and screaming.  I'm pretty sure Hannah has discovered her voice.  She is a screamer! haha  Especially when I'm in the shower and she can't see me.  It's not necessarily a cry, just a scream for attention.  Oh boy!
  • She still isn't laughing much, if at all.  We did get a video of her laughing at Grandma the other day, which was so cute!  But other than that, she hasn't laughed at all.  I guess we just aren't that funny.  She does squeal every once in a while and she definitely gets the laughing look on her face, but nothing comes out. ;-)
  • She has started eating rice cereal.  We tried a little on the day after her 3 month birthday.  She really seemed to like it!  But since starting the cereal she has started waking up in the middle of the night.  I don't know if it is just a coincidence or what, but it has made me hesitant to give her cereal every day.  However, I think I might be changing my mind on that and will probably begin giving it to her more often.  I gave her a little after her lunch feeding and she went right to sleep for her nap with NO crying!!  Wow!  Maybe it does work. :-)  More to come on solids in another post. 
  • Teething?  Not really sure.  Hannah has been very droolie and chewing on her hands like crazy.  I didn't really think anything of it...just thought those were normal baby things to do.  But as I have been reading some different things, I found out that those can be signs of teething.  Hmmm...maybe?  But haven't noticed anything different about her gums yet.  We'll see.
  • She still loves bath time!  If she is ever cranky, the bath always fixes it! :-)
  • She is starting to not like being in the car.  This is hard on me because in the beginning she loved it and so did I!  It was so nice to be able to get out of the house and have a happy baby.  She is still happy once we arrive at our destination, but the car ride isn't always too fun.  She does better when the car is moving, but when we stop at a light, forget about it!
  • Cloth diapers are going great.  No, I don't love scraping poop off the diapers before putting them in the washing machine (and yes, I realize I don't have to do that since breastfed poop is water soluable...but I just can't throw it in without at least rinse it off!), but it is definitely worth the money savings!  And she is just so cute in cloth! :-)
  • She can sit up with very minimal support now.  We have also been practicing "tripodding" (where she sits up and uses her hands out in front of her for support) and she can do that for a few seconds all by herself.  I think once she starts sitting up she will be much happier.  She just wants to be able to do things for herself and gets frustrated when she can't.  Life will be great in her book when she can crawl..but I'm not really looking forward to that! ;-)
  • She still cries every time I put her down for a nap or bedtime.  We can't figure out why, but have pretty much determined that she just needs to cry to let off steam.  It kills me to listen to her, but there really is no reason for her to be crying (believe me, I have spent hours trying to problem solve!)  However, this afternoon when I put her down for her nap, she didn't cry at all!!  It's days like this that I cherish the silence.  I did give her cereal before nap time, so maybe that helped?  Not sure, but you can guarantee that I will be giving her cereal before bed tonight! :-)
I'm sure there are things I am forgetting...mommy brain at it's finest.  But I must say that 3 months is a fun age!  All your hard work is finally starting to pay off (with lots of smiles from that little peanut) and baby really comes alive.  I try to cherish every moment with my little peanut and enjoy her being so small.  I want to remember her like this forever, but then I think about how tiny she was at birth and I can hardly believe it.

14 weeks old

Monday, June 21, 2010

25 Things About Me

I thought it would be fun to share some random facts with everyone.  Some you may already know and some may surprise you. :-)  These are in no particular order and are VERY random!   Enjoy!
  1.  I am a sinner, saved by grace! I love the Lord with all my heart!
  2. I have been married for almost 6 years (in August).  I have one child (Hannah) who is 3 months old.
  3. We tried to conceive for 2 years and were successful after our second round of the fertility drug, Clomid.
  4. I grew up in Florida (lived there for 22 years before moving to Georgia after getting married)
  5. My husband (Brian) is my best friend!  We are so alike, it is scary.  We rarely fight because we are so similar and truly have nothing to fight about.  We are definitely a go with the flow couple.
  6. I will be 28 this year.  (I actually just had to do the math in my head because I wasn't sure if I was 26 or 27 right now!  WOW!)
  7. I was born with a life-threatening condition called Pyloric Stenosis where the valve from my stomach to my intestines was narrowed.  This meant that I wasn't receiving the nutrition that I needed and was vomitting up all of my meals.  I dropped down to an unhealthy weight and required emergency surgery on Christmas Eve 1982 (at 1 month old).  Thankfully there were no further complications and all I am left with is a scar across my stomach.
  8. My favorite tv shows are: "Friends", "Bachelor/Bachelorette", "The Office", "Grey's Anatomy", "19 Kids and Counting", "King of Queens", "Modern Family", and "The Middle".  But I rarely have time to watch tv these days.
  9. I love to clean and organize!  I am obsessed with organizing everything.  I have even toyed with the idea of being a professional organizer.
  10. I love being a stay at home mom and this is what I have always wanted to do.  Even as a small child I always said, "I want to be a mommy when I grow up."
  11. We love the SAW movies!  Hard to believe, I know...but we have seen them all and it is our yearly tradition to see the latest in the theater (If you know us, we never see movies in the theater, so this is a special treat!)
  12. One of my greatest pet peeves is when I see a woman driving the car with a man in the passenger seat.  I don't know why this bothers me so much, but it does.  I guess because in my family my dad ALWAYS drove, I just got used to that.  Now seeing it any other way is just weird. 
  13. I LOVE being out and about.  I also like being home some, but I get very antsy if I don't leave the house often enough.
  14. I am a couponer.  We subscribe to the Sunday paper just for the coupons.  I'm addicted to
  15. I have recently developed a love of ice cream (following in my father's footsteps).  My favorite flavor has to be chocolate peanut butter.
  16. I hate cats.  Yuck!
  17. 5 jobs I have had: secretary at a heating and air company, cashier and then office staff personnel at Publix, daycare worker, teacher, mother
  18. I'm definitely not a morning person.  I can stay up late, but hate getting up early.
  19. I took dance lessons for a good portion of my life (12 years).  I did ballett, tap, jazz, lyrical, pointe, and gymnastics.  I plan on enrolling Hannah in dance classes as soon as she is old enough.
  20. I am obsessed with keeping my toe nails very short.  Brian always says I cut them too short, but I definitely don't think so.  I can't stand to have any nail hanging over.  The nail must be flush with the skin....does that make sense?
  21. I shave my legs every time I shower (even in the winter).
  22. I used to bite my nails til they bled!  It was a horrible habit.  I stopped when we got engaged and I wanted to show off my ring without being embarrassed of my fingers. 
  23. I love to cook but I rarely make the same meal twice.  I like to experiment in the kitchen, which has resulted in some meals that had to be tossed in the trash (only 2 or 3 times).  I keep thinking that once I get a good repertoire of recipes I will start making the same ones over and over....but what constitutes a good repertoire?  
  24. I rotate all of my clothes (including socks and underwear).  After I wear something, it is put to the back of the closet or the bottom of the pile in the dresser so that I don't wear it again too soon and so that everything is worn equally.  Obsessive?  But that way I also make sure to purge my closet of things I don't wear...if it's in the front and I keep skipping over it, it's time to get rid of it! :-)
  25. I love to travel (or did before Hannah came along).  We to some amazing places in the past 6 years: London, Paris, Hawaii, Vegas, NYC, St. Lucia, all over FL, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Key West, St. Louis and more.  Life sure is different now that we are parents. :-)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy first Father's Day to my hubby!  I am so proud of the father you have become.  Hannah is so blessed to be able to call you "Daddy".  I love you!

And Happy Father's Day to my daddy!  I could not have asked for a better father.  I am so thankful for the example you showed me of what a Godly husband and father should be.  Because of your example I was able to chose the perfect husband and father for Hannah.  (I'm pretty sure you and Brian are twins!)  Thank you for being such a great dad!  I am so blessed!  And Hannah is blessed to have you as her "PawPaw".

Friday, June 18, 2010


While purging the front room (see my previous post) I came across a box of journals.  I have been journaling for as long as I can remember and still do.  I found journals from as far back as 1989 (I was just 7 years old).  My journals are something that I cannot purge...I LOVE looking back at them.  Journaling is an outlet for me.  I write in my journal about my struggles and my joys.  As a child I would write almost everyday, but these days it not nearly as often.  I definitely don't write daily, or even weekly...sometimes not even once a month.  But I do write whenever I am struggling with something (I use my journal as a prayer journal at times too).  I have even started a journal for Hannah.  I am writing her letters about things she is doing and how she is growing.  I hope to be able to keep up with it as she grows and when she is old enough, she can start her own.

Writing is definitely a passion of mine and I find so much peace in it.  When my mind is jumbled with thoughts, it always helps to get them down on paper.  Writing clears my mind and helps me focus on what's truly important.  And I love looking back at past entries and seeing all that the Lord has done in my life.  It also helps me remember my past (I have an AWFUL memory) and is a source of true entertainment when I am bored. :-)

Do you keep a journal?  If you have children, do you encourage them to keep a journal or diary? 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  Remember that Sunday is Father's Day! :-)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Purge the Clutter

Yesterday I spent a few hours purging and organizing boxes of teaching stuff.  My mother-in-law was in town and was a great help!  While Hannah was napping, we took time to go through each box and decide if I really needed the items inside.  After being a teacher for 3 1/2 years, I had accumulated a lot of stuff!  I can't imagine how much I would have had if I had taught any longer.  I had stored all of the stuff in our front room (technically the formal living room) and recently decided that we should turn that room into Hannah's playroom.  But before we can do that, we have to clear it out.  My mother-in-law is a teacher, so I was hopeful that she would be able to take some of the stuff to use in her own classroom.  We managed to go through every box (thanks to Hannah sleeping so well for her nap) and purged a fairly large amount of stuff.  I have a large pile of stuff that I need to take to my old school to give to other teachers and we filled a large trash bag with garbage.  The items that I decided to keep were things that I thought I might be able to use with Hannah someday (children's books, games, arts and crafts supplies, etc.)  We are looking for bookshelves to store the children's books on (Any suggestions on where to purchase these?  We want quality shelves at an affordable price!) and the remaining tubs will be put in the guest room closet(s) for now.  It is still a work in progress, but it feels good to purge!

Organization is a passion of mine.  I LOVE it!  I have honestly thought about being a professional organizer (maybe someday).  I try to keep the clutter in my home to a minimum (even hard now that I have a little one).  But purging can be tough.  What about the items that have sentimental value?  What about the things I just might need one day?  What about the stuff I want to save for my future ______ (insert kids, grandkids, etc.)?  What the gift(s) someone gave me that I don't really like?  It really is hard to get rid of stuff.  We spend so much time and money accumulating it all....we just don't want to let it go.  Even though I love to organize and clean, I don't consider myself a purging expert.  I too struggle to let go sometimes.  While organizing yesterday I found myself using all sorts of excuses...."But what if Hannah wants that someday?", "What if I go back to teaching someday?", "I've had that for so many years", "My ______ (insert grandma, grandpa, mom, sister, husband) gave that to me"....and on and on.  The thing that helped me the most was having another person there with me to tell me that I needed to get rid of something.  She put things into perspective and reminded me of my end goal (to make the front room a playroom for Hannah).  For the sentimental things I reminded myself that it's not the actual item that holds the memory, but it's what is in my heart and mind.  (Don't get me wrong, I did keep some of the sentimental stuff).   For the things I was holding onto because I might need them one day, I thought about how long they had been sitting in this front room (almost 2 years now) and realized that I had lived that long without them, so I probably could continue to live without them.

If you have stuff sitting in closets, in your attic, in the garage, under the beds, in the cabinets or anywhere else that you haven't used in a year or more, you most likely don't need it.  Yes, there some items that you don't want to or don't even need to part with, but the majority of the junk that clutters our homes is just that....junk! It's time to purge.  Start out drawer or cabinet at a time.  Don't get overwhelmed.  But be brutal and honest with you really need all that stuff?  And don't just throw it all in the garbage, think about what you can do with it.  Is there someone you can give it to?  Could you sell it on Craigslist or Ebay?  Could you donate it to Goodwill?  Or if you left it at the end of your driveway, would it disappear?

Cleaning out the clutter will make you feel so much lighter and less stressed.  It takes time and effort, but it's so worth it in the end.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Is Anyone Out There?

I love reading other people's blogs and really enjoy writing my own.  This blog started as a way to document my first pregnancy and has sort-of morphed into the ramblings of a first time mom.  I always wonder if anyone really reads it though.  I mean, I don't expect to have a large group of people following my blog, but it would be fun to know that what I am writing isn't just sitting out in "computer land" going unread.  So, are you out there?  Leave me a comment on here and let me know!  Also, if there is anything that you would like to see me blog more or less about or if you have a topic idea, please share!  I don't want to bore you! :-)

Friday, June 11, 2010


We have been married for almost 6 years now, so I am definitely not a marriage expert.  But I also have 6 years under my belt and that's not nothing. ;-)  I am so in love with my husband and so thankful that the Lord chose him to be mine.  Our anniversary is coming up in August and I can hardly believe it's been 6 years.  It seems like yesterday I was walking down the aisle.  Where has the time gone?

Since having Hannah, it has been tough to find time for us.  Her schedule (6, 10, 2, 6, 10) has made it tough for us to spend quality time together.  Since she is up with us from 6pm to 10pm, one if us is almost always holding her and entertaining her while the other is cleaning up or trying to take a break for a few minutes.  We are definitely looking forward to an earlier bed time for her so we can have some one-on-one time!  I really think an early bedtime for children is crucial for a marriage.  This is your time to reconnect.  However, I will be sure to note that I also think it is important for mom and dad to have some one-on-one time while the children are awake too.  This shows the kids that mom and dad's relationship is strong and provides a sense of security for them.  Even if it's just 15 minutes on the couch talking when dad gets home from work, it's proof to the children that the marriage comes first.

Another thing that has been tough since Hannah arrived is making sure that we put our marriage first and not her.  Our marriage is our top priority.  Yes, Hannah is a VERY important part of our lives and we love her deeply, but our marriage must come first.  Our marriage is the foundation of the rest of our family.  If our marriage crumbles, so will everything else.  While it is hard to keep up with the demands of a newborn, we strive to keep each other the top priority (after our relationship with the Lord).  I realize this is a fairly controversial subject because so often moms make their children their #1 priority.  But think about that really the best thing for everyone?  What happens when the children become more independent and don't rely on mom for everything?  What about when they finally move out and it's just you and your husband again?  If you have neglected your marriage for all those years, what will be left of it?

So tonight, make your spouse your top priority and see what happens.  I know for me, I can't wait for Brian to come home!  It's my favorite part of every day. :-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More Ways to Save

I am just in a saving money mood lately! :-)  I thought of a few more ways that we cut corners around here, so I thought I would share.  Maybe you will find something that is helpful!
  • I only use half a dryer sheet for each load.  I find that half works just as well as a whole.  Better yet, you can skip dryer sheets altogether.  But I like the way they make my clothes feel and smell.
  • I reuse gallon ziploc bags when I can.  When we open a bag of cookies I store them in a ziploc to keep them fresh.  Instead of throwing it out after the cookies are gone, I reuse it for something else.  Since the cookies were in their original bag still, the ziploc isn't dirty at all.  I do this for as many things as I can....ziplocs are expensive and not exactly a "green" product.
  • I only use half of a baby wipe on small messes.  I tear them in half if it's just a wet diaper and stick the other half back in the container for next time.  They tear easily and half a wipe is all I need for wet diaper changes.
  • Brian and I rarely buy gifts for each other.  Neither one of us has the love language of gift giving or receiving, so gifts just aren't a huge deal for us.  We would rather have a hand written letter than an expensive gift.  However, it is nice to get a surprise every once in a while. :-)  But normally when we want or need something, we just buy it then.
  • I save scrap paper if it's blank on one side.  Instead of throwing out paper that only has a little writing on it, I try to reuse the clean sides.  For example, when I print a coupon it only uses the top of one sheet of paper and the rest is just blank.  After cutting out the coupon, I save the rest for writing down grocery lists or other notes.  This is definitely the "greener" way.
  • I never get my hair cut!  This is not because I want to save money, it's more of a matter of laziness really.  But I really only get a hair cut once a year, if that.  When I do get it cut, I have it cut fairly short and then it just grows out over time.  I like going from long to short and I get to donate the hair they cut every time.  I also don't color my hair or highlight it because that is just so expensive and really not good for your hair.  I figure as I get older and get grey hairs I will have to dye it, so why start now?!
  • Brian does all our lawn care himself.  Granted we don't have a very pretty yard, but it is maintained and looks just fine for us.  We aren't very outdoorsy people, so as long as the grass is mowed, we are fine! 
  • Brian does our taxes himself.  He actually enjoys benefit of marrying a finance guy! :-)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Random Thoughts and Questions

My mind is all over the place today, so I thought I would write a random post and include all of my mind's wanderings.
  • First of all, we are all back to normal and feeling healthy!  Thank you Lord for the blessing of health.  The house has finally been put back together and life has resumed as it was before.  
  • Hannah will be 3 months old on Friday (just 2 days away!).  Hard to believe, but my little peanut will no longer be a newborn.  She will move on to the infant stage.  3 months brings changes to her schedule.  Up until now her schedule has been the 6, 10, 2, 6, 10 feeding schedule.  She has always napped between the 6am and 10am feeding and the 2pm and 6pm feeding.  This schedule has worked GREAT for us!  What changes at 3 months is her bedtime.  Instead of keeping her up until 10pm, we will start putting her down earlier.  I'm just not sure how this is going to work.  Essentially the schedule stays the same, just more sleep....hmmm?!  I'm just not sure how to go about doing this.  Dr. Denmark (the pediatrician whose book we have followed since day 1) recommends feeding at 6pm and putting them to bed soon after.  Then doing a dream feed at 10pm (where you go in and feed them and put them right back down, barely waking them up).  Then after a month you drop that dream feed and they are supposed to sleep straight through til morning.  Yeah right?! I just don't see that happening?!  Any suggestions??
  • Brian's parents and sister are coming into town on Friday!  YEAH!!  We LOVE having family come visit.  It will be especially fun because Hannah will be starting rice cereal when they are here.  Let the fun begin! :-)
  • We had a scary night last night.  Since I am trying to figure out this whole new schedule thing, I am toying around with different options.  I decided to feed her a little earlier than usual last night (8:45pm) and put her down.  She did great until she woke up at 10:30 crying.  I should have just let her keep sleeping, but my confusion about the new schedule made me get her up to do a "dream feed" (even though she was definitely not asleep).  She ate a full feeding but spit up a bunch of it after we finished.  After burping her I put her back down and she fussed for a minute, but quickly found her fingers to suck on.  Then I heard a loud barf sound and ran into her room to clean it up.  She was choking!  She has sucked in a lot of spit up through her nose and was trying to cough it out.  I was frantic!  I screamed for Brian and he came running up the stairs.  We grabbed the suction bulb and cleaned out her nose, but she was still struggling to catch her breath and had a bright red face.  It took her a few minutes to clear it all out and then she was fine.  But it sure scared me!  We finally put her back down (after lots of snuggles) and she fell asleep with just a little fussing and slept til morning.  Ugh....what a scary night!  I don't think I'm a fan of the "dream feed".
  • Hannah is having a very fitful nap today.  She fell asleep pretty well, but then after about 45 minutes she started screaming.  She did this on and off for about an hour.  I kept going in to check on her and she wasn't actually awake, just fussing and crying in her sleep.  I didn't know what was wrong, so I tried putting a blanket over her...maybe she's cold??  (Even though it's really hot in our house upstairs).  I tried taking the blanket off..maybe she's hot??  I tried moving the fan to a better position so she wouldn't be hot.  I tried feeling her diaper to see if it was really wet (she is napping in might be?!)  But I just couldn't figure it out.  She finally was quite for about 30 minutes straight until she started crying again.  This time she was awake (head was popping up) so I took the blanket off (again) and popped a paci in her mouth (something I really don't like to do).  But now she is back down and sleeping soundly.  So I guess a paci every once in a while is okay...but I definitely don't want to start a habit.  Any ideas on why she might be crying in her sleep like this??
  • Hannah has developed a new habit.  She loves to suck on her right index finger knuckle and rub the back of her head with her left hand.  It's so cute.  She does this when she is awake and when she's asleep.  I guess it's soothing to her to rub her head?  Too funny!
  • We are still doing Cry It Out and it's getting better (shorter crying periods) but she is still crying for almost every nap and bedtime.  It's so frustrating!  I thought she would have gotten it by now and no longer cry.  Nope! We started officially letting her CIO on April 15th, so almost 2 months ago.  Anyone else have a baby that took this long to learn to fall asleep without crying?  Is she always going to cry herself to sleep?  I have seen progress, but I yearn for the day that she goes down without any fussing!!
Well, Hannah is up again!  The paci feel out, so time to go put it back in and pray that she will fall back asleep for another half hour or so.  Naps like this are tough! :-(

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Mess Can Wait

My neck is still very sore and I have been confined to the couch for most of the day.  Thankfully Brian is here to help with Hannah.  Brian is great with Hannah and can do most everything for her (change diapers, give her a bath, change her cloths, keep her entertained,etc.) but when it comes to the house, that's another story.  When I am sick or out of commission, the house goes to pot!  It is awful.  There are dishes everywhere, laundry piling up, dirty carpets, dusty's just awful!  Not to mention that we haven't had a home-cooked meal in quite some time.  I'm not sure if Brian doesn't see the mess or if he just doesn't care.  Either way, I am stressed out seeing the house fall apart around me.  When my house is in chaos I get very flustered.

But what about those women that seem to have it all together?  You stop at their house unannounced and it is sparkling clean.  They have several toddlers running around, but somehow manage to keep their house spotless?  How on earth do they manage that?  I want their secret!

I am the first to admit...I LOVE a clean house!  I love how it feels to climb into a bed with fresh sheets.  I love the smell of clean laundry.  I love a home-cooked meal.  I love that feeling of accomplishment.  I pride myself in a clean home.  But I also am okay with a little dirt sometimes.  I have my priorities.

I am a stay-at-home mom for a reason.  I stay home to take care of Hannah, not the house.  Yes, keeping a clean and orderly house is part of my job, but my first priority is Hannah and her care.  She will only be little for a limited amount of time.  Before long she will be grown and won't need me nearly as much.  I will have plenty of time to keep a well maintained home after she is grown.  For now, I must cherish every moment with my baby girl and if that means leaving some dishes in the sink or sitting on a floor with a little dirt, then so be it.  The mess will wait!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Money-Saving Tips

A few posts back I wrote about how we strive to live frugally and to be wise with our money (Life Abundantly)  I wanted to make a list of some of the money-saving strategies that we use on a daily basis around here.  Not all of them will work for everyone, but maybe there is something on this list that you hadn't thought of before. 
  1. Clip coupons - These can be accumulated from so many different sources...the Sunday paper, magazines, coupon dispensers in the grocery store, and online...And even if you only have a couple every time you shop, you will at least be saving more than you were without them!  And when you combine a coupon with a sale, you save that much more!
  2. Stock up - When you find a good price on something you use often, buy a bunch of it!  We do this with a lot of things (cereal, chips, snack bars, canned goods, pasta, pasta sauce, frozen veggies, toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, wipes, cleaning products, etc.)  The one thing we buy this way that has saved us the most money is boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  We never pay more than $1.99 per pound and we freeze them.  We buy several packs at a time, trim off any fat, pound them thin, wrap them in saran wrap, and store them in gallon sized ziplocs.  Then I just take out how many I need and let them defrost in the fridge the night before I plan to use them.  Such an easy way to save a lot of money!
  3. Use cloth diapers - This doesn't apply if you don't have little ones at home, but I thought I would put it on this list anyway.  We use cloth diapers part-time (not at night or when we travel) and save a bunch of money.  Yes, there is the up-front cost of buying the diapers, but they pay for themselves in no time and can be used for multiple children.  The resale value of cloth diapers is amazing as well!!
  4. Breastfeed - Again, this doesn't apply if you don't have little ones at home.  I think it goes without saying that you save a TON of money breastfeeding instead of formula feeding.
  5. Make your own baby food - Also doesn't apply for those without children at home.  It really doesn't take that much more work and the benefits and cost savings are huge.  You know exactly what your child is eating and you can make large batches and freeze in smaller portions.
  6. Buy things used - You don't always have to have brand new items.  We have never purchased a "new" car and most likely never will....why would you?  Baby items are also great to buy used.  Other things that come to mind that are just as good second-hand are books, cds, and dvds, among other things.
  7. Shop online - You can save a ton of money by buying things online.  When you buy online you can take the time to find the best price available and there is less of a chance of impulse buying.  We use sites like to make sure we are getting the best price.  Also, be sure to look for coupon codes before you buy anything online.  Check out the website
  8. Sell unwanted items on Craigslist - I have actually made a good amount of money by selling our "junk" on Craigslist.  There was a time when I was making a couple hundred dollars a month from my sales and getting rid of unwanted stuff we had lying around.  
  9. Stay organized - When you are organized you know what you have.  That way you won't purchase something you already have but just forgot about. 
  10. Buy nice things - Yes, the initial cost is more, but you save money in the long run.  If you buy furniture that is well made, it will last longer.  If you buy cheap stuff, it will fall apart and you will have to replace it more often, therefore costing you more.
  11. Buy/Eat what is in season - We always eat the fruits and veggies that are in season, therefore on sale.  I plan our meals around what is in season.  This way we are eating the freshest fruits and veggies and saving a lot of money!
  12. Reuse plastic grocery bags - I try to use reusable grocery bags as much as I can, but when I do get a plastic grocery bag I always reuse it at home.  I use them in small trash cans so that I don't have to buy trash bags for those cans.  We also use them in Hannah's diaper bag for dirty diapers and for Brian's lunches.  Another good place to keep some is in the never know when you will need one!  I used them as barf bags on more than one occasion while pregnant. :-(

Friday, June 4, 2010

Neck Pain

Those that know me well, know that I have a recurring neck problem.  It has happened every year for the past 3-4 years (I know it happened in 2007 and 2008, but I'm not sure if it happened in 2009).  Every year around this time I get a horrible neck/back pain that is debilitating.  It's so hard to describe, but it almost feels like my head is too heavy for my neck and there are very few positions I can hold my head in that don't hurt.  In the past I have been forced to lay in bed for several days until the pain goes away.  But this time I don't have that option.  With a 3 month old baby in the house, I don't have the luxury of laying around all day....she needs me!  So I went to the doctor this morning, in hopes that they would be able to tell me something, but nope.  I am so frustrated.  I feel like every time I go, they never have an answer other than..."It will go away on it's own, but here's some medicine to ease the pain."  Blah, Blah, Blah.  So I walked out of the office with no answers and few samples of muscle relaxers.  Yippy!

Thankfully the pain seems to be subsiding today (praying that it's gone soon!!) so hopefully I will be back to normal in no time.  But I may have to try out a chiropractor.  Just a little scared to go to one since I have heard mixed reviews.  Anyone have any experience with one?  Otherwise I could try physical therapy to learn some stretches to do, but not sure if that would help either.  I just want answers!  Why does this same pain come back every year (right around the same time each year) without any known cause?  My mind, of course starts to wander and think of the worst case scenario...."What if it's a horrible disease?"  Ugh!  I just have to release the worry to the Lord and know that He is in control!  And pray that it goes away and never comes back!!  For now, I will sit on the couch for as long as I can...or at least until Hannah wakes up. :-)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

12 Weeks Old

Hannah is 12 weeks old today.  She is getting so big and really coming alive.  I'm not sure how much she weighs exactly, but my estimate is about 13 pounds.  She is such a happy baby (most of the time) and such a blessing!  I love spending everyday with her and am so thankful that I have the opportunity to stay at home with her.

Her schedule is about to change a bit, now that she is closing in on 3 months.  Right now her schedule looks like this:

6am - Wake, feed, put back to bed
9:30 or 10am - Wake, feed, playtime
1:20 or 2pm - Feed, put down for nap
5:30 or 6pm - Wake, feed, playtime
9:30 or 10pm - Feed, put down for the night

She does great with this schedule and is finally starting to get into a good routine.  But at 3 months, Dr. Denmark suggests putting them to bed earlier and doing a "dream feed" at 10pm.  She also suggests starting solids at this age.  We still aren't sure if we will do this now or at 4 months, but when we do begin, it will be very slowly.  We are excited for Hannah to be moving into this new stage, but also a bit sad to see our newborn baby grow up into an infant.

These days Hannah is smiling up a storm and cooing and squealing.  She still hasn't laughed out loud, but she is so close!  Any day now....  She hasn't rolled over from her tummy to back in a while, but I keep trying.  She holds her head all by herself now and has such a strong neck and back.  She loves to try to stand up and "walk" and we are practicing letting her sit up on her own too (not even close yet, but she likes to try).  I wish I could stop time right now and freeze Hannah at this age.  I LOVE 3 months (or close to 3 months)!!  I know I will probably say that at other ages, but this is definitely my favorite so far.  She is no longer a sleepy baby, but a happy, playful one!  I love her so much!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Sorry I didn't post the last few days....we were on a short vacation.  We went to Blowing Rock, NC where my parents rented a cabin for a few days.  My sister and her family came also and got to meet Hannah for the first time.  It was great to see everyone and get to spend a few days with family.  Oh how we wish they all lived in Atlanta!! 

Hannah did great on the trip.  The only rough time was in the car on the way they when she pooped through her clothes.  She hadn't pooped in several days, so you can imagine!  She did this again, two days later while we were driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway, seeing the beautiful sights.  I have learned to always bring a spare outfit for her! 

We are all feeling so much better after the nasty cold we had.  Thankfully Hannah never got worse and was feeling much better after a couple days.  I still have a runny nose, but I can handle that. 

Hannah will be 12 weeks old tomorrow, which I can hardly believe!  My little girl is growing SO fast!