Monday, July 27, 2009
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I'm closing up shop on this blog, but have started a new one: http://everjoyful.wordpress.com/. Hope to see you there!
Friday, June 13, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Last night was my surprise date. It was wonderful! Hub's mom came to babysit and Little Bean had a great time - and even ate well from her bottle. Hubs and I went out for a yummy dinner and then we went and saw the Indiana Jones movie. It was pretty cute. It was a WONDERFUL evening!
After I was thoroughly refreshed last night, my super woman powers were put to the test today.We have plans to go on the boat with my parents this weekend, and we just realized that we forgot all about our dog, Jazzy. Oops! We used to take her on the boat, but with Sucia (insane puppy), and the baby, and yucky weather, I think it would be too much to bring a 70 pound pooch on the boat as well. We found a place we can take her (the Pet Smart Pet Hotel, which looks SO cute) IF I could take Jazzy to the vet to get a couple shots this morning. She needs to get them 48 hours before hotel check-in. Eek! Managing the baby in her carseat and Jazzy (who is stronger than me) at the vet...with all the other dogs coming in and out. Well, whew!
In thee end, Jazzy got her shots, reservations have been made for Jazzy at the pet hotel, Little Bean is sleeping, clean laundry is folded on the couch, a load of clean diapers is in the dryer, and the baby will be at the pediatrician for another vaccine this afternoon. I AM SUPER WOMAN.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Each week at my mommy's group, we go around and share highs and lows for the week. I can never remember what mine were (I guess that's a good sign, in a way) so I decided to write them down this week. My group meets tomorrow morning, so I thought I'd share my list with you!
1. I've been having some bad dreams where something bad happens to the baby, usually because I did something stupid or made a bad decision. I hate these dreams. I wake up and want to just run into her room and make sure she's ok. I don't do that because I don't want to wake her up, so I just sleep really poorly the rest of the night until I know she's ok.
2. Little Bean hasn't been taking a bottle as well anymore. That's just a big stinkin' pain and leads to much more evening crying than we're used to.
3. I got pretty overwhelmed this week. Baby had a few rough afternoons, a very long day on Thursday because Hubs had to work a wedding rehearsal at church, and then an extra day on Saturday while he worked at a wedding. I don't mind that he worked at the wedding (he's doing it for me!), and he has done one other and it wasn't bad. It was just a long, long week. We decided that we needed a code word that I could tell him when I need HELP of some sort.
1. Hubs must have been sensing my desperation, because when I told him about it, he told me he had a surprise date night planned already for Tuesday night. Hurray! Isn't he great? Somehow, I always manage to ruin the surprises. I don't know what we're doing, just that a babysitter is coming tomorrow night and we're going out. It's been great having that to look forward to...it made Saturday much more bearable!
2. After we got back from church on Sunday, Little Bean was asleep in her car seat and we just set it in her crib. We figured we had about 15 minutes until she woke up (she doesn't usually sleep long in her car seat once it's not moving), so we were going to take a quick nap. She slept for 2 whole hours! It was fantastic! Her naps are usually only 45 minutes long, so this was great!
3. I mentioned this is my last post, but it's been so fun to see her smiling at things she thinks are pretty. It's so sweet! =)
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Today was a beautiful sunny Saturday. It was the weekend of our neighborhood garage sale (although they really need to just hold it every other year - there weren't enough houses having a sale). Hubs had afternoon/evening plans, so we decided to go for a walk through the neighborhood. Jazzy was very happy to come along! We took the baby in her carrier, and she did great. We've been trying to put her in it more so she can get used to it, and also to put hats on her more so she will learn to like sun hats. She was happy the whole time, and took a long nap when we got back.
Completely unrelated... I'm very happy that I'm still able to take decent self-portraits, even while holding a baby. I tend to be our primary photographer, and most pictures that include me are self-portraits. Little Bean has started seeing things around her and reacting more to them. While I was taking pictures of us, she noticed the little orange light on our camera that lights up when taking a shot. She loved it and would look right at the camera and smile. Also, while getting ready to feed her, I put my nursing cover on, and for the first time, she noticed the flowered print on the cover. She just stared at it and smiled big. It's so sweet to watch her wake up to the pretty world around her. =)
Thursday, May 29, 2008
15 minutes to sit in my car, drinking my latte, reading a newspaper, with the baby sleeping in the back... that's my new mommy vacation!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
It's a simple menu, and includes a lot of left-overs, but that's ok. Also, I'm only focusing on Monday-Friday right now. I generally try to have something in mind for Saturday, but sometimes it's left for impromptu plans with hubs and we always do something super simple on Sundays (like tuna melts or something). So, here's what we're having:
Monday: Chicken Pot Pie (which I had never made before - and was super easy and yummy)
Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie left overs
Wednesday: Pasta bake
Thursday: Finish the chicken pot pie
Friday: BBQ Hamburgers (supposed to be 86 outside!)
Saturday: Either Pasta Bake left overs (or save it for next week), or grill something - since it's supposed to be in the 80's outside. Yahoo!
And THAT, my friends, is a huge milestone for me. I think I've definitely shocked hubs, and made his evenings far easier.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
This weekend, I had the best Mother's Day present possible - Little Bean was baptized into God's covenant family. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness! We pray that she will always know that she is His, a beloved sheep in His pasture. We pray that she will know the abundant joy that only comes from knowing and serving her Lord.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
She did great during the baptism. She got squirmy right before we were called up, and stayed pretty squirmy while our pastor talked about baptism. But, as soon as he took her, she calmed down and just listened. She loves his voice! She didn't cry at all when he poured water on her head. And best of all, she didn't spit up on him - that was my great fear. =)
For those who aren't used to baptizing infants, I thought I'd explain what it means. I think it is often misunderstood. Infant baptism isn't the same as a declaration of salvation, or the same as a baby dedication. While we do take vows to teach Caitlin our faith (like a dedication), the sacrament itself isn't about us - it's about our baby and God. Baptism is how we are identified as part of God's covenant family - just like circumcision was to the Jews. Circumcision didn't guarantee that a Jew would have faith in the coming Messiah, neither does baptism guarantee that someone will have true saving faith in Jesus. However, God does give covenant promises that are generational - to "you and your children." As such, we baptize our children, teach them our faith, and trust that God will reveal Himself to her personally as she grows. Of course, she still needs to confess her faith when she gets older, but we pray that she won't ever remember a day when she didn't know Jesus as her savior.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Little Bean is six weeks old. Oh my goodness. How does it go by so quickly?
I'm doing well, just trying to figure out how to do this new life and get things done...besides holding, rocking, bouncing, and playing with Little Bean. I'm really stuck trying to figure out how to make dinner. She isn't napping much at that time of day. Any ideas?
I've started walking. Today was day two of really trying to walk every day. I think that all the baby weight that is just going to come off fast has done that, and I'm going to have to work for the rest.
Happy May day to you!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Thank you to my husband who has been making me dinner every night.
Thank you to my husband who gave me a gift certificate to get a massage tonight.
Thank you to the wonderful massage therapist, who made me feel like jelly.
Thank you to Little Bean who is currently sleeping and not crying.
Thank you to my mom who is coming to babysit this Saturday night so hubs and I can go on a date alone, with no risk of a baby crying.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Today is a beautiful, sunny Saturday. Little Bean and I decided that it would be a fun day to go on an adventure. I decided to pack up the stroller and go for a walk to Quiznos and Bartells. Unfortunately, I always under-estimate distance and elevation. Also, it turns out that I don't actually have any warm-weather clothing that fits me yet. Yet, I'm persistent...we would go anyway! It took me 45 minutes each way, and I was so, SO hot.
I've been crashed on the recliner the whole rest of the afternoon. Perhaps an hour and a half walk is a bit much for my first bit of exercise in a two months. I really can't count the 9-month pregnant waddling as exercise, can I?
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Generally, if you do anything for 14 days in a row, you would seem pretty comfortable and adept at doing it. Yet, after 14 days of caring for this little one, there are so many ways in which I'm still completely clueless. Two weeks seems short, and she's still so tiny, yet my labor seems so long ago. It seems like forever ago since I was on bedrest, or had a day of plans that didn't revolve around breastfeeding. So, in some ways, two weeks seems like a long time. On the other hand, it's also a very short time. It's amazing to me that I've fed baby girl over 120 times, and yet it still seems so foreign...a thing we're still both figuring out. I would think that after doing something 100 times you'd get pretty good at it.
She's growing so fast. She was so tiny when she was first born, my mom brought us some preemie sized sleepers and hats. The hats still fit, but her sleepers are too small. I love my little doll - I can't believe she's outgrowing clothes already.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Today is my first day home, without help. It's just me....and a baby. Thankfully, (and I can't say that enough), Little Bean has been really great today... sleeping for long periods and eating well. I did manage to get a shower and dry my hair. Actually, Little Bean started crying just as I got the shampoo in, but by the time I rinsed it and turned off the water, she had stopped...and slept for a couple more hours. I didn't manage to eat lunch until 2pm.
Somehow, we ended up house-sitting my parents puppy for a week or two while they are visiting my sister. It was fine while my mom was here too, but today is the first day of me home alone...with two dogs...and one of them is an insane little puppy. So, while Little Bean has been great today, I woke up twice last night for the puppy - once because she sounded like she was going to throw up, and once because she actually did throw up. When I finally managed to get Little Bean to sleep in her bassinet so I could eat lunch, I found dog doo in the dining room. My first day home with the baby is going well, but I'm not sure I'll survive the day with the puppy. And she will be here another week. I'm not sure I'll make it.
Unrelated baby news... Little Bean is gaining weight really well. She had a pediatrician appointment yesterday and weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces (her birth weight was 6 pounds, 5.5 oz), and she's an inch taller than when she was born. She's growing so quickly!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Baby girl, my snuggle bug who I love to call Little Bean, is absolutely amazing. I love her sweet little face. I absolutely love all the funny expressions she makes. She sure can communicate a lot with just her little face that is the size of a small grapefruit.
I know she needs to grow and get bigger. Health equals growth. I know that, and of course, I want her to be healthy and grow. Yet, my heart aches at the thought of it. I know that she is changing each hour and day and I'll never get these moments back. I try to take as many photos as I can, only to be frustrated at my cameras in ability to capture her sweetness. Instead, I resort to spending hours snuggling her close and trying my hardest to remember how she looks and feels. Yesterday, I fed her and she fell asleep in my arm afterwards. We snuggled and I tried my hardest to hold her close and not wake her. We sat like that until it was time to feed her again a couple hours later.
My most favorite thing about her right now is the complete satisfied, drunken look she will get on her face after she's eaten (or in the midst of eating, more like it). It cracks me up. Usually, it's during a feeding, and I need to rouse her to get her to eat some more. Oh... I hate to interrupt her drunken bliss, it is just so sweet.
There are not enough words for love, sweet, adorable in our language.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
She weighed 6 lbs, 5.5oz, and was 19.5 inches tall. She's tiny! She is swimming in her newborn clothes, so I'm glad I got a few newborn sized things (some people advised just to let her wear big 0-3 mo clothes...but I think they would just fall off). I need a few premie hats, since her little hats just fall off - they are way, way too big. She is a huge snuggle bug, and is most content snuggled up with someone.
What a blessing during Holy week. She is such a great miracle and gift from God. After all of the drama about my preeclampsia, I was blessed to be able to deliver naturally at our birth center. It all went very quickly... I started labor at about 10pm at home, had a handful of contractions that were 10 minutes apart, then they immediately went to 4 minutes apart. We got to the birth center at about 2am and they were 2 minutes apart. She was born at 6am on the dot. Ha - her punctuality did not come from her parents! I'll post the full birth story later. For now, we're just working on learning to eat. It's been more difficult than I anticipated. I'm so thankful hubs is here to help - he is having to help me feed her more than I thought he would. I'm doing fine, but Snuggle Bug would rather snuggle and sleep.
Praise God for his merciful love.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I've been talking for a while about making Snapfish photo albums, but it has yet to ever happen. Part of the problem is that the first step is loading all the photos into snapfish, which takes a really long time, since I'll be doing a year or two at a time.
It's the perfect bedrest project! I don't have to pull out lots of craft supplies, or make a big mess that needs to be cleaned up later. I can just do it all on my laptop from whatever chair or couch I'm in, and I can just do as much or as little at a time as I have energy for.
Maybe by the time baby girl arrives I'll have the last couple years in albums we can enjoy.
So far, I've only uploaded a ton of photos. After I do the rest, I'll let you know how it goes. Any of you ever made photo albums on Snapfish before?
Monday, March 17, 2008
I went to the midwife today. Everything is looking great- holding steady. That's the best they can hope for right now. That should be great...I should be thrilled. I just keep thinking about how I might be on bedrest for 2.5 more weeks. I'm so selfish - that's really selfish. I should be ecstatic that I'm not being induced today.
So, today, on this Monday, I am grateful for:
- Sleeping in my bed tonight, rather than a hospital bed
- That baby girl has more time to come out on her own
- A friend of mine called today and will be coming over on Thursday
- We lasagna tonight that another friend brought over yesterday
- Hubs hugs me when I cry, which is about daily right now
- The midwife thinks the baby is 6-7 pounds, which sounds a lot easier to push out than a 10 pound baby
That's all I've got. Happy Monday.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
I am so thankful for the hours of work that hubs put in to painting the furniture, for my mom spending her entire Saturday afternoon yesterday sewing the curtain for me, and for my Grandma who made the beautiful Beatrix Potter quilted wall hanging. I know baby girl will love all these gifts!
This bassinet will be baby's first bed, in our room. It was a gift from a couple at our church. I think it is so adorable! What a gift!
Everything is washed, folded and waiting. all we need now is a baby!
I have a new appreciation for women on bedrest. Especially those on bedrest for weeks and months. This is really depressing, and I'm tired of it. It wasn't so bad until I hit the point that I was lonely and enough days had gone by that there was no new news. The few people that would call or email or stop by wanted to know how I was doing and what was going on. Sigh... I don't have any good answers. I'm bored, lonely, and nothing is going on. I sit all day and think about going into labor - trying to will my child to come out on her own. It hasn't worked. Then, I repeat the whole process.
Today is hard. Hubs just left for church, and I'm home. Next week is Easter and I'll miss it. I don't even think my family is doing anything, because I'm usually the one who encourages it and pulls it all together. Tonight is our church's small group meeting, but I'll be here on my recliner. My counter has a pile of dirty dishes, and that is where they will sit until hubs has a few minutes to put them away. Here I sit, in my green bathrobe, in my green recliner...feeling blue.
Yet, I have SO much to be grateful for. I know I do. I need to start thinking of those things more. And thus, I'm going to try to start posting things that happened the previous day or today that I'm grateful for.
Today, I'm choosing to be very grateful because:
- Yesterday my mom came over for the day and sewed the curtain for the nursery for me.
- Hubs and I finally found adhesive that made our alphabet/animal cards stay on the nursery wall, after 3 attempts. All 26 of the animals are still up. Hurray!
- I have been given the opportunity to stay pregnant longer, giving my body a chance to dialate and prepare, so that when I do go into labor or get induced, I will have a better outcome.
- After days of rain, it is a sunny morning with blue skies. I'm grateful for this, as well as my dog, who has multiple sunny spots on the carpet to choose from.
- Simplicity patterns are going to be on sale for 99 cents at the end of the month, and Butterick patterns for 1.99 next weekend. Hurray! Hopefully there will be some cute baby patterns.
- I don't have to try to care for a house full of kids while on bedrest. It's just me and the dog.
I am grateful.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Two interesting things have been happening with my condition...
My blood pressure is still high, and has been creeping up a bit. It's still not above the danger line, but it's high. However, the most recent bloodwork came back and my levels (of whatever it is they are measuring) have actually gone down. Hurray! That's a pretty mysterious, not normal thing.
Also, the midwives were consulting with the hospital I was sent to on another client, who also has pre-eclampsia symptoms. They already knew that at another hospital, I would have been induced immediately. But even at the same hospital I was at, they were talking to a different doctor who said he would have interpreted my labs the same way they did, and he would have induced me right away. Basically, it is a mysterious, not normal thing that I was sent home, especially sent back to the midwife's care.
I told my midwife that I have angels looking out for me. I'm so thankful that God has given me time to go into labor on my own. I don't know if that's how it will end up, and if not...then what this break was for, but I'm so thankful for it. If nothing else, it has been a great time to get more prepared for labor and this little one...both emotionally and in our home.
Please be praying that I will go into labor soon. I've been mentally preparing myself to be induced. I can do that. I know the contractions will be stronger and harder, but I can tough it out. People deal with immense pain all the time; I can deal with it. However, I've been told that if I'm admitted to the hospital for pre-eclampsia, they will give me magnesium sulphate as a first line of treatment. That is a treatment I really, really don't want. I've been told it feels horrible inside (like being cooked in a microwave), it affects the baby, and the baby is usually groggy after it is born, which can effect breastfeeding and bonding. Please pray for wisdom for me, and all our care givers.
That's all for now. Time to go lay down and hang out with my guardian angels. =)
Friday, March 07, 2008
I've been watching TV while doing stuff on my computer. Daytime TV is slim pickings. From 10-12, Little House On The Prairie is on. So cute. Unfortunately, the one on first today was one where Mary and Adam's house (the school for the blind) burned down, with her newborn son inside. Just what a pregnant lady on bed rest needs.
Yesterday, hubs signed me up for a month-long subscription to Blockbuster, which works sort of like NetFlix, except you can also exchange movies in-store. I love that man! That was completely his idea. Even if the baby comes soon, I'll have it to enjoy during the first weeks of nursing. I'm very grateful.
My big thing to do today is to write up a birthing plan of some sorts. I really don't know where to begin. We don't really need one for the birth center, but my plan all along was to write one just in case of transfer to the hospital. Now, we're in limbo... I need one birth plan that assumes we start at the birth center but get transferred part way through, and there's a possibility of just starting at the hospital. Either way, it's more complicated now than just saying "I'm doing this naturally; don't mess with me." I'm not sure where to start w/ the birth plan. Is it even worth it? Part of me just wants to rely on hubs and the doula to help look out for what we want.
Time to switch positions to leaning over the ball. At least that one doesn't squish my hair. =)
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Yesterday, I went in for my weekly midwife appointment. She was concerned about my elevated blood pressure for the second week in a row (high for me, but not for everyone), and the continued high protein levels in my urine. Both are signs of preeclampsia. So, she sent off some bloodwork for the lab, and let me know that she thought it was about 75% likely that I did have preeclampsia. If I did, I'd I've to be transfered to a hospital and doctor, and would most likely have to be induced. Preeclampsia can lead to stroke or seizure for me, so it's a game to have the baby (the only way to end preeclampsia) before anything bad happens.
I was upset and pretty bummed, but thought I'd have a day or two before the test results came back. I went to lunch and shopping with a friend. I came home and started working on putting our labor bag together, since I'm horribly behind on getting that done.
Then, my midwife called. My labs were back, and the results were horrible. She said I was beyond the gray area...I was in the red flag area. I needed to go to the hospital today and be induced (natural methods first, then drugs if needed). No debates. I needed to call hubs home, and call my doula. She was calling the local hospitals to see what OBs were available and determine the best place to transfer me to.
The next hours were a blur. Hubs came home. We packed our bag. We picked a name for baby girl. We (ok, me) cried a lot. It was all so fast. This was not at all how we imagined. I have played through the scenario in my head of having to go to the hospital during labor, if things weren't going well. It was so weird to go before labor ever started. I wasn't mentally ready for labor. I had no idea what was really going to happen when we got there, but I still wanted to try to do things as naturally as possible.
We left, got dinner on the way, and made it to the hospital. Our doula happened to pull into the parking spot next to us at the same exact time. Perfect timing.
The hospital people took my blood pressure, monitored the baby, checked my urine, and took more blood tests. We hung out for about four hours. The labs were high, protein high, but in the end, they decided that my blood pressure was high for me, but not past their "high blood pressure" threshold. Apparently, they don't worry about blood pressure until it's over 140/90, regardless of what your blood pressure typically is. Personally, I think this is odd. Mine is normally about 110/65 or so... so this would be really, really high for me.
After all was said and done, they said I could go home. They wanted me to do a 12 hour urine test, and then go back to the midwife on Friday. My midwife was pretty surprised, but is fine treating me, if the hospital is ok with it, until the point that my blood pressure were to go over the magic line. My platelet levels from my blood test are still bad though, but apparently the doctors are more concerned about the blood pressure than the platelet levels.
So, we're in limbo. Be induced. Wait, don't be induced. Be induced, wait don't be induced. I really, REALLY want a spontaneous labor, but this limbo part is hard. It's weird that any day or time we could get a call to go in and have the baby...when my body isn't sending the same message.
We're in a game of time. I need to go into labor before the pre-eclampsia gets worse. Even then, I need my blood pressure to stay below 140/90... that's the magic number. Unfortunately, I'm on bedrest and can't walk around, which would help start labor.
As always, but more clearly today, it's all in God's hands. His timing is perfect... this I know.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Last night, as I stood bawling in front of the bathroom mirror, completely unable to form words to explain to my husband what was wrong...I realized something was wrong. It's hard to explain what is wrong when my mind is racing, trying to figure out what is wrong.
I did finally figure it out: I'm lonely.
Pregnancy is such a social time. People always want to talk to me, to touch me. I am having baby showers on many a Saturday, and people shower me with gifts. So, it's shocking to me that I feel lonely. It's not even that I don't want or need this social time. I am a social creature and I really do need social interaction to thrive...it's how I re-boot.
Yet, the more social this pregnancy gets, the lonelier I am. So why? (...I wondered, as I was bawling into the bathroom mirror...) I know why... people aren't talking to ME. Every single conversation includes comment that I look small for being so far along. (Which is stupid...I feel huge, so that really isn't very encouraging, and besides...I get measured every single week by my midwife and I'm not measuring small. It just isn't true, and I'm tired of hearing it.) Every single conversation includes a question of what we are naming the baby. Every. Single. Time. They ask how I'm feeling, and if I say anything other than fine or good they look shocked and dismayed. How dare a 37 week pregnant woman feel uncomfortable?! She should be basking in the miracle of her gestation and feel like an angel. Mind you, I really do try to look on the brighter side and count my blessings... but I still manage to do that AND respond honestly.
So alas, I spend my day with lots of people wanting to talk about nothing, or about things that really, really irritate me. It's a lonely place to be.
The worst is when I go places where I haven't seen people in a few days or a week. I hate going in to work (I don't have to go to the office every day), because I have this same conversation with every single person I see, every single time I go in. Oh, to just go to work and just work. I hate going to my weekly bible study. Again, every single gal (except for one sweet friend of mine...and I try to just find her and hide!) I see in the hall stops me to have this same conversation. I just want to be a hermit in my house for the next weeks just so I don't have to talk to anyone. I'm done working after this week, and I'm mostly excited to not have these hallway conversations anymore. I'm also thinking of quitting my bible study a couple weeks early.
I just want to wear a big sign (and put one on my front door, too) that says: "I'm due March 21st, it's a girl, I know I'm not carrying like it's a girl, I know you think my belly looks small, and I'm not telling you her name. I'm doing just fine."
Does this go away after the birth, or get worse?
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I don't have preeclampsia, but I have started swelling. It started small, but has been getting more significant. I took a plane ride yesterday and when I got home last night, my ankles and feet were so swollen I thought my feet were going to pop off. Thankfully, they didn't.
I'm still swollen this morning. I wouldn't care so much, except that I can't get my shoes on. And it's February in Seattle. I have some cute summer slide-on sandals that I was going to wear, but they go too far up my foot and I can't get them on. Well, I probably could if I forced it, but I think I would stretch them out and ruin them.
So, here I am, wearing my plastic Old Navy flip flops in FEBRUARY in Seattle. Burr! They are the only things I can get on my feet. But... umm... I do need to go to work for one more week and have appointments to go to (which involve going outside).
What do you do? Just wear flip-flops in February? Go get bigger sandals? Bigger shoes? Help!
By the way, baby girl is due in 30 days. Oh my gosh!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I've always tried to live in a way that wasn't wasteful. Now, I enter a phase (probably a very long one) of necessary frugality.
I've been thinking a lot this week about how, in many cases, you must spend money in order to save money. The bulk option, while more money up front, is often less expensive in the long run. And yet, when you have a limited quantity of something on hand, it's easier to save it and make it last. Buying in bulk only works if you don't consume it wastefully, living with a sense of false abundance.
My husband's favorite snack is crackers and colby jack cheese. We usually buy him pre-sliced colby jack from the refrigerated section of the store - by the deli. A friend lovingly pointed out to me that his cheese is really expensive - something she would never buy. Costco sells a loaf of colby jack for less than the price of two of his deli packages. Ouch. I got him a loaf of the colby jack, and then we hunted for a cheese slicer that would let us adjust the thickness of the slices. Hubs went to work slicing the entire loaf of costco cheese into thin slices. It worked perfectly. We calculated that his slices cost $0.11 per slice, compared to the previous price of $0.37 per slice. However, this is only a good deal if he consumes it at the same rate as he did before. If he starts living on cheese and crackers, since they were cheap and we have a hundred slices in the freezer, then the good deal goes out the window. As a side note, I hate that we had to buy something (the cheese slicer) in order to do this, but it was the only way it would work for us. We'll just have to stick with it in order to make it worthwhile.
We also stocked up on our favorite cold cereal this week. We usually eat homemade Egg McMuffins or oatmeal. I love the protein in the egg breakfast, and the extreme frugality of the oatmeal. Cold cereal is usually saved for days when we eat breakfast separately or when we are in a huge hurry. Unfortunately, the kind we like is normally priced at $4-5 per box at the grocery store. On sale, we can find it for $3. This week, we noticed that the Rite Aid had it on sale for $2.50 per box. I've never seen it that low. When hubs knows about a deal, he's a great hunter! He looked online to see where all the local Rite Aid stores were, and during our errands out and about all week, we stopped at 3 or 4 different stores to see if they had our cereal in stock. I think we ended up buying 6-7 boxes. However, we had the same talk about the cereal. Eggs are still a lot healthier and cheaper, and the oatmeal is a LOT cheaper. We can't just start eating our cold cereal all the time, simply because it's abundant in the pantry. If we do, we will have wasted money rather than saved it.
We've been living for years now with a sense of false abundance. Shame on us. I can't help but notice that as we begin our necessary frugality, the temptation to live in false abundance will be there. Perhaps this is the great downfall of many frugal attempts.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
It was such a joy to see our baby girl again. She looked healthy and is growing really well. The doctor said she has lots of hair, which explains my current Tums addiction. He lowered her weight expectation to about 7.75 pounds, and confirmed that he still agrees with our general due date.
Every time the doctor tried to take a picture of her face, she had her hands up. I'm praying that she will put them down in time for the delivery.
It was so fun to see her nose and her lips. I love this picture and how her lips are squished up on her arm. She looks like she's sleeping happily.
I am doing well, although I miss the ability to roll over in bed. She is due in 51 days, although I would be just happy if she wanted to come a little early. Well, not too early, our to-do list is still quite a bit longer than I'd like.
This weekend hubs and I went with our church's youth group to chaperone their annual snow camp retreat. The camp is just 3-4 hours away, but seems like a whole different world. They had so much snow! If you walked out in the field in front of the cabins, you would sink down to your waist in snow. We got there Friday night, and hubs went out to get something from our car mid-day Saturday. The car had about 6 new inches of snow on it.
The kids had so much fun. They had the option of cross country skiing, snow shoeing, intertubing, but of course, their favorite activities were playing football in the snow and playing games or reading by the fire in the lodge. I was the lodge chaperone. =) At 32 weeks pregnant, I didn't have much energy to do anything, let alone activities that involve falling. Besides, I don't have any maternity snow clothes. I mostly read, rested, and talked with kids in the lodge
The most wonderful thing about the weekend was seeing how gentlemanly our youth group guys are. There were several youth groups at the camp, and our guys were awesome. They carried the girls' bags, opened doors, brought us fire wood (wood burning stoves in the cabin), etc. On the last morning, they were selected to go first through the breakfast line, and then choose the table to go 2nd. They got up announced that they wanted one of our girls' tables to go 1st, and then all of the girl sin the room to go before all of the guys. Aren't they so sweet? I was so proud of these young men.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
And yet, this much change, and such public change, is a bit overwhelming. I find myself becoming a bit more introverted and private. People continually have questions for me, and I love that they want to know how things are going. Yet, I've found most of these conversations to be extremely frustrating. The typical scenario is that someone asks me a question (is the nursery ready? Are you ready? etc...), I share my answer honestly, and as they respond, I've found that 90% of the time, they have some judgment in their response back to me. Very few people ask me questions just to find out more about me, my life, and how I plan on doing things. I don't mind someone sharing how they did it and why (I welcome that!), but a surprising number of people are actually shocked by my answers and then will proceed to tell me why I'm wrong. And I can't win... I never know which side of shocked they will be on.
Some people think I'm planning too much, some think I'm not planning enough. Some people think I'm ridiculous for preparing for an early baby (because don't you know that all first babies are late?!), while some people think I shouldn't plan for a late baby (because, well, you really don't want to be late!). Some think I shouldn't get the nursery ready yet (because the baby usually doesn't sleep in the nursery for a while), but others think I'm being too flexible in knowing that the nursery doesn't HAVE to be ready...because I might decide that I want her in the nursery after the first night. It goes on and on and on. It's enough to make me scream (and I think I have)! Why can't people just love me, and ask questions to know me and support me, and leave it at that? It makes me sad. I'm a very social person and need that support from my friends. Yet, with all of these judgmental opinions, it makes me want to clam up and not share a bit. I barely want to go to social functions, and if I do go, I find myself keeping my chit chat really impersonal and unspecific.
I had coffee (decaff!) yesterday with an acquaintance from work who is also pregnant. It was so refreshing. We got to talk about all the things we are going through, and all the things we're busy doing, and she wasn't judgmental at all. There are some things we have different opinions on, but there is no judgment. It was soothing to my soul. Doesn't everyone just want to be known? Truly known?
I HAVE been busy, very busy getting ready. I'm trying to take a very balanced approach here. We've got a long, prioritized to-do list, and we'll just see how far down the list when baby girl makes her arrival. She is due in 58 days, but who knows... I could go into labor now, or 58 days plus 2 weeks. Only God knows. I know that whatever is done or not done when she comes is ok, and we'll just figure it out from there.
So, what have we been doing?? We've been busy painting her room (sage green), putting in another light in her room (yes, it's on a dimmer), installing a pull-down shade in her room, going to our birthing classes (so good!), hiring a doula, making a list of stuff to put in the "hospital" bag, making a list of people to notify, etc. Our biggest time thing lately has been working on our future one-income budget. I had a draft budget done a long time ago, but much has changed. It's much tighter than I had planned. It's going to be a faith-building change, that's for sure! In the meantime, we're both eating homemade lunches more, eating dinner at home more, and decided not to put beadboard in the nursery in order to save the $150 it would have cost. There will be plenty of things to spend money on, so I'm trying to cut back where I'm ambivalent.
Have an opinion? Feel free to comment... just leave out the judgment, please!
Monday, January 14, 2008
This one takes the cake. My problem is with Target, and I am even more devastated by their utter lack of customer service and loyalty to their loyal customers because I do LOVE (and I mean love) Target. But, their return policies are getting worse and worse... they are just off target in this respect. Even if they generally need a tight return policy, they really should have a more flexible one for their loyal customers who register for wedding or baby gifts at their store.
A friend of mine was pregnant last year and was really frustrated at their return policies even then. But still...people love baby shopping at Target, so I setup a registry there. However, their policies have regressed in the last 9 months. They've gotten even worse, which was barely possible. I've since taken down my registry. I'd like to beg people to NOT buy me gifts at Target.
First, I was surprised to learn that if someone gives you a gift with the gift receipt, you can only get store credit back, not cash. Granted, I spend plenty of money there so it isn't the end of the world, but it's the principle of the matter. If you have a receipt, and the item is clearly unused, you should get cash. I just think that's really annoying, although it wasn't enough to make me cancel my registry.
Returns without a receipt are the problem. If you don't have a receipt, you can make two returns per year (for the whole store, not per department), and each return can not be more than $20. Per year. It does not matter one bit to them if you have a registry, or if the item was on your registry. I received two of the same crib mirror, which was an item on my registry. I didn't get the gift receipt for either gift. It doesn't matter one bit to Target that the item was on my registry (and marked as fulfilled).
To make matters worse, the woman at the customer service counter was incredibly rude to me, which was absolutely undeserved. I wasn't being rude and hadn't raised my voice. I was confused, since this policy is different than when my friend was returning things 9 months ago, so I was trying to make sure I understood correctly... and she was just very, very rude to me. Hubs and I just left. I'll figure out if I want to keep my second crib mirror or return it (one of my two per year!) later.
A customer who brings in other customers should be treated like gold. This is a marketing golden ticket - when you can get customers or donors to get other customers or donors for you. It's the ideal scenario. If you have a registry somewhere, you are bringing them business, and we all know that shoppers will almost always buy more than they came in for. They are treating their "registry customers" entirely wrong. They need to make the process smooth and easy, and make these people feel appreciated for registering their. It's especially tricky because when someone is engaged or pregnant, they've got a lot on their plate already... we really don't need this hassle. Do they really want to mess with my hormones right now? That horrible customer service lady is just lucky that I didn't start crying right there on the spot. Running out of milk or bananas makes me cry right now, so that wouldn't be a long shot.
In the end, I actually couldn't figure out how to cancel a registry (they don't make it easy, which I wasn't too surprised about), but I took all the items out of it. I will not encourage any more friends or family to buy me any baby items there... in fact, I'd rather they didn't (especially if there is no gift receipt!).
In some ways, I think it sounds horrible...as if you are planning on returning the gifts people give you. It's not that (although the option is nice!) as much as it's so easy to get duplicate items! I've received two of the exact same bouncy seats, ear thermometers, crib mirrors, and a particularly cute sleeper. It's not that I don't want them, I just don't need two! But, I do want to be sure that my friends' money isn't wasted and that I can get an equally needed and desired item...just one I don't currently have. Also, I am likely going to have two or three more baby showers, so we'll see what duplicates are to come!
My advice: don't register at Target, and encourage other people not to register at Target. AND, if you love your friend, always include a receipt or gift receipt.