Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bump Watch: 18 weeks

How Far Along: 18 weeks

Size of the Baby: Sweet Potato (5.5 in long, 5 oz)

Sleep: Going better, except for the allergy congestion.

Best Moment of the Week: Meeting our doctor for the first time and really connecting with her!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Milk and ice cream has started making me nauseous, so been trying to avoid it, although cheese and sour cream are still ok (whew!).

Any cravings: Chips and salsa...but I craved that pre-pregnancy too ;)

What I'm looking forward to: Next week we have our anatomy scan and find out the gender! Planning our family gender reveal party and can't wait to share the news with everyone!

What I miss: Ice cream!

Nursery: We're just waiting to find out the gender until we can start really decorating. We've been getting more hand-me-downs from siblings though and it's been awesome!

I've been feeling great lately, but it's starting to warm up and I'm already feeling it! Emotions have been on a roller coaster the past few weeks, so that's been a little interesting, but we're so grateful that the nausea is mostly gone. It's been fun figuring out maternity clothes, I pretty much wear this black skirt all the time! The pink top is so cool and comfy and is from my SIL, Brooke. We are loving the hand-me-downs! :)

We are so looking forward to our anatomy scan next week Thursday! While finding out the gender is a big part of that visit, we're also praying baby is healthy and that everything checks out healthy. Expect a post next weekend about the gender and the big reveal!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mom Judgements

Today I ran across this blog post from Hellobee and although our baby is not even born yet, the basis behind the post has already hit home. There are so many decisions to make that it becomes incredibly overwhelming and then realizing that you are being critiqued on those decisions makes it even harder! (Where will baby sleep? How soon will they move to their crib? BabyWise - yay or nay? Cloth or disposables? Glass or plastic bottles? What name will you pick? etc, etc, etc) People warned me that part of being a mom is being judged on every move you make and every decision you follow, but I had no idea how it would actually feel (hormones, anyone?!). Mix that with hearing the same things over and over (you are going to be miserable this summer, just wait till XY or Z happens, baby will make these decisions for you, etc) makes it for a very frustrating time. It makes me so sad that this exists in motherhood. It should be a time of joy, excitement, discovery and learning filled with lots of support, not judgements and feelings of guilt or anxiety.

Some words of advice that I got are that every mom, parent, baby and situation is different. This is so true and what worked for one person may not work for everyone and that's ok! This is something I need to remember as we make decisions for our family and our baby.

I do have to say that we are very thankful for some wonderful support from our families and close friends. We have received some amazing and wonderful advice and encouragement that we are truly thankful for. Baby B is so loved, we couldn't ask for anything more than that! :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cloth Diapering: Initial Thoughts

Before we were even pregnant, Mike and I decided cloth diapering would be something we'd be interested in exploring. Surprisingly, Mike is actually the one who brought this up (I think it had to do with the $$ savings). :) I started researching about them, because honestly, all I thought of was what my mom used on us - flats and plastic covers. I was so surprised at how different they are and how much cuter they are now too! This is the first blog post that really educated me about cloth diapers (specifically pocket diapers, there are a ton of different kinds though), and it really got me excited about them. She also has a few video tutorials on them, explains things so nicely!

Fortunately, both our moms are extremely supportive and are rarely critical of our choices, so it's nice to know that they support us as we try out cloth diapering. Maybe they're so supportive because they both cloth diapered back in the 80's? We've had a few people criticize us for this though and I'm sure they think we are being naive first time parents and really don't know anything, but that's ok. :) We are just excited to live this journey and discover things as we go. We LOVE advice and direction from those who had kids before us, but we also love having support when we make decisions to go a different route. After doing quite a bit of research and talking to friends who have experience with cloth diapers, we are even more confident that this will work for us...but if it doesn't, that's ok too. Parenting is a learning process, right? :)

I have to say, I'm completely addicted to researching cloth diapers! No, the poo part isn't any more intense than with a disposable diaper (did you know that with disposables you are actually supposed to flush the poo in the toilet? I had no idea!). Yes, it's more laundry, but we are both home all day, every day which is a huge reason why we are interested in this route. I honestly think if we weren't home as much as we were and used a daycare, we wouldn't have even considered cloth diapering! And finally, yes there is a huge money savings with cloth, even when you factor in the costs of water and electricity to wash them. Sweet!

Last weekend I visited a friend of mine who has cloth diapered her two kids. One is potty-trained and the other is just over a year, so she has had quite a bit of experience with them! She showed me the pocket diapers and helped me figure out a good method for diapering a newborn.
We're going to start out with a prefold and cover style when they are super tiny. This is close to what our parents used, but has been modernized. Basically you use the cloth prefold on the inside (pic on the right) and then put a cover over it (pic on the left...they even sell these at Target online!). When it's time to change, wash the cloth part and if the cover is still clean, you can reuse it with the next prefold. We'll be using the basic prefolds that are in a square shape (you can fold them in thirds and tuck it into the cover), but also prefolds that already have snaps on them and are shaped like diapers. My friend says these are best for newborns because they have elastic in the legs that hold in the leaky newborn poo. Fortunately, breastfed poo can be placed directly in the wash without rinsing or soaking. (Cover) (Prefold)

When baby gets a bit bigger, we will transition them into the one-size pocket diapers. The way to deal with poo at this stage (after they start solids), is you can either use a liner that is similar to a dryer sheet that holds everything and then simply flush it, or don't even mess with the liners and plop it in the toilet and swish it around a bit. My friend showed me how she swishes it in the toilet (no your hands don't touch the water), it's totally not gross at all. There are a few brands that we've researched and have heard great things about, but will decide which one is best for baby after some trial and error. Best part is if we find we really don't like a particular brand, there is a huge resale market for pocket diapers. These pocket diapers are one-size which means they will fit baby from about 8-12 lbs until about 35 lbs which is essentially potty training time (supposedly cloth diapered kids potty train earlier too). It's also pretty awesome that Target carries a few of these brands online and in stores as well as Buy Buy Baby! Aren't the colors just so cute? (Fuzzibunz) (Charlie Banana) (BumGenius)

Here are a few more internet resources I have found helpful, but if you just search cloth diapers on pinterest, there are a ton of posts:
Cloth Diapering 101
Daily Garnish
Plus lots and lots of YouTube videos!

Have any experiences or tips with cloth diapers? I always love hearing about others' experiences and what works for them! I recently posted something on facebook about this and got so many awesome recommendations. I love that cloth diapering mamas are so passionate! :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bump Watch: 16 weeks

How Far Along: 16 weeks

Size of the Baby: Avocado

Sleep: Can't sleep on my back anymore, makes my legs fall asleep and gets hard to breath. Getting comfortable at night is the hardest part. Oh and I got really sick twice these past two weeks at night, ugh.

Best Moment of the Week: Finding cute maternity clothes and people actually noticing my baby bump.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Random sickness a few nights, but not really sure why. Need to watch what and how much I'm eating at night.

Any cravings: Yes, but they can't be mentioned because those cravings led to my sickness.

What I'm looking forward to: Finding out boy or girl in 3 weeks!!

What I miss: Still blue cheese, but also cured meats and medium rare steak. I do not miss alcohol at all!

Nursery: Mike set up the crib in the nursery and I love walking in there and seeing it all set up! We decided on the rest of the furniture and need to make an Ikea run. :)

I feel like my bump hasn't grown at all since about 13 weeks, but I have a feeling a big growth spurt is about to happen. I've been having a lot of round ligament pains, so that means baby is stretching things out in there! These are the last of my normal size pants that fit me and I am just about done with them. They are from my gluten belly days and are very stretchy, but starting to get uncomfortable. Obviously my shirt is getting a bit short. I've been holding out as long as possible for my maternity clothes because I know I will be wearing the heck out of them all spring and summer, but they are just so much more comfortable than normal size clothes so they will be making an appearance soon! Oh, and I finally ordered my new Warby Parker glasses. I love them so much!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekend Happenings

This past week and weekend have been a very productive one! Thursday we had a meeting with our insurance agent (got us signed up for term life insurance, woohoo!) and since his office is less than a mile from my Grandma's house, we stopped by to visit and pick some oranges. She has a giant orange tree in her backyard that has been there since they moved into that house in the 70's. My brother and I would climb that tree growing up, so I have a lot of memories in that backyard. Mesa is known for citrus trees (the school I went to while growing up was built on an orange grove!), so orange blossoms and trees scream springtime to me.
Also on Thursday, Mike finished painting our bathroom. I have to say, it is so nice not having it a plain stark white. We chose a beautiful dusty blue color that we plan on carrying through with accents (and hints of yellow and navy) in the bedroom. Speaking of, next up to paint is the bedroom! We chose a warm gray/taupe that coordinates with the color we have in the rest of the house.
On Friday, Mike put together the baby's crib (we got this one that I was eyeing!) and I have to say, I just love walking in there and seeing it! Mike has seriously been in full on extreme motivated and nesting mode. I love it!

On Saturday I met up with my mom at the mall to do some shopping. It was so fun picking out bright spring/summer outfits for her and I was getting such a high from finding awesome deals for her. :) My parents are going on a cruise this week, so she will have plenty of time to wear her new stuff including the white capri pants she got from Loft that I became obsessed with. Seriously, everything goes with white! We went to a few maternity stores and I tried on some stuff, but wasn't loving much. I'm in such an in between phase where my last pair of regular pants are on their way out, but maternity stuff still isn't totally necessary or fitting properly. Plus we're in that in between winter/spring phase with weather, so that makes it even harder. I had placed an Old Navy maternity order that came in that day, but unfortunately had to return a dress and denim shorts. I couldn't believe how terrible the fit on the dress was, it's like it was a non-maternity dress with a band going right across the middle of the belly. Horrible! Fortunately the black maxi skirt fit perfectly (and is oh so comfy!). I'm determined to find denim maternity shorts that fit well, so I splurged (splurge for me I guess) and got some from Gap. I needed my order to hit $50 for free shipping and since the shorts were on sale, I wasn't quite there. That means I just HAD to get this adorable striped maxi skirt I've been eyeing. ;) Hoping they both fit, I would wear these a ton!
Sunday we spent the day relaxing, cleaning the house a bit and doing some grocery shopping for the week. That night we had a belated birthday celebration for Mike's dad at their house. It was so fun seeing everyone and playing with the kids. I missed out on pics of the babies, but Isaiah is crawling and Cruz is rolling over! Baby is going to have so much fun playing with his/her cousins.

For Dan's birthday, we were all told he likes Famous Amos cookies and wanted the big box from Costco. Well, all three sons listened and look what he ended up with! :)
Here's to the start of another great week!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thoughts on 15 weeks

Today we are 15 weeks pregnant and although we are doing belly shots every other week (thank goodness because I look and feel terrible today after a 3am sickness last night, ugh!), I have so many thoughts about baby lately.

Monday we had an ultrasound and while the ultrasound tech didn't give us any indication of boy or girl, it made me even more curious on what Baby B is! Up until that point I was definitely curious, but not like this. I've become obsessed with google searching ultrasound pictures at 14 weeks and seeing what boy and girl ones look like and comparing them to the few ultrasound pictures that we have. Baby did show us their booty and "goods" area, so it gave me a slight feeling, but ultrasounds can be so hard to read and I'm definitely no expert! Plus I hear all these things about the nub up or down, the shape of the skull, etc, etc and it's all really confusing. I really don't think any of those are right.

I go through days where I most definitely want a girl and then the next day I so badly want a boy. We want both eventually so really we don't have a preference one way or the other, but I just hate not knowing (or being able to plan much!). Yesterday we talked more about names, something we had kind of put off, and we may have come up with our top boy and girl names! I am so in love with them and can't wait to know boy or girl so we can really start to feel a connection to the name. Right now we decided not to share our names with anyone, maybe that will change once we finalize it, but that may not be until baby is born! I'm terrible at keeping things like this a secret though, so we'll see how long it actually lasts. ;)

While it's so fun to try to figure out if baby is a boy or girl and to get everyone's guesses, we just can't wait to meet our baby and shower them with love! We started planning our gender reveal party that we're throwing for family and I came across those cupcake toppers and just love the phrase. While some people have ideas of boy vs girl and I go through phases of wanting one over the other, we all love baby so much either way! This is one lucky kid here, he or she has some pretty awesome grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles who can't wait to meet him/her. :)

Image Source

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Savings and Goals (and our love for DR!)

I've never written a blog post about finances and our love for Dave Ramsey (Mike listens to his talk show all the time!), but lately I've been following this blog and just love their determination, passion and how open they are with sharing their experiences. It's very motivating! Mike and I are both very passionate about our finances and saving for the future. He has always been a saver and extremely...let's call it frugal. ;) On the other hand, I haven't always been the best with saving. I loved shopping, I guess you could have called it my hobby? He's definitely taught me how to be better at saving and I've definitely taught him that it's ok to spend money every once in a while for a good experience and quality clothes (of course from the sale rack, my parents taught me well).

While we were engaged we took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class and we fell in love with his methods for saving and spending money. It was something we could both relate to and agree that it was a method that made sense. Seriously, everything he teaches is completely common sense, but it's like everyone has thrown common sense out the window when it comes to finances. He really brings you back to earth and hits you over the head with it (in a good way). We also love that he comes from a Christian background with his lessons.

Since taking FPU, we set up budgets for everything we spend and came up with methods that work for us in tracking it. We also have budget meetings twice a month and regularly talk about our plans for saving and how we're going to reach our goals. But while we know Dave Ramsey's ideas, we still struggle with a few of his methods.

1) We still use a credit card. We have always paid it off completely and never carried debt, but he hates credit cards! We are looking at using the envelope method he recommends and trying it out with a few of our budget items. Maybe one day we will be able to completely eliminate our credit card (he should at least be happy we only have one, right?!) and use our debit card when we absolutely have to use a card to purchase items online, etc.

2) We have a car payment...and we are not in any rush to pay it off. We are finally done paying off our car next June and there is no incentive with the interest at this point to have it paid off early, so we are just letting it run its course. Honestly, the car payment has never bothered me and I know it should. Guess I need to change my mindset on that (see link to an awesome video below).

3) We have jumped around with his baby steps. We've found that we are really good at saving, but there have been so many big things happening for us, that we can't seem to have the time where we just sit and fill up a full emergency fund.

In 2010/2011, our big goal was to save for our wedding. While my parents were extremely generous in paying for the majority of it, we were responsible for some big ticket items including my dress, hair, makeup, gifts for bridal party, the honeymoon, etc. It was completely worth it though and we wouldn't have done anything different, but this was our main focus during that time.

After we got married, we started saving for a big trip to Europe, but after eyeing the housing market and seeing the possibility of upgrading our house and neighborhood, we were sold. So we took our Europe fund and turned it into a house fund. 2012 was entirely focused on saving for and building our dream home and we were determined to have a large down payment. We even lived with our parents and didn't take any vacations that summer so we could save, save, save! While it was difficult at times, that was the best experience. It taught us how our determination can really lead to things we never thought possible. Hey, maybe Dave is on to something here. ;)

And now 2013 is the year of saving for Baby B! We are looking closely at necessities for baby and making decisions on what we are buying new and what we will look for second hand (thanks to our siblings for the most part!). One example is we are selecting a less expensive stroller that does the same functions as a super expensive "celebrity" strollers and being content with our decisions. Before getting pregnant I had all these grand ideas of cool things we'd buy for baby, but now that I'm actually pregnant, I'm finding that all I want is to have a healthy baby, a strong connection with baby and Mike, to do everything we can to raise them in the best possible way (this doesn't have to include expensive gadgets) and for them to be comfortable (cute outfits are fun, but I'm learning they probably aren't necessary). We're also looking into cloth diapering, we won't need daycare and we are hoping to breastfeed. Not only are these great things for baby's health, but they also save a lot of money! Isn't it crazy that our due date is one day before we closed on our house last year? We're feeling pretty blessed that the timing of everything has really worked out for us.

After baby is born and into 2014, we already have big plans. We are ready and determined to get our emergency fund fully funded! Now that we will have a baby to care for, we see how having that emergency fund is even more important than ever. Another huge item that we have already started saving for is a new car. Mike is driving the same vehicle from when he was 20 years old and we're sure it is on it's last leg. I'm quite blessed to be married to a man who doesn't care what vehicle he drives, I'm not sure I know many men like that! But, once baby is here, we won't be able to take them in that vehicle and there will be times that the truck will become a hassle, even if it is still running. At first we thought about getting a slightly used crossover SUV and just having another car payment once our current payment is done, but after watching this video from Dave Ramsey, I'm not so sure (seriously, you should watch it!). I'm definitely the one who struggles with the vehicle side of things and Dave's method definitely makes sense, but I'm not sure I can do it. This will be something we'll have to discuss more.

So this turned into an insanely long post, but I think it's so good to share and ponder goals and ambitions. It's something we are so passionate about with each other, but never really share with our friends or family. Plus I find that when I share things out there with others, I'm more inclined to do it. :) There are times when we say no to certain events or invites from friends because we just know it doesn't fit in the budget, but as Dave says, we are trying to work at a "gazelle intensity" with our budget. Another thing we always say to each other when we're feeling down about not being able to go out to eat or do certain things is that we are "living like no one else, so later we can LIVE like no one else" (another Dave saying). We would DEFINITELY recommend the FPU courses to everyone we know, it will change your life, no joke!

Monday, March 4, 2013

14 week Ultrasound

Today we had an ultrasound to check how we are measuring with our due date. It was so amazing to see our little baby and watch him/her move around! Baby is measuring perfect with our due date and looks very healthy! Mike got two amazing videos with baby moving around and the tech pointing out different things on the screen. Baby was moving around enough to get different views, but not so much to where we didn't get a clear view. We saw a beautiful profile view, a frontal view of the face and then baby decided to moon us and show off their booty a bit! It was so amazing to see our baby on the screen and moving around, we are so in love already!

5 more weeks and we find out if Baby B is a boy or girl! Plans for the gender reveal party for our family are under way. Everyone keeps asking me if I have a gut feeling and I really haven't had one. After today I have a better feeling on one way vs the other, but I'm not expert at these ultrasounds so I could be completely wrong! (and maybe it's too early?)

Any initial guesses from these pics? I think it's pretty impossible to tell from these, but it's fun to guess! :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Bump Watch: 14 weeks

How Far Along: 14 weeks

Size of the Baby: Lemon

Sleep: Much more energy during the day, but really exhausted by 7pm and ready for bed shortly after. Sleeping ok thanks to the body pillow!

Best Moment of the Week: Hearing the heartbeat on the doppler for the first time!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Went grocery shopping this week for the first time in a very long time! Still have a hard time looking at avocados, but can eat them if mixed into a dish. Smells are better, but still sensitive.

Any cravings: Hot fudge sundaes, oh yum!

What I'm looking forward to: Seeing our baby on the ultrasound on Monday :)

What I miss: Blue cheese

Nursery: We decided on a new crib from Pottery Barn Kids and will be picking it up this week. Anxious for 18 weeks when we find out boy or girl!

I've seriously started feeling better (at least during the day) and can finally start cooking, grocery shopping and doing things around the house although I am taking things slower than normal. I have made the switch over to maternity clothes this week. I can still squeeze into old pants with the hair tie trick, but it's just uncomfortable. Thank goodness for the hand-me-downs from my SIL! I'd like to get away without buying pants or jeans since it is already warming up around here. I'm on the lookout for maxi dresses and skirts!