Friday, October 30, 2009

Foto Friday...Etc...

Wow, it's Friday already! (Already?) Lots of things to report....

1. I think pink eye has officially left our house. Hopefully. Keaton got it last Wednesday and Sienna woke up with it on Sunday morning. So far, Reagan is in the clear, but I suppose I need to give it a few more days before I know for sure. I know of at least three other children and one adult at our church who also had pink eye last week/weekend, so apparently it's going around.

2. Savannah is 1 month old today! She has her 1-month checkup this morning and I'm anxious to see how much she's grown. She's been unusually fussy for the past few days and not sleeping or eating like normal, so it's been a tiring week in that respect. Due to her nasal congestion (she's had a cold for 75% of her life now!), I suspect an ear infection. But we'll see how things go at the doctor's office. She hasn't had a fever at all, so I could be totally wrong on that.

3. My studio lights arrived last Friday and I promised myself I'd finish a huge project (that I had not even started when they arrived) before opening them up and taking a look at them. So FINALLY on Sunday night, after completing my project, I got to see them. They. Are. Lovely. But just as quickly as we got them out, we put them away for fear that the kids would knock them over when they got up Monday morning. We're waiting for french doors to go on sale at Menards and then we plan to make the studio an official room of it's own. Until then...the lights will not stay up. It's just not worth it.

4. I had two fantastically fun photo sessions last week! One with an adorable little newborn and one with my daughter, Sienna. Since it's Foto Friday, I feel the need to post a photo. But since both of these sessions were suuuuuper great, I'm going to post one from each. Because I'm nice like that. You can check out the full posts over on my photography blog. :)

Baby Jacob:

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Have a great weekend, everybody! Don't forget to "fall back" tomorrow night!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rocking Her To Sleep

Sometimes it's the little things in life that bring the most joy. Tonight I rocked my sweet Savannah to sleep. Did it take 20 minutes away from the work I was trying to do? Yes. But was it worth it? You bet!

And speaking of sweet dance moves (say whaaaat?), check out how talented this little rock star is already....


I know. A girl after my own heart. And fortunately for her, her moves are about as sweet as mine too. ;)

DIY Moby Wrap

I'd like to preface this post by saying that there is a reason I stay behind the camera lens. I'm not good in pictures. I'm just not. I know everyone says that, but good grief, I'm terrible in front of the lens. I'd also like to apologize for the quality and tone of the pictures you're about to see. It was very dark in out kitchen when these were taken last night, but I insisted that my husband take a few pictures for illustration purposes. Ok, moving on with the post....

There are hundreds of different wraps, slings, and baby carriers on the market these days. I've never really been much into "babywearing" as it is called, but I did used to have a carrier that I used once or twice with our past children. But this year, with Savannah being born at the peak of swine flu season and the beginning of cold season, I decided it might be wise to keep her close for the first several weeks of her life. I consulted with my friend Cari who owned what appeared to be an extremely comfortable wrap.

Perhaps you've heard of the Moby wrap. It's gaining more popularity from what I can see, but in case you're not familiar with it, let me sum it up for you. The Moby wrap is a piece of 100% cotton, 6 yards in length and approximately 30 inches in width, that can be wrapped several times around your body for ultimate comfort and support when carrying your baby or toddler. Now, personally....I have no idea why anyone would ever want to wear their toddler. But that's another topic for another day.

Anyway, after chatting with Cari, I decided that I would peruse the clearance fabric section at a few stores before I went and paid $40 for a wrap that I wasn't even sure I'd like. So I went to Joann and found a lovely green fabric - 100% cotton. The only downside was that the ends rolled a bit,, no biggie. It was about 60 inches wide, so I actually got two wraps for a total of $15. I was pretty happy.

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But I thought it might be fun to have more than one color.

See how I try to save money but then end up spending the same amount by buying more "frugal" things? I know. It's bad.

So I went to Walmart. They had no suitable fabrics in their clearance section, but I did run across some polyester knit fabric for $2/yard. I know polyester is warmer than cotton, but this fabric was a neutral color and, well, it was only $2/yard. So I bought 6 yards and made two more wraps.


It's an addiction, I realize. You don't have to tell me.

And yes, I did ask my husband if I looked fat as he was taking these pictures. Every woman does! Right?


Why yes, I do love reading the nutritional facts on the back of the peanut butter jar. Did you know that a serving size is 2 Tbsp?

I wound up sewing the edges of the second fabric I bought but haven't yet gotten around to sewing the edges of the green fabric. One of these days it'll happen. Maybe. But anyway, I now have 4 wraps (unnecessary, I know, but I'm giving at least one away) that cost me a total of $27. Not bad, if you ask me.

I'll leave you with what my husband calls "the paparazzi picture":

Wrap1 know...because I look ridiculous. Well....more ridiculous than normal anyway.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Get Your Finances In Line In 2009: September Recap

Wow, this is super late! I usually try to post our financial update in the first week of the month and here I am posting it on the 27th day of the month. Yeesh!

Well, you all know, our little Savannah finally arrived on September 30th, fourteen full days past her due date. (Little stinker!) So after those few extra weeks of eating out and getting take out way more often than was probably necessary, I was very surprised to discover that we actually had a fairly good month for our savings account!

We were hoping to make it to 70% of our FFEF last month (a pretty lofty goal) and we got pretty close. We also started saving for our trip in March. Other than that, nothing too exciting took place.

So here we go....

REVISED GOAL #1: Save up and pay CASH for our trip to Texas next March. ---- 25% completed ----

Goal #2: Fully fund our 6 month emergency fund and put into a money market account to be left UNTOUCHED unless there is an actual emergency. ---- 66.6% completed!! ----

Goal #3: Save for my husband to get a "new" (that means used) car. ---- Still on hold. No major issues with the car at this time. ----

Goal #4: Raise retirement contributions to 12% (with a 4% match).

Goal #5: Open a money market account for each of our children.

Goal #6: Begin paying extra principal on our mortgage.

Goal #7: Establish a will and testament. ---- I admit it. I am a total failure in this department. ----

Goal #8: Get disability insurance for both my husband and me. ---- I mention this to my husband occasionally. He seems to think it's like a one-page worksheet that I can fill out for him. Not so much. I'm blaming this one not being done on him. :) ----

So there you have it. We will surely make it to 70% of our FFEF this month, and I'll be SO excited to report whenever we reach 75%! (I have a thing with fractions, apparently.) We were really hoping to reach 100% by the end of 2009, but we also realized that it likely wouldn't actually happen. And now we're saving for our Texas trip, so that's pulling a little bit of what would have gone into our savings. But we're so looking forward to our trip! So we imagine it will probably be closer to March or April that we can completely fund our FFEF.

Keep on keeping on!

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Not Me!" Monday

Oh dear, it's been quite the week around here! We've been up to a lot of things, but here are some things that I most definitely have NOT been up to!

I did not serve my three oldest children leftover McDonalds for breakfast one morning because I was too tired to find them something else to eat. I also did not intentionally delay breakfast three days over the past week in order to feed my children brunch because I was too lazy to make three meals each day. I always feed my children three, balanced meals per day.

There is no way that I got SO thirsty after grocery shopping that I had to drink some OJ directly out of the carton while sitting at a stoplight. I would never do something so disgusting as that!

I did not encourage my children to participate in "pajama day" more days than I care to mention. We are neat and orderly in this house and we most certainly do NOT just sit around in our PJs all day long. Nope, not us!

There is no way that I somehow managed to go four days without taking a shower - "broken" water heater or not. That would be nasty. And I would never do that. Ever.

When writing a 'thank you' card out for the owner of my husband's workplace (who sent us flowers after Savannah was born), I did not spell the owner's first name wrong. My husband has worked there for almost 6 years and there no is reason for me to ever do something like that. So of course...I didn't.

I most certainly did not drink three large fountain Cokes in a 36-hr period. I care about my body way more than that!

While going over my to-do list for the day, I definitely didn't add things to the list that I had already completed just to make it look like I had gotten more things done with my day. I never do things like that. And I certainly don't do it on a regular basis! No way!

I did not just write a few things that actually took place weeks ago but have been sitting in my "Not Me!" Monday draft since then just to add more items to my "Not Me!" list. I never do that.

And finally....I don't care what you've heard about this....but it absolutely isn't true that I found my 2 year old daughter in the pack 'n play bassinet WITH my 3 week old baby! But you know, if that had happened, it surely wouldn't have been because I was going to get (none other than) a diaper out of the bathroom to change a certain someone. A certain someone who was directed to stay in MY bed. Not transition into the pack 'n play.

For more "Not Me!" Monday fun, head on over to MckMama's blog!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pink Eye

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

And Speaking of DIY....

Here's a little hint of what's to come....

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DIY Cloth Nursing Pads

Preface: I'm sure this is TMI, but I produce milk like a cow. Apparently I was created to have babies and nurse them. Seriously, my milk supply is ridiculous. I don't say that to brag as I have many many friends who sadly are unable to nurse due to a low milk supply (among other reasons), but I'm just telling you so you understand my need to make my own nursing pads.

Ok, read on....

With my first child, I used disposable nursing pads. I don't even want to think about how much money we wasted on those things. BUT I thought the reusable ones were too expensive. Since, you know, I went through probably 24 a day.

With my second child, I used a mixture of both. Primarily the tiny little Gerber reusables. But I had to do laundry CONSTANTLY and I still never had enough. So then I would switch to disposable. Again, big money waster.

With my third child, I think I almost exclusively used the few Gerber reusables that I had left. But by this time, they had mostly gone missing and I found myself using burp clothes as a substitute. (Don't laugh - I'm serious!)

When I got pregnant with my fourth child, I thought....There HAS to be a better way! I had a friend who had purchased some handmade cloth nursing pads online and she swore by them that they were way better than the store bought kind (and actually large enough too!), so I started to look into those. But the cost was ridiculous. At least, in my frugal mind.

So I did what I'm pretty well-known for doing when I think something is way overpriced. I decided to make some myself. I called Gretchen and asked her if she had any idea how to make nursing pads and she referred me to this DIY tutorial. It was exactly what I needed!

Since there's absolutely no reason for me to repeat the steps here, you can just go to that tutorial to see how I made them. Here are a few pictures of mine:



Having made these and used them now I can attest to the fact that these are INDEED far superior to the store bought kind and definitely better than the disposables. They are also, eh hem, much gentler on the skin. If you know what I'm sayin'.

These took me longer than I expected due to all the cutting and sewing, but it was well worth it. In fact, I only made about 14 and need some more so I just bought more flannel last night and am planning on making some more this week. (Yay! Flannel just happened to be 60% off at Joann!)

I highly highly highly recommend these.

Did I say highly?

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Hair Is Greasy

Some of you are wondering where I've been. Some of you could care less. And some of you haven't even noticed I've been gone.

Hey, it's okay. We can't all be perfect blog-stalkers.

The past few days around here have been a little crazy. But then, what day isn't crazy around here? That's what I thought. None. Anyway, I've been busy doing all sorts of meaningless tasks. And on top of that, I've actually done a few useful things as well. Let me name those things so you don't think I'm lying.

Seven loads of laundry.
I can't get over how one tiny new baby can increase the necessity to do laundry by such great quantities. I used to do laundry twice a week. Now I do it daily.

Eight print orders.
As much as I enjoyed shooting this wedding, I will not lie. I am going to be SO happy when all these pictures have arrived, been sorted, invoiced, and delivered. It's exhausting just to think about, but I know I'm almost done.

Twenty-one freezer meals.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen (but mostly ladies)....I've officially tried once-a-month-cooking. And just two weeks after I pushed a baby out! I know, I'm so amazing. And humble. Actually, my husband helped A LOT. (!ithout even being asked!) After my 2 1/2 hour grocery trip during which I visited three stores and spent close to our entire month's grocery budget....I came home, and during the next 24 hours we cooked up a total of 21 freezer meals.

I just know somebody is going to ask for the recipes for all the things we made, but I'll go ahead and tell you now that I probably won't get to that. So, you can ask if you want to but.....don't expect much.

Here's the list of what we made:

(2) chicken alfredo casseroles
(2) alfredo sauces (to go w/ fettuccine)
(2) lasagnas
(2) meatloaves
(2) sets of meatballs
(2) chicken soups
(2) beef stews
(2) chicken pot pies
and portioned cooked beef into meals for (2) tacos, (1) sloppy jo, (2) chilis.

So that's that.

One broken water heater.
On Monday morning, I discovered the hot water wasn't working. This was, of course, after I had already washed one load of laundry in "hot" water and one in "warm" - both of which were quite obviously COLD. I flipped the breaker and the reset button and all was well.

On Tuesday morning, I went into the bathroom for a quick shower. Not expecting the water heater to be not working again, I completely undressed, got into the shower and there discovered there was no hot water.


So yesterday evening my husband drained the entire tank and in doing so discovered an ungodly amount of some sort of (calcium?) buildup. It was nasty. And it took forever. But this morning we had hot water! However, I still haven't had time to take a shower. So my hair is greasy. And I'm pretty sure I stink.

Don't judge. We're not having visitors today!

As it turns out, our water heater wasn't actually broken, per se. But really...."One temperamental water heater" just didn't have the same ring to me.


On an entirely separate note, look who loves to smile at Mommy!

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Stop it. It's totally a smile.

Friday, October 16, 2009

On Becoming Confident....Again

Things are slowly returning to some sort of normalcy around here. Yesterday the kids and I washed, dried, and/or folded about 8 loads of laundry. My kitchen is looking relatively clean most of the time. And I've actually made the bed most of the days this week.

Adjusting to four has been somewhat difficult. I can now confidently tell people that going from 3 to 4 is BY FAR the hardest. At least, for me. But I'm getting back into working (trust me, it's very part time), blogging, and - eh hem - showering on regular basis. Which is nice. For everyone.

Reagan has officially learned what a spanking is and she generally obeys if reminded of the consequences of not obeying. She is adjusting to being a big sister rather than a baby and she's finally showing some signs of attempting to speak words.

Keaton and Sienna are doing well with everything. They are regularly helping me with chores around the house and growing more and more independent each day.

Daniel is back into the full swing of his regular work schedule and I am remembering what it's like to get up in the middle of the night to feed a hungry baby.

As for Savannah...she has a cold. Poor thing. I keep debating about whether or not I should take her in to see the doctor. She goes back and forth with her symptoms, so I keep going back and forth about what I should do. Motherhood is full of difficult decisions, isn't it?

On a very positive note, she is regularly sleeping 5-7 hours during her first stretch of the night and otherwise eating every 3-4 hours the rest of the day. She's also a very fast eater, so my nighttime rousings are short and to the point, which lends me to be feeling very well and rather energetic considering I have a 2-week old and 3 toddlers in the house. But knowing that I should be taking it easy is difficult and I'm still trying to keep things slow.

We hardly left the house this week due to Savannah's cold. I don't want her to get any sicker, of course, but I admit that I'm feeling stir crazy. We usually go to church three times a week, but this week we've stayed home due to the germs.

It seems there is always something to get done around here. And speaking of getting things is lunchtime already.

I guess I better get cracking on that.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


That's about the only way I can describe our household as of late.

A week after coming home from the hospital with our sweet baby girl, my parents arrived for a visit. Simultaneously arriving with them (although not necessarily from them) was....the common cold. It struck my mom, my husband, and two of my children - thankfully, not Savannah. And I'm doing pretty well so far, although I did experience a sore throat one day over the weekend. I've been weighing whether or not we should go places (mainly church) in the midst of this cold/flu season with such a teeny tiny baby. I've never before questioned these things, but the pediatrician got me all paranoid about Savannah getting sick. She does have an occasional cough and is sneezing fairly regularly, but we think she's doing fine.

She's still nursing like a champ and, may I also add, WAY faster than any of my other children EVER ate....which just so happens to be totally convenient for me, now a mother of four children under five. She's been pulling one 5-6 hour stretch and one 4-hour stretch each night for close to a week now, and I'm very thankful for that. She's just as adorable as she was last week, but if you want to see a few more pictures of her you can do so here.

In other news, since I was kind of thinking Savannah would arrive, you know, before 14 days after her due date....I had planned several newborn photo shoots for the month of October for the new direction I plan on taking with my business. Not wanting to miss out on all those sweet babes, I have kept all of those plans regardless of the fact that I'm still rather tired from just giving birth 2 weeks ago. So in case I thought I did not have enough to do, I scheduled two sweet little ones this week for pictures.

I'd also just like to take this time to tell you how much I hate myself for signing up for a million different email newsletters over the past 11 years of my life. It's so time-consuming to actually opt out of all those newsletters now and I've had the same email address for all 11 of those years I mentioned, so....I guess I'll just continue to delete my past mistakes. And hopefully I'll learn from them.

And now it's time to put my nose to the grindstone. The kids are up and I still have some work that must be completed before my afternoon session, so....ta ta for now.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another Non-Birth Story Post

Judging from the comments I've all need to learn some patience!

I kid, I kid. The birth story is coming. Eventually.

But for now, I just wanted to let you all know that there are a few more pictures of my sweet Savannah over on my photography blog if you'd like to see her at 5 days old instead of 5 minutes old. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Didn't Even Check My E-mail

It's probably pathetic that it's significant in my life. But as I lay in bed last night, I realized I didn't even check my e-mail yesterday. Not once did I flip open my laptop or sit down at the computer. I fed my baby. I diapered my baby. I went to church. I went grocery shopping. I did laundry. I fed my baby. I diapered my baby. I took a nap. I had visitors. I ate. I fed my baby. I diapered my baby. And I let my husband take care of the rest.

I've never really been very good at this whole "resting" thing after having a baby. But I'm trying. Sort of. Several people at church yesterday said, "I can't believe you're here!" which I found very confusing since most people should know by now that I am always on the go shortly after having a baby. It would be strange to me if I had not been at church 4 days after giving birth. I mean...what would I really do at home? Sit? I was so happy to finally hear one of my friends say, "I knew you'd be here today," because I was starting to wonder if anyone really knew me at all.

I'm learning new things this time around. I mean, I suppose one learns new things every time around. But this time is different for me.

When I had my first child, I tried to weigh the advice of everyone and their best friend. It was challenging and time-consuming, but I finally figured out my "way" of doing things, specifically feeding my baby. From the time they were born, I always fed each of my children every three hours unless they were sleeping. It was extremely rare for me to feed them more often.

For one, I find nursing to be very painful for the first several weeks. I've had nurses and lactation consultants check each of my children's latches and nobody can ever find anything wrong. The age-old saying that nursing shouldn't hurt beyond the first few days just doesn't ring true for me. And I'm glad I finally figured out that everyone is different rather than constantly trying to change things in order to "get it right" even though I was already doing it right. I've accepted the fact that nursing is painful for me and not for others. But I love doing it, so I always push through.

For two, I had to give myself a rest. It wasn't uncommon for me to have cracked, bleeding, or blistered nipples from nursing even just every 3 hours. There was no way I could do it more often and still keep doing it. It just wasn't going to happen.

And for three, I didn't want my child to run the show. Infants are selfish selfish selfish by nature and I thought that, from the very beginning, it was important that they learn to have a little patience with mommy. My children never starved. They just waited a bit longer than so-and-so's baby. I couldn't stand mothers who nursed their babies non-stop when it was absolutely clear to me that there was no possible way their baby was hungry since they just ate 15 minutes prior to now.

While I still generally fall into all three of those categories, things are a little bit different this time around.

I have found that, with excessive amounts of lanolin after each feeding, things seem to be doing a bit better. I have a bit less pain and so far have not had any bleeding or blistering. (Praise God!) This is a huge blessing because Savannah has a different idea of eating than my other three children did. She ate like a champ at the hospital! Every 3-4 hours for about half an hour each time. It was ideal. Normal. Average. But once we got home and my milk came in, things changed. She started wanting to eat for only 5-10 minutes at a time before she seemed to lose interest. Feeling that she may lose weight from this type of eating, I began to feed her a bit more often. And you know what? Everything's fine.

She's not any more spoiled than my other children were. She simply doesn't eat as much at a time. I admit that I'm a little anxious about her doctor's appointment on Friday as I'm very curious to see if she is indeed losing weight or gaining as she should be. I'm praying that she will begin eating more and that she will gain weight as she should, but in the meantime I will just continue to feed her as I have determined is best for her. And I will continue to keep my lanolin nearby. :)

As far as others things are going....

The kids love Savannah. Reagan loves to say "BABY!!" as we suspected she would.

Nights are going okay. Savannah generally does 3-4 hour stretches at night and is pretty good about going back to sleep after eating/diapering.

We are having meals delivered most nights. It's a HUGE blessing.

I'm trying not to overdo it. I'm working on making a list of household chores and choosing ONE per day for the next week or two. And I'm going to try my best to stick to that.

Life with four is very different than life with three. But we're adjusting.

......and the baby is crying.....