Tuesday, November 26, 2013

6 Months

So my baby turned 6 months old!  When did that happen?!


-21 lbs 7 oz
-27.5" long
-Wears 12 month clothes

She sits up on her own pretty well, but has ZERO interest in crawling.  She likes to "stand up" with help.  I wonder if she will skip crawling altogether and just get up and walk one day.  She is a great eater!  She readily accepts any food I give her!  She loves songs! Especially "The Wheels on the Bus."  She loves to go for walks.  She loves our Baby n' Me class we go to every week.  She is very alert, observant and curious.  She wants to be a big girl.  She drinks from a straw like a champ.  She says "Mamamamamamama-mom-mamamamamama" all day and night.  She also growls on a regular basis.  Yes, a full blown orc growl.  Its very unladylike and makes everyone laugh.

She is such a beautiful and happy baby, which is a good thing since she no longer sleeps through the night.  I love bath time because she's such a chubby rollie pollie!  She inherited her dad's beautiful blue eyes. We are constantly bombarded everywhere we go by old lady admirers who tell us to "enjoy these years"  and strangers who touch babies.

Love my beautiful, snuggly, sweet baby girl!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A "quick" errand

Let me set the scene.  Baby and I have just been out with friends and an adventure to the Farmer's Market.  On my way home, I think I'll just stop at the grocery store for 3 quick things before dinner and baby's next feeding.  I actually had the thought that it would be quick, easy and painless.  (Sometimes I still forget that babies can complicate the easiest of tasks.)

On the way to the store, baby fell asleep.  I wanted to make sure she got a good nap, so I sat in the grocery store parking lot for a while, thus already eliminating the quickness of the errand.  Once she was awake, I thought, "Great!  I can still just run in with the baby and my wallet and be back home before she needs her bottle."  Except, as I'm pulling her out of her car seat, I'm realizing she has a poopy diaper.  Now I am committed into bringing my ginormous diaper bag into the store.  We find the changing table and fix our issue, but then, baby needs her bottle.  Well, I cannot bottle feed a baby AND push a cart, so I have to go back out to the car and retrieve the stroller so she can recline and feed herself.  At this point, I've decided I might as well do some more serious grocery shopping to make these efforts worthwhile.  So I'm shopping in a handheld basket and pushing my stroller.  Halfway through the trip, baby decides she needs to be held.  Immediately and no other distractions will suffice.  Ok, so swap baby out of stroller and groceries into stroller.

Then, enter checkout line.  Swap baby back into stroller and groceries onto belt.  Swipe card, start arranging groceries back into stroller.  "Oh wait, your card didn't swipe right."  (Why do they always wait to tell you after your put your wallet away?)  Make it back to the car and load everyone up, just to drive home and unload again.  Man, just telling this story is making me tired.

Anyways, I just want to get it through my stubborn brain to never expect things to go according to my quick, easy plans or else I will get taught a lesson!  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Oh hello there, you neglected blog, you.  I have so much I need to catch up on like....how my baby turned 3...4...and 5 months!  And how we went apple picking in Oak Glen and started taking Mommy n Me classes, but all that will have to wait because I have something on my mind.

I try to seek inspiration from the Lord on life decisions.  I figure He knows what's up.  I can distinctly recall the feelings to pursue a nursing degree.  I can distinctly recall the feeling to start our little family.  Now that both of those have been accomplished, I'm feeling a little lost.  I feel very strongly about being a full-time mom.  I want my baby to wake up knowing I'll be there to take care of her.  I want her to trust this, to have me to comfort her, meet her needs and help her learn and grow.  I love being home with her, more than I ever thought I would.  I revel in every baby smile and snuggle.  I live to kiss every chunky baby roll!

I also feel the need to be a nurse.  I don't know why.  I have tried and tried to ignore this feeling because I just want to be a mom.  But it creeps up and nags.  Oh how it nags. Many of my nursing school friends are landing amazing new jobs in hospitals.  I'm so excited for them!  Part of me wants to be announcing that I've landed some awesome new job too, but the thought of being away from my baby for 12 hour shifts just makes me feel like I've got rocks in my stomach and a broken heart.

I guess all I can do is pray and seek inspiration.  To keep looking for the right situation so I can find that happy medium where I'm not nagged about neglecting my nursing or have rocks in my innards about leaving my sweet babe.  But for the moment I'm feeling incredibly torn.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Life is uncertain

I got the news last weekend that someone I went to high school with passed away.  My heart has been very heavy with this news.  I am surprised at my own reaction because I haven't been in contact with this person since high school, but we were in the same ward, seminary class and drama club during school. Since I am a nurse (and a Mormon who believes in life after death,) I thought I had a pretty good handle on death, but this news kind of threw me for a loop.  I've been thinking about it and most of my experience with death at the hospital has been an end to suffering or the result of poor lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, this person was in a work related accident that was pretty tragic. I am sad for his family and for the way that he died.

Its also gotten me thinking about how uncertain life can be.  I know we are all a work in progress, but I've felt a stronger sense of urgency on working on my flaws and living life to the fullest.  I want to appreciate all the good in my life for as long as I have it. Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.” I think I forget that sometimes with all the hustle and bustle of life and I have a tendency toward a negative attitude.  I love my husband and my baby and I'm so grateful for the time we get to spend together. I'm trying to be a better person.  And really, nothing else matters.

Monday, July 8, 2013

2 months

My darling angel, you sleep through the night!  And are so happy to see your mom in the mornings.  You are a little joy to be around.  Even strangers at the grocery store gush at your cuteness. You did a lot for a 2 month old!

First, your dark brown hair started falling out turning you into a baldy! Don't worry, you are still adorable.
We went to your cousin's baby blessing and took "matchy-matchy" photos (I'm pretty sure we will have a lot of those over the years because who doesn't love matching 2 darling little girls?)

3 weeks apart and future besties

You were given a name and a blessing on July 7th in your mother's blessing dress.  It was a very special and lovely day.  You were surrounded by family and friends who love you.  Even Great Grandma Low was there in a way because you were wrapped in a blanket that she quilted.

We celebrated your first 4th of July!

It was so fun we had to wear 2 festive outfits!

Baby Yoda...just because your parents love to torment you!

You also got your first round of vaccinations.  Your Dad held you because your Mom could not watch you cry!  But afterwards we wrapped you up and you fell right asleep for the whole day!  What a trooper!

Life is tough!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

1 month!

I cannot believe that my baby is a month old!! I want to remember every little bit of her and I'm sure in my sleep deprived state some of the details will escape me someday...but that's why I blog!

Well baby, there was a lot of sadness in the land for the first 2 weeks of your life.  Don't get me wrong, we were crazy in love with youI had hoped to exclusively breastfeed you, but you were not gaining weight despite my feeding you for an hour every other hour.  You pretty much cried anytime that you weren't attached to me.  It made for one sad baby and one sad mommy.  Even though it broke my heart a little bit to give you a bottle with formula, you became a much happier baby!! You slept!! You stopped crying all the time! You were just one hungry little girl!

Here are some cute (and not so cute) things you do: (Please allow my first-time mom self to gush!)

-You have expert timing when it comes to peeing.  Doing it during a diaper change seems to be your favorite.  Its very exciting.

-You can't hold your milk.  After you take a bottle, your eyes roll back into your head and you get these silly grins on your face.  It's hilariously cute.

-When you take a bottle and you haven't had enough, you will scream bloody murder until more milk is given to you.  When you take a bottle and you are full, you will smack your lips ever so satisfied.

-You clench your tiny fists when eating like you are ready to fight anyone who takes away your bottle!

-Much to your mother's delight, you started smiling at 4 weeks!  The best thing ever!

Happy 1 month!! You survived us as parents.  Congratulations.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What I wish I had known: First Time Mom

In my last trimester of pregnancy, I spent a ton of time scouring the internet for lists on what I needed to take with me to the hospital and to have ready to be prepared to care for my baby. Luckily, there are a ton of mommy bloggers that have great lists, but I just wanted to add my two cents to the interwebs on what I wish I had ready or what I would have not wasted my time with.

Hospital bags:

1.) Bring food!! A lot of it!  You will be HUNGRY! Like a whole new kind of hunger you've never experienced before.  Normally, I'm a 2 slice of pizza kind of a girl.  After giving birth, I ate 5 slices of pizza!!! Don't judge me, you'll do it too.  Plus the hospital food is Gross with a capital G and they won't feed your husband.

2.) Lanolin. Put this stuff on your nips every night a week before you deliver and then after every feeding.  No cracking or bleeding for this girl!

3.) PJs.  I found it awkward to breastfeed in a hospital gown.  2 piece pjs worked for me.

4.) Boppy pillow. I found it useful to learn how to breastfeed in the early days.  Have the nurses or lactation consultants help you with your holds and latch.  If they don't offer...ASK!!

To have ready at home:

1.) Clean house and freezer meals.  I felt a little crazy stocking my freezer with a zillion lasagna roll ups and muffins, but I am so glad I did!! It was 6 weeks before I could even think about putting my baby down to make some food or clean house.

2.) Cookies.  A newborn is a stressful thing.  You will need lots of cookies.

3.) Trash TV. You will be spending a lot of time awake. Best to do so in the company of the cast of Grey's Anatomy or the Kardashians.

4.) Swaddle options.  We tried swaddling with a few different blankets and not swaddling.  We ended up liking some by Summer Infant. It was trial and error. For us swaddling = more sleep which everyone desperately needs!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Labor Story...TMI?

I love reading people's labor stories and since I'm a nurse, I love all the gory details! My mother can attest to my lack of filter when it comes to talking about bodily functions at the dinner table from an early age and well, its only gotten worse. So consider that your warning as this post is probably a really long over share.

Wednesday morning 6:30am, I'm one day overdue and I'm awoken by contractions.  I'd had these contractions for about 3 weeks so I didn't even bat an eye.  I didn't even get excited when I timed them and they were 10 minutes apart.  I simply went back to sleep.  At 9am I went to the bathroom and had some bloody show and a the teensiest amount of water in my undies.  Again, I was unimpressed.  I went back to bed.  10am...there was more water.  (I'd had a scare earlier in my pregnancy where I though I'd had a leak so my Dr said don't call unless there is a GUSH of water.)  At this point, I was suspecting a leak.  So I called the Dr and they wanted me to come in.  I showered and packed up the hospital bags into the car, just in case.

The Dr checked me and could not tell if my membranes had ruptured or not.  She suspected they had and wanted me to go to the hospital and to actively manage my labor.  Boo!! I was surprised at how disappointed I felt that this wouldn't be allowed to progress naturally.  She knew I had wanted to do this naturally and had wanted to labor at home as long as possible, but if your water breaks or springs a leak, there is a risk of infection.  So I asked how long she would give me before I had to go to the hospital.  She said, "Go home, have lunch and be there by 3pm."

So I called Luke home from work and went home and started walking around my apartment complex.  Luke got home and we ate Subway sandwiches.  This whole time I'm having contractions, but I'm able to talk and walk through them no problem!  We head to the hospital, check in and my room is ready and waiting for me.

The nurse puts on the monitors and puts in my IV.  At this point she asks how painful my contractions are...2/10 on the pain scale.  Luke and I get set up...he's got his soda from Subway and we turn on Arrested Development thinking we had a lot of time to kill.  The Dr shows up and breaks my water (knitting needle to the hoo-hah? yeeouch!), and we start Pitocin.  There was meconium in the amniotic fluid so the Dr was really glad I had chosen to come to the hospital.  It was about 4pm and she said, "You're at 3 cm.  My wishlist is for you to have this baby by 10pm...can we try to make that happen?"
My happy place

Immediately after my water had been broken, my pain picked up.  I felt the need to sit up in bed really straight, almost Indian style.  The nurse asked me my pain level about an hour into the Pitocin...5/10.  She said "Really?"  while raising her eyebrows.  That made me feel like a big wimp!  At this point, I was no longer interested in watching Netflix and I'm just trying to breathe through the contractions.  During my hypnobirthing classes I had mentally prepared my "happy place" I wanted to go during my contractions...a beach that Luke and I visited on the the island of Grenada.  Soft, soft sand, warm lapping water...gorgeous!  But I didn't go there at all during my labor!  Instead, during the pain I found myself on the streets of Paris!  I walked along the Seine, visited Notre Dame and tried to visualize the exact taste and texture of a La Duree macaron.  Weird, right? Whatever works I guess.  At this point, my pain is getting pretty severe...8/10.  I'm finding it impossible to get into a position of comfort.  I wanted to stand, but felt unable to.

Along the Seine River in Paris
Luke surprised me and was a fabulous labor coach!  (I say surprised because he can't handle the sight of blood or me being in pain.  He could barely watch a youtube birthing video before our hypnobirthing classes.)  He sat beside me and did some of the light touch massage we learned in our class and told me "You're doing great!"

At about 6pm, I started shaking uncontrollably, teeth chattering.  I felt totally out of control...almost like an out of body experience without the benefit of being out of body.  I kept looking at the clock wondering how long would I have to endure this?  I thought there is NO WAY I can do this for hours.  I had no idea how far I had dilated so when the nurse offered the epidural, I gave in.  By the time the anesthesiologist came, I was a shaking mess.  I felt him put in the epidural because I could feel pressure in my back but I felt no relief!  I told the nurse, I still feel the contractions!!  Then she decided to check me.  I was at a 9!!  (Had I known I was in transition, I would have passed on the epidural!)  She said, "Call the Dr!  Get the NICU!  She's having this baby!"  Everyone rushed in and I felt like I needed to push.  Luckily the Dr got there quickly and after about 15-20 minutes of pushing and minimal damage to my lady bits, I had my baby!!

Not putting her name on this public blog for now...thanks!

Since there was the meconium issue, she was whisked away from me and suctioned.  It was a while before I could hold her which I tried not to be too disappointed with because immediate Kangaroo Care was really important to me.  But when she got into my arms, it was love at first sight!  I wept and could not believe how beautiful she was!  (Mentally, I had prepped myself to have an ugly baby or at least a squished, red newborn, but she was lovely!)

Proud Dad...I love this photo!

Such a long story for a short time frame, but I'd like to remember all the details when I'm old and grey.  She's here and we love her!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Nested and Rested

I definitely feel like I went through the nesting phase with lots of energy and a compulsive need to do really random tasks and projects, but that phase left a while ago and now I'm just content resting because I'm tired!!  Three weeks ago, I was already starting to dilate and efface so I've become incredibly impatient despite the total irrelevance of those numbers.  Every once in a while I'll get these really crampy/spasmy back pains for several hours which makes me wonder if it is the start of something real.  Then it stops and the joke is on me.  No baby yet.  I hate waiting around wondering if she will come tomorrow or in 2 weeks.

I had my last day of work yesterday and thanks to a very generous graduation gift, I booked a spa day for my "resting phase."  Not just one massage, but a whole afternoon of pampering at a real spa!  Let me just tell you about the bliss!

Enter spa.  Slip into a comfy robe and make yourself comfortable in the dimly lit "Relaxation Room" where you are served a beverage and you get a warm neck wrap/foot soak/rub while you wait for your real massage.  Really?!  A foot massage while you wait for your....massage!  I had the pregnancy massage followed by a manicure and ULTIMATE pedicure.  (What makes it an ultimate pedicure?  You are reclined,  wrapped in warm blankets surrounded by aromatherapy, peaceful music, 80 minutes of scrubbing, rubbing and polishing etc. etc. etc.)   I think every woman should be pampered like this at least once in her life.  I have it on high authority that if everyone got an ultimate pedicure once in a while, we would be well on our way to achieving world peace.

One of my patients this week told me that their daughter got a pregnancy massage and her water broke on the massage table.  I'm not going to lie, I was secretly wishing for this possibility.  But here I am still waiting (did I mention I'm not a very patient person?)

Ok baby...you are welcome any time now.  Don't be shy!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Day Date to Santa Barbara

While we are so excited to add to our family, we have truly enjoyed our time together as a couple.  We wanted to relish our last opportunity for a special day date before our life totally changes so we planned a day of nothing but fun in Santa Barbara.

We started the day with breakfast at Chick Fil A.  Really, you can't go wrong there.

Then we hit some unexpected dead stop traffic between Ventura and Carpinteria.  If you are familiar with that stretch of road, you know there aren't any potty stops.  My poor 9 month pregnant bladder nearly exploded.  I was very seriously considering peeing into my Chick Fil A cup or dropping my trousers in front of all the stopped cars along the 101.  Luckily I made it to a bathroom with my internal organs and dignity still intact.

Then we toured the Santa Barbara Mission.  I had never been and really enjoyed the gardens and history.  Did you know Juana Maria (woman who was abandoned on an island for 18 years....the book Island of the Blue Dolphin is about her) is buried in the cemetery there?
My belly in all my 9 month pregnant glory!
We enjoyed mariachi music and church bells ringing for a wedding at the church.
These cacti are so cute!

Skulls on the mission wall?!

Next we headed to the SB Museum of Art.  Its a pretty small museum so you don't need a lot of time to see the collection.  They do have a few Impressionist greats that were fun to see.  Plus the hobo in front of the museum shouting that "Art is Evil" was pretty entertaining.

We wandered for a short while along State Street.  We perused overpriced Paris themed baby shops (uh....$50 for a onesie anyone?) and discovered Chocolats du Cali Bressan.  That little chocolate Buddha is heaven on earth!!!
Poor Buddha lost an arm before we could take a photo!
Fun on State St.

Our favorite part of the day was dinner.  We went to The Palace Grill for Cajun food.  We waited in line listening to a Creole Band with an accordian and sampling appetizers.  We ate Jambalaya and Chicken Marsala...delicious!  We also had Louisiana Bread Pudding Souffle while the whole restaurant broke into singing Louis Armstrong and toasting one another.  Great food, amazing service and a fun atmosphere!  Perfect top off for our fun day!

Free Date Idea

I'm still on my quest to reduce expenses and thought I'd share our latest free date.  Something Luke and I do occasionally is go to free movie screenings for films that have not yet been released.  There is a certain level of hassle and spontaneity required for these dates.  Luke gets e-mails notifying him of free screenings in the area, we have to RSVP and show up to the location about an hour early to wait in a really long line.  You fill out some paperwork and wait.  There is no guarantee you'll get in to see the movie, it depends on space and I guess the demographics they are looking for, but we've been to several screenings and never been turned away.  We don't mind waiting in the line because it gives you a chance to actually talk and people watch which adds to the date experience we think.

Then you get to watch a free movie on the big screen!  After the movie, you spend about 5 minutes filling out a marketing questionnaire about the movie.  You rate the actors, music, list your favorite/least favorite scenes, etc.  It can spark some good post-film conversation!  Sometimes they'll even give you free movie tickets for coming to the event.  Our last screening we got 2 movie tickets each in addition to the free movie we watched.  CHA-CHING!  That's 2 more free movie dates for us...did I mention I was married to a movie fanatic?

To register for these emails, go to www.previewfreemovies.com.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I decided to read Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan and take the accompanying course in preparation for labor.  I have to admit I've been torn in regards to my thoughts on birthing.

Part of my brain thinks:

I'm a woman!  God made my body especially for the bearing of children.  This is a natural process that millions of women have gone through (multiple times) without intervention, so why can't I?  

The other part of my brain thinks:

I'm a nurse!  I've seen medical interventions work!  Healthy babies are brought into the world using C-sections, epidurals, Pitocin, etc.  In fact, the birth I witnessed was a woman who was set on a natural labor, but ended up getting an epidural and using Pitocin.  Minutes after the birth of her baby she said to her husband, "I'm so glad I got that epidural!"

And since I've never been in labor before, its really hard to know what to expect.  Not to mention, birthing can be a unpredictable experience where my control might be limited.  So I'm cherry-picking the parts of Hypnobirthing that I like and agree with (some of it is a little too hardcore granola for my taste) and keeping an open mind for where reality may actually take me.

I've gotten a lot of questions about Hypnobirthing and the classes so after that long introduction let's talk about it!

Basically we have been most likely been conditioned to believe that birthing is a extremely painful and undesirable experience.  Consider all the movies and horror stories you've seen/heard...how many positive stories have you heard?  So we go into labor already in fear.  According to hypnobirthing,  FEAR>TENSION>PAIN.  So if we release our fears, relax our bodies and minds, we can let our bodies work the way they were designed.  The uterus is a muscle with a job to do!  It needs oxygen like any other muscle, but if we are in fear or tense, our body sends oxygen to parts of our body that have a higher priority for survival (fight vs flight mode.)  This increases our labor time or our discomfort.  Physiologically, this makes sense to me.

The book and the classes teach you how to overcome your fears and use self-hypnosis techniques to put yourself into relaxed state.  No freaky trances or walking around clucking like a chicken because I'm "hypnotized."  I listen to relaxation CDs and positive affirmations and practice with Luke (he's nice enough to put up with this hoopla.)  They also teach you good positions for birthing, breathing and massage techniques to keep you relaxed.  I think the power of mind is very strong.  For a person who is a high strung as I am, I can already tell that these classes have been helpful in keeping me calm for what is to come.  As my body prepares for real labor, I sometimes get painful back spasms/contractions and I can usually get back to sleep using these techniques.  Win.

How its a little too "granola" for me:

-Birthing vocabulary is changed to be more "friendly."  A contraction is called a surge or a wave.  Personally,  the word contraction doesn't offend me, but whatever.

-They push the au naturel agenda too much for me.  I want to have my baby in the hospital.  I'm ok with getting my blood pressure taken and fetal heart rate monitoring....I WANT to know if my baby is in distress.  I respect the need for medical interventions.  You just have to weigh the risks/benefits and be able to advocate for what you want.

-That babies remember their birth and that it can have a traumatizing lifelong effect if it isn't a calm, relaxed environment.  I don't discount that birth is a big transition for a baby, but lifelong effects?  That's a bit out there for me.

Anyways, this could also all be a load of crap and I'll be screaming for that epidural the moment I get to the hospital. ;)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Job, Nesting and Baby Shower!!

I ended up taking a per diem job after getting my license back in February.  So the job isn't really new or exciting, so it just hasn't made the blog yet.  I'm doing health screenings on a extremely part-time basis...I think I'm working 8 days this month.  But hey, I figured some money was better than no money and my pregnant body definitely isn't putting up a fight about working more!

Since I've been pregnant, I've pretty much been wrapped up in nursing school, graduation, licensing exam studying, etc. so I've left all the baby prepping for the end.  And I've been in a heavy nesting mode lately.  Since I'm crazy and I love lists, I created a most beautiful to-do list in Excel.  It spans 4 workbooks...I'm so proud!  I simply cannot have this baby if I don't have hoards of freezer food, dust my baseboards or have a ridiculous amount of baby wipes from Costco.  (Did you know they sell them in packs of 900?!!!  I never have to leave my baby cave!)  Unfortunately, Luke made the mistake of messing with Momma Bear's stash of freezer muffins that were "obviously" being saved for after baby.  Poor Luke...he is so good to put up with my crazy!
33 weeks

My family and friends also threw me a dream of a baby shower!  I had visions of a "Pink Paris" theme and they delivered!!  We celebrated with croissant sandwiches and dessert crepes.  It was such a special day and made me feel so grateful for all the people in my life who support Luke and I.  This baby is going to be so spoiled!
Wonderful in laws!

3.5 generations!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

How a Charley Horse will ruin your day

I knew going into this that pregnancy was going to have its challenges.  And I'm usually in better spirits.  Maybe?  But I feel like every step of the way has been more difficult than need be.  I am not a graceful sufferer!  Maybe every pregnancy is this hard and everyone else just sucks it up better than I do?  Probably.

I'm getting to the end of my rope with everything!  The morning sickness, fatigue, 2 infections, a cyst on my eyeball, insomnia, back pain, diabetes....our pet's heads are falling off!!! I test my blood sugar 4 times per day and am struggling with hypoglycemia.  I force feed myself all day long trying to get the right amount of carbs and protein.  I am tired.  I am frustrated.  I hate food now (if you know me then you know something is seriously wrong when I say this!) I'm still 10lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight.

Enter in a 5am wake up call with a painful charley horse.  What a small thing to break the camel's back...

I am done!  I have had it!  I quit!

If you tell me I have 9 weeks left of this I will literally crumple up into a weeping mess.

Friday, March 1, 2013

More on Financial Fitness

I've had a lot on my mind lately and I'm hoping to do some heavy blogging to get it all sorted out.  Forgive me!

I make no claims on being any sort of financial know-it-all.  In fact, I consider myself a beginning level student, but I am so blown away with things that I'm learning that I. MUST. SHARE!  I've mentioned before that we've been reading Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and since then we talk about Dave like he's a close friend.  "Oh Dave says...."

Luckily, Luke and I have a lot of similar desires and financial goals and we started out that way even before we were married.  We believe in being debt-free and have been able to start off this way and maintain that throughout our marriage. Dave has great philosophies on buying used cars with cash, only buying what you can afford and living within your means even if it seems embarrassing.  Yes, that means telling your friends "Yes we did buy a 10 year old Saturn." or "Sorry we can't go out to dinner this week because its not in the budget" or "Yes we are living in a one bedroom apartment with a baby."  Have you ever heard anyone say that?  Not me.  Or very rarely.  What's one dinner on a credit card so we can keep up with the Joneses?  Snowball that mentality and you can get into real trouble.

Ok, I'm getting off topic from what I really want to talk about.  Dave recommends establishing a $1000 emergency fund.  And quickly!  Have a garage sale, sell something, he even recommends delivering pizzas if you have to!

We've hit some heavy rainy days lately and I'll share them just to illustrate my point.  Luke's car needed some repairs in order to pass smog (actually that's still a work in progress that I'm hoping the journey will end soon!)  But we've had to pour over $1000 into it.  My laptop has bitten the dust, my car most likely needs new clutch and we are expecting our baby in 2 months and have yet to buy any baby gear!!  Yikes!! Fortunately we believe in savings and these experiences more of a nuisance and just painful to say goodbye to our hard earned dollar.  (Who doesn't prefer hoarding their $ than to giving it to auto mechanics?!)

But what I've learned from Dave lately is that car repairs DO NOT equal an emergency.  This blows my mind!!  Apparently cars will always need repairs.  Christmas happens every year at the same time.  Your kids will need new clothes.  Not emergencies.  These should be line items in your monthly budget!    Having a special car repair fund in addition to your $1000 emergency fund? Genius! I think that is very wise and can alleviate the stress of these "rainy days."

I feel very blessed and fortunate that Luke and I have employment and I can really tell you that you can find a lot of peace in your life if you aren't living paycheck to paycheck.  It IS possible!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

So long 2nd Trimester!!

My 2nd trimester started just about the time I started my final preceptorship.  If you aren't familiar with nursing school lingo, that means all classwork is done and I get assigned to work 1:1 with an RN in a hospital and work 11 full 12 hour shifts like I'm the real nurse.  I got assigned to a Telemetry Floor which was not my 1st, 2nd, or 3rd choice. :)  That's ok, it ended up being good for me.  It was a very busy floor...I'd show up at about 6:30am to get report and be at a dead run the entire shift, maybe get to sit down for lunch at 4pm and leave around 7:45pm.  Tack on a 45 min commute each way and I was one tired cookie!!  One day, we had 4 "Code Blues" within a 2 hour time span on the floor.  Crazy!! Luckily I survived and so did all my patients!

Eventually my fatigue and morning sickness abated, but I traded that for insomnia!  Now, I'm a needs my sleep kind of a girl.  If I don't get somewhere near 8 hours, I am a completely different person.  A less fun, less nice, less rational kind of person.  Night after night, spending hours laying awake in bed, listening to Luke's very distinct, very loud sleep breathing, I concluded that my only two options were divorce or murder...I joke!  How mad can you get at someone who gets up at 2am to get you a cheeseburger and watch Hart of Dixie with you while you can't sleep?

Other 2nd trimester highlights:

Foods of choice: pita chips and hummus, Costco pizza, Raisin Bran (am I the only one under age 80 who loves the stuff?  Luke insists that I am.)

Feeling the baby kick at about 18 weeks!!  She is a nocturnal baby.  She's pretty quiet in the day, but man she parties hard at night!!  Hopefully we'll get a handle on that whole sleep/wake cycle thing pretty quickly.

24 weeks

I had heard that the 1 hour glucose test was a miserable experience.  I concluded that I would just have a mind over body experience and get through it.  That worked pretty well, except that I failed the test requiring the 3 hour glucose test.  This one isn't for wimps, kids!  15 minutes after consuming 100 grams of glucose I vomited politely as I could in the waiting room of Quest Diagnostics, full of onlookers.  How embarrassing!!  I felt so shaky and lightheaded, I called my mommy to come pick me up.  Talk about a throw back to elementary school! "Hi Mom....I'm sick. Can you come get me?"  Not only did she take me home, but she brought me a sandwich and my car.  She's the best!  I've decided that when my daughter is grown up and takes her glucose test, I'm going to clear my day and do exactly what my mom did!!

Onto the 3rd trimester adventures!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I had another ultrasound scheduled because I'm behind with my weight gain and the Dr. wanted to make sure the baby is growing.  I wasn't too worried about it because I've got a healthy reserve of "nutrition," but then I started getting things in the mail that said I was authorized for extra ultrasounds due to my diagnosis of "Poor fetal growth."  Well that just played mind games with me and kept me up at night!

I hadn't had an ultrasound in about 2.5 months, so I was so happy to see my little girl!!  Everything is looking normal and healthy.  The little miss is weighing in at 2.2 lbs which is a relief because she is actually a week ahead!  She is just stealing all my food and putting it in her belly!  She is lying in a transverse position (parallel to the ground) which I had suspected since I only feel her kicks on my right side and an occasional punch to the bladder.  And get this, she has a full head of hair!!    This is a shocker because I was a baldy when I was a baby.  It was such a relief to know that she is gaining weight and all my efforts to shovel food in haven't gone to waste.

I also got to walk away with the first ultrasound picture where she isn't looking like a squirrel.  I cannot get enough of that sweet face!  Look at those lips and sweet little nose! I am one proud mama and am quickly becoming one of "those people" who feels the need to show everyone a picture of my baby! Sorry!
Close up of the hair

I really think once Hershey's egg season rolls around, I'm really going to show that scale who's boss!!

Lady Di

This weekend was the first weekend without any schooling obligation whatsoever! I took my state licensing exam aka the NCLEX last week (still waiting on results) so I am a free woman!  I can't tell you how great it felt to be social with friends and family without worrying about the mound of reading and studying that was being neglected.

While I wait for my test results and for this baby to cook, I'm trying to keep myself occupied without going crazy.  So I planned a day trip to the Queen Mary with two of my favorite ladies for the Princess Diana exhibit they have going on.  Luckily Goldstar, had a deal so I was still able to maintain my frugal entertainment budget. :)

The special exhibit covered history on the Royal family starting back with the Queen Victoria Mary (who the ship is named after) and mother of King Albert or Bertie from the King's Speech.  They had all kinds of handwritten letters and china, coronation jackets and newspaper articles.  They even had a room on Wallis Simpson.  A few of Princess Diana's gowns were on display which was fabulous!  Did you know that she had 176 suits and 250 pairs of shoes in her closet in the 90s?!  I died and went to heaven when there was a room dedicated to William and Kate.  Kate and I both married princes and are expecting babies at the same time which practically makes us best friends!

Afterwards, we dined in the tea room and explored the engine room.  One of the propellers is still intact and boy, is it massive!  In World War II, the Queen Mary was used as a troop ship to transport soldiers.  The exhibit had accounts from soldiers who had to endure sharing a small stateroom with 18 men and only having 2 meals per day!  I wish we had more time to see the rest of the ship because it really was an interesting day!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

1st Trimester in Review

Got to blog on the joys of pregnancy so I don't forget and get duped into doing this again!!  Haha, I kid. But no really.

I don't think time passes more slowly than the first trimester of pregnancy. Trying to get through my last semester of nursing school while covertly being pregnant was definitely a challenge.  I really believed that I would be lucky or that the Lord would bless me and that I would not have morning sickness (really, it needs to be called "all day sickness".)  My mom didn't have morning sickness....surely I wouldn't either!  Besides I'm one of those people who vomit once every 10 years.  But oh how wrong I was!!  Luckily it only lasted 10 or so weeks and I really didn't mind losing 15lbs without breaking a sweat.

My favorite 1st trimester sickness memory was on my way into one of my clinical rotations.  From the hospital parking lot, there was a pathway into the hospital lined with trash cans every few hundred feet.  As I was walking in, I went from trash can to trash can tossing my cookies.  I can only imagine what the onlookers were thinking of the nurse who was walking into the hospital who looked violently ill herself.

Favorite 1st trimester food: I definitely ate a lot of Saltine crackers.  I even considered naming our unborn child in their honor, but I think McDonald's Egg McMuffins wins out as my saving grace.  According to my very scientific study, I was more likely to have a better day if I started out with an Egg McMuffin than if I didn't have one.

First ultrasound: My first ultrasound was at 7 weeks.  I just can't even describe the feeling of happiness/joy/relief when you see your baby is alive and well in there!

First thoughts on gender:  I was convinced this baby was a boy.  In fact, I'm still do not believe 100% that I'm having a girl.  I keep having dreams with little boy babies...even after we found out its a girl!  Weird!  I think I'll be reluctant to take the tags off of anything pink until she is in my arms and I can confirm she's a girl!  Boy or girl, this baby will be smothered in love!!

8 weeks--no bump! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Frugal Living in 2013

One of my goals for 2013 has to do with budgeting and being more frugal. I think its a skill to do more with less. And to become skilled, one needs to practice.  I'll admit, before getting married I was very wasteful with my money.  I had a good job, wasn't paying rent and so all that money went to whatever whim I had.  While I do miss shopping every Friday after work, manicured nails, eating out whenever I wanted and spontaneous trips, I realize I needed to grow up.  Luckily, I married my complete opposite in this category and I've learned a lot about saving and making different choices with my dollar.

We are reading Dave Ramsey's Money Makeover, which is really motivating. I love his theory of "living like no one else, so you can LIVE like no one else." I have also been scouring the web for frugal living blogs or tips. Lots of small, easy changes can have a big impact. I am not an expert at all, but I want to share things that work for us as I learn along the way.

-Be a planner.  Plan your budget.  Plan for your big expenses and save ahead.  Plan your menu/grocery list in advance, then stick to it.  Plan your errands to save gas.  Stay out of debt and pay bills on time.  Interest and late fees are just a waste....you are giving your hard earned money away for nothing!!

-Buying secondhand- Bet you couldn't tell that 90% of our furniture etc came from Craigslist or thrift stores.

-Eat at home as much as possible.  That means brown bagging it!  If you spend $5-10 on lunch every work day....that adds up $25-50/WEEK!!  Sometimes this one gets tough because who wants to make dinner every night?  Especially if you are a tired, pregnant lady trying to get through nursing school!  But I've found that if you have something easy in your freezer, its harder to rationalize going out.

-Drink water when you go out to eat. (This is still a work in progress because I count soda as my main food group, but consider paying $2-3 per person for a soda at a restaurant.  Guess what guys...you can get a 2L bottle for $1.69 or even $1 if its on sale.) Also skip appetizers and desserts.  No one needs that much food in one sitting.

-If you are hankering for a sweet treat or want to go out for ice cream, let me tell you about the McDonald's cone or Costco frozen yogurt.  Deliciousness for less than $1.50.  You can't go to Coldstone for that.

-Entertainment: This is one of my goals for for a few reasons.  We have been stuck in a dinner/movie date night rut.  I'd like to be more creative in this department and shake things up. There is nothing wrong with dinner and a movie, but toss in a few "free dates" per month and you will start seeing the dollars add up.  So far in 2013, we had a free date to Costco.  We ate samples, sat in their furniture, people watched, browsed through books and baby clothes...it ended up being pretty fun.  We didn't take in a cart and we walked out spending $0.  We also made hot chocolate, put it in travel mugs and went to Barnes & Noble.  Luke quizzed me out of some of the NCLEX study aid books and it was fun getting out of the house.  Again, $0. Other ideas: free movie check out from the library or plan a pot luck and invite your friends over.

I'm definitely not looking to be an extreme couponer or to cut spending and make life miserable, but I am having fun trying to be more creative to do more with less. Smarter spending, if you will.  Any ideas, blog links or budget friendly recipes are welcome!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 was a big year!

A lot of great things happened to us in 2012. I think 2013 will have a hard time trying to top it.  Here's a highlight reel, if you will since my blogging has been a little lack luster:

We made a check off my bucket list with a visit to France, Spain and Italy.  I still dream in baguettes, crepes and macarons!

I briefly got back into running over the summer and did some fun 5Ks and lost a few lbs (always a good thing!)

On Halloween we announced the wonderful news that we are having a BABY!!!  Still in awe and excitement everyday about this!

I tortured my family by making them wait to find out the sex until my sister got home from her mission....

We found out we were having a GIRL and shared the news with PINK cake!

My favorite brunette sister came home from her mission to Chile and I graduated from nursing school after a final internship on a cardiac unit!

What a year!! We feel incredibly blessed!  I can't wait to see what 2013 has in store for us!