Monday, March 30, 2009

10 Months!

We're finally back from our Spring Break, and I will do several posts about our travels and adventures. But first I have to post because my baby boy turned 10 months while we were gone! I can hardly believe it - 10 months sounds so old! People are asking me about what we're doing for his birthday. What?! Birthday?! My child will be a YEAR old soon?! (By the way, we don't have any idea of what we'll do yet, so don't ask... If you have any ideas of something low-key, though, feel free to suggest.)

But Elias is growing and changing so fast! His personality is just blossoming, and I REALLY like the boy he's becoming! He is just so happy, energetic, playful, and passionate. He laughs easily and smiles most of the time, and yet when he's unhappy, he will LET you know about it! He is still a great eater and sleeper, and he is for the most part very flexible and easygoing. I am so thankful for him!

In the past couple of weeks, he has started holding his own bottle about half the time during feedings, which is great! We also found a sippy cup that he likes, and so he's drinking water from that all on his own. We're going to try starting the transition to using the sippy all of the time soon, so stay tuned! Still no progress on feeding himself - I haven't been bold enough to put food on the spoon he holds yet. As far as finger foods, he's using the pincer grasp to pick up food, but he won't put it in his mouth. He'll get it eventually!

He has turned into quite a little snuggle bug recently, which I LOVE!!!!! He loves to be held and cuddled, and now he'll cuddle back when I snuggle him, which is something he hasn't done before. He also is starting to give his own version of "hugs" and "kisses," I think, which is just leaning his face toward you until his forehead bonks you. Here he is giving a "hug" to his Cousin Joshua last week:Also, his #1 favorite thing to do is sit in your lap and be read to. He could do this all day long! He always cries when I put the book down and try to do something else, even if all I'm doing is switching books! I LOVE that he loves books, and I pray that continues throughout his life! He also loves any kind of paper, and he's thrilled to lay on the floor and look at/crinkle magazines and newspaper ads. We gave him one of my Pampered Chef magazines a couple weeks ago, and he seriously sat on the floor with it, crinkling and laughing, for a full 20 minutes before we got him up!

He also loves to play Peek-a-boo, and he'll even play with his own reflection in glass or a mirror. Here he is with the glass of Nana & GrandDad's TV stand last week:He is just so funny! He'll stretch way up on his hands to try to see people in the reflection and catch their attention! Then he'll just laugh and laugh!

We think he has started saying his first word, which is "woof." He will say it in response to seeing a dog in a book or to us asking him what a doggie says. He actually says "boof," but we think that's close enough. :) He is also recognizing a lot of words when we say them, for example, we'll tell him to clap or to shake his toy, and he'll do it. He's so smart, and I'm so proud!

He's still not quite crawling on his hands and knees yet, although he does spend more time in that position. I'm starting to wonder if he's just going to go straight from the army crawl to pulling up and cruising. He has starting reaching up for the table edge and other things he could pull up on, and I expect he'll figure it out soon. He's FAST with his army crawl, though, and I have to get creative to keep him contained when I have something I don't want him getting into or out of - a couple weeks ago, he crawled OUT THE FRONT DOOR as I was bringing in groceries!

So he is just so smart and handsome and FUN!!!! I'm so proud of and thankful for our growing baby boy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

On Spring Break!

Just thought I'd check in real fast while I have a few minutes. We're on Spring Break at Justin's parents' house in Kentucky, and we're doing pretty well! We're having a lot of fun visiting Nana and GrandDad, and Aunt Nicole and Cousin Joshua came up from Tennessee to visit us too! So we're playing and enjoying seeing each other.

We did have a pretty unpleasant day yesterday, though. Elias did great for most of the 7-hour drive here, but he got sick when we had just about an hour left. He had fussed a bit before going to sleep, then he finally did fall asleep, but he only slept for about 10 minutes before he woke up, screamed, and then lost his entire lunch all over himself. I've never seen such a thing in all my days. (I'm thankful that my allergies mean I have pretty much no sense of smell these days - I'm sure that wasn't pretty.) So we stopped at the next gas station, got him changed and the carseat cleaned as much as we could. Then about 15 minutes later, we discovered that he had NOT lost his entire lunch before, because he still had some more to lose. At that point, we decided to just forge ahead and get there as fast as we could. When we got there, we said "Hi, Nana! Can you run us a bath?!" So we just put him straight in the tub and got him cleaned up. He acted like he felt fine, but then he didn't keep his dinner down either. Soooo, I was pretty scared at that point, and I'm thankful to have been there with family who knew what to do! He took a good nap, though, after dinner, and then he drank his whole bedtime bottle and kept it down. He slept soundly all night and has had a good appetite and not been sick at all anymore today. So hopefully whatever the deal was yesterday is over now and it won't happen again! Please pray for him to be restored to full health, and especially for just the two of us who will be traveling 5 hours together in the car on Tuesday (as long as he stays healthy!).

But besides the illness yesterday, we're doing fine, the weather is beautiful, and we're enjoying Nana and GrandDad's GOOD home cooking! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mommies Don't Get Sick Days

The past couple weeks have been ROUGH for me. First of all, I had a reaction to some new medication that put me into a pretty bad depression the first week I took it. Thanks to a divine accident, I discovered that taking the med at a different time of day helped with that side effect, and so I got over that quickly. However, I only enjoyed a few days of health before the new spring-y warm weather taught me something about Missouri - it's NO FUN for those who have allergies! I had never had seasonal allergies before, just a mild case our first year in Texas. So this really knocked me for a loop. I went to the doctor today and she confirmed that it is just seasonal allergies, so I need to keep taking Claritin/Alavert and she also prescribed me a steroid nasal spray, which she said will completely take care of my symptoms. So hopefully I'll start feeling better soon. But because of these two things, I've been out of commission for the last 2.5 weeks.

Unfortunately, mommies don't get sick days. I can't just call in sick and spend the day in bed. My husband and my baby need me to fulfill my responsibilities no matter how I feel, and that is HARD! Some days I would just get up, take care of the baby, and then go back to bed when he went down for a nap. It was almost like when he was a newborn again! (Now that I think about it, I think I actually felt as bad as I did when he was a newborn! Whoa, that was rough.) I learned that there is a big difference between "can't" and "don't want to," and sometimes you have to build a bridge between them! I also learned that it's ok to prioritize and just do the minimum of what HAS to be done now. (This is why you haven't seen me blogging much lately. NOT at the top of the priority list!) But we're surviving and everybody's going to be fine.

Although mommies don't get sick days, they DO get vacations, and we're leaving for our Spring Break vacation tomorrow! We're taking a week in Western KY with Justin's family, and E and I are taking a side trip to spend 2 days with my family in Ohio. So I am REALLY looking forward to that, not only to see our family, but also to enjoy a break from our routine and tight schedule... And Elias will have a LOT of people to love on him and take care of him, and maybe Mommy will get an extra nap or two! ;)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WFMW: Cloth Diapers & Wipes

For this week's edition of Works For Me Wednesday, I just wanted to share about how using cloth diapers and wipes is working for us. They're working awesome! Many of my long-time readers will know that we decided to go cloth before Elias was born, and we have been using the same diapers since he was a month old! (Although the diapers said they fit a 7 lb baby, and Elias was 9.5 lbs at birth, they were just too big for him at first, especially before he lost his umbilical cord.) So we've been using the same diapers for the past 9 months, and they're still going strong!

One note, though: Elias is a very heavy wetter, and so we have had a few problems with leaks. We learned to make sure that he's pointed down, which helps from leaking out the top of the diaper. But we've ended up just using Huggies Overnites disposables at night because we hated our baby boy waking up in a puddle!

We use the bumGenius 3.0 one size diapers which are adjustable to grow with your baby. So theoretically, they are the only diapers you should need to buy ever. However, Elias is already in the largest setting, and I'm doubting he'll be able to wear them for another two years... We'll cross that bridge when we get there. We have about 30 diapers, which is enough for us to go 4-5 days between washings, which is great. My friend Ashlee did a post a few weeks ago about washing cloth diapers, and it's almost exactly how I do it. So I thought I'd just link her post for you to read if you're interested in how washing diapers works!

So instead of posting the same thing Ashlee did, I just thought I'd add to it by saying that once you've gone cloth with diapers, it is a BREEZE to go cloth for your wipes too. I bought all our cloth wipes used on (LOVE this site! I also bought diaper bags, pail liners, and mama cloth on this site too.), and I got about 40 for only about $5. To go even cheaper and easier than that, just buy some flannel, fleece, or other soft sturdy cloth, and cut it into 6x6 or 8x8 squares. You can hem them or make them two-sided if you want, but I don't think it's necessary. Then I just fold them in half and put them in a normal wipes tub. We got this tub of wipes as a baby shower gift, and we used them up when Elias was tiny before he graduated to cloth diapers. So I just saved the tub to be used in this way.

Then I make a wipe solution:

2 cups hot water
2 tbsp food grade oil (I use canola just because that's what we have.)
2 tbsp baby shampoo

Put the above in a jar and swirl it together until well-mixed. (Don't shake it or else it will get all foamy! Not that I know from personal experience...) Then just pour over your wipes and press them down so they soak up the solution. Done! I just keep the tub on the changing table with the diapers, and throw the dirty wipes in the pail with the dirty diapers. I wash them all together, and it's easy schmeezy!

I did some figuring, and we broke even on our diapers at about 9 months, meaning that what we paid for our diapers is about what we would've paid for disposables for that length of time. (This is assuming we had paid for all our diapers. My amazing in-laws actually gave us half our stash, so the investment that we ourselves put into it was reached at about 5 months!) We bought one of the most expensive diapers on the market, but we thought of it more as an investment, considering not only price, but also ease of use, practicality, and consumer reviews. And from here on out, any more length of time that we get to use these diapers, that's just more money we're SAVING by not buying disposables! Plus, should we ever have another child, we'll keep these diapers to use on him/her, and that will mean MAJOR savings in the diaper department.

Works For Me!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mommy Advice Needed!

We've started having some trouble with Elias during his bedtime bottle, and I thought I'd post about it on here and see if anybody had any ideas about what on earth my child is doing and what we should do about it! Here's the deal: For about the past week, Elias has stopped wanting to sit through his bedtime bottle. (He eats 3 meals a day with bottle + solid food, then just an 8 oz. bottle at bedtime, 7:00pm.) He gets REALLY squirmy as if he's trying to roll over, like flailing around and trying to roll out of my lap. This is bizarre behavior for him - he loves to eat and usually sits so nicely to be fed. He still sits nicely for his other bottles, it's just the last one that he's suddenly doing this.

I tried moving up to the fast flow nipples, and that helped some, but certainly didn't stop the writhing. Then we thought maybe he just wasn't hungry enough for the full bottle, but he screams whenever we try to take it away. He has stopped napping in the evenings, so he's usually very tired and ready for bed at this point. But he's also hungry, so I don't understand why it's such a struggle to get him to eat. It's almost like he wants to lay on his belly for the bottle. This very well may be the case, because he spends most of his time on his belly, and he does most of his sleeping on his belly. But I can't let him lay on his belly for his bottle. (Can I?)

Does anybody have any thoughts on why this would suddenly be a problem and what we should do about it? Seriously, it's like a wrestling match trying to get him to drink this bottle, but he screams if we take it away so that makes me think he does actually want to drink it all. What's the deal?! Any thoughts?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I learned yesterday that one of Elias' baby toys has been recalled! It's the cooking pot from his Infantino Lil Chef Set.Apparently the metallic blue material they used for the sides can peel off and become a choking hazard. So Infantino is paying for us to return it, and "a replacement of the same product or one of equal value will be shipped to you in 4-6 weeks." So this is a bit of a bummer because Elias REALLY likes playing with this toy pot, but we figured better safe than sorry.

I learned about this recall through the Consumer Product Safety Commission's email alerts. I subscribe to not only the baby/child products, but all recalls - so I get warnings about gas grills that could explode or car parts that could be dangerous or whatever. The emails are easy to just skim to see if anything applies to us. I've been getting the emails since before Elias was born, but this is the first product that we actually have that's been recalled. Still, it makes me feel a little more secure knowing that I get a daily email letting me know which products have been recalled... Especially with ALL of the crib and toy recalls that are happening these days, it's an easy way to help keep my baby safe. If you want to subscribe to the email alerts (or you can just check on any product you already have), go to and click on "Sign Up for Email Announcements."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WFMW: Freezing Fresh Peppers

For this week's edition of Works For Me Wednesday, I'm passing on an idea I first came across at Leaving Excess. (Her post was about onions, though, and mine is about peppers, so maybe that makes it sufficiently original to claim it as my own post?!)

The major issue this solved was that fresh peppers are REALLY expensive these days. For those of you who don't eat peppers, the regular price for ONE red pepper at my Wal-Mart is $1.98. SHEESH! Green peppers are about $0.98 each regular. This made it tough to save money. However, peppers will often go on sale - greens for $0.50 each and reds for about $0.79 each.

So of course you want to stock up while they're on sale, but who can use 15 fresh peppers before they go bad?! Not me. So here's the solution! You buy a bunch of fresh peppers while they're on sale, then go ahead and cut them all up however you like. I generally chop about 3/4 of my peppers in normal dices, and then I slice the rest for use in stir-frys and fajitas. Once cut, you spread them out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment/wax paper. (Depending on how many peppers you're freezing, you may need to use more than one sheet. I can fit about 4 peppers on one cookie sheet. I usually just use the same cookie sheet and freeze them in batches - it only takes them about an hour to freeze. So I bag the frozen ones and then put more fresh ones on the same sheet.)
This is an important step because if you just put them directly in baggies before freezing them, they'll freeze into a solid lump and you won't be able to use just some of what's in the bag. So you spread them out in a single layer and freeze them that way first, and then once frozen you transfer them to your freezer bags.So by buying 6 red peppers on sale and freezing them, I save more than $7 than if I had bought them at full price. Geez!

Note: This will only save you money if you actually cut up and freeze the peppers before they rot! You'll notice that in my pictures above, the green peppers had sat on my counter so long they were starting to change color... But hey, I got 'em cut and frozen! Dodged a bullet there...

Not only do you save money by doing this with your peppers, but it also speeds up the cooking process because your peppers are already cut! Makes me a lot more likely to actually make the omelet for breakfast, since the peppers are already cut to put in it. You don't have to thaw them, just put however many you want directly in the pan. They cook up soft, but taste great. (Note: Once peppers are frozen, they're not very good to just eat raw - they need to be cooked.)

This also works with onions, and I'm sure other things, but peppers is really all I do it with at the moment. It Works For Me!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spoon Adventures

The past couple of weeks, Elias has started taking a great interest during solid feedings. He wants nothing more than to grab the spoon and bowl out of my hands and proceed to fling the food everywhere. Although I'm sure that would be fun for him, that isn't my idea of a good time. However, I DO want him to learn how to hold a spoon and feed himself. So as a compromise, I've started giving him his own (empty) spoon to hold while he eats. I've only been doing this a couple days, but he's already got a pretty good grasp on holding it and getting it into his mouth. Here's a video I took yesterday:

Notice he picks it up with his right hand, but then holds and uses it with his left. This is how he does just about everything. Now I just need to get brave enough to actually put FOOD on the spoon he holds. Uhhh, I'm not there yet.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Where I Am

I talked to my poor mom on the phone today, and she told me about how she checks my blog for new posts every day. She wasn't trying to make me feel guilty for not posting in almost a week, but I certainly do feel a bit bad for leaving my dearies hanging! So it's time I posted a little update to let you all know where I am these days. The problem, though, and the reason I haven't posted anything yet, is that I don't exactly know. Through some circumstances the past couple months or so, along with a few Bible studies I'm doing, God is working on yanking me out of some wrong ways of thinking that I've held on to for a LOOOOOOOOOONG time. This is, of course, a good thing - or at least it will end up being a good thing. But right now it is painful and uncomfortable. I don't like change - I like predictability. Plus, it's incredibly depressing to see how wrong and harmful my thought patterns have been for so long. And I feel helpless because I've been this way so long that I just can't change - God HAS to do the work in me. His work would be a lot easier and faster if I were less reluctant and would just let Him in. So I'd appreciate your prayers for me as I try to be willing to let Him bring His good work to completion in me, and I attempt to seek Him instead of making Him chase me down. Sorry to be so vague, but I really don't even know how to articulate what God is doing or how I'm feeling about it. I do intend to share more fully once I have something to say... In the meantime, please just pray for me!

And since this post would be incomplete without a picture of my baby boy, here's one I captured today of him showing off all FIVE of his teeth - two on top, three on bottom! Click to enlarge, but only do it if you can handle a very close-up view of half-chewed Cheerios!(Note the aforementioned gap between the front teeth!)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

WFMW: Time Management Sheet

For this week's edition of Works For Me Wednesday, I have something very simple that has completely saved my sanity. As many of my readers know, I am a highly organized person who likes predictability and having everything in its place. However, after Elias was born, I had a hard time keeping up with everything. I expected that after the first few difficult months, things would start to resettle, I'd get back into a routine, and it would all be fine. But month after month went by, and I just felt like I couldn't keep up. I could go all day feeling like I was running myself ragged, but then realizing that I didn't actually do any of the things I needed to do that day. It was terrible and I was seriously on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Then, about a month or two ago, when Elias was about 8 months old, a friend gave me something that changed my life.

It's called a Time Management Sheet. It's just a sheet of paper with a column for each day of the week and row for each hour of the day, and you just use it to plan what you're going to do with your time. It's really simple, and I'm shocked I didn't think of something like this on my own, considering my deep love for organization and spreadsheets. (Can I still claim to have New-Mommy Brain?!) So I made my own version in Excel, and I'm going to be really vulnerable here by posting it for you (Click to enlarge.):This is what my weeks look like! I just made the chart and typed in all the things that are the same every week. I print out a new one every Saturday evening, and then I write in all the things that are specific to that week. Then each evening, I plan what I'm going to do with any blank spots that remain for the next day. So when I wake up in the morning, my day is already planned! I just leave my sheet out on the counter where I can always check it to make sure I'm on track for the day.

I use this in conjunction with a monthly wall calendar that helps me remember appointments - I check the calendar Saturday evening when I'm writing things in for that week to see if I have anything that needs to be added. And I also keep a running to-do list so that if I have a blank space that I don't know what to do with, I just check my list and cross something off. This not only helps me remember everything that needs to be done, but it also helps me prioritize to know what has to be done now and what can wait.

This has not only saved my sanity, but it really does help me get things done ON TIME. Since I've started using this sheet, my husband has not once woken up in the morning and not had anything to wear to work that day. My baby has not once run out of clean diapers or out of baby food. I have not missed any meetings or appointments. (And I have not once forgotten to watch LOST!) Seriously, I even sleep better at night because I have the peace of knowing that everything is either done or planned to be done soon.

So although it's simple, it REALLY works for me. If anybody would like me to email them the Excel file with the template for this Time Management Sheet, I'd be happy to. Just leave me a comment here with your email address (or send me an email if you already know my address).

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Walgreens Trip

I hadn't planned on posting on my blog today, but I did so great at Walgreens today that I had to share about the deals! Here's what I got:
Axe Shampoo - $5.99 - $5.99 Easy Saver rebate = FREE after rebate (Side note: My husband is now going to have girl-approved hair. Not sure how I feel about this since I already like his hair, and I don't really WANT any other girls ogling his hair! But free is free.)

Walgreens Headache Relief Geltabs, 20 pack - $2.99 - $2.99 Easy Saver rebate = FREE after rebate

Wal-Zyr Allergy Tablets, 5 pack - On sale for $3.99 - $3.99 Easy Saver rebate = FREE after rebate

Vaseline Intensive Rescue Lotion - On sale for $2.46 - $1.50 coupon - $2 Register Rewards = $1.04 money maker!

Russell Stovers Sugar Free Candy - I used a raincheck from a sale they had a couple months ago to get these B1G1, so I got both for $2.19. (Walgreens will do this - if they're out of a sale item you want to get, ask them for a raincheck and you'll be able to take advantage of the sale whenever they get the item back in. I asked for a raincheck because they were out of the flavors we like. Note that they do rainchecks for sales, but not for rebate items.)

Two dozen eggs - 99 cents each. (Walgreens consistently has the best price on a dozen eggs in our town - not even Aldi is cheaper. Our Walgreens doesn't advertise this except on the electronic billboard outside their store, so keep an eye on what your store has cheap that isn't in the advertisements!)

Paid at the register: $19.33
Register Rewards: $2
Rebates: $12.97 (plus the 10% bonus for having it put on my Wags gift card, so I'll actually get $14.27)
Total Out-of-Pocket: $3.06

And really I didn't even pay that because I used my gift card with last month's rebates to pay for this transaction... So really I just MADE $16.27 for buying all these items, to be spent at Walgreens next month. :)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Johnny Jump Up

I mentioned in a previous post that Elias wasn't enjoying the Johnny Jump Up as much as I expected him to the first few times he was in it. Well, that has changed!! He loves it now! He can generally do about 20 minutes in it before he starts getting whiny, and generally those 20 minutes are BIG fun! I took a video of him the other day so you can see him in his full Jump Up glory. (Sorry, I forgot that you're not supposed to take video sideways, and so then I had to rotate it, which I think made the dimensions a little funny. I think you can enjoy it anyways!)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Unveiling

Alright, I think I have my blog makeover pretty much complete. So its new title is "Where Your Treasure Is," referencing Matthew 6:21, which says
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I wanted my blog to have a title that reflected the three main things I blog about, and this one nails it on the head.

1. I blog about my spiritual walk and my relationship with Christ, which is the greatest Treasure I will ever have.
2. I blog about my family - my husband and baby boy who are my dearest earthly treasures.
3. I blog about my attempts to be a good steward of our material treasure so that how our treasure is used truly reflects that our hearts belong to God, the actual meaning of the Scripture.

So I hope you like the new theme and look! Please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments!

Some other changes to the blog:
  • I redid my friends and family link lists. I just went through the bookmarks I have, so if I left someone off, it was purely unintentional! Let me know and I'll add you back!
  • I added link lists for the Money-Saving Blogs I read and other helpful sites I use. Let me know if you have any suggestions for me to add to the list!