Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Resolutions Status & Other Updates..

Just wrapping up month 2 of our new budget and still really loving it. I have answered lots of emails about that subject and just want to clarify on here that the Gazelle software and book are really necessary IMO for success. My friend compares it to the weight watchers app and says, if you are not daily tracking your progress, its pointless because you don't follow the rules. The book teaches and motivates, while the software keeps you in check. I love always knowing our status.
Again this month , we went over what I budgeted for food. I can not even fathom how that is possible but I know it happens month after month. For March I am doing some STRATEGIC meal planning and Costco trip to try and resolve this.
Consignment sales started this month and I made a list and planned Fenn's entire summer wardrobe and followed the plan when I went  to the sales. It was marvelous! 

I am about 45% through my February Book " 7; An experimental mutiny against Excess" and it is very interesting, and eye opening. I have started the great clean out of this house and it is now messier than EVER! I have sold a few things on craigslist and ebay too so that feels great! 
 I even traded an old computer on Craigslist for an ipad mini and that is super exciting and fun.  I am holding out my complete opinion for a month or so, but as of now, I think the mini is better than the original, which is ironic considering how stupid I thought the mini was when it came out!  Something about it being so much lighter weight and small enough to easily go in my purse is FUN.

but the whole less is more thing is challenging for me ( in a good way) and I am excited to work on myself and my love of material things, which of course goes hand in hand with the budget.

I finally broke down and got some new maternity pants last week. I have been wanting some mint green pants for the spring and Motherhood Maternity had a BOGO 50% on Denim so I pulled the trigger and am loving them. They are much more comfortable than my other jeans cause they have some stretch in them. ( that top is not maternity but from GAP on clearance for $4.88).

We transitioned Peebs to his big boy bed recently, quite randomly really, one day we had a great morning and so when nap time came I said, do you wanna nap in your big boy bed? ( he loves to hang out in there and play in that bed) so I put him down in there with his fluffies and such and he stayed there until he fell asleep. After that we did it for all sleeping both night and naps.
He never tries to escape or anything, but sometimes he does cry a little when we leave the room, or try and get us to lie down with him. ( totally my fault as I have taken a nap in there with him a few times) He also wakes during the night sometimes and calls out for me, so I just get in the bed with him and he goes back to sleep. Not sure what to think about that, if he is having a bad dream or if it is scary to be in his new room ( we changed bedrooms , beds.. everything in one shabang) Maybe I should just pat him and leave rather than lie down with him but I am so tired these days, I just kind of take the easy road and lay down. When he wakes up, he will sit up in the bed and call for me to come get him, which I intend to ALWAYS teach him to do so I don't worry about him wandering around the house. I shall post pics when i get done with his big boy room... still have a ways to go since I am following my budget so strictly!

I did so/so on my February cooking. I cant get a picture from my 365 app, but I cooked a good bit. We were also out of town or entertaining a good bit so that prevented some cookings. I am about to start Menu Monday's since peeps on instagram want my recipes!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bumpdate 22 Weeks!

*** Ignore the snarky facial expression. It accompanies all the extra hormones and attitude that were delivered about week 20*** 
That's my Kim Kardashian Maternity outfit ( all black ! ha!) and might have something to do with the fact that I have outgrown my maternity jeans! I refuse to buy new ones with summer so close and Dave Ramsey whispering in my ear!

By the time this posts, I should be 22 weeks. Nothing happens on time around here lately!
 I am feeling better lately than I have most of this pregnancy, however I can no longer forget that I am pregnant.
My belly popped right around 20 weeks, and now I am getting into the uncomfortable stage where sleeping is harder, and bending over not really possible.

  • Still have major sinus issues, which I am guessing will be the case with the entire pregnancy due to nasal swelling ...
  • Some minor ligament pain
  • I feel like my belly is super low, which the doctor said is a 2nd pregnancy symptom
  • She moves ALL the time and I can feel everything, even with an anterior placenta, which really surprised my doc!
  • might be getting pretty feisty... 
  • My blood pressure is still really low which makes me get kinda winded easily but not too big of a deal other than annoying!
  • I eat all day long lately. Constantly hungry. Yikes!
Weight Gain : Approx. 17 pounds.. which is ALOT but, my mother's intuition and this last ultrasound leads me to believe I am growing another Dinosaur baby so I guess the weight is needed. 

Belly Growth: Several inches! Probably about to go up a size in maternity clothes and bras.

Baby News : We had another ultrasound with the doctor and she is definately a girl! She moves CONSTANTLY and I can now see my belly move with some of her kicking. We think we have the name picked out, but for some reason I am having trouble fully committing to it! 
She has long arms and legs and they measured and checked everything and it showed all healthy and normal development which is always nice to hear! 

Foods I am enjoying: anything and everything. I can't stop eating this week!

Big Brother : My precious little Toddler is so full of life and change lately. I can't imagine him being any more perfect or more fun.  He has been talking so much more lately and just enjoyed a get away to Sea World & Disney World in Florida.  
We just  transitioned him into his big boy bed this week, on a whim really, and he has not missed a beat. He just lays down and goes to sleep like normal.
He also tried some new foods today! Hummus and Peanut Butter ! ( he has refused peanut butter since he was 1).

I had a slightly crazy thought today about changing his middle name so his sister could have it! Crazytown USA. But seriously... we could name her Anne Sparkman and Fenn's new middle name could be Michael after my daddy....
the name issue is killing me!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our Day at Disney : Magic Kingdom

 First things first : We had a MARVELOUS time! I am still astounded that a 2.5 year old can enjoy something like Disney, but enjoy it he did, he squeezed every ounce of joy from that day he could, and consequently so did we.

 Watching a little dance number with Mickey and friends in front of the castle.

Riding Aladdins Magic carpets! He loved ALL rides. We would ask him, " Do you wanna ride another ride?" and he would squeal "YES!!" and then hug our neck real big. He did not love waiting in line, but he managed it thanks to his creative daddy who would distract him by asking him to count things or spell words he saw on the wall etc.

Andrea from My Chiquaqua Bites gave us some great tips and told me about these "Dole Whip" things which is like basically pineapple soft serve floats in pineapple juice. Erik said it was the best thing He has ever eaten. Thanks A!
 One of the 1st things we did when we got in was Mickey's Philharmagic or something like that, which was one of the coolest IMAX movies I have ever seen. It was short but it was interactive with huge wind gusts, water splashes and 3D imagery.  Peebs laughed and laughed. He only wore his glasses about half of the time but enough to get the experience.
 About 1/2 way through the day, Erik gave me and peebs both a time out for a poor attitude. I sat down in eatery place and relaxed and he went off with peebs in the stroller and returned with him asleep in the stroller in his shade pod. Just knowing my boy was getting a much needed power nap gave me great peace of mind. He slept in that pod for like 2 hours which gave Erik and I a chance to relax, sit down and eat and send some pics and videos to family.
That little shade piece folds up in a bag and ties to any stroller. It is called Protect-A-Bub and I highly recommend it for any active family, not just Disney Trips. It creates total shade over entire baby which also brings about cooler and darker atmosphere for napping..
 The amount of cool glow stuff at night Disney was AWESOME. I LOVE things that glow in the dark. I always have.  
Ironically, the girl who is a gift shop junkie, has a child who could give a rip about a trinket. We went in a million gift shops, none of which did he ever ask for anything. He wanted to hold or touch stuff but then would tell it bye bye and put it right back! How is that possible? 
But I bought us both a blinkie mickey necklace at night and it totally made my day. I LOVE them!  It was a great $10 souvenir.
 Disney at Night is WAY cool and more fun than the day time for sure. The toddler who goes to bed at 7pm and usually has a 3 hour nap during the day went all day till 11pm at Disney with his stroller nap, AND he did all of that with very little attitude. Guess it really is the
 " Magic Kingdom" !
Here he is at like 10pm Watching the Parade ! Party Animal. He loved the fireworks show before the parade too. 
So, some things I learned : 

  • Pack extra outfit, swim diaper and water proof shoes just incase you get wet or play in splash pads. 
  • Bring all your own snacks and drinks you want! We brought tons of stuff and they didn't say a word about it.
  • Sunscreen.duh.
  • Beach towel that can double as a blanket for fireworks watching
  • Don't sweat leaving your stroller in the stroller parking. That really worried me at first ( after the robbery I am paranoid) but everyone does it and no one steals your stuff. 
  • Cross-Body purse or diaper bag that you can attach to stroller while rolling around but carry with you on rides that holds camera, phones and important stuff like that. 
  • Buy the photo pass. You ask for it right when you come in and see the Disney photographers. Then all day long as they snap your picture they scan the card and you can buy the pics at the end of the day.  It costs some money, yes, but it is so nice to have pictures of the whole family and on such a memorable day. I think this pass will work multiple days and parks as well. DIsney sells all kinds of cute picture frames too.
  • Get and use the fast pass
  • Schedule at least one fun dinner/breakfast. Their restaurants were all neat and had good food and just something about the whole place being for kids, made me less anxious about my boys restaurant behavior. ha
Rides we did with a 2.5 Year Old : 
  • It's a Small World ( twice)
  • Peter Pan's Flight
  • Flying Dumbo
  • Aladdin's magic carpet
  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin ( twice) LOVED!
  • Jungle Cruise ( fun and funny)
  • Mickey's Philharmagic ( this is the IMAX thing I think is a MUST)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
iPhone Apps for Disney:
  • Disney Mobile Magic
  • WDW Hours ( their hours change often, sometimes open till midnight, and sometimes they won't tell you till you are on site.
  • WDW Waits ( this tells you the wait for each ride without having to walk over and see)
My Pinterest Disney Board:

Be Sure to Check out that link that reviews ALL of the Disney Resorts and Properties on my pinterest board! 

I know lots of you have been to Disney, are going or go often so please leave comments about any tips you have or favorite things you did, where you stayed etc.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentimes Day!

We had an absolutely jam packed buy lovely Valentimes today! Bubs was off work, we had an ultrasound and got to see the baby girl, Fenn had school, and then we went as a family delivering Valentimes to some special ladies ( neighbors, ladies in our church, and special friends). 
We had SO much fun. He loved going up to the doors and would knock and repeatedly ring the door bell HA. He carried the chocolates and a card, and I carried the flowers. He also said " Happy Valentines Day" although it was not easy to understand.
( does he not look 87 feet tall in this pic?!)

 I also bought him 2 rawhide Doggie Valentines from Target for his doggles and he LOVED handing those out!  Flossie is not interested in hers and he keeps following her around the house with it trying to re-gift it.

 I love this sweet little picture of my tiny cupid!
We still had a few Valentines that we didn't get to see! We ran out of time as my parents were arriving in town and we had a lovely dinner with them. He was so happy to see his Bebe and PawPaw and Bebe brought him a special "Super Why" magic wand.  ( he loves Superwhy!) and Paw Paw brought him an "uptake" ( a.k.a. Cupcake) which he really enjoyed! 

I think this will be a yearly tradition as it was so fun and a great excuse to pop in and visit the ones we love!  Happy Valentimes to everyone out there!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Trip to Orlando/Disney/Sea World..

We recently went to Orlando, FL to visit Erik's grandparents. His maternal grandmother Tubby lives in Orlando and his paternal grandfather " Granpa" and his wife Glo live near Orlando in Sebastain. We usually come about once a year and fly down, however this year after consulting the ole Dave Ramsey budget.. we did things differently. We DROVE down. It was kind of a fun road trip and peebs did really well, even though he did not nap ONCE on the 12 hour drive down. We stopped at 2 McDonalds playgrounds for him to play at and he loves every minute of that! 

 Thanks to Marilyn, I discovered that people rent their vacation homes in Orlando and as it turns out that was MUCH cheaper than us getting a hotel ( less than $99 a night) AND the one we got was 3 bedrooms with kitchen and all sorts of ammenities because it was in a resort. 
Can we just sidebar and talk about how much better ANY trip is when you don't share a bedroom with your child. Can I get an AMEN?  Also? This condo came with a crib, pack n Play and high chair! It was just like staying in someone else's house! Crazy! Free WiFi! 
I could go on and on but I just share this for those of you that ever aspire to visit Disney World, these rental houses are about 5 minutes out side of Disney and so much more affordable. ( probably more during the big seasons like summer and spring break). 
The place we stayed was called Bahama Bay if anyone needs to look into it! They also had an awesome pool and playground!

Now this trip to see the grandparents, somehow, daily, morphed into quite the vacation. WE had tossed around the idea of going to Sea World since the boy loves sea animals so much, but we didn't buy tickets until the night before we went.  After that went so well, we tossed around the idea of taking him to Disney, after all we were already down there and paying for a hotel.. and so we again bought some last minute tickets and then again the next day. While walking around Disney Erik asked me " How did this trip to see Grandma and Granpa turn into a Disney Vacation?!" and I said I have no idea! 

**Giving Granpa a Kiss**

Anyway, I say all of that to say that we did go to Disney, and we did not blow it out by any means. It was a very conservative and short , "dip your toe in the huge Disney pool". We learned some things and had enough fun that we def. will want to go back when he is older and baby 2 is here to enjoy it. I will do a separate blog on that disney stuff because I am hoping you all can give some great feedback! I got the impression that Disney is the kind of trip you wanna do a lot of planning and saving for in advance.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sea World with a Toddler!

I have to tell y'all about our trip to Sea World because it was everything I never expected! I am still in shock, and so is bubs at how TOTALLY awesome it was! I rank our day at Sea World right up there in one of the best days of my life, and we have done some fun stuff! 
I should preface this by saying:  Peebs LOVES sea creatures, in particular, sea horses, whales, dolphins and sharks. Sea World is the perfect place for a boy like PB, and that is the only reason I even entertained the idea of taking a 2 year old in there to begin with.

Fenn just turned 2.5 so he was free to get in and do most everything and that was nice. We also saved a few bucks booking things online and paying and printing our tickets on the computer.

Here are some tips I learned:

- Def. have tickets in hand when you get there, so you can skip the line. Toddlers and lines are not a good combo.
- Pack more than you think you will need. I assumed we would only last a few hours because I HIGHLY underestimated Fenn's enthusiasm and stamina for fun. I needed more diapers, more wipes, more mash packs, more snacks,etc. I guess they let you bring in whatever you want because they didn't say one thing to me about the stuff I packed for him, and he ate every last bite that I brought. 
- Pack an extra set of clothes, maybe 2. Lots of splashing etc and little did we know they had a full on splash pad for smaller kids and Fenn had the time of his life there. He was SOAKING wet. Shoes and all. Wish I had known and packed for that.
- I forgot to charge my camera battery, and both bubs and I ran our iphones from 100% to 0 while there. Parent fail! We took some ridiculously awesome pics and videos before everything died though!
- Be prepared to be there all day. I was SHOCKED at how much time we spent there, with NO napping etc. Fenn normally naps 2-3 hours each day and he skipped that today and stayed up till 9pm. If you can believe it, he did all of that as happy as he could be with very few melt downs. His only time to get antsy was in restaurant, and in bleachers waiting on the show to start. 
- If you see something special in a gift shop, for Heavens sake, buy it then, not at the end of the day. I saw a Sea World Frame with 2013 on it that was perfect for Fenn's big boy room and I had to search High and LOW to find that thing at the end of the day while the park was closing! 
- All in all be prepared to spend about $500 ( give or take) like I said Fenn was Free for everything and he is our only kid so far, so that number could change quite a bit based on those facts but that includes tickets, parking, special excursion, photos, souvenirs, restaurant meal etc. 
- Schedule the extra stuff and pay for it online when you buy tickets because it does fill up/sell out quickly and its so neat. They sold out while i was buying our tickets and I asked inside the park to purchase some and they let me! 
- Don't even think about going without a stroller. If you didn't bring one then rent one. I don't know how we would have survived without our stroller. 

Things About Sea World We LOVED:

I read a blog about a mom who took her kids to sea world and one was peebs age and had similar interests and it helped me so much so here are my personal preferences that I would highly recommend if you go! Click that link to read her post as it was great!

  • The Dolphin Up Close Tour. You have to buy an extra ticket to get to do this, and it was SO WORTH IT. No lines, no crowds and getting to play with ( and touch) Dolphins. We absolutely LOVED that.  In addition they have a professional photographer taking pictures and you buy them or the whole disk which I also loved. It is nice to have pictures of such a special time and have the WHOLE family in them. 

  • The Blue Horizon Dolphin Show. All the employees kept talking about it and I assumed they were supposed to for work, but what they said was true, it was a REALLY neat and entertaining show full of dolphin tricks and tropical birds and such and it  didn't  cost anything extra.Fantastic actually .
  • The Sting Ray exhibit was really fun and we got to touch them too. 
  • The Splash pad and children's park and rides area. I had no idea that even existed and boy did my PB LOVE it. He was running and squealing with such glee it brought tears to my eyes. He was soaking wet the rest of the day and we didn't even care. They had a train to ride, carousel, etc.  Need to be 42" tall to ride most things there.

Other things to mention: One Ocean show. It was the place you got to see the whales perform and that part was fun but it was no where near the extravaganza of Blue Horizons Dolphin Show. We also ate lunch at the Shark underwater grill was was cool for sure, but we did not get a table next to the aquarium which I thought was the whole point of the reservation. We still enjoyed it and the food there is really good but its kinda fancy and expensive. I would skip that if I had known better.

We really had no idea what to expect, and we didn't set many boundaries which I think made the day more fun for everyone. If PB wanted to run free , we let him, if he wanted to ride we strolled. If he ate M&Ms or Veggies we let him decide ( he ate both, all of anything I brought). We were all pretty laid back all day and the only firm plans we had were for the Dolphin Up Close Tour and lunch. It was nice not racing around on a hectic schedule and just letting our mood dictate what we did.

I would go back to Sea World again and again if asked! It was just SO much fun. I now understand why millions of families flock down here for Disney World. 

** If you google Sea World with a Toddler and have landed here, feel free to ask questions but you must make sure you have an email address connected to your blogger Acct or I can't reply! **

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Updates on PB's Food and Speech Therapy

I get lots of emails about this topic, so this is an update for those interested parties. 

Yesterday we had both Occupational Therapy ( for food) and Speech Therapy and he had a really great day in both. The women who teach those are really amazing people. I am always shocked at what they can get out of him.  It is customary that at the end of each hour I go in and talk to the teacher, and yesterday when  I walked in OT he was sitting so studiously in a chair at a table following some good instructions and he was speaking sentences, which immediately brought tears to my eyes, and i whipped out my iphone to record. I didn't do a good job because I was so excited and wanted to praise him and see him doing it again, but he does ask for what he wants ( instead of jerking it out of her hand) and he says please! 

His OT has confirmed that his eating issues stem from a very sensitive gag reflex and are  sensory related, so a legit developmental issue, not just him being a picky toddler.  One of the bigger obstacles, or stepping stones in treating kids with food issues is getting them to put new food in their mouth, ( and always reassuring them its cool for them to spit it out if necessary). He put several new foods in his mouth yesterday, and chewed them and even swallowed like 3 of them! That is HUGE! 
He tried : Pretzels, Mandarin Oranges, Mandarin Orange Juice, Apples, Apricot Apple Sauce, Cheese Puffs, Swiss Cheese Deli Slice, Babybell Cheese, grapes, Turkey Deli Meat, Cauliflower raw. 

He swallowed the Pretzels, Juice, Apples, Apple sauce, Cheese Puffs, Swiss Cheese, Babybell cheese!
Y'all that is HUGE.
He was most irritated by the oranges and would only touch with his hand but not put hear his mouth.
Remember his approved/acceptable foods are: Nutrigrain bars, waffles, oreos, mashpacks, buffalo pretzels, goldfish and thats about it. Sometimes he will have something else but we rely on smoothies for nutrition obvi!

I am expecting a lot of progress here soon because he has just started a new phase, of putting EVERYTHING in his mouth.( water bottle caps, marker tops, fingers, pennies, etc) So annoying but at the same time he never did this as a baby , which is an important developmental thing where they learn discovery of textures and tastes and swallowing and such, so now that he is doing it, I expect his ability to eat and chew and swallow and all to improve!

Here is his food report card from yesterday:

And then it was on to speech therapy where he was "Talking a blue streak" Praise JESUS. He says so many things these days it is pointless to a make a list. He copies tons of what we say and do, as well as has spontaneous chatter. He enjoys bossing the dogs around a lot and i have to watch how I reprimand the dogs because he will def repeat it. Almost his first words after waking up in the morning is " shut it ralphie" which is what i say instead of " SHUT UP RALPHIE!!" ( he barks non stop in the morning because he wants me to get Fenn out of bed so badly).
His speech therapist says we don't normally worry about pronunciation until age 3, but she did help him learn to say "MINE" or " MY" instead of " I" or " Ine" He kind of half says some words, or starts any word with an H.  so when he counts he says " un, ooo, heee, hoooo" pretty cute if you ask a momma, but  I know it's important to teach proper speech.

I caught only the tale end of it here but he was saying " My turn" and pronouncing it properly like she taught him. One of his greatest strengths is that he learns QUICK. You tell him or show him something pretty much once and its engraved to his little brain.  For instance his daddy so smartly took a vent cover off recently in front of him and now he goes around pulling vents out of the floor and trying to stash stuff in them.!

So that is a pretty thorough update on all our developments and therapies. His has grown SO much and learned so much from when we first started all of this and I am forever grateful that we started and that our state provides such awesomeness. Feel free to ask questions if you have any because it is hard to remember everything when writing posts like these!

Monday, February 4, 2013

January Resolutions Status : Budgeting and Cooking

If you follow me on instagram or twitter you have probably seen lots of pictures of food! I am using an app called #project365 to keep myself accountable for cooking every day that is possible ( which goes hand in hand with my budgeting resolution). Food continues to be our biggest expense, even with meal planning and this is something I am really focused on changing in 2013 , but without making any compromises to quality ( i.e. organic, no hormones , genetically modified etc.)
Here are some screen shots of the cooking for January, and you can see I missed quite a few days. At the end of the month, I ran out of budget money for grocery and had to get creative, ha! YOu can see most of the recipes I am making on my pinterest board by clicking HERE. I usually comment on my instagram photo and on pinterest if they were any good or not.

Budgeting.. Dave Ramsey style! I still have not finished reading my Dave Ramsey book because I have been so tired at bedtime these days. I will tell you that I think the book and the software were BOTH worth it. I have learned a ton from that book already and all of the things about money that I found so intimidating , like saving for retirement, are explained in that book in really easy language and now I feel empowered because I have a plan, and it is one that makes sense and I feel confident in. ( I say "I" because I am the money manager of our family).
The software is super fun and useful when working on your categories of spending. I can see how it will take a few months to get this down perfectly. Budgeting works on lots of areas of your life, for instance planning and thinking ahead ( 2 things I am terrible at) but now i have to think about what is coming, and plan for what I want, so that the budget stays on track. I am actually enjoying it! I feel so much more responsible, and I feel like I am making better decisions because of how much more thought has gone toward them. I don't know how to explain it very well, but the boundaries and the guidance actually do give me a lot of peace and I am drinkin the Kool-aid! Long Live Dave Ramsey!

So January, we followed the budget almost to a T. I had some leftover gas money that I had to apply toward grocery money.. tweaks like that but not craziness!

Next up is to de-clutter and sell all the junk we no longer need or use! Once I get done reading Dave Ramsey, I start with my de-clutter your life book "An  Experimental Mutiny against excess" 

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