Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In The Middle

All eyelashes, cheeks, and lips
As a young girl, I never really thought about being a mother when I grew up. I focuses, instead, on being a veterinarian. I had it all worked out, I'd be a vet to Shamu and her friends during the summer, and I'd come back to my humble little town in the winter months to tend to my own ranch animals and run my small veterinarian office. The perfect plan. But as I got older, my career goals changed a bit, but I never really focused on being a mom. I mean, sure, I knew I wanted to get married and have babies, but I didn't know what that meant for me. What my ideal life looked like.

It wasn't until I met Brad that I started thinking about those things. It hit me pretty hard. Once I realized that I was in love with him, it was like a crash landing with life. I was cruising along in my hypothetical little Bug, when life jerked the wheel, and I came crashing into a detour sign that left me shaken, yet a bit excited. Suddenly, there was so much more to life. A wedding, and a home with the man I love, and, GASP, children! Or, a child? One, two, twelve? I honestly didn't know. But, the more I thought about it, the more three or four seemed like a good, solid number. I take comfort in packs. 

So, Brad hitched my hypothetical little Bug to his hypothetical pickup truck, and we started cruising through life together. And along came Mylee. Our world was a much brighter place with her around. Flowers smelt better, birds chirped a bit louder. Everything was perfect. Now, y'all know this story. After she came along, I wasn't sure I wanted anymore. How could I love someone else even half as much as I loved her!? And then, my heart found room for Dax. I can't imagine life without him. How did it all seem so perfect before? We were clearly missing a piece to our beautiful puzzle.

And now we're here. I'm 30, Brad's 34, Mylee and Dax are 6 and 15 months, I said I wouldn't have another until he was at least 18 months, which we're quickly approaching. We are stuck in the middle. Do we make the choice to have more children? Do I even want more? I think I do. But that fear keeps creeping back in, "Will I love the others the way I love my first two?" Logic says yes, my crazy irrational brain says no. How do you know, with absolute sureness, that you're done? I once thought I was done. There was no convincing me that I needed another. And then that changed. When, if ever, are you absolutely, positively, without a doubt, sure?

I guess I can only hope and pray that time will tell. In the meantime, I'll be over here holding on to these a little too tightly and trying to find my voice of reason.  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

5 Ways to Save Money When Raising a Baby

How is it possible that Dax is nearly 10 months old!? In the last 10 months, so much has happened in our lives. When Dax was just a couple of months old, my husband was laid off. For the second time in just a year. He worked in the oilfield, which took a huge plummet when gas prices started falling. Being laid off is hard enough, but being laid off twice in a year's time is seriously difficult. We had gone through nearly all of our savings with the first layoff, and were really worried how we'd make ends meet and support our family. To make matters worse, my husband had a really hard time finding a job that would support us like the oilfield had. So, over the last few months we've learned to live more frugally, and found ways to make more money and to make a dollar stretch.

In the end, I am thankful for the layoffs. It has taught our family so much, and has made us stronger. I had been wanting to start blogging again, but really couldn't figure out what I wanted to blog about. After lots of thinking and praying, I realized that why not blog about what we've been going through? Lots of families are in the same place we've been in this past year, and I'm sure lots of them are searching for answers the way I was. Why should I hide what we've been through? It isn't anything to be ashamed of, and I've always hated when bloggers seemed fake. So, I'm coming clean. I want to share with my readers how we've managed to stay afloat and make things work. It's still a work in progress, and we are still learning, but I have a ton of info to share already!

I figured I'd kick this new blog off with my favorite thing I've saved money on: Dax!

When Mylee was born, we weren't strapped for cash, and we were living pretty comfortably. I didn't bat an eyelash at our baby expenses. That just wasn't the case with my second pregnancy and baby. Here are a few ways I saved money during pregnancy and through the last 10 months.

1)  Buy Used

OK, don't go anywhere just yet. I know a lot of folks turn their noses up at used items, but when it comes to baby items, they grow so quickly, a lot of times items are barely used, if not brand new! I bought so much with Mylee, there were many of her clothes that never had the tags removed. I scored a nearly brand new 4Moms MamaRoo swing for Dax for 50% less than retail. I also purchased baby clothes from upscale resale shops and from baby shops on Instagram, Special occasion clothes like Easter outfits and such, I purchased new, but shopped around for the best deal and used coupons if I could find them.

2) Cloth Diaper

Are you still with me? Good, because I'm gonna sell you on this one. Dax will be 10 months next week, and I've spent less than $250 on diapers. Did you catch that? LESS THAN $250 ON DIAPERS IN 10 MONTHS! In the first month, Dax was going through anywhere from 12-15 diapers a day. If he had been in disposables, we would have spent somewhere between $100 and $125 on diapers in that first month. Instead, I researched cloth like crazy, decided which types would be best for our family (there are SO many options!), and purchased enough to diaper him for 3 days before having to wash. I bought One Size diapers so that we'd be able to use them from birth through potty training. I even purchased a few used diapers. No, it isn't disgusting, I just stripped them when they arrived, and made sure they were completely sterilized before letting Dax wear them. Not only did I save money, but I cut down on harsh chemicals coming in contact with his skin, and it helps the environment. I went a little further on the savings and decided on cloth wipes as well and hang his diapers to dry out in the sun instead of wasting electricity drying them in the dryer!

3) Baby Led Weaning

*I want to preface this by saying, I did a TON of research on BLW before deciding to go that route. I read article after article, book after book, and discussed it with our pedi before making the decision that BLW was for us. If you decide to go that route, please make sure you do so responsibly, and learn as much as you can beforehand. There are a few fantastic Facebook groups to check out as well!

OK, so, when Mylee was a baby, I started her on packaged baby food once she was ready. I didn't realize there was another way! This time around, I thankfully had a friend who practiced BLW, so I knew a little about it. Dax has only had a handful of actual "baby food." Once he started eating solids, I pretty much gave him whatever we were eating. It's saved me so much!! If baby led weaning isn't an option for you, try making your own baby food. It will definitely save you money!

4) Breastfeeding

Speaking of eating, Dax was exclusively breastfed, straight from the tap, until he started solids. Now, I know that breastfeeding isn't an option for everyone, but if it is for you, definitely try it. There are so many health benefits, plus it's so much cheaper than formula. I also saved money by nursing him straight from the breast instead of from a bottle. This happened somewhat by chance. I wanted to wait until we had a good breastfeeding relationship established before I introduced a bottle. I researched bottles and decided on one brand, and purchased only one bottle. I didn't want to buy a ton and then find out he wasn't a fan of that brand. The first time I tried to give him a bottle, he wouldn't take it. So, I didn't push it. I was going to be at home with him, so there really wasn't a reason I couldn't just nurse on demand straight from the source. With all of that being said, breastfeeding is no easy feat. Roughly only 25% of mothers stick with breastfeeding for the full first year. It challenges you like crazy, but trust me, it's worth it! Take the time to do the research, join support groups, find out all you can about breastfeeding, and if it doesn't work out, do not take it personally or be hard on yourself.

5) Take Advantage of Freebies and Resources 

Did you know that it's possible to get a free breastpump through your insurance? It is! You can also sign up for the WIC program. I don't have any experience personally with the WIC program, but I've heard great things about it. You can also sign up for free goodies through parenting websites, your OBGYN and pedi, and maternity and baby stores.

I know it doesn't seem like a lot, but these definitely add up! How are some additional ways to save money when raising a baby? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

It's A Struggle

Y'all, I desperately want to blog again. I keep my little corner of the internet up and running, because I keep thinking that I'll make a comeback. I think I'll heave that writer's block up out of the way, and it'll all come flooding back. But it doesn't. Instead I find myself saying I'll blog tomorrow. Or next week. Next month, next year, when my kiddos are off to college.

The truth is, I miss blogging so much. But the blogging world isn't what it was when I first started. Isn't that just like life? You find something you love, and eventually it changes so much, you don't even recognize it anymore. And you find that you can't keep going, yet can't let it go. I can't let my little space go. So every few weeks, I think I'll blow the dust off this old place, and breathe life back into my old blog. And I sit down at my computer, crack my neck, stretch my fingers, and then promptly get sucked into Pinterest for hours at a time. The internet killed productivity, y'all.

But, there is just so much going on in our lives. Mylee is starting school this year. Like, actual, real live school. Our homeschooling journey is over just as quickly as it started. And while I am so immensely excited for all she's about to experience, I'm equally heartbroken. Our time together has come to and end. I have to let her go out and experience the world without me right by her side. She will be just fine, I know. She's strong and resilient, and can handle anything that comes her way. Mama, on the other hand, is seriously doubting herself. I'm cramming as many snuggles and special moments as I can into the next two weeks.

I hope that I can once again find the passion that I had for writing. I miss spilling my thoughts onto this pretty little page. Please bare with me as I attempt to make my comeback. And I apologize in advance for any tear filled posts that will be accompanying the new school year.
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