Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My favorite month

I think May is my favorite month. May brings flowers (once the April showers let us go). May brings warmer weather and more sunshine. In May of 2006 I married my amazing husband. I still get butterflies when his hand reaches over to grab mine from the driver’s seat. I still blush when he compliments me. I feel like a schoolgirl when I get ready to go out on a date with him. Even though those dates look much different than the dates we went on 6 years ago! In May of 2010, I celebrated Mother’s Day by delivering my sweet Lennon-boy. Though labor started 50 hours earlier, Lennon held out to give me the greatest Mother’s Day gift I could have ever imagined. He is truly the light of our lives. One of those sweet little grins paired with his vibrant blue eyes melts me every time. Forget the alarm clock I much prefer waking to “mum-mum-mum-mum” coming from the next room.

Last night, Josh and I sat in the living room floor after Lennon had gone to bed and we were cutting and hot-gluing on cardstock. It took me back to May of 2006. I have often joked that Josh helped me glue 1000s of flowers onto the cardstock programs for our wedding “back when he used to like me.” I guess he still likes me.

Yep, May is my favorite month. So many happy things to celebrate. This weekend may not be my first Mother’s Day, but it will be the first Mother’s Day I will celebrate as a mother that did not involve giving birth. For that I am thankful!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


If necessity is the mother of invention, then raising a family on one (not very large) income is the mother of couponing. Over the past 18 months, I spent 4 months on bedrest awaiting Lennon's arrival, then 3 more months on maternity leave. Upon our move to Northern Kentucky, Josh was unemployed for 7 months. This took a toll on our savings account and we learned how to be frugal. Very frugal. We have cut back in many ways. I frequent consigment stores, thrift stores, and yard sales. My sewing machine has been put to good use. We have become cloth diaper fanatics. But, I was very reluctant to dive into couponing because I was under the impression that you could only use coupons to buy junk food. I was wrong!

Today I got soy milk, bagged salads, fresh artichokes, grapes, frozen green beans and broccoli...all using coupons. I won't be on Extreme Couponing any time soon. I didn't "buy" 150 candy bars or 80 boxes of cereal. I only bought what my family would eat in a reasonable amount of time. Where in the heck would I put 80 boxes of cereal? I didn't get $200 worth of groceries for $3, but I did save over 70% on my grocery bill.

How? I'm so glad you asked...

First, research. There are several websites (savingslifestyle.com is my personal favorite) that show you how to use your coupons and your local sale bills to get the most out of your money.
Second, organize. Take that wad of coupons in your purse and get a binder. I use a small zippered binder that is for holding business cards. I have seen others with 3 ring binders filled with trading card pockets. Just make sure that your coupons are easy to find.
Third, be ethical. Don't try to cheat the system. Why do you need 150 candy bars? Even donating them to charity doesn't fly with me. I mean, what sort of nutritional value do Butterfinger bars carry? As a wise cricket once said, "let your conscience be your guide."
Finally, reasearch some more. Talk to your cashier. Today I learned that Meijer doesn't publicize it but cashiers have the ability to price match competitors' sale ads. Also, my local Meijer will accept competitors' coupons. Ask for a copy of your store's coupon policy and then follow the rules.

Even if you don't have a Meijer or Kroger in your area, ask if your local grocer will match competitors' sales. You never know until you ask.

Some of the highlights from my shopping trip today include FREE Dole bagged salads, FREE gallon of milk, FREE Dannon yogurt, FREE Green Giant steamables frozen veggies, Silk soy milk for $0.50 per 1/2 gallon, 5 boxes of cereal for $4.75, and Perdue naturals all white meat chicken nuggets with whole wheat breading for $0.75.

Here is my full list:
Chicken nuggets (24 count)
Almond Milk (1 gallon)
Bananas (2lbs)
Bertoli Pasta Sauce
Frozen Juice Concentrate (4 cans)
1% Milk (1 gallon)
Dannon Yogurt (4-6oz cups)
Artichokes (2)
Seedless grapes (2lbs)
Penne Pasta
Frozen Broccoli
Frozen Green Beans
Frozen Broccoli Rice and Cheese
Dole Bagged Salad
Diced Tomatoes
Shredded Italian Cheese
Peanut butter (2 small jars)
Cereal (5 boxes)
Cough Drops
Hormel Compleat Meals (3 Chicken and pasta w/ veggies)
And a 20oz Coke that my dear husband needed
TOTAL (before coupons) $72.33 (after coupons and store discounts) $21.17 71% SAVINGS!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Count your many blessings...

This week I have been reminded of a hymn we sang as a child. "Count your many blessings, count them one by one. COunt your many blessings, see what God has done..." When Lennon became sick Sunday night/Monday morning, I was feeling pretty sorry for my little guy and pretty sorry for myself. I hated that he was sick and I hated that he kept me up all night. I cried with him as I held him and rocked him trying to find something to soothe the discomfort of his ear infection. I had another pity party as I drove to Children’s Hospital to take him to his first breathing treatment and then the subsequent breathing treatments. On Monday evening I saw a FaceBook post from a friend. Not someone I even know very well, but a sweet girl I am glad to count as a friend nonetheless. She too is a young mother with a sick baby. But her sick baby isn’t getting better. This morning Lennon was wriggling out of my arms when we got to daycare so that he could go play. He felt good. When I visited them at the hospital last night, I was humbled by the way this young mother, who has to be absolutely terrified on the inside, bravely asked the questions that needed answered, learned how to vent his feeding tube, and comforted her precious baby boy. Her “gift from God.” As I watched that sweet tiny baby smile and play with his toys, I was reminded how thankful I should be. I have been blessed beyond measure. I ask that today, as you go about your plans and your routine, that you take minute to send some prayers, some good thoughts, and some well wishes up for this sweet baby and his brave little mama!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Sickly

So I was really hoping that we could make it to Lennon's first birthday without ever needing antibiotics, but we didn't. Ever since we started day care he has had the tale-tell snotty nose of day care, but it just wasn't getting better and he was running a low grade fever off and on. We tried all the safe homeopathic remedies to no avail. Finally the straw broke the camel's back on Sunday night when he woke up screaming around 3am and screamed straight on through til daylight. Nothing could soothe him. So we went to see Dr Bishoff on Monday and it turns out that the little guy not only has a double ear infection, but also bronchitis. He has had 2 nebulizer treatments and 3 doses of sickeningly sweet pink amoxocillin and he seems to be on the mend. I stayed home from work again today to give him some more snuggles and peaceful naps and then its back to the grindstone tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ch ch ch changes...

Okay, so I have been a bad blogger-put me in the corner and threaten to send me to bed with no dinner-but now I’m baaaaaack. So since we chatted last, Lennon has had his 9 month well-baby check up. He weighed in at 22 pounds and 9 ounces. He was 34 inches long. I am sure he has grown some since then, but at that time he was in the 41st percentile for weight and in the 97th percentile for height. I look at him in awe trying to remember days I swore I would never forget. He was once so tiny and new and fragile. Everyone warned me how quickly those days would pass, but I never believed it. I was not going to forget every sound he made, every baby scent, every sleepless night. But I have. Not all of them, but there are several days and even weeks that I can’t remember. He is now a mobile, tough little guy, full of personality. He LOVES to make us laugh- and he’s pretty good at it too.

For days I kept telling Josh that I could feel his teeth coming nearer to the gums. For whatever reason, Lennon won’t let Josh put his fingers in his mouth to check it out. I kept feeling around and insisting that those little sharp points had forced their way through his gums. Finally, while playing with a metal spoon, I heard the little “tink” of sharp teeth and knew they finally had. Lennon is the new owner of both his bottom front teeth now joined by his upper right tooth. Now my kiddo can really do some damage.

About a week ago, I ordered a mei tai baby carrier off ebay. I LOVE it. Lennon does too! It is great because I can carry him in the front if he is sleepy/sleeping, on my hip, or on my back. I can’t wait to use it this spring/summer for walks, short hikes, trips to the farmer’s market, the zoo, and the aquarium. One of the best baby purchases I have ever made. I also re-stocked our cloth diaper stash. Before Lennon was born and Josh and I decided we wanted to cloth diaper, I bought tons of various styles to try out. All used and at bargain prices. When we were diapering a newborn, I preferred prefold or flat diapers (think what your grandma would have used) closed with a snappi (diaper pins with out being so “pokey”) and a PUL or wool cover over them (upgraded rubber pants). There were a few fitted diapers that were so cute that we also used. When he was an older baby, we used a pocket diapering system. They were easy to use. Went on and off with Velcro and worked much like disposables. As we are nearing toddler-hood (I cannot believe my baby is nearing the toddler stage), the pockets just don’t do the job for my heavy wetter. It is nearly impossible to properly fasten a prefold or flat diaper around a squirming 10 month old, so we have found mad love for fitted diapers. My favorites are really soft microfiber velour with velcro closures. The really work just like a disposable. Then slip on a water proof cover (I am seriously thinking about dusting off the sewing machine to make some of my own) in a cute print and away we go. Simple. For less than $75, Lennon is diapered until potty training! Beats the heck out of $7-10 a week for the cheapest sposies!

Okay, now for some even bigger news than teeth, baby carriers, and diapers. Josh got a new job! This is good news. Yesterday I spent the day scouring the web for daycare reviews. Trying to find a place that had an immediate opening for a 10 month old. I found one. It is almost exactly halfway in between home and work for Josh and I. It reminds me a bit of the daycare I went to as a child. I took Lennon in and sat in the floor of his new classroom with him and a few other kiddos and played. He never would let go of me. He would play with a new friend, Ty, all the while holding onto my shirt with his left hand. He never cracked single smile the whole time we were there. I know I am being a little dramatic about this. I know I am that mom, but this is hard. I am watching him play in the living room floor and wishing I could somehow prepare him for the fact that his world is about to turn upside down. All the days he has spent at home playing with Daddy are coming to an abrupt end. He will now be sharing the attention of 3 adults with 6 other children. He will learn to nap in a crib with noise all around him and overhead lights above him. It is going to be a rough week. I think that tomorrow we will have a test drive. I will take him to daycare in the morning on my way in to work and Josh will pick him up around noon. It will only be about a three hour stay. I don’t know if the little guy is capable of comprehending this yet, but I am hoping that he will realize quickly that just because we leave him there, we will return to pick him up. The truth is, I am sure Lennon will adjust quicker and easier that Josh and I will.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Slumber Party

Part of me can’t believe I am about to do this and the other part of me can’t believe I haven’t done it already. This weekend, Lennon is going to spend the night with his grandparents without either of his parents. This is a big deal.

Last night, I kept hearing the wind howl and thinking that it was my baby crying in his crib, so I kept getting up to check on him. I finally gave up trying to sleep around 5:30 and my mind began wandering. I was thinking about the weekend and how much fun I am going to have with my girlfriends. Wine tasting and yummy dinner celebrating a great gal’s birthday. No baby crying or fussing or needing my undivided attention. It will be liberating. Then I began to tear up as I was thinking about Lennon seeing someone else when he opens his eyes on Saturday morning. Falling asleep without his goodnight story and kisses from Mommy and Daddy. It almost makes me want to cancel my plans. Almost.

Josh and I are planning to attend the Bonnaroo Music Festival this summer. It is in early June and Lennon will be 13 months old. He will be staying with Gramma and Grandaddy for 4 nights while we are camping out at the festival. This weekend is our trial run and only one night. I have a feeling that the luxury of sleeping in will not feel so luxurious and I will be up at the crack of dawn and headed to my parents to see my little guy. I am hoping to plan another trial run before ‘Roo, but we will see how this goes first. As many second thoughts as I am having about one night away, I am glad I haven’t spent $300 on our Bonnaroo tickets just yet…

In other news, Lennon has his 9 month well baby check up on Friday. I am anxious to hear how much he has grown since his 6 month appointment. At that appointment he weighed 16 lbs 9 oz and was 29 1/2 inches long. He has grown and changed so much in the last 3 months. I am expecting 22 lbs and 32 inches long. I’ll let you know. Before I had a child I had no idea how much excitement well baby check ups would bring! Don’t get me wrong, I hate the shots, but I love hearing from the doctor and nurses about how cute he is and how he is growing perfectly. It gives me some sense of pride and accomplishment that I have not only managed to keep this tiny little human alive, but that he is thriving. I also realize how fortunate I am to have a little guy that is the perfect specimen of health. I have friends who have dealt/are dealing with a baby that has health problems and surgeries and feeding tubes. I have certainly been blessed!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


This year, I made two New Year’s resolutions. I decided that I was finally going to attack the squish around my mid-section and lose some weight. Fortunately I only gained about 18 pounds during my pregnancy. That was all gone before I left the hospital. I can’t blame this on Lennon. This is the extra fluff I had before I was pregnant. I need to lose 30 lbs. So, I started with a bang, losing 4 lbs during the first week. Since then, I have faltered and cheated. A LOT. But, I am geared up and ready to tackle this fluff for good!

My second resolution has been a bit easier to keep, but I am sure that is not going to be the case for long. I resolved to not purchase anything new for the entire year. My only exception would be consumable goods and undergarments. I am really excited about this. It is going to be tough. There are going to be many times that my resolve will be challenged, but I think we can do it. I am going to take Lennon from his 8th month to his 20th month solely in hand-me-downs and second hand bargains. We will celebrate his first birthday with handmade and second-hand gifts. People have told me that it’s good to do it now, because he “won’t even know the difference.” You see, I want him to know the difference. In a disposable world, I want Lennon to know that as long as something is still usable, it still has value and shouldn’t be tossed into the garbage.

All my Christmas shopping will be at second hand stores and ebay bargains. When my wardrobe needs to be updated, I will have to search the racks of thrift stores. There are tons of options when it comes to purchasing used goods. There are used bookstores and second-hand children’s stores.
I know this is just a resolution I made for 2011, but I hope that Josh and I can learn a lesson and a new lifestyle that we can pass on to Lennon. Kind of like the velveteen rabbit, the more an item is loved, the more love it has to give.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It must be in the water...

I was lucky enough to have lunch on Sunday with a friend from high school. She and I were thick as thieves as kids. As we grew up we didn’t keep in touch as we should have, but we reconnected when we were both expecting our first children in May of 2010. It was great to have someone to talk to about the leg cramps, heartburn, insecurities, excitement, dread, nausea, exhaustion, and fear that came along with pregnancy. We kept in better touch and as fate would have it, my husband and I moved to Northern KY just down the road from where she and her husband lived. Our kids are going to be best friends, that is if Lennon can get over his fear of the cute little girl who always has a bow in her hair. During lunch, every time she would make eye contact with my little ‘fraidy cat, he would turn up his lip and squirt big crocodile tears out of the corners of his eyes. She sat in the high chair across from him and laughed and smiled and Lennon just cried and cried. This is not going to bode well for him later in life if he is that terrified of a cute little girl three inches shorter than him.

Anyway, my friend announced to me during our lunch date that she is expecting. Before I even realized what I was saying, I gasped, “ALREADY?!?!?!” She has an 8 month old, two weeks younger than Lennon. Holy-moly! Then after I got home, I got a text from a friend in Lexington that she and her husband are also expecting. She has an 11 year old and has been trying for #2 for years and years. I am so happy for her! It must be in the water.

If you read my last two posts, you already know that Lennon was a huge surprise to us. We had tried and were told that it wasn’t going to happen the old fashioned way, so when I learned that Lennon was on his way, we were shocked to say the least. Anyway, even before he was born, I knew that I was not planning to have any other children. Put down your stones and call off the angry mob. I have already been told how unfair it is to raise an only child. He will have no one to play with. He will be spoiled beyond belief. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love my kid, but I truly hated pregnancy that much. It was terrible. Some women glow, I was green the whole time. Throwing up relentlessly even on the day he was delivered. And bed rest is for the birds!

I never expected it, but I am feeling a bit of envy toward my preggo friends. I would love to be able to justify having ice cream every night (I NEED more calcium). I would love to have an excuse to sleep any time the mood strikes. I would be ecstatic to do all of the planning that comes along with the birth of a child. I never thought I would have these feelings. I have started wondering if I should hang on to some of the toys/baby gear that Lennon is out growing. Cloth diapers are even more economical if you use them for multiple children….

Then I remember the misery of pregnancy, the exhaustion of very little sleep, and my nearly empty savings account. For now I will hold strong as the mother of an only child.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mission Statement

So over dinner last night, I told Josh that I finally did it. I finally wrote that first entry to the blog I started a year ago. He asked me what it would be about and I was stumped. I guess I am interested in writing about parenting. My parenting ideas that pan out and the ones that fall flat. How my mistakes and failures shape the person Lennon becomes. How being a parent is changing me every day. How I somehow manage to cook, clean, study, work and occasionally get to take a shower or an uninterrupted bathroom break. [On any given day you can only count on 2-3 of the preceding list of tasks being completed.]

I think I am going to begin by telling the story of Lennon's birth and trying to dissect the blur that is the first few months of his life (as concisely as possible).

My little brother was graduating from nursing school on Saturday, May 8, 2010. My parents were in town and staying with Josh and I to attend the graduation ceremony. On Thursday before my folks came in on Friday, I was frantically cleaning everything. Then I started doing yard work. I squatted down, 36 weeks of baby belly between my knees, and pulled a bush that had bugged me ever since we moved into that house out of the ground. It took a few tugs, but I got it. I was filled with energy and strength. Then the cooking began. Oh, the cooking. I made 24 salmon croquets, meticulously wrapping them individually and then packaging them by fours. Then I baked a ham. While the ham was baking, I made 2 chicken pot pies, a lasagna, and a meatloaf and put them all in the freezer. Once the ham finished I carefully sliced it. Some thicker slices to have as ham steaks and some thinner slices to make ham sandwiches with, then I labeled each accordingly with a sharpie and put them into the freezer. Thursday night I slept like a baby (at that time I still thought that meant restful, deep sleep). Friday morning I woke up with considerable less energy, but was thrilled to see my parents. My dad and I walked around Glen Eagles neighborhood and talked about all sorts of things. Our favorite foods, music, the cows at the farm, gossip from Princeton, etc.

That night we all settled down to bed around 11pm. My back had been hurting all day long, presumably from that darn bush. By midnight, my back pains became more intense and began radiating from back to front of my spherical mid-section. I got out of bed once I realized that my tossing, turning, and moaning was keeping Josh awake and he had to work early the next morning. I went downstairs to the couch and was able to lay down for a few minutes and then I would pace for a few minutes. This went on all night long from midnight until 6am. At that time I went upstairs and told Josh that I think I overdid it on Thursday and I was going to try to lay in bed all day. As he showered for work, I lay in the bed trying to find a comfortable position. Then it happened. My water broke. I was ecstatic. Our baby was coming!

My mom stayed behind and like the saint she is cleaned up the amniotic fluid in my bedroom and we promised to call once we knew something more.

Fast forward 12 hours. At 9pm I had not made any progress. The contractions I had been battling for weeks had stopped once my water broke and I was not dilating. It had been a long day. My midwife decided to increase the pitocin they had started earlier and within 3 hours, I was begging for mercy. Though I was still not making much progress, the pain had become unbearable and the natural, drug-free child birth I had planned for months came to and end. I never saw the anesthesiologist, I still don't know his name, but I love that man! Once my epidural was in place, I apologized to Josh and to Gretchen, my nurse, for the dirty words I called them. For the next 6 hours, Josh and I closed our eyes but never slept.

All night long Lennon's heart rate would drop and my blood pressure would plummet. Around 6am on Monday, May 9th, my midwife decided it was time to start pushing even though I had only dilated to somewhere between 8and 9 cm. I pushed and I pushed. Until all the blood vessels in my eyes and forehead burst. Around noon, things started getting really scary, but not for me, I was oblivious. Lennon was six months old before Josh ever told me just how panicked everyone truly was. My baby was not handling the stress of 36 hours of labor including 6 hours of pushing. Dr. Campbell decided it was time for Lennon to be born, so during one last push with the help of the vacuum, here he came. 12:30pm. Lifeless and blue. Not breathing. It was the scariest 5 minutes of my life. I never heard him cry. I barely even saw his face before they whisked him out to the NICU.

En route to the NICU, Lennon began breathing and when they reached the 4 floor, he was doing just fine. Josh came to tell me and then joined Lennon for his first bath and his initiation into humandom complete with heal pricks, weigh-ins, and Hepatitis vaccines.

I don't really remember hardly any specifics of the next 3 months. He and I ate a lot, cried a lot, and slept a little. Everytime I would close my eyes, for weeks, Iwould hear the tha-thump-tha-thump-tha-thump of the fetl heart monitor. I spent those 3 months co-sleeping with Lennon in the guest bed. He would nurse off and on all night and I cherished those quiet moments we spent alone in the dark becoming best friends. Each night he would scream from the pain of reflux for 20 minutes to 3 hours. Josh and I would take turns rocking him and singing or reading to him trying to find something to soothe him, but nothing could. This is the hardest work I have ever done in my entire life. The paycheck is worth the work though!

Fast forward again, to today and we are in a new home, a new city, and a new (much preferred) sleeping schedule. We have somehow become parents to the happiest, loudest, cloth diapered, well fed, slightly spoiled, funniest, most opinionated, cutest baby boy in the world! I'm not sure how we did it. It just happened. Some of my big ideas about parenthood have worked out (we are still cloth diapering and LOVE it) and some of them didn't go exactly as planned (I had full intentions of breastfeeding until Lennon weaned himself). But nonetheless, it is perfect.

2nd Time Is the Charm

So, I actually thought I was going to take on this blogging project before Lennon was born. Nearly a year ago I created this blog and wrote my first entry, but never posted it. I had all the intentions in the world of capturing each moment of his life in a blog for our family and friends to follow, but then life got in the way and I never made the time. So, here I am again. Blogging. Maybe it will stick this time...

Here are some excerpts from that original post that never made it live:

January 17, 2010

We knew on September 20th, 2009 that things would never be the same again. As I laid on our bed trying to pretend that there was nothing to fear, I heard the most telling sigh coming from our bathroom. That God-forsaken little hourglass had stopped blinking and that tiny little gray screen read the single scariest word in all the world. Pregnant. I couldn't even look at it. I made Josh do the dirty work, but he couldn't even say the p word.

We wanted this so badly, right? I guess after years of being told that this day would never come, that I would never have children of my own without extreme medical interventions, all it really took was one night in mid-August of too much wine and too few inhibitions and we went from a couple to a family.

Wow! What a difference a year makes! Now I have an 8 and 1/2 month old baby sleeping peacefully in the room next to me. The house is quiet and peaceful for now. Only the whir of the dryer in the background and the click clack of my typing fingers. Josh is at the gym and Marley is curled up at my side. Soon enough though, Josh will be home and Lennon will wake and peace and quiet will be replaced with cooking dinner and the squeals of my baby.

This picture was take on Tuesday before I delivered Lennon on Sunday, May 9th, 2010.

May 9th, 2010 12:31 pm

Christmas 2010