About Me

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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

what I let go

Since I had Natalie things have been different around here.

Very, very different.

Even before there were never enough hours in the day, and now...well, now hours are in extremely short supply.

And some things I have had to let go. Like a clean house. Heck, not even necessarily a clean house. More like a house that doesn't look like a war zone.

But it doesn't bother me like I thought it would. My house is a disaster 80% of the time.

And it's okay.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Willow Tree Nativity

Last year for Christmas I got a Willow Tree Nativity set.

It's so pretty...

Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus

Pretty sure the camel is my favorite piece. Does that make me a bad Christian?

I like the wise men, too. Especially the one with the turban.

The shepherds have about eight million sheep. I had a hard time getting them all to fit on top of the dresser, but fit they did. Even if they are kind of roaming around the nativity...

Friday, December 16, 2011

a holiday tradition

The Advent Calendar: A Holiday Tradition

I love my advent calendar. So cute, so fun...

...so disgusting. Advent calendar chocolate is possibly the most disgusting chocolate on the face of the earth. Nasty, fake, waxy chocolate. It should say something that "chocolate" is not even listed as an ingredient.

True story.

But, even though the chocolates are nasty, I still love my advent calendar. It's a holiday tradition.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Tonight I read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" to Natalie.

It was one of my favorite books as a child (copywrite 1969!). She seems to like it, too.

And by that I mean she sits there quietly and doesn't whine.

I love to read books to Natalie. I want her to love to read, also, and I've read (hehe) that the more words children are exposed to, through either books or speech, the better their vocabulary. Reading should be fun, not hard. It's important to me that my children enjoy (or at least don't hate) to read.

Best. Holiday. Movie. Ever.

I watch this movie every Christmas. It's my favorite holiday movie of all time. I'm not normally a fan of musicals, but there's nothing like White Christmas.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Diapers don't have to be expensive.

So far this year I spent $152.53 on diapers and wipes for Natalie. Not too shabby. Especially when I say that she has 558 size 1 diapers, 400 size 2 diapers, and 772 wipes that are still unopened. We also have about one hundred diapers and who knows how many wipes at her changing table.

I started stocking early. Like in March. (Which is part of the reason I have so many size 1s that we probably won't even use on Natalie, and just save them for the next kiddo.) I saved Target and manufacturer's coupons so I could score great deals on diapers. I waited for Target to have specials (i.e., but 2 boxes, get a $10 gift card). Wipes I nearly score for free; generally $0.30-$0.50 a case (64-72 ct) by matching sales with coupons.

Granted, we did get diapers as gifts from several people, pretty much all of her newborn size diapers, and a couple packs of size 1s. My mom also keeps size 1s in stock at her place, so we don't bring any when we go there. If I had to guess, I would say probably 1/3 of all Natalie's diapers have been gifts.

But still, I am impressed on how cheaply we can score name-brand diapers and wipes.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

finally a solution

A pad for diapers.

Natalie has been leaking through her diaper at night ever since we stopped nighttime feedings and she started sleeping 11 1/2 to 12 hours. It wasn't too bad when she had a "dreamfeed" at 9:30 pm, because we would change her then and she would usually make it, but once we dropped that a couple nights ago, it was wet-bed city around here.

Poor Pumpkin would wake up every morning with wet pjs, a wet sleep sack, and wet sheets. And poor mommy and daddy had to do laundry every other day.

I thought about mid-night changes, but the thought of waking a sleeping baby just to change their diaper was so crazy, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So I researched.

I tried bumping up a size (to size 2) at night. No-go after night one.

I tried a different brand. Or two. No-go each time.

I tried to buy special nighttime diapers. The smallest size made is a size 3. Well that won't work.

And finally, the last solution, the diaper pad insert.

I. Love. It. Dry nights, here we come.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I love knowledge

I love to know how things work.

Always have, always will. Which is probably why I love Google so much. (You can read about how much I love Google here, here, here, here, and here. Obsess much?) Google has the answer to all my random questions:

-How do noses get "stuffy?"
-What causes thunder?
-How do emergency vehicles change traffic lights?

No joke, I have googled all those things.

Now imagine, if you will, how having a baby has challenged me.

I never know anything.

It's a real dilemma. My love for knowledge has created a real problem here. I need to know what to do, what to try, in any given situation. I need to research and compile. Experiment. It's not enough to just say, "Oh, I guess the traffic lights are just programmed to do that" or "your nose just gets stuffy when you have a cold." I need to know what actually happens. Even though sometimes I can't understand it. (Like you know how much I love Apollo 13? Try googling the phrase "gimbal lock." Good luck with that.)

So how does this play out? It means I read. Voraciously. When Natalie was born we read Baby Wise. So happy we did. And I have spent countless hours on a blog reading about its implementation from one mom's perspective (see here). I read a week-by-week baby book, and the What to Expect version for infants. I'm currently reading The Wonder Weeks and let me tell you, is that ever applicable! (We are in Wonder Week 12 right now, if you've ever read it.)

Mostly this knowledge is beneficial. Why is Natalie so clingy/fussy this week, and why won't she nap? Answer: it's a wonder week. How did Natalie sleep through the night (10 hours) at 8 weeks, and never look back? Answer: Baby Wise.

Sometimes though, it's not. For example, nap time. I have spent hours researching Natalie's 45-minute naps. Hours. I have tried every suggestion out there, and grown more and more frustrated when mother after mother said, "Oh, this worked for me!" and I struck out repeatedly. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. So one day, about two weeks ago now, I decided OH WELL.

I have tried every suggestion with no luck and decided to just give up. I cannot force her to sleep. All I can do is provide opportunities. And as she is generally such a happy baby, and so content even though she barely naps, I've decided to just go with it. Her personality is really coming out: she now knows it's nap time, and she doesn't like it. We'll go into the bedroom and I'll start to swaddle her, and she'll start to scream. And it's not the swaddle. It's the nap. We used to sing "Jesus Loves Me" before nap times (because I read infants thrive on routines) until it got to the point where she'd start crying when I'd start singing, because she knew what was coming.

What a smart little stinker.

So while it seems like knowledge has failed me this round, I would say there are some things I have taken away from my experience. Primarily is that I know my baby better. When she wakes up in the middle of her naps, I can usually tell whether she just needs some help getting back to sleep or whether she's just going to lie in her crib and scream until she gets up. Six weeks of four challenging naps a day will do that to you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

time sure flew

How is it Thanksgiving in three days?

I swear it should still be September. I think having a baby worked a real number on me, because I can't believe there's snow on the ground and Christmas decorations out already.

Usually I love this time of year. I guess I shouldn't say "usually," because I do still love it, it's just that it caught me by surprise. Normally I'm counting down the days to the holidays, and this year they snuck up on me.

It's almost Thanksgiving, for crying out loud! What happened to August and September and October? It's like those three months never happened; like they just passed me by. I feel like I missed out on a beautiful fall while stuck in a never-ending cycle of poopy diapers and bottles of formula.

What happened to Halloween and Columbus Day? I missed them. The one thing about working every day is that you don't lose track of time. You go to work, say, "Oh, today is Tuesday, October 18th" and the next day you go to work and say, "Oh, today is Wednesday, October 19th." There's none of this, "What day is it?" Or even worse, "What day of the week is it?"

Well, I'm back at work now, so I suppose that won't happen to me anymore. And as much as I love my little pumpkin, it's nice to be back out in the world.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

time for another plug

It's been a while since I did a plug on my bank's Christmas Club savings account, and with Christmas right around the corner, it's probably about time I do another one.

Who: Darren and Alaina
What: A check for a little over $1,300
When: This week
Where: In the mail
Why: To buy Christmas presents
How: By taking advantage of the Christmas Club savings account

Reminds you of elementary school, no?

So this week I got my annual disbursement of our Christmas Club savings account. We have set up an automatic transfer from our checking account of $25 every Monday. Who misses $25 a week?

Not me. (Although now it's $50 a week because we set up a savings account for Natalie's college fund, too. And it's a lot easier to miss $50 a week than $25. But that's another story.)

Thirteen hundred dollars is a lot of money. No, we do not spend that much on Christmas. In fact, our budget is almost a thousand dollars less. But I swear somehow every year there's hardly any left. Hopefully this year we will save more of it, since Darren and I have decided not to buy presents for each other, or for Natalie. We all will get enough as it is.

But even still, it's nice to have that little nest egg around this time of the year. Whatever we don't spend we throw back in our savings. We're always buying something; I'm sure we'll find a use for it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How I saved $228.83

I went to Target today with the most massive list ever, and the biggest stack of coupons ever.

And boy did I save. Remember how I told you about my Target REDcard and my pharmacy rewards here? Well I knew I wanted to take advantage of my extra 5% off so I planned a huge shopping trip. And also, since it's now way harder to get to Target than it used to be, I try to limit my trips.

I saved $228.83 today at Target. That's a lot of money. Here's how it broke down:

-I had $93.24 in coupons (the majority of which were for formula)
-I got $5.43 in free products by taking advantage of Target promotions
-I saved $30.16 by using my REDcard (5% pharmacy rewards, 5% regular REDcard discount)
-And I had two $50 prepaid Visa gift cards. One I got from taking a USBank survey about our USBank credit card. (I thought it was only $20, so I was SUPER excited when it rang up at $50 at the register.) The other I got from participating in BlueCross BlueShield's pregnancy program. All I had to do was talk to a nurse every couple weeks, and fill out a survey at the end. Plus I got a free pregnancy book out of the deal, valued at about $40.

Some of the best deals:

Pampers wipes, regular price $2.39
-$1 Target coupon
-$0.50 manufacturer coupon
Final price: $0.89

Gerber Good Start formula, 23.2 oz, regular price $23.39
-$9.50 Gerber rebate check (I just get these in the mail; I have no idea where they come from. I suppose I signed up for something somewhere along the line.)
Final price: $13.89

Similac formula, 12.4 oz, regular price $14.69
-$5 Similac rebate check (Also just randomly come in the mail. And I get a lot of them. I used 6 of them this time, which made up $30 of my coupon savings. Also, the best part is that the checks are a form of payment and not considered coupons, so I could theoretically also use a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon for even more savings. Unfortunately I didn't have any.)
Final price: $9.69 each

Playtex tampons, 36 ct, sale price $6.99 (bought two)
-(2) $1/1 manufacturer's coupons
-Plus I took advantage of an unadvertised deal where if you bought two Playtex products you could get a pack of Carefree liners (36 ct) for free, value $3.09
Final price: $11.98 for all three, or $3.99 each

Schick Quattro razors, 3 ct, regular price $6.09 (bought two)
-Used B1G1 Free coupon
-Plus I took advantage of an unadvertised deal where if you bought two Schick Quattro razors you got a free Skintimate shave gel, value $2.34
Final price: $6.09 for all three, or $2.03 each

Idahoan scalloped potatoes, sale price $1.04
-Used $1/2 manufacturer's coupon
Final price: $0.54 each

Archer Farms Simply Balanced bread, $2.59
-Used $1 Target coupon
Final price: $1.59

Nestle chocolate chips, sale price $2.34 each
-Used $1.25/3 manufacturer coupon
Final price: $1.92 each

Philadelphia cooking creme, $3.14
-Used $1 manufacturer coupon
-Used $1 Target coupon
Final price: $1.14

Wedding/Birthday cards, $2.99, $2.99, and $2.69
-Used $2/3 Target coupon
Final price: $2.22 each

Ocean Spray juice, 64 oz, sale $1.99 each
-Used $1/2 coupon
Final price: $1.49 each

I used 36 coupons and those 7 formula rebate checks, plus had three methods of payment, so I think the checkout lady was glad to see me go. And I KNOW the woman in line behind me was annoyed. Did I mention we needed two carts? But all in all, even though it was a lot of work, took some time, and was slightly embarrassing, it was worth it to save almost $230.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Target REDcard

Ya'll know I love Target.

A lot.

I loved them even more when I got a "5% off a shopping day at Target" coupon in the mail this week, earned through the Pharmacy Rewards program. This is earned by using your REDcard to pay for five (new or transferred) prescriptions at Target pharmacy. This coupon can be combined with my 5% automatic REDcard discount (something I get every time I use my REDcard at Target or Target.com) for even greater savings.

And if this doesn't convince you, how about free shipping? Recently Target added another benefit to the Target REDcard, free shipping from Target.com when you use your REDcard, no minimum purchase required.

Now all that was just a plug for the Target REDcard. The real reason I decided to write this post, is that I have been remiss.

See, I knew that Target donates to schools. And I knew that my purchases could have a direct impact. But somehow I always kept forgetting to look into it, until today. You can enroll in the Take Charge of Education program (click here) to select a school for donation. Target will donate 1% of your REDcard purchases to a school of your choice (so long as they are enrolled in the program). And while 1% seems pretty minuscule at first, when I think of the thousands of dollars I spend at Target every year it really can add up. By selecting a school I am able to see the total amount donated to that school, and the number of cardholders who have selected it. I'm proud to say I am the 56th person who has selected Pine River-Backus High School. Well, proud might be stretching it, but I did have a great high school experience, and want to give something back. And the best part is it won't cost me a thing!

So get yourself a REDcard, and get saving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

back in the saddle again

Today was my first day back to work from maternity leave. I actually had a really great day, and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I know without a doubt that's mostly because Natalie stayed home with Darren instead of going to a daycare. Wow, that would have been hard.

In a way, it felt almost like I never left work. Almost like I picked up where I left off. Even down to the fact that I'm working on the same audit I left, although then I was wrapping it up, and now I'm just starting it again for another year.

But at the same time, so much had changed. I was gone for three months. I became a mother. I didn't just get to go home and sit on the couch like I did all summer when Darren was gone. I got to come home to my husband and my beautiful baby girl. And there is nothing better after a long day at the office than coming home to a smiling baby.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pumpkin's nuk

I never knew why a pacifier was referred to as a nuk. As a kid, I thought it was "nook" and I never understood it.

It wasn't until I had a kid, and she loved her pacifier (nuk brand), that I understood where the name came from. It only took 24 years.

Pumpkin loves her nuk. LOVES it.

I alternate between love and hatred, myself. On one hand, I wish she didn't need it so much, but on the other hand, I love that she hardly ever cries, because she has it. Sometimes I get worried she'll get too dependent on it, or that I'll have a hard time taking it away when the time comes. It's a fine line.

Right now, for example, she uses it when she sleeps, but not all the time. She starts her naps without it and can put herself to sleep (unless she's been awake too long and is overtired, but that's another story). However, with her whole wake-up-every-45-minutes-of-a-nap deal, we use the pacifier to get her back to sleep. She can get herself to sleep initially without it, but those middle-of-the-nap times she usually needs it to go back to sleep. Sometimes she'll make it through, but those times are rare. And sometimes I let her cry for a while, just to see if she'll go back to sleep eventually, but usually what happens is that she gets so worked up and upset it takes both the nuk and me holding her to calm her down enough to go to sleep.

This is very weird for me. I don't understand how she can put herself to sleep without it at the beginning of naps but almost always need it in the middle. Hopefully someday we'll move past it. I think when (IF) the day comes that she stops waking so frequently in the middle of her naps it will help a lot.She hardly ever uses it at night. Every once in a while when we put her down for the night, if she's been awake too long or took exceptionally bad afternoon naps, she'll need her nuk to go to sleep. Otherwise it's a rare occasion that she uses it at night, which I guess is why I'm okay with her using it so much during the day.

But who knows. Maybe someday in the not-so-distant future I will greatly regret letting Pumpkin use her nuk so often. Or maybe not. Time will tell.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

the new normal

I keep waiting for life to get back to normal.

Newsflash: It's not going to happen. Because this is my new normal.

My new normal is not having enough time for anything, is no more sleeping in or staying up late, is no more quick runs to the store, is no more watching a movie from beginning to end without interruptions.

It is hard to get used to this. Definitely harder than I thought. But all new things are at first. Until one day, who knows how long from now, one day things will seem...normal.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank a Veteran

Today is Veterans Day. I am so thankful for the veterans in my life. It's so amazing to witness that kind of sacrifice firsthand. So inspirational.

A special thank you to all the veterans out there, past, present, and future. May God bless you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

the end of an era

I have to go back to work on Monday. Maternity leave is over. Not happy about it.

Right around week eight, I was like, "I can't wait to go back to work!" Well that lasted about three days, and since then I've been dreading it.

Maybe dreading isn't the right word. As much as I love my little Pumpkin, there are some days where I would love to go away for a couple hours, and be more productive than just sitting on the couch, waiting for the next feeding to come and the baby to wake up. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom. But it's hard. Way harder than working. Although once I go back to work I'll probably think it's hard to be away from my baby all day long.

And at least I'm only going back part-time. And Natalie will be home with Darren while I am gone. So that's something. I can't imagine putting her in daycare. I think my heart would break into a million pieces to leave her with strangers all day.

Ah well, it is what it is. Maternity leave, I will miss you.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


STTN. Mommy shorthand for Sleeping Through The Night.

Last night I was in bed, trying to fall asleep, thinking about how I was going to write a post about how Natalie has been sleeping through the night pretty consistently for two weeks now.

And then she woke up at 4:10 this morning. Although, to be fair, I'm not sure if she was hungry or if something else really woke her and she decided she should eat. Darren and I had shut the vent in the living room because it was getting so warm, and we forgot to open it back up before we went to bed, so when I got her at 4 her poor little hands (which she frequently works outside her swaddle) were freezing.

Poor baby. So maybe she was just cold.

And yes, she sleeps in the living room in her bassinet. I would never get a full night's rest otherwise. That girl is noisy. I think I'm the lightest sleeper in the world. The living room is a perfect solution: I can hear her cry, but not much else.

Anyway, I only gave her a couple ounces, put her back down, and back to sleep she went. Such a good baby.

In any case, since Natalie started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks on the dot, and this was only the third time she's woken in the middle of the night, I consider us to be STTN on a regular basis.

It. Is. Awesome. She goes down about 7:10 after her bath, we do a dreamfeed at 9:30, and then she usually wakes herself up between 7:10-7:20. I'm loving it. She won't nap well to save her life, but it's a work in process. Gotta say, I'm jealous of those moms who say, "Oh, Georgie takes good two-hour naps three times a day, and a little catnap in the evening."

Not this one. She regularly sleeps like a rock the first 45 minutes, and then we do a little off-and-on battle until it's time to eat again. Apparently this whole 45 minute thing is common. I've spent hours reading about it, and tried every solution: down earlier, down later, more stimulation, less stimulation, white noise, no noise, nuk, no nuk. Nothing works regularly. Some say it's just a phase. I say I hope it ends soon.

But I suppose, if I had to pick between good naps, or sleeping through the night, STTN would win every time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

what makes a book "good"?

I finished The Hunger Games series last week. Excellent series, in my opinion. I love reading a book I just can't put down.

You know some books, they're just, well...books. Nothing too exciting there. But then other books, they are masterpieces. These are the books you just can't put down, the ones you stay up until 3am reading. These are the books you continue to think about long after the story is over. Where you think, "I wonder what happens next?" and then tell yourself you're being ridiculous, because it's just a book, not real life, and it's over and done, and nothing happens next. It's The End. Finished.

There are few books I've ever read that are in this category, but they tend to be the books I read over and over again, and they also tend to be in a series. So, here are some of my favorites:

  • The Hunger Games series

  • Harry Potter series

  • Twilight series (although the movies ruined it for me)

  • Pretense (not actually a series, but long enough to conceivably be one)

  • The Lauren Holbrook series (which I've read about three times in the past year. Chick lit, yes. Hilarious, YES.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

two months

I can't believe Christmas is two months from today!

It's going to be here before I know it. Every year I tell myself I'm going to get a jump on holiday shopping, and it never happens. But maybe this year will be the year. Maybe.

I always have the hardest time figuring out gifts for people, which is why I typically resort to gift cards. I even keep a list on my computer, which I update year-round whenever I think of a good present to give someone, or they mention something they wish they had. But somehow it never works out like I think it will. Of course Darren is the easiest to keep track of, because he's always telling me about some hunting gadget he wants, but he has a nasty tendency to go out and buy it before Christmas arrives. And my mom did the same thing to me last year! I thought, "Oh, I should get Mom a Kindle. She would really like that." So I order it, and then literally the next day I find out she ordered one for herself! But perhaps this year will be different...

In honor of an ever-nearing holiday (and an ever-stressful event), please take my poll and let me know when you start your holiday shopping. And may I wish us all a very successful gift-giving endeavor.

I'm going to need it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I think "formula" should be the code-word for "expensive."

I mean, I knew when I stopped breastfeeding that it was going to cost a lot of money to buy formula, but I didn't know that "a lot of money" really means "thousands of dollars."

No joke. I've read that parents should expect to spend about $1,200 a year on formula. And at $1 per ounce, it's probably one of the more expensive food products you can buy. Fortunately I had received about a two month supply of various brands of formula from my clinic and through the mail.

No, I have no idea how or why I received formula in the mail. But I wasn't complaining.

I just spent $106.74 on formula, and that was after my $35 in coupons. (Yes, you can find some excellent formula coupons, but $5 off of "a lot" is still "a lot.")

Granted, this much formula will probably last us for two months or so. Well, that's at the rate Natalie is eating right now...I did just sign up today for a program through Enfamil, and hopefully will be getting even more coupons soon. I just about cleaned out my stash today.

I have heard that since the FDS monitors baby formula so closely, generic brands are considered just as good as name brands. Probably when my coupons run out I'll make the switch, but for now I can get brand names cheaper.

Although I would hardly classify any kind of formula as "cheap."

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Well, we survived. A week of medicine for Natalie and just like that, all better.

It took me a little longer. I thought I was going to die from the combination of sleep deprivation and lack of food and water.

Not healthy. Not healthy at all. Just about passed out a couple of times, which would have been very not good.

It's hard to force myself to sleep, but I give it my best. It's been at least a week since I last spent two hours in the middle of the night staring at the ceiling.

There's nothing worse than those 2-4am hours spent staring at the ceiling. It's exhausting.

I've also been eating better, even if sometimes Darren has to remind me, or put a can of soup and a bowl on the counter for me in the morning. It's very strange, this state of "never-hungry" I'm in. It's never happened to me before, but really, it isn't all that bad. When you're never hungry, you don't miss food. I do well when we go up north for the weekends and people prepare food for me. I get my three meals a day in then. It's just when I'm down in the cities by myself, it just seems like so much work, and hey, since I'm not hungry anyway...well, I just let it go.

But I did have some cereal for breakfast today, a meal I'd started skipping. And sadly, what got me back on track is the knowledge that eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories. (Now is that sad or what?) I once read that it's better to eat a donut for breakfast than to eat nothing.

Amen to that.

So, we are progressing. I'm sleeping and eating. Natalie is most definitely eating and sleeping. In fact, she slept through the night the past two nights. She went 10 whole hours between feedings the past two nights, which has been amazing. I, of course, still wake up around 5:00/5:30 and toss and turn, expecting her to start crying any minute, every little peep she makes keeping me from falling asleep, but hopefully that will pass with time.

What I have most taken away from this experience, is that being a mom is hard.


It's not all smiles and kisses all the time. It is sacrifice. But so worth it.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

survival mode

Right now I am operating in survival mode. My main objectives:

1. Sleep
2. Eat
3. Do whatever it takes to accomplish #1 and #2

This means that Natalie has gone to bed with her pacifier, and slept half the night in the swing. It also means I have lived off of granola bars for two days straight, because hey, those are food, right? And even if they aren't, sleep is my primary goal, and preparing food is a far, far second.

Do you know how little sleep one needs on a consistent basis to not fall over from exhaustion? I do. It's approximately 5 hours per night. It doesn't have to be (and isn't) five hours straight. It's more like an hour and a half here, and then a three hours stretch, and then a couple fifteen-minute cat naps.

And do you know how little food one needs to survive? Answer: two granola bars per day. It's amazing what little food it takes.

Natalie's six-week growth spurt threw me for a loop. I was so used to getting up only once during the night around the 3-4am hour, and only feeding her every three hours during the day. And then suddenly BAM! Midnight wakings, eating every two hours during the day. It was tough.

But, trying to be the best mom I could be, I powered through it. Heck, I even offered the remainder of my frozen breastmilk to my now formula-fed baby. Because "breast is best," right?

Big. Mistake. And that's Big with a capital "B."

You see, that breastmilk had been pumped during mastitis round one (Yes, there were two rounds. It was killer.), meaning I was on antibiotics.

Oh, the joys of antibiotics. Made me all better. Baby, not so much.

Natalie developed thrush. And I am hoping...heck, I am PRAYING, that the thrush is why she has had such a hard time getting back into the swing of things. Why she continually wakes all night long and won't sleep wither her pacifier, or the swing, or sometimes BOTH. It has been BRUTAL. I think I would rather have mastitis again.

Yes, I did say I would rather have mastitis again. Never thought I would say that. But the last time I slept through the night was...well, before Natalie was born. And the last time I got more than five hours of sleep was...a week ago?

We have been having a terrible time. Mostly me. I'm up all hours of the night, crying on the couch because everything is so much harder than I thought it would be. I can't sleep. I can't eat. All I do is stare at the ceiling, praying to God to make it easier. Praying that my baby will fall asleep somehow, and sleep for at least three hours. Praying that when that finally happens, that I will fall asleep soon, so I can maybe get two hours in. Praying that this horrible period will just be over.

And it's not over. But I'm still standing (barely). I'm still surviving.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

six weeks

Natalie is six weeks old today! I can't believe how quickly the last six weeks went. That it was only six weeks ago she was born.

Although in some ways it feels like a lifetime.

The past six weeks have been some of the craziest, most exhausting, most wonderful weeks of my life. I'm excited to see what the next 18 years will bring.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

enjoy the moment

Sometimes I find myself thinking, "I can't wait until Natalie sleeps through the night."

I mean, really, who wouldn't think that?

And after that it will be, "I can't wait until Natalie crawls."

And then walks. And then feeds herself. And then is out of diapers.

And I forget to enjoy the moment. I forget to enjoy her tiny little body curled up next to me while she eats at 3:00 am. I forget to marvel at her precious baby face and her petite hands and feet. Because before I know it, she will be sleeping through the night. And crawling and walking and running and growing up.

So. Deep breath. Relax. And enjoy.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I didn't know how hard it would be.

How little sleep I would get.

How worried I would be about all the things that could possibly go wrong.

Or how much I would love this tiny little person.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

a long time coming

Natalie Rose Bundy was born on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 (my due date!) at 6:44 am. She weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and was 21 inches long.

Love at first sight.

My water broke on Saturday afternoon, and our little pumpkin arrived 60-some hours later.

First family picture.

Friday, August 19, 2011

four days?

My due date is in four days.

Four. Days.

Is that crazy, or is that crazy?! I don't know if I'm ready. I mean, I am. I'm excited to meet the baby (REALLY excited) and we have everything all ready to go, but sometimes I wonder if I'm mentally prepared. I mean, I know what pregnancy entails. It's pretty much like my regular life before I was pregnant, except I weigh a lot more and don't move as fast and there's a person kicking my bladder. It's been pretty easy, and I can handle it.

In contrast, I have no idea what a baby will bring. Life will change. Drastically. Permanently. And I'm not sure I'm entirely prepared for it. Excited, yes. Prepared? Well...I guess we'll see.

My doctor told me this week that it could still be a couple weeks until baby makes his/her appearance. I think I am the first woman in the history of the world who sort of doesn't want to deliver on/before my due date. I'm totally down with being a week late.

Although any longer than that might be pushing it.

cookin' like crazy

Darren and I have been cooking and freezing lots of meals for when the baby comes. The past couple weekends we've made chicken enchiladas, cheesy potatoes, lasagna, meatloaf, tator tot hotdish, a cheesy chicken casserole, and some delicious homemade blueberry muffins.

YUM. I cannot wait to eat all this good food, especially since I haven't been eating very many "home-cooked" meals in the past couple months.

If anyone knows any delicious freezer-friendly meals, we're always ready to try something new.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Today is the day...

...I am so over being pregnant.

My entire pregnancy has been so easy, so pain-free, until this week. The swelling has finally gotten bad enough that it's driving me crazy. My ring barely fits, my feet are puffing over my shoes, and I gained two pounds in two days.

Not even cool.

And now, I'm done. I'm ready for this baby to come.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I can't believe I forgot...

...to make my bed.

And not just once. Twice.

Two times in the past two weeks I have forgotten to make my bed in the morning.

This. Never. Happens.

I almost didn't even know what to do with myself. The first time, I realized while I was at work that I had forgotten to make it before I left home. And the second time, yesterday, I didn't realize until I got home and saw it was still unmade!

What is this world coming to?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why I Love...


I love to read magazines. So many helpful tips, recipes, and good stories.

A couple months ago I read about a website that had great deals on magazines: magazines.com.

Today I ordered a 15-issue subscription to Woman's Day for free. Free. As in, I paid zero dollars and zero cents by using a $10 gift certificate magazines.com had sent me via email.

And even better, when I use the website ebates.com to go to magazines.com, ebates calculates a portion of what I spent and will send me a rebate check quarterly. My last one was $15.

Awesome day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Wow, it's been a long time since I wrote a blog post. Almost two months.

Two months is a long time. Just think of all the things that can happen in two months!

Here's what happened to me:

-I gained six pounds.
-I ate seventeen hot dogs and twenty-five s'mores.
-Okay, I actually gained eight pounds.
-I ate thirteen bowls of ice cream...
-...and one bag of dark chocolate M&M's.
-Really, I gained ten pounds. I swear, that's it!
-I realized I no longer cared about weight gain, and started eating potato chips daily.

I've just been plugging (or waddling) along, enjoying the last few weeks of pregnancy. We're in the final countdown now! At 35 weeks, there are only 5 weeks left until my due date. I can't believe it's so close!

And I promise I will try to write again soon. And think of something more exciting than my ten pounds weight gain to share with you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Target and Cub this week


Strawberries, $3.50
-use Cub in-ad coupon to buy one, get one free
Final price: $1.75 each

Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ, $1
-use $1/3 from 5/22 SS
Final price: $0.67 each (I love to stock up on BBQ when it's cheap, because frequently I will go through a bottle or two at a time using it as a marinade.)

Suddenly Salad, $1

Heinz Ketchup, $1.67
-use $0.25/1 from 5/22 SS
Final price: $1.42

Hidden Valley Ranch, 16oz, $1.99
-use in-ad Cub coupon to get the sale price
Final price: $1.99 each

Pillsbury brownie mix, $0.99
-use $0.50/1 in-ad Cub coupon (actually a manufacturer's coupon)
Final price: $0.49


Suave Invisible Protection Deoderant, $0.97
-use $0.75/1 from 5/22 RP
Final price: $0.22

Sure Deoderant, $1.50
-use $1/1 from 5/15 SS
Final price: $0.50

Suave body wash, $1.59, buy two
-use buy one get one free from 5/22 RP
Final price: $0.80 each

Old Spice Body Wash, $3.99
-use $1/1 from 5/22 Target insert (use two if you have them!)
-use buy one get one free from 5/1 P&G insert
Final price: $1.00 to $1.50 each

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

gestational diabetes testing

Last Wednesday I had to do the glucose challenge test, which is a screening tool for gestational diabetes. The clinic staff had recommended eating as normal before this test (which goes against everything I had heard from other people regarding their tests, but being as the nurses said it was okay to eat, I figured I would do it). Darren and I went to the clinic Wednesday afternoon, I drank the sugary drink (which tasted like flat orange soda), and we waited for them to check my blood sugar in an hour.

One hour and one finger prick later, I was given a piece of paper telling me to schedule a more extensive test at the hospital because I had failed the screening.

Probably I shouldn't have eaten a piece of cake that morning...I guess maybe cake shouldn't be considered a "normal" part of one's daily diet. Now how sad is that?

So yesterday morning I took the extensive version of the test. We arrive at the hospital around 7:15, me absolutely starving because I hadn't been allowed to eat since dinner the night before. We went to the lab where they took my "fasting" blood sugar. And no more easy finger pricks; they actually drew a vial. After they determined it was okay for me to consume a million grams of sugar or whatever, I was given another flat orange drink (this time double the amount) and sat down to wait. For three hours.

Hour one was rough. All that sugar hitting my empty stomach made me want to throw up. And apparently, that's pretty common. As soon as I got up for my 1st hour blood draw, though, I felt a lot better. Hours two and three were pretty unexciting. I watched some History channel, read some of my book, and watched Darren play Angry Birds on his phone.

After the three hours were over the hospital wanted me to go down to the cafeteria and eat before leaving. They said the results would be ready by the time we were done. We even each got a $5 gift card to eat down there, which meant a free lunch.

When we went back up, the receptionist/nurse said, "Did you feel okay during the test? You didn't throw up or anything, did you? I've never seen anyone's numbers so low." I said, "Oh, well that's good. And no, I didn't." Although I seriously felt like it for that first hour. Which was when my blood sugar was the lowest. Ironically, also the time when my blood sugar was allowed to be the highest and still pass the test.

So I'm not sure how my numbers could be so low the second time around, and high enough to fail the first time around. Unless it was that cake I ate. Lesson learned, there.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cub this week

Some great deals at Cub this week:

Blueberries, buy one get one free with in-ad coupon (2/$4)
My primary purpose in going to Cub this week was to get blueberries, and of course they only had one carton left!

Miracle Whip 30 oz, $1.99 (with in-ad coupon)
-Use $1/2 from 5/15 SmartSource
Final price: $1.49 each

Duncan Hines brownie mix, sale price $1.00
-Use $0.50/1 printable
Final price: $0.50

Lawry's marinade, sale price $1.00
-Use $0.50/1 from 5/15 Red Plum
Final price: $0.50

La Banderita flour tortillas, $1.00

Kemp's sour cream, $1.67

Yoplait yogurt, sale price $0.50
-Use $0.40/6 printable
Final price: $0.43 each

Tombstone pizza, sale price $3.33 each

Ball Park hot dogs, sale price $1.99
-Use $0.75/2 from 5/1 Red Plum
Final price: $1.62 each

Brownberry wide-pan bread, $4.29
-Use "buy one get one free" coupon from coupon book (near front of store by weekly flyer)
Final price: $2.15 each (An okay price for multigrain bread. I'm out so I got the two loaves and froze them.)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

pharmacy shopping

I just started shopping at Walgreens and CVS. My first trip I got all this for $5.87!

Just to let you know how great of a deal this was, one bottle of the Clean and Clear body wash retails for $5.99. So it was like getting the rest for free!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

$1 or Less at Target

Some good deals at Target this week:

Stride single pack gum, $1.29, buy 2
Use $1/2 coupon from 4/3 SS (SmartSource)
Final price: $0.79 each

Fuze Slenderize, $1.00, buy 2
Use $1/2 coupon
Final price: $0.50 each

Yoplait Light 4-pack, sale price $1.73 ($0.43 each), buy 2
Use $0.50/2 coupon
Final price: $0.37 each

Nivea Body Wash, $3.14
Use $3/1 coupon from 4/17 RP (Red Plum)
Final price: $0.14

Schick Quattro for Women disposable razors, 3 pack, $5.24 ($1.75 each)
Use $2/1 Target coupon
Use $1/1 manufacturer coupon
Final price: $0.75 each

Colgate Total, sale price $2.49
Use $1/1 Target coupon from 4/17 SS
Use $1/1 manufacturer coupon from 4/10 SS
Final price: $0.49

Revlon Nail Clippers, $2.29
Use $2/1 Target coupon from 4/17 SS
Final price: $0.29

Up & Up 20 ct pantiliners, $0.89
Use $0.50 feminine care Target website printable
Final price: $0.39 ($0.0195 each)

Carefree 20ct pantiliners, $0.99
Use Target coupon from 4/17 SS to bring price to $0.01
Use $0.50/1 manufacturers coupon from 3/27 RP
Final price: $0.49 overage (better than free!)

Market Pantry frozen veggies, $1.04, buy 4
$1/4 Target website printable
Final price: $0.79 each

Always feminine products promotion:
-Always 100ct pads, $5.64
-Always 36 ct pads, $5.60
-Always 28 ct pantiliners, $5.60
Use $1/1 manufacturer coupon
Use $2/1 manufacturer coupon
Use $0.50/1 manufacturer coupon
Receive $5 gift card when you buy three participating products
Final price: $8.34 for all three, or about $0.05 per item

Monday, April 25, 2011

Target this week

Note: This post I originally tried to publish the beginning of April, but as I downloaded the new internet explorer, I am unable to publish posts to blogger. I did finally get this one published, but posts will be few and far between until these "technical difficulties" are figured out...

I got a couple great deals at Target this week:

Charmin Sensitive 18-packs, sale price $9.99, buy 2
Use $2/1 Target coupon
Use $1/1 Target coupon
Use 2 $1/1 manufacturer's coupons
Receive $5 gift card when you buy 2 select products
Final price: $4.99 each, or $0.28 per roll

Trident layers, $1.32, buy 2
Use $1/2 Target coupon
Final price: $0.82 each

Biore Pore Strips, $6.14 & Biore Cleanser, $6.14
Use "Buy 1 pore strips get cleanser free" coupon (up to $9.00 value)
Final price: $6.14 for both, or $3.07 each
I got this coupon in last Sunday's paper

Colgate Total toothpaste, $2.99
Use $1.50 manufacturer's coupon
Use $1/1 Target coupon
Final price: $0.49

Market Pantry Ice Cream, 48 oz, $2.19
Use $1/1 Target printable coupon
Final price: $1.19

Huggies diapers, size 1, 50 count, $8.99
Use $3/1 manufacturer's coupon
Use $2.50/1 Target coupon
Final price: $3.49, or $0.07 each
Now this one I KNOW is a good deal!

Remember, most of my deal ideas come from Couponing101.com or PocketYourDollars.com. These website provide links to the coupons (which I never do because I can't remember where I got half of them from) and make couponing really easy and less time-consuming.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Why I Love...

...chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.

My mom brought me back chocolate-covered macadamia nuts from Hawaii.

And let me tell you straight away, if they aren't from Hawaii they don't taste the same. Unless maybe you can find these boxes somewhere. I have tried buying the Mauna Loa brand at Target before (they come in bags) and it just isn't the same.

Eating chocolate-covered macadamia nuts reminds me of Hawaii. The sound of the ocean crashing on rocks, the smell of Banana Boat sunscreen and saltwater, and the burning sensation of the sun on my skin...

It's a good thing.

This was last week. I'm sad to report there are only about three left. So if anyone is going to Hawaii any time soon...you just let me know.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


We had our ultrasound Tuesday morning.

Best. Thing. Ever.

It was so much fun to watch the baby moving around. We got quite a few good ultrasound pictures. I had no idea how many they would give us, but we ended up with about ten or so.

Here is our favorite one of the baby's profile.
The tech looked and measured everything and then said she would try to get us some 3D pictures. She had a hard time at first because the umbilical cord was too close to the baby's face and was in the way. In the above picture you can see it (that diagonal line going from the baby's neck to the bottom-left).
She also had a hard time because baby kept hiding its face in its arm. We actually have another picture where its face is in its shoulder.

Baby's foot, which is really only a couple centimeters big. It was weird seeing the baby on the screen because it looked so normal, and then the tech would say stuff like, "Baby's head is two inches wide." It's crazy baby is so small still!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mom's homemade pizza

Darren and I love homemade pizza. It's quick and easy, and tastes so delicious. This is how my mom made it when I was growing up. Start with a loaf of frozen bread dough. My mom and I use this brand; it comes four loaves in a package. Sometimes when I forget to get the dough out I'll use the instant package stuff. It's a pretty good second. Place the dough on a plate sprayed with Pam and cover it with Pam-sprayed plastic wrap. It gets sticky.
It takes the dough 4-6 hours to rise (and thaw), so you have to plan ahead a bit. Roll the dough out once it's ready. I use my pizza stone, so I don't grease the pan. I'm not sure if you would have to grease a regular pan. Someone should try it and let me know. And yes, I realize I did a really poor roll job, here.

Bake the crust at 350 degrees for about ten minutes. It will poof up a bit.

I like Ragu pizza sauce.
Spread half the jar of pizza sauce over the baked crust.

Now add whatever toppings you want! We're pretty Plain Jane around here, and just like pepperoni.

Bake at 350 for another 12-15 minutes or so. Cut and enjoy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

a good price?

So I had some coupons for diapers the other day. And me, being me, stocked up. And I wondered, what's a good price for diapers? With my coupons I got a 152 count of Huggies size 1 for about the same price as generic brand, which worked out to $0.16 per diaper. I also got some size 2s (also Huggies) for $0.12 per diaper (I don't remember how this compared to generic). I wanted more 1s (obviously!) but they didn't have any in the kind/size I needed for my coupons, so I did get some 2s. I also got some Huggies wipes which were $0.02 each after my coupons. Are these good deals? What do you pay?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

clothes shopping

Several weeks ago I was up north for work, and Mom met me and we went shopping for maternity clothes. We scored some fabulous deals.

After taking coupons, item mark downs, and the yellow-dot clearance into account, these shirts were $3.59 each.

These shirts were $4.72 each.

These two are pretty much the same - one is solid gray and the other is black and white stripes - and were $5.10.

These four were $6.72 each...

...and these cute cargo capris were also $6.72.

The most expensive shirts we got were $7.20 each. The black one with the sequins on top is my favorite. I've worn it several times already.

I love great deals!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Verna's chocolate zucchini bread

There are no times like the hard times that bring out the true character of people. When my dad died my family was surrounded by loving support from our church. People came to spend time with us, to share in our heartache, and to bring food. They brought a lot of food. Of all the food that appeared at our house, there are two things I remember in particular. One was a delicious beef stew, and the other was this chocolate zucchini bread, brought by a woman named Verna. I'm not sure if this recipe originated with Verna or with someone else, but I will always think of this bread as Verna's Chocolate Zucchini Bread.

Some time later, I asked Verna for the recipe. Lo and behold, it was in the church cookbook. I don't have the church cookbook (it was my mom's), but I have the recipe written out. Here's how to make this delicious bread: You will need: 3 eggs 1 cup vegetable oil (can substitute applesauce) 2 cups sugar 1 tbsp vanilla 2 cups shredded, peeled zucchini (I freeze zucchini this way so I have it just for this bread) 2 1/2 cups flour 1/2 cup baking cocoa 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp baking powder 1 bag chocolate chips Beat eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in zucchini. Combine dry ingredients and add to zucchini mixture. Mix well. Pour into 2 greased 8x4x2 loaf pans (this is a regular size loaf pan). Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until bread tests done. Store in fridge. Note: If you substitute applesauce for oil (which I have - it cuts A LOT of calories), turn down the oven temp to 300 degrees, and bake for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. This bread will be more moist than bread made with oil. Enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

maternity jeans

Last weekend I finally purchased my first pair of maternity jeans.

They. Are. Awesome.

I had been putting it off for a while, partly because I could, but mostly because I couldn't find any that fit right. They were too short at Target, too big at Burlington Coat Factory, and just plain weird at JCPenney.

And then Darren made me go to Macy's. Let me tell you, there are positive things to be said for spending more money on maternity clothing. They make long jeans. (And regular and petite, but I'm not interested in those.) These jeans fit like a dream. Well, not like a dream - they are maternity pants, after all - but they fit so much better than my old Levi's I kept shoving into. I was long past the point of zipping them (and I've nearly forgotten what it's like to button pants) but they were still hideously uncomfortable.

So now I'm firmly into the maternity pants stage. I seriously doubt I own any more pants I could fit into, since my baby belly really exploded in size in the past two weeks. Every week I tell my husband I'm twice the size I was the week before.

It's probably more like three times the size.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

apple crisp

I was in the mood for apple crisp this weekend. Apple crisp reminds me of fall, and I usually make it at least once during that time, but since I missed last fall I figured it was acceptable to make it in March. Right? Start with 5-7 tart apples. I used 7 because I like apples in my apple crisp. I'm weird like that.

I have the Pampered Chef apple peeler/corer/slicer, which is absolutely amazing for making any apple dish. Works like a charm. I've never mastered the art of peeling apples (or peeling potatoes for that matter) and I don't plan to start now.

This is what the apple looks like after I crank it through the peeler/corer/slicer.

Just pull it off and the core is left behind. You can see the nice slices. It's like a continuous ring of apple slice, so I use a knife and quarter it (top to bottom) so the pieces are the right size. I also don't worry about the little bit of skin left on. Life's too short to be worrying about things like that.
Here's what it looks like after I quarter it.
Darren took this picture of me while I was doing the apples.
Put the apple slices in a bowl and add 3/4 cup sugar...
...a dash of salt...
...one teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. I was generous on both because I like it pretty flavorful.
Mix it up until the apples are nicely coated. Eat a few. Consider eating them all. Talk yourself out of it by reminding yourself how good it will taste baked.
Spread the apples in a 9x13 pan.
For the topping, mix 1 cup flour...
...1 cup lightly packed brown sugar...
...1/2 cup oatmeal...
...and one stick butter. Yes, I realize my bowl is dirty; it's the same one I mixed the apples in. Who wants more dirty dishes than necessary?
I love the Pampered Chef pastry...pastry...thing...to cut in butter. I can't remember what it's called; someone help me...
Sprinkle the topping over the apples and bake for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
Remove from oven when the top is nicely browned. Top with ice cream or cool whip. Think of fall and enjoy!