Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trick or Treat!

Last Saturday Jackson had his first Trick or Treat!  We decorated his little pumpkin...

We did his white footprint and turned it into a ghost!

My little Pumpkin.  His hat says baby's first halloween.  I didn't leave it on him for long cause it ways reallllly tight!

Then we dressed him up and went Trick or Treating with my nieces!  Jackson didn't go up for any candy... Most of what is handed out he can't eat (or isn't good for him to eat lol) so we just walked around the neighborhood and let my nieces do treating. 

He wasn't overly impressed haha but he enjoyed the walk at least.  Next year I imagine it'll be a lot more fun and active for sure!

What did you dress your little ones up as this year?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Journey to Debt-Free! -- Intro

Ok so I'm thinking of doing a new blog "series" just documenting our family's journey to becoming debt free and learning to really manage our money.  I'm not sure if I'm going to vlog any of it on my YouTube channel or not... I'll  have to give that some further thought.

Anyway, so this post is just an introduction to our journey and how we got ourselves in this sticky situation in the first place!

First of all, neither of our parents ever really TAUGHT us how to manage money.  Not because they didn't want to-- but because they probably had (have?) no clue themselves.  Both of our parents still carry several debts and the like.  I'm not criticizing their money management though because at the moment they both are paying their bills and have enough left to help us out (a lot).  But my point is that growing up we never really learned the importance of saving, and we learned several myths out there (that you HAVE to have credit, etc.).  When Brew & I got married we had both been working for some time.  I had worked in child care and then at the YMCA (both minimum wage jobs) but then upon graduating college I had worked a year as a substitute teacher while still living at home.  My husband was a part time college student and worked full time at first a tractor trailer manufacturing plant and then an auto parts store (more than min wage but not much more).  We both still lived at home, and we each had a small auto loan and credit card.  So most of the money we made we spent (albeit not always frivolously- I and the Promise Scholarship funded my entire college education for one).  I did have a modest savings account (a few thousand dollars), but my husband had ZERO savings.  We got married in 2010 and we were doing pretty good.  We used a portion of my savings to pay for our wedding (what my parents didn't help with) and honeymoon.  We were living rent-free (basically) and my husband had just gotten his better paying job at the medical supply company where he works now and I was subbing allll the time.  Brew was working LOTS of overtime and like I said I was working a lot too, usually 3-5 days a week and I had several long terms the first couple years of our marriage.  But we were stupid.  We made enough to pay our bills, eat, and have a little fun with-- so we did.  We went to 1-2 WVU games a year, we ate out allll the time, we bought an 18,000 Jeep, etc.  But dumb us didn't save much if any.  We did save a little and then we decided to buy a house and used the reminder of our savings for closing costs.

After we bought our house we were still doing ok with the new mortgage payment.  We had a little less play money but we made it work, we even had enough to purchase cable/DVR.  Still we spent (or gave) all of what we made though, and had little to no savings.

Then in 2012 I (finally) got pregnant!  We knew that after I had the baby I wouldn't get paid for my maternity leave so we did start saving some then.  At the time all of our bills were paid completely by Brew's paychecks and my paychecks were our fun money.  (yeah, that was the extent of the "budget"), so I started saving a portion of my paychecks throughout my pregnancy and figured if we had enough for two months of what I normally got paid that we would be fine.

Well in late summer of 2012 things changed a bit.  First of all, my husbands company hired a fourth driver AND cut OT almost simultaneously.  That meant that he was bringing home about $200-300 less each paycheck (around $500/month less!!!).  Ouch.  And then I had Jackson and obviously couldn't work for eight weeks (I was 6 weeks postpartum the week of Christmas so there was no school anyway).  Needless to say we blew through what we had saved in no time because we had to use our savings to pay bills AND buy gas, groceries, and any sort of fun thing we might do.  So since we went through all our savings we then had to start using credit cards to pay for groceries, gas, etc. AND even bills a few times.  So as you can imagine-- we racked up the credit card debt pretty darned fast.  To top it off- we now had lots of medical bills too (what the insurance didn't cover of Brew's sleep study he had done around the time we got pregnant, and then of course all the costs of labor/delivery, prenatal care, and our hospital stay).  So we went from having lots of "extra" money to play with to literally living paycheck to paycheck, never having any "fun money", barely buying groceries, and trying to figure out who didn't get paid this month cause it just wasn't there.

My cousins introduced us to Dave Ramsay's Financial Peace program.  We watched the DVDs and felt like THIS was what we needed.  This was our only way out that we could see.

The first thing we had to do was quit "living in the red" (meaning negative numbers!  we were spending more than we were bringing in!).  We stopped eating out almost entirely.  We cut our cable.  We sold my husbands drum set and used our tax return to pay off some of the smaller medical bills we had.  And most importantly we learned how to budget (well we are still learning), and started using his envelope system.  (Future blog post on budgeting and how we do it coming soon!). 

Now we have our budget figured out somewhat-- we are no longer spending more than we make-- but we don't have enough to save to start the Baby Steps.  So we have to do something "drastic".  We are trying now to sell our Jeep.  My parents gave us a... well "fixer uper" puts it nicely... anyway so my parents gave us that so my husband can drive it to work and then we also have the car that we already own to use as our main vehicle.  Once we can get the Jeep sold I'm confident we can get moving on this...

So come along with us for the ride!  I'm definitely going to share it all-- in hopes that maybe I can help someone else out there in the same situation!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

11 Months Old!

Seriously???  I'm going to have a one year old NEXT MONTH!  *sniff*

Here's my little ham at 11 months!
Words cannot describe just how much I LOVE this little guy!
Weight/Length: About 22lbs, 28.5in long
Clothing Size: 12 months
Diaper Size:  Just moved up to size 4 today!  (We started having nighttime leaks with the 3s a few weeks ago, so we switched to 4s at night and finished up the box of 3s today!)
Feeding: Breastfeeding- When I'm with him the whole day he nurses about 5 times in a 24hr period.  First thing when he wakes up, before his two naps, before bed, and once during the night.  When I am working though he takes a sippy of breastmilk (no more bottles for this dude!), 4oz on my half days and 8oz on my full days, and he usually wants to nurse at some point in the evenings, I think just as our little "reconnecting" time, I don't mind in the slightest! <3 br=""> Solids- usually eats 3 meals a day. He eats mostly table food, just whatever we are having.  He does get purees occasionally but we have been buying the little pouches.  Those are super handy cause he can feed them to himself.  He'll also have some snacks here and there-- usually when I'm fixing dinner or something. 
Milestones: His new things this month are waving and pointing.  He STILL is not crawling but he gets around anyway (scoots on his butt and/or rolls).  He is ALMOST pulling up (can get as far as his knees).  His fine motor skills have really gotten good this month too-- perfect for picking up pieces of dog hair or other random bits of crap on the floor and putting in his mouth! :-p  Needless to say I've been getting better about vacuuming/sweeping!  He says two "real" words with meaning now,  and that's MaMa and DaDa.  He still jibber jabbers alllll the time.  He has two bottom teeth and the top two teeth are working their way through the gum right now.
Sleep: He's been doing great with nighttime sleep when he's not actively cutting a tooth/teeth.  We had a few weeks of a break this month and he was sleeping 8pm-2am, waking to nurse, then going back to sleep with us from 2am-7am.  When his teeth are bothering him though he wakes up about every three hours.  We are still part-time cosleeping and it's working out well for us.  After he turns a year I may try and focus more on getting him to sleep longer in his crib.  Naps are good usually.  He takes two naps- typically between 1.5-2.5 hours.  His morning one is around 10 and then his afternoon one he will go down between 2 and 3, depending on how long his morning nap was.  His new awesome development this month is he has started putting himself to sleep!  Both at naps and bedtime, if he doesn't nurse to sleep then instead of rocking or laying down w/him until he fell asleep, I now just have to lay him in his crib with his monkey lovey and his paci, turn his fan on, (and sometimes his little crib projector thingy) and he goes right to sleep!  Sometimes he fusses a little but literally by the time I get down the hall he stops and goes right to sleep.  It's awesome.  And total proof that your baby can and will learn to fall asleep on their own WITHOUT making them cry it out!  Now this has helped his ability to self soothe at night to some extent.  He will sometimes wake up around 10-11 and fuss for literally two seconds and go back to sleep.  When he wakes up around 2 though he hasn't figured out how to get back to sleep on his own (or else just doesn't want to).  But either way it's an improvement!
Likes/Dislikes:  He loves books, toy cars/trucks, little people toys, putting things in and out of containers, anything with buttons or knobs or switches, and music.  He dislikes sudden, loud noises (like the vacuum), and having things taken away from him that he can't have lol.

*** I filmed his video update today and will have it uploaded and embedded here as soon as I finish editing it!***

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Typical Saturday...

So I have toyed with the idea of doing a Day in the Life video before but honestly?  I don't ever think we do a whole lot of "fun" stuff on a normal day... and I'm not in the habit of filming everything either.  Soooo I thought I'd pick Saturday (since hubby & I are both home with Jackson) and just tell you what a "typical" Saturday looks like for us!

7:00am-  Yep, my son is an early riser and does NOT yet appreciate the gloriousness of sleeping in on weekends.  Soooo he wakes up BY 7 every day.  Anyway, he wakes up, and I nurse him, and we just all three enjoy some cuddle time in the mornings  (We are still part-time cosleeping)
7:30am- We finally all roll out of bed.  I change Jackson's diaper (we all still stay in our PJs for a while) and either Brew or I start cooking breakfast.  Saturdays are the only days we fix a "real" family sit-down breakfast.  Usually we have pancakes and/or eggs, or french toast, or waffles, or sausage gravy & biscuits, something like that.

8:30am-  We finish a leisurely breakfast and one of us will get Jackson dressed for the day and the other will clean up breakfast

9:00am-  Jackson & Daddy have some playtime while Mommy gets to take a nice long shower (all other mom's know that luxury!) and gets dressed for the day- which just means clean yoga pants and a hoodie if we aren't going anywhere!

10:00am- I nurse Jackson and he takes his morning nap while hubby showers and gets ready for the day too.  Jackson's naps range anywhere from 1.5-2 hours USUALLY so while he is sleeping I will try to get some sort of chore done (like laundry, etc) or sometimes just sit down and finally get to drink my (now reheated) coffee and watch youtube videos.

12:00pm- Jackson wakes up from his nap around 11:30 or 12, and we all eat some lunch.  This time is a good window of time to go out and do something too, whether we need to run an errand or maybe go somewhere fun like the park or pumpkin patch or whatever.  If we stay home, then we just have playtime with Jackson.  And a lot of that time he plays by himself too, he's great about that ;)

 2:30pm- By this time Jackson is ready for another nap (a little earlier if he had a shorter morning nap, sometimes as late as 3 if he took a long one)  So I nurse him and put him down.  Again, during his nap I usually do something like laundry or dishes or some other task I've ignored all week.  I also try to take this time to pump some.  My pumping output has decreased considerably so I now have to pump on my days off to get enough milk for him during the week.

4:00pm-  Jackson wakes up from his nap around now.  We usually just have more playtime or if we have somewhere to go in the evenings we will.  A lot of Saturdays we will go to my in-law's house for dinner and to spend the evening.

 5:00pm- Jackson ALWAYS used to want to nurse at this time, BUT I think he is starting to drop this feeding, because he only seems to want to nurse at this time if he's been away from me all day (my full work days).  On weekends/my half days, he doesn't usually ask to nurse now.

6:00pm- Cook and eat dinner

7:30pm-  Start Jackson's bedtime routine  (still the same as it's been for a while-- bath if needed, nakey time, pjs/clean diaper on, story, nurse, bed)

8:00pm- Jackson is usually in bed by now!  Now he has started falling asleep on his own in his crib if he doesn't fall asleep while nursing which is NICE!  After he's in bed we have some grown up time.  Most of the time we sort of do our own thing while together (like now, I'm blogging, hubby is watching netflix) but a lot of times we also will watch a movie/TV show together or sometimes just go to bed early and talk (haha both "talk" and actually talk ;)) 

10:00pm- We are usually in bed and going to sleep by now!  Haha I know it's probably early to some people but my kid is an early riser so that's what we do!  Jackson will sleep in his crib until about two or so then he'll wake up and I'll nurse him back to sleep with us where he sleeps till morning!

So there you have it, a typical Saturday-- not super exciting but I love my life & my little family and wouldn't trade it for the world!

How do you spend your Saturdays???

Saturday, October 12, 2013

First trip to the Pumpkin Patch!

Today we went to the pumpkin patch with my brother & his family!

Checking out the goats!

Cousin Parker & Jackson on the hayride!

My boys <3 br="" hayride="" on="" the="">

Love! ...also in honor of International Baby Wearing Week!

My big boy!  Already planning on doing this every year.

My family <3 br="">

Love this kid's crazy long eyelashes!

Another cousin photo op!

Jackson was absolutely in LOVE with this tractor!!!

Haha definitely his favorite part-- he cried when we had to take him down to leave!

We had a great time, I can't wait to do it every year with him.  Makin' memories!!!

How are you and your family celebrating the Fall season?