Thursday, May 28, 2009

Every Little Penny...

We haven't been spare-no-expense kind of parents when it came to the baby. We've tried to be reasonable. That said, the kid won't be doing without by a long shot either. I've mentioned this list before, but I made a long list of every little thing we'd need (by combining items from various online lists of things every new baby needs) and we tried to divide the cost fairly evenly over the past few months so we weren't shelling out too much all at once. Having a plan allowed us to adequately cut back on things we might otherwise have spent money on to accomodate the new expenses. It also helped when we had coupons or gift cards to use. For instance, every month or so we'd get a 10% or 20% off coupon to Burlington Baby Depot and we could go to our list and easily decide what to use it on...(usually the next most expensive thing on the list that was available at Baby Depot). Overall, it's worked rather well. I recommend list making...for all situations.
A few weeks ago I started collecting the last few things on my list like diapers, wipes, baby wash, diaper rash cream, etc. And I don't think I've paid full price for any of them. I thought I'd post my savings venues for those others of you who may need these things. This will save you the footwork I had to do!
First, I placed an order with diapers.com . They don't just have diapers...they have a ton of stuff. Regularly, the majority of their products are about what you'd expect to pay at Target or somewhere (reasonable, but not way discounted). However, they have a rotation of things that are periodically on sale. I bought Huggies because when I ordered they happened to be on sale for less than they cost at Wal-Mart. Also, on your first order you get $10 off and every order over $49 has free shipping. My order was right at $50 (I ordered some other stuff too) so with the $10 off it was only $40 and there was no shipping. The whole order was here within two days! So if you need diapers anyway, I recommend ordering from them at least the once and getting the $10 off. Plus, they come RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR. Diapers on your doorstep...it's a good thing! :)
Second, Huggies.com is offering a free sample of their new pure and natural diapers and you can get a $3 off coupon for a whole package.
If you're interested in environmentally friendly or chlorine free diapers, Seventh Generation makes some and offers coupons for their diapers and wipes on their website (seventhgeneration.com). You can print each coupon twice. 7th Gen baby products including dishwashing and laundry detergent are available at Babies R Us among other places.
And speaking of Toys R Us, if you have one of their reward cards (which won't cost you anything) you get every 10th box of Huggies (and maybe Luvs I think) diapers free. *They're also having a special on Seventh Generation and Earth's Best diapers and wipes this week.
Johnson's offers coupons on their website too for baby wash, shampoo, lotion, even their giftsets sometimes.
Finally, I like coupons.com. They have coupons for all kinds of stuff, and they're always changing. It's super easy to use and you can search by category (i.e. baby needs). Then, you just mark the ones you want as you browse and at the end you click print and it prints them right out on your printer.
The only thing I think you have to be careful of is buying a name brand something with a coupon you wouldn't otherwise have purchased. If you're not going to get Huggies anyway, you should make sure it wouldn't be cheaper to get another brand even with your Huggies coupon. *Speaking of name brands, Target changed their house baby brand to Up and UP and the Up and Up diapers are a pretty good deal--money wise. I haven't tried them so I can't speak to their durability, and leak or wetness protection (I guess I'll let you know how that goes in a few weeks!), but the price is right...and they're polka dotted...so they're really cute!!
My final suggestion? You're going to need a coupon organizer. Mine's got dividers for each category (baby stuff, groceries, household, dining out, etc.) and I try to keep them in the order in which they expire within each category.

There then, that's all the "every penny counts" advice I've come up with thus far, I think. Further suggestions welcome! :)

Happy baby bargain hunting!

P.S. Oh! And check for consignment shops...I found one here called Little Bo-tique (like Little Bo-Peep...get it?). It's upscale children's consignments and it's an adorable little shop. Looks just like a children's shop full of new cute baby and kid stuff only all the clothes are there on consignment from other moms! I got, like, six little outfits and hats and some onesies all for $15. Some of the stuff looked like it'd never been worn! Even though it'd all been washed and looked perfectly clean I still came home, tossed it in the washer with some Dreft and now I feel like they're as good as new...maybe better!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

As promised, I thought I'd update about our appointment though there's very little to report. All was well- same old (wonderful) story. We're going with the 7th as the final due date, so he'll officially be considered late after that. That means 49 days to go!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sonogram Pictures Take 2

So we had our second 4D sonogram on Friday. I'd really been looking forward to it- I was anxious to see how he'd changed and boy had he!! He doesn't even look like the same baby- we hardly recognized him; he's filled out so much (nearly quadrupled in size!) His weight estimate was 4 lbs 6 oz. (1lb. 1oz. at the 22 week sonogram). So if you average 1/2 a pound a week for the next 8 weeks...he'll be over 8 lbs. I predicted he'd weigh right at 8 lbs...maybe that was just wishful thinking! Everything else was just fine as far as we could tell. He was head down- Yay!- and since he should be running out of room to roam, chances are he'll stay that way from here on out. We have a doctor's appointment on Monday so I'll find out more then. The reason for the second 4D was to reevaluate the due date (which I've felt from the get go was a little too late). The original due date (based on my last period before we had any ultrasounds to go by) was July 5th and this last sonogram projected it to be the 4th. So, in the interest of being as close to exactly 40 weeks as we can, Dr. Tibiletti scheduled this sonogram and we'll set a new date Monday. Regardless, I've always predicted he'll be late. And since all my other predictions have been wrong...he'll probably surprise us and be early! Here are the pictures of the little guy...he sort of looks like every other baby-in-utero...but the general consensus has been thus far that he looks like me...lucky little thing ;) but we'll see...I always expected to have a little boy that looked just like his Dad. You be the judge:Here's the old traditional profile. Josh says he looks like he's thinking with his little hand to his forehead! This last picture is him holding onto his toes! Can you tell?

I'll keep you posted about our visit Monday.

Happy weekend!

Randi, Josh, Soda, and Gatsby

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I finally got my maternity pics edited so here they are! As aforementioned, they were all taken by my super-talented brother, Ross of Ross Frazier Photography (http://www.rossfrazier.com/ -check him out.) Josh was not particularly happy with himself in the pictures we had done together so, out of courtesy (because I hate when people insist on posting pictures of me I don't really like), I have not included many of them even though I think they're really nice. Maybe we'll get a chance to take some more "family" pictures before Soda gets here! Anyway, I'm posting a slideshow of all the pictures...or most of them anyway...because, well, that was the easiest thing to do instead of sifting through them and then uploading them individually. I don't blame you one bit if you don't want to sit here and watch the whole thing...but for those who did want to see them- here they are. The music on the slideshow is "Colors" by Kira Willey (yeah, it's the song from that Dell commercial) and "It's A Big World" by Renee and Jeremy, just FYI.

video
Big thank you to Ross for taking these for me!

Oh- and stay tuned for new ultrasound pics...we had one this afternoon!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My "First" Mother's Day

This sweet mom-to-be card came from Debbie. There's an actual tiny purple button on it...too cute!!
This was sort of a pivotal Mother's Day for me since it is technically my first...but also the last, God willing, for the rest of my life that I won't actually be somebody's mother. It's hard to decide on a feeling for an event like that. The thought of being someone's mom for the rest of one's life is, well, daunting maybe?...and stressful...and very exciting at the same time! I can say, though, that Josh and I have both had amazing examples to follow in the Mom department (we were blessed with not just the best moms ever...but also the best grandmothers). We made a day trip to Ruston for lunch with three of those lovely ladies plus some extra family it was really great to see and though it was a quick trip and a long day it was really nice to be with everyone. In honor of the occasion (and also because I had to take a dessert to Eastman's spring crawfish boil on Saturday and because I'd been inspired by my dear friend, Lindsey who posted this blog about her tres adorable Easter cookies...) I baked and decorated some spring flowers of my own! ...more than six dozen of them! ..which meant I didn't get to spend as much time on each cookie as I'd wanted to. It was an all day affair as it was! It took the whole breakfast table to lay them out so the icing could dry!! They're my Aunt Melody's recipe...which is truly the quintessential sugar cookie recipe. You can find it here.From Soda's Dad, I got this journal for Mother's Day...each page has quotes and scriptures that are prompts for writing your thoughts and prayers and stories and memories for and about the baby...isn't that great? Plus it's really cute! :) It came from Lifeway (I'd seen it in their pre-Mother's Day circular)- it's just such a sweet idea!! I can't wait to write in it!! And Soda's Uncle Ross gave me the BEST KIDS BOOK EVER...it's The Very Hungry Caterpillar (which is, in fact, my favorite book- due in no small part because of all the food that's in it...) but here's the fabulous part...IT'S A POP-UP BOOK!! Does it get any better than that? I submit that it does not! :)This, by far, is my favorite page. 3 guesses why... :)
I did get my maternity pictures taken as I'd hoped (many thanks to Ross!!) and as soon as I get some edited I'll post them!
Happy Tuesday-
Randi

Friday, May 8, 2009

31 weeks and counting...

I waver daily between thinking that 40 weeks is entirely too long...and feeling that it isn't near long enough. Today I am more or less indifferent. Not particularly anxious or apprehensive, which I suppose is a blessing...though I do have my list down to less than 5 items I still need prior to Soda's arrival (having marked off one more this afternoon) and every time I mark off one of those last few items I feel both anxious and apprehensive. I read that's totally normal...so I fret not for now. I thought I'd post an update since I had a doctor's appointment this week. It was uneventful to say the least...which, truthfully, is precisely the way I like my appointments to be. (And, praise the Lord, most all of them have been.) We get another sonogram next Friday and I'm really looking forward to that since we haven't seen him in almost ten weeks. I feel him all the time, though...and can easily trace his movements on the surface of my tummy. I find it endlessly entertaining to watch lumpy spots move about under my skin! He seems always to be on one side or the other so that I'm perpetually lopsided. As of the appointment Monday I'd gained exactly 19 pounds. Which I'm pleased with as is Dr. Tibiletti. We'll see what happens the next few weeks. I'm hoping to get some maternity pics done this weekend as I'll be seeing my little brother (also my personal photographer) on Sunday--so maybe I'll be able to post those soon!
Have a fabulous weekend...and Happy Mothers' Day to all the moms (and moms-to-be!) out there!!

Hugs-
Randi and Soda

Friday, May 1, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I feel much, much better today. Nearly perfect, as a matter of fact, and I'm appreciating every non-snotty moment of being well! Even as I woke up last night for the fifth time to go to the bathroom, popped a Tums before getting back in bed and readjusted my pillows to ease a hip pain, I was actually grateful to be back to having just my familiar old ailments. No congestion or sore throat or phlegm or throwing up to go with them. So today, being all well and so incredibly happy about it- I set out first thing deep cleaning my house. And I don't mean my typical cleaning where I get everything straightened up then clean the dirt that one can see using the Swiffer and some Clorox wipes. This was not the usual wiping down of everything...this was all out scrubbing. Yes, this was super cleaning...cleaning like my Mom cleans (and if you knew the supercleaner my Mom is you'd understand the seriousness of my cleaning spree!) I moved furniture (don't worry- nothing I couldn't slide), washed rugs, took everything off my shelves and dusted, I swept, dust busted, then vacuumed and mopped. I scrubbed the sink and stove and burners with SOS pads until they shone! As I thought about how proud my Mom would be of this superb cleansing (though she might disapprove of how often, or seldom rather, such in-depth cleaning occurs) I realized that this is something I'd have to remember as a parent. When Soda is old enough to understand and help clean house I must remember not to always cut corners like pulling out my Clorox wipes and not cleaning that space between the washer and dryer so that he'll know what good house cleaning is. I may not always practice it, and he might not either, but I was taught how to do it right...and I should definitely pass that on. Soda might complain, but one day my daughter-in-law will thank me!

**TIP FOR TODAY:)** As I mentioned, I am a master at corner cutting when it comes to housecleaning. I want things to be clean...and neat, but the faster I can make things feel that way the better (usually). I am a big fan of wipes. I have Clorox wipes, Refrigerator and Microwave wipes, Pledge dusting wipes, stainless steel wipes, Windex wipes...and those are all helpful for in between the times you deep clean. I have to try not to rely on them so much. There are two things I do find easier and better for every time I clean. The first is one of those toilet wands- you just throw the end away after you scrub and it has a release on its handle so you never even have to touch it. Very sanitary...I like it alot. The second is my mopping method- which as I was doing it today, I decided was a pretty good method if I may say so myself and I decided to share. I use a swiffer. Just a plain old swiffer. Because mops are bacteria traps and give me the willies. I have the same weird phobia about sponges and toilet bowl brushes (hence the wipes and the toilet wands). ANYWAY- I use dry generic brand swiffer cloths (because the wet ones, besides being expensive, run out of juice way too fast). Then I use this Method All Floor One floor cleaner (comes from Target). I buy it for several reasons: it's non-toxic so I don't have to worry about Gatsby licking something off the floor, walking in it when it's wet and then licking his paw...you know, stuff like that; it comes in this great lemon-ginger scent; and it comes in an excellent bottle. It's flat with a lid like a Dawn bottle so it's easy to hold in one hand and squirt along the floor in front of you. I do this for all my flooring- the wood and the linoleum. It's incredibly effective. It's like carrying your mop water with you- squirting as you go! And this fabulous bottle squirts out just enough...no puddling. Periodically, I stop and change my swiffer pad, then keep going. If you don't like this cleaner, you should at least buy some for the bottle. Once it's empty you can refill it with whatever you'd prefer to use on your floor (I remixed my own "green" floor cleaner-think vinegar and water- and put it back in this bottle).Something else positive that came out of my not feeling well is this- my latest project. Burp cloths!! Here are my first two:I enjoyed the sewing projects I made for the baby shower hostess gifts (see All's Well On The Creative Front at sweetly, happily, artfully) so much, I decided to continue. Like painting, I find it very relaxing (everything's handsewn because I don't have a sewing machine and wouldn't know what to do with one if I did), but unlike painting, sewing is something I can do anywhere (like the sofa) and no matter what I'm wearing (like anything but my paint clothes!) Since you have to buy these cloth diapers in a pack of twelve...I see many more in my future...
Happy Friday and Happy May Day!!