Tuesday, April 9, 2013
We got our first snowstorm waaaaaaayyyyy back in October. Then it was pretty dry (but still COLD), and since January, it seems like we've had at least one snowstorm a month. Usually on Saturdays.
Here's the thing.
When you don't have a baby, snowstorm days are great. You wear your pajamas all day and watch movies and drink hot chocolate and bake things and eat soup and take baths and build snow forts and take extra naps. It's relaxing and wonderful.
When you have a baby, snowstorms are like prison.
You're trapped in the house because it's one thing to risk your own neck driving on slick roads with people who don't know how to drive in the snow, but you can't risk the life of your innocent baby. There's also the matter of bundling up the baby, which takes like an hour, and stuffing him into the car seat, which he hates. Also, it's no fun at all to have to carry a baby around outside in the cold, so snowball fights and forts are off.
Movies and baking and taking naps and baths are off except during his naptime because kiddo needs constant attention.
Mom gets bored.
Dad gets bored.
Baby gets antsy.
There is only so long that baby toys keep anyone interested.
Did I mention that it's APRIL now? We've been doing this for MORE THAN HALF THE YEAR.
The snow moves in and it feels like the cell door is sliding shut. I know there will be a time when snow days with him will be fun. Once he's bigger, we can go out and do all those fun things. But for now, I have no idea what to do all day. Our normal days usually include leaving the house at least once, so when we're trapped inside, it seems really brutal. I never used to like summer, but I am ITCHING for it now. I know, I know, we're in a drought right now and we need the moisture, but I miss the rest of the world.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Seasons changing excites me. I love winter, but actually, I only love it until Christmas. I think Christmas needs to be pushed back to the end of January or something, because as soon as it's over, winter starts to seem really dreary and I'm ready for spring.
The three of us have been sick for about the last month, just infecting and re-infecting each other. Bryan actually went to a doctor, so you know it's bad. He was diagnosed with influenza B and told to get rest and fluids. You know what sucks worse than being sick? Being sick and having to take care of a sick baby. Who can't understand why he can't breathe but is pretty angry about it.
Now that it's finally warming up, I've been opening the windows and cleaning a lot and finally, we're all able to get through the day without blowing our nose, and I haven't been puked on in a few days. Turning corners.
This is the one week out of the year when I actually get excited about the summer. I don't actually like the summer very much, but before the temperature shoots up and the bugs hatch and the plants bloom, I get excited about things like camping and swimming and barbecues. Sebastian will be one in less than two months (what?!) and I think summer with a toddler should be more fun than summer with a newborn. I've got big plans for pool days and park days and the zoo and camping.
Our family is facing some big decisions, ranging from doing nothing and keeping life exactly the same to uprooting everything and changing, with all kinds of variants in between.
Bryan could quit Target and build fences full time, which would reduce the stress from working a crappy job but would mean no health insurance, a little less money, and potentially less work in the winter (although he built pretty steadily through this winter, but it was a warm winter).
I'm reaching the point where I want to start working full time, probably as a journalist but potentially as a videographer or something else entirely. I'm ready for it and Sebastian is mostly ready for it, if only he could learn to fall asleep without nursing. I could look for a job in Colorado or we could go somewhere new. Part of me is comfortable in Greeley, but part of me feels stifled. We have a good friends and good things happening here, but there is a great big world out there ready to be explored.
It's hard to know exactly what to do because every scenario has pros and cons. It's one of those situations where we need to just do SOMETHING and commit to it and see what happens. For the last almost year, we've just been living more or less day-to-day, adjusting to our new life as parents. We haven't made any steps towards big changes because hello! One big life change at a time, please. But things have settled down, and I think I might be ready for something new. I'm not sure if it's because we necessarily NEED something new, though, or if I just get bored easily and like shaking things up. I definitely never pictured myself settling down anywhere, much less Greeley, but there's no terribly compelling reason to leave just yet.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
|Click here for more about why I'm going without sugar this year.|
In two months without sugar, I... have had some sugar. I've given in a few times when I've really wanted that brownie or a piece of candy or even an entire Coke one time. This is why I gave myself an entire year to get over sugar. I knew I couldn't do it in a month or two. Addiction is hard to kick. Even when I've had some, though, I'm consuming far, FAR less sugar than I used to, and even far less than most people do. And the thing is...
In two months without sugar, I have lost my taste for sweet. Every time I've had something sugary, all I can taste is sugar. It reminds me of just eating a spoonful of pure sugar. It's disgusting and unsatisfying (although knowing I've conquered sugar addiction is pretty satisfying). It's never been worth it to give in. I was afraid that I'd go a long time without sugar and finally have some and love it and be right back to the beginning, but I haven't loved it. I haven't even really liked it. The sugar rush from suddenly eating/drinking something sugary after not having much is INSANE, though. There was one night I had a Coke before work, and the whole night, I was bouncing in my seat and side-stepping back and forth behind my camera like a freaking lunatic. It is nuts. And I still get that gross, rung-out feeling after the sugar high crashes. Not really worth it.
In two months without sugar, my taste buds have changed. Not only have I lost my taste for sweet, but I can taste the depth of flavor in other things. For example, I LOVE unsweetened coffee now. I thought that giving up sugar would also decrease my coffee intake, because I always drank coffee with creamer or sugar. But one day, I decided to try it with just half-and-half and it was SO GOOD. It tastes so different from sugary coffee--just sort of dark and rich and creamy without sweetness getting in the way. It tastes way different. I actually may be more addicted to coffee now. I also had some 90% cacao dark chocolate with a tiny bit of sugar in it, and it was the same experience. Chocolate is so different without sugar! And GOOD. Totally doesn't need as much sugar as we normally use.
Friday, February 22, 2013
|That hat was probably the best $6 I ever spent.|
To get you started: How to Have a Baby When You Have No Money
When I wrote the last post, we had only spent around $200 on Sebastian. Since then, we've had a few random things come up that we've needed, and some things we've bought him that we haven't needed. I tried to think of everything we've bought. This is only what we ourselves have bought, and it doesn't include things others have bought for us. I linked to the exact product if I could, but some of them are just similar products. This was exhausting. You're welcome.
- New Pack-n-Play mattress ($45 including shipping)
- New sheet for Pack-n-Play ($10) (actually a crib sheet) because our old ones were too small
- Breast pump ($100 after $50 of gift cards) (I'm starting to think this might have been a waste of money because he refuses to drink pumped milk)
- Ergo baby carrier ($100) (We got this instead of a stroller for cheaper than a lot of strollers. It takes up a lot less space than a stroller, promotes bonding, and burns calories)
- Large size SwaddleMe blanket ($10) (we got some small-sized ones at our baby shower, and they were the best ever for helping him sleep, so we bought a bigger one when he grew out of them)
- Sleep sack for when he grew out of the swaddle ($10)
- Booster seat when he started [pretending to] eat solids ($30 on sale)
- Toy containment system ($35 on sale) (also can be found for cheaper--I just liked the organization, but obviously a big box is just fine, too)
- Winter hat ($12) (I absolutely could have found a cheaper one at the thrift store, but I liked this one and I had a gift card)
- Newsboy hat ($6)
- Totally useless boots he never kept on his feet ($8)
- Halloween costume ($15) (It would have been much cheaper if I had planned it better, but I ran out of feathers on Halloween night and had to pay more because the thrift store was out by then)
- Fall/winter clothes ($20 at consignment and thrift stores for about 6 shirts and 4 pairs of pants. He grows out of clothes way too fast to spend more money on new ones)
- Family portraits ($20) (Bryan met a girl who is trying to become a professional photographer, so she offered to do our pictures for free in order to get practice and build her portfolio. She did an awesome job and Bryan gave her $20 for her trouble)
- Disposable diapers for overnight and traveling (around $50)
- Jacket for next winter ($16 on clearance)
- Medical bill for when he was sick ($142) (Super annoyed that our insurance only covered $20 of this. Sebastian's doctor goes to our church, and let's just say, I know why he has such a huge house. $142 for 10 minutes worth of work to look in Sebastian's ears and tell me they're infected. Dang.)
- Prescription ($4)
- Infant acetaminophen for when he was sick/teething ($6)
Obviously, some of these were necessities, and a lot of them were frivolous. With the $200 we spent before he was born, that's about $839. It's still a lot of money, but it's a far cry from the $10,000 in the first year average parents spend (THAT IS IN-FREAKING-SANE and totally unnecessary in most cases) (that article cites things like buying new cars and new houses which is so stupid).
I'll have another post in a few days about advice for raising a baby cheaply, but the best thing I can say is take things a little at a time and to do things your own way. Do what is right for you and your family, not just what someone tells you to do. Don't stress out about having all the things.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Sebastian is 9 1/2 months old now, so I thought I'd look back over his life so far and see how it's all worked out.
We're still doing this, although it looks a little different. We moved to a new house that's about twice the size of our apartment (it's still small--it's just that our apartment was really really small). Moving had everything to do with the crazy roommate situation and nothing to do with Sebastian. A lot of people said that we'd need a bigger place, especially when he becomes mobile, but I don't think that's true. Actually, a smaller place would be nice because it would be easier to keep an eye on him and less for him to get into.
He has his own room now, which is nice, but not totally necessary. He shared with us until he was 6 months old, and it was great, except for when he would wake up when we came to bed or when we woke up at night. Having his own room helps him sleep marginally better, but it hasn't made a huge difference.
He still sleeps in his Pack-n-Play and I LOVE it. Getting a Pack-n-Play instead of a crib was one of the best decisions we made. It's SO nice to have a small, portable bed instead of a huge, bulky crib. We did get a new mattress for it because the one that comes with it is AWFUL. It's thin and not water-proof (what were they thinking?) and the board under it warped from being wet. Still, the entire Pack-n-Play AND the new mattress together cost less than just a crib mattress, not to mention the crib itself.
When Sebastian gets too big for the Pack-n-Play, our plan is just to put the mattress on the floor rather than get a whole separate toddler bed, and once he's big enough, he'll just get a regular bed. An entire toddler bed seems like a ridiculous waste to me.
Generous Friends and Family
Still a big help, but mostly for toys and clothes at this point because there isn't much else we need. Bryan and I have bought Sebastian a total of one toy and a few clothes. All of the rest of his toys and clothes come from family members. My dad bought him a winter coat and some new prefold diapers, too, because he grew out of the ones he had.
Still going strong. In fact, even at 9 months, he isn't terribly interested in solid food. He mostly just plays with it and feeds it to the dog, and maybe eats one or two bites. He's still pretty huge, though, so I try not to worry. I can't imagine weaning any time soon because I don't know what else he would eat. When he does eat food, he just eats (plays with/feeds to the dog) what we eat. We haven't bought any formula or baby food aside from one or two of those squeezy fruit pouches.
Again, one of the best decisions we made as parents so far. It's SO nice not to have to worry about diapers all the time. We even have a washer at our house now, so we don't need to go to the laundromat anymore, but I would still happily go to the laundromat instead of having to buy diapers all the time. We also got cloth wipes so we don't have to buy wipes anymore. My dad did have to buy us some more prefolds, though, like I said, but even the cost of those evens out after a few weeks of cloth diapering.
For the last two or three months, though, we've been using disposables at night. Sebastian wakes up to eat all night long, and he was peeing so much from it that the pocket diapers we were using were leaking. Disposables are more absorbent for that kind of thing. If anyone has an overnight cloth diaper solution for heavy wetters, though, I am all ears! We're only using one a day instead of using them all day long, so we're still saving a ton of money.
Still a good decision, although it's a little harder these days, because technically I am also a working mom. My job is more about professional development and less about the money, though. I make enough to pay off medical bills and that's about it. The nice thing about my job is that it works around Bryan's schedule and I can usually bring Sebastian with me if I absolutely need to. I've only needed to get a babysitter twice.
Staying at home is just really nice because we don't have to worry about taking time off for things like illness or doctors visits. It leaves Bryan free to work a bajillion hours a week, which is frustrating for me, but it makes him happy and it makes it so that I can stay home. Being a stay-at-home mom has had a lot of emotional challenges for me, but financially, it was a good decision. We're starting to talk about switching soon and having me work and Bryan stay home. We're not entirely sure about when that will happen, but one of us will always stay home with Sebastian.
Through a state-funded program called Colorado Indigent Care Program, we had our $7,000 hospital bill reduced to around $100. They eliminated Sebastian's bill entirely, and our anesthesia bill was reduced from $1,000 to $32. We had to go through a LONG, laborious interview at the hospital where they went over all of our financial documents and assigned us a level of poorness (we are right above "Homeless." Score?). Bryan was annoyed that they were "looking up our financial butts," but money is a lot more personal to him than it is to me. I don't care that people know we're poor (obviously, or I wouldn't be writing this post).
The only part of our medical bills that CICP didn't cover was the actual surgery, because the surgeon's office, the Center for Women's Health, refused to accept it. Our surgery bill was $1,200 after our insurance covered part of it, and we've slowly been chipping away at it. The really annoying thing about the Center for Women's Health is that not only did they refuse to accept CICP, but they wanted us to pay $100 a month on our bill! I don't know ANYONE, even upper-middle class families, who can suddenly just FIND $100 extra a month. It's like I PLANNED to have a C-section, but they've been treating me like I bought something frivolous and need to cough up some money. If I ever get pregnant again, there's no way I'm (voluntarily) going to them for any service.
I have another post later this week about every dollar we've had to spend on Sebastian for random, unexpected things, as well as more advice for having a baby with no money.