Monday, November 24, 2014

imogene ellen

its been almost 4 months and i have yet to introduce to you our new bundle of joy.  

here are a few tid bits about her and how things have been going: 
  • she is named after my grandmother and my mother-in-law. 
  • her arrival was wonderful and uneventful. 
  • henry calls her "geen" or "sister" and is really getting the hang of being a big brother. 
  • she likes to be held by henry even when it doesnt look comfy at all. 
  • she was a bit fussy the first 4 weeks.  we (the docs and i) decided she must be having reflux issues.  the medicine helped a lot but i think she is finally outgrowing it. we stopped giving her medicine this past week.  
  • the kids have a shared nursery but she still sleeps in our room. 
  • she finally has outgrown her bassinet so we just moved her crib to a corner in our room. 

so here she is in all her cuteness, a ridiculous amount of pictures of imogene ellen.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

liebster award: q&a

my friend samanatha, over at moving peaces tagged me for the liebster award q&a post.  i think its a great excuse to log into my blogger account, type something out and actually post it.  thanks samantha for the little push and inspiration :)  

1. How did you decide on the title of your blog?
i wanted to have a space where i could be joyful about the small things, where i could encourage myself and others to try and find a way to turn around any day ... thus, 

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why? 

contentment - dont get me wrong, i am very seldom completely content, but this is more of a journey to contentment.  a reflection of the little things that make life special. 

3. What’s your favorite pastime other than blogging?

a good neflix bindge with husband is my favoirte.  we dont get to do this as much with two little ones but i still love to cuddle up and watching show after show while eating chinese delivery.  

4. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

community - a way to connect with people that are so different than you and/or find people from all over the world that you have a lot in common with.  

5. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you most like to try yourself? (What is a post you have liked written by the person who nominated you?)

samantha does "the thursday three" every week and i really look forward to reading about the little or big things that impact her week.  and its a great way to keep up with whats going on in her life.  we are real life, face friends and of course we dont see each other as often as i like.  i also really enjoy her thrifting posts ... that is right up my alley 

6. Where does your blog inspiration come from?

day to day life really.  a while back i had been thinking of renaming my blog and changing things up a bit.  right around that time my friend cynthia gave a message at our church which inspired this post which inspired the new direction. 

7. What is one country in the world you would like to visit? Why?

this is a hard one because i would love to visit soooo many other countries.  husband and i have been watching a lot of netflix documentaries about china so today i say china, tomorrow it could be england or australia.   

8. If you have children, what are their names? If not, what are your favorite boy & girl names?
henry and imogene

9. A long lost relative leaves you a large sum of money. What do you do with it?

pay off the house, hire a property manager to rent out and manage the house, rent a small storage unit, buy an rv, sell everything that doesnt fit into the storage unit and rv, hit the road full time.

10. In your opinion, what is the best blog post you’ve written so far? (Include the link!)
i think i would chose something that i know made people think or could relate to easily.  after writing give anyway i had someone contact me telling me they went out and bought a new coat and hat (nice, new things) to give away to someone in need.  after posting motherhood and body image not only was i hoping it might help someone look at themselves in a different way, i also hope i will go back and read it and remind myself how i want to feel about myself.  

11. What is your favorite food? 
mac and chz has always been a favorite of mine.  

~ the end ~

now, i want to nominate tara at laugh when you can and kristen at the art of being silly

Thursday, July 31, 2014

cutting back

there are many things i could write to talk about my spending habits, about what they should and shouldn't be.  what i want to talk about in this post is small sacrifices that add up.  we live a pretty modest lifestyle.  we dont have a lot of debt, we dont make a lot of big purchases, we havent had cable for almost 6 years, etc. in fact most of money goes to general monthly expenses, giving, experiences (day at the pool, date night, museum, pedicure) and food purchases.  

that being said, we are about to have two children which is going to make a difference in the way we spend money.  for a while we will have two kids in diapers which can cost a lot but our biggest expense will be childcare. although i feel like we have found a great solution/bang for our buck, it will still be our largest monthly cost, period.  

below are some changes i have made this month that i think really add up.  there might be a few i cant pull off or choose not to follow through with permanently but i think its a good start (note: i am well aware that i should have started this months ago so cut me some slack).  
  1. starbucks - or as dave ramsey likes to call it "five bucks."  in may and june, our account reflects 12 starbucks visits, each of them being $2 to $8.  what i cannot track is the 9 times we might have stopped at the gas station to purchase one of those $3 starbucks frappuccino drinks. also, i think that the starbucks in target show up on your account as a target purchase so its hard to track those as well.  so far, july shows one starbucks purchase which was a meeting with a possible nanny.  i feel like i may have saved well over $50 this month on coffee purchases. 
  2. target - lets just keep it real here.  i can spend at least $75 every time i walk into target.  and of course i "need" it all.  one of the places i hate most in this world is walmart.  the main difference here is that i will do anything to get out of walmart as quickly as possible ... that includes sticking to my list.  on the other hand, target is this wonderful place that i just love to be.  i used to take henry there on the way home just because i "needed" milk or whatever.  of course, i would stop by the starbucks and get me an iced coffee to enjoy while leisurely pushing an entertained henry down every isle.  the conclusion of this story is $80 to $120, every time.  so far i have only been to target once this month.  the total was less than $50 and we purchased mostly target brand diapers (which are kind of awesome).  i do not plan on needing to return before the month is out.  i may have saved us up to one million dollars this month by staying as far away from target as possible.
  3. groceries - this is by far the saddest cutback i have made.  ever since i
    made the switch over to healthier foods with cleaner ingredients we spend quite a bit more on groceries.  i strongly believe that this is an investment in our health and overall well being.  i also believe that it is possible to purchase healthier, cleaner foods without spending an arm and a leg but it will require planning and effort that i am lacking right now.  this month, i have been getting our groceries from walmart which ends up with much more processed foods and junk food than i would like.  also, i have to say their produce has been disappointing.  it either lacks flavor or doesnt seem to last quite as long as it should.  the good thing is that i know i can fix this by finding other places to get better quality food without having to go to whole foods (aka one of my favorite places ever besides target). but right now, i am lacking the energy to make several stops a week with a toddler, 8.5 months pregnant so walmart it is.  
  4. beauty products/services - im thinking about growing my hair out.  its well past the time for a trim so i think ill save my money and wait out the ugly stage while on maternity leave.  i mean, if im going to grow it out, it may as well be while im taking prenatal vitamins, right.  this will not only save money on the cut every 6 weeks but i will also save money on products.  since getting my hair cut short, i have been using good shampoo, root lifter, and hairspray everyday.  this stuff adds up.  i am sure i could find cheaper versions of these products but to be honest i havent found that they give me the same results.  so, i have decided to go back to the no poo method.  i tried this in february of 2013 and i didnt hate it so im giving it another go.  mainly, i ran out of shampoo this past weekend and i didnt feel like forking over $8 for another bottle.  as my
    hair gets longer, i wont need to use other products either.  when its long, my hair looks the same with or without root lifter and hairspray.  its basically flat and boring but maybe i will be inspired and find some great ways to wear it.  if not, i know a great hairstyle so i will just chop it off again, no harm done.  something else i ran out of a couple of weeks ago was my face lotion.  its not super nice or anything but i didnt feel like spending $7 for a new bottle at target (see above) when i have a perfectly good jar of coconut oil.  that stuff is awesome and it is a great moistener for your face and neck ... well basically your whole body.  i have oily skin and yet it rubs in well and doesnt leave me too oily.  coconut oil has replaced a lot of my everyday beauty products.  at one point i started a post about it but then i realized every blogger in the world has done a post about coconut oil so i thought i would spare you.  the last thing that falls under this category is the fact that i have not gotten a pedicure in a while and i plan on doing my own as soon as i can reach my own feet easily.  pedicures are a luxury that i am willing to forgo for now.
  5. general awareness - aka, common freaking sense.  our office complex has amazing food trucks that come to a parking lot nearby.  i used to watch the schedule like a hawk and plan my whole week around these $8 to $12 meals.  the worst part is that those meals are worth every penny and mamma loves to eat :)  for july, i have sworn off these purchases.  besides a milkshake or two (paid for with leftover birthday cash) i have not purchased anything to eat for lunch and actually ate what i packed.  i know peanut butter sandwiches and cheese nips are not the most delicious and nutritious lunches but i have easily saved $50.  another thing that seems like common sense but i dont always follow is to stay off sites like pinterest and etsy.  these sites tend to make me want stuff.  even DIY projects can add up.  basically, the goal is to be content in what i have for now and concentrate on things we really need to prepare for sister.  
  6. communication - husband and i have always been pretty good at this.  i guess we tell each other about most purchases over $50 that isnt groceries or gas or surprises.  we communicate a lot about money but mostly i just let him pay all the bills and then he will let me know if i need to stop spending.  for the past couple of weeks we have been communicating a lot about spending and how to save and i check the account before my wonderful trips to walmart.  this helps with the "general awareness."
  7. budgeting - we have kept track of our spending over the past few months and husband always tracks our main monthly expenses.  i guess our next big step is to create a good budget and stick with it.  i think it will help out a lot with planning and saving and just keeping things as stress free as possible. 
.... and we made it.  i was able to get through the month without a weekly starbucks purchase.  who would have known, right!  i think we might celebrate tonight with some chinese takeout :)

how do you cut back when you need to?  any small changes that make a big difference in your monthly budget?  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

high five for insta-friday

i'm linking up with lauren and jeannett to share five things that made this week awesome

ONE:  i finally made it out to the art museum on friday night to watch a movie on the lawn.  raleigh offers so much and i rarely take advantage of it.  i took this photo in the parking lot while i was waiting for my friend.  it was such beautiful night to sit outside.  

TWO:  my parents were leaving for vacation and klaus needed to go to the vet.  so saturday we packed up the family and headed to my hometown.  on the way back to raleigh, husband insisted that klaus would be more comfortable if he was able to walk around instead of being in a crate (that cat is spoiled rotten).  as soon as we let him out, he jumped up in henry's lap and stayed there most of the drive.  i had to pull him up front when henry started to give him a "hug" which kind of turned into a loving strangle.  we are lucky we have such a patient kitty!!! 

THREE:  i cant hate on the fact that klaus is spoiled because i know that husband spoils me too.  since we found out that i was pregnant, i get an average of 6 foot rubs a week.  i mean, my husband is the bomb.  lately he has been teaching henry that he can rub on my feet too and "show mamma that he loves her."  

FOUR:  the week was starting to feel like it would never end and then i got this sweet pic from our sitter.  it made my day!  

FIVE:  watching someone you love really enjoy food you made for them.  

have a great weekend!!!

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life rearranged

Thursday, July 24, 2014

pregnancy update: 37 weeks

pregnancy update: 
  • currently 37 weeks pregnant = 9.25 months
  • sister should be about the size of a winter watermelon, right around 6 1/3 lbs and 19 inches long.   
  • weight gained so far: about 35 lbs
  • movement:  lots of hiccups lately
  • food cravings:  maybe more sweet stuff.  almost every night this week i have had a swiss cake roll and a glass of milk.
  • sleep:  not too bad.  if i get too uncomfortable i can take a tylenol pm.  however, i found out yesterday that i have been snoring like crazy so poor husband hasnt been getting as much sleep.  
  • comfort:  this has been a big change in the last week.  i cant seem to get comfortable.  i am about ready to burn my bras and i cannot get up or down without letting out a grunt.  
  • heartburn:  it got bad once this week but other then that, its fine.
  • mood/emotions:  im feeling pretty good although those around me might say ive been a little dramatic than usual.  
  • energy level:  lower than usual 
  • belly button:  none.  ok, so something is there but its flattened out to almost nothing. 
  • stretch marks:  no
  • swelling:  some
  • wedding rings:  i took off my rings this week finally.  i could have lasted a bit longer but there was no point in pushing it.  the last thing i want to do is have to get them cut off.  
  • work days left: 8
  • best news ever:  we found childcare!!!!!  this has been my biggest stress over the past 2 months and now i just get to be excited for the arrival of our sweet baby girl.  *whew*

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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