Category: baby

What a Way to Make a Living

The Bear loves to help with the filing around the Young Life office (my dining room).  And by help I mean destroy every file folder within reach and repeatedly open and close the filing cabinet drawers. He really has been the best baby ever while I’ve worked from home this year, but it kills me every time he wants my attention and I can’t give it to him fully.  Which brings me to my next point…
Over the past 2 years we have prayed, discussed, debated, and finally decided that it is time for me to quit my job and stay home full time with the Bear.  I am so sad to leave Young Life, but at the same time so excited to start this next chapter.  I can’t wait to be able to focus my attention on my family.  I love my job, but as anyone in full time ministry knows, it has a way of owning you.  This ministry has given me so much over the last 12 years, and I am so thankful to have had the privilege to be a part of the lives of so many people through it.  If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would ever want to be a stay at home mama, I would have said you were crazy.  Now it is the desire of my heart.  Thankfully we have budgeted and saved and are debt free so that we can afford to live off one income.  I know things will be much tighter around here, and I look forward to sharing our even more frugal ways with you.  I have a little over a month left at my job, and am currently trying to finish well and set my yet-to-be-named replacement up for success.  
I would love to hear from any of you have made the transition from workaholic to stay at home mama.  How did you make it work?  How do you structure your days? How do you live on one income?  Share your ideas with me.  

Hey Girl.

Hey girl.  
How you doin’?
You are rocking that sun hat almost as much as I am.
Mind if I move in a little closer?
The two of us together takes the cute quotient at this 
park to almost unmanageable levels.  
I’m not sure our moms can handle it.  

The Wait is Over

The wait is over, people. Teeth have arrived.  
After nine glorious months of a gummy, toothless grin, teething came at us full force.  Within the span of six weeks the top four came in first, followed shortly by the bottom two.  Let me just say that all the horrid things you’ve heard about teething babies are true.  Our sweet angel turned briefly into a fussy, screaming, restless, no appetite, wake up all night, ball of frustration.  I felt so sorry for him.  I’m so thankful he won’t remember it, because it was ROUGH.  As I’m sure it is for every other baby out there ever.  Poor things.  Hopefully we get a little reprieve before the next teeth try to break through.  
Side note: He has only bitten me twice while nursing.  I screamed and that seemed to be an effective deterrent. 
Please share with me any brilliant strategies for dealing with teething.  Help!       

Frugal Friday: Our Trashy Family

Check out our new jogging stroller.  Guess how much we paid for it.  I’ll give you a few hints.  It is a double jogging stroller, made by the Baby Jogger brand.  It is a few years old, but new ones retail for $400-700.  Give up?  We paid $0.  Jed actually found this stroller on the side of the road, during the lovely time of the month in Dallas called Bulk Trash.  I’ll tell you more about the glories of Bulk Trash later.  First, here’s the tale of the stroller.  Jed was out on a run and saw this sitting on the curb.  He looked it over, grabbed it, and brought it home.  It looked like this… 
Not so pretty.  My genius husband saw potential there and persevered.  He looked over the frame and saw it was in good shape.  The problem was the seat.  He removed it and washed it thoroughly.  It is still a little stained, but looks much better.  We look a little silly rocking a double stroller with only one kid, but I don’t care.  The Bear loves it and kicks his little feet like crazy whenever we take it out.  
Does your neighborhood have a bulk trash pick up?  Ours is once per month, and everyone puts out any large items they want to get rid of for the trash collectors to come and pick up.  This cues every resourceful person in town to drive around and pick through the good stuff before the collectors make their rounds.    Friends have found furniture and all kinds of treasures during Bulk Trash.  We found a jogging stroller.  We are just doing our part to keep good stuff out of the landfill.  Bulk Trash rocks.  One family’s trash is another’s treasure.  
Does your neighborhood have a Bulk Trash pick up?
Would you ever take something home you found 
on the side of the road? 

Out the Door

The Bear is constantly on the move, crawling and pulling up wherever he can.  I know he will be walking in the blink of an eye.  How is my baby already 10 months old and so big?  I love every stage, but each assertion of independence is a little bit hard on my mommy heart.  He is already starting to fight his way out of my arms to get down and play.  Thankfully he still loves snuggling up to nurse and needs lots of sweet hugs throughout the day.  I just want to soak up every second because he will be grown and out the door long before I’m ready.  
What moments are you savoring this week?  

The Great Cloth Diaper Trials – 11 Brands Tried and Tested

  When we made the decision to use cloth diapers, I had no idea where to start.  I started reading every blog and website I could find that had information to help me.  I entered lots of diaper giveaways and won a few.  I asked the few friends I knew who had tried cloth.  There are so many options out there, and it was hard to know where to start.
Here the Bear is modeling his SoftBums Hot Diggity Dog Diaper.  Does it have wiener dogs on it?  Why yes, yes it does.


Frugal Friday: Choosing Cloth Diapers

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would ever use cloth diapers, I would have looked at you like you were crazy and said “Not possible.”  Now we are 9 months in and loving our choice.  If you are an expectant mama or want to have kids (or more kids) someday, I hope you will read on and consider cloth diapers.  Why did we choose cloth diapers?  There are so many reasons.
1) Cost
Here’s a calculator that will show you exactly how much you can save using cloth diapers, including cost of water, detergent, etc.  We broke even after about 4 months and will save well over $1000 after 18 months.  If we continue to use our cloth diapers with future children, the savings increase exponentially.  The average savings per child are between $1500-2000.  Nice.  Hello, starter college fund.  We went with one size diapers, and love some of the more expensive brands.  We could have saved even more using prefolds, but we couldn’t get on board with them.  We love the ease of use of our one size diapers and were willing to pay a little more initially.  Our favorite brands are Soft Bums, Apple Cheeks, and BumGenius.  I will explain our cloth diaper trials in a post coming next week.
2) Environmental Impact
Did you know that each baby using disposable diapers creates about a ton of landfill diaper trash during their diaper years?  It’s true.  Disposable diapers create over 3.6 MILLION TONS of landfill trash per year.  HOLY CRAP.  Literally.  Some folks argue that the additional energy used to launder cloth diapers negate the environmental positives.  Not true.  We do maybe 3 more loads of laundry per week than we used to do.  We line dry our diapers whenever possible, so that saves on some energy usage.
3) Safer for Baby
Disposable diapers contain so many chemicals, synthetics, and toxins (like dioxin) that I would rather avoid putting next to my Little Bear’s skin.  We have to use disposables occasionally (for Mother’s Day Out, church nursery, MOPS, etc) and know that when we do he is prone to get diaper rash.  He never gets it from his cloth diapers.
4) Functionality
Cloth diapers work better than disposable.  Really.  We have had very few leaks or blowouts with our cloth diapers, really almost none.  Disposables are a whole other messy story.
5) Cuteness
Cloth diapers are just so cute.  Seriously.  They come in a million fun patterns and colors and you can match every outfit.  So fun.
I plan to most more about our cloth diaper
decisions and routine soon.
Do you use cloth diapers?
Why or why not?
Would you ever use them?
Do you think we are crazy?

The Battle of the Baby Weight

I have always struggled with my weight.  I remember my pediatrician telling my mom to make me drink 2% milk in elementary school to curb my weight gain.  I remember feeling fat in the 5th grade.  There have been periods of dramatic weight loss in 9th grade, summer after freshmen year in college, and when I moved to Asheville.  There have also been periods of dramatic weight gain 5-6th grade, freshmen year in college, junior year in college, post breakups, after moving to Dallas, and most recently during my 1st pregnancy.  I was about 20 pounds over my happy weight when I got pregnant.  Then I proceeded to gain 42 pounds during the 40 weeks of pregnancy.  Yikes.  Did I mention I’m 5’3″?  Yes, that does mean I was about as wide as I am tall.  The pic below was at 37 weeks.  It only got worse, promise.  
Dear First Time Mamas,
Congratulations on your first pregnancy!  If you have struggled with your weight in the past you are now feeling the freedom of being able to eat whatever you want and blame it on the baby.  Enjoy this to an extent, but consider yourself warned.  When that sweet bundle of joy arrives, the weight will not magically go with it. You might lose 12 pounds instantly with a big baby plus water, etc, but the rest will stay and you will have to fight tooth and nail for every. single. pound.  So, eat that ice cream for sure, but maybe not every night.  Trust me, I learned the hard way.    
Love, Becca  

 Here I am at 38 weeks with my sweet and skinny friend, Whitney.  I in no way realized exactly how big I had become until I saw these pictures.  I was hoping it would magically disappear after the birth.  Not so much.     

 I started off strong dropping 12 right after birth (just baby/water/etc), then another 10 from breastfeeding in the first few months.  Then it stalled out.  The Bear was born on May 31, and by October I still looked like this (below).

 I gave up sweets in the month of November, joined a gym and Weight Watchers, and started the Couch to 5K program.  I lost about a pound a week taking me to Christmas when I looked like this (below).  I gained a few pounds back over the holiday which was so frustrating.  Jed and I looked at this picture and decided we didn’t want to be the fat family any more.  We want to be fit and fun for our kids and our quality of life.  The day after Christmas we downloaded My Fitness Pal free app on our phones and I dropped Weight Watchers.  My Fitness Pal is basically the same as the WW app, but FREE!  So great.

 Since Christmas I have lost 14 pounds (for a total of 38) and Jed has lost 20.  This is the one downfall to losing weight with your man.  They will always lose it faster.  Jerks.  But seriously, I am so proud of Jed.  He has worked so hard to get healthy, and it has been fun to partner with him.  We still have a long way to go, but we are on our way.  I have 4 more pounds of baby weight and then 20 more pounds of pre-baby weight to lose before I reach my goal.  I hope to hit my goal of 62 pounds lost by the end of July.  That is slow and steady, a pound a week.  Jed only has 15 pounds to go, so he should be there by June.

Hopefully next pregnancy I can gain weight at a healthy pace and not put myself in such a tough position.  Our hope is to stay active as a family so that Bear grows up with parents who are fun and love to play and teach him the value of a healthy lifestyle.  Our goals this year are to lose weight, but to do that by changing our eating habits and portion sizes, and increasing our fitness level.  We set a goal of 210 minutes of exercise each week, which is 30 minutes a day.  We hope that Bear will grow up without having to struggle with his weight because he has been taught a healthy lifestyle.  
What are your weight loss, fitness, or healthy lifestyle goals this year?  How are you doing with them so far? 

Trying to Escape

The Bear is on the move.  
He has been scooting backwards since Christmas, but this week he started legitimately crawling.  Translation – He can go anywhere he wants.  We are terrified.  Here he is trying to escape through the screen door (which is unbelievably dirty, btw).  Yikes.  Must babyproof ASAP.  And clean screen door.  And clean front door while I’m at it.