Monday, April 13, 2009

Noah Has Arrived!

Okay, so this is WAY late but what can I say? I hit a wall in my last month of pregnancy and I just went into hybernation. That is until my mom came and then I was out doing everything I could do to try to go into labor. I ended up asking to be enduced because I just couldn't take it anymore. I swelled up like a blue whale those last three weeks. It wasn't pretty. Noah finally made his debut on March 9th at 8:56pm. He weighed in at 7lbs 15oz and was 21.5 inches long.

I'm not going to share any stories to try to scare other women or sing songs about my battle wounds to et some kind of sympathy. I will tell you that I had a 12 hour labor, 3 of which were spent pushing. Noah did get stuck because he was turned sideways but a merciful God and a helpful hint from my first labor and delivery nurse allowed me to dodge the c-section bullet and Noah made it out just fine. Pushing was more intense than I thought it would be and I was completely exhausted but 2 days after giving birth it was all a distant memory and I was ready to do it all over again.

Isaac and I are adjusting to being proud parents and life is returning to our normal hectic schedule. Unfortunately my blog and etsy shop were temporary casualties of the birthing process, but I'm bringing them back to life starting today!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Finishing Noah's Nursery

Well, I decided that it was time to finish up Noah's nursery. We are down to the final month countdown so I don't want to be caught off-guard should he arrive a little earlier than expected. Isaac helped me put together the swing and I put together the bouncer last night. Let me just say that those things are not so easy to assemble. I could barely get the covers to go over the frames. I'm afraid the seams might pull apart they are stretched so tightly!

We also put his bedding on his crib and I went through the closet and pulled out all the blankets, bibs, socks, and clothes that still needed to be washed. The real time killer of this task was sitting down to take all the tags off of the clothes and socks. I bet that took me a good hour. I've been running loads since late last night and I have two more left before all his things will be ready for him. The next project will be sterilizing all this bottle nipples and pacifiers. Probably not going to happen today, but hopefully some time this week.

Today, I'm going out with my friend Sarah to finish buying up what supplies we don't have but still need. My second baby shower on Saturday was a lot of fun and I ended up getting quite a bit of what was left on our "still need" list. I just have things like batteries for all the equipment, breast feeding supplies, a Bumbo, baby gates, etc to pick up today. None of the fun stuff. The real challenge will be not buying him any more clothes! Babies R Us is having a big sale right now and in their ad there are at least two things that I really want to get for Noah. They have a onesie that says "Handsome" on it and I think I might just have to buy it. We could also end up at the outlet mall at some point today if I'm not too exhausted and my giant swollen feet aren't killing me too badly.

Speaking of swollen feet, if it wasn't so sick I would take a picture and let you all see the glory that comes with the last month of pregnancy. I haven't had too much of a swelling problem until the last few days. Isaac said that my feet look like the Nutty Professor movie where he changes from thin to like 400lbs. Ah, that's love. The most annoying thing about it is that because they are so swollen they itch like crazy and then off course if you touch them they are painful because my cells are probably on the verge of bursting! So if Noah wanted to come a week or so early and save me from the swelling, I would love him all the more.

Wednesday out dresser for the nursery comes and then I should have the whole thing complete and the long awaited and promised pictures up for all to see!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Great Free Printable Coupon Site

So one of our New Year's resolutions was to come up with a budget and stick to it. In order to stick to my designated grocery amount, I realized that I needed to start using coupons. My mom sent me a link to a website called that has a lot of printable grocery store coupons. I used the website to find several coupons that I could use when I went to the grocery store earlier this week. The site even has a free ebook called Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half that gives you some helpful hints about how to maximize your coupons.

Another cool thing on the site is that you can look up any of the grocery store sales for your state or area. So essentially you can find which stores have the best prices on what items and then if you have a coupon for that item the price is even better! I'm loving this site and will definitely be checking it before every grocery trip from here on out. I hope that you enjoy it as well and save a little of that hard earned money.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stamps For Sale

I've been cleaning today and I decided to clean out all my stamps and get rid of the ones that I'm no longer using. I have quite a few Close To My Heart clear My Acrylix stamp sets that I would like to sell. I've listed if they are new and their condition if they are used. If you are interested in purchasing any of the stamp sets, please leave a comment with your email and which set(s) you would like and I'll email you. Some of the sets are retired so I can send you a scan of the set if you'd like.

To view most of the stamp sets go here and type the set's name into the Find Items box on the left-hand side.

Stamps For Sale
B Sets
Baby Accessories (new) $11
Little License (new) $11
Reminders (new) x2 $11 each
Swirl Stroke Lowercase (a few letters used) $9
Baby Accessories (used) $7
Baby Blocks (new) x2 $11 each
Alfresco (lightly used) $9
Blossom Blocks (one lightly stained) $9
Fall Leaves (2 lightly used) $9
Love Is (lightly used) $9

C Sets

Birthday Celebration (used) $10
Le Chic (lightly stained) $12
Accents, Etc (one lightly stained) $12
Let’s Shop (lightly stained) $12
Floral Charms (lightly stained) $12
Smitten (used) $10
Goodness of Life (new) $15
Simple Blossoms (used) $10
Totem Carvings (new) $15
Swirl Stroke Caps (used) $10
Kissy Fish (one lightly stained) $12
Bow-Wow (lightly stained) $12

D Sets
Doodle Alphabet (new) x2 $18 each
Doodle Alphabet (a few lightly stained) $15
Treasure Life (new) x2 $18 each
Happy Haunting (new) $18
Delightful Alphabet (new) $18
Wedding (lightly stained) $15
Elegant Script (lightly stained) x2 $15 each
Seasonal Celebration (used) $12
Small Pleasures (lightly stained) $15
Card Sentiments (used) $12
Eastertime (new) $18
Friendship Flowers (lightly stained) $15
Life’s Creation (2 lightly stained) $15
It’s A Party (lightly stained) $15
Love Tags (lightly stained) $15
Magical Season (1 lightly stained) $15

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Bad Dream?

Yesterday started out so nicely. I was feeling very motivated to work on some new designs and products for my etsy shop and to work on our family budget with Isaac. I worked the morning away and before I knew it, Isaac was up.

I was upstairs calculating our expenses so far this month when I heard his phone ring. About 10 minutes later he came up the stairs and said that he had something to tell me that I probably wasn't going to like. He had just received a call from his First SGT and Isaac was put on a list to be mobilized to Iraq. At first, I don't think I really believed him. I knew that some of his soldiers were going because he had received an email on Friday that 8 of his lower ranking soldiers were being called up to join another unit. However, they didn't request anyone with a ranking as high as Isaac's so we thought he was safe. Well, for one reason or another, there are a lot of soldiers in his platoon that don't qualify to be deployed (because they are terrible soldiers that never get there paperwork and tests done on time and generally just suck at life) so they decided to take Isaac since they didn't have the number of lower ranking soldiers that had been requested.

Then he told me that he'll have to start flying to Texas in February to do his monthly battle assembly with the new unit. That's when I started to freak out. The March battle assembly is the weekend that Noah is supposed to be born and Isaac was going to just make it up later in the month. I don't know if he'll be able to do that now or not. I cannot have our first child without my husband present. I just can't do it and at this point I started crying. He continued to tell me that he would have to go from training in June and July and then his deployment would start in September. He'll miss Noah's first everything, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first birthday. Plus, I'll be essentially a single mom for a year. I don't want to be a single mom. That's why I waited to have children until I was married and we were settled. I mean, by the time Isaac comes back, Noah will have no idea who he is. How heartbreaking is it that my son will not know who his father is?

I realize that we are not the first and will not be the last family to go through this situation. I know that many women have given birth while their husbands were in Iraq either watching on a web-cam or not present at all. I know there are countless fathers who have missed years of their young childrens' lives but I just don't want to be one of those women.

And I'm just so irritated at the recruiter who got Isaac into this unit with all his promises that the unit wouldn't deploy, but if it did they would only deploy to Hawaii to replace the full time Army there. In all his scare tactics about not going into the IRR because you'll be mobilized so join this Reserve Unit so you'll be safe, he never once mentioned that you can still be mobilized if any bigger company requests soldiers from your unit. AND we got screwed out of the $10,000 bonus for signing a 3 year contract because the guy wrote it 3 days short of the full 3 year period. So Isaac didn't get a cent for this.

I just feel like this is all one really bad dream and that when Isaac wakes up this morning he'll come downstairs and not know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's Good To Be Home

On Friday, Isaac and I headed to my parents' house in Indiana for my baby shower. My aunt Robin threw the shower for me and it was good to see so many people that I haven't seen in months and even years. My childhood best friend and her mom came and I was so happy to see them. I haven't seen her mom in probably 8 years and it had been a year and a half since I had seen Ashlee herself. It's funny how you can get together with old friends and once you get talking it doesn't seem like you've ever been apart.

Here are a couple of pictures from my shower:
Wow, not a flattering picture of me but the only one I have so please don't poke your eyes out!
A beautiful blanket that my grandma made for Noah.One of my aunts gave me some tights for Noah to wear. I'm not thinking I'm putting tights anywhere near my son, unless he chooses to do ballet or something.

I received lots of fun things at the shower and I also received a lot of gift cards so I can't wait to go out and get the rest of the things I need with those.

Yesterday I was thinking about the few big things that I still needed to purchase and I wasn't sure where I was going to get the money to pay for them. One of the items was $500 and the other was around $280. I was listening to some pod casts from Crown Financial Ministries and just deciding that I would have to do without the one item and I'd just have to trust that God would provide us with the finances to purchase the other. Just as I was thinking that, my mom called me and told me that someone had given her a check for me covering the cost of both those items! I couldn't believe it and I know it was from the Lord. How good is He to his children?! We feel so blessed and now I know that we'll be completely ready for Noah. I'm so relieved that I can just relax for these last 6 weeks and not stress over anything.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Noah's Bathroom

We sort of have this monkey theme going on for Noah, with his jungle bedroom decor and his cute monkey coat and onesies from Gymboree. So my mom found this really cute monkey shower curtain and accessories at Kohls a few weekends ago and she decided to buy them for the bathroom that is attached to his room. She ended up having to order everything online because her store only had a few things left so I just got the package in the mail yesterday.

Last night I set up everything that she sent and I think it looks super cute. It at least looks better than it did before because we only have a white plastic liner hanging for the shower curtain. We didn't want to buy shower curtains for all of the bathrooms when we only use the shower in our bedroom for the most part.

So here are pictures of the bathroom:

And I promise to get some pictures of his nursery up soon. I have one project to finish before I start snapping pictures!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cleaning Like A Mad Woman

I realize that I have neglected my blog this past week but I just got into this crazy cleaning and I've only now somewhat come out of it. I think it was a combination of being tired of the clutter and watching too many cleaning/organization shows on tv. I just got fed up and decided to start cleaning, but not just cleaning, really DEEP cleaning.

I took my entire kitchen apart and cleaned ever surface. I even dismantled my refridgerator and cleaned every shelf, drawer, and the entire inside. Then I scrubbed the floor by hand to make sure that I got it really clean. My hands were so swollen by the end of the night that Isaac was horrified to look at them.

The next day I worked on bathrooms. I scrubbed all the sinks, toilets, and showers. I have four bathrooms so this was no small job. I didn't get to scrub the floors in there yet but it's still on the list. I might do that later tonight.

On Saturday I cleaned up our bedroom. It was really dusty and our dresser was MIA for all the clutter. It's sort of a dumping ground for anything that enters the room and I was so sick of it. It took me about 2 hours to sort through all the junk and get it into the correct places and then I dusted everything. I don't think Isaac appreciated that I was doing it while he was still asleep but when you feel like cleaning, it's time to clean! Then I did all the laundry and washed all our bedding. The room looks so clean and relaxing now. It's so nice.

Then Saturday night I spent like 4 hours in Noah's room going through things. The closet was so unorganized and packed full of things and it was driving me nuts. I also had this huge pile of things that was just taking up the corner next to the crib. I went through all the clothes that I have for him so far and hung only the 0-6 month sizes and packed all the rest into plastic tubs. I have a whole tub full of 6-12 month clothing and the kid isn't even here yet! Then I gathered all the blankets that I have for him and filled another entire tub! Several of the blankets are my old baby blankets though so I don't feel too guilty about the number of blankets he has, but let's just say he doesn't need any more. I moved the changing table up from the basement into his bedroom and then loaded all the diapers and wipes that we have onto that and proceded to fit everything that was outside the closet into the closet. It looks amazing. I should have taken a before and after picture now that I think of it so you could truly appreciate the change that took place.

Yesterday I paid the price for my crazy cleaning. My back was killing me! I didn't sleep well at all the night before, just tossing and turning. So I took a break yesterday and will continue to work at a slower pace the rest of the week. I still need to shampoo carpets and a few other things and then I'll be squeeky clean. It will be fabulous!

I think my mom is worried that I might go into labor now because she kept telling me that this is what people do the day before they pop their kid out. However, this had nothing to do with being pregnant and everything to do with being frustrated.

Finally, a few cute pictures of Bella and Copper playing together and hiding from the madness.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Albums

I have finally started working on some new chipboard albums for my etsy shop and I'm really excited to see how they turn out. I've got one almost finished and I'm hoping to have it finished tomorrow. I'm using this really cool retro bird paper called A Little Birdie Told Me by Paper Shoebox. I've had it for a few months now and I'm just getting around to using it.

I also added a few Valentine's themed cards to my shop today. I really love the mini notecards. They are probably one of my most favorite cards I've ever made. The sewing ended up being way harder and taking way longer than I thought it would. Free hand sewing hearts = not easy.

I also got this really cute picture of Copper last night that I thought I'd share. My mom bought him this giant monkey toy that has all these different squeakers when we were home for Christmas. He absolutely love it and I caught him cuddling up with the monkey late last night. Too cute.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Finances For A New Year

So my husband and I decided that we'd really like to start tracking our finances this year. We found ourselves asking where all our money went far too often these past few months. I have really been dreading actually taking a look though and digging down into where we spend our money.

Yesterday I decided to take the plunge and I went onto Crown Financial's website and found some very useful worksheets. I have their book and I thik I read the whole thing a few years ago but I never really got down deep into our spending and doing a budget. I just took away lessons on how to pay down your debt and applied those to our lives. Things were different back then though. We didn't really worry about our finances because Isaac was in the military and I was also working full time. Now that I'm not working and we don't get extra housing allowance, tings are much tighter. We actually need to be tracking where every penny goes. Especially with Noah arriving soon.

One of the major questions I was having was how much of your income should be spent on what. Like how much should we be spending on food? What percentage of our income should pay for our housing? I had been very frustrated because I had never been able to find something that actually gave you an idea until I found this sheet. They actually have them for lots of different scenarios, like single with x amount of kids or married with x amount of kids or widow, etc. I was thrilled to have found this and sat down to see how we measured up last night. It seems that our percentages are much different than theirs. We spend more on our total housing than they suggest and we also spend way more on our debt (student loans) than they suggest.

After looking at this I was just frustrated. It's hard to face the fact that you're overspending and spending on things that aren't really needed. Since I stay at home the only time I really get out of the house right now is when I need to go to the store. So buying for me is my way out of the house. Nevertheless, I am committed to tracking our expenses this month and to really getting an honest look at what we doing with our money. I know that I need to come up with a strict budget for our family, especially if I'm going to continue to stay home with Noah. I have to learn to live and spend on just one income. This should be interesting!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hooked Studios Skincare

If you're like me, you're always looking for a good line a skincare. I have combination skin and it seems that I'm always bouncing from one line of products to the next hoping it will due what I want. Out of her own frustration, my friend Jill recently launched her own line of skincare and has been getting great reviews. She sells the line here on etsy. I wanted to help her get the word out about her new product so I thought I'd share a little information about her and her product.

I've been researching all-natural skincare for quite awhile now, thanks in part to my frustration with conventional products' effectiveness. I recently created a cleanser/mask that has been incredibly successful here in Minneapolis. It has been featured in two local publications' Holiday Gift Guides, and will be entering more local stores soon! I'm just grateful it seems to be working as well for so many others as it has been for me.

Hooked Studios Skincare works for any skintype; is completely organic; fragrance-free; shrinks appearance of pores; clears up acne; softens and tightens skin; and is a generally soothing product--great for winter.
Here is a little more information that she sent me about the skincare that contains a list of ingredients and what they do for your skin.

Hooked Studios Skincare is made of all-natural, fresh, organic ingredients. Each ingredient is selected based on its time-tested history of proven results. Natural skincare has existed for centuries; our skincare hearkens back to a simpler era when chemicals didn’t undermine the terrific results nature alone can bring out. We bear in mind that your skin is your body’s largest organ and that products applied to the skin absorb readily into the bloodstream. This means the healthy food choices you make daily are being negated by any chemicals you choose to put on your skin. We’re here to remedy that and make you look and feel amazing in the process.

Ingredients and Their Functions

Ground Oats
-softens skin
-absorbs excess oil
-possesses soothing, anti-inflammatory properties
- is found in several commercial skin care products, but often combined with harsh, unnatural ingredients

Garbanzo Powder
-popular exfoliant in several parts of the world
-cleanses skin
-tightens skin
-neutralizes oiliness
-helps treat acne

Turmeric Spice
-aids in remodeling of damaged skin
-accelerates wound healing
-treats inflamed skin
-is associated with aiding in melanoma prevention
-leaves skin with subtle, sun-kissed glow
-natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent which disinfects the skin
-used for centuries in Chinese Medicine to treat depression

Ground Flax Seeds
-rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids
-improves symptoms of acne, psoriasis, eczema, and dry skin
-aids in healing scars and abrasions
-possesses anti-inflammatory properties

I hope that you'll give it a try and definitely come back to let everyone know what your experience was!