Monday, November 21, 2011

five years.

drew and i had an impromptu date last night; since we don't have internet hooked up yet, we went to Starbucks to have coffee together and catch up on various work. two for one holiday drinks make for a yummy and inexpensive date night. while we were sitting there, i ran into an old friend. i hadn't seen him in about five years, so he didn't know i was married or pregnant. i was shocked to see him, since he looked so much different than i had remembered. years ago, i would have considered him a close friend. he came to some of my birthday parties, and we had a group of friends we hung out with often. he was always the life of the party. funny, smart and everyone's buddy. i had heard he wasn't doing well, but i didn't know the extent at all. when i saw him last night, i saw just a glimpse of the guy i once knew.

he's homeless now.

battling poverty, addiction, medical conditions, and a crumbled relationship.

i almost didn't recognize him.

gone was the clean cut, sharp, funny and sweet twenty-something,
and there in his place stood a weathered, sad, and so-much-older man.

five years is a long time.

i left starbucks hand in hand with my husband. my precious, giving, adoring husband. feeling my tiny daughter happily wiggling. in our warm car, headed to a new, warm house.

how sobering.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

a little news from our corner of the world...

the biggest piece of news is that we've moved!

our sweet little townhouse feels like a mansion to us after leaving our 330 square foot apartment! this new place is almost three times that size. we love the new carpet, new paint and new floor features of it, but i also love the dishwasher, oven, and laundry machines that i did not have in our last apartment. i volunteered to bring three side dishes to our family thanksgiving because i was so excited about baking :) Emmy's room has the crib at least set up in it, looks great and is so sweet. we decided on white, charcoal grey and hot pink for her colors.

the second piece of news is that i got a new job! surprising, since i wasn't really looking; this totally fell right into my hands. i'm now doing social media consulting and management for three local companies. it pays great and is 100% at home. i am very excited; as it gives me a chance to expand my repertoire and use my skills learned in three years of marketing at a university. i'm considering offering this as part of my company eventually. i'm working on some new music with a few new artists as well. i'm overwhelmed with gratitude with the opportunity to make a good income and also not lose out on time with my tiny baby girl. i've wanted to be a stay at home mama at least until she's bigger, and this allows me to do both.

that's all for us...just gearing up for thanksgiving, and unpacking boxes. Emmy continues to grow at a rather alarming rate (to me!), and kicks and wiggles all day long. she is a complete doll; pretty much sleeps when i sleep and wakes when her daddy leaves for work. she responds to our voices by moving her head towards whoever is speaking. we are so in love with her tiny little wiggly self <3

Monday, November 14, 2011

33 weeks...

only about 7 more weeks till we meet our sweet girl. these moments are so precious...i can't wait to meet Emmersyn, but this special time is going by so fast. last night, i watched my husband read her a bedtime story (all about Princess Belle :) and i felt the tears welling up. she loves her daddy. she wakes up when he talks to her, and she loves bedtime stories already! watching him talk to her and already love being her daddy only makes me love him more! we are exceedingly blessed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

why we chose a natural birth

i've gotten A LOT of comments about our choice to do the Bradley method. Most involve horrific stories of traumatic births and emergency C-sections, followed by lengthy lectures about why I will want an epidural "for sure" and how I can't possibly know how horrible birth is. The worst have been people asking if I "think I am better than them because I am choosing natural birth". So i'm here to set the record straight.

I most definitely do NOT think I am better than any mama who has chosen an epidural, a c-section, or a medicated labor. I respect any woman who has put her body through carrying these tiny babies, and getting through any kind of birth should be celebrated! I do not think I am a better mama, a more educated person, or holier-than-thou for choosing an unmedicated birth.

Next, I love modern medicine. Unlike a few other natural birth aficionados, my husband and I have nothing but respect and admiration for our healthcare team. As a nurse, I respect others who have chosen the healthcare field, and definitely do not think all of modern medicine is full of conspiracy and evil. I know these things happen in healthcare, but we have been very blessed with a healthcare team at Providence who are WONDERFUL, gifted and supportive. We have not chosen a home birth, nor do we feel that is the right choice for our particular situation. I have a number of health concerns including asthma, potential for a repeated eye rupture, and previous cardiac complications that necessitate me being in a hospital setting. It makes us feel very comfortable knowing we have a capable and caring team of individuals around who want the best for Emmersyn and I. I am thankful for oxygen, IV pumps, the ability to have a C-section in 5 minutes, and the ability for monitoring of our sweet girl.

I also love my doctor (in a non-creepy way). My husband and I have found a wonderful, Christian doctor who cares about our family and prays for our daughter. He takes time to make personal calls to us whenever Emmersyn has new scans or appointments, and we have never felt rushed, or hurried out the door. I think choosing a doctor is very important, and we feel great about our choice. I certainly trust his judgement. If a complication arises, we know he will give us the best, most appropriate options, and his openness to my birth plan is reassuring. I feel confident that, if I were unable to make medical decisions for myself, that our doctor would choose the best option with my husband.

I love the Bradley. Eating healthy, exercising, and learning to relax through the pain is incredibly inspiring and makes me feel calm and collected going into labor. My husband has been incredible supportive of this method and has done his part to learn the material and practice with me. That being said, we are not dead-set on a drug free birth. We want a healthy baby. If something happens and we can't have a natural birth, I will be sad but not heartbroken.
I am not obsessed with the Bradley, nor do I center my life around it. I pray for our daughter and for my strength during labor, and the Lord will deliver her however He would like. We can work hard and learn the material, but overall, the Lord is in control.

The absolute worst thing that I have heard involves speculation about how awful it would be if Emmersyn had special needs. Me having/not having electronic fetal monitoring, having/not vaccinations, or particular types of labor and somehow linking that to the "horror" of having a child with special needs is incredibly tacky to bring up. We have many friends and family members who have been blessed with children with special needs. What a dishonor we do them when we assume that we know the cause/prevention of their "new normal". I have done everything within my ability to protect our tiny daughter, and I will for her whole life! But I cannot control her having or not having special needs. We will love and embrace her no matter what. We had an 18 week ultrasound to determine her gender and they were able to check for Down's Syndrome. Her ultrasound was negative for Downs, clubfeet, and other heart defects, and we were thankful. And I admit, my heart stopped for a brief moment when I realized she could have any sort of handicap. But we love our daughter. She is ours, she is precious, and she is perfectly made.

"Having a child with special needs is NOT a tragedy. The tragedy would be raising a child who is cruel to someone with special needs". -Unknown

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why I do what i do...a peek into the Christian music industry

When I started my company almost two years ago, I didn't know it would actually take off. I have been blessed to work with some AMAZING artists, but it's not always glamorous (in fact, it's rarely glamorous) or fun, or even encouraging some days. It's more paperwork that I could have imagined, artist contracts, proposals, and listening to more music than I knew my ears could withstand. There are days I forget why I do this. When the obstacles and difficulties are more than the pay could warrant. Unreturned emails, thousands of voicemails, trips the post office that don't end.

Then I hear the song.

The one that I know I've been waiting for..the one that shows me that all I've been working on is worth it, because someone else will get to hear this song.

Like today.

And I get so thankful that I get to help these artists do what they love, because it is truly, truly, what I love to do. I love the organizing and the phone calls and those moments when you hear the song on the radio and know that you got it there. I love what I do. And I'm honored to do it.
Which brings me to the next news; I am opening up two spots on my roster for an independent artist. Please let me know if you or someone you know is looking for management and send them my way. Thanks!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Couponing Week 1

Thanks to the help of some friends, I am now on my journey of couponing! I made my handy coupon binder last week thanks to the Krazy Coupon Lady's blog. i ventured out on Sunday afternoon to tackle the first of my purchases at our local's how i did:
-Two pillsbury cinnamon rolls (we love these on Saturday mornings)
$2.49 regular price x 2 = $4.98
-$1.00 off/2 Safeway coupon
-$1.00 off/2 manufacturer coupon
-$.50/2 store coupon
= $2.48 for both
-Betty Crocker Supreme brownie mixes (I like to stock up on these :)
$3.49 regular price x 2 +$7.98
-$1.00 off/2 store coupons
-$1.00 off/2 manufacturer coupon
-$1.00 club card savings off each
-$1.00 additional manufacturer coupon
= $2.98 for both (saved five dollars!)
Herbal Essences Shampoo (Target)
$2.49 regular price x 2 = 4.98
-$1.00 Target beauty bag coupon/each
-$1.00 manufacturer coupon/each
= two for 0.98!!!

Coupons are tricky, you can definitely get caught up getting stuff you didn't need to start with. I found a GREAT deal on bar soap, but we prefer body wash type soap, so it would have been silly to get those. Also, even with coupons, the item can be more expensive than if you just found it on sale or got the off brand. Example: I had a double coupon for Lucky Charms, but the regular price was 6.49! Even with 2.00 off, 4.49 for a box of cereal is absurd. It's also awkward to go to a store for only a few things, but I'm already saving money...I saved 27.00 this weekend alone on things we use and needed. I'm also following the new rule of buying things for next year after the event/season. Here's a few of the deals I've found recently:

-Walmart after-halloween sale:
-Two sets of plastic tumblers (great for having people over!) $0.50
-Harvest themed paper plates $0.20
-"Fall" hand towels $0.75
-Candy for operation christmas child (regular price 5.49) $1.00
-Gift bags in harvest colors (but can be used for anything!)$0.75 for two
Gymboree children's sale (post season)
-18-24 month dress for Emmersyn, regular price $42.50. Sale price: $3.99
-18-24 month jeans and top for Emmersyn, regular price 39.50 sale $3.99
-Size 9 year old dress for my niece, regular price $32.50, sale $3.99
-Newborn size headband, jammies, hat regular price $50.00, sale $3.99
-Size 5 dress for my other niece, regular price $49.50, sale $3.99
I ended up getting 16 items for an amazing $25.00 with the combination of sales and coupons! I got over 375.00 worth of clothes for barely a fraction of the original prices. I love Gymboree too because their quality is great. I stocked up on tons of dresses, sweaters, and jammies for our baby girl too :), and got almost all our nieces and nephews brand new clothes for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

from working woman to...stay at home mommy?

it has always been my husband's and my dream for me to be able to stay at home and enjoy a full time "mommy-hood" lifestyle. we had it pretty mapped out; get out of student loan debt, i would quit my job, and be a full time mama...then two pink lines showed up and now we have our precious 3 lb 2 oz daughter almost in our arms. happened fast, and though we wouldn't change a thing, its changed our priorities. we are working hard to get out of debt, and have done a good job so far paying off absurdly high medical bills (my eye surgeries wiped us out for six months!), and staying away from excess debt by living simply and learning to budget. all that considered, we will be a one-income family for at least four months beginning in December. and let me tell you...being a two income family hasn't been extravagant, but it's downright cushy compared to a single income. hence, my newest journey, and the reason for the facelift to my blog... i'm learning how to be a stay at home mama, and also learning to cut back on expenses by extreme couponer. yes, i said it! we've all been there haven't we? stuck behind the "crazy couponer" for 30 minutes behind the person in the checkout line with four inches of coupons clutched in their hands.
and now i'm about to become her.
my mom always taught us the value of a good deal when we were growing up, and she managed to run a household of 6 on a single income from my dad (something i find even more amazing as i begin to look at running a household of 3 on one income). even so, this is a whole new ballgame. i'm just starting out, so i'm beginning my "coupon binder" this week. there's like a whole new language to this couponing thing (words like BOGO and redplum and stacking make me want to quit before i have even started)'s practically a job, it requires time and patience and a whole lot of organization to really accomplish anything more than a year's worth of excess pasta.
everyone has asked if i feel nervous about being a stay at home mom. to be honest...
i'm terrified. i couldn't be more thrilled about being with our tiny girl, i was a nanny for almost 8 years and am a nurse, so the idea of actually parenting a baby is not what i'm worried about. i've handled up to 16 kids on my own (that was a nightmare of a nannying job), and can change a diaper and soothe a baby like a pro. so unlike most first time mamas, the thought of a fever or screaming baby doesn't faze me. it's the "being home all the time" part. since high school, i have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. i am busy. constantly, unceasingly busy. i have always worked at least one job, sometimes up to four. i thrive on being busy. the thought of being home by myself with no one but this tiny, sleeping infant makes me want to nervously start creating "to-do" lists so i can stay busy. i'm sure i'll adjust, but i get panicky after one day off...hopefully couponing will take some of that excess time up...or i'll start watching daytime TV.

i always wanted to watch re-runs of Judge Judy :)