...who am I?

mom, photograph obsessed, DIY-er
who likes to elaborate on & search for
ways to make all three better and easier
...in style.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Premies: Taking a closer look

Yes, November is pre-mature awareness month. But, that's not the only reason this is being discussed here. I have a few friends who have had premies & one that's baby is currently in the NICU...fighting for her life. To say that this is an issue that hits close to home would be an understatement.

I wrote about a sweet little girl - Ellie, the other day. Her mom, Amanda, is a sweet woman & I'm lucky to know her through an online community of women that have all pulled together to support & pray for both her & her baby during this difficult time.

But their story got me to thinking about the other women in that very same community who had previous babies born prematurely who also had their share of time in the NICU.

First, let's start out with a definition of the word premie: any baby born before 37wks gestation. There are varying degrees of prematurity, but any baby born before this allocated time is technically premature.

Here is Trey:


He is three years old. He is a happy, healthy little boy. He loves to play & have fun. His mom, Nola, is a great woman who I've come to know & love. Trey also has a little sister named Aubrey. Could you have ever guessed that he was once as tiny as this...?


Yes, Trey is bigger now. But that doesn't mean he wasn't once a tiny, little helpless baby who needed special care. The same is true for this precious little bug:


Her name is Cameron. She was a tiny 3lbs at birth. Her mom, Michelle, is someone I've really connected with in the online community we come from. You'd never guess the picture above is the same little girl as the picture below. But it is.

This same little girl now loves mermaids & candy. She has a baby sister named Juliana.


For some reason, in the last few weeks, I've been extremely drawn to this topic. My heart strings pull & pray for this sweet little baby to fight. To make it so she can be one of the success stories I've shared with you on this blog.

All I can tell you is this - the NICU days are hard. I have heard the stories. I have read the pain, but I haven't felt it. I hope I never have to. But for those that have - a helping hand or even just a prayer their way will do a world of good. & if you're feeling really ambitious, head over to the March of Dimes. They're always looking for a donation for babies just like these. & I whole-heartedly believe every penny (& second) is worth their time.


How to: re-purpose
(on a budget)

I find that I hate spending money on things I will never use. I currently have a whole corner of my dining room designated to things I need to get rid of...I'm just not sure how I'll go about that yet.

But, as a woman who loves clothes & shoes - one thing I can never get enough of is a new shirt or a new pair of boots (at least every once in a while).

My problem is: how do I justify it when I already have so much? I don't need for anything, so I feel badly when I want to buy something new.

Instead, I go to a consignment store & take anything that no longer fits (or I no longer wear) back. I get paid & I go shopping with that money. Second hand isn't so bad, especially not when you shop at places like Plato's Closet, where you can find things that sometimes still have tags on them.

Frugality? Yes. New clothes? Yes.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Diffused Efforts

I am the kind of person who tries to do too much all at once. I've been working on my blog. I've been working on photography. I want to sew my little girls' diapers. & diapers for a future babe too. I have been learning how to crochet hats & animals. I have a business as a personal consultant for an energy company.

What does this translate too? A frazzled, frustrated momma. & my husband has been catching the brunt of this crazyness. I tend to spend a lot of my efforts on other things, which is unfortunate for him. I spend all my extra time with my baby. & although my husband loves her, he can't help feeling a little left out.

He's been working ten hour days. I've been doing all this. Not an equation for a happy marriage. I was reading one of my favorite blogs today (I had some catching up to do) & stumbled across this:

"Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success. 
Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities. 
Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts. 
Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place."

That quote comes from this blog.

Ugh. That hit me hard. So, I'm diverting my attention. I might spend a few nights a week here, but for now, I've got more important things to do...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Prayers for Ellie

I know I don't have many readers out there, but this is something that is near & dear to my heart...so, even if only one person reads it & prays, I'll be satisfied with that. Babies are born premature every minute of every hour of every day of every year.

A beautiful young mother in one of my mom's groups lost her first baby at 22wks & just delivered a beautiful baby girl named Ellie at 26w3d. Above is her banner. Please take the time to pray for her & her family.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How to: Hospital Bag ed.

Ahhh, the elusive hospital bag list. Honestly - I'm writing this more for myself than anyone else. I'm horrible at keeping track of things & figure, "hey, this will be here when the next baby comes." (Don't worry - we are a long ways away from that!)

I will start off by saying that my hospital was VERY cold. Of course, most of the time I was blazing with heat because:
1. I was pregnant.
& 2. I was experiencing the joy of after-birth hot flashes (no fun, no fun AT ALL).
Depending on your state of temperature, you may also want a robe. I didn't bring one, but even if I had, I would not have cared to wear it.

But nevertheless, I would suggest some blankets of your own. Especially if your husband or significant other plans to stay there with you. My hubby was freezing & the most he had was a measly sheet I'd managed to bring. I did remember pillows, though. & those are always a good thing to bring. Also, because it is so cold, chapstick & lotion are probably necessary means to an end. (especially during winter, at least where I live!)

I'm pretty embarrassed to say it took me most of the first day to get dressed. I think I got ready maybe five minutes before visitors started arriving. Eeek. But anyway - for that, I'd suggest stretchy, comfortable clothing. No one is looking at you anyway. ;) But if you're feeling extra ambitious, you can always bring your makeup with you. I brought mine, but I'm 100% sure I didn't use it. I just didn't feel it was necessary, but everyone is different.

Along those same lines, some people shower in the hospital & others don't. I didn't. Mostly because I showered about five hours prior to giving birth & it wasn't on the forefront of my mind seeing as we left only about 28 hours after. Still, some will. You'll need anything you use at home. I opted for trial sized soaps & shampoos, but whatever way you want to swing it is okay too.

Hospital food is not my favorite, but it is a necessary evil unless you want to pay a lot of money for fast food that's really not good for you or whoever is staying with you. Dan mostly ate out, but I did offer to give him some of my food (even though I'm pretty sure that's not allowed ;) ). Still, you'll need to fill in the cracks. You just had a baby after all. That takes a lot out of you. & you need to stay strong & hydrated. That being said, don't be a dummy like I was. BRING SNACKS. I should have had a whole separate bag just for those. ;)

Other than that, I didn't have a lot of things that I really felt like I had to have with me. Of course, I brought my computer & its charger.. Along with my phone & its charger. But, I didn't need much else. I slept a lot, ate a lot, & cuddled with my new baby. 

(If you plan to breastfeed, this section is for you.. if NOT, read to the overall list below! :) ) The boppy was my first lifesaver. Of course, when the babes are still so little, I'd advise putting other pillows with you as well until you get used to the different positions. & even though I didn't get dressed much of the first day - I DID put on a night nursing bra. It saved my life. I felt supported, but was able to pop those babies out whenever I needed them. Nursing tanks are nice for when you're feeling a little more ready to be clothed, which is what I wore when I got dressed. I also brought my lanolin, but I don't think I used it in those first few days. I should have, though. Maybe it would have helped prevent the aches I got later.

So, in a basic run-down, you'll need:
- chapstick
- a nightgown
- robe
- nursing tanks
- nursing bra
- boppy
- lanolin
- blanket
- loofah
- makeup
- glasses & case
- lotion
- snacks & drinks
- phone & charger
- computer & charger
- camera & batteries
- notebook/pen

- 2 blankets
- going home outfit (& socks)
- diaper bag
- carseat

- clothes
- deodorant
- any other toiletries he may need
- slippers
- pj pants

Overall, your time in the hospital will be short. It will go by too quickly & you'll be left wondering "are we really getting sent home with this thing?" But seriously - enjoy having people around to help. & take lots of time staring at your precious new bundle.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Free (almost) Tickets?!

Yes, you read that right.

....almost free tickets? I say that's too good to be true. But really, it's not.

A girl I know has some friends who started up this really cool business (cliche, right?). It's called get an invite. Venues will do almost anything to get people in their seats. They want people there. They want you to buy the t-shirts, the popcorn, the whole 9.

But "getting an invite" is about actually getting to be at that venue in the first place. You register for free & if an event comes up in your area (which you can select - from within 10 miles to unlimited), you pay $6 to attend it. You fill out a section which you select the kind of events you'd like to be invited to. Since everyone has different tastes, this is obviously an awesome option. Anything from sports to musicals is available. If you get invited & choose not to go, you haven't spent any money, but you still have gotten the opportunity.

& seriously - who doesn't love a deal like this? I do. :)

P.S. I have been notified that the company is just starting out & most of the events are in Florida, but don't worry, more events are added all day, every day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I can choose cheaper energy?

On my journey as a stay at home mom, I've discovered that there are a lot of things I love to do. As you've probably figured out from this blog, they include photography, crafts, food & anything that has to do with saving money.

I've done couponing & go that route when/if possible, but a lot of what I do is try to bring in extra money for the house where I can.

Recently, I learned of an opportunity called Ambit. Ambit is an energy company. The de-regulation of energy is a great stride forward in our country's history, possibly even more valuable than that of the railroads' back in the day. You can find out if you're a part of Ambit's territory here.

The best part about Ambit is that it's the only company offering their customers the chance to earn free energy. How do they do that? Well, they want you to go out an recruit other people to be a part of their team.


I became a customer myself in August. I noticed a pretty substantial improvement in savings. The consultant that got me started kept after me to see if I'd want to make some money for myself. I've got to admit, at first I was very reluctant, but eventually I succumbed. I thought, "what's the worst that could happen?"The truth is, I love saving money. & I want others to be able to experience that too.

I'm currently trying to get myself free energy. I'm about 12 customers away from that, though, but I know eventually it will come. If you like to save money, I'd encourage you to look into it. It's a great way to do so on something we all have to purchase. Do it.

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Why is it so important to feel your boobies?

In honor of breast cancer awareness month, I decided to have a few guest writers tell their experience with breast cancer. The following is what Lindsey, a girl I went to school with & cheered on our high school football team, went through. I hope you can appreciate this for what it's worth, just as I have. 

"My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. She was only 33-years-old. I was 8. She'd found a lump in her breast and a doctor told her it was nothing to worry about. He called it a "fifth rib."

About four months later she went back to him. He did a biopsy in his office. The next week she was given 6 months to live. Yes, six months. She started chemotherapy soon after. She was always sick from chemo and had to shave her head. Her best friend and myself made her get a wig. It took hours because she didn't want one. She was a hairdresser with very long hair. She finally picked one and named it Trixie. 

She went into remission for a year, but then it came back. She started having seizures; one happened when I was home alone with her and I had to call 911. She was diagonsed with brain cancer, cancer of the lumbar spine and liver cancer. That was when she quit smoking. She had smoked since she was a teenager. Well, with the other types of cancer, she had to do radiation, take 15+ pills a day and have surgery. And more chemo. This went on four years.

In 2002, we moved from Jamestown to Falconer after she'd sued the doctor for malpractice and won. She was getting worse and worse. My mom was 4'11 and weighed 98lbs. She suddenly gained 20lbs. It was fluid filling her abdomen, killing her. The cancer was going everywhere. She stayed in the hospital for around 2 weeks and all she wanted to do was come home. I knew she was going to die, but I was 12 and didn't get along with my dad at all...so, I refused to believe what was happening. Hospice nurses came to our house to care for her. My father (who I didn't get along with at the time, but have since re-kindled a relationship with) went to work. I wanted to help the nurses care for her, so I gave her baths and played music for her. Still, she went into a coma in her bed. Two days after coming home, the nurse came into my living room to tell me, my grandma and my uncle to say, "Lori has passed on."

All I could do was stare at her for a minute, then I ran into my mom's room. She was gone. And I was crying. I called my dad and told him, then i called my best friend. We made arrangments and I picked out a pink casket since it all started with breast cancer. No twelve-year-old should ever have to arrange a funeral. I handled it better than my family because I'd had time to get used to the idea, since I was eight I knew this would happen. Because of this, I will never smoke and I've already starting getting mamagrams. Every year, I have a team at the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life in honor of her."

Breast cancer is something that, if goes undiagnosed, can lead to serious consequences. Lori (Lindsey's mom) deserves to be honored in more than one way. Although she did think something was wrong, modern medicine will hopefully not let things like this happen again. It is our job, though, to be preventative. We need to self-exam & make it a point to have mammograms. 

Have you had yours?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Someday, you'll understand...

I can now understand why my mom was always so worried about me when I was growing up. I used to think it was so lame how she'd ask me about my homework or if I'd cleaned my room...or told me that I needed to go to the doctor when I was sick.

You know that saying, "someday you'll understand when you have your own"? Yeah, it's biting me in the behind right now. Because I do. I understand now what it's like to have a sick child. & you know what? It blows. 

Yesterday afternoon I noticed Elonah's little nose was runny. She's been sneezing a few times a day since she was born so I figured it was just that. As the day went on, she became more sneezy & mucous-y. My husband busted out the boogie wipes & that seemed to help. I noticed later she was coughing & getting raspy when she cried. We checked her temperature before giving her a bath & it was pretty high. My mom was here so she ran to the store & got some baby Tylenol & some baby Vicks.

We gave her a bath & I dressed her in a onesie & lathered on the rub. I gave her some tylenol & nursed her to sleep. My poor little love bug hardly put up a fight. & she woke up maybe three times all night to eat. I feel like a new momma! But not for a good reason...

As I sit here, my normally fussy, cranky, sometimes happy baby is in her swing, rocking away. Only now, she's tired. & not herself. I feel so bad for her. There's nothing I can do but wait until 3:30 when she has her appointment with the pediatrician

In the meantime, I've got to wake my husband up & get some bath soap for later. There's nothing worse than a baby who's sick. & she'll always be my baby. & I'm still my moms'.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Adventures in Toddlerhood: Ed. 1

Whether or not we want to believe it,
we set examples everyday.
To our neighbors, other drivers, etc.
But ultimately, it is the next generation
that determines what our future holds.


I stumbled upon this little girls' picture when one of the mommas I'm friends with in a birth month group (June, when Elonah was born) posted it. She said that her daughter told her that her little brother needed fed, then proceeded to get out the parts to her pump & lift up her shirt.

It is honestly one of the most adorable things I've seen. It's also completely innocent. That little girl knows nothing else than that milk from her mommy is what her little brother eats. & she has no shame in the fact that it comes from parts of mommy that aren't always seen as feeding tools. & why should she? There's no shame in the fact that her mom is doing what she thinks is right for her family & her little boy.


This picture is also priceless. This came via another mom on my June board. While he is a boy & may not understand the concept quite yet, he knows no shame in what he's doing. Good. That's what I like to see.

Okay, so...maybe the example I set isn't for a kiddo as big as the one in the photos above. But, my goal to set a healthy example has already begun. For the hundreds of little people who have seen me breastfeeding in public, this will continue to become more normal.

The truth is, I don't care if you choose to breastfeed, co-sleep, cloth diaper...or baby-wear or any of the other many things I'm passionate about. It's not a matter of judgement. It's a matter of doing what works for you & realizing that your take on life will be passed down to your children. As a parent, one of the most amazing things I've already learned is that the examples we set, no matter how big or small...will develop our children into the type of people we either want or don't want them to be. & as the example-setters; it is up to us who that is.