Monday, June 29, 2015

Company Weekend

Good Monday morning!

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[Kale pom-poms. Sorry for the blurry picture, but I thought the moment needed to be documented.]

I hope you had a nice weekend. Ours flew by due to the amount of company we enjoyed. 

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Friday night we ordered Indian takeout and had friends over. Saturday night Dan grilled buffalo chicken and we had some more friends over. Sunday we invited some friends to church and then Dan made them turkey burgers for lunch.

By Sunday afternoon, the only thing I was good for was propping my feet up and eating watermelon. 

Due to my lovely varicose veins, I am not able to stand as long as I normally would, so everything takes longer to do. I seriously have to sit down and rest in between unloading and loading the dishwasher. 

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The good thing about resting is that I have more time to sit and enjoy Ina. We spent a lot of time outside in our “cool” and eating popsicles. 

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This week is going to be another weird one. We have the holiday to think about and there is always the possibility that we are going to have a baby! Our next ultrasound is tomorrow. 

Also, Dan’s grandpa, who had been in hospice for a week, passed away last night. We will try to spend the week re-counting good grandpa memories. 

I hope you have a blessed week. <3

Friday, June 26, 2015

From Farm to Face

Good morning and Happy Friday!

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When did she get so big? 

This was a long week and I am looking forward to some down time this weekend. 

Well, just when I said I wasn’t going to cook until this baby is outside my belly, I proved myself wrong all day long yesterday. I woke up craving blueberries, so I made this blueberry crisp for breakfast.

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I know that technically that recipe is for dessert, but all of the ingredients are in breakfast foods too. Judge if you must.

Ina was at her grandparents’ house, so I had some time to kill before starting work. I spent an entire hour weeding our garden, and only got about half way done. BUT, besides weeds, I finally harvested something edible - kale and cucumbers.

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Isn’t nature beautiful? 

I had a kale salad (massaged with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and topped with chopped apple, jalapeƱos, kalamata olives, and feta cheese) for lunch, along with a chip and ham sandwich (you know, to make sure I wasn’t eating completely healthy). 

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Then for dinner I made meatloaf, baked some sweet potatoes, and roasted some broccoli. Seriously, I spent more time in the kitchen yesterday than I have in a month and it felt so nice. Maybe I am turning over a new leaf!

I hear someone calling for me. 

Have a great weekend! <3

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Healthy Baby

Good morning!

I know I say this every Thursday, but I am truly thankful to have a healthy baby kicking around in my belly.

What happened with Ina was scary, but extremely rare and had a very happy ending. The chances of the same thing happening to this baby are practically non-existent. So, i went into this pregnancy telling myself I wouldn’t freak out over every little thing.

And for a long time it worked, especially early on. When the ultrasound tech couldn’t find the baby at 6 to 7 weeks, I wasn’t scared and she eventually found her. When my midwife couldn’t get a heartbeat on the doppler right away, I breathed normally until I heard that beautiful thud, thud, thud.

However as we creep closer and closer to 37.5 weeks, my gestation when Ina was born, I have become way more paranoid. Last week I went to my midwife’s office THREE times. Once was for an actual scheduled appointment. The second time I was driving to work and hadn’t felt the baby move after breakfast. I parked my car in my work parking lot and poked and prodded my belly with no movement, so instead of going to work, I just backed out and drove to my midwife’s office. Turns out the baby was just napping. The third time I was sure I was leaking amniotic fluid, I suppose because my fluid was low(ish), but nope, wrong again (thankfully). 

At the third visit my midwife told me that this type of behavior is very common for women who have had a scary experience in the past. She compared it to PTSD. What I am also very thankful for is that although she reassured me that my baby is perfectly fine, she had no problem with me coming in every day for the rest of my pregnancy if that is what it took to convince me. I am also so thankful for the weekly ultrasounds to see that everything is going OK.

Since that conversation, I have had a few more freak-outs, but nothing a phone on vibrate or an electric razor couldn’t fix. (I hold them up to my belly to wake baby girl up so I can feel her move.)

When I went to my scheduled appointment this week, the girl at the front desk smiled and said, “Hi Racheal.” Dan just looked at me and laughed. I guess when you see a patient 4 times within 7 days you get to know her name. Ha!

So many things to be thankful for!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Baby Sprinkle

Good morning! I hope your Wednesday is off to a good start. 

Mine started with Ina cuddles, baby kicks (nice ones), and iced coffee, so things are looking pretty good over here.

Yesterday my work threw Baby Gary a “sprinkle,” which was so, so nice of them. 

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Dan and Ina drove up my office to help me eat cake and open presents. Ina asked a few times if the cards were her birthday cards and I gently had to explain to her that the presents were for Baby Gary. 

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This was the first time Ina had visited my office since she was an infant, and I had quite a bit of fun showing her off. She did well, considering her nap was about 12 minutes long and her lunch was cake and ice cream. We went into one of the boss’s (Mary) offices and she stood up behind her desk to say hi. After talking for a few minutes, Ina looked at me and asked, “Mom, where’s Mary’s feet?"

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I am pretty sure that Ina now thinks I spin in chairs, play with sticky notes, and draw on dry erase boards all day long, with occasional breaks to talk to some very nice people and eat cake. 

Have a good day! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Initation

Yesterday i feel like we initiated summer.

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We filled up the pool, or the “cool” as Ina likes to call it and I can’t stand to correct her.

We grilled dinner, and by we I mean Dan.

We ate popsicles before dinner which did not impact our appetite because water + sun = hungry. 

We went to bed exhausted from the sun.

That is the type of evening I would love to put on repeat. I mean really, sitting in a kiddie pool sipping on some iced lemon water is about as close to a beach and a Corona as a pregnant woman with a toddler and no vacation days gets. Although I can’t do much to entertain Ina these days, I can be the victim of splashes and poured cups of water, which she seems to love, so I predict we will be out there often for the next month. 

Speaking of being pregnant, I still am, obviously. I was pretty much convinced I would have this baby early, but now I know I am going past my due date. We had an ultrasound yesterday to get our weekly biophysical profile (BPP). Baby Gary passed with flying colors. The amniotic fluid is still low-normal, but stable, and she still showed every sign of being perfectly healthy. We were also able to get a pretty good look at her face and, let me tell you, this girl has some cheeks! 

I can’t wait to kiss them in real life. 

I hope you have a lovely Tuesday. <3

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ina is Back / Father's Day 2015 / I'm Not Cooking Anymore

How’s that for a title? 

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Good morning and Happy Monday!

I wake up every morning thinking, I might have a baby today. At 36 weeks and 2 days, I am just slightly optimistic. Today I even thought about Baby Gary’s potential birthday being 6/22 and Ina’s is 12/2 and how cool that would be because 6x2=12. 

Moving on.

Ina is back! I picked her up Saturday morning and immediately drove her to Dan’s work to meet him for lunch. 

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She seriously grew while she was gone and learned a thousand new phrases and facial expressions. It is just so nice to have her back again. 

Saturday night we watched fireworks from our back yard with a few special guests. Even though the fireworks were from our town’s community days event, Dan told Ina they were her “welcome home present.” 

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Although she was excited about the fireworks, she was mostly upset that I didn’t get her the right kind of popsicle. I suppose coming home from vacation is hard, regardless of how old you are. 

Sunday we celebrated Father’s Day by having the family over here for lunch. Dan was able to get the day off work last minute, which was great! We blew up the pool, put together a pasta bar, and relaxed the afternoon away.

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Ina didn’t take a nap, and I was pretty tired after such an eventful weekend, so after reading a few new library books, we went to bed before the sun did. 

I know I usually put my meal plans up on Sunday or Monday, but I don’t have one for this week. As far as most food is concerned, nothing sounds good enough to warrant me standing for 30 minutes to make it. I had a whole week planned out last week and didn’t cook one single meal. Dan has most of the week off work, so I am hoping to squeeze a turkey burger or two out of him. 

Dan gets to go with me to my ultrasound today and I can’t wait for him to see how much Baby Gary has grown!

Have a good week!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Dear Ina Mae, Our World is About to be Rocked

Dear Ina,

My sweet baby girl, our world is about to be rocked.

Because of the learning experiences I gained with you, I think i have an idea of what the next few months are going to look like around our house. Although I likely have forgotten most of them due to lack of sleep and selective memory, I have a vague recollection of the newborn days. However, I am afraid you have absolutely no idea how your world is about to change.

This is not for lack of trying on my part. I continue to attempt to explain what things will be like when the baby that is inside my belly will be outside my belly. You seem so excited to be a “good big sister” and have even been practicing baby care on your dolls. But, when you tell me you want to give Baby Gary her present “when she turns five years old” I get the feeling you really have no idea. 

When I think about the changes you are going to have to face, in some ways, my heart breaks. 

The routines we have developed in the mornings, afternoons, evenings, and weekends are going to be thrown out the door and likely replaced by chaos. 

My arms, that have both been completely yours for the taking whenever you please, will be a little more full and not available on demand. Carrying you up and down the stairs and one-on-one cuddle sessions will happen less.

When you call for me in the morning when you wake up, it will take me longer to get to you.

My attention, which I admit is sometimes fleeting now, will be maxed out, even though I promise I am going to try to cut out time just for you.

I will no longer tell you that you are my favorite baby girl. Or that you are the most beautiful baby girl. Or that I love you more than anything. 

You see, there will be another beautiful baby girl around here. She will likely be getting more adult attention for awhile, which will probably be hard for you to understand at first, because she won’t do much of anything except sleep. 

But, that lump that doesn’t do much of anything will slowly transform into a vibrant child, just like you did. When she does, I can’t wait to watch you have a sister, a permanent playmate, a friend. A sibling is hands down the best present my parents have ever given me and I hope you eventually feel the same way. 

I promise, it will get better.

We will develop new routines. 

My arms will figure out a way to hold you both.

I don’t know how yet, but from what I hear from other parents, I will love your sister just as much as I love you (which is with all my heart), without loving you any less. (Seriously, how is this mathematically possible?)

But, before all of that happens, I want to tell you thank you. Thank you for teaching me everything you did without even trying. Thank you for being my first baby and showing me the ropes of this mom thing. I know it couldn’t have been easy. Thank you for being you. Thank you for making the past two and a half years (mostly) more enjoyable and filled with more love than I could have ever imagined. 

I love you sweetheart, and I hope and pray that you continue to see that even with this new baby in the mix. 


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Good morning! Or wait, is it afternoon yet? 

I woke up this morning at 7:30! Who am I? Oh, that’s right. I’m an exhausted pregnant woman whose toddler is on vacation with her grandparents. Sleeping in makes sense now.

I have so many things to be thankful for today, but I am mostly thankful for the baby kicks I have been receiving on double time. I love that she is having a dance party in there - the most reassuring feeling ever.

I am thankful that Ina is enjoying her vacation and that Dan’s mom continues to send me pictures of her having a great time.

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(with her aunt and peguins)

They are in the Smokey Mountains and went to  Lumber Jack show last night. Apparently Ina was selected to be in the show and there is a video that I cannot wait to watch.

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I am thankful for Dan checking things off my to-do list. I have been trying very hard not to nag him by rattling off everything that is going through my brain. He makes this possible because when he has free time he says something like, “Give me three things on your list."

I have to admit, sometimes it takes me a few minutes to narrow it down to only 3 things, but it is super helpful and gets the most important things done first. 

I am thankful to my mom for buying me a new diaper bag. Isn’t it cute?

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I am thankful that Aldi decided to step up their ice cream game with their Select line. Things were looking pretty bad with Blue Bell going under and me reaching a peak pregnancy ice cream craving. Then Aldi came through, like they always do.

Speaking of ice cream, I haven’t cooked a lick this week, unless you count baking a potato cooking, because all I want is baked potatoes and ice cream for dinner. Maybe some cereal every once in a while. Someone send spinach STAT. 

I suppose that since I have stopped being thankful and just started blabbering I should end this post. 

What are  you thankful for? 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Well hello there. I hope things are great on your side of the internet. 

Things are pretty good over here, although Dan and I are going through some major Ina withdrawal. We talked to her last night and she sang us a song and we both almost melted. 

Even though I haven’t seen Ina, I did get to see Baby Gary yesterday. 

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Ultrasounds aren’t typical at 35.5 weeks pregnant, my mid-wife agreed to let me get one because of the weird circumstances with Ina’s birth. It was so fun to see a baby that big in my belly. Poor girl is pretty squished in there, but she was moving like crazy and even practicing her breathing by bringing fluid in and out of her lungs, which the ultrasound tech said was a great sign for a healthy baby. 

She also is head down (good girl), estimated to weigh 6.5 pounds already (which would put her at 9 pounds at 40 weeks), and her length is estimated in the 95th percentile. Yikes. Oh, and she is most definitely a she. Whew.

Everything with the ultrasound went great with one exception. My amniotic fluid was right on the lower end of normal. We will do another ultrasound next week and hope that the low fluid was just due to me not drinking enough water over the weekend and not due to some other complication. My midwife said that Baby Gary is perfectly healthy right now and she had no problem sending me home for another week. The fluid level is still normal, just low-normal, and we are being overly cautious. 

Until then I am going to be hydrating like crazy. If you see me and I do not have a glass of water in my hand, please slap me. 

Now that I know there is even a slight possibility we might be meeting Baby Gary next week, my to-do list seems to be hanging right in front of me all the time.

Yesterday I all but finished painting the nursery and nursery furniture.

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We are going with a dandelion theme with coral, aqua, and grey. Although it seems kind of random now, I hope it will all come together when the room is done.

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I also started washing everything in sight - car seat, rocker, bouncer, pump parts, etc. I don’t want to admit how long it took Dan and I to put all the pieces back on that carseat. 

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Oh, and I have relaxed a little too.

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Enjoying the luxury that is reading now while I have a chance. 

Have a great day!

Monday, June 15, 2015

My Second Pregnancy: 8 Months Update

Good morning! I hope you had a great weekend and your Monday morning is looking good.

With about a month left until baby-day, things are looking a little intense over here. 

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Dan is such a good sport about taking belly photos, but most of them end up looking more like this-him doing something goofy and me laughing at him:

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He is trying to get into the “follow me to” business. 

I know I have said this before, but most of this pregnancy has been relatively comfortable. However, I have recently transitioned into the mostly uncomfortable phase. Breathing and sitting are hard to do at the same time. I can’t stand still for longer than a minute or two. I seriously see a new varicose vein pop up everyday. 

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BUT, little girl is moving away in there, which I absolutely love to feel. I have had a few people in my life go through some difficult and devestating pregnancy situations and not only does it make my heart break for them, my anxiety around my own pregnancy has skyrocketed. Last night I had horrible dreams all night long, all to do with babies. I am working on praying away the fear, which has helped so far. 

Other notes:

- We have a name! After months of arguing, I text an idea to Dan, he agreed within a second, and that was that. Ina, on the other hand, is still pretty stuck on Baby Gary and now that we have been referring to the baby by her real name, Ina thinks I now have two babies in my belly. I am afraid she is going to be very disappointed to never meet Baby Gary, but someone told me to give her a doll named Baby Gary on the day she meets the real baby. Genius. 

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[Ina “listening” to the baby.]

-The nursery is still a work in progress, but we rocked out quite a bit this weekend and it is starting to look so cute. I am so thankful to my family for squeezing out some time in their very busy schedule to help us out. On our way to my nephew’s birthday party last night, Dan had to give me the “it will be ok if the nursery isn’t done when the baby gets here” talk because “we won’t use it right away” anyways. I know all this is true, but that doesn’t stop the need to paint at 3 am. 

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-Although I technically have a month of pregnancy left, Ina was born at 37.5 weeks and I am now 35.5 weeks, so a little (OK, big) part of me thinks I only have two weeks left. 

-So many random people have commented on my pregnant belly. No hiding it now.

-As Ina is out of town until Friday, I am going to use my time to relax, but also get a few things done for the baby. My to-do list:

  • Pack hospital bags
  • Find a diaper bag I like- any suggestions?
  • Wash carseat and all baby seats, rockers, mats, etc.
  • Finish painting nursery (mostly just artsy stuff now)
  • Prep some freezer meals

 I have an ultrasound tomorrow just to make sure everything is A-OK, but I am fully expecting it will be. Have a lovely week!

Previous Updates:

7 months / 6 months / 5 months / 4 months / 3 months

Sunday, June 14, 2015

When Ina's Away...

Good morning and Happy Sunday!

We have had an eventful weekend so far. Friday morning we said goodbye to Ina for a week, as she left to go on vacation with Dan’s parents. We are now at 48 hours without her and I will not admit how many times Dan and I have cried. 

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She, however, is having a blast and has already gone swimming, visited Churchill Downs, and up-chucked all over the car. When we talked to her on the phone last night, she sounded like she had aged 3 years. 

In an attempt to not miss her, we have been keeping busy. Friday after work I went to Costco, Hobby Lobby, AND Office Max. I know, I can barely believe how cool I am.

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Saturday I worked in the morning, then we put in some work on the nursery, 

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celebrated a dear friend’s birthday,

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and then put on a dress to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.

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[35 weeks! One month to go!]

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We ate at Marina Grog and Galley, which is a place Dan and I have always wanted to go to, but never got around to it. A restaurant that is usually out of our price range, but thanks to Groupon and an anniversary present from my grandma, dinner (and our lunch today) was covered. 



The marina is on a small lake community - Lake Lotawana. The houses are gorgeous and after we stuck our feet in the water for a little bit we drove around the lake and dreamed of retiring there. Although this place is very close to the city, the air just feels like vacation. 

This week I thought I would take advantage of having both hands and an un-distracted brain to use while cooking dinner. I plan to double every meal I cook and freeze the second half for when Baby Gary makes her appearance. 

Here is my meal plan for the week: 

  • Sunday: celebrating my nephew’s birthday
  • Monday: cilantro lime chicken rice bowls with salad
  • Tuesday: meatloaf with green beans and potatoes
  • Wednesday: Dan’s grilled buffalo chicken with roasted broccoli con on the cob
  • Thursday: out to eat or leftovers
  • Friday: Ina gets home! We will celebrate by making our own pizza, one of her favorite things to do. 
  • Saturday: something social

Hope you have a lovely week! <3

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Hey hey!

Today is a pretty exciting day because a painting crew (re: my family) is coming to make some progress on Baby Gary’s nursery. I know it won’t be complete, but one step closer, which is definitely something to be thankful for!

Today I am also thankful that Ina gets to go on vacation with her cousins and Granny and Papa. I am going to miss her so much, but I know that she will have way more fun with them than the mostly couch-bound version of me that shows up after I get off work. 

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One place that is easy for me to play with Ina is in the water, so I am thankful that Dan took us to Longview Lake beach on Tuesday afternoon. We had a blast swimming in the water and I lounged in my chair while Dan and Ina worked at burying her legs and building sand castles. 

I am thankful for Dan’s patience in our lack of food. I wasn’t home last night when he got home from work and I am pretty sure the only meal choice he had was two potato chips and an onion. I am usually so good about keeping us stocked in groceries, but grocery shopping hasn’t happened much lately. 

I am extremely thankful that my friends Michele and Nick (a couple in our small group) added a miracle baby to their family. After some pregnancy complications their angel Gwendolynn Faith was born at 26 weeks gestation on Saturday weighing 2 pounds and 9 oz. 

I went to visit them on Monday and was with them when she opened her eyes for the first time, which was pretty much the coolest thing ever. She is such a beautiful girl and doing wonderfully with her breathing, which I am so thankful for! 

What are you thankful for? 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Ina Bath + More Veggies

We have had this giant concrete bowl type thing in our front yard for years. In fact, it moved with us from our old house to this one. While I won’t disclose how we acquired it, I will say that I have never really liked it. Mostly because people always ask me what it is for or why we don’t have any flowers in it and I never really know the answer, so I just say, “ask Dan."

Dan, of course, is extremely proud of this enormous thing that makes people ask so many questions. So, when Ina and I came home yesterday to Dan standing on the front walk with the biggest grin on his face, I knew something was up. 

As it turns out, he had shoved a cork in the thing and filled it with water. All he had to say was it was an “Ina Bath” and Ina started tweeting like a bird and played in it for 2 hours. She LOVED it and stopped playing only to run over to Dan, give him a hug, and tell him thank you.

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Me? I decided if I couldn’t beat him I would join him. After I popped dinner in the oven I pulled up a lawn chair, stuck my feet in the water, and relaxed. 

Even though I tried pretty hard, I couldn’t help but love it too. 


On a different note:

After this weekend, I thought I might turn into a cheeseburger, so I woke up yesterday determined to get a few more veggies in my mouth. 

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I had broccoli and sweet potatoes with eggs for breakfast (with lots of Tapito), a quinoa salad and baked potato for lunch, a green monster smoothie with spinach for an afternoon snack, and broccoli along with sour cream noodle bake for dinner. It is amazing how much better you can feel after one day of clean(er) eating. 

Dan also has today off work, so I am hoping that after I crank out some work we can have a little family adventure. Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Weekend Happenings + Meal Plan

Good morning and Happy Monday!

A few highlights from the weekend:

-Visiting our friends Sadie 

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and Paisley. I swear Baby Gary jumped in my belly when I starting holding another baby. Ina didn’t really care. She has no idea what is about to happen.

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-Celebrating our anniversary (kind of).

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Dan and I have now been married 7 years and one day. Pretty exciting. However, he had to work this weekend, and our yard desperately needed mowed, so while we had family watching Ina, we celebrated by doing yard work, which I think is a pretty good representation of 7 years of marriage. Ha! More celebration and anniversary talk later.

-Driving to the lake.

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My family had some business to take care of at the new lake house they are building and Ina and I decided to tag along. We spent the majority of yesterday in the car, but did manage to hop in the lake for a few minutes and talk somebody into giving us a ride on their boat.

I almost forgot how relaxing a boat ride can be and had phases of relaxation in between visions of Ina jumping off the side. 

That girl is a wild one.

Here is my meal plan for the week. Ina is leaving to go on vacation for a week with her grandparents on Friday and I would rather not think about it. Although I have a mile-long to-do list, I will likely need some distraction or to borrow someone’s child to snuggle with. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Good morning! 

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I hope you are having a wonderful Thursday so far. Let’s take some time to be thankful. 

I am thankful to be pregnant. I have to keep telling myself this, because although the majority of my pregnancy has been relatively pleasant, the last few days have been miserable. I feel uncomfortable, out of breath, swollen, big, waddle-y, exhausted, and just done, and I have six weeks left. 

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I saw my mid-wife yesterday and she told me that every momma says that at this stage, although I most definitely don’t remember saying that last time, but I checked and apparently last time I couldn’t breathe too. 

So, once again, I am thankful to be pregnant and that baby girl is doing so great in there. Her heart rate accelerated beautifully yesterday and all of my numbers remain right on track. 

I am thankful for our roomba, which not only cleans our floors but entertains Ina by “chasing” her from room to room when I don’t have the energy. 

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She finally retaliated and decided to fight back with a hard hat and a hammer.

I am thankful to the kind soul who sold us this Barbie Jeep for a steal!

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Although I am quite certain that Ina and Dan are more thankful for it than I am. I predict that thing will need to be charged at least 3 times today.

I am thankful for the many options I have in late notice babysitting. Last night I had patients to call and Dan was stuck a few hours away. Although it took a little longer than normal, I was able to drop Ina off at a friends’ house, where she had a blast. 

What are you thankful for? 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Our Budget: The How


It is time for me to share our budgeting process with you. If you missed Part 1 of this series- on the actual breakdown of our budget, here is it. 

Budget Overview

First things first - the numbers below are not our actual budget - this is completely made up for example purposes. I am not trying to tell the world how much money we make a month. I am all about full disclosure, but some things are none of your business. :)

Our budgeting system is completely spreadsheet based. I use the Sheets function in Google Drive (free - you  just need to have a gmail account), but this would also work on Excel, Mac Sheets, etc. I like Drive because I can access it from one of the ten devices I use in a week and it syncs up automatically. 

Now this is going to get a little long and windy, but I promise this is a super simple system if you just stick with me. Setting the system up took a few months to get things exactly how I wanted them, but now I spend a few minutes a day updating my expenses and the rest runs itself. If you want to follow along, I have created an example template that goes with this post and you can update to personally fit your budget. Click here to access it. 

Each month (or whatever earning/spending interval you would want to choose) gets a separate spreadsheet which is composed of three tabs: income, budget, and expenses.

Three Tabs

I am going to break down each tab one by one and by the end of this post it should all make sense.

1. Income

Income Tab

This tab is the easiest and the most self explanatory. The only thing I like to point out here is that we use our income from the month before, this way we know exactly how much we have to work with. Also, everything that goes into our household budget goes into here - rental income, cash from side hustles, etc. The only thing that doesn’t go here is birthday money/gifts, which I am sure Dan is super grateful for. 

You can have as many rows as you want, but the most important line is the Total, because it is used in the formulas in the budget tab. 

2. Expenses 

Expenses Tab

The expenses tab is where you track every single penny you spend.

It is composed of a few different columns: 

  • Type: What account it came from. Unfortunately, Dan and I have quite a few accounts that we work with. This helps me know which account was used: our credit card, our checking account from Bank A or Bank B, cash, etc. 
  • Date
  • Description: I usually just put what my statement has as a description, but I also use this tab to track details - like a check # or receipt information if it is something that is needed later for tax purposes. 
  • Amount
  • Label: this is the most important tab and what helps all the calculations at the end. You can only use a label for a budget category you have on the budget page. Also, the typing of the label has to be consistent. For example, if the label in the budget tab is “Groceries” you can’t type in “Grocery” and expect the calculation to work. Keep going and hopefully this will make sense.

I update this tab every morning by logging into our credit card and checking account online. I don’t think this necessarily needs to be updated daily, but at least weekly, or else you will forget what you bought at Target. When Dan and I first started using this system, we would save all of our receipts and write their category on them, until I realized it was much easier for me to log-in every day and text him if I had a question.  

Another thing to point out here is that you can break down charges at one place into different categories, like I did above with Target - in this example, some money was spent on toiletries and some was spent on the dollar bin. 

3. Budget

Budget Tab

This is where the magic happens. Here is an explanation of the different columns:

  • Percentage: this calculates the percentage of your income budgeted for a certain category. I didn’t have this at first, but added it and thought it was helpful when setting my budget and looking at the big picture of things. 
  • Expenses: your categories - you can add or take away as fits your life
  • Budget: these are the numbers you set at the beginning of each month. You type them in and change them as needed, although I recommend sticking to what you set or else things can get a little hairy.
  • Actual spent: this column takes the amount spent in the Expenses tab and adds it up for each category using sumif statements. This is why it is so important to have the correct wording in the label column in the Expenses tab.Sumif groceries
  • Difference: subtracts your budget from what you have already spent, i.e., what you have left to spend. 

A few notes:

  • This system works for our family because I am the primary person in charge of the finances. Dan contributes to our budget by agreeing with the categories at the beginning of each month and then asking how much we have to spend on something as the month progresses. So, I am the only one who contributes to the spreadsheet. To speak in FPU language, I am the nerd and he is the free spirit. However, if you have two people who would contribute, you can use Google Drive and share the document and allow both people to manipulate it. 
  • If you think about it, this isn’t much different from a cash envelope system, except the “envelopes” are in the cloud instead of cluttering up my kitchen counter and getting lost underneath the seat of my car. 
  • You will noticed there is a “Yearly Expenses” label. This takes a little more explanation and its own blog post, but if you have questions before then please let me know.
  • I created a mock budget sheet, which can be accessed here, if you want to give it a try. If you are intimated by the formula entering, I would be happy to help you, just shoot me an email. 

OK, I think that is enough really exciting information for today. I will be back tomorrow with regularly scheduled cute baby pictures. <3

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