Saturday, April 24, 2010

The end is here....

My nursing relationship with my son is quickly coming to an end.

It is so very bitter-sweet.   I am going to miss this look.

He is now 22 months old and my joy. He has grown up so fast and although I was told by a million people that time would fly by, I really didn't believe them. I knew it would pass quickly. I had NO idea that I would literally blink and it would pass.

I knew back in December that my milk supply was getting lower and lower. When my husband and I took vacation without our little guy in January, I was convinced that when we returned that my son wouldn't want to nurse anymore, but he surprised me. He still nursed every morning and most evenings before bed.

When we moved from my mother's house back to our house at the end of March, I never thought that he would want to stop nursing then. I figured that such a big change would prompt him to ask for "nurse" more. So I was surprised when he only asked twice the first week we moved back home. He's nursed a few more times since and actually nursed this morning, but I don't think I have any milk anymore at all.

I cannot believe I breastfed my son for over 22 months. As I posted before, I thought people who nursed longer than a year were nuts. I'd simply never heard or seen it. When I got pregnant, I knew I'd breastfeed...for the first six months. That time came and went so quickly and I was so amazed that I had completely nourished my son, another human being, for half of a year. How huge is that? My body produced what my son needed to sustain and flourish. How miraculous and wonderful is that? Once that six month period passed, it never occurred to me to abruptly stop nursing him simply because I'd reached a time deadline. I was still his food source and doing well at it, if I don't say so myself! Again, like I've mentioned before, it is said that babies need breast milk or formula for the first year of life. Why in the world would I give my baby something processed and manufactured when I was producing the best food in the world for him? My milk was customized for him. Period. No other source of food I can ever give him will be made just for him.

Breastfeeding is such the norm for us in our family now that I'm surprised when others are shocked to learn my son nursed as long as he did. I had a salon appointment today to get my hair cut and colored (yay, I feel like a woman again) with a new stylist and was telling her that my hair was thinner than normal since I'd recently been nursing and had the gobs of hair fall out (which by the way, no one prepared me for!). She asked how old my baby was and when I told her he would be two in June, I thought she was going to fall over. To me, it's now become normal to know many women who nurse even beyond two years, so I think I'm on the earlier side of the weaning! She told me that she nursed her children for six weeks and then switched to formula. So I guess to her, making it to my original goal of six months would have been shocking too!

I know that the weaning means I am raising a confident son who is beginning to make choices already in life. He is assured that his father and I are there for him and love him so much that we can barely pay attention to the world around us because our focus is him! I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to experience this special relationship with my son for as long as I was able.

We have now moved forward to other special bonding times. One of my favorite times with him now is before bedtime, after we've read our many books, when we rock together. He lies in my lap with his head and back on my chest and stomach and wraps both arms up over his head and around my neck to stroke my hair. That has been his thing since he's had control over his hands! He always played with my hair while nursing. I'm so happy that it's continued on and it helps me know that he is content.

I know this isn't a very exciting blog post to many, but it's such a blessing I've been able to experience and although I am very sad that it has reached the end, I know it just means we are on the edge of experiencing ever more wonderful things with our son. I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010





I say we're smart!

I'm not sure when it started, but we have become quite frugal. I think it may have begun around the time I was newly pregnant with my son. A friend of ours was selling all of her baby things and we went to take a look. We got a pack and play, stroller system with car seat and base (disclaimer - be extra cautious when buying used car seats, only buy from people you know so you'll know if the car seat has been in an accident and always check for past recalls), swing, travel swing, johnny jump up, bathtub, papasan vibrating chair, a front carrier, and about 15 pieces of maternity clothing which included a really nice wool coat. Total price - $200. It was all in excellent condition! We definitely got a great deal. The travel system alone is nearly that! Thankfully I didn't feel the need to have all brand new things. Most of the stuff is so temporary that I hated to pay retail for it!

We are huge fans of Dave Ramsey . We've been on his plan since last April and love it. That's another blog though! He talks of bartering and asking for discounts, but the key is being able to walk away. In our society of instant gratification or nothing, that was a hurdle that was difficult to get over. However we've realized that there are very few things that we MUST have. Once we got that into our mindset, it's become much easier to save money and get better deals on things we want because we've learned patience.

Here are some other ways we've saved money by being frugal....and patient!

Moving boxes - free at retail store (actually it was behind the store and they were already flattened so it was so easy to get a ton of them in our car! I refuse to pay money for boxes that are just going to get beat up and taped and re-taped, so we go to the liquor store for the smaller boxes - they are the perfect size for packing small things that may be heavy! But we found some larger boxes that we needed behind a sports shoe store)

Newspaper for packing - recycle bin - don't worry, we will recycle back when we are finished!

Jeans (2 pair) - at Goodwill - $10 total (Retail price for one was $150!!! The other was $20 retail)

Sewing machine - $25 (not sure how much it was retail, but I'm guessing around $150) This is another way for me to be frugal. However, I have NO idea even how to sew a button on, so this will be an interesting challenge. But one I'm certain I can do. Especially for me....I mean, how hard can it be to sew a simple dress or skirt? We'll see :)

Belt - for $0.99 (for my husband -since he's slimmed down from his CrossFit workouts! Normally he'd pay at least $20 for a belt)

Basketball goal for our son - faded, but free (We had just looked at these at Wal-Mart the week before and then a friend told us she had one she was giving away! This retails at WalMart for $45!

Dining table - $85.00, solid wood. I'm very excited about this one! I found this on Craigslist and it was gorgeous. Very simple, but exactly what I wanted. AND it's solid wood. I wouldn't even know how much something like this would cost retail...maybe $150 or $200?. I need chairs to go with it, but I'm not in a hurry because I have some I can use for now. I also know I can get wood chairs at IKEA for $20 each, so if I can't find any, then I'll get those!

Pull behind cart for bike - FREE!!! I saw several of these on Amazon for $85! A man who works with my husband was going to throw it away! We'll take it, thank you very much! Now our son will enjoy going for bike rides with my husband. I, on the other hand, rode my bike right into a bush the last time I went a couple years ago, so I'll stay home!

Coffee grinder - $3 My husband was SO excited to find this at Goodwill. He's been wanting one for almost a year now. I have no idea how much one costs. But I'm sure it's more than $3!

Boots - $3 We've wanted these particular boots for our son for a year now. However, they aren't boots he'll wear often, so we hated to pay even $15 for them at Wal-mart, so we were happy to find them at Goodwill!

Pedestal sink - $20 Brand new off of Craigslist!

Filing cabinet - FREE. Our neighbors behind us in the alley were moving and they were putting things in the alley they didn't want. A little paint and it looked brand new!

Cloth diapers - we cloth diaper our son and we bought about 15 Fuzzi Bunz pocket diapers with inserts for $20! It was from someone we knew and they had potty trained their youngest and was just trying to unload the diapers! Retail is $17.95! Plus I can re-sell these if I choose and probably make the little money back that I spent on them!

There are other ways we are frugal - like the different ways we save on electricity, etc. That can be another post though as this is getting rather lengthy. Basically we are all about deals. We try not to pay retail for most things because there's usually a way to get them discounted or even FREE!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Menu planning

So I took a little time off from writing anything, huh? That's what moving will do to you!

We are all moved back in our house in Savannah and have settled in for the most part. We are waiting on delivery of our IKEA wardrobe system today and once that is put together and our bedroom is unpacked, I'll definitely feel better! The yard will take some work. There are tons of weeds and we've been pulling and raking them out for the past week!

We did start a few vegetables. My husband built me a raised bed along a portion of chain link fencing we have for our peas. We used bricks we already had and the trellis (chain link fence) was already there, so FREE! I also planted a cucumber plant that's supposedly good in small gardens and one red bell pepper plant. I have some other things planted but I think they will probably die in the heat because they are cooler weathered vegetables! Arugula, swiss chard, red cabbage.

We planted 4 tomato plants in self watering containers that my husband made. I'll post pictures on that later. Everything except for the soil and the tomato plants were FREE!

Now, on to making my life feel organized after the move - menu planning is the key! I absolutely despise not having a menu planned out. It makes things so difficult. It's such a pain to sit down and actually plan out the menu, but not really when you think about getting up in the morning, looking at your menu and know exactly what you are eating that day. Such a time saver and saves the hassle of deciding 30 minutes before meal time what you are having!

I'm not good at it yet. I want to be able to build my menu off of what is on sale at the grocery store and what is in season as far as vegetables and fruit. I'll get there! It helps save money too. When going to the grocery store, you have a definite list. You know exactly what to buy. Vegetables won't go bad before you decide to use them. Meat won't sit in your freezer for 6 months before you finally get around to cooking it. You won't have 20 boxes of pasta in your freezer because every time you go grocery shopping without a plan, you buy the pasta that's on sale, just to have on hand for a quick meal! :)

Here is my menu plan for next week. We used to only plan dinners but now that our son is here it's much easier to add lunches too!

Monday 4/12
Lunch - Tuna apple salad
Dinner - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green veggie or two

Tuesday 4/13
L - Meatloaf sandwich (add lettuce and tomato for veggie servings)
D - Leftovers from dinner last night (yes, meatloaf 3 times in a row, but I don't mind!)
We'll probably slice up a fresh tomato to add to our veggies.

Wednesday 4/14
L - BLAT wrap - one of my FAVORITES! Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato wrap! You take a wheat tortilla, chop up crispy bacon, add lettuce, tomato and avocado. The secret is a tiny amount of ranch dressing. SO good! We don't eat ranch dressing except for on this wrap! I'm sure there is a substitute out there I can whip up if I took the time to look!)
D - Roasted chicken, roasted carrots, potatoes and a side of green beans

Thursday 4/15
L - Artichoke chicken salad
D - Quesadillas - using leftover chicken from dinner the night before, artichokes leftover from lunch, black beans, roasted red peppers and mushrooms if you have them. Monterey Jack cheese and YUM!

Friday 4/16
L - Leftover quesadillas
D - Spaghetti with a side of green peas and salad

Saturday 4/17
L - Grape chicken salad (using leftover chicken if any left)
D - Oyster Roast at a friends house - whoohooo@

Sunday 4/18
L - Spaghetti leftovers, whip up a veggie side with whatever we have left (always keep frozen peas and beans on hand)
D - Baked Ziti, salad, something else green