Saturday, January 25, 2014

Photographer Recommendation

So my wonderful sister is getting back into photography and has just jumped into a new blog to showcase her work and pricing.  She did our engagement photos and did a wonderful job.  It was a fun experience, she was professional, and made us feel completely comfortable.  (Well except for the part where she photographed us kissing, but that was more my fault than hers.)

Here is a link to her blog: Amy B Photography

Go check her out & you won't be disappointed!

Neubys go Natural!

It started with the washer & dryer. I was so excited to finally have our very own washer & dryer that I wasn't required to literally feed money before it would operate.  I thought of the great idea to make cloth wipes instead of using the disposables.  We spend at least $9 a month on wipes that we just smear poop on and throw away.  So I cut up some receiving blankets and stitched the edges, stuffed them in an empty wipes container, and added this:

Wipes Solution:
2 1/4 C warm water
2-3 TBSP Baby soap
1/2 TBSP Baby Oil
1 TBSP Aloe Vera (optional)
Tea Tree Oil (optional)

For $5 I bought all the ingredients to last a VERY VERY long time.  But in all reality, I already had all the ingredients except the baby oil already, so I only spent $1.50.  And I can do the job of 5 disposable wipes with one cloth wipe!

Then that just snowballed into the thought of, "What else am I just throwing away that I could DIY for cheaper? What else am I throwing away that I could do differently to save money?"  So I ordered cloth diapers!  After all I have the washer & dryer & the sun!  Then I bought (though I could have easily made) cloth nursing pads.  For $8, I got 3 pairs--one to wear, one to handwash & dry, one for back-up.  I had been spending $14-16/month on those--and just throwing them away at the end of the day.  Early on I would have needed more than 3 pairs though.  Then I found recipes for other things to DIY but haven't tried yet (I've heard rave reviews though):

Cloth Diaper Laundry Detergent (use 1 TBSP per diaper load):
1/2 C Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 C Baking Soda
1/2 C Oxygen cleaner (ie baby oxiclean or other oxygen cleaner that only has Sodium percarbonate, sodium carbonate &/or peroxide)
1/2 C to 1 C Epsom salt (Optional)

Regular Laundry Detergent:
-1 Bar of Fels Naptha Soap shaved
Add to 2 quarts of water.  While stirring, heat until dissolved.
Pour into 5 gallon bucket.  Add & stir:
-1 C Borax
-1 C Washing Soda
-Hot water to the top
Let set overnight.  Stir until smooth & pour into containers.
Use 1/2 C to 1 Cup per load.

I guess while I'm at it, I can add the other things I DIY already:

Carpet Powder:
1/2 Cup Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Borax (fights fleas)
1 tsp Ground cloves
Sprinkle on carpet.  Wait 20 minutes.  Vacuum up.  Freshens, deodorizes, and protects against fleas!  What every pet owner needs.

Bathroom cleaner:
Hot vinegar
Dish soap (Dawn)

Linoleum cleaner:
1 TBSP liquid soap (ie. Dawn)
1/4 C Baking Soda
2 Gallons hot water
1/4 C Vinegar

1/4 C liquid fabric softener (I use the cheap Suavitel brand)
2 TBSP Baking soda
Add to spray bottle
Fill to top with warm water.  Shake it up a little & spray all over stinky fabrics/carpets/drapes/etc.
Now I am looking into diaper creams, lotions, shampoo, soaps, dog food, paper towels, napkins, etc, but I'll also have to see if the cost actually is worth it or not.  If you're lucky, I'll remember to post about my findings!  I also refuse to use "hankies" instead of tissues, sorry Mother Nature.

Body wash, Hand soap, Liquid Soap:
4 oz Bar soap
2 Quarts Water
For each 4 oz. bar of soap use 2 quarts water. Melt soap in boiling water until melted and then let set for 8 to 24 hours. Mix with a hand mixer to blend and pour into containers.  See link here.

4 months later & everything has changed!

Four months ago I posted that I had a baby boy--CJ.  He has grown so much now!  He was 15 pounds 6 ounces & 25.2 inches long at his last doctor's appointment--and healthy as a baby ox.  He is a wonderful baby, and I know that this is God's way of telling me, "You can be a mom.  You doubted yourself all throughout the pregnancy, but you can do this again if you want.  It's easy."  Then the next time I have a baby, it will probably be a real nightmare--colic & all.  I admit, I did doubt myself, but I tried trusting that God knew what he was doing and that the timing was perfect somehow despite CJ's arrival 3 years before I was thinking I'd have a baby.  It took a while for me to figure out what he wanted, but once I got that down things were a TON easier. 

It didn't help that I was in a lot of pain for a solid 2 months before I started feeling better.  Some things still aren't back to normal--like my hair.  I just vacuumed and had to cut an entire bird's nest worth of hair out of the vacuum.  I shower and it just comes out in clumps.  That pregnancy glow has obviously come to an end!  I weigh about 5-8 pounds more than I did prior to getting pregnant, which is fine with me.  The weight doesn't bother me, it's the pooch that follows me around, and I'm not talking about my dog.  So I've taken up hooping (also known as hula hooping to the non-hooping world) as a way of getting rid of that issue.

On November 23, Peter & I got in a moving truck and his car (we sold mine) and moved back to the Midwest to be closer to family.  Ok, so his job transferred him to a different stadium, but family was what made us say, "Yes," to the transfer.  We are renting a house now instead of an apartment.  I am SO much happier now that I don't have to tip toe around my house worried about if I am going to wake my neighbor's daughter below or if the dog is going to howl some when I leave the room.  We were displaced for a couple weeks because all of the water pipes had to be replaced, but my in-laws gladly took us in and pampered our road weary souls.  Now that Christmas travels are over, we are finally feeling more at home.  We also got a washer & dryer!!  Peter & I washed everything we could, and then luckily once all that was washed the baby had pooped and peed through a few outfits so we had more to wash!

Another change is that I resigned from my job at Psmart.  I had the opportunity to transfer to a newly opened store here, but I just could not justify going back to work.  Between childcare & dogcare, I wouldn't be bringing in much income at all.  I also wasn't going to be in management, which I personally felt like I was ready for that next step, but the spot just wasn't open.  I have a Bachelor of Science degree from a top university, graduated near the top of my class, and I also have a good personality and work ethic to go along with it, yet I was only earning just a couple dollars more than minimum wage.  I LOVED the people I worked with.  I loved the company and the generosity that it has for its community.  I just feel like I was working below where I should be at this point in my life (that sounds vain, but it's probably true), and I was in a position that I was--I guess the word is bored with.  Then when I would look at my precious child's face and he would smile at me with his gummy grin, I just couldn't see going back.  I thought about someone else raising my kid.  I thought about the fact that it would be a stranger--someone who I wouldn't know what values they have that they would teach or not teach my child.  I wouldn't know if they could truly be trusted or if they would one day lose their temper and shake him or worse.  To top it off, there is the hassle of pumping at work whenever I could find time.  I have made it this far with nursing, and I would hate to stop just because I got busy at work.  I am the best person to raise and feed my child, and no one can tell me any different.

My beagle Lyna has adjusted to the move fairly well.  She took off running out of the car somewhere in Nebraska, but upon realizing that she was the only one running, she decided she'd rather have company and came back.  She trembled and panted for the majority of the trip, occasionally falling asleep, so I know it was stressful for her.  She got to spend a whole week at Christmas with my dad while we were at my in-law's house with 21 people!  My dad fell in love with her, and spoiled her to the core.  Everyone who knows me knows that I love my dog more than any human probably should, but lately I just don't know how much longer I can take having her. 

I've written about this before I think, but Lyna has severe separation anxiety.  This means that we cannot leave her alone unless we want serious property damage.  Our solution is to take her to doggy day camp anytime one of us cannot be with her.  It works alright, and would work great for someone who is older than us I think.  However, we are a young family.  I would like to be a young, active family too.  We can't even go out to eat at a sit down restaurant without thinking about what we're going to do with the dog.  We can't go to Walmart like normal people.  We can't just say, "Hey, let's go over to a friend's house!"  We can't join the other young adults at church to go bowling on a Friday night because doggy day camp is closed by then, and it would require paying an extra $30 for her to spend the night there.  If I want to have a day out of the house while Peter is at work, it is automatically $15 out the window because Lyna can't come with.  I'd like to take CJ for play dates every now & then as he gets old, but that will be difficult with the dog.  They say that having a baby changes everything, but having a dog with separation anxiety changes everything even more.  Honestly.  I've tried posting in a few places to see if there is someone who would be a good fit for her.  The problem is, there are very few people who would be a good fit for her.  It would have to be someone who is at home a lot.  A stay at home mom would be good, except they have to take kids here & there.  She would be great therapy for someone who is bedridden--she LOVES to cuddle & sleep all day, but there would have to be someone who could take her outside to go to the bathroom.  An older person who stays home a lot would be a good match since they usually don't stay out late, but they'd have to be able to afford to take her to doggy day camp when they go to church or the grocery store.  As much as I want to keep her because I love her, I also hope & pray that someone is out there might be a better match and can give her a good home so I can start living again.

I think that's pretty much a general update about us.  My middle sister is expecting her 3rd child which I am very excited about.  Other than that, I think it's just same ole, same ole.