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All I Want For Mother’s Day…

Little Man is still young enough that my mother’s day gifts and Hubby’s father’s day gifts are picked out by us. That being said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me to ask for:

  1. A thimble. I’m all for repairing instead of replacing, but without a thimble it hurts! I would like a metal one, as a plastic one will get stepped on.

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  1. A clean sink. I do two or three loads of dishes a day. Today, please do them for me.
  2. All the clothes in the house folded and put away. I like doing laundry, but I hate folding and putting away. Hey, today’s supposed to be my day to relax, right?
  3. The T.V. off all day. Living in a house with Hubby and his brother means the T.V. is on as soon as they’re in the door, usually with a video game loading. I want to not hear “pewpewpewpewBOOMpewpewpew” all day long. Silence will do nicely.
  4. Clean kitchen counters. This does not involve shoving everything into a drawer and pretending it doesn’t exist, but rather PICKING UP and PUTTING AWAY all the crap that accumulates on the counter. Very little of this is mine, and I’m about to just throw it all out.

That’s it. My list of demands requests isn’t that long, and is in no way unreasonable. So please, Hubby and Little Man?

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Writing a Semi-Crunchy Birth Plan

When you’re expecting a baby, it can sometimes seem like it’s all or none. You either have a super-crunchy, all natural birth with no drugs, no laying down, no interventions, and groups of fawns frolicking through the delivery room, or you have a totally sterile, drugged birth that everyone tells you is “the better way” at the hospital as they insert long needles into you.

I’m taking a stand for the semi-crunchy birth.

When Little Man was born, I had been having inconsistent contractions for a couple of days. We lived 45 minutes away from the hospital, and when they started to even out on a Sunday night right before we were going to take my brother-in-law back to the barracks, I figured, “Why not? I’ll just pop in, see how dilated I am, and leave.” I didn’t even put my hospital bag in the car.

Turns out I was 6cm dilated, and I was immediatly admitted. My contractions stopped. They broke my water, hoping that would restart them.

Nope.

Out came the Pitocin. I didn’t know any better, so I was like, “Sure! You’re the healthcare professionals, you know what’s best!”.

Ladies, let me tell you- Pitocin is the seventh circle of hell wrapped in barbed wire delivered on the back of a poisonous spider with rabies. You ¬†thought contractions were bad before it? HA! That’s cute. I had TWO contractions and was begging for an epidural. Then I started begging for something before the epidural even got to me. And I have a pretty high pain tolerance.

So this time around, I am ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE I do not want Pitocin. It wasn’t even a glimmer on my birth plan last time, and okay, my birth plan MAY have gotten left at home on the counter when I went to the hospital. Don’t judge. With Baby #2, I’m ahead of the game- at 31 weeks pregnant, I’ve got my birth plan!

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So here are the major components of a semi-crunchy birth plan:

  • Expectant Mother and Father’s names. The hospital may be super busy when you’re admitted, and like high school, you have to have your name on the top of the assignment. Having the father’s name up there too decreases the chances of your hubby/significant other getting lost or sent home with someone else. Joking, but seriously, during childbirth it’s like the men don’t even exist.
  • Baby’s Name. This is assuming, of course, that you have it picked out. If you don’t, don’t panic, yo! We still don’t have a middle name picked out for a girl. If you found out the gender ahead of time, it might be a good idea to put down the name you have picked out just in case Janie turns out to be Johnny, or vice versa. If you have a different last name from the father, PLEASE make sure you put down what last name you want your baby to have.
  • First or Second (or third or tenth) Baby? This is nice for the Labor and Delivery staff to know, since second time moms generally require a little less help and reassurance, and since birth tends to go faster with the second baby.
  • Pain Medications? This isn’t an all-or-nothing game. I have an epidural written down because I want to be able to sleep through labor like I did last time. This was SO nice because then I wasn’t all groggy and annoyed from being kept up all night long. I didn’t notice any difference in my level of alertness with the epidural, and Little Man was up and raring right out of the birth canal, so it didn’t affect him. Seriously, newborns are supposed to crash. He was awake for eight hours his first day of life, just staring around at everything and doing his very best impressions of Daddy. I also got something called Fentinol before the epidural, to dull the pain to the point that I wasn’t breaking Hubby’s hand. It was weird. It felt like what I imagine being on psycotic drugs feels like. I don’t recommend it unless you’re in unbearable pain.
  • Will Daddy Faint? If this is your second time around, it might be nice to include a sentence on how your birth partner will react. Hubby, for example, turned a variety of whites and greens and swayed a lot, but he didn’t barf and didn’t pass out. If he had, I would put that in the plan.
  • Absolute No-Nos. For me, things that get filed under this are Pitocin, a C-section, an episiotomy, and forceps. Our Naval Hospital has a pretty high Pitocin usage rate, and a very high C-section rate, largely as a matter of convenience for the doctors. I made sure to write in very large letters that those two procedures were a VERY LAST resort. I also briefed lectured Hubby on this, since I’m relying on him to be my enforcer.
  • Considerations During Labor. Do you want music? How low do you want the lights? Will you have family in the room or do you want everyone gone except you and your birth partner? If you have other people in the room, are they likely to pass out/throw up? If there’s an emergency and it’s you or the baby, who do you want them to save? Do you want a mirror to watch Baby crowning? Do you want to push with your body’s cues or do you want someone to tell you when (and yes, you can feel when to push with an epidural. I wound up yelling at the doctor because he wanted me to stop pushing and I HAD TO PUSH. Little Man was almost born into an ungloved hand). All that goes in here.
  • Immediately After Birth. Crunchy things you might want in this section include skin to skin contact, delayed cord clamping, breastfeeding, whether you want Baby whisked away to be cleaned or not, what you are doing with the placenta (encapsulation? Taking it home to plant it under a tree?) etc. I put cord clamping at the very top, because that’s what they’re most likely to do first and I DON’T want them to clamp it until it stops pulsing. I also included a sentence or two about how Baby’s gender is a surprise, so can they please announce “It’s a BOY!” or “It’s a GIRL!”. They don’t do this anymore. They just assume you know. Also, set a time on how long you want them to wait before taking Baby off of you. I want at least 30 minutes of skin-to-skin time, and after that I want Hubby to go with Baby for the exam, if only to make sure they don’t do anything to them we don’t want.
  • Siblings.¬†If you have older children, do you want them present right away, or do you want them to wait until you’re up in recovery?
  • Feeding/Diapering/Care. This is where I put down cloth diapering, breastfeeding, and refusal of circumcision. If it’s non-standard, write it down.
  • My Postpartum Care Plans. If you’re planning on using cloth pads instead of disposables, put that down here. The hospital might require you to use disposables in the first few days just to make sure you’re not passing huge clots, but if they don’t more power to ya! I also included that I don’t want any immunizations after (last time I got the whopping cough vaccine and it made me sick as a dog), and my chosen form of post-partum birth control.

So there you have it! It’s certainly possible to have a semi-crunchy birth at a hospital. Just remember that your birth plan is flexible, and you can speak up whenever you feel uncomfortable with the way something is going. It’s your birth, your baby, and your body.

 

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Debunking The Tide Myths

Cloth diaperers tend to be firmly in two camps when it comes to laundry detergent. The first group believes that you should only use expensive cloth diapering detergents on your precious fluff. I used to be in this group, but our budget didn’t really allow for pricey diaper detergents. The second group (myself included) believes that whatever you use on your regular laundry will work just fine, within reason. The two exceptions to this rule are generally “natural” detergents that use citrus oils, since these can build up and cause repelling, and anything with “a touch of Downy” or added fabric softener (Dreft included).

So what are the concequences of using Tide versus Rockin Green?

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Before I go any farther, I will say that we’ve had essentially the same stash of diapers for 18 months or so. Each diaper is used every other day or every three days, and hung to dry. So far, I’ve only had three diapers delaminate, and all three were BabyCity, which are notorious for being cheap and generally worthless.

  • Scent. Tide does leave behind a scent, whereas Rockin Green does not. I personally like a little scent on my clean clothes. Some people believe that this means the detergent isn’t washing out correctly, I personally do not.
  • Amount. I had to use 3 tablespoons of Rockin Green to even start to get diapers clean. Tide takes up to the first line to wash a load, and they always come clean.
  • Enzymes. Tide has enzymes in it, whereas Rockin’ Green does not. I’ve never had an issue with these bothering Little Man’s buns, but if your baby is sensitive, Tide is not for you.
  • Wear and tear. Clearly, we haven’t had any problems with Tide wearing out our diapers. We’ve stripped once, when Little Man was going through his “pee every ten seconds” stage. I will note that this was while we were using Rockin Green. Since switching to Tide, we haven’t had any ammonia or stink issues. Our diapers are all still in great condition, and still in rotation. *Update- Hubby nicely reminded me that we have three that are currently out of rotation. One is waiting to be converted from velcro to snaps, one lost a snap at some point before I bought it, and one needs new elastic (my only BumGenius).

What about the “special” versions of Tide that are now on the market? I personally have used Tide Original, Tide Plus Febreze, and Tide Plus Bleach Alternative on my diapers, with no ill effects so far. The Plus Febreze version does leave behind a much stronger scent, which I’m not a fan of, but they seem to be identical in every other way.

Wait- aren’t you only supposed to use Tide Powder? This one seems to depend on your water. Where I live, the water is so hard you could cut it with a knife, and I had issues with Tide Powder not washing out properly. I was still seeing lots of suds after four or five or six rinses, and the diapers didn’t come clean. I switched to a comparable amount of liquid, and it’s worked a lot better. This could very well just be my washer, since it doesn’t seem to deal well with ANY powder detergent, but it’s worth mentioning.

I’ve also used Purex, Sun, and Extra (Xtra?) on my diapers, with no ill effects. Tide does get them the cleanest, however.

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Chopping Out Meat

Our family is not one of vegetarians. My husband likes meals that involve a large slab of meat with some form of potato, preferably mashed, and not a vegetable in sight. Clearly, however, that type of eating isn’t good for us or for our wallets! Since we’ve been pushing to get our debt paid off, I’ve been looking at better ways to save money on our “fixed” expenses, like food and gas, and going meatless more often is doing a lot to help. Here’s how I do it without inciting rebellion:

  • I cook with dried lentils a lot more. This is twofold- first, WIC provides dried beans, but I hate cooking with most dried beans because I forget to soak them, and they take FOREVER to get soft. Blech. Lentils, however, are WIC friendly and don’t have to presoak! Love it. They’re also hearty and go great with a lot of different types of meals, believe it or not.
  • I aim to eat meatless meals 3x per week. This is currently Hubby’s limit for meatless frequency, but I might try pushing it to 4x per week in the future. All our meatless meals feature dairy or lentils instead of meat, so we’re not skimping on the protein.
  • The other 4 days per week, I use VERY LITTLE meat. Instead of adding 1 pound of ground beef, I’ll add 1/2 a pound. If a recipe calls for a pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts, I’ll cook up one. The secret to pulling this off without making it seem like you’re depriving everyone is to chop the meat up very, very, very small. One cooked chicken breast looks like a lot more meat when it’s been shredded and chopped. This is also handy if you’re pregnant and can’t stand the taste of meat (ahem)

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May Finances and Goals

I’m a few days late with this post, but my in-laws were in town and we were having some family time. It was very nice, and I’m glad they got to come see Little Man and Baby!

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May is still kind of a financial transition period for us. Hubby got promoted in April, so this is our first full month of Sergeant’s pay, and I’m still kind of trying to figure out how our budget works now. On top of that, several financial hockey pucks hit us in the head last month (mostly due to crap timing), and we’re now further in debt than we were last month. Boo, debt, boo.

May’s pay periods are from April 31st-May 13th, and May 14th-May 29th. It’s the fourth month of our snowball debt reduction plan. So far we’ve paid off $8,802.68!

Our total income for the month (not counting any extra I make from side ventures such as Bookoo) is expected to be around $2,580.

We have these bills

  • Insurance: $235
  • Internet: $37
  • Cell Phones: $42
  • Disneyland Tickets: $99
  • Netflix:$8
  • Savings: $110
  • Haircuts: $40
  • TOTAL: $472.00 (Ooh, that’s down from last month!)

And these budgets:

  • Gas: $200
  • Food: $250
  • Thursdays: $250
  • Miscellaneous: $200
  • TOTAL: $900.00

We owe:

  • Credit Card #1: $1,113.74
  • Credit Card #2: $2,498.44
  • Car Loan: $9,377.46
  • Line of Credit: $497.24
  • Student Loan: $8,850.00
  • TOTAL: $22,336.88 ($4,109.42 of this is high interest)

Our snowball payment plan looks like this:

  • Credit Card #1: $25.00
  • Credit Card #2: $703.34
  • Car Loan: $321.66
  • Line of Credit: $50.00
  • Student Loan: $0.00
  • TOTAL: $1,000

Goals

  1. Pay off $1,100 of debt. This will require me to make an extra $100 through Bookoo and various other side ventures, then put that money towards our debt!
  2. Re-evaluate our debt payment plan and monthly budget. Like I said, this is our first full month of having Sgt. pay, so we’re still figuring it out.
  3. Sell at least 10 things on Bookoo. I just want stuff GONE!
  4. Take at least 3 bags of stuff to the Bring-and-take on base, and leave with less than I brought. Every so often, a church group comes on base and does a Bring-and-Take. It’s exactly what it sounds like- you bring stuff you no longer want, then get to come back the next day and fill one bag with stuff you do need. My list consists of toddler shorts, maternity shorts, and newborn gender neutral clothes. That’s about it.
  5. Start the semester off right by getting a week ahead right off the bat! School starts midway through May, and I’ve switched majors with the intention of having a more portable degree (Biology is my passion, but the job market in small towns is almost nil. Business Administration will give me more options).
  6. Survive and keep the baby, toddler, and Hubby alive. At 8 months pregnant, I’m about ready to be DONE with this.
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April Goal Recap (Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back)

April brought showers for us. First, we made the decision to buy Little Man and Baby the carseats they would need this month, because we didn’t have a lot of bills and there was a very good sale. We unfroze our credit cards for this, and used our savings to pay off all but $100 of this fee. Then, a mere two days later, the starter went out in Hubby’s truck. Apparently when the previous owner changed out the transmission he didn’t replace the starter with one that could handle the extra power, so it’s been on the way out for a while. Then Hubby’s parents came to visit, and that pantry challenge that I gave myself bit me in the butt as we ran out of food and I had to increase the food budget so we could eat (I literally had half a jar of coconut oil and a box of Cheerios, plus ketchup and mustard. That was it). We also had a few other emergency expenses related to Hubby’s job, which I’m not at liberty to discuss (doesn’t that sound cool?).

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So here we are, deeper in debt than at the start of the month. My April goals were to:

  • Pay off $1,100 worth of debt. This did happen, but unfortunately we piled on more debt because of the crap timing of the carseats/starter/food/work stuff. On the bright side, we are less in debt than we WOULD have been, but we’re no further out of debt. I paid off a total of $1,111.12 (what are the odds?)
  • Re-evaluate our debt payment plan with Hubby’s new paycheck. I am giving myself a bit of a break on this one, because only one of our April paychecks reflected the pay increase. I THINK I got this sorted out, but this month will be a learning curve as well. I’m repeating this goal again in May just in case.
  • Re-evaluate our month-to-month budget based on Hubby’s new paychecks. Again, work in progress. We have to see how this month goes, so I’ll be repeating this goal in May as well.
  • Sell our boat. DONE! We got $700 for it, and put most of that into paying off the crap that came up. We also put a chunk into LM’s college account/our emergency account, because I realized that not having an emergency account was stressing me out a lot. Even though we’re paying more interest this way, I sleep better at night.
  • Complete a Pantry Challenge. I’m chalking this one up as a win, even though we didn’t make it to the end of the month without buying groceries. Since we literally ran out of food, though, I consider this goal accomplished.
  • Post 5 items on Bookoo every day. Nope. Didn’t happen. I did very well at the start of the month, but when Hubby’s parents came I stopped, since I didn’t want them to feel ignored.
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I Am A Murderer.

*Note- I realize it’s the 1st of the month, and I promise I will get our budget post up within a few days. Hubby’s parents are still here, and budget posts take so long to write thatI don’t want them to think I’m ignoring them. Today’s their last day here, so maybe tomorrow.

Yesterday, I was a murderer. Twice.

First, I made the decision to wash Little Man’s Pooh Bear pillow pet thing, because it was really disgusting and starting to smell like sour milk. I put it in the washer while LM was eating lunch, not thinking a thing of it.

After lunch, I asked LM to help me unload the washer and put things in the dryer. The last thing to come out was Pooh Bear.

(I can see all you experienced parents cringing)

I threw Pooh in the dryer.

Little Man let out an anguished yowl I can only liken to a cat who is on his way to the vet in his cat carrier, and proceeded to wail and cry as I turned on the dryer. He spent twenty minutes standing next to the dryer, sobbing as Pooh dried off enough to play.

Clearly, I am a murderer. LM wouldn’t even look at me for half the day.

Then we decided to take Hubby’s parents to the beach, as they’re from Wyoming and have never been. I beat Hubby home, and stripped LM down for a shower. I decided to pull out the fingerpaint soap I’d gotten at Target that day, which was red

(I can hear all of you experienced parents chuckling).

Red bathtub paint looks a lot like blood. And it gets everywhere. After washing and drying LM, it was still all over the walls, all over the shower floor, etc, but I had to get LM fed and in bed, so I just left it. Hubby still had to take a shower, so he could rinse it all down, right?

Hubby heads upstairs.

I hear him open the bathroom door, pull back the shower curtain…

And suck in a lot of air before yelling, “Honey, did you kill someone in our shower?”

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Hubby.