Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Five Months (a couple of weeks late)


You've been keeping your Mommy pretty busy these days! You're really growing and changing! You've finally gotten to a point where you love to play with toys, but you become frustrated so easily if you drop one, can't fit one in your mouth, or if it just isn't doing what you think it should do. *cue cute little grunts* You don't stay entertained for long, so your Mommy has to sing, dance, walk, and play with you pretty much the whole time you're awake. But, even though it's tiring, it's a blast! I love having you as my little buddy! Your smile fills my soul with overwhelming joy and I am beyond thankful to have you in my life.

- Your Jumperoo. That is, until you realize that you can't put the froggy that dangles overhead in your mouth. Then you get mad!
- Your swaddle, paci, and rock 'n play. Yep, we're still addicted to that threesome!
- Sitting up (mostly with support). You're sitting up on your own a little now -- you have to be in the right mood with the right toy in front of you to sit for a few seconds without support. But, otherwise you're still pretty dependent on Mommy or Daddy to provide you with support while sitting. Either way, you love sitting.
- Veggies! Your Mommy hates vegetables, so she is determined to turn you into a lover of them. So far you've had carrots and sweet potatoes, and you ADORE them. Yum, yum, yum, yum!
- Horton, the elephant. You still love to put his trunk in your nose.
- The game we play before bathtime... where Mommy holds you and Daddy hides in the bathroom and then comes running towards you. This game puts a great end to the day -- no matter if it's been a stellar or a fussy day.
- When Mommy sings to you -- it immediately brings a smile to your face.
- Playing typewriter -- a game Daddy invented.
- Going for walks with Mommy in the stroller. You love to look at the trees and feel the cool breeze on your face.

- When Mommy and Daddy eat in front of you when it's not time for you to eat. It makes you so mad!
- Dropping your butterfly toy. You love that toy and you get so frustrated when you're in the swing playing with it and then drop it.
- Belly time. Daddy is determined to get you to crawl, so that means lots of belly time. You hate it, though!
- Being bored. You must be entertained.
- When Gigi and Mommy get too excited about football; we scare you!

I wish I could bottle up all our time together so I could release it to experience all over again once you're grown. I know that can't happen and I know each and every stage of your life is going to bring its own joys. I look forward to the day when you first say "Mama" and mean it. I look forward to the day when you finally understand God's love for you. I look forward to the day when you meet the man you will spend the rest of your life with (of course, if it is God's will for you to marry). But, even though I'm excited about all of those things happening, I wish I could press pause, or at least run things in half time, because I'm having so much fun with you now. Every day with you is a gift and I'm so blessed to have you in my life, my little five month old baby.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Guide to Infant "Stuff"

My Top 5 "Must Haves" for Survival with a Newborn
1. Swaddle Blankets with Velcro: I'll admit it. I never learned how to swaddle with just a regular ole blanket. I've always needed one of those special ones with velcro. Daniel, on the other hand, can do a pretty mean tight swaddle with a blanket. But, since he's not around for every time the Little One goes to sleep, we had to invest in some specialty swaddle blankets. My pick: the Summer Swaddle Blanket. It was the only one that was able to tightly enough hold her arms down so she wasn't breaking out of it! (By the way, we're still swaddling. AHK! I know we'll have to stop soon, when she's able to roll from back to belly!)
Little girl... still being swaddled!

2. eRGObaby and Sling: There's no way around this. I love my custom made Karma Baby pouch for quick walking trips over to the church building, or popping in and out of Walmart. I adore my ERGObaby for longer wearing time. Be sure to do research, have multiple options, and don't be afraid to wear your baby! It's not very popular where we live, so I have heard some comments like, "Isn't she smothering?" (when Jenaleigh was sleeping), but I've learned to let them roll of my back. I know my baby loves being worn, and I love wearing her! If you're preggo and think you're going to lug around your heavy stroller just for a trip to the grocery store, or worse, put your carrier on top of the cart (major tip over hazard, ladies!), then think about how much easier wearing your baby would be!
3 Month Old Jenaleigh in her ERGObaby

3. Rock 'N Play. Our child did not sleep, except when laying on us. Needless to say, Daniel and I didn't sleep either -- until the Rock 'N Play entered our lives. The incline is great for reflux babies, and the coziness of it is fabulous for high needs kiddos! She's still sleeping in hers, and I dread the (upcoming) day when we have to transition to the crib.

Critter, when she was tee-tiny in her RNP.
At 4 months, in her RNP
4. Medela Free Style: Most of you know, I'm exclusively pumping. I don't know how I could have done it without the Free Style. It's handfree and battery powered, which was especially useful when Jenaleigh was smaller and would wake up while I was pumping, and I'd have to go get her, which I could with this pump still on! Also, since it's small, it's very easy to travel with. I'd recommend this to anyone who will need a pump, even if it's just for going back to work. I love it!

5. Sound Machine: Jenaleigh can sleep through a bulldozer (I'm not exaggerating -- when we were having our yard leveled, she did fine!), but when Daniel gets ice out of the refrigerator, she wakes up! Cue an appropriately placed sound machine mimicking the gentle sound of rain falling.... then all is well.

6. (Okay I know I said top five, but I almost forgot this most important item) -- MAM pacifiers. The only kind our baby will take...(or similarly shaped -- none of those lipstick shaped ones work for our little one!)

Honorable Mentions:
  • Diaper Genie (no more smelling poopies! even though for some strange reason this past Saturday a poopy diaper aroma lingered in her room... hmmm...)
  • Pack 'N Play (while she didn't sleep super in it, we love using it in our living room for play time and diaper changes)
  • Activity Play Mat (thanks, Deborah! Jenaleigh loves laying on this and playing with her toys)
  • Bumbo (we started using this with her around 3 months because of her great head control and she LOVED it) - however, her chunky monkey legs are getting stuck in it now
  • Nursing covers (my wonderful Mom made me some -- while I obviously am not using them for nursing at the moment, they're great for covering my up while pumping in the car!)
  • Swing -- It took her a good long while to even tolerate being in the swing, but now it's a lifesaver for when I need to shower, do dishes, etc...
I'm sure I'm forgetting some of my favorite items, but those are the only ones I can think of right now!

Item "Fails"
I'm sure there are many babies out there that these items do work for, but not our baby....
1) Small receiving blankets -- they were useful for a little while, but now I just use them as burp clothes!
2) The Boppy -- Let me say, the Boppy is wonderful for supported sitting or lounging, but as a nursing pillow it's not so hot (for us at least). For that -- I much prefer "My Brest Friend" (most horrible name in the entire universe, I know!) for a host of reasons.
3) Footed PJs -- Let me clarify that now they are great (even though we don't put her in them to sleep, since she stays swaddled for bed), but combine our little one's fussy temperament with our inexperience at changing a baby with the complicated snaps (or so we thought at the time) and you get one frustrated mommy and daddy. Thankfully, Jenaleigh's calmed down and we've gotten better at the whole changing a wiggly baby thing, so footies are a "go".
4) Newborn Socks and Shoes -- I know Jenaleigh didn't have monster newborn feet, but those tiny little socks and shoes would never stay on her feet. 0-3 ones worked though, thankfully!
5) Luvs Diapers -- Unfortunately Miss Critter had way too many blow outs in Luvs, so we have to stick with Pampers or Huggies.

What about you? What were your favs during the first few months of your baby's life? Not-so-favs?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bills, Bills, Bills

Remember that 3 week hospital stay that I had? And how I was whisked away in a helicopter to Louisville? You don't?

Well, I remember! It's hard to forget when the bills come piling in. Anyone want to venture a guess as to the cost of my whole stay and transport? Well, I won't reveal it all here, but in case you're curious, the helicopter transport ALONE was $45,000. Thankfully we had decent adequate private insurance (preacher's usually have to find and buy their own private insurance, which also costs.... you guessed it ... alot!) that covered about 75% of our total cost ('copter and hospital). Combine that will generous 'rents and we were left with just a fraction of what the total bill was. We are so blessed to not be under the giant mountain that we would have been without that help!

Tuesday morning, though, I woke up around 6 am thinking about the bills. I just couldn't get them out of my mind. I was making little payments here and there that seemed to not amount to much. So, I thought to myself, "Self, what would Dave do?"

Dave = Dave Ramsey. Financial guru extraordinaire, who dishes out advice your grandmother would give, except he keeps his teeth in.

Dave would pay off the bills from smallest to largest. (As outlined in baby step #2 -- the "debt snowball").

With my new found zeal for getting those bills off of my mind, I hopped on the phone and started taking care of things. I'm super happy to say that we only have three left (obviously the largest), and it's my *plan* that we can have those paid off by the beginning of 2013. It will be beyond great to have no debt again!

(For more info on Dave, visit

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Crafty? Who, Me?

I have never ever ever ever ever ever have considered myself a "crafty" person. But, since Pinterest has become my new obsession pastime, I have been inspired to try to live up to my name of  "Martha" (minus the whole insider trading/prison stint).

So, what to craft first? Well, since I am obsessed with hair accessories for Jenaleigh, and they add up to quite a bit of $$, what better project to start with first --- fabric flowers! had so much fun doing them that I may even open up my own hair bow/flower store on Etsy... Who knows?!

A close up of the fabric flower that I crafted with my own two hands. Seriously, I'm in awe of myself... ;-)

My beautiful model chilling with her new hair flower (Note: I only made the flower, not the white headband, one baby step at a time, my friends!):

Grump, grump?
 Happy again...

 I love chewing me some fingers!

Friday, September 30, 2011

You've Got the Wrong Mom

My Gmail notifier toned the familiar sound letting me know that I had new mail (by the way, Gmail, where have you been all my life? why did it take me so long to convert to your ways?). The email was from an online baby site that let's you know what's going on with your baby each week; I usually either just glance at these emails or immediately toss them out.

But, this week when I saw the title, I thought, "They must have sent this email to the wrong Mom. Or maybe they've got their numbers mixed up."

 The subject: "20 Weeks Old: What's Going on With Your Baby".

I continued to think to myself as I clicked open the message, "Yep, they must have goofed by sending me this "20 Weeks Old" message."  It wasn't until I opened the message that it hit me...

My baby is 20 weeks old.

When did this happen?

"They" tell you all along that it will go by so fast and to cherish every moment, but I don't think it really sunk in until just now. Hug your babies tight, for they won't be babies much longer!

On a less depressing note, the Bug and I are headed to Knoxville this week with two of my favorite people -- GiGi and Cousin Richard! No, Jenaleigh and I won't be going to the game, but we'll be cheering on the Vols with all our hearts! GO BIG ORANGE!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

You drink out of WHAT?

Until I met Daniel, I thought mason jars were for canning veggies. Silly me!

He taught me that they're for drinking out of! How did I go 18 years without knowing this?

I remember the first time I walked into his parents kitchen and the regular glasses were in the dish washer. Daniel handed me a Mason Jar and I looked at him like he had a trillion eyeballs. I'm sure I even joked, "Yeah right, like I'm going to drink out of that!" And I'm sure he looked at me and said, "Yes. You are." And so I did!

In all honesty, I'm not 100% sold on the idea of drinking out of them, and now, in our own home, after we consume the green beans that came out of them, I try earnestly to return the jars to my parents to recycle during next years canning. But, alas, somehow our cabinet gets lined with those awkward jars for the purpose of consuming beverages. Sure. I kinda get it. Some of them have handles. Those are for drinking out of. The rest? I'm not so sure. Why the appeal? Explain it to me please!

If Daniel had seen this pic (found on'm sure he would have fought for our own Mason Jar wedding. Too late now, honey!

Don't forget about the...


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


100.7 ... yep, that's what the thermometer displayed last night after I checked our fussy crying baby.

Yesterday morning we made the trip to the Health Department to get Jenaleigh's four month "discount shots" as I call them. (Did you know that vaccinations at our Doctor's office would be $700, but we can get them at the health departments, even without being on any governmental assistance, for 40 bucks? Yeah, we're so going to the health department for them all!) The nice nurse ushered us back into the white room lined with pictures of her baby boy. She prepped the shots, Jenaleigh watched her like a hawk, and I started to get nervous in anticipation of the first poke.

Of course, she cried.

Of course, I cried.

But, everything seemed fine during the day yesterday. She was a little more sleepy than normal. And a tad bit more fussy. But, all in all, I was feeling confident that all was fine.

But, after a quick nap in my arms at 8:45 pm, when she woke up she felt fire hot! I checked her temp, and it was 100.7. I know that's not crazy high, but combine that with her screaming and not drinking very much, my Mommy fears kicked into gear.

I called our doc, who gives out her personal cell phone number (she rocks!). She picked up immediately, told me the correct dosage of Tylonel, gave a few calm words of advice, and said to check back in with her if there was not improvement tomorrow.

Thankfully after many cuddles, Jenaleigh went to sleep and slept (a little more fitfully than usual) all through the night and is still asleep right now!

She feels much cooler to the touch and the forehead scan thermometer (which I try to only use as a gauge when she's asleep as it's not greatly accurate) read 97.9. *Whew* This Momma is relieved!

And... just for laughs... I had to leave you with this real warning label found on a thermometer:

Um, great advice!

(ETA: She just woke up and her temp rectally was in the 98's! Yay! However, she is uber fussy... pray for me today. Seriously! Taking care of a fussy baby is super difficult. Hopefully lots of cuddles will help her!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

CVS trip with Baby!

Today was my first time *really* coupon shopping at CVS since Jenaleigh was born. I slipped her into her comfy pouch/sling and we were ready for some big savings! It wasn't quite as challenging as I thought it would be with baby in tow and only made one tiny miscalculation. Here's what I scored:

- TWO boxes of Pamper's 65 ct wipes
- TWO bottles of Little Noses Saline Spray
- Pampers 96 count diapers
- TWO Softsoap Shea Butter Hand Soaps
- 8 count Excedrin
- Thermacare Lowerback Wrap
- 12 pack of Diet Caffiene Free Cokes
- TWO packs of Plastic Cups
- Pack of Dinner Napkins
- 16 ounce Diet Coke for the Road!

Total VALUE of products bought: $63.62
Total DUE (before tax): $29.45
Savings: $34.20 = 54%

Not necessarily my most savings percentage wise, but not bad for just getting back into the couponing world!
(For more tips on savings, head over to my favorite savings site ever:!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day in the Life of a SAHM & 4 Month Old

I think I had been taking it for granted. But now I realize how blessed I am to be one... A stay at home mom. (SAHM). I've seen a few statuses on Facebook lately from mothers who are leaving their babies in daycare for the first time (some babies as young as 8 weeks), and I literally weep as I read how sad they were to say goodbye for 8 hours. I weep for them but I also weep just thinking about how utterly despaired I would be to know I had to leave Jenaleigh for 5 out of 7 days.

So, in honor of my new found appreciation for being a SAHM, here's my "Day in the Life of a SAHM + Her Baby". (Ever wonder what a SAHM mom really does during the day? Here's your chance to find out!)

Little Bug woke up from a morning cat nap around 10AM. Even though I may let out a tiny groan when her naps are short, my frown is quickly wiped away when I walk into her nursery and see this face grinning at me:

A big ole stretch here....
DAN_8228 Belly time! ... And no belly time would be complete without a little pool of spit up!
No matter what position she's in, she turns directly toward the TV. We can't have that, now can we?!
DAN_8236 So, sometimes I place a cow by her so she won't watch the TV. (Yes, I could turn it off... And I DO, but sometimes I just *need* to watch the news!)
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After morning belly time and some news watchin' we have quality time. I'm determined for my little girl to know God's love and to develop a deep love for Him herself, and I think one of the best ways to teach her about Him is to sing! So, for about 20-30 minutes we sing.. Her absolute favorite song is "Good Ole Noah". She also goes gaga over "This Little Light of Mine"!
DAN_8275 DAN_8285 Okay, so after we sang, the house was too quiet for me. So I went to and searched for some sermons to listen to!  The one we listened to here was a SUPERB lesson on PK's (preacher's kids) by Glenn Colley.
DAN_8286 We then chilled a few minutes and decided to bring out a bib (to protect Mommy, Baby, and the couch!)
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Cute baby feet...DAN_8272 I'm so glad we live right next to the church building so Daddy can come home for lunch. He always gets a few minutes of playing time in when he's home!
DAN_8296 DAN_8298 Today's lunch time, Daddy tried to help Jenaleigh sit up on her own. She really wants to! But, she's not quite there yet...
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A few last hugs before Daddy goes back to work.
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Mommy kisses. YUCK!
DAN_8326 After an afternoon nap by baby (while Mommy caught up on her Bible study and FB), it was time for me to do some dishes. (Honestly, this is my least favorite chore. So much so that you almost never find my sink without a dirty dish. I'm trying *so* hard to change this!) You may wonder why I don't do dishes during her nap? Let's just say she can sleep through a bulldozer in our yard (literally), but not dishes being clanged around. So, Jenaleigh watched from her travel swing while I labored away. She has an ultra-nice full size swing; but, she's not grown to like that one! Oh, well...
Little Miss is really working on her hand-eye coordination. I can't believe that she can see an object and grab it! Her favorite elephant is Horton (which unfortunately has a hole in his back already... Gigi, can you fix this, please?) and she's just recently started to grab Horton's trunk....
DAN_8348 DAN_8351 After our afternoon play time and another quick nap, Daniel came home and we packed up to go eat Mexica.We try to have an eating out night on Mondays to combat those Mondays blues... I think she's thinking, "Are you really gonna stick me back here by myself?!" DAN_8364 DAN_8368 DAN_8374 DAN_8385 Then on to a quick trip into Walmart... DAN_8396
Then home for our bedtime routine (she's SO excited to eat!) DAN_8419 Emerging from bathtime! DAN_8426 DAN_8428 And that's pretty much our day with a few naps and meals thrown in between. It may not seem like the most exciting in the world, but I love it!