Stay-At-Home Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s day can be overrated and sometimes leave us wishing we had gotten the huge teddy bear like the picture we saw on social media. Valentine’s day isn’t meant to be public. Valentine’s day should be seen as a day to reignite your genuine love for each other and a reminder to care for the ones you love.

For Valentine’s day I like to slow down. Cook a meal with love, write a letter, and spend a night holding hands and talking. Flowers and chocolates are nice, but your time is more valuable.

Try these cheap and meaningful things for valentine’s day. 

  1. Make a homemade dinner. I love a good steak and potatoes! This is extra special if you aren’t the main cook in the family
  2. Write a letter to each person in your family, telling them how much they mean to you.
  3. Play a game with your spouse. Phase 10 or hand-and-foot are games we really get into.
  4. Run a bath with some delightful bath bombs and light some candles.
  5. Make a sheet fort in your family room and watch a movie

 

This weekend was a big weekend for our little family. Friday afternoon, to my great pleasure, I landed safely in DC after a 12 hour flight from Switzerland (someone really needs to work on making economy seats more comfortable). 5 days away from Tim and Jack was entirely too long. I’m so grateful for a husband who can transition seamlessly into the “Mr. Mom” role. I am such a lucky lady.

Saturday, we were blessed with good weather and the real work began. Tim took off all of the old ripped plastic, making headway for the new plastic. He was able to do a lot of prep work like take out the old tracks and saving/cleaning the old hardware to be reused. To our surprise Tim found a ton of dead bees. Maybe some honey harvesting is in our future?

 


Sunday we were awakened by rain and wind. We spend part of the morning watching Hacksaw Ridge (great movie!). By noon the rain and wind stopped and Tim was able to work again. Now, this wasn’t a one man job. My dad and two brothers dedicated their afternoon to helping us.

They took the first layer of plastic and attached strong clamps. On each clamp rope was attached and thrown over the top of the greenhouse. Starting at  one end most of the man power was used to hoist the plastic off the ground. Careful not to rip through the plastic my dad pulled the rope, guiding the plastic over the top. Each layer of plastic took about and hour to complete.


Tow layers of plastic later, a few fans, and lots of adhesion we have the gorgeous beginnings of a new greenhouse! Despite a night with over 60 mile per hour winds the new plastic is still in place! Success! The sides and heaters are next. We’ll keep you posted.

Greenhouse Progress!

5 Winter Baby Needs

As a first time mom I’m quickly learning my baby’s needs. The best way to save money is to stick with needs, not wants. Those cute clothes are awesome, but your baby will be out of them before you know it. I can honestly say I’ve only bought 2 outfits at full price and they were 1) Christmas and 2) the outfit we brought Jack home in.

Here are a few items I feel were needs for Jack during these cold winter months.

  1. N’Ice Caps Little Boys and Baby Sherpa Lined Fleece Winter Hat and Mitten Set (3-6mo, Navy/Royal Infant)“>Baby Winter Hat and Mittens

This hat is great because it covers the ears and neck. The strap provides security needed to ensure your baby doesn’t pull it off. Added bonus: You can use the straps to attach it to your bag. If you lose things as often as I do, you’ll really appreciate it!


2. William Carter Baby Girls Hooded Fleece Jumpsuit“>Fleece Body Suit

Stick with neutral clothes when buying for items like winter body suits, hats, and other outdoor items. You’ll need to keep your baby warm and if you plan on having more kids you’ll be happy you ordered a neutral color. I ordered a size bigger than I thought I’d need because I was sure Jack would have his everyday outfit on under


3. Elevin(TM)Baby Girl Boy Soft Sole Crib Shoes Anti-slip Prewalker Shoes Snow Boots (6~12M, Gray)“>Winter Booties

Cold feet = a cold baby.

While your baby may not be walking, imagine when you’re outside with just your socks on. It’s cold. These booties are great for in the house too. He have tile floor, so when Jack is in his jumper they keep his feet nice and warm.

For a smaller baby try these Zutano Unisex Baby Cozie Fleece Bootie, Gray, 6 Months“>booties

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4. JJ Cole Jj Cole Original Bundleme, Infant Graphite“>Winter Car Seat Cover

Okay, winter travel with your baby stinks. Expect extra time to heat the car, bundle up baby, and pack extra blankets for warmth. While a car seat over stinks while you’re strapping in your baby, this has been a life saver! Safety experts recommend not putting your baby in their car seat with a jacket on, this cover is a great compromise.


5. Gerber Infant Boys’ Hooded Micro Fleece Jacket,Blue,6-9 Months“>Fleece zip up

This fleece zip up is a great quick jacket when we run over to Granny’s!

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First snow! Side view of greenhouse.

One of our many dreams is to have a working winter garden. Basically, a large greenhouse with all kinds of veggies to grow all year long. It’s a thrilling experience to becoming a self sufficient household… But, I need your help.

  1. What should we plant?!

My husband and I have spent a few weeks brainstorming the best things to grow in a greenhouse over the winter months. The north east is known for it’s ability to grow tomatoes, herbs, corn and soy… I’m not growing corn or soy.

Here are some things I was planning on growing.

  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Tomatoes
  • Snow Peas

What am I missing?

2.  Organization

Our greenhouse looks like crap right now. The plastic has tares everywhere and we have A LOT of weeding to do. Once the initial work is done we need to work on planning out the inside space. I’d like to utilize as much as possible. Do we have hanging plants and where? Do I build shelving? How big should each garden be?

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Front

3. Heating

Lucky for me, my father has a year round greenhouse. He uses old water radiators and a wood burning furnace to heat the water. My question is, are there better ways to heat? I’m looking for cheap, not as labor intensive, and efficient.

I’m open to all suggestions! Leave your advice in the comments!

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Planning A Winter Garden

Looking Back to Move Forward

In 2016 I was pushed to every limit I thought I had. I spent months not knowing I was suffering from the post baby blues. We moved into our first home, tackled a home renovation, moved forward with my career, and had my first panic attack in over 5 years. This year I had my first child! A year that I thought would break me turned out to be a year that made me stronger.

I’d like to say I did it all on my own. That every trial overcome was done by some deep down strength inside me that I never knew I had… That’s not true. In fact, my strength came from my willingness to let go of control and allow God to show me the importance of interdependence.

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Confessions of a New Mom

Almost three months in and I’m not sure if this is borderline postpartum depression, mommy blues, hormones, or the effects of being a new mom that has suddenly come crashing down. As I sit here and write I feel the swelling of my tear ducts from fighting off emotion and trying to find reasoning in it all. Please excuse me as I become brutally honest about my totally new life…

I didn’t expect it to be easy. I didn’t expect it to be this hard either. The closest thing I can relate to being a new mom is when I had my spinal surgery at 12 years old. You’re scared 95% of the time, no one understands what you’re going through (because each journey is unique), and despite the joy in being a new person again you can’t help but feel completely helpless at the same time.

There are so many things to think about now! I’m so tired but I can’t sleep because I’m planning out how my next day will go. When I finally fall asleep a sweet little cry wakes me up telling me it’s time to change and feed. Try as I might, I cannot fall asleep again, but I don’t have the energy to get out of bed and wash the mound of dishes that are waiting for me downstairs. When I finally fall asleep that sweet cry wakes me up again telling me it is time for another change, feeding, and time for the day to begin.

I don’t shower in the morning anymore because my husband has gotten himself ready while I fed and clothed the baby (if I’m lucky to get that far) and left for work. I walk downstairs, park my butt in a chair and open my laptop for my work at home position. 8, 9, 10, 11 hours a day I look at that same old laptop solving issues and calming people down. Sometimes baby stays home with me and I watch as he learns to play on his own. My chain to my laptop only allows room for diaper changes and feedings. On really bad days my mom takes Jack so I can get work done without interruption. But… my pumping schedule still interrupts calls so my milk production goes down leaving me bewildered yet again.

By 2 pm I finally realize I haven’t eaten for the day and grab a quick lunch – usually unhealthy unless I try really hard – which results in feeling guilty for the rest of the day due to my ‘bad’ meal. Eventually, I shut my laptop and immediately start dinner, wash the dishes, try to fold the mound of clothing on the couch. But, baby wants to be held after entertaining himself all day and I only get work done in sprints.  Hubby comes home, coo’s and plays with the baby, eats dinner and then mommy duty comes back on… Bath, clothe, feed, put to bed. My final and most important decision of the day… to clean up from dinner or not to clean up from dinner (I’d really prefer to sit and read a book). Ultimately, I find only the strength to brush my teeth and head to bed.

Commence the nightly mental breakdown… I do so much yet feel so useless. I look around my house and wonder what the hell happened today? Did I do anything?! I cry when my husband (who only has good intentions) tells me he’s so tired and has to go to bed. Because I wonder, “how can he be more tired than I am?” I cry because I just want time to put on make-up and feel pretty again.

My precious, amazing son is 3 months old and sleeps nearly 8 hours a night but I still feel so tired. Am I a bad mom? Do all moms feel this overwhelmed all the time? Do all moms look like crap 24/7 with dried puke on their shoulder and baby buggies in their hair? At the end of every day, I wonder if my hubby can still love a smelly, frizzy, new mom, who doesn’t love her new body yet and can’t get her emotions in check…

 

I pray and know God hears my cries. I know I’ll look back and wish I hadn’t taken things so harshly. For now, I’m stuck in my head and can’t escape. Do any other moms feel this way?

 

 

My New Mommy Prayer

Lord,

I don’t know what I’m doing.

I know I’m not a perfect mother,

Help me to be the best mother I can be to my son.

I know I’m not a perfect wife,

Help me to be the best wife I can be to my husband.

Give me the graces I need to follow Your will,

And the heart I need to share Your love with the ones I love.

Amen.

 

Summer Infant: What to Buy and What Not to Buy

My hubby and I planned to have our first in spring/early summer. It was all for selfish reasons, I wanted to take my maternity during nice weather. I dreamed of mommy and baby walks, days spent outside, and lots of fresh air. Little did i know that maternity leave is hardly spent walking and the warm air is usually a sweltering heat.

Keeping your infant cool and comfortable is a challege. For us, we spent a lot of picnic days in the shade of a tree or walking to find AC every 30 minutes. Eventually you figure out how to handle such hot days. Here are a few things I wish I had bought/put on my registry before I had our son and those I wish I had saved my money on.

  1. Infant Hat

Finding a hat to fit my tiny baby’s head was really hard. I looked EVERY WHERE! Even Babies R Us didn’t carry a hat small enough for Jack’s tiny head. After searching high and low Amazon came to the rescue.


This hat was only $19.99 and had an adjustable strap in the back that would grow with his head. Babies grow so quickly in the first few months that its worth it to invest in something that adjust more than by a few weeks of growth. Jack has used this hat since week 3 and is going on to week 14 now.

  1. Sunscreen

Jack hates wearing sunscreen, but it is a must. He has really sensitive skin so we use Aveeno sensitive skin sunscreen. This typically works best for him. I learned on our first trip out to apply it before we even leave the house and before he gets dressed. The less hassle in the heat the better.

  1. Baby Powder

I didn’t believe it, but it’s true, baby powder is amazing at getting dirt and sand off of your baby’s sensitive skin. Heck! It worked on mine! Doesn’t matter what brand, just buy it.

  1. Battery operated fan

I had no idea how much I needed this until I bought one. A Battery operated fan is a must. Our first beach trip be placed jack in his car seat carrier, a blanket over top, and the portable fan at his feet. He slept for an hour content as could be. Not only did it provide a nice cool breeze but it provided a familiar white noise since we keep a fan on in his room at night. We now keep one for simple days in the sun, like a quick picnic. (Word to the wise, don’t let it drop in the sand… you’ll need to buy a new one)

  1. Ear Muffs

A lot of people don’t associate summer with loud noises. I know I didn’t. Once you have a baby, every noise becomes a sonic boom. My hubby and I attended an air show without these (Stupid, I know). We didn’t attend fireworks, but they were definitely bought for the upcoming concert we’ll be attending. I’ll let you know how that works out.

  1. Baby sun tent

BEST PURCHASE EVER! It’ll grow with your baby and keep the sun far-far away from their precious skin. However, if it’s a really windy day, you might want to just skip the beach. The tent will only be carried away (another lesson I wish I hadn’t learned).


Make sure the tent is large enough to fit a chair inside. Your baby will want to nurse, get changed, be held, and have play time. These things can’t be done in the sun, so make sure you can fit.

  1. Solly Wrap

This wrap has been a life saver since week 1. Jack loves being close, this wrap allows it while keeping him cool and feels like mommy’s arms are wrapped around him. It’s breathable and light, perfect for any warm day. My favorite part is that I can wear Jackson when he wants to be held and keep the sun off his precious skin.

Now, I am in no way a perfect mother. I’ve received many gifts and purchased items that I thought would work and turned out were just a waste of my money.

Note: What didn’t work for me may work fo you.

What NOT to Buy

  1. Swim Trunks

I didn’t think it at the time, but any child under 3 months during summer time don’t bother buying swimming outfits. They won’t be swimming at 6 weeks and you won’t want them in the sun that long. Not to mention your baby will be growing so fast that what fit at the beginning of the summer won’t fit at the end. If you do put them in water, a onesie works just as well. This is only my preference. To each his own.

  1. Sunscreen Stick

As I mentioned before, my baby hates putting on sunscreen and he hates the sunscreen stick even more! Don’t waste your time with it, just get the lotion. The stick gets goopy and melts everywhere when it’s in your bag. Maybe I used the wrong kind… All I know is I won’t be buying it again

  1. Spray bottle

I read somewhere to buy a spray bottle for the baby during summer. My little guy didn’t like it. It left him confused and uncomfortable (or so I gathered from his cries). His older cousin of 4 months enjoyed it. For an infant in the summer – skip it.