Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baby on a Budget

For those of you who don't know, Emerson wasn't "planned".  He was the best surprise blessing we could ever get!  So, needless to say, we weren't financially set to become parents when we found out we were expecting.  I mean, we had no maternity insurance.  We lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment.  We ended up having to sell our second car to pay for hospital bills, and we only had one car until Emerson was 9 months old.  We were even on food stamps until Caleb started his job in May.  So, I thought I might share a few tips with any other parents or parents-to-be out there on how to have a baby on a budget.  I really feel like we haven't spent THAT much money on Emerson.  However, I do have to say that we have been very blessed with a giving, sharing family.  My sister, Ashley, has shared basically all her baby stuff with us.  Thanks, sis!  But here are a few things we've learned along the way.

-Reason with the hospital.  If you don't have insurance, hospitals offer a self-pay package, which is much cheaper than the full price.  Hospitals can also do a lot to reduce any additional bills.  For instance, because I went into labor during the night, we received an unexpected bill for around $800, because we had to go through the triage unit.  After calling the hospital, we were able to get our bill reduced to about $150.  Even if you don't qualify, it's worth a shot, yes?

-Bare minimum.  There are a bazillion baby things these days.  It can be a little intimidating when you start looking into what you need.  But really, that is the question, what do we really NEED?  Though many of the extra gizmos are nice and add convenience, most are not essential.  A bassinet.  Some onesies.  Diapers.  These are truly essential items.  And you can always purchase new necessities along the way as your baby becomes ready for them. 

-Buy used.  Many, many, many of the baby things we have are used or borrowed.  We got a five piece furniture set at a garage sale and then we distressed it to make it how we like it.  Rhea Lana's is a fantastic consignment sale to find gently used baby items.  I have gotten MANY things from these sales.  Same for clothes.  Babies fly through clothes, so used clothing is a great option. 

-Breastfeed.  No bottles to wash.  No formula to mix.  No expensive formula to buy.  I didn't realize how much easier and cheaper it is to breastfeed.  I did find it helpful to have a pump so Emerson could take a bottle when I was out or during church.

-Cloth diapers.  These are actually coming back "in style" I think.  You may pay a little more up front, but in the long run you save hundreds.  They say that you spend about $2,000 on diapers for one child if you use disposables by the time they are potty-trained.  And there are so many great, convenient options out there these days.  By using cloth diapers, you also keep from throwing bags and bags of dirty diapers into the landfill.  During the times I have used disposables, I have been shocked at how many trash bags of diapers we produce.  And I've heard it takes FOREVER for diapers to decompose.  I used the flip system and would highly recommend it.  It is a more affordable brand and can fit from 7-35 pounds.

-Make your own baby food.  Jars of baby food are expensive.  By making your own, you save money and you are feeding your baby more nutritious, fresh food. 

By using these strategies, Caleb and I feel like we really haven't put forth THAT much money towards having a baby.  The Lord has been so good to provide for us and for blessing us with sweet Emerson.  Now we can't imagine life without him!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eleven Months..

Really?  Eleven months?  It's so weird that I can almost say I have a one year old... Have I really been a mom that long?  My little baby is seeming more and more toddler-y everyday.  Where did that sweet needy baby go and how did this busy little blur get here?  Tonight while getting Emerson ready for bed I had this sad emotional feeling inside when I zipped his little sleeper up over his little round belly.  I was thinking, he won't always be this little or have such a round belly.  It will be gone before I know it!  Oh, how I wish he didn't grow so fast... But I guess I have to accept it, Emerson is 11 months old.  I am trying to savor every baby moment I can.  Here's what little man is up to lately...

-Well, walking is becoming his new favorite mode of getting around.  He has been gaining more confidence each day and can walk across the living room (and beyond).  I think he feels so big and proud of himself.
-The boy loves to eat.  Most days he eats what we eat.  And he is the biggest mooch and hovers and whines if you don't share your food.
-He wears 12 month+ clothing and size 4 shoes.
-Still loves books.
-Has 2 teeth.
-The words he knows are daddy, dog (sometimes comes out gog), uh-oh, and he said bubble a few times.   He can shake his head no, but he still refuses to try to say mama... That kid.
-He gets frustrated if he can't get things after a few tries.  For example, his ring stacker.  Today he worked on it for soo long.  He would put the ring on, take it off, over and over.  And he would get so frustrated if he didn't get it the first time.  I think he might get that from me.  This probably isn't the best quality to have..
-He loves the great outdoors.  Yesterday he actually threw a little fit when we came inside.
-He can identify his belly and mommy's hair.  He learned mommy's hair because I had to tell him a million times to stop pulling it.
-He woke up between 4:15 and 5AM for weeks, but I thank God we are past that.  We found out he had a severe double ear infection, but we wouldn't have known because he wasn't fussy at all... The doctor said the early mornings could've been related. 
-Emerson still loves Brody and loves to pet (hit) Brody and play fetch with him.  It is so fun to see him interact with him.

Emerson is just at such a fun, playful stage right now and I love it.  He is still a cuddle bug and I hope this sticks with him forever :)  Even though he is a busy blur, he still stops and loves on us often.  I am so blessed to have him as my little man.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gorgeous, Sunny Day

Today, because it is a gorgeous, sunny day, little man and I went for a run on the Fayetteville trail (one reason I LOVE Fayetteville).  And then today, on the way home, because it is a gorgeous, sunny day, I decided to stop by Sonic for a medium vanilla diet coke, easy ice, as I always want to do on gorgeous, sunny days.  And then I swung by Walgreens, and bought some of these. 


 These, my friends, are my favorite holiday candy... out of any holiday.  If you have never tried them, please do.  You just can't try mine, because they'll probably be gone by the time you get here.  I was starting to feel a little distressed lately because I couldn't find them at any Walmart (not that I checked multiple Walmarts or anything... I mean, what kind of lame-o does that?...).  But, yes, Walgreens came through for me.  Then, inspired by the gorgeous, sunny day, I purchased some bubbles.  So, Emerson and I came home and blew bubbles outside.  And Emerson said the word bubble.  It is his fourth word.  

Good day?  Yes.  Did I cancel my run with chocolate?  Yes.  Was it worth it?  Yes.  

Enjoy this gorgeous, sunny week!