Learning new things

I love learning. Take college for example. Imagine the horror when I realized I’d have to pick only one major. Anxiety! I could have picked any subject,  I enjoyed them all so much.  Just because my formal schooling is done obviously doesn’t mean I’m done learning. There are just too many things I’m interested in! This week I’ve spent my free time at work doing some research. Because I’d like some new info for my brain. Here’s what’s been rattling around:

1. Photography stuff

I realize that I can’t take a “good” picture to save my life. I look at some blogs created by great photographers and I just feel so defeated. I want to take beautiful pics of my kid too, darnit! We’ve got 126389275483 pictures of Sophie, and about 4 of them are good. Putting together her photobook this past Christmas was a wake up call- because I realized I had a year’s worth of pictures and they were all bogus. The photobook ended up being a piece of work only a great-grandparent could love.

So, I spent tons of time on this site the other day. I learned a lot. About lighting, the rule of thirds, and photographing children. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the information on the site, not to mention I have a loooong ways to go in terms of application of this knowledge. Not to mention that if I were to take this very seriously, I’d probably need a new camera and to take a good old-fashioned photography class. Anyhow, it’s a step in the right direction. A baby step, but it’s a beginning.

2. Coupon stuff

Kevin and I have been looking for ways to save on our grocery bills. Who isn’t? It seems like every month he says, “I just cannot believe we’ve spent this much on food in the past 30 days!” We don’t eat out often, most of our meals we make at home. Cheap, regular, go-to meals like tacos, pasta, soup & grilled sandwiches. It’s not like we’re making filet mignon every night, yet our grocery bills are always so much. Food isn’t getting any cheaper, but I know that there is a way I can start getting better deals. And now that we have our own house with a huge pantry and basement for storage space, we have room to really stock up on items while they are on sale. There is SO much info out there on couponing that it’s literally made my head swim, which is why I’ve never really tried it until now. But, this time I’m really going to start. Even saving just a little bit will help us out a lot, and that saved money can be put toward paying off debt or saving up for a new car.

3. Carseat stuff

I promise you my dorky-momness is about to shine through. For some reason, this has become a huge interest of mine. First, I’m SO happy that the AAP just put out new recommendations last week that toddlers should rear-face until 2.

For us personally, we’ve decided to rear-face Sophie for as long as possible. Her seat can rear-face to 40lbs. or about 40 inches (a carseat is outgrown by height in the rear-facing position when the top of the head comes within 1″ of the top of the shell-for more info on this click here ). I’m am confident that she will reach the height limit long before she reaches the weight limit, and that’s probably not going to happen until at least a year from now. Hopefully, she remains a happy passenger until then 🙂

But won’t her legs be crunched? I’m sure they will be by then, but it doesn’t really matter. Kids are bendy-just look at them, how they watch tv, how they can fold themselves into balls. They’re very flexible. What looks uncomfortable to the adult eye is not uncomfortable for kids. Also, I care more about keeping her head & neck supported in the event of a crash than I do about the comfort of her legs. Broken legs can be fixed, broken necks cannot. That’s all I have to say about that. This is the choice we’ve made for Sophie, and we feel good about it.

Since I’m always looking toward the next thing I’ve been researching Sophie’s next seat…that she’ll need in a few years. Like I said…dorky-momness right here. I like the Graco Nautilus & the Britax Frontier. Both are forward facing only and convert to a highback, then a backless booster seat. If anyone has experience with these seats, I’d like to hear it.

4. Self discipline stuff

I’m learning more about myself in this area. I need goals in order to stick with something.

At the beginning of 2011 I started a “read through the Bible in a year” program on a phone app. I’ve stuck with it almost every day since, and on the days I’ve missed, I’ve gone back and made up the reading. I like that it counts the days. I’m a numbers girl.

I signed up for another Half. It’s on June 5th. So now I must train for it by running most days. If the weather would just get nicer, this would be a joy rather than a chore.

And of course blogging. Changing my look has really helped motivate me to write consistently. But comments would motivate me too…. 😀


I haven’t updated since last year.

Thanks Di, for the kick in the pants 🙂

This morning we had our re-try of the 3D ultrasound. It went about 10 times better than last week’s. Our baby had moved into the head down position (hopefully she’ll stay that way!) and had turned her head enough so we could see her face. Part of her face remained hidden behind the placenta, and she kept sucking on her fingers, which covered even more of her face, but we did end up with some very cute pictures. The tech lady scanned for like 20 minutes so we got to see some clear flashes of her face here and there throughout. She has the most adorable button nose and pouty little lips. So cute!

I’ll post a few pics when I get them scanned in.

At book club last night I got to hold a friend’s 3 week old baby girl. Oh wow! Babies are tiny! She started making all these little noises, not crying really, but like she was trying to breathe or something, so I promptly gave her back to her mother. Holding this little one was kind of freaky! I can’t believe in 8 weeks (give or take) I’ll have one of my own. WOW! I hope I don’t break her. I’m more worried about taking physical care of a newborn than I am about parenting. I guess I feel more confident about guiding, spending time with a child, helping teach them to make wise choices, etc. because of all the babysitting I’ve done. Obviously, it’ll be different with my own child, but still I feel more prepared in that area.

Kev and I got an email from the owner of our house last night. He was offering to sell it to us for what they owe on it. He didn’t mention a specific price, and we’re not interested no matter the price, but still it’s very sad. The house is costing them so much money, and it’s going to be very expensive for them to refinance especially since it is considered an investment property. We know that by moving out we are putting them in an even worse spot financially, but it’s silly for us to stay out of pity when we really should be saving as much as we can right now-we’re going to have a child, and need to start saving for her college education (crazy!). Kevin wrote him a very nice and honest email, explaining our plans to leave at the end of the lease. I hope he wasn’t truly expecting us to want to buy the house…

It’s snowing. I’m not sure how that makes me feel.

Christmas Eve!

Well, today is Christmas Eve! Seems crazy to think that it’s Christmas-it honestly feels like not too long ago we found out we were pregnant (July 1). And now here I am on Christmas Eve, exactly 30 weeks pregnant. That means 10 weeks until my due date. Give or take a few weeks (please take!) and our little girl will be here! I’m so excited to see her, hold her, and for Kevin and I to be parents. It’s scary, but I feel like we’re ready.

I spent the morning wrapping all the presents we bought. We still have to wrap up the present for his parents tonight and then we’ll be all set for tomorrow. I also watched Love Actually this morning, which is a Christmas-y movie.

Glenn from work (SAU) gave me a Panera gift card for Christmas, so Kev and I decided to brave the yucky weather and the last-minute shoppers and went out for lunch. I am in love with Panera’s broccoli and cheddar soup. DELICIOUS!

This afternoon we spent looking for apartments. This is probably a shock to all my faithful readers, but this house is costing us a lot of money- money we could be using to pay off student loans, our car loan, saving for our daughter’s college, or saving up for our move/down payment on a house. There are just far better uses for our money than too-high rent and propane to heat this place. We looked at a bunch of places in Jackson online, and then we went for a drive around town to check them out. Our #1 choice is Trillium Pointe. The rent itself is over $200 less than our rent now, plus gas heat is INCLUDED in the rent. In addition, we wouldn’t need to pay for trash collection-about a $20 savings per month. Total we’d be saving about $400-500 per month. They have washer/dryer in-unit (it comes with them actually, but we’d really want to use our own), a pool, and spacious floor plans (the dimensions of the rooms are great-the master bedroom is bigger than our room now!). We’d also be a bit closer to downtown, and thus to work. And just a stone’s throw from Meijer-how convenient! To top it off, the buildings look beautiful, and the community seems nice and quiet. There is also a park nearby, but I’ve never been to it so I’m not sure what it’s like. From the satellite pic on google maps it looks pretty big, with soccer fields and a play structure for when our little girl is a bit older 🙂 Maybe even some running/walking nature trails, as the open area was surrounded by woods. As I write this, I am convincing myself that this is right for us.

There are a few other places that we liked too, but this place seemed to really “click”. We’ll obviously be scheduling tours to all the places that we liked, but I think we’re both very much hoping that this one works out. We like our house and the proximity to the path-but it’s expensive to live here! So maybe in the spring we will be moving.

I’m very excited for church tonight. We decided to attend the “electric” fusion, which is going to be loud and celebratory. Usually the part of me that misses the traditionalist-type service wins out on Christmas Eve and we end up attending the “candelight” service. I’m ready for a change this year though-I’m in the mood to sing loud and joyful songs like the angels did the night Jesus was born.

After a leisurely morning tomorrow, we’re off to Brighton for Christmas with our families. Merry Christmas everyone!