Thursday, March 29, 2012

13 Months

Well, baby girl's first year is over (sad!), and we've moved on to documenting her second year here with us.  I decided I wanted to continue taking monthly pictures of her, just as I did throughout her first year.
Her first year, of course, I took her picture in the chair in her nursery.  We were able to see her grow and grow right before our eyes!

This year, I want to do a little something different.  I thought and thought....wanted to do something cute and unique.  Scoured pinterest and google.  Thought of having her hold something special each month (chalkboard? balloon?).  Spent so long thinking about it, that a whole week went by and I still hadn't taken her 13 month pictures.  It was a beautiful evening, the little one was in a happy mood, we were playing outside and I grabbed my camera.  Her little personality shines through so much in these pictures!  I think this year, I'm going to make it easy on myself.  No special props or positions or locations.  Just capture a little bit of her every month, so I don't forget these special, special days that we are living.  I would like to try to take every month's photo outside this year.  Won't that be fun?

Here is our beautiful little sugar bug, thirteen months old....
 So full of personality these days!  Look at this nose scrunch....her new favorite face.

 She has really perfected her walking in the past month, and is getting around really well.  Hardly crawls at all these days.  She is getting faster with her walking, and I can guess that she'll be running by next month.  Her new thing is walking around with her hands up in the air.  So cute!  She is growing quickly, and wearing all 12 to 18 month clothes these days.  Still a little foot, wearing size three shoes.  She is obsessed with all of our shoes.  If she sees a pair anywhere, she wants to put them on.  Even Daddy's size 12's.

 She is talking more and more, and picking up sign language quickly.  New words this month include
"eat" (while she signs it), "yes", and "dog".  She can also imitate some animal sounds when we read books.  She likes to sing!  When we sing "Twinkle, Twinkle", she will do the actions and "sing" along.  Does the same with "If You're Happy and You Know It" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider".  She waves and says "hi" and "bye-bye", and is learning to blow kisses, too.  She watches and studies everything and everybody.  Such a people watcher.  And SUCH a flirt!
Natalie has been what we call a "mommy magnet" these days.  Ever since Spring Break when I was home with her all day, every day, she follows me around and prefers to be held, rocked, bathed, fed by momma.  Daddy gets his feelings hurt sometimes - but she redeems herself when he picks her up from daycare and she bolts across the room with her arms in the air and squeals "dadadadada!" 

We think she must be going through a growth spurt because she is eating a TON lately.  She'll clear her plate quickly and frantically sign "more" and "eat" over and over again until we give her seconds.  She loves whole milk, and that has been a seamless transition.  She has two bottles (morning and night), and three sippies of milk with meals.  She also likes a cup of milk in the late afternoon.  There are things she's been eating lately that we just can't believe!  Asparagus, zucchini, black beans...she is usually willing to try just about anything.  We are thankful for a non-picky eater, and are going to enjoy it as long as she will let us. :)

She gets into everything.  Cabinets, drawers, purses, the diaper bag.  Last weekend I found her with her hands in the toilet.  That was the same day she ate a crayon.  She pulled every wipe out of the container yesterday, then proceeded to do the same with a box of ziploc bags that she found in the kitchen.  She can get into trouble faster than I can follow her around.  We've taken to closing all the doors in the hallway so she can't wander into another room without us.  She is busy, busy, busy!  This month, I can really tell that Natalie understands what I'm saying.  That is mind-blowing to me!  When I ask her to get a book, she'll toddle down the hall to her room and get one.  She will come to her highchair when I ask her if she wants to eat.  When I ask her where her toys are, she races to the cabinet in the living room where we keep them, flings open the door, then looks at me and grins.  She is so proud of herself when she does what I ask. 

And, for fun:
We love this girl more than words can say!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Week 1

Last Friday was weigh-in day for Week 1.  Stepped on the scale, and to my absolute delight I was down 4 pounds in just one week!
YAHOO! *happy dance*

Best part of this week:  DUH.  Getting on the scale.  Also feeling motivated and excited.

Worst part of this week:  Two days this week, the counter in the teacher's lounge was covered with things like cinnamon rolls, chips and dip, apple pie, and brownie.  Oy.  I summoned up all my will power and munched on my carrot sticks while I silently cursed my co-workers who were enjoying the goodies.

Exercise:  My treadmill and I got reacquanited.  Three days this week I did two miles, a combination of walking and jogging.  Totally kicked my butt because I am so out of shape!  I know it will get easier...
Food: All day I look forward to my Skinny Cow mint truffle ice cream bar at about 8:00pm.  That's the time of evening that I get a snack-attack.  My hubby munches on popcorn or ramen noodles...and I savor every bite of my ice cream.  This week I am also loving hard-boiled eggs, fresh pineapple/grapes/strawberries, and my Trader Joe's veggie sticks.  I am missing my Cheez-its.  I sneak a few here and there - but I no longer get to sit down and consume half-a-box in one sitting.  I am also missing eating buttered popcorn with my honey.

Goals for next week:  I have upped my water intake, but I'd like to do even better.  Next week, I am making goals to drink more water, 4 days of exercise, and maintain my 1300-1400 calories per day allowance.

Inspiration for this week:
Pinned Image

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weight Lifted

Remember when I told you all about starting our Dave Ramsey journey?  We decided that 2012 was going to be our year (after the horrendous way that 2011 treated us), and wanted it to be our year to become debt-free.  Well, we are 3 months in, and things are going great!  We have paid off Mark's truck (my car was paid off last year), my medical bills (from Natalie's birth), and one of our credit card balances.  Yes!  We have two credit cards, Natalie's medical bills, and our Nebraska Furniture Mart card left.  Feeling very manageable, actually!  With what we have paid off, we freed up $500 a month that we used to pay in minimum payments - so we are using that to tackle our remaining debts.  Woohoo!
I'm not saying it's been easy.  We eat out once a month.  We don't buy extras.  No impulse purchases.  It's been very tempting many times to buy something unnecessary when it's on sale - but I instituted the one-week rule.  If I am still thinking about buying it a week later, then I will go back and get it.  99% of the time, I forget about it.  It is really hard to see everyone around me carry on with a normal life - pedicures, spring vacations, new spring outfits, and all of those other great things that I can't have right now.  But I am remembering Dave's mantra:  Live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.  It will all be worth it in the end.

Carrying cash has been another big adjustment - I've never carried cash.  I finally feel that I have gotten more used to it, and haven't used my debit card since we started 3 months ago.  Impressive, huh?  The real "life-changer" has been writing out our budget each month.  We've never done that before.  We sit down and plan out how every dollar will be spent over the course of the month.  And every extra dollar goes towards the next debt on our pay-off list.  Of course, we haven't been able to stick to a perfect budget each month, but we have learned a lot about where our money goes and how we spend.  And, let me tell you, we are spending wayyyyy less.  We've cut our monthly grocery spending by about 25%, and our Target spending by 45%.  Yes, you read that right.  I used to be addicted to Target.  I can admit it!  In just those two areas, we are saving nearly $450 dollars a month....and that, my friends, is going towards the debt.  Seeing a pattern??  I am debt-obsessed!

Each dollar we save, each check I write to pay off debt, every smart purchase and thought-out budget, every all leaves me feeling just a little bit lighter each month.  Weight coming off my shoulders little by little.  I feel back in control of our money again - and if you know me at all, you know I do love being in control!

** We now interrupt this rambling session with an obligatory cute baby picture. I know that's why all of you read my blog. :) **
Those legs.  Poor kid got her momma's squishy white legs!  Seriously, my legs looks just like hers right now.

Anyway, as I have been reveling in the debt weight being lifted little by little, I've been weighed down by something else.  Literally - my own weight.

If you struggled with your weight, you know how it feels to suddenly see yourself in a picture and not recognize yourself.  It has never been easy for me to maintain my weight.  I have gone up and down in size over the past several years.  Overweight in highschool, slimmed down in college.  Got married and got heavy again.  Worked hard to lose weight before I got pregnant, and managed to slim down by 20 pounds - just in time to start growing a baby. 

Well, it's been over a year and I am still the same weight that I was 3 weeks after delivering Natalie.  I lost 30 quick pounds of water weight in the first month after I had her, then got stuck at my current weight.  I waited and waited.  And waited.  I thought that by some miracle nursing would make me lose weight magically.  Um, no.

This past week, with temperatures in the 80s, I went rummaging through some of my spring and summer clothes.  Yikes.  Last spring, I had a newborn baby and I was on maternity leave.  I lived in pajamas.
The spring before that I was 20 pounds lighter.  Translation - no clothes that fit.  Sigh.  I'm sorry, but there is nothing worse than trying on pair after pair of shorts and capris that won't zip.  Insert crying and throwing clothes here.

Ok, you just heard me talk about our crazy budget - a budget that doesn't allow for momma to go buy a new wardrobe.  So momma is gettin' back on the diet bandwagon.  Not that I'm doing some crazy diet or starving myself.  But I am writing down what I eat and counting my calories - that's what I did when I lost weight before I had Natalie and I know it works for me.  Unfortunately, I'm not the kind of person who can eat whatever she wants - so I'm saying goodbye to Oreos and barbeque potato chips.  Hello fruits and vegetables.  I also need to work some exercise back into my routine - that means cleaning the inch of dust off my treadmill and getting my butt moving.  A gym membership is not budget-friendly for us right now.  On my last weight-loss journey, I took a great class at the local community center that I loved.  It's $45 a month.  Also not budget friendly.  I'm thinking of buying a workout DVD maybe?  Recommendations??

Now that I've made it public, I guess I have to stick with it. :)  I really want to stick with it.  'Cause once that weight starts coming off these shoulders (and butt!), there's no going back. 

And, hey, if you are going through something like this right now - email me.  jennyshinny (at) gmail (dot) com.  I'd love an accountability buddy - on budgeting OR on weight-loss!

And one more...

Monday, March 12, 2012


Spring Break is here!

I've never been more thankful for a week at home!  Winter Break is nice, but with all the busyness of the holidays, it makes it seem like it's not really a break after all.  Spring is different, because I don't have anywhere to be, no last minute shopping, wrapping, cleaning.  I can just enjoy my home and my baby girl.  And those of you who whine about teachers getting a week off for Spring Break.....people, we need it.  And the kids do, too.  If you were a teacher, you would understand! 

I am totally a homebody.  Don't get me wrong....I did have some pangs of jealousy as friends at work described their Spring Break destinations - Florida beaches, cruises, Mexico.... But one of my favorite things is just being at home with my family.  This week I plan to spend plenty of time in my jammies, do some more spring cleaning (already have a good start! - need to work on closets...), play, play, play with Natalie in the beautiful weather we are supposed to have, spend some time with friends, finally finish Natalie's first year scrapbook (I'm determined on that one!), hang out with cousins, have my niece over to spend the night, go to the park, and read a book.  I haven't read a book since Natalie was born.  And that is embarrassing to admit.  I love to read, it just hasn't been a priority.  This week, it will be. 

Windows are open, sunshine is streaming in, Pandora is serenading me, and I am one happy girl.  Spending the day with one mostly happy girl...
Time change has her a little out of whack.  Hoping we will get adjusted soon.

This spring-y weather has brought the return of some old friends.

 Hello speckled eggs.
 How've you been, sweet little bunny?
My momma - who knows me so well - gave me this sweet little pink duck.  She has found a happy home here. :)

I love digging out my spring stuff.  As I was going through it all, I found plastic Easter eggs....which are now Natalie's new favorite thing.  She has even learned to say egg.  Sounds like "aaaayyyg?"  Everything she says sounds like it ends in a question mark.  She is now saying the dog's name too.  Points out the back door at him and says "ahh-lee" (Harley).

Hoping you are feeling renewed and refreshed by this Spring weather that is upon us. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Check out The Lovely Apple for our first giveaway!