#momgratitude: five & six

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So, as usual, I have fallen behind in one of these challenges! At least, I have the excuse of having children this time around. (It’s been a few years since I’ve attempted one.)

Number Five: Nothing is more heartwarming to me than when my two babies put their foreheads together and giggle. Watching them love each other is pretty much the best part of being a mom of two!

Number Six: A support person! In my dream of dream worlds I would be a stay at home mom. However, this is not our reality, but I have to thank my husband for the sacrifices he’s made to help me make this an “almost” reality. We have both changed jobs twice since our babies have been born. We have negotiated schedules, lost sleep, freelanced at night (losing even more sleep), but our babies are only without their parents for 5 hours per week. And every week, I’m amazed that we’ve done it.

My secondary support person is my mom (of course!). She covers the five hours that we can’t cover ourselves, and she’s pretty much the only person that I would trust to watch my babies.

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“I Love Mama!”

For whatever reason, today was just one of those days for Beanie. After her nap, everything was chaos. Everything made her upset. She threw things. She refused to eat. She said NOOOO as defiantly as possible to everything from changing her diaper to picking up her crayons.

Somehow we muddled through the afternoon until Squeaks’ bedtime.

After he was down for the night, I started to dress her for bed. I decided to start her night time routine early and recapped the day with her. We do this every night. It’s something I started after I read that you can help “teach memories.”

We recapped our time at the park. Her turns down the slide. Meeting up with daddy at lunch. Walking. Squeaks’ hugs. (She’s taught him how to hug!).

Then, I told her, and we had some hard parts too, right? Some parts where you had some trouble listening and being a helper?

She nodded her head.

That’s ok, I told her. We all have bad days. The good thing is that we can try again tomorrow, right?

She nodded again.

Then, a few seconds later, she said, “I love mama!”

#MOMGRATITUDE

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With two little babies, I know Mother’s Day will probably be like any other day for me. And that’s fine with me. I’m eagerly looking forward to the days that I will receive handprints and homemade cards. Until then, I’ll be thankful that Beanie and Squeaks have made me a mom.

So, for this year, I’m going to do a personal celebration that I’m hoping you’ll join in on!

Starting Sunday, May 1st, I’m going to celebrate 7 Days of Mom Gratitude!

I’ve put together a little prompt in the hopes that people will participate, but you can really share anything you’re grateful each day.

How to participate:

  1. Follow me on Twitter @BeanieSqueaks or “like” me on Facebook. 
  2. Starting Sunday, May 1st, share what you are grateful for and use the hashtag #momgratitude.
  3. That’s it! I’ll retweet some and like all that I see.

I can’t wait to see what you all are thankful for in this motherhood journey!

Making Ebates Work for You

I thought I had the whole Ebates thing down. I dutifully bought formula and diapers through diapers.com via Ebates.

Little did I know, I was missing out big. I have doubled my cash back this quarter with one simple strategy — the Ebates Chrome extension.

How it works:

First, sign up for Ebates here! (This is an affiliate link. We both get a bonus if you use it!)

Using Chrome, go to Chrome extensions and search for Ebates.

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Once it’s installed, you should see this at the top of your browser:

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Now, any time you are on any site the “E” will turn green if there are potential savings. Once you click on it, you have the option to activate cash back. This has been huge for me! Now, I don’t accidentally miss out on savings or have to search through the Ebates site to see if the store I’m browsing offers cash back. (This is particularly important if we are just about to be out of formula and I’m trying to order with one hand while Beanie is pulling on my shirt!)

Ebates also offers the ability to search for products on their site, but it can be a bit cumbersome.

Now that you have the Chrome extension, there is an added benefit.

You can simply Google products. Often the results will show prices. But along with that, the Ebates extension adds a line in the Google search results telling you how much you can save via Ebates.

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This makes it a lot easier to both compare the prices and figure out how to get the maximum amount of cash back.

Next time, I’ll show you how to combine offer sites to get additional rebates, coupons or rewards on the same purchases.

 

To Work or Not to Work

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My break between classes and a meeting.

I am incredibly fortunate to even have the luxury of asking this question. Well partly. I HAVE to work. The question is whether or not I will do it outside of the house.

I currently work 10 hours per week outside my home. When I took my current job, I thought it would be perfect. I’d have a steady stream of income, and I’d get to spend most of my days with my kids.

However, it’s kind of the worst of both worlds.

It could be because I’m a teacher, and I have to bring work home with me. Or it could be because I wasn’t really ready to leave my babies.

More often than not, I get everyone to bed and do a brief clean up of the house and bottles and things we will need for the morning. And when I’m done with that — I lesson plan, i grade, I answer emails. Then, if I still have energy, I write (my work from home job).

All of that would be good and well except for the fact that two days a week, I then have to get up at five to go teach. And those are, without fail, the two days per week that my babies actually sleep till seven.

Then, that means I wind up going to work on 3-4 hours of sleep. One fateful morning, I walked into the student desks so many times, I’m sure they thought there was something seriously wrong with me.

When I get home about noon, there is no downtime. No decompression. My husband either heads straight to work or my mom leaves immediately. Most days I don’t get to change my clothes or have a glass of water for 2-3 hours after I get home.

It just makes me wonder what is the cost of it all.

It also makes me pretty annoyed about this current push for moms to have it all. I thought it sounded perfect. I can keep teaching (which I love) and I can spend a majority of my days with my babies (which is my priority). Not so, says reality. There are only so many hours in a day and only so many things you can truly pay attention to at one time.

This is definitely not a judgment. I’m sure this works great for some moms. It’s just not working for me!

If you want both, that’s great. If you want a career, fantastic! If you want to be a stay at home mom, more power to you! I truly believe every woman should be able to choose, but to say that a woman should juggle all of this is ridiculous. Unfair. And so stressful that it affects all aspects of health.

I will admit that I’m doing this the very hard way. I’m sure there are some super moms out there who are able to better balance it all. Set limits. Foster their own interests and work.

At this point, I’m still looking for that. Maybe it will be in writing. Maybe it will be in teaching. Maybe I’ll get tired of being a stay at home mom. Maybe I won’t.

Diapers, Diapers, Diapers

I’ve started to fancy myself a modern-day, millennial, techie coupon queen. Not using coupons exactly, but definitely tracking down online deals like it’s sport.

It all started with diapers.com. Like Amazon for diapers. Not always cheaper, but they occasionally give you $5 off a case of diapers. The best thing about it is they deliver in 2 days for free. Often, I can get things in 1 day if I order early in the morning. This is fantastic when I “forget” to reorder diapers in time.

Then, I discovered Ebates. And you can get 2% back on diapers.com. For awhile that’s what I did. Ordered my diapers and happily took my 2%. Happy to get $10-15 quarterly.

Next, Black Friday came around. Diapers.com had a massive diaper sale. I don’t even remember what the exact sale was, but I ended up spending $300 for $500 of diapers and still got my 2% back.

Enter Target. I have always been a Target victim. When I was single, it was to the tune of $100 every Saturday morning of a ton of stuff I didn’t really need.

Then, I discovered this fantastic deal Target does with their baby products at least once a month. Free gift cards!

So, about 3 weeks ago, I ordered another $300 of diapers. It came out to be 16 cases of Seventh Generation diapers. Target’s offer was:

In essence, my $300 of diapers (delivered free to my home) came out to $149. I’m hoping it will last at least 2 months. Since we have $200 a month budgeted for diapers that’s a personal saving for us of $250!

(all links are affiliates! If you use my Ebates link, you get an additional bonus with your first check!)

Compare and Contrast

When I found out I was having a second child, one of the first things we thought about was the difference between a first child (me) and a second child (my husband). Of course, we both thought the other siblings received preferential treatment. My husband had tales of his sister teasing him or not including him. I felt that my younger siblings were spoiled and got whatever they wanted.

We also both perceived differences in the way our parents treated us — whether or not that’s true, who’s to say!

So, one of the last things that I wanted to do was compare my kids.

Unfortunately, avoiding that is a lot easier said than done. And honestly, it started with pregnancy. Everything was a comparison. Beanie kicked me in the lungs constantly. Squeaks kicked me in the spine/lower back constantly. I craved lemon with both. Had morning sickness with neither. Beanie was smaller. Squeaks was in position earlier. Beanie’s labor was longer. Squeaks’ was more painful.

I have used 23 Snaps to share pictures with the grandparents since before Beanie was born. It’s easy and private, but it also dates each picture with your child’s age. So, I can tell exactly what Beanie was doing when she was 5 months and 3 days old.

This is good and bad.

It has helped me remember the types of games I played with Beanie and when they started. It has helped me remember when I started to help her roll over. It’s crazy how fast you forget. And honestly, if I didn’t have that record, I probably would have “forgotten” to start practicing rolling with Squeaks a few weeks ago.

It has also reminded me how quickly Beanie picked up on everything. She was early to sit. Early to roll. Early to grab things. Early to giggle.

I have to remind myself that each child is different and each is experiencing infancy differently. Beanie had a seemingly infinite amount of one-on-one time with me. Squeaks has to share me with an older sister. Beanie had to rely solely on us adults. Squeaks is watching every move his older sister makes.

While she was aggressive and demanding, he is quiet and silly. While she had to eat exactly at three hours, he can wait a bit. While she melted down if her nap was late, he will just ease into a deeper sleep when I can put him down.

They are going to be such a perfect compliment to each other. I can see that already. I just want to make sure that my comparisons are of me and my adapting to each child’s needs. Not how fast or how much they can do.

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