October 31, 2008

A Shorter Christmas List

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:06 pm by bitsypieces

Hubby and I are usually pretty generous at Christmas.  We both love to give presents.

However, this year–like many Americans–we’re tightening our belts.  The result?  A short Christmas list and a smaller budget.

To save money on gifts this year, we plan to:

  • Buy Baby just 2 gifts (rag dolls).  Yes, it’s her first Christmas.  But at her age, she doesn’t need a lot of toys.
  • Host a potluck party. We use to go out to dinner to celebrate Christmas with friends.  This year, however, I think we’re going to try a potluck holiday party.  We’ll see how it works out.
  • Use contest winnings for gifts. I won a $500 gift certificate to my local jewelry store (woo hoo!).  So I think most of the ladies on our list will be getting a nice piece of jewelry for Christmas.
  • Skip gifts for each other. In the past Hubby and I either purchased each other gifts or bought one gift we shared (like a new video game console).  This year, however, we may just give each other a kiss.

Personally, I think the retail sector is going to be hit hard this holiday season.  Indeed, there will probably be some super sales and big bargains.  Since Hubby and I need a new stove, we may have to use our Christmas savings to buy it.

October 30, 2008

Jogging With Baby

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:13 pm by bitsypieces

If you read my health and fitness blog, you know that I’m trying to exercise regularly. But life with baby doesn’t leave a lot of time for a long workout.

Two friends pitched in and bought me a super cool Jeep jogging stroller. It’s designed for actually running–not just looking neat. But I think Baby might be a bit small for it yet. Even with its big wheels, the stroller’s bound to get a bit bumpy. I think she probably needs a little more head control yet.

But I seriously can’t wait to try it out!

October 29, 2008

Safer Baby Products

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:51 pm by bitsypieces

I admit to being a bit of a worrywart about unhealthy plastics. And since I think Baby is starting to teethe, I’ve been looking for safer teethers and rattles.

Fortunately, I found a pretty good list at ZRecommends. And unlike a lot of similar lists of BPA-free products, this one also includes teethers without phthalates and PVC. Many big names (such as Sassy) are on the list, which means it’s easy to find some safer teethers that are also affordable.

If I had some extra cash, though, I’d get something cool like this great teething necklace or a wooden teether.

October 27, 2008

Food and Poo

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:53 pm by bitsypieces

Before giving birth, I’d been informed that mommies become obsessed with their baby’s poo.

Not me, I thought. I will never be the type of mother that examines every baby poo with a critical eye.

Ha.

Of course, I have a good reason to be holding the dirty diaper under the light. A few weeks ago we discovered blood in Baby’s poo. This led to a panicked late-night trip to the ER, as well as a next day visit to the doc. We were assured it was nothing more than a virus. Whew!

Fast forward two weeks and I see blood in Baby’s poo again! This time more tests are done with no conclusive results. I, of course, spend hours Googling the symptom… because isn’t that the reason Google was invented? So panicked moms could develop even greater anxiety about the possibility of a rare, African disease or flesh-eating bacteria?

After extensive Google research, I came to the conclusion that a food allergy or sensitivity may be to blame. Although Baby is exclusively fed mommy’s milk, it’s possible that something I am eating may be upsetting her tummy.

Humph.

The biggest culprits are dairy, soy and eggs… which also happen to the be three things I eat on a daily basis. But I’ve always been a big fan of the scientific method, and I also believe that correlation does not necessarily mean causation. Rather than taking a haphazard, random approach by eliminating one food and then another, I decide to just start out with a Total Elimination Diet (aka TED). This is the most logical way to approach discovering a food allergy, I think, though it is unpleasant.

For a few weeks–until her symptoms are completely gone–I will be on a super restrictive diet… mostly turkey, potatoes, rice and squash. (Not exactly the most enjoyable diet for a former vegetarian.) After we reach a “baseline” of no bloody poos, I’ll start slowly adding new foods to my diet (starting with the least allergenic–such as oats and beans–and finishing up to the most allergenic like dairy.)

Hopefully this uncomfortable food plan will result in some real information about possible diet sensitivities in Baby.

‘Cause I sure hate to think that I’m eating turkey for no useful purpose.

October 23, 2008

Baby Weight Update

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:08 pm by bitsypieces

No… not Baby’s weight.  MY baby weight.

Baby is almost 15 weeks old, and I have about 5 pounds to go until I reach my pre-pregnancy weight.  (To read more about my diet and exercise plan, visit my health blog at www.RefrigeratorRaid.com.)  Even though I’m pretty close to my pre-preg weight, my body feels completely different.  I suspect that my hips, thighs and belly will never be exactly the same… even if I lose every single pound I gained during pregnancy.

(And it’s possible I may not lose those last 5 pounds for a while.  I’ve heard it said that breastfeeding causes our bodies to cling to just a little bit of extra weight.)

I’ve been buying just enough clothing to get me through this in-between phase, but it’s hard when my body seems to be changing rapidly.  Four weeks ago I had a pair of Old Navy jeans that barely buttoned.  This week they fit almost too loosely.  My budget doesn’t allow for a whole new wardrobe every few weeks!

However, I’m not complaining!  As long as the numbers on the scale keep moving in the right direction, I’m willing to wear ill-fitting clothes!

October 20, 2008

Weed-like Growth

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:19 pm by bitsypieces

In light of the colder weather, a few weeks ago I purchased Baby some warmer clothing… mostly footed sleepers in a knit cotton fabric.  They’re just the right warmth for our home during fall/winter months.  Since Baby is just 14 weeks old, I bought sizes 3-6 months, assuming they’d work for most of the winter.

Now she’s almost ready to outgrow 3 of them.  This girl is growing like the proverbial weed!

Thank goodness Christmas is on the horizon… maybe someone will gift Baby with some practical clothing.  ‘Cause otherwise, our budget is going to take a serious hit in the “Baby Clothes” category.

October 15, 2008

Slice of Life: Mommy in the Potty

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:20 pm by bitsypieces

Just as Baby started to wake from her nap today, I realized that I needed to go to the bathroom.  Really, really bad.  And it wasn’t going to be a quick wee, either.  I was going to need more than 30 seconds to finish the job.

As Baby rustled and whimpered in her crib, I ran to the bathroom.  Just as I settled in, Baby started crying.  Wailing.  Screaming.

So as I sat in the bathroom, I listened to the sounds of her wails the entire time.  As I did my duty, I occasionally called out to the Baby.  “Mommy’s here.  She’ll be right there.  She’ll be with you in a minute, Baby.” There was a longer time delay because I had to wash my hands super-thoroughly since I knew Baby needed fed, too.  (I always give my digits a good scrub before I feed her.)

Although it felt like I had spent 20 minutes in the bathroom, it was probably only 2.

I rushed into the nursery and picked up Baby, anxious to stop her tears.  And as I cuddled my sweet child, I thought of the millions of men who stroll to the bathroom with reading material in hand, ready for a leisurely and relaxing afternoon potty break.

Is it wrong that–for one brief moment–I felt like bashing them all on the head with their copies of Sports Illustrated?

October 14, 2008

Cheap & Healthy Food Storage

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:54 pm by bitsypieces

Seems like I can’t open a health magazine without reading an article about plastics. From BPA to phthalates, there are a lot of reasons to be concerned about the abundance of plastic goods in our homes. For a quick overview, check out this article from the Westchester County Department of Health.

So I decided to make one small change to reduce the amount of plastic in my home.

Rather than storing food in zip-top bags or plastic food storage containers, I have switched to glass containers. I have a set of round glass storage containers by Pyrex that I use for storing food. And though they’re perfect for leftovers, they’re a bit too pricey for, say, freezing servings of soup. So, instead, I use regular pint-size mason jars. And since the metal lids tend to rust, I buy plastic lids (like these).

These jars are perfect for things like bulk bin purchases (such as nuts and seeds), homemade trail mix, freezing small portions of soup or spaghetti sauce, and storing some leftovers like gravies. (The Pyrex containers ares still a necessity, though, for anything that doesn’t fit easily into the mouth of a mason jar… or when you want to microwave the food.)

And you can get a dozen of these jars–plus a set of 8 lids–for about $10-$12. That’s a bargain for safer glass food storage.

October 11, 2008

To Tell Or Not To Tell?

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:01 pm by bitsypieces

A few weeks ago–when Baby was just starting to grasp blankets–Hubby was was holding Baby in his arms.  Baby reached up and grabbed his shirt with her fists, clinging tightly.  Excitedly he said to me, “Bitsy, look at what Baby’s doing!”  (This was the first time he’d seen her do this.)

I shrugged dismissively and replied, “She’s been doing that for a while now.”

I immediately saw the excitement and light diminish in his eyes… and I felt terrible.  I had totally killed his joy.

Hubby goes out into the big, bad world to earn money for our family.  It’s not his fault that he’s not with Baby every second of the day.  I want him to be able to share in her successes, too.

Today Baby did something new.  (She grabbed for a cloth book and tried to bring it to her mouth.  Sure… a small advance given the lifetime she has in her future.  But for this new mommy, it was a big thrill to watch.)

My question:  Should I tell Hubby about it?  Or wait for him to see her do it on her own, and then act excited and thrilled about it?

October 9, 2008

Cash

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:47 pm by bitsypieces

Having a baby has made me a lot more anxious about possible disasters.  And, given the economic state of the USA at this time, I am especially concerned about finances.  In my (overactive) imagination, I keep seeing another depression–stockbrokers swan-diving from tall buildings, families living in cardboard boxes, and orphans eating cold mush (a la Annie).

Hubby and I have most of our savings in mutual funds… and we’ve been watching the amount in our accounts continue to drop each quarter.  I’ve been thinking about stashing some money away as cash–either in a basic bank savings account or Certificates of Deposit–just in case the stock market should take a really big tumble.

The problem: We’re not really making enough right now to save extra cash.

The solution: I guess we either need to spend less (my big hurdle) or earn more.

I still can’t get seem to get over my habit of shopping when I’m bored, stressed, tired or sad.  Has anyone else out there found a way to conquer “emotional spending”?

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