Monday, August 15, 2016

Body After Baby #2

Here we are, 11 weeks since we became a family of 4 and our little baby Eric joined our family.

As amazing as pregnancy is, it is always hard for me to accept gaining weight.  I have never been a confident person when it comes to my body and image.  I have battled my own brain for the past 10+ years on the constant, "you're fat" "you need to tighten up here" "you have a flabby tummy".

4 weeks with Caleb
Well becoming pregnant with Caleb was so exciting and wonderful, but I worried about my weight gain each and every day.  I swore I was going to only gain 20 pounds during my pregnancy and eat the best I could and exercise every day.  Well, winter came and then tired mama days hit, and I ended up gaining 33 pounds with Caleb.  Not terrible, but not the 20 pounds that my doctor wanted me to gain either.
Night before Caleb was born
After having Caleb I was determined to lose the weight, fast, and get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight and even less if possible.  I dealt with other mamas around me losing weight a lot faster then me and I would get upset with myself and my body.  I was really proud of myself, although I knew I could have done better, for losing all of my baby weight 3 months after having Caleb and lost an additional 5 pounds by the time he was 6 months old.

Fast forward to Caleb turning 1 and us knowing that we were wanting to try again for another baby.  I had maintained by weight from when Caleb was 6 months old and pretty much knew that that would be my weight.  I was happy, not thrilled, but not upset with myself either.  I had grown a human, a freaking human!  My body was amazing for what it had given me and I couldn't blame it for not getting smaller or thinner.  I was content.

1 month before finding out I was pregnant with E, probably a few days pregnant here.
I got pregnant with Eric and life was crazier then ever!  I started showing right away and Caleb was learning how to walk and be more independent.  We were in for a ride over the next 10 months.

Baby E - 13 Weeks
I gained a total of 21 pounds with Eric.  I once again was concerned about my weight gain but knew that I would gain what I needed and would work my butt off after he was born to get where I wanted to be.  I would like to think that my lower number of weight gain this pregnancy was due to the major fact that I was chasing a toddler, working full-time while trying to get a promotion and hire someone for my old position, and keeping our lives moving while Ryan was gone a lot more for Army.  Everyone told me that I wasn't gaining as much also because he was going to be tinier than his big bro, well they were wrong when he came out an inch longer and 4 ounces heavier. LOL.

Was pregnant for 11 more days after this picture was taken
We are now 11 weeks postpartum and I am thrilled to say that I have lost 29.5 pounds since having Baby E!  I honestly am not one to ever want to put it out there because I absolutely hated the feeling that I felt when other moms lost weight faster then me or looked better then me so much sooner, but for me, I am at the lowest weight I have been since Ryan was on deployment, 3 years ago!  I honestly credit most of it to breastfeeding.  I wasn't able to exclusively breastfeed Caleb ever and with Eric I got to do it for 3 weeks and I think it made a major difference.  Also, I have gone on a walk at least 4 days a week every week since Eric has been born.  We have to get out of the house and walks are the easiest way to make both of my boys happy, plus it gives me an excuse to go get a Pepsi or a donut some days :)  Another thing that has helped lose the weight faster is having a toddler.  Caleb is very busy.  He doesn't sit still for any amount of time unless he is ready for bed.

I still have plenty of room for improvement on my body, as in toning and tightening up, but for now, I am so proud of myself for losing the baby weight and then some.  I have now passed my goal weight from 2014 and am trying to go for another 5, but not pushing it.

I hope that all you soon-to-be mamas or new mamas out there understand that this is in no way meant to discourage you or make you upset with me, but to maybe encourage you, better yet remind you, that you can do whatever you set your mind to and that includes losing the baby weight.
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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I have been doing a lot of online shopping lately since it really saves me time and money with my two littles.  I stumbled upon from Mary of Eat, Drink & Be Mary.  She ordered some items from there and loved them and I always love to find new stores to order from and she said they had great prices.

I jumped right on over to their website and fell instantly in love!  They have adorable clothes that are dirt cheap and I thought, these would be great for going back to work.  I went ahead and ordered myself 4 new blouses that I could sport my first week back to work.

After 3 weeks, which was sort of annoying at how long it took to recieve my order, I got my package and couldn't wait to try them all on.  I had checked the sizing chart they provided and also asked Mary her opinion on sizing but was nervous.  Well as it turns out I was right to be nervous.  3 out of the 4 didn't fit me!  Talk about a complete let down.

I contacted them and said I just wanted to return them because I'm not even sure ordering 1 size bigger would have worked.  Two of the shirts I couldn't even get my arms in the holes once it was over my head.  They were timely with their response, but stated that I had to pay for the return.  I found this super annoying.  It cost me $11 to send the items back to them! $11!

24 hours after I shipped the items back they issued me my money back, but when I went into my account to look, they didn't pay me back the original shipping cost either!

I'm glad that the situation is over with but I am super disappointed in the fact that the sizing chart didn't seem to translate well and that I ended up spending almost the exact same amount of money on shipping twice as I did the clothes in the first place.  I'm also really bummed that they didn't work out because they are cute as all get out and I was really excited for them to come in.

If you try them out I really hope it works for you.  Overall, I think they are a good company with great prices but I think they are really meant for thinner girls who definitely can get away with a little extra snug shirt in certain areas.

Better luck next time to myself.  I guess I will stick with my tried and true mom stores, Old Navy, Target and Kohl's! :)

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Monday, August 8, 2016

6 Month Budget Update - February thru July 2016

Hey everyone!  I feel like it has been forever since I have done a budget update, and let's be completely honest - it's been forever since I've blogged in general!

We have been sticking to our goal of paying off debt over the last six months but with life always changing and things being thrown at us constantly, we have had our ups and downs.

Let's start with the beginning of the past 6 months...I was 28ish weeks pregnant and Ryan decided to quit his job.  Talk about a major stresser!  Ryan had been unhappy with his job for quite some time but stuck it out because it was what was best for our family.  Now Ryan was having to go out of town for military training for 4 weeks and his employer at the time was not happy about it and made it very clear and went about things that weren't so nice, or very legal for that matter.  Instead of fighting something that wasn't ideal for our family anymore, Ryan quit his job and knew that he would find something better.  Within 2 days Ryan had another job lined up for when he returned from his training.  Being 28 weeks pregnant with our second child was not the ideal time to become a 1 income household, but luckily I married a man who will always do whatever it takes to provide for his family.

Fast forward the 4 weeks and Ryan's return home from the longest absence since Caleb has been born, and he started his new job.  He hated it.  It wasn't what he was told when he interviewed and after 1 day decided that it wasn't for him and started searching for another job.  He found his current job the next day and quit at the end of the week.  Ryan is now back in a sales position for an amazing employer and has great hours and is so much more relaxed and happy.  It has done wonders for our family and we couldn't be more proud of him.

So now we will fast forward to the birth of our precious little boy!  He is the missing piece to our puzzle and we couldn't be happier that he is here, healthy and happy!  We had planned for baby expenses as much as possible, but it is never enough right?  My work has a healthy living program of sorts and if you get your annual physical and submit the paperwork you get free money loaded onto a debit card!  We got $600 just for going to our annual physicals and we used that for the birth costs this time around.  That was a huge weight off of our shoulders considering that we had a little hefty bill from Caleb's delivery.  Our little guy and I had an amazing 3 weeks of nursing but after complications on my end, we had to cut our journey short and he is now on formula 100% and doing just fine.  But with that comes the cost of formula, which we were hoping to avoid for a little bit longer, but things happen and you have to roll with them.  He is a little pig and right now we are spending about $30/week on formula.  We are so lucky though that we got plenty of diapers from friends and family to where we have only had to buy 1 small pack of diapers, and that was for convenience not necessity.  And I made sure to buy Caleb a box of diapers and a box of wipes before I went into Labor so we haven't had to have that expense over the past 2 months either.

Before I went out on Maternity Leave and we got our tax return money we had put enough money in an account to cover 4 months of my car payment.  I did this on purpose because I knew that things would be tight and it would be one less bill we I had to stress about.  I'm so glad we did this because it has made our summer a little bit easier considering that we already know one whole bill is taken care of no matter what.

Another way we are striving is that we are lucky enough to live in a state that pays for Maternity Leave.  I get paid 4 weeks before birth, 6 weeks after birth for recovery and then an additional 6 weeks after that for bonding.  In total, I get paid two thirds of my pay for 4 months to stay home with my baby.  It has been amazing and it is a total pro for living in CA!  With my money we make sure that our mortgage is paid.  Again, another thing that we don't have to worry about and can count on being taken care of each and every month.

We were lucky enough to take a small vacation I guess you could call it.  If you follow me on SnapChat or IG you will already know this, but we flew to Nashville, TN and drove back home to California.  Now as torturous as that sounds, it wasn't that bad, but I will save that for another post :)

With Ryan's new job and my MatLeave we have been able to have one amazing summer together as a new family of 4.  We are still striving to give our boys the best lives possible all without being miserable.  Here is how we did over the past 6 months:

February: $2,755.00
March: $2,880.00
April: $3,180.00
May: $2,475.00
June: $2,718.00
July: $2,840.00

Total: $16,848.00

Now in no way were the past 6 months not stressful!  Hell!  Just last weekend I was crying about our money situation.  There are always going to be storm clouds on the horizon you just have to keep your head up and keep moving towards the sun.  So poetic eh?  I must thank my husband for always telling me we will find a way and for actually believing it.  He is always positive and that is what I need.  We keep it real in our house and we aren't millionaires, but we are trying our hardest to maintain the life we love to live.

If you have great budgeting tips or ideas, please share them below in a comment or email me.  I love learning how others budget and reach their goals.  And if you have more questions on how we do certain things in our budget, also let me know.  I love talking about it and won't keep anything to myself except for our account numbers and passwords :)
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Monday, August 1, 2016

To Eric James - 2 Month Letter

My Dearest Eric James,

You are 2 months old already and I can't believe it.  You are growing so fast already and some days I think that you are going to fly by these baby days and wake up a toddler just like your brother.  You are a big boy and are proving to be determined each and every day.

You celebrated your first holiday this month!  Independence Day!  We had a great time staying home and BBqing with our neighbors.  You did amazing and slept almost the entire day in everyone's arms.  The fireworks didn't keep you awake or startle you awake at all.  I can't wait until you can enjoy the holiday more next year.

This month you have decided to start sleeping better at night which Mommy couldn't be more thrilled about.  You have started sleeping anywhere from 7-8 hours and then going right back down for another 3-4 after you get a little snack.  You aren't much of a napper, just like your big bro, but we will take that if it means that you are sleeping through the night.  You are doing really well with our nighttime routine, and once I go back to work it will be more consistent and help us all out a ton!  We try to put you and your brother both down around 7 in hopes that you will sleep through the night one day soon :)  We finally put the monitor in your room this past week and I am loving being able to check on you more easily from our room.  You are doing so well still sleeping in your own room each and every night.  In this next month we are going to work on you napping in your room as well - if you decide to nap.

Eating is going really well.  We have kept you on the Gentlease formula which really helps your tummy and hiccups.  You are eating 5-6 ounces 6 times a day right now and can go anywhere from 2-4 hours between feedings.  You are definitely a cluster feeder at night and we know that you love to go to sleep on a full belly.  We are still having some spit up issues, but we just think you get too excited about eating sometimes and don't realize that you are supposed to burp when we make you take a break instead of just freaking out thinking that the bottle is gone forever!

This past month we took you on your first big adventure.  You went on your first airplane and we flew to Tennessee.  From Tennessee we continued our adventure with driving back home to California; that's right, 10 states in 4 days!  You were such a rockstar!  You did great on the airplane and never had any problems other then them making us wake you for takeoff and landing.  During our road trip home you slept most of the time which made me nervous for our overnights in the hotels, but it didn't seem to bother you one bit!  We slept in a bed together and it was the best sleep you had had thus far.  You just needed to hear Mommy breath next to you I guess.

You are loving bath time each night and although it isn't your favorite part of the night, you also don't hate getting your night time lotion massage in lavender scent.  Your big brother cannot wait for the day when you two can bathe together, and neither can we.  You two will have so much fun playing with toys and splashing around.

You love car rides too!  I don't know if it is so much as you love them or find them verrrrry boring, but they put you right to sleep more times then not.  I'm not going to lie, I love them for that reason.  It is usually the only way you take a nap during the day.

You are holding your head up unassisted 95% of the time right now and you love to stand while we hold you under your arms.  I can't believe how fast you are hitting these little milestones and it just adds to the little bit of sadness that this is the last time we will go through this stage.

I can't wait to continue to watch you grow and learn Eric James.  You are our favorite baby ;) and you fit perfectly in with our little tribe.  I hope you always remember that we love you more then anyone else ever will and we will always be here for you.


Two Month Stats:
Weight: 13 pounds, 9 ounces
Height: 24 inches
Diapers: Size 1
Clothes: 3-6 months

**Photo Dump**




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