Meal Planning

Ted and I have started an attempt at a slightly organized chaos in the house. We have started meal planning which helps us create a menu for the week as well as a grocery shopping list for all the ingredients we need. We are in our second week and since the inception of our meal planning and we’ve created quite a variety of dishes such as:

  • Orange chicken
  • Rosemary, garlic, and lemon chicken & potatoes
  • Salmon burger patties
  • Baked potato wedges
  • Slow cooker lasagna
  • Turkey chili
  • Bread pudding
  • Enchilada casserole
  • Chicken pot pie

It’s so great to have a home-cooked meal for dinner on a weeknight. After Rhett was born and before we started meal-planning Ted and I would come home and heat something up – leftovers from the weekend or just pour ourselves a bowl of cereal. haha. However, I started feeling like this wasn’t a good example for the kids so with the help of Pinterest, I compiled a pin board of quick and simple recipes that Ted and I could make during the week. After that, a menu was created and a grocery list made. I’m trying to keep the recipes I choose as healthy as possible, but we shall see if the result of home-cooking is good or bad for our waistline. Fingers crossed

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Making Ends Meet

Well, we’ve hit a pretty substantial financial set back with the newest addition. We spent well over $800 on cloth diapers, cloth wipes, and special detergent to wash said diapers. In the end it really is worth (and I have to continually remind myself) because we will have saved twice that in the diaper department by the time Rhett is potty trained. So that on top of our health insurance deductible and our increased daycare expense, we have pretty much maxed out our cash.

It’s been stressful coming to the realization that we cannot continue to live as we used to with two kids (at least not in the first several months when there are a lot of up-front costs), but the bright side is that the money issue is something that brings Ted and me closer. When we have something we are both working toward, we work much better together and are able to be more supportive of one another. So really it is a blessing in disguise. Honestly, I didn’t know how much more of Ted I could stand until the money crisis happened; I say that with sincerity and a hint of humor. We definitely know how to push each others buttons. The good thing is we’ve been through hard times together before (before Elle was born) so we know what needs to be done to stay afloat. Since the housing market dropped in early 2007, it’s been really tough.

It has been so much fun having both kids in our lives. I know that I have enjoyed seeing Elle blossom into a a verbally expressive child with a great vocabulary and even greater passion for making every effort to get her point across. She has definitely grown into her big sister role and is so in love with her baby brother. She is loving ballet and has a new 4 year-old friend at daycare so life is great for Elle. Jennifer says that when they all go on walks at daycare, Elle and her new friend are always holding hands.

Rhett, on the other hand, is definitely becoming more fun as he yearns for attention, coos, and smiles a lot more. He gets bored easily so the days of sitting him in a bouncer to get some housework done are few and far between. He now insists on being with you almost constantly. The sling has proven to be invaluable in this area. Rhett is such a sweet baby. In the mornings he is full of huge, beaming smiles and coos.

It’s amazing how different two children can be. I remember having to rock Elle to sleep until she was deep in REM sleep before being able to put her down in her bed. Even then, you had to cross your fingers that she wouldn’t wake up the moment you set her down. Rhett, however, makes life much easier. You can set him down when he’s tired and a little fussy, cover him with a blankie and snuggle a corner of it onto his cheek, put a pacifier in his mouth, and he’ll close his eyes and go to sleep.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. I know it. The Jetta will be paid off in December, Ted’s writing contracts left and right (he wrote two in August! and that’s awesome because his price-point is much higher now), in about a year we should finally be completely out of credit card debt, and then we can let the savings really take off after that (I hope!).

Rhett Starts Going to Daycare

Rhett officially starts going to daycare on Monday, but he went for a few hours today to transition him. He did great and only cried once when he was getting his diaper changed. He will be going with Elle so he’ll always have his big, protective sister with him – at least until she starts going to elementary school. She is so in love with him and I love it. She gets so concerned when she doesn’t know where he is and gives him kisses first at bed time. Anyhow, it’s great to know that he’s in good hands.

The transition of Rhett going to my parents’ for two weeks while I was at work really helped too. It made me not feel so bad leaving for work and it’s softened the blow of leaving him at daycare.

In other news, Rhett is a major smiley baby in the mornings. He wakes up and smiles these huge smiles and they totally melt my heart. He really is a good, easy baby and I’m so thankful for that!

Saturday marks the 4th ballet lesson that Elle will attend and I get to watch the last 10-15 minutes of her class. I’m so excited to see what she’s learned and how she’s doing so far!

Back to Work

So I’m back at work. Today was my first day and I thought about both Rhett and Elle ALL day long. I miss both of them so much when I’m at work.

Rhett went to my parents’ house where he’ll be for the next three weeks. After three weeks, he’ll join Elle at her daycare. According to my parents, Rhett did great. He didn’t have any crying fits, he ate pretty well, and slept most of the day.

It’s a challenge getting out of the house in time to drop him off and make it to work, but we’re working on it. I also have to leave work early to make it to my parents’ house, pick Rhett up, load up the Jeep with all his belongings, drive to Elle’s daycare, pick her up, load both kids back into the Jeep, and then drive about 30 minutes in traffic to get home.

I really cannot wait for this house to sell so we can be closer to where we live our daily lives. Living on this side of town is really starting to get ridiculous, even more so in 100 degree weather.

Typical Day

12 to 1 am: prep items for getting ready for bed.

1 – 2 am: feed baby, change diaper, put baby back down to sleep, clean feeding supplies

2 – 4am: spend half an hour to 45 minutes trying to go back to sleep, sleep, wake up and feed baby again.

4 – 5 am: feed baby, change diaper, put baby back down to sleep, clean feeding supplies

5 – 7 am: spend half an hour to 45 minutes trying to go back to sleep, sleep, wake up, feed baby again.

7 – 8 am: feed baby, change diaper, clean feeding supplies

8 – 9 am: get out of bed, play with/talk to baby, dress baby for new day

9 – 10 am: feed baby, change diaper, clean feeding supplies

10 – 11 am: move furniture around so that baby can be close to me while I shower, shower, put dirty clothes from previous night in laundry room, eat “breakfast” if time permits

11 – 12 pm: feed baby, change diaper, clean feeding supplies

12 – 1 pm: nap with baby if possible, otherwise, clean house – laundry, dishes, pick up items around the house

1 – 2 pm: feed baby, change diaper, clean feeding supplies

2 – 3 pm: cleaning up the house a little more, get items for dinner out and ready for Elle, get ready to pick up Elle, pack diaper bag, eat “lunch” if time permits

3 – 4 pm: feed baby, change diaper, clean feeding supplies

4 – 5 pm: pick up Elle from daycare

5 – 6 pm: feed baby, change diaper, clean feeding supplies, play with Elle

6 -7 pm: make dinner for Elle, feed Elle, eat dinner if fussy baby permits, calm fussy baby

7 – 7:30 pm: feed baby, change diaper, clean feeding supplies

7:30 – 8 pm: give Elle a bath, play with Elle

8 – 8:30 pm: read Elle a story, calm fussy baby, change diaper

8:30 – 9 pm: listen for Elle stirring, calm fussy baby

9 – 10 pm: feed baby, change diaper, clean feeding supplies

10 – 11 pm: calm fussy baby

11 – 12 am: feed baby, change diaper, clean feeding supplies

I spend on average 3 hours of every 24 actually feeding the baby. This doesn’t include when he falls asleep on the breast and I let him stay there for a little while making sure he’s really done eating or when he decides to fuss for a while during a nursing session. I change approximately 12 diapers a day and do at least one load of laundry. I get about 4 solid hours of sleep if I’m lucky and eat about two real meals. In the rare event that I’m able to make it out of the house before having to pick up Elle, I enjoy a lunch date with friends or visiting family or co-workers.

I’m looking forward to the 4 to 6 hour stretches of sleep Rhett’s supposed to start doing around 6 weeks (again, if I’m lucky). Hopefully, I won’t need to wake up to pump if he sleeps through a feeding.

Becoming the Big Sister

Rhett and I had a lunch date with my belly buddy, Brandi and her little girl Taylor. We had the same exact due date of July 15th and  the same doctor. Rhett ended up coming July 6th and Taylor came early as well on July 10th. We had lunch at StoneWerks at the Rim and then stocked up on baby supplies at Babies R Us.

I picked Elle up early from daycare so that we could spend a little extra time together. We went to Target and got her a little $10.00 baby doll because she’s been asking for one for her stroller. She LOVES her little baby. She spent about an hour changing her clothes, feeding her a bottle, and giving her a pacifier. She even went to bed with her tonight.

We’ve been having some trouble with Elle lately having accidents and just refusing to listen. These battles of wills end up with Elle crying seemingly every morning and every evening. We are trying to be understanding of her situation, but it seems like she takes advantage of us a lot also. We’re running out of ideas on how to discipline her to listen to us, but also to show her that we love and care about her.

Tonight she asked Ted if baby Rhett “gets” to sleep with us every night. It really breaks my heart. I guess we have a lot more explaining to do for her to understand all the changes. We did so much work prepping her for Rhett’s arrival, but didn’t explain how things would change.