February 27, 2013

Milkin It

Last week I took an inventory of my breast milk. Wait, let's back up to why I did that.

Last week I had a consultation for LASIK. I've had glasses/contacts since I was in 3rd grade and I have 20/400 vision. That means what I see at 20 feet from an object someone with 20/20 vision would see the same quality 4 football fields (400') behind me. Both of my parents had it done a few years ago and they said it was life changing. I finally made the decision to do it and got all the way through the appointment and ready to schedule surgery when they asked me if I happened to be pregnant or breast feeding. I was struck down, I had no idea how your hormones could mess with your eyesight. So now I will have to wait until I've been done nursing for 6 weeks.
So that, coupled with my recurring mastitis made me think about when I planned on being done breastfeeding.  I decided to sort and take inventory of my frozen milk to see how long it would last.
Sadly, this 1,059 ounces would only last Adler about 5 weeks.  So I made the decision to keep going until he was as close to a year old as possible.  Dr Austman told me that she was very happy I had made it this long and if I really felt the need due to the mastitis that it was OK.  I'm glad I have a Dr that totally understands the emotional side of breastfeeding!  Well the very next day I was hit with I believe my 11th round of mastitis.  If you've ever had it you are cringing right now.  I've you've never had it I'll just tell you I'd rather recover from a c-section again.
I'm getting off topic!  OK so some people on Facebook asked how I got to have such a big stash.  With Asher I was seriously lucky to have 6 ounces frozen at one time.  With Adler the SMARTEST thing I did is when he started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks I set my alarm and got up at 2 AM every single night and pumped.  This all came from my middle of the night pumpings - about 3 months worth.  It solved a couple of problems.  I was waking up in the morning terribly engorged so it relieved that and also gave me milk that he didn't need to stockpile.  I totally recommend everyone do this.  When you're used to getting up in the middle of the night anyway it really isn't that big of a deal.  I would get up and either read or check Facebook while I pumped and got anywhere between 8-16 ounces a day.
I can't tell you how proud I am of my milk.  Sometimes I have to go open up the deep freeze and just look at it.  :)

February 25, 2013

Adler's 9 Month Stats

My Little Buddy went to see Dr Austman today for his 9 month check-up!
Height: 29.5" (90%)
Weight: 20 lbs 9 oz (50%)
All is going well!  She is very happy that I'm still nursing but discussed quitting for reasons that will be in another post.  She did warn me that when I quit nursing Adler's eczema will probably get worse.  We continue to treat his eczema with special lotion twice a day and a prescription cream for when it gets bad.  I'm hoping when it warms up it will get better.
The funniest thing is when I got home I pulled out my blog  book to see how big Asher was at his 9 month check up.  They were the EXACT same height and their weights only differed by 2 oz!  I would have sworn Adler was bigger :)

February 22, 2013

Baby Food

With Adler I exclusively breastfed until he turned 6 months.  My Dr told me if he was nursing well there was no reason to introduce any rice cereals or baby food until then.  I had made the decision to try making my own baby food while I was pregnant so I bought a baby bullet.  It was super easy but over the past few months I've found that I like to make bigger batches so it isn't very convenient.  My sister and brother got me the Ninja Stackable Chopper for Christmas and it works great! 
I made squash today so I thought I'd show you how I do it.
This is a butternut squash.
I had no idea what I was buying the first time - I had never made any kind of squash before.  I've found now it works best for me if I find one with a long, thick "neck." 
 The first thing I do is slice it about 1-1.5" thick.  I had no clue what I was doing the first time so if this is not the correct way to cut up a squash, please, don't tell me.
 Then I cut the skin off of each piece all the way around.
 Cube it in fairly even chunks so that it cooks evenly.
Then I put all the pieces in my steamer (I bought a very inexpensive one off of Amazon and seems to serve its purpose).  I usually cook my squash about 35-40 minutes. 
 This is what is left.  I usually don't even attempt to get it out of the bottom but my assistant told me I just needed to cut around the seeds!
Everyone needs a 3 year old to tell them how its done :) 
 Once its cooked I just throw it in my Ninja, add a little water and Adler's favorite: cinnamon!
 You can control the consistency by how much water you add. 
 My squash weighed a little over 4 lbs and cost me $2.50.  I got about 37 ounces of baby food out of it.  If I calculate that correctly it would cost about $6.50 to buy the same about of Gerber squash.  And I've had both... mine tastes better!
I usually keep a little out for him to eat that day and put the rest in ice cube trays to freeze.  I just set them in the deep freeze for about 24 hours then break them out of the molds and put them in freezer bags.  Then it is so easy for me to pull out what he gets for that day each morning.  Right now he is eating about 6 ounces at each meal (each cube is about 1oz). 
I will keep making his food for sure.  Its something I really enjoy doing, I think its better for him and it is less expensive.  A win-win for me.
Some of the other foods he enjoys: sweet potatoes, avocados, bananas, peas, carrots, potatoes.  I also puree my Mom's homemade chicken & noodles, veggie soup and one dish dinner.  Those are probably his favorites!  For some reason my little man doesn't care for fruit!
** I also did bananas this week.  I bought a 3 lb bunch at Sam's for $1.48 and I got 44 oz of baby food out of it.  That is the equivalent of paying $0.25 for each 2 pk of Gerber (Those run about $1.19 at Dave's when they're on sale **


February 20, 2013

The Decision to Stay Home

** This post was written on September 21, 2012.  I never published it **

I don't even know where to begin.  The decision to be a SAHM was not one that was made overnight.  Of course after Asher was born I thought about how nice it would be to be able to stay at home but financially we weren't prepared.  I think we weren't financially prepared because until you carry a child for 9 months, give birth and see their little face for the first time you really have no idea what it is like to be a Mom - what its like to hold and feed and care for your own child.  So reluctantly, I went back to work.

When I found out I was pregnant with Adler I started to think about it a little more.  Then they found the amniotic band and I made the decision then and there if there was something wrong with my baby I would do whatever it took to stay home.  Well a few weeks later we found out he was going to be fine.  But - that got me thinking.  Why would I do everything in my power to stay home with a baby with special needs but not if he was healthy?  So I started looking into staying home.  I joined the SAHM board on BabyCenter and learned a lot there.  From there I found that I really needed to live off of Dustin's income for a while to see if we could actually do it.  As of October we have been living off of just Dustin's income for a full year and socking mine away in an emergency fund. 

It was during this time that I made a lot of decisions that would make it possible for me to stay home.  I grew out my hair - between Asher & me we were spending nearly $1,000 a year on hair!  I made my own laundry detergent.  I drove the Bug every.single.day even when my belly got huge because it got twice the MPG that my truck does.  I started to meal plan and basically cut my grocery budget in half.  I started following the "We're Debt Free" board on BabyCenter.  I have learned SO much there.  They made me think about things I had never thought about before.  Like the fact that we were paying $45/mo for XM radio in 3 vehicles and $20/mo for Onstar that I had never used.  It was those ladies that introduced me to YNAB and it has changed my life!  You really have no idea where your money is going each month until you have to categorize each expense.

Now, when I go shopping (which isn't that often) I really stop to think about whether or not I need something.  Dustin and I are fortunate enough (or disciplined enough) to not have any credit card debt and very little consumer debt (damn you boat).  If we had a lot of debt to be paid down we would not have been able to do this so soon.

I'm so glad I had the foresight to start saving for baby #2 early.  And by early I mean January 2010 - Asher was 6 months.  In January 2010 I opened yet another ING account and named it "baby savings."  I started with putting $5 a week in it and every couple of months I would increase the amount.  By the time I had Adler we had $4,000 saved so we were able to pay all our medical bills in full. 

Probably one of the best things I did - that finally pushed me over the edge into full SAHM mode was read Dr Laura's In Praise of Stay at Home Moms.  I saw where Julie had read it and bookmarked it to read later.  I'm so glad I did.  It really made me think.  She asked questions like "If you were to die and know you're coming back as an infant.... would you choose to have your Mommy take care of you or go to daycare."  Suddenly this was not a hard decision at all.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not gonna judge any working Mommy.  I was one for 3 years and its hard.  And staying home is gonna be hard.  But at this time I feel like home is where I need to be.

February 18, 2013

Adler is 9 Months

Oh Herman,
I can't believe you're 9 months already!  Time is going SO fast and you're the best baby ever! 
You don't go to the Dr until next week but when I weighed you today you came in at 21.4 lbs!  You wear size 18 month clothes and still seem to be long :) 
Mommy is still breastfeeding you and I'm soooo proud of myself.  But you sure do like your big boy food and have liked everything Mommy has made so far!  
You now have your two bottom teeth and in the last week have started saying "Dada" I'm hoping "Mama" will be coming real soon :)
 You got your first ear infection last month.  It was a long few days and it hurts a Mama's heart to see her baby in pain.
 You continue to sleep great at night and have settled into a great routine.  You take a morning and afternoon nap, nurse 4 times a day and have 3 meals!
 You aren't crawling yet but you sure can scoot and roll wherever you wanna go!
Your Big Brother is still your best friend.  The rougher he plays with you the more you seem to like it.  Makes Mama nervous!

February 15, 2013

Thinking About Coming Back

Lately I've been giving some thought about my return to blogging.  I think I might finally be over my hissy fit.  The only problem is that now that I'm home I can't seem to find the time to sit down for 5 minutes!  My Sweet Boy will turn 9 months on Monday (HOW is that POSSIBLE!?) so I think that might be a good time to start back up again.  I won't make any promises that it'll happen but I can try.  Is anyone still even out there?

February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day from my favorite Little Men!