Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day!

It's not every day you get to blog on the 29th of February, so I wanted to write up a quick post!

Look what I did today!
There's a color filter on the left picture; they're actually the color depicted on the right. 
When I was pregnant with Hannah Grace, I saw the pants on the left on a clearance rack at Target. They were a 2T, but I thought for $1.25, they'd be worth hanging on to for a couple of years. Fast forward to today. I tried the pants on Hannah Grace, and while they fit in in the waist, they were too long in the length. I thought about just hemming them, but when I considered the coming warm weather and the fact we're having a boy in a couple of months (thus 2T girl pants would be useless after this summer), I decided to cut them at the knee, serge the ends, fold up, and sew! Voila! Shorts!

Friday, February 24, 2012

fun outside and meal planning

Yesterday was such a beautiful day that Hannah Grace and I were outside close to two hours (total). Add in her three hour nap and an hour long grocery shopping trip, and I have a fairly easy going day.

At one point, she ran inside and busted through the door on this riding toy, crazy girl.  

She does candid best. What a smile.

I'm happy to say that I'm almost at the end of week two of meal planning (aka, eating all dinners and most breakfasts/lunches at home), and I bought enough food yesterday to get us through the middle of next week. Some of the things on our menu are/have been: baked homemade chicken nuggets (YUM), chicken Alfredo lasagna, beef tacos, and slow cooker BBQ chicken (we eat a lot of chicken). I tend to cook meals that are inexpensive, require very little preparation, and are tasty. I think the chicken Alfredo lasagna is the most expensive meal I make, so I don't cook it very often, but oh my goodness, it is delicious! The homemade baked chicken nuggets are my most recent discovery. I had them for the first time for lunch at a friends house a few weeks ago and knew I wanted to make them. We had them for dinner early last week, and we'll be having them again next week. Super easy and super tasty!

We're having leftovers tonight (from last night's  chicken pillows), and my house is clean, so I get to spend the remainder of Hannah Grace's nap relaxing and reading!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On buying baby/toddler clothing.

As I was browsing a couple of mommy's blogs I like to read, I noticed that one of them hosted a special link up that allowed you to share where you bought your kid's clothes. That was a couple of months ago, so while I'm not officially participating in the link up, I thought it would be fun to share where I buy Hannah Grace (and her soon-to-be-born-brother's) clothes. 

There really isn't anything special about where I buy these clothes. Target and Kohl's are usually my number one go-to stores when I'm buying the basics: shirts, shorts, pants, leggings, and skirts. From these two stores I can get each of these items in the $6-$8 range. I like to check Old Navy out for any special sales or clearance deals, but I find a lot of their clothes to be overpriced for what it is (except during their kid/baby sale that happens every February and August). 

When I'm in Murfreesboro, I like to make a trip to Carter's, Osh Kosh, and Gymboree. I think of these three stores, Osh Kosh is my favorite, but all three have cute and affordable clothing. When they have a sale (which is almost all the time), their prices tend to be similar to Old Navy's, but I prefer the quality and look to the clothing from these three stores over Old Navy's (which is funny, considering how much I love Old Navy for myself). 

The first thing I do when shopping for Hannah Grace (and now her brother)? Go straight to the clearance racks. Just this morning I snagged this Carter's brand, two-piece fleece outfit for $4.98 from Kohl's I willingly pay $5 for baby pants, so getting both items for $5 is a steal. 

Carter's (the actual store) usually has great clearance racks, too. You can almost always catch a great clearance sale when a new season is nearing and they're trying to clear out the old season's clothes. Late last summer I bought Hannah Grace several items off the clearance rack, with an additional 30% taken off at the register. This can make for some really inexpensive clothing for your child!

I think the most surprising place I like to buy clothes from is Sam's. Right now they have a large selection of infant (3mo-24mo size) sun suits, rompers, and dresses that are Carter's brand for just $5.95. What makes this even better is going to Kohl's and seeing the exact same things being sold for $8.99. Hannah Grace has the dress below (purchased from Sam's, not Kohl's), and several weeks ago I bought her a really nice, lined Osh Kosh brand raincoat for $18. That's about as expensive as I pay for her clothes, but considering a raincoat (that isn't lined) from Target is $12, I thought it was worth the extra money for the quality and lining. 
When I'm shopping for Hannah Grace, I like to keep things inexpensive. The most I will pay for a shirt or bottoms (whether it's a skirt, leggings, shorts, or jeans) is $10, but I rarely even pay that. I think the most expensive shirt I bought for her during the winter was $9 and pants were $8. I'll pay up to $20 for a jacket/coat (her heavy-ish pea coat from Old Navy was $14 and the Osh Kosh raincoat was $18); the pea coat has been worn since October and the rain coat is light enough to wear even during summer rain showers, so I am definitely getting my money's worth. I would spend as much as $15 on a dress, but I have yet to spend even that much thanks to Target's awesome clearance rack. Late last summer I bought three dresses (for this upcoming spring) for less than $10 total. And my mom likes to buy her dresses, so that helps :)

With the coming of a second child (and a boy at that), I'm realizing how easily the cost of clothes will add up. That's why I do my best to stick to the clearance racks, my budget, and even consignment shops (when I'm in Murfreesboro-- we don't have any good ones near my house). I also have to remind myself that Hannah Grace doesn't have to have every cute shirts and pair of leggings out there, even if they are only $5. I'm finding that it's kind of fun to take what she has and make new outfits out of one or two new clothing items. For example, she has grown out of two of her three pairs of jeans. Instead of buying a new pair of jeans, I bought a pair of jean shorts and will layer leggings she already has under them while it's still cold. Then when it gets warm, we'll nix the leggings, and she'll have shorts to wear! Then I'll buy her a couple of pairs of jeans to wear all next fall and winter.

I'm not sure if this was beneficial to anyone reading it, but if any of you are like me, you like to read about this kind of stuff. Hopefully it was at least a little enjoyable!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

21 months (almost)

It's been awhile (I just checked. . . six months) since I've done a post on Hannah Grace's developments and passed milestones, so I thought it was way past time to do another one!

First off, this is Hannah Grace one year ago (February 2011) at nine months old. 

And six month later at fifteen months old.

And two days ago, a few days shy of 21 months, eating her Valentine's Day cupcake.

As far as her appearance goes, Hannah Grace's face has gradually thinned out from a chubby baby face into a more mature toddler face. Her hair is at her shoulders now and long enough for pigtails or a ponytail. I've decided not to cut her bangs, mainly because I love how her hair looks as it is and don't want to change it!

She hasn't been weighed since November, when she was 24 pounds, but I'm guessing she hasn't gained much weight since then. She might be right around 25 pounds now. I'm pretty sure she was 33 inches in November, but I can tell she's grown some since then. 

Clothing sizes are sporadic. If you were to look in her closet and through her drawers right now you would see shirt sizes than range from 24 months to 3T. I've learned that brand has everything to do with what size she wears. If it's Carter's, Osh Kosh, Old Navy (usually) or Gymboree, the sizes are spot on with her age. However, Target's Circo and Just One You run small (for her, at least), which is why I've bought 3T sizes in those brands. Pant sizes are a little more consistent, as she fits fairly well into 24 month (although she has a pair of brown khakis from Osh Kosh that are still an inch and a half too long, even at the 24 month size). She has finally outgrown one pair of 18 month jeans (in the waist, at least) and one pair of 12-18 month jeans (in the length). She currently wears a size 6 in shoes (with a little bit of room to grow). 

Talking. I sat down a few days ago and jotted down the words that she has in her vocabulary and came up with 30. These are words that she says fairly clearly, with the exception of a couple, which I'm about to mention. Her words for "bath" and "banana" are the same (baaaaaa!), but she points (or goes) to which ever she wants. I'm happy to say that she has finally figured out that John and I go by different names (as opposed to both of us being 'daddy'), and she has been calling me 'mommy' for a few weeks now. Whew. 

I'm not sure where she lies along the "average" line with the number of words she says, but I'm not worried about it. Two months ago she was saying about 10 words, so there is definite progress. And she understands MUCH more than she speaks. It's amazing what I can tell her to do (pick this up, throw that away, bring me a diaper, sit/stand/lay, etc) and she respond properly. 

There's been a whole lot of disciplining going on (in various methods), which can be frustrating, especially when we've been working on several things for a couple of months (i.e. coming straight to me when I call her, even when she's right there in the room). For the most part, though, she's receptive to our discipline, and it's nice to watch her grow from stubbornness (refusing to say "please") into compliance (saying "please" when we ask her to). Sometimes she'll even say "thank you". . . "da-dooo!". 

Some of Hannah Grace's favorite things are Curious George (both of her stuffed George dolls, the show, and books), jumping on her trampoline to  music, the Princess and the Pop Star Veggie Tales video, dancing while John plays the guitar, reading with me, rough housing with John, helping me cook, going outside (HURRY UP WARM WEATHER!!!!), helping with laundry, wearing shoes, and taking care of her baby dolls. 

Her favorite foods are pasta, ANYthing with cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, most fruit, and yogurt with granola. Keep in mind these are her favorites; her actual diet consists of more than these things.

She drinks milk and juice throughout the day from her sippy cups, but she loves to drink out of big cups, so we give her water in those. That way if she spills it on the carpet, it won't show up. 

Hannah Grace takes one nap a day, going down at 1:00 and waking anywhere between 3:00 and 4:00. Bedtime is around 8:15, and she will sleep until 7:00-8:00 in the morning. 

Whew. . . I think I covered everything. She's definitely growing and changing every day, and I'm loving watching her develop. The next few months are going to be fun (I hope!).  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


It has been said by me many times that John and I don't really celebrate Valentine's. At most we'll use the holiday as an excuse to go out to eat, but presents, cards, and candy are not exchanged, and they haven't been since we've been together. 

Wait, I lied. On our first married Valentine's Day, John gave me a gift card to Old Navy. And I gave him a card with. . . something. But I think that's it. 

However, I feel a little differently about celebrating the holiday with kids. Valentine's can be really fun, and there are lots of cute activities to do with children surrounding the holiday. As a kid I made heart collages from construction paper, received small (but fun) presents from my parents, and I ate a lot of yummy treats at school parties. 

Now that Hannah Grace is old enough to "help" in the kitchen, I thought it would be fun to make up some of those Valentine themed Pillsbury cupcakes. She helped me put the ingredients in a bowl and stir them together. Once the cupcakes were finished, I let them cool, put Hannah Grace down for a nap, and iced/sprinkled them.

One of these will be a much enjoyed after nap snack for her!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

here i am.

I started to say that since the last time I blogged, some very exciting things (or rather, thing) happened, but the proper wording would be we announced a very exciting thing (via Facebook and Twitter). 

That thing being I am now 21 (almost 22) weeks pregnant with our second child, a boy!

I am due June 14, but since it is likely I will have a repeat C-Section, he will probably be born sometime during the first week of June. 

I'm excited, one-- to be pregnant, and two-- that it's a boy. When I was growing up, my favorite doll was a boy, and I grew up with a brother and several boy cousins on my Dad's side of the family. When I found out Hannah Grace was a girl, I was a little freaked out because I hadn't been around very many little girls growing up. Don't get me wrong for a minute though; I can't tell you how many times I've thanked God for giving me a daughter first. Hannah Grace is so amazing and so gentle with babies (both real and dolls) that I know she is going to fiercely love her little brother. I'm excited to nurture their relationship and watch as it develops over time. 

This pregnancy, like Hannah Grace's, has been quite uneventful, which is what I prefer. I only had a few days of nausea but never actually got sick. My labs have come back normal, the baby's heartbeat has been steady and healthy, and he has looked great during both ultrasounds. At my 20 week ultrasound almost two weeks ago, the technician was unable to look at his heart because he was laying on his stomach, so I'll have to have another one done when I go back at the end of the month. 

We were in middle Tennessee last week, and my mom and I (and Hannah Grace) did some shopping for the little guy, and I found an incredible deal on a double stroller at Once Upon a Child. Since we've been back home, I've been maintaining the house, and today I finally cleared out our guest room closet so we would have a place to store the baby's things. That was quite a chore, and I'm now happily sitting on the couch while Hannah Grace naps. 

I keep trying to think of anything we may need with a second child, and it's quite a short list, which is good. I'd like a nicer breast pump (the one I had with Hannah Grace was a manual one, and it hurt your hand after pumping for more than five minutes). And I want a small electric Kitchen Aid food chopper  to make baby food. We bought the stroller, and we'll need clothes, but that's pretty manageable. I'm also going to be making a couple of blankets and crib sheets, instead of buying bedding. That way I can have exactly what I want without having to search all over the internet and pay an arm and a leg for something I don't really even like. 

So. . . yeah! We're thankful! And looking forward to June!