Kennedy's 18 Month Check In

Hi!  So wow!  I've been MIA for a while.  I'll be honest, this has been a pretty tough few months for me.  But back to Kennedy and more on my deal later.  ;)

Kennedy is growing and changing every day, it seems.  Her personality is really developing and she is growing up to be the sweetest, smartest little girl I know.  The past month has just been so much fun with her.  I think this age (18-?? months) might be my favorite so far.  She talks to me, sings to me and is super affectionate.  I am so blessed to be this little girl's mommy.

In other news, we have a sweet new addition to our little family.  Mr. Miles is a 5 month old Old English Bulldog and we are just smitten with him.  I will post a picture soon, but I can assure you... he is just as cute as Lucy is and I think Kennedy loves him just as much as we do.  By the end of his first day with us, she was hugging and kissing him and calling him by name.  We are thrilled that Lucy finally has a play mate.  Now to work on a play mate for Kennedy.  ;)

How Big Is Baby?
  • Kennedy is probably near 22 pounds.  *I'll have to go back and look up the stats from her appointment, but I know she didn't gain much weight.  She is still long and lean like a little bean
  • Still in 18 month winter clothes. 
  • Size 5 and 5/6 shoes and boots.
  • Full time cloth diapering although we have played around with Pull Ups, which she seems to do really well in.

Development & Milestones
  • Still running and climbing and bouncing around like a maniac.  She is full of energy and loves to play tag (well, her version) with the puppies.
  • She has been using the potty pretty consistently this month and has even told me a few times on her own when she needs to go.  We are still a long way away from any formal or aggressive potty training, but I am happy to see that she is interested and making some progress on her own.
  • Her language development is off the charts.  I can't even begin to count the number of words she signs and says now.  We are able to really... talk.  And it just melts my heart.  She tells me stories (although half of it is babble that I don't understand), but it is really fun to see her get so excited to talk to me.  She also loves to point at things (everything!) and tell me what it is, especially when we grocery shop together.  She knows almost all the fruits and vegetables.  I am one proud mommy!
  • The tooth count is up to 14 or 16 now. It's hard to count, but she almost has a full set.

  • Nursing continues to go well. We cut out pumping completely, but still nurse on demand, which tends to be 3-4 times/day.
  • K's appetite is healthy.  There are times she is picky and other times where she is a tiny human garbage disposal. 


  • Sleep has been steady.  She nurses to sleep and snuggles with me when I am home and she falls asleep with a sippy of water for Kevin.  My crazy random overnight work schedule doesn't seem to phase her much. 
  • Naps have been good overall.  There are a few times where she has boycotted her nap (and subsequently turned into a holy terror later in the evening), but for the most part, she does well with them.

Mommy & Daddy Check In
  • It has been an exhausting month.  I am happy to say that I am FINALLY now officially and Emergency Room Nurse.  I have been awaiting my transfer since Spetember and I started my new position this past Monday.  I am still in the honeymoon phase, I'm sure, but I feel better and happier already.  This just feels more... me.  I will be working day shift for a month or so to train, then after my vacation in February, I will likely go back to overnights, at least for a little while.  It's not easy, not fun and physically exhausting... but it works for us for now.  So... back to being a lady of the night I go, ha!
  • School is going well and I am beginning a new class, which I hope won't be too brutal.
  • Kevin is doing really well and happy to have me on the day shift, even if only for a month.
  • Otherwise... work is work and school is school. We are both looking forward to planning a much-needed break in the spring.

Any appointments, visitors or outings? Anything else new?
  • 18 month check up today!  Everything went really well and Dr. Rufa is really impressed with Kennedy's language development.  Woohoo!

Product Rave:
  • TBD

Any upcoming developments, milestones? What's next?
  • Counting down to our family vacation at the end of January... and our trip to Florida... and most of all, Kennedy's first trip to Disney!


30 Days of $Zero... FAIL.

I have to say... we have really done well with the 30 Days of Zero project.  Our deep freezer, fridge and pantry are much less crowded (as in... I can see the back/bottom of them now)... and I am fairly certain that my Starbucks habit is... dare I say... kicked.  I can barely remember the layout of my favorite Target (ok that's a lie... I know the inside of that store better than 3/4 of the employees, but I digress) and I can already see a difference in my bank account.  All wins!

Today, however, was complete and utter failure.

The first sign of impending doom was that Kevin and I had a day off together that I did not have to spend sleeping.  And I was able to get everyone motivated, up and out of the house by like 10am (this NEVER happens!).  I should have known this meant trouble from the get go.  Add in the fact that we were both in a fabulous mood and had a small reason to celebrate (more on that later)... and off the deep end we went.  Well... not entirely... at first...

We decided to reward ourselves (and Kennedy) with a little lunch date at Moe's.  For some reason, lunch dates are way more rare (and fun) than breakfast or dinner.... and a lunch date on a week day felt like we were playing hookie, which made it even better!  Since it was Moe's Monday, all 3 of us ate for less than $20.  Not too bad.  We had fun, made silly faces, Kennedy waved and said "Moe's" to everyone who walked in the door (mimicking the employees when they yelled "Welcome to Moe's".  It was really fun.  And, call me crazy, but I am pretty sure the food tasted better.  In truth, I think we just enjoyed it and appreciated it more, because we weren't just eating out to eat... but rather to celebrate and enjoy the experience together as a family.  Although this was breaking our $Zero rule... I learned from it and still consider it a positive experience.  I learned that IF I am going to spend money, especially on something like going out to eat... I am going to savor it and enjoy it, not just do it for the sake of doing it (or because I am too lazy to cook that night or whatever).  It is going to be special.  And, silly as it sounds, our little family Moe's lunch date was pretty special.

So that's that.

The next (and much worse) fail was when we got home.  I had been eyeing up this sweet puppy since around Christmas time, but for a few reasons, I just decided the time wasn't right and it wasn't meant to be.  Well, lo and behold I came home to find out that the deal fell through and he was still available... and he was the last of his litter left.  Oh... and he had PANTS!  Just like Lucy.  I decided this was a sign and I began to plead my case with Kevin.  A few sweet, convincing puppy pictures and a few emails/phone calls to our favorite breeder and the deal was done.  We are picking up our new little bundle of joy on Saturday.  The irony is, without the past 3 weeks of zero spending, it is unlikely that buying this sweet boy would have been a feasible option for us.  Everything happens for a reason, right?

So... yeah... that's my story of the ultimate $Zero fail.  It is what it is.  I'm not ashamed.

I'm hopping back on the wagon for the rest of the month.  Maybe I'll even extend it another week or two to punish myself for today's events.  Maybe I won't.  Or maybe I will... after just... one... Starbucks Chai Tea Latte.  Either way, I am walking away from this experience with a new appreciation for money, which is really what I was looking for when I started anyway.  So I guess, in that respect, it was successful.

Sometimes lessons are learned by succeeding at something, but more often than not, the lessons lie buried within our failures.  It was likely that without today, my first spending trip after a month of saving would have been to Target, buying a cart full of useless crap that I don't need, just because I can.  But instead... I actually savored a rare, but very fun lunch with my loved ones at Moe's and we will all be loving on our sweet new puppy very soon... not a bad way to learn a lesson about spending my money wisely.


30 Days of $Zero: Day 6

Yesterday was my first trip to any store in... ::gasp:: one week.

I tried to avoid it, but we were in need of eggs, cheese, elbow mac and a can of cheese soup (My coworkers have been begging me to bring in my signature Mac-N-Cheese Mini Muffins before I transferred units, and if I didn't, they might not have let me make it out of the hospital alive).  I have also noticed Lucy displaying some increasing anxiety in the car recently and since we are planning a 6 hour road trip to Pittsburgh this weekend with her in tow, I wanted to find something that would help.  I have done some research on Bach's Rescue Remedy for Pets and thought this might be worth a try.  More on that later...

Anyway... Kevin decided it would be best if we went together so we could keep each other focused and get out of there with only what we truly needed.

We went to Wegmans.  I was like Christmas.  Bright lights, shiny things, delicious looking food, sale, clearance, buy me buy me buy me!

Miraculously, we were able to make it out of there with only the items on our list, plus a few apples and oranges "for Kennedy" (ahem.  so Kevin could play with his new juicer).  The cheese and Bach's Rescue Remedy were about $25 combined and the eggs, pasta, soup and fruit were just over than $10.  So all told, we were in and out for under $40... which isn't great, but is a drastic improvement from my normal Wegmans shopping trip.

So, there you have it.  My first shopping tripped as a reformed saver.  I survived.  And so did Wegmans.

As for Lucy's new car anxiety... I'm not sure what the cause is.  I mean obviously the car (duh) but I can't pinpoint an incident that waould have been particularly traumatic for her.  No accidents, loss of control, swerving or any other issues that I am aware of, although I am sure riding in the back of the car and not being able to see what is going on may feel much different than being behind the wheel.  Heck, I  dislike the loss of control when Kevin drives and I ride in the passenger seat {{it's like he can't even SEE the line on my side, GAH!}}.  She still seems to enjoy car rides.  I take her with me when I pick Kennedy up from the sitter (also helps me to avoid the urge to stop and shop since I would never leave Lucy in the car alone).  She always runs over to the car and jumps right in.  But once in the car, she smushes herself up against Kennedy's car seat as tight as she can and just looks scared and uncomfortable.  Within the last week, she has even started to shake, it seems and earlier today, she actually jumped into Kennedy's car seat as I backed out of the driveway (Kennedy was not in it, thank goodness).  It definitely seems to be getting worse.  Needless to say, I'm puzzled and it makes me so sad!

I have tried to desensitize her by bringing her in the car more often, talking to her while I drive, offering treats and lots of praise, but nothing seems to be working.  So onto Bach's it is.  This is a natural, herbal remedy that had great reviews, as far as I could tell.  I will be trying it out this week in the hopes that we have a smooth and stress free drive to Pittsburgh this weekend.  Fingers crossed!


30 Days of $Zero: Day 4

I don't write about work often... actually ever.  I like to keep work at work, period.  However, I had an experience this week that really resonated with me and gave me a whole new perspective on this 30 Days of Zero challenge.  *I have to keep the details as vague as possible.*

So I was caring for a patient who is, in my opinion, a true American hero.  I listened intently to their stories and was just amazed at how much they had given.  This person has made contributions to our country that most cannot imagine. 

Overnight, my fellow nurses asked how my spending diet was going and I, of course, whined about Starbucks and my urge to browse Zulily.  True first world problems, right?

In the morning, I went in to help get this patient ready for the day.  They are from a much more simple generation, and I know that.  But I was still taken aback when I saw their attire for the day.  It was well-loved, and by well-loved I mean stained, tattered and hanging together by a thread in many places.  It seemed as if it was the only outfit they had worn for the past 30 or so years.  On further inspection of their closet, it was apparent that this was the only outfit they owned, and likely the only one they had owned/worn for the past 30 or so years.

This person thanked me profusely for everything small task that I helped them with and praised God from the moment they awoke for all of the blessings they have been given. 

I left work marveling over the experience.  This person is thankful to be alive.  Thankful to have food to eat and clothes to wear, while I lament about not buying Starbucks or loads of junk that I don't need.  If any of us should be singing praises, it should be me.  And if any of us should be wanting more, it should be them.  How backwards.  How strange.  

How eye-opening.

I stood in my closet for a while when I got home.  Embarrassed.  I have clothes upon clothes upon clothes.  Shoes and scarves and purses and... stuff everywhere.  And yet, I want more... more... more.  Why?

Well, I don't know why.  I probably never will understand what makes some of us never feel satisfied, even when our bounty is bursting at the seams.  What I do know is that my non-material blessings are immeasurable.  My amazing family, my loving husband, the fact that I was able to help create a life and bring her into the world, my daughter's infectious laugh, my puppy's never-ending cuddles, my brother who is always there for me, my parents who have supported me every step of this crazy life journey, my brother-in-law and my in-laws who are generous beyond measure, my house that we have made a home, my job that truly is fulfilling (even on the crazy days), my health (especially when I care for the sick and injured daily), my faith (now a little stronger).  I could go on for days.  I can't put a price tag on these things (less the house, of course), yet they are the biggest riches I have.  I need to focus more on these, the wealth I possess that I didn't find on the Target clearance rack or on any shopping website.

So today, I feel a little more focused, a little less selfish and a lot more appreciative of what I do have.  I can't say I don't miss Starbucks (because nothing makes self-reflection tastier than a nice hot Chai Tea Latte with one pump of pumpkin).... but things are looking pretty good.


30 Days of $Zero: D-Day

Welp... today is the day. 

Last night, I dreamed about  swimming in a pool of Starbucks Non-Fat Chai Tea Latte with 1 pump of pumpkin.  It was glorious.  My dream then turned into a nightmare when Zulily, Target AND Kohl's all decided to have the sale of the century.  I may or may not have woken up in a cold sweat.

Like any true addict, I had one last Starbucks drink that I purchased yesterday (I told you, I bought 2!!) stashed away in my fridge, for emergency purposes of course.  Surprisingly, I was able to leave it there, knowing I would much rather have it on my way to work when I would have to drive past my favorite coffee shop.

I quickly surveyed my nearly exploding refrigerator, pantry and deep freezer and took a deep breath.

I can do this.

I made breakfast for the mini-monster and I, brewed a cup of coffee with my previously neglected Keurig and went on about my day.  We watched some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse together, played in her play room and took a nice, long (3 HOUR!?!?!?) nap.  All in all, it was a pretty good day.

I removed myself from my 12 (count them, 12... yikes!) buy/sell/trade groups that I had joined on Facebook.  The GAP one hurt a little.  And I somehow managed to make it through the afternoon without checking Zulily one time.  Not once!

Before work, I warmed up my Starbucks chai that I had been saving and breathed in the delicious aroma.  I am sure going to miss this.  Then I headed in to work.  I chatted wiht my brother on my way to work and actually drove past Starbucks without even noticing.  Amazing what a little distraction can do.

So that was it.  That was day one.  Nothing catastrophic.  No melt downs, break downs or psychotic explosions.  No withdrawls (although I am slowly savoring a chai right now, so tomorrow may be different), no shaking, crying, dressing up in disguise and sneaking off to Target incognito and no stealing anyone else's coffee.

I made it.  Day one.  Zero dollars today.  And you know what?

It wasn't that bad.  :)