The end of Maternity Leave

February is here which means that it will be Baby Bells first birthday soon! The big 1.0. I can’t believe my baby is almost a year old already.

Bitter sweet!

With all that comes the end of my maternity leave and a whole bucket of questions. Should I go back to work? What do we want to do with Baby Bell if I go back? Should I go back to my old job or find something new? Well, all those questions were put to rest January 28th when we decided I’d return to my old job, but only as super-part-time/casual on days the Mister doesn’t work. Therefore, I work 1 to 2 days a week, for a few hours a day and the rest of the time, I’m home with Baby Bell. We are both very happy with our decision, but obviously it will mean making a few cuts in spending and looking into alternative ways to make a few extra dollars.

I’m so excited to have the opportunity to take on this new challenge and to continue to spend my days with my ever growing and changing toddler-to-be!

Are you a stay at home parent? What ways have you found to bring in a little bit of income or cut down spending?

Cloth Diapering- 9 months in

Before we found out we were expecting a baby, making decisions about diapers was not something I ever thought I would need to do. I knew a baby would need to wear diapers, obviously, but I never really realized we had choices. Brand name disposables, generic disposables, eco-friendly disposables, cloth diapers- pocket diapers, all in ones, old school origami diapers, you name it!

I don’t remember what exactly sparked the idea of cloth diapers for me, but I do remember the hours of research I did before turning to hubby, armed with all my new found knowledge and asking ” What do you think of using cloth diapers?”. Little One is 9 months old now, and despite what everyone around us thought, we have stuck with cloth and are still very happy with our decision. I highly doubt we will give it up before she is potty trained.

The journey has had it’s ”crappy” moments( see what I did there? 😛 ), but for the most part, it has been smooth sailing. The biggest recommendation I could give anybody who is undertaking cloth diapering is this: Cut yourself some slack!

Every cloth diaper used is one less diaper in the dumps and that much more money in your pocket. Do what you are comfortable with, and what works for you and your family. You do not have to use cloth 100% of the time.

When Little One was born, neither of us really knew how to change a diaper. I mean, we had an idea of how it worked, in theory, but in actual practice, it was scary stuff! We started out using NB disposables that the hospital and shower guests had provided us with and within about a week, I tried my first cloth diaper on her. It was HUGE. If you plan to cloth diaper your newborn, and can afford a couple of diapers that won’t last your child’s entire diaper career, I’d recommend investing in a couple of newborn sized cloth diapers. I found a Kawaii Seconds sale and bought a couple of these when she was about 1 month old. If I were to do it again, I would make sure to have the newborn sizes on hand right away.

Some babies seem completely at ease sitting in a big wet diaper, but Little One hated having a wet bum from day 1. She would fuss as soon as the little line on the diapers would get a speck of blue, so we decided very early on that we would not bother to try cloth overnight. She will easily pee through a regular cloth diaper in just a few hours, so we did not want to lose sleep while we tried to troubleshoot overnight cloth. Same goes for long outings. If we are going somewhere comfortable like my parents place, we will do cloth, but if we have a 2+ hour drive, which is not often, we opt for disposables.

When I started shopping for cloth diapers, I was not overly familiar with brands, or diaper websites, so I spent a lot of time browsing for deals, and brands in a price range I was willing to pay. As a result, I ended up with a variety of diapers in different brands. Some I liked, some I didn’t ( namely Baby City). What I didn’t expect, however, was how glad I would be to have such an array of fits. As baby grew, her body changed a lot, obviously. In the early days, she had a big belly and tiny legs, later, she had a thin belly area and chubby legs, and now she has thunder thighs, thin hips and a big old chubby belly. Styles that fit great then, aren’t my preferred now, and styles that leaked around the legs then, are perfect now. A lot of people dish out a lot of money for a diapering starter kit from one brand before baby is born, and then baby arrives and the fit is all wrong, and they end up giving up because they can’t get it to work. I understand. I would get so frustrated with my diapers when I couldn’t get the right fit on Baby, until I realized that next week, they might fit better, just set them aside. We had about 8 cloth diapers when we brought baby home, and from there, we bought a few more of each of the kinds we like, as well as a few experimental ones and have grown to a reasonable 25-30 diapers.

I am so happy we decided to do cloth diapers, I think they are adorable, convenient, easy, and they save us a ton of money. The biggest downfall of using cloth diapers, to me, was when money got really tight, we were already using cloth diapers, so we couldn’t turn to cloth to save money! Haha!

How did you come about using cloth diapers? What did you learn in the process that you did not expect?

 

 

 

 

Garden dreams

Today was a nice warm day for November! The sun was shining and it was 9 degrees (celcius), so we packed up the vehicles and headed over to the Little House. It was too nice to spend much time working inside, so we did some outdoor stuff. The Mister started a fire and we burned some old wood from the house, and branches and brush we’ve been clearing. He fired up the chainsaw and we finally took some of the big old dead branches off the apple tree. While he worked on that and the fire, I began clearing away next to the garden shed where I plan to have my greenhouse. Looks like I’m not the only genius on the block either; under all the dead leaves and tall grass were old broken garden pots, plant markers, and bits and bobs of garden ”kitschery” . When the wee one woke up, I put out a large blanket for her to play on, but she has begun crawling so it took about .5 seconds for her to make her way off the blanket and into the leaves. I would have been fine with that, if only it were not for A- the fact that it’s THE.WORST year for ticks and B- The fact that she just loves munching on leaves! Into the confines she went!

14958492_10209943120548643_277793225_n

I don’t typically carry her facing out because I’m not actually sure it’s meant to carry a child facing outward, and because she weighs an absolute ton, but today she was very lively and I knew she would much prefer be right up in the action. It was quite the challenge, trying to rake while the wee one kicked her legs in delight and tried to grab the rake handle to ”help mommy”, but we got some of it done. As any good mommy would, I soon found myself ditching the rake and ”galloping” around the yard as she squealed and giggled, flailing her arms and legs every which way. Oh my heart <3. And oh my back :S

When we finally decided to call it a day, all the shrubbery was gone from the future-greenhouse location and my mind was swimming with ideas! I’ll need to sit down and put my dreaming onto paper. I’m so excited to get this garden started!

Demo derby continues!

Hello November! As winter approaches, interior demolition continues at the little house by the river! Tuesday, we sent the little peep squeak to her Grandmas so we could get into some of the filthy work; insulation, sawing and more wallpaper removal. Like…18 layers or wallpaper removal-.- Dirty work, it is, but I quite enjoy peeling away layers to reveal very old trends! I fell in love with 2 different patterns; the first, as pictured below is of different farm scenery, the other, of little Victorian era scenes( lady and a man, man in a carriage, man and a lady with a small dog, all dressed in flowy gowns and fancy get-ups). Though they are lovely to look at, I can’t say I would ever pick them as wallpaper! Busy, busy!

14914629_10209943115708522_835260978_n

14938079_10209943114388489_1965249528_n
Selfie with 70+years of wallpaper!

While I tore off wallpaper and ohh’d and ahh’d at all the prints I found, hubby got busy sawing down the wall between the living room and dining room. We are opening up the small doorway to make for a more open concept, allowing for more light and heat to circulate. As of right now, the opening is there, now we just need to do a little restructuring as we need to remove a support beam. The best part? The Mister found a letter in the wall and an old newspaper dated February 21st, 1946! Special coink-y-dink, it’s babies bday some 70 years ago!

14914881_10209943115588519_687172534_n
The letter actually turned out to just be a child’s gibberish, but still cool!!

14874861_10209943115308512_820006539_n

With only a couple of hours of work, we got a noticeable amount done and were happy to wrap things up and go get our smiley little bum! Looking forward to the next session!

Decluttering-Part 1: Clothing

It’s not always easy getting rid of your belongings. Even if, like me, most of the things you own are second hand. I like thrift shopping, what can I say? Anyway, with this big decluttering project we have going on in preparation for the little house, I did some googling around and found a great free printable Decluttering Checklist on makinglemonadeblog.com. I instantly broke the rule and started with section 2; cookbooks, but then I hit up the first part; Clothing. Hubby, Baby and I all headed up to the master bedroom, plopped the wee tot on the bed where she had a blast playing with my bras (better than any toy I could buy her!) and got to work. We made 5 categories: Keep, donate, sell, garage sale, garbage. The difference between garage sale and sell is that whatever goes to the garage sale are random bits and bobs like hats, scarves, jackets, things I don’t mind parting with for a buck or two. Sell, is the more valuable things like all my maternity cloths, brand new nursing bras that went from too small to too big before I got a chance to wear them, and hubbies gorgeous winter coat that is in no way handy for our winters or lifestyle.

I was impressed with how well we worked, even remembering to go through the totes where I stored away winter stuff! We downsized significantly! It’s amazing how easy and pleasant it is to get dressed when you can go to your closet, open the pants drawer and grab the first thing on the pile, knowing that you A- Like it and B- It fits! From there, all I had to do was grab any coordinated top and I was set to go, because again, I knew that A- I liked it and B- It fit! It’s pretty great! Who knew!

Next up; Books. This one should tear my soul out.

Closing time

Closing time
Open all the doors and let you out into the world
Closing time
Turn the lights up over every boy and every girl.
Closing time
One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer.
Closing time
You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home
-Semisonic
Today was the closing date on our new home! We are now the proud and bewildered new owners of a tiny home on beautiful Rockley road. Rockley road. It even sounds cozy! We headed over today and brought the dogs with us to let them get familiar with the place. The Mister had a blast going through all the tools and whatnot that were left in the garage. Among other things, a chainsaw, baseball bats, and an old record player/stereo. We put the bats to good use right away, tossing apples to one another and trying to hit them. Yes, we are adults. I even managed to hit one, and received a chunky apple juice shower. Delicious!
We really didn’t get a whole lot done, but we got a better lay of the field and have been discussing plans. Most of our savings went toward this new place, so we’ll need to rein in our renovation plans a little. It’s a good idea too, because we can be impulsive, the tight funds may keep us from heading in there with sledge hammers a-swinging! For the moment, this is a start to our Free or Cheap to-do list:
-Clear the trail to the water
-Sort through the items in the garage and sheds ( sell whatever we don’t want)
-Sort through the items in the house (sell whatever we don’t want)
– Yard work( mow lawn, rake up apples, trim apple trees, whipper snip tall grass behind garage and see if that’s where the garden is!)
– Seal off upstairs and gut the rooms
– Rip up living room carpet
– Tear down wallpaper in living room
– Seal up windows and doors for winter months.
Meanwhile, back in Salem, we have some massive decluttering to to do! We will be downsizing significantly and since we managed to fill up all the extra space we had here, it will take some work to get back down to some basics. I’ve browsed some Declutter your home! blogs and websites and am feeling slightly less overwhelmed and slightly more motivated!  But first, a good nights sleep!
Goodnight! 🙂

Should I stay or should I go?

As the The Clash song goes ”Darlin’ you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?”, except that in this case, we’re talking about a house, and the decision was already made; we’re going.

Let me give you a little back story here: Four years ago, as our wedding day approached, hubby and I scored our lovely first home. A giant old farmhouse that had been put on the market for a ridiculously good price.It has just under 2 acres, apple trees, pear trees, a nice big yard, more bedrooms then we will hopefully ever need, and a beautiful staircase. We were happy here. It needed work, but for the price, it was to be expected. I would have liked more land, some water ( a pond maybe?), but overall, I was happy! Hubby would have liked a finished basement, or at least a basement with the potential to be finished, a garage, a place where I could have a horse someday, but overall, he was happy.

Then, the other day, while browsing real estate website( because you just never know when the perfect place might come up!), the perfect place came up! Smaller house( so much more manageable, but without the gorgeous staircase), a stream AND riverfront access, a cottage, 2 car garage, outbuildings, and a pasture for my imaginary horse! We went to visit. We liked it. We put an offer in. And then I got SUPER nervous. What if its haunted? What if the neighbours are serial killers? What if we buy the house, and then it falls apart? What if we HATE it. What if Ellie tumbles down the hill into the creak and hurts herself? What if Ellie goes in the basement and up into that creepy crawl space? What if our current house doesn’t sell? What if the financial burden puts a strain on our relationship? We’re happy here. What if we aren’t happy there? What if the person who buys this house is a hunter and they hunt Mrs.Deer who comes to eat the apples from the apple tree?

Needless to say, I am an amazing worrier! I’ve had a few half sleepless nights, which in return make me even less reasonable and that’s when I start to worry about the really silly stuff. And I’m not talking about Mrs. Deer, because that bit truly breaks my heart!(She trusts us!) Anyway, last night we heard back from the bank and we were approved for our mortgage, albeit not for as much as we’d hoped. We are moving forward with this terrifying new adventure and we’ll have to tighten our belts for a little while, but rational me thinks it will be a worthwhile new challenge.

But don’t worry, irrational, oversensitive me is still losing her sh*t! I’ll keep you posted!