Monday, August 30, 2010


Our first "real" date was a trip to the House on the Rock in Wisconsin and dinner in Galena. We both love to travel, and we started out spending a LOT of time in the car for a new couple. I am so glad that we share this passion. We have enjoyed some incredible trips in our 5 years together. One of our favorites was a trip to California in 2007. All I have to say is, "Remember when we went to California?" And we both instantly sigh with great joy as we remember all the fun we shared on that trip.

I know my husands love of trains is pretty unique (especially for someone his age), but even I admit that we found some awesome spots for train watching ( called "railfanninng" if you're serious about it).
We also spent time in San Francisco and visited the Ghirardelli Factory. Yeah. Enough said.

The "railfanning" portion of our trip...oh, who am I kidding - it was all about trains in California. My husband plans to model the Donner Mountains in his model railroad someday, and it was really exciting to be with him the first time he visited Donner Pass.

The scenery was incredible. I did not realize that I have a pretty strong fear of heights, and I vividly remember crying on the way up the mountain. I wanted to be with him for this experience, but I was quite certain we would not live to see another day as we climbed higher and higher (in the car; we didn't really climb it, thank God). But I survived, he survived, and we have some very cool memories as a result of it.

I could go on about our California trip for hours. I could also reminisce about our trip to Chicago just days before I found out I was wonder I was so tired!

We have been to Boston, Minneapolis, Springfield, St. Louis, Kansas City, and of course, Cancun! I love vacation with my husband. We have always talked about vacationing with our children as Matt has great memories of traveling with his family growing up. We have already taken a few short trips with Isabella. At her age, it is a combination of fun and stress with new surroundings and our uncertainty at how she will respond. But no matter what, it's an adventure. And we are in it together, my husband and me.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happy 5 months!

I've done this for the past few months, and it's a good opportunity for me to chronicle the milestones Isabella has reached and who she is at 5 months. Because, let's face it, the baby book hasn't been touched since I started back to work, and I don't see it happening any time soon. But this works! is the story of Isabella's life these days:

1. She rolls over so quickly! And she pushes up on her arms and lifts herself so high; it's so cute. She never liked tummy time, so I love seeing her have a little time on her tummy. And it is true; even without tummy time, she rolled over and has a very strong neck and head. So there! :-)

2. She is getting so much better at holding on to her toys and munching on them. This is her favorite toy right now:

She loves this little guy! I think she can grab and hang on to him easily, and he's soft to chew on. Last week on the way to church, we handed her this toy in the car seat. It was time for her nap, but she ended up playing with him the whole time and didn't go to sleep. Now if it's nap time during the car ride, I make sure he's not around.

3. She is still in her 0-3 month clothes for the most part. I've begun to work in the 3-6 month stuff. She has a lot of summer stuff that won't get worn if I don't! Actually, the onesie in the picture above is a newborn. The Target brand Circo seems to run huge! I can't believe a 5 month old can still wear a newborn size. I was so excited for some of the 6 month stuff to fit this week; she wore some outfits for the first time, including one of my absolute favorites:
I just love her in red. (I love red period, but my baby girl in red...I am all about it.) Honestly, it's nice that she fits in her clothes longer, but I'm getting sick of the 3 month stuff. I'm ready for something new! :-) Shocking, I know.

4. This week she started giggling more. I got laughs out of her 4 days in a row! I've been waiting for the laughing to really start. It is so incredible. I'll do anything to get that baby giggle! It's just priceless.

5. She is such a good sleeper. She's been sleeping through the night for quite a while with minimal night wakings (once or twice a week). She also goes to bed pretty early. Well, early for an adult, but little baby girl needs her rest! She's in bed between 5 and 6 p.m., depending on the ending time of her last nap. It's so awesome because I can wait and make dinner after she's in bed. I can also make evening plans without worrying that she will wake up or need to eat. I always have milk in the fridge just in case, but it hasn't happened yet. The only downside is that Matt and I can't  go out together unless we ask someone to come here and "watch" her, which would be a very easy job, but we haven't done it yet. I'm sure we will, though. It does make it hard on the nights when Matt doesn't get home until after she's in bed, but he sees her most days at lunch as well. The funny thing is that I'm always relieved when she goes to bed and I can get a few things done, but after a few hours, I can't wait for her to wake up so I can hold her again. I peek in on her just to see her cuteness and the funny positions she works herself into, but I refuse to take pictures. It's not worth waking her up. :-)

6. We will take our biggest vacation so far in just a couple of weeks. It's been over a month since we went out of town or stayed anywhere else overnight. We will see how she does! Especially since we have been sleep training since that time. I haven't decided if I'll keep her out later than usual or if I will try to get her in bed early if possible. Either way, we'll get her back on her schedule when we get home.

7. We bought an Exersaucer this month. She loves it! She is so adorable in it. I stuff a blanket around her as she's still a little wobbly, but she yanks on those toys so hard - it amazes me!

8. I wanted to mention solid foods. I really (really, really) want to wait until (at least) 6 months before starting solids. I'm just not sure if I'll be able to put her off for another month. She is showing so much interest in our food and drink. I know she's interested in pretty much everything we have, so I can't tell if she is really ready for solids or not. Even if we do start a little solid food here and there, breast milk is still supposed to provide the bulk of her nutrition until a year of age, so I will definitely stick to that recommendation. But I am looking forward to seeing her try new foods (sort of) and to making some baby food for her. Either way, I will most likely skip the cereal and go straight to vegetables and fruits. I've done a lot of reading, and I like that plan best. Fun stuff!

This is certainly going by quickly. I enjoy being her mom so much. It is really challenging at times, but she is so wonderful. And there is so much still to come!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pinching Pennies and Such

I've always been obsessed with shopping sales and clearance, but I have recently discovered a few websites that have helped me in my quest to get the best possible price. I have been regularly frequenting a few new sites - Penny Pinchin Mom and Mrs. Moneysaver are two of my favorites. They often have the same deals listed, but occasionally I find something different. I don't get the Sunday newspaper, so I haven't been a practicing coupon clipper for a while. I did collect coupons whenever possible, but these sites have recently encouraged me to start printing coupons. I have been to the grocery store several times in the last month or two where my coupons have totaled $10+ (including store coupons).

I never realized that you can often combine a store coupon (like a coupon from the Hy-Vee ad) with a manufacturer's coupon. Last week, I found an amazing deal. I don't want to bore you with the details, but I ended up with a box of 96 diapers, 2 small baby food jars, 320 baby wipes, 4 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 2 boxes of Wheat Thins, a bottle of barbecue sauce, 2 air fresheners, and a 3-pack of Kleenex boxes for $25 total. I was SO excited! I would have gone back and done the whole thing twice, but the truth is that I have found so many incredible diaper deals lately that I have over 400 size 2 diapers and over 500 size 3 diapers. I also have...well, a LOT of baby wipes. So I decided not to totally freak my husband out and just got the deal once.

It's been lots of fun trying to see how many coupons I can get. Some of the other deals I love are photo gifts and prints. Shutterfly has this deal for 3 personalized photo 5x7 greeting cards for $1 shipped. Okay, it was $1.01. You can choose from a bunch of different designs - the wedding designs are gorgeous! I've opened two new accounts just so I could do this a few extra times. I may do another one or two before it ends on September 1. I know plenty of grandmas and grandpas who would love a thank you card with a picture of the grandbaby on the front! :-)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


I am amazed at how many milestone there are in a baby's life! In 4 and a half months, we've had the first smile, recognizing Mom and Dad, the first laugh, rolling over, head control, grabbing, holding a toy...they just keep coming. I have anticipated each milestone with great excitement. 

The early days of newborn-ness were hard. I looked forward to getting some response, some feedback from the baby I was working so hard to care for every day. As each milestone has arrived, I have enjoyed seeing her change and grow. I have also found myself sadly realizing that she will  never again be a brand new baby who can do nothing for herself. She's not changing her own diaper or anything. But with every milestone, she is a different baby and will never be the same again. I'm torn with each new stage between being excited to see her growth and being sad that the previous stage has ended so suddenly.

Now that you know I am ridiculously sentimental...I still do look forward to what's coming next. I plan to wait until she is 6 months old to start her on solids, but I am definitely excited about (parts of) it. I can't wait to see her face when she tastes food for the first time. I look forward to her reactions to the different flavors. I definitely don't look forward to cleaning up after her, but that's all a part of it, I guess.

Almost every day I try to take a few moments and just enjoy who she is right now. She gives me the best smiles right after she has finished eating. I love those big smiles. She is very active; she has completed some barrel rolls that surprise me. On the days when I wish she could just TELL me what to do to make her happy, I remind myself that, one of these days, I will wish she could just STOP TELLING ME what to do to make her happy. 

One of these days.