Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Grocery Store Fun

My typical grocery trip takes me about an hour.  I plan my menu, write out my list, choose a morning when Derik can watch Abbie at home, and blow in and out of the grocery store in less than an hour!  I basically run a grocery store marathon!  I hate being there, and I want to make the trip as painless as possible!  This morning however... I had 2 recipes that I needed to get ingredients for.  My list was short, and Derik was home, so we ventured out as a family!  Food Lion is literally a tenth of a mile from our front door, so we headed there! 

I decided that since the list was so short... I would let Abbie push a cart, and I would push a small cart.  She was so excited, and it was pretty adorable!  She had a great time putting groceries in her cart and following mommy all around the store!  Daddy managed to get some really cute pictures!!

Trying to sneak oatmeal... that wasnt on the list!

On the move...

  Having a great time!

Helping mommy get some fruit...

Putting more groceries in the cart!

Getting the brownie mix!

Like Mommy, Like Daughter!

Abbie's cart... she did great!

I just love my little girl, and I am trying to cherish every second that I have left her before we have Brady!

 - Jessica

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brady Update...

GOD IS GOOD!  That is always the case, but it was made evident in a big way to our family over the past few days!  Our ultrasound this afternoon went very well, and Brady is looking great!  He measured in at 1lb 9oz which is in the 56th percentile!  To doctor was pleased with his growth, and his heart rate which was 141bpm.  
The update on the issues which were brought to our attention in the last ultrasound was a positive one!  
There were 3 things that the doctor was concerned about last visit.
   1)  Echogenic Bowel or Bright Bowel
   2)  Ascites or Fluid around the bowels
   3)  Oblong Head, I apologize but I cant remember the medical term!!

Apparently none of these things are crazy bad when it is just a single issue, but when in combination... they can mean things like Down Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, or that the baby has some sort of infection.  When we left our last appointment, we were terrified!  We had no idea what to expect, and they said they wanted to see us back in 4 weeks.  

At today's appointment, the doctor was MUCH more pleasant!  He started the conversation by letting us know that Brady was breech.  We were expecting this from the moment we found out we were pregnant, so it wasn't much of a shock!  I have a "arcuate uterus" which simply means it looks like a heart.  This causes a septum right in the middle creating 2 sides.  Once the baby gets so big, it can't turn into the head down position, because the septum prevents that.  So, we have breech babies!  Brady being in breech position is what has caused the "oblong head".  Basically he is "squished", and it will fix it's self naturally.  Possibly before birth as my uterus gets bigger.  The measurements they took of his head were of no alarm to the doctor this visit!
Secondly, he moved to the Echogenic Bowel... which is still present.  However, he feels that the most likely cause for the bright bowel is Brady swallowing some blood.  This is not harmful to Brady.  The doctor said it is common for blood to get into the amniotic fluid as the amniotic sac develops, therefore the baby would take in blood.  
Thirdly, the ascites... has vanished!  We are not sure where the fluid went, but he was glad that it was gone!  

So... all in all... Brady is growing strong, and and we have no concerns at the time!  The doctor didnt book another ultrasound until January!  That is 9 weeks out, so obviously there is nothing to worry about!!  YAY!
The doctor did say that I can basically expect to have another c-section.  Since, Brady is breech at this point, he most likely will not be able to turn head down, and we will likely have the same scenario as we did with Abbie.  However, that is not a bad thing, and we will be greatful that he is here... no matter how that happens!!

 - Jessica

Abbienese 101

Something you may not know about our family is that we are bilingual!  That's right, in our house, we speak 2 languages... English, and Abbienese!

It has been such a fun thing to listen as Abbie learns to speak!  Some of the words that she tries so hard to say just don't come out quite right!  Of course, that makes this learning experience all the more fun!!  I thought I would write a blog about the language that is Abbienese, to share with our friends & family!

So, here goes nothing... try not to laugh, too much!

AbbIE - This of course is Abbie, but she always puts the emphasis on the E sound!
Tan Tou - Thank you
Wove Wu or La La La- Love you
MaMa - Mommy
DaDa - Daddy
Baby - This could mean Baby or Brady... it depends on the situation!
Brodur - Brother
Peas - Please
Wunch - This used to mean lunch, but now it means "meal", NOT a snack!
Nack - Snack
Mo Mo - Water
Mooooo - Milk or cow, again depends on the situation!
Tossss - Touch, or usually... DONT TOUCH!
Woof Woof - Dog
Ba - Bath
Nigh Nigh - Night Night, I want to go to sleep!
Pa - Paci
More - More
Pay - Play
Hewo - Hello, usually referring to a phone that she has spotted!
On - On, or I want that on...
Off - Off, or I want that off...
wall wall - walk, I want to go outside and walk.
No - No
Rog - Frog
Boo - Book, or better yet... read me a book
Be Be - Blankie
Uh Oh - Simply means Uh Oh
Shid - Sid the Science Kid
Hat - Means either hat or Cat in the Hat
Hod - HOT
GraGa - Grammy
Me Me - Megan or Mi Mi Carol
PaPa - Papa James or Pa Wayne
Poooop -Poppy
Ant Hen - Aunt Gin
Ant Reese - Aunt Reesey
Cole - Cole
Layla - Layla
Lexeeee - Lexi
Reaga - Reagan
poo - poop
Baw - Ball
Eye - Eye, and then she usually pokes you in the eye!
Bewe - Belly or Belly Button
Nose - Nose
Mowf - Mouth
Boobs - Boob!!  Yes, she says Boobs and then pokes you in the boobs!
Head - Head
Bow - Hair Bow
Sues - Shoes
diapa - diaper
Mouw - Meow or Cat
CoowKe - Cookie or Cookie Monster

Elmo - Elmo
and my personal favorite... Wack Wack - Quack Quack or Duck!  There is a motion that goes with it!

She seems to learn more words every day, and we have really enjoyed being a part of it!  We love to hear her try new words, and learn something new!  She is so precious to us, and we just can't get enough of her!

 - Jessica

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Rainy Halloween...

Well, we didnt have the best weather for trick or treating this evening, but we made the best of it!  This was Abbie's first trick or treating experience, and I didnt want to ruin it for her!

First thing was first... Abbie needed to get her costume on!  It took a while, but I finally got her costume on and I made sure that she would NOT be cold!  She was wearing layers upon layers!  Thick tights, a short sleeve onesie, a long sleeve shirt, her dress, and a sweater... she was probably about to melt!!
After getting her dress on... she started to twirl!  I think she thought she was a ballerina!  I guess she could have been, but when you added the crown and wand... she was a princess!!
We grabbed all of the necessities and headed for the door!  I snapped a few pictures of Abbie before I realized it was raining!!  Then we jumped in the car and headed to Brad & Meredith's house, which is literally around the corner, to trick or treat with Camryn & Lexi!

Abbie had spent the day playing with Camryn & Lexi, but was still VERY eager to go back!  When we got there, it was drizzling... when everyone was ready, and all the picture taking was done, it was RAINING!
I picked Abbie up, hooked her candy bucket on the umbrella handle, and headed to the first house!  Abbie seemed to enjoy the evening!  She didn't fuss (except the one time I hit her in the head with the umbrella) and every time I set her on a porch, she reached for her bucket... and happily received her candy!

 She told everybody that gave her candy "Tan Tou" or in English THANK YOU!  

We went to 7 houses, and by house number 7, every one was soaked... and ready to be finished!  So, we headed back to the house.

After getting back to our house, and taking off Abbie's costume, she sweetly said "night night"!  So, we got ready for bed, and she was asleep almost immediately!  

All in all, I think the evening was successful, especially since Abbie didn't melt down and seemed to be happy!  She had fun with her friends, whom didn't melt down either!!  I would call this a great Halloween, just slightly damp!

  My pretty little princess!

Abbie's candy take from her first trick or treating...

 - Jessica

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Preparing for Brady...

Well, it's official... we have a new nursery!  The reality of having another baby really hit me today.  I think I have said that about 5 times during this pregnancy, but there is no overlooking it now!  You would think my big ole belly, or feeling the baby kick, or finding out the baby was a he & giving him a name would have made it all very real... but nah!  It took furniture!!
When we found out we were moving to Richmond, everything happened VERY fast!  With all of the chaos, Derik and I discussed waiting to have another baby.  We both decided that if God hadn't decided we were ready for another baby at this point, then clearly it wasn't the right time!  So, we stopped trying, and went back to preventing!!  It seems however that we were a few days late on that decision!  We moved on May 1st, and we found out Jun 14 that we were pregnant.  It seems that even though we were preventing in May... we were already pregnant!
I don't know how most people are... but I am the kind of person that had checked out of the "baby" idea once we said we weren't trying anymore!  So, the shock of being pregnant hit me like a truck!  I was excited, but it has taken 24 weeks to create some reality!!
We bought Brady's furniture, and after everything was in his room... my nesting instinct really kicked into high gear!!  I put together his crib, and plugged in the baby monitor camera.  I put all of the newborn diapers in the drawer, and put the size 1 diapers in a box in the dresser.  I put all of his 3-6 month and 6-9 month clothes in the drawers, and found a spot for extra crib sheets.  When I was done and the room was "clean"... I couldn't move!  I just stood in the room, and the reality of it all sunk in!  We still have to paint the room, but it is a nursery now!
I remember how excited I was to get Abbie's room finished!  I would go in several times a day and rock in the glider, and just enjoy all of the work we put into her room!  I think I am going to take a stack of books into Brady's room and find a little rock & read time each day!
We have another ultrasound in a couple of days, and I am very excited!  I am looking forward to seeing our son again, and I know Derik is just as excited!
Abbie, however, is not as excited as we are!  She seemed more than confused about what the purpose of this room is!  No matter how much I explain it, I don't think she understands!  Hopefully that will get a little bit easier as Brady's arrival approaches!
I am looking forward to getting his room completed, but I am trying not to "rush" things like I did with Abbie's room!  Her room was 100% complete when I was 28 weeks pregnant!

All in all... I am feeling very blessed today!  I am so grateful for everything that God has provided our family with.  I am looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us in the future!

 - Jessica

 The glider, dresser, and a table I need to paint!  And a lamp that I made for Brady today!

 The changing table, and crib...

 Brady's crib... love it!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Family Pictures at Maymont

It has become a tradition in our family to take pictures just before the weather turns cold!  We love to take our family pictures outside, and with the leaves turning colors, and the weather about to change... it seemed like the right time to schedule them again!
We loved our family photographer so much (PROPS TO AMY HARRISON!!!), but unfortunately, she and her husband moved to Tennessee.  With our move to Richmond, that made for hard planning and added expenses to a photo shoot.  So, sadly we decided that we weren't going to be able to use Amy this time.  We scoured the Richmond area for photographers, and didn't find anyone that we could afford to hire.  Not to mention that we didn't know any of them or any of their work... which is always a "hold your breath" kind of thing!!
After a few depressing days of thinking that we wouldn't have any family pictures for 2011, I thought about asking someone if they wanted to do a photo exchange.  Derik's god sister and her husband live about 5 minutes from us, and I remembered that they had a great camera... so I decided to see if a photo exchange would be something they were interested in doing!  They were in, and boy are we glad they said yes!!
We followed Megan & Steve to Maymont park.  It was our first time visiting Maymont, and it will not be our last!  It was gorgeous, and Abbie enjoyed being outside VERY much!!  Steve led us to the Japenese Gardens which is a ideal location for pictures!  We were far from the only people with this idea!  There were people everywhere with photographers!!
We found several different locations and Steve snapped away!!  Abbie is absolutely in love with Megan, so Megan helped to make Abbie smile in as many pictures as possible!  We all know that the attention span of a 2 year old is close to that of the most ADD person on the planet, but Megan did a great job at keeping Abbie focused and happy!!
After taking the pictures, I found a program on my iPad that I could edit pictures with, and I started working on them!  I am so excited with the final product!!  Steve got some really great shots, and with the light edits... the definitely look professional!
A BIG thank you to Megan & Steve for doing this for us!!  We truly grateful!  Here are some of the pictures from the shoot... I just love them so much!

 - Jessica

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Financial Overhaul

After working so diligently on the Family Binder, I needed a new project!  A large glitch in our bill paying/financial process was brought to my attention, and of course my over organized-crafty self jumped on the challenge of making it better!  Derik and I spent the last 10 days or so really giving our budget and bill system a complete revamp!  After a few stressful days of trying to find a starting point, I found a system that is working well so far for our family.  I have gotten ideas from all over the place, and from many people... and I am sure that I am far from finished on this project!

Starting Point
First of all what I did... was look at all of the standard income we receive every month.  Part of our problem was that when we moved we knew Derik would be getting bonuses each month, and we were basing a budget off of money that wasnt a sure thing.  That is no longer the case!  Knowing what we could count on each month I felt was a STRONG starting point!

After we found a jump off point, I wrote down a list of EVERY bill that we have each month.  A few of the bills are on quarterly pay cycles, but I find it easier to divide them by 3, and move money into our savings for that each month.  After all of the monthly bills were written down (along with amounts, & dates due) we divded the total in half.  Derik gets paid twice each month, and paying bills must be done twice as well.  Since our rent is almost 45% of our income (I know that is too much, and I dont need anyone telling me that it should be 25-30% thank you!!)  we choose to split it and pay half from each pay check.  If we didnt do this, than an entire paycheck would go to rent.  So, we pull half of the rent from the 2nd paycheck in a month and move it to savings.  When the 1st paycheck of the next month arrives, we write a rent check for the full amount, and transfer the money back to our checking account!  Easy enough.  So, our rent is split in 2, therefore we can pay other bills.  We decided which bills were to be paid from each check, making the bill budget every 2 weeks the same amount.  This also allows us to work on a grocery and gas budget!

I created a Bill Binder, mainly to give everything a centralized location!

Envelopes, mailing labels, and stamps are all kept in the binder as well... which makes mailing out bills that have to be paid by check all the easier.

At the front of the binder I put the bill pay/paycheck schedule, so it CANT be missed!

I gave each bill its own tab in alphabetical order.
The first tab is for statements that have been received, but still need to be paid...
We file them with the confirmations behind its tab, after payment has been sent.

I used a spreadsheet that I found HERE, to create a running tab and payment information for EACH bill.

Now, either of us can sit down and pay bills, and know what the other has paid!  We simply check off the calendar when a bill has been paid and mark the date and confirmation info down on the info sheet at the front of each bill tab!  We file the statement and any confirmations behind each tab as well, just so that everything is all together!  Why didnt we do this sooner?!?!

I start each week by writing a meal plan.  I have tried to do it for a month, but I dont have the patience or that many meal ideas, so one week at a time is what I do!!  I use my handy dandy Eat Sheet that I found HERE to make my list!
 I write a grocery list, and go to the grocery store.  
This list is one I created based on my grocery store layout, and I laminated it, so I could use a Wet Erase pen and reuse it every week!
Generally speaking I try to buy things that will make more than one meal.  An example would be grilled cheese sandwiches.  A loaf of bread, and a pack of cheese will make several grilled cheese sandwiches, so I have lunch for a few days this week, and next!  So, I guess I am really making a meal plan 2 weeks at a time.  I only go to the grocery store once every other week.  I just make sure I get enough to make the meal multiple times.  Shopping from a grocery list makes a HUGE difference in what I buy, and how much the total is!  I also make a VERY big effort to only shop for groceries when I am on a grocery trip.  If I need toilet paper, paper towels, ziplocs, and aluminum foil... I make a seperate trip to Target to get the household goodies.  This keeps me from browsing what picture frames are on clearance, and the new Christmas display that they are setting up!!  ALWAYS STICK TO YOUR LIST!!!

Balancing the Checkbook
This was by far the weak spot for me and my husband.  Until we were married neither of us kept a check registry!  We made our money and we knew what we spent.  After the wedding, we still didnt keep a real registry.  I knew not to spend more than what I made, and Derik paid the bills!  I bought the things he wanted and needed, and he paid the bill stuff with his income.  Simple enough!  But, when I started staying home... we had no choice!  We had to keep a registry, so we could see what was being spent.  However, the problem with starting to do something after not doing it for 24 or 28 years is that it takes a little work!!  We never really found a system that worked for us!  We were both spending money and I didnt write down what he was spending.  He didnt write down what I was spending, and we never combined the books.  It was a MESS!!  This week... overhaul!  I was turned onto this awesome website this morning, which allows me to track EVERYTHING!  It is totally secure, and my husband can log in when he gets home... add his receipts, and it will do the work for us!  The best part is... if he is in California for a week, he can do this from there!  We dont have to worry about getting behind in anything.  Its really pretty genius.  The website is called PearBudget.  The first 30 days are free, and it is only about $30/year after that.  It is worth it for my budget and registry to be tracked and done for me!! 

In summary - this week was rough, and hard, and stressful!  But... worth it!  I am so glad that we now have a system that we both understand and we both can use.  I think this is not only beneficial for getting things set for our future, but for our marriage!  Another comforting part of doing this is knowing that if something happened to one of us tomorrow, the other wouldn't be lost as to what to do or how to pay the bills.  I have feared that for a long time... and now I have some peace of mind.
While this system may not be what your family needs, it has certainly made life easier in our house.  We will sit down once every 2 weeks and pay what needs to be paid, get on the same page, and look the budget over again.  If things get to a point of mass confusion again, then we will also implement the envelope system.  We both really hate carrying cash on our person though, so for now... we are sticking to our cards!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Farrar's, Eco-Friendly?

Well, I am not exactly sure of what came over me today!!  I think the main reason I decided to do this whole project was because I am almost out of laundry detergent!!  So... instead of buying more, I started researching high efficiency home made detergent recipes!!  I found one that I really liked the ingredients on, and I went to the store to purchase everything!

I had to buy the following items, and here is what everything cost me...
  • Borax - $3.99  and this bought me a 78oz box!!
  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda - $3.29  and this bought me a 55oz box!!
  • Kirk's Castile Soap - $4.49  and this bought me a pack of 3 4oz bars!!
Total for this project  $11.77, and a new bottle of detergent would have landed me $13.99.  I use the cheap stuff too, nothing fancy!!  So, I saved money and I can make enough for 96+ loads of laundry vs. the 64 loads the other would have gotten me! 

The directions of this detergent were DUMMY PROOF!  That is exactly what I needed!  Grate an entire bar of soap finely, add one cup of each borax and washing soda.  Stir thoroughly... and that's it!
I think the biggest thing that scared me off from doing this before was the idea of making BUCKETS of detergent at a time!  I don't have the storage for that kind of thing!!  This was the first recipe I had seen that was a smaller amount and high efficiency friendly!  Basically high effciency simply means low suds.  Thinking about that... it means in reality when you are paying more money for the HE tag to be on the bottle, you are actually getting less detergent and more water!  NO THANKS!!
I took an empty yogurt container and jazzed it up with a little scrapbook paper... filled, and done!
I am very excited to try it!  When we run out of Downy, I will be making my own fabric softener too!! 

 I also picked up 3 spray bottles at Target and made my own cleaners!  Now I have a homemade glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, and a vinegar & water bottle for everything else!!  I am pretty excited that my cleaning cabinet just got a revamp and that everything is homemade with EASY ingredients that for the most part... I already owned!!
  •  Glass Cleaner - Ammonia, Vinegar, Water, and a few drops of my favorite scented dish soap...
  • All-Purpose - Vinegar, Borax, Water, and a few drops of my favorite scented dish soap...
  • Vinegar & Water - if you have to ask, you don't deserve an answer!!

Lastly I purchased a Rubbermaid Reveal Mop, and I am in LOVE!!  I mixed my own cleaner in the bottle, mostly water with some Mr. Clean with Febreze filled to the solumtion line!  The mop head is HUGE, and I get a room done so much faster!!  I live in a 2200 sqft house, and half of it is hardwood floors!!!  I needed a good mop!  The best part is, after mopping day, I just throw the pad in the washing machine! I can wash it 100 times before I need to purchase another one!! 

So that about sums up my "Mommy Went Green" day!!  I really didn't wake up this morning and say "I'm going green, and today is the day", but look where the day took me!!  I am in a good mood and ready to do some cleaning, tomorrow!  Its bed time!!

 - Jessica

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

4 Blissful Years...

This Thursday, September 22, marks our 4th Anniversary together!  That's right, 4 years ago, I married my best friend, and we have been driving each other crazy ever since!  It's amazing to me to look back on the last 4 years and see where our married life has taken us!  We moved twice, once to another state.  We have had a baby, and are expecting our 2nd.  And I found a career as a stay at home mom, while Derik has been promoted to owning his own Fleming's!  A lot can change in 4 years, and that really isn't a long time!

Well, another anniversary (in our house) means another REALLY hard shopping trip!  We both have the hardest time shopping for each other on our anniversary, especially since we have 2!!  (You have to know us really well, to know the details there!!  It will be interesting to know who reads this, by the number of questions I get about that topic!!!)  Anyways... we usually stick strictly to the traditional anniversary gifts!  The first 2 years... I failed miserably at this, while Derik put me to shame!  Year 3... Derik was stumped to say the least!  I got a leather luggage tag!  When I opened it, he said IM SORRY!  I got him a wallet, and the year before he got me a onesie (I was pregnant!!) while I gave him a bag of cotton balls!!!  We have taken turns at being the bad gift giver!!!

This year the gift is supposed to be Flowers & Fruit.  Seriously when I read it I thought, WHAT???  If I send Derik flowers, everyone will make fun of him!  So, I thought I would send him an Edible Arrangement!!!  That mixes both, and he will love to eat it!  After pricing that out, I decided it wasn't worth it!  $70 for an arrangement of fruit... no no!!  So, I took it upon myself to create something similar!

My original thought was to take pineapple slices, make them flowers, dip them in chocolate, and add cantalope melon balls in the middle... well, that didn't work!  I have never cut a pineapple up before, and it made the biggest juicy mess EVER!  So, thankfully I had a plan b!  I made sugar cookie dough, and cut out flowers!  I made little cookie balls for the center of the flower and put a little icing under to make them stick!

 Of course, I had to let Abbie try one!  She didn't like it at all... hahaha!  She stuffed the whole thing in her mouth and backed away, like DONT YOU TRY TO TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME!

After I got the chocolate heated up, I drizzled the cookies with chocolate, and added some sprinkles!  

For "garnish", I dipped strawberries, cut up bananas, and pineapple pieces in chocolate and used them to decorate with!  

After putting everything on the plate, it kind of became a mound of chocolate, but who is going to complain about that!!  So, to close... Derik has flowers and fruit for our anniversary!!  TOP THAT BABE!!!  Just kidding... but I think my gift qualifies me for the good gifter category this year!

I love you so much, Derik.  Even though we have our ups and downs... you are my best friend, and I am so glad that you gave me the opportunity to spend the rest of my life with you!  Happy Anniversary!

 - Jessica

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Momager Binder...

As my love for pinterest has intensified, so does the organization around my house! I can say that the Farrar household will never be the same!! I have been hard at work on my next project, and I am finally at a "finished" point! I think that this project can always be one that is "open", and still under construction, but I am pleased with what I have so far!! I have seen Family Binders before, but I never really thought we needed one. When the first babysitter was called, I realized I need to have some information in a central location before I leave Abbie with someone new... enter Our Family Binder!

I made the front cover, and after we have a name for the baby, I will have to reprint it!  But, I thought it was rather stylish!!!  I liked the monogram in the middle!

The first page of our Binder has our Family Rules.  They are rules I pulled from something I saw on Etsy, and I really liked them!  In the front pocket I keep my laminated Grocery List, and Babysitter Info sheet.  They are laminated so I can use them over and over!

The first tab is for our Important Phone Numbers.  I listed all of our doctors, local hospitals, friends that I hang out with, and places I may be... that way if Derik or a babysitter need me... I can be reached!

The next tab is for Important Dates.  The first page is January through June, and has anniversaries, birthdays, and other dates that need remembering listed!

The 2nd page has July through December...  hopefully I will stop missing birthdays this way!

The next tab is for all of the MOPS information!  This is more for Derik than a sitter, but I wanted him to have easy access to information about where I am and when I am there!

Abbie has her own tab, as will the baby!  It lists her birthday, social security, blood type, and any major medical history bullet points that a sitter may need in an emergency!

As I said before, it is still in progress!  I am working on getting a calendar of the year, and list of holidays, as well as putting together a list of numbers for our favorite takeout places!  Some binders contain finance information, cleaning schedules, and maintenance graphs... but we do all of that stuff in other ways!  This is the best system for our family, and I am proud of myself for putting it together!!

 - Jessica