Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Franklin's Birth Story

We found out we were expecting our 4th kid on Mike's birthday. Another complete surprise. Kind of threw a hiccup into our debt freedom plan, but fortunately we hadn't received any taxes or bonuses yet. We were finally heading into a pregnancy with a plan! We planned on saving enough for the the prenatal care AND for maternity leave.

Mike is now working at Swire Coca Cola which was nicer hours, nicer pay and nicer insurance. I am still at Beehive Grill and slightly scared to tell my boss. But I did and she wasn't too mad :) Like all my other pregnancies, I worked through it and didn't slow down.

I wanted a different pregnancy and delivery. Instead of calling my usual OBGYN, I looked into a midwife and a birthing center. With a recommendation from my friend Nicole Stepan, I called Birthwise Maternity Care in Layton and met with Heather and Janell. I instantly felt at ease and knew this was where I wanted to delivery my baby. I knew I wanted a natural birth and decided to have a doula this time to help encourage me and keep me focused. Nicole filled that role for me :)

Pregnancy problems this time: charlie horses. A lot of them. And in not just in my calves. I'd also get them in my thighs when I was walking. It sucked a lot. I also had heartburn (like usual). And morning sickness. I threw up a few times and would get nauseous a lot. Mostly in the morning.

I met with Janell mostly because Heather was in school. Janell helped me realize what foods to eat and had me write down a food journal for a few months. This helped keep me accountable with what I was eating and since I had just lost a lot of weight, it helped me keep my weight gain under control. This pregnancy I only gained 35-40 lbs. Nice!

Janell also went over every test they offered. She explained everything they did. I had hour long appointments. Unfortunately they were in Layton. I had to take the kids with me for an hour long ride down, an hour long appointment and then an hour long ride back. I did the appointments early enough that Grace was in school so I only had the little kids and they were usually pretty good.

We did our 20 week ultrasound at Cache Valley Specialty Hospital in North Logan. Saw the baby's hands, and feet, and heart. But we didn't see the face. Baby was hiding. We also found out that were we going to be the proud parents of a boy! Mike was pretty stoic about it but later that week told me to make sure I was feeding his son manly things. Things like hammers. Silly. Grace was extremely excited. She kept saying she was going to move out if the baby was a girl. Being a boy meant we didn't have to worry about finding her a place to live.

I carried this baby differently. I was all belly. And people kept talking about it too. I actually had an old employee run into me and comment that I had lost weight. And then noticed I was pregnant. Crazy! In the last month, I had a lot of people commenting that I hadn't popped yet. Everyone was sure I was going to go early. I figured I would be 3 days late. Grace was on time, Mercy a day late and Bethany two days late, so in my mind, baby would keep the trend going.

I worked up until a week before I was due. I was tired, but I didn't complain. I didn't really have time. I had a 50 hr a week job and 3 kids at home.

We got closer to my due date (September 22nd) and I was done working. I had some mild contractions but not much. I had a feeling I was going to go early (around the 20th) but that day came and went with no baby. We even went and walked at the zoo and nothing happened. We went to church the next day and still no baby. Grace started religious education and had class on Sunday and Monday and since I was due on the Monday, I assumed she'd miss class. She made it to class.

Tuesday I had an appointment with Janell and Mike decided to start his vacation. He didn't want me to drive to Layton alone (well with the kids) and end up going into labor on the highway. So we went down and had a quick visit. Janell was with another client and we did a quick visit with Melanie. I really wanted to have Janell check my cervix but we didn't want to wait too long. The kids were running amok. Finally Janell came out and I asked for a quick check. I was 4 cm! I was stoked. That was further than I had been with any of the girls at that point. And I had barely had any contractions! She asked me if I wanted my membranes stripped and I said no. We left and stopped at Red Robin for lunch before heading back up to get Grace from school. She was disappointed that there wasn't a baby yet.

That night my contractions started up more and stayed pretty steady. I had Mike call Jamie and take the girls over around 7:00 or so. They were excited for a sleepover. I texted Janell and told her my contractions were about 10 min apart and steady. Told her they weren't too bad so we were going to wait them out and keep her updated. Then they slowed down. A lot. We went to bed and I hoped that I would wake up with some contractions in the middle of the night. I woke up at 8:00 am with no contractions, my water still intact and no baby.

Wednesday we took the girls to the River Walk and tried to get things moving. A few contractions here and there but nothing. Wednesday came and went with no baby.

Thursday I woke up at 3:00 am with major anxiety. I knew that the stroller was in the car and not our bags and I was scared that my water was going to break and we wouldn't make it in time. I couldn't go back to sleep so I stayed up and surfed the internet. After the girls got up and Grace went to school, Mike and I tried some other things to get baby along :) We were going to go for a walk but Bethany didn't want to get in the stroller so we just let them ride bikes up and down the street for a bit. My contractions were starting back up and staying steady. I had some bloody show and was feeling good. Around 12:30 I told Mike that I think the girls should go back to Jamie's. We stopped by Grace's school and told her that Jamie would pick her up. Then took the little ones to Jamie's. I called Nicole and told her I was headed down. I figured in a worse case scenario, they could at least tell me if I was any more dilated. I had a contraction every 5 minutes on the way to Layton. Nicole met us down there and Janell checked me. I was at 5 cm. I was pretty upset about it. I was sure I was further along. So Mike, Nicole and I walked around a few blocks of Layton and tried to let gravity take it's course. Contractions were steady but not crazy. Then we went back to the birthing center and watched a movie on the iPad. Janell left to make dinner and told me to keep her updated. Nicole and I walked for another hour.

I got to eat during labor, which was new. I had beef jerky and graham crackers. And a lot of water. My hands did swell up during our walks, but this was the only swelling I had during the entire pregnancy.

At this point (around 8:00 pm) I told Mike he could probably head home to let out the dog and take the girls their lovies. None of them had stuffed animals or blankets. I thought the baby would be there by then and we'd be going home. He left and make it back by around 11:00 pm. I was having slightly stronger contractions, but not much. Let Janell know they were lasting longer and wanted her to come back and check me. She showed up and said I was at a 6 cm. Ugh.

I wanted to take a shower to keep things movings. Janell suggested I rest. I relented and laid down on the bed by Mike. My next contraction was intense. I moaned a little. Then the next one was intense again. And the next. Mike started rubbing my back. Finally I had to sit up because laying down sucked. I would lean up against Mike's chest (he was sitting on the bed) and Nicole would push against my lower back. That was awesome. Mike will claim that I bit him on the head at this point. I will counter argue that I was trying to kiss his head, it was just during a contraction and it was a rough kiss.

After about an hour of this, Nicole suggested the tub and I jumped on that. Janell got the water going and I stripped to my underwear and my sports bra. The water helped ease the contractions and was very relaxing. Whenever a contraction would hit, I would lean up against Mike's knees (he had them in the water) and Nicole would lean in and press my lower back. That was honestly what helped me get through it all. I would also breathe in a color (like blue) and then with each exhale, in my mind, a flower would open up. By the end of the contraction, the flower was fully in bloom. Each successive contraction I would change color of the flower and went in rainbow order. It helped (kinda) keep my mind off the pain of the contraction.

The water was hot. It felt good. I would sip cold water between contractions. Janell never left and after a bit of me being in the water, she came over and was coaching too. She helped by saying to “breathe it down”. At first I just endured the contractions. Then I started “pushing” or flexing my muscles in my abs. I didn't think I was ready to push the baby out but I definitely think that helped to get me to transition and move the baby down to the birth canal.

Thursday came and went. It was probably about 1:00 or slightly thereafter when I suddenly said I felt like I needed to poop. I know that's gross (especially since I was in the water) but that's exactly what it felt like. I felt a contraction start but I waited and pulled my underwear off first. Now I was on my hands and knees, leaning against the back seat of the tub. The tub looked similar to this:

This wasn't the exact tub, but the seat part in the back and the shape of the rest of the tub is very similar. I would lean against the seat and Nicole or Janell would do presses on my lower back. The urge to poop was strong so I just went with it. I was actually pushing my baby down and getting him to crown. I swore. Nicole says just once, but I know there was an “f-bomb” in there. Janell told me after the fact, that when I hit transition, I swear. That way I will know for next time (I know, I know, Mike. No next time). Also, right before I started pushing his head out, my water broke. It felt like a pop and then fluid came out. No mechonium.

I felt his head crowning and in my head he was further out that he was. Janell kept telling me to release and let him go back inside and I didn't want to. I wanted to push him all the way out. But by releasing and letting him go back, I was stretching and making it so I wouldn't tear. But in the moment, all I wanted was my baby out. I did this for about 4 contractions before his head finally came all the way out. That relief was amazing. The cord was around his neck once and Janell slipped it off while I rested. They told me after I pushed him all the way out, they would push him under the water and through my legs so I could pull him right to my chest. I said ok but at that point I just wanted him out. The next contraction started and instead of waiting for it to peak and then push, I just started pushing, which just really tired me out. And I did bite Mike this time. On his arm. Oops! Two pushes later, Franklin was out and Janell directed him under my legs. I felt all the waters rush out with him and then I was grabbing him and pulling him to my chest. Franklin Dale was born at 1:49 am on Friday, September 26th. I was so relieved to have him out that we didn't even check to make sure he was in fact a “he".  It took a bit before we checked. Yup, all boy.

It was intense. It was amazing. I remember telling Mike, Nicole and Jesus that I loved them. Not sure when that happened. Mike had a moment where he saw how tired I was and didn't think I could go much longer. Thankfully, that was right at transition and baby was close to arriving.

My placenta delivered easily. And floated along side of me in a bowl. We left him attached so he could get all the blood out of the cord and placenta. I think we stayed in the tub for at least an hour. They checked all his vitals while he was snuggled on my chest. He started nursing right away and had a pretty good latch.

Finally I wanted out of the tub so Mike held him while Janell and Fara dried me off and got me settled on the bed. I was a little woosy, but that was mostly because of getting out of the hot tub. After probably 30-45 more minutes we finally cut the cord (Mike got the honors), checked baby for reflexes and measured and weighed him. He was 9 lbs 4 oz! Our biggest baby yet and I did it all naturally. He was also 21” long, which I figured because of where his feet always kicked me.

Things I loved about my birth:
All natural
Supportive and no pressure to do something I didn't want to do
Immediate bonding
We got to leave! We left the birthing center at 5:00 am and drove home. We were more than welcome to stay and rest, but Mike didn't want to sleep for an hour and then try to drive.

This was my best birthing experience. I wouldn't change the way I did my girls, because I feel like it shaped each subsequent birth. But having a natural birth, and being informed about it, was amazing. I wish more women knew their options before birth. I did run into my former OBGYN at my work and he knew I was having a different birth. For a while we considered a home birth but changed our mind because I didn't want Janell stuck up here for a long time if I was going to have a long labor. She didn't feel comfortable using LRH as a backup incase something happened, so it worked out well to just use the birthing center. But I did make sure to tell everyone I was having a natural birth. Most people thought I was crazy, but a lot of people thought I was a rockstar. I think I'm a rockstar too!

This one is my favorite. He looks so small but he was so big. But so small. 

I needed glasses to see him :)

Daddy cutting the cord

Weighing him. I love this scale! Mike likened it to fishing :)

Baby feet

Sleeping before the ride home

Big Sister Grace

Big Sister Mercy

Big Sister Bethy

This is Grace's version of the birthing story. She is learning typing at school so she thinks work processors are cool.

HOW MY MOM HAD FRANKY WHEN HE WAS BORN.Franky was born on september 26.I was so exsideid when I fownd owt .When I got to see my brother.Now Franky cry's a lot and ete's a lot.

Now when I do my homework my mom feeds Franky.Franky is so cute but Franky has acne.Frankys baptism is on november sencend.It is my first brother.Writen by Grace Dicus.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Less than a month

Less than a month till we meet baby Frankie. Less than a month till my charlie horses and heartburn stop. Less than a month left of what is probably my last pregnancy.

I know we are slightly leaving it up to God but it does feel like this is the last. It makes me sad. But then I remember the charlie horses, and the peeing all the time, and the heart burn.

And then I remember the baby hiccups that are special between me and him, and the movement when he is awake. And his heart beat close to mine.

I wish ... I wish.

Can't wait to see Frankie! Can't wait!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Coppertone Clearly Sheer

Summer is here! Hooray! And truth be told, I suck at remembering to put sunscreen on myself. And my kids. Unless we're doing something fun like the splash pad or the beach. I have some sunscreen somewhere in my house. From last year. Which means it's probably expired. 

Then I got into the Bzz Campaign for Coppertone Clearly Sheer. You know Coppertone, right? Cute girl with the puppy pulling down her swimsuit. Makes you think it's just for kids, but this new line is awesome for adults too! Especially since they don't smell like normal sunscreen does. So I can put some on before heading to the park, or on a walk or just to garden without smelling like the beach.

I tried two kinds. One was specialized for sunny days with a SPF of 30 and came in a bottle that fit perfectly into my purse to take along on our outings. The other was specialized for the beach or pool with a spf for 50 and was in a spray! I have used spray sunscreens before and always had to spray it and then rub it in. That left streaks and smears, especially if I was spraying it on myself. This spray went on clear and I didn't even need to rub it in.

The only thing I didn't like about the spray was if my kids breathed it in, they hated it and fought me about putting the sunscreen on the rest of their body.  No, I didn't spray it on their face, but if we did it outside and it was windy, it carried the mist. It reminded me of bug spray smell and they weren't having that. But being able to spray it on myself rocked! I could get my back and shoulders without worrying about missing a spot. 

Both formulas are water resistant for up to 80 minutes which was nice since that's about how long before my kids are tuckered out and ready to rest up.

We headed up to Bear Lake and to the Idaho side because the beach is much nicer and had a day of it. 85 degrees and not a single sunburn! Hooray!!

 Here's a few photos.
Daddy with Mercy & Bethany

It took a bit but Bethy did eventually go in the water. They loved looking for shells. 

It was windy and chilly if you got out of the water, so I stayed in as long as possible. Grace was a little guppy and barely came out of the water. She came back in for a photo.

Mercy needed a cookie break. Notice the Coppertone spray next to her. She had gotten into the other bottle and it was all over her face and hands. Unfortunately, I was in the water and no where near my camera to snap a pic. Shoot.

When Bethy finally got out of the water, she was shivering and needed a snuggle with daddy. She's such a sweetie.

So while it was nice to have the sunscreen at the beach, it's also nice to have something to apply that doesn't make me smell like I'm going to the beach. And it also didn't clog my pores or make me break out. Coppertone's Clearly Sheer is clearly a good choice!

I received this product for free to try and review because I'm a Bzz Agent.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I've been a BzzAgent slacker lately. I was in a ton of campaigns and life got in the way and I didn't Bzz as much as I should have.

But I'm in a truly awesome campaign right now (three actually, so stay tuned for more posts in the future).

The one I'm currently loving in the good2grow juices with reusable SippaTops. We have used drinks like these in the past, and I can't honestly remember the brand of them. Usually they last a few weeks in our house because we reuse the bottoms. And the tops would be washed in the dishwasher and reused as well.

We haven't had one in our house in a long time.

Until my Bzz pack came in the mail and we got three new SippaTops! Thomas the Train, Sully from Monster's Inc & Ariel. Having 3 girls, this was a good assortment of characters. They drank the juice fast. So fast, in fact, that I never had a chance to really look at it so I could brag about it.

So today, we picked up a refill pack. And a new SippaTop because Mercy saw Cinderella and HAD to have her. Cinderella was on the apple juice flavor and the refills I picked up were strawberry kiwi. They also had a refill pack of apple and tropical fruit medley.


  • There were a ton of different tops from Tinkerbell and friends to superheros and even Keropee frog. 

  • They are 100% juice! I love that there isn't any added sugar, especially no high-fructose corn syrup. 
  • Washable. Even in the dishwasher. This makes cleaning them so much easier. 
  • Spill-proof. My kids never leave drinks sitting upright so it's nice to let them have one and not worry about spills all over my carpet. 

  • The shape of the bottle is nice for little hands to hold. It's "hourglass" shaped so their little hands can grip the middle with ease. 

Not so much love:
  • Really there isn't much. The "Strawberry Kiwi" ingredients are water, apple, carrot & beet juice concentrate, citric acid, ascorbic acid, natural flavor, D-alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate (which they say is Vitamin E) and Vitamin A Palmitate. Don't see with Strawberry or Kiwi listed there. Which means it's just flavored like strawberry kiwi. Prob won't go for that flavor again and I'll stick with the apple juice. 
That's about it. Like I said, not so much "not so much love". These help keep my kids hydrated (especially good since summer is sneaking up on us) and I can control what they're drinking. Plus they like it and I'm not giving them sugar laden beverages. 

And how much fun would a birthday party with good2grow drinks be?! You can enter here: for a chance to win. Good luck!!

I received these products for free to try and review because I'm a BzzAgent

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

By the way...

Yes, I know what causes "this". If I didn't, I wouldn't be pregnant again.

No, I'm not getting my tubes tied, or my husband snipped, or anything like that. I don't believe in altering my body because I want or don't want something. Some times what we want isn't what we need.

I don't know if we will have more children. Part of our faith is trusting God knows what we need. He won't give us anything that we can't handle. He may provide challenges that shake us, but in the end we are stronger.

I'm not sure if there are two babies inside of me. If there are, then there are and my heart gets to double again. Every body is different. Telling a woman she is big or must be carrying twins in rude and insensitive. I don't tell you what is wrong or not normal with your body. And if I did, you wouldn't appreciate it. Please respect that.

Birth is natural. We were made to do this. I'm not sick. I don't need a hospital. I need positive energy and support.

I wouldn't change my children for the world. I don't regret them. I don't wish I wasn't pregnant. This is a miracle and I feel blessed every day.

I'm blessed to have a husband who is strong, faithful, moral and kind. He loves me. He loves our children. He supports my decisions and stands by me. He is my warrior. He is my protector. He is my soul mate.

I'm blessed to have three beautiful girls who are inquisitive, smart, funny and kind. They love to explore and learn new things. They make me laugh and light up my life.

I'm blessed to be carrying another child and bringing new life into this work. Baby depends on me to provide a warm, nurturing environment for growth and a loving and welcoming home when he or she is born.

I'm thankful that my life is the one I have. There isn't anything I would change.

I am blessed.

Monday, April 21, 2014

18 weeks

I'm 5 months pregnant already. It's going by quickly. We'll find out if Frankie is short for Frances or Franklin in just 2.5 weeks. Crazy!! Today Frankie is the side of a bell pepper. That seems sooooo big! Very wiggly and moving around a lot. I have felt movement on the outside but it's not frequent and not hard enough for someone else to tell.

I weighed 150.2 lbs today and considering all the candy I ate yesterday, I'm surprised it's not more. Didn't track my food too well last week but it was crazy. Who am I kidding? Every week is crazy, so I can't use that as an excuse.

I did catch up on the Catechism and I'm 40% of the way through it. It's kind of cool because it changed how I perceived church yesterday. Oh church yesterday...Bethany threw up all over Mike. Blech! At Easter Mass, no less. And we keep having kids. Must be crazy.

Had a lady ask me if I knew what causes "that" (Meaning my pregnancy). I said yes, and it's fun. Ha! If I didn't enjoy it, or children, I wouldn't keep having them!!

I'm at 34 of 100 books done for the year. Been listening to Room by Emma Donoghue. It's an interesting book and I'm pretty into it now and want to know how it ends. And I've been cross-stitching a lot. Hooray!

Other than that....we're pretty boring!

Happy Easter!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Week 16

Ok this has been an interesting week.

And it's only Wednesday!

So on Monday my scale said like 149 or something, but yesterday (midwife day) it was at 148 and at the midwife it was 153 (with shoes & clothes on) which is only a gain of 1 lb since last visit. Janell and I went over my food from the past 3 weeks and I did great on protein but not so great on fruits & veggies. So that's my goal for this month. Keep the protein up but add in healthy fruits & veggies.

So today I made this:

Peaches & cream oatmeal with fresh mango.  This is AMAZING. And took less than 10 min to make. I added a drizzle of honey but I could have left that off cause it's sweet enough without it. I used greek yogurt (peach flavored) so I added extra protein and I have fresh fruit on it and mixed it. 

We (me, Mercy & Bethy) got to hear baby's heartbeat yesterday. It was fluctuating between 134-140. That's the lowest heartbeat of all the kids. Starting to think it's a boy. Starting to think I ovulated early and all my science with why it's a girl is going out the window. But we won't know for sure until next month. They faxed over the order for my ultrasound and I just need to call and schedule it. I will probably do it the first week of May since I'll be 20 weeks at that point.

As fas as books go I finished the audio book which was cool. Listening to it in the car to drive down to Layton was awesome. I will be doing that again. Also finished a Grisham book and now I'm reading Spiritual Midwifery which is an inter-library loan so I have to power though it. Pretty easy to do. I'm at 30 of 100 books for this year's challenge. 4 books ahead of schedule.

Catechism I am on day 93 and about 30 days behind still but I've been reading a few days worth each day.

And I've been doing the cross stitch for Bethy while I listen to an audio book so kind of killing two birds with one stone. 

Had to fix the garage door today which was unexpected and next week the Impala is getting the water pump replaced. Boo. But the birthing center is fully paid for! 

Lastly, here's a selfie of me at 16 wks. Enjoy!

Monday, March 31, 2014

15 Weeks Down - 25 To Go!

Strangers are asking how far along I am. Well, technically, how much longer I have left.

I carry big! Every time, and it sucks a little because I look a lot further along than I actually am.

I'll get a photo next week.

Baby is size of an apple. A stinkin' apple! It just goes so fast now. It's amazing how you don't even realize another week has flown by. I should hopefully feel her move sometime soon. I've been laying quietly and waiting for it, but nothing yet. I don't really remember exactly when I felt the others move but I remember what the feeling feels like. I can't wait! That's my favorite part of being pregnant.

I weighed 148 today so a gain of 1.5 lbs since last week. I swear, the second trimester makes you eat and eat and eat. I have been craving Stove Top stuffing like its going out of business and I will simply not survive if I don't get any. Thankfully Mike got me some. I love that man. :)

Only have gained 10 lbs since before pregnancy. Not too bad since I didn't even know I was pregnant for the first month of that and it was Christmas time and candy all around, etc.

I'm at 26 books read for the year. It's been crazy this week so not a lot of extra reading time. Still reading Birth Matters (a chapter here and there) and I have The Bradley Method on hold at the library and need to pick it up soon. I'm also reading The Chamber by Grisham. It's a long one, but thankfully on my Kindle so I can fly right through it. And I started The Circle on an audio book. Never really listened to an audiobook before and it's ok. I can't be doing a lot of other stuff at the same time or I miss things, but I listened to a lot yesterday while I was couponing. And I have listened to a bit in my car. I was to listen to Atlas Shrugged instead of read it because it's so hard for me to get into reading it. I was thinking it would be a good thing to listen to on the drive down to see the midwife.

On Day 80 of the Catechism which is good. I caught up. If I read to day 100 this week and then the rest the next week I should be caught up by Easter which is my goal. I might not get to ready any today because it's a crazy, crazy day, but we shall see.

Spring Break for Grace this week which means she gets to sleep in. The other kids get to as well. They didn't. Mercy woke me (and probably Bethy) up by singing "Let It Go" as loud as she could.

Oh and Mike and I got smart phones this week. Finally upgraded ours and it's only like $20 more a month for us to both have smart phones. Ok time to start the crazy stuff (laundry, dishes, bills, dinner, grocery list, etc)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 14

I'm not quite sure how this happened. I'm in the second trimester already! The first one kind of flew by.

And my official weight today was: 146.4.

I'm going to say it's because I gave up sweets for Lent. Or because I'm tracking my food and so I think about what I eat because I have to write it down. I'm still in my size 10 pants. Hooray! Which is also good because I don't have any maternity pants right now.

Baby is the size of a lemon. Crazy that she's that big (I'm just assuming it's a girl. We'll find out in 6 weeks).

Had another person ask me if I still had doctor appointments even though we're using a midwife. I kindly explained that my midwife does all my prenatal care. In fact, she does more than my doctor ever did. And now I have 2 friends who are also pregnant. Sometimes sharing your story is the best way to get people to hear how amazing midwives are!

I'm a quarter of the way to my yearly goal of 100 books. I'm currently reading Birth Matters by Ina May Gaskin and The Things We Do For Love by Kristin Hannah.

I'm also on day 65 of Catechism. I'm behind. Hoping to catch up today. After Laundry-poloza. That's about it for this week! Next week is Spring Break for Grace so hoping to do some fun stuff!

Monday, March 17, 2014

13 Weeks

Still feel great but I have popped! I need some maternity pants. The ones I have are too big but my currents pants, while they still fit, make me look like I have a super muffin top instead of a baby in there. But I have had a few comments from people who knew I had lost weight and now I look like I've gained a ton. So I look pregnant! I also get comments about how tired I look. Well....I'm tired! Baby D is size of a pea-pod now and if she is a girl, she has all her eggs already. In a weird, creepy way, I might have some of my grand-children in me too. Think about it.

1) - Save, save, save. I need to have $6,000 - $8,000 saved up by September.  If we work hard and stick to a budget (that's hard for us!) we can do it. We're at $1000 right now, so only $5-$7k to go. Half of the midwife is paid for. I could have paid it all at once but I want to get through March and I didn't want to transfer money right away. AND, jut found out I'm getting a raise at work. And our budget is rocking this month! And having two cars is great! Especially since we have only put gas in the van 1x since we got it. Hooray!!

2) Not gain too much. I'm on maintenance mode. I just weighed myself: 146. Without clothes on. I was 152 last week at midwife....with clothes and shoes on. BTW, best prenatal visit I have ever had. Janell went over diet, all the required tests and optional tests, my entire history, explained what she was doing and why. I wish I would have known about midwifes when I was pregnant with Grace. She also discussed nutrition with me and gave me a food journal. I did good until Saturday when I was at work all day and then too tired to thing when I got home. I'm starting fresh this week. Giving up sweets for Lent has helped a lot. 

3) Stay organized. Bills are organized, kid's rooms are organized, basement Keep it this way Mike did some cleaning in the basement, which was nice. It's always a work in progress.

4) Sell a lot of stuff like Nintendo stuff, foosball table, etc. Sold 2 more games!

5) Get the garden going really good this year. Peanuts are sprouted. So are bell peppers and jalapenos! Mike just started tomatoes and I have a friend who is giving us some strawberry shoots cause our strawberries did nothing so far.

6) Can LOTS of apricots. And salsa. And pickles. 

7) Read 100 books. I've already done 4. And it's only the 13th. 21 books done! I just finished Ina May's Guide to Pregnancy which was inspiring and informative. I also finished The Book Thief and I cried. But it was kind of a fast book and pretty good. Now I'm on Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah and I have a few birthing books as well. 

8) Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I'm on day 52 so if I read 8 days worth today then I'm where I wanted to be. It was a long weekend. 

9)  Spend more time with my kids instead of near my kids Mercy is obsessed with Mario on the Wii U so we play a lot of that. And baby dolls. 

10) Bethany's cross stitch  Haven't touched all week. Bad Briana!

Monday, March 10, 2014

12 Weeks

Baby Dicus (Probably Baby Frankie) is 12 weeks now. Baby is the size of a lime! A LIME! Crazy to think she's so big (I'm just assuming it's a girl).  Only 28 left to go, which really isn't a lot. Tomorrow is my first midwife appointment and I'll get to hear the heartbeat. I'm excited! I feel like I popped the other day and now I have a belly. In fact, a really drunk guy at work asked me what I'm having. So I officially look pregnant, and not just fat. Almost at 4 months, which is crazy that it's going this fast. But I feel great, other than a stomach bug a few weeks ago and a few vision/migraine probs. Going to talk to midwife about it tomorrow. Update on my goals for this year...

1) - Save, save, save. I need to have $6,000 - $8,000 saved up by September.  If we work hard and stick to a budget (that's hard for us!) we can do it. We're at $1000 right now, so only $5-$7k to go. Completely done! We have money for baby & for maternity leave saved. But not stopping there. It'd be nice to save enough to pay off the Line of Credit after baby is here. We have a great budget for March and we aren't going out to eat at all for Lent, so that should help.

2) Not gain too much. I'm on maintenance mode. I just weighed myself: 146. With clothes on. And after breakfast. But the good news is, I'm less than I weighed when I got pregnant with all 3 other kids. So that's a good sign. And I was around 140-144 when I got pregnant this time. Not bad for 3 months down. I gave up sweets for Lent so that should help. I hope!

3) Stay organized. Bills are organized, kid's rooms are organized, basement Keep it this way Getting there. Basement is looking better now that I got some yardsale stuff out of there. I'm waiting for nicer weather to do more.

4) Sell a lot of stuff like Nintendo stuff, foosball table, etc. I have sold about 12-14 games and I have made about $500! It's awesome! 

5) Get the garden going really good this year. We have started in the house and have some sprouts! Mike bought a grow-light and we're going to get the sprouts under there and keep them going. So far we have peanuts (yup, peanuts!!) and jalapenos. But we also have bell peppers and strawberries working. Oh and marigolds. Blech. We're going to grow lettuce in a hydroponics setup this year and try that out. But it's still early and even though it's in the 50s lately, I know there is a ton of snow still to come. 

6) Can LOTS of apricots. And salsa. And pickles. Obviously I can't do this yet, but I will. I'm excited!

7) Read 100 books. I've already done 4. And it's only the 13th. I'm at 18 so far, and ahead of schedule. I've been reading some birthing books (Business of Baby is great, I recommend). And I won a prize with the Winter Reading Program and library and signed up for Spring Reading Program. 

8) Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Another thing I'm doing for Lent is catching up on this. Slowly, I'm getting there. I'm about 50 days behind schedule so I need to do about extra days each day. I'm on Day 36 today. I should be at Day 92. My goal this week is to read Day 60 by next Monday.

9)  Spend more time with my kids instead of near my kids Going good. We have played a lot of Legos. And puzzles. And I know every song on every episode of Bubble Guppies. Oh, and it's been nice out so lots of time on the play set. 

10) Bethany's cross stitch  It's started! I can't do it when she's awake though cause I don't want it to get ruined. 

Good start to the year so far!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Countdown till September

31 weeks left.

That's so many, and not so much.

Until baby #4.


Yup, we're pregnant again and I'm pretty stoked about this.

We finally are going into a pregnancy with a plan! We have money saved for maternity leave,
and money saved for the birthing center. Yup, a birthing center. No hospital here! I have a doula. I have a plan.

I'll hear Baby D's heartbeat on March 11th and I can't wait.

Until then....I'm just going to glow!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 Goal Update

So January isn't even over yet....

1) - Save, save, save. I need to have $6,000 - $8,000 saved up by September.  If we work hard and stick to a budget (that's hard for us!) we can do it. We're at $1000 right now, so only $5-$7k to go.
DONE! As soon as I file our tax return this week and we get our money back, we will have $7000 in the bank in addition to our $1k emergency fund. DAMN! Thank goodness for tax returns (which is really our money, I know, I know) and for work bonuses :)

2) Not gain too much. I'm on maintenance mode.

3) Stay organized. Bills are organized, kid's rooms are organized, basement Keep it this way

4) Sell a lot of stuff like Nintendo stuff, foosball table, etc. Halfway there. Sold the foosball table last week. Slowly getting Nintendo games on Amazon and so far I've sold 2! 

5) Get the garden going really good this year.

6) Can LOTS of apricots. And salsa. And pickles.

7) Read 100 books. I've already done 4. And it's only the 13th.

8) Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

9)  Spend more time with my kids instead of near my kids

10) Bethany's cross-stitch birth announcement. Yup, still need to do that. 

I feel really, really good about this year. Really good.

And we just bought a new dishwasher cause ours was old and dingy and broken. Found a scratch n' dent at Darrell's Appliance for half off and it's stainless steel. Also, Mike's computer blew up (thanks to the kids) and we needed to buy a new power supply unit and that is also purchased. Just need to buy a battery for the van. /sigh. Left an interior light on and it killed the battery. Such is life. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday

Took a week off of work. Wanted to "clean the whole house". Got the girl's room done. And my room. And organized my old Nintendo stuff so it's easier to sell. Didn't get much else done.
Bought a van! We are now the proud owner of a 1995 Pontiac Trans Sport. It's classy. And super sexy. Mike looks awesome driving it.
Went grocery shopping this week and only spent $84. I'm going to try and post my grocery deals that I do each week. More to keep me motivated to stay on our grocery budget. We struggle with that.
It's going to be a Swagbucks Christmas! I'm back on the bandwagon and I need to earn some swagbucks. Don't know what that is? Sign up here and check it out.
Mercy informed me this week that she's done growing up so now she can say bad words. Then she says "shit". I fear for 10 years from now.
I have a fooseball table for sale. It's only $50. It has billiards, ping pong and air hockey too. Leave me a comment on here or email me if you want it. I don't deliver.
It's inversion time of year. This makes me feel like I'm living in a cloud. A smelly, dirty cloud. Not too fun.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Debt Snowball Update & January Budget

I was reading back through older posts and I'm amazed at the progress we have done in the past 3.5 years. When we started actually looking at our finances and figuring things out we were $59,000 in debt. As of today, we have paid off $30,000. We have made it over the halfway point, and in that time we have had a baby, had tonsils out for 2 kids and changed a job/insurance.

I hope we can attack this debt and not take 3 more years and I feel like we can/, especially since $15,000 of that was paid off last year alone. We're down to two things: our line of credit (aka stupid tax) and a student loan. The line of credit should be gone in a year. The student loan will hopefully be gone in 2015.

Mike and I are finally on the same page with all this. We have a goal, we have a plan. We are communicating better than we ever had and watching our family blossom from our decisions and changes. We're no longer normal:

We don't own a credit card. Not one.
We don't have cable. Nope. We have an antenna so we can get basic channels and we just signed up for Amazon Prime for $79 a year. This enables us free shipping from Amazon (where we get most of the kid's Christmas stuff for FREE thanks to Swagbucks, ExpoTV and MyPoints) as well as Instant Videos so the kids can still watch their favorite shows. But we really don't watch much TV
We own both of our cars. Yup! OWN THEM. One we paid off using the snowball. The other we sold and just took the overage and bought a van. For less than $1500. It's old and it won't last us forever, but we own it and it fits our family and I couldn't be happier.
I don't have a smartphone. I know, I'm weird.
I coupon and save weekly at the grocery store.

We are living like no one else so one day soon we will live like no one else.

Goals for 2014

Screw resolutions. Who actually does them anyway.

I'm making some goals:

1) - Save, save, save. I need to have $6,000 - $8,000 saved up by September.  If we work hard and stick to a budget (that's hard for us!) we can do it. We're at $1000 right now, so only $5-$7k to go.

2) Not gain too much. I'm on maintenance mode.

3) Stay organized. Bills are organized, kid's rooms are organized, basement Keep it this way

4) Sell a lot of stuff like Nintendo stuff, foosball table, etc.

5) Get the garden going really good this year.

6) Can LOTS of apricots. And salsa. And pickles.

7) Read 100 books. I've already done 4. And it's only the 13th.

8) Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

9)  Spend more time with my kids instead of near my kids

10) ....? I know I should add one more, but for now...who knows.

Kroger Gift Cards

I LOVE Smith's. Seriously. If I run into someone and they're talking about groceries or something to that sort, I will jump in and tell them to shop at Smith's. And at the holidays it's even better! Why, you may ask? Because of 4x Fuel Points!

What are Fuel Points?

Ok so here's how this works. You shop at Smiths (or Kroger's or another store owned by Kroger) and for every $1 you spend, you earn 1 Fuel Point. Then, after you get a bunch, you can save money at a Kroger fuel station. For every 100 points, you save 10 cents per gallon. This works up until 1000 points of $1.00 off per gallon. I have about a 14 gallon tank so if I go till the light is on in my car, and I have 1000 points, I can save $14 on a fill up! And let's face it, I usually go until the light is on, and then some. You know how it is.

Points only last 1 month and you can't combine month, which sometimes sucks, but it's still saving money. This holiday season was the first time I have earned enough for $1 off at the tank.

Ok let's do some math. I know, it's early, but math is important, right? If you earn enough for $1 off at the fuel center, that means you have spent $1000 at Smiths. Our grocery budget isn't even close to that for the month. But this time of year you can earn 4 TIMES the points when you purchase giftcards.

Giftcards are the gifts that you give to the people who have everything. And if you buy a $25 giftcard from Smith's, you earn 100 fuel points! But what's cool is even during the rest of the year, all giftcards still earn you 2x the fuel points! So birthdays, anniversaries, etc, all can earn you some savings at the pump.

This year I was sneaky. I knew one of the gifts I was buying my daughter was only found at Target. We don't have a Target near my house cause this down is silly, but there is one about an hour away. I purchased a $50 Target giftcard to take with me and then use at Target for my daughter's gifts. I also got my husband a $50 Home Depot giftcard since he's one of those "hard to shop for" type of guys. That earned me 400 fuel points! 

This December I was able to fill my tank 2x and save $1.00 off per gallon each time. And I got most of my shopping done at Smith's as well (I love, love, LOVE Marketplace!)

And don't worry about finding the place you need. They have cards for EVERYTHING! Not only did I get a Target and Home Depot card, I also got a Bed, Bath & Beyond card and a 3 pack of $10 iTunes! I have been giving Grace a card when she does something awesome, like clean her room without being asked. All 3rd party cards will earn you points.

What this means is, you can't buy a Smith's card and get points and then turn around and shop and earn points again. No being sneaky! 

I am not affiliated with Smith's. I received coupons to try and review because I'm a BzzAgent.