$50 a week grocery budget part 1

After MANY people asking me to blog about our grocery budget challenge ..her we are:

One of my biggest inspirations in life right now is Ashley over at http://www.neverhomemaker.com/ and http://www.writingchapterthree.com/.  I have never met her but her blog has inspired me so much.  From all things baby, to running during pregnancy, recipes, and the biggest of all our $50.00 a week grocery budget!

When Ashley posted about their goal for a $50.00 a week grocery budget Levi was about 4 months old, Tristan was still in the middle of busy season and was eating meals his work provided for dinner so I wasn't cooking and consequently rarely packed him lunch so he was buying lunch almost every day.  He was also buying a cup of black coffee for a $1.60 every day at work.  To top it all off I wasn't really paying attention to how much we were spending at the grocery store.  I just went and bought lots of whole foods....no planning at all.

All this eating out and un-planning was really adding up at the grocery store and when we were out and about or to lazy and tired to make anything at home. It was time for a change and I got just the inspiration I needed.

 Since instituting our budget challenge we have been able to save about $200 a month!  That's ALOT!!

I think we are on month 3?? So that means we have saved aproximatly $600 dollars!  Sounds awesome huh?  So how have we done it?  Planning, only buying just what we need, packing Tristan's lunches (always leftovers), making his coffee for the day at home,  and making most meals from complete scratch.

Tristan and I feel very strongly that eating whole unprocessed foods especially lots of veggies and fruits is super important for health and well-being so while saving money and being conscious of how much we are spending is important we don't want to compromise our health in doing so!

Let's just say..we want to find BALANCE!  That  is so important to us. 

We live in Austin Texas where there are several Whole Foods, Central Market's, Sprouts, and many other health food stores and a plethora of eateries (many of which are healthy, vegetarian, vegan and even raw vegan) so it can be hard to not be tempted to spend lots of money on buying all kids of healthy goods that aren't as budget friendly. Typically I stay away from these stores, except when they have specials or we have planned super cheap meals to make room for a little something special!

All in all we have stuck to the $50.00 really closely but I feel like our sweet spot is more like $60.00.

Keep in mind this is only money for food. If I buy non-food things at the store it doesn't mean I have less money to spend on food. We actually don't have a budget for things like toilet paper, toiletries, etc because those aren't really areas that need managing or where we are tempted to spend lots of money. We just buy what we NEED when we need it.  I don't buy a lot of make up and I don't buy expensive shampoos (I actually don't even use shampoo!) or hair products.

(Tristan's comment: We actually do have a 'master' budget for everything--it's just that some areas require managing while others don't. These are judgmental decisions that we make based on evaluating ourselves and our habits. We don't really go to movies, we don't spend much on books or music, and we don't buy stuff we don't need during random trips to Target, so we simply don't manage those areas. Historically, this has worked well for us--others might need to manage other areas more carefully if history has shown they spend more than they should.)

Also, we have $30.00 (total.. for both of us..not 30.00 each) to spend a week on eating out, a date night, or buying tea with a friend..etc.  Tristan is awesome and has no shame in bringing his sack lunch to restaurants when he goes out to eat with his friends at work....love that man! I did the same thing in nursing school.

So all in all when the week is said and done we are spending about $90.00 a week on food. May not seem like much to some people and may seem like tons to others and really it's probably close to 99% more than what most of the world spends on food.

We are blessed and just trying to be good stewards to so we can save, give, plan for the future and....have LOTS more babies!!! :)

I'll be back again to share more details of how we are making this all work!  If you have any questions or things you would like to see me talk about in a post just let me know in the comments!


Levi- 7 Months

Levi turned 7 months yesterday(Saturday 6/23/12).  And..... so I will be able to remember for years to come...here is a little overview of our sweet little man at 7 months!

- Went for his 6 month well check a week and a half ago and he is 27.5 inches long(75th percentile), 17lbs(25th percentile), and has a head circumference of about 17.5 inches(60th percentile).

-Nurses 5 times a day and is still exclusively breastfed. Actually at this point we aren't planning on starting solids any time soon. When at Levi's appointment the Dr. asked if he had had anything other than breast milk. I sheepishly replied no thinking he would get on to me for not having started sooner. But his response surprised me! He said, "Great, don't! Wait till he is a year old."  He then proceeded to tell me all the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding for one year. I knew exclusively breastfeeding till 6 months was good and had benefits and I knew with me that my mom waited till I was 8 months to start solids but I had never heard of waiting till a year. I was so excited that my Dr. was even more pro-breastfeeding than I thought but I was also relieved because adding solids sounded like so much work(lazy I know). Levi is sitting up much better, and is acting VERY interested but the Dr. said not to worry and to just keep giving him the breast milk popsicles or something to play with when we are eating! I asked him a few questions about it, and that was it. So for now the plan is to just keep doing what we are doing!

-Sits up unsupported but is still prone to toppling over sometimes.

-Gets up on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth. Sometimes he plops forward but mostly he scootches backwards while doing this.

-Talks a lot when in a familiar environment or when he is not around a lot of people.

-Is very quiet when there is a lot going on around him.

-Can be very serious and pensive.

-Just recently started getting more interested in moving around and exploring. Is usually too content and too chill to care much about moving. Can spend forever in one place just looking around and inspecting everything.

-Is SOOOOOO very smiley.

-Loves to laugh and play with people but seems to prefer one on one or one on 2-3 rather than larger groups. 

- Loves to read. Can sit and read and be still for 30 minutes (he may be able to do more, we have just never read longer than that). His favorite book right now is the Berenstain Bears B Book.  He kicks his feet and gets so excited with EVERY page!  It's soooo cute!!!  

-poops once a day or every other day...but sometimes still poops twice a day. He's very irregular!! ha!

-most days still takes 3 naps. each nap is usually 1.5 hrs long but sometimes one nap will be 2.5 hrs long. does OK if he skips naps as long as we are on the go. Can stay up till 9 or 10 and be mostly pleasant if I work his naps during the day just right and there is plenty going on to keep him interested.

-usually sleeps from 8 or 8:30pm till 7am. Slept in till 8:30am yesterday and I was soooo shocked he NEVER does that!  

-Totally makes it obvious when he is tired...he gets SOOO winey! Unless he is really entertained  in which case you can only tell he is tired by his stillness and eye rubbing.

-always wakes up happy from naps and in the morning.

-Is already very opinionated and will let you know if he does not want to do something. Sometimes he really protests getting his diaper changed and gives me attitude but he is slowly starting to respond to me firmly telling him "no sir."  While proceeding to tell him in a super happy voice why it's good for him to get a diaper change.

-Has beautiful blue eyes that pierce your heart!

-Has the most perfect full kissy lips!

-Still has his pointy little elf ears. LOVE THEM!

-Has the fastest growing nails ever. I am always needing to cut them.

-loves to grab at faces.

-loves playing with his daddy like nothing else.

-lights up when daddy comes home from work.

-loves water.. whether it's a bath, the pool, the frio river, or a splash pad park! He is MY boy!!!

-loves being outside.

-loves to talk to family on G+/ G talk video.

-loves when daddy plays the piano for him or when I play the guitar for him. He really loves music and singing. Right now his favorite songs are The Rainbow Connection, The Bear Necessities, Veggie Tales Theme, and A Bushel and a Peck!

-Still spits up a lot.

-Drools A TON most of the time.

-Still hasn't watched a movie or TV, only an occasional video on YouTube. Hoping I can keep this up!

-Wears 6month 9month and even some 12 month clothes.  With his long body and poofy cloth diapers he can fit in almost anything!

-loves to play peek a boo/ hide in seek..etc. He loves it when I crawl around the room and hide and then peek out and say "boo."

-Loves to look in mirrors

-Has really fat wide feet..he's a hobbit I tell you! :)

-Likes to look at the wall where we have all our family pictures hanging.

-Likes big bouncing curly hair.

-Still enjoys being worn in the wrap.

-Is really into bending backwards and looking upside down.

-Is still sooo distracted while nursing. And sometimes it seems like he barely eats anything!

-Has many nicknames such as, Boo, biggie or biggie boy, baboozle, and Leaves.

-Loves beards..especially uncle Shane's!

-Is the most wonderful thing on God's green earth!

Happy 7 months Levi Grady...Momma and Daddy love you more each day and are so thankful for every day of life God gives you!


Camping, Picnics, and Libraries ..oh my!

The Austin Symphony Free Concerts in the Park started here in Austin a few weeks ago. I think there have been 3 so far but we have only been in town for 1. But oh was it GREAT!  It's mine and Tristan's favorite summer activity.  There are lots of people, kids, picnics, friends, a great view of downtown, and wonderful music. Levi loved watching all the dancing kids, the people, the music, the dogs...it was great!  For those of you who live in Austin bring a picnic and come join us Sunday nights at 7:30pm outside on the grass at the Long Center on the corner of Barton Springs and Riverside!

Last weekend Levi went camping for the first time!  He did great and REALLY loved it!  He loves to be outside so I was hoping camping would be right up his alley! His naps and night sleep was just the same as at home even with the heat and he LOVED looking around in the tent!  We went with Tristan's family and had such a good time.  Us "kids" all went for a 3 hour float down the river while the grandparents watched Levi and Elijah.  I was away from Levi for about 4 hours and it was the longest I had been away from him during the day. He did great and I even was able to relax and have a good time too!!!

Yesterday Levi and I went to the library with Jana and her girls.  It was the first time I had been to a library since college I think.  It was sooo great!  Our Library is right down the street in walking distance and it has a great children's book area.  We checked out several books to read for the next 3 weeks. One of them though might be a no go for Levi.  The Very Busy Spider is a cute book by the same author who did the hungry hungry Caterpillar and there is a different animal sound you make with each page ...and when I made the animal sounds for the cow, goat and hoarse Levi had a huge lip quiver and then broke out in tears!  Something about those animal sounds scared him when they came out of my mouth I guess...it was so unexpected! I going to try to keep reading it in hopes he will get over it eventually!

This weekend we don't have much going on which will be nice..but...a week from today we are road tripping it to Vail with Bethany and John Ryan and maybe even my parents!  I can't wait!  I'm a little nervous about the long car ride but no matter how bad it is...we will survive!  But I'm sure once Levi and the rest of us smell that Vail air everything will be better! 
The Vail valley in the summer is my favorite place on earth and I can't wait to spend a whole week with Bethany and John Ryan..woo hoo!!!!!!

Happy Weekend Everyone!  What are your plans?

Oh my life...

It's changing every day....in every possible way!

I have had that Cranberries song in my head a lot lately because Levi seems to be changing so much every day!

It's wonderful and scary all at the same time.

Am I ready for all this? No. Lord..PLEASE make me ready!

Just in the past few days Levi has really gotten more motivated to be mobile and has made some progress at it too!  He is such a chill pill and so content I thought he would never be discontent enough to GET MOVING!!! Ha ha!  But He's getting there.  He can mostly sit on his own now...and can scoot backwards too.  Although I don't have good videos of him sitting or scooting yet.... in the ones below he's just being cute!!!

It's been such a joy to watch all the changes..he is such a blessing to our family!


Summer love...

I've been kind of silent lately but for good reason. We have been sick! I think I mentioned before that several weeks ago Levi got a cough, runny nose, etc.  He's pretty much over it but still has a cough here and there but since then...I have gotten sick and so has Tristan(twice)..he even had a 103.2 temp last night. Poor guy still had to go to work though today!  He's a hard worker.  We are tired of being sick and really surprised how much we have been sick..it's not normal for us ..and it's just not fun!  

But being sick isn't all we have been up to! It may not officially be summer but it sure feels like it and we are already starting to live it up! We have been hitting up the pool, traveling, and just staying busy in general! It's been a lot of fun! 

 Last weekend we went to Corpus and surprised my dad with Levi for his 60th birthday present. It was wonderful and we had a great weekend but I didn't take any pictures!!! I so badly wanted some pictures of Levi with my parents and B and JR!!  I think we were having to much fun!

Levi has been so much fun! He laughs easily, smiles a lot, and is just so interested in life! His personality(and sin nature too) seem to be coming out more and more every day. I have noticed he seems to be very serious and pensive, he also seems very content and laid back.  It's rare that he get's real crazy and is just going going going. He takes the world in by putting things in his mouth or by staring and thinking. Not so much by moving and getting places.  He tries and tries hard but as of now he STILL thinks his little super man move is going to get him somewhere and he has even started getting frustrated when it doesn't. He is not to interested in sitting up either but he LOVES to stand..with help of course. Tristan thinks he is going to skip crawling and sitting and just go straight to walking.  He has also started just today protesting when I have to take something from him. 

He knows what he wants and how to tell you what he wants!  The training and guiding has already begun...actually it began a  long time ago!  

Here are just a few pictures of life lately.

 Levi loves his daddy!

 Tristan and Levi in their matching swim trunks..thank uncle Shane!

 I love those eyes!

 "Hi Momma"

 Learning how to sit up!

 Levi's model pose!

 The John Travolta

 First time sitting in the grocery cart.

 My cheeze ball!

 He loves pool time!

 I put him in this position, he loved it!

 Look at those cheeks!

Inspecting the oatmeal box, his new favorite toy!


Momma Milk Cookies

It's not what you think...I didn't use breast milk in this cookie recipe(although, I'm not against doing that)!  No..this cookie is to help increase your Momma milk supply!

Levi is still only breastfed and I haven't had any supply issues, but lately he has been sick (more on that in another post) and hasn't been eating as much and coughs and spits up(or throws up sometimes) most of his meal. Even after a good nose cleaning with clear nostrils he still hasn't eaten as much as usual.  He still get's very distracted very easily so the faster the milk comes the better.  So in order to ease my mind a bit I have been doing things to increase my supply.  I heard oatmeal was a lactogenic food so I have been having oatmeal every day and what do you know I have really noticed a difference!  Stronger and more frequent letdowns!  Sweet!

To switch it up a bit I thought I would make some oatmeal cookies. I have majorly cut down on sweets from the first 4 months of Levis life(and even cut all added sugar etc out for a while), but every once in awhile you just want a cookie.  Well...actually I want cookies everyday..but we don't always get what we want and that's ok! :)  But yesterday I made a batch of yummy oatmeal cookies.

My friend Sandra(my baking friend queen) recommended I try this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I made a few alterations to it to make it have a little more oatmeal and a smidge more healthy and I am really pleased with the way they turned out! Just what I was hoping and Tristan loved them and he's not even a sweets guy!

Here is my adaptation of the recipe:

1/4 cup organic coconut oil
1/2 dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup Oat Flour(I put 1 cup instant oats in the blender)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon(it was a BIG teaspoon..cinnamon is good for you)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 cups (120 grams) rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

In a large bowl, cream together the coconut oil, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the oat flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the coconut oil/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips
Chill dough for 20mins or so.
Drop onto baking pan in tablespoon size balls. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Makes close to 2 dozen. Total time from start to finish for these cookies(if you let them chill in the fridge) is 40-50mins.

That's it! Now just sit and enjoy them with some Mother's Milk Tea!  Hope some of you Momma's give them a try.  If you do let me know what you think!



We hung out at our pool yesterday with our friends Justin and Sandra and had a GREAT time! We got to use the new float we bought for Levi and he got to spend a good chunk of time in the water. The weather was perfect and so was the water. Levi had a great time... he was so relaxed and loved going around the pool and laying forward and lifting and letting his bum and legs float. There was even some possible slight kicks too! It was so much fun for this big water baby to watch her little water baby enjoy the water too!!!

Happy memorial weekend everyone. Hope you all have a great weekend!


First word.....Da da!

So just now, while Tristan has been getting ready for work Levi has said Da Da to him 3 times...and it seems yo be intentional! We are freaking out and I am so excited because I have worked so hard to get him to say Da Da to Tristan!!!! I'll try to get it on video soon!!!


Swing Time

2 days ago we went to the park with Jana and Piper for a picnic and some play time.  It was wonderful and Levi had his first experience in a swing!  He loved it so we will be doing it again soon I'm sure.  Here is a super cute picture that Jana took of him and a little video of him having fun!


Levi- 6 months


-Babbles. Thhh, da, ta, ma, ba. I think  he will be saying da da soon when he sees Tristan because when I say "where's daddy?" He smiles, looks around the room, finds Tristan and then smiles real big.  He know the word daddy goes with Tristan..it's so cute! And since he says "da" I think soon he may connect the dots and say it to Tristan.
 And, I feel like he "talks" all day long He never seems to babble when I want him to though...like when we talk to my parents in the morning on Google Talk!

-Is full of smiles, laughs and giggles.

-Is very flexible..praise the Lord!

-Grabs at EVERYthing. Faces, plates of food,toys..etc.  And of course he wants to bring all of it to his mouth!

-Has been in a swing and loved it.

-Loves to be outside. Loves to watch trees and feel the wind.

-Rolls all over and right now uses that to get where he wants. Last month he was scooting more but once he learned how to "fly" he decided that was more fun.  He thinks that if he "fly's" and makes noises like he is working really hard he will get somewhere.

-Still LOVES to be naked.

-Loves his time with daddy in the morning and talks to him the whole time.

-Is SUPER snugly with his daddy! He is a daddy's boy!!!

-Still can't sit up unsupported.

-Still has no teeth.

-Still wears cloth diapers.

-Is still exclusively breast fed.

-Has his first "cold." Last week he started coughing a little and then one night he coughed so much(and was sleeping through it) and wouldn't stop we were ready to take him somewhere because it scared us so much.  But, after holding him upright and doing some hand thrusts on his back it got better. He has had the cough since and has had a runny nose, sneezing and red,watery, itchy eyes...so I am thinking it's something allergy related. He seems like he should be miserable but is handling it all really well.

-drools and gnaws on things all the time! Rubs his gums with his thumb too.

-Still spits up quite a bit.

-Has super waxy ears! GROSS.

-Has super sharp FAST growing nails.  I can not keep up with them.

-Is perfectly chubby.

-Has the sweetest eyes and brightest smile.

-Loves life.

-Loves people.

-Loves to read.

-Eats and sleeps like a champ.

- Has not been fighting me about going down for his naps this week. Maybe he is learning????

-Loves his Sophie Giraffe.

-Loves his blue blanket from Katie and Avery.

-Watches us like a hawk when we eat and smacks while watching!

-Is NOT happy when he is overtired and fusses and cries to let us know he needs sleep!!!

-Gets so happy when I sign "milk" to him.  

- Poops 1-2 times a day most days.

-Has nasty smelly gooey poops due to teething (I guess)..grossest poops ever..and I'm a nurse and have changed adults!

-LOVES his feet and toes and loves to chew on them.

-Loves bath time more every day and is more playful each bath!

-Does NOT like to be hot.

-Does NOT like to put on clothes.

-Does NOT like his nose wiped or suctioned.

-Still has his pointy elf ears!

-has HUGE cheeks!

-Is the love of our lives! And makes us want more kids all the time!

Happy 6 months old Levi, we love you so. I can not believe you are 6 months old already.....where has the time gone! You are such a joy and we are honored and blessed to be YOUR parents. This has been the best 6 months of our lives! We celebrate and praise the Lord today for his goodness, loving kindness, and mercy! Each day is a gift and treasure from Him!


Remember me?

Written on Tuesday May 15th

I'm sitting on the couch at my pom pom and grandma's watching my boy and my pom pom snooze, wishing my grandma was still here to keep me company right now. We would talk about Levi, we would talk about Jared and Tyler, we'd talk about Tristan, about Katie and Avery.... she'd ask and talk about everyone. She loved people and really cared. She loved me.
Next month it will be a year since she passed away. Right now I feel the hardest part is that it's becoming normal that she is not around and I just don't like that.

My dear friend Stacy knows what it means to love and loose a grandmother near to you too. When I was thinking about our spare room that would be Levi's room and our guest room I knew I wanted something for Levi that was in memory of my grandma.  Something I could point too and tell him all about her.

I couldn't get the nickname she had for him out of my head: Avocado.  She never met my boy, she never even knew he was going to be a boy but I had mentioned to her one time that he was the size of an avocado and it just stuck. Not to mention I love avocado's and she LOVED Mexican food.

I decided I wanted some sort of Avocado pillow or print or something in the room.  I looked on-line, I looked on Pinterest, I racked my brain for creative ideas. Nothing. Eventually I thought of Stacy.  This woman is so dear to my heart.  She is a forever friend, the kind you (unfortunately) rarely talk to but it doesn't matter. You will always love them. And she happens to be a vibrant person with fantastic creativity and artistic ability. And I said before she knows a grandma's love.  So I told her about my grandma and asked if she would do a painting of an Avocado for the baby room. She quickly said yes.

She texted me a picture of the painting when she was done. I was in love.  It was perfect and reminded me so much of my grandma.  Then we made plans for her to drop it off on her way down to Lytle for Thanksgiving on November 22nd.  Little did I know that I would be in labor at that time!  When she dropped by I was in the VERY early stages of my labor and Tristan and I were working hard to get the contractions to come on so unfortunately when she arrived we didn't even get to visit. 

The painting is lovely, and it reminds me of my grandma's favorite outfit,the one she was buried in. It also reminds me of my grandma's kitchen, my favorite spot in her whole house.   And just as I hoped the painting reminds me to share  sweet memories of her with my son.

Thank you Stacy, it's such a precious gift!

Here it is:

And here is my boy and pom pom sleeping(Levi was playing on the blanket, decided he was tired, laid his head down and went to sleep, it was so sweet):


Lightweight Moby Wrap Tutorial

So we love our Moby wrap but it's totally going to be tooo hot to wear during the summer so I have been meaning to go buy fabric to make my own, since it's only a long piece of fabric anyway. Well what do you know, just when I am thinking about this my dear friend Mary(She is also my sister in love's sister) posted a tutorial with instructions on making a moby wrap on her blog.

So all you Momma's to be take an hour out of your day, save yourself some money and go make you and your baby a Moby wrap!


Our Essential Baby Items List: Products we love part 2

My friend Kaye had some great things to add to the list I posted yesterday so I thought I would post her additions here for you.  There are some things she mentioned that I don't have that I would really like to get and some other things I am sure I will need to get eventually ...mostly related to solid foods!
Thanks Kaye!

From Kaye:

"-organic waterproof pads to put under crib/pack n play sheets to protect mattresses! we've had lots of leaks, spit ups, etc that go right through the fitted, but those pads soak it up! :)

-if you cosleep,which we did in the beginning, i highly recommend a good quality waterproof matress cover for your own bed too! i would also put those pads i mentioned under elijah so that i didnt have to always change the whole beds sheets when he leaked, spit up, or my milk leaked everywhere! haha

-one of the best inventions ever is the baby bjorn bib. it is the one and only bib i use and its amazing. there are cheaper knock offs and they are not the same. go for the real deal!

-i like your feeding mat but was wondering if it's machine washable? i got a mat that wasnt, but did wipe easily. however, when they start to really get into food, it is a pain in the butt and much easier to throw in the wash (especially when dried mashed bananas are encrusted on and blueberry smoothie is sprayed everywhere! ha) ive really just started using tan towels underneath his chair (which matches our carpet, so not noticeable) and i change them every couple of days, depending on how bad it is. until i find something better, this is what i'll do! 

-id also add that once they start eating foods (anywhere from 5mo+) its pretty important to have a bunch of spoons and forks that are easy for baby to hold, once they are ready. i bought these fancy stainless steel ones, but they are honestly too slim for his hands and he definitely prefers the bpa free plastic ones you find at target and such. 

-unbreakable, reheatable bowls are nice, especially if your flooring is hard tile. we use silicone ones by kinderville and they work great, but im sure there are other options. 

-i recommend getting a variety of bpa free sippy cups to see what your babe likes cause all kids are seriously so different when it comes to this preference. and i find different cups work better for different beverages. since elijah turned 1ish, he loved to drink everything out of a camel bak. the flow is much faster and there's no tricky suction. before that, his favorites were a soft tipped sippy cup. we tried the soft straw sippys and he personally didnt like those, but i know other kids that love them and i know lots of pediatricians recommend the straw. 

-i highly recommend the 'munchie mug' a snack cup for on the go or around the house. we use it everyday and no spills or hurt fingers when he pulls food out.

-i think the best toys that have lasted and are still going strong through his different stages are books, wooden blocks (abc ones are great, or various shapes and sizes), musical instruments (especially small hand drum or shakers), balls, & play food--(felt and wooden ones are great for babies to play with, then they play pretend with them as they get older). 

-bpa free soft baby toothbrush (elijah loved his banana brush) and fluoride free toothpowder or paste.

-swim shirt with short or long sleeves plus a good waterproof sun hat. we loved 'iplay' brand solid color one, it covers ears and neck.

-homeopathic kids kit by hylands, teething tabs, and gas medicine like gripe water or mylicon."

After reading Kaye's list I realized I didn't post anything about cribs, and I left out a few nursing momma must have's!  

So the first few months Levi slept in bed with us in this:
You can find it here.

I loved it! We have a king bed so there was plenty of room for it. It made night nursing so easy to have Levi right there next to me, while easing my mind about me rolling over on him when he was so little.  But let's be honest...I never slept that hard and he many times ended up sleeping in my arms because I just LOVED it!  I will say now though that I think I will feel a lot more confidant with the next one and hope to just use something like this(but hopefully find something TONS cheaper):

I just think that thing is the coolest!!!!!  And if anyone wants to drop a ton of cash on something for us THIS would be it!  :)  You can find the expensive thing here.

I have heard of people putting pool noodles under their sheet on the mom's side of the bed too.  We have yet to try it but would really like to. Has anyone tried that???   Levi sleeps in a crib in the other room but there are many a night when Tristan and I just  want him to sleep in bed with us and would love to have something safe on the side of the bed so he won't roll off. 

Oh and here is the crib that Levi now sleeps in. We don't have much space in our house so a mini crib is just right for us and this one is pretty cute. Iv'e been really happy with it.  It's expensive but we had gift cards and coupons so we barley paid anything for it out of pocket.  It was such a blessing!!!

And now on to the nursing momma stuff!  

1. 6-8 Nursing sleep bras. I have 4 and wish I had a lot more because I feel like I am always doing laundry just to keep them clean. I get them soaked EVERY night!  I got these. They come in a 2 pack and are super cheap!!! A sleep bra, nursing pads and pj pants or shorts are pretty much my go to every night to sleep in.

2. 2-4 Daytime Nursing  Bras. I actually only have 1(gross I know), but would love more..at least 2 more! There are so many kinds out there and I don't really have a reccomendation!  

3. Nursing Tanks.  I have a white one, a grey one and a black one.  I wish I had more though because they really make nursing in public so easy to me! They are expensive though so I am always washing the 3 I have. I got mine from Target.  They have a good selection in stores and on-line and seem to have the best price I have found and I have been pleased with the quality too.  
4. LOTS of washable Nursing Pads.  Maybe 7 pairs at the least?? I got through them FAST.  I love these.


Our essential baby items list: Products we love!

I have so many pregnant first time Momma friends that I thought I should do a post on what Tristan and I think are the baby essentials.  I remember looking around online to find a list that would help me know the bare minimum basics, yet not neglect things that really make life with baby easier.  For years I have wanted to be a minimalist about things ...but even when you want to be a minimalist it seems to still take A LOT of stuff!! I'm including in this list the items for cloth diapering you would need too!

1. 8-12 cloth diaper covers. I HIGHLY recommend my friend Addie's diaper covers. She gave me 8 covers as a gift...we love them. Here is the link to her store : http://diapercircus.com/

These are the ones she made for Levi

2. 24 unbleached cotton prefold diapers. I really like econobum's unbleached cotton prefolds and the prefolds Addie makes!

3. 3-4 dozen cloth wipes. I bought these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0040T80JA/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00

I figured there was no need to buy actual fancy wipes that cost a ton, so I just got baby wash cloths..an idea I got from Addie.  These are only $5.00 + $2.00 shipping so $7 for 12 wipes...not bad. I love them!  They work better than other things I have tried. I usually just wet several with water once a day and put them in the wipe warmer.

4. 2 Diaper pail liners.  I got these in slate: http://www.nickisdiapers.com/planet-wise-diaper-pail-liner.html

5. 1-2 to go wet bags. I have 1 that Addie made for Levi..it's super cute!  

6. Wipe Warmer. Not a necessity, but my mom bought us one and I love having it!

7. But Cream.  We use Dr. Smith's per my midwife's reccomendation.  It works awesome. If Levi gets a little redness I jsut smear it on and by the next diaper change it's gone.

8. Diaper Sprayer for Toilet. We bought this one: http://www.nickisdiapers.com/bum-genius-diaper-sprayer.html

9. Moby Wrap.  I was afraid to try it. It seemed complicated. But, I kept hearing that I should give it a try and  that once I got it down I would love it. So I watched the video below over and over and practiced and what do you know...I LOVE it.  Like, I can't live without it and I think EVERY mom should have one love it.  And not only do I love it but Levi loves it.  He has from the beginning and still does!! And of all the carrier options out there I find it's one of the cheapest. And it's easy to wash.  Also, if you want to support a smaller company you can buy the Lu Lu Wrap which is essentially the same thing but hand made by a momma!

10. Car Seat. I highly recommend Britax. Fortunately, my friend Kaye had already done tons of research on car seats so I just looked up Britax per her suggestion and was really impressed.  This was one area we weren't concerned with saving money. Our carseat cost over $150.00...but worth every penny in my mind!

11. Pack N Play.  Totally didn't think I would need this ...boy was I wrong! We put Levi down to sleep in it all the time.  It helps you to still get out and do things at night and during nap time!

12. White Noise Sound Machine. We use it as part of our bedtime and nap routine to help clue Levi in on what's about to happen and the womb like sounds seemed to really help him when he was littler. We have this one.
13. Video Monitor. I thought we didn't need a monitor....that they were silly and over kill. Boy was I wrong.  I LOVE the thing! We have this one and have been super happy with it! I totally a convert that a monitor is a necessity!

14. Jogging Stroller.  If you love to run or just want to take walks on more off terrain type trails than a stroller a jogging stroller is a must have. Levi loves going out and seeing the world in ours.  

15. Car mirror.  It's great to look in the rear view mirroe and be able to see what Levi is doing and he now enjoy's looking at himself as well. 

16. A good diaper bag. I still don't have a diaper bag and the bag I have is an exploding mess. I love to be organized and for everything to have a place so this is really annoying.  Maybe eventually I will find the right bag..at the right price...but until then I'll just stick with what I have. 

17. High Chair/ Booster Seat.  We have this one. I love it. Our place is small so this is perfect as it just straps down to a table we already have.  It's also really easy to clean and portable.  I think it's so great that there is really no need for a Bumbo.

18. Bouncy Seat.  We have this one in a tan color. I love it because it's simple looking. I can't even count how much we have used this thing with Levi. We don't use it as much anymore but we couldn't have done without it.  It was so helpful!

19. Mesh feeder/ teether. My friend Kaye gave us this one. We just started using ours when we started incorporating Levi into our dinner routine.  I made breast-milk ice cubes(we call it momsicle) that I put in the feeder and he sits and eats in at dinner while we eat.  He LOVES it!!!! 

20. Floor mat.  Our mat is great for naked time which Levi loves since he has bulky cloth diapers on all day...and will be very helpful when Levi starts solids.

21. 4-5 Pacifiers(you need them everywhere...they disappear easily!) I know not everyone wants to use them and some babies don't like them...but Levi really took to his well and it was really helpful in soothing him when we were out and about.

22. Swaddler. Levi weaned from swaddling almost 2 months ago so we don't need it anymore but for Levi during those first 3 months he couldn't sleep at night without it. My favorites are The Miracle Blanket and the True Womb Swaddler.  Both contained Levi comfortably! We tried swaddling him with blankets ..like those cute bamboo ones...but he was too wiggly and could get out! We found it best to have 2 so if one gets dirty and is getting washed you aren't without one!

23. Sophie. Levi doesn't have many toys but if I had to pick his favorite it would be Sophie for sure. But he also loves his links(which are great for hanging and connecting things to strollers too.) and his activity walker.

24. Clothes! We have been so blessed and haven't had to buy much at all. Levi pretty much lives in Footie PJ's every night, and One Piece outfits during the day..when he has clothes on that is. When he was little and since he was born in December we needed about 7 footie pj's in whatever size he was wearing just so I didn't have to do laundry too often.

25. Burb Cloths/ Thin Blankets.  Levi spits up all the time especially now that he moves around so much so we have to have a cloth or 2 in the living room, one in the bathroom, one in the bed room...one...you get the picture...EVERYWHERE!  

26. A nursing cover.

27. Breast Friend Nursing Pillow....my favorite!!

28. Breast Pump.  I don't use mine very often but there are times that it's soooo helpful!  Like on roadtrips, or for making momsicles..etc.  

29. Books.  Levi LOVES to read so we have lots of books and our favorite is the Jesus Storybook Bible. It's a great children's bible.

30. Children's music.  We love music in our home and listen to all kinds and though I don't prefer most kid music..Levi loves it and so many of the songs are great for educational purposes and learning scripture!

I'm sure there are other things that I am just not thinking of right now but I think I covered the basics. 

We don't use a children's bath tub..Tristan or I just get in the tub with Levi. We have done this since birth.  We don't have any special soaps or lotions. I make a natural, mild body wash/ hand soap for our family that we just use for Levi too.  So those things cut down on stuff!

Hope this helps some of you momma's to be!  Let me know if you have any questions or if I left anything out!

Other momma's out there...what did I forget?  What are your go to baby items? Let me know in the comments!!


Life is good!!!

The last few weeks have been so GREAT!  Levi is growing like a weed and changing so much every day.  I love this age and often doubt that he could get any cuter than he is right now!
 He laughs all the time now, loves people, smiles at everyone, and seems to just be soaking up life and loving every minute! I never knew how wonderful it would be to watch your child learn and explore. Levi's newest thing is intentionally scooting towards things that he wants. He works so hard...and even huffs and puffs and lays his head down and takes little breathers ...it's adorable.  He has pretty much stolen our hearts.

He is still SOOO distracted when I try to feed him.  So much so that I have to lay side lying in bed for EVERY feeding if I want it to not last an eternity.

 He has also been grabbing at faces and loves it when he grabs my nose and I say "Oh no, Levi has my nose!"  Makes him laugh EVERY time!  He reaches out and tries to grab everything he wants.

Nights have been going so great still. He wakes up at about 5:30am sometimes and talks and coos and then goes back to sleep till about 7am and talks and coos some more....I LOVE it!  

If I tried to pick my favorite thing he does right now...I don't know if I could...there are too many!  

We have been on the go constantly, every day seems so full.

 Grandad and Grandma came to Austin to visit last Wednesday.  It was so wonderful to see them...it had been waaayyyy to  long!  I loved watching them enjoy Levi! 
 Thursday we had dinner with Justin and Sandra and as usual it was fantastic.  Levi had a really hard time going down there.  It was very unusually hard.  Not sure what was going on! 
 Heidi and Elijah flew in late Thursday and we all went to San Angelo the next day for the weekend.  Then this weekend we are going to LaVernia and then to Corpus( I REALLLLLYYYY miss my family!!!).  Levi is  a pretty great traveler and adjusts really well and I am sooo thankful for that!  

I just can't thank the Lord for how rich this new season of life has been. For the most part, the 10 years I was in nursing school and a practicing RN I was so stressed and depressed. I have felt so free since quitting my job. I love my days as a wife and momma.  It's hard work and can be stressful and draining... but it's good stress. And oh so refining! I just can't believe that I'm finally doing my dream job. It's better and harder than I ever thought it would be!

Thank you Lord. You are good. Sweet. Kind. It's all yours and I give it right back to you with praise and thanksgiving!

I can not be contained!

Next thing I know he will be at my feet in the kitchen!


Sickness, teething, worry, and a new trick!

(This was written Friday, but i couldn't get it to post)

(Also, blogging from my phone has been giving me trouble lately..so sorry if you get an email about the same post several times)

So yesterday I was sick..like couldn't get out of bed sick! So poor Levi pretty much just stayed on my bed with me all day! I felt awful but for him it wasn't so bad!  

There were lots of moments like this:

Tristan was amazing at helping me! When he came home from work he brought me some get well necessities and made me soup! He's wonderful!

Levi was extra super sleepy yesterday so I think he was fighting off whatever I had. Or it could be teething.

Speaking of teething, Levi has had a rough week as far as that is concerned. He's generally been happy most of the day with just a lot of drooling and fist gnawing.. but at his 5 pm feeding and until bedtime... wow...he has had some really sad, "I'm in pain" cries where he wouldn't      even nurse...he would just arch his back and writh in pain. He seems to be very sensitive when he is in pain and is very cuddly... I love that part!

With everything that's been going on (and the fact that he is so excited about the world around him)...he seems like he hasn't been eating as much...so naturally (but unfortunately), I worry!  Any tips mommas on how to not worry so much about things? Whenever he's upset or things aren't going well it's hard not for me to worry.."what am I doing wrong." Or "what did I do wrong." Anyone else experience this? I have these moments of deep trust in the Lord as a mom and in giving Him Levi's life...but I still find myself doubting everything I'm doing sometimes!

On a happier note..Levi has now not only found his feet but is obsessed with putting them in his mouth! It's sooo cute! He really loves his feet!

So, today we are trying to get back in the swing of things. We went for a jog at town lake and I made myself a ginger, lime,mango,carrot green smoothie in hopes of it giving me a shot in the arm!


A day in the life- 5 months

Here is a view into what a day at home sort of looks like for Levi at 5 months! Obviously on days we get out more or get out all day things look much different... but you get the idea!

-7am- Tristan and I go get Levi out of his crib and Levi nurses.

7:30am- Levi hangs out with Tristan while he gets ready for work and I go downstairs make coffee, pack Tristan's lunch, and make us smoothies.

8am- send Tristan.. aka daddy... off to work

8-8:30 - Levi and I play or he watches me do the dishes and plays in his booster seat.

8:30am- we head upstairs and read and sing and cuddle to get Levi wound down for nap time.

9am-10:30am - Levi naps

10:30-11am Levi wakes and eats

11am-12:00 we play, or go for a walk or Levi watches me do more cleaning!

12:30- we head upstairs and wind down for the next nap time!

12:30-2pm Levi naps

2-2:30- Levi wakes and eats

2:30-3:30pm- more play time or Levi watches me prepare some dinner things

3:30-4pm we wind down again for nap time

4-5 or 5:30 Levi naps

5ish Levi wakes and eats
5:30-6:30 I finish dinner, etc and we play some more

6:30pm - Tristan gets home from work and we eat while Levi sits at the table in his high chair and eats his momsicle

7pm - Levi has naked time and we watch him roll and play! Then Tristan reads to us,  and we pray.

7:30 or so I feed Levi and Levi is usually down to sleep no later than 8pm.

Levi-5 months

-rolls front to back and back to front very fluidly.
- has found his feet and loves to play with them! - sleeps 7:30pm or 8pm to 7am unsaddled and loves it!
- wakes up happy and talking in his crib most mornings and gives us the biggest smile when we go in to get him.
- recently became a thumb sucker when he is sleepy, or during his sleep.
- nurses 5 times in 24 hours. about 10-15 minutes on each side.
- is very sweet while nursing and usually does something cute like touching my face.
- is VERY easily distracted while nursing.
- loves to be outside
- loves to watch other kids play
- likes to sit up, rather than recline
- is generally very happy, Smiley, and content most days.
- melts our hearts every time he flashes us a smile.
- laughs a lot...especially if I'm being utterly ridiculous. And sometimes laughs just because I am laughing!
- naps 3 times a day for about an hour and a half each time.
- is very flexible and does ok if we are out and about all day and some of his naps get cut short. Seems to love being on the go!
- still is content in the moby wrap when we go out and and about.
- can sit quietly through most of the church service.
- watches Tristan and I like a hawk when we are eating.
- loves to sit at the dinner table like a big boy at dinner and eat his momsicle.
- talks to family on Google talk or in a Google plus hangout at least once a day. He must think everyone lives inside my phone or computer.
- is really learning how to get around by rolling and semi scooting.
- doesn't mind being on his tummy like when we first started doing tummy time at 6 weeks... he has pretty much disliked it until just a few weeks ago.
- loves loves loves to read, even long older kid books.
- loves spending time with Tristan while he is getting ready for work and talks so much I hear him all the way downstairs in the kitchen!
- gets a huge smile on his face when he hears Tristan's voice when he comes home from work.
- can go down for naps and bedtime with daddy.
- took a bottle from daddy while I was away from home taking care of Larry and Jana's girls
- loves loves loves bath time!
- loves to listen to music, and has "sang" along a few times.
- grasps and picks up things well.
- loves to put everything in his mouth.
- drools constantly and acts like he is going to bit his fists off. Sometimes is very irritable and cries a lot from teething pain.
- has outgrown most 3-6 month clothes and some 6 month clothes due to his big butt cloth diapers!
- loves to get his diaper changed.
- may love being naked more than anything else in the world.
- has beautiful soft dirty blonde hair growing in.
- still has huge beautiful blue eyes.
- has beautiful,smooth, peachy skin.
- gets hot easily and does not like to be hot!
- loves to look out the windows of the car.
-arches his back and does this scream protest thing when he doesn't want to do something... to which Tristan and I have already been telling him "no sir" very firmly.
- has defiantly already shown us he is not perfect and needs our consistency and correction! ;)
- has me and Tristan totally and completely in love with him. We are crazy about our boy!
- has shown and thought Tristan and I more real and deep things about our heavenly father and life than anything else has to date!
- is very very very loved!
Thanks to Mary Beaver for giving me the idea to do monthly posts like this...and keeping me motivated to blog!
And though it is sooo hard for me to do things out of order I felt like I needed to start blogging in real time and just do back track posts when I can!