Tuesday, September 30, 2014

an added bonus?



i have been to the doctors 4x in the last 3 weeks, so i am just going to come right out and say it.

--

they should have daycares at fertility clinics.
imagine the money they could make! $$$$$.
on top of all the crazy amounts that they already make now off of us poor women & couples wanting to have a baby so bad that we drain our bank accounts and take out loans just so we can be hopeful for two weeks and have a glimmer of that chance.
were already charged an arm & a leg, so i mean really - why not?
on a different floor of course.

i have now been to two of the fertility clinics in MN, and at my 1st appointment at the more recent clinic - there were 6 children in the waiting room. four in the beginning, and two more while isaiah and i were waiting to be called back to head to the lab.
we also took a seat in the corner, only to find ourselves sitting next to a green eggs & ham book.
is this some kind of joke?
after texting a friend who had went to the same clinic about the oddity, i went over and asked the nurse if there are usually this many kids around? she said "we discourage it and always ask that you do not bring any children, im sorry" - and of course, this i had known as they also asked me to leave any previous children at home.
crue was sleeping at home while isaiahs brother was in town and staying with us.
i have a kid. i understand. i get it, i do. childcare can be hard to find at the last minute, or maybe too expensive, or maybe perhaps your sitter bailed. but even though i have a child of my own? it still stung to see so many in that waiting room. i felt sad.
i realize that i don't know their story, as they do not know mine. we have no idea if each others first children were easy to create, just as difficult as our current's may be, or harder.

as a stay at home mom, it wasn't easy to figure out what to do with crue the 4 doctor appointments i had in a 3 week time span.  if i wasn't worried about bleeding all over a new surface and ruining yet another outfit, i was worried about who would watch my kid and if it would go well.

the clinic i go to now is on the 4th floor of a large building.
imagine if they had a daycare! hire people to watch our children.
set it up on a different floor or area of the building where they're separated.

i would LOVE to get ready with crue, park in the ramp as usual and stop by a room like a church nursery of sorts to drop him off while i went in for another ultrasound, another blood draw, another chat about having a D&C if this STOOPID period doesn't stop, or what have you. they could charge you good money - lord knows i'd pay it to avoid the stress of a babysitter (which so far, has only been family but i still go stir crazy). $30 per half hour? sign me up. get some teachers aides, somebody who loves kids.

i see it as a bonus of sorts, i really havent a clue.

but what i do know - is a fertility clinic having the option of a daycare center, would make shit easier!


and we infertiles could use a little easy in our life. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

small business love



i love to think outside of the box when i dress crue, most mornings. when i have the time and i know we'll be leaving the house :) ha ha.

its been a lot easier with the weather getting cooler and has actually helped me to spot him out of a number of other kids when he's in the church nursery or following someone older around at the park :)

i absolutely LOVE these camo leggings from Little Foot Boutique!






right when i got them out of the bag i knew that i couldn't wait to get them on crue. they were super soft and had the PERFECT amount of stretch. (which is super awesome for all of you cloth diapering mamas!)



if you have little ones or love to look at home decor - be sure to check out Little Foot Boutique! lisa is an absolutely joy to work with, and you won't be disappointed! 
thanks to this camo pair, its easy to dress my boy! 











here's a peek at a few other items in her shop that i think are super wonderful :)


obviously i am a lover of all things nautical, so this is right up my alley. 


did someone say mustard? sold.


a teepee is on our list for crues big christmas present, so when i found out she has them in her shop too? 
super excited. she's making it so easy for me!







there are so many good buys from leggings, headbands, bedding for adults, pillow covers and MORE! i don't know what i might buy next! 



Little Foot Boutique





Monday, September 22, 2014

Midwest Vacation Budget Tricks



5 Midwest Vacation Budget Tricks
Ready for some travel tricks you might not have heard of? There are lots of family vacation budget tricks out there. However, here’s a quick step by step list of travel secrets that might help you.








1: Best Free Attractions

The first in the list of 5 Midwest vacation budget tricks is the most obvious, but most ignored. The best way to start off saving, and tightening your travel budget, is by not spending anything! Try some free activities and attractions in the Midwest. This is a quick list of interesting places with the best free attractions in the Midwest, including your state.

1.     World’s Largest Ball of Twine – Cawker Kansas
2.     Moon Marble Company – Bonner Springs Kansas
3.     The Van Gogh Project – Goodland Kansas
4.     World’s Largest Catsup Bottle - Collinsville Illinois
5.     Jolly Green Giant – Blue Earth Minnesota
6.     Minneapolis Sculpture Garden – Minneapolis Minnesota
7.     Spam Museum – Austin Minnesota
8.     Carhenge – Alliance Nebraska
9.     The Enchanted Highway – North Dakota
10.   Mount Rushmore – Keystone South Dakota
11.   Corn Palace – Mitchell South Dakota
12.   World’s Largest Basket Building – Newark Ohio
13.   Amana Colonies – Amana Iowa
14.   Mines of Spain State – Dubuque Iowa
15.   Hallmark Kaleidoscope – Kansas City Missouri
16.   State Fish Hatchery – Oden Michigan
17.   Jelly Belly Warehouse – Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin

To find the best free attractions native to your state or town, here are search ideas:

1.     City Websites: Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and Chamber of Commerce sites are great.
2.     Event Websites: Sites like Eventbrite, Zvents, and Yelp.
3.     Factories: Most giant factories (i.e. candy, toys, food) offer tours of their facilities.
4.     Free Festivals: Almost every town in the Midwest has free festivals with dozens of family activities.
5.     Museums: Lots of historical and popular museums are free or donation only.
6.     Zoos: Several zoos have free family days. Call to see if your destination has free zoo days.
7.     Historical Sites: Most state historic sites are some of the best free attractions.
8.     State Capitol: Most state capitols have free tours.

2: Coupon Apps for Dining

Never pay full price again for eating out. There are dozens of coupon apps for dining. The reason it’s second on the list of 5 Midwest vacation budget tricks is because you can literally cut your restaurant expenses in half. Of course the best dining budget trick is bringing your own food on vacation, but realistically sometimes you need to eat out. Here’s a list of coupon apps for dining:

1.     Blackboard Eats
2.     Scout Mob
3.     Night Out
4.     Deal News
5.     Foursquare


3: Giveaways Are Better Than You Think

Remember being a kid and wanting to sign up for sweepstakes and your parents said, “You’ll never win that.” Well, don’t be that parent. Of course if it seems shady or looks too good to be true it might be, but what’s the worst that can happen? Now you’re spam box has a few extra emails each week? So here are the stats. Giveaways are better than you think. You and everyone else think they’ll never win. According to a study, here are the average giveaway numbers for the events in the USA:

Cash Giveaway Statistics:
1 in every 600 people who see the giveaway enter.
Item Giveaways Statistics:
1 in every 200 people who see the giveaway enter.

Items Value:
1.     Less than $100 - (1 in 20 enter)
2.     $100 - $500 - (1 in 60 enter)
3.     $500 - $1000 - (1 in 300 enter)
4.     $1000 or more - (1 in 600 enter)

Obviously, often the bigger the prize the less entrants there are. Here’s a family vacation giveaway you can enter that is provided each year for the tourist city of Branson.


4: The Difference A Day Makes

FLIGHTS: Flexibility is king when it comes to cutting travel costs. If you can plan in advance you get to be pro-active instead of reactive. Did you know, statistically the cheapest day to fly on airlines is Wednesday? The next two best days are Tuesday and Saturday. What’s the best time to buy airline tickets? The answer is Tuesday at 3PM. An extra tip is always check what flights cost into neighboring airports. The difference of an airport 2 hours away is sometimes as much as $100 - $300 per person, at that rate with a whole family of 4 you decide what to do with an extra $1,000 in savings on your vacation.

If you’re incredibly flexible and don’t care about the vacation timing or even the destination, sign up for flight deal alerts. The most expensive seat in an aircraft for an airline is an empty seat. Sometimes last minute flights can be $69, for a flight than normally runs from $299 - $599.

HOTELS: Lastly, if you’re looking for hotel deals, booking the day of your stay greatly decreases the price. If you don’t get into your destination until late at night, and if it’s not busy season, the difference a day makes is a jackpot! You can even call ahead before to ask if they’re filling up. If not, walk in late at night and all the cards are in your hands. That $149 room is now $80. Remind them you can go somewhere else and ask what kind of deal they can give you.


5: All-Inclusive Resorts Save Money

It’s not always true, but if you’ve budgeted for family activities and attractions on your stay, all-inclusive resorts save money sometimes.
Myth #1: All-inclusive resorts aren’t in America. There are several all-inclusive resorts in the US.
Myth #2: All-inclusive resorts always cost more. If a family of 4 is planning on visiting 2 attractions per day and eating out twice on vacation, factor in a couple $100 in cost to your savings when you stay at a “cheap” hotel or resort. All-inclusive resorts can cover dining, and have activities for all-ages that range from ice cream socials to crafts, water parks, canoe trips, snorkeling, snowboarding, and so on.

Conclusion
Keep an eye out for great deals. Whether you’re a luxury traveler or couponing mom, there are tons of great ways to steal a deal for the family. Remember in the end it’s all so you can steal away some quality time together.

~ Nathanael Madden www.arcadiacoves.com


Thank you Nathanael for sharing these wonderful tips with my readers! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Infertility Journey


Infertility.
The word that makes so many women feel alone.
I think I can say that. Because that’s how it made me feel.
But did you know that, we are in fact, not alone? Infertility affects 1 in 4 women. How unfortunate is that?!


……



Continue reading over at MOMquery where i am sharing more about our journey.

Friday, September 12, 2014

IKEA learning tower hack



have you seen the learning towers floating around the internet?! i had first seen them when i was a nanny and thought that something for the girls to bake with me would have been SO amazing. thats when i quickly realized something like this can be $200+! WHAAAAT! is that real life?!


via google images / $199 at target



isaiah is the main cook in our family so dinners are his thing, but with me being home and C now eating solids, i am making breakfast and lunch for him every day. i totally started to think about how awesome it would be to have one again. i showed isaiah a few pictures over the weekend and his response was "lets think about it for a week and then we'll see!" fast forward to Monday while he was making dinner, he yells from the kitchen, "i totally want that tower now!" and i heard the same thing on Tuesday, Wednesday too ;) C is always super excited to see him when he gets home so he loves to be near isaiah when he's making dinner. SO. we made a tower of our own, and it solves EVERYTHING!

we attended a wedding on saturday and the reception hall was next door to IKEA so we made a pit stop there to pick up the bekvam stool to use as our base. 

he's in LOVE with the elevator buttons and discovered them in this photo



we did NOT attach the top of the stool right away because we were going to sew in the four leg posts. so after we had that assembled, we went to home depot on sunday morning to gather some wood and spray paint! when we got home we posted up in the driveway and got to work (more like isaiah got to work and i chased C like a crazy maniac to keep him off the street… which may have been harder!)






supplies that we had used: 
the ikea bekvam stool
4 1.5x1.5 posts
6 1x4 boards
1 dowel (we started with 15inches long and cut it down more to about 13inches at home)
2 cans of spray paint (color is seaside, picked out by crue)
+ the tools (nails, drill etc)

you can see in the photo above that isaiah is attaching the 4 posts to the top of the stool and attaching the sides. we wanted this to be level with our countertops so we first measured our floor to counter height which was 36inches tall. the stool stood 19inches tall so we had our 4 leg posts cut down to 17inches. 19+17=36. 


hot safety glasses babe ;)


once we got the legs on, we attached the 1x4 boards to the side and front. ours on the side are 9.5inches and the front ones are 15.5inches. when those were all safely secured we did a little test with C, so far so good! the front board (15.5) ended up being a little long and too thick for us to cut at home so we just left it as is even though it hangs over each side about an inch or so, its really no big deal! 

for the back we just drilled in two circles to each of the 1.5x1.5 square posts and put the dowel through there. 15inches was too long and we didn't need it to go through the wood so we cut it down at home to about 13inches and it worked just fine. i rather start with too much wood than not enough and make multiple trips to home depot! the pictures below is the top sitting on the bottom portion of the stool but they weren't screwed in together yet as it was much easier to nail boards in to the top by itself as a shorter piece. 






unfortunately, when we were nailing in our second front board, it split. thankfully, we had an extra 1.5x1.5 post so we used that and avoided the trip back to home depot. its not matching but it doesn't change the functionality of the tower.





^^ in the photo above you can see that the lower board in front is the 1.5x1.5 square post instead of the 1x4 board. whoopsie! i would use wood screws to avoid splitting, or buy just a little bit of extra wood incase something does split. 







super easy project! put the stool together from the ikea instructions, attach the four legs to the base of the stool and from there its just attaching your outside boards to keep the kiddo safe inside!
we lined up a few blue shades of spray paint at home depot and this is the color crue pointed to and grabbed off the shelf. it doesn't match our kitchen by any means, but i do love it! its called seaside and definitely reminds me of our cruise trips to the ocean :)







we let it dry overnight and TA-DA! pretty successful i'd say! crue absolutely loves hanging out at a higher level and "helping" us around in the kitchen!






whats your favorite ikea hack?!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CRUE: 1st birthday party



part of me can not believe that crue's 1st birthday party was already a month ago!!! and another half of me sits here thinking man, only a month ago?!

we obviously went with the nautical theme, i know, how surprised are you?! i just can't get over this obsession! especially after seeing how much he loved the ocean and being on a cruise ship… totally our kid!

we threw his party on sunday august 10th across the street from our house at a park with a picnic shelter. his actual birthday was the weekend before on saturday the 2nd, but i knew from the start that i wanted to have him all to myself with isaiah for his actual birthday and just soak up the day as a family of 3. so thats what we did! we woke up with presents, spent the afternoon at the MN Zoo, went out to dinner and stopped for cupcakes. i wouldn't have changed a thing about it! we had thought about doing the party on saturday rather than sunday, but the park was already reserved. now looking back, i am real glad we had the whole weekend to plan for last minute things!

the party was held 12-2 which we thought was perfect because C is a late sleeper who usually wakes up somewhere between 1030-1130am, so he'd be ready to go for the party and take a nap when it was all over with. welllllll. we ended up winning a photo contest and got a free 10 minute shoot, which was happening the same day! only starting at 8am. i can definitely count the number of times that C has been up at 8am on one hand and knew this wasn't going to be pretty. i debated on all of our options but we decided to just roll with it and get the pictures done since he is turning 1 and its such a special milestone to all of us so we woke him up at 715am, changed his diaper, put his birthday outfit on, poured milk in to a bottle and were out the door!

let me just tell you that the photoshoot was kind of a disaster. first, it was supposed to be 10 minutes long only. i was thinking WHAT THE HECK, my kid will maaaaybe let the photographer get one good shot of him in that 10 minutes. but it was so early and crue was so tired, that he practically refused to let isaiah put him down at all. once crue became a little curious about the space we were in, isaiah was able to put him down but not step aside more than 2 feet away. and then crue was hungry so he laid down for a bottle meanwhile i was just ready to get home and get my kid back to bed before this party started. i'll share the pictures we got back from that 10 minute session next week!

alas, i got my kiddo home by 9am after we ran some party errands and back in bed. isaiah went across the street to start decorating while i was at home watching the sleeping babe. unfortunately, it was SUPER windy and isaiah was really struggling to get things set up :( we never did get up the "walls" that we had planned to do because the wind just did not allow for it. i was really bummed but what can ya do! we also completely forgot about the veggie tray at home in our fridge and the "one" cake topper for crue so WA WA. hopefully my grandma was the only one that missed the veggies and no one noticed that the cake topper sat in the bucket with the straws the entire time. i woke crue up at 1130 and we walked over to the park to find isaiah still setting up and people already arriving! double WHOOPS on that.

we didn't get all of the pictures i had hoped (we had a seriously awesome watermelon sailboat!) but I'm glad we have pictures at all. we served a variety of wraps with assorted meats&cheeses inside, captains cake, shipwreck snicker salad, starfish rice krispies, gold fishes, shark cupcakes, chips & sail-sa, ocean water, red apple raspberry lemonade which was in an AWESOME lighthouse cooler, life saving (life preserver) sugar cookies, crabby samiches and some other good treats. the day was wonderful, the party itself went off without a glitch and people seemed to really enjoy themselves.

ok, i am sure you are ready for the pictures now :) there are plenty of them, so bare(bear?) with me!

i can't believe were the parents of a ONE YEAR old!!

birthday poster from Sid and Sho Digital Design










^^^ this was probably the happiest moment of the day. nicole, andrew and eisley made the trip up from iowa! nicole and i "met" online when we found out we were pregnant in nov 2012 and now we got to meet in person with our babies who are 2 weeks apart! it totally warmed my heart and the babies fell in love!








banner made by Itsy Bitsy Paper Shop (Etsy shop coming soon!)










isaiahs mom ellen - us - my dad gregg

crue and his grandparents (missing isaiahs dad in heaven and my mom who lives in texas)

grandparents & great grandmas



















birthday hat from Little Blue Olive








my sweet grandma. i've always said that my grandpa was my hero… but since he passed, i am every day impressed by this lady and her strength. she is everything! 




thank you for virtually attending crue's birthday party :)



dare i say, let the 2nd birthday party planning begin?!
i kid. i kid.