Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Advice for First Time Mamas

I just met a wonderful gal at a fellowship dinner. She's just moved to the area and isn't going to get a "replacement" job, and she's pregnant. We had such a fabulous time talking, finding stuff in common, and just enjoying each other's company. As we chatted, I started thinking about all the things I should have done during my first pregnancy-the "if I'd only known" syndrome, I suppose. So here're the Domestic Goddess' advice at the low, low rate of free. :)

1. Chill out! Not in the "chill pill" way, that is. Just relax. Take a deep breath and enjoy it. If you work, then take advantage of any time you have with your spouse. Take this time to truly get to know him and enjoy your alone time. Trust me, childcare for date nights can be tough (and expensive) to finagle! If you're an at-home spouse, then don't worry so much about the state of the house or daily "stuff". Take some time to devour your reading list, do your nails, and soak in the tub.

2. Don't buy anything unless you absolutely have to, and even then, try to get it second-hand. Gosh, I would have saved sooooo much this way. All those fabulous gift cards could have been used to buy formula after I discovered I couldn't breast-feed. The toys our baby "just had to have" were great, but babies change so much and so quickly that the only way we'd get our worth is to have about six kids and then pass them on to a friend who would have to have six kids of her own. Impractical.
Example: A play mat I paid full retail of $40 would have cost $7 at a kid's consignment sale or shop. Find friends who are done with their baby-producing stage and ask if you can take the stuff off their hands. Trust me, it was so nice to find out my college roommate was expecting right around the time we were packing. She took all that good stuff off my hands for free! Great deal on both sides. Of course, check for recalls on anything before buying it.
What You Really Need:
Car seat (buy a new one that will last until your baby is at least 40 pounds),
Jogging stroller with a swivel front wheel and tires you can inflate at the gas station (but don't jog with baby until 6 months),
BPA-free bottles if using formula or pumping, lots of onesies (at least 10 will last a week),
A couple of weather appropriate pieces (Cold weather: jeans/pants, jacket, hat, leggings, socks. Hot weather: shorts/skirt, hat, swim diaper, socks.),
Sturdy diaper bag,
Diapers (about 20-25 if you're using cloth),
Free and Clear detergent.

3. Eat right. I gained 85 pounds with Thing #1, and I'm still struggling with the last ten. She is four years old! I was totally depending on breast-feeding to help me lose weight. Naughty me. I should have known better than to depend on something unpredictable. Sure, you can give into a craving here or there, but moderation is KEY. It helped me with Thing #2 and Thing #3 to think of cravings as a budget. I could splurge occasionally instead of making it a lifestyle like I did with Thing #1.

4. Exercise! Gosh, it made a world of difference in my post-partum attitude. I had knee surgery nine months after Thing #1 was born. Thing #2 arrived nine months after that, so I didn't really have a great opportunity to get back into a good work out program. I truly believe that's why I had such a bad case of the baby blues after Thing #2 arrived. Even if exercise doesn't prevent post-partum depression, it will help keep you and the baby healthy (besides working off those occasional craving splurges!).

5. Cloth diapers. I discovered these with Thing #2, and even though I only used them from her 8-12 month stage, they sure did help with potty training. Thing #2 potty trained herself the week before her second birthday. The cost? Five training panties, three of which doubled as evening soakers. Pricey, yes, but I'm reusing them on Thing #3. Thing #1 didn't really get proficient with the toilet until she was nearly three (switch from diapers to disposable training pants around 2 y/o) and then didn't figure out night training until she was 3.5. In fact, Thing #2 was done night training about a month after Thing #1.
Potty training for Thing #1 cost waaaay more than it did for Thing #2 and even more than Thing #3 even though we've subsequently bought three more training pants. Thing #3 is only 14 months old and has a very solid interest in the potty. I strongly believe it's the cloth diaper because she can feel the wetness.
Resources: Diaper Swapper (if you're okay with second-hand diapers). Kelly's Closet (for new diapers).

6. Read Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp. I read that after the arrival of Thing #3 and vehemently wished I'd discovered it during my pregnancy. It's a Christian-based philosophy on child raising and disciplining. I loved it. I started implementing several of Tripp's ideas, and within weeks, I could see the change in my kids' perspectives on how they viewed their actions.

7. (Not so much for pregnant contemplation...more for when you've already got your babycakes in hand.) Get reusable stuff or find ways to reuse stuff you buy.
Buy Reusable Stuff: Each of the kids has a Nalgene Grip 'n Gulp cup in their assigned color. Not only are these things super durable, Nalgene will send a replacement if anything goes wrong with the cup. We also like reusable snack bags from Planet Wise. Baggies have been reduced to puzzle storage. I feel so much less wasteful now whenever we pack snacks or picnics.
Reuse Stuff You've Got:This is my favorite mommy aha! If you're going to buy jarred baby food, keep the glass jars so you can store snacks in there later. You can keep baby cereal in there for on-the-go and then just add water when you're ready to use it. My 14 month old loves to eat her Cheerios and goldfish out of there. They are just the right size for a little one. The jars are surprisingly durable, and the lids screw on, so you don't have to worry about an unmixed cereal mess in your diaper bag or snack pack.

So there you have it. If this list is useful to at least one person, then I'm happy.

Challenge: To spend less than $100 on baby prep items (not including the car seat-I am a firm believer in buying those new).

-Domestic Goddess out.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I just discovered Glee. I know, I know. I'm two years late. It's okay. I watch about four movies in theater per year and don't have cable, so yes, I watch everything two years after the fact. Netflix has Glee available right now, and after hearing my cousins rave about it, I decided to give it a whirl. Naturally, I love it. I think the story line is a little beyond believable, but hey, it's TV. I love the singing, though. Those guys are really talented! Anyhow, early in Season 1, there's an episode called Hairography. In it, the Glee folks watch a group of girls from an opposing team. There's a lot of hair tossing and booty shaking as they dance to Beyonce's Bootylicious. The director feels threatened by them and introduces a hair tossing routine into their repertoire. Rachel, a Glee member, insists that it's a mistake for the team. She defines hairography as "all the whizzing of their hair around just to distract from the fact that they're not really good dancers and their vocals are just so-so." The director ignores the advice and goes on to have his team perform Crazy in Love, also by Beyonce.

Personally, I find this hilarious. It seems the writers for Glee find Beyonce to be all hair and no real talent. Sure, Beyonce has a great voice and some really good songs, but sheesh! All the fuss about her is ridiculous. I've seen lots of prettier girls just walking around the mall, and I've heard lots of equally talented girls at church and at my former schools. Whatever the case, hairology seems to make a lot of good money, so if any of you have lovely tresses, go ahead and learn how to whip it.

That being said, how much of what we see and buy into is real and what is hairology? What do we believe is true talent, quality, or necessity? What is actually smoke and mirrors? We have to remember who creates the drive within to be like someone or purchase a product. It's marketers who want us to buy into these beliefs. I urge you to please look past the smoke and mirrors and make intelligent, informed decisions about who you want to emulate, what you want to buy, and how you want to live your life.

Challenge: Analyze your weekly purchases and choices. Determine who or what you're buying into before you make any decisions.

-Domestic Goddess out.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Sense of Accomplishment

Wow, June has come and gone! I kept meaning to write a second blog for the month, but I kept distracting myself. With what?

Well, we moved into our new house on May 24. Our housewarming party was June 11, so that gave me three weeks to get everything unpacked and arranged. Plus, I had to get rid of all our used boxes. Thankfully, we were able to find them a new home.

Then we had a big trip at the end of the month...in which the three littles and I went to NC without Mr. DG. Naturally, we ALL got sick on the trip. Thankfully, I didn't have "plain" cloth dipes. G Diapers and their disposable liners saved my sanity!!! :)

So that leaves about two weeks unaccounted for. I'm sure I was doing something, but who knows what that was??? I know I definitely read and watched Pride and Prejudice. I also watched Jane Eyre. I'm on one of my romantic kicks again, I suppose. I'm currently in the midst of Mansfield Park.

At any rate, June was a fun month. We had several trips to the pool, some walks around the neighborhood, and a LOT of park time. The heat let up for a while, and we really enjoyed the cool(ish) weather.

I'm excited for July and even more so for August. My parents come visit us at the end of the summer!

Challenge: Find lots of fun free stuff to do in your area.

-Domestic Goddess out.