To the soon to be new mother

You’ve got the glow. Everything is exciting and it should be. The veterans wants to give you their opinions and tell you what you need to prepare yourself. You haven’t hit the nesting stage yet, you’re still in the honeymoon phase. I can tell because I just read your baby registry and there are multiple car seats, pack and plays, cribs, themes. I’ve always withheld giving my opinion, usually I’ll just give an eye roll at the other veterans who tune in and want to tell you exactly what products they used to care for their little one and that it’s the “right way”. Don’t believe that trash. The right way to do it will be the way you do it. I do however want to tune in to your baby registry and give you some dos and donts to save your nesting self from your honeymoon self. Go ahead and open that registry, look at the car seats (do this on both your registry’s), decide which one you want and eliminate the others. This may be the part where you post on Facebook asking why people like them or their opinions, I don’t have an opinion on that… as long as the baby has a car seat that is safe then kudos. Next do the same with the cribs, and the pack and plays.

You can’t see it but I’m panicked, I forgot to pack nail clippers and she had already started scratching that sweet face up!

Now let’s chat about the bottle and pacifiers, I see you’ve got multiple brands. Pick one. Preferably one that will provide gas relief, they will be more expensive. You can go with the cheaper brands but you’ll have to add manual labor and time in its place because you’ll have to burp the air the bottle doesn’t filter out of your babies tummy. I don’t know about you but my time is more valuable than money. You may think why do I have to pick one? Because these little babies are picky suckers, literally. Once you give them a bottle or pacifier, that’s the one they will want forever and if you want to change brands revisit my sentence that talks about manual labor and time. You will have to rock and soothe the little addict as they make the transition for days sometimes weeks. Some will not even attempt to eat if the nipple isn’t right and then you’ve got a hungry addict on top of that. Again do your nesting self a favor and narrow down that baby registry to the brand of bottles and pacifiers you want and add multiples of the same brand. Look at the nipples on the bottles and pacifiers and try to match them… trickery will be your saving grace while you prep those 2am bottles.

Took me until the 3rd kid to realize the same bottle brand was the key to a happy meal for baby

The honeymoon phase isn’t all bad for your registry. Go crazy on the clothes and sizes, add all the diapers you want, wipes, the decor and neat little inventions mankind has created for the new babe. Those are the things where it’s okay to be extra, but when it comes to the essentials know what you need so those things get taken care of first. As a veteran myself, I, like I’m sure other moms do, look at the essentials that are still left on the registry and then go from there. That’s hard for me to do if I see multiples of the essentials on your registry so narrow it down momma! This will be your greatest adventure yet, let me help you prepare for it 😊.

It’s would be a good idea to remember all these things are temporary. Buying the most expensive brands and products should only come into play when it is beneficial to your child’s wellbeing, like gas relief bottles and car seats that are safe. Sure we all want the stylish outfits and accessories but they only last a season, choose where you spend your money wisely because unexpected cost WILL arise when your child gets sick, loses their bottle, diapers, the formula you use and have stocked could be the wrong brand for the babe and you may not produce enough breast milk, etc… so keep those hidden cost in mind when you want to splurge on the expensive nonessentials. Like the baby baths… non essential. A towel in the tub with a little water works way better than any bath and your child will never out grow it. Of course these are just my opinions and I’m a frugal mom so to each his own.

My brother Jo and I were talking about my skills one time so that I could start a business. I asked him what he thought I was really good at and he drew a blank… he finally said, “the only thing I think you are really great at is being a mom”. I could’ve been offended by that, as I value my other creative skills, but if being a great mom is my top skill then that is possibly the best compliment I have ever received! I am here for you if you need generalize advice but if you come at me with monogrammed momma problems then insert eye roll here and move along.

There’s uncle Jo!

NANNY MCPHEE WOULDN’T LIKE THIS

I love how my parents always made me feel free. I know right now if we were able to pick our own parents before this life that I would have picked mine over anyone else on this planet. They always made us kids feel like we could do anything we wanted as long as it was legal and not too dangerous and even then during the teenage years we walked on the edge of that line. I never realized how amazing the feeling of freedom was until I went through relationships and roommates and such that had rules and regulations… those are the worst. I don’t like rules. I don’t like waking up and feeling like ‘this is what you have to do today, and this is how you have to do it’. Have you ever heard that phrase, “choose your battles” when raising your children? My parents were experts at this. They didn’t focus on a military uniformed household, they instead chose to step in when it came to our safety. I could’ve woke up in the morning at 10 years old and decided, ‘I think I’ll give my wardrobe a make over’, start painting my shirts, cutting my sleeves, bedazzling my shoes… and my parents would’ve smiled and told me it was interesting. Mind you if I didn’t like my artistic work, I would’ve had to live with it because we only went shopping for clothes once a year haha. And that is something I have actually done.

When I would tell my friends at school some of my daily activities their mouths would drop open and they would say things like, “your parents let you do that?”. Well yeah… I mean I didn’t ask, but I didn’t get in trouble either. My 7 siblings and I used to do all sorts of things that you’d probably bust your kids hind end for. We used to make biscuit dough and throw it against the chimney to see who could get theirs to stick the highest, play volley ball inside, collect random animals, cut each other’s hair, paintball and firework wars, build forts and zip lines, make a slip and side in the kitchen floor with dish soap and water, carry our mattresses outside and jump through the windows onto them… you know things that would give your parents nightmares. Nanny McPhee would’ve needed some extra magic to subdue us. I didn’t feel like I ever had a bedtime. I didn’t feel like I needed permission to go out into the woods or walk to the neighbors. I didn’t ask if friends could come over or if I could have this dog I found. Sure we had chore lists and the consequences for our actions came from themselves and not my parents, like cutting our own hair was humiliating, no need for further punishment there, or having the chore of cleaning a room we just massacred. The freedom of choice did not come with the freedom of consequence but I’m glad my parents allowed us to learn from our own mistakes instead of forcing us to learn from theirs.

Perhaps it’s why I live the way I live now. Spontaneous trips and random projects. Creative and free. I planned to spend this week in Salem learning about the witch trials, only my flyer mile points don’t come in until the end of the week… meh. So instead we decided to visit with family and do a road trip, which at the last minute turned into a trip to the smokies. I don’t mind what we do, as long as my girls and I can spend time together, I’m sure we will make whatever we do interesting. I’ve been to the smokies countless times, that’s one of the reasons it wasn’t my first choice. I don’t want to relive the same vacation time and time again. I’m an adventurer. I need to explore and do new things. Then I started thinking, we don’t have to stay in the same cabin/hotel, eat the same breakfast and have the same vacation just because it’s the same place we’ve been before… we can do something different in this place. I’ve asked my sister in law who is meeting me there to brace herself for what we are about to do. It will push her comfort zone to the limits… it will test our survival skills… it will be glorious. It is camp grits. Our home away from home for the week.

Isn’t it lovely?

The girls and I will start our journey today and Tonia will join us tomorrow. Gives us an entire day to set up booby traps to keep things interesting for when the gang arrives. The facilities are probably my favorite part, you have to ask the host in advance to bath in this bath tub that’s out in the woods… that way they can light a fire to warm the bath water 😂. Stay tuned for an update on how to not only take a last minute trip with your family but how to do it on a budget! The total cost for this beauty is less than what the average nightly rate is in the Pigeon forge/Gatlinburg area. Even with the added cost of bug spray and fire wood! Let the adventure begin.

My Bathroom Fiasco

I thought demolition would be the hard part.  Man oh man was I wrong!  It took us a good four hours ripping my surround shower tub combo out. We used different saws and hammers to break it apart and then carried it out in chunks. The guys helping me capped the water off so that I’d still be able to use the sink and what not.  Let me state this now,  if you haven’t followed my previous blog we are all winging this!  None of us have ever redone a bath before and we have been prepping ourselves with YouTube videos and advice from people we meet!  On that note, my ex husband does drywall for a living and offered to handle that part.  He is also a compulsive liar and it’s rare for him to follow through with anything he says.  Thursday was our demolition day, my ex was supposed to drywall Friday, and then Saturday we would tile.  It’s Monday morning and here I sit staring at the unfinished wall in my bathroom.

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I’ve decided that after my morning class I am going to come back home and finish the job myself.  Heck, I watched him do it… he measured the wall, cut the hardie board with a razor and then screwed it to the wall, how hard could it be?  That’s only one of my dilemmas.  The other dilemma is that facet.  I think the guys helping me rigged it in the bathtub because it is not holding up well.

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It’s not centered and there is a big gap between the tub and the facet. I’m having a mini stroke just seeing it, and imagining how in the world we are going to fix it. If ANYONE, ANYWHERE has advice for me I would greatly appreciate it!!!

Bathroom renovation

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Do you see that awful blue bath tub?  That’s my only bath tub and after 50 years in has finally given way and cracked at the bottom.   As you know I’m a single mom so paying someone to replace the tub is too expensive for my tight budget.   I had a lowes contractor come out and give me a quote on the labor which was $5,000…. um yikes!!!  The bathtub I found to replace it only cost $300 so that means if I can tear this thing out and replace it using YouTube videos I’d save money that I don’t have to spend.   I know it’s an awful idea but it’s pretty much my only option.   My friend Jacob offered to help although he has never done this before either.   Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! I spent my Saturday looking at tile because Jacob has a tile cutter and said we could easily do the shower walls with that.  We found this amazing place in Crossville, TN that will sale pallets of tile for $35 bucks!  The employees that worked there were super chill and offered to give me a great deal on this tile I liked for 10 cents each.  I hit the jackpot!  I’m going to spend the next few weeks researching out how to do this project and then update how it went.