Thursday, September 26, 2013

Samuel's First Haircut

I had been putting this off, but we're going to a family get together this weekend and it had to be done.  Samuel needed a haircut. I was off yesterday, and I started to take him to a children's hair salon. Then I found out that they charged $20 for a child's haircut. I thought that was a bit much, so I made other plans. There's a walk-in hair salon very close to our house, so we took the kids there after I got off work today. They had a 40 minute wait, so on to plan C - me and James cutting Samuel's hair at home. I put two large garage bags on the floor in the living room in front of the TV, put Samuel's high chair on top of them & strapped him into the chair.  I turned the TV on to PBS. James got his hair clippers and scissors out, and away we went.

I showed him the comb, scissors, and trimmer before I used them. I rubbed the electric trimmer over the skin on my hand and then over his hand to show him that it would not hurt. James used the electric trimmer to give his neckline a straight edge.  Samuel didn't fuss about the ordeal too much. James helped me keep the little dude still, and we did a decent job cutting his hair. We'll get better with practice.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

How have things changed?

I've had several people ask me how we have adjusted to life with two kids. Here's one thing that we had to change very soon after we brought Eva home:
James' truck could not hold two car seats, and it was getting rather expensive to keep it gassed up. So, we went with something more fuel efficient. 
 It is a Nissan Versa. My parents got one about a year ago, and they have been happy with it, so we decided to look into getting one. James' parents bought his truck from us. Thankfully, we were able to get the Versa for slightly less than what we sold the truck for, so no car payment! We took both kids with us to the dealership when we bought the Versa. While I was waiting for James to get back from the test drive, I let Samuel walk around the lobby and I wore Eva. One of the women who was working there that day asked me how far apart my kids were.  I told her that they were 14 and 1/2 months apart. Sometimes people don't respond to that in a kind way, but this woman did. She was a mom too, and she was excited for us. Her kids are 11 months apart. She told me that things would for be hard for a little while, but it would start to be really fun.  What a nice encouraging word.

Another thing that we let go of was our YMCA membership. James didn't go there very often, but Samuel and I went several times a week. I was reluctant to give it up, but I could not justify the expense. It was almost $80/month. I found a less expensive gym that provides childcare while a parent is working out, but I haven't joined yet. Mostly because this has been calling my name:
Sometimes James watches the kids so I can go out for a ride.  On the weekends, I try to go in the afternoon while the kids are napping. Cycling has become my primary form of exercise. Sometimes I get to take this little guy with me:
The transition from one child to two children has been easier for us than the transition from no children to one child.  I second guessed myself a lot over every little thing with Samuel when he was a newborn.  We've both been more sure of what we're doing this time around. Our days are busier. Some days I don't feel like I've gotten much done besides feeding babies and changing diapers. There are days when I remind myself that all I *have* to get done for the day is keep the two kids fed and changed, eat my meals, and keep the two dogs set up with food and water. That doesn't sound too hard, but sometimes it is harder than it sounds folks. There are days when I wish my dogs would be more assertive with their needs. They don't give me many reminders. Neither of them will carry their empty water bowl around or scratch at the pantry door for dog food - and I could use the reminder sometimes. There are good days, fun days, rough days, and then there are the occasional days when I tell myself "It's T-minus 6 hours until reinforcements arrive. I can do this for 6 more hours." I'm really thankful to have a husband who will do anything to help with the kids.

We've had to tighten our budget. I found that Luv's and CVS brand diapers work just as well for our kids as Pampers did, and they are about 10 cents/diaper cheaper!  I've taken advantage of Craigslist and resale shops to purchase baby gear that we needed and clothing for all four of us. 

It takes more time to get out of the house, but it is getting a little easier than it was when Eva was a newborn.  We've had two fun outings with the kids lately, and we try to to spend some one on one time with Samuel everyday so he doesn't feel like he's left out. He thinks Eva is pretty neat, and she thinks he is very funny. It is fun to watch them together,and we can't imagine life without them.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A comparison from last summer

I though I'd share another bit of my story with Weight Watchers.  Here is a photo from July 2012. This was Samuel's first time in the pool.

 There is really nothing flattering about that photo - except for Samuel's cute little self.

Here are two photos from this past July, about 1 year later.  This was my 9th month on Weight Watcher's, and I had lost 60 pounds. I've lost another ten pounds since these photos were taken.
James' mom gave me that swimsuit 12 years ago to take on my honeymoon.  It had been sitting in a drawer for several of those years because it didn't fit. I was glad to be able to use it this summer!
 I am currently within 25 pounds of my goal weight!

Here's some of the positive changes that have occurred as a result of my weight loss:
  • I had a check up with my doctor last week, and my blood work looks better than it has in a long time.  I've been able to stop taking three prescription medications that I had been taking.
  • I can shop at any store for clothes. I do not have to seek out stores that carry plus size clothing anymore.
  • I don't wince when I catch my reflection in a window or mirror or when I look at photos of myself.
  • I've got more energy and I'm able to be more active with my kids.
  • I don't see food as a reward anymore.  After a rough day, I used to turn to food as a reward for getting through the day.  We still have treats for special occasions, but I don't make excuses for easting unhealthy food like I used to or think that I earned it because I've had a bad day.
  • I found a new hobby - cycling. I had wanted to get a bike for a long time, but for safety reasons James wanted me to wait on purchasing a bike until I had lost some weight. We both got bicycles after I had lost 50 pounds.
  • I don't fear being the "fat girl" at events or wonder if I am going to be comfortable in the seats at a ballpark, theater, or airplane.
There are still some things about this process that are not easy. There are foods that I miss - like Papa John's pizza. We used to get it delivered occasionally and watch movies together. While Weight Watchers is flexible enough to incorporate a slice or two of pizza, I don't think I would stop at a slice or two. So we just don't order it anymore.  Sometimes it is still challenging to stay on track when we travel. In June, we took the kids to Louisiana so our family and friends there could meet Eva. She still was not sleeping through the night at the time, so I had the perfect storm of not sleeping enough, indulging in some local foods that are hard to find in St. Louis, and not making the time to exercise. I gained 6 pounds on that 4 day trip!  I lost it by the end of July, and it served as a learning experience.

I'm thankful for James' support. He has been willing to eat what I eat for dinner, and he's been generous in giving me time to exercise.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Happy Adoption Day!

Today marks the one year anniversary of the finalization of Samuel's adoption.  One year ago today, we had our final hearing at family court and he legally became our son.

James and I had today off work, so we took the kids to the zoo to celebrate.  It was Eva's first trip to the zoo. We all had a great day.

Brushing a goat

Inside the butterfly house

Samuel enjoyed the elephants, especially the little baby elephant. This was the smallest elephant I'd ever seen.


Samuel petted the guinea pigs. He called a number of the animals "Daisy" - which our dog's name. I think he thinks if you say that to an animal that it will come to you.  I tried to get a sheep to come over to us so we could pet it. He said "Daisy" - just as he would if he was calling for Daisy to come to him. The goats, sheep, and guinea pigs were part of the children's zoo. The kids got in for free, since they were both under the age of two. Admission for me and James was $4 each, and it was worth it.

When Samuel got up from his nap today, he had a surprise from Mommy and Daddy waiting for him:
It is a Power Wheels Harley Davidson

He's the first person in the family to own a Harley!
We are so thankful for you, Samuel!