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Things To Do on Maternity Leave

Besides the obvious loving, snuggling, feeding, and general tending of the world’s cutest damn baby, there’s actually, surprisingly, time… for things. Turns out newborns sleep a lot. And when you figure out that schedule (afternoons good – mornings bad), you can sorta capitalize on it. To do stuff. Combine that with a lack of income (not a complete lack just yet, but an impending lack), and what do you have? A recipe for renewed frugality. Not just a lifestyle, friends. A past time, a hobby, an ever flowing fountain of inspiration… especially when you’ve just been featured on MSN money. Quick! Do something frugal! Everybody is looking!

So what am I doing with this free time? Read more

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Orijen Freeze Dried Treats: A Review

Every once in a while, every once in a great, long while this little blog gets me something for free. Not much, mind you, and primarily it comes from the dog world, which is fitting. Whenever it happens, I can’t help but squee with excitement. Especially when that free stuff is something I’ve been looking forward to for what seems like forever.

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Champion Pet Foods. I’ve sung their praises from the very beginning (here and here) and given them every honorable mention I can get away with (including in my dog food manifesto). As kibbles go, they are way ahead of the pack, in my not so humble opinion. Locally sourced ingredients, full disclosure, never outsourced, biologically appropriate. They set the bar for the industry, and not a lot of other companies can even come close. However, this high standard has left them with some ‘limitations’ shall we say, in their product lines. If you insist on owning all your own equipment (as opposed to co-packing at a facility you can never completely control), it can be difficult to offer things like cans or frozen foods or… treats. Read more

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So, That Happened

This time last week I was stuck in the hospital. In fact, I’d been stuck at said facility for nigh on 4 days. My baby was here… inevitably, finally, amazingly, at long last. But, due to the loooooong process to get him here, we were held for observation. Testing. Sepsis. Glucose. Temperatures. Heart rates. Stool softeners doled out on the regular. Percocet should I so choose. Funny that I chose the former over the latter. Eagerly. Missed opportunity, that. Lots of pestering and interruption in a very small recovery room, with limited and sometimes no hot water. Well meaning pestering. Professional pestering. Slightly obnoxious nonetheless.
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In Memorium

I’ve neglected to write this post. Not because it’s not worthy of sharing. Quite the opposite, actually. These stories should be told. But, because it didn’t feel shareable. It felt like our own. A family decision. A personal journey. For each of us. And it always is. A sad day. A long goodbye. Then relief, for all of us, I hope.

I’ve got a thing about commemorating the dogs that pass through our lives. Paintings, figures, photos. Something that remains with us when they have passed. A conversation starter about them. Once they leave us, these old dogs are not to be forgotten. They become part of our story. Their chapter in our family, short or long, it’s important. And so a cute picture of an unassuming little dog. Our littlest dog actually. And our oldest. Six pounds of 20 year old Maltese appreciation. Read more

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Cheap + Expensive: A Nursery

My baby, (who isn’t here yet, a fact causing me all kinds of grief) has been suitably provided for. And then some. I’d go so far as to say I am pretty dang happy with how his digs have turned out. It’s not often one ‘plans a room’. At least not this ‘one’. In my world, decor evolves. Hand me downs and purchases, old and new, intentions and the inevitable. A hodge-podge. Screw you, Pinterest. The process is more interesting than any inspiration board.

But a room for a brand new person, where you have months to plan and plot and purchase, where to some degree it has to be done. Because, a kid is showing up (eventually). Starting from essentially zero. What’s the end result of that? Read more

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Why I’m Not Writing

I will make no promises to ‘be better’. I’m not saying I’m back at it. I am not reformed. I probably won’t even try harder. However, I will acknowledge I haven’t written shit. In weeks. And I haven’t had much desire to. I’ve got some theories on that. Namely, that I’m still pregnant. Sure, its the final countdown. Weeks, just weeks. Weeks unto days. Give or take. Strike that. I can neither give nor take them. I can only eat lots of spicy food, continue to move as much as I am physically and emotionally able, and prepare. Another continuation. The dogs might be ready (as ready as they are gonna be), but are we?

Instead of writing, that is what I’ve been doing. In all its various forms. Read more

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Baby Proof your Dogs

Dogs before children, chronologically speaking. It’s a common arrangement. Dogs are easier, cheaper, and less commitment than your own progeny. People are prone to have bliss-full, canine centric lives, before Junior shows up. People like me, who give dogs a 13 year head start on procreation. Over a decade of their lives, kid-free, let alone infant, baby, toddler free, which is a whole special subset if you ask the dog. Squirmy, loud, with poor impulse control, and developing motor skills. Sort of like dogs, but they grow out of it. Eventually.

Yet we expect our dogs to accept these new beings without question. Not just the new noises and smells from something they recognize as only vaguely humanoid, but a major shift in the pack and their lifestyle. Changed priorities. Newly unnaceptable behaviors, parts of the house off limits. Maybe they don’t get to sleep in the bed anymore. Maybe a bleary eyed new Mom or Dad pushes off or forgets the standard meal time. Maybe their spot on the couch is shifted slightly, if not gone altogether. We completely change the game. And if they don’t comply, we send them packing. Read more

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Adjust. Now.

The last few weeks have been…”eventful”. Not in the traditional definition of that word. It’s not as if much is happening. Here I sit, 31-ish weeks, increasingly uncomfortable. I’ve begun referring to this as the doldrums of pregnancy. Still afloat, but not able to go much of anywhere in a hurry. By eventful I’m referring to the quiet death of Hope and Fake Budgets. Long ago mentioned, never followed up on, for precisely this reason. Yet, it stuck around for a long time. Long enough to look promising, really, really promising even. Bright and shiny and looming on horizons. Before snuffing out rather unceremoniously. But, that wasn’t even the event. The event was everything that came after. Read more

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Buying into Baby

There’s so much Stuff to buy for your kid!! Welcome to the pressure I’ve felt for the last 7 months. And I’m not talking on my bladder. No. Some people call it ‘nesting’. I call it a prime opportunity for our consumer culture to hoist a bunch of unnecessary crap your way. Short term crap, most of it. With an expiration date of a few years, if not months or even weeks in the the case of those newborn clothes. This is stuff you gotta have. At least some of it, but we ain’t talking life and death and heirlooms here. Oh, I’m sure I’ll tuck away a couple outfits and blankets for posterity. When it comes to breast pumps, nursing pillows, and pack-n-plays though, what do I much care?

The problem is people get a little nutty about baby stuff. Read more

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Grocery Spending: Redemption

That title makes this sound like the sequel to a bad action movie. And maybe it is. The first installment being the act of spending way too damn much, consistently on groceries. (Reference $750.) After some time away, we return to our storyline only to find our heroine (that’s me) singing a new, improved, slightly different tune. One that sounds a lot more like $500 a month.

That’s right. Grocery spending is down $250/month for the 3rd month running. That’s a big frickin’ deal, folks. Huge! $750 reprioritized dollars, SO FAR. Yet, I have not become an extreme coupon-er. I am not shopping at Safeway. Our changes have actually been quite small, cumulative in nature, and went surprisingly according to plan. Slow, time consuming, and somewhat bumpy plan, but one that’s coming together nonetheless. Read more

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