Monday, March 31, 2014

38 Weeks

I thought for sure I wouldn't see the month of April still pregnant but here I am on the last day of March. Still pregnant. I'm really grateful to have been able to carry this baby to term and beyond.

Everything is ready to go at home, I've just been trying to keep things neat and tidy. Grocery shopping was weird this week. With meal planning I was hesitant to plan meals for the whole week since I have a significant freezer stash built up for baby's arrival but at the same time, no guarantees he'll come this week.

This weekend was really relaxed and low key. On Friday I ran a few errands on the way home from work - including picking up 3 high circulation library books I had placed on hold that happened to come in ridiculously quick.

DH worked on Saturday and, much to my surprise, the boys were fairly well-behaved and didn't send me into labour while he was away. B spent most of the weekend outside playing with the neighbours on his bike, scooter, and rollerblades.

On Sunday, everyone but myself slept in until nearly 8am which was crazy and we spent a quiet morning watching Frozen. In the afternoon we went for a long walk around the neighbourhood, the boys rode their scooters, and we even brought the dog along. Throughout the course of the weekend I even got the chance to get through an entire book.

I've been enjoying a lot of snuggles lately with my littlest soon-to-be 3 year old/big brother. One thing I've liked about the 3 year spacing between the boys has been not feeling like I have to divide attention between two babies for the important and sometimes difficult milestones in the first years. I feel like each child got their chance to really "be the baby" if that makes any sense. In many ways, N has also grown up much more quickly than B did. I noticed this a lot as I watched him and B going hard on their 2-wheeled scooters during our walk. B received a 3-wheeled scooter for his 3rd birthday, yet N has been riding a 2-wheeled competently since last Fall (at 2 1/2).

I will have my 38 week midwife appointment tomorrow. At this appointment they offer the stretch and sweep to get things going if I wish. I opted for one at 38 weeks when I was pregnant with N and it did its job. Think of me tomorrow!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Month 17: Debt Repayment Update

After going back in the red in February, we filed our tax return earlier this month which was definitely a boost at getting back on track. Since last month, we are back down $718 which leaves:


Typically in previous years we've used at least half of the return to pay off debt and another portion for renovations. This year with the tax return, we allocated just under 1/3 to debt so far and splurged on a new counter and dishwasher for the kitchen (more on that to come).

I actually retained about 1/3 of our tax return this year in my bank account. I'm still working right now but with DH's work being slow and my being off work so imminent, we didn't want to be in a bind and have to potentially use credit to pay bills during April while we wait on my first Employment Insurance payment. It is my hope that some, if not most of it, will still be able to go toward debt and that next month we'll finally be under the $50K threshold!

This weekend, DH worked his first overtime of this year which was a bit of a relief. Looks like work is finally picking back up - and just in time. As I mentioned in my past couple of updates, usually the slowness doesn't last much past January but this year it seriously dragged on. We were okay because I was working and luckily roughly 1/3 of my earnings isn't strictly allocated but it was a wake up call that we should be better planning for things like this that come up and that taking on any additional debt/payments at this point would compromise our ability to cover our living expenses without relying on credit. If anything I guess it was good practice for the baby budget since my earnings will decrease by about 1/3.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

37 Weeks.

*Happy Dance* I've officially made it to full term! The past few days I've been getting a lot of Braxton Hicks. Total weight gain at this point has been almost 30lbs - the most I've gained in a pregnancy. Belly is measuring just above 50th percentile for weeks so baby is likely average in size.

The house is stocked with groceries and supplies for a while.

I've been continuing to prep homemade freezer meals for after baby comes:
- Spaghetti sauce
- Shepherd's pie (without the mashed potato topping - I like to add that when I make it)
- Hamburgers
- Turkey chili
- Turkey meatballs
- Chicken pot pie

Also in the freezer:
- Chicken nuggets
- Haddock

Single serves (I totally plan on bringing a couple of these to the hospital - I know there is nothing but a yucky day old sandwich offered to you when you birth in the middle of the night):
- Chicken noodle soup
- Spaghetti sauce
- Quiche
- Turkey Chili

Small portions of snacks (also for the hospital):
- Blueberry Cranberry Muffins
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Rice Krispie Squares

I've been keeping the fruit stocked too so I can grab a few pieces on my way out the door.

As for work, I am still working. My official last day isn't for another 2 weeks but pretty much all of my projects are wrapped up to a point where someone else could easily take over without trouble. My colleagues threw me a"going away/happy baby" lunch. It was really nice but I've been feeling very emotional about leaving. Trying to keep positive that I might have the opportunity to go back or that something even more perfect will come along. Things have always had a way of working themselves out and falling into place for me so I'm remembering that. I'm hoping this baby will decide to come sooner rather than later so I can avoid the "last day goodbyes" which I always find the hardest.

Bonus things I've been able check off my to-do list:
- Making sure all B's school stuff is in order and taken care of (forms completed, etc.)
- Finishing my Easter shopping (and some birthday shopping) for the boys
- Putting holds on popular books I've been interested in reading at the library

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


The walls are still bare.. but we're otherwise ready.

Blanket on the side of the crib was a gift from a friend at work, along with the bear on the left. Assembly of stuffed animals on the right are selections by the boys for their baby brother from their own collections.

Baby clothes and car seat are washed.

Hospital bag was packed on the weekend - some things that went in are pictured above.

I'm still batch cooking and baking to stow away food for when the baby arrives but I've officially got a few meals ready to go so if the baby came, we'd be covered. No pictures of the homemade freezer meals but I have a family size portion each of the following: frozen hamburgers, spaghetti sauce, and shepherds pie. I also have frozen single serve portions of chicken noodle soup, quiche, and some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and cranberry/blueberry muffins. The single serves I plan on taking with me to the hospital along with some fruit so I don't get stuck with a day old sandwich in the middle of the night after labour with nowhere open to get food. With the freezer meals, I have a few other easy meals planned like grocery store take-out chicken dinner that DH could grab on the way home from work. The goal is to not have to really worry about dinners for a week after the baby comes.

As for the budget. I said before we spent most of the money on painting the nursery. The only other things I bought were diapers, wipes, and a crib sheet - oh and one pair of maternity pants on clearance at Thyme ($22) since my work wardrobe was getting slim a couple months ago. So in total, less than $300 was spent on preparations for baby #3 and we could've really spent less on the painting if we wanted.

Anytime after Saturday little man.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


With a few teasers of Spring this week - weather above freezing -  the countdown is officially on in our house until we can go back to weekending in cottage country like a number of other Ontarians.

The boys have been talking non-stop about the trailer over the past couple of weeks. As much as I've been zeroing in on all the things I'd like to change about our house over the last few weeks, hearing the boys chat excitedly about how much fun they had last summer and making plans for all the things they want to do, makes me realize that they don't at all care about the aesthetics of our house or having new stuff. Even at home, they are perfectly content to play in the backyard a couple hours/day. I worried originally about the cost of having a second seasonal "home", that it would take away money from other things like fancier vacations, nicer vehicles, eating out, nicer furniture and stuff, but if we asked the boys, they'd choose the trailer 100x over. I anticipate this might change once they get older and want to be around in the summer to hang out with friends.

In the Winter, weekends are centred around cleaning and organizing in preparation for going back to work and school on Monday. Lessons were also shifted to Saturdays or Sundays from weeknights because we found this worked better for us. Prioritizing family or relaxation time doesn't happen as much as it should. Summer weekends are entirely the opposite. Family time and relaxation is the focus. Having less than 400 square feet of indoor space makes cleaning at the trailer a quick 20 minute task before we go home rather than the focus of the weekend. Even cleaning at home isn't such a gargantuan task since less time is spent here.

8 Weeks.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

35 Weeks

Another bathroom selfie but switched up the bathroom this time :)
It is such a relief to have reached 35 Weeks. At 29 weeks I had my doubts I'd make it this far but here I am. Second milestone reached! Only 2 weeks to go until this baby is full-term. Since B was born at 35 and a half weeks anything past that seems like "bonus" time. Last time around, anything after felt like an eternity since I'd never been that pregnant before.

Sleep has actually been getting a bit better. The past few nights I've slept 3 hour stretches before waking up to go to the bathroom instead of 1-2. I've also been feeling less sore at night which seems weird since I'm getting bigger but perhaps it is because the baby has dropped. I don't have those uncomfortable baby in rib cage feelings which is kind of nice but by after dinner my back usually aches. I've been finding a shower at the end of the day and going to bed nice and early - usually around 8 - helps.  

At my last midwives appointment we went over a lot of birth details. I'm still planning for a hospital birth. With B we had to stay almost a week at the hospital before coming home since he was early. With N, we stayed only 10 hours but had to go back frequently to monitor his jaundice levels which was a pain. This time around, my plan is to stay overnight to have time to rest and recover without the chaos of being home and make sure everything is A-OK with both myself and the babe. At my 36 week appointment I'll get my binder which I'll take with me to the hospital when I go. Things are getting real! Baby is still head down and I've gained approximately 25lbs to date. My work clothes are quickly starting to feel uncomfortable.

Still on my to-do list before baby comes:

- Use a gift card for a manicure, pedicure, and eyebrow wax. I could really go without the first two but I always feel so much more put together with manicured eyebrows.
- Pack my hospital bag
- Buy last few things for the nursery, along with a package of diapers and wipes
- Wash baby gear that we'll use in first couple of months - carseat cover, swing cover, rocker seat cover, and winter carseat bag since it looks like we'll probably need it!
- Make meals to freeze for first two weeks after baby arrives and stock up on pantry and household essentials
- Get my hair trimmed
- Order new countertop and dishwasher (come on tax return!)

I feel like this is a much more realistic to-do list than I've had with other pregnancies.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Progress: The Nursery

The nursery has been painted and put back together for a few weeks now. The paint smell is gone. It is just waiting on the final decorative touches. We used VOC-free paint from Benjamin Moore but the room still smelled freshly painted until recently.

A while back, the nursery looked like this:

Drab brown and cream walls with a teddy bear border that N had pulled off in many spots. Holes in the wall from the crib rubbing against it and more spots where wall decor had been hung by previous owners.

$200 later after paint and painting supplies and a major scrub down of the furniture with soapy water and a cloth, it looks like this:

We could've spent a little less on the paint but we went with Benjamin Moore because we've liked the quality of the paint and found it holds up better than the times we've used the Home Depot brands. After the mudding and sanding, the room needed two coats of primer, the trim was also a cream colour rather than white.  We went with a VOC-free primer from Home Depot just to save a wee bit of money. The paint colour we went with was Benjamin Moore's Escarpment which I absolutely love.  The trim we painted to match the rest of the trim in the newer painted areas of our house - Decorator's White - in more of a gloss finish. The blinds were there from before and are navy. I really like how the navy looks with the grey walls. I plan on having more navy accents around the room along with yellow (the colour of a crib blanket we received as a gift from my hubby's godmother before B was born and that we have used for both older boys).

I cleaned up the rocking chair, moved it into the room, and washed some baby clothes but have yet to really add any additional decor to the room. I'm so picky. I really don't want to spend more than $300 on the nursery since that is the max we spent including paint with the other boys rooms and everything I look at seems unnecessary. For example, neither of the boys had a crib bedding set - only a good quality soft fitted crib sheet and blankets. They also didn't have a mobile either. We got one as a gift when B was born but it didn't fit on the crib and we never replaced it thinking it was better to avoid possible confusion from encouraging the baby to be alert and focused on the mobile in bed rather than sleeping.

Part of me wants to leave the room without a lot of decor so that we can personalize it once he gets here and it can happen organically. One thing the big boys have each done is chosen a few of their stuffed animals to give to their new baby brother. I'll have to find a space for these in the room. I do also still want to hang a shelf on the wall to hold the picture frame containing his ultrasound photo and the cute retro TV picture frame I purchased awhile back, along with any keepsakes he might receive as gifts. My only issue with holding off on more decor is that the walls look so bare but I don't want to buy wall decor just to have something there. I want everything that goes into the nursery to have purpose and/or meaning and not just be a temporary treatment.

Other things I actually need to buy for the room are a fitted crib sheet, mattress pad, and change pad cover (nearly all of our changes with both boys were done in the nursery on the change pad). I threw out the old ones since they were stained and well worn from almost 6 years of consecutive use. Luckily this only involves a trip to the store so the baby could really come at any time now though we're hoping he still holds off at least another couple of weeks to make it to full term.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Month 16: Debt Repayment Update

A day late since today is the first day of March. I find I drag my feet on reporting on my goals when they aren't being achieved than when I'm on top of them but I think it is so important to also share the times when goals aren't met. February brought with it a number of additional expenses (some unforeseen) and a continuation of work being slow for DH with the cold temps and a lot of wind and precipitation. Since we've been getting tax forms, I also had the opportunity to correct some of our outstanding debt amounts that we received yearly statements for which adjusted the number upward by a few hundred dollars and accounts for a portion of our increase in debt. Since last month, we are up $1989 which leaves:


Some of the expenses that came up this month:

Licence Plate Sticker Renewal (Happy Birthday to me!): $90
Car repair/maintenance: $600 - had anticipated $150 for oil change and inspection that was due but they found my water pump was cracked - alas the bill went up substantially. 
Kitchen plumbing issue: $80
Paint and painting supplies for the nursery: $250 

Also a number of birthday parties, school fundraisers, etc. Life. 

We're just waiting to receive a couple of documents in the mail in order to file our taxes but at the moment it looks like we'll be getting a decent tax return. This will help to get us back on track to paying off $10K this year. I've been thinking a lot about reframing our debt repayment in terms of building net worth. Wondering if this approach will motivate or trick us into paying debt down faster since we're essentially paying ourselves.