Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ellie's Birthday (Mainly) In Pictures

Ellie had a birthday. She's one.

We had a party. It was owl themed, of course.

Mommy made the invitations.

There were cupcakes.

Ellie had her very own cake.

Which she ate like a lady.

She played ball.

And opened gifts.

Boy, did she get a lot of gifts.

It's been two weeks and the decorations are still up. 

But taking them down really means the first year is over. Just a few more weeks; I promise to have them down by Christmas.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Envelope System

For our On Our Mind section in the Oklahoma Money Matters newsletter, Your Bottom Line, I wrote an article about how Dan and I have implemented the envelope system. It was released yesterday and I've had a few people comment about how helpful it was because they were thinking about moving to a cash-only system, too.

Here's the article if you're interested. You can also go here to view it in the context of our newsletter (it's on page 5) or go here to sign up to receive them directly.

Last year was a year of change for my husband and I. We had our first child and sold and purchased a new home, both of which made us take a closer look at our budget and make drastic changes to the way we handle our money.

Since last October, we’re now proud followers of the envelope system and we’re very happy with how this system has helped us stay on budget. Prior to switching to cash, I constantly used my debit card. I even charged a .54 cent coffee at one point because I never carried cash! It’s shocking how quickly expenses add up when you pay with plastic. I’d always try to keep a tally in my head, but if I thought I’d spent $40 in one day, it typically was more like $60. You always spend more with plastic than when paying with cash.

If you’re thinking about switching to a cash-only system, here are some suggestions based on my experience.

Stash a few weeks of cash to get started. If you’re serious about the envelope system, I suggest using a lump sum to pre-fill your envelopes versus starting with empty ones. Each pay period, your envelopes will grow, but if there’s nothing in them when getting started, it’s easy to feel like the system has already failed you. It’s possible that a week after starting this all-cash method, you’ll be invited to a baby shower or you’ll want to do lunch with a friend. What will happen if there’s no money in your "gift" envelope or "dining out" envelope? Pre-filling them with a couple weeks worth of cash is a good way to help you start your new system on the right foot.

Don’t switch everything to cash. If you use online bill pay, keep the money used to pay these bills in your account. Whatever we budget for our bills, we place in our savings account and then transfer funds to our checking account when we pay the bill. Also, to us, paying for gas with cash is a huge pain, so our gas expenses are placed on our credit card, which we pay off at the end of the month.

Don’t spend the change. The great thing about using cash is all the change you get from your transactions. Let’s say you pick up groceries and your total is $24.09. Hand the cashier $25 and throw that .91 cents in a jar home. Change really adds up. When your jar gets full, take it to the bank to deposit in your savings account.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about using the cash method; join the conversation on our Twitter page, @OKMoneyMatters.

For those of you looking for an Ellie birthday update, I'm working on it! Stay posted.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

N to 12

It's Ellie Eve tonight in our house, so I thought it was only fitting to showcase Ellie from newborn to 12 months. What a walk down Memory Lane! 

10 days old, about to head to the park

One Month
Look at those cheeks!

Two Months
She's 10 weeks here and her hair is already fitting in a hair bow!

Three Months
Please don't pull Daddy's finger!
Four Months
Mommy's little Strawberry Shortcake
Five Months
Visiting Mommy at work
Six Months
That's a smile, my friends. She likes to wrinkle her nose for some reason.
Seven Months
I think this may be one of my favorite pictures of her.
Eight Months
Leaving church. Doesn't she look like she's up to something? 
Nine Months
Bathing Beauty
Ten Months
Vogue, vogue, vogue!
Eleven Months
That girl...she makes me smile!
Twelve Months

See tomorrow's blog!

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Ellie Week!

In under 48 hours, my baby will turn one. <sigh> Where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday I was one of those typical, cankled pregnant women waddling around in my flip flops because they were the only shoes that fit.

I kinda miss this!

Then, after months of "cooking" and a crazy week in the hospital, sweet Ellison Grace made her debut, instantly stealing the hearts of her mommy and daddy.

3 weeks early and 8 lbs, 2 ozs

We brought her home and she met her sister, Peaches Marie.

She hung out.

She saw her first snow. <Ignore the scary, sleep-deprived lady holding her for the picture>

She ate and ate and ate.

And slept and slept and slept.

I love those cheeks and those feet!

And, she met her whole family who loves her more than she could ever know!

Five generation picture
How quickly does a year fly by? Look at your children and you know the answer to that question. Fast! This week last year I was giving birth to my sweet little girl and this week I have a big girl who sits in a chair and eats graham crackers while watching Elmo.

Instead of crying my eyes out thinking I only have 17 more years, I'm instead thanking God for the year that I've had. I feel so blessed for this little girl to call me mom and look forward to celebrating her first birthday this week.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekend Recap

It seems like weekends come and go so quickly these days! I always have big plans that usually revolve around 'doing ALL the laundry' or 'finally cleaning my house.' Yea, that never happens. I haven't given up yet. I still think there's hope for our house, but I'm not going to be the type of person that freaks out about having dog hair on the couch or dishes in the sink. I'm so over that.

Anyway, although I didn't get the laundry done, I did stay current with the dishes and have time to do some  fun stuff. Here's what went down.

Friday. Pioneer Woman book signing! It was a long wait in line, but well worth it. I'm excited to cook my way through her cookbook and can't wait for her children's book next month.

I'm typically in bed super early, but I was on mission to organize my coupon box. I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. clipping, tossing out expired coupons and getting my shopping list ready for Homeland.

Saturday. After grocery shopping at Homeland and Target, I tried to take Ellie's picture for her birthday invites, but she was NOT having it. Here are some of the outtakes. 

Crawling away. Please ignore how dirty the floor is. <See the opening paragraph>

Eating crumbs off her high chair. Yuck!

This one is sweet, but not the right layout for her birthday card.

After laying Ellie down for her nap, I finally had time to clean out my messy freezer and pantry. I'm in love! It's practically the only place in my house that's organized. I thought moving into a larger home would help me be more organized, but I just have more room for clutter! Oh, well. Not in my pantry!

After E woke up, she was in the best mood...until I grabbed my camera! I was able to get a good shot of her in her crib. Here's the color version. I used the black and white version on her party invitations, which I'll post later this week. I can't believe she's almost one!

I love this girl!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lacy Myers Photography

So, after a few months I finally developed my photography logo. Very simple, but I'm in love with this font and the colors.

And, I'm finally posting some photos from my first shoot before Christmas. Special thanks to Mel and sweet baby Eden for letting me get some practice. I had such a great time!

For more practice, I'm offering 30 minute sessions for $30. Hit me up for more info!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Just Go to Sleep!

I knew I was in trouble tonight when I scooped E up off the floor, asked "ready for bed?" and she replied, "no, no, no." Not only was it her first time to use the word "no", she meant it.

If you know me well in real life, not just through social spaces, you know that bedtime has been a struggle, but one that we have been victorious at over the past couple months. I rocked Ellie to sleep for too long, but who can blame me? A sweet sleepy baby with chubby whubby kissable cheeks is too hard to resist rocking 'til she's dead asleep, dreaming of finally being able to talk and telling me to stop chanting "Eat 'em up, eat 'em up, chomp, chomp" while she's trying to eat. Anyway, after really only two nights of letting her cry it out a couple months ago, she's able to go to sleep on her own most nights.

But this isn't most nights. She's past the point of no return as I like to call it. She's so tired that she has had her second, third and fourth wind. Besides the extra peace of mind and security, this is another reason why a video monitor comes in handy: sheer entertainment! No matter how frustrating it is that she's not going to sleep, this kid is one funny girl! Here's her "I don't wanna go to sleep MO":

  • Stand up, look at the door and babble cute little baby words. I'm sure she's thinking, "They tell me all the time how cute I am. This will get them to come in and check on me for sure!"
  • Run her binkie across the slats in her crib like running a cup across medal bars in the clink. No lie!
  • Stand up, look at the owls above her bed and say "hoot, hoot, hoot." Side note: I was so proud that she knows what an owl says, but now it's her reply for every animal sound. We have some work to do there.
  • Pull the binkie out of her mouth, dramatically hang it over the side of the crib, let go and say "Uh-oh!"
  • Stare at the binkie on the floor as if to say, "That was a bad idea!"
  • Start the "flop like a fish" routine, where she lays down and constantly tosses herself all over the mattress trying to find a comfortable spot.
  • Lay still for three minutes so mama thinks she's asleep and then let out a random scream.
  • Sit up and start clapping.
  • Stand up and walk around the perimeter of the crib.
  • Flop back down, bury face in sheet and raise butt straight in the air.
  • Roll over, bring feet up to hands and proceed to pull off socks. Shake them in the air while repeating cute baby babble chant.
  • Stand up, look at the door and yell mama and dada. Sit down and whine and whine and whine.
Needless to say, she won and momma went in to rock her again. But of course, I won too. I got to hold my little chubby whubby cheeked princess who'll soon be big enough to push me away. Sigh.