The Tula Hype

I’m one of those people who get wrapped up in name brands and hype. I know it’s not an endearing quality, but it’s one I have. And unfortunately, it sometimes effects my ability to make sensible purchases. This past week I have found myself struggling with a baby purchase which makes me wonder how much of my love for Tula is hype and how much is because I actually love the products.

When I had my first babies, I didn’t understand brands and baby wearing, so I used whatever Babies R Us had on sale. It wasn’t until my 4th child that I started actually paying attention to what I was buying. I purchased an ergo and used it exclusively with him. I absolutely loved it. But by the time I had baby number 5 the Tula hype had hit and I was catching the fever.

I bought my first Tula straight off the website. I stumbled into facebook groups for baby wearing and everyone was showing off their ridiculously expensive because they purchased at market value carriers and that’s when I found myself needing an out of stock print. I purchased 2 new Tulas later that month at market value… and cringed. But hey I looked cool!

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I love my Tulas. I think I need to stress that. I LOVE MY TULAS!!!! Even during summer months, I don’t find my tula too hot or sweaty. My toddler would live in his tula if I let him. It’s so much easier to put him in the carrier than assemble his wheelchair every time we go out. It’s comfortable. It’s fashionable. Even my fiance loves it!

So what’s the problem?

I’m not buying the new baby a stroller. We decided it wasn’t reasonable for us to have one. We already have a child in a wheelchair and we do not have room in either vehicle for both, stroller and wheelchair. Every stroller I’ve purchased for my other children were barely used. Heck even the wheelchair is hardly ever used. I am a baby wearing mom. My fiance is a baby wearing dad. We just don’t have the needs for a stroller that some families do. BUT what are we going to do with baby for the first few months when he can’t sit in his tula properly?

We could buy an insert, but then that makes the tula more expensive and I worry about the heat.

I could use a cheaper wrap, but I used a wrap with my 3rd child and absolutely hated it! It was hard to use and uncomfortable.

I could use a ring sling, but they are all more expensive than buying the tula insert and I’ve never used one and I’m not sure how I’d like it.

or…

And this is a big OR!

I could get a Lillebaby carrier. Lillebaby carriers can be used with newborns. They have an airflow option. They can be used longer than a tula and compared to the tula with the insert, the lillebaby is cheaper!

But the Lillebaby is not a Tula. And that’s where I’m at now… Which makes me wonder… Is it that Tula is the best baby carrier on the market? Or is it just all the hype? Am I just being a spoiled brat who cares what other moms think by insisting we have a tula? Or is there a reason tula is the brand most moms prefer?

Well, it’s 10 minutes until the next tula blanket stocking so I best rush over to their website with thousands of other moms and try to score my baby a $30 blanket that he absolutely NEEDS! And I’ll leave you with a picture of my sexy baby wearing dude! Because while the jury is still out on if we are getting another tula or a lillebaby, it doesn’t matter what the brand, nothing is sexier than a baby wearing dad.

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Refurbished Nightstand

Last month I blogged about our eagerness to tear up all the old furniture in our house in an attempt to make it “new.” We decided to start with our daughter’s room since our youngest child was moving into the room with her to make space in our room for a nursery. Most of our daughter’s furniture was mine as a child (yes that would make it roughly thirty years old) and it was pretty much ready to hit the dump.

I had been wanting to buy her new furniture for years, but the funds just weren’t there and now that we are on this mission towards financial freedom and trying to save money, it just isn’t in our budget. So, we bought a cheaper can of chalk paint, some new hardware and turned my 30 year old trash into a new little treasure.

 

 

If you don’t remember what we started with last month, above is a photo of my nightstand before we got started. At some point over the years we had actually lost the hardware for the drawer so it needed to be replaced regardless. But the whole thing just wasn’t very hip or modern for a nine year old girl and her four year old brother’s room.

 

 

After my Fiance sanded it, I painted it with some chalk paint we purchased at Lowe’s (totally spent my birthday date in the Lowe’s) while I watched Melissa and Joey reruns. We decided not to add the doors back because our daughter has a terrible habit of stuffing paperwork from school in there and making a mess. Instead we painted the inside and she is now using it to store her favorite books!

 

 

Hopefully we will have the rest of the room done by the end of the week and I can show you what we did with the dresser…

 

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AND the awesome bed my Fiance built with the help of our eldest son using plans from Ana White’s blog!

30 before 30 Pt 2

Earlier in the month I blogged about creating a 30 before 30 type bucket list ( you can read that here). I turned twenty eight this month and,  like most people as they approach a big birthday, I started to evaluate my life and all the things I have accomplished so far versus all the things I would like to accomplish. I spent a few minutes each week talking with family members and friends about things I wanted to do before I turned 30 and with a lot of thought, I have a compiled a list.

  1. Launch Photography Business.
  2. Buy a House
  3. Cut Sugar Out of My Diet
  4. Grow My Hair Out
  5. See my son, Jake take his first steps
  6. Get myself and my fiance out of debt.
  7. Go Whale Watching
  8. See a Seahawks Game with my Fiance.
  9. Write and Publish a Book
  10. Celebrate Christmas at Disney
  11. Become More Organized
  12. Go to a Drive In Theater with My Kids
  13. Learn to Swim
  14. Visit Washington , DC
  15. Complete a RunDisney half marathon
  16. Learn to Shoot a Bow and Arrow
  17. Attend Church More Often and Help Raise My Children More Christ Like
  18. Make a Difference In Someone Else’s Life
  19. Knit and Crochet 100 scarves for the Homeless
  20. Create a Waldorf Doll
  21. Take My Kids Stargazing with a Telescope
  22. Further My Education
  23. Learn Sign Language
  24. Rock a Cosplay at ComicCon
  25. Do Some Volunteer Work
  26. Have a Closer Relationship with my Brother Joe
  27. Go Ice Skating with my Children and Fiance
  28. Go Snorkeling and Experience Marine Wild Life up close
  29. Have an Emergency Savings Fund Set Aside
  30. Make this Blog a Successful and Inspiring Experience

 

I tried really hard to come up with things that really meant something to me and would make a difference in how I view my success in life while still having some easier items and experience I’d like to give my children. If you have been working on your bucket list this month as well and would like to share it, please do! And next month, I plan on writing a part 3 where I will share my ideas on displaying my bucket list and staying motivated to complete it.

Getting ready for baby

We have so much to do to get ready for our new baby. We currently live in a rental that is just a bit too small for our family size. We considered buying a housing, but I decided I didn’t want to be rushed in picking a home, packing, and unpacking. Plus, it’s not fun moving pregnant while tending to my two special needs children. We stay so busy with doctor’s appointments and cheerleading practices that it just didn’t seem feasible at the moment. So instead, we are going to work with what we have and make our smaller space work in the meantime.

And with more people but not more rooms, that means some people will be bunking together. We decided to combine our master bedroom with the baby’s nursery and to put our youngest child and our daughter in the same room. But this left us with another little dilemma. All our furniture is too big to make room for extra people.

With everything we need to be purchasing for baby and the holidays right around my due date, we just don’t have the funds to buy all new furniture for two bedrooms…

                                         Thank God for Pinterest!

             After number crunching and hours spent on pinterest, we came to the conclusion that our only option was to DIY everything! I mean, how hard can it be? The Fiance’s handy. I’m crafty. We watch A LOT of Fixer Uppers. We are practically pros! We got this!

          Neither one of us are very patient… And we both suck at planning… so we immediately dove in yesterday and started working on our daughter’s room. She currently uses bedroom furniture that is over thirty years old. I used it when I was a little girl and now she uses it. It’s old and it’s ugly. And it’s been through way too much. We emptied out her nightstand yesterday and tore it apart and began sanding it. What we end up doing with it… who knows?  But stay tuned to see the final result and to watch us get our 3bdrm rental ready to house a family of SEVEN!

Shopkick

After spending the last few days registering for Baby, I found myself walking around Walmart for over an hour tonight on what some might call a scavenger hunt. The $60 bamboo receiving blankets, $300 car sears, and $200 bedding sets made me realize that my father might know me a little bit better than I thought as he always refers to me as a rich girl trapped in a poor girl’s body. My bank account definitely cannot afford my taste in baby items, so with my fitbit on my wrist and my smartphone in my hand I headed to Walmart.

About a year ago I discovered an app called Shopkick. I get points for walking in certain stores and for scanning select items with my phone. After I get so many points I can trade them in for gift cards. I’ve tried many other apps like this in the past, but shopkick is the one I seem to rack up the most points with. Since I’ve had the app I’ve earned a $25 gift card to Target with JUST walking in stores.

After seeing how much baby swings are  I decided to start using the app a bit more. And since my doctor suggested I start working out 50 minutes 5 days a week. (He’s crazy) I thought this could be an awesome opportunity to earn gift cards for babies r us while getting some steps in. Yay for killing two birds with one stone! My fiance and I started walking around Walmart scanning the items the app had listed earning points. I got 3,000 steps in and a $5 gift card! I’m going to try to make a habit of doing this a couple times a week, since I live so close to Walmart and spend a lot of time there anyway.

If you are interested in signing up for Shopkick, you can do so HERE

 

 

30 before 30 Pt 1

I’m a Doctor Who fan. I’m not one of those overly geeky people, but I’m a geek and everyone knows it… and I’m a geek for Doctor Who. And of course, being a millennial female, David Tennant is my favorite doctor. Who can resist those converse and that hair?

My favorite thing about Doctor Who is not the time travel or the Rose Tyler love story. Although, doomsday, HELLO! makes me cry like a baby! But it’s the quotes. It’s the lines The Doctor delivers. Almost every episode The Doctor has said something that made me stop and think. (Now I should probably pause here and tell you I’m notorious for being an over thinker and over analyzing everything so that might have something to do with this)

David Tennant’s Doctor said in one episode, “Some people live more in twenty years, than other’s do in 80. It’s not the time that matters, but the person.” And I find myself quoting that line in my head, almost daily as I approach my 28th birthday.

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While I do feel like I have lived. I have been through a significant amount of crap. I’ve done things and met people and I have the most amazing children, as my years on Earth creep closer to thirty, I wonder what else is out there. What else am I capable of? How much more can I better myself? My family? What more can I do to be a better mom? to leave a carbon footprint on the planet?… If I died tomorrow, what would I regret most for not doing?

So I decided to write a bucket list! A thirty before thirty bucket list! But when I sat down to do it, I realized it’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. It’s not just something I can throw together in one night for a blog post, but instead something that would take a lot of thought. I took to google, of course, for tips on how to create the perfect bucket list and I’m going to spend the rest of the month really working on mine. If you are interested in writing one with me, below are some tips I compiled from google to help you out. Come back at the end of the month and share your bucket list… If mine’s not done yet, you might give me some ideas.

 

Write a draft. Just jot down all your ideas in no particular order.

Carry a small piece of paper with you everywhere. You never know when you’ll think of something else you might want to add to your list and while we all have smart phones nowadays, who knows if you’ll drop it in the sink while you wash dishes. (It’s happened a time or two)

Dream, but be realistic. As cool as it would be, I’m not going to be the first person to walk along the rings of Saturn. I’m all for being a dreamer and setting high goals for myself, but I know if I put things that are too far out of reach for me on my list, I will just be letting myself down. Instead of Saturn, try Mars!

Think about what’s important to you. While it can be fun to list a bunch of things you want to do just to say you did, try to add in somethings that are important to you. Things that will add meaning to your life.

Set time aside. This is where I’m going to fail! I have no time to do anything anymore, so I’m going to attempt to schedule time to work on my bucket list. I’m going to set 30 minutes a week aside to just sit and work on it.

Involve others. And last but not least. Involve your family and friends. Ask them for help with writing your bucket list. Sometimes the people closest to us know us better than we do and can be a huge help in setting goals and plans for the future.

Blessings.

I have learned over the years that The Lord is always with me. I’ve always been a firm believer that if you just look for Him, you can find Him everywhere. It’s not always obvious. Sometimes, you really have to open your eyes. And then there are times that He might as well be wearing a neon sign saying “HERE I AM!”… Today was the latter.

I’m one of those people. You know, the kind that uses music for everything. I have a song for every chapter in my life and a million anthems and “jams.” My playlist is my mood ring, my best friend, and my therapist. Music DEEPLY influences my frame of mind. And this morning when I pulled into the Children’s hospital for not one, but TWO very important appointments for both of my sons, God made himself so very visible through my local radio station.

A little background for those who are new around here, my son passed away in 2012. Nathan was born with a rare genetic disorder that caused significant brain atrophy that led to cardiac arrest in late 2012. He was only twenty one months old and although I struggled with it for years, I know it was because Nathan was just too perfect for Earth.

During the grieving process, I asked myself a lot of questions. Why me? Why my son? How could God? And MANY times, my faith began to falter. There were times I found myself so angry at God that I swore his existence wasn’t real. I would sit and scream hateful things at a God that I told myself I no longer believed in. Then I would listen to a certain song and be reminded that God has a plan and the best thing for me to do was to just trust in Him.

I thought about giving up on God after my son died.I gave birth to a child that instead of developing and growing, spent his whole existence sick, fighting to live… Then not even 6 months after his death, Nathan’s baby brother, my youngest son, was diagnosed with the same disease and doctors promised his life would be short as well. I shouldn’t have had hope. I should have been running away from my religion, but I needed God more then than I ever have and He didn’t let me down. I just had to look for Him. I just had to LET Him help me cope and He did just that through the song, “Blessings” by Laura Story.

It might not make sense to most, but through that song, I feel the presence of The Lord in my life and it becomes completely and utterly simple to just trust Him.

For the first time in months, that song came on the radio as I found myself in the garage of our Children’s Hospital, moments away from finally having a diagnosis for my 6 year old son, Luke.

It’s been almost 4 years since people started pointing out to me that my middle child, Luke didn’t walk normal. Teachers and therapists involved in my other children’s education and development were concerned about what they called “red flags” for autism. And so we started on our long journey for answers. Each road we took continued to bring up dead ends and with each year that past, Luke seemed to be more and more lost. It felt like we’d never know what was wrong, if anything and I worried my son would continue to struggle and not receive the help he needed. I prayed about it. I asked friends and family to pray about it.

And today Luke was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and sensory processing disorder.

I get asked all the time how I stay optimistic with everything my family goes through. People constantly tell me that they don’t know how I do it. And almost everyday I get asked how can I still believe in God. I guess that is why I wrote this blog. I knew that when I announced the latest update in my kids’ health, I would be bombarded with these type of comments and instead of just making the announcement about the latest hit my family has had to take I’d answer the questions that come with it.

It’s easy to give up on Christ. It’s easy for me to say there is no God and these things just happened to me and they suck. It is far too easy to throw myself a pity party and get angry. But you know what’s not easy? Believing. Having Hope. Trusting in something you can’t always see. It’s hard! And everyday your faith is challenged, but I’ve learned that getting angry, losing hope, giving up… it does nothing for you. It’s not liberating. It’s not freedom. It’s soul crushing.

I remain hopeful and optimistic, because I trust that God has a plan. I do it… deal with the pain from Nathan’s death, Jake’s poor prognosis, and Luke’s new diagnosis, because I have Christ holding my hand. I still believe in God, because I don’t see any other option. He has made His presence in my life so very clear. All I ever have to do is open my eyes… or in today’s case, just listen.

Luke was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and sensory processing disorder today… It would be easy to look at this as a curse and to hate the world. But just minutes before the doctor delivered this blow, through a song on the radio, I was reminded that God has a plan. And while it might be harder to take the path of trusting in that plan, I’d rather take that path and have hope than take the easy road and be full of anger.