Day 31: That’s a wrap

We did it! We wrote and supported each other for 31 days. Congrats to everyone that sliced. Thank you for your support along the way, and thank you for the stories you shared. Until next time, cheers!

Day 29: Baby Fever

Ever since Charlie was born, my two sisters have caught it. They have a terrible case of baby fever! My sisters and I have all recently gotten married (within the past two years), and all of us have seen the next step as growing our families. Bailey, my oldest sister, has never been in a big rush about anything. Before Charlie when I’d ask her when she would have kids, she wouldn’t give much of a response or be very specific. Now, it’s different. She’s ready. She stays of late chatting with her husband about baby names and visits us all the time. I absolutely love it!

Bailey and I are also ready to buy homes in the near future. She more so than I. Two days ago she text me, “We put an offer in on a house!” I was instantly excited for her. I couldn’t wait for her to find out if her offer was accepted. The night she put in an offer she was up late and I was texting her in the middle of the night as I was feeding Charlie. “I gave you baby fever and now you are giving me serious house fever!” I spent countless hours on Zillow. My husband and I contacted a realtor and lender the following morning. Then we looked at a few houses that evening. The next day (today) we went back to look at one of the houses again…. and we put in an offer! To be continued….

Day 28: okay one last car story

If you read about any of my car troubles, you know they went on for a long time! And timing was quite interesting with a baby on the way.

Charlie has been driving his car around for well over a week. It seemed as though the car really was fixed! My mom was up over the weekend with my aunt visiting our newest addition to the family. “Want us to take Grandma and Grandpa’s truck back with us?” I almost reply “Sure!” But instead I glance at Charlie. “Let’s keep it ’til Spring Break” he says. Good call.

And it really was a good call! The Tuesday before Spring Break Charlie calls me around 4pm. His calls our via FaceTime now so he can see his little man. Charlie utters the words that have been all too familiar… “You might need to come get me babe.”

“Dang, really?”

“Yup. But I’m going to try jumping it and maybe see if Uri can drive me out. You don’t need to come all this way with the baby.”

“Alright babe. Keep me posted.”

We have finally gotten rid of the car! While we wait for the Jeep to get fixed this summer, Charlie is driving around the little S10 we are borrowing from my grandparents.

Day 27: Rain check

 January 2019

Every year I love to make a vision board to jumpstart the new year. My birthday happens to fall in January and I happened to be turning 30. What better way to celebrate my birthday than with my closest girlfriends and some vision boards!

Friday morning I woke up extra early. 4:15. Just to clean our apartment. I had every intention of doing so the night before, but pregnancy had me in bed by 7:15. The apartment looked perfect good enough. Our tiny space continues to accumulate things for Baby Graves. It’s starting to feel a little crammed.

By 5:45 I get ready for work. Perks of a tiny apartment=MUCH less cleaning! Isn’t a freshly cleaned house one of the best feelings?

By lunch time the texts roll in… “Anyone worried about this weather?” I certainly was, but per the usual it had been a busy morning with no time to shoot out a text message.  Weather predictions suggestions snow accumulation starting around 4:00. By the end of the day, the get-together was cancelled. And by 6:00, the weather conditions had been pushed back to at least 9:00.

We could have easily still have the party, celebrated my 30th, and made vision boards. Hindsight’s 20/20, right?

For some reason I couldn’t have been more relieved when the plans were cancelled! Do you ever feel like your life is going non-stop? I do it to myself. I see a free day on the calendar and I fill it up with the people I love. But sometimes it’s just too much, and I only have myself to blame.

By 7:00 I started up the bath. Threw in a bath bomb. And poured myself a glass of wine made some hot chocolate and just relaxed.

Day 26: One Month

Today my baby is one month old today! My goodness how time flies. Again, I am so thankful that one month ago he arrived safely. This past month I have spent countless hours rocking him. He still scrunches up in a tiny ball with his legs to his chest, my favorite. When he was a week old, all he did was sleep, eat, poop, and pee. Now that he is a month, not much has changed, which I love. I don’t want him to grow up too fast. He gets the hiccups a lot, still has uncontrolled smiles that I absolutely LOVE- although I can’t wait until he smiles at me on purpose. He makes grumbly sounds that I adore. And he has plenty of gas. He is my favorite human being!

Day 25: Four years later I’m finally checking something off my to-do list

It’s March 2015. I’ve spent the year so far doing some long term subbing in the suburbs as I ease back into education. I don’t remember exactly why, but that year I chose to not go on my family vacation to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Probably because Charlie (boyfriend then, husband now) wasn’t going and I didn’t want to spend an entire week without him. Yes, yes- that young love! Haha! I love my hubs all the same, but we are very independent people and love having our own time and space apart. But four years ago I was just moving back from living in Miami, Florida for half the year and the long distance relationship had taken its toll on us.

Anyways- I had a better idea of how I wanted to spend my Spring Break! I wanted to spend it updating my family cookbook with my Gram (aka MJ for Mary Jean). She had put together a cookbook back in 1988 or so. Being Irish Catholics, we have a very large family. (So blessed and I hope to continue the tradition of having a big family, too!) Thanksgiving at my Gram’s would consist of 100+ family members. My Gram has 8 children. Her two sisters each had many as well. Then all of those children had many children…. See how we get to 100+? Year after year we’ve gotten together. Gram’s for Thanksgiving, Great Aunt Louise’s for Easter, and Great Aunt Marge’s for random gatherings in between.

Each celebration consisted of similar dishes brought by the same people each time. Many of which come from the family cookbook. Since the original one, new family favorites have surfaced and recipes have been altered. My Gram of course had made special notes in her own copy. That’s why we needed to update it!

Gram and I first when through the original cookbook to decide which recipes stayed and which recipes to omit. Then we found the recipe cards to some of the new family favorites. I started typing each recipe into the online program and made sure to include the special notes and updates my Gram recorded in her copy. That week I got MOST of the recipes done, but that was really just a kick start.

Unfortunately, a few months later Gram’s health declined quickly. She had been on oxygen for over a year, but aside from that all was well. It blindsided all of us. I spent most of that summer by her side. All my uncles had younger kids to care for and jobs to maintain. I felt fortunate to get to spend so much time with her and help care for her. Working on the cookbook during that time made me feel strange, sad, and too emotional.

That fall I landed a full time teaching job in Woodridge teaching 1st grade. I had much less time on my hands versus the long term subbing I had been doing the year prior. By October she passed away, and as I grieved I had mixed feelings about the cookbook. By December I became engaged and wedding planning with a new job consumed me. The following year I moved schools and taught a new grade level. By the end of that school year I decided to go back and get my masters. The following year I jumped down to teaching 2nd grade (my favorite!) while obtaining my masters. As you can see- there’s always something else that can get in the way of a big project. Well ya, and then Charlie and I got pregnant and now we have a newborn!

I failed to mention early- when my Gram and I decided to update the cookbook, we were going to make a big change! We (mostly I) wanted to add family memories. There was another big family in our area. They also had a cookbook, which I had seen. On every page the bottom had a typed memory from one of the family members. Back in March Gram and I had sent out an email blast letting the family know of this request…. This is the part that I dragged out. I’ve had all the recipes typed out for years. It took some family members longer than others. Then some didn’t get around to it until after Gram passed, which made it even hard for them to write. I wasn’t going to hound any family member to write their memory quickly after Gram passed. I have people time. And as much as I loved reading all the memories that came in, it was hard to type them out, too.

For four years, I have written “cookbook” on most of my to-do lists. Today I paid the deposit for 150 cookbooks. This is the best thing I’ve ever checked off my to-do list.

Day 30: Taking it one step at a time

With every passing day, I celebrate the challenges we have overcome being a new family and raising a newborn. The first time I took Charlie in public without my husband… The first road trip to visit my parents an hour and a half away… The first time I nursed him in public… Even the first time changing his diaper in public.

Earlier this week I decided we could go to brunch today. As soon as I mentioned it to my husband and we committed going with another couple I instantly became a bit anxious. What was I thinking- that I could do brunch with a newborn? But hey! I have to give it a try and problem solve through the challenges.

I nursed Charlie right before we left, and I brought a bottle of breast milk in case he got hungry. I also brought the moby (amazing invention that I wrap around my chest to cradle him while keeping my hands free to do other things). At brunch I nestled Charlie to my chest inside the moby. It’s his favorite position, to be cuddled up on my chest. He snoozed the entire brunch. I gobbled up my coconut crusted french toast. Each bite passing over his head- and I didn’t even drizzle any of my tasty treat on my sweet boy. As soon as we tucked him back in his car seat for the ride home, he was instantly unsettled. It breaks my heart to hear him cry. I calmed him before giving him a quick bottle. He fell back asleep and we cruised home.

Another celebration for this new mom!

Day 24: Oh Dave! Financial Freedom

You know the two advisors that sit on your shoulders? One Coaxing you to do evil things? And the other prompting you to make a better place?

Well aside from the good and evil angels. I have two other advisors that sit on either side that advise how I spend my money. One side I would call Grandma Donna- if you’ve been on my blog, you’ve read a little about Grandma Donna before. Grandma Donna is not only super generous, but a bit of a spender… impulsive shopper if you will. My family, friends, and I call it GDS-Grandma Donna Syndrome. The advisor that sits on the other shoulder is someone I’ve personally never met. Dave. Dave Ramsey. My dad has always had a similar philosophy. So, I grew up surrounded by that mindset. However, it’s not something I chose to truly acknowledge and follow until this year. And I’d use the word follow loosely.

If you’ve heard of Dave- ever listened so his podcast or watched his show on YouTube, you know the drill. He’s got his baby steps and some simple rules. Simple, for sure, but challenging to follow.

At times I want to say screw it! I go shopping with my sisters and the GDS starts to kick in. But then I hear Dave whisper inside my ear “financial freedom”. Gosh darn it, Dave! And that does it. I place my wants back on the racks, and surprisingly I am satisfied. There is a lovely feeling when you truly own your money versus the other way around. Yes, it really is freeing. It becomes a feeling I can’t get enough of.

Since Charlie and I went full Dave Ramsey back in August, two of our closest couple friends have started listening. Slowly they have eased into the Dave lifestyle. If you’ve never listened to Dave. I encourage you to do it. Just once!

Cheers to financial freedom!

Day 23: Exhausted

Let’s be real. I am a first time mom with a 25-day old baby. I. am. exhausted. I get in one solid nap per day, but that’s not really cutting it. I wish I had more to say, more to reflect about. But my mind is blank. My husband is on Spring Break! I am looking forward to more family time and some more rest. Good night, Slicers!

Day 22: Another blessing

Clearly my sweet boy is the best blessing from God. I am oh so thankful for him. I am thankful I could carry him for 9 months. I am thankful for a smooth delivery. I am thankful he is here and healthy. And I am thankful my body can provide for him.

Another great blessing in my life is my husband. I didn’t think I could love him more than I already do. And then I watch him be an amazing dad. Someone get me bib because I am drooling! My heart is full and I am in a state of bliss.

He has selflessly taken over all of the Sunday ritual food prep. He constantly asks if I need anything, as well as our company when people are visiting. He tells me often what a great mom I am. He is such a present father. He attended every OB visit and plans to attend all of Charlie’s pediatrician visits over the next 18 months. We tackle bath time together, and he reads Charlie nightly bedtime stories. He takes Charlie from the hours of 4am-6am (when he’s not wanting to nurse) to let me get a few sound hours of sleep.

To my husband, I love you more each day. IMG_1857.JPG