Monday, August 27, 2012

School/Work + being a SAHM

Today marks the beginning of my 2nd year as a stay-at-home mom! Let me take this moment to say how blessed I feel to have been able to do this for an entire year. God's provision has been more than enough in our lives and it still astounds us that we God has been able to stretch our money the way that He has! Looking back 16 months ago, this was not an option. But somehow, miraculously (I think), it has worked! We cut our income in half--literally--and have not been made to feel "without" or even "poor." Sure, we probably would have moved to a bigger house, bought some new "stuff," or maybe gone on an all-inclusive vacation somewhere, but we don't need to do those things and we certainly wouldn't trade them for this opportunity to have Sawyer and baby #2 at home with me. So, after all that, I'm just saying, that we feel lucky and also thankful to God for somehow helping us out when we had little faith, in the beginning, that it would work. :) God is good!
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To a lot of people I've never actually been just a stay-at-home mom, but in my book you're a SAHM if you take care of your kid(s) basically 24/7 even if you have a "job"… like a position at a Mother's Day Out (MDO), or babysitting someone else's kids, or even substitute teaching just one or two days a week--and I've done all of those in my first year of being a SAHM. However, Sawyer was never in the care of anyone but myself, Casey, or grandparents (occasionally), so I think that's pretty much the definition of a SAHM. :)  In the beginning I was working at MDO and subbing on Fridays. Then, I got a job babysitting twin boys 2 days a week, but continued to work at the MDO as well. In the summers MDO isn't open so I kept just 1 little boy (Braden) 2 days a week. Obviously my "jobs" ebbed and flowed a lot during the first year, but they were enough to help pay for my graduate school tuition.

Here are the changes for the upcoming year:

This fall I am going to keep Braden 2 days a week in my home, have class 2 nights a week, meet with my supervisory 1 hour a week, do my school internship on Fridays, and have a women's Bible study for 7 weeks! Whew!
Here is what my schedule will look like during the week:
  • Monday - meet every week with my internship supervisor to go over tapes 11:15-12:15 in Mesquite - other than that I'm off work/school, but I schedule all of mine and Sawyer's doctor's appointments on this day and you would not believe how many of those there are - I go every month for baby check up and between Sawyer's regular check ups at the pediatrician + her ENT to check on tubes, she goes about once a month as well! Crazy!
  • Tuesday - off work/school, 7-week Women's Bible Study held in Rockwall (I am really looking forward to this!)
  • Wednesday - keep Braden 9:00-3:30, class 4:30-7:10
  • Thursday - keep Braden 9:00-3:30, class 4:30-7:10 (this class just meets 5 weeks in October)
  • Friday - internship in the behavioral health unit at a hospital in Greenville 8:30-4:30 while Casey watches Sawyer
  • Saturday - off with Casey; family day!
  • Sunday - church, homework, nap :)
I am really looking forward to being in a routine this fall even though it is going to be a very busy semester! I am taking 6 hours of school (plus the 8 hr weekly internship), keeping Braden 13 hours a week (I also pick him up and take him back so that's an extra hour each day, so you could say 15 hours a week), and also taking care of Sawyer full time! I will be one busy momma for sure. I am not sure what I would do if I didn't have school or keep an extra kid. I know I would find stuff to fill my time, but after having done all of this for the beginning of being a SAHM I think I will love doing nothing in the spring!! Ha! I'll have a newborn then, so I'm sure it will feel like more work, anyway. :) 

Oh, I guess I didn't mention that… I am taking the Spring semester off from school and taking 6 weeks off from keeping Braden. So, for 6 weeks it's just me and my 2 kiddos. Then, after 6 weeks I'll go back to keeping Braden until May. No classes or internship.

In June I will start my "full time internship" (that's what it's called, but it's actually a minimum requirement of 20 hours a week). So, from June-December I will be taking a full load of classes, and in addition to that, I will be interning somewhere 20 hours a week for those entire 7 months. I will not keep any kids during that time, in fact, I will have to find someone to keep my own kids for those 20 hours a week during those 7 months. Then, BAM! December gets here and I'm finally going to graduate with my Masters of Education in Counseling! Woohoo! It feels like it's all right around the corner now that I know what semesters I'm doing what classes, etc.

As far as the spring of 2014 goes... I will try to find a part time counseling job (somewhere like Lake Pointe or Sunnyvale's Life Builders would be ideal) where I can gain my 3,000 hours (paid hours, thank goodness!) before taking my test to get my LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) licensure. Until then I will be an LPC-I (LPC intern). After I get my license as an LPC I hope to start working "with my mom" "on my own" (meaning my own private practice, but at my mom's practice;).

So there's my next few years in a nut shell folks! Obviously God could change our plans or something drastic could happen and things would change, but for now, those are the "plans." They are written in sand, not in stone. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby #2: Week 22

Week 22 

Baby Changes: At 11 inches (the length of spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, my baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises still lack pigment. He now has fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he'll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas--essential for the production of some important hormones--is developing steadily.

Best moment this week: This was actually a pretty rough week with a trip to the ER for Sawyer (and almost a 2nd trip as well!), but for 1 hour on Saturday I got to experience an amazing prenatal massage from La Bella Belly in Rockwall. Casey surprised me on Thursday with flowers, a card, and a gift card to get a massage and I couldn't wait to use it! :)

Gender: BOY! :) Seriously hoping to be able to announce a name soon…people have been asking a lot lately and I feel like we have "The Name," but am just waiting on Casey to agree/make up his mind/give in/nail it down. :)

Movement: This little boy kicks and moves and squirms almost all day and night. Sometimes its difficult to fall asleep because that seems to be his favorite position for kicking me :)

Food cravings: Ugh, Dr Pepper. I just can't help myself!!!

What I am looking forward to: I am *hoping* to do something anything in the nursery or for the nursery this week.

Pregnant belly: I have gotten to the point now where I look at my belly in the mirror and think "how is it going to get bigger than this?!" It already feels and looks like it will pop. Haha!

Symptoms: fatigue (although that's probably just due to lack of sleep with Sawyer being sick), backaches still, but have gotten better!

My 22 week picture at the end of a long day. :) 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


We spent 5 days and 4 nights in New Orleans this year for our vacation! We hadn't taken a vacation since the summer before Sawyer was born (Summer of 2010) so we were really looking forward to it. We threw around a lot of options and decided on not doing the beach this year since I am pregnant. I just didn't think I would enjoy it quite as much. Neither of us had ever been to New Orleans so we decided that's where we would go! We have been saving airline miles/points ever since we got married and we have never used any before so we used those to pay for our flight and our hotel! We were super excited to be able to do this because otherwise we just wouldn't be able to afford a vacation this year since I'm staying at home and paying for graduate school. We picked the nicest hotel in New Orleans (according to reviews and personal opinions) and were also really excited about that because we usually stay in middle of the road hotels or even sometimes motels, blah!! Haha. Anyway, we had a great trip! We're not sure if we'll ever go back to New Orleans because we found that we weren't big fans of the food, or the city itself really, but we had a great time for the 4 nights/5 days that we did spend there! Haha. We always like trying new places together and seeing how others live. 
Day 1
Here we are on our flight to NOLA!
Once we got there we looked around our hotel and then decided to walk around the city. Little did I know Casey had us planned to walk like 6 miles before stopping to eat and I was not a happy camper. My back was hurting and I was hot and hungry! Haha. We stopped to take a picture (and to take a break from all the walking!). 
That's the only picture I got of our first day in New Orleans. Haha.  
 Day 2
We took a city tour in the morning that we both really enjoyed. We had a chance to get out at a park and I loved the trees and the moss that hung on them. I thought it looked so pretty so we stopped to take some pictures. :)
After the tour we walked around a while and then ate at this place for lunch. This was probably my favorite New Orleans food of the whole trip. They are famous for their roast beef sandwiches! I'll add that their onion rings are pretty awesome as well! :) 
 We totally walked out of our hotel and saw Mark Whalberg! He was shooting a movie and staying in our same hotel! He was nice enough to take a picture with me :) I'm sure this was one of the highlights of our trip to New Orleans. Haha!
More tour pictures…
This is Brad Pitt & Angeina Jolie's NOLA home in the French Quarter… doesn't look too fancy to me, but it is 7,435 square feet! Good grief! 
Slabs where homes use to be before Hurricane Katrina washed them away… 
Above ground cemeteries due to being below sea level
Sandra Bullock's home 
John Goodman's home…who knew so many famous people lived in NOLA? 
The house that Benjamin Button was filmed at…looks bigger in the movie. 
Day 3
day 3 was super fun because we went on a swamp tour!  I don't think either of us expected it to be as good as it was!! Here we are on the boat.
First of all, it was really pretty…in a swampy sort of way. :)
 I freaked out when he pulled out the alligator! I didn't see him do it at first and I literally jumped up on our bench and was shaking. I didn't see the band around his mouth at first, haha. I didn't really want to hold him, but Casey seemed so excited about it, and I didn't want to be shown up ;)
 More pictures of the swamp. It started raining and thundering very loud while we were back there and it was really eery. We liked it :)
The mossy stuff on the water is crazy…I can't remember what it's called, but it's not actually moss. He made that clear…it's some type of water plant though (obviously).
The alligator spotted the weenie/marshmallow combo. haha! I asked the tour guide if they actually like marshmallows and his reply back to me was "have you ever met anyone or anything that didn't like marshmallows?!" Haha. 
This gator's name is "Broke Jaw" for obvious reasons…
He broke his jaw mating… haha.
 pretty cool pictures!
Later that night we went to see a movie about a little girl in Hurricane Katrina. It was really good (& sad). It's called Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Day 4
The next day we went on a Plantation Tour! This was probably my personal favorite thing that we did (Casey's was probably the swamp tour). We got to see 2 very different plantation homes. The first one was called the "Laura Plantation" named after one of the owners, Laura. She had a really interesting story. I suggest a plantation tour to anyone that likes history and big old houses. :)
The Laura Plantation was built in 1805 and still has slave cabins on the grounds (where sugarcane workers actually lived until 1977!) 
This was one of the slave houses…it was crazy small and would house more than one family.
The second plantation is called "Oak Alley Plantation" and it's easy to see why!
Oak Alley was built in 1837 and the 28 Oak trees were already there, that's why the original owners chose to build there. The trees are now over 300 years old! They are beautiful!!
Our tour guide was dressed in the era the house was built...
Oak Alley - It was raining lightly and made the pictures extra pretty :)
One of the huge Oak trees!
Then it started pouring and we had to run to a different part and got soaked…it doesn't even look like we are that wet here, but we were!
pretty flowers on the plantation
I was kind of obsessed with the Oak Alley...
the front of the plantation house
belly shot!
That night we went to Harrah's Casino. Neither of us had ever been to a casino before and so we thought it would be fun to try… we planned ahead to only "waste" $40, but ended up only wasting $30 because we were so bad at it. It was obvious we would never win so we called it quits! Haha! Here are some pictures outside of the casino. :)
My 20 week picture :)
And my last picture of the trip… our hotel sign. I really did love this hotel. :)
We really had a great trip relaxing (we took a long nap everyday which is a luxury when you have a toddler;), watching the Olympics at night in bed (We are big fan of the women's gymnastics, and I loved watching them compete!), and enjoying each other's company. Like I said before, this was our first vacation since before we got pregnant with Sawyer and so it was a much-needed getaway. :)