Friday, September 9, 2011


I spent $600 today on an advertisement for my business. Six hundred freakin dollars. I would love to have spent that money on a bunch of stuff from Fossil that I'm freaking out over... but instead I spent it on a featured ad on a wedding website.


This is what it's like to run a business.

I can add up my contracts for next year and say, ok, I'm going to make $50,000 next year. (That's just a number I made up.) But "me" making $50,000 and "my business" making $50,000 are totally different things. There is a surprising amount of overhead to running any business. For me, I pay a monthly lease, a monthly vendor listing on a wedding site, shipping costs, album and printing costs, office supplies, camera/new lighting equipment, second shooter payments... It's insane. Of all the money I've made off this business this year, I've spent $14,000 on getting it up and running to the point where I will be able to make money off of it in 2012.

It's just so strange to have woken up this morning and spent $600 like it was nothing. With any luck, the advertisement will make my money back in bookings, but it's still such a lot of money.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Not the good kind of high

Turns out I have high cholesterol. How awesome is that? It's gone up 27 points in the last four years. I'm not an expert on these matters, but I don't think that's a good thing. Right now I'm in the "elevated" range of 200-240. If it keeps rising at the current rate, I'll be in the 240+ "high-risk" range by the time I'm 31. I think the biggest factor affecting my cholesterol level is genetics. My mom's family has some crazy cholesterol happening over there. If genetics are negatively effecting my cholesterol, there's really not a whole lot I can do about it.

The other factor in cholesterol levels is, of course, weight, diet and exercise. Now. I'm not much of an exerciser these days, so the obvious solution to that is - more exercise. But diet? Do you know the foods that are contributors to high cholesterol? Meats, cheeses, butter, baked goods, packaged snacks like crackers and chips, shrimp, full fat dairy… So, basically all the good ones. I'm going to try to cut out beef and pork and a lot of the cheese I eat. At home we're going to do a mostly vegetarian diet with fish and chicken added in occasionally. We've been cooking a lot of curry and bean based dishes lately, so I don't think it will be that big of a deal. I'm going to miss bacon though. Bacon is so fucking good. Turkey bacon and veggie bacon are a joke. I don't know who came up with that stuff and thought, "Oh ya, people will never miss the real thing."

Bacon and my mother are probably equally responsible for my cholesterol.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Feeling Sucky

I returned a batch of wedding photos to a client and I'm afraid that she doesn't like them. She responded to my email with a question and nothing to the effect of "I like these." I'm insecure here, folks. If you don't tell me you like your photos, I assume you hate them and that you're going to bash me on an internet forum somewhere. I constantly live in fear of ruining peoples' weddings and getting destroyed by online ratings. Fuck, the life of a wedding photographer is so glamourous.

Matt also left today for Texas. I'm bummed out because he's going down there to play at a surprise birthday party for friends of the family. I used to work with both of them and have known them for probably seven years so I'm a little disappointed that he gets to go and I'm staying home. Stupid responsibilities.

On top of that, I have actual work to do at my 8-5 job and I've been in a total rage all week over it. I'm learning this new IT platform and it totally blows. I hate the internet. Wait, correction. I hate building things on the internet. I hate design work. I hate HTML. I hate sitting at a desk.

Oh, and I keep thinking it's Friday. Which it's not.

I think this is just one of those weeks where life sucks and hopefully beer and sleeping in this weekend will fix it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Catch Up!

Lennon was on Offbeat Mama last week.

I have missed a lot of that boy lately. Between May and June I had nine weddings and they kicked my ass into the ground. I got everything edited and ready to return and no one hated their photos. Everyone actually liked them. I couldn't believe it. So, now I have a bit of a lull in work until August weddings start approaching the late mark. That means I get to be a real person again and spend time with my family and blog for non-self-promotional reasons. I have 24 weddings booked next year, which unfortunately is not enough to meet our income needs. I'm confident I can book 10 more to cover all the bills... but it would be so much easier if I just raised my prices $1000 a wedding. Every bride in Omaha is finding me though some "Budget Brides" member board over at The Knot. I would like to personally thank whoever started that thread because she's keeping me in business. As of April 2012 I will no longer be working my 8-5 job. I'm quitting on my five year anniversary. How fitting! My 401K will be fully vested, wedding season will start the following weekend, and I don't see the need to stay one day longer than is necessary.

I started shooting with another photographer and she's beyond awesome. She's only doing one wedding a month with me right now, but next year she's going to shoot almost all weddings with me. I'm so relieved. She makes the wedding day go so much smoother. And I have someone to complain to. The only snag at our first wedding was she left early because the wedding ran over on time, and then they started the first dance while I was in the bathroom. Seriously. It was the first time I took a break to pee in over six hours and I miss the first three minutes of their dance. (These are the types of complaints I have. Majorly interesting stuff.)

We've done some work around the house. We made-over our bedroom, got new windows, and swapped out some furniture in the living-room with things that Lennon can't gash his sweet noggin on. We also bought a new bed for the guest room since my studio equipment is being moved out and we're actually having a guest come stay with us. So, that's up next. When all the rooms are done I want to do a house tour and submit it to Offbeat Home. I would send it to Apartment Therapy but I think my house is a little too low-brow for that site. People on there say mean things when they don't like your coffee table. Going back to the windows - those damn things cost us over $7000 to replace. 16 windows cost $6700, then we had to pay another $500 because the current windows tested positive for lead. While I'm happy to not be living in a drafty, lead infested house, I'm not happy to have just dropped a staggering amount of money on something so not fun. Being an adult blows sometimes.

I'm continuing to make poor clothing choices. Including but not limited to: platforms so tall I can't walk or drive in them (but my legs look gorgeous), red high-waisted shorts, ultra-high waisted 70s jeans, wide leg pants that some lady thought were pajamas, a John Lennon tunic tee that says "WAR IS OVER," and a shiny lime green pencil skirt. I was on the look out for a jumpsuit but couldn't find one I liked. Which is probably for the better. I've given up trying to have a definable style and now I just dress like a kook. My favorite fashion related spots are ModCloth and Bleubird Vintage

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bedroom Makeover, Like it Might Finally Happen This Time

I'm on a self-imposed home decor buying hiatus until the Missoni for Target line comes out. Or until the pictures come out and I decide I hate everything and don't want any of it. Which isn't likely to happen. It's multi-colored chevrons, people. How would I not like that?

In the meantime though, our bedroom sucks. I had HUGE, HUGE I TELL YOU plans a couple years ago to make the bedroom awesome. But I didn't. I bought curtains and a runner and gave up. The basement is the only successful start-to-finish room makeover I've done. The livingroom? Didn't happen. Nursery? Nope. Office? I don't think so. So, now I'm going back to the bedroom but I don't want to spend a whole lot. (Damn you, Missoni!!!) Using mostly accessories I bought for the office and then dumped into storage when Lennon came along, I came up with this:

The walls right now are powder blue and chocolate brown. Yes, it's as fugly as it sounds. I think I want to paint the room white (that's a first) and paint the closet doors a super glossy black. The curtains and chandelier I already have. I just have to buy the rug if it will fit in the bedroom. And please, tell me you can look at that rug and not immediately start singing Outkast.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday With the Fam

Here's the family hanging out on Sunday. Lennon can't crawl yet so he can't get away when I'm smothering him.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My brain is home

I am so friggin glad that Matt is home. My brain went into survival mode while he was gone. This morning I found a stack of photo payments in my purse that I never cashed and a pile of bills that were due 2 weeks ago. If a task wasn't related to work or Lennon, it got pushed to the dark, cobweb covered, back corner of my brain. And now that everything is slowly coming back to me, I'm realizing what I spaz I was while he was gone.

And in some super awesome photography news, I'm meeting with a lady on Thursday who is opening a photographer's co-op in September. She's going to show me the space and her build-out plans. If everything looks good, I could potentially be signing a lease on a real studio space! I would sign a lease based on the amount of time I want every month, like 10 sessions or 20 sessions. It works out great because I really only pay for what I need and I'm not the one responsible for the expense and upkeep of a large studio. It's incredibly affordable and the lady I've been talking with is really nice. Assuming the space looks good, I'm 90% sure I'm going to sign. WHOO HOO! Just another step closer to doing this full-time.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Avoiding the Mom suit

I've been debating what to do about a swimsuit this year. We go to a pool maybe twice a year so I'm not in dire need of one. But the awesome Nike bikini I bought a couple of years ago might be facing retirement. I lost all my pregnancy weight and I don't have any stretch marks or other gross-to-talk belly issues. But my stomach does look a little... sad. Like my belly button is making a frowny face. And for whatever reason I now have a pinchable bit of ribcage fat that wasn't there before. I feel comfortable clothed and even clothed in tight shirts. But this isn't something I'm ready to bare to the general public. I need bootcamp and a cocktail before that will happen.

I really wanted this because I think it's kind of crazy and retro so people will just think I'm a weirdo and not that I'm hiding something. But I'm not sure I'm ready to admit defeat against my body and the two-piece. Plus, buying a one piece online worries me. If I could try this on before buying it, I would probably end up getting it.

However, I decided to go with a tanikini. But not just any tankini, a Victoria's Secret Miraculous tankini. I've decided that the only logical thing to do while I cling to the remaining years of my 20s is to show as much boob as possible to deter people from looking at the rest of my body.

It will be arriving today and I hope it does not does not disappoint.


Oh god. It was bad. Its already wrapped back up and waiting to be taken to the post office.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's for Dinner?

We've reached the point in our child's life where we have to start feeding him real food. I can't even explain how terrifying this prospect is. I finally have a firm, white-knuckled grasp on parenting and now I have to add another step into the process.

Bottles: Got it.
Medicine: No problem.
Bath time: Easy.
Bed time: Under control.

But food? What the eff... It's complicated. You'd think it would be the simplest thing ever. Heat food and put it in your kid's mouth. I'm stressing about it a lot more than that, though. Food shouldn't take the place of bottles, so he has to have a bottle first before eating. But what if he isn't hungry then? Or what if he eats too much and then barfs it all over? What if he wants something to drink afterwards? Do I give him another bottle or can I give him water?

Will my pediatrician think I'm a psycho if I ask her these questions? Should I just forward her to my blog and beg PLEASE GUIDE ME!!!

Obviously, there are certain foods best suited for feeding a baby without any tolerance for food, or teeth. But we still have to be conscious of his MSPI and reflux so foods with a high acidity, or foods containing or resembling soy (lima beans and things like that) and dairy are out of the question. I've checked a bunch of sites and I have a small list of safe foods: carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans and mangos. Yumm. It's kind of funny that my baby is a vegan.

I am kind of excited for him to start growing and packing on some weight with these new foods. He's kind of small. The ped's office usually measures his height really fast because he's squirming, so it's not totally accurate. They measure him about 2 inches taller than he really is. According to them, he's around the 25th percentile for height, but I measured him while he was sleeping and he's actually off the chart at less than 5%. He's just a wee little man.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Crazies Down the Street

A couple months ago, a Planned Parent opened up in our neighborhood. We all know that PP are a bunch of Satan-loving-baby-killers, so as soon as the new location was announced, the holy started protesting. First, they argued that a strip mall was an unsafe and dangerous place for a medical business. Ironically, there's a plastic surgery center down the street in a strip mall. I don't have any first-hand experience with abortion procedures, but I'm guessing they're a lot less dangerous than a boob job.

When that didn't fly, they argued that the close proximity to a daycare was inappropriate. They said, "What do I tell my child when he asks me what an abortion clinic is?" From the street, you can see one tasteful sign that simply says, "Planned Parenthood." They decided to forego the giant "GET YOUR ABORTION HERE" sign with the flashing red arrow pointing to the front door. Unless you tell your kid it's an abortion clinic, it looks like any other place of business from the outside. Which, it is.

And when the attempts to block the clinic from opening failed, they resorted to picketing. And when the picketers wore out, the only thing left to do was hold 24/7 prayer vigils from the sidewalk outside. And that is where they still are to this day. At any hour, on any day, you drive by and there is at least one person standing on the sidewalk, facing the building, praying. Sometimes it's just one old guy (and he's started to bring a chair along with him.) I understand why these people are praying, but I don't understand why they're doing it from the sidewalk. Most of the time, the clinic is closed and there is no one near the place, except for the folks praying. So, they're obviously not praying for the people working or patronizing the clinic - Because they're not there! The only people who see them are people who live in the neighborhood. Are they preying for the building to burn down? Praying for congress to repeal PP's funding? (Oh wait…) If so, why can't they do that from home or from church? Does distance from the thing you're praying for effect the strength of the prayer? Probably not.

I have no issue with the act of prayer and people who pray. But I have issue with the crazies who stand out in the rain at midnight on a Saturday and pray at an empty building. It's just crazy. I have a feeling these are the same people who walk around our neighborhood and slip Christian literature under peoples' doormats. Matt answered once when they came to the door and the guys asked where we worshiped at. We said we didn't have a church and he told us that we were going to spend an eternity in hell together unless we found God. I would have kindly told him to get the fuck off my property if he wasn't soliciting Jesus with his five year old grandson by his side. This is why I have a problem with the PP prayers. They're out there because they think that people who walk in those doors are sinners and terrible people who are committing terrible acts against God and need to be saved. When really, they're just people who need affordable medical access and from time to time, need access to an unfortunate, yet entirely legal, surgical procedure. They're exercising they're rights to assemble, protest, and be judgmental.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Baby got sick. I love taking pictures. Matt's job is exciting.

Our household suffered our first go-round with a sick baby. It was only mildly terrible. He was a total grouch for a couple of days before we started doping him up with Tylenol. His cold turned into a cough at which point we went to the doctor. Lennon ended up with bronchitis/croup so the doctor rewarded him with a nebulizer. Just so everyone knows in case it comes up in the future, babies freak the fuck out when you put a nebulizer mask on them. He got used to it after the third treatment, but my god it was the meltdown of the century. He's still sick but it's tolerable now and he's happy again. Parenting = accomplished.

I am slowly getting back into photography season. (Is it a season if it lasts 8 months? Isn't that just life?) It is so much fun. Seriously, I can't believe how enjoyable it all is. Last year, I think my pregnancy affected me mentally more than I realized. I always felt worn down and my photos weren't consistently good. I've had a few recent engagement sessions and a wedding and all of them have been incredible experiences with great results. I also found a workshop with a photographer who I absolutely love. Like, I would forsake my wedding vows for this women she's so incredible. She's offering one-on-one workshops where we would shoot together with a model and talk business topics like marketing, workflow, post-processing, what I want my style to be, my passion for what I do, being an upbeat businessperson, etc. It sounds perfect.

Matt also has something really exciting going on. Him and another performer in his show were recruited by a huge national Beatles act to audition for parts. The show tours and does Broadway. He's reluctant to say he's excited about it, but I think he is. He graduated from a performing arts high school in Florida with the likes of Mickey Mouse Club members, television actors, American Idol finalists, Broadway performers, and purse goddess, Rebecca Minkoff. I think a part of him wants to do something really big like this so he can be one of "those kids" who succeeded and got to do what they wanted with their lives. He's already doing really well, but this is a jump from community theater to motherfuckinBroadway. How could he not be excited? It would be pretty sweet if it worked out and he got to audition. But even if he doesn't, he just signed a contract to perform for a week on a cruise. He's getting paid to go to Key West and the Grand Cayman Islands. That ought to cheer him up.

That's about it for an update.

Friday, February 18, 2011

People Be Crazy

I read this crazy Sarah Palin quote (but really, aren't they all?) on CNN this morning:

"No wonder Michelle Obama is telling people to breast feed their babies, because the price of milk is rising so high."

Uhh. What? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you don't feed a baby milk from a cow as an alternative to breast milk. Sure, some formulas are made partially from cow's milk, but straight up cows milk would be hella cheaper to feed your kid than $15 cans of formula. But I don't think that's what she was talking about. I think she's just a dumb lady who says dumb things and she was trying to make an ohsnap on Mrs. Obama and the current Dem run economy but failed. She's also upset that Mr. Obama isn't hanging out in Egypt telling them how to run things over there. I think we're all in agreement that Egypt is a nation unto itself, not controlled by America, so I'm not sure why she thinks they want to listen to anything he would have to say - especially considering the fact that we can't even run ourselves efficiently.

I read another crazy quote from someone on a message board who said she avoided having an epidural during labor because she didn't want her kid to get autism. I guess I missed that chapter in What to Expect When You're Expecting because I was completely oblivious to the fact that there is an autism/epidural link now that the autism/vaccine link is old news.

People are really, shockingly out of their minds sometimes. A former roommate once told me that he didn't use teflon or the microwave because they cause cancer. The actual words out of his mouth were, "Do you think ancient Greeks died of cancer? No, because they didn't have things like teflon and microwaves." Ehem, the word cancer came from Hippocrates, a really old Greek dude.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ungrateful Little Urchins

I wrote the following paragraph yesterday with the intention of finishing the post today with a whole bunch of "WAHH! I'm missing my child's life because we need this stupid thing called money to pay these even stupider things called bills."

Lennon is frustratingly close to rolling over. Everyday he gets a little closer and last night he was 99% of the way there. He had his entire body facing down and all he had to do was let himself go and touch the ground. He was like a 1/4 inch away from begin completely on the floor when he suddenly snapped back over onto his back. There was this thunderous, "NOOOOOOOOOO!" between Matt and me. After that he never got as close again. He would get up onto his side and start grunting while trying to flip himself over. But he was too worn out and couldn't make it. I told Matt that he doesn't dare put Lennon on the floor today when I'm not around to see it. I have a feeling that the next time we let him kick around on the floor he'll flip himself over. So help me I will not miss my first big parenting milestone because I am at work. So. Help. Me.

And then this morning, less than 90 minutes after I left the house, that ungrateful little urchin/sweetchubbface rolled over. He rolled over without me. He didn't even care that I wasn't there to see it. His dad reports that he rolled over, laughed about it, and then hung out on his tummy until he started grunting and needed to be manually rolled back. I've been working with him for two weeks on rolling over, and then I miss it by 90 minutes. What the shit is up with that?

Here he is right before the roll:

I don't know what to say except, WAHH! I'm missing my child's life because we need this stupid thing called money to pay these even stupider things called bills.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Grammy Trainwreck

I listen to two radio stations - Omaha's NPR station, and 105.9 classic rock. And despite having no clue what's happening in popular music these days, I watched the majority of the Grammys last night.

Wow. Can I just say, wow. It was bad.

I only watched it to see Mumford and Sons. After they played, I ended up switching over to the Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion. At least RHOA is upfront about being a completely trashy program. They aren't parading around behind some illusion of tradition and esteem. No, they're wearing fake hair and showing off their boob jobs and yelling at each other. And they're honest about it. Whereas the Grammys had pretty much all the same elements but with far more self-congratulations and zero sense of humor. (Save for Cee-Lo who probably wasn't taking himself too seriously singing with muppets.)

That probably explains my biggest beef with popular music in the last oh, 20 years. It's not that the music is bad, just that it's average. But the images and egos that go along with that average music are so over-the-top and manufactured that the combination of the two makes no sense at all. Lady Gaga's song was a pretty obvious, and snooze-worthy ripoff off Madonna. It was boring, you guys. But Lady Gaga herself is this walking, avant-garde freak show. If she really has that much style and such a highly elevated level of taste, how can she put out such terrible music and sincerely feel good about it? I don't get the correlation between her music and her image. The same goes for Katy Perry. She's supposedly this outrageous rocker chick who does crazy things and is married to Russell Brand, but in reality she sings circa 2000 Brittany Spears quality pop music and hawks acne medicine for pocket change! Please, someone explain to me what is so rocknroll about selling Proactiv on TBS?

At least with the Mumfords of the world they're honest about who and what they are. A bunch of guys playing banjos and upright basses might not make for great TV, but at least they're real musicians playing real music live on live television and not with the aide of backing tracks and prerecorded vocals. I'm sorry, but if you can't recreate the vocals you recorded in a studio, live on a stage then you're probably not Grammy worthy. And that my friends, is the problem with the Grammys.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Three Cheers for Sleeping!

A major parenting milestone occurred overnight: Lennon slept from 9:00pm - 5:30am. DUDE! Unless you have been waking up at least once a night to feed a baby for three months, preceded by nine months of waking up at least once a night to pee or make sure you don't barf in the bed, you have no idea what a beautiful thing that was. Even if this is the only time it ever happens. Even though I still ended up putting the coffee on at 5:30. I slept through the night uninterrupted. And that is worth blogging about.

In other news, I'm going to spend the weekend at my parents. Matt is leaving tomorrow and they asked me to stay with them, supposedly for my benefit. However, I suspect an alternative motive in the form of 48 hours straight with their grandchild. I admit I am looking forward to it though. Nana and Pop Pop time means I can have both hands free AT THE SAME TIME. This is great news since I bought a book that I'm trying to read before going to a lecture by the author (currently on page 37 which is technically page 1 of the actual text) and I want to make my niece a birthday present. I'm also elated over the fact that they now have wireless internet so I can use my iPad. My parents are quite possibly the last people in the world to cancel their AOL. Yes, I'm talking DIAL-UP. Until last week, using the internet and talking on the phone at the same time was but a mere dream for my mother. Now she's enjoying 2002 with the rest of us.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Adulthood Is a Bitch

The good news is that I booked 24 weddings this year, 24 being my goal. The bad news is that I now have two full-time jobs and a family. Oye.

I hoped to book 24 weddings which would give me a monthly income comparable to what I make now at my 8-5 job. If I add in a handful of family photo sessions every month, I'm definitely making the same money. But 2011 is going to be a huge learning year for us. We have a kid now who is only going to be costing us more and more money as he grows. Matt is also starting out his first year of being self-employed. I don't know if I ever blogged about it, but Matt got laid off from his craptastic restaurant job four days before Lennon was born. His choice (if you can even call it that) was either get another shit restaurant job or sign on for a second touring show and finally do the musician thing full-time and be a stay-at-home-dad between tours.

If I quit my job, we'll be relying on two self-employed incomes. My weddings are contracted so that money is pretty locked in. But Matt's income usually isn't confirmed until 3-4 months out from the tour. Like right now we only have his schedule confirmed through the beginning of March. The shows he is in are gaining a lot of interest with a potential contract through a casino. He could have a really great year ahead. Or not. We just don't know how much money he'll bring in this year.

This is also supposed to be the year that we save a shitload of money and finally get around to fixing things in the house that we've been neglecting. That's not going to happen if I quit my job. All my photography money goes into a business account where it sits. I occasionally pull money to pay for things, but mostly it just gets saved. Not so if I'm pulling out $2000 a month to pay bills.

And then there's the self-employment tax. Oh god, the tax. It's an ass-kicker. It haunts me in my sleep. I can't even imagine what I'm going to pay to the government in 2011. What if we have to pay them $10,000 at the end of the year? That could potentially be a deal breaker on its own.

But if I stay at my job I'm trading time with my family for a second paycheck. I spend 45 hours a week away from Lennon working at my office. And soon I'm going to lose three Saturdays a month for weddings and likely a couple Sundays for engagement and family photos. It's completely heartbreaking to think of how little time I will get to spend with my baby this year. I want to stay home with him and Matt and be his daycare provider when Matt's out of town. I don't want to miss out on my family because I'm trying to be super career lady, working seven days a week. Plus, I still have the potential of booking more weddings this year. I've turned down open dates because it's just too much. But what if I can book 5 more in 2011? Would that be enough to make my decision easier? But what if I still can't quit my job and end up with 30 weddings, making the situation even worse?

It's such a terrifying ordeal. Which is the better choice? An overwhelming amount of work and an underwhelming amount of time with my family, or a huge risk with possible catastrophic results? My priorities are telling me that irreplaceable time with Lennon is more important than a savings account. However, I would absolutely have a heart attack if we couldn't pay our bills. I've had a salary since I was 20 years old. I don't know how to live without someone else signing my paychecks. It's one of those life choices that I wish someone else could make for me.

I need a bottle of wine and m&ms. Big decisions need to be made.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cloth Diapering; The Beginning and Possible End Of

So, cloth diapering is awesome. It's super cute. It saves money. It's environmentally friendly. It helped Lennon's tush when he had some crazy rash. And the best part of all, I had my husband on board with it. Until Lennon pooped in one. Thus, the potential end of cloth diapering. He called me at work to tell me that it was disgusting and he hated it. I asked him what exactly he thought was going to happen to the poop once it was inside the cloth diaper. He had no answer. Poop faeries or some bullshit I suppose because he was not anticipating having to clean poop out of a cloth diaper even though it is a diaper.

He wants to stop using them which I'm not too happy about. We agreed to use them and spent a lot on them with the intention that it would save us money in the long run. About $1000 between now and potty training, actually. I thought he understood the consequence of a baby pooping in a reusable diaper, but apparently I was wrong. I continue to use them while I'm home because I'm committed to this endeavor. And because Lennon doesn't usually poop in the evening.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cutting the Budget in 2011

Our dog has food allergies and we either have to buy him $50 bags of dog food or listen to him flapping his irritated ears day and night. Our kid also has food intolerances and we spend on average $175 a month in formula. Dude. Seriously.

It's time to start trimming some spending in our house. I'm trying oh so hard to be budget conscious in 2011. I'm officially paying off my credit card today (once I get the courage to write out a check for it) and I'm thinking about paying off our NFM account after we file our taxes. We recently cut $30 off our cable bill and in the fall we combined cell phone plans to save another $30 a month. We ended up adding life insurance policies which throws $80 back on. When it's all added up, from September to February we've cut $230 out of our monthly bills. Wow, just enough to cover the formula and dog food! SWEET! So much for trying to get ahead.

I've been taking a real look lately at what I spend my money on and why. I used to spend a lot of money on eating lunches out at work and occasional dinners out with Matt. I've started taking lunch from home and skipping an actual break so I can go home early for baby snuggles. Baby snuggles must be made from crack because I want them at all hours. They're worth skipping lunch for. And because of said baby, Matt and I can no longer eat in public so we cook all meals with the occasional $20 Mangia takeout on the weekends.

There's still one more thing I tend to blow money on… Most of my non-bill spending goes to trying to look cool. I buy a lot of clothes and shoes. Lots. The last twelve months were kind of weird so I'm trying to convince myself that I don't always spend that much money on clothes. I mean, I progressively got bigger and bigger until I got smaller - but not small enough to fit back into my old pants. My options for the last year were to either buy one big giant muumuu and make it work, or buy clothes that fit my crazy ass body. Now that I'm settling back into a weight that resembles my old weight (so what if I have to lay down to zip my pants and then wear spanx to hide the muffin top) I really really want to cut my habit of spending too much on clothes. Because honestly, no matter how much money I spend on clothes that make me look cool, I'm still not cool. I'm 27, let's end this charade. Plus, now all my clothes get barfed on. Who wants to buy something at Anthropologie for $129 and then immediately have it yacked upon. Not me.

Having a baby created this nagging lump in my gut that makes me feel like I'm bankrupting my family's future for meaningless thrills in the present. I want us to have a good future. I want to take nice family vacations. I want to buy a house on an acre so I have outdoor photo space. I want to retire before I'm 75 and slump over dead at my computer one day. I'm not going to get those things unless I learn to start saving for them today.

I've done really well this month so far. I even decided that I don't need a $75 vintage dress for our family photos at the end of the month. Instead, I've decided to buy a new pair of tights to spice up a dress that I already have. $5 instead of $75. Look at me be an adult! Look at me not spend $75 on a one-of-a-kind, never-going-to-see-it-again, only-one-in-existence navy 1960s mini dress! That is some fucking willpower right there.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cry Baby, Cry

That sweet little baby pictured above cries like a friggin maniac when he eats. Little by little we're improving the freak-outs. They used to start the minute he woke up and only stopped when he wore himself out and temporarily fell unconscious. I hesitate to call it "sleep" because "sleep" usually lasts longer than 45 minutes at a time. He's making improvement and now only really cries sometime during a feeding, and not for very long. Here are a few of the changes we've made so far to help lessen the torture of bottle time...

1. Reflux Meds - Our poor little baby has reflux. Most babies outgrow it but I'm afraid ours might be stuck with it for eternity. I remember having heartburn since I was seven. It runs in the family - Grandpa, Dad, me, Lennon. He's on zantac and omeprazole. Aww, just like mommy! The meds lessened the crying and helped him sleep through the night (God bless you, pump inhibitors) but they didn't completely take care of it so we moved on to...

2. MSPI Diagnosis - On top of reflux, our lucky little baby has milk/soy protein intolerance. It's exactly what it sounds like. The proteins in his formula were jacking with his intestines so now he's on a special formula that is mostly corn based. It costs $25.99 for a one pound can and makes Lennon's breath smell like Fritos. It makes his gas smell like something far worse. Far, far worse. But it took our baby from a constant state of misery to smile town so it's worth the money.

3. Gas Drops - I don't know if these really do any good. His belly gurgles a ton and as I mentioned already, his farts can clear a room, so we give him gas drops to help the fella out.

4. Change to a larger flow nipple - This is one of those things that we never would have figured out on our own. The magic of the internet suggested we bump him from a level 1 nipple to a level 2 nipple. This one was HUGE for us. A typical 3 oz bottle feeding went from 90 minutes down to 15. Changing out the stupid nipples saved our sanity. And now Lennon eats like there's no tomorrow. He wants more, more, more all the time.

He still cries. We burp him, feed him in small increments, feed him in large increments, feed him sitting still, feed him bouncing on a giant ball, feed him with the lights out, feed him while white noise playing... And yet he cries. But a lot less, so I guess I'll take it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Few 2011 Goals

I was looking over my list of goals for 2010 and I really didn't do to bad on doing a lot of the things on the list. So, in honor of 2011 ( and not having anything else to do at the moment) here's this year's list:

1. Lose these last 5 baby pounds
2. Get new windows for the house
3. Buy a bracket for my camera
4. Make weekly grocery lists and stick to them
5. Fewer impulse trips to Target
6. Make better use out of my wardrobe instead of buying new things
7. Start selling on etsy again
8. Make Christmas stockings for next year
9. Be better about answering emails in a timely manner
10. Learn to make perogies
11. Stop letting junk pile up around the house

I think thats a good start. I already did good and answered all my emails from over the weekend up until 30 minutes ago. I also hit the Wii Fit tonight and tried to get a little exercise in. That bastard told me I've got a lot more than 5 pounds to lose. Mind your own business, Wii. Maybe I need one more:

12. Run a 1/2 marathon