Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Baby Has Been Abducted By Aliens



Hey Frugal Friends. It just so happens to be Tuesday, which goes great with what I wanted to write about, so here is a Tuesday Tip!

I'm sure all veteran parents have been there. "My baby is so sweet, just sits and plays, rarely crys, just such an angel!"  This was me. So young, naive, and in for a rude awakening. Babies are hip to being versatile little beings. Peanut was always along for the ride. No matter where we went, what we did, or how tired he was, he was wonderful. Sure, he had a couple of melt downs, but nothing I couldn't handle.

AND THEN....

About a week before his first birthday..BOOM. My baby was abducted by aliens. That's right folks. I have no other conclusion but this one. He was clingy, whiny, loud, would throw himself all over the place. Like someone else took over. At first I was thrown off. Maybe he's sick. No. Maybe he's teething. Yes. Okay, this will pass.....WRONG.

At his party, everyone caught a glimpse. He was fine at first, then was getting scared of everything and everyone. Constantly having to be held by me or my husband. He looked and acted crazy! I got so stressed and annoyed, the whole party was a blur. I thought to myself, "Oh he probably just had anxiety." Which isn't uncommon in our families.

Then, I thought of more serious things. He isn't walking or standing yet. Nothing too uncommon or a premature 12 month old. He also wasn't doing things that I thought he should be doing. His one year check up, the Dr. said he was "perfect". A few days after, I was looking through an article on autism.  Autism? My child? No way. There is just no way. After praying for this to not be happening to him, and the countless times crying over it, I realized. This would not be the worst thing in the world. They have all kinds of ways to help with this now, he is here, happy, heathly, and beautiful. So if this were a reality, then I was ready to take it on. Just then, as soon as I came to an acceptance, he started getting closer on being able to stand, starting to wave bye-bye, started using his index finger to pop bubbles at gymboree, etc. So then I wasn't so worried, but there was still the underlying fact of, what is wrong with my baby?!

After going through this "phase" for almost a month now. I have realized a couple things.  For one, it is not how do YOU get through this, it is How Can I Help My Child Get Through This. He is the one having such a hard time, and although it can be a burden, mentally and physically draining, and sometimes annoying, he needs me now more than ever. After a couple of articles, some advice, and monotonousness google searches; I have come up with a couple of my own tips to help when your one-year-old is suddenly abducted my aliens.

1. Ditch the playpen or circle gate

Here she is in all her glory



   
Remember that lovely circle gate I bought, that was a total livesaver because it had enough room for Liam to play in, yet was out of reach so I could set him in it and do various things? Get rid of it, or don't rely on it. Liam loved being independent and would prefer that & his toys other than my company most days. But, not these days. So ditch it. 


2. Give cuddles

He plays interdependently, but still comes to me sometimes


Now, my proudest moments were when my child could play alone, fall asleep right when he was laid down, and hardly ever cried. The other moms wanted to know how I achieved such greatness. It was simple. I offered him love & cuddles, but every little peep, I wouldn't run to his room. He would self-soothe. Now when he cries, I know it will be in for the long haul. So i counter my advice but giving him lots of cuddles and love. Afterall, if you were set down, all alone with a measly toy and no one to "talk" to, how would you feel? Sometimes, after a good cuddle, they will be content. For a few moments at least.

3. Let them help

Yesterday, I was doing laundry. I let Liam do something I haven't let him do in forever. I let him play outside his circle gate. He roamed free, but was very good about listening and never went too far because he knew it was somewhat of a privilege.  He loved helping me out with laundry.

4. Be there

Liam has been the same way at gymboree. He used to venture off alone, not even caring if I followed. Now, he clings to my leg and is very stand off-ish.  Last week, he cried most of the time. He also did this at the church nursery. This week, he made it through almost the whole service, which was a big improvement.  Today at gymboree, I never went anywhere without him. I set him on the floor, took a few steps away, and he quickly crawled towards me. By the end of the class, he was crawling all over, playing, laughing, seeing the other kids and adults, without even checking to see where I was. But, when there was a glimpse of a moment, I was right there, with open arms. You could tell he was ecstatic.  It really showed me a glimpse of the old baby, the one I missed and longed for.

5. Reconfigure nap times

Peanut-Post nap


Liam has been taking one nap since he was about 7 months old. He lays down between 11-1 and sleeps for about 3 hours. Lately, he wakes up an hour and a half later, and doesn't go to bed until about 7. After looking at him, I realized, we need to go back to two naps. One at 11 and another at 3 or 4. You can't be mad at a baby for needing some extra sleep, especially when emotionally and mentally they are going through a lot. 

6. Change it up

Finding he reloves this old toy


One other thing I did was switch out his toys. Maybe some new ones, or possibly some he hasn't seen in awhile. This way, it is something new and exciting. Even babies need a change. (They are people too, ya know?!)

This "annoying phase" has really shown me I have been slacking. I have been slacking as a mom. It is a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes God shows us these things through our children.  I will not say that I left him in his play area and ditched him to get on facebook for hours. But I would set him in there to go do dishes, check email, etc. So when I set him in there now, he thinks I will be gone for awhile with no return. It hurts my heart that he feels this way. I know there are some things that need to be done, and if I wait until bedtime or naptime, I will not get them all done, but some things CAN wait. 

Just by doing these things I have noticed a huge change in one day! & Bonus, he has been asleep almost 3 hours like he used to! This could be because he is actually less stressed and happier, and that's all I ever want for him! Just because your child is going through this, doesn't mean you don't spend time with them, just give them a little extra, and I promise you, they will be happier, which in the end makes you happier!






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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Liam's Birthday Party

 
Hey Frugal Friends. Been a bit, huh? Lots going on around here..no, not really, just laziness really..Anyways. I am finally getting around to posting about Liam's big "Toy Story" Bash.  

*Please note- most almost all ideas are pinterest inspired, I was merely replicating them. The purpose of me sharing them is to show you, you can easily do them yourself without having to dish out a boat load of money!

First and foremost, Liam's cake was inspired by a couple of different cake ideas (1 & 2)
Here was the final result by Faithy Cakes:

The cake served (about) 25 people, and my sister made two dozen cupcakes. I made his smash cake. So for the cake goods for all of our guests (40-50) was around $50. To go even cheaper, you could make the cake yourself, but I wanted one like this just for his first! =)

 

(By the way, I bought the cupcake stand at Toys R Us on clearance once I decided the theme months before, I think I paid about $3 for it).

Next, I did these cute cards to go in front of the food to match the theme. Here's the inspiration. Here's an example of my products:
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I got really creative with these. I even had one that said, "We've got cool ranch & BBQ". A line from the first movie that Andy's mom says before she steps on the green army men. Only something someone would catch if watched this movie a million times!

I spent no money (other than in ink/paper source). I created them in Photoshop and already had leftover card stock from my wedding; and plenty of printer ink! Card stock is a must so they can stand alone. Very cute, simple, CHEAP things that can spice up a party! 

We had lot of things to eat. From "Pizza Planet Pizza" to "Hamm's Wrap-Ups" (pigs in a blanket). All the food was from Aldi, so I only had to add on about $20 to my grocery budget for the month! I also got the pizza from Little Caesars's, so I only spent about $20 there too. Not too bad for feeding about fifty people!


The water bottles were also very simple. For my wedding I made similar ones and also custom bubbles. However, this time I used a hot glue gun instead of a glue stick! I did a whole 24-pack of water in about half an hour (including cutting each one out). I, again, made these in photoshop and just printed them on card stock that I already had.


If you can see, I used old formula cans and added another photoshop/card stock wrapping on it. I put the silverware in it. I had leftover from my dad's party in August. 


Since it was a 1st birthday party, there really wasn't any games, but I wanted something for kids of age to do. I got the idea from this Toy Story Party for "Andy's Art Studio".  I found these printables and hung them up for decoration about the table. I then just google searched "Toy Story coloring pages" and printed a few out of each. I got a 12-pack of 4 crayons from our local Five Below store (kind of like a dollar store) for $3. 

I got the time capsule idea from this pin, and thought it was cute & creative. All I did was take a small formula can, cleaned it out, and cut a whole in the top.  I took my scrap paper from my food cards to use as the slips for people to write on.  I created the Time Capsule card in photoshop on card stock as well. 

If you noticed, most of the decor was purchased. I bought them from Party City, however, I did not pay full price.  I bought the items when they were half off (this promotion happens A LOT, so just check every week or so a couple of months before).  Also, if you spend over $100 you so much off. 

I did not buy all my decor though.  I did use Liam's toys, books, etc as table center pieces to finish the look and give it a cute feel. We also had the movie playing on the TV in the background as well. I also had his frst year slideshow playing on my laptop. I was really pleased with how everything turned out.


Liam's "Thank-You" cards were inspired from this pin.  They were sat at each place setting before guests entered. This way, I did not have to mail them out, and made extra in case someone sent him a card, then I would just send those out. 

I was going to buy Liam this outfit, but found a better one on Etsy. The cost of the custom shirt was $21.

So here's where we are:
Cake, cupcakes, and smash cake: $50
Food: $50
Decor & Balloons: $100
Rental Hall: $100
Custom Shirt: $21

Total Cost: $321
Estimated Value of Party: over $500. 

If I had purchased the original cake with smash cake, it was well over $100 and the decor full price including balloons would have been well over $150.

Ways I could have saved: making my own cake, having party at my home or a friends (was not an option for me this time), used plain table wear instead of character, made my own iron on shirt for him. 

There are several ways I could have saved, but did not for several reasons. If you remember, we moved, so we had the party in my hometown, so a lot of this was just due to time and convenience. 

In the end, it was a great party, except for the fact was son freaked out & hated his whole party! (He never acts like this, EVER!) Either way, him freaking out, caused me to freak out. So my friends, you live & you learn. Next year I will definitely down size and be more aware of how and what to do for throwing a party (this was my first one where I was responsible for all of it of course!), and know that my son needs time to adapt before throwing an awesome party! ;]









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Please note, all photos on this page are original and by me. If a link or idea from this post is of your original work and proper credit is not given and you would like it removed or altered, please contact me before taking any type of legal action. This site is to help others with ideas and money saving tips, not for my profit of your original work and ideas.- Thanks

LinkUps:
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Liam's First Birthday!




Yes, yes, I am deeply saddened that my baby peanut is one year old. (Well in about 2 hours if you want to be exact.)  Now, my family did a lot for me, don't get me wrong. They taught me how to be frugal and I always had what I needed and wanted, within reason.  I got to go to Disney World in 2nd grade, had season passes to a local amusement park, went out to dinner every birthday, and even had season tickets to sporting events. I had an awesome childhood! I do think I spoil Liam, but I have been wanting to do family activities for so long, I think I'm just doing them all his first year!

This year he has already been to two different zoos, the aquarium, the children's museum twice, gymboree, library classes, out to eat (a billion times), and will be going on his first plane ride and Disney World in two short months! What a spoiled peanut!  There is a method to my madness though. I love going these places. Kyle & I went before we had kids, or were even married. So why? I love them, and I always get discounts! All you have to do is a little google, and *bam*, savings! Not to mention, Liam gets to go to all of these places free, and will continue to, until he is about two or three!

For today's agenda-


  • Liam went to his baby class which he loves!
    • It's free at our local library!
  • Then, he came home and opened his presents.  
    • His presents were purchased throughout the year using various coupons (disney store coups, toysrus coups, groupons, you name it!)
  • We then went to lunch at Chilis and spent, wait for it...NOTHING!
    • I had two coupons, one for a free queso, and the other a free dessert. Both from being their e-club member.  I did have to do two seperate transactions, but whatever works! I also got a $25 gift card from my MIL(thanks!), and we got off the lunch menu, so we got our meals, appetizer, desert, and tip for $25, aka, FREE!
  • Now we are headed to the Indianapolis Children's Museum in a bit. 
    • Every first Thursday of each month is Target Thursday.  It is free and they have extended hours from 4-8. FREE?!
The only thing we have to pay for today is gas! I am also about to make Liam's cake, and freeze his smash cake that he will be using Saturday! (a different post on that).

So although my baby is one, and although it is bittersweet, I can not wait to see how he grows, and give him more fabulous birthdays like this one! Happy Day Frugal Friends!

P.S. The Birthday outfit he had on came from our local Once Upon a Child. It has a matching bib and was in the clearance bib for $1!!!! It was 6-9 months, but the boy is still tiny! ;]






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