In The Home Stretch.

I am super pregnant.  38 weeks and according to my OB, I will have the baby anytime now.  Since I was almost 3 weeks early with the monkey, it doesn’t seem that far fetched that I’ll have this baby monkey earlier too.  (But it also probably means that I won’t go early since I’m expecting it…)
We had Eli’s birthday party Saturday (I’ll do another post about that) and now it is officially okay with me for this baby to make her appearance.  We have our go bags ready and RJ is constantly asking me if I am having contractions.
As ready as I am to meet her.  (And ready to be not-pregnant.) I am also nervous about not having enough time for Elijah.  I am nervous about how he will react to having a tiny baby in his house.  I am nervous about him seeing his mama and daddy with the new baby and getting jealous.  I know there will be an adjustment period and that he is going to be such a great big brother.  But I can’t help the worrying.
My sister-in-law Molly took some awesome maternity photos for me last week, and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out!  Here are a few of my favorites:

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I don’t remember why these two goof balls were high-five-ing; but it was pretty cute.

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I love the silhouette.

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Eli showing us his “button.”

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My silly monkey, I love his giggles.

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This picture makes me so happy.  I get a little teary if I look at it too long.

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He loves his baby sister already.

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Of course Elijah wanted to take pictures of his own with daddy’s iPhone.

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love. love. love.

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This was an attempt to get a decent family photo.  The monkey was being his silly self  and was pressing our faces together.  We couldn’t stop laughing.

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And again, he is standing in front of us, making us laugh.

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Since I had Elijah before we could get any maternity photos with RJ in them, we had to get a few of him touching the belly too.

I am so happy to have these pictures to capture this pregnancy.  Thanks Moll 🙂

If you need maternity photos, or any kind of photos, check out Molly Grunewald Photography.  She is pretty great.

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Ways That I Save Money on Baby Monkeys.

Going from a double income family to a single income family is, by no means, easy.  It takes work and budgeting and paying attention to where you are spending and on what exactly.

I have had a few friends ask me to do a post about how I use coupons and save money on baby things.  So here are some of the main ways that I do.  I am by no means an expert at this, these are just suggestions.

Never pay full price for diapers.  Ever.  Avoid ever being in the situation where you need to pay full price by stocking up when you find a great price.  Know the price point for what you can get diapers for, and stick to it.  The bigger the diaper size, the less diapers you get per pack, so the higher the cost per diaper.  Eli is in size 4 right now so I aim to spend .20 per diaper.  I mostly get diapers at Target, as they offer “buy two get a gift card” promotions often and you can usually double stack (or triple stack if you use cartwheel) coupons.  Yesterday, I got two packages of Pull-ups for .14 a Pull-up.  I ordinarily wouldn’t have bought these, but since they were lower than my price point for size 4 diapers, I got them.  Plus, they are helpful for the potty training and leaving the house.  We can’t really let the monkey pee on other people’s carpet…I also will buy diapers at CVS.  They offer promotions where you receive Extra Care bucks back if you spend a set amount, so when you have coupons too it is usually a nice price.  Costco has good prices when they offer the coupons, but the regular price usually isn’t low enough for me.  I would love to use organic diapers on my baby monkeys, I love the Honest ones I received in a trial pack, but it is just so hard to pay double for an item that gets pooped in and then tossed.

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Elijah likes to shop at mama’s happy place, too.

Find a few coupon blogs that you like, and check them often.  For me, I check these daily:

Hip2Save — This blog has the easiest “drugstore deals” to follow.  She also posts great online deals, promotion codes, and when new coupons are released.

Totally Target — This is a blog with Target deals.  I love shopping at Target.  Now that they have fresh groceries, it is sometimes the only shopping I do in a week.  She lists the coupon stacks for the weekly ads on Saturday nights and updates throughout the week.  There is also a database of Target coupons which can be helpful as well.

Bargains to Bounty — Bargains to Bounty is a Metro Detroit area blogger.  She lists the coupon match-ups for all the grocery stores in our area.

I also follow all 3 of these blogs on Facebook.  This can be helpful, especially for Bargains to Bounty, because if a great sale is posted people will post that the item is all gone or there are restrictions on it, etc.  There are so many coupon and deal blogs out there on the internets, so find one that you like and find easy to read.

Utilize Mom to Mom sales and resale shops.  But be picky about what you buy and how much you’ll pay.  I love getting play clothes for Elijah at Mom to Mom sales.  Name brand shoes such as Stride Rite or Robeez are great finds too, since tiny feet grow so quick!  I know not all areas have Mom to Moms like we do around here, but if your area has them, go.  And try not to bring the littles with you.  And if you are very pregnant, take snacks and wear layers.  And bring your own reusable shopping bags.  Sometimes they can get pretty bananas.  Also, try to know what you are looking for; they can get pretty overwhelming.  Garage sales in the summer can be a pretty great place to buy toys and gear.

Shop online for toiletries.  I find the best prices for the baby toiletries that we use online.  Watch for sales, sign up for email lists, take advantage of dollar off promotions and stock up.  I mostly find that drugstore.com and Vitacost have good prices/promotions for the organic toiletries I like.  If you like Johnson & Johnson, Desitin, and Aveeno, there are almost always coupons for these and you can get great prices at Target on them.  Target also offers a wider variety of organic toiletries; so when there are sales and coupons out for products like Babyganics, Burt’s Bees, or Seventh Generation, I will buy them there.  I always check online prices before buying them in the stores.  Amazon sometimes is the best place too.  You just have to know what you’re looking for.

Join rewards programs.  This isn’t exactly “saving” money, more like “earning.”  I think the most rewards sites are Huggies, Pampers, Disney Movie Rewards.  Disney Movie Rewards probably not so much if you aren’t obsessed with Disney like my family is.  Sometimes it can be a hassle to remember to type in the codes every time you open a new pack of diapers, but it can be worth it.  I just tear the little code off and put it aside and then input several at once.  I almost always redeem the points for gift cards…mostly Starbucks because I am an addict.  So rewards programs can be a nice bonus for Mama.

If you do shop online often, join Ebates!  I find buying baby items online can be my favorite way to shop for them.  Especially in a polar vortex like Michigan at the moment; no one wants to take littles out in this.  I have ordered so many things for the new baby girl monkey’s nursery online.  So.  Many.  Things.  (And when Elijah was just a tiny, tiny monkey, I would think of things I needed and order them from Amazon.  Amazon Prime can be a mama’s best friend.)  Ebates is super easy.  You just start at Ebates, and then type in the store you’re going to make your purchase at and then follow their “shop now” link.  Some stores have tiny amounts, 1% or 2% but there are double cash back days and you get a gift card after you make your first purchase through them.  They send you a quarterly check in the mail, so you never have to go through steps for “redemption,” other than depositing the physical check in your bank account.  I earned $133.22 last year.  Like I said, I do a good amount of shopping online.

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Never pay extra for shipping.  I broke this rule of mine just a month ago, when I ordered baby girl’s curtains and rod from Land of Nod…but I did ask customer service for free shipping and they offered me 15% off instead, so it ended up being close to the same as shipping.  Go to Retail Me Not for free shipping promo codes or just leave the items in your shopping cart.  You’d be surprised at the amount of emails you’ll get offering promotions when you do not checkout the same day.

These are just my favorite, easiest ways to save.  I do get an obscene amount of junk email each day, because most of the ways to get coupons and promotions involve giving your email address.  So you may want to consider starting a spare email account.

This post contains referral links.  If you join using my referral, I will receive credit.

7 Things NOT To Do While Pregnant.

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Since I am more than halfway through my second pregnancy (26 weeks…woo hoo!); I have quite a few things I have learned, from experience of course, not to do while pregnant.  Here are a few of them:

1. Do not take a bath when you’re home alone.  Especially if you have a deep jacuzzi tub.  When I was VERY pregnant with Elijah, I decided that a nice, long bath would be awesome.  Well, the bath was nice.  But I couldn’t get out.  I was in the empty tub for probably 20 minutes before I was able to lift myself out.  I will not be repeating this mistake, it was not fun.

2. Do not watch every season of Grey’s Anatomy or Lost.  No matter how sick you are.  No matter how much you want to just lay on the couch and veg out for 10 hours of TV.  Do not do it.  Just watch romantic comedies or even CSI.  If you watch Grey’s or Lost, you will be an emotional wreck.  You will google the likelihood that your baby will be born with his heart outside his chest or 23 weeks premature.  You will have nightmares that The Others are coming to take your baby.  Or that they kidnap you and put you in a bunker to perform tests on your unborn child.  Trust me.

3. Do not go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.  Even though this applies to me when I am not with child, it is even worse when I am.  I have come home with 6 different kinds of chocolate and every snack food that looked even remotely appetizing, but no real source of nourishment for anyone.

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4. Do not google “flu shot while pregnant” after you have already received the flu shot.  Basically, google-ing medical issues is a bad idea all the time.

5. Do not tell your husband you are making a delicious dinner more than an hour before the dinner would be ready.  Since feeling like crap goes hand in hand with pregnancy for me, I make dinner about 50% of the time these days.  RJ often calls on his way home and asks if he needs to pick dinner up, because he knows better than to assume I have it prepared.  Even with the best intentions of making a healthy meal for my family, we have ended up with Mickey nuggets and apple sauce.  I feel that I am doing better this pregnancy with the dinner preparations (thank God for my crock pot), mostly because I don’t want Eli to have happy meals more than once a week.  I am fairly certain that I didn’t make dinner for about 10 months total, between being pregnant with Eli and having a tiny baby.  My husband, miraciously, still loves me though.

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6. Do not spend your sleepless nights looking at baby clothes online.  I may have spent my own clothing money one month on clothes for Eli and the new baby.  Do they need $34 tee shirts that are super hip?  Probably not.  Will you need a some new maternity leggings, especially if you don’t do your laundry?  Absolutely.  They will, undoubtedly, look freaking adorable in the new clothes.

7. Do not turn down offers of help.   I probably should’ve taken more people up on this the first time.  RJ was forced to do his first load of laundry when he ran out of clean clothes.  This time around I am taking everyone up on their offers.  I think in my first trimester, Eli was with other people 3 days a week so that I could sleep.  and puke without Elijah coming to examine the toilet bowl.  and to binge watch tv shows on my iPad in bed (see #2).  I am so lucky to have awesome family and friends who are happy to help.

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All photos in this post were taken by my talented-at-everything husband the week I had Elijah.  I am not this big…yet.