Friday, June 26, 2015

Frugal Friday 97

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- Annabeth had her second dance recital on Saturday. After the event we had our parents over to celebrate her year of dance as well as Father's Day. We resisted the urge to just order pizzas (easy but expensive) and made homemade sandwiches with fruit/veggies sides and homemade dessert.

The Riley Four.
We are so proud of Nanners and her hard work this year at Style.  

- We gave Annabeth a little sticker book of ballerinas as a dance recital gift. I found it on clearance for $.99 months ago and have been saving it.

Our little dancer. 
She loved wearing her rain boots with her costume.

- I ordered Annabeth's 2nd year of dance book from Shutterfly using a free 8x8 photo book code from Kellogg's Family Rewards. Saved: $29.99

- Monday my sister was in town. I treated her and Annabeth to lunch at Chilli's. We used a coupon for a FREE kids meal earned from summer reading to buy Annabeth's lunch. Saved: $4.99

- I sent my sister home with a dress that no longer fits me, a make up bag, and a lip color that I received that wasn't the right color for me. I am working very hard to only keep things in the house that make us happy and that we use.

- Monday evening Mark was able to pick up an extra shift at his part time job.

- Monday and Tuesday I tried to use up all of our leftover food from the weekend. We had made quite a bit of food for company and I didn't want it to go to waste. We did have a few items that had expired that had to be thrown away but I managed to use up most everything.

- We visited the library twice this week and checked out 20 books and 4 movies for Annabeth. The Thursday trip was my first trek out with the two kiddos by myself and we survived! I am so thankful for our sweet librarians who helped me wrangle Nanners and helped find her My Little Pony books.

We hope you all have had a wonderful week as well!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

We celebrated Father's Day today with my family. My Dad, Annabeth, and Mark cooked breakfast for Mama, Owen, and me. They made pancakes, sausage, and turkey bacon. It was wonderful! After breakfast we all got ready, a lengthy process especially with a nursing newborn, and headed out to the park. We enjoyed about an hour and a half playing on the playground and hiking around the stream. We stopped at a McDonald's and Penn Station and picked up lunch for a picnic at home. Before we ate, Mark filled the baby pool for Annabeth and she was ready to play once we were done eating. The weather was absolutely beautiful! We had our first sunny day in what feels like forever and under the shade tree it was perfect. We all had a wonderful Father' Day!

Mark enjoying his first Father's Day with two kids! 

Mr. O in a Daddy shirt. His first themed outfit.  

Three Generations
Celebrating with my Dad and my children.

Happy Father's Day from Our Family to Yours! 

"Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
 Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court."
Psalm 127: 3-5

Friday, June 19, 2015

Frugal Friday 96

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- I ordered Owen's pregnancy journal from Shutterfly and used 2 Pampers codes to get a FREE 12x12 book and FREE shipping! I had added additional pages and did have to cover the cost of those. Saved: $47.73

- Since we are back in a diapers phase of life, I have been careful to save all of the Pampers Rewards codes from the diapers and wipes so we can continue collecting points and earn gifts.

- Our friends the Eblings came up for dinner on Friday and brought us chicken noodle soup and homemade cookies. We had enough for dinner, leftovers, and were even able to freeze a container. Thank you Rose and boys!

- A friend from Mark's work had asked if we needed anything for Owen, I said we could use some baby boy blankets. She sent us a whole bag of adorable blue and sports themed blankets that her two boys had used. Other JCSO friends gifted us diapers, 3 outfits, and wipes. Thank you all!

- Mark worked trimming trees on Saturday. He earned $50 + a $25 Starbucks card!

- We enjoyed Starbucks on the way home from church on Sunday using some of the gift card Mark earned. It was a wonderful treat!

- Our friends the Sherry Family brought us dinner Tuesday night. We had chicken/veggie/rice casserole, salad, bread, and berries with angel food cake for dessert! It was wonderful not to have to cook and to have healthy fruits and veggies. Thank you!

- On Wednesday, our friends the Black Family brought us four freezer meals! It was SO nice to not have to cook and to have some meals to put away this week. We were also excited because they are meals we enjoy but don't ever take time to make like meatloaf! :) Thank you!

- Mark cut his hair at home and I cut Annabeth's hair at home as well.

We had a busy week. Monday and Wednesday I had the kids all to myself and it was really nice to get back to our new normal. Tuesday was Annabeth's Gymnastics Spectacular and this weekend we are looking forward to her second dance recital.

Our Nanners Girl with her first trophy.
She was so happy and we are so proud of her hard work
this whole year of gymnastics! :) 

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Friday, June 12, 2015

Frugal Friday 95

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- We received our first round of checks from Ebates. Between Mark and myself we made back just around $7 but it's $7 we would not have earned back another way just by shopping online. We also each received a $10 giftcard for our first purchase.

- A friend has to switch her daughter to cloth diapers so we gave their family our diaper hamper, liner, a wet bag, and sprayer to use. We were glad to be able to pass on something that they really needed.

- We were blessed with food and treats from family, friends, and neighbors following our arrival home with Owen. We had a Dairy Queen lunch, Starbucks treat, Papa Johns Pizza, homemade cake and my parents bought us groceries. Thank you to all who spoiled us!

- I paid a medical bill by phone within the first 10 days of the billing date and saved 20%.

- Owen enjoyed his first few days at home and we enjoyed playing dress-up with boy clothes! One of our favorites is a Notre Dame onesie that I purchased when I "thought we might be" expecting. We love the Irish and we love cheering them on in $1 shirts!

Mr. O - Six Days Old - Rooting for our Irish! 

We have been adjusting very well to being a family of four outside the belly. Annabeth loves checking on O and seeing what he is doing at all times. She also has really enjoyed all of the family that has come to take her out on special outings. Thank you to everyone who has blessed us with their gifts and time this past week. 

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference" 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Owen Merit's Perfect Birth

Before we had Annabeth, I did not plan for her delivery. She was breech until 38 weeks and I was anticipating a c-section like my Mama had with each of us girls. She turned in the last week and I figured I would just go in, do what they said, and have a baby. That was the plan and it was nothing like what happened.

With Owen it was different, I knew what I wanted. I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted it to be calm. I wanted to be in control. I wanted to hold him first. I wanted to see him first. I wanted Mark to hold him next. I wanted us to have skin-to-skin and time completely alone. I wanted less interventions. I wanted less company. I didn't want him in the NICU or nursery. I wanted him in our arms. So I read, I planned, I researched, I met with doctors and nurses, and Mark and I planned and prayed together.

At our 39 week appointment, the doctor suggested we schedule an induction for around 39.5 weeks. We were more than happy to agree. I knew that it would be mentally good for us to be prepared for an exact day and time and I knew that it would help him, hopefully, not be as big as Annabeth.

We checked in to the hospital around 7 pm on Monday, June 1. As we waited to check in, a nervous, sweaty dad came out to tell his waiting family that his wife was two hours into pushing and still no baby. I tried not to panic as I had spent 2 hours and 45 minutes pushing with Annabeth. We went down the hall, past THE room, and into a beautiful new delivery room. We met with our nurse and reviewed Annabeth's birth. I knew we would have to go through it but I wasn't ready for the fear that would creep in as we relived that morning. We did the same thing with the anesthesiologist as well as the Resident on call.

Checking into St. Francis
39 Weeks, 3 Days
June 1, 2015 

We started meds around 7:30 pm and then we waited. I was in very little pain and was able to rest quite a bit. We started pitocin around 1 am but it was shut off within 12 minutes. Even set at a 2, my body had started having nearly consistent contractions at just 2 cm. We knew I would not be able to withstand that for many, many hours and so we turned off the pump. We gave my body 30 minutes to calm back down and then we started again at 1. Through the night the nurse came to check me and turned up the pitocin. I asked her not to tell me what number she was increasing to. I knew with Annabeth we had gone too high, too hard, and too fast which is part of what led to the intensely painful labor that I had with her. I also knew that I wanted to wait as long as possible to have my water break. With Annabeth it had been 12 hours from the time my water broke to the time she was born. It made for incredibly intense contractions through that night. I was anxious to avoid repeating that.

Night shift switched to day shift and God gave us the perfect nurse. We once again reviewed Annabeth's delivery and our plan for this time. Our nurse is the great niece of an old-school midwife and uses lots of her aunt's tricks of the trade. After her first check, she saw that we had not made much progress through the night and that Owen was still posterior. She committed to spending the day keeping me as pain free and calm as possible while trying to get Owen to turn on his own. I cannot have an epidural or pain meds due to drug allergies and so natural pain remedies are vital to me. She was incredible. She allowed us lots of time alone and also helped with many different positions to ease and aid labor. She allowed me to do what I wanted, when I wanted. We moved through the day quickly and I was even able to take a few catnaps. Our doctor came to check on us in the late afternoon and my water broke at 4:45. Then there was no more calm. Just like with Annabeth, once my water broke I was in incredible pain and had horrific contractions. We slowly backed off the pitocin to a 9 and allowed my body to do most of its own work. Because Owen was still posterior I was in horrible pain through my back and hips. I asked to not have to labor in bed at all and thanks to Mark holding me up was able to labor on the labor ball and while standing until the last possible seconds. Mark and pushed me back into bed as doctors and nurses flooded the room. I heard our doctor giving a quick overview of Annabeth's delivery to the Resident as well as the nurses so they all knew what we might be in for. I pushed through the next contraction and began to panic. It seemed like nothing had happened and I wondered "Can I do this for 2+ hours again?" Then we pushed again and I KNEW that he was coming. I even said, "Mark our baby is coming!" to which he looked and me and said, "I KNOW!" One more set of pushes and I was holding our perfect baby boy.

No episiotomy (although I do have a 2nd degree tear which is nothing compared to the 4th cut from Annabeth). No hours of pushing. No vaccuum. No forceps. No NICU. No terror. Just a, relatively, calm delivery of a precious, Beloved gift from God.

At 6:57 pm on June 2, I realized a dream. I delivered our son into the world. I held him first. I saw him first. I touched his hands and feet first. I looked into his eyes and saw perfection and the Greatness of our God. I repeatedly thanked and praised Jesus for this incredible blessing - the blessing of becoming a Mama again, for a healthy baby, for a safe delivery, and for the indescribable joy of holding my seconds old baby while Mark held us. To God be ALL the glory.

The Riley Four.
My Life and Love.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Owen Merit Has Arrived!

We joyfully welcomed Owen Merit Riley on June 2, 2015 at 6:57 pm.

He is a tiny little newborn, compared to his sister, at 8 lbs 3 oz and just 19 inches.

Mr. O ready to head home from the hospital

We are so thankful that the Lord saw us safely through labor and delivery.
We cannot thank or praise Him enough for the incredible blessing of our family.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Frugal Friday 94

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- I earned $10 credit on ThredUP through my referral link. Thank you Anna B! :)

- My Mama and I took Annabeth to the free splash pad in Greenwood for wonderful, water fun on an 80 degree + day.

- Before the rain came through, Mark was having to water our new grass every evening. (When they built the new house next door they tore up our front yard but did re-sod it for us) We let Annabeth play in the sprinkler each evening after dinner. It may not have been the hottest part of the day but it took care of two things at one time without wasting water.

- I earned $20 through an eBates referral. Thank you for signing up Mama!

- I cleaned most of my maternity clothing out of my closet and got it all organized to send back with the four generous friends who lent it to me. I was really fortunate and did not need to buy more than 5 items for this whole pregnancy!

- I clipped coupons from the Sunday paper and made sure to pass along good coupons to friends who would use them.

Quite honestly, most of our week was spent enjoying our last few days as a family of three out and one in the belly and then, finally, as a family of four out of the belly!

We thank and praise the Lord for Owen Merit's safe arrival and the blessing of two children! God is so good!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"